Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Slow Cooker Sunday: Crocksgiving 2011

'Tis the season for not having time to blog, but late or not, I wanted to share our week of "Crocking" with you all.

We have the honor of hosting Thanksgiving for our families each year in our home. Usually there is anywhere from 20 to 30 people in attendance. Everyone brings something to contribute, and we use "real" dishes and silverware. In preparing for the meal, side dishes brought early may find themselves cooling prematurely, and though we do have a dishwasher, there is still quite an abundance of pots and pans to wash in addition to the meal dishes. It gets kind of overwhelming and a few of us find ourselves washing dishes for what seems like hours.

So, last year, my mom and I discussed "Crocksgiving 2011." By inviting everyone to bring their sides in a crockpot, we eliminate extra dishes AND keep the food fresh and warm until dinnertime. Genius!

I have to say that it was quite a success! We had so many yummy sides- a green bean/new potato casserole, sweet potatoes, stuffing, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese- ALL made or at least transferred to a crockpot before arriving.

I was in charge of one of the turkeys, but of course wanted to participate in the Crocking fun, too. So, I found this great recipe for mulled apple cider. Yum! [Though due to a mixed crowd, I did eliminate the brandy. :-)]

That Sunday, I was desperate to get one more meal out of that yummy turkey so I found a recipe for a Turkey and Rice casserole. I tweaked the original recipe in order to use as much of my current food as I could, and I really liked how it turned out.

2-3 cups of cooked, chopped turkey
3 cups of converted white rice
3 cups of water
2 cans of cream of mushroom soup
1 cup of sliced baby carrots (the recipe called for celery, but I had carrots on hand)
1/2 cup of chopped onion (or you could use 1 tsp of onion powder)
1 tsp of poultry seasoning (I used "Perfect Pinch Rotisserie Chicken.")
2 cups of frozen veggies (I used a bag of Steamfresh Garlic Peas and Mushrooms. GREAT flavor)

1. Mix the cream of mushroom soups, seasoning, and the water in the crock pot.
2. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
3. Cook on High 4 hours.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Theatrical Two's

This is way overdue, but here's a post dedicated to my recently-turned-2 baby boy.

But first a few "aw-how-sweet-let's-look-back-at-Jake's-last-two-years" pics...

[The above pic shows just how much of a little pimp my son is. He "helped" his school friend take her fall pics a few weeks ago. Hilarious!]

I call these the "theatrical two's" because I really don't see them as "terrible." Or "terrific." They are simply "theatrical." Everyday is something new. One wrong turn (or wrong colored yogurt) can completely ruin his morning. A small toy (or dry erase marker) can elicit the biggest grin and become the best.toy.ever. You just never know.

But Jake, overall, is a very sweet, friendly boy. He greets everyone, loves to play with his sister, and gives the best squeeze-hugs and kisses.

A few of Jake's favorites:
Food- chicken nuggets; apple juice; spaghetti; chicken pie; peas; corn; green beans; nutri grain bars; cheetos; applesauce; yogurt; cheerios; Pop Tart crisps
TV Show- Blue's Clues (but he also likes D-D-D-D-Dora; Go Diego Go; The Backyardigans; Yo Gabba Gabba; and Fresh Beat Band)
Game- Hide and seek (in our bedroom closet)
Activities- Bubbles; catch; trampoline; drawing on Brooklyn's easal
Bedtime Books- Hush Little Ones; The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Knows- most colors; most shapes (even hexagon!); counting to 10; some of the ABC's; most of "Twinkle, Twinkle;" all the instruments in our band and who plays them :-)

And his stats from the doctor 2 year check up last Thursday:
Height- 36.25 inches (90%)
Weight- 34 pounds; 14 ounces (97%)

Oh, Jake-Jake, how I love you so much! Whether you are jumping around entertaining a crowd or just sitting sweetly and quietly in your car seat watching Blues Clues, my heart just bursts with so much joy and love for you. I am so proud of all the things you are learning each day and you amaze me with your conversational skills. Continue growing healthy and strong, and always keep that charming smile. You'll get whatever you want. :-)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

This weekend I did not....

