Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Back to School + Your Next Meal Plan


We have started school and are all the way back in the full swing of things with weekly clothes laid out, activity bags organized, and lunches packed.

I have almost completed all of the random tasks that come along with the first day of school. Send in a family photograph! Clorox wipes donations would be nice! Sign up for this app! Pay this device fee! See this bus schedule! I honestly can't complain, we all know I love a planner full of checked boxes.

Ina has come home from school every day with hair that is tangled and plastered to her forehead with sweat, happy to report what she learned and exactly who in her class has misbehaved and what his/her consequence was.

On the other side of the spectrum, while Cora has absolutely adored her first week of preschool, many of the exact details remain fuzzy.

When I ask Cora who she played with, she answers with, "the boy with the boy shirt" or "my new friend that is a girl." This morning I caught Ina lecturing Cora on her teachers' names and having her repeat them back.

Although photographic evidence would suggest Mira was not thrilled about her sisters going to school, deep down we all know she thrives at being the only child.

Even though we are back to school, we are still soaking up as much time as possible in the pool, and don't plan for that to stop anytime soon, as I scheduled the closing for the last week in September.  How many friends can we have visit to swim in between now and then?

Ina has also recently become obsessed with kite flying and resorts to having Cora hold it is the air when she is otherwise unsuccessful at getting the kite off the ground.

The humidity at 5 am has increased, which I didn't think was possible, which if anything has forced me to complete push ups from my feet, as my knees just slip around on the ground.

Here is your meal plan for next week. I strongly recommend you try all of these recipes.

Chicken enchilada skillet- chopping up the tortillas! what a concept! With my favorite enchilada sauce, of course.

TWENTY MINUTE sheet pan shrimp tacos (added chicken to the sheet pan for my little ladies that don't like shrimp). We liked this so much I made it two nights in a row.

Chicken satay with peanut sauce. We made this the night the Champs came for dinner and Gunner told me it was his new favorite food - better than mac and cheese.

The best Korean tacos - made with ground beef and no marinating with ease while my family was swimming in the pool and Mira was watching Frozen for the 3000th time. Make these NOW. Yes, I am yelling at you. I added kale and quinoa to the leftovers for the best salad of my life.

Tater tot casserole - a clean version that my family loved so much they all complained when the pan was empty. Mira actually cried and asked, "more?" over and over again, even when I tried to distract her with a chocolate chip cookie. Will make again very soon.

We have a very full weekend coming up with two birthday parties, guests for dinner, church activities, and a very fun double date night. I hope you have a great end to your week! <3

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

The Musical that is My Life


I am coming to you from inside the sauna that is the mid-west right in August. We have started 'sweat angels' competitions during our breaks at the gym.

Although it is somewhat gross and sticky, I love leaving there feeling like I gave my workout my all, which a drenched tank top and sweating shins help to confirm.

Let's back up to last Monday morning, when  Danielle texted me to ask if I wanted to have dinner that night...wait for it...without children or husbands.

I couldn't reply YES fast enough. When they lived with us, Danielle and I had many quiet mornings together, working out, sipping coffee, meal planning, and chatting. I greatly miss this time and jumped at the opportunity to hang out with her again.

We went to Pig and Finch, whose cocktails and food did not disappoint. I am still dreaming about the Brussels sprouts. We chatted...well...mostly I chatted while she listened, and before I knew it 3 hours had flown by.

While I was away Dan was texting me pictures and videos of Mira and Ina and Cora went to see Aladdin with Grandma Frankie.

Tuesday Brooke and Holland came over for dinner and some swimming. I hadn't seen Brooke for over five minutes in over a week and that was just way too long. I love her to pieces.

I have no memories from Wednesday night, which likely means we ate dinner and went to bed.

Thursday Ina started her competition dance class.

Yes, we are going there, even though two years ago I swore we never ever ever would. What can I say...things change.

The weekdays ended in the best way possible: Ina and Cora's Seussical the Musical performance, a musical based on the Dr. Seuss books we know and love.

The girls (along with the rest of the cast) had gone to camp/rehearsal for only 9 days, so while I was expecting the show to be cute, I wasn't anticipating anything close to the quality performance that I saw.

These kids have some great talent! Few things will keep me willingly out of bed with a smile on my face past 10 PM.

Ina came home from camp many days telling me that Cora refused to participate or didn't listen to the teacher, so imagine my surprise when my favorite red head was up there with the rest of the cast, expressions animated and voice singing loud without a tear or pout to be seen.

Ina's friend Zowie was in the audience, which made Ina so excited.

Saturday was a day. My grandparents were moving to a different assisted living place and came to stay with us for the day while I was working, I had scheduled to have the girls' hair cut (by Kim, who amazingly does house calls), and the house had to be picked up to be cleaned that night.

By 11 am I was so frazzled that I could barely form sentences and was incredibly happy to be leaving the house to celebrate Dan's grandma's 90th birthday party. In true Racheal-fashion, I made hoagie dip and then proceeded to leave it sitting in my refrigerator. Apparently getting me plus 6 other people out the door in clean clothes and hair brushed is my maximum capacity.

My hoagie dip was not missed one bit, because Papa Dana prepared an amazing spread of food.

We enjoyed catching up with family, particularly baby cousin Delaney, popping balloons, and eating more desserts than typically allowed.

Sunday was a well deserved day of rest, when a measly two items were on my to-do list, and only one of them was checked off when the day was over.

