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    Crap I've Made

    Homemade Holiday – Christmas

    Perfectly DeStressed Christmas

    I am a bit of a Christmas fanatic  (okay. A LOT of a Christmas fanatic!). There’s just something about the season. The songs, the shows, the books and stories. Peace on Earth, goodwill towards men and giving to others. It’s an absolutely magical time of year. And each December, I gift my children with their own Winter Wonderland of sorts. My home is decked out and fully trimmed with the Christmas spirit. Plus, there are lots and lots of COOKIES!

    But what my children love most of all about our holiday home is that almost all of our decorations were semi or fully handmade.

    And handmade is the best type of ‘made’, if you ask me.

    So, I am sharing some ideas to personalize and create a unique Christmas for your family and loved ones (all while saving some major Reindeer Bucks!)


    Mercury Glass Ornaments

    These babies are like a good spray tan. A bit fake but a whole ‘lotta pretty.

    This is such an  inexpensive way to add this trendy and pricey look to your holiday!

    Simply spray equal parts vinegar and water (1:1 ratio) onto a clear glass ornament bulb. A few squirts should do the trick.

    While still wet, use a light coat of Looking Glass spray paint on top.

    Allow the paint to dry fully and proudly accessorize your tree with these babies like you just spent BIG MONEY!


    Picture Ornaments

    Go ahead, put your face on it!

    These personalized pieces bring a natural element to your Christmas tree and only take a few supplies.

    The wood ornaments can be made using cut branch pieces with a hole drilled through the top or inexpensively purchased pre-cut at the craft store.

    Print a black and white picture of your choice from your computer onto regular printer paper (make sure to match the size of your picture to the size of the wood piece before printing).

    Using a bit of ModPodge (found at any craft store or big box store with a crafting section) and a foam brush, apply a thin layer to the wood.

    Next, take your cut out picture and place it on top of the ModPodged wood. Add another light layer of ModPodge on top of the picture and let dry – Don’t panic! The ModPodge will look cloudy at first. But, as it dries, it clears up. It’s like a Christmas Miracle!

    A coat of water-based polyurethane on top after the ModPodge is completely dry is an optional step to ensure the longevity of your ornament.


    Sticker Ornament

    Stick a sticker on it for stickers-sake!

    Grab a box of clear, glass ornament bulbs.

    Take a sticker of your choice – numbers, letters, names, initials, dates, poop emojis – whatevs.

    Make sure the sticker is pressed on completely and there’s no curling edges. Take a craft paint color of your choice, and using light coats, paint your bulb (on top of the sticker as well) with a foam brush.

    Once fully dried, slowly peel up your sticker.

    Add a small, cut piece of dark-colored paper or fill the bulb with shredded paper to really make your sticker outline stand out.


    Flocked Tree

    What the FLOCK?

    I for one, luuuuuuurve me some flocked trees. But, man oh man, they are a bit more moolah than I prefer to spend. Especially when “some” in my home (ahem: EDWARD) think we already have too many Christmas trees – I mean, is that even a thing?! I think not.

    So, grab yourself a cheapo Christmas tree from the Goodwill, your local second-hand store, FB Marketplace or your Grandma’s attic and make your own.

    All it takes is a can of fake snow and a box of baking soda or cornstarch.

    Spray your tree with a coating of spray  snow and while wet, sprinkle soda or starch all around tree branches until it’s fully flocked to your flocked desire. Dry time is kinda long. So be patient. Once dried, give your tree a good upside-down shake to remove the really loose pieces.

    FYI – this is messy. Like, really, really messy!  From start to finish and everything in between, this is messy. But, so is any flocked tree.

    It’s a commitment to the faux snow you must make, my friends.

    Did I mention it’s rather messy?!


    Tree Stands & Bases

    “Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree. Your stand is soooooooo ugly.”

    But I’m here to tell you, it doesn’t have to be this way! You can love your tree from top to glorious bottom by getting a bit creative.

    Using a lampshade, a basket, a large tin can, or whatever else you can scrounge up, you can make a beautiful base for your tree.

    “Cause you know I’m all about that base, ’bout that base…”


    Live Boxwood Wreaths

    Boxwood wreaths are so popular right now. I adore them as much as the next crazy Christmas Lady, but have you ever priced out a boxwood wreath? Don’t. Just don’t. Trust me. It’s not good for your thrifty heart. 

    So, of course, I have a solution! If you don’t have a boxwood bush in your yard, I am sure one of your friendly neighbors do. Ask for a few clippings (or wait until it’s dark and “accidentally” break a handful of twigs off their boxwood) Okay, obviously I am just joking about that suggestion…sort of….

    Anywho, take your fresh clippings and attach them to a wire wreath frame or a grapevine wreath using twist ties or craft wire. Add a ribbon bow or a piece of burlap and VOILA you just pretty much became a professional florist.

    Just remember to spray your wreath with a bit of water once a day to help keep it fresh. It will dry out and eventually not be as green, but it should keep for the Christmas season!


    Like these ideas? Follow me on Instagram, on Facebook & sign up to receive my latest posts ——————————-> 

    Right over there where it says “Do you like me? Cause I like you!” —– Because seriously, I really do! —–

    Crap I've Made

    Forever At The Kids Table

    I seriously am in love with Thanksgiving.

    I mean, it’s a holiday where you spend time with those nearest and dearest to your heart, think of allll the things you are thankful for and you eat a crap-ton of good food.

    Come on, man! What’s not to love?!

    I’ll tell you one thing that’s kind of a Turkey Day downer, though – the wait. You can smell the amazing yumminess just a cookin’ away, but the meal seems to always take a bit longer to prepare than anticipated.

    And no one knows the torture of waiting to eat Aunt Jane’s famous Pretzel Salad when you are sure you’re starving, quite like the kids.

    So, this year, why not give the little people in your life a fun place to sit and wait together?

    A space made just for them to create, snack and keep busy (and out from under foot) while awaiting those cornbread muffins and that chestnut stuffin’.

    Thanksgiving Table Kids Table perfectlydestressed@yahoo.com

    I don’t know about you, but I typically prefer the “Kids” table anyway.

    And let me just say, if I saw a table with candy corn turkeys at each place setting, you better believe that’s where I am heading!

    Thanksgiving Table Kids Table perfectlydestressed@yahoo.com

    The Kids Table is where the fun’s at. It’s the place where the goofy stuff happens and the giggles seem never-ending.

    Plus, they eat dessert first!

    You can pretty much count me in on any table that gets first dibs on pie and cookies!

    Thanksgiving Table Kids Table perfectlydestressed@yahoo.com

    For my Kids Table, I added a small chalkboard and a piece of chalk on the plates for doodling or tic-tac-toe competitions.

    The table runner is actually a sheet of brown craft paper. Have the kiddos write down what they are most thankful for or have the smallest ones trace their tiny hands.

    Thanksgiving Table Kids Table perfectlydestressed@yahoo.com

    Each setting has a cornucopia foamie sticker craft. I placed the foam sheets and smaller sticker pieces in brown paper lunch bags. These crafts are perfect for little ones to keep their hands busy and even more perfect to send home once finished with their favorite Auntie or Granny!

    Thanksgiving Table Kids Table perfectlydestressed@yahoo.com

    Keeping in line with my forever frugal mindset, the chalkboards, white chalk, brown craft paper roll, candy corn, foam craft kits and paper lunch bags were all found at the Dollar Tree.

    Having fun doesn’t have to be expensive. And creating a magical place for friends, siblings and cousins to make memories is truly priceless.

    Are you ready to be inspired with even more absolutely amazing Thanksgiving table setting and decor ideas? Follow this link – http://www.frenchcreekfarmhouse.com/thanksgiving-tablescape-tour-day-3 where I am lucky enough to be part of a fall holiday blog hop with an extremely talented group of women! Please, click on over and join us!

    Crap I've Made

    Homemade Holiday – Thanksgiving

    I love creating memorable spaces for my family to celebrate holidays. But, that gosh darn budget seems to always get in my way. So does time, energy and time (wait, did I say that already?!)

    I am always looking for ways to add a fresh, fun take to our celebrations without breaking the bank. These adorably sweet silverware holders are just too cute for words and they are fast to put together. And, to quote my kids, they make our table “so fancy”.

    These are completely no-sew, the supplies are very inexpensive and they can also be used as napkins!

