Friday, December 25, 2020

Merry Christmas!

 Merry Christmas! Today we are spending the day with family, eating all the food and playing with new toys. I hope you all have a wonderful day today! 

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Air Fryer Garlic Butter Cauliflower

I'm here today with another super simple way to get your family to eat some more veggies-- and they'll be done in 15 minutes! Just like a few weeks ago, this one is so simple it feels silly to call it a "recipe". 

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Favorite Books of 2020

 Good morning friends! This year I set out to read 40 books, and while I don't think I'm going to hit my goal of 40, I was still able to squeeze a lot of books in this past year. I am currently reading two more as we wrap up the year, but I think it is safe to say neither of them will end up on my favorites list. I was able to read 37 books up to this point, which is still pretty close to my goal-- and with this year being as crazy as it was-- I'll take it! As always, some of them were good, some not-so-good, and some GREAT. Today I want to share the great ones with you in case you're looking for some books to read either over the break or in 2021. I have broken them down by genre for those of you who like books from specific genres:

- Thriller-

Lock Every Door-  Earlier this year I joined a Facebook Book Club called "Reading Between the Wines" and this was one of the books of the month. The main character breaks up with her boyfriend and needs a new place to live, so she accepts a job as a house sitter on the Upper East Side of NYC. There were a bunch of creepy twists in this book and I kept finding myself staying up way too late to read "just one more chapter!!". It's currently in development to be a mini-series, like "Big Little Lies"-- I can't wait to watch it!

The Sun Down Motel- Another from the "Reading Between the Wines" book club, this one was very unique compared to the thriller books I usually read. This is about a girl who goes missing from her job at a motel in the 80's and her niece comes back in present day to try to find out what happened to her. It goes back and forth between the 80's and present day, with a few "guests" at the motel who never really left. If you like thrillers with a hint of ghost story, this one is for you!

An Anonymous Girl- Jessica is a makeup artist in NYC who is struggling financially, when she comes across an opportunity to participate in a study at a local college. A professor is doing a study on morality and will pay her for her time answering questions. Everything seems fine at first, but as Jessica progresses further into the study the more the things the professor is asking makes Jessica uncomfortable. This book makes you think "if you were desperate for money, just how far would you go to make some?"

The Other Mrs.- Sadie and Will move from Chicago to small town Maine. Shortly after their move, their neighbor is murdered. Naturally, the people in the small town start getting suspicious about Sadie and Will's family, but Sadie is determined to try to figure out what really happened. Mary Kubica, the author, is one of my all time favorites! She knows how to write thriller books that make you stay up way too late, and then wake up early just so you can read a little more. 

The Silent Patient- Whoa! I listened to this one on Audible and was listening with my headphones on while cleaning/doing things around the house. I kept saying "oh my gosh!" or "whoa!" while listening and it even made Devin curious 😄 Such a crazy twist at the end!

- Historical Fiction-

The Librarian of Auschwitz- I'm not sure historical fiction is the right category here or biographical fiction? This book is based off the true story of a young girl who was tasked with keeping the secret library for the children in the family block of Auschwitz. This book was eye opening, heartbreaking, and yet inspiring at the same time. It is astonishing to me that someone can go through such horrible conditions and still put other people and their survival above their own survival. 

Her Last Flight- This is a story about a journalist who is trying to investigate the disappearance and lives of two of the world's most famous aviators, one of them a woman named Irene. This story felt like it paralleled Amelia Earhart's life and I loved learning more about early aviation and about women in flight. I have yet to read a Beatriz Williams book I haven't loved! 

- Fiction-

What Alice Forgot- This is one of my all-time favorites that I read again this year with a friend-- it has such a unique storyline and I love it! The main character, Alice, suffers a head injury and loses 10 years of her memory. Unfortunately for Alice, in that span of time she has gone from happily married and pregnant, to a mother of 3, getting divorced, and has strained relationships with other family members. She has no memory of any of this happening. This story is about her trying to find out how her life has changed so drastically over the past 10 years and what she can do to salvage some of those important relationships.

A Man Called Ove- Such a heartwarming book about a grumpy old man whose neighbors help him see the positives in his life, at a time when he is struggling to see them on his own. A perfect feel good book!

- Nonfiction- 

There's No Such Thing As Bad Weather- As an outdoorsy person, I love that this book encourages us to get our kids outside in nature every single day, despite the weather. Even if it's rainy or cold, you can dress appropriately and get outside for at least 15 minutes. I definitely notice an improvement in myself when I spend some time outdoors, and I notice it in my kids as well. 

