Wednesday, February 28, 2024

February Coffee Chat

Hey friends!  We have lots to chat about today.  They were calling for big storms to roll through the Midwest last night so I hope you're all safe and sound this morning.  The last time we had big storms at night, my kids slept through everything while Kevin and I (and the cats!) kept on eye on everything.

I love that these coffee chat posts are my most read and most commented posts each month!  I love chatting with you about all the random things that are on my mind!

Grab your coffee and let's get started!

1. What clothes or accessories are on your radar for Spring?  I'm hoping to find some boyfriend type jeans for myself and for Olive.  Thoughts and prayers for any tween jean shopping endeavors.  New swim suits for the kids who grow like crazy from season to season.  And then I have a hard time saying no to spring florals - cardigans, dresses and blouses.  I'd love to find a quirky mixed pattern fabric blouse somehwere that's less than the $120 Anthro one that I have been swooning over.  Oh and I need a fresh pair of Birkenstocks for warm weather.

2. We are currently watching and loving - Chicago Fire, Only Murders in the Building and Abbott Elementary.  We love them all.  It's hard to get out for a date night so we really love watching shows together in the evenings with a fun treat.  Have you watched the whole Chicago series??  We have only watched Chicago Fire.  I'm worried to watch any others because could they really be as good as Chicago Fire?  I'm skeptical.

3. We're gearing up for birthday sesason at our house.  We've got kids with March, April and May birthdays so it's lots of fun and work to make their birthdays magical.  The kids are excited to start thinking about parties, decorations, menus and gift ideas.

4. What are you putting in your kid's Easter baskets this year?  We are going to be out of town for Easter.  It's a busy week - Spring Break, Fletcher's birthday and Easter so I'm planning ahead to make Easter special when we're out of town.  Stay tuned for an Easter basket round up.  I always go for a mix of practical and fun + Easter candy.

5. Do you have an outdoor couch set that you love?  Bonus points if it's very low maintenance, can handle full sun, maybe no cushions and isn't a million dollars.  My patio thanks you!

6. I've been painting my nails more lately and really enjoying having pretty nails.  Olive and June polish + top coat are my favorite combo.  It isn't perfect, but I find it to be more long lasting than anything else.  It is amazing for pedicures and pretty fabulous for manicures.  Do you have a polish combo that you swear by?

7. I don't love decorating for the holidays like I used to.  I have paired down my decorations and still have a couple of Spring bins missing from our move.  Don't ask me how decor bins could be lost durnig a 2 hour move, but somehow I have about 3-4 holiday bins that are MIA.  I'm hoping they're in our garage storage and not lost forever.  Anyways, I love to decorate my mantel, my front porch, have holiday napkins and a holiday table, plan holiday food and share holiday treats.  But gone are the days of decorating many rooms or many surfaces for holidays throughout the year.

8. Kevin surprised me with a new computer!  It's so fast and nice.  I just need to spend some time transferring over important things and writing down all my logged in information.  He surprised me with setting it up one evening while I was gone and wasn't able to mentally prepare for my computer to be gone.  All you Type As and planners get it.  Change isn't easy, even when it's a good thing!  I'm sure I will be up and running with my new computer in no time.  I will say - it is nice to have a fully functioning keyboard with the letter H key intact!

9. We have two upcoming house projects that need to be taken care of and I'm kind of dreading it.  It's two things that our builder was supposed to fix long ago and is now being forced to address.  Both need to happen, but I hate conflict and hate awkward situations.  Wish us luck!

10. If you need a good, drug store waterproof mascara, I've got the perfect one for you.  It does not budge.  No fall out.  No running.  It wears really well and my Wal-Mart carries it for anywhere from $2.98-8.98.  I love adding it to my grocery pick up order.  When I see it listed for $2.98, I stock up!!  It's only $3.28 on Amazon right now with almost 9k reviews!  You've got to try it if you like to wear or need to wear waterproof mascara.  

Wet N Wild Waterproof Mascara

What's new with you??  Let's chat in the comments!

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Stove Top Smash Burgers

I tried a new recipe last week and it was amazing!  My whole family enjoyed my smash burgers.  We've done them before on the Blackstone, but never tried smash burgers indoors.  This recipe is great for wehn the weather isn't ideal for grilling or if it's too cold to be outside grilling.

I promise that there is a smash burger under all those toppings!

