Archive | LIFE

TIME FOR a Q + A

There is so much to appreciate about social media and blogs but one of my favorite things is how it allows you to connect with people you wouldn’t ordinarily know. Yet sometimes the convos feels a little one sided since I’m doing a lot of the talking over here, LOL. So let’s switch things up and pretend like we ran into each other at our favorite crepe and coffee place and in-between cleaning up spills and wrangling children we managed to chat a bit.

In the comments below, feel free to ask me anything — family/work balance, photography, marriage, parenting, having a blended family, faith, style, etc. — I’ll do my best to reply back to your questions today and tomorrow and will also cover any extra fun or repetitive ones on Instagram Live this afternoon at 4pm (PST)! Of course I’ll have to teach dance moves or something instead if you guys don’t ask me anything, so don’t be shy! Ha!

I have a question for you too: when you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?!

Now, ask and answer away!

xo, Rae

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WE MADE IT + CREAMY PEANUT BUTTER APPLE DIP RECIPE

Cheeeyeck!

We made it though the first full week of back to school and I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited for FRI-YAYAYAYAYAY!

A quick recap of how things have been going… The kids love their teachers and I love hearing all about their day when they get home. The whole concept of having to go to school 5 days in a row has Griffin a bit confused, but every morning he gets up and is such a trooper and every night he falls asleep super fast. Tilly’s anxiety levels are at an all time high (or after a long beautiful summer, I just forgot how bad it gets) and no one but Ozzie and Espen seem to be able to stay asleep and in their own beds at night. Clearly we have some work to do, but I am feeling extra lucky these days to be doing life with them, their big brudder and their daddy too!!

With the weather getting colder and rain in the forecast next week, we decided to take advantage of the sunshine so packed up our after school snack and headed to a wooded trail area just a few minutes from our home.

Are you guys ready for a mind blowing apple dip? Make it this weekend and I promise you’ll have your family and guests singing your praises. Here’s a few other apple dip options.

PEANUT BUTTER APPLE DIP

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 8 oz cream cheese (pull from fridge 30 minutes or so before making so it’s warmed up a bit)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  1. In a medium bowl, combine ingredients and then use a hand or stand mixer to whip together.
  2. Serve with sliced apples! Cover leftovers and store in the fridge.

I read somewhere this week that the outdoors makes the best playroom and I couldn’t agree more.

Griffey sandwich :) So fun to have all three of them at the same school this year.

Hope you all had the best week. Cheers to a fun weekend!

xo, Rae

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INSTAGRAM LIVE: TOPIC IDEAS

You guys (!!!) this is only the 7th day the kids (or at least some combination of them) have been back in school and I’m already missing them and summer so much! To distract myself and make things interesting around here, I thought it would be fun to do a weekly Instagram Live. The first one will be 3:00pm (PST) next Wednesday 9/20 (so mark your calendars!). Would love to keep the day and time consistent, but may need to jump around to find what works best. We’ll see!

More importantly, since my goal is to not bore you, I need a running list of ideas, topics and projects and would LOVE your help! I don’t usually have a shortage of ideas, but for some reason I’m totally drawing a blank.

A few that popped into my head:

  • A home tour
  • Q+A (possibly conducted by the kids?)
  • An easy recipe or DIY (with or without kids)
  • Something workout related

What would you add?

In reality, I guess the fewer people that actually tune in the better (LOL) while I figure out what I’m doing, but I would actually really like you guys to join me (because friends make everything better/easier/more fun!) so mark your calendars!

xo, Rae

(#tbt image from the New Day segment I did a few years back, by Stacy Jacobsen)

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THE POWER OF POSITIVE

“So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind.” (The Message)

Last weekend while on a quick road trip, Johan and I downloaded “How to Win Friends and Influence People” to audibles. Most of you have probably heard of it if not read it. It’s an oldie but goodie that’s basically about being positive and humble. Ever since I keep hearing and seeing things that confirm just how important both things are. How powerful it is to be a cheerleader instead of a critic. A neighbor instead of a stranger. And a giver instead of a taker. Not just with others, but also with myself! What we say to ourselves is sooooo important and maybe even more critical than being nice to ourselves is not allowing all the negative junk, space in our minds. Negativity really does steal our energy, momentum, and talents.

It’s been such a good reminder to me, especially with all that is and has happened in the world lately, that I wanted to share with you along with a few silly images we took of the kids last week before Ozzie’s football game. I had no intention of using them for a blog post but they ended up being a perfect illustration.

I could not love these kids more!

“Gracious speech is like clover honey — good taste to the soul, quick energy for the body.” (The Message)

Kinda like the marshmallows Tilly is throwing at Griff, LOL.

(One last image because Tilly, mid-runningman, just about made my day :)

What’s been on your mind + heart lately?

xo, Rae

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LET’S CHAT: WHO’S THE BIGGER FOOTBALL FAN?

On the 6 hour drive over to watch the football season opener at our alma mater on Saturday, Johan and I started chatting about all the couples we know where the wife is way more into football season than their husband.

Thought it would be fun to continue our chat and ask you guys — who is the bigger football fan, your significant other or you??!

In our home, Johan for sure wins the best fan award. He’s all about the stats, players, schedules and actual football game (LOL). I more or less just have fun being along for the ride. I LOVE the fanfare, food, and uniform combos and occasionally stop eating or chatting long enough to watch a few downs.

I get teased quite a bit about it from Johan and Ozzie especially since I’m a former college athlete but I feel like our family wouldn’t function very well if I was as into it as they were. I mean, between college, pro and fantasy football, being a fan is kinda a full-time job. JK! Mostly just teasing them back.

Happy long weekend you guys!

xo, Rae

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MOM BOD HEALTH + FITNESS: FIND YOUR FOCUS

Hey loves! I’m excited (and slightly terrified!) to introduce a new blog series today, based on one of the questions I get asked and emailed about most — how I’ve managed to stay in shape after 5 kids? In the past I’ve shied away from answering or responding for a few different reasons. 1. I’m not an expert and feel like I could be in better shape than I am 2. everyone’s health + fitness journey, especially post baby, looks different 3. I think the last thing a woman and especially a mom needs to worry, stress, or be insecure about is her body and 4. Between my genetics and upbringing, I admittedly have had an advantage.

I’ll get more into workout routines, eating habits and what my parents did to set an amazing example in a follow up post, but today I wanted to chat about a truth that has had a huge affect on my life and my health — what you focus on expands.

So here’s what I suggest to anyone who’s frustrated with their health and fitness. No more focusing on the weight, how much or little you’re eating, how tiny someone else is or fitting into a certain size jean. Instead focus on things that are meaningful and productive.

Here’s a list of the things that have worked for me:

GRATITUDE | I have a body that moves and works, grew tiny miracles and was made by my Creator. Being thankful for it changes how I see myself and feed myself and how I treat my body.

THE PROCESS | goals are amazing and important, but finding exercises, activities, recipes, etc. that I enjoy makes the journey worth it especially when I’m not where I think I should be.

DRINKING WATER | super simple and study after study shows that it makes a huge difference.

MOVING | workouts are not always an option based on priorities and what else I need to accomplish in a day — the second half of summer has been like that. So instead I’ve worked out when I can and then focused on just moving my body when I can’t. 15 minutes of jumprope in the garage, trampoline time with the kids, or just running and playing at the park makes a big difference.

WHAT YOU CAN DO | early in our marriage, when we were sooooo broke I let not being able to afford a gym membership or organic food totally discourage me which only led to self-pity and probably eating a few extra cookies, LOL. But I’ve found that when my focus is on what I CAN do, I’m much more productive. A few things that all of us probably can do — find at home workouts on youtube or pinterest, a place to run, 30 minutes everyday or every other day, a friend to get fit with, healthier food options, a habit worth changing.

What would you guys add to this list?

What other topics would you like to see covered in this series!?

