Monday, March 31, 2014


Y'all know I'm a teacher, right? So when I say "one of my moms" you know that I'm talking about a student's mom, right?

Okay, good. Glad that is cleared up.

One of my moms drinks kombucha every day. Have you heard about kombucha?

I hadn't, until Kid was about 5 months old (when school started). I had read an article or two that mentioned kombucha, but I didn't look into it beyond that.

Then I saw that one of my moms always had a bottle of kombucha with her. So I chatted with her about it. She says that, instead of buying a Starbucks every day, she buys a bottle of kombucha. Yep, it's about $5 per bottle.

And then, it some how got brought up at daycare one day. My daycare lady makes her own kombucha! Say what!?

If you don't know what it is, check out this article.

I'm brewing my own kombucha, kids. The daycare lady gave me a SCOBY, and I'm giving it a go. I don't really know that much about it, though. My husband was a little concerned that it was something for Kid. I reassured him that it was for me; Kid wouldn't be drinking any and I wouldn't make hubs drink any.

So. Here is what I have learned about brewing kombucha:

It is unbelievably easily. I made the tea. Added the SCOBY and starter. Covered the jar with towels. And it's been hands-off ever since.

It's weird. The SCOBY thing? Weird looking! It kind of looks like...chicken? Or a hunk of some sort of meat. But it is white-ish. Interesting.

I have yet to taste it, though. The daycare lady said that it would take a few tries to get it to my preferred taste. She adds fruit to hers. Again, interesting.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

::Dinner Plans 11::

I'm finding myself at a bit of a loss this week. I feel as though this is becoming a pattern for me. One week, I am very excited about meal planning. The next week, I'm at a complete loss. I have no motivation to look for a new recipe or two. I have no desire to think about what I want to cook from memory (it is pretty cool that I have a few go-to dishes that I just know).

Maybe it's the super random weather we've had. On Friday, it rained AND snowed. Really!?
Okay, I guess it's not all that unusual. I do live in Minnesota, after all.

Maybe it's because I feel like I repeat myself over and over again. Chicken. Beef. Venison. Beef. Chicken. Venison. Chicken. Chicken. Pork. Seafood.

Or, maybe. Maybe I'm just in a mood.

Alright, kiddo, buck up. Everyone is there sometimes. It's life. It happens.

Chin up, butter cup and plan your meals.

Okay! Here we go!
(sometimes and "Okay, here we go!" is all I need)

Sunday: Baked Chicken with Mushrooms & Onions
Monday: Garlic Pepper Venison Steaks with Sauteed Vegetables
Tuesday: Salad Bar
Wednesday: Grilled Paninis
Thursday: Chicken Soup
Friday: Scrambled Eggs with Sweet Potato Hash
Saturday: Kid's Birthday Party! Crock Pot Chicken Tacos

See, that wasn't so bad now, was it?

I hope y'all have a wonderful week. I've finally made it to spring break, so this one will definitely be great!

Jessica Lynn Writes

Saturday, March 29, 2014

{recetas} Venison & Asparagus Burgers

Last week, we had to stray a bit from the ::Dinner Plans:: because the dinner plans with Mootzie & Pa fell through. I had to whip something up pretty quickly!

And what I came up with was a HUGE success. The hubs, the guy that does not like asparagus, gobbled it up and went for seconds. I would have to say that is the best dinner time compliment there is. That, and saying, "This is better than my mom's." 

Mom always is the best cook, right?
( totally depends on the mom!)

Venison & Asparagus

What you need:
1 lb ground venison (or ground whatever meat you want)
1 lb fresh asparagus
1 or 2 cloves minced garlic
minced onion flakes
4 tablespoons butter
sea salt
4 eggs

What you do:
First, wash the asparagus and cut off the ends. Hold up. I have to back up already. First, start the grill (or ask the hubs to, because he likes to grill so much). Put your pound of meat into a glass bowl and drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Not too much, or it will burn, burn, burn on the grill. Sprinkle in some dried onion flakes (maybe 2 teaspoons) and basil (2 teaspoons). Knead it all together and form your burger patties (we make 4 burgers from 1 lb of meat).

Now, wash and cut off the ends of the asparagus. Melt the butter in a frying pan and add the asparagus. As it is cooking over medium heat, add sea salt (1 teaspoon) and oregano (2 teaspoons). Stir the asparagus around occasionally. It's done when it is tender-crisp. Okay, really. It's done when you want it to be. Taste it and see if it is cooked to your liking. When the asparagus is done, put it on a plate in a warm oven. Leave the butter/garlic residue in the pan for the eggs.

