1st Birthday Party

Sound the Alarm! My son, Chief turned 1! I hosted a small firetruck themed party to celebrate. Here are some of the things I did that might inspire you!

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Image from his invitation
-I used Paperless Post for online invitations. There are so many designs to choose from. A great way to “go green” and save yourself some time and energy. His party was 2 days ago and I already used Paperless Post again to send out thank you notes! The ease of this has helped me start my week with one less dark cloud over my head. I always send thank you cards but this seemed like the perfect way to please everyone. (especially my sanity) Welcome to 2018 people!

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Paperless Post Thank You Card with photo from the party!
Whats a first birthday party without a little look back at the year?!

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-I used a photo display frame which normally hosts my daughters art, to showcase 12 photos from my son’s first year of life. I loosely started from youngest to most recent. For simplicity, I tore these pics out of some of our Groovebooks.

*To try out Groovebook for yourself, Get a free book with code: Poulsen284

Side note- Groovebooks are also really fun to have in general. My daughter loves flipping through all the books, naming people and talking about memories.

The frame is from Michaels. The exact on I have is on sale now!

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Party Display Table
-Time Capsule! I set up a little area for guests to write memories, predictions or anything they like to be opened on my son’s 18th birthday. I love this idea especially since life is so short and we never know what tomorrow may bring. At least he’ll get a glimpse back to his first birthday even if all the people won’t be there to celebrate #18.

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-I made all the desserts. The smash cake is a fire hydrant, if you can’t tell. Haha. Cake decorating is not as easy as it looks. No wonder bakeries get the big bucks! A tip I got was to add milk instead of water to the cake mix and 1 package of pudding mix. It turned out really well. Homemade buttercream frosting too. Don’t go store bought!!! I also highly recommend going the cupcake route. People can just grab a dessert as they please, no cutting required! Word on the street: Cake pops were the winner! The red cake stands are from Target’s Dollar Spot.

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-Same with these adorable wooden firetruck party favors! Always browse the bargains, guys!

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The only family photo we got with Peach
-Balloons and other party supplies from the Dollar Tree I did go all out with the #1 balloon from Party City

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-There are a lot of ways to keep up with the firetruck theme. Hose Water anyone?


-I mean, is this the cutest shirt you’ve ever seen?!

Did you have a theme for your child’s first birthday? Any other pro tips you would add to ease a busy mom or dad’s stress when party planning? Comment and share!

🎈🚒🎂-TBHM Hilary

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The Struggles (and joys) of going from 1 to 2 kids.

Don’t get me wrong, having 1 child isn’t a walk in the park. The first year is difficult. The transition from independent adult to someone’s parent is huge. Someone relying on you for their whole survival 24/7 is the most demanding job in the world. Then you get the hang of things. “hey, it’s not so bad! The baby can’t even crawl or walk yet.” Cool. Go get dressed in the other room and come back to zero disasters. Maybe even start sleeping through the night again. Insert- Baby #2.

 

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Ignorant Bliss as a mother to 1 child. (infant Peach)
A few of the biggest struggles from going from 1 baby to 2:

