Just Some Things

I can’t believe it’s already mid-October.

Dylan and I celebrated our eighth anniversary on the eighth. <–That sounds surreal.

Nellie is going to be a tiger for Halloween, we found a cheap second-hand costume from Old Navy that is super cute and will be so warm and snuggly–both points that fit the bill for this North Dakotan mama. Dylan and I are still working on Ada to agree to be a tiger trainer/circus trainer. We may have ideolized (I just made that up) so well that she’s unsure she wants to be someone who’s “so mean to animals” and that “animals are meant to live in the wild and not do tricks.”

We’ve picked up our “Eat the World” Challenge again and are trying to at least get through the “Bs” before the end of 2013. Right now we’re planning our Brazilian meal and combining it with another new dinner theme (apparently, I really like theme-y things, well actually, I always knew that)–movie nights. Movie nights we watch a movie together as a family and eat dinner at the same time and have cutesy foods to match the characters/setting of the story line. The girls love it because it’s so against the grain of eating together at the dinner table. Anyhow, Brazil will be combined with movie night because we checked out “Rio” at the library this weekend and thought it would be a fun tie-in. The girls will be boggled. Minds will be blown.

Work is going great–it’s been busy up to my eyeballs but I continue to love it just as much as when I started. I’d consider myself one lucky ducky in that realm.

Dylan is half-way through his student teaching at one of the highschools in town. It’s been hard to juggle the schedules but  I guess it’s boot camp for when he graduates and becomes a teacher of his own domain. Word on the street is that he’s doing pretty awesome, but that’s no surprise here. (I can hear him rolling his eyes now. Literally, hear the movement.)

Ada has started kindergarten and she’s a rockstar. Learning her letters and phonics, she’s so excited to read. She’s been coming home with little “I Can Read”-type books and showing off her new sight-word skills. I continue to be amazed at the collective knowledge she’s gained in such a short period of time, what happened to my baby?

AND speaking of babies (no, not that), my Nellie’s one month or so away from turning 3! THREE?! In honor of the occasion she has chosen to have a “Kung-Fu Princess” themed birthday party. Thankgoodnesstobetsy for Pinterest.

Ufta.

And then there’s this whole shutdown business…

Maybe that’s a good place to stop for now.

Fear not, I will be back.

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Monday meal plan

Happy new years eve! Does anyone have big plans for tonight? Dylan and I have never been much for going out or big parties to ring in the new year, in fact, most of our seven spent together have ended with an early evening cozied in bed, asleep before 11 pm. I know, we are cah-raaaazy. And this year will probably not veer far from our norm as Dylan isn’t feeling well and has to work until 10 pm and I am just happy to be home, getting back into our swing of things. But who knows, we’ll see what the days holds.

And on that note of our spontaneously wild lives, it is once again Monday and that means–drum roll, please–Monday Meal Plan! Woo!

Since I was a W3 (Work Weekend Widow), the girls and  I spent all day yesterday at the in-laws. Sheila and I had an epic pierogi fest. Millions Thirties of pierogies were formed and loved to be stashed in my freezer for delicious, quick meals. If you’ve never heard of a pierogi before it is a delicious little, chewy/crispy dumpling stuffed with a potato, cheese, and ham mixture of some sort (we added onions and celery this time). SO good but totally a time consuming effort that makes cooking them seem a bit overwhelming without a partner. Thus I am infinitely thankful that I have a mother-in-law who loves to cook and feed her freezer as much as me. These will probably make an appearance on the menu this week. Nom nom nom.

Monday Meal Plan : Smell ya later 2012! edition

12.31 Monday

Breakfast: Cereal, toast, whatever floats Dylan and the girls’ boat since they’ll be home. I’ll probably have granola.

Lunch: Leftovers, to make it easy on Dylan and to eliminate waste. Seriously, I hate, hate, hate wasting food!

Tea Time: Whatever Dylan feels like giving them—I’ll be at work.

