Friday Five: 2/2/18

1. Many times in the last 3+ months I have not been fond of food. It’s like a necessary evil. Some smells make you nauseated, but if you don’t eat, the nausea is much much worse. Pregnancy is so weird. I can’t handle the smell of red meat, but chicken is great. My fishy-tasting vitamin makes me gag, but (cooked) sushi is amazing. Anything creamy is on my top list. Tomato or spicy foods are not good currently, which is odd for me. We eat tacos at least once a week so I hope this changes! But for some reason, good food tastes REALLY REALLY GOOD lately, and I’ve actually had less food aversions (albeit still nauseous) this time around, which I’m thankful for. I think it’s working out in favor of my family, because we have eaten some REALLY REALLY GOOD food lately. That being said, I have some amazing recipes to share:


2. Speaking of food, my kids have been rocking it in the kitchen lately. My kids are constantly in the kitchen with me anyways, but Gabriel and Lucy are really getting some good skills down. One night a few weeks ago I must have looked extra terrible, because they ordered me to sit on the couch while they would make dinner. They did a great job, and I really didn’t have to do much except turn on the oven. They served all of us a dinner of homemade pizza bread, cottage cheese, fruit salad (canned fruit layered with cool whip! ha!), and milk. Lucy had another night where she was in charge and made pasta bake, garlic bread, mixed vegetables, and jello salad. They always make some kind of ‘dessert’ and I love it!


3. On another note about food, (see a theme here?) Walmart grocery pickup is absolutely the best thing ever. Now I cannot compare, because I have never tried HyVee or any others, but I assume they are all about the same. I love that I can put my order in 3 days before and then just show up, they load it in my car, and we are off again. It has really streamlined my grocery shopping and our grocery budget! You know exactly what your total is before you checkout and meal planning is so simple. I just put things into my cart as I plan out meals on the calendar. I’ve been doing shopping every 2 weeks and rarely have to go into the store otherwise unless something unexpected comes up. That’s HOURS that I’m saving not having to walk the stores, checkout, wrangle kids, etc. If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend it!

4. Gabriel is in 2nd grade this year, which means he gets to receive 2 sacraments at church this year! We are so excited for him! I remember when he was little I thought we had so much time until he would be old enough for First Communion and Reconciliation, but here we are! He has First Reconciliation on Sunday and First Communion in a few short months. I know it’s not about the clothes, but we’ve already been scoping out suits 😉 He is excited for everything and is an eager learner. He comes up with the best religious discussion at home and I love seeing how his mind works. I cannot wait until he can be an altar server next year! Can’t believe our oldest is so old!



5. We are STILL on the hunt for a new vehicle. This is not easy. So many decisions. I wish someone would come along and just tell us exactly what we were meant to buy that we would be the happiest with, both in function and in price. However I have not met that person yet. Maybe he’ll show up tomorrow. We know what we want, it’s just if we want to pay that much. Ay-yay-yay! In the meantime, we’ll keep looking….

Happy weekend!



No ‘oops’ here

*Disclaimer: in this post I am standing tall on my soapbox. If you don’t want to hear it, I’m telling you now. For the rest of you, I hope you enjoy my post today 🙂

We announced to our parents/siblings our 5th pregnancy on Christmas Eve. Everyone was happy!


We announced to the world our 5th pregnancy via social media and general people we know earlier this week. Mixed emotions from many. But honestly I didn’t expect a lot.

We waited a loooong time to announce between Christmas and this past Sunday because I was dragging my feet. Was I excited, happy, and feeling blessed to be pregnant again? YES! Did I know what was coming as far as comments, looks, and people’s opinions? YES! I literally braced myself and continue to do so, as people don’t always have the nicest comments to a 5 times pregnant lady. Sometimes it makes me cringe. However, there are people who know us well enough that they rib us a little bit, but are genuinely happy for us and our openness to life. And we whole-heartedly appreciate them 🙂

Here’s some of the responses I’ve gotten: 1) Genuine ‘Congratulations!’ 2) ‘Good for you guys! You do a great job!’ {#1 and 2 are my favorites and preferred} 3) *Blank stare* 4) ‘Wow! You are going to have your hands full!’ 5) Look of disgust 6) Look of sadness or feeling bad for us 7) Look of confusion or that I am an alien …And my favorite *sarcasm*…. 8) ‘Don’t you know what causes that by now?!’ I’ve developed a pretty thick skin and can dish it right back usually, but sometimes these kind of comments just strike me wrong. (Obviously, because I’m writing an entire post about it, ha!)

