• elearning
    Insights and Anecdotes

    Everything is Different but Everything’s the Same

    Gas down to nearly a dollar gallon, empty streets, and empty parks. Restaurants with the lights flipped off and bare shelves at the Kroger. Cracking half a dozen eggs into a bowl and whisking them with salt and pepper. Three children around the kitchen table, mouths open like baby birds, begging for bacon and toast with jam. Cups of kibble clanging in metal bowls, dance parties and gummy vitamins and fourth grade math problems I can’t remember how to do.  Everything is different, but everything’s the same. Where we are, the stay at home order is set to expire at midnight tomorrow but there is talk it’ll be extended again.…

  • homemade yogurt
    Recipes,  Slow Cooker

    Slow Cooker Greek Yogurt

    For the past maybe six months, we’ve been making all of our own yogurt at home in an attempt to eat less junk, less preservatives, and save a little money. The fact that it’s incredibly easy to do and requires nothing more than two simple ingredients and a some patience made it an easy addition to our weekly meal prep.  This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase through this link, we get a commission. This costs our readers nothing. Why make slow cooker yogurt? Well, to be honest. It’s really easy. There are many ways to make your own yogurt. Some people make yogurt in the Instant Pot…

  • sleeping dog
    Budgeting and Saving Money,  Insights and Anecdotes

    What I Have to Give

    I make quick work of the grocery store, as fast as I can be squinting to read labels without my glasses which I’ve removed. They just fog up from the mask covering the lower half of my face. Jaw clenched, my eyes dart around, seeking out the equally tense faces of other shoppers, estimating the 6 feet we are to leave between one another. As I pass each one, I smile, somehow forgetting no one can see my mouth. No place for small talk or everyday pleasantries in the midst of a pandemic. There is a woman, much other than me, possibly my grandmother’s age, inching slowly down the aisles…

  • Coronavirus homeschool rescources
    Midwest Living

    Coronavirus School Cancellation Resources for Parents

    They made the official Coronavirus school cancellation call here last night. As of 3:40pm on March 13th, we are officially in e-learning/homeschool mode for at least a month. While we are lucky I work from home, school cancellations add a whole new level of responsibility for parents as far as not only educating kids but all entertaining them. As a former librarian, I know how important it is to keep little minds busy during scary times. And as a mom, I know I can’t be the only one panicking about being locked up with all of my kids for over a month. I’ve compiled a list of resources to help…

  • mini schnauzer
    Animals,  Updates

    My Dog is Dying

    When the calendar reminder pops up letting me know it’s time to call and schedule our dogs’ annual checkup, my anxiety starts to tick up, increasing as the day draws nearer. Not only is Sadie a barker but Scout is protective to a fault. So much so that she tries to eat the vet if I’m in eye shot. Every single appointment requires a continual string of apologizes spilling out of me from the moment we walk in the door to the moment I get dragged back to the car. Strangely, this time my litany of I’m sorrys was met with one from the vet because, well, my dog is…

  • Midwest Spring Flowers
    Midwest Living

    Signs of Spring

    “The spiders are back.” I’m standing on our neighbor’s porch, mug of coffee in hand, swiveling back and forth to check my own front door for any sign of trouble at home.  It’s a bit after three o’clock and the breeze is picking up like it does every day around this time but even with the wind it’s still warm for February. The spider scurries away and she moves to crush it but I stop her. “Don’t. They eat the mosquitoes. ” She laughs, giving me a look, a reminder that I am a square peg making no attempt to fit through a round hole. She lets it live, because…

  • san diego beaches kids
    Adventures,  California,  West Coast

    Home for Christmas

    Southern California people like to complain about the weather. When it rains, we act like the world’s been plunged into an eternal winter, the sun’s been blotted out for a lifetime. We are, what I like to call,  sunshine spoiled. We got our first snow on Halloween Day and the early freeze out had us fearing a long, wet winter. As October slid into November, I couldn’t listen to Judy  Garland’s rendition of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” without feeling like I’d rather just lean into the sound of pure chaos that is my house 90% of the time and leave the holiday music for my bi-weekly grocery shopping…

  • Food goals for kids
    Meal Planning

    Food Goals for a New Year

    Guy and I work opposite shifts. I’m the sun and he’s the moon. During the day, I play with our kids. I change diapers and sing the ABCS, teach myself common core so I can help my 4th grader with her math. Rewash each load of laundry several times before I get a chance to throw it in the dryer.  At night when he’s here doing bath time and bedtime, loading the dishwasher and shooshing a teething baby, I’m trying to be a writer. It means that our meals are sometimes rushed, with one parent scrambling to keep everyone seated and happy while the other sneaks off with their plate…

  • sausage sweet potato soup
    Recipes,  Soup

    Sausage, Sweet Potato and Spinach Soup

    When my mom was here she made Indy chicken noodle soup and with that we commenced soup season in our house. She will make During the summer, we each pretty much zero pots of soup or stew because it’s the kind of food that warms you from the inside but in the Midwest everything is already too hot and too humid and too much, so we skip it until the northern prevailing winter winds settle in for the season. While it’s something we only eat in the colder months, it’s usually a meal everyone can get behind, especially this sausage sweet potato soup. This blog contains affiliate links. If you…

  • easy orange cookies
    Cookies,  Dessert,  Recipes

    Orange Creamsicle Cookies

    All the food we tend to gravitate towards during the holiday is sort of heavy. Stews, roasts, and hams, rolls fresh from the oven and mashed potatoes heaped on the good china topped with melting pats of butter. That often extends to the desserts as well, decadent cheesecakes and chocolate cakes. Inspired by Mexican wedding cookies, these orange sugar cookies are an attempt at lightening up the final course without losing the texture that makes this type of cookies unique. With this recipe, I was hoping to add a bright citrus note without losing the sweetest that pulls us to desserts to begin with.  They look like little snowballs and…

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