My word for 2017


Last year I tried something new where I picked a word to represent the coming year. I thought long and hard about what I hoped or expected the coming year to be, what I wanted for myself and my family and how we would get there. The word I ended up choosing was “Recharge” Looking back at the year I do see some of the things I had hoped for, some balance regained, a routine back in place, but there was still change. Great change! Like my promotion to Editor and Mike becoming Department Chair.All good things! So I cant help but thing it all the more fitting that the word I keep thinking of for 2017 is Growth.

Growth in my quest for a healthier lifestyle. By getting to the gym more often and choosing to make a healthy smoothie for breakfast instead of that latte and muffin at the coffee shop…at least a few times a week. Growth in our changes to becoming a more natural home. With replacing store bought items full of chemicals with homemade and all natural cleaners, and using essential oils to treat certain ailments.By growing our finances with better planning and management, an area I think we have grown and continue to grow in. Continuing growth in our careers, in a balanced and organic way that make the most of our skills and strengths.Growth in knowledge, growth in experience.Growth in understanding.

Do you have any goals for the coming year?

First Weekend in December: Chicago Day Trip And A Visit From My Parents

What? The last week of the month isn’t the appropriate time for a post about the first weekend of the month? Hey at least it’s the same month this time!

The first weekend of December my parents came to visit! I love love love when they come, I really do 🙂 I miss them so much and it is so nice to have them under the same roof as us for a few days. My Mom, being my Mom goes straight to work and is organizing things I never get to and cooking things I have been dreaming of, bless her.

This visit had a purpose however. I needed to get some paperwork and such updated at the Brazilian Consulate in Chicago and so did they so we planned a little trip for that Friday. They got into town Thursday night and we left early Fri morning. Chicago traffic was…Chicago traffic and for a little while we were nervous we would miss the small window the consulate is open.The city was soooo pretty all decorated for the holidays! So so festive 🙂  We got there and took our ticket and after FOUR hours including me having to run to the post office several blocks away to get a money order and back, we finally left with some…of the things we needed taken care of. Then off we went to have lunch at Spiaggia Cafe.

As we were walking down Michigan Ave. I saw people flocking to these canvas wagons on the corner of an intersection and saw they were celebrating Chips Ahoy’s 100th? anniversary and were giving away free boxes of cookies! As I am never one to say no to a free box of cookies I take one and then realize I am about to walk into a pretty fancy restaurant with a box of Chips Ahoy cookies. I tried to be discreet…but the host totally saw them and called me out asking something along the lines of ” Are those for while you wait or something?” embarrassed as could be, I explain what happened and he was like “What?! They are where?! I need to go get some!” lol So I guess I’m not the only one who can appreciate a free box of cookies?

The lunch was ahhhmazing and what was even better was that my parents realized they had gone to the same restaurant ( the dining room though not the cafe) several years ago when we all came to Chicago with a couple other families from our Michigan days. Talk about nostalgia! Oh Michigan days, I miss you!

The next day my Mom, Mike’s mom, Mia and I went to see the  Moscow Ballet’s Nutcracker! I don’t know who was more excited ha! It was spectacular. The dancing, costumes, music, the intricate settings and hand painted scenery. Just breathtaking. Mia did great the first half. She kept looking over at me with her big green eyes just taking it all in, so excited, so amazed. Then came intermission and the girl got hangry.

She said she wanted a snack. I explained there weren’t any. I think she was confused with theater and movie theater. She got very upset. She proceeded to cry most of the second half and I had to carry her out the theater into the car when it was over. That being said I do think she had a great time overall. That girl just cant budge when she gets something in her head sometimes and this was just one of those times. She still talks about it fondly and I do wonder if there hadnt been an intermission, would the tantrum have still happened? We’ll never know 😉


The day before my parents headed back to MN it snowed, one of those really pretty, quiet snow falls. The kind you can actually be outside in and enjoy. We played in it a bit and snapped a few pics before heading out for brunch. We love brunch, yes we do, so it was the perfect way to end the visit 🙂

We just got back from visiting them in MN for Christmas ( post coming soon) and they are headed back here in a couple weeks for Joaquim’s 2nd birthday! Time, slow down please!

Friday Favorites

Time for another link up!! I’m linking up with Erika, NarciAndrea, Tif, April, and Karli!


1. Drunk History – Hamilton Episode

I know I’ve mentioned this show before but it is so good! This episode with Lin Manuel is amazing and I love that they had female actors play Hamilton and Burr.


2.Christmas gift shopping

Normally this is something I dread!! But this year I had SO much fun picking out fun presents for everyone and I hope they all love them!


3.Winter Solstice

It may be the shortest day of the year, but they only get longer from here! Yay for more Vitamin D!

4.These spotify playlists I came across on Bridget’s blog! I especially love the dinner jazz, French bistro cafe,  and morning coffee ones.


5. Sorels

We got hit with quite a bit of snow these past two weeks so it’s time to bust these trusty boots out!

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6.Easy chicken pot pie

I am making this tonight for dinner! Mike loves chicken pot pie,  but it can take a long time to make…I love this recipe because it’s quick and super easy! It may not be the healthiest pet say but it tastes homemade to us and to be able to make one of my husband’s favorites any time makes me happy 🙂

Easy chicken pot pie

  • 1 (15 ounce) box Pillsbury® refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box
  • 1 (9 ounce) pouch Progresso™ Recipe Starters™ creamy roasted garlic with chicken stock cooking sauce
  • One bag frozen veggies ( I used the one with peas, carrots, corn and green beans)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped deli rotisserie chicken
  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Make pie crusts as directed on box for Two-Crust Pie, using 9-inch glass pie plate.
  2. In medium bowl, stir together cooking sauce, poultry seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper until smooth. Stir in vegetables and chicken. Spoon into crust-lined pie plate. Top with second crust; seal edge and flute. Cut slits in several places in top crust.
  3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until crust is golden brown. After 15 minutes of baking, cover edge of crust with strips of foil to prevent excessive browning. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Cut into wedges
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Seasons Greetings from Casa Zahner

7. All things Christmas

Christmas Eve is tomorrow y’all!!! I can’t even believe it! I am trying to soak in all things Christmas this weekend. All the twinkle lights, trees, family and friends and great meals. But most of all of course, remembering the reason for the season!

Hope everyone has a terrific holiday!