Adoption Story Update!

First, thank you for all of the love and support after last week’s post. I am seriously overwhelmed by your kindness. Second, I have no idea how to write this week’s post. I’ve started, erased, stopped and picked back up at least thirty times. There just aren’t enough descriptive words in the English language. For those of you who are just jumping on the DwtD train, I met my maternal, biological family this past weekend. I started my biological family search, back in October, and it all came to fruition, in Atlanta, five days ago. And honestly, I’m still processing and will continue processing for quite some time. I don’t think my head, and heart, can fully wrap themselves around what has happened. I mean, I met my maternal biological mother. The extraordinary woman who gave me a chance at life. Six months ago she was a figment of my imagination – just a person I thought about every now and again when I had to have a check-up or, on my birthday. Fast forward to last weekend and there she was, knocking on my hotel door. To say I was nervous would be the understatement of the year. I was terrified. I think I downed two glasses of chardonnay in two minutes. But then she was in our hotel room, with my incredible half sister, and all of a sudden the nerves were gone, the anxiety lifted and all was as it should be. There were no awkward moments or uncomfortable silences – well, Patrick was silent but only because he was the only male which meant he had no chance of getting a word in!! We all spent the weekend just getting to know one another and laying the framework for our future relationships. Will we see each other again? Definitely. All in good time. For now, I’m just so happy I forced myself to leap. I have been on a carousel of emotions, for the last nine months, but it was 100% worth it . And I truly believe it would have been worth it regardless of whether or not my bio mom ever engaged. The journey alone brought me peace. By starting the search I allowed myself to control the fear so many adoptees struggle with – the fear of the unknown. We choose not to search, in part, because we are scared of what we will find and how what we find might change who we are. But the opposite happened to me. As soon as I submitted my Search Angels application, I felt like I was in control. I was no longer sitting on the sidelines too nervous to try. I made myself work through every, possible, scenario and tried my best to find peace with each potential outcome. And I believe I did. “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.” – Theodore Roosevelt.

Meal Plan for the Week of 6/23

Sunday, June 23rd – Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Crust Buffalo Chicken Pizza – I have never tried cauliflower pizza crust but I’m really curious so let’s do this people. Use whatever toppings float your boat!!

Monday, June 24th – Southwest Turkey, Vegetable and Rice Skillet – This guy has it all – one dish wonder, family friendly, ready in under 20. Doesn’t get any better, especially on a Monday.

Tuesday, June 25th – Salmon, Avocado Salad – Patrick hates avocado but this recipe will be delicious with or without – it will just be better with. Light and flavorful – exactly what I need after weeks of overindulging.

Wednesday, June 26th – Asparagus Salad with Chicken or Shrimp – Our most recent swim meet was cancelled, due to weather, and I think the make-up will be this evening. Thankfully, this here recipe is easy to make and travels well. I will add some kind of protein to make this a meal, not a side!!

Thursday, June 27th – Chicken Chimichangas – I honestly don’t know how these differ from burritos but I honestly don’t care. Any Mexican dish that is under 400 calories is a winner in my book.

Friday, June 28th – Skinny Shrimp Alfredo Pasta Bake – Sorry for the seafood heavy recipes these week – just happened that way. I love a Friday night dish I can make ahead of time and this one is worth it. You won’t even know it’s “light.” Enjoy!!

Happy, Healthy Eating Friends.

XO ~ Kelly D.


A Day Late and a Recipe Short

Memorial Camp 2019 is officially in the books. A wonderful time was had by all. We ate too much, drank too much, got way too much sun and too little sleep but it was well worth it for two full days/nights inhaling the salty, Lowcountry air. Of course, I’m putting this weeks meal plan out super late so I will just get to it!

Meal Plan for the week of May 27th

Monday, May 28th – Prosciutto, Arugula, Burrata Pizza – Or whatever pizza you would like. We are still without a kitchen so our neighbors invited us over for dinner. They are the best. On the menu tonight – grilled pizzas. I am not making the pizza dough – neighbor is knee deep in flour as I type – but if he wasn’t doing the deed, I would just buy pizza dough from the store. You can go crazy and add whatever ingredients you would like. I just happen to be obsessed with burrata these days. And arugula. And prosciutto.

Tuesday, May 29th – Asado Chicken and Sauteed Lemon Zucchini – Asado Chicken is a sweet and salty Filipino dish that is full of flavor and really easy to pull together. Oh, and of course, healthy.

