Archive of ‘mama chit chat’ category

How I Whiten my Teeth at Home + A GIVEAWAY!

smile brilliant-thebusybudgetingmama1

I tried the whitening toothpaste and the whitening strips at the drug store.. .nothing ever worked for me! They only made my sensitive teeth tingle! A few of my friends had been talking about this thing called custom fitted teeth whitening trays! Sounded awesome.. and expensive!! But I was pleasantly surprised when I saw Smile Brilliant offered Custom Fitted Teeth Whitening Trays for an affordable price! Cheaper than going to the dentist, and more convenient because I could do it all from home..with my kiddos! Mommy self care time didn’t have to be put off another day! I’m SOOO happy with the results and telling everyone I know about them!
The “after” photo was taken with my iphone in my bathroom! no filter!

I’m excited to be teaming up with Smile Brilliant for a GIVEAWAY!
The winner will receive a prize pack valued at $139.90 -
Teeth Whitening Trays + 3 whitening gel syringes and 3 desensitizing gel syringes.
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The whole process ran pretty seamless. Which is important when you are trying to choose a more affordable and convenient way to whiten your teeth! Your Teeth whitening trays arrive and you follow their step by step process to create your custom fit. Then you mail it back with what they provide and they get busy making your trays!
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There are different packs you can get… going from 3 teeth whitening gels to 9!
One thing they mentioned to me was to be realistic in your results. Everyone has different color teeth..regardless of the stains. But their teeth whitening gel lifts all extrinsic (surface) and intrinsic (below the surface) stains. In my personal case, I could tell IMMEDIATELY. It wiped away soda and coffee stains and each time I used it I saw better results. The number of applications required before all stains have been removed varies per person. It’s based on the severity of the stains on the tooth and how long they have been collecting. There are different categories for you to gauge yourself with.
Below is the one I fell into. You can find lots more info on their website.
AGE RANGE: 13-23
APPLICATIONS: 5-9
APPLICATION DURATION: 1-3 Hours
# of Gel syringes: 2-3
Side effects to consider: Tooth sensitivity and gum irritation.
both of which are temporary and very mild. I didn’t find them to be an issue!
Don’t brush your teeth right before. that was the only time I felt any sensitivity.
To learn more about the cause and prevention of tooth sensitivity check this article out!
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The best part about a custom fit…..how amazing they fit and feel!
I would put them in… and go a long with my busy day while they worked their magic!
I was the girl who did the white strips and always felt annoyed spending money on something that didn’t give results and didn’t last. Instead of the slippery strips it was so much easier to have the trays that fit to me and stayed there. The strips are also not in gel form so they only attack the surface stains and leave the deeply embedded stains pretty much untouched. I would spend more on all the white strips trying to maintain the whiteness than it costs for the custom fitted trays! Did your whitening strips move around too? did they miss parts in the crevices or leave your teeth feeling sensitive? I’m so glad I found a better way!smile brilliant-thebusybudgetingmama3

CLICK HERE to enter my Giveaway with Smile Brilliant
The Prize is a $139.90 store credit which is equal to our Teeth Whitening Trays + 3 whitening gel syringes and 3 desensitizing gel syringes. The winner can of course change the selection however they will need to pay the difference. The prize will be given as a code which they use at checkout. Good Luck!!!

This is the pack I used. Big thanks for Smile Brilliant for sponsoring this post and Giveaway!
As always, the opinions in my post are my own!

This is the package I used. I’m in love with my results!
Must..tell..everyone!

Comparison. Cleaning House+Mind

Comparison. It’s something as women we do a lot of.
We see snapshots of people’s lives through social media and think.. wow….
her kitchen table has fresh flowers…
non stained CLOTH placemats and napkins in napkin rings…
gluten free sugar free made from scratch meal on the table
served on non plastic dishes for her family…
I on the other hand have a breakfast table where I forgot
to wipe down the kid splatters from dinner the night before because
it was a “get the kids in the bath, no skipping bath it’s bed time NOW” night…
plastic ikea plates..
paper towel napkins…
serving pop tarts with fresh fruit to even it out (right?)
and a holding on to dear life succulent.
My kids and I are snuggled up though. so that’s a shot worth taking and remembering!
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My spice cabinet is like a booby trap.
You will most likely get knocked in the face with garlic powder if you open it.
And sneeze. because something spilled the other day
and I haven’t emptied and vacuumed it.

