I love to cook and bake. My kids love to eat! My 9 year old Boston wants to be a chef when he grows up! He loves watching cooking shows, videos and his favorite show is Nailed It. I want to ensure that when they are grown and on their own they know how to cook, especially how to cook their favorite meals that they love here at home.

Cooking is great for children because everyone should know how to cook, even if it is just the basics. Cooking teaches children responsibility, patience and it is also good quality time together. When I cook with my children we can talk, I can listen, and they can share what's on their mind. We can also share a few laughs and giggles when I am cooking with my two toddlers.

I also want my children to know they can cook for themselves and for their families. My 9 year old knows that not only women cook. He sees his Dad cook for us too. He also knows that there are many famous chefs are males so he can be one too.

There are many ways cooking can be educational and fun. When cooking I can teach my children measurements and how to be safe when cooking. Due to the various age ranges of my children I can give them each various tasks around the kitchen. For example, my three year old loves when I chop vegetables, mostly because he wants to eat what is on the cutting board. Soft veggies I allow him to cut with a butter knife and watch him as he watches me.

Food means togetherness in my family. I always want a family dinner with us at the dining room table that my husband built. Enjoy good food, conversation and hearing about each person's day.

I am happy to share my love of cooking with my kids and as much as they love food like myself, I hope they enjoy cooking as they grow. You can always include your children with cooking the family meal. It is a lot of fun and a great learning experience.

Hello everyone! Happy Summer! I am so excited for the warm weather, the sunshine and to immerse ourselves in the beauty of Washington. We hit two years of living here next month. We don't go to Seattle very often but decided to surprise the kids with a trip to Seattle with lunch and an adventure to the Space Needle! It was so much fun and gorgeous views all around! Lunch was at Razzi's Pizzeria in Seattle - it was delicious and they have a huge gluten free and vegan menu which was perfect for me! The kids loved the pizza and said it was some of the best they've ever had - my husband and I had to agree.

Razzi's Special Pizza - GF - loaded with pepperoni, Canadian bacon, mushrooms, black olives and Italian sausage
You can't say no to hot wings right?!
Walking to our next adventure and we see the Space Needle! It was about a 20 min walk from the pizzeria

The Space Needle is open daily and has the Loupe Lounge which is the world's first and only revolving glass floor - that was really neat but be careful if you get dizzy easily!

You can buy tickets there for specific time slots to enter or online. You can also buy tickets to see the Space Needle and the Chihuly Garden and Glass - which is next door. We only did the Space Needle however one day I'd love to see the garden and glass. General admission right now is $35 for ages 13-64. Ages 65+ are $30 and children ages 5-12 are $26 so we got free admission for our two toddlers - yay for savings!! HAHA!

The Space Needle is a must see if you ever visit Seattle. It truly is an amazing experience and the panoramic views are spectacular! The tower's design was inspired by the idea that the 1962 World's Fair needed a structure to be a symbol of space aspirations. The grand opening took place on April 21, 1962. It stands at 602 feet tall. I'm very happy we got to experience this with the kids - it will be one of our favorite memories.

Have you ever asked yourself that question? June 17th my twin brother and I turn 34 years old! WOW! Even though 34 is still young sometimes I'm in disbelief I'm in my thirties already. Time goes by so quickly, I remember being a kid celebrating my mother's 34th birthday at home with my brothers and Dad with cake and balloons.

As I get older I always think, what can I accomplish this year and I have accomplished a lot in my life that I am proud of. I am a remarried widow to an amazing man, the mother of five children, I've owned three houses, I've traveled and can't wait to do more, and I published my own children's books! Those are all great accomplishments but I know there is always something more I can do as I continue to grow older and grow spiritually as well.

So I ask you this, what is on your bucket list of things you want to accomplish before you hit your next milestone birthday? I think this is a fun way to enjoy the year, be a BOSS and manifest what your heart desires because there is so much to experience and see in the world!! Here is my bucket list and I am excited to share it with you!!

