Monday, April 30, 2018

Thankful 4.26.18

1. Poor Ina was sick in the middle of the night and missed her school's dance-a-thon in support of a charity to provide wells for families in Kenya. She was so excited about this day and even told strangers about it weeks ahead of time. But, she took the news that she had to stay home pretty well considering. The stomach bug is no fun, but thankfully both girls appeared fine in between GI episodes.

2. Roseanne reruns.

3. The girls stayed the night at my grandparents' house with my Aunt Charmen. They were so excited to see her they barely told me goodbye. Mira enjoyed being an only child for a few hours.


1. My gym family. Due to Dan's new work schedule, I won't be able to join them at 5 am on weekdays, but they are still finding ways to help me get my workout in. They are the best.

2. A Kohl's gift card put to good use. My work wardrobe was struggling big time.

3. The Champs were home on a Friday night! Even though we all live in the same house, at times in feels like we are just passing by each other. We made amazing pizza (see below) and watched Ghostbusters.

1. Bleach. So thankful for bleach. Cora asked to wear her Paw Patrol panties and minutes later I really wished I had kept that diaper on her. It was bad. Really bad.

2. Taking the time to have fun with the kids. We had a few free afternoon hours and made the last minute decision to drive to Longview Lake to feed the fish. There were period in my life when I wouldn't have been able to enjoy this, thinking I was wasting precious productivity hours or at least thinking of what needed to be done when I returned home. However, I am so happy to say that I truly enjoyed watching Cora talk to the fish and Ina climb rocks like her life depended on it. I am taking this as a reminder to get out with them more.

3. I was able to share my (pretty limited) kombucha knowledge with my friend Hannah. However, in the process I am afraid I might have killed my SCOBY because I was so distracted. The last time I checked it was floating vertically in the container, which I am pretty sure isn't a good sign.

1. Driving home from church screaming/singing our favorite songs on KLOVE.

2. Danielle let me borrow her steam mop, which my hard wood floors desperately needed. I might have to get one once they move out.

3.My Ryrie Bible. It is a very useful/helpful study bible if you are looking for one.

1. Dan started a new job! We were so thankful to our friend Eric for employing him the last few years, but it was time for a change. He is working to install synthetic lawn/turf. He called over his lunch break to tell me he was installing a putting green in someone's back yard. Fancy.

2. Having the opportunity to watch Cora play at the park while her older sister was having dance lessons close by. Seeing her be so friendly to strangers always catches me off guard, as she typically sticks by her sister's side and generally isn't what I would describe as "friendly" to strangers.

3. A nice walk with the jogging stroller.


1. Cora's closet is cleaned out/organized. As she is the middle girl and has the largest closet, clothes tend to stay there the longest. She also loves to pick one shoe to carry around the house, resulting in me going bonkers trying to get her dressed in the morning with 9 single shoes. Also, she and Gibson love to close the door and play in her closet, so a few discarded snack bowls had to be removed. All of that to say it was a rather large job and I am happy it is over.

2. Jillian Michaels Body Revolution continues to be one of my favorite workouts.


1.The rainy weather resulted in Dan coming home from work early. This new job has a lot of work hours involved, so early was still after 8 hours, but we were excited to have him home for dinner.

2. Mira has her first tooth! I  have yet to see it, but Granny swears it is there.

3. Ina finished her school survey and announced on her class's Facebook page that the winning color was blue. She then proceeded to instruct everyone to wear blue on a certain day. When her teacher asked what blue things everyone should wear, she answered with, "Blue cups...maybe a blue dog?"

Currently seeking a blue dog accessory.


Pizza and salad with my new favorite pizza crust recipe from Danielle. I also really love using the giant cookie sheets for pizza - we split one down the middle (pesto chicken / BBQ chicken) and the other was good ol' pepperoni and black olives. This will be repeated every Friday night for the foreseeable future.