SuperLife- So I heard about this book after watching the "Down to Earth" documentary on Netflix earlier this year. Darin Olien, the author, was one of the hosts of the show. I don't necessarily buy into everything this book says, but it definitely lit a fire up under me about eating healthy food and paying attention to what I put in my body. I read this book months ago and I am still trying to follow some of the advice in this book daily-- including making sure I get some raw green foods into my diet. If you're looking for a book to help you get a healthier start to 2021, I recommend this one! 

And now if I had to pick my #1 favorite book of the year, it would be:

Her Last Flight!

If you love historical fiction and haven't read this one yet, please put it on your list!! 

And now, what about you? What was your favorite book you read this year? 

Monday, December 21, 2020

Santa Pics

 Hi there! I hope you all had a nice weekend and were able to soak up a little more of the fun this season has to offer. On Saturday our kids met Santa, and it was without a doubt my favorite Santa meeting we've had! 

Friday, December 18, 2020

Getting Organized for the New Year

Good morning friends! So earlier this week I had a couple appointments I needed to put on my 2021 calendar when it hit me-- oh shoot, I don't have a 2021 calendar yet! I usually buy the 18 month Happy Planners each August, but it must've slipped my mind this past August because I never got around to it. The downside of waiting until mid-December is that all the good planners were already sold out 😨. If you've been reading here for awhile then you know I am a big fan of the Happy Planners-- they are hands down my favorite for several reasons. I love the layout. I love how bright and colorful they are. I love all the stickers/accessories they come with. 

They. Are. My. Favorites. 

But now, in December, all the ones that were my favorite layout have already been sold out. There were a few left, but the covers were not my style. 

Classic case of the early bird getting the worm. This worm was late, and this worm is outta luck. 

So I started asking around to a bunch of my girlfriends to find out what planners they use. The answers I got most often were: Erin Condren, Lilly Pulitzer, big desk calendars, and ones from Target. I have used all of those in the past too and liked them, but didn't love them. 

 Then one girlfriend recommended this one to me from Amazon and I figured it was so cheap it was worth a try. It had over 1,000 reviews with a really high rating, so... I needed a calendar, it was cheap, why not give it a shot?

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Air Fryer Southwest Sweet Potato Fries

 Hi there friends! So for the past few months I have been experimenting with our air fryer and have been trying to get comfortable with it. At first I only followed other people's recipes, but have recently started trying out a few of my own. Devin gets partial credit for today's recipe because I was all set to make them in the oven, then Devin said "why don't you try the air fryer? I bet that would be good". It turns out he was right! Not only are they delicious, but they cooked much faster too!

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Homemade Ornament Ideas

 Hey there! Over the weekend we made our annual homemade ornaments and I wanted to share them with you today. These were super easy to make-- it took longer to gather the supplies than it did to make the ornaments! 

Monday, December 14, 2020

Not Just a Mom: Holiday Traditions

 Good morning friends!! Today we are doing our last monthly Not Just a Mom post for 2020. In some ways this year has crawled by, and in other ways it has absolutely flown by. Would you agree? Here are the topics we covered this year:

Friday, December 11, 2020

A Day in the Life of Us-- December 2020

Hi there! I hope you all had a good week and are looking forward to a fun weekend ahead. On Wednesday I grabbed pictures throughout the day to show you what a typical "Day in the Life of Us" looks like around here lately. Grab a cup of coffee and join me for a recap of Wednesday, December 9th, 2020.
Thursday, December 10, 2020

Greek Yogurt and Mango Papaya Boats

Yesterday I was taking pictures for a Day in the Life of Us post I'm planning to put out on Friday and I made a breakfast I have been making a lot around here lately: Papaya Boats

They are such an easy breakfast to make and are a good way to get some fruit and protein in and feel like you're mixing it up a bit. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

End Of Year Survey

 Hi there friends! We are starting to wrap up the craziness that has been 2020 and are looking towards next year and all that 2021 will hopefully bring. I am looking forward to next year with my blog too and was hoping you could help me. 

Monday, December 7, 2020

Best and Worst Christmas Movies.. Our Opinion!

Just like many of you, we are full swing into the Christmas movies over here! 

