Mini Babybel.®cheese wheels are a staple in our house. We use them for lunches, snacks, and just plain fun since I love them as much as my kids do. And as mom, knowing I am feeding my kids real cheese that is a great source or protein and calcium, makes me feel like I am doing something right every now and then. So when I had the opportunity to team up with them to share with you all how we enjoy them during our most favorite season ever I jumped. I ran to my closest Target and picked up every variety. They have six.

Now the packages they have right now are fun in itself. They are wrapped in a adorable Halloween wrappers. But the fun doesn’t have to stop there. I rounded up my troops to make these fun and exciting snacks (and a full fledge meal) for you and your family to enjoy.

Ninja Cheese

Frankencheese

Spider Cheese

Mummy Cheese- A Fun Take on Mozzarella Sticks

  • Mini Babybel.®
  • Tomato Sauce for Dipping
  • Dough (i used pre-made)
  • Edible Eyes

Wrap thin string of dough around the whole cheese. Bake at 375 for 9 mins. Some cheese might melt out, but still takes amazing

Eye Balls

 

Next time you are at Target, probably tomorrow,  pick up some Mini Babybel.® There are amazing deals on Mini Babybel throughout the month of October so stock up.

If your girlfriends stopped by unannounced for a girls night, would you feel comfortable letting them in? Honestly?

 

Ive partnered with Lemi Shine to bring you this guide. As always, thoughts are my own. Head to bottom for a coupon!

I come from a long lineage of clean freaks and at one point in my life I would say I would have fallen into this category. But I was childless and never home because I worked too much. To my mothers dismay I am mid-30s and still revolting against her “way of life” when it comes to the proper way to keep a home. But I have a saying, mainly I just say it to myself, because no one else listens. But it is “pick your battles” and I say it hourly. It makes me feel better and reminds me that in this season of life there are more important things to life than playing maid all day and not getting paid for it.

I recently shared an article on FB in regards to a “crappy dinner party” and it was basically my idea of a perfect evening. And since we are beginning of the most wonderful time of year, I figured I would  share how we make sure we are always ready for a Crappy Dinner Party.

Literally my soul comes alive with the anticipation of fall weather, fall fashion, decorating, party planning, and memory making. The last thing I want to do is ruin this euphoria with the undo stress of making sure I have the perfect house and the perfect party for my friends that love me regardless, or at least pretend to.

Let me be clear here, there is a difference between messy and dirty and we shouldn’t get those confused. My house and life isn’t dirty. But it is messy. While I am working slowly on the messy, the dirty is something I do daily to make sure it stays manageable. My friend could literally knock on the door in 3 minutes and the only thing I would need to do was put on a bra. Just kidding, no one is that special.

So in order to keep my home, ready for the next impromptu party I have enlisted my little ones to help. Now before you start judging, I use Lemi Shine because they are so powerful but more importantly safe and powered by 100% natural citric extracts. There are no questionable chemicals so even though I personally am not a clean freak. I know my house is! And nothing is better than walking into a house cleaned with natural citric extracts. Want to know something even more amazing? Their products actually resist new messes with Gunkguard. Gunkguard is a natural polymer that creates an invisible, protective layer on surfaces. It creates that long-lasting clean you want and makes them easier to clean again.

Cleaning Schedule to Make Sure We Are Always Party Ready

Daily

  • Wipe down hard surfaces with Lemi Shine Everyday Spray Cleaner. This includes appliances, granite countertops,  and tabletops.
  • Put dishes in the dishwasher and wipe down sink.
  • Take out trash
  • Spot treat floor and use duster mop. I have a wool rug and it sheds awful.
  • Take up basket of all things that don’t belong downstairs at end of day.

Weekly

  • Clean windows with Lemi Shine Glass + Surface Cleaner. My whole backside of house is windows and nothing like dog noses and fingers to block out my maximum sun. And once again thanks to Gunkguard I can nearly make it a week between cleanings.
  • Vacuum and mop floors
  • Clean Disposal with Lemi Shine Disposal Cleaner and get the stink out of your sink. Since everyone always hangs in the kitchen nothing would be worse than friends hovering over sink and smelling last weeks dinner.
  • Dust off furniture
  • Clean Bathroom. Lemi Shine Glass + Surface Cleaner does amazing things for my glass shower. It keeps water stains repelled and streak free. Literal game changer.

Day of Get Together

  • Clean serving dishes and utensils with Lemi Shine Concentrated Dish Soap this stuff is powerful and fast acting and requires very little elbow grease.
  • Pour wine.
  • Get out the paper plates.
  • Enjoy not being stressed and everyone having fun.

Having a clean house doesn’t mean you have to spend all day cleaning. With a couple intentional acts each day and products like Lemi Shine that work harder than you do your house will stay clean longer.  Next time you are at Target or any of these fine retailers grab a bottle. You won’t be disappointed. And because you all are my faves. Here is a coupon to use.

