25 Summer Dinner Ideas

25 Summer Dinner Ideas

1. Bacon Avocado Burgers

We love barbecuing in our home. I mostly love that it means my husband is cooking dinner. We mostly use the Costco Kirkland Signature burgers to save on money but maintain great quality. I’m not going to go on out and write up a recipe for this, but I’ll tell you how we dress our burgers.

Toasted bun, mayo on both sides.

While the burger is still on the grill we add Sweet Baby Rays Barbecue Sauce, cooked bacon, sliced avocado and top with cheese of choice. We’ve used American, Cheddar, Pepper Jack and Swiss and all have been great!

Put that burger on a bun, drizzle a bit more barbecue sauce and add the top bun.

Boom. Delicious. I guarantee it.

2. Sloppy Joe

This simple recipe brings on the nostalgia of eating a messy meal as a kid.

I love this recipe for Easy 5 Ingredient Sloppy Joes from Graceful Little Honey Bee.

3. Teriyaki chicken burger

I look forward to the first dry days here in Oregon, because no rain means busting out the barbecue. This is another one I don’t have a written recipe for but let you know how it’s done still.

We try to marinate filleted chicken breasts in Soy Vay Teriyaki Sauce for a few hours. You can throw in some pineapple slices too.

Grill up the chicken and the pineapple slices, toast your buns.

Slather some mayo on your buns. Still on the grill stack the chicken with a pineapple slice and a slice of Swiss cheese until melted.

Put it on your bun and drizzle a little more teriyaki on top, add top bun and done.

I know it’s not real great for you, but this pairs well with White Shells and Cheese from Pasta Roni. It’s a guilty pleasure in our house.

4. Crab Alfredo

For those nights you want a “fancy” dinner, but don’t want to put in much effort, this is the meal for you. Add a green salad and French bread, of course.

Click here for full instructions to make my Crab Alfredo.

5. Cabbage stir fry

Originally this recipe began as “Pork Egg Roll in a Bowl” which you can find many very similar recipes for with a quick Pinterest search. Over time I’ve adapted this to my current recipe which isn’t even pork so we started calling it by a new name.

The recipe for Cabbage Stir Fry can be found here.

6. Macaroni and tomato

Another trip down memory lane with this one. It’s always been my favorite growing up. My mom always added an obscene amount of butter, salt and pepper to it. I even went through a phase where I added cheese.

My recipe for Mac & Tom is posted here.

7. Mexican sloppy joe

I’ll be honest, I haven’t tried this one yet, but it’s on the top of my list! Also, it’s a crockpot recipe, does it even get better than that?

Doesn’t this recipe for Mexican Hamburgers look delicious? I can’t wait to try this one from Recipes That Crock.

8. Crab melt

I love when my parents have a lucky weekend at the beach, they bring home so much fresh crab! They’re so sweet to, they gut em and cook em before the freeze em and share with us.

This Quick and Easy Crab Melt recipe by April J Harris is incredible.

9. Philly cheese steak

I only recently discovered that I LOVE Philly cheese steak sandwiches.

Click here for Half Baked Harvest’s Crockpot Philly Cheesesteak recipe.

10. Hawaiian meatballs

For those days you forget you need to throw something in the crockpot, this is a life saver to have on hand.

I use the Italian Style Meatballs from Costco. They are frozen and fully cooked, which makes them super easy to work with. I throw them in the crockpot with a cup of Sweet Baby Ray’s and a can of pineapple chunks.

Serve them with Instant Rice and a steamer bag of broccoli and you’ve got a super simple dinner.

11. Stuffed shells

We try to eat a variety of veggies and this is a great one to bust out when butternut squashes ripen. (My #24 meal is great for this too!)

I love this recipe from Rachel Schultz. Check the link here for her Butternut Squash and Sausage Stuffed Shells.

12. Seafood boil

Another great way to use the fresh crab my parents bring home. Plus lots of other seafood, corn cobs and delicious Cajun flavors in this recipe from Wiley Valentine.

Find the recipe for a delicious Seafood Boil here.

