Monday, September 30, 2019

Family Learning Day

Every year our library hosts the nicest event - Family Learning Day!

They recruit tons of local businesses and organizations to set up tents in the parking lot just for kids.  Each tent offers something different and many give out FREE BOOKS to the kids.  We look forward to going every September. 

My mom's group always sets up a booth so it was fun to help this year.  My friend Becky planned a really great Grow Your Community themed booth.  It turned out awesome.  We also go to debut our new logo.  I've been working since Summer to update our logo, all our printed materials, website, banner, etc.  It's taken me HOURS working with a local graphic designer and I was so proud to see all of it on display.  My first major goal for my year as president can be checked off my to do list!!

I took the kids around to some tents.  Then it was time for me to work our booth.  Kevin took the kids to the rest of the tents.  They had the best time!  He definitely let them do some things that I would not have.  I think you'll be able to see what I'm talking about.

Indiana State's mascot Sycamore Sam was walking around saying hi to all the kids.

A local aquatic center brought tons of their animals for the kids to see.  Olive LOVED it.  The played musical instruments, rode bikes on a cool track, made candy necklaces, bird feeders and bookmarks.

The kids got to meet Miss Indiana and her royal friends.

 They also got to climb in the fire truck.

We got to see lots of friends, got a ton of new books and had the best morning!

Friday, September 27, 2019

3 Things

Happy Friday!  It's been a busy week at our house and I'm ready for the weekend.  Today's post is a little update of three things for everyone in the family.

1. He started doing some consulting work for a new place in town in addition to his regular job and it's keeping him busy.

2. His Men's League golf team got knocked out of the championship in the semi finals.  He is proud to say he was undefeated in all his matches this year and shaved a bit off his handicap.

3.Kevin is dying for me to make an apple pie for him.  Or cinnamon rolls.  Or both.

1. I am really lacking the motivation to decorate for Fall because it's still so hot.  Maybe this weekend I'll pull out the pumpkins.  I also feel the urge to purge my decorations so I'd like to do that at the same time I decorate.  I usually wait until October to buy mums and pumpkins for my porch.  Both things are on my calendar for next week.

2. I need to get a new iphone, but the whole process is a bit of a pain.  Which iphone do I want?  I honestly don't even know my options because I rarely shop for phones.  Help: iphone users - help me out here - which iphone should I get?  I'm sorry to anyone that has to look at my cracked mess of a phone.  My phone is at least 4 years old.  I've dropped it several times since Summer and it makes me mad every time I look at the spider webby screen.

3. I splurged on the kid's Halloween costumes this year because they both had very specific requests.  I'm hoping they LOVE them when they arrive.  They're from Disney!

1. Olive starts Fall tennis this week.  She's thrilled that it's indoors as opposed to Summer tennis that was outside.

2. She is loving spelling tests this year.  She's gotten all her regular words right each week and usually adds a bonus point or two to her score with the challenge words.

3. Barbies & baby dolls are her favorite toys right now.  She spends hours playing with both.

1. He's dying to learn how to write - shapes, letters, numbers, etc.  We practice every day.  He spends a lot of time drawing with markers, crayons and dry erase markers.  His favorite things are people, ghosts, pumpkins and telling stories to go along with his pictures.

2. He seems like such a big kid most of the time.  He follows directions, is helpful, walks around the stores by himself and is turning into the sweetest little man.

3. Fletcher is memorizing the words to songs and singing along to more and more.

Hope you have a fabulous weekend!  We're planning to watch some football, go out with friends, play outside and maybe go apple picking if the weather cooperates.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

15 Mom Hacks

I've got some mom hacks to share with you today.  All of these things make my life easier.  Promise!  What mom hacks/life hacks simplify your days??

1. Take the Time to Meal Plan / Meal Prep
It's always worth it.  I try to shop and chop all on the same day.  It happens different days depending on our schedule, but we all eat healthier when I make grocery shopping and meal planning a priority.  I like to chop carrots, salad toppings, wash all fruits so they're ready to eat and write out our menu on the side of the fridge to set the tone for the week.

