Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Family Goals

I love a good goal to work towards and I'm always thinking in terms of goals and to dos.  

When we relocated in December, Kevin and I set some goals for our family.  I don't think I ever shared them here so I'm going to talk about them with you today.  I got the idea to do this because we hit a fun milestone that made us feel like we were making progress after moving in the winter.  That is a hard, lonely time of year to move.  I'll go into that another time.

Back to our family goals!  I don't have them posted anywhere, but we talk about them and pray about them as a family.  We currently have 5 goals and some are specific to relocating and others are just normal for us.


1. Make New Friends

It's been hard on everyone to move and have to start over in the friend department.  We all have friends that we are missing.  The kids have done great at school connecting with other kids.  We're working hard to connect with neighbors, church friends and build on relationships with cousins/family nearby.

Do you see this picture above??  This was the fun milestone I mentioned.  Some new friends knocked on our door after dinner with a delivery of warm donuts for us.  We were so surprised and it felt good to know new friends were thinking of us and wanting to do something nice for us.  The kids just kept saying that they were shocked to get a fun surprise like this.  We are usually dropping food off to people so it felt great to have someone going out of their way for us.

 

2. Find a Church Home

We have been going to the same church since February.  We have gotten into a good Sunday routine.  The kids are all feeling comfortable in their classes and are connecting with teachers/friends there.  We have lots of opportunities there so we are trying to figure out the best way for our family to connect.

 

3. Make Our House a Home

We are pretty much unpacked (although things like craft paint and our balloon air pump are still missing) so now we are working on arranging things like we want and figuring out what each room needs.  Our attention is being focused on yard stuff right now - grass, trees, plants and landscaping.  All those things are helping our space to feel personalized.  We have some inside projects on our radar that my dad will be helping us with and we need to hang stuff on the walls.  I'm also working on decluttering.  I dropped off a huge van load of stuff this month and plan to keep doing the same in the months to come.

 

4. Adventure Awaits

I'm always reminding myself that there are tons of free things and fun things I can do with the kids to take them on adventures.  Now that the weather has gotten nicer and school is almost out, we will be able to enjoy some new adventures together.  We've got big summer plans to find favorite parks, explore some new areas and find favorite things to do in Evansville for our first summer here.


5. We Can Do Hard Things

We still have conversations about missing our old city, our old friends and our old Summer routines.  We are super open with the kids and tell them that we miss our favorite things, too.  Kevin is missing his golf league, I'm missing my mom's group and our activities - we all have things that we miss.  But we're focusing our sights on the future and are determined to work together to make Evansville feel like home.

 

6. Eat Good Food

We all have our favorite foods so we try to incorporate a little something for everyone in the menu each week.  I'm packing good lunches, planning healthy meals, shopping for all our favorites, Door Dashing dinners to try new restaurants and grilling up some new things. I'd say we're all foodies in our own ways so we enjoy eating good food each day.


We're working together on all these things and helping the kids to see that goals help them get places!  Is your family working on any goals right now?

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

3 Things

I've got a random post of current things for you today.  3 things from each person in our family.

Olive:

1. She loves coffee, fun drinks and thinks it's the coolest when Kevin takes her to Starbucks.  He saves up all his rewards for fun drinks for her.

2. She loves all crafty projects.  She's currently learning to crochet.  The cats are thrilled with her yard collection and I wake up to yarn being strung all over the house courtesy of the cats.

3. Olive loves to chat.  When I tuck her in at night and ask what she wants to talk about she usually says, "SO MANY THINGS!"  She hung out with my parents last week and said she talked to Mimi nonstop.  haha

Fletcher:

1. He cannot wait for his 100 day weekend (AKA Summer)

2. He is a little fish in the water.  He ended last Summer as a pretty good swimmer and he's already a little fishy this year.

3. Fletcher is super tender hearted.  Leo hurried to the window to wave goodbye to us one morning.  It brought Fletch to tears to see him standing there all alone waving bye.  He's the first to tear up during sad parts of movies and he worries about sad things that happen at school.

Leo:

1. He's a toddler tornado.  He gets into all the things all the time.  His newest trick is running away from us so if you see me running like crazy to save him you'll know why.  He's in his stroller or in the cart when we are out and about because I can't trust him to stay with us.

2. He loves cars and anything with wheels.  Anytime we walk past a car he asks me What's this? and wants to know the color of the car.  So if you hear me saying red, black, gray, white as we're going through parking lots it's because I am naming colors for him.

