March felt so much brighter than February. I’m so glad people I know and love are getting vaccinated and I’m awaiting my turn. March had birthdays and spring weather both which make me so happy. February felt heavy and repetitive.
My fav thing to come out of the kitchen this month was this loaded Cobb Salad Turned Panini. So fun. I’ve not confirmed the difference between a cobb salad and a chef’s salad!
I’m excited for Easter brunch and treats. April will also mean full-time at-school kindergarten for Thomas! I cannot wait to eat outside and I love the daylight! I got matched once for Lasagna Love and I packed up a few things for some new mommies.
The Little Girl: She loves stickers and coloring. It was so exciting to get sandals out! She’s got sooo many stuffed friends in her bed- it is like flavor-of-the-week for preferences. She’s totally being 2.5 yrs old with some clapping her hands down and saying “but I got hurt” when she doesn’t want to hear or do something. We’re onto you little one. She is so happy to play in the sandbox again.
The Big Guy: I love to see the creations he crafts. Often it is an animal or something he’s just seen or heard about. He’ll draw snakes/hawks/eagles then color them, and carefully cut out. He’s about to start 5 days a week to school. He will love it. We love love love seeing how much he can read. We just finished Mr. Popper’s Penguins.
Goals: Year of the fun mail! I dropped a note to T’s fantastic kindergarten teacher. More breakfasts: Churro French Toast Sticks! Lunches coordinated or prepped in advance – Ehh. Not really. I’d like to get the house a bit neater: I think I nudged some small spots – like the wet bar in the kitchen and my dresser top. Bullet journal – I’ve been keeping a meals list. What I’m reading: I read I know Why the Caged Bird Sings and Text Me When You Get Home and Bel Canto. What I’m Watching: We loved Stanley Tucci’s series Searching for Italy! We watched Dark Waters and it was so impressive but disheartening.
I’m reallllly feeling 2021. The prospect of a new year, fresh slate doesn’t seem inspiring or fitting. I think some melted sidewalks is what I’m looking forward to the most right now. I’m the most home-body of anyone I know and even I want to go places. I had a few fun foods in February, mixed amongst the staples of easy-to-execute/crowd pleasers.
I made a BLT Chicken Salad that has great flexibility for any time of year…including this part of the year with lack-luster tomatoes!
The standout meal of the month for me was Pineapple Coconut Rice bowls. I love a rice bowl and this added some greatly appreciated variety and inspiring a different place.
I’m not sure what’s coming up for March yet. I feel a bit of a slump so maybe some fun foods will revive me – or birthday cake?
The Little Girl: She just always wants to go places- there’s just nowhere for her to go. I love hearing her tell stories from books she knows well as she flips through them. We’re so lucky she’s easy going. I’m amused by her intense instruction when she’s playing pretend- for the play kitchen she’s forever telling me in a deep voice, “no, that’s for lunch and it is hot”. PB & fluff is her fav lunch and she’d eat maple oatmeal daily.
The Big Guy: The start of Feb vacation had him sad not to have school, then sad to go back. The break was good – he got some time home to just play, time with all the grandparents, and he was thrilled to have so much snow. It was also good for us as the time-managers. He loves sledding and is never cold. His current fav food is fig bars – like these and he’s been into helping make dinner. He watched the movie Turbo and loved it. We’re reading Charlotte’s Web.
Goals: Year of the fun mail! We sent a few Valentines around and a little something as encouragement. More breakfasts: nothing new, but I did make a special doughnut run. Lunches coordinated or prepped in advance – Umm. Leftovers became some breakfast burritos which are fun to pull out of the freezer now and then. I’ve been having some veggie burgers too. I’d like to get the house a bit neater: ehh. I didn’t have any particular emphasis on this- but should Bullet journal – I’ve kept a meals list going which I like as reminders of the every-day/not blogged ones. What I’m reading: I read Panther Baby and The Giver of Stars which I loooved and The Henna Artist. What I’m Watching: We caught up on some movies – ‘Knives Out’ which I absolutely loved and ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood’ was was OK to me.
January was a roller-coaster for sure. The highs were T’s 6th birthday and the inauguration which made me hopeful. The attacks on the capitol was such a disappointing low moment for the US.