Salisbury steak meatballs with bacon brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes. Everyone loved these. Dan helped make the meatballs and we had them in the slow cooker all day.

Costco rotisserie chicken, roasted broccoli, and sweet potato fries. It doesn't get easier than that, folks. Plus, I used the chicken carcasses (sorry) to make broth.

Sweet and sour chicken with Dan's egg and veggie fried rice - not the "cleanest" meal, but everyone in the house loved it. We had to stop Ina from using her spoon as a shovel to get the rice in her mouth as fast as possible.

Have a good week! <3

Monday, April 23, 2018

Thankful 4.19.18


1. I worked from home with most of the windows in the house open. I cannot put into words how much joy this brings me. After work we smoked chicken legs and brussels sprouts (a method worth repeating all grilling season long) and drank ice cold rose out of our new insulated wine cups. Spring, I am ready for you.

2. My mother-in-law brought me home a huuugee cookie sheet. Although I predict many cookies will be baked on it, I am more excited about its potential veggie roasting capabilities.

3. Ina had kindergarten screening, which was our first chance to visit her new school. She practically ran in there and couldn't help but squeal when we opened the doors, shouting, "Wow, it is sooo big!"  The screening was pretty basic, asking her things that Danielle taught her long ago, but it was a great chance to meet the staff of her new school. She will hopefully be starting their pre-k summer school there is a few weeks! I am going to focus my attention on her excitement and try to stop freaking out about my baby being old enough for kindergarten.

1. Reading a book out of a book instead of on a screen. There is just something more fun about that.

2. Mira learned how to splash in the bath. Oh the squeals, giggles, and awe. I love that girl. Never before have I had the joy of a 6 month old while getting a full night's sleep on the regular.

3. The movie Coco. I wasn't prepared for the emotional ending. I cried at the end and squeezed my family a little tighter all weekend long.

1.The Circle Round podcast. Ina was entranced in the car for two thirty minute stories and keeps asking for more.

2. I took Ina and Mira to visit my grandma in the hospital. She has had some concerning changes in her mental status and is generally really confused. She might not have known we were there, but I was glad we went. Mira cuddled with her in the hospital bed for a while and Ina sang her a song she will sing at preschool graduation and played race cars with her walker.

3. The spirit of adventure in our kids for trying new foods. Tonight we (by "we" I mean Danielle) made a Thai soup (khao soi gai) that was inspired from an episode of Somebody Feed Phil. To them, it was just a regular Saturday night. The egg rolls on the side might have slightly helped.


1. Having the opportunity to witness some amazing baptisms at church. This was my second happy cry of the weekend.

2. Danielle helped me clean the house for small group. It is amazing what two women can do to a house with 30 minutes and no kids asking them for a drink.

3. Our small group babysitter Miss Emily was back! We had missed her the past few weeks and small group is much, much more successful if she is there to reign in the kids.

1. Drinking coffee before the gym made my workout more enjoyable, which I didn't think was possible.

2. My friend Kathleen is back to work from maternity leave! Yay!

3. Real-talk conversations with the other moms of Ina's dance peers. Sometimes it is refreshing to know there are other people in the world going through the same challenging parenting stuff as you and they aren't trying to hide it. I couldn't hide it if I tried, because Ina caught me reading my book instead of watching her dance and she walked to the window, pounded on it until I looked up, and then yelled, "Pay attention!" As if that wasn't enough, she followed with the two fingers to her eyes, two fingers pointed at me, I'm watching you sign as she glaringly walked away back to her teacher.

I wasn't embarrassed at all to get reprimanded by my five year old in front of a whole room of strangers. Thanks for asking.

1. Our friend Charlotte brought us so many treats, but the one I am most excited about was Blue Bell ice cream. They recently stopped selling Blue Bell in the Kansas City area, so this was an extra special treat. Everyone else in my house should be thankful I didn't hide the ice cream in the garage freezer. Ha!

