Posted in Books and Shows

November: What I’ve Been Reading

Hey, y’all! Before I take a little break for the holiday, I wanted to share the books I read in November. I know we still have a few days left in November, but I wanted to go ahead and share the three books I’ve read so far this month because….I loved them all!

Here are the books I read this month:

The Jetsetters:

I was a on the library wait list for quite some time waiting on this book, and it was certainly worth the wait.

The matriarch of the family, Charlotte Perkins, submits an essay to the “Become a Jetsetter” contest. She hopes to reunite her family for the trip of a lifetime if she wins…which, of course, she does! Charlotte cruises to Athens, Rome and other fantastic places with her two daughters and one son. The family is somewhat estranged until the trip, and Charlotte is hoping to reunite her family.

The family has lots of baggage to unpack (haha) while sharing family secrets, milestones, and heartache.

I truly loved this book so much. It was a quick read with endearing characters on a journey of a lifetime and reconciliation.

Louisiana Lucky:

Louisiana Lucky was such a charming read. Three sisters, Lexi, Hanna, and Callie, grew up in small town Louisiana. They buy lottery tickets every Saturday night in hopes of winning, of course. Well, one night they do!

They split their $204 million fortune three ways. Lexi starts planning her dream wedding, Callie continues to chase her dream career, and Hanna buys a new house and focuses on family needs.

They find, that with money comes responsibility, and the need to reflect on life choices while chasing dreams.

This was a sweet little read with relatable and endearing characters. It was nice to read a light-hearted book and dream of winning the lottery! 😉

Winter in Paradise:

So…I’m kind of late the the Elin Hilderbrand game! Only in the past couple of years have I started reading her books. I’d say The Identicals is the first book of hers that I read followed by The Matchmaker, The Perfect Couple, and the entire Winter Street series. That being said, I didn’t know anything about the Paradise series until I saw others talking about the third, and final book in the series: Trouble in Paradise.

So, I had to start at the beginning with Winter in Paradise. I loved every page of this book!

Irene Steele travels to St. John after learning of her husband’s death while on the island. She’s shocked to discover that he was even on that island because she thought he was just out of town for work. When she arrives, with her two sons, she discovers that her husband has a whole life that she didn’t know about in St. John as well as a huge home with stunning views.

Irene and her sons meet some of the locals, learn more about the people Russ knew during his visits to the island while trying to piece together the parts of his life that existed while he was there.

This book was written from the various points of views of the characters which I always love. The pace of the plot moved quickly and there was plenty of suspense as the characters work to find answers while enjoying the picturesque setting of St. John.

The ending most certainly left you wanting to read more!

I definitely plan on reading What Happens in Paradise and Trouble in Paradise in January.

Also…

If you don’t follow Elin on Instagram, I highly recommend you do so. She often shares Instagram stories and photos showing her followers around Nantucket and also her apartment in Beacon Hill. I just think it’s fun to see her point of view of Nantucket since so many of her books are set there, and she also talks about her writing process. For example, she’s currently at her Beacon Hill apartment to make edits to her (final?) book Golden Girl that will be out in the summer. And…I believe she spends a few weeks in St. John (or some other glorious island) each spring making edits to whatever she’s writing. She seems to fun, smart, and focused!

Currently Reading:

I’m currently reading Seven Days of Us.

I have a few notes on my phone with book titles: books I want to read, books I’ve read, and a Christmas book list. I added Seven Days of Us to that Christmas list last year based off a recommendation of Shay. It’s really not that Christmas-y of a book, but it’s set at Christmas time.

I will share about it in my December book recap…but, you guys! ….it’s such weird timing because the reason they are together at Christmas time…and for seven days…is because they are having to quarantine.

Excerpt from Goodreads summary:

It’s Christmas, and for the first time in years the entire Birch family will be under one roof. Even Emma and Andrew’s elder daughter—who is usually off saving the world—will be joining them at Weyfield Hall, their aging country estate. But Olivia, a doctor, is only coming home because she has to. Having just returned from treating an epidemic abroad, she’s been told she must stay in quarantine for a week…and so too should her family.

Seeing words and phrases like “quarantine,” “no vaccine,” “epidemic,” “asymptomatic,” “number of cases,” “PPE,” and “health officials,” is hitting a little too close to home.

