Friday Favorites:

Hello! Well, today is our last day of “Spring Break.” We’ve had a pretty good week at home. We had a couple of dreary days, so I gave us permission to be a bit lazier than usual…which pretty much ensured I was able to finish a great book and wrap up Season 2 of The Crown ๐Ÿ˜‰

Virtual school starts on Monday, so we will be starting a bit of a new routine while I also work from home as well.

As always, for Friday Favorites, I’m linking up with Narci, Erika, and Andrea, so make sure to check our their posts too!

Favorite Pic:

We purchased these #TeamKentucky hats from our friends. With a donation being made to the #TeamKentucky fund for each hat sold, it was just another way to support our community during this time.

Homer is a team player too!
#TeamKentucky

Favorite Kid Quote:

Hayden had a couple of funny quotes this week!

Of course, a 4th grade rite of passage is receiving and playing the recorder in music class. This week, Hayden pulled his recorder out of his back pack and tried to play Hot Cross Buns. After a few squeaky tries, he said, “Yikes! Iโ€™m rusty. I haven’t played in awhile!” (He also says the recorder is the reason he has an A- in music right now!) ๐Ÿ˜‰

Another funny Hayden quote….Iโ€™m getting caught up on seasons of The Crown. I was watching the last episode of Season 2, and Elizabeth and Philip were having a heart to heart. She said that any marriage presents challenges let alone challenges with the structure of their marriage. Hayden said, โ€œChallenges?! Thatโ€™s why Iโ€™m never getting married!โ€ ๐Ÿ˜‚

Favorite Clothing Item:

I’m loving the joggers and Hanes sweatshirt that I mentioned in my Amazon Lately post from this week. Not only am I loving those items, I’m also living in them right now! #momiformonrepeat

Favorite Food:

I actually cooked a couple of favorites this week. We had Bev’s Simple Chicken Pasta Soup which provided us with dinner for Monday and Tuesday. Then, I made my brother’s stuffed peppers recipe. The whole family loves stuffed peppers, and we had them for dinner Wednesday and Thursday.

And, bonus—we made Easy Peanut Butter Cookies that lasted less than a day in our house!

Favorite Moment:

In times like these, it’s been so nice to see communities, cities, states, and the country come together with a sense of solidarity. With that, comes so many visible sights of kindness. From signs my kids made for the teacher parade, to kindness rocks, and the chalk the walk movement, there is certainly a sense of unity even when we have to stay six feet apart.

Our neighborhood had signs of beauty everywhere!

Besides at least doing reading and math every day, I’ve tried to plan at least one other thing for us to do. Sometimes it’s a bike ride, other times baking cookies, maybe watching the Cincinnati Zoo Home Safari, or doing some kind of craft.

On Monday, we did our own Chalk Your Walk project in our driveway. The kids were big help in taping the driveway, and we all used sidewalk chalk to complete the project. From start to finish, it took about an hour and a half; the kids were impressed with the final product! I was too! ๐Ÿ™‚

#chalkyourwalk

Favorite Mom Meme :

Three weeks into social distancing…I will take whatever laughs I can get.

Other Favorites:

Of course with some extra time on my hands, I’ve been able to read a bit more, listen to some podcasts, and even watch a movie or two…

I started listening to the Even the Rich podcast. I think it’s fairly new. I’ve listened to the first three episodes which are all about the Royal Family! I’ve always had interest in the Royals, but I seem to be on a roll while listening to this podcast, getting caught up on The Crown and even reading the American Royals book last month! –

Just yesterday, I finished reading Regretting You, and I loved it!

On Tuesday, Travis mentioned that Call of the Wild could be purchased to stream on Amazon. So, Tuesday night, we popped popcorn, purchased the movie, and all watched it together. It was so good! Of course, it brought a tear to my eye, too!

Bonus: Flashback Friday

As always, Facebook memories continue to slay me. These pics popped up recently.

The kids were four months old here, and we’d taken them to KC to see my family. We were packing up to head home, and I propped the kids up in their suitcases and sent this pic to Travis who had already headed back to Lex.

This pic collage always cracks me up. We’d received these hand me down onesies from another set of twins. I love the pic of both kids as Hadley’s clinging to Hayden as if she never wants to let him go. Story of his life! She’s always up in his business!

Fun fact: Hadley was a hot mess the first nine months of her life. Hayden was the easy going baby and she was super serious and suuuuper fussy all of the time. Now, she’s the easy going one and he’s a bit more intense (Type A, schedule oriented, etc…apple doesn’t fall far from that tree.)

Sweet cheeks x 2

I hope this week has treated you well! As always, thanks for reading.

Take care,

Easy Peanut Butter Cookies

Last week, I was talking to my Gma on the phone, and she mentioned an easy peanut butter cookie recipe. The next day, as I was digging through my recipe card box, way in the back, I found a recipe that I had for “Magical Peanut Butter Cookies.” Like her recipe, it only had four ingredients! The kids and I made these on Tuesday, and they were so good.

