Monday, January 31, 2022

Kid Jobs

Do your kids help around the house?

I'm a big believer in giving kids jobs!


They might grumble about it and it might take multiple time for you to show them the right way to do things, but you'll save yourself lots of time and energy and frustration if everyone is able to pitch in and help around the house.  We don't have a set schedule for any of this.  They just jump in when I ask them to help.  We're working on helping with a happy heart :)  But for the most part, they like helping and being given some extra responsibilities.

I'm hopeful that they'll know how to take care of their own homes one day thanks to all this practice.

My kids are currently 8, 5 and 1 and they all have jobs.  Yep, even the 1 year old.

Big Kid Jobs:

- setting the table

- clear the table

- sorting and "folding" their laundry

- cleaning up toys

- tidying up their room

- folding towels

- windex windows

- vacuuming

- picking up their stuff as they go through the day 

- monitoring cat food/water

- dusting

- carrying in groceries

- pack their own snacks for school

- gather all their school stuff the night before - coat, jacket, shoes, backpacks, hats/gloves and pick out their outfits for the next day.

- watering plants/garden

Toddler jobs: *

- clean up toys (with help because he really loves to dump baskets)

- put wet clothes in the dryer

- take dry clothes out of the dryer

- sweep (mostly for looks at this point, but eventually he'll be able to help sweet)

- put dirty clothes in laundry basket

- help put away groceries in the pantry

- restock drinks in the drink fridge

* I help Leo with all of these jobs.  He's so proud of himself and happy to be included.  It won't be too long before he'll be doing some of these things by himself.

What jobs do your kids do around the house??

Friday, January 28, 2022

Valentine Favorites

I have a really sweet Valentine's Day Favorites post to share with you today!

Valentine's Day is quickly approaching.  I've really enjoyed collecting a few sweet things for my family.  I've sent a couple of Valentine's Day care packages recently and there are just so much cute things to spread the love this time of year.  I'm going to show you my favorites and I'll link anything I can at the bottom of this post.

1 // Squishmallows - My kids are obsessed with these soft, squishy stuffed animals.  Target has these giant 2 Scoops Tie Dye Mouse Shaped Plushes for just $14.99.  It is so cute.  They are much larger than I imagined.  This is probably 18 inches tall and such a great price.  Everything comparable online is much more expensive so head to Target for these cuties.

2 // Cars - Leo is obsessed with cars & anything with wheels so I opted to get him this set of Hot Wheels instead of a stuffed animal for Valentine's Day.  He'll love them.

3 // Valentine's Candy - Scoop up the cute candy now and save it for your valentines.  I grabbed my kid's favorites - PEZ, Tootsie Roll pops, Reese's hearts, Swedish Fish hearts and some valentine M&Ms for baking.  The PEZ and the Tootsie Pops are under $2 each.

3 // Valentine Box - Fletcher has to make his own Valentine box holder this year.  We opted for a cute pinata and will cut a hole in the top to collect the valentines.  Amazon has some great pinata options.  Be sure to check the sizes so you don't end up with a mini one.

4 // Fidget Valentines - Both kids love fidgets and Fletcher picked out these popper fidget key chains on Amazon for his friends.  He is also hoping for some character valentine cards to go with them so I'm on the hunt for them.  We just have to add the key chain onto each popper.  I'll have him help me with that soon so we don't have to mess with it last minute.

5 // Rainbow Puzzle Balls - My kids love them.  I love them and we've gifted a few to friends.  They're great and good for fine motor skills practice for the kids.

6 // Cat Valentines - Target has these crazy cat valentines.  They're super cute and 3rd grader approved.

7 // Mochis - Olive said this assortment of mochis for her classmates made all her dreams come true!  They're so so cute.  Squishy.  And individually wrapped!  Perfect to give out to valentines.  We're going to staple two onto each card that she passes out for friends.  They seem to be really great quality and are even cuter in person.

8 // Valentine Accessories - In case you're looking for some practice Valentine's Day presents, these are a few of our new favorites from Amazon.  We love the Amazon Essentials coats so we tried the vests.  Look at this cute color.  It's warm and light weight.


9 // Knotted Headband Pack - We are also loving this huge pack of solid colored knotted headbands!  They fit kids and adults.  They're comfy (I have a big head and they really are comfy!) and my 3rd grader and I both enjoy wearing them.  You get 22 headbands in really good colors for just $24.99.  They'd be great to give to friends or just enjoy with your daughter.  The price and quality are really great.  10/10 recommend :)

Side note: Family adventures are always extra exciting with big toddler feelings!  Leo mostly enjoyed himself at this basketball game this week.  We wore our purple and orange headbands to the game.