It’s crazy to me that I wrote this book title down over a year ago, and now I’m reading this book and living through a time that seems to parallel our current real life.

To be honest, I almost quit reading, but those references aren’t in every aspect of the plot, and I want to see how it all ends up, of course!

Christmas books:

Like last year, I’m going to read Christmas books in December. I’ve already picked up these books from the library:

  • A California Christmas
  • 25 Days ’til Christmas
  • Mr. Dickens and his carol

Here are the books I read last December:

and my blog post about them…

Lastly, Sarah shared an awesome Christmas book reading list recently. I’ve already read some of the books, and I also added so many titles to my ongoing Christmas book list.

I’m going to take the rest of the week off from blogging to enjoy Turkey Day, rest, and hopefully decorate for Christmas. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Here are my other posts from this week:

Happy Reading!

Posted in Holidays, Kids

Party Time!

Today, I’m sharing the details of the kids’ birthday. Hard to believe it, but the are officially 11.

I’ve always been big on birthdays. I started traditions with them when they were young, and we always look forward to their big day. Last year, when they turned 10, I told them we’d probably start scaling back some of the festivities. For example, most years, we’d have a family party and a friend party. For a stretch of about five years, I always made their cakes. I bought them a birthday t-shirt each year, I always make the food for the party…and the list goes on and on.

Insert a pandemic, and well…all festivities look different now. We still made the most of the day, took advantage of a Friday birthday with beautiful weather, and hosted a few friends to play outside.

I still have zero chill when it comes to birthdays, and the zillion photos I take are my proof. 😂

The night before their birthday, I get out my birthday tub with a few decorations. I put those out along with their presents.

Since they were little, I put streamers on doors, so I do that before I go to sleep. I always think I could do the decorating and extra touches in the morning, but with my luck, they’d wake up before I’d get everything set up how I like it.

I always make muffins for their birthday breakfast, and we take this time to open presents and sing happy birthday to each of them. Hayden first…and then Hadley. #birthorder

After breakfast, it was time for online school while I worked. For lunch, they requested Raising Canes. Then, I picked them up each a bundt cake to blow out rather than blow out their candles on the cookie cake.

In the past, I let them each pick out a cookie cake from Great American Cookie, but with less friends at the party and to simplify it a bit, I just chose one cake for them. We picked it up on Thursday and stopped by they party store as well for a few balloons.

Double the 11’s. Double the fun!

I think this is the fourth year I’ve ordered the yard signs. I used a new company this year because they had so many fun options. I think Lawn Letter Kreations did an amazing job! The signs fit their personalities perfectly! And, I felt it was money well spent since their friends got to see the yard too.

Hayden…

Hadley…

turn 11!

I made this birthday banner for their 3rd birthday party. I just keep it in the birthday tub and switch out the age each year. I wasn’t going to put it up, but decided to decorate the sun room a bit in case it was utilized during the party.

Outdoor decorations and food: banner, chalkboard, chips, Capri Sun, and party favors…and hand sanitizer. 😉

I got these personalized cups from a local business (Cups on Cochran), filled them with candy, and added a hand sanitizer in the cup too!

The kids played for about an hour and a half, we picked up pizza for the kids and then had cookie cake.

We sang and they blew out their candles on their bundt cake. We actually sang to Hadley twice because she didn’t feel like the boys put in enough effort the first time! 😂

Cookie cake tradition continues…

Then, they went back to playing!

With twins, boy/girl twins at that, it’s hard to find something they both want to do for a party, and keep the invite list under control…especially during Covid. The kids are blessed with great friends, and I’m glad it worked out for them to each invite a few to play; the weather couldn’t have been better…especially for November!

This little sign says it all…

11 years of being a mom. 11 years of watching them grow. 11 years of worry and love and all the emotions. What a blessing these 11 years have been.

Once everyone went home, Hayden hugged me and said, “Mom, this was the best birthday ever. You should sit down and have a glass of wine. You deserve it!” Ahh…that kid!

I guess a little outside backyard fun, friends, pizza, and some cake are all you really need. It was a great day. We made the most of this pandemic birthday.

As always, thanks so much for reading!

Posted in Memes

November Memes

Hello and Happy Monday! How was your weekend?

We kicked our weekend off with the kids having a small, outdoor birthday party with a few friends. The weather was perfect, and they had a great day! (more about that tomorrow!)

