St Patrick’s Day is often seen as a party holiday for adults, but having grown up in a small Irish Catholic community, I’ve always seen St Patrick’s Day as a family holiday. Our community always had a huge celebration that included a parade, sheepdog trials, lots of traditional Irish food and dance, and of course fun activities for the kids. I have my own Irish ancestry as my grandmother descended from Irish immigrants, and I love sharing this holiday with my kids so they can learn a bit about their heritage as well. We’ve developed some traditions over the years in how we mark the day, and today I wanted to share my three favorite tips for making this a fun holiday for kids.
Wear Something Festive
It is tradition to wear green on St Patrick’s Day so you don’t get pinched, so have some fun with this and wear something festive. This year our family got matching Shamrock pajamas which are so fun!
Make A Leprechaun Trap
One of our favorite traditions is building a leprechaun trap. I go to the craft store and buy a ton of different items to use to decorate our trap and then let the kids get creative making a trap out of an old box. This one from a two years ago is one of my favorites that the kids ever came up with. They made a cute rope ladder and decorated the box with moss, rocks, shamrock stickers, and had a little pot of gold coins to lure their leprechaun. The kids always excitedly race downstairs St Patrick’s Day morning to check their trap to see if they’ve caught one, and while they haven’t succeeded, they do always find a clue left behind for a treasure hunt. Pinterest has tons of free printable options to make a St Patrick’s Day treasure hunt, and our treasure hunt always leads to a pot of gold chocolate coins and a few little trinkets (like tattoos, socks, stickers).
Cook Something Fun
My kids’ favorite St Patrick’s Day treat is green pancakes and milk, and I love making this for the kids for breakfast each year. Adding a cute activity placemat makes the meal feel a bit more special too. One year we made shamrock shaped sugar cookies and decorated them with edible gold sprinkles, and this year I think we will make Lucky Charms Bars (think Rice Krispie Treats but with Lucky Charms instead). Every St Patrick’s Day I make a traditional Cottage Pie for dinner, and I would love to have the kids help me make a traditional Irish Soda Bread this year too. Adding a few decorations and festive touches make the meal a little more fun too.
I hope this gives you some ideas for a fun St Patrick’s Day!
March is officially here, Easter is just one month away, and spring is definitely in the air. A few days ago I put out all of our Easter and spring decorations and I’m loving the cheeriness it brings to our home. Adding a few decorations always makes holidays a lot more fun and special for the kids too. Today I wanted to share some Easter and spring decorations I’m loving.
The end of February has finally arrived, and today I thought it would be fun to share a quick post of some of my favorite buys over the past month.
One | I’ve loved this skincare line for a long time, but just recently bought this lip balm to try for the first time. It is amazing for moisturizing lips, and I love each of the 3 scents so much that I’m so happy I purchased the trio.
Two | This candle blends two of my favorite scents – lavender and lemon. It has been bringing a little feeling of spring into my home and it’s also very affordable.
Three | I’ve been hearing good things about this brand, so I recently picked up this sleeping mask. I absolutely love the texture and scent, and it really does make my skin soft and glowy.
Four | I’m someone who is very sensitive to scents, and in looking for a new perfume to try I came across really great reviews for this one. It has a light, fresh scent that isn’t overly strong for someone sensitive like myself and I have really been loving this.
Five | I really love the look of Bottega Venetta’s pouch clutch, but I simply cannot justify $2800 for a clutch that will only get used a few times a year. This $40 option is a fantastic substitute and really looks very high quality.
Six | I recently bought this delicate wash for washing my washable silk items (like my pillowcase), and I absolutely love the light, fresh scent. It also keeps my silk items in pristine condition and they wash up beautifully with this.
Seven | I have been stalking the Nordstrom Rack site for ages hoping to score one of these blankets on sale, and I finally got one! They don’t currently have any available (they tend to go fast!), but they pop up from time to time so definitely keep your eye out. This blanket is by far the softest one we own and our entire family is always fighting over it.
Eight | Evan saw a commercial for these and begged for one for literally a month. I decided to surprise him with one as part of his Valentine’s Day gift and he absolutely loves it. The lights really are calming and relaxing and it helps him fall asleep much faster.
Nine | When I apply my skincare products, I always apply the extra from applying to my face to the back of my hands to improve the appearance of aging on my hands as well. I was looking for something I could add specifically for my hands to my routine and came across this cream. I’ve just started using it and already see an improvement in my skin’s appearance.
