What’s for dinner?!

Being in the kitchen makes me so happy. I love cooking and baking for my family. Sometimes breakfast is rushed, lunch is usually just the boys sitting together or grabbing bites while they run around and play, but dinner, dinner is when we all are sitting together and talk about our day.

Dinner might actually be my favorite part of the day. L usually starts us off by saying he didn’t take a bite of anything yet while he’s talking with his mouth full and then he says Grace, with one of the preschool prayers he’s learned this year. We take this time to talk about our day, our highs and lows, and maybe what some fun plans ahead might be.

Dinner is special to me. To all of us.

Here is what is planned for this week. It might not be the healthiest week I’ve ever planned, but a few of these were by request .

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Sunday: Tater Tot Casserole- this is my Grandma’s recipe that my husband and boys just love! I love that she’s shared so many yummy recipes with me!

Monday: Pizza Quesadillas- pick your own insides! Served with salad

Tuesday: Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo (using chickpea noodles)

Wednesday: Slow Cooker Greek Chicken (H and I LOVE olives!)

Thursday: Baked Ziti with spinach and spicy Italian sausage (or ground pork if I can’t find spicy without fennel…I HATE fennel!)

Friday: We are going to find ourselves a Fish Fry. If you have suggestions for a great fish fry in the Twin Cities let me know!

Saturday: Lazy Pierogies served with Chicken and salad. Lazy Pierogies are jumbo shells stuffed with mashed potatoes and onions and sprinkled with some cheese before baking 🙂

If you make any of the recipes in my dinner plans please share photos! I’d love to see!

Enjoy!

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First Born vs. Second Born: Danger Edition

Are there things that you let your second born (or third, fourth, etc.) do that you would never let your first born do at that same age? Take my kids for example: I never would have let 2 year old L use a knife or scissors but H wants to do what his big brother does…ALWAYS.

I was cutting strawberries and H wanted to help. I do my best to explain that there certain things he isn’t able to do yet because of danger and I think he understands those things. He has used a knife before more for pretend, but today was the day he wanted to put his practice to use.

My boys are supervised at all times, especially when potentially dangerous situations could happen. Ok, let’s be real…kids can turn any situation into something dangerous!

They know how to carefully carry scissors, but we have practiced with play scissors. Same goes for knives or tools! We have given our children some toys that they get to be just like us, whether that’s a play kitchen, tool kit, cars, Doctor kits, etc…they aren’t just playing for fun, they are using their imagination and also practicing good skills to have!

I think my first born taught me to be cautious. My second is teaching me to loosen the reigns a bit. I am helping them use the skills that they are learning to put all of that knowledge to good use!

Luminous You: Third Appointment and Skin Care

On Saturday, March 2, I had my third BBL treatment with Valery at Luminous You. Shortly after I arrived, Valery applied the numbing cream to my face and then I waited approximately 20 minutes before the BBL treatment started.

On average, a person needs only two of the BBL treatments, but some of my redness was being stubborn and we agreed that a third treatment was needed. Valery decided it was best to turn up the settings on the BBL machine to go deeper into my skin. This was definitely more painful than usual. Valery handed me a pig from her zoo to squeeze! (Her zoo is a few different stress balls/animals to squeeze if necessary.)

After the treatment I went home. I noticed a lot less redness which is great! Unfortunately, a few hours after my treatment, I noticed a little swelling of my face. It wasn’t a big deal, I took some ibuprofen and went to bed.

Let’s jump back to the day of my appointment… Valery suggested that I try a few new skin care products because my face has been very dry lately (I blame the INSANE cold weather). Here are the products that Valery gave me to try: OBAGI nu-derm Gentle Cleanser, OBAGI nu-derm Toner (I have never used a toner before), Hyla 3D HA Activating Complex by Jan Marini, C-ESTA Face Serum (step 2) by Jan Marini, Elta MD UV Replenish Broad-Spectrum SPF 44, and D2O Hydrating Spray by Jane Iredale to use after makeup application. Typically I use all Kiehl’s products and generally have been happy with them. Skin care is very important and needs to go along with the BBL treatments to maximize the results. As mentioned in previous Luminous You post, taking care of your skin is very important and using sunscreen daily is a must!!

The redness in my cheeks a few days out is less noticeable and there are barely any visible vessels, so I think overall the third treatment did the trick. I will update you on the skincare products after I use them for a few weeks.

