Our Five Ring Circus: June 2017

Friday, June 30, 2017

Easy Summertime Meals with #GrabGoWow

Easy Summertime Meals with #GrabGoWow

Summertime, and the living is easy! Unless you have kids, of course. Then you’re just as busy as ever!

The lazy days of Summer no longer exist for me. As my four kids grew and changed, our lifestyle changed with them. Sports and activities started to sneak their way into the Summer months, and my kids want to do things now, instead of hanging out at home all day. Although I long for the lazier days that once were, those days are no longer feasible!

I’ve learned to embrace the busyness, and go with the flow. One day, in the not too distant future, I will have my lazy Summer days, and I’m certain I will be wishing back every single moment of the chaos! The thing about time is there is no stopping it. The Summer months fly by, and the years fly by even quicker.

Despite my acceptance of the busyness of Summer, it can still be overwhelming at times. Add in all the Summer picnics and parties to our already chaotic schedule, and I am one tired mama!

Although I have the best intentions to create delicious recipes for the picnics we attend, my attempt always fails. I have the most Pinterest-ing recipes at my fingertips, but I either forget to pick up an ingredient, or I simply run out of time. Most of the time, I’m the hot mess of a mom showing up at a picnic with a container of store-bought cookies or store-bought drinks.

Thankfully, Walmart can help me out now with their new Grab Go Wow program, featuring Kraft-Heinz products! You can access the easy recipes online, head to your local Walmart store to purchase the popular Kraft-Heinz products that you probably already buy at the great Walmart prices, then quickly whip up the delicious recipes at home.

Grab Go Wow

This is a fantastic new approach to meal planning! The recipes are PERFECT for any Summer picnic or party, or even your weekly family meal plan. I am open to any idea that saves me time (and money), so I was thrilled to hop on the Grab. Go. Wow. bandwagon! It truly is “Meal Planning Made Easy.”

With the 4th of July just a few weeks away, I wanted to try out a few recipes that I looked like crowd-pleasers. #GrabGoWow was the perfect place to start!

I visited the website, saved my list of ingredients, then headed to my local Walmart to purchase the items. I quickly found everything I needed! Every item was in stock and priced lower than other stores in my area.

GrabGoWow at Walmart

The recipes I chose did not disappoint! The directions were very easy to follow. My 10 year old daughter, Lexie, who loves to cook, did most of the work. Five year old Lily even stepped in to assist. Most important, both recipes were a hit with my entire family. I can’t wait to try more #GrabGoWow recipes!

Here’s some inspiration for your next Summer picnic:


4th of July Recipe

Wave Your Flag Cheesecake Recipe

Lexie loved making this perfect Summertime dessert for our family!  It was full of ingredients that everybody loves: Strawberries, blueberries, JELL-O, PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, and COOL WHIP to name a few!

Grab. Go. Wow.

Grab. Go. Wow.

4th of July Recipe

Patriotic Recipe

Red, White & Blue Recipe

Red, White & Blue Recipe

Wave Your Flag Cheesecake was quick (and fun) to make! (Who doesn’t love licking the spoons and the bowls?) My kids just wanted to decorate the cake and dig in! The end result was absolutely perfect for any patriotic holiday, and so tasty that my family already requested that it be made again soon!

Wave Your Flag Cheesecake


Orange Lemonade Twist

Orange Lemonade Twist Recipe

Lexie whipped up this recipe all by herself from start to finish. With only a few ingredients and a few minutes of time, you can have a party-perfect drink that will please the entire crowd!

Lemonade Recipe

Lemonade Recipe



Lemonade Recipe

This deliciously refreshing Summertime drink is perfect for any occasion. Lexie hates lemonade, but she couldn’t get enough of this drink! All six of us agreed with her. This drink recipe is truly one of our new favorites!

Orange Lemonade Twist

Thanks to #GrabGoWow, I am ready to rock my meal planning this Summer, and arrive at every picnic with recipes that will make everyone happy! Utilizing this awesome meal planning program truly saves me time and money. As a busy mom of four, I can proudly support that!

Visit Grab. Go. Wow. to discover all the delicious recipes!

The Netflix Trick You Might Be Missing Out On

The Netflix Trick

DISCLOSURE:  This post is sponsored by Netflix. I am a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam, and I receive service and promotional products in exchange for my reviews.

It's no secret that my family loves Netflix! My husband and I subscribed to Netflix before most people even knew it existed, and now it's a household name. Everybody knows what Netflix is these days!

Streaming our favorite shows and movies on Netflix is our go to. With Netflix, there is always quality programming at our fingertips, it's commercial free (which is a blessing if you have kids...trust me) and we can watch it anywhere! Grant and I realized that we were paying an extraordinary amount of money each month for cable TV that we were not even watching. See ya, cable!

