• Daily Life,  Family Health

    To The Mom With A Crazy Toxic Mom

    I don’t know who needs to hear this but I know that I am not alone + this might just help another mom out there get through it.

    Toxic Mom Syndrome

    I always knew my mom was a little off. She definitely wasn’t like all of my friends’ moms or my cousins’ moms. When you’re growing up, it’s all you know, so you think it’s normal.

    Even as you become an adult, you think that she’s your mom so you’re just supposed to put up with whatever she tosses your way.

    You know what?

    You don’t have to just take it.

    She doesn’t get to say + do whatever she wants just because she is your mom.

    In a timely event, I ran across an article, Why It’s Okay to Cut Toxic Family Members Out Of Your Life.

    The article talks about the signs of a toxic family member + sadly my mom exhibits all of these traits.T

    I Don’t Want To Be A Toxic Mom

    The hardest part for me is not the emotional + verbal abuse that I take from her. Nope. I can handle it. I’m an adult (at least I am supposed to be at 43).

    The hardest part for me is that I sometimes see myself or hear myself being like her + sadly, the last thing I want in the world is to be like her.

    I truly have to make a concerted + conscious effort every day to be nothing like her.

    Some days I pass with flying colors + other days I fail miserably. I tell you what I am going to do, however. I’m going to make it my life’s goal to have more days where I pass with flying colors + fewer + fewer days where I fail miserably.

    I Put Up With It For My Kids

    If it weren’t for my three girls, I wouldn’t have anything to do with her. I know that probably makes me sound like I am the crazy one. I probably am.

    I probably should shield them from it all.

    When I am wandering through this great big world + I find that I am having a problem with this person + that I am complaining about that person + then silently give another driver the finger because he’s driving like a crazy person, I stop.

    I quickly realize that it cannot be everyone else in the world that’s wrong so it has to be me. When you have legal issues, anger issues + just plain old issues with everyone you encounter, it’s not all of them, it’s you.

    My mom has legal + personal issues with just about everyone + every transaction she encounters. Her last two jobs, before she retired early, she had lawsuits against.

    In an unsurprising twist of fate, she + my dad apparently bought a home recently + had a huge problem with the builder so they were bashing the builder all over Facebook.

    When they lived in Florida, they had a problem with their friends that lived across the street so they stopped talking to them.

    When they had a house in Tennessee, they had a legal problem with their friends that were also their neighbors so they settled out of court with them, sold their house + moved.

    When she goes to a restaurant, there’s almost always a problem with the person taking the order at the counter or waitperson.

    When she has to go to the doctor or dentist or [insert professional here], she has a problem with the receptionist, one of the nurses, or the doctor, or [insert a person she encounters].

    My Dad Is Collateral Damage

    My dad is collateral damage from her behavior. I can empathize because I think, like me, he sort of thinks that this is just the way it is. The sad truth is that it doesn’t have to be.

    She spins these tales that are a completely warped sense of reality — from what really happened. He, then goes along with it.

    When I respond to her text message, she comprehends it as the exact opposite of what I actually typed — in writing. Then she is on the attack. She calls me names. She says nasty things to me. She starts demanding things.

    It’s mind-blowing. I have reached the point that I’ve had enough. I have officially cut them off. While this is one of the saddest things I ever have done in my life, it is also FREEING.

    The stress + negativity is gone from my home + my life (at least the stress she was causing). I don’t worry every time I get a text message that it is her on the attack once again. I have also discovered via Facebook groups, Reddit + a myriad of other places + groups that I am definitely not the only one with a toxic mom.

    And, neither are you, my mommy friend.

    So in some ways, while I wish I were the only one with a toxic mom, I know I’m not. I know that there is at least one other mom out there, reading posts from her friends on how wonderful their mothers are + how they aspire to be half as great as them, that doesn’t feel that way about her mother.

    I don’t feel that way either, girl. While I don’t know you, while I’m probably not in the same city as you, I know exactly how you feel + I’m sad for you like I’m sad for myself.

    I also know that you don’t have to take it + the best thing for you might be to cut her out of your life. Just know that you’re not alone.

    There are others like you in this world.

  • Easter for Girls,  Gifts for Girls,  Holidays for Girls

    12 Non-Toy Easter Basket Ideas for Girls

    I’m in never-ending clean out mode. My girls seem to accumulate so much crap, for lack of a better term.

