Friday Five: 2/24/17


  1. Would ya look at this new designer piece of furniture we just got delivered? Custom made, hand crafted and hand sanded, impeccable lines and joints, stained to match the kitchen cabinets, and made with love and care….all by MY DAD! How neat is that?! It’s the perfect height and size to sit up to our island. Ruth approves! {Don’t worry, we don’t leave her there;) } THANKS DAD!!!!!

2. What is with this weather? I could have practically worn shorts 3 days ago and today Amelia’s telling me all about the snowman she’s building tomorrow with the snow we’re getting tonight. I give up. We enjoyed a good hike last week, although the kids were sad that we didn’t come upon much wildlife like we usually do, {kids, it’s STILL winter!!} but they were happy to splash in the stream and get mud in places it shouldn’t be. *sigh* And why is it that every time we are in a place without a working restroom {again, it’s STILL winter so bathrooms are locked everywhere!}  ALL of my kids have to go, more than once?! I mean, come on!!!!


3. Lucy lost her first tooth! After letting it hang on for a painfully loooong week, she finally let us me help her pull it and she was more than excited with the result, but a bit concerned with the sight of her own blood (definitely gets that from her dad…). I think she was even more excited to get her name on the ‘Tooth Wall’ at school. Kindergarten is just the best. The tooth fairy brought a whole DOLLAR. She is happily anticipating the arrival of a’big kid tooth’ in it’s place and she may or may not have confiscated the tooth into one of her purses, AKA I have no idea where it went….


4. Well Amelia got her first ear infection. Always a good time. *sarcasm*  Notice the hands on the ears, teary eyes, and the ‘She’s NOT looking in my ears mom!’ meltdown that happened just prior to this picture. She’s napping it off today; it’s amazing what a little amoxicillin and tylenol can do for a kid. I am pretty impressed that she made it over 3 years!


5. And last but definitely not least, this little munchkin turned 5 months yesterday! She could be a baby-model, no? She’s even cuter now that she can sit up on her own, and so self-entertaining!  She’s become an absolute expert hair yanker, hence my permanent ponytail and consideration of a chopped haircut. She eats all the foods….. and some non-foods. Haha! The kids think it’s absolutely hilarious when she chews on paper that THEY give her and then she hands it back slobbery wet. Kids are weird.

Have a great weekend!


Friday Five : 2/10/17

1) The cuteness of this one….I just can’t even!!! She’s cutting her 1st 2 teeth on the bottom and they’re almost through. The drool though….well that’s another story. She’s just the best.


2) I made my first ever from scratch gluten free cake! I combined this recipe and this recipe to make a gluten free black forest deliciousness for someone’s birthday….. we shan’t name names of who is old enough in this house for that. many. candles!.  😉  IT WAS AMAZING!!!!! The only downfall to gluten free sweets is the incredibly expensive replacement flour blend that costs $5 for 4 cups. *welp*  This cake was worth it and might be my new favorite cake ever!!!


3) Well I was planning to do the ever-exciting  dreaded task art of grocery getting today, and then share with my blog readers the ‘how we do’. But instead, I’m homebound for the 2nd time this week with the third sick kid 😦  I know, I feel the pity. Hopefully NO ONE ELSE gets this because I’m sure I could go through all of life without this and be quite content. Tuesday night was the beginning, with 2 girls coming down with in within a few hours of each other, then G picked up the slack last night at 2:45am. Let me just tell you that one of the worst parts of having a sick kids(s) is having to sleep on the couch to keep them company. My sore, aching body this morning was quite a bummer, and I’m apparently quite spoiled by my love of our Tempurpedic mattress. I should have given the 7 year old the ‘short couch’ so I didn’t have to sleep in a complete fetal position all night!!! He’s recovering and enjoying some Netflix and a documentary on airport technology from the couch while I try to get some fluids and crackers in him. *what a life*


4) After almost 2 1/2 years of living in the Maple Street Estate, we FINALLY got curtains in the living and dining rooms.  My first goal was to have them by Christmas a year ago since the first floor was finished by then. Whoops. Then I thought I’d get on them over the summer, when you know, I was hugely pregnant. Great idea. Yeah that didn’t happen. Then I couldn’t decide what I wanted and I was no way going to shell out the 5K for the blinds that I was quoted. So I improvised and did a little sewing and this is the result. I’m going to shorten them by about 10 inches, but that would require me not having sick kids and getting to the store for more thread since I ran out when I was originally sewing them. Yep. Won’t be today, but that’s alright.


