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)

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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

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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.

18 Months: Liam Edition

OMG! How is my little baby already 18 months old??!! Time really does fly by faster and faster. My littlest little man loves running and laughing. He’s not much of a talker yet. Although, he randomly surprises us with full sentences every once in a while saying things like “What are you doing Dad?” or “Read this!”. He isn’t a fan of snow and cold so he is happy its getting warmer. He can be pretty independant already but in the same breath can be soooo clingy to me… he’s still my little baby. He is kind and loves his animals. He loves giving sloppy kisses and wrestling with his brother. The wrestling drives me crazy and I am always worried someone is going to get hurt but they are usually laughing so hard. He is a very very picky eater and can some how create energy from nothing… Not sure how he’s growing so much. He loves making driving noises for cars, trucks, chicken nuggets and many more. He loves his big brother and everything he does. We just love seeing who he’s becoming every day. IMG_9825IMG_9833IMG_9863IMG_9837IMG_9841IMG_9844IMG_9873IMG_9883IMG_9885IMG_9891IMG_9903There is something super comfy about wearing distressed flared denim and a thermal for spring time. I like to mix up the straight leg with flared leg sometimes. A bit of a throw back style for the unpredictable temperatures of Spring time in Indiana. And they make running after boys look cute without having to wear leggings all the time. I really love flared denim! 🙂 Just a little mommy style to throw in because it is just something I enjoy and want to do more posts about.

Happy half birthday Liam! Hope you all have a great Friday and rest of the week. Until next week, XOXO.

Boy Mom Life: A day in the life

Happy Friday everyone! I have a few fun new posts that I have coming up for you all but this week, we had a random 70 degree day and my boys and I just basically took the day off to be outside, doing outside things. I just wanted to share a little bit from our outdoor adventures this week. Sometimes you just have to do that. What is life, if you can’t enjoy it and the people who mean the most to you. Anyway I was thinking the whole time about how funny it is that I have always been a pretty girly girl and here I am covered in mud, stomping in puddles with my little boys and loving it.

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Give me all the muddy hands … I am pretty sure that is boy language for love.

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I was the only mom at swimming lessons that actually had mud on her Hunter boots too. Sorry but not sorry. They are super handy, and easy to clean while still being stylish boots.

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Incase you might be thinking I just let the boys play in the mud for a blog photoshoot… I just took these pics this afternoon while we were all outside. They turned out so cute and fit so nicely with what I already had written, that I hurried up and edited them so I could add them really quick. Here you go… EVEN BIGGER puddle! 20180223_13002320180223_13003820180223_13004520180223_13005120180223_13013720180223_13013820180223_130146(0)20180223_13014720180223_13021120180223_13021320180223_13021720180223_13024820180223_13030820180223_130345(0)20180223_130346_00120180223_13034620180223_13055420180223_131009(0)20180223_131010

I thought to help maintain my fun girly side, I would share a few cute things I am currently stalking/sitting in my online shopping carts right now.

  • Waiting for these sneakers to come back in stock in my size. I love anything pink.
  • Thinking of trying this Bra. I have read good things about it. Has anyone else tried it yet?
  • Can I please have one of everything? The new Lilly Pulitzer swim is just too cute!
  • Waiting for these Jeans to come back in stock in my size.
  • This for my little guy and this for my bigger little guy while thinking of upcoming Easter. And this splurge or this or even this if I had a little girl. I sometimes just look and daydream. 🙂

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Try to stay dry and mud free unless you live the boy life 😉 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.

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

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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.

My Workout Routine

IMG_9475I have been working really hard the past year and a half (since my 2nd baby was born) on getting into shape and being healthy. I tried several different workout plans before I found one that really works for me. It did not happen over night, for sure, and it took a while, but I feel like I am in the best shape of my life right now. I feel very energetic and healthy. I really wanted to share the workouts I do with others so if you wanted to try and see if it works for you as well, you can. After I was cleared to exercise from the doctor after the birth of my second son, I slowly eased into it with this 10 Minute Kettlebell Workout I found on youtube. I just started out doing this 3 days a week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) during the boy’s nap time. Along with this I did a 20-30 minute walk around the neighborhood with the boys and the dog once a day. Nothing crazy at first since I did not want to over do it. I like the quick 10 min workout because I can easily do it whenever I have a few extra minutes at home. I love getting outside so a walk everyday is nice. Now it is harder to get a walk in because of the weather, but I try to go whenever it gets warm.IMG_9485-2IMG_9542-2

After I felt good about the 10 Minute Kettlebell Workout three times a week, I added this 8 Minute Kettlebell Abs Workout two times a week (Tuesday and Thursday) during the boys nap time as well. These quick toning and metabolism boosting workouts paired with a daily 30 minute walk and healthy eating has really helped me this past year and a half. Another quick weight management tip that has really worked for me is my “no wine during the week” personal rule. This way I don’t completely cut out the fun, just reduce it for my health.IMG_9493-2IMG_9520-2IMG_9593-2IMG_9616-2

I am now doing the  10 Minute Kettlebell Workout three times a week, the 8 Minute Kettlebell Abs Workout twice a week, 20 minutes on the elliptical five times a week (or at least every week night my hubby is able to hangout with the boys after dinner so I can exercise) and just this month I have added a training run on Saturday and Sunday mornings. As I had previously posted, I am working up to run a half marathon this October so each weekend I am pushing a little bit longer run. I want to gradually get there like when I first started getting into shape so I don’t hurt myself or get burnt out. I still try not to drink wine during week days and try to eat healthy. If people are interested I can post some weekly menus I plan for my family and I. Just let me know!

