Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Day in the Life: Ages 9, 6 and 2

I am excited to share a day in the life post with you today.  I'm a full time SAHM with 3 kids ages nine to two.  I feel like we can all say that after 9 months of living in our new city and new house that we all feel pretty settled.  Our house feels like home and we are all in good routines.  Things feel comfortable and we are all happy.

Here's a day in my life :


6:55am My alarm clock goes off and I often find an extra kid or two in my room courtesy of a storm or a bad dream.  I get out of bed and get myself completely ready for the day.

7:15am I make sure the big kids are up and dressed and I start working on breakfast.  They make it pretty easy on me and eat the same thing - toast or oatmeal - every morning.

7:30am After breakfast is served, I focus my attention on packing lunches.  Both big kids need lunches and two water bottles ready for the day.  I get everything loaded up in their backpacks and make sure Leo is dressed and ready to go for the day.  We watch TV, I work on a few chores around the house, start laundry and the kids play.

8:10am My next alarm goes off and it's time to load up the kids.  Everyone does a mad dash of grabbing their things, I rolly brush their outfits after their kitty snuggles and then I drive them to school.  Leo insists on tagging along to yell BYE at the top of his lungs at drop off.

8:30am We're back home and ready to take a deep breath for the day.  I drink iced coffee, snuggle Leo and Lightning McQueen dominates the TV.  Kevin heads into work and we make a plan for the day.

9:00am-12pm It's time to get all the things done!  Leo and I run errands, schedule appointments, go to our Bible Study groups, meet up with a friend or work on things at home.  We always plan for a long walk to get in our exercise, play outside, do chores around the house, grocery trips or pick ups and any errands that need to be done.

12:00pm Lunch time!  Leo and I usually eat at home together.

12:30-2:30pm Leo naps.  This is my power hour to get things done.  I make phone calls, work on my blog, work on projects around the house and enjoy the quiet.  If I have any cookie orders, I work on them while Leo sleeps or after the kids go to bed at night.  I pick up the whole house so that it's nice and tidy when the older kids get home.

2:35pm My final school alarm goes off and we go wait in the parent pick up line to grab the big kids.  We can get them home much faster than the bus so we are sticking with this routine.  They debrief about their days and go over their homework situation for the night.

3:15-4pm Snack time!  My kids always come home so hungry!  They just want to be fed.  I feed them and they usually watch a show or play on their tablets.  I work on dishes or kitchen stuff during this chunk of time.  We try really hard to take care of any homework during this time.  The longer we put it off the harder it is to get it done.  I usually work with one kid at a time and it goes pretty quickly.  Olive - our 4th grader - is really independent and knows exactly what she is supposed to do.  Fletcher - our first grader - wants help with every step of his homework process.

4-6pm The kids play with neighbors, we go on walks, play in the backyard, they read, we go to the library, etc.  I offer more snacks to friends and they PLAY PLAY PLAY.  I also pull dinner together during this time.  Kevin arrives sometimes during this block of time.  We tidy up whatever is out and have things picked up for dinner time.

6:15pm Dinner time!  We eat dinner together almost every night.  I cook or we Door Dash something.  Kevin keeps an eye on the kids (often outside) while I clean up the kitchen.  I prefer to pack lunches for the next day while I'm still in kitchen/food mode.  I pack two yumboxes and then close down the kitchen with a clean counter and sink.

7:00pm Family time!  We hit the showers, go for a walk, watch part of a movie together, read books, play in the playroom, do art or the kids play together.  We work together to get the house cleaned up so that it's nice and clean.  I love doing this job together because keeping a house organized requires teamwork.

7:45pm PJ time!  Everyone changes to their pjs and I put Leo to bed.  The big kids grab a snack and play a game or two with Kevin.

8:15pm I head upstairs to Kevin putting the kids to bed.  He's usually doing one of these things - telling them a story, making up a story or reading a bed time devotional.  The kids pick out their outfits for the next day.  Then I swap him places and then 1 read aloud a chapter book to them.  I read for 15 minutes or so and then stay with them a little longer.

