The Munchkins

Life with identical twins

A New Venture

I posted about this on Facebook yesterday, but I wanted to expand on it a bit here.

I’ve been interested in personal finance for a long time. As a single mom, I try to be frugal, to be wise and intentional with my money. When the girls were younger daycare took up a big chunk of our budget. Now that they’re older, it’s the activities. Even with just piano and horseback riding, it adds up! There are also so many places we want to travel to.

I follow a few different personal finance blogs. A few have retired early, a few have bought multiple rental properties, a few have paid off their mortgages. Lately I’ve felt really inspired by all of this. It seems like with every story, there’s also a story of their side hustle, these little ventures started on the side that if you do it right, can bring in some solid income. Good Morning America even did a piece of side hustles last week! I’ve been on the hunt but honestly, I’m a single mom with a full time job! I just couldn’t find the right fit.

A few weeks ago a coworker told me her friend was selling Rodan and Fields. I’d heard of it, but didn’t know much about it. We started talking and she told me about the Lash Boost. I did a little googling and what the what?! My lashes are sad. The next day I told her I needed to talk to her friend.

I ended up ordering the Redefine regimen along with the Lash Boost and immediately I noticed how soft my skin was. For the last 10 years I’ve been fairly minimal with my skincare routine. I use goat milk soap and a moisturizer heavy with vitamin e. It did the job but let’s be honest, I’m not getting any younger and what I was doing wasn’t going to combat the wrinkles! My new skincare routine is definitely more than I used to do, but it feels good to spend a little more time on my skin, especially when I noticed how much more confident it made me when I was makeup free.

The more I heard about the money her friend was making selling this, the more intrigued I became. No parties. No inventory. Work from anywhere. Could this be my fit? Yes!

And so, who needs some Rodan and Fields skincare?!

I’m hoping a few things with this new venture. First, that it reconnects me with my friends. I’ve been an awful introvert lately. Some of it is just time, but some of it is an awful anxiety I’ve gotten about socializing as my hormones go wonky. It’s not fun, and I miss my friends, so if this is the push I need to schedule coffee or lunch then so be it. Second, I really do want to bring this fantastic skincare line to people. I love the science behind it, and I love that it’s a product that’s been on the market for a long time and is proven to work. And third? I name my savings accounts. I’d like to add to ‘Horseback Riding’ and ‘Travel’ a little faster than I’m adding now. The girls want saddles, and I want to travel to Hawaii, so lets make those things happen.

If you’re interested, please reach out to me! The website is a little tricksy to navigate, and I can explain things and help you find the best deals. I’ll hopefully be doing promotions and freebies on Facebook, so if we’re not already friends, please add me!

Leave a comment »

Fall tv

Isn’t it nice to have fall tv back? I watched a lot of vet shows this summer and it’s nice to finally be able to wind down and watch some quality television after the girls go to bed.

Last Friday! This is Caden’s new LuLaRoe dress. It’s a Scarlett, so it’s swingy. As soon as I saw the pattern I knew it would be perfect for her.

Monday. It was chilly and we were running late, so I didn’t really notice that they weren’t appropriately dressed until we got to the bus stop. I ran back to the house and grabbed a jacket for Delaney with five minutes to spare! Didn’t need to run.

Tuesday. Delaney is wearing new LLR leggings. They are a black and white pattern and I think they’ll be perfect to mix and match with their tops. Caden is wearing acid washed jeans, although you can’t really see them. It hurt to buy them.

Wednesday. Delaney is wearing another pair of LLR leggings. Once she realized how soft they were, she wore them almost every day! I did make Caden untuck her shirt.

Thursday. LLR leggings on Delaney, LLR 3/4 sleeve top on Caden. And a little personality in the photo! Hazel made what might be her last trip to the bus stop? We’ll see if her adoption is finalized this weekend.

Leave a comment »

Alexa

I can’t believe I haven’t written a post about Alexa before this!

We have three echo dots. One in the kitchen, one in the girls room, and one in my bedroom. We love them! I think once you get used to using them, you really kind of want one in every room.

