Tag Archives: niece

Happy Birthday, Sister!!

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Happy Birthday, Sister!!

Hello!! The birthdays in my family just keep coming because today is my beautiful sister, Kristen’s, big day! My sister is my absolute best friend and I cannot even put into words how proud I am of her. She is a legit wonder woman and I am constantly amazed by her motherhood journey. Her and my brother in law’s daughter, Valerie, is a huge light for me and I have seriously never met a happier, more loved little girl in my life.

Not only is Kristen an incredible mom to her daughter but she is a pet parent and advocate, as well. She has two dogs and two cats and her newest passion is fostering senior dogs from One Of A Kind Pets, the shelter that she works at. Her empathy and love truly knows no bounds and she is so dedicated to giving the best life to the animals who haven’t had it easy. In fact, her most recent senior foster named Baby just got adopted into her Furever Home!

Kristen inspires everyone that she meets – myself especially. As my big sister, I have looked up to her my whole life and that is still the case to this day as twenty-somethings. A sister is a built in best friend and Kristen is always there for me whether I need a laugh, girl time, or to vent. Everything we do together is like an adventure to me – whether it be going to concerts, Taco Bell dates, or taking her daughter to the park to play. I am, honestly, the luckiest girl in the world to be able to not only call her my big sis but my BFF. 

Happy Birthday, Kristen!!

I love you!!!!!!!!! ❤

A Sunshiney Day

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A Sunshiney Day

Hi! I had a random day off this past week and it just so happened to be on the most glorious spring day with weather in the seventies. The only thing on my agenda other than writing was dropping off some laundry to my sister and, instead of going to her house, she suggested we meet at the park so my niece, Valerie, could play. This sounded like the perfect plan to me and I was counting down the hours until our meeting because I knew it would be fun!

In the greater Akron area in Ohio, there are countless places to enjoy the weather when it’s nice out like Metro Parks for hiking, lakes for swimming, and playgrounds for the little ones. My sister, Kristen, and I actually ended up taking Val Gal to one of the parks that we used to play at all the time when we were kids and it hit right in the nostalgia. With Valerie and Kristen’s senior foster dog, Baby, in tow we spent over an hour at the park running around, swinging, sliding, and teeter-tottering.

Being an aunt is one of the best things that has ever happened to me and I treasure any time that I get to spend with my lil niece. I love watching my sister be the amazing mom that I knew she would be and we are both constantly in stitches together over Val and her “goofball” ways, as Kristen always says.

Just one hour in the park and sunshine with my sis, Val, and Baby put me in the best mood and it was such an awesome way to welcome the beautiful weather. Whenever I am feeling blue, I always remember that Val can say “Hi, TT” to me now and it instantly makes everything better. My sister and her daughter are my number one BFFs (And my mom, of course!) and I am so lucky to have them and am so thankful for the wonderful time we spent together at the park! ❤

How do you enjoy the outdoors in your area? What was your favorite thing on the playground when you were little? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Seahorses, Butterflies, & Toucans – Oh My!

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Seahorses, Butterflies, & Toucans – Oh My!

Howdy! Having a little niece and nephew is so fun and I love spoiling them both for birthdays and Christmas. My niece, Valerie, just turned two this past week and I had a blast online shopping with TJMaxx to purchase her prezzies. Among a Paw Patrol gardening kit and a sand castle table, I couldn’t resist buying my lil future fashionista some new summer dresses. Not only were the prices for these frocks cheaper than Target or Carter’s but they are, quite possibly, the cutest things that I have ever seen and I couldn’t not share them! Check it out:

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All I have to say when I clothes shop for Val Gal is “where was all of this stuff when I was a baby?!” because you know I stayed rockin that Osh Kosh B’Gosh twenty something years ago lol. I thought all of these dresses were so summery and sweet and Val loves animals big and small so the patterns will go over perfectly with her! In fact, one of her favorite things in the summer time is butterfly watching with her grandpa. 🙂

The denim blue butterfly dress by Nula Bug absolutely melted my heart when I saw it during my online shopping. The pink butterfly buttons?! Stop it! I also didn’t notice in the pictures of the dress online that it has pockets so my heart melted again as soon as it arrived in the mail.

