Friday, February 28, 2020

Dollar Tree Haul: Easter, Fairy Gardens & Birthdays

I had a different post planned for today and then I ended up changing my mind after going to the Dollar Tree this week.  I stopped in to pick up some supplies for Fletcher's birthday party .  I found lots more!  I don't shop at Dollar Tree regularly.  I stop in for holidays, birthdays and for travel trinkets.  I like a lot of their stuff; I just find myself overbuying if I stop in too frequently.  Do you shop at Dollar Tree regularly?

I have a fun Dollar Tree Haul for you today that includes everything from Easter, to fairy garden houses, birthday supplies and travel trinkets.

I'll start with my favorite - Fairy Garden Houses!!  This is my 3rd year buying them and they just keep getting better!!  They are so colorful, detailed, well painted and darling.  They had everything from a cactus, carrot, flowers and a pine cone.  I'm adding these to my kid's Easter baskets.  You can't beat the $1 price tag.  Shop these now because they won't last long in stores!

I started my shopping trip by snapping pictures in store.  Then I got distracted.  Whoops!  Let me give you a sneak peak of the Easter section.  They had tons of cute Easter eggs.

My store always keeps the fairy garden supplies on an end cap.  It was fully stocked this week.

I picked up a few more gnomes because my kids love them.

These coloring packs and sticker sets are so fun for traveling.  We've got some summer trips on the horizon so I bought an LOL set and a Toy Story set to save for the kids for our trips.

Mom Hack: Pick up cute travel trinkets as you spot them throughout the year.  That way you've got a stash of them for Summer road trips or holiday travel.  It's expensive and can be difficult to find a lot of travel trinkets at once.  This way makes it fun to shop for them all year long. 

My kids love playing with these plastic animals.  They had a ton of options at my store.

Lots of wrapping paper for all of our upcoming Spring birthdays.  The unicorn paper is so cute!  Fletcher picked out the stars for his birthday.  I like to use the brown polka-dotted paper for a disposable table cloth.  The brown papers are all thick and really durable.  The colorful papers for parties, birthdays, wedding, etc. are thinner papers.  They still work great and are a great deal.  They just are not really a thick wrapping paper.

My store was just starting to stock Easter stuff.  I LOVED these sweet canvas bunny bags!  Last year I bought the ones on the left and this year I bought the ones on the right.  They are so fun to fill with candy for my kid's Easter baskets.

Aren't they SO SWEET?!?!

The ears are sewn on and they have a draw string to close the to.  They'll be so cute in our baskets!

Fletcher had the best time helping me pick out his birthday party supplies!  He picked a monster truck theme so we're going with monster trucks + red + lots of fun colors.  He was so cute helping me pick out all of this.  We're doing his family parties a little early this year because I'm not sure I'll be up for hosting a party and traveling just a few weeks before my due date.  An early party will ensure that he has a fun party to celebrate turning 4!!

Travel trinkets + my favorite jelly beans.  I don't think they'll last long enough to be a travel trinket :)

Hope your Dollar Trees are fully stocked with all this fun stuff!!
Have a wonderful weekend :)

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Baby #3 Weeks: 29-32

It's time for my monthly baby check in!  Things are moving right along and Olive keeps reminding me that baby Leo will be here "in just a few weeks"!  She's right :)

Week 29: January 28
Baby boy is the size of a head of cauliflower.

I am feeling so tired.  Must nap every day for a bit.  I feel lots of energy in the morning and then 1/2:00 hits and I'm wiped out.  I'm also feeling so hungry.  Baby is growing.  My doctor diagnosed me with a sinus infection this week.  Hoping to feel better soon.

It's funny that life with baby #3 means most days are business as usual even if you don't quite feel up to doing it.  School schedules are still happening, kids like their routines and meals still need to be cooked.

Week 30: February 4
Baby boy is the size of broccoli.

Strangers have started commenting on me being pregnant.  I guess it's obvious now.  I am just starting to deal with heart burn and my hands are a little swollen when I wake up in the morning.  Not bad at all compared to my pregnancy with Fletcher.  I'm noticing that I'm crying much more easily at ridiculous things - doing homework with Olive, state of the union speech, etc.  I'm not a crier at all so this is comical.

