The Best Homemade Chili

I love to make chili when the weather starts to turn colder. We make up a really big pot and eat it throughout the week or feed a crowd!

This is actually my moms recipe and it has taken a couple years to make it this good. Funny thing is, it was AMAZING the first time she made it….but nobody wrote down the recipe!!

So ever since that very first pot of chili, she has been trying to make it as good as that…I think this is pretty darn close.

It calls for 5 pounds of ground beef…I told you it was a big batch. But it freezes really good so you can easily make this last for quite a few meals.

I also switched out leeks for onions because of some health reasons I have been going through and it didn’t change the taste at all.

The best part about this recipe, besides the beer…it is super easy to make and then leave for the day to really simmer and get the best flavor.

Start by drizzling some olive oil into the bottom of your stock pot. Once it is warm, I added my leeks and green pepper and let it cook until the veggies were soft.

After the veggies were cooked, add in the ground beef. It will take some time to cook since 5lbs is really a lot, but it is so worth it. Make sure you don’t turn the heat up too high and just be patient and keep stirring often.

Once browned, start adding in your tomatoes and bean, but don’t forget to drain the beans first.

Now add the seasonings and mix really well.

Then just add your bottle of beer and let simmer for a couple of hours. It really doesn’t matter the kind of beer, whatever you normally drink works just fine. The alcohol cooks off but it brings out all the amazing flavors in the chili that you just can’t leave out.

See! Super simple and it tastes amazing. I really like to make up some sweet corn bread to go with it and grab all your favorite toppings, enjoy!! Leave a comment with your favorite chili toppings.

Homemade Chili


  • 5lbs ground beef
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 28oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 16oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained
  • 5TBS chili powder
  • 2TBS onion powder
  • 2TBS garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 TBS sugar
  • 1 TBS basil
  • 1 TBS parsley
  • 2 TBS cumin
  • 1 bottle beer


  1. Drizzle some olive oil in the bottom of a stock pot and let it heat up.
  2. Add you chopped onion and bell pepper, cook until soft. Then go ahead and add your ground beef.
  3. Once the beef is browned, add in all of the rest of your ingredients.
  4. For the best flavor, let it simmer for a couple of hours. Serve warm with shredded cheese, corn bread, or whatever you like.

Budget Friendly “Me Time” for Mamas

Mom life takes priority over everything else…am I right?

We spend our days cleaning, cooking, changing diapers, playing, and of course cleaning up all over again. I have forgotten to feed myself more times than I care to admit.

Basically, I haven’t done a very good job of taking care of myself either…we’ve all done it, so don’t lie to yourself and say “NO, not me!” mhmm. I see you!

The times that I feel the best, are when I do something for myself. Get a little “Me Time”…which is really hard to get when you have kids, and I have three! One is stuck to me like glue with stranger anxiety that is exhausting and he is still breastfeeding…need I say more??

Don’t get me wrong, my husband is amazing and if I said that I needed to get out of the house, he would not hesitate to say go! (He has done it before too) But then, there is the mom guilt…of leaving the kids or needing to be away from them, or maybe we just don’t have enough give in the budget to go do something relaxing.

Whatever the excuse…there are other ways to find some relaxing “me time” that don’t have to cost an arm and a leg.

Here are a few things I love to do that you can try.

Give yourself a Mani-Pedi

As women, we were born with the ability to paint our nails and if not…there is YouTube for that! Or in my case Pinterest…I’m addicted, what can I say? It is my go to for almost everything.

You can get a couple bottles of nail polish for under $10. Grab a bowl, fill it with soapy water and get to soaking those nails. By the time you have painted your nails, you will feel so much better and those nails will look so pretty!!

Enjoy a relaxing bubble bath

Warm water. Candles. Soap that smells amazing. Glass of wine. Soft music playing from your phone. What sounds more relaxing than that?? Nothing!

I never really understood why my mom would take so many bubble baths when I was growing up. After three kids, I totally understand…and now feel kinda bad for knocking on the bathroom door so many times. Whoops!

After having a tough day, the kids were cranky, fighting all the time, or things just didn’t go right at all…a bubble bath is calling my name.

Splurge on the good bubbles for yourself too mama, you deserve it.

Read a Book

Long gone are the days of being able to read a book all day. Yes, I used to binge read before kids. It was amazing!!

And I mean read a real book, not something from a tablet or phone. Not saying there is anything wrong with that (I have tons of ebooks on my Kindle app) but there is something so much more relaxing about taking the time to snuggle on the couch with a fluffy blanket and a good book.