Friday, December 4, 2020

What I've Been Priming-- November

 Holy Moly... apparently this was one of those months where I went totally nuts on Amazon.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Super Simple Braised Broccoli

 Hi there! Earlier this week I was whipping up dinner for the fam and we needed a quick side item. I went to make our all time favorite broccoli recipe and it dawned on me that I've never shared it with you guys-- which is weird because we eat this probably twice a week! More than likely I've never shared this because it hardly seems like a "recipe". It's too easy. But that being said, this is my kids' favorite way to eat broccoli, and if it means helping one of your kids eat a vegetable too then I am happy to share our super simple "recipe".

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Monthly Goals: December

Well today is December 2nd which means it is the beginning of a new month. I love the beginning of a new month for a fresh start and a chance to try new things. As you all know, I love to set goals for myself each month and they usually go towards helping me reach some more long term goals for myself. So today we will have a look at December's goals, but first let's check out November:

Monday, November 30, 2020

Books I Read in November

Hi there! It's time for my monthly book review and I read some pretty great ones this month. I can't wait to share them with you! 

You all know the drill here, I read some books and grade them on a letter grade scale (once a teacher, always a teacher), and then if you've read them I'd love it if you left me a comment below telling me your thoughts. 
Friday, November 27, 2020

Holiday Cards

 Good morning! I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving! Today's post is going to be short and sweet because we are still up here celebrating and having all sorts of fun. Our Christmas cards have been ordered and are on their way to our house as we speak. I wanted to share what ours looks like and tell you about some of the holiday card sales the card companies are doing, just in case you haven't ordered yours yet.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Zuppa Toscana

 Happy Thanksgiving friends!!! Okay so true story about this recipe, the first time I made it I thought it was a complete bust. This was one of those "we are having pizza as a backup" kind of recipes because I thought there was absolutely no way this would turn out. So I sent Devin to run out to the grocery store and grab a frozen pizza, and by the time he came back, the recipe had come together and we ended up freezing that pizza to use another day. Not only did this turn recipe turn out okay, but we actually LOVED it and have made it multiple times since! So if you're making this and you think "there's no way this is going to be good", stick with it! I promise you won't regret it!

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

What's Up Wednesday

 Hi there! Before we begin today I want to kick off this Thanksgiving season by telling you how thankful I am for YOU! You have made this blogging hobby of mine so much more fun by interacting and engaging with me through my posts, comments, emails, and messages on Instagram. Today I am piggybacking off of Erika's post yesterday by doing a giveaway on Instagram. I am hoping to buy a handful of you a cup of coffee in appreciation for all you've done to make this blog of mine even more special to me. Check out my Instagram stories to enter! My handle is @dontmindourmess See you there 😁
Monday, November 23, 2020

Beauty Products Gift Guide

 Hey there! I hope you all had a good weekend. My sister was asking for a list of my favorite beauty items because she wasn't sure what she wanted for Christmas. I put together a little list of my favorites, and then decided to share them with you too! Just in case you know someone who loves beauty products/hair products/all that jazz but don't know what to get them for Christmas! These are all items I have tried over the years and love. Let me know if you use any of these-- I'd love to know what you think of them!

Friday, November 20, 2020

Fall Family Pictures 2020

 I mentioned a few weeks ago that we had a family friend take our Christmas card pictures. Our friend Kendall is incredibly talented and our group of girlfriends has been trying to convince her for years to start up her own photography business. You'll clearly be able to see why! She does such a wonderful job of making everyone feel relaxed enough to be themselves-- which then shines through the pictures. It's very easy to see what a quirky bunch the Darrell family is... but I love that! Now the only tough thing will be trying to pick which one for the card. 

I hope you enjoy the pictures! Happy Friday!

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Boursin Garlic & Herb Mashed Potatoes

 Hi there friends! Last week we were talking about our Thanksgiving menus and I shared that we love to add Boursin Garlic & Herb cheese to our mashed potatoes. I decided to whip them up last night and double check the recipe so I could share it with you guys today. If you decide to give this recipe a try, let me know!

Embrace the Hygge

 Good morning friends! I recently read a book called The Cozy Life, which is all about the concept of hygge. In case you aren't familiar, hygge is the Danish and Norwegian word that more or less means coziness, comfort, warmth and an overall feeling of content. I have a feeling we are going to be spending a lot more time than usual within the 4 walls of our homes this winter, so it might be time to start working on ways to embrace it. I know we are all feeling the fatigue of our lives being turned upside down, but I'm trying my best to stay positive and find the hidden blessings within the awfulness that has been 2020. If I have to be cooped up inside, I might as well attempt to have fun with it and make it as positive an experience as possible. Meaning bring on the hygge! 

