January 24, 2013


I live up North.

Like 3hr drive from CANADA north.

We moved up here for many reasons: to be close to my parents, to make a fresh start, to have room to roam, to give our kids wilderness and 40 acres to play on, and to live the rural life we both dreamed of.

Living so far North does not come without it's draw backs, the main one being that it's COLD. But even on the coldest of days, it's important to seek out beauty.

So this morning, as temperatures dropped to a staggering -20 below zero (air temp- not windchill) for the 5th day in a row, this is the beauty I saw: a beautiful, frigid sunrise.

January 22, 2013

Once a Month Cooking

I'm no stranger to cooking. It's something I enjoy doing and doing often. I am also no stranger to prepping freezer meals. It makes me feel good to have delicious, go-to options just waiting in my chest freezer.

So when I came across a Pinterest post directing me to a once a month cooking site, you can imagine my elation. I can spend a marathon day cooking and have meals for a month???!?!?

Get out!!!

The site I used is Once a Month Mom.
There are loads of free recipes on the site BUT if you pay the $8 monthly membership fee, you get access to the customizable grocery lists, recipe cards and labels. In the spirit of going "all in," I signed up for a membership. I then entered the amount of people I am cooking for and BOOM I have recipes, a grocery list complete with amounts needed (sorted by department just how I like it), labels, and a step by step guide on how to tackle your marathon cooking. I was impressed and even got to use a bright folder to organize my meal stuff. (I'm a planner. These things make me happy)

Side note: this website also offers vegetarian, gluten free, and healthy menus. I chose the traditional menu to start.

I dove head first into my cooking, beginning Sunday night with the prep work. I continued Monday with a marathon day (my mom was around to help with my kids but I did take breaks). I probably cooked for 6-7 good hours. I was sore and tired AND wasn't done. Today, I cooked more casually. I assembled meals during nap-time and while my kids played nicely. I probably put in another 4 hours today AND I'm still not done.

But I am close. I only have 2 more recipes to finish up tomorrow morning and then I will be done...WITH enough meals to provide go-to options for the next MONTH !!! (Probably more since cereal, grilled cheese, and sandwiches will still make the rotation from time to time). I am hoping to try another "mini" set of meals near the end of February to restock my freezer before this baby comes in March.

The recipes I have taste tested so far have been nummy. We had a chicken pot pie for dinner tonight. It was a hit.

I am also excited about this adventure in cooking because I used new recipes. It will hopefully help me get out of a cooking funk and expand my family's exposure to different dishes that I wouldn't have thought of myself.

I had to make an inventory to put on my freezer so as to keep track of everything I was putting in there. Here's what I made:

Freezer meals:
Pecan Cinnamon rolls (2 bags of 6)
Pigs in a blanket (2 bags of 24)
Greek Omlette Pitas (2 bags of 6)
Pizza stuffed potatoes (3 bags of 8)
Sesame lime Chicken egg rolls (3 bags of 8)
Chicken Taquitos (3 bags of 8)
French Dip croissants (4 bags of 8)
Chicken pot pies (4)
Ham and veggie frittata (2 square and 3 mini pans)
Taco stuffed shells (2 pans)
Chile pot roast (2 bags)
Ranch pork chops (3 bags)
Spicy cashew chicken (3 bags)
Frito taco pie (3 pans)
Buffalo chicken Shepard's pie (3 pans)

The undertaking of monthly cooking is not for faint of heart or non-cooking individuals. I recommend starting with a smaller set of meals if you are new to freezer meal cooking. Also, the work is cut down a lot if you have help. My mom helped with dishes which allowed me to keep on cooking. It was very helpful.

Here's a picture of my prep work and my (almost) finished stash!!

January 18, 2013

We're growing

A family friend had a puppy that their elderly mother just couldn't take care of and came up for adoption. So...we took him.

His name is Juno.

He is a cavalier spaniel and miniature poodle mix but he looks all miniature poodle to me. He is 8 months old and sweet as can be.

We have ventured into goat and chicken ownership but this will be our first time as dog owners. I keep saying that Juno is the perfect "starter dog." He is small, kid friendly, doesn't shed, and is able to go anywhere we travel as a family.

For Tanner, it was love at first sight. He couldn't wait to pet and feed his new dog. Emmy Lu wasn't so quick to warm and whined anytime the little dog got anywhere near her. I am happy to report that seems be getting better (4 hours later). She even shared my lap with Juno and *gasp* touched him. I give her a day tops before she is completely and utterly in love with him too. Who couldn't love a cute little thing like this??

January 15, 2013

30 is the new 25

I have taken many applications and held try-outs but have yet to find a better best friend than the one I have. Bonny is seriously the greatest...and older than me (I don't hit 30 until July) Her worst flaw is that she lives WAY to far away.

This past weekend she turned 30. It seemed so far away when we were chasing boys, writing notes in code names, and sneaking beer from our parents' fridges but it inevitably arrived.

To help her celebrate I booked a kid-free flight to Florida. We spent 4 days making up for the BFF time we both miss living so far from one another. We did lunch, went to the beach, did a spa day, sat in the warm FL sun, went out for a birthday dinner, caught up on our gossip and watched the Golden Globes. Because we are both pregnant, the extent of our wild birthday weekend included indulging in chocolate milk and staying up til 10pm.

Don't worry, we have BIG plans for 40!!!

Here are some pictures of the weekend.

January 2, 2013


I have been seeing a trend with New Year's resolutions in that people are picking a word or phrase to focus their attention on this year. My friend, Nicole, blogged about it a couple days ago and I saw it again today on a babycenter.com sponsored blog.

It struck a chord with me and I took it as a sign that I also needed a 2013 mantra.

I already set some goals for myself and the direction I want to take this year. First, I want to disconnect more from my phone and TV in order to connect with my life and the people in it. Secondly, I want to stop shopping at Walmart. I know that sounds silly to some, but for personal, social, and political reasons I really want to be more conscious of where we are spending our money.

I realized these two goals come down to:


It is my word of 2013.

I want to make mindful choices for myself and my family. I will choose to disconnect more and be present. I will choose to spend money locally and with companies that I can feel good about supporting. I will choose to put healthy food in my mouth. I will choose to offer stimulating and healthy activities for my children. I will choose to be a supportive, loving wife. I will choose to be a good friend. I will choose to be aware of the world we live in and do my small part to improve it.

The wonderful thing about having a choice is that it puts you in the driver's seat. For someone like me, it really gives comfort.

Stuff doesn't just happen TO us, it happens BECAUSE of us.

Our lives are results of our choices; good and bad. Of course, there are going to be things beyond our control, but day-to-day living is a culmination of hundreds of choices.

I can't wait to make mindful choices and see/feel the positive consequences it brings to my life this year.

What is your word this year?

January 1, 2013

First Day- 2013

I made it up till midnight last night with my family. We had a party at our house and fireworks to ring in the new year. I was lazy today and used my phone to document our first day. The photo quality isn't the greatest, but you get the idea. Hope you all had a great start to the year today!!!!