13. Hawaiian sliders

Hawaiian sliders are great for those days when you don’t want a “real” dinner. You know those days, when dinner time sneaks up on you and you’re not even that hungry? Those days are perfect for oven baked sliders.

The Soccer Mom Blog has a great recipe for Easy and Cheesy Hawaiian Sliders.

14. Kabobs

The best thing about kabobs is you can throw them together with whatever you have on hand. They are the minestrone of the barbecue.

Mushroom, zucchini, sweet potato, corn cobs, steak chunks, chicken chunks, pineapple, apple, pork, jalapeño, sweet peppers, whatever you want! It’s great.

15. Sausage sheet pan

A quick meal to toss in the oven. Check out this great recipe for One Pan Healthy Sausage and Veggies from Chelsea’s Messy Apron.

16. Chicken and rice

I was never a fan of chicken and rice, but my husband has requested it often enough it’s finally growing on me. And it’s easy too!

A Mind “Full” Mom has a recipe for Creamy and Cheesy Chicken and Rice that only takes 10 minutes to prep!

17. Ceaser calzones

If you like Costco’s Chicken Bake, this is definitely something you’re going to want to try at home!

Cook up chicken breast strips with Italian seasoning and olive oil.

Then make some pizza dough, we used a bag of Betty Crocker’s “just add water” dough and it turned out well. Make this into 4 small circles.

Spread Caesar salad dressing over the tops. Add in the chicken and top with mozzarella cheese. Spinach would be a great healthy add in too!

Fold the dough into a calzone shape and press sides. Bake according to your pizza dough instructions, checking often as times will change slightly.

18. Enchilada stuffed peppers

I love the recipe from the book included with my Crock Pot Express Cooker. Don’t worry if you don’t have one, the recipe can be found here for Crock Pot’s Enchilada-Stuffed Peppers.

19. Zucchini bake

I love using fresh, home grown veggies to cook dinner. So far zucchini is the only consistent produce I’ve managed to grow.

Mom Endeavors has a great one for Easy Cheesy Zucchini Bake.

20. Avocado Ranch Burritos

On those real hot days when you want something light but filling, this is my go-to.

Check out these Avocado Ranch Burritos from Damn Delicious.

21. BBQ pizza

Barbecue pizza is great, but these Cheesy Barbecue Chicken Pizza Rolls from Saving Dessert are next level.

22. Sushi bowl

This recipe is so simple my brother makes it in his hotel room microwave while on work trips.

Did you know you can buy a microwaveable bag of rice? What a world we live in…

Cook up some rice, however you know how, and put that in a bowl. Top it will imitation crab, avocado, cucumber, tuna, cream cheese, sliced carrot and some spicy mayo.

23. Taco Soup

This recipe for Taco Soup was given to me by my husband’s grandmother, with a few minor changes by myself for simplicity.

24. Spicy beef skillet

This meal is another great use for fresh butternut squash. Even my husband loves this one for Spicy Ground Beef and Butternut Squash by My Heart Beets.

25. Fried rice

This is one of the first meals I ever learned to cook. I was taught by a half Asian, half Mexican friend of my high school boyfriend.

He used already cooked rice and whatever he had on hand to throw in, and it was delicious.

He fried up the rice in the skillet, added in some eggs, sliced hot dogs, peppers, onions, and I’m pretty sure some pineapple too. I’ve never been able to replicate it.

Or you can check out this Pinterest recipe from Gimme Some Oven for the “Best” Fried Rice Recipe.

My Perfect Meal Plan

My Perfect Meal Plan

A 6 week rotating meal plan for the whole year.

Awhile back I wrote a post called How to Create Your Own Rotating Meal Plan.

At the time I didn’t consider that many of the meals I put on my own plan (link included in post above) were cold weather meals and I wouldn’t want them when the Summer came along.

This is my revised 6 week rotating plan, for year round use.

I only meal plan for my weekdays, which are Monday through Thursday. Each week I will sit down on Sunday night and plug in my weekend meals for the following week.