Here’s the thing. Why do some people have to hate on large families or people who want a lot of kids? What business is it of theirs? People who have 1 or 2 children by choice are not poked fun at, talked to about their fertility, or told that they need to find a new hobby. I always wonder how it would feel to reverse the roles? It seems that people in general leave them alone, and allow them to be happy with their decision of their family size. People may have questions or wonder, but they usually keep it to themselves.

Each baby, whether #1 or #10 is wanted and loved. And each truly is a blessing! And outsiders need to realize that. Just because you have a large family doesn’t mean you have a lot of ‘oops’ babies or that you stink at family planning. It can actually mean the exact opposite! Family size is something very personal and individual. My husband and I just happen to feel called to have a large brood of kiddos. Isn’t that great? I think so. And if you don’t, keep it to yourself.

And a little humor:

Just keepin’ it real on the ‘House tonight.

And that’s all I got.

2018 so far

2018 started off slow. But only for the first day. How misleading.

We spent New Year’s day at home, lounging, playing with new Christmas games and toys and watching movies. It was quite uneventful. Our house was nice and toasty while it was so so cold outside. Very nice.

Fast forward to the next day and as I was stepping out of my car at work, I performed what can only be called the ‘slip on the banana peel’ fall, except it was on slick packed snow. Yep, flat on my arse. Only I didn’t hit my padded rear. I hit my coccyx, otherwise known as the tailbone. Ever done that before?! I DO NOT recommend it. That was over a week ago and I still cannot bend, sit, get up from sitting, roll over in bed, lay on my back, kneel, lunge or squat without significant pain. Riding in the car is torturous. As is sitting on the couch. There’s no treatment other than pain killers and sitting on a donut pillow, so I didn’t get it checked out, but it’s either a severe bone bruise or a stress fracture. It’s just now getting to the point where pain is not constant. I spend the majority of my days standing or walking around. Good times, good times.


Beast baby and her mac’n’cheese

The kids are finally back into their normal school routine after 2 days of 2 hr delays the first week in January due to cold, so this week was really when they returned to school. That means Miss Ruth and I are back to our regularly scheduled program as well during the 2 mornings we have together (minus exercise; see above incident). I truly love that time with her. That 3 hours of one-on-one time is always enjoyable, and we get a lot done! Ruth’s favorite thing is either rearranging the pantry, sorting laundry or turning on the Instant Pot. Which brings me to…..


My favorite Christmas gift! I GOT AN INSTANT POT!!!! J gifted this to me even though we had agreed not to get each other gifts. *ahem* You know how that goes. But anyways, I love the thing, as you can see from my expression on Christmas Eve. If you are not familiar with it, you should be. This thing cuts cooking time in half and cooks food (especially meat) perfectly, as well as having a slow cooker function. So far I haven’t found anything I don’t like about it. I’ve made tons of eggs, steel cut oatmeal, pork steaks 2 different ways, chicken parmesan, chicken breasts for other meals, mashed potatoes, etc etc. The kids are always impressed 😉 Life changing!


Isn’t she cute?!

Amelia has been receiving speech therapy at school and today we got her report card for progress for 1st semester. She has improved from 20% to over 80% accuracy for ‘f’ and ‘s’ sounds! Huge gains! YES! She still has some troubles with ‘t’ and ‘d’ sounds as well as putting sounds together, but she’s improving! We have no one to thank but her awesome speech therapist, whom Amelia adores. Great way to start the 2nd half of the school year!


I’m currently 1.5 books into my goal of 30 books in 2018. Currently reading ‘Sisters First’ by the Bush twins, Jenna Bush and Barbara Bush. It’s great so far! Thanks to Aunt Mel, mine is even an autographed copy which makes reading it even more cool! #booknerds


Speaking of books, Mel and I saw the book-made-movie ‘Wonder’ over the weekend. The book was great, and the movie did not disappoint. But far more emotional than I had anticipated. Who knew Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson made such a dynamic duo? What also did not disappoint was the sushi we enjoyed afterwards at a local place. WHY IS SUSHI SO GOOD?! It’s like some kind of art form too, so pretty. I would feel guilty eating it if it wasn’t SO GOOD. Sister dates are good for the soul 🙂

I am currently back on the carseat-shopping-train in search of a new car seat for Ruth. I feel like I just got off this train, but it has picked me up again. #bigfamilyprobs I realized last night she has hit the height limit for her current infant carrier seat. Wwaaaaaa! It had a good run of 15 months with her, so I guess it could be worse. Car seats are so expensive! Amelia may also want to bust out of the 5 point into a highback soon, so I may be on the train a little while longer….. *tear*

Hope everyone is enjoying 2018 so far! Be careful on the ice!!!!