So...how do we Netflix? (Yep, I totally made that a verb.) We stream our favorite movies on Netflix for our weekly Family Movie Night. (Our most recent watches were Finding Dory, Trolls and Moana. All three movies are excellent, by the way!) Grant and I have Netflix Date Nights four nights a week after we tuck our kids into bed.  We binge watch our favorite Netflix original series, which are top notch. (Is anybody else obsessed with House of Cards and Orange is the New Black? The new seasons were so good! It's going to be so hard to wait another year for the next season!) And Netflix keeps my kids entertained on long road trips.

That's right, we truly can watch Netflix anywhere. Even without wifi! 


There IS a Netflix trick that many people are missing out on: Netflix downloads! 

I didn't even realize that everyone didn't know about this awesome trick until I was talking to a large group of people recently. I mentioned how excellent our kids were on a road trip, and said it was partially because they watched a few of their favorite movies on Netflix. That's when the questions started coming in...

Do we have wifi in our car? (No, we're not paying for that.)  Do we have a mobile hotspot? (Once again, no.) Everybody was so surprised to learn that Netflix offers downloads that you can watch on your device WITHOUT using wifi!

Taking advantage of this awesome service is easy! Here's how:

Launch the Netflix app on your device.


Choose your profile. (So, my husband's real name is Richard. Did I ever mention that?)


Click on your menu. (I'm not sure if it varies by device, but on our iPad, it's the three lines in the upper left corner.)


Click on My Downloads.


Click on Find More To Download. (We already chose The Secret Life of Pets and Trolls for our road trip!)


Choose from the many titles that are available for download. From the newest, most popular movies, to episodes of favorite shows, Netflix has something for everyone!


Watch your downloads ANYWHERE! (Even in the middle of the Ohio Turnpike!)


I'm not ashamed to admit that as a parent, sometimes I DO take advantage of the convenience of electronics and media. My kids are well rounded, and allowing things in moderation is perfectly fine (and sometimes necessary for my sanity). And in this case, Netflix downloads allowed us to have an incredibly peaceful 5 hour drive! That, my friends, is a gift!



How do YOU Netflix? Do you take advantage of Netflix downloads? What has your family been streaming lately?

The Netflix trick you might be missing out on. #StreamTeam

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Delicious & Customizable Make At Home Neopolitan Iced Coffee Recipe #GevaliaBaristaAtWM

Delicious & Customizable Make At Home Neopolitan Iced Coffee Recipe #GevaliaBaristaAtWM

It’s officially Summer Break! I’m on my own all day every day with four kids, and every so often I need - and deserve - a pick me up! Delicious iced coffee, easily made at home, is my go to Summer drink!

Hot drinks aren’t always my favorite on scorching Summer days, especially when I’m running out of the house with my crew. Stopping at a coffee shop to grab an iced coffee with four kids in tow isn’t a viable option, either. If I did that every time I left the house with my little tribe, it would be a VERY expensive Summer!

Thankfully, I found a way to make delicious iced coffee recipes at home, for a fraction of the price! Gevalia Cold Brew Concentrate, available in House Blend and Vanilla, makes this possible. With this, I am able to easily create simple and customizable iced coffee recipes!

Delicious & Customizable Make At Home Neopolitan Iced Coffee Recipe #GevaliaBaristaAtWM

I am one of those people who doesn’t love strong coffee. When I have a coffee drink, I want something with a hint of coffee, so it’s often difficult to find a coffee drink that isn’t too strong. With Gevalia Cold Brew Concentrate, anything is possible!  

I already created several delicious recipes that suit my taste, but my absolute favorite recipe is Neopolitan Iced Coffee! The flavors of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry seamlessly blend together with the smooth taste of Vanilla Gevalia Cold Brew Concentrate. Cool Whip, Mini Chocolate Chips and Strawberry Syrup added to the top turn this simple iced coffee recipe into a decadent drink that makes it a perfect treat on those hot Summer days!

Delicious & Customizable Make At Home Neopolitan Iced Coffee Recipe #GevaliaBaristaAtWM

Neopolitan Iced Coffee

  • 4 oz Low Fat Chocolate Milk
  • 2 oz Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 1 oz Vanilla Creamer
  • 1 TBSP Strawberry Syrup
  • Ice
  • 4 TBSP Whipped Topping
  • 1 Strawberry
  • Drizzle of Strawberry Syrup
  • 1 TBSP Mini Chocolate Chips

Delicious & Customizable Make At Home Neopolitan Iced Coffee Recipe #GevaliaBaristaAtWM

Make It:
  1. Pour 4 oz of Vanilla Gevalia Cold Brew Concentrate into a large glass.
  2. Add 4 oz of low fat chocolate milk.
  3. Add 2 oz of vanilla almond milk.
  4. Add 1 oz of vanilla creamer.
  5. Add 1 Tbsp of strawberry syrup.
  6. Stir to blend.
  7. Add the desired amount of ice.
  8. Top the drink with 4 Tbsp whipped topping.
  9. Drizzle strawberry syrup over the whipped topping.
  10. Sprinkle the mini chocolate chips on top.
  11. Top it off with a small strawberry!