  1. Travel to my TOP three countries on my MUST TRAVEL list - Ireland, Greece and Portugal. I absolutely love traveling. Wanderlust is in my blood so I can't wait to visit these beautiful countries and stay a few weeks at each one.
  2. Which puts me at the next thing on my list - I lived overseas for four years. I want to spend an entire summer living in a country or two with my family. I think it would be amazing to rent a home, embrace in the food and culture and just LIVE.
  3. Learn another language - I learned how to speak Spanish growing up in school however I'm not fluent and I would like to be so I need to jump onto the practice wagon. After I master Spanish, Italian is on the list!
  4. Write another book - I love romance novels - I'm a sucker for them - probably because I just love romance and stories of magic and falling in love so writing a romance novel is next on my list after a few more children's books
  5. Hot air balloon - I really want to ride in a beautiful hot air balloon here in Seattle either over a sunrise or sunset. I think that would be a magical, breathtaking experience.
  6. Take that leap of faith!! - When I was ready to up and move out of Nebraska and talk to my husband about us moving to Washington state it was scary, thrilling but definitely a leap of faith that we took and it worked out for the best! We are happy and we love it here. We built a house and we explore our surroundings and love all there is to do here. However, there is always something that we should take the risk, take the leap of faith and see how it works out and I have something in the works in the upcoming year that I'm super excited for but won't share the details yet!
  7. Take a girls trip overseas - yes! I totally want to plan a girls trip with my favorite girls and travel to another country and explore, dine on some amazing food and take all the pictures of the beauty we encounter. Someplace tropical I'm thinking - Bali maybe?!
  8. Learn to scuba dive - this is actually something my husband and I talked about - we want to visit more places in the Caribbean so scuba diving is something I would absolutely love to learn with him. Literally a whole other world in the sea that I would love to explore.

So there you have it! That is my list! I am sure it will grow and I'm hoping it will but these are the most important things I really want to do before hitting 40. I'm nearly halfway there and I can't wait...

Hello there!! This month has been BUSY to say the least! The kids finish school in sixteen days (we start in September here) so a lot of projects, tests and end of year assessments and writing assignments have been keeping us very busy during this month as we come close to the end of the virtual school year. I am hoping next year they can enjoy attending their new schools (since we built and bought a new home and moved in January) and meeting some new friends!

We planted some vegetables - onions, zucchini, tomatoes, bell peppers and jalapeno pepper! We are so excited to see it all grow and flourish! We have been having some beautiful sunny weather here so the plants seem to be enjoying it! Speaking of sunshine we bought a pool to put together today for some water and sun this summer in our backyard oasis. The kids are super excited about that as well. I am too - who doesn't want to cool down in a some refreshing cool water on a sunny day?

We also booked a summer vacation! We have been living here in WA state since July 2019. We made plans to visit family back in NE in a few months and for the grandparents to see the kids! They are beyond excited and so are we. We also booked a trip for just my husband and I to go to Mexico for a week! We are excited to have some quality time together and also the kids with their grandparents!! Eeeekkk!! I can't wait!

This month I also got a new van!! I purchased a 2021 Toyota Sienna LE Plus Hybrid - I absolutely love it!! My lease was ending on my Pacifica and I was leaning towards the new Odyssey but my husband said I should look at another option and then choose from there. I'm glad he did because I saw it and wanted it! It's perfect for our family, drives so smooth, reliable as Toyota's are known to be and gets GREAT gas mileage being a hybrid.

This month was busy, fun and chaotic at times with all the planning and shuffling of things with five kids but we are excited for a new month to begin, new beginnings and more fun as summer begins and school ends. Plus June is my birthday month!! I hope you all had a good month and have many blessings ahead. How was your May and what was your favorite part?

Happy post Mother's Day weekend! Did you have a good weekend? Or was it stressful? My weekend was good! Yes the kids are wild at times and running around like crazy but hey - they're kids! We had a lot of fun yesterday with delicious pizza and a family movie. I saw a lot of posts in different mom groups I'm in on how frustrating their weekend was, how frustrating and stressful Mother's day was. We all have our stressful days and sometimes we are more stressed out based on how we respond to certain situations. I know this first hand. So I'm going to share with you some great methods to reduce stress and these are ALL the things I do as well and it helps tremendously!

  1. Listen to music - find your favorite song and just get up and dance or lay down, close your eyes and listen to the sound of the music. I also listen to ocean sounds or sounds of birds or the rain, or a running creek. Soothing sounds are really great to listen to.
  2. Laugh!! Laughing is great at reducing stress. Look at some funny memes or better yet - find a funny movie that will have you laughing your socks off!
  3. Exercise - I have started working out 4 days a week, 30 minutes each day with my favorite music and pushing through in a good exercise routine and it makes me feel great! Exercise helps reduce stress and it even can help you sleep better. You exercise routine can be bike riding, walking, yoga, kick boxing, swimming, anything that you find interest in and can get that heart pumping.
  4. Journal - I will at times when stressed out write my feelings out in my journal or write a prayer even asking for more patience in the situation that made me feel tense and stressed. It helps to get it off my chest and feel some relief.
  5. Stay organized - I like to make a to do list and plan ahead as much as possible. I'm not a procrastinator. Even when it comes down to what to cook for dinner - I make a menu for the week and grocery shop that way so I know what will be for dinner, what to buy and it helps make it less stressful and less off my plate.
  6. Cuddle!! - Get your partner and cuddle and kiss, hug, and just spend time together. This can help reduce stress levels and provide comfort.
  7. Deep breathing - if you are feeling stressed or anxiety - take deep breaths. It will help you to relax, lower your heart rate and clear your mind and make you more at peace.
  8. Have a pet? Cuddle!! Cuddle with your cat, dog or whatever other pet you have because pets can provide happiness and put you in a better mood. I love going outside and hanging out with my corgi Cairo. He's so adorable he sure puts a smile on my face.
  9. Meditation - practice mindfulness everyday to help provide better sleep and focus and lower stress and anxiety. I aim to meditate at least 5-10 minutes a day. There are a lot of apps to help you practice meditation. My favorite is Meditation for Sleep and Calm | Down Dog by Yoga Buddhi Co.
  10. Scents - light candles with relaxing and soothing scents or use your favorite essential oils, spray your pillow with some lavender to help make you ease into sleep and experience a feeling of calm

