Category Archives: food

Our Thanksgiving Meal

Tomorrow, I’m hosting my family for Thanksgiving. My mom and dad have been here all week, and Mom’s helping Hubby and me get things all ready. It is going to be a beautiful blend of traditional things in my family meeting the gourmet tendencies of Hubby’s family. It’s going to be some kid-friendly items, and some things that my kids likely won’t touch. I’m really ¬†excited.

Here’s our list of things we either have/made already or are making tomorrow:

Prime Rib
Honeybaked Ham
Chicken and Dressing (For you northerners, that is not inside the chicken. The chicken is in the dressing.)
Green Bean Casserole
Potato Salad
Smashed Sweet Potatoes
Onion Pie
Cranberry Salad
Kale (prepared in the southern style of collard greens)

I know. No turkey. But don’t those other meats sound SO GOOD? And a little GBC can’t go wrong, especially coupled with potato salad, and cranberry salad. What’s a southern Thanksgiving without something called “salad” that doesn’t include lettuce?

My aunt is also bringing homemade rolls and various desserts… including her amazing rum cake (yum?!) and at least one meringue pie. FOR THE WIN.

What are your favorite Thanksgiving foods? Are you hosting or traveling? Either way, I hope you have some fun plans!

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Happy Thanksgiving week! I know I’m already getting ready for the big day, so I bet you are, too. We’ve had a really busy weekend, resulting in my first NaBloPoMo miss (Saturday). Oops. I’ll try to make up for it this week, and cram an extra one in! Anyway, here’s a little update of what’s been going on around my house.

Listening || to a little bit of Christmas music. I’m planning on justifying myself a little more in tomorrow’s post, but let’s be honest: we all need some cheer!

Watching || Once Upon a Time. We get so behind on this one so quickly. I guess it’s because the episodes are an hour long, so if it’s late at night when we get a minute to watch TV, they’re often too long to want to watch. So now we’ve got four unwatched episodes – oops. Anyway, I saw this “family tree” on Pinterest and I loved it. (If someone knows the source, help me credit it!) (Also, is it really Nealfire? I sorta thought Rumple was saying “Balefire” all this time.)once.jpg

Planning || our Thanksgiving dinner! We’re hosting my family at our house, so we’ve got 12 people total, counting my kids. We don’t care much either way about turkey, so we’re having prime rib instead, and I’m SO excited. My aunt is making a bunch of desserts, and we’re combining some trusty family traditions with some new fun things. It’s going to be a good day!

Anticipating || Advent. It’s my favorite season in the church calendar, and I can already feel the excitement in the air as we plan our Christmas music, services, parties, and events. I can’t wait for this time with my family and my church family!

Well, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, filled with delicious food, relaxation, and sweet time with family and friends. What’s your favorite food to eat this week?!

My Love Affair with Breakfast Food

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: breakfast is my favorite. 

I grew up in a household that made sure breakfast was important, healthy, and delicious. There was usually a carb involved, probably some eggs, maybe a cured meat or a sweet item. But there was always plenty of it, because my brother and I came hungry. 

You see, it was love at first sight with me and breakfast food. And it has been ever since. If I’m at lunch at a restaurant that also has a brunch menu, I don’t think twice about which menu to choose. If a restaurant serves breakfast all day, it’s a no-brainer. When I visited Texas and became aware of breakfast tacos, my life was changed forever. 
In related news, brunch is pretty trendy nowadays. We’re all “Let’s get brunch!” and “Brunch is for lovers!” and “Mimosas!” I agree with those things. But do you know what you’re typically doing at brunch? Having breakfast later in the day. Breakfast is the heart of brunch. 
I’ve done my best to instill the love of all things breakfast into my children as well. They love bagels or biscuits. They love French toast. They love scrambled eggs and fruit. They REALLY love pancakes and waffles, especially when I flavor them with strawberries or pumpkin. They don’t even need the sweet things in their breakfast. They will, of course, gorge themselves on cinnamon rolls. They will also eat a mountain of grits. 
In short, breakfast is the king of meals. It doesn’t matter when you eat it, or what it looks like. All things breakfast are greater than all other things. Pair the breakfast item with coffee during the week, or a mimosa on Saturday, and you’ve got a perfect way to start your day. I’m pretty sure there’s even some science to back it up. 
Breakfast, I love you. 

This post is a part of my NaBloPoMo, where I publish a piece every day in November. 

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Celebrating || Hubby’s birthday last Friday! His band played at our favorite pub for their ten year anniversary party, so the celebration was even bigger than normal! My parents were in town, and the kids got to hang out and party too, which is always fun! We were glad to celebrate Finnigan’s Wake AND Hubby!

