Friday, February 3, 2023

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, Friends!  And Happy February!  January was a slow month so I'm excited for a fresh start in February.  We had a good week despite very few things happening as planned.  We got a surprise ice storm in Southern Indiana and life shut down for a few days.  All of our regular routines were cancelled, but we still managed to squeeze in a birthday party, date night, playing outside, got lots of snuggles and movies and work!

Did you catch my blog posts this week?

Tips for Doing Family Pictures with a Large Group

Sneaky Ways to Save Money

Take Care of the Quick Fixes

Now on to my favorite moments of the week:

1  // Work Date

Kevin has had a REALLY big, important week at work this week and he needed some extra help.  My parents hung out with the kids while we got all the things done at his office.  I did some organizing, decorating, admin stuff and helped him prepare.  We grabbed a quick dinner at our favorite local pizza spot - Turonis afterwards.  They were doing the weekly basketball show so it was fun to see the coach and team there.  Then we hurried home just as the ice started!

2 // Ice Skating

Olive got invited to an ice skating birthday party for one of her good friends from school.  I was proud of her for trying something new and really enjoying it!  Kevin went with her and sent me several pictures.  He's good at ice skating so she was happy to have him teach her.

3 // Sour Patch Hearts

Have you tried these yet!?!  They are my favorite!  I love the flavors and the texture.  I already ate one bag that I bought the kids for Valentine's Day so I had to buy them another one.

4 // Winter Sunsets!

The sky lit up one evening and we looked out the door to see this beautiful sight!  It was freezing, but the kids wanted their picture with the sunset.  What a view!

5 // New Favorite Phrases

Leo spends his day doing dangerous things and saying Watch this, Mom! or Wook at me!  He got this little pogo stick toy for Christmas and is eager to show off his tricks.

6 // Jordan Bakery Box

I got a fun order for birthday cookies for a dinosaur party this week!  They turned out so cute!  Then I finished the week with Valentine's Day orders.

7 // Movies!

We are watching Lego Masters, The Rise of Gru, the new Matlida and Hook.  We love piling on our giant couch upstairs and watching shows together in the evenings.  Bonus if it includes Candy Corn (candy topped popcorn!) or homemade milkshakes.

8 // Kitty Love

The cats got lots of extra attention all week long with the kids home extra.

9 // Hold My Hand

As the sweetest baby of the family, Leo does his share of waiting in pick up lines.  He's been asking to for me to hold his hand while we wait and it's my favorite.

10 // Ice Storm!

I really had no idea we were supposed to get any winter weather this week so when it started to ice Monday night I took notice.  Thankfully, I try hard to always keep our fridge/pantry stocked so we were just fine.  Look at this ice rink that we woke up to the next day!  The kids had the best time skating, sledding on ice, ice mining and playing on the ice.  We're still hoping for a big snow or two before winter is done, but this ice was nice.  Kevin's campus was closed, the kids were off of school and we had nowhere we had to be.  I know that weather and cancellations are a big pain a lot of times, but we enjoyed the extra time together.

11 // SLOW

We had to slow down the pace of our week and enjoy just being home.  There were perks for sure!  I missed plans with friends and plans at church, but tried hard to focus on the positives of slow mornings together at home.

12 // Virtual Learning

Kevin posted his recorded lectures, zoomed into meetings and had phone calls.

The kids had work to do on their own timeline.

I had to try to contain Leo so that everyone else could get their work done.

It was chaotic, but we made it work.

Weeks like this make me extra thankful for their wonderful teachers, school and jobs.  We had fun learning at home, but we all thrive when we're learning in person at school.

Penny LOVES Fletcher.  She is his shadow when he's at home so she loved having him home all day.

How was your week?  Did you get any ice?  I hope you had a good one!

I will see you back here on Monday.

Linking up with Momfessionals

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Take Care of the Quick Fixes

Are there things around your house that are problem areas that could be taken care of with a quick fix?

Fix them this month!

I've got a few examples of things that have been problem areas that I have been working to fix in the new year.  They have all been inexpensive and made all the difference.

1. A Stocked Homework Station

Our pencils all needed sharpened and our erasers were all used up.  I would have to grab several pencils just to get one that was sharpened and one that had a good eraser at homework time.  It added stress to our homework routine.  I decided one day to sharpen all the pencils and added a pack of eraser pencil toppers to my grocery pick up order.  Problem solved for under $2.  Homework gets off to a much better start now that the pencils are all ready to go!

