The Hidden Danger Of Splash Parks! The Incident That Landed Us In The E.R.

Ok, I’ll be the first one to admit it; I am the safety queen!  I’m always analyzing risk and calculating hazards in my head.  There is constantly data running through my brain – sometimes I drive myself crazy.  I’d say this is mostly a side effect from my day job and, honestly, it makes my husband want to jump off a cliff at times; but here I am still living the worried mom life.  I used to be wild & care free and now I’ve somehow turned into that “be careful mom” that frets over everything (you know who you are!)  The mom who’s always yelling “BE CAREFUL” any time your kid does something even remotely dangerous and you stand there with your eyes closed just praying they’ll land safely.

Well, last week I told my sweet momma that she should take the kids to the splash park one afternoon….”it’ll be fun,” I said.   Famous.last.words.  While they were there, she had sent me a few sweet pictures of the kids playing in the water, splashing around.  My first thought was “WOW!  That water is spraying REALLY high.”  But, I’ve vowed to try to be more relaxed about things so i just let it go, looked at the pictures and smiled.   (I assumed I was just overthinking things again.)  Fast forward about an hour and I get a panicked FaceTime call.  Baby girl was crying so hard i couldn’t understand her and her eye was swollen shut.  (Ok, now I’m allowed to internally panic, right?!)

{Seriously though, look at the height and pressure of this water!  My oldest daughter is around 4’10” and it’s nearly twice as tall as her!}

So, as luck would have it, my youngest daughter (who just turned 4 and is much more vertically challenged) decided to lean over and look down at the ground right as one of the timed, pressurized water sprinklers went off.  The blast of high pressure water took her right in the eye and since she’s much closer to the ground, it hit her with a lot of force!  It immediately gave her a black eye and her eye began to swell shut.  Long story short, we rushed her to the urgent care because our main concern was eye damage or vision problems.  After they painted her eye balls with this orange serum and flashed all these different lights into her eyes, it was finally determined that they think she will be just fine (PRAISE THE LORD!)  They think the main impact of the water hit her check bone, just centimeters below her eye ball (truly a miracle!)  But talk about a scary wait and lots of praying.   Poor girl was just having fun.

Now, I’m in NO way saying to not ever take your kids to the splash park again – I’m really not!  BUT, I did feel like it was important to share this so hopefully other parents won’t go through the stress that we felt!  Be sure to educate your small children about not looking down or make them wear goggles (I’m ok with my kids looking like nerds at the splash park).  Anything to protect those precious little eyes!!  I mean, honestly, there is just no way that we are the only family this has happened to.

Prayers for a safe summer my friends.

XOXO

Jill

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The People You See in the Airport and Other Entertaining Ways to Pass Time

At some time or another, we have waited at the airport, subway, for a bus or even just in the Starbucks or school pick up line. I think we can all agree that WAITING SUCKS! What is the first thing we do when we are presented with a wait (besides uttering four or five choice words)?? Pick up our phones, right?! We start scrolling though social media like a boss (you are MINE Snapchat filters!).  However, sometimes we are in areas with little to no (free) access to the internet – cue people-watching! During my last few kid-less flights (because we all know this isn’t happening when you are wrangling tiny people) I noticed a trend in the groups of people I saw in the airport. They might look a little different, but they all follow these general categories –

