Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Yummy Chicken Tacos

I have absolutely fallen in love with Pinterest! Why it took me so long to join, I have no idea.  But so far, everything I have tried has either tasted great or worked out perfcetly!

This recipe for Chicken Tacos was about the easiest recipe I have tried in quite a while. 

4-5 Chicken Breasts
1 jar of salsa (whatever heat you prefer)
1 packet of taco seasoning
Whatever taco toppings you prefer
Whatever type of taco shell you prefer....I used soft tortillas.

Put the chicken in the crock pot.
Sprinkle the taco seasoning on them.
Cover with the entire jar of salsa.
Cook on low 4-6 hours.

The chicken comes out juicy, flavorful, and shredable.

Throw it in your tortilla or taco shell, top with the toppings of your choice, and ENJOY!

Not only was it SUPER EASY, but it tasted SUPER GREAT!

The original website from my Pinterest pin can be found here.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Jacob's First Haircut

Yesterday, we took Jacob to get his first hair cut. 

It was not the torture-fest that Quinn endured, yet I did not get any pictures of Jacob sitting all by himself on the stool. His little curls were all sweetly saved by Ms. Shelly, who also gave Quinn his first hair cut.

My sweet baby boy had another first-time milestone, and I had another "last".   It's bittersweet watching Jacob grow up, knowing that for all practical purposes (unless the Lord has a different plan), this will be our last little baby.  He's walking really well now....running, pretty much, to keep up with his big brother. He even started signing "please", especially when there is food involved!

Today, after church, we had to go by the fire station, and since Jacob was in such a sweet mood, I was able to get some really precious pictures of him with his new haircut.

Jacob was watching the cars go by. This is Buddy's because he is a Lieutenant!

Sweet Jacob!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Planting Our Veggies

Today we planted the vegetables for our garden.

This is the tomatoes (far left) and the peppers.  The buckets are to catch rainwater, which we will later water the garden with.

This is our watering system.  We took soaker hose and wrapped it loosely around each plant. We didn't want any extra water spraying the ground, as this part of our yard is really prone to growing weeds.
Each plant will get its own personal supply of water.

Then we put a layer of pine straw over the soaker hose, in hopes of keeping the water in the dirt longer.

Here is Quinn, showing off "his" garden....which houses the squash (left), zucchini (middle), and cucumbers (right).   And in true VeggieTales fashion, Quinn insists that we are growing peppers, squash, zucchini, Bob and Larry!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Quinn lost his first tooth!

Over the past few weeks, we have noticed that Quinn has had a couple loose teeth.  He's been wiggling them a lot and tonight we decided it was time for one of them to come out.

It actually wasn't quite as loose as we thought, but we did some extra wiggling, said a lot of prayers, offered tons of reassurance and finally......

Sunday, June 9, 2013

If you build it.....they will come.....

....and by "they" I mean vegetables!

Yes, we are going to attempt to grow a garden this year!

I've considered it several times over the years, but for whatever reason it didn't work out, or it was too hot, too dry, etc.

We don't have the yard for a garden, but we did have a spot that would work pretty well for raised beds. Buddy got a plan in his mind, we went to Lowes and bought the supplies, and it went from this

to this

to this!

He even built a little fenced area around the raised beds (mostly to keep Dixie out of them). We underestimated how much dirt we would need, so we will get some more next weekend and plant our vegetables then.  We are going to try to grow tomatoes, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, and peppers.

Jacob's Current Favorite Thing

Jacob's current hobby is this.

Multiple. Times. A. Day.



And Over.

And over again.

But I love every single second of it! Quinn did this too.  And I know there will come a day in the not so near future, that Jacob will no longer find it fun to destroy his Mommy's kitchen. And that will be another last time that I'm not looking forward to.

Thank you Lord, for the blessing of busy boys!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Counting the Days

About a week ago, my parents came up for the day so we could all celebrate my birthday.  They brought a little something for Quinn and Jacob, and we put Quinn in charge of it, seeing as how he is the older brother.

I'm sure you are saying, "What's the big deal? It's just a calendar."