Delicious & Customizable Make At Home Neopolitan Iced Coffee Recipe #GevaliaBaristaAtWM




Delicious & Customizable Make At Home Neopolitan Iced Coffee Recipe #GevaliaBaristaAtWM

This is just one of the many recipes you can create at home with Gevalia Cold Brew Concentrate! The possibilities are endless, and you can make your cold brew coffee drink exactly how you want. All you have to do is mix it with what you love, and add ice!

Delicious & Customizable Make At Home Neopolitan Iced Coffee Recipe #GevaliaBaristaAtWM

Unlike many other stand alone cold brew concentrates, Gevalia Cold Brew Concentrate is shelf stable and is meant to be mixed with other ingredients so it can be truly customized to your liking! If you’re like me, and prefer a hint of coffee flavor, you can add less concentrate or blend it with more ingredients. If you’re a coffee fanatic, you can simply add more concentrate to suit your taste!

Making custom cold brew coffee drinks at home can save you so much money, plus you can use any ingredients you want. You can enjoy the drink at home, or take it with you on the go. The rich, smooth, delicious taste is comparable to any coffee shop iced coffee I’ve ever purchased!

Gevalia Cold Brew Concentrate can be found in the coffee aisle at your local Walmart. The 32 fluid ounce bottle is less than $6 and it provides 8 servings, which makes it a much cheaper option than purchasing all those iced coffees at coffee shops!

Delicious & Customizable Make At Home Neopolitan Iced Coffee Recipe #GevaliaBaristaAtWM

Do you want to try Gevalia Cold Brew Concentrate to see why it’s so awesome to be a #GevaliaBaristaAtWM? VISIT HERE to save on your Gevalia Cold Brew Concentrate purchase at Walmart!

Delicious & Customizable Make At Home Neopolitan Iced Coffee Recipe #GevaliaBaristaAtWM

May your Summer be long and relaxing! And if you need me, I’ll be wrangling the chaos (or at least trying) with my delicious Neopolitan Iced Coffee in hand!

Delicious & Customizable Make At Home Neopolitan Iced Coffee Recipe #GevaliaBaristaAtWM

Delicious & Customizable Make At Home Neopolitan Iced Coffee Recipe #GevaliaBaristaAtWM

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

A Family Wedding Weekend in Michigan


Happy Tuesday, my friends! I'm still recovering from a whirlwind of a weekend. We traveled out of state to Michigan for my niece's wedding. I cried more tears than I care to admit over the past few days. It was an absolutely beautiful, long awaited wedding!

I think it hit me so hard because my niece, Michelle, is the first niece I really remember being born. I became an aunt twice in one month before I even started Kindergarten, so I was too young to understand, but I was a few years older when Michelle was born. I vividly remember my sister going into labor at a New Year's Eve party, and hearing the news that Michelle was born on New Year's Day.

I started babysitting her when she was a baby, even though I was only 8 years older than her. I remember how she always made me laugh when she was little. She was opinionated and sassy (exactly how my Lily is now), and I thought it was so cute how she used to proudly state her first and middle name ("Shell Teese") and mispronounce words like living room (AKA The Rivin Room)! Michelle, her older brother, and I went on so many adventures together when I babysat.

When Michelle was the same age that Lexie is now, I picked her up from school every afternoon, and drove her home. Most of the time, my new boyfriend, who became my husband, rode with us. As she grew, I sat through hours of watching her dance at her recitals, and later, I remember trying to be so brave and strong for her when her big brother was in the ICU following a terrible car accident, even though I was on the verge of falling apart.

I remember the moment she told us the shocking news that she was pregnant, while still in high school. But most of all, I remember squeezing her hand in the back of her parent's SUV, on the way to the hospital when she was in labor, then seeing her gorgeous daughter, Aubrey, enter this world. Aubrey is proof that the most unexpected things can be the most incredible gifts. We love her dearly!

Michelle and Ryan are the couple that I am most proud of. They stayed together through teenage pregnancy, and still managed to graduate from high school, go to college, get their degrees, start their careers, and buy a house, all while raising an incredibly smart, kind, and beautiful daughter. And 13+ years after they became a couple, they finally tied the knot!


Michelle and Ryan only live a few miles away from us, but they decided to get married in Michigan, at Ryan's family's lake house. We've been counting down for months, and the weekend finally arrived. Most of our family packed up, and headed to Michigan for the wedding!

Grant had to work on Friday, since it's the busiest time of the month in the mortgage industry, so we decided to drive there early Saturday morning. Dylan and Lexie went with my sisters on Friday morning, and Lily, Liam, and I had a ridiculously busy day. I finished packing just 5 hours before we had to leave!

On Saturday morning, we piled into our SUV with my mom, and began the 5 hour drive to Michigan! It was a calm, uneventful trip. Lily and Liam were exceptionally well-behaved, and other than hitting some traffic in Michigan, the road trip was a breeze!


We arrived at our destination about an hour before check in, so we decided to grab a late lunch. Then we headed to the hotel, checked in, and ran into about a dozen family members, and Dylan and Lexie, on the way up to our room!

I knew my emotions were going to be out of control all day, because when my nephew, Kelvin (Michelle's older brother), knocked on our door, I began to cry. I hadn't seen him or his family in almost a year and a half, because he lives in Florida. When I opened the door, my great-niece, Peyton, walked right in. I immediately burst into tears, because the last time I saw her she was only 2 months old, and now she's so big, and even has a newborn baby brother!

After some hugs, I pulled myself together, and we rushed to get ready so we could make it downstairs to the wedding shuttle in time! The lake house was only a mile away from the hotel, but they thought it would be much easier to bus all the guests to and from the wedding. So we loaded up our family of six, two bags, my camera, and a stroller! After a few minutes, the bus pulled out and headed to the wedding!

Wedding Shuttle

When we arrived, the rest of the guests were already there, and everything looked so beautiful! They ceremony was going to be held right at the edge of the lake, and the reception tent was in the yard. There was only a few minutes before the wedding started, and I started crying again, as soon as I saw my sister walk out to line up. She was already crying, so what can I say? It was contagious!

I made sure my family was seated, then grabbed my camera to document Michelle and Ryan's big day! The tears fell even harder when Aubrey and Peyton walked up, but I was practically choking back sobs when my brother-in-law started walking Michelle toward Ryan. I could barely see what I was photographing, but I managed to capture the special moments!


The ceremony was very sweet and very quick! I hurried to get my kids settled in before I had to run off to take pictures.



While everyone else headed to the reception tent, I started to take pictures of the wedding party with Ryan's cousin. Between the two of us, we captured plenty of shots for the newlyweds!  I have almost a thousand pictures to go through, but this one of my Michelle and my sister really stood out the most. It just made me think that I will be going through this with Lexie and Lily in the not too distant future.


Once the pictures were taken, we headed to the reception to have some fun (and my camera didn't get put down the entire night)!


My kids spent the entire time playing with their cousins. Most of them are together at every family function, but they were thrilled to have Peyton there, and excited to get to know her! My kids fell in love with her!

Wedding Reception


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My family is unique in the sense that there is such a huge age difference between my kids and their oldest cousins. I was the baby of my family, and I was actually closer in age to my nieces and nephews than my own siblings. So even though Kelvin and Michelle are old enough to be my kids' parents, they're cousins! That being said, they do call my nephew Uncle Kelvin. Although they get to see Michelle and Ryan all the time, they miss Kelvin so much (I do, too)!


Everybody was having so much fun! Liam hit the dance floor as soon as the ceremony ended, and he literally never stopped!



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Everybody was having so much fun and the reception was going by so quickly!


Before we knew it, the sun had set and dusk was falling! And the wind coming off of the lake was CHILLY! We rushed to get in the last few family pictures!

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When dark set in, everybody started dancing. I swear, Liam danced with almost every single person at the wedding! Every time I turned around, somebody else was holding him. He was a party animal!


I finally reached the point where I could relax with the picture-taking, get on the dance floor, and get in a few pictures, too!

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Before we knew it, the shuttle had arrived to take us back to the hotel. It was a great night, with awesome people, and I was sad to see it end! It's always a letdown when a wedding ends, because the excitement is over, everybody heads home, and you don't know when you will all be together again.

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We made some amazing memories that night! My kids had a great time, and Liam literally partied until he dropped. I am so happy we were able to be there for Michelle and Ryan's big day! I guarantee we'll never forget how special it was, or the memory of us all being together!

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Our family had so much fun celebrating Michelle and Ryan's long-awaited wedding this past weekend! They are an amazing couple, and we wish them, and our beloved Aubrey, a lifetime of love and happiness!


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