WEEK 1

  • Crab alfredo, green salad, French bread (Recipe)
  • Enchilada stuffed peppers, rice (Recipe)
  • California vegetable casserole, chicken breast, potatoes (Recipe)
  • General Tso’s chicken, ramen, stir fry veggies (Recipe)

WEEK 2

  • Spaghetti, green salad, French bread (Recipe)
  • Mexican quinoa, avocados, taco beef (Recipe)
  • Cheesy stuffed, bacon wrapped chicken breast, green beans, potatoes (Recipe)
  • Teriyaki meatballs, stir fry veggies (Recipe)

WEEK 3

  • Sausage sheet pan dinner (Recipe)
  • Mushrooms and rice, veggies, bread (Recipe)
  • Lasagne, green salad, French bread (Recipe)
  • Taco salad, tortilla chips, avocado (Recipe)

WEEK 4

  • Tuna alfredo casserole, peas, bread (Recipe)
  • Spicy beef and butternut squash skillet, rice (Recipe)
  • BBQ Chicken, corn, potatoes (Recipe)
  • Taco soup, tortilla chips, avocado (Recipe)

WEEK 5

  • Macaroni and tomato with beef, rolls (Recipe)
  • Cabbage stir fry, rice (Recipe)
  • Bacon wrapped meatloaf, green beans, mashed potatoes (Recipe)
  • Creamy chicken enchilada, rice (Recipe)

WEEK 6

  • Chicken and veggie sheet pan (Recipe)
  • Teriyaki casserole, rice (Recipe)
  • Southwest lasagne rolls, veggies, bread (Recipe)
  • Caesar calzones, green salad (Recipe)
Deliciously easy weekday meals

Deliciously easy weekday meals

Making meal plans is easy.

Following through with them? Not so much.

When you’ve got a busy household your weekdays can get away from you and it’s time for dinner before you’ve finished your last cup of (now cold) coffee.

But making dinner doesn’t have to be hard, there’s so many deliciously easy meals out there. Here’s my favorite, super easy meals for busy nights.

Tuna Alfredo

Ingredients

  • 2 cans tuna
  • 16 oz fusilli noodles
  • 16 oz jar Alfredo sauce
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup frozen peas

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Spray 9×13 casserole dish with cooking oil
  3. Mix Alfredo and milk in a small bowl
  4. Pour a thin layer of milk mixture on bottom of pan
  5. Fill pan with noodles
  6. Add peas and tuna evenly across noodles
  7. Pour the remaining milk mixture on top
  8. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until noodles are tender

Hamburger stroganoff

  • Ingredients
    • 1 pound ground beef
      16oz egg noodles
      2 cans cream of mushroom
      1 cup milk
      1/2 cup sliced mushrooms

    Method

    1. Brown the beef in a skillet
    2. Add in the mushrooms until cooked through
    3. Stir in the milk and cream of mushroom
    4. Add noodles and cook until tender

    Cheesy bacon wrapped chicken

    Ingredient

    • Chicken breast (I used 2 large ones)
    • Bacon (2 slices per breast)
    • 1 cup shredded cheese of your choice
    • 8 oz cream cheese
    • Optional: minced jalapeños

    Method

    1. Preheat oven to 350°
    2. Soften cream cheese if needed, mix in a boil with shredded cheese and jalapeños
    3. Halfway fillet the chicken, so you can stuff it with cheese
    4. Stuff with cheese
    5. Wrap with bacon
    6. Bake in a casserole dish for 40-45 minutes, until chicken reaches 165°

    Turkey cabbage stir fry

    Ingredients

    • 14 oz cole slaw mixed
    • 1 pound ground turkey
    • 2 TBS soy sauce
    • 1 Tsp ginger
    • 1 Tsp garlic
    • Optional: sriracha

    Method

    1. Brown the turkey in a skillet
    2. Add in garlic and ginger
    3. Stir in cole slaw and soy sauce
    4. Cook until cole slaw looks good
    5. Top with an appropriate amount of sriracha

    Taco Salad

    Ingredients

    • 1 pound ground beef
    • Taco seasoning
    • Spinach (2 cups per serving)
    • Tomato (1 per serving)
    • Avocado (1/2 per serving)
    • Shredded cheddar (1/2 cup per serving)
    • Tortilla chips
    • Sour cream
    • Salsa
    • Other options: olives, cilantro, corn, black beans

    Method

    1. Brown the beef in a skillet
    2. Add taco seasoning as per package instructions
    3. Chop or slice veggies as desired
    4. Layer your salad: tortilla, beef, cheese, spinach, tomato, avocado, other toppings, then sour cream and salsa

    How to Stop Procrastinating When Perfectionism is the Problem.

