Posted in Not Just a Mom

Not Just a Mom: Favorite Family Memories

Hello and Happy Monday! How was your weekend?

Friday’s weather was lovely, and we met some friends out for dinner. Saturday was such a rainy day! Torrential downpour pushed Hayden’s 3:30 game to 7:30. Sigh…yet another 7:30 game, that didn’t start until 8:00. and wasn’t over until after 10:00! That being said, at least we knew it was delayed while at home rather than start a game to have it rained out/delayed while at the ball park.

Sunday was gloomy and cool, so I made Shay’s Chicken Noodle Soup in the slow cooker, we changed all the sheets in the house, recovered from a late night, and prepped for the upcoming week.

Today, is our monthly Not Just a Mom link up! It’s so much fun co-hosting with these ladies:

Today’s topic is favorite family memories. With this topic, I immediately thought of memories as a kid, but also thought of some favorite memories as a family that I hope my kids always remember.

Favorite Family Memories as a Kid:

We often had Sunday family dinners at my grandparents’ house (my dad’s parents), and I loved running around in my grandma’s backyard, playing on the swing set, seeing cousins, and so much more. We also spent many 4th of Julyโ€™s there grilling out and watching fireworks.

Another favorite childhood memory was sledding in our front yard. Our house was on top of a big hill which was perfect for sledding. We definitely got snowy weather every winter in Missouri. We didn’t live on a busy street, but my mom or dad would stand across the street to tell us it was safe to sled because once we got going, it was hard to stop! We usually went right into our neighbor’s front yard before stopping!

80’s sledding photo with my brother, my mom, and our dog Maggie

The Plaza lights are a huge Kansas City attraction in the winter months. They are always lit on Thanksgiving evening and stay up until after Christmas. As a kid, we’d always drive through the Plaza to look at the lights and would then often stop at Winsteads for a burger and a shake!

We’ve taken my kids a few times when we visit KC for Thanksgiving. I hope this will be a favorite memory for them just like it was for me.

In my middle and high school years, we’d drive to see the “Magic tree” and drive through “Christmas in the Park” lights.

Here we are this year as a family visiting the Magic Tree that I did too so many years ago.

As a kid, we often visit the Lake of the Ozarks with my mom’s parents. They had a house boat for most of my childhood. We’d fish, swim, play Solitaire (cards!) on the deck of the house boat, walk to the store by the dock to get a Tootsie pop, and so many other fun memories. I remember what a big deal it was to take a bath at the lake…in the lake. My grandpa was so funny and we’d lather up and jump in the lake. He’d say we were clean enough doing it that way!

the lake life as kids

Also, back home in KC, my grandparents belonged to a country club. My brother and I loved going to the pool and getting an ice cream bar when we were finished swmming.

Other favorite family childhood memories included going to World of Fun and Oceans of Fun (KC attractions) with my cousins as well as going on vacations to California, Colorado, Minnesota, Maine and other places.

I definitely had a great childhood filled with wonderful memories which is why I guess I feel like it’s so important to provide opportunities and traditions to create memories for my kids.

Favorite Memories with my Family:

I’ve shared a couple of posts on traditions that certainly serve as great reminders of some of the fun things we do as a family that have provided great memories.

I hope one of my kids’ favorite memories growing up will be that I make them snowman pancakes on our first snow day off of school!

One of my favorite memories to look back on is that we’ve gone to Southern Lights at the Kentucky Horse Park every year that I’ve lived here since 2004. We only missed December of 2009 when the kids were less than a month old, and we were too tired to think about traditions. haha

Baking has provided some fun family memories through the years. I always bake with the kids around Christmastime.

They’ve also learned some of the family favorites by baking cookies with my mom and Gma.

Hadley loves to bake and will bake on her own from time to time!

The kids have gone to Keeneland a few times with Travis which as been so fun for them and have provided great memories for them as kids.

October 2017
ready to go to the races in April 2018

I’d say going to the pumpkin patch is one of my favorite family traditions through the years. I hope the kids feel that it’s a favorite as well.

2019
2020

Family vacations have also provided us with so many wonderful family memories. We love going somewhere different for Spring Break, we usually go to Asheville for Fall Break, and we typically head to the beach for summer vacation. I hope the kids appreciate that we’ve made a point of taking them to new places, but we also love the tradition of a beach vacation as well.

The Biltmore
Ashville,NC
Gaylord Opryland for Spring Break 2021
Isle of Palm, SC 2013
Hilton Head, SC 2018
Siesta Key June 2020
Siesta Key June 2020
Siesta Key June 2020
Grand Canyon 2018
San Diego 2018
San Diego 2018

As I completed this post, I realized that while some of my favorite memories are of family vacations or bigger events and holidays, some of the smaller memories are what have stuck out to me as favorites. What are some of your favorite family memories?

