Posted in Friday Favorites, Traditions

Friday Favorites

Whew! We made it to Friday. I spent so much time trying to get my life together this week that I’m exhausted 😉 I feel like this was our first full week of summer (at home) and maybe we are getting into a groove?

I’m linking up with Erika and Andrea for this Friday Favorites post.

Favorite Pic:

We sure missed Homer while on vacation. This sweet face greeted us on Saturday when we got home.

Favorite Moment:

We went to Evans Orchard and picked strawberries this week. We’d never done that before, so I thought it would be fun. This is the orchard we usually go to when we pick out our pumpkins and is about a 30 minute drive from Lexington.

The orchard decides how many quarts they have available for picking and at 5:00 posts the quarts for sale ($6/quart and limit 2 per order) on their website for you to pick the next day. Some days they have more quarts for sale than other days. That being said, I set an alarm on my phone for 5:00 Monday to buy the quarts for Tuesday. I know some have mentioned when they have limited quarts they sell out quickly.

Anyway, we arrived around 11:00 on Tuesday and went in to get our purchased quarts. Once we got to the strawberry “patch” we were assigned a lane to stay in to pick our berries. While we were there, there was only one other family. We took our time picking our berries in lane 7 and then went inside to purchase their apple cider donuts. #myweakness I didn’t realize they sold the donuts year round! I was only going to get on 6 pack, but Hayden talked be into buying two packs #twistmyarm

So, I shared these photos on Facebook and had a few people comment that they’d never seen a strawberry patch like this. Like I said, this was our first time going, so I knew no different! Each column of berries spins around, so you can find the best berries. Apparently, strawberries usually grow on the ground. #Imnotafarmer

We got our $6/quart worth!

Favorite Kid Quote:

I don’t necessarily have a favorite kid quote this week, but we did go see my brother and his family for my brother’s birthday. The kids played and had a good time together. They hadn’t really played together for quite some time. It was sweet seeing them run around and have fun together.

Favorite Shows:

Some new (to me) shows I’ve been watching are: House in a Hurry, Good Bones, and Alexa & Katie.

Earlier this summer, I stumbled upon House in a Hurry. Basically, the people are on a time crunch to find a home, so it’s kind of like a quick version of House Hunters. That being said, you get to know the people and their lives a bit more. A couple of episodes had me in tears. One man grew up in a one bedroom apartment with many family members, and he was moving his family to Arizona from California to cut down on his drive time to work, so he could spend more time with this family. Two of his three kids have special needs. Once they found their home, he was in tears with appreciation and relief.

Compare that to another episode where the couple had a $1M budget to move to Florida and the wife came off cold, controlling, and out of touch with reality! So there’s a mix, but seeing that tense episode made me appreciate the even more heart warming episodes that much more.

While in Florida, I stumbled upon Good Bones. I’ve heard of it, but just never watched it. Hayden and I watched some episodes, but then when I got home, I started on Season 1. I really like it.

Lastly, Hadley has always watched Alexa & Katie on Netflix. I knew the premise and had seen that the mom on the show is Tiffani Thiessen who I love from my Saved by the Bell days! Anyway, Hadley started the last and final season, and I watched a few episodes. So, now I’ve started season 1 and Hadley’s been watching it with me. We usually just watch one episode in the morning while having coffee (for me) and breakfast (for her).

Favorite Mom Meme:

Adulting. #amIright?

This meme made me laugh out loud! Thankfully, my kids are good sleepers. In the summer, I used to always threaten Travis to be quiet while getting ready for work as to let the kids sleep as long as possible. As they’ve gotten older (and thanks to sound machines in their rooms), they seem to sleep through most anything until at least 9:00…maybe even later if I’m lucky!

Bonus Fave: Flashback Friday

This sweet pic popped up my Facebook memories. Isle of Palm, SC. June 2013. Obviously, the hand holding is sweet, but for whatever reason, Hayden holding the little plastic boat slays me!

Flash forward to June 2014 and I planned ahead for a cute beach pic session when we vacationed at Folly Beach, SC. The kids were bribed big time with ice cream…and I’m not ashamed of it!

Weekly Recap

Here are my other posts from this week.

Thanks so much for reading. Don’t forget to check out the other ladies’ posts too! Have a great weekend!

Posted in Friday Favorites, Holidays, Traditions

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

Posted in Traditions

Pumpkin Patch

Happy Wednesday! I touched on it a bit in Monday’s post, but going to the pumpkin patch in the fall is hands down my most favorite family tradition.

Through the years, we’ve gone with family, with friends, and with just the four of us. We were limited on time on Sunday before Hayden’s soccer game, but we made it to Evans Orchard for about an hour and a half on Sunday. Rather than wait in the long line to buy tickets for the activity area, we just took our time looking at pumpkins, getting our hot apple cider and apple cider donuts, and enjoying the nice weather.

I love that Evans Orchard changes the picture backdrop each year, and I’m even happier that my kids know the way to my heart is a good family photo. #hushupandsmile!

Trips to the orchard used to just be Travis and myself, and we haven’t missed a year at an orchard since the kids were born…and here’s the collage to prove it! 2010 – 2018.

2010 to 2018

2019 pic!

The weather was perfect on Sunday. Some years it’s soooo hot and last year was freeeeeezing…I couldn’t believe it. The weather was so cold that I almost broke tradition, but of course, I’m glad I didn’t.

Trav and the kids
Hadley always asks me to take the photo in portrait mode #diva

My favorite part is seeing the pumpkins in various sizes, shapes, and colors. I swear when I was a kid these kinds of pumpkins didn’t exist.

We learned a long time ago that one 6 pack of donuts isn’t enough, so we at least buy two!

I don’t remember this photo op last year at Evans Orchard, but I loved it. And, what I loved more was Hadley said, “Mom, take our picture by the truck!” #girlaftermyownheart

Hot apple cider and pumpkins…what more could you ask for?

And, lastly, a pic with my two pumpkins. They sure are getting big! They each chose a great pumpkin to carve, and we will do that closer to Halloween…Don’t get me started with pumpkin carving…someone always ends up crying. haha. Why do my kids overestimate their parents’ pumpkin carving skills?!

That’s a wrap on our traditional pumpkin patch visit. What are your favorite fall traditions and activities?

I hope you are having a great week,

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweetea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea

Posted in School, Traditions

Back to School (Breakfast!)

We started back to school this week…and the go to bed at a decent time / wake up early struggle is real (for the adults as well as the kids!) Once the kids started kindergarten, I decided I better go all in to get them excited about going back to school. To be honest, my goal with sending them off to school to have the best day ever is also for myself. Each year, I’m a little sad when I realize how quickly time is passing. Also, each year, it’s hard for me to get in my own back to school groove. While I’m always happy to get back in my classroom and meet new students, it’s not as simple as that. As a teacher, with the return to school, it also means: meetings, organizing my classroom, planning lessons, making copies, learning 150 new names, writing a professional growth plan, evaluations, waking up early…the list goes on and on…as well as juggling life and activities at home.

One of my favorite blogs to read is Momfessionals. She is a teacher as well and does a Back to School Brinner (breakfast for dinner) the night before school starts. http://www.momfessionals.com/2019/08/back-to-school-brinner.html#more

After reading about her brinner a few years ago, I thought it would be fun to start the Back to School Breakfast tradition at my house.

It may look like a lot of effort goes into kicking the school year off right for my family, but I have it down to a science now, and I keep all my props in a tub with lid that I just pull out when it’s time for our Back to School Breakfast.

I set up the night before school starts. I’m always afraid I will forget something in the morning if I wait until then.

I bake the muffins a day or two before. Usually, I ‘m throwing a PopTart at them to eat in the morning, so I’m always happy to start the school year with muffins, yogurt, and strawberries. The muffins are just made from a Betty Crocker mix. Easy peasy.

I printed the “Back to School Breakfast” page off of the internet back when the kids were in kindergarten and have kept it in a folder for safe keeping.

Like most of my back to school books, I found This School Year Will Be the Best Yet on Amazon a few years ago. When the kids were younger, we usually read it after the first day of school, but now that doesn’t seem to always happen.

I always just pull a few apples from the fridge to add as decoration, and the kids snack on them later, of course.

I’ve had this chalkboard for years. I actually have a couple of them, and sometimes I use them around the house. After using it for a breakfast decoration, the kids use it for the back to school pictures I make them take 😉

I believe this is the third year that I’ve purchased back to school cookies for the kids. I’ve had such great luck buying cookies from some local ladies to support their small businesses. These cookies are from Maddie’s Cookie Company here in Lexington,and I’ve even taken a couple of decorating classes from her. I always have so much fun and dream of doing this one day on the side…but it takes so much time and effort. I certainly understand the price point after seeing what goes in to making these cookies.

The black plates, book, napkins and paper apples all came from Amazon. Honestly, it was a 20 pack of napkins, but I use the same folded one every year. The apples came in a pack as well, and I just use a new one each year and write their new grade level on it. I think this is the second year I’ve use the folder as a placemat with the same sticky note with their name on it. The placemat idea came from the Momfessionals blog. Lastly, I’m always surprised with what books I find on Amazon after searching for whatever grade the kids are starting. Thankfully, both my kids like to read, so it’s a way to keep them reading and give them something to start the year.

Luckily, the kids oblige with my back to school pictures, and I appreciate it. Time is flying by, and it’s nice to have the pictures to compare each year. (while I’m curled up in the corner crying 😉 Hadley’s shirt is the best: More Summer Please!

It’s such a blessing to live so close to our kids’ elementary school. We always walk the first day (and I snap a backpack picture). We usually walk 2-3 days a week until November and then again in the spring when it warms up after spring break. We’d walk every day, but I have to hustle to school, so dropping off some days does provide for a quicker turn around time for me. I really enjoy walking with them, and Travis joins us on the walk as well (and this year, Homer too!)…thus giving the two of us 1:1 time when we walk home to get a plan for whatever activities we have going on after school or that week.

This year, their school really welcomed the students with cute and colorful yard signs!

Lastly, here’s my classroom as I start my 18th year of teaching. I’m hoping all three of us have a great year!

It’s hard to believe that I only have one more back to school breakfast for the kids before they start middle school. Middle school has a later start time, so I may have to use the Back to School Brinner idea because who knows what our mornings will look like once the kids are in 6th grade?! It may sound cheesy, but I always want all three of us to start the year putting our best feet forward, and I think the breakfast tradition is a great way to set the tone for the year.

I hope everyone has had a great first week of school. I’ve taken a nap every afternoon this week as the back to school transition is always the hardest on me! I’m planning on resting up this weekend before all of our activities start up next week!

Take care,

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweettea