more snow days.

Tuesday we had snow all day, and it was fantastic.  I feel terrible for the people in Birmingham and Atlanta who had some really bad situations.  I know conditions were rough in Knoxville, but thankfully not like that.  It took Tommy 2 hours to get home from work Tuesday afternoon, and he had to cancel his business trip due to the weather.  But really an unexpected snow is my very favorite!  I hate when they say we are going to get snow and we get none or flurries.  So I love when it’s not expected and we get a good snow.  We had over 4 inches fall.  Big stuff around these parts. 

Schools were closed on Wednesday, Thursday, and today due to the road conditions.  I was pretty disappointed Jack didn’t get to go to preschool yesterday – I’m sure along with many other mamas.  But I’m glad his teachers get to enjoy some snow time at home. 

 

We’ve been pretty much stuck at home for days now.  So after I shared how stressed I was by how many things I needed to do, I definitely got some rest time at home.  It’s been nice, but we’ve got some things to get done so we will venture out to do some errands today.  Jack is in need of getting out of the house, too. 

 

One would think with all of this time at home I have been really productive.  I should be all caught up on blogs, emails, and house stuff.  Apparently being stuck at home does little for my productivity.  So here are a bunch of pictures from Tuesday night and Wednesday in the snow. 

 

Nikon D3200 732 Nikon D3200 662  Shortly after the snow started.  Nikon D3200 668 Nikon D3200 683 Nikon D3200 692 Nikon D3200 693 Nikon D3200 705 Nikon D3200 723

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This dog doesn’t love the snow, but he does love playing and attention.  Maybe it’s because he was sitting in 2 feet of snow when we got him. 

Nikon D3200 760 Nikon D3200 734 Nikon D3200 743 Nikon D3200 748 He was so excited to go out and play again on Wednesday.  And he looks so cute all bundled up! 

 

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This dog on the other hand, loves snow.  She’s been in snow taller than her before and loved it so much.  She’s funny. 

 

Hope you are enjoying snow if you have it!  Hope everyone is having a good week! 

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snow day.

Yesterday we had a sick day.  Today we are having a snow day.  I’m catching breaks all over the place this week!  Looking at our week ahead on Sunday, I was stressed out because we had something going on every night this week with lots of stuff to get done this week, too.  Sunday and yesterday I was forced to slow down with Jack sick.  Today the snow, aside from how much I just love snow, has really made my week better.  Tommy was supposed to go out of town on business, but thanks to the snow and the bad road conditions, he canceled his trip.  It took him 2 hours to get home from work, so there was no way he was going to get to the airport in time for his flight.  So we get him here with us! 

 

Today we are staying in, watching the snow fall, and playing in it.  I’ve got blankets out, warm food going, and am doing lazy things.  It’s the best!  We are very blessed. 

 

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Our sweet neighbor gave Jack 2 superhero towels that her kids used to wear when they were little.  Jack loves it!  And is definitely my favorite super hero. 

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sick day.

I’ve been a little overwhelmed lately with all of the things I need to get done.  Nothing too big, but just trying to get used to working on hobbies, passions, dreams, alongside of taking care of Jack, the house, the laundry, dishes, dinner, etc.  I’m learning to adjust, but it’s definitely taking time. 

 

I’m not a person who functions well when I over book my schedule.  And my over book is probably most people’s regular schedule.  But for me, and our family, to function well, we need a balance of time out, time with friends, time at church and Bible study, time with family, and time at home doing chores, playing here, working on projects, and for me getting some work done.  My sister is the person who can come by here from 3-5, go to dinner with someone, go do something with someone else after that, and then go home to spend time with her roommates.  That stresses me out so much 🙂  There’s nothing wrong with either way – we are just wired differently.  Although I will never understand how she does all of that having narcolepsy?? 

 

Today has ended up being a freebie day for us.  Jack is sick, so we are stuck at home.  It’s given me a chance to look at my calendar, get a little work done, spend time with my boy, and give us a reason to just be at home.  Of course, the down side is that it means we have to cancel our fun plans too.  No playing with any friends today.  No dinner with some fun friends tonight.  And of course no one likes having to wash the same sheets twice in one day.  Or their kid being sick.  But with so much sickness going around this time of year, I’m thankful Jack has been healthy so far this year.  And I will take the opportunity today to refocus at home and refocus my heart.  Avoiding busyness and reminding myself to FOCUS. 

 

Tomorrow I will no doubt sing a different tune when Jack has to miss preschool.  

 

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healthy bits from last week.

Happy Sunday friends!  I hope you’ve had a nice weekend.  It is sunny and 54 here right now!  It’s windy, but it’s such a nice day out.  Tomorrow the low is 14 and they’re calling for scattered snow showers.  You just never know what the weather will be like in East Tennessee.

 

Our Maryland friends got some snow last week!  Lately I have really been missing Maryland, and mostly our friends there.  I think because our first winter there was so intense [3 blizzards], winter just makes me think of Maryland.  And my heart misses our dear friends there.  I loved our little house in the snow.  It was cozy and the radiant heat made it feel even cozier.