People You See in the Airport:
  1. Judgy old people – This is the couple or group of friends that finds something wrong with everyone around them: “those people are too loud”, “why so much luggage”, “that muffin top isn’t going to stay in those jeans for long”, “there are seats all around here [*there actually aren’t], why is this boy sitting right next to me”. Of course they are loud and everyone can hear them. Depending on your mood (and how close you are sitting to them) these people are some of the most entertaining ones.😜
  2. College/Grad students – They are always talking about how busy they are (HA! Get back to me in 10 years), what exams are studying for and what paper they have just written. They love talking about their coffee addiction and you’ll hear: “UUGGGHHH, I need a double espresso mocha latte…I haven’t had a coffee in hours”.☕
  3. Emo high schooler – This kid is wearing all black, has hair in their face and is scribbling in their journal or drawing some dark picture. 🧛‍♀️ 🧛‍♂️
  4. People with headphones – They like to pretend that headphones makes them or everyone else invisible, leaving them with no situational awareness. Someone needs you to move your giant bag so they can wheel grandma through the aisle? “Sorry, I neither see nor hear you.” (I have to admit that I am a recovering earbud wearer – they are basically an accessory in D.C.) 🎧
  5. Exhausted business travelers – These people get really irritated (somewhat like my toddler)  when anything delays their mission of getting home (*raises hand*).😴
  6. Over-packers – Its one thing to over-pack your checked luggage (it only harms your back and your wallet), but it is quite another to over-pack your carry on! There is always that girl – and I say girl because it’s 9 times out of 10 a girl – who has so much junk stuffed in her carry on and personal item, plus the 4 to 5 things she is holding, that you are praying that you don’t sit next to her on the plane, because you know that shiz is not going to fit under her seat and will most definitely be spilling into your personal space.👜 💼
  7. Food on the plane – Now I know that it is a necessity sometimes and anyone wearing a military uniform gets a pass on this one, but the people that bring STINKY FOOD on the plane…shame on you, just shame.🤢
  8. Overly friendly mid westerners – Ok, I know what you are thinking, don’t you live around the friendliest people ever? Yes, but while I appreciate courtesy and a friendly smile, I’m usually not looking to make a life long friend and bare my soul to the person sitting next to me on the plane. Sometimes people are interested in convo, sometimes they aren’t – check the body language, people.😂
  9. Over/Under dressed – Just recently I was on a flight with a guy in a full (and I mean full) Gucci get-up. It wasn’t gaudy and believe you me, I took note and appreciated e.v.e.r.y. piece. There are also always those people in their PJs. It’s a jungle out there.😎
  10. Family with kids – God have mercy on your souls. I know your pain but, have also already inserted my earplugs/headphones.🙏

Other Ways to Pass Time:
  1. Zulily – Do you all know about this site?? I think most people think babies when they think Zulily – but not so! You can get everything from Egyptian Cotton Sheets to Swimsuits (for the whole family to yoga mats and kitchen appliances.
  2. Shop It To Me – If you love bargain shopping but hate surfing the web 24/7, Shop It To Me does the work! It is a completely free, daily shopping update for the clothing, shoes and accessories you love. You pick your size and favorite brands, and Shop It To Me searches hundreds of online stores  to find your favorite items on sale in your size.
  3. Poshmark – This is an easy way to buy and sell your fashions! There are over two million sellers and millions of shoppers. I have sold and found tons of great items on this site. Use the code: LAUR_SAV to get $5 when you sign up!
  4. Virtual Library – I have recently rediscovered the awesomeness of my local library! There are tons of books that you can “check out” virtually and read them on your kindle/iPad/phone. If you live in Ohio, check www.clevenet.org. It has one of the most expansive virtual libraries.
  5. Ebates – The Ebates Cash Back Button gives you Cash Back while you shop! It even applies coupons automatically at checkout so you’ll always get the best deals. I was really skeptical of this at first. How does this work? Is there some type of bot that follows my purchases? What are they getting out of this? Well, I have to say, I have regularly been receiving checks since signing up! Sign up with my referral code and you will get $10 right off the bat: Ebates.
  6. Ted Talks – Want to learn about your sleeping disorder? Need some parenting advice? Want to know what it’s like to go undercover in North Korea? Plus tons of other interesting videos? Check out Ted Talks. They are some of the most interesting and inspiring videos of varying lengths.

What are your favorite ways to pass time??

Have a great vacation and here’s to all those entertaining co-travelers!🍹

Lauren

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Packing Hacks and Must Haves for Family Vacations

I have noticed that there are two camps when it comes to packing for vacation. Those who pack everything and the kitchen sink and those who try to take as few bags as possible. I generally fall into the first category. 🤪 This leaves John to try to juggle at least 4 or 5 bags while I wheel the kids through the airport. In this scenario, we usually (A) break down and pay one of the porters to help us, (B) John hurts himself (and is grumpy the rest of the day) or (C) we rent one of the carts (which you can never find where to put them when you are done).

If you’ve been following the blog this year, you know that one of my resolutions is to travel more. So far, I’ve been to the mountains of WV, NYC and now sunny Florida! After each trip, I vow to pack less. Besides the packing and lugging it through the airport, there’s the UNPACKING!😭  This trip I dove in and tried minimalist packing!!

