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...

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Share Your Ears: A Cute & Simple "Mickey Mouse Ears" Hairstyle

Share Your Ears! A Cute & Simple Mickey (or Minnie) Mouse Ears Hairstyle #hairstyles #mickeymouse #ShareYourEars

This post is sponsored by Make-A-Wish Foundation but the content and opinions expressed here are my own. 

During the month of November, many families like mine focus on volunteering and giving back. This month, there's a fun and easy way to do so! In celebration of 90 years of Mickey Mouse, and to honor the 130,000th wish granted from Make-A-Wish, Disney is asking fans to "Share Your Ears" to help make wishes come true for children with critical illnesses!

It's so easy to join in on the fun, and help make a difference! From now until November 27th, 2018, all you have to do is publicly share a photo of you or your family showing off your Mickey Mouse ears or any creative "ears" on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter using #ShareYourEars and Disney will donate US $5 to Make-A-Wish. Disney will be donating as part of the Disney Team of Heroes commitment to give comfort and inspiration to families around the world!

Maybe you are already a Disney fan and have your own Mickey Mouse ears. If not, you can still easily participate by making your own! ANY ears will do! At 22 weeks pregnant, I'm not really feeling overly creative right now, but if you have long hair, it is super easy to create "ears" using your own hair! Not only is it simple to do, but it's super cute, too!

Friday, November 9, 2018

A Few Of My Favorite Things

Happy Friday! It has been a few weeks since I shared a few of my favorite things, and my love list just keeps getting longer. I have so many new favorites that I would be typing forever if I included them all, so I'll just share some today, and some more next Friday!

If I'm going to be perfectly honest, much of my focus these days is on my kids and the new baby that we were not the least bit prepared for! (And if you missed the news, here you go!) It has been 5+ years since our last baby was born, and so many things have changed since then. Plus, we have to purchase almost everything again, because we were DONE. When I'm feeling so sick all the time, I don't really love much for myself, so most of my favoites are for kids!

Here are a few of the awesome things that made my love list...