Valentine's Day Haul & Decorate with Me

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Do you decorate for Valentine's Day? I love to decorate for all of the seasons and holidays and recently added some touches of pink and red to our home to make it festive for Valentine's Day. 

I get most of my seasonal decor from Target, Hobby Lobby and Michaels. I love to shop at Kirklands as well, but they didn't have the biggest selection of Valentine's Day decor just yet. 

I purchased a few items this year, and am sharing a haul and a decorate with me over on YouTube. 

To see what all I got, and how I decorated our home for Valentine's Day, check out my Valentine's Day Haul & Decorate with Me video

Life Love & Puppy Paws on YouTube

Monday, January 11, 2021

In case you weren't aware, I have a YouTube channel also called Life Love and Puppy Paws, and I have some fun videos planned for 2021! 

I recently shared a channel trailer, so if you are interested in seeing what my channel is all about, you can check it out here! I will be sharing content around motherhood, homemaking and home decor. 

I’m a working Mama with a 3 year old little boy and 2 crazy pups. I started my channel as a way to connect with other Mama’s and share my journey and all the little tips and tricks I have learned along the way. 

I love homemaking, which can be so different as a working Mama, so I wanted to open up my home and share all the things I love, including my home d├ęcor, gardening, cooking and baking and all the ways I get things done as a working Mama. 

I'll share on my blog everytime a video goes live and will use my blog to share links to featured items, meal plans, printables and more!

I would love for you to check out my channel and subscribe and join my journey through motherhood. Make sure to introduce yourself in the comments and let me know a little about yourself and if you have a channel. Let’s do this thing called motherhood together!

How I Monthly Meal Plan + October Meal Plan

Friday, October 2, 2020

Happy Friday! Today I wanted to share how I monthly meal plan, as well as share what meals I will be making for my family for the month of October.

I started monthly meal planning about a year ago, and I do really think it helps me to be more organized, more efficient with my time when I am doing my grocery shopping, and also helps keep us on track with our budget. It does take a little of prep time at the beginning of the month, but it will then save you time throughout the month.

I'm sharing over on my YouTube channel my process for monthly meal planning, but I wanted to share a few additional items over here on my blog.

Meal Planning Tools:

Make sure to download my October Monthly Meal Plan.

Find all of the recipes on my Pinterest October Meal Planning board.

You can find more Fall Recipe inspiration from my Relaxing Fall Decorate, Dinner and Dessert video.

And make sure to check out my HUGE Fall Costco Haul to see what family favorites we stock up on as our backup meals.

Fall Front Porch Decorate with Me

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Decorating for Fall is my favorite thing about the Fall season. I typically begin my decorating in early September, but I always hold off getting my Fall mums and pumpkins until later in Sept. We tend to still have some 80+ degree days here in Ohio, up until the middle of Sept. So to ensure my mums don't perish in the heat, it always best to just wait a few weeks. They tend to last until almost Thanksgiving, so it's definitely worth the wait.

Today I'm sharing my Fall front porch. I got this cute buffalo plaid rug and this "hey there pumpkin" rug from Kirklands. The ceramic pumpkin came from Lowes a few years ago. 

This wreath came from Home Goods last year and I'm sure you can find a similar one this year. The Welcome sign is from Amazon. 

All of my pumpkins, mums and the decorative kale came from a local garden center. If you head over to my Fall Front Porch Decorate with Me video, I'm sharing some shopping clips. It's such a beautiful garden center that I love to visit often just to get away for a little bit. It's like a little piece of paradise in this crazy world. 

Check out my Fall Front Porch Decorate with Me video for more details on my Fall front porch. 

10 Self Care Ideas for the Busy Mom

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Self Care is extremely important, especially lately during these stressful times of staying at home due to quarantine restrictions. But for me, and for probably many others, it's hard to find time in our busy days to fit that in. I've been trying to fit in small moments of self care throughout my day. 

So today I wanted to share:

10 Self Care Ideas for the Busy Mom

1. Get Outside
Take a few moments to get outside. Take a quick walk, play with your kiddos, or just sit on your deck/patio and listen to the birds. Even as little as 10 mins of sunlight can boost your vitamin D levels in your blood, which can really help boost your mood.

