Our Five Ring Circus: September 2017

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Mug Love Exchange Reveal + $50 Starbucks Giveaway

Mug Love Exchange Reveal + $50 Starbucks (or PayPal) Giveaway

Happy Thursday! It's finally our first Fall-like day since Fall arrived. The temperature is dropping 20 degrees today from the sweltering 90 degree heat wave! The leaves are falling, the sun is shining and I won't pass out on my run this morning. It's a perfect day for the Mug Love Exchange reveal and $50 Starbucks (or PayPal) Giveaway!

The Mug Love Exchange is one of my new favorite traditions! This is my second year participating and my first year co-hosting. I love picking out mugs for my collection, but it's MORE fun to see what a blogging friend chooses for you!

Mug Love Exchange

This year, I was paired with Heather Bixler. I didn't know her prior to the mug love exchange, but she sure is sweet! Through our emails, I could easily tell she was a loving person with a big heart!

The package she sent was so thoughtful! It included a sturdy ceramic travel mug with a pretty wood handle. There was also a box of tea, a journal for jotting down blog ideas, and some new pens. It was perfect!

Mug Love Exchange Reveal + $50 Starbucks (or PayPal) Giveaway

Travel Mug


I'm always running out the door to drive one of my four kids somewhere, so the travel mug was a great idea! It fits perfectly in my cup holder, and the handle makes it easy to hold while I'm driving. It's functional, but classy, and I've been using it for the past few days at home, too.

Travel Mug

My hot drink of choice is tea. I've never tried the brand of tea that Heather sent, but it's good! Black tea is my favorite, and this one has a hint of a fruity flavor. It's a nice alternative to my usual Tazo Awake tea! The box of 50 tea bags should last me, oh, 5 days. I'm kidding, of course. I do drink it all day long, but if I drank that much, I would never sleep! My life is fueled by caffeine, but I have to cut it off by dinner time, or I can't fall asleep.

The journal and pens were a great addition to my gift! I'm always jotting down ideas and things that my kids say that I want to remember on post its. I have notebooks, but I'm not good about using them. I've been keeping this one in my laptop bag, and every time I pull out my laptop, I sit the journal beside it. I've been using it to jot down all the things I want to remember!

Mug Love Exchange Reveal + $50 Starbucks (or PayPal) Giveaway

Make sure you visit Heather's blog to see what I sent her! I know she received the mug(s), but I'm not sure my second package arrived yet. (I had issues with mugs and other breakables from previous swaps breaking while in transit, so I only send those type of items from Amazon now, and send any additional items on my own. The huge benefit is that if something breaks in transit, they will send a replacement!)

Thank you so much for the sweet gifts, Heather! I LOVE them! Now I'll be sipping and writing in style!

Mug Love Exchange Reveal + $50 Starbucks (or PayPal) Giveaway

Mug Love Exchange Reveal + $50 Starbucks (or PayPal) Giveaway #muglove #tea #coffee #giveaway #momtribe #blogging

Now let's move on to the fun part...


We are giving away a $50 Starbucks gift card OR $50 for PayPal to one lucky winner who gets to choose their gift! Giveaway will run from today until October 8th. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway  I showed you my fun swap items, and I want to see yours! Link up your mugs!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Pumpkin French Toast Bake with Cream Cheese Glaze #BrueggersBunch

Delicious Pumpkin French Toast Bake with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Glaze! {Brueggers Bagels Partner} #BrueggersBunch #Pumpkin #Fall #Breakfast #FrenchToast #Recipe

DISCLOSURE: This post is sponsored by Bruegger’s Bagels, but all content is 100% my own.

Fall is in the air and pumpkins are everywhere! Pumpkin decor is lining the store shelves, and pumpkin-flavored foods and drinks are in every aisle of the grocery store and in every restaurant. It’s a booming business, and consumers are loving it!

I am not one of those people who obsess over all things pumpkin flavored. I prefer just a hint of pumpkin flavoring with minimal spice, but it seems like most things are more heavily flavored. When I can’t find what I want, sometimes it’s just easier to make it myself!
French Toast is one of our favorite breakfast foods, so I came up with a delicious pumpkin french toast bake with a pumpkin cream cheese glaze, inspired by the pumpkin bagels and pumpkin cream cheese that Bruegger’s Bagels is currently offering through Thanksgiving. Both are lightly flavored, which is exactly what I like. The end result is delicious pumpkin french toast that tastes just like a freshly baked pumpkin roll!

