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Friday Favorites: birthday party part 2

Believe it or not, it’s already Friday! I posted about the kids’ 10th birthday party with their friends for Let’s Look on Wednesday. I thought I’d wrap up the week with a Friday Favorites post that focuses on party #2 (family party)…because birthdays are my favorite!

I figured while the balloons were still flying, we’d go ahead and host our family for a small get together for the kids.

After the slumber party cleared out, I threw a couple of meals in the crock pots. Both meals I made were from Mix and Match Mama’s Simmers cookbook. I made the Chicken Tortilla Soup and the Potato Soup. Both are easy, delish, and serve quite a few people.

I also made salami/cream cheese/pickle roll ups and spinach artichoke dip for appetizers.

We love Nothing Bundt Cakes, so I was going to pick up one of their bigger bundt cakes for the family party BUT we had so much cookie cake left over from the sleep over party, that we decided to serve that. I did take the kids to Nothing Bundt Cakes for them to each pick a mini bundt cake for us to put candles in and sing Happy Birthday.

Hadley’s always big help with the decorations. We already had the balloons, so she helped me put streamers up wherever the kids wanted them. She also helped me put up the birthday banner. I made the banner when the kids turned three, and we’ve been using it every birthday since then…not sure if this will be the last year for it or not?

Every year, I order the kids a new birthday shirt with their age on it (again, this is probably the last year for it, but it’s been a fun tradition!) I did a Flashback Friday Favorites post on it, and it’s sweet to see them through the years!

This year’s shirts came from a shop on Etsy called ShopPsychobaby. They were cute, great quality, and arrived quickly!

The kids are saving for electronic items we will most likely never buy them (haha), so we kept it simple with the family party, and they received cash and gift cards.

Traditional bday shirts and 1-0 balloons
The birthday banner is hanging on !
Homer was excited for cake. He was better behaved during this party and didn’t eat any candles or lick any icing off the cake!
Happy Birthday time!

We had family from both sides as well as friends who we consider family to help celebrate.

crazy and cute cousins

That’s a wrap on the birthday parties. Their actual birthday is next week, and there are a few more traditions and surprises up my sleeve… #thetwinsturn10

Don’t forget to check our Narci, Andrea, and Erika’s Friday Favorites!

Have a great weekend!

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea

Let’s Look: Birthday Parties- Part 1

This month’s Let’s Look is about entertaining ideas. Well, I just entertained twelve 4th graders last Friday for Hayden and Hadley’s upcoming 10th birthday….So…I thought I’d focus on that! haha

I still have one week to get used to the idea, but the twins are about to be 10…which I can’t even wrap my brain around. Where has the time gone?

I’ve always been big on birthdays, and I’ve always joked that my favorite holiday is my birthday (only to be corrected that my birthday is not actually a holiday 😂). So, with the kids, I have always made a big deal about their birthday. That being said, if I had two kids with two different birthdays or even a third kid, I probably wouldn’t have the energy to go all out like I tend to do. But that’s what moms do, right? Whatever makes the kids happy.

Once they turned three, I started hosting two parties….one for their friends and one for family. I just felt bad asking family to hang out at Chuck E Cheese as well as the fact that our house isn’t big, so having many adults and lots of kids, just didn’t seem like an enjoyable idea. Their friend parties vary year to year. With two very social kids (especially Hadley) who are involved in lots of activities, I’ve always had to cap their parties to a few friends. I’ve never been one to invite the whole class especially because they are in different classes…what would I do if 40 kids showed up?! haha.

I even went through a phase for a few years where I made homemade cakes for each of them…but that ship has sailed. Now, we order a cookie cake or ice cream cake and call it a day.

Shockingly, it was Hayden’s idea to have a sleepover, & Hadley wasn’t mad about the idea. Again, I always try to keep the number manageable and 12 kids wasn’t what I had in mind 😂 but the kids, and even Travis can be persuasive…and you know what? It all turned out just fine!

