5 Things You Should Be Brave Enough to Start Doing

We live in a day in age that people get offended in the blink of an eye. Sometimes we keep things to ourselves at the risk of upsetting others. This attitude has not only changed what some people say, but the way people act. It has stopped people from speaking freely with one another even in a positive way.

We need to start doing more things that we haven’t been brave enough to do.

Compliment someone.

Do you ever see someone in public and think to yourself, “That shirt is adorable”, or “Her makeup is amazing”?

TELL THEM! What is the worst that could happen?

You would completely make someone’s day by giving them a compliment. You may even learn where they purchased it.

Don’t compliment someone just to compliment them. Be genuine. The world needs more nice, genuine individuals.

Don’t be afraid of small talk.

How many times have you seen an acquaintance at the grocery store, but avoided them because you didn’t want to have to deal with small talk?

Man up, and say hello. Even if a simple hello is all that is exchanged it’s better than the awkward aisle avoiding game you would have played.

I know that there are those people that talk your ear off. Maybe those individuals just need an ear, even if it is for ten minutes. You could make someones day by just lending an ear, or saying a simple hello.

Bring a neighbor a gift.

We had new neighbors that moved in behind our house, and a few months later had a baby girl. Other than polite “hello’s” here and there, we hadn’t really talked to them that much.

I had a cute outfit from when my daughter was born that she received two of. I thought about bringing that outfit over to my neighbor for her new baby girl, but kept telling myself, “No, you don’t even know this woman. That would be so weird!”

It wasn’t. I finally allowed myself to walk over with my daughter and give her the outfit. They were so happy, so appreciative and thought it was so thoughtful. They were so excited to see our daughter, and said, “I hope someday our daughters can be friends”.

Be there for someone when they need it.

A few weeks ago I stopped at Walmart real quick. The man in front of me was trying to buy beer along with a few other items. The very sweet, young girl cashing him out asked for his identification even though it was clear he was over 21. He said he didn’t have it. She apologized and said, “I’m so sorry, but if you don’t have your ID I cannot sell you this alcohol”.

You would have thought this cashier had just murdered his entire family. He blew up. Screaming and raging at her. She stayed polite and apologetic. The manager had to come over. It was quite an ordeal.

After everything cooled down and the man left it was my turn to cash out. As she quietly bagged my ground beef and ketchup, I could tell she was holding back tears. I thought of just quickly handing her my cash, and running out of there, when my mouth started speaking.

“You handled that situation well. I can’t believe how polite you were to that jerk, and how well you held your composure”. The woman behind me nodded in agreement. The cashier looked at both of us and said, “Really? Well thank you. I thought maybe I should have just let him buy it to make it easier”. We told her if that is her company’s policy then she did the right thing, and she was relieved.

If you see a mother of three struggling with a shopping cart, return it for her. If you see an elderly man trying to carry mulch to his car, grab it for him.

Don’t be afraid to help the good people in this world.

Buy something for someone if it reminds you of them.

I had a friend in high school that I haven’t seen in years. She is an awesome person. She runs a local farmer’s market here in town and is a great asset to our community. I see her here and there, but never really exchange more than a quick hello. I mostly keep tabs on her through our Facebook friendship, more than our human friendship.

The other day I was at Target and saw these cute dish towels that said “The Farmer’s Market is my happy place”. I immediately thought of her. I thought, “she would love these. I have to get these for her”.

Then I stopped myself. No, that would be weird! I haven’t talked to her in years. I don’t know her address. That’s so much work just to send dish towels.

No. It really wasn’t. I bought them. I messaged her for her address, telling her I found something that made me think of her. That alone made her so excited. From there we messaged back and forth, asking about each others families, and catching up.

It was definitely worth the $2.99 at Target.

 

The world will be a better place when we just remember to be a good person. It doesn’t matter if it’s big things or small things; just do good things.

 

20 Personalized Gifts For A One Year Old That Can Be Used For (at least a few) Years To Come

Over the last year or so I’ve been invited to first birthday parties for a few of my friends children. My daughter is also about to turn one. She’s my first born, so in all honestly I don’t know what one year olds want, need or like.

I got a mermaid doll for my friend’s daughter. She threw it on the ground the moment she saw it.

I got my other friend’s son a wooden train set. He was much more interested in the wrapping paper.

I said to my husband, “Why am I spending all this money on stuff these children won’t remember or care about? What the heck are we going to get our daughter for her first birthday?”

Then it hit me. IT DOESN’T MATTER! She won’t remember. She will toss toys aside and want to play with the wrapping paper way more than the presents, so I can get her anything I want. Maybe I’ll wrap up an old toy or even be funny and let her unwrap a banana or something.