Next month’s topic is all about Concerts!

I hope your week is off to a great start. Thanks so much for reading!

Take care,

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Posted in Monthly Musings

Monthly Musings

Hello! It’s the last Thursday of the month (How is that even possible?), so I’m linking up with Patty and Holly for their Monthly Musings link up.

This month’s topic is Halloween and Fall.

Favorite Fall Tradition:

Hands down my favorite fall tradition is going to the pumpkin patch. When the kids were little, they’d run around and play. We always snap a few photos, pick out our pumpkins to carve, and bring home lots of apple cider donuts! My fave.

Pumpkin patch through the years…
Last year at the pumpkin patch!

Favorite Halloween Tradition:

My favorite Halloween tradition is getting together with friends, trick-or-treating, and having dinner while the kids sort all their candy! We’ve been getting together with the same core group of friends for about ten years! Through the years, we’ve added some more friends and neighbors to the mix. We always have so much fun.

lifelong friends

Halloween this Year:

This year, hopefully Halloween will look quite similar. While scrolling Facebook, I saw a post that the CDC put out their recommended guidelines, but I haven’t read the article.

So far, Halloween hasn’t been cancelled. Fingers crossed it stays that way!

Favorite Fall Recipe:

My favorite fall recipe is Pumpkin Sausage Penne Pasta. I got the recipe years ago from a Kroger coupon packet. I think I’m going to make it next week!

Last year, due to weather, trick-or-treating was moved from Thursday to Saturday afternoon. Usually, we’d have our friends over and have chili (which we did on the Saturday night). Since we were home for Thursday night Halloween dinner last year, I made a quick and easy “spooky” dinner for the kids after seeing Andrea share about her Halloween dinner for her family.

My kids loved this! I’ll need to remember to do it one night leading up to Halloween this year.

Favorite Fall Fashion Staples:

I love fall weather. You’ll most likely find me wearing a light-weight sweatshirt with shorts or a turtleneck sweater with leggings. Those are my fall staples for sure!

Using this pic again! Used it in yesterdayโ€™s post too ๐Ÿ˜‚

Favorite Halloween Costume:

I’ll admit that I’m not big on Halloween dress up as an adult…but Halloween costumes for my kids are a must (of course!) My favorite costume combo that my twins have worn was in 2013 when they went as Batman and Robin.

I clearly remember Hayden saying he wanted to be Batman…and Hadley very sweetly said, “Well, I’ll be Robin!”โค๏ธ

Every time I see this photo, I crack up at her in her mask.

Here are their other costumes through the years! I loved last year when Hayden was a Ghostbuster and Hadley was a nerd. ๐Ÿ˜‚

Favorite Halloween Candy:

For me, nothing beats a miniature Snickers bar. I definitely love other chocolate candy like Twix or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

Hayden said his favorite candy is peanut M&Ms while Hadley says she loves Tootsie Rolls!

Favorite Family Halloween Movie:

Every year, I DVR It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, and we watch it as a family. I love that tradition.

Scary Movies. Yes or No?:

Scary movies are a hard no for me! I don’t need that stress in my life ๐Ÿ˜‰

Favorite Fall Beverage:

We all love apple cider in the fall, and I love a glass of Pinot Noir on a cool fall evening.

What are some of your favorite fall traditions and foods? Next month’s topic is Thanksgiving Preview.

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

Posted in Friday Favorites, Kids, School, Traditions

Friday Favorites: Back to School Edition and Other Faves!

Hello and Happy Friday!! I’m linking up with Andrea and Erika for this week’s Friday Favorites post!

Can my first favorite just be surviving this week? ๐Ÿ˜‚ Seriously, it was a doozy filled with school, activities, and more. That being said, I’m very glad that we are back on some kind of schedule. So far, we’ve had one learning day at the tutor’s house and one learning day at home (with me!). The kids really do have a handle on the technology, and thankfully haven’t needed much help. Their teachers are doing such an amazing job, and I know they are putting in long hours to help their students feel welcome and to make their lessons engaging.

We have a pretty free weekend, and I think we all need it to recharge and relax.

For today’s post, I’m sharing some of our favorite back to school traditions as well as some other faves from the week.

Favorite Traditions:

First Day of School: 5th Grade Pics

I shared more about this in yesterday’s post, but we always take a back to school picture (or two) with the chalkboard!

We also take a picture in front of their school sign. We did that again this year as I couldn’t let Covid ruin my five year tradition!

Wednesday was a day at the tutor’s house, and she had a sign for them to hold up for a picture. It’s the 2020 version of my back to school chalkboard!

