Silent Sunday: Garden Blooms

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garden 2017 Go Mama O.

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My First Time Trying Hello Fresh

I can’t help it: I like a deal!

I received a credit to try out two meals from Hello Fresh, and so of course I tried it.

We selected a family portion and tried Sweet & Sour Shrimp and a Penne Bake.

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Pretty packaging & pictures, right? Did the meals taste as good as the pictures make them look?

The service IS nice. The box was delivered late afternoon, so I had plenty of time to get it inside and start my meal prep.  All in all, there is A LOT of cardboard, frozen ice and packing inserts, so I couldn’t help but feel it would be wasteful to do this EVERY week.

Okay, so the meals – I made the shrimp dish first, per the instructions. The ingredients were very fresh. My kids insisted on snacking on the snow peas before I could cook them up! That was fine with me! Go ahead & eat those veggies kids! This meal took a bit longer than suggested to prepare. I should have saved it for a weekend night versus during the week to have more time to prep.  However, it was a hit. We had a LOT of leftover rice, and some leftover sweet & sour shrimp too.

Compared to the first meal, the second meal was another story. First off, the chicken sausage was missing from my shipment, so I made it a vegetarian meal. Second, the thyme was a pain to use fresh. I should have just used the dried stuff in my cabinet…though maybe it wouldn’t have been as fragrant. Third, the seasoning packet warned that it was spicy. I used a small amount, and it still was a bit much. I couldn’t even serve this pasta bake to my kids due to the spice. My husband and I thought it was okay. We really had a lot of this leftover. Ugh.

I did call customer service at Hello Fresh to tell them about the missing meat in my shipment. They were very nice and apologetic and gave me a credit for my account. I will be trying Hello Fresh another time after these mixed reviews. There is a nice convenience to the service, but I’ll have to determine if I think it’s worth the higher cost of meal planning.

A Time of Patience

I was reminded of my New Year’s Resolution over the weekend, when patience was the topic of Sunday’s homily at church. Back in January, I wrote about my mantra of “Less Hurry. Less Worry” and this passage (from a presentation I attended last year) is especially relevant for this time of year:

Life is a series of sprints and there’s a lot of rushing around. Downtime is a necessary time to re-charge to be able to bring energy to each “sprint” or challenge you may face.

We are all rushing and hurrying like crazy in preparation for the holidays. There is a lot of sprinting and stress that takes much of the joy away from this season. Similarly, I feel like there has been a lot of sprinting going on this week, re-grouping after being out of town for Thanksgiving and even just hitting the save button on this post SEVERAL times before having a bigger chunk of time to come back to it. It’s a whole lot of hurry, hurry, hurry. And all that hurrying can make me feel impatient!

Am I More Patient this Year?

Overall throughout the last year, I feel less hurried and at times more patient. However, I probably should ask my family if they would agree with that statement. I still can feel a tendency to over-multi-task instead of focusing on what’s most important at this one point in time. Being conscious of un-productive multi-tasking is the first step, right?

Some patience has been learned through schedule changes as of late. My husband has changed jobs and increased his commute, leaving me to fly solo with the kids in the morning. Instead of thinking he’s around to help (or not), I know it’s all me, so I have become more patient with my kids in the morning. Truthfully, we’ve also had several months of the school year under our belt, so they are also more adjusted to the weekly school routine too. Together we can help each other in the mornings.

The Waiting REALLY is the Hardest Part

As was mentioned in church on Sunday, patience is desperately needed this time of year. Our deacon showed pictures of holiday travel with LONG lines. Shopping on Black Friday or any holiday shopping can bring a LONG line. There’s a lot of waiting, and we all hate that, right?!

Today while waiting in line at a craft store, I was amused by a mom with two kids in front of me for a few reasons. First, I remember those days of shopping with a toddler and an infant all too well (see The BEST Line(s) to get out of a toy store). Now I am just the “older” mom whose kids are now in school (well, some of the time, anyway)! I sometimes share, “I know what you’re going through” lines of encouragement because I too remember those kind people who did the same to me a few years back. This conversation was just last year! Second, the older toddler was saying “bye, bye.”  When I observed her more closely, she was pointing at things and saying, “buy, buy!”  I laughed out loud and commented on this to her mom. Too funny, right? In this moment of waiting and being patient, I was able to engage with the party in front of me instead of being grumpy and sitting on my smartphone.

Ways to be more Patient to Make Waiting Easier

One phrase that comes up in this season of Advent is “waiting in joyful anticipation,” and I am reminded of the symbols and traditions that we use to help us wait – things like Advent calendars, Christmas Countdowns, or lighting candles on the Advent Wreath. This year we are lighting candles on a salt dough wreath that my daughter made in her religious education class. She feels so proud of it, and there is something very special about lighting a candle and enjoying a family dinner together. It makes us slow down a bit, and we look forward to lighting the next candle. Each day in December, we’ll change the Christmas countdown. Each week we’ll light another candle, helping us track the passage of time, which makes the waiting for Christmas a bit easier.

Is the season trying your patience? How do you handle waiting this time of year? Best wishes for some time to slow down, relax, and reflect this December!

Songs for House Hunting

Finding a new home is rough! Our home buying market moved very quickly, so we rode the ups and downs of the search for over a year. The process went like this:

Wait for home to come on the market.

Rush to get into desirable home.

Feel pressured to decide on the spot if we’d write an offer or not. Good homes don’t last long!

If we wrote an offer, wait some more. Find out it’s a competitive situation. More waiting. Some counter offers.

