Monday, February 29, 2016

Monthly Moments :: February

Happy Monday! Happy last day of February. I can tell you that I am totally in love with the fact that March is right around the corner. I am DYING for some fresh air, warmer temperatures and afternoons spent outdoors. Here is a recap of same of the fun we had in February.

Here are a handful of my favorite photos that we've taken throughout February. 

Church events with friends, music and comedy skits are always a big hit. 

Family game night is a new weekly date night. 

So much so we keep finding new games to love. 

Grocery shopping at 10AM is always more fun when you get a sugar cookie. 

Happy 35th Birthday, Dean!

Super Mommy and Super Connor to the rescue.

Pizza dates with my baby brother is something to get excited about.

When your super hero lovin' baby finds his baby hear and cuddles it while sleeping, you turn to mush. 

When you find this at 5PM, you know it's going to be a late night!

Lunch and games with Uncle Chester.

Date night - dinner and a movie - with my Mister.

Because playing in Momma's office is his newest obsession.

Happy Monday, friends!

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Sunday, February 28, 2016

Snapshot Sunday -- February 28

This post is coming to you so late because this weekend was INSANELY busy. I don't know how it happens but sometimes, I seriously plan more for our day than truly necessary but here I am at 10:40 at night putting together my last Snapshot Sunday post for the month. Hope y'all had a great one! Here is a glimpse into our day.

* And yes, I woke up at 9AM this morning. Dear Connor, you're my favorite.

* Another Sunday, another Lularoe piece. I paired it with a denim jacket and rocked it all day. Best purchase to date.

* Supplies for muffins for a group meeting on Monday.

* Killin' selfies since 2012.

* I made it to church every day this month. That my friends is a true example of a miracle.

* Sunday Funday included a trip to the flea market with friends.

* Selfie with the Mister. I sure do love having him home.

* Anger from Inside Out is my spirit animal in cartoon form.

Like I mentioned before this is being posted late. I just got in from a MOPS leadership meeting so from 7-9 I was focusing on that. Now to tackle tomorrow's post and get some sleep!

Happy Sunday, friends!

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Saturday, February 27, 2016

Blogger Love Vol. 1

Happy Saturday friends! What a crazy full week we've had. This morning, I'm going out on a doughnut trail adventure with my girlfriend. 9 doughnut shops, a passport and a prize of a t-shirt. Sometimes, I question my sanity. I plan to Periscope bits and pieces of our adventure throughout the day so be sure to catch the live video or even the playback. For those of you taking it easy this morning, I want to share a handful of my favorite posts from the world wide web this week.

I have yet to make something of Beth's that's not amazing. Everything she whips up is so tasty and fairly easy. I shared our recipe a few weeks ago but Beth switched up the game with a crumbly crunchy topping. I can't wait to make them.

Courtney is a dear friend of mine so reading this post broke my heart. Not just for her and Maddy and the bullying they experienced but because as mothers we want nothing but to protect our babies. I always say that if nothing else, I hope we raise Connor to be a kind-hearted man that respects and treats others fairly. Bullying at 4 blows my mind.

As Connor gets older, discipline is starting to be a daily battle. I don't want to be too hard on him yet I don't want to raise a terror either. Because I want to be fair, I love the idea of having him earn special treats and outings at the end of the week based on that week's behavior. Nili shares 2 ideas to incorporate to create a positive parenting/childhood experience.

I've tried Stitch Fix twice now and both time I'm totally bummed with the clothing I've been sent. Leah shared her experience and mine is pretty much spot on to what felt when trying the service. While I think it's a fabulous concept and it's fun getting the package each time, it's just not for me. I've kept 2 items as to not waste my $20 styling fee but overall, it's just not something I'll be doing again in the future.

Michelle is such a kind spirit and I love this post. While I'm by no means innocent when it comes to gossip, what Michelle shares really hits home. I need to be more careful with my words and what I share about someone to others.  If I want to surround myself with positivity, I need to first remove any negative talk or thinking. Thank you, Michelle, for the reminder.

What post inspired you this week?
Enjoy the rest of your weekend, friends! 

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Friday, February 26, 2016

A Beginner's Guide to Meal Planning

One area of our life that I think we could really save and cut back is our food expense. Because I know this, I've been working really hard on cutting back our waste and the easiest way I've been able to do so is by meal planning. While I'm not an expert on the topic, I've been focusing on better planning our meals, our trips to the grocery and saving money since the 1st of the year. I've picked up a few tips and tricks along the way and today, I want to share 5 simple ways to start meal planning.