Pumpkin French Toast Bake with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Glaze

I promise. It's THAT good!

Pumpkin French Toast Bake with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Glaze

Pumpkin French Toast Bake with Cream Cheese Glaze

French Toast Bake
  • 1/2 dozen Bruegger's Bagels pumpkin bagels
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vanilla almond milk
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
Cinnamon Sugar Topping
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Pumpkin French Toast Bake with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Glaze

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Glaze

  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tub (6.5 oz) of Bruegger’s Bagels Pumpkin Cream Cheese, softened
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp vanilla almond milk

Pumpkin French Toast Bake with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Glaze


1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2. Lightly grease a 9x13 glass baking dish.

3. Chop the 6 pumpkin bagels into 1 inch pieces and place in the baking dish.

Pumpkin French Toast Bake with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Glaze

4. Mix the eggs, milk, vanilla almond milk, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and cinnamon in a large bowl.

Pumpkin French Toast Bake with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Glaze

5. Pour the egg mixture over the bagel pieces, and gently mix to make sure all pieces are covered.

Pumpkin French Toast Bake with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Glaze

6. Place in fridge for 15 minutes.

7.Meanwhile, mix the brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon and softened butter until it is blended and crumbly.

8. Take the baking dish out of the fridge and spoon the brown sugar mixture over the top.

Pumpkin French Toast Bake with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Glaze

9. Bake for 50 minutes.

10. While it’s baking, prepare the glaze. Mix the softened pumpkin cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and vanilla almond milk until blended.

11. When the french toast bake comes out of the oven, immediately spoon the pumpkin cream cheese glaze over the french toast bake.


Not only is Pumpkin French Toast Bake quick to prepare, but it’s also a crowd pleaser! It has the perfect hint of pumpkin flavoring, and the cream cheese glaze is a delicious alternative to syrup. If your family loves pumpkin, this recipe is destined to be a hit!

Delicious Pumpkin French Toast Bake with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Glaze {Brueggers Bagels Partner} #BrueggersBunch #Pumpkin #Fall #Breakfast #FrenchToast #Recipe

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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

A Day in the Life of a Mom of Four Kids

A Day in the Life of a Busy Mom of Four

Life with four kids is busy! So busy that I almost wrote 6 kids, because my mind is always racing and focusing on the next task on my to do list, and I can't think straight. Sometimes it feels like I have 6 kids. And sometimes it feels like 6,000. I know I will be able to sleep someday (and have a chance to be bored) so I opt to embrace the chaos, and keep moving! If anything, life is always entertaining and each day is an adventure!

I've always loved reading day in the life posts, but could never commit to one since our schedule is drastically different each day and season.  The thought of sharing each moment throughout the day always overwhelmed me as much as the daunting amount of tasks I have to accomplish each day, but I finally decided to just dive in!

This Fall, I'm going to attempt a Day in the Life series. One post per week until I accomplish all 7 days of the week. And if it goes well, I just might attempt to do it in Winter, Spring, and Summer, too! I figure that as much as my schedule overwhelms me, I'm going to actually miss the busyness one day, and wish it all back!

Just An Ordinary (Fall) Mom Life Monday

6:15 AM:  Alarm goes off. (OMG, no! Not yet! I just fell asleep at 2 AM thanks to a nasty case of insomnia.)

Mom Life

6:16 AM: Wake up Dylan for school. Thankfully, he jumps right out of bed, but occasionally, there are days when he fights me. Those days are the worst!

6:16 AM - 6:35 AM: Hang out with Dylan while he eats breakfast and gets ready for school. Sometimes I stare blankly at the wall because it takes me a while to wake up, and other times, I immediately get to work on writing blog posts or catching up on my overwhelming email inbox. Today, I opt for staring.


6:40 AM: The bus arrives to take Dylan to school. It's still dark outside, and that is awful. Just saying.

6:40 AM - 7:20 AM: Continue to write, send emails, and catch up on reading a few of my favorite blogs! Sometimes, if I have a bad headache (which unfortunately happens at least once a week), I will head back to bed for 40 minutes. (Side note: My laptop is disgusting thanks to Liam constantly trying to grab it!)


7:00 AM: Grant wakes up for work.

