Travel Often

“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” — Rosalia de Castro

Love Deeply, but Laugh Along the Way

"Happiness is only real when shared." - Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

View Marriage as an Adventure

"Love is a flower which turns into fruit at marriage." ~Finnish Proverb

Fuel your body with GOOD (It's the only one you get)

He who has health has hope; and he who has hope has everything. - Arabian Proverb

Open your Soul to Motherhood

A Grand Adventure is About to Begin - Winnie the Pooh

A New Kind of Love is Born

Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Welcome to Kindergarten

Jackson enters Kindergarten

I can’t even believe this day is here. Wasn’t I just blogging about my sweet baby boy and how I wanted to hide in the Kohl’s Department store clothes racks because I was so exhausted and shocked by motherhood and all the responsibilities?

Where did that life go???

Time truly does fly. And motherhood definitely changed me in more ways than I could ever imagine.

Here we are.... Kindergarten.


There were nerves leading up to the big day, and I think both boys sensed it. They seem to read me like a book. And speaking of books, I was doing my best to get as many library books into Jackson’s hands as I could that talked about starting school. I also would share stories of how much I loved it as a little girl and talked up how much fun he’d have making friends. We would pray about it every night and I’d let Jackson know that Jesus would be in his heart the entire time. There was no need to worry about anything!

Jackson still wasn’t so sure. It took a LONG time for him to warm up to the idea of going to school. He really enjoyed his routine; especially have Monday’s with grandma and Fridays with Mom and Nathan.


I’m still not sure how this is going to fall into place, but I know it will. It obviously did for me and I’m not sure what benefit holding him back another year would do. He is ready. He knows it. I know it. But change is HARD. What tugs at my heart the most is not being there after school is out. I wish he could hop on the bus, ride it home and get home around 3. Instead he has to wait until I come and get him at school after 5. I’m working my booty off to make this happen in the little pockets of time I have right now and also extending grace and forgiveness to myself over and over again. I have to trust that for some reason God wants it to be this way and perhaps when the timing is right, everything will fall into place.

Our morning started a bit crazy and we figured we’d have all kinds of extra time. We heard the bus would be late, but it was a minute EARLY!!! There were nerves. No hugs and I couldn’t even figure out how to run my video camera on my phone. I film myself every morning working out, you think I was an expert, but EVERYTHING slowed down. I watched my baby get on the bus, wave and drive away. He looked so small, yet so big.


Karl and I walked inside. He grabbed a Kleenex. Our eyes met. I couldn’t keep it in and we grabbed each other, hugged and sobbed our eyes out. Nathan was confused and latched on to Karl’s leg. There weren’t any words. It’s like we both just knew. Time is out of our control and we just let our little guy go…to achieve great things and there wasn’t more we could do.

I drove Nathan to our in-home daycare. The ride was different. Quiet. Jackson wasn’t asking questions. A pit grew in my stomach. Change. The leaves were turning colors. More change. Nathan started to whine and ask…”Where is Jackson?” Change. Change. Change.

Drop off went exceptionally well. Maybe because Nathan also had new shoes like Jackson. He had a Batman backpack he picked out with a folder and notebook just like brother. He too was going to start school. Pre-School. No wonder people have more than 2 kids. Time truly goes fast and they are so much fun to watch turn into amazing human beings.


I stared at the clock while at work. I checked in to see how Nathan was doing since he had been acting out SO MUCH at home. TERRIBLE tantrums and meltdowns. Spitting, kicking, biting, pinching, SCREAMING. It was horrible. I almost ran away once because I didn’t feel fit to be his mom anymore. It’s been tough. But like I said before, I think the boys could sense the change I was feeling coming our way.

I even emailed Jackson’s teacher… How was he? I refreshed my email maybe a 50 times. OK…100 or so. FINALLY, she wrote back that he was doing great and taking everything in stride. DUH! I knew he would be fine….

FINALLY I was FREE from work and flew to daycare to get Nathan. He was a total charmer. Handled the day great and was counting leaves when I whisked him up. He had a project waiting for me and couldn’t wait to share. “I got messy, mom. My hands.”


Then…on our drive to get Jackson, Nathan and I had a full on conversation. Nathan talks!?!? He can speak in full sentences?? When did this happen?? Oh yeah, Jackson does ALL the talking usually. And they are always together. Nathan looked thrilled that he was able to talk to me and I was listening. Maybe this adjustment is a GOOD thing for all of us?

We both ran in to get Jackson. Nathan was so excited to see his brother waving through the window of the cafeteria. I couldn’t get a hold of Jackson fast enough. As I buckled him in, he told me he really liked school a lot and wasn’t so sure about the after school stuff though. I felt relief and pride. Maybe things would be OK?

“Mom. Nobody got sent to the principal today from our class. Especially me.” Jackson smiled.
Whew. That’s a good day.


