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Home & Living

Holiday Spirit Home & Living Motherhood Parenting

9 THINGS TO GIVE TRICK OR TREATERS INSTEAD OF CANDY

October 26, 2017

My husband and I love Halloween. Every year we watch Hocus Pocus and my brother in law will carve our pumpkins because he is so good at it! Each year he does something different and the neighborhood loves it. Baby Axel is too young to go trick or treating for his first ever Halloween so this year we are staying home to hand out candy. We will definitely be in costume too! He is going to be the greatest lumberjack, Paul Bunyan and I will be Babe his blue ox! I think Andrew agreed to wear a flannel and will also be a lumberjack.

Every year, I have to save Andrew from a belly ache and hide all the Halloween candy. He always seems to find it and then he hides it somewhere else so he has a secret stash. I usually don’t keep a ton of candy and sweets in the house. I told him that he is basically stealing candy from children but he doesn’t seem to care! I am convinced he is a 5 year old trapped in a man’s body.

I was recently reminiscing with my sister about our trick or treating days. I have three younger siblings and we loved laying out our candy collection after trick or treating and start trading! I ALWAYS wanted all the butterfingers, yum! We always got so much candy. I wonder if our parents ever took any from us. Mom & Dad, if you’re reading this – you owe me some candy! 😊

I started to think about baby Axel getting big enough to go out trick or treating. What the heck am I going to do with all that candy! I’m sure he will have a sweet tooth like his mom and dad so I’ll need to help ration his candy collection – and I can definitely help out with the butterfingers. 😊

Kids don’t need that much candy! I’m sure baby Axel will be wild enough without excessive amounts of sugar. I came up with this list of fun ideas of items to hand out that kids will LOVE besides candy! When you hand them something they are not expecting they are mesmerized which is fun to see!

  1. Stickers
  2. Glow Sticks
  3. Temporary Tattoos
  4. Coloring Books or Activity Books
  5. Mini pumpkins
  6. Vampire fangs
  7. Packaged Snacks
  8. Packaged Drinks
  9. School Supplies (fun pencils, crayons, erasers)

My two year old niece is OBSESSED with stickers. You can buy a book of stickers and cut them out into individual sections so they can grab a little sheet to use for later. I don’t know any kids who don’t LOVE glowsticks. You can string them and make a little necklace or get the tube kind that connect and make little necklaces or crowns. There are all kinds of fun temporary tattoos you can order online (check out Amazon or Etsy). I grew little sugar pumpkins in my garden last year. Some of them were to small to actually carve or harvest so I gave them away to my friends with kids. They are fun to paint or have as a cute decoration. Vampire fangs – enough said. Be careful about giving these to really little ones as they can be a choking hazard. Packaged snacks or drinks is a fun way to mix things up.

This list is geared more towards younger children which makes up most of the trick or treaters that come to our door. I did once have some teenagers come to the door. I don’t discriminate! If you are in costume, you get a treat from me! As I was complementing their costumes I said, “And you’re dressed up as…marijuana, okay!” Yes, one of the teens was literally in a pot leaf costume. They had a good laugh at my reaction. They probably needed that candy more than anyone.

If you are handing out candy, here is a list of things to avoid handing out:

  • Anything homemade – most parents are paranoid that these things could be tampered with so don’t waste your time because the parents may just toss it.
  • Anything store bought that is unwrapped or easily accessible – again, parents may think you are poisoning their children. I know people who throw this stuff away.

TRICK OR TREATING ETIQUETTE

Parents, if your children are going out trick or treating this year PLEASE:

  • Go with them or make sure they are with an adult who can supervise – keep them safe!
  • Follow your neighborhood guidelines and trick or treating hours (typically between 4pm – 8pm)
  • Check what time the sun is setting in your area if you want to avoid trick or treating in the dark with little ones (sunset in my area is 6pm)
  • Go up to the door with your little trick or treaters. Sometimes, people have signs that will say Take 2 but your little one may not be able to read yet so help them out. I totally let my trick or treaters take a handful because it keeps them coming back and less candy I will be tempted to eat at the end of the night! 😊
  • Sort through your child’s bag to make sure there is nothing dangerous or inappropriate for their age
  • Ration their candy for them, don’t let them get a bellyache! If you know they can’t eat it all, donate it or bring it to work to share. Your co-workers will love/hate you for it.

