Chronicles of Auntie Sassa!

My niece, Georgia calls me Auntie Sassa – and now I’m just Auntie Sassa! Auntie is one of my favorite titles I hold and I’m so proud of my 3 nieces and 4 nephews!

If you haven’t been online the past few days, these boys had QUITE the birth story – you can read that here: https://www.joscountryjunction.com/news-about-the-babies/#more-62410

It is a MIRACLE the boys are here and safe – they have stressed over and over how critical a cord prolapse is for babies and that things could have gone south very quickly.

I was up on Monday to meet the boys, as the family’s photographer, Kelli wanted me to get pictures of the boys – OF COURSE! That’s my favorite thing to do!

This is Emmett – Baby B. SO MANY people have commented that he looks just like Georgia and Carver and honestly, he’s got the same “rule the world” energy that they have too. We will see!

This is Eli – Eli has less hair, more of a narrow face – he feels more like a Jasper/Gannon vibe – laid back – he spends most of his time sleeping – Eli’s umbilical cord was the one that prolapsed, threatening to cut off his circulation completely.

It has been an emotional weekend. I worked Saturday night and was supposed to work Sunday night. At 1 pm on Sunday I was woke up with the news – I immediately called work to let them know I wasn’t going to be able to make it. I’m not sure exactly what I said but I know I was panicked.

As things slowed down, I thought, uhmm…did you just call into work because your sister went into labor? HA! That sounds like a “dog ate my homework” kind of excuse to not work. I texted my charge nurse later and explained the situation – this was an emergency, at the time Kelli was going to be flown to Rochester and the babies were in imminent danger. They were totally understanding.

PLUS I had to take mom’s dog, Kelli’s dog, and we had our dog Betsy AND we kept Georgia overnight on Sunday – it was just too much to dump on Craig – not to mention I didn’t get any sleep on Sunday because of the ordeal.

Plus, we are the drop everything and run kind of family. We are each other’s village and best friends. We talk every day in our group chat, we chat on the phone weekly – sometimes daily. My brother and mom live just a few blocks from us.

When Dad died, we all got closer than ever. I know Dad was with us this weekend, in fact that’s why Eli is named after him. Eli very well could have died and the doctors have TOLD US that. But we know he had his Kramer Strong spirit with him. I felt it on the way home too:

As I came around the bend on my drive home, the sunshine lit up the hillside in warm and golden light. I had this deep sense of knowing: I could feel my Dad. I was overwhelmed with tears. “I love you. I’m proud of you. I’m with you.” I knew it was him <3 We always miss him the most when stuff like this happens, he would be so proud of his grandbabies. He loved being a Grandpa. It was a perfect reminder that he isn’t missing out on anything and just like I tell Carver, he’s always in our hearts.

Update: Eli and Emmett are ROCKING the NICU! They are doing so good! Emmett had two bottle yesterday which is a huge step – he’s really only staying until he can eat and drink and gain weight. Eli is under the billi lights which is super common for babies in general but especially NICU babies! They have video monitors so we can always peek in on them with an app on my phone – the nurses leave cute little messages from “the boys.” Kelli and Jason CAN and have held each of the boys several times so that’s all good. They are headed up to see them again today!

The boys are SO EXCITED – Carver got to share his baby cousins with his class! We printed out pictures of the twins and they don’t put those pictures down!

Maybe we will be able to trek up and see them sometime next week! Thanks for reading and for all the well wishes!

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The GREAT CUPBOARD CLEAN OUT!

My Mom (Jo from Jo’s Country Junction) and I were talking. Both of us agree that we really need to use up what is in our kitchens.  Too often we buy groceries,  then put them away putting everything in front of the stuff that was already there.

We don’t have a great handle on what is actually in our kitchen.  We don’t have a great idea of how many items of what is in the kitchen. Our freezers are full.

WE NEED A KITCHEN/FREEZER CLEAN OUT!!!

Have you been where we are now? Have you figured out how to solve the problem? We aren’t sure if this will work but…we are both ready to give it a try. 

