Thursday, March 31, 2011

I need your help!

In an effort to partly help out a sorority friend of mine from college and also partly to earn a small prize, I entered three blog posts in a contest on Charlotte Mom Favorites, a blog written by Katie, a stay at home mom in Charlotte who runs a playgroup and writes a blog. My first of three posts is sitting here today, and I need a bit of traffic in order to win a $50 Visa Gift Card. So please click here. And even better, if you decide to click here, show me some love in the comments. :-) Note: I had to clarify the post in the comments section that this was written in 2008. Katie forgot to include my statement that it was my first blog post written when we were selling our first home. It sounds like we are thinking about expanding our family again (HA!) and that we have given away one of our children. I'll let you know when the other posts go live. And you know I had to carefully pick and choose what past posts to enter. Didn't think the stay-at-home-mom strangers would appreciate my working-send-the-kids-to-school-mom humor quite as much. :-) Though you ladies know I have some mad love for ya'll! Thanks for all your help by clicking here.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Way Back When-esday!

Today's Way Back When-esday takes us back to late March's and early April's of the past...

Year: 2005

Brooklyn was just about 6 weeks old when we baptized her at the same church and in the same gown as her mama. She was so sweet and did so well.

Year: 2006

Brooklyn was a new walker and not too sure about that grass.

Year: 2007

Brooklyn loves spending time with her God-family (and wearing Allie's clothes).

Year: 2008

Brooklyn was so sweet with her baby doll headed to church.

Year: 2009

Brooklyn LOVES dying Easter eggs with her little God-sister, Zoe.

Year: 2010

At 5 years old and 5 months old, you could already see their sibling bond developing. Jake and Brooklyn adore one another!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Everyone needs a facelift sometimes...

Well, Blogger may be driving me crazy with its squishiness, but thanks to my friend, Elizabeth, "Coupons and Thin Mints" has gotten a pretty new facelift. I'm still working on all the small details, but Elizabeth designed a great header for me with a picture taken by another fellow blogger and Ragsdale alum/mommy, Jennifer. I am so glad to know such talented peeps. I'll just keep the slow cooker recipes coming, folks, cause I don't have the photo or design skillz that these ladies have. :-) One more week of Biggest Loser and Iron Scout at work. Definitely out of the running for Iron Scout (I am amazed by the women who have done 77 out of 77 days- they are amazing!), but the Biggest Loser title is still up for grabs. Having won last season, I knew that it would be tough to win again, but I am hoping for a third place win. We shall see... Lots of new prayer requests this week. My heart just hurts for those who are grieving or suffering. Please continue to lift those mentioned in prayer, and let me know of anyone else we could be praying for. And BABIES! Please send me your submissions for the "Oh Baby!" list as well. I love praying for these sweet additions and celebrating in their births and then 1st birthdays! The C. Johnson family tree will no longer be sprouting any branches (thanks to my selfless and sacrificing husband!), so I am eager to celebrate YOUR babies and hug them and love them...and then give them back. :-) Current obsessions: 1. Words with Friends (name is JaclynJohnson if you wanna start a game) 2. The Secret Life of the American Teenager (I've been watching it via Netflix on my phone while working out. I'm only on Season 1, Ep.5 so I have a ways to go. I have been trying to avoid seeing commericals on TV showing me what's currently happening.) 3. Still loving on my crock pot (Though now I think I want a fancier one for my birthday with programmable times. Does that even exist? I'm sure it does.) 4. Salad

Monday, March 28, 2011

Blogger gone beserk

Is anyone else having problems with Blogger? It's squishing all my entries together- the last slow cooker post, my Biggest Loser update, and my Iron Scout record.... Pardon our appearance while I figure out what's going on. :-)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Slow Cooker Sunday: Apricot Chicken

I know I have been on a chicken kick lately, but we only have two more weeks of the Biggest Loser at work (and thus, weigh in's on Mondays) so I will try to branch out in a few weeks. :-) However, when your husband turns up his plate so he can lick off the remaining juices, you know you have found a winner. This was such a yummy chicken recipe. We both really enjoyed it this evening. Sorry no pictures. It disappeared before I had the chance. :-) Apricot Chicken Ingredients: 11 oz. jar apricot preserves 1 tsp. dried minced onion flakes 1 Tbs. dijon mustard 1 Tbs. soy sauce 1/4 tsp. ginger 6 boneless chicken breasts or thighs Directions: 1. Drop chicken in the crock pot. 2. Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl. 3. Pour mixture on top of chicken. 4. Cook on high for 4-6 hours or low for 6-8 hours.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Slow Cooker Sunday: Peanut Butter Chicken

Peanut Butter Chicken

1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut in chunks)
1/2 cup peanut butter (any kind)
1 red pepper (seeded and sliced)
1 Tbs cumin
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 lime (squeezed)
1 large onion (chopped)
1/2 cup chicken broth

Place chicken in crock pot and cover with peanut butter.
Add peppers and onions and cumin on top.
Squeeze lime over everything.
Pour in soy sauce and chicken broth and cover.
Cook on high 4 hours.
Serve over white rice or quinoa.

