Our family grew by two!




And I feel like I’ve been hiding it from the world!

Or at least from my social media, which sometimes feels like the whole world to me! (Is that pathetic? LOL! Don’t answer that)

Starting on Friday, I kind of went unplugged, not so much intentionally, but because of a few factors. Let’s start with the text I got from my mom saying that there was a fire in the warehouse at work. Keep in mind, my husband works with my parents, so when there’s a “fire in the warehouse,” I’m worried about a lot of people, including many in my family.

Essentially, a machine in the warehouse (that operates off of oil) has a safety sensor which protects the oil from getting too hot, but it malfunctioned and started to smoke. My dad and an employee quickly grabbed fire extinguishers, but it was too late, and a ball of flames exploded, shooting 20 feet in the air. This caused the sprinklers to go off and flooded the 50,000 square foot warehouse and every thing in it with three inches of standing water.

All will be fine, those injured will be fine, and this is what insurance is for, but it was obviously traumatic for everyone involved. And thus started the weekend of insanity, and I just wanted to focus on my family and friends and see what needed to immediately be done, and what could wait.

And at this exact same time, Joshua had arrived at the office with the surprises that make the title of this blog post make sense…

MEET OUR NEW KITTENS!!!

Could you just DIE?!!! And for those who know Joshua and me, they’re dying of shock, instead of cuteness because, 1. Joshua is VERY allergic to cats (like swollen face, bloodshot eyes, nonstop sneezing) and 2. We aren’t exactly “animal people.” I know I know. You think that makes us assholes, but please let me explain that not everyone is the same as you (shocking) πŸ˜‰

Example…I LOVE kids and babies, and will pretty much choose to be with little ones over anyone else. Whereas the idea of spending time with kids, including other peoples’ kids makes you itch.

But here’s the deal. Our minis have been begging for us to get an animal since I moved the cake business to the cakery and out of my house. And have really ramped up the pleading now that we’re moving to a house soon. I asked Joshua years ago, “if you weren’t allergic to cats, would you like them?” And he said, “I guess so.” This prompted me to start looking into the possibility of hypoallergenic cats. In this research, I found that people aren’t necessarily allergic to the dander, but the saliva, specifically a protein found in the saliva. And that certain breeds of cats produced less of this protein.

I told Joshua that it looked like Russian Blues were an option and kind of dropped it. But I guess it got his wheels spinning and Joshua loves 1. a YOLO situation and 2. a surprise. So behind our backs, he found a rescue group that had a Russian Blue cat up for adoption, and contacted them. The foster parent told Joshua that he actually had TWO Russian Blues and that they were brothers, and he couldn’t split them up. That they were completely attached to each other and had to stay together (he was correct).

Joshua was already questioning getting one cat, but now two?! Luckily, let’s go back to #1 in the paragraph above…Joshua said “YOLO” and adopted both! He brought them back to the office (which wasn’t on fire anymore thank god) and knew that I was bringing the girls by later that day to grab him before we all headed to the mountains. It set up the perfect place for the big reveal!

After I grabbed the minis from their schools, we drove straight there and they were SO FREAKING EXCITED!!! They couldn’t BELIEVE he actually got them kitties, and were overjoyed that they were going to be mommies πŸ™‚ And can I just say that Joshua hasn’t had any allergic reaction whatsoever still to this day, and hasn’t had to take ANY medicine?!!!

But like I said, we were headed straight to the mountains and staying at The Timmermans’ house. Joshua had already prearranged with them that it was okay to bring the kittens with us…it helps that Kristin is the BIGGEST cat person I know! So our new sons made the trip to Blowing Rock, sleeping the whole way, and legit spooning at that! We got to the house and showed them where the litter box was, and they have been pros ever since! Not one accident, not one scratch. They really are the best kittens we could ever ask for!

The happiest kitten aunt you ever did see!

We relaxed at the house all weekend, having to drive back down and up to Charlotte Saturday night for Joshua’s holiday party (which happens in January because December is always too insane), which was blast! My parents hired a murder mystery group as the entertainment and they were AWESOME!

Joshua was one of the suspects and the detective is interviewing him!

Joshua’s employees, minus Mike

Once we got back to Blowing Rock, it was back to relaxing and kitties and friends, and all that good stuff! The only downer is that I was sick and when I’m sick, I can’t sleep. It was three nights of almost zero sleep and sheer frustration. Luckily, owning a cake business prepared me for operating on no sleep for years on end, so I was good to go and powered through (sooooo much concealer happening under my eyes here).

Kristin found the perfect puzzle (my favorite pastime ever) at a shop in Blowing Rock to celebrate our new family members, and we put it together over the weekend! And they even had Russian Blues on the puzzle, providing a classic photo op for our new guys πŸ™‚

Wylie’s right paw is on the Russian Blue part of the puzzle!

And it took us almost all weekend to come up with the perfect names for our boys! We knew we wanted them to be sentimental names, not silly, and not typical “pet” names. We love our city so much, and looked for historical names. But also loved the idea of them being brothers and wanted their names to go together. So what did we go with?!

Introducing…

Wylie and Norman

For my local peeps, they get it! LOL! For my out of towners, we have two big lakes on each “end” of our city, Lake Wylie and Lake Norman. But the girls wanted them to have middle names too, so we went with the runners up to the first name choices, Wilbur and Orville, after the Wright Brothers, who of course got their start here in NC! So it’s Wylie Orville Miller, and Norman Wilbur Miller…quite possibly the oldest sounding names alive, but WE LOVE THEM SO MUCH!

We can’t thank the Timmermans enough for letting us bring them to the house, and teach us all about cats and their wants and needs, and give us the perfect relaxing weekend to bond with them! Joshua (if you read this ;)), thank you for giving our family these little loves. Oh, and guess who loves them the most, and who they are bonded to the most?! JOSHUA LOL!!! And I gotta admit, I’m pretty smitten with them too πŸ˜‰ So I guess you CANΒ teach an old dog, err cat, new tricks πŸ˜‰

If you have any questions, leave me a comment! And get ready for an overload of kitty pics…I can’t help myself…they’re too cute for words!