OR since she doesn’t necessarily care about what she’s getting right now, nor will she remember I can get her things she will need later in life. Things that she will later use, and that I won’t have to purchase at some point in the future.

1. Personalized Beach Towel

You can use a big beach towel to lay on when you’re a baby or a grandma. Talk about a gift that will last forever.

2. Personalized Backpack or Tote Bag

I know that one year old’s will not be able to use this right away, but their parents will. When baby goes to grandma’s house for the night they have their own personalized item to put their belongings in.

3. Personalized Snack Container

Babies eat a lot. Give that one year old their own snack container, and they’ll love you forever.

4. Personalized Pillow or Pillowcase

Get just a simple pillow or pillowcase with their name on it, or even just a monogram. A small pillow for the bed or as decor would be cute, and could be an easy thing to bring in the car on a road trip.

5. Personalized Umbrella

No, they will not be able to use this right away. But their parents can store it with the other umbrellas, and when that child is old enough to use it they will be so excited that their name is on it.

6. Personalized Jewelry Boxes

Little girls have bows and hair clips by the time they’re only a few months old. They will already be able to store things like this in it until they are old enough to wear jewelry without eating it.

7. Personalized Ice Cream Bowl

I scream, you scream, the baby screams… wait, that’s not how it goes. Everybody loves ice cream, so why not get baby his own bowl.

8. Personalized Pail or Bucket

Whether it’s a plastic, play bucket for the beach, or a cute pail to hold belongings in the bedroom that child will be able to use it for years.

9. Personalized Book

There are so many websites now that help you to create a personalized book. That is a book that kids will never want to get rid of.

10. Personalized Camping Chair

Get a fold up camping chair with the child’s name on the back. This could be brought to sporting events, camping or just sitting outside on a nice day. There are different sized chairs and different styles to choose from.

11. Personalized Baskets

Parents can always find SOMETHING to put in a basket in the child’s room. Whether it’s books, toys, hair supplies, etc. extra storage is always useful.

12. Personalized T-shirt

If you get a large enough size that a kid could fit into, but not too large that they trip in it they could use it for a while, even if it’s just to sleep in.

13. Personalized Games

Ever played the game memory? How fun would it be to have all of the baby’s family on different cards? Personalize games that baby will be able to play for years.

14. Personalized Piggy Bank

Chores, lemonade stands, hopefully baby will keep getting money one way or another. Buy her a cute piggy bank with her name personalized on it. There are tons of options to choose from.

15. Personalized Lunch Box

It won’t be for a few years, but eventually baby is going to need a lunch box. Get baby a cute, personalized lunch box that can either be stored away for when he goes to school, or used to transport snacks and food when going out.

16. Personalized Sippy Cup or Water Bottle

Most likely baby drinks from a sippy cup at this point. You could either get her a personalized sippy cup, or get a nice water bottle for when she is older.

 

Non-Personalized Items:

17. Money for College Fund

It never hurts to start the college fund early. Give money to the family to put toward college, or a saving account for baby.

18. Letters from Family

Tell the family instead of buying gifts for the baby to write her a letter. Have each family member or couple write a letter, and then give those letters to her on her 18th birthday. It might be more meaningful than having them bring a gift she will forget.

19. Buy Baby an Experience

Instead of finding a toy or an object, put money towards an event for the baby. Maybe that means you buy movie tickets (that won’t expire) for baby’s first movie trip, or their first experience at a bounce house.

20. Gift Cards

The parents will never turn down a gift card. It can always be put towards the clothes that baby will grow out of so quickly, or toys that they know baby will love and appreciate.

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If you have any other ideas for baby’s first gifts leave a comment to share!

Britta

The Three Best Things We Discovered On Our Trip to Disney World

My husband and I went on our honeymoon to Disney. Disney has tons of unique and exciting things that people don’t know about. From “Hidden Mickey’s” to secret doorways in shops or restaurants there is so much to discover.

Here are just a few simple things we found at Disney that are worth mentioning.

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(glasses from Warby Parker)

The Wild Africa Trek.

If you’ve been to Disney before you may have been on the Kilimanjaro Safari ride where you ride an open vehicle through a savanna to see wild animals for about 20 minutes.

If you’re interested in experiencing a bit more than that try the Wild Africa Trek. It is based off of the same ride except you are hiking through this safari ride, getting up close views of the animals, and eating at an African post for lunch. You get a personal tour of the animals and their amazing environment that Disney has created for them.

It is a very fun experience. You can read more about it here.