Well, to Quinn (and Jacob if he understood), it's a very big deal.  This calendar counts down the days until the boys go to SC for their week of "Camp Grandma and Grandpa"!! 

This tradition started the summer Quinn was 18 months old, the summer of 2009. (You can re-read the fun here.  And here.  And here.)  What I remember the most is he got sick and I had to pick him up early. He had a double ear infection, which was the last one before the doctors FINALLY decided to put tubes in.  He also went in the summer of 2010, and the summer of 2011.  He did not go down last summer because Mom used her two big breaks from work to come stay with Quinn while I was in the hospital having Jacob, and then again when I had to go back to work.

So it's been two years since Quinn has gone for his stay at his grandparents. Needless to say he is really excited about going to their house for "the big sleepover" as he calls it.

So we are counting the days and marking them off.

Only 17 more days!!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Make Ahead Breakfast Sandwiches

I love reading MoneySavingMom's blog. She has linked to this recipe several times and I always have wanted to try it. It looked interesting enough, easy enough, and I needed something to make for Big Breakfast at church.

Here is my version of a certain restaurant's "Ham/Egg/Cheese/Muffin Sandwich" know the one I mean!

You need
12 English Muffins
12 slices of cheese (American or Cheddar)
12 eggs
12 slices of ham (optional, but I prefer it this way.)
1 muffin tin

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Lightly spray each muffin tin. Crack an egg into each muffin tin. Put in oven and bake 15-20 minutes; slightly less time if you don't mind a runny egg.
3. Slice open each English muffin; lay out on pan to toast. You can toast these the while the eggs are cooking.

When these steps are done, it should look like this.

4. Place a slice or two of ham on the bottom of a muffin.  Add the egg, with the slice of cheese on top.
5. Eat and enjoy! Or you can wrap them in wax paper and freeze individually. I've not done this step yet but the original link says not to microwave for reheating, but to use the oven.
PS.....these went over very well at Big Breakfast. I cut them all in half, so out of 24 servings, I came home with 3.  Not bad!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Making Bubble Snakes

I've determined that this summer I will have specific activities for all of us to do together.  I finally bit the bullet and joined Pinterest, and now I'm wondering why I put it off so long!  Of course, you can find a million and one different things on this site.  Some of the ideas are way too crafty for me, but I've found many I can't wait to try.

I decided today would be our first activity, as the first "unofficial" day of summer...Memorial Day.  We took advantage of Jacob's nap time, and Quinn, Buddy, and I made bubble snakes!

First you take a 20 ounce water bottle and cut the bottom off.  Take an old sock and wrap it around the bottle, securing it with a rubber band, duct tape, etc.  Also take a pan, squirt some dish soap and add water until it bubbles up.

Dip the sock bottle into the bubble solution and get bubbles that "snake" out of the sock!


Was it fun?  I think this smile says it all!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Quinn's Last Day of Preschool

I can hardly believe this day is here, but today is Quinn's very last day of preschool!  I just cannot wrap my mind around the fact that he will be in Kindergarten in the fall.

Where has the time gone?

What has happened to my baby?

He turned into a tall, smart, sweet, caring, entergetic little boy.  He is so full of life right now, and you just never know what he will say next.

This year he got awards for Perfect Attendance, Memorizing 13 more Bible Verses, and a report card with greats all around.

Here is a picture on Quinn's first day of K-3 and his last day of K-4.  I am just so proud of all he's learned so far.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Day Just For Me!

Today was the best day.  I was at work when I got a random text from Buddy, asking me if I had any plans for after school.  Normally I have a meeting or some things I need to do, but today I was actually free as a bird.  I told him so, and later in the day, I got another text.  This time he asked if I could run an errand for him.  I'm always happy to help, since I work not far from many of the places we need to go to, and his projects are often too far for him to do the errands himself. 

But this errand request was pretty odd.  He texted me an address, told me to go there, tell them who I was, and they would get me what I needed.  I was teaching, so it wasn't until after school that a chance to look up the address so I would know where I was going and how to get there.

