Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Meatball Subs at Home.

Jackson begged me to get him this "angry teddy bear" mask at target. I think he will thank me one day, ya know?

It's that time of year! The Westside Nut Club's Annual Fall Festival is underway and although it really isn't a place I like to take my kids (think crowded and expensive street festival) I knew the older boys really wanted to go. I found free parking on a side street (miracle!) and walked to where the festival started. I always pick out a place as soon as we go anywhere crowded and tell the boys if we get separated from each other, you go directly to our spot. I don't worry about the older boys finding how to get there, but for the younger ones I tell them to find a police officer or an employee of whatever place we are in and tell them to get you to whatever spot we chose. Of course, the older boys know this, too. In this case, police officers are everywhere. Do other moms do this? I just want my kids to be prepared and know how to handle themselves if something were to happen. Yikes. I hate thinking of "what if" scenarios, but like I said...it's better to be prepared. Thank goodness we've never had to experience anything too serious.

We grabbed a "munchy map" and I let the boys choose what they wanted and to remember the corresponding booth number. We found the booths and dug in! Prime Rib Sandwiches, Funnel Cakes, a cheeseburger, root beer, and a corn dog and we were good to go! We walked around just a little more then headed home. Bryce was at school, so we grabbed him a bag of cotton candy. 

Festival food is so good, but it's not hard to make your own at home! Tonight I made meatball subs. Super delish and super easy. My boys LOVE these.

1 package Frozen Italian Meatballs, prepared as directed on package
1 onion, sliced
2 T butter, plus more for toasting your rolls
Garlic salt or powder
Pizza sauce
Mozzarella cheese
Hoagie rolls
Aluminum Foil - this is important!

After cooking your meatballs as directed, set aside to cool. If they are greasy, drain. Set oven to 350 and spread a thin layer of butter on each side of the hoagie roll. Sprinkle inside with garlic salt or powder and open them up so that the oven heat can toast them.

While the rolls are toasting, in a small skillet, saute the onions in the butter until soft and golden brown. Set aside.

When the rolls are slightly toasted, pull them out of the oven and fill each one with however much pizza sauce you like. I add about a tablespoon in each roll. It's enough sauce that it is wet and tasty, but not too much that it's overpowering the sandwich and leaking out everywhere. After the desired amount of sauce, fill roll with about 5 meatballs, side to side. Next, top with sauteed onions and finally, top with cheese. I prefer to use slices of Mozzarella as opposed to shredded because I feel like it holds the roll together better, but any type is fine.

Wrap each roll with aluminum foil and place back into oven for an additional 10-15 minutes. This helps meld all the ingredients together so when you unwrap it, you have a soft, yet slightly crunchy roll.

It's seriously delicious! I make Philly cheese steak rolls much the same way, with different ingredients of course, and it always turns out amazing. Perfect for a weeknight meal!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Weekend Wrap-Up.

Every few weeks, I think about this blog. I wish I had more time to put into it, because it really is fun reading old posts. The kids especially love it and there are so many things I have included over the years that would have been forgotten otherwise. And I think Fall is the perfect time to blog.

So, here's to more blogging.

We've had a great weekend. My mom came for a visit on Thursday and Friday, so Travis and I let the littles play with Mamaw and we went out for a quick date of sushi and sweatpants. (Ha! That should have been the title of this post.) It got cold here all of a sudden and all the boys needed some new sweats. Asking them to wear jeans is, like, the worst thing ever, so we have to stock a steady supply of sweat pants around these parts. Although, Triston is starting to want to dress nicer. I knew this day would come, but there was a time when I was seriously worried about him. Ha ha, he would cry and throw a huge fit if I asked him to put on jeans or a polo shirt. Now, he chooses that clothing on his own! That boy is growing up. Travis and I didn't get to stay out too late because my mom had to leave, but it was nice to spend some time with him. And Kanpai. Wow. I'm pretty sure the best part of eating sushi there is the music they play. Like, all the good bands from the 90s! Oh! And I got all my hair chopped off on Friday. Like, seriously chopped, by someone I had never been to before and I wish I hadn't. The length is just so short...but, it's just hair! So, who cares.

On Saturday, I helped my sister-in-law with her yard sale while Travis took the boys to their football games. Emma came with me to the sale and we stayed just until she wouldn't stop screaming her head off. This girl wants to walk around and do her own thing all the time. Go out in the road and walk around by herself? Of course! Every time I would get close to her, she would try to run away, which isn't fast because she can't exactly run, but she was sure trying...and she would screech at the top of her lungs. So we didn't stay very long. We headed to Jackson's football game where I was greeted by freezing children who begged me to take them home! Jackson only had a few minutes left so we waited for him and came home. Triston and Travis came home to eat lunch and then Bryce left for his game. We won't be sad when football is over! :) On the way home, I stopped at another yard sale and found some vintage kitchen gadgets! My favorite! I got a big bunch of wooden spoons and spatulas for $1.

