What I Do When I Am Child-Free

My three girls went to NY for the weekend to have some quality time with my family. I met my mom in PA on Friday and am picking them up on Sunday afternoon. This has never happened while I was off of work, probably because I am only off of work once a year basically. When my mom asked to have the girls for the weekend my mind raced with the endless possibilities as to what I would do not only child-free but also off of work. Shopping, binge watching Gilmore Girls, lounging with a margarita, gardening… what to do??

Well this is what I did:

  1. I came home and promptly realized that Amelia and Moira’s room is a complete disaster area. Seriously, these two girls are dirt collecting, stuffed animal hoarding, clothes piling little fiends wrapped up in cuteness. So not only did I clean their room but I rearranged it so that the beds and the dresser have new homes.
  2. Well because I cleaned up the hoarders, I mean my darling daughters’, room I had piles of laundry to do so I started some, cleaned up around the washer and dryer, wiped down the table where the cats eat, threw out some empty containers.. ya know, lol, just went down to do laundry!
  3. I cooked myself a yummy dinner of dill tilapia and broccoli, while that was cooking I did the dishes, cleaned the counters, and tidied up the kitchen.
  4. I finally realized that it was late and no more cleaning was required. So I binge watched some Gilmore Girls and painted my nails, then went to bed.
  5. Saturday morning I woke up bright and early to lots and lots of dog puke. Apparently Spooky had an upset stomach… enough said. Big dogs equal lots and lots of puke.
  6. I headed to Target (yay!!!) for some more cleaning supplies and to browse at my leisure while being kid-free. It was glorious. Made even more glorious by the iced coconut milk mocha macchiato.
  7. Came home and gave the dogs water… which ended up with more puke… ugh!
  8. Klint and I then headed out to run some errands and eat lunch at one of my favorite places- Slymans… how did I not know how awesome corned beef is until recently? I managed to convince Klint to take me to Michaels and Anthropologie too while we were out so major win!
  9. We came home, Klint had to go to bed for work, and I decided to cook Spooky some chicken broth and rice. (My tried and true solution to dog puke)
  10. My final act of the night was cleaning out my awesome blue Ikea cart and organizing it. It was a mishmash of nail polish, Posh products, craft supplies… topped with cat hair.

Here are some pics of my adventures… not the puke because that would be gross!

Tomorrow is my last morning child-free…. who knows what I will do?!



The Big 1-2!

IMG_6786 copy
How Gabby greets each day =)

Today my oldest is officially 12. How?? Seriously people,. yesterday she was learning how to ride a bike and teaching herself to read!

Gabby is a super silly, extremely responsible, interesting and unique kid. She knows what she likes and sticks to it, not caring if it isn’t the popular thing. She finds kids who are in need of a friend and befriends them, caring only that people aren’t lonely because they are different. She cares about animals, especially dogs, and hasn’t swayed from the idea of becoming a dog trainer and an artist. German Shepherds are her favorite dog breed, she melts when she sees them! Legos, Five Nights at Freddys, Jurassic Park & World… these are her favorite things. IMG_5400


I am so proud of how mature Gabby is. Klint and I have a lot of overlapping job obligations and so Gabby has picked up the slack a lot and watches her sisters almost every day for a little bit. (She gets a generous allowance as compensation for this, her time is worth something and it is important that she recognizes this) She also has become a really great cook and makes a lot of meals for the family. I love seeing her get excited about learning a new recipe!

I can’t wait to see what this year brings for my oldest girl, more opportunities to learn and grow for sure!


The Art of Organization

I have tried many ways of organizing my life, not that my life is unorganized, on the contrary I am really on top of things. But I strongly feel that if anyone were to look inside my brain there would be over 100 tabs open, a calendar color-coded with my life, a huge playlist of my current favorite songs, a cookbook, photo album, etc. I keep it all up there and rarely write anything down. This however, is exhausting! And I realize that as I get older and as I take on more and more projects, as I am apt to do, I need to find a system for organizing my life.

This is not the first time that I have attempted to find a system for keeping track of my life. I have tried Project Life, which appealed to the visual side of my nature. It was pretty, involved the multitudes of photos that I take daily, and was affordable. However, printing out all those pictures took a hit on my printer and it involved a lot of extras- markers, tape, scrapbooking elements, page holders, embellishments… just a lot of stuff….

I have this cart and this is pretty much what it looked like when I was on my Project Life kick. 

