Monday, March 18, 2019

French Fried Fish

Isn't she just delicious?

Friday night we met our friends The Bartletts at the catholic church down the street for our annual fish fry meet up. Cora, who screams, "FRENCH FRIED FISH" every time we drive by the church (daily) was very excited, even though she didn't quite remember what fried fish tasted like. Ina, who was appalled when a quick poll of her kindergarten class revealed that no one else had a yearly "fish tradition" was pumped to eat as many hush puppies as she could. She also recited a short story on the way there about inventing fish-french fries and the tragedies that would later ensue. Dan brought his own hot sauce and his own spice seasonings. Mira and I were just happy to be there and tried not to spill too much food.

We met up at our house after for some more talking (the adults) and dancing/music making (the kids).

Saturday I worked, then ran the long way to Granny's house to meet Dan and the girls and go grocery shopping. This was my first run longer than a mile in quite some time. I am so happy with the shift I have made in my workouts, from strict cardio to weights, interval training, and functional fitness, but I would like to add in some occasional endorphin-spiked runs.

After a quick lunch at home Ina and I headed to her friend Alex's birthday party at a trampoline park.

I think she had a good time.

Thanks to Alex's mom, who kept an eye on Ina while I went shopping. By myself. Without a (strict) time limit.  I went to Old Navy and bought a few things I needed (a jacket and two camisoles) and a few things I didn't (olive skinny jeans).

We came home just in time to take out the car seats and met my mom (who graciously watched the girls) and the Champs who rode with us to meet the Dews at Top Golf.

Unlike my golf game, the company was fantastic. I nursed my bruised ego with nann, saag, and Chai tea at Korma Sutra.

Dan likes to play a game with the waiters at Indian restaurants. He orders the food "as hot as you can make it." Inevitably, after a few bites the waiter runs by and asks how it tastes, and Dan indicates that it could be hotter. Up for a challenge, the waiter brings out more pepper paste. Dan eats the paste straight with a spoon like it is no big deal, then the waiter runs back to the kitchen to add more peppers. Eventually the rest of the wait staff and some of the kitchen staff get involved.These poor people bring out bowl after bowl of paste, and even though Dan is glistening with sweat, he keeps going. I sit there, happily drink my mango lassi, taking it all in.

Sunday we had church, where Gunner was baptized! (or bath-tised, as Ina puts it) We were all so proud of his decision. I felt the love of our church family as everyone in our small group and beyond cheered him on.

After church Dan had was gone volunteering for a church class, Ina went to a friend's house down the street, Mira napped, and Cora watched a movie. The food for dinner was already cooked (Dan started the smoker at 7 am), our house was as picked up as I was going to get it, and trash day is Monday.  I took the rare opportunity to throw lots of stuff in the trash without anyone telling me not to. Our cabinets are much happier.

Soon people started trickling in for small group, where we studied 1 Corrinthians and then had a St. Patrick's Day feast with smoked corned beef and lots of fun sides/desserts.

Such a great way to end the week. <3

A few links to share:

This week's book listen: Little Fires Everywhere - I am about half way done and it is good enough to make me want to listen more.

Very interesting read: Death of the Calorie

Have you tried YNAB yet? Do it.

Pork and peanut dragon noodles: I added cabbage, bell pepper, and carrots in with the pork and used a little maple syrup instead of brown sugar. Brown rice ramen. Coconut aminos instead of soy sauce. Fresh cilantro on top. So delicious! Dan called it "ultimate ramen" and I will make it again soon.

Sesame chicken with sesame kale and brown rice - like take out but way healthier/faster/cheaper

Cubed steak with green beans, mushrooms, onions, and roasted sweet potatoes- Dan and I really like this. The girls aren't huge fans, but they still ate it.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Happy DST!

Happy DST!

I generally loathe time change and all the interference it has with children sleeping, car-clock adjusting, and pharmacokinetic sample timing. BUT, yesterday when I drove the girls to and from dance and to and from the grocery store with the sun shining in my face, my mood soared and I felt like anything was possible.

Anything, like convincing a 3 year old red head that she cannot wear her sparkly rainbow dance recital costume with sequins and tulle 24/7, 3 months before the recital. I must admit, she did look awfully cute in it.

(Two different people sent this to me within a few hours of each other.)

Anything, like writing a report that never ends, with infinite comparisons and constantly changing results.