#CleanFreakClean

 

My sweet friend Lorine with Love Liv Events made us the most perfect cupcake toppers for the occasion. Check out her Etsy shopped linked HERE

I can’t believe I just did this. Typically I like this space to be a judgement free zone, but today you all get a pass because even I am judging myself. Today is Corla, our Boston Terrier’s, one year birthday. So naturally we threw a party and since Corla hates all other dogs, we only invited ourselves.

 

My husband and I were both big dog people before and when we met we had a Rott, Lab, and Terrier Mix. Well now that kids were thrown in the mix and apparently an aversion to dog hair I developed while pregnant, we had to go small. Hubs wanted a pitt and I know they are awful shedders, so I tempted him with a Frenchie. They are pitt looking, but smaller. Well apparently the breeders around here want you to sell a kidney to get a one and if I’m going to spend that kind of money I’d rather just add to our family with another kid. So seeing that I’m a bargain shopper, I found Boston Terriers and thought they resembled Frenchies. So we started scouring the rescues for one. This breed is known to have several bad health issues and cataracts is a big one. All the dogs I could find over several months were blind due to not being genetically tested for cataracts and bred.  I just knew my family and I couldn’t give a special needs dog the attention and care it needed so we found a breeder that from the looks of things did all the testing and gave health warranties.

When I mentioned to people we had decided on a BT, everyones warnings were the same. They have horrible gas and they are super hyper. But they love kids, they are smart, and very loyal.  I was sold on the fact that for a small dog breed they weren’t overly appy too.

So I put a deposit down on a brown, female Boston Terrier born on Oct. 9th.   We originally wanted to surprise our kids with it for Christmas but timing just never worked out well and no one would hold onto her for 3 weeks (and potty train her) until Christmas morning. We brought her home first week of Dec. If you have ever considered getting a puppy, December is an awful time if its cold to try to potty train. But lucky for us, this dog came litter box trained. Yep. That’s right, she’s basically a cat.

Like my kids, I’m a little on the strict side and I wanted this pup crate trained night one. Another thing, no one tells you about puppies and crate training is that you can break your kids spirit with the cry it out method, but a dog is stronger. Literally, this dog cried every night, all night for a week or two. It was worse than the first week home with a newborn.

This sweet baby had some health scares the first 6 months of her life and was sick for quite some time. But once we got her well and her energy levels came back she was such a sweet and playful puppy. But I would say for a Boston she is relatively calm and chill. She would pick laying on your lap to playing any time of day.

She also appears to have horrible separation anxiety. Like prob needs to be medicated which we might have to do soon. But this is why she comes with me everywhere. As long as temps are cool, she literally will sit in the front seat of my car or the girls car seats and not do a single thing until i get back. You leave her at home for 4 mins and it looks like she took a laxative. I have cried so many times walking through my front door.

But clearly my girls and I (even my husband) are head over heals in love with this little squishy faced pup. And Im pretty sure I will forever and always have a Boston because they really are a perfect pup. She even lets us dress her up and doesn’t hate it. Just kidding. She hates it and hates us for doing it. But the girls love it.

 

 

And for games we had the most perfect Halloween Game, Bobbing for Apples, that apparently no one wanted to play.

 

 

Pup Cupcake

Girls Cupcakes

Love Liv Events made the cupcake toppers

Halloween Paper Plates

Birthday parties in our family are kind of a big deal. I’m not one of those Pinterest Moms that loathes getting crafty and I don’t do it to keep up with the Jones’. I just genuinely in my heart love birthday parties and DIY are my favorite. Not to mention, my girls birthdays are a day apart so I kinda got robbed since we just throw one party (for now).

If I teach my girls anything in life, I want their takeaway to be, birthdays are fun and always a good excuse for a party regardless of how old you get. So I recently turned 35 and naturally my girls wanted to know when the party was. We all went out to dinner to a nice restaurant of my choosing but to a 3 and 5 year old that is no party to them. They wanted decorations, party favors, and of course dessert. So I did what any Pinterest Mom would do and I helped them plan one for me.

So we got to work. First was a theme and they quickly agreed it had to be food-focused. Those are my girls! We headed over to Basic Invite my go-to invitation store and found the most adorable Ice Cream themed Invitation and both of them were instantly sold.

Basic Invite- My Papergoods Go To

Basic Invite is most known for their gorgeous and unique wedding invitations, but you all need to check them out for all things paper. Their personalized party invitations  are totally customizable from basically unlimited colors to the types of papers and instant previews. Not to mention, rose gold. Enough said.  They have something for everything from weddings, to kids invitations, to holidays and don’t forget the thank you notes and notepads. They are my go-to for all things paper. And I already have my Christmas card picked out. Too early? Never! Need a birthday invitations, well today is your day. From now until Sunday, Sept 30th they have a coupon for 40% off. Sounds like you need to throw yourself a party.