We ordered cookie cakes from Great American Cookie. Hadley chose the cutest cake with three girls in sleeping bags to stick with the sleepover theme. I thought for sure that Hayden would chose a cake with a basketball or soccer ball like usual, but he took one look at the cake with the white dog, and he thought it looked like Homer! They were very decisive about their cake designs.

Real talk: I took these pics before the guests came over. I like to have a little time with them before all the crazy ensues, and, yes…to get the cute non-chaotic pic too. BUT…good thing I did take the pics beforehand because while I went out to get pizza, Homer ate half of the ONE candle and we still can’t find the ZERO candle! Yikes.

Hayden wanted Homer to see a close up of his cake. Homer later took a lick off of the side of the cake while it sat on the counter (pushed back as far as I could push the cake…because we know how Homer can be!)

Kids are easy to please—pizza, chips, Capri Suns, and cookie cakes. I had picked up the T E N candles to use for the family party, and they came in handy as a back up.

After pizza and cake, we went to a local place called The Yard which is an indoor facility for baseball, soccer, and volleyball. I had never been there, but the kids have been there for indoor practices and sports evaluations, so Travis thought of the idea last week. It was a great way for them to burn energy. The girls passed the volleyball around while the boys played soccer. Then, Travis organized a few games of kickball…I was having flashbacks to elementary recess! Then, they all played one more game of soccer before we headed home a little after 9pm.

Fun crew!

Once we got home, the kids opened presents and then the boys went to the basement and the girls stayed upstairs. It must be all the rage to have a spa party in the 4th grade. Per usual, thank goodness for Amazon—nail polish, face masks, and eye masks, and the ladies turned back time and looked like they were 7 again!

Homer was the only boy allowed upstairs after 10 pm!

After the facials, the girls watched a movie while the boys stayed in the basement, ate chips, and watched a movie of the choice. (Pro tip: I put Homer’s bells that he rings to let us know he wants to go outside on the basement door handle…so I could hear the comings and goings of little people if they found themselves headed in the wrong direction!)

The kids were asleep around midnight and slept until almost 8! The girls would have slept longer had the boys not come upstairs. My friend texted me in the morning when I said they were still sleeping. She asked if I tranquilized them. haha…I told her I forgot to have the parents sign the waiver for melatonin! Actually, part of my strategy with the Friday night sleepover (plus taking them to The Yard) was I was hopeful they’d already be tired from the week!

Hadley’s sweet friend woke up as a 10 year old, so of course Hadley said her donut must have a candle!

Donuts, OJ, and apple juice for breakfast.

After breakfast, the girls painted their nails while the boys played football in the front yard…

Then, everyone gathered up their belongings as parents started arriving and I started prepping for the family party later on Saturday.

Overall, I’d say the party was a huge success…no drama, everyone slept at some point, and I think everyone had a good time! I sure hope they have wonderful memories of this sleepover party because it certainly won’t be an annual event! #thethingsyoudoforyourkids #thetwinsturnten

On Friday, I hope to share part two of the birthday celebration (family party!)

Don’t forget to check out Erika and Shay’s Let’s Look. Next month’s topic is Let’s Look At…gift wrapping station. (Not sure how much I will have to offer to that conversation as I am so unorganized when it comes to wrapping…and I don’t have a wrapping station!)

I hope you are having a great week!

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook: Show Me and Sweet Tea

Monday Memes: November

Happy Monday! Whew…we had a hectic weekend (I feel like this is a trend), but it was a fun weekend filled with two (a bit early) birthday parties for Hayden and Hadley (one for friends and one for family…because that’s how I roll!) as well as a Girl Scout field trip.

So, I’m keeping today’s post short and sweet with some of my favorite memes.

This first meme is “so me!”…but I roll lots of what they “need” into birthday gifts as well.

This second meme is also very much me…I’m all about staying home and bonus if I don’t have to get out of my pjs.

This is how I feel every time I go to TJ Maxx, Target, and Home Goods.