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. peanut creamy peanut butter
  • 1 c. sugar (I believe the recipe my Gma had seen used brown sugar; I used white granulated sugar) **You’ll need a bit more sugar for the tops of the cookies.
  • 1 egg (Make sure you have two small people who will fight over cracking the one egg…)<insert eye roll>
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350*
  • Grease large baking sheet (we ended up using two cookie sheets)
  • In mixing bowl, combine peanut butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla extract.
  • Stir well with spoon.
  • Roll dough into balls (walnut size) and place balls of dough on the baking sheet.
  • With a fork, criss cross the tops of the cookies.
  • Sprinkle the tops with sugar.
  • Bake for 12 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and sprinkle with a bit more sugar.
  • Cool slightly before removing from pan.
  • Enjoy!
Two little bakers!
Criss cross time
Enjoy!

Guess how long our 20 cookies lasted?!? Ugh. Quarantine 15 may be a real thing!

See you back here tomorrow for Friday Favorites.

Happy baking,

Amazon Lately

Happy Wednesday. Also, Happy April 1st! I hope this week is treating you well. I know it continues to be very different for all of us, but I do feel like we are kind of in a routine at this point. BUT…I still continue to not know what day it is! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Amazon has continued to come in clutch for me with Easter basket ideas, comfy clothes, and activities for the kids…So, I thought I’d share a few recent purchases.

That being said, I know times are tough, and many aren’t spending frivolously, so please don’t take this post in a negative light.

A couple of weeks ago when I realized the only sense of normalcy I may have over Easter is what I put in the kids’ baskets, I went ahead and ordered a few things. Also, for me, in these times, I want to feel comfortable. So, a few clothing options that are very reasonably priced and great quality did the trick for me. Self-care is important for me to keep my mind right. Whether it’s painting my nails, washing my face, or applying eye masks a few times a week, I feel so much better. Lastly, I continue to search for ideas to keep education a priority in my kids’ minds, and can always find items on Amazon.

Also of note: Amazon is prioritizing shipping for essential items, so of course, there may be a delay on some items. That being said, I did find that items with a delivery date of mid to late April, have either already arrived or are on their way. I’m sure it depends on the product and location.

Current Status:

A few recent purchases:

Y’all, I think I learned a new trick. If you click on the picture, I think (I hope!) it takes you directly to the product rather than when I hyperlinked it in the past. I just thought I’d try a new feature (and maybe check that off my blogging Professional Growth Plan ๐Ÿ˜‰ …man, I must miss school!)

Shay shared this crossword book last week on her blog. The kids have completed a couple now, and I’m just using it as a supplemental resource and as a way to keep them busy for a few minutes while I make lunch.

Hadley is quite the dancer, and this band popped up on my Amazon feed. I thought she’d enjoy it and will be perfect for an Easter gift.

I actually saw this Snow in a Jar at Target awhile ago and made note of it as an idea for Hayden’s Easter basket. As you know, Amazon has everything, so I went ahead and purchased it with my other list of Easter items.

Sheaffer shared about the next two items on her Amazon Haul last week. Both items looked right up my alley and appeared to be a good “momiform” while spending much time at home. I do feel better if I go ahead and get dressed each day (even if I don’t so until 11:00 ;). These items have made me feel put together while also comfortable and ready to tackle the day.

These pants are giving me life. Seriously, I love them so much. They are light weight, my favorite jogger style, and so comfortable.

I bought this sweatshirt in the light pink color. At less than $9, I figured “why not?” I wasnโ€™t disappointed at all. It’s good quality (Hanes must know what they are doing! ;)), light weight, and cozy.

Lastly, I’ve had this long sleeve shirt for awhile. I bought it in blue after Amanda posted about it in a Friday Favorites post a bit ago. Again, the quality is great, and it fits just how I like shirts to fit…not too tight and not too loose. I see that there are also short sleeve and sleeveless options too which I will keep in mind for the future.

Lastly, I’ve been using these gold eye masks for quite some time. I only use them a couple of days a week on my tired eyes, so the pack lasts me a couple of months. Again, with self-care, I wash my face, apply toner, and moisturizers morning and night. Then, I usually do a couple of face masks a week (charcoal and gel) and then add in these eye masks when I feel like I need them.

I hope you are having a great week and getting outside to enjoy some fresh air. I know that always helps me feel a bit better! Thanks for reading.

Take care,

Transformation Tuesday: The Basement

Hello and Happy Tuesday! For this Transformation Tuesday, I thought I’d share about how we updated our basement. I’ve also shared posts about the basement bathroom, our living room/office area, and our kitchen space as well.

So, even with the updates, to me, the basement is still the basement. I just mean it’s still the space where clothes stay until they are folded, school work goes until I have time to sort it, Christmas decorations still pile up until we have time to deal with them, etc. That being said, by painting the paneling, changing out the flooring, and adding some recessed lighting, the space is certainly brighter.

