Back to School Goals

I’m a goal setter. 

I’m not always a goal attainer, but I like to set goals. 

And, even though I’ve been at this mom gig for some 20 years, I’m still figuring things out.

So I’m going to sit down with the kids this week and have them learn to set some goals for the school year. 

I’ve learned that a good goal is a S.M.A.R.T. goal. 

SMART stands for Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic and Time-Bound

I spend a lot of time at my job setting SMART goals, and I think it is a good thing to pass on to my kids. 

One of the frustrating things about my children (and I’m sure that they are not unique) is that they set a lot of real lofty goals– like becoming a professional football player (oh wait, we DID have a local kid who achieved that goal, so that IS achievable!) or making millions of dollars playing video games. I know that I work a lot smarter and more focused when I have good goals in place at work, so I think the kids should have some goals for their very important job.

The hard thing is, MY goals for my kids may not be their goals. So I have to make sure that I let them talk, and really listen. 

I also know that often a well-placed carrot can make goals even more achievable. I have a few young teens who want much cooler phones. . .and perhaps they will appreciate them more if they work really, really hard at their “jobs” for them–just like I do. I have two little girls that really like to buy “all the books” on their book order. Perhaps if they work, really, really, hard at their jobs. . .

Chime in: Do you set goals with your kids? What has been the best way to work on setting (and attaining) those goals? Let me know in the comments! 


We just got back from a week of family vacation. So, yes, perhaps the two oldest felt it was a bit of a forced march at times, but family vacation it was. 

Our vacation came at the end of a very busy and fragmented summer. Our oldest finished up National Guard training, so his siblings had not seen him for five months. The next oldest was working at a Boy Scout camp most of the summer, so we had not seen him either. The other two boys were each gone for several camps and trips, and even the girls got away to summer camp. Factor in that summer is a very busy time in my work world and we needed to just get away. . .together.

We did not go anywhere exotic. We revisited the lovely lakes of Northern Minnesota. It is a half day drive, but a world away. I enjoyed sitting by the lake reading, dipping my toes in the water a bit, paddling a kayak without tipping, listening to the kids laugh and shriek, and (mostly) cooking and washing up to keep 8 hungry bellies fed (I am out of practice on that whole cooking for eight thing!) We were close enough to town that the olders could escape us for a few hours a day to go Pokemon hunting. . .

Through it all, I came home relaxed, and, more importantly, renewed. I am ready to head back to work in a few days and hit things head-on. I’m ready to meal plan and make delicious and nutritious meals for the family. And, since I am trying to feed us all a little better, I am popping back to some things I’ve saved on Pinterest. If you want to check out my “real food” board, it is here. 

I have a few weeks to get kids ready for the start of the school year. . .and this year we have another Senior who will have his last first day! (That went by too quickly!)

I also tend to feel spiritually renewed at this time of year. I think it is the kids getting back to school and studies that helps me re-focus. And, with two little girls who will have memory work for school, I will have a gentle nudge. I also plan on participating in this online group study. . .won’t you join me? Learn more and sign up here!

As you know, this spring and summer has been a time of “making ” for me and I have found crocheting to be a fun and creative outlet for me. I am drawn to striped, mixed stitch blankets. This is my latest: 

Here is what I’m up to:

What I’m making: Fantasy Blanket

What I’m Reading: A House For Happy Mothers

What I’m doing with the kids: Craftsy Bake for Good Class (free!)

Born This Way Season 2

For many and various reasons I thoroughly enjoyed  Born This Way, Season 1 on A&E. 

Born This Way is a document-drama that follows seven adults born with Down Syndrome and their families in Southern California. It shows an honest a humorous look at their lives. As a mom of young adults, I could relate to the struggles of the families in the series, at the same time realizing that there were even more complicated dynamics at play.

I’m delighted to see that season 2 will premiere tomorrow, Tuesday, July 26, at 10/9 Central on A&E. 

Enjoy the exclusive preview here! 

28 Easy Lunches For Busy Working Moms!

I admit, I am addicted to the convenience of fast food. BUT, I know better, so I work on doing better! Here are 28 great ideas for easy lunches for the busy, working mom!

This meal plan from Litehouse includes a shopping list and directions to prepare 7 healthy lunches in one day. I already do a ton of meal prepping on the weekend, thanks to PrepDish, so prepping these lunches will not add much more work than I am used to. And, my goodness, prepping ahead saves me so much time and money!

I always have a container of my Super Tuna Salad on hand! It is great on sandwiches and on its own. Plus, it makes my husband smile!

These 12 High Protein lunch ideas  keep me full, focused, and keep my hands out of the candy jar at work!

Try these Greek Chicken Lunch Bowls From Super Healthy Kids.

I am obsessed with these lunchbox ideas from Bless This Mess. 

You can get a lot more inspiration from my Pinterest lunch board!


Go Ahead and Eat Those Weeds

So, it is girl week in our house. That means a few things. It means that pajama time starts at approximately 5:15. Our Netflix queue has a decidedly juvenile female vibe, and I’m  crocheting like mad on this NDSU themed afghan for an upcoming charity event. 

cables, my new crochet trick!

AND, most importantly, the menu at our house has taken a rather (ahem), low-key turn. And sometimes it takes a low-key AND experimental turn. 

I’m going to preface this by admitting that I am NOT a gardener. At all. I dream of one day waking up to someone standing at my door offering to take over the yard–for free. I’m kind of an accidental gardener, in that I *think* I have a stalk of corn growing in my front garden patch. I did not plant it. One year we had accidental pumpkins. I ALWAYS have accidental purslane. Recently I learned that purslane is a trendy, healthy, vegetable. 

So, I decided to harvest some of my garden treasure. 

After washing and trimming it, I took my other treasure out of the fridge–my bacon fat jar! 

A little swish in my cast-iron fry pan. . .

In goes the purslane!

A few minutes later and dinner is served!

The verdict? The purslane has a nice, fresh flavor. The downside is that the very same property that makes purslane a great additive to soups and stews for its thickening properties also gives it a slightly slimy mouth-feel, similar to that of okra. For me, that is a game changer. (It could be that nothing can compete with a perfectly cooked steak). I think I may add some to my Italian Wedding Soup, or just serve the leaves in my next salad. I can’t beat the Omega 3s or the price!

Chime in! Have you harvested any surprises from your garden lately? Share in the comments!