Category: Family

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!


Let Them Eat Cupcakes

I’ve always been more of the “fun-hater” in our house!  I’m the “eat your supper before dessert” person or the “no sweet treats before lunch” person.  I’m ok with it!  Someone has to be that person and the boys and I have a great relationship regardless!  This past weekend however, I decided to live in the moment and relax a little!

World of Rules

Our world is full of rules today!  Eat this, don’t eat that.  Don’t do that, do this, etc.  It’s easy to get caught up in what is “right” and what is “wrong” and forget that life is happening around us each day!  When you’re raising kids, you are constantly worried that you are “screwing them up”.  Oh, that’s just me? Well, OK then! 😉  Society today has put so many expectations on us as parents or step-parents that it’s amazing our parents were able to raise us!

While I think rules are good, I also think they are an outline of how to live your life, how to make decisions, etc.  So, that being said…rules are made to be broken every once in awhile or stretched, right?!


Tips for Visiting Branson

To say that we enjoy visiting the Branson, MO area might be an understatement!  We enjoy it so much that we have visited three times in a 1 year time span!  Planning any family vacation or trip can be overwhelming and now that we consider ourselves “pros” at visiting Branson, we thought we would share some tips to help you plan your visit.


We have camped and stayed in condos while visiting Branson and we definitely recommend staying in a condo!  The main reason for our switching was that we sold our camper, but as we researched different hotels and condos, we were able to get a great space (2 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo with full kitchen, living room, and patio) for the same price as some of the hotels.  With two growing teenage boys, it’s important for us to have space to spread out in and our condo that we booked through VRBO definitely did this!


Creamy Parmesan Pork Chops

Do you ever have a random “ah-ha” moment when trying to figure out what to make for supper, well that’s exactly how these Creamy Parmesan Pork Chops came to be! No need to stand at the grill in the middle of Iowa winter to get a juicy flavorful pork chop with this recipe!

But first, an update!  Life has actually slowed down for our family!  Most of you know by now that we live sports season to sports season during the school year and we are in that happy month-long sabbatical from sports currently!  It’s the down-time between basketball and track! (Don’t worry, our first track meet is March 14th, so it’s literally only a month long!)  This means with less running, we get more time at home, more time together as a family!  T and I spent a warm 4 days in Branson a couple weeks ago.  We took R and a friend to an Iowa State basketball game recently, while M and I have played many games of Skip-Bo!  It’s all been bliss!


Diner Night: A Family Tradition

Tradition…what does it mean to you?!  To me, it means almost anything centered around my family!  Are you ready for a rare sneak peak at our “at-home” life? It’s fun, I promise! Welcome to Diner Night!  This past weekend we enjoyed Diner Night and I wanted to share it with you because well…it’s so dang fantastic!

I can’t take credit for this tradition, T started this with the boys before I came around, but they welcomed me into this tradition and it’s still one our favorite at home activities. It’s nothing complicated, nothing fancy, but it’s ours and we all love it! Well, T might not enjoy it as much as the rest of uf since he’s the burger and malt guru, but still…

So, what will you need for a diner night?!  You’ll need burgers, french fries or tater tots, and supplies for malts/shakes.  Oh, and don’t forget your fun attitude and a game or two wouldn’t hurt either!


The 16 Best of 2016

I can’t believe another year has come and gone! I see so many social media posts about how awful everyone thinks 2016 has been and my heart hurts for those people! I mainly hurt because my 2016 has been phenomenal! Has there been frustrations, heart ache, things that don’t go exactly how we planed?! Absolutely, but that’s life.  We choose to focus on all the things that we’ve been blessed with in our lives and year! So, I thought I’d share with you 16 of my favorite pictures found on my phone from 2016!

Without further adieu and in no particular order:

 1.  This was our first day on our family vacation in Branson!  Not only were we excited to explore the area, but we were excited to be out of the truck too!  Plus, it’s me and my three favorite guys, so what could be better?


Right Now….This Is Life

Welcome as I look at where things are right now, in our lives!  Thanksgiving is over! I had 4 days straight with my guys and I couldn’t have been happier in those 4 days! I am so blessed! We’re now in the spring to Christmas!

