Friday, January 30, 2015

Friday Favorites...Hubby Edition

It's Friday.....which means it is time for Friday Favorites!!
I am once again linking up with Andrea , Erika and Narci and sharing my Friday Favorites!  Grab the graphic and link up too!!

So this week I only have one favorite...and it is my husband!  

I seriously just LOVE this man!

I consider myself lucky for so many reasons, my husband really is such a wonderful man.  As a lot of you know from reading past posts of mine, I am divorced, and this is my second marriage.  When I met Mark I knew pretty quickly he was the one for me, and I am pretty sure the feeling was mutual just as quickly on his end.  What I was afraid of was that me having 5 kids would totally scare him off! did not, not only did he fall in love with me, he instantly fell in love with my children as well.

  I really do feel it takes a special person to come in and love someone else's children as if they were your own.  You would absolutely never know he was their "step-dad", he has changed diapers, wiped tears, laid with them when they were scared and couldn't fall asleep, taught them how to ride without training wheels, coached baseball and basketball teams, spent countless hours quizzing spelling words and making school projects...and that is just to name a few.  

He has a huge respect for my ex-husband, and that is so important to me, they genuinely get along.  There is no competition between them, just a dad and a step-dad loving the heck out of 5 very special kids.  I may say it alot, and it may annoy people, but I really am blessed!

Just a girl and her two dads!

Yes, the kids adore him!!!

Lucky kids!!!

Our little (well not so little) family

This just makes me happy

Playground fun

She was so little!

There is no doubt she has him wrapped around her finger!

These two just adore each other!  It really is the sweetest thing ever.

Olivia was only 20 months when Mark came into our life, so the bond that they have is truly special.  
The little boys look up to him and the older two respect and love him.  If you were to ask any of the kids, they would tell you they have two dads...and they, like me, think it is pretty great!

Between Mark and I we have 8 children, he has 3, and they are super great kids.  We also have two little grandaughters, so yup our family is quite large.  We are fortunate that all 8 kids get along.  His children don't live near us, so we don't get to see them as often as we would like, but we always have the BEST time when we are all together!

Aside from being a super dad, he is a fantastic husband.  He works hard to support and take care of us.  He is romantic and funny, and always makes me feel special.  One morning I woke up and he left little chocolates in every space that he knew I would be, it is the little things like that, that mean everything to me.  I love that he loves me for exactly who I am.  I am not always easy, I get stressed out easily, and sometimes lose my cool...but instead of getting annoyed with me, he just asks what he can do to help.  Everyday I wake up feeling grateful, knowing I hit the husband jackpot.

I love him, I love us, and I love doing this crazy thing called "life" with him by my side.

My hubby is not just my Friday Favorite, he is my eveyday favorite!  

Be sure to check back Monday, we have a fun weekend coming up...we are going to the circus Saturday and then it's the SuperBowl !  

Don't forget to grab the graphic up top and link up.  Can't wait to read about everyone's Friday Favorites!

Have a GREAT weekend!!!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Thursday Thoughts....6 Year Old Struggles

Happy Thursday!  I am so glad tomorrow is Friday!  This week has seemed to drag on forever, and this lady is ready for the weekend!

Yes we are smiling over here for sure!

For those of you that follow me on IG or Facebook then you know that my sweet little Olivia is not always so sweet in the mornings!

Way too many of our mornings are spent like this...throwing mini-fits on the steps!

This was her just this past week, having a major meltdown because she didn't want to go to school.  And when this happens it just sets the tone for the whole day, and I am stressed out to the MAX!


Normally Olivia is a happy, fun little lady

Her sweet little face and bubbly can't not just love this little girl.

That being said, she can be BRUTAL in the mornings.  There is nothing worse in my opinion than starting off the day with a crying, whining little girl.  It not only stresses me out, but  AJ too, the poor kid can't even eat breakfast and watch some TV in peace in the mornings.  She cries, and not just a little whimper, but straight up meltdowns, as you can see in the video above, about how she is tired and hates school and just wants to stay home.  Of course I love that she wants to stay home and hang out with me all day, but she has to go to school, and starting the day like this is just not good for either one of us!  I can usually calm her down after about 20 minutes, and then it is like a new little girl has shown up.

After her 20 minute fit the other morning, here she is 10 minutes later, happy and ready to go to school....SERIOUSLY?!?!?!

This struggle has been going on since kindergarten, she is now in first grade.  I have spoken to her teachers, and they tell me she is perfectly fine during the day at school, She comes off the bus, literally skipping each day, telling me all about her day and how much fun she had at school.  She has lots of friends, is very social, does well in school...I just don't get it!  

Olivia has always been a good sleeper, up until she was 4, she napped every single day from 1:30-5, and then back in bed by about a dream child!  I think if she could start school at 11, sleep until 10 everyday she would be fine...HA!!

This perfectly explains Liv!

