Meet April Bondi, a Mother of two, full time homebody and part time adventurer living in Pennsylvania.
What is the date today?
Wednesday December 16th 2020
What do you fill your days with?
Our usual day is pretty boring but in the best way, usually filled with washing bottles, picking up after the littles, laundry, homeschooling my oldest and making a million snacks a day because my youngest hates actual food these days. When the weather is nice, we spend as much time outside as possible, exploring and skateboarding. On weekends when my husband is off work we like to go hiking or to the lake. I'm a twenty-something stay at home mama to two little wilds, I guess you could say I'm a work at home mama as well since I blog and do photography, most of my creative work is done after my kiddos go to bed and I'm perpetually sleep deprived so I can get a little quiet time!
Where do you live?
We live in the state of Pennsylvania in the USA. I'm originally from Missouri but moved to Pennsylvania when my husband and I got married. I've lived here for over 8 years now. My favorite places here are the state parks, Lake Erie is one of my favorite places on earth (the next best place to the ocean), I love the forests nearby and Lake Arthur is where we usually find ourselves multiple times a week during the warmer months (I love floating in the water). I love a lot about Pennsylvania, but also dislike a lot too, like the never ending cold winters, and that it's so far away from the ocean. We're planning to move to a warmer climate that's closer to the ocean next autumn (looking at you South Carolina) and I could not be more excited to raise our babies near the sea. Until then, we'll be bundled up here all winter staying cosy with warm soups and sweaters, and heading to the lake every weekend as soon as the weather gets warm again.
Who is in your family?
Our family is Frank (my husband), April (me), Bella (age 7) and Bodhi (age 2).
What has been the most surprising part for you so far in your motherhood journey?
Probably just how much love I can feel! Until I became a mother, I never knew it was possible to love someone so much. I mean, growing a little person for nine months, giving birth and holding them for the first time, looking at their tiny faces and seeing the perfect combination of both you and the person you love. It's incredible. Seeing all the new things they do as they grow, watching them change and find their own little personalities and likes and interests, it's all so awesome. For a long time I honestly struggled with my kids growing older, but now, even though I still miss the teeny tiny babies they used to be, I find such joy in all of the new things they constantly do.
What was most important to you when you were setting up your kids spaces?
A combination of functionality and aesthetic. I'm a very visual person so it's important for me that things look a certain way (even if it takes time), I tend to lean towards a minimal and simple look. I used to be all about neutrals, which I still adore, but I've been incorporating some earthy toned colours for my kids sake. I can pretty much guarantee you won't find me using super bright, neon or primary colours anytime soon. When decorating a space, whites and creams are always my first go to (you might be surprised that they're usually not that difficult to keep clean even with kids), they're so calming and I love how they instantly brighten up a space. I think I honestly started gravitating towards that colour scheme out of necessity, our apartment doesn't have many windows so I try to find any way to brighten up the space that I can. Actual colour-wise, I love sage and rust. Since we live in 700 Square foot, I had to be mindful of space, and since our kiddos share a room, I've kept it pretty gender neutral with natural colors and textures. It was very girly before, and I liked it, but I love love love how it looks now. It has something for both kids and works perfectly for both of them, all while blending nicely with the rest of our home.
Do you have any tips for setting up a home and kids area space?
Find what style you love. If you don't already know what your home design/décor style is, pinterest and Instagram are both great places to start to find inspiration. Don't compare your home to others, I know it can be difficult sometimes when you see perfectly curated spaces all over social media, but I promise you, our home is more often messy than not (there's usually a hamper of clean laundry that needs folded or toys all over the floor just outside the frame). Take your time finding the perfect pieces for your space, it can get expensive in a hurry if you try to decorate a space in a month. Quality over quantity is always better when it comes to home décor and furniture, you are going to get what you pay for. If an item I love is more money than I'd like to pay, I'll either try to find it second hand or save up for it. Saving up for an item is a great way to ensure that you actually really want the item too, there's been times when I was like "I'll save up for this" and then I ended up finding something that I liked better while I was saving. There have also been times when I saved up for a really pricey item and it became an investment piece, something I knew was great quality and would last for years, and I still love those items more than a lot of purchases because of how much time and effort went into saving up for them. As for setting up a kids space, find what they are interested in and go with a little bit of that for décor, my kiddos love the ocean and skateboarding. You can even use items and toys from their interests as décor when they're not playing with or using them. Keep it fun, keep it light, calm, simple and keep it functional are my go-to rules when setting up a kids space.
Do you have any self care tips or rituals you like to do?
This is something I need to work on a little bit, but I do make a smoothie almost every day, filled with all the healthy goodness of things like hemp hearts and chia seeds (pineapple, strawberries, oat milk, chia seeds, hemp hearts, vitamin c and turmeric is one of my favorite smoothie combinations) and bonus points because the kids love them too. I've recently started using some fun products every day, after my shower I spritz my face with an organic rose water toner (it smells amazing and makes my skin feel great) and I also started using a sea salt spray in my hair (that smells just like coconut). So those are all things that I look forward to every day. Sometimes it's just great to turn on some good music and have a dance party with the kids too if the day isn't going as planned, it usually makes everyone's mood better (Sunday Best by Surfaces and Better Together by Jack Johnson are a couple current favorite songs). When the weather is good, it also feels so great to get some time in on my skateboard. I have wanted to learn for most of my life, and I took it up earlier this year, and I'm so glad I did. I'm not very good at it yet (or maybe ever) but it's just so much fun and something that always recharges me. When it's sunny out, I love soaking up all the sunshine and walking barefoot outside and grounding!
Your best mama hack or hacks?
Keep those glass baby food jars! They're perfect for so many things, from holding water to rinse paint brushes, to storing spices, hair pins or vitamins. I use them to store milk powder when I know we won't have access to a fridge while hiking or travelling! My second favourite hack is freezing any fruit you plan to make into smoothies, it cuts down on anything spoiling in the fridge and also makes your smoothies thicker and richer (since you don't have to use ice).
What are your Christmas plans this year?
Just a simple Christmas for us, staying at home (which is the norm for us). Christmas Eve we'll probably make homemade pizzas. We each get a new pair of pajamas and probably a new book for the kids. Christmas Day we'll open Christmas stockings and gifts by the tree, make a nice dinner and maybe watch a holiday movie. I'm planning on making pineapple brown sugar ham, homemade marinara sauce with pasta (maybe even try making homemade pasta this year too), a salad and of course cheesecake.