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June 21, 2017

Busy Bees!

It's been a while since I sat down to write an update... Or really since I blogged at all. I've been keeping up with the I'll Show You My monthly collab I'm apart of, but I haven't spent much time blogging recently. We've just been so super busy!

And here's what we've been up to...

As most of you know, I am a LuLaRoe consultant! If you love LuLaRoe, you can join my group here.  I've been dedicating as much of my free time as I can to my business. I'm doing fairly well, but of course I want to be as successful as possible! And that requires a lot of work!

The kids have been involved in all kinds of activities outside of school... Nicholas played baseball, his team even made it to the championships and was the second place team! Emma is a Brownie in Girl Scouts and Jonathan joined Tae Kwon Do. On top of all their end of the school year concerts, graduations, field trips, etc. They're finally on Summer Break so things will be calming down!

Chris got a promotion at work! He is now a Key Accounts Manager, for the RedBull Distributor he's been working for for about 7 years. He went from a Salesman, to a District Manager to a Key Accounts Manager.. All in the last 3 years! I'm so proud of him. And I so appreciate how hard he works to provide for our family. But of course with a promotion, comes new responsibilities... So he's got a lot more work to bring home with him now. It's absolutely worth it though! He loves his new position and the money isn't bad either!

We've been doing a lot of work to the house.. Painting, redecorating, landscaping, etc. You can see some of the projects we've completed in my House Tour. We got the kids an awesome new swing set, which will be going up this weekend! And we're working on clearing out the woods behind our house down to the creek so the kids have more space to play outside and just so it's more visually appealing back there!

We have some super fun things planned for the summer, day trips to the pool and to the lake, the girls' birthday party, my Open House Launch for LuLaRoe! Of course we'll be going to some of the local fairs and the kids are even spending a week with Chris' mom after she moves to her new home!

As you can see, we've been Busy Bees the last few months! But I'm making it a point to post more often for you all! I've got some reviews, DIY projects and updates in the works!

And of course for day to day updates you can always follow me on Instagram @MrsWatkins214

 




I'll Show You My Hometown

home·town
ˈhōmˌtoun/
noun
  1. the town where one was born or grew up, or the town of one's present fixed residence.


 

Hometown means a lot of different things to people... Where they were born, where they were raised, where they live currently. This month for I'll Show You My we are sharing our Hometowns with you!

For me, my Hometown it's where I was raised. The place that shaped me and the person I became. The reason I am who I am, the reason I chose the place I am now.

I was born in Allentown PA. I "lived" there until I was 3 days old. Then I was adopted and my parents brought me home to Bethpage NY.. For those of you who don't know. That's on Long Island, in Nassau County. When I was 4, my Dad got a new job and my parents moved us to Warwick NY. Where they built the most beautiful home. I lived there until I was an adult. They still live in that house. And when we go to visit, it brings back such wonderful memories.

Warwick is a small town in Orange County right on the New York/ New Jersey border. People from the city refer to it as "upstate" but it's really not. New York is HUGE and Warwick is at the very bottom. It's a beautiful historic town. If you've heard of Warwick before it's probably because you've been to Applefest. The big Fall festival the town puts on each year where thousands of people come from all over to shop, eat and pick apples!  

I went to school in Warwick. From Pre-K all the way up to 12th grade. They really have a phenomenal school district. I graduated in 2006 and then decided it was time to move. Partially because of the prices in the area (it's super expensive!) and partially because it was time to move on with my life. But I have no complaints, I had a really wonderful childhood.

Warwick is filled with farms, fields, quiet neighborhoods and a small historic town with lots of shops. My fondest memories as a kid were sleighriding down the big hill at the local park, apple picking at on of the many orchards, shopping with my mom in town and then quadding and bonfires in the woods as I got older! Which is probably why I'm such a country bumpkin. I tried for a bit to live in a "city". But after about a year it was time to get out! I needed some woods in my life. I want enjoy the outside!

So 5 years ago I moved to Milford Pennsylvania and bought a house. Milford is so much like Warwick. Small town, lots of farms. And an incredible school district. So my children are getting a great education and have access to lots of extra curricular activities, sports and clubs. But because we're in the woods in a private community they have lots of space to play outside! Something I knew I wanted for them, because I had it too. And I'm not scared for them to go out and ride their bikes to the park alone, I know they're safe here. 

I absolutely love where I live. And I can't see myself or my family anywhere else! I'm a simple girl, and it's the little things in life that keep me happy.. I need to look outside and see my kids playing in the big open yard. I like to hear the creek running behind our home. I enjoy long walks with my family through the woods. And days spent at the lake. A bonfire and s'mores on Saturday night.. Just to name a few!

If you love small rural towns and ever have a chance to visit Warwick NY or Milford PA I would highly recommend both!

If you're interested in joining our monthly collaboration, please feel free to join the link up below! And here is our schedule for the rest of the year! 

 

June 14, 2017

I'm probably not supposed to say this,

I might get some backlash, but I'm going to say it all anyway. I've kept my mouth shut for two plus years now and really, it just has to be said... 

Being an "addict" is not an excuse for everything. I get it, it's a "sickness" but you still need to be held accountable for your actions!  

You've been given chance after chance. It's time for you to pay your debts to society and take some responsibility for your actions. For way too long people have made excuses, cleaned up your messes and tried to fix everything for you (I'm guilty of it too) but really, it's just enabling you. And I'm done now! 

From the very beginning you weren't the mother these children deserved. You were in and out of their lives from day one leaving them with anyone and everyone who would take them. You were more interested in going out and partying then being a parent. Maybe because you were a teenager? But I was a young mom too and guess what? I grew up and took care of my babies! What's your excuse now that you're 30? 

You used these kids as pawns to keep people around.. It was a game to you. Every time someone had enough of you and your crazy antics you dangled the kids like bait so they'd feel bad and stick around. Especially their father. That poor man was miserable. You put on an act and made him think you were this amazing person, you reeled him in and convinced him to marry you. Then you used and abused him. When time he tried to leave, you'd do something crazy and wreckless to make him stay. And because he loved his kids he stayed for way too long. You didn't WANT to be a mother or a wife, you wanted people to think you had it all. But you are and always have been a mess! 

The drugs didn't start until later on. At first you just didn't care about anyone but yourself. Then you became a junkie. Kind of proves my point though doesn't it? I mean what kind of "good" mom and wife becomes an addict AFTER they are married and have children? You clearly weren't doing things or going places or spending time with people that a mother and wife who's children and husband are their top priority does. 

After he'd finally had enough, his fight started. He hired a lawyer and collected every little bit of evidence against you for years, to make sure that he got away from you and got the kids. He warned you. He told you to get help, to get clean. That you could divorce peacefully and share custody of the kids. But instead of getting your life together you dug yourself deeper and deeper into your addiction. So ultimately, he got sole custody of his children. And you got nothing. Well, except for heroin. 

God, they were so broken. Do you realize the damage you have done? My heart breaks because of all the the horrible dangerous situations you put your babies in. We've worked so hard and loved them so much. They're doing better now, much better! Their grades have improved, they're healthier and happier. They're independent (not absolutely petrified of being alone- a fear they have from all the times you left them to fend for themselves!) and they're so much more responsible! They understand following the rules and consequences for their actions. They are really good kids!  

We've tried in the last two years to have you involved. Given you the opportunity to be a part of their lives. But you can't get it together.. Not for yourself, not for them and not for your new baby either. 

If being adopted has taught me anything, it's that DNA doesn't make you a parent. Love does. And I love these two as if they were my own. "Mother is a verb, it's something you do." I do everything a mommy does. I spend more time with them then you ever did, they are always with me and I prefer it that way. See, when I became a mother that meant putting my children first. Always. You have no right to call yourself a mother. You have no right to take any credit for any of the amazing things they do. Giving birth doesn't make you a parent. 