    I’ve taken on the mission of getting rid of all the extraneous stuff to give them gifts that are NOT toys. This can get especially tricky for Easter baskets because along with the no-toy goal, I also try to cut back on the sweets + candy junk.

    Here are some non-toy + non-candy Easter basket gift ideas for girls:

    1. Personalized Towels

    Each girl is getting her own personalized bath towel. I’ll have the Etsy seller embroider her name on the towel. These are full size bath towels since all three girls are getting too long for the cute little hooded kid towels.

    2. Mermaid Blankets with Doll Mermaid Blanket

    My girls each have a blanket (affectionately known as their Bs) that they sleep with. When it’s time for lounging on the couch or floor in the living room, I’m adding a mermaid tail blanket with a matching one for their dolls.

    3. Tickets

    I’ve been giving all three girls more experience gifts, too. I haven’t decided which experience is going to land in their Easter baskets but past experience gifts were tickets to Bubble Guppies Live + Toddler Tea Time at our local tea place, Tea with Mrs. B.

    4. Water Bottle

    My girls are also at the ages where they need nicer water bottles than the average sippy cup. The two older ones take them to school for snack + lunch. Something along the lines of Camelbak for kids but I haven’t decided if that is going to be the one that actually goes into the basket yet.

    5. Lessons

    Give the gift of lessons or a class that your little girl would enjoy. Ice skating, painting, dance or a sport are all options.

    6. Gardening Supplies

    Spring is just around the corner so it’s a great time to give a gardening kit to your girls. A little bag with gardening tools, packets of seeds + bulbs for planting are all great gardening supplies for girls.

    7. Alarm Clock

    My oldest gets up for Kindergarten + the middle daughter goes to preschool. Both are obsessed with alarm clocks so they know when it’s morning + time to get up.

    8. Audiobooks

    We’re a family that loves to read. We have shelves + shelves of adult + children’s books. We don’t necessarily need any more at this point so we’ve started using audiobooks for the kids.

    They can listen to them on their iPads. There’s a sleeping one that they love + does help to calm them before going to sleep.

    9. A Swoop Bag

    I usually use a garbage bag (I know, bad Mommy) but a swoop bag makes cleanup fun for the kids. They can easily scoop up the toys that are scattered ALL. OVER. THE. FLOOR. + store them until it’s time to scatter them again.

    Most swoop bags double as play mats so they can technically play on the mat when it’s open, draw string the toys inside when they’re done + store it away. In theory, anyway 🙂

    10. Bird Feeder + Seed

    Spring means birds are returning from the South (as a Florida girl, I wish I was returning from the South, too). Give the kids a bird feeder that they can hang from a tree or one that sticks to the outside of a window.

    Supply them with seed to add to the feeder. You can even buy craft kids so the kids can make their own bird feeders.

    11. Subscription Boxes

    Give the gift of a subscription. Of course, choose subscription boxes that don’t send toys but instead send knowledge or experiences (such as Little Passports or Green Kid Crafts).

    12. Mommy + Me Nail Polish

    My girls (+ I) love to get our nails done. We mostly paint them at home so a Mommy + Me nail polish set is a great Easter basket idea for girls.

  • Daily Life

    5 Ways To Easier Laundry When You Have Girls

    With three girls, we seem to have a lot of wardrobe changes on a daily basis. It makes doing laundry quite interesting. I set out on a mission to tackle laundry the simplest + quickest ways possible.

    This is how I do it:

    Don’t Sort

    Yes, you read that right. I do not sort laundry by color, whites, etc. The exception to this is anything that needs to be hand washed or goes into the gentle cycle (but I try to avoid buying clothes that fit these requirements).

    I scoop up one big pile of laundry, shove it in the wash + start it.

    When it’s done, it all goes into the dryer, gets folded or hung up + put away.

    By Person

    Put a basket or hamper in their room for each person. When the basket fills up, take that load to the washer. Then, dry it, fold it + put it away.

    This can be a HUGE time saver because you don’t have to sort as you fold + put on hangers because the entire basket/load belongs to the same person.

    Put Away As Is

    I don’t turn things right side out. If it goes into the laundry inside out then it gets put away inside out.

    I also don’t match socks up + then put them away. If there is a solo sock, it goes into the sock drawer. When I locate the pair, I match it in the drawer. Sometimes my girls just wear mismatched socks 🙂

    I hear that’s in now anyway.

