Easter

I LOVE Easter! Not because of the candy or the bunny, but because of what the holiday celebrates, our risen Savior! I’m one of the worship leaders at our church, so we always have Jesus on our lips in this house! But especially at Easter. Turner is obsessed with talking about Jesus and “the cross where Jesus died” which is so cute and disturbing all at the same time. How does one talk to a four year old about God coming to earth as a man, being brutally beaten, and being hung on the cross to suffer an excruciating death, and then defeating death by rising from the grave?? The answer is I don’t know. But I talk to him as if he gets it. And maybe he does?

The weekend was spent celebrating Jesus, spending time together, and of course hunting for eggs! This is the first year Turner was psyched about hunting for Easter eggs. We had a neighborhood hunt on Saturday which was at the park across from our house. They let the little kids hunt first and then unleashed the bigger kids. I thought that was a great idea so the little guys at least had a chance!

While Turner hunted for every last egg, Gracie found a spot to sit and collect rocks in her super cool basket.

Sunday, after church, we headed to my mom’s for an amazing dinner with the family and yet another Easter egg hunt!

There’s nothing better than celebrating Jesus with our babies! They’re at an age where the holidays are so much more meaningful. I love every second of it! I am feeling beyond blessed! Happy Easter. He is risen!

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A Healthier “Easter Basket” & Toddler Snacks

I recently saw a blog post by Danielle Walker on building a healthier Easter basket. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am plagued by the thought of feeding sugar and candy to my kids! Not that it never happens, but when it’s within my control, I try to have healthier (and just as delicious) options for Turner and Gracie to avoid the temptation and help them build healthy habits! Enter the Easter basket…

I just can’t get down with loading a basket full of candy and handing it over to my kids! I just can’t! So, after reading Danielle’s post, I decided to take a trip with the kids so they could pick out some of their favorite snacks from the bulk aisle of Whole Foods. They were actually SUPER excited about this! This is what they picked out: pistachios, dried mango, banana chips, cacao energy bites, and some frozen berries. (I know you’re probably thinking, well your kids are freaks. My kids would never pick out pistachios. But the idea is, get them to pick what they want within the boundaries that you’ve created. And remember, you can always say NO!) So these are the goodies they’ll snack on Easter morning! We had to test it out of course…

While we’re at it, I wanted to share a recent lunch and breakfast idea. Basically, anything that is arranged in a pretty pattern will have my kids gobbling it down! So our lunches recently have been Peanut butter, honey, and Coconut Butter (this is the bomb. Warm it and spread it on bread, or drop a huge spoonful in your smoothies) with a side of fruit, cheese, and pistachios. They tear it up!

Another idea, now that it’s getting warmer, is the smoothie bowl! You can make it however you want. Here’s the deal though, it’s thicker than a smoothie, so that means more work on your blender. I use a high speed blender (like THIS) so it doesn’t explode. Another option is the food processor which works great. OR if you don’t have either of these, just add some more liquid to thin it out a bit. It’s still delicious! So in this bowl I had about (I don’t measure) 2 cups organic frozen berries, 1/2 ripe avocado, 1 cup frozen banana, heaping Tbsp Coconut Butter, 1/2 cup to 1 cup of strawberry cashew milk (use whichever liquid you like), 1/2 cup raw walnuts, 1 Tbsp Acai Powder. Start on low speed and build up to high using the tamper (if you have a Vitamix) to blend completely. Pour into bowls and top with goodies like Cacao Nibs, coconut, and fresh or frozen berries. SO GOOD!

 

Happy snacking!

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Strawberry Picking

We have been picking strawberries for almost a decade now! Stew and I used to go every year back when we were dating! That was so long ago, I can hardly remember it. Who are these two kids?!

Now, I can’t even go to the bathroom without my personal space being invaded, let alone have a proper date with my husband! Anyway, I digress…

Boone Hall Farms has a HUGE field of red juicy strawberries. We probably eat more than we pick!

Our neighbor, Madison, came with us. She is one of our favorites! She loves to play with the kids. I mean, who would blame her?? They’re pretty cool.

Gracie and Stew wandered up and down the aisles eating strawberries, while I competitively searched for the biggest, juiciest strawberries out there! Watch out people!

