Five Favorite Easy Family Meals: Part 2

IMG_0083Continuing with my first part on my favorite go to family meals, while trying to stick with the healthy and easy theme, here are this week’s five main dishes. They are some of my personal favorites. 🙂

  1. Garden Alfredo with Chicken: This is a favorite of my boys (well Jake really loves it and Liam eats it sometimes). It would be great even as a vegetarian dish with the chicken left out. The most time consuming part of this recipe is chopping all the veggies, so I like to prep ahead and get them all chopped earlier (like during naptime). Another easy way to skip a few steps is to buy already cooked chicken to put in it. Or I freeze cooked chicken when we have extra for recipes like this. It is a bit more involved than some of the other recipes I have shared so far, but it’s totally worth it. YUM! This time I made it, I used ABC noodles we had instead of linguini noodles for extra little kid fun. 20180320_18303820180320_183053
  2. Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup: This is another chicken recipe that is made easy using already cooked chicken. It can be a bit messy for little guys but they like it just as much with most of the soup broth strained out for their dinner. It is delicious and I like to freeze half for another day. Two dinners in one is always a plus. 20180306_18333520180306_183400
  3. Cheesy Gnocchi Casserole with ham and peas: We do love gnocchi! haha This is another great easy recipe and the boys love it. 20180312_18422020180312_184238
  4. Spaghetti!! : An easy but super favorite meal of the whole family. If I have more time I will make ahead meatballs but most of the time I just take ground beef and make it into the sauce. 20180329_18282720180329_182853
  5. Steakhouse Salad Pizza: 

Brush: 2 New York strip steaks, trimmed

Olive oil

Salt and black pepper

Dip: 1 lb fresh pizza dough (I like to use 2 glutten free pizza crusts from the freezer section at the grocery store.)

All-purpose flour

1 1/2 Cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Top: 5 Cups chopped romaine lettuce

1 1/2 chopped tomato

1/3 cup minced red onion

Additional toppings: Shredded carrots, shredded radish, chopped avocado, and your choice of salad dressing

Preheat grill to medium-high. Brush grill grate with oil.

Brush steaks with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill steaks, covered, to desired doneness, 3 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer steaks to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes before thinly slicing against the grain.

Dip (I skip the actual dough part and just go straight to brushing the glutten free pizza crusts, fully thawed, with oil and seasoning. It comes in a package of 2 smaller pizza crusts and I make both at the same time) But if you use regular pizza dough, dip dough in flour and roll into a 16-inch round. Lightly brush dough with oil and season with salt. Grill dough, covered, 2 minutes. Flip dough, sprinkle on mozzarella, cover, and grill until cheese melts and crust blisters and crisps, about 2 minutes.

Top grilled dough with romaine, tomato, onion, steak, avocado, carrots and radish. Drizzle with your choice of dressing. We personally love honey mustard.

(recipe adapted from a Cuisine at Home magazine recipe)

20180402_11524220180402_115230

Hope you have some new dinner inspiration from today’s post!

Until next week, XOXO!

Easter Best 2018

With the promise of ice cream after, I got my little men dressed in their Easter outfits for some festive Easter pictures. I had wanted to do the photos earlier this week but last weekend we had a random snow storm (not very springy) and this week we had quite alot of rain. But today the sun popped out nicely for us to get some cute pictures. And of course we got ice cream after! They did very good and I was happy how cute the photoshoot ended up. The Art and Design District of Carmel Indiana is just such a cute place with tons more photo opportunities I can’t wait to try out.

IMG_0088IMG_0090IMG_0091-2IMG_0095IMG_0099IMG_0101IMG_0104IMG_0139IMG_0147IMG_0165-2IMG_0165IMG_0168IMG_0174IMG_0185IMG_0192IMG_0198IMG_0208IMG_0268IMG_0274IMG_0292-2The boy’s plaid shirts are from The Gap this year. I cannot resist little boys in pink 🙂 Jake’s shoes.  Liam’s shoes.  My white tee is perfect for so many different outfits, soft and not at all see through! And these shoes are actually really comfortable. My skirt is from last year but here and here and here are similar. This black version of the skirt is on sale too.