This one just made me laugh…and it’s certainly how I feel when I ask my kids to take a shower or go to bed! Thankfully, I didn’t feel that way when we had 12 kids spending the next last Friday.

I loved this graphic about introverts. Sometimes I think introverts are misunderstood…myself included. Also, I think it’s important for those who have an introvert in their life to love, that they understand things introverts love.

With such a hectic weekend, I wish the next meme could be me today, but I need to get caught up on all the things. I’ve penciled in next Sunday for this meme to apply to me. haha

I hope you have a great week!

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea

Friday Favorites: Traditions

What a crazy busy week it’s been…and I’m so glad that it’s Friday!

With a busy family and lots of activities, it’s the time of the year where I pencil in some of our traditions in order to make sure they continue! This got me thinking about some of our favorite traditions throughout the year….so I thought I’d share!

Winter

In December, we visit the Southern Lights at the Kentucky Horse Park. Even when I was a kid, we’d visit lights at a nearby park, and I continued that tradition once Travis and I started dating…and of course continued it when we had kids. I may be wrong, but since 2002, I’m pretty sure the only year we missed driving through lights either in Missouri or at the Kentucky Horse Park was 2009….when I had one month old twins. Apparently, I was too sleep deprived and hormonal to ensure the tradition carried on that year. When we drive through the Kentucky Horse Park, the kids usually have hot chocolate and popcorn while Travis and I have coffee. We enjoy seeing the same lights each year along with new ones they’ve added in. Pro Tip: Go on a weeknight (it’s cheaper) but even better…a Monday night…less crowded. There are activities to do inside, but my kids don’t even realize you can go inside! haha.

A few Christmas traditions include seeing Santa (of course), building a gingerbread house (from a kit—I’m no over-achiever!), and we usually take one evening in December to go out somewhere and let the kids pick a Christmas gift out for each other (to be opened Christmas morning) followed by dinner out at a restaurant. We also go together to purchase gifts for kids on Lexington’s Angel Tree.

We typically visit my family in Kansas City for Christmas. During that time, we make our family’s traditional German waffle cookies. The waffle iron was brought to the United States by my ancestors, and it’s over 100 years old (and very heavy!) Also, we try to visit the Plaza Lights in KC which was a tradition my family had when I was a kid.

Since the kids were little, on the first snow day of the school year (we usually have at least have one—and some years ten!), I make snowman pancakes. We always have pancake mix on hand anyway as well as bacon and marshmallows (for hot chocolate), so I just make sure to have a pack of M&Ms for eyes, nose, and buttons. I’ve even used a leftover candy cane from the holidays for a scarf. The kids always enjoy this breakfast, and we are all excited when we get an unexpected day off from school!

Another favorite tradition we’ve been doing for years is tubing at Perfect North with two of our favorite families. It’s gotten a lot more fun now that the kids can lug around their own tubes!! 😉

This Santa is always the best…and there’s always a long line!
The kids are almost too big for Santa’s lap…not sure how many years we have left.

Spring

In the springtime, I always look forward to St. Patrick’s Day. Growing up, we’d always have cornbeef and cabbage as well as Irish Soda Bread. So, I make all of that each year, and we all love it.

There’s nothing better than Keeneland Horse racing in April and October. We used to have all the free time in the world to go with friends, tailgate, and make a day (or two) of it at the track. Now, a free afternoon takes lots of planning, but we try to make it happen.

And…Travis is always super busy with work at Oaks and Derby time, but I enjoy going to Oaks Day with him. The city of Louisville certainly comes alive during that week.

Just like I take beginning of the school year photos, I also take end of the year photos as well. I clearly remember the last day of school when the kids were in kindergarten…unprompted, they high-fived each other by the school sign. So, of course, now I make them do that each year…they love me (hate me) for making them do it. Only a couple more years of elementary school (insert sad face). Even the school’s crossing guard knows I’m going to take the beginning and end of the year photos.