As you all are probably aware, traveling with kids really makes you want to curl in the fetal position changes the game. So, one big caveat to this minimalist packing experience is that I knew that there were (easily accessible) laundry facilities at our condo. Here’s what my minimalist packing looked like for a 4 year old:

Here is what it looked like for my 1 year old:

All-in-all, I was super happy with the experience. It really did streamline our check-in (yay Southwest – and yes, I did sit next to the window; if anyone was getting sucked out it was going to be ME!) and we generally had everything we needed. Believe it or not, we didn’t even use everything we packed! While, I’m sure my over-packing days aren’t over, I am going to try my darnedest to pair down my packing. There really is something to be said for simplicity (especially when you will be spending the majority of the time in a bathing suit).

Just to clarify, the items above are just the clothes portion of the packing. After all of our travels with a baby, baby + toddler and two toddlers, here is my MUST HAVE non-clothing packing list (click on the pink links below to get a better look at the product described):

Pack ‘n Play – If you have a baby, this is the numero uno crucial item. We were lucky because one of my mom’s friends had a smaller pack ‘n play that she gave us after our son was born. This was awesome to take to grandmother’s house and also to travel with! If you can, find a smaller one than your large one with the bassinet and changing table, you will be glad you did. This Costco one is only $50! Not only is is smaller, but lighter! Your baby won’t know the difference and you can have a little peace of mind bringing your own. Another option is to use the one at your hotel or condo. I was weirded out by that with my oldest, but the poor second child has used the hotel’s several times, after a clorox drench wipe down.

Toddler Cot – This might sound weird, but we got this idea after seeing our kids sleep so well on the cots at school. Our kids were introduced to cots at 18 months (or earlier) at their “school” and there’s something about them having their own space. It’s smaller than a pack ‘n play and if you can get away with it, it’s less to pack (it can even fit in a suitcase)! This Regalo one took the cake. It comes with a case and a sheet  – win/win.

Car Seat Cover – We like the J.L. Childress brand for the car seat travel bag. It is durable, can be worn like a backpack and fits most car seats. It’s always a struggle to figure out what will be less of a hassle – taking car seats or renting them upon arrival. What we’ve found, is that if you are renting a car, rent the seats. If someone is picking you up at the airport, take your own. There is nothing worse than being trapped in a rental line after a tiring flight with cranky kids, when everyone just wants to get to the destination.

Umbrella Stroller – We love the UPPAbaby 2015 G-Lite Stroller. Anyone who knows my husband, knows that he researches like crazy to get the best deal. This stroller has proved to be great for ages 1 – 4 (we don’t have anyone older than that, ha). The best part about this stroller is that the shade has an extra extender part, that keeps the sun off the kids. I also love the mesh back and it has a strap so you can carry it over your shoulder. It is crazy lightweight and worth every penny. It made it across the Pacific Ocean and back and still looks brand new.

Stroller Cover – This gate check stroller cover has been super durable and it prevents parts from going missing or wear and tear to the stroller.

Sippy Cups – I seriously might have all the sippy/insulated cups ever created and sold in the U.S. market. When traveling, my fav and go-to is the CamelBak. I like these because they hold a lot of liquid, can clip to a stroller hook and the spout can fold down to be less exposed to whatever gross stuff it might come into contact with. The runner up is the Thermos Funtainer. This is a little heavier and not as convenient to hook to a stroller or backpack. However, the spout is completely covered and it does keep things cold/warm longer.

Sunscreen – Toddler tested, mother approved. My son tans really easily and we haven’t had a burn (knock on wood). My daughter is super fair, like her Dada, and I was pretty frantic about finding a non-toxic sunscreen to provide crazy coverage, without tons of re-application. Here’s what I found, Babyganics. We applied this once in the morning and once in the afternoon and girlfriend didn’t get pink! Hooray!

Bumpers – These hiccapop bumpers were recommended to me by a friend (thanks Brittany!) and whoa!! total GAME CHANGER. Forget lugging those bulky plastic or metal bed rails/guards around. These take up little space when rolled up and have treads that keep them in place under the fitted sheet. Not only are these great for traveling (*read – you don’t have to drag the toddler cot around all of the time*) but, they are also great when transitioning your toddler to a big bed. Buy them, you won’t regret it.

Packing Cubes – I can’t stop talking about these.  Here’s the latest review: packing cubes.

