Posted in Kids, Thursday Thoughts

Thursday Thoughts

Hello and happy Thursday! This is a Thursday that feels like a Friday which is so nice. We don’t have school tomorrow. Since we still have a couple of weeks left until spring break, I’ll take the extra day off!

Recently, on Instagram, Ashley was answering some questions and one of them was “What do you miss most about your kids being little and love most about them being older?”

This question really “hit” me…To be honest, I’d say this past year (2022) was probably the toughest parenting year so far.

First of all, I have teens now. That’s probably all I need to say. 😂

That being said, last year started with a health issue for Hayden. While we were pretty certain the source of the issue, we still had a few months of uncertainty and tests to rule out major issues. My “mama heart” stayed worried during that time which of course caused me to feel stressed and anxious. Thankfully, things are much better now, but it was a hard season of worry to navigate.

Also, I think I’m just very aware of how quickly time is flying by. Recently, I said to Hayden, “I can’t believe I only have five more years with you all in the house with us.” His reply: “I can just live with you when I’m in college too.” Well, that’s the thing…I don’t necessarily want that either…You know, I want to get them to the point of independence. Of course, if they are in school and want to live at home for a year or two, I wouldn’t say no. It’s just I know I need to maximize my time with them while also raising productive members of society 😉

I also think Travis and I have done a good job setting boundaries and expectations while also giving them some independence as well. Now, do they give us credit for doing those things? Not always! 😂..,but I know they know we’re just trying to help them in the long run.

They like to take turns keeping me on my toes. Truthfully, I know that most of what we deal with is “normal” middle school behavior. That being said, there have been some trying times and season of growth. Again, it’s probably typical “growing pains” (literally and figuratively), but sometimes I just feel like I’m doing this parenting thing all wrong. Also, since I’m with teens at school all day, I try not to let my patience be spread too thin at home after a long day, but sometimes that’s hard. Thankfully, Travis balances me out. I feel like we make a great team.

And…we are just very busy. I always say, “blessed to be busy,” but this is just a very busy season of life. There aren’t many nights when we are all home for dinner at the same time, and sometimes I feel like I only see the kids when they are just waking up in the morning and tired or very late at night when they are tired as well. Sometimes, I feel like I’m just fussing at them to use their time wisely or get things done. Then, there are nights they do everything they are supposed to when they are supposed to, and that’s amazing!

Anyway…

So, when thinking about the question…

What do you miss most about your kids being little?

When they were little, they loved me so unconditionally. I miss that. I miss them sitting in my lap. I miss their little voices. (A Facebook memory popped up with a video of Hayden’s little 2nd grade voice, and it stopped me in my tracks). I miss them wanting me to read to them, toothless smiles, and much more.

I feel this deeply:

If that meme doesn’t sum up thirteen year olds, I don’t know what does!

But…

What do you love most about them being older?

Of course, I enjoy who they are now. I can really see who they are becoming as people, and I love it. Also, it is nice that they have more independence and responsibility. They can pack a suitcase with minimal help (I still provide a list!), they can run into the grocery store with my debit card and pick up a few items we need, they can turn the lights off if I go to bed before them, I can trust them with their friends (I hope that’s always the case), and I’ve enjoyed seeing their relationship develop through the years. (Of course, if they want to quit fighting in the bathroom in the morning, I would be ok with that too!)

Anyway, I’d love any words of wisdom from those with older kids. I’m trying to enjoy this season the best that I can. Thankfully, they still hug me and tell me goodnight. That’s the good stuff, for sure! It just feels like they went from this…

to this…

in the blink of an eye!

Posted in Everyday Life, Thursday Thoughts

Thursday Thoughts: No Power Pro Tips

Hello and happy Thursday…and hallelujah! …the electricity turned on Tuesday night…right in time for bed. haha We were all so excited!

Well, most of the time I plan out my blog posts. Other times, I just let the blog topics come to me. Having no power for over four days, has me thinking about some of the things that came in handy during our days on the prairie (without power.)

When the power went out on Friday at 5pm, Travis was out of town for the night. Hayden went to the basement and came up with a bag. He said, “Dad said if the power went out, we might need these things.” In the bag were some hand warmers, which we thankfully never needed, his running headlamp, batteries and more.

I do want to start by saying it could have been worse. From Saturday – Monday we had very mild weather. I spent a lot of time on the front porch. It was warmer outside than in my house.

The kids were able to play outside most of the days, and even on Tuesday, when the temps were cooler, they still kept busy during the day with friends. If the power had gone out in the winter, we would have been freezing. If it went out in the summer, we would have been hot. Also, we were pretty busy most evenings, so we only sat in the dark for about an hour before bed every night.

Our thermostat never dipped below 60 degrees, and it was easy to keep warm with sweatshirts, fuzzy socks, and blankets. We had no damage to our yard or house, and others definitely can’t say the same.

Anyway, here are a few other things that came in handy during our days without power:

Who knew when I purchased the flameless candles in January for decorative purposes, they’d be our lifeline at night? Also, I’m so thankful I bought the seven pack! I kept one on in the hall over night, the kids each kept on in their rooms and their bathroom, and then we had one in our room too.

On Saturday morning, when Hayden woke up, he asked when the power came back on. I told him it didn’t –it was only daylight! haha

Anyway, as he bounced the basketball around the house, Hadley said she really needed him to have a charged phone. That’s when she told him he could charge his phone through his chromebook! Genius.

So when we could, we charged our computers at friends’ houses because they worked as another opportunity to charge our phones. We also charged them in the car occasionally.

Dual USB chargers that we bought a couple years ago to use during baseball tournaments also came in handy. I don’t think I’ve charged them up in years, and when I found one Friday night, I was able to charge my phone! So, these clearly hold their charge. I ended up charging these when I could too.

One thing I missed the most was just being able to drink coffee first thing in the morning. A friend brought me some on Saturday morning. Then, on Sunday, we were at the hotel. Monday and Tuesday, Travis did a Starbucks run before going to work. He suggested putting my second cup in my travel mug because it would stay warm until I could drink it. Again, genius!

My Kindle was the real MVP of this time. I was able to finish the second half of Spare, and read almost all of Wrong Place Wrong Time. Thankfully, my Kindle holds a charge for quite a while.

Hadley was really missing her sound machine at night. On Sunday night, I remembered that her old sound machine (that I keep in my overnight bag for travel), will run on batteries. She was so happy…that night, she put on her “snuggy” –the blanket with a hood-, blasted her sound machine, and slept like a baby.

