Becoming Empty Nesters

As we embark on becoming empty nesters here in our house it has clearly proven to have a different affect on all of us here. Our son has signed his first rental lease and will be moving out in a few days. He is excited! My husband is sad but proud. I am proud but ready to see him spread his wings and fly. In all honesty, our lives here have been chaos for a few weeks. Not only helping him apartment hunt but there are a few more things going on in the background all at the same time. It’s not the image I had in my mind of how this summer would begin but I am learning to find the silver lining in it all.

Let’s begin at the call that solidified the one and only apartment we all felt good about. This came last week, he then signed the lease a few days later and then we scrambled to begin packing. One day my son and I also took almost 6 hours to go shopping together to buy some things he needed and we had promised him when he found a place that dad and I would buy him a bed. So this all happened in one day of power shopping which to my surprise went really well considering it was a Saturday and we typically do not shop well together.

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Then it was time to hit up the hardware store for a project him and dad were working on. IMG_1031

Then like a blessing from above, I had the gift of only having to work three days a week for two weeks straight which ultimately bought me some much needed time to make a bunch of appointments that I always have trouble making. However, one day I did sneak away for lunch and coffee with a friend to a new local cafe. IMG_1020After all this I felt a bit settled and ready to relax for a bit. That is until my husband emailed from work that travel plans would be crazy for awhile and I could only sit back take a deep breath. With Memorial Day weekend almost here, moving in the very near background, and hardly no fun plans on the calendar because life is such a mess right now, I felt like having a meltdown. Which, I really don’t do often and the only thing I could think of was escaping the place I call home that is piled high with stuff ready for moving, escaping the place I call work which is the same place I call home, and escaping the place where I need to find new normal routine soon which could prove to take some time after all this is said and done. I needed to get out and be one with the trail which I did and it immediately calmed my soul.

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This was exactly what I needed. Trees, dirt, wildlife, nature…..I just needed to breathe fresh air and find peace.

My next few weeks I know are going to be a struggle. I can hope my husband makes it back in time to help and be part of this next chapter. I can hope it don’t rain on moving day, I can hope adapting my recipes for two is easy, and I am excited to find  new normal after all this is said and done.

Until then…..have a great holiday weekend if I am not back before then with any updates and don’t forget to add fun to everyday no matter how hard it is to squeeze it in.

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The Rough Draft In Our Book Of Life Is Beginning

The rough draft in our book of life has begun and when I say rough I mean rough! Clearly, as you look back, the last time I blogged there was still snow on the ground. That was 10 days ago. Wow, where does time go?

OK, so without wanted to jinx anything here, I want to fill you in a bit on where we are since I get lots of support from friends and family that read here on the blog. I will admit, not proudly by any means but it is what it is…..here goes…..we have not eaten at our dinner table in well over 9 days!!!!! For this I am ashamed. Although, I have managed to precook meals in the morning hours to enjoy when we all do finally arrive home to enjoy them where ever this shall be in our home. I mentioned in the last post we have been apartment hunting with our son. Everyone…this has been SCARY!!!! Coming from a mom who does not always agree with her son…..we have been seeing eye to eye on most things lately and for this I am so thankful. Dad on the other hand is much more verbal and will tell him straight up when he don’t like something. I am more of a live and learn type of mom….however, unless it is just something I cannot look past and must give my input. Anyhow, here’s where we are with this….his one and only application for a place has been submitted and now we wait and pray. I am going with the hope of, if its meant to be it will be. Time will tell.

In between all the evening showings we had scheduled we took weekends and days to get other stuff done. That is when the tools for the other chores did not break while trying to get things accomplished. Frustrating I tell you….simply frustrating!

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I have been searching high and low for furniture and home items for our son in his preparation to move out of our family home and this too has been a battle. Garage sales here are mostly on Thursday and Friday and by Saturday if they are still happening all the good items have been scarfed up already. And Saturday is the only day I have to garage sale since I work. Although, we have lucked out on a few items and dad is lending a hand to fix, repair, and create quite the unique DIY home decor for when the big move finally happens.

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Also, with a well deserved needed break from daily life we escaped for our first camping…ok really it was glamping since technically we slept in cabins and not tents….trip of the year.

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We were joined by my brother,sister in law, and our nephew on this trip for the first time. It was fun…we hiked the entire bluff lake loop at Devil’s Lake State Park here in Baraboo, WI and enjoyed the great outdoors.

