Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Transitioning Your Flower Pots for Fall

Fall flowers are catching my eye, but I'm not the kind of girl that rips out every Summer flower and replaces them for Fall.  I try to leave anything that is still alive and well and then add in some new things for Fall.  It really depends year to year what makes it, but I love just adding in Fall flowers to my pretty pots.  All the mums and Fall flowers will die off at the first frost so I really don't spend a ton of money on Fall flowers.

I'm hoping my sweet potato vines, asparagus ferns and some of the flowering plants will hang on through Fall.  Watering every day really helps keep them going at this point in the Summer.

I bought 2 lavender plants from Meijer in July and both died in this middle pot.  I'm not exactly sure what happened because everything else is doing great.  I tried to return them and Meijer is not a gardener friendly garden center.  Their return policy is only for shrubs and trees and you must have the receipt.  I know I have returned flowers there before so something must have changed.  I'm going to remember that for the future because I hate spending $20 on plants that didn't live.  Especially because they were perennials that I was hoping to plant in the yard.

Insert: Gaura

I went to Lowes to find a flowering plant to put in this center pot.

They no longer had any lavender in stock so I was on the hunt for something similar.  These two Gaura plants were hearty, flowering and they were big and whimsical like lavender.  They seem really happy in the full sun.  I'm hoping to transfer them from my pot to the ground eventually since they are a perennial plant.  Wish me luck!

How do you transition your pots to Fall??

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Library Love

Do you use your local library?

I really think they have something to offer every family.


You can borrow movies, audio books, books and experiences.  

Our library has passes to local places that you can check out for free.  Library cards are free and there are tons of free perks.  Some even have wifi you can borrow and take on a trip with you.

We have started going to the toddler story time each week now that the big kids are back in school.  Leo loves it - especially when his best friend can come.  And I love having a free learning activity to do with him every week.  The kids learn so much - how to follow directions from someone other than mom, sharing, taking turns, gathering supplies, playing with new toys, songs, cleaning up skills and lots more.  I'd highly encourage you to check out your daytime story time options for your little ones.

If you have older kids or teens - check the after school and weekend activities.  Ours offers craft kits that are for you to grab and do at home, free art classes, crochet classes, homework help and more for kids after school.  My older kids also love reserving books online and then I grab them for the kids when I'm at the library each week.  It's such a fun free resource.

This is one of our favorite free spots to spend time as a family!

Monday, August 28, 2023

How to DIY Gorgeous Flowers for a Dinner Party

We had a really fun dinner party at our house on Saturday night.  It was a mix of Kevin's work colleagues and other local psychologists.  I knew some of them and then made several new friends.  We had the best time.  Kevin grilled and everyone brought side dishes to share.

We were celebrating/welcoming two new people to the group.  I made two gorgeous centerpieces and used them as decor + their welcome gift.  Both ladies were absolutely thrilled to take home a beautiful bouquet at the end of the night.

 I got several compliments on the flowers and they couldn't have been easier.  I'll share my secrets for putting together really affordable, beautiful flowers!

1. Head to Sams and pick up one of their premium bouquets.  They're around $14.99 and are filled with the prettiest variety of flowers, berries and greenery.

2. Pick out one more coordinating bouquet to add into the premium bouquet.  I went with dark pink Alstroemeria for $7.99.

3. Go to your local thrift shop and pick up two of the same or very similar vases.  I love a square vase so I grabbed two very similar square vases for $4 total.  They were each marked $4 and everything was half off.  That way I could gift the bouquets and the vase since both were so affordable.

4. Trim down the flowers and start arranging them.  Cut some tall, some medium and a few short.  Split up the flowers so there are equal numbers of stems in each vase.

5. If you have something in your yard to cut and add into your bouquet - do it!  I love this bright green asparagus fern.  It add some great color and texture.  I probably added 4 or 5 stems into each bouquet.

6. Add fresh water and change daily.  I never use the flower food packets they come with - just change the water often and it'll be fine.

Both ladies were so excited when I told them to pick a vase of flowers to take home!  

