Friday, September 29, 2023

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, friends!  I hope this last week of September has been good to you.

Did you catch my blog posts this week?

7 Simple Dinner Ideas - #2 was my favorite.

Swap Out Those Knobs - the easiest DIY!

Ideal Chores for Kids Ages 3-10


Now onto my favorite moments of the week:

1. Happy Fall!

We've had the prettiest sunrises and sunsets lately.  I snapped this picture as I was waking up the house one morning - opening curtains, turning on lights and enjoying the farm view! 

2. Spirit Week

The kids had themed dress up days every day this week for college week.  They were pretty easy to do so I appreciated that.  They had a camo/safari day and college competition days.  They were happy to wear IU and UE and finished the week with dressing up for the career they wanted when they were older.

3. Fall flowers

Aren't these the prettiest Fall planters??

I was tempted to buy them, but my planters all still look pretty good.  I think I'll just buy a few fall plants to pop in my existing planters using this picture as Fall flower inspiration.  I tend to invest in my Summer flower pots and then spruce them up a little bit for Fall.

4. Playground Twins

Leo's BFF invited him to play this week and they both showed up at the playground in matching outfits with matching bags of monster trucks.  They are the cutest!!  The moms chatted while the boys played.  Win-win when you can find the combo of mom and kid BFFs.

5. 2nd Grade Rocks

Meet Fletcher's desk pet named Fluffy.  He lives in his desk and is the cutest.  Fletcher is so happy to be making all A's, swinging at recess and doing his classroom job.  His teacher adores him and he's learning so much.  Everything about 2nd grade is our favorite.

6. Rainbows in the mail

One of my favorite people sent me a rainbow post card this week.  It brought me so much joy to find a rainbow in my mailbox!

7. 5th Grade Rocks

Olive won a trophy (that her tech teacher 3D printed for her!!) for completing her typing program.  It was a big deal and she's super proud of her achievement.  She also has been working and crafting to prepare for 5th grade market day.  She made pom pom pets and these darling bracelets.  The kids have been earning classroom dollars to spend and learning all about how to create a business.  She was so excited to buy and sell at Market Day.  She also works in the library every morning.  She's so helpful that the librarian told me Olive could be the librarian sub for the day and keep the whole school running.  She is shining with all of these new responsibilities!  Everything about 5th grade is her favorite.

8. Sick Days

Poor Leo had several sick days this week.  We cancelled plans and I spent my days pushing popsicles and snuggling him.  He's so busy that any time I get to snuggle him is sweet.  Thankfully, he's back to feeling 100% now and that's my favorite. 

9. Movies in Bed

The kids love hopping in our bed after showers and watching part of a movie before bed.  I surprised them with candy corn (popcorn topped with their favorite candies) and enjoyed the snuggles.

10. Story time

Leo and I have faithfully been going to story time and it's so fun.  He gets to play with different toys and learn new things every week.  His newest skill is drawing a smiley face.  He's so proud to be able to do it!  He'll draw shapes, the O in Leo and now smiley faces.

11. Shopping with Mom

I took Olive shopping to find some Fall pants and Fall outfits.  She was thrilled.  Took her time.  Browsed and excitedly tried on all the outfits.  We came away with some cute things, options for picture day and she can't wait to go shopping again.  Any time we leave the boys at home and hang out together she is thrilled.

Then I took Fletcher shopping the next day.  He was all business.  Try on as few pants as possible to determine his size. Joggers for life.  Buy one of each color of his favorite joggers.  He's hoping I never ask him to go shopping again and will order the rest of his things online.

It cracks me up that shopping is so fun for one kid and torture for the other.

12. Baked Bacon

I know.  I'm LATE to this baking bacon game.  

My family loves thick bacon.  I don't love frying bacon.  So I was motivated to try baking bacon for breakfast for dinner this week.  It was life changing.  I'm not exaggerating.  You preheat your oven to 400.  Line your baking sheet with parchment paper.  Lay out your bacon and bake it fro 20-25 minutes or until you get your desired crispiness.  I laid the crispy bacon on a paper towel and drained the grease off of the parchment paper.  Clean up was a breeze - just throw away the parchment paper and there was zero grease mess in my oven.  You've got to try this baking bacon trick if you haven't already.