He loved playing outside (went out 3 times and played with our neighbor during one of the breaks), thought it was funny he got breakfast in the morning, is really interested in using the IPAD to order is hot lunch and made one friend who sits next to him. Most importantly, his teacher is NICE.

Here’s to an AWESOME first year!

How did your first days go this year? 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Healthy Stuffed Italian Stuffed Shells

And 21 Day Fix Approved!

21 Day Fix Stuffed Italian Shells

This version of the stuffed shells  replaces a lot of the mozzarella cheese that typical recipes contain with ricotta cheese in the filling.  It’s still yummy and satisfying and a great recipe the whole family will love!

Ingredients

  • 25 Jumbo Shells (whole wheat if you can find them!)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb ground beef (or turkey)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups pasta sauce
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Cook shells until el dante and set aside
  2. Heat oil over skillet and add garlic and saute for a few min.  Add ground meat and onions and season with salt and pepper.  Cook until meat is no longer pink. Set aside to cool.
  3. Mix ricotta cheese, spinach and eggs in bowl.
  4. Once meat mixture is cooled, add to ricotta mixture.
  5. Pour 1/2 cup of pasta sauce in bottom of 9×13 dish.
  6. Stuff 25 pasta shells with roughly 2 tablespoons of mixture and place in baking dish. Pour remaining 1 1/2 cups of sauce over the shells and top with mozzarella cheese.
  7. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in oven at 400 for 30-35 minutes.
**21 Day Fix Containers (per 5 shells): 1 Yellow, 1 Red, 0.5 Purple, 0.5 Green, 1 Blue ***
Like this recipe? Share it! Or find more recipes like this one on my LIKE page. If you're interested in receiving you FREE copy of my 5-Day Clean Eating Plan or if you want to participate in my next FREE Clean Eating bootcamp, apply here!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Kid-Approved Dinner with Hidden Veggies

If they can't see them...

Ground Chicken Meatloaf Muffins with Hidden Veggies

I wasn't sure I'd be able to sneak these past my two boys (4 and 2) but I did! I stuffed the meatloaf muffins with carrots and zucchini leftover from the garden. You can use any leftover veggies you have around the house!
Ground Chicken Meatloaf Muffins with hidden veggies


Ingredients:

1 pound ground chicken
1/3 cup oatmeal
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1 egg or 2
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
Salt and pepper
A couple of handfuls of Ninja'd carrots and zucchini

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, but only use about ¼ of the tomato sauce in the meat mixture.

Press the meat into the muffin cups (you should be able to get eight to 10 out of this amount of meat).

Top with a dollop of tomato sauce on each one.
Cook for 30-35 minutes.

Serve two per person.

Nutritional Info: The calorie count is about 110 per muffin. (Pretty good if you ask me!)

ENJOY and let me know what you think!! If you want more recipes like this one, be sure to LIKE my page. If you're interested in receiving you FREE copy of my 5-Day Clean Eating Plan or if you want to participate in my next FREE Clean Eating bootcamp, apply here!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Healthy Stuffed Italian Shells

Quick Healthy Italian Dinner

Holy moly. These shells are amazing!! If you boil ahead of time, it's a pretty quick dinner!
Stuffed shells

1 lb ground chix breast
1 16 oz cottage cheese
1 pack of organic chopped spinach
1 bag of authentic large pasta shells
1 jar of favorite organic pasta sauce
1 TBS Penzeys Tuscan Sunset Seasoning
1 cup fresh mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 400
Boil shells (the authentic ones should take around 20 minutes). Cool.
Heat ground chix in pan until cooked through and season with seasoning. Mix in a bowl with cottage cheese and thawed spinach.
Poor a little sauce to cover bottom of 9 x 13 pan. Stuff shells and top with remaining sauce. Sprinkle cheese on top. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake 2 minutes more.
ENJOY and let me know what you think!! If you want more recipes like this one, be sure to LIKE my page. If you're interested in receiving you FREE copy of my 5-Day Clean Eating Plan or if you want to participate in my next FREE Clean Eating bootcamp, apply here!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Mexican Chicken Zucchini Boats

Taking Taco Tuesdays to a New Level

These boats are a healthier spin on chicken burritos, swapping in nutritious zucchini for flour tortillas. A typical flour tortilla contains 25 grams of carbohydrates, 458 milligrams of sodium, and not much else. One zucchini contains 10 grams of carbs, 26 milligrams of sodium, as well as vitamins A, C, and K, and minerals like calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Using zucchini as the vessel is also convenient way to watch your portions without having to think too hard: 1 boat = 1 serving.

Mexican Chicken Zucchini Boats


Total Time: 1 hr. 10 min.

