Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Taco Tuesday: Crockpot Taco Meat

I posted that I had made Crockpot Tacos the other night on Instagram, and several folks asked for the recipe. So, here it is! It is super duper easy...I'm not even sure you could call it a "real" recipe, haha!

3/4 Cup of Chunky Salsa
1/4 Cup Restaurant Style Salsa
1 Packet Low Sodium Taco Seasoning
8-10 Frozen Chicken Tenderloins

Place chicken in crockpot, then add salsa & seasonings. Let it cook for 6 hours on low. An hour before serving, you should be able to shred the meat using a large spatula. We topped ours with Verde sauce, and sour cream. Serves 6.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Weekend Wrap Up || squared edition

We kicked the weekend off with a couples get together on Friday night. We all have young kids, and it's usually spent chasing said kids around, but it's tons of fun none the less. Also, look how big my girls are now!! Ella thinks she totally a toddler now, and Evie of course thinks she's a grown up. Haha! Don't let those innocent faces fool you, they are a MESS. But, I sure do love them. ;)

On Saturday morning, we ate breakfast and headed out for coffee, yard sales, and to visit with Josh's family. The first sale I stopped at had girls just older than mine, so I ended up walking away with pretty much an entire fall wardrobe for $20 for BOTH girls. That included a coat for Ella that still had tags on it it, hoodies, sweaters, dresses, holiday outfits, leggings, and cute fall-ish themed shirts. All in nearly new condition. I was ridiculously happy.

On Sundy, we spent the afternoon outside. Ella discovered grass for the girst time! Evie played in the water the entire time. We also did a quick craft, and then watched tv before the girls had to go to bed. I was a really nice weekend. Now, I'm ready for Monday, and the rest of the week! :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

An Overnight Getaway

We were heading out of town for a wedding, so Josh decided to make an overnight trip out of it. We stayed at the Arlington Hotel. It's very old, and quaint, and I loved the antiques sprinkled throughout the hotel lobby. It had a very regal feel to it!

The room had a beautiful view, and I didn't want to leave the comfy bed. I may have binged watched "The Bush People of Alaska" for hours. I'd never watched the show, and found it fascinating, if not, a bit different, too. Ha!

We enjoyed dinner in the dining room that included Crab Legs!! My favorite! We also walked around town, enjoyed room service (I forgot to take a picture...but I had Salted Caramel Apple Pie...SO GOOD!!). We also tried tons of other food: chocolate & caramel apple treats at a little candy shop across the street from the hotel, pancakes for breakfast at one of our favorite places, and warm mocha's made from Belgium chocolate. I may have been on a sugar high for the rest of the weekend! And with that, I'll leave you with a picture of the ridiculously good caramel apples we feasted on... ;)

Friday, August 19, 2016

TGIF! Friday Favorites

I love that I found this super cute fall plaque at the Dollar Tree. I think I may need to get my nerve up to share all my favorite dollar tree finds. They have the cutest holiday items. Anyway, I hung this on our doorway for now, but I will probably make a wreat out of it this weekend. Ha!

I am loving these placemats that I found at Target. They were colorful, and at a great price. I bought two to use for dinners for just Josh, and I, but I think I should buy more to set the table with. I thought the color scheme was festive enough to use for both summer and fall! Plus, they match my Fiesta dinner plates! Also, I'll have to share a recipe of that Chicken & Wild Rice soup, soon.

If you know me in real life, I am a purse girl! It's one of the few things in life that I will splurge and not bat an eye (normally, I'm frugal fred mertz, ha!). Anyway, I saw this red bag at TJ Maxx, and it had been marked down from $100 to $30. So, I guess in the long run, I was still pretty frugal, but scored a sweet bag! Red is my go to color for everything. Also, those books you see? Larkspur Cove was AMAZING, and My Mrs. Brown was a really sweet read. Check 'em out if you are looking for something fun to read! ;)

When I'm out and about running errands, I love to get me a good 'ol dose of Starbucks. But, when the temps were 100+ I was leaning towards Ice Cream. However, my need for coffee wore out. I ended up ordering a Coffee Frappuccino with whip. I forgot how good those are! I love that it's super creamy, but you still get a strong coffee flavor. I love when an oldie become a goody. He he. ;)

These girls...those dresses. Two Jelly The Pugs scored at a consginment sale by Grandmother. It's just the cutest thing when their outfits coordinate or match. I've turned into one of those moms. Hee hee! And I make zero apologies for it. They are only little once. 