Emma looking extra rotten AND adorable :) 
Waiting for Jackson's game to end...always a fun time in the car! And you can see the length of my hair. Grrr.

General Conference was the most exciting part of the weekend, though. For those that don't know, leaders of my faith gather twice a year to deliver conference addresses to the members. There is usually a theme that emerges, despite the speakers not being assigned specific topics. This year I noticed that there were a lot of talks about loving others and seeing in people what Christ sees in them. It was really one of the best conferences I've watched.

The best part of General Conference outside of all the spiritual stuff is the food! I feel like it's fall cooking kick-off or something! ha ha. So it started on Thursday with Chicken Gnocchi Soup, Chicken and Waffles with sweet corn and butter beans on Saturday, and Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls and Chili on Sunday with family members. So good!

General Conference tradition!

I was thinking all day that I have a bunch of stuff to prepare for school tomorrow, but it dawned on me that since I have a full week break planned next week...I can just take it this week instead! Beauty of homeschooling! :)

So we are going to hit the zoo and do some fun learning type stuff this week that we just don't have time for during our regular schedule. I'm planning on posting about our homeschooling adventures soon.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Miss Emma is 6 Months Old.

Oh, stop. Stop growing!! Emma is the first of my five that I'm not anxiously waiting the next stage. I would always say I couldn't wait for [him] to start crawling, or sitting up, or doing all the cute things babies do, but this one - woah! Please stop growing. :( 

And then tonight, this happened ^^^. She's been eyeing our food for weeks, and fussing a bit to let us know that she wants it, too. I gave her little bits of cooked carrot, peas, and potato. She even picked it up off her tray. And she was so pleased with herself, it really was the cutest thing ever. Sigh. 

Emma even got a new toy this weekend and so far...she hates it. Once she gets used to the "jumping" part of it, I think she'll love it. Or not. Maybe girls don't care about jumping all over the place? My boys loved jumpers and still jump all over the house constantly, so if she doesn't like it - fine by me. 

At 6 months Emma is: sitting up on her own more and putting her hands out if she starts to fall over and can get to her belly position from sitting, eating baby food twice a day and is able to pick up bits of table food and LOVES it, loves her paci, is still sleeping next to me in a bassinet {her bed just seems so far away!}, is less fearful of new faces and of other people holding her but will sometimes turn into me or try to hide her face when people talk to her, reaches out for me and has the sweetest little satisfied look on her face when she gets what she wants, starting to move more - pushes up on her arms a lot and started crawling backwards, laughs at the boys all the time, really interested in her toys, still teething like a crazy girl, she is really observant - loves to stare and watch what is going on, gives us all open mouth kisses -only when SHE wants too, though, and lucky for me, she really likes me! She is still wearing 0-3 month clothes and a few 3-6 things, size 1 shoe, tries to take her bows and headbands off all the time, loves snuggling her face on a blanket, and just has the happiest brightest blue eyes. 

I'm sure all mothers do this, but sometimes I just stare at her and am in awe of how gorgeous she is. There's just something about a little girl! 

I'm feeling really blessed today. My children are amazing. :) 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Crock Pot Black Eyed Pea Soup


I think that sometimes little bias' keep us from trying or checking out new things, am I right? At least it is for me. I was an adult with children before I actually ever tried black eyed peas and whoa! They're delicious. Moral of the story: Try ya some black eyed peas. 

My Mother-in-Law brought us, like, a doomsday prepper size bag of dried black eyed peas on her last visit and I was trying to come up with some different ways to prepare them and this soup was born. We were actually serving guests that night, one of whom can't eat gluten, so I had the additional task of coming up with something she could eat. A challenge in the kitchen - I like that! Everyone, including my 4 oldest children who serve as the real critics in this household, liked it. Success!

5 cups dried black eyed peas, soaked overnight
2 32 oz. boxes of chicken broth
1 onion, diced
1 rib celery, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
1 16 oz package smoked sausage, quartered and sliced 
2 cloves pressed garlic
salt & pepper, to taste
pinch of thyme
crushed red pepper, to taste
shaved Parmesan, as garnish

Add all ingredients to a crock pot and stir to combine seasonings. Cook on high for 6-8 hours. Around the 4 hour mark, I added a few cups of water to thin it out. Sprinkle with Parmesan right before serving. 

