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Pumpkin Coffee Muffins (with Chocolate Chips)

Pumpkin Coffee Muffins (with Chocolate Chips)

Last weekend I was in the fall mood, but here in Georgia it was 95 degrees. I didn’t let that stop me. I decided Sunday that it was going to be all things pumpkin at our house. I don’t really love the taste of pumpkin […]

Fajita Chicken Recipe

Fajita Chicken Recipe

So my last post was about crock pot chicken and I promised I would share some recipes that I use that my family loves. It turns out you can add shredded chicken to just about anything. My go to meal is chicken fajitas. There are […]

Makeover Your Grocery Budget with Crock Pot Chicken

Makeover Your Grocery Budget with Crock Pot Chicken

This month I’m all about budgeting. After a few unexpected medical bills we really needed to adjust our spending. We wrote out all of our expenses to see where we could make adjustments.

I am a tracker. I have kept a paper and pen trail of every single thing we have spent money on in the past 12 months. After evaluating our spending we concluded that most of our expenses are non negotiable (rent, car payment, electricity). One of the only places that had a little flexibility was our food budget.

Food was the easiest place to consider changes.We keep track of eating out vs groceries but for the sake of our budget at the end of the pay period it all goes into a food category.
This entire year I have been feeding my family of 3 on $400 a month and that includes household supplies. So this month I am challenging myself to not go over $250.
I know that seems ambitious but I like to shoot for the stars.
 Little tip: Grocery pick up orders are the best invention. Besides the convenience, this allows me to see exactly how much I’m spending before I check out. This allows me to adjust my cart if I am over budget.
One of the first ways I cut the spending down was by getting these whole chickens. I normally buy boneless skinless chicken because I’m lazy and I like white meat but my doctor told me I should start drinking bone broth and you make bone broth with a whole chicken. It turns out if you buy a whole chicken it’s actually cheaper (who would have thought).

Crock pot bone broth:

So I got my crock pot out and layered cut up onions on the bottom. Then I rubbed a mixture of seasoning on the whole chicken.
This is the recipe my momma sent me but I didn’t have any paprika, thyme or cayenne pepper so I just substituted chili powder and italian seasoning.
So I just happened to throw this in the crock pot one sunday when we were having guests over last minute. They were bringing sides and I told them was that we were having chicken.
They brought over guacamole and pico de gallo with tortilla chips. It went absolutely perfectly with the chicken. I ended up making nachos with it, whereas my daughter just ate three platefuls of guacamole.
After dinner I put all the bones back in the crock pot (I had left all of the onions, spices and liquids from cooking the chicken in it) and filled it the rest of the way with water. The recipe my doctor gave me suggested putting fresh bay leaves on top but I didn’t have any so I just added a bunch of basil (because that’s kind of the same thing, right?).

So what do I do with a leftover crock pot full of broth?

The next day for dinner I scooped some broth into a pan and boiled whole wheat pasta in it. Quinn and I ate that like soup with ritz crackers. Over the next few days I tried to sip on bone broth and add it to some meals and then I froze the rest.
I’m actually defrosting some today to make this recipe and substitute the beef broth with chicken broth:
After you check out that recipe, be sure to wander around her blog for more amazing recipes!
I’ll keep you updated on more recipes on a budget but now I have to go drink some bone broth. Yum.
DIY Winter Wreath

DIY Winter Wreath

I am not a creative person. At all. You know when your a kid and you’re doing a craft. I was the person who copied the teacher’s example exactly. I second guessed every “creative” thing I needed to do. If I made an invitation, I […]

Why the world needs us to be vulnerable

Why the world needs us to be vulnerable

I always wanted to start a blog. I thought I have an interesting life and people will want to read about it (I know mostly not true but just let me have this). Well it turns out blogging is harder than it looks. For starters, […]

It’s Okay Not to Be Okay

It’s Okay Not to Be Okay

I want my daughter to grow up knowing that not being okay is okay.

Being a parent is hard, even heartbreaking at times. My daughter is only 2 (almost) and it has been the hardest “job” I’ve ever had. It’s 24 hours a day 7 days a week and YOU ARE EMOTIONALLY INVESTED. You don’t get to leave work at work.
It’s easy to feel like you are failing as a parent. Every day brings another opportunity to feel like you aren’t good enough.
I’ve been sick for about 2 months. It has been really hard on my whole family. It’s been hard on my husband because I haven’t been cooking or cleaning. It’s been hard on my parents because I have relied on them for more childcare. It’s hard on my daughter because she doesn’t understand why mommy can’t feed her dinner or play outside with her or snuggle her to sleep.
If you have ever been in pain for a long period of time you know how hard it is emotionally. It sucks all the life out of you and makes you feel like everything is the end of the world. One night recently I had a bad day, I felt like a failure for not being able to parent or work because of my illness. I was laying on the bathroom floor crying when my daughter walked around the corner. She looks at me and says “Why crying mommy”.
In that moment my heart broke.
In that moment I had a choice. I could wipe away my tears and say everything is okay. I could pretend like everything was fine.
But in that moment I chose to be vulnerable. I chose to show Quinn that being emotional is okay. I chose to show her that mommy has bad days too.
I pulled her into a big hug and kissed the top of her head.
I then looked her right in the eye and said, “Because mommy’s sad”.
Her face fell and she looked down at her feet and then looked back up at me and gave me a kiss on the cheek and walked away.

She may not remember that moment, but it is burned into my memory forever. 

I want Quinn to know that it is okay to have bad days. It is okay to be sad about life’s circumstances. And it is okay to share those emotions with your family.
As Quinn gets older I hope she always knows that she can come to me about anything. And I pray that one day she will.
Every parent hopes their children will never face pain but that’s not realistic. Our children will hurt in life. Our children won’t be innocent forever. But when that time comes and they face hard times, it will be our turn to wrap them in a hug and give them a kiss on the cheek.
We don’t have to tell them that everything will be okay, because we don’t know what will happen in life.
But we can listen and allow our children to be vulnerable and sad because home is a safe place.
We can choose love and support and vulnerability. 
We are a family full of emotions. We are a family who does life together, good or bad.
We are a family who cries together.

And my daughter will grow up knowing that she will never be alone.

Why We Chose Baby Led Weaning

Why We Chose Baby Led Weaning

I always knew I wanted to breastfeed. I grew up with a mom who was an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) so there was never any question. What I didn’t think about before I had a baby was what you fed them when they […]

How to Plan a Rustic Farmhouse Bridal Shower

How to Plan a Rustic Farmhouse Bridal Shower

I am the Maid of Honor in my best friend’s wedding and I get the honor (no pun intended) of planning her bridal shower. Here’s the thing though: Life gets in the way. I got a migraine about 6 weeks before the shower. I still […]

6 Reasons Gardening with Your Kids is Beneficial

6 Reasons Gardening with Your Kids is Beneficial

Last summer I tried “gardening”, which to me was buying a hanging flower pot and promptly killing it.

Then my mom bought me another one.

I killed that one too.

So this summer everyone was a little skeptical about the idea of me spending money on plants.

It all started when I read that having green plants in the house can lower anxiety so I went out and bought a $5 one at Walmart. I was obsessed with it. I watered it (probably too much) and opened the blinds so it got sunshine.

Then my mom took me to a local veggie market that has opened in our town and they were selling Strawberry plants! My daughter loves Strawberries! As in she would eat them every day for every meal. It was only $10 so I picked it up with the promise we would have Strawberries soon.

That is when I decided I wanted to make our front porch into a garden. So I went to our local gardening center. If your town has a local center please shop there. Support your local business.

I found a nice employee who showed me to the hanging plants that were half shade/half sun. I picked one out and then the trouble began.

This is when I casually mentioned that we had a lot of mosquitoes and I had heard there was a plant that kept them away. I picked one of those out and then started walking to the exit when I saw the tomato plants. I LOVE tomatoes. And it was only $4.99! I couldn’t resist. But then I decided I needed a decorative pot. Needless to say I spent about $50 that day on my makeshift garden. 

That next day my daughter and I went on the porch armed with two kitchen spoons and replanted those flowers and plants into the pots and flower bed I wanted them in. We got dirty and made a big mess and I’m not ashamed to say that my daughter ate quite a few spoonfuls of potting soil. She helped dig each plant out and then put dirt back on top of it. She helped me water all of them once we were done. And she helped decide where to put each plant.

We had a blast! She is 21 months old but could understand what we were doing. Our flowers would be dead if it weren’t for the fact that every time we go on the porch she says “Water, water”.

Since that day I have bought a few more flowers to add to the flower bed and replanted the tomato plant into a bigger pot. We also had a Strawberry grow and actually turn red which was then promptly eaten by our neighborhood stray cat. There have been a couple more bite marks and no signs of Strawberries but Quinn and I are still hoping!

All together I spent a little under $100 to start this little project and it is something that Quinn and I will be able to do together all summer long. We spend most of our time on the porch anyway so we always check on the plants and water them. I can’t wait until she can pick our first Strawberry or Tomato.

Quick reasons gardening with your child is so great:

  1. She learns how to take care of something. I have done my best to explain to Quinn that if we don’t take care of the plants, they will die. I think she got the point because she is obsessed with watering them.
  2. He works on his hand eye coordination. Digging dirt is not easy for a toddler. They fling it all around and yeah it makes a big mess, which leads me to #3.
  3. Clean up. Every time we dug a plant out or added soil to a pot we swept the porch. Let me rephrase that, Quinn swept the porch. She understood that we weren’t done until we had cleaned up the mess too.
  4. It helps me relax. This one is for the parents. There is something about your child being covered in dirt that makes you sit back and think keeping that shirt clean isn’t important anymore. Her clothes being nice doesn’t trump her working with her hands and accomplishing something. It took a minute for me to let go and say “Let’s get dirty!”.
  5. It’s long term. There is no instant gratification in gardening. You have to wait for the flowers to bloom. You have to wait for the fruit to grow. This isn’t a one day thing, this is an undertaking for the whole summer.
  6. Quality time spent together. I think quality time with your child is productive time, not doing some mindless activity. Gardening teaches Quinn and gives us our own little project that is just for the two of us. No daddy allowed!
Simple Tips to Engage with Your Child

Simple Tips to Engage with Your Child

As I sat next to my almost 21 month old daughter the other morning trying to convince her to pick up the 5 puzzles she had dumped on the floor I realized that I was losing patience quickly. I wanted so badly to pick up […]