Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Whats for Dinner Tonight? Crock Pot Mexican Chicken

This is one of my all time go-to meals, its seriously that good and completely customizable. It tastes exactly like chicken you get at good Mexican restaurants, and since its done in the crock pot it makes your whole house smell yummy too!

I found the original recipe over at Dinner With the Bickfords - but I have modified it to suit the picky, picky hubs.

1 pound chicken breast
2 Tbsp of taco seasoning
1 clove garlic
1 jar Salsa (I use either Mild or Medium, whatever I have on hand)
1 small can corn
White or Brown Rice
Shredded cheddar cheese

(You can also add onions, red or green peppers, jalapenos, beans- whatever you would like)

First- line the crock pot with a Slow Cooker Liner. Seriously, the best thing ever because there is virtually no clean up after dinner. They always have coupons for them online, and I get a pack of 3 for around $2. Well worth me not having to scrub the crock pot out.

Next, cut the chicken into bite sized chunks. To make quick work of this, I just hold the breast up and use a pair of kitchen scissors to snip pieces off. It goes much quicker than if I were to use a knife, and since I'm usually throwing this in the crock pot at 5 am its much safer for the digits.

To the chicken add the jar of salsa, can of corn, and taco seasoning. Using a grater (or you can mince it if you prefer) grate in the garlic so you don't have big garlic chunks. Stir to combine.

Set the crock pot on high for 4 hours or low for 6 and you're all set.

Once you come home, stir up the chicken- it should be fall apart tender.  Make your rice, we use minute rice cause we're lazy like that. Plate up a scoop of rice and top with the chicken mix, then add some shredded cheddar cheese to the top. There you have it, instant happy tummy.


Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday Randoms

Hello, Lovelies!

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend- the weather was pretty great here. Meaning I could brush my teeth without breaking a sweat, and when I went outside my hair didn't go to instant q-tip because of the humidity. Love it!

This weekend I finally decided to jump full fledged into social media and joined Twitter. I'm learning how to use it, and so far its pretty fun! So do me a big favor and click the little Follow Me on Twitter button to the right here, so I'm not that girl who follows 1000 people but no one follows me.  You can find me @InThisCrzyLife and I promise I'll love you forever and ever.

So this weekend the hubs worked literally all weekend. He hasn't seen Grayson awake since Friday afternoon- its been crazy hard on both of them.  I spent hours hearing the little guy go "Dada? Dada? Dada, Momma, Dada? DAAAADDDDDAAA!!"  I took a video and sent it to hubs, who then came home at 10 PM and stood at Graysons crib for like 20 minutes secretly hoping he would wake up so they could play or snuggle.  I could just melt when I see those two together- but I told him that if he woke that baby I would rip his face off. Momma was tiiirred.

I tried to take the pictures for Grayson's birthday invitation this weekend as well- epic.fail. Taking pictures of this kid is seriously a two person job, otherwise you get this.

Uh, its my party and Ill pout if I want to? 

Im still taking questions either in the comments or by email for my Ask Me Anything Post- Ive gotten quite a few good ones and I promise Ill answer them all :)

Happy Monday!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Linking Up with The Sunday Social

Happy Sunday Funday, Lovelies!!

Today I decided that I was going to link up with Neely over at A Complete Waste of Makeup for her Sunday Social.  Its a great way to get to know other blogger friends, and to answer some really fun and interesting questions!

So here goes nothing!

1. What is your dream job?

The one I have- I love my job and can't imagine doing anything else. I love life inside my classroom, but I also love the fact that I'm home nights, weekends and summers with my little guy. 

2. If you just won the lottery and didn't need to work for money, what would you do with your time?

Travel. Everywhere.  I have a loooog list of places I would love to go. Then, this girl would move to a house with a driveway where my neighbors are not 4 feet from my house... #citygirlproblems...then renovate it till my heart was content or the hubs threatened to leave me.  I would also probably think about jumping on the baby #2 band wagon a lot sooner- because I wouldn't have to plan to have him or her in the summer.  And since I don't have to worry about daycare, I might even go crazy and have a third kiddo.

