Author Archive | rae

PANTRY PARTY MIX, GRAPE (CATERPILLAR) KABOBS, A MEAL PLAN, + A FEW PICS FROM OUR WEEKEND

We spent the weekend in our old college town (WSU in Pullman, WA) watching Ozzie play baseball on the same field he used to run bases around along with the college players post-game, as a curly-headed toddler. It was the sweetest most sentimental thing to see him as a player with that same big head of curly hair. Gah! Time is a crazy (biznich) thing but I’ll stop right there before I start crying… :)

Anyway, aside from cheering on big brother, we had a blast swimming at the hotel pool, eating at a couple of our favorite spots, and walking around our old stomping ground. Knowing that we would be spending a majority of our time watching baseball or running around town, I threw a bunch of opened bags of snacks into a tote before we left and stopped by the store once we arrived for yogurt, deli meat and fruit so we weren’t eating out for all meals and snacks. Between all that and a bag of peanut butter m&m’s we threw together a fun snack mix and grape kabobs turned caterpillars that the kids loved. They don’t require a recipe (or much prep hallelujah!) and since snack and meal ideas are always helpful during the summer months, I thought I’d share more diy details and a meal plan below!

PANTRY SNACK MIX – Grab all the half-eaten boxes and bags of snack foods from the pantry (pirate booty, popcorn, pretzels, fish crackers, bunny crackers, etc.), nuts, seeds, and dried fruit and mix together. Divide into bowls or containers and top with something sweet like sprinkles, m&m’s, and/or chocolate chips.

CATERPILLAR GRAPE KABOBS – Slide grapes onto wood skewers and then use icing to add candy eyes! (I linked to amazon so you could see what I’m talking about but usually buy at Target… although those candy eyes look like a good deal!)

MONDAY | Something from Costco because unpacking, and husband at work and really, who wants to start the week with dishes? Ha!

TUESDAY | Turkey lettuce wraps

WEDNESDAYMexi-quinoa buddha bowls

THURSDAY | FIELD DAY at the elementary school so, pulled pork sandwiches in the crock pot with blue slaw and sweet potato fries will be a nice (and easy-ish) way to end the day!

FRIDAY | homemade mac and cheese… kid request!

SATURDAY | pizza picnic or dinner with friends

SUNDAY | Thai green coconut curry so good!  (I use coconut oil and omit the cuttlefish balls and fish sauce)

BREAKKIE, LUNCH + SNACK | It’s the last week of school and only break I’ll be getting from the kitchen for awhile so we will be eating hot lunches, cereal, apples and popcorn for all other meals :)

Always celebrating this hands-on and always entertaining daddy of their’s but especially on Father’s Day. Even though he was the one that brought me coffee in bed Sunday morning (oops!). I blame Poppy who was up at least 6 times the night before. You just never know who is and isn’t going to sleep when away from home!

I think her personality is growing as fast as her little body… I love you Poppy! (her shorts from childhoods and purse from swankaroo in size L, 6-8)

Proof of the sidewalk meltdown I mentioned on instagram yesterday… still have no idea what she was upset about but luckily she bounces back quickly! A friend pointed out that it might have something to do with being the 5th child? You either bounce back or you miss out on the action i guess!?

Also, tell me Espen doesn’t look like he would fit right in with the cast from Sandlot? And I mean that in the best way. He and Tilly are knee deep in that awkward stage that lasts through 6th or 7th grade (right?) and I can’t get enough of it. It reminds me of that newborn stage where they are just too scrumptious not to adore but haven’t totally grown into their features. Ha! I have mom-goggles for sure.

The very first time I met Johan was in this coffee shop. We had both stopped in to say “HI!” to my cousin Erin who worked there. I walked through the door with Oz in a stroller and couldn’t wait to give her a hug after being gone all summer and Johan was sitting at the counter trying to mooch a free peanut butter frost (which he of course did successfully). Erin introduced us but it was almost a year before out paths crossed again. After so many years of marriage, I love thinking about all the details of our relationship and what it took God to get us together!

THE GOOD LIFE ^^^ on the hunt for ice cream!

Of all the sports my kids play, I think the baseball dugout is my favorite part!

