Wednesday, May 31, 2017

What's Up Wednesday / Life Lately

What's up, Wednesday? It's warm and sunny, and we are powering our way through this last week of school! Life lately has been VERY busy, but an end is in sight!

WhatsUpWedUpdated

I'm not really feeling it this morning, though. I have a MAJOR case of mom guilt right now, and I can't stop crying. Dylan's 6th grade field trip is today and they are going to the Pirates game in Pittsburgh. The 6th grade band is performing the national anthem before the game and I won't be there to see it. He's disappointed, and I feel so much guilt. 

This is the hard part of having multiple kids, and not being able to be there for everything. More than anything, I hate letting my kids down. I wish I could go to every single school event, but with four kids, it isn't always possible. I make it to almost everything, but at times like this, it doesn't seem like enough.

I'm hoping somebody takes a video so I can watch it. I don't know how, but I'll make it up to him in some way. And I'm sure he will have a great time, even if I'm not there. 


Moving on from my keeping it real, not so perfect mom moment...here's a little glimpse at life lately!


{WHAT WE'RE EATING THIS WEEK}

Weekly Meal Plan

A few notes:

  • We eat salad almost every night!
  • We love pasta, because everybody in my family will eat it.
  • I don't eat red meat and very little of any other type of meat so I usually skip the meat portion of the meal.
  • My mom watches 3 of my 4 kids and cooks dinner for us every Thursday night because Thursday evenings at the dance studio are beyond chaotic!
  • The delicious recipe for the Easy Cheesy Crockpot Penne is coming soon!
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{WHAT I'M REMINISCING ABOUT}

This is so cliche, but honestly, the fact that my kids are growing up way too fast! It always hits me at the end of the school year. I swear, they were just babies! 

In a few days, everything is going to change. My oldest will be heading to junior high in the Fall, Lexie will be going to a new school, Lily will be in first grade, which means she will be in school for full days, and Liam will be at preschool three days a week. 

I'm not ready for Dylan to be a teenager, or for Lexie to be in a school that forces her to grow up, or give up my afternoons with Lily, or for my BABY to celebrate his 4th birthday. Slow down, time! PLEASE!

They were just babies...I swear.

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{WHAT I'M LOVING}

I usually have a long list of things that I'm currently loving, but I haven't found many new products lately that deserve a shout out. 

I am burning this candle right now, and it smells amazing! I love anything lemon scented or flavored, so this one is perfect!

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And this weather? Well, I DEFINITELY love that!

{WHAT WE'VE BEEN UP TO}

End of the school year events have been keeping us really busy!

Dylan had his 6th grade chorus, band and orchestra concert! His field day was last week and his field trip is today. 

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Lexie had her chorus concert and did an amazing job! She also went on her field trip last week and had her field day yesterday.

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Lily is currently enjoying her very first field day at school, and spends her evenings dancing!

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Liam is done with preschool this year! Well, kind of. He will still go three days in June, three days in July and three days in August, but the main school year is over. We are very bummed that his teacher is getting transferred in the Fall, but we were excited to hear that his rockin' buddy, Dolly, will be in his class next year!

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And dance, of course. It's taking over our lives now that the recital is just a few weeks away!

{WHAT I'M DREADING}

Honestly? The start of the next school year! Is it bad to already be worrying about it when we still have two days left of this school year?!? Having four kids leave for school and arrive home at three different times is going to be a lot to juggle!

{WHAT I'M WORKING ON}

I'm finishing up a fun post about one of the coolest toys ever! All four of my kids play with it each day, so that makes it a clear winner. Check back tomorrow to see what it is...

I'm also trying to get the mountain of clothing in the attic sorted into the correct bins. And if you think I'm exaggerating, I will share a picture later of the mountain. Send help!

{WHAT I'M EXCITED ABOUT}

Summer Break is thisclose! I'm very excited about getting a break from packing all those lunches, signing assignment books, helping with homework and studying, and most of all, no more waiting in line for kindergarten pickup!!!

