Seester Sunday: Keeping It Real

Welcome back to Seester Sunday! Today I had every intention of wearing a cute outfit to Mass and documenting our day. Instead…..I woke up at 4am to Lucy announcing she had been sick in her bed and it was all in her hair….I digress, you don’t want to read about that. The point is that I didn’t get to go to Mass today due to having sick kids. I also didn’t get to go to Mass last weekend because I was on day 3 of a terrific fever, body aches, headache and general I-feel-like-crap virus that seemed to never end. I ALSO didn’t get to go to the weekday Mass I’ve been attending due to a sick child. *sigh* We have had sick kids for 3 weeks. They’ve shared viruses and all have taken their very own days to get through the illness, instead of all just doing it at once (my preference, but no one asked me)!


Anyways, today I took a shower right after J left with the ‘well kids’ for Mass and this is what I wore the rest of the day with 3 girls at home with me. Real life right here, folks. Adidas pants that are just about my favorite and a tshirt that we tie-dyed as a family a few years ago. At least I’m clean! I did change later in the day to do some painting. So this is as good as it gets. Kateri either wants me to hold her 24/7 or she’s climbing on me like a jungle gym, literally, OR shes unrolling all the toilet paper. If you’re wondering why there’s a pile of blankets behind me, it’s because there has been a kid on our floor almost every night for 3 weeks. They rotate, depending on who’s sick. It’s quite a trip…

Maybe next week I’ll have a decent What I Wore Sunday post. Until then, I hope we can get well and STAY well!


Thankfully we have no flu virus at our place, but I did have to refill Percy the Puggle’s allergy meds last week. He was getting itchy again, and this time I caught it before we had full blown hot spots and all of that mess. The vet said that this has been a crazy season for pet allergies.

Rather than post my going-to-mass outfit today, I’ll keep it real like my sister and post another option: my Snoopy costume!


Percy, Gemma, and I participated in the Spooky Paws Parade  in the East Village of Des Moines on Sunday afternoon. The weather was a bit chilly, but I was plenty warm in this year’s costume. I had the idea for Charlie Brown, Sally Brown, and Snoopy a month or so ago, and the theme came together nicely. I ended up buying a child’s size 3T shirt for Percy and then found an actual dog dress for Gemma. While we did not win a prize for our costumes, we did win a random drawing for a $25 gift card to Jett & Monkey’s pet store. So cool!

We have entered this photo into our doggy daycare’s Halloween costume contest, so Percy and Gemma will win a huge gift basket full of awesomeness if we get the most loves/likes on the photo. If you click here and love or like the photo, we would appreciate it! 

Wishing better health to sister Sarah and her family! Stay tuned for a Halloween post on my blog Mel’s Musings (Link to: later this week!



Costello Eats: Version 1

So I like to cook. I like to eat. My kids and husband like to eat. ALOT. So it’s only natural that this blog veers towards the foodie realm every once in awhile. I had the great idea of doing a ‘Food of the Week’ post, but alas, life happened and it ended up being a ‘Some of the food we ate over 2 weeks’ type of look at what we eat. I forgot to take pictures many times, and the ones I took aren’t great. I got sick halfway through the week and didn’t care about food for 5 days in this middle of my attempt. But! Here we are and I will show you some of the extra yummy things that we ate recently, and some of these things we ate twice. But first, to give you a frame of reference, my kitchen often looks like this:

Kateri is constantly unloading the pantry, drawers and dishwasher and throwing the stuff everywhere. Ruth is often bringing random toys into the room and snitching food, Gabriel is always wondering what’s for snack and Amelia ALWAYS wants to help and Lucy always wants to bake something BY HERSELF. It’s a busy place. I think it’s important to teach the kids in the kitchen so they’re always there. That’s just how it is. Occasionally I do ban all kids from the kitchen when I feel like I’m going out of my ever loving mind. And that’s just how it is. 😉


BBQ chicken pineapple tacos with mixed veggies. We eat these tacos ALOT. They’re so simple and so delicious. Cooked shredded chicken, pineapple chunks, chopped red onion, BBQ sauce, and mozzarella cheese all in a hard corn taco shell. Bake and voila! So good! This night I was feeling ambitious and made a double batch of cookies too 😉



Chicken and stuffing in the instant pot with broccoli and homemade applesauce. Not the most pretty dish, but it was good. I used a gluten free stuffing mix, and I think that changed the texture of the dish quite a bit. The homemade applesauce was from earlier in the day when we processed 2- 5 gallon buckets full of apples!

Ruth loves peeling apples and ran the peeler almost all day!

