How a Room Makeover can Change Everything with DIY Tips

DIY, Mental Health, Motherhood

Back in December, my daughter went through a very public trauma. Our lives were completely turned upside down, and while I can’t go into the specifics of that right now, I can say that her doctor recommended a room makeover for her bedroom. I have four girls. The older three chose to share a room, and before this happened they basically just slept up there and played in the playroom downstairs. I loved having a simple, clutter free space for them to sleep at night. This made cleaning soooo much easier as toys everywhere drives me nuts, BUT it’s super hard to avoid with four kids.

First of all, this kind of wrecked us all emotionally and it was right at Christmas. We had definitely seen better days financially, but you do what you have to do for your kids, right? Alyssa is usually extremely happy, talkative, and has no trouble sleeping because she’s like the energizer bunny all day every day.

Picking the Theme: I wanted something bright with happy colors. My daughter is super obsessed with space, and the younger two really like unicorns, and everything Jojo. It took some time, but between Target, Amazon, the Dollar Store, and Lowe’s we were able to combine this theme and didn’t spend very much money! So here goes!

Glow in the Dark Stars and Twinkle Lights: I ordered these on Amazon and they were very inexpensive. The twinkle lights came in a pack of 6, and we hung them behind her pastel rainbow colored curtains that I’ll get to later. I also picked up a few extra strands of twinkle lights at the dollar store. I pinned these to the higher parts of the ceiling to keep my younger littles from pulling them down.

For the glow in the dark stars, I used spray adhesive to make sure that they stayed on the wall. They came in multiple colors, which really helped with combining the themes of space and unicorn/whimsical. The stars do come with a sticky back, but it took some time to put hundreds of stars on the wall so I only wanted to do this once.

Paint: I love getting Valspar paint samples from Lowe’s. There are always multiple colors to choose from. I used a bright blue, pink, and purple. The samples are less than $5 a piece, and one sample of each color was enough to complete my project. I painted one wall a dual toned blue and pink, and another wall blue, pink, and purple .

For the dual toned wall, I just used painters’ tape to make a line, and since there was nothing (like a bed) going against that wall, I used the glow in the dark stars to make the separation blend a little better.

For the galaxy wall, I painted a spot blue on the wall, and started blending other colors with a grocery sack. I watered the paint down just a little bit since it is pretty think.

Curtains: I got the curtains on Amazon. They are blackout curtains and this was important since I wanted my daughter to feel secure in her room again. These were such a great choice for the focal point of her room and I loved these colors even more in person.

Bedding: Since I have three girls, originally I wanted to get three different color bed spreads, but it was messing with my OCD too much. I ended up purchasing two pink bed spreads and a white bedspread with pops of purple, pink, and blue for my oldest daughter. Her bed is in the middle so it turned out super cute.

Hanging Stars: A couple years ago, I got these huge gold stars from Dollar Tree. They are actually Christmas ornaments, but they look super cute and sparkly (perfect for a little girl’s room(. I picked up a few more white stars at Target (these were also ornaments). I used ribbon that I already had at home and hung them from the ceiling.

I wanted to get the girls a doll house for Christmas and I spent hours looking for the perfect one. I love DIY projects so I thought about fixing up and older dollhouse, but I became obsessed with this one. I watched for sales and got it for about half price closer to Christmas. If they were going to have toys in their room, I wanted them to be cute.

Playhouse/Reading Loft: We had extra wood laying around the garage, so my husband put it together to make a fun reading space for the kiddos. There is a little bookshelf, and the kids grab sleeping bags, blankets, pillows, stuffed animals and whatever else they can find to hang out in there. Alyssa chose some books about space since that’s where she found comfort at the time.

I changed everything about their room, from where their beds were placed, colors, bedding…everything. My aunt and cousin helped out so much and I will forever be grateful. This was at a time when my oldest wasn’t able to sleep at night. I am so glad that she has regained a sense of normalcy through all the chaos.

If you don’t like your story, change it. Don’t just go through it, grow through it. And remember that it takes a village. We are all in this together.

