Top 10 Trips & Travel Adventures

Last week, I gave you a run down of my Top 10 Recipes from the first 3 years of blogging!  It was so fun to put together and to see the results, that I thought I would do the same thing with our travel adventures and trips!  I’ll admit that I was very suprised at the results, but it also proves to me that what you, my amazing readers, really like are the small, locally-owned businesses!  I love that!

So, without making you wait any longer, here is the build-up to my #1 most popular travel adventure post!


Top Recipes 2014-2017

Typically, each January (or end of December), you see these posts floating around from bloggers.  Their top posts from each year!  I’m a little late to this game, but remember…life is slowing down, which means I have more time to get things published! I figured it probably didn’t matter to you if I was a little later on this post. Some people scoff at these type of posts, but personally, I like having my favorites all in one spot, so I’m doing this anyway!

I decided to go with the top 10 recipes from my first 4 years of blogging!  Why limit myself to one year since this is my first post like this?!  I’ve had a lot of great recipes over the years, so I thought I would include each of them!  However, they ended up all being from 2016 and 2017!  That’s ok though!  Without further adieu….

Campfire Cinnamon Bites

This recipe came about when T and I were camping, experimenting with food (one of our favorite pastimes of camping) and became VERY popular with our whole family!


Honey Mustard Coleslaw

Don’t let the name of this coleslaw steer you from a traditional side dish!  It’s a traditional coleslaw with a small twist!  This recipe also came about because I had a bag of coleslaw mix that was going to go bad and when you’re feeding two teenage boys, you don’t waste food and throw it away!  I needed to use that mix!

New Recipes

I’m always trying to perfect a homemade coleslaw recipe!  I hate buying that sugar laden syrupy dressing at the grocery store!  T loves coleslaw and so it’s something I can easily throw together and keep in the fridge for a side for us!  We are frequently critiquing new coleslaws and if you remember, we LOVED the coleslaw at the Barrel House in Dubuque!  So, I am constantly trying new combinations and T loved this one and said it was the best I had ever made, so of course, I needed to bring it to you!


One Pan Beef & Cabbage Skillet

I love it when we find a healthy recipe that both T and I will eat! This One Pan Beef & Cabbage Skillet is one of those! In fact, most of it came from T! I can’t even take credit for the majority of it.  But, that’s why we make such a great team!

Some Background…

As I’ve been working, once again, to clean up my eating, we’ve been trying lots of new recipes!  One of those was the ever-popular Crack Slaw floating around on the interwebs!  People I know have raved about it over and over, so I was ready to try it!  THIS recipe is the one we tried.

I made it exactly as the recipe said except I cut the recipe in half in case we didn’t like it, which left me one bag of coleslaw mix in the fridge!  I also had hoped to make an additional batch for work lunches if I liked it.  However, I halted when I got to the red pepper flakes!  1 teaspoon seemed like a lot to me, but I’ll admit that I have a very sensitive palate to spicy foods.  T likes spicy foods though and I really wanted him to like it, so I went ahead!  I still regret that decision.  It was WAY TOO spicy for me.  I ate about 4 bites and moved on to something else.  T managed to eat a bowl full, but passed on having anymore!

The Recipe

So, anyway, T and I were inspired to come up with our own crack slaw recipe and I’m so glad that we did because, in my opinion, we hit it out of the park! This recipe combines the protein of the beef with the vegetables, which is exactly what I’m looking for right now!  The rich flavors give it a hearty flavor!  Check it out!

One Pat Beef & Cabbage Skillet
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1 bag coleslaw mix
  • ½ green pepper, chopped
  • ½ white onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves, minced garlic
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon beef soup base
  • 2-3 T worcestershire
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  1. Brown your ground beef in a skillet with the green peppers, onions, and garlic until cooked thoroughly.
  2. Drain the grease off and return to the skillet.
  3. Add the water, beef broth and worcestershire to the skillet and the coleslaw mix, stir well.
  4. Season with salt, pepper to your liking.
  5. Place a lid on the skillet and let cook until the cabbage has cooked down to your preference, stirring occasionally.

Cooks Notes:

  • The flexibility of this recipe is fantastic!  If you’d like to add more veggies, feel free!  Same thing with the seasoning!  If you’re a big garlic fan, use more, T is not, so I don’t load it up.  But, I did go heavy on the pepper.
  • The cooking time is completely up to you!  I prefer that the cabbage has a very small amount of crunch to it, so I cook it longer rather than not.  If you don’t like the crunch, simply cook it longer!
  • The beef could easily be swapped out for pork, turkey, or chicken.

One Pan Beef & Cabbage Skillet

This recipe is definitely being added to our regular meal plans as it is filling, but also incredibly healthy!  Give it a try and let me know what you think!  Enjoy this One-Pan Beef & Cabbage Skillet!

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What I’m Loving Right Now – February 2018

I can’t believe another month has come and gone. I feel like I’ve blinked and February is upon us! Of course, that means talking about the things I’m loving right now!

February Brings…

For us, February brings several different things!  Basketball is wrapping up this month and we get a few more nights at home until track season starts!  T has to do some traveling for work!  This is unusual, so an adjustment for us!  Valentine’s Day, of course, will be celebrated!  It also brings me the time to do some more experimenting in the kitchen and thinking about spring travels (fingers crossed)!  Finally, it brings us to a new list of my favorite things and since February means getting more time in my kitchen, I decided that this month will be focused on  my favorite kitchen tools and gadgets!


National Plan for Vacation Day: Ideas for You and Your Family

Did you know that today is National Plan for Vacation Day?!  According to a research project by Project: Time Off, more than 53% of Iowans left vacation days left unused!  I don’t know about you, but I make sure to use all those suckers up!  Throughout the year I work hard and want to have the time to relax, enjoy my family, and do things other than work!  Because I have roughly 25 years left to work, I’m going to make sure to use my time off now!

Park of National Plan for Vacation Day is actually planning a vacation!  In the past, by this point, we’ve had our summer family vacation planned already!  This year, we’re going about things a little different and doing one long weekend per month (June, July, August) with the boys and going and doing three totally different things!  We’re super excited to head to Roseville, MN, Omaha NE, and some place in Minnesota fishing, but we’ll save those for other posts!

In an effort to help you plan your vacation time, I thought I would do a quick round-up post with our favorite vacation spots and places we recommend, both near and far!

Iowa Vacation Spots & Day Trips

Amana Colonies –


Tips for A Balanced Lifestyle, the 10-Week Challenge, & A Giveaway

It’s time for the annual 10-Week Wellness Challenge that is put on by Live Healthy Iowa each year and I’m so excited to be participating with the Iowa Food & Family Blogger Team again this year!

Some Background…

For the third year in a row, I’m joining a group of Iowa bloggers on the Iowa Food & Family Project’s team!  Catch those other bloggers here!

Lisa C from Midwest Mom Life

Stephanie G from Been There, Baked That

Shari H from Inked & Educated Mom

Kelli K from The Sustainable Couple

Kathy V from Kathy’s Kitchen

Mary L from Farm Girl Cook’n

Head over to their blogs and follow their social media channels to follow thier journeys!


Easy Instant Pot Roasted Shredded Chicken

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I’ve made lots of shredded chicken by roasting a chicken in the oven!  Of course, once I got my Instant pot, I wanted to see it if was as easy everyone else claimed it to be.  They weren’t wrong, but what I did notice is that my chicken didn’t have much flavor!  I missed the taste of a Sunday roasted chicken shredded up to be put into casseroles or soups!  There seemed to be something missing, so I was determined to recreate that flavor in my Instant Pot!

Life Is Busy

I can’t even being to tell you how busy life has been recently!  Between 2-3 nights of basketball each week, 1-2 meetings a week, I’ve barely had time to do the regular chores (laundry and meals) in my house!  Thankfully, last fall when I was having back problems, T and I decided that we would hire a cleaning lady!  She comes 1 hour every other week and it’s the most glorious thing!  She cleans both bathrooms, cleans the kitchen floor, and whatever odd and end jobs I ask when she has time!  It has been a game changer for me!  I used to spend my weekends cleaning, laundering, and then meal prepping leaving no time to relax. I was going back to work on Monday stressed and almost more exhausted than I was during the week!  Not to mention, she will put away my clean dishes from the dishwasher, and folds my bathroom towels like those in a hotel!  (It’s the little things in life, right?!)

Roasted Chicken

Like I said before, there is something about the taste of roasted chicken when it’s shredded and put into soups and casseroles.  I love the ease of using my Instant pot to make shredded chicken, but not the taste!  So, I was determined to achieve both!  Here’s how I did it!


Family Fun at the Mall of America, Nickelodeon Universe & Moose Mountain

If Disney World is the happiest place on Earth, then the Mall of America is the happiest place in the midwest!  Recently, my three favorite guys and I headed to the Mall of America to take on some shopping along with Nickelodeon Universe & Moose Mountain Adventure Golf!

Christmas Time

For the last two years, T and I have given the boys a shopping spree at the Mall of America for their Christmas present!  Last year, as we roamed the stores shopping for their gifts, we realized that at the ages they are, maybe they would like to shop for their own things, so we suprised them with a trip to the mall, an overnight stay at a hotel, and of course money to spend as their gift!  As it turned out, they loved the gift and actually asked to do it again this past Christmas!  It made our Christmas shopping so much easier and so we were more than happy to oblige!


What I’m Loving Right Now – January 2018

Can you believe it’s January 2018 already?!  And here we are for another edition of “What I’m Loving Right Now”.  I enjoy putting together these lists of things I’m loving right now, so I hope you enjoy reading them and I hope you can find something that might help you, strike your fancy, or fill a void in your life!

This month, I’m calling it my Direct Sales version!  I’ve shared a few things from a few direct sales friends of mine that I love, but here are a few more!  I truly love supporting as many direc sales consultants as possibl, as long as they provid me with outstanding customer service!  Those that do, earn my business for life!  I understand how how they work, and I understand what they are providing for their family, so I want to support them!

So, here’s what I’m loving this month from my Direct Sales friends!

Rodan & Fields Body Lotion

I’m always on the hunt for a good quality body lotion  and while I enjoy the “fun” scents from those body stores, my skin can’t handle it!  I have incredibly sensitive skin with eczema, so I need something gentle and highly effective!  I recently started using the Rodan & Feilds Body Lotion and I can’t praise it highly enough!  It leaves my skin highly moisturizer, has no scent, and isn’t greasy AT ALL!  My skin is instantly smooth and soft after applying!

Easton Scarf from Trades of Hope

Back in  May, I talked about one of my favorite necklaces, the Sea Glass from Trades of Hope!  Now, I’m raving about my Easton Scarf!  I earned it recently by hosting a party with my favorite TOH consultant and I’m so glad that I did!  It goes with just about everything and is my favorite colors!  Plus, the fact that it’s supporting the women of India makes my heart even happier.

Me in my Easton Scarf