Lentil Soup

Go ahead and tell your husbands and your kids to thank me because I have a top notch recipe for a meatless, veggie loaded soup that they will request on their birthdays for years to come.

I made a huge pot last week so we would have a meal to welcome us home after our trip to Charleston. It was comforting, coming home to this lentil deliciousness after a 7 hour drive and being jolted back to reality after a romantic getaway.

So... here ya go...

1 large onion diced
3 carrots diced
extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups dry lentils (soak for a few hours if you have time)
enough water to cover lentils, seasoned with beef bullion (I use Better Than Bullion)
1  28 oz. can diced tomatoes
chopped frozen or fresh spinach (several handfuls)
fresh parsley

Coat the bottom of a large soup pot with olive oil, heat, add onions and carrots. Cook until tender and then salt and pepper generously. Lower heat, add garlic and stir. Add lentils. Cover with water/beef bullion. Bring the heat up and allow lentils to simmer until soft (45 minutes to 1 hour). Add tomatoes, spinach, parsley, and more salt and pepper to taste.

Allow to simmer at least an hour before serving with a slice of French bread! Also, if you like a little kick, drizzle some pepper sauce on your serving. It's so good! Bon appetit! You're welcome!

P.S. Soup is forgiving. Add more liquid if your need to or any other veggies that you like.

Links are Amazon Associate links


Philosophies of my Sorta Clean House

Over time, I've fallen on two philosophies that give me perspective and help guide me in keeping my house (sorta) clean. At the very least, these mindsets take the pressure off and keep me from feeling like I've failed in the house keeping department.

1. I don't have to do it alone. It's not a one woman show. While I am primarily the one responsible for keeping our home clean and tidy, this does not mean I have to be the one doing all the work of it. When I re-frame my role as a manager of cleaning instead of the cleaner, I am significantly less overwhelmed.

What this looks like is delegating jobs to my family. Also, I hire help. With 4 kids, 2 dogs, and a cat (Rodney is so messy, jk) cleaning is just too big a job for one gal.

If I ever decide to forgo the help, I will definitely redistribute the responsibilities between all the family members. I love the idea of a Saturday morning deep clean. Many hands make light work.

2. Give it my all (for a limited time) and then it is done (for now). Getting my house clean (or halfway civil) should not take up all my time, but it does require some time. I used to try to marginalize tidying/cleaning into the tiny corners of my day. But I've learned that if I give it my focused attention, both the quality and the quantity of tidying/cleaning improve and then I can lay it down and be done with it...for a little while.

What this looks like is just setting the timer and doing it! I used to listen to podcast, but recently I've been uni-tasking the cleaning and straightening. It gets done faster, and because housework can be so mindless I've discovered I do some of my best thinking during cleaning sessions. It's like shower time, when we all have our most brilliant ideas.

Giving it my all for a limited time also gives me a stopping point. It's like this..."I cleaned for thirty minutes with focused attention. And now I'm done. I'm going to read my book with a glass of wine. The end."

(Pics below of my sorta clean house this week. Includes rotting pumpkin in a child's bedroom, which reminds me...honorable mention two my 3rd cleaning philosophy - Lower those expectations! ) 

Also on this topic...
Complete the Cycle (I love this)
My Super Simple Daily Housework Routine

What are your cleaning philosophies? Mantras or sayings? How do you fight the overwhelm of it all?


Somehow We Manage BEST OF FALL - link round up

Finally, the temps have dropped, we have hit our stride with school routines, and our Halloween costumes are all planned out. We feel ya, fall! And we love you.

Since my blogging has been nonexistent for weeks, I thought it might be fun to do a little round up of the best of SWM with a nod to fall.

Here we go....

Back to School 2016 - Two Things Making Me Not Crazy

Forever and always the best after school snack - banana bread

My go to fall meals

Use What Ya Got (how I stored our backpacks, lunchboxes, and shoes before our lockers were built)
Tip for Wearing Button-Down Shirts

New Coat + I'm so over buying expensive clothes

Dressing For Fall When It's 80 Degrees

Spending and Saving + Girls Clothes tips for taking summer dresses to fall and winter

Halloween 2015 feels like yesterday

20 bags in 20 days I know de-cluttering is typically a spring thing, but it's not a bad time of year to do a big clean out in anticipation for Christmas, speaking of....Five Great Toys and A Toy Worth Investing In: Magna-Tiles

I snapped this picture on a school holiday, for sure a day we had to push past the boredom.

So what's new with you?


Routines, Socks, and Pencils - Back to School!

My kids started school this week. And as with every summer's end, it was bittersweet.

But this year feels a little different. Unlike years past when school was a total mayhem-inducing shock to our system, I feel like I'm in the driver's seat. I'm confronting the school year adult style - with a plan, with our pain points analyzed, and with expectations laid out clearly for my children.

Don't come to breakfast before you're fully dressed.
Don't tell me your life story as you're getting in the car in the carpool line. Save it for the drive home!
Hang up your back pack. 
Tidy your room before bed.