Find the time

Almost every single night, one or all of my kids beg for one of us to lay with them after we put them to bed. I’ve made a rule with them that I’ll do it about once a week. Otherwise it becomes a circus and no one sleeps. Then mama’s not happy. And everyone knows how that goes.

Tonight Lucy was slow at getting her things done before bed. Amelia was in overtired-preschooler-mode. Ruth was practically falling asleep on the floor and needed to go to sleep ASAP. I was doing kids’ bedtimes alone as J was at a school board meeting. I knew there was laundry to do and things to prep for the coming day. I was tired. And I really needed some ice on my severely bruised tailbone from last week (don’t ask).

But when your 8 1/2 year old asks you so sweetly if you’ll come and lay with him “if you have time, Mom”, you find the time.

So I crawl into bed with G in his quiet room. He’s laying with the red, white and blue blanket he requested that I made him for Christmas. He cherishes that blanket. He hasn’t slept in his room since before Christmas since it becomes the guest room when people stay over. He starts in right away with his mind running at full speed.

He talks about his time playing on the snowpile after school with some town boys. How he doesn’t always like their games, but some are ok. He really likes snowball fights. He goes on about how the one boy he doesn’t care for, but tolerates. He prefers a few others who weren’t there tonight, the boys he has formed the ‘Wolfpack’ with. He talks about wrestling and how he does not like to miss practice because the he feels behind in practice. He makes sure we’ll get him there in plenty of time tomorrow night. He reinterates that his spelling test is in 4 days and he already is confident how to spell p-a-i-n-f-u-l, one of his words this week. He asks me about tornadoes and what happens to the water lines in a house if it is ripped apart by a tornado. He wonders if we will ever have a tornado in our town. He asks about how people are kind of like monkeys because both are hairy. He asks if he can do a polar plunge and when and where he can go ice fishing this winter again.

I love how his mind works. I love that as soon as I climb in his bed he’s like an open book, when that is not always the case otherwise. 8 year olds can be moody. I love that he still likes to sit with me and always hugs me goodbye (even at school!) or goodnight. It always amazes me at how quickly he’s changing.  And it’s always made clear to me that what kids need is time.

Sometimes you just have to find the time. And when an 8 1/2 year old boy is wanting your time, you find some, no matter what.

Day in the life // The perfect Mom dress!

This day in the life is a bit different than others I have done in the past. First of all, it’s a weekend (Sunday). Second of all, it was a really busy Sunday and I wanted to showcase the dress I wore. And third, I had my dear husband take all the pictures so that you could actually see what I was wearing and to give a different vantage point. This was weird for me, but it worked. He did a decent good job, although I’m not a huge fan of having my picture taken all day! He was a trooper!


Here’s the dress I wore. I’ve decided that it is the perfect Momming-all-day-dress. Here’s why. 1) POCKETS. A dress with pockets is this Mom’s dream. I used them Sunday to carry my phone, car keys, etc and to hide things from Ruth (ha!). A dress with pockets is amazing!!  2) Modest, good coverage that is not compromised with bending, stooping, carrying, walking, wiping noses….you know, the everyday Mom duties from dusk to dawn. I never once felt exposed (or cold!) during this day and I feel like this dress could be a workhorse all year round. I put it with boots, tights and a jean jacket (because Iowa winter!), but it could be a really cute spring/fall dress with duster and ankle booties or just an easy summer dress.  3) It has pleats, which are just fun! 4) It’s comfortable, is an easy fabric that doesn’t wrinkle, and has a great fit!

Quick fact about me: I hate ‘getting ready’ for the day. I don’t like changing clothes, fixing my hair, primping or the like. I also don’t like fussing with my clothes all day, adjusting them or pulling up/down hemlines. Annoying. I have found a few companies that put cute, modest clothing as their forefront, and I like that! I realize that it is not socially acceptable to never change clothes, so I prefer to wear the same clothes all day, as in I don’t like to have to change halfway through the day for whatever is next. Ain’t got time for that. That’s especially why I like this dress. It worked for everything from church to cooking to sports events. You’ll see what I mean….

7am- Wake it up Costellos! My alarm goes off but I am slow to get up. Finally I hop in the shower and get dressed quickly (see above, ha). Amelia joins me in the bathroom. She also dislikes getting ready and often waits until the last possible minute. Her mother’s daughter. No privacy for moms, ever.


7:45am- Kids are all dressed and head down to the kitchen. I arrive just in time to make sure the milk doesn’t end up on the floor and to fix hair, a job in itself with 3 girls! They eat and I brush and brush and brush hair, put in ponytails and braids. I manage to keep Ruth from falling off of the island bench, her new favorite place to climb to. The kids enjoy cinnamon Chex 😉


8am- We are off to church! A little later than we should be, and we have to sit in a different section than normal, and the kids can’t see what’s going on. #parentfail. I feel bad when that happens. Ruth only crashes her sippy cup into the pew once and doesn’t run out of the pew, so that’s a win. I teach Sunday school afterwards and J chases Ruth while the rest of us are in class. My class learns about the saints. 1st graders are so fun!

10:30am- Done with class, off to brunch at the in-laws! This has become a Sunday tradition that we all enjoy a lot. We cook and eat together. Adults have now become outnumbered by kids, so there’s a lot of noise 😉 Today we have bacon, sausage, biscuits and homemade gravy, fruit, and hashbrowns. It was yummy.



Buckling car seats, and the dress stays put!


Cooking brunch!

12:15 pm- On the road again! Gabriel is competing in a developmental wrestling tournament and has to get there to weigh in. He’s 72 lbs on the dot. #Iowacornfed I chauffeur Lucy to a birthday party in a town 20 mins away while Gabriel weighs in and J helps him warm up. Amelia throws a fit because she is heartbroken that she does not get to go the the party, so I promise her a sucker at the wrestling meet. {Side note- I find out at the meet that they don’t even sell suckers. Note to self: always check your sources before you make promises.  Yep}


Mom’s chauffeur. 3/4 full

1:30pm- I arrive back to the wrestling meet just in time to watch Gabriel’s first match. They’re not officially keeping score, BUT he did will 8-0 🙂 And I didn’t get charged admission! Must have been the dress 😉

2:30pm- After taking turns chasing Ruth around the gym and keeping her from diving head first down the stairs, I leave again to go pickup Lucy. We agree that I’ll take Ruth with me as she is restrained in the car (and maybe she’ll nap?). No luck.


Waiting between matches


3rd match just beginning

3:30pm- Back to wrestling AGAIN. I watch Gabriel’s 3rd match and he owns it. I am SO PROUD of him. He’s come so far in the last year in everything; he’s just really come out of his shell and grown up. He’s such a young man and has such a great heart.


Note Ruth running away. No shoes. She likes to live on the wild side. ALL DAY LONG.

4:00pm- Wrestling is done! We load into the car and head home. We get home and the kids head straight for the trampoline. #goodinvestment

5:00pm- We make dinner. Before you get excited, know that we had mac ‘n cheese. We were taking the night off! Gabriel helped. I ALWAYS have an accomplice in the kitchen. Let’s be real, this is good and bad. Sometimes I just want to cook in that huge kitchen all by my lonesome. But for now, I’ll take my sidekicks.


6pm- The kids make a Christmas card for the cookie tray we are taking for their teachers tomorrow. They all sign it, and it’s adorable. I hide the cookies so they don’t eat them before morning. ‘Tis the season for Christmas cookies!!received_2048812735398445.jpeg

7pm- We put those kids to bed! They have not realized that it’s exactly 1 hour before their normal bedtime, but they’re all so tired and Ruth will not quit climbing on the island and chewing on markers no matter where we put them! We pull it off and they are all out like a light. Sunday win for all!! The house is quiet except for my typing and the running dishwasher. 🙂 I do love my dishwasher.

And that’s a wrap! Such a great day and a fun one to document.

Thanks to Cleo Madison clothing for sponsoring this post today!



I met a goal!

In February of 2017, I set a goal. I was tired of not getting to do the things that I enjoyed just because I had a lot on my plate. After all, don’t we all always have a lot on our plate?! A few years back I made a resolution to resume doing the things that I enjoyed; running/exercising, crafting, reading, sewing, baking, hiking, kayaking, etc etc etc because I desperately needed to. So last February I decided that in 2017 I was going to READ. My goal was 20 books, which really, is not very much. That’s over 2 weeks of time per book. Which is more than plenty for me.

I’ve read 23 books this year!! And I still have a few weeks, so hoping to add 1 or 2 more to my list! Most of these I knocked off in less than a week’s time each.