The best thing that ever happened to them is you walking away. Because now they have a really good life, with a mom and a dad and siblings who love them the right way. Maybe you know all this deep down and that's why you don't try? Or maybe it's because you're too selfish to care? Either way they're so much better off. 

My goal is to raise wonderful human beings. Kind, giving, smart, responsibile, hard working adults. I want them to know that they get back what they put out. I want them to treat people the way they want to be treated. I want them to work hard for everything they have because nothing in life comes free or easy. And I especially want them to no that you never ever let someone treat you badly, no matter who they are. Sometimes you have to let people go, because they don't bring any good to your life. 

It's your loss, your mistake, your actions that caused this. It is no ones fault but your own. I pray that you get the help you need before it's too late. But we've wasted enough energy, words and tears on you. They deserve greatness. And that's what I'm going to give them! 

 

 

May 16, 2017

I'll Show You My Fellow Blogger

Hello Hello Hello! It's that time of the month again! I'll Show You My! The monthly collab I participate in on the third Wednesday of each month! If you'd like to join in, just enter in the link up below! 

 

I "met" Donna on a local Housewives group.. and we have so much in common! She's the sweetest and I'm so looking forward to getting to know her better! 

























I asked her a few (okay a lot) of questions about her blog and here are her answers! 

1. Can you tell our readers about yourself and your blog?
My name is Donna Caruso. DC Caruso is my pen name. I am originally from Long Island NY where I lived for over 23 years with my husband, while we were raising our 4 children. I now reside in the beautiful state of Pennsylvania. I started my blog almost a year ago for three reasons: Firstly, I felt that I needed practice in writing. Secondly, I felt that I had some great ideas that I could pass onto my readers. Lastly, I wanted to tell my readers about my books. I felt this was a great way for an Indie Author like myself, to get the word out.

2. Describe how did you first get into blogging?
I first got into blogging when I spoke to a woman on Instagram who blogs about her beautiful nails. It sounded fun to me so I decided to try it. I didn't realize so much work went into it! But now that I started, I'm hooked!  

3. Can you tell me some of your strengths that really helped you in blogging?
My strength that helped me in blogging, would be my gift of writing. I know how to write and I'm told I write well. ;) Plus being able to tell a story, as though I am sitting in front of a person speaking directly to them.

4. How would you describe your blogging style?
I guess I would describe my style as contemporary. I write in the "here and the now." 

5. What type of networking do you think is better to enhance your traffic to the blog?
I believe that social media helps to drive the traffic to your blog. I also believe that having a catchy title or a common title will drive traffic as well. 

6. What do you think is the best service a blogger can provide to his readers?
"Knowledge is power" comes to mind when I read this question The best service would be giving someone information about what they were looking up. Also making them smile by blogging about something that would be entertaining to them.

7. What would be your ideal working environment?
My idea working environment would be any place that is peaceful and comfortable. I work mostly from home, however sometimes its at my desk, my dining room table or my backyard table. 

8. How do you manage time to run your blog efficiently?
I try to blog as often as my time constraints will allow. In other words, not as often as I'd like! 

9. What do you think is the best strategy that worked well for you to get more traffic to your blog?
TITLES!! The title of my blogs is what I feel gets me traffic. To date, I have over 40,000 viewers. 

10. How do you want to improve yourself in the next year?
I would like to write more books faster and learn how to type! I need to practice typing. I was told today by a friend I could take a course in college. That's an idea. Another friend told me there is a free typing website online that will teach me. I need to look into both.

11. What was your greatest failure and what did you learn from that?
My greatest failure would be not pursuing my dream of becoming a an English teacher years ago. 

12. Tell me about your proudest achievement?
I have several proud achievements. The proudest would be the day I gave birth to my first child. That was an amazing feeling looking into the eyes of a little human you created and carried for nine months. My second proudest achievement would be the day I self-published my first book, 'The Winner.' I cant explain the feeling I got when it went "live" on amazon. I teared up...

