Getting Through The Winter Blahs

52 days from today we all get to change our clocks again. No matter what the calendar says….this is what marks the end of winter for me. More hours of sunshine is instant happiness for me. However, until that days arrives I often feel blah. It’s hard to cook, clean, work, and all around function some days. Although, somehow I do it, everyday! Which made me pay attention to what has been helping me get through these days of blah.

In the winter one of the biggest things I struggle with is feeling warm. I actually believe some of this is mental, because if everyone else is comfortable, why am I always cold? I have found a few solutions to help me with this issue. I eat a lot of soup. I would bet I eat soup at least 5 out of 7 days a week. Homemade, boxed or in a restaurant, it really doesn’t matter to me. I love soup.

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Another thing I have been experimenting with is hot tea. My son is a huge tea drinker which made me start trying some teas. He is into the loose leaf tea and has so many different flavors that I would not even know where to start. So I recently found some sample size tea and bought two different flavors. Both of which I am really enjoying on a daily basis. IMG_3300

One big thing that brings me joy anytime of year is my job. Daycare can be stressful, difficult and exhausting…..believe me, I have been there! Lately, however, the two boys that I have, who have grown up together since birth at our home, have turned into toddlers and have begun playing so nicely together. It’s great to just sit back and watch them figure things out on their own and work together.

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Winter for me is my time to get organized, clean, and sort through items we no longer want. Let’s face it, in the summer my weekends are spent paddling something somewhere and my weekdays are spent outside running through sprinklers or having water balloon fights, which means nothing inside gets done for months. But that’s ok, that’s what winter is for. Anyhow, I finally made an attempt to organize our food shelves upstairs. Ever since they changed from boxes to zipper bags in many food items, my shelves have been a disaster!!! Boxes used to line up nicely and stack beautifully. With the amount of food we consume between my family and the daycare children, I often will open the door to find a complete unorganized mess of zipper bags. Here is the before picture:

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So I bought a few vacuum seal containers to hold some of the food items that we use the most. I then organized and cleaned out this area. I plan to try this for a week or so and I will then go back for a few more containers if needed. So far it’s been a success. Here is the after picture:

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I would have to say by far the biggest thing that has changed this winter for me compared to others is that a group of friends and I have started going out for lunch once a month together. You may think once a month is minimal but this gives me something to look forward to every month. We have done it a few times so far and have plans in the making for the next month already. I am really loving this time and believe it is really helping me get though the worst of winter. IMG_1918

That’s how I have been trying to beat the winter blah feeling here in WI.

Tell me, have you found anything that works for you?

What is your hardest month to get through in the winter? (Mine is February)

 

 

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Meatless Tortilla Stack

In my quest to try and have one meatless dish every week, and not have my husband go through severe meat withdrawl, I have become creative.

This I made one day after searching through the pantry for anything that caught my eye. My husband would truly eat tacos every single night. So I thought, maybe I could get this past him and he may not notice there was no meat in it. The best part was that I used mainly all canned ingredients that are commonly found in most pantries.

Here is what I started with:

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Here is what I did:

I prepared one cup of rice according to the directions. To the cooked rice I added one can of fire roasted tomatoes, and half the packet of taco seasoning. I left this simmer for about 10 minutes to combine the flavors.

Next, I took an 8×8 baking dish, sprayed it with non stick cooking spray and layered a thinĀ  layer of the rice mixture on the bottom. I then took 4 small tortillas and layered them on top. Then I put about half the rice mixture over the tortillas, sprinkled half the can of black beans, half the can of corn and half the package of cheddar cheese.

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I then repeated the same layer, but before I put the remaining cheddar cheese on the top, I poured one can of enchilada sauce over the entire dish. Topped with cheese and baked covered at 400 for 20 minutes and then uncovered and baked an additional 10 minutes.

I served it with a side of shredded lettuce and sour cream.

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The results were quite wonderful. Although, the first words out of the hubby’s mouth were,”It could use some ground turkey!!!!” I should have known he would notice there was no meat, but he did say it was tasty and I could prepare this again. That is enough for me to claim success on this meatless meal.