Los Angeles to Columbus: A Six Month Update Since Our Move

Our First Six Months In Columbus

I can hardly believe it, but it has been six months since we said goodbye to Los Angeles and embarked on our next family adventure of moving to Columbus, Ohio. We took the photo above in front of our old home together before we left for the airport. My husband stayed behind for twelve weeks for work, and I flew with my mom to Columbus, stayed with a friend for a week until our belongings arrived via our U-Packs, and officially moved into our new home. I moved to a new state, new town, new home with three small boys all by myself. To a town we had never spent any time in and into a home we bought without being able to see it in person (thank goodness we had an amazing realtor who happens to be married to my best friend). When I reflect back on all of that, I cannot believe I made it. I had a ton of help from our parents and friends, especially my mom who has been a lifesaver throughout the hardships of a move and my solo-parenting weeks. But I moved with my kids, I got our house ready to move into, I got my oldest enrolled in a new school, I got our home unpacked and set up, and I mostly did it on my own. It is amazing the things we can do when he have to 🙂

Our First Six Months In Columbus Our First Six Months In Columbus Our First Six Months In Columbus

The first couple of months were hard without my husband but were also new and exciting and fun. We were seeing friends and family more, we were getting to experience the end of summer and a real fall, and we had a new house that was all ours with a big yard and so much potential for making wonderful family memories. We watched birds in the feeder out of our front window and found frogs on our walk to school (yes, we can walk to school!) We stayed up to see lightning bugs and dug in our backyard to find worms and planted flowers and watched the leaves go from green to red and orange and brown. We played in our backyard a lot. We visited my best friend and my kids played with her kids and we met their chickens and barn kittens and my boys were in heaven. We tried our best to soak it all in.

 

Our First Six Months In Columbus Our First Six Months In Columbus Our First Six Months In Columbus

Then at the end of October my husband arrived and everything fell into place. We started to explore our new city more, and we have fallen in love with Columbus. We are members of COSI (our science museum), the Columbus Museum of Art (which has a wonderful kids area), and the Columbus Zoo, which is possibly the best zoo I’ve ever visited. My husband and I took advantage of a weekly daytime sitter and went on day dates and explored new areas like German Village and the Short North and Clintonville. We’ve found places we love to eat and have discovered a great indie movie theater. We miss the beach and Griffith Observatory and LACMA, and I miss my hiking trails, but we’ve found some wonderful new places here in our new home city. And there’s so much more to explore once spring comes.

It hasn’t all been sunshine and rainbows. In fact there hasn’t been nearly enough sunshine and there’s been way too much snow. The snow was fun at first, but I’m seriously over this brutal winter that is hazing the crap out of us. Seasonal affective disorder and cabin fever have really set in, and with it a level of homesickness for LA that is hard to describe. I don’t miss the traffic or how it would take hours to just run to Target or the supermarket. But I do miss being able to take my boys outside and feel the warm sun on my face. It’s cold y’all!

Our First Six Months In Columbus Our First Six Months In Columbus Our First Six Months In Columbus Our First Six Months In Columbus

Even more than the sunshine and warm weather, I miss my Los Angeles friends. Meeting people here in the burbs has proven harder than I thought it would be. Charlie’s school is a good one and we can walk there but I don’t feel the sense of community that we had at West Hollywood Elementary where he went before. We really loved the kids and parents we met there. For example, when Quincy was born we had food delivered to our house for two weeks, all from parents of Charlie’s classmates. We just celebrated Quincy’s second birthday, so we’ve been here as long as he was in school that year and I only know two of the moms’ first names (and it isn’t for lack of trying, there just isn’t as much opportunity to connect with other parents). I think many people grew up in this area and have their friends and family already and aren’t in the “meet new people” mindset like we’re used to in a big city. We have some friends that we already knew before we moved here but we’d love to meet some people in our burb or neighborhood. Meeting new people that you connect with is always hard, but I’m hoping once we all come out of our winter hibernation that people will be all warm and friendly 🙂