    I found this fabric bundle in the clearance aisle, but you can find them almost anywhere there’s a craft section. Fabric bundles are squares of fabric placed together with coordinating colors and designs.

    What’s even better is that the folds of the fabric from packaging can be used as your cutting lines!

    fabric silverware holder perfectlydestressed.com

    1. Start by cutting the fabric in half lengthwise.

    perfectlydestressed.com

    2. Next, cut width-wise leaving 2 squares top and bottom (a total of 4 pre-folded squares).

    perfectlydestressed.com

    3. At this point, the cut fabric can be laundered if you are planning on using them as napkins. Once they are washed, you will fold them back into their original fold lines. The fabric will be folded twice in half.

    perfectlydestressed.com

    4. Next, use a sharp utility knife to make small openings through all of the layers of fabric. Make the size of your slit based on the width of the ribbon you are using in the next step.

    perfectlydestressed.com

    5. Cut your ribbon approx. 12″ long. Pull the ribbon back to front through each slit.

    perfectlydestressed.com

    6. Run your fabric through.

    perfectlydestressed.com

    7. This is a view of the back of the fabric with the ribbon attached.

     

    perfectlydestressed.com

    TIP: When using ribbon in a project, a small flame briefly placed along the edge of the ribbon will create a heat seal and prevent fraying by melting the ribbon edge.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


     

     

    This next DIY flatware holder has a natural and “green” feel. It brings a woodsy element to your tablescape and is equally as easy to make and just as easy on the wallet as the fabric bundles.

    Using burlap ribbon, cut approx. 18″ ribbon pieces. I chose to “fray” my burlap to give a more rustic feel by pulling apart the strings running the width of the ribbon with a seam ripper. Folding your ribbon about 6″ up, hot glue on each end. After sliding your silverware into your burlap ribbon pouch, wrap and tie a piece of twine in a bow. I tucked in a few sprigs of fresh rosemary and eucalyptus to my final bundles.

    Dried floral stems or even some faux fall leaves would be equally as adorable.

     

     

    Ramblings of a Mother

    First a Favor, Then Some Real Life Mom Hacks, Tips & Fables

    perfectlydestressed.com

    Before we get to my new Mom Ramblings post, I have a HUGE favor to ask of you, friends!

    Can you click this link: http://community.today.com/user/kristin-gambaccini and “Vote Up” on all of my posts (there is a speech bubble with “Vote Up” above each post)? And also this separate post HERE – it will take just a few seconds!

    I am a Today Show Parents Contributor and would greatly appreciate your support!

    FYI: You don’t have to read each post as they are carried over from this blog. I just need you to vote on each one. The more votes, the more I will be seen on the Today Show FB page and the higher in rank I am on the Today Show Parents platform. This is a HUGE dream of mine and every one of you here are part of my “tribe”. I would NOT be here without you and I appreciate each and every one of you!

    Now, to my latest Mom Ramblings with some Real Life Mom Hacks, Tips & Fables…


    I spent my afternoon yesterday delivering “New Baby Meals” to a couple of my dear friends that were recently blessed with beautiful additions to their families.

    What is it exactly about a brand spankin’ new baby that is so good for the heart and soul?

    It’s like these teeny tiny people are an adorable package of hope, peace and possibility. The realization that miracles are absolutely possible and that there will always be light in darkness (okay, I’m starting to sound like Dumbledore, but you catch my drift.)

    As I was driving home from my visits, I found myself reflecting on my own motherhood experiences. Although these particular “new” mommies aren’t “first-timers”,  nearly every mama I know is on the lookout for new tips and tricks to survive motherhood. I personally love a good hack or a busted mommy myth.

    So, I’ve compiled a short list of Real Life Mom Hacks, Tips & Fables for your education and pleasure.

    Grab a glass of cheap wine and enjoy!

    * The Mysterious Stain

    That mysterious spot you find on the couch, your clothes, the carpet or the curtain?

    It’s probably poop. There’s a slight chance it may be snot, juice or milk, but always assume it’s poop. Just wash it.

    * Broken People

    Although not scientifically proven (yet), in the average household, the mother’s back is, in fact, the only back that actually bends. Which completely explains the age old question of “Why can’t my husband pick up his dirty socks?”

    *That Mysterious Smell

    That smelly smell you smell every time you walk past a certain space or room in your house?

    It’s probably poop. Always assume it’s poop. Start your frantic search for the source of offending smell immediately…

    *Mediocrity Killed the Cat

    False news, friends. Being a mediocre mom is awesome. No overly high Pinterest-y expectations, but people don’t think you’re a total loser either. You’re just an ‘OK’ Mom and it’s truly glorious to be stuck in the middle.

    #The Mysterious Taste

    You know that time you find the cereal bar on the kitchen counter that looks as though it’s been barely eaten so you figure, what the heck, no need for good food to go to waste (plus you realize you yourself haven’t eaten in over 8 hours)?! You pop it in your mouth and notice that not-quite-right taste? Yeeaaaahhhh. Just don’t eat it. #itsprobablypoop

    *The Rule of 3

    Have a house full of boys that wrestle? A home full of girls that cat fight? Maybe a mix of boys and girls that all to attack each other like feral, wild animals? And no matter how many times you tell them to “STOP” or try to intercede they just can’t seem to keep their hands (feet, arms, legs, ankles, elbows, chins, shoulders, etc) off of each other?! Then it’s time to just go with the Mother’s Golden Rule of 3: Broken, Bleeding or Dying. As in: “Unless you’re broken, bleeding or dying, don’t come crying to me!”

    *Alcohol Impairs Your Judgement

    Fact. Yes, yes it absolutely-oodely does and this is why we fellow mothers love it (need it?) after a long, exhausting day. It’s also been known in ‘certain circles’ to be the culprit for the “additions” to a family (just sayin’).

    To sum it all up; to me motherhood is a full circle of never-ending cleaning, poop and refereeing while holding a liquid cup of sanity (coffee or wine – depending on the day) all intertwined with a whole lot of love and fun in between.

    Seriously though, Mommyhood is truly an amazing journey that I have learned to adore for all of its craziness and expertly duck all of the curveballs it throws at me.

    Oh, and as an “added bonus” (as if it couldn’t get any better), I have gained the superpower of identifying smells faster than a dog in search of bacon. So, there’s that…

    Ramblings of a Mother

    Ummm, No To You Mr. Halloween Costume Maker.

    sisters halloween perfectlydestressed.com

    Halloween is just a few weeks away and my children already have visions of mounds of chocolate and sour candy dancing in their heads while they sleep. Wait, wrong holiday poem. My bad. My kids really are always so excited for the spookiness of Halloween, though. The decorations, the candy and the costumes. So much fun, right?

    For a mother to a preteen girl, let me tell you, Halloween gets more and more not-so-fun. Every year that goes by I find myself dreading what she wants to “be”. Luckily, my boys are fairly easy. I try to steer clear of gory, horror costumes (much to their dismay), but they typically come up with something that makes us both happy and doesn’t involve anything too bloody or creepy. I’m a bit of a scaredy-cat, but some of those costumes for boys can be down right spooky.

    But, I’ll tell you what’s even more scary, friends. Going to the Halloween store to find a costume for your almost teen daughter and having the choice be A) Sexy Nerd/Geek B) Sexy Witch C) Sexy Teacher or D) a huge, overstuffed Hotdog with ketchup and mustard on top – I mean, what the freaking WHAT?! What sick, SOB of a man thought up these costume ideas and who in the ever-loving world of innocence agreed to actually make and package them?!

    In my possibly some-what over-protective and maybe a bit over-bearing and slightly over-dramatic motherly mind, I can’t help imagining an overweight, balding CEO with fat, stubby fingers sitting behind a desk on his phone yell talking to the poor bloke on the other end that the “Sexy Handmaiden” costume will be the hit of 2018. “Bonuses all around!” he laughs.

    Except, how can it be a “hit” costume if no one is buying it? Because, I mean, no one is buying them, right?!!?!? Please, PUHLEEZE, tell me no one is buying them!

    Sadly I think we are becoming desensitized to these types of things in society. I mean, I can’t even look at Homecoming pictures posted on social media without noticing that a lot of the girls are about a wind gust away from showing everyone their personal lady parts except for the fact that the dresses are so form-fittingly tight that no gust of wind, no matter the velocity, will blow anything around (which I guess is a good thing?)