Tip #1 -- Shop Want You Already Own

When I sit down to create out meal plan, I plan our meals around what we already have on-hand. Often times, this will cut back on the need to purchase meat or frozen veggies, cutting back the amount I spend at the grocery by $10-$15. This also gives you the chance to prep your pantry, fridge and freezer for the new food you will be purchasing. Often times, I discover we have everything for at least 2-3 meals already so those are easy additions to our menu. 

Tip #2 -- Pick Meals You Will Eat

It's easy to say you'll have this or that for diner but if fish and rice or soup and salad aren't really you thing then odds are you aren't going to stick to the plan you've put together. Pick meals you are going to enjoying making and serving to your family. Dinner is the only meal we eat together as a family so it's important to me that we have dish we will enjoy together.

Tip #3 -- Plan Dinners Out

Since I do the majority of the cooking in our house, I plan nights to eat out. I like the chance to indulge a bit and quiet frankly, sometimes ordering pizza is easier on me. If I'm meal planning 2 weeks at a time, I will plan two dinner outs. Not only does this allow me a break from the kitchen, but it's something to look forward to. 

Tip #4 -- Use Pinterest When You Get In A Rut

Once a week, I'll cook something from Pinterest. I try to switch things up and try new recipes and what better place than Pinterest to find fresh ideas. I usually use the words simple, easy or quick in my search to find recipes that I can pull off. I'm not chef so it's important that I find management recipes. 

Tip #5 -- K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid or in my case Stephanie)

My last tip is to start with a simple meal plan and expand from there. Stick with the recipes you love and know and work those into a 2 week menu plan. Make recipes that fit your lifestyle. In a 14 day cycle, we have homemade pizza, a Mexican night and spaghetti and meatballs. The other 4 nights we branch out a bit but nothing extreme or over the top. We are feeding a picky 3 year old after. 

Here is an example of a menu that I put together. None of the meals I make our difficult nor require a ton of prep time. I've found that if you stick with 2-3 meals that are regulars and slowly work in new fresh recipes, you'll find that planning 3 weeks or more one time isn't as difficult as you think. 

Menu template can be found HERE

While it's a bit overwhelming at first, once you get started and plan 5-7 days worth of meals, you find that it's not as bad as you imagined. Planning our dinners helps cut back on the "What am I going to do for dinner?" question and because I've planned in advance, I'm not left ordering our or grabbing fast food. 

Do you meal plan? I would love to hear your tips and what works or doesn't for you and your family. 

Happy Friday, friends!

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Thursday, February 25, 2016

If You Give A Moose A Muffin

One area of our day I've been working on is having structured activity time with Connor. He gets plenty of that during preschool but at home, we tend to have much more of a relaxed schedule. With that in mind, I decided to have craft and activity time with Connor 2 hours once a week. Similar to school lessons, we would have a theme and focus on that throughout our "class time" together. This month we picked "If You Give A Moose A Muffin" for our theme.

Reading is something that Connor loves so the idea of creating a lesson or activity around a book is one that I'm confident that he will like for months to come. After reading our book we decided to make a snack. We picked Moose Tracks. Connor enjoyed mixing the various ingredients together and eating our creation even more so. Here is our simple Moose Track Trail Mix recipe.

Simply combine kettle popcorn, Goldfish, chocolate chips, yogurt covered raisins and Original Bugels together. Store mix in an air-tight container.

After snacking on our trail mix, it was time for some muffin themed activities. When looking online for a cute activity, I discovered this adorable Mini Muffin Match Up kit. It was perfect for our lesson and we've been playing with it since.

Our Mini Muffin Match Up gives us the chance to focus on...
  • Redefining math learning with imaginative play
  • Targets: color recognition, matching, sorting, counting, and early math skills
  • Promotes mastery in academic standards for counting, classifying objects, and can be used for beginning addition and subtraction practice
  • Use circle inserts to determine what to sort or count. Then use the mini muffins to count out the number on the circle or match the color to the counters.
  • Squeezy Tweezers(TM) increase fine motor skills and hone skills needed for writing

After playing with our kit for over 45 (!!) minutes, we moved onto serving each other muffins for snacks. I located this adorable counting place mat over at  Miss Nicole Speech. I printed both the mat and numbers available and used our colored muffins from our kit to serve muffins to each other for a pretend snack. 

We had such a fun time discovery the fun we could have with muffins! This was the first time we've read "If You Give A Moose A Muffin" and we loved it just as much as the others in the series. I'm already brainstorming other lessons we can do and may even consider putting a craft or two together in the ones we share next. 

Find more "If You Give a Moose"activities, recipes, crafts and more over at Raising Fairies and Knights.

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