FREE Thumbprint Activity

What you’ll need:

  • Tiny fingers
  • Washable stamp pad
  • Counting in 5’s Thumbprint Activity printable

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Grab yours here: Counting in 5’s Thumbrint Printable

The Happening Housewife Blog | 2016 For personal use only. Not to be copied, distributed, altered, or sold. thehappeninghousewife.com | themomsofmeltdownmadness.com

Why I Chose NOT To Share My Special Needs Child’s Swimming Success On Facebook

Okay, I know what you might be thinking by the long title up there…”uhh, it doesn’t make a difference to us either way…” Maybe, maybe not. But, if you’re interested in knowing why, I’d love to share with you.

So, I am totally the type to post all of my kids’ success stories on Facebook. I mean, I’m obviously biased when I say that i think I have the coolest 4 year old on the planet but, hey sometimes we’ve got to keep a bit of their coolness under wraps so the other little tots don’t get jealous, right? Totally kidding.

Okay so, rewind three weeks back when hubby and I were almost ready to give up this summer on teaching the little man to swim this year. We’ve had that kid in the pool EVERY SINGLE DAY. Once the pool was warm enough-ish to swim, he was in the pool with a cheer squad rooting him on at the side lines and GUESS WHAT? He DID IT! Right as we were ready to stick him on a noodle for the rest of the summer, HE DID IT.

I could already see it: long Facebook post about how incredible it was to see him swimming before his 5th birthday, tears rolling down my face as I shared our success with the online world, and all of our friends and family commenting their praise. It would be perfect.

Why didn’t I do it? Why didn’t I share our triumph on the one platform that we knew everyone would see? It’s simple really: SOME THINGS ARE MEANT FOR US & ONLY US.

There are so many things we, as “millennial parents” share with the world. What we eat, where we vacation, our good and bad relationships, our stance on politics, the things we think are funny, hell, even the things we see in our most private moments…you know, on the toilet. BUT, sometimes there are things that should just be kept sacred. Maybe not forever but, at least enough time to embrace the moment without a phone in your face or a camera strap hanging over your shoulder. Do I have photos and video of that day? Duh. I mean, I’m not saying that I don’t want to remember this amazing moment but, am I going to share them with you? Not right now, maybe not ever because this is something I want to keep to myself.

Now, cue the tears. There are so many things we question in our life with Col. Will he grow up to live on his own someday? Will he have successful friendships and relationships when he gets older? Will he get married some day? Shit, I even question (and secretly hope) that he will become the next Bill Gates, seriously.

One of the things we have recently questioned is if he would swim before he was in school…before he was surrounded by other kids his age who would or just had another possible reason to bully him. At the beginning of the summer, I remember specifically telling hubby that I thought for sure the little would swim before Col. I was wrong and I feel so guilty for it but, I am SO happy that I was WRONG.

I wish I cared a little less about being so selfish and keeping this moment to myself…actually, no i don’t but, I am sorry that I won’t be sharing this HUGE moment for our family with you and I hope more than anything, this post encourages you to do the same with some of your kids’ major moments in these few little person years that you have with them.

So, to end this…I would tell you to comment your recent kids’ success story below but, that would end this post as an oxymoron so, instead, I want you to remember it a little longer with your family and embrace these moments that you have with them!

 

 

 

 

ULTIMATE List of Florida’s Springs

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Alapaha Rise Springs
Alexander Springs

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Aucilla (Wacissa)
Baltzell Springs
Beecher Springs
Blue Grotto Springs
Blue Hole Springs State park
Boulware Sweetwater Springs

Branford Springs

Bugg Springs

Cedar Head Springs

Chassahowitzka Springs
Cypress Springs

De Leon Springs State park

Devil’s Den

Devil’s Ear/Eye/Little
Emerald Springs

Falmouth Karst Springs

Fanning Springs Park

Fern Hammock Springs

Gainer Springs

Gator Springs

Gemini Springs

Gilchrist Blue

Ginnie Springs

Green Cove Springs

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Hart Springs

Homosassa Springs State park
Hornsby Springs

Hunter (Kings Bay) Springs

Ichetucknee Springs State park

Juniper Springs

Lafayette Blue Springs State park

Lime Sink Springs Run State park

Little River Springs

Madison Blue Springs State park

Manatee Springs State park
McCormick Springs
Morrison Springs
Natural Bridge Springs State Park
Orange Springs
Otter Springs
Paradise Springs
Peacock Springs State park
Pitt Srings
Poe Springs
Rainbow Springs State park