Enjoying || cooler weather – finally! The afternoons are still warm enough to need short sleeves, but the mornings are delightfully chilly. I’ve even started a fire during breakfast, just to take the chill off! I don’t mind bundling up when I wake up, but my kids have complained about “freezing” when they get out of their beds. Just you wait, little babies!
Eating || pumpkin pancakes! We eat a lot of pancakes at our house, and so why wouldn’t I be adding some pumpkin in?! I typically just add pumpkin into our regular pancakes, instead of buying the pumpkin-flavored mix. They just taste better, they’re a little healthier, and I don’t have to add anything to my grocery list.

Making || SO. MANY. SOUPS. We have been experimenting and looking for recipes for different soups to try. Everyone in our family loves a good soup, we can usually make them fairly healthy, and it’s a less expensive way to feed everyone. On deck this week: butternut squash soup, and zuppa toscana (here’s a similar recipe, but we almost always just improvise).

Anticipating || a visit from my brother and his girlfriend this weekend! They’re coming to spend some time with us and the kids, and I’m REALLY excited. We haven’t gotten together in a couple of months (summer was busy for all of us) so I’m extra glad for some time with them! We plan to hit up the local pumpkin patch, and hopefully have a little Oktoberfest, among other fall-related activities!

What’s going on with you currently? What’s your favorite soup recipe for this time of year? Have you gotten your pumpkins yet, or celebrated Oktoberfest?

5 Ways My Third Kid Gets the Short End of the Sibling Stick

This post also appeared on My Big Jesus.


It’s no secret that having multiple kids can really split your time, efforts, and finances. It can also weaken even the strongest parents’ preconceived notions of how they’ll raise their children. Here are a few ways my third babe has already been

1. He can’t talk yet. His siblings do all the talking (over him and for him) and sometimes they don’t interpret correctly. He doesn’t get to request what he gets for snack, or what to watch on TV. He can’t communicate about whether he’s cold without pants on, or that he hates wearing shoes (well, that I actually did figure out). He can’t tell me when he needs help reaching something. He can’t even tell me when his brother hit him, when brother said he didn’t. He’s just gotta roll with whatever punches are thrown (no pun intended).

2. His birthday isn’t getting a big to-do. Sorry, third baby. Your first birthday matters, I promise. But it really snuck up on me, and I don’t have a big party planned. I don’t expect I’ll buy you 400 gifts or plan activities for you and your baby friends. In fact, I bet your siblings will be the life of your party, if only because they can actually demand attention. But I promise you’ll at least get some cake. (And in case you’re wondering, his first birthday is this Saturday. Yesterday I asked his grandparents if they were free that day.)

3. His schedule gets interrupted. We built our lives around the schedule of baby #1 for a while. With baby #2, we at least made sure his naps happened. With baby #3, he naps in the stroller, car, or carrier more often than the other two did, combined. Sometimes he’s gotta sacrifice his sleep to do fun things with his sibs. To the movies or nap? To the park or nap? It’s really not a question.

4. His diet is far from organic. Feeding three kids, even small ones, is no joke – in terms of effort or of money spent. So D learned a lot earlier to eat things like hot dogs and Chick-fil-A. And not that I’m saying there is anything wrong with those things; we all eat them a lot! A friend of mine said it perfectly: The first baby eats organic vegetables, and the last kid eats French fries from the floorboard of the car (which actually happened today).

5. He’s basically never worn new clothes. This might be an exception if it’s not the first baby, but still the first of that gender in the family. But my little guy is wearing hand-me-downs from his brother AND cousin, and still growing out of them like he’s a teenager. There are a few exceptions, since he has generous grandparents, and because my older son is really hard on his clothes. But the vast majority of what he wears has been a little stretched, has been washed 100+ times, includes some sort of stain, and/or harbors a tiny hole I refuse to recognize.

But I must say: even if he gets a little less work put into his diet and wardrobe, and has to learn to do things himself (like eat and walk and defend himself) a little quicker, he is not a bit less loved. Every single person in our tribe loves him as much as they’ve ever loved either of my other kids, including the siblings themselves. There’s a lot of love to go around, and my last baby isn’t shorted on affection!

Making Some Summer Plans

Summer for SAH parents can sometimes mean exhaustion and boredom (for the kids, too!) as your excitement for the weather withers and your gladness to have the kids out of school wanes. I know I started out two weeks ago with glorious plans of doing ALL THE THINGS and I have yet to do most of them. So I’m making a list… and hoping to complete some of these things! If you need ideas to freshen up your summer, check these out, and try to cross a few off in the next couple of weeks to spice things up! 


Visit parks! This includes (and goes beyond) playgrounds, splash pads, hiking, picnics, and even local events! My town has MANY playgrounds and greenways (walking/running/biking trails), and it’s just a short drive to other fun places to hike or picnic. Also, some parks have concerts, evening movies, kids’ events, or farmers markets!

Speaking of that, farmers markets should get its own section. We’ve recently started spending Saturday mornings at one of the farmers markets here (Cobblestone Market in Old Salem) and we’ve had a great time buying local produce and meat, eating fresh baked goods, getting locally roasted coffee, and locally pressed juice. Hubby’s also in love with a lady who pickles… and she pickles everything. She also makes hot sauces. I’m actually worried he’s going to leave me for her if I don’t start pickling, too.

Visit a pet store. My kids keep talking about puppies, so this is actually on my “do it soon” list. We aren’t going to get a dog right now, but what a better way to let them play with puppies? And it’s free! It’s also educational to be able to see different fish, reptiles, and rodents, all of whom your kids might not get to see up close very often.

Visit children’s museums, and science museums. Our town has a great one of each, and the next city over also has a great children’s museum. They often aren’t too expensive, or if you know you’re going to spend a lot of time there, it’s a great thing to invest in and get a membership to. My kids LOVE (and I mean that) our local children’s museum, and Monday mornings are members only, so it’s less crowded!

Start a neighborhood camp. This is an idea that I think my kids will enjoy in the next couple of years. Getting together with other parents who are home with their kids, and choosing a couple of mornings or afternoons to have big playdates with planned activities (think water balloons, picnics, organized games -if they’re old enough- or anything else you can do in a backyard. You could also backyard camp overnight, if you’re up for that sort of thing (and your kids are old enough).

Go swimming. This could be at a pool, lake, pond, stream, river, or sprinkler, etc. Kids LOVE being in the water, floating, splashing, wading, fishing, or anything else they can think of! Discover parks near you that have streams or ponds. Even if it seems small and dinky to you, it could still be amazing for your littles!

Do some baking or cooking and let the kids take the lead! Homemade popsicles (find a kit at your grocery store!), easy muffins (this can be a way to get some fruit or a veggie in them), homemade ice cream, or anything else that sounds like a good summer snack. I’m OCD when it comes to making unnecessary messes in the kitchen, so it can be hard to let them help (I’m the queen of not wanting their sticky hands in it) but they love it so much!

Play old-school games. My kids have recently discovered hopscotch. They’ve always loved sidewalk chalk, but they had a great time trying to get their feet in the right spot, and hop on one foot for longer than one second. Who says things like hula-hoops and jump ropes can’t be fun still?

Grow something! This one is my personal favorite, maybe because we have a large garden. But sometimes all you need is a tomato plant or strawberry bush to get a green thumb going in your little ones. I find that my kids like the plants you just look at, but they love the plants that yield food! That gives them a different sort of interest in growing things.

Currently

Hey, Monday! I can’t believe you’re here again… especially since you started with a bang before 7am – yikes! An early rising baby makes for an early morning workout, so I feel like I’ve had my entire day already and it’s just afternoon.

Anyway, I’m linking up with Becky at Choose Happy like I do every week. Join us! Comment with what you’re up to! I really do want to know. 

As for me, I’m…

Drinking || a fancy new drink that Hubby and I adapted from a old summer favorite. A salty dog, typically grapefruit juice and gin or vodka (I’m a gin gal) and a salted rim, is a wonderfully refreshing summer cocktail. I’ve never much cared about a salted rim, but I dig the gin and grapefruit juice combo. So this summer, to take it to the next level, Hubby and I have been muddling fresh basil (from our garden, so we have an endless supply) into the freshly-squeezed juice, and adding a little sparkling water for a nice bubbly finish. It needs a name; any suggestions?!

Watching || the blossoming friendship between my eldest two babes. They still henpeck each other and fight over toys, but they’re getting kinder and better at playing together. And I’m all over here like, “It’s happening! It’s finally happening! They’re friends!”

They really like making that face right now.

Enjoying || time where EK spent her weekend at the lake with her grandparents, and Hubby and I treated the boys on their own all weekend! EK had a blast with her grandparents and two of her girl cousins, and Hubby and I had a nice, easy time with the boys. An all-around success!

an obvious first stop: GELATO!

Celebrating || another baby boy in our friend group! I attended a sweet shower on Saturday, and also got some snuggles with my baby niece while I was at it!

Mourning || the senseless loss of lives in Orlando. I’ve been pointedly silent about it, because I just don’t have a constructive thing to say yet. But I will say this: love wins. When there is a tragedy like this, more hate is not the response. No, we can’t get back the fallen. But we can love their loved ones, and even harder, love the enemy. We don’t have to place blame or name any enemies to start loving on one and all. 

How do you feel?

What’s your summer shaping up to be?

Currently

Happy Monday! It might be late afternoon, but here’s a Currently update to let you know what’s going on in my world. I’m linking up with Becky at Choose Happy, so drop by her site and see what she’s up to, also! Now, here are a few things I’ve been up to…

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Cooking || spaghetti! It’s been a long time since I just made a big ol’ pot of my mom’s spaghetti sauce, and I was just craving it. We haven’t gotten any tomatoes from our garden just yet, but I used our basil and oregano fresh, and had a few fresh tomatoes in the house that needed to be used. The house smells so good right now that I know it’s only 4pm, but I want dinner!