I guess the cat’s out of the bag! (okay, that’s my last cat pun for a while) πŸ™‚





DIY Valentine’s Day Decor!





I’ve talked a few times about how we live in a very small condo (that I ADORE), and when we first moved in, we had this awkward spot in the living room that we needed to figure out what to do with. We love the idea of having a mantle, and found one at At Home (formerly Garden Ridge), and put it in that spot! Then we put different-sized lanterns under it to mock a fireplace of sorts, and it’s truly one of my favorite places in the condo!

I like to have fun with the mantle, and have regular decor that lives on it, but it’s also my go-to place to decorate for any and all holidays! And as you’ve even seen on this blog many times, it’s one of my favorite places to take pictures, especially my cake-related posts! I get good light, and the decor makes for a cute backdrop, like with my Easter cake!

Valentine’s Day is no different, and I decorated the mantle for it yesterday! I needed a few things, so I headed to the Mecca…Target, #duh, and found everything I wanted (and more) at the dollar spot! I typically don’t have anything in mind when looking for decor, except I want at least one piece with height, garland of some sort to hang down, something I can group in three, and often times, something I can DIY.

So when I found this thick-sided wood tray close to some cute clothes pins, I automatically thought of turning the tray on its side, and making it into a photo holder somehow. I thought the wood was too plain thought, and rustic isn’t my style, so enter…GOLD GLITTER! I never print pictures (shame on me, I know), so I headed to the photo center and $0.32 later, I had prints from the holiday season in my hands! Seriously, what would we do without Target, yall?!


Here’s what I used:

  • wooden tray $5
  • gold glitter (already had, but I saw small tubes of it at the dollar spot for $1)
  • clothespins $1
  • photos $0.32
  • elmers glue (already had, but $1)
  • foam brush (already had, but $0.50)

Start with the wooden tray, and squeeze a good amount of glue on it. Using your foam brush, spread the glue around, making sure to get all the way to the edge and in the corners. Work quickly so the glue doesn’t dry but if it does, go back over it…no worries! Then dump in the gold glitter, and move it around the tray by tilting back and forth until it’s completely covered. Dump out the excess onto a sheet of paper and put it back in the container!

After that, I cut the pictures in their rectangles (since they printed on one page), and laid three of them out to look at spacing. Once I had the spots I liked, I put glue on the back of the clothespins, and pressed them down onto the gold glitter, wiggling back and forth until the clothespin hit the tray. Let it dry flat for a few minutes, put the pictures in the clothespins and VOILA!

From there, put it on the mantle with all of your other findings, and then rearrange everything 10745539 times! Kidding, sort of πŸ˜‰ Truthfully, this one was easy for me to do and not mess with too much because of my simple “rules” below…

Tips for arrangements, really anywhere in your home:

  • I don’t like anything in the direct center…everything is offsest
  • Group in odd numbers (like the three votive holders)
  • Use things with different heights (I used the same glue, glitter, and pic idea on the tall chalkboard)
  • Use different colors and even different tones of colors so it doesn’t look too matchy-matchy
  • Find something sentimental…the gold wishbone reminds me of growing up because my siblings and I would always break the wishbone to see who got good luck! (This is the only thing not from Target’s dollar spot…I got it on clearance from Cracker Barrel for $3!)

So there ya’ll go! A completely decorated mantle for less than $25, AND it included a DIY project for less than $10 and took no more than five minutes to do!

Happy Valentine’s Day my loves!




Are you ready for a house update?! (part 3)




Are you ready for a house update?!

SO.AM.I! πŸ˜‰

But the truth of the matter is, there kind of isn’t one!

{INSERT INTERNAL FREAK OUT}

People keep asking me, “how’s the house coming along?!” Because the last update was that the lot was already being graded, was moving quickly, and we were ready to start the permit process. So we submitted it, and waited for WEEKS for an answer, and we got back a big, fat, NO.

what?

Greg, our GC, said it was probably more of a clerical problem than a house plan problem, which is good because clerical is easier to fix. I’m talking a ‘forget to dot the i’ thing. So we resubmitted and thought, ‘this shouldn’t take long! They already know us. A day or two and we’re good to go!’ But all the nopes. We waited for weeks. AGAIN.

why?

Because some hackers apparently got into our county’s government system and were holding the accounts ransom. To the tune of $23,000 (two bitcoins is what they had asked for). Our friend’s daughter joked that it was probably a 12-year-old in her class based on the ransom amount πŸ˜‰ “Did he ask for a Nintendo DS too?” I even had to laugh!

But essentially what the hackers were doing was freezing the servers, and threatening to erase information. Some of that information was…you guessed it…real estate permits! We really do have incredible timing I tell ya! πŸ˜‰ Anyways, we FINALLY got the “APPROVED” permit notification, and are ready to get this thang goin!

when?

Not gonna lie, mama is totally freaking out that it’s not going to be ready in time. Because remember why this house is even happening in the first place? We’re going to be a family of EIGHT come June…remember when we were suddenly seven? I need a place to put this gaggle of giggling geese we call children sometimes πŸ˜‰

how?

We believe it can be done in six months, because it’s a small, simple house. We aren’t building an estate, or anywhere close to it. We’ve been told, “corners are complicated,” meaning that the more corners there are, the more work there is to do. We legit picked a house with as few of corners as possible, without it being a “tiny house” (my dream)! πŸ™‚ Joshua and I are also very quick at making decisions when it comes to our house/decor/etc. We have similar taste and he tells me “no” or “yes” when I show him stuff. None of that “whatever you want babe” or “if you like it” crap. Help me decide, so we can move this ish along. πŸ˜‰ We simply have to believe at this point, it will all get done.

where?

I mention where our new house is going to be in my previous posts but I’ve realized that not as many people know where the Regional Farmer’s market is as I thought. And now all I have to say is “near Olde Meck Brewery,” and everyone is like, “oh! cool!” Beer for the win, I guess?! πŸ™‚

Is there any good news?!

