Tuesday, April 9, 2019

24/7 Helmets

I can almost exactly pinpoint what house we pass on the way home when the girls ask, "Can we ride our bikes when we get home?"

Mira has taken to wearing her helmet at all times, in an attempt to convince us to let her outside. Poor girl. She puts that thing on, stands at the door, and grunts/cries/yells until someone takes pity and decides that cleaning up the mud will be less miserable than hearing her beg.

Once outside, however, she decides she no longer wants the helmet on. Even so, it has come in handy on more than one falling occasion. Maybe 24/7 helmets aren't a bad idea.

This week we celebrated Dan's birthday. Ina woke up at 6:15 and as soon as I walked in from the gym she announced that we had to go get birthday donuts. I just had to support her celebratory spirit, so I complied.

Birthday donuts plus bacon.

After work I asked Dan if he would rather get Costco steaks or go out to eat to celebrate. Costco steaks win every single time. Particularly when paired with lava cakes and Blue Bell ice cream.

I am trying to teach the girls to enjoy celebrating others' birthdays as much as their own. They did a good job of getting excited, singing Happy Birthday, and giving presents, but when the day ended Cora proclaimed, "Tomorrow, it gets to be MY birthday."

Hmph. I guess we need a few more practice rounds.

I planned on having a normal work day on Friday, but a few minutes after I walked in the door from dropping the girls off at Danielle's and Ina off at school, Ina's school nurse (who is quickly becoming my most frequent incoming caller), called to say that Ina scratched her eye and needed to be taken to the doctor.

After calling her pediatrician, who recommended going to the ER, and quickly deciding to try a local ophthalmologist instead, we had an appointment within 20 minutes and a prescription for an antibiotic eye ointment 20 minutes after that.

Having kids has taught me many things, one of which is that you never know how your day is going to go, so always work ahead if possible. Always.

On Saturday we took Granny to the zoo and closed the place down. Having been there just a few weeks before, Ina, Cora, and I were the expert tour guides and we loved showing Granny, Dan, and Mira our favorite animals.

Dan rode the sky tram for the first (and likely last) time, Granny saw her first kangaroo, and Mira was mesmerized by all things that swam in the water - sting rays, penguins, sea otters, etc. Twenty thousand steps later, we were all ready for bed.

Sunday flew by with church, then the Nybergs for lunch, then small group, then the Champs for dinner. Our toy room and kitchen were destroyed and cleaned three separate times in 24 hours and I couldn't be happier.

Books Listened to:
China Rich Girlfriend - listening to the sequel was less daunting than reading the first Crazy Rich Asians. I have a bad habit of skimming over words I can't pronounce, which was a good chunk of that book. The third book is downloaded and ready to listen to over the weekend.

A Fatal Grace - the second Louise Penny Inspector Gamache book. I read the first one, Still Life, about a year ago but was meh about it. After hearing more raves, I decided to give the books one more try. I haven't finished it yet, so I will report back.

Braving the Wilderness: Love me some Brene.

Recipes to share:
Country Captain chicken with roasted brussels sprouts and brown rice - very delicious and unique flavor. Dan did request that I use chicken breasts instead of thighs next time.

Cuban sandwiches with french rolls, Parmesan sweet potatoes, and cabbage slaw - strongly recommend this meal. It is already on the menu plan for next week.

Monterrey chicken with re"fried" beans and brown rice/quinoa. Another strong recommendation.

Cashew chicken lettuce wraps with roasted broccoli - I used this for lunches and was very happy and not guilty at all with my decision to not share with my family.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Grandma's Table

This past weekend after I had worked and Dan returned home from a church conference and Mira had refused to nap, but Cora, who doesn't usually nap on the weekends, had fallen asleep on my lap, we went against our usual stay-at-home-mentality and decided to go antiquing.

We were on a mission to find chairs to go around my grandparents' dining room table. The chairs my grandparents had were cane on the bottom and I knew from multiple unfortunate personal childhood experiences that cane bottomed chairs and kids don't mix well. We had searched the internet for sets of six chairs, but nothing looked right. Nothing felt right. Dan had the idea to have miss-matching chairs, but I was incredibly hesitant. I like for things to match and just any old chairs wouldn't work for such a special table.

After looking in ten stores, we were just about to give up and go home, when in the far back corner of the last store, Ina found five different chairs all right next to each other. Cora picked a small one with a heart shaped rounded top and Ina picked another slightly larger one with a violin shaped middle. Dan and I approved two more that had arm rests and lots of relaxing potential with excited nods.