I couldn’t see my master closet floor. I’m not exaggerating.
That was the space I put boxes I didn’t fully unpack or
“stacked” kid clothes too small to sort and pack away.
My kids went and played in there so kid toys were mixed in.
It made me itch and want to curl in a ball every time I opened the door.

Big old pile of dirty laundry in front of washer dryer closet…
and a big pile of clean unfolded-already folded once- clothes on my floor.

I went deep deep into keep kids alive-keep family happy-run a business-mode
since we moved to charlotte.
I am guilty of throwing my hands in the air. shouting out, “how do I do it all????
How am I supposed to do this??” Then comparison sneaks in and bites me in the butt…
Looking at other people and wondering what is her secret??
Why can’t I just get it together??
But this week… I was in a moment of judging myself and my shortcomings.
Big ol pitty party natalie time.
And I realized I needed to listen to what I tell other moms all the time.
Something I know… but don’t always put into practice.
You. Are. Enough.

What does that mean? Well I’ll tell you what it DOESN’T mean..
It doesn’t mean you are capable of getting it ALL done.
It doesn’t mean you are capable of having the picture PERFECT life.

To me, It means you are capable of finding true joy by
being and accepting who God created you to be.
You are enough… with your weaknesses and with your strengths.
You are worthy of His love and the joy He wants you to have in life!
God looks at me plenty I’m sure and goes oh girl.. natalie is a hot mess.
I love her. but she is riding the natalie train right now.
So often our surroundings and hearts can get chaotic and burdened because we put on ourselves so many tasks and demands of what we think we are supposed to be achieving.
I have found myself putting tasks out of order in true priority.
I’m really excited. And kinda proud of myself… for this week.
I slowed down. took a step back.. looked around and decide what I wanted.
But more importantly, what I thought HE wanted for me.
Where should I put my efforts?
I consciously chose to work towards…
less mess in our house
a refocused/prioritized work schedule
more undistracted family time.
Less comparison
more peace with where we are at!
And I’m taking steps to make that happen.
I kind of feel like I’m cleaning house and mind!
I feel like they really go hand in hand sometimes.
Is that strange?
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Call it spring cleaning coming early…but this house shook.
I was that crazy lady sorting and trashing and moving furniture and letting go.
I want to surround myself with as little stress as possible.
I can’t work or relax when I am surrounded by house chaos.
kid chaos..well…can’t really avoid that altogether. but I can take care of the house chaos.
I realized that meant NOT putting something aside to sort through later. Ohhh I’ll just put all these school papers and coloring pages here in this pile and sort through later. FAIL.
It’s been 3 months. sort trash move on! I’ll just put these size too small clothes on the dresser in their closest for later. FAIL. Micah just demolished your folded clothes.
So that’s what I’ve been doing. Following through with house
cleaning that I would much rather avoid by working.
I set limits on my daily work time and gave some time to things I had been pushing aside.
This is for me. This is for my family. I hit a point I was ready to get rid of all the things! haha. But Just STARTING and not pushing aside these little areas that build up in our house has helped a lot. I’m seeing changes and loving it. We have like 12 bags to goodwill.. someone else can enjoy that sweater I loved in between high school and college. It’s time ;)
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Less mess. less stress.
less comparison. more peace.
Less judging your failures… and more joyful living.
You are enough.
Now go fold your laundry and watch parenthood.

My Heart for 2015

2014 rocked my world. So many wonderful and beautiful moments
mixed in with defeated and gut wrenching (literally) moments.

