Saturday, March 30, 2024

What's For Dinner 3/30-4/5

 Food prep, healthy eating, grocery shopping--all have started to just SUCK lately. Like, they're not going well in terms of efficiency/productivity/enjoyment, and also they're taking up to much time and energy and not producing delicious results 

So! I am going to post about our weekly menu for some outside accountability and to help this huge part of our life taste and work better.

  • I want to eliminate (cut down on) food waste and hassle, so I am trying to create a new rhythm. 
  • I am going to shop all week on my fave grocery apps and fill carts as we start to run out of things. 
  • I am going to crowdsource food ideas from the fam Thursday and Friday
  • I am going to finish my grocery shopping by bedtime on Friday for a Saturday pick up (if possible-- this coming weekend is a smorgasbord of kid activities, so we shall see).
  • I am going to "shop" the cabinets, fridge, and upstairs freezer (not going to disturb WHATEVER is nestled under the protective ice layer downstairs) BEFORE menu planning
  • I am going to make what sounds good and uses fresh stuff regardless of activities. I have been getting too precious with our schedule trying to make sure we will be home to eat and WE ARE NEVER HOME TO EAT as a whole group, so it doesn't freaking matter
1. Stop buying stuff we don't use
2. Streamline the food prep process
3. Share some of the emotional labor with the rest of the fam
4. Stop feeding the kids from the drive thru on busy nights

Menu for the week


Buffalo chicken wraps (made with frozen crispy chicken strips but otherwise this recipe, bascially)


Veggies and ranch/blue cheese




Roasted carrots

Spinach mornay

Garlic knots

Yellow cake with chocolate frosting




Baked french toast (with choc chip brioche!)





Fish tacos

chips and salsa


Turkey wraps

Broccoli bites in the air fryer

air fried mozzarella sticks


Take and bake pizza and caesar salad (will buy day of)

In the spirit of terrible food choices, behold the picnic I packed for a trip to the park on Friday.

But the park was great! Way better than the food!



Friday, March 29, 2024

5 on a Friday: Notes on break (13/52)

 Everyone should get a spring break. Also 5 weeks in the winter and the whole summer. 

1.One day this week, I got up to kind of supervise breakfast but then I just went back to bed until I read this book cover to cover and the kids just... did their own thing.
2. The weather has been largely terrible, but we did make it to our favorite park when the rain finally let up.
3. Cooper had kids over and they played kinetic sand with Minnie for longer than you might think they would. Dorothy and Harry had friends over, too, and we had 2 separate seatings for 2 different lunch menus, and still! It was the easiest day of break. Kid math is wild.
4. The coziness factor has been through the roof all week.
5. Minnie was sick with some terrible throat virus. Then she spent a day puking everywhere. And now she has a horrible horrible cough, and if she spikes another fever, I will of course go back to the doctor because that's basically what happened when she had pneumonia. SO, that's neat. But still! She's been a treat. Harry and his girlfriend even took her to the zoo and bought her a stuffed peacock (named PETER, not PETE) and her favorite Culver's kids' meal. Coop has taken her to the park in our neighborhood all by himself, and Jack has come with me on stroller walks. (Dorothy has had a Very Busy social calendar this week).
Today I gotta change basically all of the sheets (except Minnie's and Ben's because PUKE LAUNDRY (yes, I did set a sick kid up in someone else's bed because I am The Worst)), and I really should have spread sheet laundry out throughout the week, but **shrug**.

Also! I was intimidated by the thought of 5 kids home for three meals a day and bought a truly outrageous amount of groceries-- and the only thing we need at the very end of the week is cilantro for knock off Chipotle rice taco FRIDAY because I am nothing if not full of surprises LOL) because the bunch I bought went bad. WINNING.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024


 For UNBLOGGABLE REASONS, we did not go on spring break after all **whomp whomp**.

But! Things are still cozy and delightful over here!

Hopefully the last spring snowman, right??

Aldi take-and-bake pizza and $7 bubbly. FANCY FRIDAY NIGHT.
I took 10 minutes (probably more like 30, but who’s counting?) and set up Minnie’s dollhouse (which was previously just a dusty hodgepodge and toy shelf, really), and she has been playing a TON. Love it!

She came home from school last week asking to make gingerbread teddy bears and have a tea party— and she did not have to ask me twice. Spring gingerbread is a fabulous idea.

Cooper has been loving his art class this quarter. There’s a pottery wheel and a kiln, and he has started bringing home his creations
Harry is ready to do all of the things he needs to do to go to college like fill out the FAFSA, pay the housing deposit and begin roommate dating, accept all of his scholarships (it would be JUST LIKE US to eff that one up), sign up for summer advising— it’s so exciting! We had the most fun looking at all of the meal plan options to see which plan to buy (we are a house divided. I say we buy the biggest one but Ben thinks the second biggest one is better, but I see all cost savings negated by Harry running out of meal swipes and us paying cash money to feed him). I joined the parent social media groups and just scroll those posts with my mouth open— good times.

We wanted to fill his room with Eau Claire stuff while he was at speech on Saturday, but the Amazon could only send stickers and a lanyard that fast. So we bought some blue and yellow streamers, candy, and balloons and got him a super cool water bottle that is also a portable charger to decorate with the stickers. MERCH DUMP TO COME, of course. I gotta get an eau claire mom shirt pronto.