On Saturday, we were able to relax most of the morning, and then headed to the kids’ running club cross country meet. I knew we’d lucked out with Friday’s weather, but on Saturday hanging out in the cold temperatures and blustery winds while watching them run, made me so grateful for Friday’s perfect day. The meet was a national youth race with lots of teams from many states which provided some tough competition. They both ran better than they did at state two weeks ago, and felt good about their races! Hadley ran 40 seconds faster than she ran at the state meet, and Hayden had his first under 12 minute 3k race time. We were, as always, very proud of their effort…and thankful for the food truck selling hot chocolate 😉

On Sunday, the weather was cool and rainy. Of course, I got my groceries for the week, we took some time to organize the house, and then went to another outside birthday party for our friends, who are twins, and turning 13!

OG kid crew ❤️

Then, it was time to settle in for the night, watch the KC Chiefs, and get ready for the short school week!

Like I do once a month, I’m sharing some of my favorite memes with you.

1.

Sarcasm is my spirit animal. 😂

2.

Y’all know I love my quiet time in the morning! I try to have my 45 minutes to myself before the rest of the house wakes up, so I don’t have to say this to them when they wake up:

3.

LOL. We love both Netflix and Chipolte!

4.

Daylight Savings Time is still rocking my world. On Saturday, it was only 7:00, and I was trying to get everyone to go to bed! We all were pretty worn out and in bed by 9:00. #partyanimallyfe

5.

Thankfully, virtual home school is still going pretty well at our house. That being said, it doesn’t matter the age, around this time of the school year, kids start to get extra silly and not take school as seriously as they do August-October.

6.

Another virtual school funny….

7.

2020 humor!

8.

I definitely need to find some time to meditate! That being said, I am getting back into working out a bit since my surgery which has been good for my mind, body and spirit! (and patience)😉

9.

Some day are better than others!

Hopefully, these memes provide a laugh or two to start your week! I hope to post Tuesday and Wednesday before taking the rest of the week off to celebrate Thanksgiving, hang out with family, get caught up on rest, and hopefully put out Christmas decorations!

Take care,

Posted in Kids

Friday Favorites: The Twins Turn 11

Hello and Happy Friday! I know I always say that when starting these posts, but today is a very special and happy Friday…Today, Hayden and Hadley turn 11! 11 on 11.20.20 🥳

As always, I’m linking up with Andrea and Erika for this week’s Friday Favorites post. Of course, birthdays are always my favorite. I have zero chill when it comes to celebrating birthdays in this house!

Today, I’m looking back on this year and giving my two faves a little shout out on their special day!

Happy 11th birthday…

…to my two most favorite people in the world!

Last year I shared a post with 10 things I love about each of them…and shared some of my favorite pics of them through the years.

While they don’t read my blog (maybe someday?), I still want to write to them…

Dear Hayden and Hadley,

This year, to celebrate you turning 11, I thought I’d share my 11 favorite pics of each of you this year!

Hayden:

Hayden, you were “Baby A” born at 12:08 p.m, so your trip down memory lane is first…

You love to be outdoors, and look so cute in a stocking cap!

You are a great friend. You cherish having quality friendships over quantity of friendships.

You know how to relax (and your tan seems to last forever!)

You are an adventurous eater, and you can eat your weight in oysters!

You can be pretty serious, but when you smile, it’s the sweetest.

I admire your quiet confidence (& occasional flex after scoring two on the basketball court) 😉

You give it your all when you are doing what you love.

You take chances.

You persevere.

You are humble.

And…you like to have fun!

Hayden, being your mom is one of my greatest gifts, and seeing you work through the ups and downs of life makes me proud to be your mom.

Hadley:

Well, you may have been born one minute later at 12:09 p.m., but you’ve been dominating the world ever since!

I love that your inner beauty matches your outer beauty.

Like your brother, you like to have fun!

You love the surf and the sand and time spent with your family.

Your whole life, you’ve gone either 0 or 100. No in between. You rarely sit still, but when you do…

You’re always smiling.

You are graceful and exude positive energy.

You aren’t afraid to try something new.

You never give up.

You are a good, inclusive friend.

You are confident.

And…you are a free spirit.

Hadley, being your mom is one of my greatest gifts. Continue to let your kind heart lead you through life, but your confidence and sass will come in handy too!

Happy Happy birthday!

