How To Make Your Own DIY Disinfectant Wipes

Could you have imagined a month ago that you would be interested in making DIY disinfectant wipes? I use them regularly as a special needs mom, from wiping down my son’s stroller wheels to cleaning my iPhone after coming home. Fast forward to today, and now, I use them for wiping down every product we buy from the grocery store. In addition, nothing comes in our home without a good swipe of a disinfectant wipe.

(Similarly, I am also washing my hands after coming home and before each meal as per new guidelines.)

Now, I am running low and I have not yet found these handy germ zappers available in any store. What’s a mom to do? Therefore, I did some research and after seeing these recipes online, I believe I have found the answer.

Paper Towel Disinfectant Wipes


Distilled Water – 2 Cups

Isopropyl alcohol (71 – 91% concentration) – 1 Cup

Dawn dish soap – 1 TBSP

Paper Towel Roll – One Roll


  1. Cut paper towel roll through the middle with a serrated knife, like a bread knife.
  2. Place half of the roll into a jar or previous Lysol/Clorox wipes box. (For instance, you can use a large Yogurt container and cut a hole in the lid to allow you to pull the paper towel out.)
  3. Mix water, rubbing alcohol and dish soap together in a bowl.
  4. Pour around the edges of the roll and soak for 2 minutes.
  5. Pull out the cardboard middle of the roll. Now you can pull the wipes from the middle.
  6. Close cover and store.

REUSABLE DIY Clorox Wipes (Disinfectant Wipes)


3 Cups Distilled Water (Similarly, you can use tap water if it’s not hard water.)

¾ Cup of Rubbing Alcohol

6 Tsp of Dawn dishwashing soap (In addition, you can adjust the amount to suit.)

10 drops Lemon Essential Oil

10 Washcloths

Glass Jar (Large with Lid)


  1. Cut Washcloths to suit the size you want. (For instance, a larger washcloth can do bigger jobs.)
  2. Fill your glass jar with cloths.
  3. In a bowl, mix water, rubbing alcohol, Dawn & lemon essential oil.
  4. Pour the mixed liquid over the cloths.
  5. Put a lid on the jar, ready for use. After that, use the cloths, wash and repeat.

Where To Buy

I called my local Walgreens store and they informed me several of these products are currently out of stock. However, a restock truck is scheduled to make a delivery this week. Contact your local Walgreens for in-stock details. Similarly, you can also check your local Home Depot and Lowes locations.

For those who are self-quarantined or sheltering in place, how do you find these products? For instance, a home delivery service called InstantCart may be able to help. They offer home delivery from stores like Publix, Aldi, Sprouts, CVS, Costco, Sams Club, and The Fresh Market. In addition, Sprouts may have the essential oils your need for these recipes.

If you have seen these ingredients to make your own disinfectant wipes, please post where below. In addition, if you have your own recipe to share, post it below. In conclusion, any comment you make can help a mom out.

Disney Cruise Tips for Smooth Sailing From Day 1


The First Day of Your Disney CruiseYour first day aboard Disney Cruise Line can be overwhelming. Check out these Disney cruise tips from your Disney Mom that will help day one of your sailing go swimmingly.

Ahoy there! My family leaves for a magical voyage on the Disney Dream in just a few days, and I’m already anticipating our first moments on board. When the crew announces your family’s name and you catch your first glimpse of the soaring atrium and take those first few photos, it’s a dream vacation come true. But there are a few planning items to attend to as well. Join us for some Disney cruise tips to make your first day a fun day.

Ready? Let’s set sail!

Disney Cruise Tip 1: Port Arrival

First of all, you checked in for your Disney cruise online, weeks ago, right? For first-time cruisers, the online check-in window opens 75 days before sailing, so that’s when you fill out all the paperwork you’d normally do in the terminal, which saves tons of time. When you completed online check-in, you should have printed out your port arrival form, which includes your reservation number and port arrival time. Here’s a super important Disney cruise tip: You’ll need that form and your IDs at security, so keep them all handy.

