AUGUST 2021; OUR MONTH IN VIDEO

August was full of more birthdays, mini getaways, and football games. Here’s a peek at our month and the life I’ve thankful for.

32 THINGS IVE LEARNED IN MY 32 YEARS

32 years old today, and there has been quite a few things that I’ve learned through the years. I’ve made good choices, stupid choices, and learned that sometimes the only explanation for your actions is, “it seemed like a good idea at the time.” But through it all, I’ve learned.

And firsthand, from my own experience these are some of things that I’ve learned:

Seafood is still disgusting.

Your children pay attention to EVERYTHING that you do. Literally EVERYTHING. Don’t say anything in front of a 3-year old you don’t want repeated.

Soul mates do exist; believe me. I’m one of the lucky ones that found mine.

Having a big family is such a blessing. A benefit too; more kids to pay for a fancier nursing home when you’re older.

Life is much better with a golden retriever.

Work at a place where you actually like your boss and co-workers. Life is way too short to deal with Karens.

No matter how old you get, shots still suck.

Record your life. Have those memories to look back and smile at later.

Friends change and that’s okay. Sometimes the unlikely friends are the best friends.

Grey hairs come a whole lot sooner than you expect.

“One more episode” actually means four more episodes.

Hanger, it’s real.

Kitchens are made for dancing.

I will never be as happy as my two dogs.

McDonald’s Coke taste better than any other coke.

The person who invented Grocery Pick-up is a genius and all we mothers appreciate you.

At this age, you can pull a muscle in your sleep.

Costco is a very glorious place.

Airfryers are the bee’s knees.

Have date nights weekly with your significant other; make that time for each other.

Don’t get drunk and order food on Doordash; you will probably end up with $70+ of Chipotle on your front doorstep. Oops.

Spend as much time as you can with your grandparents. That time is so valuable.

Even if it scares you, still do it. Try those new opportunities.

It is possible to wrongly cook macaroni & cheese…sorry kids.

Sometimes those college degrees aren’t worth it.

Chips and salsa are the best snack.

Dad jokes are actually funny.

Never turn down the opportunity to take a good nap.

Caffeine is your friend.

You don’t need to buy every single houseplant you see.

Getting forehead kisses will never get old.

You can never say “I love you” too much.

our stay home diary.

our quarantine life has become our new normal, for now atleast. i feel a lot more settled than i did when we first were told to stay home five weeks ago.

whether we like it or not, this will be one of the defining moments of our lifetime. and for that reason, i want to remember all the little moments, and thought i’d share.

obviously some parts are tough – missing family and friends, a different routine, the fear of someone we love becoming unhealthy, etc. this period of time has certainly reminded me of what’s important.

but there are so, so many positives – we’re healthy, we’re happy, and we’re together.

our kids are happy. they’re still learning, but having fun. they’ve spent plenty of time face-timing friends and family and we’re lucky that the weather has been pretty decent so they’ve been able to spend lots of time outside.

we’ve been doing more things together and i’ve been enjoying all the extra time we have together now. nearly every night we’ve been taking a family walk in our neighborhood. moments as simple as that are what i’ll remember from all of this; the memories we’re making.

we’re doing things around the house that we’ve put off. we’re doing lots of grilling out and enjoying eating dinner on the deck. trying new recipes have been a new hobby of mine, and i’ve even broke out the ‘ole paint and paint brushes again.

because the kiddos have been able to stay up a little later due to starting school (e-learning) later in the day, we’ve been using that time to have lots of family movies. we make popcorn and all lounge on the big couch. thank goodness for netflix and disney+.

enjoy a few more photos from our quarantine memory book…

until next time…stay healthy and enjoy all the extra time with your family. we’re all in this together!

stuck at home and need ideas of what to do?

self-quarantined and bored already?

with being encouraged to stay home with everything that has been going on in our world lately, it’s easy to spend hours upon hours on our phones and computers. but that can only be entertaining for so long.

today, i brainstormed a few ideas to get you through the boredom and hopefully keep you from going a little stir-crazy.

go for a drive. a perfect way to get out of the house, but still keep away from others. right now is the perfect time: traffic is light and gas is cheap! even bring the family with and make a fun adventure out if it with a classic game of i-spy.

make something. no better time than now to make something you’ve wanted to, whether that be a painting, a video, or a construction project. you’ve got this!

relax and pamper yourself. even get the kids included if you wanted to. do some face masks, give yourself a pedicure, take a bubble bath. treat yourself!

take an online course. learn something new that you’ve always wanted to or freshen up and improve your skills.

workout. a lot of gyms are closing, but don’t let that stop you from being active. go for a run or walk, inside or out, or try out a new online workout class. youtube is even a great resource for a lot of free online workout routines, or create your own!

