Sunday, February 21, 2016

Bailey turns 6

I can't believe it. How has it already been 6 years?
I'm going to blink and she's going to be in college!

It's true how time seems to go by more quickly with each passing year.

The birthday girl chose a pink and purple heart themed party. 
Which was amazing for me since her birthday is 5 days after Valentine's Day and stores were covered in pink and hearts alike.

As usual we baked and decorated her cake.

I also baked dozens and dozens of heart-shaped cookies for both her school birthday treats and for her birthday party at home. We also threw in some number 6 and letter B cookies for variety's sake.

My sisters never stop reminding me that Bailey is a mini version of me.
And I can't deny it when looking at this picture.
There is a home movie where I am making this exact excited/overjoyed-at-a-gift face when I got a particularly ravishing multi-colored blouse (complete with over-sized collar) at the age of 8 or so. If I could put a snippet of that VHS tape on this blog as Exhibit A, I definitely would.

This birthday girl is always happy when there is dessert to eat - especially cake that she got to choose herself.

Happy Birthday Bailey Boo!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

sanity saving

We're on our second consecutive snow day today. It was a little overkill since the roads were clear yesterday and it barely snowed last night, but it was nice to sleep in. (You know you're a parent when 7 am is "sleeping in.") 

I'm working hard to keep my sanity. I don't know what it was, but yesterday was rough. Eventually I threw all three kids out in the backyard to burn off some energy. I also didn't have to hear fighting for a whole 20 minutes: Win!

And to illustrate my point, here is a recycled picture of the Solko siblings in snowpants.

Speaking of sanity helpers, I have recently become a huge fan of menu planning. I am not sure why I resisted it in the past when Jared had suggested it, but I'm loving it now. 

It's far from fancy. 
I found this template on Google images and it fits our needs perfectly. The kids and I usually eat leftovers or sandwiches for lunches, so we only need supper ideas. I post it on the side of the fridge (with some Frozen magnets near a random photo) and we're good to go. 

I think roughly half the arguments in our house used to be over what was for dinner.
Sad but true. 
I don't mind cooking, in fact I usually like it, but I hate HATE! thinking of dinner ideas every night. Every day 5 pm would roll around and Jared and I would go through the same tired conversation.
This one sheet of paper has made life after 5 PM much more enjoyable. We are bickering about supper duty less, and we are using up foods we already have on hand that need to be eaten.

And it's been surprisingly easy to think of meal ideas ahead of time. Turns out it is hard to brainstorm when your kids are pulling on your pant legs begging for food. 

In other wow-my-life-is-boring news, I'm pumped about the new cookbook I purchased. It isn't actually a cookbook at all, but an empty recipe binder that I am in love with.

We're big on food in this family, in case you haven't noticed.
We regularly find new recipes to try out and many times decide they are keepers. Most of these recipes come from favorite food websites, so they are computer print-outs. For years we had been 3-hole punching them and putting them in a regular 3-ring binder. The problem was that the sheets were too big for the binder and you couldn't see any of the tabs. And eventually none of them actually made it into the binder. Plus, while I was sorting through these printed-out recipes, I found 6 copies of the same chocolate chip cookie recipe. (They're super easy and delicious by the way. We love Mel's Kitchen!)

Now all that might sound like no big deal to other people, but I happen to love organization and orderliness. It was unacceptable. (Forget the fact that I accepted it for like 7 or 8 years.) I finally found this recipe binder on Amazon and it was was worth the money. The best part is that there are different page styles to store the recipes: full sheet or recipe cards. So you can mix-and-match to your specific needs. I think that is an awesome way to keep all your favorites in one place whether it is Aunt Ethel's handwritten cinnamon roll recipe or The Pioneer Woman's scalloped potatoes and ham. (We're having that for supper tonight if you couldn't tell!)