Weekly Menu

Thai Meatballs with Pre-Bagged Asain Salad // Kale Salad // Chicken Pitas and Sweet Potato Fries // Pumpkin Turkey Chili with the best corn casserole ever!
 I really do enjoy putting dinner on the table during the week. The whole process - meal planning/grocery shopping/cooking/cleaning....it can be a hassle - there is no doubt - but there is something about the fall and winter season that allows me to enjoy it again. I don't have fun with it during the summer months I've officially decided. 

I also am finding that I feel better physically and mentally right now staying busy, so I'm trying to keep my afternoons filled with productive tasks - like making dinner. 

I cook a pretty consistent 20 or so recipes, but I'm constantly looking for new and easy recipes and pretty much only use Pintrest or Designer Bags and Dirty Diapers as my sources! 

Plant themed puns! Check the whole store for more! www.etsy.com/shop/PlantPuns


Weekend Recap + House Updates


On Friday afternoon we were supposed to head to Iowa to spend the weekend with Joel's brother and his family, but a few of their kids got sick, so we decided to stay home. 

We ended up joining my parents for dinner for a fun Oktoberfest dinner at the country club and then coming home and catching up on a few shows we had DVR'ed over the week. 

Saturday the weather was super cruddy, but we spent most of the day helping my parents start their move. They are moving out of their house in 10 days, so we helped box stuff, take things to GoodWill, and the most fun....take a few pieces of their furniture to our house! 

My mom had two antique tables that were her parents that aren't going to work in their new house that she gifted to me and I am OBSESSED.

They made a hugggggge improvement in our living room/dining room space and they're just such beautiful tables with so much history, I feel honored to have them at our house now. 


This piece isn't an antique, but it won't work for their new house so I'm going to try and make it work for us. Our house has a lot of square footage and open spaces, and I like pieces that help fill the space and keep it cozier.

It needs to be styled, but it's got great storage and fits this wall perfectly. 

I popped into World Market on Friday and ended up buying this dresser for Leo's big kid room. 


It was the floor sample so it was already built (major win for Joel) and on major sale (major win for me) and it majorly cute (major win for Leo) so everyone wins! 

They're are a lot of moving pieces for the nursery/big kid transition, so it will sit empty for a few more weeks, but I'm glad that I finally found a piece that we actually need. Some forward progress! 

Saturday night we walked over to our neighbors to watch the Cubs play the Dodgers in the first NLCS game. 


 They served chili which was perfect for the super windy and stormy night, and thankfully the power only flickered so we could watch the entire game. Sadly it didn't go in our favor, but I'm really hoping the Cubs can come out on top.


After taking a bath, Leo always gets wrapped up in a robe or towel and wants to play "baby". He literally makes his entire body a limp noodle and it just cracks us the heck up. It's the cutest darn thing. 


Sunday morning was perfectly fall - it was 50 degrees and windy and crisp, so we decided to treat ourselves to latte's and cinnamon bread at Starbucks before taking our groceries home.

We spent Sunday afternoon doing things around the house, and then I made some pumpkin turkey chili and cornbread casserole for my parents and us for our Sunday night dinner.  



Bumpdate: 28 weeks - HELLO 3rd TRIMESTER!

How Far Along? 28w6d

Gender: GIRL

Weight Gain: didn't get on this week but I'm guessing 16/17lbs

Maternity Clothes:  Same....in maternity pants and select normal shirts for the most part. My workout clothes have been fine but I'm probably ruining them.

Nursery: Nothing.....eek! Now that Leo's birthday party is behind us, it's our next big thing. We are getting a few things from my sister-in-law this weekend, borrowing a crib in the next few weeks from my cousin, doing an Ikea trip and having a sprinkle that should help motivate some movement in this department!

Movement: YES - and lots. I love it, even though it happens 24 hours a day - and oftentimes on my bladder.

Symptoms: Walks are getting harder. I get some pretty solid round ligament pains during my walks that really slow my pace and lately have been forcing me to stop in my tracks. I remember them happening with Leo but I thought it was closer to 33/34 weeks. 
If I don't have to bend down, I won't. It seems to take longer to regulate my breath when I'm relaxing/sitting. I think it's just the weight on my lungs, but I take these like deep deep breaths...It's kind of annoying. 

Sleep: Pretty good this week. I fall asleep instantly and try really hard to not look at my phone when I get up to use the bathroom (2ish times/night).

Joel: Was a huge help at Leo's 2nd birthday party - and was really appreciative of what I did to pull it together too which was nice. We were able to go on TWO dates this past week which was a treat, and we both feel like we should be doing that as often as we can before the baby comes and date night takes a backseat for a while.

 Workouts:  Was able to get to yoga and kickboxing, take a really long walk with Joel and Leo on Sunday, and fit in a few other walks throughout the week as well. The weather has been just beyond fantastic, so we are still able to walk most days at least once, if not twice. CocoPop (my parents) live just under a mile, so they're a great destination in the afternoon to walk over to and just pop in and say hi.

