The Kitchen Sink

The kitchen is the spot where we all are found regularly. The kitchen connects the dining room and our playroom, there is always movement, there is always a bit of a mess. I might be in there cooking or baking, with or without help. The dogs can be found hanging around for something to fall or getting their own food and water. The boys are usually scheming ways to find snacks… after having snacks. They even teamwork in the fridge now and gather apples and cheese sticks. So basically what I am trying to say is that our kitchen RARELY sleeps…and this means our kitchen sink usually has something in it.

When we bought our house, we didn’t realize it didn’t have a dishwasher! Our sink is pretty and big and I love it….especially when it’s empty. (Honestly it’s rarely empty.) The sink could have dishes from dinner or just a single spoon from a peanut butter lollipop, but what I am learning is that this is really a blessing. A sink with something in it means there was food that was made and shared. Conversations happened over a meal or little giggles between brothers as they helped each other pour their own milk.

The sink is somewhere I can be found often. The boys also love to help wash dishes or wash their hot wheels. I hope that they are learning these skills now to take with them later in life when they have their own dishes to wash in their own homes.

From the sink, I can hear playing (or arguing) downstairs, I can hear the boys reading in the living room, I can also look at the window above the sink and see the squirrel tormenting the dogs in the backyard. (On that note I better get going…)

So, moral of this post: the sink might not be completely empty everyday, but it does mean my family is lucky, blessed, and loved.

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Becoming our bar: The tale two hutches

I’m probably posting this for accountability. We need to get this project started! I’ve been dreaming about it for months now.

As you can see these beautiful hutches are still filled with things that need to be unpacked. BUT most of the boxes and things that are there are going to be going in/on our finished products.

We plan on sanding these down a little and updating them with a new stain, a grey. The great will fit perfectly in our living room.

The one hutch we will make into our at home bar. We have plans to hang some wine glasses, although I recently started buying plastic ones since Matt is really good at breaking real ones 😆.

I think this will be a great addition once finished to our living room area and a plus when entertaining!

The other hutch we want to put our more grown up games that the boys are too young to play, like monopoly, and I hope I don’t destroy their souls the first time we play…I’ve never lost 😂 and I’ve always been playing the cheaters edition for as long as I can remember. We also will use this as our bookshelf for our books and cookbooks! I love a good cookbook, I know we can use our tablets and phones, but I like having the recipe on paper in front of me.

I know this will be a project, but the outcome will be so fun! I’ll share updates as we go along and I’ll share the final product and take suggestions on what we should add to them!

Who is coming for drinks once it’s done?! Just know we have children and dogs, so your cocktail most likely won’t be enjoyed in peace and quiet!

Wildkin Luggage

Traveling with children isn’t a walk in the park. Lucky for me, my boys have been traveling for a good part of their lives and are decent travelers. Since L was about 2, he was carrying something of his own when we traveled. It gave him great pride to have something that was his, that could be filled with his things. I think this was a start of instilling responsibility in him.

Now that H is almost two, and he will be 2 when we fly across the country next, he will also have to carry something of his own.

When I came across the Wildkin luggage, I knew it was perfect for our family.

I partnered up with Wildkin to share with you about their luggage for children, and oh my goodness it couldn’t be cuter!

We received two pieces of luggage, a rolling suitcase and a duffle bag.

The Roller Bag:

This bag is lightweight and the wheels roll nicely. Either child (4.5/2) would be able to successfully use this bag. We plan on using this as a carry-on. The bag also comes with a strap that you can attach to the back to carry as a one shoulder bag and there is a loop that you could use to connect to a larger bag.

The Roller Bag also has a water bottle holder and a front pocket. L is already planning on what snacks and books he can pack in there!

The Duffle Bag:

It is so cute seeing L holding the duffle bag! He fell in love with the bag instantly! The bag has a padded shoulder strap and a small front zip pocket. Perfect for a weekend getaway or toys, books, and snacks!

Both bags are wipeable and should only be cleaned with a cloth. Make sure to let them dry complete before closing them up!

