A Spring Refresh: Kids Edition – Part I

If you remember a couple of posts back, I touched on how I felt the spring bought in sort of a second New Year. I don’t know about you, but with that comes a lot of cleaning, organizing, and refreshing to brighten things up. Like most things in my life, that means I started with the kids room first.

I was actually hoping to wait to do this until we moved, but my 4-year-old was in desperate need of a big boy bed so I figured I might as well stop putting it off for what might be and just do it. He has been “sleeping” in a toddler bed for the past two years, and I put sleeping in quotes, because he’s really been sleeping in his big sisters bed for the last few months. This sounds cute, and it was at first, until it’s bedtime and they do everything but sleep. I figured getting him his own twin bed would make him want to sleep in his own room, but his first night (last night) with his new bed ended with him going into his sister’s bed to sleep. *sigh* we’ll get there someday!

So here is the bed in all of it’s glory! It’s a Camp Bed from Pottery Barn Kids and I am in love. It’s Greenguard gold certified, meaning it is made from low emitting materials and has been screened for thousands of chemicals. Something that is very important to me! I am by no means a hippie since I don’t embrace that style, but I am very concerned with the amount of chemicals we are introduced to in our every day life and try to avoid the bad ones (cause not all chemicals are bad) as much as possible via our cleaning products, skincare, and food. That’s a blog post for another time!

Another thing I really loved about the bed, was the price. I know what your thinking, Pottery Barn Kids be expensive, and this is very true. BUT, somehow I managed to score this usually $1,295 bed (with a Simmons beauty rest mattress included) for $279. You saw that right, $279. It was on sale and then I was able to get an extra 25% off that sale price. Funny thing is when I checked a few days later, cause that’s what one does after getting the deal of the century, it went back up to $1,295. You could still get the 25% off of that so I’m not sure if what I got was a pricing error or not, but I don’t question fate.

I also ordered my sons flavor of the month in the form of a Hot Wheels sheet set and matching duvet which were also from Pottery Barn Kids. Gotta take advantage of those 25% off sales whenever they have them!

Peep the tag still on the bed. Keeping it classy.

As you can see, he’s ecstatic to jump around and relax in it, now we just have to get him to sleep in it!

Next up, I’ll share how I refreshed my daughters room with some of the cutest rainbow bedding.

Bye for now!

Nicole

A Christmas Recap And Playhouse Makeover

Since we’re two days away from Spring, I thought I would close out the winter by doing a little recap on our holiday season, and share what we got the kids for Christmas!

Christmas is my absolute favorite holiday for many reasons. I love the decorations, the smells, and the general feeling of love and happiness. Everyone seems to be just a little more willing to be a kind human for the month. What I love most of all though is the traditions. Christmas traditions have been instilled in me since I was a wee tot, and I love making sure our family keeps up with the ones my mom used to do with us while instilling some of our own. The kids look forward to them and of course I do too!

To kick off the Christmas season, one of the first things we do is get a picture with Santa. I don’t know how long I can keep this tradition up (I’m hoping well into their teens. Am I asking too much?), but for now I’m savoring the sweet spot between them being willing, and now excited to take a picture with Santa, and not being absolutely terrified like they used to be when they were younger.

Nailed it!

We also visit the Enchanted Village, a staple in Boston that used to be in Jordan Marsh, then Macy’s, and now in Jordan’s furniture. I know, it sounds super weird. It’s basically old timey Christmas scenes with animatronic people and bears. My mom used to take me when I was little, and it’s just a fun little free activity to do!

Another thing that I’m sure lots of littles love doing is making Gingerbread houses! We tend to buy the little villages so that all of us can decorate our own. I think the kids enjoy eating the candy more than anything, but Isaac is finally at the age where he is kind of into it, which makes it all the more fun!

Our masterpieces

We also decorate almost every room in the house, make cookies, cupcakes, watch all the Christmas movies, and listen to Christmas music starting in October. That’s right, October. I’m not sorry about it!

This last tradition also isn’t new to anyone, but we love to go and pick a real tree out the weekend after Thanksgiving. Having grown up with only artificial trees, getting a real tree once I moved out on my own felt so special. Something about that smell that I Just love! Now, we don’t go to any cute quaint Cut-your-own Christmas tree farms. Nope. We go to Home Depot. Much less fun and not as pretty for pictures, but it’s convenient and what has worked for our family for the last 10 years or so. The kids don’t mind, and neither do we!

Another tradition we have adopted when decorating the tree is throwing on the OG How the Grinch Stole Christmas. We have been doing it every year since Audrey’s first Christmas and this was the year that she finally got that it’s a “Tadition”. She made sure we put it on before we decorated the tree this year. It was really quite adorable.

