Thursday, January 12, 2017

Word of the Year 2017

A few weeks ago, I purchased Lara Casey's Powersheets for 2017. I started working on them and finished them off just in time for the new year. I have LOVED the process and the freedom to make a mess and dream big on paper without it being perfect. If you think you can get a little messy and "brain dump" onto some paper, I'd recommend these! (My workbook is the year notebook that is now sold out as are the 6 month version HOWEVER last I heard, they were taking pre-orders for a Summer shipment! Link here)


What Matter's Most

One of the aspects of the Powersheets, is to look back at the time prior, to look at yourself and to think about what really Matter's most to you. In this process, I was reminded of what matters and what really could be worked on in my life, not just this year but always. So I created this Big Picture Vision Board. My life is pretty simple as a stay at home mom but these Powersheets can be used for even the stay at home mom whose goals are not big time career or life goals.

Word of the year

Another aspect of the Powersheets are to decide on a word that will describe what you want to focus on or what your year will embody. After working through the Powersheets Prep, I came up with my word:
Pinterest Link

I choose the word Joy after actually picking a different word but woke up the next morning feeling like Joy was more fitting. I am a melancholy personality and tend to live in the "glass half empty" world. Things in my environment affect me greatly, and can cause me to loss hope easily. I'm the ultimate introvert and need some alone time to recharge but in our current life, that isn't always possible :) So this year, I am deciding to do only things that bring me Joy and weed out the other stuff in my life that causes me to stumble. The following things are what I hope to Cultivate out of that Joy: A clean home (because it makes me happy and helps in my Joy), Growth in my Faith, My Marriage, a Life Giving Home and my Usborne Business. 

Theopedia's definition and comment on Joy is:
Joy is a state of mind and an orientation of the heart. It is a settled state of contentment, confidence and hope. It is something or someone that provides a source of happiness. It appears 88 times in the Old Testament in 22 books; 57 times in the New Testament in 18 books.^[1]^
Webster's dictionary definition: 1) to experience great pleasure or delight : REJOICE, 2) the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires: DELIGHT.

So far, having this reminder and this word to focus on has been a great benefit to my day to day life! I'm grateful for the reminder to be Joyful in my circumstances and can't wait to see all I learn this year while having this be my word! Hopefully in the next few days, I'll have a post about my GOALS for 2017!!! I'm excited about these!!

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Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016....


Wow, when 2016 began, I didn't know what the year was going to look like. I am the true melancholy personality and topped with pregnancy, I just lacked motivation all around. I was exhausted and just didn't feel like doing much so the normal things I used to do ended and a different type of year began. It was a year of pulling back, refocusing, doing research, some resting(before #3 came) and just being very introspective.

I grew a lot this year in my walk with the Lord. I went through some amazing Bible Studies, which I'll share below. My faith and relationship with God grew in a wonderful, yet quiet and personal way. And I found rest in Him.
Life Lived Beautifully Studies: Flourish, Proverbs 31 and Planted, She Reads Truth: Moses, Acts and Advent, Lifeway:Seamless, Living Free
In 2016, we added Tobias to our family...our 3rd beautiful baby we got to take home. His delivery was simple and easy and we were home 24 hours later. He slept most of his first 3 months and has been our most joyful baby. He brings so much life to our home and we are incredibly blessed! I however discovered in this time that I struggle with Post-partum Depression. Everything in life was beyond overwhelming and I just didn't feel like I could cope with it all. Thankfully the fog lifted quickly at around 3 months but the season was rough and I'm glad to be on the other side of it.

My husband was amazing this year, stepping in and taking over all the things. He has become the primary family chef this year and has done a great job stepping into my role. This is one of the reasons why I stopped my meal planning posts...because I wasn't planning any meals. 2017 will hopefully bring back the routine of it all.
In 2016, I had the privilege of teaching our oldest son to read at 4.5 years old. He was begging to learn, so we jumped in head first. This among a variety of other things, lead to us deciding to homeschool our children starting summer of 2017. I've done a TON of research, praying and YouTube watching and am so excited about the new adventure we have ahead for us in 2017.
And in this crazy year of change and different paths then I had planned, we decided that it would be a good challenge and opportunity for me to sign up as an Independent Consultant with Usborne Books and More. I began this journey on September 2, 2016 and God has lead me down a path I never thought I would have headed down. I've had more success then I ever thought I'd have. It's been a fun and crazy ride and I don't know where God is taking it from here but I look forward to seeing His hand at work and we are thankful for the extra income it has brought us in the last 4 months.
All of this to say, I've missed this space of mine, I've missed the ability to share my thoughts and enjoy this space to write and share and be creative. I don't know what God has in store for 2017. I'd love to spend a little more time on here in some capacity but life is CRAZY with 3 kids 5 and under and all the other things on my plate...who knows what will come but I sure hope some more order and time to think is on the schedule which in turn means more time to write, create, plan, organize and cook.
How was your 2016? Was it what you thought it would be? Did something catch you off guard? I'd love to hear from your so please share in the comments below!
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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Butternut Squash Soup

Over the last 2 years as we've grown our own winter squash, I've started to play with some recipes and have some favorites. This is one of those and is just so comforting when it's cold outside! The kids love it and it's a great side for dinner or with a grilled cheese for lunch!

