Slow Cooker Recipes: My TOP 5

I love my slow cooker. That is an understatement. I don’t know how I lived before my slow cooker. I use it for at least 4 out of 6 meals per week (one night for leftovers!) and it makes cooking with 3 children that much easier! I just put it all in during nap time then serve it! Plus, it makes my house smell delicious!!!!! And, as a bonus, if you use slow cooker liners it’s even less to clean up!!! I am the dishwasher in my house so I am beyond thankful for that!

So without further ado, here are my top 5 slow cooker recipes that my family and myself can’t live without:

  1. Slow Cooker Chicken Burrito Bowl (http://www.number-2-pencil.com/2014/10/01/slow-cooker-chicken-burrito-bowl/)- We LOVE this recipe. It is so simple and requires few, cheaper ingredients. We always have leftovers with this! We top it with avocado, tomato, onion and a dollop of sour cream! Yum!
  2. Slow Cooker John Wayne Casserole (http://www.themagicalslowcooker.com/2015/06/04/slow-cooker-john-wayne-casserole/)- Beef, potatoes and cheese. What else can you possibly need? This meal is filling, delicious, simple and again requires few ingredients. Only change I make to it is I add the peppers and onions in the slow cooker without cooking them with the meat first. I don’t like them too mushy!!!
  3. Cheesy Crockpot Tortellini (http://belleofthekitchen.com/2014/03/14/cheesy-crockpot-tortellini/)- Ok I just have to say, YUM!!! I always double this (I absolutely have to have leftovers!). I omit the mushrooms because I am allergic but it is sooo amazing! The sauce is just perfect and I love the cheesy goodness!
  4. Slow cooker Quinoa Chicken Chili (http://queenbeecoupons.com/crock-pot-slow-cooker-quinoa-chicken-chili-recipe/#_a5y_p=3451983)- This is so good, and actually decently healthy! I love quinoa and it is so perfect in this dish! I love chili a lot, but sometimes it’s nice to switch up from the traditional chili and this is a great substitute!
  5. Easy Slow Cooker Taco Pasta (http://www.bettycrocker.com/How-To/TipsLibrary/Tools-Equipment/Easy-Slow-Cooker-Taco-Pasta)- All the joy of a taco in pasta? Sign me up! Not only is it less messy, it is so easy in the crockpot!!! It is such a simple, creamy dish that your whole family will love!!!

So there ya have it! These are always on rotation, especially now during these cold months when you want something hearty and filling! I hope you all enjoy!

Weddings

I can’t wait to get married. We should already be married, but it never seems like the right time. We are in a ton of debt, living paycheck to paycheck and to be honest weddings are expensive. We are simple, I don’t want some huge extravagant thing. I just want a simple church wedding followed by a little time spent with those closest to us. I looked into reception venues and they are ridiculously expensive. Plus then you have a dance floor and need a dj/band which makes the costs add up even more! Add to that the fact that we are planning something intimate with maybe 35 guests which most of those places only do minimums of 75+. So we have decided for getting married at our church, and then going to our friend’s clubhouse in her complex and just having it catered.

But when did getting married become so difficult and expensive? Sure, we could do the courthouse, but I want my close family and friends to be included. I want my children to be a part of the ceremony and really involved. I want my dad to walk me down an aisle. I want a dress. I want my marriage. But for people who don’t have a lot, it’s difficult.

Especially because I am in no way crafty. Like could mess up a 5 year old’s school project. It’s embarrassing. I’m not artsy in the slightest. I couldn’t “DIY” myself out of a paper bag. Plus, as a stay at home mom to 3 crazies I barely find the time to shower let alone spend hours doing that.

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So how can you get married on a strict budget? When did marriage become something for companies to capitalize on? Even just getting a priest to come to a location is like $400! This is all not even counting the dress, flowers, photography, favors, etc. It’s no wonder people spend $10,000+ on weddings but I can’t imagine that. That, to me, is a down payment on a house, a new car, an awesome family trip or two.

