Hello, hello! I’m so glad to be checking in! It feels like I’ve been checked out the entire month of May. It’s been a crazy one. That said, I’m sad to share the news that my sweet Grandma, who turned 100 this past February, passed away earlier this month. She was nothing short of a superstar. Independent, wise, and so sharp. A lifelong learner, travel adorer, early adapter (she always had her iPad nearby to play brain games, surf Facebook, and read the blog!) and fierce lover of her family. She went to college at a time when women often didn’t, and worked outside the home when being in the kitchen was the norm. Grandma loved her roses, Klondike bars, Lawrence Welk, attending lectures and seminars, being social and staying active, and especially her 6 grandkids and 11 great-grandkids. I could write a book.

I feel fortunate that the kids and I were able to Facetime with her several times in the weeks leading up to her passing when she was in good spirits. This may be an oxymoron, but seeing as though she was 100 years old and in relatively good health, she seemed somewhat invincible to me and I hadn’t given serious thought as to what it might feel like to not have her here. It’s surreal that’s she’s not, but her legacy will last generations. She will never be forgotten and we are all better people for having Alice as our Grandma. <3

My family and I stayed at her house in Ohio with my cousins, aunt, and uncle last week and, oh my goodness, the memories we have of all being there together! Fierce ping pong matches, cots lined up in the basement for sleepless sleepovers, hammering away in my Grandpa’s tool shop, intense games of Scrabble, badminton in the backyard, warm evenings on the porch, Christmas mornings in our PJs, and everyone crowded around the table for my Grandma’s signature Chicken Noodle Soup. Absolutely priceless.

Needless to say it’s been a bittersweet month but my Grandma would want us to focus on the here and now. Ben’s youngest brother is getting married this weekend so his family has been trickling in all week for the festivities taking place through the holiday. Memorial Day – I cannot believe you are already here! So anyway, that’s what’s been going on in my neck of the woods. I apologize for the sparse posting – poor Instagram, I’ve all but abandoned you – but of course I know you understand.

Not sure how ya’ segue from that, but here we are! It’s been a couple months since my last Currently post so I thought we’d catch up today. Let’s do this!

 

Currently…

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Currently…

Time and place: 1:35pm in my office aka bedroom. #glamorous The little boys and Ben are playing with relatives in town for the wedding and baby G is sleeping off a bug she caught while traveling with me to and from Ohio. She’s got a fever and everything – it’s so sad. :( I’m hoping to catch up then sign off in the next couple of hours before the wedding weekend begins!

Loving: Trey Kennedy. Pleeeeease tell me you follow Trey Kennedy on YouTube/Facebook/Instagram?! His weekly videos are one of the highlights of my week! I’ve probably watched his “Moms” video 50 times and it never, ever, ever stops being funny.

 

Wearing: Ali & Jay Pleated Jersey Dress. Fellow Moms with a little baby pouch (hi three kids!) I can confidently say I’ve found THE LBD!! I ordered this dress for the aforementioned wedding and will wear it for every formal event until it falls apart. The band and draping at the waist completely hides any lumps, bumps, or pooches and the material is so, so comfortable. It’s also 40% off the moment – cannot beat that! It find it fits true to size.

 

Recommending: Makeup. I have three makeup products I’ve been using for awhile that I feel comfortable recommending! The first is Maybelline Age Rewind Concealer. I’ve actually been using this product for almost 2 years now and it not only works as a concealer but I also use it as a light foundation by swiping on a few stripes across my cheeks, nose and forehead then blending with my fingers. Great, buildable coverage for a drugstore price.

Thrive Cosmetics Instant Brow Fix. I admit to buying this via Instagram (darn ad targeting!) but I’ve been really pleased with the product. It’s a semi-permanent brow tint that over time leaves color on your brows, which I really need. I use this over eyebrow pencil – see below.

Anastasia Brow Wiz. I asked my eyebrow guru, aka my friend Laura with KILLER brows, for a pencil she loves and this Anastasia product is her favorite. I like it because it’s natural looking and comes in many shades. I buy at Sephora.

OH, also, I recently tried a sample of Beautycounter’s Dew Skin foundation, which everyone seems to be obsessed with, and I hated it! I think it’s the SPF in the formula, as it was very thick and my skin felt like it was suffocating. It also had zero coverage, imo. That said, I also tried a sample of Beautycounter’s Tint Skin foundation and LOVED it. Great coverage and it felt like I was wearing nothing. I’m going to purchase a tube with my next order!

 

Researching: Coffee Pots. I tossed my Keurig last year after watching some disturbing videos on YouTube showing how mold grows in the internal tubes, and have been using a Chemex pour over at home ever since. That said, we need some sort of coffee machine for when family and guests are staying with us. Got a recommendation for me? I don’t need anything fancy – in fact, the more basic the better. Less to go wrong, right? Thank you in advance!