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{WHAT I'M WATCHING/READING}

Reading:

My dear friend bought me this book after I read through my last book at record speed. I'm a few chapters in and I already love it!

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Watching:

The new seasons of House of Cards and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix! #StreamTeam The first episode of House of Cards was so good, and I can't wait to watch the rest of the season. And Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is just ridiculously funny!





{WHAT I'M LISTENING TO}

Currently? Liam singing! But usually my favorites list on Spotify, which includes all the songs my kids constantly request!

{WHAT I'M WEARING}

I've been wearing a lot of dresses, thanks to all the events!

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And lots of cold shoulder tops!

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{WHAT I'M DOING THIS WEEKEND}

On Friday, school's out for the Summer! That evening, we will go out for ice cream. It's our last day of the school year tradition to kick off Summer Break!

This weekend, dance recital chaos will hit. The girls have rehearsal on Saturday and Sunday for the recital finale. In between everything, I will desperately try to go grocery shopping, get the rest of the Summer clothing from the attic, and crank out a few blog posts!

Actually, all of our weekends in June are completely booked! Next weekend, the girls have rehearsal again on Saturday and Sunday, the following weekend is the dress rehearsal and the recital, and the following weekend we are traveling to Michigan for my niece's wedding. So long, June weekends!

{WHAT I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT MONTH}

As you can see, June is going to be a busy one! Hopefully, the weekdays will be a bit less chaotic. I'm looking forward to a more relaxed schedule and spending the Summer days with my kids. We already planned a lot of fun outings for each week!


We're really looking forward to my niece's wedding. It has been a long time since we had a family wedding, and my kids are so excited for a road trip and a hotel stay. We're going to have so much fun!

{WHAT ELSE IS NEW}


The past few weeks have been tough for our families.  

At the beginning of May, Grant's uncle, who is like a father figure to him, had a major stroke and ended up getting brain surgery. He has been in the hospital ever since and will be moved to a rehab facility at the end of the week. It was a shock to everyone because he's still so young. He's doing well, but has a long road ahead of him. 

Last week, Grant's great aunt passed away, and a day later, my great aunt passed away. Too many sad events over the course of a month!


After this past stressful month, we're really looking forward to (somewhat) relaxed Summer days and a break from the constant busyness!



What have you been up to?!?

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Our Busy & Fun Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day Weekend 2017

Happy Tuesday, my friends! It's the last Tuesday of the school year, and my family is counting down the days until school's out for the Summer. (Only 4 days to go!) After our fun Memorial Day weekend that gave us a taste of the Summer fun to come, we are definitely ready for Summer Break!


The end of the school year is always bittersweet. I'm torn between wanting the days to rush by so I can enjoy a Summer at home with my kids and wanting to pause time because they are growing up far too quickly. It's hard to say goodbye to amazing teachers that made the year so great, and know that when the next school year begins, it's just one step closer to my kids graduating and leaving home for college. (HOLD ME.)

Power Wheels


Now that I've thoroughly depressed myself, it's time to move on to happier things! Like this weekend. Long weekends are always awesome, and we crammed a lot of activities into this Memorial Day weekend, along with a much needed day of rest!

On Friday, we kicked off the long weekend with a shopping trip with my mom. We picked up Lily from Kindergarten and set out to find the perfect bridal shower gift for my niece. We ended up stopping at two extra stores along the way!


We DID find the perfect gift(s), but a mermaid tail blanket, an insulated picnic basket, Converse high tops and an outfit for Liam, snorkeling gear for Lily and new silverware somehow came home with us, too. Oops.

The rest of the day was spent eating dinner with my parents, playing cards with my mom, playing basketball with Dylan, doing laundry, and snuggling my sweet boy.

Down syndrome Awareness

When we left my parent's house that evening, Dylan stayed there because he had plans to spend the entire weekend with my dad. The rest of us quickly fell into an exhausted sleep!

On Saturday morning, the girls and I woke up early to get ready for my niece's bridal shower. Next month, she will be marrying the man she has been with since high school. They stayed together all these years despite the hardships of raising a child together while going to college, starting careers and buying their first house. I am SO proud of them for sticking together!


