Crockpot Jalapeño Popper Chicken Recipe — April 28, 2020

Crockpot Jalapeño Popper Chicken Recipe

Hey y’all! In this time of quarantine, I thought I’d try to share more recipes in case you’re in a cooking rut like I am.

Last night I made crockpot jalapeño popper chicken as a recipe popped up on Facebook. I glanced at it and then just winged it with what I have in the house so the recipe isn’t too specific. Here’s your first quarantine recipe that can be made quickly between homeschooling and all the other things you have going on right now.

Crockpot Jalapeño Popper Chicken

  • 3-4 chicken breasts (I used frozen)
  • half packet of taco seasoning
  • 8-12oz of cream cheese
  • 1-2 cups of shredded cheese
  • 1/4-1 cup of jalapeños (I used jarred)
  • 2-4 slices of cooked bacon

Place chicken in crockpot. Sprinkle with taco seasoning. Mix together softened cream cheese with 1 cup of shredded cheese and chopped jalapeños depending on how much much heat you want. Spread mixture over chicken. Cover and bake for 4-6 hours depending on size of chicken breasts. Once cooked, place remaining shredded cheese over chicken and cover until melted. Plate and serve topped with extra jalapeños and the chopped cooked bacon.

We served ours with tater tots to round out the unhealthy meal but after a 3.5 mile family jog, it was well deserved!! 🤘🏼

Enjoy!
~Mel

(forgot to take picture 🤦‍♀️)

A Day in the Life with Mom Guilt — February 7, 2020

A Day in the Life with Mom Guilt

Hey y’all. It’s been awhile because life has been beyond crazy here lately. Hence why I’ve decided to write about how I feel guilty sometimes and how I’m trying to deal with it in case any of you feel this way from time to time. If not, don’t mind the crazy lady 😉

Guilt by definition means a feeling of having done wrong or failed in an obligation.

Take today for example. I woke up early to a text. Tried to get back to sleep but I’m never that lucky. Got up, made a cup of creamer. I mean coffee. I turned on the news and eventually heard Jaxon moving around his bed. I finally go to grab him and see that he had an accident. I immediately feel guilty that I didn’t go grab him earlier. (Both our kids around this age always stay in their beds until one of us goes to get them. Weird but also amazing not to have the creepy in your face wake up.) Throw said sheets and jammers in laundry, get him into the shower and get him dressed while once again explaining that big boys don’t go potty in their beds. Olivia wakes up during all of this commotion so I send her downstairs. Then I start to feel guilty for being a little too harsh with Jaxon since he rarely has accidents. I also had guilt over not giving Liv a hug and shuffling her away. It’s just going to be one of those days I can already tell. As I’m getting the kiddos set up with breakfast, Olivia is getting pumped that today is the 100th day of school for her. So, I switch my focus to her now so she can get ready to look like she’s 100 years old. But, the silver hairspray that I ordered a week prior was delayed. Cue mini meltdown from Liv bc she only wants grey hairspray. I grab baby powder to dump it in her hair and make it white. Another problem solved. On to making lunch, grabbing Jax’s share toy and getting myself dressed. We drive JJ to school. Oh crud, we’re signed up for snack day. So, we drop JJ in his classroom and I hustle to drive and drop Liv at her school. I then drive to closest grocery store to pick up a treat and drive back to Jax’s school. I rush home because I only have Wednesday and Thursday mornings to myself to workout and run errands. I have about 20 minutes to complete a workout so do a quick HIIT session. But then I feel guilty because Olivia wants me to decorate house for Valentine’s Day even though her birthday was just the day prior. So, I get the ladder out to grab the spring decorations tote down from the garage ceiling. I do some quick decor for the Hallmark holiday and then I feel guilty that the dog isn’t outside in the few hours we have without rain so I take him for a quick walk. I start to feel bad about not getting in a great workout but override that feeling as I need to run to Costco to grab a couple things. On the way I call the church we are joining and feel guilty as we are missing our introduction to the congregation with Chris’ TDY. The Pastors are going to have to have a meeting to see about when they can fit us into the schedule next to introduce us to the rest of the members. I rush home to put food into the refrigerator and then back to Jax’s school to pick him up as his two and a half hours are up. We go home for lunch and then out the door to speech. We’re only home for less than an hour before we have to go get Liv so I put Jax’s clean sheets back on his bed while he has some quiet play time. We walk to pick up Olivia and once home, put her school stuff away, talk about her day and get her some much needed calories. By dinner time, the kids have had some play time and completed a “homework assignment”. I heat up some leftovers for me and get the kids something easy. I feel guilty about not making anything too fancy but it’s just the three of us. Oh good, the silver hairspray is delivered now. We watch the Gruffalo and a Pete the Cat episode on TV and snuggle because I will feel guilty if I don’t get snuggles in with them as they pile on me (including Gunner). Up for showers, 10 minutes of iPad time, book reading, teeth brushing and bed. Jaxon squeezed out about half of my shampoo and body soap so I might have raised my voice a bit here too. Again with the guilt and why can’t I have more patience.

The kids are down but not yet asleep. I’m exhausted. And it’s just crazy. I still feel guilty about forgetting Jax’s snacks, getting upset with kids and not getting to talk to my hubs much today. I feel like I’m not giving the kids my best self even though I’m trying my best. I feel like I need to look for jobs to help provide even though we’re doing just fine. I feel like I should volunteer at kids’ school more. I feel like I need to get outside and exercise as that usually helps me feel like myself. I feel like I need a girl’s night, date night and vacation. I feel like I need my Mom. I feel like I need to be a better wife, mom, daughter, sister, in-law, friend etc. It’s just a lot on some days (especially when Chris is TDY and so busy we don’t get good chats in).

And it’s funny. I am obviously an overthinker. I used to work in what I would consider high stress environments doing Human Resources and Relocation at various companies. I had a few months before we moved from ABQ to GA that I was both a working woman and a mother. But with the kids getting older it seems there’s more to do than ever. My stress and guilt may vary from others but I’m trying to own it. We have a lot going on. Chris listens to me even though his stress can literally be life or death situations (whether it’s active listening is another discussion 😉 ).

So this year, I decided to set a few goals which isn’t something I normally do. I’m trying to sit down with the kids (mostly Jaxon as he’s still home with me more often than not as he’s only four) and really force home/school work time daily. With Olivia it’s helping her learn to read and just picking whatever she’s interested in to read to/with me. With Jaxon it’s improving letter recognition and helping his mouth/tongue make the correct speech sounds he’s a tad lazy with.

But I’m also making small monthly goals. In January, I decided to do “dry January”; however that only lasted 10 days because see above feelings. But in all seriousness, that was all I needed and I actually did not feel guilty about breaking that goal. 🙂 December was just a bit heavy in birthdays, celebrations, TDYs, ear drop giving, Christmas planning, travel to Iowa, the “lice gate”, etc that I just needed a reset.

In February, I’m doing frugal February and trying not to buy anything unnecessary (aka, no clothes, no coffee shops, no extra pantry items, limited “fun” expenses etc); however, with Chris missing half the month, I’m trying not to feel guilty if I’m not quite as diligent as I could be about this. Hello Chick Fil A. But I also am doing 20 push-ups a day. I do this every now and again as I’m more of a jogger but it’s an easy way to feel stronger and accomplished. I’m just trying to set small goals that I can hit.

Thankfully, when I get in one of these funks, I just need to look to my kids. They are happy and healthy. Both of them have told me what fun days they’ve had today and how much they love me. Matter of fact, Jaxon just went to the potty and shouted that he loved me as he was going. Both good things at this point. They don’t notice these little things so I’m going to try not to as well. Jaxon thought it was cool to see me in the middle of his circle time when I brought his snacks. Olivia loves to help me and wants to be just like me when she gets bigger (apparently while living at my folks’ house and having them wait on her – atta girl).

We’re going to finish the month with Daddy coming home and potentially a small trip so the four of us can just have fun and get away from it all. But do we bring Gunner or do I feel get to feel guilty about leaving him at home? Or should we finish our flooring instead? The cycle begins again in the life of a Mom with guilt…

Have a good one folks!

~Mel

Ear Tubes — November 19, 2019

Ear Tubes

Hey y’all. It’s been awhile. This summer/fall has been no joke. It’s flying by and we have holidays and birthdays that will continue to make this year a blur.

Today, I’m hoping to take a few moments to reflect on Jaxon’s speech journey. I do not plan on going into it too much as I think the kids should be able to decide what we discuss about them on social media (and Chris for that matter) but let me know if you have any questions.

One year ago today, Jaxon had his ear tubes placed. One year ago today, Jaxon could not say more than maybe 15 words. He had been in speech therapy since he was a baby to help with his feeding issues (wouldn’t drink anything from any bottles), but there weren’t any signs to point to hearing issues. 

We knew he was behind in speaking but that all kids develop differently.  I mean he was walking at 11 months; but there’s always something to point to.  Girls and boys are very different.  Boys speak later than girls.  He’s a physical boy and walking/running/climbing are easier for him.  He had a tongue tie.  His sister is chatty and won’t let him get any words in.  Oh wait, I added that last one only because it’s true. 