I love you!

xoxo, Mom

Y’all, babies don’t keep! Being a mom is the hardest yet most rewarding job I’ll ever have. They aren’t perfect, nor am I, but I feel pretty lucky that I get to be on the sidelines of life cheering them on.

Weekly Recap:

And since it’s Friday, I’ll go ahead and share my weekly recap of my posts this week.

Thank you so much for reading. Don’t forget to check out the other ladies’ posts too!

Have a great weekend.

Posted in Currently

Currently

Hey! Hey! We are so close to the weekend which is giving me life at the moment! Today, I’m sharing a Currently post just sharing a little bit of this and a little bit of that about what’s been going on. So..

I’m Currently…

Reading:

Winter in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand. I’d heard everyone talking about Trouble in Paradise, the third book in series, and realized I needed to start at the beginning with this book. I’m flying through it and certainly enjoy it. I think I will add the other two to my list to read in January (as I’m going to read Christmas books in December like I did last year!)

Prepping:

for the kids’ birthday! The weather is going to be pretty mild tomorrow, so we decided to let them each invite a couple friends over to play outside for a couple of hours. I ordered these cups from a local small business (@cupsoncochran) as a party favor. We are going to fill them with candy and add in a small hand sanitizer in the cup as well. #2020bday

Reminiscing:

about how we went from this…

to this…

in the blink of an eye. I can’t even believe how quickly these years have flown by!

Planning:

for a very different and simple Thanksgiving. The holidays are such a special, but sometimes stressful, time. This year is just so complicated. Ugh.

This year, we’ll make the most of it. There will still be turkey, carbs, and pumpkin pie, so I will be ok 😉

Last week, I did share some of my favorite things about Thanksgiving, so I will cling to those and pray that next year we are back to some sense of normalcy.

Opening:

The kids have been opening cute (and funny!) birthday cards over the past week or so.

My dad is taking Covid seriously by not taking unnecessary trips to Hallmark and using the resources he already has on hand 😂

While my mom and Gma always deliver with the beautiful handcrafted cards!

Watching:

Thanksgiving and Christmas baking shows! This time of the year, I love to watch these shows on the Food Network. The shows put me in the holiday spirit!

Laughing:

(so I don’t cry) at this meme. I’ve loved watching the Queen’s Gambit, and 2020 has been rough, so this meme really hits home!

That being said, I’m certainly also…

Reflecting:

On this year and counting my blessings even if the holidays and our daily life look differently right now. 2020 has forced my family of four to slow down, I found time to take care of a health issue, the kids have a wonderful school schedule with awesome teachers, and we’ve been able to navigate these uncharted waters somewhat successfully. Of course, there have been times of stress; it’s sad not being able to see family easily, that mask wearing is now the norm, and my kids are missing out on a regular school year.

We just keep taking things one day at a time, and hope that there is light at the end of this dark tunnel.

See you back here tomorrow for a VERY special Friday Favorites…the twins turn 11!

Posted in Inspiration, Tuesday Talk

Tuesday Talk: Fave Quotes

Hey! Hey! It’s Tuesday Talk with Ashley and Erika. Tuesday Talk is a fun link up where you can chat about any topic you want!

Today, I thought I’d share some of my favorite quotes. I’d say I’m a pretty reflective person. I’m the type to highlight meaningful text as I read, keep a note on my phone of inspirational quotes, and just take to heart words of wisdom. So, here are some of my favorite quotes that inspire me, make me think, or just ones I like to keep in my back pocket to turn to in times of needs

Favorite Quotes:

I listen to Landyn‘s podcast quite frequently, and one of her episodes was sharing tips for parenting teens. She shared a few pieces of advice, but the two quotes from her that stuck out to me were:

1. and 2.

When people show you who are you, you listen.

and…

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Both of these quotes are definitely ones that can apply to life, let alone being tips for a teen.

The first quote is definitely something I’ve had to learn the hard way in life. I try to see the good in people and have been burned. It’s hard when a relationship gets lopsided or you want to trust so badly that you settle. I will remember to share this with my kids…and, actually, believe it or not, I could probably share this advice with them now…even in the 5th grade.

Her second piece of advice can certainly be applied in various areas of life. One of the reasons I chose to continue to work after we had the kids was because I didn’t want to lose the side of me that that was a professional who contributed income to our family. Also, of course, this advice could apply to friendships, relationships, and much more.

