Hello Monday

Monday, January 25, 2021

It is not just any Monday; it is the last one of January. Wow! I am happy to link up with Heather, Tanya, and many more right here.

How was your weekend? Mine was pretty o.k. On Friday, I saw the social media post made by Red Hog (Beth and I had gone to happy hour there Thursday and saw them taking this photo. They have tableside smores or a take home smores kit with homemade graham crackers!

I cannot wait to try this when I go back!

Friday I worked and then I have started doing my house cleaning on Friday after work. We had leftovers for dinner and I was beat.

Saturday morning I did my breakfast meal prep for the week.

I will share this recipe soon. I have had a couple of people ask.

Also, during the pandemic I started cooking for Ernie. He gets boiled chicken and canned green beans and carrots mixed in with his kibble. He is a spoiled boy.

Then, I went to a small winter farm market.

I bought cheese and that is all. The cheese guy said this is his favorite because it is buttery and complex. I like buttery and complex.

There is a new show that is apparently based on our very own cat cafe here in Louisville. Basically you pay money to play with cats and then you can get a drink. That is kind of what I did at my cousin Julie’s house growing up; she also had goats.

I think he was their PR guy. I am not even a cat person but look at that face! I want to book a cat session and luckily I have some cat lady friends. That sounded weird. I have some female friends who love cats.

Then, I went into Urban Outfitters to see what the young people are into. I found a couple of sales and bought some gloves, socks, pimple patches, and a coffee cup warmer.

And, finally, I visited a bagel place. They have a super efficient Covid system. You text your order with your name and make of car, they bring it out to you with a card reader, and you are done.

Later in the afternoon, I went to one of my favorite boutiques and found a good bargain that I will show you Wednesday.

And, I got a much needed car wash.

Then, I wanted to scope out spring trends at the mall. Beth had told me she saw lots of yellow. I was very underwhelmed. Maybe the spring stuff is not quite out in full force yet.

I love the yellow and white combo.

I love the patchwork jeans.

After all of my stops, I decided to make a margarita. I added a half a shot of o.j.

And, for dinner we had Thai take out.

We love chicken pad thai and Tom

loves these corn cakes.

We watched t.v. and I was in bed around 9:00. I was tired.

Sunday morning I did some reading of this with my coffee. It is cute. It is well written and a cute story line so far. I have not been reading much at all lately!

I spent about an hour in my closet.

This week I am going to rotate through my sweaters and

my fun cozy leggings. These are seriously the coziest leggings to get your through the winter. The top ones are Valentine’s themed. They are the old LulaRoe. I am not that into them anymore but they are great for what I need right now.

Then, next week I am going to wear my pink and red for February.

I was lazy and didn’t feel like making my second cup of coffee so I got some at a coffee shop. So pretty!

And, then I did school work, watched t.v. – got sucked into a Sex and the City marathon on E! for a bit, and started prepping for dinner. I am really trying to cut down on food waste and make whatever is going to go bad first! Last night was burrito bowls because I had needed to make them for awhile.

So, that is it for me!

What was the highlight of your weekend?

Amy

Friday Favorites

Friday, January 22, 2021

How was your week? Four day weeks always seem longer to me and I was confused about what day it was all week long! Were you confused, too? I am linking up today for Friday Favorites right here!

So, Monday was a day off as we observed MLK Day. I tackled some areas of my 30 Bags Challenge (I am cleaning out 30 areas in my house – supposed to do one per day in January, but I am moving slowly).

I tackled this drawer. I take the rolls out of the boxes and I take the baggies out of the boxes, too. I sent all of the takeout plastic cutlery back to college with the boys. I try not to get them from the restaurants but sometimes they give them to you anyway.

Before: I had already removed all of the plastic wrap, parchment, foil, and wax paper so it did look way worse. Even though I am moving slowly, it is always a favorite to get more organized and to be able to find things!

Another favorite was walking in the evening with all of this light! It is staying light out until about 6:00 now! I am trying to have dinner ready so I can walk with Tom and Ernie. It feels good to get outside again before it gets dark.

I mixed up a loaf of no-knead bread one morning before classes and let it rise two hours and then baked it to go with dinner. A favorite is being able to do this while working from home!

So, I have gone back to regular coffee and this is really good!

Not a favorite: Update on this sweatshirt that I mentioned Wednesday: It is a very thin material, not a cozy sweatshirt material IMO, the neckline comes up too high for my liking, and it runs about two sizes small. It went back. I am sad because the design is so cute. You may feel differently; if those things don’t bother you, it might work for you!

Who is watching The Bachelor? Matt seems like the most genuine of all time. I am too old for this show but I can’t look away.

Did you read my spring trends post yesterday here? I mentioned wanting a yellow purse for spring! Yellow is a big trend and I love yellow. I have yellow Hunter boots. Easter egg colors are also a trend. Look at this darling Madewell tote at Nordstrom Rack!

And, here is the yellow designer dupe for a Goyard I mentioned yesterday. Which do you like better?

Abby mentioned blueberry biscuits this week here and I guess I have been living under a rock (not going into the grocery much). I did go in this week and I am going to try the chocolate!

I also bought this creamer because I was so impressed with their pumpkin spice in the fall. This is good and I am picky about my creamer.

And, the highlight of my week was a sunny 50 degree afternoon on a patio! I met Beth who did my style post here and it was so nice.

I got a blackberry bourbon cocktail and Beth got an old fashioned.

The restaurant is called Red Hog, thus the hog head. Beth is looking stylish as ever. Look at her jacket!

We ordered fried cauliflower and

fries with curry mayo.

What were your favorites this week? Any fun weekend plans? Oh yeah, we are in a pandemic! Are you starting to know people who have gotten the vaccine? My mom got her first dose this week!

Leave me a favorite and thanks for reading!

Amy

Spring 2021 Fashion Trends

Thursday, January 21, 2021

No, it is not too early to talk spring trends! If you are like me, you are trying to be happy wearing your winter clothes – with the occasional purchase of something to help you make it through until spring!

I started doing “research” to see what is on the radar for spring. Did I ever tell you that I tracked every single clothing purchase I made for several years? It was enlightening! At the end of the year I would see what I wore that most, look for patterns in my “bad” purchases, and learn from my mistakes. In doing so, I found that I bought the most in March and September for the change of seasons into spring and fall. I became a much better shopper when I looked at my yearly clothing purchases.

I cannot guarantee this will be my last spring fashion post!

Now, before I ever buy anything for the next season, I look at what I have. It is funny how you can quickly forget what is in your closet.

Here are the trends I saw and my thoughts:

Suit jackets – oversized shoulders – nope, not for me. I do not need to oversize my shoulders. I would like a knit suit jacket, maybe? I think I could go for something with some stretch. Let me know if you see anything like this.

Black Face Masks – nope. And, isn’t it sad that this is considered a spring trend? I have invested way more money in masks than I care to admit. I have my favorites and they are my Pomchies brand. I love these so much. I am curious about the Kitsch brand, though. I wish someone out there had a Pomchie and a Kitsch. Why do those both sound like diseases? Lol!

Head Scarfs – I love this idea. I do not have many small silk scarves but I am trying to do some different hair styles and I could try this one. I did steal a white bandana from my son. It is very new and stiff and has not been washed yet.

Easter Egg Pastels – Yes! I love color!

Yellow Handbags– Yes! Color, again! I actually have one in mind. This is a designer dupe. I need to find the source but I think it was $41. I don’t know why the photo is bad, but you get the idea.

Pops of Blue – Cornflower Blue and Lighter Blue Colors – Yes!

Tapestry Coats – nope! I appreciate them on other people but I am not really interested in this.

White Knee High Boots – I can see a shorter bootie or a cowboy vibe in white.

Yellow with Camel – I think I would like this! I have this old sweater. I love yellow.

Handbags with Fringe – I love fringe and I have these black and camel crossbody purses that I was thinking were out of style. Too much?

Florals – Head to Toe Flowers Included – I like a floral but I am not sure about head to toe. I hope these florals are still in style.

Holes in Odd Places to show some skin – Didn’t we do this? The cold shoulder tops of a few years ago? How odd of a place are we talking? A shirt with a hole that just shows your elbow? Is that odd enough? What about a hole that shows your right bottom rib?

Feathers – Yes! Give me all the feathers! Well, I like a feather print and some feather accesories. I guess it would depend.

White – Love white! Get you a Clorox pen, though.

Wide Leg Pants – Do my Matilda Janes count? I think you have to be careful about your footwear with a wide leg! I like this, though. The wide leg jeans look so cute on lots of people!

Sheer Layers – No, thank you! I guess I would have to see this but it scares me.

What is on my wish list:

red clogs – I know, I know. I had a red sandal obsession this summer.

yellow shoes – not sure what type yet or if I need these!

rain clogs – Hunters!

more Savanna Jane tops

Birkenstocks – not sure what type/color

the yellow purse from above or something similar

something cornflower blue

What trends are you trying?

Amy

What I Wore Wednesday

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

If you participated in my wardrobe challenge last week from January 11-15, thank you! I am linking up today with The Style Six here.

Monday was blouse and long necklace day and this is what I wore. The blouse is a great material with cute sleeves with buttons and a little flounce. It came from TJ Maxx a few years ago. The necklace is my first Rayne from Kendra Scott.

Tuesday was jeans day. I put on these Wit and Wisdom from Nordstrom this summer. I wore my new teddy bear vest and was so cozy I even mentioned it to my classes that day. I am sure they think I’m weird.

The next day was scarf day but I wanted to be a teddy bear again for my patio lunch with Elizabeth. This is the tunic it came with. It is really long and has pockets which I think add bulk under the vest that also has pockets. I like the black better, I think.

I added the super soft scarf that Mason got me for Christmas to follow my own rules and because it matched my Target Universal Thread boots exactly. Also, the patio heaters were out of propane so we were cold.

Thursday was t-shirt and cardigan day but I wanted to add a scarf for my patio coffee dates.

My reader and friend Kim looked so cute for t-shirt and cardigan day! She has recently become a Vuori jogger convert. She is wearing a Cheers t-shirt (J.Crew Factory) with a Walmart cardigan (old) and Allbirds sneakers.