Thanks for following along on our journey!

I hope you found this helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out!

-The Zombie Mom

 

 

How to Make a Super Fun Summer Obstacle Course for Cheap!

DIY, Lifestyle, Mom Life, Motherhood

If this is your first time here, Welcome! I’m a mom of four girls who works night shift as a laboratory scientist. I homeschool my girls during the day, and I’m constantly trying to come up with new ideas to stay awake all day (while showing my girls the beauty in life). Corona has us all going a little crazy cooped up in the house, right? I planned to blow up the girls’ unicorn sprinkler and let them run around in the front yard, but it had a hole in it. It was way too hot to have a day outside without water so we improvised (which always does end up in the best day ever in my experience).

When we purchased our house, our realtor brought us over a moon bounce the next day!   There were five kids, infant to age 8 so to make this day fun for everyone would take a little work. Most of what I used were just items that we had in the garage. We had a smaller moon bounce/inflatable that served to keep the younger kids occupied while the older kids completed the course. The smaller inflatable was purchased second hand for super cheap.

While the moon bounce was a fun touch, it’s really not needed. This was the end of the course, and everything else leading up to it would have been enough. Here is what I used! Let’s get started!

Toys Used:

  • Two Peppa Pig Trikes (obviously don’t have to be peppa, but the trikes being small made it harder to peddle haha)
  • Hula Hoops
  • Kiddie Pool
  • Baseball and Bat
  • Pop up tent/tunnel
  • Bubbles
  • Water
  • DIY slip and slide (instructions provided)
  • Two Inflatables

Rundown of the Obstacle Course: First, the girls each had to peddle on the tiny trikes to the hula hoops. Once they picked up the hula hoops, they had to hula to the pineapple float (these fun floats were purchased from Target for about $3, I had a Flamingo also). Next, they had to slide down the slip and slide, crawl through the tunnel (pop up tent) and run to the kiddie pool. Once in the kiddie pool, they threw a ball in the air and hit it with the baseball bat. The final task was to run to the moon bounce, and climb to the top of the “wall” in the middle.

Tip: I added water, soap, and bubbles inside of the moon bounce so that it made it harder to get to the top at the end!

 

How I made the slip and slide: You can made this with any thick plastic. I used an old inflatable ball pit that had a hole. I cut it, spread it out, and we put two plastic stakes to hold the plastic in place. You can obviously make this bigger, but since it was just part of the obstacle course, it was the perfect size. You could use old pool floats and if you don’t have anything laying around, a hardware store sells rolls of thick plastic. Another tip to make it extra slippery would be to add dish soap.

Mom Tip: I like to make everything a “game” or “challenge” to keep my oldest interested. It didn’t really matter who finished the obstacle course first, but giving her tasks to complete is also a learning experience. Having ADHD myself, I know how engaging challenges can be and how I can let time slip away from me quickly without even realizing it. Escape Rooms and Obstacle Courses are along the same lines as video games and I have found this extremely effective when learning new topics.

Let me know if you found this helpful! Feel free to follow along for more DIY, life hacks, mom life, mental health, fitness tips and everything in between. 

-The Zombie Mom

 

 

 

An Honest Review of Hello Fresh and How it Fits into my Budget

Budgeting, Food, Lifestyle, Motherhood

 

I am a full time working mom of four. I work nightshift as a laboratory scientist and last year accepted a position as the lead of Serology and Urinalysis. My career is extremely important to me, and I have a huge passion for health care, healthier living, and being aware of what I am feeding my kids. Of course it’s easier to warm up some mac and cheese, but I chose to work nights to spend more time with my kids and give them the best life possible. Some days I am going on day 3 of no sleep and it is harder to convince myself to cook, but with Hello Fresh I have found that it is possible!

I am going to discuss the portion size, how many times we have the service delivered, what you really receive, what I love about Hello Fresh and some tips for how I fit this into my budget and find time to cook the dinners.

We have been using Hello Fresh for about six months now, and I look forward to delivery day (it’s Thursday for us by the way, but you can pick which day you have it delivered). You have several meals to choose from and you can add extras. Even though we have four little ones, we use the two person meal plan and have two Hello Fresh dinners every week.

The portion sizes are perfect. I was a little nervous about this at first because we are a family of six and the largest option was for four people. We had more than enough for all of us, and I was able to take leftovers to work.

The food is always fresh and you are given exactly the amount that you need so there is not room for waste. One of my favorite things about Hello Fresh is that the bag the meal is delivered in serves as a place to toss items you aren’t using anymore as you go. This makes my mama heart happy as I am all about anything that makes my life less messy (it’s crazy enough with four little ones).

You receive the recipes and step by step guidance to cook the meals, so you don’t have to worry about not being a great cook, ha! I have found several of the tips in the recipe guide helpful during the rest of the week.

I use a loop schedule for basically everything in my life, which I will discuss in more detail in another post, but basically I make a list of dinners and loop through them each week so that we are not always eating the same thing. Hello Fresh has several recipes to choose from and even if you choose a burger one week, the next time you can pick a different type of burger. I love the variety and how easily it makes the rest of my shopping.

I feel like our meals average about $25 a meal and can easily feed our entire family. This is less than I would pay going through a drive through and we are eating healthy, which is a win-win for everyone!

Thank you for reading! I hope this helped. Feel free to follow along for more mommy advice, budgeting tips, meal planning, healthier living, DIY, photo tips and everything in between. How likely are you to try Hello Fresh? Let me know in the comments ❤

-The Zombie Mom 

Newborn Photography Tips for Beginners from a Mom of Four

DIY, Lifestyle, Mom Life, Motherhood, Newborn, Photography, Work

At 19, I was a full time college student with an infant. Not working wasn’t an option for me, but I wanted to spend as much time as possible with my baby while finishing my education. My first camera was nothing special, but to me it was a huge investment. At first, I really just wanted something better than my phone to capture photos of my baby and I justified the purchase with the fact that I wouldn’t have to pay to get professional photos quite as often. I had no idea the amount of work that went into planning, editing, responding to emails, and of course actually shooting sessions.

My photography business was successful and I have learned so much about posing, lighting, marketing, etc. One of the most important lessons that I learned as a mother (a frugal one at that) is that you don’t always have to purchase the most expensive props. While I definitely believe that investing in newborn props, camera equipment, fancy dresses for unicorn sessions, providing dresses for Well Dressed Wolf or tea party sessions, etc. is important…the greatest lesson that I learned is that you have to get started. The props and equipment will not magically create the perfect photo. You have to put in the work. You have to constantly produce new content and see what people respond to. I’ve found that most of the time the photo that I choose for a sneak peek, meaning that it is the photo I am the most excited about, is rarely the photo the family posts on social media once they receive their completed gallery.

I photograph everything from newborns to weddings. I even did a newborn puppy shoot for our dog, but it took YEARS to figure out what I really wanted to capture. It took time to feel confident in my work. I want to share a few tips with you and in this post I am going to talk about a few aspects of newborn photography.

First of all, as a mom I now understand how stressful it can be to reach out to a photographer in the first place. Photos are so important to me, and I always have a vision in mind. You want to establish a relationship with your client and let them know that although you know what you are doing, you want them to come out of the experience with the photos that they want. I let clients know that I have tons of props and outfits; all they need to bring is a baby; however, they are welcome to bring anything additional that they would like to incorporate. Another tip when planning is to either share a idea board or have them send you photos that they like. I do not try to replicate photos; however, it is good to have a sense of what they are looking for.

Honestly, the best time to book a newborn session is a couple of months into your pregnancy. Many photographers book months in advance and we can plan around your due date. Obviously, this isn’t always an option, but planning a newborn session takes time. After years, I do have several prop and outfit options but I try to personalize sessions as much as possible. Putting colors together, having outfits that will fit baby, and having backup options are all important. I don’t want to waste valuable time that could be spent posing trying to find something that I could have laid out before the client gets there.

When should you shoot a newborn session? Newborns are easiest to pose and at their sleepiest state during the first two weeks of life. Babies have a mind of their own, and I am well aware of pregnancy and postpartum complications after four babies. Sometimes this cannot happen, but be prepared to spend extra time with a baby that is older than two weeks. Certain poses really must be done within the first two weeks. Be patient. Have an idea of what shots you want to get before starting the session.

Must have props: From my experience, I use stretchy cheese cloth or jersey knit wraps almost every session. There are so many ways that you can wrap a baby and using different colors and materials can add variety to your photos without spending alot of money. Basket stuffers, posing pillows, headbands/bows, knit outfits, and flowers are also some go to props of mine. I use a bobby lounger for posing still even though I have posing pillows specifically for photos. This makes the baby feel as if they are being held and has worked wonders for me.

I usually have some type of background noise, and a small heater handy if the baby will be naked for a period of time during posing. 

Lighting: Natural lighting is a must for newborn photos. I do have studio lights that I use for many sessions, but with newborns I typically just use a good source of natural lighting. Keep in mind that newborn sessions can take hours when planning your session around daylight hours.

Make the parents feel comfortable. If mama is stressed, baby can feel that. Let the parents know that you have this under control and although it may take some time to get the images that you desire, there is no need to stress. Having a baby takes alot out of you, and I know that I was so upset right after having my daughter thinking about the fact that I may not get all of the photos that I dreamed of. Being able to relate to your client will set you apart and develop a relationship for years to come!

Thank you for reading! I hope you found these tips helpful! I will be posting more, so feel free to follow along and contact me with any questions you have and what you’d like to see next.

-The Zombie Mom

The Real Reason Why Your Mom Friend is NEVER on Time or just doesn’t Show Up at All

Motherhood

I made this little clip to show what life if like trying to leave the house being a mom of four.

I’m really not trying to be a bad friend, sister, daughter, whatever…but I’m just exhausted. By the time I actually even make it to the car I forget where I’m going and it takes half a day to even make it there. Maybe it’s my ADHD, but I swear it’s the kids. I love these little monsters, but goodness, gracious…we’re just going to stay home…

We can’t find shoes, the TV remote, the dog escapes, the toddler hid the baby in the pantry…I mean I’m drained just chasing them around. And if we actually do make it there…This better be the best dang chicken you’ve ever had in your life!

Do you ever actually make it somewhere and then your kids just complain the whole time? I make some big plans at 2am while I’m at work thinking that I’m so blessed to get to spend all day with my babies. They are the sweetest little blessings, but if we make it to the playground and they don’t swing their little legs off, I might lose my mind (even more so than I already have).

I usually have advice for most mom situations considering I have four kids, but all I can tell you is that you have to pick your battles. If you make it out of the house with your four year old in 12 month pants and mismatched shoes, that’s still a win. If your baby is covered in cheese puffs, I can guarantee it won’t be the first or the last time. And if you’re one of those moms that has it all together and your children walk out of the house with Prada bags, and your baby’s diaper is made of the finest silver you can find…I salute you. But I still got my chicken either way so there’s that.

 

 

The 8 Most Annoying People on Social Media

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IMG_1258In no specific order…

  1. The Googler. This person knows everything about everything. While charming and educational at first, this person will soon drive you nuts with their  need to make a comment about any and everything. While this person has no educational background, he or she still knows more than any doctor, rocket scientist, or philosopher.
  2. The “my baby is a genius” Mom. This person may or may not even have children, but their child can still talk in 10 different languages, do Olympic worthy gymnastic routines, and has already won the Nobel Prize at the age of two weeks.
  3. The Food Obsessor. This person’s phone camera only captures food, nothing else. There are a variety of meals that will leave you wondering how this person finds the time to take a picture of every single thing he or she eats, post a picture of it, and do life. Please teach me your ways because I hardly have time to throw some stuff in a crockpot and move on with my life.
  4. The Over Sharer. If we know when you had your last bowel movement, we know too much. If I know your life in greater detail better than I know my child, you have shared way too much on social media (and I’ve obviously spent too much time on Facebook in an effort to stay awake, but this post isn’t about that.)
  5. The Checker Inner. This is similar to the over sharer, but this person has a different motive. I haven’t quite figured out why it’s necessary to check into 5 restaurants in one week or why some people would rather take photos of their food, while others have to check in to let us know they are too rich to eat at home. Just eat, dang it.
  6. The Selfie Taker. This person loves to take photos of his or her self and post song lyrics that have absolutely nothing to do with the fact that he or she is obsessed with his or her self. This becomes even more annoying when said person has to add a filter to every single photo. We all enjoy a good selfie every now and then, but Goodness! How do you even have time to live life between selfies and checking in to random places on Facebook?!
  7. The Gym Queen. We get it. You go to the gym. I’m happy with the hips my three kids gave me and that makes me less of a human. But posting a photo of your sweat doesn’t make you drop pounds any faster 🙈.
  8. The Self Proclaimed Minimalist. Maybe I’m wrong but isn’t the whole point of being a minimalist to cut out all the JUNK in your life so you can focus on what’s more important? I didn’t know that meant making more time to judge me for buying my kid $1 bling bag on clearance to celebrate her A+, but hey, to each their own.

Latch Issues/How to notice them and what to do about them.

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I had my first baby at 19. I knew very little about breastfeeding and honestly had no interest in it. I didn’t have a support system, and I think that’s super important. Breastfeeding isn’t always natural in every sense. It isn’t always easy.

When I had my second daughter, I wanted to stick with it. I spoke with a LC at the hospital, I joined multiple breastfeeding groups, and spoke with our pediatrician. I was nervous about everything, but I read that cluster feeding was normal in the early stages so I assumed that my bleeding nipples were because of this.

Breastfeeding isn’t supposed to hurt. It took my pumping 2 ounces of bloody tinged milk to realize there was a problem. I was ready to give up. I dreaded feeding my baby because I knew it was going to hurt.

In my case, her latch was an easy fix and I just had to open her mouth a little more. Fixing your baby’s latch is so important. An improper latch not only hurts, but can lead to clogged ducts (which also hurt 🤢). My number one advice is to make sure that your baby’s mouth covers the majority of your areola and that the latch is not too shallow. If the latch is still painful, check for lip/tongue ties.

The first three months of your breastfeeding journey, your production is still a bit wishy washy and changing. Fixing latch issues from the beginning will create a much easier time. Don’t give up. It does get easier once you work out the kinks.

Dont get discouraged if you don’t realize that you have a latch issue right away. I’ve been told “you will know if it isn’t right”, but if you are new to breastfeeding, you don’t always know.

One thing that really helped me was holding my baby in a football position. Different positions may work better for you but this worked best for me in the beginning.

If you have any questions, email me or drop a comment below. I’m happy to help!

Why Does my Baby Hate Target?

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It never fails. Every single time we go to Target, my happy toddler turns into a monster. I really don’t beat my children, but you’d never believe me if you saw us in Target. I must be the worst mom in the world to think that any child would enjoy strolling around with a slushie and popcorn. It used to embarrass me, but now it’s just a way of life.

I see people post on Facebook about how they would never let their child act “that way”. I must have missed that portion of the parent handbook where I can flip her psycho switch off, because I am no longer the boss when we walk through the doors of Target. I use Clicklist religiously, I take snacks everywhere we go, and I wait until my kids are asleep to leave for any trip. But can you just give me 30 minutes to stroll through Target aimlessly without sounding like a dying cat?!

No, I don’t really NEED anything at Target, but I gave birth to you. I’ve sacrificed a lot for your happiness, but Target will not be one of them. Nope.

I’ve had many bright ideas of how to make Target a “fun trip” but if you’re mad that I’m buying you a swimming pool, I don’t know how to help you, my friend.

Our last trip to Target resulting in you throwing one of your shoes out of the basket and mommy failing to find it. You laughed while I panicked,  but jokes on you. They sell shoes at Target.