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Enjoy having part of the park to yourself?

My husband and I stayed at Disney’s Beach Club Resort. Friends had told us to stay there because it was walking distance from Epcot, which is where we planned to spend a lot of time. We were so happy with this choice for a few reasons.

It had a fabulous view. You could look out onto the water and see the lights of the boardwalk across. It had tons of entertainment options. Pool by day, boardwalk games and performers by night.

It was also so close to a back entrance at Epcot that brought you into France. Most mornings we got up, walked to our private back entrance and went to the French bakery, without ANYONE in sight! Three of the mornings we went to the French bakery for breakfast the french workers said, “Oh good morning! You are our first customers!”. It was so nice to be able to order food, find a seat and relax without the pressure of the Disney crowds.

Other places around there you could stay include Disney’s Yacht Club Resort and Disney’s Boardwalk.

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Going for a special occasion? Wear the buttons.

Disney now has a special thing they do for people that visit them for a special occasion. If you are visiting for a birthday, anniversary, just got engaged, graduation, etc. they will provide you with a button that you can wear all throughout Disney World.

Our buttons were pretty big. It kept getting in the way of the bag I was wearing. We did not want to wear them at first. We purposefully left them off, and when workers would say, “Oh did you not get a button?” we would tell them we forgot it. One day we decided to just “wear the stupid button”.

And that was the day we felt like celebrities.

Everywhere we went workers told us “Congratulations on your recent marriage!” Restaurants gave us free deserts. Starbucks gave us a discount on our coffee, and wrote cute notes on our cups. A small ice cream vendor even gave us free ice cream at one point.

After that day I’m pretty sure we even slept in those buttons.

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There are so many other amazing things that Disney World has to offer.

What are some tips or tricks that you found on your trip to Disney? Comment below so others don’t miss out.

Enjoy!

Britta

 

6 Cheap, Easy Touches to Spruce Up Your Home

Sometimes we go on Pinterest, Instagram or any type of social media account and see these immaculate homes. These rooms are beautiful with the best light fixtures, amazing rugs, pillows and decor that match perfectly.

Then I look up and glance around the room and realize my home looks nothing like these homes. Not even close. Maybe bits and pieces, but certainly not full rooms.

But you know what, THAT’S OKAY.

Over the years with the help from my two best friends, Target and Homegoods, I have been able to accumulate small touches to my home that not only spruce it up a bit, but literally put a smile on my face.

Here are some very small touches you can add to your home to spruce it up a little bit. These are no going to blow your mind, but sometimes it’s a good reminder. Maybe you already have a few of these, but maybe you don’t.

Snag a cute doormat.

There are tons of doormat’s out there. It doesn’t even have to be super expensive. Places like Walmart or Target even have them for around $10 sometimes. Doormats just add a small touch to your little porch, and are a nice, inviting welcome as someone walks to your front door. Here is the link to my pineapple doormat.

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Plants- real or fake!

Any type of plant can add a beautiful touch to your rooms. Plants can improve the air quality of your home, or add a pop of color. You can either get plants that are in it for the long haul, or if you’re afraid of commitment just pick yourself up some grocery store flowers for the kitchen. If you’re worried you don’t have the green thumb and somehow all of your plants seem to die, just get artificial ones. Some fake flowers or some potted plants look so real people may not even notice.

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These beauties were just from Wegmans.

Do you research on indoor plants before you buy one. Make sure there is enough sunlight or not too much sunlight for where you choose to keep your plant. Determine how much water it needs and how often.

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Homegoods always has tons of artificial planters. There may be at least one small artificial plant in each room of my house. They’re just too cute, I can’t resist!

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Candles, candles everywhere!

Okay, maybe it’s just me but I may have a slight obsession with candles. And not just the candles you burn, but candles that I will NEVER burn because they’re just too cute!

I have candles all throughout the house. There is at least one burning candle in every downstairs room. They are so cozy, and they make the house smell good, and different all the time.

I know candles may seem obvious. But think about it, one candle in each room gives you at least something easy and small to put on a shelf or a table in each room. It’s a quick, easy fix to having bare or empty spaces.

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My favorite little cactus candle. Oh look another candle. And hey, fake flowers.

Stack, stack, stack it up.

How many old books or magazines do you have around you house? Stack those books or magazines and it can give your shelves or furniture a new dimensional look. Small items can have their own little stage to be displayed on instead of looking so tiny and alone by themselves.

If you’ve put items on a shelf and you’re just not digging it, try stacking. It just might be the little change you need.

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Trinkets galore.