Once you get through security, head into the terminal and check-in with an agent. Here’s where you get your room key cards, kids’ club wristbands for the little sailors, and your boarding group number. If you’re early and your number hasn’t been called yet, you get to hang out in the terminal for a bit. But hey, it won’t be long now! In the meantime, snap a few photos with your favorite characters, or, if your cruise departs from Port Canaveral, check out the incredibly detailed model of a Disney Cruise Line ship.

Disney Cruise Tips
We’ve arrived at the port and our magical vacation awaits!

Disney Cruise Tip 2: All Aboard!

Before you know it, they call your boarding group and you’re walking onto your floating palace. Each Disney Cruise Line ship features a soaring atrium with a bronze statue of an iconic Disney character gracing the entrance to the staircase. Give yourself a few minutes to soak it all in and take a few photos of the grand scene. But don’t take too long! We’ll have time for more photos later, but right now, we have other Disney cruise tips to get to.

Disney Cruise Tip 3: Ch-ch-changes

Now let’s take a quick look at the key card you got from the agent in the terminal. It’s a wealth of information. Of course, it includes your name and the dates of your sailing, along with your Castaway Club number and muster station (you’ll need that later). In addition, your dining rotation, time, and table number appear on the card. If you need to make any changes to your dining plans, this is the time to do it. Usually, a team of crew members sets up inside one of the ship’s restaurants for guests who need to make dining adjustments. For instance, my family always prefers the earlier dining time (“Main Seating” in Disney Cruise Line parlance). If we happen to get the later seating, we need to hoof it over to make the change in person. No guarantees, but Disney always tries their best to accommodate guests’ needs.

Here’s another Disney cruise tip along these lines. You can make reservations for certain onboard activities that require reservations, like mixology classes, spa services, or special character meet and greets, on the first day of your cruise. So get thee to Guest Relations to check for activities that may still be available!

Check your key card for lots of info
See the letters “AER” under “Silver Castaway”? That’s our dining rotation for this sailing. Each letter stands for a restaurant. So on the Disney Dream, that’s Animator’s Palate, Enchanted Garden, and Royal Palace. Ta-daaa!

Disney Cruise Tip 3: Let’s Eat!

Ok, I know you’re hungry now. Time to start munching on some of that yummy Disney Cruise Line fare! We love the onboard buffet restaurant, Cabanas. It’s stocked with everything from sandwiches to seafood to scrumptious sweets, and it’s one of our favorite meals of the trip. But fair warning – it’s pretty busy on embarkation day. Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a perfectly wonderful first-day lunch there. If a buffet is how you envision the start of your cruise adventure, do it! Just know that lots of other guests are doing the same.

On the other hand, if you prefer a more laid-back experience for your first-day lunch, you know I have a Disney cruise tip for that! Disney Cruise Line also opens one of the full-service restaurants on embarkation day for lunch. Just ask a crew member which restaurant serves lunch, and head on over for a much more serene setting. You’re welcome.

Bonus Disney cruise tip: The kids’ clubs offer open house hours on the first day, so go in and look around. It’s the only time parents are allowed to hang out with kids in the clubs, so it’s your chance to see what they’ll be up to in there!

Disney Cruise Tips for Kids
Don’t worry about leaving your young sailors in the kids’ clubs. There’s so much for them to do, they won’t even miss you.

Disney Cruise Tip 4: Bon Voyage!

Stateroom attendants should open the cabins around 1:30 p.m., so drop off your bags after lunch and take some time to explore the ship or go for a swim. At about 4 p.m., they’ll call for the muster drill, which every guest must attend. Then, it’s party time! Head up to Deck 11 or 12 to catch the sail away party, a rocking dance-party atmosphere with Disney characters that signals the true start of your vacation. From Deck 12, you can watch the party from above, or walk over to the railing and wave to the people onshore as the ship heads out to sea.

Disney Cruise Line cocktails
The sail away party is my favorite time to sample the drink of the day. Bon voyage!

Oh, and listen for this special Disney cruise tip: The ship’s horn sounds a unique tune you’re sure to recognize!