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Rock Springs Run
Rock Bluff Springs
Royal Springs
Running Springs East, West
Salt Springs (Marion)

Santa Fe Springs State park
Shangri La Springs
Silver Springs
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Siphon Creek Springs
Spring Creek Springs
Starbuck Springs
Steinhatchee Springs
Sun Springs
Suwanacoochee Springs
Suwannee Blue Springs
Suwannee Springs
Telford Springs
Three Sisters Springs
Treehouse Springs
Troy Springs State park
Volusia Blue Springs
Vortex Springs

Wacissa Group Springs
Wakulla Springs State park
Warm Mineral Springs
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Welaka Springs

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Have you visited any of these springs?! Let me know which are your favorite!!

ULTIMATE GUIDE: Clingmans Dome, NC With Toddlers

Our family just came back from a trip to North Carolina and the top of our list for the trip was to accomplish Clingmans Dome with two toddlers. Want to know what I think is the best way to do it? Check out my ULTIMATE GUIDE here!

 

  1. Pack lightly: Our entire hike took approx. 1.5 hours with minimal stops to rest on our way up. So, my best advice is to pack LIGHT. You don’t need much. Maybe a few snacks but, really, if you eat beforehand, you won’t need to snack.
  2. Carry a child, or as many as possible, in a carrier: Invest in a GOOD toddler weight carrier. I carry my 2.5 year old in a Lilebaby, specifically this one. It has great back and front support, rear support for the child, a head covering, and is much for comfortable that a hiking pack/carrier combo. in my opinion & the other moms I saw carrying in wraps, looked super uncomfortable and weighed down._Q7A1153
  3. Carry Water: The next best investment I can recommend to  you is a Camelbak. Get a larger one to use as your hiking pack and hydration. This will save you time, energy of unpacking water bottles, recycling the trash, etc. as your hiking.
  4. Walk the path less traveled: Shortly after starting your hike on the pavement, you’ll see the Appalaichain Trail, DO IT. We did our hike on a Saturday at a prime time and there was little to no-one hiking the dirt trail. It was shaded, less harsh on your legs, shins, and knees, and really, so much more beautiful  than the paved trail and super fun for the kids to go exploring while on the trail. Grab a free hiking scavenger hunt to make it more interesting, here.
  5. Get the kids involved: Ask questions, show them how things work in nature, give them purpose during your hike. To them, this is just a really long walk through the woods and a tall bridge looking into mountains that look awfully similar to the ones they’ve been seeing through your car travels. Explain to them on the way up the reason behind the trek.

 

Many of these can be applied to other beginner hikes as well! Take a look at our entire adventure here!

FREE Hiking Scavenger Hunt Printable

Going hiking? Sometimes it’s hard with kids! Make it interesting and purposeful for them with this FREE Hiking Scavenger Hunt!

Download your FREE Hiking Scavenger Hunt here!

 

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Hiking Scavenger Hunt

The Happening Housewife Blog | 2016 For personal use only. Not to be copied, distributed, altered, or sold. thehappeninghousewife.com | themomsofmeltdownmadness.com

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DIY Chippy Paint Chair Makeover

Fan of all things Joanna Gaines, farmhouse style, & refurbished furniture? Yes?!  Then we just became BFF’s.

Now, I love taking chairs out of someone else’s trash and refurbing them into something I’ll love forever but, using my favorite paints by Annie Sloan can sometimes get expensive. So, here’s a quick tutorial on a Valspar version of crackle (aka chippy) paint!

Tools:

  • Power Hand Sander (This will save your life.)
  • Sanding Sticky Sheets

Supplies:

  • Chair, Table, Furniture, whatever you can find. (Local thrift stores, antiques fairs, and garbage days are my fave)
  • Valspar Crackle Glaze
  • Valspar Sealing Wax
  • Valspar Paint (I usually go with the samples from Lowe’s at about $3.00/ea.)
  • Dish rag
  • Dish Soap
  • Alcoho

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So, before you begin it’s best that you sand your piece, you may have trouble with your paint and glaze adhering to the furniture if you don’t. To be honest, this is my favorite part…which is why I have my husband do it! hahaha

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Next, you’ll want to wash all the sanding dust off of your piece. Grab some cheap dish soap, hose, a rag and get to scrubbing. Place your furniture in the sun for quick drying and leave it alone for about 45 minutes. Once it’s dry, take a rag with some alcohol to it to get any left over oils off.

Now, add a helping layer of that crackle glaze onto your, in my case, chair!

Allow to almost dry (it still needs to be tacky) and add your first layer of paint.

