Monday, July 31, 2017

July Recipe Round Up

I'm excited to share my favorite meals from July with you.  I cooked a lot so there are several good recipes to cover.  I tried hard to eat lots of salads, we grilled chicken for dinner regularly and our meals were really colorful.  Hope you find at least one new recipe you'd like to try!

What have you been cooking this month??

1. Grilled Chicken Kale Quinoa bowls
Thinly sliced grilled chicken
Kale Quinoa Mix from Aldi
Feta cheese

This made the easiest lunch several times this month.  I just microwave about 1/3 of the bag of quinoa mix and top with chicken/feta.  It's so good and so filling.

2. Paninis
Sour Dough bread
spicy mustard
sharp cheddar
Sweet Potato Chips // Veggie Straws

3. Salads
TONS of veggies, hard boiled eggs and grilled chicken on mixed greens.  Honey Mustard, Balsamic and Raspberry Vinaigrette were my go to dressing this month.

4. Fun Kid Food
My kids love fun lunches so I try to make them a couple a week.  Here were two of the favorites:

5. Brinner is always a yummy (and cheap!) dinner option.
Blueberry Muffins Pancakes
Eggs, bacon & fruit

6. Loaded Nachos are always a hit with my family.

7. Egg Hash is an easy lunch that we all like
2 eggs per person
sliced ham or turkey sausage
sharp cheddar cheese
salt & pepper

8. Homemade Oven Fries
I sliced up 4 or 5 small potatoes, rinsed them and then sprinkled all of our favorite seasonings on them.  They were really good!  I used Seasonsed salt, sea salt, Montreal Steak seasoning and pepper.  Then I baked them at 425 for 25-30 minutes until they were browned on the outside and soft on the inside.  They were great with burgers!

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 July

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, July 28, 2017

July Highlights

The month of July has flown by for me!  Seems like Summer is on the fast track and everyone will be back to school in no time.  So we're doing our best to pump the breaks a bit and enjoy every last minute of summer for the new few weeks.

We had a busy month of birthdays, holidays, trips and fun things in our city.

Here are the highlights of July:

These GINGHAM tennis shoes from Target have been a favorite this month.  I'm a sucker for patterned tennis shoes and own floral, polka-dot and now gingham.  Target featured my pic over at Target Finds and they're on sale for less than $9 right now!!

Playing with friends and their TOYS has been fun.  Fletcher is on a major truck/car/wheel kick and loves to make car noises while playing with them.

My MOM came to visit for a couple of days!  This was a big deal because she made the two hour trip all by herself!!  She doesn't road trip solo very often so I was really proud of her.  She did great -- come back any time, Mimi!!

 Breakfast at DENNYS is always a hit.  Grand slam breakfasts for everyone :)

We did some SHOPPING and Olive grabbed my mom's accessories while she was trying on ISU shirts.  She smiled huge and said she was trying to be "Super stylish!"

We've spent a lot of time at our children's MUSEUM!  Olive loved showing Mimi around.  I've been trying to give Fletcher a little more independence.  It didn't take him long to get what he wanted.  Ditched his smock and climbed on top of the water table fully clothed.  He was super proud of himself and we both ended up soaked.

These two love each other dearly about 90% of the time.  He wants to be her shadow and do everything she's doing.  He woke up Wednesday morning and was yelling SISSY instead of Mama.  He would not quiet down until we went to wake Olive up.  It makes me so happy to see them becoming best friends.

Olive learned how to SWING!  She's pumping her legs and Fletcher is trying hard to imitate.  She told me, "Another one of my dreams came true!  I can swing by myself now!"

We've been knocking out home PROJECTS like crazy this month!  I did some greenery arrangements for our half bath and we've been hanging/finding homes for the rest of our decor.  We've officially lived in our home for one year so it feels good to finish unpacking those last random boxes.

Kevin and I celebrated our 13th ANNIVERSARY this week!  We had a great time and he built me this shelf in our bedroom for an anniversary gift.  I'm so impressed with his new woodworking hobby.  I'm also dreaming up a list of things I'd like for him to make us.

We went to TEXAS ROADHOUSE for our anniversary dinner and it was amazing!  Is there anything better than hot rolls with cinnamon butter??  I don't think so.

PIES are at the top of my list of favorite homemade treats to make.  I made a pecan pie as a little anniversary treat.

OCEANS are Awesome!!  We went to our favorite science class and learned all about ocean creatures.  My kids love anything that involves water beads, aquariums, play-doh and friends.

POOL days!!  We have a great pool to go to and the kids have been enjoying it all summer.  We added some squirt guns to our pool toy collection and they were a hit.  Literally.  I got hit in the face a million times as Olive was learning how to aim.