And, Friday I broke my rule. I didn’t feel like wearing plaid because my sized down Amazon sweater had arrived the day before! I think you need to size down one and my color is apricot which is more of a cream.

I enjoyed wearing it so much for school that day that I also wore it for dinner at my friend’s house that night.

I don’t even wear sweaters or sweatshirts to teach in normally, you all. My building gets so over-heated in the winter. But, now, that is all I want to wear to teach in. I just want to put on a simple one layer outfit.

Thus, I ordered this! I will let you know what I think. I want it to fit really big!

I also found out a former student is making cute grapic tees and sweatshirts and I have ordered a pink sweatshirt with a giant metallic red heart.

And, one more thing. I have several pairs of booties that are hard to get on. These include my short yellow Hunters, my Sanita clog booties, and my new Target Universal Threads are a bit hard. I bought me a shoe horn. It works like magic and has me wearing those boots again!

I guess the moral of that story is to ask yourself why you aren’t wearing something in your closet and it might just need a quick fix.

What have you been wearing lately?

Are you tired of winter clothes yet?

Amy

A Day in the Life

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Why do we like these posts so much? Are we a bunch of voyeurs? I think so, yes! It is surprisingly hard to remember to take photos about every hour and I failed at a few points during the day.

I chose to do a Monday and it was Monday, January 11 if anyone wants to know.

This post may be as exciting as watching paint dry. I am warning you!

Some of my readers requested this during my survey; some also requested some teacher stuff. So, this post will give you a bit of both.

In case you are new around here, I am a high school Spanish teacher and I teach levels 3 and AP (5). I am a new empty nester with twin boys who are living on campus about 30 minutes away from home.

I do not set an alarm anymore. My bladder wakes me up. Thanks, bladder. I sometimes go lay down again but I like to be up by 6:00.

6:00 – make coffee with my new contraption. The boiling of the water and waiting a bit for it to come off the boil, then slowly pouring into the filter takes a bit but I like it. I feel better about no K cup waste. I have figured out my amounts – 12 oz. water in my Starbucks mug and 3 T. of coffee grounds.

Then, I sit in everyone’s favorite chair – including Ernie. I sometimes have to tell him to go find Daddy, which always gets him out of the chair. I enjoy my lights and sometimes light a candle. I still love my slippers!

6:30

I go make another cup of coffee. I talk to Tom who goes to the gym at 5:00, walks Ernie, and then one of us feeds the beast. During the pandemic we started giving him a cup of his Costco grain free dog food (he has always have a sensitive tummy) and a cup of my boiled chicken, canned green beans and canned carrots that I started making for him. He loves it and is so happy to eat his food now. Before he would sometimes not eat any or all of his food and his schedule would be off.

Tom goes and takes a shower and listens to really loud talk radio. No, it doesn’t bother me at all.

Meanwhile as I am finishing my quiet time and blog reading, my alarm goes off to remind me of my wardrobe challenge for the week. Today is blouse and long necklace day.

7:10

I go get ready. I showered the night before so I have a pretty quick 20 minute routine. I sometimes jump in the shower again with my shower cap and I wash my face, brush my teeth, do minimal makeup, and style my hair. Tip: leave your curls alone for a bit and they will hold better.

I prepare my plate to take down to my “office” in the basement.

I talked about this is my Friday Favorites but I love having my meals prepped even when I am at home. I have mentioned this before, but my district gives us the option of working from home or in the building. I feel like our days for this are numbered so I am continuing to enjoy this.

7:30

Tom leaves

Before I go downstairs, I like to set the house by opening blinds, picking up Ernie’s toys, giving my plant some light.

Then, I go in my closet and reluctantly take off my Target Stars Above robe.

This day was the blouse and long necklace. I wore leggings and my New Balance on the bottom half. My blouse is TJ Maxx and my necklace is Kendra Scott.

Now, I go finger comb or use my pick to style and spray with my hairspray.

Start a load. I like to do my clothes on Mondays lately.

Start checking emails and eating my breakfast.

I have to do my attendance in 2 places – a school spreadsheet, a district telecommuting form, and I also have to do a health screening online, then I have to take attendance for the 3 classes I don’t see on Mondays. Their attendance is based on work turned in so it can be kind of a burden to figure out.

Then, I make sure my Google Slides are ready for my 3 live classes. I add in funny memes and I practice going through them and make sure I have other tabs open that I will need. I have to have Google Docs open for vocabulary and the commands note taking sheet.

Monday and Thursday I have planning from 8:30-9:30 and I teach from 10-11, 12;30-1:30, and 2:00-3:00.

I check assignments on Google Classroom and then transfer them to our grading platform called Infinite Campus. I answer emails. I schedule new assignments to post.

I had to watch a boy band from Spain and make sure I had all of the lyrics. It’s a tough job but someone has to do it.

Filling in the lyrics:

The kids had to do the same for homework.

I am naturally a morning person and I get stuff done from 7:30-9:00. I really don’t want to stop and get up to do anything else. But, after lunch, I start fading and I am not nearly as productive.

9:00

Ready to fill my water cup for the second time. I get up and stretch every hour at least and fun upstairs to do tasks so I don’t get too stiff. I also put the washer clothes into the dryer.

