Happy Halloween

From my sweet Farmer and Cow - to yours!! 

And, because, why not....here's a look back at Leo's Halloweens from years past. 




Meal Plan (& recipes) for this Week

I've been in a little meal planning rut so I thought I would try a few new dinners this week, and share them here in case you are too. 

Last week I made Natalie's Greek Turkey Burgers. They are one of my most favorite recent dinners - and they make a ton and hold up well for lunches the following day or two too.


Last night I made the ever popular P.F. Chang's copy cat lettuce cups. I used this recipe and we really enjoyed them!

Tonight using this recipe to make Italian Meatballs in a Tomato Bisque Soup. 

This dairy free and Whole30 compliant tomato basil bisque with Italian meatballs is an easy winter soup with simple ingredients! The perfect paleo dinner the whole family will love.

It's dairy free which slightly weirds me out, but the recipe looks super easy, so I'm interested to give it a whirl. 

On Wednesday - Halloween night - I'm going to have these Ham and Cheese sliders ready to bake. They're so easy and delish, and once they're prepped, they take only a few minutes to warm up and enjoy. Since we may have neighbors pop in and out throughout the night, I'm planning on making two big sheet pans of them and serving with Ceaser salad.

To die for and addictive hame biscuits! !!

Thursday, I have a playgroup and anticipate some leftover sandwiches or soup, so we're making it a leftovers night! 

Soup of the Day. Lights. Tequila Casamigos.


Weekend Recap

We kicked off the Halloween week with non-stop activities starting bright and early on Friday morning.

After school on Friday, the library hosted a festive story time and then all of the dressed up kids "trick-or-treated" throughout the library.





It was pretty cute, but somewhat chaotic, and there were so many kids there, I felt like it was a little hot and crazy. My kids were breaking down quickly so I was excited to get them into the car to head home for lunch and baths .... but wouldn't ya know it ... my brand new car wouldn't start. 

Lonnnng story short, I got lucky, got it to start after 30 minutes, thought it was just a glitch, but it ended up happening again so the dealership has it currently. 

After naps on Friday, we met friends in downtown Crystal Lake for a little pizza party at Georgio's. All of the kids were given pizza dough to make their own pizzas with and the parents had beers and pizza - it was a blast. We ended up keeping the party going by taking all of the kids to one of our friends house, and stayed there until almost 10:30.


The big kids played so well - mainly with the Dads in the basement - and I put Drew to sleep in the pack and play and later transferred without an issue. *she is perfection! 

Saturday morning Joel and I got runs in before we took the kids over to our communities Truck or Treat. 

The weather was perfect, so we walked through the area and then went with my parents out for lunch too. 



While the kids napped - I prepped a dessert for our next party - and this was a MAJOR hit. I used this recipe, and it couldn't have been easier or more delicious. 

We had another family Halloween party - but we decided to keep Drew back at home with Joel. It had been a busy weekend and Joel and Drew were coughing so I didn't want to risk anything.  The party was a ton of fun but since this was for a friend who is a little older, so lots of the kids had masks on and Leo was honestly scared out of his mind. 

They did a big parade and pinata, and Leo wanted NOTHING to do with it, so I snapped this lonely pic of me and my nervous guy! He warmed up eventually but I don't think Halloween is his favorite holiday. 

Sunday was a pretty slow day. We had plans to bring in all of the outdoor furniture, but it rained and everyone seemed a little grouchy (likely due to over stimulation?), so I escaped for a mani/pedi while Joel and the kids built forts, did my meal planning, and ordered groceries. 

We ended the rainy day with a family dinner over at my parents which was nice to get out of the house for a bit too. 

And more fun to follow this week I'm sure! 

Vanilla Pumpkin Marshmallow already lit!


Drew - Month 10

Weight: 18lbs 5oz at 9.5 months - we went in for a sick visit for a fever virus 10 days after your 9mth appointment and you had gained over 2 pounds in 10 days! 
Clothes: You are in 9mth, and 6-12 months, shoes are a size 1 and diapers we have moved up to a 4.
Nicknames: Drewbie, Drewbs, and Drewbo.
Sleep: This month you cut your top two teeth and we felt it. You would whine and cry at night and a few nights for two weeks I would have to go into your room to rock you back to sleep. 