Burger ingredients:
1.5 lbs of your favorite ground beef (for 5 people + leftovers)
Kinders The Blend Seasoning (or your favorite seasoning)
Worchestershire sauce
A1 sauce
soft taco shells

I generously doused the ground beef with all of the ingredients above and mixed until well combined.  Then I used a scoop to divide up the meat for smash bugers.  I rolled the scoops into balls and got started grilling them on my stove top

I love the Mission brand tortillas.  Next time I'd go down to the smaller Street Taco sized tortillas so that the burger patty more closely matched the tortilla sized, but these worked just fine.  Especially if you like to load up your burgers with lots of toppings.

purple onion
grilled onion
fry sauce
bbq sauce

Mom Tip: I picked up these Arby's fries to make our meal a little extra special.  They were $5-6 a bag.  Even going with a splurge like these for sides, we saved so much money eating at home vs going out for a meal of burgers for everyone.  That's my favorite cooking tip!  Splurge on fun ingredients to make your dinners at home feel special.  You won't feel like you're missing out on anything.  

Cook the fries while your smash burgers are cooking.

Burgers are seasoned, rolled and ready to cook in hot skillets.

I used a couple of skillets at a time, my smash burger maker (you could use a glass instead) and got busy cooking.  I cooked them for a few minutes on each side until they got to my desired well done.

I did hamburgers and cheeseburgers.

I put them out on plates to serve and then my family went through the line to add their toppings.

This was a delicious dinner that I will definitely make again.  And I'm thrilled to report tht the leftover smash burgers reheated so well for easy leftover lunches.

Would your family enjoy these Stove Top Smash Burgers?

Monday, February 26, 2024

Look for the Flowers

I saw this quote on a friend's IG stories last week and it made me think.

Am I looking for the flowers in my days?

Or focusing on the things that go wrong?

I am a pretty optimistic, positive person.  And even so, I have found a lot of joy in my days when I slow down to look for all the good things that come my way.

Here's an example of the flowers in my day last Friday:

1. I had an early morning cookie order that was picked up on time with a tip for me!

2. I was walking into Walmart with Leo's hand in one hand and a bag of returns in the other hand.  We were headed to get a cart.  The older man in front of us got a cart out for us to make my life easier and then got his own.

3. We saw carts with babies in them all throughout the store.  Leo kept loudly announcing DAT'S A CUTE BABY! to every baby we passed making all the moms smile.

4. The Easter section was stocked with all the things I was hoping to find for my kid's Easter baskets.

5. I was waiting in a long check out line.  A different cashier pulled me out of line and opened a new line just for us so we didn't have to wait.

6. My exercise time felt quick and easy.

7. It was perfect kite flying weather for the kids after school.

8. We got to have a date night with friends we hadn't seen in a while.  The appetizer we ordered was awful, but the main course was amazing.  Best pizza I can remember eating.

If you don't already, start to think about the flowers/highlights/glimmers in your day!  It will be such a blessing to you.

Friday, February 23, 2024

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, friends!  I hope it's been a nice week at your house.  We had snow, a 3 day weekend, temps in the 70s, dentist appointments, projects and meetings.  It was a busy week.  Did you catch my blog posts?

Super Simple Puppy Chow - so easy your kids could make it!

Ask for Help with Dinner - it's made dinner time so much better for us!

Now onto my favorites of the week:

1. Acrylic Cutting Board - I got this for myself after Christmas and I love it so much.  It sits on the counter so nicely with the counter lip, doesn't move when you are chopping and you barely even notice it since it is clear.  Nothing has stained it or scratched it so far.  It wipes clean so easily.  My pretty counters show through, it's easy to leave out or to store in my pantry.  It's my very favorite cutting board.  It comes in three sizes.  I ordered the largest XXL size (24 x 18in) and I have been so happy with it.  And it is 40% off right now!

XXL Acrylic Cutting Board

XL Acrylic Cutting Board

L Acrylic Cutting Board

2. Favorite OOTD.  I love this new Tommy Hilfiger Casual Band Jacket.  It's the prettiest shade of pink and it is so soft.  It is hard to find comfy blazers but this one has pockets and is the softest material.  I love it paired with Rockstar super skinnies from Old Navy, pointy toe flats, leopard belt and big gold hoops!  This outfit will be on repeat.  Amazon has this jacket in chili pepper red, sky capt/navy or a really pretty charcoal/black.  I love it so much that I'd grab it in another color - either chili pepper red or the black!

3. Playscapes - We met some friends at The Hills church this week to play.  Leo loves this place!  It's so nice to have a spot where moms can visit and kids can play inside.

4. Crusty bread grilled cheese.  I tried making a grilled cheese this week with my own homemade crusty bread.  It was delicious!  I would cut the bread a little thinner next time, but otherwise it was perfection.

5. 5th grade market day February edition.  We made valentine cookie playdoh and hearts.  Olive was thrilled to go to school and sell these to her friends.

