The Life

weekend recap — our trip to NC!

Happy Monday! 

And yes, I love Monday’s.  It’s when the kids go back to school, duh.  No shame here.  We play and argue and snack alllll weekend long (or in this case a 3 day weekend) so I am usually ready when Monday gets here.   I spent the previous weekend driving with the kids to my mom and Cliff’s new house in North Carolina.  It took them almost an entire year to build it and it was worth the wait.  It’s so pretty and has gorgeous views.  We went last year for a weekend and my kids couldn’t wait to go back.  

Mike had to work and couldn’t come but I wasn’t going to let the idea of being in the car alone with 3 kids for hours and hours stop me.  And honestly, the drive wasn’t bad at all!  I stopped off at the library to grab some new books and movies and we were good to go.  My kids really are great road trippers though.  They’ve been thoroughly conditioned from all of our trips back to South Florida!  

The house is in Hendersonville which is considered apple country.  It’s row after row of apple orchards!  Last year I bought a bushel of apples and literally made applesauce for months!  I wasn’t planning on doing that again but we did take the kids picking and brought home plenty to eat.  And of course had some cider slushies and apple doughnut while we were there!

We had a great time visiting Chimney Rock (which Joey made a song up about…and didn’t stop singing the whole way home), gem mining, ice cream tasting, carnival riding, apple picking and eating, fishing, and just about doing anything and everything possible that there is to do!  We squeezed a lot of activities into our 48 hours that’s for sure.  

We were really excited that my sister Jessica and her boyfriend had a trip planned that overlapped ours by a day so we were able to see them for a quick visit too!  I even brought a turkey and we cooked a mini-Thanksgiving dinner since we won’t all get to be together to celebrate later on this month.  Gotta make the best of it I guess.  And it’s totally normal to take a turkey on a 6 hour road trip right??


We made it home just in time to have Sunday dinner with Daddy and show him all the gemstones that we brought home!  The kids are already planning on going back next week, according to them, and I swear Joey is still singing his Chimney Rock song.  I’m hoping he forgets the words soon, ha!

Hope you’re having a great start to the week!  

XO Danielle

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Recipes The Life

A Week of Halloween Lunches

Happy Friday!! 

I feel like October is completely getting away from me!  Anyone else?  And by “getting away from me” I mean “oh crap it’s the 13th and I haven’t ordered Joey’s Minion costume yet”.  Whoops!  We have been having a lot of Halloween themed fun around the house though. 

I went down to the basement to bring up all the Halloween bins and the kids had a blast decorating their spaces in the house.  I had a blast finding all of the 90% off Halloween stuff that I scored early November last year at Target and Walmart.  Isn’t that the best??  I forgot all about it until I starting rooting through the bins.  I had gotten so many cupcake liners, cupcake picks and other kitchen related items that I completely forgot about.  So as I was going through it all I decided I would use all the stuff to make some fun lunches for Mini and Joey.  Because I really don’t need to be making (and eating) 12 dozen cupcakes.  

And since you know making lunches is my favorite of all the motherly duties…I present to you…::drumroll please::..


Before we get to the pictures let’s chat about lunches.  I don’t send my kids to school with anything crazy, special or different.  I was not making those hotdog/noodle spiders I saw on pinterest.  Although they did look really cool.  My kids take the basics for lunch every single day.  PB+J, turkey and cheese sandwiches, sandwich pinwheels, homemade lunchables, or if I’m feeling exceptionally lazy I will throw a piece of frozen pizza leftover from Friday night into their lunch box and it’s thawed by lunch.  I swear it works and I also swear it’s my kids favorite lunch.  Frozen pizza = mom of the year.  Who knew?

So in all reality these are super basic lunches that are just dolled up a bit for Halloween.  A themed napkin, special skewers, trick or treat cupcake liners etc.

But wait.  Ok, so I did make a few elaborate treats to stick in there.  The kids watched one of those food video clips over my shoulder and begged me to re-create a few of the treats.  Let’s be honest, it didn’t take much begging.  They showed some interest and I was grabbing my keys and running off to get the supplies.  Chocolate dipped treats are my love language.  I’ll post more about those later, they are seriously adorable!!

There are tons of other Halloween treats you can stick in there also.  Joey was a HUGE fan of the ghost Peep!  And I did make a quick Halloween party mix out of honey kix, candy corn, mini chocolate chips and mini reese’s pieces.  So just get creative.  Your kids are going to love whatever you put in there!

