Monday, June 25, 2018

A Few Recipes to Try + Other Stuff from the Week

Before I say/type anything else, if you are looking for some new recipes, scroll on down to the bottom of this post, because, dang...we ate well this week.

This week flew by because Dan was out of town again, with a short return home on Wednesday night, and a few hours on Saturday. None of us sleep well when he is away, so I have started to let Ina and Cora sleep in my bed. I know, I might be crazy.

However, we have been reading together, which is something I really have missed since Dan started putting them to bed. We are currently reading The Invention of Hugo Cabret. It is a fantastic page turner, has lots of beautiful pictures, and I would recommend it if you are looking for an early listener chapter book. When Ina asks to read one more chapter I can't say no because I want to find out what happens next too. (Googling the link showed me there is a movie too! Now I can't wait to finish the book so we can watch the movie together.)

(On a book note, I just started reading Siblings without Rivalry while I pump and The Hunt for Red October before bed. I will report back on my thoughts!)

The only other notable thing from the week I can think of is Ina got sick at school (on a kid!) on Wednesday. By the time I picked her up she was fine, begging for snack after snack and then going swimming shortly after.

Friday night my mom came over for a girls movie night and we watched Ella Enchanted and ate curry and laughed and I loved it.

Saturday morning I worked for a bit, then we swam for a bit and Granny visited for a little bit. I opted out of our normal Saturday morning run to sit and talk to Dan who had just walked in the door from work when I woke up. I know.

That evening we drove to Dan's dad's house for an incredibly delicious shrimp boil. We love getting to see that side of Dan's family, and the amazing food was just a bonus. The girls also like exploring the property and seemed able to find plenty of trouble to get into. On the drive home we were lucky enough to witness a fireworks show on the highway. Of course we eventually drove away from it, but Cora continued to think she saw the fireworks and would scream with delight, "Mom, the fireworks are back!" to which Dan and I would respond with excitement.

Ina, being Ina, asked, "Mom, do you really see more fireworks? Spell 'Yes' or 'No'."

We laughed a long time after that.

Dan had to leave for work again early Sunday morning, but I still managed to get all three girls to church dressed. Barely, though, as Cora was wearing rain boots on the wrong feet, but scrolling through my pictures I did see I managed to braid Ina's hair.

Before church, Cora asked for a donut and because she has been doing so well potty training (she really has, I am so so proud of her!) I just couldn't say no. Going to Big Daddy's Donuts without Dan felt very weird, but the sugar high soon made the weird feeling go away.

After church we hung around the house and had a rainy/lazy Sunday afternoon. The kids watched movies. We painted our nails. I folded laundry. We made a great dinner.

Danielle and I have continued to truck along with T25 and just completed week 3 (out of 5) of the alpha round. Oh, and we also continue our Sunday morning coffee walks.

Find someone to do this with. You won't regret it.


Monday: Moroccan Meatballs with rice and roasted broccoli/cauliflower- so delicious and even more so because Danielle made them and they sat in the crock pot while we swam until dinner time.

Tuesday: Pork Ragu with noodles and salad- one of my favorite meals. I ate the ragu by itself without noodles for lunch the next two days. 

Wednesday: Southwest Chicken and Veggie Skillet - so quick, healthy, and delicious! We served it with quinoa and tortillas for the kids.

Thursday: Enchiladas - simply amazing. Love, love love.

Friday: Chickpea and Lentil Curry with brown rice and apple mango chutney from the Oh She Glows Every Day cookbook I checked out from the library, but I found the recipe here. We have already added it to the meal plan for next week.


Breakfast was summer breakfast tacos - delicious and colorful!

Dinner was Papa Dana and Gigi Sherri's Shrimp Boil. We contributed a kale Caesar salad (the roasted chickpeas take it to the next level) and salted chocolate chunk shortbread cookies (have you made those yet?).

Sunday: Pollo Sabroso with roasted veggies, a Mexican corn pasta that Danielle made, and Peruvian green sauce (make it now, like I want to swim in it).

Snack/Dessert - Peanut butter cups

Even though our food was absolutely delicious, Ina and Cora weren't really that into eating this week. There are just some things I am used to Dan being in charge of, and making sure our kids eat is one of them. In some ways him being out of town is good for our relationship, because it highlights the areas he helps with that I wouldn't notice otherwise. 

