Monday, January 30, 2017

Weekending | Frankenmuth Snowfest

You guys, we left the house and got some much needed fresh air over the weekend! 

On Friday we had a showing on our house so we needed to leave. Rather than go sit at a family members house a few miles away, we decided to make a day of it and head to Frankenmuth's Snowfest. It consists of a competition of snow and ice carving sculptures along with some other activities. Some are small and some are humongous. I was a little hesitant because of the long drive (causing two screaming kids) and the cold weather (causing two sick kids).... but we took on the challenge. 

A few years ago (pre babies) Michael and I went to Snowfest and had a great time! Although this year our trip was more revolved around the petting zoo than the sculptures and hot alcoholic beverages... 😆

Since we went during the day, the sculptures weren't completed. So that was kind of a bummer. I enjoyed seeing them complete more so than watching them be worked on. Completed or not, the little ones had zero interest. So we visited the petting zoo and had to pull Remi away screaming because she didn't want to leave. She refused to get back in the stroller and insisted on walking. Meanwhile, ML was not a fan of being bundled up or sitting in the stroller either. So clearly we failed at keeping both kids happy. 

Side note: We borrowed this double jogger from a friend to try out because I can't decide what kind of double stroller to get and they are SOOOOO expensive! Do you have any suggestions for a double stroller? Preferably jogger or all terrain. 

Besides braving the 32° windy snowy day with two little ones, our weekend was pretty uneventful. Well besides watching ML climb everything in sight as you probably have seen on facebook or snapchat! That kid is going to be an animal! Crawling, standing, and pulling himself up onto everything before he's even 6 months old?! Send help. Oh, and we did have another showing on the house on Sunday as well. We visited Michael's Mom during that showing rather than take another adventure. Fingers crossed that perhaps one of the showings brings an offer! 

How was your weekend?! Do you bundle up your little one(s) to take outside in the winter or do you opt to stay inside?! 

Linking up with Biana for weekending recap!

Look at those CHEEKS!! 😍

After they both cried for 30 mins (ML) and 45 mins (R)... they finally crashed! 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Coffee Talk

Hello friends! If we were joining each other for coffee this morning, here are a few things I'd have on my mind to chat about! 

First, I better tell you that I don't drink coffee... so I'm probably drinking spark or water instead. ;)

I'm sure my babies would be the first things on my mind, as always... Mason slept ONCE for 6 hours. We're back to the every 1-2 hour wake up nonsense (when do I start sleeping training?!) like he's been doing since he was born... but that one long sleep period... let me tell ya how amazing it was! Can we do that again?! 

Let me also tell you about how that stinker not only started crawling at 5 months... but now he's pulling himself onto things. Big things. Like the couch and the end of our bed! Why is this happening so soon?! Lord help me. Then there is sassy smarty pants, Remi Roo. Who is learning new words by the hour and it blows my mind! The best thing was when I got her to say "I love you" one time. So precious. Most used words on a daily basis is... Mote (remote), Mous-he (Mickey Mouse), Ninny (Minnie Mouse), Nacks (snacks), Mo (More), No no no (usually to Mason), Bubbles, Night Night. 

Next month we are taking a 3 night trip up north snowmobiling. This will be the first time I've left ML and the second time I've left Remi. (The only other time I left her is when I was in the hospital having the baby). To say I'm nervous is an understatement. 

Okay, I could talk about my kids all day... moving on. Since we're going on 2 years of trying to sell our house and 8 out of 10 showings give feedback that the kitchen is too small... we have decided to take the plunge and expand the kitchen and do some updating. Michael and I had a little day date and we picked out colors, flooring, countertops, and got prices on everything down to the light switch/outlet covers. We are hoping to begin this project in a couple months! Stay tuned! For now, we took down a set of cupboards above the island to open things up a bit. 

New countertop choices on top of the old countertop that will be removed.

