Time to Ring in the New Year and Time for a Quick Update!

Oh, heyyyyy! Yes we are still alive and kickin’ over here! Last time I checked in was just after my 30th birthday so over a month ago. Monthly posts are what is happening these days I guess. You know what else? I don’t hardly take any photos (besides of Bode of course!). But ya know, It is what it is!

So, since my last post here this is what has happened…

1.I thoroughly enjoyed my favorite meal day of the year, Thanksgiving, and so did Mr. Bode! I was much too excited to eat therefore no food photo was taken. Before we ate, we ran in our favorite 5k.

2. A couple of days after Thanksgiving, Bode got to hang out with grandma and grandpa for a week while Dana and I went on a Caribbean cruise. The cruise sailed from Miami to Panama and stopped at Cayman Islands, Ocho Rios, Jamaica, and Puerto Limon, Costa Rica. In Cayman Islands we swam with the stingrays and got to hold a big female stingray! In Jamaica we climbed up a bunch of waterfalls and laid by the beach, and in Costa Rica we took a pontoon tour and got to see sloths, monkeys, crocodiles, and other beautiful wild life.

The cruise itself was exquisite. Everything was included so we ate and drank like kings and queens. It was my mission to eat bacon everyday, and mission was completed.

crystal cruise

Formal night/Captain’s dinner…

crystal cruise

The “elves” decorated the boat while we were there! So pretty!

crystal cruise crystal cruise

As fun as the cruise was, I was sooooo excited to get home and snuggle my baby. That is the longest I had ever been away from him!

3. After the cruise we were busy into the holiday season and lots of fun holiday parties! We all got hit with the stomach bug pretty bad, and after that we all got colds. In fact, my whole entire year was this way. Bode gets sick, mom gets sick. Welcome to parenthood, right? Thanks daycare! 😉

4. Christmas was celebrated in Colorado with Dana’s family and then back here in Minnesota with mine. I still can’t believe Christmas is over! We had so much fun with our family and friends.

5. Now here we are about to kick off the New Year! Where on earth did 2015 go? It surely was a great year but as always, I’m excited to see what 2016 has in store for us. I wish you all the best of health and much happiness as we ring in the New Year!

Check in with you all who knows when! 😉

xoxo

Birthdays and Other Updates!

Oh, hi!

Monthly posts seem to be a theme here. So, it’s time to check in again!

Bode Turned 1!

Since we caught up last, Mr. Bode celebrated his first birthday! We celebrated with lots of friends and family.

The party was themed Little Pumpkin/Fall so I had a lot of fun with decorations and the menu! The spread included:

  • Jack-o-lantern carrots, broccoli, and dip
  • Sliced apples with yogurt caramel dip
  • Crackers and cheese
  • Chicken wild rice soup
  • Dinner rolls
  • Homemade cupcakes: pumpkin, chocolate, and vanilla!

fall birthday party fall birthday party fall birthday party fall birthday party

Bode demolished his cupcake. He is my boy after all.

He was seriously spoiled by all of the family and friends that came to his party to celebrate, all of the gifts he received, and all of the sweet messages from family and friends! He is loving all of his new toys and I am loving dressing him in all of his new clothes!

Since we last checked in, I turned the BIG 30.

30

I was also incredibly spoiled with gifts and cards and messages! We went to the Minnesota Zoo over the weekend and to Chanhassen Dinner Theater to see Sister Act. So much fun!

chanhassen sister act

On Monday, my actual birthday, I got my free coffee at Caribou, Bode and I hung out with grandma and grandpa, and Dana and I had a date night dinner at Red Cow. I got the french onion burger and devoured it!

Let’s see…what else is new?

Today is day 4 of being done with breastfeeding.  I wasn’t entirely ready to be done but when he started accidentally biting and my health started acting up, I decided it needed to be time to be done. The whole weaning process took about two months for me. I decided to take it very very slow because I am very susceptible to plug milk ducts. It is strange being done with breastfeeding and definitely liberating. I feel like I have more time now! He did such a great job with the weaning process.