I’ve had a few people contact me who are thinking of making a similar move (from CA to the Midwest) and asked me if I would still make the same decision or if we regret it now that it is winter. And as much as I’m slogging along through these cold months and stuck inside because it is too cold or flu germy to leave the house with the kids, I don’t regret the move at all. I miss LA tons. But the move was the right one for us and the boys are so happy. Life is easier and simpler here and things take less effort. And financially it was a great decision. We love being closer to our families. But we’ll always miss Los Angeles and our LA family and I’m looking forward to getting back for a visit.

Our First Six Months In Columbus

So that’s our first 6 months in a nutshell. I’m really looking forward to the next 6, where we’ll thaw out, finish some projects around the house, and get back outside. I can’t believe 6 months have already gone by — just look how much they grew by comparing those last two photos. Insert all the bawling emojis.

Have you ever done a big city to suburb move where you needed to meet new people or acclimate to new weather? I’d love to hear how long it took you to adjust or any tips you have.

SaveSaveSaveSave

Our Bedtime Routine

Our Bedtime Routine: how one mom who is often flying solo handles bedtime routines with three small boys

One of the most common questions I get from readers is “how do you manage bedtime with three kids when you’re on your own?” So I thought I would share our bedtime routine and a few tricks and tips I have for managing three kids when you’re flying solo at home. My husband sometimes travels for work for weeks at a time, so I had to come up with a good routine that worked for us long term, rather than just surviving a few days on my own. And the first time I did it, I had a lot of anxiety about it and felt very overwhelmed. But instead of thinking “omg I have to put three kids to bed all by myself” I just focus on one at a time and it definitely helps ease the stress of it.

Our Bedtime Routine: how one mom who is often flying solo handles bedtime routines with three small boys

Nightly Schedule

5:00 — Dinnertime

5:45 — Bath, brush teeth for Quincy (I don’t really do a bedtime book with Quincy because I read to him like 100 books a day…)

6:00 — Quincy’s bedtime

6:30 — Potty, bath, brush teeth for Calvin

6:45 — Read a book with Calvin

7:00 — Cuddle and bed for Calvin

7:30 — Charlie does his own bathroom routine, then we read together

8:00 — ALL OF MY KIDS ARE IN BED (high fives all around)

So, here’s how I do it:

Our Bedtime Routine

The whole bedtime routine starts with dinner for us. My kids are usually ready for dinner early, so I typically have dinner on the table by 5-5:15 pm. Quincy goes to bed at 6:00, so I’m lucky that he’s a fast eater. My older two are the slowest eaters ever, so they’re usually still eating when I need to give Quincy a bath and put him to bed. I put a show on tv for them (you can see the TV in our family room from the kitchen table). Quincy also goes down super easily, so I’m really lucky.

Calvin goes to bed around 7:00, so usually I let he and Charlie finish their show after I get Quincy to bed. Then it is potty, bath, brush teeth, read a book, and bed for Calvin. Charlie is usually allowed one more show while I am putting Calvin down — or if he has homework and doesn’t need my help then he does that first and then is allowed to put a show on). Calvin is slow and high maintenance at bedtime. He insists on dressing himself (if you’ve followed me on IG you’ve probably seen him in my stories). Then he takes forever to pick a book. Then he insists on “reading” the book to me. Then I have to lay and cuddle with him for at least 10 minutes usually. It is a process! But since Quincy is already in bed and Charlie is happy to watch a show it usually works out ok.

Once I am finally done with Calvin, I help Charlie with any homework he might have left. He then does his bathroom stuff on his own (hallelujah) and I clean up the dinner mess and dishes. When he’s done with his bathroom business he meets me in my room and I read to him in my bed. We’re currently reading the Hardy Boys and he gets a chapter a night (sometimes two). He’s in bed between 7:30-8:00.

