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candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup {stuffed pepper soup}


Do you feel it too? In those moments...

The ones just before the news of a snow day breaks, and you relish in anticipation of the joy your kids are about to experience.

One of my favorite experiences as a mom is getting to share the news of snow days with my kids.

The rare December snow days are most magical of course because it is so much more than the thick blanket of snow on the pine trees and the extra slick sheen on the sledding hill.

It's the dark skies outside in contract with the warm glowing tree lights inside all day long. It's all hands on deck making Christmas cookies. It's getting some help wrapping a few presents. It's the adorably excited UPS driver sticking around a few extra moments to pet the dogs and chat with me about how wonderful it is to see the kids enjoying it.

It's December magic. And I've never been more present for it.


Currently (still) watching: Harry & Meghan (just like everyone else) on Netflix. And I just love them so much. I can't imagine the solitude and depression for those who have been born or married into a life where 'the institution' comes before the person. Trailer here.

Currently reading: I just began Still True, a novel about the secrets we think we need to keep. This one is for my book club and it's not normally one I'd pick out. I'll know in a few days how into it I am, but so far I like it. I also love that it was written by a local Madison author!

Currently snacking: I just recently tried these at a party and I immediately went to costco to grab a giant bag. I am under no illusion that they are any better than potato chips, but there is something about their crunch that is so much more satisfying!! Find me in front of the fire with this snack and that book as soon as the sun sets.

Currently wearing: The On Cloud 5 in white/chambray is possibly the only shoe I may ever buy again. The fact that there are no laces so I don't have to fight with the heel to shove my foot in (the only way I put on tennis shoes) makes me want to buy 10 more pair immediately.

Currently (still) drinking: coffee with this creamer. Folks, this may be a problem. I had three cups yesterday - I don't think I've ever had three cups of coffee in one day in my entire life. And I wasn't even needing a pick-me-up, I just really really love the way it tastes and for whatever reason, decaf isn't the same. Probably a sign of a bit of an addition. And by probably I mean 'obviously.' Have you read my 'Caffeine Elimination Experiment?'


If you know Anna (or 'Ana' as she is spelling it), you know she's an individual. Basically the polar opposite of what I tried to be at her age and if I'm honest, most of my life. I am equally proud of and thrilled by her self-awareness and courage of conviction. Some days it would be nice if she wanted to frictionlessly 'fall in line' to make my life easy, but I always come back to...what parent has EVER said, 'I want my adult child to blindly follow every rule without pausing first and looking inward?'

For sure not me. In fact, I'm working hard to de-condition some of that 'good girl' behavior I'm sensing in all three. But that's 'A Moment' for another email.

So when she came home recently and told me she was shamed by multiple teachers (calling her a distraction and irreverent) for wearing her hair the way you see in this photograph (as she often does), I was pretty furious.

Anna is not your typical thirteen year old. She's very independent. She's a free thinker. She doesn't fall into an easily defined box of conventional wants surrounding popularity and beauty. She extends kindness so far, it occasionally leads to her own detriment. In human design, she is a rare reflector, so she mirrors the energy around her, making her a deeply feeling person. And I think all of this is spectacular. All these qualities that make life extra hard today, will make her one of the earth's finest adults tomorrow (in this mom's opinion).

Do you have a child like this...or maybe it describes you?

In the end, my email to the staff was addressed by the principal and Anna will be allowed to wear her hair in this way to the Christmas concert next week. But she's been relegated to the back row behind girls that are several inches taller than she is, so as not to distract from the reverence of the event.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could normalize self expression that doesn't hurt of offend anyone? I cannot believe with all the conversation around bullying and mental health, that such a passive-aggressive insult to her identity could be tolerated by the school, without so much as an acknowledgment to her about the gross misstep by her teachers.

In the end, our family tries to take experiences like this and turn them into opportunities to practice resilience. Not all bullying will come from people physically bigger than you. Not all people in leadership roles will be looking out for you. Not all situations will be intercepted by your parents. Those are facts. The opportunity here is HOW can you best serve yourself and become a ripple within community when this happens. Pause to look inward first. Adjust your own oxygen mask before assessing what others need to feel better.

I often tell my girls you cannot set yourself on fire to keep other people warm. But shit. This is hard.

If you've had experience with a trusted adult/leadership figure compromising your child's sense of self and worth, how have you handled it? I'd really love to know. Thank you!


This was one big massive gift from the universe.

I had no plan or direction when I started pulling ingredients from the freezer. I only knew I had 6 fresh tri colored bell peppers that I wanted to use up. And only 20 minutes to get it together before the commencement of school pickup and subsequent afternoon chaos.

Stuffed Pepper Soup


  • 1lb extra lean ground beef

  • 3 garlic cloves (or 3 tsp garlic powder)

  • 1 tsp salt (more to taste)

  • 1/2 tsp pepper

  • 2 tsp italian seasoning

  • 6 tri colored peppers, diced

  • 1/2 cup onion, diced

  • 1 can Rotel, undrained (diced tomatoes and green chilis)

  • 1 - 16oz bag frozen cauliflower rice stir fry* (if not seasoned, add 1 tbsp your choice spices)

  • 1/3 cup white rice, dry

  • 4 cups chicken stock

*I like the Mexican Cauli Rice Stir Fry from Trader Joe's but any 16 oz frozen option will work.


  1. Dice peppers and onion so all are evenly sized. (I love my chopper). Set aside.

  2. Brown meat in a large stock pot over medium heat. Use nonstick spray if meat is sticking.

  3. Continue cooking and add garlic, salt, pepper, italian seasoning. Stir to evenly coat.

  4. Add Rotel, frozen cauliflower stir fry, uncooked rice and stir to combine.

  5. Add chicken stock and stir, ensuring nothing is stocking to the bottom of the pot.

  6. Cook on medium heat with a partially covered lid for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  7. Continue cooking uncovered on low for another 10 minutes.