He is a fabulous eater with a large appetite. For breakfast today he ate some dry cereal while I got his oatmeal prepared, a bowl of oatmeal made with whole milk, blueberries, cinnamon, and peanut butter, a whole banana, and a little bit of whole milk from a cup. This kid can eat more than me! K, not quite, but close. He has 7 teeth now.

He is now in full walking mode which he thinks is a blast and so do we. Everyone told me that life gets MUCH crazier once he starts walking but honestly, as long as the house is baby-proofed, I actually prefer the walking. I don’t have to carry him as much because he will walk to me!

He just had his one year check up and he was 20 lbs 10 ounces and 29 3/4 inches.

I suppose that is it for now! Always nice checking in with you all! I am getting SUPER excited for Thanksgiving! How on earth it is next week already I have no idea.

One Lucky Mama

The perfect Mother’s Day weekend…

On Saturday we went to Bode’s swim lessons and then for a family 3.5 mile run around a nearby lake. The weather was so beautiful which made for a very enjoyable run. I am very excited to get back into running shape. I want to add a half mile on to each week and build up my endurance slowly but surely!

After our run we went and got our BOGO Caribou coffee. They offered BOGO on both May 9th and 10th so of course I had to take them up on that offer both days!

Hubby made us some BLT’s for lunch!

blt

Bode and I watched Dana mow the yard. Bode really liked watching him walk back and forth!

For dinner we grilled up some steaks from our local co-op, red potatoes with onions, and broccoli. Seriously so good. BTW right now I have a little man grabbing at the computer so I need to hurry this post up!

steak

On Mother’s Day (Sunday), Dana got me Caribou and doughnuts in the morning while I was feeding the baby! Have I mentioned how much I now love doughnuts? It all started during pregnancy and it’s a love that hasn’t left. That and burgers!

caribou coffee and doughnut

I was royally spoiled by my family. It’s fun being a mama on Mother’s Day!! Have you all tried the strawberry shortcake Larabars? I am super excited to try them!

Mothers day treats

Sunday night we celebrated my dad’s birthday along with Mother’s Day and I made one of my “famous” ice cream cakes! Caramel chocolate ice cream, Oreos and hot fudge in the center, topped with more ice cream, Oreos and sprinkles of course! So pretty and very tasty! All for under $10!

ice cream cake

The festivities continued into Monday…just how I like it! We celebrated with Dana’s parents and had pizza and pie!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! I am one lucky mama.

I am linking up with Becky today!

Friday Favs: Chocolate and Peanut Butter

Happy Friday! Little man could wake up from his nap at any moment but I really wanted to get this post out so I’m making it snappy!! I noticed the theme of this post is chocolate and peanut butter…it doesn’t get much better!

FRIDAY FAVS! Linking up with my lady, Katie!

1. Shrimp, veggie, and black bean noodle fresh spring rolls. Inside the roll: black bean noodles (from Costco), carrots, green onions, cucumber, shrimp and basil. The best part of this whole plate: the peanut sauce! 

shrimp spring rolls

2. This trio of oils to help me fight through seasonal allergies…allergy trio young living

3. Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse pie made by yours truly for Easter. I used this recipe: Chocolate Bottomed Peanut Butter Pie and used almond milk instead of cow’s milk because that’s what I had on hand. This pie did not disappoint!peanut butter chocolate pie

4. Thieves household cleaner. We use this to clean our entire house! Chemical-free is the way to be. I love love the cinnamon smell!thieves cleaner

5. This snack mix from my Easter basket that I demolished in less than 48 hours. My favorite part was the large M & M eggs of course!snack mix

6. Watching Bode grow and develop such a fun personality! He is giggling so much and snickering and nothing makes me happier than hearing those sweet little sounds!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Camping Recap: Food, Fun, and Muddy Camp

Hello again!

How was your 4th of July weekend? Mine was exhausting but a lot of fun.

On Thursday morning we packed up our car (literally packed to the top), and headed up north to Grand Marais to go camping with 23 others.

