Peek Into Our Week (back to school)

posted by Andrea | 09/17/2018

Last week was our family’s first official FULL week of school — wow, did it feel long and tiring!

Dave has been in school for a full month already, but between  meetings, holidays, and random beginning-of-the-school-year schedules, this was his very first completely full week of school — same for Nora.

I know we’ll get used to our new back-to-school schedule soon, but we definitely all slept well last week!

Nora absolutely LOVES 1st grade!

She already has at least 4 “best friends” in her class (all girls I’ve previously never heard her talk about before), her classroom is huge and has air conditioning (a big perk right now), her teacher is fantastic and will be such a great fit for Nora’s personality, her bus driver is our neighbor, and her bus route puts her as the last one on + the first one off — crazy, but we’re thankful for the super short ride this year!

Nora is already hard at work, coming up with ideas for her 7th birthday party in 2 months.

I’ll be sharing more later this fall, but Dave and I have decided that when our kids are in 1st grade, we’ll let them have a “friends birthday party” at our house, with all their same-gender classmates. To say Nora is thrilled would be a huge understatement!

She wants to go with a Crazy Cupcake theme this year and has all sorts of ideas for what we could do — cupcake decorating, cupcake stickers and crafts, Shopkins cupcake something-or-other, read a book about cupcakes, color cupcake pictures, etc. etc. We’ll see how it all pans out and how “cupcake crazy” we let her go!

On an unrelated note, now that Nora is in school every day, all day for the first time ever, I’m realizing it’s much more difficult to get pictures of her. I’m used to having the kids around all day so I can snap pictures of what they do — not anymore for Nora!

I’ll have to get better about taking pictures of her on the weekends!

.

Simon officially started preschool last Monday!

Parents got to tag along for the first day, and then he went on his own Wednesday morning… he hardly even looked back to say good-bye to me!

He didn’t have much to say about his first day of school by himself — but he did get to decorate a mouse cookie (and then eat it for snack), so the day was a success in his opinion.

He’s back at school again this morning, and I’m remembering how much of a hassle preschool drop-offs and picks-ups are! There’s almost nothing I can do besides get a few groceries in the short time between when I drop him off and pick him up again… and I’m constantly checking the clock because those 2 hours of preschool go REALLY fast!

I actually set an alarm on my phone last week — it goes off 15 minutes before I need to pick him up, so even if I’ve totally lost track of time, I can still stop what I’m doing, load up the other 2 kiddos, and get there in time!

Oh, and we found a kite at a local thrift store — but not just any kite, it’s a Spider Man kite! He has been begging for a kite for months now, but I just never think to look for one. Now, his summer fun list is complete!

.

James thoroughly enjoyed being the ‘biggest kid’ when Simon was gone.

We got a few groceries and picked up our books at the library (right next to the school) before picking Simon up again — and James eagerly went into great detail, telling Simon all the things we bought at the store, all the books we “bought” at the library, and the fact that he and Clara both got a cookie at the grocery store.

He was talking so fast he could hardly get all his words out!

Simon just looked at me, then looked at James, and said “I have no idea anything what you just said!”

James repeated it all over again with great pleasure…. and then again when Nora got home, and finally when Dave got home! 🙂

In general, James rarely stops talking, singing, humming, or making some sort of noise. I can’t even begin to count the number of times I ask him to “be quiet” or “stop talking and eat” or “talk more quietly” every single day!

James with his new baby cousin. 

During the rest of the week, when Simon is home, the 2 boys have SO much fun together. They even told me I couldn’t play with them because they only wanted to play with each other — so I happily went back downstairs and did my own thing during Clara’s nap!

They got free kid’s meal coupons from the library this summer, and we finally got around to using them last week. Apparently they’ve never gotten any type of happy meal or kid’s meal before, so they were ecstatic with the free little prize inside their food bags! Oh to be 3 and 4 years old again. 🙂

.

Miss Clara is gearing up for her FIRST BIRTHDAY next week!!!