A couple months into 2014, I spent 2 weeks in the hospital with doctor’s telling me I should be an episode of House. I thought I was going to just stop breathing from the pain in my abdomen. I seriously had a moment thinking, this is it… I don’t know how I can go on.
I felt god the closest ever in that episode. Ben and my mom were on either side of me
and I felt like He and Shannon were right there.7.tiff copy
I saw my kids hearts breaking while being away from me.
and my husband on his knees at my bedside hands clenched praying when
he thought I was asleep. I felt the prayers of friends and strangers and churches
through my blog lifting us up and praying for healing. During one of those
“how is this even possible” pain free moments- They found out the problem
and were able to go in and do surgery.16.tiff-copyMy scan is coming up in March. And lately, to be perfectly honest,  I’ve had incredible fear.
I know what I SHOULD think.. and stressing and worrying doesn’t help…
but it weighs on me. Picturing the worst happening. Trying to push aside the negative
thoughts and put it in His hands. Trying to remember the moments when we first got through
that time…. micah finally letting me hold him… actually being strong enough to hold him too! Sophia still brings it up.. saying mommy I was so sad. I cried all the time for you.
Every time they see my stomach and the scars it brings it back for them..just like it does me. But we got through that time. It was scary and overwhelming but It’s in the past.
The pain that I experienced caused them to run all the tests in the book and the
reason they found the 4 cm precancerous cyst on my pancreas that they said
would have no doubt turned cancerous. We joke that for lent I gave up my gall bladder , spleen and 20-30% of my pancreas. No cheating on Sundays though.
And actually I never get them back.38

We followed what we felt was God’s plan for us and moved to Charlotte this year.
I miss our friends back in Pittsburgh, but it’s been great being near my family and back down south. It feels like home. I’ve loved the friendships we have formed here.
Ben and I joke how it feels like college in Charlotte. Everyone wants friends and
is looking for community… I think it’s a southern thing too! But we are loving it
and thankful for taking that leap of faith and making this step.
View More: http://hiddenpearl.pass.us/lesnefsky
This video was when we first got down here.
On the way to the pool we did what we always do.
frozen it up. I love how sophia is in the background doing all the moves too haha.

There are places here in Charlotte that remind me of Shannon.
For new readers, Shannon was my childhood best friend and was violently
killed by the estranged father of her children. We lived in atlanta most of the years,
but when I went to college my parents moved to charlotte. So when I would come home
for break she would sometimes come up here. Every time I walk into my parent’s guest room
I remember tricia and her on the bed from when they drove up for a day trip to charleston!
I think at the time I felt like I would always have days like that with her.
Right after she was killed a voicemail from her randomly came through.
I missed her by a day. She was calling to touch base about when I was coming down
from pittsburgh to charlotte, we were going to meet there for a visit.
I wish that that could have happened before we lost her.
One last time to soak up time with her.IMG_6066

She was in my dreams last month.
I was in a house.. and she was there, but I couldn’t really see her face.. I just knew it was her. Our kids were playing.. and she started to tell me how she couldn’t explain to me till now that it was all a big plan to keep her kids safe from him. That she wasn’t really killed. That she staged it and escaped with her kids. Oh my gosh I just break down and cry typing this out. I mean, it’s my heart.. what I wish would have happened.. that she got away with them.
I was so distraught in my dream… I even woke up to use the bathroom and sit in my bed and when I fell back to sleep the dream came back right where it ended. I couldn’t shake it.
I was crying in my dream and in real life. I woke up that morning feeling
more exhausted than when I first went to bed.
I have the photos of us on my birthday above my desk. (the one above.. we have the same tee on just different colors. she made me a scarf that year like the one she is wearing.)
The other day I was in church with sophia. Right after communion I was kneeling down to pray. Sophia looks up at me from my side and says mom I’m gonna pray for micah(he was sick) and for your friend in heaven. She didn’t know what I was thinking.. or feeling. but sometimes I feel like God uses my sweet little ones to bring me comfort and blesses me in moments when I need that push to know He has her. She is ok. We are all gonna be ok.