I know a book can get expensive sometimes but there are so many ways to spend as little as possible on that great story.

Borrow from the library or even a friend who has it. Ask for that book you have had your eye on for a Christmas or birthday. Sometimes you could even find one for a really discounted price at thrift stores.

Just try it, you may like it more than you think.


I love a good face mask but am sad to say I don’t do enough of them. (It’s always a bonus when I can scare my husband with one too!)

They make me feel so refreshed, almost as good as a soak in the tub, AND they don’t have to sit on your skin for long to do amazing work.

My favorite place to get a facial mask is Target….let’s face it, they have everything! (Another thing I’m obsessed with) Acure Organics has some amazing masks that do great things for your skin without all the gross additives. Just all natural ingredients!

Best part…they are under $6.

10 Rainy Day Activities for kids

h my gosh….rainy days in our house are the WORST!!! They leave everyone moody and irritable being stuck inside and bored out of our minds.

We have learned a few tricks over the years, to keep the boys from getting too bored because we all know where that can lead…fights, yelling, screaming, trouble.

Nobody wants to hear that all day long.

So lets get started with a few of our favorites…

Build a Fort

These boys love a good fort, or a bad one…really anything that has a blanket over it and they can crawl under is considered a fort to them. But boy can it turn a bad day into a much better one!

We usually use our kitchen table and then throw a bunch of blankets over them, have a picnic under and maybe put on a movie using the tablet, play with flashlights or glow sticks that daddy gets from work…the list of fun is endless!!

This is probably the easiest way to keep the kids happy and give mom a break…even if its only 10 minutes. And it’s FREE!! Oh that word…who doesn’t love the sound of that??

If you want to get real crazy, I have seen some cute fort making kits that seem pretty awesome too. Or Pinterest has some great ideas for some DIY forts too. The list is limitless.


Paint. Crayons. Markers. Colored pencils. Glue. If you have it laying around the house, use it!!

The best investment I have made when it comes to art is a big roll of butcher paper. We cover the kitchen table with it, tape it to the wall or window, give the kids some coloring supplies and let them go nuts!! They love it…and it keeps mine busy for a pretty long time.

First time I did this, I couldn’t believe how long they stayed in one spot.

I even let my 11 months old in on it, put some paint in a ziplock bag, taped it to the tray of his highchair and he loved it. Got a solid 15 minutes out of this activity!

The greatest thing about art for kids is that it doesn’t have to be complicated at all and they have amazing imagination so even if you just give them an idea, they will take it away from there.

Dance Videos

Okay so when I was a preschool teacher, we would use YouTube A LOT! They have so many educational channels online now that the kids love.

Well, it has been so long since I have used them that I forgot my favorite ones and had to find new ones…surprisingly wasn’t hard.

One rainy day, I just typed in “Dancing songs for toddlers” or something like that and so many cool songs popped up.

The boys have so many favorite songs they ask for that I started saving them all and they come in a mix so you don’t have to keep changing the play list. Just put it on and start dancing!

We really like:

  • Baby Shark Mix
  • Freeze dance mix
  • Nursery rhyme mix
  • Super Simple Songs mix (probably their favorite songs right now)

Home Workout

My husband and I workout in front of the kids all the time (haven’t been lately, but when my 2 year old was little, it was a daily thing)

They love doing push ups, crunches, and yoga moves with us when we are doing them. Love it because they are so active and want to show them an active lifestyle for the future.

Our workouts mainly come from BeachBody On Demand and they are super easy for the boys to jump right on in and follow along with the trainer. (I laugh every time because it seems to wear them out really fast)

If you go to a gym and they have a childcare, awesome!! They get to play and have fun and mom still gets some time to herself. Win-win if you ask me.

Can’t go to a gym, there are endless of free options for workouts online. Both for mom and the kids or just targeted for kids!

The point…great option to be able to not go crazy on a rainy day.

Obstacle Course

We have only tried an indoor obstacle course a couple of times and they were very minimal. Jump over a small toy, balance walking on a diaper box or the edge of the carpet. Nothing really too hard.

My four year old would do them once or twice and get bored with it…mostly because his brothers weren’t really into it. But it would be fun for a bunch of older kids.

I have seen that tape can make a really fun course and there are a lot of ideas on Pinterest…can you tell I am in love with that site?? They have so many great ideas!

Indoor Hide and Seek

This is one of the boy’s favorite game to play on any given day, but it really makes a rainy day even more fun!

Plus, everyone can play! The boys have worked it out to tag team mom and dad…totally not fair but so much fun.

