Friday, March 22, 2024

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, Friends!  I hope you've had a nice week.  Our week was pretty good - sunshine and blue skies and I didn't even mind the cold snap since winter clothes are my favorite.

Did you catch my blog posts this week?

Happy St. Patrick's Day - check out my 12 layer rainbow jello!

Stop Eating Out - a good change.

5 Spring Outfit Must Haves - which one is your favorite?  I love #1 or #4.

Now onto my favorite moments of the week:

1. Leggings Depot Women's Relaxed Fit Joggers

Let me introduce my favorite joggers.  I got these joggers for myself for Christmas and they are so comfy!  They are really soft, thin so they'd be perfect for Spring and Summer and they come in TONS of cute colors.  I'm really impressed with the quality.  I have worn mine a couple times a week since December and they still look brand new.  They run a little small in my opinion so I would size up.  They are only $16.99 with a coupon to clip if you purchase 2.  

Look how cute they look with a graphic tee, jean jacket and tennis shoes!

I plan to grab them in black and brown next.  Or maybe the lavendar ones.

Leggings Depot Relaxed Fit Jogger Track Cuff Sweatpants with Pockets

2. Light Up Basketballs

The kids LOVE them!!  They are so easy to turn on, blow up quickly and the best part is that they come loaded with the batteries and one set of replacements.  That was such a great surprise so most things do not come with the necessary batteries these days.  All the kids - ages 3-10 think the light up basketballs are SO COOL.  We'd 10/10 recommend them for kids.  I think it'll be so fun to play with these light up basketballs all Spring and Summer long.  They light up when you bounce them and then turn off on their own when they are not being bounced.  They really are the neatest toy for Easter baskets, Spring birthdays or Spring and Summer fun!

GlowCity LED Light Up Basketball

3. Easter Brunch.  We had the yummiest Easter brunch at Bible Study this week.  Look at these cute fruity Peep skewer!  They made everyone smile and kids would love them!

4.  You can now do Target returns in the Target drive up spots.  Did you know this??  You process the return on your app and then select a drive up return.  They come out, scan your items and you are done.  It's so easy and so amazing.  I hope it saves you a trip inside the store with your kids.  Doing a return from my car was my favorite!

5. Welcome to the neighborhood.  We got some new neighbors so I made them half a bundt cake.  They are older and just two people live there so half a bundt cake seemed perfect.  Doesn't my lemon bundt cake look so pretty in a 9x9 pan!?  I'll be doing this trick again the next time I need to share a dessert.  these are my favorite 9x9 pans from Sams with snap on clear lids.  I always keep them on hand to share food.

6. Silly kids.  I went up to say goodnight to the kids and Pikachu scared me half to death.  Fletcher put him to bed so sweetly.

7. We had a fun time celebrating St. Patrick's Day this week.  These pot of gold glasses were so much fun!

8. Olive is in her oversized sweatshirt era.  Apparently all 5th grade girls are and she's thrilled.  We ordered several and she is so excited.

9. Someone we love was having a hard month so we gathered all their favorite candies, baked their favorite cookies, added some fruit and dropped off Panera Soup with loaves of bread.  It was a simple care package that made their day.  And this rainbow ribbon from Sams is my favorite!  I added it to my front door wreath and my cookie boxes.

10. Leo turns 4 soon and he's just getting funnier and funnier.

He loves to tote the cats around.  He was snuggling Penny one second and then trying to give her a haircut the next.  I still have to keep a close eye on him.

As I'm putting the kids to bed I see this:
He tells me that he's playing Shadow Dogs and doing foot shadows on the ceiling.

And easy YES.  We did some returns and he asked if he could drive some vehicles.  He hopped inside and played for free.  I'm glad I slowed down for a second to say yes to his simple request.  He walked through the mall with me like a big kid, waited in line and is just acting so grown up these days.  Hanging out with him is my favorite.

Happy weekend!  I hope you have a nice one.  My crew is on Spring Break so I'll be taking next week off from the blog.  See you back here in April!

Linking up with Momfessionals

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

5 Spring Outfit Must Haves

Let's talk about Spring outfit ideas today!  You asked for more outfits this year and I'm delivering.  I have gotten into a better routine of taking outfit pictures thanks to Olive!  She's a great photographer and is usually happy to snap an outfit picture for me.  Yay!  I share a lot of outfits on instagram @polkadottyplace so follow me over there if you love this kind of content!

I have 5 Spring Outfit Must Haves to talk to you about today.  

I'll share the item and how I've been styling it.

1. Black or white skinny jeans

In my current season of life with little ones and messy hands around 24/7, white jeans just aren't appealing.  I love the look and have worn them before, but just not right now.  However, black skinnies are perfect for me.  Obviously, you can do black jeans in any fit, but black super skinny Rockstar jeans from Old Navy will always and forever be my favorite.  Along with black pointy toe flats.

I love black jeans with a belt, chambray top, and leopard cardigan.  Olive told me it was A LOT of leopard for one outfit, but I love the look.

This is a classic combo - black jeans, black t-shirt, leopard belt and a fun jacket with big gold hoops.

2. Pretty Dresses
I love these two dresses so much.  They are the easiest things to wear, work for multiple seasons and I always feel good in them.  Find dresses you LOVE to wear and you'll be so happy you did.  I've had good luck finding dresses on Amazon, Target, Wal-Mart and vintage Matilda Jane since they are no longer around.

3. Chambray Shirts
Find a chambray shirt that you love.  My favorite ones are soft, relaxed and work with everything from shorts, to black pants, over dresses and with skirts.  This one is from Old Navy a few years ago.  I added it over a favorite green dress for St. Patrick's Day.  It was a great way to stretch my closet and combine clothing to make a brand new outfit for free.

Take a moment to think through your accessories.  They really make the outfit!

Chambray shirts also look great with scarves!

4. Patterned Tops
I love a good floral top and it's hard to resist stripes.  Find tops that fit you well and that you love and it'll be so easy to get dressed.  I know anytime I wear these two tops that I'll feel good about my outfit.  I pair them with dark wash denim and various shoes depending on the occasion.  Easy, peasy autopilot outfits for me.  I have good luck finding tops at Old Navy, TJ Maxx, Marshalls & Walmart's Time and Tru line.

5. Jean jackets + a pop of FUN
I love this GAP jean jacket so much.  The puff sleeve is so unique and cute.  It make everyoutfit better.

This skirt is wild and crazy and it's my favorite.  It's a big circle skirt that is very twirly.  I bought it at Belk many years ago when we lived in Arkansas.  It's bold and fun to wear.  I love pairing it with my favorite puff sleeve jean jacket from GAP, clogs, accessories and a neutral tshirt.  If you are going BOLD with one item, tone down the rest of the outfit so that the fun item can shine.

Did you see any outfits that would work for you? I hope you feel inspired to put together some new looks for Spring!  Shop your closet first to see if you could pair some new items together.  Let me know if you have any outfit questions or struggles in the comments below.

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Stop Eating Out

Stop eating out.

Do you find yourself shocked at the bill when you eat out these days?  Or disappointed in the food?  Or no one can agree on where to go?  Or even bored with your restaurant options?

I've got a good alternative for you.  I promise!

And rest assured you'll still find us Door Dashing dinners or grabbing take out because Kevin loves to pick up a yummy dinner from time to time, but this swap has been a good change for us.

Let's get started - I'm going to challenge you to find some new recipes to try or a favorite new cookbook and start cooking!  It will be so much cheaper than eating out and you get to enjoy a delicious meal at home.  I'll give you 3 examples of dinners that I have prepared recently.  They were a little more work than usual or maybe a bit of a splurge, but still so much cheaper than going out to eat as a family of five.

1. DIY Pasta Bar
Kevin was out of town for several days last month and I wanted to treat the kids to a dinner that they'd love.  I knew they'd be excited for a pasta night so I quickly considered the logistics of going to Olive Garden.  I figured it would be crowded and probably easily cost $100.  I decided to order grocery pick up instead with things that I don't normally order - like the ingredients to make homemade alfredo or make two different kinds of pastas to choose from.  I spent about $25 for this pasta bar that left us with tons of leftovers to enjoy for lunches all weekend.  The kids were so pleased with my new homemade alfredo making skills and we had the yummiest dinner at home.

2. Grill Chicken Salad Bar
I got a new grill pan and have been making the yummiest grilled chicken.  We were tempted to get take out for dinner one night last week, but I knew I had everything to make salads.  I chopped all the ingredients into little bite size pieces and presented it all like a salad bar.  Everyone loved building their own salads just how they wanted them.  My kids love all the crunchy veggies, but don't care for the lettuce.  They just skip it and eat the veggies.  The whole meal cost me under $20 to make with lots of leftovers.  Take out would have easily cost us three times that amount.

We all had delicious dinner salads and I got to have salads from the leftovers that week for lunch.

3. Holiday Dinners
I told you yesterday that we had my parents over for dinner for St. Patrick's Day.  Going out to eat with a big group on the holidays is expensive.  I planned ahead and prepared dinner for everyone for around $40 including 2 desserts!  We have some leftovers for lunches this week.  I think it would have easily cost triple that amount to take everyone out to dinner.  So start thinking about the Spring holidays like Easter and Mother's Day to see if there are eways to get around paying tons to eat out.

What do you think?  Is there a splurge meal that you could learn to do at home to enjoy with your family in the comfort of your own home?

These meals are on my radar to make at home this Spring:
A charcuterie board dinner
Nice steaks to grill at home
Crab cakes
& Shish Kebabs

I know we're all in different seasons of life and enjoy spending our money in different ways.  I just want to encourage you to try some new things at home and see what you think :)

Monday, March 18, 2024

Happy St Patrick's Day!

I hope you had a great weekend!  We had fun celebrating St Patrick's Day all weekend long!  One day we'll make it to a big city to see the river dyed green, but until then we'll be enjoying all the festivities from home.

Lucky to love them!  They all wore their new St Patrick's Day t-shirts to church Sunday morning.  Matching kids always and forever.

These pot of gold glasses were such a fun Dollar Tree find!

I love festive fun, but I don't want to pay boutique prices for it.  Walmart usually has the cutest holiday t-shirts for $6.98.  I love that I can get them in toddler to tween sizes.  I like to do one fun gift like these glasses and then something practical - light up basketballs!!  The kids were so excited about them.  Once they play with them for a few days, I'll come back with a real review of them.

A sink full of dirty Crocs was an unexpected rainbow.  I know I'll be sad one day when I'm no longer washing dirty kid shoes so I'm thankful for the sink full of color.  I noticed this time that the shoes are getting biggger and filling up my sink fast.

The easiest lucky breakfast.  I don't buy these often so it was a treat.

The rainbow treat cups were a big hit at our house and with our friends.  We enjoyed the leftover rainbow candy all weekend.

The kids were big enough to help me make some festive food.  Rainbow jello was a team effort this year and the kids are old enough now that they are genuinely helpful.

A new neighbor friend baked me the most beautiful loaf of bread!  I baked her welcome desserts when they moved in and she's returning the favor with homemade bread.  I like this friendship already!

Our backyard was the prettiest colors of spring this weekend - green grass, purple fields, blue skies, clouds and sunshine.

My parents came over for a St Patrick's Day dinner and it's always one of my favorite meals.  I made a berry salad, homemade bread, rainbow jello, Irish stew, Keilbasa and bacon wrapped smokies.  Then lemon bundt cake and Rice Krispie treats for dessert.  Yum!

And my favorite tradition: Rainbow Jello!!  It takes hours to make - 20 minutes per layer - but the kids helped and we were all proud of those 12 layers.  

I'm determined to look for the rainbows in my days this week and have a great week!

Friday, March 15, 2024

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, friends!  I hope you've had a nice week.  Our week was funky.  Lots of weird or stressful things that just kind of added up to a week that we're ready to say goodbye to. Does that ever happen to you?  Did you catch my blog posts this week?

High End Items on a Budget - my favorite places to shop!

Creating Margin in My Life - this feels SO GOOD!

Preteen Parenting: Practice Gives Confidence

Now onto my favorite moments of the week:

1. Happy St Patrick's Day weekend!!  It's one of my favorite holidays thanks to our love of all things Irish and Notre Dame.  I put together these rainbow candy cups for my kids and our friends.  It was so much fun to add all the rainbow candy to my grocery pick up order and assemble them.  They were a big hit!  I found the gold coins at Dollar Tree and saw them at Hobby Lobby.  It's not too late to grab the supplies to make them this weekend.

Or you could put together a rainbow treat board for your family!!  My crew loved this!!  I added Keebler Thin Mints, Lucky Charms and all the rainbow candy from the rainbow cups.  

2. Can I help?  That's Leo's new favorite phrase in the kitchen.  It melts my heart!  He helped with smoothies, rice krispy treats and dinner.

3. Excused from jury duty!!  I got called for jury duty for the second time this year.  I was really hoping to get called off, but no such luck.  I had to report early Monday morning only to find out that they were selecting the jury for a big murder trial.  Yikes!  It was so interesting and I knew it would be a major time commitment.  Thankfully for me, I knew a police officer involved in the case and my Dad being a retired Sheriff, State Policeman and such for 40+ years meant the judge knew him and I couldn't be a fair and unbiased juror.  I was dismissed and relieved.  I've enjoyed following the news reports all week.  I have a new appreciation for people who are serving on juries for a long period of time.  One morning was stressful!!

4. Rainy day fun.  Leo is in charge of his own umbrella and loved it.  Friends invited us to play and that always feels good!

5. Spring flowers!  I really thought it would get cold again, but it seems as though Spring is here to stay.  We don't have any daffodils in our yard.  I love the white ones with orange centers.

6. Crumbl Cookies.  I celebrated being kicked out of the jury selection process by getting Crumbl cookies for everyone.  They were delicious.

7. Freckles are popping!  I always wished that I could have freckles and my dream came true with Fletcher.  All this time outside means that his freckles are popping up everywhere.  I gave the boys haircuts mideweek just in time for Spring pictures at school.

8. Leo is always doing the silliest things.  This is his latest trick which is actually a pretty impressive balancing act.

9. My mom found some cool rocks for Fletcher and one was a geode!

10. Hands and feet out the windows as we enjoy the sunshine this week.

11. We got to have dinner with Grandma at her favorite spot.  She chose the restaurant and the kids enjoyed their first Chinese buffet.  They loved trying new foods and finding new favorites.  Leo only liked the almond cookies.  I think he ate 4 for dinner.

12. The 5th grade celebrated Pi Day this week with their Spring Party.  I was glad my dad could watch Leo so that I could go celebrate with her.  She was hoping for pie party, but they had Pi cookies instead.

Have a great weekend!  I'll see you back here on Monday.

Linking up with Momfessionals