Ok, that wraps it up for today. Happy Friday!! Linking up with Friday Favorites today. :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Favorite Dinners: Ultimate Black Bean Nachos

A few weeks ago, I was talking with someone and they asked me what some of my "go to" dinners were. When one of my responses was Black Bean Nachos, they gave me a funny look. "Black Beans?

Yep!!! We make these at least once a week, sometimes even twice a week. They are super yummy, can be customized to your tastebuds, and seriously, it is SO easy to make. Here's my recipe:

Ultimate Black Bean Nachos

2 Cans Black Beans (drained)
1 Can Rotel 
1 Packet Taco Seasoning
Tortilla Chips

Bring first three ingredients to a low boil, then simmer for 5-10 minutes. Immediately serve on a bed of tortilla chips, then top with your favorite items. We love cheese, salsa, cilantro, sour cream, and guacamole! 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Happy Homemaker Monday Vol. 22

The weather...
Pouring rain! I am so thankful for the cooler temps. It's in the 70's. Perfect weather for me. I took Evie outside over the weekend to jump in puddles, and play with her froggie umbrella. She had a blast!

Right now I am...

Drinking Ginger Water, and blogging. 


About things I need to do around the house. Potty training. Etc. ;)

On my TV...

The Flash

What I'm Reading... 

So Long Insecurity by Beth Moore

On the menu for this week...

Crock Pot Taco Soup

Chicken & Green Beans
Chicken Cheddar & Broccoli Rice
Breakfast for Dinner

On my to do list...

Pick Up Living Room

Fold Laundry
Wipe Down Countertops

ing Up with Diary of A Stay at Home Mom!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Random Musings

Yesterday was perfect. I had a whole day to myself to cean, and re-organize my house. It may seem silly, but honestly ya'll, when I feel myself depleated both physically, and emotionally, a good old-fashioned house cleaning does the trick.

I cleaned the girls rooms. I went through their clothes, and all our baby items. I caught up on laundry. I made lunches for my husband for the rest of the week. I cleaned our bedroom, and scrubbed the kitchen. I straightened up the bathrooms, and put away toys.

I feel like a new person when my house gets a deep cleaning.

I'm nerdy like that.

Also, I am *so* ready for the upcoming weekend. Josh is taking a three day weekend, so we plan to enjoy a little staycation, and hopefully, catch up on some sleep! I'm also excited to start decorating for fall. Maybe we will bake a pumkin treat, and watch some movies. My favorite movie to kick off fall is You've Got Mail. I also love the Charlie Brown movies of course!

Happy Tuesday!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Importance of Goal Setting + More Personality Talk

For years, I've struggled with why I sometimes thrive with structure and routine, and while at other times it seems that it is the very thing that leads to burnout. Since taking the time to learn more about my personality (ENFP/Type 9), I've found out something fairly shocking:

I am not an organized person by nature. But, I thrive on goals.

This would make my husband shake his head at me (I'm often told I'm too organized or too structured, etc.). It sounds like a complete oxymoron, right?

Yet, upon exploring more about what makes me tick as an ENFP, I've learned two things: a) I can be a bit scattered and b) I can easily be organized. 

Case in point: If I tell myself I need to clean out the closet, but don't set goals for it, it won't get done. It's a bit humbling, to say the least. On the other hand, if I tell myself that I need to clean out the closet and write a quick list of goals to help me carry out that task, I will have it done within a few hours.

Needless to say, creating goals, routines, and using a daily planner has changed my life. It helps to stay organized, which leads to thriving with my day to day life.

For me personally, I need a few simple boundaries: The morning hours are blocked off for work. Afternoon hours are blocked off for house cleaning. The kids nap time is for "me" time. I use a daily planner to remind myself of appointments, deadlines, etc. I also focus on 3-4 daily goals. By keeping my goals to a bare minimum, I'm less tempted to get carried away or overwhelmed. It also allows me to give 100% to whatever I'm focusing on. 

According to Small Biz Trends"Set achievable goals, over small periods of time." Their argument was that it will help you stay motivated. I tend to agree.

Sometimes-- less really is more. 

What about you? How do you set goals? Do you find that goals and routines help you stay motivated? 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Teaching Our Children About The Lord + Our Morning Basket (updated)

One of the most humbling things about being a parent is the simple fact that God chose us to be parents. It's such a gift, and not one that I take lightly.