Bridal Shower

Lexie and Lily were so excited to get dressed up and attend Michelle's bridal shower! The shower was beautiful and it was so much fun to spend the afternoon with family. The day was even more special because it was also Michelle's daughter Aubrey's 11th birthday!

Bridal Shower

Those of you who read my blog regularly will probably recognize Aubrey from my pictures. We love Aubrey dearly!  I became a great aunt to Aubrey when Dylan was just a baby. I was there when she was born, and I had the pleasure of watching her while my niece and her fiance went to school and worked. Lexie and Aubrey are best friends, and Aubrey will always hold an honorary spot in my little family! She is such a sweet girl!

Bridal Shower

We had such a special day celebrating two girls we love VERY much! We can't wait for Michelle and Ryan's wedding in Michigan next month!

Bridal Shower

After the shower, I dropped my mom off at her house, then headed home to a house full of people. Grant was home watching Liam and a crowd gathered while we were gone. My friend was there with her two month old great niece, so I got a much needed baby fix while we visited. My girls and Liam were in love with her! Fifth child, Grant?!? (HA!)

Unfortunately, I had been fighting off a nasty headache since just before the shower ended, and it ended up turning into a full blown migraine. Visiting was cut short, and I headed to bed after a quick game of cards with my friends.

On Sunday, most of our plans ended up getting changed. I was still battling a migraine, but managed to go outside for a few hours with the kids once it eased. 


The Lucky Few

Sledding

Trampoline

Down syndrome Awareness

Let Them Be Little

Let Them Be Little

The Lucky Few

I put Liam down for a nap, then Lily and I ran to the grocery store to get our weekly grocery shopping done. Shortly after we returned home, Dylan arrived home from a weekend of visiting my brother and his kids in Erie.

Dylan had pictures of my brother's new puppies and we are seriously considering taking one when they are ready. There are four really cute females and they all look different, so it's going to be a tough choice! We've been without a dog for 2+ years and we can't decide which breed we want to get. I prefer giant breeds, but my husband isn't a fan of the short lifespan, so we've been at a standstill. Prior to our last Great Dane passing away, I had never been without a dog in my entire life, and I'm really missing having one in my home. So, this might be a crazy move, but perhaps an adorable, free mutt is the way to go!

Lexie went home with my dad for a sleepover, and the rest of us had dinner and spent the night watching TV. It was nice to kick back and relax for once, instead of worrying about entertaining guests or rushing to get things done for the next day!

On Monday, for the first time ever, we had our own little Memorial Day celebration at home. We didn't go anywhere ( the first time we hadn't left the house in weeks) and we didn't invite anyone over. We just spent the day together at home. It was a much needed relaxing family day!


We started our day by doing some yard work together. Grant and Dylan mowed,  Lexie and I cleaned up the toys in the yard and Lily and Liam picked up the clumps of grass.

Let Them Be Little

Let Them Be Little

The Lucky Few

After the yard work was done, it was time to play! It was such a beautiful day, so we spent most of it outdoors.

We broke out the new slip and slide for a few hours.

Slip and Slide

Slip and Slide

Slip and Slide

Dylan taught Liam how to slide on his belly, and Liam thought it was hilarious!

Slip and Slide

Slip and Slide

Lily did some "snorfeling" with her snorkeling set.

Snorkeling

Lexie and Liam played on the trampoline.

Trampoline

Trampoline

And our sweet Lily shucked all the corn!

Corn on the Cob

The only time we went inside all day was to eat our picnic dinner. The kids played the day away, and everyone was relaxed and content! It just felt like Summer already.

If this weekend was any indication of the what's ahead of us this Summer, it's going to be a great one!


Power Wheels

Memorial Day Weekend 2017

TUESDAY TALK


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Tuesday Talk


Tuesday Talk

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Simple & Delicious Fruit and Yogurt Breakfast Parfaits

Simple & Delicious Fruit and Yogurt Breakfast Parfaits

DISCLOSURE: I received some of the products featured in this post free for review. Content is 100% my own.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but during the school year we have very little time to eat. Fruit and yogurt breakfast parfaits are the perfect option for those rushed mornings! Not only are they simple to make and absolutely delicious, but they are packed with protein and nutrients!