10 // Heart Waffle Makers - We have a 2 heart waffle maker and I have gifted them to a few different people over the years.  It is so fun to eat heart waffles.  We actually use ours year round.  Heart waffles just taste better.  


I've got a few more random favorites that I'll include links to below - best books, best accessories, best valentines.  Spread the love!!

Linking up with Momfessionals and Prime Purchases with Tanya

My Valentine Amazon Affiliate Links!  Thanks for shopping my links :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Healthy School Lunch Ideas

I pack 10 school lunches a week.  2 lunches per day.  Every single week.  Actually I pack 15 lunches a week because I almost always pack lunch for my husband, too.  Lots of hugs from home in the middle of their school/work days !

My kids aren't big fans of school lunches so packing works best for us.  It also saves us lots of money for me to pack lunches for everyone.  I'm going to show you their favorites in the hopes that you'll find some ideas of foods to pack for your own kids or snacks to serve to your little family and friends!

A Heart-y lunch is perfect for the next few weeks leading up to Valentine's Day!  I cut the fruits and veggies into hearts, added heart candy, homemade chocolate zucchini bread and then cut their sandwiches into little hearts.  The pretzels are already close to heart shaped so I just added some red M&Ms.  So fun!

Berries, Yogurt (I love that these sealed compartments do not leak!) and Ritz cracker chips.

If you don't find yourself having to pack school lunches, maybe this mini muffin tin snack tray is more your speed.  I made this after lunch and then popped it in the fridge.  It was ready to serve and be devoured after school.  All 3 kids really enjoyed this.  It was nice to have food to give them right away and not have to make snacks.  We just chatted while they ate.

Brunch themed lunch - berries, yogurt, mini muffins (bran & blueberry), meat, cheese and Lucky Charms.  Learn from me - don't put the mini marshmallows in with the mini muffin because they'll go soggy.

Doritos, cold plain pasta, carved ham, turkey pepperoni and cheese.  I added a Butterfinger and dark chocolate covered almonds for dessert.

One of my kid's loves salads so we tried packing a salad for lunch.  It was a big hit!

Homemade treats area a fun addition - my kids love these pumpkin chocolate chip muffins and they like the variety of a couple of foods in each compartment.

Hard boiled eggs and homemade protein bites are a big hit.  My kids love these Apple Cinnamon Protein Bites the best. 

My simple lunch box note trick - post it notes :)  They work great.  My kids like silly pictures and quick messages.  I forgot the note one day this week and Olive called me out on it.  She was like... Umm mom did you forget my note today??  I'm glad to know she likes them.

What foods do you pack in your kid's lunches?  Would they like any of these lunches?

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

3 Things

I have a quick little check in from the whole family to kick off 2022.  These are the current events in each of their lives.  The kids are all about to have birthdays this Spring and will add one more year to their totals :)


Olive //  Age 8

1. Olive would say tell you that it's hard to move in the middle of the school year.  Lots of people already have friends and routines so it's tricky to break in.  She's thankful for nice girls in her class that are making an effort to get to know her.  She reminds us often that she misses her old friends and her old school and just really knowing what to expect.  She went to her old school for 3.5 years and she loved knowing the game plan - the best teachers, the nice girls, the expectations and the norms.  I'm hoping she picks up on all of that soon at her new school.  I'm so proud of her for trying her best each day and feeling a little more confident in doing so. 

2. She is in a demanding 3rd grade class.  She came home with homework instructions to reread the assignment, review the detailed outline she'd written in class and then type up a 3-4 paragraph persuasive writing on her monster creation - Cookie.  She created a cute monster that helps you with cooking, gives you massages and can style your hair.  Her "hook" (catchy opening line to her essay) was "Are you tired of doing everything yourself?"  It was really creative, cute and funny.  I'm impressed with her writing.  Olive is creative and clever.  She also seems so grown up all of the sudden.  She loves to remind me that she's almost double digits.

3. Comfy clothes are key.  She wants soft flowy pants, soft shirts, high pony tails and she's even going for tennis shoes more than Crocs now that it's freezing out.  She stays very active at school with PE twice a week and daily exercise in her classroom.



