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Thursday Thoughts, XXIX

1. I’m running the Race for the Roses on Sunday. I’m totally prepared.

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My training cycle has gone well. I feel good. Edit: I felt good.

I caught a cold. I never get sick. I have the immunity of a race horse (is this an accurate simile?). Regardless, 2 days before the race, I feel like trash. Instead of gu’s, I’ll be taking shooters of NyQuil along the course.

2. I’ve finished my Hello Fresh subscription.

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The other two meals were pasta primavera and kale panzanella. Both were delicious. Both were time-consuming. I learned two valuable tips:

1. Sour cream and a little pasta water makes a surprisingly good sauce.
2. Lemon zest/juice makes every dish better.

3. I took a personality test.

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These are my results. I gotta tell you, I was kind of surprised that I tested extravert. People who know me on the surface might see this to be true, but I think deep down I’m a true introvert. I can force myself to be extraverted, but it feels hard sometimes.

4. This has been my lunch for three days in a row.

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Except for today. Today’s lunch was Dutch Bros. You know, feed a cold, starve a fever…?

5. This.

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Because she’s perfect.

Flowers

A super long time ago (1994?) I was in Mexico, on vacation with my family. My Grandma V was there and I remember being at breakfast as she was attempting to order two orange juices, but there was a language barrier and she was gesturing toward the menu with three fingers and the mixed-up Mexican waiter was so confused.

To this day, I can still hear his heavily accented, bewildered echo. “Two orange juices? Three orange juices?”

We laughed about that with my grandma for a long time afterward.

This week, a co-worker made a similar mistake, saying one number, but gesturing a different number and we laughed and I immediately thought of “Two orange juices? Three orange juices?”

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Maybe that’s why I’ve been thinking about her so much.

Or maybe it’s because it’s April, her birthday month.

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Or maybe it’s because this little one, Reagan Virginia, is so much like her great-grandma in so many ways.

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Or maybe it’s because I get little reminders that I’m not the only one who misses her. Thanks for posting this, Crystal:)

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Or maybe it’s the flowers. We live in grandma’s old house. We have not planted any flowers. Yet, every spring we’ve been gifted tulips and daffodils and these purple things.

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They’re the gift that keeps on giving, really, because every time I see these flowers that grandma planted years ago, I’m reminded of how blessed we were to have her.

4.1

The party is over and this is the only picture I took.

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Have you recently thrown a princess birthday party for a sassy four year old? If not, and if you care, here are some “Do’s” and “Don’ts”.

1. DO invite friends who will automatically take photos of the festivities. Thus, all the following pics are from Melissa and Matty B- thank you!

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2. DON’T over-invite. If you don’t want 17 children to attend, don’t invite 17 children. This all turned out fine and we had a blast but there were absolutely 17 three to seven year olds in my house…

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3. DO make other people do all the work.

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My mom painstakingly put together all these fruit fairy wands and you know that Matty B cleaned the house from top to bottom.

4. DON’T buy miniature nail decals for four year old fingernails. It doesn’t matter how tiny those stickers are – baby girl fingernails are tinier.

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4.5 DO have manly temporary tattoo options for the four boys forced to participate in this princess extravaganza.

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5. DON’T make your own Barbie cake. DO buy one from a professional. What a disaster. I’m pretty sure that there was Barbie hair in the frosting. At least it tasted good.

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6. DO put your newly four year old to bed and promise yourself that this won’t happen for at least another 365 days…

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Hello Fresh!

It was like Christmas this afternoon.

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Unfortunately, for Miss Rae, the UPS man didn’t bring her yet another birthday present. This present was for me.

A few weeks ago, Matty B found a coupon for $40 off an order with Hello Fresh.

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Hello Fresh is one of those meal delivery services. Their website claims that they deliver delicious and healthy recipes with all the pre-measured ingredients to your door each week.

When we pulled into the driveway this afternoon, I was thrilled to see a big box on the front porch. When we got it in the door, I immediately opened the insulated box to find three different meal bags.

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The three meals were mushroom quesadillas, Tuscan kale panzanella and portobello and orecchiette primavera.

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I chose to make the mushroom quesadillas. They were really good. And for $19 (regular price is $59) for 6 meals (3 different meals, 2 servings), definitely worth it.