I think friendship is an incredible gift. God places people in your path and some you know right away are going to leave a mark on you life for the better. Writing this I can’t help but crinkle my nose and hold back tears. Lately I’ve had a lot on my heart and desiring to take advantage of the time I have here. To put effort into friendships and to stop and listen for the ways He wants me to glorify Him. It’s amazing when you can feel Him leading you somewhere. When you stop and let go of your plan and listen for His….I’m overwhelmed and excited all at the same time. I’m sad that she can’t be here to do life with. But like she said, God is on our side so all is good.” Clinging to Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

With the end of 2014, I felt this push to change the way I do some things. To live with more intention and beyond my plans…but to refocus and jump on the ride He has for us!
I’m applying this stirring in my heart to my family life and my work life.
I’m excited for the new things we have been working on for HAPPY MOMMY BOX.
Our desire when we started the company was to encourage and inspire moms.
We were always kinda PC about it.. and we got to a point lately where it was like hold up.
We need to be authentic and be true to our hearts and desire to bless mothers and women. Be intentional with everything we do!
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We want to be very intentional with what we are putting out into the world.
What kind of mark do you want to leave on the world?
We want to impact mothers and reach them in the moments they need it the most!
We want to connect and build. We are getting to the heart of this with the upcoming changes. We are phasing out the monthly box after March as we focus on
these new projects for our HMB Moms! We’ll be sharing more
details on what’s next, but it’s awesome. and so us.
We recently celebrated our one year with a big party to celebrate motherhood.
I want to share more of the photos soon but here’s a few..and a video!
(photos by hidden pearl photography and video by charis)
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We’ve had so many 2014 family moments that I just want to sit and think back on for hours. Our kids ages this year were fun and exhausting haha. I just love them so much.
I love seeing my husband play and pray with them. I think experiencing the sadness and crosses in life make you so thankful for those days when everyone is healthy and together.
I live with a bunch of goofballs that make me laugh and want to do all the heart emojis.
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This year I’m jumping into 2015 wanting to take the bad and good, all of it….and live through it with intention. Everything is easier to get done and lived through when you do it with intention. I want to live intentionally with how I play and connect with my family. I want to live intentionally in how I work and connect with the women in our community.
Prioritize and live with His plan in mind. not mine.
pray hard, play hard. work hard.  I’m excited for this next year!
thebusybudgetingmama

Christmas Morning 2014 – VIDEO

Christmas Morning is one of my favorite days of the year and times to be a mom!
It was a great day! Happy Birthday Baby Jesus and thank you Mary for your yes!
I loved seeing our Craigslist/DIY gifts played with..after many late nights of crafting!
So thankful for our family and friends far away who thought of us and sent gifts! It was torture for the kids to not open them before, but so worth it! We wish we could spend Christmas morning with all of you!  We love having this video to look back on and it seems our you tube people do too! Our Christmas Morning 2012 video has over 53,500 views! Thanks for being a part of our family adventures through my blog! MERRY CHRISTMAS!

I always tell myself I’ll start earlier with wrapping…
but it always ends up being the night before… and I’m sewing felt sugar cookies,
wrapping and prepping Sausage Egg Strata till 2 in the morning. ;)
The kids woke up a little before 7. (Christmas miracleee!)
The step photos captured our kids in that moment perfectly!
There was no way I was gonna get all three to sit still for a photo…
not when they knew santa came!! They were a blurry giddy mess two steps down.
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It was such a fun morning…It’s giddy giggling screaming kids
for a good hour then it calms down a bit and they settle into playing.
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Heart was officially bursting at this point.
I LOVE how this year with their ages (2,4,6) they all played with everyone’s toys and together.
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Ben’s dad gave them the trampoline for Christmas… A SUPER HUGE HIT.
Found it on amazon searching for kid’s indoor trampoline.
I LOVE my new robe. I turned into my mom and wear one around the house. haha.
The kids snuggle up in them just like I did with my mom ;)
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I’ll be posting tutorials on the doll house and felt food soon!
These were my “after kids go to bed DIY projects” for the past few weeks and I love
how they turned out and seeing the kids play with them!christmas morning 2014-thebusybudgetingmama1I kinda of want to live in their doll house. Best $25 craigslist find ever.
And note to self.. next batch of felt food is all HEALTHY haha.. #givemeallthesugarchristmas morning 2014-thebusybudgetingmama7

The mom in me 5 years ago would have had a panic attack at the thought of doing this…
But three kids in…we are rolling with it! I think I said don’t eat the dough at least 5 times and saved the girls from rolling pin attacks from micah once or twice. ;)
But we are making memories gosh darn it!! haha.
Giddy staying up past bed time kids were loving every second.
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Merry Christmas from our crew to yours!!
Wishing you a blessed year with happy healthy loved ones.
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