Mira, on the other hand, devoured serving after serving night after night and started to scream if I didn't get the next bite in her mouth fast enough. It is a very tough call to make, but I think the curry was her favorite.

I hope you have a fantastic week. <3

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

No Plans + Lake + Father's Day

Hey there! Dan is out of town this week and he was out of town last week, so what you will witness here is basic survival mode.

On Monday I came home from work with no dance lessons, no swim lessons, no school activity, and no dinner to make, so we all swam.

I loved having nothing to do but splash in the water. So did Mira, whose grin could not be wiped off her face. We ate leftovers for dinner and cried our way through the first half of Up. Just adorable.

Tuesday and Wednesday looked about the same, except that we did cook dinner. With no activities taking up our evenings, all of my memories of them have blended together.

We have been working on the pool, which unfortunately has been a constant battle. Next summer when I tell you I think it would be more frugal to not hire a pool company and instead balance and clean everything myself, grab me squarely by the shoulders, look me directly in the eye, and tell me that the little pool time I have should be spent swimming with my children.

Thursday afternoon I closed my laptop a little early, checked Ina out of school, and grabbed the girls from Granny's to head to my aunt and uncle's lake house for a quick 24 hour visit. It was quick and exhausting, but we all had an absolute blast.

In 24 hours we went out to eat, watched two movies, did face masks, swam, went on a boat ride, and swam some more. Once Ina and Cora found the courage to jump off the dock they could not be stopped.

Mira initially wasn't a fan of the baby life jacket, but once she discovered its head support while floating, she decided she could tolerate it. I have very distinct memories of Cora feeling the exact same way about that thing.

As we were driving away Friday evening I asked Ina what her favorite part was and she dreamily sighed and said, "everything."

Danielle and I started off Saturday morning (and Sunday morning) with a walk. I just love peaceful morning walks. They are such a fantastic way to start the day, particularly when the days are squeezed full of everything.

Then I worked for a few hours, we swam for a few hours, and before I knew it, we were heading out the door to celebrate our friend Ryann's birthday.

Ryann is our new friend from church/small group and she might be the most popular person I have ever met based on the number of guests at her birthday party. The kids played with water toys outside, which is always a party plus and the swim suit made cleaning up potty training accidents that much easier. Win-win. (I should note that thanks for Miralax and lots of pep talks, Cora is doing so much better in this department! Yay!)

We finished up the night with more swimming which led to hungry stomachs, which our meal planning did not take into account. Dan and Kyle made the executive decision to put in a late night pizza delivery order.

Father's Day Sunday started out with an awesome sermon at church discussing father wounds and what we can do about them. Definitely worth a listen. The next few hours consisted of me starting to do something, then realizing I should be doing about ten other things, then starting something else, and then repeating that until my dad called to ask for my assistance in picking up Grandma June from the nursing home.

I guess I didn't realize this was "allowed" but I was so happy we made the extra effort to have her there. I think she and my grandpa enjoyed watching the kids play and when my grandpa asked if she was coming home and opened the car door to give her a kiss goodbye when he realized she wasn't, I nearly lost it.

My dad hosted our family's Father's Day celebration at the farm, where he had a taco bar spread all cooked in various crock pots, individual serving chip bags, and more lemonade than 10 kids could think about consuming. Add that to getting the farm ready, picking up my sister's kids because she was out of town, and picking up my grandparents and you will see he did a whole heck of a lot of work on Father's Day.

After we had more fun than we could handle we got home just in time for Ina to swim with Gunner and Gibson and Cora to mow down on some watermelon and Dan and I to talk to Kyle and Danielle's family even though we all needed showers and even though every single stinking Monday morning I swear we are going to bed earlier the next Sunday night. Even though we tried to stop it, another summer weekend ended.

Recipes from the week:

Chicken Shawarma - so fresh and good.

...and the rest of the week was spaghetti, other people cooking for me, and leftovers. Even Danielle made the recipe above. I chopped a few vegetables. Wait until next week - we will have a few good ones to share!

Online purchase of the week: a pair of Birkenstocks. So exciting!