We gave this meal an "aight." It was a "stir fry type" meal so it went well served over white rice. And I have been a big fan of the microwave Uncle Ben's white rice packets. 90 seconds and done. Bam. Chad didn't like the cumin flavor, but I thought all the ingredients complimented each other very well. It was good...not my favorite crock pot meal...but good. If you like Thai Peanut Chicken Sauce, you will like this (though it's not spicy at all).

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Way Back When-esday: St. Patrick's Day edition (kinda)

Here are some pics of St. Patrick's Days past (or at least the week of)...

2005: We were not thinking green these days! Having a three week old, our lives were all baby girl pink!
2006: Brooklyn (sporting her lime green onesie) was interested in only one thing- getting outside in her car!
2007: We were actually a bit more purposeful in our wardrobe planning...and Brooklyn was perfecting the art of two-fisted drinking.
2008: Somehow my pictures went from Brooklyn's birthday party to Easter...I am guessing we were staying busy with our 3 year old!
2009: BINGO!' :-)
2010: Again, kinda slack on the actual day, but baby Jake wore green that week. Does that count?
And a special WBW moment:
I failed to mention that I was a bit busy on St. Patrick's Day 2010 because I was driving to Huntersville to meet this precious new addition to the Carolina Girls family. Marisa had just given birth to a beautiful, teeny Nora Kate. I cannot believe she is celebrating her first birthday tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

that's what's up

1. I spent 2 hours this morning packing boxes for Operation Sweet Treat, a program we have here at the Girl Scouts for girls to sell cookies to be sent to military overseas and here in the US. I love my job!

2. I gained 1.5 pounds this week and have been kicking myself the last 24 hours. This is the first time in 7 months I have gained weight and it has been just consuming me. I know last week's 2.5 loss was probably a fluke, and obviously I am still down overall, but I just hate that I let myself slip. And I am trying not to blame the fact that I had a horrendous sinus cold/infection since Wednesday and wanted to eat nothing but ice cream and bagels. And I only worked out twice. But I definitely see the cause and effect relationship here.

3. I moved to a bigger office at work. Literally, it is twice the size of my old office. I feel like a princess.

4. I get a little too giddy when Air Supply plays on my Pandora station.

5. I am feeling a bit guilty because Chad was so excited when I told him I was making Manwich sandwiches for dinner. He's gonna be so disappointed when he finds out I am using ground turkey.

6. I also feel a bit guilty for not giving up anything for Lent this year. But really, when I started my diet/lifestyle change in August, I gave up about 1800 extra calories a day so that kinda stopped the sweet tea, fried foods, and desserts that I usually give up before Easter. And I added exercise. And honestly, I just didn't have the brain energy to think of something more creative.

6b. Side note about giving up stuff for Lent. I am completely impressed by the people who gave up Facebook for Lent (miss you folks!). I don't think I could ever do that, because these days, Facebook provides me with all my current news stories (along with The View's Hot Topics) as well as daily birthday reminders.

So, that's what's up.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Slow Cooker Sunday: Easy Chicken Stew

My only complaint about tonight's recipe?

There was not enough!!

This chicken stew was super yummy (and also perfectly paired with cornbread). It would be really easy to double, and I bet the leftovers would be awesome. However, there was no leftover from tonight's meal to test that theory. :-)

1 1/2 cups russet potatoes, washed and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 1/2 cups carrots (I used baby carrots for convenience.)
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp sage
1/4 tsp thyme
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 can cream of chicken soup

1. Place veggies in the bottom of the slow cooker.
2. Sprinkle seasonings over the veggies.
3. Top with chicken and then cover with soup.
4. Cook on LOW for 6 hours.
5. Use a fork to shred the chicken, stir, and serve.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Cutest Cookie Booth

Last weekend, Brooklyn's Girl Scout Daisy troop participated in their first (and only) cookie booth. They were so excited and Brooklyn counted down the days!