Our Bedtime Routine: how one mom who is often flying solo handles bedtime routines with three small boys

Some Tips

  • Don’t be afraid to use screens (tv, iPad, both, whatever it takes)
  • Do keep your little ones in their high chairs for maximum containment.
  • Don’t bathe your kids together when you’re on your own. It is better in theory than reality.
  • Do have wine.
  • Don’t feel bad about skipping baths. When I only had one kid he got a bath every night. Now they get baths every other night or every 3rd night (in winter especially)

I wanted to mention that this is easier for me because I work from home — I know lots of working moms who don’t get off of work until 5:00 or later, then still have to pick up kids from school or daycare, figure out dinner, etc. So our schedule probably starts earlier than is possible for many, but it is what works for our family.

Our Bedtime Routine: how one mom who is often flying solo handles bedtime routines with three small boys

How do you handle bedtime with your kiddos when you’re on your own? Any tips or tricks to add? What does your family nighttime routine look like?

Favorite Places in Columbus: Katalina’s Cafe

Expanding my old LA series to our new hometown - my first #OLDsFavePlacesInCbus is @katalinascafe #columbus #localgems

It has been about six months since we moved from Los Angeles to Columbus, Ohio and I feel like we’ve discovered some amazing local gems already. We’ve got a fantastic art museum, a wonderful science museum with some great stuff for kids, charming neighborhoods, and some amazing foodie culture. I’m excited to share more of our favorite places in Columbus, but first up I’m sharing the place we’ve visited most frequently: Katalina’s Cafe.

Katalina’s is a “a little cafe with a lot of goodness” located on the outskirts of the Short North area of downtown Columbus. My husband and I discovered it on one of our first morning dates and have had a hard time trying to eat anywhere else. Home of the famous Pancake Balls (think pancakes mixed with a pastry filled with Nutella) and the best Huevos Rancheros I’ve ever had (that are gluten-free, so yay me!), it isn’t hard to see why we keep going back. The atmosphere is lively and charming but doesn’t take itself too seriously. It is really small and can get busy but turnover is pretty quick, and when the weather is warm enough there is seating outside as well.

Expanding my old LA series to our new hometown - my first #OLDsFavePlacesInCbus is @katalinascafe #columbus #localgems Expanding my old LA series to our new hometown - my first #OLDsFavePlacesInCbus is @katalinascafe #columbus #localgems Expanding my old LA series to our new hometown - my first #OLDsFavePlacesInCbus is @katalinascafe #columbus #localgems Expanding my old LA series to our new hometown - my first #OLDsFavePlacesInCbus is @katalinascafe #columbus #localgems Expanding my old LA series to our new hometown - my first #OLDsFavePlacesInCbus is @katalinascafe #columbus #localgems

After we eat, we usually drive or walk over to High Street and stroll around the Short North where there are lots of shops and art galleries to check out. If you live in the Columbus area, or plan to visit, definitely add Katalina’s to your brunch spot list. I can’t wait to go back 🙂

You can find Katalina’s Cafe at 1105 Pennsylvania Ave, Columbus.

How to Style a Beanie

How to Style a Beanie + some of my favorites

Not all that long ago I had never worn a beanie, which is shocking now considering I practically live in one. I always loved how they looked but was certain I couldn’t pull one off and I had no idea how to wear or style one. I mentioned to my friend Jesi that I wished I could pull off a beanie like she does (she is the QUEEN of beanies) and she said “you totally can!” Then she put it one my head and in two seconds flat had it styled to perfection. I bought it on the spot and it is still my favorite beanie even though I’ve since bought like ten more. My mom bun has been replaced with my “mom beanie.” They are cute, warm, and cover a multitude of dirty hair days. I’m now a firm believer in the beanie and think that everyone can pull them off with a couple of tips.