I hope you have a great week!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Ina's First Dance Recital

This week can be summed up in two words: dance recital. Monday was Ina's normal dance lessons (1 hour), Thursday was her opening number practice (two hours), Friday was her dress rehearsal (4 hours) and Saturday was her recital (16,000 hours).

Throw in our last swim lessons of the season, Dan working long hours, continuing to potty train Cora, a CRAWLING BABY, and this was a pretty eventful week.

However, seeing Ina in her sequined leotard and pink tutu determined to find her exact spot on center stage and beam at her onlookers was all worth it. Should couldn't stop dancing the rest of the night.

I will say that this whole dance mom thing is a world I knew nothing about. The patience it requires to put mascara on a 5 year old alone should be rewarded on national television.

And the tights.

Can we all just agree that tights are no longer a thing? They are impossible to put on, constantly riding up or down, and have five stains on them within minutes of Ina putting them on. There was a point when I was in charge of taking three leotard and tutu clad girls to the bathroom and Ina COMPLETELY de-robed (tights and all) in the stall and I didn't know if I would make it through.

Ina was so happy to see so many family members there, which is a pretty big deal, considering the 3+ hour time commitment. Also, her cousin Hallaway's recital was the same day, so everyone in my family sat through TWO recitals in one day. Bless.

She also received three bouquets of flowers which she has combined and incessantly watered.

Other notables from the week:

A post shared by Racheal (@runningwithrach) on

Mira started crawling! (Poor third baby- five years ago I would have dedicated three blog posts to this topic alone.) She is still new to the whole skill, but she knows she can now get to anything she wants to put in her mouth, which has recently included legos, sticks, leaves, and paper. Thankfully, she knows not to swallow anything, but does seem awfully offended when I dare to remove them from her mouth.

Cora is still having a difficult time with the second part of potty training and is clearly constipated. Hopefully things will start to consistently move in the next few days or I might call her doctor. On a funny note, she has started to repeatedly say, "Mom, we don't say 'look at that freak.' That's a bad word. We don't say that. We say, 'Oooh La La!'" and then erupts into giggles and I can't help but laugh.

I was also told she sat through Ina's recital like a doll. I was so proud of her!

Danielle and I are one week into T25 alpha and have lived to tell about it. On Saturday morning both of our families sat on the couch and watched us with brief participation from the kids and the commentary was hilarious. I overheard Ina telling Gunner, "I feel so sorry for my mom. She looks miserable."

We visited my grandma in the nursing home during dinner time with no snacks which was a major mom fail. Cora and Ina jealously watched all the residents being served ice cream and things kind of went downhill from there.

On Sunday we wrapped up our spring/summer small group study with communion and a Mexican inspired potluck and swimming. I love our small group with all my heart and we had such a good time eating, playing, talking, and swimming.


Sausage and spinach pasta bake with salad - this one is a keeper.

Cheeseburger salad - I told you it would be on the menu again soon!

Grilled chicken with kale salad and corn on the cob. The makings of a perfect summer dinner.

Carnitas - Danielle made them but I share the recipe because I love you.

Have a lovely week! <3

Monday, June 4, 2018

When Daddy's Away We Potty Train

Warning...lots of potty training talk ahead because this is what is consuming my life. If you aren't into that, go ahead and skip this post.

This was the first week that Dan was out of town all week for work. Although parts of this were difficult, I did have the Champs at home most of the time to provide an extra set of hands when needed (like when Cora needs to potty, I am feeding the baby, Ina is asking for a snack and my neighbor texts me that the dog is out of the backyard. Why can't I be in more than one place at a time?).

Bedtime has been the one huge challenge. Typically I am in charge of Mira and Dan lays with the older girls until they fall asleep. Apparently I don't make a good "Daddy substitute" because both Ina and Cora have taken so, so long to go to sleep each night.

Saturday couldn't come soon enough... morning started off with kissing Dan goodbye for the week and Ina's first ever bus ride. There is a brother (5th grade)-sister (Kindergarten) duo at her bus stop who were more than welcoming and her bus driver was so friendly.

I picked her up after work and she sprinted off the bus all ready to tell me about her day and her new best friend and play dates and so much more. Whew.

Before I picked Ina up from the bus, I picked the younger girls up from Granny's and had the report of a not so successful day of potty training. She had one accident and otherwise held it the rest of the day. I told Cora that she couldn't go to swim lessons unless she used the potty and after a lot of crying, she decided to take me seriously and used the potty at the school. I know so many people say that ultimatums don't work, but they seem to work for her.