Then, we always go out to dinner on the last day of school with one of our friends. Considering how busy we all are, I really don’t know how we’ve kept this tradition alive, but I’m glad that we have.

Summer

When I was thinking of summer traditions, I totally blanked. We must not have very many, but of course, we go on vacation and also have a neighborhood get together at the end of the summer.

On the 4th of July, I always make red, white, and blue waffles. Easy and delicious.

Fall

Even though it’s 90 degrees when it’s time to go back to school, I still consider that fall. Back to school means my back to school breakfast for the kids. Of course, that’s when I get the first day of school photo too.

In the fall, we always make a trip to the orchard to pick out pumpkins and get apple cider donuts.

The families in our neighborhood try to get together to carve pumpkins a few days before Halloween. We hosted this year. Chili, hot apple cider, and parents doing all the carving…what’s not to love?

Once November hits, it’s all things birthday for Hayden and Hadley. I buy their birthday shirt and we start planning the party.

One More Tradition…

One of my favorite traditions is the “You are Special” red plate. We had one of these growing up that my mom would use for our dinner when we accomplished a goal, had a good day, or had something to celebrate. A few years ago, she bought one for my family, and I love keeping this tradition alive. This week, the kids each used it for dinner one day to congratulate them on a successful cross country season as well as good grades on their report cards. I put Trav’s dinner on it one evening as a thank you from the kids for being their cross country coach as well as for working so hard during the horse sales this month.

Real talk: I used to be much better about using this plate for celebrations, but sometimes I end up using it to celebrate many things at once because time has slipped away.

I feel like I’m forgetting a tradition or two, but I love keeping these traditions alive for my family. What traditions do you have with your family?

Don’t forget to check out Narci, Andrea, and Erika’s Friday Favorites.

Have a great weekend!

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea

Life Lately

Happy Wednesday! Just a little post about life lately.

  • I’m one of those weirdos who loves the “fall back” daylight savings time. It’s always an adjustment for all of us even with the gaining an extra hour in our favor, but I like that evening time seems to start sooner and we get a bit of daylight in the morning to get everyone out the door.
  • I’ve made multiple batches of pumpkin bread and pumpkin muffins from the Trader Joe’s mix…I’ve even frozen some of what I’ve baked….but on Sunday, I made my first pumpkin pie of the season. It was so good, and definitely is a family favorite.
  • Homer is a hot mess. I love him, but he’s like having ten toddlers sometimes. On Saturday, Hadley let Homer in from the backyard and asked me if I’d seen his collar. Well, I found it…in three pieces in the backyard. I’m assuming it was too loose (which makes me nervous as I hope he didn’t get stuck on something), but the three parts were also chewed on, so I’m assuming that was his doing. Later, when it was time to trick-or-treat, I put his harness on him and then the leash…only to realize he had chewed through his red nylon leash. Instead of my #WeHeartHomer hashtag, I feel like #HotMessHomer should be trending.
  • Hayden started his indoor soccer season on Sunday. They had an exciting victory over a really good team. I love watching indoor soccer since it’s fast paced and the clock doesn’t stop! haha.
  • We had a day off yesterday for Election Day. I love that the kids come with me to vote. I’m trying to instill in them the importance of exercising their civic duties.
  • I love a good cookie cake, so that’s what we usually get for birthdays (and Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, etc). I used to just get one from the grocery store, but a couple of years ago some friends mentioned the Great American Cookie cookie cakes, and I haven’t looked back. Monday night, the kids chose their cakes for their party this weekend.
  • Then…we stopped by Party City to pick out balloons and pick up party supplies. I lost Hadley for a minute…but then I found her!
She’s always up for a good party!
  • I started a new book on Sunday: The Affair by Colette Freedman, and I’m really enjoying it.
  • With barely a break in activities, basketball has started up for both kids and Hadley is doing club cross country. I really wish there was a safe Uber option for kids…oh wait–I think that’s me!

That’s just a little peek into our Life…Lately.

I hope you are having a great week.

