• 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 enteral 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…

  • cranberry pistachio cookies
    Cookies,  Dessert,  Recipes

    Cranberry Pistachio Shortbread Cookies

    Last year around this time Harper’s Girl Scout troop had a cookie swap. I had never heard of it but basically, each of the girls baked a batch of cookies. Then they went around grabbing one off each platter along with a recipe for each of the cookies. What they ended up with was a bunch of new desserts to try along with recipes in case they wanted to make them. She loved it and through the year we’ve tried a few of them, even adding a couple to our baking rotation. Apparently, this is a common practice and I kind of love it so all week we’re sharing some…

  • alcona county Michigan
    Adventures,  Michigan,  Midwest

    Up North Autumn

    Every time my mom comes to visit, she convinces me we need to take a Michigan road trip.  Despite the fact one visit put us right in the middle of a full on snowstorm. And I’ll skip the details on the trip that left us with two weeks of the stomach flu and started less than five minutes after we started our six hour drive home. We all pile in the car and drive for double the hours it should take us to get there. We pull over for every gas station, McDonald’s drive thru, and rest stop between here in there and always make at least one side of…

  • dairy free french toast recipe
    Breakfast,  Dairy Free From Scratch,  Recipes

    Dairy Free Pumpkin Pie French Toast

    After our snowy Halloween the weather has stayed pretty cold and we even got a few inches of beautiful fluffy white snow for the kids to play in. We’re still enjoying the autumn flavors even though we kind of skipped it here in Central Indiana.  French toast has always been a staple in our house but right now it’s Dairy free French toast. It’s quick I always keep my fridge and my pantry stocked with everything we need to make it, everyone eats it and the leftovers make for great freezer breakfasts we can heat up quickly on hectic mornings. This version adds in some fall spirit in the form…

  • Halloween candy
    Adventures,  Halloween,  Holidays,  Midwest Living

    Halloween 2019

    Remember that little glimpse of fall we got? Well that was pretty much fall. It went from 90 to 35 with just a few beautiful crisp days in between. By the time Halloween 2019 rolled around it was snowing. Personally I consider snow in October unthinkable but apparently also a reality when you live in the Midwest. Guy and my mom took turns decking our house out with all kinds of light and decor, both cute and creepy. We had taken a night the weekend before Halloween to carve our pumpkins. Before we went out in the cold and wet, we had some friends from the neighborhood over for a…

  • Monthly Meal Plan
    Budgeting and Saving Money,  Meal Planning,  Recipes

    How to Save Money with a Well-Stocked Pantry and our November Meal Plan

    Last month I shared how we feed our family of five (plus two dogs and three guinea pigs) on $400 a month along with what we had on our dinner calendar for October. This month I want to talk a little bit about how we use our pantry to save money and inspire our monthly meal plan. At the very bottom is a list of our dinners for the entire month of November. This post contains affiliate links, if you purchase any of these items through our link we get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Planning from the Pantry Keeps Food from Expiring For years I…

  • pregnant after miscarriage
    Infertility and Pregnancy Loss

    A Letter to Mother to Be in Front of Me at the Grocery Store

    TW: Pregnancy loss mentioned. Maybe the last time it was the teller at the bank or the waitress at the restaurant you went to for your anniversary dinner, but this time it was the cashier at the grocery store who asked. “Is this your first baby?” I saw it, your hand instinctively falling to smooth your shirt over your belly, the look on your face, the hesitation. Two answers, both right in some ways and wrong in others, neither without consequence. “Uh…. yes.” You didn’t elaborate but you didn’t need to. The cashier didn’t catch it. She rambled on about tiny onesies as she pulled the ones you were buying…

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