Boy, was I surprised!  The address was to a hair salon...the errand was that Buddy had arranged a pampering afternoon for me.  I got my hair highlighted, cut and styled, and he had made all the plans without me knowing!  Usually he can't keep a secret, but he certainly surprised me today.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Quinn's K-4 Field Trip

Today was Quinn's field trip with the entire K-4 group at his school.  Again, we went to Dan Nicholas Park in Salisbury, about 30 minutes away.  We went there last year with the K-3 group.  The difference was, this year, Quinn and I rode the bus.  He was so excited to ride a real school bus, even if his school's bus is red, white, and blue, and not the typical school-bus-yellow.  Last year, I drove separately because I had 6 week old Jacob with us!

At the entrance to the park. It was a pretty chilly for a May morning in NC, but we shed our coats by 10am.

The first thing Quinn wanted to do was ride the train, so we went and got our tickets for the different activities. This park has no entrance fee, but it does have a train, barn animals, a zoo of sorts for animals native to this part of NC, several playgrounds, and Quinn's favorite part..."treasure rocks"...aka Gem Mining.  While we waited on the train, Quinn did this.

Waiting for the train.

The train conductor was sweet enough to take this picture of the two of us.  And yes,  I'm as cramped as I look....those train cars are super small.

Next, Quinn wanted to ride the carousel. He wanted to ride a camel. In fact, I rode too, although I did not get a picture.

After the carousel, we went down to the barn to see the animals.  They had goats, donkeys, sheep, chickens, a peacock and other birds, and this pig!  Quinn was fascinated that the pig was black and not pink.

We caught up with a few of his classmates as we were leaving the barnyard, so we walked around the zoo area with them.  Here they are, seeing if their "wingspan" compares to a bald eagle.

The kids had a lot of energy to burn, so we went to the playground. Quinn and his friends had a good time playing before we had our picnic lunch.

After lunch, we did Quinn's favorite activity...gem mining.  We got a 20lb bucket of sand with various gems inside.  We went to an area where they have water tables and mined for the gems.


Quinn was thrilled that this one was green....his favorite color!

I loved watching his expressions as he found different rocks.  We ended up with a small bag full.

When we got back to school, it was only about 2pm, and I know Jacob usually naps at Susan's longer than 2pm.  So while we waited to go pick him up, we ended the day getting ice cream at McDonald's.  It was a great end to a perfect day!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

A LIttle Taste of Heaven

I discovered a recipe that I tried to re-create and I was very pleased with the results.  Big thanks to my Sunday School Class for being my guinea pigs again!

Here is my version of CheeseCake Stuffed Strawberries

1 or 2 pounds strawberries
1 (8oz) package of cream cheese, softened
3-4 tbsp powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
graham cracker crumbs

1.) Wash strawberries. Set out cream cheese so it can soften.

2.) Cut off the stems.

3.) Next, you want to hollow out the strawberries.  If you have a small melon baller, that would be the perfect thing, but I didn't have one.  I tried to use a small paring knife, but it didn't work well. My potato peeler has a divot on the tip to use to gouge out the potato eyes...I used that.  A melon baller would have worked much better.

4.)  Now you want to create your cheesecake mixture.  Mix the cream cheese, vanilla, and 3 tablespoons of powdered sugar. Do a quick taste test....if you prefer sweeter cream cheese, add up to one more tablespoon of the powdered sugar. With a small spoon or spatula, gently stuff the strawberries with the cream cheese.  (You can also put the cream cheese mixture into a baggie or icing dispenser and squeeze the cream cheese into the strawberries). Put the graham cracker crumbs in a small dish....dip the top of the strawberry into the crumbs. 

Unless you will be immediately serving these, refrigerate.

And the finished product will look like this:

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Handy Buddy's Newest Project

Buddy is always up to something....usually a project of some sort around the house.  It might be elaborate, it might just be "tinkering" but he never sits still.

His newest project has been to build shelves in his work trailer. He got this trailer for hauling around his tools (and he has A LOT of tools) but it had no shelving in it. He bought a set of adjustable shelves, but after installing them and trying them for a few weeks, it just wasn't working for him. So instead he bought a few pieces of wood, used some other wood we already had and built custom shelves to meet his needs.  And these pictures just don't do it justice!

