Our Five Ring Circus

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Homemade Peanut Banana Oatmeal Baby Food + The New Guidelines For Introducing Allergens

Introducing peanuts to babies

I received this product for free from Moms Meet for review. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links.

When Coen was born, I told myself to savor every moment, because babies don't keep. An entire year of infancy stretched out ahead of us, but I blinked and half a year was already gone. Coen is now 6 months old, and he's nothing like the helpless newborn he was just a short while ago. He's rolling, sitting, standing with support, trying to crawl, getting teeth, eating baby food, and sipping from a straw cup!


Gone are the hours upon hours I spent breastfeeding him. Now some of those nursing sessions are supplemented by solid feedings. Instead of pulling out my breast pump, I'm pulling out the blender to make homemade baby purees. So many changes happen within that first year of life. It's exciting and bittersweet at the same time!

Speaking of changes, a lot of changes have occurred since my four older kids were babies. Start solids at 4 months, start solids at 6 months, start solids between 4-6 months, skip purees and do baby led weaning, don't give eggs or peanut butter until 12 months...it's hard to keep up! Coen's wonderful pediatrician recommended starting solids at 4 months (we did) and slowly introducing foods, then adding eggs and peanut butter to his diet at 6 months old. Research shows that feeding peanuts between 4-6 months could prevent babies from developing a peanut allergy. We followed the recommendation, and it was so easy to do!

Pittsburgh Blog

Friday, September 20, 2019

Family Fun & STEAM in Pittsburgh at MuseumLab

MuseumLab


This post is brought to you by The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.


When I was a child, my dad used to take me to The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh. I LOVED visiting a museum that felt like it was built just for me! Years after I grew up, I visited my favorite museum with my first baby. I vividly remember the excitement I felt when I took him there for the first time. It was as if I was sharing a piece of my history with him. There have been four more first visits since then, but it never gets old!


My first baby is nearly 15 years old, my last baby is 6 months old, and we have a tween, an 8 year old, and a 6 year old, who has a developmental delay, in between. We have kids in every stage of development, and it's difficult to find a place to visit that they all enjoy. Thanks to a great new addition to The Children's Museum, it's now a perfect spot for my entire family!

In April of this year, The Children's Museum added MuseumLab, which is located next door. It was created to grow along with families, and is specifically geared toward kids over the age of 10 and adults, but is great for multi-age families like mine. It is a STEAM-lover's dream spot, and inspires kids to use their minds and be creative while having a LOT of fun! 

Sunday, September 15, 2019

7 Easy Ways To Stay Energized Through The Day

Parenting Blog

I received this product for free from Moms Meet for review. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links.

Mornings. You either love them or you hate them! I wouldn't really consider myself a morning person just yet, but I'm slowly becoming one. I have to wake up really early, so I rely on a regular morning routine to stay energized through the day!


My days are busy from the time I wake up until the time I go to bed. I need lots of energy to keep up with my five energetic kids! I'm not going to lie - I rely on a cup of coffee to start my day, and occasionally have one in the afternoon if I need a little boost. 

Although I definitely have off days when I'm sick or staying in all day, I try to follow the same routine every morning. I actually notice a drop in energy if I don't follow my regular routine! Here's what I do each morning to keep my energy level up:

Monday, September 9, 2019

How To Create A Portable Homework Caddy + Homework Tips

Back To School Organization Ideas

Today, my crew headed back to school! Life is already busy enough, but soon, we'll be adding school activities and homework to our to do list. I'm reluctant to leave Summer behind, but I already prepared for the upcoming year! 


One my favorite organization tips for the school year is to create a homework caddy. I put one together back in 2015, and it became a permanent staple on our kitchen counter. All of my kids use it year-round. I loved our original homework caddy, but over the years, I tested different setups, and found one that works really well for us!

Last week, I cleaned out our portable homework caddy, and restocked it with new supplies for the upcoming school year. It's currently sitting on our counter, ready to go. Honestly? It's the ONLY thing ready for back to school! (Long live Summer!!!)

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Amazon Finds July & August

Amazon Finds July & August


This post contains affiliate links. If you click through, and make a purchase, I will earn a commission. Everything I recommend has been tested by me or my family!



It took me a while to fully embrace Amazon Prime, but now I buy as much as possible from them! If it saves me a trip to the store with five kids, it's worth it. Plus, I can pretty much find everything I'm looking for, order straight from the app on my phone, and get it within 1-3 days. That's a definite win!


July and August were full of birthdays in our immediate family, so lots of gifts were purchased. Grant turned 40, Lily turned 8, and Liam turned 6! We also started to shop for Fall clothing and back to school items. I got sucked into the Amazon Fashion hole for the first time ever, and never looked back!

