DIY Home Decor, DIY Seasonal Decor, Uncategorized

Simplistic Christmas Decorations for a Small Home

There’s something about the naturalistic characteristics of wood, pine, and cork that’s enticing. Throw in heirloom white spray paint along with a touch of gold and you have  simplistic but yet eye catching Christmas decor. The rustic feel with that “shiny” look definitely taunts your eyes. You wonder how something so simple can make you want to stare at it for a while. I guess it goes with the saying “less is more”.

To be honest I have been feeling that statement much throughout my own life. I have started to simplify my decor along with setting more intentions on a simple daily routine. Being more mindful of things and also focusing in on what matters are definitely goals I am starting to aquire for myself. So where does this tie in with decor? Well, let’s just say much of how you represent your home sets a tone for your everyday emotions. Think about when you step inside of a home that is updated and decorated to your style…there’s something about that moment that sends a burst of “happy feelings”.

The white, bright, and natural look is definitely something that is coming back in style. Have you been to Hobby Lobby, Jo-Anns, or Michaels? Yeah…I think you catch my drift…Here’s how I added natural and simplistic Christmas decor. And YES, I am the weird person who goes outside and picks sticks to incorporate into my home decor…maybe the inspiration is from my almost 2 year old who loves finding sticks…either way, they add a wonderful touch to our home! 🙂

I used these two colors below to spray paint the sticks. There’s something about the off white color and bright gold that makes things pop. I also used the heirloom white to a update some of my decor such as the star holder on our shelf divider between the kitchen and living room. Spray paint seriously goes a long way in updating your home without having to spend too much. #budgetfriendly most definitely!

A few weeks back I also made a rustic “JOY” sign that is displayed in our living room. You can watch the video below to see the process in how I made it.

How do you decorate your home for Christmas? I hope you are enjoying this holiday season!

Wishing you well,

 

Motherhood, Uncategorized, Upcycled DIY

Thanksgiving Tradition: Gratitude Wine Corks

Thanksgiving never was my favorite holiday growing up, but as I get older I cherish that day where I can really reflect on what I am thankful for in the year passing. While pumpkin pies, turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole,  and sweet potato casserole (my fav) are all enticing…it’s that question “What are you thankful for?” that is starting to become the tradition I look forward to. It’s our 2nd year of incorporating gratitude wine corks into our Thanksgiving tradition, and I’m already thinking about what I’ll put down this year!

We’re living in an age where much of our “happiness” through the eyes of society is starting to be defined by materialistic things, although it’s refreshing to see that the reality is… most of what we’re actually grateful for has to do with: family, loved ones, good health, and job security. Taking these moments at the Thanksgiving table of looking back on the past year and remembering what we have to be thankful for is sooooo good for our soul.

Last year was Little Johnny’s 1st Thanksgiving. We decided to stay here in Florida as a family and have the traditional meal just the 3 of us. I cooked my 1st turkey EVER (definitely a milestone for me) and I still wanted to “set the table pretty” along with making all the yummy side dishes. I’m a sucker for traditions and the cutesy things we all see on Pinterest. As I was searching online I did have one goal in mind…whatever traditions we were setting for our 1st Thanksgiving as a family of 3, I wanted it to be simple. We all know that if something is too complicated or there’s too much preparation, it probably won’t happen another time. Traditions are set to be simple so that we can carry them on throughout the years.

After doing a google search on “Thanksgiving Traditions’  I came across this image of wine corks with words of gratitude written on them. I wish I knew exactly where I got the idea from, but I can’t seem to remember (#mombrain). I placed 3 wine corks (yes, Little Johnny had one too) at our table along with a permanent marker. (bonus point is that wine corks add a fun decor item to your table setting as well). After we ate I posed the question to our little family…

“What are you thankful for?”

We wrote down one thing that we were most thankful for in the passing year along with our name and date. These gratitude wine corks have been displayed in a mason jar which sits right by our kitchen window for this past year! I love looking at it because it helps me to narrow in on the right perspective on life when things get tough.

I thought this was a great opportunity to share with my readers because it’s simple, but yet meaningful…which I know you all like! So, go ahead incorporate this idea into your family’s Thanksgiving traditions (It may require you to drink some wine too ;)) . I truly wish everyone a wonderful holiday season and I hope we can all take a moment to remember life is about having the right perspective.

So, I ask you… “What are you thankful for?”

P.S. If you want to view more Thanksgiving Traditions, visit my previous post about “25 Thanksgiving Traditions“.

