Kids Meal Prep

 

Since having 4 little ones, 2 which are in school, I feel like I really have to prep for the week to keep my sanity and not feel like it is absolute chaos! What has really helped me is on Sundays I prep snacks and easy lunches and sometimes breakfast, to get through the week. So I thought I would put together a small post of what I make!

Freezer Peanut Butter and Jelly

I’ve thought of buying the pre made uncrustables but it is pretty expensive for some thing that can be really inexpensive to make. So what I do is take a whole loaf of bread (or whatever I have left) lay all the bread out and put peanut butter on all of them, it helps the bread from getting soggy with the jelly! I also put the whole jar of peanut butter in the microwave for about 20 seconds, depending on how much is in the jar, so that it spreads faster, and easier. Then I put jelly on one side and put the two pieces together. I put them each in a sandwich bag, then I put all the sandwiches back into the loaf bag and put it in the freezer. It not only makes them easier to find but then they all stay together and aren’t dropping to the back of the freezer. If one morning we are in a rush and I don’t have time to put together a lunch for Sophie, I just throw one in her lunch box and it thaws out by the time she has lunch!

 

Ham and Cheese Sandwhich

Another favorite is ham and cheese sandwiches on dinner rolls. For some reason the kids never really liked ham and cheese on regular bread but seem to love them on these dinner rolls from the bakery. These ones I don’t freeze, I just make about 6 for the week. They are really simple and easy to make. Mostly the boys will eat them at home but sometimes I send them in Sophies lunch with a little packet of mayo.

 

Breakfast Protein Muffins

I don’t usually like to buy the packaged muffins or cereal bars since they have so much sugar and it seems like the kids don’t stay full very long. So I like to use the protein Kodiak pancake mix and make them tiny muffins that we use for snacks or to eat with breakfast. One serving usually makes about 24 small muffins so I bag them by 12 and freeze one bag just so they stay fresh for the full week. You can also freeze them and will thaw out in about an hour!

 

Bean Burritos (not pictured)

The kids also like bean burritos so about once a month I will make a big crockpot of beans and make a bunch of bean and cheese burritos. I put them together and roll them up then put the burritos fold down on a cast iron skillet so it cooks the tortilla together. then I just shove them into freezer bags. With these you need to take them out the day before for them to defrost all the way. Or sometimes I will just put them in the microwave or oven and warm them up that way. My husband also takes these to work too so sometimes I make some with red chile too.

 

Snack Bin

I also have a bin in our pantry that I let the kids get their own snack during the day. It makes it easier since they are constantly asking for snacks, they can get them on their own. I let them each pick one snack at the store, which usually consists of crackers, chips, popcorn or pretzels. Then I buy small snack bags and fill them all up for a variety of different snacks, this also saves money since pre packaged crackers are usually pretty expensive when you are constantly buying them and I also think that they usually have way more then my kids eat for a snack. Then we don’t buy any other snacks until the snacks in the bin are gone! Then they pick new ones!

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Kids Fruit Yogurt (not pictured)

Mostly during the summer I will pre make yogurts for breakfast (not pictured). I have a bunch of small mason jars with the white twist on lids. I put frozen fruit first then the kids favorite yogurt (greek honey vanilla yogurt from sams club) put the lids on and leave them in the fridge. In the morning I dump them in bowls (since they are glass we have had a few casualties) then I top them off with granola for Sophia and the boys like cheerios on theirs!

 

We also always have string cheese, go gurts that we freeze and vegetables.

I do meal prep for me also on Sundays so usually I will make a bunch of boiled eggs, cut up vegetables and boil chicken, so somedays I will just let Sophia pick out a few different snacks to take for a little lunch medley!

It does take some time to do it all but it makes a huge difference during the week when we are in a rush!

Hope this helped give you some ideas and will make your morning a little easier!

Family Photoshoot Outfit Ideas

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I try to get it together enough, once a year to get family pictures in! Its so hard sometimes, especially when there are 6 people to account for! This year we had scheduled and cancelled our family photoshoot at least 4 times within 6 months. Having to cancel for kids coming up sick the night before, for me feeling sick and insecure about how I look ( I know, insert eye roll), for bad weather, for figuring out when we could squeeze in a night that would fit our hectic schedule and when we were going to be brave enough to keep them all up past their bed time!

Its definitely not easy and the price of everything can add up so quickly especially for a family of 6! So I wanted to share with you guys how I figure our what we are wearing and try to keep it pretty cheap!

1- Find a color scheme!

Now after having a few family shoots I’ve realized I stick with pretty much the same color scheme. I try and do something that will last in pictures all year. Nothing too bright and summery but also nothing that is too wintery! I want to be able to use the pictures through out the year on Christmas cards, or birthdays and to print to put up around the house.

2- Pick out your outfit first and then plan around that.

How many of us moms feel the most uncomfortable in front of the camera or insecure about our bodies since having babies? I was really struggling to be excited for pictures when I not only had just had my 4th baby and had extra baby weight, but had also been struggling with hypothyroidism and hashimotos, that at one point had me gain 12 lbs, on top of the baby weight, in one month (which we will save the details of that for another post) So needless to say I was really uncomfortable… In EVERYTHING! That’s why this purchase was a splurge because it covered all the things I was insecure about but still made me feel like I looked good. I will add that this dress was definitely a splurge for me, normally I would find something much cheaper. I also plan to use it for some styled photoshoots I have in mind, so for me it was a win/win! But guys, if you are uncomfortable in what you are in, it will definitely show on camera. Get something that you love and makes you feel good. I really didn’t want to miss capturing this stage just because I was uncomfortable with myself and this dress helped!

3- Find clothes that have similar colors but aren’t exactly the same.

I like to figure out how to match everyone without being too matchy matchy. I am a visual person, so what also helps me put it all together is copy and pasting everything I plan on buying together on a blank page to make sure it all goes together nicely, since it isn’t all matching. With this photoshoot I ended up buying this lulus maxi dress in burgundy, so I wanted Sophie to match me by getting her a dress with pinks and maroons in it. She loves flowers so I knew she would love it! It also had some blueish tones so I decided to get the boys light blue and navy blue. For Oliver I knew I wanted to add something different so I found this really cute suspender and bow tie set! Since it was a little big I ended up tucking in the suspenders a bit and then using the bow on Leo, since he was wearing a lighter color shirt. Also Max usually always steal the show with his light hair and baby blue eyes so I wanted Leo to stand out a little more! And last but not least, my husband. He is always last to figure out what to wear. He usually picks his own thing last minute and as long as it somewhat matches, I don’t mind! This time he just happened to have a few polos that would match everyone so he literally picked one walking out the door!

4. Shop Shop Shop.

It definitely took some time searching sales, coupons and promo codes to find what I wanted for the best deals! Also try to be mindful of when sales are happening! The best thing about doing ours in July is that MOST stores are having major end of summer sales! Also look at places that usually have the best clothes for the price. My top shops for kids clothes are Old navy, H&M, Target and Amazon! For me, there are so many of us that if we are paying full price for new clothes for everyone, it would be SO expensive! For instance the polos were on sale for 5$. I found Leos button up chambray top that was a gift, from who knows when in their closet and their jeans were 8$ a piece. Sophies dress was on sale for 15 and I found Oliver’s suspenders on amazon for 12$ Which totally beats the price of buying a whole 3 piece baby set that would probably never been worn again for 25$ Also sign up for those email offers!! I have a email that is just for shops and all the sales they send. 9 times out of 10, I will find an email with some percentage off or free shipping! Every little bit counts!

5. Buy something that can be worn over and over again!

I mean in all reality we are lucky if we are going to get a whole full hour of well behaved children sitting still and trying to get a half way decent photo. There is no point on spending a ton of money for something they will never wear again. I try to stick with something a little more then everyday wear, polos for the boys and a cute dress for Sophia. The boys already had pretty decent boots to wear so I only had to buy some for Sophia and they are something she can wear with jeans throughout the winter. Also adding accessories helps making it look a little more dressed up. Bows for girls and cheap bow ties for boys!

And after all that work mommas, set VERY LOW expectations! They are kids. They were made to be little animals. They aren’t used to having to sit still, with most likely a stranger taking pictures of them. I went into this shoot telling the photographer I would just be happy to have 1 good picture of all 6 of us. ONE. But luckily we got so many good ones! I know its not easy (literally ALL our kids were crying as we were running out the door, and I was half dressed) its stressful but make the time, save the money. It will all be so worth it, because how often are us mommas in the pictures with our littles.

I also want to sent a HUGE shoutout to T.Rayne Photography for being so amazing and capturing these memories, even if we were sweating our faces off, you still seemed to make us look good and like we had it together! And I’m pretty sure Leo hasn’t stopped talking about you since we left!

Here are a few more of my favorites from our shoot! And all the links to our outfits, keep in mind the prices have varied!

I hope you enjoyed this post!

Thanks for stopping by,

heart Jess

 

 

My Outfit-   Maxi Dress / Earings

Maxs Outfit- Shirt / Pants

Olivers Outfit-  Pants/ Shirt/Shoes/Bow Tie

Leos Outfit- Shirt(similar)/ Pants

Sophias Outfit- Dress/ Shoes

Genes Outfit- Shirt

a day in the life

As some of you know I used to have a blog, that was about 2 years ago. So much has changed since then! 2 more babies, selling 2 houses and buying a new one, a new school for Sophia and Leo will be starting pre-k this year!

I wanted to start a blog again, for myself and to maybe help someone else along the way! The posts will probably be way too long, incorrectly punctuated or written, basically far from perfect but that’s ok! This is me and want to stay true to myself and not let the worry of not being perfect keep me from doing things that I enjoy! So recently I have just been feeling the urge to create and share and to start something new, just for me! So here we are, a little start to my new blog that will be all things photography, mom style, DIY’s, mom life and health! I don’t want to feel like I am restricted to one thing because frankly, I love it all!

So why not start with my first post- a day in the life. A little glimpse of our daily life! Some of these pictures are blurry, dark, have pieces of crumbs every where, are far from perfect but this is our life and I always want to remember these little details. So I took one day and pulled out my camera first thing in the morning and took pictures all day, it was kind of freeing knowing that I can learn some new things on my camera, or try new things and there was no pressure to be perfect!

I also wanted to find a way to document our lives because these kids are just growing SO DANG FAST! My goal is to do a post of- A day in the life- once a month, so at the end of the year I can take all these pictures and make a journal book of our year. I find that we haven’t printed many pictures of our kids, we have taken a TON but like many of you know, they are all stuck in galleries on our phones, or folders on our computers that are so overwhelming to sort through to try and print them!

So for everyone else, I encourage you to take a day, take out your phone or camera, whatever you have! Take the pictures all day of the little things, the breakfasts, the way they sit on their knees to reach the table, the way they play, eat their snacks, hold hands with each other, hug each other, the way they look at you really cute and then stab you in the eye, the way their little butt cracks show from their diaper (sorry I couldn’t help it) all these things that we will talk about years later when we are older and are missing this crazy tiring stage of our lives! Then the next day go through them and keep all the ones you love, upload them to your computer, edit them on your phone/computer and make a specific folder for them! It takes a little bit of time but I promise you it will be so worth it! And I’m sure it is a lot less time then trying to go through thousands of pictures years later! I hope you in enjoy this little piece of our day and of course it may be long because if you know me, I cant seem to keep anything short but I also blame the fact that we have 5 million kids.

So welcome to my new blog! I hope you follow me on this new journey and thank you so much for stopping by!

Enjoy!

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