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We even dusted off the discs for disc golf while we were here and played a few rounds. When its your first time out for the season we found that things are a bit rusty and you often end up searching out your disc in the trees.

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It was a nice break from our home life chaos. We had a great time, I was sore from the first big hike of the year until Tuesday and I don’t think any of us were ready to wake up and leave Sunday morning. Especially their pup, Coconut, who simply was exhausted by all the outdoor activity from the day. What a cutie….

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For now I will leave you here….but you can bet this shall be continued eventually.

 

 

 

 

It Feels So Good To Hurt So Bad

Pain….sometimes it’s bad and sometimes it’s good. Pain from an injury is not fun…we’ve all been there at one time or another. Pain from doing something fun and exciting….just means you had fun and pain is easy to deal with from this fun. This is where I am right now. Believe it or not I love yard work. Not so much the process of it but the outcome of…. it’s done and it looks nice. Accomplishment is a fine thing to feel. Raking is not my favorite thing to do but it’s SO MUCH BETTER than shoveling…which I refuse to do and have not done so for the past four years. This weekend I raked our yard, picked up sticks that fell all winter and I feel every pull of that rake but it feels so good.

As for the rest of our weekend, well, it was a bit crazy. We are in the process of apartment hunting with our son who is ready to move out. I thought vehicle shopping was difficult….boy was I wrong. Apartment hunting is so much harder.

I also found a bit time to food prep for the up coming week ahead. I threw together more egg sandwiches for the freezer, a batch of chimichurri to use on grilled chicken this week, and a big pot of braised cauliflower for my lunched this week.

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Life lately has been all over the place. We have been adjusting to some big changes and clearly, as stated above, more changes on on the horizon. I am trying hard to keep calm and have a open mind.

That will have to be enough for now….the sun is shining and I have to go out an enjoy it while it lasts.

It’s Melting As Fast As It Fell

This week turned out to be fairly normal considering everything going on around us. Even with all our outdoor surroundings covered with snow yet we still managed to get outside to play and do chores. Melting is happening and quickly I might add with the temps in the mid 50’s this week. Only in Wisconsin can it snow record amounts and then be 50+ to melt it all away….but I am not complaining. Let it melt.

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Anyhow, here is what dinners were for this past week.

Saturday: BLT’s and salad

Sunday: Mexican stuffed sweet peppers (meatless)

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Monday: crock pot ragu over fettuccine with crusty bread

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Tuesday: crock pot pulled pork with basil dill coleslaw and roasted potatoes/green beans

Wednesday: spicy chicken thighs, roasted broccoli, and pasta side dish

Thursday: tortellini spinach salad(meatless) and parmesan flat bread triangles

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Friday: out

That will do it for our week in meals. Have a great weekend.

Back On Track Once Again/ Breaking Records/A Healthier “Us” Anniversary

After two weeks of meal time chaos, I feel like I am finally back on track. Everyone was home and accounted for so I knew exactly how much I needed to prepare each night for dinner this week. This makes this wife/mom happy.

Things that did not make all that happy this week was the fact that we broke records here in Green Bay with our newest snowstorm. It was the biggest snowstorm in over 100 years coming in at a whopping 24.5 inches in 48 hours….I guess winter is not quite done with us yet.

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Anyhow, back to better topic, this week we tried two new recipes and one new product I have been dying to try out on the family. Here, take a look….

Saturday: grilled chicken brats, grilled zucchini, and perogies

Sunday: Lentil veggie soup and chicken pita sandwiches

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Monday: slow cooker burrito bowls(new recipe that is a keeper for sure)

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Tuesday: dynamite stovetop casserole

***This recipe was very tasty and basic. As my boys both commented during dinner, mom why did you think this would be a keeper, you can do so much better than this on your own? Well, now, didn’t that make me feel good…although, I thought the recipe itself was quite good. Yes, basic but still good. And how often do you make a recipe that actually turns out to look just like the picture in the book?

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Wednesday: chili stuffed sweet potatoes

***I loved this so much that I needed to make it again so soon after the first time so my husband could enjoy it this time also. Last time I made it he was traveling for work and missed out.