Olive was home sick a couple days this week.  I was thankful that no one else got it and her fever went away within a day or two.  Baby boy kicks are getting STRONG.  They often startle me.

Week 31: February 11
Baby boy is the size of a coconut.

SO sleepy every afternoon.  Fletcher has started saying, "You look tired.  Let's go snuggle on the couch."  He watches a show and I nap.  I'm eating tons of fruits and veggies to keep everything regular - ha!  My skin is feeling really dry.  I go to bed much earlier than usual.

Baby is moving a ton.  He's regularly in a funny position for ultrasounds, my belly seems lopsided and moves like crazy.   Fletcher often kisses my belly and says "Hi Baby!  I can't wait to lplay with you!"  I'm still wearing all my regular rings - not much swelling.

We announced baby's name this week - Leo!  We road tripped to see family and celebrate baby Leo at his baby sprinkle.  It was really exciting to get all the tiny outfits and new baby gear.

Week 32: February 18
Baby boy is the size of a cantaloupe.

I am craving all the fruit!  Which is unfortunate because winter in the Midwest is not really prime fruit buying season.  My arms and legs fall asleep very easily.  I try to take advantage of my bursts of energy to get all the things done.  I'm waking up a lot at night to go to the bathroom, feeling restless, having crazy dreams and feel like I'm getting prepped for life with a newborn.  Still squeezing in afternoon naps whenever I can and the cats are thrilled for the snuggles.

I had a dr appointment this week and ALL of my numbers are looking great.  Blood pressure, sugars, etc.  No non-stress tests required.  Smooth sailing.  See you in two weeks.  I was in a little bit of shock because with both of my other pregnancies I was having to starting going in for weekly monitoring non-stress tests and such.  What a blessing this is for baby #3 and for me!

We realized if I get induced at the same week I did with Fletcher, we'll be meeting the baby in 6 weeks!!  I've got to hurry and get through my to do list ASAP.  We;re all getting excited and Olive is pondering big questions like, "How will I introduce Leo to my class!?!  Pictures?  Can I bring him in for show and tell?  I can't wait!!"  She's already the cutest big sis.

Ready for the final weeks of my pregnancy!

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

4 Healthy Hair Tips & 1 Life Changing Product

I've received more compliments on my hair in the past 6-12 months than I have in years.

It's been so nice!  I've done a few things differently and wanted to share some hair tips with you.  I've been waiting for weeks for a sunny weekend day to snap some hair pictures.  The lighting isn't great by the time Kevin gets home in the evening so all the stars aligned this weekend.

A little back story on my hair: My hair is oily, naturally curly and grows really quickly.  I've never colored it, Kevin trims my hair in between professional cuts and I'm obviously taking prenatal vitamins since I'm pregnant.  They don't do anything to help my short nails grow, but I always love my hair during pregnancy.

4 Healthy Hair Tips:

1. Use as little heat as possible on your hair.
I NEVER blow dry my hair.  I seriously cannot remember the last time I blow dried my own hair.  I always allow time to let it air dry.  That means I'm getting in the shower after dinner and giving my hair 2-2.5 hours to air dry.  Then I'll style it with a flat iron and curling wand.  I'll touch up the curls throughout the week, but only flat iron for the initial styling.

2. Wash 2-3 times a week.
I comb baby powder through my roots and use a little dry shampoo in between in the mornings when I style my hair for the day.  My hair is definitely shinier and healthier looking the less dry shampoo build up I have going on.  Reminder: You can shower/bathe daily without washing your hair :)

3. Deep Conditioners
I use two different deep conditioners on my hair right now.  I brush out my hair and apply the conditioners.  I will let them sit on my hair anywhere from 5-30 minutes with my hair in a bun and then shampoo it out.  If I'm going for the 30 minute time, I'll usually do dinner dishes, pack lunches, etc while it sits on my hair.  I've tried shampooing first and then deep conditioning.  That leaves my hair looking greasy and feeling heavy.  I have much better luck when I condition first and shampoo last.  I'll talk about the specific products below.