7:20 AM: I wake the girls up for school.

7:20 AM - 7:50 AM: My morning becomes a whirlwind! Breakfast for the girls, put lunchboxes in backpacks, fix hair and make sure they get dressed and out to the bus stop on time.



7:50 AM: The morning chaos woke Liam up on this particular day. He runs into the living room with a huge smile on his face. The Tiny Tornado usually sleeps until at least 9 AM, so we are very surprised to see him up and moving. (There went my peaceful morning after everybody leaves!)

7:50 AM: We head down to the bus stop (our driveway), and Liam trails behind us!

7:55 AM: The bus arrives to take the girls to school.

8:00 AM: Grant leaves for work. It's just me and Kip for the rest of the day!

(Anybody tired yet? Just me? Okay, moving on!)

8:00 AM - 8:30 AM: Liam has breakfast and sits next to me while I work.

Down syndrome blogs

8:30 AM - 9:00 AM: I clean up from the morning chaos, check for new emails, pay bills, and make a few phone calls while Liam plays.

9:00 AM - 9:30 AM: I take a shower, and get ready for the day ahead. I set Liam up with a few OT activities on the bathroom floor, so he can work on his fine motor skills while I shower in peace!

9:30 AM - 9:50 AM: I gather up all the stuff I need to leave the house and get Liam dressed.

9:50 AM: Race out the door for Liam's dentist appointment, with my breakfast (AKA a smoothie) in hand, and my hair still wet. As usual, we're running a few minutes late!

Mom Life

10:00 AM: Arrive at Liam's dentist appointment. He charms the staff and high fives a fellow homie with an extra chromie within the first minute of arriving. The kid works the waiting room like no other!

10:05 AM - 10:30 AM: Liam gets his teeth cleaned and checked. He sits very patiently on his own this time, instead of on my lap! Everything looks great, and he hugs his dentist for a full minute before she can even leave the room. On our way out, he cheers up his friend, who is upset about an upcoming dental procedure, with a big hug!

Down syndrome awareness

10:35 AM: We hop in the car and head to the grocery store. Liam is thrilled to be sitting in his sister's forward facing car seat, since we are only driving a very short distance. (Yes, he's 4 and still rear faces. He's a little dude!)

Mom Life

10:45 AM - 11:35 AM: We tackle our grocery shopping list. It's much quieter on a Monday. I usually go late Saturday night (my favorite time) or Sunday afternoon, but that wasn't an option this weekend. I make a mental note to take advantage of Curbside Express pickup, where they do the shopping for you and bring out your groceries when you get there!

Down syndrome bloggers

11:40 AM: I surprise Liam with the donut he desperately wanted in the grocery store! He's not thrilled when I tell him he has to move out of the forward facing seat he sat in for the ride through the parking lot.  He can't do it for real until he gets a neck x-ray!

Down syndrome awareness

11:45 AM: I stop to get gas. Thanks to the fuelperks that I get from grocery shopping, I manage to keep it under $30 to fill my beast of a car!

11:50 AM: Finally head back home!

(Who's ready for round two?!?)

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM: Unload the groceries from the car, put away all the groceries, and separate snacks for school lunches. Start cooking lunch so it will be ready when I'm done. Meanwhile, a toy-nado occurs in my living room.

Nothing Down About It

Down syndrome awareness

School Lunches

1:00 PM - 1:15 PM: Fill out our Meal Plan board so the kids aren't constantly asking me what's for dinner (notice all of our weekly activities), and clean up some messes. (Just as lunch is finished. Of course. I guess I'm mopping my floors earlier than planned!)

Meal Plan

Mom Life

1:30 PM: I sit down to have lunch with Liam. It's my first meal of the day!

Downright Perfect

1:45 PM - 2:00 PM: Liam runs off to play, so I read a chapter in my book, then clean up from lunch.

2:00 PM - 2:30 PM: We go outside so Liam can play. It's a sweltering 90 degrees, but we take advantage of every nice day! I play with Liam, but also start preparing for THIS post and write lunchbox notes for my girls. Before we go in, Liam gets some PT on the trampoline!

Down syndrome blogs

Down syndrome blog

2:30 PM: We go inside to get a drink, do a quick round of flashcards, and read some books.

2:45 PM: Dylan arrives home from school. I would typically share a picture, but on this particular day, he was mad at me because I wouldn't drive him to the park to hang out with his girlfriend. I love tweens!

