Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Unlikely Man Cave

I was so excited to put together a man cave for Kevin in our new house.

He's a HUGE Notre Dame fan.

His 5th grade teacher introduced him to Notre Dame.  Her son was a student there while Kevin was in her class.  He set his goals to go to ND when he was in elementary school and never looked back.  He's been obsessed ever since and taught me to love Notre Dame, too.  We really love cheering for the Irish together.

We've been collecting ND things for years.  We have pictures from football games, collectibles, autographed items and all kinds of fun vintage items.

I knew it would be fun to decorate a space with this stuff.  I just knew he'd love it.

I found the perfect spot... in our half bathroom!

Let me give you a tour of this tiny bathroom.  It just makes us smile every time we go in :)

I still have some pictures I'd like to frame and hang, but it's done for now.

We can't wait for another season of Notre Dame football to kick off this Saturday!!

Hoping for a fun year of football (and more wins than last year!!)

Do you have a man cave at your house?  Who do you cheer for?

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Day in the Life

I've been wanting to document our daily routine all summer and I'm finally getting around to doing it today.  I feel this big shift coming with Olive starting school this Fall.  We have been in total control of our schedules and days for 4 years and now we're giving up some of that control to a school schedule.  I think it'll be just fine.  It will force us to use our days off for all the fun and flexibility.

I snapped pictures of our regular activities all during the week last week to come up with this post.  It felt easier that documenting every single thing in one day.  My last Day in the Life post was right before Fletcher was born.  Lots has changed since March 2016

Summer 2017 Routine
Olive: 4 years old
Fletcher: 17 months

(Olive + Fletcher riding Sandy.  Fletcher was in heaven.  Olive got head butted.)

7:45/8:00am My kiddo alarm clock goes off.  The kids alternate who wakes up first and when one is up they insist on finding the other immediately.  They're really getting to a sweet age to play together.  They both want milk first thing.

8:15am Cartoons and breakfast.  I pack Kevin's lunch and we send him off for the day.  Everyone goes to the front window to wave bye and blow kisses.  Their #1 favorite breakfast is French Toast Sticks with dry cereal being a close second.  Olive loves Paw Patrol and was telling me about some pup adventure over breakfast.

 9:00 Time to get ready.  I do my make up and hair while the kids play.  Pause to get the kids dressed and ready.  We usually try to race to see how fast we can all get ready.  Then I get dressed last.  We go on a long walk almost every day.  Some times it is in the morning and other days we wait until Kevin gets home from work.  If we don't go on a walk then we head out for errands, appointments or a play date with friends.

10:00 Get back home and play in the backyard.  The kids swing, play in the rock pit or sand box.

10:45 Do some fun learning activity together.  Olive is currently loving this PreK workbook.  She's working on her letters and sounds and Fletcher is eating crayons and ripping pages.  We use the island all day long - for crafts, for school work, to eat and just to climb.

11:15 Run Errands
I always try to run errands before lunch.  We made a quick run through the grocery store.  Both kids are usually pretty happy grocery shoppers.  Fletcher is at the stage where he's constantly trying to climb out of the cart or trying to throw the things I put in the cart onto the floor.  I usually end up sweating trying to keep him and the groceries inside the cart.  We stroll through the toy aisles, check out the fish tanks, scope out the birthday cakes and try to remember to grab everything on our list.  That is assuming one of the kids didn't drop or shred my list in the shopping trip.

12:00 Fix lunch.
I prep the kids lunches and they get busy eating.  They are both good eaters and always eat a big lunch.  Then I rock Fletcher for his nap.  I will snuggle him before nap/bedtime as long as he will let me.  I usually eat lunch after he goes down for a nap around 12:30

1-3:00 Nap / Quiet Time
Fletcher naps for a solid 2-2.5 hours every afternoon.
Olive catches up on her shows, books, crafts and plays with toys during this time.
I usually do dishes, tidy up the whole house and work on blog related things.
I also grab an iced coffee at some point and Olive gets a snack.  Smoothies have been her fave.
The cats seem extra friendly when Fletcher is asleep haha.  Olive has gotten really good with them and I'll find them hanging out with her regularly.

International Delight Light Iced Mocha is my #1 fave drink.

3:15 Wake up slow.
Both kids want a snack & snuggle when nap time is over.
Pretzels, goldfish, fruit and dry cereal are their favorite snacks.

3:30 Outside Fun.
We will meet friends at the park, play in our backyard, go for a walk, take care of our flower gardens or anything else we can think of to be outside.  If the weather doesn't cooperate, we will watch a show or a movie while we play inside.

4:30 Book club
We gather together to read some of our favorite books.  Right now they're mostly school themed.  This doesn't always happen in the afternoon.  We just fit it in at some point during the day.