    How to Stop Procrastinating When Perfectionism is the Problem.

    In school (which seems like forever ago now) I was one of those students who could write an essay the morning it was due and still get a A.

    Growing up I had no consequences for not doing chores daily, there was no allowance and no punishment. Over time I developed a habit of only doing them once a week, putting them off until I wanted something.

    These things highly reinforced my tendency to procrastinate. I had a belief that I worked well under pressure.

    In my adult life, I have uncovered a new truth of the matter: I procrastinate out of perfectionism. If I’m not going to do it perfectly, I’m just going to wait until I’m ready to do it. Then the timer runs out and perfectionism goes out the window and getting the task done is all that’s important.

    Waiting until the last minute means overcoming perfectionism out of necessity, rather than choice.

    I’ve always been great at planning. I love planning projects. I’ve planned my home renovation, my garden lay out, my monthly meal plan, our weekly budget and I write extensive packing lists. My follow through, however, is often lacking.

    When I used to work as an hourly manager in retail, my boss had a saying, which I heard often:

    “Planning is only 10%, execution is 90%”

    In other words, you can make all the elaborate plans you want, but if you don’t actual DO them, they don’t really matter all that much.

    Recognizing the problem is half the battle.

    My struggle with decision anxiety has played a role in this form of procrastinating. I find it so difficult to make a decision, so it gets put off until I have no more time to think about it. Either I panic and make a choice or someone else chooses for me.

    So many years I’ve planned to have a garden, and for so many reasons I’ve always failed. But perfectionism has caused me to set myself up for failure before I’ve ever started on a number of occasions.

    It would usually look like this: I’d write a list of all the veggies I want in my garden, I’d research which make good companions for one another, I’d decide how many plants of each to have, I’d plant my seeds (exactly enough), some wouldn’t grow, some would grow a lot, I’d readjust my plans for what grew, I’d visit my garden patch to check out my spacing, it wouldn’t look right so I’d start all over, I’d transplant what was left of my seeds and try to keep them alive.

    Often I never reached the end of this plan. Somewhere along the line I’d get tired of all the planning and stop with all the doing.

    I’ve killed a lot of plants in my lifetime.

    Last year we bought a house with 2 acres of land and I was given 10 months to decide where I wanted my garden. In those 10 months I changed my mind nearly every time I was asked where my husband should put the fence or where my dad should till the land with his tractor.

    One day in March my dad came out unannounced with the till behind his tractor and I had to make a final decision. I had to tell him where I wanted him to till and how big of a patch I wanted.

    As I anxiously weighed the pros and cons of two promising garden placements, my dad’s advice comforted me.

    “Well, you’ve got good sun here and you can always make it bigger later.”

    My dad isn’t a very outspoken person, what he was telling me in this statement was that he was done waiting on my indecisiveness, and I needed to just start.

    The sun was the same for both places. I was struggling to decide if I wanted the garden in front of the red wood tree or beside it. It really didn’t matter which spot I chose, which made it even more difficult of a decision.

    I saw them that my perfectionism was my problem. I kept this in mind as I began planting: “Just start. It doesn’t have to be perfect.”

    As I dug my second hole for a tomato plant, I thought “What’s so bad about crooked lines? Nature doesn’t grow in perfect lines.”

    With my third hole I realized “Perfect spacing is a man made construct. In nature these plants would never grow with exact spacing between every plant.”

    After the last plant was in the ground I looked out at my hard work. I knew lines weren’t straight and spacing wasn’t even. Perfection is impossible, but it looked GOOD.

    I still have more plants that need added to the garden, and a past version of me would have cringed at the thought of different aged plants growing in the same lines. I had to realize that my garden will never be perfect, some plants will thrive and grow taller than others, some will die and leave gaps. This is nature.

