Baby Trick - Use Your Pack 'n Play

Ever since Caroline could crawl, I have had our pack 'n play set up in the living room or master bedroom.

I let her crawl and roam the house for hours, but if I need to...

transfer a pot of boiling water to the sink to drain noodles,
run outside to check on older siblings,
empty the dishwasher with two hands,

then in the pack 'n play she goes.

I think I underutilized this option with the other babies. But I wish I hadn't because it's so nice to put the baby down and know they are safe! Especially with multiple small children!

Also, this time around I have made pack 'n play time a part of our routine. Usually I put her in there before nap time for about 10 - 15 minutes. I think it calms her down. Also, it gives me a break!

At first, she fussed a little. But she grew to like it and occasionally an older sibling will jump in there with her.

I wanted to keep the crib exclusive for sleeping. Pack 'n play is for playing, know what I mean?

What do you think? Do you do this with your babies? It's been a life saver for me.


Also, remember these piggy cupcakes?! This week I have the privilege of making another batch for another kindergarten program.

The links are Amazon affiliate links.


Monday Links

When a child wakes you up complaining of their ear hurting at 3 and then your dog vomits at 4....you don't go back to bed. You get up and blog.

Good Monday morning to you.

To kick off our week, here are some links I collected over the weekend.

Stephen and I watched Hamilton's America on Friday night. Absolutely amazing!

This book - Hillbilly Elegy - sounds so interesting, and I really enjoyed this book review of it.

Park Avenue Apartment and Interview with the owner - so cool.

I've never owned a cashmere sweater. These from Everlane look really nice and what a good price!

I bought this coat for my 5 year old daughter in plum tonic. It is so so cute.

Don't like wearing bright colors?...great tip from from Unfancy...wear a highly saturated neutral. Love this.

Homework is hard for parents. So funny.

25 Frugal Pantry Staples 

21 Crock Pot Dinners -  yum! Several of these look wonderful.

Inspiration to use your cookbooks again

A few recent baby picks sprinkled in at the end for good measure...

Have a great week!


Write It Down

This week I'm writing things down. I'm working on quitting afternoon coffee. I'm trying to read to George everyday. I want to sort through my e-mail daily instead of letting it pile up and get out of control. 

Yoga/Pilates - 4X this week. 3 blog posts. Stop looking at screens after dinner (keeps me awake).

With the kids, I'm working on manners and nightly routines.

I finally ordered some new shoes for 2 kids and a few new clothes for the other 2. Gah! Why is it so hard to make those buying decisions? Am I the only one?

I wrote it all down.

What needs to be penned is a little elusive. I write down read to George, but reading to the other kids is built in to our routine. So no need to write it down.

I write down quit afternoon coffee and deal with e-mail. But I don't need to write make the bed or prepare for dinner. Because I just do those things. They are habits.

I get much more done when I write things down. Writing it (whatever it is) gives it validity. I have a list to answer to, and I'm not run by my emotions. It's embarrassingly simple, but something I forget all the time.

Are you a list maker? Do you write things down? Do you forget like me to write things down?


Dressing for Fall When It's 80 Degrees

By mid October, I think I can speak for most of us living in the Deep South when I say we are so darn ready for some cool (and cold) weather, a fire, a reason to sip on a hot drink! For crying out loud we want to make soup! And we. are. dying. to put on our boots and sweaters and put away our shorts and sandals.

While October is cooler than September, that just means the highs are in the 80s instead of the 90s. It's not enough to warrant a legitimate wardrobe change.

I'm struggling, y'all. But I'm dealing. One way is I came up with a fall-ish go-to outfit that satisfies my need to dress for fall even though it's still 80 degrees most days.

It goes like this.

short sleeve or sleeveless t-shirt

girlfriend jeans or straight jeans as opposed to tight, skinny jeans that do not breathe and can feel  suffocating

neutral colored open cardigan for when it's slightly chilly in the morning or if you have to walk in the cold room at Costco

clogs instead of boots or booties.
Clogs are cooler. Boots or booties require socks. Clogs are easy to slip off and let your foot catch some fresh air.

fall colored accessories and jewelry
I'm talking browns, mustard yellows, deep plum colors.

1 tee-Madewell
2 necklace - The Jones Market
3 neutral color open cardigan -Gap
4 deconstructed girlfriend jeans - Gap
5 TOMS Elisa clogs

I have the actual jeans, necklace, and clogs in the picture. Love them all.

I bought the clogs several months ago. The brown color is out of stock in pretty much every size but 9.5 that I can find online. There are a lot of similar options out there.

One tip when buying girlfriend or boyfriend jeans...size down! I think they are more flattering this way, not so baggy.

This picture I'm wearing (old) Gap straight legged jeans. They give the same slim silhouette of skinny jeans, but don't smother my calves.

Tah-dah! It's fall, y'all!

What do you wear when it's fall, but not?