USE CODE: FIRST40 for 40% off

The girls and I then headed to my party closet. Every time I am at target and see something in the dollar spot that could be used for a party at some point I grab it. It is always used at some point even if we have to just make up an excuse to have a party. I try to stick to neutral colors and metallics because then they match everything. These white ice cream cups were found there as well as my celebrate banner and party hats. Then we went to the garage and found some plastic baseballs and tissue paper and voila, we have a centerpiece. The table paper is actually Christmas paper but it matched and did the job.

Next up party favors! We went to the Dollar Store and grabbed the cutest little bath sponge and transformed that into an ice-cream cone as well. At least I know tonite I will have an hour of uninterrupted quiet time as they play with their new bath toys. Clearly, the dog thought party favor meant treat for her.

September has been an amazing month full of celebrations and I’m sad to see it coming to an end. But I have faith that we will find an excuse every month to throw some kind of party. And if not, we will just have ice cream for breakfast.

Too Embarrassed for Eye Contact

I have been compensated by/received free product from Natures Origin for this article, but as always all opinions
are entirely my own.

I’d like to pat myself on the back for a second and say that I typically have it together.  My kids don’t look like baby models, my house  doesn’t look like a show house, we aren’t eating home cooked organic meals for 5 meals a day, and I don’t look like the blogger I portray on the internet when I wake up every morning, but we make it through the day with fun activities and do fun things. We brush our hair (most days), eat home cooked meals regularly, and I spot clean-up daily (like one spot).

With summer closing in, workload increasing, my husband’s crazy travel schedule, and my kids boycotting all naps, no one has gotten a break in a while. Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning. My to-do list is a mile long and I have been on a quest recently to find ways to unwind and recharge. I don’t function well in extended chaos and that’s where I have been lately.  In order to relax, clear my head, and keep-up, I’ve been relying on exercise, healthy eating, and incorporating essential oils into my daily routine

 

  • Exercise & Eating Healthy
    • I have been getting up before the kids, dog, and hubs to get my workout in. When I would wait until the afternoon or the evening, something typically came up and took precedence. Now, my mornings start better: I have a couple cups of coffee before the kids get up. I can read the internet twice and get started on emails.
    • Something happened after the birth of my second child and literally my good eating habits went out the window.Habits are hard to break, and I’m still in the process of not snacking all day and eating whole foods and drinking a ton of water. I am happy to report that I am two weeks in and I will win this battle. My brain was starving for nutrients and I already feel so much more focused and aware.

 

Screen Free Recharge Time and Quiet Time

My kids are past the age of needing/wanting naps on a daily basis but momma needs a break from them and their chaos. So I send them their rooms with books, colors, and toys. They are to play quietly in their rooms or beds for at least two hours. I try to get more but it doesn’t always happen. During this time I plug in my Nature’s Origin™ Diffuser and drop in a couple drops of Eucalyptus Oil.  I’m new to the oil world, but I’m experimenting with  eucalyptus oil to sooth my senses, rejuvenate my spirit, and refresh my balance. brain. Eucalyptus has been used in traditional Asian practices for centuries for its cooling properties and has a slightly sweet and woody
scent. Its strong aroma is clean, fresh and positive .  Hello, I’m pretty sure it was made for me, right?  So while my room is smelling amazing, I work for an hour and a half because I need the quiet to think coherently. Then the last 30 minutes I turn off all notifications and I lay on my couch or my bed and try to get a little nap in. Even if sleep doesn’t happen, it still feels amazing to recharge.

These couple very deliberate things are helping me come out of the fog. Right now with so much going on, all of which I am very excited about and so very thankful for, I need to be on my A game. A personality flaw of mine would be the inability to completely chill. But I am working on it and incorporating essential oils into my daily routine has been my secret weapon

Need a few more suggestions on ways to utilize Eucalyptus Oil?

 

Eucalyptus Oil Bath

To unwind from the day

Draw a warm bath

3 drops of Eucalyptus Oil into a TSP of carrier oil, I use Nature’s Origin™ Aromatherapy Almond Carrier Oil

Pour mixture into bath and enjoy

Hair Mask

To change dull hair to shiny hair:

50mL Nature’s Origin™ Aromatherapy Almond Carrier Oil

5mL Eucalyptus Oil Mix Eucalyptus Oil and Almond oil together in glass bottle and warm in hot water. Gently massage oil onto scalp to stimulate blood flow to hair roots and comb through hair.  Contain hair in a shower cap or wrap in clean, warm towel and ‘cook’ for 20 minutes.  Shampoo and condition normally. More than one shampoo may be required to remove excess oil.

 

Muscle Relief

You may need this after the early morning workouts.

2-3 drops of Eucalyptus Oil

1 TSP of Nature’s Origin™ Aromatherapy Almond Carrier Oil

Massage balls or something comparable to work into sore muscle groups.

I’d love to hear how you use essential oils. Share your recipe below in the comments.