None of that has anything to do with my post today though.  Today I wanted to share what #healthyandorganized2014 steps I took last week.

Like I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I haven’t been as good on the healthy as I have on the organized.  I did make one of my favorite, very healthy vegetables dishes a couple of weeks ago.

Vegetables

 

Last week Tommy’s mom, his uncle from Wisconsin, and Tommy’s mom’s friend, Christy, came over for lunch.  Christy brought this for dessert.

angel food cake and berries

 

It was very sweet, very delicious and definitely a healthy dessert option.  Angel food cake is a great way to go to save on calories and the berries are a great way to get in fresh fruit.  Top it off with low fat cool whip and you are in healthy dessert business.
As I shared earlier in the week, I made white chicken chili.  It was such a healthy dinner and so easy to make.

 

white chicken chili

 

 

So even though I made chocolate chip cookies twice, I did make some healthy choices lately, too.  Sometimes I get caught up in the all or nothing mindset, even though I taught against it to all of my patients.  Looking back on the week to think about healthy steps helps me to see what I did well.  And it also helps me to see areas I could improve upon.  Like the Cokes I had to drink 🙂

those random photo shoots.

I have these random collections of pictures on my camera from moments that are nothing special, but make for precious pictures later.  We happened to have one of those nights a few weeks ago at my parents’ house.  Jack was in a posing mood, so we got some sweet pictures of him with his Pops and Nan. 

 

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Also today I am posting on the Knoxville Moms Blog about finding a new normal in life.  It’s one thing to share about our stuff on my blog, but for some reason it makes me nervous to do it somewhere else.  So if you have a few spare minutes, would you head over there and show me some love?  Thanks sweet friends!  Happy Thursday!  xoxo 

white chicken chili.

Oh my goodness.  This is my new favorite.  It took me awhile to jump on the white chicken chili bandwagon, but not only am I on it, I’m waving the banner for it too! 

 

This is so incredibly easy to make.  It took hardly any time.  And it is so very healthy!  I made it on the stove, but you can easily put this in the crockpot, so I am going to give directions for both.  Also, I am listing the ingredients based on what I used, but next time I make this I am going to double it so we have more leftovers. 

 white chicken chili  

 

Ingredients: 
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts 
32 oz. low sodium chicken broth 
2 cans great northern beans 
1 4 oz. can of diced green chiles 
2 tsp. cumin 
2 tsp. oregano 
a touch of cayenne pepper [optional] 
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese 

 

Stovetop directions: 
1.  Cook chicken breasts in oven.  I used thin sliced chicken breasts this time, so I cooked them at 350 for 20 minutes. 
2.  While chicken is cooking, get other ingredients ready. 
3.  Add chicken broth to large pot. 
4.  Drain and rinse beans.  Mash beans from one can to fairly smooth consistency. 
5.  Add beans and green chiles to pot. 
6.  Once chicken is done in oven, remove and cut into bite size pieces or shred [based on your preference.] 
7.  Add chicken to pot, then add spices. 
8.  Bring to a boil, then simmer with lid on for about 20 minutes. 
9.  Serve, topped with cheese and sour cream if desired. 

 

Crockpot directions: 
1.  Place chicken broth, beans [one can of whole beans, one can of mashed beans], chiles, and spices to crock pot.  Stir together. 
2.  Add chicken breasts.  [I use frozen chicken tenderloins when cooking anything chicken in the crock pot] 
3.  Cook on low for 8-9 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. 
4.  Just before serving, shred chicken with a fork. 

 

So easy and so good! 

Nutrition info: 
–  Chicken is a low-fat and very healthy source of protein 
–  Beans are great for aiding digestion and are also full of protein 
–  This broth-based soup is low in fat and calories 
–  The spices add excellent flavor without adding any extra fat or calories 
–  Top with low-fat cheese and low-fat sour cream and you have a super healthy dinner! 

 

This dish was enjoyed by everyone!  Even the little guys we got to have in our home that night! 

white chicken chili jack  white chicken chili crew

our getaway weekend.

Today I’ve been getting back to reality after a mini-vacation.  Tommy and I had our first getaway weekend since we became parents!  It was a wonderful weekend!  Tommy was still off today, so it was like one foot in vacation mode, one foot in reality – helping me to ease back into the week.  Tomorrow could be rough though.

 

We started off our fun weekend with a family morning.  The boys got haircuts and then we went out to eat.  Tommy told Jack that we would go to a restaurant to eat, so Jack picked “the old one with macaroni and cheese and lemonade”.  That’s how he thinks of Cracker Barrel.

 

weekend getaway hair cut for jack  weekend getaway hair everywhereweekend getaway haircut Jack has so much hair!!

 

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After lunch out, we headed home to finish packing up for our fun weekend.  Jack spent the weekend with my parents, Nan and Pops, and I’m pretty sure he had the greatest weekend of his life!  Saturday morning he and Nan had pancakes out, read books at the library, went to Kroger, and Toys-R-Us.  He came back a little spoiled 🙂

I facetimed him while we were gone, and he said “mommy, I want to stay here.  I want to stay here and have another sleep over mommy.  I stay here, mommy!” And then he hung up on me.  He didn’t miss us much.

weekend getaway facetime         This was me kissing him goodbye, and him hanging up on me.