I served this with buttered crusty bread, a Caesar salad, and these. Seriously. You're gonna want to make those cookies ASAP. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Problem Solver

If your husband wants to go to sleep and you aren't done reading your book, snag your kid's headlamp.

Seriously, it's so fun. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Ma Big Familia


This post about big families is sponsored by this giant bowl of Cookie Crisp. 

What constitutes a big family? For us, it was 4. And then 5 just pushed us right over the edge. And with 5 kids, things are just different. 

*you seldom get dinner, or game night, or some other fun invite outside of your very inner circle, and sometimes not even then. But I get it!! It's totally scary to have a whole hell of a lot of kids up in your house when you are used to only a few or none at all. So, your house becomes the house. You know, like to do stuff at. Like, all the time. (thank goodness we're totally okay with that)

*want to go see that new family movie that's in the theater? It's going to cost a bazillion dollars. 

*everything is bigger & therefore, more expensive. House, car, dinner, the electric bill, holidays, ect.

*laundry. Oh, the laundry. It is a never ending chore that just never ends. Ever. 

*there are rarely leftovers after dinner. 

*if someone gets sick, everyone might get sick and it could be weeks before it's completely out of your house. Because of this, I've scared my kids into thinking all germs are like the plague and they all wash their hands like good little boys! But, seriously! (PSA: if you are sick, please stay home. #thankyaverymuch) 

*when we visit family or go on vacation it feels as though we pack up our entire house. And for he love of anything good in this world...why is it SO HARD to find a hotel room for parents and their children without having to buy 2 rooms!

But then, there's this whole other element of big families that is just wonderful and besides the fact that you love each one of your kids because you just do, I am just so in love with our little big family.

*there is always something to do or someone to talk to 
*we always have enough players for any game
*there's extra artwork, homemade gifts, and fun stuff that each of them create
*I always have a taste-tester
*I hear 5 times the laughter
*there's extra hands to help with whatever is needed
*my kiddos have built-in friends
*road-trips are super fun

And I hate to be cheesy....but,

*there's always more love in a full home. It's just true.

I am one blessed lady.

As for the Cookie Crisp - I bought that box yesterday and it is already gone, mostly due to my husband who thinks he is 10 years old when it comes to cereal. BUT, this guy of mine just custom built an in-kitchen table and bench for this weird little nook we have and it turned out awesome, so he can have as much Cookie Crisp as his little heart desires!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

So...About That Last Post.

Let me just take a big ol' gulp of humility here. It's hard to swallow. I stand corrected. Not completely, because I still maintain my position that Triston was labeled. However, I got a call from the principal.

So, the school district allows the use of iPads. I really don't like this because I think it's not as monitored as it should be. As in, my kid has told me they've been able to search inappropriate things. But, I think it can be a great academic tool as well, so what do you do? Make him the weird kid that can't use the iPad?

Triston has been saying all year that some of the teachers freak out and yell at the kids and talk really mean to them. I know this is true, at least in part, because I've seen it myself while there. But, you know, 5th graders exaggerate, like, everything, so I just listen and say I'm sorry you have to listen to that, which usually warrants a response like, "NO! Mom, you wouldn't believe it, you have to hear it!" And when it has to do directly with him I usually  just say, "Well, you shouldn't have _______" You have to follow the rules.

And then he discovered the video app on the ipad. 

The principal said he had multiple videos of teachers during class time Of course, without their permission - he was being sneaky. I asked Triston and sure enough: he was trying to capture one of them yelling at a student. I'm not even sure what to do with this info, but one thing's for sure: no more 20/20 or dateline. (Har. But, seriously.)

And then...his teacher called me today.

He's been having problems with respect. Shocker. Like, actually rolling his eyes and sticking out his tongue at the teacher. Who does that?! Uhhhh....that'd be my kid.

I know Triston is a great kid. He is helpful and funny. He is the first one to offer a compliment or offer to play with Nash or hold Emma. He thinks about the needs of others including the less fortunate. He cares about his grades and wants to do the right thing. He is a hard and reliable worker. When he messes up, HE comes to US and says he wants to do better, so, I just do not understand WHY he is having so many problems at school.

(And side note: As I'm talking to the teacher, Nash put bread in Emma's mouth. I saw her making a sucking face and thought, "uhhh, what is that? And then I pulled out...bread. In her mouth. And she smiled really big and looked at me like, "oh look, I'm just a big girl....eating bread.")