This is the shelving unit he bought but even though it was adjustable it just didn't work.

Here are the shelves he built himself!  (And isn't the shelf model a cutie pie?)

I am so thankful I have a husband who is so good at envisioning the completed project and working to get to there. He can fix just about anything and can create just about anything too!  Not many men can do this! So proud of my guy!!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

I'm better than lucky

Since Buddy and I got married back in 2003, we have had several major decisions that we had to make.

Moving away from the town we called home to a town where we knew no one, but the job opportunity seemed like the right thing.

Buying our first home.

Deciding to start a family.

Deciding to try for a second child.

New job opportunities for Buddy.

EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.....that a decision had to be made, we prayed and prayed and talked and prayed some more. Because every single one of these decisions was life-altering in many ways. Above all, we wanted to make sure we were making a decision based on God's will for our life, and not a split-second, after thought.

I have always had a knack for finding four-leaf clovers.  Ever since I was a little girl, I have always been able to find them, and fairly easily too.  When I was a little girl, I just thought I was lucky...that's what 4-leaf clovers are all about.

Now that I'm older, it's still pretty easy for me to find them, but I don't view myself as lucky anymore.  Now I see them as a sign that God is going to answer my prayer.

When we made the decision to move from SC, Buddy and I had been walking through the yard of our apartment complex. We were talking about the job opportunity and how it had been brought his way by a friend who "out of the blue" called us after months without seeing him.  We stopped and prayed that God would help us make the right choice. My head was bowed and when Buddy finished his prayer, I opened my eyes and the first thing I saw was a four leaf clover! I still have it, pressed and in one of my Bibles.

We prayed about the decision to purchase a home, and later I took our dog Tillman for a walk.  While I was outside I found a four leaf clover.

And on and on and on.

Sometimes we prayed about decisions and found four leaf clovers and God's answer was YES.
Sometimes we prayed about decisions and found four leaf clovers and God's answer was NO.
Sometimes we prayed about decisions and found four leaf clovers and God's answer was JUST WAIT.

I found this one today. It's been a rough week at work as we found out there will be two teachers who will have to leave my school due to low numbers. On my drive home today, I was thinking about this and  praying about my job. I love my school and the sweet children I get to work with every day.  This job was another answer to prayer when we first moved to NC. I know that God will provide a new school for me to love, if that is the case, but I know He knows how much this school and these kids mean to me.  When I got out of the car to pick up Jacob, I just happened to look down and saw the clover. I paused by my car to thank God for hearing my prayer and making a way for me. I don't know the outcome yet, but He does!

I no longer see four leaf clovers as a sign of Good Luck.

I no longer consider myself "lucky" when I find one.

When I find a four leaf clover, I see it as a tangible sign of God's work in my life.

I'm not LUCKY....I am BLESSED!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!

Today my parents celebrate 37 years of marriage!

I am so happy to know that my parents have not let the ups and downs of life cause them to ever consider giving up on each other.  In this day and age, it is all too common and all too convenient.  Times get tough and people give up, for whatever the reason. Hollywood makes it seem glamorous and the "in-thing" to go all out for a million dollar wedding and it to last less than 5 years, or less than 1 year, or only 72 days.

God even told us that tough times will come, but we should count it all joy!  (James 1:2)  So I am glad that through the many times of my dad working out of town, health issues, and other things, my parents never once gave up. I am so blessed that I had 2 people who loved me totally and unconditionally! They have been supportive of every. single. thing. that I have wanted to do in my life.....even when it meant me moving 3 hours away from home so I could be supportive of my own husband.  And now, it is a joy to see them be grandparents to my boys!

When I was a little girl, Mom told me the details of her wedding. It was as perfect as a picture, except for one thing. There was a song popular that year (1976) called "Time in a Bottle". She and Daddy liked the song and she wanted to use it in their ceremony, but she couldn't find the music for it.  That's always been the thing she said she would fix if she could have.  Here are some of the lyrics.

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!  I hope you have 37 more!!