Monday, January 29, 2018

Themed Meal Plan Experiment

Our Weekly Meal Plan (Whole30, Paleo)

We are trying something new at the Harvey household -- Themed Nights for dinner.  I know plenty of people who do this, but I've never really gotten in to it, but Alexander the Great suggested it, and I think he's onto something.  I'm hoping it may cut down on the time it takes to meal plan.  Why it takes so much time for me, I have no idea.  I sit down with a blank paper/screen and nothing.  Nothing comes to me even though I've been meal planning for years now.  So, here we go!

Meatless Monday - 

Dinner:  Buddha Bowls

Taco Tuesday 

Dinner:  Beef and Bean Tacos with Homemade Spinach Soft Taco Shells

Witalian Wednesday 

Dinner:  Italian Drunken Noodles with Homemade Pasta (hopefully)

Fish Fursday 

Dinner:  Japanese Style Dinner -- White fish, black beans, wild rice, stir-fried veggies

Pizza Friday -

Dinner:  Homemade Pizza

Saturday Scramble - Lunch:  Leftovers

Dinner:  Saturday Scramble (i.e. make something with the leftovers)

Sunday Roastday - Lunch:  Salad and Smoothies

Dinner:  Pork roast with mashed cauliflower and sauteed green beans

Have a great week!

Find previous meal plans here.
**Linking up at I'm an Organizing Junkie for Meal Plan Monday**

This post may contain affiliate links.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Five Years

**This post may include affiliate links.**

Two weeks ago, my husband and I celebrated our fifth anniversary.  He asked me, "Do you think five years is a long time to be married?"  As I thought about his question, it occurred to me that, while five years shouldn't be a long time to be married, there are so many marriages that end before five years.

We are so blessed to have been married five years and to still want to be married for the rest of our lives.

Here are a few highlights of our marriage.

2013 - the year we were married!

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15 - the number of people at our wedding

I know you're thinking...that's crazy small!  Yes, we chose to have a small wedding.  A very small wedding.  We were married in my hometown church; the very same church my parents were married in, in fact.  The pastor that married us was the father of a dear high school friend and my grandparents' neighbor.  (Funny fact: I went to my very first high school Homecoming dance with his son more than a decade before Pastor Kenton officiated our wedding!)  My grandpa was sick with cancer at the time, and we didn't expect him to live much longer.  We were hoping that my grandpa would be able to attend the wedding, but that night, he wasn't responsive.  Instead, we went to his bedside right after the wedding and told him all about it.

Instead of a big fancy dinner, we had dinner at a private room at a local restaurant.  We were supposed to have a different room, but the restaurant double booked it, and we got pushed to the small semi-private room, but we chose to make a great evening of it anyway.  Everyone ordered what they wanted, and we laughed and talked, spent time with our loved ones, cut our cake, and laughed even more.  (I honestly have no idea what I ordered for dinner.  Ha!)

We laugh a lot.  Can you tell?

5 - the number of children in (and out of) our lives

In five years, we have had four pregnancies.  If you know us or have seen pictures of our family, you know that there are only three small children in our family.  Little Prez was born in 2013, and we couldn't have been more thrilled about our first baby boy.  In 2014, we had a miscarriage at eight weeks.  We only knew that we were pregnant for about three days before finding out that there was no heartbeat.  There are no words to describe the feeling of loss, but I can't wait to meet that baby in heaven someday!  About the same time as the miscarriage, we were blessed to welcome our niece, Miss Coco, into our family.  Becoming the parent to a middle schooler without being around for the first ten years of her life was quite a challenge, but every day was a blessing with that beautiful girl.    A year later, our little Mermaid Princess was born.  You'd never know that she's two full years younger than Little Prez; they are like twins and do everything together.  And finally, there's my Little Viking who was born a year and a half ago.  He's the baby in every way, but wants to be a big kid!

If you stop and do the math, we have added one child to our family each year since we got married (except this past year).  It's the good kind of chaos.  :)

Baby Prez

Mermaid Princess

Little Viking

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4 - the number of houses we've lived in since getting married

We started out in a 100+ year old house in Lincoln, Nebraska.  When Little Prez was just 8 weeks old, we moved due to a flooding basement and a terrible landlord.  Our second house was where we really began making memories as a family.  We painted a nursery for Little Prez, planted a garden, welcomed Miss Coco, brought home our Mermaid Princess, and really created a home.  In that backyard, two of our puppies remain.  We also sent Little Prez to daycare for the first time...right next door.  It was truly the best daycare scenario.  Alexander the Husband built his businesses there, and I wrote my dissertation.  (We still had basement flooding and different terrible landlords.)  Then we moved to another rental, but this time, in South Carolina.  We brought home our Little Viking to that house and lived with a black living room for two years.  And finally, this past summer, we finally bought our first house!

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7 - the number of degrees we have earned

Yup, that's a lot of degrees.  I have earned four, and Alexander the Husband has earned three.  Most of them are in business -- 5 of them.  We haven't ever received one, but we joke about the day that we'll get an invite or a Christmas card addressed to Mr. and Dr. Harvey.  It's a little odd sounding, don't you think?

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0 - the number of times my husband has seen me with my natural hair color

Isn't that wild?  He has never ever seen me with blonde hair!  It's been the same chocolate brown since we met.  I've always liked having dark hair, but I used to change it up pretty frequently.  Switching back and forth from light to dark and dark to light.  When I got to grad school, my first year I didn't get paid enough to cover my bills and wasn't allowed to get a side job.  Thankfully, I had saved up quite a bit while working corporate before that, but there was no way that I was going to waste hundreds and hundreds of dollars that year to keep up my fun hair changing habit.  The next year, I was officially a PhD student, so my pay doubled.  Just enough to pay the bills, but there was still no way that I was going to waste money on getting my hair professionally colored every six weeks.  So, Natural Instincts Chocolate Brown has been my color for almost eight years.  I can't remember a time since before high school that I kept my hair the same for that long!

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Thursday, January 4, 2018

Bringing Maggie Home

**I was given a copy of this book in return for an honest review.  This post may contain affiliate links.  This review is my honest opinion of the book.**

bringing maggie home

I just finished Bringing Maggie Home, Kim Vogel Sawyer's latest release, and wow!

Happy tears.  So many happy tears.

The book is a tale of love, family, hope, and reconciliation.  The story revolves around a family of three women, a family like any other family, with drama, conflict, and sometimes underlying love.

Hazel, the matriarch of the DeFord family, has a secret that she has kept for nearly 70 years.  When she was ten years old, Hazel was picking berries with her three year old sister, Maggie.  All of a sudden Maggie disappears.  Still missing seventy years later, Hazel projects the guilt of losing her little sister onto her daughter, Diane, through fierce overprotectiveness.  Diane's daughter, Meghan, is forced to take a six-week recovery/vacation after an accident, which brings the women back together.  When Meghan uncovers Hazel's secret, she can't help but want to use her experience as a cold case detective to solve the mystery of what happened to little Maggie.

Hazel is my favorite character of the book.  She's so spry and faithful and wonderful despite dealing with such loss.  My heart ached for her, especially as we learned more about her life as a child and the way that the loss of her sister haunted her.

Diane, her daughter, was well, a spoiled brat.  I couldn't help but to be annoyed by her and her attitude toward her mother, toward her daughter's relationship with her mother, with her dogs, with her skepticism of her mother's faith.  How could she not understand her own mother once she became a mother?  Personally, being a parent has opened my eyes to my own parents motives.  I really could not identify with her at all, but I suppose that is the point.

Meghan was such a sweet character, who somehow turned out to be well-adjusted despite her mother, Diane's laissez-faire attitude toward parenting.  She has a strong, positive relationship with her grandmother Hazel that seems to ground her.  But it is easy to see that she has had to constantly be the mediator between her mother and grandmother, which seems like such an unfair role to have to play.

Bringing Maggie Home is Kim Vogel Sawyer's first time writing in a style that switches between the past and the present.  At first, I was unsure if I would like it, but I found it to be very effective in telling this story.

As a parent, this story was hard to read as I cannot imagine losing any of my children.  (My son happened to be three years old as I was reading it, so that may have played a role.)  But, let's just say that I shed some tears throughout Bringing Maggie Home.  Some sad tears, some happy tears.

Bringing Maggie Home is an amazing story.  I would highly recommend it.  The plot itself will leave you wanting to keep reading to find out, what did happen to little Maggie?  The writing is just superb, as expected from Kim Vogel Sawyer.  The historical pieces of the story bring a time of the past to vivid life.  And true to the Christian Fiction genre, the elements of Christian faith woven throughout the story create a beautiful picture of God's overwhelming grace.  Over the years, I've read a dozen or more Kim Vogel Sawyer books; you can read a few other reviews here

Get your copy of Bringing Maggie Home at Amazon -- click here.

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Happy New Year!

It's the new year!  Two thousand eighteen. 

This year one of my resolutions is to dedicate more time here.  To this blog.  Harvey Ever After started out as a place to keep far away family and friends up to date on our first baby's antics.  Little Baby Prez is now four, and this blog has grown and shrunk and grown again in the past four years. 

In the same way, our family has grown and grown and shrunk and grown in the past four years.  Some seasons this blog has been very active and others I haven't really thought much about it. 

I think that now I'm ready.  Ready to make this a priority.  (read: a priority, not the priority.)

Updates for family and friends will still be here.  Things I've learned as a wife and mom will be here.  New things that I want to explore will be here. 

So, stay tuned.  It's going to be a fun year!