We came home from lessons to BBQ leftovers for dinner and part of The Greatest Showman, which motivated me to put Ina's dances for her recital on the TV for practicing. I might have them memorized by next week.

After a much better potty training report (she used the potty! no accidents!) on Wednesday, I picked Cora up to take her to Costco for a little reward date. Mira stayed with Granny and Danielle picked Ina up from the bus. We met Chessa there to help her purchase some items she needed for an upcoming BBQ.

It didn't occur to me until I was almost to Costco that I was taking a 2 year old in the middle of potty training to a gigantic store with one bathroom that isn't easily accessible, but Cora did great. I rarely have time with her by herself, but when I do she always makes me laugh. Maybe she is always this cute and funny and I just don't notice?

We returned home to Mira needing fed, Ina dripping wet from the pool, and Cora needing to use the bathroom. My mom had also texted me and 45 minutes later Danielle realized that I never took the groceries out of the van. I 100% believe if not for her I would have left them there until the next morning.

After an amazing dinner (see below), I think Cora crossed a potty training hurdle and realized that she CAN control when she potties and when she gets treats (along with the rest of the kids in the house, who of course are all cheering her on). We even had to sneak downstairs in our PJs to get a treat and Cora went back to bed saying she needed to use the potty again (anything to get out of bedtime!). She has since used the potty immediately if I put her on it, while giving me the cutest side eyed grin/smirk and says, "I'm peeing!"

Thursday was a very typical day with work - pick up- dinner - pool, but a few things do stand out to me. I went to the pool store three times - once to get the water tested, a second time because the first water sample wasn't drawn deep enough, and a third time because the chlorine from Costco is stabilized and apparently I have over stabilized my pool. I did way too well in chemistry for balancing pool chemicals to be this hard.

Also, something else I should have known from pharmacy school- don't give a potty training kid prunes and then go about making dinner without watching said kid like a hawk. Lesson learned.

I spent most of Friday trying to get Cora to go #2 on the potty. She never did and even though I was only with the girls for 3 hours after work and we had leftovers for dinner, I went to bed emotionally exhausted. BUT, I did start reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I think reading Shakespeare in high school was the last time I read a play and I am loving it.

But of course, I love anything Harry Potter and the fact that I have taken this long to read it just goes to show you how far motherhood has drug me away from the real world.

Saturday was a frustrating day all around. Cora needed to go to the bathroom but wouldn't and even though Dan was gone all week, we just couldn't get along. But, you know what helps that? Five year olds and their wisdom, food trucks that serve gyros, cheap leather earrings, and fireworks.

Cora was wearing her Easter dress, which matched her cotton candy perfectly. She was walking around looking more adorable than words can describe and I couldn't get a good picture. Oh well, mental memory...

Sunday we celebrated our church turning 21 years old with an ice cream truck after the service.

I just love that place.

We came home to have the Nybergs over for lunch, then quickly (and I do mean quickly) cleaned the house for small group, and then a couple from our group stayed for dinner after. But, the highlight of the evening was Cora FINALLY fully using the toilet.


After holding it for 36 hours, a few prunes, and just having her sit on the toilet with my phone watching cartoons, it worked. The whole house cheered and then breathed a collective sigh of relief.

There is no good transition from there and if you are still reading, God bless you.

My workouts for the week were finishing up May The Hook from MommaStrong. I really liked the 15 minute duration of workouts, but maybe want something a little longer for when I have no choice but to workout home. Danielle and I started T25 today!

A few must make summer recipes:

Cheeseburger salad (used the dressing from this recipe) with baked fries - so amazingly good and perfect for summer. The kids had the meat sloppy-joe style on sandwich thins. We already put it on the menu for next week.

Greek chicken bowls: a summer staple - so good! The kids used pita bread and the adults had it bowl-style with rice and a slight modification to this tahini dressing recipe (added maple syrup, garlic, and apple cider vinegar).  The pickled onions are my favorite part. I could put them on everything.

Korean beef lettuce wraps with roasted broccoli and marinated cucumbers. One of my favorites - I just love the crunch of the lettuce.

Have a fantastic week! <3

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