Friday, August 26, 2016

Friday Favorites: Back To School Edition

Happy Friday!  We have had a great first week back at school and are settling into our routine nicely.  Normally, I tell you all about my favorites from the past week, but since this week has revolved around school so much, I decided to do something a little different today for Friday Favorites and ask my kids their favorite part of school this week.


Last Friday the kids put on their First Day of School outfits (although Jess changed his mind on his first day outfit before Tuesday rolled around) for me to take a couple of pictures in.  I had planned a different location, but it started raining, so we went downtown and shot these pictures in the alleyway.  We're fancy here in Smalltown, Texas.



KENDALL


Kendall is a junior now!  She said her favorite thing about this week was getting ready for the pep rally and football game.  It's safe to say her priorities are definitely in the right order.  My favorite thing about this week is her independence this year.  She drives herself to school, home from school, to practice, from practice, and to the grocery store when she forgot she needed a poster at 7:00 at night (yes, Katie, it's already happened).  She has done a great job this week, and I am super proud of her!  I can't believe how fast her school years have gone, but I am so excited about her future.  She has a light in her and I cannot wait to see where it takes her!

In other news, my least favorite part of the week was when Kendall reminded me I need to clean out my closet..."Hey, we're suppose to dress like the 90's decade tomorrow.  Can I borrow something from your closet?"  Bless her heart.

JESS


Jess is in the four year old class, also known as the Zoo Crew, this year.  It's his third and final year at Wee School.  He says his favorite thing about school this week was going down the big slide on the playground.  He also did some fun projects like making play doh and a magic name painting that he loved, too!  My favorite thing about Jess' week is that he has one of my very good friends as a teacher.  Yes, I'll pray for her a bit more than I already do, but I am excited that she gets to love on him and his classmates this year.  

JENTRY


 This girl has been waiting to go to Wee School since she knew what Wee School was!  She has dropped Jess off with me the past two years and has been patiently waiting for her turn.  To say she loved it would be the understatement of the year!  She says her favorite thing was playing Princess Dress Up.  Speaking of praying for teachers, her class has 12 girls and 1 boy, so her teachers need some prayers, too!  Oh, and probably that lone little boy, too.  Ha!  My favorite thing about Jentry's week is the huge bear hug I get when I pick her up.  She is always so excited to tell me all about her day.  

We have been blessed to have had such a fun week.  I am thankful for easy transitions for all my kids, and for the familiar faces they see in their hallways.  I love this community and am grateful to raise my family here.  Tonight is a big deal in a small town.  You guessed it, it's Friday Night Lights!  If you need me I'll be sitting somewhere on the 50 yard line, waiting for the halftime show to start!  

Incase you missed my other posts this week...







I hope you all have a great weekend!  Don't forget to #GOMO!

Emily

I'm linking up with the regulars...









Thursday, August 25, 2016

I Promise To Tell The Truth, The Whole Truth...

When you get an email saying you are being sent an Infuenster box, it's like Christmas!  You start dreaming of what might be in that box, wondering if it's something you'll fall in love with, or if it's something you'll stick in the back of your junk drawer and forget it's there.  I was super excited that my blog buddy, Amanda, received the same box from Revive VoxBox Influenster that I did, and we decided to review our products together.  


If you're not familiar with Influenster, they send out complimentary products, for testing and reviewing purposes.  Yes, I received free products, but I promise to you, my friends, that I will give you my honest opinion.  In fact, I think you'll see Amanda and I don't always have the same opinions on these products.  

So, let's get started....


 First up, this shampoo and conditioner combo from SheaMoisturize Fruit Fusion Coconut Water Weightless Shampoo & Creme Rinse (goodness, that's a long name).  I mentioned this shampoo & conditioner in my Friday Favorites, but it is worth mentioning again!   It is advertised as weightless, and I think that is the perfect word to describe it.  Between the sun and chlorine, my hair has taken a beating this summer.  This shampoo/conditioner duo left my hair feeling clean and soft, without that over conditioned feel.  My hair tends to be a little frizzy and I have to straighten it everyday.  I noticed when I used SheaMoisture I actually used my straightner a little less, because my hair was so smooth.  In fact, I didn't realize how much I liked this combo until I had used up my sample and went back to my other shampoo.  SheaMoisture claims to have a humidity blocker, which this Texas girl needs, majorly!   

I would definitely consider buying this again!  In fact, I plan on buying it after I run out of my Bedhead stuff I'm using now.  And, at the affordable price of $10.99 for 13 ounces, it doesn't break the bank.  Plus, it is widely available at stores like Target, WalMart, CVS and other major drug stores.  

Up next, SnackWell's Biscuit Thins.  These come in three flavors, French Vanilla Latte, Caramel Macchiato, and Dark Chocolate Mocha.  I received Dark Chocolate Mocha.  If you know me personally, or have been reading my blog for a while you know a few things about me...#1) I watch my carbs, #2) I don't eat sugar, but I took one for the team and split this little package with my husband as a late night snack.  


 If you don't really care too much about carbs, and you watch your fat, you'll be interested to know that there are just 8 grams of fat in four cookies.  But, if you watch your carbs and sugar like me, you won't be too thrilled that these little babies contain 26 grams of carbs (3 grams of dietary fiber) and 8 grams of sugar.  It is also worth mentioning that they have 6 grams of fiber, are made with whole grains, and are free from high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oil.  

Hmmm...would I buy it again?  To be honest, I actually liked the taste.  They are light and not too sweet with little bits of coffee baked into it.  Judging by taste, I would absolutely buy it again, BUT in a perfect world I would be thrilled it these babies were significantly lower in the carb department. 

I absolutely enjoyed reviewing these two products.  Please, please go over and see what Amanda has to say about the same products.  You might just be surprised...

Also, check back next Thursday to see what else was in that cute, yellow box!  Sneak peak below!


Have a great day!

Emily



Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Meal Planning 101

For the first time ever, all three of my kids are in school!  Here's a few back to school pictures...


I'll probably post more later in the week on that, but I just have to tell you, today when Jess got home he asked if I had been sad all day because I was home alone.  I nodded and put on a good show, but in reality I was skipping out of the preschool singing Kelly Clarkson's "A Moment Like This!"  I love my kids with my whole heart, but I have been waiting a LONG time for a moment like that...a few hours of freedom.  And, by freedom I mean uninterrupted laundry.  I'm adventurous like that. Back to school also means getting back into routine, and breaking out the fall meal planning ideas.

I wouldn't say that I am the most organized person in the world, but I love a good list and an old fashioned paper calendar.  I feel like I am the last person in the world to keep one of those handy dandy little checkbook size calendars in my purse for doctor and hair appointments.  I don't put anything on my iPhone calendar, but I'd be lost without my Ann Geddes handheld calendar.  Ok, so my calendar isn't Ann Geddes, but you know what I mean.  Go ahead, snicker all you want.  I feel like once it's written on paper I can release it from my mind.

In fact, would you like to know what some of my family members (Mom & Stephanie) make fun of me the most for?  My clothes calendar!  OK, I don't keep a clothes calendar now, because I don't work outside of the home, so my outfits are pretty boring, but back in my workin' days, I kept a calendar of what I wore to work each day so that I wouldn't repeat outfits for a month.  Hey, I was young...I had lots of time on my hands.  You know something else I am passionate about...planning meals!  Meal Planning...are you in or are you out?  It can be grueling.  It can be frustrating.  It can be a complete waste of time on the weeks when you forego all planning and end up in a drive thru, but overall, a well thought out meal plan can save you time and money.

I have been meal planning for five years.  When I was pregnant with my middle child, I also had an active thirteen year old who was involved in extracurricular activities at school and church, and played club volleyball about an hour away.  I was tired of eating fast food after spending an hour saying..."What do you want for dinner?" and "I don't know what do you want?"  or "Nothing really sounds good to me."  We've all been there, right?  So, I sat down with a notebook and a pen and started my meal plan journey.



