Posted in Meals and Recipes

Monday Meals: Corned Beef & Cabbage + Irish Soda Bread

Happy Monday! How was your weekend? Ours was pretty low key in comparison to recent weekends and what our spring weekends will be like! So, it was nice to have a little downtime.

As I mentioned in my What’s Up Wednesday post, something I’m looking forward to in March is making Corned Beef and Cabbage and Irish Soda Bread. Growing up, we always had this meal for St. Patrick’s Day, so I started making it for family as well. I guess we could make it any time of the year, but I only make it on or around March 17th 🙂

Rather than share photos and the recipe after I make it this year, I thought I’d go ahead and share now in case you’d like to make the recipe too!

Corned Beef & Cabbage with potatoes and carrots

I always end up buying my corned beef at least a week in advance because I’m always afraid the grocery store will run out. haha Of course, they never do, but I like to be prepared.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle of beer
  • 1 lb (or more) of red potatoes, cut in halves or fourths
  • 1 white onion, cut into fourths
  • Baby carrots
  • 1 head of cabbage, cut into fourths
  • 1 – 5 lb flat cut corned beef brisket

Directions:

  • Put corned beef in slow cooker and pour one beer and as much water as needed to cover the corned beef brisket
  • Put potatoes, onion wedges, baby carrots in the slow cooker as well.
  • Cook on low for 10 hours (Mine is usually cooked in 8-9 hours)
  • Take out cooked corned beef and wrap in aluminum foil
  • Put cabbage in the slow cooker and cook in the liquid on high for 1 hour.
  • Enjoy!
  • **I usually cook for 8 when I’m making this and having family over—so I actually use two slow cookers to make two corned beefs. I’ve learned to do this as the corned beef seems to shrink + if there are leftovers, that’s a bonus!
  • Also, we like Mr. Mustard on the corned beef…and every year, I forget to buy it and my brother gives me grief #itsatradition (He now knows to bring it because I will inevitably forget!)

Irish Soda Bread

Y’all, this is one of my favorite recipes…and definitely worth the effort.

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. unsifted flour
  • 2 Tblsp sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 Tblsp butter, softened
  • 1/2 c. raisins
  • 1 c. buttermilk

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Grease cookie sheet.
  • In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt.
  • Cut butter in with pastry blender or fork until crumbly.
  • Add raisins.
  • Add buttermilk; mix with fork only until moist.
  • Turn out onto floured board. Knead 1 minute until smooth. Shape into a ball. Flatten into 7 inch(ish!) circle (about 1/2 inch thick)
  • Press floured knife 1/2 through the bottom; do again at right angle into quarters.
  • Bake 30-40 minutes until golden brown & hollow sound when tapped.
  • Cool on wire rack, brush top with melted butter & dust with flour if desired.
  • Serve with butter. Enjoy!
  • **I know some of these steps may sound complicated, but I promise they aren’t. All the steps probably take ten minutes from start to the oven. I’m not a huge baker…and this is probably the most “complicated” thing I bake each year 😉 #evenIcantmessitup
Last year, Hadley had to share a recipe that showed a piece of her heritage…so I actually have a pic to share with you.

We have some Irish in us, and St. Pat’s Day has always been one we celebrate. The corned beef recipe is my dad’s and the Irish Soda Bread is a recipe I got from my mom, so all family is represented at the table!

An Irish Blessing: ☘️ “May your troubles be less, and your blessings be more, and nothing but happiness come through your door.” ☘️

I hope you try these recipes out and enjoy them!

Have a great week,

Jen

Posted in Meals and Recipes, Not Just a Mom, Traditions

Not Just a Mom: Family Food Traditions

Hello! How was your weekend? We got back late Saturday night, and I’m still up to my eyeballs in laundry, suitcases, and errands. I’m going to continue to chip away at that stuff today too.

I swear…after the 4th of July, the summer just really starts to slip away. It’s already the second Monday of the month, so I’m co-hosting this fun link up with some of my favorite bloggers.

So far this year, we’ve discussed:

This month’s topic is: family food traditions.

Today, I’m sharing the first few food traditions of ours that immediately came to mind.

Corned beef and cabbage:

My entire family looks forward to March 17th! They know this means we get to have corned beef and cabbage as well as Irish soda bread for dinner. I’ve shared those recipes before, and here they are again!

I grew up on these dishes around the holidays, and I’m glad to have carried the tradition on for my family.

Cookie cake:

We are big cookie cake people. Honestly, I think we started having cookie cakes around the time the kids were born. I remember picking a double stuffed one up at Sam’s Club for my brother’s birthday in 2010. Then, it just became a thing we do for birthdays, anniversaries (sometimes), Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

We always look forward to this sweet treat!