I don’t feel post-holiday lows I hear some folks have, though I think winter/snowman books and decor helps the fresh-start feelings still being festive. I wish we had more snow. Now I keep us looking towards the snack holiday (aka, the Superbowl) and making Valentines.
In the kitchen, I am so enthusiastic for the cutest Football Cheeseball ever. Make in any amount while you don’t have a crowd this year!
Breakfast is one of my favorites and I’m missing going out for breakfast. I put together some McGriddles that were so good.
Winter doesn’t have me craving smoothies when it is cold, but this Chocolate Almond one was a great way to have some variety.
The Little Girl: She reached a milestone of reaching the growth chart! She’s into the first percentile with our emphasis of nutrient-dence foods and focus to eat as much as possible. Coloring is her favorite activity 24/7 and she is playing a lot more of what big brother wants the “game”/play to be.
The Big Guy: He’s 6! His birthday was fun and he had a countdown until the day. He is lucky to have gracious gifts of legos, puzzles, outside toys, and craft supplies. He chose pasta for dinner and Grandma made a lego cake! He is writing a ton and the note cards he delivers to us are so adorable.
Goals: Year of the fun mail! I didn’t send anything fun in January, but have ideas for February! More breakfasts: yes! McGriddles! Lunches coordinated or prepped in advance – Somehow there were more leftovers around lately for lunches. Taco/burrito/quesadilla/salad make ideal leftovers. I’d like to get the house a bit neater. I was highly motivated to declutter and pass along stuff we weren’t using. Bullet journal – I started with a meals list- that’s pretty much what my blog is but the everyday seemed good to journal. What I’m reading: I read so so so much in Dec and that took a nosedive in Jan. I read Nothing to See Here for bookclub and Watch Me Disappear. Both were OK, not fantastic. What I’m watching: We finished Man Hunt season 2 about the Georgia bombings. I’ve caught up on A Million Little Things. I think I’m off the Bachelorette/Bachelor train. I never finished the Clare/Tayshia season and didn’t start the Matt season either.
See ya 2020! December was so fun and I’m glad there can be a collective looking forward to 2021. It was a full month of food, like always. I’m grateful both Grandmas do most of the cookie baking with/for the kiddos. Christmas was so so fun and the little ones are perfect ages for the magic and surprise that fills this season.
BLT Quiche was so handy to have around for breakfasts & lunches. Mr. J was wayyy more into it than I expected.
I’m looking forward to NYE which always features sliders & shakes. Then mid-month T will turn 6! Work will have fewer evening virtual commitments. I’ll be kicking off the month with a super fun breakfast! Stay tuned!
The Little Girl: She’s as happy as can be. Santa brought her a Mrs. Potato Head (in her picture & on Facetime), she asked for a toy. She talks so much and I’m amused by the constant narration and clarifying questions. She had another weight check and is onto the chart! Woohoo! 1st percentile! We’re continuing to focus on nutrient dense foods and pediasure.
The Big Guy: He’s doing great in kindergarten. We adore his teachers and cannot get over how much they do everyday. He is reading so much and we love to see it. Santa brought him a remote control car (in his letter and on Facetime), he asked for a green racecar. He lost his 2nd tooth!
Goals: Year of the flowers or plants I’m switching it up and going with fun mail! We justttt send New Years cards so that’s my fun mail for Dec. More breakfasts – ehhh. Lunches coordinated or prepped in advance – BLT quiche was great for some lunches, I made quick ramen a few times (like this!) and tuna melts were all part of my more varied lunches! I’d like to get the house a bit neater. I should prob be more strategic, but I did a few spots that needed extra attention! Bullet journal – ehhh. I did not start yet. What I’m reading: I read 30 books this year! This month I read Such a Fun Age & The Heir Affair & Destination Wedding & Pretty Things (wow, what a reading month! What I’m watching: We watched our fav holiday movies: Christmas with the Kranks & Home Alone & Christmas Vacation. TV wise, we’re into Man Hunt season 2 about the Olympic Park bombing and others I didn’t know of. It is so good but intense. It is regularly followed by Modern Family.
The Three Bite Rule turns 10! Can you believe it?!?! Crazy!
I’m so grateful for YOU! I love hearing back when somebody made a recipe or when something caught your eye. This lil blog is for fun and is my passion project.
Superlatives! Most popular (aka, repeatable): Roasted Garlic Honey Sauce! This is a monthly recurrence here. I roast garlic even just in the toaster oven and mixing with honey, olive oil, and butter. This sauce is to-die-for. We put it on a white pizza quite often or it is great on roasted veggies or on a panini or it freezes well too!
Most photogenic:Easy Homemade(ish) Ramen it uses shredded chicken, mushrooms, soft boiled egg, along with a ramen packet and Thai seasoning packet. It is so good and a great use for some small bits of chicken.
Most Loved on Insta:the outdoor pizza oven was our best quarantine purchase! Our ooni is so fun and cooks in 90 seconds! We’ve been using weekly!
I don’t know what’s next. I’ll just keep going as long as it is fun! I think especially in these strange times, something I can control has been nice.
Goals for next year: Year of the ______: this has been my treat for myself each month. Last year was home self-care items. This year, I’m going to do a year of flowers or plants! We’re keeping the little ones alive, I’m ready for some plants! More breakfasts – we’re home all the time now so why not add some other options. Lunches coordinated or prepped in advance – almost every day I have turkey and arugula because I like it, but also because it takes a question out of the mix during a hurried time. I’d like to get the house a bit neater. Sometimes the small spaces add up to have a good impact and I always surprise myself what we can do in a few minutes. Bullet journal What I’m reading: I read 24 books this year! I’ll aim for the same goal this year I think. Digital library loans are the key to my success! What I’m watching:
October seemed to go by so quickly! How have we been home 7 months?! September and October were hefty for virtual work events which makes it feel busy. Work is, well, uneasy right now.
T started going to school for a hybrid schedule! It has been amazing. He did tell me “it is a little not good to not have a nap or rest”. That’s my boy! 😉 He loves it but it definitely tires him out. C doesn’t love when big brother is home doing school the other 3 days- she just wants him to play.
I focused on comfort foods for October.
I made these Cheeseburger Sloppy Joes. I was a fan. The kids were so-so on them. For some reason they don’t always want the bread portion of sandwiches.
These Funfetti Waffles were so fun and definitely a morning comfort. I used some funfetti mix (and have an idea for the remainder) and I’d be interested in playing around to try to make in other ways too.
The Little Girl: She misses her brother when he’s doing school! She is quite into our toy trains and likes tucking in her stuffed toys to sleep and driving vehicles around. She’s zooming around on the scooter and is ready for more on bikes. Her fav food is definitely any kind of cheese, pizza, and oatmeal. Since she’s underweight, we’re trying so hard to keep her eating and getting dense nutrition into her. She’s totally 2 and still easy going but now we also hear “I don’t want that” or “still using that”.
The Big Guy: He looooves school. We’re so proud of his can-do attitude and how hard he’s working. He goes to kindergarten 2 days a week and virtual the other 3. Managing the timing and assignments takes attention from us. It has been fun to see what he’s learning! A new favorite lunch is grilled peanut butter and fluff.
November brings my blogaversary! I’ll need to think carefully about goals. I’m hopeful but scared about what’s ahead. Get out there and vote. For the sake of humanity, please go vote.
This Year’s Goals:
Year of beauty/self-care: I got this skin scrub Prep intentional sides and veggies: nope, not really Eat more fish: Salmon! Blog some series: Oct is comfort foods! Focus decluttering/organizing to an area: I passed along some too-small kid clothes to the next wearer. Share more books on instagram: ehh. A few. Prioritize workouts: I looooved a month mash-up incorporating 4 different programs and now I’m doing a ‘muscle burns fat’ one that’s OK, not my fav. What I’m reading: I read The Other Mrs. Miller – and that’s it. I haven’t read much at all lately. What I’m listening to: a podcast on the occasional stroller ride for the girl. What I’m watching: We found a series called Manhunt about the unabomber and it was captivating! I loved the most recent Brother vs. Brother.
I don’t even know what end is up. September is just bananas. I cooked some fun things but we are treading water to adjust to our new schedule. Virtual kindergarten is going great but working full time, monitoring remote school, keeping the 2 yr old occupied/away and juggling these short time blocks has our brains spinning. I’ve felt more stress these last few weeks than this whole quarantine time- if I’m on top of work, then I’m lacking for the kids/home/friends and vice versa.
This month Mr. J and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary so that was our bright spot! We went to dinner and I had the best meal I’ve had in for-ev-er. We ate outside at Il Massimo and I had scallops over corn risotto with brussels sprouts.
For dishes from my kitchen, I made these pesto risotto stuffed tomatoes and loved them- they’re also great for grocery store tomatoes as we exit the prime garden tomato season!
These Chicken BLT Grain Bowls are so ideal for a quick and balanced lunch or dinner. Plus if the grain is prepped ahead of time it saves so much time. I went with quinoa but normally choose brown rice or farro.
Our littlest one needs a bit more dense nutrition- so I made some pb&j energy bites as a little but powerful snack. They were a great use of some freeze dried raspberries nobody was interested in!
Her newest words are “yup” and “nope” which just sounds funny. She’s so itty bitty so we are focused on upping her calorie intake and retesting some of her lab work next month. She’s doing pretty well with pediasure and needs to bulk up a bit to hit the chart. Her fav foods are cheese of any kind, pb&f, and anything she can dip. She’s playing a ton in the play kitchen and with the trains. She zooms down the driveway on her bike. This gal is fearless. She did fantastic wearing her mask for her whole physical and for labwork.
The Big Guy:
He loves virtual kindergarten! His teacher is fantastic and he impressed us day 1 mastering the computer mouse and the mute/unmute rules. I’m so thankful he’s good at playing for his his breaks and getting right back to it when his next session is starting. The in-person hybrid schedule should start soon so we’re looking forward to him going 2 days a week. He’s still loving pizza and pasta. His favorite lunch is PB&F or “snacky lunch” of salami/string cheese/etc. We transitioned to quiet time with a stack of books on the couch or his bed instead of naps and he looks forward to it!
This Year’s Goals:
Year of beauty/self-care: not really Prep intentional sides and veggies: nope, not really Eat more fish: Lobsters! Blog some series: nope, but Oct is going to be comfort foods! Focus decluttering/organizing to an area: not at the moment. Share more books on instagram: ehh. Prioritize workouts: I loved a lifting workout program and looooved it. Now I’m doing a month mash-up incorporating 4 different programs it is has been great for the ultimate in variety. What I’m reading: I read The Yellow House since it is the summer reading at work for students and the community. It is about New Orleans and the city dynamics pre and post hurricane Katrina. I loved it, though at first I was overwhelmed by the number of people’s names without a family tree chart. Then I blew through Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and the Conspiracies to Protect Predators which is a forever reminder how critical the free press is.
What I’m listening to: a podcast on occasion. What I’m watching: America’s Got Talent wrapped up and I’m thrilled the spoken poet won- it literally restored some hope for America voting. We found a series called Manhunt about the unabomber and one season about the Atlanta Olympics bomber. It is very well done!
August seems like a blur. Other than the little lady’s birthday, I’m always pretty ready to skip right over it. It is often too hot and I’m ready for fall. This year is a little funky – to say the least. All the days feel pretty similar. I think the last 2 weeks I’ve had a few things to look forward to and that helps a lot. We did a beach day, and my bookclub has been meeting outside the last few months, and I ate outside at a restaurant, and I like the friend zooms we’ve had.
I made fish tacos with mango sauce, which were so good! I love the ease of frozen breaded fish and the speed can’t be beat! They are fun in the rotation for variety and the kids eat them a little deconstructed, but they were a hit.
Cornbread is a bit hit or miss but THIS soft cornbread is a total winner. It is soft (duh) and has pieces of corn. We had it with BBQ pulled pork and the leftovers I griddled (per Mom’s suggestion) and then I drizzled with some hot honey. It was super addicting! I loved hearing a few folks already made it and loved it too!
Hawaiian Hot Dogs were super fun for some variety too. I mean, at this point in the summer we’ve all had all the grilled things. This also turned us onto grilled pineapple too.
The Baby Girl:
She’s 2! Her birthday was fun – we spent the afternoon swimming and making pizzas at her grandparents house. She loves singing “Hap Birt-day” and this girl can put away some pizza! She got a trampoline and she loves it! We gave her some doll house furniture, a book, and some bath bombs. She loves rainbows, reading her own books, and pb&j remains her fav lunch. She loves corn on the cob. She’ll keep a mask on for ~5-10 minutes.
The Pre-K Guy:
He’s starting virtual kindergarten soon! Who knows what that’ll be like! He can occasionally be convinced that we don’t all have to play the same things together 24/7. He is super into spiders at the moment. Legos are his fav. I had to laugh when he decided he wouldn’t be able to keep a secret from C so he couldn’t know what gifts she’d get for her birthday. He has surprised me lately being more into meat- BBQ chicken, and sausage, and burgers. He’s very into corn on the cob. Both kids love tomatoes from the vine and are lucky to snag cherry tomatoes from their grandparents’ garden on the way from the pool.
This Year’s Goals:
Year of beauty/self-care – New facewash may have been the culprit to breakouts so I didn’t introduce anything new this month. Prep intentional sides and veggies: Yes! Some farmer’s market purchases nudged us out the box. Eat more fish: we had fish tacos and are prob due for our fav salmon. I’m awaiting a deal on lobsters. Blog some series: no series but we’ve been a little better with variety Focus decluttering/organizing to an area: I got some baby toys out of here! Share more books on instagram: yup Prioritize workouts: I’m nearing the end of a lifting/high intensity interval training one. I liked it a lot! What I’m reading: I read The Idea of You, which wasn’t good. I actually listened to an interview by the author on a podcast because I wondered what everyone else liked about it! Then I read The Girl with the Louding Voice and let me tell you, it is so wonderful. The writing is magical and there’s great intrigue and heartbreak and encouragement for the characters.
What I’m listening to: a podcast here and there but I’m behind on all that I’d normally catch on my commutes. What I’m watching: 10 years late to the party, we started watching Modern Family and it is so fun! We watched the movie Richard Jewell and it was captivating.
July wrapping up has me wondering what the fall will be like- along with the rest of the country. We don’t know what school will be like for kindergarten. Returning to daycare will be a change too. I’m working remotely and I’ve settled into that. July normally would have been a summer vacation week to the beach but this year we just went for a day. It was good for what it was. I don’t feel like I’m mourning what “should have been”.
In the kitchen this month. I went with a lettuce-less salad series. Lettuce is my least fav part of salad so I strove for salads that are fresh and cool and packed with flavor and texture without any greens. Also, whip up some easy chocolate mousse.
This peach, tomato, and mozzarella salad has a balsamic drizzle and was DE-LIGHT-FUL. The kids loved it and it turned Mr. J onto peaches! It was great and we’re already due for a repeat.
Another one was purple cabbage, carrots and peanut sauce with so much flavor and crunch alongside our sesame noodles & edamame. Brown sauce isn’t photogenic but peanut sauce is so great and this isn’t one to miss.
We also had this watermelon, mint, and cucumber salad as a relish or topping for grilled chicken. It was so juicy and crunchy and perfect. I chopped ours tiny- for topping and for a 2 year old. It could easily be bigger chunks for a side.
The Pre-K Guy:
He’s becoming such a strong swimmer! He would have had a summer of swimming lessons at daycamp but here we are. I’m amused to see his monochromatic outfit choices. He looooved getting library books for the first time since March! He’s into the sandbox and puttering around the driveway with tools and discarded remnants from Mr. J’s projects. Go Jetters is his show of choice for the moment. Snacky lunch is the current fav and cherries!
The Toddler Girl:
Her tiny voice singing is just so dang cute. She loves wheels on the bus, happy birthday, itsy bitsy spider and I can’t get enough of it. Her strength and determination is shining through once in a while – maybe I should stop telling her she’s about to be two? She loves jelly, peaches, and yogurt. Her impressions repeating what somebody just said, in their tone is also amusing.
This Year’s Goals:
Year of beauty/selfcare – I got new facewash – so exciting! haha Prep intentional sides and veggies: Yup! All the salads! Eat more fish: ehh I don’t know that we had much fish this month Blog some series: salads, sans lettuce! Focus decluttering/organizing to an area: I didn’t but should get back on that. Share more books on instagram: I’ve shared the collections I pull for the kids and what I’m into. Prioritize workouts: I finished barre blend. Then I got going on a lifting one. It is too hot to run this week but I’ve tended to do ~2 miles once a week. What I’m reading: I finished The Secrets We Kept for bookclub and loved how many topics are represented, then read Girl Woman Other and was so captivated and connected to the characters, and The Wife Between Us which was a thriller but actually lighter in terms of thought required. I’m just finished Beyond Belief: My Secret Life inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape which is a bit lengthy and too many details included and lacked enough personal reflection for me- I preferred Leah Remini’s book for an overview of Scientology and for a personal experience.
