Sunday, February 27, 2011

Slow Cooker Sunday: Chicken Edition

Here are two great (and very easy) chicken recipes we tried out this week....

Barbeque Chicken Legs
*What you make when you have frozen chicken legs and no time to cook them after work

8 frozen chicken legs
1/2 bottle Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce

Place the chicken legs in the slow cooker.
Pour the BBQ sauce on top.
Cook on low for 8-10 hours.

Cowboy Chicken
*Served great with white rice

1-1.5 pounds of boneless chicken breasts
1 jar (15 ounces) of salsa
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
1 taplespoon of dijon mustard

Place chicken (defrosted) in the slow cooker.
Mix the remaining ingredients and pour over the chicken.
Cook on low for 5 hours.

Both were super yummy and somewhat healthy. :-)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Dinner out with Jake

We do not eat out in restaurants as much as we used to...but we may want to start practicing more. Jake is not accustomed to having to sit at a table for longer than 15 minutes, and he has not quite mastered the art of the "inside voice."

My mom and I took Jake and Brooklyn to Poblanos last week for dinner. After fighting with him to drink from a straw (and not put his entire fist in the cup), he ate quite well. He also used the big fork pretty well for a while- until he almost shoved the whole thing down his throat.

When there was just a few bites of food left, we observed this...

Using the hand is one way...
Shoveling from the plate to the table while keeping head down and focused is another...
But just eliminating hands all together and eating straight from the table seems to be the method of choice...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

This is what 6 looks like...

Today I wish my sweet girl (oh, how I want to type "baby girl" there but it just isn't so!) a very happy birthday! 6 years ago, I became a Mommy to the sweetest baby, Brooklyn Marie.

Brooklyn Marie is now 6 years old today.

In 6 years, we have gone from Elton John... Hannah Montana.
From the first day of preschool... the first day of Kindergarten.
From a Carolina Cheerleader... a Barbie Cheerleader.
From bald and beautiful... just plain beautiful.
And from being the "little sister"... being the Big Sister.

And what a perfect Big Sister she is.
Happy Birthday, Brooklyn!!! I love you more than words in a blog could express. You make me so proud of you everyday, and I fall in love with you over and over again each time I see your smiling face. Thank you for making me a Mommy, and thank you for being you.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Way Back When-esday: Brooklyn's Birthday Edition

Today's Way Back When-esday is in honor of a very special birthday girl. Brooklyn turns 6 tomorrow and my heart just smiles when I look back at all her past birthdays.

2005: Brooklyn's real BIRTHday

2006: Brooklyn's 1st Birthday

2007: Brooklyn's 2nd Birthday
2008: Brooklyn's 3rd Birthday
2009: Brooklyn's 4th Birthday
2010: Brooklyn's 5th Birthday

Yeah, I totally recycled the shirt from the year before. Only a teeny bit of belly showed. :-)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011


Jake's new obsession is bubbles. He asks about them everyday, plays with them at school whenever possible, and thinks it's Christmas if we pull them out at home.

I found one of the gi-normous bubble containers at the dollar store this week and let Jake play with the wand. He had a blast!

And then Mommy becomes the meanie when it's time to go inside...

I'm such a dream crusher.

[Don't be too sad...these meltdowns usually last 6.2 seconds.]

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Slow Cooker Sunday: BBQ Spareribs & Sweet Potato Vegetarian Chili

So, today I got a little over-excited and made two crock pot meals. :-)

BBQ Spareribs
*courtesy of the Harris Teeter seasoning aisle

1 package McCormick Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork Seasoning
4 pounds of pork spareribs, cut into 2-rib sections
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar

Place pork in slow cooker.
Mix Seasoning, ketchup, brown sugar, and vinegar until blended. Pour over pork. Cover.
Cook 4 hours on HIGH.

*My opinion: I think I prefer to grill my ribs, so next time I would probably take 10 extra minutes and slather them in Sweet Baby Ray's and grill for a few minutes. But, the overall flavor was great.

Sweet Potato Vegetarian Chili
*courtesy of my wonderful co-worker, Andrea

1 medium red onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin (I did not have cumin on hand, so I left it out.)
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 28-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes (I also used a can of drained corn because I forgot to buy two cans of tomatoes and needed a few extra ounces of something.)
1 15.5-ounce can black beans, rinsed
1 15.5-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed
1 medium sweet potato (about 8 ounces), peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
Optional: Sour cream, scallions, sliced radishes, tortilla chips, etc. for serving

Combine the onion, pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, cocoa, cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper in the slow cooker.
Add the tomatoes and their liquid, beans, sweet potato, and 1 cup of water.
Cover and cook until the sweet potatos are tender and the chili has thickened (LOW for 7-8 hours or HIGH for 4-5 hours).

*My opinion: This was a great, light meal to have when coming home from church at 8pm. (Hopefully the scale agrees with me tomorrow.) Chad loved the cinnamon flavor it had, and I really liked all the textures and flavors together and didn't even think it needed any extra toppings. I'm excited about eating it as a leftover tomorrow. :-)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

No need for a title..

...and really no need for many words.

Just enjoying this beautiful day as a family.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Two Recipe Tuesday

Here are two recipes for ya'll to try. Both come HIGHLY recommended from my family of 4.

