Friday, February 28, 2014

((this moment))

((this moment))

A Friday ritual. A single moment - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor, and remember.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

\\Thankful Thursday Vol. 9//

I find that it is impossibly easy to get into a rut of negativity. And once you're there, it's hard to climb your way out. Writing down my thankfuls for each week has become a way to stay away from the negative. Feel free to leave your thankfuls in the comments.

This week, I am thankful for...

...grandparents. I know I have mentioned family before, but this one is just focused on the grandparents. Kid has 4 of them, and they live within 10 minutes of us. He also has 4 great grandparents, that live within 20 minutes of us. What a lucky boy he is! But really. I am so fortunate to have family so close. Just last weekend, we relied upon my parents for babysitting during a cross country ski lesson and for a low key evening out of the house. It's so wonderful to be able to cal them up, bring over some fresh vegetables and have a quick dinner together. Kid reaches for his Mootzie as soon as we arrive at their house and snuggles in close for some love. It's such a wonderful thing to witness. Again, I am thankful and we are so fortunate!

...friends. My closest girlfriends and I are all turning 30 within a month of each other. We have started planning for our birthday bash: a night out on the town and a slumber party downtown. Oh my goodness, I am so pumped! I have known these women since 9th grade (and one of them since first grade!). We have all been through so much together and, while we are different points in our lives, we still manage to get together on a weekly basis for dinner. I call upon these women in times of need, knowing that they would give me the shirt off their backs if needed. And I would do the same for them. Again. So thankful.

...the sun. It's been dreary around here lately. It's wintertime. The sun rises late and sets early. Sometimes, when I arrive home, it's already dark. But lately, the sun has shown his pretty face longer and longer. This weekend, while Kid napped, I pushed my comfy chair into the window and soaked up the sun. Oh, the vitamin D! Winter gets hard. It's cold. It's dark. It's blah. But when the sun joins us in the winter, life is so much better! There really are a ton of things to do in the winter, and they are all so much more enjoyable when the sun shines.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

{recetas} "Breaded" Chicken Tenders

I made these the other day for our lunches, and my husband had a good laugh. And then he said, "okay, mom. I'll go do my homework." Which says to me that chicken tenders, to him, are kid food.

But, I'll let you in on a little secret.

It's kind of the hubby's fault.

I had planned to make "breaded" chicken breasts for dinner with the chicken breasts from Costco. The hubs and I took a big run to Costco last weekend. One of our purchases was chicken. I told hubs that I would get the chicken thighs. He was in charge of getting the chicken breasts.

And what did I find when I opened the freezer? Chicken breast tenderloins. AKA chicken tenders.

Chicken tenders for lunch it is!

What you need:
1 bag of pork rinds
Seasonings of your choice (I used herbes de provence)
Freshly ground black pepper
Chicken breast tenderloins

What you do:
Preheat your oven to 325. Place a wire rack on a baking sheet (okay, I call them cookie sheets).

Empty the bag of pork rinds into your food processor (or into a Ziploc bag). Add a fair amount of your seasonings and a bit of black pepper. Turn on the food processor (or roll over the bag with a rolling pin) until the pork rinds become crumbs (think bread crumbs). Pour the pork crumbs into a bowl.

Coat the chicken breast tenderloins in pork crumbs. I suppose, if you put yours in a Ziploc bag, you could add your chicken to the bag and shake it up. Like Shake 'N' Bake! Do you remember Shake 'N' Bake!?
"It's Shake 'N' Bake, 'n' I helped!"

Once the chicken is coated, pace it on a wire rack over a cookie sheet and bake at 325 degrees. My chicken, in my oven, was done in 25 minutes. Cooking times vary. Adjust your times accordingly.
Serve with your choice of dipping sauce. The hubs prefers Cholula sauce. I like them plain.

Enjoy the Pork "Breaded" Chicken Tenders!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Proud Mama Moment

Tonight, I had a proud mama moment.

I thought to myself, I am doing something right.

Don't get me wrong. I feel that way a lot. I am doing what works for our family, what is best for our family. But tonight, there was this moment. I had full confidence in the actions leading up to this moment. For a moment, I knew that I was building confidence in my child.

There are so many posts, articles, books, statuses floating around the internet that lead a mother (well, a family) to question whether or not what they are doing is "right." I've made it a point to read fewer and fewer of those things. It makes for a happier life, let me tell you!

Anyway. Back to the Proud Mama Moment.

Wow. It was amazing.

Early in Kid's life we learned that he was a shy boy. But also an outgoing boy. In our home, with just his mama and daddy around, Kid would talk with a loud and proud voice. With new people around not one sound came from Kid for at least 20 minutes.

Tonight, we brought Kid to my husband's school (did you know he's a teacher, too?) to watch the varsity basketball game. Kid's third basketball game there.

At the previous games, the hubs would walk in holding the kiddo. When Kid saw the amount of people there, he'd reach for me until I held him. So, I held him. For the entirety of both games. My back was sore after sitting on those bleachers and holding a baby! He would watch the basketball game (or the other people in the stands) with his head on my shoulder. He wouldn't make a peep.

But, tonight!

Tonight, he was the Kid we see at home every night. Loud. Happy. Independent. Sitting on the bleachers. Letting his daddy hold him. Banging his toys together. Talking. It was such a wonderful moment. I saw that the comfort provided to him during the two previous games made him feel safe. Taught him that it was okay.

I am one proud mama.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Winter Blues

I know, I know, I just posted about loving winter. And I do. I love winter. I love snow. I love to snowboard. I love to snowshoe. It's all so fun.

I think winter is great. But, I also struggle at times with the winter blues. I think everyone does, to a point.

The sky is usually gray. It's dark a lot (but, yay! the days are starting to get longer!). Winter activities are necessary for a healthy outlook.

On Saturday, we went to a sledding party at my aunt's house. She dug out a "luge course" and had us do time trials down the hill. It was fabulous! And really fast. We took kid on his first sledding run there. And may have tipped over. But, he enjoyed laying in the snow!

Then, the hubs and I took a ski lesson. That's right. Learning how to cross country ski. Did you watch cross country skiing during the Olympics?! Holy cow. It was incredible.

I was a member of my high school's nordic ski team for two years. I participated in classic skiing, and never really tried skate skiing.

But skate skiing is so much faster! A friend of mine was interested in doing a lesson and wanted a partner in crime.

Sign. Me. Up.

We rented skis and had our private lesson.

And now, my muscles are sore. Muscles I didn't even know I had are in pain. But, really? Skate skiing is complicated. We learned about 4 different "gears." I also learned that I am not an automatic transmission. It takes some work for me to switch from one gear to another. And I get a little confused/my timing gets off.

It is tough.

My parents babysat Kid while we were at the lesson. And I sat in their hot tub afterward.

It. Was. Heavenly.

Now, if only skate skis weren't so ridiculously expensive. I'd buy a pair and ski every day.

Can you believe that I didn't take even one picture of our outdoor activities this weekend?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

::Dinner Plans #6::

We've made it through another week!

Meals last week were much more successful than the week before. That's just how life goes--sometimes, we find ourselves incredibly busy. This, of course, will all change as our family grows. Amazing how life is ever-changing.

Sunday: Paleo Cheat Night: Spaghetti and Meatballs
Wednesday: Crockpot Jambalaya
Friday: Venison Burgers

I know what you're thinking. That's a lot of links. That's a lot of new recipes. Yikes, is she crazy!?

Have no fear, have no fear.

I've made all but two of these recipes before (the crockpot jambalaya and cream of broccoli soup are new). I just haven't linked to them before, or had them in a meal plan. I don't suggest making all new meals in any given week. I usually only allow myself 2 new recipes a week, especially during the school year. Summer is a little different, when I am home more.

Linking up for This Week's Eats at Jessica Lynn Writes.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Kid is Turning ONE!

I know, I know, it's a little ways away yet, but the planning has begun.

Mostly Pinterest planning. Can you tell that I've decided upon a theme?

That's right. Kid is going to have a fiesta.

And I couldn't be more excited (it's super fitting, too, as I teach at a Spanish immersion school).

I've begun to work on a simple invite, using PicMonkey. Such a wonderful site!

Besides searching for inspiration on Pinterest, all I have done is decided upon the theme, a date, and the beginnings of this invite. And, of course, I may change my mind completely on the invite. You just never know...

Friday, February 21, 2014

((this moment))

((this moment))

A Friday ritual. A single moment - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor, and remember.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

\\Thankful Thursday Vol. 8//

I find that it is impossibly easy to get into a rut of negativity. And once you're there, it's hard to climb your way out. Writing down my thankfuls for each week has become a way to stay away from the negative. Feel free to leave your thankfuls in the comments.

This week, I am thankful for...

...days off from work. It has been so fun to be home with Kid during the week. Monday was Presidents' Day and he had so much energy. It was so different to be home with him, instead of picking him up from daycare. He's tired after a day at daycare (or one of his grandparents' houses!), so having him all day during the week is fun. We played with all of his toys, we read books, we sang songs. We worked on crawling. Okay. I've talked about crawling a lot here, on Twitter, and on Instagram. You may think that I really, really wish Kid were crawling. I am completely content to have a baby that is not yet crawling! Either way, Monday was a delight. I am most definitely looking forward to summer and having a few months to be a SAHM. It'll probably be more work that kindergarten, but I can't wait!

...books. I haven't had much time to read, but I'm currently reading Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. So far, so good. Plus, I love the feel of a real book in my hands. The smell of the paper, the look of the print. Obviously, I am a blogger, and the internet means a lot to me but there is something to be said about an old fashioned book. winter boots. We have gotten so much snow in the last couple of days. While I haven't had to venture out, I have made a few trips into the wintery wonderland. My Keen boots have been a life-saver. It was warm today (the car read 31 degrees Fahrenheit), so the snow on the roads/in parking lots is getting slushy. Walking through that mush is annoying. And when I don't wear boots? My pants get wet. Boots are a must.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

{recetas} Veggie & Beef Stew

Two recipes in one week!? What!? I'm on a roll!

I finally made the beef stew that has been on my menu for the last couple of weeks. I looked for a couple of different recipes, and finally settled on combining a couple. I'm just a little bit picky about things. My husband, on the other hand, is not. He will eat whatever I put in front of him.

Of course, that doesn't mean he likes it! But this stew-this stew!-he devoured! It was so delicious the hubs asked for it to be put on next week's menu. That, my friends, is a success!

What you need:
  • 1.5 or 2 pounds of stew meat (go with 2 pounds-nice and meaty!)
  • half of 1 rutabaga
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 package (8 oz) baby bella mushrooms (or white button if you prefer)
  • 1 medium sized onion
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1.5 tsp. minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp. tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 16 oz. beef broth
  • 1 tbsp. arrowroot starch (or cornstarch, if you're not concerned with paleo)
What you do:
  • Cut the stew meat into smaller pieces if necessary. The kind I always buy is in such huge chunks.
  • Mix together the tomato paste, minced garlic, dried thyme, and tamari. I did this in a separate bowl and simply mixed with a spoon. Easy.
  • Chop all of your vegetables. I only chopped the mushrooms in half, since the cooking time is so long. That way they won't taste gross in the stew. As mentioned above, use your choice of mushrooms. I prefer the baby bellas...they're just so delicious! Be sure to peel and chop the carrots and the rutabaga (did you know rutabaga comes with a waxy layer on it to keep in moisture? I didn't...). Anyway. Chop all of your vegetables.
  • Place the stew meat in the bottom of the crock pot, then add the tomato/tamari paste/sauce on top of that. Add your vegetables, pour in the beef broth. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. I suggest using the salt and pepper from a grinder. It's delicious, and it's fun to add to the pot.
  • Cover the crock pot, and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. Keep in mind that all crock pots cook differently. Serve your stew when the meat is tender and the vegetables are cooked through. When it's done and ready to serve, scoop out a bit of the beef broth and whisk it together with your starch (arrowroot or cornstarch). When this mixture is lump free, stir it back into the crock pot until well blended. This will thicken the broth and give you the "stew" texture.
  • Eat it up and enjoy!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

{recetas} Garlic Pepper Venison

We love venison around here. I had a secret dream for this year. Unfortunately, the dream didn't come true. The goal of the dream will not be achieved, as the venison in our freezer is almost gone.

Last week, we made venison chops using the following extremely easy recipe.

What you need:
  • 1 pound venison chops
  • sea salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder
  • olive oil
  • butter
What you do:
  • Place the chops on a plate, and brush each side with a small amount of olive oil. Grind both salt and pepper over the top of each chop. Then, sprinkle with some garlic powder.
  • Melt the butter in a cast iron frying pan over medium heat. Once melted, add the chops to the pan with the seasoned side down.
  • While cooking, grind the salt and pepper and sprinkle the garlic powder over the unseasoned side of the chop. Allow to cook on one side for five minutes. Flip, and brown the other side for another five minutes. Cooking times, of course, can be different. Test your meat with a thermometer to ensure it has been cooked. Since the hubs and I prefer our meat medium-rare, ten minutes was the perfect amount of cooking time. The recommended minimum temperature for venison is 145 degrees F.
  • Serve with sauteed mushrooms and "faux-tatoes" (pureed cualiflower).

Monday, February 17, 2014


This past weekend, we took Kid out to dinner.

Okay. That makes it sound like we went to some kiddie restaurant with the purpose of bringing Kid out for his first restaurant experience.

That was not the case. At all. Instead, we went out to dinner and didn't have a sitter. Plus, my husband's coworkers were bringing their kids as well. So, maybe I should say that we went out to dinner. Kid came with us. All of our resident babysitters were out of town. And I refuse to pay for a babysitter during the first year of Kid's life (besides daycare, of course!).

We went to a restaurant that features a fresh kitchen, sushi, and cocktails. It's near-ish to our home and, since we don't go out much, we decided to go for it. We wouldn't be concerned with price, or bedtime. And we had so much fun!

But I was shocked when some of those within our group had no clue how to use chopsticks. Now, I know that we aren't a culture that uses chopsticks. Nor is sushi a traditional food of ours. As a culture, we don't regularly eat rabbit or goat. My family isn't concerned with kosher and non-kosher foods. We don't eat 12 grapes at midnight on New Year's Eve.

Do I want Kid to grow up not knowing any of these traditions? Without knowing the importance of these things?

Of course I do. I would like him to be exposed to sushi more than twice in his life by the time he reaches adulthood. I would like him to know why the Spanish (and the Peruvians) eat 12 grapes at midnight on New Year's Eve. I would like him to make lefse and krumkake. He should know about rabbit as a main ingredient in traditional paella. He should try gumbo and jambalaya.

Food can open the doors to so many lessons about our world. I hope to introduce Kid to different cultures through food. I knew this when we first got pregnant, but my eyes were opened while we had him at dinner with us.

I hope he learns to use chopsticks at a young ages. I hope he enjoys jambalaya, lefse, and pickled herring. I hope he enjoys eating 12 grapes at midnight on New Year's Eve.

learning culture through food

Sunday, February 16, 2014

::Dinner Plans #5::

Last week did not go as planned. At all.

We had dinner at my parents' (twice), dinner with the hubs' parents. We had frozen pizza and made one of the planned meals (the venison). And that planned meal was so delicious!

Needless to say, I have a few things I am going to throw into the mix this week so I can use up the ingredients (fresh veggies) purchased last week. I will say that there is definitely a plus side: I don't have to do a big grocery shop this week. Good thing, because I went a bit over budget last week. All I will need is a chicken. Not too bad.

Sunday: Chicken Soup
Monday: Crock Pot Pork Tacos
Wednesday: Dinner at Mootzie and Pa's
Thursday: Beef Stew
Saturday: Pheasant Tortilla Soup

A lot of repeating, I know. Things come up, and plans change. As much planning as I do, I have to keep that in mind. Flexibility is the key, that's for sure!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

My Kind of Cleaning Schedule

Have you seen those cleaning schedules that are floating around on different blogs and Pinterest? The ones that call for 15 minutes of cleaning a day, and your house will always remain spotless?

They have certain tasks that are done each day. Mop the kitchen on Monday; dust the living room, clean a bathroom, and tidy your bedroom on Tuesday. The list goes on.

And. They want you to do a load of laundry every day.

That, my friends, does not work for me.

If you can't follow those daily cleaning schedules, you've come to the right place. I work better on a different kind of schedule. One where I do all of the cleaning tasks in one day. When the hubs is around, so that he can help, too. He does all of the vacuuming. I hate vacuuming. Mostly because of the stairs. Vacuuming stairs is a horrible chore.

I digress. This isn't about horrible chores. I've already written about those (vacuuming and laundry). This is about how I get my house clean (and keep it that way).

Okay. I've kind of misled you thus far. You can't keep a house clean and picked up in one day a week. It just isn't possible, as messes are created every day. But, all of the "heavy cleaning" happens on one day.