5:00 Keep Busy Before Dinner!
We will make a fun treat together, play with our toys or do whatever it takes to keep everyone happy before dinner.  We might go on a family walk, work on a project, hang out together or read soem books.

5:45 Dinner Prep
Kevin's usually home by now so we trade off who's playing with the kids, watching some news and working on dinner prep.  Some nights he grills or gets take out and other nights I do all the dinner prep.  It's so helpful to have him play with the kids while I cook.

At some point during the day I usually end up cleaning up some giant mess.  This week Fletcher figured out how to spray the water out of refrigerator dispenser, dumped a whole box of linguine after he found the pantry door open.  He's such a busy boy!

6:45 Dinner clean up and play
I clean up the kitchen and we pick one more thing to do - games, toys, play outside.  Then it's bath time and head to bed around 8:00.  The kids have loved helping us with our gardens.

8:15 Clean up and put clean kids to bed!
We all work together to clean up the toys and messes we've made.  We make a game of cleaning up the toys so it goes pretty quickly.  Whether it's a sink bath or a real bath, we like to put the kids to bed clean.  Kevin usually puts Olive to bed and I put Fletcher to bed.  Then I will go into Olive's room to answer a million questions along with her stall tactics for bedtime.

9:15ish Snoozing Kids
Fletcher goes to bed FAST.  Books, bottle, prayers and snuggles.
Olive goes to bed SLOW.
She has a million things to talk about and it seems to take something like forever.
Questions, drinks, potty, playing, books, more questions, foot rubs, etc.

10:00 Alone time.
Kevin and I try to soak in the quiet during these hours.  He's usually got some reading to do for work and I do some reading of my own.  We have dessert together and then he heads to bed before me.  I'd love to start watching a show together, but for now we just enjoy being in the same room together.  We talk about our days and go over the plan for the following day.

12:00ish I try to head to bed around midnight.  I work on a long to do list after everyone goes to bed.  Chores, projects, DVR, blog reading, blog writing, etc.  I get a ton of stuff done at night.

Not super exciting, but that's how we spend our days right now!

I just finished reading the best book called Slow Down: Embracing the Everyday Moments of Motherhood by Nichole Nordeman.  Have you heard her song Slow Down?  I had, but I love the Slow Down book even better.  It seems like the perfect book to read this time of year with all the kids heading back to school and seeming so grown up.  I love the message of slowing the pace of your life down and enjoying the moments with your children.  Children grow up.  It's a fact, but there's plenty of things you can do to slow down the pace of life to enjoy the years of parenting your little ones.  I loved the message of appreciating your children for who they are, being vulnerable with other moms, savoring the moments without micromanaging them, creating family traditions and savoring the JOY in raising children.  The collaborative writing from all kinds of moms to tell their stories and their mothering advice was refreshing.  It was fun to hear all of the voices speak to the things they've learned about mothering.  Slow Down is a quick read that you're sad to see end.  The parenting advice is encouraging and not preachy.  Each chapter ends with a couple questions and blank pages for you to answer.  The sets of questions really make you think about your family and your kids.  The set up of this book would make an excellent book club or book to read with friends.  I'd highly recommend this book to any mom.
* I was gifted this book in exchange for an honest review of it.

It's time to link up with my favorite Tuesday Talk ladies and Momfessionals.
Be sure to join us with a fun post.

Monday, August 28, 2017

August Recipe Round Up

Happy Monday!  Hope you had a great weekend.  We had a BUSY, but good one.

It was a delicious month at our house!  I cooked a lot of good food and am anxious to share these yummy meals with you.  I fix dinner for my family 5-6 nights a week.  I love to find easy recipes that take less than 30 minutes to prep, are colorful and crowd pleasing!

Hope you find a new recipe or two you'd like to try for your family!

Pile all of your favorite taco toppings on a plate and enjoy!  I ate it without chips or tortilla shells for a healthier dinner option.  I also loved the presentation of this dinner!  It was so fun to eat.

2. Strawberry Stack
Dice up your favorite pound cake and make a huge pile of strawberries, cool whip & pound cake.  It was amazing!!  My favorite pound cake recipe

3. Cheeseburger Salad
We had a few cookouts this month that left us with some leftover cheeseburgers + toppings.  I chopped up the burger with all of my favorite burger toppings to make a delicious salad.  It was the perfect, light lunch.  The pickles were my favorite part!  I didn't use any dressing, but a drizzle of mustard would have been delicious.