Continue this process until you achieve the look you prefer! (Yes, glaze over the somewhat wet paint & then allow to become tacky, and paint again!)

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Once ours was completely painted, I sanded in some spots that I wanted extra wear (arms, corners, exterior knob type finishes, etc.)

To finish your piece and make sure you don’t leave lingering chippy pieces throughout your home every time you pass by your furniture, add that sealing wax! Let everything dry first and goo on that sealing wax while working it into your furniture with a gentle rag.

Voila! You now have yourself a piece that looks like it could have come straight outta Magnolia Market!

Happy DIYing!

 

Great Smokey Mnts. Summer 2016 Re-cap!

Another “toss the boys in the car, pack as much as you can in 20 minutes, and hit to road” trip was on our agenda for this weekend! North Carolina was calling our names and the Florida heat was unbarable so, we packed up, and hit the road for our favorite trip yet!

Clingmans Dome has been on hubby’s bucket list for quite some time now so, that was first on our list! Before we knew it, we were elevating to 6600 feet in no time but, made a few stops on the way!

If you’ve never visited the Smokeys, add it to your bucket list NOW. It’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. There are river rapids you can view from the mountain side’s winding roads, waterfalls gushing out of the side of the mountain, and driving through clouds and tunnels dug out of a mountain is something that never gets old.

While on our drive up, we spotted a super cool 9 story tower that was only .50 cents a person to climb and free of any other people. So, we pulled over and climbed it! The boys loved the view and the climb was easy enough for our tiny legged two year old to take it one step at a time!

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After that, we got back into the car and headed further up the mountain. As I said before, there are these breathtaking river rapids that you can see from the road. When we first approached them, they looked pretty treacherous but, as I peeked further, fishermen were in my sights down below in the river! So, we pulled over to a somewhat-hidden start of the trail paralleling the river and walked down to the water. This was hands down one of my favorite experiences of our trip and really, of my 27 years on this planet. As you follow the trail, you come up on this wondrous view of the rapids under a bridge, i swear, it was straight out of a “Tom & Huck” movie. The boys didn’t hesitate to take their shoes off to dip their feet, toss rocks, and splash around while enjoying the sights under the bridge! The river rocks were HUGE and the water was more refreshing than any Florida spring that I’ve ever visited. (You can also rent tubes and ride them down the river, this is a must for us on our next trip back!)

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Back in the car and elevating higher. After taking in all of the mountainside views, we finally reached the start of our hike up to Clingmans Dome. The cool thing about the hike is that a. It’s FREE and b. You have the option to hike on the pavement or through a wooden, dirt trail (Appalachian Trail). We hiked up the paved road and down the dirt trail (which was deff best of the two). When we reached the top, the clouds were heavy, normally you can see somewhere between 5 & 7 states from the top of Clingmans Dome but, on a hazy day like ours, you could only see the tops of the trees. So, we will be back ! The dirt trail down was my personal favorite. The rain started pouring down and the lush dirt was starting to puddle. One of the best things of being a mom is to see your kids having fun in nature so, to see mine jumping in dirt puddles and hiking through the rain down the side of a mountain was something I will treasure forever.

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We hid under a tree for a few minutes as we took in the surroundings, listened to the birds, and created a plan to finish our hike down. I hiked up with little Keke on my back in our carrier up the mountain and Little Man was ready for a break on the way down so, I traded them out, hubs carried Keke and we made a run for it through the pouring rain! The rain was cold, refreshing but, cold and worth the soaking wet clothes by the time we reached bottom! The boys had so much fun hiking down through the rain and most people were huddled up under trees on top of rocks so the trails were clear of people, minus a few here and there!

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After a long day or hiking, and a few car naps on the way back to our temporary home, we headed out for dinner and rested before our drive back to the Sunshine State! (Did I forget to mention the amazing herd of Elk on our way back?! Like 10 feet away from us stood these beautiful elk some with uber huge antlers! We had to wake the boys up to see “Santa’s Reindeer“! They loved it!!)

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Our original plan was to stay 3 nights and 4 days but, we get home sick easily and wanted a relaxing day back in town to gather our thoughts and unpack before the work week started! So, we rested for a few hours, got up in the middle of the night and headed home! Even though we were really only able to enjoy the mountains for a full day, our 16 hours in the car was all worth it! We will absolutely be back and can’t wait to see what the next Great Smokey Mountain adventure brings us!

Take a peak at our trip in the video here and follow along to see more of our adventures!

