Pasta Alla Formiana (Made with Veggies and Spaghetti Squash)

Pasta Alla Formiana 
with veggies and spaghetti squash

Before the oven. 

  • One Jar of your favorite pasta sauce.
  • Diced chicken breast
  • Five cups cooked spaghetti squash.
  • One Green, One Yellow, and One Red Bell Pepper. Sliced. 
  • One Large Onion Sliced. 
  • One Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Ten Medium Tomatoes
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder

-Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
-Steam the peppers and onions for four minutes in a microwave steam bag.
-Grease a baking pan with cooking spray or olive oil. 
-Slice the tomatoes 1/2 an inch thick.
-Line the baking sheet with a tomato layer.
-Sprinkle a pinch of: pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder over the tomatoes.
-In a mixing bowl, combine: spaghetti squash, chicken, peppers, onions, and pasta sauce. 
-Top the layer of tomatoes with the squash and pepper mixture.  
-Top the dish with another layer of tomatoes.
-Add one tbsp of olive oil to the top of the tomato layer
-Sprinkle a pinch of: pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder over the top. 
-Put dish into the oven for one hour. 


Mother Daughter Time

Although life with five kids can be hectic at times, I try to make time for each child, one-on-one, as often as I can. Today, while the boys were otherwise occupied, I gave myself and Maddison pedicures. She's so excited to have pretty pink toes!

While we sit there, I'll ask her questions about her dollies and her teddy bear, she'll tell me stories that usually involve tattling on Wyatt in some way. 

I love my sweet, strong-willed, hard-headed, cuddly, beautiful little girl. 

Save The Date!

Photo Credit to Lisa Kunkel Photography 


Clean Eating

Easy Ways to Break Into Clean Eating

Starting a new way of eating can be difficult. The leap to clean eating is especially tricky as so much food is processed these days. Here are some tips that hopefully help in your journey to a healthier you!

1. Always be prepared. Lack of preparation can tempt you into grabbing a quick bite or eating whatever is on hand. BAD decision! Make sure you meal prep, snack, prep, everything PREP. 

2. Don't go all or nothing. If you give yourself an ultimatum, you will be that much more tempted to break it. Cravings can get the best of you and you find yourself elbow deep in a bag of Doritos before you snap out of your craving induced blackout. If you are craving something, have a little. Moderation is key. 

3. Eliminate refined sugars, white flour, white rice, and white bread. 

4. Drink a lot of water. Always have it readily available. 

5. Limit alcohol, no juice, no soda.

6. Eat 5 - 6 small meals a day, every 3 hours. And NEVER skip breakfast. 

7. Read every label. 

8. Avoid saturated and trans fat. But eat an adequate amount of healthy fats. 

Here are some ideas for clean foods:
skinless chicken breast


all natural peanut butter 
almond butter


cottage cheese
greek yogurt
low-fat milk



whole wheats
brown rice


Pizza Puffs

This recipe is a big hit with my kids. It's easy and fun for them to eat!

 Pizza Puffs

You will need:
Pillsbury biscuits (makes 8)
2 cheddar cheese slices (cut each slice into 4 squares)
shredded mozzarella
italian seasoning

Flatten your biscuits and arrange the cheddar cheese square, pepperoni, and sprinkle with mozzarella. 

Wrap up your biscuit so it's completely enclosed. 

Place in a lightly greased cooking dish, with the folded part facing down. 
Then sprinkle with italian seasoning. 

Bake at 425 for 19 - 21 minutes. 


Wedding Inspiration

As the wedding day creeps closer, my ideas are narrowing down and taking form. He's a sneak peek at some of the inspiration for our wedding. 
50 days!
Wedding Decor Inspo

Wedding Attire Inspo


What's in This Mommy's Diaper Bag?

What are your diaper bag must haves?
News Flash: You don't have to be hauling around the entire nursery in your diaper bag.
It took me a couple kids to figure this out. I would take too many diapers, several outfits, breast milk, toys, breast pump, formula, etc etc and a separate purse for me.
To save you some time, and to save your shoulder from permanent damage, here is my list of diaper bag essentials!Diaper Bag
1. Timi & Leslie "Charlie" Diaper Bag
2. Back up Onesie (in case of explosions or leakages)
3. Wipes
4. Soothies
5. Bottles to fill with breast milk or formula before heading out
6. Diaper Cream
7. Diapers for that cute little bum
8. Diaper Changing Pad - my Charlie bag came with this
9. Diaper Clutch for Mom's essentials - my Charlie bag came with this, it has enough space for cards, phone, chapstick, everything I specifically need.
10. Light blanket or receiving blanket


What to Bring to the Hospital

The internet is full of lists upon lists of what to bring to the hospital when you have a baby. Looking over these lists, I am astounded that some moms actually cart all of this stuff to the hospital and back!

As a mom of five, I have been through the hospital stay process enough times to know what is necessary and what is not.

Believe me, you want as little as possible, you'll have enough to haul around with gifts and the various items the hospital gives you.

This really all you'll need! 
A hat, a sleeper, a carseat, and a blanket. 
The hospital will provide diapers, wipes, a pacifier, bottles, and formula if you need them.

Mom, don't over do it. You don't need magazines and books. You'll be exhausted and likely completely enthralled with your new little bundle. 
Bring: a comfy outfit, with nursing bra, socks, and slip on shoes - you'll get mesh underwear and pads from the hospital.
A hairbrush and hair tie, toiletries - face wash, make up remover, toothbrush. 
Make up - to look presentable in pictures. I skipped the make up with my first - big mistake! I didn't like any of the pictures that were taken of me that day. 
Phone and charger - to update family and friends, or browse between feedings and cuddles. 

Initial Pillow Tutorial

Inspired by Land of Nod initial pillows

You will need:
white home decor fabric
thread in white and color of your felt

Start by cutting out two squares (however large you want your pillow to be) from your white home decor fabric
Sew them together inside out, leave a small opening of about 4". 
Turn right side out.

Next, choose your font and print out your initial.
Cut your initial out of the paper and trace it onto your felt. 
Cut the letter out and sew it onto your pillow along the entire letter.
Stuff your pillow with polyfill and sew up the opening. 

Reading Cushion Tutorial

Inspired by Land of Nod reading cushions
You will need:
    Home decor fabric - 1 yard+ depending on how big you want it
    Thread - either contrasting your fabric or the same, depending on how you want it to look
    Fiberfill - 16 oz + depending on how firm you want it

The reason the materials aren't very specific is due to the fact that first one I made was perfect for my two year old, but much too small for my bigger kids, so I adjusted the amounts on a whim.

Here are my basic instructions for the two year old sized pillow.

First, I drew a 17" in diameter circle for my pattern on tissue paper.

I then cut out two of these circles from my fabric.
The next piece, for the sides, needs to be 9" x  51.5" long. You will have too piece it together if your fabric is 45".

Next, sew one of the circles to the long side piece by stitching together on the backside of the fabric.

After this is done, sew the next circle on in the same way.

Now you will have an empty shell of your cushion. There will be an opening where the side piece needs to be closed. Sew this halfway shut, you will need it a little open so you can stuff it wil fiberfill.

Turn the the cushion shell right side out and stuff away until you reach desired amount of poof.

Then hand stitch the rest of the opening closed.

Et Voilà!

For my bigger boys, I doubled the size of the circle, changed the side piece to 12", and the length adjusted accordingly.


Favorite Healthy Snack

I'm a firm believer that smaller and more frequent meals are better for energy and to speed up metabolism. One of my favorite, quick, and healthy snacks is this:

low fat vanilla yogurt
quick oats

combine. BAM. delicious. 

Sexy Spartacus Workout

This workout is a variation of the very popular Spartacus Workout from Men's Health. This version is adapted for women to workout the areas we want toned. It's quite the workout!


At Home Butt & Legs Workout

At Home Ab Workout

At Home Arm Workout

Clean Paint Time

Here's an easy rainy day activity for young kids.

Simply put various colors of paint in a ziploc bag and then masking tape it to the table! The kids can trace numbers and letters, mix the colors, and occupy themselves for a while.

Father's Day French Toast

Happy Father's Day to all the wonderful dads, step-dads, and grandfathers!

My babe asked for French Toast on this wonderful Father's Day morning. I followed a new recipe and it turned out delicious!

12 slices of bread
6 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp butter

Whisk eggs, milk, sugars, vanilla, and cinnamon together. Heat a nonstick skillet on medium heat and add just a little of the butter. Soak the pieces of bread in the egg mixture, just two at a time. Cook the bread in the skillet just until the bread is crispy on the outsides. Serve immediately.

This is part of the Father's Day gift the kids made for Ryan. How cute!! We also used a free printable from THIS BLOG that turned out just so cute. 


Flower Girl Idea

Maddie is obviously going to be the flower girl in the wedding, and I'm going to make her dress.
I'm slightly (completely) obsessed with chevron.

This is her Easter dress that I made:

It'll be coral pink to match the colors, but similar style. 

Screen Doors & Sweet Tea: Cheesy Baked Green Tomatoes with Sweet Onion Dip

Check out this recipe from my girl Dani! I'm trying it tomorrow!

Screen Doors & Sweet Tea: Cheesy Baked Green Tomatoes with Sweet Onion Dip: Pre-baked Cheesy Baked Green Tomatoes  Ingredients : 4 green tomatoes, sliced 2 eggs, beaten 2 cups bread crumbs or panko Sal...
Pre Baked

 Ready to EAT! With her delicious sweet onion dip!

Quick & Healthy Lunches

Here are some of my fave recipes for a quick lunch. All of them are healthy, with good calories, and low fat.


Chicken breast
Fresh basil
Skim mozzarella cheese

Bake chicken as normal, remove from oven and put on chopped basil, 3 tomato slices, and sprinkle with mozzarella. 



1 spinach wrap
Spinach leaves
Skim cheddar cheese
Nonfat turkey
1 Laughing Cow low fat cheese triangle
grated carrots

Spread Laughing Cow cheese on spinach wrap. Arrange other ingredients on wrap, roll up, slice and dice. Devour. 


1 tbsp roasted red pepper hummus
shredded carrots
baby spinach
splash of lemon juice
fresh ground pepper
avocado slices

Spread hummus on wrap, toss in other ingredients, and DONE. 

1 cup chicken breast or rotisserie chicken, cut up
1 stalk of celery chopped
3 baby carrots shredded
1/4 cup non fat sour cream
1 small dollop of homemade mayo for taste

Throw it all in a bowl and BAM done! I eat it on spinach leaves or on whole wheat bread. 


Three Weeks Later

All of our beautiful babies.

Roman's Birth

On February 18, 2013 Roman Brandon was born at 11:16pm weighing 6lbs 6oz and 19"
Here is his birth story in photos by the amazing Lisa Kunkel of Lisa Kunkel Photography. Visit her website here lisakunkel.zenfolio.com.

Settled in, contracting...

The HILARIOUS anesthesiologist. Seriously, this guy was cracking us up. 

Getting the epi...

Clearly this was taken post-epidural..

Love these next two shots.

Mr. Amazing

Cleaning up Mr. Roman

Little toes

Little fingers

New Daddy

Must hydrate

Our precious boy!

This is my absolute favorite picture. So much love. 


ReVamping The Blog

It's coming! Be on the look out for more posts, updates, and other excitingness (is that a word? no? Whatevs)

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