Thankfully, our water heater is gas, so we could still take hot showers. That being said, I think I had a claw clip in my hair Saturday-Tuesday!

Also, my brother and sister-in-law let us hang out here…and especially on Tuesday, as I started this post, we’d hung out here for most of the day. I was able to work on some school things, and the kids did too. I also did laundry and charged all the things (again) since I never knew when we’d get power.

Another helpful tool was this travel power strip that I got Travis for Christmas. We were able to charge everything at once just using one outlet.

While our fireplace doesn’t put out much heat, we were grateful for some warmth (and light) in the mornings and nights.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have a plan for the fridge and freezer. I thought about saving a few things but also hoped the power would come back on. Obviously, it didn’t. So by Sunday night, our fridge and freezer looked like this:

*silver lining* The fridge needed a good clean, and now it has it.

In my almost 20 years in Lexington, this is only the second time we’ve been in a house that’s lost power. In January 2021, we lost it for a few hours. So, this was obviously more extensive, but we’ve never thought we needed a generator. As friends started to get power, one reached out and offered us their generator which was so thoughtful of them. Tuesday night, we went to dinner and continued to see the utility trucks on our street. So, I was hopeful we wouldn’t need the generator. Right as we were going to bed at 10:00, the lights clicked back on! We appreciated the kind offer, but I’m glad we didn’t end up needing it.

While I’m sure hoping we never need a generator, maybe we should add that to our household list for the future!

Again, counting my blessings. It could have been worse.

Posted in Inspiration, Me, Thursday Thoughts

Thursday Thoughts: It’s the little things

Hello and Happy Thursday!

It’s time for some…

Recently, Amy shared her “best of 2023” post…and it got me thinking… 

…I should try to do a better job appreciating the “little things.”  

When the kids were little, we’d always ask them about the best part of their day. Unfortunately, I feel like that has fallen to the wayside. Instead, I feel like I’m always asking about grades and schoolwork. I need to be more intentional with asking them about the highs and lows of their day. 

Anyway, I try to take a moment in the morning to think about the day and set good intentions. I fail a lot at this, but I remind myself that I’m trying. 

It goes without saying that I’m grateful for the health of my family and friends, a lovely home, a rewarding job and more. It’s easy to think about the bigger things for which to be grateful, but there are some other “little things” that do help make life a bit easier. 

One.

Cozi app.

I’ve shared about this app a few times, but it’s been a great way to keep all of my family members organized. If my kids are old enough to have phones, then they are old enough to take responsibility for due dates, test dates, and knowing their sports/dance schedules. The Cozi app has been perfect for keeping all of our family members “in the know” and on the same page. 

Two.

Grocery pick up.

Kroger Clicklist continues to be a life saver for me. Groceries are still an effort, right? I have to make a list (or add to the Kroger app throughout the week), check our inventory, meal plan, place the order, pick up the order, and unpack the groceries. Thankfully, I usually get help unpacking the groceries, and at least I’m not spending an hour or more in the store every week too. Honestly, because I do grocery pick up (and have since 2015 at least!), I really don’t mind running in the store mid-week for a few things if needed. 

Three.

My Kindle.

Kindle – what’s better than reading a good book? I do love to hold a book in my hands, but I also love the convenience of my Kindle. (The library’s Libby app makes it easy to check out books, and the Good Reads app makes it easy for me to track what I’ve read.)

Four.

Quiet time in the morning. This is must for me and a good way to start my day. 

Five.

The scent of a good candle. It’s simply the best. I have a shelf in the hall closet with my candles, and there are quite a few that I rotate. That being said, if we are home, I’m probably burning at least one fave.

As I put up my Christmas decorations, I realized I was missing the glow of the Christmas lights. So, I ordered a set of LED flameless candles from Amazon, and they are perfect for a cozy vibe. 

Six.

Picking my kids up from school. I always wished that I was able to pick them up in elementary school, but when I did, it was always more special, I guess. With our schedules now, middle school starts after the high schools start. So, that means they get out after I do. Most days, I pick the kids up from school when they don’t have sports or other activities going on. I like being the first one they see after school if I can help it. 

Seven.

Sleep….and all the things that help me get a good night’s rest – I’ve loved my weighted blanket for years. Then, about a year ago, we bought mattress topper that gives the bed some extra fluff. I don’t travel without my sound machine, so of course that means I use it every night. Bonus – OLLY Sleep melatonin when needed. One gummy…that’s all I need. It’s legit.

Eight.

A cup of coffee in the morning. A few months ago, we got a Keurig and Starbucks Toasted Graham is my favorite. I look forward to that first cup of coffee every morning. 

Nine.

An impromptu night with my friends. Last Friday night, I was already in my pjs, but got a text from a friend asking if a few of us wanted to come over to hang out. We all love a charcuterie tray, wine, and some good laughs, and it was a nice evening. Sometimes I feel like every hour of our lives is scheduled, so it’s nice when a night with friends comes together on a whim. 

Ten.

Slippers. I am a slippers girl. I officially have three faves and these are my newest ones. They are soft, and I love that my feet don’t get hot in them. 

*Some of these are modern conveniences thanks to an app. YAY 2023!

Honestly, as I got to #10, I realized I could go on an on a bit longer…goes to show that I should pay attention to “the little things” a little more often. 

What’s a “little thing” in your life that you appreciate?

Posted in School, Thursday Thoughts

Thursday Thoughts: Tips from a Teacher

With less than a week until school starts, of course all I’m thinking about is school.

I cannot believe I’m starting my 21st year in education. Where has the time gone? I also can’t believe my kids are starting 7th grade. My mom taught 7th grade Language Arts for 31 years. I don’t know how she did it! She has remained friends with so many of her colleagues, and I always looked up to them ( and still do). They made teaching look so fun.

Today, I’m putting on my “teacher hat” to share to few things.