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

Linking up with Momfessionals

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Ideal Chores for Kids Ages 3-10

Do your kids help with things around the house?

Mine do!

I am always shocked when moms say their kids don't help around the house.  I don't have the time or energy to do everything for everyone.  I'm always driving home the point that we're a family.  A team.  And we need to work together to make our house run.  The kids likely get tired of hearing it, but I hope the message sticks with them.  Families need to work together to make a house feel like home.

We don't give allowances for doing chores right now.  We just all pitch in and help.  I relax my standards of how towels should be folded or how they should be stored in a drawer.  I appreciate their help and I don't want them to feel micromanaged.  I let them figure out the best way to make their beds and put away their clothes.  Then from time to time and give them little lessons on how to do things.  I'm also the initiator of all these tasks.  I get the ball rolling and delegate and they help.  My ultimate goal is to teach them these skills when they are little so that they will that they will be able to run homes of their own one day!

Older kid chore ideas (ages 7 & 10):

1. Fold laundry - clothes, towels, etc.

2. Put away laundry

3. Dust bust

4. Clean up toys or the playroom

5. Make their beds

6. Dust

7. Vacuum

8. Dry dishes

9. Hang up their towels after a shower

10. Pull in the trash cans from the curb

11. Before Kevin mows, they sweep through the yard to pick up any toys.

12. Return library books when they're due - I keep them in the car and they walk them up to the drop slot.

13. Clear the table after dinner and put the dishes by the sink

14. Water outdoor plants

15. Cooking - peeling vegetables, chopping fruit or vegetables, learning to make something likes scrambled eggs or grilled cheese, blueberry muffins or brownies from a box or being able to make their own milk shakes or blizzards.  Each of these tasks is a learned skill.  It'll take some practice and patience on your part.  But it'll be so exciting when they master this skill and can do it independently.

16. Grocery shopping helpers - push the cart, help load and unload and plan food for the week.

17. Supervise siblings

18. Flip all their laundry right side out before loading it in the washing machine


My 3 year old loves to have a job!  He is thrilled to be asked to help unlike his older siblings.  haha.  He's also the messiest of the bunch so we all find ourselves working together to keep the house tidy with a toddler living here.

3 year old chore ideas:

1. Dust bust

2. Unload the dishwasher & hand things to mom

3. Set the silverware on the table

4. Put away toys

5. Putting their dirty laundry in the laundry basket

6. Move the bar stools and chairs when I vacuum

7. Refill cat food

8. Help switch clothes from the washer to the dryer

9. Empty bathroom trash cans

10. Helping make a bed

11. Refilling drinks in the drink fridge

12. Water outside plants with help

13. Get the mail

14. Get any packages on the porch

15. Help carry in groceries

16. Take the compost out to the garden every day and dump it

If you wish your kids or grand kids did more to help, start by giving them one job.  When they master that, add in another job or two.  I bet they'll love helping you if you show them how and praise them for their efforts.  My kids love when I catch them pitching in to help our family.  They feel proud of a job well done and love when I give them important jobs.

Tell me some chores that your kids do to help keep your family running smoothly!

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Swap Out Those Knobs

Are you ready for a super simple DIY project today?

I'm swapping out knobs in our main floor half bathroom.

It's a busy spot where the kids are always popping in to wash hands and head back outside or friends and family use this bathroom when they're over.  I mentioned that I've been working on a little makeover.  I'm really happy with the direction the bathroom is heading and these new knobs are lovely.

I originally purchased them from Hobby Lobby a few years ago for another project.  Then we moved and I've just been saving them for the perfect spot.  They still had the tags on them and I still loved them just as much as I did a few years ago.

Hello, lovely new knobs!

They're so lovely and interesting and go perfectly with the bathroom vibe.  I've read that the best way to mix metals in a space is to repeat them a few times.  I've got several silver fixtures that are staying put and plan to repeat the brushed bronze in picture frames on a future gallery wall in this space.  Maybe even a brushed bronze soap dispenser.

Goodbye, old knobs.

