Monday, December 17, 2018

Holiday Gift Guide For Men

Holiday Gift Guide For Men

I was compensated for some of the items mentioned below or received them complimentary.

Every year, when the Christmas catalogs start arriving, I immediately start flipping through them to get gift ideas for our four kids, and begin making lists. Weeks later, I find myself staring blankly at the gift list I’m trying to make for my husband. After 18 years of marriage, we’ve reached the point where we just buy what we want or need when we need it, which makes gift-buying a challenging task!

This Christmas, I want to do things differently. I want to fill those packages under the tree with gifts that are functional, fun, and unique, rather than give my husband the same things I give him every year!

Need some inspiration for the men in your life? Here are a few things I think the men in my life will love...

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Sweet November - A Photo Recap

Sweet November - A Photo Recap

I said it before, but November went by ridiculously fast! Then again, that's every month these days. The truth is, the more kids you have, the busier life is, and the faster the months (and years) go by!

November was filled with so many sweet everyday moments, but we also celebrated Dylan's birthday and Thanksgiving, had many school events (which ended up on my smartphone's camera roll), Dylan started basketball, and we kicked off the holiday season! Because our December has been so busy, I've only been able to blog once a week, so I figured a short and sweet life lately post was the way to go!

Here's a glimpse at life in November...

Monday, December 10, 2018

Christmas Bucket List for Big Families

Christmas Bucket List for Big Families

Only FOURTEEN days until Christmas! December flies by faster with each passing year. We have a Christmas Bucket List, and we're checking off as many things as we possibly can, but I still feel like we're rapidly running out of time! 

Although we would love to accomplish everything and go to so many more events than we already do, there simply isn't enough time or money for a family this big. Perhaps it's because I'm pregnant with baby #5, and still struggling with morning sickness, but this year, I'm all about simplifying things. This year, we narrowed it down to our most favorite traditions of all!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Christmas Tree Decorating Tradition

Christmas Tree Decorating Tradition

Happy December! Only THREE weeks until Christmas! Where has time gone?!? Our house is mostly decked, our elf is back, we visited Santa, we're already checking items off of our Christmas Bucket List, and shopping has commenced. This year, I'm determined to ENJOY the season, rather than be stressed the entire month!

We kicked off the Christmas season on Black Friday this year, by setting up our tree. Most of our crew was at sleepovers, so we didn't get to decorate it until a few days later. It was definitely nice to enjoy the lights from the Christmas Tree so early this year!

Our first Christmas Tradition each year is to have a Family Christmas Tree Decorating Night. Although I spent the entire weekend following Thanksgiving decorating our house, we all gathered on November 26th for one of our favorite traditions. We started to celebrate Christmas together by putting up our Christmas Tree!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Family Pictures On The Beach & The Myrtle Beach Boardwalk

Family Pictures on the Beach and The Myrtle Beach Boardwalk

Our 6th day at Myrtle Beach was busy and fun! I take our family pictures every year on the beach, and it has become our tradition. We usually wait until the last day for our mini photo session, and end up scrambling to get them done, so we decided to move it up a day this year. It was a great decision! The session was still rushed as the light was fading, because I didn't realize how far of a walk down the boardwalk it was to our chosen spot, but I love how they turned out!

It was so hard to narrow down the 500+ pictures I took on day six, but I managed (somewhat). Now I know which pictures I want to print out for the Family Beach Pictures Gallery Wall that I have planned. (Yet another project to add to my mile-long to do list!)

Although most of the pictures are from our family photoshoot, I also wanted to share a few fun moments from our day at the pool and on the boardwalk!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018


The Gift of Togetherness & 6 Meaningful Holiday Traditions to Start With Your Family

This post is sponsored by RMHC, Inc ® but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

During the holiday season, my family tries to spend as much time together as possible! We have so many beloved holiday traditions, and we look forward to them every year. Fortunately, we’ve never had to spend the holidays apart, but that isn’t the case for some families.