The kitchen. We use this one for timers, alarms, reminders, shopping lists, and the news. In the winter we’ll play 21 questions or other games, or I’ll play a podcast while I’m cooking dinner. Realizing I could play a podcast through the dot was huge! Even though I kind of knew my news was a podcast, listening to other podcasts that way has been a game changer. Also a game changer? Reminders. I use them all the time to remind the girls to let the dogs out, turn off their lights, or to give Midas his eye drops. LOVE!

The girls room. They use it mostly for music. They fall asleep to music every night, and frequently play music any time they’re in their room. Caden has had a lot of trouble falling asleep lately, so I found a guided meditation skill for her. One of my main issues is that we’ll enable a skill, but then won’t remember the magic word when we want to use it, so I wrote it out on a post-it note for her and she has it next to her bed. Not sure if it helps, but if they can’t fall asleep we at least try it. Caden also sets an alarm if she needs to get up early, and when they remember they get the forecast.

My room. I used to have an alarm clock because I like being able to know what time it is if I wake up in the middle of the night, and I like waking up to the radio. However, my clock was never ever the right time and you couldn’t reset the time! When it was 19 minutes ahead I threw it out and ordered another dot. I use it mostly for the alarm, time, and weather, and occasionally will play a podcast on it. I almost forgot! We use it as a sound machine. The girls listen to ocean waves and I like the babbling brook.

Anyone else out there use an Alexa? Have a favorite skill you recommend? Do you have a good way of remembering how to use the skills you don’t use frequently?

Leave a comment »

Tiny Bits

* I had planned a chicken verde in the crockpot for Monday but didn’t have time that morning to pull it together, so I threw it in yesterday morning. I had grabbed chicken thighs instead of breasts from the freezer, but I figured that might even work better? Dumped half a jar of Trader Joe’s salsa verde in and set it for 6 hours on low. As I walked in the house last night I had a pit in my stomach. I had zero plan for the chicken, and really wasn’t in the mood for tacos. It wasn’t a soupy mess so that was good. I shredded it a bit and cooked some rice. Done and done and everyone loved it. Delaney immediately grabbed seconds and asked for it to be on the menu again soon. What an absolute, complete surprise!

* Caden is bored at school. I keep hoping things will kick up a notch, but she still reports every day as boring. Anyone have any math ideas that would challenge her? She does Khan Academy at school, so that’s out. We have searched for math apps that are challenging, but not too, without much luck. I don’t think it helps that her class is rowdy, and so they spend a lot of time trying to quiet down. Last night she told me she’s not having a great fourth grade year, which just bums me out. I was debating emailing the teacher, but parent teacher conferences are coming up soon so I’ll probably just wait until then to discuss.

* I really need to do a post on our awesome LuLaRoe kids clothes, but until then, if you have little girls check out their kids clothes! The leggings are super soft and their dresses are adorable. We picked up a few more of each last week at a school fundraiser. The girls wore their other stuff so much this summer, it just made sense.

* Midas has been extra grumpy lately and I always worry that means he is hurting. I’m giving him extra snuggles and debating taking him to the eye doctor for peace of mind.

2 Comments »

Sticky Weekend

It was hot and humid in Minnesota this weekend. Crazy hot! Some people were saying it was too hot for September, but you will not hear me complain about the heat!

Friday evening my dad came up for our last pitching camp. We’ve had a great experience with these, and are hoping to keep going with it when they do open gyms this winter. Towards the end my dad threw the ball back to Delaney, it bounced off her glove and went in a straight line towards Caden hitting her forearm (the one that broke last year). I thought we might get by with just shaking it off, but as she told us, she was hurt badly. She hung out the last few minutes while Delaney finished up, then we headed to Pizza Luce for ice and garlic cheese bread. She needed ibuprofen that night, but was better by morning.

Saturday was a big day! My parents came up to watch the girls’ piano lesson while I headed off to help set up and work at the Underdog annual fundraiser. This year it was held at a local nursery (that I love and shop at!) which was awesome, except it was extra humid in there. I sweated through one shirt while setting up, then changed into my volunteer shirt to work. We had so many awesome silent auction items! Between my mom and I we bid on a lot of them, but luckily didn’t win everything. All of the bidding was online which was convenient later when we did a last second bid on a pet carrier and won!

I brought Hazel to this event because I knew she would get a lot of attention. Even before the fundraiser started there was a couple there that kept hanging out by the pen. Since she was one of two dogs in the pen, I asked if they wanted to hold her. They did, and they promptly fell in love with her. They put in an application, so we’ll see what happens from here. Hazel’s adoption will be hardest on the girls. I always hope fosters fall in love with them, since I already have our three that follow me everywhere. But no foster has quite like Hazel. She loves them so much, it’s so sweet to watch. Since we hadn’t brought any of our dogs, they asked to get their picture taken with Hazel. I’m so glad we did this, I think this will be a special one for them!

After the fundraiser we headed home so I could shower and change quickly, then we were off to the movies! After a crazy hot morning on my feet, a cool movie theater was perfection. My mom and I saw American Assassin (liked it, but the storyline is only vaguely the one in the book so be prepared) and my dad and the girls saw the new Lego movie (they liked it, didn’t love it, said it wasn’t as funny as the first two).

Sunday was not much? Library, groceries, a little organizing, laundry, and walks for the dogs before it got hot? Exactly what I needed after our crazy Saturday.

Leave a comment »

Blue!

Our cable and internet have never worked consistently since we moved into this house almost two years ago. Finally, Wednesday a guy came out and realized the issue and was willing to fix it. It took him almost five hours on Wednesday, and two more on Thursday to rewire everything outside and in and get it set up properly. Apparently quite a bit of our wiring was not “to code” for Comcast, so I will be calling them today to complain since we’ve had multiple techs out who overlooked all of that when fixing. So annoying.

Last Friday. Black and orange day! I continue to wish their school colors were something a little more in our color arena, but oh well.

Monday. I can’t remember why Hazel came to the bus stop with us on Monday. I must have had an appointment in the morning? She LOVES the bus stop. So many people to sniff!

Wednesday. No picture from Tuesday because we had a dentist appointment. No cavities! I highly recommend electric tooth brushes for kids. Anyway, I worked from home to deal with the cable guy, so both dogs got to come to the bus stop. Annie is down the other leash.

Thursday. The girls have been asking for blue hair. I bought manic panic dye, but before we committed, we bought some hairspray type color that washes out. It’s gross, but at least now we have a solid plan for the blue dye. Who wants to come over and help us do this?

Leave a comment »

Meal Planning

When I sat down to meal plan for September I realized that one of the reasons I didn’t want to cook this summer was because I didn’t want to eat a lot of the meals we’d been having over and over. Being gluten and dairy free can be limiting. We’d gotten into a rut of protein + vegetable and I was sick of it. I’ve been trying to expand our menu options, and think beyond what we’ve been eating the last few years, but it’s difficult.

The other thing I realized this summer was that we don’t need a huge dinner. We survived just fine on cereal, yogurt, and other small, easy meals. Every January I try to buckle down and not eat out or buy anything we don’t need. Last January I followed a protein based meal plan. It was so amazing having everything planned out for you, but our grocery and food budget was more than we’d been spending other months when we were eating out a fair amount! So much food waste. And so, I’ve realized I want to rethink our meals.

One resource recommended a framework for the week. I love this idea, but we don’t always fit into it very well. While I love a good stir fry when we eat out, we don’t do well with them at home so asian night generally consists of fried rice. I’d love to do an easy tex/mex night, but what to do besides tacos?

I’m trying to hunt down more pasta recipes that we would all eat, as well as soups. I also love the idea of a grain bowl night. That would be so easy to throw leftovers together, or items that you can prep earlier in the week.

I also need to remember we are not good at eating leftovers. I made pesto last week and it’s still sitting in the fridge. Will we eat the rest? Probably not. Grilled a steak last week and the leftovers are yep, still in the fridge. It should be easy and yet, it’s not. We just don’t do well with them. I look at the tupperware in the fridge and think – there must be something else to eat right?

And so, it’s an ever evolving thing. I still love planning all of the meals for the month, but I’ve learned to just write ‘Easy’ for a few nights each week. I’ve also learned to have some frozen meals on hand for those nights when there isn’t anything else readily available.

