The Munchkins

Life with identical twins

Recharge

I’ve got a cold. Not just any cold, but that cold that lingers and lingers and four weeks later you still feel awful? I have that cold.

I went to urgent care, it isn’t an infection, which means I need two things – Rest and Fluids.

In the early days I tried powering through, but that only made things worse. My energy has been completely zapped, which made me realize that I needed some serious recharging. That has meant watching a lot of tv with the girls.

The upside of this? It’s meant a lot of time with the girls! The older they get the more independent they get, and I often find our evenings are spent with everyone doing their own thing. The last few weekends we’ve watched movies together, we’ve watched cool tv series together, and they’ve really pitched in around the house by helping out. They’ve made dinner, they’ve helped clean things up after meals, and are always asking what they can do.

I was thinking the other day that I don’t remember getting super sick when the girls were teeny. Perhaps that’s the universe’s way of evening things out with newborn twins?

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Tiny Bits

Our life is insanely boring these days guys – sorry!

  • I’ve had a cold since before Christmas. I’d get better for a few days, then get worse again. It hasn’t helped that everyone at work is sick now too, so we just pass it around and around. I finally went to Urgent Care and the doctor said nope, just a cold, you need to get more rest. But, my reflux is awful right now and I don’t sleep well at night. His recommendation was not to eat or drink anything after 5:00pm. Um? Last night I wasn’t even home until almost 5:30? So I’m shooting for 6, or whenever we can get dinner on the table. So far it’s only been two nights so it’s too early to tell, but it will definitely curb my sugar cravings after dinner!
  • It snowed, then it melted, then it rained, and now it’s cold and we have ice everywhere. I feel so bad for the people who deliver packages. My driveway is an ice rink! The backyard is a brown ice rink, which is lovely. I’m over it. But I think if it all melts at this point that would be even worse for the grass?
  • I probably should have put this as the first bullet, but letters came home about middle school parent info night! Our house is both excited and terrified of middle school. The bus will come insanely early (7:05am I believe), and the different class schedule will definitely be interesting, but the girls are ready for a challenge so it should be good once we find our groove.
  • Our dogs are the laziest dogs ever. They sleep all day every day, it amazes me!
  • The first half of winter break was rough, with the girls fighting a lot. But then they bonded over their LEGOs, and things have turned the corner since. They’ve been building things together on Minecraft (I think they built a zoo and an aquarium?) and it’s just been so nice to hear them laughing and giggling, rather than shouting and stomping.
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Weekend at home

Going into the weekend I realized we had zero plans. And that wouldn’t do. But, we’re also in no spend January, it’s winter, and we’re coming off a busy holiday season.

First, let’s talk Sunbasket. It’s a meal service, and if you click that link you’ll get $40 off your first order. I’d looked into meal services a while ago, but most don’t do gluten free. When I found Sunbasket I was intrigued! But didn’t pull the trigger until September maybe? We get 3 meals each week, and I do the portion size for two adults. We had to do a little sampling before we found what we like (no to shrimp or glass noodles), but the girls help pick the recipes and the best part is that they help make the recipes! They love to get in the kitchen and cook these. The recipes are well laid out, with the prep steps clearly outlined. Anyway, our box arrived Thursday, so we had a recipe for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I will happily admit, eating these meals feels like eating out. I don’t have to plan, and they’re fun flavors we don’t usually make! So, that was a nice addition to our weekend.

Saturday was gorgeous. I think every single one of our friends went skiing/snowboarding. No joke. We had piano lessons, so we were home for the day, but took the dogs on multiple walks since it was so nice out.

I thought that we would hit a movie on Sunday, but there was nothing playing that any of us really wanted to see, so we stayed home again! Ahhh! We’ve been home so much over the last few weeks, but it was also really nice to just knock a bunch of things off my to do list. I was able to get a bunch of laundry done, organize the house, deep clean the kitchen (we’ve done a lot of cooking and baking over the last two weeks!), and enjoy hanging with the girls. The girls played with their Legos a TON! I think they got four or five new sets? Legos used to be Caden’s domain, but Delaney has been playing with them a ton on winter break, which makes everyone happy.

And today! Is their first day back at school since December 21. Hopefully we make it through the morning!

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No Spend January is back!

Last year I skipped No Spend January. I didn’t feel like we needed it, but as with all things, they slowly spiral out of control and then you need to reel things back in.

I’ve been doing a lot of mindset training, focusing on Money. One of the worksheets we filled out had two columns – What do you want to spend your money on, and what things are you no longer spending your money on. This was honestly a good exercise. I have a really bad habit of buying things I *think* I need. Or that I *think* we’ll eat. Or clothes that are cute, but then I realize they aren’t my style.

And so my intention in 2019 is to be mindful with our money. I want to spend my money on things that light me up, make me smile. We stopped at a seafood place on the way home from the lake and bought scallops and gigantic shrimp. Were they expensive? Yes. But I’m more than willing to spend money on good food we all love.