2. Only Keep the Clothes in Your Closet that FIT
I started this about a year ago and have been so happy with this system.  Everything that is hanging in my closet fits, feels good on me and is something I really enjoy wearing.  I change the closet out seasonally.  It makes me so happy to know if I walk into my closet that I can pick any combination of clothes and I'll like what I'm wearing.  This will require you to declutter, throw away, sell and purge.  I promise it'll feel so good!!  It's also worth noting that I have fancier dresses, some of my teaching clothes and some smaller sized items that don't currently fit in storage in another closet out of sight.

3. Store Art Supplies in a Caddy
This has been such a handy way to store art supplies!  I can leave it out in the kitchen for both kids to use for art or for homework.  It's also really easy to clean up.  The kids know where the supplies go.  This is a system that we've been using for over a year and still love.

4. A Bin for Everything
I like to group toys in bins so my kids can easily help clean up.  I pick up bins here and there and they don't all match.  We rotate them from time to time when my kids outgrow a toy.  It makes clean up really simple.  The dinosaurs go in the dinosaur bin, the Barbies in another bin, Duplos in one, etc.  I don't label them.  We just all know what goes in each basket.

5.  Shoe Baskets/Cubbies for Each Member of the Family
Each kid has a green bin of shoes that currently fit.  If they're too small they go in the sell pile.  The adults get two cubbies.  The kids get one basket.  We walk in the door and the shoes go straight to their spots.  We don't even talk about it anymore.  We've been doing this for 3+ years  and love this system.  When we have kid friends over to play they often just follow suit and put their shoes in the kid bins.  It's such an easy system!  We did practice and talk about it a lot when we first started it, but we don't even think about it anymore.

6. Write It Down (in a Planner)
I have a planner for my mom's group, a blog planner, a paper planner and a phone calendar.  If it's not written down it doesn't happen.  I write down everything from birthdays, daily to do lists, healthy goals, long term list, birthday wish lists, Christmas shopping lists, etc.  I color code my personal planner - each adult has a color and events have colors.  

7. Free Grocery Pick Up
I know lots of different stores do this and some even offer home delivery options.  My store of choice is Walmart because it's so close to my house.  I like to schedule grocery pick up to coincide with school drop off in the mornings.  That way I can drop Olive off at school and then swing by and get my groceries.  It's such a time and money saver for me.  You only have to spend $30 for the service to be free.  One of our kids woke up throwing up in the middle of the night a couple weeks ago.  I promptly hopped on the Walmart website in the middle of the night to stock up on all the sick day supplies for the next day.  I ran to the store at 7:00am while Kevin stayed home with the kids.  I was thrilled to have everything we needed for the day - soup , popsicles, medicine, snacks, etc - without having to take my kids to the store.  You've got to try it!

8. Pack lunches at night
I'm not a morning person.  I don't wake up hours before my kids.  I try to set my alarm for about 15 minutes before I have to get Olive up.  So I do all the lunch packing, backpack gathering, etc the night before.  I pack Olive's lunch and Kevin's lunch.  Everything we need for the morning is set on the island ready to go - water bottles, notes, lunch boxes, backpacks and keys.

9. Get One Thing Out at a Time
This goes for toys, art supplies, costumes, etc.  Have a blast with one toy and then pick it up before you move on to the next thing.  This prevents your house from becoming a disaster.

10. Clean Up After Yourself All Day Long with Teamwork!
Do the breakfast dishes after breakfast, tidy up toys regularly, wipe off the counters, make your bed, do laundry, etc.  If you keep up with all these little things during the day, you'll be able to put up your feet and relax after your kids go to bed.  Also, let your family know the plan and expect teamwork keeping up with everything in the house.  My kids know we all clean up, we all work together and it helps our family run smoothly.  I so look forward to that quiet time every evening.  I love watching a show, working on my blog and having a snack in a nice, tidy house.

