Friday, September 28, 2012

Sweetest Sound


Today is the last day for the "Fall Back Into Blogging" week from The SITS Girls.  Today writing prompt is to re-post a blog post from this week last year.  I was so thrilled to look back at this time last year, and this is a post from last September 24th.  I still can't believe Emmalee was this little last year.  Oh, how quickly times passes.  And since the post from last year has a video of my angle then, here is a comparison video that was taken this past weekend:

from September 24, 2011

I think hearing Emmalee "talk" and laugh is one of the sweetest sounds I have ever heard. She is so vocal lately, but I really have no idea where she got it from because I am as quiet as a mouse...maybe she got it from her dad because he doesn't know how to shut his mouth :)!

Just so you can hear the same sweet sounds I do, I have a few videos for you!  Both of these are Emmalee and her daddy.  I absolutely love seeing them interact.  Brant is such an amazing daddy and Em LOVES playing with her daddy! 

This first video is Emmalee in "Attack" Mode! She just started this and it cracks me up! She was attacking Brant the other night!

This one was taken last night. This video just cracks me up! 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fall Favorite {Recipe}


Today's blogging event from the SITS Girls is you favorite fall craft or autumn recipe!  If you know me at all then you know that I'll post a recipe because I LOVE cooking. 

But for the recipe, one of my all time favorites that will fill your house with the most delicious smells and is perfect to hand out as a nice little gift...

Crockpot Apple Butter
Photo from

Y'all, this is probably one of my most favorite things to cook in my crockpot.  It is one of those recipes that I make the basic part of it, then you can add as much cinnamon, nutmeg, or whatever other spices you cant to add into it.  I love lots of cinnamon in mine!  Now, fair warning - this is an all-day or overnight "thing"! 

Also, I need to give credit where credit it due!  I got the original recipe from here, Stephanie O'Dea's original website where she used her crockpot every single day for an entire year!  She is probably one of my heros! 

 --apples. 14 large apples fit in my 6.5 quart crockpot (you can use lots of different kinds - I used Granny Smith to add some 'tang', a few red delicious, and some fugi for a good sweet flavor.)
--2 tsp cinnamon 
--1 cup white sugar --1 cup brown sugar
--1/2 tsp cloves

--1 T vanilla
-- I also added 1 tsp of nutmeg 

The "How To":
1) Peel, core and slice your apples.  
2) Put all of your apples in your crockpot with 1 T vanilla. Cook on low for 8 hours (this is fantastic for overnight).  
3) Once its finished, your apples will be super mushy, so mash them up with a fork.  
4) Add in your sugars, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.  Stir it all up. Cook it on low again for 4-6 more hours.
5) If you like your apple butter velvety smooth, then use a hand-mixer and smooth it all out.  This is so delicious. 

This will make approx. 3 large jars, or 4-5 medium sized jars.  

(NOTE:  as I said, I really like a lot of cinnamon in my apple butter, so I probably used closer to 2 TBSP when it was all said and done.  But you can add as much or as little as you would like. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

It Was the Best of Times...

I'm so excited to be participating with the SITS Girls for their:

Today's writing prompt is "School Memories."

To tell you the truth, I have most good memories about junior/high school, but my greatest memories are from college.  This is where I made some of the most amazing friendships of my life that are still growing today. 

This is a picture fro my junior year in college: from the left there is Jessica, me, Mary, Michelle and Jill.  If you show this picture to anyone of us, we would crack up laughing simply because of the memories this night (in particular) holds.  Fast-forward 10 years, and here we are again (with the addition of my sweet child hanging on my leg):

And NO - were did not mean to stand in the same order as the picture above - it LITERALLY just happened!!!
These girls ARE my school memories.  We went through boyfriends and breakups, laughter and tears, triumphs and failures.  We had classes together, we lived together, we stayed up until all hours of the night together, we vacationed together, we loved together, and we are STILL together! 