I prepped my cd. I have a cd that I recorded in my friend’s basement studio. Most of the songs/chants are originals that I made up to teach different verb tenses or grammatical things. I had it loaded on my old laptop but just haven’t done it on my new one yet.

I also had to prep a listening activity on a flashdrive.

I go into my Google Classroom and make sure everything is ready. Look at all the tabs. Being a virtual teacher is kind of like being a DJ, but way less cool.

I open up my Google Meets 10 minutes early so kids can start joining and we can start on time. I taught from 10-10:40 and then I hung out on Google Meet for 20 more minutes to do one on one help.

11:00

Lunch break! I went up to fold clothes.

I let my Amazon leopard air dry.

My lunch was some macaroni noodles and tomato sauce.

I took Ernie out but we didn’t go on a full walk.

I taught two more classes 12:30-1:30 and 2:00-3:00 and then I sat down for a bit and played on my phone and watched some shows.

5:30

Tom gets home and Ernie is sooo happy to see his best friend. Tom and Ernie do a quick walk.

6:00

Ernie eats his dinner.

The human dinner was leftover chicken from Saturday night on a salad and a tiny baked potato.

After dinner I got a cool friend request and message on Facebook. The little girl who lived in our house before us found me on Facebook. We had last visited her family in their new house maybe 19 years ago! Backstory: Tom used to live next door as a renter and when this house came on the market he knew he loved the neighborhood and watned to buy. The little girl loved Tom. She drew a picture for us of us getting married. I can imagine that it was so exciting for an 8 year old girl!

I did not remember that I put it in a frame. I have the picture in our wedding scrapbook. This memory stuck with the little girl for 20 years. I guess the lesson from this is to never underestimate the power you have. And, to let someone know that they made you feel special is priceless, too. It made my whole day!

We watched some t.v.

7:00

I took my shower. I scared myself in the mirror. If you aren’t taking night showers I need you to tell me why.

Then, I went down and watched some trash t.v. of my own until it was time for bed.

9:30

I brushed my teeth and got in bed.

That is a pretty typical day for me right now. Some days I will go out and do a library or a grocery pick up around 3:00. Some days I meet a friend around 3:00. I kind of like Mondays being my stay at home day.

Have you ever documented a day? It is kind of interesting. I have heard of people doing a time audit. I think that sounds interesting, too.

Thanks for reading!

Amy

Hello Monday!

Monday, January 18, 2021

I am still weekending, but I thought I would keep to my regular posting schedule. I am linking up here with the gals at Hello Monday if they are here today.

Let’s go back to Friday night. We were invited to get takeout and eat at my friend’s house with our little group – my two college besties and their husbands. I had not seen them since mid-November in person. Two of them have had the virus and two of them had the first dose of the vaccine a week ago. But, I was still careful. My friend spread us out by couple and I wore my mask when not eating.

I ordered a cheeseburger salad and it was so good! I forgot to take a photo of the dressing. It tasted like Big Mac special sauce.

Saturday morning I went to Fresh Market and found my green chilies!

And, I ran to Kroger to do a return (Clicklist gave me something that was totally wrong) and to get a few more things I needed. I had done my Clicklist on Wednesday.

I found this street taco kit marked down to $5!

I started this book. I did not finish my last book; it was really dragging.

And, then my kids were home for the long weekend! We ate lunch and we watched some Gilmore Girls. They enjoyed spending time together. Then, we streamed Mason’s play. They had to record it and wear masks while recording. During the introduction I started crying because a senior girl was saying she wished they had an audience and it just made me so sad. I miss live theatre, live music, movies in the theater, not having to be so careful around people, and more… I am usually really positive, but there are times when it just hits me.

We got this picture of cousins watching it, too.

Mason did such a good job and this was his first play ever! He is in another one in February.

We had off and on snow both days. Sunday morning the boys slept in and I enjoyed the snow,

watched Sex and the City while

doing some meal prep. Here are my breakfasts.

Then, Tom and I went out in the snow to check out a new to us store, @home.

I wore my yellow Hunters and brought some coffee.

I was underwhelmed. It is a huge store. We left empty handed.

For Soup Sunday, I did the famous tortellini soup that you may have heard of. I have made it a few times, but this time changed it up a bit. I used a carton of chicken broth, two cans of tomatoes – one had basil, garlic, and italian seasonings, sausage (about half of the amount), one block of cream cheese (the recipe I had called for 3!), and a big container of spinach.

It calls for the cheese filled tortellini, but I decided to do this fun noodle and keep the noodles on the side.

Yum! It is so good! I put it in containers for lunches this week.

The boys and I watched some more Gilmore Girls, we ate dinner as a family with Tom (he won’t watch GG, but he will watch football!), and the boys hung out and did some homework. We also got Blizzards from Dairy Queen.

The boys head back to campus this afternoon and I will be sad again. I think the winter is just hard. There is not much to do! I need to work on a list, I think. Are you having the same troubles with winter?

Also, I have not been very motivated to do my 30 Bags in 30 Days, but I hope to tackle some areas today.

I enjoyed having my Valentine’s decor up this weekend. I’m glad I put it up last week.

Hope you are still weekending, too!