5) We went to our first ever Hawkeyes gymnastics meet a few weekends ago and it was AWESOME. By ‘we’ I mean ‘myself and 4 kids under 7’ as J was already busy with a weekend commitment. I was a bit nervous to take them solo to a highly trafficked public sports venue, but actually they did really good.  I’m not sure if I just missed my calling as a gymnast (highly unlikely) or if I just like to live vicariously through those very nimble and at-the-top-of-their-prime 19 year olds (more than likely), but I loved watching it! They have another meet tomorrow that we’ll hopefully be attending. The best part is kids are FREE!!!

Happy Friday!


How We Do: Groceries

This post is going to be rivoting. Mind-boggling good. Blow your socks off. Super boring?….Or maybe actually very interesting for others….I don’t really know!

I got a lot of questions after I posted in passing that I get groceries 2 times a month. So this post is about just that. I like to figure out ‘systems’ for doing things; I guess I’m a creature of habit and it makes life a lot easier. As far as groceries go, I’ve done the once-a-month system, the freezer-meals system, the no-plan lack of system, the I’m-hungry system, the I’m-nauseated-constantly-but-still-have-to-cook system………everything has had a season. HA! I like reading how other families do things and stealing their ideas. 😉 I stalk other bloggers and pinterest in my spare time, AKA after 10pm when I should be sleeping!

Get ready for this wildly exciting ride….


Aldi here we come! (They’re remodeling)

I start usually 1 or 2 days before I get groceries, and I plan dinners for 2 or 3 weeks. Sometimes what I plan actually lasts longer than that. I have a master set of dinner recipes with listed ingredients that I have in a binder in sheet protectors. This way the papers don’t get all nasty when I cook, because when the kids help in the kitchen there’s no hope for neatness. There’s probably 30 of the recipes, I’ve never counted. They are easy recipes that I know we like and are decently healthy and GF. Win-win-win. I don’t like to re-invent the wheel every 2 weeks. I don’t plan for breakfast or lunches because it’s always the same…..we eat eggs or cereal or protein bar for breakfast and leftovers for lunch (G and L eat school lunch). I have the name of each recipe written on a post-it. I keep this all in a binder. So I take my calendar and stick a post it to the days for the next 2 or 3 weeks to designate which meals we’ll have when. I like the post-its as then I can change it up if I want without having to scribble all over the calendar. And yes I recently color coded the post-its because I AM A HUGE ORGANIZING DORK. I blame Mel for that quality. 😉 Blue is soups/stews, green/yellow is stuff to bake or grill, coral/pink is crock pot. And the fighter plane on the right is just for you to wonder about 😉


So then I make a grocery list for all the recipes I’ve stuck to the calendar. This is super quick because all of the recipes have the ingredients listed in the binder! Genius, I know. Too bad it wasn’t my original idea (thanks Pinterest). I have a little magnetic list on the fridge too where we write things when they run out, so I add those to the list as well. I get super nerdy here and organize my list by category – pantry (canned/boxed goods, etc), fridge/freezer, and produce because this makes sense to me and saves me time. I’ve also started buying flats of common canned goods that we go through a ton of. A flat at Aldi cost like $4-5 depending what it is. I get what’s on the list plus quite a bit more because I don’t always write the regular things down (ie bananas or milk) or specials they may have in store that day. This whole planning session takes me maybe 15 mins depending how many times I’m interrupted.


So then it’s time to shop. I seriously have to psyche myself up for this, and sometimes I’ll even tell my coworkers or J that tomorrow I’m getting groceries so I’m trying to prepare myself. This is legit. It’s an undertaking. I pack the diaper bag and put my list in there the night before because it really sucks when you go to all this work then forget your list!

Amelia and Ruth are always my 2 tag-alongs because we go right after we drop the bigs at school in the morning. Ruth goes in my sling and Amelia either walks or sits in the top of the cart. We  go to Walmart first and get the few things that we cannot get at Aldi, then we go to Aldi and get the rest. Amelia does really well grocery shopping if I let her get licorice. You see, the licorice is right by the entrance door to the store. I let her get a licorice, and she sits in the cart the rest of the time coddling and protecting her tiny box of licorice that she’s been told she can have a few of after we’re done, as long as she’s a good helper. She does this through the whole store. I try to cross stuff off as we go, but soon my cart is overflowing and I cannot locate the list because it’s now buried beneath the 6 dozen eggs and 3 loaves of bread…..