Grill the burgers. We grill our burgers for about 7 minutes. A few minutes after starting the burgers, crack the eggs into the warm pan (keep the heat around medium). When the eggs are ready, flip them.

Place a bed of asparagus on each plate. Place the venison burger on top of the lettuce, and finally, add the egg. Okay. I got creative and added a few asparagus tops to the egg.
Have you ever watched Chopped? I was playing Chopped while "plating" so I had to add the asparagus.

Friday, March 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, March 27, 2014

\\Thankful Thursday Vol 11//

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...

...our restored health. Both the hubs and I were battling some sort of bug that had us running to the bathroom far to frequently. We are finally feeling better, and are thankful for it. It's so easy to take for granted the time that you have in a day (even when you think you don't have any time). When you're sick, you realize how much time you actually have. And you miss it. It's so nice to be feeling healthy again!

...snowboarding. I haven't gone snowboarding in two seasons. WHAT?! For one season, I was pregnant. And this season, time just got away from me. And, the temperatures were often way too far below zero. But this weekend, THIS WEEKEND!, the hubs and I are going snowboarding. My sister will be watching Kid. The hubs and I will ride until we can ride no longer. close by. I know I've said this time and time again. But my parents are out of town. And so is my brother. And, it just feels weird. I enjoy knowing that they are there. Just 10 minutes down the road. The world just doesn't feel right when they're off traveling and seeing the world.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

First Year Photos

My big, big boy is turning one. In just over a week.

It is so hard to believe.

The time really does fly by.

The party planning has taken place, and now it is time to think about the photography. That's right. Kid is going to have a first birthday photo shoot with his mama.

Sorry, kid, we won't be paying for some fancy-schancy photographer. Mama's gonna do it.

I'm sure it comes as no surprise that I have made a board on pinterest, dedicate to the pictures I will be taking with Kid. My only job now is to start looking for the props.

Besides sales at Joann, Michael's, and the Hobby Lobby, do any of you have thoughts on where I can find some cheap props for the photos?

photo credits:
mirrors & cake*

*Help! I could not find the source for this picture. I found it on Pinterest, but the pin doesn't go anywhere. If you know the source, please let me know so I can update and give proper credit!

**This picture is actually of a boy holding the ultrasound picture of his little brother. My thought is to have Kid hold his own ultrasound picture. Then, when he turns 2, we will take a picture of him holding this picture form his first birthday. Doesn't that sound fun!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Fiesta Food

I'm still digging the Fiesta Décor from my last fiesta post. I am now getting my ideas narrowed down and set in stone for the menu.

Ahh, I love Mexican food. I am so excited. And, on the plus side, the meat for the tacos/burritos can be done in the crock pot. SCORE! Seriously, the crock pot makes life so much easier.

the sources of all inspiration:
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Doesn't all that up there look delicious!? Don't you want to come to Kid's fiesta?

Sunday, March 23, 2014

::Dinner Plans #10::

10 weeks of dinner plans! Woot!

That's pretty exciting. It's been fun to plan menus each week (okay, I've missed quite a few weeks since I began). Just recently I took some time to look back at previous plans, and to see what kind of habits I have in so far as cooking.

Biggest pattern I found:
I love venison.
(but that is no surprise)

Plain and simple, it is delicious. It is; however, an acquired taste. Not everyone enjoys venison.
I guess that's just the nature of the beast.

This week, I am going to try my hardest to go all (but not super strict) paleo. I've been feeling rather cruddy lately and feel that this "clean up" may help.

Sunday: Doro Wot
Saturday: Broccoli Soup

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Just Real Quick

I'm checking in from the phone today, with hopes to sit down and actually write a little later.

Kid was up early today, and has just recently become mobile. He's still rockin' the army crawl, but this mama realizes that it is time to baby proof.

Maybe we were supposed to do that when he was born, but you could put him down, turn around, and he'd still be where you put him.

Now, you out him down and he's made it across the room in give seconds.

We've had a gate at the top of our stairs for a couple of years (put it in when we got the pup). But now it's time to plug the unused outlets. Make it near impossible to open drawers and cabinets, anchor some furniture to the walls, and turn down the ol' water heater. 

But here's my question: at what age can you un-baby proof? Cuz some of the baby proofing stuff makes it hard for adults to gain access.

Ooh. Maybe I should baby proof my chocolate so the hubs can't get at it!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Mommy Wars

I have never really been into the "Mommy Wars." Even reading about how we should avoid them, and all support each other doesn't excite me.

Supporting each other seems as though it should be common sense, right?

Lately, though, I've had the feeling that I'm just not quite good enough.

