From the weekend.

Friday the drive into the office was just beautiful!

Friday at the office was not really a fun day. Had to pack up this office that has not been used in over two years. A new person is moving into this space and I was assigned the lucky task of cleaning it up!

Friday while I was at work, Kevin started on the front yard pavers. And oh my goodness, it looks amazing!

Friday night went to my parents house to celebrate my Dad’s birthday!

Saturday spent the morning outside.

Sunday had our first indoor volleyball game. Natalie is on our team this year! Hadley had a blast playing in between games, she’s getting so good at bumping the volleyball!

Sunday night, little Miss Hadley was just exhausted. She had a busy busy weekend!

We had a good, calm but busy at times weekend. The front yard is coming along nicely, we have big plans for the landscaping and we can’t wait to see it all come together. We all had fun getting together for my Dad’s birthday, all the kids love playing together. And we had fun just talking with all the adults! Of the big kids, just Natalie came over this time. Brady had baseball, and he went to the lake to do some yard work for Grandma and Papa. Natalie was so excited to play volleyball with us. It was a fairly late game, so we were all exhausted come Sunday night. Especially Miss Hadley. It was a great weekend though!

Happy Monday! Have a fantastic week!

Birthday project – Week 3/52.

This is my birthday project for the next 52 weeks. You can read more about it here!

Week three! Color or doodle. I’ve always loved to color, draw, etc. Ever since I was little, I’ve always loved to color, and now that I have a little girl who loves it as much as I do we often do it together. Sometimes we’ll have a movie or show on, or sometimes we’ll just sit at the table and talk.

There are many benefits of coloring as an adult! Stress and anxiety levels are way lower, unplugging from technology promotes creation over consumption, coloring can be done by anyone not just artists or creative types, and it can be considered a hobby that can be taken with you wherever you go. For me, the best part about coloring is I feel like my brain just shuts everything off and I’m super calm and relaxed!


This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is logo-for-end-of-blog-1.jpg

This is week 3 of 52.

I am attempting to tackle 52 weeks of self care projects for the next year.
You can follow along here on the blog, or on Pinterest.

No more pine trees.

The pine trees are gone! We couldn’t be more excited. This has been a long time coming, almost three years now. This December will be three years in our home, and we’ve wanted the pine trees gone the day we moved in!

We took lots of before and after photos to remember this time in our lives when we had these ginormous pine trees in our yard. Now you can actually see our house! Along with all the shrubs and trees gone in the landscaping by the front door and windows, it looks like a completely different house! The tree in the middle of the yard was not a pine tree, but it’s gone too!

This is the pine tree to the left of the house that was split in two sort of. Gone. Good riddance. No more. The only part about cutting down huge trees? The huge stumps they leave behind!

This pine tree was on the right of our house, this sucker had the biggest roots, it was always a pain to cut the grass over these big wood humps. Now they are gone! All gone! It’s so exciting! Plus, it was starting to lean into the neighbors yard, but it was a good climbing like tree. Hadley always like to try and climb this one, or at least stand on the gigantic roots.

Every time we drive home, we still can’t believe how different it looks! We’ve even had people we don’t know in the neighborhood stop by in their cars and say they never did like the pine trees either and how great it looks! Just love it so much.

We had the stumps grinded out today, and it already looks so much better! We have to get all of the shavings out, and then lay down some grass seed and start the grass growing process in those areas. And, we’ve already started planning what we’re going to plant in all of the landscape in front of the house! Can’t wait to bring it to life and bring some color to our favorite house!

The apps I can’t live without.

These days we all can admit we spend more time on the phone than we probably should right? I think we’re all a little guilty of that. If that is not the case for you, then well done! Sometimes the phone is a life savior in times of boredom, and of course it keeps us connected with people in our lives.

I thought it would be fun to share some of my must-have apps on my iPhone!

Here is the home page on my iPhone. Lots of categories as you can see!


While this is an app that already comes loaded on an iPhone, I probably use the notes app the most. Anytime I want to remember something, I immediately make a list in the notes app. The most favorite part about this app is the check marks! I love how after you check mark an item, it automatically moves it to the bottom of the list so it’s done! I am still a paper planner person, but this is something very easy to jot down my thoughts as they come to me.


Having Amazon on my iPhone is dangerous! As you can see from my “saved for later” items, I have 600 in there! Anytime I see something either advertised on Facebook, Instagram, a news story, the Internet, anywhere really, I automatically add it to my Amazon cart and put it in the saved for later. Occasionally, I’ll go through all the items and remove any that don’t appeal to me anymore but for some reason I just love knowing that I have them all there.


The maps app saves my life every single day. I am the worst direction person! My daughter played soccer at the same place every single Sunday for two entire sessions, and I still used the map app to get there every week. Although, I will say it took me home a different way than it took me to the place!


This app helps me keep my husbands firefighter schedule straight. It took some getting used to, but now after almost three years this app helps tremendously! I don’t even look at the regular calendar app anymore, I have it all on this one.