What a year it has been!

Thinking back to being pregnant and getting her newborn pictures honestly feels like 5 years ago… but it also seems surreal that my baby is “already” celebrating her first birthday!

I’m being a “bad mom” and not having a party for her — sorry sweets!

We’ll do some fun stuff with our own family, and I have gifts for the other 3 kids to give her, but we just have so many other things going on and I know she won’t remember if her grandparents or aunts/uncles/cousins are there or not.

We never did a first birthday party for James either and he seems to be coping with it just fine!

NOTE: Here’s a link to Simon’s 1st birthday party and Nora’s 1st birthday party… neither of which were very extravagant in my opinion. 

I’m sure I’ll still be her most favorite mom whether she gets a party or not!

.

Dave and I were also fairly tired after a full week of school — especially since we had a couple evening activities for school (oh, the back-to-school fun!)

We have several more responsibilities at church this year as well… all of which started up again this past week. We knowingly and willingly agreed to take them all on, but it’s still a transition as we learn how to best-manage our time and energy for these new activities outside of our home.

  • We are the new Sunday School Superintendents and music leaders which will take up a decent chunk of time every Sunday morning.
  • We are “Shepherds” for our fellowship group (we’re in charge of sending cards, organizing luncheons and breakfasts, staying connected with the people in our group, finding greeters and coffee servers, etc.)
  • I’m still in charge of many things for the nursery (cleaning, sending reminders to nursery volunteers each week, etc.)
  • And I’m directing the Children’s Choir (ages 3-7 — they are SO fun to work with)!

Thankfully, Dave recently stepped down from a few responsibilities at school and church — and as our children get older, it does feel easier to do more outside of the home.

.

What I’m Watching and Reading:

Even with our busier week, I found a little time to finish watching Anne with an E on Netflix and start a new book, Sensible Shoes (affiliate link). It’s the first book in a 4-part series and the author is speaking at our church Bible Study in 2 weeks. I doubt I’ll finish the book by then, but it can’t hurt to at least get started, right!

.

Our Weekly Meals:

I’ve been trying SO many new recipes these past few weeks — which has definitely increased the time I’ve been in the kitchen, but I think Fall weather sort of draws me into the kitchen, and I’m OK with that for now!

The boys have been helping me experiment with cinnamon roll recipes — they REALLY like messing with the dough!

These are currently our favorite 100% from-scratch recipes:

  1. 90-Minute Cinnamon Rolls (the quickest recipe we’ve tried)
  2. Overnight Cinnamon Rolls (if you don’t want to wake up as early!)
  3. Super Soft Cinnamon Rolls (they have pudding in them… and it makes a HUGE batch!)

So far, I’ve been making them all exactly as the recipes instruct — but I already have several tweaks in mind for the next round. Once I have my own version of a perfect cinnamon roll recipe… you’ll be the first to know!

Oh, and if you’re looking for a super simple cinnamon roll recipe using frozen bread dough, I have my recipe from Dave’s mom posted here!

Aside from lots of cinnamon rolls, here’s what we ate last week:

SUNDAY:

MONDAY:

TUESDAY: 

  • Spaghetti casserole (made with spaghetti squash)
  • Green Beans
  • Garlic bread
  • Fresh fruit
  • Culver’s Custard for dessert (with freebie coupons the kids got this summer)

WEDNESDAY:

THURSDAY:

FRIDAY:

SATURDAY:

  • Hearty Egg Casserole and Cinnamon Rolls for breakfast
  • Leftovers for lunch
  • Blue Apron Spice-Crusted Salmon for dinner

.

That’s all for us this week – cheers to adjusting to another full week of school!

1Shares

Filed under: LifeDaily Life

Leave a comment

28 comments

  1. Kathryn

    09/19/2018

    We tried and loved the sweet potato tacos after you posted about them a bit ago- so thanks for sharing. I especially like your weekly meal posts because I struggle with coming up with side ideas. Here’s a similar recipe that we also really enjoy https://www.melskitchencafe.com/black-bean-and-sweet-potato-burritos/

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    You’re welcome Kathryn!! And thanks for the other recipe. I’m adding it to my list of new recipes to try right now!!!