11. Say YES
Sometimes it's easy to just say no.  I have to challenge myself to say yes and be the fun one.  I am definitely not naturally the fun parent :)  My kids were begging to make Angry Birds out of play-doh.  They knew exactly what they needed - googley eyes and play-doh.  I said yes and they were thrilled.  They did this activity every day for a week.  Both played so nice together and we could have easily missed out on this fun if I'd said no.

12. Be flexible.
This is also a category that doesn't come easy for me.  I like a plan.  I like a routine.  But motherhood has taught me that there's not one right way to get things done.  I've been walking every day for weeks and Fletcher is usually happy to tag along.  But he doesn't really want to ride in a stroller.  He'll sometimes enjoy the jogging stroller.  His number one favorite mode of transportation is this push car.  He can ride, walk, run beside me and it gives him a lot more independence than a stroller.  

13. Workout Most Days
It's easy to come up with a million excuses to not work out, but it you tell yourself you have to do it every day it becomes a part of your routine.  I've been biking, walking, jogging and putting exercise on my to do list for the past month.  I have actually started looking forward to getting exercise every day.  I have to be flexible - walking with Fletcher, bike rides in the evening after Kevin gets home or doing yard work as exercise if I can't get away by myself.

14. Put your keys on a hook
Hook them to your bag and you'll never lose them.  It's so handy and keeps you hands free.

15. Make Your Coffee at Home
My husband loves coffee.  I've learned to like coffee.  We got this Keurig for Christmas last year and it's been a fun treat.  We've saved money and it's more convenient to have coffee you love at home.  I enjoy iced coffee year round.  These are my favorite 2 drinks to combine and Kevin loves all the Starbucks pods.

Would any of these make your life easier??

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Sweet Not Spooky Halloween

 I am a big fan of sweet NOT spooky Halloween decorations.

I cringe when I see some of the scary decorations out in stores.  I don't like scary movies either.  Our family is definitely on board with all the cute, friendly cats, ghosts, bats and pumpkins.  We'll will always skip out on the scary aspect of Halloween.

It's fun to collect sweet Halloween things each year.  I don't buy a ton of stuff every holiday.  My motto is: Only buy things you LOVE for your home.  This goes for home decor and for holiday decor.  I am always editing my stash of stuff so that I am decorating with and enjoying our very favorite things.

Here are some Halloween favorites: (I'll put all the links at the bottom of the post!)

1. Mini Pumpkin Waffle Maker
I saw this on Amazon and knew I had to have it.  It's so cute.  It makes individual sized waffles with a waffle imprint on one side.  Won't this be fun for Fall breakfasts and breakfast for dinner from now through November!?!

2. Halloween Books
Each year I like to add a couple new books to our home library for the holidays.  I love doing our daily book club at home with holiday books and having a basket in our playroom devoted just to holiday books.  These are some new and old favorites from our Halloween library.

These are two new favorites this year.  Pick a Pumpkin is a gorgeous book with tons of things to spot on every page.  My kids love it and it brings up lots of good conversations about what makes up the perfect pumpkin.

The ABCs of Halloween is really cute.  Both kids love it.  They point out the letters and the illustrations are really sweet.

3. Halloween Fun
We love these plastic pumpkins for collecting candy.  They're $1 at Walmart and hold up really well.  My kids picked out new ones to match their costumes this year.  Any guesses on what they'll be??

Olive didn't need new Halloween pjs this year and Fletcher picked out these.  I'm surprising the kids with this Toy Story of Terror DVD for our next road trip.  They're going to love it!  It's only $6.99 right now!  Link below.

4. Halloween decor
My kids insisted we pick out a blow up for the yard this year.  I picked out this cute gift tag to give to Olive's teacher with a Fall present.

4. Fabric Pumpkins
I wrote a whole post on these here.  They're the ideal decoration when you've got little ones at your house.  They're also a great addition of pattern, texture and color to your decorations.

5. Halloween Outfits
I'm not a big fan of holiday clothes for myself.  However, I LOVE them for my kids.  Cat & Jack from Target and the kid's line from Meijer always come through for me.  These are both Cat & Jack and available in stores right now.  My kids picked them out and love them.  Aren't they sweet!?!