What I’m listening to: a podcast here and there but I’m behind on all that I’d normally catch on my commutes. What I’m watching: we just watched the Last Dance docu-series about Michael Jordon and the 1990s Bulls. It was so well done and fascinating – despite the fact that I don’t follow basketball and I had no idea all these players were on the same team! We watched the movie The Way Back and thought it was great.
Somehow June zoomed by! Maybe it was the wrap up for T’s pre-k class or the hurry of the end of the fiscal year at work. The unknown of what’s ahead is just so strange. Being patient to let time pass, to find out what elementary school and daycare will do, and to hear what is ahead for work is just hard. The limbo is hard to not let possibilities feel stressful.
I was so happy with Mr. J’s birthday burger! This BLT Burger has bacon ground into the patty and a tomato jam.
This Pink Grapefruit Refresher was totally out of the ordinary for me and is addicting. The touch of tart from the pink grapefruit with sweetness from the grenadine is delightful.
The little ones aren’t into shrimp lately so I whipped this Chipotle Shrimp Rice Bowl up just for myself. My love for grain bowls runs deep and some leftover brown rice and some leftover black beans were screaming to become a bowl!
I’m kicking July off with the easiest dessert ever and maybe a series. This tends to be a slower time for blog readership but maybe that’ll be different now that nobody’s going on vacation? We’ll see. I mean, we’re eating 3 meals a day at home and we love the occasional surprise so I’m still at it!
The Pre-K Guy:
He was sad for his class to be over. It was a drawn-out time of “being over” but he loved it. He’s honestly so happy to be home 24-7. He loves getting dressed in shorts, playing outside most of the day is great for him. I wish he could play with friends. Our home routine works well. I don’t push the worksheets, crafts, etc but I try to have some things ready. That pre-dinner rush or post-nap or needing a cool activity inside is prime time to have something ready. He’s thoroughly appreciates getting to watch a show- his favs are Floogles, Muppet Babies, and DinoTrux. He is obsessed with playing music from the ipod- Say Something by A Great Big World and Manic Monday by The Bangles. I love that he picks out bedtime stories and we close our eyes and try to guess the books by feel. I’m maybe 50% guess rate. His fav foods are pb&j (still), bread & butter pickles, and craisins. There’s a lot of life lessons happening- racism, honesty, consent. Bah. It is hard.
The Toddler Girl:
She so easy-going. Any chance for an adventure and she’s sold! The possibility of a car ride is her dream. She misses errands. She likes a few licks of an ice cube and knows the remainder goes into the dog’s water bowl. She is happy to give the dogs treats – moreso than big brother is! I’m noticing a few two-year-old moments- she turns 2 in August. She’s so chill until she isn’t. Her fav foods are cheese (and more and more cheese) and jelly and teddy grahams. Her fav tunes are Wheels on the Bus and Uptown Girl.
This Year’s Goals:
Year of beauty/selfcare – Ehh. Not really. I repaired my pedicure tool- does that count? Prep intentional sides and veggies: Ehh. Nope Eat more fish: breaded fish sticks Blog some series: Nope. Focus decluttering/organizing to an area: I was on a roll giving away a bunch of attic stuff. We’ve probably cleared out the last of the baby stuff. Share more books on instagram: I’ve shared the collections I pull for the kids and what I’m into. Prioritize workouts: I’m almost through Barre Blend. I’m not sure what’s next. Maybe running more. What I’m reading: I finished The Most Fun We Ever Had and thought it was ok/good. Then I loved Clap When You Land!
What I’m listening to: only the occasional podcast – A Beautiful Mess is a fun one after following their blog and instagram. What I’m watching: We finished Schitt’s Creek and are so sad it is over. I’m loving the Bachelor Best Seasons Ever for a whole season in one night!