As always, please tell me about something that made you smile this week. Something about siting down to write this post about little things that make me smile every week always seems to kick the weekend off on the best note and I always love hearing about the things you’re loving every week, too. Enjoy your weekend, my friends!
Things I’m Loving Friday
Halloween looked a little different than usual over here (that’s 2020 in a nutshell, huh?) but we still got dressed up and went trick-or-treating. Most of the homes in our area had tables set up at the foot of their driveways with candy for the little ones to collect which gave us some semblance of normalcy on the not-too-spooky holiday! Last Friday night, we celebrated outside at a friend’s house with pizza and candy and a few close friends. The boys wore their costumes and Ryan and I got into the spirit, too!
Early in October, Chase said he wanted to be “Creature Man” for Halloween and when I asked him what Creature Man looks like, he shared that he has a special outfit with pretend bugs all over it so we did our best to recreate it. (I say “we” but all the credit goes to my mom who sewed the little bugs I bought off Amazon onto a set of green pajamas. We then filled one of his creature cages with gummy earthworms!) Chase’s desire to be Creature Man inspired the rest of our family’s costumes and we all went as a band of bugs! Ryder was a grasshopper (he LOVED his costume!), Rhett was a little bumblebee, I was a ladybug and Ryan was a spider!
On Halloween night, the weather took a turn and ended up being chilly so the boys super-thin bug costumes would’ve been covered by jackets. We gave them the option to pick random costumes from our costume bin and Chase and Ryder decided to be dragons for Halloween: Round 2! (Rhett sported a pumpkin shirt, I wore the tiger onesie I bought for Ryan’s work holiday party last year and Ryan was a spider again.)
Fun facts: Chase’s dragon costume was Ryan’s when he was a kid! And Ryder is wearing the same dinosaur/lizard/dragon (who knows what that thing really is?) hand-me-down costume we got from a friend that Chase loved when he was three as well!
Flashback to 3-year-old Chase in the same costume and little baby Ryder:
Organizing clothes for three boys for a week away in the mountains is no small feat. In an effort to not pull out my hair before our family trip, I ordered some packing cubes after reading so many rave reviews about them. With the help of packing cubes, our disastrous dining room table full of clothes went from this…
(Sorry I didn’t have a better pic of the after and just had to go back and grab one from my past Instagram Stories!)
I organized the boys’ outfits by day (pants + underwear + top + socks) and then put all of their clothes in their own packing cubes. I used additional cubes for pajamas, baby supplies (swaddles, blankets, burp cloths, etc.) and am happy to report that this was, without a doubt, the most organized we’ve been on a family vacation. They made everything easier to find and even Ryan commented on how he liked the way the boys’ outfits were already put together and easy to grab straight out of their cubes. (When we arrived at our rental house, I left the boys’ clothes in their cubes and just put the full cube into a dresser drawer.) The cubes also came in handy for separating dirty clothes from clean clothes on the trek home!
Also, I must say a bunch of you out there are packing cube wizards because I received a TON of DMs on Instagram with tips on how to best use them. I read about color coordinating cubes for each child, separating the cubes by day for the whole family, rolling clothes within the cubes to maximize space and more. Clearly I am just beginning to scratch the surface with these bad boys!
Butternut Squash and Chicken Soup
I had some wins in the kitchen this week and this Instant Pot butternut squash and chicken soup was a mega-hit on a dreary day. I made it by combining 2 packages of frozen butternut squash, 1.5 pounds chicken thighs, 1 diced apple, 1 diced onion, 2 chopped carrots, chicken broth, sage, thyme, salt, pepper and a dash of cayenne in the Instant Pot and let it cook on high for 9 minutes. I then removed the chicken and shredded it and then blended the soup before adding the chicken back in. It was velvety, comforting and so delicious!
- Paleo Banana Bread
Another kitchen win that was a little on the sweeter side was Paleo Running Momma’s hearty banana bread. We had a bunch of bananas that were on their last leg and I was in the mood to do a little baking with the boys during yet another rainy day. This banana bread ended up being a slam dunk! I only made two alterations — I swapped the tapioca flour for arrowroot flour and added a little bit of maple syrup to up the sweetness a tad and we loved it topped with a generous smear of butter.
Slow Cooker Santa Fe Chicken (These pics may need a refresh but the recipe is still a winner!)
Easy Cilantro Shrimp Appetizer (Keep this one in mind if you’re looking for a lighter appetizer to serve on Thanksgiving before a deliciously indulgent dinner.)
Question of the Day
What is one thing that made you smile this week?
Your thoughtful and classy comments about the election this week made me smile. Don’t listen to those other people.
Happy Friday, Julie! My sweet one year old grandson has made me smile this week. He is such a blessing in our lives. I appreciate your blog so much.
Such a sweet comment — sounds like he’s lucky to have a grandma like you!!
Happy Friday!! I love the packing cube idea.
Love your boys’ costumes. We submitted our son’s photo from last year (he was Elf on the Shelf) to our local mall FB contest. He won one of their gift cards for $25. We are picking that up this weekend and putting it towards a very warm winter coat, gloves and hat from Dick’s sporting goods at the mall and anonymously donating it for a student in his Soecial Ed program who is in need of winter gear here in the suburbs of Chicago. It’s making me smile that he is so excited to use the gift card toward that purchase and never once mentioned or thought about getting something for himself.
I love your family theme this year and kudos to your mom for making an awesome Creature Man costume. I made our son’s costume but it was much easier.
Enjoy the weekend!!!
This is so sweet. What a wonderful example you’re setting for your son and I’m so glad he is so into giving back as well!
Ok that soup looks amazing! Any idea how this would adapt to crockpot?
I would just put everything into the crockpot on either high for four hours or low for six hours & then remove the chicken and shred it, blend the soup and add the chicken back in. I think that would work well!
Adorable Halloween costumes. 🙂
Do you have measurements for the soup? I love the idea of adding some chicken!!
where did you get the mirrors on your mantle I love and I am challenged at decorating so feel like this takes up space…IE is less for me to have to decorate!
Grandma Honey says
Did you mean to leave a link for the butternut squash soup, because it wasn’t there. I would LOVE to try it!
The soup looks so good! I screen shotted it from your instagram stories. How much chicken broth do you use? Thanks!!
You’re Monday post! I appreciated it and shared it with a friend of mine (we’re both Black women) and it made her smile to see a white woman share in a thoughtful, considerate, and non-apologetic way that they supported Biden & Harris <3
You did the kind and right thing, and sometimes that receives cruel backlash, still look at all the people who stand with you and had your back. I hope you did something kind for yourself this weekend.
Your comment means a lot to me. Thank you, Audrey!
I just got an instant pot and am so excited to try it out! Do you cook the chicken with the rest of the soup or do you cook it separately, shred it and then add it at the end? Thanks!
Cook it with the rest of the soup, then remove it and shred it and add it back in after the rest of the soup is blended. 🙂