My grandparents' table has been through too many family memories to count. It has stretched to 16 feet with 7 leaves and sat nearly 30 people for huge family Christmas dinners when we sang The Twelve Days of Christmas, covered it with parchment paper, and dumped huge pans of boiled shrimp, corn, sausage, and potatoes down for feastingIt was shrunk down short for my baby shower, just holding cake and punch to allow for more people to stand around it. It stood the test of Cramer card games, cousins hide and seek, and multiple gift wrappings.

Knowing that the table isn't in my grandparents' house and doesn't have my grandma's dishes on it absolutely breaks my heart and I almost didn't want it. Couldn't want it. The only place it belongs is sitting on top of golden-rod carpet, covered with a freshly ironed table cloth, matching dishes and serving plates, with platters of food from end to end.

When grandma and grandpa could no longer stay in their house, each of the grandchildren picked out one item. My grandma's chopping block was my obvious first choice. It is a beast of a thing that sat in the middle of her already crammed kitchen and held her knives, my grandpa's water cup, and any ingredients or utensils that were going to be used that day. It represented so many feelings and memories of the place I so loved. I was happy with my choice and thought it was enough. Things are just things, right?

But then the thought of their huge table being in someone else's house seemed impossible and with just one phone call, days before the auction, my dad made it mine. Ours.

Since then, the table has been sitting in my garage, wrapped and protected, as I tried to face the reality of bringing it into my dining room. Of it sitting anywhere else other than in my grandma's dining room where she made sure that everyone ate more than their fill.

To be honest, their house and many of its contents, both inside and out have a similar meaning. But, where do you stop? All of that, any of that, belonging to anyone else still seems impossible, months after they have moved into a long term care facility, the house has sold, and the auction closed.

Mourning a place is such an odd thing to do, particularly when the people who made the place what is was are still very alive. But, I knew the last time I saw the house that a part of my family, a part of me, was leaving. Days before the auction, we drove down one more time to say goodbye.

Knowing it was my last time there, I walked down the long laundry room through the swinging wooden door and then through each room trying to burn the images into my brain. I tried to remember exactly what I saw when I walked in and they were still there. Grandma in the kitchen finishing up dinner and Grandpa sitting on the couch watching a Royals game.

Dear God, don't let me forget.

How does a person say goodbye to a place like this? The house that built my childhood. Where I have celebrated every Christmas. Where my parents were married. Where I was married. Where I brought my friends for sleepovers in middle school. Where I have stayed weeks at a time with my cousins. Where I have brought my own children to play and build life long friendships with their cousins just like I have with mine.

The girls gave me questioning looks of concern as I sobbed my way out of there. In an attempt to explain, Dan asked me to tell them about some of my favorite memories of the house on the way home.

Through the tears I told them about staying up late playing pitch and waking up to play another game in pajamas. So many cards games, almost always boys against girls. Grandpa always kept score. Grandma always made sure there was a snack on the table.

Eating until I couldn't fit one more bite in my stuffed belly. Games of Marco Polo in the basement. Hide and seek outside. Swimming in the horse tank. Playing in the play house. The tire swing. The front porch swing. The 4-wheeler.

Presents stacked in every corner. Matching Christmas pajamas. Platters upon platters of cookies. Present scavenger hunts. Singing Christmas carols. Hunting for Santa.

I told them about home made ice cream. Sugary cereal with even more sugar on top. Chex mix. Chocolate sheet cake. Cottage cheese salad. Smoked chicken legs. Potato soup. Rolls.

I searched the corners of my brain and told them about the first tulips of the season. Looking at birds out the window. Memorizing bible verses. Hunting for craw dads in the creek. Smelling Grandma's perfume and trying on her jewelry.

Grandpa teaching me how to shoot a lay up. Grandma teaching me how to make rolls.

Late night movies. Early morning coffee. Waffles, bacon, eggs, and Grandpa's jelly. The newspaper. Crosswords. Football games. Baseball games. Grandpa's headphones. Always full candy jars.

But as I was talking I realized that more than any of that, I wanted them to know the feeling that washed over me as soon as I pulled into the driveway every single time. This was the place where I could put the rest of the world away and just be me. Unconditional love, free for the taking. I was suddenly filled with the strong desire to replicate that in my home, for my family.

Through the rest of the quiet car ride home I realized I wouldn't forget. How could I? My days in that house are what make me, well, me.


As Ina and Cora were dragging their hand picked chairs chairs to the check-out counter of the antique store, so proud of their choices, and then again inside the house, picking the perfect spot for them to sit, I realized that they will probably remember the day they picked out their chairs for a long time. These were new family moments, new ways this table will be added to another generation of family memories.

