the fun house.

by Janetha on March 19, 2012

in Uncategorized

last night marshall and i had my family over for dinner.  this was the second of many potluck-style traveling dinners my family has decided to do once a month so we can hang out more often. the first one was at my brother’s house and last night’s was at our place.

i was in charge of the main dish, so i made a quadruple batch of my lightened up lasagna.


i have to tell you guys about a shortcut! instead of cooking the noodles beforehand, i simply layered the uncooked noodles in the lasagna and they cooked perfectly in the oven. i am sure this is old news to a lot of you, but it was new to me. it worked like a charm and was so much easier than cooking the noodles beforehand!

my sister, suni, was in charge of the bread. she brought fresh baked sourdough and asiago.


momma b was on salad duty. i don’t think she brought enough salad…


…or enough dressing.


she is an over-achiever. my sister in law, linds, brought dessert. we will get to that in a moment. my other sister, marisa, lives in california and she didn’t even bother showing up! geez, what a slacker.

the lasagna had just finished baking when everyone arrived, so we hung out for a bit so it could cool off before eating.

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greyson and ben were smacking each other in this photo. cousin love at its best.


we all sat down to eat in my little kitchen.. almost everyone fit!


we did have to stick my parents in the living room. marshall joined my mom after my dad finished eating so she wouldn’t be all alone. what a guy.


dinner was fabulous! lasagna is such a great meal for big groups. my mom’s salad was awesome because of the huge chunks of avocado.


penny and randy had a hard time with all the delicious food surrounding them. so many good smells and nothing for the poor little pups!


we didn’t waste much time before digging into lindsay’s dessert.


she made cheesecake sopapillas which she found on pinterest.


um, duh.. where else do people find dessert recipes these days?? especially ones with cream cheese in the ingredient list.


so true.

anyway, back to the bars. are you impressed with how much lindsay’s bars look like the original photo?! i am. especially because i know lindsay real well… (love you, linds.)


i am going to go ahead and say this was one of the best cream cheese-based desserts i have ever had. in my life.


yep, they were that good. and from what lindsay said, they were way easy to make. probably too easy. and probably way too much butter and sugar.. but hey, everything in moderation.

after devouring the cheesecake bars, we all had a sugar high and needed to get some energy out. i kept warning everyone that since marshall and i don’t have human kiddos, our house isn’t a fun house and my niece and nephews would get super bored.

greyson picked up multiple things around the house in an attempt to entertain himself…

the remote control.


my cell phone.


a paper towel.


there were only so many paper towels to go around, so the other kids managed to find other entertainment. i suggested we all play a game, and the only game that i had for all ages was jenga. i mean, trivial pursuit isn’t great for the one-year-olds. (or for twenty-eight-year-old janetha, for that matter.) after a few tried (and failed) attempts to play the game the way it is meant to be played, the little kiddos just used the blocks to build things. instant entertainment, i tell you.

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once that got boring, we moved onto bigger and better toys: the pullup bar. that was something we could all play with! and we did. family pullup competitions are all the rage.

marshall didn’t want to show everyone up, so he just watched.


ben & luke



momma b



my brother, doug, gets best face award. my nephew, jake, gets runner up.
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jake and doug also pounded out the most pullups (wide-grip, by the way!) by far.

the pullup shenanigans were pretty exhausting, so everyone left shortly after. i think randy and penny were pretty excited for the party to die down so they could do what they do best… pass out on the couch.


what do you know.. it turns out our house is pretty fun, after all!

one last thing before i go.. i wanted to mention that today marks one year since momma b had her stroke. she had a stroke due to a hole in her heart.  that was the single most frightening day of my life. it was the worst thing i have experienced. my mom lost her memory and didn’t know what year it was and couldn’t remember something someone said just two minutes before. it was so scary. you can read all about it here.  i can’t believe a year has gone by already!

after seeing different specialists, she had the hole repaired with a titanium umbrella.  she is now stronger and healthier than ever! i am so grateful that momma b had her heart fixed.. i would be lost without her. she’s my very best friend!


love you, mom :)

don’t forget to hug the people you love today! and if they aren’t close enough for a hug, give them a call.

xo. janetha g.

p.s. the popchips winner is #316, natalie from the sweets life!