Anything, like waking up at what would normally be 3:40 AM for the gym.

Who knew that sunlight could impact my mood so much? (Everyone knew.)

Since we last talked, things are going so smoothly at our house. We had multiple guests stay the night, went out to eat twice with family twice, and watched my niece and nephew play basketball.

My sister is the coach of my niece's team, and I may have been just as proud of my sister and her amazing patience as I was of my niece and her cutest little dribbling skills.

My nephew also played great and scored multiple baskets-. Both teams won, so we had a lot to cheer for.  In true Kendrick family fashion, the girls were as follows:

  • Ina - going back and forth between disrupting the game and completely ignoring it.
  • Cora - taking another kid's toys
  • Mira - kicking her feet back and forth, so happy to be sitting in the stands and have a reason to clap.

My dad took all the kids (except Mira) to see the new How to Train Your Dragon movie. We have recently watched the first two and they are so stinking cute. I was slightly jealous I didn't go with them.

We have quite a social weekend up ahead, with lots of things in spring to look forward to. Anticipation is one of the best joys in life.

Recipes to Share:

Spaghetti squash bake - everyone except Cora loved this one. Dan said it tasted like lasagna!

Chorizo pinto beans - this will become a staple in our house. We used regular chorizo, soaked the pinto beans before hand, and cooked for 30 minutes twice to get everything nice and smooshed together. Served with rice, salsa, and avocados.

Asparagus hard boiled egg salad: this salad is so, so, so delicious. Make it now for breakfast, lunch, or a side before asparagus is no longer on sale.

Lemony lemon brownie bites: I made these on the day it snowed many extra inches to show mother nature I am ready for spring. FYI: they will taste great even if you do let them bake too long because you have to get three girls ready for church by yourself.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Sliding into Branson

Good Saturday morning! My eyes popped wide open at 4:39 this morning, which is one minute before my Monday through Friday alarm buzzes. Would someone tell my brain that I can sleep in on Saturday? Until then I am taking advantage of this extra down time to update the ol' blog.

I always have an excuse as to why I haven't written - sick kids, busy at work, etc. Are you ready for this one?


Have you used this app yet? If yes, please disregard my lateness to the party. If not, download it now and update with your library card information. This app streamlines the process of reserving, borrowing, and reading audio and digital books. I have been using all of my free time reading or listening to books. So far I have read The Handmaid's Tale (disturbing), Before We Were Yours (such a good story), Tell me More (I laughed and cried so much), You are a Badass (general "self help"), Anne of Green Gables (with the girls before bed), and am currently listening to To All the Boys I  Loved Before. I find listening better for my productivity than reading, because when I am reading a book I don't want to do anything else (laundry, dishes, interacting with my children...) and when I listen I can always have something else going on.

Other than always have a phone battery at 5%, things have been great around here. Well, great with a lot of winter weather in the mix. Ina has had nine snow days this year and I don't think we are done.

The girls pooled their Christmas money together (after some parental encouragement and display of online photos) and we booked a trip to Branson over President's Day weekend at Grande Country Inn, a "resort" with an indoor water park,

great shows,

black light mini-golf,

go karts,

an arcade, and a buffet with unlimited watermelon slices.

We met our friends the Nybergs there and had a great time swimming, eating, and playing our hearts out.

I had low expectations for the shows, but they were such a pleasant surprise. The first was a "jubilee" with a quartet, comedian, and full band. Cora and Mira fell asleep a few songs in, but Ina, Dan, and I thoroughly enjoyed the entire thing. The second was a pet show and since then Ina and Cora have been putting on their own "pet show." Ina is always the trainer and Cora is always the dog and they both seem pretty happy with that set up.

The water slides and splashing toys were fun, but crowded, and after an hour or so in the main water park, we went to the average hotel pool and hot tub, where we would hang out the rest of the day. There is little Cora loves more in this world than a hot tub.

A little trip away was exactly what I needed to get out of the winter funk.

Cora had her preschool screening a few days ago. She was so excited to finally go to "her school," but when she was asked to go to a different room with the teachers she quickly changed her mind. She eventually did go, after a lot of encouragement, but I don't think she participated very much, because the results were not consistent with what I have seen her do. For example, she told them she couldn't stand on one leg, which she does every week in dance class. When the teacher asked me how Cora holds her pencil, I realized I had never once had her hold a pencil. She is always perfectly content playing in the toy room, so we don't do much coloring or writing. This is a strong contrast to how I parented Ina, who has been doing worksheets since she could sit up because toys don't really entertain her.