6. School lunches.  My kids love snacky lunches and they really love when the lunches include a homemade treat.  My mom's sugar cookies & my rice krispie treats.

7. 2nd Grade incentives.  Fletcher's class started a new incentive program this week and he can earn ducks or frogs for great work and great behavior at school.  He is so proud of his growing collection of cute critters.  He's very motivated to do his best to earn these fun surprises throughout his day.

8. Sleepovers.  It makes my heart so happy to go and check on the kids before I go to bed and find this.  Triple snuggles.  I'm so glad they have each other.  They actually sleep better and go to sleep faster doing couch slumber parties than they do in their own bedrooms!

9. Dig N Roll.  A new indoor play place opened in our city and it's so cool!  I took Leo and then had to bring the older kids with friends when they were out of school.  They all loved it!  Age 3, 7 and 10!  That is not always the easiest thing to do to find something they all enjoy, but Dig N Roll fits the bill.  They have everything - ball pits, slides, climbing structures, pretend play spots, water tables, sand pit, real car wash station, a stage and more.  We have been 3 times and they all ask to go back regularly.  It seems to be most crowded in the mornings and pretty empty in the afternoons/evenings.

10. SNOW!  Last Friday we got some surprise snow and it was so pretty!  We weren't sure we'd get anything but rain.  Seeing it snow like a snow globe was the best way to end the week.  The boys were thrilled to make tiny snowmen.  I also grabbed some snow toys on clearance.  I think this snow ball maker is going to come in handy for future snow days.

Have a wonderful weekend!  I'll see you back here next week!

Linking up with Momfessionals

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Ask for Help with Dinner

I don't know about you, but it is daunting to come up with delicious dinners every night.  It's a lot of extra decisions to cook dinner most nights that your family will enjoy.  It requires grocery shopping, organizing, planning, prepping and preparing and some times that feels like too much work.  We grab dinner out (Door Dash or take out on the weekends) and then I cook most nights.

We started something new in February with our dinner routine and I have loved it so much!

I started asking for help with dinner.

I assigned each person a week and when it is their week, they help me come up with the dinner menu.  We look in the freezer, fridge and pantry to help come up with the menu and then I add new items needed to the grocery list for the week.  So far each person has loved helping me with the menu.  They haven't always loved being my kitchen helper for the week, but I kind of expected that.  When it is their week, they are in charge of setting and helping clear the table, getting drinks, helping me with dishes and helping prepare dinner.  I don't think anyone would call those fun jobs.  They're just absolutely necessary life skills.

My formula is super simple.  

Print out a free monthly calendar online.  Assign each person a week.  Pick a day to work on the menu for the week.  Pencil in dinners & maybe even a special treat for the week.  Penciling everything in allows for you to make changes as things come up during the week.  Shop and prepare like you usually do and ask your kitchen helper for a little extra help on their week.  I hung our menu on the week and the whole family is paying attention to dinner.  They're noticing and getting excited to put their favorite meals on the menu. We have had good conversations about seasonally appropriate foods, not having ground beef every night and meals that would work best for busy nights.

Chicken Quesadillas

Homemade Hibachi

White Chicken Chili

It has been so nice to have extra help in the kitchen!  I have enjoyed this routine and will continue it in the months to come.

How do you do your weekly menu planning?  Would my routine work for your family?

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Super Simple Puppy Chow

Happy Tuesday!  I hope you had a great weekend!  We loved having three days off together.

I have the easiest recipe for you today.  You just need 6 ingredients, a big bowl and a gallon size ziploc bag to make this yummy Puppy Chow.  It's the yummiest peanut butter + chocolate cereal snack mix.  I've always enjoyed this treat, but I think this is the first time I've ever made it for my family.  The kids loved it.  We had it for Valentine's Day and I think it would be delicious at any gathering.


1 cup Tollhouse Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips

1/2 cup JIF Creamy Peanut Butter

4T Butter

1 t vanilla

6 cups General Mills Rice Chex cereal

2 cups Powdered Sugar

Melt the chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter in the microwave and stir until well combined.  Add in the vanilla and stir until it is mixed in.  Pour the chocolate mixture over 6 cups of rice chex in a large bowl.  Stir until the cereal is well coated.  Dump the chocolate coated cereal into a gallon size ziploc bag carefully.  It works best if one person can hold the bag open while another person scoops the cereal into the bag.  Dump one cups of powdered sugar into the bag and mix until coated.  Add in the second up of powdered sugar and mix around until all the cereal is coated.  Store in an airtight container.

My kids loved this and it would be an easy recipe to make with your kids.

