Back to School

It’s that time of year again. Our favorite little energy-filled four-year-old boy heads back to preschool next week. I am so ready and not at all ready to get back to the daily grind.


One of the best perks of having a professor husband has to be spending Summer together as a family. Summer has flown by, but we have lived our school-free lives to the fullest. We’ve gone for walks around the neighborhood, watched the fireflies dance in our backyard, stargazed (D has been obsessed with stars and space recently), taken full advantage of our neighborhood pool, took an amazing road trip across the country to see friends and family, and consumed way too much ice cream.

Little Man Ice Cream

Wait…is there such a thing as too much ice cream?

The time has come to get back to backpacks, markers, construction paper, pick-ups and drop-offs, school friends, afterschool snacks, and a consistent bedtime again. We’ve got this! Wishing everyone lots of luck for a happy, safe school year full of memory making!

Bringing Home Baby: Pantry Stock Up

Pantry Stock Up Before Baby

Nesting is absolutely in full force with this mama, and with only a month until baby sister makes her grand entrance into the world, I realized it was time to get everything in gear to make the transition as stress-free as possible. Our move from New England to the South took place within 3 weeks of our first born’s arrival, so we really didn’t even have the chance to prepare for what was coming. There was no nursery and our tiny freezer couldn’t have held more than a single freezer meal. This time around I have been determined to have things prepared in advance as much as possible.

I’ve already been working on freezer meals for a few weeks now and my mom is also planning to bring up a few more frozen dinners and sides from my favorite Texas grocery store when they come up for the birth. Currently, our freezer is stocked with Lasagna Roll-ups, Cheesy Chicken, Broccoli & Rice Casserole, Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas, and Beef Stroganoff along with an assortment of frozen veggies, waffles, and pancakes. I might just go ahead and do a separate post covering my freezer stock-up plan, Thank goodness I love making lists so much!

Aside from the freezer meals, I knew that we would need to make sure that our pantry would need to be stocked with all of our favorite basic cooking staples before baby. And even more important, we’re going to need lots of grab-and-go treats, convenience foods that we don’t buy quite as regularly and a ton of snacks to keep a certain toddler big brother happy. I’m hoping that all of this planning and effort pays off. I have a feeling that I’ll be so thankful to not have to put on real clothes and run to the store because we’re out of mac n cheese or have seemingly nothing to make for dinner because the shopping hasn’t happened in those first few weeks with our newborn.

So without further ado, here’s the list of all of the things I hope to have on hand in the pantry when baby girl arrives:

Snacks & Grab & Go 

  • a variety of granola bars, breakfast cookies, etc.
  • crackers
  • peanut butter filled pretzels
  • tortilla chips
  • popcorn
  • nuts

For the Toddler

  • juice
  • applesauce & Go-Go style pouches
  • granola bars
  • fruit snacks
  • raisins, dried fruit
  • crackers
  • potato chips
  • peanut butter
  • jelly
  • simply good jell-o (not sponsored, but I’ve felt much better about this new line of products vs. their original counterparts)
  • simply good pudding mix
  • pop tarts (probably will only have one box on hand for an emergency treat on an extra rough morning)

Cooking Staples

  • pasta
  • jar sauces (typically, we make our own marinara, etc. but it will be nice to have a faster option in those newborn days)
  • bbq sauce (to make our fav crockpot bbq chicken)
  • italian dressing (for a quick chicken marinade)
  • box mac & cheese
  • rice: white, brown, spanish
  • canned black beans
  • canned diced tomatoes
  • canned whole tomatoes (for homemade salsa)
  • rotel or diced tomatoes & green chiles (for homemade salsa)
  • canned crushed tomatoes (for homemade marinara)
  • tomato paste

Baking Supplies

  • flour
  • sugar: white, brown
  • chocolate chips — I never want to live in a house without chocolate chips
  • yeast
  • bisquick  (for pancakes, waffles, drop biscuits, etc.)
  • cornbread mixes (great for throwing together quickly to go with soup)


  • s’mores supplies: graham crackers, marshmallows, chocolate

Library Love: February/March Toddler Favorites

I’ve finally decided to take this little blog of ours in a new direction. While cooking and discovering new recipes will always be a major passion of mine, motherhood has completely shaken up my life in all kinds of amazing/frustrating/terrifying/eye-opening ways and it wouldn’t be fair to not share that side of daily life. So here’s to the first of many more mommy/lifestyle focused posts and having more of a mix of content on the blog.

We love the library, and lately, we find ourselves there 2-3 times a week. D was just starting to get interested in looking for books during our library trips a couple of months ago…and then he discovered that they also have movies and all of his favorite tv shows. The library quickly became “the movie store” and it made me a little heartbroken inside. I am definitely grateful for the movies and digital media available (it’s totally helped our budget a bit on what we were previously spending on Redbox rentals), however, I am a book nerd through and through and have done my best to instill a love of reading in our boy from day one. I remember at his 18-month checkup the pediatrician said, “Now would be a good time to try to start reading to him on a daily basis.” and I was blown away because we started that in utero!

In the last two months, I’ve done a little research into books that have an interactive element to try to grab his attention and managed to stumble across a few gems just from eye-catching front covers. I have done most of the book collecting at the library, but he’s now getting really excited to read through everything once we get home. Today, he actually left the movies to run over to the book section and my little bookworm heart leaped for joy. Below are a few books that we’ve particularly enjoyed reading together during February and March.

Favorite Toddler Books February March

  1. I Wish That I Had Duck Feet by Theo. LeSieg
    • We’ve actually owned this book for a couple of years, but it’s become a favorite bedtime story of late and I couldn’t be happier. This has to be one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books and it has a great message of being happy with yourself just as you are.
  2. Secrets of the Rainforest: Shine-a-Light Books by Carron Brown
    • Grab a flashlight and prepare for your little one to be entertained for at least a good ten minutes. After reading it a couple of times with him and showing him how to shine the light behind each page to reveal the hidden images, he kept looking for hidden things while I was able to actually cook dinner without tripping over trains, tractors, buzz lightyear….
  3. Press Here by Herve Tullet
    • Such a cute interactive book of playful dots where your actions influence what happens on the next page.
  4. Mix it Up by Herve Tullet
    • This book opened up a whole world of conversation about what colors can be made by combining other colors. We took things to the next level with color bath tabs (throwing a blue and yellow tab into D’s bath to make a green bath, etc.). So much fun!
  5. Grumpy Pants by Claire Messer
    • This is just a pretty book with the cutest little illustrations of a penguin who just can’t seem to shake his case of the grumpies. Don’t worry, he figures out how to calm down and by the end of the story he is in bed and ready for a better day tomorrow. We renewed this one as many times as we could and read it more times than I can count.
  6. Harry and Horsie by Katie Van Camp, Lincoln Agnew
    • This was just a cute story that had bubbles as a main element and we are all about bubbles these days.
  7. Bedtime at the Swamp by Kristyn Crow, Macky Pamintuan
    • Get your southern drawl ready for this one, but it’s a cute short story and D loves the repeated sound parts of “splish splash rumba rumba bim bam boom”. The librarian actually recommended this one for us and said that it was a favorite of her boys when they were little. I can definitely see why!
  8. Thomas & Friends: Stuck in the Mud by Shana Corey, Richard Courtney
    • This was the first book that D memorized almost in its entirety so he could “read” it to us. Is there anything cuter than listening to your not yet three-year-old read to you?
  9. Bee & Me by Elle J. McGuinness

I’m always looking for new book recommendations! What are some of your favorite books for toddlers?