Friday, March 1, 2024

Week In Review: Mini Splits, Meal Hits and Other Bits

Happy First Friday of March!  I used to detest March (so long, no school breaks, winter weather, LENT) but now that my college kids come home for a week during March, I love it again :)

Speaking of college kids...JP sent me a photo on his 21st birthday with his girlfriend, Grace.  He said a small group of friends ordered takeout and had a little party for him:

College Sweethearts

I also just paid his last college tuition bill this week.  Can you believe it?  JP did really well with scholarships and grants and paid 50% of his tuition each semester (we paid the other half) and he will be left with about $21,000 in loans.  Not too shabby.  I remember crying once (while pregnant with Baby #7) after a coworker asked me "How on earth are you going to afford college for all of those kids?" so this feels like a really big achievement for our family.  God provides, we work hard, and it all comes together.  One done, six to go!

Andrew sent me this selfie he had used to check-in for a job he and a buddy signed up to do.  Basically they had to give a donut away to anyone who signed up for an app.  They had 80 dozen donuts, and Andrew, or Andy as he is known on campus, said it was the easiest money he ever made.

College Sweetheart

We had the mini-splits installed this week!  Our house was built in 1885 and has baseboard heating and nothing for cooling.  Now we won't need our window air-conditioning units anymore!  I'm psyched to be able to open windows on cooler summer days, and hopefully save money using these mini-splits.  We are getting a rebate back for 66% of the cost, so it was a great time to do it.  We had three installed downstairs and three installed upstairs (one in each bedroom).  I was worried that they would make the house look ugly, but they found places to install them that are really out of sight:

A reading nook in the master bedroom

Off to the side in the kitchen

Above a piece of furniture in the toy room (off the family room)

Pancakes on Saturday or Sunday mornings are a regular thing in Casa Martin, and we followed our normal recipe but I threw in 2 small containers of strawberry applesauce that were just expiring, and the kids dubbed them the best ever.  The whipped cream didn't hurt.

Electric family sized griddle

Makes a note to put away Christmas plates.

Also on the menu pretty much weekly - Mexican food!  We cook 2 pounds of ground beef with taco seasoning, and 2 cups of rice (in instant pot) then mix it all together and the kids eat tacos or make quesadillas or salads.  I like the low carb Mission tortillas with mine.

Our lunch soup this week was White Bean and Chicken Chili, delicious and filling:

And today I packed up some Curry Chickpea Salad for my lunch as it's a meatless Friday, and Elisabeth has been raving about it:

Aren't those containers so fun?  They make my lunch happier :)

After trying to find a cheaper mascara alternative, I have come back to my favorite one this week and I am very sorry for ever having strayed from the perfect Roller Lash.  Considering how little makeup I wear, it's worth $24 to me:

Suz totally impressed me with her Wordle skills, and then lo and behold, I impressed myself with this one!

Today is Xander's last swim team practice for the incredibly long (since September) season.  He absolutely thrived with this sport and does not want it to end.  I'm so glad he found his "thing" at the ripe old age of 12 and was so committed to it, attending four hour-long practices each week.  I'm proud of my little (Bat)man who has always loved the water: 

We have decided on an opening date for Season 2 of The Ice Cream Cottage, and we are adjusting our hours slightly.  The new restaurant should be opening next to us this spring, so we want to stay open a little later to catch the after dinner crowd, and we really don't make money before noon, so we are opening a little later there too.  You can check out the updates over on The Cottage website or Facebook or Instagram (we appreciate your follows!)

 Have a fabulous March weekend everybody!


  1. What a fun post. Yay for cool air in the summer! Those pancakes look amazing.

    I hope you enjoy the chickpea salad. And that chili looks DELICIOUS! I have a whole bunch of homemade stock from a chicken we had earlier this week and this recipe might be the perfect way to use it!

    1. I hope you make and enjoy that chili :)

  2. huge accomplishment having one kid's college paid for!!!!

    1. Right?? Like I never could have imagined how, but here we are!

  3. Strawberry applesauce in pancakes?! You are a culinary genius!

    Yay for the mini splits -- that will be so wonderful come warmer weather. And I love the updates on the kids and the joy you are feeling about seeing the college kids soon!

    1. Not so much a culinary genius, more like someone who hates to waste food :)

  4. Well who is the genius now? YOU ARE. It's so funny that you shared this; congrats. I remember you saying before that 'other' was a word you started with, and I thought: 'well, that's a bizarre way to start...with a vowel. Are you ok Colleen'? But yes, SO many times the words start with vowels and I THINK OF YOU!

    The college sweethearts are so darn cute. And yay for not a starting his adult life with a huge heavy debt. I mean, it's debt, but it could be worse.

    The mini splits are actually cute and you have more window space now and I'm sure they're much more efficient.

    Applesauce in pancakes? I never thought to do that--again: GENIUS!

    1. One day the Wordle will be day!

  5. Season Two!!!! I love it! I hope you guys have a wonderful season. I am going to have to try that chickpea salad recipe. I love chickpeas and I love curry so how could this not be delicious?

    1. It was tasty, but I will warn you that I felt very full/bloated after eating it. I think I'm just not used to eating 1/2 can of chickpeas at a time!

  6. Whip cream makes everything better. I laughed at your note to put the Christmas dishes away. Ours were out a little longer this year. I find it exhausting to get all the holiday stuff put away. I didn't know what mini-splits were and I honestly still don't, but I'm assuming it has something to do with cooling your house and that's great. The college sweethearts are so cute. Hooray for one college kid's financing all figured out. *my phone will not let me comment here and I'm sure it's me and not you, but very busy weekend with b-ball. Home safe and sound and getting my commenting caught up.

    1. There's always some holiday stuff that slips past our eyes during the clean up. Mini splits can both heat and cool your house, though we will be using them just for cooling as our heating system works great and is cheaper (I think).


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