Christmas cookies:

Like many families, we make Christmas cookies every year. Again, I grew up baking cookies, and started doing that with my kids when they were little.

The kids always loved making the Hershey kiss peanut butter cookies, and when they were little, the best help they could be was peeling off the silver wrapper on the kisses. Now, they can make the cookies without any help from me!

Years ago, I added in the chocolate peppermint crinkle cookies I found on Pinterest, and those are our two main cookies. Sometimes, the kids will use cookie cutters on sugar cookies and then ice them, but we don’t do that every year like we do the other cookies.

My mom always sends us Christmas cookies, and then when we visit KC at Christmas, we make cookies as well. We make Spritz, Pfeffernusse, and Lebkuchen cookies as well as waffle cookies using the waffle iron that’s been in our family for well over 100 years.

Back to school:

Another tradition we have is our Back to School Breakfast. I started doing this when the kids were in kindergarten. I keep most of the supplies in a box and just bring them out the night before school starts. This is a fun tradition….

…that I tweaked last year. With the start of middle school, I decided to have a Back to School Brinner the night before the first day of school.

It was a success, and I think that will be the plan this year too. Honestly, it felt weird waking up on the first day already having that traditional meal over with, but it also was the perfect time for that transition.

Red plate:

Growing up we had the “You are Special” red plate. My mom served us dinner on it for anything from getting a good grade on a test to passing our driver’s test!

She gave one to us maybe four or five years ago for me to carry on the tradition with the kids.

The kids get it after report card time, after a game/performance/sports season, for being extra helpful and more.

So…those are some of our traditions. I’m sure I’m forgetting some, but those were the first to pop up in my mind!

What food traditions do you have in your family? I’d love to hear!

Next month, our topic is binge watching tv shows. Considering in binged all six seasons on Schitt’s Creek in the past month, I know that will be the first on my list!

If you have a blog, we hope you’ll link up with us. There are always so many great posts to read too!

I hope you have a wonderful Monday.

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Posted in Holidays, Weekend Top 5

Hello Monday

Hello! {Monday} How was your weekend? We had a nice three day weekend. All day Saturday I kept thinking it was Sunday. I was so happy to have that extra day. We had a mix of down time, family time, errands, athletics, and more.

I’m linking up with Holly and Sarah to share about the weekend.

With no school, we all slept in a bit. My dad arrived for a visit on Wednesday, so it was nice to have this day off. Per his request, we had breakfast at his favorite spot.

Then, we came home for a bit until it was time for me to take Hadley for a trim. She loves having longer hair and puts off getting a trim. I took advantage of being able to snag a daytime appointment with a recommended stylist. Hadley was pleased with the trim and styling! She looks so much older with straight hair.

We came home, watched basketball, and my brother came over for a few hours.

I actually got an afternoon nap before getting ready for Hayden’s basketball game.

It was the end of the season tournament this weekend, so Friday night was the All Star game.

After his game, we had pizza and watched more basketball and then it was bedtime.

Saturday morning we all slept in a bit. My first task was getting the corned beef in the slow cooker. I actually borrow my sister-in-law’s slow cooker each year to make double the food to feed us all.

I served the kids “Lucky Pancakes” on Thursday, but forgot to share on Friday.

Then, I watched some tv, cleaned up the kitchen, and my brother and nephew came over. Early afternoon, I worked out, and then went to Trader Joe’s.

When I got home, I had a quick lunch, and then went to Hayden’s basketball game. They won and moved on in the tournament.

After his game, we had to take the traditional front porch photo with the Major. #thisishishappyface 😉

I made two Irish soda breads, and they turned out sooo good. I need to make the bread more than once a year. We all love it. The corned beef turned out great as well.

For the kids, dessert was lime sherbet with some ginger ale. I could only find rainbow sherbet, and it was a hit too.

We all hung out and watched basketball. I was so tired, and in bed by 10. Travis and Hayden stayed up later watching all the games.

I heard my dad around 6:30, so I got up because the Major leaves early. He left around 7:00, and I took that extra quiet time to start laundry and do my Kroger pick up order.

The kids slept until almost 10:00. When Hadley got up, she wanted to make waffles. We all benefited from that!

Then, we went Hayden’s basketball game. Unfortunately, his team lost, but he had a great game. At least he was able to end the season on a high note. Now it’s time to juggle middle school track and spring baseball.

I went to Target to return a couple of things, and then I picked up my Kroger Clicklist order. Actually, as I was walking into Target, I got the substitutions text from Kroger. Thankfully, I was able to find what I needed at Target including almond milk, an onion, yogurt, and my liquid foundation.