  8. When rice and veggies reach desired tenderness, remove from heat and enjoy!

The longer you allow the soup to simmer, the thicker it will become. Feel free to add more stock to get a soupier finish, especially after overnight storage. Do not forget to slice a gigantic hunk of bread to dip in this super flavorful, nutrient-packed, healing, medicine-in-a-bowl, kind of meal.


5 servings: 500g each

Calories: 271 | Carbs: 27

Fat: 6 | Protein: 25 | Fiber: 3 Katie Crokus Stuffed Pepper Soup

It seems to me that the only obvious choice to pair this with is a thick, crusty bread. There is such a small amount of rice in the recipe that including more carbs is essential in creating a truly satisfying meal for myself.

I know I am in my flow when something so perfect materializes with so little effort. I have several other recipes that came together brilliantly just like this if you want to check them out: here, here, here and here.

Stuffed Pepper Soup
Download PDF • 820KB


Sunday night we celebrated both birthdays with two cakes. Mint brownie ice cream cake for Anna and a peanut butter dream pie for Wayne.

Monday morning was all about Anna. THIRTEEN.

My eggs were smiling at me this week.

Anna teaching Elle how to manage the haircut AND be a vibe on the court.

The moments between our morning gym time and when the kids woke up to the news of a snow day.

Reindeer games.

Tackling some test prep for a social studies test.

Chicken enchiladas were a big win for dinner. I love this meal because it comes together in so few ingredients and really is foolproof. Grab your shredded chicken, corn tortillas, enchilada sauce and plenty of cheese. Any extra chicken gets layered right on top. If you don't have time for the filling, just chop up the tortillas and make this it skillet style. I have a similar recipe shared in a recent blog post.

Still working on Anna's birthday cake. It was so easy; just a box of ghirardelli brownies (I'll never make brownies another way) and a container of Edy's slow churned mint chip. Some chocolate syrup to top and it's probably the best ice cream cake we've ever had.

How cute was Wayne's birthday pie? I used this recipe and the little chocolate hearts are Peanut Butter Cup Cocoa Bar in a Jar made in these awesome little molds you receive when you buy three jars! Sadly this one only lasted about 36 hours.

I've been making and freezing all our favorite cookies to box up and share with friends and neighbors next week. It's my favorite way to gift something simple yet special for the holidays.

One day I took some time to completely veg by myself on the new couch. The dogs and I had taken a long walk that morning and they joined me. Rainy (the grey cat) lives for when I sit down.

Madison Winter being basic. We've had three straights days of this and it's felt absolutely magical.

Legitimately basic are no bake cookies. But the simplicity of peanut butter, chocolate, oats, sugar and butter just add up to something so amazing. I could eat an entire batch.

Cookie packaging DONE for the season! I know chocolate chip cookies are not really known as Christmas cookies, but they are our family's favorite, so an inordinately large one must top our box.

Kenna has taken to eating the old salt dough ornaments off our sunroom tree when I leave the house.

I love Friday night games. Anna sunk this free throw.

At a dear friend's house and this beautiful family come through. Hi babies.


Last days and hours before Hanukkah, Christmas and all the year end celebrations. I don't know if I'll put an email out next Sunday, but you probably can count on one more blog post to close out 2022.

In the past I have shared my NOT Top 10 lists, which I may do again if I have time. Linked: 2020 and 2021 if you're curious!

Whatever you're celebrating, I'm wishing you and everyone you love a joyful, peaceful, soul-led end to this incredible year.

As always, thanks for being here!!

Warmly, Katie G E T I N T O U C H Communicate & Connect @katiecrokus


There is no bigger show of gratitude to a creator than to comment and share their work. If someone forwarded this to you, but you'd like to subscribe, click here T H E F I N E P R I N T This post may contain affiliate links. All opinions and words are my own. I only talk about products and companies I truly love! Thank you for your continued support! You can find all my affiliate codes here.

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3 comentarios

19 dic 2022

Katie - your pub brings me just a sense of peace and calm. Your zen grounds me! You write in such a soothing manner. I can feel your emotions as I read along. I have told you all this before, but it needs repeating! That mint ice cream pie though! OMG! I am going to have to make that!!! And Anna - and bullying. I have a friend that wrote a book on bullying and she visits schools to discuss the topic with kids, teachers, admins and the like. Her message is beautiful, I think you will agree. It's a very nice way of broaching a nasty topic. And don't get me started the double standard of school districts. They want to…

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18 dic 2022

So many recipes, Katie, I can’t wait to give them a try, especially the Stuffed Pepper Soup. I still have the Chicken Enchiladas from last week on my to-do list! Keep fighting for your daughter. One of my daughters was targeted by other kids for not “dressing like a girl” and adults in authority did not help. I had to go pretty far up the chain to get any real support. This was in the 90’s, I would have hoped we would have progressed enough that a hair style would not be an issue. What a ridiculous waste of time and energy and for what purpose? My daughter knew I fought for her and she is an amazingly strong and…

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18 dic 2022

We have unfortunately experienced the same with a coach at my daughters school. Who took the side of the bullying girls on her team. We fought the school until we couldn’t fight anymore. She was bullied and kicked off the volleyball team and for over a year it destroyed her. Luckily we were able to get her into counseling and she has become a better person because of it. My thoughts go out to you as this can be an extremely difficult situation and the momma bear inside wants to be let loose. Keep fighting for her! Have a blessed holiday season!

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