Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Stitch Fix #3

clearly i need to work on my photographing skills. once again everything fit perfectly and i loved it all. last month they sent an adorable but small purse and in my feedback i said i would like a bigger one. the one they sent was perfect. as always, i wanted to keep everything, but had to pick just one things. what would you have picked? (there are two shirts, the jeans, the bag and the dress)

i kept this dress. i love it. its really comfortable, fits really well, and is super professional for work. if you are interested in trying stitch fix (no long-term commitment, you decide when you want shipments), you can try it out using my referral link here.

Monday, November 2, 2015

a letter to baby robinson

I am looking at FET instructions on my desk. It is a series of shots, labs, ultrasounds and vitamins I will be taking over the next few months o prepare my body to host a baby. A baby that is not mine.

Maybe I should back up. Ten years ago, I got married to my husband and moved to Los Angeles from the midwest. The second day we were there, we attended a small group of other new-to-the-area young marrieds. There we met our friends, Lance and Kris. Kris is from my home town. We had several friends in common, but had never met before. We spent a lot of time together over the next several years, doing things as couples and as girlfriends. One particular girlfriend date, about eight of us went to the Hollywood Bowl for a Sound of Music sing-along. It was exactly as fun as you imagine – wine, snackies, and lots of off key warbling. Kris’s sister, Beka was in town and we met that night. Over the next few days of her visit, we hung out, playing Catan at our house (where I was unbelievably pretentious about being green with my tea water, I’m honestly surprised she still wanted to be friends after that) and cooking out at their house.

Fast forward to 2011. Beka and I had kept in touch via social media (it is good for something!) My husband and i had moved to New England, had a baby, and decided to move back to the Midwest to be closer to family. The second I was back in town, Beka texted me and said we were going to be biffles (= BFFL). And we were, and are. I’ve been there during lots of her hard times of IUI and IVF. I can’t pretend to understand the pain of infertility, but as a mom, I can imagine what the loss of something precious, like the ability to carry a child, might mean. It’s a big deal. What’s also a big deal is that I offered to carry her and her husband’s child for them.

It sounds like a life changing decision, and it is in many ways, but it was something i wanted to do. My husband didn’t even think twice before agreeing. Through the psychiatric exams, labs and medical testing, contract negotiations (oh boy we had some fun with that one!) and mental preparation, I have never wavered from my belief that I am meant to do this for team baby robinson. “Greater love has no man than this: that he lay down his life for his friend.” As we have been praying that God would close doors if this was not meant to be, huge giant doors have been flinging open.

I am SO excited to fly to Los Angeles for tests before a frozen embryo transfer later on. And even more excited to carry this child.

Baby Robinson, you are loved. You have been loved and known since before time existed. I am honored to be a part of #TBR.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Stitch Fix #2

They did it again!  I loved everything in my box, and wanted to keep it all. Alas, I had to pick my favoritest thing and send the rest back. Jeremy keeps reminding me that there's always next month, since they seem to always get me exactly what I'm looking for.

You seriously need to try it. If you sign up through this link, I get a referral credit! Maybe that means next month I can keep TWO things. :))))
 This is the shirt I kept. I'm actually wearing it right now. :) Its casual or dressy for work, and versatility is what i need in my life right now. :)
 This outfit and bag were perfect for work. HOWEVER, the bag is too small to carry all the junk i haul around, and a white shirt + four kids is never a good plan. i ALMOST kept the skirt. It fit really well and was a cool pattern. But for how often I need a skirt (MAYBE once a week), I couldn't justify the price (although it truly was a great price).
This shirt had the versatility but was a teensy tiny bit too big or lousy or something. The print was cool, but maybe a little trendy for what i'm trying to do in my closet. 

That's the wrap up of my fix this month. I was thrilled again with everything they picked - its incredible that a stranger can pick five things every month that i truly love. Apparently they use a computer algorithm and no two fixes are ever the same. That's pretty cool.

What do you think?

Monday, August 24, 2015

Suzie Homemaker

Hopefully all my posts about how amazing my kid's birthday cakes are don't make you too jealous. Here's another one for you to admire.

My oldest started junior kindergarten this year. He wears a bow tie to school. For real.  All kids need an art shirt - one of dads old button downs to protect the uniforms from glitter and paint. I got the bright idea to embroidery his name on his, as my sewing machine is super fancy and does it all for me.

Sort of.

After watching two instructional videos online, rethreading the machine 8 times, and a frantic search through all the drawers and cubbies in my office (a terrifying thought in and of itself), 45 mins later this is what we came up with.

You are so jealous that your kid doesn't have his name embroidered on his art shirt, right? I know it. 

Actually, I have figured out all the problems i was having and next time it should be very straightforward with no issues. Good thing i practiced on something thats just going to be destroyedd anyways... :)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Favorite Kids' Books

We have a LOT of books at our house. Not too many, because i don't think there is such a thing. We keep coming back to certain books that are favorites of both the big and little people, and I thought we would share.

Amazing Airplanes 

Jacob went through an airplane phase a couple of years ago, and Aunt Jessie got him this book for his second birthday. We all loved reading it. Jacob even memorized it. Then, we left it somewhere. We were sad, him especially, so i went online to buy it again. Imagine my surprise when i found there was a whole series!

i bought the series and found the rest of the books as delightful as amazing airplanes was. so delightful, that when this set had been taped and repaired and pieced back together number of times, i bought it again. These books are that good.

Every day after lunch, each kid gets to pick a song to sing and then we read a book. Aliza ALWAYS asks for the monkey book. This is a favorite of Jacob's too. We received it free from the publisher (Thanks Simon and Schuster!), but I would gladly pay cover price for it.

Warning: Do Not Open This Book
Clever and interactive. I enjoy reading this one time and again.

There are monkeys, toucans and alligators. And, on Aliza's personal favorite page, a banana.

Our final favorite book is one of a series, but we have only one. The kids beg miss jenna to read this one every time she comes over to babysit. I bought it when i was pregnant with Jacob because the cat kinda resembled Cricket.

Skippyjon Jones
He is a crazy, mischievous little guy with a big imagination.

There are fun songs, silly voices and wild adventures. The giggling is non-stop. I look forward to more books featuring this guy.

What are your kid's favorite books?

Monday, August 10, 2015

Don't Laugh. No, Seriously. Don't laugh.

We had a little girl turning three over the weekend. We threw a fantastic backyard party. I got the bright idea to make a watermelon cake. After looking at some tutorials I was all "It does seem THAT hard." Boy, was i wrong. First, go check out how to make one here.

I made the whipped cream on Thursday. It was actually insanely easy. I set everything up in the kitchen aid mixer and a couple minutes later it was done. However, making the whipped cream so far ahead of time was my first mistake. By the time i got it out of the fridge on Saturday to frost the watermelon, it wasn't quite as fluffy as it was supposed to be.

Second mistake: i didn't cut the watermelon exactly roundly. From my experience frosting cakes with buttercream, i thought i would be able to smooth out the bumps with the frosting. Flat whipped cream was not so forgiving.

The poor cake looks like a cake wrecks fail cake. HOWEVER, the watermelon, berries and whipped cream were incredibly refreshing on the hottest day so far in August and both cakes got eaten up.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Party Prep - Popsicles!

My kids love sweet treats as much as the next kid, but we really limit sugar, especially refined processed garbage. Im a crazy hippy. Its been stupid hot here, so I've been making them popsicles. I use plain whole milk yogurt and chopped up fruit.

One of the littles has birthday coming up, so i borrowed a bunch of popsicle molds to make treats for all the kids. I got two 2lb tubs of vanilla yogurt and a bunch of strawberries. I chopped the strawberries, mixed them into the yogurt and put them into the molds to freeze. I used about eight strawberries in each tub. Each tub made about a dozen popsicles, but i had two different sizes of molds. If i had all of the smaller ones (the ones we usually use) i could have made closer to 18 from each tub.

Kids totally dig these and if you use plain yogurt instead of vanilla there is no sugar! Enjoy!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Freezer Meals Part Four: Beef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff!!!

We ate this one this week so i took some pictures. I learned that its not a very photogenic meal, and food photography is hard. :)
2 lbs beef (stew meat recommended, i love tenderized round steak)
1 lg onion, chopped
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 can condensed cream of onion soup
8 oz sliced mushrooms - fresh or canned. if canned, drain.
1/4 tsp pepper
8 oz cream cheese, cubed
8 oz sour cream

For  freezer meal, I add all ingredients to bag, etc. The sour cream and cream cheese does look a little funny when it cooks all day, but boy does it taste delicious.

If you are cooking fresh, wait to add the sour cream and cream cheese until about 30 minutes before you are serving.

Cook on low 6-8 hours (are you noticing a pattern here?). Serve over egg noodles.


Thursday, July 30, 2015

Freezer Meals Part Three: Man Pleasing Chicken

Man Pleasing Chicken

I am a little confused about the name of this meal, as it pleases everyone, but the woman the most. Tasty and easy - what's not to love!

1 each red and green bell peppers, chopped
1 cup carrots, peeled and chopped (Add more if you like carrots!)
1 lg onion, sliced
3 zucchini, sliced
2 tblsp flour
2 lbs boneless skinless thighs (there is enough sauce for more chicken if you have a big family or like leftovers)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup dijon mustard
1/8 cup maple syrup
1 tblsp rice wine vinegar

Add all ingredients to bag and freeze. Thaw overnight in fridge before cooking.

You can cook this two ways. I prefer crockpot on low all day (6-8 hours) because it is easy. You can also bake in a foil lined pan at 450 for 20-30 mins until internal meat temp is 165.

I usually serve over rice.

Tangy and sweet - this one always gets clean plates!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Blast Ball is similar to t-ball. This was Jacob's first year to be old enough to play at our rec center. He had SUCH a good time. Basically the kids would hit the ball, run to first base and stomp on it. The base had a squeaker in it and made fun noises. The fielding team would all run after the ball and whoever caught it would say "BLAST BALL!" and throw it into the coach at home plate. It was hilarious, disorganized and awesome. Like herding cats. But the kids had a blast (see what i did there) and thats what matters.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Freezer Meals, Part Two: Mongolian Beef

Crockpot Mongolian Beef

1lb stew meat
2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, sliced
1 tblsp minced garlic
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1/2 cup water
1 tsp fresh minced ginger

Freezer Instructions: Add all ingredients to prelabeled freezer bag, freeze flat. Thaw in fridge the night before cooking.
Cooking Instructions: Add all ingredients to crock pot, cook on low 6-8 hours. 

I serve this with rice and steamed broccoli. I could probably eat it once a week, there are great leftovers and the kids eat it up. LOVE this recipe!!!!!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Crockpot Freezer Meals: Cincinnati Chili

About a year and a half ago, I decided i wanted to start making some freezer meals to have on hand for when life is too busy to cook (so basically, everyday). I found some recipes, invited some friends, went shopping and we had fun prepping out meals together.

Ive been hosting these once a month or so. A week ago, two girlfriends came over on Sunday afternoon and we made thirty meals in two hours. Not too shabby, especially as there was a lot of gabbing in between chopping and measuring. I have picked some real winners and a couple losers. I plan to post some of my favorites this week. I hope you enjoy!

2 lbs ground beef, browned
6 oz tomato paste
2 onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tblsp chili powder
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp all spice
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 15oz cans kidney beans

Freezer Instructions: Add all ingredients to prelabeled bag. Freeze. When ready to eat, thaw in fridge overnight.
Cooking Instructions: Dump everything into a crockpot with 1 cup water. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours.

We have also taken this camping and just heated over the fire in a big pot for an hour or so. The cocoa powder and cinnamon make the flavor unique and really, really delicious.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

summa time

 aliza is getting to the age where she is truly in love with her big brother. she says "JAKE-AH!" whenever she sees him and always wants to be doing whatever he is doing. its too much for my heart.
 Jacob is way into ninja turtles, thanks in large part to uncle max and uncle bryce. he wears his shell constantly, to eat, to bed, everywhere.

aliza is turning into quite the chatty cathy. she is doing great at repeating and understanding words, with her own special brand of attitude. she is a little bit sassy, a lot independent (way more than jacob was at her age) and a lot of mini-me. (notice she is also wearing a "turta" shirt.)

Friday, July 24, 2015

Bucket List Check Off

...running a half marathon, check!

I wanted to run the 13.1 miles in 2.5 hours. I hit it right on the money. I trained for several months, had a great running partner and a fun course. If you live in the area and haven't ran Prairie Fire, what are you waiting for? There were tons of people with signs and cheering, live music, coffee stations as well as water and gel stations, etc. Plus i scored some sweet bling. I felt very accomplished when it was over (nine months later i am still patting myself on the back, lets be honest) although i couldn't walk for three days. :)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Stitch Fix #1

Have you heard of stitch fix? Lots of people have been saying how amazing it is, so I decided to try it. I filled out my style profile, linked to a pinterest board with several pins of things i liked, and wrote the stylist a note to the effect of "I have four small kids and a limited budget but i am trying to start dressing like a grown up." Then, I scheduled my first fix. Five items were delivered to my house. I tried them all on, decided what i wanted to keep, and sent the rest back in the pre paid envelope. Easiest shopping ever. I loved all five of my items if we are being honest, but kept these two. A cute navy dress that i can layer for fall or wear by itself in summer to church or work, and a polka dot casual shirt. Each item comes with a notecard giving two different ways to wear and accessory suggestions which is awesome!

Have you tried it? If you are interested, you can use my referral link and i get bonus cash. Thanks in advance! I really think you won't be disappointed. They are adding a wider range of sizes, including plus and maternity, so there is a little something for everyone. :)

I took pictures of me actually wearing these, but the lighting was terrible and my camera battery chose that moment to die. Next month, i plan to give you guys the full fashion show.