Whether the boys are flying to Revvie and PopPop’s or driving down the street to Gert and Papa’s, these bags are perfect! The boys know that these bags will be used for special times and are excited to use them ASAP! I know these Wildkin bags will be with us for a while! Oh and did I mention how many fun patterns they have?! You have to check them out! Wildkin Luggage

Disclosure: I received these bags from Wildkin and this review is my honest opinion about the luggage. This post is sponsored by Wildkin.

The Question of Cutting Cable

This is something that we have gone back and forth on for a very long time. We pay for so much cable and we barely use it. We do our best to keep screen time for the boys to a minimum but there are days we have something on in the background. We try to be outside as often as possible (although it’s gotten so cold so fast here) and encourage play and learning when we are inside.

The TV tends to come on in the late afternoon when I try to get dinner started…sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t. I always enjoy winding down to something mindless or funny at the end of the day, but life gets crazy and I’m trying to read more! I’ve even joined a book club!

On top of the cable we also have Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon (through Prime). And these companies have some great shows of their own, for both adults and children. We sometimes pay for extras, like Showtime, we love ending our Sunday nights with the Gallagher family when they are on.

I mean this list is excessive and we watch over the air channels and maybe three others. So we have decided that now is the time we CUT it, at least for now. We have narrowed our choices down to HuluLIVE or YouTube TV. Does anyone have any either of these? Pros/Cons? Let me know your opinion!!! These options will be significantly less expensive than cable. Now, if only we could find a way around the cable company’s cancellation fee!

My #momlife

This. This photo. This is how my #momlife looks most of the time. My husband had come in from the other room to see our two children and two dogs basically on top of me. In this position I usually end up covered in slobber (from both the humans and dogs) but I also know I’m covered in so much love. I wish you could hear this moment, there was so much laughter and I’m so thankful Matt snapped this photo. It’s not perfect, it’s not set up photo, this is our real life…and I wouldn’t change it for the world. (Ok maybe I would make the dogs not shed, but you know what I mean.)

What does your #momlife (or #dadlife) look like?

Minnesota Children’s Museum Night

Mini Postal Workers

The car wash might be the boys favorite exhibit! They can get all soapy and wet!

This week we got to explore the Children’s Museum after hours! We have been many times but there something about Matt being able to come after work even more fun!

We two hours to play and explore and that time flew by! I know we could spend an entire day here! It’s such a fun space for children and adult. There is even a sign that said “Attention: For Children and for those who use to be Children”.

For kids of all ages!

We are so lucky to live in a big city where there are so many opportunities for us to take our children so they can grow and learn as individuals, with each other, and with other children.

My only complaint…the parking garages 😂 Other than that, this place is a membership worthy spot, especially with the cold winter months coming up!

Our Pumpkin Patch Adventure

Yesterday we decided to head back to Pine Tree Apple Orchard to explore the pumpkin patch and corn maze. If you remember when we went apple picking, this was our first stop and then we realized they didn’t have U-pick Apples.

The adventure started off great. We explored the corn maze first. I do wish that they had some sort of activity to do while going through the corn maze. It was so windy and chilly while we were in the maze but it made it that much more fun.

If any of you reading this saw my Instagram story the other day, I posted that four years old is a much more difficult year than the terrible twos or the threenager ages. I’m going to be real with you, once we got to the pumpkin patch, something didn’t go L’s way and he had a meltdown. I don’t really know why but we did take him to the car to settle down. The looks from the teenagers staring while Matt carried him down the hill made me chuckle a little…we were totally their birth control for the night.

After L cooled down and we discussed his choices he understood the few mintues prior to our conversation. We then went to the Farm Store (which really is the best part, right?!) and grabbed some goodies..probably too many goodies, but so delicious.

We then sat by the lake and enjoyed a treat and played for a little bit. Overall we had a nice time other than our little hiccup. We might have to go back to the farm for strawberry picking in the summer, but I do think there will be other pumpkin patches we try next year.

Tonight we will carve the pumpkins and roast some seeds! Photos to follow 🙂

Parenting Styles/Trends: How do you feel about them?

img_3921I sat in a class recently and we discussed the “new” parenting trends. We broke into groups and really dug into a few of them. Some of the ones discussed were: Lawn Mower Parenting, Helicopter Parenting, Attachment Parenting, Tiger Parenting, and Free Range Parenting.

I sat there and just wondered…why do we have to label how we parent? Are we just opening ourselves up to be judged and shamed? While researching some of these parenting styles, I learned that one came from someones memoir, not anything that was meant to be a parenting book.

I know as a mother today, dads too I am sure, I always hear about mom shaming and I know none of us want to be judged or shamed, but we are. For example, Free Range parenting can land you in trouble with the law in many areas.

So back to my title: How do you feel about them? What do these trends say about us? Do we need to label ourselves? Do we have to fit ourselves in one little box? As I looked over the list, honestly I could see myself grabbing at pieces from each “trend”. I don’t fit into a box. Truly, once I hit 30 I stopped caring about what people thought about me…as long as my family is happy and we are doing the best we can, I’m good.

What do you want your parenting to say about you? How do you want to feel at the end of the day? Do you want to parent just like your parent(s) did or do you want to go the opposite direction? My parents always told us that they raised all 4 of us the same way and we are all so different. Each child is going to be their own person, different from you, your partner, or anyone else for that matter. You might have to change up your parenting regularly…and that’s ok! As long as you are taking care of you family the best that you can, that’s all that really matters isn’t it?

I took a few moments to think about how I want to describe my parenting:

  • supportive and involved but not overbearing
  • an advocate but not super aggressive
  • patient but not lackadaisical
  • respectful but not a pushover

I am NOT saying I am all of these things all of the time but I work towards those. My parenting has changed since the beginning but I am evolving as a person as are my children.

There is no such thing as a perfect parent, just be a real one. If you need help, ask for help. Find your tribe, and if you need help I am always here. Let’s work together and not put labels on ourselves. Let’s just love our children and raise them to be good human beings.

10 Family Fun Things to do this Fall

With September right around the corner, and the chilly Fall air in the mornings, I decided to come up with a list of things I want to do this fall…hoping we can accomplish the 10 on this list!

This list is what I want to do in Minnesota but most of the things can be done anywhere!

1. Go Apple Picking

2. Head to a Pumpkin Patch

3. Take a drive up North to see the leaves change (I always loved the Fall Colors growing up in Northeastern Pennsylvania)

4. Attend a professional sporting event (L has been begging to go to any game, we haven’t made it to a baseball game yet with our hectic summer)

5. Explore a few of the cute little towns we haven’t been to yet (an example in our case: Stillwater, MN and Hudson, WI)

6. Head to a farm

7. Make it to a Pizza Farm before it’s too cold

8. Attend fun fall festivals and check out a local celebration for Oktoberfest

9. Take the boys to a Children’s Theater for a fun show

10. Prepare for our first Minnesota winter! Get shopping!

Bonus: I would really love to take the boys camping. I know it’s a huge undertaking but it could be fun right?!

Family Photos

We have been having family photos taken starting with our maternity photos when I was pregnant with L.

We have been looking for a photographer since we moved to Minnesota but life got busy and I haven’t had the time. When my SIL and her family were visiting, she and my MIL set up a photo shoot for the family that was here and we had a lovely afternoon.

Now let’s be real, you NEVER know how the photos will turn out when children are involved. H was being so silly and running and crawling away. L got to the point where we was done and just wanted to go look at Lake Minnetonka and watch the boats. At one point L became sad and was pouty, I told him to smile and here was the result…

Big thanks to my sister for the zoomed in photos! This kid is cracking us up!!! Every time I see this photo I can’t help but laugh! When I showed him the photo he also just giggles!

Now our photographer was amazing and really did get some amazing shots of everyone (I’ll share some more once I have time to decide on favorites!) and we will totally use her again. She was great with the children and even let L take a few photos with her camera! He’s a little photographer in the making.

I hope this photo brought a smile or a giggle to you. And if you should have a rough day, come back and take a look again!