Disney Cruise Tip 5: Dinner and a Show

Hey, it’s time to eat (again)! If you have Main Seating, your dining time is around 5:45 p.m., depending on your ship and itinerary. Forget your restaurant rotation? No worries! Just check your key card. See the random-looking letters underneath your dining time? That’s your rotation.

Tips for Dining
Yep, you can order two of everything if you want. By the way, this is my favorite dish on the entire planet, Black Truffle Pasta Purseittes. You’ll find it in Animator’s Palate.

A few extra Disney cruise tips. After dinner, head over to the Walt Disney Theater to take in a live Broadway-style show. The shows onboard the Disney Cruise Line ships never fail to amaze me, so don’t miss them! Especially on the first night of your cruise, I think capping it off with a show is practically perfect.

If you still have some energy to burn, send the kids to the Oceaneers Club while the grownups check out the 21-and-up areas. From sipping champagne to singing karaoke, there’s something for everyone.

Whew! That was a heck of a day! Now it’s time to crawl into bed and let the sea rock you to sleep. There’s a whole day of fun ahead tomorrow. And that’s one Disney cruise tip you already know about!

A Tampa Bay Resource Guide for COVID-19

Undoubtably, it’s an unsettling time with the COVID-19 pandemic and the scary feeling of not knowing what is coming next. To all of our moms, to all of our readers, you are NOT ALONE! We are all feeling many of the same feelings, and have so many questions. Although we cannot provide you with many of the answers we all would like to know, we can do our best to continue providing you with the resources, latest up-to-date information, and activities to keep you and the kiddos busy (and sane!) during this uncertain time.

Now, more than ever, it is so important to support our local businesses, in whatever ways we can given the current climate and restrictions. If you know of a local business providing some kind of service that our readers should know about (whether it’s virtual healthcare, meal deliveries, etc ) please email us at [email protected] If we are missing something, please let us know and we’ll add it in here! Thank you so much to our City Mom Collective sister sites whose valuable articles have also been included in this guide.

*Please note that this will be an ever-changing resource. While we make every effort to crosscheck current links and details, we always encourage you to do the same. If details are missing or incorrect, please let us know so that we can correct them. Please check back for the most up-to-date information.


Having the kiddos at home for an unknown period of time can bring some anticipation and worry. How will we keep them entertained for days on end? What can we do to keep learning happeing outside of the classroom? We’ve compiled a variety of resources from the Tampa Bay Moms site, as well as various other helpful articles that we’ve found. Click on the images below to head straight to the resource!

*While some information may not be relevant given the current preacations and advisories, we’ve included these articles because there are still good activities you can do while at home!


As moms, we’ve got little eyes on us all the time. During this stressful time, it’s important to remember to take care of ourselves too. We’ve included some tips for self-care, as well as simple meals to make at home, natural ways to boost immunity, and more!


Staying up-to-date with your trusted local and federal resources is so important with the rapid rate at which things are changing. We encourage you to check these resources regularly and please let us know if you see any information that needs to be added by emailing [email protected]


All public K -12 schools will be closed until 4/15.


  • Jesuit High School will begin virtual classes starting on Wednesday, March 18, and continuing, at a minimum, through Friday, March 27.
  • Academy of the Holy Names will begin virtual classes starting on Wednesday, March 18, and continuing, at a minimum, through Friday, April 17.
  • Tampa Prep will remain closed through March 30. They will communicate about online instruction beginning Tuesday, March 24th.
  • Academy at the Lakes will activate their e-learning plan and conduct school remotely for the initial two-week period of March 16 – March 29, 2020. During that second week of “virtual school,” they will assess and communicate the viability of a return to in-person gatherings on Monday, March 30 for the week of school prior to our scheduled spring break (Saturday, April 4, through Monday, April 13).


Below is a list of Tampa Bay Businesses, Events & Activities that have been canceled, postponed, or rescheduled. We’ll continue to update this list as news comes in.