...change a diaper. Blue's Clues.
...leap out of bed at 6:45am.

I did, however, miss my children terribly while I...
...ate lots of junk food.
...stayed up until midnight.
...stayed in bed until 9:30am.
...listened to an entire Glee soundtrack in the car.
...ate dinner at 7:30pm.
...went thrift store shopping.
...took a 2 mile run/walk around my favorite church camp.
...knit until my arms were sore.
...wore pajama pants 75% of the time.

I promise. I really did miss my babies.

But we had a great weekend with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law in the mountains.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Secret Life of the American Working Mom

Ok only a few of you will get that blog title, and if you do I won't tell if you don't. :-)

But, my "not so secret" secret life revolves around our Christian Rock Band.

And though we play every Sunday night, a standing gig, leading our church's evening Contempotary worship service, there isn't usually any huge breaking news to share.

Until now.

A few Saturdays ago, we had the honor and privilege of meeting one of our favorite Christian musical groups- Casting Crowns. Grammy award winning Casting Crowns.


They did a signing at Family Christian bookstore and because Emily, one of our band members, works as a manager, we not only met them, but we gave them this...

Yeah, we did a bit of self- promotion. :-)

Emily and Luke were actually with them "hosting" for the day and not only had time in the van transporting them but also ate lunch with them.

And talked about us.

A lot.

They were all really nice and agreed to listen to our CD and all took press packets back home. Who knows what will happen from it- if anything?

But it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And a great story.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Halloween Wrap-Up

Last post about anything Halloween....

The Thursday before Halloween was a teacher workday for Brooklyn, so we stayed in our PJ's and carved her pumpkin.

And then the Sunday before Halloween we attended Trunk or Treat at our church. Jake said "NO LIKE COW" when I asked him to wear his cow costume. (I think he heard his father speak about how "unmanly" it was.) But he did agree to wear his fireman raincoat.

Don't ever say I am not flexible.

Brooklyn was Hannah Montana but said "NO LIKE WIG" (well, she used correct grammar but you get the idea). So, she was kinda Miley Montana, Space Princess.

Again. Flexible Mom of the Year here, folks.

There were also some great kid-friendly crafts.

Trunk or Treat really was a great time and I thought it was a perfect way to celebrate Halloween. So, on Monday when Jake still had a cough and I didn't even bother asking him about a costume and Brooklyn only wanted to go to one house, I was completely OK with it. The kids really enjoyed passing out the candy and seeing all the "choochoo treaters," as Jake called them.

Happy November, everyone!

Halloween out.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Birthday Wrap-Up

Last post about Jake's birthday.

Saturday, we hosted family and friends at our home to celebrate Jake's 2nd birthday. I made baked spaghetti, and we had cake and coffee. It was very chill and relaxed. (I had actually bought tons of craft supplies from Michaels and had full intention of setting up a craft table in the garage and letting the kids go after it but all the kids were content and playing happily so why mess?)

Jake saw no problem sampling a tree before cake time.

Though Walmart disappointed me [for the first time ever- cakewise] when they did not have Blue's Clues, Jake LOVED the Backyardigans cake.

And he LOVED LOVED everyone singing to him.

Seriously, how can the same two parents have two totally different kids? I'm used to kids crying during the "happy birthday" song- not cheering and laughing. :-)

I think this was one of Jake's favorite presents. :-)

Brooklyn made the sweetest sign for the party- and even provided Jake with the Blues Clues cake he never had.


There she is. Barely let me take her picture. :-)

Happy birthday, Jake Jake. You get cuter every day and provide me with so much entertainment. And by entertainment, I mostly mean the two year old fits that you have been throwing for 3 months.

But I love you more than life itself, and I'll take those fits every day from my happy, healthy baby boy.

And yeah, you will always be my baby boy.


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