    Enlist the Kids

    My older two are at an age where they think it’s kind of fun to put away laundry. This phase probably won’t last long so I’m taking advantage of it while I can.

    While I am folding their laundry, I hand them a small stack of one category (such as socks) + then tell them to put these in the sock drawer or whatever drawer it is.

    Then they come back for another round.

    Put Clothes Directly in the Washer

    As everyone undresses, take the pile + put it directly in the washer. When the washer is full enough for a load, start it.

    Wash, Dry + Put Away At The Same Time

    This is probably the most challenging if you’re easily distracted by shiny object syndrome like I am (+ by this I mean all the fun stuff like changing diapers, making endless snacks + trying to fit in a shower for myself).

    Put a load in the washer. When it’s done, move it to the dryer. When it’s done, put it away.

    This helps to keep the laundry from piling up (either dirty or clean).

    One or all of these tips can really take the load off of doing laundry. Pun intended.

  • Book Reviews

    The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

    This blog post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission to fund my coffee drinking habit if you use these links to make a purchase. It does not cost you anything extra +  you’ll keep me supplied in caffeine. It’s a win for everyone, really.

    The last book I read for my moms’ book club was The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. In fact, we met just last night to discuss it.

    Book Overview

    The book is about an old Hollywood Star Evelyn Hugo + how her life intersects with a magazine writer that she commissions to write her tell-all life story.

    Evelyn takes us back into old Hollywood (the 1950s + 1960s’ Hollywood). She reveals her secrets + the secrets of the rich + famous as she introduces each of her seven husbands to Monique.

    The entire time Monique is sitting there taking in Evelyn’s life story, while she is mesmerized by it, she is also wondering why someone so famous has chosen her to write her life story.

    It’s a mystery that is not solved until the end + it is quite a twist.

    At first glance, the title might just make you think of Elizabeth Taylor. She did, after all, have 7 husbands, right?

    There might be a little bit of a connection. One of the moms was saying last night that some of the descriptions in the book mirror real-life celebrities of old Hollywood, such as Marilyn Monroe + Elizabeth Taylor.

    The Good

    I thought this book was an easy read. I only get to read for a little while before I go to sleep at night. I looked forward to picking up the book each night + getting through at least 1-2 chapters without a problem.

    The glitz + glam of Hollywood is alluring to many of us. This book revealed tons of behind-the-scenes secrets that make you wonder just how much of what we see on TV + the Internet is true + how much is fabricated.

    The writing is good so the author kept me coming back for me. She kept me wondering what was going to happen next. When it ended, she made me want to read one of her other books (which I have on hold at the library right now as we speak).

    The Bad + The Ugly

    For one of the only times in my life, I don’t really have anything bad or ugly to say about this book. As I mentioned earlier, one of the moms thought it mirrored real-life movie stars a little too closely at the opening of the book, BUT even she admitted she got over it + loved the book by the end, too.

    To Sum It Up

    If I had to sum it up in one word, I’d pick L-O-V-E.

    I highly recommend this book. It would make a great beach read for vacation but is equally as fab for a I’m-a-mom-and-only-get-to-read-a-chapter-a-night-before-I-go-to-sleep-read.

    Grade: A+

    Also look out for Taylor’s (I feel like we should be on a first name basis) other novels:

    Daisy Jones & The Six, Maybe in Another Life, Evidence of the Affair, Forever Interrupted.

  • Mommy Works At Home

    How You Can Boost Traffic To Your Mom Blog Today

    In 2008, I left the corporate world to start my freelance writing business full time.

    The main reason I did this is because I knew that one day I wanted to have a family + writing from home would afford me the opportunity to do what I love (to write) + stay home with my kids.

    It wouldn’t be until 2013 that I had my first daughter. So for 7 years, freelance writing from home was my full-time gig. It paid the bills. It made me happy.

    I’ve written countless blog posts for other people’s blogs + blog posts for companies + businesses (all for money, of course). I’ve had different blogs of my own over the years, too.

    Right now, I have three blogs:

    I’ve been running my Wedding Planner Copy blog for a couple years now. I am happy with my pageviews per month but I am always testing out strategies to improve the quality of the wedding pros that land on my blog.

    In December 2018, I started this blog (Girl Mom Chaos) + interestingly enough, one of the strategies I use has produced more pageviews than the Wedding Planner Copy blog does after two years of being up + running.  