2. Another treat she brought were lots of little books to help Ina practice reading. She is starting to get the hang of a few small words and will recognize words on signs when we are driving. I am trying to be very patient when it comes to her learning to read, but really I can't wait until we can lounge on a beach somewhere under an umbrella together and read the same book and discuss afterwards.

3. My mom is paying Dan to mow her 3+ acre yard, so even though he was away most of the evening and missed dinner, it is nice to have some extra cash. Also, Danielle and the boys were there, so I wasn't alone in my plight to have my children eat their food and stay seated and not spill their drinks and not touch each other and not stand on the table.

1. Cora was sick and my mother in law called to tell me so, but I didn't have to leave the office. One (of the many) advantages of having her watch the girls is that I don't have to leave when they are sick. That of course will change when she starts school, but I will take the extra help while I can!

2. I had the chance to visit my grandma in the hospital and chat with her neurologist. Unfortunately she is not improving mentally and all the normal typical causes have been ruled out. She explained the next level of tests they are going to do and I am thankful they are continuing to look for an answer. The good news is that although my grandma has no idea who I am (or who she is) she still remains as happy and giggly as ever.

3. My aunt came in town from Texas to help with my grandma. No matter the reason, it is always good to see her.


Veggie sloppy joes on sweet potatoes with roasted green beans and carrots and salad. Always a crowd favorite.

BBQ chicken nachos (a great Friday night dinner with leftover grilled chicken) - topped with red onions, cilantro, black beans, jalapenos, cheese, and a few drops of BBQ sauce. Mira loved the black beans.

Skillet chicken cordon bleu with melting potatoes and roasted asparagus. Those potatoes are next level. Make them now.

Sun dried tomato pesto and goat cheese chicken with pasta and roasted broccoli. The kids also had an alfredo sauce that Danielle whipped up as an afterthought.

Another week of good food around here! Have a great week! <3

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Thankful 4.12.18


1. The gym for an almost-vomit-inducing workout. Holy moly, my legs and my lungs were done. I was also partners with one of the guys and I think that change in pace really pushed me out of my comfort zone.

2. Cleeeaaaannnn carpets! This company seriously worked miracles. I no longer sit on my couch and want to cringe at all the coffee/wine/food/jello/mystery stains.

3. The Champs for giving Dan a birthday gift to be extra excited about. Yes, this is what thirty-three looks like: seeing who can eat the most extra spicy horseradish. I love it.


1.Liz from my gym made Dan the most amazing chocolate peanut butter cake. I would show you a disappeared before I could take one.

2. Ghostbusters. Why are we just now discovering this?

3. A few extended Champ family members came over for dinner. You know I just love having our dinner table full. Hosting is particularly easy when you have another mom to help/do most of the work!


1. Danielle and I did our nails (using this gel dip kit), waxed our eyebrows (half way off, in my case - also thankful for brow pencils), and did a yoga video. It was an incredibly productive morning.

2. We went out to eat to celebrate Dan's birthday on the plaza with the Champs. After a delicious lunch, we walked around the stores, walked in a few (and quickly exited because of all the tiny grabby hands) and then spent some time at the book store. My desire to read all the books to my kids was re-ignited.

3. Frozen margaritas while watching Roseanne. Living the good life.

1. A couple from our small group started their own financial journey vlog! Aren't they beyond adorable? Watching their first video made so proud of them and so motivated to get to our next step. I really look forward to watching their videos and use them as my motivation.

2. Our friends the Nybergs came over for lunch. We always love catching up with them.

3. Snow in April. I am convincing myself to not complain about the weather and instead appreciate the huge, fluffy snowflakes. (I had to repeat this multiple times. Out loud.)


1. A fresh loaf of sourdough.

2. For the first time since I have enrolled my children in any activity, I dropped Ina off at dance lessons and ran a few errands before returning to pick her up an hour later. Wow, that is a working-mom game changer, particularly when Dan is home with the other two.