Have a Safe & Happy Halloween!

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Baby Home & Living Marriage Motherhood Parenting

MOM’S DAY OFF? IS THIS REALLY A THING?

October 16, 2017

Have you ever dreamt of a day where you could do whatever your heart desired, uninterrupted? I would like to begin by saying I absolutely adore my baby boy and husband, don’t get me wrong, but ever since getting pregnant and becoming a mom, I have daydreamed about the days where I could take a long shower and finish my coffee while it’s still warm. You know, the little things.

So recently I was thinking, can’t I have both? Can’t I have this amazing life with my family and also take some moments for myself again? The answer is YES and here is how I did it.

I took a day off work from my full time job in IT. I asked my husband if he could do the daycare drop off/pickup that day (I usually do it). I planned an entire day of things that I wanted to do and it was AMAZING. This is what my day looked like.

  • I slept in until 6:35 am, WOOHOO! Yes, that is sleeping in for me
  • I took a long shower and was able to wash my hair and even shave my legs – WIN
  • I made myself eggs toast and coffee and enjoyed it, uninterrupted
  • Did a whole bunch of chores – cleaning relaxes me (laundry, dishes, sweep, dust, etc.)
  • Got to snuggle with my pup! I feel like I have neglected Quinn since baby was born
  • Listened to Classical music on our Amazon Echo
  • Watched lots of FRIENDS (my husband gets sick of my re-runs haha)
  • Worked on my Etsy shop
  • Worked on my blog!
    • Wrote new posts
    • Created pins
    • Checked stats

Within the first hour I was having a blast but also ironically, missing my baby! I even asked my husband if he would take my jeep to work so I wouldn’t be tempted to go pick Axel up early haha (I can’t drive Andrew’s car since it’s stick shift). But Andrew didn’t want me to be stranded so the Jeep was home with me, tempting me all day.

The thing is, it is not selfish to need or want time to yourself. You are not selfish. You are not a bad mom. My only complaint about my own mom is that she didn’t prioritize herself, like, EVER. She has always put others’ needs before herself.

Taking time for yourself is healthy and good for your mental health. It actually helps you to be a better mom and spouse. My mom always worked AND was the homemaker so she was tired, a lot. Dad worked and was the “fun” one. Always making up games and playing with us. It was always such a special treat when mom had an ounce of energy left in her body to play with us! One of my fondest memories is when my dad and I went night crawler hunting. This is where you go out in the night to catch giant worms for fishing. That night, we invited mom to join us, assuming she would say no. But she said yes! It was so fun. My mom is always “extra” (as the young folks say these days) so she was diving on the ground for these crawlers and at one point she stood up with 4 giant crawlers in her hands. It was hilarious.

When my boy, Axel, is grown he is not going to think back and say, “wow, mom always took care of the dust in the house” or “I’m glad mom always pulled the weeds”. He is going to remember how I was patient with him or how I took a break from cleaning and helped him with a school project. Now, my little day off extravaganza isn’t going to be a regular thing but I now have more clarity and will be able to know when to ask for help and when Mama needs a minute.

So whether you have one baby, multiple babies or you are a dog mom, treat yourself because you work hard and you deserve it. Looking to treat yourself or give a gift to another hard-working Mama? Check out The Spoiled Mama. They have a ton of safe & organic beauty products like sugar scrubs, nipple cream, body wash, stretch mark oil and more! When you take care of yourself, you have more energy to enjoy life’s precious moments.

 

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Home & Living

WHY WE HAVE STEREOTYPICAL GENDER ROLES IN OUR HOUSEHOLD – AND IT WORKS

October 1, 2017

This photo is Andrew in the process of building us a custom dining table; the table I will serve our meals on!

My husband and I waited to live together until we were married. While we were dating, we both had lived independently for years. We talked about the chores that we enjoyed doing and ones we couldn’t stand doing. Through our conversations, we noticed a pattern that Andrew enjoyed the classic “man” chores and I loved everything under the category of 1950’s house wife. I had seen my mom take care of our entire household growing up. She would do almost all of the cleaning and make meals (while working full time, way to go mom!). Because of seeing this growing up, I always imagined I would do all the cooking and serve my husband and I loved that idea.

Now, I am not saying this is how your household has to be or this is the best way. I am simply saying it worked out to be this way in our home. This is what we talked about and both agreed on. Of course there have been times where I might take out the trash or Andrew will do some laundry but for the most part these are our understood responsibilties.

So how do we divide up the chores? See my chart below:

ANDREW

SADIE

·         Lawn care

·         Snow removal

·         General House Maintenance

·         Vehicle Maintenance

·         Garbage

·         Vacuum

·         Make Meals

·         Sweep & Mop

·         Dust & Declutter

·         Clean Bathrooms

·         Laundry

·         Grocery Shopping

 

We have never felt our setup to be unfair or that one person has to do more than the other. In fact, there are times when Andrew will come grocery shopping and listen in on my strategic meal-prep plans and there are times when I watch a demo in the garage of him changing my oil or checking tire pressure. When we stop and take the time to see what the other does it helps us to appreciate the contribution!

Of course there are times where we temporarily have to adapt and take over a task. For example, in my first trimester, I was so nauseous that I could hardly stand the smell of any food for almost two months. I apologized to Andrew and told him he was on his own for meals because all I could choke down was crackers! He understood and adapted just fine (with lots of frozen pizzas).

If you are still trying to work out a system with your spouse, sit down and have a conversation about it. It might seem silly but maybe you will find that you always have to shovel snow but your partner actually wants to do that to get a workout in. Discuss and come up with a plan together and find what works best for you! And then when you have kids that are old enough, put them to work 😊

This post may contain affiliate links meaning I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only promote products that I have personally used myself or believe in. Please see my Policies tab for more details.

Hobbies Home & Living Marriage

HOW TO ADD CHARACTER TO A NEW HOME

September 30, 2017

When my husband and I started house hunting for our first home, he had very specific taste. He had owned properties before and this was my first time buying a home so I took his lead. He enjoyed modern day conveniences and new construction but had a great appreciation for antiques.

We bought our first home together in 2014. It was brand new and we were the first owners, yay! I had been apartment living for a few years up until that point so I was overwhelmed with all the new space I had. I didn’t really have a ton of décor and all my furniture was mismatched and worn.

Fortunately, my husband had some amazing ideas. He is such a visionary and planner. His idea of furnishing our new home was to use graph paper and plan out every room to maximize space and bring character to our home. At first, I thought it was a little much but he had the right idea!

His first amazing idea was to create a tv stand out of an old door and crates. I can’t count how many times he tried explaining his vision to me and I just could not picture it. Finally, we went out to flea markets and antique shops to search for some pieces. It was so fun! With his vision and my haggling skills, we got all the pieces we needed for his design for around $150 and it was a blast.

Then came the fun part. Andrew brought his vision to life! Finally, I saw what he had been describing to me for weeks. After some significant rearranging, he finally drilled the pieces together. It was the most charming tv stand I had ever seen! The way we arranged the crates was practical too, because we had some storage space! As you can see, the stand is made up of different antique crates and an old door from an estate sale!

Our other great finds and projects include:

This book shelf we made for less than $20.  Andrew and I made the bookshelf shown below. We bought three smaller book shelves from an old local bookstore that went out of business. We painted them a light green and drilled them together. The back of the shelf is made from vintage farmhouse shutters that we got at a flea market. It’s also fun to shop for little vintage knick knacks and use them as décor around the house! Some of our favorites include vintage globes, fans, matchpacks, cigar boxes and license plates.

