Friday Favorites

We’re running toward the weekend!

I’m finally resurfacing from a week full of grading, last classes, and prepping for exams. We can feel summer around here, and we are highly anticipating summer vacation and lazy days! As a special treat, I have a Mother’s Day themed Friday Favorites for you, filled with my wish list that I gave the boys!

A backpack for hiking and Disney park traveling.

A curling iron because mine decided to stop working this week. And it’s on sale right now!

My favorite candles (coconut lime & green bamboo).

 

A set of stack bracelets.

A pair of slide sandals for summer.

Small earrings for the beach.

And finally, a new read during my break!

 

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Friday Favorites

 

What a week! J played one of three baseball games this week (two more this weekend), both boys had den meetings for Cub Scouts, and between school, work, and activities, I’m really glad I already have all their Easter stuff ready to go. We are looking forward to doing some celebrating this Friday of my sweet niece, and then Easter egg hunts on Saturday, and celebrating Easter on Sunday! I’m also at the end of the semester, so I’m planning to get some grading in between now and Monday. We’ll see! Here are some of our favorite finds of the week!

A perfect Spring dress.

Increasing brain power through meditation.

A lovely and bright home.

Sculpted arms in five minutes or less.

Spring pea pasta with burrata, perfect meatless meal!

How empowering women changes the world.

The dark side of empathy.

Wardrobe staples for Spring.

All about plants.

And finally, a rainbow bracelet for summer.

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Stuffed peppers

Our mid-week meal from last week, these stuffed peppers are healthy and delicious! Super simple to throw together and I had enough left over mix to freeze for another meal down the road. The boys both ate it really well (J better than A), and an extra stuffed pepper reheated well the next for leftovers. I served it with jasmine rice (yes the frozen kind from Whole Foods) and that was it! The peppers themselves are loaded with ground turkey, beans, corn, and tomatoes, so you don’t really need anything else:

One last note, I cut the simmering time down by about half, and they still turned out fine. I hadn’t planned for an extra thirty minutes before the oven cooking time, and so I sped up a lot of the simmering, but they ended up delicious anyway!

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This and That

This is me midweek after getting knocked out by all the pollen.

The pollen is so bad, y’all. I’m one bronchiole spasm away from moving to the beach.

This is my new favorite coffee:

 

Vanilla turmeric iced latte from Arsenal coffee. It is so good!

And while our semester is winding down, I’m gearing up for future courses by testing out a new speech practice game.

And after some long work days, this is what our weekends look like:

However, our Saturday was a complete washout so the boys worked on flip books:

And then we ended the weekend setting up our new washer, since our third washer in ten years died last weekend. Being an adult is fun! Ha! Happy Monday!

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Easter Baskets

 

I kept it really simple this year for Easter baskets. Honestly, in part because the boys are getting older and I’m running out of ideas! Here is a quick breakdown of what I have in their baskets (more like buckets):

1. Kids read truth Hebrews Bible Study, for the boys to work on (with my help).

2. Summer pajamas.

3. Star Wars t-shirt.

4. Tenzi dice game.

5. Easter bunnies. These bunnies are adorable and I got them from one of our local shops (Sweet Pineapple):

6. Pokémon cards, lined sticky notes, jelly bellies, and a chocolate bunny.

We also filled the boys’ eggs with Easter Tsum Tsums and candy:

We also had to fill six eggs for an egg hunt at J’s school:

Usually we wait until the last minute to fill baskets and eggs, but this year we filled everything ahead! The boys are going to be quite excited!

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Low carb garlic parmesan chicken bake

On Tuesday, J’s baseball game got moved to Friday, which means we needed to move our “quick meal” of the week to Friday, and I was left without a meal for Tuesday dinner. Thanks to my following numerous bloggers on Instagram, a meal popped up that I had everything for, except the chicken. I ran by Wal-Mart on a work break and picked up a package of thin sliced chicken breast, and we were good to go. J loved this meal, A liked it only okay, but it was quick to put together and also low carb! Here’s the recipe:

Here is my collection of supplies:

I did spray the pan first with canola oil, then layered in the chicken:

Then I mixed the remaining ingredients together and topped the chicken:

In the last six minutes of baking I prepped the sides:

If you haven’t tried the frozen rice from Whole Foods it is life changing. Seriously. It’s so fluffy! Then the chicken was ready to go:

It was creamy and delicious, perfect with the rice and broccoli. It’s hard to find a casserole type meal in our house that everyone can eat, and this was a great take on a casserole!

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Disney Dining Plan Comparison

If you didn’t know how crazy organized we are, you’re about to. When we first went to Disney as a family of four in 2016 we got the dining plan. Then for our next trip in 2017, we decided to see if the dining plan was actually worth the cost. We got the dining plan and wrote down everything we spent. Everything. All snacks, quick service, and table service. Then in 2018 we decided to not do the dining plan, and see if we ate “normally” (i.e. not trying to meet the quota of snacks and meals) what the comparison would be. B wrote down everything in an excel document and I’m happy to share our results with you!

Before we get started a few things to note. First, the price of the dining plan has changed, so always check what their latest prices are. Second, this is for two adults and two kids on the standard dining plan (2 snacks, 1 quick service, and 1 table service per night of stay).

First up, our 2017 on the dining plan table:

 

So on the dining plan we actually came out 223.50 ahead of the plan cost (essentially we spent more than the plan cost). And we spent everything. No quick service unused, all snacks accounted for, and plenty of character meals (always a higher cost).

Second up is our 2018 not on the dining plan table:

This time around we ate how we wanted. We didn’t always get quick service, sometimes we had snacks for lunch, and we only did one character meal (Ohana breakfast). If we had gotten the dining plan we actually would have lost $88.63. Not a big difference, but still close to $100.

So, what did we conclude? If you are planning to eat at least a quick service, table service, and two snacks per person per day the plan is a good choice. If you are planning to do a bunch of character meals the plan is a great choice. If you want to be able to pay for your food in advance and not have to worry about it when you get there the plan is an excellent choice. However, if you are doing more quick service, don’t want to worry about keeping up with how many snacks you have left to spend, and aren’t doing hardly any character meals then you may find the plan is not for you. This, obviously, is only one example, but hopefully it provides some insight into the dining plan and it’s cost!

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Friday Favorites

Even if it’s super late in the day it’s still Friday, right? The flowers are in full bloom around here, which means I took this picture before quickly going inside to avoid all the pollen. We have a full, and I mean full, day of baseball this weekend, so I’m currently mentally preparing for that. Here are some of our favorites from the week!

The home office of my dreams.

A new tee for our next Disney trip.

These penny ankle sandals are the sweetest.

Best quad exercises, to mix into my weekend workout.

The next book on my reading list.

Remedies for inflammation.

Romper, bracelet, and hat for our beach vacay.

One being a better listener.

We’re taking the train!

And finally, making this simple and delicious meal next week.

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One suitcase packing

For our weekend trip to Nashville, I used our new Marie Kondo style of folding and managed to get all of our items in one suitcase. That’s right, four people, three sets of clothes, pajamas, and toiletries all in one spot. Here is how I arranged it:

The bottom layer was all of our clothes, then extra shoes, our noise machine, and my jewelry bag.

Then on top of that I placed our large toiletries bag, a smaller bag for hair items, my cosmetics bag, tissue box, and the pajamas I almost forgot for A. That plus a snack bag, and the boys’ backpacks were the only things we brought, and it was amazing! It was great to take a trip where it didn’t feel like we were taking half the house with us when we went!

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Fire Tower Trail

This is an easy incline trail on Monte Sano that we have connected through several times, but we’ve never done the entire trail on its own. Over Spring Break we headed up one afternoon to hike the trail, and roast hot dogs and marshmallows back at the State Park when we were finished. The trail is about 2.4 miles (that’s round trip), and as I said it’s a fairly easy hike. At the end of the trail (before you walk back out) is the impressive fire tower, that was used for spotters to look for fires, way back in the day. Unfortunately, we couldn’t walk all the way up because someone had graffitied inappropriate symbols all over the bunkers surrounding it. Luckily, B noticed that before the boys did and turned them around to head back out. Overall, it was a fun hike and a great way to spend the day with the boys!

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