Target is for all the things. Seriously. All of them.

Target is for all the things. Seriously, all of them.

Content and/or other value provided by our partner, Target. All opinions are my own.

Last month, everyone in my family contracted strep throat. Everyone but me and my incredible immune system, that is. The boys came down with it first, my husband kicking it off, and my son taking it a step further and adding a nasty rash to the mix. My five-year-old daughter was the last to wake up with a sore throat, on a Sunday morning, of course.

After a trip to the urgent care pediatrician to confirm our at-home diagnosis, it was time to fill her antibiotic prescription. Normally, we get ours filled at the on-site pharmacy at our doctor’s office, because we’re already there and meds are only $5. Being Sunday, though, the pharmacy was closed.

I dropped my sick daughter off at home with her still sick father and brother, and headed to my happy place: Target.

Even though I spend far too much time at Target, I had never used the pharmacy. Actually, that’s not completely true. On several occasions, I’ve asked the pharmacist behind the counter for advice on over-the-counter products, posing questions like “What’s the difference between these diaper rash creams?” and “Which of these items will help with my horrible poison ivy rash?” Or even, “Excuse me, where are the Dora Band-Aids?” Our family clearly has some skin issues.

I dropped off my prescription, and wondered if I should get a coffee at the in-store Starbucks, try on that dress I’d been eying, or check out the greeting cards. I chose coffee, but barely had time to drink it before it was time to pay for my girl’s antibiotics and head home.

Did you know the pharmacist can text you when your medication is ready? Or that after five prescription fills you get 5% off a whole day of shopping (in-store and online)? Did you know that JD Power ranked Target Pharmacy “Highest in customer satisfaction among mass merchandiser pharmacies?”

My husband says I spend too much money at Target. He’s crazy, of course, but at only $4 for generic brands, and the 5% back rewards program, even he has to agree that it’s time to Flip the Script.

If you are a Target shopper (and really, who isn’t?), consider switching to Target Pharmacy. You can do it online, in-store, or on their mobile device.

And now for the best part: One of you is going to win a $50 Target e-gift card! Think of all the prescriptions you can fill for $50, or maybe buy yourself or a loved one that dress I keep talking about. Answer in the comments, what are you looking forward to the most (or already do) with the Target Pharmacy, and additional entries may be unlocked after commenting. Good luck!

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The Time I Almost Died of Stupidity

This is one of those stories that is funny because it didn't happen to you.

In 1991, my happy place was my grandparents’ swimming pool. That summer, when I was no longer a middle schooler, but not yet a high schooler, I spent most of my free time there. This was before I hated swimming pools, a result of teaching swimming lessons, lifeguarding, and competing on the swim team, a trifecta that sometimes kept me at the public pool for 15 hours a day.

That burnout wouldn’t happen for a few years, and for now I still loved swimming. For a bit, my family lived with my grandparents, and when we did, early summer was the best. I would start my day with a swim, and enjoy my coffee and newspaper in the sunshine while my post-shower hair dried. After school, friends always wanted to come swim and I was mad popular in that month or so between when the pool was opened for the season and when school let out for summer break.

On this particular day, I was swimming alone. My best friend, Amanda, and I talked on the phone most waking moments when we weren’t together, so it was only a matter of time before she would be calling.  We were close in the way girls can be at that age, sharing pre-chewed gum, picking food out of each other’s braces, and never, ever getting tired of each other.

Amanda and I talked about anything and everything, but boys, gossiping about our friends, and Matlock dominated much of our conversation. We loved the shit out of that courtroom drama and never tired of seeing Andy Griffith eviscerate someone on the stand with his bumbling ways and southern charm.

The phone rang while I was splashing around and since there was an outside phone, I heard it and jumped out of the water to answer it. It was Amanda, of course, and we jabbered long enough for my skin to begin to crackle from heat, tempting me to jump back in the water.

Getting off the phone wasn’t an option, but that was fine. The phone had a crazy long cord, so I hauled that old, yellowing rotary phone to the side of the pool. Holding the receiver in the crook of my neck, I carefully eased myself into the water and propped my elbows on the edge to continue discussing the names of our future children. I liked Kirby, and while I had graduated to different names by the time my for realsies kids rolled around, my high school Home Economic flour sack baby would be named Kirby Michael. He was such a good boy.

While Amanda switched topics to a pair of white Bongo jean shorts she had her eye on at The Bon Marche, a pair she would eventually convince me to go halfsies on with her even though we didn’t wear the same size and she kept them at her house for me to “borrow whenever I wanted,” my mind started to wander.

I wonder what my voice would sound like through the phone if I was underwater?” I thought.

Without considering the possible consequences or discussing it with my bestie who was on the phone right that very second, I did it. I completely submerged myself in a full-sized swimming pool with a telephone still attached to my ear.

While I was home alone.

Amanda says I made a groaning-type gurgling sound, in case you were wondering what a teenage girl sounds like when she’s electrocuting herself. It was a shock, but I wasn’t completely immobilized, so I immediately popped my head back out of the water. Miraculously, the phone wasn’t dead, and neither was I.

It took me a moment to compose myself and explain what I had done, on purpose, and while I couldn’t see her expression, I assume it resembled the incredulous faces of everyone else who heard the story. She probably didn’t appear as disappointed or as fearful for my future as my dad would look when I told him, but she didn’t need to worry about my living at home forever because I was just too dim to make it as an adult.

In my defense, I have seen warnings on countless hair dryers regarding submerging them in water, but never once have I see that warning on an old rotary phone.

How could I have know that would happen?

[Tweet “Swimming while being an idiot. A cautionary tale.”]



A hilarious collection of books, perfect for the moms in your life!

Crock Pot Chicken with Peanut Sauce

This Crockpot Chicken with Peanut Sauce recipe is a quick and easy dinner idea the whole family will love!

I love peanut butter. When I was a girl, my grandma and I both loved eating peanut butter straight off of the spoon. We also both loved chocolate covered raisins, but with more than 20 grandchildren hanging around, she hid her raisins in her bedroom closet. Her peanut butter she’d share, but not her chocolate. I only have two kids sniffing around for anything candy-like, and now I regret the times I would sneak into her room and guiltily shove a handful of chocolate covered raisins in my face.

I think she knew, but she never called me on it. My grandma just got me, and in my awkward years, which spanned longer than seems fair, that was very comforting. Now my kids love “peanut butter lollipops” too, and while I know the fact that we all like peanut butter isn’t unique, it still makes me happy.

I also love chicken, but don’t have a fuzzy memory to go with that food. It just tastes good, and is great in the slow cooker.

This Crock Pot Chicken with Peanut Sauce came from inside my sister-in-law’s Crock Pot liner packaging, so I can’t link to the original recipe this was modified from, but shout out to Regency Slow Cooker Savers!

I used my 6.5-Quart Crock-Pot Programmable Touchscreen Slow Cooker to make this Crock Pot Chicken with Peanut Sauce.

This Crockpot Chicken with Peanut Sauce recipe is a quick and easy dinner idea the whole family will love!

Crock Pot Thursday: Chicken with Peanut Sauce
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Serves: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 large red bell peppers, seeded and cut into strips
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup soy sauce sauce
  • 2 TBSP brown sugar
  • 2 TBSP rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • ⅓ cup creamy peanut butter
For Garnish
  • ¼ cup chopped green onions, both white and green parts
  • ¼ cup chopped peanuts
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, combine garlic, soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine.
  2. Place chicken in slow cooker, and top with bell pepper strips.
  3. Pour soy sauce mixture over the top.
  4. Cover and cook on low 5-7 hours, or until chicken is tender.
  5. Remove chicken and cut into bite size pieces.
  6. Add peanut butter to sauce and stir to combine.
  7. Return chicken to Crock Pot and mix into the peanut sauce.
  8. Serve over rice or noodles, and garnish with green onions, peanuts, and lime.
Notes
Linda

This was easy, and it was very good. I loved the peanut flavor, and spicy hints. I would not change a thing--I followed the recipe exactly.

Sarah

What a great dish. I love the spices mixed with peanut butter. It was a delicious meal and when trying to think of what I would do differently, I couldn't think of anything!

Me

I really liked this chicken, and my son gobbled it up. We grown-ups would have liked a little more spice, but it was perfect for the kiddos. Next time I'll keep an eye on the cook time, as my bell peppers were a little mushy. The flavor was great, though, and we'll make this again for sure! Don't skip the garnish. It makes the meal.



Visit FunnyIsFamily’s profile on Pinterest.

[Tweet “This Crock Pot Chicken with Peanut Sauce is simple and delicious!”]

Best Mom

Sometimes "good enough" is just that.

“Why don’t you ever give me things like this?” I ask my seven-year-old son as I hold up a drawing from his sister. It is a flower, colorless except for the dark grey of the pencil she used, with a matching grey sun smiling down from the top corner of the page. Emblazoned across the bottom is the declaration, “BEST MOM.”

My boy looks at me quizzically. I can see that he wonders what I mean. Does she want to know why I never make her grey flowers? Or crudely drawn preschool landscapes? Or is she wondering why I never call her “best mom”?

I stand in front of him, keeping my expression neutral, letting him squirm because confusing my kids is one of my favorite things. I see his eyes dart to the “BEST MOM” part, and back to me. He’s beginning to understand how to use white lies, and maybe he’s thinking now’s a good time to bust one out and protect my feelings.

Nope.

“You aren’t the best mom.” He breaks the news to me with a shrug. “The word ‘best’ means there can only be one, and it’s probably not you.” I smirk, and feign shock. “Whaaaat?!” Scooping him into a hug, I shake him back and forth. “I’m not the BEST MOM?” He begins to giggle, knowing my feelings aren’t hurt. “Well, I don’t know for sure,” he hedges, “but I don’t think so.”

His sister hears the commotion and comes running. “You think I’m the best mom, right L?” I ask, knowing that she’s always good for an ego stroke. In fairness, everything is “the best” for her. A trip to Costco is “the best day.” A crisp apple is the best one she’s ever gnawed on. I’m the best mom. “Yes,” she delivers as expected. “I mean,” she adds, “there are maybe some that aren’t as mean as you, though.”

Uh, thanks? I ignore that backhanded compliment, because it’s totally true.

This exchange could have sent another mother into tears. Not me, though. I know I’m not the best mom, and I ain’t tryin’ to win any awards in that category. I am happy being average, and if we’re being honest here, my kids aren’t the best kids. In the words of my son, “There can only be one, and it’s probably not you.” (Or you.)

Some may say I’m the best mom for my kids, or I’m the best mom I can be. That is kind of them to say, but is absolutely untrue. I don’t give it my all, but I’m not wired for perfection, and I have no desire to reach for that impossibility. I love my children, obviously, and much of my brainpower is spent with their well-being in mind, but make no mistake: I’ve never been a “show your work” kind of girl.

You know what I mean, right? In school, we had to show our work. You can’t just write down the answer, because the teacher needs to see how you got there. So much of motherhood these days is showing your work. Outward signs of the steps taken to show others that we’re trying. For me the answer is that I love my kids. They are secure, and I don’t need to show my work for the answer to be correct.

Here’s the great part, though. They are mine, and I am theirs. We are completely devoted to each other, and wouldn’t trade each other for anyone, even “the best.” Despite my shortcomings as a human, and therefore as a mother, my kids are happy. They are healthy, they are well-adjusted, and they are content. They are funny, they are clever, and they are cool. We have carved out a wonderful life for ourselves, probably just as nice as the lives led by “the best,” wherever they may be.

You probably think you aren’t the best, either, and chances are, you are right. Thankfully, parenting isn’t a competition, because we’re all winning and we’re all losing. Winning hugs and mountains of drawings. Losing sleep and money.

I do look forward to meeting future “best kids,” and by that, of course, I mean my unborn grandchildren, who are perfect, and better than yours.

[Tweet “In parenting, sometimes “good enough” is just that.”]



Crock Pot Cheesesteak Sandwiches

I love these crockpot cheesesteak sandwich recipe! The flavor is incredible!

Two weeks in a row of sandwiches? I know, but we’re crazy like that.

When my in-laws were visiting last month, we toyed with the idea of making a day trip to Philadelphia. My husband and I were down there with the kids for a few hours back in October, but all we did was see the Liberty Bell through a window and grab a sandwich. We were just passing through, and it was during the government shutdown so all of the other touristy stuff was closed.

We obviously need to make it to Philadelphia again, and not just to eat another cheesesteak sandwich. I mean, mostly, but we want to see the historical bit, too.

Because we ended up staying in Connecticut, we didn’t get our sammiches, and we needed to make some Phillys. The Crock Pot Thursday crew was on it. Now this recipe is obviously not as good as the delicious gut-bombs you can get from an expert steak sandwicher in Pennsylvania, but they’re good. All of that Philly talk got me itching for a cheesesteak, and this meal scratched that itch. Mostly.

You are going to balk at the number of onions in this recipe, but don’t be scared.

Crock Pot Cheesesteak Sandwiches

Crock Pot Thursday: Cheesesteak Sandwiches
 
Ingredients
  • 2 lb round steak, sliced
  • 4 onions, sliced
  • 2 green bell peppers, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ½ cup beef stock
  • 8 crusty rolls
  • cheese of your choice
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients except rolls and cheese in Crock Pot.
  2. Give it a good stir, cover and cook on low 6-8 hours.
  3. When the meat is tender, add a heaping pile of meat, onion, and pepper mixture to a crusty roll, and top with cheese.
  4. Broil for a few minutes to melt the cheese.
  5. Grab some napkins, and dig in!
Notes
Sarah

Our family loved this recipe. Cutting up four onions was a tough but it was totally worth it! I used a London Broil and it worked great, I used 1 red and 1 green pepper because that is what I had and 2 scoops of garlic and it was yummy! This made about 10 sandwiches which is great because it is so good you will want to keep eating them!

Linda

All of us thought this was really tasty. It may not match the original Philly Steak Sandwiches--but it was very good. While cutting up four onions, I about cried my eyes out, but I can see why there were that many needed for the flavor, It was easy and satisfying, and made about eight big sandwiches. We will make this again.

Me

When I saw FOUR large onions in this recipe, I thought it was nutty. I used two large onions, and called it good. As it turns out, four would have been fine, and according to Sarah and Linda's comments, I should have stuck with the recipe and used all four. I thought the mixture needed a little salt and pepper before serving so I added a dash or two to it before slapping on the cheese.
I used my 6.5-Quart Crock-Pot Programmable Touchscreen Slow Cooker to make this recipe.



Visit FunnyIsFamily’s profile on Pinterest.

[Tweet “This Crock Pot Cheesesteak sandwich will make your face happy.”]

Crock Pot Thursday Index

What Five-Year-Olds Do At Soccer

My kids are playing soccer this year, and while my seven-year-old is playing actual games, with passing, and plays, and scores and stuff, my almost five-year-old is learning skills in an hour long weekly clinic. Based upon my careful documentation, here is a breakdown of what that adorable hour looks like.

Water breaks, potty breaks, and anything but soccer is what five-year-old sports is all about.

[Tweet “Five-year-olds playing soccer is really more tying shoes and doing the potty dance.”]

For My Son, on His Seventh Birthday

My boy is seven, a fact that seems as crazy as when they let us bring him home from the hospital a mere six years and 363 days ago. I suggested to him last night that maybe he should just be six for one more year, but he said no, a not-so-gentle reminder that my opinions are becoming less important to him. It was a good idea, and I can’t believe he didn’t even consider it.

My boy is both big and little. I imagine he will seem this way to me for many more years, maybe forever, but right now it’s really true. He can make his own bed, as long as someone helps him with the last corner of the fitted sheet. He still snuggles with me, but not for too long. He is many things, wrapped in a 47 lb package, and today I share him with you.

Dear Graham,

You are the face that launched a thousand sleepless nights.

This is Seven from @funnyisfamilyYou are the boy on the bus, always sitting immediately behind the driver.

You are a nose in a book, oblivious to the outside world.

You are a soccer player, hovering just on the outside of the action, slowly building the confidence and skills to go all in.

You are a monkey, terrifying every mother at the park, climbing to the tippy top of the playground spiderweb, your shoulders scraping the clouds.

You are a leaf, blown off course by the slightest breeze, easily distracted, and never, ever remembering why you went upstairs. It was to grab a jacket, by the way.

You are a giggle erupting, knocked senseless into a puddle of hysterics by “butt” or “poop,” the language of first graders everywhere.

You are your brown blanket, nubby and worn from seven years of hard love, with harder edges more comfortable being used for warmth now than snuggles.

You are a thinker, posing intricate questions, and remembering small details.

You are a blur, a boy on a bike flying past like a lightening bolt.

This is Seven @funnyisfamily You are a master builder; making Lego creations, secret languages, and projects from trash.

You are an older brother, 75% your sister’s best friend, 25% her tormentor.

You are my heart, overwhelming me with a dizzying variety of emotions: pride, frustration, joy, surprise, and so much love it literally overflows from my eyeballs on a ridiculously frequent basis.

You are my firstborn. You made me a mother, and you changed the dynamic of our family forever. My world, and my boobs, will never be the same.

This is Seven from @funnyisfamily

Happy birthday, son. I hope you love being seven as much as you love leaving your socks all over the house.

Always,

Mom

[Tweet “From the face that launched 1000 sleepless nights to a blur on a bike. This is 7.”]

This is Seven from @funnyisfamily

Crock Pot Reuben Sandwiches

These Crockpot Reuben Sandwiches are incredible!! It is a dinner so delicious that your whole family is sure to love it!

This Crock Pot Thursday recipe pick was mine, and at first I kind of felt like a jerk because my husband hates sauerkraut, and therefore had never tried a Reuben sandwich. My in-laws were in town, though, and my mother-in-law  and I love Reubens so much, my poor husband’s preferences were overpowered by our love of corned beef and pickled cabbage.

These sandwiches knocked my socks off, and everyone was pleasantly surprised when the entire Crock Pot Thursday crew enjoyed them as much as I did. Even my sauerkraut hating husband was a fan of his sandwich, and was excited about leftovers the following night.

Pretty much this recipe is magic, transforming the strong flavors of both the sauerkraut, the onions, and the corned beef into a meal that bridges the gap between those with good taste (me, obviously) and those with the palate of a child (I’m talking about my husband right now).

If you are not a fan of sauerkraut, I don’t imagine I’ll be convincing you to try this recipe, but if you are married to someone like my main squeeze, roll the dice and make this. What’s the worst that can happen? They won’t eat it? That’s fine…MORE FOR YOU!

 Crock Pot Reuben Sandwiches

Crock Pot Thursday: Reuben Sandwiches
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Serves: 6 sandwiches
Ingredients
  • 1 mild-cured corned beef (about 2 lbs)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ tsp caraway seeds
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 2 cups sauerkraut, drained
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • ½ cup beef broth
  • pumpernickel or rye bread
  • Swiss cheese
  • Russian dressing, Thousand Island dressing, mustard, or horseradish (or whatever condiment blows your skirt up)
Instructions
  1. Trim the excess fat from the corned beef, and place it in the Crock Pot.
  2. Add garlic, caraway seeds, and peppercorn on top of beef, and toss onion, and sauerkraut on top of spices.
  3. Pour beef broth over everything.
  4. Cover, and cook on low 7-9 hours.
  5. Remove beef from slow cooker and slice across grain into sandwich size pieces.
  6. Slather bread with condiment of choice, add beef, and a scoop of drained sauerkraut mixture. Top with a slice of Swiss cheese, and broil for a minute or two to melt the cheese.
  7. If you really want to rock your tastebuds, butter the outsides of the bread and grill the sandwich in a pan over medium high heat until the bread is golden brown.
Notes
Linda

My mouth is still watering from these sandwiches! The corned beef was really tender and savory cooked this way, and the sauerkraut was really toned down and not overpowering. We also put on some horseradish and served with a chopped salad.

Me

The first night I had mine on toasted bread with mustard. The second night, I had it with Thousand Island dressing and the sandwich was grilled. Both were delicious, and I could have probably eaten this sandwich dry off the floor and it would still have rocked my world. I want to make it again right now. Ten million thumbs up.

I used my 6.5-Quart Crock-Pot Programmable Touchscreen Slow Cooker to make these Crock Pot Reuben Sandwiches.

[Tweet “A Reuben sandwich in the Crock Pot? It’s true, and it’s incredible.”]


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Over 100 tested and reviewed family-friendly Crock Pot recipes in one place!

Pops of Color and a $100 Giveaway!

$100 Giveaway from @funnyisfamily and @wayfair

This is a sponsored post, but the words and opinions are my own. You should read to the bottom, because we’re giving away a fatty prize!

When Wayfair.com challenged me to add a pop of color to an area in my home, I was stumped. One reason is because my style is what could be kindly described as “pathetic” or “non-existent.” This distinction goes beyond my personal appearance; my visual shortcomings can be seen in my home, too. The room in our house that has the most color is my office, and that’s only because it still sports the lemon yellow walls and bright green shag rug from when it was a nursery. Four years ago. All other rooms in our house are in desperate need of a pop of color. Where do I start? In our living room, with some throw pillows?

Chooty--Co-Zig-Zag-Cotton-Pillow

 I love these ones, and they even match my blog colors. 

echo-design-Jaipur-Duvet-Mini-Set

Or maybe some new bedding? New bedding can transform an entire room.

Fairfield+Window+Box+283622+or+602229

The exterior of my house could use some style and color, too. Aren’t these window boxes adorable?

I loved more things on Wayfair than I could possibly share here, but in the end, I couldn’t pull myself away from things having to do with food. My teapot recently died, and instead of replacing it with another white one, I am now the proud owner of a blue beauty from Rachael Ray. I paired it with fun plates from the same collection, and added napkin rings.

Because who wants to have tea at this table,

Pop of Color Before

when you can have tea at this table?

Time for Tea

After you are done admiring the cute plates and bold tea kettle, check out the cake platter. It is crazy awesome, and can be configured multiple ways. It can be a raised stand, a tray with a built-in dip bowl, or a large bowl for salads or punch. I’ve had it a week, and have already used it three ways.

Home-Essentials-6-in-1-Cake-PlateNow, I wish I could have you all over for tea and those tasty Banana Bread Scones with Brown Sugar Glaze, but instead, Wayfair is giving one lucky winner a gift card worth $100! Here’s what you need to do: Leave a comment WITH A LINK to a Wayfair item that would add a pop of color to your home, and you could be the one Funny Is Family reader to receive this big money prize!

***TO ENTER YOU MUST LEAVE A COMMENT WITH LINK TO AN  ITEM ON Wayfair.com THAT WOULD ADD A POP OF COLOR TO YOUR HOME. THIS IS A MANDATORY OPTION AND YOUR ENTRIES WILL BE INELIGIBLE IF YOU DON’T FIRST COMPLETE THIS OPTION***

No purchase necessary. By leaving a comment you agree to the rules of this sweepstakes. Each comment to this post equals one entry and must include a name and valid email address to be eligible. A comment must link to a product from Wayfair.com to be considered for this sweepstakes. One entry per household. Limited to entrants over 18 in the US and Canada, residents of Florida, New York, and Rhode Island are ineligible to enter. Contest begins as of the time of this post and ends on 5/3/14 at 12:00 am EST. The winner will receive a Wayfair gift card/promo code, a retail value of $100 US. The number of eligible entries received will determine the odds of winning. All comments will be numbered in the order they are received and the winner will be chosen randomly by Funny Is Family using the Random Number Generator at random.org.  Winner will be notified by email at the address given in their entry and must respond within 72 hours to receive their prize. If the winner does not respond within that time, a new winner will be chosen. The prize will be provided by Wayfair.com. Funny Is Family is not responsible for any problems with receipt of the prize. This contest is governed by the rules of Massachusetts, void where prohibited. This sweepstakes is sponsored by Wayfair LLC, 177 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA, 02115.

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[Tweet “A $100 giveaway from @wayfair and a recipe for Banana Bread Scones w/ Brown Sugar Glaze, too!”]

Banana Bread Scones with Brown Sugar Glaze

Banana Bread Scones from @FunnyIsFamily

The life cycle of a bunch of bananas in our house is very predictable. Once the bananas cross the threshold of the kitchen, my children each snatch one off the bunch and devour them immediately. The remaining bananas are consumed in a more reasonable fashion for the next few days, in lunches, as snacks, and in smoothies, until there are two bananas left.

Those two bananas are then ignored. For days and days, the last two bananas sit on the counter, lonely, darkening, and completely invisible to everyone in the house. Eventually I see them again, when the peels are black and withered, and I use them for cooking.

Today those long forgotten bananas became these tasty scones with a recipe modified from The Kitchn.

I love scones. My husband does not. He thinks they are too dense and dry, which is crazy because those traits are what make scones great. These Banana Bread Scones are a nice compromise, as they are a little more cake-like than a traditional scone, but are still dense enough for me to dip them in my coffee.

The sugary glaze is the perfect compliment to the scones, which aren’t too sweet. Our entire family enjoyed them, and eight scones didn’t last very long at all.

Banana Bread Scones with Brown Sugar Glaze
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 8 scones
Ingredients
  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • 2-4 tablespoons milk
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Glaze
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 tablespoons milk
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup confectioner's sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Mash the bananas, and add enough milk for the banana/milk mixture to equal two cups.
  3. Stir in yogurt and set aside.
  4. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl.
  5. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter or fork until there are only itty bitty butter pieces.
  6. Add the banana mixture and mix only until combined using a mixing spoon and then your hands.
  7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and form the dough into a 1 inch thick round disc.
  8. Cut the disc like a pie into eight wedges.
  9. Spread them out a bit to have room to expand while cooking.
  10. Bake for 20 minutes or so, or until the scones are brown on top and firm to the touch.
For Glaze
  1. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
  2. Add milk, brown sugar, and vanilla stirring continually.
  3. When the sauce is combined, add in confectioner's sugar, stirring until smooth.
  4. Drizzle over scones.

[Tweet “Overripe bananas sitting on your counter? Make these Banana Bread Scones with Brown Sugar Glaze!”]

Crock Pot Chinese Pork Shoulder

This Crockpot Chinese Pork Shoulder recipe is a delicious pasta dish your whole family will gobble up! The meat is tender and has a great flavor.

I really enjoyed this Crock Pot Chinese Pork Shoulder recipe, and not only because I’m steering clear of carbs right now. The flavor of the meat and the sauce was great, and it went well served over noodles (or broccoli for me). I think it would be delicious with stir-fried vegetables, or over rice, and my husband and kids enjoyed it a few nights later in buns with barbecue sauce. Because who doesn’t like Chinese for a few nights and then barbecued pork sandwiches?

Nobody, that’s who.

This recipe, originally from Food Network calls for Chinese five spice powder, and I almost rewrote it using substitutions, because I don’t like having to buy something when I only need a teaspoon, but I didn’t. Chinese five spice is used in a variety of recipes, so it’s not bad to have on hand, but if you want to substitute, see Sarah and Linda’s substitution suggestions below.

Crock Pot Thursday: Chinese Pork Shoulder
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Ingredients
  • 3 pounds trimmed pork shoulder
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup dark soy sauce
  • ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 4 scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 garlic head, halved
  • 1 (2-inch) knob unpeeled fresh ginger, thinly sliced
  • 8 dried shiitake mushrooms, optional
  • Hot cooked Chinese egg noodles, for serving
Instructions
  1. Rub Chinese five-spice powder and kosher salt all over pork shoulder and place in the slow cooker.
  2. Combine chicken broth, soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, red pepper, scallions, garlic, ginger, and mushrooms in a bowl.
  3. Pour over pork shoulder, and turn to coat.
  4. Cover, and cook on high 4 hours.
  5. Turn temperature to low, and continue cooking 2 hours, or until the meat is very tender.
  6. Remove pork to a platter, and cover for 15 minutes.
  7. Skim fat and floating vegetables from remaining sauce.
  8. Slice meat and serve over Chinese egg noodles, spooning sauce over the top.
Notes
Linda

This meat cooked to perfection, and had the most phenomenal flavor. I could not find the 5 spice powder so I made my own with cinnamon, cloves, fennel, and pepper. My oil was sesame chili flavored, which gave it a good kick. I cooked mine on low for 9 hours. I will definitely make this again!

Sarah

I thought the meat cooked well and it was very moist. I also made my own spice concoction with equal parts of cinnamon, cloves, fennel and pepper. I thought the cloves were a little overpowering and next time would do half as much. I served over egg noodles but next time would do rice since the sauce is so runny. I also think serving this with broccoli would be yummy.

Me

This was simple to throw together, and made enough pork to feed our family for several nights. I used white mushrooms, cut in half, and didn't toss them out at the end because I love those little suckers. I also cooked my noodles in the sauce, because holy cow there was a ton left after it was done cooking. It was tasty, and I didn't want to waste it. I served our Chinese pork shoulder with broccoli, and I think it would have been delicious with some bok choy, too.

I used my 6 Quart Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker to make this recipe.


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10 Tips For Maximizing Grandparent Time

 

Tips and tricks for kids to milk a visit from Grandma for all it's worth! We're talking candy, books, and all sorts of fun kid activities!