Everyone helped me unpack, and then the kids headed to Countdown Games with youth group. They “saved the princess” with two seconds to spare!

Once they got home, I did some lunch prep for the week, and then made dinner. I made Andrea’s Creamy Beef Casserole which is a family favorite.

Then, it was time to get organized for the week. Travis helped the kids with math (#nothankyou) while I finished up this post.

It’s Spirit Week this week which has Hadley written all over it! My kids do have testing this week too. I know we will all be happy to see Friday afternoon!

My posts may be a bit more sporadic over the next couple of weeks. This is the week before Spring Break which always proves to be hectic at school. Then, we have next week off, so I will probably just see where the days take me!

Thanks so much for reading,

Posted in Holidays, Meals and Recipes

St. Patrick’s Day Foods

Hello! With St. Patrick’s Day only a couple of days away, I’m sharing a few food ideas.

Listen, we take St. Patrick’s Day very seriously…I’m only like 2% Irish, but I can drink green beer with the best of them! #college

Seriously, I grew up knowing about my Irish and German heritage, but I finally took an Ancestry DNA test only a couple of years ago only to find out that I don’t have much Irish blood!

That being said, I still look forward to the traditional corned beef, cabbage, and Irish soda bread meal that I always grew up enjoying.

Breakfast:

Last year, I made the kids some green pancakes and sprinkled some Lucky Charms marshmallows on top with the syrup. I plan on doing the same this year as well.

Dinner:

I shared about our traditional meal last year, so make sure to check out that post again. I always use two slow cookers to cook two corned beefs because my brother’s family always comes over for dinner too. The Irish soda bread is probably my favorite part! It feels like it’s going to be a lot of work, but really it’s not…and it’s so worth it anyway.

Dessert:

Amy shared some fun St. Patrick’s Day ideas, and I loved the lime sherbet and Ginger Ale idea. I think the kids will love it, so I’m going serve that as an after dinner treat.

This year, I think I’m going to make the traditional feast on Saturday. We’re too busy on Thursday, and I’d rather choose a day where I know we can sit and enjoy the meal.

Go Green:

I guess it’s another thing they’ve kind of outgrown, but I always loved dressing the kids up in green (so they don’t get pinched, of course!)

2015

Do you have any St. Patrick’s Day traditions?

May your troubles be less and your blessings be more. And nothing but happiness come through your door.” ~Irish blessing

Take care,

Posted in Meals and Recipes, Not Just a Mom

Not Just a Mom: Quick Family Dinners

Hello! How was your weekend? We had a great one with my dad visiting for few days, Hayden’s baseball tournament, some pool time, and an early Father’s Day (and my brother’s birthday) celebration.

Today, I’m co-hosting with these ladies for our Not Just a Mom series.

This month’s topic is Quick Family Dinners.

I try to meal prep and make my grocery list for pick up most weekends. I like to have a plan for the week ahead. With the kids being pretty busy most evenings, almost anything I make is quick.

I turn to one of my favorite cookbooks a lot for meals all year long:

Some of my favorite recipes from Shay’s Simmers cookbook that I turn to quite often are:

The best “cooking hack” is putting chicken in the slow cooker, cover it with water, and then shred when it’s finished cooking to use for meals.

Also, when I thought of this topic, I immediately thought about sharing a few favorites from each season. Here are some pretty quick recipes my family enjoys!

Winter:

Of course, the winter months are perfect for soups and chilis!

Chicken Chili

Spring:

In the spring, we start eating lighter meals.

  • Salmon with roasted Brussel Sprouts or broccoli is a family fave! (I love that our Kroger has salmon that can be baked in the foil packs with spices and herbs that can be added in. The salmon is always flavorful, and the clean up is easy.)
  • Of course, every March I make Corned beef and cabbage & Irish Soda Bread.
Soda bread

Summer:

During the summer months, we grill out, and I typically make one of these side dishes, during the summer months. Fresh fruit is also an easy side dish when the weather is warm. Watermelon is definitely a summer fave!

I found this recipe on Pinterest for a Sushi Roll Bowl a few years ago. I tweaked the recipe a bit, but it’s such a healthy and refreshing meal in the summer.

Fall:

I start making hearty meals / comfort food once the weather cools down in the fall.

One recipe I always look forward to in the fall is Pumpkin Sausage Penne Pasta. I’ve had this recipe for years, and found it in a Kroger coupon pack. It’s so good.

Pumpkin Pasta

I also make Turkey Rice soup with Thanksgiving turkey leftovers.

Turkey Rice Soup

Other Ideas:

Other easy dinner ideas all year long include tacos, grilled cheese and tomato soup, and pork loin with a veggie or Trader Joe’s side. Like the salmon, I love the Smithfield pork that is cooked in the bag. It’s such an easy “go to” although I always forget that it takes about 45 minutes in the oven, but the clean up is easy!

Favorite Trader Joe’s Sides:

Y’all know I’m a faithful Trader Joe’s customer. While I love most everything from TJ’s, their side dishes have been my best “mom cooking hack” through the years. They have so many great options, and they are all so delicious.

Here are some of my faves: {all found in the frozen section}

  • Mexican Street Corn
  • Mushroom Risotto
  • Gnocchi
Favorite TJ sides

I love to cook, and I would say that most everything I make is a pretty quick and easy dinner! Also, I’m a big fan of leftovers, so if a recipe takes an extra bit of time to make, I always think it’s worth it for leftovers the next day!

Next month’s topic is Home Tour! I can’t wait to see a sneak peek of everyone’s homes!

Thanks so much for reading, and make sure to check out the other ladies’ posts too! I hope you have a great week.

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Posted in Everyday Life

March: Sentence a Day

Happy April 1st! As a teacher, I’m thankful that April Fools Day typically falls during Spring Break that way I don’t have to worry about any high school shenanigans. That being said, Hadley is quiet the prankster in our house…Hayden is usually her target.

I shared a Sentence a Day post in January, so I thought I’d share one again for what I was up to in March!

3.1.21

On March 1st, I had my yearly mammogram, and all was good!

3.2.21

My dad was visiting, so we had our traditional St. Patrick’s Day dinner a couple of weeks early.

Irish Soda Bread is my favorite part.

3.3.21

On the 3rd, after 355 days at home, the kids had their first day of in person learning!

3.4.21

Major left and GG visited right after.

3.5.21

For Friday night dessert, Hadley helped GG make crepes; they were delish.

3.6.21

We took advantage of having a free sitter, and Travis and I had a sushi date night.

3.7.21

On Sunday, March 7, the kids had their first ever track meet; the indoor facility was amazing, and the kids did a great job!

3.8.21

On March 8th, some high students returned to in person learning; 9th and 12th graders were in the building.

3.9.21

My friend Natalie came over to give me a belated birthday gift, and we enjoyed a glass of wine.

3.10.21

The kids had Picture Day at school!

3.11.21

Hayden’s basketball team played in the semi-final game of the end of the season tournament.

3.12.21

Friday was busy with Career Day at school, and….

Hayden’s team won the basketball championship followed by a team pizza dinner to celebrate the victory.

3.13.21

Saturday was filled with errands, an overnight play date for Hadley and a friend, and then an impromptu pit stop at Orange Leaf for an afternoon snack.

3.14.21

The Sunday before St. Patrick’s Day included green pancakes before

heading off to church.

3.15.21

On the 15th, sophomores and juniors returned to in person learning.

3.16.21

On the 16th, Hayden had an eye exam for contacts; we’re still getting the hang of them.

3.17.21

St Patrick’s Day called for a special after school treat…a green milkshake.

3.18.21

On March 28th, I had my monthly facial which was such a treat!

3.19.21

On Friday, we had school, I ran errands after school, and Hadley and I prepped and organized for dance competition the next day.

3.20.20

Hadley had her first ever dance competition with two team numbers; we were so proud of her.

3.21.21

On Sunday the 21st, we had church and enjoyed the spring like weather at Hayden’s baseball scrimmage.

3.22.21

It was a typical Monday with school, a meeting, dance for Hadley, & I made a new recipe for dinner.

3.23.21

After school, I stopped at Kroger to pick up Easter candy for the kids’ baskets.

3.24.21

We received fun mail with the arrival of Megan’s Miracles with our family photo on the cover.

3.25.21

The weather was so pretty that I opted for a walk outside rather than a workout in my basement!

3.26.21

I started Spring Break by heading to Trader Joe’s after school!

{Trader Joe’s tulips never disappoint!}

3.27.21

On Saturday, I treated myself to a pedicure, and the weather was perfect for a neighborhood/friend Easter egg hunt.

(I was too busy talking to take any photos—those kids find eggs very quickly. 😆 )

3.28.21

We changed our Sunday plans, so I took Hadley to get a manicure. (Her nails turned out so cute…she found an inspo pic on Pinterest)

3.29.21

On Monday, I visited the library; for the first time since March 13, 2020, I stepped foot inside one of my favorite places!

3.30.21

On Tuesday, we traveled to Nashville to stay at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel!

3.31.21

While the kids swam at the Gaylord, my dreams came true and I visited Landyn’s store!

Last night, Hayden’s dreams came true and we had fun at Top Golf Nashville.

We still have a few more days of Spring Break, but so far it’s been a great week! We’ve had a good mix of activities and downtime as well as fun with friends and fun just the four of us.