Things to NEVER forget (and might be best in a carry-on):

Blankie

Favorite Stuffed Animal

Sound Machine

Tablets/chargers

Snacks/drinks for take-off and landing

Time Savers

  • If you are going to be somewhere for a week consider ordering essentials: diapers, wipes, formula, baby food from Walmart and have it delivered to your room (2-day shipping 🙌 ). Amazon Prime works for this too!
  • Walmart has free grocery pickup in tons of locations now. You just order online and they will load your groceries for FREE! Here is a $10 coupon to try it: Walmart Grocery Pickup
  • Many grocery stores offer free shipping to your room/condo if you order over $50 (which is super easy with 4 people).
  • If you want to stay in one night and don’t want to cook, check with GrubHub or Seamless. These services deliver from tons of participating restaurants.
  • Look really strung out and desperate in the airport…lol. TSA usually has mercy on our souls and lets us through a shorter line.

Many of you have asked me for these tips, so I hope this is helpful! Let me know if you have any favorite products you can’t live without when traveling. I love hearing new ideas!

Happy Vacationing!

XOXO,
Lauren

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Couples Workout – Marriage Maker or Breaker?

In this month of love, John and I tried something that we have never done before. While it took a bit of convincing, we finally decided to take the plunge. We tried – wait for it – a COUPLES BOOTCAMP class! If your read my bucket list post, you know that a goal of mine this year is healthy living and adventure. This class seemed to check both boxes…and what says love more than couples bootcamp??

John and I generally don’t workout together, besides the occasional tennis game or walk. So, I thought this would be a fun way to connect and get a good workout in! (Side note: He joined me for a couple of weeks during a P90X kick I was on, but after spending an uncomfortable amount of time and eventually getting stuck in frog pose, during the Yoga day, he was out.)

If you checked out the Acro Yoga or Aerial Yoga posts, you know that I am all “gung-ho” about signing up for new workouts, but when the rubber meets the road, I freak out! So, this time was no different, but I tried to put on a brave face for John. I’m not a total bootcamp class newbie (usually end up puking my guts out at minute 40) but this was John’s first time. I won’t say that I gave him ALL the facts about the workout we were about to do, but thought I prepared him enough to not be totally caught off guard. (John is one of those annoying people that doesn’t work out regularly, but can join in and outwork me, so I didn’t feel too bad.) When we got to the gym and he saw the set up below, John gave me one of his “looks”, followed by a characteristic *sigh*…he he.

We were divided into groups of three couples and circulated through several stations. Our trainer, Brittany, kept us “motivated” and on track. She and her training partner were super encouraging and took special care to make sure we had good form and knew what we were supposed to do (especially for those of us who probably had a “deer in the headlights” look).

I would totally recommend this bootcamp class! You can catch it every Saturday morning at the HIT center. Take your gal-pal, bestie, or significant other and have a fun, calorie torching workout before 10am!

XOXO,

Lauren

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Mom Approved Workout Gear – Affordable, Durable and Cute!

While we have all resolved to workout and improve our health this year, we also want to look good doing it! Here are some options that don’t break the bank, are durable and totally mom approved!

Yoga Pants:

Zella – These aren’t called “Live In High Waist Leggings” for nothing! I got a pair of these for Christmas and are an item that I could wear from lounging at home, to the gym, to the grocery store! They really SUCK you in, so if you are between sizes, size up. Who doesn’t love a high waist?? If you’ve never tried it, it is a game changer. 🙂

Victoria’s Secret – I’ve had several pairs of the Victoria Sport Anytime Yoga Pant since college! These are really thick and hide some of those bumps and rolls we are trying to work off. Ha. They are super durable and seems to keep their shape well after several washes.

Tops

Old Navy – I love this Go-Dry Racerback tank because it is breathable but provides a lot of coverage! I’ve had the black one for a couple of years and it still looks brand new.  The cut covers the front and the tush! Also, it’s not clinging but doesn’t balloon up. It’s a super cute and affordable option!

Nike – This Dry Training T-Shirt is a classic. It’s a littler longer than your average workout t-shirt which is great for those of us getting back on the workout train! The material is super soft and I love the color options.

Shoes

Adidas – My brother introduced me to the Ultra-Boosts. They are the most cushiony tennis shoes I’ve ever owned. If you want to feel like you are floating on clouds, this is the shoe for you. (I’d also recommend the NMDs…my husband swears by them.) Make sure you are wearing the right shoe for you, it can make all the difference in your workouts.

