Children Entertainment Home

Tired of Frozen? Here are 5 new(er) movies I discovered while in Quarantine.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the series… just not as much as my 3 year old daughter does. Once you play anything for what seems like days on end, I think it’s only natural for the adults in the room to want to throw the TV out the window. Kids are definitely creatures of habit, and it may be hard to get them to try something new once in a while. If you’re able to convince them, here are some other heart-warming movies the whole family can enjoy.

1. The Willoughbys

These kids basically try to send their neglectful parents away on a dangerous vacation hoping for their demise so they can be free of their reign. I know, from the first sentence, this sounds like something out of a Series of Unfortunate Events book, straight from the desk of Lemony Snicket, but Netflix lightened it up quite a bit for it to be kid-friendly. It also has an encouraging and strong message about family – even with all of the flaws and challenges that can be encountered.

2. Klaus


If you’re looking for something a bit more lighthearted, give this one a shot. It’s still weird in it’s own wonderful way, and can even be enjoyed outside of Christmas time. A spoiled postmaster’s son gets sent to one of the most underappreciated and dangerous post offices at the Arctic Circle in an attempt to reform him – and winds up meeting the future Santa Claus (way before the red suit came into the picture).

3. Onward


If you like geeky references galore, this is definitely a good choice. Two teenage elves get an unexpected chance to have one last day with their dad, who had passed away years back… but only get his bottom half. The quests that ensue create unexpected chaos. The story is filled with unique examples of father-son bonding, and does a decent job showing how to move past grief and missed opportunities.

4. Abominable


A cute story about a yeti wanting to be reunited with his family, and a teenage girl who desires to travel across China. It’s a familiar theme – a teamwork-oriented creature-rescue story that also underlines the importance of nourishing different relationships in a busy life, whether it be family members or friends.

5. Next Gen


Finally, if you’re an avid fan of The Office, you’ll find a welcome charm to the top-secret robot in the movie. A lonely girl discovers him in a world that has become heavily reliant on personal tech. (Definitely makes a jab at Apple here.) This one’s definitely action-packed, yet it manages to send home a powerful reminder to unplug from technology to reconnect with loved ones IRL (in real life).

Home Life

Practicing gratitude.

This has been one of those mornings where I woke up just thankful to be alive.

I’m getting over a severe stomach bug that had rendered me useless for the past 24 hours. It’s funny how you take basic bodily functions for granted until you become violently ill. I’m just glad that I can keep my food down now.

My appetite has returned, my aches and pains are gone, and I finally am able to indulge in my morning coffee once again. Hallelujah!

Today started off kind of cruddy, though.

I woke up to the cat banging things around the house. He does this when he gets hangry. Next, the fridge was looking a little neglected, with none of our usual breakfast staples like eggs, fruit, etc. We were also out of bread. I ended up cooking beans and rice for breakfast, since it was all we had in the pantry.

Then my husband started talking to me about the bills, before my morning coffee. Probably not the best idea. During this, the cat came out again, bit my ankles and drew blood because he was still not fed yet.

In one swift movement, I cut my husband off, picked up the cat, tossed him in the bathroom and closed the door. Probably not the best way to deal with that, but those bites hurt! And I didn’t get to eat or have my coffee. I was hangry too, dammit.


Whoops! This post is about practicing gratitude. It really is easy to slip back into a negative pattern of thought.

So now, let me rewrite the morning above in a different light.


I woke up today with no aches, nausea, or chills. It was definitely an improvement from Monday’s crap and I felt relatively rested for the first time in a while.

PJ was awake and playing peacefully in her bed. When I walked in the door to get her for breakfast, her face lit up to see that mom was still home during the day. (She usually doesn’t see me during the weekdays.) We ate an odd, but healthy breakfast of black beans and rice, with some broccoli and cheese. Both PJ and Dan gobbled it down. It was great to remember that I could still manage to make something out of nothing when the kitchen was a little empty.

Dan began to talk about the bills that could be paid once he gets a check from the last odd job he did with his parents, and tried to get me up to speed on what I missed while I was passed out for the entirety of Monday. Meanwhile, the cat was still being crazy. (I can’t make that part sound positive, no matter what I do.)