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook: Show Me and Sweet Tea

Halloween Recap

Halloween 2019…also known as the week long Halloween. Our Halloween festivities started off last Sunday at our church’s Halloween Festival where the kids could trick-or-treat on Spooky Street, play on inflatables and other games, and eat chili. They had a great time loading up on treats and seeing their friends.

Plot twist with Halloween: with a forecast of rain, highs in the 40s (with temps dropping), and gusty winds, some communities, including ours, moved trick-or-treating to Saturday from 3-5. This isn’t the first time trick-or-treating has been moved due to weather, and I kind of rolled my eyes at the idea…that being said, Thursday legit felt like winter! By Thursday evening, I wasn’t mad about a low key evening at home, an easy dinner, and some tv watching with the kids. Since it was Halloween, there were no other activities planned, so we were kind of forced to slow down and have some time at home. We had eaten dinner by 6 (never happens), kids were showered and clean by 7 (really never happens), and then we actually had time to catch up on our family tv shows.

I read Andrea’s post on Thursday morning for an easy dinner of Zombie Brains and Bloody Fingers. Sounded easy, fun, and delish, so I stopped by Trader Joe’s on my way home from school to get what we needed. The kids loved it.

Trick-or-treating in the daylight on Saturday felt a little odd…but to be honest, I ended up enjoying it. We weren’t rushed to beat the daylight, it was a Saturday, so no rushing home after school to get ready, and then we had time after trick-or-treating to hang out with friends while the kids swapped candy. Then we ate chili and soup and hung out…while not worrying about an early bedtime.

It was sunny and high 40s, so not super warm, but definitely better than how it would have been Thursday night.

The kids chose their costumes pretty easily this year…and, as always, thank goodness for Amazon. Hayden has an interest in Ghostbusters, so I showed him the costume online and said, “Do you want to be that?” and he said yes. Hadley was adamant on being a nerd…and instantly loved the “Nerdy Girls Rock” shirt she found on Amazon. The bowtie, suspenders, and socks were in a pack together…and when the glasses arrived, she said, “We have to put tape on them like they’ve been broken.” Lastly, she asked me to bring a dictionary home from school. Girlfriend had a vision for her costume!

Hadley in costume (and character!)

Hayden’s costume did come with a proton pack…and I figured it was only a matter of time before Homer popped it!! We made it to Halloween though!

My brother’s family comes over for Halloween. The kids know we need to get a cousin pic on the steps!

I call this the “OG of trick-or-treaters” pic. These kids have grown up together, and I’m blessed to call their moms my friends! The oldest two (twins!) are in middle school now…Also, all except for “Dorothy” have November birthdays, so we see each other quite a bit in the November/December months.

For fun (or to make me cry)…here’s our first year trick-or-treating together ….2010.

We trick-or-treated with lots of friends and ran into many other friends and neighbors.

Homer dressed as a “good dog” this year…definitely a disguise. haha

I can’t get over all the candy they get each year! It’s insane…and this year they received many full sized candy bars. Crazy!

We definitely had an awesome (week of) Halloween. Up next: birthday party planning for these two almost ten year olds!

Have a great week.

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea

Flashback (Friday) Favorites

I’m smushing two blogging ideas into one…Flashback Friday + Friday Favorites.

It’s hard to believe, but my kids are about to be T E N !!! One of my favorite birthday traditions is that each year I buy them a birthday shirt with their name and age on it. I typically use the photo for their birthday invites. I’ve had great luck finding a new shirt each year, usually from an Etsy shop. I’ve used a variety of shops and have always been impressed with the quality and design. Admittedly, as the kids get older, they aren’t as into the shirts (especially Hayden), but my goal has always been to get them a shirt each year until they are 10…so this year, we will probably be wrapping up this tradition…and I’m ok with that…I think 😉 #Imnotcryingyourecrying

Here’s a stroll down memory lane!

This is their first picture together at 4 days old. Hadley was in the NICU for thirteen days, and we snapped this photo before taking Hayden home with us. It broke my heart to leave her, but I knew she was in great hands with the awesome doctors and nurses in the NICU.

