Monday, March 30, 2015

Hello Fresh - More Details

I thought I had blogged pictures about how the Hello Fresh box arrives, but I guess I forgot!  So, here are some pictures and descriptions of what you get when the Hello Fresh box first arrives and some pictures of our yummy meals!

 So on your delivery day this beautiful box shows up on your doorstep.

Everything is inside a cooler of some sort.  Each box we've received has been packed differently, but it's always been cold when I've opened it up.  And I don't usually get home from work before 5:00.  Inside you'll find the recipe cards packed separately so they don't end up wet or soggy from the ice packs.

Here's a look inside our box!

Each of your meals is packed in separate bags.  (The proteins are packed separately underneath the ice packs.)  The bags are labeled with an icon that tells you if it's your fish, beef, chicken or vegetarian meal. 

 We actually got a vegetarian meal because I adore pesto and it was DELICIOUS!  This is what the bag looked like.

Here is the bag unpacked.  Everything is pre-portioned for your meal.  Even the garlic cloves are pre-peeled!!!

They even list the nutrition facts on the back.

This is the final product!  I haven't loved their pasta, but this was ah-mazing!

Chicken Fajita night was so yummy!  The best fajitas I've ever made!

Tonight we have Chicken Yakitori.  (I still don't know what that means!)

Prepped and ready to cook!

The final product.  I was skeptical about this one, but again it was awesome!  I feel like this would have been a really expensive meal for me to make on my own.  I would have had to purchase a lot of extra stuff that I think would have gone to waste.

If you have any questions about Hello Fresh, I'm happy to answer them!  If you're interested in trying it out, there's no commitment or contract.  If you do it for a week and if for some crazy reason you're not absolutely in love, you can cancel!  If you use my code when you order your first box, you'll save $40!  (And I'll get $20 off my next box!)

Here's the code!!  

Thursday, March 19, 2015


A week or so ago I stumbled across this blog on Facebook called Annalise Hope: Our Unexpected Journey.  I was initially drawn in, to be honest, by a picture of this baby that I thought couldn't be real.  This baby's head was so big, and her precious little body was so small.  When I got to the blog, I could see that, in fact, the pictures were real.  I scoured the blog to find an answer to my question of "How could this be??".  As I was reading, I discovered something even more amazing and humbling than the name of this sweet baby's condition.  What I discovered was absolutely humbling.  Instead of focusing on what the Lord was taking away from them, Annalise's mom was focusing on the blessings she was experiencing in the middle of this devastation.  She talked as though she was experiencing joy, not pain and heartbreak.  This mom has every right in the world to be mad at God.  Her baby is going to die.  And she doesn't deny that or try to ignore that fact.  But somehow she is able to see beauty in the midst of her pain.  She's grateful for the little things: taking her baby home, sitting outside with her baby, watching Annalise's reaction to hearing music, the fact that her baby has lived this long.

I am so humbled by her blog.  Even writing that sentence brings me to tears.

I want to be more like her.  I want to love Him so much and trust Him so much that I can focus on the joy He gives us in the midst of heartbreak.  I want to find joy in the midst of the mundane.  And I especially want to find joy in the midst of my pain.

While I know Michael and I have suffered heartache through this process, I cannot help but praise God for protecting us from so much more.  I have never miscarried a baby.  I have never given birth to a stillborn baby.  I have never had to love a baby, knowing she was going to die.  I have never buried my child.  He has protected us from so much pain that I cannot even begin to fathom.  I am so grateful for that.

He has given us friends and family who love us and pray for us and will take care of us when we are hurting.  How many people are there that don't even have that?

I want so much to be a mom.  I want so much to have a baby of my own.  But what I need to want more than those things is to love God so much that even if He chooses to allow us to go through the pains He has thus far spared us from, I trust Him.  I want to trust Him like Annalise's mom and dad trust Him.

I know that God doesn't let any pain go without purpose.  I can't imagine that I am the only life that will be blessed by Annalise's story.  I believer her story will be so much bigger than just that.  But He has used this sweet baby girl who I will likely never meet to draw me closer to Himself and to learn to trust Him more.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Hello Fresh Review

Well, we've had our first full box (three meals) and got our second box today.  I thought I had posted pictures of our first box, but apparently I didn't!  I can't find any of our pictures from our first box, so I'll be sure to blog about it in detail next Wednesday when we get our next one.  Sorry!

  We just finished up our fourth meal, and all we can say is WOW.  We are really loving this service!  Out of the four meals we've had (Chicken Penne, Bangers and Cauliflower Mash, Spanish Steak Salad and Pan-Fried Shrimp Gyozas) there's only been one that we haven't liked....and that's because we're pasta snobs.

Chicken Penne
I love that it gets me out of my cooking comfort zone.  Never in a million years would I have made the meal below without Hello Fresh.  Shoot.  I don't even know what a gyoza is!  But it sure was yummy....and fun to make!
Pan-Fried Shrimp Gyozas
 I especially love that everything comes to you pre-measured and ready to go.  No more wasting a giant bag of spinach when I only needed a cup or two!  LOVE THAT!  
They also send a color recipe card with some pictures to help you along the way for each meal.  They're a heavy duty card stock so I know they'll be durable enough to last me a while.
This makes dinner SO easy to make!
And darn it all if we didn't have a salad for dinner and spend the whole evening raving about how yummy it was!  Pretty sure that's never happened in the history of my husband.  
Since Michael and I have started working out with a personal trainer, it's nice to have easy, yummy and healthy meals ready to go 3 nights a week.
Spanish Steak Salad
 And the soy sauce packages are adorable!