4. Teriyaki Turkey Meatballs + Stir Fry
We love this teriyaki stir fry!  It's such an easy dinner to throw together and my whole crew will eat it.  You can find the recipe here 

5. Face Plate
My 4 year old told me that fun lunch plates taste better :)
I put all of her favorite things on a plate and made a funny face.
It was a huge hit.

6. Smoothies
We have been making smoothies almost daily at our house.  My kids LOVE them and they're a great treat option to help us cool off.  I lay out all of the fruit/veggie options on the counter and then let my daughter grab whatever she wants to put in.  She calls herself a smoothie chef and happily grabs handfuls of spinach to add to her smoothie!  Hooray :)

7. My most favorite pie in the world - Strawberry Pie - my recipe

8. Stuffed Pepper Casserole
I wrote about this recipe earlier in the month and it was AMAZING!  I cannot wait to make it again.
You can find the recipe here

Have you tried any new recipes lately??
Now I'm starving!!  Which recipes are you anxious to try???
I'm linking up with 2 of my favorite cooking ladies today
and we're all sharing our best recipes from the month.

Linking up with Southern Plate

Katie @ Cup of Tea
New Recipes to Try

Whitney @ Come Home for Comfort
What We're Eating

Head over to their blogs to see what delicious meals they are sharing this month!
 We've also started a Pinterest Board called
New Recipes We've Tried and Loved!
Be sure to check it out and get some great ideas for meals at your house.

Friday, August 25, 2017

6 Dollar Tree Faves

I'm excited to share my favorite things with you from my latest visit to The Dollar Tree.  I try to stop in my store seasonally to pick up fun things for the kids and to pick up some of my favorite staple items.  I love their straws, stationery, plastic table cloths, holiday decor, disinfecting spray and candy.  There is always a random assortment so I try to go with a list, but keep an eye out for things that are a great deal.

I found lots of good stuff this trip and wanted to share everything with you. 

These are such a great size, $1, and are perfect for storing toys or giving as a gift basket.  I picked up a blue one to hold a baby gift and then 4 white ones for toys.  They also came in red and green.  They are really deep and fairly sturdy for the price.  They look very similar to containers I've purchased at Target for almost $10.  They have stripes along the side and two handles.  The plastic is also flexible so it isn't something the kids could step on and crack.

My helpers thought they made the best hats.
It was hilarious to watch them play and entertain themselves all afternoon with these buckets.

The baskets live in our window seat full of toys right now.

I LOVE the thank you note selection at Dollar Tree.  It's $1 for either a 6 or 8 pack of cute thank you notes + envelopes.  I picked up 4 different varieties, some Troll stickers and these food storage containers.

Teacher gift idea: We are taking Olive's teachers cookies for her preschool open house next week.  I thought these would be perfect to hold apple shaped sugar cookies with a thank you for teaching Olive note.  Stay tuned for more details on teacher gift ideas :)

Aren't those little ice cream cone thank yous so cute??
They had tons of characters stickers for $1.  There are a ton of stickers inside and this price is much cheaper than I've seen elsewhere.  I'm saving these stickers as a fun reward for Olive.

I know it's a wee bit early to be talking Fall, pumpkins and cooler weather, but I can't help it.  The pumpkins are out in the stores so you've got to get them while they're well stocked.  I"m definitely not ready to decorate for Fall, but it makes me happy to add a few pumpkins to our patch.

These ceramic pumpkins are SO PRETTY!  I think I've picked up several every year for the past few years.  I have a nice collection and they definitely look nicer than $1 pumpkins.  I think they could pass for Hobby Lobby decor that would easily be $4-5 a pumpkin.  The paint is speckled, multicolored or they have a metallic finish.

My friend Whitney found some burlap pumpkins at her Dollar Tree so keep your eyes peeled for those, too.  My store didn't have any yet.  Here's a link to her Pre Fall Dollar Tree Haul Video.  She also mentions some really cute calendars to keep your eye out for.

Bonus: My kids love helping me decorate for the holidays.  I like involving them and knowing that our decorations didn't break the bank.  If a pumpkin gets broken, it was only $1.

We are more than ready to kick off football season.  I found these sweet football snack bowls and thought they'd be great for the kids.  We always fix yummy game day apps on the weekend.  These bowls will allow the kids to have a fun snack bowl and I won't have to worry about them breaking one of our football dishes.  They came in a 2 pack for $1.

What are your favorite items from The Dollar Tree lately??
Did I miss anything?

My store was putting out Halloween stuff, but the spooky decor didn't really speak to me.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!!
We have several back to school gatherings to host or go to so it'll be a busy weekend for us.

Week in Review @ Polka-Dotty Place

Monday: So Long Summer!
Tuesday: Mint Standard Clothing: Must Have Dress!
Wednesday: Ocean Vibes

Linking up with