So it isn’t all stressful news because of the delay in this project. I had mentioned Lilly’s school stuff in one of my posts, and how we were going to have to petition the school board for her to stay in her current elementary school. I spoke to her principal about our situation, and she thinks I’d have a strong case to present, but she told me some info I didn’t know!

Your “home school” for the upcoming school year is determined by the address you have the last day of school the year before. So on June 8th 2018, whatever our address is, will be the “assigned” home school for Lilly for 4th grade, therefore if that’s the condo’s address, we don’t have to petition the school board. In addition, schools won’t move a child in a “transition year,” which 5th grade is, so she’s good for that year too. Basically, the delay could pay off in the fact that I don’t have to worry about a “no” from the board and move Lilly to the third elementary school in as many years.

Many have said “why don’t you just use our address?” or “I’m sure the people who move into your condo won’t have kids and you can still use that address…who would know?!” Here’s the reason why I was honest with the principal and everyone else…I can’t tell my kids to act honorable, do the right thing, tell the truth, etc. and then lie about something like this, especially since it has to do WITH Lilly directly. I didn’t want her to feel like she would need to fib or protect us in any way…it’s not her job, and honestly, she would spill the beans too. πŸ˜‰

So that’s the long and short of it yall! You want more info on what’s going on? Head HERE for part 1 of the why we are moving, and HERE for part 2!

Follow along on my social media channels if you want to see the most up-to-date information; Instagram is where I post #allthethings, and here’s my Facebook link! I’ve also started a pinterest board called Millers on the Move if you’d like to see some of the stuff that may make it into the house, and lots that won’t! Sometimes I pin things for reasons that have nothing to do with my own house, but someone else’s and I want to show them. Or I might pin it because I like the pulls on the cabinets but hate everything else!

If you have any comments or questions, let me know and I’ll answer them ASAP!

Here we are, standing on the lot, and let’s just imagine a house behind us, mmmmkay?! πŸ˜‰




The most popular thing on my IG!





Okay, this is going to be the quickest post I’ve ever written because it all centers around a purchase from Amazon that is an “as seen on TV” product! I first laid eyes on this life-changing product on my cousin, Kirby’s, IG insta-story, and as fast as my fingers could type “milk magic tap” in Amazon’s search field, it was on its way to our condo!

See, my family goes through 3-5 gallons of milk a week, with the Stud responsible for at least 75% of the consumption. And he likes it COLD. And even when it’s perfectly cold, he needs crushed ice in it too. Needless to say, he doesn’t like it coming out of the fridge if he can possibly help it.

ENTER, THE MAGIC TAP!

It’s this battery-operated device that goes on top of your jug of milk, and you put your cup up to the lever and press it, and out comes the milk from the spout! IT’S FREAKING GENIUS!!! Part of me is pissed I didn’t come up with the idea, and the other part of me wonders where it’s been my whole life. But the other parts of me are just thrilled I’ve finally found it!

And guess what else?!

It’s $5.55

 

Yup. So there you have it. Start your 2018 on the right foot yall. And get this ASAP…Amazon prime will have it there for your new year! It even has a lock on it, so if you don’t want little hands pressing the lever, no worries! But it should keep them from spilling the entire jug of milk, so that’s helpful, right?!!! πŸ™‚ And if you have peeps in your house that like to drink out of the jug, this should deter that (please baby Jesus…backwash makes me gag like something whoa).

So it got in the other day, I put two double A batteries in it and couldn’t wait to try it! And yall, it was everything I wanted it to be, and more LOL! Of course, I did what you expect of me by now…put it on my insta-story right away, and the response was INSANE. “What is this contraption?!” “Why didn’t you get me one?!” “I need this, like yesterday.”

And get a few because it works on everything…OJ, fruit juice, tea, distilled water, anything that comes in/you put in a jug! A person commented and said she uses her brita to filter the water and then puts it in a huge jug with the magic tap because her kids were always spilling the brita! But it’s also great for those who struggle with mobility, dexterity, and lifting heavy things! Or maybe you just always have a baby on your hip, and thus the use of only one hand at a time #beentheredonethat!

And because I’m a giver…

…without further ado, here’s the direct link peeps:

Love yall so much, and cheers (with milk) to 2018! xoxo

PS. If you want to see how I used milk in my NYE fun with the kiddos, check out that post HERE!




Will you ring in the new year with me?!





Yall know by now I love a play on words and a theme! I mean, my bakery was named Got What It Cakes for the love! Since becoming a mom 11 years ago, New Year’s Eve has changed a bit, but in the last few years, we’ve gone to a hotel and rang in the new year with friends!

But when our kids were younger, we always stayed home and had the best time counting down to the new year with them. And even though they always had the next day off, we never let them stay up til midnight, yet still counted down (you’ll see how we worked around that below) and then Joshua and I had a few hours to ourselves before the clock struck twelve!

I can’t believe I found a pic from 2011 of us celebrating…blurry as can be because I probably had a flip phone and they were moving, but you get the gist πŸ™‚

If you want to do a few fun things with your kiddos to make the day/night extra special, here are some things we’ve done in the past, and I suggest throwing them a ‘Ring in the New Year’ party! And then continuing that ring theme throughout the night with food and fun!

Start with buying Ring Pops, and that serves as your “invitation” of sorts. You could even tie a little note that says “Ring in the new year with me?!” Or you could be super fancy and buy a clear box, fill it with sprinkles, put a ring pop in it, and do a printable that says ‘ring in the new year?’ It’s awesome and you can find a pic HERE, but that’s more than I could ever pull off FO SHO πŸ˜‰

For a fun party food idea, do make-your-own pizzas! You can be as homemade as you want, making the dough, sauce, chopping toppings, etc., but I simply bought a couple of frozen cheese pizzas, and then placed some black and green olive “rings” on them. I had each mini spell out 2018 in the toppings on each pizza…2-0 for one and 1-8 for the other! You can use mini pepperonis too! And you could have some Funyuns on the side since they’re also shaped like rings!