While there are times I feel spread a bit thin, it’s worth it knowing all my eggs aren’t in one basket.

3.

We watch a lot of baseball in this house, and are KC Royals fans. One of their announcers is former player Rex Hudler. You will often hear him say:

The only two things you can control are your attitude and your output.

I love this one, and I certainly point it out to Hayden when Rex says it during the game. I remind Hayden that this applies to sports and to life!

4.

Forward is a pace.

Whether it’s during a difficult season of life, or just after a bad day, it’s important to remember to put one foot in front of the other and carry on as best you can.

5.

Patience is a form of action.

Patience is not my strong suit, but actually, I’ve gotten better with pausing, reflecting, and being patient as I’ve gotten older.

6.

One of my top reads in 2018 was I Liked My Life. A quote that stuck out to me was:

You have a head and a heart and I expect that you make choices that account for both.

This quote was from a parent to their child, and certainly applies to how I hope to raise my kids. There will be tough decisions in life or decisions you don’t want to make, but you to persevere anyway. In life, I’ve often thought, ‘I needed my heart to match my head,’ in making decisions like letting go of our beloved pup Shiloh and when it was time for me to get my hysterectomy.

7.

I wish I could remember where I heard this next quote, but I love it.

When you lose, say little, When you win, say less.

I know adults who need to follow this piece of advice!

8.

We are a collection of our choices.

I love this one. Of course, with parenting, I feel like I’m always preaching to the kids about the choices they make. This quote certainly sums up a great message in life.

9.

This next quote isn’t necessarily a piece of advice, but I love the message. One of my all time favorite books is To Kill a Mockingbird, and in it, Scout says:

Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.

I hope to instill a love of reading in my kids. There’s not greater past time or therapy for me than reading a good book. Hayden’s my book worm…I’m still working on Hadley!

10.

Of course, this next one is a classic quote, but I will never forget going through a really sad time, coming back to school, and my principal sending me a sweet email that ended with:

Always remember that you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, and loved more than you will every know.

This one is a classic for a reason. It’s a good one to remember as I encourage my kids, but it’s also a good reminder to myself!

11.

I think I saw this next one shared on social media.

If you want more freedom and energy, start saying no.

I’m certainly still working on this onebut, again, with age comes wisdom…and I’m learning. I’ve definitely learned to prioritize my time to align with my heart and values, so that has made saying ‘no’ easier at times.

12.

And lastly…

The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.Hemingway

Just a reminder in the ups and downs of life that we often learn more in the tough times, and, in turn, cherish the good times.

Do you have any words of wisdom or inspirational quotes that are of meaning to you? I’d love to add them to my list!

I hope you are having a great week so far! Don’t forget to check out the other ladies’ posts too!

Take care,

Posted in Meals and Recipes

Monday Meals: Chicken Chili

Hello and Happy Monday! Today, I’m sharing one of my favorite recipes: chicken chili. A friend shared this recipe years ago, and it’s the only chicken chili I make. While my kids also love the Major’s chili, this one is a family favorite too.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tblsp butter or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 green peppers, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped (sometimes I leave this out…I’m not a fan of spicy)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tblsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tblsp Worcestershire sauce (plus a dash more)
  • 2 Tblsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 can diced tomato (do not drain)
  • 12 oz bottle chili sauce
  • 2 cans black beans, rinsed
  • 32 oz chicken broth
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded

Toppings:

chopped avocado, shredded cheese, fresh cilantro, sour cream

Instructions:

  • In the bottom of your soup pot drizzle EVOO or let butter melt. Then, saute onion, green pepper, jalapeno, and garlic until soft. (5-8 minutes)
  • Add chili powder, cumin, oregano, red pepper flakes, black pepper, Worcestershire, Dijon mustard, tomatoes, chili sauce, and black beans. Mix well.
  • Add chicken broth and mix well.
  • Shred chicken into soup mixture.
  • Simmer for at least 30 minutes. (I usually let it simmer 45 minutes- 1 hour)
  • Enjoy with toppings!

We still have pretty mild temps this week, but once the weather turns colder, this chili is definitely in our dinner rotation!

I hope you have a great week!

Posted in Friday Favorites, Holidays, Traditions

Friday Favorites: Thanksgiving

Hello and Happy Friday! We made it to the weekend. This week has definitely had its share of ups and downs, so needless to say, I’m ready for the weekend.