Butternut Squash Soup

2 butternut squash or 1 argonaut (one of our favorites), cut in half and deseeded
4 granny smith apples, peeled and chopped
1 Tablespoon of butter and olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2-3 Tablespoons of heavy cream

1. Preheat over to 400 degrees and roast squash flesh side down for 30-60 minutes until a fork a pierce through all areas. Once the squash a cooled enough, flip the squash over and remove the flesh. This can be done a few days before you make the soup if you'd like.
2. In a heavy pot (I use my dutch oven, a cheaper option here), sauce the apples in the butter and olive oil, about 5 minutes.
3. Once apples are softened, add the squash, spices and broth. Simmer covered, for about 15-20 minutes.
4. Using an emersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. (You can use a regular blender for this part too, just remember to be very careful and not over fill your blender. You'll have to work in batches.)
5. Add cream, salt and pepper to taste and Enjoy!
I add pepitats to the tops sometimes for an extra crunch. You could also put plain croutons on top too if you'd like. 


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Friday, February 5, 2016

Meal Plan Monthly: February 2016

How is the first week of February already almost over???? This week flew by faster than I had anticipated and I meant to have this post up earlier but I became an AUNT! and celebrated my wonderful husbands birthday so life took over :) So sorry it's a bit late but here is what we are having this month:

Chicken Recipes

Ham and Cheese Stuffed Chicken (we baked our instead of frying)
Grilled Chicken and Veggie Burritos (we add the grilled chicken into the burritos)
Coconut Chicken Strips
Chicken Quesadilla's with Bell Peppers
Greek Chicken and Homemade Pita (so good!!!)
Teriyaki Chicken Bowls

Beef Recipes

Spaghetti and Meatballs (premade and frozen for a fast dinner)
Salisbury Steak
Beef Stroganoff 
Corned Beef and Sautéed Cabbage and Brussel Sprouts
Sloppy Joes
Mongolian Beef
Seven Layer Dip
Thai Marinaded Flap Steak (I use a similar marinade from this recipe)

Pork Recipes

Pork Chops with Apples
Scalloped Potatoes and Ham
Kalua Pork
Pulled Pork Sandwiches (using Kalua Pork Leftovers)
Breakfast Pizza (crust recipe with eggs, bacon and cheese on top: bake as crust recipe instructs)
What are you having this month? Please share in the comments below!!

If you are looking for more ideas or are interested in how I meal plan for a whole month, check out my Meal Planning page.
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Monday, February 1, 2016

Surviving the First Trimester

As you can probably gather from my absence from this blog and instagram, the first trimester of this pregnancy was ROUGH on me. Both Max and I feel like this has been the worst I've felt in all 3 pregnancies but who really knows because I think we forget the really bad parts so we keep having more. Maybe? Anyways, this one has been rough. I've been tired and melancholy as the 2nd trimester has entered in but I was sick for what felt like forever! Like willing myself to not throw up every waking moment kind of sick. I gained a total of 1 pound in the whole first trimester and that was in the 13th week when I finally felt a little bit better. SO this is what I basically lived on since about 5 weeks pregnant until 16 weeks. It was a long bout of morning sickness but these where lifesavers to make things a little bit more tolerable.
  1. Peppermint lifesavers: anytime I was driving I have one in my mouth
  2. Saltine Crackers
  3. Cashews and Macadamian Nuts: The salty protein helps a lot!
  4. Cheddar Mozzarella Cheese Sticks: More protein!
  5. Pacific coast ice tea: Helped with getting liquid in me and the caffeine helped me keep moving through the day
  6. Sprouts instant Oatmeal: I would eat this right before bed to help me not be so hungry in the night or morning.
  7. Starbucks stainless steel cup
  8. Driving myself everywhere we went
If you are in the dredges of the first trimester, take heart! It's for a good purpose and it will come to an end at some point. It's different for everyone and can be very challenging!
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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Chinese Chicken Salad

One of my favorite lunches is Chinese Chicken Salad. When I was little and as I grew up, my mom and I would go shopping and every time we would go get lunch at Nordstroms Cafe. We would always get their Chinese Chicken Salad and it was so yummy. Now when I make it at home, I think about those memories of having lunch with my mom.
Myy recipe isn't like Nordstrom's but just one that we've created over time. It's quick and simple and so so good!

Chinese Chicken Salad 

1 head of Romaine Lettuce (amount depending on the size salad you want. 1 small head per person)
1/4-1/2 cup celery, diced
1/4-1/2 cup cucumber, peeled and diced
Raman noodles, crushed into small pieces, sprinkle desired amount, save the rest
1 small can mandarin oranges
1/2-1 Chicken Breast, grilled or sautéed, cut in strips of cubed
1/4 cup toasted almonds

For Dressing:
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 Tablespoons rice vinegar
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

-The ingredients for salad part are for a single large serving of salad. The dressing is for multiple salads, great for saving.
-I put all the ingredients for dressing in a mason jar and shake to combine. Pour over salad and toss to coat all ingredients and enjoy!

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Monday, January 25, 2016

Lunch....What to have for Lunch?

One question friends ask me often is what I do for lunch. When it was just Max and I and I was working, we'd both take leftovers because there always were some but now that we have more mouths to feed and I haven't added too much extra to my recipes, Max always gets first dibs on leftovers. 
Since staying at home, I've struggled to really get myself to eat a good lunch. I want good food but I either need time to make it (which doesn't always happen) or I just can't think of anything that sounds good. The struggle is real let me tell you!!!
Anyways, since being pregnant and starving and since the kids are in school 3 half days a week, I've had more time to think about lunch for myself and its a necessity that I eat a good one. I've come up with a list of options and thought I'd share them with you all.

What's for Lunch???

Taco Salad
Chinese Chicken Salad
Chicken Taco Salad
Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese
Corn Chowder-make ahead and freeze in small portions
Pastina Soup
Chicken and Rice Soup-make ahead and freeze in small portions
Chicken and Noodles-make ahead and freeze in small portions
Split Pea Soup-make ahead and freeze in small portions
Pasta with Spaghetti Sauce
Chicken Salad with Crasins
Tuna Salad
Egg Salad
Cheese and Crackers with Fruit or Veggies
Hummus and Tortilla chips and cut up Veggies
A variety of salads from my Salad Pinterest Board


Tips:
  • If I make a pot of soup with lots of leftovers or a soup that only I like, which I usually half the recipe for anyways (Corn Chowder, Split Pea, etc) I package them into quart sized ziplock bags and freeze them laying down flat until frozen. Then I stack them in a plastic container in the freezer. Then when I feel like a certain thing, I just pull out the bag, place it in some water and let it defrost. You could also pull it out before you head to work and then heat it up there.
  • Cut up some lettuce earlier in the week and put it in a bag with a damp paper towel. Then cut up some other veggies and put them in separate containers. Emily Ley calls it the Sunday Chop :) Too much liquid from all the veggies can make a mess but having stuff separately packaged will help you not have any soggy salads. You can do the same with some of your fruit.
  • Buying frozen tortellini or ravioli and splitting them into single serving sizes (since they are normally packaged for families) then just cook up what you want and use a jared sauce you like or a frozen sauce you have on hand. Something else I do, is if I have left over veggies from the night before, I just toss the tortellini with the veggies, some olive oil, garlic salt and some parmesan and it's a great lunch. 
  • If you have a salad you like to eat often and make a dressing for it you like, make extra and store in a mason jar that way you have a dressing already made on hand when you want it. I eat Chinese Chicken Salad often so I always have the dressing in a jar waiting for me.
  • If making Tacos or grilling up some chicken breasts, I always take out a bit extra meat to plan for a lunch for myself. If you aren't sure when you will eat the meat, package it again (once cooked) in a single serving size and freeze it until you are ready to eat it. Slice up the chicken breast so that it defrosts faster and is already ready to put on a salad. I also do this if we have some leftover meat that has been sitting in the fridge a few days and no one seems to be eating it. Cut it up or slice it (steak, grilled chicken) and package for a salad another day.
  • Keep some of your favorite cheeses on hand for a quick salad. I like feta and dry goat cheese on salads. I keep those on hand since they last awhile in the fridge and then I can throw a salad together with fruit or veggies we have from the garden or the store. Add some nuts and a vinaigrette and you have a great salad!
I hope this helps you get some ideas for lunch. It's always a challenge for me and I tend to forget myself when taking care of the kids but having these little short cuts have helped me a ton! It takes a little prep work at one point but then you are set for a while!

What do you have for lunch? Any ideas to share?

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