Ten | Covid has really made me want to up my sterilization game and sterilize everything. This phone sanitizer is great for sanitizing your phone as well as keys or any other small items. It has an aromatherapy port where you can add a little scented oil to make your items smell nice too.
We’ve definitely entered that point of a weird in between season here in Boise. One moment it’s sunny and mild out, the next moment we are having a literal blizzard and waking up to snow on the ground. While I’m definitely ready for spring, I’m not feeling quite ready to burst out the pastel florals. I’ve been feeling really drawn to dark, wintery florals lately which I feel are a great transitional piece for this in-between winter and spring season.
Even though I am a stay at home mom, Zoom meetings have become a super important part of my son Evan’s ongoing care management for his brain injury recovery. And like many people, Zoom has been a way to stay connected with our friends and family this past year as well. It can be so easy to get stuck in a style and beauty rut spending so much time at home, but I do find that taking some time to make myself feel a little more glam always improves my mood. And it definitely makes me feel a little more confident when I have to see my face plastered on a large screen on Zoom meetings. A pretty feminine sweater, a pop of bold lip color, and some pretty earrings are a simple way to make me feel pulled together and a bit more fancy. Today I wanted to share a few pretty zoom look combos that I’m loving.
If you’ve followed me for awhile, then I’m sure you know about the tragedy our family faced last year. Back in March, my youngest son Evan suffered 4 massive strokes. Needless to say it was a year of complete devastation and heartbreak. Nothing can ever prepare you for the life shattering experience that is nearly losing a child, and then trying to gather yourself and face the years of uncertainty and challenges to come. Covid of course made an already difficult time about a million times worse, as we were really alone in trying to navigate this sudden new life with a very medically fragile child. We even reached a point where we were no longer able to attend some of Evan’s therapies in person due to the lax Covid policies of the hospital where we were attending outpatient sessions – which meant I was trying to manage Evan’s daily therapy sessions at home via telehealth. There were no therapy based schools open due to Covid, so I became his homeschool teacher too. And of course still trying to care for my other son, oversee his distance learning, and keep up on household responsibilities. Needless to say…I hit the wall of exhaustion by the end of the year. I knew it was time for some changes and I needed help because Evan’s recovery will take many, many years and I know I can’t continue to do it 100% on my own.
While my story is definitely extreme, I know a lot of moms can relate to the burnout of last year. Suddenly becoming a homeschool teacher and dealing with all the stress and uncertainty of a pandemic definitely made for a hard year for so many. I know that many others also suffered losses of loved ones from Covid (and other tragedies), and for anyone suffering…my heart goes out to you and you are not alone.
I am happy to report that I’m starting 2021 off with finally getting some much needed help which will be wonderful for Evan in his recovery, and also give me a bit of free time. A therapy based school that we had Evan on the list for was finally able to reopen, and he’s now going to school a few days a week. He has been so excited to make some new friends, and his first month of school has been going incredibly well. And with this bit of free time, I’m going to start working on making my own self care a priority. Brain injury recovery is a marathon and this is something we will be working hard on for many years. I know that in order to continue to care for Evan, as well as the rest of my family, I need to take care of myself first. I’ve been horrible about not doing the things I know I need to be doing the keep me fueled and in a good mental space. So this year I’m prioritizing my self care and I am going to make sure that I do the things I need to do for myself so that I have the ability to continue to care for everyone else. I’ve put together this self care checklist to remind myself daily to carve out time for these things, and hopefully it can help you too!
In addition to a daily reminder checklist, I’ve found that creating a self care “toolkit” is also really helpful for me and I have a number of products I use that help promote my personal self care. I put together this list of products to help you create your very own self care toolkit to help give you ideas for ways to practice your own self care.
One | Journaling is a really effective tool for dealing with stress, and I love that this journaling book contains a lot of prompts to help guide you
Two | I try to read this devotional every day. It’s a quick way to connect with God and make time for spirituality.
Three | Melatonin has been so helpful for me this past year in helping me overcome sleep difficulties
Four | I have and love this sleeping mask. I find that when I’m too tired to do my full skincare routine, a sleeping mask is the quickest way to give my skin a little extra pampering
Five | This sleeping mask contains melatonin and I’m really wanting to try it
Six | Starting your day off with an affirmation is a great way to put you in a positive mindset
Seven | Drinking enough water is a constant work in progress for me. This motivational water bottle that encourages you to keep drinking is sitting in my cart
Eight | Our entire family has weighted blankets, and they really do help with anxiety. When Evan was still in the PICU following his strokes, it greatly helped him in his recovery and there are so many studies showing how beneficial they are.