Small items that give your rooms a little character can be a great way to spruce up your home. Try to include meaningful items in your home, or just small items that make you happy. It may include small souvenirs from places you visit, old antique objects that belonged to an older generation, or just simple things from places like Homegoods or Target.

Personally, my husband and I try to pick up a small item for our home each time we travel to a new place. It’s fun when objects have a story behind them.

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I love our small Eiffel Tower we brought back from France. Epcot France that is. Oh look, another candle.

Get artsy.

I know sometimes the idea of displaying art can seem overwhelming. Art can be expensive, and it can be tricky to match what you want to the decor or colors of a room.

There are tons of cheap art options that you can use in your home though. Think about all the places you can get cheap art that you love.

Nowadays phones do an amazing job capturing pictures, and there are so many places that can print your pictures for you in any size you’d like. Find a picture you love and a frame that it can go in and it’s a simple, cheap way to add art to your wall.

My friend worked at a card company for a little while. For our wedding she gave us a card that unlike the others I couldn’t allow myself to recycle. I cut the front off and now we display that as a cute little art piece in our home. It’s a small, daily reminder of our special day. Save cards that are memorable or sweet and frame them as easy art in your home.

Ever thought to pull pictures from an old book or a magazine? Those could be just as easy to frame. How about a pretty calendar? There’s twelve pictures right there for you!

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Again, these are not mind blowing, super unique ideas but just a reminder to think outside the box on where you can find awesome things to fill your home.

What are some of your unique ideas for your home?

Enjoy!

Britta

6 Reasons Why You Should Do the Wild Africa Trek in Disney World

Many people are aware of the Kilimanjaro Safari ride in Disney World.  It loads passengers onto a safari bus, and you travel through a savanna for about 20 minutes spotting random animals in the distance. It’s an enjoyable ride for all ages.

But did you know you can dive even deeper into this experience?

The Wild Africa Trek allows you a three hour experience of walking along a grassland path, crossing a rope bridge, and riding in a safari vehicle across the savanna.

It is amazing, and you should do it.

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You get a front row seat to the animals.

You get so much closer to the animals in this trek than in the safari ride. You are still far enough away that you and the animals feel safe, but you can get a wonderful view of these animals in their natural environments on the hike and in the safari vehicle.

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There are two guides that lead the way and follow behind.

As you go through your three hour tour (I cannot say those three words without singing the song from Gilligan’s Island), there will always be one tour guide in the front and one at the back. You travel in a group of eight so it’s very easy to ask questions to the guides and have conversations about the park and the animals around you.

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You wear special gear.

As you travel you get special equipment to wear to ensure safety and to provide convenience. You get a vest to keep any phones or items you want to bring with you, including the water bottle they provide. They even have a personalized name tag all ready for you when you get there. You wear a headset so when you’re all walking in a straight line your tour guide can just talk in their microphone and you will hear them well enough so you are not alarming the animals.

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You get to walk across a creaky bridge over alligators.

Yeah. For real. They harness you in, and the bridge has a net around the sides, but it’s still pretty sweet. I mean, look at those gators!

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They feed you.

After you hike for a bit, you finally reach an African post to stop and eat lunch. They will have prepared you a meal of first-class, African-inspired snacks. It will vary but you may possibly indulge in prosciutto, smoked salmon, fig cake with Boursin cheese, Brie and apricot, yogurt, hummus, and/or tandoori shrimp. Delicious.

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You get complimentary photo services.

Not only are the guides there to make sure that you are safe, but they continually snap pictures of you on your experience. Typically the front guide leads the tour and the back guide takes most of the pictures. They will snap pictures of you hiking, on the bus, at lunch, and across the bridge. They will make sure you get the website to access these pictures completely free of charge.

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If you’re not sold yet, I would recommend you look more into this yourself at Disney’s website. It is a fun experience for adults and children 8 years and older. You need to be in good health, and wear appropriate attire (shorts or pants, comfortable shirt and gym shoes; no flip flops).

You would need to make sure you signed up for a time beforehand because this is not something you can just show up for. It also does cost extra money, but let’s face it; doesn’t everything at Disney World?

If you have any questions or comments, or would like to share about your experience please contact me or leave me a comment below.

Enjoy!

Britta

12 Ways to Enjoy Your Small Home

My husband and I purchased our home even before we were married. We were young and the home was a nice fit for where we were in our lives. We were one of the first couples in our circle of friends to buy a home. Over the years our group of friends began purchasing their first homes. Some even jumped to a second home quickly. These homes were bigger than ours. They had more bedrooms, an open floor plan, big yard and oh the storage!

