MINI BITES: BEDTIME POPSICLES

Oh bedtimes. Such a sweet, snuggly, and often bananas time of day to unwind, have precious conversations (or answer a million random questions), read books, pray and give 100% attention to the kids. But we all know its one thing to get kids tucked in and another to get them to sleep.

A couple of our babes are particularly challenged (like their mama) in this area so about a year ago, after doing plenty of research (aka, calling my mom + googling), I started giving them and myself small doses of Melatonin – an au naturel supplement that helps you fall asleep. And it’s a God send. Seriously. Except that it’s not meant to take every night. Since we’re trying to ease our way back into a schedule before school starts, I’ve been looking for other ways to naturally help them get sleepy at night and discovered that there are several sleep inducing foods out there.

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Bananas, yogurt, almonds, oats, cherries and honey all have nutrients that help you sleep and they all taste delicious together. Or course, piling your favorite ingredients into a snack size parfait before bed would be delish but blending them up and freezing into popsicles would be way more fun!

BEDTIME POPSICLES

  • 1 banana (or a little less)
  • 1/2 cup pitted cherries (we used frozen)
  • 3/4 cup favorite vanilla yogurt (coconut milk yogurt for dairy-free)
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • Honey to taste
  • Granola to top
  1. Add first four ingredients into a blender and mix together. Add Honey to taste.
  2. Pour into popsicle mold (this is our fave) and sprinkle granola over the top. Place in freezer for a few hours until frozen.
  3. To make the layered popsicle, blend banana, yogurt, almond milk and honey. Fill molds a little over halfway and freeze. Then blend cherries with a little yogurt, almond milk and honey and add to the molds. Top with granola and freeze. (*makes about 10 large popsicles)

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We ate them on kind of a wild night that lacked any routine so they didn’t (and I doubt they will) work as well as Melatonin, but I do think the right kind of snack right before bed makes a big difference!

Have any bedtime tricks up your sleeve, friend?

XO, Rae

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BACK TO SCHOOL STYLE: BACKPACKS + SHOES

As I mentioned in my last post, I finally started back to school shopping and cannot believe the amount of cuteness out there! It’s so hard to narrow down our faves but here are a few of the backpack + shoe combos that the kids and I both love. All backpacks are by State Bags, a company that gives bags to kids in need with each purchase, and the first two are for preschool ages. Links below!

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DINOS + DINOS / SWANS + HEARTSBLUE + RED / SPLATTER + MOCS or THESE / MARLED + HIGHTOPS / GIRL SCOUT + SPARKLE

I enjoy everything about back to school shopping (hello summer to fall style and new school supplies) but my favorite part is helping  the kids pick out backpacks and shoes. Probably because it was always such a big deal to me growing up. What is your favorite part of BTS shopping?

XO, Rae

PS – If you are local to the Seattle area, tune into KING5 during the 4 o’clock hour this Friday, August 26th… I’ll be sharing stress-free back to school wardrobe tips for kids (!!!).

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A FUN BACK TO SCHOOL CHECKLIST

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Despite my best effort to avoid anything involving back to school– preparations have official begun around here. My feelings (and there are lots of them) are mixed at best. I REALLY don’t want the summer to end, but I do want to be organized and ready for a shiny new school year. Since I am pretty useless without a checklist and am motivated by cute things, I made this infographic – slash – illustrated checklist last night to help ease myself into the BTS spirit. And (kinda surprisingly) it’s worked a little already! Johan and I added a couple more summery things to our calendar as well as the kids’ school events and I’m now off to checkout the 50% sale at the Gap. Check, check, and partial check…

What’s on your checklist this week??? Inquiring minds (or something less creepy) want to know :)

XO, Rae

PS – Feel fee to share, save, use or pin the graphic for later!!!

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A (SUMMER) DAY IN THE LIFE

One of the questions I get asked most is, “OMG, how do you do it with 5 kids!” I almost always smile back and giggle not knowing what they mean by “it” and assuming it’s rhetorical but inside I’m thinking to myself — OMG, I have NO idea! So I figured it was time to sit down and come up with some kind of an answer and what better way to sort out my thoughts and feelings than with a blog post, right? Or maybe not but I guess we will see :)

Before I get to our schedule, a little note to the moms of one or two (or more) babes who might be feeling overwhelmed and totally inadequate at times. I’ve been there and still feel that way sometimes. Motherhood is a huge change and adjusting to the needs, demands and lack of personal space (or personal anything) takes time and a lot of perspective. At this point, diaper changes and nap schedules are my norm. I haven’t known any different for almost 16 years and will for sure be needing some therapy when those years are over and probably could have used some when they began. So be gentle with yourself. Just because we can “handle” 5 kids doesn’t mean that life with two should be easy peasy for you. Motherhood just doesn’t work that way. It really isn’t about the numbers.

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Somedays it feels like we have 10 kids, other days it feels like we have a couple and while our schedules change quickly and not everyday is the same, we do try to find a rhythm for each season. Sometimes it comes easily and at the beginning of a season (summer is that way for me) and other times it doesn’t happen until the season is almost over (can you say winter?). But here is what our days mostly look like right now.