It really was the perfect welcome gift to surprise them with at our dinner party.

I loved the variety of flowers and greenery so much.

I was really excited about this bouquet because it coordinated so well with my table decor.  I picked up these butterfly napkins and wrapping paper for the table at HomeGoods.  They were bright and colorful and seemed really welcoming.

The drink station got one bouquet.

And the other bouquet went on the table.  It was low enough that everyone could see around it and it added some really pretty color to the table.

So for $27 I got two big bouquets for our dinner party!  Success!

You've got to give this a try the next time you need flowers for an event!

Friday, August 25, 2023

Friday Faves

Happy Friday, friends!  I hope it's been able to stay cool this week.  It's been HOT HOT HOT in the Midwest.  I'm ready for some cooler temps so we don't completely melt when we walk outside.  My van and I are back to being best friends after some battery issues last week.  It was a busy week full of date nights, work events, meetings and fun.

Did you catch my blog posts this week?

School Lunch and Snack Ideas

Easing the Transition to a Big Kid Bed

Preteen Parenting: Episode 4 Be Excited

Now on to my favorites!  It was a really good week :)

1 // First Day of Classes at UE

Kevin kicked off his first week of classes with his first group of graduate students for his program.  After 18 months of really hard work, his PsyD program is off to a great start.  He's hired a great team, brought in a wonderful group of students and we're so very proud of him.  It's really exciting to see his dream come true with this job.

Kevin hosted orientations, dinners and classes and it all went really well.  It was fun to see him hit this milestone that we'd been talking about and praying about for a very long time.  The kids loved the University of Evansville customized cookies and the students enjoyed their welcome gifts.  The whole week couldn't have gone better.

2 // Backpack purse

I picked up this backpack purse during Prime Day and I love it so much!  

It's cute enough to carry even when I'm out and about solo and it holds plenty of toddler necessities when I'm in mom mode.  I tend to carry a lot with me so it's great for this stage of my mom life.  There are tons of pockets inside and out, a shoulder strap and backpack straps and the quality is great.  I'd 10/10 recommend it for any lady on the go.  It would even be a great travel bag.  I added a pom pom tassel that I already owned for a fun bit of flair.

It's on super sale right now and comes in 30+ colors!  And it's hard to argue with 16k+ reviews!

I got the "two toned vintage leather brown" and have my eye on a couple other colors:

Here are my Amazon links: 


3 // It's good to be 3

Leo is loving his big boy bed and sleeping upstairs pretty uneventfully every night.  Hooray!  He also kept getting "stuck" upside down all week long.  I rescued him more times than I can count.

We bought this foam bed bumper for his twin bed and it works so well.  It's soft like a pillow, but it definitely keeps him from rolling out.  I love that it's not as ugly as a traditional rail and it doesn't keep anyone from snuggling with him.  We'd highly recommend it. 

4 // Flower refresh

We're hosting a big dinner at our house on Saturday and I spent the week refreshing and cleaning all the things.  Rugs have been washed.  Vents have been dusted.  And patio pots have been refreshed.  I didn't have good luck with the lavender plants I purchased so I swapped them out with this pretty Guara plant.  It's a new one to me, but it's supposed to love the full sun.  It makes a pretty statement so I am a fan.

5 // Exercise Routine

Leo and I have gotten into a good exercise routine.  We eat lunch, tidy up and then head up to the office to exercise.  I walk on the treadmill, blast some Morgan Wallen and he plays trains, Legos, kitchen and colors nearby.  Then eat the end he says "Good job, Mom!  You so sweaty and strong!"  haha

6 // Crumbl

We tried some new Crumbl cookie flavors this week and they were yummy.  The cinnamon lovers at our house loved the Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cookie and chocolate with chocolate icing was so good!

7 // Teacher Treats

Our school publishes a list of teacher favorites so we sent in the teacher's favorite snacks.  They were a big hit and easy to add to my grocery pick up list.  I added a bow and a handwritten note.  Easy peasy!

