Jack {2.5 Years!}

We've hit another milestone with Jack! I haven't been the best with my calendar/activities so the fact that I'm posting this on his actual 2.5 year birthday is pretty amazing. I love this little boy with all my being and have enjoyed who he's become!

Jack's favorites!

*Sitting on my lap or right up next to me
*Mommy :) (Owen is a lot like me and prefers his daddy. Jack on the other hand is a lot like his daddy and prefers me. I think this shows how really well suited Gspice and I are for each other. We need to balance each other out!)
*Daddy's bars (Nature Valley's crunchy)
*Being carried (he's getting sooooo heavy!)
*The colors red or blue. Those are the ones he picks out the most/thinks everything are
*Running around making monster noises
*Rough-housing with Owen
*Playing with cars
*Watching Fireman Sam (not sure what that show is called)
*Playing outside
*Drinking water
*Playing in water, especially when you dump it over head

Jack is seriously sooo stinkin' cute and sweet. He's developing a bit more sass it seems but I am going to try to blame that on him getting his second molars one at a time. Brutal.

There are a few things I'm very much looking forward to or at least hope to weather the storm that is ahead. Owen became such a different little boy between 2.5 and 3 and I'm just excited to see where we go with Jack!

1. Potty training - he's just starting to work on #1 and doesn't seem to fear #2 like Owen does. We'll see how long this takes.....

2. Big Boy Bed transition - this is quickly coming upon us. Both boys climbing on Jack's crib is a teeny bit terrifying and we often find both boys in either bed. Seems like he sure knows how to climb out but not back in yet. We'll switch this soon now that we have the closet locks on the doors.

3. More words!!!! I think this will help him be way less frustrated and I can't wait to hear his little boy voice speaking sentences and such!

4. Better listening skills

5. No more throwing anything - food, toys, books, water bottle....

6. No more spitting/pushing - got to nip those in the butt!


What's for Dinner {42} - Spaghtetti & Meatballs with Bone Marrownara Sauce

So there was a time back in 2013 when Gspice and I went to Chicago with some friends. I had very recently found out I was pregnant with Owen and I was a hardcore debbie downer, not wanting to go out at night and do anything fun. On one of the nights I stayed in to watch Chopped, Gspice and friends went to Gilt Bar and he stiiiiiiiiiiill talks about what he ate there.......Bone Marrow.

Fast forward to a couple of week ago, when I saw this Tasty video on Facebook.

This video pretty much changed my life. I saw it and almost peed my pants because if you know me, I love a good meatball and red sauce, let alone a homemade red sauce. I showed it to Gary and he almost peed his pants because you know, the bone marrow. Just look at the bone we got from Fareway!

I really wanted to surprise Gspice when I told him we were going to have this so I did some digging to see if I could buy the marrow in Decorah. Turns out that Fareway has these huge bones, frozen in their meat department. Awesome! I bought two for less than $10. I let them thaw a little bit and then popped them in the oven for a few minutes. I can't remember what I had it set at but I may have cooked it a little long based on the video and what mine looked like once I scooped it all out. Oh well because..................................................................

Daaaaaaaamn, it was good. SO GOOD. It's seriously legit and I highly recommend making this recipe!

Spaghetti & Meatballs with a Bone Marrownara Sauce from Richard Blaise on Tasty/Buzzfeed

1 yellow onion, diced (about 1 cup)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (28 ounce) can whole tomatoes and their juices
¼ cup red wine (we used a cabernet sauvignon)
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
8 ounces ground pork
8 ounces ground beef
3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh sage, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup chopped bone marrow
12 ounces cooked spaghetti
1 cup plain bread crumbs, toasted
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. In a large pot over medium heat, mix the onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Cook until the onions start begin to soften, about 3 minutes.

2. Remove half of the onion/garlic mixture and place in a small bowl to cool. Set aside or refrigerate to cool completely. To the pot with the remaining onions/garlic, add the tomato paste. Cook the tomato paste, about 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, to caramelize the natural sugars in the paste.

3. Add the canned tomatoes and cook, stirring constantly, and scraping the bottom of the pan to make sure nothing burns, until the mixture comes to a low simmer. Break apart the whole tomatoes using a wooden spoon or squeezing with tongs.

4. Add the wine and continue to cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes to give the alcohol in the wine a chance to evaporate. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes longer.

5. In a medium sized mixing bowl, stir the ricotta with the reserved (and cooled) onion-garlic mixture. Add the ground pork, ground beef, basil, oregano, sage, rosemary, parsley, salt, and pepper. Gently mix together first with a spoon then going in with your hands. Shape the meat into ping-pong-sized balls and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Place the meatballs in the fridge if you will not be cooking immediately or if they have warmed from handling (they will keep their shape better if kept cold before cooking!).

6. Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Working in batches, sear the meatballs lightly on all sides until they begin to brown. They will not be fully cooked at this point.

7. Transfer the seared meatballs (and any accumulated juices) to the marinara sauce and add the bone marrow. Cover and let simmer for an additional 20 minutes to finish cooking the meatballs and allow the bone marrow to render its fat.

8. Add cooked spaghetti to the finished sauce and toss to coat. Serve garnished with toasted breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan cheese.

9. Enjoy!

**I highly recommend making the meatballs ahead of time! Our meatballs kinda fell apart in the cooking process but aren't they pretty?


2017 Goals {4}

So where did the last two months go? Seriously!?!?! Unfortuately, as my work life got super busy, so did my personal life. Guess what I did? REVERT BACK TO BAD HABITS! Ugh. I don't have the best perseverance so it was too easy for me to fall back on all of the things I did to gain weight. Drinking too much, eating too much pasta, not getting great sleep, not drinking enough water, not working out. These are my daily challenges that I haven't been meeting very well lately. With that said, I'm ready to jump back in!

You can read up on my past 2017 Goals updates here: #1, #2, and #3. I'm really excited to get started again!

GOAL #1 - Read
The last time I posted, I had started The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying. Though I have managed to declutter quite a bit............(IE: Garage Sale: I got rid of a lot of baby clothes at our sale April and completely cleared out my dining room which still stands empty to this day... AND Sewer problems: We cleaned out our basement so there's literally nothing sitting on the floor!!!)...........I haven't gotten past the 1st chapter. It certainly is an interesting read so far and though I've heard mixed reviews, I'm interested to finish the book. Our home still seems to be in a constant state of disarray. I would love to feel like we have a place for everything and for it to all feel purposeful. Let's face it, we've got a lot of junk! I've thought a lot about the different problem areas in our home so now it's just about getting down to business! I'm hoping this book helps but I'll be finishing it later.

With trying to bring back some other goals, I thought some light reading would be appropriate for now. I went through all of the books I own (only because we needed to clean out the basement of course) and decided to re-read all of my John Grisham books before deciding what to do with them. I only have 6-7 of them so it shouldn't take me too long. I decided to start with the oldest John Grisham book I own, which is also the book I read the summer I met Gary in 2005. Crazy how time flies. I know that a photo exists of me holding that book in Miller Hall, but I for the life of me could not find it. When I do, I'll post it :)

GOAL #2 - Control Finances Better
The saga that is our basement is almost complete. We had a water line leak that did eventually get fixed, we got the exterior faucet replaced and we need to do minor repair to the sprayfoam or whatever it's called in the basement where our pipe connects to the wall. It's still leaking a little bit of water (not sewer) but not a terrible amount. Next up is to get the basement professionally cleaned (which was completed this week!!!), hence why we needed to declutter and get everything off the floor. The amount of boxes I held on to is absolutely ridiculous so that feels really good to be done with even though it had developed a bit of mold growth. #notfuntohandle! Once the space is clean, we also plan to get all of our equipment serviced - water softener, water heater, furnace, air conditioner, and the basement washer/dryer. I don't know how the sewer damage or mold growth may have affected all of this so it'll feel good to make sure they are all in tip-top shape.

Of course, I don't want to be done with home repairs yet! I also want to get our duct work cleaned because we've never done that since moving in five years ago. It's just nasty in those! Definitely time to get them cleaned and wouldn't it be nice if we found Gspice's wedding ring in the process.....

Also on the docket, landscaping! I'm so stickin' excited about this. We've got so many weeds and trees sprouting everywhere and our hardscape area is pitiful. I can't wait for it to be fresh and updated so we can use it better. The big weed garden by our carport will also be removed and that space with be leveled and reseeded so I think we'll plan to put the kids' toys over there. I suspect this will be completed within the next few months.

As you can tell, it'll be important for us to manage our money well. I've developed our plan for July so it'll take dedication to stick to the budget. Let's plan on weekly check-ins, okay, dear?

GOAL #3 - Cook more, Cook Smarter
My last post was all about how well I have been doing with this. Man, how different things look today! I've completely fallen off the wagon but reading through my last post is very encouraging. I bought a larger CSA share this summer and I plan to put that to good use - not only for me but for the boys too. They aren't huge fans of vegetables these days but they sure do love fresh green beans and sugar snap peas. I would also love to get other produce and add them to their favorite dishes to bring more veggies to the plate. I need that for me too because I'm pretty basic with my vegetable tastes. I'm eyeballing this particular recipe despite the summer season so we'll be giving that a try here soon.

I've also become highly addicted to fresh basil and green onions. I got my hands on them at the Farmers Market a couple of weeks ago and I now put them on everything I eat. SOOOOOO GOOOOOD! I got a new recipe from a meal I had in the Luther cafeteria just a few days ago that I plan to try out and you better believe it'll have some green onions on top :) I'll share the recipe soon!