There are so many ways to relax and destress. I definitely practice these methods a lot because with high blood pressure - stress isn't good for me so I try to respond to certain situations better and if I'm feeling anxiety or stress I am quick to destress quickly to get my mind and soul at peace and relaxation.

What are some ways you reduce stress in your life?

YES!!! You read that right! Just because you're married doesn't mean you have to stop spending quality time with one another. You date to find that perfect, special person. Now that you are married, that doesn't mean it should end. Just because you have kids isn't an excuse either. You don't always have to leave the house to have that special one on one time with one another. We have five children and we make it a priority to have special time together as often as we can and to do a day date or a date night at least 1-2 times a month. Tonight I'm surprising the hubby to one of his favorite restaurants... shhh.. just to show him how much I appreciate him and how proud I am of all he does for our family. If we don't leave the house then we put a movie on for the kids, set up a fun brotherly sleepover with a fun movie and treats or early bedtime so mama and dad can enjoy some time together.

Quality time is a necessity in any and every relationship. Especially marriage. This time together will allow you both to feel closer, deepen that bond and the love that you feel for one another. You can make dating in your marriage a routine and a good habit. Here are a few fun things we do for date nights that we love and never get bored of:

There are so many activities you can do with your spouse to just have that special time together. It doesn't matter how long you've been married, keep that flame lit. Continue to show the love and watch that love grow.

Happy Monday!! We have had some rainy days and while I don't mind them the kids of course do but you can still make it fun for them and you! Having two toddlers, ages 3 and 4 - yes they are Irish twins but that 3 year old - he was a BIG surprise and came two months early! But that's another story. Toddlers are busy, bored easily and have the attention span of a fish. Rainy days we have to keep them entertained especially when they can't run wild and free outdoors BUT you can still plan some fun filled activities for them as well as the other kids!

Here are some fun toddler-kid filled activities for these rainy days

It can be frustrating and challenging at times trying to entertain your little one and other children but creating a fun craft, activity or something that can draw their interest and keep them having even a little bit of fun will make for fun rainy day memories.

Shrimp!!! YESSSSS! Seafood is loved by my family and even the kids. From salmon to crab legs, from fried catfish or cod to delicious, succulent shrimp - seafood is always in our house and we have it often. My husband had his birthday last week and he really wanted shrimp and steak for dinner. I wanted to make shrimp scampi but didn't have all of the ingredients except for the white wine, garlic and butter.

I decided to make my own super delicious, super garlicky and buttery shrimp using this seasoning packet! This just shows that this seasoning is not only for wings! They turned out perfect! He loved them! The kids tried a few and loved them so much I had to make it again. It is just a few ingredients and super easy to make! My kids love helping me cook and since I love to cook they grow up to be amazing cooks as well!

What do you need:

First put your shrimp in a bowl or your ziploc bag and add your package of Garlic Parmesan seasoning.

Next heat your skillet between low-medium heat. Add your butter and your garlic. You don't want the butter to burn so make sure it's at a good low-medium heat, a nice simmer. Add your white cooking wine - give it a good little stir!

Now add your shrimp, one at a time either side down. Don't over crowd your skillet. You want them to cook evenly and not overcook them because no one wants a tough- rubbery tasting shrimp. As soon it's pink on one side, I flip it with a fork or a pair of tongs. Entire shrimp turns pink - time to take off the heat.

Remove your shrimp and devour the garlicky, buttery goodness! I also put more of the white wine garlic sauce over the shrimp when serving. I hope you love it as much as my family did! It's now a favorite!

You read that right. This is something that even us as adults can forget to do on the daily basis so it is our responsibility to teach our kids. There are days I am having a rough day and I finally take a moment to breathe. Realize that how I'm responding in that specific moment needs to be calmer and it's time to be grateful for what I do have. For example, I had a doctor's appointment today that ended up being cancelled. I was frustrated at first because I drove all the way there to receive the news that I wouldn't be able to be seen after all. Then I quickly realized, you know what it's okay. I will reschedule it and I have the medication that I need so no biggie. It's okay. I drove home and started school work with the kids. I seriously could have let that ONE tiny thing from this morning ruin my entire day. Instead I let it turn into a lesson of gratitude.

Now my sons who range from ages 3 to 13 - teaching them gratitude can be over the head at times or through one ear and out the other. Especially for my 7 year old, Weston. He complains a lot, wants everything to go his way, if he doesn't get it he pouts and gets teary eyed and he just wants, wants more, and wants MORE. It's at the point where I've just about had it and it's mentally draining right? To constantly have to repeat yourself. To tell your child that they need to be grateful and appreciate what they have or what they have just received. Parenting is constant repetition. Sometimes we are at our wits end but I know for a fact Weston will learn how to be grateful and appreciate what he has in his life and stop focusing on the things he wants and doesn't have. They all will. Why? It's important for our children to know good manners, to show they appreciate what was done for them and to be thankful for what they have because a lot of people wish they had it.

I feel like recently, especially in the past year a lot of people have shown their true colors of not having gratitude, compassion, lack of manners, lack of empathy... the list goes on and it is truly sad to see self entitled adults who lack these skills and makes you wonder, are they even teaching their kids if they don't hold these characteristics in their heart? If not, at least I am teaching my children and hopefully they can teach others and it can spread.

I am going to tell you some ways my husband and I teach our sons gratitude and if you need some tips maybe it can help!

Gratitude is something that I want to put at the forefront of our family dynamic and show our kids how important and special it is to practice this. It is so simple and easy to do and with daily practice they will understand making it a priority because it will encourage happiness for them and just make them overall better, caring people.

It's Monday! Monday Motivation that is. There are so many people that dread when the new week begins and trust me - I used to be one of those people. I would wish another day of the weekend could be added because the days go by so quickly. Especially when I worked full-time out of the house and had to think of all I had to do at work, but then at home and also with the kids. Now that I'm a SAHMama there are some weeks where I would be in that same thought process. Nervous and overwhelmed about the week before it even started! However, I started to think differently and you can change your mindset to a positive, motivating attitude to get the blood pumping and creative juices flowing so that you can accomplish what you need to do as well as set any new goals you may have in mind.

First, remember to give yourself grace. Be kind to yourself. We can be so hard on ourselves with our busy lives and there are times we think we can do it all and then some. We can't. You must not pour from an empty cup sis, so wait until you refuel yourself. Take it one day at a time and if that is too tough take it a moment at a time. Instead of focusing on what do I have to do this week focus on TODAY. Don't even worry about tomorrow because it is not even here yet so why stress it. It's Monday so enjoy the day for what it is. Accomplish what you need to do for today and whatever you can't finish, push it till tomorrow.

If you start the day negative or in a bad mood then trust me, your entire day will just be bad. Everything will feel like it's going wrong and you will find anything to nitpick and stress about. Start the day on a positive note and you will find yourself trying to end it that way as well. Don't consume the day with what happened yesterday or what you have to do tomorrow.

Each week is a new beginning, a fresh start to start the week off on the right foot and to inspire you. Here are a few tips to start and end your Monday so that the week ends on a beautiful, positive note and you find that motivation each week.

  1. Stay organized - if things are in a clutter, the day isn't planned out then you may find added stress in your day that can be prevented by planning what is necessary and getting what you need sorted.
  2. Do a task that creates some happiness. If you're at work and working on something that is on a deadline or have a sales goal to obtain work hard towards that goal or jump ahead on your project to finish it sooner. If you're a SAHM take a coffee break. Seriously! Make your own or treat yourself to your favorite coffee spot. Go to a quiet spot and listen to your favorite song, meditate or go for a walk for some fresh air. Just something that can make you feel proud and also happy with a smile on your face.
  3. If you are thinking about what went wrong yesterday think about what you can do to better yourself today and the next day do the same thing. Strive to better yourself each day and create good habits.
  4. What are you thankful for? There are some days I would wake up and say "Ugh today isn't going to be good. My back hurts, I'm tired and the kids are already fussing"... Well with that attitude why would it be better? I'll be responding to everything with a giant chip on my shoulder and in a nasty mood. Wake up and say what you are thankful or grateful for. It can be 2-5 things you can think of each day and just say out loud. "I am thankful for my new house." "I am thankful we are all healthy." "I am thankful I woke up this morning." Saying these things each day makes me appreciate what I have and also just treasure the day and look forward to a new day as well.
  5. Lastly, focus on one task, project, or chore at a time. Don't try to juggle or take on too much at once. Multi-tasking can be great and beneficial but know your limits and be easy on yourself, especially if you don't work well under pressure.

I know getting out the bed on Monday can seem daunting and you really don't want to do it. You want to hit snooze and pause the world but just know you got this and you can easily motivate and inspire yourself to have a great week! All you have to do is try to succeed in motivating yourself each week. After all we do have 52 new beginnings each year.

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