I don't know why I'm putting this out into the blog world, but it has been on my mind quite a bit over the last week or so. Writing it down is a form of letting it go. Getting it off my chest. Getting over it.

It isn't that I'm reading articles and blogs and feeling like I don't compare to these women that are amazing mothers. Because, most of the time, I feel like a pretty awesome mom. And I feel as though comparing myself to others is just plain stupid.

But I'm human, and it happens. There's a whole list of things that have me wondering if I'm doing this right. If I really am an awesome mom.

Am I home with Kid enough? I work outside of the home. He gets dropped off at daycare at 7am, and picked up at 4pm. That's a long time! Am I taking too much time for myself by having him at daycare so long? But during the school year, there is no way around it. I have to be at work by 7:30 (the hubs even earlier) and cannot leave until 3:30. Am I horrible for being away from him?

Am I too attached and unwilling to let go when I am at home with him? I don't like getting babysitters often, because I feel like I don't have enough time with my own child. Is that selfish of me? Am I horrible for wanting to be with Kid all the time?

Did I nurse for too long? I still nurse Kid. Only overnight (my supply dropped, and it dropped fast). He still is waking up once a night to get some boob time. Is it selfish of me to still nurse him overnight? Is he going to walk up to me as a 2 year old and ask for some boob? And then will I feel really awkward and embarrassed? Will he?

Did I nurse long enough?*

Do I read to him enough?

Do we sing enough songs?

Am I teaching him everything I should be?

Am I a good mom?

But you know what is awesome?

After re-reading this post, I realize that those thoughts and questions are kinda lame.

Of course I am a fabulous mother. Kid is happy and healthy (okay, we're dealing with another ear infection...). He's smiling, growing, laughing, gaining weight, crawling (kind of), and an all around wonderful and happy kid.

And that is all that matters.

*I do not want to start any debate about breast or formula feeding. All families do what is best for their child and their family. And I support each family's decision.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Bigs & Littles

This year, I decided to participate in the Bigs & Littles blogging network.

What an experience!

Sorry...I'm posting this way was supposed to be done and posted on March 3rd. That was a couple of weeks ago.
(do you suppose it's things like those that keep my blog nice and small?)

Anyway. I got matched up with Brittany at Everyday Thoughts. I thought it was a great match up. We're both new moms (yay! I love being a mom). AND! We both have pretty cute baby boys (except hers is a year already, and mine is just a few weeks away).

I have to admit that, at first, I was a little apprehensive about joining Bigs & Littles. In fact, I thought about signing up for a few days before I actually did. Could I handle the "commitment" (cuz it was so huge)? Would I be paired with someone similar to myself, with a blog similar to my own (yes, and yes).

It was most definitely a great experience. One I hope to repeat again the next time Bigs & Littles happens again. And all I'd like to get out of it?

Okay, there are a couple things:

Get a few tips and pointers. Brittany provided amazing ones. Ones that I have been following, and have brought some success to the ol' blog.

Find a blog I otherwise wouldn't have. I don't think I every would have happened upon Brittany's blog without this blogging network, and it's a great blog! I especially love her latest post--it makes me think that Kid probably has the same inner-monologue.

It was a great experience, and I'm glad I took part!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

::Dinner Plans #9::

My friends. This is normal one of the posts that I have planned out a few days in advance and is scheduled to publish right away in the morning.
Except today.

It is currently 9:37 PM. I haven't even begun to think about my meal plan for the week, and Sunday is usually the first day of the plan.

You're right. It's one of those weekends. One of those crazy-busy ones, where we've spent almost no time at home. We had breakfast with my parents and sister (and her family). We had dinner with Hubs' parents. We went to church and had brunch with the hubby's sister and her family. Although it was busy, it was a delightful weekend. And Kid had so much cousin time!

And now, I am assessing the contents of my fridge for the dinner plans...

Sunday: Qdoba burritos - buy one get one free!
Monday: Corned Beef & Cabbage (St. Patrick's Day!)
Tuesday: Dinner with Mootzie & Pa
Wednesday: Italian Meatloaf
Thursday: White Wine Chicken Thighs
Saturday: Steak & Sweet Pepper Hash with Eggs

Jessica Lynn Writes

Thursday, March 13, 2014

\\Thankful Thursday Vol. 10//

 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...

..the Mint Oreo Blizzard my husband surprised me with last night. We indulged in blizzards all the time when I was pregnant with Kid. Mmm, so delicious. And it was such a surprise. The hubs walked in the door with a huge grin, and his hands still in the garage (yes, it looked so awkward). And then, he showed me the blizzard! It was the best surprise ever!

...pickles. Kid had his first pickle this week. I know this is a lame thankful, but pickles are one of my favorite foods. And it is appear as though they are one of Kid's favorites as well. Woo hoo! He loved it! And got so mad when he dropped it on the floor.

...skiing. I've been trying to learn how to skate ski. I was part of the nordic ski team for a couple years in high school, but I only participated in classic skiing (where your feet go back and forth). Just this year, the hubs and I picked up skate skiing. Did anyone watch the biathlon events during the Olympics? They were skate skiing (and then stopping to do some target shooting). It has been so, so fun. Unbelievably tiring, but fun. And a great work out, too!

...the weather (now that I am talking about it, it'll will take a turn for the worse). Our weather has been delightful. Driving with the windows down. A light spring coat, instead of the hefty winter coat. It even smells like spring out there. The snow is melting, the sun is intense. And the birds are back!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Fiesta Décor

I find it hard to believe that spring break is just around the corner. And once spring break happens, the end of the school year sneaks up in no time.
Spring Break brings with it Kid's first birthday. That, in and of itself, is impossible to believe. Kid is going to be one!?

But he is, and his birthday party will be here before I know it.
(Read: I need to get to some serious planning!)

I have the theme decided, and came up with a draft for the invites (which has since been tossed out the window). I've now completed the invites, have an idea for decor, and am in the thinking stages for a menu. Neither of those items will be too hard to complete, as we're throwing Kid a fiesta themed...well, fiesta.

sources for fiesta decor
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Sunday, March 9, 2014

::Dinner Plans #8::

Saturday was a big day.

A big day indeed: thirty years ago, my parents raced to the hospital and met me en route.

How does that work? you think...

I was born in a car. At the end of a tunnel, at 3:30 in the morning in the middle of your typical Minnesota snow storm. Talk about a surprise!

So, I turned thirty. We celebrated like we were in our early twenties: dinner out, then live music. It was a delight, and I couldn't thank my family more.

I've been working on my meal plan, and am feeling like I need a break from all the "new" recipes. I love cooking, and experimenting in the kitchen. But, I'm just in a rut. Maybe because we still have a million inches of snow on the ground. Or the fact that March is typically the snowiest month of the year. Who knows. So my plan this week is full of old faithfuls.

Sunday: Basil Peppered Chicken and Roasted Vegetables
Monday: Dinner @ Mootzie and Pa's
Wednesday: Spaghetti and Meatballs (cheat night!)
Thursday: Chicken Stir Fry over "Rice"
Saturday: Pad Thai

Friday, March 7, 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.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Check In

I once wrote a post about New Month Resolutions, and how I would never write New Year's Resolutions.

And then, 2013 came to an end and I came up with New Year's Resolutions for three different parts of my life. What was I thinking? Was I thinking that my motivation would miraculously change and I would be one of those people that follows through on things?

Well. It's March 5th (Happy Birthday, Bestie K!) and it's time for me do a little check in.

So. How am I doing?

1. An image in every post. This one, surprisingly, is going well. While there has been a post here and there without an image, the majority have had something. Something created in PicMonkey, or a simple picture. It definitely makes the blog more fun. And using PicMonkey is a favorite thing of mine (I just created Kid's birthday invites using PicMonkey).
Current Status: Winning!

2. Post twice a week. Well, I didn't go through and look at each and every week. I did however notice that I've done pretty awesome at posting (especially since mid- to late-February).
Current Status: Winning!

3. Plan ahead. This one. THIS ONE! This one has probably been the best for the blog resolutions. Scheduling posts!? How awesome is that!? I can get a few posts done on Sunday and have them ready to go. It. Is. Awesome.
Current Status: Winning!

1. I am awesome at laundry now. Three months strong, woo hoo! It's getting finished. It's getting put away. Our clothes are clean and our mornings are so much easier. So, so nice. 
Current Status: Winning!

2. Shed a few pounds. Guys. I am not doing well with this one. Not even a little bit. In fact, I've probably gained weight over the last couple of weeks. I really need to get on top of it. Exercise more. Eat less. Just get motivated.
Current Status: Failing.

3. Have a camera ready to go. Well. I always have my phone. But my camera is so much better. I haven't done so well with this one. I've taken a BUNCH of pictures with my phone. And I've take a few with my camera. But my camera is mostly used on the weekend. When I'm home. And Kid is home. And Hubs is home. I'm going to keep working on this one...
Current Status: Barely Scraping By.

