Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Grocery Pick Up Gone Wrong

Are you a regular grocery pick up person?

It's been life changing for this busy mom.  

We live out of the boundaries of almost all the grocery delivery options so grocery pick up really is the easiest, quickest way for me to shop.  I order groceries on the go or at home in my pjs and can just drive up and have my groceries loaded at Walmart.  I try to stick to the same store and just schedule pick ups as needed instead of the same day every week.  I have a favorite grocery pick up girl.  She saves me all the best promotions and favors and I leave her excellent reviews on the surveys which earns her bonuses and prizes.  We're besties and it makes me laugh to see her fight for my order when she sees my name pop up.

I've had some funny grocery pick up issues lately that I thought I'd show you how I navigate.  They are all easy mistakes that I have made or my shopper has made that I figure out how to fix.  I quit asking Walmart to substitute my items after they changed their policy.  They used to sub bigger items for the same price as the item you wanted for no additional charge.  Now it seems like they tend to upsize your substitutions which adds to your bill.

Here are a few examples of my grocery shopping gone wrong and how I fixed them:

1. I ordered a big bag of frozen berries.  I received 3 boxes of mixed berry powder drink flavor instead.  I started a return through the app and chatted with someone from customer service.  They refunded my missing berries (and refunded my bananas because they were bruised and busted open long before they were put in my car).  They also emailed me a $5 coupon for my troubles.  Everything was fixed through chat within probably ten minutes.  It took longer to process than usual because I had a damaged item AND a missing item.

2. I received 4 bags of mini cucumbers that were drippy and rotten.  They were gross and I processed a full refund through the app.  It was frustrating because it was obvious that they were rotten and the shopper should have caught that, but I remind myself that grocery pick up still saves me so much time.

3. If you get a damaged item or the wrong item, get your money back!  It's really easy to chat through the app or on their website and within 5-10 minutes you'll get a refund.

4. I accidentally ordered three 32 oz bags of shredded mozzarella cheese instead of one.  Yikes!  I figured it was a shopper error, but it was my error.  I didn't proof my order well enough before submitting it.  I ended up freezing one bag because so many of my instagram friends said they freeze cheese all the time and I wanted to give that a try.  Then we have been getting creative with all this shredded cheese.  Check out the dinners we have been having with it.  They were delicious and no cheese is going to waste.

Taco Salad

This Fresh Cravings Poblano Street Corn Dip is AMAZING.  I have repurchased it many times.  No one else at my house likes it so it's my special taco topping treat!

Pepperoni Pinwheels

Cheese Quesadillas

Carne Asada Pork tacos with homemade pico

Pork taco bowls

While I'd definitely recommend you double checking your orders before you submit them, it can be a fun menu challenge if you end up with a much larger quantity of an item that you were expecting.  Lemonade out of lemons, right!?

Do you have any grocery pick up gone wrong stories to share with me??

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Winter School Lunch Ideas

I pack lunches for my elementary school kids every single school day.  They love it and I love packing food that they will enjoy.  They make requests for their lunch boxes and I try to do a healthy mix of lots of different things.  I pack their lunches the night before as I'm cleaning up dinner.  That way I can close down the kitchen for the night and not leave this task until late at night.  Leo keeps telling me - When I go to school, you pack my lunches!  I'll take that as a compliment that he's excited to get mom lunches.

For reference, these lunches are for my 2nd and 5th grader and they still seem to be the perfect size in the Yumbox Original.  They do eat a snack midday.

Here are some favorite lunches from November.

About once a week I like to add in a homemade treat - Monster Cookies & Pumpkin Pie this week.  We also love these Wheat Crackers, DOTS pretzels and Pretzel chips.

Half a favorite sandwich and favorite chex - cheese for one kid and bold and spicy for the other kid.  Christmas candy is a hit, too.  I also try to include their favorite fruits - Granny smith apples for one kid and Honey Crisp for the other.  Winter fruit isn't delicious, but apples seem to be a good option year round.

M&M Cookies and Halloween candy with a mix of pineapple and grapes this time of year.  Carrots and cucumbers are also a lunch box staple in the winter.

Favorite chips - Salt and Vinegar, Halloween candy and apple slices.

Peanut butter and crackers, raspberries or any berries when I can find them, pistachios and all their other favorites.

Snap peas are a hit if I split them in a half.  Along with Nutragrain bars and Butterfingers.  I've been doing a mix of salty snacks or sometimes two different salty snacks to keep their lunches extra interesting.

I know that the kids love a lunch from home and that it feels like a big HUG FROM HOME in the middle of their school days.  Most of the time their lunch boxes come home empty.  I try to only include one new food or one surprise food so that the majority of items are things that I know they will enjoy.

What are you kid's favorite lunch box foods?

Monday, November 27, 2023

Thanksgiving Highlights

We had a really great Thanksgiving break!  And I hope you did, too.

We saw a lot of family on Thanksgiving and then did a lot of hanging out at home the rest of the week.  We slept in, snuggled, watched movies, crafted, organized, played and decorated for Christmas.  It was the perfect kick off to the Christmas season.  We just need to get a real tree for our family room.

The best parts of our Thanksgiving were.

Perfect weather on Thanksgiving!

Delivering cookies by bike.

Pop ins from friends!  My friend Allison was in town for the day and she got to see my house for the first time.  We had a great visit!

Penny loved our snuggles and movies nights!

Olive requested pumpkin pie for breakfast on Thanksgiving and was thrilled when I said yes!  She said it'll be her new Thanksgiving tradition.  I made 3 pies and lots of cookies.

We had lunch with Kevin's family and the meal was so good.  I love chicken and dumplings!

Nana hosted and that's always my favorite.  She's Kevin's grandma.  She's in her 80s and hosts often.  She always looks so cute, cooks a ton and is happy to host.  I always tell her that she's amazing!

The kids got to play outside a bunch.

Stop #2 on our Thanksgiving day.

Stop #3.  We had dinner at my sister's house and this Stanley line up for the girls made me smile.

The cousin table!   Leo joined the big kids this year and ate his weight in bread.

My sister in law, sister and myself all dressed alike.  You would have thought we planned it.  Great minds think alike!

We all took turns holding my sister's kitten, Judy.  She made all my cat lady dreams come true when she snuggled on me.

Girl cousins!  The boys screamed and ran when they suggested a boy picture :)

I love cats.  Think they'd notice if I snuck her home with me!?

And that was a Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

The Best Way to Use Up Leftovers

My family loves a charcuterie board dinner and I love not wasting food.  This combo of leftovers with some new things is perfect.  Let me show you how to make a dinner with leftovers that your family will love.

I had some leftover cheese cubes from a cheese tray that I did, a few leftover mozzarella sticks and a few ends of the bags of crackers.  I made a fresh loaf of sourdough bread and chopped our favorite fruits and veggies.  It was the perfect combo of leftovers and fresh foods for my family.  We cleaned the board!

Keep this dinner option in mind this week of Thanksgiving.  Use up leftovers and add some new things to make the meal feel fresh.  I bet your family will love it!

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!  I'm taking the rest of the week off to enjoy Thanksgiving break with my family.  I'll see you back here on Monday.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Milestone Moment

Kevin celebrated a big professional and personal milestone last week and I was so excited to get to be there to celebrate with him.  The University of Evansville had a ribbon cutting and dedication for their newly renovated mental health and wellness clinic.

It was such a neat event with TONS of community support.

When we relocated here, he was promised tons of community support for this program and this clinic and it was amazing to see that come true.  All the important people for all the important resources were present and excited about everything going on at UE.  And Kevin is leading the charge with a great team!

We've added more purple to our wardrobe and I love it!

The weather was iffy right up until the start and then it cooperated perfectly.

The university posted these next 3 images from the day.
1. The newly remodeled clinic looks so good.  It was a former bank and it's totally transformed inside.