3.  When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

In elementary school I wanted to be a teacher and a mommy, but dropped the mommy idea in middle school once I saw the video on where babies come from.  In high school I said I was going to be a doctor then quickly realized I hated blood and needles- so I switched to pharmacy for college.  Turns out I hated that, and ended up a teacher and a mommy. Ha, go figure.

4. What piece of career advice would you give to someone just starting out in your field?

Don't ever let them see you sweat- as long as you appear in control and never let them see you shake, you'll be just fine.  Love what you do and never let anyone tell you otherwise, never stop learning and trying new things for your kids.  And sometimes, you just have to stop and laugh.

5. Biggest pet peeves either in life or blogging or at work:

Rude and mean people, people who zoom up behind you and ride on your butt while driving, people who chew with their mouth open, people who copy your blog post word for word and then act like you're crazy for getting mad, entitled people (esp teenagers), and people telling me that I don't work hard or that they could do my job in a heart beat (If you feel this way, please come try...Ill even be nice and point out the challenges for you as I sit in the back and watch you crash and burn.)

6. Biggest Fears:

Something happening to Grayson or the hubs, blood, needles, bugs, snakes, heights, thunderstorms and Im not too thrilled with the dark. Yep- big ole chicken right here.

Linking up with

Sunday Social

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Summer Staple- Homemade Pickles

A few years ago my grandma gave me a crap ton of baby cucumbers- her garden was over run and she was giving them away like parting gifts. Not knowing what to do, I did a quick google and got the idea that I was going to make pickles. 
Now, let me preface this by saying I do not like pickles, at all. I don't eat them, and I think they smell weird. The hubs (who at the time was just the boyfriend) liked them and ate them with almost everything, so I figured I would do something nice.  I ended up making 6 jars of pickles, and gave two jars to my stepdad- who ate them in one week. Ever since then Ive been making pickles all summer long.  They're insanely easy, and from what I hear, delish, so enjoy!

1. Slice up a pound of pickling cucumbers and place them into a large bowl. If you have a mandolin this goes a lot quicker and you get the same size chips. As you fill up the bowl, place a few sprigs of fresh dill in between the layers. You can also chop the dill if you prefer, but I just toss it in whole.

2. Into a saucepan on the stove pour about 3 cups of white vinegar into the pan and turn it onto medium heat. Add in 1 1/2 cups of sugar and stir. Crack open 6-8 garlic cloves and add to the pan. Also add a pinch of red pepper flakes, a teaspoon of salt, and 5-6 bay leaves. Continue to stir until all of the sugar is dissolved.

3. While still warm, pour into the bowl of pickle chips and dill leaves.

4. Cover tightly with tin foil and place in fridge, stirring every 1-2 days.

The pickles usually take anywhere from 3-4 weeks to go from tasting like vinegar to actual pickles, but they can be eaten after a few hours.

You can also place the chips and dill into mason jars and fill with the vinegar mix, just make sure the liquid is above the level of the chips and shake every few days to mix up.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Going out on a limb...ask me anything!

I had some rare free time and saw this while blog stalking one of my faves In The Fun Lane and thought it sounded like fun.  I get questions in my email all the time, but this is obviously much more open.  So do you have a burning question, wonder about something or, if you're like me, just plain want to be nosy? Leave a comment below with your questions and I will answer as many as possible in a blog post. Holly intends on doing a vlog- but the thought of being on camera kind of freaks me out, so Im going at this the old fashioned way.  I like the idea that we can have a bloggy conversation, rather than me yakking at you the whole time. So let me know, anything goes.  I promise Ill answer everything within reason :)

So come on, ask a question, you know you want to!

Oh, and why did I randomly have some free time to blog?

Because today the dog is the babysitter.