  1. You may never be on time again: You think it takes forever to get out the door with 1 kid? Try 2. One of which probably just peed their pants and would prefer sandals despite the snowstorm. The other is probably screaming because they are late for a nap and more than likely need another diaper change. Don’t even get me started on car seats. I daydream of the day when my eldest can climb in my suburban on her own, get in her seat,  and clip herself in.
  2. Someone is always sick: Literally. Never ending. Toddler comes home with runny nose and cough. Baby gets cold that lasts for approximately 1-2 weeks. You think you made it out unharmed as everyone is perky for a day or 2. Nope, mom and dad always get hit too. And honey, MOMS DON’T GET SICK DAYS. 
  3. You’ll never sleep again: After weeks of nursing the new baby every 2-3 hours, they might start sleeping longer stretches. Or maybe not. Probably not in my case. I always say “I just don’t make lazy kids”. The months go on and perhaps they sleep through the night or only wake up seldomly. Insert- Toddler random night wakings. Reasons include: “I have to pee”, “I need more water” or easily mistaken for sweet,  but trust me its far from it at 3:30AM after nursing the baby for 15 minutes, “sleep with me.”
  4. Good intentions to use hand-me-downs: Ha-Ha. If you get lucky enough to have your kids follow the same growth trajectory on the same season, then bravo to your planning. The rest of us, not so lucky. Also note, baby girls leggings are not very cute on my infant son’s chubby buns. Neutral colors really aren’t always neutral. Even if you don’t mind pocketless cheeks on your son in a black and white stripe, it’s rare they actually have the same build. 
  5. Your house will never be clean again: Mine probably won’t anyway. As much as you can try to tidy up as you walk through every area, its nearly impossible to keep order. Exploring toddler and curious baby makes for a mess at every corner. Shout out to my Roomba and my dogs for doing the best clean up they can!      
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    Chief and Peach Halloween 2017 Cop & Donut
    Lets not forget the Joys…
  6. They start playing together: Once you see the love your first has for your new baby. Talk about heart melting. All your tired doubts come to a screeching halt. This is why you have more than one kid. It’s really a gift for them. BFFs. Teaching each other how to use items, play games, read books. 
  7. How can you love another baby as much as you loved your first?: A thought many mothers and fathers may have. Is there enough room in my life? Wait until the day #2 arrives. HEART EXPLOSION. How on earth did we survive without the newest member of the crew?! 
  8. They help take care of each other (and you): Maybe I’m nursing the baby and need a  rag quickly. Toddler to the rescue. Baby starts crying in the carseat before we’re headed out the door. Toddler is on entertainment duty. She even makes sure he gets to try all her snacks. She even breaks them down to baby sized pieces for him. 
  9. The world doesn’t revolve around just your 1 child: Sorry kid, you have to learn to wait, to share and to most importantly, love. The real learning begins at home. Home is where the heart is. Life isn’t fair. Let’s begin a big life lesson ASAP.
  10. Lifelong friends, Confidants, Family: I can only pray this will be true for my children as the mature. Life isn’t easy. It’s a rollercoaster of happiness and suffering. I’m grateful everyday that I gave them the gift of each other. No one will know them better. Know them for their whole lives. Understand what they’ve been through. The inner working of the family dynamic. This is priceless.

It may never seem like the right time to add more children to your family. One thing I know is, I’ll never regret having more children but, I may regret not having more. Life is short and you cannot please everyone. Live your best life. Find the beauty in every day. After 2 I say, the more the merrier!

What would you add to the list?

Love,

TBHM Hilary

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Sure my hands are full, but you should see my heart.

Beating the Winter Funk & Gunk Tips

This winter has been hitting families hard. I’m sure most of you are experiencing the dreaded gunk at home. It’s hard to avoid. Especially if you have a curious toddler like me! Here is a list of some of my favorite products to help you boost your immune systems and get through this season as unscathed as possible, if you happen to get hit like my family.

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  1. Elderberry Syrup- Naturally high in Vitamin C this dark syrup is the perfect immune booster for the whole family. Toddler taste test approved! I even got my non-crunchy husband on board. Look for it at your local natural foods store or even try to make it yourself. In the slow-cooker, is on my to-do list! I picked mine up from my favorite co-op Lakewinds. Because time is money in the life of this busy SAHM.

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2. Apple Cider Vinegar. Immune support is just the beginning with this pungent liquid. Make this part of your daily diet and you won’t regret it. I recommend a shot mixed with water and local honey. Mix with a straw and slurp down fast. Make sure you get ACV with “The Mother”. I recommend Braggs (pictured above). Available at natural food stores or in a natural food section of a general grocery store.

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3. Thieves Essential Oil- I almost typed that in all caps. It’s that important for my household! We don’t go a day without a drop Thieves. Why “Thieves”?

