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Coffee with Christina (January 2024)

Pour a cup of coffee and let’s dive into some topic requests I received from my reader survey, answer some fun questions I’ve recently received, as well as some random thoughts I’d share if we were having coffee together!

Word of the Year

My word for 2024 is beauty.

Beauty wasn’t a word that came to mind until I flipped through The Live Your Values Deck and stumbled upon it. The description reads “to notice, create, cultivate, and surround yourself with beauty.”

I am really excited to carry this word in my heart and mind this year, and to discover beautiful new ways to see the world around me — to slow down, become more mindful, and truly appreciate all of the signs, love, glimmers, and blessings in my life.

Our move last year brought a tremendous amount of change including new community, connections, and environment. My hope is to become more aware of even the most ordinary beauties in my day that I may otherwise miss, nurture relationships, look for beautiful qualities in people, and be more present.

What are you top 5 go-to family meals?

I love this question! So first of all, one thing I’m hoping to be better at this year is doubling recipes to freeze for later. Being able to re-heat a homecooked meal is truly a gift — and one I don’t give myself enough!

As for our favorite meals, we actually have an entire cookbook of meals that we rotate. But if I had to pick 5 of our favorites currently…

  1. Crockpot Tuscan Chicken: It’s just SO good. So easy. And no one complains. The leftovers are also outstanding (I like to serve over rice for my lunches throughout the week)!
  2. Jersey Mike’s Sub Bowls: Perfect for busy weeknights, this meal requires very little prep and can be made in 5 minutes. The best part about this dinner is that it is totally customizable to each person too.
  3. Crockpot Pork Carnitas: We love this meal because I can cook once and eat twice (it yields a very large portion size), it’s super easy to make (in the crockpot!), tastes delicious (our kids LOVE it), it’s dairy-free and gluten-free, and is a fun twist on Taco Tuesday!
  4. Loaded Burger Bowls: We eat these a lot on the weekends.
  5. Baked Steak: This is a pretty consistent meal for us on weekends. If you’re a longtime follower, you know “Sandroni Steak Night” is a family tradition of mine since I was born! And one that Matt and I have I’ve carried it on.

I would highly recommend checking out my How To Meal Plan post which shares my super simple strategy for feeding my family!

3 Small Things with Big Impacts

I wanted to share a few small things that have a big impact for me or my family either recently or over the years…

  1. Relocating Items For Convenience: I recently shared that I’m now keeping my books/devotionals in my car which has allowed me to read SO MUCH MORE…and scroll less! And I’ve been looking for more items to relocate to make life easier, like keeping my B12 supplement on my desk to take during the middle of the day, storing kid socks downstairs next to their shoes, and adding a toothbrush set in our downstairs bathroom for the kids!
  2. The Dinner Bell: This is actually a very, very old tradition in our home, but one that I can’t remember if I’ve shared before. Since the kids were itty bitty, I’ve always rang a dinner bell to signify dinner is ready. I started it long ago because it sounded nicer than me screaming “Dinner!…Diiiiiinnnnerrrrr…DINNER IS READY IF YOU DON’T COME DOWN WE WILL EAT WITHOUT YOU.” There is something about the bell that makes them respond — and quickly! If they are outside playing, I’ll open the door and ring the bell and everyone knows it’s time to come inside and eat. The bell is not fancy — it’s just a simple hand bell. And the kids love hearing it!
  3. A Drawer Full of Underwear I Love: I’ve decided I’m old enough to no longer need a drawer full of old underwear — filled mostly with pairs I wear only when my favorite pairs are in the wash. Why?! I recently decided to overhaul my collection, throwing out all the old undies and all my “backup pairs.” And then I replenished my drawer with my favorite two pairs. So now when I open my drawer, it makes me happy to know I don’t have to do laundry to find a “good pair!” My favorite daytime pairs are the Almost Naked Thong and Embraceable All-Over Lace Thong. I used to be a loyal Hanky Panky fan, but these are WAY better. They are stretchy, breathable and look invisible under my athletic leggings. And my bedtime pair is the Almost Naked Cheeky Hipster. My goodness, these are phenomenal. They are the same breathable, lightweight material, but offer the perfect cheeky coverage (just enough to feel cute and still comfortable).

Dividing the Household Chores & Family Tasks

How we divide the chores/tasks in our home was a popular request from my recent IG poll! Matt and I recently discussed increasing the amount of chores/responsibilities for our kids during our End of Year Planning Meeting. I know I’m forgetting things, but a few chores/tasks we each are currently responsible for…

Kids: Unload the dishwasher every morning (rotates). Unpack their backpacks and lunch boxes. Set the dinner table. Put all their dirty dishes in the dishwasher and dirty clothes in hamper. Thomas pulls the trash cans in after trash day. Get the mail. Help pick up the house (toys/shoes/blankets). Put away their laundry. Feed the dog, guinea pig, and fish.

Matt: Makes the bed every morning, takes out all the trash, cuts the kids fingernails, empties/cleans all vacuum filters, breaks down all the recycling (crushes the cans, breaks down the Amazon boxes), runs errands for me on his way home from the office when I need something (UPS drop-off, grabbing an item from the grocery store, etc.).

Me: Meal plan + grocery shop, make the kids lunches, cook dinner, plan/register kids for all the things (summer camps, sports, play dates, etc.), pay the bills, keep all the household supplies and necessities stocked, schedule all kids + dog appointments and fill out all the forms, schedule all the household appointments (ex: routine appts like pest spray, and one-off service appts anytime something breaks), keep the house tidy (vacuum/mop regularly, clean kitchen, etc.), walk Mabel, plan all of our family trips/vacations/fun weekend things.

Divide & Conquer: Shuttling kids to practices. I wash the laundry, Matt folds. I manage day-to-day finances, Matt handles all long-term finances and investments. Matt puts random clothing items in our online shopping carts when the kids need stuff, and I review/edit/purchase. We take turns bathing Mabel and cleaning out Sprinkles’ cage. We both put the kids to bed each night.

Outsourced: Deep cleaning the house, yard work, and pool maintenance (eventually).

You can find all my previous Coffee Talk Posts HERE!

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Thursday 25th of January 2024

I would absolutely LOVE a post All About Sprinkles! Her habitat, feeding, play, etc