If you’re not on Instagram these days, you’re missing out! I love this app so much more than Facebook! I love the stories, the hashtags, and the community of other people and most importantly women supporting women in their lives, careers, businesses, etc. My Instagram handle is @lifewithmandyjoy if you’d like to follow along my adventures!


I know I said the top five apps I can’t live without, but this sixth one had to be on the list! I use this app quite a few times a week for my workouts. It’s super convenient, and you can browse different workouts based on what you want to do that day. Time limit, type of workout, no equipment, basic equipment, etc. It’s really my favorite workout app! You can download the app here.

Are there any apps that you can’t live without? Any that I should try? I’d love to hear!

Easter recap.

Our Easter started a day early this year, Kevin had to work on Sunday so the Easter bunny came Saturday morning for the kids. The baskets pictured above (left to right) are Brady, Natalie, and Hadley. If you watched my stories on Instagram, you’ll know that Brady got a gas gift card since he’s driving now, and the girls got more “things” instead of a gift card and candy.

Hadley and Natalie were the first to find their baskets. Brady the teenager slept the longest and found his later which I didn’t get a picture of.

Hadley had mini pancakes, and a cinnamon roll on these little bunny plates and cups for breakfast.

After dinner Saturday night, we colored eggs. I don’t care how old kids get, I feel like every kid loves to color eggs at any age. I just love watching them!

Easter morning, Miss Hadley was ready since 9:30am! We didn’t leave until 11am! She was super excited all weekend, she loves holidays and getting together with her cousins and family.

After three years of being a firefighter wife, I’ve just now started to get used to being solo on big holidays / events. I gave the kids the option of either going to church, or seeing Dad before we started our day and they all opted to see Dad which I pretty much knew would be the choice. So we visited Dad at the firehouse Easter morning! We even brought my favorite Easter tradition recipe of pistachio bread. Shockingly enough, all of the kids like this bread!

We started the day out at my parents house, it was the most gorgeous day to be outside. The kids were so happy to run around, play chase, and swing on the swing!

The kids are getting so big it’s crazy! Life just flies by.

After my parents, we went to our cousin Emily’s house. I didn’t take many photos here, but the kids had a blast here too. We also celebrated Elyse’s birthday! By the time we got home, Hadley was passed out cold.

We had a great Easter holiday, the weather could not have been more perfect the entire weekend. It was sunny, warm, not humid, and just beautiful! And great to see all the family!

From the weekend.

Here are a few photos from our weekend….

Before school on Friday, Hadley looked so cute with her hair. She has been wanting to do different things each day for school and I love that! She used to be an all hair down or all hair up type of kid. Now she’s branching out with new things.

After school and work, we visited Daddy at the fire house. He picked up an extra shift so it had been two days since we had seen him! We love going to the firehouse!

After dinner, we had a movie night! We made a fort, with pillows and her favorite blanket. The movie was Yes Day, and we watched it on Netflix! I made a small candy charcuterie board for us, a few new things she’s never had before and loved. One being unicorn marshmallows, yum!

Saturday morning after her shower, she’s been really into this Kindergarten workbook we got her when she was in preschool. Doing school work on her own? Awesome.

Saturday we worked on our front yard. After living here for almost three years now, we’ve been wanting to rip out all of the shrubs and old pine trees. In the top left photo, the tall half dead tree came out, the green weird tree behind the lamp post, and lots of other things. All came out!

The before photo on the left, is a great photo of all the random things that were planted we think when the house was built. The after photo on the right is a great shot of how much you can actually see the house now!

We are obsessed with how different the house looks! It’s only been a few days, and every time we come home or leave, we still look at the house like wow look at the changes! We have more to do, but the big things are pretty much done. With the exception of the huge pine trees that are not pictured here. Those bad boys are coming out this week!

Hadley was excited she can reach the garage door pad. She still looks so little though! She stayed outside with us all day, helping, playing, etc.

On Sunday, to end the weekend we did the Heart Mini! We ran most of it, and little Miss Hadley rode her bike for the entire three miles! She was such a trooper!

The weather was so nice over the weekend, and we got so much accomplished and had fun doing it. Huge thanks to my BIL/SIL for all the help! We have so many plans on sprucing up the front yard now, can’t wait to start!

Around here.

around here tried a new recipe that was delicious! Pizza chaffles! The recipe can be found by clicking here. If you don’t already know, my husband and I are super picky eaters, and we both loved this so much!

around here it’s been so fun having Kevin join me for runs and workouts! We went to a new trail this week.

around here Hadley had her first softball practice. It’s going to be so cute to watch her play!

around here it was beautiful outside, we played soccer and I see something you don’t see game. And, I cannot get over how green our grass is already! Kevin cut the grass for the first time this year too!

around here I don’t care how old she gets, I will never tire of watching her sleep. Wish they could stay little forever!

around here made a chai latte for the first time! It was so good and easy! The recipe I used can be found by clicking here. During the warmer months, I’m going to try it iced too!

around here went outside and brought some flowers inside. So pretty and the house smells like spring.

around here she is just so cute in her school uniform. She loves to decide how to do her hair each day, and I’m so glad she’s finally gotten into the habit of trying new ways to do her hair. Just love her.

around here I’ve been doing random workouts the past few months. Sometimes I’ll run, walk, or do HIIT workouts. I use the Nike Training Club app on my phone which is awesome. It’s free and has a variety of different workouts to choose from. Download the app here.

around here we visited Daddy at the firehouse. He worked a double shift this week, so we just had to go visit. It had been awhile since we came to the firehouse anyways. Luckily it wasn’t very busy, so we got to hangout for awhile.