I would never pay an extravagant price for clothes for my ever growing niece and nephew and felt comfortable with what I spent at TJs. Especially because I did all of this shopping during their winter clearance sale! Shopping during the transition of seasons is a sure fire way to save some money and TJMaxx updates their sale items frequently. This is always a good thing to keep in mind if you like to do birthday or holiday shopping early, like me.

Being an aunt is the best thing ever and the past two years have been so much brighter for me because of my niece and nephew. I sure wish time would slow down, though, it feels like just yesterday when they were both born! ❤

Which stores have the best seasonal clearance? Who is your favorite person to shop for? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Holiday Haul: Sister & Family Edition

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Holiday Haul: Sister & Family Edition

Hello!! My sister, Kristen, her SO, Ramon, and sweet daughter, Valerie, are my best friends and I love being their fourth wheel more than anything. Being able to share so many holidays with Kristen and Ramon and now their daughter is always going to be special to me and this past Christmas was no exception. Miss Val made out like an adorable little bandit this Christmas and she was even able to unwrap some of her own gifts this year! Her “TT” had quite the haul herself, though, and I am so excited about the gifts I received from Val and her amazing parents. Check it out:

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Kristen texted me earlier in December asking me what I would like for Christmas and I told her that some new face masks to try out would be much appreciated. She took this idea and ran with it, gifting me two face masks by Formula 10.0.6. I am eager to test both masks out – particularly the self-warming clay mask. I used to get a self-warming mask from The Body Shop back in the day and it was one of my favorites. Speaking of favorites, I also got an awesome GUDETAMA lip balm and he is my favorite, lazy egg in the whole world. Don’t believe me? Check out my Facebook posts where I am constantly replying to people with Gudetama themed stickers! 😀

When my sister texted me, I didn’t tell her that I would really like a new pair of Express leggings too but she knows me well enough to have gotten me a pair, anyways. Kristen gifted me with leggings from Express last year and they are simply the best. I am so happy to have another pair because I wear my old ones literally all the time and, although they are still in great condition, it will be nice to have the option to alternate.

Pre-COVID, going to my favorite bars with Johnny and Kristen was always a treat and nine times out of ten, you could catch me drinking a Moscow Mule. I love them! And, with new copper mugs from Kristen and her fam, I’ll be able to make them at home with my go to recipe and not have to put them in coffee mugs like usual, lol. Great success!

Now, you might be wondering why in the heck Kristen gave the game of Guess Who? to me and Johnny and I’ll tell you why. A few months ago, we were all at chez parents and Kristen happened to bring her copy of the game over. We had many rousing rounds with my brother, Andrew, and it was a hoot. I also love the much more culturally diverse update of Guess Who? too! I think Johnny and I will get a kick out of playing it when we are stuck in the doldrums of feeling like there is “nothing” to do. 🙂

Kristen and her family were so generous this Christmas and I really am touched because these gifts are absolutely perfect for me. My sister knows me like the back of her hand and knew that the majority of what she gave me were things that I would like but never buy for myself and that, in itself, is the best gift of all. ❤

Which store has the best leggings? How do you make drinks from the bar at home? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Super Happy Fun Times

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Super Happy Fun Times

Hello!!! Last weekend was a wonderful one for me and, boy, did I need it. I had been feeling nothing short of blah for the past several weeks and now I know that the remedy for the blues is some snuggles, creating new holiday traditions, and Zoom dates to put a spring back in my step. Rinse and repeat for best results!

Last weekend, I was so happy because I got to babysit my sweet niece, Valerie, on Saturday night. I had been counting down the days because the last time I saw Val Gal was on Thanksgiving. Johnny and I were not able to participate in the holiday with my family and it was very hard seeing Val on the driveway and not being able to hold her. So, trust and believe, I was ready for all of the snugs.

Val and I had so much fun reading books, petting all of her animal friends (she loves their family pets!), playing Peek-A-Boo, and watching Trolls. Even though whenever I would sing along with the songs Val would go “NOOOOO” haha I didn’t realize I was that tone deaf! Being an aunt is the best thing ever and I am eagerly counting down the days until Christmas so I can spoil my niece and nephew rotten!