Schedule: Nothing major has changed with your schedule this month 

6:55am - We wake you up most mornings with an 8oz bottle
7:30am - breakfast
  9:00am- nap
10:15am- Have to wake you
11am- Bottle #2
10:30-1:00pm - play & lunch while we are out and about
  1:00pm - 3:00pm - Nap
3:15/3:30pm - Bottle #2.5 (trying to phase this out) but you're getting a half bottle for the time being
3:30-5pm - play/bath
5:30pm- Dinner -  I try to feed you while Leo is watching a show, and then when we all sit down at dinner, you will sit with us and chew on a MumMum or some yogurt/veggie melts
6:30pm-Bottle #3
7pm - Bed
Health:  You had a fever for 4 days that made me a little nervous - with no other symptoms of a cold. It very well could have been a result of your teeth, but on the fourth day I wanted to make sure it wasn't an ear infection. Everything checked out perfectly and by day 5 it was gone!

You had a perfect 9 month well check and received your flu shot as well!
 Crying:  It remains true - you are the easiest, sweetest, happiest baby I've ever been around. Honestly.
Feeding: You LOVE to eat. Your entire body starts to bounce when we sit you in the high chair. You can put down a TON of food too - people are constantly shocked! You eat 3 full meals a day and haven't been overly picky about anything - although now, you really do not like pouches and much prefer to feed yourself. 

Favorite foods have been - turkey, cheese, cottage cheese, any fruit, hummus, and eggs!
Least favorite foods have been - Avocados and anything in a pouch!
Likes: You like anything you can climb on. This month you started climbing on our windows and you love to look out. You love music, your brother, putting things into your mouth that you shouldn't (like an alive stink bug that you quickly chomped and killed!), and things that you can bang. 
Dislikes: You have started to really tell Leo when you dislike something he does, which is pretty funny!
Milestones:  You are taking some steps with a walker, cruising on furniture, waving at everyone on command, you cut your top two teeth, and will give AMAZING kisses.

Places You’ve Gone: We have been home all month visiting every pumpkin patch in Northwest Illinois ;) 

Postpartum: No changes for me this month (ugh!). Still 5 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight and I know I'm going to need to do a Whole 30 or something pretty serious to get them to budge.
Leo:  He loves you. He loves your company and making you laugh, and he has started to also really enjoy being the older brother and telling you the rules, or repeating me if I tell you "no". He takes his job very seriously!


Weekend Recap

Joel was gone almost the entire week at a work conference, so I was VERY happy to see him and Friday arrive! 

Friday night I was at a neighbors for book club. We read The Woman Who Smashed Codes. It's not a book I loved, but it was fun to catch up with friends over snacks and wine, and I didn't get home until after midnight! 

Saturday morning, I knew the only way I would have a productive day was to get in a good workout, so Joel and the kids and I went for my longest run to date - and I actually could have done more but Drew was ready for a nap. 


Joel's dad came over around lunch time to watch the kids for a few hours so Joel and I could get the second coat of paint on the basement. The paint looks decent downstairs, the lighting is a little dark - but its way better than the cement walls.

I've been pintrest stalking all weekend of how to make it a little more cozy down there without full blown finishing it.

Tales of Painted Basement Ceilings and Pole Dancing Woes 

basement play room string lights kid cave unfinished basement kid toys storage and organization

We have to add dry wall to a few spots, and it's our goal to get that done this winter. I think this year Joel and his dad are also going to try and build a storage closet for wine and some shelves for me. Next winter I think we will spray paint the ceiling and slowly add furniture and a ping pong table down there. This is how it is looking after one coat - but I'll try and take some "finished" pictures and get them up here. 

Saturday afternoon once the kids were up from naps we went to a friends for a little fall party. The kids painted pumpkins and then spent the rest of the time in the basement. 

We ended up putting Drew down in a pack and play for a little while so that we could enjoy our pizza and drinks, and we all had the best time. When we left, all four of the big kids had to help wake little Drewbie up.

