Zoo Lights 2015

Zoo lights opened yesterday! We decided to beat the "Christmas " crowd. Last year we went a few days before christmas and it was packed, this time it was just perfect, not crowded at all. 

It was so cold! When we got to the zoo it was 46 F, but within an hour the temperature dropped down to 36F! Oh and to top it off, Emily forgot her coat at home! How can someone forget their coat, you ask? Well the kids always get hot in the car when we have a long drive, so they put their coats in the trunk and we put them on when we get to our destination, well when we go to the zoo, it was nowhere to be found! Turns out it was still at home. Our first stop was the gift shop, the only warm thing they had was a hoodie, so she ended up wearing 2 sweaters, hat/gloves and her brothers scarf. 

The night was cold, crisp and it was so clear that we could see the stars. It was such a fun night, we saw the lights, sipped hot chocolate and took a train ride around the zoo. We all had such a great time. Here are some pictures we managed to take. 

I hope you and your family enjoy this beautiful season!

Thanksgiving 2015

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with the people you love.
 Ours was lovely. We made a big meal and spent the day with family

My sister's family came in the morning, and we got the turkey in the oven. 
The kids had an awesome time playing together all day long, while my sister and I  worked on the big thanksgiving meal.

We had an amazing day and I am so thankful for everything the Lord has blessed up with. 

Thanks for visiting,

Homemade Mac and Cheese

Once the kids see that we are having mac and cheese for dinner, 
there are always whoops for joy. 
We actually all love this dish, I serve it with a side salad and it makes a wonderful dinner.

Click HERE to print. 


  • 8 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • pepper and garlic salt

  • Crumb topping:
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 pinch paprika


  1. Cook macaroni according to the package directions. Drain.

  2. In a medium saucepan, melt butter or margarine over medium heat. Stir in enough flour to make a roux. Add milk to roux slowly, stirring constantly. Stir in cheeses, and cook over low heat until cheese is melted and the sauce is a little thick. 

  3. Add the cooked macaroni into the cheese sauce. Stir well and transfer to a casserole dish. 

  4. Melt butter or margarine and a pic of paprkia in a skillet over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and brown. 

      Spread the crumb topping over the mac and cheese. 

  1. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.

      Thats it, enjoy. 

My kitchen must haves..

I have been asked to create a blog post on my favorite cookware.  I just noticed that a lot of my cookware is Cuisinart. I never realized that, I mostly buy my cookware at Target or Homegoods. 

  I cook a lot, probably more then most average people. I cook/prepare 3 meals a day, I also bake a few times a week. The only time we eat out is on sunday evenings. 

If I had to start from scratch, and I only had a limited amount of money, these are the items I would get first. 

Non Stick Sauté pan
A non stick pan is something everyone needs. I have 2 different sizes. I suggest you at least buy a large one. 
I do have a LODGE heavy cast iron pan, but I always reach for a non stick pans, they are light and easy to clean.
Make sure and use wooden or plastic utensils with this pan, because once they get scratched, you want to replace them, because the pan becomes less nonstick and little bits of the coating can start to flake off into your food as you cook.
I also have a nonstick square griddle pan, which I have been using more and more lately. I am able to fry three eggs and some sausage at once or make a few grilled cheese sandwiches at a time. 

I pick these non stick pans at home goods, I usually make sure they are heavy and sturdy. 

I end up replacing them about once a year.

 Casserole Dish

I bought the large casserole dish from Target about 2 years ago (before that I used a glass one) and I use it all the time. It is great for casseroles, lasagna, cinnamon rolls and so on.
The smaller ones are pioneer woman from Walmart, which are great for sides like roasted vegetables. 

Bedtime Reading

I read to my kids every night before bed, we get a huge stack of library books every 2 weeks and read at least 1-2 picture books a night in Nico's bedroom. Then prayers and blessings are said, and Nico and William get tucked into their beds.

After the boys are in bed, I cuddle up with Emily in her room and we read a chapter out of whatever book we are reading. So far we have read American girl books : Kit, Molly, Addy and Samantha. Addy was definitely her favorite. I agree with her, there is so much adventure and drama in Addy's  books, We couldn't just read one chapter a night, I read until my mouth hurt :)

After the American girl books, we read the All of a Kind Family series. Which we both really enjoyed.

We are now reading Little House on the Prairie. We are done with book one and are starting book 2 tonight. Emily looks forward to our reading time together, after reading she asks questions about the book, and we usually end up looking stuff up on the internet, which leads to more questions and conversation.

Reading aloud is so important. In our normal day to day conversation we usually use the same words (we tend to use verbal shorthand, not complete sentences) but during reading, the child hears more sophisticated words because the language in books is so rich and books have complete sentences. Not only do the children have a bigger range of vocabulary, but they also learn so much from reading.

Last week, Emily came home one day and asked me if I knew what a humvee was. I had to think for a few seconds, and I did end up saying that it was some sort of military vehicle, but what I was more interested in was the fact that she knew about it. Turns out she read it in her Scholastic magazine that day.  Every week that class reads a new issue about current events and answers a few questions.
If someone would have just mentioned a humvee in passing conversation, it probably would have gone over her head. But the fact that they read about it, stopped and talked about it, means that she will actually learn and remember it.

Today Emily came to me and asked what the difference between a rocket and a spaceship is, and truth be told, I didn't really know for sure. So I got out her the kids dictionary and showed her how to use it, we ended up both learning something new. This just goes to show, how reading is important.

William has started bringing me books during the day, he wants me to sit down and read to him. I don't know if he understands much of it, but he has  understood the concept, bring mommy book, she will sit down and read to me, until I run away, then she stops reading.

His favorite ones right now are the Little Blue Truck books, I don't mind reading them over and over again, because they rhyme and are so fun to read. I actually bought these books for Nico when he was a toddler, and he also loved them. Now William loves them.

What are some of your favorite books to read to your child or your favorite books from your own childhood?

Fall 2015 Pictures

I can't believe that Fall is almost over and we didn't get to take our annual fall pictures this year. Boo :(

 We were all sick in the month off October and part of November. It wasn't just the sniffles, this was a big nasty cold with a cough, runny nose which lasted atleast 4 weeks and ended with a  pink eye. 

The beautiful fall leaves are gone now :( But we decided to go out and try to take some pictures anyways, Well the whole thing turned out to be a fiasco. I couldn't get my one year old to stand still, my 4 year old kept making silly faces and complaining that he was cold and overall the kids just wanted to run and play.  Out of 100 pictures only about 4 or 5 of them turned out- I think the bigger the family is, the harder it is to take a decent picture. Someone is always doing something, like blinking, looking away, or making face :)

William kept pointing at the tripod, He loves my DSLR, I have caught him climbing up on the kitchen counter to touch it. I guess the more you say NO, the more they want it. 

As most "almost 2" year olds, William is very active. I have to chase him around everywhere, I decided to embrace it and take a picture of him doing what he does best: running around. 
I love how it turned out. His little smile is what he does when he thinks I am going to catch him, squish him and kiss his chubby cheeks.