I am going to slowly work on more writing with Cora, but I also don't want to force it and I love that she loves to play. On a positive note, Cora did let Miss Kim cut her hair!

With those baby hairs mostly gone, her little red curls are extra bouncy. Ina also had her hair trimmed, and they both look so beautiful I am questioning why I am always putting those tasks off.

Other highlights of the past two weeks:

  • My cousin Alexis stayed the night before we went to Branson.
  • Ina had a playdate with a friend from school and watching them play was so cute.
  • I had lunch with my dear friend Hannah and we decided to make it a monthly get together
  • I sold a lot of used clothes and toys at a consignment sale...and then spent the money I made on all the swim suits and shorts and dresses they had.
  • My uncle and aunt stayed the night and brought pizza and fun. 

I have lots of great recipes to share, so get your shopping list ready!

Greek chicken bowls: I doubled the recipe and had lunches the whole week. I also took two servings to Branson, which decreased my pizza intake.
Egg roll bowls: such a fast and delicious recipe.
Honey Mustard Chicken: I wanted to drink that pan sauce.
Pressure cooker beef stew: delicious and comforting. Dan asked for it on repeat.
Cauliflower and Walnut Taco "meat" : mysteriously delicious. I have been adding it to my eggs in the morning.
One pan cube steak dinner (we used frozen green beans, mushrooms, and onions) served with roasted sweet potatoes. Everyone in the family loved it.
Asian turkey meatballs with zoodles, roasted broccoli and cauliflower, and brown rice
Red curry noodles - delicious and I used two bags of frozen stir fry vegetables, which sped up the entire cooking and cleaning process.

I hope you have a lovely weekend!

Monday, February 11, 2019

When an Amazon Prime Family Enters Target

Highlights from the past few days:

1. I found my "lost" retainer in the depths of my hair supplies drawer, under my hair dryer.

2. 2018 taxes are filed!

3. We have been a lice free house for greater than 3 weeks.

So, as you can tell, things are pretty wild over here.

We are continuing to trudge through the never ending winter. Even though Friday and Saturday were good days involving otherwise exciting things like a church marriage event, a sparkling clean house, and consignment sale organizing, I couldn't get out of a funk. By the time Saturday evening rolled around I finally decided to just eat a bologna sandwich and go to bed.

But then Sunday came with church and errands and a family lunch out at our favorite Mexican restaurant, and small group (so amazing) and my spirits lifted considerably.

After we ate our weight in chips and salsa I dropped Dan off to get his hair cut while I took all three girls to Target for Ina's Valentine's Day box supplies.

After a few seconds in the store I realized that my girls have rarely been to Target (we are strictly an Aldi and Amazon Prime family), as they stood in the front of the cart shouting out the names of every little thing they saw:

Ina: Mom, look, a sparkly pillow!

Cora: Mom, look, a paw patrol sucker!

Mira (hair in her face because she refuses to keep a pony in and dried salsa covering her mouth because sometimes I just can't): MAAAAOOOOOOMMMM!!!!! 

Mira joyously screamed the entire time we were there. Ina affectionately noted that Mira was in fact living her absolute best life. We made many patrons laugh.

I was very nervous about making Ina's Valentine's Day box because we both tend to have anxiety over projects like this and usually someone gets upset. However, Target has pre-made kits and Ina didn't even think to hint that I was totally cheating to buy one. Actually two, because it would be unfair for Cora not to have anything that involves a red headed mermaid.

When we were putting the boxes together and then labeling her slime gifts to her class, Ina casually mentioned that if she could have picked her mom out, she would have picked me and I just about melted on the floor.

Just like her daddy, she's a charmer and she knows it. Ina also complimented my ability to write the word, "SLIME" in a "slimy way" multiple times. I guess she knew I needed a little pick me up. <3

We heavily relied on leftovers this week, but I do have a few recipes to share:

ONE POT sausage and sun dried tomato pasta with broccoli: make this immediately. I multiplied the recipe by 1.5 and we still didn't have a single bit of leftovers.

Sloppy Joe's with baked sweet potatoes- I doubled the recipe and froze the leftovers. Future me will be very thankful.

