5 Crock Pot Recipes For Busy Moms (That Will Knock Your Socks Off!)

I. Am. Exhausted.

This is the time of year I run on fumes, coffee, and wrinkled clothes I grab out of the bottom of the laundry basket. What? They’re clean at least! Not like my daughter’s Tball uniform top. It was fished out of her dirty’s clothes basket last night in an epic moment of #momfail. And you know what’s even worse? I didn’t even care. I was just glad we got to her game on time and everyone survived. Because that’s what spring is to me. Survival.

Jeremy coaches high school baseball. For those of you unfamiliar with that sport on that level, that means from mid March until hopefully beginning of June, he has 3-4 games per week. Chances are, a few of them will be home games and a few will be away. The earliest he gets home on a home game night is 9:30, if I’m lucky. Obviously, away game nights are much later.

In fact, it’s not unheard of for him to sneak in the door around midnight. That’s not counting the practices, the scouting, and all the other extras I’m not remembering. I joke that I’m a single mom during this time of year. But I’m actually serious too because that’s what it feels like. I’m solely responsible for our kids during this time.

And I’m not complaining. There are some moms out there who rock being a single mom full time. You definitely don’t get enough kudos for what you do. But I am trying to paint a picture of what daily life looks like for us right now. I’m sure many of you can commiserate.

So, on top of both my husband and I working full time, and him working another full time job as a head high school baseball coach, I’m trying to shuttle my daughter to her own games and practices, keep up with my house, bills, budgeting, meal planning, grocery trips, remembering to water my flowers I spent too much on earlier in the month, trying not to reward myself with blizzards from Dairy Queen, and maybe, maybe find a night to exercise. Or in my dream world, binge watch something on Netflix while eating a blizzard.

One thing I do know is learning to utilize my crock pot has been a game changer for me. If I can just get up five minutes earlier in the morning, I can come home to a delicious home cooked meal with very minimal effort. It is such a life time saver.

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How to Pick a Playset For Your Kids and Why You NEED One…

The very best thing I believe Jeremy and I have ever, ever, ever, ever done as parents was to get our kids a playset. I should mention here that the grandparents actually purchased it for them, but we researched and picked it out.

They absolutely love it and wear it out!!

First, Why You Need One

There was an article in the Huffington Post a few years ago that talked about kids needing to spend at least 3 hours outside playing everyday. I totally agree with this from personal experience. My kids tend to be happier, sleep better at night, and just generally more content when we have days where we achieve this.

Now, don’t beat yourself up if your child doesn’t get this everyday. It’s just not possible everyday and I don’t believe life should be that structured. No one should be standing outside with a stopwatch timing little Susie’s play. I just use it as a guideline and try to take advantage of nice weather.

One thing I do know for a fact is this playset has provided endless hours of entertainment for my kiddos. My daughter could swing her little heart out. And my almost two year old son is learning how to navigate the slides, with our help of course, and they just go, go, go nonstop burning all their little energy.

Some Considerations to Keep in Mind

One thing to consider when customizing your playset, is how hands on you want to be. By that, I mean, if you have small kids and want to get some well deserved rest while they play, you probably don’t want to put in a “rock” wall. You also probably want to forgo the ladder and go with a ramp with a handrail that small kids can easily navigate on their own. You could design it in a way where once they’re up on the platform to go on the slide that there are no openings up there for them to fall through. Jeremy’s brother and his family did this with theirs and while you still need to supervise, you could safely do so from a rocking chair on the back porch.

We went with a rock wall and a ladder on ours. I want this playset to grow with our kids. While I may have to be more hands on for the next few years, I think the kids will still find it entertaining for many years to come. In fact, our daughter who is now four can pretty much do anything on the playset without assistance. So in two more years, we will be able to be more relaxed.

Our Inspiration

I posted here about the playset that came with the house and how we fell in love with it. It was past it’s prime and had seen better days, that’s for sure.

We brainstormed for years on how to revive this playhouse. We worried our small kids would fall off the deck while trying to go down the slide. The lip of the slide was lower than the deck itself and the steps were rickety. And although it had a slide, we had visions of swings and monkey bars and a big spiral slide as well.

Our first thought was to just tweak the existing playhouse by replacing the parts that needed it and adding on the other things we wanted. So like most projects we dream up, it went from being relatively simple to this huge elaborate thing.

And after awhile, we decided it would be better to just remove this playset and install a brand new one, as much as it pained us to do so. We just didn’t have the time to do it, honestly. There were too many other pressing concerns to deal with. Previous owners, please forgive us. It killed a little bit of my soul to do that.

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How To Cope With Bad Moods

I must admit, I’m in a bit of a funk today.

I had another post already in the works to post today but I feel the need to write this instead.

It’s that kind of funk that your normal cup of coffee can’t touch. I’m not even sure why I’m feeling this way. Maybe it’s a combination of being out late last night (and by that I mean 9:30 hahaha), having 2 sick kiddos this week, not taking care of myself properly, yada yada yada.

The point is, regardless of whatever excuses I can make for why I feel this way, I. still. woke. up. this. morning. There have been so many people I have watched lately fight for their life. Fight for the opportunity to just get to wake up in the morning. Each day is a gift from God. Sometimes we just need to take a moment and reflect on that fact and all we have to be thankful for.

There is always something to be thankful for.

There is a quote I’ve seen on many home decor signs. I’m not even sure who to credit it to, but it really resonates with me. “There is always, always, always something to be thankful for. So, so true.

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My Ugly Backyard- and What I Want To Do About It!!

You would never believe me, if I told you.

Trust me, if you saw my backyard in it’s current state, you would think I’m insane. Certifiable. Well, wait, I guess you will see it in a moment. You make your own call.

But it was this backyard that sealed the deal for Jeremy and I on our house. It’s a quaint little fenced in yard with lots of trees and squirrels. (Including Bob the squirrel, our little bob tailed squirrel that’s lived in our backyard since he was a baby.)

I love the silo in the background. If that land behind our lot is ever for sale, we plan to snatch it right up!

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Our Summer Bucket List…

Last summer went by way too fast. Like it was the quickest summer ever. Part of that was probably because I had started a new job in April of last year and had transitioned from working 4 days a week to 5.

This new job was in a more laid back atmosphere and closer to home, the only drawback being I was working more. And I guess this one extra day a week at work played a part in feeling that I had less time with my family. Which, I did.

So this is all the more reason to set out for this upcoming summer with a game plan in mind. I know I have to be intentional with my time off work to make the most of one of the most fun seasons of the year. I only get 18 summers with my children and I want to make these summers the best ever. With the exception of our family vacation to Orange Beach last year, we didn’t go swimming nearly as much as I would have liked. We also never made it to an amusement park for my ride lovin’ daughter. Some of the things on this list we did get to last year but they bear repeating.

So, without further ado… here is the Bennett family’s summer bucket list of 2019:

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