Wishing you well,

Reviews of Products & Places, Uncategorized

Long Term Experience with Goldfish Swim School

When you think of swim lessons (especially in Florida) your mind immediately goes to summer! Well, that season is in the past and we’re moving onto the shorter days, less traveling, and hopefully a little cooler weather. Although, at Goldfish Swim School swim season is all year long!

We’ve been swimming away with Goldfish Swim School for a few months now and as a parent I can see so many benefits from the long term sessions. Most swim lessons are offered for a short span of time, unlike Goldfish Swim School where their season runs all year round! Little Johnny has developed a great rapport with the instructors and classmates! It’s part of his weekly activities, which we all know kids thrive on consistency and routine!

(This is a sponsored post, but as always all my opinions stated are my own.)

You know that saying where “if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it”. Well, that definitely applies to younger children in their skill sets. As a family we love the opportunity of having a long term experience with swim lessons, especially since we don’t have a pool at home. The opportunity for Little Johnny to practice his newly learned swim skills every week has benefited him with retaining more and enabling him to learn in well paced out sessions.

The Benefits of Long Term Learning


“When developing a new skill, it’s quick to fade when our level of performance is not used in a valuable way.”

Just like with cramming to study for tests in school, if we don’t consistently use the newly developed skills over a period of time (and in a consistent manner), it won’t stick with us throughout our lives. This type of learning is called surface learning, which can easily be erased. In relation to swimming, the level of performance is a huge factor in weather or not the the skill sets will decrease over a period of time. There are many things that a new swimmer learns, which focusing on mastering just a few over a span of time benefits children by helping them to retain the skills/information within their long term memory.

This is why we love the idea of Goldfish Swim School providing us with a year round experience with swim lessons! Their level of performance within the lessons increases children’s chances of developing a long lasting experience that they can use throughout their life. I created a video to give you a closer look at the setup of our swim lessons!


Little Johnny is still in mini 2 lessons, but he has definitely become quite the kicker lately. He’s also getting better at floating on his back along with going under water, climbing out of the pool, and holding onto the edge with very little support.

We also love the flexibility they offer rather than being “locked in” to a certain time frame. Goldfish Swim School works around your busy schedule and enables a perfect solution to increase your child’s swim skills. It’s called their  unique Perpetual Lessons model! Here’s a great article explaining a little bit more about this method…

Perpetual Lessons 

Every week we continue to look forward to our swim days and each time I am seeing improvements! It puts a bright spot in our weekly routine! If you live within the Orlando area, I highly recommend signing your child up! You can follow the link below for more information.

>>> Sign Up today with Goldfish Swim School<<<

Visit my previous posts below to learn more details about our experience! 


‘Splish, Splash’ Goldfish Swim School is Opening in Florida!

We’re Splishin’ and Splashin’ at Goldfish Swim School (Our 1st Swim Lesson Experience)

5 Reasons Why We LOVE Goldfish Swim School

Also, make sure to click the links below and visit their social media accounts! Show some love by following them for updates as well! 🙂 

facebook

instagram

twitter

Wishing you well,

~Amanda

Family Adventures, Recipes, Uncategorized

Seeking to Live Those Simple Days & My Favorite Apple Crumble Recipe

I have this vision that life is supposed to play out a certain way. I focus hard on wanting it to be something that may not be in the works at the moment. I’m guilty of envisioning the life where we have days that are “free” from work and we’re able to sit on our front porch with our favorite drinks, while just enjoying each other as we breathe in the fresh air and leave all the stress behind.

Really, it’s the s i m p l e days I’m seeking now that I’m in my life stage of m o t h e r h o o d.

(Funny how things change.)

We all have our “dreams” in mind of what we want our life to “look” like, but the hardest part is attaining it. There are so many obstacles that get in the way and sometimes we can loose sight or feel like just giving that vision up. I’m totally guilty of having a difficult time “foreseeing” how our hard work will play out in the future. I guess in reality I’m having a hard time trusting things will work with how they are meant to.

This past weekend I read a page from “Grace for the Moment” By Max Lucado, these are short daily devotionals that are easy to read, but brings so much insight into your day. The day marked “September 23rd” was exactly what I needed to read. It helped me to redirect my mindset so that I can continue to “swim along” through the daily grind.

Trust God with the Future 

Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust in me. -John 14:1

I sat there for a few moments and pondered this verse. I knew my heart has been troubled lately, mainly due with the stress of financial decisions we have made, along with at this very moment trying to build our future while also raising our little boy. Everyday I seek for wisdom along with clarity that things will start to work out, and while some days are better than others… knowing that my family’s future is already taken care of is bringing me more peace.

Our family will continue to have long days ahead of us as we are build our future, but knowing that we have Him guiding us is giving me more moments where I can let out those “sighs of relief”.  Doesn’t it feel good to know that you can release the control into His hands?