3. Leo loves to play with rubber bands.  Give him a bowl full of rubber bands and he'll be happy for a good chunk of time.

Kevin & Whitney:

1. You might see us driving around town scoping out pretty trees for our yard.  Our tree guy is giving us addresses to go and see and we're making plans for our yard.  It's been a headache to work with our yard/sprinkler guy and we (mostly Kevin) is doing everything he can get keep grass alive and grow grass this first Summer in our new house.

2. It's fun to see Kevin doing a job that he loves.  He is working on exciting things, making new connections, being valued for his expertise and dreaming big dreams for his department.

3. We've got some summer trips on our radar and two weddings.  We are working hard to map out our Summer with a good mix of travel, adventure, routines and activities for the kids.  What is your go to wedding gift these days?  Shop from the registries, money, something sentimental!?  Give me all of your tips.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Nanaimo Bars

Have you ever had Nanaimo Bars?

I have seen recipes floating around for Nanaimo Bars (a Canadian treasure apparently!?) and after making them a couple of times, I have gotten my recipe just right!  Some recipes are nut free and some are coconut free.  Mine is heavy on the nuts and has coconut in them.  I will say that I do not LOVE coconut so don't be scared away from this recipe.  I like coconut a little and I love these bars.

 

I started with this recipe from Just So Tasty for Nanaimo Bars.  She goes into lots of details and made it my own.

This recipe has 3 steps (one for each layer) that require refrigeration after each one.  I promise they're simple and delicious.  It feels like a very fancy treat without all that much work.

Look at this slice of yum!  I love a thick bottom layer and pecans on top.



Ingredients:

Base/Bottom Layer:

1/2 softened real butter

1/3 c cocoa powder

1/4 c sugar

1 t vanilla

1 egg

1 1/2 c crushed graham crackers

3/4 c shredded coconut

1/2 c chunky chopped walnuts

1 c chunky chopped pecans

 

Middle Layer:

6 T real butter softened

2 T custard powder (I ordered mine from Amazon)

3 T Vitamin D milk or whole milk

2 c powdered sugar

 

Top Layer:

6 oz semi sweet chocolate chips

1 t crisco

2 T real butter

1/4 c chunky chopped pecans to sprinkle on top

 

Directions:

Chop all the nuts, crush the graham crackers and measure out all the ingredients so you'll be ready to dump them in.  Melt butter, cocoa, sugar and vanilla.  Stir until smoothly combined.  Add in the egg and mix nonstop until the mixture is smoothy and shiny.  Remove from the heat and add in the rest of the ingredients.  Stir until well combined and put in a greased 9x9 pan.  Press flat (if this layer is flattened well it will help the rest of the dessert layers to be nice and even) and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Add all the ingredients for layer 2 into your mixer.  Mix until well combined.  It'll look like a thick buttercream frosting.  Add to chilled layer 1 pan and chill for another 20 minutes.

Add all the ingredients for layer 3 into a saucepan and still until everything is melted smoothly.  Poor on top of layer 2 in the chilled pan and then top with pecans.  Refrigerate until you're ready to serve.  Slice into small pieces.  This treat is rich and bite size is the best size.  Enjoy!


Here's the step by step process in pictures.









 

I've shared this treat with several coconut lovers and they LOVED it!  I hope you give it a try.  Let me know if you have any questions.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!  I hope you've had a good week.  It all the sudden feels like Summer in the Midwest and we're wrapping up all the things to finish up the school year.  We are all ready for Summer break.

The best parts of our week were:

1 // In Person Events are Back!

We got invited to an end of the year party for everyone at UE at the president's house.  It was nice to get to meet some of Kevin's coworkers, enjoy a night out by ourselves (thanks Mom & Dad!) and get to actually go to an event!  Yay!

Date night accessories feel like a nice change of pace from my usual backpack full of kid stuff!  And don't you just feel extra good when you've got a new dress to wear!?

2 // Limping to the finish line

There are so many school things to remember and do this time of year.  I feel like we're all limping to the finish line.  It's all fun, and we're super thankful for all the festivities, but it's a lot.  Leo agrees :)  I couldn't quit laughing at him.  He insists on doing his own sunglasses.