I am done for now my with BBL treatments, I do feel as though Valery does care about her clients best outcome. She has reached out to me many times to see how I was feeling and to help get to the bottom of the swelling! I appreciate the way she cares about me as a person, not just another client in her chair.

Don’t forget to schedule your free consultation!

*This post is sponsored but the opinions and views in this post are completely mine and 100% honest.

The Kitchen Sink

The kitchen is the spot where we all are found regularly. The kitchen connects the dining room and our playroom, there is always movement, there is always a bit of a mess. I might be in there cooking or baking, with or without help. The dogs can be found hanging around for something to fall or getting their own food and water. The boys are usually scheming ways to find snacks… after having snacks. They even teamwork in the fridge now and gather apples and cheese sticks. So basically what I am trying to say is that our kitchen RARELY sleeps…and this means our kitchen sink usually has something in it.

When we bought our house, we didn’t realize it didn’t have a dishwasher! Our sink is pretty and big and I love it….especially when it’s empty. (Honestly it’s rarely empty.) The sink could have dishes from dinner or just a single spoon from a peanut butter lollipop, but what I am learning is that this is really a blessing. A sink with something in it means there was food that was made and shared. Conversations happened over a meal or little giggles between brothers as they helped each other pour their own milk.

The sink is somewhere I can be found often. The boys also love to help wash dishes or wash their hot wheels. I hope that they are learning these skills now to take with them later in life when they have their own dishes to wash in their own homes.

From the sink, I can hear playing (or arguing) downstairs, I can hear the boys reading in the living room, I can also look at the window above the sink and see the squirrel tormenting the dogs in the backyard. (On that note I better get going…)

So, moral of this post: the sink might not be completely empty everyday, but it does mean my family is lucky, blessed, and loved.

What’s for dinner?!

This week is a busy week for us I am trying to keep meals easy! I have one crockpot meal on here this week.

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Sunday: Meatloaf Muffins with potatoes (mashed or wedges) served with a vegetable (tbd) and homemade onion rings

Monday: Crockpot Orange Chicken with steamed broccoli and brown rice (made with chicken bouillon)

Tuesday: Matt’s quick and easy carbonara served with salad and two ingredient garlic knots

Wednesday: Smoothie Bowls

Thursday: Chicken Caesar Salad (crispy onions, avocado, corn)

Friday: Pizza Night (Trader Joe’s crust)

Saturday: Chicken Bruschetta with pasta and salad

Enjoy!

Is that a doll?

Why yes, yes, my son is playing with a doll. Why does it matter to you? I know this may sound harsh, but really I don’t need random people giving me their opinions on what my child should be playing with.

H started playing with baby dolls at an ECFE (Early Childhood and Family Education) class we were taking. He would rock the baby and feed the baby. It melted my heart watching him play with the baby dolls. He always knows when a real baby is nearby and makes a point to say hello. He’s a loving and caring child and I will nurture those qualities no matter what.

I was telling my mom how much H wanted a baby doll and kept asking for one. She sent him the one seen in the photo above. He was beyond excited to get HIS BABY. The joy in his little body was so great, he smiled so big when he opened his package.

Since his baby arrived, they go everywhere with us. The baby doesn’t have a name yet, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t loved. The baby goes to the gym, the grocery store, to school pick up, etc.

I can’t tell you how many people commented on the fact that my son was carrying around a baby doll. A friend said to me when discussing this issue with people inserting their opinions, “Do you think they would have made a negative comment if he were carrying a stuffed dog?” Honestly, I don’t think any comment would have been made or if there was it would have been, “Aw, so cute!”.

I tend to walk away when people make comments at the store, but maybe I need to take the time to explain to them that there is nothing wrong my son playing with a doll. To me, I see a child learning to be nurturing (he changes the baby’s diaper and feeds them too), caring, and pretending to be just like his Mom and Dad.

H is learning and growing. It doesn’t matter what he plays with, he’s using his imagination and developing important life skills. So, yes, my son is playing with a doll. Playing with his baby is no different than him playing and using his imagination with his tools, cars, trucks, superheroes, stuffed animals, etc… It shouldn’t matter to you what he chooses to play with, what should matter is that we are raising loving, caring, and compassionate children who will one day excellent friends, uncles, fathers, partners, and contributing members of society.