  • Publix will be closing at 8 pm each evening, to give employees time to restock produce and sanitize shelves.
  • Wal-Mart will have new hours, its retail stores and Neighborhood Markets will be open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. until further notice.
  • During this time, Duke Energy, TECO will not disconnect members for nonpayment. You are still responsible for paying your bill, but they are offering this leniency so members do not have to worry about losing vital services during their time of need.
  • All Tampa Bay area YMCA locations will close effective Tuesday, March 17 at 9pm through Sunday, March 29.
  • ZooTampa at Lowry Park will be temporarily closed starting Monday, March 16th through Sunday, March 29th.
  • The Clearwater Aquarium tentatively plans to re-open to the public on March 27.
  • Florida Aquarium is closed through March 29th.
  • Busch Gardens and Adventure Island are closed through the end of the month.


  • Hatcher Family Therapy will be setting up her practice to provide online/video counseling.
  • Corepower Yoga will be offering free yoga on demand for anyone.
  • The Works will be offering streaming classes free for a limited time.
  • Sweetgrass Counseling will be offering video counseling.
  • Sculpted Lotus Yoga will be holding classes online only.
  • Force Dance Academy will have free streaming ballet classes for ages 3-18 starting 3/18.
  • The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden will have a Home Safari Facebook Live each weekday at 3pm where they will highlight one of their amazing animals and include an activity you can do from home. Join them starting Monday, March 16 at 3pm for the first Home Safari- featuring Fiona!


A Love Letter to Old Souls

It seems that everyone around us is always looking for the next exciting thing. The next trend, the next app, the next plastic straw alternative – you know. But, there are a few of us out there that live for looking back. Don’t try to impress me with your gadgets. The way to my heart? Black and white movies, antique malls, dusty books, and record players. Don’t get me wrong – I love trying new things. But, yesterday will always have my heart. Here’s looking at you: A love letter to old souls. *

*All examples may or may not be taken from personal experience 😉

Paris in the rain - A love letter to old souls

A Love Letter to Old Souls

I see you, the girl that learned to crochet when she was 10. You made scarves for her whole family. “You’re an 80-year-old in a little girl’s body”. Your mom would say, smiling, as you rocked in a rocking chair, yarn in-hand. You smiled back, and she wore your creations with relish…

You’re fun, the teen that hosted a square dance complete with homemade historically-accurate 19th century costuming, for her sweet 16. You made memories for each and every person there, and a great story to tell at parties…

Tea party - A love letter to old souls

You’re awesome, the girl that loves to read all of the historic markers at local buildings and museums. “Did you know?” is your favorite way to start a conversation. And it’s beautiful that you keep these stories alive. American Girl books might fill your shelves, the movie Swiss Family Robinson is a major inspiration. And, you one day you will be an asset for your trivia team with all of those facts rolling around in your head…

You’re lovely, little one running around in a bonnet at Publix. Your brother might be wearing a Daniel Boone hat complete with a raccoon tail. And you’re definitely talking your mom into buying hot dogs so you can cook them over a campfire. Everyone can tell you’re homeschooled. And you can tell they’re probably jealous of your wild heart, and Little House on the Prairie plans…

You’re cool, the college girl that makes her boyfriend watch Casablanca with her because it’s a vitally important part of cinematic history. He might not get it – that’s okay. But when he watches it with you just because YOU love it. And lets you explain the vitally important parts of the next dozen pre -1960 films you sit through together. It might help you realize he’s the one…

Books - A love letter to old souls

You’re trendy, 20-something that already knew all about Alexander Hamilton BEFORE it hit Broadway (and, you’re team Burr). You might have even visited their duel site in Jersey, along with a stop at Frank Sinatra’s birthplace on the way…

You’re sweet, the lady that can chat with every sweet retired guy driving your Uber, because you love the same music, and have both seen Don McLean and Paul Simon in concert. Also, Herman’s Hermits ARE underrated, and yes your Dad sang “Henry the VIII” to you as a child and you loved it. Also, Grandmas adore you…

Your home is special, a mama with treasures from friends and family and trips that have decades of stories to tell. Postcards with greetings from 100 years ago, and stools discovered in a barn. Candy jar from grandma, and a vintage scale you found in the pantry of your New England house. They make your space unique, rich a warm…

Great grandma - A love letter to old souls

All of this is to say…

No matter what, share your passions, your differences, and what brings you joy! Embrace your old souls and the ones around you. Celebrate your quirks, and though it might take practice to package your vintage interests so that everyone can enjoy them, it’s worth it. What treasures that lovely brain of yours, and everyone around you, hold!