 Not only that, but it's our responsibility to teach our children about the Lord! 

Thankfully, we have many tools to plant seeds-- whether it's through church attendance, books that we read, music that we listen to, personal prayer life, etc. For me, I've found that reading books about Bible stories has been one of the most effective ways for teaching little ones. When we fostered a little boy, I remember reading to him from a set of Bible stories that were written for a young child's perspective. He listened to them intently, and wanted to learn more. It was mind-blowing to see someone so young soaking up Bible stories.

Now we have two young daughters of our own. I love collecting vivid Bible story books, prayer books, and even individual Bible stories for the girls to enjoy.

The simplest way I've learned to incorporate teaching moments with the girls is by creating a "Morning Basket". I tend to follow a simple routine every morning during breakfast that includes the following:

  • Scripture Read Aloud (Currently rotating between Psalm 23 & Psalm 121)
  • Children's Devotional Book -OR- a book that highlights faith
  • Prayer Books for Children -OR- We talk about what God has blessed us with that week, etc.

These are just a few things that I like to do to plant seeds for our little ones.

What actions do you take to teach your little ones about the Lord?

Monday, August 1, 2016

What I'm Into: July Edition

I can't believe we are well over half way through the year! July flew by...or so it felt. Here's my lists of things I was really into for the month of July...

Books & More Books:
I was out late one night at Barnes and Noble when I noticed they had Sophie Hudson's latest book out. I bought it, and read Giddy Up, Eunice in about two days flat. I loved her first book Home is Where My People Are. So much in fact, that I read it twice. I was excited to see the pages of Giddy Up, Eunice were filled with her trademark wit and wisdom. She tackles the issues of women needing friendship, and what it means to be there for each other. I think it would make a great group study or Bible study.

I also tackled a new author to me, Liane Moriarty. I read What Alice Forgot, and was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the novel (minus some crude language). The plot was an entirely new idea to me, and it felt a bit refreshing. The characters were believeable, the plot built up quickly, and she took her time with the ending. I may or may not have read this in one day.

I also read Without A Trace by Dee Henderson. It was PERFECT in terms of Henderson + Mystery reading. I've been a fan of her novels for years. You can read my full review here.

Other titles Read: Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin, The Birth Order Book by Kevin Leman, Fatal Judgement by Irene Hannon (SO GOOD).

Podcasts Galore:
Oh goodness, I have enjoyed Podcasts like crazy. The one that stood out was a podcast by Focus on The Family that featured Chelsea & Kirk Cameron. The topic was "Making Marriage a High Priority". A very timely, and much-needed message for me personally.

I've also been devouring podcasts about books via What Should I Read Next? My "to read list" has doubled, y'all.

TV & Movies:
We didn't venture to the movies this month, but we did manage to start a new show. We've been enjoying The Flash late at night after the kids go to bed. Also, I watched You've Got Mail for the millionth time. It just makes a good day better. ;) I'm also watching Fixer UpperGilmore Girl Re-Runs. I'm excited about the new Gilmore Girl episodes coming out this fall! Can't wait.

Pinning Away:
I've been busy on pinterest looking up ideas for Tot School for my 2 1/2 year-old. She loves learning, and anytime she's around older kids she tries to imitate their skills. For example, an older girl that she likes to play with was singing the alphabet, and Evie tried to sing along as well. Since then, she walks around the house calling out random letters. I'm trying to find a simple approach that would give her a few minutes of "learning time" whether it's through artwork or one of her favorite leap frog videos.

I've also enjoyed learning more about the Charlotte Mason & Montessori methods of learning. They seem like they would build off each other nicely. We plan to homeschool, so I'm starting early with learning more about teaching, curriculum, and educational philosophies. 

What about you? What are you into? I'd love to hear!! Linking up with What I'm Into at Leigh's blog.

PS. Be sure to join me on GoodReads! I love meeting other bookworms and finding new titles to read!! :)

Simple Dark Chocolate Bark (Lower Carb)

One of my personal goals has been to eat less sugar, lower carb (notice that says LOWER not LOW or NON...Haha), and still enjoy life on ...

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I'm a wife, mother, and homemaker learning to enjoy the simple things in life. Which may or may not include a good latte, meaningful books, decorating my home, and all things French & Disney related. Thanks for visiting!