Monday, October 26, 2020

Moms Weekend

Good morning! I am listening to the (October!) snow coming down and hitting the window, thankful for shelter and a furnace and a big cup of hot coffee. It would appear I need to fix my treadmill today...or suck it up and try walk at a 10% incline. 

Friday afternoon I closed my laptop a few hours early and headed out to meet some friends for our annual moms weekend. On my way I stopped by my grandparents' assisted living facility to say hi. I have not seen them face to face in months, and I am so thankful their facility is allowing 15 minute visits in the entry way. This pandemic is heartbreaking in so many ways, and one of them is how isolated the elderly are during this time. My grandma did request a tiger print mask though, so I need to make that happen. 

After saying goodbye, I drove to meet a few of my dearest friends for one of my favorite weekends of the year. We set this time aside to relax, eat, drink, play cards, and chat, and that is exactly what we did. 

This year we rented an adorable cottage in downtown Lee's Summit. As soon as we unloaded our bags and changed into our matching inside joke t-shirts, we walked to dinner at 3rd Street Social then came home to play cards. 

Chessa ordered us personalized playing cards from Shutterfly, which really come in handy when playing a game that requires each player to have their own deck. We stayed up in the wee hours chatting on one bed, just like a high school sleep over.

Saturday morning Danielle and I woke up to run a few brisk miles, then we went to brunch at Neighborhood Cafe. We spent the rest of the day lounging, playing cards, and throughly enjoying the opportunity to talk without the interruption our normal craziness brings.

I made bacon brussels sprouts carbonara for dinner and we (somewhat reluctantly) showered and dressed to go to The W - a super cool speak easy. We came home to cold leftover pasta and more cards.



(I didn't even realize my mask matched my shirt!)

We slept in on Sunday, made eggs, bacon, and avocado toast for breakfast, and played one more game of cards before cleaning up, putting our mom hats back on, and heading home. 

I was so excited to see my family and hear about the fun things they did while I was away. I spent a good chunk of Sunday afternoon organizing the clothes in Ina's room...which as you can see was quite the undertaking. 

Before (I wish I could blame this on her - but the changing of the seasons combined with her changing sizes and a huge volume of inflow garage sale clothes from Nonnie was the perfect storm to create a room of clothes chaos.)




I am so excited we will be able to find clothes that she can wear again. Ha! Here's to a great week!





Thursday, October 22, 2020

Fistfuls of Kale

 Good morning! 

Yesterday, hours after I had posted that I was determined to go on a lunch time walk no matter what, I almost didn't. The sky was misting and I had just had my hair cut the night before. I had so much work to do and there were many household chores that could have been accomplished in those 15 minutes. 

But, I tightened up my hoodie, put in my ear buds, and out I went. Thanks for holding me accountable.

For breakfast I sautéed up some kale with leftover taco meat and had enough time to sit at the table to eat. I almost forgot that the best way to get gets to eat their vegetables is to eat them yourself. It didn't take long before Mira had pulled up a chair and was asking for bites, and when I wasn't fast enough, she just used her hands to eat fistfuls of kale. 

In full disclosure, she didn't eat any of her dinner, so I don't always have wins like this.

After work (when I was so excited to have programmed some plots from a challenging and messy input file for the first time!) I quickly made dinner while also getting the house ready for small group. And when I say "getting the house ready" I mean quickly doing the bare minimum in the 20 minutes I had - giving the toilet a quick clean and running the vacuum while not yelling...and then eventually yelling at the girls to pick up their toys. 

See - anyone can host a small group. 

Dinner was ginger scallion chicken with shaved brussels sprouts salad. YUM. 

I am off to workout (run + shoulders/abs). I hope you have a great day! 

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Fighting for Light

Hi there! Good morning!

My breakfast views yesterday. 


(Aren't they beautiful?)

(I usually add a few eggs to random leftovers from the fridge and call it breakfast.)

Monday I had to work a little later than normal and Ina had kids small group and last night I escaped to have my hair cut and a few highlights put in - what a treat!

The days are full and feel like they are getting shorter. Cora keeps looking out the window and asking, "Why is it still dark?" or "Why is it already dark?" When daylight savings time hits I know I will be tempted to get in my pajamas by 5 PM. 

