Tuesday, August 31, 2021

The Little Things

Life feels extra stressful and heavy right now - right!?  

Everything from Back to School worries, to COVID, to political chaos, to Afghanistan, national tragedies, hurricanes, sudden deaths and several people I know going through really hard things.  It's just a lot.  I can't even begin to know where to start to fix all of those things, but I can pray for all of the people impacted and do my best to love on the people in my circles. 

I've been trying to look for the JOY in the every day moments 

and focus on the LITTLE THINGS that make me smile.


1 // BOGO Dunkin Donuts Iced Coffee - I remembered that this was the last week to use these coupons.  I went and ordered coffee for myself - iced coffee with a shot of mocha and a splash of milk.  I got an extra one without ice and saved it for an afternoon treat.

2 // Fletcher was feeling a little sad at school drop off on Monday.  He headed into school bravely even though I know he was scared.  I had to run by the school mid morning and just happened to be waiting at the office right when he walked by for lunch.  I got to give him a big hug and a kiss in the middle of his school day.  It was so sweet!  He did a double take when he saw me.  It just made me feel so good to know that God cares about all the little details of our life like orchestrating a surprise meet up with Fletcher to brighten both of our days.

3 // Olive's teacher is really great and told her, "Everyone needs an Olive!" Those words totally made her day!  She came home beaming and it gave her a big boost of confidence.

4 // I haven't ever been thrilled with my family doctor.  I stuck with her because I don't go to the doctor very often and it just seemed like a pain to switch.  Months ago I made an appointment with a highly recommended family doctor in our area.  I had my appointment with her yesterday and LOVE her!  She's amazing - asks great questions, really listens, is helping me with some issues I've been dealing with and we bonded over similarly aged kids.  I'm so thankful to have found her!

5 // I have exercised almost every day in June, July and August.  I made a promise to myself and I have kept it!  I am feeling stronger and better about myself than I have in a while.  I made a big shift in my thinking about exercise and it's been a game changer.  Instead of thinking I needed to workout every day to lose weight; I started thinking that I needed to exercise every day to feel good.  It was me time and I wanted to make taking care of myself a priority.  I look forward to hopping on the treadmill every day.

6 // Grocery store flowers.  Kevin ran to the store and came home with these beautiful roses.  He said they just looked like flowers I'd love.  They are gorgeous!


What little things have brought you JOY this week?

Monday, August 30, 2021

Money Saving Monday

I have a new series I'm going to start doing on Mondays once or twice a month - 

Money Saving Monday!

I am excited to share some creative ways to save money with you.  

I'm no budgeting pro.  I'm just a mom who loves a great deal.  I love saving money in as many areas as I can to free up money in our budget for fun things.  It won't be glamorous or be filled with perfectly styled pictures, but my hope is that my tips will be helpful for you and save you money.


1. Mix and Match Diapers

Hear me out.  I LOVE Pampers Swaddler diapers.  They're the nicest, best, most absorbent diapers I've found.  The downside is that they are pretty pricey.  Even in bulk, they're about $0.46 a diaper for the bigger sizes.  The tiny baby Pampers are about a quarter a diaper.

Aldi diapers work pretty well for us for daytime and are only $0.18 a diaper!!  They run a little smaller than Pampers so keep that in mind.

I mix and match diapers to work for us.  I use Aldi diapers on Leo when we are home during the day.  They work great.  I switch to Pampers Swaddlers when we are going out and about for the day and always for overnight.  They're the best for longer wearing and zero leaks.

This diaper arrangement gives me the best of both worlds - great diapers, no leaks and I'm not spending nearly as much money every week on diapers.

2. Do not waste food

This one sounds simple enough, right?  But I'm serious - keep close tabs on all the produce that you buy, all the meat and all the pantry items.  Use up all those last little bits of things before they expire.  I started doing this a couple of years ago and it's amazing all the ways that those last little bits of food come in handy.  I save any leftover produce from dinner - fresh corn on the cob, diced tomatoes, a little taco meat, etc.  All the veggies go into a freezer bag and I use them for soups.  All the main dish leftovers get eaten for an easy lunch for me.  If my bananas turn brown, I slice them and freeze them for smoothies.