I was certainly happy that my friends found their perfect homes, but I sure was jealous. I found myself thinking things like, “Ugh, I wish I had this sized dining room to fit everything in”, “Ugh, I wish we had a finished basement”, “Ugh, if we only had this storage space for extra bedding”, “Ugh, ugh, UGHHH!”. I began searching Trulia and Zillow. I MUST FIND A NEW HOUSE!

Finally my levelheaded husband talked some sense into me. We were already only a few years from paying off our entire mortgage. We didn’t need extra space. We were fine where we were.

Well, he was right. I started attempting to enjoy my house more. The more I tried to enjoy it, the more I found how perfect this small little house is for us.

Here are some of the things I did to enjoy my home more.

Just pick up your stuff.

When you have objects all over your home that aren’t where they belong it gets cluttered, and you hate it (you know you do). If you just put whatever you’re using back when you are done with it it becomes easier to maintain a clean, uncluttered environment. When you’re done binge watching Netflix for the night, prop the pillows back where they belong, fold up the blanket and place it on the back of the sofa, and put the remote in an easy to grab spot. When you walk downstairs in the morning, how nice is that going to look?

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Find something that makes you happy in every room.

If there is something that you adore in each room of your home it will allow you to enjoy that space more. This can be a feature in your home or it could be an object you put in your home. Maybe you love the paint color in the living room, or the hard wood floor in your bedroom. It could be as simple as adding a cute candle to your small bathroom, or mini book display on your coffee table. Even if small things put a smile on your face, you will begin to enjoy your home more.

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Put plants in your home.

99% of the people that have plants in their home live a much better life than those that don’t. Ok, I might have made that up, but it has to at least be close. Plants not only are a pretty decor, but they add a sense of purpose to your home. Placing plants throughout your home can help improve the quality of air and boost your mood. There are plenty of options for indoor plants, or just pick up a cheap bouquet at the grocery store to put in your kitchen. Some bouquets can be as cheap as $4.99!

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Talk to your neighbors.

We live in a day in age that small talk has become uncomfortable. It can be hard for some people to make conversation with others, but slowly try to introduce yourselves and talk with your neighbors. Even if you feel corny talking about the weather, at least you will begin to feel comfortable around the people you live so close to, and you may even begin to enjoy their company.

Don’t be afraid to put out sentimental items.

With Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook we’re so trained to think we need to have this perfect, quaint home with the trendiest items and decor in each room. Realistically it’s not always possible. Sentimental items are so important in allowing you to enjoy your home. Just because Grandma’s old blanket may not look super trendy on your Instagram doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have it out. If it means a lot to you and it truly makes you happy, have it out, hang it up, or throw it on the back of the couch. Who knows maybe your Instagram post will prove that Grandma blankets are in style.

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Find art you love.

Sometimes the best way to enjoy a space is the art you pick to display. That’s not always easy, and some art can be very expensive. Try to find pieces you love, even if they are cheap. Cheap art doesn’t need to stay around forever, and if it makes you happy, why not hang it up?

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My favorite little cactus candle.

Remember the positive things about your home.

This can be hard to do, especially if you’re continually frustrated in your small home. But there must be a reason that you’re there. What is it? Maybe your house has nice woodwork. Maybe your neighborhood is adorable. Maybe there’s a certain window you just love. Maybe you love the paint color in your kitchen. Find what you love, and don’t forget it. You could even go as far as to write what you love in a gratitude journal. You may be surprised to see how many things you write down about your home.

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Create a cleaning schedule.

Being a homeowner is a lot of work. There are so many things you need to think about and clean. Create a schedule for cleaning so you don’t have to worry about your home getting too messy. Some things can be daily or weekly, while others are monthly or annually. The cleaner your house is the happier you will be.

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Make your bed.

Literally just make your bed. When you walk into your bedroom you will be so happy and refreshed to see it made. Maybe even buy some extra decorative pillows or a blanket to keep on your bed for a little extra color.

Organize something, and then keep it organized.

How frustrating is your tupperware cupboard? It’s the freaking worst. Organize your spaces so it’s easy for you to access, but here’s the catch; KEEP IT LIKE THAT! Put things back where they belong so you don’t keep getting frustrated with it over and over again. Organize your kitchen drawers, your dresser drawers, your closet, whatever drives you crazy, but then keep it organized. The more organized you are the more space you will find in your small house to keep items. Every time you open that jewelry box you will smile to see your beautiful accessories in a perfect order.

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Let there be light.