Flourless chocolate blender muffins (with black beans, I promise, you can't taste them!) - just do it. Dan had one for breakfast today and told me they tasted like dessert.

Also, if you plan on staying in on Valentine's Day, here are some fun recipes to make!

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Goodbye January!

What. a. month.

I was oh so thankful to flip to the pink and red February pages in my planner and say goodbye to January 2019.

(Mira has decided that she doesn't like having hair ties in her hair, so she mostly walks around looking like a sheep dog.)

After so many nights of snow, ice, coughing, antibiotics, puking, and other things that shall not be named as to not give them any more power, I stopped writing things in my planner so I wouldn't have to cross them out a few days later.

The complaining could continue. The Chiefs weren't in the super bowl. Cora poked her eye while trying to make Mira laugh and was rendered completely useless for 48 hours. I broke a kettle bell at the gym. Mira cut a new tooth. It was really, really cold.

Like, ice on the inside of the gym door, schools canceled due to wind chill cold.


I must remain positive. Here are some things worth mentioning during otherwise dark times.

-My cousin Alexis and her friend came to visit for a night before they went to the Chiefs game. We always love when Bub Bub is in town. The girls seriously count down the seconds to her arrival in anticipation of all the books read, games played, and movies watched.

- Dinner with some new friends! We have befriended our parents as teachers teacher Miss Tricia and her husband Anthony. They are such good people and we need them in our lives right now and forever. When you have little kids, having friends that also have little kids is great. But, having friends that have older kids in oh so helpful in so many ways. 

- My house was deep cleaned. Like deep to surfaces I am 100% positive have not been touched in the 8 years we have lived here. Two women battled for 12 hours and I could hear angels sing when I walked in the front door.

- Two little girls birthday parties, which are always a good way to shake the sillies out. One at McDonald's and one at an indoor pool.

- A visit to see my grandparents, which when I take all three girls by myself and my grandparents are in different rooms looks very similar to me herding cats.

- Slightly related - Ina's 100th day of school when she dressed like a 100 year old.

She wore this get-up to the assisted living facility to visit my grandparents and somehow I didn't think about how that might be offensive until after we left.

- And the the most exciting - we met my sweetest niece Delaney.

The feeling of a baby on your chest and nuzzling your neck is exactly what Heaven must feel like. How can I forget it that quickly?

Even Cora and Mira, who typically compete for their parents' attention, were mostly content with sharing the affection. Needless to say, we were all in love and have talked about her ever since.

Here's to riding that new baby smell high into a much better second month of 2019.

All of those days being stuck in the house did allow for some really good cooking. Some recipes to share:

Chicken thighs with shallots and red wine vinegar with mushroom risotto and roasted zucchini - while we were eating this Dan kept on saying, "I can't believe this isn't from a restaurant!" The risotto will be repeated for every Valentine's day and otherwise fancy dinner in the foreseeable future.

Sheet pan BBQ meatloaf with green beans and sweet potatoes - you can't beat how easy this is.

Cashew chicken lettuce wraps- so fast and so delicious

Sesame chicken with cabbage, brown rice, and zucchini. Really tasty and the corn starch based breading was Dan's absolute favorite.

Pressure cooker turkey dinner with sweet potatoes and green beans from Skinnytaste One and Done

Enchiladas with our favorite sauce - I used up all of the leftovers including carnitas, a container of black beans, and roasted zucchini.

Paleo blender muffins and white bean blender muffins - the girls prefer the later because they include chocolate chips.

Chicken pot pie (doubled for the new parents!)

Cheeseburger salad -when the Nybergs came over for after church lunch. Being as sophisticated as we typically are, we served the salad with tater tots. Ina was not disappointed.

I have made this roasted cauliflower and quinoa salad for lunch for two weeks in a row. You should do the same.

Oh, and we did go to a Mexican restaurant one night and had such a pleasant experience with everyone eating their food and devouring cheese dip and covering themselves in salsa that we hope to venture out as a family a little more often.

Here's hoping that the next time I write, I will have many more positive things to say. <3

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Winter Sick List

Just about the time that I hit "Publish" on my Winter Fun List, my children all decided to get sick and the weather decided to be really, really yucky, making "fun" a little harder to come by. Mira started the fever trend, then Ina quickly caught up. She had a fever from Sunday to Thursday night, a horrible cough that kept us all up all night, and missed an entire week of school. Cora was the last to join in, but still sounds horrible when she tries to talk.