13. Who has impacted you most in blogging and how?
My friend who does the blogging about her nails impacted me the most because she is such a professional blogger and she is so knowledgeable about the world of blogging. Not to mention, she does a great job and I enjoy reading her blogs. 

14. What is your greatest achievement outside of blogging?
One of my greatest achievements outside of blogging would be raising all my children to become productive people in life. So far my oldest two are proof of that!

15. How do you think I rate your blog as an interviewer?
As an interviewer, I feel you rate my blog highly. It captured your attention enough for you to invite me in for the interview. ;)

16. What do you do in your spare time?
In my spare time I do several things. One of my all time favorite things to do is read. Second up would be to crochet. After crocheting, I'd say spending time with a girlfriend or two, chatting and drinking tea in a local cafe. 

17. Where would you like to be in blogging five years from now?
In five years from now I'd like to be a well known blogger and for my blogs to be the first blog that comes when someone googles a topic I wrote about. I'd also like to make a lucrative income from blogging.

18. What was the most challenging moment in your blogging journey so far?
The most challenging moment in my blogging would be trying to find the time to blog more often than I do.

19. Can you name some of your favourite bloggers and explain why they are your favorites?
The only blogger I follow at this time would be the nail blogger I spoke about. She is interesting and uses a bunch of different nail polishes that she speaks about. She is also creative with designs and she does tutorials on how to do the same designs on your own nails. I love doing my own nails therefore I love following her. 

20. What inspired you to start your blog?
I was always curious about blogging and I believe that my curiosity was the driving force behind me starting my own. That and the fact that everytime I mentioned to someone that I was a writer, the first thing they asked was, "What's your web address."  

21. How do you motivate yourself to keep the blog up and running?
I need to set time aside each week to dedicate to writing my blog and during that time, blogging will be the only thing I do.

22. Can you tell me about few sources from where you get products for review on your site?
I don't review products. I just talk about products that I have used for various things I've done. 

23. What do you find the most frustrating aspect of blogging?
I'd love to make an income with my blogging... the frustrating thing is, I don't know how. 

24. In the future where do you hope your blog will take you?
In the future, I hope my blogging will be an extension of my writing. That I will make an income with it as well. I would hope to still have information that people like to read about and I hope to keep them entertained and wanting to come back for more!

25. Have you met anyone interesting/famous on your blogging journey?
I would love to meet someone interesting/famous through my blogging. However, that has not happened 

26. Do you have any specific goals for the rest of this year?
My goal would be to blog more and write at least 1-2 more books before the year is out. 

27. What is the biggest difference in your life post-blogging?
The biggest difference in my life post-blogging would have to be watching the amount of viewers grow. That is very exciting to me! I check almost every day. 

28. Did you have any professional help or did you created the blog yourself?
I did not have any help creating my blog. I used a "user friendly" site that was very easy to navigate around. 

29. How active are you on a weekly basis? How often do you communicate with your followers?
I honestly do not communicate with my followers as often as I'd like to. I need to address that and work on it. 

30. How much time do you spend blogging?
When I sit down to blog, from writing to editing to posting on all my social media sites, I usually spend about 3 hours on it- Once a week or so.

31. What do you think is the best social media strategy for getting more visitors to a blog?
Facebook is probably the best social media strategy for getting more visitors to my blog.

32. Would you encourage other people to make their blog?
I would most definitely encourage other people to make a blog. Especially writers or those who enjoy writing. 

33. Is blogging your profession or just a hobby?
Blogging is more of a hobby at this point for me. I'd love to change it into a professional career!

34. A lot of people think that blogging is an easy way to make money online. Do you have some tips for those people who are interested in making money from the blog?
I read about Google Adsense a while back and it sold me on the idea that I could make money with my blog if I allowed them to post ad's on my site. It took them several weeks to approve me and at first then denied me and I had to re-apply. To date, its been a few months now and all I've earned is .47! So it doesn't work for me. But I'd love to hear what ideas everyone else has. 