Sports Bra

Nike – This Classic Swoosh Support Bra is what I’ve been using forever. It is total wash and wear and has tons of color options.

If you’re looking to burn a few extra calories or intensify your workouts just a bit, I highly suggest this Gold’s Gym Neoprene Waist Trimmer.  I never workout without one!  This really warms up your core for a good healthy sweat.

If you’re looking to shed some pounds quickly or really step up your workout game, then you should try the Gold’s Gym Sauna Suit.  While I realize this contraption is anything but stylish, it really works.  You will absolutely pour the sweat!  I recommend wearing this during your home workouts.  Your workout buddies might be slightly embarrassed if you show up at the gym sporting this rubber made beauty.

If you’re like me and really enjoy the weight room (or even just the Nautilus Circuit) make sure to invest in a good pair of Gold’s Gym Wrist Wraps.  These will provide vital support when lifting heavy – your wrists will thank you!

As you may have already noticed, we’re really focusing on living a fab, fit and fun life in 2018.  Stay tuned for more workout adventures – I wonder what we will be up to next?!?

Make sure to like, comment and subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss anything!

XOXO

Jill & Lauren

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My Bucket List for the Year

It’s a new year – a total clean slate. It’s a time for new beginnings, goals, resolutions, and bucket list items. I am, for sure, an optimist, and I totally get into thinking about things I’d like to change in my life, how I I want to grow, what I want to do and accomplish and how it’s going to happen. *Let me just stop right here* and acknowledge that all of us with young children are totally in survival mode and just getting ourselves and families fed, dressed and out the door in the morning is an accomplishment. But, as I come through the fog of having an infant (2 toddlers now!?!), I have a newfound burst of energy to tackle some of the things that were on hold for the last year or so.

So, to be completely honest, I have found some of my inspiration for my New Year’s resolutions from The Bucket List Family.  If you aren’t familiar with them, they are a family who sold everything to travel around the world, learn about different cultures and give back.  I first learned about them as they partnered with Disney and reviewed resorts in their 30 Stays in 30 Days videos. I really appreciate their goals for the family: Adventure, Service and Culture (and health). (I also absolutely love the idea of living with less “stuff”, but that’s another post for another time. 😁) This was completely inspiring to me, so this year, my big goals for myself and family are Adventure, Service and Healthy Living.

Adventure

The wanderlust is real, you guys. Traveling is my happy place! While John and I aren’t going to sell everything and travel the world with our kids, this year my goal is to experience something new each month. While some of our adventures may be big, like a trip to New Zealand, some will be as simple as a visit to a new museum or new art class.

The last few years have flown by! If you are like me, you would love to slow things down (especially those sweet moments with your babies). You know how everyone says, if you want to slow the years down, take some time to learn something new? Here’s my attempt to make the most of the time with my family and have a really fun time doing it!

Service

Some of us are better at giving back than others. I love giving to charities and good causes, but getting down to the nitty gritty and rolling up my sleeves? Not as good. This year, I’d love to show my kids the value of getting involved in hands-on church and community projects to make our town a great place to live.

Healthy Living

Every year I make the resolution to lose weight, but this year, I am committing to a healthier lifestyle. Without health, we are really super limited to what we can do. Whether I like to admit it or not, I feel better when I exercise – I have more energy for my kids and am generally in a better mood (“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t. -Elle Woods). I am working on incorporating both strength training and HIIT training into my workout plan. Not only will that help keep me feeling good but I will be able to keep up with my kids!

Throughout this year, Jill and I will take you on our personal journeys and show you our fun (and hilarious) fitness adventures, life hacks, beauty tips/tricks, healthy living ideas and a lot more! Coming up is a series on fitness. Check back for our post on AcroYoga!!

Thank you all for taking the time to keep up with us and we look forward to hearing your resolutions, goals, and great tips for making 2018 a great year! Don’t forget to subscribe (below if you are on your mobile device and to the right if you are on your PC) and get the latest updates!

XOXO,

Lauren

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Some of My Favorite Christmas Sweets and Treats for Every Occasion!