    My garden will never be perfect, but it can still be fruitful, and so can we.

    How Can We Overcome Perfectionism

    1. Realize perfection is not natural.

    A tree does not grow in perfect symmetry, but it’s roots are still strong and it’s branches are still balanced.

    2. Realize perfection is not necessary.

    The tree does not need a clear path to grow. The roots wrap around the obstacles, it uses the rocks and hard places as anchors. The bigger the boulder, the better the anchor, and the more difficult it is to uproot that tree.

    3. Realize perfection is not moving you forward.

    If the tree waited for the boulders to move out of the way, if it waited for a clear and easy path, it would never grow. The challenges aren’t going anywhere, make sure that YOU are and keep moving forward.

    4. Realize perfection is not good for you.

    Imagine if a tree tried to grow in soft, easy dirt. The roots wouldn’t be very strong, because they wouldn’t have to be. The tree wouldn’t be very tall and mighty, because it would fall over in that soft soil. The foundation wouldn’t give the roots anything to hold onto, they would have anything sturdy to ground themselves to, they’d have no anchor.

    How weak would you be if you’d never faced a challenge in your life?

    Are you making fear based decisions?

    Are you making fear based decisions?

    Every day we make thousands of decisions, from what to have for breakfast, to where to send our children to school. Some decisions we don’t even realize we are making, and some take a lot of meditation, thought and prayer.

    How often do we stop to think WHERE our decisions are coming from? Are we making decisions out of fear or faith?

    Almost immediately after I gave birth to my second son, friends and family (and honestly, strangers too) have been asking if “we’re done” or if we plan on having more children. My response was always the same: “We want more, but not until both of these two are out of diapers. I’m afraid to risk three boys this close in age.”

    I was living on an automated decision based on fear. In the very moment I realized I was using the word “afraid” in my response, a switch flipped, instantly I had no reasoning to not have more children at a sooner time.

    What made me think I couldn’t handle three boys? Fear. My history with anxiety.

    How to tell if our decisions are fear based

    Some decisions we make after carefully weighing the pros and cons, others we make on impulse, even some we consult a close friend on.

    To discern whether or not your decisions have been based on fear we first have to look at your reasoning for the decision you made.

    Let’s take quitting a workout plan for example. I’d have to think WHY I gave it up. Was it too difficult, did I need a lower level program? Was it not right for my lifestyle or for my body?

    Did I quit because I was afraid to fail? Sometimes we give up on things before we can fail them. It’s like dropping a class in college because and INCOMPLETE looks a whole lot better for our GPA than a big fat F.

    Or did I quit because I was afraid to succeed? Sometimes we are so set in the ways of who we are right now, the idea of change is unsettling. We get close to the things we want and we get scared. What happens if I succeed at this?

    Fear continually seeps into our lives any way it can

    I’ll be honest, I gave up training for a half marathon three years in a row. I had an excuse every time: I had bad knees, the shin splints hurt, I got pregnant, I’d just had a baby a few months before. *This specific race also had a 5k walk/run option. At three months post part I’m I could have easily walked this as I was already back to regular physical activities but I let it be an excuse not to. I also could have walked it while 8 months pregnant two years before.

    Here I am training for that same race, determined to run the full 13 miles. And here I am trying to talk myself out of it again. I’ve already pushed past the shin splints, my knee hasn’t bothered me, my body has fully recovered from my last birth and no current pregnancy in sight. Yet here I am, talking myself out of the training. And why?

    I’m scared of the hard work and commitment. If I run my 20 minutes this week, I have to do 30 next week… the commitment keeps growing and it’s terrifying me. But because the decision to end my training would be 100% based on a silly fear, I will press on, however reluctantly.

    We have to move past the fears and the struggles. We have to push through. We have to keep moving forward.

    Sometimes fear based decisions are the smart decisions

    I do want to say, there is a level of healthy fear we should live our life with. Self preservation is important and we should definitely avoid situations that might physically injure us or kill us.

    Those are not the kinds of decisions I’m telling you to stop making. I want you to live our life to the fullest because you deserve that, and you can’t do that if you’re dead.

    How to stop making fear based decisions

    Put to death that voice that tells you you’re not good enough, smart enough, strong enough.

  • You are enough and when you start believing that, wonderful things begin to happen in your life.
    1. Realize your decisions are fear centered. When we know the core thoughts and feelings at the center of our decisions we can better understand why we’ve made that decision.
      Weigh the danger. Ask what are you afraid of? If the fear has anything to do with you not being strong enough, smart enough or good enough, ditch that reasoning. You ARE enough, and whatever you do lack you can gain. If you need to be stronger, get stronger. If you need to be smarter, study up. You can do what you put your mind to!
      Decide to be brave. Courage and bravery are decisions that don’t come naturally to all of us. We have to make the decision to be brave and to turn from fear and go after what we want. Not because we aren’t afraid, but because we won’t let the fear stop us. Don’t let fear make your decisions for you.

    “Be strong and courageous!

    Do not be afraid or discouraged.

    For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

    Joshua 1:9 NLT

    Stop being a bad friend to yourself.

    Stop being a bad friend to yourself.

    Making friends as an adult is hard. We’re surrounded by so many lies that make us feel unworthy of friendship, and most of those lies are coming from ourselves.

    Take a minute and ask yourself: am I a good friend… to myself?

    Really think about it.

    Are you. A good friend. To yourself?

    How do you talk to yourself?

    What does your inner voice say to you? Does she constantly criticize you? Does she always have something negative to tell you about yourself?

    Don’t listen to her. Break up with that version of you. You literally don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.

    How would you talk to a friend in your situation? If your friend was trying to lose weight would you congratulate her for all her hard work, or would you tell her she hasn’t lost enough?

    Would you tell your friend she’s a bad mom for giving her kid chicken nuggets for dinner, or would you be understanding that she’s had a rough day and just needed to feed the kid something he would eat without a fight?

    Would you tell your friend that you still remember that dumb thing she said in front of the whole class freshman year, or would you have some grace and realize it’s not worth remembering?

    Can you count on yourself?

    How many times have you told your self you would do something and then flaked out for a lame excuse?

    If you had a friend that was always cancelling plans to watch Netflix or to waste time on Facebook, would you still want to be her friend?

    If you had a friend that was always giving up on her dreams, what would you say to her? If your friend wanted to run a marathon or start a business and gave it up with no real reason, what would you tell her?

    Do you make time for yourself?

    Would you want to be friends with someone who never prioritized spending time with you?

    Yeah, adults get busy and we just don’t have time for friends sometimes, but what if your friend had the exact same schedule as you? What if you KNEW she had the time to spend with you, but chose not to every single day?

    Then how would you feel about that friendship?

    10 things you can do to be a better friend to yourself.

    1. Start talking to yourself like you’d want to be talked to. Compliment yourself and move past those complaints. Turn your focus to the positive things about yourself and the negative voices won’t be so loud.
    2. Realize when your being mean to yourself. Stop the thoughts before they turn into feelings. Every time you find yourself tearing yourself down, stop and build yourself up immediately.
    3. Keep your promises. When you say you’re going to do something, do it. Whether it’s a diet, a work out program, a beauty regimen, journaling, starting a business, whatever, stick with it until it doesn’t make sense anymore.
    4. Remember it’s okay to change your mind, but it’s not okay to give up. It’s not breaking a promise to yourself if you decide what you’re doing isn’t right for you. But just stopping because it’s too hard, that’s not okay.
    5. Practice self care. Take time to intentionally be with yourself, take a walk or a bath or read a book. Do something that makes you happy on a regular basis.
    6. Treat yo self! Don’t be afraid to spoil yourself once in a while.
    7. Get to know yourself. Sit down in a quiet place and do some self reflection. Who even are you anymore? What are you like? What are your dreams and goals?
    8. Do yourself a favor and pay it forward – to yourself. Don’t procrastinate the little chores for tomorrow. Do them today, so you can thank yourself tomorrow.
    9. Invest in yourself. Invest your time and money to be the best version of yourself. Enroll in a course to help you where you’re struggling. Spend the time it takes to declutter or organize your home. Buy that self help book. Meal plan to save yourself time and stress later this week.
    10. Believe in yourself. Chase wholeheartedly after your wildest dreams. Believe you were created for more and that you are capable of fantastic things. Why not you?
    5 ways to simplify life with 2 kids under 2 years old.

