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,
black light mini-golf,
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!