After living in our house for a few months, Travis and I (mostly Travis) painted the paneling one of our shades of gray.

The original beige carpet on the stairs had seen better days. So, we had it ripped up and we hired someone to sand and stain the stairs. They were beautiful, and we left them as is for awhile. The problem was that we come and go from the basement as we have a raised ranch home. So, the stairs were pretty noisy. So, Travis painted the backs of the steps (and the walls leading down to the basement), and then we chose carpet for a runner. It’s definitely quieter as we go up and and down the stairs daily, and I love the pattern of the carpet that we chose from a local carpet store.

Then, a few months later, we had the flooring changed out. Our neighbors (who are our friends!) had the same flooring. It’s difficult for me to make decisions sometimes, so I love when I just see something I like that will work. The flooring is from Lowes, and it is Allen+Roth Weathered Oak. We went with the laminate flooring in case the basement ever floods, and it’s a high traffic area; we come and go through the basement multiple times a day.

The basement bathroom that we had remodeled is to the left off the basement stairs landing

About two years ago, Travis decided to paint the bookshelves, and we rearranged the furniture (and got rid of our tv stand) to make the space work even better for us. Travis loves (or at least really doesn’t mind) painting. This was quite a project while sanding the shelves, painting multiple coats of white, mounting the tv, hiding the wires, etc. He did have a “vision” though and even chose the Weathered Hardwood Planks for the backdrop of the tv.

sanding, painting, wooden planks

Here are some before and afters of the actual space. I only had two basement pics from the listing.

Before:

After:

FYI: the pole from the picture above is still there; it’s to the left of the couch and just not pictured. Also, real talk: I tidied up for y’all. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Before:

I’m not sure what, if anything, the previous owners used in the space where we put the tv. I always felt like a pull down map would have gone there. haha

After:

We really do hang out down here often whether it’s watching a movie, Hayden playing Xbox or Hadley perfecting a dance routine. In our old house, we barely used the finished basement. We may have used it more as the kids got older, but in this house, we are kind of “forced” to use the basement as it’s where our secondary tv is and we’ve made it as cozy as possible. One aspect of our house I continue to like is that we don’t have any unwasted space. (Of course, at times, I wish we had a few extra square inches though!)

view from behind the couch

This is the area behind the couch. After we had our farmhouse table built for the kitchen, we put our previous kitchen table down here. We actually do use it a bit. If we have friends and family over, the kids come eat down here, I use the table space to wrap gifts, and the kids even do projects and crafts at the table.

We keep games and art supplies in this area. Also, Kristy Wicks shared this very affordable indoor/outdoor rug in her Insta Stories about a year ago. I wanted to break up the floor space, and I ordered it. I love it; it’s been perfect for this area.

The rug is the 8×11 in the ivory color

On the other side of the basement, we have a bedroom area set up. Since my family lives out of town, we usually have visitors at least six times a year.

We (I) kind of struggle with this space. I feel like it is warm and inviting…it’s just that we’ve toyed with a few ideas and are unsure of what to do. To the left of the bed is the door to the garage. So we’ve thought about putting a wall up where you enter from the garage as there’s another door that can lead to the stairs to go upstairs. Also, we’ve thought about putting up two walls (on either side of the bed) as there’s a vent, a ceiling light, a closet, and electrical outlets, so it could be a small bedroom. I just always worry it would make the basement feel too small if we put walls up.

I honestly think the best option is to purchase a Murphy bed, so we can just pull it down when needed. Anyway, we haven’t made that kind of investment a priority. And, the space does work…that part is just a bit awkward, in my opinion.

This is the view from the garage as you enter the basement.

So, that’s the basement space. We’ve chipped away at updates down there along the way. I am glad we’ve made it a homey and cozy space as we do have guests somewhat often, and we do spend time down there more than I ever thought we would!

I hope you are having a great week.

Take care,

March Monday Memes

Happy Monday! How was your weekend?? Thankfully, the weather was beautiful, so we could get out in the fresh air! I’ve taken the time to go for a daily walk, the kids have played outside, and Travis did some yard work.

Well, today is the day we were to hop on a plane for NYC. Sigh. But…lots of us had to put our plans on hold, and obviously it’s the least we can do in order to stay healthy and do our part in knocking out this pandemic.

So, after today’s meme post, I wasn’t going to post the rest of the week since we’d be out of town..but now, I think I will just keep chugging along with blog posts this week.

Because we all need a laugh or two, I thought I’d share some funny memes.

Yep. Don’t know how to play chess. And don’t know how to navigate this “new normal.”

The rearrangement of the grocery story meme takes on all new meaning with people and their “shop til they drop” attitude. On a bright note, I did spot about ten packages of toilet paper at Kroger yesterday. That’s the most TP I’ve seen on the shelves in a month.

To be honest, I’ve always been the type to turn down the radio…for any reason. haha

This one made me laugh out loud. I’m wondering how many relationships are being tested these days ๐Ÿ˜‰

Truth! Also, I’ve been having the craziest dreams lately—and remembering them. The dreams aren’t scary (or I guess they’d be called nightmares!), but just the most random stuff…like being in line to play golf at a golf course….and also having dinner with Queen Elizabeth!

This one is how I felt last Friday. This week is technically Spring Break, but I’m sure we will keep up with 30 minutes of math and 30 minutes of reading each day. It’s the least the kids can do!

Well, that’s it for this month’s memes! I hope you have a great week.

Thanks for reading,

March: What I’ve Been Reading

Happy Friday, y’all! It’s the last Friday of the month, so I thought I’d share the books I’ve read over the last month or so! I definitely feel like I’m bouncing back from my “February Reading Funk.” Of course, with a little more time on my hands, I’m reading a bit more…BUT I’m also making it a priority to read more. When my kids are completing their daily 30 minutes of reading, I read too (plus other times in the day as well).

So…here are the four books I’ve read recently.

American Royals

I touched on this book in a previous post (before I had finished reading it)…

In this twist on history, the US won the revolution and Washington became king. Set in modern day, Princess Beatrice is being prepped for the throne. Of course, I’ve been watching The Crown and the parallel to that bit of history added meaning to this story. I enjoyed the characters, the plot, and it was an easy read, for sure.

I think this book is technically “young adult,” but I loved it. The sequel, Majesty, comes out this fall; I can’t wait to read it too.

The Broken Girls

The story is set in Vermont with chapters taking place in 1950 and 2014. There is a girls’ home called Idlewild where girls who aren’t wanted or who are trouble makers are sent back in 1950. In the 2014 setting, journalist Fiona Sheridan is investigating the details surrounding her sister’s death twenty years earlier. Her sister’s body was found near Idelwild. When renovations begin on the property in 2014, it has Fiona wanting to learn more and put together the pieces of two different puzzles.

Small Great Things

Small Great Things was a book centered around the themes of hate and racism. The main character, Ruth, is an African American labor and delivery nurse. She cares for a newborn whose parents (Turk and Brittany Bauer) are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth caring for their child. Ruth ends up being arrested and put on trial after an emergency with the baby.

It took me some time to get into the book at first as it was difficult for me to connect with that level of hate. The title is in reference to quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”

With the trial, Ruth’s relationship with her son, and the story line with the Bauers, this is certainly a story with many layers.

Another quote I loved from the book was, “Freedom is the fragile neck of a daffodil, after the longest of winters. It’s the sound of your voice, without anyone drowning you out. It’s having the grace to say yes, and more important, the right to say no. At the heart of freedom, hope beats: a pulse of possibility.” Freedom is another underlying theme throughout the book, and of course, freedom means something different to each character.

Again, it was a slow start for me, but I did end up enjoying this book, and it’s certainly one I will never forget.

The Secret to Southern Charm

After reading Small Great Things, I needed a lighter read. The Secret to Southern Charm is the second book in the Peachtree Bluff Series. I read the first book, Slightly South of Simple last summer and loved it.

The book picks up where the first one left off with the three sisters, Sloane, Caroline, and Emerson in a small coastal town in the south. Sloane’s husband is a POW, Caroline and her have had marital issues, and Emerson is an actress trying to figure out her next steps in life and in her career. The three girls are very close with their mother, Ansley, who is caring for her own aging mother.

Of course, there are family secrets, times of strife, and a close connection between these southern ladies.

The Secret to Southern Charm was a quick read that left me wanting to visit the south, hang out with some of my closest girlfriends, and sip a cocktail while sitting on a porch swing! I can’t wait to read the third book in the series The Southern Side of Paradise.

(**Side note: Kristy Woodson Harvey commented on my What’s Up Wednesday post, and it feels like the biggest high five of my life! Go check out the Peachtree Bluff Series. You’ll enjoy it!)

Well, that’s a wrap on what I’ve been reading and the month of March. I saw this meme yesterday, and it made me laugh!

I do feel like we got into a routine this week while continuing to find the balance between work, play, and social distancing! I will say that the highlight of this week was yesterday when the kids’ school had a Teacher Parade through the neighborhood. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful thing to see those teachers smiling, waving, and missing their kids…May have brought a tear or two to my eye!

I hope you have a great weekend. See you back here on Monday for a funnies with some March memes!

Take care,

Day in the Life: A Typical Day for Me

Happy Thursday. How has your week been? Thank goodness we’ve had some beautiful weather lately. We’ve all been getting some fresh air on the regular!

Day in the Life posts are some of my favorites to read of other bloggers. I just always think it’s interesting what others are up to, and thought I’d give it a try.

In January when I planned out some of my blog ideas, I thought I’d try a Day in the Life post. I chose a random day in the spring, the summer, and the fall to track what I do in the day! So, this post is about what I did on Tuesday of this week.

First things first, yโ€™all, it was difficult to remember to take pics all day long! Also, this originally would have been a day that included school, kids’ activities, and most likely an errand or two. I thought I’d still go ahead with this post …it’s just a lot of time at home! But…we were busy! (Also, I feel like my subtitle is misleading…this probably isn’t a typical day—but I guess it is typical for right now!)

I woke up a little after 7:00. It’s been nice not setting an alarm, and 7:00 is still sleeping in for me!

This sweet face is my screen saver ๐Ÿ™‚

While the kids slept, I spent some time drinking my coffee, reading my favorite blogs, watching the news, and then I finished an episode of The Crown that I had started the day before.

Hayden woke up around 9:00 and got some Homer snuggles in. Around 9:15, I woke Hadley up and then made them breakfast. Waffles…two ways!

Then, I made my bed. (Fun fact: I (or Travis) always make the bed.) It’s a must for me. I feel like the sheets get dirty if we don’t make it! I also force the kids to make their beds too!

While the kids had some free time, I took some time for some self-care. Sunless tanner and a quick facial with my at-home steamer.

Then, the kids got dressed, made their beds, and brushed their teeth. Not only is a schedule important for us, I also want the kids to keep up the routine of their basic chores. While they did those things, I made a snack tray for them to eat while doing their 30 minutes of math.

I started using the snack tray this week just as a way to ensure we’d still have food by mid-week! There’s a mix of what each kid likes and what they both like as to minimize conflict. Yes, conflict over snacks is apparently a thing at our house! ๐Ÿ˜‰

They did their online math…

and I worked on a blog post and then did my 100 back lunges for the exercise challenge I’m trying to keep up with! (Real talk: I may not survive 100 burpees on Friday!)

After math, the kids did their daily chore which was hanging up and putting up their clean laundry. That’s a typical Tuesday chore for them anyway.

Then, we headed outside to try Slammo for the first time. Red, our elf, left it for them on Christmas morning. They had lots of fun and even played again with Travis once he got home from work.

Thanks to the snacks and having lots of fun outside, we didn’t have lunch until 1:15. So, the kids watched a little tv while I made us lunch.

Then, from 2:15-3:00, we all read.

I had picked up Easter cookies to decorate from Maddie’s Cookie Co., so we did that while watching the 3:00 home safari that the Cincinnati Zoo streams live daily on their Facebook page.

We learned all about red pandas!

The kids headed back outside while I did my at home workout. Tuesdays are full body workouts which are my fave!

I had a few minutes of downtime, and I watched an episode of 30 Minute Meals before tuning in to the governor’s daily briefing! The 5:00 briefing has become a part of my routine!

Andy & Virginia!

Then, the kids hopped on a Zoom conference with some of their friends. Really, it was Hayden and a few friends, but Hadley and Homer wanted in on the 4th grade gossip too!

We eventually got to dinner around 7:00. Breakfast for dinner is always a family favorite. Pancakes, hash browns, and bacon were on the menu. Travis and Hadley did most of the cooking! We decided to skip the eggs and just have the other parts of the meal.

After dinner, everyone took their showers, Hadley showed me her dance performance, and I watched a bit of the news.

Then, we played Taco, Cat, Goat, Cheese, Pizza. The kids love this game.

After the game, the kids brushed their teeth, and I ordered a few Easter gifts for them online.

Then, I immediately thought about returning them (the presents, not the kids) when the kids continued to find every excuse not to go to bed. #whyisbedtimesohardsomedays

With them finally in bed, I poured myself a glass of wine, read my book for a bit and went to bed around …

So, that’s a little day in the life around here! See you back here tomorrow for my March What I’ve been Reading post!

Take care,

Whatโ€™s Up Wednesday

It’s the last Wednesday of the month, so it’s time to link up with Sheaffer and Shay for March’s What’s Up Wednesday.

To say the month of March has been crazy would be an understatement, of course! In these times of uncertainty, I continue to look for what I know to be normal with a daily routine…which includes reading blogs and writing my own. I look forward to this light-hearted corner of the internet now more than ever!

I hope this post finds you happy and healthy.

WHAT WE ARE EATING THIS WEEK:

Sunday – I made this Instant Pot Lazy Lasagna recipe. I’ve made it before, and my whole family loves it. I served it with rolls and roasted broccoli (I just drizzle extra virgin olive oil on the broccoli and sprinkle salt, pepper, and Trader Joe’s Everything but the Bagel seasoning on it and roast for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees–since that’s what the rolls were baking on)

**also, I can never find the small lasagna noodles, so I just use rotini.

**and–I’m sure you can make this recipe without an Instant Pot. You’d just have a few more dishes with one pot to cook pasta and another to brown the ground beef, etc.

Monday – leftovers with bagged side salad.

Tuesday – Breakfast for dinner! Eggs, bacon, pancakes, and hash browns.

Wednesday- Baked chicken, Bob Evans mashed potatoes, and fruit.

Thursday – leftover chicken with cheesy broccoli and fruit.

Friday and Saturday- We’ll support local restaurants and order carry out dinner.

WHAT I’M REMINISCING ABOUT:

Easter. I’m afraid Easter will look very different for us this year. Worse case, we can still dye eggs and do an egg hunt…even if it’s not with extended family.

Easter 2019

WHAT I’M LOVING:

Trying to look on the bright side…I’m loving not setting an alarm lately! ๐Ÿ™‚

Also, Nordstrom was having a huge site wide sale last week with 25% off. I had a gift card to use, and I had a few things on my “wish” list. I was happy to purchase them with the 25% off offer!

I love Nordstrom’s Zella leggings. I purchased the hat and flip flops while dreaming of summer. Landyn shared the hat recently. Also, last year, I ordered same flip flops in tan. I wore them a ton, so I thought I’d get another pair. Also, I rarely buy kids clothes from Nordstrom, but I knew Hayden would love these Nike shorts. I purchased two pairs: one for now and one for his Easter basket.

Last year, I purchased this sunless tanner from one of my friends who sells Rodan + Fields. I love it. It provides a subtle tan and is easy to apply.

I received this steamer for Christmas from my mom (I gave her the idea :), but I haven’t had time to use it until now.

Yesterday, I took the time for some self-care, and use the tanner and gave myself a ten minute facial!

I’m not trying to be on the other side of this pandemic pale with wrinkly skin!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

WHAT WE’VE BEEN UP TO:

Well, we are definitely spending a lot of time together! Also, the downtime means more time for reading, movie watching, and walking around the neighborhood.

And, like most parents, we are working on a home “school” routine!

We even had time to decorate cookies thanks to Maddie at Maddieโ€™s Cookie Co.

WHAT I’M DREADING:

Honestly, just the uncertainty of not knowing how long the social distancing will go on…(and on, and on)

WHAT I’M WORKING ON:

You mean besides keeping my kids busy and keeping my sanity? haha

Well, I’m working on future blog posts. I’m also making an effort to give myself grace during these days at home. While I’m a home body and don’t mind being at home, we all may need a little space from time to time. Or there may be a day where my kids are on electronics more than they should be…and I’m reminding myself that it’s all going to be ok!

WHAT I’M EXCITED ABOUT:

Have you heard of Wall Pops? I follow Michelle (@ellerydesigns) on Instagram. She’s made drastic changes to her laundry room, bathroom, and mantle using Wallpops wallpaper and floor tiles.

I’ve ordered the Shiplap Peel and Stick Wallpaper to do an accent wall in our master bedroom. We haven’t even updated the wall paint in our master, so I hope to do both over our extended time off.

WHAT I’M WATCHING/READING:

I’m currently reading The Secret to Southern Charm which is the second book in the Peachtree Bluff series. I will share about my other three books I’ve recently read in this Friday’s What I’ve been Reading post.

We’ve had more time for movie watching lately. We’ve watched My Girl, Stand by Me, and The Little Giants in the past week.

I’ve also started watching The Crown again on Netflix. I’m a few episodes into Season 2. I also love The Rookie on ABC, and I’ve been getting caught up on that.

I’ve been watching American Idol this season. I’d been wanting to find a show the whole family can watch, and I love the judging trio of Luke, Katy, and Lionel!

Lastly, I tune in every day at 5:00 for Governor Beshear’s daily COVID-19 news conference. Honestly, the updates have become a part of my routine and a candid way to receive information without feeling overwhelmed. Itโ€™s a time to be together with #TeamKentucky

If you are in Kentucky, then you’ll understand the meme below. ๐Ÿ˜‰

WHAT I’M LISTENING TO:

At the moment, the sound of our grass being mowed! The first cut of the season was long overdue!

WHAT I’M WEARING:

Well, you know what they say…”Dress for the job you want, not the job you have…” Well, I’d say I’m currently trying to dress for both. So…I ordered these pjs from Target. They should be here early next week!

WHAT I’M DOING THIS WEEKEND:

I’m sure more quality time with my fam! If the weather cooperates, maybe we can drive somewhere to go on a hike. We definitely need a change of scenery!

WHAT I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT MONTH:

Hopefully some sense of normalcy? Or at least maybe we will feel more at ease with this at home routine by then? Also, maybe we will know what the end of the school future holds? Although, I suspect I already know that answer…#sigh

AND…

I feel like this post is a lot of life should have been ….but instead it’s…So, I hope the post isn’t taken in a negative light. It’s just such an adjustment to this new (hopefully short-lived) normal. Taking the stricter steps to curtail this virus are certainly necessary, and I continue to count my blessings while engaging in social distancing!

I’m also taking this time to try to blog a bit more often. Tomorrow, I have my FIRST EVER “Day in the Life” post and Friday I will have my “What I’ve been Reading” post for March. This means another “first….” for me… F I V E days of blogging in a week. I don’t think this will be the new normal, but while I have the time (and can think of content), I may try to post more than my normal three days a week.

Here are Monday and Tuesday’s posts:

Don’t forget to check out the other ladies’ posts! What’s Up Wednesday posts are always some of my favorites to read.

Thanks for reading!

Home โ€œSchoolโ€

Home “School” #fortheloveoflearning #andprayIkeepmysanity

Well, we are one week into this home school situation, so I thought I’d check in and share what we’ve been doing and hope to do during this extended time off.

First things first. Y’all, just because I’m a teacher, doesn’t mean this home school life is for me! This is a big adjustment for all of us. Also, I’m continuing to work on finding the balance of accomplishing learning with having the kids play outside and even have some independent time.

My kids were sent home with books and their chrome books. They can use the chrome books for their online math and reading learning.

Also, I donโ€™t feel like I need to come up with grand ideas as the kidsโ€™ teachers have provided the school work. I just thought since we have a bit of extra time on our hands, I could incorporate things the kids would like to do anyway….or activities we don’t typically have time to do. #nowwehaveallthetime

For me, (and the kids!) a schedule and a routine are important. My kids are going to bed just a bit later, but then they are also sleeping in. Instead of being in bed by 9, I’ve let them start getting ready for bed at that time and then lights out by 9:30. Thankfully, my kids have always been good sleepers and will sleep in as late as needed for them to feel rested. Of course, on a regular schedule, I’m more strict about it. And, actually, I don’t feel like we are too far off course of our normal routine.

So, I’ve basically told them that once they wake up they have an hour to have breakfast and do whatever they’d like (watch tv, text with friends, play xbox, etc). Then, the schedule begins…

  • Get dressed, brush teeth, make bed
  • Read for 30 minutes (me too!)
  • Play outside if possible/play inside (Legos, drawing, etc)
  • Lunch
  • Math for 30 minutes
  • 1 hour free time
  • Chore
  • Snack
  • Other learning (all the ideas I’m sharing below)
  • More independent play (or hopefully play outside)

Again, I’ve seen lots of schedules with specific times, but I’m just going with more of an order of events structure.

Hadley decided to type the schedule out (I think a few of her friends have done this) to keep in her room.

Or this schedule may work for you. ๐Ÿคฃ

Math/Science

Hadley had given Hayden this crystal kit for Christmas. So, we took the time to put it together last week. We found it at Michaels. *disclaimer: so far, nothing is growing! haha Probably user error.

Update: the crystals did grow! Took about 10 days or so.

We’ve also taken the time to bake a few treats. Hadley’s pretty independent with baking. She’s really good at reading the directions, measuring, mixing, etc. Baking counts as math and science, right?

Art

I’ve shared about these Sticker by Number books before, and they’ve come in handy for a little break in the academic learning. I even ordered myself one a few months ago.

Here are a few sticker books we’ve ordered in the past.

I read Andrea’s blog faithfully, and she always has really great educational ideas. She’s a middle school math teacher, but she also has a super creative side, so I love seeing what ideas she has to offer.

On Friday, we did this watercolor art project based on art by Wassily Kandinsky. Real talk: I’ve never heard of this artist! Well, maybe I learned about him in my college art history class twenty years ago?? Anyway, Andrea included three videos in the lesson. My kids watched all three and really enjoyed them and learned from them. Also, my kids also said their art teacher had taught them about Wassily Kandinsky. Yeah for prior knowledge ๐Ÿ˜‰

After watching the videos, I drew the lines on the paper. Together, we found circular objects around the house and traced them using pencil. Then, they traced them using crayons and then used water colors to paint. From start to finish, this probably took us 45 minutes to an hour. It was a great way to spend our Friday afternoon.

little artists
Finished products! I did one too.

I also saw people post on Facebook about Mo Willems, children’s author and illustrator, who is posting a Lunch Doodles series each day. The kids were excited to watch his episodes because they know his books. Plus, Hayden especially, loves to draw.

Lunch Doodles with Mo

Also, in an effort to support local small businesses, I bought Easter cookies from Maddie’s Cookie Co. for us to decorate this week. We love these cookies and want to support her business.

Social Studies

When I was tidying up my classroom last week, I found these books. I’ve had them forever as I’ve used them for years with some of my struggling high school readers. They are high interest, lower leveled reading. Thankfully, my kids are skilled readers, and these books are perfect for them to learn a bit more about these regions and topics.

The regional books have short passages about travel, folklore, environment, culture, people, and pastimes. After reading a passage from the book, I’ve just had the kids share with each other about what they read or write down three things they remember from the reading. They could also draw a picture or a map if they wanted to include some art in their learning. They aren’t reading the whole book in one sitting; they are just choosing the chapter that interests them.

I also picked up a few of the graphic novels in my room as well.

Experiences

Again, I’ve seen posts about various virtual field trips and online resources.

