Category: Life with Boys

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?!


Dubuque, IA: A Family Day Trip!

I’ve lived in Iowa my entire life and have never done anything, but drive through Dubuque, IA. Can you believe that?! Well, thankfully we solved that problem back in July and ended up having a fantastic family day trip!

In mid-June T and I determined that we were taking July 3rd off (it was a Monday) and spending the day with the boys!  Since selling our camper last summer (no time to camp), we promised them that we would do more weekend and daytrips and this seemed like the perfect opportunity!  So, after much research and debating, we settled on Dubuque area for the day.  We are so glad that we did!

National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium

The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium was our first stop of the day!  The boys love aquariums and so that was the immediate draw for us.  We also love learning about the Mississippi, it’s history, etc. so it made complete sense.  The first highlight was the stingray exhibit where the boys could touch them!  Who doesn’t love hands-on activities?!  We found the history portion of the museum very intriguing as we learned about the natives that had inhabited the area.  And of course the boys (all three) were drawn to the Riverworks Splash Zone, which is an area with different experiments and interactive activities using water!

Next, we headed outside to enjoy the outside exhibits.  We liked walking through the old river ships and barges that explained the history of their purposes and the river!  We especially liked the Steamboat William M. Black.  Exploring this old steamboat that was used to dredge the river was quite fascinating!  Of course, we also liked the Mississippi River Discovery Center & Aquariums because of all the tanks of fish and river otters!  Before we left, the boys had to try their hand at the remote control boats too!

R & M playing with the remote control boats the the National River Museum & Aquarium.


Happy Birthday M!

I can’t believe it’s M’s birthday again! Each year it seems to come around faster and faster! He’s becoming a teenager this year and I’m in denial. In fact, I’ve been completely avoiding the topic because I get teary whenever I think about it! I’m not sure how it’s happened, but it has!

Happy Birthday M!

Dear M, 

You’re 13 today!  I don’t know how it happened!  (Funny, I started your 11th birthday letter the exact same way!)  It’s official that you’re a teenager and I’m not dealing well with it!  You, my sweet, brown-eyed boy, are such an amazing kid!  6 years ago when I joined your family, I would never have imagined what a place in my heart you would have!  And really, you’re not a boy anymore, you are definitely a young man!  And a  young man I’m so proud of!  


Random Monday Thoughts, 1/16/2016

It’s Monday again…I can’t believe it, but thankfully we had a weekend at home for a change! I haven’t had random Monday thoughts in quite awhile..well, actually I have, but haven’t had time to jot them down! So, here we are!

The Cold from H*!L – So, about January 5th, I started the symptoms of a small winter cold…sore throat from post nasal drip, slightly stuffed up, etc.  Over the next couple days the symptoms grew into a full-blown cold/sinus infection.  Last Monday found me home from work, sleeping on the couch most of the day, and headed to the doctor!  Armed with antibiotics, heavy doses of Sudafed, and nasal spray I spent Tuesday at home too!  The bottom of my nose is so raw from blowing and wiping it that I now have 2 cracks in the skin! UGH!  I’m not tired and worn out, but I am tired of having pressure on my ears, my nose constantly stuffed up, etc.  If anyone has any tips on how to get rid of this cold from H*!L, I’m open to suggestions!!

My current arsenal against this cold!


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?


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!!


Gusto Pizza, A Must Try!

Have you been to Gusto Pizza in Des Moines? If you haven’t, you need to! Recently T and I took M to an iCubs game in Des Moines with my mom and step-dad! The games are such good family fun, if you’ve never been. We’ve been to several now and each time we’ve gone, we’ve done a tailgate meal because well…it’s a baseball game! This time, however, we decided to grab supper at a restaurant near the field instead.









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!


Random Monday Thoughts, 7/11/2016


It’s Monday again!  Can you believe that?  Wow is the summer flying by! Monday seems to come faster each weekend! I hope your summer is going well and you’re finding time to stop, relax, and enjoy the experiences around you! Now, on to my random thoughts!

  1.  Weekends go too fast – I’d like to find any human that doesn’t feel this way!  Heck, I think even Ms. Nike feels this way because she loves having us all at home!
  2. I cherish times with my guys – R is busy working a lot this summer, so between that and spending time with his girlfriend we see him very little!  I’m very much looking forward to our family vacation to spend some time with him!  This past weekend, I went to a tractor pull with T & M and I loved every minute of being with them!  Is a tractor pull my favorite thing to do on a Saturday night?  Nope, but M loves them and so I go with because I just love being with them!
  3. Everyone needs to have a down day!  Yesterday, T and I did very little!  Between being up late two nights in a row and the rainy weather here in North Iowa….we had little motivation. And by mid-day, I had come to grips with the fact that we were having a lazy day and I was soooooo good with it by the end of the day!  Life has been crazy busy since summer started (who am I fooling, it’s always crazy busy) and the next couple weeks are busy, so it was good to just chill, watch TV, and be together!  I think everyone needs to do that every once in awhile!
  4. We love to grow vegetables, not necessarily eat them! Yup, there’s my confession for the day!  T and the boys eat very few vegetables (not from my lack of trying) and I love what I eat, but I don’t eat a large variety of them!  This past weekend we picked green beans (my favorite) and carrots from our garden.  The carrots are all being sold at farmers market tonight!  Why?  Well, we don’t like large carrots.  If we eat carrots, it’s baby carrots only and only raw.  Randomly, I will chop them up and use them in soups, but that’s it!  T and I both agreed last night that we both love growing vegetables in our garden, but are probably going to be venturing into the world of farmers markets more because we don’t necessarily like to eat everything we grow!  I’m ok with that!
    Some of our harvest from our garden!
    Some of our harvest from our garden!

    5.  Waiting for vacation is like waiting for Christmas! Our family vacation is coming up very soon and I can’t wait!  I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas morning!  I love our family vacations for a couple reason.  The first reason being that I get uninterrupted time with my three favorite guys and the other is because I love watching the boys (and listening to them) experience new things, see new places, etc. Finally, I love to listen to them later reminisce about our trips and experiences!  That’s my motivation to keep working hard, saving money, and doing what I have to do to provide these trips for the boys!

I hope you all have a great Monday and a fantastic week and come back for some new things on the blog!  This week you’ll find a new fun, family based activity here in Iowa and a new recipe!  Thanks for stopping by today!