Egg roll in a bowl. One of the easiest meals I know. Ground pork, bagged (dry) coleslaw, 1 dozen scrambled eggs. Eggs help stretch it a little further and we now have a wok specifically for this meal. The kids really like this meal. Amelia was in charge of chopping/browning meat.


This is probably the only halfway pretty picture! HA! Loaded baked potato bowls. SO GOOD. SO CHEAP. Baked potatoes I do in the instant pot, then we load them with black beans and corn, shredded cheese, green onions, BBQ sauce and sour cream. Some kids add/change theirs but that’s what mine looks like.


I’ve tried to start eating more salads during the week. Here’s my lunch one day. Spring mix greens tore up, diced up ham and cheese, tortilla strips, cherry tomatoes from the garden, chopped up hard boiled egg, and caesar dressing. I need a bigger bowl! I eat this so I don’t eat all of the girl’s mac’n’cheese!!

We had 2 variations of pizza and I have no pics of either! The Spicy italian crescent ring has been a huge hit. I have to make it gf of course, but Still! so good. Otherwise we had regular meat/cheese/veggie pizza with this yummy crust 😀





Seester Sunday: Happy Fall!

Welcome to Issue 1 of Seester Sunday, AKA ‘What We Wore Sunday’! These posts will be co-authored by myself and my sister Melissa. We both enjoy getting dressed up for church on Sundays and thought this may be a fun way to showcase that! We both have various things happening on Sundays, so we’ll show a peek into our weekend activities too. Mel has great taste in fashion and I enjoy a good bargain…we’re quite the pair! So, come along for the ride and let’s see what we wore Sunday!!!



So today it was pretty chilly when I woke up. It was 36 degrees! I knew it was a sweater kind of day! I had just gotten a new sweater this past week, so I was excited to wear it. And it’s super cozy! It caught my eye at Walmart of all places. I love the mustardy/tan color and I think it screams fall. Jeremiah told me it reminded him of Velma from Scooby Doo when it was on the hanger *ahem*–not the look I was going for–…..but then he told me it looked good when I put it on. Whatevs. I like it. My pants are black skinny jeans from Target, the A New Day brand. I bought them specifically for work but I actually really like them otherwise and find myself reaching for them a lot. Confession–the last time I wore black jeans was probably 4th grade so it was really weird to put them on at first! Boots are from Famous Footwear I believe, and I wear them ALOT. Some Sundays I dress up more than others, it just depends on what I’m feeling and the weather!!


I didn’t get a pic of the kids dressed up, but may try to do that sometimes. Lucy had several instances of high drama with her clothing choices (Mom! I have no long sleeves! Why are all my cardigans so itchy?! Why don’t I have any winter dresses like Amelia?! Blah blah blah) but settled on a cute outfit. Amelia complained the whole Mass about how itchy her tights were. (Maybe my kids all need some lotion?!) Ruth rocked a pair of sparkly pack boots with a dress I had originally made for Lucy when she was 3 or 4. Yep. Regardless, we made it to Mass before 8:30am, always a win!


The kids did pretty well during Mass. After Mass we always have coffee and doughnuts while the kids go to Sunday School. It was my week off of teaching so I got to sit around and visit too. All the kids go to Sunday school this year except for Kateri, so it’s kind of quiet, which is nice. After that we go to brunch at the in-laws and it’s a good time and good food!


Today we came home around 12:15 to change clothes and leave again for an outdoor work day at the preschool playground. Let’s just say things went well for awhile and then all of a sudden it was apparent that the 3 youngest girls definitely needed a nap! So, home I went. The rest of the day we were at home resting, doing things around the house, getting ready for the week and preparing food: the usual!




Hi, this is Sarah’s big sister Melissa – also known as Aunt Mel! When Sarah asked me about doing a joint blog post on Sundays, I did not hesitate to say yes. Sunday is my favorite day of the week. I love going to 10:30 a.m. mass at the Basilica of St. John in Des Moines. I love usually being able to take a full day for myself. I truly try to put the “Funday” into “Sunday Funday.”


This morning was one of those crisp, fall mornings that I long for during the dog days of summer. I knew it was going to be a boots and tights day, and I welcome that. I bought a new Prologue dress at Target a few weeks ago, and today was my second day wearing it. I love this dress because it is one of those throw on and go items that is super comfy and practical for mass, as well as my day full of activities. Oddly enough, I too had someone give me a hard time about my wardrobe choice. When I wore this outfit for the first time a couple of weeks ago, an elderly man outside of the Urbandale Public Library asked me what I was dressed up as, and then said, “a pilgrim?” I replied with, “No, this is just my outfit for today!” – with a big smile on my face.