Wednesday, May 30th – Hawaiian Ground Beef – I always get nervous when I add fruit to salty foods. Odd as I usually end up loving the flavor combo. This one is crazy family friendly and incredibly easy to make. Chop your veggies/fruit ahead of time and this will take you twelve minutes, start to finish. A good thing because we have swim mock meet Wednesday and will be at the pool, for eighteen hours, to watch our girls swim for three minutes.

Thursday, May 31st – Air Fryer Basil-Parmesan Salmon ( Oven Instructions Too) – I do not own and air fryer so I will be baking my salmon in the oven. Maybe once my kitchen is finished, and I have more space, I can purchase this Skinnytaste one. Regardless of how you choose to bake, this dish will rock your taste buds. Serve with a veg and side salad!

Friday, June 1st – Skinny White Chicken Enchiladas – I have been seriously craving Mexican food. Hopefully I will have a working oven by Friday and I can make this dish in my own kitchen. Easy and scrumptious, perfect for a Friday night. P.S. – summer is officially here!!!

Happy, Healthy Eating Friends!

XO ~ Kelly D.


Worth the Wait??

Well, I fell down on the job.  SO sorry folks.  I was hoping I’d have the “I was too busy packing to work” excuse but that’s not entirely accurate seeing as I only packed for about an hour.  It took an hour to pack up our china and glassware.  How does one accumulate so much glassware?  None of it matches and I honestly can’t remember purchasing like 80% of what we have.  So odd.  We left around ten cups in the cabinet, to just survive over the next few weeks, and you would have thought we had left one for all four of us to fight over.  The girls were freaking out.  I can’t wait until we pack up the plates.  Meanwhile, the thought of not having to wash plates, cups and utensils, for the next four weeks, has me kind of giddy. I feel like I’m hitting the jack pot.  People can’t believe we are choosing to stay in our house, during the work, and I’m over here like, “are you kidding?” You want me to leave just about the time my responsibilities will go from 100 to 10? You crazy.  No vacuuming, mopping, dusting, 409-ing, windexing, pledging, or cleaning after cooking?  I mean, it might as well be vacation.  So I have to live in a dust infested house with no sink or stove for a few weeks. Meh, just minor inconveniences compared to being a cleaning lady, short order cook, dry cleaner and uber driver. Dropping two of the four ain’t so bad.  I’ll be armed with my arsenal of Costco paper products, a toaster oven and a grill.  My meal plan may be a bit odd from the 19th to the first of June but I will get creative.  I mean, I’ll have oodles of time, right? This entire post is going to come back to bite me in the arse, isn’t it?  IS IT? I can hear you laughing…..

Photo Cred ~ @Simply Recipes

Meal Plan For The Week of 5/6

Monday, May 6th – Shrimp, Arugula White Bean Salad – On top of all of the packing, swim team practice starts for my girls today. For those who don’t know, summer swim team controls your life for about two months. It’s every day. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Healthy, delicious and quick will be my strict moto for the next 8 weeks. This one is perfect.

Tuesday, May 7th – Steak and Asparagus Quinoa – Straight forward. Easy. Filling. Go.

Wednesday, May 8th – Weight Watchers Goulash – One of my favorites. Family friendly and low cal – takes no time to throw together.

Thursday, May 9th – Balsamic Chicken and Asparagus – I am always shocked at how flavorful, yet simple, this recipe is. It is one of my favorite chicken and veg dishes, hands down.

Friday, May 10th – Skinnytaste Tuna Noodle Casserole – All of the Friday night, family feels, in this one. Not only low calorie, but it cost about $10 to make. My kind of recipe.

No Sunday meal plan as it’s Monday so I’ve already missed that boat. Plus, our Sunday night meal was Sonic. I needed the grease if you catch my drift. Too much fun, the night before, at Cinco de Derby!! Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram ~ @Dinnerwiththeduffys

Happy, Healthy Eating Y’all.

XO ~ Kelly D.


Mandatory Appraisals?

This was a busy week, y’all. I know, every week is a busy week but this one was particularly busy for me. It was supposed to be a short week, as my office was closed on Monday, but Regs had a field trip so instead of sleeping in until 8, I was walking the streets of downtown Charleston with twenty-five 4th graders. Am I coming across as bitter? Apologies. Truth is it was a fantastic field trip and I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with my oldest but a “me” day would have been equally as nice. Probably a wee bit better if I’m being honest. Any who, field trip on Monday, two work events and our appraisal this week sent me into a tizzy. Really, it was the appraisal. I’ve had my entire family on clean lockdown for a week or so. I know appraisals have nothing to do with how clean ones house is but I wasn’t taking any chances. I realized I went way overboard when Regan and Ava purposefully woke at 5:15, the morning of the appraisal, to do last minute cleaning. I kid you not. I felt awful until I saw they had cleaned off their dressers, which I’ve been asking them to do for years. Ava asked if this “appraiser dude” was going to search her drawers and if she needed to clean those out too? I’m kind of wishing I had said yes. Maybe I’m really onto something here. I mean, even Patrick bought in. He planted plants, put out pine straw, had the house power washed AND cleaned his bed side table area which always looks like an explosion of shoes and I’m not quite sure what else. I even ventured into the playroom to clean well enough to dust. DUST. Not sure that room has been dusted….ever. Hopefully the cleaning worked and this dream kitchen of mine can become a reality in the next eight to twelve weeks. In the meantime, I’m starting to think bi-annual appraisals aren’t a bad idea. I could get used to checking off some of my honey-do’s…..