I’m sure you’ve noticed that there’s been a significant absence of me here on the blog. I’m back at that point where I feel like I’m drowning in life! Anyone else feeling that right now?! So, I thought I’d just give you a bit of an update of where things in our house and life is:

Our Life

Right now…I’m in the midst of another round of the 21-Day Fix!  I was happy with the results the first time and haven’t really been eating “clean” the last several months and decided that right before Christmas was a good time to start! Check out how I feel about it, HERE!

Right now…R has started basketball season (last night) and we’re now at basketball games for about 4 hours two days a week.rye-bball

Right now…there is a load of laundry waiting for me to move it to the dryer!

Right now…I have a Norwex party this weekend and I’m thinking about how I should prepare for it, but just want to sleep!


Random Monday Thoughts, 10/17/2016


It’s been quite awhile since I’ve done one of these, so I thought it was time! Without further ado…here are my thoughts for this Monday!

1. Fall is the best season of all!  I love that everything it brings with it.  Cooler temps, the turning of the leaves, pumpkins, and soups!  You can’t go wrong with any of that!  It’s the perfect balance of needing a sweatshirt at night and short sleeves during the day!  I get to watch the boys play football and run cross country!

2.  The song “Don’t Blink” is 100% true! When people tell you not to blink because time flies and kids grow too fast, believe them!  I have to be honest that I see parents of young (8 or younger) say that time is going to fast and think, “you’ve got no idea”.  The 5 years that T and I have been married and I’ve been step-mom to two amazing boys have been the fastest 5 years of my life!  I feel like if I blink too many times, R will be graduating and M will be in high school.  Maybe I’ll just stare into space for the next 10 years! 😉 I don’t think too much about it all, I’m living in denial for the next 3 years…I have to…it’s my coping mechanism.

3.  Weekends at home are just what the doctor ordered.  This past weekend we got to be home the entire time (other than Friday night football).  I seriously don’t know the last time we had that!  We had lazy breakfasts and coffee, I got groceries, and really cleaned the house, we worked outside, and we were lazy.  I feel refreshed coming back to work today and that is a great feeling!

4.  Making memories can happen everywhere.  We sold our camper and truck this past August.  As hard as it was to do, we just didn’t have the time in our schedules to make it worth the investment.  We vowed to each other, and to the boys, that we would make memories in different ways and experience new things.  The first of those started this past weekend.  Since we don’t have camping to enjoy campfire food, we dug and installed a fire ring in our backyard.  Saturday night we had our first fire in it.  We made homemade cheeseballs and onion rings, followed by grilled burgers (eaten on our laps and without plates), and finished off with funnel cakes.  It was great to see the boys playing with each other, putting their devices down, and just enjoying each others company!

5.  I am the most blessed woman in the universe!  I think most people with fantastic families feel this way, but I especially do!  We got our new family pictures back and you’re going to get a a rare peak at my boys!  They are spectacular and I can’t wait to get the big ones (16×20) printed, framed, and up on my world.  These pictures are a great narrative of how happy I am in my life!  (Thanks to Jill McCaslin Photography for capturing these shots!)



Have a great week!!


Our Favorite Things…Branson Style

I can hardly believe that it’s been over 2 weeks since we’ve been from our family vacation in Branson! I swear the older I get the faster time goes! But, I digress…we had such a fantastic time in Branson and all four of us have actually commented, “I’ll go back!”  So, what were our favorite parts about Branson?  Here they are…and in no particular order!

Top of the Rock/Lost Canyon Tours

A friend of mine recommended the Lost Canyon Tours at Top of the Rock to me and so I had to look into!  You are able to go on self-guided tours along their path with a golf cart through the canyon and caves and my interest was peaked.  This is something right up the boys’ alley and it didn’t sound so bad to me either!  They weren’t wrong and neither was I!  Being outside and closer to nature (away from the hustle and bustle of the city is fantastic).  Plus the views aren’t too shabby either!

One of the many beautiful sights in Lost Canyon


Hollywood Entertainment Center: Branson

#FlintsTakeBranson is all over: Done, finale, finished! One of our MANY stops was the Hollywood Entertainment Center on the main drag in Branson.  We actually made it our very first stop of the trip because we were that excited about it.

hollywood 2

The Hollywood Entertainment Center in Branson consists of four different aspects: Shoot for the Stars Miniature Golf, The Hollywood Wax Museum, Maze of Mirrors, and Castle of Chaos.

The marker and narrative display at each hole!
The marker and narrative display at each hole!