Jake is excited for the Easter bunny to bring him a basket this year as well as going to church and having Easter dinner with his Granny and his Grandpappy. Liam just likes to do whatever Jake likes. Liam does love anything that has candy involved so he will be excited. I always love seeing the look on their faces when they are sooo excited for all the different Holiday’s fun. I hope you all have a most wonderful Easter weekend.

Until next week, XOXO.

Five Favorite Easy Family Meals: Part 1

IMG_9929IMG_9972IMG_0083

I have been working on doing a series of easy family meals for inspirations. I enjoy cooking and have had interest in sharing some of my weekly meal plans. I usually try to plan two weeks of meals at a time but things come up and I make sure its a pretty flexible plan. I try to have at least one fish dish a week and one vegetarian dish a week to create a balanced diet. Here is our meal planning for the past two weeks. (ignore my reflection in my meal calendar…I just took a picture of my actual meal planner hanging in my kitchen)

In addition to sharing my meal planning, I wanted to share five meal recipes along with it. I have quite a few favorite easy go to meals I would like to share but I decided to do it in parts so there isn’t just an over load of information.


  1. Shrimp Tacos: Super quick and easy. Unfortunately not the most toddler friendly meal so it is usually accompanied by chicken nuggets. But since it takes a total of like 15 minutes to make I don’t mind. My oldest son actually like to make his chicken nuggets into a chicken nugget taco. I like to use this recipe but less chili powder and most of the time I just cut up tomatoes and avocado to add to your taco without making the avocado salsa. Super easy and healthier than regular tacos.20180228_18321720180228_183220
  2. Baked Salmon: This meal everyone likes and requires not much time. I don’t really  have a set recipe for this. I usually place the Salmon filet skin side down on an aluminum foil covered cookie sheet. I then drizzle a bit of olive oil on it and season with pre-made seafood seasoning in the spice section of the grocery store. (Sometimes my hubby makes up his own and we keep it in a container in the spice cabinet) I also like to add a bit of parmesan cheese too. Depending on the size of the filet, I usually bake it at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes.  To make a healthy side to go along with it, I like to go ahead and just bake some fresh veggies on the same tray with the salmon. Just drizzle the veggies with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper and you can cook them all together. Super simple and easy. Healthy and delicious. Here I made an asparagus side and added mashed potatoes because I love mashed potatoes. My boys really like this meal as well. 20180301_18292820180301_182952
  3. Sour Cream and Noodle Bake: I use this recipe  I found on pinterest a long time ago. I like to make it ahead of time so all you have to do is pop it in the oven and bake it. It works very well as a make ahead freezer meal too. I like to mix it up with turkey or bison instead of ground beef as well. My little guys like it too!20180302_18393620180302_183940
  4. Salad Night:  Once a week I like throw together a salad. Sometimes is strictly vegetarian, sometimes I put smoked Salmon on it and sometimes I put chicken or steak on it. It really depends on what we have in the fridge at the time. I always like baby lettuce, carrots, radishes, tomatoes, edememe and avocado on my salad. Again depending on what we have and how I am making it, I also like dried cranberries or other dried fruit, nuts or soft cheese toppings. I cannot expect the boys to eat salad but they will eat parts of it like tomatoes and smoked salmon or chicken or steak so I usually make them a sort of deconstructed salad.20180305_18300320180305_183056
  5. Pesto Tortellini: This is another super easy and way quick but the kids love it meal. I just cook some frozen tortellini on the stove and add some Costco pesto from a jar. Add a bit of parmesan cheese on top and you are done! You can use any kind of tortellini you want. I usually go with just cheese tortellini. This time we had some left over baby tomatoes from salad night that I added into the pesto for a little something extra and no wasting tomatoes by having them go bad. My boys LOVE this so I make it quite often. 20180307_18265120180307_182657

I hope everyone got some easy healthy dinner inspiration from this post. I just posted 5 recipes this time so I don’t have an information overload. I hate super long wordy posts myself. I will continue my meal series as I make dinners for my own family. Let me know if you all like these ideas! Until next week, XOXO.

