Well, I’ve only been marginally successful at my goal of daily blogging during the school year so far. I’ve been re-reading 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think, by Laura Vanderkam, a fascinating book on how to make the most of your time by spending it on things that matter to you. I’ve determined that I absolutely have enough time to blog, care for my three kids, cook dinner every night, work full time, train for a marathon, meditate, learn spanish, bake on weekends and read at least one book for pleasure a week. haha. I know. That sounds ridiculous when you type it all out, doesn’t it? But people do it! It can be done! I’m going to do it, you guys. And then I’m going to share all of my secrets with you. This space though is one of those things that I know I can do with a little time.
Anyway – how was your week? The boys were at school all week, and I just went back yesterday, so it felt like a very fast week. We’ve been working out a few kinks (mainly in tender-hearted morning emotions), but overall it’s been good! The only thing dragging me down is that moment when my alarm goes off at 5am. I much prefer the yells of my children as an alarm clock.
Are you up to anything this weekend? I need to sit down with my husband tonight and discuss weekend plans over pizza and peach bourbon lemonades because as of yet, we’ve got nothing. A trip to the beach? A wander through the art museum? A kite flying expedition? A laze in the pool in our backyard? I don’t know, it’s going to be hard to choose between all those. We DO however, need to plant our pumpkin seeds because I’m hoping to have some homegrown Halloween pumpkins around here! Now, how about some fun links from around the web?
I’ve been looking forward to the newest episode of this show all week! Call me crazy, but I enjoy the old school excitement that comes from waiting for a new episode every week.
My friend just sent this video and I can’t stop giggling.
I’m about to turn in for the night, and since making the bed up with our new bedding gifted from Garnet Hill, I can’t help but pinch myself that this bed even exists in my house. Listen though, a cozy bed does not have to be expensive. Most of our bedding has been from target, Walmart or thrifted and it’s served us beautifully through years of wear. But if you’re looking to invest a little bit in your bedding, this stuff is quality. And it has the look I love for our house – modern cottage through and through. I just thought it might be helpful to have the links to these pieces all in one spot for future reference! And I love all of these picture so much I needed them to be here forever.
Let’s start with the heirloom quality Agnes quilt. Ours is in oatmeal but they have other colors too! I’m desperate for the blue for the boys’ room now that I’ve seen it in person.
Ok you guys, this Blissful Silk Quilt. It is such a dream. Silk on top, cotton on bottom. The visible stitching keeps this from feeling too fancy fancy. I think if I had to pick just one thing, it would be this.
The French stripe lumbar pillows in slate blue are so cute, adding a little bit of contrast to this neutral bed. And lastly, the chunky knit throw has already moved to our corner chair, but it adds the perfect bit of cozy fluff to this bed moment.
It’s all come together to be such a sweet spot in our home! I hung up some thrifted hats to replace our kind of winter-y red wreath that was up before and now it feels like summer in here. ♥️
Way back in April, I started planning out my May bakes. I’ve talked about my monthly planning process before, but if you missed it – I usually plan the entire month of bakes all at once. Usually one or two things a week – something dessert-y and something breakfast-y/afterschool snack-y. It keeps me on track and help reduce decision fatigue throughout the month. Having too many options isn’t always a good thing, for me at least.
Anyway, I knew that I wanted to do something super fun for the last day of school for the boys (and for me! lol). Cake? (Did that last year for the last day of school, so meh.) Pie? (A possibility, but I make a lot of pie during the summer, so I didn’t want to overdo it right off the bat.) Donuts? Now here, we had a real possibility. I’ve only made homemade yeast donuts one other time and they were gooooood, but I wanted to do something kind of wild. I wanted to make donuts in the shape of letters. Donuts with a message!! Please don’t give me all the credit for this idea though. It’s not that original. I’ve seen donut shops make letter donuts, and I’m sure I saw it on Pinterest long ago. And when I was researching how to do it, I watched a few helpful YouTube video tutorials. But could I do it? Well, obviously, I gave it a shot and they turned out SO CUTE. You guys, the possibilities are endless here!! You could make any message you wanted! What a cute centerpiece for a baby shower, a birthday party, anniversary, graduation party, etc. I mean like I said…endless. I wanted to jot down a few notes here for future reference for you (and for me) if you ever decide you want to give letter donuts a try.
If you’d like to read the full recipe from the original source at Delish click here. I used the “how to make donuts at home” recipe and it did not disappoint. The recipe comments were especially helpful when thinking through how to make the dough the best it could be.
I will jot the recipe down here too, just in case it ever disappears from their website. I also plan to add this recipe to my family cookbook (I just write all of our “keeper” recipes in one notebook to have all together.). This is one I will make again. I’m including my edits to the recipe here (less flour in the dough, more milk in the glaze) so if you want the original, go to their site!
1 cup whole milk 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, divided 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast 4 cups plus 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling 1/2 teaspoon salt 6 tablespoons butter, melted 2 large eggs 1/2 teaspoon vanilla Canola or vegetable oil, for frying
Grease a large bowl with cooking spray and set aside. In a small, microwave-safe bowl add the milk. Microwave until lukewarm, 40 seconds. Add a teaspoon of sugar and stir to dissolve, then sprinkle over yeast and let sit until frothy, about 8 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together 4 cups of the flour and the salt.
In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat together remaining sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla.
Pour in yeast mixture, mix to combine, then add in dry ingredients, stirring until a shaggy dough forms.
Turn out onto to a lightly floured surface and knead until elastic and only slightly tacky, adding more flour a teaspoon at a time if needed, about 5 minutes.
Form into a tight ball then place dough in oiled bowl and cover with a clean dish towel. Let dough rise in a warm spot in your kitchen until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment. Alternatively if making letters: make sure that the donuts don’t lose their shape when moving them to the Dutch oven to fry, you can put donuts on individual squares of parchment paper and just gently tip them into the pot when you’re ready to fry.
Punch down dough, then turn onto a lightly floured work surface and roll out into a ½” thick rectangle. Using a donut cutter or 3” and 1” biscuit cutters OR letter cookie cutters, punch out your donut. Re-knead scraps together and punch out as well.
**To make letters, I just rolled out the dough a little thinner than 1/2″ and I used medium sized letter cookie cutters. The dough was a little tricky to get through all the way through cleanly with my plastic cookie cutters, so if you roll the rolling pin on top of the cookie cutters it forces it through and was so easy to get off. I think metal cookie cutters would probably work a little better if you need to buy some, but the plastic did work fine!
Place donuts and holes onto baking sheets, cover with dish towel, and let rise again, about 40 minutes more.
Make glaze: In a large bowl, whisk together milk, powdered sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Set aside.
Line a large baking sheet with paper towels. In a large dutch oven over medium heat, heat 2” oil to 350°. Cook donuts, in batches, until deeply golden on both sides, about 1 minute per side. Holes and small shapes will cook even faster!
Transfer donuts to paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain and cool slightly. Dip into glaze, then place onto a cooling rack (or eat immediately!).
I hope you guys try these!! In the shape of letters or not! They were declared delicious in our house.
You guys, the second half of the school year has just really gotten the best of me this year. I haven’t posted a thing on here since February and it’s not for lack of post ideas. I have so many! It’s for lack of time time time. I know. This coming from the person who says that if you want things to be done – you have to make time for them. I’m hoping to get back into a regular routine of posting over the summer, which begins in three! more! days!. I love having this little corner of the internet to myself!