Like so many others, the lack of light effects my mood and energy and this year I am determined to fight back. I now work from home and if I am not careful I can let whole days go by without being outside and before I know it I will be in a funk. A few strategies I have:

  • I purchased a light therapy lamp for my office. I will report back on what I think!
  • Keeping plants or fresh flowers in many rooms in the house. I have a black thumb and keeping fresh flowers around might be a bit of a stretch considering I only shop at Aldi and am pretty frugal, but it is a goal to have! I have also started a succulent collection in my office and purchased a fiddle-leaf fig plant for next to my desk (if I ever get that cleared out - ha!). 
  • Creating a habit of a lunch time walk outside for at least 15 minutes - no matter what. I have found that having an audio book to listen to greatly motivates this habit. Also, Lola starts giving me the side eye if I don't make a lunch time walk happen.
  • Having moments to look forward to - this is more for after the holidays, as those have built in cheer. This will be particularly tricky considering the challenges of this year, but I am hopeful we can make it work. This is why I love planning - I can always flip through my planner and be excited about what is coming next.
  • Little mood boosters light lighting a candle, having my nails done, drinking hot tea, or fun hand soap. For little investment these bring big sources of joy for me. 
  • Of course keeping up my current healthy living habits of daily bible study and prayer time (the most important source of light!), practiced gratitude, drinking plenty of water, exercising, eating lots of vegetables, and getting enough sleep. These are in no way minor, but by themselves haven't been quite enough in the past few years.
I would love to hear other strategies if you have any. 

I don't have any recipes to share - we had tacos/taco salad for dinner on Monday and grilled chicken, roasted potatoes and brussels sprouts on Tuesday. If you are looking for a light and fun book to read, I really enjoyed American Royals and am looking forward to the sequel. 

I hope you have a great day! 

Monday, October 19, 2020

Camp Fire Hair

Hello there Monday!

How was your weekend? Ours' was full of the very best things. 

Friday we went out to eat with some friends from my previous job to celebrate a birthday. The food was amazing (I had scallops with lobster risotto and a smoked old fashioned) and I loved getting the opportunity to chat with some of the people I miss so much. This was also the first time some of them had met or really talked to Dan, which was likely entertaining to say the least. 

Saturday morning I ran, worked, and dropped Ina off at dance and then hurried home to pack the car and get everyone ready for a day of camping. In the three minutes it took me to pack the car, Mira had taken off all her clothes, took out her hair, opened Cora's Halloween Costume, put it on, and covered her face in lipgloss. Triple sigh. 

Dan's dad and his family hosted their yearly rendezvous event and, as usual, the food and the company did not disappoint.





The girls made new friends, played in the leaves, and then eventually in the dirt.

They were especially excited to see Baby Delaney again. 

We drove home covered in grime and camp fire smoke, listening to Harry Potter, and counting down the minutes before we could shower. I may have fallen asleep before 9 PM. 

Sunday started with a long walk while watching the sun rise and then heading to church for the majority of the morning. After a BLT salad for lunch, Ina, Cora, and I went to their dance buddy picnic. 



Ina has been looking forward to finding out who her dance buddy is for a long time now, and although I don't know if Cora completely understood the concept, she was excited when her new buddy gave her candy. Ha!

The get together was at a beautiful property with a pond, a hayride, and another fire, which I was incredibly thankful for, as it was COLD. Cora kept on screaming that she was getting frost bite, but every time I tried to cover her up with my coat she would run off to play with a dog or throw rocks in the pond. 

We made another drive home smelling like campfire and, for the third time in less than 24 hours, I needed a shower. The weekend ended with grilled pork chops, sautéed cabbage, and baked sweet potatoes for dinner and watching blooper videos on antennae TV. 

We mostly enjoyed others' cooking this weekend, but Mira and I did make these simple yet tasty pumpkin muffins Saturday morning. She was the only one awake and was so excited to help me in the kitchen. She kept on saying, "Momma, this is so fun!"A great reminder that one on one time is so precious. 

I hope you have a great week!

Friday, October 16, 2020

Another Seat at the Table

Woohoo, it's Friday!

This week has flown by and yet I have very little to show for it, in the form of pictures at least. I have successfully been limiting time on my phone, but a consequence is less pictures. Thankfully, Cora's teachers were able to capture her enjoying her PJ pajama party on Wednesday.



Wednesday we had small group and stayed up past our bedtime talking with dear friends. I picked up Chipotle for dinner and Cora and Mira were very upset there was something in their tacos other than "small meat." Sigh. 

