Friday Favorites: Stretched Too Thin

I have posted on Instagram and this blog many times already that I love this book, Stretched Too Thin. After listening to the audio version (link) once I had to read the paper copy. Thank you again, Jessica Turner, for allowing me to test drive this book for you. Here are my top 10 favorite quotes from the book. Now, there were plenty more, but these one caught me. My pen and highlighter got a workout!

1). “I love my family. I do great work. I’m thriving”. Page 13

2). “This ‘mental load’ that a person carries is defined by work-life balance coach Marie Levey-Pabst as the ‘largely invisible work of remembering and noticing.’ Because this load is carried inside our heads and isn’t visible in the same way going to an office is, we often don’t recognize it as real work. We lump it in as ‘what moms do,’ mentally reducing its significance and burden.” Page 21

3). “Women process life more like a plate of pasta. If you look at a plate of spaghetti, you notice that there are lots of individual noodles that all touch one another. If you attempt to follow one noodle around the plate, you would intersect a lot of other noodles, and you might even seamlessly switch to another noodle.” Page 47

4). “Do not let your emotions undermine your self-worth and calling.” Page 50

5). “Fear of missing out (FOMO) is a real thing, particularly thanks to social media.” Page 57

6). “Don’t ‘Should’ all over yourself.” Page 60

7). “A lie many working moms tell themselves is that self-care is selfish.” Page 68

8). “Counseling is far beyond fixing people’s problems; it’s opening up people’s opportunities.” Page 74

9). “Resentment is anger that’s turned inward.” Page 131

10). “Brene teaches that saying yes inspires trust with our kids.” Page 156

Now, if you are a mom, feeling too exhausted to chase your passions and dreams (small or big) put down what you are doing and get this book. I promise, you won’t be disappointed!

Monday Meals: End of Summer Produce

We didn’t have a a large variety in our garden this year but let me tell you, we had a large amount of cucumbers! T did his share of refrigerator pickles, we did the creamy cucumbers thing and the cucumbers and ranch thing. We are a bit spent on cucumbers. Last night I dug out my recipe books and tried a new recipe. This one was from Hemsley Hemsley: The Art of Eating Well. Sesame Chicken Salad with Cucumber Noodles . Mine looked a little different from theirs due to the type of cabbage I used, the way I cut up my cucumbers and I ended up using toasted almonds rather than sesame seeds. It was a light meal that I can’t wait to use for lunches this week.

We had a single zucchini in our garden. Last week I made Kristin Cavallari’s French Toast recipe for the girls. She uses her Zucchini Bread recipe for the bread. It is an extremely rich yet tasty take on the typical recipe. For this we used a small portion of the very large zucchini. We also tested out her Zucchini Chips with Dill Sour Cream and Onion Recipe which was amazing and her Oatmeal Zucchini Muffin Cups which were good, but definitely healthier than the French Toast. In other words, it wasn’t as flavorful as the French Toast.

Friday Favorites: Podcasts

I am not certain why it took me so long to realize what a podcast is, but I am so thankful I finally did. It is weird how things come into our lives at the right time. I listen to one which references another, I listen to that one and it references another. So on and so on. There are brilliant women out there, and men I am sure *wink* The podcasts I have been drawn to are women lifting up women, moms talking about how normal all of these abnormal things are. I am not alone. These women are inspirational. They lift me up. They lift others up. They are artists, they are creators, they are authors and speakers. They leave me feeling like I want to do more. Not that I need to do more, but really encourage me to live life with passion and reach for fulfillment. I have women in my life, a mother, a sister, aunts, cousins, friends, these women are real, they are my physical soulmates, they are right here with me, but Rachel Hollis, Elyse Snipes, Jessica Honegger, Meg Tietz and Jen Hatmaker– they are there during the morning when I am getting ready for the day, they are with me in the car on my way to work and as I wind down for the night. I feed off of their dreams, their goals, their advice and make me yearn for more. Maybe they can do the same for you.