I really don't like to yell at my kids, so I try and be calm and reason with her, but it is not always easy, and even though I hate to admit it, I do sometimes loose my temper and yell at her.  We don't have a ton of time in the mornings, so her having these tantrums for 20 minutes really throws us off schedule.  It breaks my heart seeing her so upset in the mornings about going to school, but I know she has a great time there, so it is frusturating as heck!  

We have tried everything, threatening her, bribing her, speaker phone conversations with Mark before 8:00 AM, and sometimes it works, and then sometimes it does not.  

I would love to know if any other moms out there are dealing with something similar, and if so please please please share with me any tips or tricks that have worked!

Thanks so much for stopping by today.  Be sure to check back tomorrow for Friday Favorites.

Have a GREAT day!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Monthly Bucket List

Happy Wednesday Girls!  Hooray for the week being half over!!!!
Today I am linking up with Erika and Emily and sharing my "Monthly Bucket List"

Grab the graphic and link up too!!

I have gone through the first 40 years of my life never really having a "bucket list", I don't really feel the need to do "anything" before I die.  I don't have the urge to go sky diving, I know it sounds crazy, but I am OK if I don't travel the world..I am pretty simple when it comes to that kind of stuff.  That being said though my husband and I were just talking this past weekend that we have got to find the time for a little getaway...JUST THE TWO OF US!!!  I see so many of my girlfriends posting pictures of their fabulous mini getaways with their husbands and I always think to myself, "we have got to do that"....but it never happens.  With 5 kids and super busy schedules it has been next to impossible to try and plan or do anything...and when we do have the time I have major mommy guilt, and we just do something as a whole family.  This infuriates my hubby!  Now don't get me wrong he LOVES the kids, but he could also totally go for a kid-free weekend! 

Isn't that the TRUTH!

We decided that in February we are taking off, kid-free for a weekend!  One of the major advantages of having a huge age difference between our kids is we have built in I am feeling very fortunate that we can leave for the weekend and know the little ones are in good hands!!!  We are up in the air as to whether we will be going to Charleston for the weekend or up to Asheville...we found greats places to stay at each so now we are just trying to decide. 

I have to admit that I am very excited about this, still feeling a little guilty leaving the kids, but not nearly as guilty as I thought I would feel. I am so pumped about having an entire weekend with just my hubby! 

We try to have "date nights" and sometimes we are able to sneak out to dinner, just the two of us, but sometimes, something will come up with the kids, or we are just so exhausted that we get some take out and just stay home!  

I absolutely LOVE being a mom, and I truly enjoy spending as much time as possible with my children, that being said I also understand how important it is to my husband and our marriage, that we really make it a priority to find some time for just the two of us. It is so easy to lose your own identity when you become a mother!  

We are deciding between this resort in Asheville....

Or here in Charleston....we have not yet decided

Both look so amazing and I have heard great things about both places!  

So there you have it...this is my Bucket List for February...a mini get-away with the hubs!

Thanks so much for reading today.  Don't forget to link up and share you Bucket List too!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Few Of Our Favorite Crock-Pot Recipes

Happy Tuesday Girls! 

Back when school started in the fall, I decided the meal planning was an absolute MUST for this family.  What to make for dinner was becoming one of the biggest things that seemed to be stressing me out.  I would be running to the grocery store multiple times per week, walking up and down the aisles with no clue what I was going to get, and on the days I didn't run to the grocery store we were ordering out or eating cereal for dinner!  Needless to say this was a stress, that with some proper planning, could be eliminated!  I do like to cook, but I don't like to cook elaborately...if that even makes sense...I like to make a nice meal for my family that is simple to make and doesn't keep me in the kitchen for hours!  Every Sunday morning I start my day with a cup of coffee, my planner, my weekly schedule pad, my folder of recipes and I start planning for the week. 

I use this little notebook for all my meal planning

I list everything we are having for dinner....

After I write down all our meals for the week, I start my shopping list, then I transfer our weekly meal plan to my super cute magnetic meal planner , it goes on the fridge and the whole family knows that's for dinner that week.

Love this little thing!

I have found that in addition to being less stressed by having our meals planned out for the week, that we are also saving a ton of money...I go into the grocery store with my list, and I am only buying what I need to make our meals for the week! 

Now...on to some of our favorite things to eat over here.  I am a huge fan of the crock pot, and I use mine all year long.  Crockpot meals, in my opinion, are just awesome.  I can throw everything in there in the morning and when it is dinner time, its all done!  The crock pot is pretty much my saving grace, especially on the nights when the kiddos have activities and we are running around!   I have a some great cookbooks for the crock pot and I also get a ton of my recipes from Shay over at Mix and Match Mama , if you have not already checked out her foodie blog, you need to!  She provides awesome, easy meals, and she has lots of receipes.  I have yet to try one that we have not absolutely loved!

