Busy. Busy going to rodeos and reading three romance novels in four days to take a break from reading the news through squinted eyes and silent screaming. Busy cheering on lawyers throughout the country as they become First Responders in an administration that either hasn't read the Constitution or doesn't care about it. (I still can't decide which one I prefer.) Researching sparkling dresses to wear to a black-tie event in April (do we like this one? or this one? I feel like RTR is low on options right now.)
Busy updating my resume for comfort, taking off work and drinking a champagne lunch with a friend on a Wednesday in a combination of self-care and fuck it, booking a trip to Disney World for the same reason, and watching a video of Cora jumping rope a million times because it has so much joy and so little fascism. Busy reading about lawyer friends doing amazing things. Panic-breathing through another HVAC replacement quote ($16K this time!). Attending a post card party in downtown Fort Worth as part of the 10 Actions in 100 Days campaign for the Women's March and finding it PACKED, all 600 postcards used up in the first half of the event, and me utterly flummoxed how to answer finish the sentence "I am _______ from _______. I am concerned about..." At least the first two questions were easy.
James was a guest lecturer for a marketing class at TCU to tell them about his experience starting up Fike Swim. He made a power point and wore real pants and everything. He loved every minute (maybe minus the pants part) and will come back as a judge to judge the student's business ideas and plans in a Shark-Tank-like final exam at the end of the semester. I'm so proud of him!
I cleaned out my closet, letting go of a few items I've let hang around for far too long because I either used to love them and can't understand why I no longer do or I bought them and never wore them at all. Despite major temptation everywhere my credit cared diet has been a huge success. This billing cycle ends on Friday and I have bought NOTHING this month except groceries, a once a week work lunch, new uniform pants for Landon because he grew like 4 inches over Christmas break and was suddenly wearing capris, and two giant hot water heaters. The crazy part is even with the hot water heaters, our bill is well under budget. Like half of the budget. It feels amazing. Is this what successful food dieting feels like? I literally feel thinner after checking my card balance just now even though I know I ate half a bowl of cookie dough before dinner. If the next month didn't contain Valentine's Day and my birthday I'd say we should do it again immediately. But cookies and Lululemon will need to be purchased and March is a fine time for financial dieting.
Mama I jumping ROPE!
Except I just booked us a vacation for March earlier this week. On the same night I boldly declared to James we would do nothing for Spring Break because we've been traveling too much and we're committed to making Disney a reality later in the year, I also accidentally mapped us out a road trip to Carlsbad Caverns and Guadalupe Mountains National Parks, with a stop at Monahans Sandhills State Park, and two nights in a cozy non-mudery motel. It would be easier if we camped, but I do not sleep on the ground, in tents, and/or with my children. So motel it is! I'm actually super excited. The National Park Rangers are leading the resistance and I LOVE me some National Parks and their Rangers. Plus these two are in the southern part of New Mexico/Texas border and not a convenient stop for the Grand Canyon and Arizona National Park road trips I have planned for later. Plus PLUS I really really like family vacations and road trips. All in the trip should cost less than $500 and 4/5 of my family are out of school/work for an entire week. We have to do something or we'll spend $500 on date nights anyway. To the caverns we go!
unrelated, but still LOVING this book
We did spent $23 at Home Depot today to give Landon a Lego shelf and buy James a shockingly inexpensive part to fix his leaf blower. That never happens. We felt so handy and practical we drank a bottle of champagne with dinner to celebrate. We're not football people, so it didn't occur to either of us to turn on the Super Bowl, but we did watch 3 more episodes of Catastrophe after the kids went to bed and that show is HILARIOUS. We also just finished Sneaky Pete (loved it), so we need more. We may be cutting cable since we found out our DVR cable box has been broken for a month and we never noticed because we never turned it on, so Netflix, Amazon, and HBO options preferred.
We also got everyone's Valentine's cards for school. The pre-made kind in boxes from a store because Valentine's Day is not really my thing (except the part where we drink a lot of champagne after the kids go to bed on a Tuesday) and I'm not crafty anyway. But the kids love them and I'm glad they have an excuse to bring me more candy home from school. To those reading with kids in their classes, I prefer skittles, Mike and Ike's, and Sour Patch Kids.
