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Just Another Mother’s Day or Is Everyday Mother’s Day?

As I scrolled through Facebook and Instagram yesterday, it was filled with tributes to specific moms and grandmoms, quotes about moms and motherhood and photos of special celebrations and gifts.

For my Mother’s Day, I spent a special lunch with my Mom, Danyella and Evie. Our original plan was to go to a special restuarant my mom and I have been dying to go eat fish and chips but sadly they never answered their phone to let us know what their hours were going to be or if we need reservations. Sorry but super bad business practice for a place to eat! Since it was going to be raining all weekend, outdoor plans like going to the greenhouses and gardening centers were out. As was, going to our favorite outdoor shopping center.

Instead, we decided to go to Ruby Tuesdays since we all like the salad bar and the food is decent. We each had a good meal and our bellies were so full. It was time to walk off some of those calories we inhaled by shopping at Home Goods and Marshalls. We love shopping there for their good prices and the home decor is always so cute. We always find the cutest clothes for the girls.

Since the puppy ate one of Evie’s sandals, she got a new pair of sandals and an outfit to match. Dany picked out a couple of rompers… her new fashion must have. We looked at shorts but holy cow they were way to short to put on my 11 year old daughter! (This will be a future blog post!!) My mom found really cool HUGE glass jars that she is converting into planters. (This is where I get my gardening love from) I looked at cast iron pans but was not a fan of the ones they had so I found one at Walmart that I can’t wait to start using.

The girls gave my Mom the footprint vase that Evie and I made a while back for one of the Mother’s Day Teach Me Tuesday posts. If you want to see how to make your own this is the post: Baby Prints DIY Mason Jar Vase  Danyella was in the process of making me a card but I told her to make it for Nanny and we will include that with her gift. My original idea was to make her a salt dough thumbprint necklace but time got away from me. Plus, one day I will save the money to buy her the Ancestry DNA test that she has been begging us to get her for every holiday for the past year.

My gift this year was the love from my kids. I am blessed to have Evie in our family and all the smiles, giggles and stinky diapers she gives me everyday. I have watched Danyella go from my little girl to a graceful, crazy dancing tween. Aidan is my only boy who gave me the biggest scare with being born a preemie and spending so much time in the NICU to a football star. Kaeleigh was the first to make me a Mommy and though we have lost that special bond, she will always have that special place in my heart. She will be 18 this year and has become a beautiful young woman. I saw her prom pictures yesterday and cried at how beautiful and grown up she is now.

Don’t get me wrong, I would have adored a gift from the kids or my husband this year but that was not in the plans from the universe. I appreciate the pan that my mom gave me because it will continue to enhance my cooking skills and new passion. I loved the moments I spent with the girls. I could have used some more sleep and maybe someone else to cook dinner which maybe one day soon my husband will cook for me (hint hint).

So back to the point of this post, the day I had was like other days that I have had because my mom and I like to eat lunch out and then go shopping. I usually spend my days with the girls and cook dinner then stay up way to late to catch up on business stuff or blog stuff. It might not have been a huge, over the top celebration but I got to spend the day like I do everyday… with the people that love me living my life as a mom. I wouldn’t change my everyday is Mother’s Day for anything in the world.

How did you spend your Mother’s Day?

Everyday that we spend special moments with our children is Mother's Day

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DIY Ribbon Bookmark plus May Writing Prompt Calendar

DIY Ribbon Bookmark Tutorial

Hooray its May! After a cold, snowy Winter and wet, rainy April…. we have sunshine on the first day of May! Add to that the fact that its Teach Me Tuesday and you have a near perfect day!

This week’s Teach Me Tuesday is for our readers and writers, young and old with a DIY tutorial to make ribbon bookmarks plus a writing prompt for the month of May. If you know someone (including yourself) that loses bookmarks every time they read then this is the perfect bookmark to make!

The bookmark is very cute and customizable with the type of ribbon and buttons you want to use. You can use recycled ribbon from gift boxes or other places you find ribbon. If you are like me, you find buttons everywhere but don’t know where they came from so you can use those buttons for this project. The great thing about these bookmarks is that they created so they do not slip out the books and get lost. For the May Writing Prompt, keep scrolling past the bookmark tutorial!

Supplies:

Ribbon

Buttons

Hair Tie (preferably new but you can recycle your unused ones too)

Hot Glue Gun and glue stick

Directions

  1. Cut ribbon to 12″ long or as long you want/need
  2. Place hair tie over one side of the ribbon, fold the ribbon over the tie and glue down
  3. Glue the button on the other side of the ribbon
  4. Allow the glue to dry
  5. Read and bookmark your place!

May Writing Prompt:

As a homeschooling mom, I love having Danyella write something everyday. The writing prompts are a great way to get the creative juices flowing and sometimes make her think outside of the box. In the past, we have used prompts that I have found on Pinterest. While we loved them, there was something usually missing from them. Danyella prefers to have the prompts in a calendar form which has been a great way to teach her about calendars and planning.

This May writing prompt is formatted for 2018 but can be used at any point, in any year. I hope you enjoy getting your child’s creative juices flowing and encouraging them to use their words to write something beautiful everyday of May!

Here is the PDF to print off: May Writing Prompt and the JPG:

May Writing Prompt

If you like this prompt please share the picture below to Pinterest or your favorite social media!May Writing Prompt (1)

 

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Mother’s Day DIY Q-Tip Canvas Gift

15 Dinner Ideas for You and Your Dad

Moms love receiving gifts, especially handmade gifts that were made with love by their children or grandchildren. Whether you are an adult looking for a special, budget friendly gift to make you mom or a parent looking to have your children make a gift for mom or grandma, this DIY Q-tip canvas gift is one that is easy and adorable.

The great thing about this gift is that you can make is as simple as saying mom or make it more complex with mom’s favorite quote or song lyrics!

Supplies Needed:

Canvas (size of your choice, my example is

Paint (I prefer a dark and light color to contrast)

Qtips

Double Sided Tape

Print out of the word(s) you want to create on the canvas

Directions:

  1. Cut out the letters to the words you want on your canvas.
  2. Place the tape on the backside of the letters and position them on the canvas.
  3. Take one color (darker color works better) and q-tip the paint all over the canvas. Let it dry.
  4. Apply the second color once the first color is dry.
  5. Once both colors are dry and set, removed the letter.
  6. You can either frame the canvas or attach something to hang the canvas.
  7. Wrap it up and give it to the special woman in your life!

 

must-see sights in europe

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Baked Lemon Chicken Printable Recipe

This Baked Lemon Chicken has become a must have for Danyella who is my super-duper picky eater! This is a simple recipe which is great for a quick prep dinner. Danyella loves this chicken paired with baked or mashed potatoes and a veggie side (always my vegetarian!).

I used chicken quarters because it was on sale but using other chicken, such as boneless,  will adjust the cooking time to a shorter time frame. Please just watch and check your chicken temperature while cooking this recipe. Check the chart below to get an idea on cooking times for different chicken cuts.

chicken

A fast prep chicken dish with delicious flavor.


Credit: kaella.net

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds chicken (cut of your choice)
  • 3 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 garlic cloves (pressed, chopped or sliced)
  • seasoning salt (to taste)
  • 1 lemon, sliced

Directions

  1. Set oven to 400 degrees. In a pan, melt butter and brown each side of the chicken piece (3-4 minutes per side).
  2. In a bowl, add the broth, honey, garlic and salt together. Whisk to get the ingredients to mix well.
  3. Add the chicken to a rimmed pan, pour the broth mixture over the chicken and set the lemon slices on top of the chicken.
  4. Bake the chicken for the recommended temperature: Breast, Bone In: 30 minutes, Boneless: 20 minutes, Quarter: 45 minutes, thigh 30 minutes, wings 30 minutes. Please use your good judgement in checking your chicken to be sure it is done and ready to serve.
  5. Serve and enjoy your Baked Lemon Chicken with your delicious sides!

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Banana Bread Printable Recipe

 

banana bread

One of my favorite breads to make is Banana Bread because it is easy and great for a quick breakfast food when I need to run out the door. Only problem is that my family usually eats the bananas before they get to that ripe point that is essential for a good banana bread. I lucked out and my family forgot we had bananas because I bought halos… I had my bananas for banana bread!

This recipe is really easy to make and doesn’t take much time. Just keep an eye on your time with how long you are baking the bread because every oven bakes differently but it will average between 45 minutes to an hour. I love to serve/eat this bread warm with a little butter on it!


An easy bread to make with those ripe bananas sitting on your counter


Credit: kaella.net

Ingredients

  • 3 RIPE Bananas
  • 1/3 cup or 5 1/3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat over for 350 degrees and spray/butter a loaf pan.
  2. Smash ripe bananas until there is no more chunks of banana
  3. Mix in melted butter. Beat for a minute.
  4. Mix in Eggs. Beat for a minute.
  5. Mix in Sugar and extract. Beat for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Mix in Flour, Baking Soda, Baking Powder and Salt. Beat for 3-4 minutes or until everything is mixed and be sure to scrap the sides and fold back in. Transfer to loaf pan.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Insert a toothpick to check.
  8. Let the bread sit and cool on a cooling rack. Best served warm with a little butter on the slice.

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Silk Screen Printing Obsession

My newest obsession is finding things to silk screen a cute quote or picture on. I love seeing cute shirts on Pinterest or Amazon and hate paying $25 for a shirt I can make for under $10! I’m crafty so I set out to create my own cool shirts and much more!

Last year, I made dance mom shirts for the Elite moms but it was a long and tedious task. I hand printed every single letter and dancer on 6 different shirts. It was a lot more work then I had anticipated.

This year we wanted new shirts but I didn’t want to go down the same stamping road again. At Hobby Lobby, I found silk screening kits. This was perfect. There was a $50 and $150 kit. Honestly, I have no idea what the difference between the kits were but I wasn’t prepared to spend $150 on something I didn’t know if I was going to screw up.

I purchased the $50 and used my 40% off coupon (I am a savings queen so this was a must do!) which cost me about $33 with tax. The box included the silk screen, a paint brush, a jar of black ink, special paper, exacto knife and the scraper. All I need shirts to print on…

So the instructions were completely confusing and explained different ways to silk screen which required buying more products. I was feeling overwhelmed and confused as hell! Maybe this was to much for me??

I went back to the box and figured out that they printed their design on the special paper then cut it out with the exacto knife. I did my first design, printed it out, cut it out and began my first experiment…

What a disaster of ink every but where I wanted on the shirt!! I didn’t realize that the paper gets taped to the underside of the screen. I had to go look up YouTube videos to understand what I did wrong and what I needed to do.

So, I started the process over again design, print, cut… now tape under the screen, add the ink and scrape it across the screen onto the shirt. (Thanks Doug for the donation of one of your shirts!) Wow it looked freaking awesome!!

Another thing that I learned the hard way, is that you need to clean the ink off your screen ASAP or it will stain the screen. I thought I could leave the design on the screen until I was ready to print the real shirts. Nope!! Clean that ink off ASAP!!

Next I found these super soft, stretchy purple shirts. The purple color is the Elite’s color and these shirts were perfect. I designed a shirt to say “I’m a crazy dance mom 5678 dance”. I did one for my Christina and myself. They were a huge hit with the moms.

I then had orders for moms shirts, an Aunt shirt because Aunt Emilee needs a shirt too and a dad shirt. It became an assembly line of printing and hanging them around my dining room. Plus, Evie needed a “I’m a crazy dance baby” onesie!

Once I got the directions correct, these shirts looked freaking awesome! The moms and Aunt Emilee wore their shirts to the competition plus the baby had her onesie on until she peed through all her clothes. I now have plans to make the dancers and their teacher special end of season gifts with my silk screen printer!

One of the dance moms with her adorable girls

I would suggest the $50 kit from Speedball because it’s pretty simple to do and really fun. For kids, the ink will stain so have them wear disposable gloves. There is so much you can do with a silk screen printer! I can’t wait to make more in the future!!

*please not this post is not sponsored in anyway, shape or form. Just my own personal review of a product I purchased!

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Ham, Potato and Corn Chowder Soup

This is a favorite recipe of mine to make on a cold winter day, which we have had ALOT of them lately. It is a hardy soup that just seems to warm the body and soul!

The directions for this soup are done with my instant pot but you can easily convert it to a crock pot or stock pot on the stove. Another thing that I love about this recipe is that you can use the ham that you have leftover from another meal or use ham steaks. My Christina gave us a bunch of ham steaks, so I chopped one up for the soup and YUMMY!

Ham, Potato and Corn Chowder Instant/Crockpot Recipe

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A soup for those cold winter days.


Credit: kaella.net

Ingredients

-2 tbs olive oil -1/2 onion -2 stalks celery, diced -1 cup chopped carrots -1 clove chopped garlic -1/4 cup flour -1-14.5 oz can chicken or ham broth -1-1 1/2 pounds of potatoes, diced

Directions

  1. Set instant pot to saute, add oil plus onion, celery, carrots and garlic and saute until tender 5-6 mins. If you are using a crockpot, do this in a pan on the stove.
  2. Add flour and brown the flour.
  3. Slowly add the broth, bring to a boil and add milk.
  4. Add potatoes, continue to use saute setting for another 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Stir Continuously so that the veggies do not stick to the bottom of the pan.
  5. Set the slow cooker on 4 hours
  6. Add the ham and corn
  7. Let it cook for the 4 hours and enjoy!

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Thankful for My Nail Appointments

I know that the title of this post sounds superficial but it’s not just about the beauty of my nails. It is more that once every two weeks, I get to feel like a woman. Not a Mom, not a wife… just a woman.

Every other week, I drop the girls off at my moms for a couple hours. My Christina picks me up from my moms, we grab Dunkin’ coffee and head to the nail salon.

While we wait for the salon to open and the women to set up, we enjoy our coffee and talk (what we do best lol). We both get gel manicures so we pick out our colors which I usually have a reason behind my color choice like a holiday or celebration. This week they are green for St. Patty’s Day that just passed.

In that hour of sitting while my nail color gets changed, I feel like a woman. There is no baby to feed, no tween drama, no house to clean. It’s just me in that chair getting my hands pampered.

It might not sound like it’s a big deal but to a work at home mom with an infant to care for, a tween to homeschool, a house to clean and a business to run. Just being a woman for 2 hours every other week is something I need to keep me sane.

With summer coming aka flip flop season, I’ll be adding pedicures to my bi weekly Woman time. I am thankful for the time I have to sit and feel like a woman while I get my nails painted!

What are you thankful for today?

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Tween Rules and Reward System

Tween REward System

After last week’s meltdown and subsequent cancellation of Danyella’s New York City birthday trip, I wanted to find a way to encourage her to behave and do her chores without the attitude and mouth running. Off to Pinterest I went….

I searched and searched, using different search terms and had a hard time finding anything that really worked for us. Some of the links were for teachers to get kids and teens to listen in class. Some of the links were for kids that were younger and didn’t quite fit Danyella.

I was looking to set up Rules and a Reward system for Danyella that would reward her with points to earn special things. At the same time, if she didn’t complete a task then she wouldn’t earn the points and if she misbehaved points could be taken away. After hours of searching, I went to google drive and created my own system.

First were the rules: One would think these were basic rules but to Danyella, I was running her life by asking her to abide by these rules! After nearly a week, she has broken some of these rules and has definitely fought these rules every chance she can.

rules.jpg

Next were the Rewards: At first she didn’t care about any rewards. If you look, she started to cross out New York because she was never going to New York ever again if I wasn’t going to take her the day we had originally planned. Eventually she came to terms with her rewards. She even began to calculate how many days it would take for her to earn the trip back if she did all of her chores everyday without attitude points taken away. How I structured her rewards were at levels, so that she had little things to look forward to as she re-earned her New York City trip. One of our favorite things is to go get Italian Ice from Rita’s so that is first on her list to earn.

rewards.jpg

Last were the check off lists: There are 2 lists for Danyella. Since Danyella is homeschooled, I wanted her to start to take responsibility of her own schoolwork. I made her a checklist of what she needed to accomplish everyday and she earns 10 points for completing them all. The other list is her chores list. This list has different chores for different points like cleaning her rabbits cage is 1 point. I gave her some additional points for helping me label the body products and helping me cook dinner (I should use her cooking show obsession to my advantage lol).

lists.jpg

After a week, she is more focused on getting what she needs done though there has been times where she has fought me on completing her tasks (especially schoolwork which is another post to come). It has been nice to see her get excited to help me cook dinner or bake cupcakes. I will keep you all updated on how the system works as the weeks pass.

A question for my readers with older kids: How do you reward your children for good behavior or punish for bad behavior?

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Spring Cleaning Your Finances

Everyone loves or loathes Spring cleaning their house but how many of you Spring clean your finances? This is something that will help keep you on track toward your financial goals whether its saving for your family vacation or saving for your first house.

So what goes into Spring cleaning your finances? It’s taking a deep look into your budget, spending, income and where you can clean some stuff up with your finances. It’s looking at whether you need that donut when you buy your coffee (I am guilty of this) or do you need to eat out once a week or can every other week work into your lifestyle?

For most people, your income is a set amount every week or every other week because that’s when they receive their paycheck. For my family, the hubby gets a paycheck every other week for his night job. Then, our income fluctuates because we own businesses that rely on other people either hiring Doug for a service or for myself someone purchasing my products. We have adjusted our budget to accommodate the way our income is paid to us but for most people you know how much you will be getting and when which makes budgeting and analyzing your spending so easy.

Do you fit into the 50/20/30 rule? One of the hardest part of the rule to stay in is the 30% for your lifestyle because it’s easy to add those extras into your spending. I am so guilty of this especially eating out. When I am to tired to cook because I was up all night with the baby or we were out with the dance or something else going on, eating out is the easiest physical solution. Afterwards, I kick myself because financially I shouldn’t have spent that money because it could have gone towards the family Disney trip we are savings towards.

As a new series, I want to break down ways to cut down on the lifestyle spending through the Spring season. Each Sunday, I will focus on a different way to Spring clean your lifestyle spending in a fun way. Let’s Spring clean our finances while having fun!