3. The book The One and Only Ivan that I picked up from the library. We are reading it to the girls (Cora sort of pays attention) and it is very cute (but a little sad), has occasional pictures, and very short "chapters." An all-around win if you are looking for a read aloud book to younger children.

1.  JM's yoga meltdown - sometimes you just need some yoga.

2. Dan had to work later so Danielle kept baby Mira while I took the older girls to swim lessons. I am technically able to juggle all three of them at once...but after squeezing two pairs of leggings on wet legs I am not the best at it.

3. Early bedtime plus lots of reading.

1. Walking out of work with the sun shining on my face. I distinctly remember this day every spring.

2. I walked into the house with dinner already prepped - build your own naan pizzas! Having pesto, artichokes, chicken, and spinach ready to go is amazing.

3. Granny is having the girls help her plant some things outside. I just love that they are getting their hands in the dirt.

Recipes:  - wow, we have eaten really well this week:

Pork Ragu with roasted broccoli and asparagus- I forgot how much I absolutely love that recipe. It is just as delicious and it is easy.

Enchiladas, slaw, rice. You can't lose with that combo of recipes - plus the traditional "we're having Mexican" tamale run.

Greek chicken burritos - we did this for after church lunch as more of a "build your own pita/bowl." We also added brown rice, kalamata olives, feta cheese, hummus, lettuce, and good ol' ranch dressing to the mix and everyone (kids and adults alike) loved it.

Korean Style chicken lettuce wraps with roasted broccoli and green beans. I am obsessed with the crunch of the lettuce. So good - another all around winner on time and ease of preparation as well as taste.

Thankful 4.5.18

(I am an entire week behind over here...)


One: The girls and I ventured out for a walk around the lake. The paths were muddy and the air was cold, but the sun occasionally peeked out and the insects sang us lots of songs as I pushed the younger girls in the stroller and Ina rode her bike.

I specifically enjoyed watching Ina ride her bike through a huge puddle, stop, smile bigger than Texas, giggle, then turn around and do it again...and again...and again. I have so many memories of Dan driving through puddles with the exact same giggle and grin.

Lord help me.

Two: The second book in the Red Rising series was available from my library for download. Fact: I will be getting much less sleep this week.

ThreeI had  the joy of meeting our new financial planner face to face for the first time. Sometimes being an adult and making responsible adult decisions about what to do with tax return money isn't fun. BUT it is nice to have someone encouraging us with potential retirement ages less than 70 years old.


One: One of Ina's friends from school came over for a play date, along with his mom and little brother. This was the first time that we had a play date with one of Ina's friends whose parents weren't my friends. Of course we were a little nervous, but we made muffins and everything went perfectly! I really enjoyed chatting with his mom and think we could have talked for hours without the kids even there.

Two: On the last day of spring break, the sun finally decided to come out. We played outside and enjoyed every second of it. Gibbo took Cora for a ride in the power wheels and there is now a deep dirt circle in our back yard.

Three: The Greatest Showman. I predict that movie will be on repeat at our house.

One: I wasn't feeling a run, so Danielle and I went on a 2.5 mile walk. The weather was beautiful and the change of pace was great.

Two: My mom's side of the family met at the park for a pre-Easter celebration. I met my cream cheese and powdered sugar quota for the year and made carrot cake and dirt cake. Ina and Cora just loved playing with their cousins and Mira mostly slept, but was passed around a few times before we left.

Three: As he knew the forecast for Easter, the Easter Bunny decided to drop off eggs the day before. Watching the kids run around the back yard and search for eggs was so fun.

One: Our church and the amazing worship they put together for Easter. Wow. Just wow. Now that one of the band members lives with us, I see first hand the amount of work that goes into creating each weekend's services, and I am so thankful for them.