People respond differently to dark rooms and bright rooms. Typically sunlight increases positive moods in people. If you have dark rooms try to brighten them up with natural sunlight as best as you can. Open up the doors, push back the curtains, open up the blinds, and let that sun in. Try to add a mirror on the opposite wall of your windows to reflect the sunlight into the room. Any little bit of light helps!

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Get rid of what you don’t need.

You may feel like you might wear that sweater again someday, or you might read that book again at some point. But you probably won’t. When you have a small house it feels as though you can accumulate items so quickly. The more items you own the more pressure is put on you to find a place for them. Think about the clothes in your closet, the amount of blankets you have, the excess number of wine glasses on the shelf (you know you won’t throw a party big enough for all those wine glasses, YOUR HOUSE IS TOO SMALL). There is no sense in keeping things that take up space if you don’t use them. Toss them. Give them to a charity. Have a yard sale and make money off of them. Just get it out of there.

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Keep finding ways to enjoy your space. The more effort you put in to enjoying your home the happier you will be. If you have any other ideas for enjoying your space feel free to message or contact me, or leave a comment for others to see.

Thanks, and good luck!

Britta

27 Easy Recipes That Are Impossible to Mess Up

Do you somehow mess up the simplest meals in the kitchen?

You and me both, sister.

Here are 27 recipes (appetizers, meals and sides) that are simple for you to try.

Appetizers:

Southwest Salsa

Fiesta Stuffed Mini Peppers

Baked Crab Rangoon

Spinach and Artichoke Bites

 

Meals:

Mini Meatloafs

BLT Wraps

Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce

Crockpot Chicken Tacos

Cilantro Lime Baked Salmon

Ham and Cheese Sliders

Crab Cakes

Slow Cooker Cranberry Pork Roast

Clean Crockpot Turkey Chili

Easy Fajita Chicken Bake

Slow Cooker Rosemary Garlic Crusted Roast Beef

Crispy Baked Parmesan Chicken

Avocado Toast with Egg

Taco Lime Grilled Chicken

 

Sides:

Roasted Veggies

Parmesan Roasted Asparagus

Banana Bread

Pesto-Parmesan Baked Tomatoes

Greek Salad

Slow Cooker Garlic Parmesan Potatoes

Roasted Sweet Potato Cube Skewers with a Cilantro-Jalapeno Aioli Dip

Baked Garlic Green Beans

Grilled Corn, Basil and Tomato Salad

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Feel free to comment or message me with any questions or any other easy recipes to share!

Britta

11 Things I Did To Get My Baby To Sleep Through the Night by Seven Weeks Old

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Ok, let me preface this by saying this DOES NOT mean you are doing anything wrong. This DOES NOT mean you are a bad mom. This DOES NOT mean that you will agree with all the parenting choices I have made. This DOES NOT mean these tips are going to work for you.

Have I made myself clear? Good.

My daughter is 11 months old now and she has been sleeping through the night since she was seven weeks old. I’m sorry, maybe you didn’t hear me, SEVEN WEEKS OLD.

Everyone told me I would never sleep again. I mentally prepared myself for that. But alas, I sleep like a mama bear who gets to hibernate whenever she damn well pleases.

Now I’ve always thought this was strange. Why does she sleep so much? Why is she not like all my friends children? Does my child have mono or something?

Nope. She’s just a bomb sleeper. And when that happens you just shouldn’t ask questions.

Has she woken us up in the middle of the night every so often? Of course. But I could probably count on two hands how many times I’ve had to get up with her in the middle of the night in the last nine months since she started sleeping through the night.

I’m a first time mom just figuring this out. But as a first time (or second time or third time or fourth time) mom, you get all sorts of unsolicited advice. These were just pieces of advice I heard about one way or another and I tried.

And you know what, they worked.

Swaddle that baby.

At first when we brought my daughter home we felt like she was too hot at night so we did not swaddle her. She would flail around and sometimes even wake herself up. One night we decided to swaddle her. She couldn’t move around, so she stopped crying and just fell back asleep. That was the first night she slept longer than a two hour stretch, and that was the first night I started to regain my mental abilities.

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I wanna Rock N’ Play all night.

Someone told us that their child never slept in a bassinet or a crib right away, but slept in this handy dandy little thing called a Rock N’ Play. We thought, “Well that’s the one thing we don’t have”, so we purchased one. Best purchase EVER. That thing cozied her right in and she loved it. The first night we used that for sleeping she slept through the night. I mean literally just like that. I did not believe in miracles until I was in the presence of the Rock N’ Play.

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See ya, kid.

I know there are many studies that show that having a child sleep in the same room with the parents is beneficial for the baby. It allows the baby to follow the parents breathing patterns and reduces the risk of SIDS.