After the cat was fed, we all had a pretty chill morning. And for the first time in months, my daughter was in a cuddly mood. So we shared some snuggles on the couch while we watched Word Party. I was one happy mama.


It’s amazing what a little change in perspective can do, isn’t it?

Sometimes, I just have to pause and take a hard look at what is really in front of me. There are a lot of days where it’s just easier to default to complaining, comparing, and just not being happy with what I have. It requires less energy for me to do this. These days, I have little energy to spare. Guess what happens then? I tend to become a bit negative about things when I’m tired or when I’m feeling sick.

Fortunately, this is something for me that can be changed with practice. It’s a change of habit in my own thought patterns. It sounds really dumb and silly on the surface, but it’s true.

Lifehack has some pretty good tips on how to practice gratitude here.

For example, in my first version of my morning, I had no bread for breakfast. Our family sometimes runs on toast alone. In my second version of my morning, surprise! We still had no bread.

Despite the fact that we didn’t have bread, eggs or fruit, I improvised and thought: Well, I have rice, a can of black beans, and some broccoli. Not a typical breakfast, but it’s a meal.

Instead of focusing on what I didn’t have, I switched my focus on what I did have to work with in the pantry. Some food is definitely better than no food at all. And I know how to make sandwich bread in a pinch, but that still feels a bit ambitious for me at the moment. Maybe later. We’re not gonna starve.

Second example: In the first story, I was mad about how much the cat was bugging me. In the second, I was thrilled to spend some quality time with my daughter. Both of these things happened, but in the second version of my morning, I chose to focus on the positive things, which included those snuggles I got from PJ. I haven’t received those since she was just a few months old, so that was awesome.

So of course, there are going to be good things and bad things that happen during the day. Some days, the bad can outweigh the good. This is when I believe it is very important to try and see the silver linings that may be present to get through the nastiness of the day. It may be the one thing that saves my sanity for the moment.

I honestly have it pretty damned good most of the time. And I’m super thankful for that.

Hey, there are definitely worse things out there that I will (hopefully) never have to experience… Like cleaning out the bathrooms at a McDonald’s. Or at a Taco Bell. Or any bathroom that I’ve had to use recently with my stomach bug. My heart goes out to you and I weep for you. You have my sincerest apologies. I am thankful for you.

DIY Home

An update on the thing we did.

So! I completely forgot to give an update about our house that we picked up to rehab. I wanted to drop some before and after photos before we handed the keys over to the lucky family who now calls the place home! This place came a long way from what it once was.

See if you can guess what photos are the before and after!

We re-mulched with the landscape fabric (I didn’t get another pic) and updated the house numbers.

Since we were already on a shoestring budget for the project, we weren’t able to bring all of the ideas we had for the place to life, but it sure did turn out nice anyways! We think some of the imperfections that it still had at the end kept with the home’s unique character.

The bathroom makeover was definitely the most dramatic one of them all.

Missed the subway tile backsplash I wanted to do, but there’s always next time…

It is truly amazing what a fresh coat of paint and a little elbow grease can accomplish! We hope this home serves its new family well! Now we wait for our next project…

Home Life

Why small homes are smart for new moms.

Before I dive into this next post, I would like to define small as under 1000 square feet. To me, this is more than enough space for our current needs, but I didn’t want to confuse this kind of tiny with the tiny home movement tiny.

I mean, I could see myself living in a tiny house built on a 16 x 8 trailer by myself, but if I had to share that small space between two other humans, I’d probably get cranky real quick. I value my own space. Even I believe there is such a thing as too small.

We live in approximately¬†980 square feet of awesomeness. To me, this is more than enough space to live. We’re also lucky to have about half an acre of land at our disposal, which we plan on converting to garden space once we solve our water drainage problem. (If anyone has suggestions on doing that, I’m all ears.)

We have a bunch of big, beautiful, and modern looking houses in our neighborhood, and thanks to the local construction business picking up, there are more homes and subdivisions being built. I drive by these all the time for future inspiration because some of these are truly #homegoals.

The one below was built by Black Oak Building Company. If I’m using their photo in my post and gawking at their current projects IRL, then they at least deserve a shoutout here.

Like, seriously. Home goals. I’m in love.