Dinner: Skillet eggplant lasagna. New recipe to use up the lingering bags of summer stash I have in my deep freeze.

*Extra*

Ranger cookies. I’ve been meaning to try this recipe out and see if it comes close to these cookies that I buy at the grocery store because I dislike having to buy them when I could make them. Anyone else out there like that?

1.1 Tuesday

Breakfast: Fried eggs and toast for the girls and The ultimate creamy mushrooms over toast w/fried eggs and chili oil for Dylan and I. Sounds like a good way to kickoff the year.

Lunch: Tomatillo chicken filling enchiladas. New crockpot recipe to try out. Hopefully it’s good because I’ve got a crapload of green tomato puree/chunks in my freezer and I want to prove to Dylan that I’m gonna use it up this year…

Tea Time: Hot chocolate and ranger cookies.

Dinner: Steak and Roasted Parmesan cream onions. Gotta ring in the new year right. 

1.2 Wednesday  

Breakfast: Granola w/yogurt & honey

Lunch: Leftovers or whatever Dylan feels like eating since he’ll be home alone. 

Tea Time: Girls @ school/daycare

Dinner: Chicken Tikka Masala w/leftover basmati. Nom nom.

*Extra*

I pledge to attack the massive amounts of over-ripened bananas in my freezer and re-feed it with a few loaves of banana bread.  

1.3 Thursday

Breakfast: Toasted naan w/mashed avocado & fried eggs. My girls LOVE this quick and healthy breakfast. 

Lunch:  Leftovers or whatever Dylan feels like eating since he’ll be home alone. 

Tea Time: Girls @ school/daycare

Dinner: Pumpkin and black bean soup with cheesy quesadillas. Another newbie to use up some of the pumpkin stash in my freezer from our summer CSA.

1.4 Friday

Breakfast: Teddy Bear Toast. Because it’s cute.

Pinned Image

Lunch: Leftovers or whatever Dylan feels like eating since he’ll be home alone. 

Tea Time: Girls @ school/daycare

Dinner: Eat the World–Belize 

*Extra*

One bowl vanilla cupcakes for two (times 2). Just a sweet treat for the end of the week.

1.5 Saturday

Breakfast: Hodeok. A well-loved Korean snack, except I’m making it for bfast because it’s delicious. Also, if you have time, click on the link and explore this lady’s recipe archive. So many good things in there with great step-by-step instruction!

Lunch: Mexican Pizza. This is a meatless, delicious dish that never fails to please. Try it, you’d be remiss not to.

Tea Time: Assam tea w/sugar and milk, banana bread

Dinner: Eat the World–Benin

*Extra*

Chocolate chip cookie pie.

1.6 Sunday

Breakfast: Muffins that taste like donuts. Just.Be.Cause.

Lunch, Tea & Dinner: @ Terry & Sheila’s for football Sunday

Christmas was, Christmas is

Christmas was…

Lovely and well-fed.

Filled with warmth.

Blessed in all ways.

Peaceful and joyous.

Christmas is a reminder of…

The sacrifices given.

The beauty born from healed scars.

The preciousness of life.

The amazing husband that loves me.

The perfection hiding in our imperfection.

I didn’t take many pictures of our week-long whirlwind of Christmassy happenings. Instead, I chose to try to stay in the moment, savoring this holiday and this time together as a family. The regular updates on Sandy Hook splashed across the televisions and on the radio were a morbid, albeit succinct reminder to enjoy the moments given to me with the littles. So I hugged them a little tighter and repressed my disgruntled-too-many-presents-I’m-drowning-in-wrapping-paper attitude a bit longer.

It certainly wasn’t without its bumps and frustrations (and I am infinitely glad that Dylan is as patient as he is). I’ve struggled with whether or not to write about it, it doesn’t seem very Christmassy or seasonally joyful but I think that, just in case there’s one other person like me out there, that I will. Because as much as I love Christmas and as much as I loved spending it with my family, this Christmas was probably the hardest one I’ve weathered through. Because this was the first holiday that I have celebrated post miscarriage.