Yeah, but it also kept our entire family awake.

We have a Saint Bernard, Black Lab mix. He’s five and he’s huge. He has always slept with us from the moment we brought him home. Sometimes he shakes his gigantic head, his enormous jowls shake and make it sound like we are participating in a Civil War reenactment. Other times he may click around on our hardwood floor giving us a small tap dance performance in the middle of the night. My husband and I are used to these noises, but my daughter was not. The dog would wake the baby, and the baby would wake us all and just when we all fell back asleep it happened again.

BYE BABY!

The night we sent her to sleep in her nursery was a lovely night. I could still see and hear her on the monitor, but her small noises wouldn’t wake me up unlike when she was right in the room. This arrangement just worked well for everyone.

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Keep ’em busy during the day…

During the day we do a lot. We play in different places. We go outside. We move all the time. Even a simple walk can tire a baby out (if they don’t fall asleep). If we could have longer stretches of awake time the naps and nighttime sleep seemed to be hard sleeps.

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…Keep ’em calm at night.

Once nighttime came we tried to maintain a relatively quiet evening for baby. We tried to have her avoid screens (is that even possible anymore), kept our living room dim, took a bath, read a book and quietly went to bed. This slowly told her it was getting near bedtime.

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White noise is better than no noise.

Someone mentioned getting a sound machine for my daughter. I didn’t realize what an amazing purchase this was, and I am so thankful we decided to get her one. We have used that every night that she has slept in her room. We absolutely love this sound machine, and even purchased one for ourselves! On the nights we forget to turn it on, she wakes up to outside noises, our loud dog (yes, all the way from our room down the hall), and other random creaks. But when it’s being used, we don’t hear a peep. Since summer we have also used a small fan which has helped as well.

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Bye bye, Pacifier!

When my daughter used to get tired she would calm down and pass out when we plopped that pacifier in her mouth. When she would wake up she would see it two inches from her face. Unfortunately for her she did not have the motor skills to place it back in her mouth, so she would scream until we would come to her rescue to plop that thing back in. We learned very quickly that we could not put her to sleep with that pacifier still in her mouth, or we would be her pacifier slaves for eternity.

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Keep it light. Keep it bright.

One of the pieces of advice I received was to keep it bright while baby naps. During the day keep the curtains open, the blinds up, or the lights on. When baby sleeps at night it should be the opposite. Keep the lights off or low, and as dark as possible. This will get baby used to daytime naps and can determine the difference between a “nap sleep” and a “nighttime sleep”.

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Cry it out, girl.

This was probably the hardest one to follow, but it was by far the most beneficial. If the baby starts crying… just wait. Not forever, but for a little bit. When I started this process I let her cry for five minutes. Then six. Then seven. You get the picture.

I never waited more than ten minutes of crying. Not because I couldn’t wait more than ten minutes, but because typically after about 6-7 minutes of crying she would have fallen back asleep.

You see babies don’t know anything, including how to let themselves fall back asleep. It’s a skill they have to learn. Allowing my daughter those minutes of crying helped her learn how to self-sooth and put herself back to sleep. Eventually I could tell the difference between an “I’m hungry” cry, and a “I’m awake, what do I do now” cry.

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Put them down drowsy.

Sometimes I miss the days of rocking and rocking until my sweet girl fell asleep in my arms. But as precious as those moments are, I tried not to always put her down fully asleep. As often as I could I would rock her or walk with her until those eyelids got heavy but were not fully closed. Once I could tell she was tired but still awake, I would place her down and allow her to fall asleep on her own. Again, it taught her how to put herself to sleep.

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Fill ’em up!

Typically before we put her down to sleep, we’ve always given her a bottle. Sometimes it’s a full bottle feeding, but depending on when she’s eaten last it may be only 2-3 ounces. Whatever we can do to fill that belly before bed has helped her to last all night without wanting more. Ain’t no better sleep than a milk coma sleep.

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These are the tips and tricks that I have tried with my sleepy child and they seem to work wonders. I hope that at least a few work for you and your child, and that you get some sleep soon, Mama!

If you have any other helpful ways to get your baby to sleep that I have missed comment below to share with others.

Thanks, and good luck! Now stop reading this and go take a nap.

 

This post does contain affiliate links.

Be Unique With a Winter Wedding

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How many Save the Dates do you have stockpiled right now? Of those Save the Dates how many of them are from May to October. I’m going to go out on a limb and say at least 99.99%. From May to October your chances for the nice, warm weather increase depending on where you live. Who wants to get married in those cold, dreary winter months?

YOU DO.

Well maybe you don’t, but you should and here’s why.