    [Reply]

  2. JoDi

    09/18/2018

    I love the photo of Clara in the shopping cart. She just radiates sunshine! What a cutie pie! I can totally understand feeling emotional about her almost being 1 already. I still can’t believe Nora is in 1st grade!

    [Reply]

  3. Erin Chorpening

    09/17/2018

    That picture of James and his baby cousin is just precious! He looks like he just loves that baby! So sweet! Just wanted to say my family loves thestayathomechef.com “best cinnamon rolls” recipe. I follow the directions for making the night before and just bake in the morning. A little too time consuming for me to make in the morning.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Erin! I just looked up the recipe and it’s almost EXACTLY the same as the one I made this weekend (they were amazing!) This recipe just ads the yeast directly to the warmed milk, instead of into the dry ingredients first. and this recipes uses softened butter instead of melted butter — so I’ll have to give this one a try too I suppose! More cinnamon rolls 🙂

    [Reply]

  4. Frances

    09/17/2018

    The “Hell-Fest” ad (yes, that’s what it said) that popped up on Simon’s photo seemed inappropriate for your family-based blog. You may want to contact your ad agency about content.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    booo — I just emailed them (again). I don’t know what the deal is this past week. All my settings are the same but there have been some inappropriate ads lately. Thanks for letting me know!

    [Reply]

  5. Francie

    09/17/2018

    I love your peeks into the week, Clara is growing up so fast .

    http://www.supersimpleways

    [Reply]

  6. Leisa

    09/17/2018

    I just loved the book Sensible Shoes. I got so much out of it. I can’t wait to read the other books.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    our church library has the whole set — I just wish I could get them digitally from our library!

    [Reply]

  7. Angela

    09/17/2018

    As a fellow mom of four, I’m glad you’re letting Nora have her big friend party at home (and I hope you continue that every year!) While lots of families pay lots of money for swimming and bowling parties, it’s a definite advantage to have a spacious home for hosting parties. Kids absolutely love it and feel so special, it’s a great way to get to know their friends better, and it creates such wonderful memories for a very low cost. And knowing that your house is always company-ready, it’ll be minimal work for you!

    And here’s an idea for the future, because you might eventually be bugged by the cluttery gifts…we’ve had parties where the kids brought cat & dog toys to donate to the humane society, brought monetary donations for our sponsor children, and donated to other charities. That’s a good solution for us some years, when the kids are willing.

    (and fyi, I’m seeing some iffy ads from Mediavine in your sidebar…lots of lingerie today for some reason.)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Angela — and sorry about the ads 🙁
    I’ve double and triple checked the settings and there definitley should not be anything with lingerie! You can always “report” any of the ads by clicking on the X” in the corner of the ad — that will let Mediavine know the ad is bad.

    [Reply]

    Angela Reply:

    Yep, I did click on the report button so that the company would know. Thanks for your diligence in trying to keep the ads appropriate! I’m sure it’s no easy task! (I’m also noticing that the ads are popping up in front of your photos and completely covering them…I don’t recall that happening before…the multiple ads throughout each post is very distracting so I’m just skimming quickly now.)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    ok thanks! I wonder if I have some type of ad blocker installed on my computer because I NEVER EVER see ads pop up on the photos — I didn’t even know that was happening! Grrrr…. I have to look into this more 🙂

    [Reply]

  8. Hera

    09/17/2018

    I have been reading your blog for about a year now. I am a bit older than you and my two kids are 16 & 17. The years have flown by so fast. I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy reading your blog. It’s the little things that you do with your kids that take me back to when mine were little. I smile when I read about your daily routines. I miss that with mine now that they’re older. I wish I was half as organized as you are. Good job, Mom!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks so much Hera! I appreciate your kind words and encouragement!
    Glad to offer you a little bit of happy nostalgia every weekday 🙂