    But, I can’t help but wonder what is keeping that ever-so-important inch of fabric pulled down over their nether regions? I am hoping there’s tape under there. Lots and lots of tape.

    I mean, the tighter the fabric, the more chances of it rolling up, right? Asking for a friend, of course. And said “friend” has had many a round with good ol’ spanx. Spanx are by definition, body shapers made from spandex. Their purpose is to help someone who say, had 8 kids (just an example, of course) fit a bit better and feel a tad more secure in dressy clothing. But, the problem with them is they tend to roll. Like a burrito. And if you don’t catch the rolling in time, they keep going right up – or down – or both – until they reach a road block which is typically your boobs, your gut or if you’re really lucky, the other half of the roll. Wearing spanx is a commitment.

    You have to really want it. And be willing to not breathe adjust it all night.

    So, setting up that image, I am horrified at the thought of these beautiful girls with skin tight, fancy spanx-made-to-look-like-formal-wear dresses dancing their little hearts out only to have that small scrap of stretchy fabric roll up on them faster than a roller window shade in the morning.

    Here’s the sad reality though. It’s not the nasty CEO I made up in my mind that’s the problem, really. We are the ones buying these clothes for our daughters. We are sending them out into the world of the unknown with practically nothing unknown about their bodies. The dresses seem to get shorter and shorter and the shoes higher and higher. But, what about their self-esteem? Their confidence? Are those soaring as well?

    Seems to me, the more provocative and inappropriate the “norm” gets, the more our girls are doubting themselves and questioning their worth. We need to be teaching them that they are SO much more than a skinny body or a high heel. Their worth is immeasurable and cannot be dictated through trendy fashions or costumes labeled “sexy”.

    Oh, and you may be wondering what my preteen will be wearing for Halloween?

    She’s dressing up as a football player. Complete with all the padding, protective gear and helmet. She loves it and thinks it’s the best costume she’s had yet.

    So do I, honey. So do I.

     

    Read my last post here!

    Ramblings of a Mother

    Potato, Potahto – We’re All Sucktastic

    funny mom perfectlydestressed.com

    I am honest enough with myself to know my talents and admit my faults. For instance; I am a Bad Mama Jama baker. I can take those ingredients and whip up a fresh batch of yumminess from scratch with my eyes closed. Crafting and creating? Yes, absolutely. Pooping with a kid on my lap and a kid on my feet while reading ‘If You Take A Mouse To School’ all while holding a sippy cup of milk? So freaking good. Keeping plants alive? Eh. (let’s just say it’s a good thing keeping plants alive and keeping kids alive aren’t closely related talents). Remembering anything? Like, anything at all? I’m a total failure. Being a funny mom? Still up for debate…

    I know where I excel and where I need work. Motherhood is no exception. If anything, becoming a mother is when you really start to learn how absolutely sucky you are at so, SO many things. And if you are unsure if you’re good or not, just wait for your sweet little one to start talking. They will let you know your shortcomings. Their honesty comes daily but it’s done in the most adorably brutal way. “Mommy, you should brush your teef better cause you bref stink.” Or “Mommy, you don’t cook good.” Or my personal favorite, “You the meanest mommy in the world and I want a new one.”

    And the minute you let your guard down, the second you begin to feel pretty good about your parenting skills, something happens. Something always happens. And it seems to most often take place quickly and unexpectedly.

    One specific (of many) mom failure stories of mine comes to mind here: What had begun as a fun afternoon at the park with the local Mom & Tots group my son and I had recently joined, quickly turned in a scene straight out of JAWS. Complete with the theatrical screaming, running, chaos and terror. “Biter!” moms yelled. “My daughter was bit!” another mom hollered, ghastly horrified. I found myself frantically looking through the crowd to find my kid. Grabbing him and hurriedly checking over his body for any signs of injury, I slowly began to realize the horror of the situation. My toddler was the shark. And the hunters were on the prowl.

    The walk back to the van was a slow walk of shame, friends.

    I apologized repeatedly to everyone and anyone that was brave enough to make eye contact with me. Not surprisingly, the group kindly requested, through email, that we refrained from anymore organized outings until my Great White had been dentally trained. It was a new “mommy low” for me and my hopes of finding fellow mom friends was extinguished quicker than a birthday candle on an ice cream cake. For fear of a repeat of this nightmare, we pretty much remained indoors for the following 6 months. I kept the shark in the tank, so to speak, until the threat of attack was no longer evident.

    Obviously, we all know having a biter or not having a biter is not really the fault of the mother. Sometimes there’s a reason why a child bites, other times there’s no explanation at all. But, this day was the first day I remember referring to myself a Sucktastic Mom. It seemed fitting to me. I was fantastically sucky at being a Club Mom. I mean, props to my kid and I from being expelled the first day. That’s got to be a record, right? And now this memory from years ago serves as a funny tale that can be laughed about at our dinner table.

    But, seriously, aren’t we all just a group of Sucktastic Moms? We are all fantastically sucky at something. Awesome sites like Pinterest give us crazy cool over-the-top mandatory birthday party ideas to ensure our kids’ childhoods are complete with the happiness they so much deserve as well as fully detailed step-by-step instructions with pictures for weaving a better, more fulfilled life existence using simple everyday supplies like yarn, chalk and white glue. Okay, I totally made that DIY up, but you get the idea. Just because you aren’t Martha Stewart-ish doesn’t mean you’re not a good mom. I may be good at something that you stink at. And you may be awesome at something that I am horrible at. And none of these talents will dictate the limits of our children’s talents.

    So, let’s just be honest with ourselves. Let’s own our Sucktastic-ness and lift one another up for everyone’s own individual talents and abilities. I think these are the true instructions for a content mom life.

     

    Did you read my last post? My Kids Would Make Crappy Friends

    Crap I've Made

    Farmhouse Kitchen Awning

    Farmhouse Kitchen perfectlydestressed.com

    Easy and Inexpensive DIY Farmhouse Kitchen Awning

    I made these DIY awnings for my farmhouse kitchen for over the windows, but really they would be great anywhere –
    playroom, bedroom, etc.

    farmhouse kitchen awning

    I started with 2 of these crazy inexpensive shelving support brackets. I found mine at the ReStore, but you can get a pack of 2 for under $6 at Home Depot. You will need 2 for each awning.

    farmhouse kitchen awning

    The bent end piece (the left end of the bracket in this picture) is what I used to attach the awning to the wall. It lets the awning hang at the perfect angle!

    farmhouse kitchen awning

    We had some extra pieces of white vinyl soffit left over from our front porch project, but it’s inexpensive to buy new at Home Depot (stock photo). I chose to use these because I really wanted the awnings to be lightweight and they were already the perfect width. I cut them lengthwise easily with a sharp utility knife.

    farmhouse kitchen awning

    Because I was going for a Rustic/Farmhouse feel, I used some old screws and a few pieces of old fence post wood roughly painted white (just make sure you are using lightweight wood) and cut to size for the top and bottom of the awning.

    farmhouse kitchen awning

    This is the underside of the awning (the picture was taken underneath).

    I screwed straight through the bracket and into the soffit as well as through the old wood pieces and the bracket.
    In an attempt to save money, I used screws I already had so they were a bit too long for my project.
    But, you can’t even tell that they stick out once the awning was hung as they stick out on the underside.

    farmhouse kitchen awning

    The old fence pieces help cover up the bracket piece attached to the wall as well as the bracket portion left in front of the soffit piece that was still visible.
    I just love the Farmhouse Style they bring to my kitchen! Don’t you?
    Have you seen my DIY Halloween Spell Books?
    You can also find my complete tutorial for these Farmhouse Style Awnings on my Hometalk Page – Here!
    Ramblings of a Mother

    My Kids Would Make Crappy Friends.

    mom and kids @perfectlydestressed

    My Kids Would Make Crappy Friends.

    I am always amazed by those parents that claim to be ‘friends’ with their children. Not only because I feel it is inappropriate to be friends with your child until they are adults themselves (that’s a whole ‘nother post), but also because I just don’t get it. Why on earth would I want to be friends with these people? Nothing but a bit of real life parenting today, my friends!