So I abandoned that after a few months. And I resumed my brain hoarding method. Then I started seeing these beautiful planners on my Pinterest feed. Lovely, organized, simple but colorful planners. These appealed to the structured side of my nature, the calendar was already there, the index and pages were already there.


However, this involved a lot of stuff too. Sticked to buy or print out, which being a graphic designer was fun until I realized all the money I was saving in printing my own stickers was killing my ink. And there were tons of pages that I didn’t use, which made me feel like I wasn’t using the planner well, which made me give that up after about a month. I seriously didn’t even think to pick it up and use it… plus it was big and bulky, didn’t fit in my purse, and therefore I resorted back to making lists on my phone or just keeping everything in my head.

Sigh. So two fairly expensive organization methods down the drain. But I am not going to give up. There has to be a method of organization that fits my crazy brain, one that is easily customizable but has some structure, allows for creativity but won’t cost an arm in ink or embellishments. And I actually think I may have found it. (Maybe, we will see!)

Enter the Bullet Journaling! The best way to explain it is to show you the video here. And here is a variation (and prettier version) of the layout you can create.

image credit: hannahemilylane.com

I like that you only need a notebook and a pen. Sure you can add color, washi tape (who doesn’t love washi tape?!), etc… but it is definitely not necessary to have a pretty organizer. Like doodling? This method is for you! Like lists? Check! Like map symbols, indexes, and graphs? Yup! And best of all, you create the pages so there are no blank pre-made pages that will lay guilt on you.

So this is my project for the weekend to get done. in preparation for my upcoming dance season where I will be teaching at two studios, hopefully be in a musical, and will be preparing to enter back into academia for my masters degree. On top of homeschooling, belonging to two different homeschool co-ops, and trying to maintain my sanity through happy hour with friends.

If you are curious about Bullet Journaling too, here is a list of some resources I am looking at for guidance:

I will be sure to post some pics as soon as I set up my journal!!!


My Mighty Girls

Moira Malala

Moira: “Mommy, can you make me look like Malala?”


Yesterday we went to the beach where there was an incident that really upset Gabby and I. At this particular beach there is a break wall and on the other side it is as shallow as on the beach side. Gabby, being almost 12 and a great swimmer asked if she could go on the other side. I said yes, knowing that she doesn’t go far out and that the water wasn’t rough or dangerous- plus I was keeping an eye on all three. However, a second later she came back and said that a man told her she couldn’t go there. I told her that that was nonsense and to  go back, but she refused, stating- “But he said no.” I asked why he said she couldn’t go there and it was not for her safety but because “it was set a bad example for his kids who wanted to go there!!! I sat in stunned silence for a moment, then I exploded. How dare this man restrict my girl simply because he didn’t want to deal with parenting his kids?! So I jumped up, walked her to the edge of the water and watched her go past the rocks. Sure enough, as soon as she crossed the break wall, the man’s daughter (who was much younger than Gabby) pointed to her and his head whipped around in preparation to yell at her again. However, me being in full on Mama Bear mode, yelled to him that not only did she have my permission, but that she shouldn’t have to limit herself because his kids weren’t allowed to go there. He tried to argue with me, and even after I walked back to my blanket he was glaring at both Gabby and I.

That incident upset me for a whole other reason than the obvious fact that some random guy tried to tell my kid what she could or couldn’t do for his own convenience. It upset me more that Gabby blindly listened to him, without challenging who he was or question his motives for telling her no. We had a long, deep conversation at the larger meaning behind her blindly listening to a stranger. Someone who wasn’t a police officer or a fire fighter, looking out for her safety. We talked about why kids get tricked into dangerous situations by blindly listening to grownups, the importance of listening to your “tummy voice”, and that it is ok to ask questions and to get help if you don’t feel safe- even with someone you know.

I’m sure that this incident will lead to many more conversations, but necessary ones because I’d rather have my girls get in trouble for standing up for themselves than get in even more trouble for blindly listening. I want my mighty girls to have a strong voice, inside and out, that will help them navigate this world where women are blamed for their own rape and told that their worth lies in how they are viewed by men. I want them to push and push, talk back, question, be loud, take up space, be fearless. And most importantly, I want to set an example for them by doing the same!


Words to Live By


I don’t journal, but if I did I would write this. I try to go to bed every night with positive, happy thoughts, full of good intentions. If something is bothering me I visualize putting it in a drawer and shutting the drawer, putting it aside until the next day where I can actually do someone about whatever it is. Most of the time it works and I sleep pretty soundly, no matter if the problem is too big or small. Once in awhile it takes multiple drawer slams to really put it aside, I have to visualize the details of the drawer and the way the problem folds into itself to let the drawer close. But, I am a very determined visualizer!

I like reading quotes like these- inspiring quotes that are actually good advice. They remind me to take care of myself, that it is ok to indulge myself in little ways, that sometimes I am going to make mistakes but that it is ok. There is always another day to start rebuilding and making better choices. I like quotes that tell me to put my hair up in a bun and put on some gangster rap, to get shit done. And I also like quotes that remind me that flowers can grow where they are planted, to go on adventures, to be a mermaid and make my days sparkle.

Journaling isn’t for me, but pinning wonderful quotes like these certainly is!




This Just Pinned


Here are some things that I have pinned this week!


Apparently some 90’s fashion trends are making a comeback and one that I am excited for are pretty, silky camisole tops. I love the color of this top and paired with a pair of jeans it will look hot!


There is something about this artist’s work that just speaks to my heart. It is light and happy, colorful and full of positivity! Did I mention she also makes greeting cards?! You can find her shops here and here!


I have been tossing around the idea of getting another tattoo, this time on my foot. I love this simple but eye-catching mermaid inspired design, plus I can play with the colors!!


On that note, I have been also been trying to resist the urge to chop all my hair off. Really trying… isn’t this so cute?! It is perfect and and oh so cute for my face and hair type. But I am lazy and love tossing my hair up in a bun when it’s misbehaving so I will just keep pinning cool hairstyles on Pinterest.


The only thing I love more than Hamilton are jokes involving the Hamilton cast, especially King George!


I adore all things strawberry and have been thinking about making something similar to this for myself as a lap blanket. It would be so warm and lovely!

So there ya go! And of course I still and pinning tons of pics of Goldendoodles so I will just leave you here with this!



Thoughts While Driving To Buffalo

I drive to the Western NY area frequently because that is where I am from and where my family still lives (despite me pestering everyone to move to the great state of Ohio!). It is only about 3.5 hours from Cleveland to WNY, an easy drive on one highway that is often very picturesque. But because I have been an Ohioan for all my adult life, there are a lot of differences that I am starting to see between my two home states, and because I have a lot of time to think, here is a running train of thought from this past weekend’s drive:

  • Why do people from Ohio ride your tail, when it is so much easier to just go around the slow people?
  • Do people in Ohio think I am a crazy driver because I change lanes so much?
  • I wish that more people would know about the greatness of Aunt Rosie’s Loganberry…
  • … and Salem HotDogs…
  • …. and serving blue cheese, carrots, and celery with wings, no matter where you get them from.
  • I forgot how much Canadian money gets mixed into the US money when in WNY.
  • OMG I forgot how much better KISS 98.5 is than most of the Cleveland stations!!
  • Does anyone every get offended by the big Native American statue in Irving? 611115_1
  • Why is there a radio commercial for a strip club for women airing at 5pm? Oh great, now I have to explain what that is because AJ got excited thinking it was a candy store… (The commercial was for Peppermints, in Canada)
  • The malls here are so crowded! It’s like everyday is Black Friday at the Walden Galleria! Don’t you people have someplace to be?!
  • Beef on weck… I need to introduce this to Cleveland!rfl_x176
  • I’m starting to think I only come back home for the food…
  • Why is gas so much more in NY? Seriously people, it’s over a $.50 difference most times!
  • Ok, I’m starting to think I drive more like an Ohioan now, people are flying by me!
  • When people say “the city” here I automatically think Cleveland now, not NYC or Buffalo.
  • No carwash beats Delta Sonic… best car washes ever!
  • Holy Cow the Boulevard is crowded! When the heck did all these shopping plazas get put in?!
  • I think I am spoiled by the lack of people everywhere in Cleveland… our malls and major roads are barren in comparison!
  • People are actually talking to me about Cleveland like being from there is an awesome thing… that’s a change!
  • I can’t wait to get back home, where I know the roads and suburbs better, driving here is way stressful!

So that is a little peek into my brain when I am driving in NY… all of that in about a minute or so! For those of you who have moved states, is it a culture shock for you to go home ever?