    [Reply]

  9. Ann

    09/17/2018

    I just finished what I thought were the 3 books in the Sensible shoes series. I will have to look for the 4th book that I did not know existed! I started them when I was “living” in the hospital with my husband this summer and just finished the third one this week. I have already mentioned them to several people! I think I am jealous of your Bible Study getting to hear her!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, the 4th book is new — our church library JUSt got it in. It might take me a LONG time to get to that book though!
    Also, she is speaking at our church on Sept 27 and ANYONE is welcome — not just the Bible Study group. You are more than welcome to email me for information!

    [Reply]

  10. Brenda

    09/17/2018

    I’ve made the Pioneer Woman’s overnight cinnamon rolls a couple times. It’s pretty good. It’s a large batch but she gives you instructions for freezing before or after baking and then how to re-heat or final bake them. We’ve started having them on Christmas or New Year’s morning.

    I’ve used them for our “homemade gift exchange” Christmas party too. Put them in small 8 or 12 count disposable pans, bake 1 pan as the gift and then freeze the rest to give them to take home. (And the batch is big enough that 1 can always save some for us!)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I haven’t made this recipe yet — mainly because it is such a huge batch. I’m thinking of trying a half batch and seeing how it goes 🙂

    [Reply]

  11. Jen

    09/17/2018

    Happy birthday to Clara! I made a rule early on regarding parties, and I’m so glad I did! Our kids each had a party at 5, a sleepover at 10, a sweet 16, and a graduation party. Everyone had the same, and it was so nice not to have to worry about doing a huge (ridiculous, in my opinion!) party every year! I can’t wait to see what Nora “plans” for her friends party!

    [Reply]

    Ann Reply:

    Especially when your children’s friends have a birthday on the same day as a sibling and the friend has a party every. single. year! UGGHHH!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    That’s almost EXACTLY what my parents did for us — friend’s part in Kindergarten, sleepover in 6th grade, sweet 16, and graduation (and wedding!)
    We all got to pick what we did for the 3 parties (my sisters and I all picked COMPLETELY different activities). It’s still humorous to me now — thinking how completely different we all are as adults too!

    [Reply]

    Jenny Reply:

    I would like to hear more about you and your sisters’ parties!

    [Reply]

  12. Annette Silveira

    09/17/2018

    I’m excited about seeing some new recipes from you! I can always count on them to be easy and delicious. It’s starting to cool off here in CA too and I’m ready for pots of stew, beans and soup. I’m going to give the frozen bread dough cinnamon rolls a try. I’m too impatient to wait for dough to rise

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Annette — I have a couple good, simple, tasty recipes coming up soon! I feel like I could practically start a cooking blog with how many recipes I WANT to share — just not enough time or blog space to share them!

    [Reply]

  13. Jamie

    09/17/2018

    I seriously teared up a bit when I read that Clara is almost a year old. Wow! It sure goes fast.

    My 3rd child is also non-stop noise. He is always talking, singing, making noise of some sort and it is always super loud. I am ALWAYS asking him to be quiet…give me just 5 minutes of no talking.

    I have simplified my recipe for cinnamon rolls by making them the night before and throwing all the ingredients in the bread maker on the “dough” option. I roll them up and then place in the fridge overnight. In the morning, I set them on the counter for a bit to come up to room temp and then bake for 15 min.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Awww… I know! I’ve actually felt just a teeny, tiny bit emotional about the fact that Clara is almost ONE. It’s crazy, I never ever felt this way with any of the other kids. It must be a sign that I’m officially DONE having babies!
    Also, thanks for the cinnamon roll tips! Since we wake up so early, it’s not a huge deal to make them from scratch in the morning, HOWEVER… I told Dave that my goal is to find the “perfect” recipe that can be made ahead the night before. I’ll keep baking!

    [Reply]