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A few thoughts:

1. Everything is pre-measured so it’s pretty convenient. All you need from your own pantry is salt, pepper and butter/olive oil.

2. The quesadillas were supposed to feed 2 people- they could have easily fed 4.

3. The recipe didn’t seem that inspired to me at first, but the lemon zest just made the whole thing sing and forevermore I will put lemon zest in my guacamole.

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4. If you have a picky family like I do, this doesn’t necessarily save time because I made them a “normal” dinner and then I made this for myself. Time wasn’t saved, but it did save me from boring burritos (seriously, Matty B? Every Friday night?)

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5. Would I place another order? I can’t really answer that until I try the other two recipes. It’s handy having the “what’s for dinner?” decision made. The quesadillas were tasty. But I’m not sure that I’d pay full price without another coupon option.

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If nothing else, Hello Fresh is novel and I can see it being awesome for a family with older (less persnickety) children.

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Have you ever used a meal delivery service?

Sugar Cookies

I’m married to this random person who is a frequent mystery to me.

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It’s also a mystery why I’m wearing two pairs of sunglasses.

Matty B loves old school Christian music and Metallica. Sometimes both on the same day.

Matty B loves picking raspberries but wouldn’t think of actually eating one.

Matty B subscribes to a number of magazines:

Sports Illustrated
This Old House
Money
Better Homes and Gardens

What?

Better Homes and Gardens?

Yes, my football loving, woodworking, manly man husband likes reading Better Homes and Gardens. This dude is so unpredictable.

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This is what I ended up with when I tried to take his picture while he was reading BHG in bed.

I’m not judging (I’m absolutely judging) but I think BHG is boring. They do, however, occasionally have good recipes.

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Today’s is a good one.

J Man’s school is having a bake sale tomorrow. Because he is his mother’s son, he wants to participate in everything. Everything. Therefore, not only will we purchase something from this bake sale, we will also provide cookies for the bake sale.

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Basically, we made cookies so that we could buy them from ourselves. That’s how bake sales work, right?

We made these melt in your mouth sugar cookies from a BHG recipe.

They were delicious.

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One way that Matty B is very predictable?

His desire to eat every single one of these cookies.

Unhealthy Fruit Dip

Sometimes, things seem like they should be easy, but they’re not.

For example, my children:

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This is just one example out of ten bazillion where it’s impossible to get them to both look at the camera at the same time!

Seriously. How hard can this be? JUST LOOK AT THE CAMERA AND SMILE!

Last year I made some snobby “healthy” fruit dip. In that post I actually call out the recipe I’m about to share with you as “not healthy”.

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And it’s not. But it’s good. So so good.

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Step 1: buy 8 oz. of cream cheese and a small jar (7 oz.) of marshmallow cream.

Step 2: combine both in your food processor and pulse until smooth and creamy.

Step 3: try not to cut your tongue on the blade of the food processor because you absolutely will lick it off.

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This couldn’t be easier. And honestly, I’d rather make fruit dip every day of the week than try to get this girl to smile when she doesn’t want to.

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At least she was looking at the camera.

Kinda.

4

I’m here to tell you that Miss Rae grew an inch in two months.

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This isn’t an exaggeration. You know how sometimes I say that I had seven coffees in one day, but I really only had six? Yeah, she really truly grew a full inch in two months.

About two months ago on J Man’s birthday we measured both kids and recorded their heights on a chunk of wall in the laundry room.

A few days ago, when this little button turned four (yes, four) she requested to be measured. We complied, certain that there would be a negligible difference.

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A whole inch.

Also, she reads and when I say reads, I mean memorizes books but it’s giving her such confidence when we praise her amazing “reading” skills.

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Did I mention that she’s spunky? J Man’s favorite adjective for his sister is sassy, which describes her to a T.

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So how do you celebrate a spunky, sassy, tall four year old with an amazing memory?

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Food, of course.

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Family, naturally. (And this isn’t the best photo of the 15 in attendance, but it is the funniest of Matty B. Is he gagging/choking/singing? No one knows.)

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And if you’re four, and if it’s close to Easter, and if Grandma is on hand to follow your every wish and command, you absolutely dye Easter eggs.

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And not surprisingly, those eggs turned out just as sassy and spunky as the birthday girl herself.

Happy birthday, Miss Rae!

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