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{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa March 19, 2012 at 6:35 pm

anything with sopapilla in the title is a winner to me.


Lauren March 19, 2012 at 6:41 pm

You’re mom is truly an amazing woman. :) Thank you for sharing her with us always..


Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries March 19, 2012 at 6:52 pm

sopapilla cheesecake bars?!?! oh boy, those sound dangerously good. pinterest is a wonderful thing.


Destini March 19, 2012 at 6:53 pm

There must have been something going around, you are the third person I know of that had lasagna yesterday! (including myself). Mark it on the calendar March 18th is the official lasagna day. How does one make an official food days anyways? I wonder if I can just claim it and poof it is!!

Look’s like another wonderful family potluck! I love this idea!


Kerryne March 19, 2012 at 6:57 pm

I totally made those bars a while back for a family dinner and they are to die for!!!! Mmmmmmmm! Your lasagna looks amazing too, man I am hungry now!


Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) March 19, 2012 at 7:06 pm

This is exactly why I wish I lived closer to family. You have such an adorable family Janetha! I’m so happy your mama is doing well. I will definitely hug my boys tonight!


Missy March 19, 2012 at 7:19 pm

I remember the Mommab scare like it was yesterday. You had posted a brief note on Twitter about something terrible and it was a bit before you told us what was wrong. I was so worried and then so thankful when she recovered!
That cheesecake is very similar to something I make called Cream Cheese Danish Bars – except I put a powdered sugar glaze all over top. Everyone raves over them!
Your lasagna looks great, I need to make it one day.


Abby @ Abz 'n' Oats March 19, 2012 at 7:21 pm

Love your family dinner nights! I hope I can do something like that one day! I can’t believe I’ve been reading your blog for a year now! I remember one of the first posts I ever read being about Momma B’s stroke! Crazy! :)


Lindsay @ The Skipping Pixie March 19, 2012 at 7:40 pm

I don’t know if my Bassett is exceptionally large or what, but Randy looks so snugly and lap-doggish (made up word, yo). Love him!


Lindsay @ Lindsay's List March 19, 2012 at 7:46 pm

That last picture is worth a million bucks! So glad she’s ok!!


Katie @ Talk Less, Say More March 19, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Looks like a blast! :)


Naomi(onefitfoodie) March 19, 2012 at 8:19 pm

LOVE the pics and omg those cheesecake bars!! I agree that lasagna is such a great food for a crowd…I mean who doesn]t like lasagna?!


Momma b March 19, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Wonderful evening with such good food….you are an incredible cook and hostess! The pull up shenanigans left my neck semi crippled but I’m so happy to be alive and well enough to even TRY a pull up :)

You made me cry with your quick strike recap….it was scary and I still have those “crazy” response moments…I’m sure that’s an age thing now!!

Your readers are so awesome to always send love and concern my way… all of you right back!!

I love you beyond words….you are my hero!!



Averie @ Averie Cooks March 19, 2012 at 9:04 pm

I have those cheesecake bars of Shelley’s pinned and about 100 other things of hers. That woman can cook! And so can you :) But I really want to make those…NOW!


emily (a nutritionist eats) March 19, 2012 at 9:20 pm

That is such a cool thing to do with your family. I’m a little jealous and it makes me miss my family!!!


Mama Pea March 19, 2012 at 9:35 pm

I’m hosting Easter this year, which is going to be very interesting…

I remember exactly what you guys went through a year ago. I called my own mom from Phoenix to ask her to pray for Momma B. And look how it all turned out! God is so, so good.


Dawn (HealthySDLiving) March 19, 2012 at 10:05 pm

I love your family! :)
Those bars look amazing!


Marisa March 19, 2012 at 10:07 pm

Nobody told me what time dinner was not has anyone told me when I host?! Such a great post about Mom and so glad we got her fixed so we can have her around. Love you!


