10 weeknight family dinners

Working full time and being a single mom sometimes it is hard to find dinner ideas that are easy, not junk food, and that my kids will eat. Here are some tried and true recipes.

  1. Crock pot chicken and stuffing
  2. Crock pot broccoli Alfredo chicken
  3. Slow cooker chicken fajitas
  4. Slow cooker chicken and veggies
  5. Slow cooker garlic parm chicken
  6. Chicken and veggies sheet pan
  7. One pot vegetable pastas
  8. Steak and potatoes in a stick (or really any kabob recipe)
  9. Easy stuffed peppers
  10. Breakfast bacon and egg grilled cheese (or any form of grilled cheese)

10 snacky foods for 6-9 month olds

Baby Z is at this awkward eating stage. He wants to eat more than purées but he can’t pick up tiny pieces so we have found things he can feed himself that he won’t choke on.

  1. Ritz Crackers
  2. Cheddar cheese slices
  3. Mini pancakes
  4. French toast sticks
  5. Toast (or grilled cheese) cut in strips
  6. Roll or bagel
  7. Scrambled eggs
  8. Nilla wafers (if Bubba doesn’t eat them all)
  9. Breakfast bars
  10. Cooked veggies cut in strips

10 Ways to Teach Young Kids to be Thankful

Bubba is at the age where he understands more about the Holidays. We have been working hard this month on teaching him to be Thankful for things.

  1. Teach them to say thank you. This is the first step to teaching children to be thankful. We are even working with Z on saying thank you in sign language.
  2. Thank them. Show them that you are thankful for them and what they do for the family.
  3. Model being thankful. I say things like I am thankful for Bubba, baby Z, hot chocolate, etc.
  4. Talk about what you are thankful during dinner. This helps me model it but it allows him to practice and he even says funny things like hamburgers and hotdogs.
  5. Prayer. Praying to God and thanking him for what we are thankful for is a great way to model being thankful.
  6. Go on a nature walk. Teach kids to be thankful for what is in nature.
  7. Have them do something for their siblings. And teach them not to expect anything in return.
  8. Have them pack up some toys to give to kids in need. This helps clean out your house for Christmas as well.
  9. Make food in a food kitchen. If your children are old enough.
  10. Have them do chores (and thank them for it instead of pay them). This might seem like a weird one but it shows kids to appreciate all the work that is done in the house.

10 ways I save time

After Thursday’s post I got thinking and I realized that there are a lot of little things I do to help my self save time and maybe get some extra time to myself or extra sleep. Here are 10 ways I save time.

  1.  Having groceries delivered. Though it usually is an extra charge the last thing I want to do when I’m exhausted and stressed is take two kids to the store.
  2.  Getting my house cleaned. We keep our house pretty clean but once a month someone comes in and deep cleans my house. It saves me so much time. Though cleaning services are expensive you can try trading with a friend, they clean your hous and you babysit or mow their lawn or sow thing. I hate deep cleaning and would rather do anything else.
  3. Setting out clothes. After I do laundry on Saturday I set out everyone’s clothes for the week. I even check the weather to make sure we dress appropriate. This saves us so much time in the morning and I get 5 extra minutes of sleep.
  4. Making my lunches for the week on Sunday. I put every thing together in the fridge and just put it in my lunch box every morning.
  5.  Cooking in a crock pot. When I get home from a long day of work and something isn’t already prepared for dinner I will end up just ordering something. However, if something delicious and healthy is waiting for me in the crock pot I will save money and calories.
  6. Shower at night. I have said this before but if I didn’t shower at night I would be one crabby person in the morning.
  7. Have an automatic start in my car. Not only does this save time because I don’t have to take a trip out to the car but it’s probably safer then keeping my keys in my car.
  8. Amazon prime. I’m absolutely in love with amazon 🙂
  9. Not wearing make up. Okay I honestly do this because I have super sensitive skin and I haven’t found a single type of make up that doesn’t make me look like a giant red tomato after wearing it all day.
  10. Not sweating the small stuff. When I’m really stressed. Like this week. I just work on making sure I get everything done that needs to get done and don’t worry about the little things. Like the fact one of our toilets is broken.

10 ways to take time for yourself

I always feel like I never take enough time for myself. Here are some things I love to do to relax. 

  1. Go to a movie alone. I always thought this was weird but when I have some time to myself (like once a year) I sneak out and watch a movie by myself or go to dinner by myself.
  2. Paint your nails. I don’t know about you but when I’m stressed the last thing I think about his my nails (right now they are super long and I should probably take care of that). Once I have my nails all painted I feel so much better. 
  3. Drive somewhere with a pretty view. I have even done this when my kids are asleep in the car. It is calming and relaxing. Sometimes you need peace and quiet.
  4. Watch an old movie. I have no idea how many times I have watched Greece and Dirty Dancing.
  5. Have a dance party. Not only is dancing relaxing but it can also be a family activity
  6. Get a babysitter just to have time for yourself. Sometimes I get a babysitter so I can just be alone for an hour. It’s not often and I sometimes feel guilty about it, but I definitely need it. 
  7. Work out. Though I don’t go to the gym enough it is a great way to relax and do something healthy. They have child care so that’s a big bonus.
  8. Take a really long shower. Okay sometimes the only alone time you can get is in the shower.
  9. Blog. I love blogging because it fixes me time to sit down and write things. I don’t care if no one reads it. I can get my adult thoughts out. 
  10. Cry in your car alone. When you are having a bad day like I’m having today just crying alone is refreshing. 

10 things that went right this week 

Last weeks post was a little bit of a downer. I felt like I was doing every wrong. This week I’m trying to focus on the positive. I love my kids and all in all our life is pretty awesome 

  1. Baby Z learned to crawl. So what if I found out when I set him down in the Wic bathroom as I tried to help Bubba pull up his pants. He finally is officially crawling. 
  2. Baby Z’s first official time crawling was for his parents. Not only did this make their day but it made mine. 
  3. Bubba learned to spell his name. I tried all July to get him to verbally say his name and then out of the blue he started doing it this week. Kids learn things at their own schedule. 
  4. My kids slept in during daylight savings (kinda). Z woke up 30 minutes early (or late). However you want to think about it. But I kept bubba up an hour late so he woke up at his normal time. 
  5. We spent time with Diva this weekend and Hawk called us. I love still being in contact with former foster children.  
  6. I organized the boys clothes. Z is already up a size of clothing so we had to get organized and bring up the next size of clothes from the basement. They both have some adorable Christmas clothes. 
  7. I don’t have bronchitis and/is a sinus infections. Though this is good news it didn’t make the pain go away. 
  8. That my amazing mother helped me out while I felt like death rolled over. She rocks. Seriously. I wouldn’t be able to foster without her. 
  9. I showered almost every day (well night). I will be honest I shower at night because I’m not a morning person. Even though I felt like shit this week I still showered regularly. 
  10. I have amazing kids. Honestly I am so lucky to have them in my life even if it is for a short time. They are so precious even when they make me want to pull my hair out. 

10 Tips for surviving a road trip as a single parent 

This summer I finally was able to get the siding put on my house. The wood on my house probably hadn’t been painted in 20 years and was rotting. Though I was very excited to finally get this project done, I was not excited to have my house turn into a construction site. I decided to go on a road trip for 10 days. Though there were some problems I have to say overall it was an amazing trip.

1. Bring snacks and comfort food. Both kids were tired of eating out pretty quickly so it was nice to pull out a mini box of their favorite cereal, some ramen, or easy mac when they wanted something they didn’t have to wait in line for.

2. Don’t drive a lot in one day. I planned my trip so I was only traveling three or four hours in one day. It was perfect because we were not in a rush and we could stop at tourist places on our way. The last day we ended up traveling 9 hours in one day and I have to say it was exhausting and I wouldn’t do it again.

3. Go somewhere kid friendly. I really wanted to go to Springfield and Kansas City since they are not places I have been been able to explore a lot. I made sure I had a list of good kid activities we could do at each destination in between doing what I wanted to do.

4. Stay at a hotel/campground with a pool. Everyplace we went had a pool and we even stayed at a water park for part of it. Kids love pools and it gave us something to do every night.

5. Do things that might seem too hard as a single parent. I went on a tube water slide with both kids at one time. I was absolutely amazed that Great Wolf Lodge had a water slide that fit three people on it and they they allowed children smaller than 4 feet to go on. I was even more amazed that both my kids wanted to go on it. I wasn’t sure how this was going to work since both kids are terrified of water slides. We got up to the front and my two year old started to cry. I started to freak out wondering what I was supposed to do now. The life guard took my two year old out of my arms and held him as I got myself and my nine year old situated. Thank god for nice strangers or I think we would have had to walk back down those scary steps. We were able to enjoy our water slide but sadly I could not convince my two year old to go back on.

6. Get extra help when needed. There were three points along my trip where I met with friends. It was so nice to have extra hands at the dinner table and to have adult conversation.

7. Give each child individual attention. I know it’s not always possible but kids love when they get special attention. A lot of times on the trip I had each kid take turns picking an activity. I also always spent nap time hanging out with my older daughter so she didn’t feel like the “baby” was getting all the attention.

8. Treat yourself. I spent every night watching my favorite show and eating Oreos. I love my kids but it was important for my sanity to make sure I made this trip about me as well.

9. Don’t be afraid to change plans. We drove home a day early because we all needed to sleep in our own beds. It’s okay to change plans based on how your kids are feeling or doing.

10. Have fun 🙂 🙂 🙂