Some Links

Laurie colored this tiny rainbow...and I love it.

I'm SO excited about a long weekend. We are packing for a beach trip (whoop whoop) and just chilling out. Tonight we are making pizzas and maybe watching a few episodes of Stranger Things. I don't know if I can continue or not.

Anyhow, for your weekend....some links! 

I need to do better... 6 Things We Need to Do if We Love Blogs and Podcast

I made this Chicken Enchilada Casserole Recipe for dinner last night...so good (and easy)! Definitely a keeper.

I went to college with Jama, and I love everything she does. Check out this $25 thrift store sofa + kids art.

the best wine $15.99 at our Costco right now. More than what I pay on average, but worth the splurge for a special occasion.

This is my most favorite (quick) workout. For days when I'm short on time or don't want to exercise. Who doesn't have 12 minutes?! No excuses.

I love watching people put on make up and I love Jennifer's blog! ...get ready with me Coldplay concert

This is a great t-shirt. 50% off through Labor Day. I have it in grey, but that color is sold out. I like the navy.

Stephen and I have been listening to The Firm through Audible before we go to bed. What a great throwback to the 90's. Oldie but goodie.

This outfit.....inspiration for my early fall "uniform."

Have a great weekend!


Back to School....Two Things Making Me Not Crazy

Summer is a memory. We've moved on. Back to school! It's good, but hard. School life can be intense. Mostly, I'm just not used to it (yet)!

Clean clothes, back packs, packed lunches, early bed times, homework, getting there on time, decent meals...lots of details that fall under my umbrella of responsibility. Whew, I'm exhausted.

So the two things that are making me not crazy...

1. I keep all the uniforms, hair stuff, socks, shoes, everything we need to get ready for school in a laundry basket.

School wear lives in the basket.

This way, I'm not running to the 4 corners of the house to round up school clothes or sending my kids looking (because who are we kidding they can never find anything). This deal was inspired by my always keeping our swim bag packed this summer.

It's really working for me.

2. Convenience foods. For so many years I avoided prepackaged snacks. 

But for everything there is a season! 

Now is my season to embrace some convenience foods. Feeding a family of six is a huge operation. These grab and go foods help me catch my breath and save my energy to prepare meals.

I'm relying on these things for lunches and afternoon snacks. 

So what's making you not crazy? How's back to school? Are you surviving or thriving?

I hope thriving!


FIFO on Steroids - How to Not Waste Your Food

For a while now, I have not been proud of how much food we waste. I do FIFO all the time, but still  end up throwing out soggy cucumbers or giving the dog Tuesday night's sweet potatoes or forgetting about a pork chop wrapped in foil. I waste food.

Food is money. Cold hard cash. When we throw our food away we are putting our hard earned dollars in the trash! It pains me.

I recently read The Nightingale, a novel, historical fiction, set in WWII. The main characters are French women living under Nazi oppression. My favorite parts of the book were about how they used up all the little bits of food, letting nothing go to waste. Their food rations were painfully modest, so naturally they used everything.

I so admire the ability to be frugal, creative, and not wasteful in the kitchen. I've been working to improve but still missing the mark so many weeks as I throw away more food in the trash.

So the other day when I found this post by Kendra the Lazy Genius, I had an a-ha moment, a revelation. I was totally blown away and inspired.

Kendra says...

"Before you plan and before you shop, prep. "

FIFO on steroids style.

What? Why have I never ever thought to do this before? In one big session. The idea is before you plan your next week's meals and before you make a grocery list and before you shop, you prep - everything that's lingering on its final days in your fridge, get it out, chop, roast, eat. And then make a list so you know what you've got.

Last week, I gave this concept a try. I washed, chopped, cooked, grated, froze, labeled, and reconfigured our meals so we could eat up all this perfectly good food. Once I got started I was amazed at all the food we had. Amazed!