Would you believe that on this very day I forgot my BAGS!? Rookie mistake! It was almost a tragedy. I snagged a mountain of produce boxes and we trudged along. Aldi rocks.


So we go to check out. I forgot the salsa…dang it. My kids have been great, Ruth hasn’t even made a peep. I always get a lot of looks at the checkout. I think it’s either pity or the she’s-crazy look, but I can never tell. What???? Doesn’t everyone buy 6 gallons of milk at a time?!?! So some guy named Larry (Amelia wanted to know his name) who’s behind us in line gets tired of waiting on me to unload this heap, so he takes it upon himself to unload half of the cart for me. Bless his heart. I pay for our food and thank him, then it’s onto another huge task, boxing/bagging all that food! I get it all in the boxes, but then it won’t all fit in my cart. I’m mentally assessing the problem when stranger #2, and Aldi worker, takes pity on me and tells me to take an extra cart that she has. So I have TWO CARTS. This is another issue. I have a baby strapped to me, a 3 year old who is darn ready to eat her licorice, and 2 carts to get to the car. I take the gigantic cart first, put girls in the car, unload cart #1, lock the car, run furiously back into the store and grab cart #2, unload it into the car, buckle up kids, lock car, run furiously again to return the cart to the corral, then hop in. Another issue–Ruth needs a diaper change! There is no empty available flat space in the car. I am NOT going back into the store. I change her on my lap.


Cart #1

So we drive home. At home I unload all the groceries into the kitchen….my weightlifting for the day! Talk about multitasking! Amelia is in charge of putting away canned goods into the corner pantry and I put away the rest. If G or L happens to be home on grocery day, they are in charge of putting away produce and upper corner pantry stuff, but today it’s just me and the 3 year old.  4 gallons of milk and 4 dozen eggs go into the overflow fridge in the basement along with anything else I can’t find a home for. 3 loaves of bread go into the deep freeze. The rest goes in the kitchen.


I’m tired. And now it’s time to make lunch. Licorice for lunch, anyone? JK….


A Day in the Life 2/1/17

Last Thursday I went to work and must have looked horrible. My 2nd patient of the day (740am, mind you) said, “You look really tired”. Thanks. “Weren’t you off yesterday? You should be rested!” Why yes, yes I was. It’s hardly a day ‘off’ as any mom of littles knows, there is no such thing, no matter if you are working at home or outside of the home. So, for that patient and anyone else who wants to read, here’s what I do on days ‘off’. Someday I’ll look back at these ‘day in the life’ posts and chuckle. Right now I just feel tired, and my feet hurt, although it was a good day. I am pushing 31.5 yrs so I guess that’ll happen. 😉 Here’s Wednesday:

I wake up around 6:20am. Normally on Wed/Fri I give myself the grace to ‘sleep in’ till 6:55am. I was up earlier because, well, nursing….if you’ve ever nursed a baby that sleeps all night (bless her little heart!) you know why I’m awake. I venture downstairs, do a few things and watch the news for approximately 5 mins.  Back upstairs I wake up the girls. G is already up, dressed, and building Legos at his table. He’s such a little man. He’s got his lamp on, sitting in his office chair, and listening to the radio as he builds. I think he’s an old soul 🙂

Lucy, on the other hand, takes 3 times for me to get her awake. The morning struggle is real with this one! Side note–I don’t know what my girls do to their hair at night but it’s always atrocious in the morning! The kids pretty much get themselves ready in the morning, I just make sure they’re up, fix hair and question their breakfast choices, and drive/walk them to school and kiss them goodbye. They’re always excited for school! I get Ruth up and dress and feed her, then we’re off.

We do dropoff then Amelia and I and Ruth head to pickup our hog from the locker. 225 lbs was that little piggie before he met his maker. I hope he tastes good in brat/roast/ground pork/pork steak form!

The nice guy from the locker helped me fit all the meat between seats/carseats. *sigh* carseats….they’re a necessary evil I guess! We run a few other errands then make it home. I carry the meat from the car to the kitchen (x5), from the kitchen to the basement (x5) and then pack it all in the deep freeze. My back hurts!!

I snagged 2 huge new-to-us bookshelves on Craigslist the other day so Amelia and I got to work on putting one of them to good use in the girls room. I was pleased 🙂 This took a significant amount of time as my girls are hoarders. They do NOT get this from me, I’m quite the opposite! Side note–J thinks thd dolls on top of the shelf are the creepiest thing ever. As long as they don’t move at night we’re all good.