Obviously everyone’s lists are different. We are all going through something. But with Jaxon, we finally followed our gut and requested a hearing test once we moved to the PNW away from the typical military Doctor who we were accustomed to seeing. The Audiologist could not perform the hearing test because his ears were so blocked.  No “waves” could get through.  The ENT could not clear out the blockage as it was so backed up along with Jax’s general disdain for doctors. A surgery was scheduled to not only clean out his ears but place tubes because the ENT Doctor was 90% sure there was a fluid behind his ear drums. We consented because we knew something was up.

Jaxon had never had an ear infection. He didn’t rub at his ears.  No Doctors stated he had buildup or may have fluid behind his ear drums previously at his wellness appointments. His Speech Therapist never mentioned any potential issues with his hearing.  The signs for needing ear tubes were not present.  But we knew Jaxon was smart and were trying every avenue to find a solution.  

Today, Jaxon can speak in three to five word sentences. He knows thousand(s) of words. Family and friends understand the majority of what he’s saying now. He’s in preschool.  He’s the best snuggler you’ve ever met.  He will yell at his sister if she doesn’t let him speak.  He continues to attend speech therapy as he needs to work on his enunciation and a couple difficult sounds for him but we want him to be as successful as he can be.

I am so thankful for following our Mom and Dad guts. I am so thankful for speech therapists. What a cool profession!  He has gone from feeding help, to letter phonics to beginning sounds to final sounds to two words to sentences.  We’re still learning but seeing how much this crazy kid has grown this past year has been so wonderful.  

For anyone having any speech questions, please let me know.  We found a site called mommyspeechtherapy.com that has wonderful content to practice at home.  Since slowly talking more about his speech issues over the past few years with others I have learned so many of my friends/family have children in speech.  

To be completely honest, Jaxon’s tubes are still in; however, he now gets ear infections more frequently.  If he’s anywhere near a pool or hot tub, he gets an infection (splashing or swimming are usually the causes here).  Chris checks them regularly and we have a lot of yucky drainage and pricey ear drops to help us along.  But we would do the ear tube surgery again in a heartbeat in order to have conversations with our son.  

Let’s end with listen to your gut. Love your kiddos just as they are but push them to be the best they can be!

Sunriver Resort review — August 26, 2019

Sunriver Resort review

Just popping in to say hi y’all. We just got back from a mini family vacation to the Sunriver Resort in Sunriver, OR (or 15 minutes from Bend, OR) and wanted to shout from the rooftops about how amazing this place was.

We had a few friends mention it in conversation as we were looking into ski resorts last winter but heard it’s best in the summer. And boy were they right!!

Sunriver resort is made up of a bunch of homes and condos which are available to rent. The resort has “four championship golf courses, a world class spa, skiing at nearby Mt. Bachelor, horseback riding, paddle boarding, canoeing, white water rafting, 40 miles of biking trails and the list just goes on” (per the Sunriver resort site).

The home we found that suited us and our budget was a 3 bedroom home with 2 bathrooms including a bunkbed room which the kids loved. It had a sufficient kitchen, laundry room, hot tub and adult bikes to use. We searched VRBO.com but ended up booking on Vacasa.com because the rates were better.

The resort area reminded me of going to a resort in the Caribbean as it had everything you needed right there. If we hadn’t wanted to leave the resort to check out Bend like we planned, we could have spent our entire vacation there. There were restaurants, coffee shops, ice cream stores, shopping, etc all at our disposal. One of our favorites was the Sunriver Brewing Company which comes to no surprise to anyone that knows us that we found a brewery. But it had great beer, food and even a kids play area. And the best part was their ability to text us when our table was ready so we could walk around the shops versus waiting in the lobby.

We booked the trip Sunday to Wednesday so it was a tad less busy. We brought our kids’ bikes as well so they were able to ride around the circle by our rental house. I think they did this 3 or 4 times a day just to get some energy out and not sit still too long.

On Sunday night after arriving, we hit the hot tub and then the Sunriver Brewing Company. Think I got their pad thai salad with salmon as recommended by our server and it was pretty good.

On Monday, our first full day there, we road our bikes to the cafe for breakfast and had a wonderful time as my son Jaxon even rode his balance bike the 2-mile round trip. It was his furthest ride yet! Kids loved the pancakes and yogurt with fruit at this cafe which counts as a success in our books. From there, we went to the pool which our rental home provided 8 Sunriver Homeowners Aquatics & Recreation Center (SHARC) free passes for it’s guests. The pool was wonderful. It had 2 slides though Olivia was just barely tall enough for one, a lazy river, a splash pad and a few fun pool areas. I would say it’s mostly directed towards children but we had fun because our kids were having fun. That is, until Jaxon got water in his ears and almost immediately had an ear infection from it (the joy of ear tubes). The rest of this day was mostly spent trying to ease Jax’s ear ache and trying for naps which was not a smooth process. We had hoped to make it to Bend, OR for dinner as there were a bunch of breweries I had my eye on; but with Jax’s ear ache, we decided to just head into the resort area and found a pub to eat in.

Tuesday, our second full day, was altered a bit with Jax’s ear infection but we made the most of it. We started off with some hot tubbing, drove around a bit, found a playground, bought passes to the bouncy house area which the kids played in until the sun made the material too hot for them. The kids and I rode the little train around and then we headed to Bend, OR to try out at least one of their breweries. We chose Deschutes Brewery because it’d been on our radar for awhile. We enjoyed our beers, food and the kids’ enjoyed coloring. Liv and I popped into the Patagonia store for some matching hats and then to the marina in an attempt to rent a canoe for an hour or so. Our plans were slightly altered when we realized that we couldn’t just tool around in the marina with a canoe but had to put in the canoe and paddle for 6 miles before the takeout. Thankfully, Chris and I love this kind of thing and had a blast. The kids were great! We stopped a couple times to let the kids swim and even fed some ducks that were swimming up to us. After they ate all of our animal crackers, one duck even bit Olivia when it realized she was out of food. It was so funny (and she’s fine). We knew we’d pushed it today with doing a bit too much with the kids so we ran to the little grocery store at the resort area to pick up a frozen pizza so we could have a movie night in.

The following day, Wednesday, we had an 11:00am checkout but tried to have a bit of fun before leaving. We hit the hot tub and rode our bikes down to the cafe again. With the last hour or so we had before we had to leave, Chris and Olivia popped into the pool while I packed us up.

All in all, it was a wonderful family time. Moment like these are so precious to me with Chris’ work schedule, Olivia starting Kindergarten this week and just in general, time flying by. I appreciated the small moments with the kiddos and the conversations with Chris.

We are already discussing when we should go back so if any of y’all interested in a fun getaway, this is the place.

Thanks and happy back to school week!

~Mel

***As a side note, we did bring our pup too. It was easy enough with the drive, having a pet friendly rental as well as a big kennel to keep him in while we were away. Our sleep definitely suffered as he was wired at night from being mostly secluded during the day save for our quick potty walks, but it was worth it to all be together.

Last Few Weeks of Summer — August 10, 2019

Last Few Weeks of Summer

Hey y’all! It’s been forever I know but this summer has been flying by. And we haven’t really done anything so I’m not sure why it feels so busy! We have three weeks left or so until school starts back up so thought I’d hop on here to just let ya know what we’ve been up to.

It’s our first full summer up in the ‘Couve and we have made some wonderful friends! I’ve loved a neighbor before but having a neighborhood FULL of friends is so much fun! We started meeting neighbors last year and every month it seems we’re adding another awesome family to our mix. Our newest friends even have their own three-year old Jackson (ours is Jaxon but samesies)! Let’s just say we have a wild bunch of friends now and it’s wonderful after moving cross-country to have friends who make you laugh as well as have children to entertain my children. lol

We’ve had plenty of adventures too! Great hikes, camping, bike rides, swim lessons, visits with old friends and amazing family time.

This summer has had it’s hard moments with work stuff, kids bickering, house projects, carving out quiet time, etc but overall I just feel so grateful for my family. The other night Chris came home from work and we threw the kids in the trampoline, made some moscow mules and just sat outside and talked. Liv decided we should go to her favorite brewery to sit outside and who are we to say no to that so we just continued our fun.

Though we’re definitely starting a new chapter here with Olivia starting Kindergarten soon; and as much as I’ll miss her, I’m going to love hearing her stories about her new adventures. She is my social butterfly and I love seeing her meet new friends and watch as she grows from these experiences. And Jaxon will be at our new church’s Preschool4 class and continuing his speech therapy so he will be slammed too. Just seeing how much he has grown this past year with potty training and hearing him talk in sentences is so special. He can now keep up with us and tries to put one of us in our place with his new words (“No Ya-Ya, get out of my face!”).

Carpe Diem folks! Off to make more memories as soon as this darn drill weekend ends.

~Mel

PS. My new favorite sprinkler/Splash Pad is this in case y’all are interested. We may have borrowed it from friends, poked a hole in it and are still using it (and bought a new replacement one for our friends). Sorry Tara 😉 But the kids have been using it daily the past week or so!