The kids loved having Puppy Chow in their school lunches!

You've got to try this super simple Puppy Chow!

Friday, February 16, 2024

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, friends!  I hope you had a week filled with love.  We had a nice week here.  

Did you catch my blog posts?  I talked about everything from homemade salad dressing to spending $9 on a Valentine's Day card for Kevin.

3 Simple Homemade Salad Dressings

Say Yes to More

Love in Numbers

Now onto my favorite moments of the week:

1. Valentine's Day festivities!  We gathered up all their heart shirts and accessories and had a really fun holiday week!

2. Stamp markers!  I surprised the kids with these for Valentine's Day and they all love them.  The come in a bucket of 44 markers for $14.99.  The quality is great.  They are perfect for toddlers to preteens and even adults.  They work so well and we all loved them.  They'd be so good for Easter baskets, party favors, craft projects or fun art supplies to take on vacation.  Here's my amazon link: 
Colorations STAMPBUCK Washable Markers

3. Valentine's Day called for I love you berry much lunches and a little dessert buffet.  Anything dipped in Nutella is a good combo!

4. 2nd grade class party.  I got to go to Fletcher's class party and we had so much fun.  The kids were so excited to exchange valentines, play Valentine BINGO, eat snacks and celebrate together.  He's got really nice friends and it's always a treat to see him in his classroom.  I loved teaching 2nd grade so it made me feel really nostalgic to be in the classroom on a fun holiday.

5. Gifts.  I grabbed a couple favorite things for each kid and their favorite candies.  It was simple and sweet and they all loved their surprises.  I got Kevin chocolates and he got me these fun jewelry cleaner pens on the go to keep my diamonds sparkly.  They're from MINE Company.  I love that they are mess free so it's perfect to keep in your car to use while you're waiting.  They keep your diamonds so sparkly.  Here's my Amazon link to them:

6. Jordan Bakery Box.  I baked a lot of cookies for Valentine's day and the Super Bowl this week.

7.  Leo is very into giving kisses and it's my favorite.  He's a good helper at the grocery store as long as it involves snacking while he rides in the cart plus picking out a new Hotwheels car or two.

8. Fletcher loves to go metal detecting in our yard and one day while he was digging he came across a giant heart rock for me.  It lives on our patio and I love it so much.

9. Leo's at home Valentine's Day.  He kept using his new truck to pick up things like markers and my flowers.  Then he got to spend a good chunk of the day hanging out with his Papaw.  I had a busy day so Papaw saved the day by hanging out with Leo.  They played baseball, shot Nerf guns, went for a walk and played.  You won't be surprised that he asked for Papaw to come back over the next day.

10. Superbowl Sunday.  Our day did not goes as planned.  Leo woke up sick so we stayed home from church and had to cancel our Superbowl party that we were hosting with friends.  We were bummed, but tried to make the most of it.  Kevin printed games for us to play, the kids got really into watching the game and I made a yummy spread of food for just us.  Kevin loves Patrick Mahomes and has for years so he was thrilled with the outcome of the game.  Most of my cookie orders were for Chiefs cookies so I know lots of people were excited to see them win.

11. Leo's cool new trick is to put his writing utensils behind his ear when he needs a break from his work.  He loves this letter game and I love his cool new trick.

His other new favorite game is Dr. Leo.  He checks all of our temperatures (we're usually 68 degrees) and need lots of care.  He's been taking care of stuffed animals, our family and our cats (much to their dismay).  He looks so cute as Dr. Leo ready for surgery.

12. Gardener.  Fletcher's been learning about plants, gardening and composting in science this week.  He taught us a few new things about our compost box.  His teacher was so excited that he knew about composting so I snapped pictures and he got to teach his class about how composting works.  It was a really cool opportunity for him to show off his gardening skills.

13. My Uncle Mike passed away last week.  Leo and I headed out of town for his visitation early one morning and we had a nice time visiting with family members that we don't get to see very often.  Leo loved seeing Mike's Corvette in the parking lot and he found a little baby cousin that loved him.  It was bittersweet to be gathering for a funeral, but we were happy to be there to honor Mike.

14. BINGO night.  The kid's school hosted a BINGO night so I took them to play a few games.  None of us won, but we ate popcorn, raised money for a good cause and all agreed that we would be happy to play BINGO more often.

15. Rainbow toes!  I love that my kids know how much I love rainbows.  Leo called for me to see his rainbow toes one morning and it made my day.

I'm wishing you a wonderful weekend!  I'll see you back here early next week.  The kids have a long weekend so it may be Tuesday before I'm back to blogging.

Linking up with Momfessionals