It's my 4th year being the parent of elementary age children, and I finally feel like I know how to run the ship instead of it running me. Sure we will get off course, and that's okay. We'll just get right back on...eventually.

Here's a few ways I've set us up for success this year.

In collaboration with my kids, we wrote down what we thought was a fair and reasonable routine for the morning, afternoon, and evening. This way we are not aimlessly wandering. We have a routine! I can already tell this will be a game changer.

routines posted on fridge

I declared sock bankruptcy, threw away all the old, mismatched socks and bought 4 fresh new packs. That should do it. Finding clean matching socks was such a pain point at the end of last year. It doesn't have to be that way.

Pencils are cheap and I plan to keep an ample supply. Also, I set up a homework table near the backpacks to keep the school stuff off the kitchen table.

My younger two kiddos do not go to school every day, but I'm planning to go ahead and make their lunches anyway. We will have a picnic ready to go and can freely run errands without  getting tripped up by lunch. Also, this keeps me from getting out all the lunch stuff multiple times a day.

So let's do this! Bring it on school year 2018-2019!

What are your tips for living your best school life, for not going crazy with all the coming and going? What are your pain points?
And school lunches?

Jesus, take the wheel.


5 Favorites on Friday

Happy weekend!

My house is oddly quiet at the moment. 3/4 of my kids are with a cousin, out of town, and with their daddy. The 2 year old is asleep.

I'm taking a moment to check in and share 5 of my favorites on the interweb.

School starts next week, and I have a feeling that the peaches are about done for the season. It's that time of year. Bittersweet.


Have a look at Gretchen Rubin's New York apartment. I love it.

How to Cook a Moist & Tender Chicken Breast Every Time
I've now tried this method many times. It totally works.

9 Hard Truths About Clutter You Need to Hear 

Pretty cloth napkins - I have yet to switch to cloth napkins, but these temp me to convert.

Boundaries, Family Rules, & Strong Willed Children...Oh My!
I found this helpful.

Have a good one.

Some links are Amazon Associate links.


Buying Second Hand - Thredup Finds

I'm a long time fan of Thredup. After Caroline was born I bought an entire post-baby wardrobe from there. Then I went through a phase when I sort of forgot about it.

....until early this summer when my girls needed a few things. I was so impressed with what Thredup had to offer!

Here's what I love about Thredup up besides the prices, of course!

 Laurie's dress - Thredup Lands' End

I love having fewer choices! When when one of us needs new clothes, I tend to get lost in all the options, fall down the internet rabbit hole, and still not make a decision and buy the thing that we need. But while shopping Thredup almost exclusively to buy mine and my kids' clothes, I've grown to appreciate how it narrows down the options and helps me get on with it!

The best example of this is when Laurie needed a rashgaurd. I searched "girls size 7-8 rashgaurds" and 30 seconds later the deal was done. There were only 2 that I liked. Narrowed my choices. Zero angst.

 Romper - Thredup (Old Navy)

Also, because of limited options, I feel like I'm really sticking to my style. I'm not bombarded by all the new that we see on online retailers' sites.

The second hand items I really love tend to jump out at me more definitively, and I've notice a more consistent "look" coming together in my closet. It makes for much easier purchasing decisions.

A few tips....

One of the best ways to use Thredup is to take advantage and earn free shipping.

Always do a search for a promo code.

Don't hesitate to send stuff back. The return process is so easy! They will give you credit or charge a return shipping cost (your choice).

This is totally not a sponsored post, but I will gladly share my my referral link. Use it and you can get $10 off your first order and it gives $10 credit to me! Win win.

Thredup (Lands End)

How about you? Have you used Thredup? Do you shop second hand?


Easy Craft - Tissue Paper Lanterns

It's officially HOT. Raise your if you need a screen free, indoor activity! ✋

We have made these tissue paper lanterns several times. It's one of my favorite crafts because they are easy to make and you can actually keep them around and use them. They have a purpose unlike some other crafts that though cute - what the heck do you do with 'em?!

All you need is

a glass jar
some Mod Podge
a paint brush
pieces of tissue paper
and and votive or tea candle, small enough to fit in the jar

I bought my tissue paper squares and Mod Podge at the Dollar Tree, but cutting up some tissue paper yourself is just fine. For the jars, I saved old jam and salsa jars. You could buy some inexpensively if you don't have any on hand.

All you do is paint a little Mod Podge on the glass, then stick your tissue paper on using any colors or pattern you like. The end.

We like to light ours up for dinner time so we can eat by candle light every night, even though it's usually still pretty light outside.

These would make great little gifts for neighbors or grandparents. Our VBS had them for crafts one day this year, and they were a huge hit.

All these pictures are from last summer, last July actually. I've been meaning to blog this forever. With the weather so hot, I'm feeling another round coming on soon.  

P.S. I think you could probably use regular glue instead of the Mod Podge. I've never tried it, but I think it would be fine.
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