Even with 20 years as a teacher, I’m still no expert, but here is what I’ve learned through the years:

Teacher to Teacher:

  • Make your expectations very clear on day one….and stick with those rules, expectations, and standards: Kids, even your toughest ones, like structure and routine. Actually, your most difficult kids need it the most, and all kids like to know what to expect. Also, we don’t give kids enough credit…they are smarter than we think! Once you cave even a little, then it’s hard to get that control back.
  • Keep your sense of humor: Thankfully, I’m naturally sarcastic 😉 …but really…my students keep me laughing, and I try to make them laugh too! We’re all in this together.
  • Try to leave school at school: Being a teacher can be all-consuming…in good and bad ways. It took me a while, but I’m pretty good at setting boundaries now. Also, with my students, I always preach to them about using time wisely (I say this to my own kids too!) If I give 100% while at school and use my time wisely, I very rarely have work to do outside of school. I’ve also learned, that I don’t need to read school emails outside of the school day very often, so I do try to check email very minimally or not at all past 4:30. I know some who don’t keep school email on their phone, but I do. There are times it comes in handy, and I need it accessible.
  • Be approachable and relatable; show students you care: I feel like we say this now more than ever, but you never know what kids are going through (adults too!), so lead with kindness and compassion. I tell students all the time that I will give them grace, but I’m not a mind- reader…they may have to let me know why they need to put their head down, and I can understand they may be tired or sad and will check in with them but give them space.
  • Have a plan, and then have a plan B and C!and be prepared: It took a long time before I could fly by the seat of my pants as a teacher, but I still always have a back up plan for a back up plan. If students have too much time on their hands, then that may not end well.

One of my first blog posts was about The Four Agreements, and I still try to remember them both while at school and at home. I’m not perfect, but I try to keep these in mind, and do better every day.

Also, stay positive! You’ve got this.

Teacher to Student:

While going through the transition to middle school with my own kids last year, I found myself telling them some of the things I tell my own students:

  • Ask for help/advocate for yourself: This is something my kids really had to work on. They are both pretty quiet in the classroom, and would rather blend in than ask for help. I’ve told them to see teachers at the end of the day or send an email, but at least reach out and communicate with their teachers.
  • Use you time wisely during the school day: Honestly, most teachers don’t give much homework, and lots of times, homework is started during class in case a student needs help. I remind my kids to complete and turn in classwork by the deadline as to not get behind.
  • If your teacher lets you make corrections, do it!: Again, even if my kids earned a decent grade, I tell them they may need those extra points some other time. Not all teachers allow for corrections to earn back points, so definitely do so when the opportunity presents itself.
  • Learn how to study: Kids needs to be taught how to study. It’s not a given. Last year, I encouraged my kids to rewrite notes they took in class, use note cards to make flash cards, complete practice problems, and more. Also, I reminded them that all study habits don’t work for everyone. You have to find what works for you.
  • Plan for the week ahead: My kids are very busy, so I told them that Sunday would be a great day to plan ahead for the week. If Hadley knows she has three hours of dance on Monday, then the should know that Tuesday would be a great day to study. Also, I’ve encouraged them to study a bit each day for any upcoming tests, so that they aren’t cramming the night before.Planning ahead is definitely something they need to continue to work on this year.

Twenty years of saying these things to my students paid off as I began to preach this advice to my own kids last year.

Student to Student:

Sometimes I feel bad for my kids –having a mom that’s a teacher isn’t easy. My standards are high. That being said, I want them to be self-starters and driven, but I also am not asking for perfection. If I know they’ve given 100% and still earned a B, I’m ok with that. I refuse to get wrapped up in labels and test scores for my own kids. They are more than one test on one day. I want them to be well-rounded: join clubs, play sports, have outside extra-curriculars, be involved at church, play with their friends, be kind, be inclusive and more. That being said, like my students, they need structure and routine too in order manage their time and see what works best for them.

To wrap up my “tips from a teacher,” I decided to ask them what they think students should know going into a new school year, and here is what they said:

Hayden:

  • Go over new material when you learn it
  • Make friends
  • Pay attention in class

Hadley:

She texted me her response, and this is what she said:

  • Be organize (like with your backpack and schoolwork)
  • Don’t be worried about all the work people say you have (it’s not that bad)
  • Keep your old friends but also try and make new ones too.

*Maybe they have been listening when I talk 😉

One more thing before I go…

Blogiversary:

Today, is the 3rd “Blogiversary” for Show Me and Sweet Tea.

I started this blog in 2019, and to be honest, I’d wanted to start one for years. I love having this creative outlet, I look forward to writing posts, and I love sharing about family, fun, recipes, books, and more. This is my very own scrapbook of life, and I only wish I started it sooner. This SMST community is so amazing, and I appreciate my readers so much. I never imagined that I’d get to “know” so many of you and even grow as a blogger through the years.

As a thank you, I will choose one winner for a $30 gift card to one of my favorite places: Amazon, Trader Joe’s or Target. Your choice!

I believe when you comment, I will see your email address. So, I will email you and share the winner in Monday’s post.

Make sure to comment and let me know: What was your favorite year/grade in school and why?

I loved 4th grade because my teacher taught next door to her best friend. Our classroom had a wall that opened, so the classes would often be combined. Also, my teacher worked at an animal rescue, and would bring in animals that she would foster and care for until they could be adopted or released. Also, I remember being excited about being in the older grades, but not being the oldest in the school.

Anyway, I can’t say “Thank you” enough! I appreciate my readers so much.

As always, thanks so much for reading.

Posted in Thursday Thoughts, Travel

Thursday Thoughts

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Did you see my post on Tuesday? It’s not too late to get your corned beef and cabbage in the slow cooker!

Well, after St. Patrick’s Day, all I can think about is Spring Break. After Spring Break, all I can think about is summer 😉

With the weather feeling warmer and the sun shining most days, I’m really thinking about vacations.

Today, I’m sharing my Top 3 vacations. I’ve written more detailed posts on two of them, but today I’m also sharing some of the places on my TT (to travel) list.

Top 3 Vacays

1. Lake Tahoe

We went to Lake Tahoe for our tenth wedding anniversary in 2015. Our anniversary is in June, but we waited until my Fall Break in October to go.

The views were amazing, there was lots to do, and the weather was perfection. I would definitely go back there for sure!

2. Grand Canyon to Cali

A few years ago, Hayden mentioned wanting to visit the Grand Canyon. We thought that was a great idea because neither Travis nor I had been to the Grand Canyon as well. We also figured if the kids were wanting to go, we should. (rather than drag them there one day when they might not be as pumped to go.)

We spent a few days in Arizona before then driving to…

California. Travis knows I love Cali, and San Diego was an 8 hour drive. That seemed doable and a way for us to also hang out at another favorite place…the beach.