The beauty of northern Minnesota is something that everyone needs to experience. The air is fresh, the lake is stunning and mystical when the fog rolls in, and the trees surround you every which way. It is truly wonderful.

I didn’t keep my phone on me this weekend hardly at all which was GREAT, and therefore didn’t get many photos. I will show you what I’ve got but also wanted to include my camping post from last year because I took way more photos last year and was in the same general area.

Dana and me at Gooseberry Falls as a pitstop on our way up north.

dana and melanie gooseberry falls

Camp

Our shared campsite. Dana and I bought a huge tent for ourselves this year (ours is on the right). It sleeps nine people and we had two air mattresses set up in there. Don’t judge. I call it glamping; glamorous camping. We shared our site with Adam and Stacy, our travel buddies.

campsite

glamping camping tent

The Weather

The weather was beautiful on Thursday and Friday, but made a turn for the worse starting on Friday night after the fireworks. It rained all night on Friday, cleared up in the morning on Saturday and then started raining midday again and didn’t stop. We decided to pack up one night early and start our trek back home. So, just like nearly every year, we packed up a muddy wet campsite in the rain, amidst the hungry mosquitos. That my friends, is not something I wish upon anyone.

The Fun

BUT…..besides that last clean up mess, the weekend was so much fun!

We walked down by the water and watched the kids throw rocks into the lake; something they could have done for hours on end. We walked into town and enjoyed some beverages at a rooftop restaurant and bar and soaked up the sun and the view of the lake. We watched a super cheesy parade. We sat right underneath the firework show and were in walking distance back to our campsite afterwards (this was amazing because I was seriously sleep deprived that day. I was in bed within 20 minutes of the last firework going off). We relaxed by the campfire. We ate doughnuts from World’s Best Doughnuts. We went to Sven and Ole’s. We laughed a lot. We ate a lot.  We made the most of the rain. It was really a great weekend.

Camping Food

I put myself in charge of camping food for Dana and myself. Here is the menu I came up with:

Breakfast

Homemade peanut butter granola for breakfast every morning was SO good. The only ingredients were peanut butter, honey, granola, cinnamon and vanilla!

granola breakfast

Dinners:

Boy scout dinners on night one. For this one I started with two sheets of aluminum foil per packet, then added 1-2 teaspoons of butter followed by onions, potatoes, hamburger patty, carrots, worcestershire, garlic powder, salt and pepper. We tossed them on top of the fire for a while and let them do their thing. These babies were really good.

boy scout dinner

boy scout dinner camping

On night two we had the option of either veggie quesadillas or burgers but since I hadn’t realized that we were going to be going out for dinner one night, I had one packed extra meal. I thought it would be better to eat the burgers and bring the veg quesadillas home because they don’t have any meat and would last longer. So on night two we had burgers on the grill over the fire with cucumber salad!

Dinner #3 was fresh fish and chips at a cafe down the road from our campsite. They were so fresh and tasty! We grabbed this dinner after we had packed up our site and before we started our journey home.

Lunch:

For lunch we had peanut butter, apple and colby jack cheese sandwiches. Sounds totally random, right? That’s because they are, but honestly they were really good!

Snacks I brought:

  • Homemade Chex mix
  • Watermelon
  • Havarti cheese slices
  • Potato Chips
  • Pistachios
  • Gummies
  • Carrots
  • Apples

Snacks I ate that other people brought:

  • M & M bars
  • Special K bars
  • Jelly beans
  • etc.

My gut was insanely mad at me by the end of the weekend from the excessive sugar, but I sure had some delicious treats!

It feels good to be back to my normal routine again and I’m loading myself with healthy goodies.

That is my camping weekend in a nutshell. Now I am off to tackle at least three more loads of laundry (we’ve already done four).

What were some highlights of your weekend?!

Did you watch fireworks?

Did you enjoy any delicious food or fun beverages?

Happy 4th of July Weekend!

Well hi ya’ll!