This amazing 100-year-old, mahogany airplane propeller. We didn’t do anything to it other than clean it and hang it. I got this for Andrew’s birthday last year and he was SPEECHLESS. When we were dating he had told me he always wanted a wooden propeller. I remembered it because I thought it was so random! I got in contact with a guy who lived about 10 miles from us who was willing to sell this piece. The guy had a hard time letting it go and shared with me that he got this from his great grandfather. I told him I would take good care of it and even sent him a picture of it proudly hanging on our wall. This thing is HEAVY! It was quite the task to bring it in our house and hide it on Andrew!

 

These spooky industrial pipe lamps! I say spooky because they have this dim glow that’s a hue of orange, perfect for Halloween! Andrew made these himself. We do custom orders on our Etsy shop so if you like these, please reach out to us for a quote!

Pictured below is a dining table that Andrew built from scratch, no kit! He used mostly pallet wood so it was super cheap to build. The chairs are the cheapest wood set from Ikea that we painted different tones of green.

My favorite part of giving tours of our home is pointing out all the pieces Andrew built, designed or dreamed of and remembering all the quality time we spent together making them happen! Some we did for super cheap, others were a little more expensive but it just makes our home so much more cozy and unique! Message me with any questions. Thanks for reading!

This post may contain affiliate links meaning I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only promote products that I have personally used myself or believe in. Please see my Policies tab for more details.

Gardening Hobbies Home & Living

GARDENING – WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR HARVEST

September 24, 2017

This is my third year gardening and I have had some awesome crops and some big fat flop crops. I live in northern Wisconsin and our area has sandy soil which can be good and bad. Good for drainage, but not so good for nutrients. Because of the sandy soil, my husband made me a raised garden bed. It has three sections, one deep square section, and two shallow rectangular sections. He also installed some amazing solar lights. The lights aren’t necessary but it looks awesome at night!

I know there are recommendations for which crops work best together in a raised garden bed. I didn’t realize that when I first started and I picked some aggressive, viney crops that took over! One year I had cucumbers and sugar pumpkins. They did awesome but took over my other poor plants. Now that I know there is some great information out there regarding what to plant together, my garden is doing much better.

Now, as much as I love going out each week and coming inside with a big tray full of crops, I sometimes find myself overwhelmed and not sure what to do with it all! After all, I am only cooking for myself and my husband. Our baby boy is still on that all milk diet. Below is a list of things I do with my harvest.

  1. Share with Friends & Co-workers! It feels good to give to others without expecting anything in return. Also, you get to show off your awesome crops you grew! I usually just bring in excess crops (rinsed) to work and put up a sign that says, “Help Yourself!”
  2. Prep & Freeze Depending on which crops you have, some of them might freeze nicely. I currently have bags of chopped zucchini, grated zucchini, and chopped peppers in the freezer. These are so handy to grab and through into a meal. I grab the chopped peppers and throw them into an omelet for the morning. I recently grabbed the chopped zucchini and threw it on the stove top with a mix of other things and made delicious veggie melts. My husband was hesitant at first but ended up loving it!
  3. Rinse, Chop & Enjoy If you know you can eat the veggies within the next few days, give them a good rinse and put them in the fridge. Today, I picked poblano peppers, banana peppers, tomatoes, and a green pepper. I gave them all a good rinse and chopped most of them. With the chopped mix I made some individual baggies that I can throw on a salad, in an omelet or pasta dish. I also made salsa by adding some salt, pepper, cumin, and garlic to the mix.

*Bonus Tip* I was so frustrated this season because my tomatoes were not turning red. At first I thought I was just being impatient but when I saw my fellow gardening buddies posting about their delicious red tomatoes I decided something was up! It had been well over the amount of time that species of tomato was supposed to become ripe. I discovered that because we had a significant amount of rain this summer and we have an irrigation system, they were getting too much water. Fortunately, the rain let up and we turned off the sprinklers. I finally got my red tomatoes!

Now, I will leave you with an adorable picture of Axel next to a giant zucchini!