Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Mommy & Me Week | Spring Day in the Life

Last Summer I decided I wanted to do quarterly day in the life style posts. These can be either loved or hated by readers because of all the details that can go into them but as a mom blogger who uses their blog as their child's baby book, they are a must. So with all that in mind, I started sharing a day in the life with you all and it's been fun sharing every day life. Here are the recaps of Summer 2015Winter 2016Summer 2016Fall 2016 and Winter 2017And now, here is a typical Spring day when I'm solo parenting.

Many ask how I survive solo parenting. I often want to shrug my shoulders and say "I just do" but really, I've mastered parenting by myself. As Connor has gotten older, it's actually gotten much easier. Toddlers are way less work than infants. This is pretty much what a normal Thursday looks like for us since Connor doesn't have school those days and our schedule is a bit more relaxed. Also the photos included in today's posts are straight from my phone so they are as unedited as they come.

The night before Connor and I both went to bed early so I set my alarm for 6:00 so that I can get a jump on the day. I do a few things upstairs and then at 6:24 head downstairs. Connor is still sleeping and will probably sleep for another another hour or so. This leaves me time to clean up a bit and do any blog work I want to do. I've been trying to blog when C is sleeping or at school as to not eat up our time together online.

I don't like clutter and disorder and that's what I woke up to. I decided that I would clean the living room and dining room table. I know that it's going to be a mess by the end of the day but at least this way it's a mess I can handle. We aren't going to be home a lot this day so I don't want to have a mess waiting on me after C goes to bed.

I prep chili for lunch for me for the entire week. I like not having to think about lunch and anything I can toss in the crockpot is a win in my book. If I don't make my shredded taco chicken, I make chili. Bonus points for it being made with Aldi products making it a super cheap lunch for me for 5 total days.

Around 7:20 I hear a noise and look in the living room to discover Connor is up and has grabbed his iPad. I tell him to pause it that he needs to go upstairs potty, brush his teeth and get dressed for the day. We make breakfast and I let him watch a show on his computer while I do a few more things around the house.

We have a play date at 9:30 so I jump in the shower and get ready for the day. While I'm getting ready Connor finishes breakfast and plays with toys in the living room. I have been making more of an effort to do my hair and makeup so this morning, I succeed.

We head to MOPS for our drive-in movie. We bring the movie of choice "Moana". This is one of my favorite play dates. It's a great way to let the little ones play a bit while the Mommas chit chat.

Connor has a rocket ship car with the best personalized license plate ever: WANTHUGS. I asked him what he wanted it to say and he quickly replied "Want free hugs?". This kid is the best.

After our play date we have a bit of time till we need to head home for lunch. I try to keep our meals at the same time so that Connor eats well when food is given. Lunch for us is around 1PM. To eat up a bit of time, we go through the car wash. Which wasn't planned very well because it later stormed like crazy that evening.

We make a quick top at the library to pick up a few requests I have waiting for me. While I browse the shelves, Connor plays in the story corner. He is the only child there this afternoon so I allow him to play for 15 minutes before packing up. We typically visit the library once a week.

We get home, have lunch and it's time for quiet time. Connor wants to play Legos in his room (which is a new big boy activity he has started) so I get him settled in there and sit to read a new book I picked up. I ended up finishing this book in 3 days. So good! And there is a TV show on go90 that you can watch too for free! It's just 7 quick episodes (19-24 minutes each).

We visit Kari, Mark and Macie in later that afternoon. The kids play outside with C's new bubble machine and then we join them for dinner at Cracker Barrel. Cracker Barrel is surprisingly easy on my WW SmartPoints. This evening I opted for a salad. We let the kids play checkers for a bit before heading our separate ways.

By 8:42 Connor has been bathed, read to and put to bed. This is a bit later than usual but that happens more and more lately because it's still so light outside at his typical bedtime. Bedtime is usually closer to 8 but it's been around 8:30-8:45 since about mid-March.

Once Connor is bed, I sit down to read a bit more and answer some emails. If I don't get to bed before 11, I'll be up late (think 1AM!) so I set a timer for myself and make myself go upstairs and prep for bed and turn in around 10:45.

There you have it. That's a day in the life for Connor and I when James is traveling. It's pretty much the same kind of day with James home. We don't dine out much as a family during the work week so that's the only difference. We usually save eating out for the weekends and special occasions. Overall, it's nothing too exciting but I love photographing and sharing our daily lives. These are the days I'll miss when this time next year we'll have a 5 year old in pre-K so I'll forever cherish our days of being home together!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

3 Ingredient Crockpot Shredded Taco Chicken

If there is one meal my family eats more than any other it's tacos. We love it so much that when we had friends on over this weekend we knew we would be setting up a taco bar. One dish that we served was my shredded chicken. While we think and know it's delicious, I was surprised when others started asking me for the recipe, especially my 15 year old niece - Hey Mackenzie! I love it so that I wanted to share it with you all today. It's just 3 basic ingredients but I promise you'll be making this dish over and over again, maybe even for Cinco de Mayo.

