Our Five Ring Circus: 2020

Monday, February 10, 2020

Arctic Sensory Bin for Indoor Winter Sensory Play

Arctic Sensory Bin - Indoor Winter Sensory Play


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!

The calendar might say it's Winter, but Mother Nature is a bit confused! Our weather has been all over the place lately. Last Monday, it was 65 degrees and sunny, and on Friday, we woke up to 4 inches of snow. Just two days later, all the snow has melted, and it's raining and in the high 40's. No matter the weather, we decided to make the Arctic our theme for this month's sensory bins!


I'm sure you already know this, but we are big fans of sensory play here! So much that we actually have a sensory table in our living room, and allow the kids to engage in messy play. Play is such an important part of early learning, and there are so many benefits of sensory play. I would rather have my kids explore a sensory bin than sit in front of the TV or iPad!

This month, we have been talking about the Arctic and the animals that live there. Even when my kids are in school, I believe in learning within the home as well. In addition to creating an Arctic world for my kids to explore, we read books about Arctic animals (National Geographic Kids has some great options), and there are some fun documentaries on Netflix and Disney+ to help kids learn more about the Arctic!

Thursday, February 6, 2020

A Walk Down Memory Lane - Our First House


Grant and I have been together forever! We met as teenagers, we married young, and we moved into our first house while our friends were still living in dorms. It wasn't the perfect house - actually, our parents HATED it at first - but it served us well!


A few weeks ago, we took on the task of cleaning out from under our king size bed. It involves moving the mattress and box springs, so it isn't something we do often. We ended up finding a big box of old pictures, and we've been having so much fun going through them with our kids! I started sharing one old picture each week on Instagram for Throwback Thursday, and I thought it would be fun to make it a regular series on my blog, too. Just one picture, with the story behind it, every Thursday!

Just a few nights ago, after the lights went out, I found myself in tears thinking about my grandma. On February 18th, it will have been 20 years since she passed away. I have lived my life longer without her than I lived with her, but I still miss her so much. I was too young to think to ask the important questions about her life, so everything I know about her history comes from other people. I just kept thinking how I would love to go back for just one day, and ask her all the questions I didn't think to ask while she was here...and give her one last hug and tell her thank you for loving me so fiercely. Although this blog is part business, I also want to share these stories so my children and grandchildren can read through them one day, and know that these stories came directly from me! So let's kick it off with our first house...

Thursday, January 30, 2020

A Week in the Life of a Big Family + Life with Down syndrome {Week 3}

Big Family Blog

Can you believe it's already the last week of January? January used to go by so slowly, but that just isn't the case anymore. Perhaps it's because I learned how to embrace Winter, or the fact that this month has been very Spring-like, but January hasn't been bad this year!


Week 3 of January was our "boring week." We only had a few extra things to do for once. Plus, we had a much needed day off from school and work! It was so nice to have that break after the harsh return to reality after the holidays!

My goal for blogging in 2020 was to get back to posting regularly at least two times a week, then increase it from there. So far, I'm on track with my goal, and I have dozens of partially written posts to finish. In February, I have a lofty goal to post THREE times a week! I'm trying to get my blogging groove back, and share everyday life with five kids and an extra chromosome again!

Thursday, January 23, 2020

How To Soothe & Heal Dry, Itchy, Cracked, Winter Hands

How To Soothe & Heal Dry, Itchy, Cracked, Winter Hands

Winter is upon us, and with it comes some pesky problems! So many people struggle with dry skin during the winter, but I was never one of them until just a few years ago. From the time the weather cools down until the time Spring arrives, I have to deal with dry, itchy, cracked hands.


I'm not quite sure what changed, and why it started recently. I don't have dry skin anywhere else on my body. I'm sure it's a combination of dry indoor heating, direct heat from car vents, and exposure to the cold, which is something I can't really change. I take a multivitamin, and we use a humidifier in our home. The dryness just lasts for a few months, and then goes away completely, but while it's here, it's really painful!

After dealing with this condition for several winters, and trying dozens of products, I finally learned a few tricks and found the best products to minimize the discomfort. I can usually keep my hands from getting too dry, keep the itchiness away, and keep the cracked fingertips down to one finger at a time. (Sure, it would be better if it was gone completely, but I'll take it over having painful cracks on every fingertip like I used to!) Here's how I deal with dry, itchy, winter hands...

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

A Week in the Life of a Big Family {Week 2}

Big Family Life

I can't believe we are more than halfway through the first month of 2020! Is it just me, or does time go by faster each year? I used to always think of January as a boring month, but as my kids get older and my family grows bigger, we get busier, and January is no exception!


Everyday life in a big family is already busy enough, but when we add all the extras to our schedule, life becomes chaotic. We are always on the go! We absolutely have to keep a one extracurricular sport or activity per child rule in our family, but obviously, our schedule changes throughout the year due to seasonal sports and activities.

Week two of 2020 wasn't really remarkable, but there truly is never a dull moment around here! Even when we are running from one thing to the next, I try to keep in mind just how blessed we are to have our beautiful family. Here's an ordinary week in the life of a big family...