For the Big Guy in the Red Suit:

If you have been watching the Food Network over the past couple of weeks, you have seen a million different recipes to make a party special/get into the holiday spirit/surprise Santa (does anyone really think Santa has time to sit down and enjoy a raspberry galette while delivering presents to all the children around the whole world in one night??). If you want something a bit different than cookies, but will still travel well and satisfy Old St. Nick, try Christmas Crack!

Photo Cred: Gal on a Mission

My Aunt Nancy introduced us to this delicious treat a couple of years ago and I was hooked at first bite! It is a great treat to keep around the house to munch on or spread the holiday spirit to your neighbors. (Shock! Horror! I may actually get to know a neighbor.)

 

For Your Child’s Class:

We all want to be that parent that brings the tasty, yet somewhat healthy treat that brings just the right amount of Christmas cheer to the classroom.  *Insert* Fruit Kabobs and Santa Hat Brownies!

Photo Cred: Daisy’s World

Both of these treats were easy to put together (tip for the santa hat brownies: buy the mini brownie bites, add a strawberry, put some icing in a sandwich bag, snip the corner and use it as a piping bag, make a circle of icing around the strawberry and a dot on top). It seemed like most of the kids popped off the strawberry, ate it and threw away the rest. Ha.

 

For the Dips and Desserts Party:

Some of my best holiday memories are making the next dessert – Pecan Tassies!

Photo Cred: Hi Cookery

These mini pecan pies are SOOOO tasty and taste better and better throughout the week. I can’t remember a Christmas without them.

As I started looking through family recipes (and had some major #fails as I tried recreating them), I think what makes them so special are the memories of flour all over the kitchen, feeling exhausted after adding the first ingredients and watching my mom finish the rest (he he), back and forth arguments with my brother about what dessert/how to make it/who would eat the most, my dad eating the lion’s portion of the sweet treats, and everyone passing out on the couch with a plate of tasty cookies/brownies/cake and watching Christmas movies or playing games.

This makes me think about my family of four and the traditions we will create. My son is super into baking right now (which I LOVE) and I am soaking up every minute of it. We have made enough cakes/cookies/muffins to last the whole year!

What are your favorite family traditions and tasty recipes?? Do you have something special that you wouldn’t miss this holiday season?

Here’s to the next few weeks of sweets and treats!

XOXO,

Lauren

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Ballin’ On A Budget

Our friend Tanner is back and with another hilarious guest post; this time he tells us about his favorite DIYs. Check out these super cute and totally affordable ways to up your decor game:

“Move into your own house”, they said. “You’ll love having a house- what a fun project!”, they said. Well, the cracked shower doors, weedy gutters and dead houseplants determined that was a lie. Moving into your first house is a big deal. Packing, moving, decorating- it’s all a huge adjustment that requires time, patience and a sense of humor. For one, everything you do is a new experience. If you would’ve told me five years ago that I would be using a laundromat and eating leftover hamburger helper, I would’ve laughed straight in your face. But here I am, on a first-name basis with the dry-cleaning lady and loving every minute of that pasta.

However, what they don’t tell you about living on your own is that sometimes you have to get a little creative with what you have. This is where I found one of my new favorite things- DIY projects. Everyone has their favorite sites to find these ideas, but I enjoy Pinterest and Buzzfeed the most! After a couple successes, many flops and few mental health breaks, I found some winners!

1. DIY Frosted Windows

Don’t get frustrated if the paste looks white on your windows, at first. The paste will dry clearly after a few hours. I love this DIY, because it provides adequate privacy on your windows and still lets the natural light in. Plus, the lace adds a great texture to the room to compliment the room’s dimensions.

Materials:

paint brush

water

cornstarch

lace material

It’s easiest to use lace to prevent air bubbles, but you could probably use any type of thin fabric. First, clean your window to remove any dust. Then cut your material to fit the window and iron it. After, mix 2 tbsp of cornstarch with 2 tbsp of cold water and dissolve in a cup and a half of boiling water. Stir until a thick paste is formed, then apply to the window with the paint brush. Once the window is covered in the paste, apply the material to the window. With the material on the window, apply another layer of the paste over the material. Brush the paste from the center to the edges and let dry.

 

2. Floating Bookshelves

This DIY is my absolute favorite, because this project totally gave my living room wall a facelift and I did the entire wall for under $20. These bookshelves are the first things my friends ask me about when they come over and the possibilities are endless with them, because they’re so easy to install- and so, so cheap.