8 // Fall Dress

This Time and Tru Walmart dress deserves a blog post of it's own because it is that good!  Stay tuned.  It's so flattering and so pretty!  The buttons, flutter sleeves and polka-dot trim make it the easiest dress to put on and look really put together.  This mustard color is my most favorite.  I'll be wearing it with sandals and simple accessories now and toss on a jean jacket and boots well into Fall.

My sidekick was there to cheer me on and say "You so pretty, Mom!" as I was trying it on.  He's going to be the sweetest husband one day.

9 // Penny Time

Penny got lots of extra snuggles this week - we snuck in a nap and then after the kids go to bed, she hops up on my lap for some individual attention.  She's the snuggliest, sweetest girl.

10 // Date night

We did some organizing projects at Kevin's office this week, tried a new restaurant - Cork N Cleaver for my local friends and then ran to the grocery store.  Our perfect date night combo!  I need to remember to schedule a date night every year the weekend before his classes start.  That was fun!

11 // Story Time

We invited one of Leo's best buddies y to go with us to story time and it was so much fun.  Leo missed out on some story time opportunities with the craziness of 2020 so we are thankful to be making up for lost time.  He loved it and we'll definitely go back.  I loved going to story time with each of my kids.

12 // Fletch

Fletcher loves metal detecting on our property.  It's his favorite hobby.  He has found some of the craziest things - car parts, farm tools, construction stuff, glasses, toys and tools.  But this one has us stumped - what do you think this is??  It's all metal - the base and the sharp pointy part.  He dug it up around our creek.  Google's best guess is a vintage harvesting tool.  He was really proud of his mystery find.

13 // One on One time

It's tricky to get one on one time with the kids so I have to get creative.  I had to run a cookie errand on Sunday so I invited Fletcher to go with me.  He was thrilled.  He casually mentioned that it's not very often that he gets to hang out alone with mom.  I'm working on that.  We ran our errand and then we stopped by the gas station to stock up on his favorite drink - Prime and grabbed some candy for his lunches this week.  He loves hunting around for different Prime flavors to try.  This whole thing probably took 30 minutes, but it was a sweet moment for both of us.

Whew!  That was a lot of good things in one week.  I have some fun things to share with you next week.  I hope you have the best weekend and I'll see you back here on Monday.

Linking up with Momfessionals

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Preteen Parenting: Episode 4 Be Excited

We are still navigating the waters of preteen parenting well, but we are trying hard!

It's been fun to figure out what is interesting and exciting to ten year old Olive.

I'm learning that it's ever changing.

She's still figuring it out, too.

Currently she's loving: Oreo blizzards, Stitch from Lilo and Stitch, crafting, shopping, clothes, jewelry, braided hair, sending mail, writing notes to me, borrowing my phone to text family and friends and one on one attention.

I'm taking notes of what she loves and trying hard to be excited about anything she's excited about.  I try to keep her favorite snacks and products stocked.  We openly communicate about things she's on the hunt for with clothing and nothing makes her happier than browsing stores in person or online.  Olive loves to talk through her options.

I'm noticing her favorites.

And she loves when I notice.


Right before school started she requested a lunch date and some shopping for back to school items.  We made a to do list (another love of hers and mine!) and left the boys at home for a few hours while we shopped and grabbed lunch.

We had things we had to do - find new tennis shoes and then lots of things we just wanted to do.  I gave her suggestions and she had suggestions of her own.  We both compromised and had the best time.

Dear fellow preteen and teen moms, notice them!

Pay attention to their current likes and dislikes.

And they will love that personalized attention.

Even if they don't tell you so.

You can be subtle about it - grabbing their favorite things at the store and leaving them in their bedroom to find.  Or be bold - asking them to hang out together for some one on one time.

You can do it!

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Easing the Transition to a Big Kid Bed

We moved Leo to a big boy bed in July.  I had it on my calendar for Summer and Kevin came home from work ready to rearrange furniture one day.  He's always slept in our room and he's a great sleeper.  Those two things made me drag my feet a bit with this milestone.  He's also the baby so I wasn't in a big hurry to graduate him to sleeping upstairs.  We both agreed that we could finally trust him on the stairs at night and we were all excited for his move.