Friday, January 17, 2020

Fab {Target} Finds Friday

Parenting and Lifestyle Blog


Happy Friday! I'm so glad it's Friday, and I'm really looking forward to the weekend thanks to having an extra day "off." The return to reality after the holidays was rough, so the three day break is much needed!


I've been participating in Friday Favorites for years, but this year, I'm starting something new: Fab Finds Friday. Here, I'll be sharing my favorite finds from stores, websites, and small shops. It probably won't be every single week, but I'm aiming for twice a month!

I usually stop at Target each week to pick up the little extras (cleaning supplies, pet items, healthcare and beauty items, etc). I also hoard gift cards I receive to Target, and use them to pick up items as I see them. Over the past two weeks, I found some great clearance deals, and some cute seasonal items in the Target Dollar Spot, and decided to share them with you for my first Fab Finds Friday!

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

How To Help Your Baby Sleep Better With Little Ones

How To Help Your Baby Sleep Better

This post is sponsored by Little Ones and we received product in exchange for this honest review.


Our fifth baby will be celebrating his first birthday in just a few short months, and he still isn’t sleeping well! Needless to say, this mom of five is exhausted. I knew something needed to change - SOON - and I had to find a sleep method that would help Coen sleep better!


After having four other children you would think I would have figured this sleep thing out by now. Coen, however, is our first fussy baby, so this is new territory. I have a few theories about why he isn’t sleeping well: 1) I walked so much during my pregnancy that he got used to the constant rocking motion, and needs it to fall asleep. 2) He’s our fifth and final baby, and is very spoiled by his siblings and the rest of our family. Everybody wants to hold him all the time! No matter the cause, I’m tired, he’s tired, and we need to get some sleep!

That’s exactly why I turned to Little Ones for help! Little Ones is an online sleep program that gives you detailed sleep and feeding schedules based on your baby’s age, along with lots of information on sleeping, nutrition, self-settling methods, and much more. We’ve been using it for a few weeks, and we’re starting to see some progress! Here’s why you should consider Little Ones to help your baby (and you) sleep better...

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

A Week In The Life of a Big Family {Week 1}

A Week in the Life of a Big Family

We are one week into 2020, and life is just as busy as ever! I honestly don't think it will ever NOT be busy. When you have a big family, there's literally never a dull moment!


Remember when I used to do weekly recap posts? They slowed down last year as I adjusted to life with five kids, but I plan to bring them back this year, and hopefully, stick with it! Time goes by so quickly, and I just want to remember all the little things that made my days with my kids so special! (Plus a few followers asked if I could share more of my family, so that's my plan!)

It's hard to believe that two weeks have already passed since Christmas, and that everybody is already back to work and school. The holiday break is my favorite time of the year, and I was sorry to see it go. The first few days of the new year were a bit rough, but we're back on track this week, and the year is off to a good start. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

35 Easy Ways To Organize Your Life in 2020

35 Easy Ways To Organize Your Life

Now that the new year has begun, everyone is making resolutions, setting goals, and coming up with words to live by. In the past, I have done all of those things, but in 2020, I decided to forgo resolutions, goals, and words of the year. Instead, I'm focusing on living life to the fullest with those I love most, and enjoying all the sweet little moments 2020 will bring!


In order to do so, I'm going to attempt to stay as organized as I possibly can, so I have the time and energy to savor those moments. I probably don't have to tell you this, but raising five kids, dealing with the extra aspects that come with having a child who has special needs, spending time with my husband, running a home, managing a profitable blog/social media accounts, volunteering, enjoying hobbies, and managing 7 busy schedules takes up most of my time. My To Do list seems to get longer with each passing day, and I found myself feeling too stressed and overwhelmed in 2019 to actually fully enjoy the special moments with my family and friends.

At the end of 2019, I sat down and brainstormed ways I could make things easier on myself in 2020 so that doesn't happen again. I took past experiences into consideration, and thought about things that actually worked and things that didn't work. In the end, I was able to put together a list of easy ways to organize my life in 2020. Hopefully some of these methods will work for you, too!

Thursday, January 2, 2020

The End of the Decade: What a Difference 10 Years Make


Happy 2020, my friends! I can't believe an entire decade flew by in the blink of an eye, and we're already starting a new one. In 2010, when this past decade began, we just had two children. We celebrated the end of the decade with five children. What a difference from start to finish!


My family celebrated the end of the decade with some of our closest friends, and we rang in the new year together. When you have five children, it's really hard to get away, so our party was VERY kid-friendly, and we had 4 extra children sleep over. Every so often I miss the fancy New Year's Eve celebrations we attended before we had children, but honestly, there's no place I would rather be than surrounded by those I love most! We had a lot of fun, and put together a time capsule that we're going to open in 2030!

To document the end of the decade and the start of a new one, I wanted to share a little timeline of how our story flowed over 10 years. I never imagined these chapters, but the unexpected chapters are the most beautiful ones in our story. We grew so much over the course of a decade!