–In France during the 15th century, thieves would sneak into graveyards to rob from the dead and dying. Legend says they protected themselves by creating
a special aromatic combination composed of clove, rosemary, and other botanicals. Today, Thieves essential oil blend is inspired of those tales of old. Combining Clove, Cinnamon Bark, Lemon, Eucalyptus Radiata, and Rosemary essential oils. – Young Living.

We rub it on our feet before bed and diffuse throughout our home. Thieves is also my favorite for use in all natural soap and cleaning products. Get Thieves and other essential oils right here. Diffusing adds moisture to the air too. Which we’re all in desperate need of currently.

A few tool belt items to help ease the gunk and save you from #teamnosleep:

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4. Boogie Wipes- Honestly, I can’t get enough of these little saline wet wipes. Save poor, raw, red noses due to endless wiping. Remove residue gently. I prefer the unscented and I always buy the biggest pack they sell. Trust me, you want more than 1 package. Nursery, diaper bag, bathroom, etc. Try Target or Amazon.

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5. Nose Frida. I’m guessing my veteran mamas know whats up with the Nose Frida. This invention is a game changer. Successfully clear your little one’s nostrils with efficiency. Easy to clean and sanitize compared to mold susceptible old school bulbs. Again, trust me. GET THE NOSE FRIDA. Grossed out? Don’t be! Just be happy we’ve moved on from the days when people actually had to put their mouths on baby’s nose to clear passages. I got mine at Target.

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6. Humidifier. NECCESSARY. It’s Astonishing what a difference having a humidifier running makes. Do your children a favor and get some for their rooms. I have the Honeywell Cool Moisture Humidifier .  Super easy to fill and clean. Affordable.

All of these items have made a huge difference in our well being this season. It’s so nice to keep things all natural. Nature provides us with so much! You just have to utilize it. Have any other favorite tips or tricks? Has anyone made their own Elderberry Syrup? Let me know!

🌱💙 -TBHM Hilary

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Hot Mess of the Week- Gas Station Incident 

I’m notorious for driving my truck until the gas is down to the last drop. Running on fumes, if you will. 95% of the time my husband gets in my suburban he says, “seriously, Hilary?! Your gas light is on again!” Guilty as charged. ‘Black Beauty’ ain’t sliding in to the pump unless that familiar orange light pops on. Ding! Oh yeah, I need gas again. Can I just make it home?, I wonder. 

One morning after taking the kids to ECFE Drop In Playtime, I decided to stop and fuel up. Before the light came on! Can you believe it?! In part, to be a better version of myself. (Baby steps) Also, to avoid unwanted chatter from the above mentioned, hub. Feeling like I have the world on my shoulders, I slip off my black leather seat and hop out.

I hear a ding, ding, ding on my way out. I knew my keys weren’t in the ignition. I ignore. I begin pumping the gas and go to open up the car to throw some trash away. *heart sinks* YEP. DOORS ARE LOCKED. With my phone in the truck too. 

I quickly run inside and ask to use their phone. This is basically torture for me. I never leave my kids in the car. Let alone at freezing temps! Feeling a combo of panic and shame, I dial my husband. He answers! Joy to the world, he’s only 20 minutes away… Lucky for me the baby is sleeping and the toddler is chomping on crackers ,defiling my once sleek and maybe even sexy interior. 

Pic bc my kids are troopers and don’t know I’m a hot mess yet. (Peach 2.5)

The minutes feels like hours. Then I feel a buzz on my wrist. My Apple Watch! I call hub again. He figures I got in. Sadly, no but I have communication access whilst viewing my sad babes. He says “look to the left”. Smiling, I hear the roar of his black diesel truck. I’m filled with relief. 

He starts pulling tools out of his Chevy and working on opening the door. After a few minutes with no luck we decide, it’s either time to smash the window to smithereens or call 911. Shout out to my Apple Watch (worthy of its own blog post) I phone the local PD. 

As divine intervention would have it, hubby pops the lock as the 5-0 arrive. 👏🏼 My Super man and “first responder” saves the day like usual. Gotta love little reminders as why you married someone 😜 

If you’re wondering how I managed to lock the doors? My elbow. She’s a nasty little thing. 