2. Valentine Shopping

Fletcher needs class valentines and Olive's class is doing a different project.  I ordered everything we needed on Amazon or grabbed it at the store in January.  This way we're all set up to assemble valentines for school in a few days.  We won't have to scramble at the last minute to get what we need.

3. Towel Hooks

Our primary bathroom only came with one towel rack.  It's not enough, but I haven't found another spot or another towel rack that I love.  I grabbed some towel shower hooks for our glass door.  They're great!  The towels dry and are up off the floor.  I solved the problem myself without drilling any holes in the walls.

They come in several finish options and hold the towels really well with their nonslip grip on the hooks.  They look expensive, but are just under $12. 



These have all been quick fixes that have made my life easier!  A few other fixes that are on my radar for February are: find some tall, skinny baskets for my pantry floor, print current photos to fix frames we already own and sort out the wall art I have for our house and have Kevin help me hang it.

What quick fixes could you take care of this month?

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Sneaky Ways to Save Money

The prices of everything from groceries to household goods are really increasing right now.  It's kind of disheartening to see how your money doesn't go as far as it used to a few years ago.  I am always on the hunt for ways to save us money.  I'm excited to share some sneaky money saving tips with you today.

1 // Eat at Home

Keep your fridge and pantry stocked with meal options that your family enjoys.  I know that groceries are high, but eating out is even more expensive. You will still save money by eating at home.  My crew wanted soup and sandwiches for lunch one weekend.  I made this for all of us for under $10.  It likely would have cost us $10+ per person to go out to lunch somewhere.  Challenge yourself to keep quick and easy foods on hand for easy meals.  It'll save you lots of money!

2 // Compare Prices

I've been on the hunt for some new walking shoes.  I finally found some that were comfy that I really liked.  The price seemed high at Shoe Carnival so I did a quick Amazon price comparison.  The exact same shoe in my size was $79.99 on Amazon.  I was shocked!  We paid for the kid's shoes that they'd picked out and I went home and ordered mine on Amazon.  I paid for both of the kid's shoes with my savings.  Hunt around if you need to buy something new to make sure you are getting the best deal.

3 // Save and Reuse

If you order from Door Dash or get take out regularly, save your extra sauces and reuse them for other meals.  Door Dash isn't cheap, but it is cheaper than taking our family out to a restaurant.  We always save our sauces in a gallon ziploc and then I reuse them for dinners.  I'll show you how below.


I used a can of chicken, packets of bold bbq sauce, shredded cheese and these mini Naan flatbreads from Aldi.  It made the yummiest bbq chicken pizzas for us.  It felt good to have all this bbq sauce saved to reuse for another dinner.

4 // Use What You Have

Go through you bathroom cabinets and use up the toothpaste, make up, hair products, etc that you already own before buying new.  I'm currently using a toothpaste I don't love because I didn't want to waste it.  The kids are doing the same and are not happy about it.  Haha.  I remind them often that groceries are expensive and that we don't want to waste money.

5 // Prep Food

This can mean meal prepping food for your family throughout the week or preparing food for something like a night with a babysitter.  My kids love pasta night so I regularly do this set up for a babysitter.  I brown the meat, roast broccoli and boil noodles ahead of time.  I put everything in glass containers.  Then I cover everything with foil and label them.  About an hour before the babysitter arrives I pop everything in the oven.  That way it's all hot and ready at dinner time without causing too much work for the babysitter.  This is much cheaper than going through a drive thru to get dinner for everyone.

6 // Organize Your Stuff

You will save yourself a lot of money if you keep things like your pantry, your craft closet, your holiday closets and your clothes closets organized.  I overheard some ladies at Hobby Lobby say something like this - I have no idea where my ribbon is at home so I'm just going to buy more ribbon.  That's fine from time to time, but it is pricey to always be overbuying.  If you know what you have at home, you won't risk buying multiples.  I recently cleaned out this craft closet.  I know what extra art supplies we have and I know that I have plenty of glue sticks for my glue gun.

What things are you doing in 2023 to save money?

I'm all ears!

Monday, January 30, 2023

Tips for Doing Family Photos with a Large Group

Have you ever done family pictures with your whole extended family?

It's a lot of work, but it's always worth it.

It's become a tradition that we do family pictures with my whole side of the family every other year.  I'm usually the one to get everything organized and then each mom takes care of their own family. 