First, I asked Brooklyn to make all the signs. She took her job very seriously. :-)
The girls wore these adorable costumes (on loan from the council) and their official Daisy vests and held the signs.
They were also very particular about the table and making sure everything was neatly organized. Wait, maybe that was me....
The cutest Peanut Butter Sandwich ever. :-)
The moms were so awesome and even offered curbside cookie service.
I mean, seriously, how could you say no to these cuties?
Their first cookie booth was a success, and they sold about 80 boxes that evening.
Thanks to everyone for supporting the cookie sale! Your purchase goes so much farther than the box of yummy cookies you take home. You are ensuring that girls 5-18 everywhere receive quality leadership and service opportunities that allow them make the world a better place.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Slow Cooker Recipe: Creamy Chicken and Spinach Lasagna

I wanted this title to say "You win some, you lose some."

But then I didn't want to deter anyone from making this great (but maybe just not great for me) recipe.

A few notes:
-Jake ate it up while Brooklyn had to have the "You must eat 3 bites before you can get up from the table."
-Chad said that he really liked it but would probably do a little less spinach next time.
-I confirmed that once again I do not like Alfredo sauce....and I may actually only like spinach when mixed with sour cream and served with pita chips.

With that being said, it really was a good recipe, but I just don't think it was one of my personal favorites. :-)

1 1/4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 container (10 ounces) refrigerated Alfredo pasta sauce
1/3 cup water
4 no-boil lasagna noodles
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups cooked diced chicken

1. Combine 1 cup cheese, ricotta, oregano, and pepper flakes in small bowl and set aside.
2. Blend Alfredo sauce with water and set aside.
3. Break 2 lasagna noodles and place in bottom of the slow cooker.
4. Spread half of ricotta mixture over noodles.
5. Top with half of spinach.
6. Arrange half of chicken and half of Parmesan cheese over spinach.
7. Pour half of Alfredo mixture over top.
8. Repeat layers beginning with noodles and ending with Alfredo.
9. Cover and cook on LOW for 3 hours.
10. Sprinkle remaining mozarella cheese on top, cover, and let stand 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Way Back When-esday

What a difference a year makes....

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Family Pictures: Spring Style!

Happy Tuesday, y'all! About a week ago, we had "Easter pictures" done with Jennifer at Century Photography. (I am loving that all my Ragsdale High School peeps are running such successful photography businesses!)

Thankfully, we had beautiful weather, so Brooklyn and I didn't even have to freeze to death in skirts. :-)

Here are my favorites from the shoot. Please contact Jennifer at Century Photography if you would like to schedule a shoot with her before March 31st or after May 20 (she's expecting her 2nd precious baby soon!).

Monday, March 7, 2011

Slow Cooker Sunday Recap: Heavenly Harvest Pork Roast

Sunday night's Slow Cook Meal was a gamble. It could have gone either way, but lucky for us, it went GREAT. This pork meal was super moist, so flavorful, and perfect served with white rice (on the side or underneath the meat).

Heavenly Harvest Pork Roast

1/4 cup pomegranate juice
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbs salt
1 Tbs garlic salt
1 Tbs steak seasoning
1 tsp black pepper
1 boneless pork roast (any type around 3-4 pounds)
2 pears, cored, peeled, and sliced thick
1/2 orange with peel, sliced thick

1. Combine pomegranate juice with sugar in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until sugar dissolves (about 2 minutes).
2. Pour into slow cooker.
3. Blend salt, garlic salt, steak seasoning, and pepper in mixing bowl and then rub mixture over roast.
4. Place roast in slow cooker and then turn over to cover in juice mixture.
5. Top roast with pears and orange slices.
6. Cover and cook on HIGH 6-8 hours or until tender.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

What A Girl Wants...

Recently I asked Brooklyn, as she is now 6 years old, what some of her favorites were. Here are her answers...

Food- Macaroni and cheese
Song- the Nickelodeon theme song
TV Shows- iCarly and Victorious
Movie- Strawberry Shortcake
Friends- Mallory, Avery, and Bryson
Saying- "I love you."
Animal- Butterfly
Restaurant- Feeney's
Book- I Like
Candy- Tootsie Roll
Drinks- Cherry juice (?)
Outfit- Dress
Activities- Watch TV; Jump on the trampoline
Shoes- High heels
Ways to land herself in time out- Lying; Saying "No"
Bath time activity- My baby girl no longer takes baths...she's all showers now!
Breakfast food- Pancakes
These were all her answers....some I would disagree with, but I didn't edit. I have no idea who's letting her drink "cherry juice."

Saturday, March 5, 2011

I will praise You in the storm...

Dear God,

It's been a hel- I mean- a heck of a few days.

It started out Thursday morning when Jake woke up at 4:45am and did not go back to sleep. I mean, I finally got my body adjusting to the 5:30 wake up calls, but 4:45 was a bit much.