  • Zoos and Aquariums with safaris, live cams, and virtual tours-Cincinnati Zoo, Georgia Aquarium, Monterey Bay Aquarium, San Diego Zoo, and more!
  • There are museums with self-guided tours – Smithsonian, Van Gogh Museum, The Museum of Modern Art, among others!
  • International landmarks like Buckingham Palace, the Galapagos Islands, the Great Wall of China, and the Great Barrier Reef in Australia with videos and virtual tours.
  • Theater, Film, Symphonies, and Operas live streaming recorded performances and music.

Of course, I haven’t checked all of these out, but I plan on using this link as a resource for some of our “other learning” time.

Hadley watched the daily 3:00 Facebook Live of the Cincinnati Zoo yesterday. The focus of the live was showcasing Kris and Remus, a cheetah and her companion dog! She really enjoyed watching it.

Also, the kids don’t know how lucky they are. Travis took them to the horse farm this past weekend to check out some of the baby horses!!

“Recess”

We’ve had lots of rainy weather recently, but thankfully, with each day, there’s been a break in the rain. The kids have ridden bikes, played basketball, had batting practice with the hitting net, walked Homer and gone for runs around the block.

We haven’t done it yet, but I know we can use side walk chalk to draw or even play Hop Scotch!

Also, maybe we can take a “field trip” and go for a hike soon.

Amy at Coffee and Cocktails at the Casa also had some awesome ideas! I love the idea about driving around and playing I Spy.

A Few Funnies

I wanted to leave you with a few laughs during these uncertain times. I hope these provide a giggle or two.

Real talk: Hayden and Hadley may want to schedule an appointment with their counselor for a schedule change due to a mean teacher ๐Ÿ˜‰

Are my kids probably still spending too much time on electronics? Yes. Do they still grumble at me when I ask them to brush their teeth? Yes. Also, you wouldn’t believe the number of times I have to ask Hayden to change out of his pajama pants in a day! Simply put, implementing a schedule and providing a bit of a routine is good for all of us…even if some days I feel like we get nothing accomplished ๐Ÿ˜‚

Also, I do try to be “present” in the learning with them. Except for math. I do my chores during math time ๐Ÿ˜‰ I just mean that when they are reading, I read. If they do an art project, I do one too. Also, I make a point to go outside with them for a bike ride or a walk.

I’m going to try to keep this routine over the next couple of weeks. Starting April 6, the kids will have more online learning, so I may adjust the schedule if needed.

Please share your ideas. How are you keeping your crew busy ?

I hope your week is off to a great start!

Take care,

Weekend Top 5

Happy Monday! How was your weekend? Ours was very low key which I assume is how it is for most of us these days!

I have a calendar (paper/pencil) that I use to plan out blogging ideas. Well, a Weekend Top 5 post is what I had scheduled for today. I didn’t really think about changing topics, but I did stop to think, “I wonder what I will be able to post about…” My Weekend Top 5 posts usually include kids’ activities, family visits, Trader Joe runs, etc. That being said, I decided to embrace the simplicity of our activities and how we are spending our days during this time of social distancing. If anything, that’s what this time has forced me to do. Stop and appreciate what I have and now I have the time to pause and take it all in. I’d say that’s quite the blessing.

Here’s a little of what we’ve been up to!

Drive thru lunches. Who doesn’t love a Cherry Limeade from Sonic?!

Time to actually make lunch! haha I made a snack plate for Sunday’s lunch.

Time outside! I live in a pretty active neighborhood, but it’s amazing to see so many more people out and about (but, of course, keeping their distance!) walking dogs, or just getting fresh air.

The kids found time to play outside, and we even went for a bike ride Friday afternoon. (Yes, y’all, I’m starting this Weekend Top 5 post with Friday afternoon activities ๐Ÿ˜‰

Arts and crafts. I plan to share more about our watercolor sesh tomorrow, but here’s a peek at an awesome idea I got from Andrea.

I spent time in my Sticker by Numbers book. The kids have a couple of these books which I’ve found on Amazon. I bought myself one a few months ago. I find the sticker book activities relaxing, and I always love the final outcome.

I decided to put up Easter decorations. I don’t usually put out much, but I love an Easter Bunny here and there.

It is difficult to think that Easter most likely won’t be celebrated in church this year, and it may just be the four of us out for an egg hunt, but I thought the decorations could help us get in the spirit a bit.

This weekend, I finished a book, Small Great Things, and started new one,The Secret to Southern Charm. Also, about two summers ago, I watched season 1 of The Crown. I enjoyed it, but just didn’t find the time to watch season 2 (and now there’s a season 3!) Anyway, I watched a few episodes of season 2 this weekend, and I can’t wait to watch more!

Other thoughts…

As we navigate this time of uncertainty, I’m having a hard time slowing down. It’s really taking me some time to downshift and pause. I’m so used to be on the go.

With that, comes time for reflection. So, some things for which I am thankful: sunshine and fresh air, online church, extra time with my family, a warm home with food to eat, and my family and friends โ€”even if we canโ€™t all be together right now.

I hope this post finds you happy and well, and I hope you have a great week.

See you back here tomorrow!

Take care,