Starting on April 15th…and going until May 15th, we are both limiting our grocery spending and making a BIG effort to use up what we have.

We have heard of people doing things like budgeting for groceries…tracking their grocery spending.  Neither of us wants to be super into that long term, we just really want to clean out what we have so we aren’t using outdated food and so we are more conscious of what we are buying…and mostly so we are USING what we are buying.

We’ve heard of people not spending any money on groceries.  We both know with kids in our homes, we need to buy milk and have fresh veggies available.  We also know we need some of that for us but we both know neither of us needs to buy any meat so this is what we came up with…

From April 15th to May 15th:
We won’t buy any meat.
We will limit grocery spending to $100 for that period of time.  That $100 will focus on milk, bread, and perishables like fruits and veggies.

Most importantly, neither of us is allowed to go to the grocery store and buy hog wild before the 15th.  If we need milk or a few perishables, that’s fine but not meat…and no canned goods!!

I’m personally convinced that $100 isn’t enough for the month – we spend about that much in beverages alone between Gannon’s soy milk, Craig’s energy drinks, and my oat milk. But, we will cross that bridge when we come to it! Will you join us? Let’s get creative with this!

Thanks for reading!

P.S. Bloom Where You’re Planted shirts will be back in stock later this week/early next week and I’ll let you know here or on my Facebook page!

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Hey! Have you heard the news? I launched my ETSY shop and I’m so excited to share with you!

Here is the link: https://www.etsy.com/shop/kalissageorgia?ref=search_shop_redirect

Meal Prep for the Weekend!

It’s my weekend to work in critical care. The boys will be with the Nanny today and Craig all day tomorrow so I wanted to get some meals made in advance. Here are two of my tried and true recipes the whole family will eat.

This first one is a no brainer – super easy and common recipe. I’m sure many of you will roll your eyes at this one but I think about the young reader who is just starting out and cooking on their own, maybe a newly wed or a young mama and I want to include a staple recipe for them to add to their repertoire. It’s a quick and easy pasta bake! Plus, half the battle is deciding on what to make so THERE – I made the decision for you! And also, someone once told me: just because it is obvious to you, doesn’t mean it is obvious to everyone else!

Pasta Bake

Ingredients you’ll need:

  1. Spaghetti sauce of your choosing (I use Prego)
  2. Pork sausage (I use Italian)
  3. Pepperoni (I use turkey pepperoni)
  4. 1 egg
  5. Cheese
  6. Rotini noodles (I use chick pea noodles)

What to do:

  1. Fry your sausage. Make sure to spice it up – add garlic or pepper or salt or onions or mushrooms – whatever sounds good.
  2. Boil water for your noodles – cook noodles al Dante and drain.
  3. Add half of your jar of spaghetti sauce to your sausage once it is cooked.
  4. Add the pasta to the pan.
  5. Add the other half of the jar of spaghetti sauce to the pasta.
  6. Add the egg to the pasta and spaghetti sauce – mix it around – this firms up your base of noodles.
  7. Add your meat sauce on top.
  8. Add a layer of shredded cheese.
  9. Add a layer of pepperoni.
  10. Add another layer of cheese.
  11. Cook until cheese is golden (it’s about a half hour at about 400 degrees)

Because that was kind of a whimpy recipe, I’ll pair it with a more hefty one. This next recipe is maybe one you HAVEN’T heard of. Think of it as a supper time egg bake – my mom always made this for us growing up. The original way to make it is to cook it in a pan on the stove so the bottom layer of potatoes forms a crust but usually it just ends up burnt because you weren’t supposed to stir it while it was cooking on the stove. This was a common complaint when I made it for Craig so I turned it into a casserole and now we love it and it’s never burnt! I introduce to you: German Pizza CASSEROLE! (or hot dish depending on what state you are from!) 🙂

German Pizza Casserole

Ingredients you’ll need:

  1. 5-7 potatoes thinly sliced (I use golden potatoes and my cheese grater)
  2. Ground pork (I’ve also used sausage which is good too!)
  3. Various toppings (I use peppers, onions, mushrooms)
  4. 12 eggs (or so)
  5. Cheese

What to do:

  1. Fry your sausage or hamburger. Make sure to spice it up – add garlic or pepper or salt or onions or mushrooms. whatever sounds good.
  2. Sliced potatoes go in a greased baking pan. Salt and pepper them up! Add some onions in there too!
  3. Layer the hamburger/sausage mix on top of the taters.
  4. Add a layer of shredded cheese.
  5. Add a layer of toppings
  6. Add another layer of cheese.
  7. Crack the 12 eggs in a bowl, whisk them, then pour them over the potatoes and hamburger.
  8. Cook until cheese is golden (it’s about a half hour at about 400 degrees) Usually I wiggle the pan and if the middle is wiggly I cook it some more.

This is one recipe that I have to have ketchup with! SO GOOD!

That’s all I have for today folks! I hope you try a new recipe or are inspired to try something new!

Etsy restock should be live this next week when my reorder comes in! I’ll post on the blog when it is up and ready! Thanks guys! Thanks for reading!

Oh! I almost forgot my Amazon find of the day! I’m loving these razors my mom recommended from Amazon. I went from using Bic’s single blade razors to this, and I AM NEVER GOING BACK YOU GUYS! You get 9 razors for like $11! One razor lasted me 2 full months and was just as smooth as the first time I used it! Seriously, give it a shot! These are my tried and true and I have recommended them on the blog before! Here is the link: https://amzn.to/3gcllCq

Also, thanks to Anne and Julie and Eleanor who each “bought me a few coffees!” You guys are just the best!!!

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What a WEEK!

I’ve had SUCH a good week off! I didn’t intend to have the week off but I wasn’t needed for the two call shifts I was scheduled for so I’ve been at home now for about a week and a half! It has been awesome! I’m headed back to work this weekend and it will be good to get back to work!

There are signs of Spring all around the Friedman home – I got a few pictures to prove it:

Craig really only drinks energy drinks in the Spring and Fall so those are stocked in the fridge. The boys and I are eating supper alone – usually working on puzzles, flash cards, or reading books at the supper table. Craig has been gone sun up to sun down since Monday – which hasn’t been too bad because I’ve been home. He is working on spraying anhydrous. The weather has been cooperative thus far. I brought him out some food from the bar (our favorite bar – read why it’s our favorite here: I Love this Bar: Riverside) and snapped a few pics.

I’ve spent lots of time with Gannon and Georgia (Georgia is my niece – only born 1 week apart from my son Gannon) and boy is she a spit fire! We just adore her and I’m so glad I got to bond with her this week! Gannon has been so goofy and I’ve loved spending all day with him!

I’ve spent a ton of time at my mom’s too – we are working on a top secret project coming up in early May! I was taste testing cookies for her the other day, then it was blueberry bars, then it was banana whoopie pies – she’s always got something good! But the other night, I was the one doing the baking! I’m working to master my mom’s bread dough she uses to make her world famous cinnamon rolls and pizza! I didn’t to too bad EXCEPT I used all purpose flour instead of bread flour – which was a bummer but otherwise I think I did pretty good!

And last but not least, my brother Karl is just amazing. He came and had a lego night with the boys which was so fun and so nice so I could package some Etsy orders.

Speaking of Etsy orders, I am just about SOLD OUT of shirts! I just placed a big order again tonight! I’m so so excited and it has been a super fun week packaging orders – Carver has been helping all week and he gets so excited every time my phone dings and we get a new order! Some of you even got a thank you note signed by Carver in your order! I’m super low on sizes right now but I’m not going to discourage you from checking out my Etsy shop here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/kalissageorgia?ref=search_shop_redirect

I will announce next week when we are restocked and back in business!

That’s all I know for now folks, thanks for reading!

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Hey! Have you heard the news? I launched my ETSY shop and I’m so excited to share with you!

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My Farewell Letter to Rachel Hollis

Now that title may sound a little dramatic, but here I am, 1 AM, unable to sleep for the second night in a row, trolling insta when I’ve FINALLY made the conclusion to hit that “unlike” button – I’m officially unfollowed, unsubscribed, to Rachel Hollis and the Hollis Co. and I’m going to tell you why.

For some context I’m going to need you to watch this video:

Also, if you have no idea who Rachel Hollis is, I’ve blogged about her before – you can read that here: We’ve Been Faking It. She’s an author (I’ve read all of her books at least twice). She’s an influencer (I’ve followed loyally for years). She’s a podcaster (I’ve listened to every episode on her 2 different podcasts). To say I’m a loyal Hollis fan is an understatement. Even after Dave and Rachel went through their shocking divorce, I’ve continued my unwavering support. I listened to the first chapter of Girl, Sop Apologizing (her second book) and I started this blog in September 2019. I was ALL IN.

So when I heard there was some Rachel Hollis drama going down, I went to her insta and saw this video (now deleted) in its infancy – only 1,000,000 views. It did NOT sit well with me. It felt cringey. I immediately sent it to my Hollis gal pals and I was met with mixed emotions. One replied: I can’t stand her anymore – I’m done following her. One replied: YIKES – this doesn’t sit well. One replied: That’s an interesting sentiment. One replied: I unfollowed after her divorce – don’t have the emotional bandwidth to keep up with her. Craig, who was driving the car and listening to the whole thing, initially didn’t see the problem.

A HUGE part of the controversy comes from her caption, summarized by Yahoo! Life,

‘Rather than simply acknowledge her privilege, however, Hollis doubled down and not only called herself “unrelatable,” but also invoked the names of other women she found “unrelatable” just like her, including Nobel Laureate and human rights advocate Malala Yousafzai and American abolitionist Harriet Tubman, who helped bring dozens of enslaved people to freedom via the Underground Railroad.’

https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/rachel-hollis-backlash-explained-011125933.html?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAFzxWHBACnXDOZgDCMPFchuzDSIr5XsXTAlxG9uo6p-2BqSsvuAVabFVy463WR_LAz2juErSrkEf-bwH6StocJsh6n-4a6rGXkrQG_LsqMpRftfSHWbCEGWbWWKdT2gBR-I8NO0dVP9jEcmxDJWj8QWrsixmVgxmrqonxxrPcGwU

I’d like to offer a few of my thoughts but before I do, I want to say that this has become an extremely sensitive topic to the BIPOC community. I do not feel right speaking for them or explaining why this is hurtful to them, so many of them have done an EXCELLENT job and spent hours diving into this topic so I will link to them and you can hear it right from the source. @checkyourprivilege, @myishathilland @accordingtoweeze are all EXCELLENT resources and I encourage you to delve into some of their IGTV lives. I’ve personally donated to both of their causes to THANK them and PAY them for the time and labor they put into education. People of color are NOT obligated or responsible to teach white people systemic racism and if you find value in their content, I encourage you to do the same. If I don’t touch on race again in this post, it’s because they do such a great job of explaining why they were personally attacked by Hollis’ comments. I will not entertain any further comments on this because it is not my place to speak on race.

So first of all, I have a housekeeper. She’s wonderful. She’s amazing, she’s a huge part of why our family works. She’s been cleaning for almost 5 years now. She came every other week and now she comes once a week. She gives me the gift of TIME and peace. We are endlessly grateful for her services. We look at her as a team mate. Without her, my family wouldn’t be who they are. She watches out for, cares for us and is there at a moments notice. She loves the boys and is closer to them than most family.

She is NOT my “toilet cleaner.” She is not “this cute little lady.” I would NEVER describe her using those words and that first line of this video immediately sat wrong with me and was extremely disrespectful. Why take the most dehumanizing task such as “cleaning toilets” and use that as someone’s title? Think of it this way:

You don’t call nurses “pill pushers.”

You don’t call paramedics “ambulance drivers.”

You don’t call CNA’s “butt wipers.”

You don’t call farmers “shit haulers.”

You don’t call Environmental Staff “toilet cleaners.”

So right off the bat – CRINGE.

So the next line: I worked my ASS off to afford to have someone come clean my toilets.

Yes, probably true. HOWEVER, what about the single moms working three jobs to put food on the table? They are working hard too. What about your housekeeper? She’s probably “working her ass off too.” Rachel, to undermine your own privilege here is just another nail in the coffin. This is where race and white privilege come into play and I’m not going to touch on that here.

Now this next line just kills me: What about me makes you think I want to be relatable?

Rachel, your entire brand is built on being relatable. Your “if I can do it, you can do it too” attitude has left me feeling disappointed in myself on more than one occasion. You open your speaking events with tampon jokes, the first chapter of your book it about peeing your pants, because “you’re just like us!” You have chapters in your book talking about therapy and sexless marriages and starting from the bottom. You appropriate the use of the phrase “Sis” to act like our “big sister” or “your pal Rach” – EVERYTHING about you and your brand SCREAMS – I’M RELATABLE! I’M JUST LIKE YOU! LIKE ME!

When her eyes narrowed into the camera and she said that, I literally felt betrayed. I felt like a friend had just turned on me and said “I never liked you anyway” or “I’m too good for you.” When she said “What makes you think I want to be relatable?” I heard “What makes you think I’m anything like you?”

“Everything I do in my life, is to live a life that most people can’t relate to.”

Really? That’s all you’re doing in your life? What happened to “Other people’s opinions of me are none of my business” – a mantra that shines through her content over and over. Your goal in life is to live a life that other people can’t relate to – that’s honestly just a shitty goal and tells me your main focus is comparison and climbing the ladder.

“Most people won’t work this hard. Most people won’t get up at 4 am.”

What about your housekeeper? Do you think she’s working hard? Do you think she’s probably up by 4 am? Cleaning multiple houses? She probably will never be a CEO. Working hard isn’t enough for many women in America. Is getting up at 4 am how you measure your success? Do only successful people get up at 4 am?

“JUST TO REACH THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN.”

This line just sits so wrong. I want a lot of things in life. I want success, I want to be financially secure, I would even love it if my blog would become more popular. But I don’t want to “reach the top of the mountain.” That sits so wrong. How many people can fit on the top of the mountain? One. How many people do you have to climb over or step on to get there? Everyone below you. I hate this analogy.

Now even WORSE was her first (now deleted) apology:

She wrote: “I made a post last week that was upsetting to people and although that was never my intent, I own that it was and I apologize. Was my post upsetting because I mentioned my cleaner? I’m sure that it would make my brand more likeable and more relatable if I act like I achieve all these things through hard work and organization but that’s bulls**t… I want you to know that it’s a group effort. Was my post upsetting because I mentioned some of my favorite women in history? To believe that because I mentioned them I am comparing myself to them is ludicrous. I didn’t respond to these things on Friday when I heard that people were upset. I listened to my team instead of my gut. I listened when they told me not to respond, to let it blow over.”

Rachel has entire podcasts, hundreds of hours of recordings on coaching small business owners and how to be a CEO and how to lead a team! SHE HIRED THESE PEOPLE, listened to their advice, and is now PUBLICLY shaming them and throwing them under the bus in her OWN PR CRISIS! Talk about a leader taking responsibility for their actions!

For years Rachel had me believing there was something wrong with my marriage if it wasn’t (her words, not mine) EXCEPTIONAL. Her messaging behind her platform built on her own broken marriage was “If you work hard enough, you can make it work.” I took her marriage advice, got swallowed in the comparison trap, believed if I put in the work it would be exceptional, and it turned out to be totally fake. Myself and my friends felt totally betrayed by the announcement of their divorce last June – I was so compelled I’ve done a blog post on it here: We’ve Been Faking It.