Last night was all the driving and dancing and grocery shopping and starting to move Nonnie in. In between trips to the dance studio I chopped up sausage, potatoes, onions, and cabbage and made a hash when I returned home. I don't know if I have mentioned this on the blog, but my mother-in-law is moving into our basement. We are so excited about this and have already so enjoyed an extra person at the dinner table.

We plan to add a kitchen and laundry room to a space that was practically unused except for storing junk that we don't need/use. We are also going to sell the house she currently lives in, so there are lots of extra things to think about and strategize in our family. I currently don't have a lot of extra mental space, which is almost a blessing in this situation. A previous version of myself would have attempted to be involved past the level of necessity. Now, I am just sitting back and watching, occasionally lending my opinion or muscles for moving things. 

In other news, a few things I am excited about:
- One of our friends gave us a soda stream! Now I just need to learn how to use it. 
-  I finally tried the mascara from Thrive, and I must say I am a fan.
- $100 off your first Stitch Fix box! Their fall styling is my favorite. 

I hope you have an amazing weekend! <3

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

What Does Floss Mean?

 Hey there! How has the week treated you so far? 

Yesterday all three girls had an early dentist appointment, so I had to skip out on blogging time to squeeze everything in. 

(I completely gave up on Mira wearing anything other than what is on the dress up rack.)

Look at sweet little Ina 4 years ago...


...and Cora...whelp.


Over the weekend Cora asked me, "Mom, how can a person be five years old but still feel four years old?" Bless her precious heart, she has some good questions. I too want to know how a person can be 36 years old, but feel 25 years old. Ha! 

The dentist appointment went mostly well, until the dentist asked the girls if they were flossing and at the same time Ina answered, "No, we don't have floss at our house." and Cora asked, "What does floss mean?" Mom of the year over here. 

Monday night was a flurry of activity as Dan had to work late and the girls were out of school that day and therefore wound up like an eight day clock. Dan mowed in the dark, that's all I remember. 

Last night I accidentally picked a meal that had over an hour of hands on cooking time and used all four burners of the stove. You might wonder, as Dan did, how someone accidentally does such a thing, but so many of my recipes take very little time that I forget this is something I should look into before planning a meal. Ha! It was very close to worth the effort though, even though I completely burnt the first pot of cabbage. We had bacon apple smothered pork chops with mashed potatoes and steamed cabbage. It was quite delicious and I am looking forward to leftovers for lunch today.

While I am sharing recipes, our dinner Monday night was ginger scallion chicken,  absolutely delicious, and very little hands on effort. Tonight, we are getting Chipotle. 

I better get to tackling the day and off my computer to avoid any online shopping. 


Monday, October 12, 2020

S'mores and Football

Good morning! How did the weekend treat you? 

My weekend flew past me so quickly that when my alarm went off this morning I had to remind myself it was indeed Monday. 

Friday we were invited to some friends' beautiful house out in the country for a bonfire. The kids made themselves right at home exploring in the woods, playing with the chickens, climbing the rock wall, and jumping on the trampoline while Dan and I chatted outside with the adults. 

Although the s'mores board looked amazing, I passed in favor of a homemade cinnamon roll. Or two. Mira, on the other hand, sampled everything the board had to offer, and according to multiple reports, may have taken a few bites and then returned the uneaten chocolate. 

We finished the evening off sitting around the fire and staying up past our bedtime. Saturday started with a foggy run, a little work, then driving Ina to dance. 

The whole family then drove to see my niece Hallaway's volleyball game and my nephew Kauffman's football game, with a little Mexican food in between. We hadn't seen my sister's family since school started and we missed them! The girls had so much fun running all over the bleachers with their cousins and I enjoyed the extra hugs.

We then headed to Brad and Chessa's house to celebrate Brad's birthday with pickle ball and chili. (I brought my favorite fall salad (arugula, shaved brussels sprouts, bacon, Parmesan cheese, sliced almonds, dried cranberries, and this maple dijon dressing - so yum!)

I enjoyed a long walk on Sunday morning, listening to a new book, The Hazel Wood. We then hurriedly got ready for church where I spent the first hour listening to some awesome worship music and the second hour rocking a precious baby who lounged across my lap in the nursery. 

We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening finishing everything that needed to be done the weekend before and didn't. I am happy to report that the laundry is done and the the first room of the basement is emptied of all of the very heavy things that were once in it. Only two more to go before we can start work! 

I made chicken pot pie for dinner, which made everyone in my family very happy. 

I hope you have great start to your week!

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