It’s been forever since the last Friday Thoughts post (I know, I always say that!), so I am particularly excited for today. I love hearing from you in the comments every time one of these posts goes up.

Below are some life updates, random thoughts, and some things I’m loving lately.

As always: TELL ME WHAT IS NEW IN YOUR LIFE! I love to hear it. All of it.

A Few Little Updates to Start

The weather is finally cooling down, which means one thing: it’s finally hoodie season! Hoodies and sweatshirts and joggers. My love language. Have you seen these adorable pocketed sweatshirts? Gah. So flipping cute. I have the “spread kindness” one, and it makes me want to kiss the person who invented pockets in sweatshirts.

I recently helped two of my friends with food for a wedding reception. The bride and groom wanted a dessert waffle bar at the reception. It was so fun…and so yummy! The week before, I mixed up the dry ingredients for a 20X batch of the dry ingredients for these best-ever waffles (goal was to feed 350-400 people, and it was about spot on!).

The night of, we mixed the wet ingredients with the dry for the waffles and had a couple waffle iron stations set up on different circuits. We started cooking the waffle about 45 minutes before the reception started and kept the waffles warm and semi-crisp set on cooling racks in a warm oven. We separated the larger circle waffles into quarters, and we also used an adorable heart-shaped waffle maker {aff. link} and a small circle waffle maker {aff. link}.

Toppings consisted of: diced fresh peaches, sliced strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, nutella (key is to warm it up a bit for easier serving), cookie butter, mini chocolate chips, toffee bits, spray-can whipped cream, buttermilk syrup (a 10X batch was plenty!), triple berry syrup (Kodiak brand) and a divine huckleberry syrup the groom’s mom made.

These cute Kraft paper food trays {aff. link} were used for serving, and we served ice water and orange juice with fresh oranges sliced on top for the beverages. The waffle bar was a hit!

We have a four day school week, and I have big feelings about that. Our Fridays are generally spent with morning sports practices, finishing homework, helping clean the house (kids take turns cleaning their bathroom, vacuuming and dusting), and completing various outside farm/yard chores, while I try to convince everyone that it is a normal week day for the majority of the world and not a party-it-up extra weekend day. Do any of you have four day school weeks? What are your thoughts?

If you’re looking for a good book, I recently listened to Killers of the Flower Moon about the Osage murders and birth of the FBI and WOW. A must-read in my opinion. Eye opening and so, so interesting (and shocking).

If I’m being honest, motherhood has rocked my world the last little while. It’s not necessarily a bad thing…but it’s causing me to stretch and grow as I learn a lot about myself and my kids. My latest goal has been to connect with each of my kids every day, one-on-one, even if it is just for a few minutes. Doing so has helped me be more intentional about putting down my phone and making eye contact and conversation with my teenage boys (Cam is always up for a good chat, haha). I’m also trying to give more hugs and less lectures to everyone.

Mother and daughter selfie.

Parenting is hard! If you’re feeling in the muddy thick of things (and second guessing everything), just know you aren’t alone. I repeat the following phrases to myself daily: “Where we are now is not forever” and “Meet them where they’re at” and “Eat more chocolate.”

>>>I just finished this book {aff. link} and it has been a game changer for me in rethinking how I react to and parent my teenagers.<<<

Skin Cancer Update

A few months ago, I went in to get a small spot checked on my upper lip. The dermatologist performed a quick biopsy and the results came back as basal cell carcinoma.

It was not the news I wanted, dang it, especially given my past experience with basal cell and MOHS surgery.

I had MOHS surgery on the pesky spot almost two weeks ago, and it went so much better than my anxiety led me to believe it would! The MOHS surgeon got all the cancer in one pass, and I ended up with eight stitches. Pretty much best case scenario, in my book.

Woman after MOHS surgery with eight stitches.

The stitches were removed earlier this week, and I already can’t believe how well it is healing! Right now I’m covering it with Aquaphor and staying out of the sun. I’m also supposed to be careful of how wide my mouth opens when I eat, talk, and laugh – I’ll give you one guess how well that is going.