3 // Water Challenge

I mentioned over on IG (@polkadottyplace) that I was trying out a new water drinking challenge.  Every time I refill my Hyrdaflow water bottle, I add a rubber band.  It helps keep me accountable and I am definitely drinking more water.

4 // Slow Mornings

I love slow mornings at home with Leo.  He's asking What's this? for the millionth time.

5 // Zesty Tomato Salad

This is the perfect Summer side dish.  It's so fresh and delicious and healthy.  If you didn't see my recipe earlier this week, click here for the recipe.  You can add in avocado right before you serve it or leave it out.  It's totally customizable for your tastes.

6 // Cat & Jack

I just love the Cat & Jack clothing lines for toddlers, boys and girls.  The options are so cute for all the kids!  We stocked up on some new tees, new tops and new swimsuits.  Isn't this toddler outfit so cute!?  I love all things floral so I can't wait to see Leo in this outfit.

7 // Home Hack

If you're trying to track down workers for projects at your house, I have a tip for you.

We have had trouble connecting with some workers as we are trying to finish up things with our new build.  I knew a worker would be coming to work on a particular spot, but I didn't know who would show or when they would come.  I wrote this note, weather proofed it in a ziploc and then taped it down to the spot they would be working on.

It worked like a charm!  The worker knocked on my door just like I asked.  I got to ask him all of my questions and he pointed me in the right direction.  He could do one job and then I needed to call our plumber for the second job.  Hooray!

8 // Star Student

Fletcher got to be the Star Student this week!  Moving mid year meant that some of the things we had hoped to get to do might not happen.  I was thrilled that his teacher worked him into the rotation :)

9 // New things

Leo is learning new things all day, every day.  He woke up one morning and gave me a big thumbs up.  He's learning new words and new tricks.  2 year olds are wild and fun little people.

10 // Pool Party

We got to go to my sister's house for a pool party for my nephew.  He turned 14 and the kids had a great time swimming & celebrating him.  He blew out his candles poolside and then we all enjoyed a cookout.  Both Olive and Fletcher have turned into such good swimmers!  Big kids are fun.


11 // Walking & Biking

Leo and I have been going on power walks most days.  We briskly walk through the neighborhood and then he gets to ride his "go go" (bike) when we get back home.  He's getting better and better at his balance bike skills.  Make deals with your kids to get exercise in.  We walk and then we bike.  Or my older kids can scooter/bike with me when I walk.  That way you're working together to get your exercise in every day.

12 // Organizing

I'm slowly, but surely making my way through all of our closets.  We moved so quickly and tried to settle in fast which meant that lots of boxes and stuff got shoved into closets.  My big kid's closet was a mess so I spent less than an hour fixing it this week.  Look at the difference!  We are all so much happier with this space.  Onto my big pantry next.


13 // Kids Say

Fletcher calls soft taco shells TACO BUNS and I love it.

Olive says Opposed instead of Supposed.  He's not opposed to do that.

Leo calls his bike his GO GO.

14 // Construction Zone

We've had a front row seat to construction this week.  Leo has been thrilled to watch all the vehicles come and go.  We have some big plans for tree planting in our backyard soon and the road work doesn't seem to be that close to being done.  Win win for this car loving guy.



Cheers to the weekend!

I hope you have a fantastic one.  Linking up with Momfessionals

 

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Summer Flower Tour

I'm excited to share a Summer flower tour with you today!

Have you planted your Summer flowers yet?

We've been working hard on our pots and our landscaping.  You know that I love my plants - so I'm still getting over all the beautiful flowers and plants we left behind at our last house.  I learned a lot and am eager to replant my favorites at our new house.  We've got plans to add some trees, but that probably won't happen for a few more weeks.  We may also plants some herbs - like one big her pot -, but I don't think I'm up for a veggie garden this year.

My flowers are all pretty much full sun.  I've got ferns at my front and back doors in shady spots.

I did a mix of plants that I love and plants the kids picked out.  I made an effort to add in purple this year since it's Kevin's school color.  We seem to be adding more purple in everywhere.  They're almost all sun loving for the pots and I love a good variety of colors.  The pots always look so skimpy when you first plant them but I promise that they'll fill out to be beautiful!

Local people, Evansville has some pretty flower options.  I've gotten flowers at Meijer and Lowes and Colonial.  Meijer is probably my favorite because that's where I'm used to getting flowers.  Lowes is a solid option and Colonial is pretty pricey.

I'm hoping these work out because I love the variety.