Prep Time: 20 min.
Cooking Time: 50 min.
Yield: 8 servings, 1 boat each
21-Day Fix Containers: 1 Green, 1 Red, 1/2 Blue, 1/2 tsp
Ingredients
4 large zucchini, cut in half lengthwise
4 tsp. olive oil, divided use
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup tomato sauce, no sugar added
2 Tbsp. tomato paste, no sugar added
1 Tbsp. ground chili powder (or 1½ tsp. chili powder and 1½ tsp. ancho chili powder)
1 tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. ground paprika
3 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
1⅓ cups corn kernels
1 cup shredded cheddar (or Monterey jack) cheese
2 Tbsp. finely chopped cilantro
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 green onions, thinly sliced
Preparation
1. Preheat oven to 400ยบ F.
2. Using a spoon (or melon baller), scoop pulp out of zucchini to make boats. Place on a large baking sheet. Brush with 1 tsp. oil. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until tender-crisp.
3. While zucchini is baking, heat remaining 3 tsp. oil in medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
4. Add onion; cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 6 minutes, or until onion is translucent.
5. Add garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.
6. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, and paprika. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
7. Add chicken and corn; cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until heated through. Remove from heat.
8. Evenly spoon chicken mixture into zucchini boats. Evenly top with cheese.
9. Bake for 5 to 8 minutes, or until cheese has melted.
Sprinkle evenly with cilantro, tomato, and green onions; serve immediately
ENJOY!! And please come back let me know what you think!
If you want more recipes like this one, be sure to LIKE my page. If you're interested in receiving you FREE copy of my 5-Day Clean Eating Plan or if you want to participate in my next FREE Clean Eating bootcamp, apply here!

Monday, August 22, 2016

QUINOA GREEK SALAD

Perfect quick salad for an event

This weekend we were invited to a home brew party. Luckily I had all these ingredients at home thanks to our garden. This takes 10 minutes to whip up and is usually a hit. We'll see what these home brewers think! Think it'll pair well with beer? We'll see...
Quinoa Greek Salad in 10 minutes

QUINOA GREEK SALAD
1 cup quinoa (recommended: Bob's Red Mill)
1½ cup vegetable broth
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded (if preferred) and diced
8 ounces grape tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoons dried dill
1 tsp dried oregano
1 cup kalamata olives, halved
4 ounces feta, crumbled or cubed
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon lemon juice
In a medium saucepan stir together quinoa and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil over high heat, stir once, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 20-25 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes.
Then fluff with a fork.
In a large mixing bowl, combine cooked quinoa, cucumber, tomatoes, olives and feta.
In a small bowl, combine olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, dill, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Pour over salad and stir to combine. Refrigerate for at least a half hour to allow flavors to meld.
ENJOY!! And please come back let me know what you think!
If you want more recipes like this one, be sure to LIKE my page. If you're interested in receiving you FREE copy of my 5-Day Clean Eating Plan or if you want to participate in my next FREE Clean Eating bootcamp, apply here!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Minnesota Staycation for Families with Young Kids

Staycation with Young Kids in Minnesota

Fun things to do close to home

Here are a few of our favorite adventures to do close to home and that don't cost an arm and leg.

1. Berry Picking

We have a few favorites in the area. This year the May frost destroyed any chance at cherry picking but we have been able to get in Strawberries and Blueberries!

We love Little Hill Berry Farm for our blueberries









2. Find an ice cream shop you haven't been to and dig in

We like to find local ice cream shops since they seem to have all kinds of fun flavors. We enjoyed a delicious kid's cone at Cow Interrupted in Farmington.







3. Set up a Tent in the Backyard

We haven't done full on camping yet, but the boys will find tons of entertainment when we set up the tent outside. Daddy and Jackson even spent a night out there together and it went great! Next up...the open woods:)




4. Set up a Slip and Slide and join in

Need I say more? Bring on the giggles! Even better when the PARENTS join in!




5. Fill up a Kiddie Pool

The fun can last for hours. Bring out some squirt guns and it gets better.





6. Go Fishing

There are TONS of lakes around Minnesota. Test your kid's patience but see the pure joy when something bites their line!




7. Find a new trail to take the bike on, catch bugs and critters along the way and have a picnic

We love taking the bike out and discovering new trails in Minnesota! The boys LOVE when we pack a lunch too and set up a picnic in front a park so we can play and then refuel.







8. Discover a new park

We love checking out a new park every Friday and discussing what we liked about that particular park after. Leads to fun adventures and great conversation!






9. Explore a new Splash Pad

There are a TON of fun Splash Pads in Minnesota. One or our favorites is at the Minnesota Zoo!




10. Go Kayaking or Canoeing

We heard that we could rent a canoe for $8 at Lebanon Hills and decided to give it a try. It was AWESOME and so much fun! We'll definitely be doing this again.




What are some of YOUR favorite adventures to do with your kids that is close to home?

For more ideas like these or for healthy recipes and health tips, please be sure to follow my LIKE page at Coach Christie Koester!