The easiest way for us to not spend money is to stay out of the stores, and off Amazon. We did some clothes shopping for Delaney last weekend, and both girls should now be set until short sleeve shirt weather. I may want some new things, but I’m forcing myself to work with my current wardrobe.

I’ve also done a new budget, and my goal is to check in a few times a week to organize the transactions, and ensure we’re staying on track. I’ve always tracked my money, but I’ve never stopped spending in a certain category just because I reached my “budget limit”. This time, we’re stopping at the limit!

My mom bought Delaney a Better Homes & Gardens cookbook for Christmas and the girls have been busy making all sorts of recipes! I’m hoping we can explore that a bit more this month. I got out some of my old cookbooks to get some new recipes as well. I feel like we don’t eat out much, so eating at home isn’t the burden it used to be. I do need to figure out a way to take my lunch to work more often. I did it a few weeks ago and it was so nice! I’m limited as to what I can eat, even downtown, and it gets old eating the same things every week. Bringing my lunch will give me more variety, I just need to find a way to do it that works.

We have a goal of how much we want left at the end of the month, which I like. I’ve always been vague in my financial goals in the past. If you don’t name the number it’s not a big deal when you don’t hit it right? But not this year. I’ve got big dreams, and being mindful with my money is a huge part of that. I’m hoping that making this a game, will make it more fun and easier. If we hit our goal, we’ll buy a second pack of riding lessons, so the girls can ride twice a week, and if we hit our big goal, we’re going to Benihana for dinner!

Anyone else doing a little financial mindfulness in January?

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Happy New Year!

Just before NYE, we headed up to my aunt and uncle’s house on a lake to enjoy a little family holiday cheer, and as always, some time out in the snow. I love this activity because I always get some great snow pics! It was cold so we weren’t out for long, and unfortunately, I only took a few close ups of Caden and her eyes were closed in all of them! I’ll get you next time Cade!

I tried to blaze a trail down the hill, but the snow was too soft to get any speed going!
My uncle Scott pulled the girls in the sled behind the snowmobile.
Because the snow was so fresh, it kicked up into your face, so they both covered as much of their face as possible!
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Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls

I love cinnamon rolls. They are one of my favorite foods. When I first went gluten free, I was never able to resist cinnamon rolls. They were such a weakness for me!

Since I was a child, my mom has made a wreath of cinnamon rolls every Christmas morning. We frost them with green frosting, and it’s something my kids look forward to every year.

A few years I’ve tried to find some sort of gluten free cinnamon roll that I can eat. One year I made some from scratch, they were horrible. One year I bought Udi’s, also horrible. Most years I go without, or just make sure I have a gluten free donut on hand so I have something similar to eat.

This year I joined a gluten free local group on Facebook and it has been so amazing! I’ve learned about so many new products and restaurants! Someone recommended the Chebe cinnamon roll mix, so I ordered a box off Amazon a few weeks ago.

Christmas morning my mom and Laney whipped up the cinnamon rolls! I was so impressed. The morning was a little chaotic and I probably would have just skipped them, but they mixed them up, rolled them out, and had them in the oven in probably 10 minutes.

So clearly, this won’t pass for a regular cinnamon roll, but they were really good! I ate them the next two mornings and they were perfect after being heated up for just a few seconds. They had a nice cinnamon flavor, and were just sweet enough with a powdered sugar glaze. I highly recommend!

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Boxing Day

Christmas was interesting this year. I definitely struggled with what to get the girls. Their lists were small, but vastly different. And honestly, it was really hard to shop for them this year.

Some of that was because when I look around our house, I see the ghosts of Christmas past. All the presents they’ve gotten, but that sit and never get played with.

Delaney asked for a drone. I didn’t buy her one. First, let me show you the two robots I’ve purchased in previous years that are now sitting in a corner, and haven’t been played with in a year(s). Second, it’s winter. Third, some need a phone to operate/see the video, others don’t. It was a lot of research. I can maybe see her using one in the summer, so maybe for her birthday? But also? Ugh. Maybe she can save up her own money.

Caden asked for a hatchimal. Oddly enough, I bought her one. Mostly because this was the second year she’s asked for one, and also because they were on a Target end cap, so it was easy to grab. It’s a cute owl, and she’s played with it a bit, but it’s still early days for that toy.

Let’s discuss age 10. Overall, I love this age. LOVE IT. But, I have one twin that is 10 going on 13, and one twin that is 10 going on 10. Weight is a huge component in puberty, and with a 20 lb weight difference (yes, they were just weighed and that’s accurate), personalities are very different in our household. This meant I had one twin who was a Believer, and one who wasn’t. It made it hard to pull off any sort of Christmas magic, for fear of being told how scientifically, it just isn’t possible. I’m honestly ready to leave that behind and start fresh with new traditions on that front.

So yeah, I struggled a bit with the holiday spirit this year. We never put up our outdoor Christmas lights either, which didn’t help. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were amazing and fun, which makes me think we need to play holiday things throughout December to really bring the holiday to the whole month?

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Merry Christmas!