cook. have that new recipe that you’ve been wanting to try? now’s the time! or scroll the internet and find something that looks yummy! even give baking a try!

read a book. i have countless books that i’ve had sitting on my shelf waiting to be read, but the time just hasn’t been there. pick up a good read, relax, and get lost in another world – that’s corona free!

need some more ideas that are’t so fun? use this gift of extra time at home to knock things off your to-do list that you’ve been putting off or haven’t had time for:

  • deep clean the house
  • clean out the fridge and reorganize the pantry
  • do some yard work
  • clean out old files on your computer
  • rearrange the furniture in your house
  • purge your closet and donate what you no longer wear

most importantly…relax, s l o w d o w n, and STAY HEALTHY!

ten date night ideas.

one of my favorite things about john and i is that way we always make time for date nights, for each other.

sometimes it’s hard with our busy schedules, and our herd of small children running around, but the fact that we always make time to spend quality time together, alone, is my favorite.

so try it; forget about your schedules, the kids, the person who annoyed you earlier in the day and devote your time and attention to the one you love. i wrangled up some fun ideas; check ’em out:

have a picnic, inside or out.

turn your outdoor patio into a dining experience…music, tablecloth, candles, and all.

kayak down the river together.

attend a sporting event together.

get out of the house and just rent a hotel for the night. order take-out, watch movies, and don’t leave the room until morning.

lay on a blanket outside and stargaze.

have a cozy night in. make popcorn, snuggle under some blankets on the couch, and binge watch some of your favorite movies.

get fancy. get all dolled up and pick a hotel lobby to meet up at. reserve a table at a fancy restaurant and finish the night at a show or bar.

take a class…cooking, painting, etc.

recreate your first date, always a favorite to recreate those memories.

choose to always date your person. xoxoxo

february fun | slumber parties, valentine’s day, and the everyday adventures

the month of january seemed like it lasted half a dang year, and now february seems to be just FLYING by. as much as i’m looking forward to warmer weather, i wish it would slow down a bit just so i could enjoy each of these moments a little bit longer.

this month is only a little over halfway through, but i’d thought i’d share some of what we’ve been up to.

you guys, we adulted and got a costco membership. we’ve only just got it and have explored the store three times already. what are some of your must-haves from there? thus far, the street tacos are a must!

we had some family over for the superbowl. good food, drinks, and even better company. i was glad the chiefs won, but honestly, i would have been happy if anyone won that wasn’t the packers.

mahkena has always had such high envisions for her school’s valentine’s day party box, and this year was no different. she found an idea she liked online and we made it come to life. i enjoyed getting crafty with my little one.

kaylei had some family and friends over for a slumber party. based off all the photos, i’d say she had quite a lot of fun. there was lots of pizza, dancing, and even donuts in the morning for breakfast.

by far, this valentine’s day was my favorite. i spent it with my better half and we made a day out of it. we checked out new cars at the chicago auto show, stopped at one of my favorite spots for dinner, and just enjoyed the alone time. everyday, i’m thankful to be sharing my life with this guy.

just a little january.

this month has been a little quiet here on the blog, so i’m breaking up that silence a bit.

how are you all feeling about this month? i’ve been feeling really GOOD about 2020 – a fresh month, a fresh year, a fresh decade.

take a look at what we’ve been up to…

we rang in the new year at home, surrounded with family and friends, some new and some old. good food, drinks, music, and watching the ball drop…no better way to celebrate starting a new decade.

a new year, and i’m still using ways to document our months. groovebook is still my go to. so simple – just an app that lets you put all your photos in a monthly book for $3.99 a month with free shipping. want to try it? use my code: GOODWIN5000 for a free book!

i’ve been adding books to my list that i’d like to read in 2020, and a friend recommended the website thriftbooks. used books for a great bargain with fast shipping…i’d check it out if you also enjoy reading. what is on your reading list for 2020?

we’ve made time at least once a month to just get out of the house and enjoy a fun date night. we’ve been enjoying being able to spend some alone time together. got any ideas for fun date nights? we’d love to add some to our date-night bucket list.

i’ve really been enjoying cooking lately; i like trying and making new recipes for the family. what are some of your favorite recipes that your family enjoys? i recently shared my chicken parmesan recipe here. if you try it, let me know what you think!

last week, our little one came down with the flu and strep. poor thing had to miss school for almost a full week. and as much as i enjoyed the extra snuggles with her , it’s awful seeing your child sick and feeling helpless. luckily she’s on the mend after lots of bubble baths, naps, and medicine.

my favorite part about this month is all the time we’ve been able to spend with family. we celebrated my mom’s birthday and met up for lunch, and then our usual football hangouts. i’ll never take this time we get together for granted.