Do you have a favorite??  I really love them all.  I mean that banana?  Come onnnn!  Adorable!  

Here’s also what the Halloween Party Mix looked like!  (You can see it also in some of the lunches above)

And here’s a quick glimpse of some of the clearance goodies I grabbed last year!  I keep it all in a big gallon ziplock for the month and it makes creating a themed meal so easy!  Just grab the bag and decorate the pb+j.  You know you want to.  

So there you have it.  I have been very busy making lunches and not so busy working on costumes.  Luckily I have a few weeks to get that all under control.  

I hope I’ve inspired you to surprise someone with a fun lunch this month!  

XO Danielle

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The Life

An open letter to myself in my 9th month of pregnancy

Dear me, in my 9th month of pregnancy,

Well here we are again.  For the 3rd time in your life you have entered your 9th month of pregnancy and let’s face it, this shit sucks.  Stop acting so surprised already.  You’ve been here before.  Uncomfortable.  In pain.  Growing exponentially.  Hungry.  Exhausted.  Oh my god are you exhausted.   Just the other day you fell asleep at a stop light, and again on the chair in the library while your first and second born fought over the ISPY books.  Hang in there.  You knew what to expect.  Didn’t you?  You’ve been here before.  Or did you forget?

Did you forget how you would wake up every hour just to change which side you were lying on.  Left, right, no left.  Only it took so long to actually roll your body over that after the 10 minute production was finished you would be wide awake for another 45 minutes.  

Did you forget how each day you would look in the mirror at your once flat stomach and see that shockingly you were even bigger then the day before.  When you didn’t think it was even possible for your skin to stretch any further.

Did you forget how each morning you would look down to find a new stretch mark or varicose vein?  Or how one day you would take off your bra and think “whose freaking boobs are these?!?”  

Maybe you forgot how fast things would change.  How the pants that fit you on Tuesday would mock you from a crumpled heap in the corner on Thursday.   

Or did you forget how heavy it was to carry a watermelon around every second of every day.  How you would be dead tired but couldn’t sit on the couch because you wouldn’t be able to pull your ass out of the cushions.  

Did you forget how hard it was to try to steer your car?  No u-turns until you give birth.  Got it?  There is simply NO room for you to turn the wheel that much in a safe manner.  

You obviously forgot. 

But you’re remembering now.  As you fight back tears every time you take a shower.  Because every single part of your body hurts.  How you catch a glimpse of yourself in a store window and can’t even fathom how your body will ever return to normal.  

But do you know what you’re really forgetting?  You’re forgetting the miracle.  You’re forgetting is how lucky you are to be here right now.  In your ninth month.  Miserable and all.  I know it’s hard to see the beauty of the situation from behind the 10 layer chocolate cake you are devouring but trust me. 

This is so good. 

Every ache, pain and stretch mark is worth it.  And it won’t last forever.  

So you have to stop.  You have to stop thinking you’re not beautiful.  You have to stop feeling sorry for yourself.  You have to stop bursting into tears because you took a recount of your stretch marks and welcomed 5 new friends to the family.  Just stop.  Stop feeling attacked when people comment on how big you are.  Stop feeling offended when people are shocked that you are literally not going to give birth in the line at TJ Maxx because you are seriously just that gigantic.  I’m looking at you cashier #5.  

Just stop.  

And while your at it take a deep breath.  If that’s even possible at this point.  Breathing at all in your 9th month is a struggle.  Or at least trying to breathe without sounding like a water buffalo is.  

You are at the end.  The final countdown.  Your body worked hard for so many months to get you to this moment.  

The bottom line is don’t be so hard on yourself.  Chances are you wont bounce back.  I’m just being honest.  And that’s o.k.  You’ll get there in time.  Slowly but surely your body will readjust.  Heal.  Return to its normal state.  Or maybe it will be a new normal.  Either way, you will forget all about the 9th month misery.  Heck, maybe you’ll even miss it.  But I’ll promise you one thing.  You will be beautiful.  Every step of the way.  

XO, Danielle

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Hey all!  With hurricane Irma quickly approaching the state of Florida it is obvious that panic is setting in.  People are choosing to drive as far away as they can, others choosing to stay where they are, and then a number of people I have spoke with are really unsure as to what the best choice is.  There are so many variables that come along with Mother Nature and while it is still too early to tell where Irma will make her landfall it is quite obvious that many people in Florida will feel some effects from the storm.

Whether you are choosing to stay or go I have compiled a list of the most helpful tips and tricks to prepare for a storm and its aftermath.