2. Listen to an Audio Book or Podcast
Once I became a Mama, I found it so hard to find time to sit down and read a book. So I turned to listening to audio books and podcasts while I do other things and it's the perfect way to get my "reading" in. I will plug in my earbuds and listen while I clean up the kitchen, get ready in the morning, drive to the grocery store, organize a get the idea.

Some of my favorite podcasts include:
The Girl Next Door Podcast
Sorta Awesome
Cultivate Your Life with Lara Casey
Level Up Babe
RISE Podcast with Rachel Hollis

If you are interested in listening to audio books, I highly recommend checking out Audible. You can usually get a free book as a free trial. The only thing I have noticed is sometimes the narrator's voice annoys me with certain characters and it does sometimes take away from the story. To be honest it's really the only way I can get my reading in and participate in book club, so I've learned to get over that. But it's always a fun topic of book club for those Mamas who listen to the book...did you like the narrator, or did he/she annoy you...ha!

3. Do some yoga
Working out has definitely been a challenge, especially lately with everyone being home so much. But I do love to work small yoga sessions into my daily schedule. This helps keep me calm and I also find that stretching does wonders for my back pain. I feel like the majority of my pain is due to tight leg and core muscles. 

I have been really loving the yoga routines on the Sara Beth Yoga channel on YouTube. She has hundreds of yoga workouts and playlists where she organizes them by time. So if you only have 15 or 20 mins, you can quickly find a yoga routine for that length of time. I feel like her routines get me moving, but don't get me overly sweaty, so it's easy to fit in the middle of the day and not worry about having to take a shower after.

4. Read a devotional or short bible study
As I mentioned, it's been so hard to fit in reading an actual book, but I do find it's manageable to read daily devotionals which only take about 5 or 10 mins to read. Then you can reflect on what you read throughout the day. It's a great way to bring some positivity to your day. 

Right now I'm loving:
Take It Too Far: Abundant Life, Boundless Love, Unending Grace
Pressing Pause: 100 Quiet Moments for Moms to Meet with Jesus

If you are looking for a more portable way to take your devotionals on the go, you can also check out the YouVersion app and they have a ton of bible study plans. I've personally liked:
-- Overwhelmed by My Blessings
-- Claim Your Crown
-- GOD + GOALS: How to Set Goals as a Christian

5. Take a drive
There has not been a lot of places we can go with everything being shut down, but I have enjoyed just getting out for a quick drive. If its nice out I open the sunroof, drive through a Starbucks (if there is one open), and crank up some great music (or an audio book or podcast) on my way to pick up a Target Drive Up order. Sometimes it's just nice to get out of the house for 15 mins or so.

6. Put on lotion or use aromatherapy oils
Smell is a great way to boost your mood. One of the things I love to do is put on some favorite lotion or aromatherapy oils and it also seems to calm me down when I am really stressed. I really love this Stress Relief lotion from Bath & Body Works (it smells like a spa!). I also use the Valor, Peace & Calming and Tranquil rollers from YoungLiving it they really seem to help with my anxiety. 

7. Burn your favorite candle
In addition to using lotions and oils, I also love to burn candles. I've been bringing out my favorite candles to burn for a few hours a day. I know we always like to try and save our favorite candles for special occasions, but why not bring them out for the everyday occasion?

8. Put on your favorite earrings or outfit
The other day I put on a pair of earrings for the first time in 2 months. I didn't really have anywhere to go, but it just felt nice to "get ready" and put on some of my favorite things that I found I really missed wearing. It's so easy to just put on another pair of comfy pants, especially if you are just hanging around the house for the 300th day in a row. But sometimes putting on a favorite outfit, or earrings or even putting on a little makeup, can make you feel really positive about yourself. So go put on something you love right now!

9. Put on a face mask
A little pampering at the end of the day, or really in the middle of the day, never hurt anyone. Take 5 mins and put on a face mask while you are winding down for the day, or while you are unloading the dishwasher, as long as it doesn't scare the family. It's a great way to pamper yourself and also nourish your skin.

10. Make a favorite drink
This is my favorite thing to do in the afternoon after I put my son down for a nap and while I'm trying to tackle my afternoon tasks. I have been making either a cup of hot tea, or I'll drink some Kombucha or make a smoothie. Just something fun and different that feels like a little treat in the middle of the day. 

So what are you doing for Self Care lately. If you have any favorite products, drinks, books or podcasts please share as I'm always looking for great ideas. 