3. Shop Hobby Lobby's 90% off aisle as often as you can.

My store had two giant aisles of 90% off Spring/Summer items this past week.  It was packed full of great things.  I got some wall decor and several gifts for family and friends for about $.40 an item.  Items in this aisle GO QUICK.  If you see something you love, grab it right then.  Be sure to check all ceramic items for chips or cracks and stock up on anything you love for yourself or that you love for a gift.  I found these pretty animal prints.  They'll go perfectly in Leo's nursery.  They're large - maybe 10x10inch and in great condition.  They were just $1.59 each!

4. Leftover Makeovers

This is an extension of #1.  Save all those little bits of food and challenge yourself to reuse them in a new way.  We had leftover tator tots one night.  I saved them and made a breakfast scramble for lunch one day.  It was delicious!  Cook the eggs, once they're almost fully cooked add in the tots to the skillet, let that all heat up and then add in any meat and top with cheese.  So good!

I had a little bit of Taco Tuesday leftovers - a little meat, sauteed peppers and pico.  I saved it all had made a yummy taco bowl lunch the next day.

Have you seen this Premium Carved meat in stores?  It's around $5 and there have been extra coupons through Ibotta lately.  It's so good in lunches and added to dishes.

Leftover tator tots made a yummy breakfast bowl for lunch!


5. DIY

What things do you pay for that you could learn to do at home?

For me, it's haircuts.  I bought a nice electric razor probably 5 years ago and watched some youtube tutorials on cutting boys/mens hair.  I cut all of their hair every 3 weeks or so.  It's so fast to do it at home.  You never have to stress about making appointments or waiting at the hair salon.  Just do it when it works for you.  You'll save tons of $$.  I trim Olive's hair as needed and then Kevin trims mine in between salon visits when I just want the ends trimmed.

Home maintenance is another area we've been working on DIYing.  Recently our garage door came off the track a bit and wouldn't close.  Kevin did some googling, messed around with it and figured out how to fix it.  That saved us an after hours call to a garage door repair and was a pretty simple fix.  Any time you can ask a friend, relative or youtube for help is a win :)


6. Money Saving Apps

I LOVE using money saving apps.  Fetch, Ibotta and Rakuten are my favorites.  I've saved so much money and earned free gift cards with my points.  They're so easy to use - you can sync them with your accounts, snap a quick picture or log onto a website.

I've got referral codes for each one if you want to give them a try.  We both earn bonus points if you sign up for an account AND start using it.

Fetch Rewards: 

You get points for any receipts you scan and bonus points on certain grocery items.  I've earned $95 in gift cards with Fetch.

My Fetch Rewards Referral Code: C8K71


Ibotta Rewards:

This money saving app is one you look over before you shop.  You select your store, activate any deals on items you want to buy and then shop.  If you do grocery pick up, you just sync your account and it'll automatically scan in the receipt when it shows up in your email.  It's super easy and super rewarding.

I've earned $384.01 with this app!  It's AMAZING!

My Ibotta Referral Code: dtvtng

We will both earn $10 if you download the app and then submit your first receipt.


This site was formerly known as Ebates.  It's a website you go to and look for deals advertised.  If I'm going to place an Old Navy order, order contacts at 1800Contacts or Target, I start at Rakuten and see what kind of deals they're offering.  I click on them and then check out.  I earn a % back from each shopping trip that has a current deals.  It's so easy and it's fun to see the money add up.

We've earned $278.73 with this site.

My Rakuten Referral Link: https://www.rakuten.com/r/KAJEWH?eeid=28187

I'd LOVE for you to use my referral codes if you want to give these money saving apps a try!  Message me or comment if you have any questions.


Happy Saving!  I hope one of these tips will save you money!

Friday, August 27, 2021

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!  I hope you've had a great week.  The week felt l-o-n-g, but there were lots of good moments.  We're ready for the weekend over here.  Let's get to our Friday favorite moments from the week:

1.School Routine

We're back to school.  Two weeks down and we're all feeling pretty good about it.  We are all exhausted and going to bed earlier than usual. 