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So when did it change from beginning a lifelong journey with family and friends to spending a small fortune to put on a huge event? When did it become more about the wedding than the marriage. I want my wedding but more than that I want my marriage. My forever. My happy ending. And I don’t want to spend my life savings on it.

Domestic Violence

When I think of domestic violence I get sick. Most of us have been through it or known someone who has been through it. And if not, we still know about it. It’s a black plague on our society. That we can have advanced so far in the arts, technology, etc. yet still have people abusing their partners is just so backwards. We aren’t animals.

Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, psychological violence, and emotional abuse. The frequency and severity of domestic violence can vary dramatically; however, the one constant component of domestic violence is one partner’s consistent efforts to maintain power and control over the other. (source: http://www.ncadv.org/need-help/what-is-domestic-violence)

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Now, for some scary statistics. These are just a few from this wonderful site http://www.ncadv.org/learn/statistics. They are scary to read because while you know these things happen, seeing the numbers always makes it seem more real:

  • Every 9 seconds in the US, a woman is assaulted or beaten
  • On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.
  • 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.
  • 1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
  • 1 in 7 women and 1 in 18 men have been stalked by an intimate partner during their lifetime to the point in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed.
  • On a typical day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide.

Wow. See what I mean? Seeing it all laid out like that is just frightening. That means that more than likely we all know someone who has been or is currently being abused. For the rest of the statistics, check out the link I posted above.

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Now, how can we help? If you know someone is being abused, be there for them. If they ask for help, help in any way possible. Even if it’s just being there. They may be too afraid to leave the abuser and you have to understand that. Know that the abused person is fragile and in need of real compassion. There is a 24/7 confidential abuse hotline that they can also call for help: 1-800-799-7233 or for TTY 1-800-787-3224. They also have a website with all the information: http://www.thehotline.org/.

If you, or someone you know, are being abused please seek help! You are not alone, there are many survivors. You can do it there are a lot of people who love you and believe in you! No shame!woman-570883_640

Coffee

You know how they say diamonds are a girl’s best friend? I tend to disagree. For me, and I think a fair amount of moms, coffee is my best friend. If I don’t have at least 2 cups in the morning I feel completely dead and like I can’t accomplish anything. But once I get those two cups, I feel like superwoman and that I can accomplish anything.

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Suddenly, the world is clear. I have to scrub down the baseboards because who ever actually thinks to do that? Next is the wall to match the baseboard. Then I’m all out of steam… time to brew another cup.

Yes! Now I have the energy to do everything else that is piling up, sweep, mop, etc. Now some mornings I just am not in the mood for coffee. Those days are super un productive. I’m lucky to get the kids off to school and pick them back up in time.

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Coffee is especially important if you had one too many glasses of wine last night. You wake up with a terrible headache, grumpy and miserable. The only thing that gets me through one of those days is a ton of coffee. And really greasy foods… yummy. And this blog even tells you the best wine based on your coffee preference:

http://en.ilovecoffee.jp/posts/view/191

Now I keep seeing this coffee art. It is so awesome and I wish I could manage to do that! I love how they can draw and write things in the foam. It is so cool and probably very time consuming. I have never been to a place that does things like that… I typically just hit up Dunkin Donuts for a coffee while I’m out. But I have to say, I would love to find somewhere that draws things in the foam because it is just too cool.

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Okay, now it’s time for another cup for me!

5 Reasons Why Husbands Are Just Like Children

So I have come to find that while my children are hard to handle, my soon-to-be husband is harder. Maybe it’s that old saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. Maybe it’s because you don’t feel that you should be raising him since you didn’t birth him. Either way it always seems that he is your biggest, neediest child. Here are my top 5 reasons why he is just like my children:

  1. He is very untidy-When you have kids, you expect the messes. You teach them to clean up after themselves, and by around age 2 they start to get it (whether they do it is another ball game). Yet here is a grown man who can’t even figure out how to put his dirty socks in the hamper, or how to soak his bowl from his disgusting ice cream sundae. Ugh
  2. He doesn’t listen-Every Monday night we bring the garbage to the curb. Simple. So why is it every Monday I have to nag him all day/night to remind him to take the garbage out. And he gets angry, grunting and telling me he will of course. Then we get into bed and I ask if he took the garbage up. Then comes the “oh sh-t” and he has to get up and put his clothes on to go drag the garbage up. If he had only listened the first dozen times…
  3. He never closes anything-Now I don’t know if this is just my fiancé, but he doesn’t seem to understand how cabinets work. If I wake up in the middle of the night and need some water, I have to walk through the kitchen with my hand raised in front of my head to avoid a concussion. He never closes the cabinet doors, microwave door, drawers, anything! Even my 3 y/o goes up to the microwave when it’s open, glares at him and slams it closed. How hard is it to close a cabinet door?!?!?!
  4. His eating habits-Now, when I say he is a disgusting eater it is in no way an exaggeration. He will eat a plate full of food in less than 2 minutes, and most of it will end up in his beard and on his clothes. As I’m trying to teach the children manners and proper eating techniques he is sitting next to me eating like an animal.
  5. He is an adult-I did not give birth to him. I did not sign up for a fully grown 4th Sometimes I just feel like he’s more work than the babies because he is an adult and should know better. Maybe he just likes that feeling of being taken care of. Or maybe he just never wants to grow up. He just wants to play video games all day and make messes. Who knows?

Now I’m not saying all men are like this, but I know a lot of women can relate to this. While he may be a big man child, he’s mine. I chose him and would choose him all over again even knowing all I know now. He is an amazing father to my children and a very doting soon-to-be husband. I do wish he was more of an adult, but hey what’s one more kid?

Sassy Girl

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My 3 y/o is so sassy and gets worse every day. It’s hard to discipline her sometimes because all you can do is laugh at how adorably sassy she is. Like the other day, I went in the room and noticed the back door was open. All the kids were thankfully in the house, but the dog had gotten out. I asked her what happened and she said “Daddy left it open.” So when I found the dog, he went in and asked her if she opened the door. She then put her hand on her hip, closed her eyes and shook her head and body while saying “No you open door daddy to let Sean in you always open door to let Sean in and NEVER close”. I mean what exactly do you say to that sass?

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I love the sass. And the attitude. It’s just so adorable. It isn’t easy to deal with but she’s so cute. And rude at times. But still incredibly cute, and that is my very biased opinion.

Her favorite thing to say is “I don’t care!” You say almost anything to her, and that’s her response. Which is infuriating. Yet adorable.

She had a speech delay so she also had a sass delay. But with the speaking came the sass and attitude. Some days I want to rip my hair out, and others all I do is laugh.

Getting Ahead

Do you ever feel like it will never end? No matter what you will never even get a moment to yourself without having to worry about anything? No dishes, no laundry, no messes. No shopping, no organizing, no fighting, etc. It’s like every time I feel like I can breathe, everything comes crashing down. Finally got all the laundry in the house washed, dried and folded! Crash! Great the 2 y/o just pulled out all the pots and pans to give her more room to play with the Tupperware. Just got all the dishes done and now they found a bag of goldfish and are running around spilling them all over the house. It never ends.

Sometimes you just wonder about how clean it would be if they were not little monsters. How you wouldn’t be wiping off mini handprints from the glass slider, again. Or how you wouldn’t be constantly scrubbing the bathroom sink because for some reason the 8 y/o thinks that toothpaste is paint that should be spread all over not only the sink but the mirror and walls also. Anything he can do so that he can trick us into thinking he did brush his teeth (which he didn’t, again, and it’s time for another fight).

I love my kids. With all my heart and soul. But I do not love the messes, the clutter, the disorganization! There is always something that isn’t how it should be that makes me anxious. And I’m trying to let some of it go and enjoy them more… but it’s hard. The anxiety kills me but I am getting better. I can usually let the mess go until naptime and bed time. And I always have that time to clean! Yet no matter how much I clean, I am always so far behind and there is always a hundred more things to do.