Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday Favorites: Lunch game-changer and Happy Mornings

I'm joining the Friday Favorites link up this week.


Momfessionals

Mainly just a few random things this week that have made a BIG difference--they didn't need their own post because they are so random, but these are my favorite things this week.

1. This Thermos Food Jar. Game Changer. 

Since the start of school, I've been looking for containers to send hot food in Jay's lunch. We have a Pottery Barn lunchbox he got for his birthday, but I was on the hunt for a thermal container that was microwave safe and would be easy to clean and easy for Jay to manage. Oh, and it needed to actually work if I was going to spend $20 or more on it. (When did this stuff get so pricey?)

Anyhow, after looking in stores and online and reading reviews I was more than a little discouraged. It was really a bummer that I couldn't find anything that would do the job. I looked again at Publix this week and found this little fella. 

I am thrilled with it's design. No rubber grips on the outside to get gunked up. Inside there is a plastic bowl that you take out, fill and can microwave. Screw on the cap then lock into the stainless steel case and you're done! I can store the insert in the fridge overnight with the cap on then microwave (uncovered) in the morning, cover and send to school and what isn't eaten is still warm in the afternoons after carpool.

2. My absolute favorite thing I've done around our house lately---hold on to your hats-- I moved the coffee maker. 


Yep, I took it from the kitchen and moved it to the little bar/ice maker area.

If I could tell you really how this has made me so happy and made my mornings so much easier you would laugh. And likely roll your eyes and wonder why it took me nearly 2 years to figure this out. I don't know either, but better late than never I guess. Happy Mornings made simple. Grab and go coffee I heart you.

3. After I realized this was my new happy space, I couldn't stop thinking about it--even when I was at my long-time happy place--Home Goods. So I picked up some cute cocktail napkins. I was looking for something fall since the whole-wide-world seems to be fall crazy, but these little guys sort of sum things up for me.


$3 and you have my entire mentality summed up on one napkin. I'm working on getting used to fall--but really I am a summer girl. We've just had the BEST Summer (click here and here for the recaps) and I am so excited when I think of the fun we'll have next year. Eventually, I'll "warm up" to the idea of fall but for now my heart is still in shorts and sand. Ahhh....

Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Jay and Lizzy's Baptism

Jay and Lizzy were both baptized Sunday, August 24.



It was a great day for them to officially join God's family and for Joseph and I and our church family to pledge to raise them and guide them according to God's will.

It was also lively. In the United Methodist church, most babies are baptized as infants.
We hadn't found our church to call home when our kids were that small so we decided to baptize them now-at 2-and-a-half and 4. 


The great part is that Jay really understood this sacrament and Lizzy really understood that it was a special day.
And that they were going to put water on her head--just a few drops.
We know that she understood that because she said it over and over during the baptism. You know, the time that our pastor was talking and we were trying to encourage the kids be quiet. Over and over. 


All kidding aside, I do know that both Jay and Lizzy know that God loves them so very much and he gave them to our family and gave them a Christian family to love, guide and support them. 
They fully understood that is was a special day and were so proud.



Quite silly and difficult to photograph, but loved and proud nonetheless. 




We took a zillion photos of this pose with two cameras.
There are exactly zero with everyone looking and/or not cracking up.
The kids were so silly at this point and all ready to play. So fun!


 The folks "behind the camera" trying to make these goofy subjects participate in a photo...

We enjoyed the afternoon with some of our family, all in all it was a wonderful day to celebrate.




We had a "special cake", lunch of ham and rolls, turkey and rolls, seven layer salad, fruit and potato salad.

 Weston and CJ missed the "press your face against somebody" memo..so funny!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Bacon-Wrapped BBQ Chicken with Apples

I was talking to my mom as I left the grocery store the other day...


Me: So, I think I'm gonna wrap some chicken breasts in bacon, 
put barbecue sauce on them and roast them in the oven. 
I'm gonna put apples on top somehow.

Mom: I'd put he apples on the side.
Are you just making this up off the top of your head?

Me: Why, yes I am.

Y'all. It is so good! 
Tender and sweet with a little bit of BBQ spice. 

Winner, winner (another great) chicken dinner!

Here's what I did.

Heat oven to 350

Place 4 skinless boneless chicken breasts on a baking sheet and season (I shake some Tony Chachere's on both sides). Wrap each piece of chicken with bacon securing the ends underneath the chicken.
I used about 1 and 1/2 slices if bacon per piece of chicken. 
Sprinkle brown sugar over the top and bake for 45 minutes. 

Top with barbecue sauce and continue baking for 15 minutes. 

Meanwhile, peel and chop 2-3 medium apples, discarding cores. 
Melt 2-3 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat, add apples, 1 tsp (or so) of cinnamon, 
2 tablespoons of brown sugar and reduce heat. 

Cook about 10 minutes stirring occasionally until apples soften to your preferred tenderness. 
Some folks like them firmer, others prefer them cooked to an almost liquid state. 

Y'all this is so great-can be made for a crowd for Sunday dinner or a weeknight supper. 

It was such a hit at our house and just enough spicy and sweet for everyone in the family. 

Ingredients list:
4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
6 (or so) slices if bacon
1 Tbsp Tony Chachere's
4 Tbsp Brown Sugar, divided
1/3 cup barbecue sauce (more or less)
2-3 Tbsp butter
2-3 medium apples
1 tsp cinnamon

Enjoy! 



Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Back to (Pre) School

School began at the end of August and the kids were oh-so-ready. 

I on the other hand, was digging my heels into the last weeks of summer like Fred Flintstone trying to stop the Flintstone-mobile. 

Jay started 4K- 5 days a week and couldn't be happier.





He's going to have a great year and do amazing things.

Lizzy joins him on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
She loves everything about preschool.




I miss them like crazy. I'm sure I always will. 


They hopped out of the car together for the first time, held hands and walked in together for this year's adventures. I love these two so much and I am so thankful for their brave, adventurous souls. 

Summer Fun-part 2

It's been so fun spending the summer with Jay and Lizzy and watching them learn and grow.

All I can think to say about it is that it's been perfect. 

Fun, busy, nonstop, silly, sunny, sandy-perfect.

A quick snapshot of some of the memories I'll keep from this perfect summer--

Jay and I took a special trip to surprise him with a bike during his birthday week.

Lizzy and I discovered sponge rollers, aka "curlies".

We saw Planes 2 during Jay's birthday week.


Made a trip to Barnes and Noble during birthday week.

Spent lots of time digging in the dirt this summer.

We met Elsa.

Made blueberry vinegarette with some of the blueberries we picked from our house


"Helped" with lots of jobs including new sod for the front yard and the construction of our first garden. 




Jay took communion for the first time July 27. 

Perfected our beach-going. 


Visited Lambert's for the first time. 


Took a long pit stop at the Peach Park for the first time. I can remember doing that a lot as a child!

Started learning Cracker Barrel checkers-after raiding the country store. 

Went to the RODEO!


....where Jay rode a horse for the first time.




Visited "The Little Zoo That Could" in Gulf Shores for the first time. It was rainy and awesome. It's so small but they have so many animals and you are close to them all. 6 adult tigers and 2 baby cubs and so much more. 





 Note the size of this rabbit. 17 pounds. 
 And how about Chuckie the Alligator?





Enjoyed the Gulf Coast Farmers and Fisherman's Market.

We ended the summer with two kids who were so much bigger and more grown up that we started with. They've really become friends and stick together like glue. I don't think we could have packed in any more fun or made these months any more special if we'd tried. 
 Summer 2014- That's a wrap. 
The End.