They aren't horrible.  I just really dislike the knobs that the builder choose for our entire house.  They are sharp on the edges and are always scraping legs or catching shorts.  And they rarely are perfectly straight so I'm always messing with them to keep them just right.  They are a pain and slowly but surely they'll all be getting replaced.

I just needed a screw driver to swap the knobs.  It was very easy.  The hardest part was keeping the toddler away from the tools and keeping the curious cats out of the way.

Real talk: No one in my family has noticed the new knobs, but I love them so much!  

These kind of simple swaps are my favorite DIYs.  The little details matter to me and make space feel like home.  Now I smile every time I'm tidying up this busy bathroom.

Do you have any rooms that could use a simple swap like this one?

Monday, September 25, 2023

7 Simple Dinner Ideas

I have seven simple dinner ideas for you this week!  They're all delicious, quick to prep and family favorites at my house.  It's that time of year where the weather is pretty great and I don't want to be in the kitchen for long periods of time.  I want quick, delicious meals to feed my family.

1 // Homemade Hibachi

This was SO GOOD.  I buy thin chicken breasts from Wal-Mart or Aldi, dice them up into bite size pieces and marinate them in teriyaki sauce and soy sauce.  Cook them on the stove top.  Make some boil in a bag rice, steam some edamame and saute some stir fry veggies.  This is not a good make ahead meal.  The veggies get soggy.  So I make sure to make this on nights that I will be home to cook at dinner time.  My crew loves teriyaki sauce, yum yum sauce and soy sauce to taste.  We all licked our plates!

Here's another version of homemade hibachi with baked chicken and fried rice.

2 // Homemade Chili

I made my game day chili for the first day of Fall and it was a big hit.  Fletcher called me Chili Master and asked if I could pack it for his school lunches.  I love my chili with all the toppings (green onions, cheddar cheese, sour cream and fritos) and everyone else customizes their own bowls.  I fixed corn bread and crunchy veggies with this.  If only Notre Dame would have found a way to win it would have been a perfect game day!

Another game day favorite: Pablano Street Corn Dip from Walmart.  I added it to my grocery pick up order on a whim and it was amazing.  It's got a tiny kick to it.  I'm a baby with spicy foods and I love this flavor packed dip.  I have enjoyed it cold with fritos, on a soft taco, with nachos and it says it can be served hot or cold.  It would be a delicious addition to any game day spread.  I'll definitely be repurchasing this!

3 // Leftover night

A benefit of cooking dinner most nights is that you have plenty of food options to put together a leftover night at the end of the week.  I store all my leftovers in glass dishes.  That way I can pop them in the oven in their glass containers for leftover night and have everything reheat at once.  I usually add in one new thing like a new roasted veggie, a loaf of homemade bread or fresh fruit so that it doesn't feel boring.  My crew loves picking out their plates of food on leftover night.  It's always a funny mix, but it'll save you lots of money to make sure you're eating up those leftovers.

I've mentioned before that I eat a lot of leftovers for my lunches.  Let no food go to waste!  Be sure to reheat them in the oven - put them on a cookie sheet in a cold oven.  Then preheat the oven to 350.  By the time your oven reaches 350, all of your food will be reheated for an easy lunch.  I do this while I'm making Leo's lunch.  It'll save you money by eating at home and eating up your leftovers.

4 // Baked Pasta

My family prefers a baked pasta dish over spaghetti.  They also prefer no cheese on their pasta.  I don't understand them, but am happy to double up my cheese consumption to save them from eating melty cheese.  I usually do noodles, marinara and meat sauce.  Then just top half with cheese and leave the other half plain.  Then I roast veggies and serve with fruit.

5 // Hot Hawaiian Roll Italian Subs

Remember these from earlier this month!?  I'm making them again this week for dinner.  They were delicious!  And if you buy the meat to make them once, you'll easily have enough meat to double the recipe.  I just opted to make them for dinner two separate times.

6 // Chicken Orzo Soup

This is the yummiest, easiest homemade soup to make!  I shared it with you last year and it continues to be a favorite.  I always have the ingredients in my pantry to make it.  That way if anyone gets sick or I need an easy meal, I'm set.  Kid and adult approved!