Photo Cred ~ EatWell101

Meal Plan For The Week of 4/7

Sunday, April 7th – Grilled Vegetable Quesadillas – My best friends little girl is being baptized this morning so we are heading to brunch with them and then to dinner to celebrate my cousins 37th bday. My point – no cooking for Kelly today. BUT, if I was, I would be making these quesadillas. Not exactly “cheaty” but they take a little longer to prep so it’s a perfect Sunday meal. This is one of my very favorite recipes because it’s extremely unassuming but overwhelmingly delicious!

Monday, April 8th – Cajun Baked Salmon – I have been craving salmon ever since I snuck a piece of my neighbor, Randy’s, perfectly cooked dinner the other night. He has yet to send me his recipe but this Cajun spiced option looks pretty yummy! We will serve ours with quinoa or whatever else I have in the house.

Tuesday, April 9th – Chicken Casserole with Pickled Chili, Mozzarella and Pepper Jack – Stay with me. This is the dish pictured above. Don’t freak because of the pickled chili piece. You use banana peppers, not spicy peppers. You can certainly sub for spicy peppers but the bananas offer the perfect tang! I’ll serve over cauli rice.

Wednesday, April 10th – One Pan Chicken Sausage and Veggies – This is a good re-set meal for mid week. Crazy easy and healthy. If you find you need more bulk, add some potatoes. You can’t mess this one up.

Thursday, April 11th – Kale Caesar Salad – Don’t get angry. I promise this is delicious. And so much healthier than your typical caesar because the dressing isn’t mayo based – but still crazy yummy. I’ll add chicken to ours and loose the croutons!!

Friday, April 12th – Sirloin Skillet with Vegetables – Just meat and veggies, y’all. This site gives a great explanation on how to “shave” your sirloin but it requires extra steps. I’m just slicing and cooking.

Happy, Healthy Eating Friends!!

XO ~ Kelly D.


Kitchen Renovation??!!

I’m sure you are wondering why I posted the above picture of a random kitchen. Well, this is what I hope our current kitchen will look like here in a few months. (Not this exactly, just one of the four thousand kitchen photos I’ve pinned from Pinterest) For the past month or two, any free time I’ve had has been spent comparing appliances, flooring options, faucets, etc. Hence the blog posts rolling out late! I have been dreaming about re-doing our kitchen since the moment we moved in, over fourteen years ago, but I never thought it would actually happen. I think my husband actually said, “not until college and weddings have been paid for.” But God intervened, on my behalf, and we ended up having a bit of a leak, under the kitchen sink, and now it’s either replace or re-do. Not to mention, our utensil drawer ripped out of it’s casing (no clue what it’s actually called but casing sounds right) last May and our floors are coming up. The kitchen is a hot mess. But technically it’s still usable so Patrick thinks the whole re-do is a waste of money. Well, that’s not completely true. He just thinks it’s more money than we need to be spending at the present time. And he’s right (don’t tell him I typed this) but I can’t help myself. The idea of a little more kitchen, cabinet, cooking space gives me goose bumps. I keep telling him it will all work out while secretly crossing my fingers and toes. But, we are in the final stages – just waiting on the bank to tell us we are allowed to go into more debt!!! Yippee. I’ve been working with Coastal Cabinets and King Construction, on this project, and I could not be happier. If you know me, you know anyone I work with requires a boat load of patience. I think I’ve made a million and a half changes in the last week. I’m exhausting. But these guys have been absolutely wonderful and I can not wait to see this project thru with them. If all goes well, we should have the green light to begin in about two weeks. Of course, that’s placing the cabinet order so real construction won’t start until May-ish. I will definitely do a “follow along” as soon as the project begins. And, if you have any slide in range, cabinet microwave suggestions, hit me up. I’m probably due for another change about now!

Meal Plan for the Week of 3/24

Sunday, March 24th – Baked Penne Alla Vodka – My plan is to clean, all weekend, to get the house ready to be appraised. Everyone keeps telling me not to worry about the appraisal but I worry about everything so cleaning it is. My point – after two days of straight cleaning, I’m going to want something delicious and this dish is it. I dream about recipes like this one. Perfect for a family Sunday. Nothing fussy but does require a little hands on kitchen time.

Monday, March 25th – Slow Cooker Chicken Chile Verde – I think everyone in the country is on spring break except for the Catholics. Most Catholic schools take spring break over Easter so this year, it’s April 18th! A MONTH away. I assume you spring breakers are cracking up at the idea of a meal plan. Instead, you are last minute packing for your sunny beach getaway. I get it. I’m just really jealous. Here is a crockpot meal so the rest of us can pretend like we are taking it easy this week!

Tuesday, March 26th – Mediterranean Shrimp with Zoodles – I’m not an olive person, y’all, but this dish will be delicious with or without. I will purchase pre-spiralized noodles to make life easier – remember, we are pretending to be on spring break!! The one extra I will do is to make my own, light, Tzatziki. I love this @skinnytaste recipe. Sometimes I strain the yogurt, but most of the time I do not.

Wednesday, March 27th – Parmesan Dijon Pork Tenderloin with Garlic & Herb Veggie Spirals – This is an overnight marinade, y’all. Just a heads up. Personally, I need the reminder as I can’t ever remember which ones require marinating. I’m excited to try this dish – new spin on a staple!

Thursday, March 28th – Buffalo Dill Chicken Salad – Doesn’t get much easier. Super adaptable. I will probably do a greek yogurt, mayo split but you do you, y’all.

Friday, March 29th – Moroccan Braised Chicken, Lentils, Smoked Paprika & Tomato – I love Moroccan food. The richness of the flavors are just out of this world. And for whatever reason, I really love lentils. Fridays are usually a little more laid back in our house so I’m going to grab a glass of wine, turn on my favorite Pandora station, Hipster Cocktail Party radio, and get to cooking in what will hopefully be my old kitchen in a few short months!!


Don’t Stop Believing

I’m so sorry friends. This week has been bananas. Ava had the flu, and a crazy high fever, up until Thursday so juggling work and illness proved to be exhausting. And there were other things. Actually, some pretty unbelievable things. I don’t have enough time to go into all of the details but I promise I will next week. Long story, very short, I have made contact with BOTH biological parents – this week. I have spoken to one and have emailed with the other. It’s insane as I truly had found peace in only every knowing what Daniel had found – which was so much more than I ever expected. I had packed up my emotions into a very neat suitcase and that was that. Or so I thought. Life is funny, y’all. As I said, I promise to share more of the details next week but time will not permit today. Just wanted to make sure you had your meal plan before Sunday Shopping!!

Stay Tuned!!

Sunday, Feb 17th – Chicken Wild Rice Cass – Not to get sappy but I can’t let this post pass without mentioning this Sunday is my Dad’s birthday. As you know, my Dad passed away almost four years ago. He was my person, y’all. I miss him every single day but truly believe he is now at peace. This Sunday I am making this comforting chicken and rice dish in his honor – we will gather around the table to eat, drink and be merry and toast to the best, my Daddy-O!

Monday, Feb 18th – Strawberry, Basil Chicken – My plan to be uber healthy last week didn’t exactly pan out. I HAVE to reign myself in this week people. This really light, chicken dish will help. You can add fresh mozzarella to this dish too – beef it up!

Tuesday, Feb 19th – Broccoli, Lemon and Browned Butter Pasta – A friend shared this Cooking Light recipe with me and it looks delicious. If you can’t find whole grained shell pasta, just sub any other whole grain pasta. Family friendly here, y’all.

Wednesday, Feb. 20th – Crockpot Carnitas with Pork Tenderloin – It’s been awhile since I pulled out my crocker but so happy to be doing so this week. There are a gazillion of these recipes but this one looks a little different so we will give it a try! Instant Pot will work here too! Note to self – still need to purchase one of those….

Thursday, Feb. 21st – Korean-Style Pork Chops – I need to hit up Costco this weekend mainly because I found this recipe and now I am dying to make it. I will probably just do some frozen veggies or some kind of quick veg with these!! Yum.

Friday, Feb 22nd – Chicken and Artichoke Quinoa Cass – I love artichokes – they add such a yummy, tangy flavor. Use a rotisserie chick with this dish to make it even easier. Perfect for a Friday!!!

That’s it! Can’t wait to chat next week. Happy, Healthy Eating Friends!

XO ~ Kelly D.