Oh, I should talk about Nash. In the last few months my angel baby has turned into I don't even know what. Let me give you an example: at a church function a few weeks back, I was trying to get the projector to work with my computer and it wasn't projecting the image. I said to myself, but loud enough for people to hear, "why isn't this working?!" and Nash cups his hands and shouts out "Because you're dumb" in a sing song tone. Like, he was an actual heckler. AND THEN when I was talking to the entire primary and said Heavenly Father loves each of you, he says "Heavenly Father hates you". Other examples include screaming loudly and kicking his legs when we are trying to leave the library or telling people he's going to hurt them because they are doing something he doesn't like, or refusing to clean up his mess and omg, the baby talk. He'll start talking like a baby sometimes when he is unhappy and I can't stand it. I mean, the list could go on here. Think 3 year old...to the extreme?

Ummm...I'm sort of having a crisis here. I've got two kids that can't get the rules right, right now. 10 and 3. Hard ages with plenty of time to figure it out but holy crap, in my mind I'm envisioning them incarcerated or homeless because they just can't follow the rules.  And light bulb: they are the most similar in personality.

So, what do you do?

I *think* you just have to love them through it. Right? Give them more. Not of stuff,  but of yourself and things to do. Helping and serving alongside them and showing them and REMINDING them that they can make a difference. What THEY do matters. (please tell me I'm right?)


It's hard to envision giving more when you already feel like you're in the hole. But, I know nothing is impossible, especially when you start praying, like, really hard. We can do this.

I'm eager to see how this goes.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Saturday Night Confessionals

I sat down on my bed to start planning my primary lesson for tomorrow because that's when ALL the good primary leaders do their lessons - at 9:30 on Saturday nights. When I got all situated, I was amused by the way this stuff was staring back at me. Which says a lot about me, I guess, because that is like the lamest thing ever, to be amused by that.

bought a giant box of fruit loops today and I plan on eating the whole box. Fruit Loops + vanilla almond milk almost tastes like birthday cake frozen yogurt with fruity pebbles on top. Almost. I sat my cereal on the closest hard thing I could find which happened to be the book I'm reading, American Sniper. It's coming out on film in like a week and it's so good. You always should read the book before the movie, am I right? Exception: Twilight. I kind of loved envisioning Robert Pattinson as Edward while I was reading. ;) 

I had to try out that little giraffe there in the picture, that's why it's sitting with my stuff. It's actually a rice bag thing that you heat up. My kids have actual rice bags that their Nana made them and they love them when they're not feeling well and I thought this little guy was super cute. $10 at Aldi. There were a few different animals and they're infused with lavender. I might put it up for Emma bc it's hard telling what my boys might do to it. My guess is sharpie to the face a-la Nash. 

This book here has turned out to be the stupidest gift I've ever bought. According to ME -not Bryce- who it was bought for, because he loves it. The book is filled with tons of paper monster pop-outs that have to be folded and then taped or glued together. I swear, you have to be like an origami master to figure some of these out, so of course, I'm doing it by myself. They are playing with them, though, so good mom points for getting a non-electronic toy that keeps interest.

School starts in 2 days and I'm already having anxiety. First bc I signed Nash up for 2 day a week preschool. My hope is that this will be something just for him that he will be excited about. With four other siblings, it's easy to get lost in the shuffle and even though I set aside time each day just for him, I feel like he needs something else. Especially since Emma came along, he's reverted some and will talk or act like a baby - which drives me nuts. So, as much as I did not want to put him in pre-school, I'm hoping it will be a positive move. :(  

Second, I feel like I just got my kids finally detoxed from school. I love to see THEIR personalities, not every other kid they pick up stuff from. And it's usually not nice stuff, so there's that. And can I just be honest here? I've had a theory that Triston got labeled a couple of years ago as a smart ass kid who needs to be taught a lesson.  Instead of helping US help him develop into a young man, it's lots of put downs, eye rolls, and wall time for some seriously ridiculous reasons. And yesterday he tells us that a teacher he has never had called him by his first and last name because "he was walking to fast in the hallway". He asked how she knew his first and last name and she told him he was famous in the teacher's lounge. I believe that. I don't even know what to say about it except that you want to see your kid treated fairly and being with people who have his best interest in mind. And I'm not sure I feel like that.

I could really talk about this all day, but my primary lesson still isn't done....and I feel like I just authored the next 'If You Give a Mouse a Cookie' book. :) 

Thursday, January 1, 2015


Be a better mom. A better wife. More organized. Bake the perfect cheesecake. Be healthy. 

Those are my yearly staple resolutions. Especially the cheescake one. The water bath always gets me, though, and that damn springform pan. And of course, the important ones here are daily resolutions, rather than yearly. 

But, I've got a few more this year: helping the boys understand service and homeschooling. Whew. I'm already shaking. 

But, let's get this party started. 

2015, here we come! 

iPhone Dump 2019

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