Photo: Kaos takes alot of abuse around here...we love our puppy!
We love our Kaos. Although if I would have posted the picture of him grabbing her by the ears and shaking her head vigorously at the sight of Super Why you may choose to not believe me.
Such a good dog- I promised her an extra treat in her food bowl for this one.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tips and Tricks- July!

Its summer, so we can all use a few things to make life easier! So here we go...

1. A back to school tip from a pro, remember, I do go back to 9th grade every year. Backpacks with wheels are awesome- I get it, however, lockers are small and schools have steps so they are not always practical. Before school starts, get your child's schedule and email the teachers on it. Ask them if their textbook is available online, if they have a set of classroom textbooks or if your son/daughter will have to lug a big book back and forth each day. Then when you head out to buy that backpack you know if they need a bag they themselves could fit in, or just a few folders. I always end up with a few 'wheelies' stored in the back of my classroom those first few days because they won't fit in the 12 inches of locker space the kiddos are given. 
2. I saw this one floating around facebook and thought it was amazing.  Whenever your taking your kids out to a fair, amusement park or really any crazy crowded area whip out your cell phone and take a picture of each child individually.  That way if, God forbid, something bad happens and the child gets lost- you have an up to date photo with what the child looks like that day in the outfit they are wearing.  Makes it quick and easy and you don't have to worry about forgetting anything in a blind panic.

3. When working on all of those DIY projects, take this tip from my hubs.  Anytime he is doing something that makes alot of dust, he takes a simple box fan and sticks a cheap-o furnace filter on the back (the side that sucks in).  Then he cranks the fan on full blast and does his dirty work behind the fan.  It pulls all of the dust in, but the filter holds in all of the mess.  He's pretty smart sometimes, I must admit!

4. A friend of mine recently commented on how clean my window blinds are- every window has em, and they are all white. She asked me how I cleaned them and was amazed when I told her I put them in the bathtub.  I simply fill the tub up with some clorox and hot water then put the blinds in and pull them out a couple of times.  The bleach helps to whiten the cords and gets rid of all of the dirt and grime.  Then I hang them back up on the window to drip dry (with a white towel below them to catch drips).  Once dry I run over them with a dryer sheet to repel dust and thats pretty much all she wrote.  Ive only once had to use a brush to scrub them, and that was after we bought the house and they were already dirty.

5.  If you hate cleaning the plastic shower curtain in the bathtub- the clear one that lazy people like me just replace rather than scrubbing the heck out of it- but don't want to replace it every few months do what my aunt does; toss it in the washing machine. Every few weeks when she washes her bathroom linens (you know, the ones that are just for show and we all know were not allowed to touch) she simply tosses it in the wash on a quick wash cycle on delicate with some bleach.  Kills all the germs, gets rid of the soap scum and comes out fresh and clean.  Obviously, don't put it in the dryer, just hang it back up to dry completely!

6. To fill a room with fragrance without having those ugly air fresheners everywhere, put a few drops of your favorite perfume or essential oil on a cold light bulb.  Then, once the light is on and warms up it will spread the scent throughout the room. 

7. Now that Grayson is attached to his lovey like there is no tomorrow, it needs a good wash every now and then.  We all know there is no trauma like a kids favorite stuffed animal falling apart in the washer.  I have a bear that I have had since birth, and hes been washed a zillion times without a problem.  We simply toss him in a pillow case with a zipper before he goes in the wash to add a little protection.

8. Stainless steel silverware is pretty much a staple in every home, and after awhile it can become a little dull looking. You can shine it up by rubbing them with a micro-fiber cloth with some vinegar on it. They polish up and look good as new!

9. Another one from the hubs- to get stains off of concrete pour a can of Coke onto the stain and scrub with a brush.  The coke will break up the stain and allow it to come clean.  (As a girl who consumes Coke like its going out of style, my innards must hate me.)

10. If you have a squeak in your hardwood floor, sprinkle some baby powder onto the floor and use a broom to sweep it into the cracks. Then wipe up the excess on the surface and you wont hear a thing!