Monday we had our saddest drop off with me leaving Fletcher going into the school sobbing.  I felt terrible.  I'm sure he felt terrible and it was so sad.  Then Tuesday after some pep talks, a chat with his teacher and Olive escorting him to his class he just shouted I'm feeling sad as we waved goodbye.  That was sad, but a big improvement from Monday.  

I told him every day would get a little easier.  We love him and are proud of him.  After that he's been great at drop off.  He's had great school days.  He told me - You're right, Mom!  It does get easier every day.  and I'm so excited to go to school today!  Hooray!  Both kids have had a little homework and loving kindergarten and 3rd grade.  Thank the Lord!  The week started out stressful and ended up with smiles all around.  Hugs to you if you're in the same boat!

2. Sweet Big Sister

Olive earns tickets in her class and gets to cash them in for various prizes.  This week she cashed in tickets and volunteered to read to her favorite 1st grade teacher's class and then she cashed in another set of tickets to surprise Fletcher and read to his class.  She was SO EXCITED.  She picked out a book that he loves, snuck it to school in her backpack and read to his class.  I was so proud of her.  She's also set some fun goals for herself this year and each day gives me an update on how they're going.

3. Air Show

We've had tons of military planes in town for the month of August doing training and it's been amazing!  They're flying right over our house and our side of town.  We picked up Culvers and had some picnics near the airport.  The kids loved pointing out the jets as they flew through the sky.

4. Life Hack

Save all those Culvers ice cream coupons - one free scoop per kids meal - and keep them with you at all times.  I leave mine in my wallet.  Then when you get the urge for ice cream, you can swing through the drive thru and get FREE ice cream for everyone.

5. Hobby Lobby

It feels nothing like Fall yet in the Midwest, but that didn't stop me from picking up some pretty fall florals at Hobby Lobby this week.  They're 40% off this week and there are so many lovely options.  Those mustard puff balls are AMAZING.  Stay tuned for a DIY Fall Wreath project.

6. Snow Cones with Friends

We've moved most of our meetings outdoors for my mom's group - board meetings, dinner meetings and now snow cone meetings.  It's so fun to find a way to meet with friends where we can all get together, spread out and enjoy the time together.  I tried a new snow cone flavor - peach - and it was amazing!  I've been dreaming about it all week long.  And then we had a gorgeous sunset to wrap up the meeting!

7. Jordan Bakery Box

I added something new to my menu this week - individual charcuterie boxes!  I love these new containers with a snap on lid.  These were for a fun luncheon at a local winery.  Wouldn't these be great for date night or lunch on the go or a work meeting!?  I can't wait to make more.  Follow me on instagram @jordanbakerybox or on Facebook at Jordan Bakery Box

8. Garden Fresh Produce

Our garden + our neighbor's garden has kept us very well stocked with tomatoes and peppers.  I made this yummy pico to go with tacos all week and the sweet corn has been amazing.  Keep all this fresh produce coming!

9. Toddler Chores

Leo watches us very closely.  He imitates what we do.  He noticed that we're always picking up sticks and adding them to our burn pile.  This week he started doing this job all on his own.  Anytime we are outside he looks for sticks and adds them to the pile.  It's so cute!

10. Topher

He's a sweet old man.  He was grateful to get to take a stress free nap when the big kids were at school and the baby was napping.  No one to bug him :)

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

Linking up with Momfessionals

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

2 Ways to Make Taco Night Feel Fancy

We are lucky to have neighbors who are eager to share their harvests with us!  We've gotten tons of tomatoes, sweet peppers and jalapenos.  I'm determined to not let a single thing go to waste so my menu has been heavily influenced by all this yummy produce.

We did Taco Tuesday this week and I did two really easy things that made our tacos feel so fancy.

1. Make a fresh pico to top the tacos

2. Slice fresh jalapenos to add to your tacos

This pico was SO GOOD!

I had some fresh corn leftover from the night before so I added in and it was the star!