Asparagus fern

Grass

Orange/yellow Lantana

Purple petunias

Red geraniums

& Sweet Potato Vine


Lantana, sweet potato vine, asparagus vine and petunias.


Impatiens & more shade loving plants.


Some landscaping came with the house which was a fun surprise.  We are working to add to it to personalize it for our taste.  I added Lantana along the front walk, lavender plants, English daisies, a lily because Kevin loves them and a few other plants.  I'm hoping it all fills in and looks pretty.  The grasses, holly bushes, crepe myrtle and yellow bushes came with the house.




I have big dreams of Magnolia bushes, Limelight hydrangeas, trees and butterfly bushes.  Stick around in the years to come as we slowly add to our gardens.  Happy gardening!

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Zesty Tomato Salad

I have the yummiest Summer side dish for you!  

It's fresh, easy and light.  I love a healthy side dish option.  I started with this recipe from Skinny Taste - Corn Tomato Avocado Salad - and then edited it to work for me.  You can easily customize the ingredients to fit your family.

It's so pretty!

 

Ingredients:

mix of colorful little tomatoes (I love the red, dark red and yellow mix)

3 skinny little cucumbers

3 ears of corn

2 green onions chopped

chopped purple onion (leave this in big chunks if you want some to be able to pick it out)

1 avocado

drizzle of Olive oil

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

salt and pepper to taste


Directions:

Cook your corn in the microwave and slice it off the cob once it cools down.

Wash/chop everything else.

Combine all the veggies (save the avocado until the very end) and then drizzle olive oil, lemon zest and juice and add salt and pepper to taste.  Stir and serve.  

**If you are not going to serve and eat this immediately, wait to add in the avocado until right before you serve it to keep everything really fresh.  It's delicious with or without the avocado.



I took this to a BBQ and it was a big hit.  It's so good for Summer.  This recipe will be on repeat for me until grilling season is over :)

Monday, May 9, 2022

Mother's Day Recap

I hope you had a Happy Mother's Day weekend celebrating your favorite ladies in your life.  

It was a sweet one at our house! 

Big hugs from me to you if this Mother's Day was hard for you for any reason.  I've got a long list of friends I'm praying for who'd love to grow their family, start their family or just need a little extra love in the Mom department.  I'm thinking of you and praying for you daily.

Lots of handmade gifts from the kids, church, plants, family and sunshine.  We always head to the garden center to pick out plants for my pots.  The kids were really helpful and had big opinions this year.  We got them earlier in the week and planted them.  I learned a few years ago that it's not fun to jam everything into a day or two.  We like to spread out the fun and festivities all week long.

Sunday best from a fun morning at church.

 

Garden center helpers.  We've done this for enough years that they've got big thoughts and opinions on their favorite flowers for our pots.  We've been scoping out all the tree options for our yard and I think we have a plan in place.

We're adding more purple into our lives every chance we get :)

Fletcher loves picking flowers for me when we go on walks.

Mother's Day breakfast!  Jacque invited us to coffee & donuts at the park.  Good times were had by all! 



To me, from me.  My #1 favorite dessert: Cheesecake!!  I tried something new - these bite size cheesecake squares from Sams.  They stay frozen and you can just thaw them as you need them.  They were so good!

We played outside a lot.  The kids love digging in the dirt!  We're still waiting on grass over there, but in the meantime they are thrilled to dig.

I woke up to gifts and happy faces yesterday. 

The kids surprised me with coffee service.  They said they did their best to make my iced coffee just like I like it and Kevin got me roses.

From: Fletcher - he painted this vase for me at school and his teacher did his silhouette.  So sweet!

From Olive: She wrote out all the adjectives that describe me (sunny, safe and stylish were my favorite!) and then painted me a pot to grow flowers in.  She also made me a post it note coupon book full of coupons I would like - no fighting, help cleaning up, etc.

Then they each made me thumbprint bookmarks in their Sunday School classes!

I opted for a brunch at home because it was just easier.  Anyone else prefer to cook rather than go out and wait in crowded restaurants with little kids??  It just feels good to eat good food at home.

My biscuit station was a big hit!  Everyone got to pick their butter/jam combos.


From Leo: Snuggles :)

Kevin and I saw both of our moms, some aunts and grandmas to wish them happy days in person.  Then we ended the weekend with a pool party for my nephew.  Lots of fun family time :)

This lady gets my vote for #1 MOM :)