Michael and I have both had several doctor appointments lately to get some health concerns addressed. Spoiler alert... I was in the ER at one point. Thankfully, we are in better shape that each of our symptoms had appeared. I guess we just wanted to get a jump start on those insurance deductibles for the year... 

Breastfeeding. I'm just not a fan. We're still trucking along but I am pumping and bottle feeding 3-4 times a day and then nursing at night/morning. I'm not a fan of being so constricted to nursing or to pumping, but we're making it work for the time being. I'm happy we've made it this far. After the first few weeks/months of hell, I didn't want to give up and let all my efforts go to waste. Right now my goal is two more months and then the freezer stash will get him to a year possibly. Time will tell... 

Oh my goodness... are you watching This Is Us?! I'm a little late to the party on this one as I'm just getting caught up on my DVR recordings... but so far, I'm obsessed. And that's pretty impressive since I'm not much of a TV watcher!

I caught up on some sewing projects and I've been really contemplating doing a little side business. I also made my first crib sheet and that was fun! All of these items were for baby girls and I absolutely loved both of these prints! 

Pictured below is some burp cloths, carseat canopies (that can later be used as a small blanket), and reversible carseat blankets (that can be used on any 5 point harness system seat/swing/stroller to protect the seat from accidents, allows easy cleaning, and most importantly is a safe blanket to keep the baby warm! 

The world scares me. The politics. The protests. The shootings. The human trafficking Michigan is number one and it's bad in nearby areas. I highly dislike living in this scary world not to mention raising little ones within. My little sister's high school had two gun threats last week. The thought of an act of violence being carried out and potentially harming my sister almost brought me to tears. One thing I pray for every night is safety for my loved ones. 

I officially resigned as Treasurer of our local QDMA branch. Although Michael and I are going to stay on the board as directors. It is something we enjoy being involved with. However, one of my goals for the new year was to stop over filling my plate. Removing this extra duty off my shoulders will be a huge relief and hopefully free up some of my spare time. Spare time? Ha. As if. 

Budgeting. I stink at this. Send help! I registered on Mint and Every Dollar. I'm not really into either app so I'm thinking about being an old fashioned gal and using pen and paper. I've enjoyed reading other's (Thanks Amanda and Kristen!) budget tips and tricks so keep those coming in you have any!

If you haven't noticed, I've taken a step back from social media. Which goes hand in hand with my goal for the new year of being more present. I enjoy the "social" end of it - keeping up on everyone's happenings and interacting with friends/family/blogger friends, however, I hope it will allow me more time to interact in a more meaningful way (text message, phone call, email, read/comment on blog post, etc).

Two places you can find me more often is here or on Snapchat (justjuliejoy)! Thanks for sharing a few cups of {insert drink of choice} with me! 

What is your morning drink of choice? Tell me what's on your mind via coffee talk! 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Lasagna Soup | Freezer Friendly + Dairy Free

A few posts back, I mentioned making this delicious recipe. As promised, here it is! 

When Jessi mentioned making (and loving) a lasagna soup recipe a year ago, I made a mental note and have been wanting to make it! With the cold weather upon us, I knew it was a must to make asap! 

There are three great things about this recipe... 

1) It's a one pot recipe (who doesn't love a lesser mess in the kitchen?!) 
2) It's freezer friendly (who appreciates a prepared meal stowed away?!) 
3) It can be made dairy free! (hello healthier alternative!)

I did some tweaking to the original recipe to 'soupe' it up a little (see what I did there...) as well as added the option to make it dairy free - which I did and you'd never know! Soup-er delicious! ;) 

 1lb ground burger (beef, venison, or sausage)
 1 large yellow onion diced
 4-5 cloves garlic minced
 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
 24oz spaghetti sauce (I used a quart (32oz) of my homemade sauce)
 8-10 C chicken broth
 14oz can diced tomatoes
 2 tbsp tomato paste
 2 tsp balsamic (or white) vinegar
 1.5 tsp sugar
 1 tbsp dried basil
 1 tsp parsley
 1 tsp oregano
 1 tsp salt
 1/2 tsp pepper
 1-3 bay leaves
 10 uncooked lasagna noodles (the old fashioned kind)
 Fresh chopped spinach (optional)
 Fresh sliced mushrooms (optional)

• Optional w/o dairy: 1/2 C coconut milk
• Optional w/ dairy: 1/2 C heavy whipping cream
• Optional toppings w/ dairy: shredded mozzarella cheese, grated parmesan cheese, ricotta cheese

 Heat large soup pot. Brown meat with onion. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Drain fat. 