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Two: Dan's grandma invited us to her house for Easter lunch. Unfortunately Dan had to work on the salt truck to treat the ice/snow that was falling from the sky on Easter. Although we missed him, everyone at Grandma Frankie's helped with getting the girls food, entertaining them, holding the baby, etc.

On the way home we passed car wreck after car wreck, so I was incredibly grateful to pull into the warm and dry garage with all of my babies safe.

Three: Although nontraditional for Easter, we had chili for dinner and it was perfect. Mira absolutely loved the beans and tomatoes and at one point I thought I might die sitting there putting half a bean after half a bean in her mouth and watching her gum them to smithereens. She grunted/whined at me if I didn't get another one in there soon enough. This reminded me of when Ina smuggled chili beans in her leg rolls. 

One: I started a habit tracker. I need something to keep me accountable to a few things. Nothing fancy, just a notes page in my planner tracking bible reading, water intake, exercise, and joy. The last is kind of hard to measure, but I basically think back on the day and assess my grouchiness. Tracking this has been a huge game changer and Dan has actually commented multiple times about how much better of a mood I am in.

Two: Dan took Ina to dance and the house was empty with just the two babies. I technically usually label Cora as one of the "big girls", but she would gladly be a baby for at least the next five years.

Three: My friend Hannah came to the rescue when we needed a last minute notary. She is the best.

One: Being able to work from home and witness Cora coming down the stairs from waking up in full spider man garb. That girl makes me laugh so much.

Two: Surviving taking all three kids to swim lessons by myself. Dan usually accompanies me in the interest of safety alone, but I successfully changed both girls into their swimsuits, carried Mira in her car seat in one hand and Cora in the other around the outside of the pool without knocking anyone over or dropping Mira in the pool, walked back and forth to both classes, changed them back into their clothes despite their leggings' general refusal to go on wet skin, and buckled them all back into the car without even once yelling, which is pretty big for me.

One: After getting ready for the day, I walked downstairs to my mother-in-law putting my kale on the stove. Not only does she care for my children, do 70%+ of my laundry, and sweep my floors, she also makes me breakfast. I can't even.

Two: I came home to the living room and toy room cleared out in preparation for having my carpets cleaned. Yes, I am as far into suburban motherhood as one can be, because having my carpets cleaned just might be the highlight of my year.

Three:  Celebrating Dan's birthday with his favorite food - chicken and noodles. I picked up the groceries on the way home, and started it, but his chicken and noodles have to be completed by him. I felt bad that he had to cook his own birthday dinner, but promised a dinner out over the weekend.


Slow cooker lentils and rice - I love this recipe because the caramelized onions are my favorite, it is super cheaper, and can be made with things I already have on hand. The kids weren't huge fans, which I understand, because I admit the dish looks less than appetizing. More leftovers for me.

Pad Thai - I still firmly believe that meals like that are proof that God loves us.

Dan's spinach and feta turkey burgers (<-- throwback post) using homemade Greek seasoning with broccoli salad and tater tots.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Thankful 3.29.18


One: Freckles across the top of Ina's nose. Love, love love.

Two: Playing basketball with the kids. We played knockout and not only did I win a game (I think it was a pure miracle), but my heart rate was higher than the morning's workout and I was having a blast with my husband, kids, and friends. Oh, and a few neighbor kids came to play too.

The basketball goal is hands down the best thing (from a loooonnnggg list of things) that Dan has randomly brought home.

Three: Ridding Mira's closet of the clothes that don't fit her. I forget how often this has to be done in the wee baby stages. Anything less than six months was either put in the "to sell" or "to give back to Aunt Jessie" piles. I am now significantly less overwhelmed when I try to get her something to wear.


One: Lunch with Kathleen, my friend from work at a Greek restaurant, where I ordered two of my favorite foods (gyro meet and baklava). She also gave the girls the sweetest books. They were so excited.

Two: Our neighbor/friend Kim crocheted Ina a Nemo purse and Cora a little "piggy" purse and has volunteered to teach Ina to crochet. She is a brave soul.

