Our Five Ring Circus

Friday, June 11, 2021

The End of the 2020-2021 Pandemic School Year

Big family blog

We are one week into Summer Break, and the last day of the 2020-2021 school year is behind us! It was a year unlike any other, but we are thankful that our kids stayed in school in person for the majority of the school year. It was, however, a year full of wearing masks to school, social distancing, and very few school events.

This year, Dylan was in 10th grade, Lexie was in 8th grade, Lily was in 4th grade, and Liam was in 2nd grade. It was Lexie's last year in middle school, and Lily's last year in the elementary school. Next year will be so different for all of them! Dylan and Lexie will be in high school together, Lily is moving up to the 5th/6th grade building, and Liam will be all by himself at the elementary school. Although we're glad the year is over, the end of the year is always bittersweet, because our kids are growing up so fast!

Despite the circumstances, it was a fairly good year for our kids. They had great teachers, and they thrived. We are very hopeful that the upcoming school year will be much different - normal perhaps. It's not time to thank about that just yet...we have almost 3 months of Summer fun ahead of us!

Sunday, June 6, 2021

8 Tips to Help Your Child Sleep Better with Pact Dream Big Pajamas

Pact Dream Big Pajamas


I received Pact Dream Big Pajamas for free from Moms Meet to review. Compensation for this post was provided, and this post may contain affiliate links.

Whether you have 1 child or 10 children, I'm sure you probably have times when you are absolutely exhausted. Raising kids can be tiring, and it seems like sleep struggles are the cause of most of that exhaustion! So many factors have to work together in order to help kids sleep well, including plenty of fresh air, a consistent bedtime routine, and comfortable pajamas.

4 of my 5 kids have always been great sleepers, but my 5th child is not. I'm just so tired, that I cave into things like letting him sleep in our bed so *I* can get some sleep. I know it's time to sleep train him, so he can establish healthy sleep habits on his own.

Several things have worked wonders with our 4 older kids, so I know it's time to utilize these methods! He has a comfortable crib and a cozy room, he naps early, he doesn't get caffeine, he gets plenty of exercise, he has the comfiest pajamas, so NOW it's time to start a bedtime routine. It's best for all of us in the long run!

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Rainy Day Activities: Play Dough Sensory Kits

Rainy Day Activities

*Play dough kit was gifted from Darling Little Details

It's officially our rainy season in Pennsylvania, and my outdoor-loving kids are not too happy about it! Liam and Coen are very energetic explorers, so being trapped indoors isn't much fun for any of us. I have to line up a lot of fun rainy day activities to keep their minds off the fact that they can't go outside and run. Our themed play dough sensory kit is currently one of their favorite activities in the rainy day rotation!

We are big fans of sensory play, but I admit, we haven't played with play dough in a while. We went straight from Coen trying to eat it, to a puppy trying to eat the pieces off the floor, so I tended to avoid it. I always wanted to make themed play dough kits, but right now, I don't have the time or the energy. I was super excited when a fun play dough sensory kit from Darling Little Details arrived in the mail!

These themed play dough sensory kits are truly rainy day activities/boredom busters wrapped up in one perfectly portable package! Everything stays organized and fresh in one little box, and all the included treasures provide the kids with endless ways to play. It was an instant hit with my little kids, and I'm a big fan of the easy clean up and storage. Themed playdough kits are a perfect sensory addition to every playroom!

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

A Blessed Birthday and Easter Weekend

big family blog


Easter Weekend was a busy one! It started off with my birthday on Good Friday, was filled with our favorite Easter traditions, and ended with a beautiful Easter Sunday. I know I'm in the minority, but Easter is one of my favorite holidays!

We packed a LOT into 3 days! I had a mini birthday celebration, we dyed Easter Eggs, we had two backyard egg hunts, we had a mini Saturday evening Easter dinner with two friends, and we celebrated Easter with my parents and my sister's family. Other than not being able to go to church in person, the weekend was perfect!

I planned on posting the day after Easter, but apparently when I turned another year older, my body decided to break! I pulled a muscle in my lower back for the first time ever, and I literally could not move without feeling excruciating pain for two days, and I ended up in bed for hours. Thankfully, it went away quickly, and to celebrate, I got my first vaccine, and felt yucky for about 24 hours. But, hey, let's get back to my birthday and Easter!

Thursday, April 1, 2021

March Came In Like a Lion and Ended Like a More Ferocious Lion

Broken Elbow in Kids

You know that saying, "March Comes In Like a Lion and Goes Out Like a Lamb?" It wasn't quite accurate here. March was a whirlwind, and on the last day of the month, we were in the emergency room with Lily and her broken arm. To top it off, the month ended with the coldest night we have had in weeks, complete with freezing temps and sleet. Yeah...I'm not falling for that saying!

