November Meal Plan

November contains a lot of meals that freeze well because I don’t want to cook during the month of December. I’ve done this the past two years and it’s been amazing. I might throw something in the Crockpot/Instant Pot in December but there will be very little hands on cooking. This allows me time to decorate, wrap presents, bake cookies and watch cheesy Christmas movies all while keeping the family fed.

November Meal Plan. Lots of freezer friendly recipes so you won't have to cook in December!

Because it’s 2019, I feel that I need to add some disclaimers. We don’t follow any specific diet. These recipes all contain some poison like gluten, dairy, sugar, carbs, meat, etc, etc. Yes, we could eat healthier. We could also eat worse. We do, however, eat in moderation. If the below recipes don’t contain vegetables, we have a vegetable as a side. Our kids eat what we eat. We don’t make separate meals. Phew! Let’s meal plan!

Week 1

Veggie Stew* + cornbread (from the Magnolia Cookbook. Highly recommend!)

Tinga Tacos*

Omelettes

Tortellini Soup (this would probably freeze well but I personally haven’t tried yet)

Week 2

Shepherd’s Pie*

Loaded Baked Potato Soup*

Spinach Shells*

Pancakes

Korean BBQ Beef*

Week 3

Baked Apple Pork Chops + Green Beans

Chicken Meatballs*

Chicken Noodle Soup*

Waffles*

Burritos*

Week 4

Pot Pie*

Cheeseburger Cups*

Tomato Basil Soup*

ALL OF THE TURKEY

Hope this helps with your meal planning!

Tips for Choosing Outfits for Family Photos

Fall is in full swing here in Iowa! We like to take advantage of the nice temperatures and muted colors for our yearly family photos. Outfits for family photos can sometimes be difficult to choose so today I’m sharing my top 10 tips for choosing outfits for family pictures.

I know some people dread family photos. Good photographers can be expensive. You have to cross your fingers that there’s some kind of lunar pull during your scheduled hour to ensure everyone is in a good mood, the weather cooperates and you’re having a good hair day. You also have to make sure everyone has on clothes. Preferably coordinating and clean. Yet also comfortable. This is no small feat. The memories captured, however, will be 100% worth it.

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Pick a great photographer

I’m so happy to have found Molly Timmerman Photography for our family photos. If you’re located in the Quad Cities, I’ve done your research for you! Her schedule does fill up quickly so book early (But don’t take my spot. I kid. Not really.)

I think Molly could probably make us look great in sweatpants but part of her package includes access to an online styling site that helps you find outfits and coordinate them. I browsed this for some outfit ideas for Nate and Clark.

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Choose Your Outfit First

Choose what you want to wear first and then build the rest of the family’s wardrobe off of that. I feel this is kind of like “pick your rug before your paint color”. Mom is usually the most picky about her outfit (it me!) so it’s much easier to match everyone else. I tend to shoot for a look slightly more elevated than my everyday look.

I personally think women photograph best in dresses. I wear dresses often so it’s an easy choice for me but I also know that dresses aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. If you skip the dress try to incorporate clothing with movement (scarves) or different textures (chunky cardigans).

Poll Your Friends/Followers

I often annoy my favorite people with outfit questions and family photos are no exception. It’s part of the package of being my friend.

I also like to take polls with my Instagram followers. Sometimes this can be dangerous but always fun.

Pick a color scheme

I like my family coordinating but not too matchy-matchy. Do you all remember the white tee/jeans photos of the late 90s/early 2000s? Aww, memories. Let’s not bring that back. Please. I beg you. I typically choose one family member to wear a simple pattern (nothing large or bold) and then 2-3 different colors for our color scheme. I like to mix in patterns with solids for some balance. If you go with all solids, make sure you have some different textures.

Avoid super bold patterns. You want to look at the picture and notice your cute faces, not the neon jumpsuit Mom is rocking (hopefully vetoed by Mom’s friend if she is following my tips) or Dad’s Hawaiian shirt.

For this year’s color scheme, I choose my dress and then pulled colors from it for everyone else. You can also check out my Pinterest board full of color scheme and outfit inspiration!

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Comfort is Key!

Dress your family in something you’re all comfortable in! The more comfortable you are, the more comfortable you’ll look in your photos.

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Dress for the Location/Weather

If we’re planning to romp around in a field, closed-toed shoes are best. I had considered sandals with this dress but traipsing through the prairie in open-toes shoes didn’t sound like my smartest move. (Side note, I often wonder if these prairie type photo shoots are going to be our kids’ generation equivalent to Sear’s Portrait Studio. I’m glad I’m not letting my kids down!)