But would I want to live long-term in a house over 1200 square foot? Unless I happen to pop out more kids and inherit some secret trust fund I didn’t know about, then no. Not likely.

Am I crazy to want less? Maybe I am. But hear me out – here are my reasons below why a small house isn’t so bad.

1. Easy to maintain and most importantly, CLEAN.

If you hate cleaning, then boy do I have great news for you on this one – less space is less to clean. I know, mind-blowing, right?

I love how fast I can pick up my entire house. I have two small bedrooms, a kitchen, a living room, and a tiny bathroom. The bulk of my space is a neat little rectangle split in half between the living room and kitchen. Even while managing a baby during the cleaning routine in her little sling, it takes me about an hour at most to clean my house. It’s awesome.

Truly, it frees up my time so that I can even have some blog time to write. That to me is worth every penny I have put down in this house so far. If I have more time, then I can do more stuff. I like doing a lot of stuff. I hate cleaning. It works out for me here.

Speaking of stuff, below is my next big point:

2. It prevents overspending and excessive clutter.

Retail therapy would be counterproductive since I have a small house. Where the heck would I put all of my stuff?

I’m already thinking of doing an item purge once it’s time for spring cleaning. Our closet is a mess and is packed full of clothing that my husband doesn’t even wear. It’s not that he wouldn’t wear anything he has in there – the problem is that he can no longer find the clothes he wants to wear because of how much stuff is in there.

The top is mine. The bottom is his. The laundry basket below that is his, too.

We also started to worry once PJ got her own room, it would be filled to the brim with toys that she wouldn’t even get the chance to play with. Fortunately, we haven’t run into this problem yet, but when we do we will start following a simple rule – for every toy in, a toy of equal size goes out.

I think this will be a great way to also teach our daughter how to be happy with less stuff and to think before trying to grab toys at the store when she’s older.

3. Lower energy bills.

Think less space, less _______. Another thing to put in the blank here is utility bills. Who needs more bills in their life? I certainly don’t. I have yet to meet a person who is actually excited about getting bills.

Given the home is well insulated in the winter and the appliances aren’t running 24/7, this is another neat little perk that I have for my house. This also helps prevent shutoffs and financial emergencies when times are a bit lean.

It also tends to leave less of an ecological footprint if you use fewer resources. A big win for me, my wallet, and the environment! What’s not to love about that?

4. Less to furnish, renovate, and repair.

Okay, I’m a Fixer Upper junkie. Joanna is a boss when it comes to interior design and can give anything old a new breath of life in her space.

But when I feel compelled to run to our local thrift and antique stores after binging the previous season on Netflix, I remember that a lot of the look here came from being creative with the old things lying around in the first place. And that it also doesn’t require a lot of stuff to pull the look off.

Living Room, Dining Room, and Kitchen
My home is definitely inspired by this clean and cozy look.

I do want to renovate our home someday when we get the money for it. Our living room could use an overhaul. It has pink carpet and pink walls. The previous owner had red and black furniture with that. When we saw the listing on Zillow, it looked like something straight out of a bad 80’s movie. Needless to say, I wasn’t a fan.

When the time to renovate comes, it will cost us significantly less to redo things like walls, floors, and fixtures. Basically, there is less to spruce up and fix so it will cost less. And we can take the cost savings a step further by embracing this popular style and using what we have to create some unique pieces to serve us in the years to come.

5. Encourages creativity.

My office is my kitchen. That is surprisingly not detrimental to my weight-loss goals. Unless there is a chocolate cake on display next to me. Y’know, out of sight, out of mind? That’s why I have a bunch of fruit and veggies lying around if I get the munchies. I’m so smart, ha.

Where the magic (usually) happens. 

This isn’t the only area of the house that has more than one purpose. In order to make the most of our space, almost every area of the house has some sort of clever storage solution to maximize how much space we use. We have drawers in our drawers in our kitchen. I’m not even kidding.

Living in a small space keeps me on my creative toes, trying to figure out what I can get away with when placing furniture and appliances without cluttering the space. If I have to be creative every day in my house, I can use that creative muscle to solve other problems outside my home, too.

Anyone else with me in the small living space boat? What do you like about living small?