  1. Give your hair some texture. If you are lucky enough to have thick hair naturally, you might not need to do this. I have really fine hair, so mine needs some help. I usually do a quick wave job by alternating pieces and waving with my curing iron (nothing fancy – I swear by this one).
  2. Flip your head over, give it a toss, and flip it back. Pull your hair around to the front of your shoulders. Now it is time to put on your beanie.
  3. Put a hand on each side of your beanie with it pointing toward the ground, head opening facing up. Make sure it is turned where the front of the beanie is closest to your body. Slightly stretch the opening. Put it on! (If any of you would like a video tutorial, let me know. It seems simple enough but I know reading instructions is often not as helpful as seeing it done.)

How to Style a Beanie + some of my favorites How to Style a Beanie + some of my favorites How to Style a Beanie + some of my favorites

How you wear your beanie is mostly personal preference. It also changes depending on the style of your beanie and the shape and size of your head. I prefer mine to look casual but not be too hipster (I’m really not cool enough to pull off the hanging off my head look). Above are a few ways I wear mine depending on whether I’m wearing it to actually keep warm or to cover dirty hair. Sometimes I cuff it, sometimes I leave it unrolled. I also have a larger forehead (or fivehead as my husband lovingly calls it) so I tend to wear mine a little more forward because I just feel more comfortable and less ‘foreheady.’

If you want to try a beanie, some of my favorite ones are pictured above, and sourced below:

  1. Gigi Pip (both taupe/beige beanies pictured)
  2. Krochet Kids
  3. Old Navy (the ivory fur pom one, the green marled one and the black one – the black one is actually a men’s beanie! None are currently available)
  4. Funky Junque on Amazon (not pictured but super cute and lots of color options!)
  5. Under Armour (not typically a bit UA fan but these are warm and cute!)
  6. Gap

How to Style a Beanie + some of my favorites

Are you a beanie lover? Do you have a favorite? Or do you have another favorite winter accessory staple? Winter survival and bad hair day survival tips are always welcome 🙂

{Outfit sources} Top photo: Sweater / Middle photo: camel sweater, bag, boots, jeans / Bottom photo: sweater

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Simplifying Mealtime + A Quick and Easy Paleo Chili Recipe

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GiantEagleDelivers #CollectiveBias

Simplifying Mealtime + A Quick and Delicious Paleo Chili recipe #gianteagledelivers #ad

I used to be so overwhelmed by the idea of cooking family dinners every day (or even 4-5 days a week). The planning, the shopping, the getting to the store, the thawing of the meat in time to cook it, the veggie prep — it was all too much for me to wrap my head around while working from home and caring for three young kids. But we are getting serious about eating whole foods and staying on budget, and both require some planning and meal prep at home. In order to save my own sanity I’ve figured out a few things that have completely changed the way I approach the family meal and have simplified mealtime for me.

Some of my mom hacks for simplifying family mealtime are:

  • An Instant Pot or high pressure cooker. If you don’t have one or have been on the fence about whether you need one (“I already have a slow cooker, do I really need a pressure cooker too?”) the answer is: YES. Yes, you do. I have this Instant Pot, so I can only speak to that one but it can cook just about anything easily and quickly. You can put meat, poultry, fish, and veggies in frozen and still have your meal cooked within 20-30 minutes for most things. And the meat is tender, juicy, and way more delicious than oven-baked (especially chicken and pork!) I cannot believe I didn’t get one sooner. I’m completely addicted and reliant upon mine and use it daily. It has also helped me to eat much healthier because instead of eating out or just making a lunch of my kids’ leftovers, I can cook myself a piece of fish or a chicken breast in no time.
  • Buying organic veggies that are already chopped and frozen. If I’m making something relatively easy, like rainbow carrots or something I like to eat in a specific way, like spaghetti squash or sweet potatoes, then I buy them fresh. But when it comes to peas, cauliflower or broccoli, green beans, any diced or chopped vegetables like onions, or a mirepoix for soup — I buy them already chopped and frozen. Not only is this often cheaper, but it saves so much time and food prep and they are frozen when they are at their freshest and the nutrients are at their highest. Plus, there is less food waste because you aren’t forgetting about them and letting them spoil. My local Giant Eagle has a wide variety of chopped organic frozen veggies in the freezer section.

Simplifying Mealtime + A Quick and Delicious Paleo Chili recipe #gianteagledelivers #ad Simplifying Mealtime + A Quick and Delicious Paleo Chili recipe #gianteagledelivers #ad

  • Giant Eagle Curbside Express Delivery. With Curbside Express, I can shop online when and how I want without sacrificing my time or having to drag my three wild boys to the store with me (ugh, no thanks!). You can link your Advantage Card to earn points with your orders and also to save your shopping history, which is great if you tend to meal prep and stick to the same purchases and staple items each time you shop. It is basically a virtual grocery list! You can click a box that says whether or not your personal shopper can substitute an item if the one you ordered isn’t available and you can write a note to your shopper specifying any specific things you want them to know about your items. For example, my family goes through a TON of bananas, so I like to order a lot at once. But I write a note stating to “pick half ripe/yellow bananas (but not brown) and half green/unripe bananas.” I also request that they ensure the fresh strawberries I order are organic and free of mold. And I’m happy to report they followed my notes exactly. I even got a call from my personal shopper because I requested “grass-fed ground beef” but the brand I ordered doesn’t have a grass-fed option. So she called to clarify if I preferred grass-fed from another brand and to tell me that it was actually on sale! I was also able to add almond butter to my order after I placed it, since I forgot to include it in my original order. I selected a delivery time that worked for me and my groceries were delivered while my little ones napped. And you can try it for free — they waive the delivery fee for your first service! And a funny bonus that I never would have thought of: I actually spent less on groceries because I wasn’t in the store personally to make any spontaneous, impulse purchases. I cannot recommend the Giant Eagle Curbside Express Delivery service enough!

One other tip that helps me is to keep a list of meals that are healthy, yummy, and easy. I have about 14 meals on a list so if I get stuck or need an idea I refer to that (and I keep it on a dry erase board like this on my pantry door). I don’t meal plan per se, because when I did I found it very limiting and it almost felt like a chore. But when I can choose from 3-4 meal ideas that we have ingredients for at home and make a game time decision thanks to my mom meal hacks above, I find that I enjoy preparing the meals and don’t get bored with eating them. I plan to share more full recipes of some of my favorites, but a few ideas are: huevos rancheros, fish tacos, meatloaf muffins, spaghetti squash with meat sauce, flank steak and roasted veggies, bacon and egg cups, balsamic chicken over cauliflower rice, and chorizo mash and scrambled eggs.

I wanted to demonstrate how these three things make cooking dinner so much easier, so I’m sharing a recipe for the Paleo Chili that I made and had prepared within an hour after receiving my Giant Eagle grocery delivery. My items were delivered at 3:00 pm and I had dinner ready by 4 (I made it a little earlier than usual so that I could take a few photos while we still had some daylight. The recipe below is for a Paleo Chili (also Whole30 Friendly because I’m in the last week of a Whole30 now myself) but you could always add dark red kidney beans, shredded cheese, sour cream, or corn bread muffins or any other toppings you like if you aren’t adhering to a Paleo or Whole30 way of clean eating. Also, if you don’t have an Instant Pot but have more time to prep your chili, you could cook it in a heavy bottom pan like a Dutch Oven, a stock pot, or even your slow cooker. Just be sure to allow yourself more time!

Simplifying Mealtime + A Quick and Delicious Paleo Chili recipe #gianteagledelivers #ad

Paleo Chili

Ingredients 

  • 2 lbs grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 tbsp avocado or olive oil or ghee
  • 1 large (28 oz) can of tomato sauce (make sure there is no sugar added in the list of ingredients)
  • 1 regular can of diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)
  • 1 can or jar of tomato paste (I used a 7 oz jar)
  • 1 16 oz bag of frozen peppers and onions
  • 3 tbsp of chili powder
  • 1 tbsp of cumin
  • 1 tbsp of garlic powder
  • 1 tsp of sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp of fresh ground peper
  • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional, but adds a slight cheesy type texture that I miss when I can’t add shredded cheese)
  • 1 avocado for topping (optional but delicious)
  • 1 can of organic dark red kidney beans if you aren’t following a paleo or Whole30 eating plan

Simplifying Mealtime + A Quick and Delicious Paleo Chili recipe #gianteagledelivers #ad

Instructions

  1. Press the sauté button on your Instant Pot and let it heat up. Then add your 1 tbsp of oil or ghee and swirl to coat the bottom of the pot.
  2. Once simmering, add peppers and onions to the oil. Stirring frequently, cook 2-4 minutes or until soft.
  3. Stir in tomato paste, garlic powder and sea salt.
  4. Add in your ground beef. Brown the meat and break it up with a wooden spatula as you go (especially if you are putting it in frozen – I also like to put the lid on the Instant Pot and let the meat thaw faster).
  5. Once your meat is browned, add in the cumin, cinnamon, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, ground pepper, and nutritional yeast (optional).
  6. Mix well, put lid on pot and lock it, and press the chili button and set for 20 minutes.
  7. Once chili is done, you can release the pressure, ladle into bowls, top with the diced avocado (or whatever toppings you like), let cool a bit, and serve. My whole family — even my picky eaters — gobble this right up! This recipe yields a large batch so we have plenty of leftovers for lunches and another dinner or freeze for future meals.

Simplifying Mealtime + A Quick and Delicious Paleo Chili recipe #gianteagledelivers #ad

There you have it! My favorite tips for simplifying family mealtime and a quick and delicious family-friendly recipe using all of those tips. Thank goodness for pressure cookers, frozen vegetables, and especially Giant Eagle Curbside Express Delivery! Have you tried it yourself? Do you have any other meal simplifying tips to share? I hope you enjoy the time and sanity you’ll save by using the Giant Eagle Curbside Express Delivery service. Less time shopping means more time for cooking. Or better yet, relaxing!

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

If You Only Buy One Winter Coat Ever, It Should Be This One

I've discovered the warmest and coziest winter coat ever and you need to get one too!

After moving from Los Angeles to Columbus, Ohio (where we are experiencing one of the coldest and snowiest winters in many years — of course) I’ve been on a quest to find the perfect winter coat. My criteria: it has to be warm, comfortable, long, stylish, and under $100. It was a really hard to meet all of those, but I finally found the holy grail of winter coats! I posted a photo on Instagram last week and so many people DM’d me asking where it was from, so it only confirmed my feelings that this coat deserved a blog post all its own.

I've discovered the warmest and coziest winter coat ever and you need to get one too! I've discovered the warmest and coziest winter coat ever and you need to get one too!

The coat feels like you’re wearing a down comforter, in the best possible way. It is a slightly heavier weight but I love how that feels on a cold day. It has a TON of zipper pockets and the sides unzip up to make it bigger on the sides so that it can fit over bulkier sweaters or layers. It has a hood, which you can sort of turn inside out to make it a warm layer right behind your neck if you don’t need to wear the hood (I’m usually wearing a beanie), and it is long enough to keep your bottom half warmer too. I got the olive color — which I love — but it also comes in grey, beige, and black. And it is lined in an orange fabric, giving a cute pop of color in the lining. I would call this wind proof and since I’ve had it I’ve not been cold (and also don’t get overheated, which I tend to do when I have to wear warm layers in the winter).

I've discovered the warmest and coziest winter coat ever and you need to get one too!

So, if you are in the market for a warm and cute winter coat, I highly recommend this one! We could be twins 🙂

Also, check out this post for my favorite winter wardrobe essentials for kiddos.

Outfit sources: Coat // Vegan Leather Leggings // Boots

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and buy the product, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you for supporting the content I bring you here on Oh Lovely Day.

SaveSave