Kid YOGA!  Olive's favorite thing this summer has been her kid yoga classes.  They're FREE at our library and have been so good for her.  She goes by herself and we play in the library.  She always has a huge smile on her face afterwards and smells of lavender.  It's so "fra-laxing" she says.  (fra-lax = relax :)

DELICIOUS dinners!  I made some yummy oven fries last week and we've been doing a lot of grilling this month.  Check back on Monday for all of my favorite recipes from July.

We read A Very Thankful Prayer by Bonnie Rickner Jensen this week and loved it!  It has such a sweet message for children to look around them for things to be thankful for.  The animal characters are adorable and the illustrations give you so much to talk about on each page.  I love the variety of animals and the variety of things to be thankful for.  It really gave my kids tons to think about when we talk about everything we are thankful for.  It's a great book for young kids and the rhyming text was fun to read aloud.  It's the perfect size and really helps kids notice everything around them.  We will be reading this book regularly and it'll come in handy when Thanksgiving comes for ideas of things to be thankful for.  I'd highly recommend this book to help teach children about being thankful for the big and little things in their lives.
*We were gifted this book in exchange for an honest review of it.

Polka-Dotty Place Weekly Round Up:

Monday: Marriage in Numbers
Tuesday: Flip Your Lid
Wednesday: What I Need to Succeed

Hope you have a great weekend!!

Linking up with

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

What I Need to Succeed

I got some new plants recently and they had tags on them that said:

"What I Need to Succeed"

followed by a short list of all the things I needed to do to care for them.

It got me thinking.

What do I need to succeed??

I used to think that I needed to be teaching/working outside the home to feel successful.

I've learned that isn't true.

I was an elementary school teacher for 9 years and have been a stay at home mom for 4 years.  I've had to change and adapt over the years to be my best self.  I feel perfectly successful teaching my young children as a stay at home mom and don't require a classroom to succeed.

I came up with a list of 10 things that I need to succeed right now in my current stage of life:

1. Alone time at night to get work done

2. Healthy eating to balance out my love for baking

3. A mix of quiet days at home and busy days with friends

4. Routines & regular activities to do with the kids each week (story time, science class, etc).  There's nothing I love more than planning out our weeks and making lists.

5. An organized house

6. A helpful husband who is home for dinner, happy to work with me, has a flexible schedule and is always there for us when we need him.

7. Creative projects - decorating, gardening, blogging or making of any kind.

8. Family time.  Just the 4 of us as well as time with our families.

9. Adult friends.

10. Adventure.  Trips, new experiences, new hobbies, etc.

What are some things that you need to succeed??

Monday, July 24, 2017

Flip Your Lid

Your kids/students/nieces or nephews will have the best time with LIDS!!

I've been collecting lids for several months and we had a great time learning with them last week.  We have saved lids from peanut butter jars, squeeze pouches, milk, hair spray, formula and anything else we could think of.  It's been easy and FREE to collect them.

I provided the bowls and asked my 4 year old to sort them.  We sorted by color and size.  It was fun to hear her decide which bowl the lids should go in.  She almost always picked out the categories and happily repeated this game over and over again.

Finished sort.

She asked to make a rainbow so we did.  Fletcher woke up from his nap and was fascinated with all the lids.  They're a little small for him to play with independently so we made sure to supervise his play time.  He looked at the rainbow and then destroyed it.  Typical one year old.

We practiced counting with all of the lids.  Then we stacked them on her head to see how high we could go.  It was hilarious.  We took turns.

Did you know that these puree pouch lids stack really nicely??  They're perfect for counting, stacking and building.  We had a great time making patterns, counting and seeing how high we could stack them.

I'd like to have her make letter outlines with the lids this week and to practice spelling her name.  I think she'd have fun working on her letters in a brand new way.

Can you think of any other fun games we could play with these lids??

One more thing since I'm talking about kids today...

I just finished reading When Parenting Isn't Perfect by Jim Daly and it was so good!

I don't read a ton of parenting books, but this one caught my eye.  My husband and I are both first borns and have perfectionist tendencies.  It's a struggle for both of us to go with the flow and not focus on everything being perfect.  Daly's words really spoke to my heart.  He reminds us that perfection is the enemy of parenting and laughing, talking and connecting with your kids is so important.  Parenting is messy and that's okay.  Embrace it.  He tells parents that kids just want us to be present and not perfect.  I loved how the book was sectioned off and appreciated the wisdom he shared about building relationships with your kids.  I appreciated his Biblical ties into his parenting theories.  He reminds us that we are God's children and we should take notes on how to treat our own children.  His focus on boundaries, showing grace to those you love and being there to support your kids no matter what really stood out to me.  Daly's kids are older than my young kids so it was great to hear him share wisdom he's learned through years of parenting.  I loved his real life stories to help drive home his points.  He addresses relevant parenting topics for kids of all ages and gives you lots to think about.  All parents should read this book!
*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.
Please join us with a current blog post.