May Meal Plan

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Hey friends! I just finished up my May Meal Plan and thought I would share in case anyone was looking for some meal planning inspiration.

I'm not sure about you, but meal planning is just one of those daunting tasks that I never look forward too. But I've learned if I don't plan out our meals each week, then dinnertime is super stressful and usually ends up with some sort of take-out, which is not good for our budget.

I have been planning our meals a month at a time for about 6 months now, and definitely feel like it's been a timesaver. I've learned if I just sit down and plan my meals for the entire month, I can usually plan the entire month in the time it typically takes me to plan just one week. Then the task is done for the month.

Some of the tips I have learned when planning for a month at a time include:

1. Plan to cook only 4 times a week. Then plan to double each recipe so you can get 2 dinners out of each meal. That way your not having to cook every night of the week. Or better yet, triple it and freeze one of the portions.

2. Look ahead at your calendar and note any super busy nights. Then make sure to plan super easy meals, or crockpot meals on those days.

3. Use a formula to help come up with meal ideas. My formula is:
-- Sun/Mon - Soup (for Souper Sunday)
-- Tues/Wed - Mexican (for Taco Tuesday)
-- Thurs/Fri - Super simple meals or Instapot meals
-- Sat - Pizza, take-out inspired meals, favorite meals that may take a little longer to prepare, or sometimes just take-out

4. Always have some back-up options on hand in case a meal doesn't work out. I always have a frozen pizza or frozen meal like stirfry or lasagna on hand as a back-up.

5. Be prepared to substitue if needed. With recent food shortages at the grocery store, I also try to plan meals that can have easy substituions if necessary. Switching out proteins or frozen veggies is usually an easy substiution. Or you can always default to those back-up frozen meals.

6. Save all your recipes to a specific meal planning Pinterest board, so you can quickly access them when you are ready to cook. You can find my May Meal Planning recipes here

At the bottom of this post is a downloadable verison of my meal plan for May. We have already tried the Tomato Basil Soup with Grilled Cheese, and I have been eating the left-overs all week for lunch, it's just so good! And we also had the Chicken Tamale Casserole for Cinco de Mayo, which is a family favorite we typically have at least once a month.

What is your meal planning process? Do you plan a week or a month at a time? Or do you just wing it each night?

Earth Day Toddler Activities

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Happy Earth Day friends!
Today I wanted to share some fun things we have been doing to celebrate Earth Day. If you check out my latest video on YouTube, you will find 5 Earth Day toddler activities you can do to celebrate Earth Day.
I have mentioned before, I love reading holiday and seasonal books. We recently found this book called Little Raindrop which is a cute story that is actually a science lesson. It tells the story of a little rain drop that falls to earth, sinks down into the soil, is sucked up by a plant's root system, nourishes the plant, then evaporates to become part of a cloud so it can do it all again.
Some other fun Earth Day books include:
I Am Earth: An Earth Day Book for Kids
Biscuit's Earth Day Celebration
Earth Day Every Day
The Outdoor Toddler Activity Book
Another fun activity we did was make Birdseed Ornaments. You just need 1/4 cup of water, 1 packet of Knox gelatin and 3/4 cup - 1 cup of wild birdseed mix. You just disolve the gelatin into boiling water, then mix in your birdseed. We then used cookie cutters (lightly greased) as our molds, and inserted some twine inside before the cooled. You can see the full process in my video, including all the fun shapes we made.
We also recently planted an herb garden (you can see more details in our Easter Weekend Vlog). 
And we also planted sunflower seeds. We actually have been doing this the last 2 years. 

Matthew's first year of day care, his teachers gave everyone a packet of sunflower seeds to plant for Earth Day.

Within a few months they grew so tall! Matthew had no idea at the time how fun this was, but hopefully this year he will get a little more excited about it.

We also went on a Nature Scavenger Hunt and looked for things like flowers, and leaves, bunnies and squirels. We didn't find as many things as we woud like. We found a chipmunk nest and Matthew was extremely interested in finding sticks. He keeps seeing small trees and calling them sticks and trying to take them with him...ha!

I made a fun printable for our Nature Scavenger Hunt, which you can download here if you want to go on a scavenger hunt with your kiddos.

Did you do anything fun to celebrate Earth Day?