CROCK POT PIZZA (version 2.0)
*recipe given to me by my co-worker, Starr

Brown 1 pound of hamburger meat with 1/2 tsp of salt, 1/8 tsp of pepper, 1/4 tsp of garlic powder, and 1/4 tsp of red pepper.
Set hamburger meat aside and cook 1/2 box of Rigatoni noodles as directed. Drain and set aside.
Layer the crock pot with the following:
1. Meat mixture
2. Cooked noodles
3. 3 cups of mozzarella cheese
4. 1 can of Cream of Mushroom Soup
5. 1 small chopped onion
6. 1 15-ounce jar of pizza sauce
7. 1 6-ounce can of mushrooms (do not drain)
8. OPTIONAL: One layer of pepperoni

Cook on Low for 4 hours in the Slow Cooker.

And this was a recipe that I tried out on the family last week. Surprisingly, a winner with all 4 of us!

*recipe given to me by my co-worker, Valerie

1 can (15-19 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons of light or fat free mayonnaise
1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin (OR I used chili powder.)
1/2 teaspoon of hot pepper sauce
nonstick cooking spray

In a large bowl, mash beans and mayonnaise with a potato masher until almost smooth with some lumps.
Stir in cilantro, bread crumbs, cumin (or chili powder), and pepper sauce until combined.
With lightly floured hands, shape bean mixture into 4 round patties.
Spray both sides of each patty lightly with spray.
Heat skillet over medium heat until hot.
Add patties and cook until lightly browned, about 3 minutes.
Turn patties over and cook until heated through (about 3 minutes longer).
Top burgers with lettuce and salsa and serve on a whole wheat bun or whole wheat pita.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Nothing says Valentines Day like...

1. Spending 4 hours in a Girl Scout cookie trailer filling 24 troop orders.

2. Eating pigs-in-a-blanket and mac-n-cheese with my kids (thanks, Gramma and Pops, for letting us crash dinner after a sudden change of plans! Such a yummy surprise! :-) ).

3. Ending the day by laying on the couch at 8pm in my pajamas watching The Bachelor with my husband.

*While it may not sound like a romantic, spectacular Valentines Day to all you young'ens out there, today was just another perfect day for the Johnson family. Though we don't usually acknowledge this particular holiday, I did find myself smiling at the Facebook posts and pictures of everyone's flowers and cards and candy. And each time I saw another box of candy or red balloon, I would just say a quiet prayer of thanks to God for blessing me with the three best gifts I could ever ask for. My life truly is complete with Chad, Brooklyn, & Jake. But I didn't need February 14th to come around to remind me of that.

Happy Valentines Day, everyone! And whether you were celebrating big with the one you love or celebrating "Singles Awareness Day" quietly at home, I hope that you remember the One who loved you first.

"And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love." -1 Corinthians 13:13

Friday, February 11, 2011

A girl after my own heart...

She chooses to have her 6th birthday at the Spa later this month and now...

Brooklyn let me (double) french braid her hair one night after her shower so when she woke up in the morning, her hair looked like this:
She was so excited to show her hair off to her friends (and teachers!) at school that day. (We straight-haired peeps really get a kick out of having body in our hair!)
She's also growing out her bangs and excusing herself to go and "floss her teeth after dinner." When did I start living with a teenager?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A 15.5 Month Update

Just a quick post to let you know that I took Jake to the doc this morning for his 15 month check up.

Shocker: He was not a fan of Dr. D. SAY WHAT???? This is no child of mine. We have the BEST pediatrician in the world. Seriously, like I wish he were MY doctor. Brooklyn loves him and Jake has always loved him, but today? Not having it. In my mind I was saying "Look, Dude, you think having your ears checked is bad...just wait 5 minutes for when the nurse comes back with 3 shots in hand. You are gonna be begging for a heartbeat listen."

But Jake is a healthy baby boy. And that's all that matters. Despite him being thoroughly pissed off during the exam.

He weighs 26 pounds, 7 ounces (75%) and is (I think) 32 inches long (85%). That's when he started to lose his mind so I got a bit distracted. Head measurements were right about 50%.

Despite having a touch of a runny nose and cough, he is doing great this winter and is hitting all of his milestones perfectly. We got several comments about what a "great little talker" he is. I just say that in our house you have to learn to talk, and talk loud, if you are gonna get anything. :-)
Jake continues to be a great eater. He eats whatever we eat for dinner, which makes life and mealtimes super easy now. He's started running- not walking any more. And he has figured out how to climb up the outside of the staircase in the house. We blocked off the stairs with an ottoman, but he just figured out how to climb up the side by holding on the railing. Little Spiderman.

And yes, he sported his UNC pajamas the other night at bedtime. It amazes me how Facebook exploded last night over the Duke-Carolina game. I have never claimed to be a die-hard sports fan. In fact, I would probably always prefer playing a sport over watching it. But being a Carolina alum, I obviously have mad-love for the school and always hope for a win. However, I will never seem to understand the ultimate HATRED that people have for Carolina. I mean, what did the school ever do to you? Did the beautiful campus offend your senses? Did the historical Old Well spit in your face? Did Dean Smith kick you in the shins as a child? Probably not. But people still continue to hate on a school that I find to be one of the best academic institutions in the USA. And a school that provided me with 4 of the best years of my life and 5 of the bestest friends ever and a sorority with sisters to last a lifetime. So why the hate, ya'll. :-)

But I I tend to do in this blog.
And I celebrate a great game last night (though a loss)...
And I celebrate even more a HEALTHY, HAPPY (except at the doctor's office) 15 month old Jake-Jake!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Way Back When-esday: Valentine's Day Edition

In honor of the upcoming "love-ly" holiday, here are some pics from Valentines Day past...






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