Rise Pocast with Rachel Hollis

Trailer Cast with Elyse Snipes

Going Scared with Jessica Honegger

Sorta Awesome with Meg Tietz

Rise Together with Rachel and Dave Hollis

For the Love Podcast with Jen Hatmaker

Morning Goals

I have always been a morning person. For the longest time I woke up at 5:30 to work out. Once I had Stella I woke up at 5:30 so I would be prepared for the day before she woke up. Emery was born and she was my 5:30 alarm! Heck, she was my 5:00 alarm for the longest time. Just within the last few months has she slept past 5:30 on a consistent basis. I thought to myself, maybe I should try working out again at 5:30. When I further evaluated my mornings I knew this was not possible without waking up someone in the house. I decided I needed to wake up at 5:00 to accomplish things I always wanted to do, but had yet tried to do.

For the last month I have woken up at 5:00 and have done the following 4 things consistently before leaving for work:

#1- Deep Breaths

I start by taking 30 deep breaths. My mind easily moves towards the list of things ahead of me for the day, I try to rope those anxious thoughts back to my deep breaths. This step is the hardest for me. I have tried off and on for years to meditate. I probably won’t master this task ever, but I would like to get better.

#2- Tibetan Rites

I move to my yoga mat in my dimly lit workout room. I complete the 5 Tibetan Rites. I first learned of these movements from the yoga instructor I had in Fargo, Andrea Paradise. Like meditation, I have done these “exercises” off and on. They seem to give my body an oomph of energy to get the day started. Supposedly, these 5 exercises are going to keep me young. *wink* I would like to find a good book to explain this theory more. I figure, if I don’t get exercise into my daily schedule, I at least moved my body for 10 minutes. With these movements I also complete a few yoga moves to stretch my body out of its tired and tight feeling- sun salutations, cat and cow and child’s pose.

#3- Prayer & Journal

This next step is the one I am most proud of. I grab my journal and I write prayers to God for 5-10 minutes. I tell him things I am thankful for from the previous day. I ask him to guide the people that surround me, to love them, to be with them during times of hardship. I take a minute to read a page out of one of my devotionals. This forces me to take God into my day in a way other than what I believe I need help with. He gives me something to focus on in his own way.

#4- H2O

I drink 4- 8 ounce cups of water before I leave the house. This is half of what my goal is each day to drink. I find once I get to work it is difficult to drink water.

I have completed these things each week day for the past 4 weeks. The weekends throw me off, but I do find myself yearning for them and come Sunday evening I look forward to waking up Monday morning to head to my space. I use my Bedtime alarm on my iPhone to alert me to go to bed so I get 8 hours of sleep and be awake by 5:00. I love the feeling of accomplishing goals. I hope this is a routine I can keep up with. Dark winter mornings are hard on me mentally, I hope this brings some light to my routine.

Monday Meals: Chicken Pot Pie & Meatloaf Meatballs

Pick up Rachel Hollis’ cookbook, Real Life Dinners for the chicken pot pie recipe we tried out last week. If you can’t get the book, The Daily Meal has a similar recipe to the one we cooked up. We used a pre-made Pillsbury pie crust for the bottom and top rather than a package of biscuit dough. My oldest loved the meal, as did I. Currently, you can’t trust our youngest’s opinion *wink*

In the winter we cook meat loaf a handful of times. It is so easy to make ahead of time and serve as left overs. We usually use the Better Homes and Gardens recipe. I took a new approach to it this time. Rachel Hollis makes meat balls rather than cook it in a pan. My kids did prefer it this way. She also uses a food processor to disguise the carrots and zucchini her recipe calls for.

I mixed the two recipes together to create the one below.


2/3 cup rolled oats

1 cup onion

1 cup diced carrots

1.5 cup peeled and chopped zucchini

1.5 lbs ground beef

2 eggs

1/4 bbq sauce

1 t salt

1 t pepper

1/4 cup bread crumbs to thicken up mixture if needed

1/4 cup ketchup

2 T Brown sugar

1 t Ground mustard


Spray baking sheets

Oven at 400 degrees

Process (or blend) rolled oats, onion, carrots and zucchini until veggies are small pieces

Mix veggie mixture with beef, beaten eggs, bbq sauce, salt and pepper

Add bread crumbs if needed to thicken (my veggies ended up fairly blended, rather than chunky- hence the need for the bread crumbs)

Roll into 2 “ meat balls

Top each meatball with a bit of the following mixture:

1/4 cup

2 T brown sugar

1 t ground mustard

Bake 15 minutes or until cooked in the center

We served these with corn on the cob and cream cheese mashed potatoes!