Nine | A cup of calming tea makes for a great bedtime ritual
Ten | Keeping one of these little stress balls with motivational quotes on it in your purse can help you get through any anxious thoughts that pop up throughout the day
Eleven | We’ve been loving using oils for Evan, and they really helped with calming him during his hospitalization. You could alternatively pick an energizing scent to help perk you up during the day as well.
Twelve | We love having our diffuser going so that the entire family can enjoy scented oils
Thirteen | I love using aromatherapy in the shower, and I especially love citrus scents for a bit of extra energy in the morning
Fourteen | I recently bought this pillowcase and absolutely love it! It’s been a game changer in helping reduce my breakouts and just feels lovely to sleep on too
Fifteen | Eye gels really help de-puff my eyes when I’ve had a poor night’s sleep or am just feeling some extra stress
Sixteen | I’m honestly not much of a bath person, but this “emotional detox” bath soak may just change my mind
Seventeen | This supplement is supposed help with stress management by normalizing cortisol levels and it has great reviews
Eighteen | There’s something about a pair of insanely cozy socks that always makes me feel better
Nineteen | I often get into a funk around this time of year due to lack of sunlight. This affordable sun lamp has rave reviews, and can really help those struggling with Seasonal Affective Disorder
Twenty | I’m really intrigued by these finger acupuncture rings which are supposed to help alleviate tension
Twenty One | This sea wool sponge is a great way to give you a little extra pampering during your shower
Twenty Two | This highly reviewed CBD oil provides incredible hydrating and skin softening effects
Twenty Three | I absolutely love facial rolling and find it so incredibly relaxing and de-stressing
Twenty Four | This lavender filled acupressure pillow can help with neck and back pain, as well as headaches
Twenty Five | This weighted sleep mask can help with easing anxiety and promoting sleep
Twenty Six | A comfortable meditation cushion can help you get comfortable during mediation or prayer
A quick update about Evan’s progress in case you are wondering. When we arrived home from the hospital at the end of May, he could only say 4 words without prompting or help. He spoke in a whisper and was difficult to understand. He couldn’t feed himself. It was hard to know what he understood because he couldn’t really answer any questions and struggled following directions. He had zero mobility. His right arm was almost completely paralyzed. Now, nearly one year into his recovery, he is speaking in full sentences. He’s regaining new words every single day and he’s a total chatterbox talking all day long. His speech is very clear and about 95% of what he says is perfectly understandable. His therapy preschool teacher feels that he is absolutely on track to start Kindergarten this fall in a regular classroom with an IEP. He’s feeding himself independently. He’s walking independently in a gait training walker & walking short distances with minimal support (just holding my hands for balance). He is back to playing some of his favorite games like building legos and he navigates the iPad incredibly well (although he’s still slowly relearning how to play some of his favorite games like Minecraft). He has relearned his abcs, counts to 20, can spell and identify the letters of his name, knows the days of the week, and he’s starting to be able to trace simple lines. While his right hand is still significantly impaired, he’s gained a ton of movement in his arm. He has the sweetest, most loving spirit and is always giving compliments to everyone and wanting to brighten everyone’s day. While there’s no doubt we have still have a long ways to go, he continues to work incredibly hard and make progress daily. This journey has been difficult, but with continued hard work, faith, and prayer there is the beauty of hope that our best days are still ahead.
This past weekend the kids had a 4 day winter break, which coincided with Valentine’s Day and a huge winter snow storm where we ended up getting over 8 inches of snow. This winter has been incredibly mild here in Boise, so finally getting a big snowfall made for such a fun mini staycation. We had a blast building a snowman, having snowball fights, drinking lots of hot cocoa by the fire, and enjoying Valentine’s Day together with lots of yummy treats.
Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope you are having a wonderful day with those you love. And if you are looking to enjoy a bit of shopping today, there are some great sales happening this weekend for President’s Day. I wanted to share a few of my favorite picks and best sales.
J Crew – 30% off nearly everything with code SPRING
As winter continues to drag on, lately I’ve been finding myself drawn to all things dark and moody. We’re currently hunkered down here in Boise with a winter storm warning and expecting a lot of snow over the coming days. I know it won’t be long before spring will arrive with all of it’s pastels and florals, so I’m trying to embrace these last weeks of winter and looking to add a few dark accessories to my wardrobe. Here’s a little save or splurge accessory inspiration for your Friday.