Of course we needed some desserts to sweeten the night! So I made some funfetti cupcakes (because it reminds me of confetti), iced them, and then put other ring-related/celebration toppings on them! Some examples: Wint-o-green mints, peach rings, ring pops, rainbow sprinkles, gold sprinkles!

For their “toast,” I would put milk in a champagne flute, and the smaller Entenmanns donuts on top (because donuts are in a ring shape). It’s a fun update to milk and cookies, and I’m a sucker for donuts πŸ™‚ In order for each kid to know which flute is his or hers, you could borrow the wine charm idea, but use rings with different decor on them. In this pic, you can see a ring I borrowed from Isabella’s science kit! The best part is that most kid rings have a gap in them anyways, making it easy to go around the stem of a champagne flute!

I wanted to make noise makers for the special night and of course, they had to have a ring theme as well. The best part is that you probably have everything you need already on-hand (see what I did there) πŸ˜‰ Take leftover small paper or plastic plates, and put dry beans in one of the plates. Hot glue a popsicle stick to the bottom of theΒ bean-filled plate, and then put hot glue around the outer ring of the plate and put the other plate on top!

Then have your kiddos decorate their plate however they want (we used puff paint)! You can even add a pipe cleaner to the top of the plate, bent in a way that it will resemble a diamond on the top of a ring! If you recognize the movie star plates, they’re from Bella’s 11th birthday!


Some other cute ring-themed games to play during your party: ring toss (you can buy a cheap set just about anywhere), or ring-around-the-rosie is FREE! But one of my best hacks (that I teased at the top) is to pull up London’s countdown (since they’re 5 hours ahead of us) on YouTube whenever you want the kiddos to go to bed, and use it as your countdown! Our kids were in bed by 8 or 9pm using this trick for years (change the clocks in the house if need be) πŸ˜‰ #protip

Whatever you decide to do for New Year’s, have FUN and BE SAFE! There is not one single reason why anyone should drink and drive. It’s not about you thinking you’re “fine” to drive; it’s about all of the other innocent people on the road that don’t deserve to have to dodge your death bullet. Okay, PSA over (very sensitive subject for me).

Here’s me on Charlotte Today talking about these ideas!!!


For things I’ve mentioned in this article, here ya go:




How to be the perfect guest this holiday season!




It’s December, and yall know what that means…

INVITATIONS TO #ALLTHETHINGS!

Now, I’m a girl who LOVES a reason to get together. But I’m the first to admit I’m lacking in the etiquette part of things! And I look to the Real Housewives to see what a lady is “supposed to do” when it comes to being a good guest. Kidding! But seriously, those betches NEVER show up empty-handed. And I think I finally have a grasp on what to bring to which occasion and am here to help spread the good news!

And to make this extra challenging, err I mean fun, I’m taking alcohol out of the running. I wrote about the why HERE, and think we could all use a little less booze, and a little more of ANYTHING ELSE AT THIS POINT. πŸ™‚

Without further ado, here are some ideas!

If you’ve been invited to a party, and have been asked to bring something to eat, I recently saw this video on Facebook and knew I HAD to make it. And oh holy night is it sooooooooo yummy! Click on the video link below:

Here were my changes: I used brie because it’s my fave! And instead of cranberry sauce, I used raspberry jam. Not because I don’t like cranberry sauce (I love it), but because I completely forgot it at the store, and had the jam in my fridge anyways πŸ™‚ Oh, and I didn’t include the bacon to make it doable for any vegetarian/kosher friends at the party! I also used some of the extra puff pastry and cut out a star to place on top of the cheese.

And it’s usually super annoying when people change a recipe (I realize this), but in this case, I loved the look/idea more than anything, and think substituting what flavors you like best, is completely fine! My finished product looks more like a wreath than a snowflake, but both are holiday appropriate so it’s all good in the ‘hood!

I also found this cute, plastic plate at the grocery store, which is perfect for shared food at a party because it’s meant to be left behind…

If you are invited to a holiday party at someone’s house, definitely don’t show up empty handed! They may have asked for you to bring something specific, and if so, bring that! But if you have free reign, I think a food item is always nice like fresh baked desserts from SugarBomb Sweets,Β or a pie from Slice Pie Company. If you’re looking for something not edible, a candle of the neighborhood they live in from Ella B candles, an ornament for their tree of something sentimental between the two of yall, a cutting board in the shape of the state they’re from/call home, or a hand cut map from Studio KMO etc. are all awesome gifts!

If you’re on a tight budget, then make something homemade/semi-homemade like the candles I suggested in this post (just alter the colors for these specific holidays) or tryΒ this Goldfish mix…the presentation is super cute, and that’s half the battle! You could also include the recipe…if they love it, they’ll make it again and again and think of you often!

Β 

If you’re staying at someone’s house for multiple days, then my FAVORITE thing to gift the host is a house cleaning for after we’re long gone! Rest assured your host has gone to great lengths to have you stay there, and even though I’m sure they’re delighted to have you, the house is often in need of some attention afterwords. Your host has cleaned beforehand, washed linens, stocked the fridge and pantry, and much more. You’ve used every utility in the house, from the water to the electricity to the wifi, and maybe even the car and gas!

I think it’s an awesome idea to touch base with a local cleaning company and arrange for a cleaning to take place, or give a gift certificate for the cleaning company. If your host already has a regular company he or she uses, pay for their next cleaning. Yes, it may be a little pricey, but they’ll never forget the kindness of the gesture. If you’re looking for a company in Charlotte, check out Sweepin Beauty!

My last suggestion is to let everyone know they’re a guest, even if they only get as far as your front porch πŸ™‚ Saw this floating around Facebook yesterday, and love the idea so so so much! Did you know that there will be hundreds of MILLIONS of packages delivered in the next few weeks?! Treat the drivers, deliverers, postal workers, and more well during this season of MUCH longer hours! Look at this cute bin of goodies Lisa Gwin put on her porch:

She is speaking my love language…and by love language, I mean “Little Debbie.” πŸ™‚

If you’d like to watch my segment on Charlotte Today, here ya go:

Do you have any go-to gifts when it comes to giving during the holiday season?! Share them with me in the comments and maybe people will get some extra ideas!