Here's what I ended up with...

spinach - from the farmers market, too fibrous and bitter for salads - I cooked it and froze it for soups.

zucchini - grated and froze to later make zucchini bread

squash - chopped and roasted - side for dinner

leftover baked sweet potatoes - removed peels and diced for a side dish or to give to Caroline

leftover red potatoes - roasted, side dish or perfect with scrambled eggs

pineapple, strawberries, peaches - cut up and put in containers for easy snacks

chocolate chip cookie dough to keep in fridge

I have never done this large and serious of a food round up before planning and shopping for my next week of meals. 

I can't wait to make this a regular thing. I seriously think this will solve some of my grocery budget woes.

Do you do this? Do you waste food?


A List + Links

1- Not long after my last post, I came down with strep throat. I do not recommend getting strep as an adult. I was out of commission for a full 5 days. Since recovering, I see the world in a new light. So thankful for my health and ability to do all the daily things that seem so boring!

2 - Tomato pie! Oh my stars. I made this recipe using this crust for dinner last night. It was out of this world good. Where has it been all my life?

3 - Now is the time to shop rock bottom summer sales. For the past few years, I have bought a few kid's clothing items in July for next summer. Things are definitely picked over in stores and online, but if you can find a few things you like in the right sizes, the prices are really great.

4 - Yoga. I do yoga now, and I love it. I like to mix it in with Pilates, barre workouts, and walks. Mostly, I've been using Yoga with Adrienne videos on YouTube. It is truly therapeutic, and it feels so good stretch and move.

5 - I took Stephen out for a date on Saturday night. It was my idea, and I called our wonderful neighbor-babysitter to come over and keep our kids. We went to dinner, and then I talked him in to getting some decaf cafe au laits on the way home. It was so nice.

6 - I'm swooning over this Madewell dress. And it has nearly all 5 star reviews which is super rare.

7 - I don't have an official capsule wardrobe right now. But I'm basically wearing a smaller, edited version of my spring capsule. I'm paying close attention to what is working, what's lacking, and I recently filled out Unfancy's new wardrobe planner. What a great tool!

8 - I know it's cliche, but I'm taking a Facebook and Instagram break for a little while. A week? I'm not sure how long yet. I have to do this to reset my habits every now and then. Social media is just there and endless and so easy. Tired me + a little bored me + constantly interrupted by kids me can all too easily default all my free time FB and Insta.

9 - This bracelet made by The Jones Market, just got it in the mail yesterday. I love it! I wanted something to give a little pop of color to some very plain outfits. The thing I noticed most of all was how comfortable it is to wear. Caroline loves it too! This company specializes in jewelry that is  mom/baby friendly.

10 - I want to start using my real camera more. The pictures are so much better than phone photos! This book looks inspiring.

What are you up to? What are you in to? How is your summer coming along?


Most Basic Vinaigrette That Will Transform Your Salads

I'm a huge fan of big salads - had one for dinner last night and lunch today. Salads are a great way to practice FIFO and use up all your odds and ends of ingredients...a little chicken, a little cheese, part of a tomato, whatever! Don't let it go to waste. That's money.

Here's my most basic vinaigrette that is so delicious and easy and goes with most any salad.

This is enough for one big salad...

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar (but you can substitute balsamic or red wine vinegar or lemon juice)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
generous salt and pepper to taste

Make in a mason jar and shake with lid on, of course.

A little goes a very long way. In the picture above is a tripled recipe to use for several salads during the week.

My favorite thing to do is dice up the vegetables and let them sit and marinate in the dressing in the bottom of the bowl for a few minutes. They absorb so much flavor.

Then pile on the lettuce and "toss" the salad.

Top with meat (chicken, fish, shrimp), olives, avocado, cheese, boiled egg. The possibilities are endless.

I've made this dressing so much, I never measure the ingredients now. In fact, I usually make the dressing in the salad bowl and whisk with a fork. The ingredients do not have to be exact and you can totally play around with them and make the vinaigrette to your taste.

Salads are my life...

just kidding...

not. I love salads.

When serving as a family meal I often do deconstructed salads for the kids.