Was thinking of interviewing other moms on the subject would be a lot of fun and insightful too!? Let me know what you think!

xo, Rae

PS – If your trying to fit in workouts at home with a little one, HERE’s a stroller workout post and printable I shared a couple summers ago!

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5

TINY TOURIST: SCOOTER RIDING IN FREEMONT

This past spring after taking a media training workshop that challenged me to be more present in my work, I started applying the same tools for staying present in my everyday (especially with the kids) and it has honestly changed my life and my relationships. Summertime, for obvious reasons, has brought new challenges to keeping my head, heart and body in the same place at once (ha!) but add to it the heartbreaking things happening in our country and world and a couple other changes we’re working through in our own life and being present has seemed almost impossible these last couple weeks.

In case you’ve been feeling the same way, a few of the things that have helped are:

  1. not worrying about how much or little I checked off my to-do list
  2. doing a brain-dump on paper or writing in my journal
  3. asking for help when I need it (4 of the kids stayed the night at their grandparents last night so I could catch up on work things)
  4. move my body — a quick run, walk, or jump on the trampoline is all it takes
  5. getting out of the house for an outing, treat, playtime or just a change of scenery

That last one always seems to do the trick, even under normal circumstances, but since I haven’t taken more than a picture (or boomerang) or two, lately I thought I would share some snaps from a quick trip we took a couple weeks ago to Fremont — a cute little neighborhood in Seattle. It’s also home to a riverside trail, lots of delicious and kid friendly restaurants, a Sunday Market you would die over, and a tourist attraction we all agreed was the strangest we had ever seen.

The Fremont troll lives under a freeway overpass, right along a busy street and a good walking distance away from anything else to do. Our quick stop was somewhat interesting and the kids had fun climbing on him, but we were so shocked to see how many tourists were there taking pictures! That being said, and you can take this with a grain of salt, if you ever plan a trip to Seattle don’t add the Troll to your itinerary. Unless of course you have a thing for trolls. :)

Fremont on the other hand is a total gem. You should definitely visit!

Troll visit aside, we had so much fun, spent most of our time scootering on the Burke-Gilman trail, stopped to watch the drawbridge open and grabbed some lemonade before heading home.

How do you guys manage to stay present while keeping up with kids, work, a home, and marriage!?

xo, Rae

P.S. — My dress is from Sonnet James who also happens to be having an end of summer sale! You guys know how much I love her dresses so wanted to make sure I pass on the info!

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5 MORNING HACKS FOR BACK TO SCHOOL

Whether you’re sending kids back to school or just ready to transition from lazy summer mornings to more structured fall days (hello earlier bedtimes!), getting everyone back onto the same morning routine is key. With 5 kids that have very different morning tendencies I’ve put together a list of tips and tricks that make it easier to get out of the house on time(-ish).

1 | STOCK THE DOWNSTAIRS BATHROOM WITH TOOTHBRUSHES + HAIR SUPPLIES — Unless we have a good 10 minute cushion before heading to school or the bus, sending my kids back upstairs to brush their teeth and style their hair (if they haven’t already) is a terrible decision, because the distraction struggle is real. They find a million other things to do like rough house, find that toy they haven’t seen for a couple weeks, or count the money in their piggy bank. It’s a serious talent and maybe it’s just my kids but storing tooth brushes and hair supplies downstairs keeps everyone moving in the right direction.

2 |ONE + DONE OUTFITS FOR MAMA — It takes me way too long to get ready once the kids get up and I try to use as much of the hour or two before they do so to get some work done so having cute dresses and jumpsuits to throw on is everything. Add a hat or sunnies and some lipstick and 15 minutes is all it takes to be ready for the day! Unless of course it’s a hair washing day :)

At least until the weather starts to freeze in which case I stay in my sweats or jammies as long as possible, and opt for driving the kids instead of walking, LOL.

3 | CONTINENTAL BREAKKIE TO SIT AND EAT OR TAKE + GO — this is key for Tilly who would prefer not to eat breakfast until 10am. She just isn’t hungry, but not eating before going to school is not an option for many reasons but especially because she goes from hungry to hangry in a few short minutes. To make it easy on all of us we’ll be setting up a continental breakfast for the first couple weeks so there will be lots of choices and easy options to grab and go or throw in their bags for snack time later. A few things on our continental breakfast menu: no-bake energy bites, cereal, yogurt, granola, bananas, apples, peanut butter, hardboiled eggs and muffins.

4 | INCENTIVES! — Who doesn’t love a good incentive!? At the top of my kids’ wish list is Starbucks, a special after school snack, family bike rides to school, or “parent pick-up” instead of taking the bus.

5 | CUE THE MUSIC, DANCING + LAUGHTER — There is nothing worse than sending the kids off to school when one or more of us is frustrated or upset. Luckily — joy, cool dance moves and laughter are contagious. It’s also not a bad way to start the day!

I absolutely loved and appreciated all the comments regarding my thoughts on homeschooling. You guys are the best and seriously know how to encourage a girl!!! Instead of rushing into things this year, Johan and I have decided to spend more time thinking about the logistics and looking into co-ops, programs, and other resources that are out there. In the meantime the kids will be going to their usual school (that we love!) down the street and I’ll be scheduling one day a week to volunteer… something I’m sure Poppy will look forward to just as much as me!

Now back to morning routine hacks. Please share any tips you might have in the comments!

xo, Rae

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A HOMESCHOOLING CONUNDRUM

For my own kids and family, when it comes to the topic of traditional vs. alternative schooling I’ve always leaned towards the side of public school. But as I walked through target the other day and casually grabbed the new school supply list a spontaneous thought crossed my mind…

Maybe we should homeschool?

Aside from not being ready to say goodbye to my kids’ cute faces (Poppy not included) for 7-ish hours a day, something about this summer has made me incredibly aware of how little quality-time we spend together during the school year and how much closer and in sync I feel with them during summer break. I’m more tuned into their heart, desires, needs and hangups than I could ever be during the crazy train that we all board between the hours of 3:30 and bedtime during the school year.

So here’s the conundrum. After hours of thinking, praying and making a pros and cons list a mile long, there doesn’t seem to be a “best” or “perfect” choice. Maybe it’s just not time or maybe God has something else in mind…  like a part-time co-op school program where the kids go to school from 8 to 12pm or 3 days a week from 8 to 2? That would honestly solve all of my problems and probably zero for anyone else’s (LOL) but it sounds pretty amazing!

I know this is a bit deep for a Monday, but do you guys struggle with picking the best kinda schooling for your kids?

And how do you make big decisions when there doesn’t seem to be a clear answer?!!!!

Always love hearing your input so please dish in the comments :)

xo, Rae

ESPEN | top sold-out from j.crew (but this ones cute!), shorts from gap, glasses are nike

POPPY | hoodie and glasses from target, shorts from childhoods, scooter from amazon

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A GRILLED CHEESE FRIDAY AT PIKE PLACE MARKET

When a cute new company, based on comfort food and a Friday tradition, reached out to see about sending us some of their tees, I jumped at the chance for 2 reasons, 1.) because I loved their designs and knew my kids would too and B.) because the name of the company alone gave us the perfect excuse to plan a trip to Pike Place Market for our favorite Beecher’s grilled cheese. Our outing didn’t quite go as planned, but we had more than enough fun to make up for it, lots of cute pics to remind us of our day and are currently working on a very yummy plan “B”.

I’ll explain more below but first I want to make sure you don’t miss the link to Grilled Cheese Friday so you can checkout their goodies and maybe snag a couple tees for back to school… I love the “grilled cheese friday” ones for the kids to wear on Fridays, but they are all really cute. Get 20% off your order with coupon code: GRILLEDCHEESE

Now for a ridiculous amount of pics because I love Seattle so much in the summer!

Instead of fighting traffic to get to the middle of Seattle and try to find reasonably priced parking, we headed to West Seattle, parked on the street and took the 6:15 water taxi from Alki Beach to Pike Place. A quick 15 minute ride that was both low stress and a lot of fun!