This holiday season, you can give families with sick children a wonderful gift: The gift of togetherness. Ronald McDonald House Charities provides a place for families to stay close to the hospitals where their children are receiving medical care, through the Ronald McDonald House and Ronald McDonald Family Room programs. A donation to RMHC gives these families the gift of comfort, joy, and togetherness!
The benefits of family togetherness are endless! Spending quality time together as a family strengthens family bonds, teaches children the importance of family time, and creates lasting memories. The holidays are the PERFECT time for families to spend lots of time together while experiencing meaningful holiday traditions!

Down syndrome blog

Monday, November 26, 2018

Dylan's 14th Birthday & Thanksgiving

Dylan's 14th Birthday and Thanksgiving

This year, Thanksgiving was extra special, because it was also Dylan's 14th Birthday! Our Christmas baby decided he wanted to be a Thanksgiving baby instead, so every few years, Dylan's birthday falls on Thanksgiving. When that happens, we try to make his birthday the main focus, so our Thanksgiving was very casual!

On the day before Thanksgiving, my 24/7 morning sickness decided to go back to being severe. With that nasty comeback, it took all my energy to focus on preparing for Thanksgiving and Dylan's birthday, so sadly, my photos are lacking this year. I tried to capture Dylan's special day, but didn't do so well with Thanksgiving memories. Dylan ended up having a great birthday, though, and that's all that matters!

14th Birthday

Here's how we celebrated our firstborn's 14th Birthday...

Monday, November 19, 2018

Guitar Lessons for Kids - The Quick, Easy, and Convenient Method

Guitar Lessons for Kids - The Quick, Easy & Convenient Method

This post is sponsored by Fender but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

My husband is a self-taught guitar player. As a singer, I always thought it would be fun to learn so I could accompany myself. I never found the time for that, but when my 11 year old daughter recently expressed interest in learning how to play the guitar and keyboard, I couldn't say no!

Unfortunately, with four kids, time and excess money are lacking. That's why I'm so grateful for Fender Play! Lexie (and anybody else in our family) is able to learn how to play guitar through this inexpensive and incredibly convenient learning app! 

Lexie - and 7 year old Lily - just started using Fender Play, and it's working well for them! Learning to play an instrument has numerous benefits for children AND adults. Learning to play guitar, ukulele, or bass with Fender Play is fun and easy! 

Fender Play

Look how well it's working for my kids...

Saturday, November 17, 2018

The Value of Date Night With My Daughters

The Value of Date Night with My Daughters

This post is sponsored by Vanguard but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

With four (soon to be five) kids, time and money are precious things. There is simply never enough time, and sometimes, not enough money. My husband and I have work, a home, and four kids to juggle, but we try our hardest to make quality family time a priority, and we make sure each of our children feels valued and loved.

Investing in our future is so important, but everyday life, and our current needs take priority. Sometimes we focus so much on what we need to buy that we lose sight of what’s right in front of us. As every parent knows, time goes by SO quickly, and those special moments with our children while they are young slip through our fingers. Before we realize it, those moments will be gone, and we will have missed so many amazing opportunities to bond with them.
This past weekend, instead of worrying about what we need to spend our hard-earned money on, I invested my time (and some money) on a date night with my daughters! It was a much needed experience for all three of us!
Pittsburgh blogger

Thursday, November 15, 2018

How We Found Out Baby #5 Was On The Way

How We Found Out Baby #5 Was On The Way

It's no secret that our current pregnancy was a BIG surprise! We were in the mindset that we were completely done having children. Our four kids were all in school, baby gear and clothing was given away, and we were moving forward with the next stage in our lives. But obviously, there were other plans for our family!

The news was a bit of a shock at first, but we adjusted quickly. Instead of worrying about how much another child was going to change our lives, we chose joy instead. Simply put, we now get to experience the blessing of another child that we never thought we would have!

We didn't find out we were expecting until I was over two months pregnant, but there was a good reason behind that...