1.) Get gas.  Get gas in the car, gas up any boats, fill gas tanks.  Do this as soon as you hear of a potential storm to avoid long lines, shortages and price increases.

2.) Buy bottled water.   Plan for 1 gallon of water per person per day.

3.) Stock up on batteries.  You will need them for flash lights and radios.

4.) Check propane tank for BBQ.  You will likely be grilling all your food during a power outage.

5.) Keep up on laundry.  There would be nothing worse then not having power for 10 days if you were already behind on the laundry.

6.) Gather all important documents and place in a waterproof bag or case.  In areas prone to flooding you can use your dishwasher as a waterproof storage container.  Documents include: Birth certificates, SS cards, passports, drivers licenses, medical records, etc.

7.) Trim trees.  This can help limbs from falling on homes and going through windows.

8.) Take down baby pool gate.  Do this at the last moment.

9.) Bring in all outside furniture, hoses, BBQs, toys.  Many people will say that they do not care if it gets damaged but the real issue is items becoming airborne and possibly breaking and flying through windows.

10.) Check and clean rain gutters.

11.) Create a physical contact list.  It is inevitable that cell phones will die and you do not want to be without someone’s phone number in case you need to reach them.  Write them down and place the list with the important papers.

12.) Fill all medications.

13.) Stock up on food items such as peanut butter, bread, canned soups, canned tuna, beans, oatmeal, nuts, canned fruit, etc.

14.) In case of a power outage unplug all electronics.  When the power is restored any electronics that are plugged in can have a power surge and damage them.

15.) Fill bathtub/s with water.  This will be used for washing and flushing toilets in the event the water gets shut off.

16.) Open fridge/freezer as little as possible.  The more often it is open the faster the items will lose their temperature/defrost.

17.) Don’t forget your pets!  Make sure you have enough food and medications for your animals.

18.) Empty ice maker and bag the ice days prior so you will have bags of ice ready to go.

19.) Days before the storm hits fill tupperware with water.  Freeze some and keep some in the fridge.  Please note it can take 72 hours for a tupperware of water to freeze so plan accordingly.

20.) 1 drop of bleach for every gallon of water makes it safe for drinking in an emergency.

21.) Wash out and fill all empty containers and bottles with drinking water before the storm hits.

22.) Baby wipes can be used to personal cleansing if showers are not possible.

23.) Pack a first aide kit.  Bandaids, neosporin, tylenol, benedryl, childrens medications, itch cream, sunscreen, bug spray etc.  Gather all of these items and keep them in a big basket in a common area that way in case of a loss of power you don’t have to search the house for the items.

24.) Buy an antenna for the TV to get local news and updates.

25.) Find an old corded phone to plug into the wall.

26.) Buy a few back up lightning cell phone chargers and make sure they’re ready to go.

27.) Place a flashlight in smart places.  In the bathroom and by the electrical box.

28.) Check batteries in any portable fans you may have and keep them handy.

29.) Wet wash clothes placed in the freezer can be used to cool a person off during a power outage in the summer.

30.) Cut limes and lemons will keep pesky bugs and gnats away and serve as bug repellent.

31.) Crayons can be used as mini candles

32.) Charge all devices prior to the storm making landfall and try to save them for emergency uses only.

33.) Create “fun” bags for children with items that they haven’t seen/played with in a while.

34.) Decks of cards can keep children very busy when trying to make castles and forts out of them.

35.) Keep a raft in the garage.  Even if you aren’t in a flood zone you never know.  And better to be safe then sorry.

36.) Stretch a garden hose out all the way in the hot sun.  The sun will heat the water inside the hose and you will have warm/hot water.

37.) Solar powered garden lights can be brought into the house at dusk to light up the home.  In the morning bring them outside to recharge again.

38.) Get cash.  Atms will likely be without power and credit/debit card machines will be down.

39.) Park cars far away from any tall trees.

40.) A piece of string in a can of crisco will make a candle.

41.) Glow sticks can be used to light hallways and rooms and keep children calm and entertained in the event of a power outage.

42.) Keep insurance information handy in case you need to report a claim right away.

There are many more ideas and hacks to prepare for a hurricane and power outages.  If you can think of any that I haven’t mentioned please comment below and I’ll add them to the list!

The main tip is not to panic.  Be smart and prepared and stay safe.


I love to connect with my readers on social media, so feel free to share this with a friend, pin it, and find me on Instagram and Facebook.