Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Looking Back at 2013

It's hard to believe that another year has come and gone.

Our family just one year ago

So much has happened in 2013.  Some things I will always remember and some things I hope to forget. It's been a year of smiles, new starts, laughter, and lots of illness. Through it all, I have had my family by my side, each step of the way. Good or bad, easy or tough, it's life and I'm so thankful I'm living it with my precious family.

Join me on a trip back through the past year...

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Our Christmas

Our Christmas week has been one of the most relaxed that I can remember.  Andy was out of town the week before Christmas so we have just been enjoying spending time together.  We've spent many hours in our pajamas, watching Christmas movies, baking Christmas cookies, and relaxing by the fire.

Oh, this kid.

We spent Christmas Eve with my in-laws for our traditional celebration. It was crazy to see how much the girls had grown from last year.  They did amazing at church and their excitement about everything was so much fun to witness.

Once we got home, we set out Santa's cookies, read The Night Before Christmas, and said our goodbyes to Lana the Elf.

Christmas morning came fairly early and the girls dove into their gifts. We had breakfast and sang "Happy Birthday" to Jesus at the top of our lungs.

Each Christmas seems to get better and better. These sweet girls love Christmas and they blow me away with their love for Jesus and the reason we celebrate on this special day.  I am so blessed to have these two precious babies to celebrate each day with.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Mmm, Mmm Monday- Chicken Noodle Soup

Our family has definitely needed it's fair share of chicken soup this year. We've battled one illness after the other and it's only December! I make this soup often because it's comforting and delicious. It has become our favorite meal, along with a loaf of crusty bread. I hope that your family enjoys it too!

Chicken Noodle Soup
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. butter
1 small white onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup flour
8 cups chicken broth
3 cups cooked shredded chicken breast
2 cups uncooked egg noodles
1 tsp. salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

Heat oil 1 Tbsp. of butter of medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven. Saute the onion, carrots, and celery until slightly softened, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook for one more minute.  Add the remaining Tbsp. of butter and let it melt. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables. Stir and cook for a minute.  Slowly stir in the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for  10-15 minutes.

Add the chicken, seasonings, and noodles and stir to combine. Cook until the noodles are al dente, about 10 minutes.  Season with additional salt and other seasonings if needed (I used low sodium broth, so I needed to add a lot more salt).  Serve with warm bread and enjoy!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

What a wonderful Thanksgiving we had! I can't remember a more relaxing holiday, which is exactly the way we wanted it!
The girls slept in and we spent the morning watching the parade and just spending time together. We had a delicious dinner and the girls loved everything. They were so excited about dinner and especially the pie. They each had special things that they made at school to wear for dinner and they looked so cute!

I am so thankful for my sweet husband and these two precious girls. I love them so much and I am so blessed to be their mom.  I hope you had a great Thanksgiving with the special people in your life!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Mmm, Mmm Monday: Mediterranean Pork Chops

In August I spent a Sunday afternoon preparing a bunch of freezer meals for the upcoming busy school year.  It's been great for those days when both Andy and I have things going on and won't get home until late and when I just don't feel like preparing a crockpot meal the night before or in the morning before work.

One of the recipes we tried were these Mediterranean Pork Chops.  I found this recipe from Aimee's website. I found many recipes on her site, and they were all great. These were a great change from the usual pork chops we make. They have great flavor and are super easy. The best part is that this recipe made two meals. I froze them in Ziploc bags and when we were ready to use them, I put them in the refrigerator the night before and popped them in the crockpot the next morning, partially frozen.

Mediterranean Pork Chops
adapted from Six Cents
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups chick broth
4 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp poultry seasoning
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried basil
6-8 thick cut pork chops
Directions:  Split all ingredients into two bags.  Add a little salt to each bag, to taste.  Cook on low for 8 hours.

Easy peasy!

Here's how I put them into the freezer. Everything was assembled right in the bags. I just squish everything around to mix it up. No clean up!

These are great with salad, rice, pasta, whatever! We've had them several times now and they've definitely become a new favorite. I hope you give them a try!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Pumpkin Carving

I LOVE Halloween. Next to Christmas, it's my favorite holiday. It's just so much fun and it makes me feel like such a kid.  I was really excited about this year because the girls were going to carve pumpkins instead of paint them.

The girls grew their own pumpkins at their Mimi and Papa's house and they were very excited about that.  They had perfect pumpkins to carve!

Emma dove right into the cleaning and once she got over the initial sliminess, she never looked back.  Sophia wouldn't hear of using her hands and stuck to using the scoop.  Emma drew out her own design and was SO serious about it. It was so cute to watch her.  I drew out Sophia's design, which was scary per her request.  Andy and I did the carving and I think they came out great!

Boo at the Zoo

Last night we took the girls to Boo at the Zoo which is one of my favorite Halloween events in our town.  I had originally decided that the girls were going to be bees this year, but I was quickly vetoed. Emma decided that she wanted to be Supergirl and since Sophia wants to do whatever Emma does, she went as Batgirl. Their costumes are super cute (ha) and when I found some superhero t-shirts for Andy and I, our family costume was complete.

The girls had a great time, as always. We kept commenting on how quickly the candy trail went this year, with both girls being all business. They got lots of candy and treats and now they can't wait for Halloween.

Doing The Twist. ;)