You can check out her books here. 

 





May 13, 2017

Top 5 Weirdest Baby Products!

This post was originally written for the The Vintage Honey Shop Blog

Do you ever see a product and wonder "what the heck is that?!" or "how do people actually buy this?!" It happens to me all the time, especially with baby gear.. Some of the things I've come across are so strange! Here are the Top 5 Weirdest Baby Products (at least in my opinion). 

1. The NoseFrida - NoseFrida the Snotsucker, the doctor-developed and doctor-recommended nasal aspirator is the new standard in keeping babies naturally snot free. Ingeniously simple Swedish design features a tube that is placed against the nostril (not inside). Parents use their own suction to draw mucus out of their child's nose.

So, you suck the boogies out of your babies nose with your mouth.. Supposedly  it really works. But I can't get over how gross it is! 

2. The Windi - The Windi is a single-use catheter that helps babies get rid of excess gas. 


Again, apparently it really works. But so weird! At least to me.. I can't be the only one?! 

3. Car Seat Head Bands - Straps for your child's car seat to hold their head in place. 


There's a reason CSFTL (Car Seats For The Littles) as well as car seat manufacturers say no to this product, it's insanely dangerous! But that doesn't stop it from being marketed. 

4. iPotty & Apptivity Chair 


So babies and toddlers can become completely dependent on technology, just like the rest of the population. 

5. Inappropriate Onesies 

Some may find these types of onesies comical.. And don't get me wrong there are a few that have made me chuckle, for example "Party In My Crib BYOB" but some of them really cross the line in my opinion!

 


April 18, 2017

I'll Show You What Makes Me Happy

 

When we were coming up for this years topics, we had a hard time deciding the title of this one... Hobbies, What I Do For Me, etc. What Makes Me Happy was the winner (we voted) I think because with the title you can take this post in a few different directions.

I don't really have a Hobby per say, someone said cleaning is my Hobby.. but that just makes me seem like I have no life! Do I enjoy cleaning? Eh I guess so. It's more that I enjoying having a clean house. Knitting is a hobby, dancing is a hobby. Cleaning is not a hobby. But having a clean house does makes me happy.. See how there's so many ways to take it? Anyway! 

A lot of things make me happy. I try to be appreciative of everything that I have. Obviously my family, my husband and my children, make me happy. I am happy to have a beautiful home. I am happy to have wonder friends. But those really fit in more with my Blessings... Things I'm Thankful For post, which we did for November/ Thanksgivings I'll Show You My. 

This month is about ME as an individual. Not Chris' wife or Jacob, Nicholas, Emma, Jonathan, Aubrey and Christopher's mom. What I enjoy, what I like to do, what I do for MYSELF. Honestly, I don't take much time for me.. life is pretty chaotic with a family this big and I'm so busy taking care of everyone else there isn't much time left for me. But I'm also "easy to please" as my Husband says. I'm not super materialistic and I really enjoy the simple things in life. When I say I need a "break" or some "me time" I'm not asking for much. Just a little time to regroup and refocus.

So, let me show you What Makes Me Happy

1. A long, hot, uninterrupted shower. 
2. A glass (or 3) of my favorite wine, while cuddled up on the couch with my Hubby under a cozy blanket. 
3. Sleep. When Chris lets me head to bed early or sleep in and takes care of the kids, it's incredible! 
4. A clean house. 
5. Take out nights. As much as I love cooking for my family, not having to cook or clean up a ton of dishes is wonderful! 
6. Reading. I love to read. And I wish I had more time to do so. 
7. Being outside. I love the nice weather and spending time out on the porch with my Husband and/ or friends while the kiddos play in the yard. 
8. Doing my makeup. I have gotten really into makeup this past year and when I have the time I like to sit and play with new products and get myself dolled up. 
9. Good food! I'm a huge foodie and I'm not picky at all. I love to eat! 
10. LuLaRoe. If you didn't already know, I recently became a consultant. The cutest, most comfortable clothes in such cool patterns! Join my group and check them out! If you aren't a LuLaLover already, trust me you will be! 