I get dressed once for the day, and that’s what I wear all day, so versatility is key for me. Lately I like to get up earlier than needed in the morning so I can drink coffee, read my morning devotion, and snuggle with the pups on the couch. Sometimes I get partly ready for the day, pause for this, and then resume with makeup and hair, etc. Other days I stay in my pajamas for way longer than I should and then find myself in a mad dash to get out the door on time. Fortunately, today was one of the former.



Sunday mass is my reset button for the week. I sit on the “Joseph side” of the Basilica, in a small pew. While I do not sit directly beside anyone, I have people all around me. I enjoy fellowship during the sharing of the peace and after mass, but otherwise, I am a solo worshipper. I really try to be present and often find myself tearing up during certain hymns or right before and/or after the Eucharist. I have accepted that I am a weepy girl, and I feel so blessed to be so touched by something that it stirs up such an emotion in me.



Our parish has coffee, juice, and donuts on Sunday mornings, so I sometimes stay afterward for that. Today we had a raffle drawing, and while I did not win anything, it was fun to be a part of the fundraising project for the Basilica.



After mass, I took the fur kids to the dog park. At a balmy 51 degrees, it was a nice fall day, but it did require a coat and scarf for this girl who is almost always cold. Percy and Gemma love the dog park for the socialization with other pups, as well as the wide open space to run, sniff, and roll in disgusting things. I love the fresh air and quiet time to recharge.


Today we also swung by the Starbucks Drive Thru on the way home: Pumpkin Spice Latte for me, and pup cups for them. Once home, I settled in with my PSL and my current read while they snoozed.



This evening was our annual Basilica Foundation Autumn Wine and Cheese Fundraiser. The Basilica Foundation exists to provide funding for the upkeep of our beautiful building. I first attended this event last year, when I was brand new to the parish and just beginning RCIA classes.


How fast this past year flew by! I enjoyed a few glasses of tasty wine, some amazing cheese and chocolate, and great conversations with fellow parishioners. I love my Basilica family!


I get a C grade at best for capturing a full length photo of my outfit this week. After all, this dress HAS POCKETS! I was just having too much fun enjoying the day to worry about it (but yet I managed to take a ton of other photos!). Oh well! There’s always next week. 😉


Weekend in the life: 10/4-10/6/19

Weekends start after school’s out, right? So we’ll start there….here’s a fairly typical weekend for us! I like to chronicle these days so someday I can look back and enjoy the memories and their cute faces!

Friday the kids get home from school about 3:40pm. They’re always STARVING. I cut them off from snack at 4pm, because otherwise all they want to do all night is eat. So as soon as they get home, they eat. After that’s over we do Amelia’s school work, so it’s done for the day. No one else happens to have homework tonight!


Then it’s on to food. We spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Every Friday night we have pizza because a) it’s easy and b) everyone likes it and c) routine makes things easy! The recipe for my crust is HERE. We try to change it up sometimes, and tonight we top it with pepperoni, peppers, onions, black olives.


Since we are making pizza and we need to replenish the freezer and the kitchen is already messy, we move onto bagel pizzas for lunches. We make A LOT of these! Mini bagels, pizza sauce, pepperoni, seasoning, cheese, bake. The girls love to assist, and they do pretty well. We make 3 sheets of these, I hope they’ll last 3 weeks (?) as they don’t eat them every day.


J gets home from work, we eat all together and I’m out the door. Part of our new life gig where I get to stay home during the week means that I work in the evenings or weekends semi-regularly, but per my discretion. Tonight, I’m covering a local high school football game, doing the athletic training.


I’ts a pretty good deal. I get paid hourly to stand on the sidelines and do some thumb or ankle taping usually, or stretch some hamstrings. Occasionally someone gets hurt a little more seriously but that’s not as common. The sideline chatter is always amusing and I enjoy watching the game from a great spot. Although, the boys are smelly and it has been getting colder outside!! After the game is over I go home and go to bed!


Saturday morning arrives and the kids actually sleep in until *gasp* 7am! Jeremiah was up early and left to run, so it’s just me and the kiddos. I neglect all parenting duties and read my book instead.


So far, very interesting and true. There’s also a boy version that’s on my list.

I’ve also been trying to read the daily readings. This is day 3 in a row. Takes all of 5 minutes. Takes some time to develop habits, but really? I should be able to fit in 5 minutes SOMEWHERE during the day.


Eventually I harp on everyone until they get dressed and eat something. 20191005_074407.jpg

J gets home and showers. Meanwhile, I make some chili for dinner in the Instant Pot, sandwiches that we pack to take for lunch today, switch/fold laundry and attempt control the chaos. It’s wet and rainy outside so I can’t even send them outside…!

