FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL INTERVIEWS (2021).

well, it’s that time again for another year of school and one of my favorite yearly blog posts.

our three brave girls weren’t so ready for summer to be over, but were excited to be back around their friends. i am so looking forward to watching more of them and the lessons that they learn – both in school and in life.

our girls started eighth, fourth, and second grade this year. we kicked off the new year with some of our typical “first day of school photos”.

and just like previous years, we made sure to do our first day of school “interviews”.

i asked the girls these questions and had to include mason too!

Kaylei

  1. age: 13
  2. grade: 8th
  3. what i want to be when i grow up: interior decorator
  4. favorite color: green
  5. favorite movie: fast & furious
  6. favorite place to be: at: in my bed
  7. favorite food: every food
  8. favorite subject in school: i don’t have one
  9. what do you love: mom
  10. favorite memory from this summer: going to florida

Aubrey

  1. age: 7
  2. grade and teacher: 2nd – Mrs. Timmerman
  3. what i want to be when i grow up: a vet
  4. favorite color: teal
  5. favorite movie: home alone
  6. favorite place to be: at: our house
  7. favorite food: hot dogs
  8. favorite subject in school: math
  9. what do you love: everyone in this house
  10. favorite memory from this summer: celebrating kaylei’s birthday so i could see how much money she got

Mahkena

  1. age: 9
  2. grade and teacher: 4th – Mrs. Binning
  3. what i want to be when i grow up: a plant shop owner
  4. favorite color: pink
  5. favorite movie: jurasic world
  6. favorite place to be: at: the plant store
  7. favorite food: mcdonalds
  8. favorite subject in school: art
  9. what do you love: family
  10. favorite memory from this summer: getting winnie jo

Mason

  1. age: 3
  2. what i want to be when i grow up: captain america
  3. favorite color: blue
  4. favorite movie: harry potter
  5. favorite place to be: at: hotels
  6. favorite food: candy and cinnamon rolls and pancakes
  7. what do you love: daddy
  8. favorite memory from this summer: snuggling with my family

“say yes to one more book, one more hug, one more kiss goodnight, tuck them in and snuggle them tight. one day you will tuck them in and they’ll be grown. they will smile and tell you they can do it on their own.”

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.

JUNE 2021; OUR MONTH IN VIDEO

Happy June ya’all!

This month was full of celebrations between Father’s Day and birthdays, backyard adventures, and bringing home our new Winnie girl.

Here’s a look at our month; hope you enjoy!

Our first few days with Winnie Jo; a photo diary.

John and I have been tossing around the idea for a while of adding another golden retriever to our family. As our girl Maci Bo gets older, we wanted her to have another dog around to keep her young. And yes, we have Mazi, but let’s be honest we don’t call her “Big Mama” for nothing. She plays with Maci, but she can often show her cranky-old lady personality and isn’t always a big ball of energy.

We did some research and came across a farm in Wisconsin that had some puppies that were available to go to a new home. Saturday, June 19th, we woke up and VERY spontaneously decided to make the drive and “look” at the puppies. Look is the keyword, but let’s be real, we were coming home with our Winnie Jo.

Winnie was the third puppy introduced to us and it was one of those things that when we met her we just knew. All the other puppies when we would walk away would wander off, but Winnie wouldn’t leave John’s side. Ultimately, John had told me to make the final decision, but as soon as I saw how much she just wanted to be around us, the decision was easy.

So, that started our story with miss Winnie. It was a cuddly ride home; the whole time she sat on my lap and was just begging for love from John and I. She enjoyed staring out the window and took many breaks in between for a quick nap curled up on my lap.

I swear it was like bringing a new baby home and introducing her to the family. She’s the cutest ball of fluff right now and the kids are all obsessing over her. We’re excited to watch her grow, but hopefully not too fast…we are loving this puppy stage.

Enjoy these photos of our first few days together as a family. We sure love you, Winnie Jo…even your terrible, stinky puppy breath.

MAY 2021; OUR MONTH IN VIDEO

Can you believe that May is already over and summer is officially here?

This month was full of celebrations between Mother’s Day and birthdays and a whole lot of fun in between. We ended our month with a family vacation and man, we’re already looking forward to another one.

Hope you enjoy this little video of our month, #LeParteyof6 style!

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.

EASTER 2021

i hope you all had a wonderful easter whether you were celebrating at home relaxing, around the table with family, or alone. we were so lucky this year with amazing weather here in illinois; it always makes the day a whole lot more enjoyable when the sun is shining.

this year was a little different for us as we only had the two littles with us while the older girls were spending the holiday with their dad’s family. we missed them bunches and can’t wait to celebrate with them when they come home.

we started our morning searching around the house for easter baskets. it only took a few trips around each room for the kids to finally find them and i think they were more than happy with the surprises the bunny left them…new jammies, shoes, swimsuits, toys, and candy. they sure got spoiled!

the four of us made sure to sneak in some quick family photos in our matching outfits before leaving the house. i still can’t get over how adorable the kids looked with their hair all done and in spring colors.

aubrey and i got our matching dresses from amazon; you can find them here. i was pleasantly surprised with the quality of them and how comfortable they were. us girls sure loved that they had pockets too!

we went to family’s for a big breakfast and it was perfect. the food was delicious, the mimosas were tasty, and being able to spend that time with family was my favorite.

the kid’s got to do an easter egg hunt around the house after breakfast and finished with buckets full of candy and big smiles on their faces.

the rest of the day we just spent time together and enjoyed the nice weather with a cook out and a family walk. we had a great easter and sure hope you did too!