You'll need to pick up one pound of chicken breast, a jar of salsa and one package of taco seasoning. Any brand will work. I usually just pick up what's on sale when grocery shopping. If making for a large crowd, I would suggest one pack of seasoning and one jar of salsa per 1.5 pounds. We made 5 pounds on Saturday for 15 people and have left overs for the week. 

Preparing the chicken takes little to no effort. Maybe that's why I love it so! Place the chicken in the crockpot, pour the salsa on top and sprinkle the full pouch of seasoning. Mix a bit and cook for 4 hours on high or 8 on low. When the chicken is finished cooking simply shred with a fork and knife while the chicken is still in the crockpot. Allow the chicken to settle and soak up the salsa for 30 minutes then serve. 

I have made a large batch of this on Sunday and had it for lunch in a wrap, with nachos or in the wheat taco bowls you see above. The best part is that my lunch (pictured above) was just 10 SmartPoints. I added black beans to my chicken, topped with cheese and served with grapes. Having this chicken on hand is a great solution to dinner when you don't have a lot of extra time to prep. 

Now you tell me -- what's your favorite taco dish?

Friday, April 21, 2017

Friday Faves: Organic Clothes, Sugar Highs and Swim Shenanigans

Thank you MomsMeet for sponsoring my prAna review. All opinions are my own. As always I only share products that I fully support and enjoy sharing with you!

Happy Friday friends! What a busy week it's been in our home. I've been solo parenting which always makes a busy week a bit more crazy because not only am I on my own this week but I am also the only one around to keep Connor busy which makes for long days. But hey, the Mister comes home this evening so there's an end in sight. Here are some highlights and random thoughts for this week.

ONE | Dressing My Changing Body

The last time I had to dress a changing body, I was pregnant with Connor. Since then I've put comfort over style but thanks to losing a bit of weight, I've been enjoying shopping more and finding new clothing to wear. With Summer fast approaching it's time for me to embrace something other than tees and yoga/workout pants.

When I was given the chance to try prAna clothing*, I was really eager. I love the idea of trying new brands but am often worried that they just won't fit my body. Lucky for me, I scored the cutest top with a pretty color and pants that are both comfortable and fitted. Clothing made from sustainable materials isn't something I normally see in the department stores or online yet both pieces are so comfortable and go with other pieces in my closet. I've been wearing the Midtown Capri in black and the Nelly Top in cargo green both made from recycled materials on a weekly basis.

TWO | Lego Travel Box DIY

Many of you have asked me how I made Connor's Travel Lego Box and I wanted to make sure Lizzie from This Happy Life Blog got the credit. When she shared her boxes, I knew I would want one for Connor. I didn't put as much time in ours as Lizzie did the two she made but Connor doesn't seem to mind. He has played with his box non-stop since Easter morning. Visit Lizzie's blog for all the details on the project.

THREE | Happy Little Camper Wipes

Will there ever be a point when I am not in need of baby wipes? I recently received these Happy Little Camper wipes and I am in love. Not only do they clean up after messy Connor will ease, they are flushable. We have been allowing Connor to handle his own business in the bathroom these days and this have helped keep things tidy if you know what I mean. The best part is they are 100% organic cotton wipes with no harmful chemicals or toxins.

FOUR | Adios Candy

I haven't had sweets once in the last 10 weeks so when this overflowing bucket of candy was just sitting on my kitchen counter, calling my name, I knew it had to go! I kept a few things for James and Connor but for the most part, over half of that basket is in the trash can. I am so proud of myself for surviving Easter without going into a sugar coma. Now if I can just stick with Halo Top ice cream this Summer, I will feel pretty good about the progress I've made in regards to my sweet tooth.

FIVE | Swim Lesson Shenanigans 

I have a love/hate relationship with swim lessons. I love the important skills, the life saving skills, that Connor has gained and continues to learn. However the pre-class antics and time of day just leave me feeling less than excited for class. Connor can't keep his hands to himself while waiting for classes to start and since we have school during the week, our sessions are at 5:05 P.M. which is just horrible timing. #firstworldproblems I know but I just wish Connor would be still and that class was at a more reasonable time of day.

Here is a recap of this week's posts in case you've missed any of them...
Monday: $10 at Target: Fashion Edition
Tuesday: "The Tiny Seed" Flower Craft & Field Trip
Wednesday: Happy 9th Year {Fun Couple Q&A}
Thursday: My Dream Dinners Experience

I hope each of you had a fantastic week. Happy weekend friends!