Our 1 Year Homeiversary & Chicken Cordon Bleu Lasagna

There is nothing more important than a good, safe, secure home.

Rosalynn Carter

If this year has taught me one thing, it is how to be truly grateful. On March 2, 2020 we got the keys to our new home! Getting to this point in our lives was a long time coming but we got there and right in the nick of time!

My Mom used to say that everything happens for a reason and although we didn't know it at the time, having our own space and a place to call ours at this point in our lives was critical. We didn't know that in a few short weeks these brand new walls would become our work place, our school, our playground and our home.

I moved out at the age of 21. I thought that it was a good age to go out on my own. My Mom did NOT agree 😂. I made a deal with her that I would move back home after 2 years, I just needed to try. I moved out with my WpgBesty and although it was wonderful, it was hard. I was going to University full time and I was working 2 jobs, 1 overnight at a group home and then serving in the evenings to pay my rent, car insurance and my University tuition. Although it was new and exciting, it never truly felt like my home.

Next, I decided to move out on my own! I got an adorable little apartment in this very nice old lady's house down in Osborne Village. The night life drew me in and living in a bustling little community in a TOTALLY different place from where I grew up made me feel like a grown up... at first. I hated it. I barely spent any time there and usually crashed at Ninja's house or at my parent's house, or home as it felt to me. After a few months I came back home defeated. I remember the day clearly. I was driving to my apartment (note how I don't call it home) after work and my car stalled on Grosvenor. The tranny actually fell out 😬. I walked to my place bawling and when I opened the door I saw a note from Ninja... "things just aren't working out. I think we should break up. PS I took the ball game tickets we had for tonight and I'm taking Jeff instead. Sorry." I called my Dad. He called a tow truck and it picked me up and my car and towed me home. I bawled the whole way. That poor tow truck driver! When I got home I walked up the driveway and Mom was there with open arms. I walked into them and she said, "come home Baby." OK.

A few days later I found out my CharleswoodBesty's husband had committed suicide. We had not spoken in years but as soon as I showed up on her door we decided I would move in with her for a year. I did and then after a year I was tired of not having a HOME. I just wanted to be somewhere that felt like home. It's a weird feeling to never feel like you are where you are supposed to be. Moving back in with my parents felt right. My studies improved and it felt good to be HOME.

In the winter of 2004 my Bro, Sis and I sent my parents on a Caribbean cruise for their anniversary. It was their first trip outside of North Dakota or BC. When they got home they decided to buy a business in Penticton! Within 5 months the house was sold. My house. The house I grew up in. The house my Mom grew up in! Sold. We found the most adorable little house for my Sis and I and we moved in together. Maybe it was because it was with my Sis but I finally felt at home in a place that wasn't 14 Costello Dr. We lived there happily together until 2006. We both graduated University while living on Telfer. My Sis decided she was going to spread her wings and fly on her own and she applied to a teaching ESL position in... KOREA! Ninja moved in with us and then my Sis was off to a whole different country across the globe! Ninja and I brought HBear home to that little house on Telfer 💛.

After a cold Winnipeg winter with a newborn, we were ready for a new adventure. We came out to Penticton to look at the books of a local business that was for sale. After a few weeks of talking, we decided it was best if we invested our time and money into my Dad's business. We would move in with my parents and work on expanding the business so in the future it would support both of our families. My parents bought my Nana and Poppy's house. It smelled liked chocolate chip cookies and good memories of my childhood. It was home. It was hard to live together and work together. There were some days that we thought we had made the wrong decision. But, I was home.

I remember the day Mom went into the Kelowna Hospital. She was about to be wheeled into an MRI and we were arguing. She wanted me to promise to stay with Dad for the next 10 years. She told me she had a dream and we built the house, up. I laughed at her. That was the last day I saw her get out of her bed. When she got out of the MRI, everything was different. We didn't talk about it again.

After a year without Mom we brought the subject up. Not about building but about moving. We all agreed that we would stay together. The 5 of us. Unfortunately we couldn't find anything that suited us. It was hard to find a house that had a nice enough suite for Dad. If it wasn't as nice his house, he didn't want it and to be honest, I didn't either, I wanted Dad to have a great house and for us to have an equally great space as well. Nothing fit that bill. That's when Ninja brought up the possibility of building up. Once we talked to an architect and he drew out plans, we were all in. Dad could keep his beautiful home, we would all still be under the same roof, and we could keep the business running out of the garage! It was a year long process but we finally broke ground in September 2019.

The building seems like a blur now. So much has happened since then. Thank goodness I took so many pictures and videos!  As soon as I walked in, I knew I was home.

On March 2, 2020 my life changed. I slept in my bed, in my house, with my family and it felt... as close to being perfect as I have felt in a long time.

For years I only felt safe and content if I knew my whole family was under 1 roof. Having my Bro & Sis so far away has always been something I have had to choke down but we will save that for another day 😂.

I am so grateful. 

Finally, I am home.

Check out How Was Your Week, Honey? Episode #213 To Engage or Not To Engage HERE! This week we get into difficult aspects of parenting. Topics: pets, speaking up, Tiger Woods, kids & drugs, teenagers, Snowflake Ball, high school & Colbert.

This week I hosted Our Liner Notes with a special guest, HBear! We chatted about Female Empowerment Songs. It’s a fantastic conversation between mom & daughter discussing feminism through the decades and of course, some incredible music! Check it out HERE!

This meal is a little different. I love lasagna. I love Chicken Cordon Bleu. Why not put them together to make 1 amazeballs and delicious casserole? OK! This dish is all sorts of amazing yumminess! It takes a little extra effort but really, don't all the best things in life? 😂

Chicken Cordon Bleu Lasagna
Adapted from Amanda's Cooking

10-14 oven ready lasagna noodles
2 cups ricotta cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup parmesan, grated
1/4 cup parsley, minced
2 cups deli ham, chopped
2 cups cooked chicken cubed
1 jar alfredo sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 bag shredded Italiano cheese

Preheat oven to 350° F and spray a 9-inch by 13-inch pan with non stick spray.

In a medium size bowl combine ricotta cheese, eggs, parmesan cheese, and parsley.

In another bowl combine ham, chicken, Alfredo sauce and garlic powder.

Spoon half of the ham mixture over the bottom of the pan.

Place noodles over the ham.

Spoon half the ricotta mixture over the ham. Place noodles on top of ricotta, and spread half the cheese over the noodles.

Spread the remaining ham over the cheese.

Spread remaining ricotta over the ham, then place the noodles on top.

Cover the noodles with the rest of the cheese.

Cover lightly with aluminum foil and place in the oven.

Bake for 40 minutes or until middle is bubbly or a thermometer reads 160°.

Remove aluminum foil and bake an additional 10 minutes until the cheese is lightly browned.

Let stand for 10 minutes.

This week was a work week for me so not much happened but the stuff that did, was pretty great 😀. My beautiful niece, CabbagePatch surprised me with a FaceTime and asked me if I wanted to play! We played kitchen, ice cream truck and makeup. She is just the sweetest! I am so grateful we have been able to keep in touch with technology over this VERY long year of not being able to actually see each other 💛. I got snuggles from my 2 favourite Girls, beautiful spring flower from my favourite man, and I had 2 PAC meetings.

I won my weekly step challenge competition, I finished my 30 day yoga challenge and began a new one! We finished our February meal plan and started our March plan. Ninja baked a cake, the Girl's participated in pink shirt day, I did a ton of laundry, and I had a wonderful Friday night with a doughnut, wine, Framing Brittany Spears and new joggers that Ninja bought for me!

On Saturday Ninja surprised SBean with a new gown and tickets to a slightly different Snowflake Ball! Instead of a dance they decided to set up a dinner for each Daddy/Daughter duo. Ninja picked the restaurant and the time and when they got there, they were escorted to their table and presented with a Snowflake Box. In the box was envelopes and things to do together. It was amazing! They had such a great time! It was good for her to have a little fun after cancelling her birthday party and not being able to see her friends for the past... year 😬. Before dinner, Ninja took her to the bat exhibit at the local museum. She had been begging to go see it for a while 😆. They looked beautiful and had a wonderful time.

While they were out, HBear and I did a recording for Ninja's podcast, Our Liner Notes. HBear wanted to bring songs that were female empowerment songs. It was a great conversation and I am just so proud of her for having such big thoughts and being able to express them so clearly. She amazes me and I am so happy to have her as my daughter and my Besty 💛. After the pod we ordered our favourite vermicelli bowls from Cambo Beach and watched Centre Stage! It was a great night.

The sun is starting to come out and spring is on its way. March 2020 was... interesting and I am excited to see what March 2021 will bring!

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