With April, comes the hustle and bustle of baseball and Hadley has a couple more dance competitions on the horizon. Of course, we are also in “end of the school year” mode. Blessed to be busy, but I will savor these last couple of days of break before we get back at it!

I hope you are having a great week.

Posted in Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites {#58}

Hello! Well, we made it through a full week of school back in our buildings! Hayden and Hadley have been in school for a week and a half, and my school has had 9th and 12th graders back in the building this week. Next week, sophomores and juniors will be back, and we will just have two weeks until Spring Break.

As always, I’m linking up with Andrea and Erika for this week’s Friday Favorites post.

Favorite Food:

Crepes! While my mom was visiting, she and Hadley made crepes, and we enjoyed them for dessert one night.

Favorite Pic:

GG with her grandkids! Both of my parents and my brother and sister-in-law are fully vaccinated. Travis has had his first dose, so we were able to start seeing out of town family again.

Favorite Moment:

The kids had their first (ever!) track meet on Sunday. The meet took place at an awesome facility in Louisville. The wake up time was early, but the meet was run so efficiently that we were home by early afternoon.

Of course, my kids are distance runners, but their coach encouraged them to try new events like shorter distances, and Hayden even tried the long jump! Hadley ran the 60m, the 200 and the 400. Hayden ran the 200, the 800, and did the long jump.

They did great overall and had fun! (and the grandmas were able to cheer them on!)

Another favorite moment was seeing school buses at my school on Monday! We’ve had a great week back. The 9th and 12th graders have been wearing their masks, arriving to class on time, and keeping their distance when they can.

Favorite Kid Quote:

At the track meet, Hayden and Hadley ran in the 11-12 year old age groups. So, there were some older kids (middle school!) running. After Hayden’s 800 race, he said, “Mom, I was running against ‘men’ with hair… ON their LEGS!” I couldn’t stop laughing.

Favorite Clothing Item:

I’ve had this long sleeve T-shirt on my Nordstrom list for quite some time. It arrived earlier this week, and I love it.

I ordered it in the Pink Paradise color. It’s perfect for wearing over my workout top, but I also think it will look cute front tucked with white denim! I love a shirt that’s versatile!

Favorite Mom Memes:

This was the first full week for Hayden and Hadley….and they had Read Across America dress up days….AND Wednesday was picture day. Thankfully the dress up days only entailed wearing a hat, stripes, and favorite color.

And…sigh! My kids are getting too old for these things, so I didn’t force the issue. On favorite color day, I laughed as they both got out of the car wearing head to toe gray and black. They take after their mother…haha

I enjoy cooking, and as I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’ve relied on my slow cooker this week. Wednesday night’s “one pot” meal was really good, and I announced to everyone that they couldn’t have seconds because the leftovers were for dinner last night! I wanted to cook as few of days as possible.

A Couple More Faves:

Hadley teaching cousin Layla some ballet moves was very sweet!

No photo, but I was able to catch up with a good friend on Wednesday night. She brought over my (belated) birthday present which was so thoughtful, and we enjoyed some wine.

Lastly, Wednesday was Picture Day at school. I know it sounds silly, but I actually had the thought a few times while we were doing online learning that I’d be sad if there was no official 5th grade picture!

Hadley emailed me on Wednesday to tell me that 5th graders were the last students to get their pictures taken, and she hoped her hair would still be curly by the end of the day!

With St. Patrick’s Day next week, I thought I’d share my Corned beef and Cabbage recipe one more time. My favorite is actually the Irish Soda Bread I make. We already had this meal when my dad was visiting, so I doubt I will make it again even though it’s made in the slow cooker!

Bonus Fave: Flashback Friday:

I’m feeling nostalgic…This Read Across America Week photo from 2018 reminds me of when they were younger and all about the dress up days and activities.

Weekly Recap:

Here are my posts from this week!

I think we have a somewhat low key weekend on tap which is just what we need after these last couple of busy weeks.

As always, thanks so much for stopping by. Have a great weekend.

Posted in Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites {#57}

Hello! Shew…this week has been exhausting. I’m so happy that it’s almost the weekend. I hope you’ve had a great first week of March. I saw this meme and thought it was very timely 😂

This week was nice with family visiting and beautiful weather, but with kids’ activities and return to in person learning, I feel like I usually feel those first few weeks of August! The “Back to School” exhaustion is real!

As always, I’m linking up with Andrea and Erika for this week’s Friday Favorites post.

Today, I’m sharing a random assortment of favorites!