⛽️ 🔑- TBHM Hilary 

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Sea Life Aquarium- MOA

As the bone chilling winter freeze hit Minnesota brutally this week our outdoor festivities were swapped for indoor. I’m talking cars won’t start, crunching snow, eye watering cold. With the toddler on break from school and hubby managing a day off, Sea Life here we come! It may be one of the busiest mall days of the year but that didn’t stop our hunger for a little priceless family time. 

Chief (11 Months) j-chillin in the stroller

God sent down a little glimmer of light and we slipped into a “expectant mother and young children” parking spot on the east ramp. Bundled like the ‘Christmas Story’ boy we packed every little thing we may need in our Baby Jogger City Select Double and plowed our way to the Sea Life ticket counter. 

Peach (2.5) experiencing the rockpool

Start the adventure off touching star fish as big as your hands, anemones, shrimp and more in the Pacific Northwest Rockpool. I recommend pulling your kids sleeves up first 😜

Hubby with Peach and Chief viewing the Ray Lagoon

Check out the Sting Ray Lagoon. 15,000 gallon pool with dozens of Cownose, Southern Stingrays and Guitarfish. We even got to feed them shrimp! 

Lots of low windows for all age access viewing

Interactive exhibits along the way!
 

The Jellyfish Discovery room was one of my favorites. I love the dark views of these mysterious creatures. Chief pointed his way through it! 

The way the layout moves you won’t miss anything you’d like to see. From the Seahorse Kingdom, Coral Caves and Mysteries of the Rainforest there’s a little something for every aquarium fan. 

Peach viewing a Seahorse Aquarium

Finishing off with a 300+ foot Ocean Tunnel! This walk is spectacular. Sand Tiger Sharks, Sea Turtles, Nurse Sharks, Stingrays and more. 

You can’t have an aquarium in Minnesota without a few familiar faces! Peek at The Sturgeon Lake exhibit to see the native fish.


Some ticket deets-

Children 0-2 are free! We even snagged a couple $5 off coupons from my sister. Check out Mall Of America’s Toddler Tuesday for admission discounts. There’s also an extensive list of Kids Eat Free restaurants for the TT promotion. Visit SeaLife MOA online for discounted tickets as well.


Have you been to SeaLife at Mall of America? Did the family enjoy it? If you go and see the exhibit I’d love to know your thoughts. I’d recommend tickets for birthday gifts too if you’re looking for something outside the box!

🦈💙- TBHM Hilary

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Montessori Gift Ideas

Here is a list of some of my favorite Montessori type toys/activities for infants and toddlers. However, many of these pieces have charm for years after that! Great for Holiday gift giving, birthdays and beyond. I could have an endless list but I’ll keep it to 10 for now. All conveniently available on Amazon. 👏🏼 Affordable options!

1. Wooden Peg & Hammer Toy (Big hit at the Poulsen house!) 

2. Wooden Bead Maze– I particularly like the suction cups on the bottom of this. I secure it out our wood floors! We also have a larger version but this is a nice starting place and doesn’t take up a lot of space. 


3. Bell Rattle– Great one to introduce from 0-12 Months and the adventure continues as my 2.5 year old still plays with it. Fun addition to our music box. 

4. Textured Multi Ball Set – A delight in each ball! Try keeping your children’s hands (and mouths!) off of them! Indoor, outdoor, bath time and more. Our furry friends are big fans too! *Also available at Target*

5. Wooden Push & Pull Toy– Very popular one at my house. I can’t promise your kids won’t fight over it! 

6. Pattern Blocks & Boards– A next level type puzzle for your older toddlers. These we work on when my baby is sleeping since there are small pieces. My daughter loves this even more since it’s a special time. 

7. Fold & Go Trampoline– Jump, jump, jump around! God knows toddlers need to shake their sillies out frequently. This my friends is a need. 

8. Wooden Building Blocks– I couldn’t picture my home without our beloved blocks. The open ended possibilities! We create something with them almost everyday. From a bridge to towers, or even just clicking them together to a musical beat. 

9. Animal Models– I know I say everything is my kids’ favorite but truly animals hold the top spot in my toddlers world. We have SO MANY animals but I particularly like the farm animals since we get to see them all in real life here in Minnesota. (Pro Tip- you want the animals as realistic as possible)

10. Baby Doll – Anatomically Correct– The way my daughter plays with her baby is heart melting. It’s an important part for language development and her dramatic play. Even better if you have another baby on the way or new addition to the family. (Plus, I was sold on this mushroom outfit!)

There are so many other fantastic Montessori type toys available to us. This is a good place to start or get inspired. 

Do your children have any of the items? What’s a favorite in your home? Let me know if any of these make it under your tree this year!

Happy Shopping!

🎁 💖- TBHM Hilary

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Hot Mess of the Week- Auntie’s Birthday

My sisters birthday fell on a Tuesday. Our husbands were working but that didn’t kill our vibe. Please! It was nail salon time and Benihana. Like usual, my snotty nosed offspring were along for the ride. I’m the kind of mom that will bring her kids just about everywehere.

Peach (2.5) striking at pose at the nail salon

While my BFF sister and I got pedicures my daughter cozied up to the owner of the salon. Bribed by sugary sweet butter cookies she sat still for a glitter pink mani. (Free because the owner is gem and we adore her!)


Well, time was ticking. My kids hit the hay by 7 most nights. It was time to race across town to Benihana, if we knew what was good for us. In a tornado like wind cloud we exit the salon. Wet toenails in paper-like flip flops flapping through the slushy parking lot. #sendhelp.

Pro Tip: babywear at nail spa. #treatyoself

Quickly we remember we didn’t take Peach to the potty before we left. Smh. Hold on for the game changer though- she says “Mom I have to pee!”. Well, thank you God for that. Can we keep up with informing BEFORE you pee? Thanks. My sister suggests a gas station. I say “yeah right, there’s no way we’ll make it.” I make a hard right  onto a side neighborhood road sliding through the mornings snow in my big black beast of a vehicle. Skirrrrrrt. I whip it around to the side of the street. Here looks as good as any place, I inform my squad. 

Live snap chat video proof from the roadside pee break

I tell Peach she has to pee outside. Like the hardcore MN champion my girl is, she says “ok Mom!”. I open my door to walk around the truck. Immediately recognizing that my fresh pedi is naked to a snowy curb. NO!!! WHY ME?! Hahaha how?! Ok. I suck it up and run around to get my daughter. My feet are covered in snow. I’m screaming in frostbite type pains. Open the door. Decide on a dime, there’s no way I’m stepping out there again. I end up holding Peach an she squats to pee out the door. SUCCESS. Can I get a standing ovation for this toddler?! She’s literally the coolest person I know. At this point, I refuse to go back outside. I ditch the flippy-flops and climb into the drivers seat. I hit the gas barefoot to Benihana. 

The floor of my suburban. Just how you pictured it?
The traffic is terrible on our way. Which I was totally clueless to because my typical road map consists of a 12 mile radius. Never at peak commute hours. Blah! We finally arrive. We figure, 35 minutes is more than enough dry time on our tootsies. Our only option is to stuff them into our Frye boots. Yes we both had Frye boots on. As white trashy as we are, we can’t stoop as low as pedicure sandals in a restaurant. 

Peach talking on the buzzer

We scramble inside and they tell us it’s 1-1.5 hour wait. Excuse me? Drink menu please! As I’m deciding between a coconut mojito or Benihana mule the buzzer goes off. 15 minutes in. Thanks for the scare Beni. *rolls eyes*. Peach spends all of dinner running laps around the bar. I’m sure the staff and patrons loved her screeching voice. We enjoy our perfectly cooked filets and head home. What joy! Once I pull off my purple leather booties I find smashed nail polish. Again, there’s not much room to cry over spilled milk, so I laugh. 


It’s really only fitting for my life that I have a messed up pedicure despite my efforts to preserve. 

🤷🏻‍♀️💅- TBHM Hilary

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