My Amazon finds for the past two months include baby clothing, first day of school outfits, jewelry, fashion accessories, bags, toys, books, storage boxes, and electronics accessories. I'm sharing my honest thoughts on everything I bought! (Spoiler Alert - Most were hits!)

Thursday, August 29, 2019

I Am Loved - Our Love Story

I Am Loved


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

I AM LOVED. 


We met in the Garden of Eden. He was Adam, and I was Eve. We were just teenagers, but that was the beginning of our love story, which has already spanned 20 years!

Grant and I were still kids when we were cast as the leads in The Apple Tree. We started dating while we were rehearsing the musical, and we fell in love. We married young, and many people thought it was just a fling. I'm absolutely certain that some of the people who loved us had their doubts, and thought we would fail.

A year of marriage turned into two...then three...then four. Shortly after our 4th wedding anniversary, we bought our first house and had our first child. While all of our friends were going to college and starting their careers, we were new parents, who were creating a home for our little family.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Every Baby Is Different - Coen's Story

Breastfeeding Stories


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

Our fifth baby was a BIG surprise! My husband and I adjusted quickly to the news, and figured what’s one more when we already had four?!?  Our kids ranged in age from 5 through 14, and had been through it all, including a very surprising post-birth diagnosis of Down syndrome. We were experienced parents, and nothing could throw us off our parenting game. Of course we had this under control! 



Or so we thought. Everybody assured us that baby #5 would be the easiest one, but they were wrong. Baby #5 turned out to be a very fussy baby who had feeding issues. It was our first unhappy baby, and we were feeling very stressed. He cried for hours each day, and nothing we did helped. For the first time ever, I was an exhausted new mom, and I felt a tinge of postpartum depression sneaking in. 


Sometimes as a parent, you just have to follow your gut. I KNEW there was something wrong with my sweet baby. I successfully breastfed three other babies, including one that I was told couldn’t breastfeed because of his diagnosis. I was an experienced breastfeeder, and I wasn’t doing anything different. It was up to me to figure out what was going on.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Happy 6th Birthday, Liam!

Down syndrome

On Sunday, our sweet boy celebrated his 6th Birthday! It's easy to forget just how old Liam is, because he's so tiny, and has a speech delay. But my boy, who was the baby of the family for 5 1/2 years, is now 6 years old and headed to first grade! It's so hard to believe!


We have to alter our usual birthday traditions a bit for Liam. He has celiac disease, which means we can't do the usual Happy Birthday Donut Breakfast, and we don't go out to eat since there isn't a good restaurant that he likes that meets his diet restrictions. Our plan for his big day was to hang out at home, invite some of his favorite people over, eat his favorite dinner, and play outside.

Last year, we spent Liam's birthday driving 12 hours to the beach. We'll definitely always remember that one, but sometimes celebrating simply can be just as good. Liam had a GREAT birthday, and was so excited about it!

Saturday, August 17, 2019

What We're Loving Lately

What We're Loving Lately

I received some of the items below free for review. I only share my genuine favorites on my blog. 

With 7 people living in our home, we try a lot of new products! Some things are just okay, and some things end up on our favorites list. Every so often, I share a roundup of the things my family is loving lately!

On our list is a functional item, a must have baby item, a new shampoo that I'm currently using, a new TV show for young kids, and wellness and self-care products. I try to include something for everyone! Here's what we're loving lately...

Thursday, August 15, 2019

4 UNIQUE WAYS TO USE POST-ITS DURING THE SCHOOL YEAR

4 UNIQUE WAYS TO USE POST-ITS DURING THE SCHOOL YEAR

This post is sponsored by 3M but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Summer Break flew by, and it’s almost time to send the kids back to school! We’re enjoying the last few weeks of Summer Break, but we’re also starting to shop for the upcoming school year. With four kids heading back to school, we have a lot to buy - clothing, shoes, gym clothes, backpacks, lunchboxes, school supplies, and more!



The beginning of the school year can be so exciting, but then reality hits. We’re incredibly busy from September through June, so I’m definitely a much bigger fan of our more peaceful Summers, and the time spent with my kids. But as much as I’m in denial, the countdown to the first day of school is on!

Shopping for back to school can be an undertaking with 5 kids, but it helps to make a list and get it done early. Staying organized, and having a stash of school supplies for home use is the key to my sanity during the school year!


Find out which item tops my list of school supplies for home use, the five unique ways to use them, and how you can get a night out at the movies just from purchasing school supplies!