    5 ways to simplify life with 2 kids under 2 years old.

    I’d like to introduce you to my boys. These guys fill my life with joy, and cause a lot of stress doing so. I’m so grateful to be their momma!

    Desmond is 2 and a half years old now and Dash will be a year old in June.

    If you’ve already got 2 under 2, I don’t have to tell you how hard this life is. I don’t have to tell you how absolutely rewarding it is either.

    For those who don’t know, caring for a toddler is like constantly cleaning up after a tornado, while it’s still happening. Babies aren’t much easier, it’s like having a gremlin that you’ve accidentally fed after midnight.

    This is scary business, raising sweet little monsters angels. It’s the most important and under appreciated job, and it’s yours! Congratulations.

    The good news is, there are lots of things we can do amidst the chaos to make this mom life easier. I’d like to share just a few of my best tips with you.

    1. Evening prep time

    Every night before we head to bed, my husband plays with our boys while I get the kitchen ready for the next day.

    I prep the coffee maker and program it to start before we get up, I make my husband’s lunch, and ensure that my kitchen is clean enough to make me feel excited to see it in the morning.

    I also do one super helpful thing. My youngest is on formula, and I use those formula to go containers every day. By pre-portioning the formula I never have to keep track of how many bottles he’s had that day. I can just look at how many sections are empty. Super easy!

    2. Ready to eat snacks

    Toddlers are bottomless pits. They will -loudly- demand a snack at the worst moments, like when the baby finally goes down for a nap. Having quick and healthy snacks on hand has been a big help around our house.

    Desmond now goes to the fridge and can get his own apple sauce or cheese stick when I’m wrist deep in a diaper change, or he can grab fruit or a bag of Veggie Straws off the counter.

    3. Car go-bags

    The absolute worst situation to put yourself in as a parent is to be unprepared while out of the house. Too many times I’ve found myself without enough diapers, or a change of clothes, that’s why I always keep a bag in the car for each boy.

    I like to use those little wet bags for cloth diapers, or a gallon size ziplock works well too. I do a bag for each boy for a specific reason: I often leave one with my mom or send one with my husband. When I do this it’s so much easier to have two separate bags. I can also throw both bags into a large diaper bag for family day trips.

    In each bag I always keep:

    2-3 diapers

    Wipes

    Spare change of clothes (usually PJs)

    Socks

    Larabars or Veggie Straws

    *in my baby’s bag I also keep enough formula for a single bottle.

    4. Get your toddler involved

    My first instinct was always to send Desmond out of the room when I’m cooking or cleaning. I’m so glad I didn’t follow that thought.

    I’ve got my 2 year old involved with cleaning, and now we cleans his own spills, puts away his toys when asked (most of the time), and even is in charge of vacuuming downstairs.

    Okay, he doesn’t really vacuum. He does turn on the Roomba though, and that’s a big help. If you’ve got hard floors, I highly suggest investing in an automatic vacuum like a Roomba. It’s greatly cut down on how often I have to sweep.

    5. Individual quality time

    It’s so important that your children feel loved and special. They don’t understand that every thing we do is for them. They don’t get that we can love both of them all the time. That’s why is so important to find just a few moments each day to make them each feel like they are your number one.

    I love when Dash naps and I get to snuggle with my toddler. He lights up when he sees me alone sitting on the couch, asking him to “come snuggle.” He doesn’t always nap anymore, so we have quiet time where we sit and watch a movie together.

    Most mornings my toddler will sleep in, and Dash will wake up first so we get some time together, just us. These are the moments I treasure most. I get to be their favorite person and see this gleam in their eyes when we have special times like these.

    It doesn’t have to be hard to find times like these, we just have to be intentional about it. Set our phones down and focus all our attention for just a few minutes on one child and see how their behavior changes.

    What things do you to make mom life easier?

    How do your kids help out?

    How do you spend quality time with them?