Thursday, March 31, 2016

hoppy Easter.

post by Casey

oh, Easter:)

basically, there's a cute baby and bunny ears from the dollar section at Target.


easter usedddddd to be a dreaded holiday for me. All that finding of the basket and my case: all the NOT finding of the basket and eggs and then all the tears;')

each year that passes looks better and better for me and Easter;)

i definitely couldn't tell you where any of the kids were during our Easter Bathroom Selfies;)

as all our holidays are...

family. all the food. wine. andddd bacon tuxedo shirts.

and now we anxiously await those warmer temps! These rainy, 32 degree days are dragging my spirit down the shitter.

*side note: I apologize for the lack of Jesus in this post. My understanding of Easter is, embarrassingly, at a Little Golden Book level. BUT don't get me wrong, I appreciate that aspect completely. I'll leave those posts up to Courts:)

Monday, March 28, 2016

meal planning: supersize style

by *Courtney*

meal planning... I'd be lying if I said this was my favorite thing to do. quite honestly, I don't like it. what I do like? *not* having to worry about feeding this crew!

another confession: I'm not great about following the menu. some mornings I forget that we're having a roast. then at 4pm when the kids get off the bus... I remember :|  too late. moving on to the next item on the menu! which is actually a good thing, provides some flexibility in the menu.

the biggest part about making a menu in this house is having all the ingredients to actually make a meal. weeks when I don't make a menu, I find myself running  someone Dave has to run to the grocery store far too often for one or two ingredients. Dave loves this ;) we tend to eat a lot of meat and potato meals these days/weeks. which is okay, and definitely a perk of easy access to a meat shop. BUT I really like a 'three course' meal. maybe one day I'll be that cool mom who has a fourth course and we have desserts!

for those of you who have commented interested about how this process goes down, here goes... well, some variation of how it goes. because it's almost a whole entire afternoon process around here. kids need butt wiping. toddlers fall. lunches need to be made. naps taken. and let's not leave out the meltdowns ;)


I like to prep with my calendar and phone in hand. Then I know what's going on for the week. Who will be home. Where everyone is on what days. Days where Dave won't be around to help with supper, I choose something I won't need to cut up because that's his job while I'm prepping plates ;)

I choose bigger meals like roasts or meals requiring lots of prep and help (homemade pizzas and tacos) for when I know everyone will be home. and maybe because everyone likes those meals best so it's nice to have them all together :)

I like to write my meals right in my paper calendar. I should make a list for everyone to see so I don't have to answer that question 6-7 times nightly ;) BUT I don't. it would also be a good reminder every morning. great, a new addition to my to-do list :| moving on...

right about the time I have all the meals picked and added to my planner, coffee morning is over and it's time to feed the animals. this isn't necessarily a bad thing. gives me a break and makes me not dread coming back to the meal planning.

so lunch is fed. kids are washed up. kitchen is clean(ish). it might even be naptime before I get back to the finishing touches.

next I pull out any cookbooks and recipes I think I might need. I feel like you guys are like... duh, Courtney. all of this is common sense. I apologize if it sounds like I'm making this Dummy Guide to Menu Planning. This is just my process. Take whatever you want out of it, please!

okay, so... I break my list down into sections of the store. This may seem tedious, BUT it really speeds up my grocery run. and when you have a toddler pushing her own cart and a second toddler running low on grapes... trust me, it's a good idea. you can thank me later. now, I go through my menu and write out all the ingredients I'll need for each. evennn if I think I might have the ingredients leftover or that have not been used. 

After I've gone through the whole menu and written down everyyything, I head to the pantry and frig. Anything I find that I don't need at the grocery store, I cross off my list. And I'll add anything we're running low on or any snacks to the list as well... of course in the respected grocery section ;)

I *do* make a list of meat I'll need from the shop. But rarely does that list make it to Dave. And if it does make it to him, I'm certain that list doesn't make it anywhere past the board on the way out of the house. He asks me daily what to bring home. It's a good process we've got goin ;)

Sometimes I rewrite my list so it's allll pretty and neat, but most of the time I'm finishing the list as I'm running out of the house to the grocery store. While trying to dress 2-3 children. And one usually has a dirty diaper *just* as I have everyone's coats on.

how this 'grocery run' plays out is a whole other blog post.

