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The reset button

It’s that time of year again. When you start to think of new goals and fresh starts and “resolutions”. I’m not a big resolution kind of girl but I do believe in the reset button. Usually I hit it at this time of year. I actually hit mine a couple months ago when we got settled back into our house and I realized that things were out of whack.

Have you ever felt like you had to hit it? It’s not a bad a thing.

Sometimes you just realize that things just aren’t the way you want them to be.

Sometimes you get stuck in a rut.

Sometimes you aren’t the parent you want to be.

Sometimes you think you need to be someone you aren’t.

Sometimes you need to re-evaluate your priorities.

Sometimes you need to move on.

It could be one reason it could be many.

I have spent the last couple of months getting to know moms in my younger kids grades. Mostly Eva’s because I see them every day. I think sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the older kids, put their activities first, drag the youngers around to all of their stuff without making the olders do the same….

I have tried to reverse that lately. Getting to know moms of the youngers has helped me get my mom groove back, making the older bros attend the younger kids activities helps them realize it’s not just about them…. that’s just the start.

(Eva’s Christmas Show)

Ideally us moms of bigger broods would like to carve out special time with each kid. I used to think that some kids wanted it some didn’t. I was totally wrong. Every single one of my kids wants my time. And time alone.

And each one wants something different. Austin wants me at all of his sporting events. Blake wants me to hunker down and watch an episode of some series with him each night (we finished Breaking Bad yesterday after we were both in quarantine in my room with the flu)

(Blake took the couch and Hudson and I watched from my bed)

Cole is pretty easy. He likes to do just about anything. I bought a big puzzle for us to do together over break and he was so excited. He wanted to start right away. And honestly so did I:)

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Eva just wants my time all the time. And that of course is the biggest challenge. Thankfully she likes Daddy just as much.

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Over the break we are getting our kitchen side of the basement finished. New floor, new work space, etc. I can’t wait to have my workspace back. I can’t wait to have this house completely done.

So that is my New Years fresh start already started. More time with each kid, more volunteering at school and PTA, and back to work.

And feeling thankful…. for still having young kids in the house (and one that still believes in Santa), for Golden Retriever puppies (even if they bite a lot), for making new friends (and getting new perspectives), for renewing old friendships (that I should have never let slip), for a newly carpeted basement to send loud teenagers to (because they tend to show up when Eva’s in bed), for my finished house (of course), and for 2 weeks off with my favorite people (except Andy, he has to work).

And now it’s time to do some wrapping

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And head to the grocery store- teenage boys are clearing the pantry on a nightly basis!

Happy first day of break!

Sarah - Look how big Hudson is getting!! His sister is too!! And finally calming down a bit {knock on wood}.

Where did you find your rug? Love it!

Hannah - I needed this. I’ve been thinking about how I never get one on one time with Dmitry unless we are running errands lately. This morning I got to hang out with him and it was awesome.

When you get an awesome day in December you celebrate

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We have had a house full of sickies. Canceled plans, layed low

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Today was one of those rare winter days, it was warm. It was good.

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He’s a chomper.

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These faces? Most important thing to me.

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Things are good at 470

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Andy and I just got into House of Cards which has been a great thing for a family that is stuck at home with sickies.

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This puppy is bad

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Sometimes we all get sick of him. But he’s just so stinkin cute

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So very happy to have these amazing kiddos celebrating our first Christmas in this house.

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Hannah - That first picture is just perfection. I couldn’t love it anymore than I already do!

Ready made and ready to go!

Yesterday was the last day to purchase custom orders but all the items left in the shop are already made and ship immediately.

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So if you have been slow with your Christmas shopping as I have, you can still grab an Elisalou bag or pouch.

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Have a great weekend!

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Creamy Chicken and Asparagus Pasta

Thursday night is a rare night when we are all at home and so I always try to cook a good meal on those nights.

Tonight we tried this one.

Creamy Chicken and Asparagus Pasta

Any pasta with bacon is a hit with my kids

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Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: About 6 servings

Ingredients

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded with mallet to even thickness
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp each salt and freshly ground black pepper, plus more for sauce
12 oz penne pasta
1 lb asparagus, trimmed of ends, remaining diced into 2-inch pieces and steamed
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 3/4 cup milk (I used 1%)
1/4 cup cream or half and half
3 oz Neufchatel cheese (aka light cream cheese), diced into pieces
1/3 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese
4 – 5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled into small pieces (optional)

Directions

In a small bowl, stir together basil, oregano, thyme and 1/4 salt and pepper. Sprinkle half of the herb mixture evenly over tops of chicken. Heat olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add chicken to skillet, herbed side down, then add remaining herb mixture to tops of chicken. Cook chicken until fully cooked through, about 8 – 12 minutes, occasionally rotating chicken (time will vary based on thickness of chicken breasts. If chicken is browning too quickly reduce heat to medium low as needed). Transfer cooked chicken to a plate, let rest 5 minutes then dice into pieces.
Meanwhile cook pasta according to directions listed on package, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water before draining.
In a clean skillet (large and deep), melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly, add garlic and cook 30 seconds longer, stirring constantly. While whisking, slowly pour in milk then cream (whisk vigorously to break up clumps). Season with salt and pepper to taste (a fair amount of each) and bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Once it reaches a boil and thickens, reduce heat to medium-low, add Neufchatel and parmesan cheese and cook, stirring frequently, until cheeses have melted.
Toss in cooked pasta, then add cooked chicken, steamed asparagus and bacon and toss to evenly coat. Add in reserved pasta water as desired (it will thicken as it rests and the pasta will absorb the liquids, so add up to 1/2 cup as needed). Serve immediately.

I should probably add that I don’t cook low-fat. I saw this on Pinterest and it sums it up.

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