Juggling the schedules of four kids, a husband and myself is enough of a struggle, so I need to keep things easy and find ways to save time. These simple fruit and yogurt breakfast parfaits can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge until it's time to eat. All I have to do is sprinkle on the topping (so it doesn't get mushy) and hand them over to my kids with a spoon!

Fruit and Yogurt Breakfast Parfaits

Ingredients:


  • Strawberries
  • Vanilla Yogurt
  • Oats and Honey Protein Granola
  • Sugar


Fruit and Yogurt Breakfast Parfaits

Make:

1. The first step is the secret to making these Fruit and Yogurt Breakfast Parfaits taste so good! Wash and slice the strawberries (I use 10-12 large strawberries) and put them in a food storage container.  Sprinkle on 1 TBSP of sugar, put them in the fridge and let them sit for a half hour. This gives them the perfect amount of sweetness and softens them!

Sugared Strawberries

2. Fill a dessert cup halfway with vanilla yogurt. Spoon on a layer of the sugared strawberries.

3. If you are making these ahead of time, cover the dessert cups with plastic wrap and store in the fridge. If not, skip ahead!

4. Just before you are ready to eat, sprinkle the protein granola over top of the fruit and yogurt parfait. If you do this any earlier, the granola gets too mushy! 

Fruit and Yogurt Breakfast Parfaits

Alternatives: 

  • If you're feeling adventurous, add another layer of yogurt, fruit and granola. I have done this before for myself!
  • These can be made with ANY fruit. My kids love them with bananas, sliced peaches, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries, too!
  • There are so many toppings you can add. Try chia seeds, wheat germ and almonds!


Enjoy!


Lily loves to eat them as a snack, too. I try to make a bunch ahead of time and they are usually gone within a day or two!

Fruit and Yogurt Breakfast Parfaits

Fruit & Yogurt Breakfast Parfaits

I love these Fruit and Yogurt Breakfast Parfaits, too! It pairs well with my morning tea and is a great breakfast before I go for a run (I don't like to feel too full).

Fruit and Yogurt Breakfast Parfaits

Simple and Delicious Fruit & Yogurt Breakfast Parfaits

Liam, my sweet toddler tornado, gets his Fruit and Yogurt Breakfast Parfait served in his own bowl!


Nuby Parent Blogger

Although his manners are improving, he still tosses his bowl overboard at times! The Nuby BPA Free Sure Grip Suction Bowl prevents this from happening. This 100% silicone bowl suctions strongly to most flat surfaces and prevents the bowl from tipping, sliding, and being thrown. This mama, who cleans up MORE than enough messes, is thrilled with any product that prevents them!

Nuby Parent Blogger

Fruit & Yogurt Breakfast Parfaits

Nuby Sure Grip Suction Bowl

Simple & Delicious Fruit and Yogurt Breakfast Parfaits

Nuby Parent Blogger

No matter how much Liam eats, he seems to always be hungry! His new favorite cup is the Nuby Snack N' Sip!


Nuby Snack N' Sip

This 2 in 1 cup holds 9 ounces of liquid and 4.5 ounces of food. It's so convenient because Liam can snack and drink from the same container. It's perfect for car rides and life on the go, thanks to the No Spill flexible soft silicone straw, and the lid that seals to prevent spills and keep food from getting stale.

Liam loves this cup because he can take it outside...

Nothing Down About It

Nuby Snack N' Sip Cup

...take it with him when we leave home...

Nuby Snack N' Sip Cup

...and snack and sip while he swings!

The Lucky Few

BUY IT: 


Nuby Sure Grip Suction Bowl // Nuby Snack N' Sip

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This delicious and easy to make Fruit and Yogurt Breakfast Parfait is one of our favorite things to eat. I hope you love it as much as we do!


Fruit and Yogurt Breakfast Parfaits