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Morning Routines & Saying Yes.

Last month I worked on making dinner more & better.  While it changed & evolved over the course of the 30 days, I learned a lot…a lot I will tell you all about tomorrow.  This month, I’m working on two things, but they go hand in hand for me.  Exercising more & better & morning routines.  I’ve given up on the thought or idea that I can work exercise into my day at 9 am, 2 pm, 8 pm…it’s moving to the morning & this is where it ties in to my morning routine.

I read an article last month, which I can’t find now, but the main idea was to wake up FOR your day, instead of waking up TO your day.  It was a powerful thought & in an area where I knew I could use some improvement.  After thinking about it for a week or so, as I was winding down from my 30 meals in 30 days, I thought, that is what I need to work on next.  And so this week I began.

So what does it mean to wake up FOR your day?  For me personally I’ve had to rearrange a few things.  Over the last 8 years, I’ve always had a ‘baby’ which meant I may or may not be waking in the night to care for them.  It’s been a rarity to wake in the night for awhile now, yet I found myself still arranging my time like I did when I had a baby.  Which usually included staying in bed in the morning as long as I possibly could.  Running a business & household at the same time, I have usually allowed myself to stay up late in the evenings to work.  Either I’m burned out or my season has shifted a bit, where my kids are up later & I’m not really interested in having those hours be my ‘working’ hours.

And so the thought kept returning to, wake up FOR my day, instead of TO it and this is the week where I am beginning.  Right now, one of the things I crave the most is peace & quiet.  By the end of each day I find myself on what I like to refer to as, ‘sensory overload.’  Which is just a technical way of saying, my brain is fried.  So part of my morning routine has included an effort to capture some peace & quiet.  One of my favorite ways to do that is outside, so I’ve began my running again.

In the past, I’ve put so much pressure on my running, timing my splits, looking at race calendars, blah, blah, blah.  This time?  I have yet to time a split or calculate a distance.  The point isn’t to run faster, or farther, to burn calories or to lose inches, those are all great by products that will happen anyway.  The point right now, is just to start my morning.  I love the crispness of the air & quietness of the streets.  It gets my heart going & makes me a happier person.  Once I get home, I’ll sneak out back to do some stretching & lifting & call it good.

This past week the mornings have been so so nice, I’m going to go ahead & call that a sweet tender mercy from a Heavenly Father that is rewarding my efforts.  We’ve been soaking them in & eating breakfast out back on the patio, which is also when we do family scriptures.  Since I’ve been waking up earlier, my grogginess is gone & this time has improved as well.  The kids & my husband eat breakfast while I read…then they are all off to finish getting ready & I have my personal study & doodle thoughts in my notebook.  It started as a gratitude journal, which I love the practice of, but now it also includes any thoughts, ideas or moments of inspiration as well.  Today’s looked like this…

A wise thought from Majorie Hinckley, that has been going through my head recently.  I’ve found that while maybe not conventional to have your journal look like a high-school doodle session, the process of writing it out slowly & creatively is actually quite helpful to me.  It solidifies it in my head & keeps me still enough to allow more thoughts & ideas regarding it to process.  I’ll keep you posted on how I’m trying to say yes more, but I’ll tell you this…my kids are learning I’m much more apt to say yes once homework & jobs are done!

Here’s to a month of better morning routines…just before summer, when I’ll have to figure it all out again.  I’ll keep you posted on how it goes…

This Little House of Mine: For Sale

Sometimes life gives you big & unexpected turns & if you blink, you’ll miss it.  This past month, not only have we bought a new house, but my husband accepted a new job.  It was amazing & one of my better life experiences.  I honestly had to pinch myself a few times to be sure it wasn’t a dream.  More on the new things coming our way, but today, this little house of mine, is for sale.  I’ve loved loved loved this house & not just because of the memories it holds.  I love the way it feels.  I love the way it works.  It will be hard to pack it up, but I’m so excited for someone else to enjoy it.

It’s just under 2400 sq ft, with 4 beds, 2 baths + den.  Take a look around…

The thought of walking away from this place breaks my heart a little bit every time I think on it.  The tree out front + with the swing has occupied us for hours, shading all our front yard adventures.  The retention basin just next to us is just the spot for soccer games or slip & slides.  My office window is perfect when opened for a breeze, there is a tree just outside of it that is delightful with the wind rushing by.  The back porch is our favorite spot for dinner…and breakfast & lunch.  The rose bush just outside the kitchen window is the perfect offset to kids & toys & outside shenanigans.  And the front porch?  It’s the best seat in the house during a summer monsoon.  This has been just the place for us…until now & I can’t wait for someone to love it like we have & to put their own mark on it.  Shoot me an email if your in the market for home.