2 Comments »

So Delaney

The girls had softball evaluations last night. First they pitched, then they had skills evaluations a little later. I really had no idea what to expect from this since they only do this for 10U and up.

For skills they had to bat, field ground balls, then catch fly balls. The balls were coming a lot faster than they were used to, but they both hit a few. Fielding ground balls was pretty standard and they did well there. For fly balls, they used a machine to launch them. We practiced pop flies this summer, but nothing like this.

Caden was first and she got a few in her glove, but they popped back out again, but a few went over her head as well. When it was Delaney’s turn, she caught quite a few! I was impressed! When she came off the field she told us that she watched the girl in front of her, and noticed that the ball always came to the same spot every time. (They had the girls start from different spots so they had to move up, back, and side to side, but she was right.) So she always ran to that spot, and then she was at least in the right area to catch the ball. I had to laugh, because this is so Delaney. Watch, analyze, and then learn from the person ahead of you. This kid is destined for science!

**To be fair, Caden was the first to go through the stations and didn’t have the opportunity watch anyone do it before her.

Leave a comment »

The Weekend

I was chatting with a coworker Friday afternoon and told her I was a little nervous since we didn’t have much planned for the weekend. I’m not used to having to seek out activities, with summer there’s always something going on. But, we made it!

Friday evening we went to the Homecoming parade. Ours is … short? It wasn’t much but we ran into friends so the girls were happy. Afterwards we went to the club for dinner. I had the most divine halibut, and we were able to sit outside! Definitely a solid end to our week.

Saturday started off with some solid piano lessons. My plan is to clean during lessons, but with five dogs in the house, it’s practically full time job keeping them quiet for an hour and a half, so that’s pretty much what I did. Oh well. After, we ran over to the adoption event to grab a jacket for Midge. It’s getting cold out and with her cast, she can’t wear anything I have in her size. While there, we saw Libby. It was so sad you guys. Before we got there she was hiding in a corner and wouldn’t let anyone pick her up. When she saw us, she immediately came over and let me pick her up. The other fosters came right over and couldn’t believe it. I almost started crying. Two fosters went back and forth about who would be able to take her. I’m so glad she didn’t have to go back to boarding.

Next up, bounce house party! That was the perfect social event for us. Parents that I like, kids that the girls like, plus some sugar and a physical activity. It was really fun.

For dinner I made homemade pesto with the basil we’ve been growing and tried to get everyone to bed at a normal hour. I’m not sure what was in that pesto, but we all slept until 9:45am Sunday morning. As I grabbed my phone to turn the alarm off, I kept looking at the time. How on earth did we all sleep that late? Clearly our bodies all needed the sleep but still. We did have yet another chat about how the girls have to fall asleep before 10:00pm, but we shall see if it makes a difference.

Sunday was cleaning, cleaning, and some more cleaning. It felt good to be productive. We were home all day so we got our cleaning done, took the dogs for a walk, practiced softball, and mowed the lawn. I organized the girls’ bookcase a bit, and they reorganized their dresser. Both are major dumping grounds, but their room still needs more work. Next weekend.

Overall, a fairly boring weekend, but what are you going to do?

Leave a comment »

Homecoming Week

It’s Homecoming Week this week so there was a fun (easy!) dress up day every day. I like these because they’re easy to pull off, yet the kids feel like they’re part of something bigger.

Last Friday! Also known as Quick! Pose for a photo before we hop in the truck!

Monday. It was crazy sock day but we forgot. Oops.

Tuesday. Wear your favorite team jersey! The girls wore their softball jerseys, but Caden reported there were mostly Vikings jerseys at school.

Wednesday. This was ‘Read about it’. I was nervous we’d have to dress like a character from a book but no! Wear a shirt with appropriate words on it. Caden went with my personal favorite ‘Nope not today’ and Delaney is wearing ‘Run the show’. Bonus appearance by Hazel who LOVES going to the bus stop.

Thursday. Crazy hair day! Crazy buns and crazy pigtail braids.

Leave a comment »