• these first few smiles are literally the best thing ever. when you realize how happy you make a tiny person. when you see their face light up because they love you so much. then you fast forward 2.5 years and they’re demanding brownies and cheetos for lunch. 😬😬😬 #sixweeksold #happilytrista
  • (sponsored) When you become a parent, there are so many new things to learn about and I feel like each person latches on to something they’re passionate about / can’t stop reading and learning about. For me? That’s car seats! Thankfully some states are finally updating their laws to conform to recommendations from the APA. We have tried quite a few different seats and this 3-in-1 Pria seat from @maxicosiusa is the nicest! The chest clip is magnetic, making it easy to clip and unclip with one hand. The straps stay in place thanks to their out-of-the-way spring assist, so no more twisted up straps. And the cushions are both washer AND dryer safe! Yay for no more hang-drying! On top of that, it’s rear-facing up to 40lbs, forward-facing up to 65lbs and then a booster up to 100lbs. #ParentYourWay #PriaMax3in1 #happilytrista
  • 6 weeks of this angel girl ✨
She is still waking up once over night most nights. She just started smiling at us these past few days. She loves tummy time but rolls herself over all of the time so we have to roll her back. She loves to be worn and snuggled. And we have to restrain her brother from kissing her 193739 times per day. 🤪 #happilytrista #newborn #sixweeksold #fourthtrimester
  • We are currently paying the price for last week’s easy bedtimes. I’m trying to get Ben to sleep in his own room. So you can guess how happy he is about that. His yelling has Blaire awake still, she’s been out of her room about 25 times. And Sloane is passed out on the couch. At least someone is asleep. They’re lucky they’re adorable because holy moly I’m tired and just want to veg out on the couch. #gotheftosleep #blairebenandsloane #happilytrista
  • Yesterday was almost 60° and today it “feels like” 21°. We had a handful of fall days and it’s not fair because I’m not ready to skip right to winter. There’s nothing better to get us all out of the house than a walk, especially because wearing Sloane puts her right to sleep. Anywho, trying to squeeze in a nap before we get Blaire from school because once we get home it’ll be a mad dash for me to shower and get everyone ready for Blaire’s first kindergarten parent/teacher conference. AND it’s book fair at her school. Who still gets excited for the book fair? 🤭🙋🏼‍♀️ #happilytrista
  • someone changed out of their pajamas today. it wasn’t me.
#happilytrista #rainbowbaby
  • daylight savings vibes... casually pouring coffee in my eyes today. what time were your kiddos awake? 
#dst #daylightsavingssucks #happilytrista #targetstyle
  • Sorry if this made you yawn. 🤭 I just love that Sloane feels the sleep dust when I’m wearing her, just like Benny did! 💕 Hope you’re having a weekend as great as this girl. She is one month old today! Still waking just at 1:30am most nights to eat... occasionally around 5am, too. When she’s awake she likes to look at lights and stare at mama. Whenever she does tummy time she rolls right over to her back. 🥰 #happilytrista
  • Tried some Pinterest-y nail art while the two older kids were at school this morning... and I’m ready to remove and do something a little less crazy when they’re all in bed tonight. 🤪 Real wild Friday night plans, am I right?
#nailsofinstagram #nailsoftheday #essie #manimonday #happilytrista
  • Sloane’s first Halloween... the one where it snowed 3 inches and was 20° outside. Woody and Jessie lasted about 30 mins trick-or-treating, then they wanted to head home to hand out candy. What was the weather like where you live? And how many pieces of candy do people give out where you trick-or-treat? Here, it’s a tie between “choose two pieces” and “grab a handful.” #blairebenandsloane #halloween #halloween2019 #happilytrista
  • ...when your mom takes too long in @target. Realized when we got out to the car that his binky was lost somewhere in the store. 20 mins into bedtime tonight I FINALLY found one in a diaper bag. 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻 #tristalovestarget #happilytrista #terribletwos
October 5, 2015

Recipe: Crockpot Baked Spaghetti


I am so, so excited for fall. When it’s 100° outside, I never find myself in the mood for pasta. So as soon as the cooler temps hit, I’m ready to get out the carbs pasta and crank up my crock pot. In case you don’t already know (BUT if you read this post, then you do!) I am a SUPER picky eater AND a vegetarian. It’s never an issue when we’re out to eat since we can order our own dishes, or even get a half cheese, half something crazy pizza for us to share. But when it comes to eating at home, it doesn’t always make things very easy, especially when it comes to things we both loved before I quit eating meat. So I’m excited to share this recipe I created based on a Baked Spaghetti dish from Jason’s side of the family.

My recipe is different in a few ways. I aimed to make it simpler. The number one way I did this was by taking the prep time from an hour to only 15 minutes. How? I use Ragu instead of making a sauce from scratch because I rarely have 2 hours to cook dinner. BONUS the Ragu sauce has a lot more flavor. As mentioned above, I’m a vegetarian so I also removed the ground beef from the original recipe and added in black olives. Jason, Blaire and I all LOVE black olives, so I can seriously add them in (almost) anything.

Crockpot Baked Spaghetti

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 15 minutes
Author Trista


  • 16 oz Box of Spaghetti Noodles
  • 66 oz Ragu Sauce I use Traditional & then add diced tomatoes
  • 14.5 oz Diced Tomatoes
  • 3.8 oz Sliced Olives
  • 32 oz Velveeta Cheese You’ll use about 3/4 OR you can use shredded cheese if you prefer
  • Crock Pot Liner


  1. Place your crock pot liner in your crock pot.
  2. If you’re not using a liner, be sure to use some non-stick spray on your crock pot. Then pour about 1/3 of your sauce into the crock pot.
  3. Add 1/2 of your diced tomatoes to the sauce in the crock pot.
  4. Add 1/2 of your sliced olives to the sauce in the crock pot.
  5. Add 1/2 of your spaghetti noodles. Break the noodles in half and place on top of sauce/tomatoes/olives.
  6. Cover with slices of cheese.
  7. Pour in another 1/3 of your sauce.
  8. Add the rest of your diced tomatoes and olives to the sauce.
  9. Add the remainder of your spaghetti noodles. (Don’t forget to break them in half!)
  10. Cover with slices of cheese.
  11. Add remainder of sauce.
  12. Cover with more cheese!
  13. Cook on low for 4 hours. Cheese should be melted and pasta should be soft, but not dry.

Recipe Notes

The crock pit liner is optional, but it makes clean up a breeze! Super easy, sooo yummy and SO cheesy! Seriously. Super cheesy. If you want less cheese, just use shredded cheese instead of the velveeta.

Ingredients for Crockpot Baked Spaghetti

Super easy, sooo yummy and SO cheesy! Seriously. Super cheesy. If you want less cheese, just use shredded cheese instead of the velveeta. If you use the liner, the only cleanup from this dinner is the knife you used to cut your Velveeta. How many meals can you say that about? And if I like it, chances are your picky eater will, too! Smiles all around. ;)

IMG_74011I love that both Jason and I come from families with plenty of traditions.  But, I also love creating my own traditions for our family. It’s perfect that Ragu loves tradition, too! Did you know the founder of Ragu, Assunta Cantisano came to the US in 1914 from Italy? In 1937 during the Great Depression, Assunta started selling her sauce from her own front porch – 78 years later Ragu still knows the importance of tradition. Thanks, Ragu for helping my family create a new tradition.

What’s your family’s favorite tradition? Please take a minute to learn more about the history of Ragu here.

  • Reply
    October 6, 2015 at 6:52 am

    I have never thought of using velvetta with spaghetti, I bet it is so rich and cheesy, yum, I want some for breakfast!

  • Reply
    October 7, 2015 at 8:43 am

    I love traditions! What a beautiful family! :)

  • Reply
    October 7, 2015 at 9:08 am

    I’m not a huge fan of meat and I LOVE black olives, so replacing meat with black olives is such a great idea!

  • Reply
    October 7, 2015 at 9:11 am

    mmmh this sounds like SUCH a yummy recipe, I would love to try it out!! family traditions are so beautiful!

  • Reply
    Carol Davis
    October 12, 2015 at 9:35 pm

    Sounds great ! I’ll have to try it for sure! Love the pictures too!

  • Reply
    October 13, 2015 at 6:22 am

    I love Ragu. It’s the only sauce that I remember my mom buying as I was growing up. Your story just brought back some very fond childhood memories. I’m adding Ragu to my shopping list and will subbing meat for black olives in your recipe ;). Thank you for sharing!