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

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. It also feels like the most overlooked holiday smooshed right in between Halloween and Christmas. Since Thanksgiving is right around the corner, I thought I’d share some of my favorite things about Thanksgiving from traditions, the food, and more!

My favorite things about Thanksgiving:

The Food:

Thanksgiving food is my favorite food of the entire year. I never really say no to carbs, but definitely not on Thanksgiving. Give me all of the mashed potatoes, rolls, macaroni and cheese and other carbs! I do love the turkey as well. A slice of pumpkin pie topped with a dollop of whipped cream is the perfect way to end the meal.

Fun fact: the only day of the year that I buy the school lunch is the Thursday before Thanksgiving. That’s when our district serves up their version of a Thanksgiving meal. I know the picture isn’t the best, but the food really is good!

The Leftovers, Y’all:

The leftovers are the best part of the meal! I always look forward to the Friday after Thanksgiving lunch when we reheat the turkey, the mashed potatoes, and anything else we have left to eat!

Also, did you see the soup recipe I shared in my Let’s Look post on Wednesday? It’s so good and a great way to use up your leftover turkey!

The Weather and FAll Colors:

The weather and the fall colors of the leaves always make the holiday even better! Whether we are in KC or KY, we tend to luck out with pretty mild weather.

Family:

It’s always great to see family around the holidays. It makes that time of the year even more special. Some years, we see my family in KC, and other years we see Trav’s family from various parts of Kentucky. This year, we probably won’t see family like we usually do, but hopefully we can get back on track with that tradition next year.

Thanksgiving through the years…
No stress of Gifts:

I’ve always loved Thanksgiving because of food, family, and….no gift giving! It’s nice just to show up, hang out, eat, and not feel overwhelmed with gift buying lists, wrapping, and hauling gifts from house to house (or state to state!)

The Parade:

I’ve always loved the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. I remember watching it as a kid, and I always turn it on for my kids now too. I’m not saying I always watched every second of it, but it’s just nice to even have it on in the background while hanging out or cooking.

The Lights:

The Plaza lights in KC are always a must when we visit. On Thanksgiving evening, there is always a ceremony, a countdown, and then the lights are lit! Whether it’s right after Thanksgiving or when we visit at Christmas, we try to see them as a family.

I remember as a kid going with my family to drive through that part of town and look at the lights…followed by a hamburger and shake at Winsteads (another KC fave!)

Giving Thanks:

Of course, I try to give thanks on other days besides Thanksgiving, but Thanksgiving does provide a time to pause, reflect, and give thanks for the blessings in my life.

One thing my school does is gratitude feathers. Students fill out the feathers for their teachers thanking them, and then they get put in teacher mailboxes for teachers to receive before Thanksgiving break. I never expect to receive a gratitude feather, but I always love when I do. The sweet messages keep me going during this time of the school year.

2019 gratitude feathers
Elementary Art:

Through the years, I’ve loved seeing what the kids bring home in their backpacks from school. Whether it’s a turkey or a cap with feathers, I always love talking with them about their masterpieces.

I’m sad that this year looks so different for Hayden and Hadley, and this is another example of “what would have been” if they were in school for a regular year. I doubt there will be any Thanksgiving artwork in middle school. #sadface

Bonus Fave: Flashback Friday: Turkey Day Edition

Here are some kid and family pics through the years. Thankfully, they don’t fight me much when when I ask them to dress up a bit to see family!

Weekly Recap:

Even with this year looking differently, I continue to be thankful for family, friends, and our health.

What blessings are you counting this year?

Thanks so much for reading, and don’t forget to check out the other ladies’ posts too!

Have a great weekend,

Posted in Kids, Life Lately, Trader Joes

Life Lately

Compared to the past couple of months, life has been a little less hectic, and I’m here for it. We’ve gone from having some kind of practice every evening to practice just a couple days a week. We’ve gone from baseball tournaments and cross country meets taking up the weekend to just one basketball game on a Saturday afternoon. Also, with it getting darker earlier, it’s easier to convince my kids to get settled in for the evening.

Even with the slower pace, we’ve still been busy. So, today I’m sharing a bit of our life…lately.