Griff patiently waited for the coach to leave the dugout so he could hang with his big brother. He and Poppy for sure treat Oz like a celebrity.

But seriously… I grew that big man-child in my belly 16 years ago when life was hard and scary and so uncertain. The craziness of how far we’ve come never escapes me. God is so good you guys.

Okay, enough of my rambling! Hope you guys have an amazing start to your week!

xo, Rae

P.S. – Thoughts on wide leg jeans? I’m a sucker for a new trend but after seeing them in photos, I can’t decide. Some angles aren’t that flattering, but they are really fun to wear… and breezy for the summer!

 

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6

MOM + MINI: WHAT WE WORE IN NY

We’re home! Even though we had the time of our lives (Tilly was plotting ways to stay) it always feels so good to be home. I’m excited to share all the things we did and ate, but thought it would be fun to start with what we wore. I know I’m always on the lookout for cute and easy summer outfits for the kids and me that last for full days of exploring!

As far as packing goes, I followed my usual tips (blog post HERE!). It was nice having an extra top layer (either jean jacket, button up shirt, or sweatshirt), a few accessories and extra outfits to choose from. Although, between adventuring in the city and eating on the go, I really thought we would be changing more! The only other thing that surprised me was how often our days involved swimsuits. Most parks, playgrounds and even The Met had water features or a splash pad and it was always a welcome and unexpected treat for the kids!

Here’s a peek and links to what we wore…

RAE | top, jeans, similar sandals here and here (old from J.Crew), sunnies

ESPEN | crew neck (old from PeekKids), tee, shorts, shoes

TILLY similar crew neck (old from PeekKids), tee, similar shorts (old from Target), shoes

RAE | sunnies, dress, similar jean jacket (old from J. Crew), similar sandals here and here (old from J.Crew)

TILLY | dress, sneakers

ESPEN | hat, tee, old swim shorts from J.Crew (he wore these earlier in the day), shoes

RAE | jumpsuit (wearing a size small and had to knot the straps :), similar jean jacket (old from J. Crew), shoes, sunnies

ESPEN | polo, old swim shorts from J.Crew but think these are so cute (!), shoes

TILLY | tee, similar shorts (old from PeekKids), sneakers

RAE | tee, skirt, belt (thrifted), sandals (similar), sunnies

ESPEN | tee, shorts, shoes

TILLY | tee, similar skirt (old by cat and jack), sneakers

This trip was so good for my soul you guys. I need those full days of exploring and being present with my people, but I’m also so excited to (mostly) be home for the rest of summer (just a couple close rode trips!)… Ready to adventure in our own city.

Are you planning any trips this summer or staying close to home?

xo, Rae

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5

5 FUN TIPS FOR INSTAGRAM STORIES

Even though I’m not super consistent about posting to Instagram Stories, I’m a huge fan! Love how it’s (usually) less polished and more spontaneous than the little squares (which I love too!). Aside from being an easy way to share with friends, family, husbands (while they are at work or away!), and social media friends, it’s also an entertaining way of documenting the little things and moments in bite sized files (instead of the 5 minute videos no one will ever re-watch) it can also be a simple and fun way to get creative :)

Here are a few of my favorite ways to do just that!

ACCESS MORE COLORS — did you know there is a full color wheel hiding behind those little dots of color at the bottom of the screen?! Select the pen or text tool and press on any of the color dots and slide your finger up.

  1. MAKE A TEXT BLOCK — I kinda think I was the last person to discover this, but it’s never good to assume, so thought I would share! Take your picture or video and tap the screen or text tool to write a caption. Tap the “A” with a square outline around it in the middle top of your screen to make it a text block.
  2. PLAY WITH LETTER + TEXT SIZE + COLOR — Type text or letters out separately by tapping the text icon and tapping “done” in between each. Then edit each line and arrange as you want. Select the pen and different colors to make shapes behind the text for a little pop!

MAKE A SOLID BACKGROUND — Take a picture (of anything) and tap the pen tool in the top right. Select your color (hold down for the full color wheel if you want – see tip 1 above) then hold finger anywhere on the image for a few seconds and it will turn into a solid background. Tap “done” in the top right and then use the stamps, pen, or type tool to design a fun image!

 

SHARE A VIDEO or PIC/LATERGRAM FROM YOUR CAMERA ROLL ON YOUR STORY – Open your Instagram home page and swipe right or press the camera icon at the top left. Then swipe up or down to open images and videos that were taken in the last 24 hours.

If the image you want to share is older than 24 hours simply open image in a photo editing app, such as VSCO, and re-save to your camera roll. Then follow the steps above! ^^^

 

HOW TO HIDE YOUR STORIES FROM CERTAIN USERS — From your Instagram homepage, swipe right or tap camera icon. Then tap the gear icon at the top left to open which will open your story settings. If you tap the “hide story from” line it will open up a list of people following you and you can select from there.

HIDE STORIES YOU DON”T WANT TO WATCH — There is so much content on Instagram and scrolling through pics is one thing, but it can be easy for your favorite stories to get buried. To mute the ones you aren’t interested in open your Insta homepage. Press and hold the circle profile image of the accounts you don’t want to see and a “mute @account” option will pop up. You’ll still see their content in your feed and you can un-mute their stories anytime… just scroll through all of the profile images in stories and you’ll see all the ones you muted.

A couple other features I appreciate…

ZOOM IN AND OUT IN VIDEO WITH ONE FINGER — Ok, so I found out about this one from watching my 16 year old, LOL, and don’t actually use it very often but it does come in handy sometimes! Simply, open your camera in Instagram on the normal setting. Hold down the button and slide your finger up to zoom.

PAUSE A STORY – By holding your finger down on the screen! Use this all the time when there is a lot of text on a video or image, hashtag slow-reader.

I think we can all agree that social media is a lot of fun but can also be a huge distraction and time-suck. I don’t have any specific boundaries or time limits, although I probably should, but personally there is only so much screen time this girl can take each day before I start to feel tied down which I hate. So on days I have larger amounts of computer work, you probably won’t see me on Instagram. I also try to keep my phone use to a minimum once the older kids are home from school (although I could probably do better!). However, school is almost out and I take on less work during the summer so you may be seeing more stories from me for the next few months! (Follow along @raeannkelly if you are into that!)

Oh, and Espen, Tilly and I are leaving for New York tonight and I’m going to try and share lots of pics and videos… without being annoying hopefully :)

How do you keep your social media use in check? What’s your favorite feature on Instagram Stories?

XO, Rae

2

LITTLE BITES: CHUNKY MONKEY PROTEIN SHAKE

I think the anticipation of summer with kids is a lot like the beginning of pregnancy… you get so excited about all the fun parts that you forget about how much work it is! One of hardest parts about summer for me is actually keeping everyone fed. Especially on days we’re home. Because our schedule stays pretty loose, there is a ton of snacking going on between breakfast and dinner (lots of fruit, popcorn, edamame, hummus and guac happening) which makes it hard to tell who is eating what and if anyone is actually full.

Anytime I need a break from hearing the words, “I’m hungry” (which I hear more than, “I’m bored”), or from tidying up the kitchen that is honestly never clean during the summer, I have two options 1) I can make an actual lunch meal and make everyone sit together and eat or I can 2) make a protein shake I know they’ll love that also fills them up and that’s portable.

Most of the time it’s a no-brainer and I go for the shake. I’ll share our go-to combo below! Oh, and I got a lot of questions about what blender and protein (that isn’t chalky) we use in my last smoothie post so will add those links below too.

CHUNKY MONKEY PROTEIN SHAKE

serves 2 adults or 4 kids

  • 2 scoops of chocolate protein powder (if you have vanilla, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder)
  • 16 ounces milk of your choice (we usually use almond milk)
  • 1/2 banana (frozen or room temp)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of peanut butter
  • ice cubes to taste (we start with 10 cubes and then add as needed)
  • sprinkles and chocolate chips to garnish, optional

Place first 4 ingredients in blender and blend until combined, but not frothy. Add ice to taste and desired thickness and blend. Pour in cups and garnish with sprinkles and chocolate chips! Serve to your monkeys or enjoy yourself!