On the daily, Amelia INSISTS that we do the dinosaur puzzle and play Connect 4. She also always is very concerned that 1 piece is missing from the puzzle. Every time. At what age do kids start remembering? Added in some My Little Pony Memory game just for kicks, because we like to live on the wild side. Ruth plays in the exersaucer for the next 45 mins (Love that kid…) We switch laundry and play.

Lunch time! Amelia is quite the independent child and makes her own pb&j frequently for lunch, as she did today. She also is very proud that she can peel her own cutie orange. “MOM! I DO IT!” After lunch we make brownies (note the very well-used apron) and dinner for tomorrow night–cranberry pineapple pork roast in the crockpot. Yes this is made over 30 hrs in advance, but things go much smoother if I plan. I like to plan. #prepared   I get scolded by the 3 year old because it’s HER job to lick the bowl, not mine. Note taken…… Normally she would be napping at this time, but some days I’m a pushover and we do fun stuff, like eat brownie batter together 🙂

I fold laundry and switch loads.  Ruth drifts off to sleep and we head for the basement so I can get a workout in. I usually do this in the morning, but today was a bit off. Amelia chooses to sit right in front of the airdyne bike so she gets a wind in her face and colors, rides her bike and scooter, and plays with trucks on the dirty basement floor. A little basement dirt is good for everyone, right? I ride for 30 mins then Ruth is awake. She’s such a catnapper.  I hope for a shower but Ruth has other plans……so we fold laundry with Ruth in the sling.

Before I know it, G and L are walking home from school. Amelia eagerly awaits their arrival and waits at the window, waving and yelling at them from Gabriel’s room. She cannot wait for preschool next year….


The kids come in and right away I go through their backpacks, FULL of papers today, things to sign and dates to put in the calendar. “Mom, my teacher had a real challenge for us today” says the kindergartener. What 5 year old talks like that?? She kills me. Gabriel is completely and utterly enamored with a National Geographic robot book he got at library today, so we settle in and read that for about 20 mins.  Good stuff.

They graze, build a tunnel out of a cardboard box, set up a ‘show’, ‘ticket booth’ and ‘offices’. I’m summoned to ‘buy tickets for the show’ and find Lucy has repurposed the dollhouse into an office, and Amelia’s office is in the bedroom. Amelia says “I look good, Mom”. Yes, yes you do indeed. The ‘show’ never does occur. lol

After 2 hours of their shenanigans I make them clean it allll up. I quickly make dinner and toss it in the oven while I’m talking on the phone with Aunt Mel. Lucy gets ready for dance (it’s PJ week) and we head out the door.


Here’s the thing. Some Wednesday nights go well, others, no so much. Wednesday is my single mom day, allll day and nighttime too as J has grad classes. Tonight was towards the ‘good’ side. See that dog Amelia’s holding? Well he got left at the dance studio. No more than we got halfway home and I was alerted, tears and hysterics, that puppy was missing! The despair! The horror of what could be happening to him! The absolute panic! Being the kind-hearted person  that I am, we drove back and retrieved him, laying on the toy table in the dance waiting area. Gabriel was angry that 1) I took his picture and 2) I made him bring a book to read to me while we were waiting, sorry kid, it’s good for you #multitasking

We finally get home from the dance/dog fiasco and dinner is done! I know it’s probably not the best idea to leave the oven running while we leave, but it worked tonight.  Chicken parmesan it is! {so good!!!} No, not gluten free, but on Wednesdays sometimes we eat all the gluten because Jeremiah has night class at gets home after bedtime. No less than 10 times I have to tell the kids to stop talking/laughing/joke telling/singing and eat. I mean, if the food was bad I could understand, but this was just the opposite!

I tell the kids that if they get everything done, they can watch a little TV before bed. I’ve never seen them unload the dishwasher, clear the table, don pj’s and brush teeth so quickly! They chose this animal documentary on IPTV that sneakily sends robotic animal look-alikes into the wild and records the animals reactions. Entertaining stuff!  We head up to bed, I read books to the kids and they’re off to sleepytime. I read and nurse Ruth to bed. Sleeping babies are so sweet! And I finished that book! BAM!

I sweep the dining room and contemplate sweeping the kitchen and folding yet another load of laundry, but decide writing this blog is way more enjoyable. 🙂  I’m hoping to be asleep in approximately 35 minutes and completely ignore the filthy floor we’re all walking on.

It’s been a good day 🙂