Monday through Friday

  • Set a timer for 10 minutes to tidy things up and put stuff away.
  • Do your typical "chores" - wipe the counter and sink down after dinner, take the trash out when it's full (you know, those common sense things).
Saturday or Sunday
  • Turn up the music and take care of everything else:
    • Dust the whole house
    • Vacuum (or, have your husband do it!)
    • Clean all counters (kitchen, bathroom)
    • Tackle the laundry. I hate laundry, and would despise having to do a load every day. It works much better for me to do it all in one day.
    • Clean the bathrooms.
    • Swiffer the non-carpeted floors after vacuuming them.
And, you're done.

In all seriousness, this takes about an hour to an hour and a half. I have a small house. That may be the reason that this schedule works for me. The daily schedules don't work for me because I don't work in the home. I return home with Kid around 4:30 or 5. By the time we get dinner on the table and play a little bit, I'm tired and want to relax. Cleaning is the last thing on my mind.

Friday, February 14, 2014

((this moment))

((this moment))

A Friday ritual. A single moment - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor, and remember.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Loving Winter

Fortunately for me, I love snow. It's a good thing because Minnesota has quite a bit of it. And a fresh snow is beautiful!

My girlfriends and I recently went snowshoeing around the neighborhood. We, of course, went on the warmest day of the weekend. Temperatures got above 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Can you believe it!? It was like a heat wave.

We layered up and headed down the trail. We took a left where we normally take a right, just to explore something new.

And upon our return, we made hot chocolate, coffee, and tea (oh, the joys of the single serve coffee maker). A nice, warm beverage is always necessary after any outdoor winter event!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

::Dinner Plans #4::

This weekend has flown on by...we have been so busy!

We started the weekend with a high school basketball game, where we met up with a bunch of the hubs' coworkers. On Saturday, we went to shoot sporting clays.

Never had I shot sporting clays before, but wow, it is interesting! Bright orange clay "pigeons" are thrown into the air by a launcher. The goal is to shoot them before they come down and hit the ground. So weird. I didn't think I would like it, you know, because it's guns and all. But it was surprisingly fun and exciting. Although, I only hit one of the "pigeons" (don't worry they aren't real birds).

Saturday night, my hubs' grandma took all of her adult grandchildren out to dinner. The prerequisite is an age of 21+. It was a delightful dinner, and a tradition we have enjoyed for three years.

And today. Today, is a day of rest. A day of laundry, and the grocery store, and hanging out with cousins (Kid's cousins, that is). I wrote my meal plan this morning, and am excited that it features 3 days of a soup or stew. I cannot wait! One of my favorite parts of winter. Soups and stews.

Sunday: dinner with Mootzie & Pa (my parents--don't you love their grandparent name?!)
Monday: Pork Tacos with Avocado Pepper Spread
Tuesday: Chicken Soup
Wednesday: Venison Steaks with Steamed Broccoli

Friday: Venison Soup
Saturday: Beef Stew

So, there's the plan my friends.

Linking up with Jessica at jessica lynn writes.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

::Dinner Plans #3::

Sunday again!

Can you believe how quickly it gets here? I cannot.

We went to our nephew's Baptism this morning. So wonderful! Of course, we had the typical Baptism lunch at my sister's house after all was wrapped up at the church. All was delicious, and it was so wonderful to see Kid play with his cousins (and their cousins, too). Of course, he is not yet moving, but the two sat happily on the floor playing with chew beads and their pretty sweet uncle.

The hubs and I have a pretty busy week, so I've had to look for those "thirty minute" or "week night" meals.

Monday: Venison Fajitas
Friday: Cilantro Shrimp Tacos

So there you have it. Lots of easy meals. I've started to get back into the paleo mindset. My weight has gone up since the holidays (no surprise there), and since I've strayed away from the paleo lifestyle. I need to get back into it. Plus, I feel better eating paleo anyway.

If you don't follow the paleo "diet" (I hesitate to call it a diet), you should still try some of the listed recipes anyway. They're easy, and they're tasty. And who would turn down tasty food?!

Saturday, February 1, 2014


Well, we almost made it to 10 months without a major illness for the Kid. 

And now we are going on day 3 of diarrhea and a green and boogery, yet surprisingly runny nose. 

Poor kid.

I've seen the beginnings of yet another tooth (number 7), and am wondering if that could be the culprit?

Because other than the aforementioned symptoms, Kid is happy as can be! And he even slept for seven and a half hours (that's a first for a long time in this household...).

We've just been biding our time, staying hydrated and comfortable.