The dermatologist/surgeon who operated told me silicone gel sheets + light massaging of the scar site (to break up scar tissue) are the best recommendations for healing, so I’ll start doing both of those next week.

Onward and upward! I feel very grateful that it wasn’t nearly as bad as my first MOHS surgery!

Gift Guides

Is it too early to talk holiday gift guides? When do you do your holiday shopping?

Some years, I have it all done by October 1. Other years (ahem, this year), it’s looking more like third week of December.

I’m hoping to get my holiday gift guides up soon this year (maybe even next week in time for Prime Day) – but if not, they’ll be up by the end of October!

Any favorite things you are currently loving? Share them below in the comments!

I’ll give you a sneak peek of a few of my latest favorites that will definitely be on the gift guides.

Toys and lotion for gift guide.

{Affiliate links included below.}

Popdarts: such a fun, interactive game, especially with teens. Love this one!

Laser Measure: the little tool you never knew you needed. This thing is amazing – how have I lived so long without it?

Bliss Body Butter: I’ve given this lotion as gifts to so many people this year (and I use it myself). It is glorious. Thick and creamy without being greasy. The grapefruit “flavor” is my fave.

Small Sling Bag: I bought this a few months ago and have completely ditched all my other purses. I carry it everywhere, and although small, it can fit my phone, wallet, keys and a few other necessaries. It’s super cute!

ATM-Style Piggy Bank: This little money bank is not only adorable (comes in lots of colors), but it lets the kiddo set an electronic password (and it really works!). For a slightly more intense version, this ATM piggy bank from Lakeshore Learning is super fun. My sister’s kids have this one and love it!

Kitchen Remodel

Life isn’t crazy enough, so I decided last month that it would be a good idea to remodel our kitchen. 🤪

We moved to Idaho from Minnesota in 2014, and over the last nine years, we’ve remodeled several areas of our home in order to gain a bit more functional space and update a few things.

{If you are on Instagram, you’ll recognize some of these updates!}

Exhibit A. We busted into our garage to expand the pantry.

Before and after pantry remodel.

Exhibit B. We took out the wall between the living room and master bedroom to make a larger living room.

Exhibit C. We replaced the banister.

When it comes to the kitchen, we’ve done several small updates over the years, like cutting off the ledge on the island to level it, putting in granite countertops, refacing the cabinets.

But this time, we’re remodeling for real and knocking down a wall in order to add space to the existing kitchen. The green highlighted area is the wall we’re eliminating to make a larger kitchen.

Kitchen with green square around wall.

While our kitchen up to this point has been wonderful (and far bigger than kitchens we’ve had in many of the houses we’ve lived in), and the new kitchen will likely be more kitchen than anyone really needs (haha), I am so excited to have double ovens (been waiting 25 years for those!), a few more cabinets, and additional work space.

Currently, we’ve made it through almost three weeks of the remodel. Three more weeks to go!

Right now, we have access to our fridge and a limited pantry. We’re eating very simple meals (think: cold cereal, Costco meals that can be heated up on a hot plate, lots of peanut butter sandwiches, toasted bagels, and some eating out here and there). And we’re washing our minimal dishes in the bathtub. Fun times!

Demolished kitchen in black and white.

The simple drawing below gives you an idea of what it will kind of look like when we’re done remodeling! And by we, I mean the awesome general contractor we hired (he’s done all of the remodels in our house over the last eight years; highly recommend him – Eric @ Remedy Residential – if you are local to the Boise, Idaho area).

Once it’s finished, I’ll share some details about the finishes we picked out. We’re keeping our fridge and dishwasher – the new appliances will be double ovens (eeek!), microwave, and cooking range (I’m going induction this time since we don’t have natural gas along our county road).

I have pretty simple tastes and live a really casual life, so the end result will hopefully be welcoming and homey.

And that’ll do it for this brief edition of Friday Thoughts! 😂 Thanks for being here, friends.

**Please promise me you’ll check back on Monday. I have a HUGE announcement! And I can’t wait for you to be part of it. 💗**