 Add spaghetti sauce, 6 C chicken broth, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, vinegar, sugar, spices, lasagna noodles, spinach, and mushrooms. Bring to a boil. Reduce and simmer until lasagna noodles are tender. 

 Discard bay leaves. Add in 2-4 C remaining chicken broth for desired consistency. Add in optional coconut milk or heavy cream, if desired. 

 Garnish with optional dairy toppings, if desired. 

Serve with a side of garlic bread!

Since this recipe made a large serving size for just one person (well 1.5 people if you count R) I was able to freeze the majority of this for another day! The recipe would also be easily doubled for a larger meal or for freezing! 

Thanks again Jessi for sharing the original recipe

Sunday, January 8, 2017

2016 Review || 2017 Preview

In true "mom of two under two" fashion, it's the start of the second week of the new year, and I'm just now finding the time to process it all. I mean seriously, where did 2016 go?! Besides our sweet baby boy joining our family, 2016 really won't be missed. It's no secret around here that I've been riding the hot mess express for.. well, um... months... but I'm really hoping to change that with this new year. Of course, there's only so much in my control, so it's more of a mentality thing I need to focus on... Send help. ;)

January - We took our first family road trip to Louisville, KY for the QDMA National Convention.

February - We announced the news that Remington was going to be a big sister! I took R outside to play in the snow for the first time.

March - Our baby girl turned ONE!

April - We celebrated Remington's birthday with family and friends. We accepted an offer on our house and began moving out!

May - We purchase a new camper and moved into it. We took Remington to the zoo for the first time.

June - The sale of our home fell through. We then decided we had to move back in before baby #2 arrived. We went on several camping trips and spent lots of time outside.

July - We partially moved back into the house while still partially living in the camper. Remington attended her first tractor pulls over 4th of July weekend. We had maternity pictures taken by Shanell.

August 2016 - We added a baby boy to our family!

September - We went back to living in the camper so we could be with Michael more often. Remington participated in her first Boo Bash halloween camping trip. 

October - My best friend had her rainbow baby, Olivia Brynn. R and I had a day date and took a trip to the apple orchard for the first time. We moved completely back into the house and winterized the camper. 

November - Michael came home for Thanksgiving. We celebrated our little turkeys and family. My Mom turned to big 5-0 and we had a surprise party for her! 

December - We counted down the days until Michael got laid off for the winter! We celebrated Christmas a lot (5 times to be exact) and I took the kids to see Santa. We also took the kids to see Christmas lights and R enjoyed it much more this year than last. 

Looking back on 2016, despite the struggles, we did have a lot of fun and made a lot of memories! Of course there were also weddings, babies, family gatherings, and much more to add to the list too! 

Sometimes it's hard not to get hung up on the bad times, and that is something I want to work on for 2017. I'd like to focus on being thankful for the blessings I DO have rather than dwell on the bad days or things that I don't have. 

I hope to work at getting us on a budget. 

Be more of a minimalist. 

Take care of my health, skin, and body. (Afterall, I do turn 30 this year...)

Make more time to "date" my husband. 

Be present. Not only with detaching from my phone but also enjoying/living in the moment rather than always thinking about what I need to be doing next or what I could be doing instead of what I'm currently doing.  

And my #1 goal for 2017.... SELL THIS HOUSE AND MOVE! 

Wishing you a healthy and happy New Year!