8:45pm Kevin and I hang out for a bit.  The house is all tidy because I cleaned up the kitchen after dinner and we picked up toys before the kids went to bed.  We like to watch shows together and debrief about our days.  He usually heads to bed first and I like to watch a show by myself.  I lay out everything we need for the morning - lunch boxes, breakfast supplies, backpacks, my clothes, Leo's clothes, bags, etc.

11:00pm-ish I head to bed.  Okay maybe it's closer to midnight most nights, but I like to watch my shows or work on my blog or work on a project when the house is quiet.  The cats keep me company.  I set my alarms and we're set to do the same thing again tomorrow.











Good times!  I'm curious - Are any parts of our day the same??

Monday, September 26, 2022

Baked Cheese Dip

Happy Monday!  I've got another game day food recipe to start off the week!  It's been a fun month of football and football food here.  Notre Dame has figured out how to win and that's been wonderful.  This baked cheese dip recipe is really easy and it's inspired by a recipe my mom makes.  It is delicious on your favorite crackers or pretzels.


Ingredients:

2 blocks of regular cream cheese softened

4 oz sour cream

1 jar of Armour Dried Beef chopped finely

1 T Worcestershire sauce

1 t Minced onion

1t Your favorite seasoning - I used the seasoning salt above, but Montreal steak seasoning would be good.

1t garlic salt

1/2 c chopped pecans

2 T melted butter

*Green onions would be a yummy addition!


Directions:

Mix things together in one bowl.  Start with the cream cheese and seasonings.  Then add in the beef and green onions if you want them.  In a separate bowl combine the melted butter and the pecans.  Spread the cheese mixture in a greased baking dish and then top it with the buttered pecans.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until the top is lightly browned.  Let it cool completely and then serve with your favorite crackers or pretzels.





Enjoy!!  This would be a yummy addition to any game day spread.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Friday Favorites

Hey Friends!  I hope you've had a good week.  We did.  We ended up having some fun, some last minute changes and some unexpected things come up.  We are in the middle of several house projects.  One got finished this week and the others are slated for the coming weeks.  I don't love it when we have to pivot our plans, but we figured things out and make the most of our week.  

My favorite parts of the week were:

1 // It's been the perfect walking weather!  Leo is my favorite walking buddy every day.  We have only missed one day of exercising this month.  The skies were full of planes and the grasshoppers were busy this week.


2 // Claw Clips are back!  I wore claw clips in junior high and high school and Olive informed me that they're the coolest "new" thing.  These are definitely cuter than the ones I wore so we grabbed a pack on Amazon.  She loves to wear them like this.  We gifted some to friends and kept some for ourselves.  This pack of 8 were just $9.97 on Amazon and the quality is great.  There are 3 different sets and they are all so cute.  They worked perfect on my hair and my 9 year old's hair.  These clips are much pricer in stores so I was thrilled to find this deal on Amazon.  Here are my links:

 


 

3. Department Picnics.  We love kicking off the Fall semester - our first one in Evansville - with back to school activities.  Kevin's department hosted a yummy dinner picnic and I was in charge of UE themed cookies.  They turned out great and all of the college kids seemed to appreciate a homemade treat.  I love all planning all of the details for a party.



4. My Summer flower pots are really showing off this time of year.  I am thinking of skipping buying Fall flowers and just enjoy these pretty pots.  Maybe I will save my money for Spring flowers and landscaping next year!?

5. Now that it's officially Fall, I got out our Halloween decorations.  I am feeling the urge to pair down my holiday decor a little more every year.  I want to just keep my very favorite pieces.  I love decorating our mantle and a few shelves, my front porch and my entry way table.  So you'll see a little bit of holiday here and there, but not everywhere.  I love swapping out our snack plates for holiday ones.  I've collected cute Halloween ones over the years that we all enjoy using.

My holiday decor is collected over the years, but I found some super similar things online for you in case you need a few new things for Fall.  Here are a few of my Amazon links that caught my eye:

 








 6. Happy Birthday Krissy!  We had fun celebrating Krissy turning 10 at her kitty party.




7 // Nana turns 86!  Kevin's Nana tuned 86 this week and we had a great time celebrating her.  She's wonderful and I can only hope that I could be just like her when I'm 86.  She's always cooking, hosting, gathering family, decorating for the holidays and feeding her favorite people.  She is happiest when everyone around her is well fed and loved.  She's also a wonderful gardener!  We are lucky to have her.