Fresh tomatoes - I used a mix some golden tomatoes, grape tomatoes and then bigger ones.

Fresh corn

Diced onion - I used yellow and would have added in purple if I had it.

1 green bell pepper

juice of half a lemon

salt and pepper to taste

There's no way to mess up this combo of these ingredients.  Just use what you have and chop everything up into bite sized pieces.  It's best served fresh, but it also keeps for a day or two in the fridge.

We enjoyed this pico on soft tacos, nachos and little taco pizzas all week long.

For the fresh jalapenos, I love the crunch of them and Kevin loves the heat.  I remove the seeds from my half and leave the seeds in for him.  It's super easy.  Cut the stem off and then slice about half the jalapeno as is, deseed the remaining half and slice it up.  Best of both worlds!


It's a delicious time of year!

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Beginning of the Year Teacher Gifts for Under $10

We're only on week 2 of school, but between the heat, the stress of a new year and the chaos of figuring out all the new routines and expectations, I think we all need a little pick me up!  Being a former teacher, I know that teachers never get tired of feeling loved and appreciated.  You don't have to spend much to make someone feel special.  I've got several ideas for you today that are super affordable - from free to $10.

1. Sip, Sip, Hooray!  We made it to Friday!

I made this cute tag, had the kids personalize it for their teachers and tied it to these cute water bottles!  They come in a two pack at Sams right now for $19.98.  Each water bottle comes with two straws, two types of lids and a straw cleaner.  That's a lot of parts for just $10.  I let the kids pick them out and then decide which one their teacher would love.  Olive's teacher has been using it every day.

Fletcher has been sad to head to school in the mornings because he says his days are so long and he misses mom.  Poor guy!  Having a little surprise to give his teacher has brought a smile to both of the kid's faces in the morning.

Here are the three different sets of water bottles my Sams stores has.  I love that there are great options for men and women!  I loved them so much that I bought another set for myself. Can you guess which one?  They aren't listed as an option for grocery pick up, but they seem to have plenty of them in stores right now.

Up close - water bottle, personalized gift tag, ribbon and all the extra parts fit perfectly down inside a gift bag.

2. Baked treats!

These 12 packs of cookies that I've been making would be the perfect git for a favorite teacher.  If you're not feeling comfortable baking for your child's teacher, stop by a local bakery and pick up a yummy baked treat for them.  Include a nice note sharing any compliments from the start of the school year - they'd love to hear great feedback!

3. Favorite Things List

Print out a favorite things survey and give it to your child's teacher to fill out.  I used this one from Room Mom Rescue  - it was free if you signed up for the newsletter.  I love knowing each teacher's favorite things for little surprises for them throughout the year.

4. Email Gift Card

Send your child's teacher an email gift card for $10 to Starbucks, Amazon or pick up a little local gift card for them.  It would be a great way to introduce yourself and get the year started on a friendly foot.

5. Personalized bracelets

My kids love making these pony bead bracelets.  Both kids made some for themselves, I made some for them and then they made some for their teachers.  It made their day to share something that they made with their teacher right away.  It cost us less than $1 per bracelet.

Which idea would work best for you?

Monday, August 23, 2021

Favorite After School Snack

Hey, friends!  We're ready for week #2 of school after a really relaxing and restful weekend at home.  I'm praying my kids and your kids have great weeks at school.  

I surprised the kids with their favorite after school snack - lots of little bites in a mini muffin tin.

It's super easy - just grab whatever you have on hand - I've been making some back to school snack boxes so my mix was very ABC back to school themed.  You can add anything your kids like - fruits, veggies, salty and sweet.  Add Nutella for dipping and your snack is complete.

I like to build this after lunch and pop it in the fridge.  That way I'm not assembling it when the kids get home.  It's waiting on the counter for them when they walk in.  They put away their school stuff, wash their hands really well and dig in.  They can eat whatever they like.  They've learned charcuterie/snack board etiquette so they know to eat a variety of things and not wipe out one single category by themselves.

Would your kids be excited about this afternoon snack?