Friday Favorites: Aqua-holic

In a past Friday Favorites post I talked about how turquoise is my favorite color. Aqua is a soft, yet vibrant, shade of turquoise that I equally am drawn to. I have this sweet friend who sent this cup to me a couple of weeks ago. Aqua-holic!?!? You mean to tell me that there are more of me? I just giggled with delight when I opened up the mail. I sat down to drink some coffee and realized, I am a true aqua-holic! This cup. This journal. This planner. It’s me! It probably stems from my love of the ocean and the colors that flow in the sea. Find what you love and douse yourself in it!

Happiness Project: August & The Enneagram

Contemplate the Heavens Gretchen Rubin said in her Happiness Project book. Read memoirs of catastrophes, keep a gratitude journal and imitate a spiritual master. Reading this chapter made me the least excited thus far on this Happiness Project journey. Early on in the month I heard a few podcasts that talked about the Enneagram test. I had never heard about it but all of a sudden I was hearing about it left and right. On a trip to the library I picked up The Sacred Enneagram by Christopher L. Heuertz. I soon after opened up the latest Magnolia Journal where there was a brief article by the same author. I felt an electric pull to dive in. The book did a nice job explaining the background of the Enneagram. Christopher says “it reveals our path for reviving our true identity and helps us navigate the journey home to God”. And there it was, my connection to what Gretchen wanted me to do, maybe not exactly, but it was going to help me become closer to God and the Heavens. To live in the present in a more Godly way. I took a free Enneagram test online which explained my personality type as a 2- a helper, a giver. Through reading, it explained to me a few of the following points:

• I operate from the heart in love and kindness

• So much of what I do is for other people and lack self love

• I may “be what others think of me”

• Solitude will help me focus back on what my needs are

• It may be hard for me to ask for help, but once I do, I will become a better person, a healthier person

• “Twos learn to rest in the grace that they are loved for who they are, not for what they offer the rest of us”- page 211.

The last bullet item is what I have been working on for the past 9-12 months without even realizing this point. Wow! I am on the right path, well, according to Mr. Heuertz. Barnes and Noble just delivered the following two books:

Discovering Your Personality Type by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson

Personality Types: Using the Enneagram for Self Discovery by the same two authors

I am anxious to read and get their perspective. There are other books by them that I may purchase after I read these two. More to come on the blog I am certain *wink*

I didn’t read about a catastrophe but I did watch the movie War Room. This was a movie not about a catastrophe per say, but it was about a relationship that needed work otherwise the relationship probably would have bombed. Now, the acting is not great, but the message was what I needed at the moment. If you have ever seen the movie Fireproof you may understand the bad acting/great message feeling that I am referring to. If you are even a bit Christian, pick up the movie, I don’t think you will be sorry. It will help you lean in to God and your faith a little bit more.

It triggered me to pray more, and not just on my way to work, or when I feel the NEED for something, I have tried to sit down each morning for even a couple of minutes with my pen and paper and write out my prayers. Writing words have always helped me manage my thoughts and kept me on track. These prayers are for me, my family, my friends, my co-workers. These prayers are words of thanks to God for his help and reassurance. Gretchen Rubin, you are helping me in more ways that I ever imagined!

Monday Meals: Chicken Curry & Cheese Tortellini Bake

I have been a bit MIA on the Monday Meals blogging posts. Let’s face it. I have been a bit MIA on any blogging *smile*sigh* The end of summer has been hectic and crazy in fun ways and stressful ways. I am not a person to dwell over my kids getting older and hope that they will be my babies forever. Don’t get me wrong. I wish they would stay in this stage of wanting to cuddle and hold my hand forever, but I am thrilled with seeing how they grow, develop and learn to love new things. The new school year just started and life is about to change once again!