    Listen up. Part of what’s so great about being a grown-up is the ability to determine who you want in your life, right? You get to freely share FB posts with beautiful nature scenes and serene music that talk about standing up for yourself, letting your past go and walking away from the negativity and naysayers. Saying ‘Adios!’ to those who bring you down so you can prove to the entire social media world that you are done being a walking door mat. Now that you’re mature and wiser, you will opt to surround yourself with those who build you up and support you, and you don’t owe anyone an apology for that, thank you very much!

    Yet, YET, every evening you sit alongside miniature faces strangely resembling your own that silently try to kill you with death stares across the dining room table. You subject yourself to verbal assault due to the amount of vegetables that are in the Banquet Pot-Pie or because of the lack of halved cherries in the can of mixed fruit. You are degraded because of your inability to fix the broken banana or un-smoosh the smooshed cereal bar. I mean, can you do anything?!

    The whole vibe of your morning depends entirely on the mood of the awakening cherubic spawn of satan. Did she toss and turn last night? Is her blanket covering her left foot the full 77% she dictates, allowing her right foot to freely rest on top of the blanket all while simultaneously covering the entire rest of her little body and folded neatly under her chin as she prefers? Is her strawberry milk mixed to perfection in her favorite heart cup at her favorite place at the breakfast bar for when she’s ready to drink it? Seriously – what have you done all morning?!

    And don’t even get me started on the inability to act properly around their friends. Tips for raising a preteen and/or teen: Joking around is embarrassing. Questions are embarrassing. Conversation is embarrassing. You speaking at all, in any way, is embarrassing. Your shirt is embarrassing (I don’t even know what you are currently wearing, but it’s embarrassing). Pretty much anything about you is embarrassing. And if you are not fully “in the know” about why she’s upset after all of the non-talking you’ve done with her (I mean, obviously it’s because Joey told her that Betty and Judy said to Sam who told Ricky (in front of the entire 7th period class) that her shirt was teal. It’s totally turquoise. NO ONE wears teal!) – don’t you even care about her life?!

    All of this and more, and still you continue to hug them even though you would receive a warmer response by cuddling the tree in the backyard. Your kisses are typically taken by force, which doesn’t bode well at all, but you do it everyday, multiple times a day because you apparently have some major mommy issues. Your choice to love these stinkers even when their reception to your love is frostier than Elsa’s storm on the fjord is not even debatable. They are truly your people. Your tribe. They were handcrafted by you.

    But you want to be ‘friends’ with these smaller humans?

    No thanks. I don’t need that sort of negativity in my life.

    Have you read my last post?

    This article was recently published on Blunt Mom’s! Check it out!

    Crap I've Made

    Halloween DIY Spell Books

    Farmhouse Kitchen perfectlydestressed.com
    These ‘Spell Books’ were a fun DIY to add to my kitchen Halloween decor.
    They were made from old cookbooks (mostly diet books – I mean, this Mama of 8 survives on coffee and sugary junk to get me through the day and wine to get me through the night, if we’re being totally honest – no diet books needed ’round here, my friends!)
    These are pretty self-explanatory but I am going to add some pictures to show you what I did.
    Basically, you take brown craft paper (or grocery paper bags) and wrap your books old school and secure them to the books with tape.
    Next you paint them black (I chose spray paint but craft paint and a foam brush work just as well) and finally you add your titles with a white paint marker.
    That’s it! So easy and simple!

    halloween diy spell books

    I woke up to a dark and dreary morning. The weather was making me feel quite “witchy” (or it was the lack of sleep from so many darn kids) but, for this story, we are going to blame it on the weather.
    It just sounds better.
    SOOO, I decided to craft some Halloweeny junk to make the bad mood spell disappear.
    Because it was raining (and mostly because I didn’t want to put pants on), I used things I already had at home.

    halloween diy spell books

    halloween diy spell books

    halloween diy spell books

    halloween diy spell books

    halloween diy spell books

    halloween diy spell books

    halloween diy spell books

    halloween diy spell books

    halloween diy spell books

    Ramblings of a Mother

    I’m Totally a Pants-Optional Kind of Mom

    dance girl perfectlydestressed.com

    I was a Horrible Dance Mom

    I woke up this morning and logged onto my computer life. Google decided to give me all the fuzzy feels by showing me a throw-back picture of this day 9 years ago. It was my oldest daughter during of her very first ballet classes. She was practicing one of those fancy ballerina-like poses. You know, with her arms and legs in certain ballerina-like positions? Okay, okay. I’ll admit that I honestly have no idea what the name of the pose actually is because, quite simply, I was a horrible ‘dance mom’.

    When I found out I was pregnant with a girl 12 years ago, I was totally thrilled! Finally, a little human I could dress up – pretty rompers, frilly dresses, sparkly shoes, painted nails and big hair bows! I wanted to give her the most girly life a little girl could dream of. I was raised in a single parent household so “extras” were far and few between for my brother and I. I didn’t have a lot of pretty outfits to choose from, I was never a Brownie or Girl Scout, I had one pair of dress shoes and a handful of hair bows. I could only sign up for activities if they took place right after school (to alleviate the need for a ride anywhere) and they had to be no cost. I’m not saying I had a horrible childhood because I certainly didn’t. To be honest, I didn’t even really realize these things until I was much older.

    But, I decided my daughter was going to have a different experience.

    I was going to let this little Barbie-doll of mine do all the girly things her little beautiful heart desired. As soon as she was old enough – I excitedly signed her up at the nearest dance studio for her first (of many, I was sure) ballet/tap combo classes. I had so much fun shopping for her pink leotard (“leo” is the term in veteran dance mom circles, in case you didn’t know), her little shoes and her sweet tights. I remember being so nervous before the first day of class. Would the other moms like me? Would we hit it off? Would they be intimidated by my daughter’s totally remarkable and natural dance abilities that would take her into years of intense training to eventually be the Lead role in the Nutcracker Ballet?! Okay, I got that last part from her fave book at the time Ballerina Bear (and maybe added a bit of the Flash Dance movie?) regardless, our lives were about to change. I just knew it.

    I vividly remember sitting in the ‘parents room’ after all the little girls were dropped off in the ‘dance room’ that first morning. No one made eye contact. No one spoke. Someone may have coughed. That was about it. When the instructor came out to tell us the first class went “amazingly well” and that we all had “sweet girls with so much inner talent” we all breathed a sigh of relief, happily grabbed our tiny dancers and left as quickly as we could, making as little eye contact as possible. This same scenario went on for weeks. Weeks. Occasionally someone was on the phone and everyone acted as though we were otherwise occupied while we were actually a captive audience to the private, echoing conversation. The bathroom was located directly behind the ‘parents room’ with a dividing wall that must have been made of cardboard. When the inevitable happened and someone had to pee after sipping on their coffee the whole class, you awkwardly pretended to not hear the sound of the urinator or the loud, messy flush that followed out of respect for the brave soul that couldn’t hold it. God help the poor lady that had to go #2 – that was a rough one.

    Eventually we began to relax around one another after unavoidably sharing so many personal affairs. Small talk ensued in our little Tuesday morning group and we all got to know each other a bit. I didn’t become everlasting friends with any of these ladies and I honestly cannot even remember their names, but they were a nice enough fellowship of mamas. Most had ‘dance mom’ experience with their older daughters so I was the novice in the room. Every once in a while someone would be telling a story of a past dance experience and I would secretly question if I was cut out for this. Quickly I would assure myself that of course I was going to be good at this. That I would eventually find myself in the ranks with these moms with so many years under their belt.

    Boy was I wrong.

    The day I really began to sweat and question my inner ‘dance mom’ was when the time came for Dance Recital preparations. We were given a telephone book sized packet of information regarding costume measurements, professional picture order forms, rules and regulations for proper dance attire and appearance as well as ticket ordering. Wait, what? I was paying monthly for an entire year of lessons and I had to pay to watch my daughter perform the dance that I had already paid for her to learn?! It must be a mistake, I naively thought. This must be the order for for additional guests. Obviously this would not, could not, apply for her father and I!