Three: Watching Dan use LinkedIn. He is not the biggest fan of social media, but wants to network with people he has worked with in the past. It cracks me up when he finds someone he hasn't talked to in a few years and the joy he gets when he reconnects.

One: Grandma Frankie picked up the big girls in the morning for a day full of Easter fun. They went to an Easter egg hunt and dyed eggs. When we picked them up that night, Cora had a new stuffed bunny in each hand, Ina had multiple bunnies painted on her face, and they both had baskets overflowing with candy.

Two: My gym had a little get together at an ax throwing place downtown. Although I wasn't the best (anyone surprised?), I did manage to hit one bulls eye. The majority of my throws bounced off and hit the pile of wood shavings on the ground. Dan, of course, was naturally fantastic and hit many, many of his throws.

Three: After ax throwing Dan and I went on a date to a Cooper's Hawk Winery. The wine was good, the food was better, and being on a date with my husband was the best.

One: The girls each sang a song with their class at "big church." Cora was first and was just as cute as she could be making the animal sounds to the song and bouncing her body up and down. However, she was easily distracted by the screen behind her and kept turning around, so we mostly saw her back.

Ina was next and took her role incredibly seriously. I was slightly concerned for the safety of the kids next to her as she swung her arms up and down and side to side like her life depended on it. I just love the intensity of that child.

Two: Some of our family came to church to watch the girls and then came over to the house for lunch after. The kids played and the adults talked. The dark months between Christmas and Easter are over and we can now be social again.

Three: I had the opportunity to drive my grandparents home after lunch. As I am usually mom-ing when I am around them, we don't get a lot of time to chat. The 40 minute drive home was the perfect opportunity to catch up with them on a few things. Then I listened to my favorite podcast on the way home.

One: Day 1 of Spring Break. We dyed Easter eggs with the kids, which is one of Ina's most anticipated events of the year. We even had little mini-eggs, but the shells on those were a little more fragile, and not as resistant to Cora's squeezing fingers.

Two: Cora used the potty! Twice! I tried the "no diaper or panties" method (combined with the lots of candy rewarding method) and she did it. However, I think we are still a long, long way from being completely there. It is a power struggle for sure.

One: I slept more than a mom of three should be allowed to in one night. I think it was at least 9 hours. God bless spring break.

Two: My closet is now cleaned out and ascetically pleasing for my spring wardrobe. I am still in the in between not pregnant, but still nursing, but not back to my pre-pregannacy clothes size, so what I wear is kind of a mash-up. But, this too shall pass.

Three: Granny went to swim lessons with us. It is fun seeing her watch the girls.

One: We finally made it to the zoo after poor Gibbo was sick on the way to the zoo, resulting in both mini-vans turning around to head back for home, clean up, re-group, and head out again. As soon as Danielle called to tell me we had to turn around, Ina started crying and Cora told me that if we didn't go to the zoo "Daddy is going to give you a BIG spanking and you have to sit in the red chair."

Whew, glad I shaped up.

Two: All the kids were great at the zoo, but Mira was amazing. She stayed in the stroller the entire time, except when we ate lunch and kicked my food all over the floor. She didn't cry and instead chose to either sleep or take in all the sights around her with wide open eyes. God just knew I needed her as my third baby.

Three:  The zoo had a lot of animals out. I think the favorites consisted of all the Lion Guard characters and feeding the goats. I liked getting out of the house and walking around, even if it was cold and drizzly. (Not the best week to go on spring break.)


Veggie Turkey Meatloaf- we love this stuff.

Sourdough pizza crust - something to do with the leftover start! Other than give it away, which I am not against, so let me know if you too want to start making your own delicious sourdough bread to eat avocado toast with every morning.

Chicken Parmesan casserole with salad, green beans, and pasta. Everyone loved it!

Monterrey chicken with roasted veggies and brown rice-  make it now.
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