I hate that word.

Every gift that I opened, every token of love and goodwill from family and friends, was a brief reminder in itself. No onesies, no blue or pink, no congratulations, no baby toys or books or invasive questions or belly touching. Just piles and piles of dolls, play foods, and coloring books. All of which I am very thankful for, and yet, my heart can’t help but twinge a bit at the lack of joy over the coming of a new life. We would’ve been telling people now about the pregnancy. Maybe even Pinteresting a clever manner in which to reveal the news. Facebook posts, blog posts, Instagram and Twitter…

All silent. Save for a Happy Christmas here and there.

I’m struggling to find words to explain my general dourness this Christmas season, which hopefully had enough Santa facade for my girls not to notice, so that I can continue on this journey of healing and growth. But it’s hard. Way.Hard. Hard enough that I’ve been mulling over this post for quite some time and still, after hours of deliberation, are at a loss for words. Which is a strange realization since I felt that I had dealt with the majority of my grief earlier this fall upon hearing the news. Apparently not. Apparently it takes time and continues to hit you in waves days, months, years? afterwards. So much grief for a life never fully realized.

And though I know this matters naught to you, know Mommy and Daddy love and miss you in the fullest sense. Happy Christmas little one.

Christmas Decorating

We spent a laid back Sunday putting up the few Christmas decorations that we own. Ada and Nellie were ecstatic about the Christmas tree and had a blast hanging the ornaments. It’s always fun for me unwrapping the ornaments and remembering the little stories behind each one. Hopefully, someday, both girls will be able to do that with all the ones that they’ll have collected throughout the years.

I didn’t take many pictures of the house because frankly, the kids and the tree are the best things to look at anyway. 🙂

I’m thankful for…

Day 21: I’m thankful for flowers. Beautiful ones of all kinds of shape and size, smelly and fragrance free, colorful and simplistic, and especially ones like these, that my Dad brought up when they came for Nellie’s birthday. I’m cheap when it comes to “disposable” items like flowers, but truthfully, they’re such a nice reminder that someone loves you and they certainly brighten the cold winter months.

2 dozen pink roses from my Dad for us girls.

Day 22: I’m thankful for Ada’s teacher this year. Ada loves school and I can’t help but think that this correlates somewhat directly to the woman who is in charge of her classroom. And after parent-teacher conferences, I’m even more sure that it’s Teacher Zeljka’s patient firmness that has helped her to hone in her impulsive sensitivity and to grow more and more into the little person that she is.

Day 23: I’m thankful that Thanksgiving, though not as awesome as it could have been, was still pretty darn good. I still was able to see some of my family, and even though I couldn’t make it out to lunch, Dylan still brought me back a plate loaded with stuffing. I had time off with my sickie girls, time to leisurely decorate and prepare for a birthday party, and time to celebrate Nellie’s 2nd year of birth. (Nellie actually turns two this coming week but Dylan will have to work that day 😦 so we celebrated early.) Thanksgiving is still, and will always be, my favorite holiday.

Day 24: I’m thankful that Dylan is a morning person who is willing to drag himself out of bed to get the girls’ started and allot me a couple more minutes of precious sleep wakeful rest.

Day 25: I’m thankful for home videos. I’m not sure that’s what they’re called anymore since most of ours are camera videos and uploaded to YouTube  but nonetheless, I’m thankful that I can look back through them and be reminded of what it was like then. And to be reminded that I am so, so, SO blessed.

Day 26: I’m thankful for Christmas decorations and Christmas music. There will be more about this tomorrow, but just know that the holiday season truly puts me in a festive mood.

Pinteresting

Have you heard of Pinterest? I might be a bit addicted. Not in the, “spend-millions-of-hours-pouring-over-crafts-recipes-expensive-things-I-cannot-afford-home-improvement-kind” (although that may be false) but rather in the “expand-my-horizons-and-keep-my-diligently-xbox-playing-studying-husband-company-kind.” Can you see the difference? No? Never mind then.