Still, I stuck around. I fell into the trap of her hustle culture, I listened to HALF of her new book before I concluded it was all recycled material trying to gain hype from the remains of her whirlwind divorce. I listened to her tell me over and over if my business wasn’t working that it was because I wasn’t hustling hard enough or moving my body or getting my water in or drinking my green smoothie or getting enough sleep. “Get up early! Hustle and grind! 60 hour work weeks!”

So Miss Rachel Hollis, this is farewell. I am done with your hustle culture, your toxic positivity, your ‘if it isn’t working, work harder’ mantras, your hidden fat shaming messages. You’ve lost a true fan and achieved your ultimate goal: You’re now un-relatable. The accounts have been unfollowed, the podcasts are now unsubscribed, and the communities and groups on Facebook have been left. I’ll see myself out. Girl, START apologizing.

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Hey! Have you heard the news? I launched my ETSY shop and I’m so excited to share with you!

Here is the link: https://www.etsy.com/shop/kalissageorgia?ref=search_shop_redirect

Homemade Sesame Chicken!

So I made this recipe up! and I HATE when the bloggers take FOREVER to share the recipe so I’m going to GIVE you the recipe and we will talk later:

You’ll need

  1. Chicken breasts
  2. Italian bread crumbs
  3. Parmesan cheese
  4. Flour
  5. Veggies of your choosing
  6. Coconut aminos or soy sauce
  7. Toasted sesame oil
  8. Cauliflower rice or regular rice
  9. Sesame sauce – I got mine from Walmart

Kalissa’s Homemade Sesame Chicken

  1. Take some chicken breasts out – I used about 4-5.
  2. Cut the chicken breasts into bite size pieces.
  3. Create a breading – I just used italian bread crumbs and parmesan cheese – about half and half
  4. Take some flour and sprinkle it over the chicken breast – stir this up so the flour becomes tacky and coats the pieces.
  5. Spread the bread crumbs/parm cheese mix over the chicken – stir that around so it coats the pieces.
  6. Put the chicken pieces in the air fryer for about long enough to cook – I take the pan out every once and awhile and shake it to keep the pieces from sticking.
  7. While that’s going on, throw some random veggies and stir them up. I used broccoli, mushrooms, sweet peppers, green onions, etc. I sauteed them in sesame oil and coconut aminos (it’s like soy sauce without all the sodium!)
  8. I made cualiflower rice for me but I made regular rice for Craig.
  9. I topped the chicken once it was cooked and shook it all up with this sesame sauce I got at Walmart! I also added sesame seeds on top of the chicken.
  10. Mix all together and enjoy!

So the chicken was SO GOOD – like I’ll make chicken wings with this same technique/recipe. It was so good. I was meal prepping for the week and this is what Craig said he wanted to eat this week so it was pretty easy. Here is the sesame sauce I found at Walmart. I also found one an amazon that is LOW FOMAP which I am recently exploring since my blog readers suggested it to ease some of my recent health issues! It’s spendy but I wanted to offer an option for those with food sensitivities! https://amzn.to/3wy0YrF

Craig is officially in the field tonight – night one of MANY late nights without him! Tis the season when you’re married to a farmer! The boys are loving playing on the rock pile! It will be a sad day when we actually spread out the gravel as we intend to do soon! The boys are having so much fun with it!

For today’s Amazon recommendation, I have this night light. We’ve been through SO MANY Night lights in our 4.5 years as parents but this one is our FAVORITE and most reliable!

I cannot speak to the quality of the light as it is unplugged, it can be charged and unplugged, because we keep it plugged in at all times and only use it for a night light. We love the colors and the stars and I’ve seriously contemplated getting one for our room! HERE IS THE LINK! https://amzn.to/3wueqNl

If you ever purchase any amazon products from MY link, I do get commission. If you buy, let’s just say, $150 worth of other stuff while you’re on Amazon by following my link, I also get commission on those things you purchase. It’s a way to support my blog and it is a way to score some great quality products. I just want to be honest with you guys. I would have raved about these products even if I didn’t make any money off of it.

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