Travis made a “deal” with Hayden and and his friend that if they scored a combined 40 points in their four games last weekend, he’d buy them dinner. Their teams ended the weekend 3-1, and the boys scored a combined 43 points. Hayden was excited. The meal is still TBD, but it was fun to watch them play their games.

Sunday night, Hadley packed her lunch for the pod on Monday. I didn’t check on it until Monday morning, and saw that she’d packed Easter candy, a crumbled up chocolate Cliff bar, two Hawaiian rolls, pepperoni and…more pepperoni. The random assortment made me laugh.

The kids requested Air Fryer donuts on Tuesday morning. After I made them, I sat them on the counter with my coffee, and caught the sun light shining! So pretty…and the donuts were delish.

Homer had his yearly check up and shots this week. Pooks weighs almost 55 lbs…I honestly thought he’s weigh more than that. He’s certainly our favorite.

My dad usually visits around St. Patrick’s Day, so I typically make corned beef, cabbage, and Irish soda bread. While we still have a couple of weeks until March 17th, I went ahead and made our traditional feast on Tuesday since he was in town. Honestly, the Irish soda bread is my fave.

My dad visiting was a favorite of the week. He always asks for a pic with the kids all lined up on the front porch steps…and then my brother and I hopped in for a quick photo.

Due to Covid, we haven’t seen our Missouri family as often as we usually do. Now, it’s my mom’s turn to visit.

The final pod photo was also a favorite of the week. On Tuesday, the kids all had pizza for lunch, and then were sent home with fresh baked cookie and a sweet note from their pod teacher.

Our “Back to School” breakfast was a fave. Of course, that tradition is usually in August, but I decided to serve up donuts, yogurts, and juice boxes for their return to in person learning on Wednesday.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Hadley’s “Back to School” light up sign was so fun. She was definitely in the “back to school” spirit.

Hadley’s email to me on their first day back was the highlight of my week.

Then, I received the sweetest email from school with their photos! I missed them more than I thought I would on Wednesday. Of course, I was excited for them to get back to school, but we really have been together most days over the past year, so it felt odd not having them around.

My new New Balance shoes arrived this week, and they are definitely a favorite. I ordered them from Joe’s New Balance Outlet, and I’ve used that site before with great success. These are even cuter in person than I expected them to be…and I got them for a great price…(which is always a favorite!)

Favorite Mom Meme:

These memes cracked me up when I saw them this week…

This is SO true in my house!

Bonus Fave: Flashback Friday

This sweet pic of the kids playing at the park is from March 2013 is a favorite from the past. Hadley’s little pink Chucks are the best!

Weekly Recap:

Here are my posts from this week in case you missed one!

Monday is the Not Just a Mom link up, and the topic is Favorite Phone Apps. I hope you’ll link up if you’re a blogger!

This weekend, we have a few activities, my mom is visiting, and the weather looks very much like spring! See you back here on Monday.

Posted in Home Updates

Transformation Tuesday: Kitchen Update

Happy Tuesday! And…Happy St. Patrick’s Day. We “celebrated” on Sunday with corned beef, cabbage, and Irish Soda Bread. I may give the kids Lucky Charms for breakfast and call it a day 😉

This is my third Transformation Tuesday post in regards to the updates we’ve done on our house. The first post was about the basement bathroom renovation and then my second post was about our living room/office area.

As I’ve stated previously, if HGTV and Pinterest didn’t exist, I never would have had the “vision” of what our home could be, and I never would have given it at chance.

In my last post, I mentioned how we turned the formal living room into our main living space. Then, we used the dining room for a bit before turning it into an office area. Those rooms connect to the kitchen area.

The previous owners used part of the kitchen space for their kitchen and the other half of the space for their informal living area.

After living in the house for only a few days, we had the room doorways widened. Then, we tackled the floors. Again, I mentioned before that under the carpet in the formal living and dining space, there were unfinished floors. So, we ripped up the carpet in the kitchen and informal living room to find sub floors. We had wood laid, and then stained everything the same stain color.

Before:

The kitchen is big and the cabinets are great quality. Also, the counter tops were a light colored Corian material, and we were pleased with them. What were we not so pleased with? Uh…the carpet in the kitchen! To be fair, the carpet was immaculate. An older couple had lived in the house before us…but carpet with four-year-old twins was not a good combo upon moving in! I also didn’t love the fact there was a ceiling fan so close to where I’d be cooking. We actually moved the ceiling fan to our living room! Win win.

After:

The island with built in shelves was always a dream of mine. I loved picking out the granite (sticking with my color scheme of gray!), and the kids eat breakfast at the island every morning. We don’t have a pantry, but we do have tons of cabinet space, so we are lucky in that regard. The oven was the first appliance we swapped out…but only after it went kaput after living here about a year. Then, we needed more room in the fridge, so we purchased that next after about two years. The dishwasher and microwave are high quality, so we’ve left them as is for now, but will probably get new ones at some point. I also dream of a new sink and gas stove. I’m hoping to cross those things off the list sometime in the near future.