Hold up, this is a Monday Meals post! Not one that talks about the crazy life I have been living! Let me reign this back in *smile* You are reading this post to see what couple of meals I am about to recommend! Let’s talk Chicken Curry. I posted a Chicken Curry recipe awhile back. I am always on the look out for the very best homemade Chicken Curry recipe, so bare with me as I post another. Feel free to message me and let me know how you like this one, or if you have any great ones to share, please do! This recipe is slightly altered from Against All Grains: Meals Made Simple from Danielle Walker.


3 lbs chicken breasts

1 medium onion, sliced

7 cloves minced garlic

1 piece of ginger, 1 ounce, diced

3.5 t soy sauce

2.5 t salt

2.5 t ground cumin

2.5 t ground turmeric

1.5 t coriander

1 t nutmeg

1/2 t allspice

2 c coconut milk in a can

4 carrots, peeled and sliced

2-3 c broccoli

1/2 c peas

1 c chopped raw cashews



In a slow cooker mix onion, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, salt and spices.

Add chicken and coat with the mixture.

Cook or your slow cooker settings until chicken is cooked thoroughly.

Remove chicken and shred.

Place chicken back in slow cooker.

Add coconut milk and vegetables. Cook another 1 hour until veggies are tender.

Serve with cashews and cilantro over rice.

*you could try Danielle Walker’s Basic Cauliflower Rice recipe from the same book, or pick up a pack in the frozen food section at your local grocery store.

My littlest chickadee is a picky eater lately. The next recipe was a no fail with her. I got inspired from Rachel Hollis’ Baked Ravioli recipe in her book, Real Life Dinners (if you have not picked it up yet, please do! I promise you, you will love it!) If you have read past posts you will realize that I highly recommend it! You can check out her The Chic Site blog for recipe suggestion too.


1 package of premise Cheese Tortellini from grocery store

1 jar marinara sauce

1/4-1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs

Fresh mozzarella cheese (you could use shredded, but we bought a block and cut it into thin slices- used about 1/2 of the block)

Fresh basil leaves


Cook tortellini per directions on package

Heat oven to 350 degrees

Drain water from pot of tortellini after it is cooked, mix in jar of sauce , basil leaves and bread crumbs

Pour evenly into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish

Place slices of cheese on top

Bake 20-25 minutes

Stretched Too Thin

I have a couple of friends that I call my twins. This is how cool one of them is, she just got a tattoo of a stack of books with cup of coffee sitting on top! I literally want to drive hours to pick her up, take her to a tattoo shop and tell the artist, give me what she has! It turned out great!

She tags me on Instagram posts weekly with things she knows will speak to me. Recently she tagged me on a post from Jessica Turner. Jessica is launching the publication of her book, Stretched Too Thin. She was providing people with a chance to preview her book via the Christianaudio App. I prefer to read books rather than listen to them, especially books like this where I know I will want to highlight words and dog ear pages for reference. I was in for listening to it though, after all, it was free! Within the first chapter I was trying to figure out how to bookmark passages on the app. Within the first two chapters I knew I was going to need a physical copy, it was that good. Jessica is the one that narrates the book. As much as I was hesitant about listing to the book, it was like I was getting free therapy while driving in my car each day.

When I returned home last night after a full day of meetings and running the kids to Back to School Night, there was a physical copy of Stretched Too Thin sitting in my mailbox. What?!?! I guess part of the deal (that I missed) was that we would be receiving a paper copy!! This brings me joy. I finished the audio version last weekend. I have a stack of other books to begin reading, but I am rereading his gem with my highlighter out and pen in hand!

Friday Favorites: Garden Fresh Tomatoes

We had our first tomato out of our garden tonight! Look at that beauty! There is nothing better than a BLT in the summer. I posted earlier this summer about a new BLT recipe we tried earlier this summer. There are so many great tomato soup recipes out there but Gwyneth Paltrow’s recipe is my favorite.

We are new to gardening this year. Planting it is not my thing but watering it and picking the produce was something I could assist with and maybe I could even call it therapeutic (when the mosquitos were not bad).

I am not sure I want to commit to canning just yet, but when we get the gardening thing down, bring on the salsa making and call me Miss Susie Homemaker!