I love how yoga makes me feel so I like to throw some relaxing yoga sessions in the mix instead of my regular workout every once in awhile. It is nice to have a variety of healthy exercises so you don’t get bored. IMG_9676-2IMG_9717-2

Every person has to figure out what works best for their body. The best advice I can give you is to listen to your body and go with what works for you. Try a few different things sometimes before finding what works. I wanted to share some quick workouts for busy moms because it’s hard to take care of your family if you don’t take care of yourself! Keep in mind when I first started doing these workouts, I couldn’t do it all (even though they are only 10 minutes!) I just did what I could and kept pushing myself to do a little more as I went. And always remember to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Water = health! IMG_9566-3

Until next week, XOXO

Hello 2018

It is a frigid start to 2018 here in Indiana. I do have to say I really don’t mind the cold… you might even say… “the cold never bothered me anyway”. But along with some of my personal goals for the new year, I thought I’d share some warmer Florida Christmas Beach pics. We traveled down to Florida to see family for Christmas and although I know many people love to escape the cold, it never really ever feels like Christmas there. We had a challenging trip with crazy kids and everyone getting sick, but mostly had a great time seeing friends and family. We are happy to be back home even if it’s really cold. We spent Christmas morning walking along Indian Rocks Beach, Florida. It was our first Christmas beach trip.

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Goal #1: Save More Money… not a lot to say on this one. I really love clothes and sometimes I get too excited. This year I am making a much bigger effort to cut down my spending. There are alot of clothes and makeup and shoes and jewelry I would love to have but I guess I don’t really need. This one will def be the most challenging for me but I am hoping it will pay off in the future.

Goal #2 Get Working on my Paintings… Now that we are more settled and in a routine I should be able to spend a few hours a week on my personal paintings. It is something I am passionate about but has fallen to the back burner the past couple years. The biggest challenge of this one will be the lack of studio space in my house.

Goal #3 Get our New Indiana House Updated… It is a very nice house but totally off from my personal decorating taste. There are alot of projects with this goal and I plan on sharing more home project we do. I enjoy them and I am hoping you, my readers, will to.

Goal #4 Stay in Shape… I have worked very hard this past year getting healthy and in shape. I am finally very happy with how I look and feel which is really hard to get to. I want to continue my personal workout plan and increase my healthy eating even more to maintain my fitness and weight. Just today I decided add to my fitness goals and to run a half marathon with one of my bffs in October. Having a goal buddy will really help us both. Long term goal but I have never run one and would really like to. Purdue half marathon here we come!

Goal #5 Stay Positive… Sometimes when things do not go the way I planned, I tend to get upset and sad. I want to work on staying up beat and positive about my life. I think this will help me be a better person in general and I know this is a major weakness of mine.

What are your personal goals for 2018? I am hoping to make this a great year ahead for myself and my little family. It does seem to help me to share with others to make my goals seem more concrete and achievable.

Until next week, XOXO.

Cookies for Santa

On our list of many preparations before Santa comes down the chimney is always baking some sugar cookies and decorating them for Santa. When I was growing up, we made a big deal of this every year. I always remember being so excited to decorate cookies. Many wonderful memories were made along with many very creative Christmas cookies. Since this was one of my favorite traditions, I wanted to continue to do it with my boys. This was the first year Jake could really do anything. Liam is still young but enjoyed helping bake and then eat quite a few cookies… hey its Christmas; it’s ok to indulge. At least thats what I tell myself. I saw and tried this new Velvety Soft Sugar Cookie recipe. OMG is it good! Delicious.

The boys always love helping me cook anything so the baking part was pretty fun as well.IMG_9324IMG_9336IMG_9348

 

Then its the cookie cutter time which Liam enjoyed throwing them on the floor but Jake really liked cutting the cookies out. IMG_9401IMG_9402And finally the decorating…IMG_9413IMG_9419IMG_9420

 

We only had the patience to decorate maybe a third of the cookies but thats is ok . They are delicious just plain too. Here are Santa’s cookie plate cookies as well as some other awesome cookies.IMG_9424IMG_9425IMG_9426IMG_9427It is an awesome activity for little guys even if it’s not Christmas. This Dump Truck and this Bulldozer cookie cutters could make for a fun cold and snowy January afternoon I am thinking.  And I definitely recommend trying this sugar cookie recipe. I am eating one right now! haha.

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays all around. Until next week, XOXO.