    I innocently walked up to the dance studio’s office window. The office was an area on the other side of the building. It was set-up similarly to a bank teller (which was quite fitting) complete with limited operating hours, a sign posted indicating the enforcement of late fees for past-due accounts, threats of violence and acts of embarrassment if your daughter tried to dance without a current, paid account (okay, I think I made that one up), and a sliding window that only opened from the inside. I stood at the window staring at the woman sitting on the other side of the meticulously clean glass. I waited. And waited. She must have been writing something extremely important because I cleared my throat and fixed my hair in an attempt to make movement and sound to gain her attention. She eventually looked up, acted surprised to see me and opened the window with a huge smile that screamed “What do you want? It’s not a billing week.” So we were going to play the fake happiness convo? Awesome. I’m a total rock star at this game.

    I plastered on a winning smile and pointed out that a mistake was made on our alphabetically-ordered and professionally bound dance recital manifestation. I’ll never forget this moment, friends. She smiled at me with one those “Awww. Aren’t you sweet?” smiles. It was a “Honey. Let me explain the ways of the dance world” smiles. I remember feeling scared. And weak. She proceeded to explain that there is no error. That, of course, the words on those pages are truer than the words of the Holy Book itself and “as a gentle reminder, don’t forget the due dates for the costume down-payment and final payment as there is, unfortunately, no grace period. Okay, sweetheart?”

    Later that night, with an over-sized glass of wine in hand and a mouth-full of goldfish crackers, I began reading the mini novel-like ‘Book of Dance’. There were signatures needed for photo and video permissions and due dates. So many stinking due dates. Picture dates, picture pick-up dates, non-mandatory but strongly encouraged additional practice dates, costume measurement dates, costume try-on dates, costume pick-up dates, ticket order dates, ticket pick-up dates, rehearsal dates and of course an entire weekend of Recital dates. And the money? Holy crap the money! I decided it would be easier to hand over full access to my checking account and just have them let me know how much of a balance is left for grocery shopping at Aldi. The house could be refinanced. No biggie.

    You would think that all of this would have broken me, but I’m stronger than that, my friends. The straw that actually broke this camel’s back, the actual final straw itself, was ‘The Makeup Requirement’ chapter. Red lipstick, face foundation and “colorful” eye shadow – preferable blues and greens – to ensure “standing out” and “being seen” while on stage (spray tanning and glitter spray optional). What in the ever-loving-Elmo’s-World? I didn’t even wear red lipstick or colorful eye makeup and spray tanning and glitter spray were pretty much never optional in my life. They were actually quite nonexistent in my life. What type of Showgirls-esque performance did I sign my innocent girl up for? I mean, chapstick had never even graced her adorably perfect little lips and the only covering that had ever been on her face had an SPF of 50. This was not going to work. For as much as it broke my heart, my ‘dance mom’ dreams and I were going to have to break-up.

    Now, we aren’t quitters. My husband and I raise our children to follow through in their commitments and this was no different. We made it through the 3 months of dates and deadlines. We didn’t eat for months paid all of our dues and we bought our over-priced tickets. We attended all 3 mandatory performances and even purchased a memorable picture package. Here’s what we didn’t do. We didn’t put on red lipstick, colorful eye shadow or foundation. We didn’t spray tan or glitter spray. I firmly believe that some rules are meant to be, practically begging to be, broken. All of the other girls and mamas in her group followed the rules to a “T”. Those fellow princess dancers were more bedazzled than a bag of swarovski crystals. And I don’t say this meanly. Truly. Some moms are meant for this dance life. They thrive on the competition, the costumes and the recitals. I am not judging and I certainly do not see them as lesser mothers. They are just different than me. I wasn’t cut-out for that world. I am a self-professed, horribly horrible ‘dance mom’.

    After all of this deep reflection today, I have decided to give myself my own title. I have concluded that I am more of a ‘makeup free, dance party in the living room, pants optional’ kind of mom. And I’m not ashamed.

    Did you see my last post?

    Ramblings of a Mother

    I Was Lost in the Laundry. Did Anyone Even Notice I was Gone?

    Funny Mom Blog perfectlydestressed.com

    The other morning I was watching a daily news program during my morning 15 Minutes of Silence (if you Mama’s out there don’t practice this habit, trust me, you need this! Start your day, before the kiddos wake up and the chaos ensues, with at least 15 minutes of only you, your fav coffee mug and whatever you fancy – Candy Crush, The Today Show, Facebook, planner planning, bible journaling, staring off into space, dreaming of going back to bed in 15 hours. Whatevs. You choose.)

    And because wine is frowned upon in the mornings, this really is the next best thing. It is so good for the soul and for your AM ‘mom mood’.

    Anyway, the reporter was discussing the increase of women reentering the workforce. They ended the segment for a commercial break with a question: “Why were so many women taking on ‘side hustles’ or choosing to become entrepreneurs?” It’s true.

    I have noticed within my own inner circle of peeps that more and more of my beauteous women friends have either gone back to work, gone back to school, or have become distributors of skin care essentials, spatulas, herbal supplements, mascara etc. Here’s the thing – each one of my girlfriends appear truly proud of the business they represent.

    Like, ‘shout it from the rooftops and tell everyone about it’ proud. I felt like I was right back in Mrs.White’s class in the 3rd grade. Raising my hand, flailing it around in the air, jumping up and down hoping the reporter would see me so I could answer his question. I knew why they had chosen to go back to work. Why they had chosen to say “yes” to themselves; “Ooooh! Oooooh! Pick me! I know! I know! Pick meeeeee!” It was so obvious: They were lost in the laundry! Duh!

    Okay, so obviously these women are not lost in the laundry.

    At least not in the literal sense (I hope). Although, sometimes the piles around here are so high this might actually be possible. {Sooo, if you don’t hear from me for a while, you know where to look.} For some women the choice to go back to work stems strictly from a financial standpoint -and we all can agree that extra moolah for Target shopping is never a bad thing- I do believe there are also women who are simply feeling lost. And I was most definitely lost.

    You see, I have been a mom since I was 17.

    It’s one of the few things I have consistently done in my adult years. And I don’t say that out of spite. It has just been my life for almost 20 years. I love my mom job more than anything, and I wouldn’t change a single thing that has led me to where I am. But, once upon a time, I was just a girl named Kristin. A nerd introvert that loved watching movies, reading anything I could get my hands on, writing stories and jamming to Rod Stewart while imagining my wedding to the Dirty Dancing version of Patrick Swayze.

    And I had some plans. Some BIG life plans.

    There was a moment a year or so ago that I found myself on the floor of my bedroom sobbing. It was one of those really ugly cries, my friends. Most likely due to the fact that my oldest son was making his own big plans.

    Huge life changes were in his horizon. He spent his evenings after school and work applying for grants and scholarships. My baby was in the midst of deciding which college to enroll in and in turn, choosing a major he would earn a degree in that would eventually serve him and his future family for the rest of their lives.

    And while I was blowing (honking) my nose into my tissues all alone, it occurred to me that the last time I knew what I was good at, knew what I was truly passionate about -other than my family, of course- was when I was a teenager preparing for a future that would never materialize. I had lost myself in these past 20 years.

    I was so caught up in the laundry, the cleaning, the cooking, grocery shopping and taxi driving, the sports and the after-school clubs, the play dates and the PTO meetings that I wasn’t quite sure where I fit into all of this.

    Where did I go? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love volunteering in my kids’ schools. I love that my kids are involved in activities and sports. And I really freaking love being their mom. But, who the heck was I anymore? Was I really just a non-yoga practicing, yoga pant wearing, messy bun rocking, soccer mom? What did I like to do? Did I have a hobby? Could I even say I had interests? I honestly didn’t know anymore.

    I remember reading somewhere that journal writing helped to clear the mind and ease anxiety. So, I started there.

    Once I began writing, it was like a flood of feelings overwhelmed me.

    I remembered how much I adored taking a pen to paper. The journal writing then led me to start a ‘stupid blog that no one would want to read’. The stupid blog led me to start an Instagram page where I could share all of the crap I’ve made for my home. And guess what I realized? I was actually good at something that didn’t begin and end with an ‘m’ and have an ‘o’ in between! And most importantly, in the journaling, the stupid blog and the IG page, I found myself! It was like myself and I picked up right where we left off all those years ago.

    I mean, sure, we were both a bit older and a smidge wiser with possibly a few gray hairs.

    She was obviously a little worse for wear after being lost so long in that dang laundry, but all-in-all, we were pretty much both as equally amazing as we’d always been.