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Thursday: out….tonight plans got scrapped for some unexpected events that happened which left no time for dinner preparations

Friday: red lentil pasta with ham, zucchini, spinach,and parmesan cheese sauce

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Have you tried red lentil pasta yet? This was our first time and I must say, it won’t be our last for sure. It tastes no different and the texture is very close to regular pasta that it was very acceptable. All of us said this is a good healthier option in pasta dishes….yeah, another win for mom!!!!

Swapping something unhealthy in your diet that you have eaten and enjoyed for years is often hard and will, without a doubt, be different BUT change is hard and sometimes has to happen. Whether for health reasons, allergies, or you are just getting on the healthier eating train, I believe you mentally have to prepare yourself for the reality of what I eat now is slowly killing me and I HAVE to change to better myself. If this mental transformation don’t happen then you will never find something you can live with in place of another product you have eaten for years and is bad for you in some way. I touch on this subject because coming up here in a few days we will hit the 1 year anniversary of eating completely artificial sweetener free in our home. Yes, at the time it was for major medical issues my husband was having. However, now those issues have all cleared up and he is feeling fabulous. We now all find ourselves reading the label and often times putting a product back on the shelf to find a healthier alternative. I guess maybe one has to be miserable enough to want to make a healthier change before it can happen long term…but for us here, only one of us was suffering with issues and instead of signaling him out we all made the change as a family unit and we all could not be happier.

 

 

Mexican Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Another meatless option I recently tried preparing with great success is mexican quinoa stuffed peppers. Again, like most my recipes, the ingredients are easy to find or are readily available in your pantry already.

This recipe makes 8 halves…..one per person. And since everything is precooked they are great for on the go lunches since you can either bake them until warmed through or store them in a microwave safe dish to grab and heat when your ready at work, school, etc.

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Mexican Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

1 cup quinoa

4 large sweet peppers-any color you desire

2 cups vegetable stock (you could use water if its all you have)

1-15oz.can whole kernel corn-drained

1 can black beans-drained and rinsed

1-15 oz can fire roasted tomatoes

1-4oz. can green chilies-drained

1 clove of garlic-finely chopped

pinch of red pepper flakes

2 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. paprika

First, you must cook your quinoa in the vegetable stock according to the directions. About half way through the cooking time add your chopped garlic clove to the pot to cook the remaining time.

While this is cooking, put a pot of water on to boil. Then clean and remove the seeds and ribs from your peppers.

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Once your pot with just water comes to a boil, toss your peppers into this for 4 minutes to blanch. You only want your peppers to soften, not cook all the way through. This is what makes microwaving them faster and easier to prepare on the go when its time to eat them.

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Once the four minutes is up, run them under cold water to stop the cooking process and lay them out on paper towels to dry. Meanwhile, add the rest of the ingredients to a large bowl.

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When your quinoa is done, add this to the large bowl and mix all the ingredients together. Take this mixture and stuff your peppers with it. Place them either in one big casserole dish to heat in the oven when your ready to prepare them or place them in single portion dishes to eat when your ready.

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To prepare you could bake them until heated through at 350 for approx 20-30 minutes. Or you could microwave them until heated through at various time settings according to the size of your microwave.

Enjoy!

 

 

A Sign From Above Is Granted

Recently my husband has been spending more time on the road than at home for work. And this last time he came home he mentioned that he wished he would receive a sign from above to know what to do about a matter we have been pondering for quite some time now. How funny he should ask for this such thing since his wish has been granted loud and clear. As I sit and type in this very moment we are getting hammered with the biggest snow storm….ooops, sorry let me rephrase that…..the biggest blizzard in over 20 years here in WI.

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It began Friday evening and is still snowing at this time. We have had 50+ mph winds and so much blowing and drifting that highways are being declared impassable.Snow blowing has been done three times already just to keep up with the drifts forming around our vehicles, boat, and doorways/windows.

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And the best part of this whole sign from above is……IT IS APRIL 15!!!!!!!!

In three weeks we are suppose to be camping, hiking, and hopefully wearing a little less clothing than we need to wear right now to go outside.

So to all you enjoying spring time cherry blossoms, tulips poking through the ground, and sunshine on your shoulders…..please, please, take a moment and be thankful you live somewhere this is all happening.

For me, I am not angry about this snow….I am not sad about this snow…I am just smiling and being thankful that my husband got what he needed to now know……we need to make a change and we need to make a change soon.

Thank you GOD….he needed your help and you came through.