It may be that you too are in a similar situation, where the stress of life is really starting to build up and you’re seeking those “s i m p l e days”.

Here’s what I want you to know…

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still.” -Exodus 14:14

Keep doing what your doing, trust in the Lord, be kind, humble, and gracious…your time will soon come.

“I will also give to each one who wins the victory a white stone with a new name written on it.” Revelation 2:17

Do you remember the story of Joseph and how diligent he was in “waiting”? He went through so many obstacles, from being betrayed by his brothers, to being in a dungeon (not a prison, but a dungeon!) for a crime he never did, and so many other battles he encountered throughout his life. But, you know what?! He never gave up in believing that one day “his time will come”. And it sure did!

Time is something that we either want to slow down or speed up. (we’re so indecisive as humans, aren’t we?) It all depends on our situation. As for me, I would like time to speed up, but we all know that won’t happen. So for now, I’m focusing on those simple moments and releasing my thoughts to knowing that someone else is in control and He definitely has a plan for my family.

I believe that’s called having F A I T H.

You know what else helps with the waiting period? Yummy food, especially treats! 🙂

I’ll stop here and share with you a delicious apple crumble that I made this past Sunday, because it’s these simple moments that I’m truly starting to treasure.  Now, I wish I could say I came up with the recipe, but that’s definitely not the case. I went to one of my favorite online “cookbooks”! 🙂 Pinterest recipes and allrecipes.com are my top favorites! 🙂

The Apple Crumble Recipe came from allrecipes.com. All 3 of us enjoyed it (even Little Johnny). It’s a simple recipe too!

Click the link below to be directed to our favorite apple crumble recipe!

>>>Apple Crumble<<<

We also came to a conclusion that this would taste really good with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! 🙂

Here’s to a great week ahead!

Wishing you well,

~Amanda

Reviews of Products & Places, Uncategorized

5 Reasons why we LOVE Goldfish Swim School

We’re still swimming away at Goldfish Swim School and loving every minute of it! Little Johnny has been learning so much (and so have my husband and I!) 😉 We have been attending every Thursday for the past 2 months and it has adapted into our weekly routine very nicely! We even attended their Grand Opening event, which we really enjoyed our  “family swim time” along with meeting the famous “Bubbles”!

So far Little Johnny is learning to: 

  • become comfortable in the water
  • kicking with barbell (unassisted)
  • pulling paddle swim with face in (unassisted)
  • conditioning with water in face
  • breath control in underwater dip (5 seconds with assistance)
  • superman glide (unassisted)
  • wall hold (assisted)
  • crab walk (assisted)
  • climb out of water (assisted)
  • underwater jump and turn back to wall (assisted)
  • underwater dip and rollover, front to back (assisted)
  • relaxed in back float position (assisted)
(This is a sponsored post, but as always my opinions are my own.)

Mostly right now Little Johnny is learning about safety skills, especially how to easily get out of the water. (elbow, elbow, tummy, knee, knee) He is still in the Mini 2 lessons and it has been so nice to be able to attend as a family. My husband and I switch off with participating with Little Johnny in the pool. I look forward to our Thursday morning swim classes! Every time we walk into the building we are always greeted with smiles and a very warm welcoming! They even know Little Johnny by name and immediately interact with him, which is so comforting as parents!

Let’s “dive into” our 5 Reasons we LOVE

Goldfish Swim School! 

  1. They are always concerned about safety 1st! (especially with the infant/toddler classes)
  2. Friendly Environment– ALWAYS greeted with smiles
  3. Swim Instructors are very supportive– If you’re child seems to be struggling with a specific skill they instructors are right there to provide assistance and tools in order for them to advance in that area
  4. We LOVE the songs that are incorporated– It’s a fun environment when we are learning skills to the tune of children’s songs.
  5. They teach the parents too! – Every lesson my husband and I learn something new we can incorporate with Little Johnny when he is in contact with water. Also, for older kids at the end of each lesson they bring the parents in and have the kids show them what skills were taught! I love the collaboration involved with all the adults!

A snippet about our most recent experience… 

Last swim class Little Johnny had a hard time floating on his back. The swim instructors stepped right in and adapted to the situation with providing “tools” to help make him more comfortable. They gave him a mirror that we held up so he could see himself floating, which seemed to help. The instructor also took over to see if Johnny would do better with them. It was so comforting as a parent to see the support offered by the instructors.

My husband and I made a short video to document Little Johnny’s first experience with swim lessons, and we wanted to take this opportunity to share it with you!

Having FUN while learning to swim! 