My in-laws are in town. When people hear this, I am immediately asked, “Is that a good thing?”

It is. You already know how much I love my mother-in-law, and I’m not just saying that because she’ll read this. Both she and my father-in-law enjoy spending time with the kids, are happy to help tackle the house projects we’ve ignored for years, and are always up for fun adventures when they’re here.

If I love when my in-laws are visiting, my kids are ecstatic. Life looks different in the glow of Grandma and Grandpa, and it’s not just the snuggles. We’re talking over the top, grandparent awesome.

Here are some tips  for maximizing Grandparent Standard Time.

1. Say goodbye to the boring Raisin Bran or yogurt you usually have for breakfast, and say hello to a dizzying choice of sugar cereals from the Kellogg variety pack. The choice will be difficult, but you can’t go wrong with either Cocoa Puffs or Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Both are better with an M&M chaser.

2. Mornings are meant to be lazy, with snuggles only outnumbered by cartoons. This is a great time to convert two more Frozen fans, and to triple your average daily television viewing by 9 am.

3. This early morning excess is easy, because your parents are still in bed, pretending to sleep, but actually playing on their phones while enjoying the silence. Let them be. As soon as they’re up, the fun immediately diminishes by 37%.

4. Time to take on the day! Get your shoes on and do something fun, like go to a museum, zoo, or anywhere a cheap plastic toy or stuffed animal can be purchased for what Mom and Dad make in a year. Don’t worry. Grandma and Grandpa have budgeted for these necessary cash outlays, and they live to spend money on you. When you go to the hardware store later, they’ll spring for an $18 book that sings. This is why you love them the most. All Mom and Dad ever let you get is the free popcorn, and that’s only when they’re in a good mood, which is practically never.

10 Tips for Maximizing Grandparent Time

5. Lunch time, or as Grandpa calls it, “Who wants ice cream?!”. Not just ice cream, of course. That would be crazy. Round out the meal with a blue drink in a glass the size of a fishbowl. You’re worth it.

6. Naptime. For Grandpa.

7. Afternoon is a great time to take the dog for a walk, and also to have a silly string fight in the yard. Follow it by a dozen rounds of that stupid game Mom and Dad hate. Grandma hates it too, but she loves you more. Play on!

8. Mom and Grandma are busy starting dinner, while Dad and Grandpa work on a house project. Now is an important time to make sure the sugar levels are maintained by sneaking some of the candy Grandma brought. Work quietly, and the grown-ups will forget you exist for just a moment. That’s all you need, really.

9. Impress both grandparents by eating as much as an adult at dinner. Grandparents love to see their grandchildren packing it away like Renee Zellweger preparing to play Bridget Jones.

10. Bedtime. LOL, just kidding. That doesn’t happen for hours. Grandma and Grandpa are here, remember? Grab a book or four, and get ready to earn your black belt in snuggling.

10 Tips for Maximizing Grandparent Time

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Easy Deviled Egg Boats

This easy deviled egg recipe is great for Easter, as an appetizer, or for a nautical themed party!Deviled eggs are a fan favorite at our house. When my oldest child was two, I was making a gigantic batch of them for my husband’s work picnic, and between shoving finished eggs in his face, he coined the term “egg boats.” I obviously thought it was the cutest thing ever uttered in the history of the world, and from that moment on, deviled eggs became egg boats. I’m lobbying pretty hard for the name to be changed officially.

Deviled egg boats are delicious, and they are quite simple to make. Honestly, I’m not sure why we only bust them out for Easter and summer barbeques. Actually, I do know. If I made them more frequently, my jeans wouldn’t zip, and society says it’s “inappropriate” to go pantsless.

Since we call them egg boats, sometimes I like to make a sail out of apple or bell pepper and watch the kids lose their minds with glee. It’s good times.

Deviled Egg Boats

Egg Boats
 
Ingredients
  • 6 hard boiled eggs
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard
  • salt and white pepper to taste
  • dill or paprika for garnish
Instructions
  1. Peel and slice eggs lengthwise.
  2. Carefully scoop yolk out of eggs and put in a bowl.
  3. Put egg whites on a platter or in the cool deviled egg container you got on the cheap and love more than is reasonable.
  4. Mash the yolks and add the mayo, vinegar, and mustard and mix until smooth.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Using a pastry bag, a Ziploc bag with the corner cut off, or just a spoon, fill the empty egg whites with the yolk mixture.
  7. Sprinkle with paprika or dill.
  8. Get out of the way before your family or guests bite your finger off trying to get to your deviled eggs.
Notes
Change the flavor a bit by adding in one of these ingredients:

Horseradish

Wasabi

Bacon

Chipotle

Sweet pickle relish

Now go make some deviled egg boats and pretend you’re a giant and you’re swallowing a boat whole. That’s what I’ll be doing.


[Tweet “Deviled eggs look like little boats, so throw an apple slice in them and blow your kids’ minds.”]

 

Dog Park or Kid Park?

Recently, a friend asked me if I ever took our eight-year-old black lab, Edgar, to the dog park.

“I used to,” I told her. “The dog park isn’t a great place for little kids, so we don’t really go anymore.”

This statement is true; dog parks are full of exuberant pooches, and small children can be knocked over easily by wayward tails or dogs chasing balls. Not all dogs are comfortable with kids and their loud voices, abrupt movements, and they way they all smell faintly of cheese. I’d rather throw the ball to my 90 pound pooch in the comfort of my own backyard, where the only dog poop I’m going to step in is his, and where I don’t need to worry about my kids getting clawed in the face by a pup “just being friendly.”

“Besides,” I told her, “dog park people are weird.”

I’m still surprised that statement came out of my face. First of all, I am “dog park people”, or at least I used to be. Now I’m in an even kookier group, because now I’m “kid park people.” You may call them “parents.”

Really, dog parks and kid parks are the same thing, and so are the people who frequent them. Check it.

Dog park or kid park?

1. You are known only as your dog/kid’s parent. “Oh, there’s Edgar’s mom.”

2. You’re annoyed with the bigger kids/dogs, and wish they would stay on their own side of the park.

3. Someone’s peeing on a tree.

4. There is an 94% chance any dropped food will be gobbled up before an adult can fish it out their kid/dog’s mouth. See also: dropped trash.

5. Even if you make your dog/kid go to the bathroom before leaving home, they’ll still have to poop at the park.

6. You can stay for twenty hours, and your kid/dog will still be reluctant to leave.

7. If other parents bring treats, your dog/kid will beg for some with pitiful, pathetic eyes.

8. There is at least one Jack, Lucy, Max, Molly, and Jake.

9. Between parents to babies and dogs to dogs, there is sooo much butt sniffing.

10. There is that one person showing off with a perfectly behaved kid/dog, making everyone else look bad.

11. You’re terrified of accidentally running over someone else’s kid/dog in the parking lot.

[Tweet “”Someone’s peeing on a tree” and 10 other ways dog parks and kid parks are the same.”]



A Sweet, Feminine, Modern Blog Theme

Sugar plum bonbon tiramisu. Carrot cake caramels unerdwear.com pie sesame snaps. Chupa chups sweet roll powder lollipop jelly beans. Caramels wafer liquorice lemon drops biscuit donut cheesecake danish chupa chups. Marzipan toffee jelly-o tart caramels applicake tiramisu tiramisu chupa chuSugar plum bonbon tiramisu. Carrot cake caramels unerdwear.com pie sesame snaps. Chupa chups sweet roll powder lollipop jelly beans. Caramels wafer liquorice lemon drops biscuit donut cheesecake danish chupa chups. Marzipan toffee jelly-o tart caramels applicake tiramisu tiramisu chupa chu

Crock Pot Chicken Broccoli Alfredo

This Crock Pot Chicken Broccoli Alfredo recipe is easy to throw together and tastes great!

Listen, sometimes you just want to dump some chicken in a pot and throw some sauce on top of it. That’s great, and those meals are usually ones the kids and grown-ups will both enjoy, but the problem is, those dishes are often not very visually appealing.

Not this Crock Pot Chicken Broccoli Alfredo, though. It’s pretty and it’s really a perfect meal for those who don’t have time to “make” dinner in the morning. Between throwing together lunches, reminding kids to grab their library books, and feeding the dog, mornings can be wild.

This meal can be prepared in the time it takes your kids to brush their teeth, and it tastes great. True story.

I used my 6.5-Quart Crock-Pot Programmable Touchscreen Slow Cooker to make this Crock Pot Chicken Broccoli Alfredo.

This Crock Pot Chicken Broccoli Alfredo recipe is easy to throw together and tastes great!

Crock Pot Chicken Broccoli Alfredo

Crock Pot Chicken Broccoli Alfredo
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
  • ½ tsp coarse salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 2 jars Alfredo sauce
  • 1 (12 ounce) bag frozen broccoli cuts
  • ½ pound bowtie pasta, cooked
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Place chicken in Crock Pot, and add salt and pepper.
  2. Dump sauce on top of chicken.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.
  4. Add broccoli, cover again, and cook for 1 more hour.
  5. Toss with cooked pasta, and top with parmesan and parsley.

Feedback

Sarah

I used frozen chicken breasts and cooked on low for 6 hours. It was the easiest recipe we’ve had…. Maybe! I used a jar of Alfredo and about a tablespoon of parsley. I thought it needed garlic. Next time I will add more seasonings or maybe just an additional Alfredo seasoning packet! With the ease of this recipe and the quick ingredients, I can’t see not making this again!

Linda

This was very easy and quick. I used 3 frozen chicken breasts, 2 jars of alfredo sauce, and some Mrs. Dash. I cooked it on low for 7 hours, with the frozen broccoli added the last hour. It was a yummy dinner served over pasta. I also added black pepper to the finished sauce.

Me

What’s not to like? This is crazy easy, and we all love alfredo. We’ll make this again for sure. I used fresh broccoli, and it needed a little longer cook time than frozen, but I planned for that and it was perfect.


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This recipe was also shared on Whatcha Crockin’?

Crock Pot Thursday Index

 

The Cracks On My Face

The Cracks on My Face

“I don’t like my skates,” my four-year-old mentioned quietly, as we sat on the bleachers outside of our local ice skating rink.

It was our family’s first time ice skating together, my husband and my previous trips around a rink more than twenty years behind us. Since my children have some of my genetic material, they didn’t take to the sport right away, but my son’s bravery and tenacity kicked in, and he was faring better than his sister. He was falling more than she was, but that’s the price of letting go of the wall.

We had already taken a hot chocolate break, and as I was lacing my girl’s bright yellow rentals, she made her confession.

“I don’t like my skates.”

“Do they hurt your feet?” I asked.

“No,” she clarified. “I don’t like the way they look.” She touched a finger to one of the many dings and scuff marks on the lemon-colored surface, and continued. “Mine are too scratched up. No one else has scratches on their skates.”

The Cracks on My Face 600x400

As I held one of her feet in my lap, the cold metal blade cutting into my thigh, I smiled.

“Your skates have marks on them because other kids have used them before you. Those are marks of fun. The more marks a skate has, the more fun it has had.”

“Marks of fun?” she wrinkled her nose, doubtfully.

“Yeah,” I continued. “Look at my face. See the lines around my eyes and my mouth?” My preschooler pulled me close by cupping either side of my face, her small hands cocooned in rose-colored kitty mittens.

I smiled widely, the teeth-baring, eye-squinting smile that created the crevasses in my skin, and she nodded.

“I see them,” she said. “Here,” tracing between my eye and my ear, “and here,” tracing my smile line.

“Those lines are from all times I’ve smiled,” I told her. “From all the fun I’ve had.”

“If I smile a lot, will I have cracks on my face like you do?”

“You will,” I told her, thinking about the way her face transforms and her eyes disappear when she’s happy.

“Cool,” she grinned. “I hope I have so many fun marks when I’m a grown-up.”

Smile fading, my girl cocked her head to the side and watched the people on the ice for a moment. Looking down at her borrowed footwear, bright as the sun and heavily worn, she nodded for the second time.

“These skates have had a lot of fun,” she decided.

“They really have,” I agreed. “Now let’s go have some more.”

 

Crock Pot Black Bean and Spinach Chicken

This Crockpot Black Bean and Spinach Chicken recipe is a quick and easy dinner idea full of great stuff!

Things I love: black beans, spinach, chicken, tomatoes, and cream cheese. And looky here! This Crock Pot Black Bean and Spinach Chicken has all of those things. It has other good stuff, too, and is pretty much a “dump everything into the Crock Pot and go” recipes, so it was kind of love at first sight when we discovered it at Crock-Pot Ladies.

It was easy, it was tasty, and everyone ate it. I think it could have used more spice, maybe a little cumin or red pepper, or even Rotel instead of the diced tomatoes. Feel free to get wild and add a little spice into yours if you feel like it, because who doesn’t like to feel a little naughty when they’re firing up the slow cooker?

Crock Pot Black Bean and Spinach Chicken

Crock Pot Thursday: Black Bean and Spinach Chicken
 
Ingredients
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can corn
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can black beans
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • 3 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1 bag baby spinach
  • Toppings
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients except spinach, cream cheese, and toppings into the slow cooker.
  2. Cover, and cook on low 5-6 hours.
  3. Stir in cream cheese until combined.
  4. Add in spinach, stirring gently.
  5. Cover and cook 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  6. Serve over rice or noodles, and top with salsa and cheese.
Notes
Sarah

This was a very simple meal to put together. Cooked it for 7 hours on low and then shredded the chicken. I began eating it without the salsa and cheese and thought that it was decent but tasted a bit bland. Once I added these it tasted better but still lacking something. I added a dollop of sour cream and it really transformed this meal into something delicious! I would definitely make this meal again!

Linda

We all enjoyed the flavors in this recipe. It was very simple to prepare--I used frozen chicken breasts, and cooked for 8 hours on low. We topped ours with Mexican grated cheese and salsa, and served it with rice. Also made great leftovers!!

Me

I served this chicken over noodles, mostly because we had just had rice two days before. I gave it to the kids without the salsa, and they liked it, and we adults added not only the salsa, but also some extra hot sauce. We like a little kick, don't ya know? I'll bet it would be really good with the salsa thrown in at the beginning and cooked with the chicken, instead of used as a topping.

I used my 6.5-Quart Crock-Pot Programmable Touchscreen Slow Cooker to make this Crock Pot Black Bean and Spinach Chicken.



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Crock Pot Thursday Index

Suburban Haiku: A Review and Giveaway

Suburban Haiku: a Review and Giveaway!