This trip meant driving from Lexington to Cincinnati, flying to Las Vegas, driving to Arizona (stayed three days), driving to San Diego (stayed four days), driving to LA (stayed two days), driving back to Las Vegas (for one night) before flying back to Cincinnati and driving home to Lex.

Shew! It was a great trip, and we were gone around 10 days, but we had such a wonderful time.

3. Napa

I’ve never blogged about this trip and could only find a few photos from our trip to Napa in 2008. This was pre-kids when we had lots of time on our hands. We were in California for about eight days. We were in Napa for most of it and then in San Francisco for a couple of days at the end of the trip.

We went to Napa with another couple and had so much fun. I will say that a week in Napa is enough. I love wine, but I swear we went to probably fifteen wineries.

One of our favorite wineries that we stumbled upon was Anomaly. It was quaint, the people were lovely and the scenery was perfection. We brought home three bottles of the wine from there from that trip. One we drank in 2009 when Hadley came home from the NICU, another we shared about six months later when we celebrated our five year wedding anniversary. Then, we took the last bottle with us to Tahoe to drink to celebrate our ten year anniversary. We’ve purchased a few more and been gifted one or two as well which we appreciate.

I couldn’t find the photo, but the next year for our anniversary Travis had one of his friends paint the Anomaly Vineyard from the photo I took. This painting still hangs above our fireplace.

I’ll cherish it always.

Fave Vacay Spots

We kind of have a rhythm with trips. For Fall break, we often head to Asheville.

Here are some posts I’ve shared:

Asheville is close to us and perfect for a quick getaway.

We’ve glamped…

We’ve hiked…

…and we’ve seen all the sights.

We went to Asheville for Spring break in 2018 (I think) with Hayden’s main requirement being we visit the Biltmore. It was a great trip as well.

For Spring break, we usually go somewhere pretty close. Last year, we went to Nashville to visit the Gaylord Opryland hotel.

We’ve also gone to South Carolina, Indianapolis, and Knoxville for Spring break.

The summer is our bigger vacation of the year. I always wish we could go somewhere warm in the winter, but it’s too hectic with the holidays and often going out of town to see family.

For summer vacation we often go to South Carolina or Siesta Key, Florida.

We’ve been to SC for Fall Break once, Spring Break once, and then summer vacay many times. Hands down the best time to visit SC is in the fall…as long as there isn’t a hurricane happening 😉

Siesta Key is another favorite vacation spot. We are lucky because Trav’s aunt and uncle own a house there. They are generous enough to share it with the family.

As my kids have gotten older and their schedules are busier, it’s hard to plan a vacation too far in advance. So, it’s great to have this option as our “go to” whenever the schedule allows.

on our 10th wedding anniversary in 2015
2020
2020

Bucket List:

We definitely have a list of places we’d like to travel either as a couple or with the kids.

  • New York: We actually had our 2020 Spring Break trip planned to take the kids to NYC, but had to cancel it once the reality of the pandemic was setting in. I’d still like to take them there.
  • DC: This is definitely on our short list for Fall or Spring Break.
  • Hawaii: Of course, that will be a trip we need to plan for…but I also just can’t get over how long it will take us to actually get there…which means I’ll feel like we definitely need to stay for a good stretch of time.
  • Nantucket: I don’t know if any of my family is interested in visiting Nantucket, but I sure am.
  • Pacific NW: This would be another great family vacation.
  • London, Paris, Ireland: In high school, I went on a ten day (I think) tour of Europe, but I’d love to go back. Hadley would love to go to Paris.
  • Virgin Islands: I’ve heard such great things about BVI, and I’d love to go.
  • Mexico

The last time we were in Mexico was 2005 on our honeymoon.

We look like babies!

I like that we’ve taken our kids to both familiar and new places through the years. While we aren’t world travelers, they’ve certainly seen many parts of the U.S., and maybe we’ll get abroad one day. That being said, when we go to Asheville, Isle of Palms, and especially Siesta Key, they are very familiar with those places and have some favorite restaurants and activities that “we have to do” when visiting.

What places should I add to our “to travel” list?

If only we had more time, energy, and, oh yeah — money (haha!), we’d be able to cross some of these places off our list a little sooner.

See you back here tomorrow for Friday Favorites.

Posted in Me, Self-care, Thursday Thoughts

Thursday Thoughts: Dime Beauty

Hello! Today, I’m sharing a bit about some favorite skincare products. Now, my blog is the farthest thing from a beauty blog as you can get. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, Hadley knows more about hair and makeup (even though she only wears it for dance competitions) than I do. That being said, I’ve tried to up my skincare game through the years because while I don’t mind looking my age, I’d like to do what I can to have an effective skincare regimen.

My Skincare Journey:

I’d say I’ve been consistently using skincare products for about ten years…probably since my early 30’s. I definitely should have started sooner, but I’ve now made skincare a priority.

I mostly used drug store products but for the past five years, I’ve tried various products off and on such as Rodan and Fields and Mary Kay. Once I started using these more expensive products, I kind of mixed and matched high and low price points. For example, I’d use Neutrogena face wash, but then follow that with a more expensive moisturizer.

For about four years now, I’ve gotten monthly facials. I rotate my treatments between chemical peels, dermaplane, microdermabrasion, and facials. While I’ve felt guilty splurging on this luxury for myself, I’ve noticed a considerable difference in my skin while prioritizing these monthly treatments.

Now, on to what I really want to talk about….Dime Beauty.

Dime Beauty:

I guess you could say that I’ve been “influenced.” Since the summer, I’ve been using Dime Beauty products, and I’ve been loving them. Quite a few influencers have shared their products. Jen Reed (@thesisterstudioig) is the first one I saw to promote the products, and she even visited their facility and spoke with the founders.

I’ve also seen Lacey (@ponderosa_and_plaid), Autumn Calabrese (@autumncalabrese), Mary Beth (@livinwithmb) and others share the products they love. I’ve used their codes along the way too for discounts.

The products I use:

*descriptions/key benefits from dimebeautyco.com

Started with…

Honestly, the first product that piqued my interest was the Super Firm Serum. While placing that first order and knowing I use moisturizer both morning and night, I added those to the cart and got free shipping.

