When I started this site it was to be a place for me to go and share the stories of exploring the world through food, travel, and just living life. It has been way to long since I was on here. But that is what happens when . . .
You spend time in the NICU (once again).
You only take six weeks off before heading back to full-time work.
You have just started a new job three weeks before delivery.
You love what you do.
You decide to take a week long trip to Disney with a four-year-old and a six-month old.
So eight and half months later and we are settling into life as a family of four (sort of).
To make our new life work I’ve found there are several things I have to just be willing to give on. Dishes have to sit dirty longer than I would like. Grocery shopping (and wine shopping) happens online with curbside pick-up. Workouts don’t always happen first thing in the morning. Cooking no longer consists of hours in the kitchen happily working away.
Setting priorities not just for the day or the week, but for life overall has become even more important. So what do I want from this next stage in my life?
- Positivity: I want to create a positive environment for my children and myself to exist in, even if I can only provide that cocoon within the walls of our home
- Travel: This is non-negotiable. I want to see more places, meet more people, and experience things I never imagined and I want my children to enter adulthood with a broader view of this amazing world we live in.
- Health: Healthy cooking might look a little different right now, but getting in all the good stuff I can is top priority. Even if I have to squeeze a workout in between getting off of an eight-hour work day and getting the kids from daycare (or in-front of the oven as dinner cooks ) I will keep getting stronger and faster.
So, hopefully I will be meeting all of those goals and find time to share the journey.
Hard to believe October is over and fall is in full swing. Here are a few things we’ve been enjoying, coveting, and anticipating over the last month.
I happened upon these on a quick trip to one of our local grocers and I am addicted. They had a few variates, but come on, coffee and chocolate, who could resist! They are crunchy and sweet and a perfect little pick-me up between meals . . . bonus, they are healthy for you.
I have recommended this service before, but since we are on the quarterly plan we got our newest collection of brews. Nevermore Chocolate Porter – Mosaic India Pale Ale – Pipe In A Sack Scotch Ale – Wry Rye Imperial India Pale Ale. There hasn’t been a clear winner, but the Chocolate Porter is inspiring a few baking ideas.
I recently posted about an angel food cake tradition that my family has that I’ve considered resurrecting. After that story I had several people ask me about where I got my cake pan. Mine is a hand me down from my mom and to be honest, it probably was a hand me down to her, but I love it. I do recommend getting one with the removable bottom and center and the little edges so you can turn it upside down on a flat surface if you don’t have a bottle that works.
Food and travel are sort of an obsession of mine so when the opportunity arose to help plan and market this year’s FoodWorx Conference in Portland I jumped at it. This multiday event brings together experts in food, travel, and much more for what has been called the Tedx of Food.
Having just spent the last week celebrating my grandfather’s life this quote really stuck with me. His life and how everyone came together at the end of it is a shining example of how what we give makes our life. Hundreds of people came through his visitation and shared not only their words of condolences but their stories and memories of a quiet, smiling farmer.
Usually I take Wednesday to chat about travel or food, but I have been working on this story at work this week and I had to share . . .
Well, 2014 is over already and what a year it was! It was a year of change and growth for all of us. I started my MBA. I started a new job I adore. We welcomed a new little girl to the Benner clan. My youngest sister started college (wow I am feeling very old). Olivia moved into a new daycare class and away from the teachers we all adored (we still have to go say “hi” to her Brooke). We took Olivia on her first trip to Disney. Olivia said “I love you” for the first time!
Rolling right into 2015 I know we are going to have a happy jar full of little moments like these. We are already planning and looking forward to so many things. There are six things I am excited for that with a little attention on my part will make this year the year to top.
1. Visiting new places and revisiting old places with new friends. We are already planning a camping trip to South Dakota. I’ve never been and this will also be Olivia’s first trip there and first time camping. For years I have also wanted to do a girl’s weekend with my sisters. A time where we can just focus on fun and ourselves. So we are headed to Chicago for a long weekend of good food, shopping, and a little pampering. This past year also saw the birth of a new business idea that will mean gathering stories. Starting close to home, we are headed to the Amana Colonies in Iowa for some food tasting, shopping, and a little history lesson. I can’t wait to hit the road!
2. Experiences not possessions. As I’ve gotten older and as I’ve seen people dear to me age and slow down I’ve realized even more that the experiences are what make up a life. So for this year I am focusing on not passing up opportunities that come my way for experiences that have been on my bucket list. I am going to be skydiving and traveling and we will see what else!
3. Foster friendships. With starting my MBA, a new job, and having a toddler I feel like I have let the few friendships I had developed slip away. I’ve never been the one to be the center of attention so as the person who sits back and observes making friends has always been a slow process for me. I have met some amazing people over the past year and learned a lot about them, but it is time to let them into my world a little more and set aside time to get to know them even more. I know that as I get older friendships will be even more important and I want to encourage Olivia to do the same.
4. Celebrate life events. We have had so much to celebrate these last few years, but I don’t feel like we have done it right. So this year I want to throw a special birthday party for Olivia’s third birthday. I want to celebrate my husband and mine’s further growth into our 30s. Each celebration doesn’t have to be a big blow out filled with gifts and hoopla, but they will be special and unique and build happy memories we can carry forward.
5. The happiness jar. Last year I started a happiness jar and this year I want to over stuff it with things big and small. This simple mason jar sits on our mantle and last year I’m sure I overlooked some little joys to write down on a scrap of paper and stuff inside.
6. And to top it all off after 10 years of waiting and signing the petitions – Crispy M&Ms are coming back to the US! Since 2005 I have had to stock up as my in-laws made trips to Australia and New Zealand, but not anymore 🙂