"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved." Ephesians 1:3-6

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Crock Pot Pork Chops--AMAZING!!!!

This is all I have left to show for our meal:
This was a recipe that I searched for very last minute and only because we had a change of plans.  Brent works from home on Thursdays, so I will often have something on the grill that evening.  Last Thursday however, there was a change of plans.  I had pork chops on the menu, which we always eat with my Aunt Marie's deeeelicious homemade chili sauce, but Brent didn't work from home and he said he was going to pick up his brothers on the way home to help him install the sprinkler system.
So, since I only had 2 pork chops thawed and he wouldn't be available to grill, I did a switcheroo and we had spaghetti instead!
I knew that Friday he would be finishing up the yard and want to get to work on it as soon as he got home because he had to return some rented equipment to "The Homey D"  (yes, we are on a nickname basis with Home Depot.  We are probably their #1 customer lately!)
So, all that to say this: I went looking for a crock pot meal for pork chops!  I have done pork loin plenty of times--always with carrots and potatoes (YUMMMMM).  But never pork chops. 
This recipe is hands down one of my new favorites.  The entire meal was just scrumptious and so stinkin easy.  It is definitely one we will be using again and I feel a little silly because it is just so easy!
1 small can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 can of water or milk depending on how creamy you want it (I used water because we were low on milk!)
4-6 pork chops (I only used 2)
Mix soup and water/milk in a bowl.  Pour 1/2 mixture in the crock pot.  Place meat on top, then cover with remaining mix.  Low 4-6 hours
That's IT!  I also poked a few holes in my chops, which were boneless.  The original recipe called for bone in, but it obviously doesn't matter.
And another thing I did to make my life easier--I cut, peeled, and boiled carrots the day before and just threw them in the oven with some seasoning.
We also had some instant mashed potatoes that were unused from the kids sensory bin so I whipped those up and then thickened the soup mixture once the meat was done to make a gravy. 
The gravy is why this recipe is so good.  I was dipping my carrots in it after the meat was gone! :)

Crockpot Meal: Chicken Pot Pie

I had all my ingredients for chicken pot pie tonight.  Was planning to make it the way I always do and double it for the freezer.

But the kids were all playing together and I was prepping lunch.  It dawned on me that I could just prep dinner too! And since the other recipe I use is a little time consuming (at least in the fact that I have to measure several things and then stand and stir at the stove for a few min), I thought I would try this new one out that I had in the cupboard.

I found the recipe here while searching online last week for crock pot recipes.  I wrote it down just in case, though I really didn't plan to use it because I love the other recipe so much!
It's super easy and will probably taste just as yummy.  I made it fresh, so my chicken or any part of the meal was not frozen. But I'm sure you could mix it all ahead and freeze it!   I also adapted the recipe to use the bisquick instead of the pie crusts.
1 large can cream of chicken (I had cream of mushroom)
4-5 chicken breast (I used 2)
2 cups frozen veggies
potatoes, peeled and diced (I didn't have any on hand and normally don't add these, so I didn't do this)
2 cups cheese
2 pie shells (or bisquick like in my other recipe)
Mix soup, chicken, and veggies (and potatoes) in crock pot. 
Cook low 6 hours, until chicken is cooked.  (I didn't have the idea until 12:30pm, so I cooked on high for 3.5 hours, then switched to low)
Chop/shred chicken once cooked (I cubed it before adding it to crock pot)
Pour mixture into one pie shell (Or into a pan with no shell)
Top with cheese.  Top with 2nd pie shell (or bisquick like me!)
Bake 400 degrees 20-30min if using pie shell or until golden brown if using bisquick (about 15-20 min)

TWO THUMBS UP!! I may never go back to the other way again! :)


Freezer to Crock Pot: Black Bean Chili

I intended to make this as a freezer meal and pull out when it was needed, but instead I made it fresh! It was needed now:)

I like to have a soup in the fridge pretty much all the time so we always have a go-to lunch when needed.  This tasted really good! I browned the meat ahead of time then threw it all in the crock pot when I wanted it.  A nice change from regular chili!

1 lb cooked ground beef
1 28oz can diced tomatoes
2 12oz cans black beans
1 green pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
2t onion powder
2t garlic powder
1T cumin
1 T chili powder


Mix all in freezer bag. Lay flat and freeze.
Can put in crock pot thawed or frozen.  Low 6 hours


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Latte!

It's that time of year:)  After using up all my starbucks gift cards in the first couple days of the pumpkin spice latte being back, I was super excited to come across this recipe online.

After making it and having several cups of it, my review of it would be that it is good.  It is of course not starbucks, but I figured that would be the case.  It does taste very close though and since it cost me about $3.50 to make, I say it's a winner:)

It makes a big batch and then you store it in the fridge and use as you wish.

1 can pumpkin puree
1/2 can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup brown sugar
2T vanilla
1/2 t cloves (I didn't use any)
1t nutmeg
1t ground ginger
1/4 t all spice (I didn't have this, so I used a pumpkin pie spice from Trader Joes that I had on hand)


1. Mix everything in blender for about 30 seconds
baby boy snuck in the picture;) He is enjoying these lattes very much!

2. Microwave 1/2 cup for 20 seconds (I misread the directions and did it for 30.  I don't think it matters)

3. Mix with 1 cup very strong coffee
It would of course be better with some yummy whip on top, but I don't have any!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Dude, You're How Old?!

Happy Birthday, Big Sis!!

I'm sorry for those of you that don't know my sister.  You should. You are missing out because she is one awesome gal! I'm so thankful for her in my life.  (even though she broke my collar bone when we were young!!!)  And not only do I get her in my life--I am the only one who can call her my sister! I am so blessed.

So many fun memories from growing up.
So many more special memories as sisters in Christ sharpening one another. 
And now we get to be mommies together and share in the humor and humbling that parenting brings.

God places us in families and we don't have a choice about that.  But even if I could choose from anyone at all, I wouldn't choose anyone else to be my big sister! 

Back in 5th grade, I wrote a little story for the newspaper about the person I looked up to.  It was her then and it remains her today. 

Now, I just need her to move to Arizona! :)

(I was going to just choose one picture for this post, but I had way too much fun looking through and reminiscing of our fun times together! And I can't find any of her pics from the mullet days....so that will have to make a special appearance at another time:)



Project 52: week twelve

September 14-September 21

ASU played Wisconsin at home on Saturday.  Raelynn wanted to go SO bad.  She had even packed her little backpack with her pom pom and "emergency" pull-up.  But Daddy thought she better stay home this time.  Now I just hear "There will be another game for Raelynn."

She was sure to watch the game on the ipad though (we don't have ESPN but are able to stream it online) and of course she wanted to wear her ASU shirt too.
And you know she is her daddy's daughter when later in the week she touches the ESPN app on the ipad and says "I want to watch ASU"  :) 

Elliana is EVERYWHERE!  She has learned to 'scoot' and does her little army crawl all over the house.  She is very interactive with toys now and is putting everything in her mouth.  She is frequently gagging because she has a piece of the shag carpet in her mouth.  The other day she actually had the corner lifted up and was chewing on it. 

Yep, getting into everything!!  It is now her turn to learn what 'no touch' means. :)

Elliana has learned to give kisses! They are ADORABLE.  She sticks her tongue out to give us a little lick:)

Last week (week eleven) was a hard week.  We felt like we had taken some steps back and Elliana was having a hard time with some things.  I am thankful to report that this week's update is a complete turn around!  She had started to refuse to eat when we were spoon feeding her.  It was frustrating for both her and us.  It resulted in lots of tears.
This week she is back to eating well again! It is just a blessing from the Lord because even though it was a hard time, in hindsight we see it was a opportunity and testing He gave us to show we are faithfully trying to raise her according to His Word. He reminded us of His faithfulness when she would fall into us and grasp on to us so tightly for comfort and when we began to see the fruit of the labor.  He gave us such an encouragement when we needed it.

She LOVES clapping! And after each bite we would get excited and say good job and build it up big with clapping.  So, of course she joined in too:) 
(And now every time she hears the words 'good job' she claps:)

Thankful for happy meal times again.  Still trying to figure out her eating habits and schedule makes things hard. But sometimes, she just isn't hungry when we want her to be.  And other times, when it isn't quite convenient, she wants to eat.  I'm learning I need to be ok with that:)

Raelynn just can't get enough of her sister and brother.  She is my little helper.  Well, actually she refers to herself as "The Big Helper" :)  She is always in the action of whatever is going on.  And if nothing is going on, then she is creating some action for us.


I come back from putting Elliana down for a nap and find her doing the dishes!! I hope she is still this eager to help when she can actually wash:)

She loves pushing Elliana around! Never a dull moment:)
Raelynn is also really into dressing herself.   She especially likes wearing her brother and sister's clothes. Silly girl:)

 Declan was still sick into the beginning of the week. He was on a clear liquid diet then progressed to clear liquid and the BRAT diet.  I can assure you, he is quite sick of toast and applesauce!  The bananas however, seems to be all he wants to eat.  He has now figured out where we keep them and will go to the counter and point.  The smile you get from him when you ask "Do you want a banana?" is priceless:)  He is now 14 months old!

The doctor told us to start bringing in foods one at a time again. We feel so bad for him because he can't enjoy good foods but yet he doesn't even seem to have an appetite when we do offer a non-BRAT food to him.

He did break out in hives this week after having strawberry jello then again the next day after having two strawberries.  So as we wait for his GI specialist appointment on October 24, we are trying to play doctor and figure out what is bothering his system. 
He has been soooo cuddly this week! And the poor kid is losing weight because he feels much lighter to carry.
Declan loves playing peek-a-boo and this week he learned 'All Done' in sign language!  I was actually trying to teach Elliana and he picked up on it.  He claps for 'more' and folds his hands for 'please' so we are working on those:)
Never crawls anymore!
Playing together!
Daddy had some big helpers and little helpers while working on the back yard this week.  Grant and Garrett came to help till and dig on Thursday.  The little helpers supervised on Friday while Daddy finished up.


 The sprinkler system is in and buried! Next grass seed will be planted.
 On Saturday, Sept 21 we had an event in our community park.  It was a big let down for us because it wasn't quite what we thought it would be.  It was advertised as 'bringing the zoo to you' but the only animals were rodents in a cage! Oh, and let's not forget the cockroach!  But the first thing Raelynn said when we got in the house was "THAT WAS FUN!" and she was sure to thank us.  So that is all that mattered!
Jackson and Harper came too!

There was this cool bubble machine.  And by cool I mean super messy and I was maybe a little glad it shut off just as we got to it! :)

And for a safari, we had to dress in zebra print!
 They really were giving great smiles....I just didn't capture them!