My Favorite Blogs

Blogging has changed so much over the years, and it makes me a little sad. It's certainly not as en vogue as it once was. I miss the glory days! I miss the casual, candid way in which people shared their lives. So much of this has moved to Instagram, I think.

But, I've made my peace, and I still enjoy a handful of blogs. I read them daily, and I always get excited when I find a new one.

Bloglovin' is my favorite way to round them up all up in one spot. I usually start my day off reading blogs on my iPad, coffee (of course), and a nursing baby in my lap.


Here's my favorites...

A Cup of Jo 
Food, fashion, motherhood, travel...this blog is legit. Based out of NYC, Joanna Goddard has her finger on the pulse of the modern woman. My favorite series is Beauty Uniforms.

If you are on a quest to find your personal style, then Unfancy is your go-to guide. Caroline blogs her journey from dealing with her unhealthy shopping habits to creating capsule wardrobes to minimalist fashion and finding her distinct style. This is totally one of my favorites! And it's the inspiration behind my own capsule wardrobes.

Modern Mrs. Darcy
Books! Anne Bogel blogs all about books. She also has a fantastic podcast What Should I Read Next. I have learned so much about my own reading life and preferences from reading her blog.

Dinner a Love Story
Jenny shares recipes, tips on family dinner and entertaining, and she is the author of one of my favorite cookbooks. Also, she just announced her next book and I can't wait! 

A Mother Far From Home
This is a fabulous parenting blog. The tag line is parenting without the chaos. This blogger, Rachel Norman, has done her homework! She has a way of putting words to parenting problems and solutions that will empower you as a parent and make you feel more in control! One of my favorite posts...5 Times It's Okay For Your Child To Go Hungry.

This blog is written by 4 European women who put a beautiful spin on motherhood. They share product recommendations, but also crafts, recipes, and parenting tips.

Design Mom
Gabrielle Blair writes about home design meeting the practical parts of family life and motherhood. This is a colorful blog with so much design inspiration as well as great tips on parenting and mom life in general. Also, I'm a huge fan of the book Design Mom.

Thrift at Home
Margo's blog is so inspiring as she shares how she thrifts at home! She shares recipes, kitchen tips, sewing, and much more. This post is one of my favorites and I think about it all the time.

Art of Simple
Tsh's well know blog offers everything from practical life tips, great recommendations for kids' toys and books, inspiration about hospitality and travel as well much food for thought on education and choosing schools. Also, there's a podcast.

Memories on Cloverlane
Sarah is a mom of 6 kids. She shares so much wisdom and perspective about mothering and running a home as well as tons of great parenting tips. Her 40 bags in 40 days posts are super inspiring!

Best Laid Plans
Nell is one of my best life friends and my college roommate. She writes about her life with her three adorable triplets. Yes, triplets!

This is my sister-in-law's blog. She writes about deep and fascinating things....God, people,  spirituality. She is a brilliant writer, and she is only 21 years old! She truly amazes me.

Disclaimer: I do not agree or endorse every opinion shared on these blogs. Generally, I enjoy their content, but occasionally there is something I vehemently disagree with...just FYI.

So PLEASE share...what are your favorite blogs these days? Did you once upon a time have a blog? Do you wish you still blogged? If so, why did you stop? Do you think blogs are dead?

Also, all the blogs I shared have updated at least once in the last month.


Hey Summertime

Hello out there...

How is your summer going?

Ours has barely started, and I have already binge watched the second season of Bloodline and listened to two audio books. So we are off to a good start!

Back in August I birthed a baby and a school year. Now that the baby is almost 10 months old, sleeping through (most) nights, feeding herself, etc and the school year is over...I feel like I just finished a marathon.

I have the feeling of being tired, yet relieved, and I'm enjoying this season of a little less pressure....though my body and soul are still recovering from all the adulting.

I'm setting summer expectations super low. My only serious goal is to keep the pool bag packed at all times. That way when we decide to go swimming, we grab the bag and go. Suits, towels, sunscreen, swimmy diapers live in the bag.

Why have I never thought of this?!

Happy summer to all of you! What are your plans?
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