4. Change up your styling routine
I usually wear it down on the first two days, half up or a clip the second and then a bun or pony tail of some sort on the last day.

My #1 difference maker in my hair products has to be these Pantene Rescue Shots!  They are AMAZING!!  They're a 5 minute conditioner and they'll make your hair look and smell SO GOOD.  I love these so much that I gifted them to friends for Christmas.  I buy them in a multi pack on Amazon (links below).  You can buy packages of 1, 2 or 3 rescue shots.  They're very affordable (under $5 each) and they do an outstanding job conditioning your hair.

I have also been enjoying this Kiehls Olive Fruit Oil Deeply Reparative Hair Mask.  I let this one sit on my hair for longer.  It smells great and really conditions my hair well.  A little goes a long way.  I've linked it below.

I've used the John Frieda Frizz ease line of hair products for years.  I love their hair spray and this touch up cream.

I always go with an inexpensive dry shampoo like TreSemme or Suave.  But my favorite clean hair extending product is still baby powder.  I just sprinkle a tiny bit on my brush, brush through my roots and it leaves no residue.  I always


I'm LOVING the hair clip trend that is so popular right now.  I always get a lot of positive feedback when I style my hair this way.  I love the first bar clip.

I also love this tortoise shell clip.  It's larger and you have to play around with it to get the placement right.  I prefer to wear it with the hinge side towards the back of the head and the clip opening towards my face.  Try placing it a variety of ways to get the way that looks best on your hair.

What are your favorite hair products??  I'd love to find a better shampoo/conditioner to use along with a better hair spray if you have any recommendations.

My Amazon affiliate links:

Monday, February 24, 2020

6 Easy Breakfast Recipes

I've been trying harder in the breakfast department.  Traditional breakfast comfort food has sounded delicious to me lately so I'm trying to incorporate them into our weekly menus.  Plus, many of these recipes can be prepped one day and enjoyed for several days.  I love that cook once, enjoy several times option for meals.  Especially for breakfast and lunch because they make my mom life much easier.

Here are 6 Easy Breakfast Recipes that I've been loving lately!

1 // Overnight Oats 
I've wanted to give overnight oats a try for years.  I have pinned more recipes than I can count and finally gave them a try this month.  I didn't go out and buy special jars for them.  Instead, I saved up our favorite olive jars because they were the perfect size.  I washed them and soaked them to rid the jars of any olive scent.

I built my overnight oat jars like this:
instant oats
flax seed
chia seeds
splash of vanilla
Vanilla greek yogurt
peanut butter
chocolate chips
milk - fill up enough to cover your oats

Refrigerate overnight and they're ready to eat the next day.

I was VERY surprised at how delicious and easy this breakfast recipe was.  I opened my jar the next day.  Stirred everything up until it was well blended and loved it!  I ate it cold, but you could easily warm it or let it warm to room temp.  I enjoyed the 2nd jar a couple days later and it was just as good.

The flavor combos and ingredient list are endless.  These are portable and so simple.  They'd work great on the go if you're a busy lady or a working mom.  You could easily eat it at your desk, on the go or at home.  I figured I'd start out with my favorite flavors and branch out.  Do you make overnight oats?  What do you put in yours?

2 // Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuits
McDonalds and Hardees have the very best breakfast sandwiches in my opinion.  They always sound yummy to me, but swinging through the drive through isn't always ideal.  I picked up the ingredients to make them at home.

I love the Bisquick frozen biscuits because you can make 1-2 or 12.  You just grab what you need.

I made 3 of these at a time.  I fried the eggs on the stove top, added a slice of cheese, warmed some of the Hormel precooked bacon in the microwave and added them to my fresh biscuits.  I ate one the first day and then refrigerated the other ingredients separately.  On the following days I just popped the bacon,egg and cheese stack and a biscuit onto a baking sheet.  I set the oven to preheat to 350 and put the baking sheet into the oven.  By the time the oven reached 350, everything was warm.  I built a fresh biscuit sandwich and it was amazing!!

3 // Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
Last month I shared this recipe and I've made it 3-4 times this year.  These muffins are so yummy, are pretty healthy and I always have the ingredients on hand to make them.

4 // Baked Egg Casserole 
I love having baked egg casserole for easy lunches.  I make it in a square 9x9 pan and then cut off slices for lunch.  It's like the perfect crustless quiche.  Here's my favorite recipe:

Roast any veggies you have on hand.  This one has - onions, broccoli, cauliflower & sweet peppers.
Scramble 12 eggs.
Cook bacon.
Layer with spinach and feta.
Pour egg mixture over the top.
Top the whole thing with some Montreal Steak Seasoning.

Bake at 325 for 40-50 minutes or until the top is golden brown and completely set.

It's delicious!!  My kids will eat it if I add in turkey sausage and cheddar cheese.  Feta isn't their fave.

5 // Homemade Cinnamon Rolls 
About once a month, I use my sour dough bread started to make homemade cinnamon rolls.  My husband is a huge fan and mostly eats them for dessert in the evenings.  This week I made a pan of plain cinnamon rolls and a pan of pecan filled cinnamon rolls.  We prefer the pecan filled.

I don't have a sourdough recipe to share because you have to have sour dough bread starter.  I do have a small batch cinnamon roll recipe that I can link.  My husband really liked these, too.  Recipe here.

6 // Waffles, Eggs & Bacon
My heart waffle maker has been going strong long after Valentine's Day!  It just makes the perfect size waffles.  I love the Light and Fluffy pancake mix from Hungry Jack.  It's lighter and fluffier than any homemade recipe I've tried and you just have to add water.  It's the easiest meal so we have had it for dinner regularly this year.  We ended up with leftovers last week so I packed Olive a breakfast for lunch meal.  She loved it!  And I loved that I only cooked once and had enough leftovers for lunch!

What are your favorite breakfast recipes??

Friday, February 21, 2020

Simple Joys

We've been working hard to teach our kids to point out the simple joys in their days.

We always ask about the highlights of their days at dinner, pray for people they request and we've started saying things we're grateful for at dinner.  It's been a rewarding routine that we all look forward to each day.  It doesn't require money, much effort or time, but the process is really rewarding.  We've noticed the kids giving more details and thinking harder to come up with their answers each day.

I thought I'd share some of my simple joys with you from this week.  None of them are flashy moments, but they were all highlights in my week.

1 // Donut Dates.
Fletcher has started saying "My belly is screaming for _________" and this week it was screaming for Square Donuts.  He was thrilled that they had all of our favorites.  I hate that Olive can't go with us since she's at school.  But we remedy that by getting her a donut to go for an after school snack.  I'm also feeling extra sentimental about our days together because A. baby brother is coming in April and I know things will change.  B. Fletcher will start preschool next year which means I will no longer be the boss of all of our days.  I'm trying hard to say yes to the lunch dates and fun as much as possible this year.

 2 // Kid Classes.
We went to story time this week and the bubbles at the end never disappoint.  Fletcher loves going to these classes.  It's really fun to see him grow and learn from someone other than me.

3 // Bedtime Stories with Dad.
Kevin loves to read a little bit of a chapter book to the kids every night.  They're currently reading The Boxcar Children.  It's such a sweet moment in our day.

4 // Homemade Bread.
My bread making skills are coming right along!  These were my loaves this week and they were my best yet!  I think I've finally nailed down the perfect combo of ingredients, oven temp, baking time, etc.  My family enjoyed a loaf of bread and I always share the second one.  It feels really great to be at a point with my bread making that I can share it.

5 // Playing.
These two love playing outside and miss that during the winter.  I've been trying to be better about bundling up and heading outside.  We enjoyed a pretty sunset and some fresh air.

6 // Stand Up for Yourself.
Olive's been having some issues at school that were bugging her.  She'd come home and talk about them, but wasn't sure she wanted any help solving her problems.  We talked things through for several days.  Then she came home one day and said she worked up the courage to talk to her teacher about them.  The teacher helped her to solve her problems and I was SO PROUD.  I love that she's learning how to ask for help and advocate for herself.  She was really proud of her self, too.  It's fun to see her confidence growing in lots of areas this year.

What are some simple joys from your week??