Tessa makes 3!

The adventures of a young couple starting a family, teaching each other and learning as we go, and having fun doing it!

July 13, 2013


I won coupons for free F'real milkshakes, and I was pretty surprised at how good they tasted. You pick your flavor and then it blends like a blizzard right there for you, in the gas station. You all know how much I love couponing so when I signed up for Smiley360, I knew it was just another way to get free things! This was my most recent, but I've also gotten hair conditioner, face wash, etc. It's awesome!

May 26, 2013

Oh, my!

Let's just skip those 3 months I disappeared, mmmkay? Between the hubs working 60 hours a week and me wrangling 2 small children who can only survive by mauling me daily, we've had a lot on our plates! As if I don't like my life busy enough, a couple months ago, I added a new title to my resume, "Independent Consultant for Thirty-One Gifts." As Joel sees it, I'm a bag lady. Whatever. Ok, I like bags. A lot. But I also like to be organized, which is really what made me fall in love with this stuff. Their home organization line is awesome for keeping all my shelves, closets, beds, and bookcases clean and organized. Laundry too!

Joel has finally been able to take some time off work, and with 2 mobile children, we've needed to get a new game plan. Life is chaotic, and while we love it, it can be stressful. So instead of bogging you down with the past few months of stuff, I'll recap in pictures. Then you'll be all caught up!

February 2, 2013

Product Rave

I know I've mentioned Skinny Taste here before, but once again, she blows my mind. Not only are these recipes absolutely delicious, but they are healthy too! Most of them contain vegetables in a way that you'd never think to use them or imagine that they would work. But each time, I go for it and I've never been disappointed.

My newest attempt was this recipe. It's a meatloaf cupcake with mashed potato frosting. I did not pipe the frosting like she did, I just plopped a spoonful on top and spread it around. But man oh man, these rocked. With lean hamburger, 1 cup of zucchini, and bread crumbs plus spices, it's very simple.

I made some bread crumbs a couple weeks back using some whole grain bread that was on the verge of going bad. That was equally as easy. Cut it into chunks, bake it for 10-12 minutes or until it's hard, let the pieces cool, then throw them in the food processor until they are crumbs. Store them in the fridge in an air tight container. It's so great to have a homemade and natural alternative to packaged breadcrumbs with unnecessary additives. But  back to the meatloaf.

So you mix the loaf ingredients together and put them in cute little tin foil cups, baking for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, boil the potatoes. After mashing the potatoes, add some yummies. I used greek yogurt instead of sour cream (they taste very similar!) to sneak a little more protein in the recipe, and added the milk, broth, and butter. Then put on top of the cupcakes and serve.

It was really very easy. The best part? Less than 300 calories for 2 cakes. They're even husband and toddler approved, as both thought they were tasty.

I really should start taking pictures of the process, but hers are always better and I want to make sure the recipe is a success first!

January 23, 2013

GiGi is 85

This past weekend we celebrated my wonderful Grandmother's 85th birthday. We went out for a nice dinner (without kids!), had some cake, ice cream, and wine, and played some card games to celebrate.

Some things I love about my Grandma Lil:

  • She is an old farm girl and is still very frugal.
  • Her freezer is full of yogurt containers, washed and refilled with single servings of leftovers.
  •  She always has cookies.
  • She's always up for a card game.
  • She remembers every birthday and anniversary,and always times it so it gets to you on your exact birthdate.
  • She is an incredibly good cook, but her recipes are difficult to repeat.
  • She'll drive an hour to watch a 20 minute program you are involved in.
  • You can't arrive or leave her place without at least 2 hugs and a kiss on the cheek.
  • She makes quilts for every child and grandchild.
  • She walks 3 miles a day and does these awesome 1980's workout videos.
  • She has my mom's high school senior picture hanging in her stairwell.
  • She drinks Old Milwaukee.
  • There's always room in her house and heart for one more.

January 16, 2013

Baking fun

Tessa loves to help in the kitchen lately. Every time I head toward that room, there is she, grabbing her stool and trying to get right in the middle of the action. She usually drags a dining room chair over so she can stand or kneel on it. This allows her to see and reach everything, which so far, is funny but also frustrating. She's begun taking it upon herself to grab snacks off the counter, open cupboards, drawers, wash dishes, etc. The other morning, Joel and Nora were still asleep so Tessa and I decided to make muffins. She had so much fun pouring in the ingredients and stirring, and the end result was a hit too!

January 5, 2013


Being from a family that is very close in proximity and relationships means around the holidays, we have a balancing act.We coordinated quite a few Christmas celebrations this year. We visited my aunt in Ames, then had our family Christmas at home in Webster, then Joel's Grandma in Elkhart, then Joel's parents in Ankeny, then my parents in Des Moines, and finally, my Grandma in Guthrie Center. This does not count the Christmas we have the weekend before Thanksgiving.

We both love our families and enjoy our time with them, so between these Christmases and our work schedules, we found ourselves driving back and forth so much in that Christmas week. But, to spend time with everyone, it was well worth it! Here are some pictures to highlight how our week went!