 

If you'd like to participate in today's topic, just join the link up below! And if you're interested in joining in the future, here's a list of the topics for the rest of the year! 


 

  



April 17, 2017

Post Spring Cleaning House Tour

March's I'll Show You My was Spring Cleaning Routines. I was so excited to get my house organized and do a little redecorating! I promised you all an updated house tour.. I was just waiting on the completion of a few more projects. One of which was painting the living room and kitchen! It's something I've wanted to since I bought this house, but because of our 20+ foot vaulted ceilings we needed to have it professionally done, which meant waiting until we had the money to do so! But it's finally completed and I'm so pleased with the outcome. And I'm so excited to share our home with you all! 

Our Home is a 5 bedroom, 2 bath raised ranch.. it doesn't look very large from the outside, but once you walk inside you see it really is quite a bit of space! Which we need as a family of 8! 

 

When you walk in through the garage (which is the entrance we use) you walk into the kitchen/ dining room. We just replaced all our ugly old white appliances with new black ones. I love how sleek and clean they look! And to match we painted our portable dishwasher! 

 

 

 

The kitchen is painted with Behr Cinamon Cherry. And the living room is Behr Creme Fraiche. 

The kitchen and dining area opens up to the living room. I absolutely love the open concept. One of my favorite things about this house is that when I'm in the kitchen cooking I can still be apart of what's going on in the living room! Most of our furniture was bought at Bobs Furniture. The tv stand is from Walmart and the corner China cabinet was gifted to us from my good friend and fellow blogger Tracy

 


And this is what you see if you were to come in the front door. 

 
 
Heading down the hallway..

 

First we have the office/ guest bedroom. 

 

 

Next we have the main bathroom. I went with a sailboat/ lighthouse theme. Most of the decor came from Hobby Lobby or The Christmas Tree Shop. 

 

 

We recently repainted the girls room. You can read about that here.

 

 

 

Our bedroom is one of my favorite places in the house. I just redecorated both the master bedroom and bathroom and it really brightened up the space! 

 

 

 

 

Obviously Christopher is sharing the space with us right now. That will change once he's a little older. 

 


I get a ton of question about my makeup organizer, which was bought on Amazon. I plan to do an updated makeup collection post soon! 

Heading back through the living room we have the other "wing" of the house (as Chris calls it). We built these rooms when he and moved in with me and mine two years ago. We needed more space! 

Nicholas and Jonathan's Room

 

 

 

Jacobs Room 

 

 

 

And the nook.. where the kids can read or watch tv. Usually the littles use this space during the day when the big kids are at school. I like them to be within earshot of me while I'm doing housework. 

 

The other side of the nook recently become my LuLaRoe Room. If you love LuLaRoe, join my Facebook Group to shop my inventory! And if you don't know what LuLaRoe is (where have you been?! haha) check out the review I did here. Three months later and I'm so hooked I signed up to sell! 

 

Most of my supplies were purchased on Amazon.. just waiting on the arrival of my inventory! 

Now as you head downstairs..

 

We have the playroom, the kids space! They can come down here and play and be loud and a little crazy and it doesn't bother anyone upstairs. Plus I can just close the door and the mess is hidden. 

 

 

I still want/ have to paint down here. But I'm indecisive on color! 

My two favorite spaces in (well I guess they're technically outside) the house are the front porch and the back deck. I love to sit with a good book, or a glass of wine and watch my kiddos play in the yard.. all while listening to the creek flow in the back. 

 

 

 

 

I am so pleased with the way everything turned out! Of course, when you're a homeowner your projects are never truly complete. Im already planning our next one! If you have any questions on where I purchased any of our furniture or decor, that I didn't mention.. leave a comment down below and I'll let you know!