    (Although, I started using the same strategy for the Wedding Planner Copy blog + am now seeing similar results.)

    Here’s what I did:

    1. I focused on one social media platform

    Social media is where it’s at, right?

    Well, I picked one platform + I gave it my all. That platform is PINTEREST.

    What you might not know is that Pinterest works more like a search engine than a social media platform so it is second only to Google for searches!

    In one month, I had 39k views. Now, I have 100k views + the blog is only two months old.

    Are there other Pinterest accounts that have more?

    Of course.

    BUT…39k views in one month is HUGE. + to get to a 100k in just a couple of months is ah-mazing.

    My Wedding Planner Copy Pinterest account had 19k views per month in December. Now it has 46k.

    Let that sink in for a second. Pinterest is HUGE in gaining quality attention + then driving those quality visitors to your blog/website. Pinterest is my #1 traffic source for both my wedding copy blog + my mom blog.

    Over 90% of my social traffic comes from my pins on Pinterest. If you haven’t tapped into the potential that Pinterest has for growing your mom blog, check out my article How to Use Pinterest for Your Mom Blog

    If you want to automate your Pinterest efforts so you have more time to focus on other platforms, run your mom blog + well, be a mom, check out Tailwind.

    It is the only scheduler that is Pinterest approved. Tailwind is what I’ve been using + I believe it has allowed me to take my mom blog to the next level in just one short month. 

    2. I focused on my content

    Take a step back for one second.

    The only way I was able to figure out that Pinterest is the biggest source of traffic for both of my blogs is because I created stellar content for both that I was then able to pin on Pinterest.

    After I hit the publish button on any of my blog posts, the first thing I do is schedule that content to be pinned to my Pinterest boards.

    If you’re interested in learning how to create stellar content to share on Pinterest, check out my Mommy Business Blogging ebook.

    It takes you step-by-step through the process of writing stellar blog posts + then how to promote those posts to attract the right visitors to your mommy business.

    3. I am engaging more with my dream readers 

    When I started engaging with my readers on social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter + Instagram, it also made a HUGE difference in my blog traffic, blog comments + more.

    I take the time to respond to people’s questions + comments on my blog posts or social media posts. I start conversations on Twitter. I am active in the RIGHT Facebook groups.

    All of this is helping me to attract quality traffic to both of my blogs.

    Want to tap into my complete blog traffic growth strategy?
    These are just a few of the tips + tricks that I’ve learned in my attempt to boost the traffic to my blogs. 

    I perfected a step-by-step blueprint to help mommy bloggers that want to create stellar content + then use that content to drive traffic to their blog + website.

    If you don’t know where to begin with blogging for your mommy biz or you’re struggling to increase your numbers, build a loyal following for your blog + convert those followers into business The Mommy Business Blogging Ebook is the perfect resource to help you understand what you’re missing + give you the tips, tricks + tools to make a difference!

    Start your blogging journey with me!

    Haven’t started a mommy business blog yet (or you’re still operating on a free platform) but you’re ready to become a pro? Find out how to start a profitable blog:

    Download my guide on Setting Up A Mommy Business Blog

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    Enroll in my free course Learn to Blog Your Mommy Blog to More Business

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  • Mommy Works At Home

    How to Use Pinterest for Your Mom Blog

    Pinterest is a BIGGIE. If you’re not familiar with Pinterest, all it really is is an electronic bulletin board where you can pin the ideas you come across so you can access them later.

    Pinterest is a Search Engine

    Here’s the thing about Pinterest, though. While it seems like it’s just a big electronic bulletin board, it’s really a search engine.

    In fact, it’s the second largest search engine (ONLY second to Google).

    This has a lot of implications for your mom blog, but essentially, if you manage it right (with SEO, etc.) when you pin your posts to Pinterest, you have the opportunity for search engines like Google to rank your Pinterest pins + you have the opportunity for your audience that is searching on Pinterest to find your post pins.

    How Pinterest Can Work for Your Mom Blog

    Super quick example. For all three of my daughters’ first birthdays, I POURED over hundreds (if not thousands) of party themes + ideas. I planned all three of their parties from Pinterest pins.

    MORE importantly for you, I bought a lot of the products I needed for the parties because I found it through Pinterest.

    I have to say that TONS of MOMS are all OVER PINTEREST.

    Whether your biz is product or service based, Pinterest works. AND if you are a mom blogger or pro of ANY kind, you need to be where your potential clients are – + they are on PINTEREST.