I did a few things to prep for this transition that definitely made it easier.  

The first week was touch and go with some fighting bedtime, confusion, wandering around at night, no longer sleeping through the night, etc.  Now a month or so later and we're all back to sleeping pretty well.  He's napping inconsistently these days, but he still likes to read/rest in his new bed in the middle of the day and some days catches a car line nap when we're picking up the big kids from school.

I am excited to share the things that helped make this a fun milestone for all of us.


1. New Bedding

Leo moved in with his big brother and they each got to pick out new bedding.  Fletcher opted for a solar system theme and Leo wanted dinosaurs.  Stay tuned for a room tour!

2. Hype them up

Big kids upstairs!!  Yay!  This was always our goal and it was fun to see it coming true.  All the kids are upstairs and excited to be in the kid zone together.  Any time we have company Leo insists on showing them his "cowboy bed".  We've been calling it his big boy bed and I'll feel sad the day he realizes that we aren't saying cowboy bed :)

3. Order a bumper/rail for the new bed

Leo's twin bed was already up against the wall from when Olive slept there so we just added a bumper on the other side.  He's only fallen out of bed once.  I think he was trying to get up and got tangled up.  The bumper we got really does a great job keeping him in his bed.

4. Adjust your routines

I rock him if he asks - we moved our rocking recliner upstairs just in case.  We still use it so I'm glad we moved it to his new room.  Fletcher loves reading Leo a book or two at night.  Or telling him stories.  Or snuggling.  I never know which bed I'll find these two in when I tuck them in for one last time before I go to bed.  Sometimes there is a cat in the bed, too.

These two are cute together!  Fletcher has really stepped up to be a helpful big brother.  He loves being in charge and making sure things go smoothly at bed time.  I'm glad we started this transition this Summer so that they'd be settled once school started.

Do you have any questions!?  Leave me a comment!

Monday, August 21, 2023

School Lunch & Snack Ideas

We're off to a good start with a new school year and we're already finding new favorite foods to take to school.  My kids need a nut free snack for their classroom and then are allowed any kinds of nuts with their school lunches every day.  We're still using and loving our Yumboxes going on 7 years now.  I found a snack container that works really well for them.  I'll link our favorite things at the bottom of this post.

I like to think of their snacks and school lunches as a big HUG FROM HOME in the middle of their school days.  That means I grocery shop regularly and plan to have a rainbow of food options on hand all of the time for lunches.  This mindset helps me to pack lunches with a good attitude and not think of it as a chore.  I really am so thankful to have a crew of kids to pack lunches for.

I pack lunches right after I get dinner cleaned up.  I'm already in the kitchen and then I can kind of close down the kitchen for the night.  If I wait until the kids go to bed or in the morning to pack lunches, I feel grumpy or rushed.  It's so nice to have them ready to go the night before.


Now I'm going to go through and list some of our favorite foods to include in lunch boxes.

Gummy worms

fresh fruit

half a sandwich

turkey sausage links and turkey pepperoni

Fun size candy bars


extra sharp white cheddar cheese cubes

Pretzel chips


frozen peas

A mix of two different salty chips - Fritos and pretzel chips

baked goods

acai chocolate balls

Match stick carrots

cold pasta

pitted fresh cherries

pumpkin cookies

MIke and Ikes

bite size apples

cold  pasta

Chocolate zucchini bread

a little fruit salad

peanut M&Ms

I picked up these Sistema to go snack containers at Meijer before school started.  They are easy to open and I love that they have two big sections.  They don't seem to be leak proof so if you send something juicy, you might want to add in a paper towel on that side.  The kids - 2nd and 5th grade - both like them.

The apple slices were a little juicy so I would put a paper towel in with them next time.

It's been a yummy start to the school year.

Here are my Amazon links to our favorite lunch box supplies for

Yumbox Originals

Thin ice packs

Funtainer Thermos water bottles

and Sistema snack containers.