We wish you a “Merry Fishmas!”




You will want to make this mix every year!

Do you have a food that instantly reminds you of someone in your family? My Oma makes these seasoned oyster crackers that remind me of the holidays the second I pop them in my mouth. And I thought that they’d make a great gift idea for the upcoming holidays. ‘Tis the season for parties, get-togethers, teachers’ gifts, neighborhood pot-lucks, and so much more. I never want to show up empty-handed, and who doesn’t love a yummy snack?!
But I wanted to switch it up a bit, so I’m making the seasoned crackers using Goldfish instead!Β And because Goldfish taste amazing, come in super fun colors, and are always baked with real cheese, I can feel good about giving this gift to people I love and adore!
So without further ado, here’s the recipe for my version of Oma’s Fishmas Crackers (I did alter them slightly)!
Heat oven to 225
Put 15oz (half of the BIG container) of Goldfish into a big bowl
Melt 2T of butter (salted or unsalted) and pour over Goldfish
Add 1/2 packet of powdered ranch, 1tsp Italian seasoning, and 2T parmesan cheese to the crackers and mix well
Pour seasoned Goldfish onto a pan and bake at 225 for 15 minutes. Let cool completely and put into your favorite dish, gift tin, cellophane bag, etc.!
Here’s how I displayed mine for the perfect hostess gift! The multi-colored mix makes me think of Christmas lights…and actually it’s pretty neat how the Goldfish get their colors! Hint: it’s not food dye. Seriously, click here to see how they make the green color…I’ll wait!

My Oma also painted that tiny nativity scene next to the carton!

I love these cartons I found!

I couldn’t find the exact milk cartons I used, so I linked take-out containers I found which would work perfectly as well! I wrapped some Christmas ribbon around the side, and hung a tag that said “Merry Fishmas!”
But I also thought of another way to use these goldfish! Find the clear plastic round ornaments (I’ll link them below), and fill them halfway with the Goldfish. Using puff paint, markers, or even stickers, decorate the outside of the ornament to look like the ocean! It’s a fun craft project to do while the kids are home on Christmas break and you need to fill the time with projects they’ll enjoy (and can eat)! An activity that doubles as a snack=win in my book! For other awesome ideas, Goldfish has a Pinterest page, so check it out πŸ™‚

Try to find the fully clear ornaments to look like a fishbowl!

Have a very merry fishmas from my school (get it? a fish family is called a school πŸ™‚ ) to yours!
Β 




No more “mommy juice” or “wine o’clock,” I beg you.





I know. I know. You think it’s cute, right?!! Hell, I even said it once or twice to my minis when they were younger. “This is mommy’s juice girls! You can’t have any of this! Let’s find your sippy cups of milk, okay?!” And I’d go back to clinking glasses (or solo cups because we fancy ;)) of wine with my girlfriends, have a giggle, and take big sips.

And this song and dance was happening with just about any and all of my friend groups, the people I follow on social media, the chatter I overhear at ‘ladies night out’ dinners, and on every tv show with a mom on it, etc. The narrative barely ever changes and it goes something like this:

‘being a mom is hard work so i drink wine to ____________________ (fill in the blank)’

Here are some of the options…

  • Reward myself
  • Numb the hard
  • Forget the mess (literal and figurative)
  • Want to feel good
  • Celebrate bedtime
  • Escape
  • Be more sexual
  • Insert your own answer

But here’s the part where I was a bit of the odd mom out though. I hate red wine, and only like one type of white, so if anything but pinot grigio was offered, I typically didn’t partake. I also tend to only drink socially…out to dinner with friends, a party, charity function, sporting event, concert, etc. Joshua and I aren’t the types of people who come home after a long day and drink a beer, or pour ourselves a cocktail. We don’t have wine with dinner…hell, I barely cook anything nice enough to consider pairing it with a wine option anyways!

So for 2017, I decided to not drink (I’ll get more to that part towards the end), and I’ve noticed more than ever before (probably BECAUSE of my not drinking) is how much women talk/post about how much they drink. Somewhere along the line, it became “normal” for women (specifically moms) to talk about how much wine they were guzzling every night…like it was their badge of honor for making it through the day? But guess who else noticed?!

EVERY FREAKING COMPANY IN THE WORLD

And guess what those companies are doing? Laughing all the way to the bank on the backs of what many women are now dealing with…addiction. We have become the PUNCHLINE to the jokes, ladies. You’ve seen the shirts, “I drink coffee til it’s acceptable to drink wine.” Maybe at one point it was funny? But many aren’t laughing anymore. They realize they can’t function without it. They’re waking up with the shakes. They’re wondering when they can start drinking again…when is wine o’clock? Can it start sooner because I invited a friend for a play date? “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere,” #amirightladies?! {internally rolling my eyes}

When Amazon decided to start their one hour delivery service, what did they broadcast right away? What was their marketing campaign? “YOU CAN GET WINE ON YOUR DOORSTEP IN AS LITTLE AS ONE HOUR LADIES!!!!” Seriously, google “amazon one hour” and the top two out of three things that pop up are “alcohol delivery” and “delivery wine.” Yall shared the heck out of that with everyone in your feeds, and drove up that SEO. Putty in their hands.

But THIS. This is the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. When I realized that companies were no longer going after womens’ apparel/home goods/decor for their “funny” wine saying, but after our kids’ too…

What in the ACTUAL EFF is going on here?! I’m gonna need someone to explain to me why this is at all cute? And I’m NOT talking about the leg warmers (which we can agree are on point, obvi).

Then there’s this one that my friend Shauna sent me…

“I just love when my mommy dresses me in a onesie that calls me wino AND a snob,” says no baby ever.

And let’s not forget about this one, shall we…?!

Oh yay! You even get get a discount code “HAPPY10″…ironic wording, but who doesn’t love a onesie that says ‘moms are only fun when they’re drunk’…can i get an amen?!