Favorite protein mix is THIS. It’s spendy, but if you break it down per serving and the fact that it’s almost a meal replacement for the little ones, it makes it feel more reasonable. The flavor pictured is extreme milk chocolate and it’s a hit in our home. As far as blenders go, we’ve used a ninja for years. It worked great at first but the blades dulled quickly and we’ve just been putting up with it. Johan’s been wanting to buy a vitamix and there is a great deal on one at Costco right now ($350!) but with all of our summer expenses (camps, swimming, Birthdays, etc.) I talked him into THIS kitchen aid blender and it works great so far!

Everyone’s reaction to the blender turning on, HA! Growing up my mom would always put her hand on the blender lid while it was on. If I remember correctly, the stopper part was loose and would fly off if she didn’t, but

Sprinkles makes everything more appetizing and fun to eat… not that these yummy shakes need any help. It’s really so good.

Happy Friday loves!

xo, Rae

8

WHEN IN DOUBT, HEAD TO THE BEACH!

That is exactly what we did over the long weekend and it’s safe to say we played hard and had lots of fun! Johan had to be back at work on Monday so our weekend was cut short a bit, but Saturday and Sunday we packed up and spent time at my parent’s house and lake. Between our work schedules lately (yay for those hard working daddies!) and the boy’s baseball, two full days together felt like pure bliss!

A few pics from our time together…

Griffin rarely lets me out of his sight (a serious clinger) unless he has a friend around and then I’m NBD. Makes me appreciate more and more the time I have him all to myself. One day he’ll be taller and busier and it will be harder to steal kisses so you know what I’ll be doing in the meantime!

I know from experience… You’ll notice Oz isn’t in any pics. He and a friend were with us but taking pictures of  16 year old boys is hard if not impossible. Unless of course it’s a snapchat pic from their phones (sighhhh).  On the upside, teenage boys are highly entertaining and fun to be around!

I mentioned on Instagram that we haven’t quite mastered the art of family bike rides. However, my parent’s neighborhood is a really good place to practice. Everyone grabs something with wheels and we hit the road — abandoning ride-on toys, kissing scraped knees, and looking like a hot mess as we go.

It’s my favorite thing to hang back a bit and watch the beautiful mess of it all while kindly shouting every once in awhile for people to slow down, stay together, be careful, and don’t go past the…. Ha! Maybe I’m the reason our bike rides/walks feel so chaotic?! Either way, when it’s not stressing me out, it’s the best view.

Still in swimsuits at 8pm… What summer dreams are made of!

5th child ^^^ The FOMO is real.

There’s that view!

Day 2 looked a lot like day 1…

Tilly trying to persuade me to hop on a paddle board with her the second we arrive on the beach, while I try to convince her that sitting in the sun for a bit while taking it all in and sipping on a LaCroix before jumping in the water is where it’s at!

We compromised… I hopped on the paddle board with her and a LaCroix and she promised not to tip us over. :)

Waiting for my paddler.

*I would not ordinarily post a picture of myself in a swimsuit, but since it’s that time of year and most of us are looking for something cute and functional to wear while playing with the kids, I thought I would take one for the team and share one of the suits that works for me! The top is last season from Victoria’s Secret but my bottoms are from Kortni Jean. I have a top from her line and love how easy her pieces are to mix and match with other suits I have too. I’ll share links below!

I’ve also had my eyes on swimmers by Albion… has anyone purchased from them?

Watermelon break!

And some pineapple too…?

 Since Johan had to work Monday the kids and I hung-out at home. They caught up with friends while I caught up on laundry and spent a lot of time thinking about how this weekend probably feels and looks so different for those families who know personally the cost of our freedom. Those who might cringe a little when the word “happy” is placed before memorial day. If that’s you, and I’m not even sure that I have the words or understanding, but I do want you to know I was thinking of you. Thank you for everything you have and continue to sacrifice for me and my family and for our country. I do hope you felt extra honored and loved over the weekend.

XO, Rae

SWIMMERS | Rae, top + bottom from Kortni Jean  | Tilly, top + bottoms from Kortni Jean | Espen, old from Crewcuts | Griffin, trunks from Cat + Jack from Target (these are cute too) | Poppy, suit from Olivia + Ocean

*Leave a comment if you have any questions on sizing!