4 days old.

For their first birthday, I splurged on their sweet little outfits. They still hang up in their closets. I can’t ever picture myself parting with them.

Two years old…I remember clearly that this was the hardest picture to get of them…they wouldn’t stand still OR look at the camera!!

I think the three-year-old pic will always be my fave. First of all, they sat still. Secondly, the smiled. Thirdly, pinchy cheek cute! *also the last time Hayden probably wore jeans!

Shirts from flyduds on Etsy

Four years old…also known as the last time they probably held hands. haha!

Shirts from myeverydaydesign on Etsy

Five years old and Hayden had lost a couple of bottom teeth!

Shirts from RiverImprints on Etsy

Six years old and Hadley caught up with Hayden in the losing teeth department (and looking like a big girl with her boots!)

Shirts from LittleHipsterTees on Etsy

Seven years old is probably my second favorite pic! They still look like they need their mama, but they are also so grown up at the same time!

Shirts from TinySocietyShop on Etsy

Eight years old! Big kids.

Shirts from PricelessKids on Etsy

Nine years old and ready for their last year in the single digits (and they definitely look like really big kids!)

Shirts from PricelessKids on Etsy

I’ve already taken their pic with their number T E N shirts on, but I’ll save it for the real day. November 20th.

Don’t forget to check out Erika, Narci, and Andrea’s Friday Favorites posts.

I hope you have a fantastic weekend. Our weekend includes trick-or-treating tomorrow afternoon as our trick-or-treat time was moved from Thursday to tomorrow due to weather.

Take care,

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea

October Book Review

Happy Thursday! I feel like this month flew by! I read four very different books this month. I loved one of them and really liked the other three.

Sadie

I try to read young adult books occasionally, so I can recommend them to students. We have an awesome librarian at our school who is very enthusiastic with her book talks. She recommended this book during a book talk with one of my classes, so I added it to my list!

Sadie and her sister Mattie had a difficult childhood. When Mattie is killed, Sadie sets out to find her sister’s killer. A radio personality becomes interested in the story and discusses it on his podcast as he tries to find Sadie.

I really enjoyed the format of the book with Sadie’s point of view alternating with the podcast. This was a quick and easy read with a good ending!

Ask Again, Yes

This was a book suggested for my book club. I knew the wait would be long to check it out from the library, so I ordered it for my kindle. I loved this book. So. So. Much.!! I was immediately intrigued by the neighborly relationship of the Stanhopes and the Gleesons. The plot continued to build piece by piece with a traumatic event between the neighbors. My heart ached for one of the main characters, Peter, as he had to navigate life on his own after his parents let him down, each in their own way. Of course, there’s love in the story along with agony and major life decisions and battles. The timeline of events and character relationships are interwoven together in such a way that, as a reader, you are very invested in the plot. I couldn’t put this book down. Loved it.

The Other Woman

This is the first book I’ve read by Sandie Jones, and I liked it. The main characters, Emily and Adam, are in a relationship that is complicated in a variety of ways including dealing with Adam’s mother. There are lies, betrayal, and tense moments between all of the main characters. While it was pretty clear who “the other woman” is, there’s more to it than that, and I certainly wasn’t expecting the ending. This is in the “thriller” genre, but I didn’t necessarily think it read that way to me. I enjoyed this book, and it was a quick read…but I’ve certainly read more suspenseful books.

If Only You Knew

I listen to Jamie Ivey’s podcast, The Happy Hour, every once in awhile, and I enjoy listening to her. She’s full of wisdom and a woman of deep faith but doesn’t take herself too seriously. She’s a mom and wife as well as podcast host, author, and motivational speaker.

