What’s For Dinner?!

This week we are away so I am not meal planning! Will try to get back to this next week, if not I’ll be back 100% the week after!

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What’s For Dinner?

Well, I should have thought about not starting my meal plan before the holiday season! This upcoming week and the following week are going to be so different with Christmas and New Years and our traveling! We will get back to normal once the New Year is here!

Sunday: Chicken Parmesan with homemade sauce, salad with a homemade lemon garlic dressing, and L requested mashed potatoes.

Monday: Christmas Eve Dinner with my in-laws. We will have prime rib, potatoes of some kind, veggies, etc… This dinner is always delicious!

Tuesday: Christmas Day! (Breakfast- egg bake and baked apples with cranberry mimosas.) Dinner will be a recipe from my friend Rana (rana.monet on instagram!) I will make the crock pot version of her Beef Daube Provencal and serve it with a spinach salad with a homemade lemon dressing

Wednesday: LEFTOVERS

Thursday: H’s second birthday! This kid loves to eat so tentatively we will have pizza and cotton candy for lunch and burgers for dinner! Of course we will have cake too!

Friday: Honestly, NO CLUE!

Saturday: Travel Day!

Duck Duck Grey Duck

No, no, not the game…the bags! Have you heard about the Grey Duck Bag Company? If you haven’t you have got to check them out. https://greyduckbags.com/

I received three bags and a wrist strap: The Market Tote, The Adventurer, and The Minimalist. I am going to review each bag for you! First you should know though, these bags are WASHABLE, not just in a sink, but machine washable! The bags are made out of a super soft laminated cotton and they contain 0% lead, BPAs, or Phthalates. These Grey Duck bags are HANDMADE in Ely, Minnesota. One of my favorite things about this company is that a portion of every sale goes to the Ely Community Resource.  You can learn more about this here: http://elycommunityresource.org/

The Minimalist: This is a lifesaver for me. My wallet just doesn’t fit into my Coach wristlet and my wallet is always a mess then. I can easily fit my wallet, my keys, and some essentials (MAC lipsticks!) in my Minimalist. This will be a great asset to my summer pool/beach bag, I will be able to keep everything important zipped and in one place, and if the bag gets sandy or dirty I know that I can wash it and it will be good as new!

The Adventurer: THIS BAG IS EVERYTHING in my opinion. Right now, I have a few diapers and wipes in this bag. I can attach the wrist strap if I need to. I know I will use my Adventurer all the time. We are almost at the potty training point with H and I will add undies to this bag and I can also use this bag if I need to put in soiled clothing if we are out, BECAUSE the bag is washable!!! This bag will also be an essential in my summer bag, this is the perfect bag to keep all of our sunscreens in (yes, we have a few varieties!). 

The Market Tote: I know the first thing I always check in larger bags is the pocket situation. This bag has three deep inside pockets, on the Grey Duck website, it says you could even put a wine bottle in there, and I think I am going to have to try this out! Honestly, the pockets are great, and I know I won’t lose anything if the bag falls over, or is knocked over by  a toddler. There is also a pocket on the outside, which is a great place to put your keys and phone until you are able to get them into your Adventurer or Minimalist! I know this bag will have many uses for me, the bag with many hats, I have been needing a bag for the gym because I really don’t want to put my stinky gym sneaker back in my diaper bag after  workout, the Goldfish crackers don’t need that smell. This bag is a great fit for my shoes, a towel, a water bottle, and my sneakers. I know if I drop my bag in the slush and snow, I can wipe it down and then wash it once I get home!

I really need you to go to the Grey Duck Bag Company website and look at all of the patterns. These bags aren’t only great for moms but these would be a great addition to your child’s backpack, or uses in the car to hold toys, books, and crayons! These bags are a great teacher gift idea, or a gift for a friend or family member. The wrist strap can turn these into sweet wristlets for anyone to use! 

I know I love my bags and you will too. Even my children love my bags, and I don’t have to worry about a water bottle ruining them. Remember, these bags are handmade, and made with love. You can feel the love from Ely, MN when you are using your Grey Duck Bag.

Full Disclosure: I was sent these bags from The Grey Duck Bag Company. The review of the Grey Duck Bag Company is my honest opinion.

What’s For Dinner?

I’ve had a lot of inquiries as to what I do with my meal planning for the week. I’m not a “meal planner” but I do plan dinners for the week each week, and typically we stick to it unless I realize when I start to make dinner that I don’t have all of the ingredients that I need! 

They change every week, and I do my best to keep everyone happy and healthy! Friday nights tend to be our takeout night or our takeout fake-out night. 

Here is my dinner plan for the week of 12/16:

Sunday: Crock pot creamy ranch chicken with 2 ingredient biscuits and salad (the recipe is actually much healthier than it sounds)

Monday: Bacon, Garlic Chicken with Spinach served with rice and an additional vegetable

Tuesday: Baked Tilapia with riced cauliflower and homemade broccoli tots 

Wednesday: Homemade Mac and Cheese with riced cauliflower mixed in and a side salad

Thursday: Spaghetti with homemade sauce, salad, and bread

Friday: Cheeseburgers with Matt’s famous fries and a veggie

Saturday: Breakfast for dinner

I usually try to make sure I have enough leftovers for Matt to take to lunch the following day and some to freeze for a leftover night or a freezer clear out night!

Please feel free to ask about these recipes and share your ideas too! I love adding to my recipe repertoire! 

Customized Hair Care: Formulate

I was seeing different posts and review about customized hair care and I was curious, could this really work or is this just another “Instagram Thing”? When Formulate and I partnered up, I was excited and slightly nervous.

Could this formula, created for me, really help me achieve the hair goals I had? Would my hair get some of its pre-baby boost back? I recently was getting really bag tangles on the back of my head, and I tried a few different hair masques and leave in conditioners, and honestly, nothing was working. 

I didn’t really notice a big change in my hair after L, but after H, my hair changed completely. My hair went from being super straight to wavy. I was super excited to have wavy hair but I had ZERO idea on how to tame it! 

So fast forward, we are about two years after H’s birth and I’m three weeks into trying my own customized shampoo and conditioner: FORMULATE. 

I used the hair wizard to pick and choose what was right for me. I even was able to choose my scent…and strength of the scent. Abby from Formulate was very helpful and answered any questions that I had. (They also have an app you can use!)

Formulate’s formulas are sulfate free, paraben free, dye free, preservative free, and cruelty free. They also give you a pamphlet that lists all of the ingredients and also gives you insight on some of the specific ingredients chosen just for YOU.

Since using, I am able to get a comb through my hair with ease. My hair smells great all day long (yes, even after the gym before I can sneak away to shower). My hair just feels healthier. 

I do think the next time I receive my Formulate shampoo and conditioner I will change a few things to try to achieve different goals or maybe the scent. 

Overall, my experience with Formulate has been positive and I would recommend to friends and family! Oh, and a fun thing I noticed the other day: They have braille on the bottles to label which is which! 

If you are even a little curious, ask me some questions, enter the giveaway, or let me hook you up with a coupon! Trust me, it’s worth it!

Disclosure: Formulate sent me these products as a launch partner. Even though they sent these products to me, my review is my honest opinion. 

Becoming our bar: The tale two hutches

I’m probably posting this for accountability. We need to get this project started! I’ve been dreaming about it for months now.

As you can see these beautiful hutches are still filled with things that need to be unpacked. BUT most of the boxes and things that are there are going to be going in/on our finished products.

We plan on sanding these down a little and updating them with a new stain, a grey. The great will fit perfectly in our living room.

The one hutch we will make into our at home bar. We have plans to hang some wine glasses, although I recently started buying plastic ones since Matt is really good at breaking real ones 😆.

I think this will be a great addition once finished to our living room area and a plus when entertaining!

The other hutch we want to put our more grown up games that the boys are too young to play, like monopoly, and I hope I don’t destroy their souls the first time we play…I’ve never lost 😂 and I’ve always been playing the cheaters edition for as long as I can remember. We also will use this as our bookshelf for our books and cookbooks! I love a good cookbook, I know we can use our tablets and phones, but I like having the recipe on paper in front of me.

I know this will be a project, but the outcome will be so fun! I’ll share updates as we go along and I’ll share the final product and take suggestions on what we should add to them!

Who is coming for drinks once it’s done?! Just know we have children and dogs, so your cocktail most likely won’t be enjoyed in peace and quiet!

Urban Forage: Winery and Cider House

I’m writing this post while I enjoy a nice cold cider from this fun winery and cider house I got to check out today.

Matt and I like to venture out and find fun and new place to go, with and without the kids. Today we drove across the Mississippi into Minneapolis to Urban Forage.

We walked in and we were greeted by Jeff, the owner. Jeff is extremely knowledgeable about his wine and cider and we enjoyed talking with him about his bar and the details that go into making their wine, cider, and mead.

We started with a tasting of the ciders, Urban Forage currently has four ciders on tap: Dry Cider, Pear Cider, Spiced Cider, and a Semi Sweet Cider. We also tried the dry red wine and the sangria (you have to see what this is a combination of!…go and order! You won’t be disappointed!)

I have to say, my favorite was the seasonal Spiced Cider, it tasted like Holiday Cheer in a Cup! I even left with a growler (that what I’m drinking now).

The Pear Cider was another favorite. The Pear Cider reminded me of growing up since my parents have a pear tree in the backyard and the cider tasted like fresh pears. All of the pears are gathered from all over the Twin Cities and Metro area, it really was incredible to speak with Jeff and see how much love he and his wife put into their production of their wines and ciders. I really love that everything they use is locally sourced, I feel like it makes it feel like home, even though the Twin Cities are heavily populated!

I feel like Urban Forage is the place to go where everyone would know your name, there was such a welcoming and calm feeling in the tap room. The Urban Forage also had a cute game hutch included Hungry, Hungry Hippo! The Urban Forage is family friendly! I know my children would love to play a game or two while snacking on the cheese plate and Mom and Dad could enjoy a drink or two.

I wish I tried the Wassail, their warm spiced cider! Next time!

Jeff offers tours on Sundays at 1:15, you can purchase you tickets online. Their hours are as follows: Thursdays 4-9 (GAME NIGHT), Friday 4-11, Saturday 2-11, and Sunday 2-6. They are located at 3016 East Lake Street, Minneapolis. You should check them out and follow them on social media. I truly cannot wait to go back, visit with whoever I am with, drink delicious, locally sourced ciders and wines, and fill my growler!

Who is coming with me to game night?! (Fun Fact: Jeff comes up with all the themes and trivia questions!)

Urban Forage Winery and Cider House

Disclosure: This post is an honest review based on my experience. This post is sponsored by Urban Forage.

Wildkin Luggage

Traveling with children isn’t a walk in the park. Lucky for me, my boys have been traveling for a good part of their lives and are decent travelers. Since L was about 2, he was carrying something of his own when we traveled. It gave him great pride to have something that was his, that could be filled with his things. I think this was a start of instilling responsibility in him.

Now that H is almost two, and he will be 2 when we fly across the country next, he will also have to carry something of his own.

When I came across the Wildkin luggage, I knew it was perfect for our family.

I partnered up with Wildkin to share with you about their luggage for children, and oh my goodness it couldn’t be cuter!

We received two pieces of luggage, a rolling suitcase and a duffle bag.

The Roller Bag:

This bag is lightweight and the wheels roll nicely. Either child (4.5/2) would be able to successfully use this bag. We plan on using this as a carry-on. The bag also comes with a strap that you can attach to the back to carry as a one shoulder bag and there is a loop that you could use to connect to a larger bag.

The Roller Bag also has a water bottle holder and a front pocket. L is already planning on what snacks and books he can pack in there!

The Duffle Bag:

It is so cute seeing L holding the duffle bag! He fell in love with the bag instantly! The bag has a padded shoulder strap and a small front zip pocket. Perfect for a weekend getaway or toys, books, and snacks!

Both bags are wipeable and should only be cleaned with a cloth. Make sure to let them dry complete before closing them up!

Whether the boys are flying to Revvie and PopPop’s or driving down the street to Gert and Papa’s, these bags are perfect! The boys know that these bags will be used for special times and are excited to use them ASAP! I know these Wildkin bags will be with us for a while! Oh and did I mention how many fun patterns they have?! You have to check them out! Wildkin Luggage

Disclosure: I received these bags from Wildkin and this review is my honest opinion about the luggage. This post is sponsored by Wildkin.

Reasons for Remy and Zoey

I figure with the holiday season upon us I wanted to share about our rescue pups. My husband and I always knew we wanted to rescue a dog. I think dogs are amazing creatures and I’d take any of them but there was something about rescuing that really was important to us.

Zoey:

Our ZoeZoe just turned 9!

We knew we wanted a dog and talked about it often when we were in college. We moved to Ohio in 2009 and we decided to wait until after the holidays so we could maybe find a dog that we knew really needed a home. We found Zoey at a shelter in January 2010. She was with a few of her brothers. We found out that her mom was left on the side of the road pregnant with the puppies and was under extreme stress. Zoey was the runt of the bunch and they didn’t even think she was going to make it. When we met her we knew she was ours, little did we know at the time that the stress her mother had during pregnancy was passed to the puppies…We would later learn that Zoey is unable to shut off her stress. Zoey was put on Prozac after we worked with a behaviorist for a while. It seemed to help! Something changed when we moved to Minnesota, Zoey’s was almost like a different dog and we were able to wean her off of the medication.

Zoey loves to snuggle with the boys and is the Queen of being sneaky…she knows who to sit by during meals.

We noticed Zoey getting white whiskers and eye lashes. We know she’s getting older and we will continue to love her forever. She’s our first baby.

Remy:

December of 2015 I had my second miscarriage. I was numb. We were numb. I needed something, a distraction maybe? We discussed over Christmas that we needed to find a puppy. Were we crazy? Probably.

Again, we wanted to adopt a dog after the holiday season, since we have seen it time and again, people gift animals and then realize they don’t want them or take care of them after a few days.

We met Remy. He was dopey and looking for love. We found out that Remy already had 4 homes by the time he was 8 weeks old. He was homeless, taken to a shelter, adopted and returned after Christmas, and then put into a foster home. We were this little puppy’s 5th home. We figure that Remy’s need to be attached to my hip or constantly with someone might not just be the GSP in him, but also the fact that he was so lost for the first few weeks of his life.

L and Remy bonded immediately and then we needed to make sure Zoey would like him too…and she’s a tough one to impress if you know her. To our surprise, they clicked. Remy was the newest family member.

When H came along we were nervous to see how Remy would adjust since we knew Zoey would be fine…Remy and H seem to team up from time to time and get into trouble together. The dogs fit into our family perfectly.

So today, it’s 6 of us. Two adults, two children, and two dogs. It’s a little crazy at times (ok, most of the time) but we wouldn’t change it for the world.

I’d like to ask you to keep in mind all of the animals who are looking for their forever home and who are in rescues. You do you, but please don’t return your dog. They are family. If you need help, ask someone, a friend, a family member, or your vet.