I am celebrating over here because yesterday was my Friday and I am now off of work for the weekend! Hooray for vacation!

I just wanted to wish you all a happy fourth of July weekend. I hope you are able to kick back with family and friends, eat some delicious food, share some laughs, and maybe even catch some fireworks as we celebrate the independence of our country.

I’m including a link to a a whole bunch of insanely good-looking patriotic food items that I put together lsat year. Feel free to check them out:

10 Independence Day Recipes

patriotic salad

There may be one in there that would make the perfect contribution to your weekend get-together.

Anyway, Happy 4th of July my friends! Catch up with you soon!

xoxo

An Incredible Easter Weekend

This weekend flew by way too fast. No, wayyyyyyyy too fast.

We had two Easter celebrations: Saturday with Dana’s family and Sunday with my family. We ate very well all weekend enjoyed so much great company and lots of laughs.

Saturday

I brought this fabulous pear salad that turned out just as good this time as it did last time I made it.

pear salad

We had ham, cheesy vegetables, roasted potatoes…

Easter ham and cheesy vegetables

IMG_0966

 

And refreshing key lime pie. Everything was excellent!

 

key lime pie

 

Then we cozied ourselves on the couch and all hung out together as it rained outside.

moose

Easter celebration #1 = success.

Sunday

On Sunday we headed to church with my family. I love Easter service. It is so bright and uplifting!

dana and melanie

Then we headed back to mom and dad’s for Easter goodies….

Easter basket

And another absolutely amazing meal: ham, asparagus with cheese, cheesy potatoes, deviled eggs, pickles, olives, and fruit salad.

Easter 2014

And for dessert I made homemade lemon bars with ZERO refined sugar (minus the frozen yogurt alongside the bar).

I made the crust from this recipe:  crust

The gooey lemon bar part from this recipe: bar

lemon bars

 

They turned out so delicious! I didn’t miss the white sugar AT ALL!

We spent quite a bit of time outside yesterday because it was in the 70’s! It felt amazing to have the sun on my skin. Yay for spring!

Easter celebration #2 = success.

It was quite the weekend. I slept for a solid 10 hours last night. All of that eating and sitting around sure does wear a girl out. 😉 I hope you all had a great weekend full of relaxation, celebration, and family and friends.

Happy Easter!

xoxo

Valentine’s Dinner Recap

Hello my friends and Happy Presidents day!

How was your weekend? Did you get your fill of Olympic viewing like we did? My hubs has a serious love for the Olympics and his enthusiasm is rubbing off on me. I am loving it!

So, the last time we touched base I was trying to decide on my Valentine’s Day menu. I had asked for your help in my decision-making process and after much consideration I decided on coconut shrimp, parmesan baked fries, artichokes, and banana almond chocolate squares!! The whole dinner prep process took us about an hour and a half, but it was so worth it!

Check it out…

Coconut shrimp with recipe inspiration from Skinny Taste.

My modifications to Coconut Shrimp

  • 3/4 lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (weight after peeled)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flake
  • pinch of salt
  • olive oil to coat pan

Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup apricot preserves
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • a dash of cayenne pepper

We followed Skinny Taste’s recipe instructions here: Coconut Shrimp Instructions although we had to broil ours for a while towards the end because they weren’t crisping up. coconut shrimp coconut shrimp End product… coconut shrimp parmesan fries Baked parmesan fries: recipe from 101cookingfortwo. We didn’t change a darn thing except instead of mixing the fries with the oil and cheese in the bowl, I just coated the pan with olive oil, coated the top of the fries with olive oil, and sprinkled the parmesan cheese over the tops, along with some salt. parmesan fries parmesan fries Steamed artichokes! artichokes   valentine's dinner   artichoke Banana Chocolate Almond Squares from PopSugar almond banana bars almond banana bars

I am obsessed with these babies! They are gooey and chocolatey, banana-y, perfectly sweet and just so darn delicious! I keep them in the freezer and cut off a square or two everyday. So there you have it. Valentine’s dinner was a success!

Did you have any special treats on Valentine’s Day?