8 // Making Friends - did you read my post earlier this week The Trick to Making New Friends?  I loved reading all of your comments and messages on that post.  We are all working hard to make new friends.  Olive got to celebrate one of her school besties last weekend.  She had the best time!  And came home with a DIY sugar scrub that she made herself.

9 // Perfect Weather!  We're outside as much as possible!  Leo loves to scooter and Fletcher brought everything outside so he could do some painting.  It was really sweet.


10 // I love this toddler phase when they start lining things up.  Leo lines up cars all day long.  He didn't feel great later in the week and it was so sad.  Hopefully he'll be back to his crazy toddler self soon.

In case you missed it on the blog this week:

Monday: Cheesy Pulled Pork Nachos

Tuesday: Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Wednesday: The Trick to Making New Friends


 I hope you have a wonderful weekend.  See you back here on Monday!

Linking up with Momfessionals

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

The Trick to Making New Friends

Remember when I said that our whole family is working hard to make new friends in our new city??  

It really is a whole family effort.

And something we talk about often.


I have a sneaking suspicion that we are not the only ones who find ourselves wishing we had more friends.  Do you ever feel that way?  Even if you haven't moved a lot like us, I bet there are times when you wish you'd make a new friend or two.

I thought I'd give you some tips and tricks to things that we have done to help us connect with new people this year.  These things won't work like magic for you.  Making real friends is HARD.  It takes a lot of work and dedication.  It means that you'll sometimes say yes when you want to say no.  It might mean that you will have to be the initiator and the one who does the event planning if you want to connect with new people.  And it might mean you'll feel awkward at times navigating the waters of being new friends.  If you want to have fun plans - make them!

Welcome to our house!

Here's what making new friends looks at our house:

Kevin has invited guys to breakfast or lunch to try to get to know them better.  He's made us family dinner plans with other families and invited us to work functions or volunteered us to host lots of dinners with new friends.  He has also worked hard to find us a great church for everyone in our family, we have the same church routine most weekends and he said yes when we were invited to join a small group.

I have joined some women's Bible studies that are geared towards moms of little ones to help us make friends.  I just started and am hopeful that this will be a great place to make friends.  I always keep our pantry stocked, our house ready to host and have worked really hard to connect with our neighbors.  I talk to other families when we go for walks.  I introduce myself and try to find things that will connect their family to our family.  If you're flying a Notre Dame flag, you better believe that I'm stopping to say hello.  It makes me feel good to be making friend connections and learning names around our neighborhood.  I have added new friends on Facebook and I try hard to volunteer at the kid's school to help them feel connected there.

Side note: There is a man in our neighborhood that keeps a stash of folding chairs on his front porch.  I always wondered about these card table chairs.  I couldn't figure out why he'd leave them outside.  Then I went for a walk one evening and he'd gathered with his neighbors on his front sidewalk.  Everyone had a chair and they were chatting the evening away.  It made my whole evening!  It was so sweet to see (what I presume is an older man who likely lives alone) go out of his way to connect with his friends.

The kids are working hard to make friends, too.  They are always on the look out for kids in the neighborhood and at school.  They have familiar faces from their classes last year, but are eager to find best friends this year.  Olive got invited to a birthday party of a school friend.  She couldn't wait to pick out the perfect gift for her bestie.  She asked if I'd take her and stay with her at the party since she wouldn't know many people.  I wanted to pass.  I knew I wouldn't know a single parent or kid for that matter and it was going to be awkward.  It was not exactly how I wanted to spend my Saturday night.

But instead of saying no, I said yes to the invitation.  We went to the party last weekend.  I was right - I didn't know anyone and it was kind of awkward.  I opted to focus on the positives, start conversations with the mom hosting and then pitch in to help her.  Who doesn't need a helping hand at a party full of 9-10 year olds??  I enjoyed getting to know the friend's mom and we had a nice time.  Olive thanked me for taking her to the party, thanked me for staying with her and was so happy that we all said yes to going to this party.  We both powered through the awkward together and were glad we did.