how’s your january been? hope you’re avoiding the cold and making the best out of your new year.

till next time!

recipe: chicken parmesan.

this is easily one of my favorite recipes, and quite simple to make!

it’s a meal that looks like you probably spent quite some time on making, but all the ingredients come together nicely, and majority of them you probably already have in your pantry.

it’s very versatile and can be served as a side to mostly anything, but our favorite is to have it with spaghetti.

wanna try it? i’ll share the recipe down below and be sure to let me know what you think if you give it a try.

ingredients:

  • (4) chicken breast, halves or tenders
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2/3 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 4 tablespoons oil
  • 24 oz jar of pasta sauce
  • 1 cup  shredded mozzarella cheese
  • pinch of garlic powder
  • pinch of basil
  • spaghetti noodles, if desired

instructions:

  1. prepare the breading station with three bowls: fill one with flour, one with the beaten eggs, and the third with a mixture of the panko, parmesan, garlic and basil.
  2. next, coat each piece of chicken in flour and shake off excess. dip the chicken into egg, and then into the bread crumb mixture.
  3. in a medium skillet put in oil, and place on medium heat. once the pan is hot enough, add the chicken.
  4. cook chicken until golden brown, about 5-7 minutes per side. cook until the chicken has an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
  5. place chicken on paper-towel lined plate to rid of all excess oil once fully cooked.
  6. garnish chicken with mozzarella cheese and a tablespoon of pasta sauce.
  7. serve as a side, or as we like to enjoy it, over a bed of spaghetti.

hope you try it out and enjoy this delicious recipe.

recipe: cream cheese white chicken chili.

need a simple, chili recipe that pairs perfectly with football sundays?

my family has an amazing white chicken chili recipe that they’ve made for years; it’s hearty and delicious. this weekend i was in the mood for some chili and decided to take the old recipe, tweak it a bit, and make it more my own.

it turned out so yummy and i think will definitely be a repeat in our home. the best part…it’s all made in the crockpot!

wanna try it? i’ll share the recipe down below and be sure to let me know what you think if you give it a try.

ingredients:

  • 1 15-oz. can of black beans
  • 1 package ranch dressing mix
  • 1 15.25-oz. can of corn (i prefer sweet corn)
  • 1 10-oz. can of rotel tomatoes (diced, with green chilies)
  • 1 lb of skinless, boneless chicken breast
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 8-oz package cream cheese
  • 1 cup of water

instructions:

  1. place the chicken at the bottom of the crockpot. i seasoned the chicken with a bit of salt and pepper; completely optional.
  2. drain and rinse the can of black beans before pouring it over the chicken, then top with the entire two cans of corn and rotel tomatoes. do not drain either of these. the juice from these help provide some of the flavor.
  3. top with the remaining seasonings and the packet of ranch dressing mix. add a cup of water and then stir together.
  4. lastly, add the cream cheese block right on top, close the lid, and let it cook on low for roughly 6 hours.
  5. once those 6 hours are up, remove the chicken and shred, then place back in the crockpot and stir.
  6. before serving, i added some sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese on top and loved it. i’d recommend, but only if you desire.

hope you try it out and enjoy this simple chili recipe!

november favorites

in all seriousness how it it almost december? this truly seems like the quickest year ever, but i feel like i say that every year around this time. i’m so excited for what’s coming up though…the holidays are some of my favorite moments of the year.

i wanted to share with all of you a few of my favorites from this month; a few new, a few old:

e.l.f poreless putty primer

this stuff is phenomenal. i can tell your right now, i will never purchase a different type of primer, ever. it’s a super affordable dupe of the tatcha primer and so comparable. it goes on light, leaves my skin feeling soft, and doesn’t leave any creases throughout the day.

get it here, and only for $8!

burlington

i think i’ve shopped at burlington maybe twice throughout my entire life, but recently all four of our kiddos needed snow gear, and with needing so much i looked around for good deals. i priced around for snow pants, snow boots, and mittens and burlington by far had the best deals.

i feel like burlington is one of those stores that are easily forgotten, but i’d highly recommend them for winter gear bargains!

doordash

doordash is a food delivery service that i recently tried out. the very best part…it delivers chipotle. i’m a sucker for some chipotle and if i have the opportunity to get it without having to leave my house…you betcha i’m all over it.

use this link to save $15 off on your orders through the doordash service!

houseplants

everyone that knows me, knows that i LOVE houseplants. i have quite the variety within our home…cacti, aloe, monstera, snakeplant, etc. i love everything about them; the aesthetic that they bring, the way they make our home feel, and the added benefit of them cleaning the air. it’s a great way to bring the outside in.

if you don’t have any, you should pick some up. i guarantee you’ll love having that added touch within your home.