In the mornings, I wash my face and then use my regular toner (Thayers). Then, I apply the:

  • Dewy Day Cream

At night, I use a makeup wipe (which I think is a “no no,” but…convenience sometimes wins out!), then I use my regular toner followed by:

  • Super Firm Serum and the Restorative Night Cream

Dewy Day Cream:

Two pumps is all you need of the Dewy Day Cream.

Key Benefits: replenishes skin, helps promote collagen and elastin growth, plumps and firms skin

Super Firm Serum:

I just use one to two drops and apply to my face.

Key Benefits: tightening and firming, helps accelerate collagen and elastin production, works to limit muscle contraction

Restorative Night Cream:

Like with the Dewy Day Cream, I just use two pumps of the night cream as well.

Key Benefits: restores dry and damaged skin, maintains soft and hydrated skin, revitalizes shine and complexion, fights the aging process

For both creams, I apply any leftover cream to the back of my hands. I figure I might as well use it wherever needed!

Then…

I started using the Gentle Jelly Cleanser and Luminosity Eye Serum.

I now use the Gentle Jelly Cleanser in the mornings to wash my face.

I added the Luminosity Eye Serum to my evening routine as well.

Gentle Jelly Cleanser:

Two pumps of the Jelly Cleanser is all I need to wake my skin up in the morning.

I do only use it in the morning and have continued to use my makeup wipe in the evening.

Key Benefits: Removes dirt, oil, and makeup, hydrates and soothes after cleansing, softens skin texture after consistent use, protects the skin from damage caused by environmental stressors

Luminosity Eye Serum:

A little bit of this goes a long way, and I apply it under my eyes, crows feet and arch of eyebrow. I only use this product during my nighttime skincare routine.

Key Benefits: improves youthful appearance beneath the eyes, improve dark circles, lessen puffiness, improve fine lines and wrinkles

Newest Additions:

Blue Facial Oil:

Mary Beth (@livingwithmb) shared about the Blue Facial Oil, and I was curious. Thankfully, I don’t get many blemishes, but I also thought this may be of use to my kids as they’ve started paying more attention to skincare (Read: they now occasionally wash their faces)

I just use a couple of drops and pat it on my face. I use this two to three nights a week after the Restorative Night Cream.

Key Benefits: anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, spot treatment, promotes wound healing, antioxidant-rich, hydration

“Cons”: It is an oil, so I end up washing my hands after using this product.

Daytime Order of Product use:

  • Gentle Jelly Cleanser
  • Toner (Thayers)
  • Serum (Revolution Hyaluronic Acid)
  • Dewy Day Cream

Daytime Order of Product use:

  • Makeup wipe
  • Toner (Thayers)
  • Super Firm Serum
  • Luminosity Eye Serum
  • Restorative Night Cream
  • Blue Facial Oil (a few days a week)

Perfume:

Emily (@champagneandchanel) shared about Dime Beauty’s perfumes. I apply a spray of perfume every morning, and am not too picky about what I use. Honestly, most perfumes I have last for years because I don’t use much. So, I was in need of some perfume and thought the sample set would be the perfect way to choose which one I liked best.

Their perfume is made with a clean alcohol, and the sample pack included these scents:

The scents:

  • ILYSB (I love you so bad), sandalwood, gardenia
  • Lovely Dreams – floral citrus scent
  • Malibu Night – coconut musk and berries
  • 7 Summers – warm cream scent with touch of vanilla lavender

My favorite scent from the pack is 7 Summers followed by Lovely Dreams. That being said, I’ve been rotating which ones I use and wear them all.

Some things I love about the products:

  • Vegan + Cruelty Free
  • Clean Ingredients
  • Made in the USA
  • I feel the products working on my skin.
  • Price point is great
  • Many influencers have codes you can use for discounts
  • You can earn points to apply towards future purchases. (I’ve even written reviews of the products and earned discounts/free shipping)

Also…

I feel like the products last for quite some time. I’ve gotten about:

  • 2.5-3 months out of the day and night creams
  • The cleanser has lasted me longer than three months, but I only use it in the morning (and my make up wipes at night)
  • 2 months for the Super Firm Serum
  • 3 months for Luminosity Eye Serum
  • I assume the Blue Oil will last a while because I only use it a few days a week.

Up next, I hope to try their Super Skin Toner.

Like I said before, I’ve used a variety of product lines through the years. I’ve never really been disappointed in those products, but I feel like Dime Beauty products are ones I will continue to re-order and use without hesitation.

Have you tried any Dime Beauty products? I believe they just came out with a sunscreen too!

What are your favorite skincare products?

See you back here tomorrow for Friday Favorites.

Posted in Me, Thursday Thoughts

Thursday Thoughts

Hello! Today, I have a Thursday Thoughts post.

I’ve shared Erin’s (@cathartic_word) Enneagram graphics in previous posts. When I’m scrolling the ‘Gram, I immediately stop and look at her posts. Her Enneagram graphics are amazing, and I immediately swipe to see what she’s created for 5w6.

I’ve had this “Things each Enneagram loves” post saved for a while, and today I’m breaking down my thoughts on the 5 (investigator) and the 6 (loyalist).

Things each Enneagram type loves…

Type 5:

  • Quiet time: Heck yes. I’ve shared before that I need my morning quiet time to start my day. If I can have pockets of quiet time throughout the day, that’s even better!
  • Take out: While I love eating out, I also enjoy just getting take out and eating dinner at home in the comfort of my home. There’s nothing better than pajamas, a good book, and food I didn’t have to cook 😉
  • No plans: Do you know what’s better than no plans? Cancelled plans! haha
  • Long talks: This one is less like me than the others. I think after talking all day long with students, I’m ok with shorter conversations. That being said, it’s always good to catch up with someone I haven’t seen in a while.
  • Their bed: Absolutely! While I don’t mind travelling, there are times I’ve left my house thinking about how many nights of sleep until I’m back at home and in my own bed (with my favorite pillow, my weighted blanket, and my sound machine! #highmaintenancesleeper)
  • New books: Have you met me? This is a definite yes. I love a new book! It’s like meeting a new friend.

Type 6:

  • Stationery: It must be the teacher in me because I do love stationery.
  • Multiple cups: of coffee?? haha I do have my favorite coffee mug, water tumbler, and wine glass. I guess I am particular about my drinkware!
  • New pens: Again, the teacher in me…I start every year off with a new pack of pens. My faves are Optimus Fine Point Pen or Paper Mater Flair.
  • Dinner date: Sure! It’s not often we get to go out, but I do love grabbing dinner out with Travis.
  • Reliable Friends: I’ve learned through the years it’s the quality not the quantity of many things, including friends! I appreciate those who “get” me and are there for me.
  • Mismatched socks: uh no. This is definitely not me! It drives me crazy when I can’t find the match to a sock.