Let’s back up a tiny bit to last week. I started losing my voice on Wednesday, it got worse on Thursday, and I felt like I’d been hit by a truck Friday – Sunday which was really bad timing. I did last minute shopping and wrapping in between naps, and we drove down to Mankato to do the holiday lights with my parents, but that was not how I wanted the run up to Christmas to go.

Luckily on Monday I felt significantly better. We always have creme brulee for dessert Christmas Eve, so we made that Monday morning. Because that recipe only uses the egg yolks, we made Christmas tree shaped meringues with the egg whites. They turned out SO good! We’ve made meringues before that came out chewy, but these were nice and crispy, and not too sweet. Total winners. We also made a french silk pie using this recipe (Pioneer Woman is never wrong), which was another winner. We served the pie for Christmas dinner and as I was cutting it my sister-in-law asked if I’d taken a picture and I hadn’t! And our pie looked so professional! Delaney made the creme brulee, Caden made the french silk pie, and they both did the meringues. I love baking with these two. It’s so much fun.

Christmas Eve was low key. My parents came up, we played some games, drank hot cocoa, ate an amazing roast chicken dinner, and watched The Christmas Chronicles. It was awesome. We found ourselves hanging out in the nook quite a bit which made me happy.

Matching pajamas! Even Midas!

Are my kids the abnormal kids who actually don’t get up at the crack of dawn Christmas morning? My mom was first up at 6:00am. They got up at 7:30am, which was fine by me. We opened presents, ate breakfast, and took our time getting ready. Caden got legos, a hatchimal, and a fit bit. Delaney got clothes, new riding breeches, and some crafts. I thought Delaney might be bummed that her stuff was a bit more practical, but she was super happy (and got puzzles at the family gathering later, which worked out perfectly).

My brother and his family hosted Christmas Day this year, so we headed out to their house after lunch. The cousins played together, we opened presents, played a Christmas game, then feasted on tacos and french silk pie. What more can you ask for?

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Kitchen Update

Let’s talk about two things in the kitchen that we use way more than I ever thought we would!  

First up – under cabinet lighting!  I’ve never had under cabinet lighting before, but my dad puts it in all of the kitchens he does.  I just said sure!  Why not? 

Previously we had a light above the table, and a light in the middle of the room.  There’s tons of natural light in the kitchen, but when it was dark those two lights didn’t really do the best.  Now, we rarely have the big middle light turned on, we just use the under cabinet lights.  It lights up the counters for when we’re chopping and cooking, and gives a nice glow to the kitchen.  Definitely unexpected.

Second – the nook!  I wanted the nook because I wanted to use the corner space better.  I had no idea we would spend as much time in it as we do.  

It’s surrounded by windows, so the natural light during the day is amazing.  We eat all of our meals here, and you can often find one of us lounging here reading a book.  I also work in the nook a TON.  It’s so nice because I can bring my laptop there and be comfy, and not be so separated from the girls.  I used to try to work at our old kitchen table, but the chairs weren’t comfortable, so I never lasted for more than 20 minutes or so.

This space is so cozy, and so perfectly located in the house, I’m beyond glad that it has worked out as well as it has!

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Journey Shift

I have been trying to find my exercise groove for the last 11 years.  (Much of it documented in this blog!) I was an incredibly consistent exerciser pre-kids, but have never been able to sustain anything for more than a few months since the girls were born.  I’ve tried everything!  Running on a treadmill in the basement, workout DVD’s, all the Beachbody programs, but it wasn’t working.  

Once I really dug into it, I realized working at home was a huge part of the problem.  I was fighting the girls who wanted to watch cartoons while I wanted to work out, and I had zero desire to get up and work out in my dark living room at the crack of dawn by myself.

And then Orange Theory said they were opening a studio 5 minutes from my house.  I have a few friends who go there and LOVE it.  LOVE IT!  I hit up their open house and signed up for a membership.  Even better?  So did a few of my neighbors and friends!

Yesterday was our first class!  I was super worried I wouldn’t be able to make it through an hour long workout.  I had visions of passing out, having to take breaks, or having to leave.  But none of those things happened!  Thank goodness.

There were a few moments when we were on the treadmills, music blasting, where I got a little emotional.  I have been trying to nail this exercise goal for so long, and every time I think I’ve found a hack that will kick my excuses, I fail again. And yet as I ran, I knew that this is where I’m supposed to be.  It took everything in me not to high five the ladies next to me and tell them what an awesome job they were doing.  I probably should have!  Relationships and encouragement are so important to me right now, and this just fits those two perfectly for me right now.  I know online accountability groups work for a lot of people, but I just want to sweat in the same room with a bunch of people, and go crazy with our heart rate zones.

After the girls were born and I was cleared to exercise, I wanted to run again to feel like myself.  There is definitely something about exercise that brings me back to who I am when you strip everything else away.  As I look at my goals for the next year, I can’t help but feel in my gut that getting strong physically is the foundation towards accomplishing those goals.  Keeping that promise to myself to exercise, having more energy, feeling better about my body, all make me stronger mentally as well.   

So next up, figuring out which class times work best.  

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