2. The line up of speakers.  It was an impressive line up with my handsome hubby at the end.

3. Time for the ribbon cutting.

I'll always be his biggest fan!  We have lived a lot of places, done a lot of work to get here and seeing him do his dream job has been so exciting!  We've also had career highs and lows so this high feels extra sweet.

We arrived early to do a quick walk through and tidy up of the clinic.  Each room has a pretty purple statement wall.  Kevin got to select the furniture, furnishings and see the whole construction process from start to finish.  The appliances we ordered arrived and the whole clinic looked amazing!  They hope to be up and running in January 2024.

Kevin practiced his talk and did an awesome job.  He went off the cuff at the end and told a heartfelt story to drive home the importance of mental health care in our community.  I was beaming with pride!  The ceremony was special and heart felt as Emily M. Young and her family were honored.  She was a young lady in our community who's life ended tragically and her family was there to honor her memory with this big dedication.  It really emphasized the need for more mental health care access for everyone.

He got to introduce his students to the community.  They were proud.  He was proud.  It was wonderful!

Look at these pretty tables!  It was perfectly festive with the pumpkins and purple and orange for the Aces.

We greeted everyone as they toured the clinic and then we headed to our VIP luncheon.  I joked that I don't think I've ever been invited to sit at the head table at a big event!  We had great conversations and made some great connections.  We both got to meet important people in our community.  Kevin already knew lots of them and I was excited to be his date.  It was the start of something really exciting for our family and our city!

The sunshine came out after lunch and it was beautiful out!  This special day will stick with us forever.
Way to go, Kev!

Monday, November 20, 2023

Our First Friendsgiving

If you've been around here for a while you know, we have moved a lot and had to start over a lot.  

We have spent a lot of time making friends and connections in 5 different cities.

We are coming up on our 2 year anniversary in Southern Indiana and you can imagine the excitement I felt when I received an invitation for a neighborhood Friendsgiving this year!!  I may have gotten teary eyed.  This is a totally new circle of friends from all over that enjoy hanging out together in our neighborhood.  We've all got kids, some go to the same church, some go to the same school and they all have interesting jobs and interesting stories.

Friendsgiving 2023: Look at that delicious plate!

I've worked SO HARD for the past couple of years to make friends at school, at church, in our neighborhood and in our community.  I have said YES to a lot of things in the hopes of making new friends and things are finally clicking.  I had to do a lot of inviting and a lot of reaching out to people, but I'm making friends and I'm thrilled about it.

Being new means you are always learning new names and trying to find ways to connect your family to other families.  I've connected with a lot of you over the years about moving often so I hope you feel seen and encouraged today.

If you are like me, and find yourself relocating often with jobs or school, I want to be an encouraging friend to you.  The effort to make friends and connect with people is always worth the effort.  Hang out at the library.  Join a small group or two.  Find a Bible study.  Find a church home.  Be outside and talk to your neighbors and reach out to school friends for your kids.  Be the inviter.  Be the host.  And then one day people will start reciprocating and they will invite you and include you.

My friend set the prettiest tables, made take home pumpkin place cards and included my favorite candy.  The place cards were simple and sweet and have made me smile so much every time I see the pumpkin.  Thankful for you - that's the nicest sentiment this time of year! 

We each picked sides to bring and they did the turkey and drinks.  We chatted about the sides on the Facebook invitation to make sure we had a good variety.  I brought sweet potato casserole and a plate of cookies.  You know me - invite me and I'll bring cookies!  One guy said - I don't know why you'd go back to teaching, when you can bake like this!?  That made me feel good :)  Plus my cookie plate was empty at the end of the night.

The uninterrupted conversation was so fun.

The meal was amazing.

We met a few new friends.

Made new connections.

We all had a great kid free evening and can't wait to do it again soon!

I'm proud of us!!  And super thankful to my parents for hanging out with the kids this night.

Friday, November 17, 2023

Birthday Week Favorites

It's been such a fun birthday week!  I turned 42 yesterday and managed to squeeze in all my favorite things.  The weather was wonderful, we did lots of fun things and I took advantage of picking up birthday treats all week.  I'm thankful to be 42 and excited to see what this year has in store for me.