Then we leave for Lucy’s volleyball game, and I  am a coach! The girls are getting better and better with each practice and game and it has been really fun to get to know them and see them improve. We play 3 games in about 45 minutes.


After we make it back to the van in the pouring rain, we eat sandwiches as we drive back to retrieve our other car, so I can go to work!


I see 2 new evals and finish my documentation there, then leave. I still get lost in the building a lot and I still can’t use the timeclock system because it doesn’t accept my fingerprint! I enjoy my time there and the people I meet.  At home we have some family over for chili for dinner. Then it’s baths for the kids while J does dinner cleanup. Not going to lie, I really don’t look forward to baths unless it’s my own. I put the 3 youngest girls in the tub and once and that kind of speeds things along. 20191005_204454.jpg

A little kombucha cocktail to end the day and it’s off to bed!


Sunday morning we wake up to alarms to get ready for church. I get the girl’s dresses out and they take care of the rest, except Kateri, who prefers to go naked. I do more laundry.


G has to rifle around to find his jeans, then informs me he has no pants that fit. Of course. The kid is practically a teenager and it’s freaking me out.


We grab some food for brunch contribution and get everyone in the van by 8am. Win!


You can’t see Ruth’s head, but we’re all in here! Jeremiah started plugging his phone into the van sound system and playing the daily Mass readings awhile ago, and now we do it every week. It helps so much because *news flash* parents of young kids don’t always get to pay attention in church. This way we can hear the readings on the way there and then hopefully during Mass too if people cooperate. Another little thing we started doing that probably seems ridiculous but works incredibly well—Amelia and Ruth had a tendency to climb all over and always switch spots and mess with each other during church. We took a roll of painter’s tape with us and put small pieces of tape where each kid was supposed to sit, G, L, A and R. They have to stay on their tape. It was unnecessary for G and L, but really worked to get Amelia and Ruth to stay in their spots. They still do their fair share of messing around but this has helped quite a bit. If Ruth starts trying to climb or walk around I just tell her to get on her spot and she pouts for awhile and sucks her thumb, then is fine. And the tape just peels off when we’re done. Now we just keep the tape roll in the van 😉

After church we would normally have Faith Formation (Sunday School) and it would be my turn to teach 1st grade, but not this week due to some other things going on at the church. So, we head to brunch and eat a lot of good breakfast foods with family. By 1pm-ish we leave and head home. 2 cousins come for the afternoon to play. There’s a lot of legos, trampoline, magnetic tiles, more legos, the game of Life and couch cushion bridges.



The kids all want hot cocoa so we make some. IT. IS. SO. GOOD. We’ve forever ruined ourselves from eating the pre-made kind because this stuff is the BEST!


This mug kills me!

J has to leave to go to a visitation and G has to do his mowing job, so while they’re gone I make more food and update my planner and read and put out fires between cousins.


Spaghetti squash casserole is amazing (+low carb!) paired with salad for dinner and healthy pumpkin muffins for breakfast tomorrow….we’ll be lucky if these make it through breakfast tomorrow because it only made 12 😦 . Ruth eats her weight in dough while my back is turned, so that probably didn’t help! There are extra hands in the kitchen the entire time, so things always take longer than they should. My kids claim they love to cook but sometimes I think they just like to snitch food! I do more laundry.

After dinner I divy up the leftovers, which is just barely enough for 3 kids’ lunches tomorrow, WIN!!  J has to go into work for a bit, so he leaves again. Chaos insists as Ruth desperately needs to go to bed, but we pretend it’s fine and Gabriel and I order all of his swim team gear for his upcoming season. He picks out a new swim bag, practice suit, goggles and fins. He pays for 50% of it and 50% his swim team fee which is quite a chunk of change for a 10 year old. I’ve been impressed by his motivation to earn money and get mowing/odd jobs over the summer. We jam out to Train and Adam Levine. For a short time the girls want to listen to ‘Oh Maria’ from “Sister Act” and they remind me they still haven’t seen the movie. Ah, a classic! Jeremiah returns home to save the day. The kids all clean up a zone of the house because it looks like a bomb went off in here. It’s about 7:15pm.

We get all the kids to bed and I read with G and L for awhile, then send them off to bed. Lucy is the queen of stalling and she’s always the last in bed after a drink, talking, brushing hair, braiding hair, questions, clothes, etc etc ETC, but FINALLY by 8:30, the house is quiet and instead of loading the dishwasher *again* I decide to sit and blog. Bliss!

Tomorrow is Monday!

Have a great week!