MARCH 2021; A VIDEO OF OUR MONTH.

three months in to 2021 and the time still is flying by. i really enjoy making these quick video collages of our month to capture the memories that we’re creating.

take a look at our month and see what we’ve been up to as a family of 6.

recipe: Steak Street Tacos

anyone that knows me, knows that i LOVE tacos. i could eat them seven days a week for every meal. they’re my favorite!

i want to share with all of you my favorite street tacos to make; it’s super simple and one of our family favorites. give it a try and let me know what you think.

ingredients:

  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • ⅓ cup distilled white vinegar
  • ⅓ cup fresh lime juice
  • ⅓ cup fresh orange juice
  • 4 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped, plus whole leaves for serving
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-1.5 lb flank steak
  • corn tortillas
  • 1 white onion
  • optional for serving: cotija cheese, sour cream, guacamole

instructions:

  • in a large bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, lime juice, orange juice, garlic, chopped cilantro, salt, cumin, and pepper.
  • place the steak in a gallon-size resealable bag; pour in 1 the marinade. seal the bag and shake to evenly coat the steak in the marinade. refrigerate for at least on 1 hour, but not more than 4 hours to keep the meat tender.
  • heat a large pan over high heat until very hot. remove the steak from the bag set aside the marinade. cook the steak on 1 side until there are dark grill marks and it is beginning to caramelize around the edges, about 6 minutes. flip and cook on the other side for about 5 minutes. meat is done when it is safely at 135 degrees. transfer to a cutting board and let it rest for 5 minutes.
  • in a small saucepan, bring the marinade to a boil over medium-high heat. cook until thickened and reduced by half, about 5 minutes. remove from the heat and set aside.
  • heat the corn tortillas in a pan over medium-high heat, turning with tongs, until softened and just beginning to brown in spots, roughly one minute per side. to keep warm wrap tortillas in tin foil until ready to serve.
  • thinly slice the steak against the grain, then cut the slices in half. transfer to a large bowl and toss with the reduced marinade to coat.
  • serve the steak with the warm tortillas, cilantro, and chopped white onion. can add cotija cheese, sour cream, and guacamole if desired.

try them; they’re so simple to make and so tasty! you won’t regret it.

costco favorites that you need in your life

costco. heard of it?

it should come as no surprise to those who know me, know that i love costco. no. more like i’m obsessed with it. i think it may be part of the mom handbook; once you step in you’re sold.

we stopped in spontaneously to visit the new local warehouse one day and jumped on the bandwagon after walking just a few of their aisles. we’ve been a member for over a year now and over that year have accumulated some favorites.

so what should you buy at costco? check out some of our favorites below:

street tacos

these were one of the very first things that we were told about when we started shopping at costco. actually the employee who sold us our membership told us that we should pick up some of these before leaving the store.

thanks miss costco employee for the recommendation because these are amazing! we typically make a trip to costco every other week and usually purchase these every time. they’re so convenient to make and the kids really enjoy them too.

if you haven’t checked out the aisle of pre-made meals at costco, i’d highly recommend it. we’ve tried a few things from there and haven’t been disappointed yet. their chicken fettucine alfredo is another one of our favorites!

vodka

this is the definition of a bargain booze. the costco brand’s kirkland vodka has earned it’s own fan club and we’re part of that. it’s just as tasty as grey goose and some even claim that it’s possible it’s the same since they’re both made in the same distillery, but at a bargain at just half the price.

king blanket

we’re a sucker for big fluffy blankets in this house and this one did not disappoint. in fact, we even went back and bought multiple. want a giant, comfy blanket for under $25? this is it.

mini frozen tacos

don’t judge me here, but okay, i’m a huge fan of quick and easy lunches and these are one of my go-tos. my favorite part? they’re perfectly cooked and crispy after being tossed in the air fryer for just a few minutes. also, you know you bought something good when every time you purchase it and go through the checkout line the cashiers always rave about them.

french onion soup

another quick and easy lunch? these. i’m a sucker for soup and french onion soup is easily one of my favorites, but such a pain to make. i read a few reviews about how delicious these were and i’d have to agree. i pop them in the microwave for just a few minutes and often add an extra slice of swiss on top.

tortilla chips

who doesn’t love a good tortilla chip? these are a staple in our house! the bag is giant and all for under $4. big families that fly through chips, these are definitely a must for you!

battery-operated candles

these were one of those random purchases after strolling through the aisles one day. probably the most random thing that we’ve purchased at costco, but they’re now one of my favorite home decor items. we have a set around our fireplace and then got more later for our bedroom.

the lights flicker like a real candle and one of my favorite purchases is that you can set them on a timer to turn on and off at the same time every day.

ramen noodles with chicken

i love a good bowl of ramen, especially with a bunch of extra veggies and meat are tossed in. i stumbled on these in the freezer section, tossed them in the cart, and have been doing so since. they take only 3 minutes in the microwave and even after, the chicken in it is still so tender. add these to your shopping list next time you’re running to costco; you won’t regret it!

do you have a costco membership? what’s your favorite thing to get there?