Ok, enough ruminating on time and blogs and wordsmithing my life away. Now on to the topic of this post – nightgowns. The other day I mentioned on Instagram that I am a nightgown person, through and through. I grew up wearing very 90’s nightgowns – think flannel, lace trim in winter and silky little girl princess vibes in summer. Around middle school I switched over to giant oversized sleep tees stolen from my dad or older brothers, and finally I graduated to sleep shorts and a t-shirt from high school through my mid-twenties. But when I was pregnant with my first baby boy, Charlie, I started wearing nightgowns again. You see, this extremely attractive thing started to happen where my belly got so very large that a strip of it started to show between where my pajama shorts met my tank top. Lovely. If you’ve been pregnant before – maybe you can relate. I can’t think of many things that could make you feel less attractive during pregnancy than constantly trying to hide the ever-growing strip of belly with pajamas that feel like they’re shrinking onto you. Well…I also do have this rather memorable photo of myself very pregnant and trying to wear a wrap dress, but it…wouldn’t wrap around my whole body so it just came to a point and left from my belly button down exposed in a big upside down V. Low point. lol. Ok, truly, I digress. (who let this wordy girl have a blog anyway??)
Now that you have my entire history of sleepwear…oh shoot I forgot to tell you that my mom favored sleep sacks when I was a baby – yes, back to nightgowns! Modern! Cute! Nightgowns! Even after pregnancy – I’ve continued wearing nightgowns in adulthood. They’re feminine, they don’t leave me feeling at all frumpy like sleep shorts can, and especially for summer, they’re just the best, easy breezy, old world romantic way to sleep. But! (of course there’s a but!) It feels like there are typically two types of nightgowns. Old lady, or lingerie. So here-in lies the topic of discussion. Where can one find nightgowns that land perfectly in the middle of these two extremes? I went hunting around to find some cute nighties that maybe you guys would like too! And now I might need to buy a couple because there are some cute ones out there! I tried to find a few different price ranges because I kind of hate when bloggers post $200 options that hello, normal people can’t buy.
I did get a couple questions about nightgowns riding up during sleep and honestly, I’ve never thought much about it either way, but I do believe that’s something you may have to grapple with depending on what kind of sleeper you are. Your nightie may ride up, especially if you are a turbulent sleeper. I’m the kind of sleeper that moves not even an inch while sleeping, so that may be why I’ve never thought about it before. Other notes from my lovely instagram friends: suggestions for TJ Maxx, Target and Marshall’s were all given as places to find cute nightgowns too, but for those – you just want to give them a visit. On to the nightgowns!
1// Ok, so I know there are mixed opinions about Shein, but! This nightgown was too sweet to share. And for $14! How could I not tell you about it? I think I’m going to order it. Will report back on my love level.
2//Aerie has this cute kind of athletic option. Looks easy breezy summer-y.
4// Well I will just have to lust after this one that is out of my price range, and hope that one of you gets it so I can hear if it’s truly as good as I think it is. (They also have a long version which is so very dreamy.)
It’s here! It’s Friday! Hooray! SO very grateful that my parents were here this week. We took advantage of them like crazy. My car was in the shop all freaking week , so they drove the boys and I around, let me borrow their car when I needed it, made dinner every night, cleaned, done every little bit of laundry, entertained, and were just such a comfort to me. So thankful for them. Really can’t do any better than those two. I’m a lucky gal and I know it.
In other news, I signed Charlie up for Pre-K and soccer last week and I feel like we’re entering into a world of activities and kid stuff, and once it starts, I know it doesn’t end. Trying to soak up these days of just coming straight home from school to be in a little cocoon of a family. It will be good to get him involved in some other stuff – he’s totally ready, and I know Ben will be too once Charlie starts. But it’s a little bittersweet, ya know? Speaking of Ben, that kid, sheesh. He has been such a delight lately. You know how your kids go through phases where they’re like…really difficult and then suddenly you turn around and you’re totally enchanted by this tiny person that you created out of nothing? We’re in the latter phase right now, and gosh he has been so much fun. And oh yes, Lukey Lou is being a good boy too, now that you ask, despite waking at 4:50 on the dot this morning. His hair is getting curlier and curlier by the day, he says “wow” about everything, yells “mama” at everyone (including his dada), points to the tv and cries if we don’t turn blippi on, loves tromping around in the backyard in his rainboots, wants to be anywhere his brothers are, tells us when he poops in his diaper and gives the best hugs in (I’m pretty sure) the state, or maybe even the world.