30 Meals in 30 Days: Chicken Spaghetti

Chicken Spaghetti

So my friend Amanda, from Food Travel Kids has been dazzling me with her kitchen delights for quite some time.  I think everyone needs a good friend that enjoys good food.  I’ve never seen her pass up a dessert & for that I will always love her.  She lives on a farm, that her & her husband recently renovated & its not uncommon to be talking to her on the phone as she is prepping dinner & then find myself sitting at her dinner table.  She is always cooking for a crowd & evenings on the farm are some of my favorite.  Now they are moving on.  They’ve sold their farm & no joke, are going to travel the west coast this summer looking for a new home.  Who does that???  She does & I love to live vicariously through her adventures.  She dropped this amazing-ness on my doorstep this week & I had to have to her share the recipe!  It’s a crowd pleaser!

Chicken Spaghetti

1 lb spaghetti noodles
1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
1/2 medium sweet onion, chopped
1 box mushrooms, diced
2-3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
3/4 of a (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1-2 cans el pato (depending on how spicy you like it you can add more or less)
1/2 stick butter
garlic salt
2 cups heavy cream
4 cups shredded colby jack
boil noodles until al dente
dice vegetables
in large skillet melt butter
add mushrooms, bell pepper, onion and celery
add garlic salt to taste
cook until vegetables are very soft
in a large bowl combine tomatoes, noodles, chicken and cooked vegetable mix
pour into one 9×13 pan and one 9 inch circle pan to freeze for later
pour 1 can of el pato on 9×13 pan and 1/2 can on 9 inch pan
cover with foil and bake on 300 for 1 1/2 hours
pull out of oven and pour 1 1/2 cups heavy cream over the top of 9×13 and 1/2 cup over 9 inch pan
cover 9×13 pan with 3 cups cheese and 9 inch with 1 cup of cheese
leave uncovered and bake another 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly
this makes a lot, i like to freeze one batch or share it with a neighbor…
haha I’m usually that neighbor & my giddyness is always apparent! Follow along with their summer adventures at Food Travel Kids & check out all her city guides.  She is always my go-to foodie when I’m traveling!

30 Meals in 30 Days: Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes

Please tell me when you hear the phrase ‘Sloppy Joes,’ you immediately have visions of Adam Sandler & Chris Farley???  Me too.  My husband thinks sloppy joes are the equivalent of adding hot dogs to your mac & cheese.  Me?  I like a good sloppy joe every now & again & this recipe is easy enough that I squeeze it in…usually when he’s out of town.

Sloppy Joe’s

1lb meat, lean ground beef
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 can tomato sauce
1/2 c ketchup
1/4 c brown sugar
2 Tbls flour
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp sage
1/2 tsp chili powder

Brown meat and onion together. Season with salt and pepper. Combine all ingredients and simmer for about 1/2 hour. Serve on toasted hamburger buns.

30 Meals in 30 Days: Grilled Ancho-Rubbed Chicken Tacos

Chicken Tacos

My sister, Lindsey, behind Baby Love Photos, has a real dilemma on her hands.  Her 13-year-old daughter loves to cook and as such, cooks dinner several times a week.  We all feel really sorry for her, but find ourselves texting & calling her daughter to pick her recipe brain!  These are are current favorites & she was kind enough to prepare them for today’s post!

Grilled Ancho-Rubbed Chicken

4 6-8 oz skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, patted dry

1 TB olive oil

Mix the following in a bowl –

1 1/2 tsp ancho chili powder

1/4 C packed dark brown sugar

1/2 tsp paprika

pinch of cayenne pepper

generous pinch salt & pepper

Brush olive oil on dry chicken, then rub with the above mixture.  Wrap chicken in plastic wrap & refrigerate for at least 15 minutes or up to several hours.

Preheat grill to medium-high & grill chicken until browned, about 4 minutes.  Turn & continue cooking until firm to the touch & cooked through, about 5 minutes longer.  Remove & cover loosely with foil & let rest 5 minutes.  Cut into thick slices on the bias & serve.

While chicken is cooking, brush corn tortillas with vegetable oil & grill slightly.  Serve with fresh squeezed limes, cilantro, cheese, avocado, sour cream & red onions.