Ina did move to the "big kids" class at church, which she enjoyed so much she begged to go back with Brooke to the youth service that night.

Our rest on Sunday was partially required, when early afternoon Dan started shivering with a fever and coughing, neither of which improved as the day went on despite multiple medical interventions attempted by his in-house pharmacist. Yesterday's doctor's appointment confirmed he has bronchitis. We are hoping the antibiotics kick in today. Poor guy.

We are thinking Dan has what Ina had for two weeks, but according to Ina is much worse because he has, "asthma, pneumonia, AND AN INFECTION." I tried to explain to her that pneumonia was the same thing as an infection, just a specific type, but she wasn't hearing it. She also dramatically wrote Holland a note to leave in her mail box that read, and I quote, "My dad is sick. He has an infection of the lungs. To: Holland. From: Ina."

Speaking of infections, when I was putting in my earrings yesterday Cora jealously watched me and said/whined, "But mom, I want to have a ear infection too!"

And because I don't want to leave Mira out, she has started to say, "Thank you Mommy" when I give her a drink or a snack and I completely melt every single time. She also unsuccessfully attempted to change her own (very) dirty diaper during our "day of rest" which quickly required a mid-day shower.

Dan's sickness (plus the girls having to go with Granny and Memaw to all day doctors appointments) put me in the unfortunate predicament of taking three very tried and very agitated girls to two meet the teacher/back to school nights at two different schools in under one hour all by myself.

Really, the picture says it all. There were multiple tantrums thrown about having to leave the room we were currently in (and the toys inside) to get to the next room, lots of whining and use of the world "no", and I accidentally flipped a desk over (I wish I was joking). The good news is that Cora is with Ina's old pre-school teachers, whom we absolutely adored, and Ina seemed excited about her new classroom and teacher.

Repeat after me: This is going to be a great school year.

Two recipes you need to make this week. Yes, this week:

Better than Takeout Cashew Basil Chicken - will be repeated very soon.

Pizza Chicken - made on the smoker to take it to the next level. Cora pretends to make this every day in her toy kitchen.

Have a great week! See you next time with first day of school pictures where everyone has a bright and shining smile (thinking positive here).

Monday, August 5, 2019

Our Four Year Old Mermaid

Merely hours after we last talked, The Kendricks went full steam ahead on celebration mode to lift up our new favorite four year old. We started at our local Mexican restaurant, made a quick stop at Aldi for party supplies, and then ended the night at our town's new handmade ice cream place.

(In Mira's world, shoes are optional.)

Fueled on chips, salsa, and ice cream, I stayed up way past my bedtime listening to an audio book and blowing up more balloons than I could count.

The dizziness was completely worth it the next morning when Cora walked downstairs and squealed.

My van battery somehow died, so Dan and Cora took his truck to pick up the cake (which was adorable and very affordable and conveniently made by a wonderful woman a few blocks away).

Cora had so much fun riding with Dan in his truck that she insisted on joining him to pick up the pizza, even though she missed the arrival of most of her guests.

I thought the mermaid tail idea was so cute, but all of the kids took one look and asked, "Did the mermaid die?"

The kids swam (for a little bit, it was actually pretty cold), ate pizza, and played with all of Cora's new toys.

Every single time we have a birthday party, even though we try to stick to mostly family, I am always completely blown away by the love that surrounds my family.  These girls have no idea how blessed they are to have this tribe to grow up in.

As soon as everyone left Ina collapsed on the couch and again said she didn't feel well. She spent the next few days with a milder fever, but a horrible sounding cough, which refused to go away despite all the asthma medication. We waited until Monday to make yet another doctor's appointment. Turns out, her justavirus progressed into pneumonia and an ear infection. Thank God for ibuprofen and effective antibiotics.

Back to Saturday, after most of the party stuff was tucked away at my house, I left my sick and worn out family at home to celebrate my friend Brooke's birthday at a very fun distillery set on a creek with live music, yard games, picnic tables, and a sand box.

Although I missed my family and kept on thinking they would have loved this place, I savored the opportunity to sit and relax without having to worry about one of my children falling in the creek.

Mira puked on Saturday night. I know, good times at our house. Cora and I went to church by ourselves, and then we had a relaxing day at home which was the perfect opportunity to finish season three of Stranger Things. 

Dan and I had one day of work on Monday, then at 4 AM on Tuesday our pastor picked us up for a 10 hour road trip to Birmingham, Alabama where we spent the next three days attending a conference called Grow.

Grow is put on by Church of the Highlands, a powerhouse of a church with an amazing senior pastor and an even more amazing group of members who served their hearts out. Dan and I learned so much and grew so much in those few short days. The worship, the sermons, the labs, the FOOD - everything was absolutely amazing. I would strongly encourage anyone looking to grow their church and introduce more people to Jesus to check this conference out next year.

While we were gone, the girls were living their best life with Papa Scott at home, going to the movies, Taco Bell, and Golden Corral. When we picked them up on Friday from Danielle's, they weren't even excited to see us.

The next few days were spent mostly hanging around the house, tackling some yard work, swimming, and eating.

Ina spent her tooth fairy money on pizza Lunchables and her sisters were very grateful for that decision.

I also made a rare Saturday appearance at the gym and we had friends over for BLTs after church on Sunday.

We are back at it again today, with a week full of planned meals, musical camp, and a weekend to look forward to. I hope you have a great week!
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