These are the wontons I made for tonight's meal.  Yummy shrimp is inside!

If you want to try Hello Fresh for a seriously discounted rate, you can get $40 off your first box by using this code:

In full disclosure, if you use this code not only do you get to save money, but we get to save money too!  You'll get $40 off your first box and we'll get $20 off of our next box.

As of right now, the benefit of not having to meal plan, taking fewer trips to the grocery store, trying out new recipes and eating delicious, healthy meals far out weigh the extra money we spend with this service (as opposed to just going to the store and doing everything ourselves).  
It's a serious win-win here!

Monday, March 16, 2015

What to Pray

My mom and I were talking yesterday about a childhood friend of mine who is also dealing with infertility.  Her infertility is very different from mine, but the end result is the baby.  My mom and her mom were talking about how they pray desperately every day for us to be able to get pregnant and have become frustrated with the seeming lack of response from God.  I completely understand the frustration.

I've come so far in this journey of how I try to pray for our infertility.  And it's definitely continuing to be a journey.  And I definitely still spend the majority of my time just flat out praying for a baby.  But my conversation with my mom got me to thinking about how the people that love us (who probably feel more helpless in this situation than we do) can pray for us.

1.  Pray that we still take the time to recognize the majesty of God.  It is so easy to become focused on the heartbreak of infertility and focused on ourselves that we forget to see God for who He really is.  (Psalm 19:1-4; Rev 1:9-20; Genesis 1)

2.  Pray that we focus on the person of God.

He is wise (Romans 11:33).
He is faithful (Hebrews 3:1-6).
He is loving (Ephesians 3:14-21; Matthew 7:11).
He is powerful (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).
3.  Pray that we have a right attitude.  This process can be so long and exhausting.  It's easy to get lost in it all.  Pray that this is the attitude of our heart:

Hope - Job 13:15; Psalm 25; Romans 5:1-5
Joy - Psalm 90:14; Psalm 5:11; Psalm 16:11; Psalm 30:5
Consecrated Life - Romans 12:1-2; Matthew 16:24
Peace - Philippians 4:6-8; Philippians 4:11-13
Thankfulness - Psalm 100:4-5
Anyone struggling with infertility would covet your prayers, and we are no different.  We would love to know that you are praying these things for us!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Hello Fresh -- What Is It?

Our lives have been so busy lately that I can barely find time to get to the grocery store.  And when we do, either something comes up during the week and I don't end up cooking everything we planned or I end up with tons of leftover meals or ingredients that just go to waste.  If a recipe, for example, calls for 3 carrots, I have to buy a bag of carrots.  Nine times out of ten, the majority of those carrots go to waste.

Out of the blue, Michael found this really interesting company called Hello Fresh.  Basically, we get to pick 3 out of 5 meals to have each week.  Each week we have new meals to choose from.  They send us a box each Wednesday with all of the pre-measured, fresh ingredients that we will need for those meals.

This means that:
1. I don't have to worry about meal planning for a majority of our work week
2. My grocery shopping has become significantly easier
3. We won't end up with leftover ingredients that go to waste
4. We get to try new (and healthy!) recipes weekly.

We get our first box tomorrow!  This week we're having Chicken Penne, Spanish Steak Salad and Bangers & Cauliflower Mash.  They all look really yummy!  I'm excited to see how we like the meals!!

Sunday, March 1, 2015


Friday was my birthday.  I never in a million years thought I would be 33 and not a mom.  I was feeling pretty emotional about my birthday, so I thought it would be nothing but awesome to start my day off with a Starbucks!  If you don't have the Starbucks app, you totally need to get it.  I got a free coffee drink on my birthday!  WAHOO!

Then I was headed to work.  I am the first teacher in the building 99.9% of the time.  So when I walked in and saw my teammate Brianna at the end of the hall, I knew something was up.  When I got to my door, she was standing there with this all over the wall.  Little did I know that these were actually the decoy balloons...

Because when I opened my door, this happened.
The gag-gift birthday tree was sitting happily on my table.

And my age was prominently displayed in stickers.

And then before I knew it, this arrived!

My team and I have a running joke about Brianna's lack of focus.  It really got started with this image.  So instead of saying "squirrel" when someone isn't focused, we say banana.

This is what Brianna got me for my birthday.  :-)

Actually, she and my other teammates got me a Panera and Starbucks gift card!  WOOT WOOT!
They sent me picture of their undercover work.

I was so grateful that my team made my day so fun when it could have been such a hard day!  They bought me lunch, too, and just blessed me all day long!

One of my students made this for me.  Looks just like Fred and Ginger!

Then Friday night we went to my parents' house.  My mom made me dinner.  And it started with shrimp cocktail!  And then it was followed by twice baked potatoes and Chicken Kiev.  FANCY!

My sister got me a dress from Charming Charlie that Michael loves!

And then my surprise dessert!  

We ended the night watching old VHS home videos.  It was lots of fun!  

The next night we braved the terrible weather and went to a new restaurant with some sweet, sweet friends!  (And some really yummy dessert!)

Today ended with a DELICIOUS lunch at Jack Stack with Michael's family.  Somehow we ended up with zero pictures!  How does that happen??  

A weekend that could have been sad and depressing, turned out being so so so much fun!  I am so blessed with such wonderful friends and family!