11.  When you need to chill drinks down in a hurry simply place them in a pot and cover with ice. Then toss 2 cups of salt on top of the ice and fill the rest of the pot with water. The salt causes a chemical reaction that basically makes the temp drop way down, resulting in some nice icy cold drinks in a matter of minutes. Thats why ice cream makers require salt, because it can drop the temperature down to -21 degrees Celsius.

12. If you have a large amount of condiments in your fridge, why not put a lazy susan in there so you have easy access to everything?  It takes up roughly the same space, but you have less chance of something stuck in the back going bad because with a quick spin you can see what you have.

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13. Via Pinterest- keep a sponge with the soap compartment attached in the shower filled with a mixture of half vinegar and half Dawn dish soap. Use it to wipe down the shower while you are in there and your shower will always be clean. Plus, you wont be spraying harsh chemicals in an in closed space- good for the lungs and eyes as well!
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14.  These two tips came from DPS Show, but they are probably sourced from somewhere else.  The first is how to store beer in a fridge to save space- but it could equally work in those pesky mini fridges that arent tall enough to let bottles stand up. Simply use a binder clip on the shelf to create a mini-beer pyramid. Take the beer from the top, and refill as needed!

15. Also on the DPS Show list was a simple solution for evenly coating food with hot sauce, or any similar thin sauce for that matter.  Simply attach a spray bottle top and you have instant ease of application. If you bottle cant attach to a spray top, just head on out to the dollar store and buy a spray bottle and fill the bottle up with your condiment of choice.

16. When traveling, arrange your clothes on hanging shelves and compress and place into suitcase. When you arrive at your hotel, pull them out and hang them up- each outfit is on its own shelf. This could be great for kids traveling with grandparents or dads alone- clothes will always match!
Shelves To Go eliminate unpacking in a hotel.

17. Found on Pinterest- you can use a can opener to open sealed plastic packaging.  Where have you been my entire life?
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18. A great way to recycle and keep your sandwich from getting crushed- store a bagel sandwich in an empty cd case. Its silly, but it works perfectly!

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19. Store plastic bags in an empty tissue box thumb tacked to the inside of a cabinet. Keeps them handy but out of sight, sounds wonderful to me!

20. Use a soda pop tab to hang two hangers together. Great for hanging matching outfits together, or getting more closet space. However, a downside is you have to have thin hangers to fit through the holes of the tab.

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21. I found out that you can get professional tile and grout cleaning results at home using your own rug scrubber. My floor has never been so happy clean, I might even let my kid eat off of it. Just kidding.

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22. Heidi over at The Castro Family is my organizational role model. Just look at her trunk. How'd she do it? The shower caddies you can hang from your shower head that she purchased at Dollar Tree. Brilliance- since we ALWAYS forget stuff at home. Not anymore!! Check out her blog for tons of more great ideas!

Source: The Castro Family

23. Need to hide an ironing board? Hang up two robe hooks behind the door and it has a home.

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24. To free up a cabinet from cleaning supplies, get a shoe organizer and fill it up with cleaning products and hang on the back of a closet door. You can also cut these down and hang them inside of cabinet doors or fill them with things like snacks. 
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25.  A DIY heating pad that is fairly cheap is to take a sock and fill it with rice. Not instant or minute rice, but the real white stuff. Tie up the sock, and pop into the microwave for a minute.  You can add in dried rosemary or lavender for a nice scent if you like, otherwise it will just smell like cooked rice. If you sew, you can make a bag in any shape or size and you can reuse it over and over.

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26. Shari over at Turnstyle Vogue gives us a cheap garbage disposal cleaner/deodorizer. Slice lemons, put in ice cube trays and cover with vinegar. Pop them into the freezer, then once solid pop them out and store in a zip lock bag in the freezer. Pop one of these little cubes in the garbage disposal and grind away!

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27. If your paper punches are starting to get dull, simply punch a few sheets of aluminium foil a few times to sharpen and revive the punch.