Mood/Mental State:REALLY good. I had a great doctors appointment on Monday that really reassured me and made a different in my mental state all week long.

Cravings: Holy cow, after I found out that I passed my glucose test last Tuesday, I sort of went hog wild on all. the. treats. On Tuesday after the nurse called to tell me that my results were normal, I had to treat myself to an apple cider donut, and then Joel came home with a pint of ice cream as a celebratory treat which was sweet but sweet. Then with Leo's birthday....we hit the sweets WAY too hard this week.

What I Miss: My energy and mimosas.

Random Things: We had Leo's 2nd birthday party which was the first time a lot of my family had seen me since my belly has really made its appearance so that was really fun seeing everyone and getting excited.

Best Moment of the Week:  Finding out I passed the 1hr glucose test and celebrating Leo's 2nd birthday party.

Looking Forward To: A healthy week, less sugar, and a weekend in Iowa with Joel's brother's family.


Birthday Party Recap


I had really wanted to have a fall/Halloween party for Leo's 2nd birthday, so we decided to have his little party two weeks after his actual birth date. I really liked spacing it out too, because it gave us a chance to celebrate his actual birthday as just a family, and then celebrate with friends and family a little later.

For his party, I kept it really easy. Mainly family came by on Saturday from 10-1pm, and we served coffee, mimosas, bagels, quiche, fruit, and pumpkin cupcakes! And I made life extra easy with fun paper plates and cups.


The entire idea of the party was to keep it simple and have fun, so I set up a few activities for the kids, tried to find cheap and easy decorations, and just enjoy each other's company. I just can't do fussy children's parties so it was a pretty simple morning. 

We set up an extra long table in the dining room for people to sit down and eat, and I set out face masks for kids to color with out in the dining room too.


In the playroom I had movies going and set up a little pumpkin decorating station for everyone to decorate a pumpkin and then take it home as part of a favor. This turned out to be a huge hit....the kids loved it and the stickers I found at Hobby Lobby stuck to the pumpkins really well.  

Of course, as soon as people started coming through the doors, I totally forgot to snap any pictures. Thankfully my sisters got a few cute ones!


And as luck would have it - the gloomy day stayed perfect until the party wrapped up and then the storms came out. It gave all the kids a chance to run off their cupcakes outside and hopefully nap well for their parents afterwards. 



Joel and I cleaned up the party while Leo napped - and then we were treated to a night out by his parents! It was such a treat to get out of the house after hosting and just have a good time. We met friends out to watch the cubs game and then grabbed a pizza on the way home. 

It was a perfect Saturday and this guy was spoiled with lots and lots of love, toys and cake! 


October Goals

 hello october-if it weren't only in my dreams and I could see an autumn like this..

I love October. I've looked forward to October in Chicago for a long time....especially now that I can enjoy it that much more through the eyes of a cute little two year old. I love traditions, and want to make sure we are starting and keeping our own family traditions - and so a lot of this list is rooted in that....along with some necessary goals to a. enjoy this month before newborn life begins and b. organize my life a bit before newborn life begins!

  • Get up to date with our family yearbook

 I'm a big memory keeper kind of girl. I've stopped just ordering prints of pictures (unless I'm purposefully filling picture frames) because I literally have hundreds of gallon bags filled to the brim of pictures that don't get loved on. Instead, this year, I'm starting the tradition of a family yearbook. I'm using Shutterfly, which I always do for photobooks, and I'm trying to get up to date so that I don't have much too much to add in January.
  • Throw Leo's 2nd birthday party
This is happening on Saturday, so I know it's going to get crossed off the list, but I'm hoping I can enjoy it along with throwing it. It's a pretty small group, the only thing I'm bummed about is that it's calling for rain. I'm not quite sure what all of the young kids are going to do, but we'll figure it out. I have a few easy activities so hopefully it won't feel too boring or too chaotic!
  • Boo our neighbors  

Ok, this is also happening this week. We were BOO'ed by our neighbors on Sunday night, and we are continuing the train by boo-ing other neighbors this afternoon. It's a really cute, cheap little activity that hopefully will be a fun neighborhood tradition for years to come. 
  • Go on a few dates with Joel
We have a darling babysitter that we are trying to use every other week. She is in high school (so she is really affordable), she ADORES Leo and he ADORES her, so we're trying to take advantage of the situation as much as we can these next two months. This week we are going to go to the movies and we're going to keep trying to go on fun, easy, no fuss, date nights just to enjoy getting out of the house just the two of us.
  • Apple Picking on a not 95 degree day
We attempted a really fun day a few weeks back, but it was so hot, I want a do-over. I'm thinking about possibly trying to fit a trip in this weekend with my sisters, so we'll see if it happens sooner than later. My mom's side of the family has an Apple Pie day every year where we all bake tons of apple pies for the holidays, but I think that may be happening in November, so we'll have to find a few other uses for some fresh apples. 
  • Make some progress on the nursery
Convert an IKEA rolling cart to changing station storage for diapers, wipes, and more. Perfect for baby's nursery!
We have done NADA, and I'd like to start soon. One of these days!  I also want to get to Ikea and load up on a few Ikea goodies...including this roller cart for the first floor so I can have necessities down here too.
  • Read (at least) 1 book
I recently finished a cute, easy book, and I just love easy, fall books that kind of take you to other places for a little while. If you have any great recommendations, please send them my way. 
  • Freeze a few dinners 
I've been trying to double dinners here and there to keep our garage freezer full and ready. It just makes some weeks SO much easier. I know that will only continue to be the way, so I really want to start stockpiling a bit. This week I'm adding Enchiladas to the mix, but I'd like to add a few new kinds of dinners, so again, if you have a favorite freezer meal, please pass it along! I may ask this again in November when we plan out a few freezer stocking days too. 
  • Organize hall closet, playroom, and deep clean the garage 
I'd like to get both first floor closets really purposefully organized. They're both kind of a catch all, and they bug me, so I need a storage containers and systems implemented so that they become less of a pain! 