If Only You Knew focuses on moments in life that you aren’t necessarily proud of or moments that others don’t know about because they didn’t know you in the past. Jamie lets her guard down while sharing her struggles, her ups and downs in life, and her failures, but encouraging her readers to know that there’s no such thing as perfection and that we are on a constant journey as people to be the best versions of ourselves. Since I read this on my kindle, it was easy to highlight some of my favorite passages. So many quotes resonated with me, and some of my favorites include:

  • “I often hear people repeat that every wound and scar in your life becomes part of your story, and as humans, we spend too much time covering our scars instead of using them as an opportunity to tell our story.”
  • “When seen through the eyes of the gospel, our stories are not obstacles to our freedom; they are actually the key to unlocking it.”
  • In reference to those who start attending church once they have kids (hits home with me), she says, “I see them as sweet parents who want something better for their children. They sense this yearning inside of them (hello, God yearning!) to build a foundation of faith that, even if they’re not so sure they believe in it for themselves, they do believe in it for their kids. It’s so amazing to see God put desires in parents that could only come from Him. On their own, they couldn’t even begin to dream up such a desire.”
  • “I had no concept of church as a place where broken people could show up, be their real selves, and still receive love.
  • And many other quotes…I could go on and on…

I feel that sometimes we read a book at just the right time in our life…and that’s how I felt about this book. Like Bread and Wine, I see this being a book I turn to occasionally when I need a reminder or two about growing as a person, accepting failures, and celebrating successes.

I hope you find a book or two that you enjoy from this list. Fingers crossed I can keep my reading streak alive this month…but November is always so hectic that my goal is to read at least two books!

See you back here tomorrow for a fun Flashback Friday.

Have a great day,

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea

What’s Up Wednesday

I can’t believe it’s the end of October already (and that Halloween is tomorrow!) I’m linking up again with Sheaffer and Shay for What’s Up Wednesday.

WHAT WE ARE EATING THIS WEEK:

This has been kind of a random week. We hosted our neighborhood’s family pumpkin carving, so I made chili on Sunday afternoon. We had those leftovers for Monday’s dinner. Tuesday, I made a random recipe that popped up on Facebook: Creamy Parm Tomato Soup (with tortellini) from delish.com. We will have those leftovers tonight.

For Halloween, I always host a few friends as well as my brother, sister-in-law, and their kids. Every year I make chili as well as Mix and Match Mama’s Chicken Tortilla Soup from her Simmers cookbook. That recipe is one of my faves to make…one of the key ingredients is Ranch Style Beans which I’ve always easily found at Kroger …until last year…I was so bummed when Kroger didn’t have them. (I even looked on Amazon because Amazon has everything but I refused to pay $20 for six cans of beans haha) I usually make that recipe at least ten times between fall and winter, but last year only made it a few times and tried to make it work with other beans. PLOT TWIST: My Kroger now brought the beans back, and I am legit buying five cans at a time! (I’d buy more, but I don’t have a pantry!)

WHAT I’M REMINISCING ABOUT:

The kids’ Halloween costumes through the years…Did you see last Friday’s Flashback Friday post??

WHAT I’M LOVING:

As I mentioned in last week’s Three Things post, I started a new position at my school as a reading interventionist. I won’t have big classes, so this is a luxury to have a classroom. While it was a pain to move all of my stuff #Imapackrat (and shout out to Travis for helping me move everything), it’s nice to have a fresh start.

WHAT WE’VE BEEN UP TO:

I don’t get to see my Tigers play very often since we live in CATS country, but every other year the Tigers make the trek to Lex, and we usually go. After a long week and a soggy forecast, I stayed home while Trav and the kids went (they cheer for the CATS) for a soggy first half. I think I made a good call by staying home…as my Tigers appear to be on the struggle bus.

We hosted our neighborhood family pumpkin carving on Sunday. It’s a neighborhood tradition that a neighbor of ours started a few years ago. She moved, so I did my best to carry on the tradition. We live in a great neighborhood filled with kids and awesome neighbors.

We are KC Chiefs fans, so Hayden wanted #15 for QB Patrick Mahomes. Hadley wanted her initials carved in the pumpkin because …well, she’s a southern girl!