Valentine’s Day Outfits: Toddler Boy Style

Just a little glimpse into behind the pictures type post today. I had gotten the boys and I cute Valentine’s Day shirts and wanted to share some pictures of us wearing them with you all. Of course, after I get a little photo backdrop set up and camera ready to go, Jake only wanted to wear his firetruck shirt. I had to bribe him to even wear his heartbreaker shirt. My hubby had gotten me a remote for my camera to help me take better tripod pictures, so as I am sure you can tell from the photos, Jake then only wanted to push the camera button. And he was mesmerized by it. haha. Anyway, thats real life.

Liam’s cute doggy Valentine’s shirt is an old hand me down from Jake. I got Jake’s Heartbreaker Tee from the Gap. I thought it was something fitting for Valentine’s Day but would work any other day as well. I found this anatomically correct heart sweatshirt on amazon for myself and I thought it was just too perfect. IMG_9774IMG_9775IMG_9778IMG_9779^OBSESSED with the camera remote!^

He’s so mesmerized by it and would not let anyone else push the button. haha. At least he did a pretty good job. IMG_9800IMG_9784IMG_9785

Boy mom life seems to always end in my boys getting rowdy… no exception here.

IMG_9789IMG_9791IMG_9793IMG_9796IMG_9797

At least my only little girl Emma is always up for kisses and cuteness. ❤

IMG_9806IMG_9806-2

Next week we plan on making some cute heart shaped cookies and some special Valentines for our friends. I got them their own special Valentine’s Day chocolates to surprise them next week too. I can’t wait to see their excited faces. What are all your Valentine’s Day plans? I hope they are good ones! Until next week, XOXO.

Playroom Garage

Slowly, I have been working on home projects to class up our new house. Eventually we will get to where I want it to be, but what fun is life without some home projects? At least for us; we love doing home projects. I am slowly working on upgrading our playroom space to something way cool for the boys. It is a challenge with all the cabinets in there now but is actually nice for toy storage. Only problem is I constantly have boys standing on top of the counter. Not sure what to do about that, but I am brainstorming ideas and hopefully I can come up some something cool. Meanwhile we had this random empty under the counter space (maybe it used to be a desk type area) that the boys started parking their cars and trucks in. It made a pretty cool garage but mostly turned into a pile of trucks.

First I went to Target (woo whoo!) and Hobby Lobby for a couple supplies… a shower curtain rod and some garage door looking fabric and matching thread. Once I was ready to start, I busted out the dusty sewing machine. *Side note: I used to love to sew things and made alot of cute clothes actually but deciding to purse a degree in Fashion Design really killed my passion for anything related to that.* I don’t have a studio space right now for my painting or projects so I have been setting up on the random sink and cabinet area in the playroom basement area. Like I said before, its not perfect but I am working on it all… over time. 20180119_171828-220180119_170025-2Gotta love my little helpers always. 20180119_210315-2^Curtain rod detail.^20180119_174526-220180119_174537-2Once the curtain was hung up, it turned out to be a pretty cool place to hide and peek out of. 🙂20180119_210224-220180119_210232-2The next step was to paint it to look more like a garage door and less like a grey curtain. I drew a chalk outline of what I wanted to pain then I mixed up a color with acrylic paint I already had and went to town on it. 20180123_164208-2.jpg20180123_164722-220180123_172205-2A quick paper towel and water on the chalk after the paint dries takes care of the chalk lines really quick. 20180124_102737-2I had the hubby add a shelf in for more levels of vehicle storage in the garage. 20180127_135635-2IMG_9763IMG_9756IMG_9754

Then we just play! IMG_9743IMG_9744Jake was the photographer remote button pusher. He was really into it… we had a bit of a fit when I told him we had to put up mom’s camera equipment because it wasn’t a toy.  😀 IMG_9728IMG_9731IMG_9734IMG_9738IMG_9740IMG_9741IMG_9749Hope you all have an wonderful weekend and if you need any Super Bowl party inspiration check out my Super Bowl Sunday! post from last year and my Super Bowl Sunday! post from the year before that. Pretty much have all the same decor so I am sticking with it!