28. To make your whole home smell delish take a tip from the super cute blog One More Moore. Fill  a stockpot 2/3 of the way with water. Slice up one lemon, add a few sprigs of rosemary, and 1-2 tsp of vanilla and let simmer on the stove all day, adding water as needed. You can use it for up to two days before it starts getting stinky.


29. You can add a pinch of salt to your laundry to keep colors vibrant for super cheap. Almost every laundry detergent on the market makes claims to keep colors bright for a long time, but the easiest trick is to add a tablespoon of salt to the load.  Science nerd moment- its the chloride in salt helps keeps clothes bright by sealing in the color across repeated washings.


30. Use an empty wipes container to hold crayons. Doesn't take up tons of room, and you can even fold paper into the other side to keep kids busy anywhere. Plus, if you are a Momma, you have a few of these lying around everywhere.

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Make sure you check out the other editions of Tips and Tricks!

Wordless Wednesday

So yesterday I was supposed to pop in with my free dresser update- however yesterday the man child decided that if I left his side for a nano-second it was epic melt down time.  Like seriously, he was attached to my hip and would cry if I set him on the floor so I could pee. It was crazy because if you know my kid, you know he could usually care less if I'm even in the room! I couldn't even so much as open the computer without him banging on every single key and creating folders on the desktop and changing the size of my icons. Blogging wasn't happening, that was for sure.  Hopefully today he will be a little more independent and I can get some stuff done...pleaseohpleaseohplease.

Anywho- on with the wordless part of this post-

Happy Wednesday, Lovelies! 

Monday, July 23, 2012

First Road Trip- Check!

Hello, Lovelies!

We did it, we survived the first family road trip.  We spent 11 hours traveling in a car each way, and Grayson was amazing. He barely fussed and was easy peasy to entertain.  I was terrified to actually take him, but it worked out well. We even did alot of extensive car time while there, and he just took it all in stride.  Have I ever said I loved that boy? This trip would have turned into Momma's Drink Fest 2012 if he was a cranky little traveler.

Some things we did while we were there?

Well we had family pictures and Grayson's 9 Month pictures taken. You can see that proof here. We went to the Opryland hotel and walked around. We shopped (much to hub's dismay- but I did snag a BOB for $165 new in the box. SCORE! Now to just start actually running.) We took a 3 day trip to Chattanooga and stayed in a beautiful log cabin in Georgia. We tubed the Toccoa river and lost our video camera on the way down. We went to the zoo. We ate- alot. We swam. Grayson and his Pap became insta-best buds. We rode a carousel and went to a baseball game. 

Now, I need a vacation from the vacation. Or at least someone to come unpack all of the crap currently littering my hallway.

Here are some pictures of the trip!

Walking around the hotel checking out the fountains. The tall kid- hes 11- and I remember when he was Graysons size. Talk about feeling olllddd.

Petting sharks and sting rays at the aquarium.

Like I said- Pappy = Insta Best Buddy.

The Ocoee River- Home of the 1996 Olympics. They open the dam to raise the water, or close it to let it go dry. Its dry in this picture but usually all of this is under water.

Yelling to be given back to his pap. Sigh.

Our cabin for the week- complete with one HUGE moose.

Sharing a cookie with Pap at a Nashville Sounds Game.

Check out them cookie lips.


Love this kid.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Nine Month Pictures

Hello, Lovelies!

We're down in Tennessee visiting the in-laws for awhile- I'm in sweet tea heaven, y'all.  We got her on Friday and one thing that was on the list was definitely family pictures.  This is the wonky eye family for sure, and someones eyes are always closed.  We thought that perhaps a professional could take enough shots that we would get one or two with open eyes.

Of course we took a gazillion pictures of the Grayson Boy, because come on, hes cute as can be.  We also got a picture of the hubs and me, because willing hands were available to baby wrangle.

I think they turned out pretty darn good, but I know I'm a little biased!


Now, I'm going to go have some more sweet tea on the porch by the pool. Life is rough here on vacation...and this caffeine buzz might die down by Christmas.

Happy Sunday!