1. To maintain a clean desk. Not happening. It's cleaner that usual. But not as clean as I would like. There's good reason behind that, but this is not a place to really talk about my other job.
Current Status: Failing.

2. To include positive parent communication on Fridays. This has been a fun one. But I"m not just doing it on Fridays. Nope, nope, nope. I have been making phone calls and sending quick anecdotal email to parents throughout the entire week. And their responses are so delightful.
Current Status: Winning!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

{recetas} Venison Soup

Aah, soup.

Nothing beats soup on a cold winter day. Especially hot soup. And I mean hot. My husband usually lets an ice cube melt in his bowl of soup because I like it so hot. A meal that warms and comforts. That is what winter is about.

And since it seems like winter will be here forever, I may as well embrace it. Right?

Venison Soup

What you need:
1 pound ground venison
3 bell peppers (I got the stoplight), diced
1 package mushrooms, chopped
4 carrots, peeled & chopped
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
32 ounces beef broth
1/2 can diced tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

What you do:

First, wash and chop the veggies. Well, dice the onion and the peppers. I like to keep the onion pieces a little large so that I can easily avoid them while eating. I don't know to eat onion, but I enjoy the flavor that it adds to a recipe.

Put the onion and venison into a frying pan with a small amount of olive oil. Brown the meat and cook the onions until they are translucent. There isn't much fat with venison, so don't worry about draining. Instead, transfer the onions and beef to a large stock pot or dutch oven. I wish I had a dutch oven (don't worry, I put it on my birthday list).

Add everything else to the pot and let it simmer. I like to let my soups simmer for about 30 minutes. This is to make sure all of the vegetables are done, but also to allow the flavors to meld.

And when I'm feeling extra fancy, I add a few slices of avocado on top.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Eleven Months

My oh my.

Kid is not eleven months old. He can't be. It feels like we were heading into the hospital a few weeks ago. Not eleven months ago. Wow.

It's true, though. Yesterday was the day. Kid has been around for 11 months. And he is a hoot and a half!
(and in just 1 month, he will be a year old!)

Kid Stats

Length: Not sure ... we will find out next month at the 12 month appointment!

Weight: We were at the doctor's office last week (ear infection), so we have an official weight. 23 pounds and 6 ounces. Big boy!

Diaper size: 5. We've fallen off of the cloth diaper wagon due to a week of diarrhea and a pretty bad rash

Clothing size: We just packed away all of the 12 month clothes and pulled out 18 month outfits. Kid is getting big and long.

Favorite toys: John Deere tractor; he loves to "fix" it. Jumperoo. Shape sorter. Kid loves toys. Loves to play.

Newest developments: Not crawling (but that's not a new development). He can get up on his hands and knees, and rocks back and forth a little bit. If he's on his belly, Kid can pull himself forward a couple of times (about twice) before he gets frustrated or bored. But then, he's pretty content to just sit. He's starting to try to pull himself up on furniture and, can sometimes get to his knees. The boy just doesn't seem to be in a hurry to move. At all. This mama is okay with that for now. We haven't really had to "child-proof" anything and, when we put him somewhere, we know we will find him there a few minutes later. Kiddo is also playing "so big!" and likes to hide himself behind a blanket and play "peek-a-boo."

Really, he has a happy demeanor and has been a joy to love. Such a sweet boy.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

::Dinner Plans #7::

Day One. Doing well.

Granted, I've only eaten breakfast (we have breakfast early around these parts), but it was good. Eggs, bacon, a little coconut water. Delicious.

We also have some exercise planned for this afternoon: skiing and skijoring. I think our dog is quite excited for the exercise, too. He's been cooped up far too long. Poor pup has an ear infection, too. He now runs to his kennel when we grab a paper towel (which we've been using to apply his ear med). It's so sad!

Sunday: Cilantro Shrimp Tacos
Wednesday: Garlic Basil Venison Burgers
Thursday: Cumin Spiced Pork Tenderloin
Saturday: Beef Stew

Have a good week, everyone!

Jessica Lynn Writes

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Out of Control

I'm feeling out of control.

With my eating.

It's getting crazy.

If you've seen my latest ::Dinner Plans:: you can see that I'm doing fairly well with dinners. Most of them are paleo -- I feel so much better when eating Paleo. More energetic. More lively.

Like I said. Dinners are great. Breakfast, lunch, and snacks are not.

I'm putting on weight, and it's not good. Sadly, I'm starting to feel gross.

You know, "shedding a few pounds" was one of my New Year's Resolutions. It's not happening.

It. Is. Time.

Time to get on top of it. Time to get back into the habit of working out more than once a week.

It's time to take control. Time to feel better...