Until next week, XOXO.

Hot Cocoa and Family Jammies

My best friend threw a Christmas Pajama themed Friendsmas party and I was sooo excited to get all my boys matching Christmas jammies. There were tons of cute family pajamas everywhere but I really love the classic buffalo plaid look so I got us these. They turned out so cute all together. We even got Emma a little doggy bandana… sorry Tiny cat but I didn’t see any matching cat shirts. IMG_9171IMG_9176IMG_9182IMG_9186I was a little sad after these festive pictures turned out so well that I already made and sent out Christmas cards. I will just have to remember this when doing Christmas cards next year.

I had made some snowflake marshmallows for some winter hot cocoa too. It seemed like a perfect thing to sit in front of the fireplace and sip hot cocoa in pajamas. The boys loved it. It was just a small thing to do that seemed so fun and special to them. I used this Martha Stewart recipe I found and they turned out really cute. While the marshmallows where sitting, I sprinkled some christmas sprinkles on some of them to make a little extra fun.IMG_9213IMG_9201IMG_9205

IMG_9219IMG_9221IMG_9223IMG_9224IMG_9229

IMG_9231

IMG_9233

IMG_9254

IMG_9274

IMG_9289

IMG_9305

IMG_9306

IMG_9313It was very fitting that we had a hot cocoa day since this past Wednesday was national hot chocolate day. We just had so much fun. Today we are working on making some cookies for Santa and planning a fun week before Christmas full of Christmas activities. Cheers some hot cocoa and snuggle someone you love while relaxing and remembering the Spirit of Christmas this coming week.

Now where is my snow??!

Until next week, XOXO!

Toy Storage Bins

This week I did a quick little project for our playroom. I looked for some bins that were the right size and had a design that would match the playroom theme but I came up empty handed. That was when I decided to order just plain ones and paint my own. I needed the smaller size to fit in the storage bench my hubby and I made a couple years ago. Here is the post on the Toy Bench we made. The toy bins were just getting old and it was time for an easy update. These plain colored Foldable Storage Bins were a perfect blank canvas. Easy to find on amazon of course! I just used Acrylic paints (black and white to make shades of grey) and some clear acrylic mixed with glitter to paint the design. I knew I wanted the mountains so I just drew the design with chalk and then painted the color on. Super easy!

 

IMG_9084After I finished and put them together in the Storage bench, I changed my original idea. I started thinking that it would look really cool to have the middle two painted as well, continuing the mountain range across the whole front. I consulted a panel of experts 😉 for their opinions on the mountain range idea and everyone agreed. So next week I will get the middle two painted. Bad news about that is I cleaned up the the grey paint I had mixed, so the real challenge will be to match the mountain greys! Of course stay tuned for the final finished project hopefully soon.

Here are a couple more pics of the bins with my ever helpful models testing it out!IMG_9071IMG_9081

We have been busy with Christmas decorating and have alot of fun Christmas activities and adventures in store for the next few weeks. I cannot wait to share with you all!

Until next week, XOXO.

Happy Thanksgiving!