If you’re like me and enjoy kids activities that have “themes” to them, you’ll really like the fact that Goldfish Swim School has monthly celebrations that they incorporate into the lessons along with the kiddos getting a “prize” for the month.

Here’s a fun article about their monthly celebrations!

Goldfish Swim School Monthly Celebrations 

Just this past month the theme was “Celebrate Animals” and all the swimmers received a float toy which was the Goldfish Swim School mascot, “Bubbles”. Little Johnny loved it and actually started saying “bubbles” for the first time!

The BIG question…Is it really worth the money? 

We all know that as parents we have to closely watch where we spend our money related to lessons or kids activities, especially since there are so many out there! I mean we work hard for it, right? So, I’m sure we can all agree that we want validation that the money we are spending is actually going to benefit our children. Are you still unsure about the cost, and wondering if it’s “really worth spending the money for swim lessons?” Well, I honestly believe that this is an investment in your child’s future. They will truly “thank you” for providing them with this type of learning opportunity where they won’t grow up afraid of water, and as they get older they will have more confidence in knowing that they can swim. Below you will find a short post I found helpful that provides more details about the Top 5 Reasons Goldfish Swim School is worth the money.

Top 5 Reasons Goldfish Swim School is Worth the Money

We enjoy our experiences at Goldfish Swim School and would love for others to join us! Remember they specialize in infant & children’s swim lessons. If you want more information you can visit my two previous posts listed below!

“Splish, Splash” Goldfish Swim School is Opening in Florida! 

We’re Splishin’ and Splashin’ at Goldfish Swim School (Our 1st Swim Lesson Experience)

And of course, make sure to visit their social media accounts and show some love by following them for updates! 🙂

facebook

instagram

twitter

Happy swimming! 

Wishing you well,

~Amanda

DIY All Natural Products, Uncategorized

DIY Friday~All Natural Face Scrub for Sensitive Skin

This DIY Friday is a little different. I’m not working with paint, furniture, or any tools. It’s a pampering, all natural kind of Friday.  I have always had sensitive skin and it’s been quite a battle throughout my life. I have found over the years that products which are more natural and have less ingredients, seem to be easier on my skin.

If you’re familiar with Lush products, I guess you can say I am trying to replicate some of them. 🙂

After doing some research, I decided to whip up my own exfoliating face scrub that includes only natural ingredients that won’t irritate my skin.

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I tried a few different recipes and I found that my skin does not do well with the natural ingredient of baking soda. From what I have read it’s supposed to help with breakouts and really clean out the pores, but I broke out even more and it just didn’t seem to work for me.

These are my “secret” ingredients that you can find right within your kitchen that seem to work for me. I stored it in a mason jar, and I’m all set for a while!

I am simply just sharing with you my experiences and my “takeaways”.

Did you know?


oatmeal- helps to soothe sensitive/irritated skin

honey- has antimicrobial properties, which helps to fight acne along with acting as a moisturizer

coconut oil- antibacterial and antifungal agent, also a great moisturizer

 cinnamon- helps to plump the skin, soothe dry & dead skin cells, and great for acne prone skin

baking soda- great for acne prone skin and helps to remove dead skin cells

sugar- has Glycolic acid that boosts new skin cell production

Based on what I have found I decided to focus on 4 all natural ingredients that will help with my sensitive/combination skin (I have both oily and dry skin).

Cinnamon, HoneySugar & Oatmeal

Face Scrub


2 cups of ground oatmeal

1/2 cup of sugar

1/2 cup of honey

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Mix everything together and place in jar. Lightly scrub your face for about 3 minutes and then let the mixture set for about 5 minutes. Then rinse clean with cold water.

Only do this 2-3 times a week. No more, otherwise you will over irritate your skin.

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Then I apply coconut oil as my moisturizer.

After using this exfoliating scrub my face is bright, clean, fresh, & soooo smooth.

What kind of products do you use for your skin? Share with me in the comments. 

Wishing you well,

Happy Mama, Happy Wife, Happy Life

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Uncategorized

Visiting A Master Gardener

This past Saturday I was able to sneak out for a little “me” time. Believe it or not, my “me” time involved going to the library and listening to a master gardener, Dena Wild present on the basics of growing vegetables in Central Florida! And guess what? I LOVED IT! I was even able to sit down with her one-on-one and discuss how to get started on container gardening. I learned that I am definitely a virgin gardener and that I just need to get started and learn as I go. She was a great speaker and has encouraged me to get started on container gardening. I’m 27 years old and I find excitement from this…OH BOY! When I get passionate about things my husband just turns to me and says the simple words of “I love you. It’s in such a way though that displays a statement of…”your kind of crazy, but that’s what I love about you.”

Continue reading “Visiting A Master Gardener”