Olive got to play with a foam canon, swim, eat pizza and make a sugar scrub with her friends.  She couldn't have been happier!  I'm so glad we both said yes.

 

Fletcher isn't the best at remembering names, but he makes friends easily.  He rotates who he plays with at recess and after a bit he learns the names of his new friends.  He is working hard to find new buddies.  He's glad when he sees a school friend at church and he can talk the leg off of any neighbor.  He's got some favorite older neighbors that he loves to talk to in the evenings.

Leo waves hello to everyone in the neighborhood and loves to say hi to anyone walking their dog.  Everyone thinks he's the cutest.  He always draws a crowd.  The morning walkers, the mail lady, the evening go for a stroll people - they all are eager to say hi to Leo.  It easy for me to start a conversation when he's flagged down someone to say hello.  Or say WOW to a cool vehicle in their driveway.

My message for you to day is that making new friends is hard and it's worth the effort.

There is no magic trick.  You've got to be a good friend to new people and keep saying yes.  This is my encouraging nudge to reach out to someone that you've been wanting to become friends with.  You won't regret making new friends!  And if it doesn't end up being someone you want to be best friends with, it'll still feel good to know someone new.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

It's a yummy week on my blog!  I mentioned that I had a great cookie bar recipe for you and today is the day for me to share them.  I dug deep in my PDP archives from 2013 and revamped my cookie bar recipe a bit.  My family loved these.  They are easy to make and I almost always have the ingredients on hand for them.  4/5 people at my house love anything chocolate chip so these were a winner!

Hello, Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars!

Ingredients:

2 1/2 c flour

1 t baking powder

1/2 t baking soda

1 t salt

1/3 c butter

2 cups light brown sugar

2 eggs

2 t vanilla

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (save a few to sprinkle on top of the mixture before baking!)


Directions:

Combine the butter and sugars.  Add in the dry ingredients.  Add in the eggs and other wet ingredients.  Then add in the chips last.  Save some to sprinkle on top of the mixture.  Grease a 9x13 pan and spread the thick batter out evenly.  Sprinkle on the extra chips.

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.  You want them to be golden brown and not doughy.

Let them cool completely before slicing them to serve.

If you do that you'll get the chewiest, yummiest chocolate chip cookie bar ever.  They're great to eat by themselves or add a scoop of ice cream on top. 



These bars are perfect for sharing or perfect for any gathering.  My family enjoyed them and we shared them with friends.  The 9x13 pan makes it a really sharable dessert!  They taste fresh and delicious for several days if you keep them in an airtight container.  Enjoy!

Monday, September 19, 2022

Cheesy Pulled Pork BBQ Nachos

I've got another game day recipe for you!  Cheesy Pulled Pork BBQ Nachos.  We are loving all of these game day foods and college football.  Notre Dame finally figured out how to win with their new QB and new coach.  Yay!

These nachos are delicious and really easy to make!  And they are the perfect 2nd dinner to make when you have leftover pulled pork from dinner another night.  I grabbed a package of Member's Mark pulled pork from Sams for an easy dinner.  We loved that it doesn't have sauce on it so that we could add our own BBQ sauce.  We didn't love that it was so finely chopped up.  I'd probably buy it again and just know that it doesn't pull apart like regular pulled pork in strings.

 

Ingredients:
1-2 cups pulled pork w BBQ sauce on it

Any 3 cheeses - shredded sharp cheddar, shredded pepper jack cheese and queso fresco cheese crumbles - any combo of cheese will do!

1/4 c BBQ sauce

1 T diced purple onions 

1/2 sauteed yellow onion

Tortilla chips

Top with sliced jalapenos, extra BBQ sauce & sour cream

Directions:

Grease your pan.

Put on a layer of tortilla chips.

Spread out pulled pork evenly.  Top with onions.  Add cheese.  Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or so until the cheese is melty.  Remove from the oven.  Drizzle on some extra BBQ sauce on top and add any toppings you'd like.  Let them cool for just a few minutes and serve.  

 




I loved using up leftover meat to make another delicious dinner!  Full disclosure: The kids thought these were poison and only the adults loved them.  Crazy kids.