We also added recessed lighting throughout the kitchen. The only light that was in that entire space was the light from the ceiling fan at each end of the room and some under cabinet lighting.

Before:

After:

Travis painted the paneling white as a quick fix. Then, he used Pavilion Beige on the walls which is what we painted our walls in our former house before putting it up for sale. Also, there’s the cut out that looks into the living room.

Right when the kids started kindergarten, I put up the fishing line and clothes pins for them to hang their favorite school work. It’s so weird to think there’s only about one more year of elementary work to hang up on my Pinterest project!

The view from the kitchen into the office space. I love the light fixture in the office. There was a chandelier there when we used that space as a dining room.

Cabinets and Back splash Updates:

I like to make things as pretty as possible as soon as possible. One thing I was very proud of is that we lived in the house awhile before making some decisions. We’d lived in our house about a year before we decided to paint the cabinets. I debated between a gray or white for the cabinets. At the time, the back splash was an off white tile. While I knew we’d change it at some point, I just didn’t know when. Also, with the white paneling, I was afraid the whites wouldn’t match or it would be too much white. So, we went with a gray color. After much debate, (why are grays so difficult?!), we chose Sherwin Williams Light French Gray.

This picture of before and after popped up on my Facebook memories recently. What perfect timing! You can see the colors we were thinking about in the cabinets on the left.

Two men painted the cabinets in a few days, so it was a pretty painless process (after we got the paint color chosen! 😉 Then, of course, we needed new drawer pulls and knobs. (Knobs aren’t on yet in the “after” photo.)

I think about six months after we got the cabinets painted, we had the back splash updated. Our neighbor installed it for us and was tedious with choosing tiles that would be a good combo of colors. Not too many white tiles vs. too many gray tiles! Balance.

Before

Again, the owners before us, used this space as their informal living room. It’s where we put our farmhouse table when we had it built.

After:

We love the farmhouse table and bench that a local craftsman built. I bought the chairs on Joss & Main.

There was a heavy sliding glass door that leads out to the sun room. Another one of the first changes we made was getting French doors which made a pretty dramatic difference for this area of the house

Fireplace Before:

The fire place as another part of the house we “lived with” for awhile. We weren’t sure if we should paint it or not. After living here about a year, Travis painted it as we thought it would lighten up the kitchen even more. We’d heard that painting brick can be difficult and take multiple coats, but he didn’t have any issues and had the project completed quickly.

Fireplace After:

We get a lot of great natural light coming in from the sun room, and adding the gray paint made this area even lighter.

Still the kitchen, but another angle. The previous owners had a built in shelf for their television at this end of the kitchen.

Also, we had a gallery wall in the living room of our previous home, so I added some of my favorite pictures to this wall within a few months of us moving in.

I like the mix of modern furniture with antiques in this space. The cabinet on the left is a family heirloom that my dad gave to me. We added it to our kitchen about a year ago after I visited KC and then rented a small U-Haul to bring it back.

We purchased the accent cabinet from Ashley furniture a couple of years ago when there was a sale going on. I’d never had a place to showcase the China we got as a wedding gift (and never use ;). I also use that space to safely house some of the kids’ pottery projects throughout the years.

I really do love that we are able to utilize all the space in our house. In our old house, even now with two kids, I know we still would have wasted space. Of course, sometimes I wish we had bigger bedrooms and bigger closets, but the main living areas have been pretty perfect for us. It’s been fun scratch my creative itch and make decisions a long the way for our home.

I continue to be thankful that Travis found this house and pestered me until we went to look at it 😉 Plus, if you haven’t noticed, Travis likes to tackle projects…especially those that have to do with painting!

I hope you are having a great week. Thanks for reading, y’all.

Posted in Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites {#18}

Happy Friday! It sure has felt like springtime this week in the Bluegrass state! I think temperatures dip down again today but then it should feel like spring again over the weekend. I love a snow day and wish we’d had a snowier winter, but once the calendar turns to March, I’m focused on wrapping up the school year and summer break!

I’m dreading Daylight Savings time on Sunday…I always hate losing an hour and then making the adjustment. I just like keeping everything the same! 🙂 Of course, staying lighter longer will allow for my kids to play outside more, so that’s good for them (and for me!)

Today, I’m linking up with Narci, Erika, and Andrea for this week’s Friday Favorites.