I thought I’d post all 23 of the books that I enjoyed this year, with my top 5 favorites listed first. I read a good mix of fiction, nonfiction, biographies, and memoirs. If nothing else, this post can give people some motivation to resume a hobby that they enjoy, no matter how busy life is! And definitely make the time to read these:

 Wonder by R.J. Palacio #1 There’s a reason that this has been made into a movie and is selling out. So, so, so good. I actually just finished this last week. This is such a great based-on-real-life story that makes you cheer for the characters. Any adolescent especially should read this. Makes us all think a bit harder about how blessed we are. Quick read and worth the time!
I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai #2 The nonfiction story of one of the arguably bravest girls in the world; shot in the head by the Taliban, who survived to tell about it and become  worldwide icon for women’s rights. Great read!
Still Alice by Lisa Genova  #3 So authentic in a woman’s struggle with early onset Alzheimer’s. Gripping and difficult to put down. Fiction.
The Magnolia Story by Chip Gaines #4 Ah, The Gaines. A true hard-work-pays-off, sweat-blood-tears and risk-taking motivational book of a truly inspirational Christian couple and family. Great read, especially if you are a Fixer Upper fan. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this one.
When the Brain Can't Hear by Teri James Bellis #5 This is not a very light read, but I found it fascinating and extremely enlightening and helpful. Nonfiction, but especially for the parent of a child with Auditory Processing Disorder. It made it all make sense.
The rest of the list, all of which were honorable mentions!

My goal for 2018 is 30 books!

Read on, fellow bookworms!!




Friday Five: 10/13/17

  1. I have never met a child so in love with preschool. Most days, before I even get a chance to ask her, she says ‘Mom! Do you want to know how my day at preschool was? It was GOOOOD!!!’. Love her and her fun personality. She sure does get a lot out of 3 hours a day at school! She’s especially fond of the songs, playing with the ‘unicorns’ at center time (AKA My Little Ponies), being the line leader, riding the bus home, and the ‘silent cheer’ they do on Fridays, which is so cute. I hope she continues to have a love of learning past the days of center play and dot markers!


2. Although Ruth’s birthday has now come and gone and we have a 1 year old terrorizing running around the house again, I wanted to show her birthday cake. Truth be told I am no good at birthday cakes. Not. At. All. I scoured google for easy ideas and this is what I came up with. Sprinkles make everything look good 😉


3. I have pushed a baby or toddler in a jogging stroller for 8 years now. How did I miss the memo on the magic of the weather shield?? Awesome idea for 13 bucks. And thank you Amazon for prompt 2 day delivery as always 😉 I’m hoping to prolong my outdoor running another 6 weeks or so until I’m banished to the basement and the Airdyne bike for the remainder of the winter. *sigh* Ruth hasn’t complained about the temp or misty/rainy weather yet, but I’m thinking this will keep her even more comfortable. YAY! Winterized and ready to go!


4. Another recent discovery of mine is the allure of the podcast. Yeah, yeah, I know this is old news. I need to get with the modern-tech program. But really! Listening to something of use and thought-provoking while loading the dishwasher at nap time or driving home from work?! Mind blowing! The epitomy of multi-tasking!! My favorites so far have been on the topics of Catholic moms stuff (big surprise here, I know), helping children develop healthy body images, simplicity/organization, family/household logistics and interviews with people. I’ve listened to bloggers, podcasters, through a Motherhood Matters Online Conference, and others that have come recommended. Love me a good podcast!

5. BOOKS. Of course.

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Little Heathens was my most recent finish. The story of a young girl growing up on an Iowa farm during the Great Depression. It seems so much of what was used and learned during that time of history is gone. Like how to waste nothing in terms of food or goods. How to live off the land. Home remedies that were often as effective as medications. A fascinating read and literally so close to home.

Still Growing: An Autobiography

Still Growing is an autobiography written by Kirk Cameron himself. I love biographies to start with, but this was an interesting read about his journey into being a child TV-star on Growing Pains and 100’s of other things he was casted for. It is also his conversion from atheism to Christianity. I watched Growing Pains frequently as a kid.Well written and easy to read.

The Name of God is Mercy by Pope Francis

This will probably not be of interest to anyone who is not Catholic, but this entire book is an interview with Pope Francis by an Italian journalist. They covered various topics and I found it interesting. Not something I would want to read all the time, but good nonetheless.

That’s all I got for today! Happy Friday!