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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

What's Up Wednesday {8-31}


WHAT WE'RE EATING THIS WEEK...

T-It is back-to-school time, so I have been busy getting things ready for my girls and my K classroom and kids.  This means that I have less time and energy to put into our meals.  My solution to this problem is my slow cooker!  I use it all of the time in the fall and winter!  My family's favorite is Chicken Tortilla Soup.  I will post this recipe later this week.  It is AWESOME!

S- This is always a tough question for me to answer! I am really trying harder to be more prepared!! My kids first week of school was Monday, so I am trying to make our evenings simple as we ease back into the routine. Sounds like a couple of crock pot meals, salads and pasta! We did make homemade pizza the night before school started. Always a hit! I will share with you our recipe soon! We will also be eating oatmeal chocolate chip cookies this week! I am even thinking about sending some to the kids teachers on Friday as a Thank You for a great first week!

Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza with Arugula in Lemon Vinaigrette
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

WHAT I'M REMINISCING ABOUT...  

T-Obviously, I have been reminiscing about all of my family's summer adventures.  We took so many fun road trips together.  Although I am sad that I no longer have "little" girls, I love that as they become older travel becomes easier.  This girls really enjoy our trips together.  I think that we are creating memories to last a lifetime!  Here are the links to the blog posts about some of our favorite trips:

S- I am reminiscing about the summer too! We had such a great summer. It wasn't perfect, but we had some great trips and time with family. And we started building our new home...well, almost. Click HERE to see what I mean.

WHAT I'M LOVING...  

T- I love that my girls are getting older and enjoy doing things together.  Yesterday I took them to get pedicures as an end of summer treat.  It is so fun to have "girl time"!
S-I am loving getting back into a routine. I do love summer, but I am a routine driven person. 
I am also loving that, last week, I had the opportunity to grab a coffee with Gavin because we were out at an optometrist appointment. It is so rare that I get to be with only 1 kid! I try to make it special when we do. Love this guy!

And, I love (pardon the mess in the background!) that Elliot is getting more interested cooking lately! The boys have basically no interest. It's refreshing to me to have a kid who is interested!

WHAT WE'VE BEEN UP TO...   

T- I have been busy setting up my classroom. It takes a lot of work to get things ready for 23 5 year olds!  Teachers work really hard to make sure everything is ready for the kids when they walk in on the first day of school.  I will post pictures soon of my classroom.  It is really coming together!

S- Elliot started school a day earlier than the boys. So, while she was at school, we took the opportunity to go to Target!!  I love that Will wore his sunglasses inside! That kids cracks me up!



School started, so we have been trying to settle into the new routine. And I am excited to have a few hours a day while Elliot is at her half day Pre-K to get some things done! Here I am super excited on their first day back to go grocery shopping...ALONE!!


WHAT I'M DREADING...  

T-I am dreading the GO, GO, GO of the school year!  With school and after school activities, my family is constantly on the move.  I have to remind myself to stop and breathe at times!  I make family dinner (sitting all together at the table) a priority at least 3 times a week.  (I realize that 7 days is ideal, but not realistic for us.)  Family dinner is a great time to talk and reconnect.  Instead of asking my girls "How was your day?", I try to ask more specific questions so that I do not get a groan or "Fine" as a response.  One example is "What was the best/worst part of your day?"  Here is an article with other examples of questions that you can ask as well: 10 Questions to Ask Your Child About His/Her Day at School.

S-As much as I am looking forward to getting into the new school routine, I am dreading the homework. Especially for Will, as he is entering 3rd grade, and as I recall from when Gavin was in 3rd, the amount of homework seems to increase exponentially.  

And I am dreading cleaning out my house! Our new home will not be ready for move in for a very long time, but I am making the effort now to clean out in preparation for the impending move. We have TOO MUCH STUFF!! I blame the kids for all the toys and papers, but as I look around, I am just as much to blame!! So, I simultaneously dread and look forward to digging in! 

One thing I do with the kids' and my clothes is send them to Thred Up! I order a clean out kit and ship them off to be sold secondhand. You get some money back! Not a ton, mind you, but it is nice to know others are using it, and what no one wants, they responsible recycle. Here is what their site says about making money on what you send, "You may use your payout to shop on thredUP, cash out via PayPal, or donate to our cause partners."

WHAT I'M WORKING ON...  

T-I am working on organizing my house before school officially starts.  Recently, my husband built a window seat/toy chest for my youngest daughter.  I am hoping that it will keep toys off of the floor and give her a place to sit and read.  Fingers crossed!

Before...


After...I think it turned out really well!  I will be making a cushion for it soon.

He also built a shelf above her window.

