re-nest life \\ not my usual monday night dinner

okay, i kind of feel like i talk a good game about cooking. do i like it? most days. do i like trying new things? sure. am i always on the lookout for an easy-to-make, school night meal that is healthy + quick to make? emphatically, yes!

monday night's dinner kind of qualified for the last requirement. but not really. (mind you, the way i gauge whether a dinner was easy is based on two things: 1. does it take me less than thirty minutes to prep and make, and 2. how many pots and pans and cooking gadgets must i use and get dirty to make the dinner. last night's dinner barely qualified for number one, and definitely didn't hit #2. but, it was so dang good and hit so many of my healthy must-haves, that i had to share!

(quick sidebar: i've re-committed to my journey of health and wellness and have re-started the 21 day fix. and, if you read this post a while back, you'll understand how much i believe that food and nutrients can help our health.)

last night, i had some salmon that needed to be cooked, and i had decided to pair it with a dried cherry and pistachio quinoa. (disclaimer: i love quinoa. like, love it. my family? not so much.) i checked out my trusty favorite clean eating recipe source, skinnytaste, for an idea for seasoning the salmon....and i quickly found this great idea which i also happened to have the ingredients for in my pantry! the salmon was on the grill and getting ready in no time!

the quinoa was a little more labor intensive. and, let's face it, messy. but after rinsing the quinoa, the cooking process was actually pretty fast and easy! this was a recipe i've done before, which mr. re-nest will eat, and also i think is pretty yummy!

and, here's the finale! i added a little bed of spinach in and had a pretty awesome little power protein dinner! and, the best part: there were leftovers that i got to enjoy at lunch today!


re-nest life \\ and, we're back to school

like so many others, this week was back-to-school for us. which meant the past ten days or so have been kind of a hot mess, consisting of:

• finishing up day camp

• washing uniforms

• washing backpacks

• endless trips to target

• planning for packed lunches (let's face it, this is a crap shoot.)

• many, many, many orders on amazon

• purging a lot of moola

• addressing a few little nerves about starting second grade

the mudroom bench. backpack + shoes
all ready for the first day of second grade.
i finally sat back on wednesday night + realized that in all of my grand taskmastering (is that a word? i say it is), i hadn't had a real opportunity to really be emotional about my oldest heading off to second grade. i am such a doer, and i totally get bogged down by the to-do list, so once the backpack was packed, the uniform was laid out, and the lunch was packed, it kind of hit me: this little boy who is thoughtful and kind and smart and funny and inquisitive was going to second grade. already. and, i had a little mama moment where i cried thinking about how fast he is growing up. but at the same time, i love watching what he's going to do next + how he's going to grow and change!

so, after i had my moment, i kept doing what i know to do: try my best to make things great for him. i knew he was nervous (we went through something similar last year), and having come from something similar when i was his age, i wanted nothing more than to take it from him....but at the same time knowing, how important it is for him to learn how to manage those feelings. while it might seem silly, we tried to re-focus: talked about teachers who couldn't wait to see him, his new classroom (and the class pets they'll have!), what he wanted to take for snack + lunch, and what he was looking forward to. and, after day #2, i'm so proud to say that we're doing well! we're excited + amped + loving school. and, i know many of you mamas + daddies out there know the relief that's felt when your kids come home from school with a smile on their face!

so, we made it through the emotional part of the week, and along the way, i came across some fantastic resources + tools that might help some other mamas + daddies get through another school year!

my fave lunch packing tools:

YUMBOX leakproof bento lunch box. okay, i have not been on the bento box wagon. i'd see those adorably packed lunches in their perfectly segmented boxes, and i just felt stressed. ninety percent of the year, i pack little mr. re-nest #1's lunch in a rushed panic in the morning. there's no time for dino-shaped anything. but, this year, we needed a new lunch solution. so, i started searching for ideas + for healthy lunch options....and, the bento kept showing up. i went for it. and, two days in.....we love it! isn't it adorable?

alright, isn't the inside the cutest? it's space-themed! and, tells me
what to put where....score!

first day of school lunch! make-your-own pizza crackers,
strawberries + red peppers with hummus
mackenzie navy pottery barn kids lunch box (in space theme!). this is our second pbk lunchbox. kindergarten + first grade featured a superman themed box, and after two years, it was time to retire him. it's a great size, well-insulated, and comes in so many adorable patterns + colors! plus, you can get it monogrammed (seriously, it doesn't get much better than that for this mama!)

my fave pre-prep breakfast for kids:

banana oatmeal chocolate chip muffins from debbie riechert fitness. i'm seriously obsessed with this recipe. and, my boys love them! and they include healthy stuff like bananas and flaxseed, and i mean, when would you ever get your kids to eat flaxseed without them knowing? 

my new go-to packed snack:
we love annie's! and, the clif kids z bars are amazing!

• i admit: at the end of last school year, i was pretty much tapped out in the snack idea department. i just couldn't anymore. so, i got a little motivated before school started and searched for some new and great ideas for the oldest's daily snack for school. and, i think i found it: annie's organic bunny pretzels, clif kids z bar, raisins, and a few m&ms thrown in. day #1 taste test: i got two thumbs up for this one! i mixed up a batch to keep in a container for a week, then just filled up our little snack bags each day to make this step super simple + easy. 

tell me: how was your first day back at school in your family? what are your tips + tricks for making back-to-school a little more sane? 


a happy pink + gold first birthday!

pink. gold. glitter. a first birthday cake smash.

do i really need to say more?

seriously, when i was asked by a friend to help make her daughter's upcoming first birthday celebration a little more pink + a little more sparkly, i was on board (to say the least!) if i've said it once, i've said it a million times....when i get to do anything girly, i love, love, love bringing out the sparkle!

and, of course, i love bringing in the personalization too! this super special + sweet mama wanted to have a customized "one" highchair banner + a first year photo banner to highlight at her little one's first birthday party. we got to work - she shared some ideas + inspiration with me, and i went to it, making sure that we had a perfect highchair banner and a fab way to share twelve months worth of sweet photos of her darling daughter!

for the high chair banner, we went with a custom light pink, white + hot pink look, highlighted with handmade vellum circle fans and some hot pink glitter paper. the letter circles were layered with pink dot paper, a hot pink scallop border + finished with some spacers for dimension.

and, the twelve month photo banner was such a treat to make! not only did i get to see this little one's sweet face but it was just so fun to design + create something so special for this family! and, what made it a little extra special, we did a layered look with the first year banner with one 8' tulle + ribbon banner overlayed with the gold glitter frames featuring the monthly photos!

do you know a little one with a birthday coming up? i love, love, love doing custom party decor + helping make parties personalized + unique! 
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