Now onto the fun part. The presents. we try to make sure the kids have one big present that they share and then things that they ask for, along with things that they need. I.e., their Christmas Eve pajamas (another tradition), their Christmas outfit, etc. This year, the big present was a playhouse. Audrey had actually been asking for one for a while, but we were hesitant to get one because 1. our house does not have a fenced in yard, and 2. half the year is absolutely freezing (to me) so I didn’t think they would get much use out of an outdoor playhouse. In comes google and Instagram to the rescue where I saw that a lot of people in Australia actually have what they call indoor cubby houses. And with that an idea was born to put the playhouse in the basement. My husband reluctantly agreed, ha!

The before. Image source Walmart

Now the playhouse was not in anyway what I had seen strewn about on Instagram and Pinterest. It was just a plain cedar house. Of course I couldn’t have that, so then I had the other brilliant idea to paint it to a more aesthetically pleasing color. In the winter. In Boston. Yeah, not one of my brightest ideas. None the less armed with a Youtube tutorial on how to makeover a playhouse, we got to work approximately 3 weeks before Christmas. In between flus and disinfecting the house so that we could have family over for Christmas Eve (another tradition started by my mom) we got it done down to the wire. Meaning that Christmas Eve night.

It was all worth it in the end to me, as the kids love it and it gives them more options at playtime. If I had to do it again though, I probably would have told myself to skip the spray painting. That was a huge time suck and it’s already chipping in places (something all those tutorials online don’t warn about)!

None the less it was an awesome Christmas and I can’t wait to do it again in another 289 days, though I’m not sure how we’ll top a playhouse!

What traditions do you guys have for Christmas? If you’re interested in a step by step tutorial of the playhouse, let me know in the comments below, though it’s pretty self explanatory. Paint everything before putting the house together, skip spray painting the windows, and probably build it in a warmer month if you live in a colder climate like me.

Bye for now!

Nicole

Let’s Get Physical

Check the socks. Always in Disney.

If you’re wondering how my goals for the year are going, I’d say not too shabby! I’ve definitely got the step outside of my comfort zone goal down with adding colors to my wardrobe, starting a Youtube channel and blogging. I still need to work on things like water intake and patience (as my kids fight next to me while I type this), and especially getting back into a physical activity.

I so want to do ballet again, but truth is, I’m just not ready. Not that I was ready when I first started ballet 8 years ago, but let’s face it, I was younger and more spry then with almost no cares in the world. I was able to more easily manipulate my body and build up strength and flexibility pretty quickly. I did ballet for a solid year before I became pregnant with my first, and was in probably the best shape of my life. Once I became pregnant, I got too scared to go, afraid of working out too intensely (though my doctor gave me the all clear). After I gave birth, I was too sore from a C-section and extremely exhausted, as most new mothers are. I did try to go back a few times, but then I got pregnant with my little boy when my first was 15 months and I had only just stopped breast feeding when she was 12 months. Needless to say, two kids later I’m definitely not as flexible, I’m tired, and my time on the weekends are limited and precious. I will get back into ballet at some point, but I want to be able to come back strong.

So the question became what can I do to get some strength back? I did try to run a few times with my husband a couple of years ago, but I did not enjoy it. He’s a runner, and I’m just not. I will try that again too though, as I really REALLY want to run a Disney marathon. I know my husband would be all over that and it would be a good excuse to go back before our once a year trip. I’m a big dreamer, what can I say!

I ultimately decided that to get back into fitness, I would need to start at my own pace and work out from home where I was more comfortable. after some research, I decided to download an app called “Sweat” to follow the BBG (Bikini Body Guide) workout program. I know, the name may be off putting, but tons of women have seen results from what I can tell! It’s a 28 mins workout of your choosing (legs, arms and abs, full body, etc), that I plan on doing at least 3 times a week and will slowly build up to 5. I tried it last Thursday and only lasted 15 mins (ouch), but when I did it again on Saturday, I did the whole 28! I realize that I’m probably doing all of the moves wrong and I definitely need to update my equipment from my kids’ jumprope and step stool, but hey, gotta do what you gotta do!

Behold, my workout equipment

To be clear, though the program is titled Bikini Body, I’m in no way striving for perfection. I’m really just looking to tone and strengthen (though getting rid of my mom gut caused by diastasis recti would be nice too). Physical activity is important for health, and I want to be healthy for myself and my family. For now, this workout program is what I hope will work best for me. I want my kids to see me and us as parents be more active and get them motivated and active as well. I see it as a win for all!

To hold myself accountable, I’m posting the dreaded “before” pictures and I’ll update at week 4! Do you guys have a workout routine? Is it something simple that a novice like myself can do?

Bye for now!

Nicole


Our Week in Review – A Staycation During School Vacation Week

Oh, what fun!

