Friday, August 31, 2018

Take a Survey & Win Starbucks

Hey, friends!!  It's been a great week at our house.  We are all thrilled to have a three day weekend together.  Olive has been asking for longer weekends since school started so her wish is coming true this week.

I have been busy working on my Fall blog calendar and wanted to check in with you.  I am going to be blogging four days a week and I'm curious...

What do you want to read on Polka-Dotty Place in the coming months??

**** I'll randomly pick one winner from the comments for a $5 Starbucks gift card.  Be sure to add your email address to your comment so I can contact you****

1. Tell me something about YOU - stage of life, where do you live, your job, number of kids, pets??

2. What are your favorite posts to read here?

3. Do you have any blog post suggestions?  Or questions you want me to answer?

4. What type of shopping posts do you get excited about?  Aldi, Amazon, Target, Dollar Tree, etc.?

THANK YOU for taking the time to do this for me!!

Leave a comment or email me directly at

I love writing content for this space and excited to hear from you all.

Hope you have a great weekend :)  We're SUPER pumped to kick off the college football season.  We're hoping for a big win to start the Notre Dame season.  See you back here on Tuesday!

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

You'll Never Believe What I Bought for My Hair

Hey friends!  I'm here to confess something to you today...

I just bought myself some SCRUNCHIES!!

I NEVER thought I'd say that in my adult years.

I used to be the girl that had a scrunchie to match every outfit.  I'd wear them in my high pony tail or on my wrist.  I LOVED them, but really never thought they'd come back. 

I was wrong.  There are some really cute scrunchies out there right now.  Let me show you.

These are my current hair favorites: Scrunchies from Old Navy and Dollar Tree, Goody elastics (use one time and throw away) and the Spiral Ponytailers.  They are AMAZING for a lovely, loose pony tail.  They won't crease your hair and they return to their original size when you take them out.  I found mine at Dollar Tree.  I'd highly recommend them.

I've also started sleeping with my hair up on the top of my head a couple times a week.  The spiral ponytailers are perfect to keep your hair up without leaving creases (and my hair normally creases VERY easily).

Olive's current favorite hair accessory are these metal hair clips.  I've found that the Goody brand stays in the best for her hair.  We have found cute ones at Target, Meijer, Walmart and Dollar Tree.  If your girls have straight hair, it helps to spray a little hair spray on the barrette to hold it in place all day.

Fletcher's go to hair product is this Pliable Putty from Great Clips.  It's $12 a jar and lasts a long time.  Unless your little boy figures out how to unscrew the lid and empties the entire container on his head at one time.  I now lock up the pliable putty :)

What hair accessories are you using these days??

It's time to link up with my favorite Welcome Wednesday ladies.
Join us with a current post or two.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Aldi: Favorites & Fun Finds

I went on a quick trip to Aldi yesterday and was excited about my finds!

I cannot get over the prices at Aldi!!  Almost everything is cheaper than my regular store so I told myself I need to be shopping there more.  We also have a brand new Aldi opening by my house in September.  Hooray!

My usual Aldi shopping plan is: Stock up on favorites and look for some fun finds.  The fun finds usually involve trying new products, new flavors and looking for NEW items.

Let's start with the FUN finds.

My kids always play with these type of scoot board toys when we go places.  I found these for just $7.99!!  They had at least four different designs.  I originally picked out two rainbow ones, but Fletcher insisted on swapping out his for the one with flames on it.  haha  Wouldn't these be fun to give as birthday gifts or to save for your kids??  My kids are going to love them!

I'm excited to try these products:
Raspberry jam $1.99
Honey mustard $0.89
Mini Oreos for lunch boxes $1.95
Zucchini $1.89
Creamy Peanut Butter $1.15
Maple & Brown Sugar Oatmeal $1.49

FAVORITES: These are products that I pick up almost every trip to Aldi.
Restaurant Style Tortilla Chips $0.89
sugar under $1.50
salsa $1.19
canned beans $0.55
olives $1.15
cheese under $2
ziploc bags $1.89
knock off girl scout cookies $0.95
diapers $ and we love them!

These sea salt caramels are my favorite!  Not only are they delicious, they are so much fun to give away for a little sweet treat.  I picked up two to give to Olive's bus driver and teacher in the coming weeks.  I will add a handwritten note and it'll be a fun surprise for them.  They're just $2.99

 Tostadas for $1.49 are a fun dinner option for taco night.

We also tried the Beer Brats for $2.49.  We thought they were pretty good.  Not quite as delicious as the brats from Kroger, but great for the price or great if you're cooking for a large crowd.

An easy Aldi inspired dinner:
Quinoa & Kale mix with feta cheese - quinoa mix is in the frozen section
Chicken Sausage, peppers and onions

Have you found anything great at Aldi lately??

Monday, August 27, 2018

My Best 20 Minute Dinner Recipes

No one wants to spend hours cooking dinner.  Am I right!?!

I've been working on coming up with a list of quick, easy dinners to make during the week.  My kids are starving by around 5:30 which means I have got to come up with something fast.  I make dinner 6 nights a week and then we get take out or go out the other night.  All of these recipes can be made in about 20 minutes, are colorful and yummy!

Home cooked meals don't have to be complicated, require hours of prep or be really messy.  All of these meals were made with love and the prep work and clean up were fairly simple.

I hope you find a new recipe or two you're excited to try!

Grill burgers and serve them on a bed of lettuce.  Top the burger with all of your favorite toppings.  We add tator tots and fruit for an easy meal.  This works well for lunch or dinner and it's great way to eat up leftover burgers after a cookout.

This is Kevin's favorite dinner dip!  It's easy 1 can of shredded chicken, 1 bag of Mexican Rice cooked as directed, jar of your favorite salsa, corn, black beans, red/yellow/orange/green peppers, jalapenos, chips and toppings.  Cook the rice in a big skillet.  Once it's cooked add in all of the other ingredients.  Stir until well combined and serve warm.  Kevin prefers no toppings and I like more salsa, sour cream, chips and lettuce with mine. 

Build Your Own TOSTADAS
I bought a bag of tostadas (flat hard shell taco) from Aldi for $1.49.  I made taco meat with all of our favorite toppings (pepper jack cheese, extra sharp cheddar, peppers, onions, jalapenos, lettuce tomatoes and salsa).  Put the tostadas on a baking sheet.  Top with meat and cheese.  Put them in the oven for 5 minutes to melt the cheese.  Then everyone gets to build their own tostadas with their favorite toppings.  They were SO GOOD!

We all love breakfast for dinner.  We love blueberry waffles (they're faster to make than pancakes), bacon, scrambled eggs and fruit.  I use a boxed pancake mix for Light and Fluffy pancakes.  I just modify the recipe a bit by adding in fresh blueberries. 

I buy the frozen veggie lo mein from Sams and add in tons of good stuff.  It takes just like chinese take out for much cheaper!  Saute all of the veggies in olive oil and soy sauce.  I like to do zucchini, onions, carrots, edamame and peppers.  Add in the shredded chicken.  Microwave the lo mein.  Add it into the pan of sauteed veggies and chicken. Stir until well combined and serve.

I added gnocchi to my latest Walmart grocery pick up order for the first time.  It was super affordable at under $2 for the Sam's Choice brand.  I love gnocchi, but had never made it at home.  Turns out it's SUPER easy.  Bring salty water to a boil and boil the gnocchi for TWO MINUTES.  Scoop it out with a slotted spoon when they float to the top.

Cook ground beef in a skilled with seasonings, onions and Worcestershire sauce.  Leave it really chunky like meatballs.  Drain.  Heat pasta sauce.  Build delicious bowls of gnocchi - gnocchi, pasta sauce, meatballs and mozzarella cheese.  These turned out to be amazing.  My only recipe note is that this dish DOES NOT REHEAT WELL.  The gnocchi gets really tough when you reheat it.

Hope you enjoyed six of our favorite meals this month!!  It was a delicious month at my house.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Happy Friday!!

Happy Friday!!  Hope you've had a nice week.  It's been a good one at our house.  I feel like we are in a good routine with school, we got to spend a lot of time outside and see several friends this week.  We didn't do anything super exciting, but the normal days together are some of my favorite.

The best parts of our week were:

Indiana State went back to school this week.  It's hard to believe Kevin is starting his fourth year there.  It feels good to be putting down roots somewhere after so many years on the move.  The kids were excited to bring a picnic to his office and pose with one of the painted coke bottles around town.  I also helped Kevin do a complete office overhaul and organize this summer.  He got new furniture, new organizers and his office is looking great.

Fall colors!  I wore this top three different times this week because I love it so much.  Head to Old Navy to find it and I wear my ADVdesigns leather earrings every single day.  They are my must have accessory right now.

We walk Olive to and from the bus stop every day.  We love to send her off with some smiles and a prayer to have a great day.  She has taken over the duties of pushing Fletcher.  They both love it!  And it's been cool enough for a jacket in the mornings!

Fletcher came strolling out of Sunday School with a crown this week.  It said "God's Way is perfect." 2 Samuel 22:31.  He was so proud of it and it made me so proud to see him loving Sunday School.  If you remember he cried and cried at drop off and now he runs in to his teachers without even saying goodbye :)

Have you ever tried Outshine fruit popsicles??  They are AMAZING.  My kids can't get enough of them and pick them for an after dinner treat most nights.  They come in tons of flavors.

I made my first pumpkin treat this week.  These Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies are AMAZING!!  They're like fluffy little pillows of cookie goodness.  I made two batches this week and Olive is requesting more.  They're so good!!

Olive seems so grown up since she started kindergarten.  The other night she asked me if there was anything she could help me with after dinner.  I told her I just needed to get the dishes done.  She said, "Why don't you just teach me how to do the dishes??"  So I did!  It took twice as long for me to teach her instead of doing them myself.  BUT it was totally worth it.  She was SO PROUD to help.  She went on to tell me that her teacher told them to look for ways to help out around the house.

Sending Kevin off to school on his first day.  Thumbs up looks a little different when you are two :)

Our Butterfly Bushes are growing like crazy!!  It has been so fun to watch all the butterfly visitors stop by our yard this week.  This one was really friendly.

Fletcher had his first bike wreck this week.  He rides fast and sometimes forgets to watch where he's going.  We promptly headed to the store to buy him a real helmet.  He's so proud.  It's fun to see him biking, pedaling and looking like a big boy.  We have all been biking in the evenings and my legs are sore to prove it.

Olive came home with this self portrait surprise.  She's got a lot of personality!!  She also asked if sometimes I'd call her Sparkle instead of Olive :)

I ordered my first Vine and Branches art work.  It's so neat!  I've loved this sign for a long time.  It's in our family room and I can't wait to add some more pieces to my collection.  I love the idea that home is our favorite place to be.  It's something I work really hard to make sure that home is a retreat, our go to spot and a place we all feel comfortable and loved.  I want my kids to grow up loving to be home and sharing our home with others.  I hope they always think IT'S SO GOOD TO BE HOME even when they are grown.

We had a cookout with our neighbors this week.  Their cat had kittens and my kids are dying for one.  I keep reminding them that we have two cats and a fish.  They're not convinced that three is too many.  I'm happy to have them be kitten cuddlers!

This week on Polka-Dotty Place:

Monday: August/September Goals
Tuesday: 2018 Air Show
Wednesday: Late Summer Outfit Inspiration

Hope you have a great weekend, too!!

Linking up with My Glittery Heart

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Late Summer Outfit Inspiration

Hey, Friends!  Is anyone else at the point of Summer where you are tired of wearing the same things over and over?  You're bored with your Summer clothes??  I'm definitely there.  I find myself admiring all of the mustards, maroons, layers and dark colors for Fall.

I wanted to share some of my recent outfits with you to give you some outfit inspiration.  It's still HOT in the Midwest and probably will be for at least another month.  My plan is to start swapping out my summery colors and patterns for Fall ones.  You'll see me wearing darker florals, darker denim, more Fall colors and jeans.  What are your favorite things to wear for late Summer?

Dark Florals & Dark Patterns:
I rarely buy anything full price at Old Navy because things go on sale so frequently.  But, I made an exception this month.  I bought this floral maroon top at full price because it was gorgeous!!  I figured it would sell out quickly and I loved it so much.  I also buy a lot of my tops at places like Walmart which means I don't feel bad at all about buying a full price top occasionally.  It's the perfect transition piece for Fall.  Won't it look cute layered under a utility jacket or jean jacket this Fall??

I'm still a huge fan of Rockstar jeans from Old Navy and own several pairs.

Look at all of these cute things I tired on at Walmart a couple weeks ago!  A friend and I headed there after dinner one evening to try on all the cute things.  I loved the red top and the double peplum tops.  They'll be so cute for fall.  Sleeveless tops were under $8 and the 3/4 sleeve floral and stripe double peplum were just $11.86!!  Everything runs true to size.  RUN to your local Walmart to see if you can find them.

Light Layers:
Wearing light layers is doable this time of year.  This chambray top is sleeveless so I threw on a really light top over it.  Added some dark floral and called it done.  It's also been SUPER hot, humid lately and my hair gets HUGE under those conditions :)

I add more black into my wardrobe this time of year.

I love this top from Walmart.  Just can't go wrong with pattern mixing and gingham.  It's from their new Time and Tru brand and it was just $11.86.  I love to wear it now and think it'll look so cute layered for Fall. 

These earrings are from ADVdesigns that I've been talking about for months.  I wear them every day.  They are SO comfy and SO cute.

It's time to link up with my favorite Welcome Wednesday ladies.
Be sure to join us with a couple of your favorite posts.