What was supposed to be a quick trip to Target to buy a friend’s birthday gift and to return some leggings, turned into a Hadley fashion show. She didn’t let me look while she chose an outfit and surprised me. She’s a hoot.

We are between some of our sports and cross country and soccer wrapped up last week. We have a week off (or so) before basketball starts up soon.

WHAT I’M DREADING:

I don’t know if dread is the word, but October-December about take me under. I know it shouldn’t be that way and even when I simplify things, it’s just still hectic. Halloween, kids’ birthdays, holidays + travelling for holidays, and Travis very busy with work…not to mention just normal daily life with a full time job and two busy kids, October-December time frame just maxes me out.

WHAT I’M WORKING ON:

I’m still working on getting settled in my new job. I had to help the new teacher transition into my (former) classes, grade 120+ essays my students turned in the last week I was with them, a couple of school visits (which I thoroughly enjoyed), and just getting the logistics figured out for this new position. I do best with a routine, so it’s difficult for me to not have that structure set just yet, but I’m working on it.

WHAT I’M EXCITED ABOUT:

I’m exciting about trick-or-treating with friends tomorrow. We have two families we’ve trick-or-treated with for almost ten years. Then, we’ve added in a few more families as well as my brother’s family. It’s always a fun evening trick-or-treating, eating chili and catching up with everyone.

WHAT I’M WATCHING/READING:

October book review will be out tomorrow. I read four books this month.

I’m not currently watching much. I’m not really back in a routine with tv watching. Per tradition, we watched It’s a Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown as a family the other night.

WHAT I’M LISTENING TO:

In the past month, I’ve started listening to two new podcasts. Three local Lexington news anchors/reporters have started a new podcast called The A Block and I love it. It’s a bunch of girl talk but also light and heavy topics. You can tell the three ladies are friends who have a lot of fun together.

I had to take a quick road trip recently, and I listened to the Bardstown podcast on my drive to and from (and then I had one more episode left, so I drove the long way home on Friday to finish it!). The topic had me hooked. Within a matter of a couple of years, Bardstown had five different murders take place. A Louisville reporter tackles the topics with interviews that are interesting and heartbreaking. The episodes are pretty short (and so interesting) and they fly by!

WHAT I’M WEARING:

Star sweater from Amazon

WHAT I’M DOING THIS WEEKEND:

in between sports, birthday party planning, Girl Scout field trip

WHAT I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT MONTH:

The kids turn 10! How is that even possible?

January 2010 – 2 months old
The beginning of the birthday outfit tradition.

I will save the tears for when they actually turn 10. They are growing up right before my very eyes…but what a blessing that is, right?

I hope you are having a great week. See you back here tomorrow for this month’s book review.

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook: Show Me and Sweet Tea

Monday Meals

RUN…DON’T walk (sorry not sorry about the shouting!) to your nearest grocery store to pick up these six(ish) ingredients and make this recipe. One of my favorite food bloggers, Bev Weidner, shared this deeeelicious recipe on her blog (Bev Cooks). Simple Chicken Pasta Soup. I made it, we all loved it, and we got two dinners out of this meal!

Ingredients

  • 2 Tblsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 20 oz chicken thighs (about 5 pieces)
  • 1-2 Tblsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 4 c chicken stock (I bought an extra can if needed and used it for night 2 when I reheated the leftovers)
  • 2 (14 oz) cans fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 cups spiral pasta (I used a bit more)
  • 5 oz baby spinach
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Parmesan (for garnish)

Instructions

I’m going to let her do the rest of the talking because: 1. She’s the pro. 2. She’s hilarious. 3. Her food pics are stunning. Recipe linked below.

Also, if you missed the Friday Favorites post from back in September, she’s also one of my favorite Instagram accounts to follow (especially her Insta Stories!) (link below)

I know you’ll love this meal. It’s hearty and healthy all in one bowl! (and you’ll love her—go give her a follow!)

Have a great week.

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea