We Planted a Garden

Gardening Success from a black thumb

We planted a garden. I must admit I’m not really the gardening type, probably because I have a black thumb. However, III grew up on 11 acres and has grown a pepper or two in his day. I knew the kids would be all over it, and so of course I was in. III used some 6×6’s leftover from the play set install that he used to create a garden bed of sorts. He tilled and weeded the dirt and added fertilizer. Then we headed to Home Depot to pick up some plants. We settled on tomatoes, okra, jalapenos, bell peppers, strawberries and some herbs (oregano & basil).

I found the cutest gardening tools in Target’s Dollar section and the kids were ready to go! 

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They helped III plant and they help me water every day.

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It is incredible how fast those plants are growing. There are lots of little green tomatoes taking shape and the peppers are starting to blooms along with the okra. Check out this bad boy…just waiting for him to turn yellow.

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The kids are obsessed with looking for new blooms and we all can’t wait to eat from the garden. The herbs are doing great and we’ve already used them several times with dinner.

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So whether you have a spot in your backyard or you want to grow a planter/pot garden on your porch, I’m here to tell you, you can do it! Give it a go! And even if it fails, your kids will have fun!

Apple Cinnamon Muffins

apple cinnamon muffins
Hey friends! How are you? I am enjoying a peaceful naptime..these have been rare lately due to little man getting his 2 year molars, but the one giving him trouble has seemed to finally break through and we are all getting some relief. Teething is the worst! But we will not let it defeat us & are thankful for a mouth full of healthy teeth.

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I think I’ve mentioned before that I kind of have a routine of activities that get us through afternoons/witching hour as we wait for dad to get home from work. If not, I need to share more details….Mondays are reserved for baking and lately we have been making a lot of muffins. They make great snacks for the week and are such an easy way to sneak in healthy goodness. Plus they look really pretty sitting on the counter under the glass topped cake stand & give the illusion that our life is somewhat put together :)

These banana muffins are our FAVORITE, especially with a few chocolate chips, but you can also find us making blueberry muffins, applesauce muffins, these carrot & cranberry muffins, pumpkin muffins, and even an occasional lemon poppy seed. A few weeks ago we added another recipe to our rotation, apple cinnamon muffins. Chopped apples, brown sugar, and a little maple syrup…you can’t go wrong! Here is the scoop.

Apple Cinnamon Muffins
Yields 12
Delicious muffins full of chopped apples and maple syrup...then topped with brown sugar goodness.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 large red apple, peeled and chopped into small pieces
  2. 1/2 cup of milk
  3. 1.5 tsp of baking powder
  4. 1.5 cups of whole wheat all purpose flour
  5. 2 tsp of pure vanilla extract
  6. 2 eggs
  7. 1/4 cup of white sugar
  8. 1/4 cup of pure maple syrup
  9. 1/2 cup or 1 stick of softened butter
  10. 1/2 packed light brown sugar
  11. 1.5 tsp cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Using a mixer cream together softened butter, sugar and maple syrup
  3. Add in vanilla and eggs
  4. Add flour 1/2 cup at a time, then baking powder
  5. Finally add in the milk. Mix until well combined
  6. In a SEPARATE bowl combine brown sugar and cinnamon.
  7. Use liners or grease regular sized muffin tins
  8. Fill each muffin hole 1/4 full with mixture.
  9. Then top with 1/2 the diced apples & pat down.
  10. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture
  11. Cover apples with an equal amount of mixture as before.
  12. Top with more remaining apples and then the cinnamon sugar mixture and pat it down.
  13. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean
  14. Allow to cool before eating
  15. Enjoy!
Adapted from All Recipes
Adapted from All Recipes
A Step In The Journey http://astepinthejourney.com/

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They are truly delicious! I first found this recipe on All Recipes, and knew with a few tweaks (like reducing the sugar) I could make them perfect for our family. I love substituting things like unsweetened applesauce, raw organic honey, or organic pure maple syrup for sugar in my recipes. You still get the sweetness, but it isn’t as terrible for you. I can’t say it’s healthy, but better than white sugar! This recipe would also be great as apple cinnamon loaf bread, you could follow the same directions, but just pour into a 9×5 loaf pan and cook for a little longer (probably 45-50 minutes)! Enjoy! 

Sprout is TWO!

Happy Sprout

Sprout,

Our sweet sweet boy! I cannot believe you are two. It seems like just yesterday we were moving into our house and you decided to show up before we could get settled, 5.5 weeks early! It was a crazy but amazing time and every day with you since has brought us all so much JOY! 

You have grown leaps and bounds in the last year. For starters you are extremely verbal, you have been talking for a while now and a lot of it is in full sentences. My favorite is your dialogue with Chickadee. I love sending her in your room when yall are both awake after nap time and listening to you both chat back and forth on the monitor. 

Sprout is 2

Speaking of Chickadee, you love her dearly. You have really become the best of friends and watching yall interact is the sweetest (most of the time)! You want to do anything she is doing and because of that have become quite brave on the playground, going down the big slides and climbing rock walls. You miss her so much when she is at preschool, and ask for “More Chickadee” as she gets out of the car. Yall read together, play trains, set up tea parties, play in the sand table, and love running down the sidewalk on our evening walks. We pray the two of you are always close, encourage one another, and point each other to Jesus!

We have been soaking up so much new information in the past 6 months. From colors and shapes to a few numbers and letters. But your current obsession is Thomas the Tank Engine. Nothing would make you happier than driving your trains around the tracks on the train table all morning and then reading about Thomas all afternoon! In your Easter basket you received a set of Thomas alphabet cards and in less than 2 days you knew EVERY engine’s name. It’s good to see if the interest is there you soak up that knowledge quickly! My new tactic (not that I’m in a huge rush) is teaching numbers by using the numbers on the engines and letters by spelling the engine names. Whatever works, right?

Sprout is TWO

 I mentioned you love reading about Thomas, but really you love books in general. I hear multiple times a day “Read this book, please.” Some of your favorite are Steam Train Dream Train, Franklin, Owl at Home, Little Blue Truck, Llama Llama, Where do Diggers Sleep at Night and Brown Bear Brown Bear. We pray you always have a love for reading, imagination, and learning. 

You are still sleeping in your crib, taking one nap a day for about 1.5-2 hours. At night you are in bed around 7:30 and wake up about 7:00am. You have really become a good sleeper after a rough start! You love to snuggle and and give kisses and hugs. You are SUPER friendly to everyone and seem to have your dad’s outgoing personality. Since finding out you were going to be a BIG brother this summer you have been my constant doctor buddy…and you’ve handled our weekly visits like a champ. Everyone at the office LOVES you and always ask where you are if for some reason you are not with me. 

At church you love going to see Dottie and Nina (Anita) and and talk about them all the way home. For a while when we would ask you “Who love you?” You would say “Jesus, so much! And Dottie and Nina). We are thankful for all of those who are pouring the love of Jesus into your heart.

A few “stats:” At your two year old appointment you weighed 27.5 pounds and were 34.5 inches tall which put you around the 50% percentile in both, so you are finally “evening” out. You were 24 months or 2T in tops, but still an 18m in pants/shorts (you can thank Daddy for your short legs!). The doctor mentioned potty training, but you are not interested and tell me you want to go in your diaper. You are still working on your last set of molars and will head to the dentist for the first time in the middle of May. Your favorite foods are spaghetti, meatballs, nachos, smoothies, fruit and ice cream, but for the most part there is very little you turn down. 

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We continue to pray over you each night that God will use you to move mountains for Him. And I believe he is beginning to do that with your contagious smile. We are looking forward to watching you become a big brother and give that endless love to both your sisters. You are our JOY sweet boy and we thank God for every moment we get to be your mama and daddy. We pray for the day you root Jesus deep in your heart and live for Him. We love you!

And if anyone wants to take a trip down memory lane to when Chickadee was TWO, check out this old post!

Best Shredded Barbecue in the Crock Pot

Simple Crockpot Barbecue Chicken

Yall, we went the aquarium about a week ago and can I tell you…I am starting to FEEL this pregnancy. We parked at III’s office downtown and walked to the aquarium to save a few bucks. Then we walked ALL OVER the aquarium. It was an absolute blast, and the kids loved it. (Especially “Hank” from Finding Dory!) But when we got home that afternoon it was clear that 1. I wore the wrong shoes and 2. I am starting to be very pregnant. Hello 3rd trimester. Luckily, I already had something in the works for dinner (yay! crockpot) and I was able to put my feet up while III took over the kids solo for a little bit! If you are in Atlanta I definitely recommend a stop at the Georgia Aquarium…it’s incredible!

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So, who else loves the crock pot? I’m pretty sure the answer is everyone. Working moms, stay at home moms, one pot meal folks, guys that love anything that requires very little work… This shredded BBQ chicken recipe is great for weeknight family dinners or large groups. It’s easy, tasty, and makes great leftovers! Promise me you’ll give it a try soon!

crockpot barbecue chicken

Crock Pot Shredded Barbecue Chicken
Serves 6
Simple, effortless, and delicious barbecue chicken made in the crock pot
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breast
  2. 3/4 cup of Sweet Baby Ray's Barbecue Sauce
  3. 1/4 cup of Sticky Fingers Barbecue Sauce
  4. 1/4 cup of Italian Dressing
  5. 1/4 cup of Brown Sugar
  6. 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  7. 1 tsp garlic salt
Instructions
  1. Season chicken breasts with garlic salt and place in the crock pot.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together barbecue sauces, dressing, brown sugar & Worcestershire sauce.
  3. Pour on top of the chicken.
  4. Cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours.
  5. Around 3.5 hours two forks to shred the chicken and then allow it to continue cooking in the sauce until you are ready to serve.
A Step In The Journey http://astepinthejourney.com/
Barbecue Chicken Sliders

We love eating this chicken with King’s Hawaiian Rolls, but it would also be great on any bun or by itself. If you want to double the recipe it’s a great choice for feeding larger groups! Happy Monday. What’s for dinner at your house this week??

Barbecue Chicken Sliders Crocpot

Our FAVORITE Books Right Now

Toddlers Favorite Books

April has been true to it’s form around here. Hopefully the showers will be bringing May flowers! With lots of rainy days inside we have been crafting, playing with EVERYTHING in the playroom, and reading tons and tons of books. We have been reading to our little ones since they were in the womb. We are both book lovers (although I haven’t made time for grownup books lately), and we have passed that love on to our children. I was fortunate to bring a pretty big children’s book library home from my classroom when I “retired” from teaching before Chickadee was born. And I’ve been adding to it ever since!

We read at night, in the car, waiting at the doctor’s office, rolling around the grocery store, and in the floor of the playroom. I’m convinced you can’t read enough to your children. It’s amazing how it builds their vocabulary, imagination, and attention span! 

Right now Chickadee is 3 1/2 and Sprout just turned 2. I thought I would share some of our favorite books right now with you in case you are looking to expand your home library! You can find them all on Amazon (aff links). But I also suggest saving some money and search for them at Goodwill or rent them from your local library!

Thomas & Friends: Railway Rhymes

Thomas

Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night

diggers

The Napping House

The Napping House

Oh, the Places You’ll Go

Oh, The Places You'll Go

The Berenstain Bears Storybook Bible

Storybook Bible

Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See

(This ins one of Chickadee’s Favorite because she can “read” it to Sprout)

Brown Bear Brown Bear

Llama Llama Red Pajama

Llama Llama Red Pajama

Any Look and Find Books

Look and Find Books

Owl at Home

Owl at Home

Pinkalicious

PInkalicious

My First Bible Stories – 12 Pack

 My First Bible Stories

Pete the Cat

Pete the Cat

This is just a short list, but I’m pretty sure most of these I can read from memory. I am sure as parents/care takers we get tired of reading the same books over and over, but the repetition is really great for you kids! What books would you put on a favorite’s list for your toddler?

Here are a few more MUST HAVES

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