First, yes I did change the site! What do you all think? I’m not 100% settled on it, but I think it fits my vibe more. Stay tuned to see if it sticks!

This is the first year both kids are in a real school with weeks off at a time for school vacation. Previously at their old daycare they would get a week off in-between Christmas and New Year, and the week of 4th of July off, but those are weeks we tend to take off anyway. I count this as the first real school vacation we are experiencing!

With a Disney trip on the horizon, we decided to stay home this time around. My kids like to chillax HARD on the weekends, so we decided to do a mix of chill time and active time. There was also a lot of play time. Does anyone else’s kids just like to play all. the. time. Like all the time? Cause that’s my kids. I just keep reminding myself they won’t always want to play, but man. Theres only so many times you can pretend a doll is taking a nap. OK, back to the topic.

Here’s a recap of what we did each day for vacation in case it’s helpful for you! I think a lot of it is typical stuff you would do with kids but we tried to entertain them while keeping ourselves sane as best we could. It’s a delicate balance.

MONDAY:

On Monday we woke up to a few inches of snow! It was perfect. Despite living in Boston, we haven’t experienced much snow this past winter and the times we did we were all at school or work. After breakfast, we bundled up and went out to play/shovel the snow.

After, we came in and had hot chocolate, as you do after playing in the snow, and relaxed with a family movie. We also made a faux Disney World in the playroom. We had to get our trip in somehow!

It really just consisted of all the Disney toys we had in the house representing different rides, and then Mr. Colored in pretty and I shaking them in their bean bag chairs to imitate said ride. The kids bought it.

Tuesday:

On Tuesday we ventured out to Ikea. We figured we could pick up a few things while the kids played in the play space they have. Apparently, we were not the only ones with this brilliant idea and it was full when we first got there (10 minutes past opening). We browsed a bit with the kids and came back in a half hour to let them play. Then we shopped for 45 glorious minutes all by ourselves. Once time was up we went and got their world renowned frozen yogurts and then headed to target and the mall.

At the mall, we grabbed lunch and then went to various toy stores, one in which was the American Girl store. The only one in the state of Massachusetts is closing in March, and though my little girl has a Wellie Wisher, she got it for Christmas a year ago and didn’t get to experience picking out her own doll. Safe to say $160 later, she got her doll.

Wednesday:

Wednesday was for sure our busiest day. We went to the Children’s Museum! Again, it was busy and there was a line out the door at opening with other likeminded parents desperate to provide their kids with entertainment. They rock climbed, made bubbles, and played in that germ infested water.

Mickey and Minnie greeted us at the Museum!

Since there aren’t many kid friendly places to eat lunch at by the museum, we decided to go to Panera for their favorite Mac and cheese. Then we headed to another mall, this time to the Disney store. I know. I know. Sadder part is, I didn’t even get anything for myself! The kids got figurines, that they have barely touched since that day. Once we were back home, it was baths, playtime, and bedtime. Dinner was given somewhere in between.

Thursday:

Thursday was another day of relaxing in the house, which was good since we had spent a ton of money over the last two days. We painted, played with play doh, watched movies. It was great, and one of the best parts of our vacation. Just being with the 4 of us as a family.

Friday:

Friday was a semi back to normal day. Dan had to go into work, and I worked half a day from home so there wasn’t much we could do. I had them play with play doh again and watch a movie and then later on we went to target. AGAIN! *said in my Monica Gellar voice*. I have an obsession. Besides Disney store, Target is my next love. I’m not sorry about it, though I’m sure Mr. Colored in pretty would rather I drop both habits.

Saturday and Sunday were pretty normal weekend days so that we could prepare ourselves for the return to school and work. Lots of laundry, food shopping and normal errands. The kids were sad just thinking about going back to school, and I admit, I was too. Even though it can be a lot to be with them all day, I truly enjoyed spending that time with them. One of my many goals is to try to work less so that I can be with the kids more and not have to rely on things like aftercare when that extra time could be spent with me. They’re only this young once and I don’t want to waste it. I’ll get there, but in the meantime, I reminded them that we have April vacation coming up and we can do all those fun things and more next time around! Maybe we’ll even do a short local trip somewhere!

How do you guys spend school vacations? Do you usually take a trip or do you stay home and hope for the best?

Bye for now!

Nicole

The Story of Us And Super Bowl Sunday

Babies. Circa 2006

With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, I figured I would tell the story of how Mr. Colored In Pretty (this name has NOT been cleared by him, but we’re going with it) and I came to be!