A Love Letter to Old Souls…


The Struggle of Being A Special Needs Mom

Special Needs Mom
Autism Awareness
Have you ever been so tired, you just can’t think straight. Not physically tired, that just comes with the fun of getting older. I’m talking about the mental aspect, where you don’t know why you walked into a room? The tired that you accidentally put the car keys in the fridge or you can’t find your sunglasses that have been on your head while you look for them for 30 minutes? This has been my brain for almost three years. It is HARD for sure! Let me explain the struggles of a special needs mom.
This is not your usual hot mess mom here! Most days I have it all together when it comes to certain aspects. The only time I feel that I am actually normal is when I am at work. Where I can just focus on my craft and not worry about everything surrounding me.
Let me explain to you the struggle of being a special needs mom. It is just plain exhausting being a MOM in general. This is not to put other parents on a lower scale. I really try not to compare. It’s a different kind of hard being the mother of a child who has special needs.

The Battle

What my friends and family do not see, is the constant battle internally and externally. The battle of “am I doing enough for his special needs ”? “Am I a good mother and how do I navigate through his Autism”, “how do I handle this new Autistic behavior”? I worry all the time if he will ever talk or walk/run normally like other three-year-olds. Sometimes, I selfishly take him to the park when no one is around, because I may just cry. I may cry when I see a three-year-old having full conversations with their parents and friends or see them climb up a jungle gym. All things my beautiful Autistic son can’t do. This is only one aspect of the struggle of a special needs mom.
Then the external battle outside my head is advocating for him all the time. Whether it’s at a school, doctor’s appointments, therapy, future programs or even in my own home. Having to parent in a way that is right for his Autism and that my husband and I can agree on, due to this diagnosis. It’s exhausting, to say the least!
The struggle of a special needs mom means that my general anxiety is at its peak.  Somehow, I am supposed to take care of everyone and everything, including myself. Yet, I don’t have the mental capacity to do so. I see a great therapist, but I know I will always need to continue working on the balance of it all. It starts to add up with work, all of the needed therapies, sensory integration, my marriage, friendships and constantly trying to find this new normal. Maybe, I think too much in the future. This is all my brain tends to focus on for the last few years.

I Can Only Hope

I hope that my son knows I love him and that I try with every cell in my body to provide for him, everything that he needs to have a chance. A chance at being the best he can be, a chance at talking and having a life where he can be independent. I know things will never be at a normal level and I had to learn to be okay with this. I struggle sometimes, to connect in general with my son and others. A part of me, I fear has faded away. I have turned into this machine of protecting him and sometimes I shut others out. In advance, I am sorry!

autism heart

I Am Sorry

To my friends who ask me to do things and I say no, just know it is nothing personal. I   have been having a hard time adjusting to my new normal of Autistic meltdowns, structured schedules of eating and naps, behavioral frustration from not being able to communicate and the throwing of almost anything for sensory output. I do get embarrassed and a part of me can’t handle it. A part of me breaks down, even though I know I am strong enough to handle it. I know these people understand and love me.  I just sometimes can’t climb that mountain and I am sorry.
The biggest thing a special needs mom needs is SUPPORT! Support from her spouse, support from other special needs parents, support from her friends and family. We may say we are okay, but we probably had a very rough day.

You Got This

I have never known strength until I had to push harder and harder for my Aiden even when I had nothing left in me. There is no way I can give up and I will always keep advocating. I will always have a challenge and I know this is what life is about. I am so proud of the obstacles he has already overcome. The little wins we celebrate and this is now, what I live for.
To the special needs parents out there that may be reading this. You are not alone! I feel your pain, your worry, your love for your child. You are the right person for this job. Although it is difficult, there is a reason you were assigned to it.
The struggle of a special needs mom is one that will never end. My child may not be able to live an independent life and this is heartbreaking. I pray every day for him and I pray for other families going through the same struggles and challenges.
I have learned one phrase that I can share.
Do the best you can every day and every day will be your best! 

Autism Resources

Here are some useful resources for those that may be looking for more information on Autism and related disabilities. There are also great support groups on Facebook that are in the surrounding Tampa Bay Area.

You can also contact me directly at [email protected]

Being REAL about Coronavirus. My Thoughts as It’s Progressed.

“People are freaking out about the coronavirus. Stock up on tuna fish, peanut butter and water.”

That was a text message from my mother about stocking up my pantry.

My text back:

“My family would rather die of starvation than eat tuna fish.”

I guess my mom didn’t think that was funny.

I’ll admit, I’m a bit cavalier about the coronavirus… And I’m trying to pass that attitude along to my three kids; Cameron 13, Audrey 8 and Lexi 6.

Lexi is ambivalent. I tell her to wash her hands… She says fine and goes on her way.

Audrey and Cameron are a bit more concerned.

I watch the news a lot in my house and I allow my children to watch it as well. As I’m sure you know, the media has been going out-of-control nutso over the coronavirus. Every single angle you can even imagine has been covered to exhaustion.

Cameron has been paying attention since the beginning… Back then, I was able to say, CHILL OUT… There are no cases anywhere near us… You’re fine.

Now that there are cases in Hillsborough County… I cannot do this.

However, I have told him what the CDC says, that kids have a very slight chance of getting it… And even if they do, it’s like the flu. It sucks for a few days but then you’ll be fine.

That seems to pacify him.

Not Audrey.

Audrey asks about Mommy and Daddy. What if we get it? We’re not young (thanks Audrey), are we at higher risk?

I tell her, Mommy and Daddy are both very healthy and will be fine.

How about Gama and Papa? They’re old… Would they be fine?

I tell her that MOST people who are going to come down with this virus are going to be okay.

But then we’re watching Nightly News (yes, I know… TURN OFF THE DARN NEWS!) and she hears about the death toll in China… And more deaths popping up in the U.S.

I don’t really have an answer.

I just tell her that we all must be really smart and wash our hands a lot and stay away from sick people.

As I’m telling her this, she’s twisting and pulling the gum in her mouth.

THAT right there! You gotta stop things like that! Throw it away!

Audrey looks at me in horror.

I guess my point is, when it comes to discussing the coronavirus with children, it depends on the child. But Evelyn does have some helpful hints in her article.

Do they need zero information? A little information? Or every single tidbit you could possibly force down their throats?

You know your child better than anyone… So you can decide.

However, I think the one thing we can all agree on… Is TURN OFF THE DARN NEWS!

On the Road with Chevy to the Florida Strawberry Festival

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored. However, we would not partner with an organization or service we did not feel brings value to our readers. All thoughts and opinions expressed are entirely our own.

Recently, I was invited to test drive a 2020 Chevrolet Blazer. I jumped at the chance to drive a car with a beautiful, clean interior. I lovingly refer to my current car as a “garbage can on wheels”. Not because the car itself is junky, but because my kids have a habit of mistaking it for that metal can that sits inside my kitchen. Hillsborough County Schools gave the students a day off to attend the Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City. When I told my kids we were not only going to the festival but driving the Blazer, they were very excited! 

My kids loved riding in the backseat! This car also has a feature to warn the driver to check the back for young children before exiting. It shows up on the dashboard when shutting off the vehicle. A very important reminder, especially during the many hot months in Florida.

We stayed all afternoon and into the evening at the Strawberry Festival. It was our first time and SO much fun! I’d been hearing for many years about the strawberry shortcake they served. My parents joined us and it took little convincing my dad to try some of the famous shortcakes with me. My kids opted for chocolate-covered strawberries for their treat.


With unlimited ride wristbands, it was hard to convince the kids it was time to leave.

My favorite feature of the 2020 Blazer was the 360-degree overview camera. It was awesome for parking, especially in the busy lot at the Strawberry Festival. I never had to wonder if I was too close to the cars next to me. This would have come in very handy when I was a teenager in driver’s ed learning to parallel park!

The trunk offered a lot of space. It was perfect for transporting all of the delicious strawberries we were bringing home!

Decluttering Challenge: 40 bags in 40 Days

Have you heard about the 40 Bags in 40 Days decluttering challenge? I wanted to do something different for this Lenten season and found Ann Marie Heasley’s #40bagsin40days challenge. I thought this was a perfect challenge for my family to tackle together.

Shoe Drama

One of the first things I wanted to focus on was my closet. Yes…you heard it right, my closet. I usually clean the kids’ rooms constantly but my closet is the black hole I don’t like to touch and to be honest I don’t want to deal with it. The first section I started with was my shoes and I have A LOT of shoes. Recently, I discovered that of all things my feet have grown from 7.5/8 to 8.5/9. Did you know that your feet can continue to grow as an adult? I didn’t and that made going through my amazing shoe collection hard. I donated 90% of my shoes to charity and my oldest daughter, Raquel.

It was really hard to part with those shoes since I hold so many memories in them. My killer heals that helped me land my job, the leather boots that made me feel I can handle anything and the tennis shoes that I started my health journey with. I didn’t realize how many memories my shoes held for me. Four bags later, I was quite depressed. I don’t consider myself a materialistic person but letting go of my shoes was a humbling experience. My husband gave me a big hug and I realized that I needed to acknowledge my feelings and move forward.

The Endless Closet Shelf

Then, I started on my closet shelf with workout clothes and nightgowns. This shelf was a mess and I didn’t realize I had a 25 yr. old sorority jersey in that pile of clothes. Yes, you heard right a 25-year-old shirt that I did not purge. To clean this section of the closet, it took me a little longer than my shoes. I started with five piles: T-shirts, workout pants, nightgowns, the trash pile, and donation bag. Four more bags were donated or thrown away. As you can see, I was able to organize this part of my closet with cubes for my clothes and my shoes on the racks. It’s a lot cleaner and more streamlined for me to grab what I need.

I still have more of my closet and the rest of the house to do but I was able to declutter my closet significantly for the 40 bags in 40 days challenge. In one weekend, I was able to fill 8 bags out of my 40 bags challenge. This accomplishment was a step in the right direction and I can’t wait to continue on this decluttering challenge in the next several weeks.

What I learned doing this #40bagsin40days challenge:

  • We have a lot of stuff
  • It’s easier to organize the items you have left
  • Learning to let go isn’t easy
  • It’s a humbling experience

If you are interested in learning more about the #40bagsin40days challenge visit Ann Marie’s website or follow her Instagram at @Whitehouseblackshutters. You can also follow my decluttering journey on my Instagram channel.

What is this Magic Called a Postpartum Doula?


what does a postpartum doula do

Some of you may be saying to yourself after reading that headline, I’ve never even heard of a postpartum doula before. I personally wish I would have known more about postpartum doulas when I was early momming because they are such a valuable asset during the postpartum period for both first-time mamas and mamas who are adding to their family. Let me tell you about the magic of a postpartum doula. 

What is a Postpartum Doula? 

A postpartum doula provides nurturing, non-biased emotional support, guidance and practical assistance to you and your family during the postpartum period; what is often called the “4th Trimester.” This is a very memorable time in the lives of new families, and extra care and support can help to make this transition smoother. Postpartum doulas can help to strengthen a mom and family’s ability to trust their intuition and make choices that feel right to them. 

What Do Postpartum Doulas Offer After the Birth? 

Emotional support:

I like to say that postpartum doulas are like a BFF or family member that you love but without the judgment, opinions, etc. They can be like a sister or friend who loves on you, listens to you, makes you food, sits and hugs you, but without any of the normal stuff that comes sometimes with even the most well-intentioned friends and family. 

Evidence-based Information and Support:

Postpartum doulas have been trained to understand what new babies and new mamas need. They are trained to provide information from soothing techniques to swaddling, to breastfeeding or bottle-feeding support, and any other needs you may have. They can also provide other resources and references as needed beyond their skills or experience. 