This weekend we’re continuing to take full advantage of my parents and going on a freaking DATE tomorrow! I have a little excited smile on my face just thinking about it. Truly can’t remember the last date we’ve been on. And Sunday, of course, is the super bowl, so we’ve started working out a little list for the menu (so far it’s – tot-chos, meatballs, and dorito dip). And then Monday is Valentine’s day (that came up quick right??), so we need to bake something fun to celebrate. Ok, ok, I’m done spilling my guts now. How about some links from the week?
Sometimes I have a hard time deciding if something is worth a blog post when a picture is really all you need, but I know lots of people like to see links for the exact things used in said pictures, so here we are with a helpful little blog post to make your own seed packet valentines! This idea came to me one morning on my way to school as I was contemplating valentine options along with my deeply rooted desire for a giant vegetable garden. The two came together as if fireworks were going off in my brain. The pun options! The seed packet options! I mean, really, what could be more delightful than getting this as a valentine? I decided to give these to friends and family, and the boys are making crayon hearts to give to their classmates. They’ve been tucked away in little kraft paper envelopes and are traveling across the states to be opened and smiled over by Monday. And just in time for seed starting season for my northern friends.
You’re the real dill.
I’m wild about you, valentine.
I love you from my head tomatoes.
Lettuce be friends forever.
Will you be my valentine even though you’re chamomiles away?
Happy Friday!! Doing my weekly sigh of relief and popping in here to say hi, give a little update and to share some fun links from the week! Luke went back to school on Wednesday after his bout of pneumonia and is pretty much back to his jolly little self. Still has a yucky cough, but his lungs are clear and no fever and praise hands for that. I’ve started to brainstorm ideas for the boys’ Valentines for school and there are sooo many fun ones out there, I just need to pick something and start on it. We did dinosaurs last year, and I’m just not sure if I can ever top that one. Our bathroom should be finishing up in the middle of next week, and I cannot wait to get our house back in order. Also, my parents arrive next week for their annual February stay, and I am so freaking excited I cannot contain myself. Trying to decide where to put Luke while they take the guest bedroom. Do we go for it and just stick him in with the big boys? Do we put up the pack and play in the laundry room and shut him away? Do we put him in our room? TBD. My dad also always likes to have a house project while they’re visiting to keep him busy and we haven’t decided on that either. Phew. This post kind of became my to do list, didn’t it? Or vent? Anyway – I feel better after having it all down.
What are you up to this weekend? It’s supposed to be “cold” here in Florida (think 30’s to 40’s), so whatever we do, we may have to bundle up and have a little bit of hot chocolate on the side. Whatever you do this weekend, I hope you enjoy it! Now, how about some fun links from around the web?
Stok Cold Brew Have you had it? I’ve been getting the Un-sweet Bold and Smooth and omg it is so creamy and delicious…while somehow not having any cream in it? I can’t stop thinking about it when I’m not drinking it. I’ve been treating myself to a cup of it in the afternoon with a splash of half & half and I swear it just makes the day go by so much smoother for me. While it’s cheaper than buying a coffee from Starbucks every day, it’s not exactly cheap. So I googled how they make theirs (it’s not exactly rocket science), and I’m going to buy some nicer beans than normal and give it a shot. It’s not the first time I’ve made cold brew, but their recipe is a little different than how I normally do mine. Will report back if it’s worth making yourself or if we should all just give something else up in the grocery list to buy Stok.
Duolingo It’s an app that you can download for free to learn another language. The school that I teach at has a very high Spanish population, so I made it one of my new years resolutions to brush up on my Spanish skills. I’ve been having so much fun with it. Haven’t missed a day yet in the new year. Fingers crossed I can keep my momentum going. If you want to try it and to have an accountability partner my username is emetroka! They have all kinds of languages – not just Spanish!
