a niece is born!

Oh yesterday was just the very best day! My brother and sister-in-law gave birth to just the most precious baby girl! No one on the planet knew the gender and we all felt quite certain it was going to be a boy and wow were we surprised when we got the text! A little lady! How lucky is my niece Mikayla to have herself a little sister to love on and grow up with! So world, it is with great pleasure that I introduce you to the newest Trovato cousin (seven of them now, yay!), Audrey Blake!!
I do have to mention that she is named after my Grandma, who left this earth five years ago this month.... She would have been absolutely smitten with all these children and I'm sure she is beyond thrilled with this choice of name! It makes me emotional to think about so I'll just stop going down that road. 

The kids were off school yesterday for a teacher inservice so it was the perfect time to head on over to our friendly neighborhood hospital and meet the newest little lady. Dom kept asking if we were going to Audrey's house... David had about a zillion questions about all the items in the room and the wires and tubes attached to Aunt Ashley... and Letty just wanted to stare lovingly at her newest girl cousin. And hold her. When we were just about to leave my sister showed up with her kids too and so... pictures all around! 

Welcome to the world and to the family little Audrey!!! 


our new coffee table

This just might be a week of diy's, and I don't hate it. I love projects and I have a husband who really likes to build things so it just works for us. Now a little background about our old coffee table/ottoman situation. Letty fell and split her lip on our old coffee table when she was just shy of three. It was traumatic to say the very least. For awhile we went without a coffee table completely and contemplated removing anything with corners... but eventually we got a tufted faux leather ottoman that had storage in it which is where all the kid's board games go. This works wonderfully because they couldn't move my decorative tray to get to their games which meant no game pieces strewn about but then see also they couldn't get to any of their games.... The poor children.

So as I do, I asked Matt to make me a new coffee table and this is that creation! The storage ottoman was moved into the playroom where now they can play games to their heart's content.
What do you guys think? I actually think it brightens up the space now that it's not a giant dark brown rectangle, even if the top is so dark.


diy trashcan cabinet

Nothing says I love you like a new trash can am I right ladies? See, for as long as we have been married (11.5 years) we have had this little trash can that lived out of sight under our kitchen sink. In our first apartment.... in our first home... in our second home. But Matt and I are not young newlyweds who both work full-time out of the house now are we? We are a roaring family of five who basically creates garbage like it is our literal job. Ask Letty! She thinks that paper scraps and empty toilet paper rolls are future works of art just waiting to be created! 

So we empty our trash a lot. Or I should say, we should empty it a lot. But we are lazy beings and the mountain grows as each adult tries to see how long we can let it grow before the other snaps and burns the house down. No? Just us? So this garbage thing has been an annoyance, at best, for the better of seven years. 

Why not get one of those lovely larger trash cans with a lid and a foot pedal? Because I didn't want too that's why. So. Matt made me this. And we don't have to empty our trash every day! We don't fight over it! Look how pretty it is! 

Now if we could only remember where we moved the darned thing and stop going under our sink for our trash we would be totally set.


cousins in valentine's clothes!

Matt has been watching Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee lately while he works out... Hosted by Jerry Seinfeld and all that and he starts each show saying the title like each word or two is a sentence in and of itself. Comedians! In Cars! Getting... Coffee! And so that's what how I imagine myself saying this... Cousins! In Valentine's Clothes! Being.... Cute!

I digress.

My parents got each kid big and small some festive holiday of love wear. It sure is hard to get like a literal match for each kid but I love a good themed cousin shot. Especially when Star Wars is also added to the mix! Last Saturday we had ourselves an epic Mexican night and took it as an opportunity to get these kids all captured in their gear. One never knows when a new cousin will come and make an arrival, does one? Any day now Baby Trovato! And I'm sure if you come before Valentine's Day Nonna will rush off to Target and get you a cute little outfit as well!
What's the over under on how long my boys are going to put up with this? I foresee them being in high school and still standing in front of my garage for their annual Valentine's Day Cousin Shoot. Right after their New Year's Cousin Shoot and followed very soon by their Easter Cousin Shoot. All cousins. Each holiday. Themed. Please and thank you.


a new year with ava shield

I don't do resolutions. Just not me. If you're going to do something just start doing it right? I have been thinking lately that I suppose it's time that I really start focusing on what comes into our home and what products I use on our family.... Yes, I do realize that a lot of the things coming in here aren't the best, but I'm also on a budget and definitely prefer to deal with what's easiest and most convenient. But I've feeling lately like I should be doing more. I'm not ready to throw out products we already have in our possession or anything, but I want to replace them when the time comes with better products. In every way that is realistic for our family.

But so far all I've done is replace dryer sheets with wool dryer balls, spend a lot of time figuring out the best sunblock for the kids and use a whole lot of essential oils for whatever I can think of and okay if you believe in such things I also got a few Himalayan salt lamps for Christmas. Oh and lots of indoor plants and probiotics. So basically, I feel like I've done nothing?

Right around the time I started thinking about the above I was sent a few lovely products from my beloved Rocky Mountain Oils to try that are made with some of my most favorite essential oils! I mean, yay! How perfect is that timing?! Now I could have been making products for years now with my oils but I hate to tell you this, I'm a bit lazy in that regard? I know. I know. I just prefer my cleaning supplies/personal care items to be made for me. These are all from the Ava Shield line. Natural home solutions and all that. Sign me up! 
The Cool Mint Toothpaste was an instant like for me. This one has spearmint and peppermint essential oils infused in it. I have always wanted to try a more natural toothpaste and am loving the flavor of this one. My mouth is left all fresh and clean feeling. See also a peak into my ridiculous "make up" drawer. Now that could use some serious attention from someone who knows their natural living stuff.

The Foaming Hand Soap is currently in our most used bathroom, the powder room. I love smelling an old friend Immune Strength in there and also knowing the kids will be washing the school day off of their hands as soon as they walk in is so reassuring to me! Just get rid of those nasty school germs right away please! And on a side note with David constantly sticking his hands in his mouth I feel so much better about it knowing he's using this soap... 
I used the Hard Surface Cleaner Concentrate the second I got it and basically scrubbed down my entire kitchen. I was so obsessed with using something natural on surfaces that had in the past been cleaned with harsh chemicals. And again with the immune strength! Love that smell! I feel so much better knowing the surfaces where we cook and eat the most (our island) don’t have all the nasty chemicals on them! I even wiped down all the kid’s iPads and my iPhone too because I mean hello germs! I just feel so much better about the state of my kitchen now. I followed the instructions on the bottle and even got myself a spray bottle so I can easily reach for the premade cleaner instead of my normal anti-bacterial Clorox wipes. 
I realize that we have a long way to go and that this is just a toe-dip into the healthier living world that I so wish we were already established and living in but. We will get there. One day at a time.
What about you all? Do you have any tips for getting into a more natural living state? 


a snow day!

Most people on the Eastern half of the United States have had themselves a bit of a cold snap happening this January, and snow too, of course. The kids don't even know what a full school week looks like these days what with all the early dismissals and two hour delays. I love those kind though! Less time they are away from me but then also no make up days. However, we did have some snow  last week that was enough of a situation that a full day closure was necessary. This happened to also be my first day back watching my CPA sister-extraordinaire's kids. Go big or go home right? Five kids on snow day? Love it!

Getting four kids into their winter gear... watching them play out front... watching them play out back...  moving inside once I got too cold and watching from the window... All part of the joy of snow days! And then hot chocolate and cozying up by the fire, because what else? 
And let us not forget the apple of my eye, my nephew Harrison! Who napped the morning away nice and warm inside and just really likes his swing time! Love you and your cheeks!