    I’m still a Mom and Wife first and foremost. A woman that loves my kids, my husband and my life to the moon and back. But, I’m also Kristin. Just a quirky, obsessively clean crafter with a creative soul. I love to make crap from junk and writing posts on my blog is my passion.

    And I really am so happy to meet you!

    Did you see my last post?

    Ramblings of a Mother

    Hover Mother, I am not.

    mom life perfectlydestressed.com

    I have been called many things as a mom (I think most are good). But, a ‘Hover Mother’, I am not.

    I personally know and dearly love many so-called ‘Helicopter Moms’. Heck, 5 or 6 babies ago I was most likely one myself (okay, I know for a fact I was 100% a Germaphobic, Pessimistic, Hovering Helicopter, Angry Bear, Stray Cat, Alpha Wolf, Tiger Mother). But, with time and many kids comes wisdom. And sheer exhaustion. For the sake of transparency, and at the risk of having CPS called, here is some real life conversations I’ve had with my kids: “I don’t care if you go outside, just make sure you don’t get run over, m’kay?” “And please, try to fall out of that tree feet first. I’m honestly too busy for a trip to the ER right now. Plus, I don’t have a bra on.” Or “yes, absolutely you can swim in the pool, let me just put your life vest on. Hang on, I’ll go ahead and add some arm floaties and donut floaties to make sure the entire top half of your body stays above water at all times and then Mommy won’t have to dress up like Shamu in her black whale suit to get in the water next to you, doesn’t that sound like fun, sweetums?” And my personal favorite – “For real? You’re hungry again? Didn’t we just eat lunch like 5 hours ago? Here, have some Fruit Loops cereal and milk. It’s like those fancy all-in-one casserole dishes you see on Pinterest – your grains, fiber, fruit and dairy all in one bowl!”

    Does this confession make me a lesser mother? Does it make some mothers cringe? Does it mean my children are less loved? Does it mean I am failing at parenting? Maybe, probably, no and I hope not?!

    Listen, I don’t know a single person that is a perfect parent. I honestly don’t even know what a perfect parent would look like. And would it mean that they, in turn, are raising perfect kids?

    Does such a thing exist?

    Would we even want perfect kids?

    I sure the heck know I wouldn’t. My kids are messy, loud and crazy. They fight and bicker and occasionally think it’s a good idea to get ‘lippy’ with me (no worries. They realize real quick-like that it is, in fact, not a good idea). Their idea of cleaning up their room consists of picking up 2 toys and getting 20 more out. A few store their dirty socks under the couch, most can be absolutely disgusting and sometimes they all make my house smell (for real though, what is that smell?!?) These kids of mine can make my head spin Exorcist-style with more efficiency than a brand spankin’ new front loading washing machine. I may have actually spewed green foulness from my mouth a time or two (not officially documented, but we are all fairly confident it happened).

    But, to this Mama, my kids are imperfectly perfect. They are beautiful in their messiness. Their goofiness makes me laugh and the stories they can tell are just as big as their personalities. Each is uniquely made. Each is beautifully, perfectly and exceptionally flawed. Like a good pie, every individual slice, no matter how big or small, is one part of our family whole. Without one piece, the pie’s just not complete.

    Let’s stop putting fellow mothers in categories and stereo-types. Can we just agree at the end of another draining day, whether you’ve spent it nursing a baby, cleaning up after a toddler, working a full time job, folding laundry or eating Bon Bon’s barefoot in the kitchen that we’re all just doing the best we can?  And that no matter what “type” of parent we are – we all respond to the same name?

    Even when we don’t want to because we’ve heard “MOOOOOOOOOOOOM” about 78 more times than we’d have preferred today?

    So, let’s try a bit of mutual aid fellowship, friends. Because we’re all in this parenting thing together.
    Here, I’ll go first: “My name is Kristin. I am a recovering Hover Mother. I consider myself a mediocre parent raising exceptional kids. I believe exceptionalism is so much more important than perfectionism. And I am still looking for that smell – seriously – what is that?!”

    Your turn:

     

    Crap I've Made

    Faux Fall Chalkboards

    fall diy perfectlydestressed.com
    If loving paper plates is wrong, I don’t want to be right, my friends.
    Be prepared to see the only DIY you will need for your FALL decor this year!
    Aaaaaand, it’s crazy simple and crazy cheap!

    post

    I am about to blow your mind.
    For really real.
    I made these faux chalkboard fall chargers today and I HAD to share them with you. Cause It’s Fall Y’all!

    post

    I picked these babies up at the Goodwill a while back. I made a Sunflower out of a few of them a few months ago (you can see it here), but I still had a handful of chargers left.
    PS
    Don’t mind the straw all over. I was in my “process” of crafting which requires making a huge mess of items I will not even use…it’s how I roll.

    post

    So, these are plate chargers. Which got me thinking, what if I use plates inside of them for a craft?!🤔
    Believe it or not, this is actually thinking BIG for me right now!
    I have Mom Brain guys (Don’t judge. It’s a real thing. Look it up😏).

    post

    Craft paint and a small brush would totally work for this step, too.
    But, my life revolves around cleaning the house & washing, drying and folding laundry for my crazy huge family.
    I’m like Cinderella over here – only older and squishier.
    Anywho, spray paint was the fastest method for me.

    post

    After the spray paint was dry, I took one of these fun white colored paint pens to make my faux chalkboard pictures on the plates.
    I added a pea sized amount of hot glue to the back of the plate to help hold them on the charger. Enough to secure it, but still be able to easily remove the plates if I wanted to change out the “chalkboards”.

    post

    Anything goes here!
    Words, pictures, whatever tickles your fancy, fellow crafters.
    Side note:
    This would even be a great craft for the kids – wouldn’t these be cute around the Thanksgiving table with turkey handprints and handwritten names by those same tiny hands? Aaaaaah! So cute!

    post

    I tied little strings of twine through the gaps of the charger for hanging.

    post

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    Seriously, so in love ❤
    Aren’t you?
    Ramblings of a Mother

    I am Enough

    reflections of a girl perfectlydestressed.com

    You know that moment when you find yourself standing in line at the grocery store next to the ‘All-Together Woman’?

    Come on girls, you know the one.

    She very well may have just stepped out of a magazine centerfold while you are fairly certain you resemble something more along the lines of a real-life Fraggle Rock muppet. This woman is flawless. Her makeup is spot-on, her clothes are wrinkle-free. Her toes are manicured and her fingernails look like they never once, in the course of her what-must-be-a-dream-life, scrubbed a single dirty bathtub, poopy toilet or messy kitchen floor. She certainly never had her hands in soapy dish water so often during the day it was a miracle her skin didn’t fall off let alone demolish her perfectly pink nail polish. She is a walking perfection of the female species.

    Okay, seriously, I know you know what I am talking about now.

    But, here’s the thing. I don’t hate her. I don’t even envy her. Because I don’t know her. I have no idea what her personal struggles are. I applaud her for her obvious fashion skills and mad make-up abilities. I will probably even tell her I love her hair. Or her shoes. Or her something. And, for all I know, while I am admiring her trendy jacket and cropped top (and those darn perky boobs under them) she very well may be admiring my children and my life. Maybe, just maybe, she thinks my Danskin yoga pants paired with a hoodie and clean-ish Converse tennies along with my ridiculously huge diaper bag that seconds as my purse and kitchen fridge on-the-go are totally adorbs! {Okay, that’s probably stretching it a wee bit} But, the grass is always greener on the other side, right?!

    I will most likely scrounge up the courage to drag myself to a mirror sometime in the next hour or so just to see what exactly I looked like next to this magical being. Chances are I had green and blue fruit loops bits stuck somewhere between my teeth, a messy bun that closely resembled a bird’s nest and overly unplucked eyebrows. Chances are also extremely high there was not a lick of make-up to hide my exhausted, sleep deprived eyelids, either. My boobs will still be saggy and my tummy will still be loose.

    Listen, my seasons will change. All too soon my kids will be older and I will have more energy to prep myself before going out in public. I will be more rested and will probably (hopefully) have lost some pre/post baby weight. I won’t be rushed to pick up peanut butter and milk after school drop-off but before nap. Brushing my teeth in the morning will no longer seem like a luxury. Heck, I may even be the “All-Together Woman”. But, in this season, today, I am going to tell myself “I am enough.” Because I AM enough.