S- I suppose, refer to my above statements! I am working on getting our house decluttered and simplifying! Now that the kids are back in school, I have a little more time to catch up on all the things I have not been able to get to during the summer. The Fall is a busy time because we have so many birthdays!  I have been working on planning those celebrations.


WHAT I'M EXCITED ABOUT...  
T- My daughter loves dancing and I love watching her dance.  Recently she got to take a dance class with a dancer that she really looks up to, Valerie Rockey.  The joy on her face after class was PRICELESS!  I spend a lot of time and money for her to dance, but her excitement and confidence make it all worth it.

S-I am excited about a few things, in no particular order... 
I am really excited about cooler Fall weather, and all the things that come with Fall. 
I am excited to celebrate the birthdays I mentioned. 
I am SUPER excited to watch our new house get started! We have had our floor plans in place for close to 4 years and I cannot wait to see how it translates from paper to reality! I have been driving by the lot everyday to see the progress!!

WHAT I'M WATCHING/READING...   

T-The latest book that I finished was Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty.  It kept me guessing until the very end!  I have also read The Husband's Secret by her and enjoyed that a lot too.  

S- I am getting excited to watch the season premieres of all my favorite TV shows! Modern Family, The Middle and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. During the summer, I have been watching Adam Ruins Everything, Impractical Jokers and as always, Pioneer Woman! 

I am currently reading Elin Hildebrand's The Island. I am not too far in it, but so far so good! It's my first Elin Hildebrand novel, and I hear people love every one of her books! I am excited to become her newest fan!

WHAT I'M LISTENING TO... 

T- My girls love to dance all day long!  The anthems in our house lately are Can't Stop This Feeling by Justin Timberlake and This is What You Came For by Calvin Harris.  They are constantly creating up dances and performing them for me.

S- I have been listening to Pandora lately via my Amazon Echo. My favorite stations right now are the Zac Brown Band Radio and Pop and Hip Hop Power Workout Radio. I have my Echo in the kitchen, next to the stove and I play the music and dance while I cook! Elliot sometimes joins in the dancing. The rest of my family look at me like I am crazy. Maybe because I dance like I am at a party or something. Dance like no one's watching, right?

WHAT I'M WEARING...  

T-I have not had a lot of time to do a lot of back to school shopping for myself yet.  I did recently order some items from Loft.  Loft tends to be one of my "go to" clothing stores.  The prices are reasonable and they tend to have really cute, stylish clothing.  One item that I ordered was this tank. Sara recently bought it and I thought that it was really cute.  I plan to wear it with a cardigan,  I like to wear layers to work because I find that I never know whether it is going to be hot or cold in my building.

S- Here we go!
Visiting with my sister!



Visiting with my Nephew, panning for gems/crystals




WHAT I'M DOING THIS WEEKEND...   

T- Crying....Every. Single. Day.  That is probably a little dramatic, but I always hate to see summer end.  I know that I am fortunate to spend the summers with my kids, but starting back at work is always bittersweet.

S- We are celebrating sweet Elliot's 4th birthday!! I haven't mentioned this before, and it isn't a secret, just never an appropriate time to bring it up...but we are especially grateful to be celebrating Elliot because she was adopted. We waited a long time for a little girl and we are so, so thankful to have her in our lives! I would love to share the story of her adoption with you another time. We were privileged to get to meet her the day she was born and each year, I think back to that day and the journey to find her. She is such a wonderful last piece to our crazy family puzzle! We love her so much and without her, our family would be incomplete!

Eddie's parents from New Jersey are coming all the way down to celebrate with us! And we get to go to a Zac Brown Band concert, again! This time at a venue. We won't be nearly as close as on my birthday, but I think it will be a blast!

WHAT I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT MONTH... 

T- I am looking forward to cooler temperatures...fall is coming!  I can't wait!  I looking forward to falling leaves and everything pumpkin.

S- Fall!! Elliot's Birthday!! And I second Trina's pumpkin spice everything! I look forward to working on our Fall Bucket List! Click HERE to see it! And please join us and share your experiences!! #FallBucketListMCD

WHAT ELSE IS NEW... 

T- My family is planning a trip to the mountains in October.  We have a lot of October birthdays in our family, so we thought it would be a fun way to celebrate. I love having another trip to look forward to in the fall!

S- I think I have shared everything that is going on! I will say, I am really enjoying spending time on this blog. I am grateful that Trina and I get to communicate more since we have started doing this in May! 

And I am grateful for you! So, Thank You!! Thank you for taking the time to read about our lives.  We get so excited every time we see one of you follow us on Instagram or like us on Facebook! Not to be too cheesy, but we really appreciate each and every one of you. I can't wait to see where this journey takes us!


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