With the holidays in November and December, plus the reality of having a new baby and all of the stress that comes with that, I feel like October is kind of our last hurrah of calm so here goes nothing!

Fall in love


Bumpdate: 27 weeks


How Far Along? 27w6d

Gender: GIRL

Weight Gain: 14.5lbs/13 at doctor

Maternity Clothes:  Same....in maternity pants and select normal shirts for the most part.

Nursery: Nothing.....eek! I'm planning on getting it done in October/November.

Movement: YES - and lots - and sometimes I can feel multiple places at the same time. The doctor said that now is the time to keep an eye on movement and that I should be feeling 10 kicks by dinner time - which, thankfully, I feel 10 kicks every 10 minutes.

Symptoms: My allergies have cleared for the most part which has been great! Overall, nothing this week - just getting bigger.

Sleep: Not amazing, not horrific.

Joel:  He crossed a major "before baby item" got checked off and I'm so excited! Our fireplace is up and running! I really, really wanted fake logs for our fireplace so that we could actually use the dang thing, and after getting two quotes from contractors....Joel did it himself! It was really easy since our fireplace was basically set to go, and we enjoyed the best fire on Saturday night. I'm already envisioning lots of cozy cuddles all winter long with TWO babies!

Workouts:  Made it to kickboxing but had to miss yoga due to Leo's 2 year check up. We also biked into downtown Crystal Lake on Saturday and it will be the last bike ride I haul Leo for more than a mile until this baby is out of me. It nearly killed me and I happily accepted a car ride home! Lots of walks too.

Mood/Mental State: I was anxious before my doctors appointment, which is just the way my body reacts. It's so obnoxious and so exhausting but it is what it is.

Cravings: I'm kind of getting excited for Halloween candy!

What I Miss: Not being tired in the afternoons.

Random Things: Can't think of anyhting

Best Moment of the Week:  A fantastic 28 week doctors appointment. Everything looked great, my stomach is growing right on track (and was 29cm), babe's heart rate clocked in at 144bpm, and I took my glucoa test, got my flu shot, and got my whooping cough shot too. They sent me on my way for another 4 weeks :)

Looking Forward To: Leo's 2nd birthday party, passing the glucose test, and really focusing on my gratitude for a healthy pregnancy.


My Meal Planning Process & Grocery Haul

I've been loving seeing people's grocery hauls on InstaStories, and it's made me a lot more conscious about my own process, so I figured I'd share what a random week looks like for our family.

Lately, no two weeks have been the same, so I can't really tell you that we spend X every week, or that I cook 5 times a week 100% of the time, because it just is so sporadic week to week lately, but last week was a pretty accurate look at how things go. 

I meal planned on a Wednesday morning - right around 7am, and planned out 3 dinners.  


Tuna Pasta Salad (this was a new one for us - and it's easy as could be. I added peas to ours)

Besides needing everything for those recipes, I needed some standards too - milk, eggs, yogurt, butter, gold fish....you know - the necessities.  

My grocery bill was $130 for the below - and I would say that's pretty fair.


The same as above, but just split with better lighting. 

Most weeks, I end up going to the grocery store twice. Once during the week and then once during the weekend once we've decided we want to grill out, makes pizzas with friends, or do a double batch of chili to freeze. 

On produce groceries (not including target or alcohol), for the entire week I bet we average close to $180/$200 a week. About once a month I also go to Trader Joe's to stock up on items that I prefer from there (peanut butter, sauces, waffles, snacks, frozen fruit, etc.) Joel and I both eat lunch at home or work most everyday, and I would say that covers about 4.5 cooked meals. 

We eat fairly healthy, don't have tons of processed foods,  and feel like we eat the food we buy and don't waste tons - but it's still a LOT of money to be spending on consumables every single week.

I know a lot of bloggers feel like they've made significant savings by shopping at Aldi - but I'd love feedback as to how groceries and meal planning and eating at home looks at your house too.

Start shopping home decor on Keep to make your home totally fab!