Fall in Iowa makes choosing weather appropriate clothing tricky. I’m going to admit I had these outfits picked out for our early September shoot. September ended up being extremely hot. That lunar pull I mentioned before landed us a 65 degree night (sadly no golden hour sun) so the family didn’t sweat to death. I probably would have switched Nate and Clark to short sleeve henleys if it was warmer.

Dress the Baby at Arrival

Margo is the queen of blowouts during the most inopportune times so she doesn’t get dress clothes until we arrive at our destination. Save snacks and beverages for after the photo shoot. DO make sure everyone has a full belly though. Hangry isn’t cute! But this face sure is!

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Have Fun!

While I do feel that outfits play an important role in great family photos, remember to relax and enjoy the time with your family. I mean, outfits are cute but I NEVER want to forget this cheesy smile and those baby thighs!

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Here are links to our outfits and other pieces that I think would photograph great!

I hope these tips help you choose stunning outfits for your next family photos!

How I Make Money Selling Kid's Clothing

How to Make Money Selling Your Kid's Clothing. Earn quick cash for next season's wardrobe!

Let’s chat today about selling all of those kid clothes that are piling up in your home.

I’ll start by sharing that I love kids’ clothing. Tiny people fashion makes me happy. I know they grow out of stuff so fast and some of the clothing can be uber expensive. But it’s so darn cute. Exhibit A.

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Today I’ll share with you how I’m making money selling my kids’ used clothing. My husband, the accountant, is going to argue with my title. Something about making money from spending money, yadda, yadda. I wasn’t really listening. I just know that I’ve been funding the next season’s wardrobe with this little secret that I’m going to share with you all today.

My secret?

The Kidizen app. (This post is not sponsored. You can use referral code jmc9x to get $5 for signing up if you’re into further supporting my habit, I mean, decluttering endeavors. You can also check out our Kidizen closet here!)

Kidizen is extremely user friendly. You can list an item and print a shipping label all in the app. They do take a small listing fee but the convenience is 100% worth it to me. I occasionally sell in Facebook Buy/Sell/Trade groups but it often feels like a giant hassle.

How to List

Listing items (and purchasing!) is super simple. It honestly probably takes about 1-2 minutes to list an item.

Download the app. Set up your “storefront”. I read to choose a name that’s easy to remember for repeat customers. I used a play off our last name, The Shy Bees. (You can also sign up just to shop. No storefront needed.)

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Snap a photo of your item. It’s best to take photos in natural light. I also prefer to see a lot of photos when purchasing so I try to include 3-4 photos depending on the item.

Fill out the remaining information. Be honest. Include as much detail as possible. You can include shipping in your cost or list it separate. I’ve found I have better success listing it separate.

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Once an item sells, select your shipping cost in the app and print a label.

Package up your item and ship it off to it’s new owner. I ship most of my items in poly mailers like these…

It’s seriously that easy. I estimate that I have sold over $1000 in items over the past 3 years!!!

Tips for Selling

Name brand clothing will have higher resale and will sell faster. Some of my favorite brands that resell well are Jamie Kay, June & January, Prefresh, Zara, Zutano and unique small shop/boutique items. I have actually sold a lot of my Jamie Kay items for the same price I purchased them for. I’m basically renting them. (How do you like that Mr. Accoutant?) Brands like Old Navy, Cat & Jack, Gap often sell better in bundles (unless they’re a super adorable/unique item).

I only sell clothing in really good condition. If it isn’t something that I would buy used, I don’t list it. To keep my kids’ clothing looking great, I’m a big fan of these sleeved bibs for baby and Shout plus Oxiclean for the toddler on up.

I price items at what I would buy them for. If they’ve sat in my “closet” for more than a few weeks, I’ll lower the price to get them out of my house!

I have two dedicated storage containers to separate items that are listed vs need listed.

I generally list Summer clothes in April/May and Fall clothes in August/September. It means hanging onto clothing but the items sell a lot faster. I start listing Christmas items in September or October.

I typically list about 5-10 items per day when I am going through our season stash. You can also re-share items from your “closet” to help keep your listings current.

The Only Con

The only problem I’ve found with Kidizen is not using all of my profits to buy more clothing!

Get to Shopping

Remember to use my Kidizen referral code jmc9x to get $5 for signing up! You can also check out our Kidizen closet here! Let me know if you have any questions! Also let me know if you start up a closet and I’ll follow you! Happy shopping!

The Shy Bees Kidizen code. Get $5 off your first purchase of $10 or more!