The jaunt from the pier to the market was a good 20 minutes (with kids anyway) and full of good people watching (did you spot captain america!?) and pretty sight seeing if you count the Great Wheel, water front, and these stairs decorated with lights and flowers along the way.

Our first attempt at a tourist pic of the market sign, wasn’t too successful. Realizing that the kids were probably starving as it’s now 7pm, we decided to head to Beecher’s for some gooey grilled cheeses…

… but it was closed. Noooooooo!

I had never personally visited Pike Place in the evening and it hadn’t occurred to me to check and see what time it closes beforehand, but now I know that things start shutting down at 6pm and Beecher’s closes at 7. :)

Starving, annoyed and a little whiny (and not just the kids) we crossed the street and grabbed our go to bistro boxes and juices from Starbucks. While we snacked, the kids shared their highs and lows from the day… their low being the obvious lack of grilled cheese… and decided we’d make up for it by trying some new grilled cheese recipes at home. Hoping to have something share-worthy for you guys next week!

Now with full bellies we attempted to take more Pike Place pics before heading back to the water taxi.

Outtakes are forever my favorite. Just look at how helpful Espen is being… Poppy loved the tickles he was dishing out and Griffin was super excited about being picked up and carried into frame, LOL. :)

Johan and I kept chatting about how comfortable Griffin looked as he walked around the city. A far cry from his anxious and OCD 4 year old self. A stage that he spent the last year growing out of. I’ll take Griffin anyway we can get him, but love seeing him so confident!

We also couldn’t help but notice how much fun Tilly was having taking pictures with my old iPhone. I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!

All that chatting and noticing had us loosing track of time tho, an easy thing to do on summer nights regardless, and we ended up having a home alone moment as we raced to catch the water taxi. By this time the kids were getting cold, Poppy was getting tired and we would have had to wait another hour for the next taxi, so running seemed like the only reasonable thing to do and it paid off!

(Pic of Johan and me by Griffin)

A tired and very salty Poppy by the time we made it off the boat, but even with the grilled cheese set back and missing Ozzie who had baseball, a perfect summer night.

I’m still very much in the “summer forever” mindset, but if there is anything that can get me excited for fall it’s comfort food and more specifically grilled cheese sandwiches!

Don’t forget to head to Grilled Cheese Friday and snag a couple tees at 20% off with coupon code: GRILLEDCHEESE

And if you’re feeling inspired by Poppy’s pretzel tee, here’s our favorite recipe to make some at home!

Happy (grilled cheese) Friday friends!

xo, Rae

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8

SUNDAY AT GREEN LAKE, SEATTLE

A few years ago some girlfriends and I rented paddle boards in this cute little neighborhood in Seattle called Green Lake. It ended up not being the best day to be on the water — cold and windy and to top it off, I fell in! Ha! But we laughed a lot, had a great time together and fell in love with the area. It just doesn’t get better than being near water with recreational options, a paved trail for walking, running, or scooting around, and places to eat within walking distance. Ever since that girl date, I’ve been thinking, “Gosh I need to take Johan and the kids there!” and last week I finally got around to it!

The kids swam a little in the lake but we mostly hung out at the wading pool and walked along the trail. It was the the perfect end to a rather hectic weekend. A few pics from our outing…

Always on the hunt for a cold treat.

Always finding one.

Look at Espey jumping off the high dive!!!! And a proud sister sharing some love below.

Love the vibe of this beach with the old school dock and diving boards and lifeguard sign and chairs. Earlier in the day they even had lifeguards rowing around the swim area making sure the kids were safe as they jumped off the diving boards. Places and scenes like this always remind me of the retreat area where Dirty Dancing was filmed. Not sure why it took us so long to plan a visit!?

Are there any places close to home that you’ve been wanting to visit?

Happy Monday Friends!!!

Oh and I wanted to remind you to checkout my meal plan HERE if you’re into that and missed it on Friday?! Personally looking forward to what’s on the menu tonight :) Hope it helps get your week started!

xo, Rae

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