I can truthfully say that college was some of the best 4 1/2 years of my life.  Yes, there were heartaches, but the lessons and memories (not to mention the love of my life that I met there) will always be worth it!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Discipline...Its NEVER easy

So this little adorable face is 17 months old!  Can you believe it, because I certainly can't!

I know - BAD blurry picture but sometimes its all you can get!
From 0-12 months, Emmalee was here daddy to a tee - calm, laid back, go-with-the-flow, quiet, etc.  As soon as she turned a year, she decided she would "become" her mother - sassy, stubborn, LOUD, a chatter box, always on the go, etc.  When experts say that "opposites attract" - the hubs and I are PROOF!  Just ask anyone who knows us IRL (in real life).

Needless to say, discipline has become a regular occurrence in our home but I also know its just a part of raising a child, and not letting that child raise you. 

But know this, just because Brant and I discipline often does mean that it easy for us to do.  So I just wanted to take a minute to give you some advice, one parent to another. 

We watched! We Read! We Gathered!  
I have watched so many SuperNanny episodes, and although my child is only 17 months old, I believe that she needs discipline.  We watched others and different parenting/discipline styles.  We read books, read articles, read blogs, polled our friends - we gathered as much information on discipline as we could.  It wasn't until we felt fully equipped that we decided how WE were going to discipline.  It was a decision WE had to make together.

We changed our plan! 
 You might realize quickly into your discipline "journey" that its not working - our original plan didn't work for us either, so we changed it!  Just telling Emmalee "no" didn't work  - remember she's just like me - stubborn to the core!  What we realized with LOTS of trial & error is that time out works best for her.  Emmalee is a busy-body but she is also an extrovert (again, just like me).  So being made to sit in one place not being the social butterfly she desires to be is what gets her attention.  She hates it.  But after that 1 minute of sitting by the wall, she has usually calmed down so that mommy can tell her why she was in time out, that she is STILL mommy's precious treasure, and that mommy loves her unconditionally!

Remember that they are smart!
Yes, they may be young but our children are so very smart.  So many experts will tell you that although you may not always understand what they are saying to you, they almost always understand what you say to them.  So remember to talk to them.  Tell them why they got in trouble; tell them the "Why" (i.e. "We don't touch the oven BECAUSE the oven is hot and can hurt you.  Mommy doesn't want you to get hurt.")

And last, but in my opinion one of the important tips to successful discipline:

When you (you as in the parents) decide what course you're going to take to discipline, you both have to do it!   I don't want to be the only "bad guy" in my house, I want my husband to share that responsibility.  Brant and I both discipline our daughter.  If we are both in close proximity, we will both sit down and talk to her about it.  She knows that daddy and mommy both love her, but daddy and mommy will both discipline her.

Discipline is not easy - it usually makes Emmalee cry and seeing my child cry usually makes me want to cry - but it is a part of parenting, its a part of learning and its a part of growing.  I hope these few things may help you a little bit.  I know that learning "how" to discipline was certainly a learning lesson for me and my husband.  But we started early, and I believe that my child is benefiting from that.  I now know why someone once said "It takes a village to raise a child".  And I hope that maybe, with these little tips, my experience can be a part of your village.

So please feel free to comment and share - especially is you have other tips that may help other parents.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


If you're a frequent follower then you might have seen my menu for the week.  There were a few new recipes I was making, but I also promised to post my recipe for chicken noodle soup - I am keeping my promise!

But before I give you my recipe, I wanted to update on Monday's dinner - Green Chili Enchilada Bake a.k.a. "I Don't Feel Like Making Dinner" Dinner.  

Y'all,  this was so delicious!  I loved it, Brant love it and Emmalee loved it too!  For Brant and myself, I drizzled a little extra salsa verde over the top once it was on our plate, added a bit of sour cream and pico on the side and we dug in!  Since we're just a family of 3, I had left overs and brought them to work for lunch.  I think they left overs might have even been better than it was fresh out of the oven!