The weekend fun did not end there because on Sunday, I was able to Zoom with one of my dear friends, Scott. I have been a friend to him and his family for over six years now and I really miss being able to see them regularly and go out for coffee and lunch. Scott and I chatted for over an hour about anything and everything and it was so refreshing to gab, laugh, reminisce, and, of course, look forward to when it’s safe so we can all see each other again. ❤

Afterwards, Johnny and I ordered Pizza Hut pizza and settled in to watch his favorite holiday movie, The Muppets Christmas Carol. Believe it or not, I don’t think I’ve actually ever seen the full movie because when I was younger the part with Marley and Marley used to scare me SO bad (This humors Johnny to no end!). I am proud to say, I was able to get through that part without incident as an adult and we both enjoyed our afternoon viewing/pizza party so much. We decided that we should watch it every year along with Elf – even though Johnny fell asleep when we watched it!

It is so easy to be bummed out about the state of the world right now due to the coronavirus pandemic. But, sometimes, all it takes is a little holiday magic to get yourself back to baseline. I can attest to that firsthand. 🙂

What is your favorite holiday movie? How do you like to spoil your loved ones during the holiday season? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Sweet Surprises: A Thanksgiving Stowaway Edition

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Sweet Surprises: A Thanksgiving Stowaway Edition

Hello!! Sadly, Johnny and I were not able to attend Thanksgiving with my family and it really, really sucked. It was so hard to visit my loved ones outside and not be able to hug them and enjoy the day together. It was especially difficult to not be able to hold my niece, Valerie, because she is my lil BFF and I have never not held her whenever I see her since she has been born.

My parents were nice enough to drop Thanksgiving dinner off on mine and Johnny’s doorstep and it wasn’t until the following day that I noticed a little stowaway on the bag they sent over:

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Valerie loves playing with stickers and her and my sister stuck this little guy from Trolls onto our to go bag. I didn’t notice it right away because it was on the backside of it and it made me so happy when I finally saw this “hi auntie” message from my niece.

The little things really do make the best sweet surprises. I wish I could have been there to hear Val say “uh oh” when one of her stickers ripped and I am so ready for Christmas so I can be there when her and her parents open all of her prezzies.

This Thanksgiving was straight up not a good time for me or Johnny and I am sharing these stories to help remind and encourage people to continue wearing their masks and social distance. The food, my sticker stowaway, and being with Johnny made the day not the worst but our Thanksgiving would have been so much better had we been able to celebrate traditionally.

Regardless, my sweet surprise from my niece and sister definitely helped perk me up. It is also a nice reminder that even the smallest gestures can have such a great impact. Be kind to everyone because you have no idea what they’re going through. Who knows, you might be helping make their bad day just that little bit better. 🙂

How did you safely celebrate Thanksgiving? What are you looking forward to as the year comes to a close? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Barbie Dreams

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Barbie Dreams

Hello! I don’t know about all of you, but when I was little I love, love, LOVED to play with dolls. Any kind would do – Barbie, Polly Pocket, Bratz and whatever else I could dress up and create stories with. Dolls always helped stimulate my imaginative play and I couldn’t wait to take each and every doll out of my toy box and change their outfits, careers, names, and story lines.

While my sister and I were in Pittsburgh visiting our cousin at her amazing microblading studio, Kristen told me the platforms that I had on looked like Bratz doll shoes:

It was basically the best compliment ever and it brought me back to the hours on end that I would spend playing dolls in my youth. I absolutely think that my love of dolls helped stoke the coals of the burning passion I have for fashion today. I have also always loved to write and my ever changing plots for all of my dolls definitely helped with that, too.

It has been literal decades since I’ve played with dolls but, now that I have a little niece (Valerie), I cannot wait to instill the joys of story telling and dress up with her. I was adamant about buying Val her first baby doll for her first birthday and it makes me so happy when I see her snuggling up with her gift from me.

My late grandma had the most divine collection of Madame Alexander dolls – many of which I have today. I love having these special, beautifully costumed dolls that my grandma held so dear and I still admire them as if I was seeing them for the first time. I am so thankful for my mom and grandma for helping develop my love of dolls because it impacted my adult life so positively.

Here’s to looking forward to many hours of playing dolls with my niece as she continues to grow and to looking backward at the favorite toys of my youth that I will always love. ❤

What was your favorite toy growing up? How did your favorite activities in youth impact your adult life? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

There Are Good Ships, There Are Bad Ships…

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There Are Good Ships, There Are Bad Ships…

You know… I think the best ships are Auntships and yes I definitely made that up on the spot, lol. This past weekend, I had the absolute joy of watching my sweet niece Miss Valerie Jane. Val Gal is almost twenty months old and she is my sister, Kristen, and brother in law, Ramon’s, little girl. Valerie is honest to god my best friend and my life has been so much happier since she was born.