Another generation of family memories, precisely what my grandparents were going for, what I am going for.

I hope I do it right.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Spring Stay

My mom called this morning just to see how I was, which really means that I haven't blogged in two weeks and I actually have to tell her what we have been up to.

(Her flame of hair cannot be tamed.)

Sorry Mom.

Two weeks ago Ina was on spring break, but we are going on a big family vacation in May, so in an effort to save our vacation days (and vacation funds), we stayed put.

One night Ina and Cora stayed with Grandma Frankie, who likely felt like a hurricane came through her house.

We rode bikes and scooters, grilled dinner outside, swang our hearts out, and generally enjoyed not being locked up inside after work. In just a few weeks' time, Ina has mastered the bike without training wheels. I actually had to tell her to slow down once because I was scared she was going to fall, but she knew she wouldn't.

One Saturday we met my friend Liz and her daughters at Science City. I hadn't been there since I was a kid and boy has that place improved!

The optical illusions, magnets, puzzles, and water features of the building were very cool, but what stole the show and all three Kendrick girl hearts was the outside features. So many cool things to play on!

I  think they would have played there until they fell asleep. Mira was as pleased as punch to be playing with the big kids and didn't seem to mind that she couldn't climb past the first level unless someone helped her, and she found a lot of that. Thankfully there was always an extra mom to save the day when she tried to step off the spinning ball or when Ina tried to squeeze her onto the next level through brute force.

The final day of Ina's spring break I made the last minute decision to use a vacation day and take her and Cora to the zoo while Granny kept Mira. This was the first time I have been to the zoo since I had kids that I didn't have to worry about a baby and we all had an absolute blast.

We purchased a pass with unlimited rides and it felt so good for my typical NO-self to breezily answer YES when Ina asked to ride the sky tram (so relaxing!) or when Cora asked to ride the carousel (her absolute favorite thing there).

We were there from open to practically close and saw just about every animal in the place. We pet the sting rays, which, much to Cora's dismay, were swimming in wet water. We fed the goats, jumped with the kangaroos (who were a little too close for Ina's comfort), made faces at the orangutans (while I jealously eyed their piles of beautiful kale leaves), and counted the penguins.

My favorite were the kangaroos, that were roaming free and jumping about, almost like a cartoon.

(Fun fact - if it were up to me, Mira's name would have been Roo or Rue, but Dan wouldn't budge.)

Cora has been begging to go back soon and we will. Soon.

I will have another post coming up this week, but until then, here are a few links to share:

Books I listened to:

P.S. I Still Love You and Always and Forever, Lara Jean. I have to admit that I am re-living high school through these books. I can't help but love Lara Jean and Peter and am so looking forward to watching the movie on Netflix.

Murder on the Orient Express: I needed something not romantic and MMD listed this as a good audio book. I did not expect to cry during the end.

Veronica Mars Million Dollar Tan Line  I love the TV show and Kristen Bell read this, so of course it was great.

More than Words: a sweet love story, but a little more R rated than I am used to. You have been warned.

We also finished up Anne of Green Gables. Oh how we all adored those books. We watched and cried our way through the PBS videos as well. The girls just love her and we reference her often. For example, whenever Ina is being dramatic I asked her if she is in the depths of despair and she usually laughs and snaps out of it.

I want to jump straight into Anne of Avonlea, but Dan votes for Little House on the Prairie, so I have to wait. Or I might listen to it on my own. Shhh, don't tell.

Recipes to share:

Bibimbap bowls - a great meal prep recipe. Don't skip out on the kimchi.

Pollo Sabroso with green sauce - never ever ever gets old.

Herb roasted pork loin with roasted potatoes and brussels sprouts- make that sauce. Now.

Cheeseburger salad - I know you are sick of me posting this recipe, but I will never get sick of making it. #SorryNotSorry

Monterrey chicken pasta - I made the mistake of using a "weird" BBQ sauce on this and it changed the flavor of the whole dish. BUT, I think the concept of the recipe is good, so we will likely make it again.

Peanut dragon noodles (add whatever vegetables that need to be used in your fridge and you won't be disappointed. We used bell peppers, cabbage, and carrots)

Kale salad with a pecan parmesan topping as a side when Dan smoked meat and Danielle made these amazing parmesan sweet potatoes when The Champs stayed for dinner. Gunner sat down to the table and said, "Of course, there is kale salad," and I don't know if I have never felt more understood.

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!
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