  • 6am: I get up, have quiet time, check/respond to emails, plan our day, and/or write a to do list and fit in a little work too. Griffin gets up around 6:45 like clockwork. We snuggle while he asks whats for breakfast (he is my picky one) and we come up with a menu together usually. Espen is typically up shortly after and the two of them watch a cartoon, play legos or (hopefully) find something quiet to do.
  • 7:30am: Get myself ready, work a little, throw in a load of laundry, etc.
  • 9am – 10am (on my fave mornings): Empty the dishwasher or ask an older kidlet to do it, serve them breakkie, get their clothes out, and remind them 10 different times to make their beds and brush their teeth. If we don’t have anywhere to be we have a POWER HOUR — a haphazard hour spent catching up on house chores but it works. I also have a friend that cleans our home every other week which is a lifesaver for me. On mornings Johan is home and I have a deadline, he will often take care of breakfast duties. Praise God for help!
  • 10am – noon-ish: If we didn’t have a reason to get out of the house before 10am then we will definitely be leaving to run errands, play at the park, etc. Getting out of the house is a must! If the kids haven’t been snacking their way through the morning than we have lunch around 12:30.
  • 1pm – 3-ish: This time is kind of random during the summer. On my favorite days we are still out doing something while Poppy (and usually one or two other kids) takes a quick nap in the car. On more productive days, Poppy naps for a few hours while the older kids do an hour of quiet time and then go outside and play together or with friends. Meanwhile, I work, work, work, work, work and hopefully squeeze in 2-ish productive hours.
  • 4 – 6pm: Another mostly random time of day where we tend to fit in a lot but it’s always different and requires multitasking. My goal is to tidy-up, make dinner, feed people, keep the kids from melting down and get whoever has a practice or game that evening ready to go. The kids are also in need of a little extra entertaining during this time so I try to think of something to keep them busy. Games, crafts, friends or helping me in the kitchen usually does the trick but when all else fails I turn on a show. Praise God for the Disney channel.
  • 7 – 8pm: We eat if we haven’t already and then try to unwind. My favorite thing to do at this time is go for a quick walk. The fresh air does wonders! Then we start the bedtime routine and Poppy goes down.
  • 9-11pm: If Johan is home, one of us finishes bedtimes while the other cleans the kitchen. Then we either tie-up loose ends (fold laundry, finish work, pay bills, blah, blah, blah) or hangout together (watch a movie, have a glass of wine, chat, play a card game, do a garage workout. etc.). Our goal is to be in bed between 10 and 11 but it’s usually closer to 11 in the summer.

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So, I’ve talked a lot about our schedule, but every mama knows a schedule only get’s you so far because real life and kids don’t care too much about a schedule. So here is my secret and the one thing that keeps me running the day (instead of the other way around) and rallying when things don’t go as planned.

G r a c e .

I’m still learning to lean into it on the good days as much as the, “this day can’t end soon enough” days, but I can tell you there is nothing like knowing I don’t have to be perfect or hold everything together because God is in my corner, working in my favor and making life that much cooler and sweeter.

“But by the grace of God I am what I am…” — 1Corinthians 15:10

There you have it! A day in the life this summer with 5 kids, a husband and a lot of grace.

How have you guys been scheduling (or not so scheduling) your summer days!? Are you ready for the added structure that back-to-school brings? Although, according to my Instagram feed BTS has already happened for some so, how is it going?

XO, Rae

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MEAL PLAN: AUG NO.1

We still have another month of summer with the kids and my goal is to soak up all the quality time, sunshine, activities and outings as we can while also reintroducing some of that good old fashioned structure back into our lives so back to school isn’t quite so abrupt. Food and mealtime is one of the best and easiest places to start for me so I’m back to planning our meals and stocking the pantry. Here’s whats on the menu this week!

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(mexi)MONDAYHuevos Rancheros with Roasted Sweet Potatoes

TUESDAY – Grilled Chicken + Summer Veggie Skewers, add whatever veggies look fresh and grill-able at the store like summer squash and serve with couscous

WEDNESDAY – Eat Out or Takeout and MOVIE NIGHT with friends!!!

THURSDAYSlow Cooker Beef Carnitas Tacos, this is also Johan’s Birthday dinner so the menu might change based on what he wants but I figured anything involving beef was a safe bet!

FRIDAYBBQ Chicken Cobb Salad + Mini Grilled Cheeses

SATURDAY – Eat Out or Takeout

SUNDAYEasy Meatball Sliders

BREKKIE – Oatmeal, Cereal, or Eggs — keeping it simple this week!

LUNCHSandwich Wraps, fruit, yogurt and popcorn

SNACKFrozen Yogurt Dots, Watermelon Pizza, Cracker Stackers, Hummus + Veggies + Chips

After posting the picture above on Instagram last week of our movie night snacks, I received a lot of questions about the food and drink trays. I bought a case of them originally for all the summer get togethers and Birthday parties but they also make movie night seem extra special and clean up extra easy. You can find the FOOD + DRINK TRAYS HERE and the PLASTIC CUPS + LIDS HERE.

Hope your week if off to a good start!

XO, Rae

PS – Thanks so much to everyone who participated in the August Faves Giveaway. The winner has been announced HERE and emailed :)

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