I feel like this glimpse of what a 5w6 Enneagram type loves is pretty spot on.

You should definitely check out Ashton’s Instagram account. She has so many fun Enneagram posts, and she often shares cute seasonal graphics that can be used for phone backgrounds.

See you back here tomorrow for Friday Favorites.

Posted in Me, Thursday Thoughts

Thursday Thoughts: My Routines

Hello there! A few weeks ago, Amy shared a post about her routines, and I thought it would be fun to reflect on some of my routines. I’ve shared my skin care routine in the past as well as our routine when we did distance/virtual learning, and even my workout routine, so I thought I’d dig a bit deeper into some of my other routines.

Y’all, I love a routine. My former principals had us take a personality quiz once to assess our strengths and my strengths were consistency, discipline, and connecting. I thrive on a routine and would be lost without structure! 😆

Health and Skincare Routine:

I have a morning and night skincare routine of washing my face, using toner, then applying my daytime or night time moisturizer. I also use eye cream both morning and night.

I’ve shared before that I’ve been treating myself to monthly facials for over four years now! It’s such a treat to have that appointment on my calendar once a month. The membership that I have includes one treatment a month: facial, dermaplane, microdermabrasion, or chemical peel. Dermaplane and chemical peel are my faves!

Having my nails painted is a non-negotiable for me. If I don’t have my nails painted, then I don’t feel put together at all. I usually paint them every Sunday or Monday. Of course, I also love to get a gel manicure when I can.

I’m thankful that I can get away with washing my hair three times a week. I used to wash it religiously every other day, but I think Covid helped me out, and I got used to washing it less.

I shower at night. I cannot go to bed unless I’ve showered. I’ve tried, and I just can’t do it.

I get low lights/highlights and my hair trimmed every 10 weeks.

While my workouts may vary depending on what I have time to complete or how I’m feeling, I do try to workout at least five days a week. Lately, I’ve been doing four days of Beach Body videos and walking two days a week. My motivation through the week is to have a day off from working out on Sunday.

Speaking of eating…I still try to incorporate intermittent fasting when possible and eat low carb at least one day a week. I’m forever working on my water intake, but the effort is there!

Night/Morning Routine:

I typically wake up 6:00, and I definitely try to be in bed by 10:00. There are some nights that I’m so tired, I do so earlier, and the kids come tell me goodnight haha! I like to read before bed and try to be asleep by 10:30 if not earlier.

I still have my morning quiet time with coffee and blog reading. I seriously have to ease into my day. There have been a few times when I’ve hit snooze a time or two (or even forgotten to set an alarm!), and hitting the ground running is not my style! I feel so “off” if I haven’t had my time in the morning.

I also have at least one cup of coffee before waking the kids, and then I fill up my travel mug to finish my coffee drinking at school!

Meal Planning:

I have a small paper calendar on my fridge where I write activities and meals for all the fam to see. Once I have activities written out for the week, I meal plan dinners. I used to do grocery pick up on Sunday, but for a couple of months now, I’ve made every effort to place my order on Friday for Saturday pick up. It’s nice having a full fridge for Sunday breakfast and lunch. I also sometimes use my slow cooker on Sundays, so I like having all my dinner items.

I typically make something on Sunday that can be leftovers for Monday. Mondays just tend to be busy with school and often activities. I just don’t want to have to cook when I get home. On Tuesdays, we usually have pork loin, tacos, or chicken because I try to eat low carb on at least Tuesdays. Then, I will cook again on Wednesday and Thursdays. (If I get lucky and make a hearty soup or casserole Wednesday, I don’t have to cook on Thursday!)

Around the House:

After diner, I always set coffee pot for morning, so that the coffee is waiting for me when I get up!

Our bed gets made every single morning. Every. Single. Morning. Also, I can’t just toss the quilt and comforter up…the bed has to be made right. If I’m on a time crunch in the morning, Travis will make it. He understands how important this task is for me!

My house may not always be clean, but if you randomly stop by, it’s most likely tidy. Travis is more of the cleaner, and I’m more of the tidier, so that works out well. I also tidy up before bedtime, by making sure dishes are in the dish washer and the pillows are straight on couch.

When the kids were little and had tons of toys, I just always felt better having them picked up even though I knew they’d get them out again the next morning.

In the fall and in the spring, I tend to organize the kids’ rooms and closets as well as go through their clothes to see what doesn’t fit anymore and can be donated.

It’s pretty rare for me to do laundry during the week as that tends to be a weekend chore. I typically sort the kids’ clean clothes on Monday for them to put up Monday after school.

The Kids:

The kids have a good shower rotation going although I’ve told them they are to the age where nightly showers are about to happen. Also, why is it that kids don’t want to shower, but then they also don’t want to get out of the shower?!?! I swear, I spend just as much time telling them to get out of the shower as I do begging them to get in!

After school, the kids take their backpacks to their rooms, bring me any school materials I need to see, plug in their Chromebooks, and unpack their lunchboxes (if needed).

Like I said above, Monday’s chore is to put up clean laundry (and pull up the trash cans up from the curb)

After dinner, they make their lunches for the next day if needed. I used to live for the square (rectangle?) school pizza, but they hate it! I wish I enjoyed making lunches, and sometimes I will help, but I typically tell them that if they are taking their lunches, they are making them. This some times deters Hayden. Just yesterday, he bought school lunch even though he initially said he didn’t want to buy!

They make their beds daily. Sometimes I help, but I don’t waiver on this chore. I used to show my students this video, and I’ve shown it to Hayden and Hadley. Bed making is a non-negotiable. (Fun Fact: sometimes on the weekend, I make their bed for them as a trade off for making it during the week. Plus, I figure I’m home more on the weekend to walk past their rooms and see the made beds!)

In the evenings, we have a general rule of the kids being off electronics by 8:00, and in bed by 9:30. Some nights are hit or miss, but I feel better having these expectations in place.

On Sundays, they tidy up their rooms for the week. I kind of let them let it go during the week, but I feel like Sunday is the perfect time for a reset.

I’m sure they will turn out fine with minimal help from a therapist. Yikes! 🤣

What about you? What are some of your routines? What do you have your kids do?