Deb (SmoothieGirlEatsToo) March 19, 2012 at 10:24 pm

Love all of this- momma b is the best on earth and thank goodness that she’s also the bionic woman.

I have never of sopapilla (is it mexican? I’m in california! huh?)

I’ve never done a pullup- ever. so I bow to all of you.


Deb (SmoothieGirlEatsToo) March 19, 2012 at 10:27 pm

PS We had kiddos over today and I really think I could have used a fifth of bourbon afterward. If I wasn’t terrified of them letting the cats out, it was that they were jumping on the beds with their shoes (?!) and kicking the countertop with their feet as they sat on the stools, and went touching everything with ice-creamy/grapefuity hands when told not to touch anything. Seriously it’ll take a week to get over the trauma. I don’t like disciplining other peoples’ kids but I had to step in on too many occasions.


Corrie Anne March 19, 2012 at 10:47 pm

Oh my word! What a fun get together. I’d love to hang with my fam and have some lasagna… sadly, i’m the slacker that lives far away!!! That cream cheese machine cracks me up!!!!!


Asuma March 20, 2012 at 1:16 am

I didn’t know that about your mum…rather than saying things like “it must have been so hard for you”, I’d rather say “I’m glad she’s doing so well now, I am so happy for the both of you!!” I know how cool it is to have your mum as a best friend :)
On another note, pull ups shenanigan is an awesome idea! I should try competitions like that at family gatherings when we can’t find fun stuff to do :P


Catherine March 20, 2012 at 2:07 am

I had no idea you could use uncooked noodles in lasagna like that! You just saved me so much time, woooo!!!


Erica March 20, 2012 at 3:17 am

What a fun get together! While the dessert looks yummy, its been way too long since ive had a good lasagna-must get cooking. I cant believe its been a year. Im so close with my mom too…i can only imagine what you went through. Love to you and momma b


Sarah @ The Healthy Diva March 20, 2012 at 3:21 am

I will definitely go give my parents a big ol’ hug now!! I always say ‘I love you’ at night and when I leave for the day. You never know what might happen so I think it’s important.

Your feast look splendid….and I’m excited to see the theme for your next family potluck. So far mexican, and italian…hmmm what could be next?!?!?


Hope @ With A Side Of Hope March 20, 2012 at 5:42 am

Your family is super cute! I totally want to do family dinners at least once a week once we have kids. I think it’s such a great tradition to start. :)

So happy that your mom is doing well! She sure sounds like a special lady!


Lauren @ What Lauren Likes March 20, 2012 at 6:10 am

Sounds like a great night! Dessert looks sooo good!


katie March 20, 2012 at 6:14 am

So fun! I can’t wait to move into our house and host dinners! I wish I could say my family is all together, but right now we are broken, but we are all supporting and being here for one another. Family is everything and yes every day tell them you love them <3

Love ya girl!

Momma B is amazing! Love her too ;)


julie March 20, 2012 at 6:35 am

hahahaa this post was awesome because it started off all la de de dee dah with the family meal etc etc, cheesecake brownies and 12,000lbs of lasagna…then all of a sudden INTENSE PULLUP SESSION. hahahahahahaha like whoa. family night was fun until you invited shaun t…


Katy Widrick March 20, 2012 at 7:00 am

My mom came to visit this weekend and it was the first time I’d seen her in more than a year. Too long! I hugged her extra hard :)


Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning March 20, 2012 at 8:09 am

So glad your mom is doing so well!! I can imagine how scary that would be.
And man, your family knows how to PARTY! Lasagna and pull-ups- whoa now! Seriously, though- I love it. You guys always look like you enjoy each others’ company so much and are having a lot of fun. You are a lucky girl!


Paige @ Running Around Normal March 20, 2012 at 8:35 am

Can you guys adopt me? :) I love your family!!!!


Shannon March 20, 2012 at 8:36 am

my mom and dad are coming for a visit this weekend, can’t wait! glad to hear mama b is doing well :) and sopapilla cheesecake bars???? woah.


