Fall season is here! So with that it marks SOUP SEASON! I absolutely love making delicious, hearty soups. They smell and taste delicious. Makes the house feel even more cozy and it's leftovers for another day or two! Can't beat that!

I remember when I used to work at Mutual of Omaha and their cafeteria had a soup station. Occasionally they would have Italian wedding soup and I was always so excited because I loved it! It was one of my favorite soups. I always wanted to make it but never got the chance to, until now. This soup is one pot goodness! It provided plenty of leftovers for our family of seven and the kids loved it! Spinach and all.


For the meatballs:

Soup base:

Combine meatball ingredients in a bowl. Make small bite size meatballs.

You will need a large pot for the soup. Heat a little bit of olive oil, about 1-2 tablespoons, on medium heat. Cook meatballs until browned on all sides. The meatballs will finish cooking in the soup. You can place your meatballs on a plate/tray to rest.

Next add another 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pot. Add your onions, celery, garlic, and carrots. Saute veggies for about 7-8 minutes. Until tender. Add your chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add your meatballs and the pasta. Cover and reduce to medium heat until pasta is tender and meatballs cooked through. About 10 minutes.

We love this soup with some delicious Italian bread on the side or a french baguette! It makes a large serving which is perfect for our family of seven plus leftovers!!

It's September so that means it is Self-Care Awareness month! Everyone should practice some self-care and love for their bodies - mentally and physically. As a busy stay at home mama I know as time goes on we can neglect ourselves and we put the needs of everyone else, for instance our spouses, children and even friends, before our own. I'm here to say No. NAY NAY! Stop putting everyone else before you! Take care of you. You know the saying you can't pour from an empty cup? Well it is true. To fill up that cup you need to pour in some love and care for the soul.

Use September to FALL (see what I did there....) into a new routine of self-care. It is not being selfish and it doesn't have to be expensive or even cost money if you want. For me self care is indulging in getting a pedicure and manicure, working out to relieve stress and keep my high blood pressure low. Getting a massage and having my lashes done because they make me feel pretty and plus I fall asleep every time so - BONUS - nap time included. I also enjoy hiking and taking walks with my corgi Cairo. Reading and writing is another thing that brings me peace and happiness so to me that is self-care and giving myself love.

Here are five tips that you can do to practice self-care this month and can continue it in your daily routine for the ongoing future.

Ease into the morning!

Wake up before everyone else. Just an hour before the kids wake up and the chaos begins. Having an hour of quiet, peace, and the rays of the sun glistening through the windows is heaven. It allows me to wake up and think about the day, journal and pray or just be in the moment and practice gratitude. It can help make a great start to your day.

Jump around!

But no really move around. Exercise is great and can help give you the much needed energy that is required being a mama. You can do fun activities to help you stay motivated to continue with the exercise. It can be walking, yoga, bike riding or even swimming.

Have a date with yourself!

Yes girl! Wear something cute! Buy yourself those beautiful flowers you were eyeing while pushing the $300+ of items in your loaded Costco cart to the checkout. Go to your favorite restaurant or cafe. Enjoy your favorite beverage and meal. Go to a comedy club. Go dancing. Just go have fun and make the night all about you.


Yaaaaassss sis! Get your rest! Whatever doesn't get done today will be left for tomorrow. I know I used to stay up late to DO DO DO and DO some more and honestly, it's not worth it. Our bodies need rest. It's good for depression, stress, illnesses and just your overall health. Plus more sleep allows you to get up early before the kids so you can have that quiet time to yourself.

Eat right!

Better yet, just eat! You know days come and go and sometimes even I am left wondering, did I eat breakfast? I know I fed the kids but did I eat? We have to fuel our bodies mamas with good nutrition and also WATER!! I definitely drink my two liters of water a day but food.... a lot of times I find myself throwing back a protein shake and when dinner comes around I'm cooking and starving. It's not good nor is it healthy. So here's to making sure I, we ALL eat better. Snacking on almonds, eating a salad as a snack in between meals or pretzels, eat the fruit, make the sandwich - just make sure you eat and it's not just empty calorie filled junk.

What do you do for self-care? Remember you can't say September without self-care. Well you can, but just remember to take care of yourself. Make yourself a priority and know that no one is going to love you or take care of you as much as you should be doing. Happy Self-Care month!

What to do with the kids? That is the question. If your kids are anything like mine, they tend to get bored doing the same activities over and over again. That calls for getting creative and hands on with activities. During the summer months especially we try to keep their little minds engaged so bonus points for S.T.E.M. type of activities. We are going to have to think outside the box, or jar in this case. 

A couple weeks ago my husband got caught in the void that is Youtube and found himself on a channel about closed jar Ecosystems. The premise seemed pretty straight forward so we figured it would be a good chance to get the kids involved in the scientific process and get them out of the house for some good exercise and fun. 

So what is a closed Ecosystem? Basically, it is it’s own little self sustaining world in a jar! It is called a Closed Ecosystem because once you have prepared it, you seal it up and there is nothing left to do but observe! This is a great way to introduce your kids to the circle of life and how an Ecosystem, just on a much smaller scale! The best part is how easy it is to set up and start.

What you need:

And that is it! From there you just start building. First thing you will want to add is some dirt and mud to the bottom of the jar. This will provide nutrients and an area for plants to root and grow. Then you will want to find and add some aquatic plants, try to get the root and all when collecting them so you can replant them in the dirt. You will also want to collect some other organic matter such as leaves, small sticks and small rocks that will act as cover and habitat for the jar's inhabitants. Finally just take your small bottle and fill your jar up with water, leaving a little air on top and seal it shut!

Most areas of water are teeming with life and you will have picked some up in the dirt, some eggs and larva could hitchhike in on the plants and the water! Set your new Ecosphere on a ledge next to a window with sunlight and start to observe! The sun will provide energy to the plants which will act as food to some of the organisms as well as provide oxygen for the Ecosphere and the organisms in turn will provide waste and carbon dioxide that the plants will need to thrive.  From here you and your little ones can observe as the Ecosystem brings itself into a balance. Not all of the species in your jar will survive and that is OK. Just sit back and watch nature play out. Will update about our jar from time to time!

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.

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