 

Tommy and I went to Asheville on Friday.  We stayed at the Grove Park Inn and had an amazing trip.  It was so nice to get away.  We woke up Saturday morning to a little snow all around with a sweet view from our awesome room.

 

weekend getaway jerryweekend getaway pizzaweekend getaway harris teeterweekend getaway selfyweekend getaway restaurantweekend getaway breakfast

 

Then we headed back to Knoxville and spent the evening at home, childless.  Tommy had arranged for a special dinner for us Saturday night.  I knew he was up to something but was totally surprised by it.  We came home to a beautifully set table with amazing looking food for us, candles lit, and flowers.  It was so sweet of Tommy and my dear friend, Becca, to do all of that for me.  Becca cooked us dinner and brought it over and set it up for us.  Because I’ve been having so many problems eating lately due to my autoimmune disorders, they made sure I had a delicious meal that I could eat that was prepared in a kitchen I trust.  So sweet!  And amazing food.  I have to get the recipe because it was insanely delicious.

 

Saturday we watched the last 3 episodes of Parenthood and laid on the couch for a long time.  It was glorious.  And then Sunday morning we went to get our little man back.  We got to spend Sunday and Monday with him, just hanging out and enjoying our time together.

 

It was so nice to get away, even for a short trip.  It really helped to reset my system.  My SD card from my camera is not working properly, so these are just the iPhone pictures I have.  Hopefully I will get my card straightened out and be able to share more pictures.  I hope you had a great weekend!

organizing Christmas cards.

Today I want to share what I’ve been working on lately when it comes to the organizational aspect of #healthyandorganized2014

 

How I organize Christmas cards… 

I love Christmas cards.  So much.  I hang them up all over our living room.  I love seeing greetings and pictures of our friends and family during the holiday season!  I also can’t stand to throw them out after Christmas.  They’re so beautiful!  The likelihood of me looking through them in the future is low, but I like to know I can if I wanted to.  [This is so not like me, by the way.  I usually throw most things out – I’m not a pack rat.  But Christmas cards are my weakness.] 

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Here are our cards this year hung up in the living room and dining room.  Please excuse the huge mess and misplaced furniture.  I remembered I needed to take a picture before I took cards down during the middle of construction and painting. 

 

To keep all of the cards from each year together, I tie them together with ribbon. 

 

It’s a very simple way for me to keep a lot of cards organized. 

Here’s what I do: 
1.  Gather supplies – ribbon, whole punch, scissors, and cards. 

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2.  Hole punch each card and stack them. 

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3.  Thread ribbon through and tie it together. 

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It easily stores in my storage closet. 

 

 

Does anyone else store Christmas cards?  Or organize them?  Or am I alone in this one?  🙂 

hamburger soup.

Hello dear friends.  I’ve got a recipe to share today.  Really low calorie, with protein, and vegetables.  A one pot to clean up kind of meal.  And best of all – it’s super EASY.  I spent about 10 minutes of hands on time cooking, let it cook for about 30 minutes, and we were ready for a dinner that tasted much  more involved than that.

 

This soup is heavy on tomato.  It has a great tomato flavor to it that I absolutely love.  You might want to add some things to this soup that would make it even better!  Onions would be so good in here.  I can’t eat onions right now, otherwise I would have added them myself.  Between my food allergies and my autoimmune disease, I am pretty limited in what I can eat these days, so I came up with this recipe based on foods that I can eat right now.  This is a great soup to play around with, though, and add some of your favorite vegetables to.

 

Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef [I highly recommend buying at least 90% lean ground beef.  I usually buy 93% – it is more expensive than the 80/20 but so much better for our health]
1 28 oz. can whole stewed tomatoes
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 14 oz. can green beans
1 14 oz. can corn
1/3 tiny can of tomato paste
2-6 cups water [depending on whether you like it more like a stew or more like a soup]
2 packets Ranch seasoning

 

Directions:

1.  Brown ground beef in the bottom of the pot you are going to cook your soup in.
2.  Once beef is thoroughly cooked, add in the canned goods – green beans, corn, diced tomates, and whole tomatoes.  Be sure to drain green beans and corn, but add the juice from the tomatoes to the pot.
3.  Add approximately 1/3 of a can of tomato paste.
4.  Spend some time stirring this all together and mashing the whole tomato chunks.  A very loose mashing is fine, especially if you have tomato lovers.
5.  Add water depending on how soupy or stewy you like this to be.  I added over 6 cups of water because I prefer more broth in mine, but you can certainly add much less if you like more substance.
6.  Add packets of Ranch dressing mix + stir it all together.
7.  Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer with the lid on for about 20 minutes.
Then you’re ready to serve.  I topped ours with cheese & just served my favorite Sister Schubert frozen rolls on the side.  Super easy dinner and perfect for a rainy day or a cold winter day.

 

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This also went over well with Jack.  He prefers to have more cheese than soup, but I’m okay with him having cheese on it if it means he’s eating the vegetables that are under the cheese!

 

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Enjoy!