Despite having Blue’s Clues on in the background for the entire evening, Val and I had the best time playing, snacking, and enjoying a pajama party while her mom and dad were at work. Between her French lessons from her auntie, reading books, putting puzzles together, working on her flash cards, and cooking in her pretend kitchen we had a jam packed Saturday night!

I love being able to see Val’s happy and silly personality continue to develop every time I see her. I swear, she is always giggling, belly laughing, and on the move and I don’t know how her parents keep up with her. Especially considering that Kristen and Ramon have five pets, as well. Three dogs named Tydus, Winston, and Platinum and two cats called Mary and Gloria (All rescued). 🙂

I know I’m biased because Val is my niece but I am just so proud of her, Kristen, and Ramon because she’s legit the best kid on the planet. In fact, I tend to not like children that much to begin with but I wish I could see Valerie every day.

Being able to go to chez Kristen and Ramon’s for an evening and do nothing but make Val laugh hysterically from the “Where’s Val? I can’t find her anywhere” game was a high point of this entire year, lol. I was so tired after caring for a constantly on the move kiddo but all I have to do is think about our “auntie and me” time together and it never ceases to put a smile on my face.

Being an auntie to lil Valerie Jane is one of the best gifts I’ve ever had and I really do think the best ships are Auntships. ❤

Are you a proud aunt or uncle? Which TV shows are the kiddos in your life obsessed with? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Early Christmas Shopping

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Early Christmas Shopping

Hello!! I know a ton of you are reading this title with a slight eye roll because Christmas is far away but yes… I did start shopping already. I promise it’s for good reason too because I have a ton of people to shop for. Not only do I have all of my family but I also have Johnny, his parents, my clients, and a new niece and nephew to share in the holiday spirit with.

I decided that I would like to knock out at least a couple of people on my list per month so that I am not stuck with a giant bill come December. I also feel a huge sense of relief when I am that much closer to purchasing all of the gifts I plan to put under the tree.

This past month, I decided to spoil my little niece rotten and I am so stoked about one of the items I ordered. Those with small children to shop for might be interested in this ultra fun and creative gift too:

Several months ago, I saw this inflatable, washable easel for finger painting advertised on Facebook and I thought it was such a fabulous idea. I could picture my sister and brother in law setting it up for my niece in their backyard on a nice summer day and having a ball with it. My niece will be older than two by the time it gets warm enough to use it and I can’t wait to see the masterpieces that she comes up with.

I figured that my niece is pretty well stocked for activities that she can use now – you should see her playroom! So, I wanted to purchase gifts that would be fun for her to use as she gets older. Her inflatable easel is what I am particularly excited for but I know Johnny is most looking forward to the tiny guitar he plans on getting her. It’s never too early to start lessons with her uncle! ❤

When do you normally start holiday shopping? Do you have a lot of people to shop for? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Family Staycation

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Family Staycation

Helloooo! This past week, Johnny and I drove to Lexington, Kentucky for a Mushenheim family vacation. I had been looking forward to this trip for a long time and it certainly did not disappoint. Now, normally, you guys are used to hearing about a traditional Mushenheim family vaca with jam packed activities and amazing restaurants every day. However, we are in a very nontraditional time right now and precautions were taken to keep everyone safe during our trip.

We honestly didn’t do too much. We had some great carry out meals and visited a gorgeous horse farm where social distancing was easy. Everyone also came prepared with face masks and hand sanitizer for grocery store errands or an activity. Despite this being the most lax family vaca ever, it was AWESOME!

For four days, Johnny and I got to stay in a lovely house with central air and not a care in the world. But wait! It keeps getting better becauuuuse… For the first time in a very long time, my entire family was all together. We had four whole days of quality time with my parents, siblings, their partners, and our little niece and nephew.

Getting to Lexington was a five hour drive – a perfect amount for a getaway staycation. I so enjoyed the time shared with everyone and I know my parents were both happy as a clam the whole trip. It’s not every day all of their adult children, grandchildren, and children-in-laws can be together, after all! ❤

What is your dream vacation? What is your favorite thing about your own location? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah