Friday, June 21, 2013

Summer Burgers.

Happy Summer!

Today is the official first day of Summer. To kick it off we're going to have a BBQ and make one of our favorite summer meals! Okay, that's a lie. We actually had this last night when I didn't realize summer started today. But in theory that sounds like a fun kickoff tradition, right? Anyway - Last night we had an easy, delicious, perfect summer meal and our entire family was loving it. Eric came home from work and fired up the grill and we sat down to All-American burgers and corn on the cob. Oh, and chips. Because obviously any Utz family having a BBQ needs to have Utz chips. It was SO good. Of course I've had burgers and corn before, but for some reason it just felt so down home and better than usual. Maybe it was the 'almost summer' taste I was picking up on? Haha But truly, we all gave a little, "MmmMmm good!" every now and then. Even Gavin which made us all laugh. While eating I mentioned to Eric that we should have burger night at least once a week this summer and he was quick to agree. Plus, he does the grilling at our house which means that's one less meal that I have to cook. Yay!

Do you have a meal that you eat every week? We usually try to switch it up and don't repeat too close together but for burgers? I think I can handle that one more often! Recently I read about a family who has 'Taco Sunday' and tries different kinds of tacos each week. Sounds like another meal I could latch onto! I'm debating testing out different burgers or keeping it traditional. What do you think? Also, what's your favorite summer meal?

Happy Summer, friends! Enjoy your weekend!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Two For One.

Last night, (technically this morning) we had a celebration. It was one of those crazy times where everyone in our house decided to wake up at once. Amidst a whirlwind of chaos and half asleep grumps, Owen's two loose teeth happened to come out! My little boy is growing way too fast and his first loose tooth quickly turned into two loose teeth, and now two lost teeth all in the blink of an eye... Where does the time go? When they fell out Owen squealed with excitement and didn't quite know whether to laugh or cry, so he did both. We all cheered and celebrated right there in the dark in the middle of the night. Who knew 2:30am could be so exciting?? Although Owen was ready to pop those babies under his pillow and await the fairy, Daddy and I assured him that he should wait until tonight because for all we know the Tooth Fairy could have already made her rounds. Best to give her notice, you know... So tonight my little toothless munchkin will tuck those 'two for one' teethies under his pillow at bedtime and hope for good things to come. He's already made a deal to share half his goods with his brothers. Impressive, huh? Just another reminder that my little boy is not so little anymore. Somebody, please stop time!

Here's Owen and all his toothless glory!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Photo Shoot.

Happy Friday!

Do you have big plans for your weekend? Celebrating Father's Day? We definitely will be, because as you know from this post and a bajillion others, Eric is the man. ;-) We'll also be celebrating with our other favorite father's and grandfather's too! The boys and I have a few special things for Daddy, one inparticular that I know he'll be thrilled about. BUT, I can't share 'til next week for the slight chance that he'll visit The Laundry Room and peek! For a little preview of one of our surprises, I tried having a little photo shoot with the boys this afternoon to get a nice shot to frame for Eric to bring to the office. The mood in our house today is less than great, so I worked with what I had and hoped for the best. I didn't get a perfect group shot, but here's what we came up with... 

What's your favorite? Would you use a silly one like the last? Have a wonderful weekend!!

The Wheels on the Bus.

As summer rolls in I find myself slowing down a bit. Normally I'd rush in and welcome the sunshine and swimming but now summer also brings my youngest boys birthday. Sigh. While I'm super excited to celebrate for my little man, it's always bittersweet to watch your little ones grow up, right? Next month Gavin will be two and I'm not quite sure I'm ready for that big number yet. He is my youngest boy and my 'baby' if you will, which means he needs to stay a baby. Like forever. But somehow I don't see things playing out that way though, so instead I've succumbed to planning a birthday bash filled with balloons, cake and tears for Mama. Last year we celebrated Gavin's first with a picnic style setup at the park. We hauled off all the decorations and set up at tables under a covered patio near the playground. Our friends and family braved the heat and joined us for an extremely hot and fun filled celebration. We chose to kick off with a 'Wheels on the Bus' themed party because since I can remember, the only thing that calmed Gavin in those crazy crying fits was when we'd sing that song. This year I don't have a plan yet but I've recently seen a great kids birthday based off of a favorite children's book so it's definitely gotten the wheels turning.

Here's a few photos from Gavin's first birthday last summer, if you'd like to see!

Gramma made a big cake and cupcakes to go with the theme! 
(the lighting made this look orange, but I swear it was 'school bus yellow')
School Bus cupcakes...STOP.
One of my best friend's, Christy came early to help decorate with streamers, balloons, and school bus signs!
We made School Bus water too!
Eric built this awesome 'BUS' photo booth that was a huge hit with kids and grown ups alike!
Gavin had a great first birthday, but now it's on to bigger and better things...
Bring it on two!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

That's Okay.

When you have more than one child, one of the first things that crosses most parents minds is, 'How will I give them all enough attention?' A valid concern of course, but somehow everything falls into place and each child seems to make their way in the world just fine. As a mother of three little guys I find myself questioning this more often than not - Am I giving Mason the same attention I gave to Owen? Of course not. And Gavin? Without a doubt, no. And then the guilt sets in... But with the guilt comes the realization that it's okay. Not every child is going to get the same, need the same, be the same. As their mother, my job is simply to do the very best I can and if that means a half hour of playing blocks with my one year old while no one is home, so be it. But you can bet I'm gonna make one heck of a castle while it lasts.(bc Gavin can barely let me stack three high before he gets to swinging) so that's just what we did.

Today is Owen's preschool morning so Eric decided to steal Mason for his own little one on one. The two of them dropped off O and headed to the library for a special time. They read books and did puzzles and even stopped for a chocolate bar on the way home. (lucky!) While they were out I decided to give Gavin a special morning too. Since he immediately grabbed the bucket of blocks and dragged them to the living room floor I figured I'd let him take the lead. We dumped them out and built tower after tower while he knocked each one down. It was a perfect morning for the whole family and what do ya know? My children are all still healthy and thriving even if that's the only alone time they have all week. And ya know what? That's okay.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Over the weekend my husband opted for a movie night with the boys while I went out galavanting with my mother. And by galavanting, I mean to Kohls and Marshalls of course. (big night out folks!) Eric took Owen to pick a movie from the red box down the street and they ended up choosing, 'Escape From Planet Earth' which apparently was a hit. Since Eric was at the gym leading up to the trade off, the boys and I decided to start setting up. We thought it would be fun to set up their sleeping bags on the living room floor and make it a little more special for their popcorn and movie with Dad. Everything went well and it turned out to be a perfect night for the boys...until Sunday.

While at Owen's soccer game the next day and talking to my sister in law (her son plays too) she added that they had a family movie night as well. "We bought the new Lego Batman and had decorations and snacks and everything!", she explained. Umm really, streamers? Way to make me look bad, Janelle! Haha kidding of course - but I did think that was an awesome idea. What a fun way to make a night at home more exciting, right? And it can probably be fairly inexpensive too! Next time we reach for a red box I think I'll take Janelle's idea and step it up a bit. Maybe even tie in decorations and snacks with the movie theme. I think this weekend we'll make another family movie night that I just might have to skip shopping for!

Have you ever done a fun movie night like this? It sounds like a blast for the kiddos, doesn't it? Here's some ideas I found to inspire me for the next one!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Preach, Robbie!

Today is the day where I break down and do the unthinkable. Today is the day I quote the Kardashians. I know, I know - don't judge me. Between the two of us, I actually like them...but just don't tell anyone because that's a little embarrassing, isn't it? So, shh!! Now that I've cleared the air, back to the quote... Last night while I tuned in for the Kardashians tv show I watched Rob Kardashian (the brother) give advice to his step father Bruce Jenner. Bruce has had a pretty distant relationship with one of his own sons for quite some time and  it's always been brushed under the rug. Rob's own father passed ten years ago so for him, spending time with someone you care about while you still can is as simple as it gets. (If only we all thought that way!!) While encouraging his stepfather to pursue a relationship with his son, Rob says his final piece of advice is, "It's never too late to reconnect." Preach, Robbie! He went on to say that when there has been trouble in a relationship there comes a time where you must say that the past is simply the past, what's done is done...there is no changing what's happened but the only thing to do is move forward. If you want a relationship to rebuild, or maybe even build for the first time, then forgive and start now. "Life isn't getting any longer", Rob added. Could this guy be any more dead on? And the best part about all of this advice is that the final scenes show Bruce seeking out his son, Brody for a conversation which played out exactly as Rob suggested it should. Nothing can change what's been done in our past, but if we choose to forgive and move forward the possibilities are endless.

What are you waiting for? "Life isn't getting any longer..."

Thanks, Rob!


This weekend we visited Memere and Pepere...

Aren't they cute?

Alright, cat's outta the bag...(pun intended) that's not Memere and Pepere. But, in theory it is. These little guys sit on my father's Memere and Pepere's  head stone and sort of serve as a reminder of them. And from what I hear, Memere used to have a thing for knick knacks so it's fitting. Every year my parent's visit the cemetery around this time of year and replant and clean up the area. They buy flowers and clean out the dirt and brush off the stone, then replant and lastly, build the little stone wall that Memere originally started before she passed. This year, my mother and I went and took my little Mason along with us. Mase is three and likes to get into projects with grown ups whenever he can so digging through the dirt to find tossed and turned stones and burrowing holes to place new flowers was right up his ally. Plus, it was pretty cool that this was the place where we could come to remember his Pepere's Pepere. Maybe someday little Mason will be a Pepere too... Maybe. But for now I'll just keep him three. Anyway, it was a lovely afternoon in the sun and their little spot is looking tip top again.

Until next time, Memere and Pepere!  

Friday, June 7, 2013

Best Worst Mom Ever.

Tonight as I pulled my boys out of the tub I began teasing my five year old with some corny little jokes that he didn't find funny. I laughed and kept poking fun and told him he was acting like a baby. (Keep reading, I'm not completely awful) He turned to face the wall and said he wouldn't talk to me until I apologized. Although he claimed to be mad, I could tell by his actions and the smirk he was trying to hide that he was half way enjoying it too. Because we hadn't crossed that line of 'seriously mad' I knew I still had some room to play and decided to take it to a little further... "Fine, Owen. You're right and I'm sorry..." (Owen begins to turn back around) "...that you're acting like a baby!" >>Insert me laughing with tears running down my face<< "MOMMM!!!" And here's where I left the room and announced to my husband that as my kids grow I think I'm going to be the best worst Mom ever! It's moments like these when you can find humor in the little things and find joy at the expense of your own children that set us apart from the rest of the parents out there. The moments where you can turn your child's crying into a happy time, at least for yourself anyways! And if you're this guy over at Reasons My Son Is Crying, than maybe just a few million others too! Have you heard the buzz about this father who photographs his son crying at all different times? He documents them with the many reasons behind it such as, "I washed the dirt off his pear." and "I touched his foot with my foot." and even, "It's morning." Recently he held a photo contest where parent's could submit their own photos of 'Why YOUR Child Is Crying' and if you're a parent, I'm sure you can think of a few good ones to share! Although the contest is over, here's some old pictures I found for my own 'Reasons My Son Is Crying'...

I wouldn't let him take any more ornaments off the Christmas tree.
He's awake.
He's riding his bike.

If you're not one of those parents that harasses their children like this, or better yet, film yourself telling your child you ate all his Halloween candy like our friends did - (woot woot, Jay and Lindsey!!) then forget you read this post and check out the ones where I spew hearts and butterflies like here and here! Have a great weekend, friends!!

Caprese Grilled Cheese.

How do you pronounce it? Capreese...? Cahpraysay...? However you say it, it always tastes good. Caprese pretty much means an italian salad including fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil. Nowadays you can usually find some sort of caprese dish on a restaurant menu most places. Chicken caprese panini, caprese pizza, caprese fettucini, and coming to you today from my very own restaurant, I mean kitchen...Caprese Grilled Cheese. It all started when I noticed a picture of a Caprese Grilled Cheese on pinterest! Unfortunately, the link directed me over to some fat burning website, but as I've said before, "I like to get down in the kitchen!" so I figured it couldn't be too difficult. Improvising with what I had on hand, I made the most amazing half of a sandwich that I've ever had in my entire life. Am I exaggerating? Maybe. But it really was sooooo good!! Next time I think I'll get some super yummy bread and fresh basil to up the fancy factor!

I used the twelve grain bread I had on hand and went about making a normal grilled cheese sandwich, (slather in butter and cheese and cook on a skillet) I quickly sliced some tomatoes and threw them down on the pan next to my bread just to heat them through. Next I laid a layer of fresh mozzarella on the bread and then flipped the tomatoes on top. Because I only had dried basil, I sprinkled that with a little balsamic dressing and covered with one more slice of mozzarella and the other buttered bread. Flip to grill the other side and ta-dahhh, Caprese Grilled Cheese! And did I mention it was the best thing I ever ate? So so so good. Now go make one...Enjoy!


Yesterday I went grocery shopping...

I went grocery shopping with a list! And not just any list, but a list that I compiled after making a meal plan for the week. Now ideally I'd like to try this at the start of the week but because we needed food, again, now was as good a time as any. I've made a meal plan for our family once or twice before and find that it is SO helpful in a million different ways. For starters, being organized just feels good. On top of that, having a plan for the week is such a time saver and with three little boys running around here, time is everything. Nothing worse than walking in the kitchen at five o'clock to swing open the fridge and see some yogurt, a bottle of milk and a carton of eggs. Umm, cereal anyone? Yikes. If you've never been in that situation yourself then congratulations, Super Mom! Surely most of you can relate and for me, more often than I'd like to admit. Knowing exactly what I'll be cooking throughout the week and planning ahead so that all those ingredients I'll need are on hand is worth more to a mother than you'd imagine. Along with prior planning and organizing comes budgeting. Please tell me I'm not the only one that runs to the grocery store five million times a week to get 'just a couple things' and run out $50 poorer! Seriously, no joke... Without planning and gathering those ingredients at the beginning of the week I'm forced to run out for the chicken or potatoes that I need for dinner and with three kids in tow, you can be sure I fill the cart with powdered donuts and fruit snacks as we make our way down the aisles. Budget savvy? Not so much. Making that meal plan and then sorting out a list with all the items you'll need to create those meals is the perfect way to avoid all those extra costs! 

Last night after finishing my meal plan and heading off to the store I ended up spending $140 and am hoping to make it through the week without having to throw out extra cash and avoid those mid-week grocery runs. Do you think I can do it? I'll be honest, I feel like we'll probably make a trip or two during that time because as soon as I stocked the fridge my husband says, "You didn't get the big yogurt, too?" And so it begins... But, hopefully this will put in a dent in my efforts and less of a dent in our wallets, so wish us luck with our first week on a plan! Do you plan a menu for the week? Do you have any tips to help me starting out? 

PS. How would you like to shop with these little monsters?? ;-)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Masie Boy!

Upon seeing a picture of my three year old last week my mother in law commented, "Mason marches to the beat of his own drum!" and she couldn't have been more right. Mason is my middle child, my free spirit, my artist, my stubborn one, my funny little red headed love bug who is so sure of himself that he doesn't care what anyone thinks. Mason is the kind of kid who has an opinion about everything, especially what he wears. My older son, Owen, couldn't be more different. I could throw a paper bag over Owen and as long as it didn't take too long to get dressed and didn't bunch or pinch or dig in, he couldn't care less. This was what I knew of little boys and assumed that with three of them, I probably wouldn't see much of the fashion world and style opinions that come with having girls. Boy, was I wrong. Along came little Masie with his independence and flair for accessorizing and criticizing what Mama chooses every single day. Since he's been old enough to have a voice of his own, he has had no problem using it. He'll tell me whether or not he likes the things I pick, won't hesitate to throw off the shirt I chose, will search high and low until he finds those favorite orange socks. Mase would much rather pick out colorful interesting pieces that don't match, aren't fitting for the occasion and would never be something Mama would have chosen. But that's what makes him Mason. He would gladly pair a cutoff tee with a belt and tie and top it with a fedora hat and rain boots...all for a trip to the playground. 

And here's a little pat on the back for my husband and I for embracing Mason's individuality, right? No shame here! But I'll admit, in the beginning I would try and deter him a bit...maybe suggest that the soccer cleats and backpack aren't quite necessary to run out for milk, ya know? But with time I realized that there's no reason he shouldn't be able to choose what he likes. At three years old and expressing himself through fashion? Why not! Instead, I sort of love it now. Seeing this little guy dressed in these crazy, colorful outfits that don't make the slightest bit of sense, make sense now because of the way I look at them. I don't see mismatched knee highs and work boots with his basketball shorts, okay actually I do, but to me that's the confidence pouring out of my son who has some serious creativity and is awesome enough to show it to the world...or at least the other kids at the playground. To me, I couldn't be more proud and I hope that his unique character and confidence never go away! 

Always be you, Masie Boy! 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Life Lately.

Homemade Pizza and a new dough recipe!
Our little magicians*
Um, when did my baby get SO big??
My artist covered in tattoos...deja vu, maybe?
Owen and cousin Ayden holding hands during their soccer game.
His pride and joy.
Words wouldn't do justice. 
Oh, you know...just reading on the potty in the living room.
His first and second loose tooth in one weekend :*( Stop growing.
Playground Day.
Even our dog wears sunnies...too cool.
Daddy let the boys color on the walls before we repainted. (the fun one!)
Goodbye Green! Starting the living room makeover.

A getaway for just Mama and Daddy at  THIS gorgeous place.
Eric pulled over on the side of the road and made me get out to take in the view! 
Note to self: Don't try nail art again. (Ps. this awkward pic is for you, Ren)
Me and my rat, I mean niece..Lisamarie.
My one year old teaching his great grandmother to use an iPhone.
Backyard Fun...And weird faces. :P
The cutest thing I've ever seen.
Painting Mother's Day projects. And himself. 
And Daddy, because he's the best and loves fun things like kids painting his face :)
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