GOAL #4 - Form Healthy Habits
Habits take time to form of course but breaking them is oh so annoying! I was doing so well the last time I posted so I need to get back to that. What's changed since then is that we are being a bit more intentional about getting all of the boys' energy out before their bedtime. We were battling the "I'm not tired because it's still so bright outside" for weeeeeeeeks and that meant they weren't sleeping until at least 8-8:30 but then waking up between 5:30 and 6 every morning. Talk about grumpy toddlers! It's rough when they don't get the amount of sleep they need! Well now, we just stopped fighting it.

After the boys eat dinner, we now go for a walk, go to the pool, go to the park or anything else active. It tires them out and they have been sleeping until last least 6:45 every morning. It's been great. I even got a workout completed one morning when our alarms went off early enough. If I can squeeze a workout in then, that would be great but that might not be an every day occurrence.

I also found a new workout geared for my arms and more precisely, my arm flab. I would love to make that go away so this is something I plan to implement on a regular basis. You can't beat a 12-minute workout!

As far as our 30 pound weight loss goal, let's see how far we can get before our September deadline!

GOAL #5 - Travel
After thinking about it for a month, we have confirmed with each other that we DEFINITELY still want to go to New Orleans. I just recently booked our hotel and am waiting to book our flights so if you have any suggestions on that, LET ME KNOW! I don't buy plane tickets very often. We haven't planned much else out but we do hope to do one of the haunted tours and try out a lot of different restaurants. I'll do more planning in the weeks to come!


Jack {2 Years!}

It feels a tiny bit strange to say that Jack is a 2-year-old. The past two years have been a whirlwind of activity and change so it honestly feels like we've gone through at least three or four years, not just two! Luckily for us, we have a cool and calm little dude that is as sweet as can be.

When Jack was born, I remember thinking he was so snugly and goofy.

He'd rather give me goofy grins than drink from his bottle in the morning.

He liked to sleep on our chests if he woke up from naps. This hasn't changed a bit. Jack loves to sit very close to us and have our arms around him or just sitting directly on our laps. He'll get a little frustrated if you don't let him do either of those things. When he's upset or has an owie , Jack will also come running so he can get a hug or some snuggles to make him feel better.  And when he's feeling a bit goofy, Jack loves to make you laugh along with him.

Oh and he loves to give kisses and cheesy smiles. He's going to be a little heart breaker!

Unfortunately, it feels like Jack has been sick since the last week of December. This kid can't catch a break! Rashes, viral infection after viral infection, eczema and fevers. Good grief. On top of that, he seems to be teething too. The last teeth to come in are his second molars. Ouch! Thankfully, I feel like we are finally on the upswing with the sicknesses so let's hope that continues!

That being said, doctor visits are so easy with this kid which is a radically different experience than with his older brother. Jack had a suspicious rash pop up so we rescheduled his 2-year appointment at the end of February to a day earlier and with a different doctor. That didn't phase Jack one bit. He isn't ever afraid and just let's them poke and prod all they want. Even his finger prick for lab work didn't phase him at all. It took longer only because he was "too" calm! It's kinda nice though there are times I wonder if he doesn't feel pain....must have a high pain threshold...

Jack can be a bit cautious sometimes. Though he was totally fine last year, Jack ended up being a bit shy and nervous around Santa. It was pretty cute. He isn't normally afraid of much so this was funny to see. He had no issues showing Mrs. Claus his belly though!

Meal times are still pretty interesting these days. We seem to battle a lot with throwing their silverware and then sometimes their plates if we aren't paying attention. Jack will also just throw his food on the floor. Now that's just annoying! Don't ask me how clean our floors are....because they aren't! One cute thing he does is lift his teeny tiny pinky finger when drinking something. Oh so adorable!

Things Jack Loves
saying "I love you" and pointing
getting water poured over his head during bath time
going on walks
sitting on the potty
reading books about cars or trucks
watching movies (Frozen, Secret Life of Pets, Zootopia were on repeat throughout the winter!)
giving high fives and knucks
pointing at birds
looking out our windows
string cheese
smiling for the camera

Now for my favorite part - Jack's Stats! I knew Jack was growing because he was eating soooooo much but I wasn't prepared for how much he'd gain! Still lacking in the height department though. Sorry, bud.

2-Year Appointment (2/22/2017)
Weight: 27.5 lb
Height: 31.75 in
18-Month Appointment (9/9/2016)
Weight: 22.5 lb
Height: 30.5 in

15-Month Appointment (6/14/2016)
Weight: 23 lb
Height: 30 in

12-Month Appointment (3/7/2016)
Weight: 19 lb 15 oz
Height: 29.5 in