There are 18 of us from age two to my dad.  My cousin is a photographer and we gift my mom a photo session gift card usually for Mother's Day that year.  We let my mom pick the color scheme of typically 3 or 4 colors and then each family shops for clothes they like within that color palette.  It always comes together nicely after a lot of work (scheduling, making sure everyone is healthy, hoping the weather cooperates and finding cute outfits for everyone).  We do them in the Fall so that we all end up with Christmas card photo options.  Our system works great for us!

These are my favorite pictures yet.  I love the colors and the textures for Fall.  We have talked about doing different locations, but doing them in my parent's back yard is easiest.  We plan them for the golden hour of the day and then my mom cooks dinner for everyone afterwards.

 The whole cousin crew!  I love seeing all 10 lined up from oldest to youngest.

These cute girls are all close in age!

My parent's Christmas card photo.

The OG Heilmans.  I'm the oldest, my sister is the middle and my brother is the baby of the family.

Mom and Dad / Mimi & Papaw

My cousin shoots our individual family photos, head shots of all the kids, whole group and some special request groups like grand kids and grand parents or all the guys and all the girls.  It takes less than an hour to do the whole group.  These head shots are almost always way better than their school pictures.  They just seem more natural and comfortable.

Our Christmas card photo and my favorite family photo of the session.  Leo was not super happy to be taking photos so we let him grab a stick to make him happy.  It perfectly captures his busy self.

I need to get some big prints printed soon!

Let me know if you have any questions about organizing family photos.  It's a labor of love and it's definitely worth the effort.

Friday, January 27, 2023

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, friends!  I hope you've had a good week.  It's been a fun one here!


Did you catch my blog posts this week?

Free Fun at the Library

Crinkle Cut Charcuterie Board - my kids are obsessed with everything crinkle cut!!

Don't Forget to RSVP

Now on to my favorite moments of the week:

1 // Go Aces!

We went to an Aces basketball game this week and Kevin surprised us with being part of the entertainment!  He actually told me a couple of days in advance because I don't love surprises, but he surprised the kids at the game :)  He'd been chosen to putt a ball across the entire court to try to win $10,000.  It was so fun to cheer for him.  He didn't make it in the tiny $10k slot, but they told him that was the closest anyone has come all season.

Kevin usually just takes the big kids to the games since they start at 7:00pm.  That's a little too close to Leo's bed time.  It was fun to sit with my Dad and enjoy the game together.  Lots of smiles and fun times together!

2 // New Cookies: Sourdough Chocolate Chip Cookies

I added these to my Jordan Bakery box menu.  They're delicious!  Dark chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate and sour dough bread starter.  I've been on the hunt for some great recipes to use my sour dough discard in and these are perfect.

3 // We did it!

Kevin only travels a few times a year and usually for just a few days at a time.  This year he headed to a conference in Santa Fe and had trouble getting home.  He got some weather delays causing him to just miss his connecting flight in Dallas by minutes.  He had to spend the night in Dallas and got home the following afternoon.  It was a long week for all of us - lots of smiles and a few tears!  Kevin loves to grab souvenirs for everyone - Santa Fe t-shirts and candy for the kids and a pretty bracelet for me.

4 // Crinkle Cut

I've been on a crinkle cut kick all week!  Look at all this crinkle cut food on our charcuterie dinner board.  I cut apples, carrots, cucumbers and cheese with my crinkle cutter.  I've even been crinkle cutting things for their school lunches!  You can get the links to make your own crinkle cut foods here.


5 // Latte Lover

Olive is very proud to say that she can now make her very own caramel latte.  I taught her all the steps, showed her all the ingredients and only had a few spills/broken cups in the process :)  She's really proud to be able to make this by herself now.

6 // Sunrise

We've had some pretty frosty sunrises this week!

7 // Great Grandmas

Leo and I dropped off treats and snacks to our favorite great grandmas this week.

8 // Lunch dates

We got to meet our favorite friend Jacque at our favorite lunch spot this week!  We all love Jason's Deli.

9 // Pretty hair!

Olive loves a good pony tail and look at this pretty braid.  We laugh because it took her years and years to grown hair (like it did for me) and now she's got a head full of hair.

10 // Organizing Mood

Organizing is my favorite and I've been busy.  This week I tackled the kid's bathroom, our craft closet, pantry and kitchen drawers.  I threw out lots of trash, organized what I wanted to keep and spent $0.  Follow me on instagram (@polkadottyplace) if you want some organizing inspiration!

I love saving sturdy little boxes to help me organize inside of drawers.  I added some binder clips to connect them and keep everything for sliding.  It feels so good to get these spaces in order without spending any money.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Linking up with Momfessionals