 

Anticipating: Feel Good Foods “Pizza Rolls”. I am capital O-bsessed with Feel Good Foods’ line of certified gluten free frozen foods – their chicken and chipotle taquitos (which are killer with my homemade ranch dressing,) and chicken pot stickers are always in my freezer – and so I was thrilled to find their new pizza roll inspired snack bites at Super Target the other day. I don’t make it a habit to eat frozen, processed foods often but you cannot beat this company’s ingredient lists. And anyway, gluten free pizza rolls?! The 90s teen in me is totally into it. ;)

 

Saving: Butcher Box Ultimate BBQ Bundle. Heads up, Butcher Box is having a summer sale for new members right now. Sign up between now (May 24) and June 10 and you’ll receive 2 New York strip steaks, a slab of baby back ribs, and 2lbs ground beef for FREE in your first box. We love their ground beef so much I just ordered a “ground beef blast” – aka 10lbs of ground beef – to be included in my next shipment. Ugh, so good! You can click here for the deal >

 

Using: pacifier clips. As I mentioned, Gwen flew with me to Ohio for my Grandma’s services last week (baby girl won’t take a bottle!) and these pacifier clips saved us while traveling. Neither of the boys used pacifiers past 4 months when I took them away so they could find their fingers to self soothe, but G never found a thumb so here we are. Anyway, I got these clips to double as a safety net between her mouth and the disgusting airplane floor, plus something fun for her to play with too. They worked so well!

 

Sniffing: Lilacs. The air has smelled SO amazing over the past three weeks as all the area trees and lilacs have bloomed. It’s such a mood booster to step outside and feel as if you’ve stepped into a perfume shop. We have a giant bush/tree/unidentified plant on the back side of our house that I’ve 95% killed over the past 5 years by over trimming (I have the BLACKEST of black thumbs) that I’d like to dig out and replace with an old fashioned lilac bush. Does anyone know, have I missed my planting window this year?

 

Cooking: Crock Pot White Chicken Chili. I made dinner for Ben’s family a couple times this week and one of the evenings I turned to my tried and true Crock Pot White Chicken Chili. This is SUCH an easy dinner recipe and smells so good that even my neighbor commented on it – ha! I always make a double batch and skip the thickening step at the end – it doesn’t need it. I should really just edit the recipe… Anyway, pairs perfectly with tortilla chips and guacamole!

Crock Pot White Chicken Chili is hearty and filling yet low-fat, gluten and dairy-free! | iowagirleats.com

 

Replacing: Pyrex 16-Piece Set. I fiiiinally got rid of the last of our plastic gladware containers in favor of all glass storage. I was almost there then fully switched over when my favorite 16-piece set went on sale recently and it feels so, so good. If you are new to the gluten free world, this would be a great set to purchase as gluten can stick to the surfaces and scratches in plastic food storage containers.

Crunching: Bubba’s ‘Nana Chips. I picked up a bag of these green-banana-based snacks at the store the other day – ummm, SO GOOD!!! Love the buffalo flavor, especially, though the garlic and nacho flavors are awesome too.

 

Making: Memorial Day-friendly recipes. As I mentioned, it’s hard to believe this weekend is Memorial Day! This month totally flew by. If you are planning a party, potluck, or get together, here are a few of my favorite festive recipes:

Grilled Corn and Avocado Pasta Salad

Grilled Corn and Avocado Pasta Salad with Chili-Lime Dressing is an easy, gluten-free pasta salad recipe full of color and fresh flavor! | iowagirleats.com

 

Easy Baked Ribs (in case your grill out gets rained out!)

 

Secret Ingredient Rose Sangria

Secret Ingredient Rosé Sangria is the perfect drink to cool off with when temperatures start to rise. Not too sweet, and livened up by a secret ingredient! | iowagirleats.com

 

The BEST Pasta Salad

 

S’More Icebox Cake

No-Bake S'mores Icebox Cake is a gluten-free and dairy-free, summer-friendly dessert recipe that will be a hit with kids and adults alike!  | iowagirleats.com

 

Lemon-Blueberry Icebox Cake

Plate with gluten free Lemon-Blueberry Icebox Cake

 

GF/DF Dirt Cake

Help anyone with a gluten intolerance or dairy allergy feel like a kid again with Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Dirt Cake! Rich and creamy, it's the perfect summertime treat. | iowagirleats.com

 

Strawberry Shortcake Icebox Cake

Gluten-Free No-Bake Strawberry Shortcake Icebox Cake is a perfectly sweet, gluten-free summer dessert recipe. Just 5 ingredients and make-ahead, too! | iowagirleats.com

 

Crock Pot Baked Beans

Crock Pot Baked Beans is a rich, sassy, and super simple crock pot recipe that's sure to become a summertime side dish staple at your house! | iowagirleats.com

 

Cauliflower “Faux-Tato” Salad

 

(Unbelievably Juicy!) Grilled Pork Tenderloin

 

Perfect Grilled Steak

Perfect Grilled Steak with Herb Butter features a homemade dry rub and melty herb butter finish. Absolutely mouthwatering! #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com

 

Marinated Vegetable Salad

Marinated Vegetable Salad is a healthy salad recipe highlighting fresh summer vegetables. Toss with tangy vinaigrette then marinate overnight for a quick and easy side dish! | iowagirleats.com

 

Mojito Fruit Salad

Mojito Fruit Salads | iowagirleats.com

 

Triple Berry Crumb Bars

Stack of Triple Berry Crumb Bars, a gluten-free dessert recipe.

 

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