I hope you are having a great week! It’s almost the weekend!

I’m sure most of you have similar routines, but typing out my bed making situation made me feel like a crazy person 😬🤣

Thanks so much for reading.

Posted in Everyday Life, Thursday Thoughts

Thursday Thoughts: One Year of the Pandemic

With Hayden and Hadley finally getting back to school last week, and then this week 9th and 12th graders back in my building, I’ve certainly been reflecting on the upcoming one year mark of the pandemic shutting everything down and causing everyone’s life to come to a screeching halt.

Friday, March 13, 2020 was our last day of school. Friday the 13th will always be an easy day to remember as coinciding with the pandemic ramping up. Teachers always pay attention to a date like Friday the 13th as well as when there’s a full moon 😂

Anyway, just as I was thinking I may write about this past year piggybacking on last week’s Back to School post, I read Shelly ‘s post (at The Queen in Between blog) sharing that she had listened to Laura Tremaine’s podcast10 Questions to Mark One Year of the Pandemic.

I thought I’d use these 10 questions as a guide to reflect on this past year.

1. What was life like in early 2020?

Life was very “normal” in early 2020. I think it was late February when we started to hear more about the Coronavirus. The week before school shut down, I went with Hadley’s Girl Scout troop on an overnight field trip in Ohio. There was definitely talk of precautions that would be put in place at COSI to make the field trip safe. On Tuesday, March 10, we gave the ACT at school while school closure talk was heightened. The governor started holding daily afternoon press conferences. My dad was about to visit, and my brother and I were shocked he still decided to visit as with each day and each press conference more restrictions were being put into place. He arrived on Thursday, March 12. While I made dinner, I asked him to pay attention to the daily briefing because we’d heard that he’d make an announcement about school closures. He then said, March 13th would be the last day of in person learning for a while.

2. What was the biggest change?

The biggest change was life coming to a screeching halt! All of the sudden, we were supposed to stay home, learn online, and not socialize.

3. What were your coping mechanisms?

Unfortunately, I think one of my coping mechanisms was cooking and baking! lol

Also, when I feel like life is “out of control,” I try to control what I can! So, I continued with a routine, made sure to get outside for a walk, and keep life as normal as possible for Hayden and Hadley.

4. What did connection in your relationships look like?

Well, as a family, we spent a lot of time together. We went from running everywhere with school and activities to all four of us being at home. We had to be more intentional with family relationships with phone calls, text messages, Zoom, and Face time.

I felt like it was difficult navigating some friendships. No friendships were lost during this time, but there were varying degrees of opinions and following of protocols based on health issues or beliefs.

5. What will you remember the most?

Honestly, I will remember this extra time together as a family of four. I’m a rule follower and an introvert, so when things shut down and we were told to stay home, I kind of embraced it. Of course, once days turned to weeks and weeks turned to months, of course, I missed “what was,” but the kids were at a great age to be home. They could be independent, but then we also made time for things that we wouldn’t usually have done like “Game Night” on a Wednesday or bike rides as a family.

6. What was the biggest challenge?

For me, the biggest challenge was knowing the right thing to do. Again, as a rule follower, I had no trouble following the rules of stay home, masking up, and keeping distance. My anxiety crept up when some restrictions were lessened, and it was time to make decisions about the kids playing sports, going on vacation, visiting family, etc.

I also worried about loved ones staying healthy and safe as well as family who live alone.

7. What was a beautiful memory?

One specific memory doesn’t pop into mind, but again, the time at home as a family was very meaningful. I also *mostly* enjoyed being home with them for school. (We had a good balance with them going to the pod two days a week). We are already back to being very busy, so I’m already reflecting on when we were able to slow down and not have 100 things on our plates.

Another beautiful memory was getting the vaccine. Again, I feel blessed that teachers were made a priority, so they would feel safe once students returned to school. Now, that second vaccine knocked me on my tail, but I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

8. What do you believe now that you didn’t one year ago?

It’s amazing how resilient and adaptable people are when they have to be.

Also, not that I didn’t know it before, but there are so many good people in the world. First responders, front line workers, educators, and others were all tested, but felt the support of people near and far. Also, communities, schools, neighbors and others all came together when needed.

9. What would you do differently?

I’m not sure there’s anything I would do differently. It is just crazy to me how from mid-March to the beginning of April, each day with each daily briefing from the governor added a new layer of severity with the pandemic. We went from thinking schools would be shut down for two weeks to students in our district not returning to the classrooms for almost a year. It wasn’t that I didn’t take it seriously, it’s just that I’ve never lived through anything like that, so, like most, I thought this would all be short-lived. I actually appreciated the layered implementation of restrictions because it gave us time to plan and adjust rather than panic.

10. What will you carry forward?

Besides always having hand sanitizer nearby??😬 I will remember the goodness of others and cherish the memories and time at home with my family.

Final Thoughts:

I can’t believe that it’s been a year of social distancing, mask wearing, and constant hand sanitizing.

I counted my blessings throughout this entire year. I’ve been thankful for a cozy home, a job, food on the table, the health and wellness of my family, and feeling safe and secure during this time. It was never lost on me that there were doctors and nurses working 80 hours a week, people lost loved ones, and others hardly left their homes.

It wasn’t easy, and some days were harder than others. As a mom and a teacher, I sometimes felt the weight of the world on my shoulders. I felt anxious, overwhelmed, and exhausted at times. Once Hayden and Hadley returned to school, a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. It was only then that I realized the amount of stress I’d sometimes been carrying with underlying worry.

The month of March always brings a sense of renewal to me with the weather, the school year winding down, and summer on the horizon. I’m hoping that we continue move forward, with no setbacks, so that Covid can be in the rearview mirror sooner rather than later!

What was your biggest challenge this past year, and what has been a beautiful memory for you?

I hope you’re having a great week! See you back here tomorrow for Friday Favorites.

Posted in Kids, School, Thursday Thoughts

Thursday Thoughts

Hello and Happy Thursday. How is your week going?! We are in that transition to back to school (yay!) which means earlier wake up calls, the hustle and bustle of making lunches and packing backpacks, and the rush of getting out the door. While that all can be exhausting, I’m here for it!

Today, I’m reflecting on the last 355 days at home for virtual learning as I know it’s a time the kids and I will always remember, and this post will be perfect to have those thoughts all in one place.