6. Mums
I love to buy real pumpkins and mums to decorate my porch in the Fall.  Olive picked these mums out for me.  I also picked up her t-shirt at Old Navy recently.  They've got really cute casual tees for girls that have a scoop hem.  I love this mustard color for Fall.

Here are my amazon affiliate links for my favorite SWEET Halloween things:
Thanks for supporting PDP!

Monday, September 23, 2019

Charcuterie for a Crowd

I've made some fun charcuterie boards to share this month.  They've been the perfect food item to bring to a tailgate, carry in dinner and meal to share with friends.  You know my family has been on a charcuterie kick this year so it's fun to share these ideas with you.  The excitement has yet to wear off and my family still get super excited to see a charcuterie board on the menu for the week.

// 1 // Tailgate Charcuterie
I found this darling Indiana shaped wooden cutting board at Homegoods for just $13 recently.  It's the perfect size and perfect for all the game day gatherings we'll have this Fall.   

Tip: Wooden cutting boards are much cheaper at places like Aldi, TJ Maxx, Marshalls and Homegoods.  I've never paid more than $20 for a board at those stores.  You'll save yourself lots of money if you buy them there instead of department stores, online and kitchen stores.

I just did a small handful of each ingredient and we had the perfect lunch.  I'd highly recommend investing in some cute napkins to match your team and football appetizers plates to use from year to year.  This set of plates came from a local grocery store named Schnucks a few years ago.  We're also still loving adding spicy mustard to our trays for dipping.  I put the link to those little dipping cups in this Amazon post.  

// 2 // Warm Dinner Rolls
I love a good roll and these Sister Schubert Parker House Style Rolls were perfect for this board.  They're mini and they come in a circle shaped pan.  They bake really quickly.  You can just pop them in the oven while you're assembling your board.  Then brush butter on top and they're ready to be pulled apart.  My family really enjoyed the addition of something warm and comforting to our dinner board.  I've given away pans of these rolls at dinner time as well.

// 3 // Carry in Charcuterie Boards
I've mentioned before that I'm the president of our local moms group this year.  I am loving the responsibility and the event planning that has come along with it.  We have monthly meetings that I get to plan the dinner, guest speaker and then the board runs a meeting.  It's a really fun gathering. 

I have talked about charcuterie boards with the group several times so I figured it was a fun dinner idea for them.  I took care of the meats, a few cheeses and brought my boards to share.  I had all the moms sign up to bring various crackers, dips, cheeses, fruits, veggies and desserts.  It came together really well.  I added quick handwritten labels to the cheeses and meats and then everyone just found a spot for their ingredients when they arrived.  I got lots of compliments on this meal and several people messaged or texted me later to say that they'd replicated this meal for their own families.  Win!

 // 4 // Charcuterie To Go
It's been my goal to share food with friends this year and we did have leftovers from the meeting above.  They were the perfect leftovers because they had never been put out for people to touch.  I kept a close eye on the boards and refilled as needed making sure to not refill too much.  The boards were pretty much eaten clean and I had perfectly packaged leftovers to share.

Insert me texting a friend - "When can I bring you dinner this week??"  We settled on a date and I delivered this yummy meal to them.  I had already spent time chopping and prepping so it was fun to bless another family with this meal.

Tip: Don't over fill your boards.  Put a little bit of everything out and then refill as needed.  That way food won't go to waste.  You'll be able to save the leftovers to eat or share another day.

I'm working on some fun Fall Charcuterie board ideas to share with you in October.  Stay tuned for apples, pumpkins and Halloween themed boards soon.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Fall Outfit Inspiration (for when it's still HOT!)

The temperatures in Indiana have been in the 80s and 90s all week.  It's HOT!!

I'm ready to wear Fall clothes (my favorite) and ready to ditch my summer clothes.

It seems that wardrobe shift is still several weeks away.  I thought I'd give you some fun outfit inspiration today for outfits to wear when you're feeling ready for Fall, but the weather is too warm for layers and scarves and jeans.

My wardrobe favorites right now:
jean jacket
leather earrings from ADVdesigns on etsy (that's where all of my earrings came from!)
flowy tops

#1 Shirt dresses
(dress + big earrings + flats)

This Time and Tru striped dress from Wal-Mart was one of my very favorite Summer wardrobe purchases.  It was under $20 and I get SO many compliments on it every time I wear it.  And it has pockets.  I was hoping they'd come out with a Fall version, but no sign of that so far in stores.  I usually wear this to church, out to dinner or out with friends.

#2 Kimonos
(Kimono + chambray sleeveless top, leather earrings and black Rockstar Skinnies from Old Navy)

I've been a fan of kimonos for years.  I probably own 10 and wear them as the perfect layer in Spring and Fall.  They add color, interest and are not hot.  I've also worn them as a swim suit cover up at the pool.  This is a new kimono from TJ Maxx.  It was $16.99 and it's size 1X.  I tell you that to encourage you to TRY THEM ON.  Kimonos are sized so strangely and their sizes are all over the place.  Mine are a variety of one size fits all, L, XL, 1X and no size.  Always try them on if you like the color/print.

This outfit is perfect for a MNO, a fun outing with your family or just being a mom :)

#3 Little Black Dress
(dress + headband + bracelet stack + leopard flats)

You can never go wrong with a little black dress.  This one is from my friend Kelly's line called Mint Standard.  Remember back in 2017 when I first introduced you to this dress!?!?  Well I'm thrilled to say that I've been wearing it HARD for 2 years and it's still a staple in my closet.  It's darling, has pockets and the quality is amazing.  Definitely check out Mint Standard if you are curious about these amazing dresses from a momprenuer :)

Mint Standard Clothing - this dress is The Cinch in Black and I LOVE the shorts she sells.  They're called The Shortie.  I wear them under every dress I own.  They have a cell phone pocket on the side and they're the perfect length.  I think they run big so size down.

#4 Layer with a Jean Jacket
(dress + jean jacket + leather earrings + flats)

I've had this dress for years and loved it.  It's from GAP.  I threw this on with my jean jacket for a quick trip to the library.  It was warm so my hair went up.  Easy outfit!

See what I mean... kid friendly, mom friendly and cute.

#5 Flowy Tops + Bright earrings

This is a staple combo in my wardrobe.  Give me all the flowy tops (I love to get them at TJ Maxx or Wal-mart from Time and Tru) and wear them with big earrings.  This outfit works year round with a layer of a sweater or a jacket when it gets cold.

#6 Athleisure
I love black/gray as a base for my athleisure.  I always stick to that so I can mix and match my outfits.  My tennis shoes are black, my yoga pants are black or gray and I mix up the tops.  It works out great!  My current exercise routine has been to get Olive off to school, get Fletcher ready for the day and then head out on a walk, power walk, run or jog.  I try to get it done before lunch time.  Then I cool off and get ready for the day.  It's working out so well and I am getting really consistent exercise in.  Can't wait for it to cool off so I can add a hoodie to my workout wardrobe.

What are you wearing this time of year??  Anything I forgot to mention?

Hope you had a great week!!  Enjoy your weekend and I'll see you back here on Monday :)

Linking up with Momfessionals and H54F with
Becky @  By BMG Blog
Della @ Della Devoted
Tif @ Bright on a Budget
Whitney P @ Come Home for Comfort

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Olive 6 // Fletcher 3

I haven't done a specific kid milestone/update post in ages.

I love looking back at them so I've got a new one to share today.  Neither kid has an official baby book; just this blog to document their milestones.  Both kids have such different personalities.  It's fun to see them coming into their own likes/dislikes, preferences and leanings.  They're such great kids!  I keep a running list of funny things they do or say in my phone so I don't forget them.  I try to type them out ASAP when they happen.

Olive // Age 6
Olive marches to her own drum.  She is interested in what everyone is up to, but picks and chooses her own favorites.  She's very independent.  She asked to have some pencils in her backpack so she could get her homework done on the bus.  She's a leader.  Olive loves art, loves playing with Barbies, loves healthy food, loves salty snacks and thinks chocolate ice cream is the best.  She's reading and writing more and more every day.  She loves headbands, rainbows, unicorns, Fly Guy books, her Kindle tablet, riding her bike without training wheels and Legos.  It's so fun to watch her grow.