4

PLAY-OFFICE SOURCES

Thanks for all the comments and questions from my last post! As promised, I’m back with sources from our shared play-office reveal. Excuse the delay but I got a tip that a lot of the items would be on sale for memorial day weekend and wanted to make sure you got killer deals on anything you might want. Before starting, I reached out to the Land of Nod to see if they would be willing to send over a few goodies, so you may notice a big chunk of the room is from them. They are the best at designing for kids while also keeping in mind grownups and older kids and their decor always mix and matches so well with the rest of the house. I absolutely love working with them!

Keep scrolling for sources…

(see before post here and full room reveal here!)

1 | pendant light, land of nod

2 | colorful penant garland, land of nod

3 | cat + dog, land of nod

4 | arrow wall hooks, land of nod

5 | dress-up mirror, $5 at walmart

6 | red pony hoppy toy, the most played with toy in our home from amazon (also great for bday gifts!)

7 | folk denim rug, land of nod… love this so much I almost gave it a home in our family room!

8 | gold dot decals, land of nod

1 | hand drawn kid art, DIY coming soon!

2 | frame, spray painted gold from ikea

3 | pom-pom garland, land of nod

4 | frame thrifted — arrow print, coming soon as a free download

5 | play on player print, land of nod

6 | half dot garland, land of nod

7 + 11 | basket, land of nod

8 | dog balloon bookend, land of nod

9 | things divided bin, $8 at land of nod right now… also have one in the kids bathroom for toothbrushes, etc. and it works perfectly!

10 | white locker, ikea

 

1 | woven wallhanging, land of nod

2 | apple pillow, old from land of nod (so many cute throw pillows) or similar from blabla kids (scroll down for the apple)

3 | bean bag, a favorite addition from land of nod

4 | basket, land of nod

1 | ikea kitchen makeover, my blog

2 | ice cream cones, oriental trading

3 | play fridge, land of nod (obsessed!)

4 | folk denim rug, land of nod

1 | wood sign diy here, on a friend’s blog!

2 | desk top + legs, ikea

3 | chair, amazon

Let me know if I missed anything! Happy long weekend (and bargain shopping)!

xo, Rae

2

PLAY-OFFICE ROOM MAKEOVER

Our play-office makeover is finished and even though I never in a million years thought I would be willing to share an office with my little people, I couldn’t be happier to be sitting and working in a freshly painted, decorated and kid friendly office space. It’s been getting lots of use, staying relatively clean and working out really well for everyone so far! Now, instead of my kids annoyingly moaning and rolling around on the floor while I finish up an email or save design files, they have lots of toys and activities to keep them busy. For all the mamas who understand what it’s like to try and finish a task while kids are awake, you know what a blessing that is.

Enough of me chit-chatting… welcome to our play-office! Take a peek at the pics and let me know if you have questions! I’ll work on a post with sources to share tomorrow or Wednesday.

(The dress-up corner)

(A favorite addition to the room… I think they need names!?)

(My desk area… Wasn’t sure if I would like my desk and computer in front of the window, but really love it! Bonus that it makes keeping an eye on scooter riding, street hockey playing, baseball throwing kids, super easy. Something I will be extra grateful for come summer!)

(Nothing like a pretty ceiling light and rug to make a room feel pulled together and a little more grown-up.)

(Play kitchen. The stove and sink was an ikea hack – see the post here – and the refrigerator is new and a total god-send since it easily stores lots of kitchen accessories.)

(Favorite part of the room makeover is this wall! I asked the kids to draw simple pictures and then scanned, made some small edits and had them printed as posters. Working on a full tutorial to share! The TV was another thing I was unsure of, but it’s been nice to have… you may have seen the kids following along with a yoga show on my Instagram stories last week :)

(Last but not least, a comfy reading area complete with an oversized beanbag and cute basket to hold books.)

Are there any spaces in your home that you swore you would never share with your kids, but find them using often?

For me, another room would be our master bath. In our last home the 2 upstairs bathrooms were basically the same size so there wasn’t much sharing going on. When we moved into our current home, I swore the master bath with giant tub and double sinks would remain free from kid-sized clothes, towels, and toys. However that didn’t last long, LOL. Choosing a big open space for bathing all the kids is too good to pass up, plus I get a chance to tidy up the counter and closet floor while they splish-splash for a few minutes.  It’s a win-win for all of us.

XO, Rae

14

WATERMELON PIZZA, LEMON SPRITZER + A MEAL PLAN

Happy Monday after Mother’s Day! I hope everyone was able to celebrate the beautiful women in their lives either in person, over FaceTime, or in memory and that all you mamas felt extra loved.  Johan was at the fire station all weekend so Sunday looked a little different for us this year, but the kids stepped up their game and made me feel like a million bucks with handmade gifts (aren’t fill-in the blank “all about my mom” worksheets not the best thing ever!?), maple bars for breakfast, and slightly better behavior than usual for at least the first part of the day :)

As a belated Mama’s Day gift, I’m sharing a simple meal plan (full of classic crowd-pleasers) and the recipes for watermelon pizza and a lemon and thyme spritzer for Friday night happy hours!

WATERMELON PIZZA – Slice watermelon into rounds, spread a layer of honey or vanilla yogurt (I like to use greek because it has a thicker texture) over the top, then let the kids ‘decorate’ with favorite berries and fruits. Garnish with mint for fun!

LEMON, THYME + TEQUILA SPRITZER, (makes 4 cocktails) – For the simple syrup, add zest from 1 lemon, 3 sprigs of thyme, 1-1/2 cups sugar, and 1-1/2 cups water to a saucepan. Stir often while bringing to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes, then strain into a pitcher or large jar. Stir in juice from 4 lemons, 1/2 cup silver tequila, 3 cups seltzer water (lemon le crouix is my fave!), and let chill in refrigerator. Pour over ice and garnish with sprigs of thyme and lemon.

Sip while snacking on watermelon pizza, chips and guacamole for a yummy happy hour that just might be filling enough (with the help of a few quesadillas) to bail on dinner plans!

 

Here’s what we’re eating this week:

MONDAY | bbq chicken cobb salad

TUESDAY | burrito bowls

WEDNESDAY | favorite spaghetti recipe + broccoli

THURSDAY | takeout, please.

FRIDAY | breakfast for dinner (french toast maybe!?)

SATURDAY | slow cooker french dip sandwiches, fries or chips, raw veggie plate

SUNDAY | eat-out or takeout.

BREAKKIE | egg tacos, smoothies, cereal, and lots of fruit!

LUNCH | leftovers, PB&J

SNACK | watermelon pizza, veggies + dip, no-bake energy bites or zbars

After last week (which was crazy with work, baseball, appointments, and family stuff), I’m ready for some downtime, routine, and a return to basics. Which is the inspiration for the meal plan… how about you guys? What’s on your classic dinner menu?

xo, Rae

4

IT’S (ALMOST) SUMMER, COUNTDOWN CHAIN

It barely (if at all) feels like spring around here, but that hasn’t stopped my kids from asking, thinking, and talking about summer non-stop. Not that I can blame them. The chatter started a month or so ago when Griffin and Tilly began asking how many sleeps until summer (aka the last day of school). After a week of trying to figure it out in my head and give them an estimate, I gave up and started keeping the day calculator site open on my phone. But even that was getting old, so over the weekend we decided to go old school and staple together a countdown chain. Now the next time they ask, I can say, “you should go count and let me know!” Plus, it looks summery and cute hanging in the kitchen.

I’m sure you guys all know how to put together a chain, but measurements always help! I used 12×12 sheets of craft paper and was able to get 10 — 8 x 1.5 inch strips out of each sheet.

Who’s ready for suuuuuumer!? These guys are. Poppy can hardly keep her pants up she’s so excited :)

Now we just need to figure out what our summer schedule and calendar looks like. Even though we still have 50 days to figure it out, I know it’s going to fly-by! So far swim lessons and our annual camping trip is all we have planned… What’s on your schedule this summer!?

xo, Rae

GRIFFIN | tee (old from peek but on sale in baby sizes and so many other cute ones to choose from), shorts

POPPY | mauve stripe outfit, sunnies

2

HOW TO BE A HAPPIER MOM + LIFE LATELY

(Cookie eating + smoothie + coffee drinking at the park.)

With Mother’s Day just a week and a half away, my mind has been spinning with thoughts of motherhood. One of the quotes I read recently and can’t seem to get out of my head is, “In the end, I am the only one who can give my children a happy mother who loves life” by, Janene Wolsey Baadsgaard. So true, right? I’d add that it’s also one of the best gifts we can give our kids!

So, I started taking an inventory of the days I’m feeling happier and more myself and why I think that is. Excited to share what I found along with a pics from life lately!

I’M A HAPPIER MOM WHEN…

  1. I’m doing things to take care of myself on a regular basis (getting ready, working out, eating well, etc.)
  2. I’m in community and spending daily time with God (journaling, reading, praying) and people (playdates, coffee, walks, meals, chatting, etc.). Oh, and of course date nights with your hub or friends!
  3. I’m getting enough sleep. I read the other day that getting good sleep makes people more happy than making more money and I totally believe it! I’m so much more playful and fun when well rested. 7 or 8 hours per night is my happy place and allows a buffer for the nights I’m up late working or one of the kids is sick. This of course is tricky with a baby bump or newborn… and sometimes even toddlers, a “sleep walking” 5 year old that climbs into bed with you, or if you have FOMO (like me!) and can’t sleep in!
  4. I’m able to be present! Still need to be better at this because even when my body isn’t multitasking, my mind often is. Keeping a planner where I can jot down lists, ideas, to-do’s and a plan for our day is a huge help! Love these large agendas by Ban.do and this monthly organizational set by JDC. Getting out of the house for a bit each day helps too.
  5. My priorities, values and goals all lineup. If I find myself getting frustrated or losing my mind, it’s usually because one or more of these things are off. On the flip side, when all 3 line up it can be a huge mood booster. For instance, if my goal is to have the kids catch the bus at 8, my priority is to encourage independence, and my value is in my relationship with my kids then letting Tilly pick out her outfit is a no brainer! It saves both of us time and energy and helps our relationship too. Although, you know I’ll be throwing out some suggestions, ha! Just can’t help myself :)

(Yummy Starbucks cookie, but we made these big batch cookies a couple days ago too!)

Made this fish taco with mango salsa recipe last Taco Tuesday and it was so yummy.

(Burning off some energy on the tennis court during Ozzie’s game last week.)

(Shoes on the wrong feet… gosh I’ll miss this stage when it’s over.)

(Weekday errands with daddy… one of the perks of being married to a firefighter :)

(The sun has been out off and on this week so it was time for us to stock our car caddy with a picnic mat, snacks, sidewalk chalk, and bubbles. Makes baseball games + park dates super easy!)

One last thought on being a happier mom… Raising good little humans is a big job. But that sense of purpose and value can often get buried under the mountain of laundry, to-dos, and tantrums and with it the joy too. So for all the mamas that could use a reminder or haven’t been told lately, you have a big, beautiful, important and hard job and your doing better than you think you are… we all are!

How do you keep your heart light and happy amid the demands of momming?

xo, Rae

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WE’RE COMIN’ FOR YA, NY!

(i heart ny)

Eeek! In about a month, Espen, Tilly, + I will be packing our bags and hopping on a flight to New York to visit my brother, sister (in-law), and nephew! We’ll have 3 full days to adventure and play around the city and since you guys always have the best ideas I thought I’d ask if you have any must do, eat, or see suggestions for us…?

So far Espen wants to go swimming and Tilly wants to see the emoji movie while we’re there (“Are there movie theaters in NY?” she asked. Ha!). These kids are in for the surprise of their lives and I can’t wait to see it all through their eyes!

Johan and I have been chatting about taking the whole fam bam to NY ever since our visit several years ago (you can see the post here!) for my Birthday, yet have had a hard time figure out logistics (i.e. affording the trip without blowing college funds, etc., etc.). Booking a trip for just the three of us seemed like the next best thing even though I hate to leave the rest of the kids and Johan behind — we’ll miss them soooooo much! — but, I’m glad we didn’t wait any longer to make it happen.

Are there any trips you’ve been dreaming of taking!?

Oh, and don’t forget to let me know if you have any NY food or activity suggestions for us! We’ll be staying in Brooklyn.

xo, Rae

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