Materials:

1 L-bracket per shelf you wish to make

3 screws that fit through the holes in the size of L-bracket you choose 1 drill driver

1 hardback book per shelf

1 command picture hanging strip per shelf

These directions are short and sweet. Lay the long side of the L-bracket against your wall and insert your screws through the holes of your L-bracket and into your wall. I would place at least two screws into each L-bracket to ensure stability.

Now it’s time to for the real magic. Take one, large hardback book and open the book where the back is swinging open. Place the book on the bracket horizontally, but leave the back hanging down. Pull out your command strip and stick one side to the bottom of the L-bracket and one side to the interior of the back of the book. This creates the illusion that the book is floating on the wall and you can stack more books on top, sit decorations on it or both!

I hope you love these projects as much as I do – Happy DIY-ing!

 

This would be a fun project to help unwind from the week or a group project with the kids.  Let us know how your DIYs turn out!

XOXO,

Lauren

Today’s guest contributor, Tanner Shepherd, currently resides in Ironton, Ohio with his two Airedale Terriers that outweigh him and remind him daily that he’s not ready for children. He is obsessed with coffee, romantic comedies and Hobby Lobby. 

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Don’t Miss Out Before the Summer is Over!!

The first day of school is fast approaching for some of you and for others it’s still weeks away. Either way, grab your family and make the most of the rest of the summer with these ideas!

 

 

 

  • Neighborhood bike rides – Self-admittedly, I don’t have a bike. My son is just to the age where he’s psyched to take “bike rides” (which consist of going round and round in the driveway). I borrowed my dad’s bike and “rode” around with my son. He LOVED it (especially when I crashed into the grass). Remember those fun family bike rides? Get out there with your kids and spend some quality time.

 

  • Pool/Splash Park day – Lather up the kids with sunscreen and park your blanket in the shade. Here’s the blanket I found this summer and love.

 

  • Baseball game – Make a weekend of it! You’ll see pictured above my group of friends (minus a couple of new additions) at our annual family baseball outing. We’ll catch a game on a Saturday and spend Sunday at a museum or aquarium. We love it and I bet you will too – so grab your family friends and get out there and support your team. Don’t skip the hot dogs and ice-cream in the mini-helmet.

 

  • Dinner and a Movie – For those of you with younger kids, a matinee and early dinner might work better. Pick a fun restaurant that your kids like and settle in to chat about their favorite parts of the movie. If they are tired/restless, download a new app for them to play while YOU enjoy dinner. 🙂

 

  • Hike in the local or state park – If you can get away for a weekend, find a state park and book a cabin. Take in those natural wonders and let your kids experience something new. If you need to stay local, lace up, get your bug spray and get those kids out in nature. I’m not a big hiker, but I don’t want to raise a Purell-dipped kid (even though I love my hand sanitizer), so I get out of my comfort zone every so often for the sake of raising a well-rounded kid (did anyone else watch that video on Facebook?).

 

  • Cook out – Fire up that grill and add some hotdogs, hamburgers or chicken. Get your kids involved in the prep. While you are grilling, set up those corn hole boards, volleyball/badminton net or soccer goals and challenge your kids to a game or two (and keep score – see video above).

 

Do you see a pattern of food here?? Ha. In all seriousness, another summer is almost over and those littles are growing up. Does anyone else feel like the years are going by faster and faster? I’m learning that we need to get in as much memory making as we can, because those eighteen years go by fast.

Happy Family Fun!!

XOXO,

Lauren

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Sneak Peak Into Our Wild Easter Weekend

Here’s a sneak peak into our lives this Easter weekend.  We enjoyed delicious food, amazing family time, soccer games, tons of outdoor play and countless Easter egg hunts.  I mean, how many times can a person hide eggs??  And whose bright idea was it to give toddlers easy access to several open containers of food coloring?!  Hello!  Hot mess express!  (Lifehack – Do this outside! Thank you moms with older kids for the tip.) There were lots of laughs, a busted lip, and some tears, but we loved spending every minute with the ones dearest to us.  Besides Easter baskets and cute clothes, let’s not forget the reason for the season, am I right?!  We would love to hear how you spent your Easter weekend and what your favorite memory is.  Comment below!

 

XOXO,

Jill & Lauren

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