I have so many posts to publish...SO MANY...but I'll just start with the most recent news. Lily fell victim to the dangers of jumping on a trampoline, and ended up with a fractured elbow. Needless to say, my husband is ready to burn that trampoline! My thought? Kids will be kids and stuff happens!

It definitely wasn't the best way to kick off Spring Break, but thanks to our l o n g night at the hospital, all of our kids started their Spring Break one day early. We didn't get home until early morning, and none of the kids slept long enough.  So here we are, shivering from the sudden return of Winter, physically and mentally exhausted, and REALLY hoping that April is going to be kind! Here's the scoop on the second broken bone in our crew...

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Making Life Easier One Shoe at a Time with Xpand

Down syndrome

*We received the following product free in exchange of our honest review.

When you have a big family, there is a LOT to juggle! There is no extra time, so any second saved is precious. I'm always looking for ways to save time (and energy), so I was thrilled to discover a time-saving product - Xpand!  

With Xpand, you never have to tie your shoes again! I love the concept behind this product, especially for Liam. We love them so much that we're replacing ALL of our laces with Xpand laces!

Putting on shoes is so much easier these days. It truly does save me time, and is much less stressful! And if you have little kids or a child who has extra needs, Xpand is a must have!

Friday, March 5, 2021

Happy 14th Birthday, Alexandria Elizabeth!

14th Birthday


On February 22nd, our sweet Lexie celebrated her 14th Birthday! I can't believe how fast she is growing up. (All of our kids are growing up too fast!) We shut down just a few weeks after her 13th birthday, and never got to have a party, and she had another pandemic birthday this year. We tried to make her day as "normal" and as fun as possible!

Her day was filled with our usual birthday traditions, a trip to Starbucks, lots of presents, dinner at a restaurant, and a mini party with my parents. She also got to skip school, too, which is a favorite tradition! It *almost* felt like an ordinary birthday!

We try to make birthdays extra special for our kids. Social distancing definitely got in the way of some of our traditions, but we made the most of it. Lexie was smiling all day, and said she had a great birthday! Here's how we celebrated her special day...

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

March 2021 Goals

Big Family Blog


Happy March! I can't believe we're already into the third month of 2021. The year is going smoothly so far, and I'm trying to live in the moment, and focus on my word of the year - Togetherness!

February was a really good month. We got a puppy, we celebrated Valentine's Day, and we celebrated Lexie's 14th Birthday. The month started off cold and snowy, then we eventually got a taste of Spring. I actually enjoyed Winter this year, but I'm officially ready for the longer days and warmer weather! 

Although I'm not obsessing over them, I am still going strong with my goals for the year. I set goals to find small ways to improve my life. Sometimes I realize my goals work, and sometimes changes need to be made. Overall,  I have learned to give myself grace when I inevitably fail at one of those goals, and just try again! Baby steps, my friends! 

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Our Family Grew By Four Feet

Pet Blogger


Spoiler Alert: This is not a pregnancy announcement, because four more human feet would just be a LOT! Two weeks ago, however, we did welcome a new baby into the family. It just so happens to be a 2.5 pound Shorkie puppy named Beyonce Moira Rose Bader Ginsburg!

Up until recently, we didn't intend on getting another puppy. We already had 5 kids, an English Mastiff, a cat, an indoor rabbit, 2 hermit crabs, and 2 snails. I always had 2 dogs until my chihuahua passed away almost a decade ago, and I was starting to think about getting a second dog. 

A few months ago, my sister thought her English Mastiff was pregnant, so I began suggesting we get one of the puppies so that Ella, our English Mastiff, would have a companion. We love giant breeds, but Grant wasn't too thrilled about the idea of another giant dog in our already crowded house. It turned out my sister's dog had a pseudo-pregnancy, and I was bummed, but a new opportunity was quickly handed to us!

Saturday, February 13, 2021

An Easy-To-Make Valentine's Day Snack Board Everyone will LOVE

Valentine's Day Snack Board

I received Love Corn for free from Moms Meet to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links.

It's Valentine's Day Weekend, and we are here for it! Just like every pandemic holiday over the past year, we don't have big plans, but we do everything we can to make the holiday special at home. Tonight, we're having a Valentine's Day themed dinner with our very small quarantine crew, and this AMAZING Valentine's Day Snack Board will be making an appearance!

I have been a fan of charcuterie boards for a while, and I finally upgraded our tiny board to a large tray. It holds so much more, which is essential for a big family, and it doesn't spill when I'm carrying it to the table. Heart-shaped pizza and heart-shaped pasta is on the menu this weekend, but who doesn't love a snack board full of sweets?!? I did throw a few good-for-you snacks into the mix, because balance is everything! 

This is my first attempt at a snack board full of sweets, and I think everyone is going to love it. Typically I fill the snack board full of healthy foods and snacks, but special occasions call for special treats. Too much sweetness isn't always a good thing, so I had to add in some delicious salty snacks for variety. I can't wait to dig in, and I know my kids are going to flip over it, so I think it's going to be a huge hit!