Monday, February 28, 2022

Money Saving Monday

Hey Friends!  I have some great money saving tips for you today!!  I promise that all of these little savings will really add up over time.

1. Compare prices

I have purchased things recently that are much cheaper in store than online and vise versa.  

If you are buying a gift or a home item in store, quickly look up the item online to compare prices.  I wanted to buy a toy for Leo's bday.  It was $14.99 in store but the one they had was missing a piece.  When I compared to Amazon it was $24.99.  I'll check back in store to see if they restock since his birthday isn't until April.  


2. Check Clearance End Caps or Sections

I wanted to get Leo a helmet for his birthday.  I noticed that Target was clearancing out bike helmets.  I tried some on him and found a perfect fit.  It was a nice $34 helmet marked down to $7!!  You can check prices in the toy section with the scanners.  Hooray!  It might require a little digging or searching for the orange tags, but if you can stroll through the clearance section at TJ Maxx or Target or Meijer, you can usually find some good stuff.


3. Buy Holiday Items in store

I have found some really cute holiday items for really inexpensive prices in store.  Cute napkins at Homegoods for $3.  Holiday toddler shirts at Meijer for $6.  I just cannot justify spending $25+ on those cute boutique holiday shirts I see online.  My kids only wear them for a few times and they're still hard on things.  Target's Cat & Jack line always has cute options for big and little kids.  I got the kids St Patrick's Day shirts there this year. 


4. Use Amazon to Save you Money

I know this sounds odd, but hear me out.  Postage and shipping costs have gotten so expensive.  

Save yourself some major money by using Amazon to ship gifts directly to your family and friends.  If you are a Prime Member or spend over $35 without being a Prime member.  I buy birthday gifts for out of town friends, include a free birthday gift message with my purchase and then let Amazon take care of the shipping.  I do miss putting together cute packages with fun gift wrap, but this is a really easy way that I can save money each year.

5. Ignore the sales

I get so so many big sale emails every week.  If I click on every ad or coupon code email, I know I'll be tempted to shop.  I don't need to buy clothes right now so I am deleting all emails from Old Navy.  The same goes for social media - just because a company or influencers are promoting big sales doesn't mean you need to shop them.  If you don't need something, you are not saving yourself any money by buying it on sale.

6. Add Leftovers to Your Menu

Every week I plan for one night of leftovers.  That way we make sure not to waste food.  I often will eat leftovers for lunch since I am home, but by adding a leftover night to the menu, it allows you to plan to eat the leftovers you have from other dinners or take out dinner the week.

This is my favorite way to meal plan.  Meal planning in general will save you lots of money.  I love to make a list of al the dinner options and then we decide what sounds good for dinner each day.  I don't have to stick to any strict schedule.  Just make a bank of dinner options and then pick them out each day.

Which of these would be helpful to save you some money!?

Friday, February 25, 2022

February Favorites

February sure zoomed by quickly at our house!  It was a good month and I'm ready to recap it today.  Although current events around the world are so heavy this week.  We are praying for everyone and feeling really heart broken for all of the families who are hurting.

My favorite moments:

 1 // Walking Buddy

Leo and I are starting to get into a good walking routine.  We bundle up, get out the stroller and walk briskly.  He's happy to ride along as long as we bring snacks, stop and watch the construction equipment and pick up rocks/sticks along the way.  

2 // Best Meal of the Week

We had taco night twice this week and this salad was SO SO good.  My family loves and I love that if I make all the ingredients we can all personalize our plates.  My husband usually makes nachos, the kids like a mix of soft tacos and all the ingredients separate.

3 // 2-22-22 Twos Day

The kids school had dress up themes and lots of 2 activities in kindergarten to celebrate this fun 2s day.

4 // School lunches

This combo has been a big hit - Hawaiian rolls, sandwich ingredients to build a sandwich or to eat separate, a variety of crackers, lots of crunchy veggies, fruit and valentine's day candy.

5 // Dollar Tree Notes

I love these Dollar Tree note pads for lunch box notes.  You can find them in the teacher section and you get a whole pad of them for $1ish.  I write on them with a Sharpie and add them to the kid's lunch boxes.

6 // Lunchables

My kids tried Lunchables for the first time this week and they can't quit talking about them.  They loved these nacho ones.  It was their first Lunchable experience and they'd highly recommend them.

7 // Wish Dragon

We watched this cute movie on Netflix this week and it was great!  Perfect for family movie night.

8 // Donatos

We tried a new pizza place and it was delicious!!  The cheesey bread and crispy pepperonis were so good.

9 // Target Run

I love living near Target again after all these years of not having one in my city.  I picked up these clear organizing bins this week.  They're perfect for bathrooms or cats or toddlers.  Everyone liked them!  They're heavy duty, but the plastic is flexible.  They can stack and seem like they'd be really durable (ot break if kids dropped them).  They're $12 each for the 12x12 size and I think I'm going to get a few more.  I love being able to see what's inside the bin.

10 // Our bedroom

We got curtains hung, got some new pillow covers, did some rearranging and our bedroom is starting to come together.  I'm still on the hunt for a few more things, but I love the direction its heading.

11 // Sisters

I know I mention this regularly,  but if you ever have the chance to adopt siblings for pets, do it!  The kids totally talked us into getting sisters when we intended to get a kitten and I'm so glad they did.  Penny & Pearl are the best of friends.

I hope you have a great weekend!

Linking up with Momfessionals 

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

You Pick

As our kids are getting older, I'm trying to include them in the decision making process where I can.  

Sometimes it's exhausting making a million decisions a day for everyone.  

They love to talk through their options and weigh the pros and cons of each.  Sometimes we say Olive gets to choose or Fletcher gets to choose or sometimes we have to say they agree on a choice.  It's kind of a fun game that I hope is teaching them about making decisions for themselves.  Giving them choices has helped them feel more responsible and given them a sense of autonomy that they really enjoy.

Let me show you what I mean.

We were strolling through the aisles of Target over the weekend.  Fletcher was working on a birthday wish list and then we just walked around the store.  Olive spotted the Lunchable section and asked if they could pick out one to try.  It never really crossed my mind to buy Lunchables for them.  She said she'd always wanted to try them.  I saw that she was really excited about them so I said yes.  Both she and Fletcher scouted out all of their options, read the packages and decided that they'd both like to try the Nacho Lunchables.  They loved them and can't wait to get them again.

Water or Lemonade?

Haircut or no haircut?

You pick out your outfit for school tomorrow.

You pick out

Sometimes we DoorDash dinner and give them two options to pick from - pizza or burgers?

Do you want to have a movie night or a game night?

Would you like to have popcorn or ice cream for a snack?

Bath or a shower?

Help fold the laundry or help clean up the toy room?

Granola bar or goldfish?

Go to the park or go for a walk?

Read with me or read on your own?

A ponytail or a braid?

Heavy jacket or a hoodie?

Picnic dinner or dinner at the table?

You choose the route to school in the morning.

You pick the playlist we listen to in the car.

You pick out a present for your sibling.

You pick dinner from the menu of options on the fridge tonight.


All of these choices are ones that we pre-approve of and would be happy for them to pick either option.  Sometimes they offer in another option to see if that might work instead.  And sometimes it does.

We've had some good conversations while talking through the pros and cons.  It's been sweet to see them participate in making decisions for everyone and to see them learn to think through their options.  Sometimes we even talk about budget.  Pizza would be cheaper than burgers from Freddys.  Or it would be cheaper to Door Dash than to dine in.  I think it's a super important life skill to learn those things early.  

Do you give your kids options for tasks at home?

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Weekend Rewind

It's back to reality today after a fun weekend!  I love when we have a 3 day weekend roll around even though it was only a regular weekend for Kevin.  We made the most of it.

We went over to some new friend's house for dinner and had a good time.

We played with neighbors and scootered.

We explored the UE campus with the kids.  They loved following all the paths around the school, checking out fun places to climb and just enjoyed being big kids on campus.

We went to Target.

We tried take out from a new restaurant.

We went to a birthday party.

We had a breakfast donut date with my family.

The big kids played with slime.

The kids tried nacho Lunchables for the first time and loved them. 

Fletcher learned to snap and has been snapping nonstop ever since.

We played on our patio.  We are still being really careful with the new sod, but it feels great to be outside with the kids.  Leo loves waving to the planes as they come in for a landing and we watched the deer snacking in the field behind us.

We started Yellowstone.  My initial impression is... that episodes are very long and I'm not hooked.  I wish I was watching Longmire instead.  We'll see if we can hang in there to finish the very long first episode.

And I finished Sweet Magnolias Season 2.  I want to wear Maddie Townsend's entire wardrobe.  I cannot handle all of the story lines being lit on fire like that.  All of the drama.  Hurry up Season 3!!

Kevin finished Yellowjackets at said it's amazing.  I'm guessing it's scary because he didn't ask me to watch it with him.

Photo Rewind:

Toddlers are so silly!  I hope your week is off to a great start :)

Friday, February 18, 2022

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!!  I'm ready for the weekend!  How about you?  This week had some surprising twists and turns and we are all wrapping up a great week.

Our favorite moments...

1 // Walking Buddy

Leo and I have been bundling up and going for walks after we get the big kids off to school.  We both love the sunshine and fresh air.  It feels good to be getting back into some kind of exercise routine.  Look at his dark brown eyes and chunky cheeks!  He loves this pom pom hat.  He's not so sure about hats, but we both loves our hats/head wraps my sister made us.

2 // Hobby Lobby

I've been saving a Hobby Lobby gift card since my birthday in November and finally got to spend it this week.  I found the perfect spoon rest for my kitchen and I added some more confetti plates to my collection.  I got the blue salad plates last year.  We use them all the time and love them.  Hobby Lobby had dinner plates this year so I got the orange and yellow.  I love collecting dishes.  I usually buy 5 of each and then mix and match them when we have company.  All of their Spring stuff is 40% off this week.

3 // Masks Optional

This cuties got to go to school this week without masks!!  I'm beyond thrilled for them.  Fletcher has never gone to school without a mask and Olive was ready to go back to the mask free learning she remembered.  We got the surprise announcement mid-week and you should have heard their screams of joy.  They were so excited to get to see their friends faces and all the adults in the building.  It kind of felt like a first day of school for everyone.  When we pulled up to their school, there was music playing and SO MUCH JOY in the air!  It made me cry tears of joy for them.  We are ready!  I realize not everyone is ready for this so the mask optional status gives everyone the choice to do what works best for their family.

4 // Sunrises

We have had some beautiful sunrises this week.

5 // Dinner Party

I hosted a little dinner party for my dad and his siblings and it was really fun!  They brought me a super thoughtful house warming plant, my lasagna dinner turned out great and we all had a good time.

6 // This guy

He's been an extra toddler tornado this week.  He discovered how fun hand soap pumps are to play with and I keep finding him in the kitchen sink with my Dawn soap scrubber.  I cleaned up more soap than I care to mention this week.  His messes aren't my favorite, but I do love his sweet smile.

7 // House Projects

We made more progress in our master bedroom.  Look at these gorgeous new curtains!!  I love the big bold check pattern!

8 // Cat Trash Can

I try to let the kids have a say in how their spaces are decorated if they want to.  They needed a trash can in their bathroom and Olive had to have this cat one.  Cute find at Meijer!

9 // Heart tattoos & Iced coffee

You may have spotted a Sharpie heart tattoo in several of my pictures lately.  The big kids and I have all been sporting them for a little extra love throughout out days.  It's helped send them off to school with hugs and kisses from home.  We had some sad drops offs, but we are making progress and seeing improvements.  I remind them often that we can do hard things.  And even though we've been moved into our house for 3 months, there are still lots of changes and new things to adjust to.  Iced coffee is my favorite year round.

10 // Leo's Favorite POV

Leo loves to find you in a cozy spot and then sit on you.  Not sit with you.  Plop right down on top of you.  It's hilarious and sweet.  I'll take the snuggles anytime I can get them.

A major toddler perk of living around lots of new construction is all the construction!  We get to see the coolest things on our walks.  We watched a truck unload some big rocks this week.  Speaking of rocks, Leo loves to pick up treasures on our walks.  I hand him sticks, rocks, etc and he loves to hang onto them.

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

I'll see you back here on Tuesday.  We've got a 3 day weekend to enjoy :)

Linking up with Momfessionals

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Better Bacon Wrapped Smokies

Bacon Wrapped Smokies.

They're AMAZING!


I originally shared this recipe in 2019, but I have a new and improved recipe.  I made them for a Super Bowl party over the weekend and they turned out better than ever. 


1 pkg little smokies

1 pkg thick cut bacon sliced in half

1 cup brown sugar



If you have an Aldi, they've got great prices on all of these foods.  I don't think they carry toothpicks.



Spray Pam in a glass 9x13 pan.  Make sure you've cut your thick cut bacon in half and start wrapping.  Each piece of bacon will go around the smokey twice.  Place them close together so they do not unroll.  Line them up in your pan and then sprinkle brown sugar on top. 

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Drain off any liquid and return to the oven for another 10 minutes.  You may need to turn them a bit or spread them out a little more to ensure they get cooked evenly.  I removed 8-10 at this point and spread out the rest to ensure the bacon cooked well.

Let them cool/rest for 10-15 minutes then stick a tooth pick in each one.  I love these knotted toothpicks.

These would be perfect for game days, church picnics, brunch or a breakfast buffet.




Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Valentine's Day Rollercoaster

How was your Valentine's Day?

Ours started out a little rocky with tears, arguing and before school drama, but it wasn't anything that school parties, valentines, candy and heart shaped pizza couldn't remedy.  I hate when we get off on the wrong foot in the mornings and I may have spent a little too much time moping about it.  A quick run to the grocery store and fun plans for our day turned things around for me.  We made a better game plan for today :)

In typical 1st kid fashion, Olive made us all valentines a week ago, hid them and the pulled them out for us on Valentine's Day.

2nd kid, Fletcher with a panicked look on his face asked me "Were we supposed to get you valentines?!?!"  I told him a kiss and kind words would be just fine.  He smiled and said, "Maybe next year when I can write, I'll get you a valentine!"  Spoiler alert: He can write and is learning to read, BUT he tells everyone that he can't do either.

3rd kid.  Eats candy from everyone's stash and takes great pleasure in stealing their gifts.


I made valentine treats for the kids, family and friends.  We didn't have a team in the Super Bowl this year so I brought valentine treats instead.  Could these pretzels be any cuter!?!

The kids each got Valentine's Day money to spend from one of their grandmas and they had the very best time shopping for themselves.  It was really cute to watch them weigh the pros and cons of the toys that they had their eye on.  They all walked out of Meijer with something they loved.


The kids all came home from their Sunday school classes at church with valentines.  It was really sweet and thoughtful.  It's our 3rd week visiting this church and it's making a good impact on all of us

Both kids got to give valentines and treats to their classes this year.  Olive picked cat valentines with animal mochis and Fletcher gave out a mix of boy valentines with pop it key chains.  He had to bring in a valentine box and we worked on a valentine monster container.  He was thrilled with his creation.  I was just thrilled that I managed to use my hot glue gun and not burn myself!  Mom tip: These big cheese ball containers work great for valentine boxes.  They're light, easy to transport, hot glue holds anything on them and they're nearly free.



I'm ready to enjoy a quiet rest of February.  Then we head into birthday season at our house!!

March = Fletcher

April = Leo

May = Olive