Fletcher // Age 5

1. Fletcher is enjoying school.  He has buddies that he sits by and he's really bonded with the teacher's aid in his classroom.  She's very sweet.  She knows Fletcher and then sees Olive later in the day.  It's fun to see them get to connect with new adults at their new school.  I got a sneak peek of him on the playground this week and he runs the entire time at recess.  He plays tag, chases friends, etc.  It was funny to see him GO GO GO. 

2. He wakes up every morning and asks if it's the weekend yet.  He's a homebody and loves to be home as much as possible.  He's started telling people: "I'm going to be a stay at home dad when I grow up!"  He says he'll cook and clean and do all the fun stuff with the kids.  We'll have to see how that plays out for him as he gets older.

3. Fletcher has had some behind the scenes health things going and we were looking for some answers for the past 6 months or so.  We were so relieved when he got a perfect bill of health recently.


Leo // Age 1

1. Well Leo tends to get the most coverage these days because he's my 24/7 sidekick.  He goes nonstop and has rightfully earned the hashtag #wildmanleo - it's perfectly fitting for him.  He's happy to climb on the counters, wants to share every single thing with me (wear my head phones) and steals drinks whenever he gets the chance.  He follows directions most of the time - go get your shoes on, put your hat on, lets go to the front door, etc.

2. Leo has learned to say his sibling's names.  Sissy and Fuffy.  Olive & Fletcher.  He loves going around the room, pointing to each of us and saying our names.  The big kids love that he has a name for each of the now.  They're all good buddies.

3. I'm still squeezing him into his 2T clothing even though he's ready for 3T.  He's just growing too fast.  A stranger at Target asked me how old he was.  I tried to remember the months (20 months) but couldn't so I just said, "He's about to turn 2!"  Gosh, that flew by fast.  He needs me to find his box of 3T Fletcher hand me downs ASAP.  Maybe that'll make my to do list for today.

Kevin & Whitney // Age 40 (haha Olive asked why I only put the kid's ages on our Christmas cards and didn't tell everyone how old we were.  That made me laugh so here's a reminder that we're both 40!)

1. Kevin's days are filled with meetings, settling in at his new office, learning the ropes at a new university and being the new guy on campus.  He's been working hard on projects around the house to help us all feel more settled.

2. My days are filled with errands, grocery trips, unpacking/finding homes for all of our stuff and being the constant routine keeper for the whole crew.  We have our morning routine, school routines, after school and homework routines, dinner time, down time, and bed time.  We're still working on them, but it makes me happy to be the constant in their lives.  My friend Laura reminded me that I'm the anchor for my family during this big transition.

3. We're both working on making Evansville feel like home.  I honestly have to orient myself and remind myself of our surroundings.  After living FAR away for nearly 20 years, it's hard to shift yoru thinking to everything and everyone being 20 minutes away.  I'm still typing in directions to get places, tracking down gas stations and trying to figure out the easiest way from A to B.

You'll find us on sunset strolls most evenings as long as it's not raining.  Winter sunsets are so pretty!

Tell me something about you to kick off the new year :)

Monday, January 24, 2022

Refreshing Your Home Decor with Paint: A Beginner's Guide

As we're settling into our new house, I'm trying to find homes for some of my favorite pieces of decor.  

I realized that several of my favorite things didn't quite work in our new house.  We've rearranged decor and the color scheme has changed.  Instead of buying all new things, I am determined to give things a new life with a coat of paint.  I'm not a pro painter.  I used spray paint and chalk paint that I already owned.  The pieces all look new and perfect for their new locations.

I refreshed some decor for my kitchen and two pieces for our laundry room.  It took 2 days for each painted item to be finished.  I did a first coat and then a second coat of paint a day later.  Light coats of paint dry faster and don't leave your finished product feeling sticky.


The hardest part is getting started sometimes.

I grabbed some flattened moving boxes, gathered my supplies and got busy in my garage.

Chalk paint is very thick so I watered it down a bit.  I didn't tape off the white knobs.  I opted to wipe them off right away if any paint got on them.  I improvised a bit - no paint stir stick - no problem.  I used a plastic fork.  No professional paint cups - no problem.  Solo cups work just fine.

We loved this coat rack in our old laundry room.  I decided green would be a better color for it in our new lemony laundry room.  I did 2 coats of paint and sealed it with the Annie Sloan clear wax.

This organizer has worked great for us for toys, kid stuff, pantry overflow and more.  I wanted it in the laundry room and knew that red wouldn't work with my lemon theme.  I had a can of white spray paint and got busy.  Spray from all angles.  All sides and let each application of paint dry really well before painting it again.  I LOVE how quick it is to paint something with spray paint.  It's much faster than brushing on paint.

Look how bright and fresh it looks now that it's white!


The organizer will hold all the miscellaneous winter items for the whole family and it fits perfectly under the coat rack for the adults.

I bought these decorating globes when we lived in Mississippi.  The blue has always worked in our family room, but it no longer matched our colors.  I had a can of black spray paint and got busy spraying them.  I did dust them quickly with a wet wash cloth first.  Let them dry and then sprayed them black.  It took two coats on two different days.  Cardboard boxes make the perfect backdrop.

Done!  They've been given new life!

They look great on top of my kitchen cabinets and match my decor much better now.

All 3 of these projects were pretty quick, fun, a good challenge and it makes me happy to know that I didn't buy any new supplies to make them happen.  

Do you have anything in your house that could use a fresh coat of paint??  

I enjoyed shopping my house instead of shopping for new stuff.  I've got my sights set on a small table next and maybe a picture frame or two.  Happy DIYing!

Friday, January 21, 2022

Friday Faves

Happy Friday, Friends!  I feel like we were all able to take a deep breath this week and feel more settled.  We've been in our house for about 6 weeks and are finding some good rhythms and routines.  We aren't totally settled or unpacked, but things are feeling comfortable.  We've had movie nights and are watching some fun shows - Encanto, Carmen San Diego, (adults only) Schitt's Creek & catching up on The Voice.  We also bought Yellowstone and plan to start that.

We had a good week.  Let me tell you about my favorite moments.

1 // Snow day

We got a heavy dusting of snow on Monday and the kids loved playing in it.  Look at these cute mini snowmen!  We managed to do a little sledding and are really hoping for a big snow.  I got sucked into buying a new sled at the grocery store this week and hope we get to use it.

2 // Be My Valentine

I have picked up some cute Valentine shirts for the kids at Target, heart shaped candy and packed this Valentine lunch this week.

3 // Meow

Both cats love our new rugs.  Their calico coats blend in nicely :)  They've all found comfy spots to snooze and places to hang out.  And they're super sweet to us despite being loved hard (looking at you Leo)!

4 // Organizing

January is a popular time to start reorganizing, but honestly, I'm organizing year round.  I love it.  My favorite local grocery store has these storage bins right now.  They're the perfect size to go in my cabinets.  I'm sticking with buying black or white storage bins to keep things streamlined.  Target and TJ Maxx/Homegoods have all had great selections of baskets and bins if you need them.

5 // Swedish Fish Hearts

These are one of our very favorite heart candies.  I grabbed a handful and found a fish in the mix.  haha sneaky fish :)  My kids love these with their popcorn or in their school lunches.

6 // Art

Kevin mentioned needing some art/decorations for his office.  Fletcher must have overheard him and came back a little bit later with some art for him.  He said it was "Me and Dad on top of the mountain!  I even signed it for you"  It was really sweet.

7 // Friends

I've mentioned before that a middle of the school year/winter relocation is tricky.  And it's been so cold on top of that so it's been hard to get out and meet people.  I grabbed my mail to read in the car pick up line this week and had two cards from some Terre Haute friends.  It totally made me cry in the car line.  It was so sweet to hear from both and just to know they'd been thinking about me made my day.  Never underestimate the power of snail mail to encourage people!

8 // Squirrels

We stopped by my parent's house yesterday and Leo was quick to grab some cookies and watch the squirrels.  They generously feed them all year long.  Leo loves keeping a close eye on them.

9 // Favorites

My sister made me a new head wrap.  It's so pretty and so warm!  I will be wearing it on repeat.  I'm also wearing this GAP sweatshirt on repeat.  And I can't remember if I've told you just how much I LOVE my Loopy case lately.  They're a little pricey, but the quality is amazing.  They totally live up to the hype - very durable, cute loop colors and my case looks brand new after having it for years.  My only complaint - my cats love to chew on my loops.  They chew through the loop and I have to replace it.  That's not a Loopy issue.  It's totally a naughty kitten issue.

10 // Snack time

I prepped an after school mini muffin tin snack for the kids and they loved it.  They licked it clean.  It was really nice to have it prepped in the fridge so I could just pull it out for them after school when they come home starving from a long day.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!!  Our plans are still very TBD, but I'm excited to be home together doing whatever we want.  See you back here next week.

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