Cora selected Moana for her cards and then spent a significant portion of the weekend dancing to her "Cora" playlist on Spotify (it has 3 songs: "Where I'll Go" and "I am Moana" from Moana and "Try Everything" from Zootopia; that is all, forever and ever repeated, amen) while holding her unopened box of Valentine's cards and it was the best. I started crying while watching her on hour 3 or so. Toddlers are my favorite and this one doesn't even throw tantrums. I will never stop wishing I could have more of her.
As always, I did a lot of cooking. There were several tests to our (my) commitment to not eat out for a month but we PERSEVERED. Sometimes dinner was sad, usually it was pretty delicious. I"m still loving my recipe books and trying new things and honestly not missing the eating out so much. (The really good frozen margaritas? Those I miss.) As a bonus, you get two weeks of menus! Interspersed with rodeo pictures because I didn't blog for 8 days and there's a back log!
Mon: Meatloaf, roasted carrots and cauliflower, mashed potatoes (from a Trader Joe's box; I should be ashamed, but seriously, their instant potatoes are crazy good). I liked our meatloaf recipe and the kids weirdly LOVED it, but I feel like I'm still looking for The One. Please share yours!
Tues: Chicken and pineapple soyaki broil, veggie fried rice, TJ's veggie spring rolls. (Dice up chicken breast, fresh pineapple, and red onion, toss in a bowl with TJ's Soyaki sauce, spread in a foil-lined pan and broil on high for about 6 minutes. For the fried rice, I sauteed some diced onion, broccoli, snap pea, peas, and carrots, added two bags of steamed brown rice (Trader Joe's again!), and some soyaki. Super yummy, easy meal. Kids loved it because the pineapple tastes like dessert. Except Cora, who continues to hate all fruit.)
Wed: Leftover spaghetti sauce from Sunday's non-posted meal, tossed with whole wheat penne, shredded mozzarella, sliced black olives (my kids LOVE black olives), and a bit of parmesan, spread into a 9x13 dish and baked at 350 for 20 mins. I made it ahead on Sunday night so Tara could pop it in the oven while I was at my postcard party.
Thurs: Zesty Burrito Bowl - I'm not linking to it because it was terrible. Total test of my commitment to not eating out, I chopped and cooked and waited and it turned out so spicy even James declared it inedible. So we had breakfast tacos with scrambled eggs, black beans, and diced tomato. I mostly had a rocks margarita that I made when the rice I eventually had to throw out took forever to cook.
Fri: Meatball sub (Costco organic chicken meatballs, simmered in Costco organic tomato basil sauce (so good!), spread into a big loaf of bread split, buttered and sprinkled with garlic salt that has already been baked for about 10 mins at 350; top with thin slices of provolone and broil 3-5 mins. So delicious and comforting!), roasted sweet and Russet potato wedges, Kale and Radicchio salad with farro and lemon miso dressing.
Sat: *serious test of my commitment to no eating out for a month* I had an Annie's List happy hour event and got home too late to defrost the salmon we were supposed to have, and we hadn't gone grocery shopping because the day had been crazy, so the kids had pasta and jarred sauce with fruit on the side, James and I made vegetable fried rice with TJ's brown rice, scrambled egg, a dash of soyaki, and chopped pieces of every veggie we had left in the fridge. You cannot imagine how badly I wanted to order takeout Thai, but we stayed the course.
Sun: Grilled salmon (from this recipe because the rub is amazing, minus the salsa this time), mashed potatoes, roasted carrots and cauliflower, wheat rolls
Mon: Naked Persian burgers with salad (from the Skinnytaste cookbook; here's a picture and list of ingredients that isn't particularly helpful), roasted potatoes.
Tues: Black bean burrito bowls (also from the Skinnytaste cookbook; I'm not really helping you guys out much by posting our menu this time am I?)
Wed: Fettucine with chicken and broccoli (also from the Skinnytaste cookbook; here's a non-helpful post of someone else making it)
Thurs: Tacos, toppings, refried beans (I have an event and James likes tacos 100% more than I do, plus they're quick for him to make for the kids when he gets home from swimming)
Fri: Bolognese sauce (I'm working from home, so I can actually let it cook the full 4 hours this time), whole wheat penne, probably with a loaf of garlic bread and no vegetables because it's Friday and we love carbs.
Takeaway from this menu- everyone should buy the Skinnytaste cook book because unlike many a blog-turned-book, she apparently has a lot of new content in there!
May you all have an excellent week full of delicious things, toddlers dancing, and trashy romance novels. Or whatever is your happy equivalent.