I thought it would be interesting for you to see some of the common meals in our home. I'm not sure why I drew a blank when I got to 14, but I wanted tho to be a solid 15. it is not. so here are the 14 top meals in our house... in no particular order....

* spaghetti

* lasagna or baked penne/layered pasta (this meal usually immediately follows spaghetti on the menu... I'm trying to be better at using leftovers. there may or may not currently be one tupperware of old spaghetti sauce in my frig. rotting.)

* Reuben's (we recently had this, but this is a once a year meal here. it's Dave's favorite, and I try to make it for his birthday meal. not sure why I'm keeping it on the list. everyone loves them though!)

* chicken alfredo (penne noodles usually. fettuccine as of late. got wild!)

* grill out: brats, hot dogs, burgers, chicken, pork chops, pork steaks, kielbasa, steaks, bacon wrapped stuffed chicken breasts... say that last one five times fast ;) (yes, they're as delicious as they sound... and we rotate these meals quite frequently throughout the summer. read: wife of a butcher)

* chili (more during the winter, obviously)

* clam chowder (again, more during the winter)

* chicken chili (recipe from a good friend. crockpot style. delicious!)

* tacos

* enchiladas (recipe from another good friend)

* homemade pizzas (almost a weekly deal)

* breakfast (extreme lazy or mom-forgot-it-was-roast-for-supper days)

* Italian sausage pasta (recipe courtesy of Dave's sister, Renee. we do a variation of this recipe because Renee's recipe is a tad spicy for the kiddos. we use Italian sausage in place of chorizo, and diced tomatoes instead of Rotel)

* zuppa toscana soup (another recipe from Renee and a house favorite. find recipe here. I should have it memorized from making it so many times, but I still go back to her website every time I make it ;)

* beef or pork roasts

bonus, thought of a couple more!
* grilled cheese sammiches and tomato soup (mostly during Lent)
* baked fish (also during Lent)
* ham+swiss paninis 

okay, my brain quit working. I cannot for the life of me think of anything else we eat...

we make a lot of substitutions throughout the planned weeks. sometimes I don't feel like making and/or eating something picked for that day so we move on to something else. if we eat something on the menu, I cross it off just so I don't have to mentally keep track of what meals we've already eaten. if I'm feeling real ambitious, I'll move things around in the calendar so I don't repeat a menu item too soon.

I wish I could say I'm really good at this meal planning bit. but in all honesty, I plan probably 1-1/2 to 2 weeks of a month. then for whatever reason, life maybe, I put off this task and then hate myself for the rest of those 2 weeks. whyyy???!!! do I do this to myself! during those 2 weeks when we do not have a solid meal plan, Dave does a lot of the cooking. we make it work. I don't love it. I'm working on it. but here's a rough idea of how the meals go for a house of 10!

hope you enjoyed. maybe learned something. feel free to email or mention how pointless this entire post was in the comments section ;) OR if you need any of the recipes, I can get you those too!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

birthday celebration island

photo taken Tuesday, March 22

in celebration of Casey and Mallory's birthdays, we hosted supper and cupcakes. Casey's birthday is March 23. Mallory's birthday is March 21. we call it their birthday hump day, the day between their birthdays. I won't tell you their ages, they can do that on their own. 

but here's our island while preparing their meal. I made supper. Casey drank a margarita. Pretty typical.

Friday, March 25, 2016

what I know

I don't know what we've done to be blessed with these wonderful children. I'm certain I don't deserve it. But what I do know... they are my everything. We were on the fence whether any more Smith babies would bless our family. Just when I thought we had a plan, I'm reminded over and over that this isn't my plan. None of this life is. I'm just happy enough to be chosen to mother another little one. 

Smith tie breaker coming early October 2016 

many questions can be answered here, but feel free to email me with anything your heart desires!


Wednesday, March 23, 2016


"Note to self: None of us are getting out of here alive, so please stop treating yourself like an after thought. Eat the delicious food. Walk in the sunshine. Jump in the ocean. Say the truth that you're carrying in your heart like hidden treasure. Be silly. Be kind. Be weird. There's no time for anything else." 
- Nanea Hoffman, Sweatpants & Coffee

I'm surrounded by this 'drink the kool-aid tribe'...this family I didn't choose but was somehow, generously, gifted! 
Sometimes growing older can be a little scary and the kids only seem to amplify that fear because I'm so focused on watching them grow that every now and then I get the chance to look in the mirror and realize a whole year passed without any thought of myself. That's not a terrible thing...but I'm working on me and giving something for myself in these years.

today I'm 33. I just had a baby 4MO ago and so I haven't gotten back to my old self physically and although, sporadic crying is sort of part of my normal now-a-days;), I'm still not quite back mentally either - and I'm not sure I ever expect to be post-kids;). And the hair loss...good gawd...

i think what I'm getting at is that regardless of this not being an ideal time for me to feel like celebrating ME cause I may not feel quite'm incredibly happy:) 

ohhh, I'd be so happy if I were back in my pre-pregnancy jeans or paying off our home or headed to the airport for a family getaway...but I'm going to go to bed tonight, 33...and I'm going to fall asleep down the hall from 2 of my favorite humans in the world and with a beautiful baby in the nook of my arm and my husband cuddled in behind me. I want to sneak downstairs tomorrow morning for 1/2 a cup of coffee and 10 minutes of uninterrupted - hushed:) - conversation with my husband while our babies sleep-in and smile across the table at the man I get to spend all my birthdays with:)

simply put, I'm happy. Happy here, with them:)

cheers, to all the birthdays we're lucky enough to receive:)

"Do not grow old, no matter how long you live. Never cease to stand like curious children before the great mystery into which we were born." 
- Albert Einstein

- casey

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

year2: the waterpark

a few months ago we had our 2nd Annual Dells Weekend! 

i'll admit, I was a totalllllll Dells Snob initially. I'm not sure what I thought? I'm for SURE not too good for the Dells. Maybe I was annoyed that so many people went there, somehow making it less awesome/special? 

BUT I'm converted. All the way. It was a blast: you can see last year's trip HERE.
And this year was even better because baby girl, THEO, didn't scream...the entire time;) last year;) Her and the water are warming up to each other:)

there are still some kinks to be worked out but overall, we've got a pretty good thing going on and we all really look forward to it:)

for the past 2 years, we've gotten 4 rooms and brought our own food and at least one night, we meet up after kids are snoozing and have a drinks together - if you haven't stayed up until 2AM in a hotel room, sharing a Margarita the size of your head, or nursing boobs, in my case;), listening to 80's're missing out. BIG time;) We're considering getting a more shared space in the coming year, which could have a lot of benefits!

this time around I was nursing - wait...I was nursing the last damn time too...and there's a always a good chance I'll be pregnant at the next one and soooooo, basically, I may as well invest in a swimsuit with some sort of skirt or hope that full on pants suits become a trend;)!!!
Nursing and swimsuit wearing...3MO after having a baby and no where near back to your pre-baby body wassssss...have I mentioned Margaritas?!?!;)

i felt really good though and got lots of compliments on my swimsuit: find it HERE. Jacob's a big ol' Star Wars fan and so he got a kick out of this:) I switched off wearing this and just a regular sports bar with black bottoms! Comfort/accessibility over fashion this year;)

i'll leave you with a little video to wrap our time there! I think that the most wonderful part of the weekend, outside of the time spent together, is the feeling of warmth:) We go in mid-January and so sitting next to a body of water and feeling warm and having a fruity drink in hand and watching the kids's a very relaxing and happy time:)

- casey

Sunday, March 20, 2016

smoothie island

Saturday we skipped lunch and had smoothies instead. They were sooo good the kids ate extra well for supper ;) they definitely weren't the worst, but may need a bit of tweaking to get it just right. Here's the island right smack dab in the middle of smoothies. and unfortunately (or maybe fortunately for you guys!) we didn't follow any recipes... mostly: some of this, some of that, a handful of those, a dollop of anything sweet (no sugar though, oddly enough) and wwwwaaaallllaaaaa "smoothies!"

clarification: no sausages made it into any of the smoothies. you could call those lunch ;)

Thursday, March 17, 2016

we'll call this: salvageable

when your husband uses words and phrases like the following, in regards to the dinner you made:

did you check to see if the cottage cheese was good because there's mold on the cover - kids have already been served and are scarfing down

it's salvageable

maybe, start with something simpler next time?

and by simpler are we talking about a bowl of damn cereal???!! Cause I don't know how covering potato chunks with whatevers in the fridge, qualifies as level: difficult.

so I made some potato flats. That's what I'm calling them.

Potato Flats.

aka. Courts boobs after 8 kids - I suppose, my boobs after 3...but mostly, Courts;)

I would tell you how I made them but I think it's pretty obvious. And I need to remember that I'm the minority that small group of people who never cooks;) 
What I think would be more useful to you, is to explain the steps I should have taken...and didn't.

1 apparently, you need to spray the tin foil with something - cooking spray, Pam or any sort of Olive Oil

2 pre-cook the potatoes and carrots before adding all toppings

3 check the cottage cheese for mold BEFORE serving

so there you have it. I'll be honest felt good cooking something tonight. No matter how it turned out;) We recently did a great grocery trip and have an abundance of fruits and veggies in the house and a list of recipes (level: EASY;) for me to get started on. I've also worked-out every day this week (even just for 10min.!) - Jacobs watched me work-out every day this week, bum;). That being said...I've also had a slight slip-up almost every day this week...late.night.binging snacking:/

this is progress, though!!! I'm noticing where changes need to be made...where changes to our changes need to be made;)

the biggest one being those late night snacks. Jacob and I are night owls. We average on a midnight bedtime:/ SO I'm eating shit around 1030PM. This could be entirely avoided with an earlier bedtime. SO tonight I'm shooting for 930PM. Which seems impossible. But I shall try!:)

Potato Flats = delish;)

- casey

theo daisy: 23 months and rocky peyton: 4 months

23 months is pretty monumental. Almostttttt more so than 24 months/2 years. I get most of my late night sobbing out of the way the month prior to their 'big' birthday's;)

i can't believe my baby girl will be 2 years old in a few weeks!:( I've noticed that she's getting taller and thinning out just a little bit. Losing that bit of baby fat that makes her still my chubby baby:( - there are going to be SO many sad faces in this post:((((((  ;)

theo is just the spunkiest thing EVER. Oh man. I laugh at her so often! She's so goofy and fiery! When Homer was her age and Theo was the baby, I had such a hard time really enjoying a 2 year old. Maybe because I was just getting my feet wet with TWO kids and 2 is just such a tough age for most kids. So many feelings and emotions and so little understanding of how to express all that - I just described myself;)!? But this time around...I'm really able to - MOST of the time;) - get it. Really let all those fits and cuddles and breakdowns and funny faces and mispronounced words, fill me up! I love it:)

funny how that went. 
Homer at 2yrs: dick. Theo at 2yrs: hilarious. 
Me when Homer was 2yrs: overwhelmed. Me when Theo is 2yrs: chill.

so Theo is the best. Funny. Quirky. She still sleeps so great and her and Homer are now sharing a room...which has been so cute and fun and a complete nightmare all rolled into one giant shit-show;) - but mostly the cute and fun part and was a pretty painless transition:) Saying new words daily. Eats like a pig. Runs like a weirdo. Dances like no one's watching:) She really just lives her life and we're just along for the ride:)

i'm so excited to celebrate all things THEO, when she turns 2 on March 30th. We're thinking of getting her one of those little water tables - here or here - I feel like, besides being awesome this summer, will keep her busy for lengthy amounts of time and it's something that Homer might be distracted with as well!

23, pretty fantastic months, minus the first 2 in which you never slept and I actually DID lose my mind. :)

and the Theo and WillB Show;)

and Rocky Peyton.

have I mentioned how fabulous life is with you in it? This kid is KILLIN' IT at being a baby. I mean. Really:) Homer was relatively easy...cause, 1st babies. What else is there to worry about. Theo, well, she sucked;) Rocky...ROCK STAR BABY!!!! I've heard of people quitting the kid thing cause they have a rough one - Theo was that for us BUT even in my darkest hour, I knew we'd have more:). And then I've heard of people quitting cause they have a dreamboat baby and want to end on a high. That's Rocky for us...BUT I still know we'll have more. But I'll admit...I doubt Rocky can be beat;)

rocky is rolling over. He's actually all over the place. Rolling and kinda scooting...we leave him on his back, in the middle of the blanket, facing South and we come back to him on his belly, facing West! I'm impressed:):);) He is a good sleeper. Loves to cuddle and smile and just loves to have your face in his face:) 

we love you, Rocky Peyton. We are so lucky to have you and you have definitely brought the curve up in this family of ding-dong's;)