Wanna mix it up a little…add in some Nerf guns and there will be so much more fun!! (no head shots and don’t shoot baby!! house rules)


I have the biggest sweet tooth (doesn’t help me when trying to lose the baby weight) What better way to stay busy when it’s rainy than to make something yummy and sweet?

Lately, my 4 year old and 2 year old have been fighting over who gets to help mommy cook…I think its super neat but I have to have them take turns. Having them both help me at the same time gets a little too crazy!

Getting the kids to help in the kitchen can be easier than you think, even for toddlers.

R has cut up some fruits and veggies, washed them and stirred whatever it is we are making. We have him use a butter knife to cut but there are kid safe knives (I will be ordering some soon) and gives parents peace of mind while they are cutting.

A does a long of stirring but he is old enough to do more, like washing fruits and veggies too. I don’t want to push him into more than he wants to do because it’s suppose to be fun helping in the kitchen!

My goal is to have them come help me and have fun doing it. I don’t want my sons to dread the kitchen and making meals.

So start small and make a batch of cookies or even just a simple peanut butter and jelly. You will all enjoy it!

Go to the Library

Our library is awesome…not to brag or anything.

They have a play area for the kids to enjoy some toys, interact with new friends and they have a cozy area that they can look at their books away from the other kids.

Tuesdays are story time and it is so fun! They don’t just read books but also sing songs, dance and some educational activities. They feature a movie once a week and do other programs to get the community together.

So if you haven’t yet, check out your local library. You never know what you may find.

Indoor Playground

You would be surprised to find local places that have fun things for the kinds to do. Some malls have indoor play areas for young kids to play at and parents can take a break from shopping or just get out of the house. Ours doesn’t have a play area but has a train for the kids to ride and a little trampoline area.

Look at your local gymnastics because some open up to the public once a week at a very low price and have discounts for siblings.

A little research can go a long way or even joining a local Facebook page could help. Who knows…you may even make some new friends.

Set up a Play Date

I love this idea because it’s fun for the boys and for mama. They get to have fun running around, playing with their friends and I get to have some grown up talk for a while.

When we first moved to TN, it was so much harder to do this because we left our friends back in WA. I am not an extrovert by any means and so making mom friends or even talking to anyone was super hard for me.

Luckily, I have learned how to let R make some friends and then let a play date get planned naturally. Anyone else use their kids to make other mom friends?? Yea…I’m totally guilty!

Don’t let rainy days get you down!! Make the best of it and try out these tricks so you and the kids don’t get into a funk.

Leave a comment with some of your favorite activities for rainy days.

DIY Dinosaur Costume

This week my son’s preschool class is doing a character day parade. They dress up as their favorite story book character, bring the book to school to share with his class, then parade around the school!

The catch….nothing scary, no weapons and no masks. Everything my four year old absolutely loves!!

Picking out a character was surprisingly hard for him because he wanted to be a Ninja Turtle or some superhero to fight he bad guys…we had to keep reminding him of the rules for this special day and that it wasn’t like a regular Halloween day.

So, I grabbed all of our new scholastic books we got at the last book sale, and went through them to find one he liked. The winner? Dinosaurs Don’t Have Bedtimes!

This book is just too cute and one we read all the time before bed. It is a story of a little boy in love with dinosaurs who doesn’t want to do anything, let alone go to bed….because I mean how fun is bedtime?? To this mommy, it is SO MUCH FUN!!

Mo, the little boy in the book, gave me some ideas for the dinosaur costume we were going to make. He had a dinosaur hat made from what looked like a box and crayons, so we took it from there.

It was so easy to make and we had almost everything already at the house. All you need is:

  • a box
  • paint and paint brush
  • glue
  • foam paper
  • scissors

After digging through all of the boxes we have, we picked the perfect one. My four year old got to work on painting the outside of the box. He started off with yellow, red, green and orange, but it ended up looking brown after the paint colors were all mixed together.

Since we started this project later in the afternoon, it didn’t dry until after he went to bed.

My plan was to have him help me cut out some teeth and eyes using foam paper, but I ended up doing it…yea I’m that mom who waits until last minute to get a costume ready for a school party. Probably should stop doing that with Kindergarten starting next year….

We also found a cute dinosaur tail from the dollar section of Target which went so well with his hat! You can find one similar here.

He had so much fun dressing up and sharing this costume and book with his friends at school. So many of the kids in his class brought books and dressed up that the teachers were impressed. And they all looked so cute in their outfits. After they shared their books, his class went out onto the playground to show off their costumes the rest of the school.

I think we both had a lot of fun making this dinosaur hat and can’t wait to make more like it.