#oholive moments from the last year

I offered to sign her up for running club at school.
Her response was That sounds awful!!!

We were driving down the road a few weeks ago and she said, Mom, I've finally decided what I'm going to be when I grow up.  I'm going to be an artist that paints memories for people.  You know like vacation, beautiful places, and happy things.  She's now bouncing back and forth between an art teacher and an artist who paints memories.  I assured her that she could do both and she said MIND BLOWN!!  haha

She saw a sign for Buy Buy Baby when we were out of town.  She asked about the store.  I explained that it was a store to buy baby products.  She chuckled and said, Oh I thought it was like BYE BYE BABY!  Why would someone want to say BYE to their baby!?!  

She's always asking big questions about who she's going to marry, having babies, her career, college and wanting to know all the details about getting older.

She came home from school and said Some kids were making fun of my coloring calling it scribbles.  I told them to give me a break because I AM STILL LEARNING.

She realized that it was Sunday and said IT'S PAY DAY!! for her allowance

Hey, Mom - How do you get those rings in your nose??  I'm thinking I'd like that one day.

Something is trying to float my boat.
It's a popsicle.  I really want one.

Olive does not love wearing socks and tennis shoes.  She'll finally agree to wear them to tennis and on her PE days at school.  But she gave me a run for my money about them for years.  One day when she was feeling really big feelings about it she pulled out her kid's Bible and said, Look right here mom.  It says people do not have to wear socks and tennis shoes IN THE BIBLE!!" as she points to an illustrated Bible story with the characters only wearings sandals.

She told me she was nervous for a girl in her class because she had to have surgery to get her "tinsels" taken out.

When she was taking swimming lessons she told me she was done with it because her teacher kept sinking her and she was getting tired of it.

Olive was up too late yet again.  I reminded her she had to go to sleep and start by closing her eyes.  She said, Sorry Mom.  I just can't fall asleep early.  That is just the way God made me.

What kind of clouds are those?
Me: Puffy clouds?
Eyeroll.  No I mean like, are they cumulus??

I want some lonely time.

There's only one annoying thing about school. 
My teacher keeps singing this letter song over and over again.
I mean I could do the ABCs with my eyes closed so I hope she stops doing that soon.

Fletcher // Age 3
Fletcher loves all food.  He compliments my food all the time and loves to eat.  He is very snuggly.  He's always touching me, always nearby and is very chatty when we're out and about.  He has started naming people his friends and is captain chaos always jumping, diving, running into things and having near miss accidents.  He had his 2nd ER visit to get 4 staples in his head and has quite the scar to prove it.  He loves to swim, play outside, ride his bike, play with vehicles, loves policeman and is all boy.  It's fun to watch him grow!

Funny Fletcher moments:

Side note: Fletcher seems to talk about twice as much as Olive in a given day.  He's got so much to say, so many questions and rarely stops talking, singing, asking questions.

You never compromise.
what he says to me in response to him not getting his way

I was wonderin... is the start of every question he has.

Promise me, Mom.
Anytime he's doing something new or unfamiliar he makes me promise him something.  Promise it won't hurt, promise it'll be fine, promise I can do it

He now warns all his friends that it is very possible to crack your head open when we're at the playground.

I was tucking him into bed one night, he patted my arm and said
You're a good woman, Mama!
I about died.

Daddy should drive a garbage truck because he is SO stinky.

Doctor: Who's your best friend? @ his 3 yr well check


Daddy gassed up the place (any time it's smelly anywhere we go haha)

Dang it!!
Fletcher we don't say that.
Mom, it just means I love you.

See you later SUCKERS!!
as we pass someone on the interstate

Ca-bew-mer = any military vehicle
pack pack = backpack
gorilla = granola
gorilla bar = granola bar
yo-get = yogurt
Favorite Kid Pictures:

How do you record your kid's milestones and funny stories??