FAVORITE KID QUOTE

Hadley’s team played in the end of the season basketball tournament last Saturday. If you’ve never watched a sporting event with Hayden, you’re missing out…you also haven’t had to cringe with embarrassment because of his antics! It doesn’t matter if it’s 4 year old t-ball, his sister’s basketball game, or a UK game, he’s all in. He’s cheering for you, he’s standing up after every play (he gets lots of shoulder taps from me to sit down!), and he’s questioning the ref (or ump’s) ability to make good calls. While he drives me crazy sometimes, it’s sweet to see him cheer on his sister!

Both the kids wrote these sweet poems recently, and they are certainly a favorite of mine. I guess they read Love that Boy by Walter Dean Myers and wrote poems inspired by that poem. Hayden wrote about Travis and Homer; Hadley wrote about Homer and me. I will treasure them forever.

FAVORITE MOMENT

My favorite moment this week was wrapping up Girl Scout cookie sales (which sounds kind of negative!) So really what I mean is that Hadley surpassed her goal of selling 350 boxes of cookies by selling 440ish boxes! It can be stressful getting those passed out and collecting (and counting) the money, but it’s awesome to see her so proud because she reached her goal. Yes, many boxes were sold at my school and Trav’s work, but she made a sweet video (which took almost an hour to make!) for me to put on Facebook that generated many orders and she hit the streets of our neighborhood many times throughout the cookie selling season. She says next year her goal is to sell 500 boxes!!

FAVORITE PIC

Homer always wants to be in on the action. I looked over at breakfast time on Sunday to see Homer giving Hadley some love. Homer drives me crazy, but he’s a sweetie.

FAVORITE ACTIVTITIES

One of our favorite winter activities wrapped up. Both kids had the end of the year basketball tournament last weekend, and the season is over. This season was one of growth for both of them. Both moved up divisions this year and there’s always an adjustment. They were on teams with great coaches and wonderful teammates. Both really enjoy basketball and the teams played better with each game…and they improved, themselves, throughout the season. I always ask them to try their best, to not give up, to listen to their coaches, and to be good teammates. What else can a parent ask for from their kids? Up next: Hadley will continue dancing a few days a week and Hayden moves on to baseball season!

I love to read and both my kids (especially Hayden!) love to read. This week is one of their favorite weeks at school. Their school (like most schools) celebrates Dr. Seuss’s birthday with Read Across America week. The school hosts their book fair this week and each day students can dress up celebrating different Dr. Seuss books. Hadley tends to be more involved in the dress up days, but I love that there’s a celebration of reading as a focus this week.

  • Monday- A Bad Case of the Stripes – wear stripes
  • Tuesday- The Cat in the Hat – wear your favorite hat
  • Wednesday- Good Night Moon – PJ day
  • Thursday – Theodore Thursday– dress like your favorite Dr. Seuss character
  • Friday – Oh the Places You’ll Go– wear a college shirt, vacation/travel shirt, or dress in your future career clothes (**Hadley told me she’s wearing my old college sweatshirt today (University of Missouri!) and I’m sure Hayden will wear something UK–like any other day!)
Hat day!
PJ day! Hadley loves these fleece onesies. She has a couple of them.
I wasn’t sure if either kid would dress like their favorite Dr. Seuss character but Hadley remembered she had this Cat in the Hat headband from her school performance last year. Thanks to some eyeliner, she penciled in whiskers and a cute cat nose.

FAVORITE PRODUCT

Amanda at That Inspired Chick, shared this lip balm from Ulta in her Friday Favorites post last week. I had to go to Ulta for my shampoo, and I picked up this lip balm in the Shine color. I’m not a big lipstick person, but I love lip balm and lip glosses. This one goes on clear but turns a slight shade of pink…which is perfect and not too much. The first time I wore it, both my kids asked if I was wearing lipstick! It’s enough but not too much.

FAVORITE MOM MEME

Mom meme truth! Most days I really hope I’m not jacking up my kids!

Bonus Fave: Flashback Friday

I’ve always loved this photo. It popped up in my Facebook memories and made me smile. I love this pic so much that I framed it in black and white, and it hangs in their bathroom.

Earlier this week, I shared the recipe for my favorite St. Patrick’s Day meal recipe –corned beef and cabbage and Irish Soda bread.

Also, I shared some of my favorite chalk paint projects in my Wednesday post.

This weekend, I’m headed on a Girl Scout (indoor) overnight…the itinerary says after the girls finish the learning and exploration portion of the evening, there’s a dance party and “lights out” isn’t until 11:45. Oh, and I’m sleeping on the floor. Clearly, I’m being pushed out of my comfort zone 😉 Looking forward to this trip though with some of the other moms and a fun (and great!) group of girls.

Don’t forget to check out the other ladies’ posts!

Have a great weekend.

Jen