Wildkin Luggage

Traveling with children isn’t a walk in the park. Lucky for me, my boys have been traveling for a good part of their lives and are decent travelers. Since L was about 2, he was carrying something of his own when we traveled. It gave him great pride to have something that was his, that could be filled with his things. I think this was a start of instilling responsibility in him.

Now that H is almost two, and he will be 2 when we fly across the country next, he will also have to carry something of his own.

When I came across the Wildkin luggage, I knew it was perfect for our family.

I partnered up with Wildkin to share with you about their luggage for children, and oh my goodness it couldn’t be cuter!

We received two pieces of luggage, a rolling suitcase and a duffle bag.

The Roller Bag:

This bag is lightweight and the wheels roll nicely. Either child (4.5/2) would be able to successfully use this bag. We plan on using this as a carry-on. The bag also comes with a strap that you can attach to the back to carry as a one shoulder bag and there is a loop that you could use to connect to a larger bag.

The Roller Bag also has a water bottle holder and a front pocket. L is already planning on what snacks and books he can pack in there!

The Duffle Bag:

It is so cute seeing L holding the duffle bag! He fell in love with the bag instantly! The bag has a padded shoulder strap and a small front zip pocket. Perfect for a weekend getaway or toys, books, and snacks!

Both bags are wipeable and should only be cleaned with a cloth. Make sure to let them dry complete before closing them up!

Whether the boys are flying to Revvie and PopPop’s or driving down the street to Gert and Papa’s, these bags are perfect! The boys know that these bags will be used for special times and are excited to use them ASAP! I know these Wildkin bags will be with us for a while! Oh and did I mention how many fun patterns they have?! You have to check them out! Wildkin Luggage

Disclosure: I received these bags from Wildkin and this review is my honest opinion about the luggage. This post is sponsored by Wildkin.

Minnesota Children’s Museum Night

Mini Postal Workers

The car wash might be the boys favorite exhibit! They can get all soapy and wet!

This week we got to explore the Children’s Museum after hours! We have been many times but there something about Matt being able to come after work even more fun!

We two hours to play and explore and that time flew by! I know we could spend an entire day here! It’s such a fun space for children and adult. There is even a sign that said “Attention: For Children and for those who use to be Children”.

For kids of all ages!

We are so lucky to live in a big city where there are so many opportunities for us to take our children so they can grow and learn as individuals, with each other, and with other children.

My only complaint…the parking garages 😂 Other than that, this place is a membership worthy spot, especially with the cold winter months coming up!

Parenting Styles/Trends: How do you feel about them?

img_3921I sat in a class recently and we discussed the “new” parenting trends. We broke into groups and really dug into a few of them. Some of the ones discussed were: Lawn Mower Parenting, Helicopter Parenting, Attachment Parenting, Tiger Parenting, and Free Range Parenting.

I sat there and just wondered…why do we have to label how we parent? Are we just opening ourselves up to be judged and shamed? While researching some of these parenting styles, I learned that one came from someones memoir, not anything that was meant to be a parenting book.

I know as a mother today, dads too I am sure, I always hear about mom shaming and I know none of us want to be judged or shamed, but we are. For example, Free Range parenting can land you in trouble with the law in many areas.

So back to my title: How do you feel about them? What do these trends say about us? Do we need to label ourselves? Do we have to fit ourselves in one little box? As I looked over the list, honestly I could see myself grabbing at pieces from each “trend”. I don’t fit into a box. Truly, once I hit 30 I stopped caring about what people thought about me…as long as my family is happy and we are doing the best we can, I’m good.

What do you want your parenting to say about you? How do you want to feel at the end of the day? Do you want to parent just like your parent(s) did or do you want to go the opposite direction? My parents always told us that they raised all 4 of us the same way and we are all so different. Each child is going to be their own person, different from you, your partner, or anyone else for that matter. You might have to change up your parenting regularly…and that’s ok! As long as you are taking care of you family the best that you can, that’s all that really matters isn’t it?

I took a few moments to think about how I want to describe my parenting:

  • supportive and involved but not overbearing
  • an advocate but not super aggressive
  • patient but not lackadaisical
  • respectful but not a pushover

I am NOT saying I am all of these things all of the time but I work towards those. My parenting has changed since the beginning but I am evolving as a person as are my children.

There is no such thing as a perfect parent, just be a real one. If you need help, ask for help. Find your tribe, and if you need help I am always here. Let’s work together and not put labels on ourselves. Let’s just love our children and raise them to be good human beings.