Drinking || salty dogs, with fresh basil! Salty dogs are vodka or gin (I drink them with gin) and grapefruit juice. Hubby got a wild hair and asked for basil in his yesterday, so I muddled it in the juice, and WOW it was good. Definitely my new summer cocktail.

Enjoying || our pool membership! For our first summer with a membership, are pretty excited about it. The hours are limited right now since school is still in session, but we’ve still been twice already in the last week. Once it’s open weekday mornings, I have a feeling it’ll be a three or four day a week enjoyment!

Smelling || magnolia blossoms. The tree in our yard has a lot of blossoms on it, and they’re beautiful. When we took an after dinner stroll last night, I picked one for EK, and it was incredibly fragrant! I’d forgotten how potent they are, and how much I associate that smell with summer.

 Well, there’s a little about me. What are you up to currently?!

A Toddler’s War on Food: Finding Peace in Compromise

This post also appeared on My Big Jesus!  

Sometimes, toddlers are picky. Okay, fine. Toddlers are picky. End of sentence. It’s hard to get them to do anything you’d like them to, such as sleep, clean up, wear clothes, use the potty, or eat healthy. This last one can be a particular battle at our house. Our family cooks a lot, most of our meals actually, and so I know that when I cook, it’s probably healthy, and usually pleases my kids. But sometimes, I can put three of my toddler’s approved foods on his plate, and he won’t touch them.

This raises a few concerns for me. First and foremost, I want him to be healthy, and grow strong. I know that he’s got to have good food (or food at all!) to do that. So when I put a meal in front of him, and he screams for candy and won’t touch it, I get worried. Or when I choose something I’m sure he will like (i.e. he’s liked it in the past), and he refuses it, I’m torn whether to just let it go and not worry that he isn’t hungry/doesn’t wait it, or fix something else that I think he might want. But I don’t want to be a short-order cook, and I don’t want to concede every time and feed him what he wants (ice cream). Sometimes I can’t even convince him to sit at the table for more than 3 minutes, so how can I possibly expect him to eat a full meal that I’ve chosen for him?

We compromise.

This means that sometimes, neither of us gets what we want. But most times, we both get a little of what we want.

The first thing I do is try my hardest to put one thing on his plate I know he will eat. This usually translates to some sort of fruit. He’s a fruit lover, and I know if I want him to eat green beans, I need to give him a little mandarin orange, too. Often I find that when he starts eating that item, when it’s gone, he moves seamlessly on to whatever else is on his plate. Winning!

The second thing I do is try to let him choose his plate, choose where he sits, etc. For example, my daughter (who’s almost four) finishes her food before he does almost every time, simply because she doesn’t fight about it (anymore) and she’s in a very hungry phase right now. So he sees her running around and he’s only taken four bites, I don’t want him to get up yet but he’s ready to play. So sometimes I let him sit next to me in the living room, or out on the porch, or in front of the TV, and help him (cleanly!) eat more, and all the while, he doesn’t feel like he’s left out.

This all came into perspective for me one day when my daughter finished before him, and went outside to blow bubbles. He could see her through the window, and wouldn’t eat another bite, begging to go outside. Finally, I just offered to sit with him outside, and finish his lunch there. He happily sat on the bench with me, surrounded by bubbles, eating his lunch. It seemed like a battle won for both of us. We didn’t need to fight – we needed to change our perspectives.

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Hey y’all! Thanks for checking out my weekly update. Because it’s the first one of the month (APRIL?!) I’ll be linking up with Anne in Residence, Jenna at Gold and Bloom, and Becky at Choose Happy. Link up or comment, and join us!!

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Making || some healthy muffins for breakfasts and snacks this week. Have any great recipes to share? Bonus points if they’re clean or paleo!

Wishlisting || all the things I wish we could take home from DisneyWorld. Things are so expensive, and I want to get so many fun things for my bigs, and bring sweet things home for D, but I’ll just settle for a thing or two. Not to mention the fact we’d have to fly home with it, so we’re definitely not getting any oversized stuffed animals!

Cleaning || more than usual after a week away and a really busy few days following the trip. We are behind on laundry and our bathrooms are embarrassing. Oops. 

Posting || the rest of our pictures from GA! 

    
    
    
   

Tasting || Craft beers! There’s a new growler store near our house, and we’re totally digging it. You can get a flight (5 medium-sized samples) or just taste a few small samples before you decide on what to get a growler of. If you’re local, you should check it out! It’s on Robinhood Road, a few storefronts down from the YMCA and Ace Hardware.

Well that’s it on my front. What are you up to currently? Where did you go for spring break?