All this to say - GO TRY IT!  It was just divine!

Now, onto my recipe for CROCKPOT Chicken Noodle Soup.
If you are cooking for a larger family, just add more of the ingredients as you see fit.  I make this just for our family, so it is enough to easily feed 4 (maybe even 5).

You will need:  2-3 large chicken breasts (frozen); 1 lb bag of carrots (large or baby); 1 celery stalk, 1 medium onion, parsley, salt, pepper, garlic salt, basil, oregano, 2 cans chicken broth, 2 chicken bullion cubes (optional, but I add them), and noodles.  You can also add a few of your own spices if you'd like.

How to make it:  Peel & slice your carrots, chop your celery (save the leafy pieces!)., slice your onion.  In your crockpot, put your frozen chicken on the bottom, then add all of your veggies including the leafy celery pieces*, chicken bullion cubes, 2 cans broth & 2 cans water**, and your spices.  I add my spices to taste...approx. 2 TBSP salt, 1 TBSP parsley, 1 tsp garlic salt, 1 tsp basil & 1 tsp oregano and several "turns" of fresh ground pepper.  You can add more/less is  you like.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  DO NOT PUT YOUR NOODLE IN!

Once its ready, take your chicken out & shred it with a fork.  Add it back in.  Cook your noodles in a separate pot.  One those are ready, put some noodles in your bowl & ladle your soup on top!  I don't add my noodles to my crockpok b/c last time I did that the noodles got too soft and were almost like wet dough - yuck!  So, I cook them separately.  So delicious!

* I once heard on the Food Network that the leafy piece of celery have some of the most flavor.  Although you may not want to eat them, putting them in the broth really adds great flavor!
** The first time I made this I had actually left over chicken broth from cooking a whole chicken in my crockpot.  If you have "real" (aka NOT canned) chicken broth, use that! The flavors in that add more than any canned will!  But I have made this both ways & it is always delicious! 

Hope you enjoy as much as we do!!!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Menu Monday

I am so excited that it has finally gotten cooler in North Texas.  I am ready to make some of my favorite fall recipes! I love chili and stews and those delicious recipes that just give you that warm & fuzzy feeling!  Oh, I love this time of year!!!

Here's my menu this week!
Monday - Green Chili Enchilada Bake a.k.a. "I Don't Feel Like Making Dinner" Dinner
This sounds like something really similar that my mom used to make, so I'm excited to try it!

And I don't remember how I found this blog, but I'm excited I did!  It seems like it has some really delicious recipes!

Tuesday - Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup
(I've made this before and it was beyond delicious, but I'm not sure I ever posted the recipe.  So I promise to post it tomorrow!)

Wednesday - Chicken Salad Pitas with sweet potato fries

Thursday - Chicken pasta (this is just a Macaroni Grill frozen meal) with a spinach salad and garlic bread

Friday - Pizza Night!!!

Saturday - Brant's parents are coming in town so we're going out.

Sunday Lunch - Zesty Italian Crockpot Chicken - I am SOOOO excited about this!

 I found this recipe through Kelly's Korner when she did her "Show Us Your Life - Crockpot Meals", but I'm not sure who I got it from.  I have never tried it but is sounds amazing.  You just need:
  • chicken breasts
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • zesty Italian seasoning (the kind in a pouch like the dry ranch mix)
  • 1 Can Cream of Chicken soup
Mix your cream of chicken and cream cheese together over low heat until the cream cheese is melts.  
Put the chicken in the crockpot, sprinkle seasoning over chicken, then pour the soup mixture over that. Cook on low for 4 hours.  If the sauce is too thick, add a bit of water or milk.  Serve over pasta a top with some Parmesan cheese. 

How simple is that?  And perfect for a Sunday lunch - put it on at 8 and should be ready just when we get home!  I'll let you know how it turns out!!