Our Week + Some Links + A Question

It's been a hard week for no reason other than it's just hard being a person sometimes, specifically an adult person. I've had a lot of nagging tasks hanging over my head and the house spiraled out of control and it felt like responsibilities outweighed the fun. And too many carbs and not enough exercise did not help my situation. My own fault.

But here's to Friday!

George picked some flowers for me (my mums). So sweet.

I'm loving that it's FINALLY feeling a little cooler and we can bust out our fall outfits. I'm still doing the capsule wardrobe thing even though I failed to document summer's capsule.

Caroline is a pure delight, the light of our lives, the apple of the family's eye. Her siblings are always laughing or playing with her or saving her from perceived danger. She's quite agile, and I'm so laid back about it (but of course not too laid back). She is very much the 4th child.

Like most babies she adores being outside.

I had a quick run to Publix today to get us through the weekend. This all felt very fallish to me.

Publix apple pie is divine. Perfection with Breyers vanilla ice cream.

Got some noodles because new traditions! Friday night spaghetti night! I always do angel hair.

Children's Zertec.

Boxed wine.

Nail polish. Revlon, color is Vixen.

And bananas because always.

 A few links for your enjoyment...

This is the red beans and rice recipe I use. It's seriously one of our favorites.

Yes and yes to this salad dressing trick. The secret is to use Grey Poupon Dijon mustard. I tried it  right after I found this post, and it immediately upped my salad dressing game.

I love this denim skirt + striped shirt - the whole look of the first outfit.

The necklace pictured in my fall outfit photo is from The Jones Market. I love it. It's so comfortable to wear if that makes sense.

My father-in-law introduced me to The World and Everything In It podcast a few months ago, and ever since it's how I get my news. I usually listen after the kids are off to school while I make a decent breakfast for myself and unload the dishwasher. Funny how we pick up routines and rituals that are unplanned but such an anchor in the day. This is definitely one of those for me.


So lastly, a question...what would you like me to blog about? I'm working on coming up with a list of posts and I would love to know what interest you. Kids? Food? Please tell me.

Happy weekend!


A Few Beach Pictures

School starting was sort of a shock to our systems. So my parent's early September beach trip was perfectly timed! We got to take a week off of school and just take a load off for an entire 6 days. It was glorious, well, as glorious as the beach can be with 6 kids.

my sister's beach pictures

I love rash guards.

I like this simple beach packing list, almost exactly what I packed for the beach.


I wish you could have tea with me

Hello, hello! 

Let's catch up! Over tea....

If you could come to my house and sit on my sofa I would make you a ginormous cup of this Bigelow vanilla chai tea. It is so delicious with a little milk and honey, seriously what all our tea dreams are made of.

I would then tell you that we all have colds (uggh!) and we haven't slept great and we had frozen pizza for dinner last night and that things are changing in the pizza department around here. After a 7-year-long stent of having homemade pizza every Friday night, we are switching to spaghetti and meatballs.

I'm tired of pizza, specifically my homemade pizza. Plus, this allows me to embrace frozen pizza more often, which is so wonderful because I can totally use another easy easy meal in my repertoire.

Switching gears...books. What are you reading? 

I've been reading too many things. I'm the kind of person that likes to have only one book going at a time. But lately, I've had four going at once. I'm now down to three. I just finished The Curated Closet: A simple system for discovering your personal style and building your dream wardrobe by Anuschka Rees. I thought it was fabulous.... F A B U L O U S! It's very technical and prescriptive, and it has totally changed my perspective on clothes and shopping and style. After the roller coaster of body changes from pregnancy and going from my 20's to my 30's, this book was the giant style therapy session that I needed. The author addressed the issue of budget throughout the book, and I found all her advice on that topic extremely helpful. Go read it!

The Thorn Birds is the next book I'm about to finish. I got this recommendation from one of the What Should I Read Next podcast episodes. I have really enjoyed this book. It sucked me in from the beginning, and I have found the setting in Australia to be so fascinating. Though it's a long one, and I'm ready to finish!

I'm listening to The Firm. And I'm reading this parenting book with my Kindle app. Both good.

When I finish all these I have Before We Visit The Goddess up next.

Yesterday, I got a little color put on my hair which I haven't had done in at least 5 years. I showed my girl what I wanted and she said "oh, you want a balayage." After she explained it more, I was like heck yes, I want a balayage. Why has no one ever told me about this before? It's a much more natural and subtle look than highlights. Also, it's way less maintenance. Here is my finished hair. If you need a hair person, go see Page at Amplify and tell her I sent you. 

We have a four day weekend, and I'm seriously so grateful because we need time to get over our illnesses.

I have a huge pot of red beans and rice going in the slow cooker for tonight.

Right now the kids are watching a movie, and I am for real about to go put on my comfy clothes and take it easy for the rest of the day.

So what's up with you? What would you tell me over tea?
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