    Here’s how it might go down.

    A mom is searching for 1st birthday party theme ideas. They see your pin for a guide with 100s of 1st birthday party theme ideas. They click on the pic you pinned. They click on the guide pic that opens up OR they click on the website below that says where the pic is from + voila they’re reading your guide.

    Keep in mind that your guide + the pic that you’ve posted to Pinterest sits on your blog.

    As they peruse your fab guide, they realize that you sell some of the fabulous theme items (or offer the theme services) that you feature in your oh-so helpful guide. They buy said products (or book your services). A SALE + all because they came across a picture you posted on Pinterest that led them to a guide that led them to the products/services you’re selling that they want to buy.

    Pinterest for Mom Service Businesses

    Remember, Pinterest works just as well for services. If you offer a guide on the top 100 ways to throw a big 1st birthday on a small budget + you’re a party planner, you’re setting yourself up to land some business.

    Now it goes a lot deeper than this because people can turn around + pin your pins, which again is how the word spreads + how sales numbers get a boost.

    How to Put Pinterest to Work For Your Mom Blog

    From a business owner’s perspective, this is what you want to do to share your content. First, open an account on Pinterest.

    You can use your personal Pinterest account or open an account for your business/blog. That’s up to you. One thing, you want to do is create boards for your pins.

    When you post a pic with your blog posts (which every blog post should have a picture), you can then pin this picture to your Pinterest account on the appropriate board.

    Complete each section of the pin, starting with a keyword rich title, fill in a keyword rich description + input the link that takes them directly to the content where it sits on your blog.

    If you’re offering a free guide or download of some sort through the pin or as a content upgrade from the post, you want to mention this in the pin description as well.

    In other words, try to add a call to action to the description, so you can get them to click on your pins.

    Pin it and you’re done. It’s now searchable, pinnable + shareable.

    Create Visual Content for Pinterest

    Another thing you can do is create “a teaser” pic. This is where you choose a photo + use a site like PicMonkey or Canva to add some text to the photo. You take the same steps to get it on Pinterest + it can have the same effect.

    Pinterest also offers promoted pins now, so you can pay to promote specific pins. It’s a great way to share your free opt-in + get moms to JUMP. ON. YOUR. LIST.

    You can pin your posts manually or you can schedule pins using a tool like Tailwind. If you use my link, you get your first month for free. I use Tailwind + love it.

    Not only should you be pinning to your own boards, but you should be pinning to group boards, too.

    Find + join group boards that cater to the moms you’re trying to attract. When you’re a member of a group board, you can pin your pins to the board—getting it in front of an audience that you might not have an opportunity to get in front of otherwise.

  • Daily Life

    It’s Flu Season, Ya’ll

    With my oldest daughter in Kindergarten this year + my middle daughter still in pre-school, it seems like they bring home ALL. THE. GERMS.

    We try washing hands. We use oils. We get the flu shot.

    Sometimes, it feels as if none of this works. In our school system there’s been an increased number of students with influenza-like illness that attend my daughter’s school. 

    Health Department Recommendations for the Flu

    The Health Department recommends that you + your family members take the following steps to protect yourselves + others from influenza + other respiratory illnesses:

    Vaccinate

    They recommend vaccinating your child + yourself against influenza this year + every year.

    I know this a controversial topic for some. I believe in the flu vaccination. I vaccinate myself. I vaccinate my children + my husband, who is an Army Officer, also gets the vaccination every year.

    I know it doesn’t protect us against every strain of the flu but so far it has kept all of us from coming down with the flu for the past 6 years.

    Wash your hands often with soap and water

    Nothing fights germs, even flu germs, like good old-fashioned soap + water. It is especially important to wash hands after coughing or sneezing.

    Teach your children to wash their hands frequently with soap + water for 20 seconds. We sing the Happy Birthday song twice 🙂 Be sure to set a good example by doing this yourself. 

    If soap and water are not available, alcohol-based hand sanitizers are also effective in the war against germs.

    Cover coughs + sneezes with a tissue 

    After coughing + sneezing into a tissue, throw it in the trash right away. If tissues are not available, cover coughs + sneezes with the upper sleeve of your shirt.

    Avoid touching your eyes, nose + mouth

    Germy hands that touch eyes, noses + mouths (openings into our bodies) is how germs are spread. My husband is forever reminding our girls to keep their hands away from mouths, noses + eyes.

    Try to avoid close contact with individuals who have flu symptoms

    If you know someone has the flu, stay away from them! I know this is easier said than done sometimes.

    Plus, there are those people that like to show up at work or school hacking all over the place + you cannot control that.

    Monitor your child for signs of illness

    Flu symptoms are different than cold systems. The flu usually hits like a ton of bricks–all of a sudden.

    Flu symptoms to watch for:

    • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
    • Cough
    • Sore throat
    • Runny nose or stuffy nose
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Headaches
    • Fatigue
    • Vomiting and/or diarrhea (more common in children than adults)

    Keep your sick kiddos home

    If your child has flu-like symptoms or is sent home from school with flu-like symptoms, keep your child home + away from others until the child has been symptom free + without fever for at least 24 hours (i.e. he or she should not attend school, school functions, sporting or extracurricular activities, or leave the home except to seek medical attention).

    I know this is slightly unrealistic if you have other children at home but try sequestering them to a bedroom + sanitize the crap out of the rest of your house + their quarantine area once they are feeling better.

  • Daily Life

    Tips To Be A More Productive Mommy

    This blog post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission to fund my coffee drinking habit if you use these links to make a purchase. It does not cost you anything extra +  you’ll keep me supplied in caffeine. It’s a win for everyone, really.

    Do you often think about what you would do with even just one extra hour in your day?

    Squeezing more time out of the ‘ole 24 hours a day — especially if you cook for your family every day, keep your house clean(ish) + hold down a job to pay all the bills — is hard.

    You’ve tried googling “productivity tips” but you see ideas suited for C-level executives or young singles with boundless energy, not real moms like you.

    I have something that just might help, something created by women + moms who understand that you’re looking for practical productivity solutions that can work in your world.

    It’s called The Ultimate Productivity Bundle and it was created curated by real people with real life responsibilities just like you: they have families, work part- or full-time jobs or run businesses, don’t have personal assistants or the budget for hiring lots of extra help. 

    They want to help you (+ themselves) conquer your to-do list, free up more time for yourself + reach your goals.

    When you buy The Ultimate Productivity Bundle you’ll get access to:

    • 5 eBooks
    • 14 eCourses + videos
    • 26 printables + workbooks

    The bundle is only available for 6 days!

    Check out the Ultimate Productivity Bundle to see if it is for you.

    You also have the option to buy “cheat sheets” with your bundle. This is a game changer, because with these time-saving cheat sheets, you can review all the bundle’s material in less than half the time + then dive deeper into the topics that are most interesting to you.

  • Girl Birthday Parties,  Product + Service Reviews

    Twinkle Twinkle Little Star 1st Birthday Party for a Girl

    Last Sunday, we did it. We hosted our third daughter’s 1st birthday party. That’s right. Her 1st birthday party is in the books.

    AND, two daughters went before her.

    This time around I kept it sweet + simple. (I might have gone a little teeny-tiny bit overboard with the first two. Don’t judge me.)

    Twinkle Twinkle Little Star 1st Birthday Invitations

    For 1st birthdays I always do a real, tangible invitation on card stock. They’re personalized + customized. Generally, I order them from a designer that also prints them + then ships them to me — envelopes included!

    After their 1st birthdays, evite, Punchbowl + Paperless Post invitations it is!

    This time, however, I took too long to figure out the theme so I ran out of time to order invitations to be printed + shipped my way.

    Instead, I bought a template/file from an Etsy seller. I downloaded it + customized it + then uploaded it to print at a local printer.

    Venue

    We also did things a little bit different when it came to location. We had the first two 1st birthdays in our home. This time, we opted to rent the Art Room at a beautiful local community center.

    The rental fee was reasonable, unlike some of the other locations I considered. It was also sort of a blank canvas where we could decorate as much or as little as we wanted.

    Bonus is they included chairs + tables in the cost of the rental. I did have to pay for the linens that covered the tables. Again, it was a minor cost.

    Food + Drinks

    We catered the food this time as opposed to buying + making the food ourselves or ordering pizza. We catered it from our favorite local gourmet Mexican place — Coyote Grille.

    The food was amazing + it included them delivering + setting up the food.

    We bought our own drinks, cups, plates, forks, etc.

    Cakes

    Simply Desserts did our first two girls’ 1st birthday cakes + smash cakes also did Emmy’s cakes. They are ah-mazing + delicious!

    I paid a little extra to have the main cake + the smash cake delivered. It is the best money I could ever spend to ensure nothing happens to the cakes.

    Plus, they set the cakes up for me + add the cake topper.

    Decorations



    This is another area where I toned it waaaaaaay down 🙂

    We decorated her high chair with a skirt + ONE banner. My sister-in-law was going to make it but something came up so I ordered it + a ONE banner from Amazon.

    We added an entire roll of tulle to it to make it fuller + to get it to reach around her high chair tray.

    I also ordered a star mylar balloon, latex balloons filled with star confetti + we added a Princess mylar + some white latex balloons to fill out the balloon bouquet that we attached to the back of her high chair.

    I also ordered + hung two star banners (pink, gold + white). My sister-in-law usually makes the banner too but something came up.

    She had a plastic mat under her high chair (requisite Twinkle Twinkle Little Star theme), along with cups, plates, dessert plates + napkins.

    I added gold plastic forks + spoons.

    Like her sisters, she also had a chalkboard sign (by Grace Notes Lettering on Etsy) listing her stats as a one-year-old.

    Voila. Decorations complete.

    It might be tough to be the third child 🙂

    Birthday Girl Outfit

    She had to have a themed outfit for the occasion — of course! I bought gold sequin pants (which were a huge hit). Everyone commented on her pants as they arrived at the party.

    I ordered a Twinkle Twinkle Little Star 1 Onesie from an Etsy (Noelle by Design) seller + gold sequin shoes from Amazon. We topped it off with a little sequin crown with a 1 on it.

    Music + Entertainment

    We brought in our Bluetooth speakers + played kids’ music from my husband’s iPhone. We also hired a facepainter from our neighborhood to paint the kids faces.

    I bought a star craft for the kids + had oversized coloring sheets + mini crayon packs on the two kids’ tables to entertain the kids that came to the party.

    Most of the kids at the party have moves so they danced to the music on the “dance floor” space in between the kids’ tables + the cocktail tables that were set up for the adults.

    All in all, everyone had a lot of fun. It was a fun + sparkly theme + totally different from the 1st birthday parties we threw for the first two girls.

  • Activities for Girls,  Gifts for Girls,  Valentine's Day for Girls

    14 Ways to Tell Your Kids You Love Them on Valentine’s Day

    It’s 3 simple little words — I love you — yet actions speak louder than words, right? This Valentine’s Day, instead of actually speaking the words, you can show your kids how much you love them.

    It’s the little things that count.

    Here are some creative ideas to get you started.

    1. Start out their day with heart-shaped red velvet pancakes for breakfast. Add whip cream to top it off with a special treat.
    2. Pack their lunch (if it falls on a school day). Add a special love note that simply says, “I love you” or “I hope you have a great day!”
    3. Put a surprise in their lunch, such as a sweet treat, that they can share with a few of their friends at school.
    4. Decorate their lunch bags with paper heart doilies, Valentine’s Day stickers, or both. Go on a dinner date with your child. You can treat them to dinner at their favorite restaurant or try out a new spot.
    5. Write a sweet, silly or heartfelt poem to your child about love, Valentine’s Day, how your child is special to you + how much you love them + why you love them.
    6. Pull out a picture of your child with you when they were a baby to show to them.
    7. Take your daughter(s) with you to the nail salon or spa for a mani-pedi. Ooooolala!
    8. Plan a Valentine’s Day theme scavenger hunt. Britni over at Play. Party. Plan. offers a free printable + instructions on how to set up this Valentine’s Day themed scavenger hunt.
    9. Let your child create the dinner menu with you + help you prepare the meal. You can stick to age-appropriate help such as stirring, mixing + adding ingredients.
    10. Go on a dinner date with your child. You can treat them to dinner at their favorite restaurant or try out a new spot.
    11. Make a heart shaped pizza + decorate with toppings that are shaped like hearts, Xs + Os.
    12. Host an ice cream sundae bar, where your child can make their own ice cream sundae, complete with Valentine’s candy like red hot, M&Ms, Hershey kisses + more!the toppings.
    13. Read your child her favorite bedtime story.
    14. Serve your child heart shaped cookies + a glass of milk in bed. (Then have them brush their teeth!)

    Saying I love you doesn’t have to be a fancy or expensive gesture. Use one, two or all of these ways to show your kids how much you love them on Valentine’s Day (+ every day, really). 

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