Monday, November 16, 2020

Life Lately

 Hi friends! I hope you had a nice weekend. Our Saturday was super busy and then Sunday was a whole bunch of nothing-- it was perfect! I wanted to give you a little update at what life has looked like around here lately. 

Well first of all we are in the midst of renovation craziness over here. I swear 80% of my conversations these days are about light fixtures/sinks/faucets/hardwood floors/paint colors. I'm sure I'm very interesting to talk to... not! 😂

Drywall is up!
Friday, November 13, 2020

Gift Guide for Adults

Good morning friends! I hope you've all had a good week. This week flew by-- I can't believe it's already Friday! Earlier this week in my Not Just a Mom post I mentioned that I would be putting together a little gift guide of things I've already purchased/plan to purchase for our family. I separated them by categories in order to help make it a little easier for you to navigate. Hopefully you come away from this list with a few ideas! 

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Berry Kiwi Smoothie Bowl

 Good morning friends! I was on a big smoothie kick there for awhile and was making different ones for breakfast each morning. This is one I made a few weeks back but never got around to posting. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Let's Look: Your Holiday Menu

 Good morning everyone! Hope you're having a great start to the day today. Today we are looking at everyone's holiday menu, and if I'm being honest.. we are pretty basic around here. We have your typical turkey/mashed potatoes/stuffing/rolls like everyone else, but then a few other goodies mixed in! 

Before we start though, I have to let you in on a little family battle we have every year...

Monday, November 9, 2020

Not Just A Mom-- Shop the Holidays

Good morning friends and happy Monday! I hope you all had a nice weekend. We took our fall family pictures this weekend and I wanted to share a little sneak peak with you. 

Friday, November 6, 2020

Monthly Goals-- November

 Good morning friends and happy Friday! Anybody else happy for this week to be over? What. A. Week. 


If anybody needs me I will be over here hoping and praying for ANYTHING positive in the news next week. 

On a brighter note, we are in a new month and with a new month brings a new feeling of being refreshed and starting over. I'm trying very hard this month to look for the positive in every day. Which brings me to my #1 goal this month:

1. Bring Back the Positivity/Gratitude Journal! For awhile there I had been doing so well with my positivity journaling and I had noticed a significant impact in how it was affecting my mood/how I viewed my days. I got away from it for awhile because it felt like "one more thing to do" when I was getting ready for bed at night, but I think it's time to bring it back! As we are all struggling with going into month 9 of COVID and all the anxiety that causes (not to mention the stress of the election!), I think it would be beneficial for me to start physically writing down 5 positive things that happen each day. Each and every day has a multitude of things to be grateful for, and I think taking the time to actively seek them out will be beneficial!
2. Train for and Run the Turkey Trot- Another thing that is always a helpful mood booster is exercise-- so I'm hoping to get back into running consistently. I have been sporadic with my running regimen since COVID started just because our routine changes frequently and it's hard to find the time. I have signed up for a Virtual Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving weekend and I am super excited to have something to train for again. If you are looking for a virtual race to run, check out . You can run anytime between the Thursday of Thanksgiving through Sunday, submit your time online, and then you get a t shirt and a medal! Not to mention you are doing something healthy for your body. You don't even have to run, you can walk it! There's really no reason to say no 😉

3. 1 Minute Planks- I was doing this over the summer and for the first time ever I had actual noticeable abs! Devin wanted us to try some different ab exercises for a few months, but I swear simple planks caused the most noticeable difference I've ever seen. So I'm going back to it!

4. Read 4 Books-- My New Year's Resolution this year was to read 40 books (one more than last year). Then life got crazy and I didn't read nearly as much as I was hoping to. I probably won't be able to get to 40 books this year, but I'm hoping to get as close as I can. I think I can average 1 book a week this month, especially if audiobooks count!

5. Have Christmas Cards Ordered by Thanksgiving-- I have noticed that the longer I wait to order cards each year, the longer the turnaround time. I'm hoping to avoid that by ordering them by Thanksgiving, then they'll hopefully arrive the following week and I can get them out ASAP.

6. Have Most of Our Christmas Gifts Ordered By the End of the Month- I did this last year and it made the holiday season much more enjoyable since I wasn't rushing around/stressing about who was going to get what gift. Then I could focus all my attention/energy on baking, going to see Christmas lights, crafts with the kiddos, and all the holiday fun we love so much. 

What about you? Do you set goals for each month? If so, what is one of your goals this month?

Thanks for reading along today! Please know that one of the things I am grateful for is YOU. Thank you for reading this blog of mine and for making this hobby more than just a hobby, but a way to interact with like-minded women who support each other. 

Today I am linking up with Andrea and Erika for Friday Favorites. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Southwest Quinoa Bowl

 Hello there! I don't know about you but Mexican/Tex-Mex food is probably our favorite cuisine around here. We have some form of Mexican/Tex-Mex food for either breakfast, lunch or dinner probably 5 days a week, no exaggeration! Between Breakfast Burritos, Southwest Salads, Tacos, Quesadillas and Chipotle Bowls there's so much variety. It's convenient too since the various recipes use pretty all the same basic ingredients. Even the kids love it all, we just use less spices when we make theirs. This is one of my favorites to make for lunch-- it keeps me full for hours and I don't get that afternoon energy slump since it's all healthy/nourishing food.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

October Book Review

 Good morning friends and happy Wednesday! Today I am sharing my monthly book review-- I would recommend 3 out of the 4! Let's get to it, shall we?

Monday, November 2, 2020

What I've Been Priming-- October

 Good morning friends and happy Monday! I hope you all had a wonderful Halloween weekend. Hopefully you had very few tricks but many treats 😁. Lily Grace had a last minute costume change on us at the beginning of last week but we were able to pull off the new costume-- a witch and her "witches bro" (witches brew).

It's hard to tell in the pictures but I attempted to make Liam a cauldron costume. It's kinda easier to see here:

And here is his brew spilling out of the cauldron:

For having absolutely zero sewing skills, I'll take it! 

Anyway, today I want to share my Prime post for the month of October. I LOVE reading other people's Prime posts-- I always leave with an idea sparked about something we need/want. Hopefully this post does the same for you today!

Friday, October 30, 2020

J Crew Factory Friends and Family Sale

 Hi there friends and happy Friday before Halloween! I had something else planned to go out for a post today but then yesterday morning J Crew Factory (one of my favorite stores!) send out an email that they were doing their friends and family sale. Literally EVERYTHING was on sale, some of it up to 70% off. So I put the kiddos down for their naps, left Devin in charge while he worked from home, and headed to the store! I found a lot of really cute clothes and wanted to share them with you today while they are still on sale. Let's have a look, shall we?

First up this bright yellow sweater. It was so soft I thought it was cashmere at first when I grabbed it, but apparently it's not. The description however is "crewneck sweater in extra-soft yarn" and I think that fits the bill exactly! I'm also wearing the high-waist jeans here and they were very comfortable. I still prefer the highest-waist cut though because I think it's more flattering and keeps everything tucked in 😉

Then I threw this navy blue puffer vest on top and loved how it gave the outfit a completely different look. These vests are my favorite this time of year because they are just enough to keep you warm without making you feel hot.

I thought the buttons on the neck of this sweater were cute but my hair is kind of blocking them, sorry! Here's what it looks like online:
I unbuttoned the top two buttons to give it a more relaxed look.

And then here is the same sweater with the blue puffer vest on top. Again I think throwing the vest on top makes it look like a completely new outfit despite everything being the same as the previous picture. 

And then this sweater I just loved the color of! I mean how bright and cheery is that? The color is called "bright amethyst" and I think that hits the nail right on the head. 

Then I threw another super soft sweater over the top of it, but this time it was a super soft cardigan. Same high-waist jeans here from before.

Another button neck sweater but in vintage Burgundy. Same high-waist jeans again.

Then these little bow earrings I saw and loved. I wear my pearl earrings almost every day because they're simple and go with everything. I thought this was a fun twist on the same old pearls. 
My favorite slippers were also on sale. I have these in the red/blue plaid pattern for myself but picked up two pairs in other colors as Christmas gifts. I thought the leopard looked fun! These really are my favorites because they keep my feet cozy and warm, but have a good base/grip on the bottom. 

So if you're like me and you've already started your Christmas shopping, then I'd check out J. Crew Factory! Might as well get some of those Christmas gifts checked off your list, right??

Today I am linking up with Andrea and Erika for Friday Favorites. I hope you all have a wonderful Halloween weekend!!