Amy

Friday Favorites

Friday, January 15, 2021

January is simply flying! How was your week? I am happy to link up here today for the most fun post of the week!

I have learned so much about how to work from home. One of those things is that meal prep is still important. The tendency to grab whatever and do more snacking could be the case with WFH (Work From Home). I am an egg in the morning person. I love my low carb egg casserole recipe. It should have green chilies but there is still a shortage, apparently. I have it with sauteed zucchini. I added back my turkey sausage this week because I need more protein. I had not had the turkey sausage since last spring.

I seriously love this breakfast. It is 4 WW points if you follow WW. The serving size is 3 links but two is fine for me. I put this on a plate and microwave it and this week I have been taking it down to my desk to enjoy as I start my day. I know it is not good to eat at your desk, but it is working for me right now.

I also purchased these again. I only eat one at a time (they come in a pack of 2 within this package); they taste so much like the cereal Sugar Smacks that you may have enjoyed as a child. Anyone tried these?

I did not buy a single article of clothing over winter break. Normally I would be out in the stores looking at the deals and scooping some up. I also did not buy anything the first week of January. But, I am now in two different Facebook groups that sell clothing. They are like a small business, women owned, and I think it is kind of a great way to shop. I ordered this teddy bear soft hooded vest with a cream tunic. Both pieces together were $40. I liked it with black and wore it this week with my jeans for the jeans day of my wardrobe challenge.

I was so cozy! I wore it again on Wednesday with the cream tunic it came with. It was scarf day so I also added a scarf.

Remember I went to The Dollar Tree last weekend? Why would you? These glasses are super cute if you are in the market.

And, they had their St. Patrick’s Day stuff out. I decorate for Valentine’s Day, then St. Paddy’s, then Easter, then spring in general, then Derby, then summer, then 4th of July. Mainly my mantel gets the decor. I think it’s fun and I like changing stuff up almost monthly.

This spider plant is doing really well. I think she likes this corner of my bedroom and I open a blind for her every day.

I have loved, loved, loved my set of 9 leather earrings like the ones in the last row below. Unfortunately it is no longer available, but I thought this set looked promising. It is $16 and could easily be split up for gifts. They even work ok with my masks.

I love this furniture polish! It smells so good!

My tub has arrived. No, it is not supposed to be on the driveway in a box, covered with snow.

It had been a long time since I had socialized, but I am back, baby!

Look at this patio! We had it all to ourselves. What a cool thing to get to be on a patio in January, right? The beginning of this week was super cold but we got up to 50 yesterday.

I got to meet my school neighbor Elizabeth to eat mediterranean food.

What? I am on a patio in January?

I got this vegetable plate; it is like a thick stew.

Elizabeth got a chicken schwarma wrap.

The next day I did my January snowman decor (that I had neglected this year) on my patio because I had not one, but two, social engagements. At 11:00 which is my lunch a former colleague came over and brought Cuban coffee. I forgot to get a photo, sadly!

I picked these up at Kroger a couple of weeks ago.

And, after school at 3:00, another former co-worker came over for a chat, a giant cookie I made and a bourbon dark hot chocolate I made. I also gave each gal a bag of my homemade Chex Mix.

My boys move back to campus and I par-tay! Right?

I am trying to eat better (disregard giant cookie, bourbon dark hot chocolate, Chex Mix, …) and one thing that I love is popcorn. Katie from Preppy Empty Nester first told me about this popcorn and it was on a special deal on Amazon this time. I got this box for $10! It is so good. Do you like Boom Chick a Pop? Do you like Skinny Pop? This is way better, at least in my opinion.

I also bought a shoe horn! How old am I? Well, I have some boots that are very hard to put on (my duck boots, my short Hunters, my Sanita clog booties) and it keeps me from wearing them. How does this work? I don’t know but it seems like some sort of dark shoe magic. Getcha a shoe horn!

I pulled out my Valentine’s decor. I did this minimal tiered tray.

This hall table decor with the fairy lights,

I put fairy lights and cookie cutters in a glass vase,

and I did my mantel. Look at those babies!

I only spent $5 to do this year’s decor and it was two of these glass vases, two white pillar candles, and conversations hearts from The Dollar Tree. My friend Kara did this several years ago. I need more to fill it up higher, I think. How cute and simple, right?

So, my new Valentine’s decor is making me happy. I can’t believe today is less than a calendar month from Valentine’s Day!

I have a three day weekend as we are observing Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday. My boys also have no classes on Monday so I will get to have them home this weekend for at least part of the weekend!

We have plans to watch Mason’s play! Jack is my actor son, but Mason enrolled in a theatre requirement first semester and then proceeded to try out for this play and another and made it for both! This had to be recorded and streamed, unfortunately.

How was your week? Any weekend plans?

Thanks for reading! Today is the final day of my wardrobe challenge and we are doing plaid. I will show you my outfits next week. It was fun and it made getting dressed easier.

Happy Friday,

Amy

Thursday Thoughts on College Kids – First Time Back in the Nest

Thursday, January 14, 2021

This may not appeal to all of my readers, but I think I will enjoy having this to look back on. I understand if you click away today.

If you are interested, grab your cup of coffee!

You may be in a different stage of parenting. You may be past this stage or you may be very far from this stage. This stage came too quickly for me! I found it helpful to read perspectives from moms with older kids.

Also, with twins and no other children, I have always felt the pressure that I only get to do each stage once. One thing I know for sure is that every kid is different (even with identical twins) and every parent is different. There really is no one size fits all when it comes to our experiences with our kids. The older I get and the more I learn the more I realize that I do not have all of the answers. I used to be Mrs. Judgey McJudgerton about parenting. Um, I got knocked down a peg or two and really try not to do this anymore. In addition, I have been working with teenagers for more than 27 years, but that still does not make me an expert.

Last spring, we were thrilled when both of our kids decided on the same college because of their close bond and because it would just be nice for us -never having done this before. Also, have you ever sent a kid to college during a pandemic? Now, I can say I have! Mason chose to get a random roommate and Jack did, too. They were assigned to two different dorms. Jack’s random roommate bailed on him, so he ended up solo.

They moved on campus in August and came back home for the end of the semester on November 20. I am not going to lie and say it was easy for them; the Covid stuff sucked. Even the in person classes were hard because they had to wear masks and had to be seated 6 feet apart, but that is the same for all the kids who got to do in-person learning. Mason only had one in-person class. The rest were online. Jack had more in-person because of his music classes. Basically, everything was different and not how college should be. The college went above and beyond; they really impressed us.

Despite the Covid stuff, they did great and were very self-sufficient. In fact, I felt like I hardly got to talk to them. I knew this was a good thing. We both needed to acclimate. One never once came home to spend the night from August – November and the other only came home one time. I think they were told not to leave campus much due to Covid. We did see them for meals sometimes, but we spent very little time with them for those months.

Tom and I got used to the empty nest; we actually had a lot of fun from August until November. We used our boat, we ate on patios, and spent more time talking to each other (ha!), I think. I was also really busy with school and learning a new job, basically, with being a virtual teacher to start the year. It also took lots of time for me to learn my new schedule.

In mid-November, I was very nervous about their homecoming. I was giddy; I was just a bit anxious about our re-adjustment. They would be home from November 20-January 6. I wanted to respect the young adults they are becoming. I wanted to give them space to do the rest of their classes and their final exams. I prayed about it. I told Tom my plan. I also talked to them right away and told them my plans to let them continue being the young adults they are.

Mason was so happy to eat my cooking and it made me happy!

Jack was being silly and telling Mason and I a story.

Mason and I enjoyed reading by the fire a couple of times.

We got Thanksgiving food from a bbq place and I missed the homemade sides, especially, but it was a nice day. We had a fire and Smores for Thanksgiving dessert! The kids were pretty busy after Thanksgiving with finishing up their classes. And, I was still teaching for 3 more weeks after Thanksgiving. I offered to go teach from school if I was bothering them and Mason told me that I was top priority and they would adjust to my needs and not the other way around. Awwww.

We did not do many activities outside of our house. I knew they were really happy to be back with the comforts of home. Jack, especially, was very worried about the virus and I would rather have him that way than being reckless. We did enjoy our art walk – the light show in the woods that we went on after Thanksgiving.

We went to the large flea market.

They are wearing the same jackets but those were weeks apart!

We celebrated with my mom.

We had a lovely Christmas Eve together and Christmas Day – just the four of us. We played games and watched shows and a movie. They picked out really thoughtful gifts for each other and Tom and I.

Opening stockings:

We had a nice surprise and got to see my high school friend and show his son around campus.

And, they had their first week of classes online at home and I left them a note. It was kind of nice to get to see what their second semester schedule would look like!

I did not ask them to jump back in to chores, but after the first week or so I noticed that they did what needed to be done – dog stuff, taking out trash, cleaning up, asking me if I needed help. It was heartwarming. So, moms of little ones, keep on teaching the chores and it will pay off!

We got all of their favorite take out – Shiraz Mediterranean, Mi Tierra mexican, pizza, and more. But, I mostly cooked and I cooked up a storm; I made all of their favorite meals.

The best bags – Ikea from Amazon:

Well, now they are both back on campus after two negative Covid tests! Jack was able to change to Mason’s dorm because his dorm was not as nice. Now, he is below Mason in a private room(he still preferred that and he can practice his music) and they can visit each other. You are not allowed to visit beyond the lobby of another dorm. It’s a small thing but it’s a big thing for our family.

Our winter break with them was better than I could have imagined. I saw so much maturity and growth. We had some great conversations. I got so many hugs! I got so many “thank yous”. My heart is full. I miss them, but I am so excited for what they will accomplish this semester. The college hours are already piling up – Mason now has 45 hours at the end of semester one and Jack has 32 hours at the end of semester one. They both had good GPAS – good enough to keep their scholarships – ha! I am sure I have forgotten some things but that is enough for now!

If you are still here, thank you for reading!

If I can answer any questions, let me know!

What stage are you in with your children?

Amy

Coffee, Clothing, and Chicken!

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Today I am linking up with two separate (and very different) link ups; the first is Let’s Look – Coffee Bar Area here and the second is The Style Six here, where I share what I have worn over the last week and recommend recent style purchases.

Let’s Look! – Coffee Bar Area

First, let me show you my coffee bar area – it is practically non-existent now or should we say in a state of transition. I am patiently awaiting my kitchen remodel and then hope to have a dedicated space or at least get a movable bar cart situation. So, why link up, you ask? Because I have a life-changing gadget to share. You may not want to give up the big monster coffee pot; you may just want to add this for your weekend coffee. It would also be great to travel with?

I have an 8 year old original Keurig. I have taken it apart and cleaned all the parts many times and this really helps. I did the vinegar rinse thing a few times, too. But, I think it is on its last leg. I have also been bothered by the k cups situation – the waste, I mean. And, I cannot for the life of me get a good cup of coffee with the reusable k cup and ground coffee.

So, I went to Facebook a week ago and asked about coffee makers. I have had my eye on the Nespresso, especially.

One of my friends told me about this $12 gadget on Amazon here. It comes with 100 filters, too. So, I thought I would try it for the price of two lattes, you know?

You slowly pour boiled water that has been allowed to cool for 2 minutes over the grounds in the filter and it comes out in your cup with not a single ground in your coffee.

I really like it! I am working on the amount of coffee and what type I like the best but I have tried a local blend and Peets Cafe Domingo so far. I have been doing 2 tablespoons of coffee. My only issue is it makes a very small amount. I have tried doubling it and it tastes bitter. Also, this is the best creamer. Dunkin Donuts Extra Extra.

Clothing with The Style Six

I have continued to wear comfortable on the bottom and a top on bottom.

I love this sweater that I purchased from Amazon. I have been pleased with the softness, the length (great for leggings), and the way it washes. I do line dry it.

I ordered this sweater in my usual size and I was so excited because I got a lightning deal and saved $7. But, I think it is too big. I am sending it back. If you order it, I would go down one size and possibly two sizes, depending on how you want it to fit. It is really soft. I think the quality is pretty good, too. I have found if you spend a little more on Amazon clothes – like $30 instead of $15, you get a much better article of clothing. I guess that was a pretty obvious conclusion!

I realized I had not shown my consignment purse that I use my fun guitar strap with.

This is by The Sak and I found it years ago at a consignment shop. It has been my go-to travel cross body, when I used to travel – ha!

I popped into Target and they had a nice Knox Rose display. My two favorite Target brands are Knox Rose and Universal Thread. I have tried to steer away from fast fashion, but I feel like the quality has gone up along with the price point.

This star jacket is widely talked about among the fashion bloggers.

This week I have been doing a wardrobe challenge to help me feel more content with my closet.

Monday was blouse and long necklace. This is a great material from TJ Maxx a couple of seasons ago and this is my original Kendra Scott Rayne necklace. I also have white. I have my old Pioneer Woman earrings – I originally saw them on her; they are by Stella and Dot and I found them at a consignment store! I sterilized them with alcohol and saved myself a lot of cash.

Tuesday was jeans day, Wednesday(today) is scarf day, Thursday is t-shirt and cardigan, and Friday is plaid. They are very easy themes and they help me get dressed and have a productive day!

I had a very bad blue laundry pod incident. The pods stained my clothes! I have switched to this for my clothes. I am using up the blue pods and making sure I put the pod in before the clothing so that it gets broken up quickly, but I will be looking for a clear pod after these are gone.

And, for our final topic….

Quick and Delicious Chicken

I made a pretty bold claim on Monday that I could make this chicken quicker than I could pull the meat from a rotisserie. I do it sometimes, but I find it so gross.

I use cooked, cut up chicken for so many things – salads, nachos, quesadillas, tortilla soup, and the list goes on.

Trigger Warning: You will see raw chicken…

Put a very small amount of EVOO – extra virgin olive oil in a pan

I like to use my basting brush to spread it around.

I heat the pan on medium high.

Now, buy the tenders – they cook much more quickly.

Do not remove from package – simply do your seasonings right there – salt, pepper, garlic powder, and I added the elote seasoning from Trader Joes because this was for tortilla soup.

Now put in the pan seasoned side down and season the other side the same way but in the pan.

Now, you want the heat to be high enough to get a nice brown on them. Do not try to turn them too quickly – I think I needed about 2-3 minutes on the first side. Flip to the other side and do the same.

Now, put a lid on the chicken and keep on the hot burner, but turn the burner off. I let sit for about 5 more minutes. It keeps cooking and the lid I think is the secret to moist chicken.

Here is what one looks like – I took it out to test doneness.

And, then cut up.

So, this process takes me around 10 minutes and I find it much more flavorful than rotisseries. I know that you can buy the meat off of the rotisserie at some stores, but the price is usually higher than my method. I can usually get this pack of chicken for about $4 or less.

So, what a random post today about coffee, clothing, and chicken! What is your coffee method? What have you been wearing? What are your chicken tips? He, he!

Thanks for reading!

Amy

Fashionable Friends

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

For our first installment of “Fashionable Friends” (and maybe our last – just kidding!), we have my friend Beth. How did we meet? We met about 23 years ago in the halls of a high school where we both worked. In fact, I probably was drawn to her because of her style – at first! And, the rest is history!

I have always thought Beth had great style!

Here is Beth with me when we did a distillery tour.

And, here is Beth when we ate at a speakeasy. We took pictures of each other on this stage.

By the way, Beth has been one of my faithful happy hour buddies over the last year!

Now, in the words of Beth…. Amy’s thoughts will be in italics. Beth’s words will be in standard font.

Let me just say, to start, that I have not had this much fun with clothes in almost a year. A pandemic really does reduce the need for outfit creation. So, it was fun to dust the clothes off, style some outfits, and take photos. So, thank you, Amy, for the invitation. Awww, you’re welcome. It was also really fun for me to collaborate with you!

I have always enjoyed following fashion trends (although I usually don’t leap on board with most of them), and I love to look at pretty things. I would describe my style as fairly classic and simple, but I often like to add a little something to give off a bit of a boho vibe. When I look back at old photographs of myself and compare them to ones taken today, I am always amazed that my general sense of style really has not changed that much. The only factor that appears to change is the general shape or silhouette of the clothing. Of course, my body shape and silhouette has changed over the year,s, too, but that goes without saying. ๐Ÿ™‚ The other day I stumbled upon a photo taken in the late 80s. I had the big 80s hair going on, and I was wearing white jeans and a chambray shirt. White jeans and a chambray shirt are still wardrobe basics for me. I was even wearing camo pants back in the day, and I still am now. I have always gadded about in jeans and tees, button ups and tailored pants, easy-to-wear jackets and blazers. Mostly, my wardrobe colors are neutrals, and when I do add some color, it is generally soft pinks and muted purples, like eggplant and raisin. My wardrobe is simple, but I do like to add some interest with shoes and scarves. I don’t like to wear much jewelry, and when I do, I generally only wear one type.

For example, if I wear earrings, I usually won’t be wearing necklaces and bracelets, too. Lately, I developed a fondness for bracelets, and I like stacking several together, sometimes on both wrists. Yes, it is all fairly boring; but people have complimented me on my style over the years, and I think that is because I always feel comfortable; and if you feel comfortable, you are confident.

Lately, I am trying to add style by combining laid back pieces with dressier pieces. There is something about the juxtaposition that seems to ramp up an outfit. Dressing up a pair of jeans with a lace or silk shirt and heels and a cool blazer is my jam. Wearing a rumpled, casual button up with a pair of tailored pants and a fancy belt works for me, too. The Europeans are really good at this vibe, and I try to model some of that sytle more in my choices lately. Also, I have a very limited wardrobe; and my mantra is always “quality over quantity”. Perhaps this is why I don’t have many clothes…I can’t afford quality sometimes, so that affects the quantity! ๐Ÿ™‚

Lately my go-to shopping sites are: The names of the sites are clickable; if you click on the name, it will take you to each site.

J. Crew

Madewell

Everlane

Alex Mill

Sezane

Emerson Fry

I must admit that I had not heard of all of these! I had to do my own research! I am also a big fan of Madewell!

So, without further adieu, here are a few of my outfits that show some of my style choices:

One of the best things I have bought in the last few years is my leather moto jacket. It just makes everything more cool. I like styling it with a dark floral flowy top, jeans, and clogs (I love clogs!).

When Beth told me she bought this jacket I knew she would look so cool! I have these clogs, too! And, you all know how I feel about clogs!

Here are some examples of contrasting the feel of the pieces to get something a bit more interesting. In the first, the shirt is casual and cotton with a military vibe. I styled it with tailored wool pants, a fancy belt, and lady-like kitten heels. In the second, black silk shirt, tailored pants, but topped with a faded vintage denim blazer.

Love the olive and black combo and I would also put this with the cognac booties! I used to have a denim blazer. That would be a really versatile piece and we are seeing lots of blazers again.

I have always been a jeans girl/woman; and have not really bought into the athleisure craze. I am very active and exercise a lot, but I prefer to keep my exercise clothes separate from my everyday look, you know? However, the pandemic and resulting at-home life has resulted in the embracing of some of this look. I bought two pairs of leggings and two tops from Prana. Here, I have the outfit styled with my super-comfy fuzzy Birks, and a lightweight scarf.

I was surprised when Beth told me about her Birk purchase! I bet these have been her go-to shoe of the pandemic. They look so comfy but with enough foot/arch support to wear at home all day everyday with no foot issues.

This outfit shows how I like to add a little boho flair from time to time. Because I am petite, I like to keep a long line going with similar colors on the top and bottom; so, here, I have black jeans with a black sweater, and it is broken up with a flowy poncho type-thingy. Love my new ankle boots from Kork-Ease, too.

I think this is my favorite outfit or it is tied with the moto jacket ensemble. I love the modern look of the brown with the black and you know that I am a vest/poncho gal.

Also, we are talking winter clothes here, but I am the one to talk Beth into taking the leap and buying white jeans! She loves them and wears them often in the summer. While brunching together in June, she did the white jeans, white t-shirt look and it looked really chic.

Wasn’t that fun and doesn’t Beth have great style? The style lesson here for me is that you don’t have to have a ton of clothes. Be you. Pick a few things that fit great, make you feel great, and that you can mix and match. Beth is a much smarter shopper than I am. She buys pieces that last and needs fewer of them and she keeps them multiple seasons. Beth, teach me your ways!

Amy