leave a comment


  • How many kids do you have? Which transition was the hardest? It may not be the traditional answer, but for me, becoming a mama to one was the hardest. I had NO CLUE what I was in for.
The mom guilt.
How long it would take to leave the house.
The sleepless nights.
Losing myself in motherhood — feeling like I had to be with Blaire 24/7.
Adding Ben and now Sloane to our crew has been so much easier for me. It’s like they just fall in line with the crazy. 🤪 And I think being so much more confident in myself as a mom doesn’t hurt either. 💁🏼‍♀️ #motherhoodishard
#motherhood #momofthree #momof3 #clickinmoms #momtog #thelovelysquares #happilytrista #blaireandben #blairebenandsloane
  • ice cream outside with two of my favorite people. when it’s only 70° outside you can actually eat your ice cream without it melting all over us... and by us I mean them. 👆🏻👆🏻 #blaireandben
#2yearsold #5yearsold #momof3 #motherhoodintheraw #lifegivingsquares #petitejoy #motherhoodrising #ourcandidlife #uniteinmotherhood #mymamahood #seekthesimplicity #sharegood #joyfulmamas #documentlife #dailyparenting #momblogger #honestlymothering #therealparenthood  #thehappycapture #momsofinstagram #mytinymoments #thecreativecollective #realmotherhood #lifestyleblogger #stopdropandmom
  • Prepping for our third baby has been pretty easy so far. I guess when you have an older sister and brother, plus a mama who likes to hold on to everything from her babies, there isn’t a ton of shopping to do. The kids are having fun picking out little gifts to give baby sister in the hospital (something Blaire still talks about from when Ben was born), little toys here and there, PJs, and this @babyeinstein 4-in-1 Kickin Tunes Music & Language Discovery Gym at @target. I wasn’t joking when I said they wanted to test it out! #babyeinstein #ignitecuriosity #socialspotters #blaireandben #happilytrista
  • #ad I can’t believe this girl is heading off to kindergarten! With afternoon pre-k last year, we were lucky to not have to worry about the morning rush. So this year, our go-to is a waffle and a chocolate milk for the ride to school. Horizon® Shelf Stable Chocolate Milk is our favorite since we can easily grab it and go! Spoiler alert: she takes one in her lunch, too. Blaire is so excited, but little brother and I are sad to see her spend so much time away from us. But I am excited to be able to walk her to school and avoid the CRAZY drop-off and pick-up lines while the weather’s still nice, anyways. 
You can find @HorizonOrganic Chocolate Milk at @KrogerCo and you can even save $1 with this digital coupon (7/24/19 – 8/6/19). And you can stock up because Horizon Organic milk boxes are shelf-stable, meaning you can safely store them in the pantry. Shop now through the link in my bio. #blaireandben
  • Well we don’t have a Nordstrom near us, but we do have an Aldi. Most of their summer items are on clearance and we scored this sweet pool for $7. Winner, winner. 🦄☀️ #blaireandben
#summer #momentsiwanttoremember #aldifinds #motherhood
  • This summer hasn’t really felt like summer yet. 🤨 So when we have an 85° day we make the most out of it with a trip to the pool! How’d you spend your Sunday Funday? #blaireandben
  • another day, another doctors appointment for someone in our crew. today it’s Ben. he was up overnight saying his ear hurt — a double ear infection for him. luckily the kid loves taking medicine and hasn’t let his ears get him down! as long as he’s up moving around they’re fine, but the second he lays down... 😭😭😭. hoping our poor buddy is feeling better tomorrow. do you feel like you need a frequent flier card for your pediatrician? just me? okay. #blaireandben #itsfinewerefine
#uniteinmotherhood #motherhoodintheraw #momentsiwanttoremember #mybabies
  • When your brother is getting big but you still want to hold him... you gotta pinch his butt because he’s so wiggly. 😂😬😍 #blaireandben •
#petitejoys  #childhoodunplugged #letthembelittle #ohheymama #tagtheqc #mybeautifulmess #thehappynow  #thepursuitofjoyproject #thatsdarling #livethelittlethings #momentsiwanttoremember #everydaymoments #nothingisordinary #motherhoodrising
  • It is definitely bittersweet to leave the house where we brought both of these babies home. But we are excited for our next chapter as a family of five! #rainbowbaby #blaireandben
#pregnancyannouncement #rainbowbabyannouncement #firsttrimester
  • Last night was our first night in the new house. 👏🏻 We still have lots of stuff to bring from the old house and then lots of cleaning over there before the final walk through and closing next Monday. Then we can focus on getting this house unpacked and organized. But first, I would like a nap. 😴 #blaireandben #happilytristahome
  • The snow that never ends. 🙄🥶 Walked out into the snow this afternoon and one kid loved it, the other not so much. “Wowwww! It’s like a wizard out here.” —Blaire 😂
“Yuck!” —Ben #blaireandben
#bestofmom #momlifestyle #momlifeisthebestlife #motherhoodunplugged #mymotherhood #honestmotherhood #slowmotherhood #mymamahood #midwestblogger #eternalmotherhood #motherhoodintheraw #unitedinmotherhood #motherhoodrising #polarvortex