Have a great weekend!

Easter decor.

Easter is right around the corner! I love decorating for just about anything! Easter reminds me of fresh flowers, springtime air, and childhood egg hunts. And let’s not forget to mention, brunch is the main course of food yum!

These tablecloths brighten up the living room so much!

I couldn’t figure out where to hang this wooden Easter sign with the white bunnies, so I put it on the bar cart table. Looks okay there for now. I originally had it on the back of the front door, but every time we opened it the sign would bang super loud so I took it down.

The bathroom! Changing out the shelves for each season / holiday is always fun and festive.

The fireplace is always a favorite part of the house to decorate. I could go a lot more wild with the mantle, and fill it with lots of more items but I kind of like the simplicity of it. I love to have the kids’ photos on there, and have a few small items that are festive.

One tradition that I’ve always loved even as an adult is coloring eggs. All of my aunts and cousins used to get together the Thursday before Easter at my Grandma June’s house. We would all bring fish sandwiches, or my Grandpa would order cheese pizza, and we would all color eggs. Now we color eggs at our own houses, but it’s something I still enjoy doing as an adult with the kids.

Pizza Chaffles.

This week we made a new recipe and it was delicious! They were called Pizza Chaffles which is a keto version of mini pizzas!

First thing was to make the batter, which was super super simple! We doubled the recipe so we could have two mini chaffles each. It ended up being five mini chaffles total, all depends on how much batter you put into the mini waffle maker each time.


  • 1 egg
  • 1 heaping tbsp almond flour
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella (plus more for topping)
  • 1 tbsp grated parmesan
  • 1/8 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • pizza toppings of choice


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and turn on mini waffle maker.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the egg together and then combine with the rest of the ingredients.
  • Once your mini waffle maker is hot, sprinkle it with a little bit of shredded mozzarella.
  • Pour a little more than a large spoonful of batter in, and then sprinkle the top of the batter with more mozzarella cheese. Close the lid, and wait until your waffle maker says it’s done.
  • Place each chaffle on a greased baking sheet, allow each one to cool, and then spread your choice of low carb pizza sauce. For one chaffle, we used our favorite LaRosa’s Pasta Sauce, two to three pepperoni’s, sprinkled bacon bits, and then topped with more shredded mozzarella cheese.
  • Bake for 3-4 minutes and then an additional minute or two to brown the cheese, or however done you like it!

After the batter has been cooked in the mini waffle maker, and placed on the baking sheet, and have cooled, spread your favorite pizza sauce.

Add shredded mozzarella cheese on top of the pizza sauce.

Add pepperoni, bacon bits, and more shredded mozzarella cheese.

Here is what they look like after the oven! They were delicious! I’m pretty sure these were 2 net carbs before the pasta sauce was added, but still compared to a regular piece of pizza? I’ll take it! Encourage you to try this even if you’re not doing keto. A great recipe for a pizza alternative!

Recipe source: Instrupix

St. Patrick’s Day.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day 2021!

Hadley was so excited for school today, here she is with her magnifying glass to catch the little leprechauns.

Love that the teachers at her school take photos, here they are looking at a trap one of her friends made.

Have just a tiny bit of decor on the fireplace, the little leprechaun guy and the banner I got from Hobby Lobby a few years ago.

Made a little rainbow, with white balloons and rainbow streamers. Set the table with a green table cloth I made a few years ago out of thick fabric and some green plastic glasses.

Put some gold coins in a little tray in the center of the table.

When she got home from school, she was so excited from her busy day and the decorations at home. Simple things can make kids the happiest, and I just love that!

We made shamrock shakes for a fun little after school treat! The recipe we made is from Hip2Keto, the only thing we would do different is add a little less mint extract but other than that it was really good!

Before dinner, we did our nails green and gold!

We ate our dinner in the dining room. Hadley said we’re eating under a rainbow Mom! ♥

For dessert, we had St. Patrick’s Day whoppie pies! They were supposed to look like the ones from the recipe Olivia Wyles but they completely fell apart! But still, they weren’t too bad even picky Hadley ate one! I only made three anyway, these were the best ones that partially stayed together.

We ended the night with an early dinner, early shower, and early bed. St. Patrick’s Day wore this little lady out, but she had such a great day! Just love to decorate and make things fun for days like these!