Virtual Learning:

  • March – May 2020: We all mastered Google Meet and Google Classroom. We lived in two weeks chunks of time while decisions were made at the state and district level about in person learning. Most days, the kids could sleep in before joining their class Google Meet at 10:00. They were on with their teachers for about an hour before completing their work for the day. Even a field trip and field day took place virtually. We missed out on fun events like the school carnival. I heard the sadness in their teachers’ voices as they said goodbye for the summer. None of us realized how long we’d be out of school.
  • August 2020: Back to school was delayed a few weeks, and we started school on August 26 rather than August 12th. Leading up to the first day of school, we drove through the car line at school to pick up materials and meet the teachers from our car while wearing masks. We decided to send the kids to a pod (at my friend Amy’s with their school friends…mostly girls, much to Hayden’s chagrin!) two days a week. “Back to School Night” was held via Zoom.
  • August 2020-March 2021: Synchronous and Asynchronous instruction were the new “buzz words” for the year. We mastered Zoom, Canvas, and Google Classroom. The kids’ school day was much more structured, and they spent most of the morning on Zoom. They had a 1.5 hour chunk of time for lunch and would often play with their friends in the neighborhood or at the school play ground. They would get back on Zoom in the afternoon for the last hour of the school day. Parent/teacher conferences we held via telephone. We lived in bigger chunks of time while waiting for decisions on return to in person learning. The number of school activities the kids missed out on is endless: field trips, lunch bunch, spaghetti/puzzle night, chorus concerts, academic team, clubs, the books fair, and more. January 2021: Their school schedule basically remained the same, but with an earlier start time and a bit more structure with the goal of prepping for a return to in person learning. Late February 2021: We learned that K-2 would begin on February 22 and 3rd-5th grades would start on March 3.

What we thought would be a few weeks in March and April of 2020 turned into months…and almost of a year of learning at home.

Real talk: I actually teared up typing this time line…I can’t believe we’ve made it through this time. There have certainly been ups, downs, learning curves, tears, frustration, and more.

Thankfully, they have amazing teachers who have hosted virtual lunch bunch, dropped off gifts on front porches, met with students individually who were struggling academically, made phone calls home with words of encouragement, waved as we drove through the car line, and so much more.

At the pod, the kids were able to read in groups, play games, bake, have holiday parties, learn about the election process, go roller skating, and experience many more fun activities.

Memories at home learning provided us…

and some things I will miss about at home learning...

  • The kids showing me what they are working on and asking for help.
  • Meals: enjoying leisurely breakfasts and lunches. (Bonus: Hadley now can make a quesadilla and soup on her own. Hayden has mastered heating Spaghetti O’s on the stove and can make a mean grilled cheese!)
  • Hearing their awesome teachers and the sweet replies of their classmates.
  • (also) Hearing Hayden and Hadley’s thoughtful responses when sharing answers with their classes.
  • Friday Chick-fil-A lunch
  • Time outside with them during “recess” and going for walks
  • Flexibility and maximizing our time: I’ve been able to start dinner in the slow cooker at 10:00 am vs 7:00 am, they’ve completed chores on a break, and we’ve been able to schedule ortho appointments during lunch break.
  • Extra Homer snuggles
  • Impromptu play dates during recess or learning at home with friends
  • Pajama pants as suitable school attire!

That being said, it’s time. It’s been 355 days since they’ve walked into their school building. They only have nine weeks left in the elementary school building they’ve attended since kindergarten.

Real talk (again!): I’ve also said that their age during this time has been a blessing. They are old enough to work pretty independently, but are young enough to still need me. I will treasure this experience forever, but I’m also happy to release them to the elementary educational professionals 😉

I asked them both what they will miss about at home learning and why they are excited to return to the building. Here are their responses:

Hayden:

I will miss being at home with Homer all day.

I’m excited to actually be in the school building to learn with my teachers and friends.

Hadley:

I will miss being able to stay in my pjs while learning at home.

I’m excited to see my friends and my teacher in person.

A few photos:

First day at the pod: August 26, 2020

Last day at the pod: March 2, 2021

First day of 5th grade: August 26, 2020

First day of in person learning, 5th grade: March 3, 2021

Back to School Breakfast (again!)

I decided to have another back to school breakfast, and was able to put this together pretty quickly thanks to a trip to The Dollar Tree (thanks, Amy, for the idea!) and a few items from my “Back to School Breakfast tub.

I love these little lunch trays from The Dollar Tree, and I assembled an easy breakfast of donuts, yogurts, Cuties, and juice boxes.

I got them each a little notebook and the “Star Student” tags were perfect for the lunch trays.

Other Back to School Breakfast posts:

When they enter the building, they go through a thermal scanner to have their temperatures taken, there are plastic dividers at their desks, they will eat lunch at their desks, they have to stay with their classes at recess, and some of the their specials teachers will come to them.

I received emails from both kids within the first couple hours of school 😂

Hayden was telling me he’d forgotten his watch, and could I bring it to school (the answer was no) 😂, and Hadley’s email brought tears to my eyes. She said she was so happy to be at school and that her teacher cried happy tears!

Their assistant principal sent me pictures of them at their desks. Hadley looks so happy, and I’m proud of Hayden for “going with the flow.” ( I know that’s not easy for him).

Hadley’s teacher shared this photo with me. So far, Hadley has been pretty consistent with her plans to be an elementary school teacher 😊

I know school will look so different compared to when they were last there on March 13, 2020, but I’m forever grateful for the school administrators, teachers and staff who have made this transition from at home learning to in person learning as smooth as possible. The school sign said, ‘Welcome back,” there were lawn letters greeting them with sweet “back to school” wishes, and so many wonderful teachers were outside waving and opening car doors at car line yesterday morning.

Everyone was smiling: students, teachers, and parents, and even a mask couldn’t hide the enthusiasm that returning to the school building after 355 days has brought to everyone.

My wish for the kids: “You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!” ~ Dr. Seuss

(read: mom loves you, but bye!) 😉

The weight of the pandemic, as a mom and as a teacher, has been very difficult…probably more difficult than I have realized at times. Getting my kids back to school yesterday was a huge step towards normalcy, and I felt a weight lift off my shoulders. Next week, students start to return to my school building, and I’m so looking forward to that next step as well!

Thanks so much for reading today’s post. I hope you’re having a great week. I know mine sure has taken a turn for the better!