Friday, September 30, 2022

September Favorites

Happy Friday!  I can't believe that tomorrow is October!  The days are flying by and I'm just hoping we have some really gorgeous Fall weather in the coming weeks.  We've got 3 Fall Festivals, family pictures and lots of fun planned for the coming weeks.

The best parts of September were:

1 // My Fall Porch!  My ferns still look great so I just added in a wreath, rug and some fake pumpkins!  I found these white pumpkins at Target.  They are really affordable and seem like great quality.  Like if your toddler picks one up and throws it, they won't break.  Ask me how I know :)

2 // School!  We've gotten several opportunities to go to school with our older kids.  We had so much fun making salt dough maps of Indiana (4th grade), meeting their classmates and learning all about corn from Fletcher (1st grade).  Fletch has been researching corn, farming and corn products all month long.  It was sweet to see him present his research and share corn snacks with us.

3 // New friends!  We invited some new friends over for dinner.  I love using these plates and napkins for a Fri-Yay dinner with friends.  You know you might have met a compatible family friend when they show up with a hostess gift for me (a plant!) and the cutest pumpkin shaped cheese ball.  Could she love holiday food as much as me??  We all had a fun evening!

4 // Farmland.  We've been anxiously waiting to see when the farmer is ready to harvest the field behind us.  I really hope we're home to see the excitement.  Leo will lose his mind with all that cool farm equipment.  So until that happens, we will enjoy the view!

5 // Classic M&M Chocolate Chip Cookies have been my most popular Jordan Bakery Box order this month.  October will be full Halloween mode for my bakery.

6 // Weekend Adventures with Dad.  Kevin loves to take the big kids out on an errand on Sundays when Leo naps.  They often land at Meijer to get their favorite drinks.  PSL hot or frap for Olive and a slurpy drink for Fletcher.  Those should be good clues for their Halloween costumes.

7 // Dress up week at school!  The kids had a blast with Hat Day, Favorite team, Yellow Day (Olive won the prize in her class for the most yellow thanks to her painted nails, bracelets we made and all the accessories) and Pajama Day.  Fletcher participated some, but wasn't as into it as Olive was.

8 // Exercising with Leo!  Our daily walks have been extra exciting with pine cones falling, caterpillars, butterflies, cooler temps and lots of neighbors out.

9 // TJ Maxx haul!  I had a great trip to TJ Maxx this week.  I found some cute turkeys (which isn't always easy), found something for a friend, a few gifts and this cute flannel shacket.  I loved it and Leo kept pointing to me and saying PAPAW!  I guess he thinks it looks like something my Dad would wear.  I ignored his review and got it anyway!

10 // Protein is always my trickiest lunch box item.  My kids have been loving these turkey sausage crumbles from Jimmy Dean.  They eat them cold with cheese cubes.  The only place I have been able to find them locally is Target.  Did you catch my Napkin Notes post earlier this week?

11 // LOTS of Leo snuggles.

12 // These 3!  They're wild and crazy and I love them tons.

In case you're curious about our days, read my Day in the Life post from earlier this week.

13 // I used to love gardening until this happened.  Fletcher went out to get the mail and screamed that he'd seen a snake.  We figured he was mistaken, but nope.  In all my years of gardening, this is my first snake encounter.  Please send me all the turtles and bunnies and keep the snakes away.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!  I'll be back here on Monday :)

Linking up with Momfessionals

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Napkin Notes

If you've been around here for any length of time, you know that I feel strongly about packing delicious lunches for my family.  That mostly consists of school lunches these days, but it's really important to me.  I plan for, shop for and budget time for packing lunches every week.  It's a big HUG FROM HOME from me to my kids every day.

Napkin notes are something that I include with almost every lunch I pack.  I don't always write the notes on a napkin, but you get the idea.  It's a little note from me to them to read as they enjoy their lunch.

I grew up on napkin notes.  My parents both wrote me lunch box notes and I still have a little stash of those notes from the 80s as a keepsake.  They kept the notes short and sweet.  They put encouraging words, reminders and sweet messages.  I try my best to do the same.

1980s Napkin Notes:

I love these notes so much!  You'll notice a theme - I've always loved cats, loved a handwritten note, appreciated encouragement and apparently have always been sneezy.  Thank heavens for allergy meds.  And country blue was all the rage in the 80s.  It's a good mix of notes from mom, notes from dad and one from my siblings.

2020 Napkin Notes:


I try to include specifics about their days - enjoy PE today!  Or good luck on your math test!  I can't wait to have lasagna with you for dinner tonight!  Movie night: Minions tonight after dinner!  Or include some encouraging works - be kind, be a good friend, you are really special to me or I can't wait to see you after school!  I also like to look up kid jokes on Pinterest for some funny jokes.  I usually read Fletcher's note to him in the morning so that he knows what it says since he's an early reader.  Olive reads her own note.

Take turns being the author.  I write most of the notes, but I rotate through Kevin, Leo and the cats when I need some fresh note content.  They love getting a post it note full of scribbles from Leo or a cat note from the cats- hurry home and pet me!  I miss you meowy much.  You get the idea :)

Any kind of paper will do - a napkin, a note pad, an index card, a post it or little note cards meant for lunch boxes.  Your kids won't care!  Post its are the easiest so do whatever works best for you.  I use a variety of all of those for my lunch box notes.  The kids love reading them each day and be sure to give me grief if I forget their note :)

My lunch box note inspiration:

Caption bubble napkins from Meijer.

Toddler notes:

Stick the post it notes to the counter and let your toddler write :)

Sometimes I trace Leo's hand on notes and then he colors them.

Post it note + a fun napkin (save all of your party napkins for school lunches!  Remember when the boys had a donut party back in the spring??)

I really love these boxes oof lunch box notes from Aldi.  They were so affordable and are surprisingly sweet!

The Dollar Tree sells these cute shaped note cards.  They're marketed to teachers in the teacher section, but they are perfect for school lunch boxes.


If you need a little more inspiration for your own napkin notes, I'd recommend reading this book: Napkin Notes: Make Lunch Meaningful, Life will Follow by W. Garth Callaghan.  I grabbed a copy at the library this month and I really enjoyed it.  Callaghan faced many challenges that inspired him to write Napkin Notes for his daughter.  His stories were compelling, interesting and inspiring.  

You can find it on amazon through my link here along with some cute note card options:


Who could you write a Napkin Note or a note of encouragement to today??

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Day in the Life: Ages 9, 6 and 2

I am excited to share a day in the life post with you today.  I'm a full time SAHM with 3 kids ages nine to two.  I feel like we can all say that after 9 months of living in our new city and new house that we all feel pretty settled.  Our house feels like home and we are all in good routines.  Things feel comfortable and we are all happy.

Here's a day in my life :

6:55am My alarm clock goes off and I often find an extra kid or two in my room courtesy of a storm or a bad dream.  I get out of bed and get myself completely ready for the day.

7:15am I make sure the big kids are up and dressed and I start working on breakfast.  They make it pretty easy on me and eat the same thing - toast or oatmeal - every morning.

7:30am After breakfast is served, I focus my attention on packing lunches.  Both big kids need lunches and two water bottles ready for the day.  I get everything loaded up in their backpacks and make sure Leo is dressed and ready to go for the day.  We watch TV, I work on a few chores around the house, start laundry and the kids play.

8:10am My next alarm goes off and it's time to load up the kids.  Everyone does a mad dash of grabbing their things, I rolly brush their outfits after their kitty snuggles and then I drive them to school.  Leo insists on tagging along to yell BYE at the top of his lungs at drop off.

8:30am We're back home and ready to take a deep breath for the day.  I drink iced coffee, snuggle Leo and Lightning McQueen dominates the TV.  Kevin heads into work and we make a plan for the day.

9:00am-12pm It's time to get all the things done!  Leo and I run errands, schedule appointments, go to our Bible Study groups, meet up with a friend or work on things at home.  We always plan for a long walk to get in our exercise, play outside, do chores around the house, grocery trips or pick ups and any errands that need to be done.

12:00pm Lunch time!  Leo and I usually eat at home together.

12:30-2:30pm Leo naps.  This is my power hour to get things done.  I make phone calls, work on my blog, work on projects around the house and enjoy the quiet.  If I have any cookie orders, I work on them while Leo sleeps or after the kids go to bed at night.  I pick up the whole house so that it's nice and tidy when the older kids get home.

2:35pm My final school alarm goes off and we go wait in the parent pick up line to grab the big kids.  We can get them home much faster than the bus so we are sticking with this routine.  They debrief about their days and go over their homework situation for the night.

3:15-4pm Snack time!  My kids always come home so hungry!  They just want to be fed.  I feed them and they usually watch a show or play on their tablets.  I work on dishes or kitchen stuff during this chunk of time.  We try really hard to take care of any homework during this time.  The longer we put it off the harder it is to get it done.  I usually work with one kid at a time and it goes pretty quickly.  Olive - our 4th grader - is really independent and knows exactly what she is supposed to do.  Fletcher - our first grader - wants help with every step of his homework process.

4-6pm The kids play with neighbors, we go on walks, play in the backyard, they read, we go to the library, etc.  I offer more snacks to friends and they PLAY PLAY PLAY.  I also pull dinner together during this time.  Kevin arrives sometimes during this block of time.  We tidy up whatever is out and have things picked up for dinner time.

6:15pm Dinner time!  We eat dinner together almost every night.  I cook or we Door Dash something.  Kevin keeps an eye on the kids (often outside) while I clean up the kitchen.  I prefer to pack lunches for the next day while I'm still in kitchen/food mode.  I pack two yumboxes and then close down the kitchen with a clean counter and sink.

7:00pm Family time!  We hit the showers, go for a walk, watch part of a movie together, read books, play in the playroom, do art or the kids play together.  We work together to get the house cleaned up so that it's nice and clean.  I love doing this job together because keeping a house organized requires teamwork.

7:45pm PJ time!  Everyone changes to their pjs and I put Leo to bed.  The big kids grab a snack and play a game or two with Kevin.

8:15pm I head upstairs to Kevin putting the kids to bed.  He's usually doing one of these things - telling them a story, making up a story or reading a bed time devotional.  The kids pick out their outfits for the next day.  Then I swap him places and then 1 read aloud a chapter book to them.  I read for 15 minutes or so and then stay with them a little longer.

8:45pm Kevin and I hang out for a bit.  The house is all tidy because I cleaned up the kitchen after dinner and we picked up toys before the kids went to bed.  We like to watch shows together and debrief about our days.  He usually heads to bed first and I like to watch a show by myself.  I lay out everything we need for the morning - lunch boxes, breakfast supplies, backpacks, my clothes, Leo's clothes, bags, etc.

11:00pm-ish I head to bed.  Okay maybe it's closer to midnight most nights, but I like to watch my shows or work on my blog or work on a project when the house is quiet.  The cats keep me company.  I set my alarms and we're set to do the same thing again tomorrow.

Good times!  I'm curious - Are any parts of our day the same??

Monday, September 26, 2022

Baked Cheese Dip

Happy Monday!  I've got another game day food recipe to start off the week!  It's been a fun month of football and football food here.  Notre Dame has figured out how to win and that's been wonderful.  This baked cheese dip recipe is really easy and it's inspired by a recipe my mom makes.  It is delicious on your favorite crackers or pretzels.


2 blocks of regular cream cheese softened

4 oz sour cream

1 jar of Armour Dried Beef chopped finely

1 T Worcestershire sauce

1 t Minced onion

1t Your favorite seasoning - I used the seasoning salt above, but Montreal steak seasoning would be good.

1t garlic salt

1/2 c chopped pecans

2 T melted butter

*Green onions would be a yummy addition!


Mix things together in one bowl.  Start with the cream cheese and seasonings.  Then add in the beef and green onions if you want them.  In a separate bowl combine the melted butter and the pecans.  Spread the cheese mixture in a greased baking dish and then top it with the buttered pecans.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until the top is lightly browned.  Let it cool completely and then serve with your favorite crackers or pretzels.

Enjoy!!  This would be a yummy addition to any game day spread.