I’m addicted to trying new things lately. Maybe it’s my “next step” in the grief process or maybe it’s because I’m simply feeling antsy, ready for something new. I can’t be the only one that gets that wanderlust feeling? Unfortunately and fortunately, I don’t have the resources for such large adventures so I’m content to keep my changes small and continuous for the time being. Enter Pinterest! So many little and new changes that I can implement in my cooking/baking repertoire and on my kids and in my house! Okay, I totally lied about being that kind of pinterester.

Any way. I wanted to share with you a few of my recent successes and also failures from my adventures. I’ll try and get better at documenting said projects but until then, I’ll just “repin” from my arranged boards and  (<= insert lots of Pinterest jargon that no one really cares about). In fact, I’m digging this change and new adventures thing so much that “Pinteresting” is going to become a regular (by that I mean once a month–I do still have somewhat of a life) feature at Kimchi Sauerkraut.

THUS, here are my top 5 Pin Wins of late October/early November:

I used a vinegar/baking soda method to get the weird funk out of my bath towels and so far, so good.

Okay, so I’m combining the two cleaning pins as one since they’re about deep-cleaning appliances. And this one totally took the stench of standing water away from mine. If you want deets, leave a comment and I’ll fill you in.

And my top 5 Pin Fails:

ANNND, next up for me and the girlies’ breakfast tomorrow:

This concludes the Oct/early November Pinteresting round up…for the time being. I’m looking forward to sharing more of my “Pin Wins” and “Pin Fails” on upcoming installments of Pinteresting. Let me know if there’s something in particular that you found through Pinterest that you think I should try or would make my life easier (isn’t that the lie intrigue that it sells us?).

I’m thankful for…

Day 9: I’m thankful for my job. I love my job. Seriously. It’s such a blessing to wake up every morning and be excited to go to work with other people who really care about what they do and want to make a difference. I’m so blessed to be apart of a team, of an organization, that believes all people are created in God’s image and thus deserve to be treated with respect. I could go on and on (seriously) about my job and how it makes not being home with my girls bearable doable.

Day 10: I’m thankful for Moses. My annoying, smelly, snorting, farting, almost-5-year-old pug. As aggravated and enraged that he makes me (he is now a 3x pound convict), I can’t imagine how less snuggly my life would be.

Day 11: I’m thankful for my parents, who will drive to my house and entertain my girls and install a beautiful new sink in my kitchen for a day and think nothing of it. I’m continually reminded and inspired by their willingness to give and I’m thankful that I have been given such an example to pass onto my daughters.

Day 12: (Hey, might as well get a jump start on the week while I’m on a roll.) I’m thankful for all the men and women who have served our country throughout the years. Thank you for your willingness to serve and for all the sacrifices that you made. I cherish the freedoms that you have pledged to protect and uphold for me.

I’m thankful for…

Day 3: I’m thankful for baking. While some  find it frustrating or nerve wracking or simply a throwback nuisance, I find it to be the perfect relaxer. For whatever reason I find comfort in knowing that step-by-step something is being created that can be enjoyed by many. It’s a great time to think and sort through things that have been pressing on my mind because the work has typically already been done and I just need to mindlessly follow directions. It’s time that I can do alone or share with someone (or some people) else that I care about. Or time to get to know someone new. And seriously, what’s better than fresh muffins or gooey, crispy cookies straight from the pan?

Today the girls and I made a mini cream cheese pound cake for our tea time. It should be noted that snack time round these parts has adopted a new name, aren’t we so continental? 😉 It’s a quick, 1 bowl recipe that makes the perfect amount for one tea time snack (+ 1 late night snack for Daddy since he’s working) for 2 little girls and their mama. And although baking with little ones can be sometimes stressful, the measuring for this recipe is so simple (1/2 dry cup and 1/2 teaspoon are really the only measuring that goes on). Try it and enjoy a piece with a steaming mug of tea on this cold, blustery day.