But then I started thinking about the family I know whose baby went to sleep one night. And then he didn't wake up. So I sat there, God, and I praised you for giving me a beautiful, healthy son...with a pair of healthy lungs. And I prayed for that family, and too many others like them, who are suffering the loss of a baby- or a child- or a parent. And I asked you to be with those people and their grief. And once again I thanked you for a healthy baby who allowed me extra time with him that morning.

So, the morning went on and by the time I went to work it was 7:45 and I had already been up for 3 hours. And I was tired. And then I got a call from Chad that said that Brooklyn's class was infested with head lice and she was the next victim. And I was a little grossed out. And a little pertubed that I had to spend about $40 and two days cleaning the house, changing out pillows, and treating my daughter's hair.

But then I realized how blessed I am to have $40 to pay for things like this that come up unexpectedly. And I, again, realized that I am blessed that my daughter is only suffering from lice. And not a broken bone. Or cancer.

So after an exhausting day, Chad and I went to bed only to be awakened at 12 by Brooklyn (room was too cold), 12:30 by Jake (quick cry and then back to sleep), and 2:15 by Jake (completely soaked through his pajamas and the bed). And so at 2:15am, Chad and I were changing crib sheets, and pajamas, and our own clothes.

And then I thanked you, God, for a husband like Chad. A man who jumps up out of a deep sleep ready to take on whatever is happening. A man who doesn't ever complain- just smiles and shakes his head. A man that will pat his baby boy's back as he drifts off to sleep or even go to sleep in a twin bed with his daughter after she has a bad dream.

So, God, as I am still working on doing laundry, and cleaning bathrooms, and balancing the checkbook that is "just enough," I praise You in the storm. I do know that this, too, shall pass. That one day, I will be waking up before my children in the morning. And one day they will make their own bed or get their own blanket when they are cold. And one day I will look back on this challenging week in the Johnson house and think, "Thank you, God, for my family- my perfect, precious family."


Friday, March 4, 2011

She is Six(teen) going on Seventeen...

I know it's a corny title but it just totally fits my daughter these days. She is truly growing up so fast. I was so excited when we decided to have a small friend birthday party at the Spa the Saturday after her birthday.

First, the girls got to decide what color they would like...

Brooklyn got to go first, and she got a special birthday mani and pedi.

Jake was not impressed with this part of the party...he got more into it when it was cheese ball and cake time.
Letting her nails dry.

It was so cute to see all the girls lined up getting painted.

Brooklyn's finished toes

Sitting under the dryer...and making crazy faces. :-)

I had to get a picture of the other sweet boy in attendance, little precious Silas.

Brooklyn's 2011 Walmart Birthday cake...iCarly was the winner this year!

Enjoying cake and snacks

Present opening

A group picture! These girls were so well-behaved and awesome. I hope they had as much fun as Brooklyn and I did that morning! Thank you, Zen Spa and Nails!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Brooklyn's 6th Birthday Party

I completely forgot to re-cap Brooklyn's 6th Birthday Party last Thursday. Thursday night, we had a small family party with grandparents and great-grandparents.

Brooklyn opened presents...
Lots of presents...
But her favorite present was a big surprise...a giant trampoline from us and her 4 grandparents! She was shocked, but so happy! We didn't have a chance to put it together before Thursday, but we wrapped a picture of it for her to open.
No singing for our shy one, but she did blow out her candles.
Thanks, Gramma, for the yummy yellow cake with chocolate icing and thank you, Nanny, for the whipped cream and cherries!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Way Back When-esday: Birthday Throw-Down Edition

Today's Way Back When-esday is two parts.

As I was looking back at Brooklyn's birthday party pictures, I noticed two familiar faces that always seemed to be close by...

(Brooklyn's 2nd birthday party with Allie, age 5 1/2, and Zoe, age 6 months.)

(Brooklyn's 3rd birthday party with Allie, age 6 1/2, and Zoe, age 18 months.)
(And Brooklyn's 6th birthday party with Allie, age 9 1/2, and Zoe, age 4 1/2.)
And I also want to give a Way Back When-esday shout out to Walmart and their birthday cakes! Over the past 6 years, I have turned to Walmart for my birthday cake needs. Nothing beats a Gramma birthday cake for the small parties, but when we are requiring cake for 20, 30, or even 40, Walmart comes up with some pretty great tasting cakes with some pretty rockin' designs.
1st Birthday Cake (2005):

2nd Birthday Cake (2006):

3rd Birthday Cake (2007):

4th Birthday Cake (2008):

5th Birthday Cake (2009):

Stay tuned for an upcoming post to see this year's 2011 Walmart masterpiece!


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