Calee (@chimes) March 20, 2012 at 8:54 am

I can’t even imagine what you went through that day. I’m glad your momma is doing well. I’ve had two friends lose their mothers in the last 3 years — both to cancer, but the first one started with a stroke (that lead to finding a brain tumor). Glad to hear they found out what was up and that she’s doing great!


Kate @ ibrokemyumbrella March 20, 2012 at 9:26 am

How scary about your mom! I’m so glad she’s doing better. She looks great!


Emily R March 20, 2012 at 9:26 am

I have made sopapilla cheesecake before….SO GOOD. The one you guys had looked amazing!


Shaunna Ulrick March 20, 2012 at 9:30 am

I wish your family would adopt me. You are all so rad.
I like the idea of family dinner once a month…totally gonna implement!


Karen March 20, 2012 at 9:36 am

Those cheesecake bars look absolutely delicious! It’s great to hear that you mom is fully recovered from her stroke. My mother had a stroke several years ago and has completely recovered with no signs of permanent damage. I know it was a life-changing experience for all of us!


the delicate place March 20, 2012 at 11:22 am

holy cow that is a large salad bowl! you know, my brother has a hole in his heart too but it was never fixed since it was 3mm. but he was advised not to lift heavy weights when we were growing up and he was still developing into an adult. it’s fine now but def something i think about from time to time! it’s scary stuff! :hugs!:


Jessica @ Stylish Stealthy and Healthy March 20, 2012 at 11:34 am

the day I first realized you don’t have to precook lasagna noodles was truly a glorious day.


Life's a Bowl March 20, 2012 at 11:58 am

I said it after you posted your first family gathering recap, but this is such a good idea! It always seems as if no one’s schedules match-up on a week-by-week basis, but if you set up a specific date in advance no one should have a problem! And it’s a great way to try new recipes :D


Lisa March 20, 2012 at 1:22 pm

Those cheesecake bars look bomb, and lovin’ the pictures of the pull-ups haha, my friend had one of these and I was at a party and thought no one was looking and tried it out, but when I walked out of the room there was this random person just standing there staring at me…it was the worst ;)It is so great that your family is so close, mine is too and I’m so grateful!


Katie March 20, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Ohmygosh quadruple batch?! You’re my hero. And I love the sequence of the family-pull ups. You guys are awesome.


Errign March 20, 2012 at 2:21 pm

I love everything about this post!


Jess March 20, 2012 at 3:14 pm

My stomach literally growls on cue when I read your posts. Seriously. You’re killing me. ;-)


Jen@FoodFamilyFitness March 20, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Wow. I can’t believe it’s been a whole year already! So grateful that she recovered fully and is stronger than ever!!!


glidingcalm March 20, 2012 at 9:22 pm

I love your family meals!! so much fun!! I have finally gotten that with the boy’s family and it is truly wonderful to be a part of!

the lasagna looks amazing! and I love the row of salad dressings! that’s totally how we do it! always at least 5 options! :)

this post made me happy!!!!!!!!1


Alyssa @ Life of bLyss March 21, 2012 at 9:39 am

sooo.. you’re telling me it’s been Grayson playing me in Draw Something?


sherice@foodieluvsfitness March 21, 2012 at 10:33 am

My mom taught me to make lasagne the same way.. why waste time cooking the noodles when you don’t need to. Besides I think the lasagne tastes better w/our pre cooking them. Those dessert bars looked delish!


Annette@EnjoyYourHealthyLife March 21, 2012 at 12:23 pm

What a fun night!!! I need more lasagna in my life–thank you for reminding me of that ;)


Holly March 22, 2012 at 1:38 pm

I love your cute family! It’s awesome that you guys are having these family meals once a month. I wish my family lived closer so that we could too…especially with all of the little ones that are arriving in our family. They grow up way too quick not to see them often!
YAY for Momma B & achieving the ONE year mark! She is such a strong lady, I really admire her!!


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