Back to School Breakfast:

Every year, I have a Back to School Breakfast for the kids. I’ve been reading Andrea’s blog for years, and loved her Back to School Brinner idea, but tweaked it for breakfast. I may move to the Brinner idea next year when the kids start middle school.

ready for the first day of school
breakfast is served…
Hayden’s place setting
Hadley’s place setting

The kids seem to enjoy this tradition, and I do too! I feel like traditions like these get us all excited to start back to school.

Books:

For the breakfast, I typically give both the kids a new book. Amazon always comes through with books with their grade in the title!

My big 5th graders!

Cookies:

I started getting the kids these sweet little cookies a couple of years ago. I’ve purchased and taken cookie classes with Maddie of Maddie’s Cookie Co., and her cookies are amazing. I’m always so impressed with her designs, and the cookies are delish!

This year, I got Hayden and Hadley the mini cookies (hoping they will share with mom and dad ) ๐Ÿ˜‰ as well as the backpack cookie with their name.

I even picked up a sweet treat for their tutor. An apple cookie with her name on it.

Flashback Friday:

I don’t know why I do this to myself (๐Ÿ˜ญ), but it is fun to look back at the first day of school through the years.

Kindergarten:

1st grade:

2nd grade:

I think this is my favorite back to school photo of them โค๏ธ

3rd grade:

4th grade:

4th

Other Faves:

Other favorites from the week:

Hadley’s dance studio used the month of August to make up for April and May classes. They brushed up on their recital routines in preparation for Wednesday night’s recital.

Their routines (Hadley had hip hop, jazz, ballet, and tap) were videoed, and we will receive a DVD. I hate that we didn’t get to see the performance in person, but I know the DVD will be fun to watch and a 2020 keepsake!

Hadley’s hip hop performance was first, so I snapped a few photos before we headed to the studio.

Then, she had ballet, and then tap and jazz.

It’s always difficult to choose which professional photos I want printed, but I settled on these two to share with family:

I love watching Hayden play baseball. To be honest, we are just lucky to have (finally) had a season. He grew so much as a player and a pitcher this season. He also loves playing short or first, and it’s been so fun to watch his team play. At times, he’s too hard on himself, but I hope that translates into just wanting to continue to be a better player.

His team finished second in the standings for the regular season and then unfortunately lost in the semi-final round of the tournament in a close 3-1 game. There’s nothing worse than little baseball boys bummed after a loss, but Hayden did his part, and I reminded him to celebrate the successes they had as a team this season!

Ready to throw a strikeout!
Up to bat!

For Sunday’s first round game, Hadley wore Hayden’s jersey from last year. He rolled his eyes when he saw her, but I hope he knows she’s his biggest fan (when she pays attention to the game) ๐Ÿ˜‰

As with the dance pictures, it was hard for me to choose which of the two professional photos to get copies of, so I purchased both! ๐Ÿคฃ

The red plate is another favorite tradition in our house. Since school started this week and dance and baseball wrapped up, the kids each had the plate for a meal on Thursday to celebrate their hard work and successes during this past dance and baseball season as well as getting the hang of the 5th grade!

Thursday lunch
Thursday dinner

Favorite Kid Quote:

I finished the third season of Selling Sunset on Sunday, and Hayden caught the tail end of the final episode of Christine’s wedding. The wedding was beautiful and over the top. Hayden said, “That’s a wedding? If I was getting married, I would just have it at a church with food.” Boo lives a simple life.

Favorite Sweet Treat:

I made a quick trip to the grocery store yesterday and saw “break and bake” Pillsbury Oreo cookies. So, I made those for Hayden and Hadley as they wrapped up their second day of virtual school. They were delish.

Favorite Mom Meme:

I saw this meme a few weeks ago, and ain’t it the truth?!

Friday Funny

I occasionally play Words with Friends, and my dad wins most games we play. I was winning the latest game, and he said he was sending me to my room if I played on the triple letter! haha For the record, I did win that game!

If you made it to the end of this post, thanks so much for reading! Lots of favorites this week.

What are some of your favorites from the week?

Weekly Recap:

I hope you have a great weekend! See you back here on Monday.

Take care,

Posted in School, Traditions

My Back to School Prep

Well, it’s August which means it’s definitely time to start thinking about heading back to school. Of course, 2020 “back to school” looks so different for everyone this year. To be honest, in times of uncertainty, I cling to routine and traditions which is what this post is all about.

Also of random note…Today is my 200th blog post, and Tuesday was my one year anniversary of my very first Show Me and Sweet Tea blog post. Time sure flies! So did the summer! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I saw this on an Instagram story and LOL’d ๐Ÿ˜‰

And this one…#truth

As a teacher and as a parent, I have routines and traditions for myself as I prepare to start a new school year. I also have the same for my kids as they start a new year too.