The first step is to write down everything in your cooking repertoire.  I wrote down some categories and just started listing.  My categories are:  Italian, Mexican, Soups, Sandwiches, Breakfast for Dinner, Crock Pot Meals, Other Beef Meals, Other Chicken Meals, Seafood, Pork Meals.  Yes, some may fall into two categories, but put them wherever you want.  It's your meal plan, afterall.  Putting all of my options out on paper helps me see the bigger picture.  Basically, my goal is to cook four to five times a week.  I am old school and print out a calendar for each month and put it on out refrigerator filled with everyone's events.  I can look at the schedule and know the nights we'll be home and I can cook a home cooked meal, versus the nights we are busy and may need a crock pot meal waiting on us at home.  I can also use this list as a "cafeteria plan" to pick and choose from, so I don't end up with four chicken meals in a row one week.  Also, once my hubby and kids have deemed a new recipe as one they'd like to have again, I can add it to the list under the appropriate category.

The first year was probably the most challenging, but now it is second nature.  Here's a HUGE tip from the pack rat in me.  Keep your menu's.  Yep, you heard right, do not trash them when the month is over.  I have every menu from the past five years in a binder where some of my favorite recipes are printed out.  This is a huge time saver.  September is right around the corner.  If you're like our family, things get busier (which means more crock pot meals) and weather gets cooler (which means more soups).  All I have to do is pull out my previous meals from Septembers past, and see what we were eating then, chances are, it'll sound good this September, too.  When the Spring rolls around and we're cooking out more, I just have to see what we were cooking up then, and I have a quick and easy meal plan.



I usually let the VIP review the menu, and upon their approval, I proceed.

Simple and easy, right?  Do you meal plan?  If so, what are some of your best tips?

Have a great day!

Emily






Monday, August 22, 2016

Meet & Greet Monday

It's time for another edition of Meet & Greet Monday!  I have loved featuring some of my favorite bloggers the past few weeks.  Today, the spotlight is on my friend, Johannah!  We met through a Mother's Day Gift Exchange this past spring, and I have been following her everyday since.  Johannah hails form the great state of Maine, and makes me envious of her pictures of delicious lobster rolls and beautiful ocean views.  Let's get started, meet my friend, Johannah!



How long have you been blogging and what inspired you to start blogging?

I have been blogging now for 6 years!  6 years!  The first couple of years I wasn't all that active in blogging, but in the last couple of years is when I started posting more and more.  You can find my very first post HERE =)  Make sure you grab some popcorn because it's an exhilarating post!  LOL I started reading a few blogs here and there and I thought, Hey! I can do this too!  Some of my most favorite bloggers no longer blog, and that's what really got me into this.  I miss reading a lot of their daily posts.  But I totally get that life gets in the way and takes priority =)

How did you come up with the name of your blog?

Well you see, I'm very original.  I racked and racked my brain and I came up with this super original blog name, The Sirois Family. Haha =)  I really did try to think of a better name for my blog, but this is the best I could do ;) 

Of all your posts, which one was your favorite to write and why?

I can't say that I have a favorite post.  I think that all of our vacation posts are my favorite, and those are the ones that I can see myself going back and reading over and over again as the years pass.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

I say this every single day.  Treat people the way you want to be treated.  I work as a 911 Dispatcher, and people yell at me all day everyday on the phone.  There are so many times I have wanted to yell back at them, but I always revert back to that saying of treat people the way you want to be treated.  And chances are, if I am nice to them, they turn their attitudes around.

Let's pretend a big TV executive called you up and wanted to feature you on a popular talk show each week.  Who's talk show would you want to appear on and what would your segments be about?

I know that Ellen is just dying to have me on her show!  I'm not sure what we would talk about, but maybe she could you know send me on some fabulous vacation or buy me a new car or something fun like that ;) 

You need an outfit and you only have an hour to find it.  What store is your go to?

Maurices.  Or Old Navy.  But I prefer Maurices and if they ever close I just know I will cry.

Friends are coming over for dinner tomorrow night.  Whats your go to entertaining meal?

I would make the Pioneer Womans Penne a la Betsy.  It's seriously amazing.  I would serve a salad and garlic bread to go with it.  And wine of course.  Anyone interested in coming to dinner tomorrow?!?  

You're cleaning your house on a Saturday afternoon.  What's your go to CD or Pandora station?

Anything country!  Mostly modern country from today.  A little Florida Georgia Line, Tim McGraw, Miranda Lambert.  I'm not picky.

You're planning a date night (or girls night out).  What your go to restaurant for a fun time?

I have two places.  Margaritas which is the best Mexican food around here, and The Sea Dog, which is a local restaurant here that serves the best chicken Nachos ever.  And the drinks at both places are great!

You need some encouragement.  Who's your go to person for a little pick me up?

My husband Brian is the person who knows how to bring me up from all the lows in life. He is always there to listen to me.  He's not only my husband, but my best friend as well.

Thank you so much, Johannah, for letting me give you the third degree!  If you're a fellow blogger, Johannah has two linkups that you can participate in.  The third Wednesday of the month, Johannah and Heather host a recipe linkup, that is quickly becoming one of my favorites.  



Johannah also hosts, Hello Monday every...you guessed it...Monday.  Which means I am linking up with her today!  

Be sure to check out my other Meet & Greet's:
Meet Shelly from The Queen in Between 
Meet Amanda from A Brownie World
Meet Jessica from Life.Love.Reality
Meet Jill from Pharr Out Creations
Meet Jenny from California


I hope you all have a fantastic week!






Thursday, August 18, 2016

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!!  Part of me is jumping for joy that school starts next week, and part of me is sad to see the carefree days go.  For the first time, all three of my children will be in school.  I honestly can't remember what it feels like to be home alone.  As much as I love the giggles of my kids, I am looking forward to a little quiet time.  


Today I am wrapping up our last week of summer vacation by sharing five of my favorite things with you from the past week:


On Monday I continued my Meet & Greet series by introducing you to one of my favorite bloggers, Shelly over at the The Queen in Between.  Shelly happens to be celebrating her second blogiversary this week with a fun giveaway.  Be sure to go sign up for it today!


On Tuesday, in honor of school starting next week, I shared my list of Top Ten Things To Do In High School.


Need a dessert for this weekend?  On Wednesday, Jentry shared her recipe for German Chocolate Bars.  



We have lived life to the fullest this week!  

We met some friends at our local community center for a Lowe's Build-It Workshop...



Jentry built a birdhouse...


A Jess built a firetruck...


We spent some time with sweet friends...and Kendall saved the day with popcicles...


We spent an afternoon at the movies, and I'm happy to report Jentry did much better her second movie, although she still needs to work on her whisper voice.  


And, we did a little back to school shopping...


Whew, what an exhausting week!  Farewell, summer!



Speaking of being on the go, Kendall has been driving on her own now for a few weeks.  Eeek!  She's doing a great job, but that doesn't stop me from worrying.  Before she went anywhere by herself for the first time, I gave her a lecture on not answering her phone.  Then, literally thirty seconds after she left I freaked out.  She was on the road, and I had no idea how it was going, and I couldn't even call her because I told her not to answer her phone.  



My friend, Jennifer, told me about the Life 360 app.  If you are into stalking keeping track of your kids, this is for you!  I can locate where she is at all times.  Whew, what a relief!



My kids LOVE "homemade" popcorn, but here's the problem, how do you season it?  I'm not a fan of those seasoning salts, and melted butter just makes the popcorn soggy.


Introducing Kernel Season's Movie Theater Butter!  I seriously don't know how I have missed this.  We popped our popcorn and added this liberally to our bowl...and it was perfection!  I was really impressed!



I'm pretty sure this will be our go to popcorn from now on! No more microwaveable junk for us!




I received my second VoxBox from Influenster last week, and I am excited to tell you all about the contents!




First up, this shampoo and conditioner combo from Shea Moisturizer.  It is advertised as weightless, and I think that is the perfect word to describe it.  Between the sun and chlorine, my hair has taken a beating this summer.  This shampoo/conditioner duo left my hair feeling clean and soft, without that over conditioned feel.  I would definitely consider buying this again!  And, at the affordable price of $8.97 each, it doesn't break the bank!


Want to see what else Influenster sent me to review?  Check back next week when my pal Amanda and I present, Product Review Thursday.  I know you're all on the edge of your seat now, right?


That's all I've got for you today.  I hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

Emily 

I'm linking up with my regular Friday gals today!





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