YALL. We have reached a point where companies are putting alcohol on BABY CLOTHING, and people are lapping it up! Would you put cigarettes on a onesie? Then why are we letting THIS happen? And notice they’re targeting our baby girls primarily with this clothing. Women control most of the buying power?!!! Full stop ladies. Full mother effing stop. I’m sad, and I’m mad, and I think you should be too. We need to stop normalizing alcoholism, and set a good example for our children.

Call me a buzzkill, pun intended, but I’m not laughing anymore. Wine should be savored and enjoyed, not depended upon to make life manageable. Spoiler alert: let me tell ya what makes parenting harder…A HANGOVER, BEING TIRED, and FEELING LIKE ISH ALL DAMN DAY. And/or being obsessed with something so much that you’re thinking more about IT than anything else. And I’m #sorrynotsorry but you’re never going to convince me that you actually LOVE the taste of two buck chuck.

To make sure I’m being clear here. I don’t think all people who drink have a problem. I don’t want to ban wine. I think girls nights out are awesome! I love a good cocktail with dinner, a beer at a tailgate, and a mimosa at brunch. I’m not even saying getting drunk is a problem! I’m talking about a culture that glorifies alcohol abuse, and is specifically targeting exhausted moms. We’re being used as pawns in a game, and we’re the ones buying all of the onesies, AND the damn wine. I simply want us to look around and notice the LINK that’s been made between “surviving motherhood and drinking too much wine nightly,” and we’ve let it happen.

We shouldn’t demean motherhood, especially when so many women want to be, and can’t or aren’t. Is motherhood hard? Sure! Do you sometimes feel like you need to do something to remind yourself you’re an adult? Of course! But I can promise you the answer to any problem isn’t found at the bottom of the bottle of wine. Quite the reverse actually. And I’m not going to apologize for being a bit sensitive about it.

I grew up with copious amounts of alcohol at every family function. Life was a big party. My parents were the consummate hosts, and we even had a saying, “if you leave hungry or thirsty, it’s your own damn fault!” And by “thirsty,” we didn’t mean water. And all was well…until it wasn’t anymore. My dad’s party had become an addiction, and he went to detox, largely because of Joshua and subsequently me…with my mom having to make the call.

I cannot shout it loudly enough from the rooftops that my dad is now 13 1/2 years sober, and that he hasn’t relapsed since that day he was driven to detox. It’s a real mind f%$k to see your dad in a hospital gown, shaking from withdrawls. But it’s music to your ears to hear him say “thank you for telling on me.” I was 22 when he got sober, and a few months later, he walked me down the aisle. I’m so damn proud of him.

But know this ladies, your children see you. They’re watching and absorbing everything you do. They hear your words and see your actions, and internalize them more than you may think. I have 8 and 11 year old girls. I need to set the right example. It starts with us, as most things do.

And when we know better, we do better.

I don’t know what the answer is. I am not an addiction specialist, and am not pretending to be one. I certainly can take a joke. But I feel it in my bones that this has simply gone too far. Maybe I’m wrong? But when I get a private message telling me that a person pretends to drink around their family because they’re questioned to death if they don’t have a cocktail in hand, we have created a culture that doesn’t make sense to me. When I decline a drink at a party, and the first comment is “but you have KIDS…how do you NOT drink?!,” I am confused. How do we fix this? I’m all ears.

I briefly mentioned above that I quit drinking this year, and people were shocked to hear I was giving up alcohol for 2017. “But you don’t have a problem?!!!” I heard that one a lot. Some of my closest friends have never even seen me with a buzz, let alone drunk. So yeah, I know I don’t need to stop. But I had the time of my life New Year’s Eve 2016, and felt like my hangover was going to last a lifetime, so I grandly declared on the most official of all places, facebook (#duh), that I was going to be SOBER for ’17! It even had its own hashtag πŸ˜‰

I did it for a couple of reasons…I love a good challenge (I’m competitive even with my own self), I needed a resolution (for once), I thought I’d lose weight (didn’t work), and more. But mostly, because I had seen the shift in society I talked about above, and it was driving me insane. I thought that if I went sober for 2017, maybe other people reading my post would be inspired to do so too? They would see that I’m a mom, with multiple jobs, a crazy life, lots of stress, and yet STILL didn’t NEED to drink to “deal” with it all! That maybe they had been internally contemplating it, but didn’t want to do it alone? I mentioned in the post that if anyone wanted to do it with me, to PM me and I’d support them on the DL. No one took me up on it. Damnit.

But I wasn’t deterred.

And although it was hard at first to say “no thanks!” I got into a rhythm and was drink-free for 7+ months! Now, I’ve promised to always be honest on this blog, so I did have a few drinks on my birthday in August, but I didn’t get drunk! In fact, I fell asleep sans buzz, and woke up feeling awesome! Well, that’s not true. I was allergic to something in the room, and woke up congested and a hot mess of snot, but there was no hangover!!!

I realize that this means I don’t get to say #sober17 anymore (I stopped using the hashtag even).Β I also realize that if I was in an actual recovery program, that I wouldn’t get to decide to just have a few drinks on my birthday…that’s not how it works. But unlike every diet I’ve started, at least I didn’t say, “well I’ve broken my streak, so screw it!” I went right back to saying “no thanks” and haven’t had a drink since that day, and WILL finish out my mission!

My point in telling yall about Sober ’17 is because I wanted you to know that I’m not just talking about the problem I’m seeing, but trying to walk the walk. But also, an important note: those drinks on my birthday had NOTHING to do with my kids, or being a mom. In fact, I was at a local resort with four of my girlfriends, swimming in a pool and getting a facial. Nothing HARD about that day at all, except the already mentioned allergy attack πŸ™‚ The glass of wine I had wasn’t used to cope with life.

I want us to find other things to help cope with the hard, instead of the “Just have a glass of wine! It fixes everything!”

If you need resources to help with alcohol, check out this list. A sober friend of mine also suggests the podcast, Home. If you know of any other great resources, please comment below. Also, I’m curious to hear your thoughts…is anyone else with me on this?! And please share if you’re so inclined. We can’t change the things we aren’t willing to talk about.

Feel free to PIN IT!





You think you know everything about me, huh?!





I was inspired by my friend Chelsea, over at Haute Child in the City, to do a list of ’10 things you don’t know about me’! But this proved to be quite hard for me because as a self-proclaimed “OPEN BOOK” for as long as I can remember, I feel like not much has been left unsaid! LOL! And honestly, if you’ve ever wanted to know something, all you’ve had to do was ask!

But just in case you don’t feel like you know enough, HERE’S EVEN MORE!!! πŸ™‚

  1. I love food. It’s also a huge reason why I gain and lose 40 pounds every few years. I think about it from the moment I wake til the moment I fall asleep, and will often dream about it. I’m not picky about food either, and will try just about anything. What tastes do I hate? Nutmeg, marmalade, and anything obnoxiously slimy. And while I’m on that topic, I LOATHE yogurt with fruit in it. IF IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE SMOOTH, KEEP IT SMOOTH…no chunks, no rogue seeds. Please and thank you.

I’m legit gagging just looking at this pic!

2. What’s my favorite food? Crab legs. I can easily eat 6 pounds in a sitting, which is why ‘all you can eats’ are the only way to maximize my desire for them. I don’t even mess with that 1 pound on a plate BS…THAT’S NOT A “CRAB FEST” RED LOBSTER!!! If we’re talking sweets, I love donuts so freaking much…Duck, Rise, MJ’s, Harris Teeter, Krispy Kreme etc…if the ‘hot light’ is on…I want to be there.

3. I also LOVE olives (all kinds, I’m not picky)…so much so, that I got them in my stocking for Christmas growing up. Why then? Because they were expensive, and my parents didn’t have that kind of money year-round to buy them for me to eat. So Santa would give them to me! πŸ˜‰ Knowing that tradition, Joshua now gets them for me, and every Christmas morning they’re in my stocking. (Say it with me, “AWE!!!!!!!!!”) Which also means that he’s trying to find a grocery store that’s open at 10pm on Christmas Eve to buy said olives πŸ˜‰


4. For as far back as I can remember, I’ve always been “OBSESSED,” and not just in the way the Kardashians say it. πŸ™‚ I was always intrigued by docu-series, and inevitably they’d “educate” me to the point of making me paranoid about something. I became obsessed with washing my hands/spraying down my desks/not touching any door handles/rails, etc. after I watched the one on germs. I also counted every Honda I saw on the road for three years…OUT LOUD. I developed a cough that I had to do every five seconds, or else I would burst (also lasted for years). I would bite all of the skin on the inside of my mouth til it felt totally smooth, except it never would of course (lasted for a decade). For many years, I’d need my hands constantly wet, but I hated the feeling of lotion, so if it had just rained, I was excited to touch every car in the parking lot. I would pick all of the skin off of my feet religiously too. I am SUPER proud to say that the ONLY habit I have left of all of these is my Blistex reliance. Yes, I rely on it. But it hurts NO ONE, and it’s cheap, so I’m not giving it up! Do I realize that I probably had some OCD tendencies, that probably at some point needed medical help? OF COURSE! But look at how I’m doing now?!!! πŸ˜‰

5. On a serious note, speaking of things that needed medical intervention, I had an eating disorder for many years (also watched a docu-series on this), and I probably used everything in #4 as a distraction/to cover up the real issue I was hiding. I was anorexic and bulimic, anorexic for all of 8th grade and parts of my high school life, and bulimic in college. It lasted for about six years on and off, and all came to a head at Appalachian State University when I was on the cheerleading squad. I got busted by some dorm mates, and they confided in some people, and those people told the coach. I was asked to leave the squad, and go get the “help” I needed. I was in group therapy (don’t recommend), individual therapy (with a dude…don’t recommend), and saw a nutritionist. I played along, and tried to get better, but wasn’t getting very far. Then I met Joshua, and all seemed right with the world finally, and I stopped disordering almost immediately, and haven’t relapsed since. He better never leave me…NO PRESSURE JOSHUA! πŸ˜‰

6. Growing up, I LOVED to watch infomercials, and LOVED to watch QVC. I am such a sucker, because I felt like those peeps were talking DIRECTLY TO ME!!! Mission accomplished tv hosts! I don’t know how many Christmases I asked for a food dehydrator, simply because I wanted to make beef jerky! It’s also a HUGE reason why I went to school for broadcasting. I wanted to be one of them more than life itself. Or a host of ‘Regis and Miranda,’ E! News Daily, The Today Show, or Trading Spaces! I even applied to host that show once πŸ˜‰ I can still get sucked in to a QVC broadcast if I’m not careful, but at least this time, I don’t beg my mom to order me the TODAY’S SPECIAL VALUE!!!

7. I haven’t seen any movies that were put out before I became an adult. Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration, but not by much. We weren’t allowed to watch movies growing up…for no specific reason other than my parents wanted us to be OUT of the house, not IN the house. It was also expensive to take us to the movies, so we didn’t go. The exceptions were Batman, and Batman Returns (I don’t know why). This includes Disney movies yall! I saw The Lion King at a friend’s house or else who knows when I would’ve finally watched it?! To this day, I haven’t seen Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Top Gun, all of the Star Wars pre 2015, The Goonies (I’ve since tried and just CAN’T), ET, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Back to the Futures, Scarface, Indiana Jones’, and the list goes on forever! NOW that I get to make my own decisions, movies are a favorite past time of mine and we go A LOT.

8. What we WERE allowed to watch growing up was JEOPARDY! Yep! We were always allowed to watch JEOPARDY, which means that I’m extremely good at trivia, but a master at nothing πŸ˜‰ I still LOVE to watch it any chance I can, but fully realize I’d never be smart enough to be on it.

9. I secretly want to be a comedienne (watch my Instastories and you’ll see the stage show ;)). But my stage fright would prevent me from ever seeing this to fruition, plus my fun friend, self doubt πŸ˜‰ I’ll say this though…if I ever even got the courage to attend a comedy class, and for some reason decided to step foot on a stage, NO ONE in my life would know about it until I became a huge star. Then I’d let everyone in on the fact that I’m killing the comedy game, and they can get seats for my special that I’m obviously taping for Comedy Central. And I realize having stage fright doesn’t seem like “me” because I’m an emcee, on television a lot, and do speaking engagements often. But comedy is a whole ‘nother ballgame (as is karaoke).

10. I’ve wanted to be a surrogate for seven or so years. Ever since I had Lilly (our second who is 8 years old), and we knew she was our last kiddo, I wanted to help others who couldn’t have babies. I wanted to be a gustational surrogate, which means it’s the other couple’s egg and sperm (or a donor’s), not mine or Joshua’s. I have extremely easy/uneventful pregnancies, and I was watching so many friends close to me go through infertility. I knew I could carry a child, and “give it up” to its parents without issue, because 1. it’s not my baby, 2. I didn’t get super attached to my own children in vitro 3. it’s not my baby 4. it’s a contractual agreement that everyone enters together 5. it’s not my baby. (Did I make the point that’s it’s not MY baby?) It’s an intense process full of ups and downs, highs and lows, and I actually have offered a few of my friends my uterus. But the couples all ended up getting pregnant on their own (which is awesome)!!! I doubt it’s still in the cards for me to do (being a mom of two, a nanny of two, and a guardian of four keeps my life ever-changing as it is), but it’s on my heart for sure, and always will be!

So now that I’ve shared a TON of personal information about myself, share something about you in the comments, so I can feel less vulnerable πŸ˜‰ PRETTY PLEASE…don’t make me beg πŸ™‚ If enough people play along, I’ll do another list because as I was writing this, I realized there’s plenty more to share!

PIN IT!




Can kindness be the super hero this Halloween?




It’s that time of year again. You know the time. When people complain about kids who don’t live near them, or kids who don’t live in their neighborhood, coming to their house to ask for a PIECE OF CANDY. Yep, I’m referring to the Halloween Haters.

I know. I know. You live in the huge, popular neighborhood (Baxter Village, Willowmere, Providence Plantation), where you not only have to provide candy to your regular neighborhood kids, but also to kids who DON’T LIVE THERE.

{Here is where I’m supposed to loudly gasp with disgust}

Oh yeah. Except, I’m not disgusted by it. And maybe that’s because I don’t live in the big neighborhood, so I’m not forking over the added cost of feeding children for ONE NIGHT A YEAR. But I just can’t imagine that I would be as livid and as rude as I’ve seen some people be on social media about this. Actually, I know I wouldn’t be like that because I believe the more the merrier, and that we belong to each other, but I digress. Yes, I see your posts/comments. Fun fact: Your comments are seen by your friends’ friends. Yes, I think it’s crazy you’re upset.

I actually saw where a woman had typed,Β “I think they’re BUSING the poor kids in from miles away!” Or this gem, “I’ve never been a fan of people who go to other neighborhoods to trick or treat.” And another facebooker said, “I’m sick of paying for the extra mouths of the kids I don’t see in our neighborhood on a daily basis…I spent an extra $100 last year!”

WOW.

Let me mention this, in case you’ve forgotten, or it hasn’t dawned on you. Not every kid lives in a neighborhood. Some live on a busy street with no sidewalk. Not every kid lives near other homes. The next closest home might be 5 miles away. Not every kid lives near people who participate in Halloween. Not every kid lives in a SAFE neighborhood where they can walk outside (before OR after dark) and knock on unfamiliar doors, knowing they won’t be in danger.

NOT EVERY KID HAS WHAT YOUR KID HAS…a neighborhood, filled with homes that are warm and welcoming. Or maybe they aren’t, huh?! So I BEG YOU, before you complain AGAIN this year about this “problem,” keep some perspective. You have to buy extra candy, and see some unfamiliar faces, for a few hours on ONE night out of 365. But you may just make a kid’s (or many kids) day, week, or possibly life.

Because these are memories that can last a lifetime. Not just from the Halloween standpoint. But maybe they’ll notice that strangers were kind to them? Maybe they’ll get candy for the first time in a long time, because their parents struggle to get dinner on the table, let alone the “extras” like candy/pencils/stickers/treats?! Or maybe they just really love the decorations your neighborhood puts on display, where their home has none to look at? Maybe they just want to have carefree FUN for one night, and your neighborhood provides that for them?

Sure, there are probably some ungrateful, rude, disrespectful bad eggs in the bunch. But that goes for any neighborhood in America, and I can assure you that some of those rude kids LIVE in your neighborhood FYI! And even if they don’t, why punish the good kids because of a few?

So I ask you, is it really THAT big of a deal? Is it really THAT hard to give them a treat without being bitter? Is it really worth saying anything unkind about them, or their parents who may drive them there?!

And while I’m on the topic of giving out candy even when you don’t want to…give it to the dang teenagers and kids who didn’t put on a costume. I’m thrilled to pieces that they still want to get out there and walk door to door. I also don’t know their motives behind collecting the candy. I know of a few dentist offices that have a “buy back” program, where they’ll give you cash for your pounds of candy, and then they ship that candy to troops overseas! I call that hustling at its finest πŸ˜‰ Or maybe they’re not getting enough food at home, and haven’t eaten since their free lunch at school? Do they have sensory issues and costumes just don’t work for them, as it’s tough enough to just get them dressed in pants with buttons on them? Does it really bother you THAT MUCH if they’re “too old” or “not dressed up,” or are you “supposed” to be pissed?

Here’s an idea…try not to be annoyed. Instead, feel gratitude. Be appreciative that you live in such a wonderful neighborhood, that people WANT to be in it. Because, if you love all of the perks (fun, safety, decor, kindness) of where you live, how can you expect others not to notice, and want the same, for even just one night?

Or there’s always this idea…turn off the light, don’t answer the door, save all of your money, and don’t see any of the joy you could’ve brought to many faces. Like these…

 

 

 

Throwing back to 2015 I think?!

Let’s have kindness be the superhero this Halloween, shall we?!