7 // Rotisserie Chicken Night

We have now hit the milestone of needing two rotisserie chickens to feed our family one dinner.  We end up with leftovers, it's just that the rotisserie chickens are shrinking and our family is not.  I buy two and then reheat them at dinner time.  I pull off all the chicken and freeze leftovers.  I go ahead and chop the leftover chicken small for chicken noodle soup and be sure to label it well in my freezer.

I served corn on the cob, wild grain rice and fresh fruit along with dipping sauces for the chicken.  It's the easiest, healthy dinner.

We ate a big dinner and then I had two portions of chicken for chicken noodle soup.  I labeled these bags with a sharpie and popped them in the freezer.

What's for dinner at your house this week?

Friday, September 22, 2023

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, friends!  I hope you've had a good week.  We had a great week here!

Did you catch my blog posts this week?

Hot Hawaiian Roll Italian Subs - delicious!!

Exercising Made Easy - simple swaps to make exercise feel easy.

4 Things - a little update on everyone.

Now on to the highlights of our week!

1. Lucky

I'm on a hot streak!  I've won 3 different giveaways recently.  The door prize at Bible study, a Wal-Mart gift bag at grocery pick up and a big giveaway box filled with goodies from an Instagram giveaway that Lauren Bown was doing.  It's been so fun!  I should probably go buy a lottery ticket :)

2. Teacher Treats

Have you thanked a teacher lately?  Well, you should!  Write them a note, send a complimentary email to their principal or send them in a little treat.  It'll mean the world to them.  I stayed up late baking these cookies for the kids to take to school yesterday.

3. School Lunch

I got to go to school and have lunch with Olive and Fletcher!  It was really special.  They love the extra attention, their favorite foods and they were excited to get PRIME to drink for lunch.  Plus it's fun to wave hello to their friends, chat with their teachers and be with them in their element.

4. Chasing Rainbows

You know I love a rainbow and I got to see several this week.  Leo thought it was hilarious to have a rainbow on his foot.  Then we got a surprise pop up rain and rainbow last weekend.  It was beautiful and a sweet reminder of God's promises for us.

5. Butterflies

The butterflies have been loving our garden this month!  They are attracted to the fruit in our compost and all the flowers in the garden.  It's so much fun to just sit and watch them come and go.

6. Fighting over Leo

I hope that Leo knows how loved he is.  The kids regularly fight over who gets to snuggle him.  And thankfully he is usually happy to snuggle everyone.  It's good to be the baby.

7. Simple Routines

I've been taking Olive and Fletcher to Sams with me on the weekends and it's become a favorite routine.  The store is crowded, but it's really fun to get to shop with them and stroll a bit.  Plus they love picking out some snacks and foods for the week.  Fletcher is working on his cart driving skills and Olive is just excited to shop.

8. Big breakfast

These two love a big breakfast on the weekends.  French toast sticks, bagels, pancakes and cinnamon rolls - YES.  They're up for all of it.

9 // Nana

Kevin's sweet Nana turned 87 this week and she hosted her own birthday gathering for family.  She cooked and was the perfect host.  We adore Nana and aspire to be hosting our own parties and loving life just like her when we're well into our 80s.  She's the sweetest and just loved being surrounded by family.  The kids helped me put together a beautiful bouquet for her.

10.  Gone Fishing

If you need Fletcher, you better check the garage or the lake.  He's either prepping to fish or gone fishing.  He loves for Kevin to take him fishing after dinner.  We all rushed over to see his catches this week.  Kevin's a trooper helping him with all the fishing gear and I have been helping by adding fishing necessities to my grocery pick up orders :)  Team work!

We get the best sunsets and I love looking out the front door to see them while the boys are fishing.

11. Birthdays

Our cute cousin Krissy turned 11 this week and we had fun celebrating her!  The menu was yummy and my sister always makes show stopper cakes.

12. Growing

Olive's getting taller and working hard to reach her big goal of passing up Mimi!  My mom is 5ft tall and Olive can't wait to be taller than Mimi :)

 I hope you have a wonderful weekend!  I'll see you back here on Monday.

Linking up with Momfessionals