 

FRIDAY FLASHBACK: Best Bach Bash EVER

Here we go! Are you ready for a re-cap of my bestie’s 4 day Savannah Bach Bash?

…&&& go!

Rach,

4 months feels like so long ago but, I am so thankful to have spent this long, fabulous, kid-free weekend celebrating you! Missing you so much today so, I decided what better way to get my release than by sharing the weekend you spent with all of your girls!

Love you so much!

 

 

Have a fab Friday!

NEW Waxing The City, Orlando

Hey guys! Got Hair? Waxing the City is THE place for ALLLLLL your hair removal needs!

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BONUS! I know how you can get HALF OFF of ANY service this Friday at their GRAND OPENING EVENT & FREE wine and snacks! Want the secret?

Head over to Waxing the City, call the fabulous team of specialists, and book your service NOW for tomorrow night! THAT’S IT! Make sure to take before and after selfies in the PHOTO BOOM photo booth!

Oh, and if you’re wondering…I got my legs and brows done & it was fab! I will deff be seeing the WTC Orlando team in 3 weeks! Use #waxingorlando & follow them @wtc_orlando!

 

5 AWESOME Things I’ve Learned During 4.5 Years of Motherhood!

  1. Life isn’t as serious as I used to think.  I used to think when you become a parent, life gets REAL SERIOUS. Dr.’s, school, raising this tiny human to become a pure genius, and keeping them alive every day, that’s tough. But, I mean, really. How do you have 2 awesome, crazy kids and not have fun? Erase the shitty times of no sleep, your tiny human taking all of the food from your plate leading you to total starvation, and scream fests between you and said toddler before bed every.single.night. over a toothbrush, and you’ve got yourself a real recipe for total fantasticalness! Life doesn’t have to be serious when you become a parent. It’s literally THE BEST JOB I’ve ever had in my life, BY FAR! Your kids give you the opportunity to live life through someone else and FOR someone else and live out dreams you once had as a kid that maybe didn’t come true! Embrace it! They won’t be this little for long. funny keke copy.jpg
  2. Go with your gut. You know, I used to second guess myself a lot. I used to not have a backbone. I used to shy away from conflict. My kids changed that…well, and so did my husband but, mostly my kids. Once I had our first, that total mama bear instinct kicked in. BUT, once I had my second, I grew this phenomenal backbone that I never thought I had in me. People who didn’t seem to have my kids or my family’s best interest in mind, no longer seemed important and I had to tell them to GTFO. Things that didn’t feel right for me or my kids, got the brakes checked on it REAL FAST. & The only things that seemed to matter any more were the things that were beneficial to my children, which led to this amazing gut instinct that I now don’t only rely on but, in times of need, I’m desperate for.
  3. It’s okay to have a messy house, and have people over. Okay okay, I’m still a little guilty of not totally following this one BUT, I have learned that it’s totally okay not to be perfect & not to ALWAYS have this impeccably clean home when people pop in! I mean, not to say that I don’t dump my huge laundry mountain from my sofa onto my bed when I see your car pull in the driveway but, you didn’t really want to go in my bedroom anyway, right?laundry copy.jpg
  4. Date night is important. There was a while there when hubby and I didn’t make date night a priority and I will tell you, my anxiety increased, which caused strain in our relationship, and life wasn’t as fun! Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE time with hubby AND the kids but, sometimes we’re desperate for a date night. MAKE THE TIME FOR IT. Even if its putting the kids to bed an hour early and gorging on pizza and ice cream while you binge Netflix, DO IT. Head here to find a great way to connect with your SO!date night copy
  5. Friending as a mom is hard but, once you find good ones, keep them. It doesn’t take a “talk every day, know all your darkest secrets” friendship to be happy with your girlfriends. Sometimes friending when you’re a parent is hard, like, REALLY hard and it sucks. When you finally find good ones though, it’s fan-freaking-tastic! I have groups: Facebook Girlfriends– you both wish you could make time but, there is too much shit going on and your schedules don’t match so you’re FB BFF’s and its convenient that way. Play Date Girlfriends– The ones that at the last minute or a day beforehand, you can quickly plan a simple play date for YOUR sanity and their parenting style is basically the same, so you watch over her kids while she talks and uses hand gestures and gets carried away because she hasn’t had adult interaction of her kind in two weeks, and she watches the kids as they play while you do the same. Best Friends Forever, even the long distance kind- These are the ones who knew you before you were preggo and in mom mode all the time so, these are the ones you really need when a Hell has broken loose. They know how to bring you back to the days when letting loose was more  than half a glass of wine and 4 slices of pizza.