Hayden’s in a 3 on 3 basketball league. Due to Covid, his regular league isn’t having a season (yet?). With this league, the season is shorter, the team is smaller, and they only play half court. That being said, he loves basketball, so I know he’s happy to be back on the court. His team won their first game on Friday evening, and Hayden had six points.

The kids (and Travis) wrapped up the regular cross country season last Saturday with the 5th/6th grade state meet. This was the first time the kids had been in a race with 6th graders, so I think there were a few nerves. It was the hottest day and the hardest course, but both battled to run pretty decent races. Hadley earned a medal, and I know Hayden wished he had placed a little higher, but we were proud of them, of course.

Y’all, I always joke that if you see me running, somebody is probably chasing me! haha…so who am I to judge?! 😂Both had an amazing season with ups and downs, PR’s, top 10 (& 1st) place finishes, and lots of miles put on those legs. They had fun with their teammates and supported each other in practices and races which is what it’s all about.

And, I have to give a shout out to Travis. He coaches this team during the busiest months of work for him, and he gives it his all. The kids don’t know how special it is to have this time and these memories with him. I know they’ll look back on these years with fond memories…and will hopefully forget that, according to them, he made them run farther in practice! 😂

On the run!

Cousin crew came to cheer the kids on!

We’ve had really beautiful weather, so I’ve been trying to ease back into working out with some walks every other day or so.

The leaves, even the ones on the ground, are so beautiful. I really do love fall!

There’s a beautiful street in Lex that’s known for their ginkgo trees. Facebook is flooded with Lexington peeps checking out the beautiful yellow leaves. For Tuesday’s recess, we decided to visit the “yellow brick road” and go for a little afternoon walk around that neighborhood.

The leaves are just stunning!

It was such a nice way to spend a few minutes on a weekday afternoon!

On Tuesday, Homer also enjoyed the lovely weather and the sunshine.

I’ve been reading Louisiana Lucky, and it’s such a cute read! I should finish it up in the next day or two.

Over the weekend, I finished watching Virgin River. Season 2 comes out November 27th, so I won’t have to wait long to see what Mel and Jack are up to!

I’d heard many people talking about The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix, and I decided to give it a try. To be honest, I don’t think I ever would have clicked on this show while just scrolling Netflix, so I’m glad for the recommendation. I’m three episodes in, and I love it so far.

This is a miniseries based off of the novel with the same name. The main character, Beth, is an orphan, and she’s on a quest to become the greatest chess player in the world. She learns how to play from the custodian at the orphanage. Beth is adopted by a couple from Lexington, so there are some Lexington references in the plot. I think the author grew up here? Anyway, I definitely recommend it based on what I’ve seen so far.

And…I’m excited because The Crown is back for Season 4 on November 15th. I was late to The Crown game, but started watching it back in March once life came to a halt! I really enjoy it as well, and can’t wait for this season.

I made a Trader Joe’s run over the weekend, and picked up some of our faves plus a few new foods to try.

  • Chicken nuggets – The kids love these for lunch.
  • Granola bars – I love these for an afternoon snack.
  • Blondie bars– This mix is perfect when you want something sweet. Hadley and her friend made these the other day, so I had to get another box to keep on hand.
  • Black bean burrito– We all love these.
  • White Cheddar shell mac & cheese– Hadley’s fave
  • Turkey and pumpkin mole burrito – This was a new find for me. I thought it was ok.
  • Everything but the Bagel Seasoning– I was running low on my other bottle, and started to panic!
  • Corn dippers – They go great with…
  • Buffalo chicken dip! – I also eat the dip with mini peppers.
  • Blue corn tortilla chips – I picked these up to mix in with our regular tortilla chips when I made sheet pan nachos for dinner on Tuesday night.
  • Chomps – Hayden’s fave!
  • Havarti Dill cheese – My fave! I eat some bites of cheese with…
  • Salami! – I love a snack plate!

I always stock up on our frozen staples when I’m at TJ’s. We eat the…

  • Gnocchi or Mushroom Risotto as a side dish at least once a week.
  • Mexican style roasted corn is usually a side dish when we eat Mexican food for dinner which is probably once a week!

Most Sundays I try to bake something for dessert. Hadley usually helps me, but she was outside playing on Sunday afternoon when I had time to make Shay’s pumpkin cake.

It was soooo good!

