Whole Parenting Family

Letters, Fall, School, Sanity, Sewing

This is probably a 7 quick takes but I may only have enough steam for 6! Joining up with Kelly and the ole gang because she hosts the best party on the internet.

1) Letters

If you haven’t joined the 41, 538! 38,718 Catholic women on the internet who wrote to Pope Francis, I don’t know what’s holding you back. These are women from across the spectrum of politics and social justice, education levels and employment. We are the wide tent of the Church respectfully requesting answers. Please, check it out.

2) Fall

It’s sweater weather, on a much lighter note. My favorite very short season. I love autumn in Saint Paul. I love the crisp mornings, brisk walks, and cool evenings. I love that I can go outside without my sweat sticking me everywhere. Fav season but it lasts about three blinks.

3) School

The big kids are launched! I cannot tell you how relieved I am to see our first grader loving it up. She has had moments of frustration and exhaustion but she recovers her mood more quickly than ever before and still awakens at the crack of dawn, awakening me too to “ZIP ME UP” a la Lucille Blueth.

Our fierce, snuggly four year old will do two mornings of nature school and Catechesis of the Good Shepherd with mama and toddler baby sister as classroom “helpers” though how much can I help when I’m prying her dead grip off the easter egg tray? Otherwise it’s lots of reading, cuddling, and telling his sister that he is (finally) the boss.

4) Sanity

I feel more sane! I don’t know how or why. Despite nightweaning at 21 months (why or why did I wait this long, oh, yeah, co-sleeping is so easy and she’s so cute). I say no regularly to things and try to say yes to spontaneous trips to Adoration, the park, and leaving my iphone upstairs while I play mommy monster downstairs. I am learning to live at peace with my post-partum still needs physical therapy body. I am remembering to eat more regularly and drink more water. Things feel steady!

5) Sewing

Part of my sanity is sewing. I love my editing and community work for Blessed is She so so much, and while it gives me tremendous energy and life, sewing exercises a different part of my mind. A problem solving for one kind of part of me. I tackle challenges seen only by me and my youtube music blaring a song or two on repeat. I love it.

I’ll be offering 2-packs of leggings on instagram this Monday, 10am central. They may go quickly so set an alarm so you can pop over and grab yours! Four sets of 0-6 months, four sets of 6-12, three sets of 12-18 and 18-24 and then just one 2-pack of 2/3T.

6) Dinner

Guys, I am so out of recipe ideas. PLEASE tell me all your go-tos. We do a rotation of pizza, chicken and rice or pasta, ground beef and pasta, shredded pork tacos, and a slow cooker pot roast with a starch. Sprinkle in roasted vegetables and the occasional pancakes//french toast for dinner. HALP.

I’m spent, ladies. #nightweaning


  1. Amy A. on September 7, 2018 at 5:16 am

    Girl, get you some sheet pan suppers! Here’s a new favorite of ours lately – https://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/italian-chicken-sheet-pan-supper/ Simple ingredients and you probably already have everything you need for the marinade (and it truly doesn’t need to marinate long; 30 minutes will do) I serve it with rice but you could also do quinoa or a small pasta like orzo. Also, I almost busted a gut at the idea of your big girl as Lucille Bluth 😀 Happy Friday!!

    • Natural Mama Nell on September 7, 2018 at 9:27 am


  2. CJ on September 7, 2018 at 7:58 am

    One of our favorite chicken and rice varieties is to do pesto chicken! We also cook our rice in a rice cooker with a can of coconut milk, takes it to the next level!

    Another go-to’s for us is chicken sausages with sauteed kale and onions, doesn’t take long! Served over rice or pasta.

    I’d love to see your crock-pot pot roast recipe! My husband has been hinting at me making a pot roast I just don’t know what recipe to make!

    Tonight we are making the cookbook version of this recipe – https://smittenkitchen.com/2018/01/sheet-pan-meatballs-with-crispy-turmeric-chickpeas/ – these are our absolute favorite. This link actually looks like an easier recipe than the cookbook has, maybe we need to try this one instead! I bet its just as delicious.

    • Natural Mama Nell on September 7, 2018 at 9:28 am

      THANK YOU!! I love Smitten Kitchen!

  3. MariaE on September 7, 2018 at 9:37 am

    Meatball sandwiches, meatball bowls (spinach topped with meatballs, macaroni, sauce) slow cooker fajitas (chicken breast, tomatoes, slivered onions, slivered peppers, taco seasoning) baked BBQ chicken. Hamburger/ground turkey soup, baked burgers (not as good as grilled but we live in NYC with no yard/grill).

  4. Andrea on September 7, 2018 at 11:34 am

    This taco chili mac from skinnytaste.com is a favorite: https://www.skinnytaste.com/one-pot-cheesy-turkey-taco-chili-mac/.

    ANYthing and everything from skinnytaste, really. Other favorites are slow cooker banh mi bowls, baked chicken parm, chicken enchiladas, jerk chicken tacs and especially, especially instant pot spaghetti with meat sauce.

  5. Kate Weston on September 7, 2018 at 1:01 pm

    My kids’ 2 favorite meals are also my fastest meals. The first is just bratwurst (cooks up in about 20 minutes on the stovetop) and I slice up some apples to go with it. Sometimes we add rice or bread, but often not.

    The other is sausage alfredo. We started with this recipe: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/239096/hillshire-farm-sausage-alfredo/. We use less sausage, more noodles and just salt and pepper for our family’s taste. We use gluten free noodles (allergies), which add a lot of fiber and make it a really dense meal, so I don’t usually serve a side with it. You could easily add a bagged salad with it, though.

    Hope this helps!

  6. Emily on September 7, 2018 at 1:27 pm

    This is my go-to chicken thigh recipe! When you are tired of chicken and just need a new flavor, this comfort food is where it’s at! Super simple and comes out oh so juicy! We serve the chicken over rice (drizzled the sauce over the rice) with some sauteed zucchini on the side!

  7. Emily on September 7, 2018 at 1:33 pm

    Soups and stews are great because I can make a ton and freeze half to have for another day. For meatless days we love vegetarian chili with fixings on top or casserole egg bakes with broccoli and cheese. Both are easy to whip up and can be made earlier in the day.

  8. Arenda on September 7, 2018 at 11:05 pm

    I’m feeling pretty uninspired re: food these days, too! Here’s one we enjoy: Sweet Potato Chili (bean free!): https://thenourishinghome.com/2015/02/bean-free-slow-cooker-sweet-potato-chili/

  9. Mary on September 8, 2018 at 7:20 am

    Pinch of Yum is another great resource for fresh meal ideas! I also love making easy curries with chickpeas – you could also use chicken. I simmer onion, garlic, and ginger with curry spices and canned diced tomatoes for 10 minutes, and then add a can of coconut milk, two cans of chickpeas, and cook for another 12-15 minutes while rice cooks.

  10. Sarah on September 8, 2018 at 1:14 pm

    Hi Nell, my hubby and I love this meatless Mexican-style recipe. I think kids would like it too — https://bit.ly/2MbD5hp
    BHG is a fav of mine for new recipes.

  11. Erica on September 10, 2018 at 3:02 am

    Hi! I don’t have any great recipes for you. We are in the same boat. But on to the night weaning of a toddler…we have children, all similiar ages, 7, 6, 3.5, and 22 months. And the giant baby is still nursing at night! I was ok with, ok with it, ok with it, and then all of a sudden realized how old he was and that we were still nursing at night! I guess with the others, the was always another baby on the way and it sort of happened naturally. How did you do it? Any tips? Thanks!

  12. Aileen on September 10, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    Here’s an easy recipe that you can make spicy or not. I made this one day when I didn’t want to do my usual spicy Texas chili (authentic Texas chili with meat and no beans). I don’t know if your kids would go for it, though?

    Chili Con Carne


    1 lb. ground beef
    1/2 onion, chopped
    1/2 green bell pepper, diced
    1 can Rotel
    1 (15 oz.) can kernel corn, drained
    1 (15 oz.) can pinto beans, drained
    1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained
    1 (14 oz.) can chicken broth
    1 (1 oz.) packet chili seasoning (or Mexican seasonings to taste such as chili powder, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder)


    In a large pot brown the meat, onion and bell pepper; drain. Add seasonings and stir well. Add remaining ingredients and simmer over low to medium-low heat on stove top for one hour. Water or additional chicken broth may be added if the consistency is too thick. Taste halfway through cooking and adjust seasonings if needed.

    Serve with Fritos, crackers or cornbread.

  13. Desiree on September 21, 2018 at 11:30 am

    I love to make a giant pot of spaghetti sauce to keep in the fridge. We eat it a few times the week I make it, so it takes the thinking out of dinner a little bit.

    And we love these: https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/greek-sloppy-joes/.