We first met at work. I was a college student working two jobs, and he was working at one of those jobs. At the time, I had a boyfriend that I was still involved with from high school, and I actually thought Mr. Colored In Pretty didn’t like me very much at all! He has a very sarcastic tone (which I grew to love) that people either get or don’t and I definitely didn’t get it at first. I found his jokes to be just plain rude and not at all funny for the most part. There was one joke in particular he had made about my hair one day that made me really angry, being a black girl and all. I don’t remember the specifics of it now since it was nearly 18 years ago, but I do remember me telling him off and him apologizing! I accepted that apology, and through various work outings, I found that he was actually a very sweet, caring person that would go to the ends of the earth for you. I wouldn’t of ended up married to him otherwise! We became close friends, and we both came to really enjoy each other’s company.

Serious babies. 2003.

Two years went by before we ever even thought of dating. I had broken up with my boyfriend about a year into Mr. Colored In Pretty and I’s friendship, and though I had grown to have feelings for him beyond friendship, I wasn’t sure if he was interested in me like that. Then, at one New Year’s Eve party that he hosted, he asked my best friend to talk to me about him and asked if she could tell me to give him a chance. That pretty much sealed it right there, but even still I was hesitant to date him!

It wasn’t until about a month later, this time at a Super Bowl party (GO PATS!) that I finally decided I would give him a chance. I don’t know what it was about that night that made me think it could work, but the rest is history as they say! We spent pretty much every day together from that day on even though we were living apart. It didn’t take long for us to talk future plans of one day living together, marriage (took us 7 years to get engaged), kids (he initially wasn’t sure about kids!), and making a life together. We’ve had our ups and downs as with any couple. Near break ups, family emergencies, deaths, but through it all we always knew we were meant to be together. The day we got married, my Maid of Honor asked if I was nervous and I just turned to her and said “No, this feels right”. We’re coming up on 9 years of marriage in June, and what I said that day nearly 9 years ago still holds true.

Needless to say, the Super Bowl will always hold a special place in our hearts as the beginning of forever for us. I’ll definitely share more wedding pictures around our anniversary because it was one of the most magical days of my life and I’ll use any excuse to share those pictures. I just loved that day, and could relive it over and over again. Here is one picture to hold you (me) over until then!

June 26, 2010. Happiest day.

How did you guys meet your significant others? did you originally think you would never get together with that person? I’m living proof that sometimes, you have to take a chance!

Bye for now!

Nicole

Birthday’s Past

Isaac’s 2nd birthday

Today is my youngest 4th birthday. FOUR! How did this happen?! I hated hearing it in the throughs of the newborn stage, but it’s true. These years really do go by so unbelievably fast. If your a mom of littles, then you know!

I love planning a party, and since I don’t get to do it too often, I tend to go all out for my kids birthday’s. I love the planning, the decorating, the shopping. Most importantly, I love going with a theme my kids want and running with it. With that comes scouring Pinterest boards and Instagram to ultimately DIY some of the decor since a lot of times my vision can’t be store bought (not that that’s a bad thing).

This year for my son’s birthday, we took a different direction and decided to go to a bounce house place where him and all of his other 3-4 year-old friends could bounce all their winter energy out. Thus, I did not get to have the decorative party that I’m used to. So instead I’m taking a trip down memory lane to show you the parties I have planned for my kids in the past, along with so,e of my DIY projects!

The next party I get to plan is my big girls 7th birthday! I will likely do something smallish at home for that one since we do plan to go to Disney in December! Stay tuned for both of those posts! Enjoy the trip down memory lane!

Bye for now!

Nicole

Isaac’s Star War’s Birthday

Audrey’s Tangled Birthday

This tower was a labor of love

Incorporating Disney When You Are Far From The Parks

Living in Boston, I don’t have the pleasure of enjoying the parks quite as often as some of the instagramers and youtubers I follow. Until I can go back to Disney World (T-minus 322 days *long sigh*), I like to do activities that satisfy my Disney itch that are close to home.

One thing my family and I do every year is attend Disney on Ice. It’s not anywhere close to the being in the actual parks, but seeing Mickey and the gang gliding across that ice still gets me all giddy and excited. We’ve made it a tradition to go on or around New Year’s Eve since 2016 and the kids really look forward to it every year!

Another thing we do maybe a bit too often is go to our local Disney Store! We have two regular Disney Stores and an outlet all near us. They do tons of fun events every month that we need to partake in more, but lets face it, the kids are really just there for the toys. I am going to make it a point this year though to do more of the in store events. The kids know we aren’t going to Disney for a long time, and I think doing the events will get them excited and help them (and me) be a bit more patient!

Besides those things, we try to go to different events at parks and Zoos that are princess themed, watch Disney movies, and do Disney crafts. I’ll put up another posts on the crafts we have done soon! If you live far from the parks, what are some ways you like to incorporate Disney into your life?

Bye for now!

Nicole