Lose out on homes to other buyers. This happened to us twice.

Try to embrace and enjoy our home with 1 full bathroom, great location, beautiful trees on our lot, and a lot of yard space for playing with our kids.

This was us playing in the backyard last summer.

Boycott watching HGTV home hunting shows. If only it were as easy as they make it look on one episode.
Finally see a home before it is officially listed with for sale sign on yard. It’s a really lovely home, but we want to sleep on it before making a decision. Wake up the next morning and make an offer. After some back and forth, it’s accepted!!

Here’s the music that describes our home search –

Tom Petty: The Waiting

Queen: Another One Bites the Dust 

The Isley Brothers: Love the One  (home) You’re With

Adele: Rolling in the Deep “we could of had it all.”

Pink Floyd: Money

Etta James: At Last  – We’re home, moved, and here to stay!

Fly on the Wall: C is for…

It’s that time of the month again! Welcome to a Fly on the Wall group post.  I’ve written these posts before, and you can find past posts on this page of my blog.

Today 12 bloggers are inviting you to catch a glimpse of what you’d see if you were a fly on the wall in our homes. Come on in and buzz around my house.

Here’s who you’ll be hearing from:

  • Me, Mama O.
  • Daddy O.
  • Big Sister, age 6
  • Little Brother, age 4

Buzz around, see what you think, then click on these links at the bottom of my post for a peek into some other homes:

What We’ve Been Up to Lately…

So this happened –

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And it’s been a stressful process! After working hard and staging our home for pictures, Daddy O. asked me what I wanted to do that weekend.  My reply was, “Nothing! Let the house get a little messy before our listing goes live.”

Fortunately, our home had an accepted offer in about three weeks, so now we’re onto packing.

Here’s how another conversation went:

Me: Ugh, we have 12 teacups in this set of china from my grandma. How do I pack all of this?

Daddy O: Well, if you get rid of it, you’re ruining our kids’ chances of being on Antiques Roadshow.

We are keeping the teacups.

C is for…

We stayed overnight at Grandma & Grandpa’s for Easter and had the kids take a bath / shower before Easter Sunday. I set out the travel toiletries for Big Sister’s turn to clean up, giving her my small shampoo and conditioner bottles to use. Daddy O. came down and said, “Big sister just conditioned her entire body. Her explanation was that she thought the ‘c'(on top of the bottle) was for clean.”

Touchy Stomachs

Me: My stomach feels touchy.

Big sister: What happens when you touch it?

magic shell flavors

Daddy O. remarked, “Nothing natural comes out that way or in that color.”

Doesn’t it look pretty though?  Tastes good too when your stomach isn’t touchy!

Best of my Fly on the Wall Posts

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been part of these post for the past two years!

Big sister, Mama O, Daddy O, and Little Brother

US in Summer 2013 – one of my favorite family pictures

April 2014 was my first post and I’ve kept on participating regularly.  I’ve enjoyed looking back through the posts to share some of my favorites:

The Golden Rule

We’ve been talking about the Golden Rule, after reading the Berenstain Bear’s book and big sister went to vacation bible school for the first time this summer.  I was a bit surprised when big sister said, “Mom, remember the golden rule: You get what you get, and don’t throw a fit.”

An interesting interpretation of a rule by little bro:

Not eating your boogers is the golden rule.

I guess we need to review the Golden Rule a few more times!

On Getting Tired

Little brother: I took a yawn.  (or in other cases, when he’s not tired, he says, “I didn’t take a yawn.”

Me: yawning with exaggeration

Little brother: That’s a Thunder Yawn!

Daddy O.: What’s a thunder yawn?

Little brother: A really big yawn.

I hope this post hasn’t generated too many yawns – be them tiny or thunder yawns!

Difficult Words to Pronounce

We were just sitting outside in our backyard on a beautiful, though windy summer day. Big sister says, “Look the leaves on the tree are wrestling.”  “Oh you mean rustling. The leaves on the tree are rustling,” I explained. She was so close to the right word!  It IS hard to pronounce and remember so many words as a kid!

While we were driving somewhere, he asked in his sweet little voice, “Do leaping willows jump?” I had to explain that they are called weeping willows, and no, they did not jump.

Do Books Take Baths?

My mom gave me some old books from my own childhood and even some from when my dad was a kid.  My son especially loves Grandpa’s train book! When talking about the books, I said, “It’s an old book from when mom was little. It has old book smell.” Big sister replied, “Pweh! Do books take baths?”

Random

Big sister said she had a “knick knack name” from a friend at school.

Big sister: Mom, I have a big brain like you. I have all sorts of things in my brain this morning.

Big sister shares, “Guess what Mom? Sometimes my brain goes crazy.”

Love

At the end of a long, busy day with the kids, I was tired and just sitting down to read a magazine.  My son scooted up on my lap, saying, “Can I come up?” I’m sure I grumbled something, but then he said one of the sweetest phrases that I have ever heard:

I love you more than anything!

On my birthday last year big sister gave me a hug and said:

I love you all around the universe.

I certainly love these posts to help me remember and record such sweetness! And it’s great to be part of such a fun group of bloggers – for more Fly fun, be sure to click on these links for a peek into some other homes:

Baking In A Tornado

Juicebox Confession

Menopausal Mother

Someone Else’s Genius

Spatulas on Parade

Searching for Sanity

Never Ever Give Up Hope

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

Southern Belle Charm

My Brain on Kids

The Angrivated Mom