I tried to do two muffin cups for each type of food item.  I love the big mini muffin pans since you end up with 24 different cups for snacks.  I also included two star food picks for my super star students (and also to minimize arguing :)

Hot & tired from school and extra thankful for a fun snack.  They ate a lot of it since they come home from school starving.

I'd given Leo a pint sized version of this snack and then things got way too quiet when we'd walked out of the kitchen.  I came in to find Leo on top of the counter finishing off the snack and saying yum.

No such thing as baby proofing for this guy.  He was sampling all that candy I'd left off his plate.

Mom, this stuff is AMAZING!  Quit babying me and give me the big kid snacks.

Why have you been keeping Nutella from me!?!

 I do a fun snack like this about once a week and change it up.  I bake their favorite cookies or treats to come home to, stock the freezer with their favorite popsicles, make a snack muffin tray or we make smoothies.  Then the other days we do easy things like Gardettos and apple slices or skinny pop and strawberries.  It's just the thought that counts - It's a priority to me to serve favorite foods to the people that I love!

Friday, August 20, 2021

10 Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!  This has felt like the longest week ever.  

My kids went back to school on Monday and we are all dragging across the Friday finish line.  They've had a good week at school, but we're all exhausted.  I went to bed before 11pm a few different nights and that isn't like me.  Let's never start back to school on a Monday again!?  I think I'm just exhausted from worrying about all the little things, remembering everything the kids need each day, figuring out our new routines, navigating drop offs and bus routes and packing lunches.  I love it all; my brain is just on overload.

The week has it's highs - both kids like their teachers and their classrooms, we got to go to open houses for both of them and be in their school which didn't happen last year, we got to relax and enjoy time together in the evenings, the kittens turned one and we're ready for a quiet weekend!

And it's lows - tears from everyone - missing mom at lunch, broken down school bus, saying goodbyes at drop off, missing friends from last year, stressing about making new friends and teething troubles.  Thankfully the highs outweighed the lows and we'll get back into the school routine soon enough.

Our favorite moments of the week were:

1. Mimi & Papaw came to town for the day!  We had fun working on projects around the house and hanging out on our last weekend of Summer.  And Mimi showed up with her specialty - homemade caramel corn :)

2. We had a neighborhood snow cone party to celebrate the end of Summer.  The Kona Ice truck was there and everyone got a cup of shaved ice and full access to the flavorwave station.  Leo LOVED it.  I think this was his first snow cone.

3. We made back to school bracelets.  The kids each made their own.  I made some for them and then I ended up with a stack of mine own.  We all wore them this week and said prayers for each other throughout the school days.

4. We met friends at the playground a few times.  Leo got to enjoy being on his own with me and play with some new little buddies.  I guess he won't mind being the boss of our days from 8am-3pm when the big kids are off at school.

5. I introduced a new product in my bakery - After School Snack Boxes!  They turned out great and were a big hit.  Local friends picked them up all week long.

6. We had a smiley face charcuterie dinner one night this week.  It's one of our favorite meals!  I love that there are no dishes and very little clean up.

7. After School Mini Muffin Tin snack tray.  The big kids LOVED coming home to this surprise yesterday.  It's so easy to put together.  I do it at nap time and then we eat it after school.  They loved dipping things in the Nutella.


8. We did all the back to school things this week - 2 open houses, play on the playground, tons of paperwork, drop offs, pick ups and more.


9. We've been using and loving Yumboxes for YEARS!  They're the best containers for lunches.  You can read all about my favorite Yumbox and lunch packing tips here - Yumbox Favorites

Here's a few of the lunches I packed this week:

10. Penny & Pearl turned ONE!  These pretty kitty sisters turned one.  We spoiled them with new cat toys, some fancy cat food and a song or two.  They're the sweetest golden eyed girls.  They love to be by my side and are so so patient with the kids.  They love each other TONS and if you're looking for them at night, they are probably sleeping with one of the kids.  I'm so glad that they talked me into getting two kittens instead of one.

I hope you've had a great week and have some fun plans for your weekend.

I'm linking up with Momfessionals