As I scrolled through photos for this post, I realized that Minnie hay have displayed a clue or two on Saturday that a virus was on the way—namely, these grocery store pics **yikes face**

Monday, March 25, 2024

That Mom

 I am THAT MOM who accidentally took a sick kid to a b-day party. 

Minnie was FINE Saturday, and the party was at 9am on Sunday, so, honestly, I did not notice that she was not herself until she was complaining about being cold on the way home. 

When we got home? SHE HAD A 102-DEGREE FEVER and has had one ever since, despite Tylenol and Ibuprofen rotating every 3 hours. She slept in my bed (“slept” LOL) and was so warm last night that she melted a granola bar in her palm. We took her to urgent care where she was rapid strep negative, and Ben COVID tested her. Justavirus? Long strep culture positive tomorrow? BUT YIKES. A 7:45am dose of Tylenol saw her drenched in sweat (FINALLY), and her fever broke. **crosses fingers**

SO ANYWAY. I’m the worst. Happy 4th birthday— here is a book, a stuffie, and virus of dooooooom.

(Although. The BEST time to go to a trampoline park is when you are maybe a little sick already)

Friday, March 22, 2024

5 on a Friday: Delights (12/52)

 1. Harry! Got academic and speech team scholarships at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and he’s going to go there!!! We are SO EXCITED!! It is a PERFECT CAMPUS for him, and we all loved it when we visited over the summer. BRING ON THE MERCH.

2. I got pro pics from Dorothy’s dances and LOL for days. Ben described her as facially aggressive, and that is 100. 

3. I had acupuncture AND massage and am scheduled for one or the other every other week going forward and PHEW! I can turn my head to the right with no pain for the first time in… checks notes… months.

4. Min Min has a SNOW DAY, so we are all having a relaxed morning. (Pics from her TLG skill celebration mixed in with pro dance pics below— SO CUTE— even though I had to buy socks from the front desk and abandon my grading since parents got to go in the gym to play for the celebration. I was caught unaware, but jack (who went to class the previous week because he had the day off and is the sweetest) was like oh yeah I heard the teacher say that didn’t you— LOL no)

5. My TBR pile is AMAZING right now, and I plan to grade and read and bake all day.

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

SHOWSTOPPER: my fave (it’s very dance mom to have a fave dance conglomerate, but there you have it)

 I have a major soft spot for Showstopper as an organization. I love that we’re both made in 1978, that dancers can go for a convention, regional competition, and national competition under one unified brand and get the same kind of experience across the boards. I love how cheesy the whole brand is— the merch they sell, the pretty Southern women who run everything, the hot pink everywhere, the trophies bedecked with fraying ribbons— the whole ball of wax. Some friends were posting about their kid’s last Showstopper comp after this weekend (because our studio is attending a different brand of nationals this year), and I got preemptively sad about Dorothy outgrowing this silly activity. BUT SHE HAS SEVEN MORE YEARS, so now is not the time for an Evita routine.

She had a total blast at the Kalahari in the Wisconsin Dells kicking off her competitive season with six dances, earning 7medals and 5 top-10 finishes (in 5 different categories!). She got to be team captain for a dance, meaning she brought home the trophy and overall medal for that routine (her first time captaining, although the older girls let her snag a trophy or 2 last season, including one at nationals that she still displays, fraying ribbons and all). My aunt came to watch a few dances. Dorothy and her friends made bracelets in the dressing room. I killed it as a dance mom on quick changes (so fast! She looked so cute! Nobody got mad!), and her team ate her birthday cupcakes, sang to her, and showered her with gifts.

Then! Just when it couldn’t get any better, we spent the night in a (pretty great) 2 bedrooms suite and closed down the water park before opening it the next day, eating tons of garbage food, and generally have a very Wisconsin good time.

7:30 am call time (yikes)

Mini tap (above) is a Rockette dance and is basically the cutest ever. They got third overall and were adorbs, and Dorothy was disappointed they did not win only because she was practicing saying her name, studio, and teacher in full sentences because the captain gets to accept awards, and it was the highlight of her young life so far.

Next, she had a looooong break of watching dances, making bracelets, and opening gifts.

I walked to Jimmy John’s to grab sandwiches, and we got to see my aunt for a bit before she had MOAR dancing (I did not let Dorothy walk with me because it was too windy for her hair LOL LOL LOL #MOTY)

Dorothy is on the right in the pic above, being very facially aggressive.

Dance dad, popping in to watch before taking the other kids to the water park

Her darling little mini jazz dance placed second in their category. Dorothy told me they ate- which is better than slaying?

FINALLY it was my time to SHINE because dances 3 and 4 were only separated by TWO SONGS on the schedule, so she had a QUICK CHANGE.

I watched her darling musical theater dance
(Her lowest scoring number— and it did not place overall)

And then met her backstage with her next costume. She threw it on SO FAST and I took down her pony tail and did bubble braids and pinned on her hat AND SHE STILL HAD TIME TO CHANGE HER LIPSTICK form pink to red. You guys! It was NASCAR-level amazing.
Slay! Or Eat! Or whatever means BE AWESOME!

That dance placed 5th in a big category, so that was cool.

Next up was a daring mini hip hop dance that ended up taking 10th in the highest junior division— impressive for these teenies. Also Dorothy’s bday serenade (that I missed because I ran to the dressing room to prepare for her next quick change, which was not impressive since her shoes and socks stayed the same and so did her hair and lipstick).

I never take pics of her last dance so I had to borrow from others— it was a supergroup and won!