Did you catch my blog posts this week?

4 Charcuterie Board Dinner Short Cuts 

6 Ingredient Homemade Play-Doh

Preteen Parenting: Episode 5 Say YES

Now onto the highlights of my week:

1. Birthday Fun

My parents hosted a birthday dinner for me this week and it was delicious!  My favorite foods with my favorite people.  The kids woke up early on my birthday to help me open presents.  And then Kevin grabbed take out for dinner on my birthday.  We had milkshakes in our pjs for dessert.  Simple and sweet!

2. Birthday Rewards
We just got a Nothing Bundt Cakes and I was so excited to go pick up my birthday bundt.  I grabbed an extra and Leo and I shared them.  I loved the lemon and the chocolate chocolate chip.  I used my birthday reward at DSW and a few other spots.  I love that most places are giving you a whole week or two to redeem your birthday rewards.

3. Gifts and Girls
I got some really thoughtful gifts from my favorite girls this week.  I headed out of town for a dinner with my Terre Haute friends one night.  They drive an hour south and I drive an hour north to meet in the middle for dinner.  It's always the best time.  Care packages, thoughtful gifts and cards from friends made my whole week feel so special.

4. Button Art Toy
Leo has been obsessed with this button art game.  All three of my kids have loved playing it and it has held up so well.  They pick a background and then pop the buttons in.  It's great for toddlers and older.  He's so proud of the puzzles he puts together and the colors that he matches.  I love the fun fine motor practice.  It would be make the perfect holiday gift for any toddlers and preschool age kids!
My Amazon links:  There are coupons to clip and sale prices!  

5. Bible Study
My mom's group Bible study fell on my birthday this year and I couldn't think of a more fun way to spend my morning.  We had a great speaker.  Leo loves playing with his buddies in his class, too.

6. Hello Judy Joy
I got to meet my sister's new kitten this week.  Isn't Judy Joy so pretty?!?

7. DIY
I decided it was time to hang some pictures and I just went for it.  I organized Kevin's tool box and hung several things around the house.  This vintage floral frame is one of my favorites.  I bought it years ago.  Maybe when I was a teenager and still love it so much.  It's hanging in my bathroom now.

8. Jordan Bakery Box
It was a busy baking week for me!  I had this really fun order for 60 cookie favor bags for an event.  There was a butterscotch oatmeal cookie on the bottom and a pumpkin chocolate chip on top.  The ribbons matched the event and I was so proud of them!

9. Sunsets
Leo loves a good sunset and keeps a close eye on them every evening.  This one was the prettiest sunset of the week!

10. Friends
We met up with some friends at our favorite local play spot - Polka Dots Play Cafe.  He loves the dress up options.  Chef Leo here.  Followed by Pirate Leo and Monster Truck driver Leo.

11. Wish List
We had to help Kevin pick out some appliances for work and these boys are dreaming big wishing for a golf cart of their own this year.  Not happening, but they looked cute test driving it.

Cutest brothers.  Supposed to be sleeping, but chatting in their recliner instead.

12. Story time
Leo loves the bubbles and insisted on writing his own name tag this week.  He writes the O and I add the Le to Leo.  It's my favorite!

13. Veteran's Day Program
Olive and Fletcher's school hosted a really nice Veteran's Day program.  They both got to participate with their classes and Leo and I went to watch.  He did great sitting in the stands for an hour and it was really nice to see our veteran's being honored and celebrated.

14. Kitty Transporter
Leo loves to carry around the cats.  I'm thankful that he does it carefully and asks me to take his picture.  Cute cat loving guy.

Never a dull moment with Leo.

15. Girl's Day
Olive and I got to do some shopping and lunching together this week.  I got some birthday money and she's always happy to shop with me.  We found some shoes, she decided she only likes wearing Crocs, went to Five Below, went to Culvers for lunch and zoomed home to the boys.

What a fun week!  And we've got some fun plans in the works for this weekend.  See you back here on Monday.  I can't believe Thanksgiving is next week!

Linking up with Momfessionals