Meal Planning Ok, ok this isn’t a new obsession, but it bears repeating that meal planning is the only way I get dinner made every night. I don’t know how people decide what to make for dinner when they don’t have it planned out for the whole week. I seize up in indecision. I have a little formula that I follow for each day of the week to make it even easier. I’m always trying to reduce decision making fatigue. If you’ve seen my Making Every Day Special document, then you already know it. Sunday – Warm and cozy meal (think casserole, soup, pasta, etc), Monday – Crock Pot, Tuesday – Tacos, Wednesday – One Pot/Sheet pan meal, Thursday – Leftovers, Friday – Pizza, Saturday – Grill day.
Ozark It is so intense. Every season has stressed me out so much. Why are shows like this so addictive?? This is the last season, and we’ve been allowing ourselves one episode a night to really appreciate it rather than binging the whole thing at once. So we’ve been watching one episode and then reading or Mike watches sports after. It’s been a nice little evening routine.
Reading You know I’m always obsessed with reading (I am a librarian after all), but I have read SO many good books lately. I’m usually pretty good about sharing my book reviews on Instagram, but I have been putting it off for some reason this month. I’ll share this week sometime, but I’m also going to share a post every month on here to tell you what I read, so that it’s all in one place for you to easily find book reviews.
I heard this tip several years ago on the Happier podcast with Gretchen Rubin and it’s one that has stuck with me over the years. It’s the five minute rule. You ready for this? Ok. So: If something is going to take less than five minutes, do it now. Don’t put it off until later. When you think of it, just do it. Emptying the dishwasher this morning took me 3 minutes and 42 seconds. I timed myself going at a leisurely pace so I could tell you. Starting a load of laundry, switching the laundry, tidying a room, making the bed, prepping vegetables for dinner, putting those shoes away that you thought to yourself “those really need put away”, reading a book to your kids? All less than five minutes. Well…depending on the book they choose. I think we often put things off because we think that we’ll just do it later, but what if you did it now instead and then you don’t even have to think about it later. Or have it hanging over your head all day? Anyway, try it. It might help you get more things done in a day!
Other things I do to get things done:
Set a timer and race against it to get something done quickly.
Give yourself a treat. I only get X if I do Y first. (Examples of treats are: reading a chapter of my book, chocolate, a baked good. If it’s something big maybe you get to buy something for yourself, etc)
Make a list. There are few things I love more than crossing things off of a list.
Do you have any tips for productivity?? I’d love to hear!
In the grand scheme of fast weeks versus slow weeks – it was a fast one, but I can’t say that it’s one I enjoyed all that much. This morning, our whole street was blanketed in a thick sheet of fog. We drive down a mile long stretch of straight road to get out of our neighborhood and on my way to drop the boys at daycare (just Charlie and Ben. I’m still home with Luke.) it felt as if I was driving into oblivion with Charlie and Ben in the back chattering about where the moon might be. I’m not quite sure where the days went. Maybe I lost them somewhere up in there in the fog. And all week, despite being home with Luke and not doing nearly as much as I normally do, when the days were over I tossed myself into the couch and almost immediately fell into a deep dreamless sleep, waking around 11 when I realized I was not tucked in my bed as I should be. I’m glad it was a fast week because honestly I’m ready to move on to the next one.
Things are going full speed ahead in our primary bathroom remodel. Everything has been torn apart, and the task of putting it all back together again has started. Drywall is going up today, electrical work is done, and next week tile will start to go up. That’s when it starts looking like a bathroom again instead of an empty shell. We’ve made our picks for tile, but still have to pick up everything else. Honestly, I think it’s going to wind up looking an awful lot like the boys’ bathroom except with a shower instead of a tub and that will make for a very happy bathroom indeed. Should be done in another week and a half, just before my parents arrive for their annual February stay.
This weekend will consist of trying to get my bearings, trying to decide if Luke is well enough to go to school on Monday, and I hope lots of fresh, clean, healing air. What have you been up to? I hope you had a lovely week. How about some links from around the web?