3:00 PM: Naptime for Liam! Sometimes, it's my favorite time of the day. Yes, it's a bit late, but we had to push back his naps when he started afternoon preschool last year. But just look how sweet he is!

The Lucky Few

3:00 PM - 3:30 PM: I clean up the toy-nado and put away some laundry.



3:30 PM - 3:50 PM: I take advantage of the last few minutes of silence and do some blog reading while drinking my hot tea. Since Liam is asleep, it's time for the bunnies to come out to exercise! We got some fun mail to go through, too!

Mom Blog

3:50 PM: Lexie and Lily arrive home from school, and the nonstop talking begins! They tell me every single detail about the bus ride to school, their day at school, and the bus ride home. Lexie is super excited because she went to the book fair at school!



4:00 PM - 4:45 PM: The kids sit down to do their homework. Dylan and Lexie do almost everything on their own, but Lily still needs me since we have to work on spelling words, sight words, and reading.

Life with Kids

4:45 PM - 5:00 PM: I answer my afternoon emails and read a few more blogs. There's never enough time to fit in all my favorites these days! I also submit a sponsored content for review. Meanwhile, the big kids go outside to play and play with the boy bunnies.


5:00 PM: Liam wakes up from his nap and the house is no longer clean.

5:00 PM: I start cooking dinner. Sports and activities are really messing with dinnertime these days! WHY do activities start at 5 and 6 PM?!?

5:15 PM: Grant arrives home from work. He usually doesn't get home until 6, but he left early since it's soccer night.

5:15 PM - 5:50 PM: The most chaotic time of the day! Seriously, I can't even tell you all that happened in this time slot. It's kind of a blur!

5:55 PM: Race out the door for Lexie's soccer practice. We're late as always, and didn't get the chance to eat dinner. It's such an awful time to try to get out the door!

6:00 PM - 7:30 PM: I sit in the car and watch Lexie practice. I also take advantage of the (kind of) kid-free time to get some work done. Lexie's team practices until after dark. I debate running around the perimeter of the field since I didn't get my morning workout in today, but I quickly veto that idea!


7:45 PM: Arrive home and eat my re-heated dinner alone. Now this is the life! (HA!) While I eat, I catch up on my DSDN volunteer duties for the day, then read another chapter in my book. I'm desperately trying to finish a book I have been reading for months. It's just very descriptive, and since I only have time to read while I eat, it makes me nauseous!

Real Mom Life

(Is it bedtime yet? For me?)

8:00 PM - 9:00 PM: The stress finally gets to me as I try to accomplish the last few tasks on my to do list. I definitely lose my temper more than once. (Just keeping it real!) I pack 5 lunches (my most dreaded task), clean up from dinner, and sit out Liam and Lily's outfits for the next day.

School Lunches

9:00 PM: It's time for Liam to go to bed! He's not thrilled, but a story with his big brother cheers him up!

Down syndrome awareness

9:00 PM - 9:30 PM: Finish up my to do list, clean the house (AGAIN), and get ready for bed.

9:30 PM: Tuck the kids into bed. Lily has to go to bed, but the two oldest are allowed to read for a bit. Lexie actually reads, but I have no doubt Dylan decided to sneak in a few late night texts to his girlfriend.

Mom Life

9:30 PM: Climb into bed to watch TV. Grant and I decide to start watching This Is Us, and I spend the next 40 minutes crying. We follow it up with a much funnier Parks & Rec! Of course, our time is interrupted quite a bit at the beginning, because Liam decided to get out of bed and leave his room multiple times. It's a fun new phase we're dealing with!

Netflix Stream Team

11:00 PM: Lights out! Although I should be excited to finally get some sleep, my mind just won't shut off. Instead, I'm already thinking about what I DIDN'T finish and what I have to tackle tomorrow. I'm planning on waking up at 5:15 the next day, and I know it's going to take me a while to actually fall asleep. (Just for the record, I did wake up at 5:15 today, and it did take a while!)

There you have it! Just an ordinary day in the life of a busy mom of four kids, with a side of mom blogger juggling! Sometimes I don't think I did enough throughout the day, but it helps to look at this list and see what I actually DID accomplish! One thing is certain: my days are never boring!

Stay tuned for next week's Day in the Life post!

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Tuesday Talk

Tuesday Talk