In celebration of Thanksgiving and the end of fall… as all things Christmas will start this weekend (we started this morning with some Kidz Bop Christmas music), I thought I would share our fall/Christmas card pictures. I took them with my tripod and camera on the Monon Trail by our house. I just love walking on the trail with the boys. It is so pretty and they love it too. Sadly I was unable to get Emma in the picture this year. She was very sick and it was something that couldn’t wait too much longer to do. (She is doing much better and back to 100% now) I promise we don’t forget about her.IMG_8865-2IMG_8867-2IMG_8876-2IMG_8878-2IMG_8880IMG_8889IMG_8892IMG_8903IMG_8926IMG_8937IMG_8941I am hoping to play around/ experiment with photoshop to add in a bit of snow. I would just love to have a snowy Christmas card picture sometime. I’ll let you know how it goes if I get a chance to try. If you guys have any suggestions, tips, or advice on a tutorial for snow in photoshop, please comment! Every year I have done a picture Christmas card, I have used Shutterfly or Tiny Prints (which is shutterfly too) and I have always been very happy with how they turn out. They have a 40% off sale right now so its a good time to order your Christmas cards!

Until next week, XOXO!

Thanksgiving…Thankful and Blessed

This Thanksgiving I feel so thankful for all the wonderful family and friends in my life. I am thankful to be close to most of them now and in a wonderful area to raise my boys. It has been a year of change (although isn’t every year?) and I will be missing my Grandfather this Holiday season, but I am thankful he is no longer in pain and depressed but up in heaven. I am blessed everyday with my wonderful boys and hubby. Sometimes I wonder when I am going to wake up from the dream because I certainly do not deserve them. I am thankful to be able to host a big family Thanksgiving this year. I love to host parties and I am just beyond excited. I have the decorations set, menu planned and boys outfits picked out 😉 … always important to me. I hope everyone is as excited as me to get all together. Family is everything.

I did a little mini trial of my place settings to make sure my chalkboard placemat craft looked as cute as the idea in my mind. I can’t wait to see it all together now. I thought I’d share some of the pics and a few other Thanksgiving ideas that I love. (I did forget to put silverware in my mini trial but you guys get the idea)IMG_8948I used these placemats I found on amazon and these chalkboard markers also from amazon to design the placemat boarder. IMG_8950IMG_8953IMG_8957Simple, easy and cute!

Here are a few of my favorite Thanksgiving ideas I have seen that I maybe planning on doing as well.

This Thankful Tree decoration.5213117410_789aba8b48_o

This incredible looking appetizer tray.1448293915-cdc346866f73dbc781c27cf0933cabae

and this boy’s Thanksgiving tee.

Wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving and a chance to reflect on all we have to be thankful for. Until next week, XOXO.

Pass-a-Grille Beach Family Photo Shoot

One of the last things I wanted to do before we left Florida was do some family photos on the beach. I wanted to have at least one fun beach session and I just love family pictures. We got a very talented friend of ours to help me out. I love to take pictures but rarely end up in my own. I end up doing alot of tripod set up sessions which has resulted in some really good pictures but is hard to capture cute non-posed pictures.

The sunset cooperated perfectly. (even though we were nervous it was going to keep raining)  It was super hot and we were pretty sweaty out there haha. It ended up more than just perfect, it was just what we all needed to put the busyness of life in perspective. Nature and the outdoors of all types has always been my personal sanctuary. IMG_8688IMG_8691-2IMG_8692-2IMG_8702-2

I can’t decide which of the next two I like better… the washed out one or the silhouette one.IMG_8705-2IMG_8705-3IMG_8711-2Haha 😀IMG_8721-2^The funny one.^

IMG_8722IMG_8741

 

IMG_8747

IMG_8748-2

IMG_8750-2

IMG_87532-2

IMG_87542-2

IMG_8766

IMG_8765-2

IMG_8760

IMG_8764

IMG_8761-2

IMG_8761-3

The sky was just on fire at the end! We could not believe how beautiful it was. Such an awesome amazing sight. I love the picture of our good friends. I can’t decide if I like the silhouette style or the lightened one where I can see their faces better so I posted both of them.

We are busy with home renovations here. I can’t wait to have our floors done. They should be just in time for Thanksgiving which I am hosting. I’ve ordered our turkey and put up decorations but thats about it. I have got to get working on everything else now. Yay for Turkey Day! 🙂 I hope you all are getting into all the Holiday spirit too. Until next week, XOXO.