Practical Hands-On Support: 

When that sweet new baby (or babies) joins your family, the more hands to help the better. One of my favorite things to do as a postpartum doula was to help tidy up with light housekeeping such as folding laundry, making yummy food for Mama and family and doing the dishes. 

Partner and Sibling Support:

Bringing a new baby home when you already have children adds a whole new element to early momming. Postpartum doulas can spend time with the newborn while you spend time with big brother(s) or sister(s). Or they can spend some time with them while you snooze with your newbie. In addition, it’s a postpartum doula’s job to help with the adjustment for the partner and other family members as well, by answering questions, listening and supporting. 

Other Specialties Postpartum Doulas May Have

So, if you’re not already like OMG sign me up, let me say a couple of other things about how postpartum doulas can support a new family. Some of them do overnight care – yep – I said overnight care. There are postpartum doulas that love this shift! They’ll hang out and wake up with the baby while you sleep. Or they’ll wake you up when the baby’s ready to feed, and then you get to go back to sleep, and they help put the baby back to sleep. They will work with you and your family’s goals/needs.

Others specialize in twins, are also lactation counselors too, and carry other certifications. Some work on their own as individuals and others are part of an agency. You can find local postpartum doulas by going to as well as searching on Facebook. 

Let’s Address a Common Barrier to Postpartum Doula Support 

Soooo, you may be thinking something that I hear a lot from moms when they learn about what postpartum doulas do. And that’s the whole, “I should be able to do this on my own” or some version of that. 

Listen. It’s very possible that you could do new momming in the 4th trimester on your own. Most women do. But just because you can, or could, doesn’t mean you “have” to.

This kind of support during such a tender time is key to helping women and their families start out on a positive and supported foundation. This is often a service that I see families use when they are adding to their families, vs. first-time moms because experienced moms already know how intense and tender those first few months can be. So, if you’re reading this as a first-time mama, I give you permission to consider this kind of support. In fact, I declare it a form of self-care. 

If you used a postpartum doula during any of your 4th Trimester’s, please share! Let’s spread the word and love on how they can change lives!! And diapers! 😉 

Hair and Make Up Beauty Hacks for the Tired Mom


So I’m sure we have all read little blurbs about what you can do to look “your best” every day. Well, I find that these hair and make up beauty hacks for the tired mom are usually delivered from gorgeous, tanned, 20 somethings. These are the all-natural women who normally don’t need more than a swipe of mascara and a little gloss. Honey, I am not her. I am pretty okay looking but let’s face it I need to put some effort into my daily routine!

Beauty Tips for the Tired Mom

I have three kids, a husband, run a new business, a have a dog and two cats. So there is quite a bit I juggle. This is not to say I don’t put myself together each day. There is definitely a need for hair and makeup beauty hacks I have some tips that help me do this in 20 minutes each day.

Messy Hair I Care

Let’s talk about hair. I love to wash and style my hair. It sets the tone for how I feel about the way I look. But I can’t always do that. Therefore, there is a day on and a day off schedule I have. Wash one day and style. The next day I use Batiste dry shampoo. I love the Bare scent because it is clean and light with no build-up or residue. The amazing Revlon one-step hair dryer and volumizer is my go-to tool for quick touch-ups. I love this product so much.

Makeup Hacks

Hair and make up beauty hacks for the tired mom must include good make-up. My first and foremost necessity is concealer. I really love the way Bare Minerals stick concealer covers and doesn’t feel heavy. I can dab it on and feel like I have an even skin tone without the feel of a mask. After the concealer, I use a quick sponge and dab it into the rest of my face and spritz Mac Prep and Prime spray. It’s a dewy fresh look that feels natural. It is so quick and goooood!

My lashes are quite thin and I don’t have time (or money) for lash extensions. I use Maybelline Lash Blast that gives me a thicker lash before I put my mascara on. I like the basic Maybelline green and pink! A swipe of blush, and some eyeliner and of course a lip stain. I love the stains out now. They last and I don’t even feel them! I don’t take long but I feel put together. This tired mom needs as many beauty hacks as she can get. Please share any hair and make up beauty hacks for the tired moms you know.

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