My favorite kind of humor is the brand that effortlessly points out the silly absurdities of everyday life. I love it even more if those observations are poking fun at things that I personally do, even though I know they are a little bit nutty. Relatable comedy, done well, makes me giddy, makes me think, and makes me laugh until I’m doubled over, hyperventilating and freaking out the dog.

Peyton Price, poet and author of the popular new release, Suburban Haiku: Poetic Dispatches from Behind the Picket Fence, is a master at this kind of writing. She crafts everyday observations into art by weaving humor and an understanding that can only come from living in the world in which she writes about. She captures the drive to keep up appearances with a wit that will make you laugh out loud, and if you are like me, see yourself in too many of her poems to pick a favorite.

Peyton pares down the complexities of suburban motherhood into 17 perfect syllables, like these:

Suburban Haiku by Peyton Price on @FunnyIsFamily Suburban Haiku 3 Suburban Haiku

Peyton sent me a copy to review, and for a half second, I considered giving it to one lucky winner. I couldn’t do it, though. I love this collection of haikus so much, I can’t free it from my greedy clutches.

Even though I’m selfish, you can still win a copy of Suburban Haiku, because Peyton is a better sharer than I am. She has generously provided another copy for one of you, and I’m not exaggerating when I say you need this book. Actually, you need more than one, because Peyton’s collection makes a perfect gift. I’ve already ordered several more copies to have on hand for birthdays or hostess gifts, or just for friends who need a quick laugh. CLICK HERE to order a copy.

Enter below to win your very own copy of this clever book of poems. Your funny bone will thank you.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I was given an advance copy of Suburban Haiku to review, but all opinions are my own, and Peyton’s a sucker because I would have happily purchased my own copy. Thanks, Peyton!

[Tweet “You’ll love @SuburbanHaiku’s book of hilarious poems more than your kid loves the iPad. Win it now!”]

[Tweet “Like to laugh? @FunnyIsFamily is giving away a copy of @SuburbanHaiku’s fantastic new book!”]

 

Crock Pot Vegetable Curry

This Crockpot Vegetable Curry recipe is full of healthy deliciousness, and is a great vegetarian dinner idea for meatless Monday!

Last week my husband was out of town, and it was my turn to choose our Crock Pot Thursday recipe. If you look at our recipe index, you’ll see that we are pretty heavy on the meat dishes, but that’s mostly because of the men in our families, and since mine was gone, I chose a vegetarian dish!

My choice would have really irritated some of the fellas in our group, but their women saved the day by sneaking some leftover turkey into the dish, making the meal immediately respectable. If you also have meat loyalists in your family, this dish is great with some tossed in, but certainly doesn’t need it. This Crock Pot Vegetable Curry, which I modified from Cookin’ Canuck, is hearty and flavorful, and the spice, while too much for most small children, is a good medium heat for the adults.

When my husband got home from his conference, he ate several servings of vegetable curry, and deemed it “decent.” It didn’t have any meat, after all, and really couldn’t get a higher rating with that missing component. I really liked it, and was happy to eat it for several days. I was able to freeze some of it, and it makes great leftovers!

I used my 6.5-Quart Crock-Pot Programmable Touchscreen Slow Cooker to make this Crock Pot Vegetable Curry.

Crock Pot Vegetable Curry

Crock Pot Thursday: Vegetable Curry
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Ingredients
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • 1 apple, diced
  • 2 tbsp minced ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup mild curry paste
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
  • 2 cups small cauliflower florets
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (14 oz) can vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 can coconut milk (you may not need all of the can)
  • 1½ cups (lightly packed) spinach leaves
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, apple and
  2. ginger, cooking about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the curry paste and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add garlic, and cook for another minute.
  5. Transfer the skillet mixture to the slow cooker.
  6. Add the sweet potato, cauliflower, chickpeas, diced tomatoes, and broth to the slow cooker.
  7. Cook on HIGH for 6 hours, or until the vegetables are tender.
  8. Stir in the amount of coconut milk necessary to achieve desired consistency. (I like mine kind of soupy.)
  9. Add spinach, and heat through.
  10. Serve over rice.
Notes
Linda

I loved this recipe - so flavorful, so healthy, and so yummy. However, I live with meat lovers, who turn up their noses at the word vegetarian. So, I added cooked turkey breast to the Crock Pot, and everyone was happy, happy. Served over hot rice, this was a great dinner.

Sarah

I thought the recipe was great! I also added turkey (frozen from last week) to my crock and I thought this was a great dish.

Kim

This was a nice change! We stayed true to the recipe and thought it was very satisfying even without meat! Next time I'll try cutting the veggies in slightly bigger pieces so they don't 'dissolve' into the sauce too much. Hubby loved it, 3yo liked it, 10mo not so much. It makes a nice portion... we ate on it for two nights and froze the rest! A definite make again.

Me

I initially cut the curry in half, hoping my kids would eat it if it wasn't too spicy. They did not, so I added in the remaining curry paste to the finished product, making the flavor just right. I also threw in a few baby carrots, because I felt like it, that's why. I really liked it, and wish my kids would, too.



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[Tweet “Crock Pot Vegetable Curry with sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and just the right amount of spice.”]

I Prayed for my Husband Before We Met


I Prayed for my Husband Before We Met from @funnyisfamily

When I was a zitty, hormonal 14-year-old, I began praying for my future husband. Someone, either my mother or a church youth leader, gave me this idea, and I thought that was about the most romantic idea I’d ever heard.

I tried unsuccessfully to imagine him, his face always becoming Luke Perry or Donnie Wahlberg, which even in my hopeful teenage mind seemed unlikely. Eventually, I was able to settle on the idea of him, and in a feat of strength, was able to resist throwing in a prayer that “Hey God, if someone has to marry these celebrity heartthrobs, why not me?”

My prayers were always generic, as I assumed (and based on the boys at school, fervently hoped) that I hadn’t yet met the father of my future children, and I didn’t really know what kind of prayers he needed. Health, happiness, and all of the other boring, yet vitally important prayers were thrown his way, and I kept that up for most of my teen years.

I prayed for him more when I was single, and in the fickle way of a high school girl, I forgot about the fuzzy idea of my husband when things were going well for me in the boyfriend department. Besides, some of the guys I dated needed their fair share of prayers, too, and Future Husband would have to wait patiently. Come to think of it, some of those old boyfriends could still use some divine intervention.

Sometimes I think back to those times when I would be trying to find the perfect words to help guide God’s hand in my beloved’s life. I understood the power of prayer, but I didn’t really get how asking God for things would make him go, “Oh, yeah. Amy says to give this kid health, so I’ll do that today.” Honestly, I still don’t really get how He makes decisions, but I have faith that my requests are at least heard, and that is meaningful to me.

What I didn’t know back then, when I was praying that my kids’ future dad wasn’t drinking and driving, or doing any of the incredibly stupid things that teenagers do, was that he needed my prayers. His father died when he was 12, and he, his mother, and his siblings had a rough couple of years.

I hate that I never got to meet his father. I hate that I couldn’t be there for him when his life was turned upside down in a way that no child should experience. But I love that I was doing something. I love that while I never felt connected to him before we meet, maybe my prayers were a connection.

I’m grateful for that corny suggestion of some adult in my life more than 20 years ago, and I don’t even care that my husband rolls his eyes when I marvel at all of this. He doesn’t need to know that I currently have our kids’ future spouses on my prayer list, or that I’m considering adding my unborn grandchildren to the mix. Or that, for a time, I wanted to marry Dylan McKay and live simply while spending his fortune tastefully.

[Tweet “Prayer is powerful, even if you don’t end up marrying one of the New Kids on the Block”]

[Tweet “Do you pray for people you have yet to meet? Why you should consider it.”]

 

Praise for I Just Want to Be Alone

 

Since we’re talking about husbands, let’s talk about this book all about the men in our lives. I Just Want to Be Alone is taking the internet by storm, and you do not want to miss the fun! Order your copy today

Relationship Advice from the Funniest Women on the Internet

When I make new friends, I like to freak them out by either sharing an embarrassing story about myself, or asking them so many questions they think I work for the government. Since I’ve already shared the story of getting a Brazilian wax at eight months pregnant, I thought the best way to bond with my co-authors of I Just Want to Be Alone would be to grill them for relationship advice, the good and the bad, and today I’m sharing our collective wisdom with you.

Relationship Advice from the Women of I Just Want to Be Alone What is the best relationship advice you’ve been given?

  • “Overlook the little things.” After 20 years of marriage I’m certifiably blind. –  Michelle Newman, You’re My Favorite Today.
  • “Laugh every day.” My husband makes this sooooooo easy.” – Stephanie Jankowski, WhenCrazyMeetsExhaustion
  • “Date for lust. Get engaged for love. Marry because you’re confident your spouse will never blow your 401k on a scheme to start a spelunking tourism business.” – Nicole Leigh Shaw, NinjaMomBlog
  • “Ignore the farting.” – Deva Dalporto, MyLifeSuckers
  • “Give each other plenty of alone time. It’s absence that makes the heart fonder, not time together.” – Rebecca, Frugalista Blog
  • “Talk about everything. Keep the lines of communication open.” You’re going to be in trouble if you can’t talk in times of crisis. – Kathy, Kissing the Frog
  • “Never marry a man you meet in a bar.” This from my grandma who met my grandpa in a bar. Also, I didn’t listen — I my husband in a bar. – Suzanne Fleet, Toulouse & Tonic
  • “Don’t listen to a thing your in-laws say, unless they’re right.” My MIL told me this. – Kim Bongiorno, Let Me Start By Saying
  • “Never compare your relationship to others. You never know what’s going on behind closed doors” – Meredith Napolitano, From Meredith to Mommy
  • “Handle all finances and lie about how much things cost.” Allison Hart, Motherhood, WTF?
  • “Don’t be afraid to admit you are wrong. Even if you still think you are right.” Good advice, but I usually end up just rehashing the whole thing because I was right in the first place, dammit! -Katie Manley, Somewhat Sane Mom
  • “Go on dates after having kids.” Too bad my husband doesn’t allow me to date. – Amy Flory (that’s me, you guys)
  • One of my “Senior Moments” posts-posts with gems from my grandma-was about dating, so take what you want from this “advice”:
    1. Don’t be so stubborn. He doesn’t have to look like a movie star or make a lot of money. You don’t want ugly kids, but if you wait too long, you won’t have any kids at all.
    2. You have to spice things up. I remember your grandpa would come downstairs while I was doing the washing and bend me over the washing machine. Sometimes I was annoyed, but it never lasted long enough for me to care.
    3. If you’re in a car with a man and he starts to get fresh with his hands, tell him to knock it off. If he doesn’t listen, open the door and kick his ass out of the car. Tell him to go find a floosy on the avenue and then take yourself out for ice cream.-Abby, Abby Has Issues

What is the worst relationship advice you’ve been given?

  • My bridal edition Betty Crocker Cookbook suggested that I put on a pretty dress and makeup before my husband gets home from a long day at work. Um, the man was super grateful if dinner wasn’t burned. – Courtney Fitzgerald, Our Small Moments
  • “Never let him know my beauty secret.” Note to self: find a beauty secret. – Stephanie, WhenCrazyMeetsExhaustion
  • “I haven’t been given bad relationship advice, but ‘marry for stock options’ would likely be up there. Everyone knows you marry for money.” – Nicole Leigh Shaw, NinjaMomBlog
  • “Marry a yacht, not a canoe.” Thanks, Mom. You have such healthy priorities. – Deva Dalporto, MyLifeSuckers
  • “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” Not his pants like I was told in college. This can be bad or good advice depending on how you look at it. – Rebecca, Frugalista Blog
  • “Talk about EVERYTHING.” Pretty sure Hubby does not want to hear about how my period is all out of whack and I sure don’t want to hear how he’s not flexible enough to trim his own toenails. – Kathy, Kissing the Frog
  • “You can fall in love with a rich man as easy as a poor man.” Wait, is this the worst of the best advice category? From my mom. – Suzanne Fleet, Toulouse & Tonic
  • “You need to wear sluttier tops. That’s all men care about.” It’s sad when your mom wishes she had your tits. – Stacey, Nurse Mommy Laughs
  • “Stroke your husband.” I think my mom was talking about his ego, but once she said “stroke” I couldn’t focus anymore. – Jen, PIWTPITT
  • “Never go to bed angry…or with a knife in your hand.” Bethany, Bad Parenting Moments
  • “Don’t give away the milk for free.” Puhleeze. Since when am I a freaking cow? (Don’t answer that.) Allison Hart, Motherhood, WTF?
  • “Always try to look nice for your husband.” Totally unrealistic. And how do you know that he doesn’t like my high waisted, ripped in the crotch, elastic ankle Arizona sweat pants from 1994? -Katie, Somewhat Sane Mom
  • “Never go to bed mad.” How is sleep deprivation going to make me less mad? – Amy Flory (still me)

What is the secret to a happy relationship?

  • Space! Each do your own thing and be good at it.- Meredith Spidel, The Mom of the Year
  • Copious amounts of wine. – Michelle Newman, You’re My Favorite Today
  • Good conversation. And by conversation, I mean sex. Once a month when I’m not tired. – Stephanie WhenCrazyMeetsExhaustion
  • Celebrity crushes. – Nicole Leigh Shaw, NinjaMomBlog
  • Separate comforters. Because fighting over the covers kills marital bliss. – Deva Dalporto, MyLifeSuckers
  • Not talking to each other in the morning before coffee. – Rebecca, Frugalista Blog
  • Point out the chick with the great rack. At least he knows you know he’s looking. Kathy – Kissing the Frog
  • Short term memory. – Suzanne Fleet, Toulouse & Tonic
  • Deliberately point out all your flaws before getting married. If you can both deal with how horribly annoying and freakish each of you are, then it’s a match made for all eternity. – Kim Bongiorno, Let Me Start By Saying
  • As soon as I find out, I’m going to bottle it and rub it all over the man snoring next to me. I guess it could be laughter? – Stacey, Nurse Mommy Laughs
  • Separate TVs. And no judgment of what’s on the DVR list. – Meredith, From Meredith to Mommy
  • “Effective deodorant.” – Bethany, Bad Parenting Moments
  • The right balance of time together and time apart. And similar tastes in snacks.  People that snack together, stay together. -Katie, Somewhat Sane Mom
  • Sister wives. – Amy Flory

Mad props to the Super Cool Lady Writers for playing along, and an extra fist bump to Abby’s grandmother, who can really dish some badass advice.

I Just Want to Be Alone is released tomorrow (!!) and the advance praise is great! You can preorder it today, or you can enter to win a copy HERE. If you still aren’t sure what this book is all about, check out this thorough and thoughtful review from Jenn Rose of Something Clever 2.0.

Praise for I Just Want to Be Alone

 

What are you waiting for? Order your copy today!

According to Lily

According to Lily

Last week I had my four-year-old’s preschool conference, and it went well. Pretty much Lily is her teacher’s absolute favorite, and she’s the cutest girl to ever hop like a bunny through the halls of the school, with the title of cutest boy being given to her brother two years earlier. Also, my girl is a talker.

So maybe her teacher didn’t exactly say any of those things, but that’s what I heard. If I think she’s the most adorable, chattiest girl, I assume her teacher does, too. That’s just basic logic, right there.

As far as the talking thing? This is no surprise to me. Lily talks in her sleep, she talks when others are talking, she talks through movies, and she talks while she’s on the toilet.

During the conference, her teacher used words like “enthusiastic” and “a strong communicator,” but just like I read through the lines when she more or less told me Lily was the greatest girl to ever live, I knew what she was saying here. Yap, yap, yap. My daughter talks all the live long day, and while this is a wonderful skill to master, her rampant yammering can be disruptive, and won’t fly in the big, bad world of kindergarten.

Here are a few of our most recent conversations.

ON THE TOPIC OF DAD’S JOB

Lily: Daddy’s a scientist. How did he get to be a scientist? Why aren’t you a scientist?

Me: Dad went to school for a really long time to become a scientist, and I didn’t want to go to school for that long. Also, I didn’t want to be a scientist.

Lily: Since Dad’s a scientist, that means he does experience.

Me: You mean experiments?

Lily: Yeah, experiments. I can do one experiment. It’s called “Get an Owl Wet Super Fast.”

Me: Oh, yeah?

Lily: Uh, huh. You take a box, you put some water in it, and put your stuffed owl in the water. It gets wet really fast. Then you take it out. That’s my experience.

Me: Experiment?

Lily: Yeah.

ON HER FAVORITE SONG

Lily: I love this song. Who is the boy singing this song? Is he sad? He sounds sad.

Me: Yeah, it’s a sad song.

Lily: I like the way he sounds. I think I’ll marry him.

Me:

Lily: What? I need to marry someone. I like his voice. I’ll marry him.

Me: You don’t even know him. Besides, he’s too old.

Lily: (Long sigh) Well, who am I going to marry then? I can’t marry Dad. You already did.

Next song comes on.

Lily: Oooh, this is my jam! I think I’ll marry the boy that sings this song. I wonder what his name is? I wonder if he’s already married? Maybe we should just see what he looks like first. Do you think I should marry him, Mom?

Mom?

Mom?

Allow me to introduce my future son-in-law. Or one of them.

Fire Safety Rocks!

Before last week, I was feeling good about my family’s fire safety preparedness. Every year, both in preschool and elementary school, firefighters have come to my kids’ schools and discussed fire safety. They know Fun Fire Safety Videos for Kids“Stop, drop and roll,” we have an escape plan, they know to call 911, and we have an emergency meeting place.

My confidence in my children’s ability to act appropriately if they ever encountered a fire came crashing down when my four-year-old daughter told us proudly that if she saw a fire, she’d “just put it out with some water.” After she singlehandedly extinguished the blaze, she’d then tell a grown-up.

Uh, what’s that now?

I was shocked, and while I hoped her bravado would go up in flames the second she smelled smoke, I couldn’t take that chance. Honestly, before her declaration, my biggest concerns were that the kids may have trouble unlocking my phone to call 911, or that they might be trapped upstairs in their bedrooms if the house caught on fire. I was not at all concerned that my preschooler would be trying to fight fires on her own.

It was clear we needed to revisit the basics. We have a friend who is a firefighter, so I considered dropping my girl and her six-year-old brother off at his house, that is, until I was introduced to these fire safety music videos from FEMA and NFPA. Instead of shipping off my kids to learn fire safety, we jammed to some sweet tunes, and learned a valuable lesson at the same time.

It’s such a great idea, to put the lessons of fire safety to music! We watched both of these videos, and the kids asked for an encore.

This one, called Little Rosalie, is best for grades pre-k to first grade.

And What’s That Sound? is a jam for second and third graders.

My kids bobbed their heads to both, and while I love the Frozen soundtrack that they’ve been singing for a month, having my children humming these fire safety songs is a nice change of pace, and could have a hand in helping keep them safe.

Check out Sparky’s Schoolhouse for fun activities, more videos, and lesson plans for teachers and homeschoolers. The tagline is “Where Fire Safety Connects with Learning,” and this website really is a great resource. Sparky and the gang have two new fans in my kids, and I’m hopeful my girl’s plan of fighting fires is put on hold until she’s old enough to enter the academy.

Fire Safety Rocks

This post was sponsored by WeAreTeachers, the National Fire Protection Association, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but the opinions are my own.

Crock Pot Roasted Turkey Breast

Don't wait for Thanksgiving to make this delicious Crockpot Roasted Turkey Breast! We love the rub in this recipe, and use it on our holiday turkey!

Who says turkey is just for Thanksgiving? Sure, roasting a gigantic bird takes some planning and isn’t a meal that can be whipped up in the small space of time between getting home from work and plopping dinner on the table, but a turkey breast in the slow cooker is different. This recipe can give you that special turkey dinner on a weeknight.

I love cooking something in my Crock Pot that will make two dinners and then provide sandwich fixings for several days. Lunch meat is expensive, and my husband and son take a sandwich for lunch almost every day. This recipe kills two birds (Get it? BIRDS?) with one stone.

After carving this turkey breast, I threw the carcass back in the Crock Pot to make overnight turkey stock. My freezer always has frozen stock just waiting to be used instead of the canned stuff. I can’t even remember the last time I bought chicken or turkey stock, and cooking stock always makes my house smell amazing.

 

The rub we used is my mother-in-law’s special Thanksgiving turkey rub, so after you read this recipe, you’ll be considered one of us. Christmas is pretty crazy at my in-laws, so you better start saving up now to buy gifts for the tons of nieces and nephews you now have. Welcome to the family!

This recipe is incredibly easy, will feed a family of four for several days, and is only 4 Weight Watchers points. What are you waiting for?

I used my 6.5-Quart Crock-Pot Programmable Touchscreen Slow Cooker to make this recipe.

This Crockpot Roasted Turkey Breast is made with the most incredible rub! Don't wait for Thanksgiving to make this quick and easy dinner. Your family will love it!

Crock Pot Roasted Turkey Breast

Slow Cooker Roasted Turkey Breast
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 5-6 lb turkey breast, bone in, skin on
  • 1 cup chicken stock
Rub
  • 2 tsp Mrs. Dash
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • ½ tsp black pepper
Instructions
  1. Combine rub ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Cover turkey breast with rub, making sure to get some inside the cavity. I like to sneak some under the skin if I can.
  3. Place turkey, breast side up, in the slow cooker, along with the chicken stock.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reads 170 degrees.
  5. If desired, place turkey breast into the oven, under the broiler, for a few minutes to crisp the skin.
  6. The liquid left in the slow cooker makes an incredible gravy. Don't waste that good stuff!

If you’re in the market for other Thanksgiving-type dishes, check out these family-favorite slow cooker side dishes!

Crock Pot Sausage Stuffing

This Crockpot Sausage Stuffing recipe is a perfect Thanksgiving side dish!

Crock Pot Slow Cooked Mashed Potatoes

mashed potatoes


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I Need Facts Up Front Because I’m Not an Octopus

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the Facts Up Front program.

This morning I zipped up my too tight jeans, yelled at the kids to get their shoes on, and explained to them why Valentine’s Day candy was not on the breakfast menu. I understood their confusion, and I couldn’t blame them for pressing the issue. We had been hitting the sweets pretty hard this past week, and while our dinners had been fairly well-rounded, our breakfasts may or may not have included apple pie and peanut butter cookies.

My kids have been on an extended vacation from school, a result of piecing together a few snow days and four-day mid-winter break. On snow and vacation days, the rules are more relaxed, the schedule looser, and the menu packed with non-traditional meal choices.

Now things are settling down, the pie and cookies are sugary memories, and with the exception of my weekly Crock Pot Thursday dinner, our family’s meals need to be planned. I am not an organized girl. I sometimes make a shopping list, and occasionally I actually remember to bring that list to the store with me. It is not uncommon for me to menu plan on the fly as I peruse the selection and the current sales at our grocery store. This is moderately successful when I am shopping alone, but when I have one or both of my children with me, it is nearly impossible.

Grocery Manufacturers Association #FactsUpFront

This is where the Grocery Manufacturers Association’s Facts Up Front initiative comes into play. With key information from the Nutrition Facts Panel on the front of the package, I can hold my escaping kid with one hand, read a recipe on my phone with the other, and still be able to see nutritional information on packaging. Were I an octopus, it would be fine to have to turn an item around to read the nutritional information on the back, but sadly, I only have two hands. It’s like the Grocery Manufacturers Association recognized we busy parents would appreciate a little help when it comes to feeding our families healthfully, and hooked us up with the easy to read Facts Up Front label. I hope the next initiative is sending babysitters to all grocery stores to watch our kids while we do our food shopping. I’m told I shouldn’t hold my breath.

It doesn’t stop there. The Facts Up Front website shares tips on making informed choices and building a healthful diet. There is an incredible infographic full of information about making smarter dietary choices, a cornucopia of professional resources, and a nutrition quiz for you scholarly-types. I did pretty well on the quiz, but didn’t ace it. Yet. Grocery shopping doesn’t have to be a nightmare. It can be fun, it can be the jumping off point for fun and nutritious family meals, and it can even be completely adorable. 

Grocery Manufacturers Association #FactsUpFront

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the Facts Up Front program.
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The Little Blue House

The Little Blue House

When I was 14, my parents bought a house across the street from our town’s high school. Ours had always been a home that had a few extra kids hanging around, but living so close to school meant that there was almost always at least one friend over, as my brother’s friends and my friends would use our little two bedroom bungalow as a landing pad between school ending and extracurricular activities starting. We lived in a very small town, with a good amount of our 5000 person population living outside of town, or “out in the country”, and the country kids used our house as an after-school program of sorts.

Since our house was also in the middle of town, it was a meeting place for our friends when we were hooking up to go out. This started in high school, when we were heading to dances and football games, and continued well into our thirties, when we would dump our kids with the grandparents and hit the local bars, which were all within walking distance.

My parents liked that all of our friends felt comfortable at our house. Not in the “We’re cool parents, let me buy you beer” kind of way, but in the “Of course you can stay for dinner” kind of way. My dad cooked for an army every night anyway, so it worked out fine.

My parents didn’t love having people over all the time, though. My dad used to tell my best friend, “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.” “But you never call!”, she would whine, as he smiled and nodded. He’d come home from work, and if anyone was sitting in his leather recliner, he’d give them a look that sent them flying out of that chair like someone tried to stick a thumb up their ass. Despite their eating all our food and sitting in Dad’s chair, my parents enjoyed having our friends around and would do almost anything for them, resulting in some of my friends liking my parents more than they ever like me.

Once, a friend stopped by after a group of us had already left for a party, and since she had no car, my mom gave her a ride. To a party. A party with booze. “Holy shit, Amy! Drop your beer! I think your mom’s here.” Lucky for 16-year-old me, my mom was pretty naive, and didn’t notice she had dropped a high school girl off at a kegger.

In the past few years I have friends who have shared some pretty heavy personal stuff with me, and then, as an aside, mentioned that they told my mother the same thing a year earlier. Her gentle understanding, paired with my dad’s sense of fun, made our home a welcoming and comfortable space.

We only had one bathroom in our cute little house, which could only be accessed by going through either my bedroom or my parent’s bedroom. This made new guests somewhat uncomfortable, but to the regulars, it was no big deal. Some of them would even pop in and say hi to my parents as they lay in bed watching TV at night. “Oh, hey Mike. Hi, Susan. Whatcha watching? Meerkat Manor? That’s cool. Well, see ya later!” And be on their way to the bathroom.

My brother’s bedroom was in the basement, and could only be accessed through the cellar door or through my bedroom. As you can imagine, we were an open door kind of family, since you could hardly get anywhere in the house without going through someone’s bedroom.

Our house had a screened front porch that was home to two rocking chairs, and window frames that were as deep as benches. My friends and I spent countless hours rocking in those chairs in my early high school years, waving to and visiting with neighbors walking by, and talking tons of shit about whoever was pissing us off at the time. We wasted quite a few hours talking about boys, too. Who we liked, who liked us, and what kind of garbage we were willing to put up with to have an older boyfriend with wheels. (Hint: SO much garbage.)

Later, when we were all home from college on breaks, my friends and I would still be rocking on that porch, the window seats covered with cute 19-year-old bottoms and cups filled with secretly spiked drinks. Our conversations were much the same, but with the air of women who were more worldly from a year of dorm living. We still put up with all kinds of shit from the boys (men?) in our lives, but it wasn’t because they could drive. It was because we couldn’t resist the way they wore their baseball caps pulled low, and how they called us by the same generic term of endearment. “What’s up, beautiful?”

It still works today, as shown by the Ryan Gosling “Hey, girl” meme.

I loved that 100 year old house. I loved the farmhouse sink in the kitchen, I loved the patio in the back that was the home to many late night heart-to-hearts, and I loved the Craftsman style molding throughout the 952 square feet of quaintness. I miss the house that shouldn’t have been able to entertain more than eight people comfortably, but defied the laws of physics and held more than that on a regular basis. I’m not surprised that the couple who bought it from my mom purchased it furnished. A friend’s four-year-old son once declared, after being enamored by my father’s model cars and construction-site-themed fish tank, “I want to buy this house, and everything in it.” Well, Miles, someone actually did that. Pretty awesome, huh?

I know I’m not the only one who misses that house. So many friends and family members could tell a story about things that have happened inside those walls, or on that lawn, or (shudder) in that hot tub, and I imagine someday I’ll write about some of them here. For now I’ll smile at the memory of our tiny blue house and spending time in it with the people I love.

 

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Crock Pot Lasagna Soup

If you're craving lasagna, but don't want to do all the work, this Crockpot Lasagna Soup is an awesome easy recipe that tastes just like lasagna! We love it!

I have a confession to make. I didn’t make this soup on Thursday. I have another confession to make. I didn’t do last week’s recipe on Thursday, either. Two weeks is pretty much a lifetime when it comes to my remembering why I did things, but I’m guessing my slow cooking was delayed due to snow and missing ingredients. This weather is messing with all kinds of things around here, and I’m getting pretty tired of talking about it. Suck it, snow. You’re already ruining my summer, and now you’re keeping me from making soup?

I’m sick of snow, but soup? Soup I could talk about forever. Last week we made Southwest Chicken Soup, and this week it’s Crock Pot Lasagna Soup. I wanted to make this lasagna number the second I saw it, but my husband doesn’t get giddy about the idea of back-to-back soup meals (and an extra few days of leftovers), so we need to space it out a bit for the sake of my marriage.

This Crockpot Lasagna Soup is delicious!

I’m very dramatic when it comes to soup. And marriage.

This soup actually tastes like lasagna. It looks great, it’s hearty, and it has great flavor. If you are craving lasagna but don’t have the time to prepare the traditional method, this delicious alternative will scratch your lasagna itch. Instead of layering a lasagna, how about you take 15 minutes to toss this soup together, and spend the extra time reading a book, taking a walk, or folding that laundry that you’ve been avoiding for days. I can’t be the only person with two baskets of clean laundry waiting to be folded at any given moment, right?

As both a lasagna lover and a soup girl, I really loved this Crock Pot Lasagna Soup. Give it a try! Your belly will thank you.

Crock Pot Lasagna Soup

Crock Pot Lasagna Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1¼ pounds ground Italian turkey sausage
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 28 oz can petite-diced tomatoes
  • 1 24 oz jar fire-roasted spaghetti sauce
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 6 ounces dried lasagna noodles, broken into small pieces
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese, for garnish
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Brown the sausage in a skillet.
  2. While the sausage is cooking, combine remaining ingredients EXCEPT noodles and cheeses into Crock Pot.
  3. Drain fat off sausage and add it to the Crock Pot.
  4. Combine, cover, and cook on low for 6-7 hours.
  5. Add broken lasagna noodles and cover again for 30-45 minutes until noodles are to desired doneness.
  6. Before serving, top with cheeses.

Feedback

Kim

This ranks up there with my all time faves. Everyone ate in silence which is a pretty impossible feat in my house. (NOTE: See the proof of Kim’s kids enjoying their soup in the photos below.) The best part is that it actually tastes like lasagna, is much easier to make, and is less calories! We couldn’t find turkey sausage but subbed with chicken Italian sausage and it was great. Not sure how it would compare, but the soup thickness and taste was right on so I don’t think we were missing anything. Great pick! I will make this every time I’m craving lasagna!

Linda

This recipe made lasagna easy, and probably healthier. The flavors were very good. I did brown the sausage, and added salt, and pepper. I will definitely make this again!

Sarah

This was a fun and easy version of lasagna. I used ground beef seasoned with oregano, seasoning salt, fennel seed, garlic powder and pepper. It was very yummy. I used beef broth instead of chicken and our whole family liked it. My husband, not a big soup fan, had three bowls. He thought it was a little too runny to pass as actual lasagna, but he is crazy. I thought it was perfect!

Me

My kids were skeptical, but they finished their first bowls before I even sat down to the dinner table. My husband didn’t like it as much as lasagna (duh) but he thought it was “pretty good.” You won’t hear him singing the praises of any soup for dinner, as in his mind, “Soup is not a main course.” I really liked it, and will definitely be making it again!

I used my 6.5-Quart Crock-Pot Programmable Touchscreen Slow Cooker to make this Crock Pot Lasagna Soup.

Modified from tablespoon.com

If you need this recipe to be kid approved, look at how much my niece and nephew loved it!

Kids love lasagna soup!


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Grilled Carne Asada

The marinade gives this Grilled Carne Asada incredible flavor! You have to try this bbq beef recipe. It'll knock your socks off!

I know you guys think my family only eats food from the Crock Pot, and you are mostly right, but we eat a few other things, too. For example, my husband is crazy about sandwiches, my kids sustain themselves on a variety of crackers and granola bars, and I enjoy peanut butter on a spoon. We call those “peanut butter lollipops” up in here.

I do slow cook about twice a week, but when my husband isn’t working late to cure cancer or eradicate tuberculosis (these are guesses, as all I know about what he does for work is that it’s “science-y”), he likes to show off his culinary skills.

In the past, my husband has worked in restaurants. In college it was the local burger joint, famous for greasy deliciousness that has graduates dreaming about for years after leaving town, and for one summer before grad school, it was in the kitchen of a restaurant chain as famous for its beer as its unique historical buildings and great bar food. The fact that he didn’t steal one recipe from either of these establishments is one of the greatest sorrows of my life.

In warmer weather, my husband always cooks on his grill or his Traeger smoker, and since today was a balmy 40 degrees and there was no snow covering his outside cooking implements, we were confused and thought it was July. He whipped up his incredible Grilled Carne Asada, a recipe so good it deserves to be served to company.

This was a problem. Inviting people over would mean I needed to fold the four loads of laundry piled on the couch, and also that I would need to put on a bra. Instead, I am sharing the recipe with you, my closest friends in my computer.

This Grilled Carne Asada is made with the most delicious marinade. It’s flavorful, yet it doesn’t overpower the meat or vegetables, and its complexity is perfect. We usually wrap our carne asada in a tortilla, but it can be great served with rice, too. And while the meat is the star of the show, I’m also in love with the grilled veggies. Here they are, cooking up nicely in the grill basket.

The marinade gives this Grilled Carne Asada incredible flavor! You have to try this bbq beef recipe. It'll knock your socks off!

The fact that my husband has agreed to let me publish this recipe is really a big deal, as my man is mysterious, and he doesn’t like to share recipes. We are a good balance, I guess, since I tell everyone everything. My husband would never in a million years share the things I share with y’all. He has a sense of boundaries and decorum that I clearly do not. It’s no wonder people like him better than me.

Anyway, he has reluctantly agreed to share his recipe with you, and I’m hitting publish as soon as this is typed, so he doesn’t have time to change his mind.

Enjoy!

The marinade gives this Grilled Carne Asada incredible flavor! You have to try this bbq beef recipe. It'll knock your socks off!

Grilled Carne Asada

Grilled Carne Asada
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2-3 lbs steak (you can use a less expensive cut with this recipe because of the marinade process)
  • marinade (recipe below)
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 4 bell peppers, sliced
  • flour tortillas
  • whatever toppings blow your skirt up (shredded cheese, sour cream, salsa, avocado, black olives)
For the Marinade
  • ⅓ cup Chinese soy sauce (or low-sodium soy sauce)
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 2 limes, juiced (or 3 Tbsp lime juice - lemons work, too)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
Instructions
  1. Combine marinade ingredients in a small bowl, and whisk until combined.
  2. Add meat and marinade in a Ziploc bag, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, turning a few times.
  3. Remove meat from marinade, reserving marinade, and let beef rest on a plate for about an hour, or until it's room temperature.
  4. Preheat grill to 450 degrees.
  5. Add sliced onions and peppers to the marinade, and give it a toss to coat.
  6. Spray grill basket (foil works if you don't have a grill basket) with cooking spray, put the basket or foil on the grill, and add veggies. Discard the marinade.
  7. Let the vegetables cook on direct heat for about 15 minutes, stirring a few times.
  8. Add the meat to the grill once the vegetable are starting to get soft, and cook on direct heat for about 12 minutes, turning twice.
  9. Remove meat to a cutting board, and let it rest 5-10 minutes. Remove veggies to a bowl.
  10. After steak has rested, slice thinly against the grain.
  11. Toss it in a tortilla or on top of a salad and enjoy!

The marinade gives this Grilled Carne Asada incredible flavor! You have to try this bbq beef recipe. It'll knock your socks off!

My current favorite way to eat this Grilled Carne Asada is in a corn tortilla with plenty of cilantro. We garnish with guacamole, sour cream, a squirt of lime, and salsa, too!

The marinade gives this Grilled Carne Asada incredible flavor! You have to try this bbq beef recipe. It'll knock your socks off!


Connecticut Science Center

CT science center

It’s still winter. Have you noticed? We certainly have, and are pining for spring days that bring trips to the park and the ability to go outside without the task of rustling up the necessary snow gear.  One of our favorite activities during these cold, indoor days is visiting the Connecticut Science Center.

The CT Science Center is one of the most impressive places to take kids in CT. Located in Hartford, it boasts 150 hands-on exhibits, a 3-D digital theater, and a wide variety of topics to entertain family members of all ages in its 144,000 square foot building.

We have spent hours exploring the multiple floors and their dizzying array of educational fun, and my children, being four and six, particularly love the Lego Imagination Station, the Stream Table, and the Sight and Sound Experience.

CT Science Center

There is always a traveling exhibit, and currently Lost in Egypt is on display. When we visited last week, the kids deciphered hieroglyphics, sat on a camel replica, and pieced together a 3-D pottery puzzle, pretending to be archaeologists reconstructing a clay pot with found pieces.  We explored photographs of ancient Egypt, comparing them to current day pictures depicting cities and children playing soccer, and saw a real life human mummy. It’s a very interesting exhibit, and will be available until May 4th, 2014.

CT Science Center1

Usually when we visit, we arrive in the morning and pack a lunch to enjoy at the tables provided, or grab something from the Subway located onsite.

Last spring, we purchased a family membership, and we have easily used it enough times to make that investment a great value. Sometimes the kids and I will have a few hours open up in the afternoon and zip up for a few hours. We may not have time to see everything, but that’s okay. We’ll be back soon to catch what we missed.

Every time we visit the CT Science Center, I pack extra clothing for my children. By far, their favorite spot in the vast building is the KidSpace water area. Flanked by benches for the parents, kids wear bright blue smocks that work their hardest to keep water off the kids’ clothing, with varying degrees of success. The siren song of the Lego water table pulls my boy in and keeps him there for as long as I’ll allow, while his little sister grabs a container and gets to work filling, dumping, refilling, and transferring water from one water table to another. There are bright plastic balls that are sucked into clear tubes and spit out somewhere else. It’s very cool, and even though you’ll see it as soon as you enter the Center, make it your last stop, not your first, to keep clothing dry until the end.

CT Science Center2

 

CT Science Center

The CT Science Center is a wonderful place to spend a cold, winter day, with or without children. It is located at 250 Columbus Boulevard, Hartford, CT, near the convention center. Hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 10am-5pm, and parking is available in the garage. See more information at www.CTsciencecenter.org.

Perfection in Parenting? Good One.

Perfection in Parenting

Last night, after a lovely dinner that included all of the food groups (and side dishes!), my four and six-year-old children helped clear the table without complaint. My daughter pushed one of the tiny, little-person chairs, the ones that we keep in the kitchen for them to reach the knives and for me to trip over, up to the sink to rinse her plate. She then handed it to her brother, who was waiting to load it in the dishwasher.

All of this happened while we continued discussing the book my son is currently reading, because the only way to get him to stop reading long enough to eat is to talk about the book while we eat. As a human who prefers books to conversation myself, I can appreciate his driving need to wedge his nose in between the pages, but his face is too cute to hide all the live long day. I grew him in my very own belly, and I have the right to look at him now and again if I want.

The evening was damn near perfect, and if I were reading this right now instead of writing it, I would be busting a cornea with my aggressive eye-rolling. Can you bust a cornea from rolling your eyes? I’m not a doctor.

Wait, there’s more.

After the dishwasher was loaded and the leftovers put away, my first grader set to packing his lunch for school the next day. He made himself a sandwich, and washed his apple. He placed the sandwich neatly in the refrigerator, and tucked the apple and his granola bar into his overpriced Star Wars lunch box next to his equally overpriced Star Wars water bottle.

I puttered around the house smugly, doing other things because my children are productive members of our family, and are capable of managing some of their own tasks. It’s not that hard, I thought to myself, as I poured a cup of tea. Parenting isn’t overwhelming if you do it right. I spied a fresh magazine, and gave it a wink. We’d be together soon.

Proud of myself and my sitcom-worthy offspring, we all enjoyed a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie before the pre-bed activities commenced. You know, pajamas, tooth brushing, raucous tickling from Dad, and books.

Cut to the next morning. Still riding high on the previous evening’s perfection, I whipped up some green smoothies for breakfast, and was wondering what kind of Pinterest-worthy craft we could do that afternoon that I could blog about later.

Coffee in hand, I walked upstairs to wake my slumbering children, and lovingly ease them into their day.

On the third step, I slopped hot, molten coffee on my foot. I screamed SONOFABITCH! in the quietest voice possible, and bit back tears as my foot melted into the steps. I attempted, heart pounding and foot throbbing, to continue on my quest to rouse my babies tenderly, but the spell had been broken. My kids must have used up all of their perfection the day before, and now they had nothing left but cantankerousness. Despite my sweet tones, gentle kisses, and even a few rounds of “Good morning to you,” they wouldn’t get up until I ripped the blankets off their beds, allowing the chilly morning air hit their warm, snuggly bodies.

With 15 minutes till the bus, my boy finally wandered downstairs, book in hand, and set up shop next to the radiator, because when I say “You need to come eat now,” I really mean, “How about one more chapter of Captain Underpants?

After getting him to the table, I hollered at his sister who was still upstairs, and who also needed to get her hiney ready for school. Why is parenting so hard? I wondered to myself as I yelled for her to “Seriously get up right now!” I thought, showing my crazy a little bit, that it really is better when she sneaks into our bed in the middle of the night, because at least then she gets up when I do and I’m not bellowing at the foot of the stairs like Miss Hannigan, minus the booze and orphans.

Sure, everyone got to school on time, and sure, I was actually wearing pants for my morning appointment, but I had a piece of spinach from my smoothie stuck in my teeth all day, and my shirt was on inside out. My son forgot his lunch, and my husband, who works two towns away and gets a ride to work from me in our only car, forgot his entire backpack, full of important work-type things.

So next time I’m high from the fumes of freshly baked cookies and responsible children, remind me that my foot will likely be burned off the next morning and not to drink a green smoothie after brushing my teeth. Tell me to make sure the car is gassed up because I’ll be driving all over the county to deliver lunches and backpacks, and for a fun surprise the dog will probably puke on the carpet.

Stay tuned for the craft we still haven’t done.

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Crock Pot Southwest Chicken Soup

Southwest Chicken Soup

It’s still winter. Had you noticed? While the rest of the country complains about the cold and the snow and the polar vortex, I’ve been annoyingly zen about the weather. Well, no more. My hands are dry, my fingers ache, and the snow is dirty and old. The only things still making me happy about winter are my scarves, which are like wonderful blankets for my neck, and soup.

Soup doesn’t hold the same charm in warm weather. In the winter, soup warms us from the inside out, and just the act of holding a steaming mug of soup brightens my mood. This week’s Southwest Chicken Soup is a great one for warming the belly and the soul.

Earlier last week I roasted a chicken for dinner, and the leftover chicken was used in this soup. You could use cooked chicken or raw, or even frozen. Just make sure it’s boneless and skinless. It can also be modified with other vegetables, like carrots and celery, and it would be good with some black beans thrown in.

My husband and kids like their soup thicker than I do, so after the soup was done, I dished myself up and threw in 1/4 cup uncooked rice. I covered it back up, and let it cook 30 minutes longer. Everyone was happy. They were even happier with some cheese on top of it the second night.

I used my 6.5-Quart Crock-Pot Programmable Touchscreen Slow Cooker to make this Crock Pot Southwest Chicken Soup.

This Crockpot Southwest Chicken Soup recipe is hearty, healthy, and easy to prepare. Throw this in the slow cooker for a quick, family-friendly dinner idea!

Crock Pot Southwest Chicken Soup

Crock Pot Southwest Chicken Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 lb chicken, diced (cooked or uncooked is fine)
  • ½ large onion or 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 can red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 cup dry lentils or white beans
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can Rotel (or diced tomatoes)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (or less if you don't like a little kick)
  • black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in Crock Pot.
  2. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours.
  3. Boom. Easiest recipe ever.
Notes
Sarah

This recipe was ok but I thought with a few modifications it could be great. I think 1½ to 2 cups lentils might make this soup have more substance. I used diced tomatoes with green chiles which tasted good but made it a little spicy for my toddler. It's cold and I'm thankful for a easy soup!


Linda

I made this very easy recipe even easier. I used three frozen chicken breast, which I shredded at the end. The flavors were very good, served with sliced green onions, sour cream, and grated Mexican cheese. The soup reminded me of a taco soup!


Me

I really liked this soup. It is full of good stuff, and crazy easy to throw together. I like that raw or cooked chicken can be used, and the spices can be modified to suit those who like spicy and those who have mouths like my children.

 

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I Just Want to Be Alone

If you have been reading this blog the past few weeks, you know how much I like my husband. I’ve been pretty sentimental lately, which is even starting to annoy me. I feel like now is a good time to remind you all that while I dig him the most, my husband can be super irritating sometimes. I’m not ready to trade him in or anything, but it’s not all sunshine and rainbows up in here.

If you are in a relationship, I’m sure you understand. The people we love the most are the ones who can crawl under our skin easily. I appreciate the man I chose to build a life with, but I do not appreciate the way his teeth touch his fork or how he puts the contents of his pockets on the kitchen counter in a pile that grows and grows until the tower of receipts and loose change threatens to kill us.

I know he gets it. The complaints he has logged against me are lengthy, and mostly warranted. That’s the thing about being in a safe and strong relationship. We can dislike the way the other does things and it won’t impact our love. Thank the Lord, because my faults are not few and far between, and neither are his.

This topic is so common, so prevalent, it could fill a book.

And now it does!

I Just Want to Be Alone, the second volume in the best-selling I Just Want to Pee Alone series is here!

Don’t get us wrong, we love the men in our lives – we do (most of the time). It’s just that sometimes we would like them to go away. Not forever or anything like that. Just for an hour … or a day … or a weekend. We want some time to ourselves to read a good book or take a walk or do anything other than try to make a dent in the never ending mound of dirty clothes that keeps piling up on the floor on his side of the bed. We just want to be alone. All alone. Is that too much to ask?

If you like to laugh and if you crave some time alone, you need this book. Pre-order it now, by clicking HERE or clicking the image below.

I Just Want to Be AloneI am incredibly proud to be included in this anthology, and am truly grateful to Jen from People I Want to Punch in the Throat for pulling together a powerhouse group of hilarious woman for this highly anticipated sequel. Go pre-order your copy today, and grab a few extras. This book makes a perfect gift for any woman who likes to laugh so hard she pees a little.

If you can’t wait until March to laugh till you pee, check out my co-author’s blogs. There is plenty of funny to keep you chortling until your book arrives.

People I Want to Punch in the Throat
Moms Who Drink and Swear
Baby Sideburns
A.K. Turner
My Husband Ate All My Ice Cream
Bad Parenting Moments
The Underachiever’s Guide to Being a Domestic Goddess
The Ugly Volvo
Let Me Start By Saying
Motherhood, WTF?
Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms
Frugalista Blog
Toulouse and Tonic
Somewhat Sane Mom
MyLifeSuckers
The Mom of the Year
Hollow Tree Ventures
When Crazy Meets Exhaustion
Funny Is Family
Abby Has Issues
Kissing the Frog
Nurse Mommy Laughs
Our Small Moments
I’m Still Learning
The Fordeville Diaries
You’re My Favorite Today
Ironic Mom
Life on Peanut Layne
Loripalooza
I Love Them The Most When They’re Sleeping
From Meredith to Mommy
The Nomad Mom Diary
649.133: Girls, the Care and Raising Of
Lisa Newlin – Seriously?
Keeper of the Fruit Loops
Magnolia Ripkin

 

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Bird-Themed Baby Shower

My in-laws love to throw a party. I, on the other hand, love to disappear while everything is being planned, and come out of hiding when it’s time to assemble the hors d’oeuvres and open the wine. I’m terrible at party planning, but pretty much the best at offering people a beverage, so I play to my strengths.

I tease the women in my husband’s family for the high-level attention to detail they show for baby and wedding showers, family reunions, and rehearsal dinners, but then I stand, mouth agape, staring at the loveliness their hard work has produced.

Here is one of these events.

My sister-in-law, Kim was thrown this baby shower for her daughter, Zoey. A good family friend, Jill, took some of these pictures, and generously allowed me to use them in this post. This shower was hosted by my husband’s mother and two sisters, and was special for me because I was able to fly home to attend it, and living 3000 miles away, those types of opportunities just don’t happen. It was also great because I Just Want to Pee Alone was given to the winners of the shower games. Lucky broads!

The invitations kicked off the theme.

Bird-Themed Baby Shower Invitation bird invitation2

 

The food was perfect.Adorable baby shower menu ideas for baby boy or baby girl themed parties! Your guests will love these appetizers and finger foods!

I loved these cute little veggie and ranch cups, because they were super portable, and also because, ranch. Chicken salad croissant sandwiches were the anchor of the meal, and were rounded out with fruit kabobs, herbed cream cheese cucumber rounds, and curried rice salad. The food was perfect for walking around, or for eating perched on the edge of a sofa. Find the recipe for the salad at the end of this post.

Adorable baby or bridal shower menu ideas, including Herbed Cream Cheese Cucumber Rounds and Curried Rice Pilaf. You have to see the clever vegetable cups!

 

Get the recipe for the cucumber bites at Annie’s Eats. It’s so easy, you guys. Three delectable ingredients. And then you get to pipe the good stuff onto the cucumbers, which is very fun. Finish creating these before you get too far into the wine.

Adorable baby shower menu ideas for baby boy or baby girl themed parties! Your guests will love these appetizers and finger foods!
Beautiful. Delicious.

 

Bird-Themed Baby Shower Decorations
Simple decorations that double as gifts for the baby of honor.
Bird-Themed Baby Shower Game Table
The game table.

This table held a variety of baby items, and we were to guess the cost. I sucked at this game, which shows you how quickly one forgets what it’s like to have a baby. Also, that I’m really bad at guessing prices. This fact has haunted me since elementary school, when my Price is Right guesses were wayyyy off. I could feel Bob Barker judging me through the wood-paneled television, and I still feel that judgement.

It was fine that I didn’t win. The prize was my book, and I already have a few copies.

Bird-Themed Baby Shower CupcakesThese cupcakes were incredible. They looked amazing, they tasted great, and no one but me thought the little chicks looked like boobs. I wasn’t criticizing. It was a baby shower after all, and the boobie cupcakes were completely appropriate. I sometimes see boobs in baked goods. It’s kind of my thing.

Curried Rice Pilaf

Ingredients

  • 1 package Rice-a-Roni Pilaf
  • 1 6 oz jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained, saving liquid, and chopped coarsely
  • 1 4 1/2 oz can chopped black olives, drained
  • 1 6 oz can water chestnuts,drained and chopped coarsely
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped

Dressing Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • reserved artichoke hearts marinade
  • 1 tbsp curry powder

Directions

  1. Cook Rice-a-Roni as directed and let cool.
  2. Add artichoke hearts, olives, water chestnuts, and green onions to rice pilaf, and stir to combine.
  3. Mix dressing ingredients together in small bowl and add to the rice mixture.
  4. Stir well and chill before serving.

Just to give you hint about how long it’s taken me to publish this post, Zoey is now nine months old. She’s still rocking the bird-theme, and is as cute as ever. Kim is so good about taking the monthly pictures of her babies, and it’s fun to see their progression the first year. I wish she would have come to my house and done this with my babies.

Baby by month

And get a load of this gorgeous quilt Zoey’s maternal grandmother made for her. I wonder if they’ll notice when I snatch it right off the wall and hide it in my bag next time we visit?

Bird-Themed Baby Quilt

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to make some cucumber rounds and curried rice pilaf, because this post is making me hungry. It’s also making me miss my niece, but she’s across the country and there’s no solution for that in my kitchen.



Crock Pot Gingered Beef and Vegetables

I was recently alphabetizing our Crock Pot Thursday picks, and oh, my goodness do we pick a ton of chicken recipes. But not this week. This week we do beef.

This Crock Pot Gingered Beef and Vegetables recipe comes from Fitness magazine, so those of you who have had it up to here with all the billion calorie recipes that we (mostly I) choose, feast your eyes on this healthy choice. Lots of veggies, not an ounce of cheese or a dollop of sour cream to be found. And, could it be? No butter?

Crock Pot Gingered Beef and Vegetables

Gingered Beef and Vegetables
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ pounds boneless beef round steak, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 medium carrots, cut into ½-inch-thick slices
  • ½ cup sliced green onions
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 cups loose-pack frozen sugar snap peas, thawed
  • Cooked rice
Instructions
  1. Combine beef, carrots, green onions, and garlic in Crock Pot.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the 1 cup water, soy sauce, ginger, bouillon, brown sugar, and crushed red pepper, and pour over meat and vegetables.
  3. Cover and cook on low 7 to 8 hours or on high 4 to 5 hours.
  4. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and the 3 tablespoons cold water, and stir into meat mixture along with bell pepper.
  5. Cover and cook 20 to 30 minutes more on high, or until thickened, stirring once.
  6. Stir in sugar snap peas, and serve with rice.
Notes
Linda

This was a really tasty and flavorful dinner. I used fresh snow peas--which were delicious, and so pretty. I served it over rice. It had just the right amount of a spicy kick.

Me

This recipe was good, but somehow it was a little too spicy for the kids and a little too bland for the adults. We added extra spices to ours after serving the kids, and that helped. We served ours over rice on the first night, and wrapped in a tortilla with rice and black beans the second night. I really dug the snap peas.

I used my 6.5-Quart Crock-Pot Programmable Touchscreen Slow Cooker to make this Crock Pot Gingered Beef and Vegetables.


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To My Family: Thanks a Bunch

To My Family Thanks a Bunch

Ah, family. They’re the ones we love the most, but the ones we take most for granted. I don’t think I throw them a thank you as frequently as I should, so I’m taking a moment to do so today.

To my son, thank you for reading to your sister. I couldn’t take one more round of The Cow That Laid an Egg, and I appreciate you taking a few turns so I could read the most recent issue of People magazine to myself. Celebrities are so much more believable than a cow laying an egg, you know? Thank you, also, for breaking your bedroom window yesterday. I’ve been meaning to get the vacuum up there for some high dusting and baseboard cleaning. I love that you know just how to motivate me into action. You and I are totally connected like that.

To my daughter, thank you for for helping me unload the dishwasher yesterday. You kick ass at putting away the silverware, and that’s my least favorite part. Thank you, also, for telling me my haircut looked like “the guy from the Chocolate Factory” last time I got it cut. Using my deductive reasoning, I surmise you didn’t mean Gene Wilder, as I had a dark brown bob and you still haven’t seen the original version. I am excited that I am able to tell people that the celebrity I most resemble is A-list actor Johnny Depp, as I was previously stuck with Mayim Bialik of Blossom fame, and now best known as Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler on The Big Bang Theory. Sure, our resemblance was much more prominent when we were teens, but there really hasn’t been a more suitable alternative. Until now.

I look like Blossom Russo and Willy Wonka's love child.
I look like Blossom Russo and Willy Wonka’s love child.

To my husband, thank you for showing no favoritism to the many different shapes of my body over the years. While this was annoying when I was working my ass off, literally, and in the best shape of my life, right now I really appreciate it. No matter how big or small or old I get, you still want to nail me all the livelong day. That’s a nice trait in a husband. Also, thanks for the grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup you made me for lunch today. That will never get old.

To my brother, thank you for being everyone’s favorite. It really takes the pressure off me, and since you aren’t a sister, I’m not too jealous of how beloved you are. If you were a girl I would probably hate you so hard. Keep being perfect, and I’ll keep pissing people off with my mouth. We’re a good team like that.

To my mother, thank you for making me feel like I’ve got my shit together by allowing me help to solve some of your problems. When your deceased father’s mounds and mounds of junk mail threatened to kill you under a tsunami of Republican propaganda, I was able to save your life by helping you opt out of so much stuff. With the junk mail hopefully subsiding, I feel like a problem solver and I get the added satisfaction of having a hand in getting eleventy thousand “Impeach Obama” fliers out of circulation. While the mystery of your Facebook password may never be solved, we are making strides in other areas.

To myself, thank you for making good choices when it really matters. Eating your weight in chocolate chip cookie dough is not a good choice, but it’s not one that will change the course of history. Keep your terrible choices confined to your YouTube video watching and snack food binging, and continue to use your best judgement when surrounding yourself with good people and choosing friends. You’ve acquired quite a global village, you lucky bitch. Don’t screw it up.

Good talk. Love you guys hard.



Crock Pot Potatoes Au Gratin

These easy Crockpot Potatoes Au Gratin cook up perfectly, and are creamy and delicious. They are a perfect side dish for ham, chicken, ribs, or a roast, and are our go-to for our Easter menu!

On the list of things I love, potatoes and cheese are near the top. It goes, in order: husband and kids, some extended family members, cheese and potatoes, and then the rest of the family members. If you are a family member reading this, you are included in the first grouping, of course. Depending on how my kids are acting, sometimes they fall behind cheese. When we had these Potatoes Au Gratin with our Costco spiral ham, I was in love with everyone and everything, because dinner was so good, and because I was secretly pretending it was Easter.

I think I’ll make these again for Easter.

Crock Pot Potatoes Au Gratin

Crock Pot Thursday: Potatoes Au Gratin
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Ingredients
  • 6 medium potatoes
  • 8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • salt
Instructions
  1. Peel and slice the potatoes in even slices, fairly thin. Since I am terrible at cutting uniform slices, I let my food processor do the heavy lifting on this step.
  2. Grease the slow cooker with either butter or cooking spray. That cheese is going to want to stick to the sides.
  3. Add one layer of potatoes and salt them. Continue to layer and salt the potatoes until all the spuds are in nice even layers. This is tricky. This dish needs salt, and can be very bland without enough seasoning, but too much salt will ruin it. I think I used about two dashes on each layer.
  4. Melt the 3 Tbsp butter in a saucepan.
  5. Stir in the flour, and cooking over medium heat, let the sauce bubble.
  6. Whisk constantly for about 2 minutes.
  7. Add the milk slowly, and whisk until thickened.
  8. Toss in the garlic and pepper.
  9. Dump in the cheese and stir until melted.
  10. Pour that cheesy deliciousness over the top of the potatoes. Don't stir it, but give it all a shake to get the sauce down in the cracks and crevasses.
  11. Place two paper towels over top of Crock Pot insert, and put lid on top so the lid keeps the paper towels securely in place. (The paper towels will stop condensation from forming on top of the potatoes.)
  12. Cover and cook on high 3-4 hours or low 5-6 hours.
Notes
Sarah

This was good... It was fun mixing it up with a side dish. We paired with pork chops and asparagus. Delicious! When adding salt between every layer make sure not to over salt. I would measure out the salt amount you want at the beginning so you can keep track and also not get carried away. Add pepper into the delicious potato yumminess because it needs it. This was cooked for 8 hours on low. The edges did burn a bit so make sure you use your crock liner.

Linda

We really enjoyed having this yummy dinner side ready in the Crock Pot. It was true comfort food. I agree with measuring the salt. I used too much, making sure it would not be too bland. I would definitely make this again.

Me

We loved this side dish. What's not to like about buttery, cheesy potatoes? We served it with ham, and I wish I would have made a double batch. Next time I'll know. I didn't use a Crock Pot liner, and we fought over the crispy edges. If you like almost burned edges, skip the liner.

I used my 3.5 Quart Crock-Pot Casserole Slow Cooker to make this Crock Pot Potatoes Au Gratin recipe.


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Snapshots and Memories

Snapshots and Memories

As I watch my four-year-old daughter skip down the walkway, away from her brother’s elementary school, my breath catches in my throat. The sun sparkling on her messy bun, her purple striped dress contrasting with her leopard print pants, she still looks like a little girl despite her recent growth spurt. I ignore the fact that she is undoubtedly taller than some of her brother’s classmates and that she is now solidly in the girls’ department when shopping for clothes, the toddler section far behind us.

In less than a year she’ll be inside this same building six hours a day, five days a week, and my days will no longer be colored with the joys and demands of a child. I take a snapshot of the moment in my head. My girl, both big and little, bouncing down the sidewalk. I want to remember her like this.

My life is a patchwork of memories – feelings and sounds, smells and textures.

Sights.

Snapshots of my past.

A good friend once offered this advice: If you want to remember a moment clearly, take a mental picture of it, and give it a caption. Sometimes our head does this for us, but occasionally I make a point of locking an image away. I have very clear memories of situations long before I heard this suggestion, but we never know what our brain will keep handy and what it will bury, lost forever. Thanks to my friend’s advice, I have a catalog of memories available to me whenever I need them.

My first dance with my new husband is a favorite memory, as is my son riding his bike without training wheels for the first time. Snorkeling in Akumal and Vegas for Genna’s birthday are fun ones, and my girl’s face in the morning makes my heart melt.

Some snapshots were taken accidentally, my thumb on the button because I’m a masochist, apparently. Our second apartment with its dark, freezing atmosphere and shingles on the living room wall goes in that file, along with the time I accidentally threw my infant daughter into the parked car door when I was nursing her in the driver’s seat. For the record, I was avoiding her projectile spit-up, but really that’s no reason to throw your baby like a shot put. Let’s not tell her about that memory, okay?

Every dead body I’ve ever seen, as well as my mother’s face and tears the first and only time I told her I hated her can be filed in that unfortunate folder, as well.

When my mind goes to those dark moments, I grab a better one. My son’s pride the first time he climbed off the couch without landing on his head, or one from a few years later, of my boy reading a book to his little sister. Memory is an incredible thing, and I’m thankful for the magic of it. To recall a loved one who is no longer with us, to see my children as babies again, to wear the feeling of hope and promise of a brand new bride, or the freedom and weightlessness that comes from a vacation, are all priceless gifts.

They are personal, and in my memory, they are mine alone.

Sometimes I worry that in the bustle of our current life, busy and loud with little feet, and schedules that are fuller every year, I will forget the moments that matter the most. Or even worse, that I may not notice them at all.

I didn’t see my kids build their first snowman without assistance, they just came running in asking for a carrot and a hat.

I do the best I can, storing memories like a squirrel preparing for winter – with my observations, with my words, and with my phone – always ready to capture a moment. Sometimes I’m too busy living the moment to get it on camera, and that’s alright. I’ve got my snapshots anyway.



Some Toads and a Boy: A Love Story

Some Toads and a Boy: A love story

Once upon a time, there was a girl. Not a princess, just a girl. It’s a good thing this girl wasn’t born into royalty, as her manners were lacking, her demeanor incredibly unrefined, and most importantly, she hated wearing dresses. No one would mistake this girl for a princess, but she did kiss some toads.

There was one toad who told her in all seriousness that she would make a good first wife, if only she would change her college major and become a kindergarten teacher. You see, he had always planned on his first wife being a kindergarten teacher.

There was another toad who complained when the girl wanted to go to the movies, as the town with a movie theater had stoplights, and he didn’t like going into “the city.”

There was the toad who thought it was disgusting when the girl would sneak a few fries from the fast food bag while pulling away from the drive-thru, saying with scorn, “Only pigs can’t wait ten minutes to eat.” The girl kept eating the fries, but also kept the toad much longer than she should have.

Or the one she dated her freshman year of high school who would make the girl change her outfit if he didn’t like what she was wearing. She tolerated this for a short period of time because this toad had a car.

One day, the girl met a boy. Now, many of the toads looked like boys in the beginning, but turned into toads later. Others looked like toads from the get go, but they were cute toads, so what the hell?

This boy would maybe turn into a toad, but she didn’t think so, and besides, he was irresistibly adorable. The girl was happy to take the chance. The girl was graduating from college soon, and as long as she got her degree, she had a job waiting for her. Her main priority was having as much fun before entering the real world as possible, and the boy looked like fun. Lots of fun.

Fun was had. So much of the fun. While the girl was skipping class to hang out with the boy, she quickly fell in love. Within two weeks, after too many pitchers of mystery beer, the girl declared her love for the boy, right before she puked in a garbage can.

The boy, looking more and more like a prince, held the girl’s hair, rubbed her back, and suggested that maybe they have the love discussion later. True to his word, he pulled her aside a few days later, and soberly declared his love, too.

It was ON.

Two weeks after that, the girl graduated and moved five hours away to start the stupid job that she now hated because it kept her away from the boy.

The girl and boy spent the next year making the ten-hour, round-trip drive every week to visit each other, putting the hurt on the boy’s mom’s gas card. Parents: If you give your college kids a gas card, save yourself some serious coin and put in a clause about long-distance relationships.

The boy never turned into a toad. He would occasionally display toad-like tenancies, but so would the girl, and that’s just life.

The boy and girl got married, and had a son who hops like crazy, but is more prince-like than toad-like. Two years later, they created a girl, who truly believes she is a princess, dresses and all.

And they all lived happily ever after.

The end.



Crock Pot Salsa Verde Chicken

I’ve got a problem, guys. I put on my yoga pants today, and they were uncomfortable. My clothing “safe space” has betrayed me, and some things need to change around here. Thankfully, this week’s Crock Pot Salsa Verde Chicken is low calorie and crazy easy. This is just the type of recipe that will help me button my jeans, and keep the seams of my yoga pants intact.

This chicken is great inside a tortilla, makes a tasty topping on a salad, and can be worked into all kinds of pasta dishes. I like to whip up a big batch at the beginning of the week, and then have it on hand for quick dinners and lunches.

If your pants are tight, if you like delicious and versatile menu options, or if you have been sticking to your New Year’s resolutions, this week is for you!

Crock Pot Salsa Verde Chicken

Crock Pot Thursday: Salsa Verde Chicken
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • salt, to taste
  • 16 oz roasted salsa verde
Instructions
  1. Place chicken in bottom of Crock Pot.
  2. Sprinkle spices over the top.
  3. Dump salsa on top of that, and give it all a stir.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 5-7 hours, or until chicken shreds easily.
  5. Shred chicken in pot, and let it soak up the tasty salsa juices for a bit, maybe 20 minutes.
  6. If the sauce is still pretty runny, discard enough of the liquid to give it the desired consistency.
  7. Serve over rice, in tacos, or atop a salad. Or just snack with your fingers like someone I know.
Notes
Kim

This is so simple to make, it almost seems like cheating. But the flavor was very good and the chicken was excellent with corn tortillas, some light sour cream and some hot sauce to kick it up a notch. We went with the milder salsa verde option, and our 3yo ate it up even though there was still a very mild heat. From now on, I'm going to keep a jar of salsa verde in my pantry because this recipe has made the honor roll for easy go to meals.

Sarah

We live in a small town. I tried to find salsa verde but didn't have any luck. I decided to use verde enchilada sauce because I thought it would still be ok. I was wrong wrong wrong! The taste was just not good. It was too thin of a sauce made it somewhat watery. The sauce didn't have enough flavoring to make the chicken good. Next time we go to the big city I'll pick up a jar of the real stuff and try this again. My advice is don't try to substitute like I did... You'll be sorry!

Linda

This was such a simple, quick, but very flavorful recipe. I used whole frozen chicken breasts, and cooked for eight hours on low. The chicken shredded really easily, and the sauce was very thick. We served it on low carb tortillas, with all the fixings. It was delicious!

Me

I loved how light this recipe was, and it was crazy easy, too. Ours was super runny, but removing the excess liquid and letting the shredded chicken sit in the remaining sauce for a bit helped with that. We ate it several different ways, and the whole family enjoyed it for two nights. This was a nice variation of salsa chicken with the verde spin. If you aren't feeding kids, you may want to spice it up a little more.

I used my 6 Quart Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker to make this recipe.


Check out these other low calorie chicken recipes!

   This Crock Pot Shredded Chicken is easy and incredibly versatile! | FunnyIsFamily.com | My husband loved this Crock Pot Beer Chicken!
This slow-cooked whole chicken from @funnyisfamily is incredible!
Over 100 tested and reviewed family-friendly Crock Pot recipes in one place!

I Like Mushrooms: Knowing the difference between an opinion and an attack.

I Like Mushrooms: Knowing the difference between an opinion and an attack

I like mushrooms. You already know that because you read the title of this post, and if you are an avid reader of my Crock Pot Thursday series you know how much I love the hell out of those tasty little orbs. I like them raw, I like them sauteed, I like them cooked into recipes.

Many people hate mushrooms. My husband is one of those people, and because I love him more than I love mushrooms, I don’t eat them as much as I would like. That really has no bearing on the point I hope to make, but I like reminding him, and anyone who will listen, about the sacrifices I make for him. Hi, honey!

My husband thinks mushrooms are disgusting. His four siblings feel the same way. They scrunch up their faces in disgust when the topic of those nubs of deliciousness comes up, and they wonder why on earth anyone would want to eat fungus that comes out of the ground.

The fact that they dislike mushrooms has nothing to do with me. They don’t dislike me because I like mushrooms. I am not less worthy of love because I like mushrooms. When my husband goes on about how wrong it is to like mushrooms, I don’t take it personally. They are a fungus. They do look like tiny penises. They do have a distinct flavor, that while delicious to my super sophisticated palate, may not suit everyone.

My family members aren’t bullying me.

Opinions aren’t weapons.

People can dislike things and still be friends.

Why am I talking about mushrooms? Because if I used The Elf on the Shelf, The Duggar family, country music, gender-specific toys, Duck Dynasty, or any of the other topics that have come up recently that people love to fight about, many readers would have chosen a side after reading the title.

Whether or not to let your kids eat at McDonalds.

Whether or not shopping on Black Friday is ruining America.

Whether or not letting your kids play football is a form of child abuse.

I care what people like and don’t like. It is interesting to me to hear different opinions, to know what’s trending, or how my Facebook friends feel about current events and topics. When someone strongly dislikes, or even hates, something I like, I am curious, but very rarely offended. That is, unless you’re infringing on my rights, destroying my property, or picking on my children. That shit pisses me right off.

I truly don’t understand why people get so worked up over other people’s opinions. We all have different tastes – our cars, our clothing, the type people we choose to marry – so why is it outrageous that people make different choices in other areas, too? Do I wish everyone liked mushrooms? Sure I do, because it would mean more mushroomy foods in my life, but I’m not hating the mushroom-free set.

If you have strong opinions, you have a right to voice them. I do, too. We may not agree, but so what? You can be wrong, and still be my friend.

10 Delicious Crock Pot Game Day Recipes

Most of these delicious game day recipes can be made in the Crock Pot! | FunnyIsFamily.com |

It’s almost here, you guys! Super Bowl Sunday is tomorrow, and my Seattle Seahawks are just one day away from claiming the championship. My Facebook feed is bleeding blue and green, and my kids have been wearing their jerseys since yesterday. It’s pretty exciting stuff.

I’ve been busy, too. Busy pinning delicious foods to eat while cheering on our boys, and busy fasting to ensure I don’t burst a button on my pants when I eat 47 buffalo wings tomorrow. Just kidding! I’ll be wearing stretchy pants.

Even if your team isn’t playing tomorrow (sorry that they suck), you can still enjoy the game. If you hate football, how about just burying your head in the cheese dip until the commercials?

What I’m saying is this: Super Bowl Sunday is a wonderful reason to eat all of the things. It has been one month since those New Year’s resolutions, and you had a good run. Now reward yourself with a delicious sandwich and a bag of chips.

Check out the cornucopia of gluttony on my Super Bowl Pinterest board, where you can find some of my Crock Pot Thursday recipes, as well as some tasty treats from around the internet.  You’re gonna need your stretchy pants.

Here are a few Crock Pot game day recipes to get your taste buds fired up.

Buffalo Chicken Sliders

Cuban Sandwiches

Easy Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Delicious Little Meat Pies

Macaroni and Cheese 

World’s Greatest Chili

Spare Ribs

Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches

Chicken Chili

French Dip Subs

To all of my Denver Broncos friends: Sorry about your loss tomorrow.

To the local friends I’ll see tomorrow: Sorry for eating all the wings.