Sunday I was hurting (again!!), but tried to burn it off by cleaning everything in the basement. We wiped all of the surfaces, vacuumed and mopped. Leo even got in on the action. 

After baths for everyone, I ordered groceries, planned out the week a bit, and then went to my parents house for the Bears game and dinner. 

We had a great weekend of balancing some house tasks and having too much fun, so I'm ready for a slow day today - and an early bedtime ;) 

Glennon Doyle Melton


Recent Must Have's

::: I popped into Banana Republic last week and they were having a major sale - so I scooped up this sweater. I would have gotten in it in at least 2 colors, but they were out of most sizes. The lady said they couldn't keep it stocked (but it looks totally fine online).

product photo

The fit is comfortable, the material is SO nice (I'm very sensitive, and this is a really perfect cotton blend that isn't too light or too heavy).  I highly recommend!

::: And....on a total flip side of fashion...I ended up getting a popover from the Lilly Pulitzer after party sale...and I'm obsessed.

Image result for lilly pulitzer pink sunset home slice popover

Joel's first comment was "that's a bit bright"....and it is. It's probably not the most seasonally appropriate sweater, but I actually like that it gives a gray day some color, and the material is almost terry cloth, so it's comfortable under coats without making you overheat.

Plus, with leggings on, I still feel put together for picking up Leo from school - even though, it's really just a comfy sweater! I can't find the exact popover I ordered from the sale, but I linked one above that's similar.

::: Here's a random one - but Caycee from Hanging with Hewitts had included these no-show socks from her Amazon picks, and I ended up purchasing them and really liking them too. They stay on all day - and they really don't show. I will say, they are cheap and thin, but I had ordered 3, and just recently ordered another batch because I've ended up wearing them a lot this fall with sneakers or booties.

Prefer Green Women's 6 Pairs Thin Casual No Show Socks Anti-Slip Cotton Sock (Grey (3 Pairs))

::: I have been buying most of Drew's bows from Amazon, but my girlfriend suggested this Etsy shop (Little Lady Bowtique) that monograms bows - and I LOVE it. It's the perfect size for Drew, really inexpensive ($4, with $4 dollars for shipping) and I like the shape of the bow a lot. I only ordered one for now, but I have a feeling a few more will be making an appearance around Christmas.

 image 0

::: Speaking of Drew - I know everyone is familiar with Freshly Picked, but I was actually given a pair of Sweet N Swag moccs for her, and I like them so much better than Freshly Picked. The leather is a little firmer, holds it shape much better, and doesn't show its wear as quickly as Freshly Picked does. And they're about half the price. 


::: H3 Wine - I like both the Cab and the Merlot. They're pretty affordable for weekday drinking ($11-13/bottle).

2015 Columbia Crest H3 Merlot, Horse Heaven Hills, USA (750ml) 

::: The Flu Shot

Have you gotten yours? You really, really should.  It's not scary at all!


Week Recap

I can't believe I never made it to the blog last week. I've been trying hard to find time to keep up with it, but last week just got the best of me.

My whole family was under the weather for one reason or another last week, we found out Roscoe needs to have dental surgery this week, and I had the brilliant idea to take on painting the basement as my next house project....and just about all of my free time was eaten up.

But, regardless of all of that, we were still able to fit in some fun.

Leo's gone to more pumpkin patches this year than Joel has ever been to in his life!

Leo had school off on Monday, so my girlfriend Jenna came out and we took the kids to a local fall festival which was really fun.

and then this past weekend, we met our friends from California that recently moved back to Illinois for another pumpkin batch in Barrington.



The kids loved it, and we lasted a while, before heading over to a restaurant for beers and food.

Joel also added a few things for me in the kids playroom. I wanted a space to display some of Leo's artwork, so my friend grabbed me this rod from Ikea a few weeks ago. 

And I bought really inexpensive frames from Hobby Lobby and figured I could add even more darling pictures of the kids over the years too.

Sunday, after a ton of errands and a good family run, we spent the day with Aunt Amanda and Uncle Andrew. We carved pumpkins, had a big seafood pasta dinner, and just enjoyed the beautiful fall day.







And somehow, the weekend has wrapped and Monday is already here! Have a great week!