As a Teacher, I…

  • Buy a cute lesson plan book and Paper Mate felt tip markers. I’m pretty loyal with my Blue Sky Planners that I usually buy, but I bought this one from Amazon this year to try. I always purchase new colorful pens to write down dates and tasks.
  • Write down important dates. In my planner, I always take some time to write down dates that we don’t have school, meeting times, and kids’ activities. I always feel overwhelmed at the start of the new school year, but having everything written down helps easy that anxiety.
  • Complete small tasks each day. I will be the first to admit that once the calendar turns to August 1st, I kind of panic. August 1st means summer is almost over and school is close to starting. So, to make myself feel better, I try to tackle a small school task or two as I can per day. So, one day I write down the dates in my lesson plan book. Another day, I might update my syllabus and go make copies. On a different day, I may set up all my Google Classroom and Remind text codes. Crossing those small tasks off starting early August makes me feel like I have a huge chunk of my day left to enjoy time with my kids, go to a movie, or hang out at the pool.
  • Finish my professional development hours. Teachers in my district have to have 24 professional development hours each year. Every summer, I knock those hours out before starting the school year. That’s usually pretty easy, as we typically have a 6 hour district day to focus on curriculum, a 6 hour English department day in August as well as a 6 hour school professional development day a couple days before school starts. Typically, I get the other 6 hours by going to a technology conference that the district usually hosts in June. This summer was different, but I was able to do the tech conference online, we will still have our school PD, and I completed a technology requirement for Canvas that’s 6 hours. So, the past week or so, I’ve been crossing off an hour at a time with online PD hosted my our media center specialist. Anyway, the point is that I don’t want time to catch up with me getting those hours and put off doing something I have more time to complete in the summer.
  • Get prepared for first week, so I can leave school ASAP. After setting up my classroom, I always plan the first three days of school, make all the copies, make sure technology links work, etc. The first couple weeks of school are so exhausting, and I’m always anxious to hear about my kids’ first few days as well. So, I like to be as prepared as possible in order to leave as soon as I can after school to get home.

This year’s planner and new pens! They make my teacher heart happy.

My classroom:

I make my classroom a comfortable place to be, so that I want to be there as well as the students. Itโ€™s warm, inviting, organized, and tidy.

This was my classroom last year before I moved down the hall. It was all set up for homeroom on the first day of school 2019.

2020. Right? ๐Ÿ˜‚

As a Parent, I…

  • Start back to school tasks a couple weeks before going back to school. Tasks like getting hair cuts, finishing summer reading, ordering backpacks, and getting school supplies always creep up on us if I don’t start crossing them off the list around the beginning of August.
  • Look at the Summer Fun list with a couple of weeks left of summer. The kids and I look to see what we haven’t incorporated into our summer yet and plan a few more fun activities. By early August, trips are usually completed or we don’t have any more time, but we’ll squeeze in a movie or an ice cream date.
  • Take the kids back to school shopping for supplies. I take my kids, each with their list, to Walmart to get their school supplies. I find that this gets them excited about school starting. They usually cross items off as they find them, and they each choose their own color folders, notebooks, pencil boxes, etc. Then, if we can’t find something, I still have time to order on Amazon.
  • Have a positive attitude. This is mostly a reminder for myself ;), but I find if I’m excited about school, the kids are too.
  • Start adjusting bedtime/wake up time. During the school year, we’re pretty firm with the bed time, but it tends to get pushed back in the summer. Starting the beginning of August, I start making the kids come in from playing outside earlier than in the summer. Then, I try to get them into bed a little earlier each week. Also, as much as I love that my kids sleep in past 9 am, I start waking them at 9:00, 8:45, 8:30 and so on leading up to the start of school.
  • Plan our back to school breakfast. I have all the breakfast decorations in a box, so that’s easy to get everything situated when they go to bed. I just make sure to bake the muffins and buy extra fruit, etc. for a special breakfast. Starting the second day of school, I’m usually throwing a Poptart at them while they make their beds ๐Ÿ˜‰
  • Plan a fun activity for after school. The past few years we’ve lucked out with no practices or anything on the first day of school. So, we’ve made a point to hang out at the pool, eat dinner out, or go get ice cream as a way to be together and hear all about the first day!
Back to school haircuts and supplies, 2017

Our Back to School Breakfast is always something to look forward to. Next year, middle school starts later, so I may move to a Back to School Brinner the night before!

2019

I’ve already said that I can’t believe it’s the last year of elementary for my kids, but I also can’t believe that I will be starting my 19th year of teaching! Crazy!

Soak in these last days of summer before we head back to school in 2020 style!