Motherhood is hard. Parenting is hard. Life is hard. There are ups and downs in any area of life, right? Recently, I went through a patch of motherhood that I felt was so much teaching, learning, stretching and growing that it was sometimes exhausting. I’m sure just as much for my children as it was for me. I have to remind myself that we are all in this together. I genuinely believe that kids want to be good, choose good, and do good. But they have to have direction, support, and love, even if it’s hard.

    One particular day, I was just trying to keep my patience, correct with love and teach with kindness, and inside I felt like I was doing a terrible job. I set up my oldest with some markers and paper to color for a few minutes of quiet time. Instead of going to start the laundry, or fix dinner, I sat down for a few minutes to color with her. Sometimes it’s just the proximity that builds the connection.

    I started doodling on a paper, writing her name and then decorating with words that reminded me of her. Reminiscent of my middle school and high school days where this was the fun thing to do for your friends. After awhile, she asked me what I was doing. I showed her and read her all the words I was writing. Loving. Kind. Brave. Beautiful. The more I read, the brighter her eyes got. I wrote “Love, Mom” at the top and told her it was for her. She gave me a big hug and said, “I’m going to hang this over my bed so I can always remember these things!”

    After that, I started dinner and she went on coloring. A little while later, she grabbed the tape and ran into my room. I walked in later and found this:

    Mom Sign

    A sign that meant the world to me. Sometimes something small is all you need.

    Home & DIY

    Staying Connected Across The Miles: Family Photo Map for less than $2

    Raise your hand if you have family living all over the country…or the world? Most people do! We are lucky to have close relationships with our extended families and we try to get together at least once a year.

    I’m a sucker for school supplies and picked up a United States map in the dollar section a couple of years ago and promptly forgot about it after it got lost in my craft drawers.

    A few months ago, I was digging around and discovered it again. It happened to be around the time I was reconfiguring our playroom. The map immediately added some unique (and educational!) decor, but I wanted to add more.

    One day my oldest and I were talking about where each of our extended families live and I had an idea to put small photos of each family in the state in which they live.

    Family Map

    This project is so simple, quick and inexpensive! All you need is a US (or world!) map and small photos of any family members you want to include. I laminated mine so they would be more durable, but that isn’t necessary. After you print and cut the photos, add them to appropriate location.

    So many discussions could come out of this project! Where does your family live? Who lives where? How many states/countries away is that? What do you know about where they live? Lots of options! Enjoy this fun, inexpensive way to connect your family despite the long distances!


    Home & DIY

    DIY Silhouette Canvases

    I did this DIY project a couple of summers ago, but it remains one of my favorite spots in my home! An alternative to a family photo, it provides a unique focal point for an open wall. Check back soon to see how I added my third baby into the mix!


    You’ll need an 8×10 canvas for each silhouette, a side profile photo of each indivdiual, a black permanent marker and black craft paint.

    First, trim each photo so only the side profile remains. Center the photo on your canvas and trace it with the permanent marker. Paint within the tracing until there is an even coat of black paint (2-3 coats for me). Allow the silhouette to dry (if you can! I couldn’t wait to get mine on the wall!

    I love that these canvases are so light! I can use easy to remove wall mounts so I don’t even have to nail into the wall. This project could extend to so much more than just individual profiles; states, homes, landscapes, get creative!

    Have fun!


    Simple Celebrations: Preschool Graduation

    I love making little moments special. I am trying to be better about making it happen. In the past, what has gotten me is expectations. Someone once told me, a lot of misunderstandings come because of unmet (or misunderstood) expectations. For me, I usually set the bar too high. I start with grand plans and then get overwhelmed and so I just don’t do anything. It’s super effective. I am trying to start with lower expectations. A few planned things and if I have time, energy, money, to expand then great! If not, I am not disappointed. Celebrations, parties and similar events often get me this way. Then I end up feeling sad and guilty because I really didn’t end up doing anything because I overwhelmed myself. So we are starting with baby steps here!

    My oldest just finished preschool last week. She went to a class that was a bit unconventional and goes year round. Therefore, there was no preschool graduation. My daughter probably wouldn’t have noticed if I didn’t do anything. But I wanted to. And she was so thrilled. And it was so worth it.


    It was beyond simple and that is the point of this post! Little celebrations do not have to be complicated, expensive or time consuming! I bought the tassel garland at Target for $2-$3 and made the graduation hat out of poster board and a tassel I cut off the garland and hot glued on top. So easy and yet, my little graduate declared it, “the best day ever!”

    Need to make a graduation hat for your own little one? Follow these simple steps:

    -Choose the size of your hat, it’ll be a square. Mine ended up being about 12.5″ on each side.

    -Measure your little one’s head. Cut a strip of paper to match the circumference of their head (or measure their two-year-old brother’s head, because it’s about the same size!) The strip should be about 2-3 inches tall. Tape or glue the strip into a circle.

    -Hot glue the band onto the square.

    -Hot glue a tassel of your choice to the center of your hat so that it will drape to one size.

    Celebrate your little one’s accomplishment! It will make their day to have their very own hat! To complete the celebration we had macaroni and cheese and raspberry lemonade (with special straws) for dinner. That was it! With my daughter’s excitement, you would have thought it was the grandest party they had ever attended.


    Motherhood, Parenting

    For The One Who Started It All

    Extra Special Time_WindowI’m writing this post with my sweet five-year-old daughter snoring next to me in a hotel bed. Earlier this week, I knew that I had to make this night happen. We are six months into this “three kid” family thing. Any significant family dynamic change takes effort and sometimes transitions are tough. I think overall ours has been relatively smooth. But there are times it’s been hard for this cute girl.

    Sometimes she doesn’t want to be the helper, because she wants to be helped. Sometimes she wants the babies to wait instead of her. Sometimes she gets out of bed seven times at night because she wants mom and dad all to herself, without a baby in between.

    Because she’s five. And she still needs her parents, just like her brother and sister. She often seems so much more grown up to me because she is almost three and a half years older than my next baby. I ran across a video today of her when she was about the age of my son now, just over two years old. It’s hard to even remember those times.

    So tonight, me and her, we said goodbye to daddy, brother and baby sister and we had a night to ourselves. We ate dinner at “Grape Garden” (Olive Garden) and checked into a hotel. She excitedly set out our toothbrushes and toothpaste, lined up the nail polish, laid out our swimsuits and set up the napkins on the bed so we could eat our room service desserts.

    I love my three babies with all my heart. Tonight it was important to spend some extra special one-on-one time with the one who started it all.

    Room Service Dessert