    My babies don’t see her and her gorgeous, immaculate femininity. They see ME, their Mommy and #1 Person. They love me unconditionally. And I am enough. My husband respects me as his partner and the mother of his children. He tells me I’m beautiful and loves my body, including all of the wreckage and battle scars left behind from 8 babies. And I am enough. My friends see me for who I am. They know I’m clumsy, goofy and imperfect. And they don’t even care that I wear Pajama Jeans. I am enough.

    It is easy (entirely too easy) to look at ourselves as the lesser version of our reality. We women are our biggest critics and shamers. Our own worst enemies. And we are passing down these practices to our children. It’s so important that we begin teaching our daughters that they are enough. That who they are in the inside will manifest itself into what they are on the outside. Let’s teach our girls, together, to claim their beauty, their strengths and their sense-of-self from within. First and always.

    Everything on the outside is literally just the icing on the cake.

    It’s time, ladies. And I know you can do it. Because you are enough.

    @perfectlydestressed

    Ramblings of a Mother

    Confessions of an Abnormal Mom

    nursing baby perfectlydestressed.com

    I nursed 7 of my 8. I didn’t love it. I didn’t like it a little. I hated it. I truly hated nursing. Now don’t gather your pitchforks just yet. Before you think I am a horrible mother, and proceed to tell me so below in the comment section, hear me out. I know some women love it. They relish in the act and are gutted and lost when their child weans themselves from the nipple. I used to read stories on breastfeeding when I was first pregnant and I just knew deep in my soul that I would be equally amazed and in love with the experience as so many other moms before me had. It would be so natural, organic and breathtaking. I was even planning on having portraits fit for a magazine taken of my baby and I in some beautiful sunny setting, naturally sitting in a field of daisies or clovers, absorbed in one another while nursing.

    Then I had my son. And I started trying to nurse in the hospital. Reality kicked in BIG time. It was a nightmare. Everything about it was a nightmare. Nothing went well. Nothing worked right. I tried for months (months!) after he was born. There were countless trips to the breastfeeding consultant, numerous trips to the Dr. and a ton of reading and studying and experimenting on different positions (FYI I DESPISE the ‘Football Hold’. Don’t know why. I just do.) and proper latching. We tried and tried and tried and tried some more. We.just.couldn’t.do.it. I cried. I screamed. I cried. And boy, oh boy, did baby cry. He was hungry! I was managing to feed him a bit at a time, but never a full-length nursing session. I was literally nursing him every 15-20 minutes around the clock. AROUND THE CLOCK, PEOPLE. And don’t even get me started on the cracked, bleeding and bruised nipples. UGH.

    I will never forget the day the Breastfeeding Consultant walked into the waiting room to find both myself and my 3-month-old son crying (again) while we were trying (again) to unsuccessfully breastfeed. We were on a first name basis, this Nurse and I, due to my countless trips to her office since I had brought my baby home. She looked at me and said “Kristin. Honey. I think it’s time to explore other options. You have tried. Baby has tried. Now it’s time to try something else. Let’s talk about expressing.” I heard every word she was saying. I understood every word she was saying. It all made sense. But, I was heartbroken. Devastated, I walked out of there feeling like the biggest failure in the history of motherhood. I couldn’t do the one thing that ALL moms are supposed to do. I couldn’t feed my baby the way nature intended. I sucked at being a Mom already. Three months in on parenting and I was certain I was giving my kid life-long Mommy issues because I couldn’t even feed him. My mind fast-forwarded 18 years and I saw this sweet cherub’s future. He was face to face with a policeman, middle of the night with flashing red and blue lights all around him, and he was saying “That’s why I robbed the gas station at gunpoint officer. My mommy couldn’t even feed me.” As soon as I got home and relayed the message from the nurse to my husband (I probably left out the flash forward glimpse of the future. At this point, my husband was already greatly concerned for my sanity. No need to tip the boat any further) and he went straight to the store, purchased a breast pump (top of the line, too). Needless to say, in the midst of all of the agonizing tears and frustration my sweet little one and I shared all day and night, this poor new daddy could do nothing but stand by and watch and he was ready for the new plan. He was relieved and optimistic. So, I pumped my milk that night. And for the first time in 3 months, my breasts were completely empty and not sore to the touch. And, most importantly, for the first time in 3 months, my little guy was full. And content. And happy. And he slept better than any of us had since he was born. Maybe I couldn’t feed him straight from the breast, but maybe I could just keep on expressing. So, pump and feed, pump and feed was my life for the following 9 months. I carried that breast pump bag around like it was my purse. Heck, I think maybe I did use it as a purse rather than carry around 2 bags. To this day, the sound of a breast pump in a public restroom or church nursery gives me major panic attacks. Now, I understand that some of you may be wondering why in the world I even tried to nurse again after all of that. Sheer determination and stubbornness are really the only things I can think of. I figured out how to nurse like a pro with each of my next 7 babies. I still hated it. To me, nursing was uncomfortable and sweaty. I had to wear pads so full of milk I could ring them out and I smelled like a walking creamery. I was thirsty all the dang time and I really, really wanted to sleep through the night. But, after a certain point, when we had a small tribe in our home to provide for, I was simply nursing out of necessity. The cost of formula vs. free breast milk is easy math.

    Nursing is, was and most likely will always be one of my least favorite things about being a mom. After each pregnancy I have struggled postpartum with depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. Nursing and the demands that accompany it just seem to add to the confusion and discomfort for me those first few months. But, it’s not all horrible. I came across a journal entry I had written about a year ago. I was in the throes of nursing my #8 and I honestly don’t even remember writing this: “After the mountain has been climbed. After I regain my confidence and control. After the discomforts and pains fade and time seems to be in a constant state of fast-forward, these beautiful cheeks are what I see all day. Breastfeeding forces me to stop everything I am doing and sit with him. Be with him. To pray for him and his brothers and sisters. To plan their futures and give their hopes and dreams to God. To watch him sleep on me with a full belly, this amazing child that I am blessed enough to be able to provide life, nourishment and love for. He trusts me with all of his little heart and I love him with all of mine. This is motherhood for me.”

    Maybe I’m not in love with breastfeeding, but I am in love with being a mother (and my husband, of course!) My children are my greatest blessing and achievement. And, on the bright side, I won’t have to worry about the last 7 robbing a gas station at gunpoint (I hope).

    Crap I've Made

    Art Supply Storage Solution

    Farmhouse Dining Room Table perfectlydestressed.com
    Most days my house looks like the Crayola Crayon Factory exploded (threw up?) on my dining room table. This is my super simple solution.

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    This took 10 minutes, was completely no cost for me and solved the ‘messy coloring supplies all over my table all of the time’ issue we seem to constantly have.

     

    Full Disclosure:
    this ‘mess’ was created by me. I wanted an aesthetically pleasing mess for my post. In real life, it would be crazy chaos on this table. Serious crayon carnage, people!

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    I dug out these 2 metal trays from my pile of office supplies in the basement. You know, from back when I was a big girl that put on actual pants everyday and had a paying job (AKA before I had 8 kids and started staying home).

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    These particular trays are connecting. Which was perfect – I knew the metal tabs would be ideal for attaching them to the table.

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    With my trusty metal pliers, I bent back the tabs so they were somewhat flat.

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    Here’s what they looked like ‘all bent out of shape’ 😂
    Sorry, I had to!

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    I needed shorter screws to go into the wood under the table. But, the heads of the screws were too small for the width of the tabs. So, I scrounged up some washers to fix that problem.

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    The washers hold the screws in place and keep them from going through the tab.

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    You may need a hand holding the trays up while you attach the first screw. I suggest getting yourself an adorable helper ❤

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    The underside of my table.
    It ain’t pretty – don’t judge me. I mean, who paints the underside of their table? Or cleans it? (Obviously not me. Anything to cut a corner around here 😏)

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    If crayon carnage isn’t an issue at your house, these trays are versatile.
    Really, anything could be stored in these. Napkins, plates, silverware, etc.

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    This is basically the same idea as a school desk.

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    Nice and neat!
    Crap I've Made

    Book Decor

    Book Decor perfectlydestressed.com
    Our local thrift store was giving away books! I was like WHA????????
    So, of course I ran over there and got me some!
    They weren’t books I would read (and trust me, I love to read!) and most of them were ripped, stained or somehow destroyed hence making them unreadable.
    But, I knew I could use them for something!
    (PSST! – I’m always making crap like this! Follow along @perfectlydestressed)

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    And they were free books – so why the heck not, right?!

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    I decided to make a decor piece for my mantle. I have seen so many cute pictures with shelves of painted books floating around the Pinterest world, but I personally never had any books that I felt comfortable painting.
    Until now!
    I grabbed the thickest hardcover books I could find. I also tried to grab them in different heights.

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    The point of this piece is that is not wide and only appears to be full books. This is handy when the shelf you want to use the display on is narrow. It’s also lighter and easier to move around. Plus, it’s decor. I am painting them and NOT actually reading them ever!
    Note: I used my circular saw to cut the spines from the books against my better judgement. I did not really measure. I simply cut the spines off in “around” the same places on each book.
    I wanted the end result to look realistic and imperfect. Just like me!
    Would I say this is the easiest way to do it? I’m not so sure. It was definitely messy. And would I say I *may* have clogged my saw’s dust bag and caused my saw to overheat which resulted in me having a complete panic attack?
    Yes, yes I would.

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    Next I built my frame.
    My husband and I are no-shame wood hoarders. We keep any and all scrap wood from projects.
    It comes in handy so often and honestly, we’re too cheap to throw away something we paid good money for!

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    I gathered up a few scrap pieces, cut them to size with my saw and screwed them together. The bottom strip is to hold the book spines and the side pieces are cut 2×4’s that will serve as anchors to keep the entire piece together.

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    Here is the finished frame. Nothing professional here folks. Just a bit of book decor fun on a budget of FREE!

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    I kept 2 books off to the side for the end pieces. I was lucky enough to find 2 of the exact same books so I just used those.
    I removed the hardcover jacket completely from the book pages. This was crazy easy and really just involved ripping it off.
    Hindsight – I probably could have done this for all of the books, used wood pieces to “fake” the inside of the books and avoided causing unwanted damage to my saw
    (for those of you concerned, she still works. Just needed a bit of time to cool off -whew! I got out of explaining that one to the hubby!)

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    I measured how wide I wanted the end books to be, marked with a ruler and used a box cutter to remove the unwanted portion of the book jacket.

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    I wrapped the cut-to-size spine ends around the wood piece. I did choose to screw these pieces in to make sure they were secure.
    I just screwed straight through the jacket into the wood.

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    I attached everything from this point on with hot glue. It’s mostly attaching cardboard and paper to other pieces of cardboard and paper so superglue works perfectly fine!

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    Each book was glued on both sides to the book next to it.

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    Once they were glued together, I painted the whole piece white.
    Note: the finished piece is top heavy. But, it’s a decor item meant to sit back against a wall or shelf back.

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    I distressed the paint a bit with a sandpaper block because that’s the look I like. I am undecided if I will add any sort of numbers or lettering to the spines. For now, I kind of like it as it is. The original hardcover colors show through in the distressed sections and I am loving the contrast.
    In true disclosure, I will most likely change my mind……many times!
    Crap I've Made

    Sofa Headboard

    Sofa Headboard DIY perfectlydestressed.com

    We have a long, narrow family room with only one true full wall for furniture. This means we have had to be creative with our furniture arrangement. One of the things we did was make our own sort of sectional with a couch and an ottoman. I made the Sofa Headboard to go behind the ottoman and prevent bonked heads and to give a comfortable place to lean back and relax on.

    sofa headboard

     

    This was a twin bed headboard given to me by some great neighbors. I love repurposing and upcycling items I already have lying around. Because I have 8 kids and stay at home, it’s always a fun challenge to myself (and a necessity) to try to spend the least amount of money as possible when making my DIY home decor items.

    sofa headboard

    I grabbed a long body pillow we had in the basement for the kids to lounge on, a scrap piece of fabric from my stock pile and a sharp pair of scissors.

    sofa headboard

    Next, I cut the pillow to the desired length I needed. I made sure to make it a bit longer so it would “puff” up and be thicker in the middle.

    sofa headboard

    First I placed the fabric good side down on the floor, then the cut pillow piece and finally the headboard on top.

    sofa headboard

    I pulled the fabric tightly around the bars of the headboard.

    sofa headboard

    Using my electric staple gun (best DIY accessory ever!) I stapled the fabric in place.

    sofa headboard

    The tops and bottoms were a bit tricky. I just pulled and tucked and pulled and tucked until the fabric was taut.

    sofa headboard

    Here is what the back looks like. Not pretty, but this goes against the wall, so it doesn’t really matter.

    sofa headboard

    The front of the Sofa Headboard before I pulled and adjusted the top and bottom a bit more. It takes some tweaking. But, total, I spent about 30 minutes on this. I love a quick DIY!

    sofa headboard

    The end result is exactly what I had hoped! I did not need to attach it to the wall as the ottoman pushes up against the legs of the headboard and provide plenty of support to keep it in place.

    sofa headboard

    Crap I've Made

    Farmhouse Pendant Lighting

    Farmhouse Light Pendants perfectlydestressed.com
    When we bought our house, the kitchen had been somewhat updated. One of the additions to the kitchen was the Pendant Light Strip above the breakfast bar. Although it wasn’t horrible, it’s never really been my favorite thing.
    *I would love for you to join me on IG @perfectlydestressed
    But, when you live in a house with a small tribe (8 kids, 1 husband, 2 dogs), things like this aren’t a priority.
    You learn to deal.
    And if necessary, to disguise them until the time comes you can fix it.

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    While at Hobby Lobby, I came across these pendant light covers on clearance and I *think* I may have squealed! $2 and change?! I can definitely do that! I guess good things do come to those who wait?! Seriously though, usually I am entirely too impatient to see if this holds true!

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    These pendants were made to go on the corded light swags you see all over Pinterest right now so I knew I would have to modify them a bit.

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    Using metal pliers, I broke off the 3 metal strips and circle in the middle of each pendant. This was very simple and only took a few minutes.

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    With metal pliers, I broke off the 3 metal strips and circle in the middle of each pendant. This was very simple and only took a few minutes.
    postUsing the hardware from the glass shades I removed, I attached the new metal shades to the light cords.

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    In less than 15 minutes I updated my lights for under $9!

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    Love it?
    Follow along with me as I make more crap for my house!

     

    Crap I've Made

    Simple Slipcover

    Simple Slipcover perfectlydestressed.com
    With a family of 10, you could say our furniture is well-loved (and that would be putting it nicely). For as hard as I try to keep it clean and in good shape, it’s starting to show it’s age and is not quite as comfortable as it used to be. Although I have dreams of new sofas, the reality is, that we have to make due for now (or, most likely, for a long time) So, I decided to add a large pillow to the middle of the couch to add a bit of extra cushion and support.
    The original pillows are still on the sofa, just off to the side to try to disguise that really uncomfortable wood piece that seems to be bulging out of each side.
    Using items I had at home already (my favorite way to DIY!) I added a bit of life to a saggy sofa.
    If you like this DIY, join me on IG @ perfectlydestressed! I am always up to something!

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    First I found my bit of fabric from my scrap supply. After ensuring it was the proper width and length for the large pillow I was covering. (Sorry. I forgot to snap a picture of the pillow. It was actually a dog bed I found on clearance at the pet store years ago that my kids used as a floor cushion in the basement!) Repurpose, repurpose, repurpose!

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    I knew I wanted the slipcover to be removable and washable because, you know, 8 kids and 2 dogs…..

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    I decided to use these metal grommets I had in my craft crap. After sewing together 3 sides of the fabric, I placed the grommets where I wanted to install them. Note: I did this by eye. Might be good to measure and mark to make sure it’s lined up correctly! I tend to skimp on these types of steps and wing it – doesn’t always turn out so great!

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    Next was to solve the conundrum of what in the world to use to hold the grommets together. I needed something easily removed, but sturdy enough to withstand constant use. I decided to go with these brass fasteners we had in the office supplies.

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    Seriously so easy!

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    Sometimes it’s the simplest hacks that are the best!

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    Ta-Da! They actually work perfectly! And they match the grommets which was not planned (love it when that happens!)

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    I have already had to remove the cover and wash it. It was SO easy to undo the fasteners. And the grommets washed up just fine.
    simple slipcover
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