We love soup over here...we eat soup all year long, not just in the winter.  To me there is just nothing better than a nice big bowl of soup! 

My absolute favorite soup is this potato soup I found on Shay's blog.  It is seriously so easy to make and it is so darn delicious.  My kids love it, and I always add the sausage in it when I make it. Check it will LOVE it.

You guys it is really just that GOOD!!!!

I love love love vegetable husband likes some type of meat in his soup, so this isn't a huge favorite of his, but the kids and I do really like it.

This soup is super easy!

10 oz package frozen Italian style green beans
10 oz package frozen whole kernel corn
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrots
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups vegetable, chicken or beef broth (I use beef)
1 6oz can tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
1 bay leaf
1 4 oz package of small pasta (I use ditalini noodles)

In your slow cooker combine frozen green beans, frozen corn, onion, carrots and garlic.  Add broth, tomato paste, basil and bay leaf.  Stir to combine

Cover and cook on low 7-9 hours or high 3-4 hours.  Add pasta, cook for an additional hour.  Discard the bay leaf and enjoy!

*recipe from Better Homes and Gardens Crockery Cookbook

We are big big fans of pulled pork over here.  Up until about 3 years ago I had never ever tried it, and I am so glad that I did.  This is a super easy recipe that my crew goes crazy for.  The meat takes a long time to cook, so I always put it in the crock pot before I go to bed, then it cooks all night and we just have to reheat it for dinner.  This recipe is just awesome

1 pork shoulder roast (about 2 1/2 pounds)
1 bottle barbeque sauce (we use the honey bbq sauce)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon brown sugar (I use a bit more, like a tablespoon)
1 medium onion chopped
Place pork roast in slow cooker, cover and cook on low 10-12 hours, or on high for 5-6 hours
Remove roast from slow cooker, discard the liquid.  Shred the pork with two forks and return the meat to the slow cooker.  Add BBQ sauce, lemon juice, brown sugar and onion.  Cover and cook on low for 2 hours or high for 1 hour.
Serve on hamburger buns and enjoy!
*recipe and photo from Rival Crockpot Cookbook
My kids love ham....I mean they SERIOUSLY love ham...AJ could eat ham for breakfast, lunch and dinner and never ever get tired of it.  He has brought a ham sandwich for lunch to school every single day since he was in kindergarten...he is now in 5th grade!  Me...I am not much of a ham lover...but I do love ham when it is served with potatoes and smothered in cheese. 
This dish right here is pretty delicious and a definite favorite in our house.

6 large russet potatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
1 ham steak cut into cubes (I usually use two)
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 soup can of water
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I probably use two)

Layer potatoes and ham in slow cooker.

Combine soup, water and cheese in a large mixing bowl.  Pour over the potatoes and ham.

Cover and cook on high 3 1/2 hours until potatoes are fork tender.  Turn crock pot to low and continue cooking for 1 hour

This is so easy and so delicious!!!

*photo and recipe from Rival Crock Pot Cookbook

These are just a few of the things we love to make in the crock pot.  I would love for you guys to share any of your favorite crock pot recipes with me!!!! 

Have the BEST day!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Weekend Wrap-Up

Happy Monday Ladies!!!

Another rough morning for us over here after a glorious 3-day weekend!  Trust me when I tell you I am already counting down the days to our 4-day weekend coming up in February! 
On Friday it was cold, rainy and dreary outside.  I was super excited when I got these earrings delivered Friday morning.

I am a huge fan of Kate Spade stud earrings, I have quite a few pairs and they are my go-to earrings pretty much everyday of the week!
It was so yucky, I didn't even want to drag the littles out to do I ran through the drive-thru at McDonalds and grabbed some lunch for my is really the little things that keep them oh so happy! 
Greasy burgers and fries all around!
After lunch the boys played video games, Olivia watched countless hours of Shopkins videos, and I caught up on laundry, ironing, and housework. 
The laundry is NEVER ENDING over here!
I needed to run to Target for a few things, and of course the 3 umbrellas that are usually in my car, well they were not...
So after 15 minutes of sitting in my car hoping the rain would stop, I made a mad dash for the store and got drenched!
We spent the rest of the day/night just hanging home playing, it was nice.
On Saturday Mark and I had some running around to do, and we stopped at Waffle House for some breakfast.  I probably only go there once or twice a year, and when I do, I just love it.
So not good for you..but it tasted so good!
I've said it before and I will say it again, AJ is just a super funny kid!  Always makes us laugh!
I love these guys so much!!

Our night ended with chocolate covered sunflower seeds and a few games of Hangman!
On Sunday I never got out of my pajamas, AJ had baseball practice, Olivia played with friends, Jack hung out, the older two worked and Mark and I spent the ENTIRE day cleaning and organizing.
Our entire day was filling up big trash bags!  Not super fun but very productive!!!
Hope y'all had the best weekend!