Happy Weekend – A peek at life lately, some favorite things, sanity savers, and just-for-fun links to send you into the weekend
It’s been AGES since I did a real family update. If you’ve been here a while, you’ll know that I used to run a weekly family update series called Five Fact Friday. It was a lot of fun to put together, but ultimately, I decided over a year ago to stop writing those posts.
I had reasons for stopping them (most of them involved creepy/weird people + privacy concerns for my kids), but last week I felt like it would feel GREAT to just do a big personal update. I’ve been missing the more personal connection these kinds of updates give, and when I put out some feelers to my newsletter crew, I got lots of responses that you’d like more of these kinds of posts.
While I still plan on protecting most details about my kids, I did want to take some time to share how we’re doing, what we’re up to, and share some tools, resources, and recipes we love that might be helpful for you, too!
With that random introduction, here’s a peek at life lately, some favorite things, sanity savers, and just-for-fun links to send you into the weekend…
Following a loose routine. The four of us all thrive on routines, so following a loose plan to the day (rather than a strict hour-by-hour schedule) has really helped us create a flow to the days and weeks and get our feet under us. It’s helped Michael and I block out when we’ll have some time to work, when the kids will get homework done, when we’ll be active or get outside, and then something to do in the afternoon.
(p.s. I feel like I need to at least apologize to my mom for the mess on that table. I was wiping down counters and getting ready to put away a load of groceries)
Doing as many “morale boost” things that I can right now. Things like kitchen dance parties, gluten-free donut taste test, picking up a few new books to read while the library’s been closed, Friday movie nights with pizza, eating snack on a blanket outside, and cookie-baking on Sundays.
PS – The donuts pictured are made by Freedom Gluten-Free Bakery + they’re the BEST we’ve ever had. We get their mini old fashioned glazed and apple cider cinnamon sugar donuts at Sprouts but ordered this sampler pack from Amazon, of all places. They were great!
Sincerely wishing these adorable sandals came in adult sizes. (They also come in pineapple!) Sophie has last year’s watermelon version, and we love them. In the meantime, I’ve been loving cute spring sneakers like these and these.
Smiling through this video of Julia Child teaching Mr. Rogers how to make spaghetti. I love her warbly voice and both of their big hearts.
Getting a bit of a Disneyland fix by watching ride videos, parades (I get literal goosebumps!), and firework spectaculars and following along as they release Disney recipes on the Disney Parks Blog, like Mickey beignets and churro bites. Also: making Dole Whip popsicles and chocolate-dipped bananas.
Making homemade freezer jam for the first time and it was a LOT less scary than I thought it would be. Freezer jam is WAYYYY lower stress than actual canning and was pretty straightforward. We followed the directions on this lower-sugar pectin package to a T and our jam turned out perfectly. We made strawberry, raspberry, and raspberry-peach (with a splash of almond extract). You can use fresh or frozen fruit to make freezer jam, and it’s a pretty fun kitchen project that makes oatmeal, chia pudding, toast, pb & j, rolls, muffins, and more taste amazing.
PS – this tutorial walks you through how to make it using the package directions if you need a visual.
Using my little exercise bike basically every day. It takes up very minimal space (and also folds up if you want to store it!), and is essentially silent–no beeps or loud noises. Just a “click” sound if you adjust the resistance. I love that I can use it without waking anyone up in the morning, or roll it out into the living room to ride during family movie nights, etc. (You can also use it while you stream cycling classes on your phone if that’s more your jam.)
Trying to give everyone some control. Right now, lots of us feel a little powerless or a little at sea with everything so uncertain. I noticed this big-time in my kids, who have even less control over things like school, missing their friends, and their usual routine. We started giving everyone an “All Power Night” to make the decisions about something, whether that’s what we’ll eat for snack, or what the family does together in the evening, or what movie we’ll watch for family movie night. The kids LOVE IT when it’s their turn, and though it’s just a little thing, I really feel like it helps!
Going on as many walks and bike rides as possible. My children have complained almost 100% of the times I’ve asked them to put shoes on to go on a bike ride or walk, but have (for the most part) perked up and enjoyed it as soon as we get out and get going. We’ve been loving the fresh air and exploring! (Even if it takes some serious negotiation to get everyone out the door 😉)
Wearing this hat while I’m out to protect my skin more from the sun. I love it and have had it for 2 years. I’m not a hat person (and generally feel goofy wearing them), but this one is pretty great!
Playing endless rounds of this fast-paced card game. Our kids are 7 & (newly!) 9, and after watching Michael and I play a few rounds and taking a few rounds slowly with them, they can play quickly, too. It’s really fun! Also fitting in lots of rounds of this one. (See more of our favorite family games here)
Getting TONS of use out of these little playdough sensory kits. We got a pack of minis (currently sold out), but she sells large versions that are awesome (or that can inspire you for ways to create your own on a budget!). Etsy also has some cute (less expensive!) options to check out, like this shop and this shop!