No conflicts with other brides.

Sometimes it just so happens that you and another acquaintance might end up booking your wedding days for the same date, making guests who know both of you choose which wedding they should attend. If you have a wedding in the winter, or even around Christmas, it is very unlikely that you will have another gal choosing the same day as you.

You also get a lifetime bonus of not sharing your anniversary with anyone you know, keeping it a special day for years to come.

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You can still get all the fun stuff out of the way in the summer.

Just because you have a winter wedding doesn’t mean that all the fun stuff has to happen in the winter too. Use the summer and fall to get your Bachelorette party and Bridal Shower out of the way when you’re not cramming to prepare for a wedding. That way you’re not crunching it all into one summer of craziness, and come winter you can buckle down on all the last minute details.

You get to wear a bomb coat.

When you get married in the summer there is no way you are wearing anything but your wedding dress, and that’s okay because you definitely spent enough money on that thing. But getting married in the winter means you not only get the dress, you get another fancy coat to impress people with as well.

If you’re interested in having some outdoor pictures you could add an extra pop to those photos with a bright red jacket, or even a fashionable fur coat. Can you imagine how amazing that would look against the white snow?

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Your wedding photos will be unlike no other.

How many wedding pictures have you seen with a body of water or a bunch of green in the background? Probably 7 bajillion. Get married in the winter and you can get pictures blowing snowflakes, throwing snowballs, cuddled in a blanket, footprints in the snow, UNDER THE MISTLETOE! No one else will have those.

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Your guests will always remember your wedding.

Over time do you ever lump weddings together? “Was it Ned’s wedding or Jaime’s wedding that was Game of Thrones theme?” (For the record I have never been to a Game of Thrones themed wedding. I will write a handsome check to whomever invites me to one though).

Most of your guests will have never experienced a winter wedding. Your wedding will have such a different atmosphere that they will distinctly remember your details more than other weddings. They will remember how cozy and warm it was as opposed to how hot other weddings were. They will remember the unique decorations or the feeling of Christmas in the air.

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No one else will have your decor ideas.

Think about all the different decor ideas that you can pull off that other seasons can’t.

Pinecones, snowflakes, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”, Christmas lights, ribbons and bows, Christmas sweater pattern , pine branches, berries, ornaments. The list goes on and on.

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You don’t have to worry about rain.

When you have a spring, summer or fall wedding you have a chance of rain. Unless you are Storm from the X-men, there is no way you can predict or change the weather for the day of your wedding a year and a half in advance.

That’s the beauty of a winter wedding. There’s no chancing it. It’s going to be cold. It’s going to be wet. It’s going to be snowy. You have no choice but to keep your wedding inside, so check that off your worry list.

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Hot Chocolate Bar.

Those three words alone should have you booking your winter wedding right now.

Santa might help you make it cheaper.

If you decide to have your wedding leading up to Christmas or even until New Year’s Eve, you could create an even more unique wedding. Most churches and reception halls would already be decorated for Christmas which could save you money. Gather up your families left over Christmas cookies and place them at each table for guests to munch on. Have guests place your wedding gifts under a big Christmas Tree. You could get real creative here, people!

BONUS (for the Game of Thrones Fans)

Your Save the Date could say “Winter is Coming”. The only problem with that is you may have some wedding crashers if they saw that Save the Date. Ehh, #worthit.

If you have any other ideas for awesome reasons to have a winter wedding please share or post pictures of your special winter day!

No matter when you choose to get married I hope it’s perfect for you.

Britta

Wedding Quilt

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The new trend in weddings is to come up with a creative, unique way to have your guests sign something to remember all of those that shared your special day with you. Lately I’ve seen wall art that is signed, fingerprints signed on a tree, leaving a simple message to the couple, or even the traditional Wedding Guest Book signature. All awesome ideas that uniquely fit each couple.

Thankfully I have an amazing aunt who is a natural at sewing. She helped to come up with an awesome idea for my husband and I who wanted a Wedding Quilt. Each couple or family at the wedding signed a white square that was sewn into a big quilt.

Before the wedding she put a border around each white square so that no message was cut off when sewn into the quilt. We bought fabric markers that were easy for people to use when they wrote their lovely messages to us. We also provided clipboards just incase.

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After the wedding, my aunt collected the squares and was able to sew them into a beautiful quilt that we keep in our living room.

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If you don’t personally know someone who sews I’m sure there is a local person or shop that would be willing to help you with this idea for your wedding.

If you have done something similar post a photo or tell us how it went.

I hope you are able to create your unique guest book idea that fits you!

Britta