We also took some time this week to celebrate the end of cross country season and report cards with great grades on them! So, Hayden got the “You are Special” plate one night, and Hadley got it the next night!

It blows my mind that my kids haven’t stepped foot in a classroom in almost 8 months! I feel blessed that they are certainly persevering during these times. (Real Talk: I’m also glad they aren’t in primary grades where I know they’d need my help 90% of the time!) I’m thankful that they are pretty independent workers, for their awesome teachers, pod instructor and sitters! It really does take a village…especially during a pandemic.

I hope all of you are hanging in there as well! I know, for us, each day is different. Some days are definitely easier and better than others! And..on the “other” days, I just get in my pjs by 5:00 and count the minutes until bedtime…for all of us!

See you back here tomorrow for Friday Favorites: Thanksgiving Edition!

Take care,

Posted in Holidays, Let's look

Let’s Look

Today is Let’s Look!

This is a fun link up with Shay and Erika where we take a peek on an assigned topic for the month!

This year we’ve looked at:

  • January: your bedside table
  • February: your winter wardrobe
  • March: what’s inside your purse
  • April: Easter at your house
  • May: your weekend
  • June: what’s in your carry on bag
  • July: your summer wardrobe
  • August: your desk
  • September: your school pics
  • October: how you pumpkin

This month’s topic is holiday menu. Since it’s November, I’m thinking Shay and Erika meant Thanksgiving menu, so that’s my focus for today’s post.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It always has been. I’ve always loved watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade even as a kid. Also, there’s no stress of buying presents, and the Thanksgiving offers the best food you’ll eat all year!

I saw this graphic on Twitter recently, and thought it went perfectly with today’s topic. I’m from Missouri, and yes, I love all the carbs…including rolls. Kentucky’s most popular side is apparently broccoli casserole which would not be my vote for favorite side. #hardpassforme

We usually are in KC with family for Thanksgiving, and my cousin always out does herself with the table scape and decor.

And…there are always sweet little touches like these personalized chocolate turkeys.

Growing up, Thanksgiving was always spent with my dad’s side of the family. Even now, when I go home, we still celebrate with that side of the family.

One Thanksgiving my dad visited us here, and my sister-in-law and I made the turkey, mashed potatoes, etc. It was quite a successful Thanksgiving, but it confirmed what I already knew….hosting a holiday is hard work!

For a couple of Thanksgivings we’ve gone to Trav’s side of the family in Elizabethtown, and the food is great there too.

We are now kind of on an every other year rotation with staying home or going to KC. We’ll be home this year, and I’m not exactly sure what our plans will be.

Thanksgiving Menu:

No matter where we are celebrating, the menu seems to be mostly the same:

  • Turkey
  • Mashed potatoes and gravy
  • Green beans or green bean casserole
  • Hash brown casserole
  • Cornbread casserole
  • Stuffing
  • Mac and cheese
  • Sweet potato casserole
  • Rolls
  • Pumpkin pie + other pies for dessert

Turkey Soup:

For a tradition with my mom, we typically make a turkey soup with the recipe that I’ve had for years…. We got the recipe from my high school boy friend’s dad probably back in 1998(ish). 😅The relationship didn’t last but the soup tradition continues! 😂

It’s one of the best ways to use the leftover turkey, and I’ve even made it with chicken at other points in the year.

Ingredients:
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can cream of celery soup
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 4 cans water
  • 1/2 an onion, chopped
  • 1-2 c. shredded carrots
  • 2 c. uncooked rice + a little bit more
  • leftover shredded turkey
  • Creole spice (I usually have the Tony Chachere brand)
Instructions:
  • Saute the chopped onions in some oil.
  • Add in soups + cans of water and heat for a few minutes.
  • Add in the the turkey and shredded carrots. Stir to combine.
  • Pour in 2 cups of rice, and I add in a little bit more rice.
  • Top the ingredients with Creole spice plus a bit more. Stir.
  • Cook for 20-30 minutes.
  • Enjoy!

I make this soup every year whether I’m in KY or in KC. It’s definitely one of my favorite turkey day traditions.

Next month’s topic is Let’s Look at your Christmas cards!

I can’t believe that next month’s post will be the last Let’s Look for 2020!

As always, thanks so much for reading. I truly do appreciate it!

Don’t forget to check out the other ladies’ posts, and I will see you back here tomorrow for Friday Favorites.

Take care,