Archive | MOM HACKS

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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MOM TRIBE

Forget the kids. It takes a village to raise a mom… Especially this mom! I’ve been spoiled rotten with an amazing squad of mamas that encourage, help, love and inspire me on a daily basis. A handful of them are lifelong friends I’ve had since my school years. Other’s are connections through friends, college, church, a MOPs group, our neighborhood and so on.

And then there’s the mom village that has been built from blogging here and posting on social media. It’s an amazing thing, the connections that have been made. Thanks for being a part of my village. For loving and encouraging me and letting me share my story with you. I hope I’ve done the same for you in someway. Motherhood really is the BEST HOOD and it wouldn’t be the same without you!

Now enough of me gushing :) Head over to this post and tag all the mamas you want to gush about.

xo, Rae

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MEALTIME MANNERS + A MEAL PLAN

Yesterday, Poppy and I spent the bulk of the day watching Oz play baseball while Johan had the other two at Espen’s games (where there are lots of other siblings to play with!). Our day included a couple hours of driving which gave Poppy a chance to nap and me a chance to catch up with Ozzie which is rare these days now that he is driving. A big win, win! On the way home we stopped at a favorite outdoor spot in Gig Harbor, JW @ the boatyard, for dinner. It was such a great day but our dinner out got me thinking about two things I wanted to share and also chat with you guys about:

1. What are we going to eat this week? (simple meal plan below) and 2. How can I encourage (instead of nag) good table manners during the next few months when meals are eaten picnic style, with friends, or out and about?

With the 4th happening tomorrow and our home looking like a complete disaster at the moment, I’m keeping things super simple this week. Here’s what we’ll be eating:

MONDAY | medeteranian orzo pasta salad (add chicken and it’s a complete meal!!!)

TUESDAY | 4th of July grub!

WEDNESDAY | leftovers or takeout

THURSDAY | Cold sesame chicken and noodle salad

FRIDAY | caprese grilled cheese sandwiches and a salad

SATURDAY | salmon tacos

SUNDAY | salmon corn chowder with leftovers 

Poppy insisted on squeezing out her own ketchup packets, ha! By the time she was done, Oz was almost finished with his tacos :)

Good job Pop!

Aren’t they cute together? Best buds. Even with the huge age gap. But snuggling at the dinner table at home isn’t really allowed… hence my dilemma!

A few of the things we are usually consistent about even when eating away from our own kitchen table is saying a prayer, sharing our highs and a low from the day, and clearing our spots (if that’s an option).

If you guys haven’t heard of highs and lows (or happy and crappy for mature audiences), Oh Joy wrote about it here. We’ve been doing it for years and it’s easily a highlight of my day!

 

How do you guys encourage good table manners, especially during the summer months when routines look a little different? Do you have any mealtime games or traditions? PLEASE share in the comments.

Have a very happy and safe 4th of July holiday you guys!!!

xo, Rae

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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

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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

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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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YAY FRIDAY + A SUPERBOWL CHEAT SHEET

I love, love, LOVE playing sports but when it comes to watching them, keeping track of the score, players, numbers and especially the stats, I’m the absolute worst. My kid’s games, of course, being the main exception. The other one is the Super Bowl. Knowing the backstories, what players to watch for and team names (ha!) makes the big day so much more exciting.

Since my husband is a freaking genius when it comes to knowing teams, players and stats I always bug him for the down-low before game time and this year I thought it would be fun to share with you!

10 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT SUPER BOWL 51

  1. The New England Patriots are playing the Atlanta Falcons
  2. Both QB’s are amazing — Tom Brady for the Patriots vs. Matt Ryan for the Falcons
  3. Matt Ryan will probably be the MVP of the regular season
  4. Both coaches are also amazing — Bill Belichick for the Patriots (this will be his 7th Super Bowl and has a 4-2 record) vs. Dan Quinn for the Falcons (this is only his 2nd year as head coach… an extra tidbit for all my Seattle friends, he used to be the Seahawks defensive coordinator)
  5. Patriots are favored by 3 points
  6. The game is supposed to be one of the highest scoring Super Bowls with a total of 59+ points being predicted.
  7. The game is in Houston. The last time the game was there in 2004 the Patriots won and Janet Jackson had a wardrobe malfunction ;)
  8. This is the Falcon’s 2nd and the Patriot’s 9th appearance at a Super Bowl.
  9. Patriot’s Tight End, #87 Rob Gronkowski would have been one to watch for but has been sidelined due to a back injury… he also has 1.7 million twitter followers.
  10. Tom Brady (Patriots QB) is the oldest player on their team at 39 and Matt Bryant (Falcons kicker) is the oldest in the league at 41

 

No kidding you guys, when we started chatting about the game last night, I didn’t even know what teams were playing, but knew exactly who was performing at halftime ;) Super excited to see what Gaga does, but nervous to see how she uses the platform. So ready to see more unity and less protesting in our country — not that I agree with all the changes being made. Ugh. Sorry for the tangent… I’ll save that rabbit hole for a different post.

Now, I’m super curious… what do you enjoy most about the Super Bowl?

  1. the game
  2. the food
  3. the halftime show (and commercials too)

Happy Friday!

xo, Rae

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