Everyone was fever free yesterday, which I is something to be very thankful for.

Although I haven't left the house much, with the exception of hosting fellowship interviews and grocery shopping, and of course the gym, things have actually been going well over here. A few highlights:

(5 am is a beautiful time to exercise in a winter wonderland)

- The Chiefs won their playoff game! This is a very exciting time to live in Kansas City.

- During the winter storm last weekend, the girls' parents as teachers teacher (who I adore and always end up chatting with more than we probably should) was without power. She and her husband came over for some electricity and a hot shower and we had a great day hanging out in my messy house. Dan had been plowing for about 30 hours before that and I was ready to pull my hair out being stuck in the house with no adult interaction. They were an answered prayer!

- I made mussels! I don't know if this is something we will do regularly, but I tried something new in the kitchen, which was my goal. When I pictured myself preparing this dish, I was peacefully sipping on a glass of wine and listening to music. But in reality Mira was screaming at my feet to be held and  I didn't select a big enough strainer, so a few shells shattered on my counter/floor. Next stop: risotto.

- We "tidied up" the toy room and every time I walk by it feels like a serious breath of fresh air. The girls have been playing in there so much more and "found" toys for 2013 that are getting a new life. Our closet is the next thing on the list, which shouldn't take me too long...but poor Dan will be in there all weekend. He has a very difficult time parting with, well, anything, clothing included.

- We used some Christmas money to buy a cordless Dyson and I am totally obsessed and vacuuming every surface in my house (and car!)...until the battery runs out. Thanks Mom!

A few great weeknight recipes: sheet pan sausage, peppers, and potatoes (seriously one of the easiest things ever) and slow cooker picadillo (a long time family favorite).

I have been using lentils for lunch prep and I loved this vegan lentil stew as well as this 8 minute pantry daal.

We have also been on a muffin kick. I really like these morning glories and these banana-white bean blender ones too!

I hope you have a fantastic weekend and here's to the second half of January being a little more exciting! <3

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Winter Fun List

Hello! We are back in the full swing of things over here, with dance lessons and swim lessons and client meetings and fellowship interviews and a baby with a fever. Again. Yay for 2019!

Inspired by Laura's list, I made my own list of things to do to make winter after Christmas more exciting, instead of wanting to stay in my pajamas for the next 3 months.

After writing this list, Winter 2019 doesn't seem so bad.

Go out to eat for restaurant week. I have wanted to do this for years, but am always doing some type of detox in January. Well, not this January. I have our favorite baby sitter booked, now I just need to pick the restaurant. So many choices!

Sit and watch the Chiefs in the playoffs. I must admit that although our team is doing great this year, I haven't actually watched many of the games, but rather listened while doing all of the other things. Saturday (and hopefully a few of the following weeks!) I am staying put on the couch and watching every single play.

Winter Jam. This has been on my list for a few years, but every year I bail to stay home in my pajamas. Not this year. I am forcing myself out of hibernation for this, even if I only take Ina.

Church marriage event. Dan and I are so looking forward to this. I love our church.

Branson Family Trip! The girls pooled their Christmas money and we booked a water park room for a few days. We can't wait!

Have dinner with my grandparents once a week. For a long time I have been trying to work my schedule to visit my grandparents while they aren't eating dinner, but found it near impossible. My light bulb moment was when I realized we could just grab dinner and eat with them. Genius.

Take the kids sledding. Ina has been begging, however, every time it snows Dan is plowing or salting and I can't take all three kids by myself. I will just need a plan that involves Mira-care.

Be outside for 20 minutes a day. You know how you read all of those articles that advise going on a walk to treat/prevent the afternoon slump, and you nod your head, and then proceed to stay sitting at your desk all afternoon and wonder why your energy is low? Just me?

Well, two days ago I was feeling the typical 2 PM slump, so I laced up my shoes and walked for 15 minutes. The sunshine and fresh air made a world of difference in my mood, mental clarity, and energy. I am going to set a 2 PM alarm from now on.

Cook something I have never made before. I am thinking risotto. Or a whole fish. Or mussels. Or maybe all of them.

That's all for now! Anything you are doing to make winter more fun?
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