We will be eating all things strawberry! If I come up with any good recipes, I’ll be sure to share them! I hope your week is off to a fantastic start! Spring is in the air!! Sun’s out…crack’s out?

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Sweet Summertime

So it might not be summer yet, but we went from freezing temps to 80 degrees and sunny in a matter of days! It’s the weather we’ve been waiting for. The pollen has died down and we can enjoy being outside! The windows are open and we are soaking up the sun as much as possible (before it gets too hot)!

The kids couldn’t be more excited. Turner always has a habit of stripping down to his undies first thing in the morning, and Gracie, trying to copy all things Bubba does, follows suit. It’s going to be a summer of chunky thigh heaven!

Turner is in school three days a week, so that’s usually my time with just Gracie. I love it because I feel like I had nothing but time with Turner, and Gracie is such a second child. The other day, I set up a tent in the driveway and the two of us hung out outside eating lunch and playing. It was glorious!

And of course as soon as Turner gets home, he wants to be outside too! We did some gardening the other day which was so fun. He loves to help and Gracie just does everything he does so it’s easy to keep tabs on them both.

They are both at such fun ages! I love our days together and am psyched for all of the warm weather fun to be had!

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The Dreaded Nap Transition…

We have been blessed with babies that have been great sleepers and nappers. We started sleep training at an early age with both of our kids (Turner’s sleep training post HERE and Gracie’s HERE) which is never easy but has helped us tremendously and was well worth the effort! As a mom working from home, I needed my kids to be on a schedule so I could plan my “office hours”.

Now that Turner is 4 he’s transitioned to “quiet time”. That happened sort of on its own. He would still go to his room for his nap and I’d hear him jumping around and not actually napping, which told me his body didn’t necessarily need a nap. But this momma still needed time alone! So I had the conversation with him that he didn’t have to nap, but he had to play quietly in his room. If he didn’t he would get a spanking. I made very clear rules for this so called “quiet time”. And no I’m not crafty and didn’t make any fancy box o’ fun because ain’t nobody got time for that. I told him that this was Mommy’s quiet time and he needed to respect that (which surprisingly worked??). He would choose a few toys to play with, but he had to stay in his room until I came to get him. Occasionally he will pass out on his floor but I don’t love that because then he doesn’t fall asleep until 9 at night. Instead, I’d rather him stay awake during the day (in his separate space) so he falls asleep when we put him to bed around 7:30. By the way, he’s a total first born. He’s eager to please and doesn’t like getting in trouble. I expect a completely different outcome with Gracie!

Which brings me to Miss Thang’s naps! She has been taking two naps for a while. I tried to transition her to the one afternoon nap, but she was so exhausted that I had to cave and keep her at two. Recently I’d put her in her crib for her morning nap and she wouldn’t fall asleep. She was chatting away with all of her stuffed animal friends. That happened several days in a row. So here’s how I handled that! I knew she was still sleepy, but I wanted to work towards one nap for her. Usually, we go to the gym first thing in the morning before dropping Turner off at school at 9. She would doze off in the car for a few minutes at one point or another during that commute. That would buy me enough time to get her to the afternoon without completely falling apart. So I would pick Turner up at 1 and get them home and down for naps around 1:30. The fear, of course, is that she falls asleep on the WAY to pick up Turner which would completely throw a wrench into my perfect plan. That actually happens a lot. So, in that case, I put them down for their naps around 2. On days that we don’t go anywhere in the morning, I put her and Turner in their rooms around 12:30 for his quiet time and her nap. Now, mind you, we’re still in the transition phase from two naps to one nap for her. Eventually we will get to where she naps at the same time each afternoon. But it’s like exercise, you have to warm up and stretch first!

So here’s a typical school day for us now that we’ve transitioned to the one nap:

Schedule at 4 years old and 1.5 years old:

6:30 am — wake up/drink milk/coffee in our bed

7:00 am — breakfast (I have school lunch prepped the night before. More on that later)

7:40 am — out the door for the gym

9 am — Drop Turner off at school (Gracie cat naps in the car on the way)

9:15 am-12:45 pm– Run Errands if needed/Mommy works/Mommy and Gracie play time/eat lunch

1:00 pm– Pick Turner up from school

1:30 pm-4:00 pm — nap/quiet time/Mommy works

4:00 pm — Turner and Gracie play/prep dinner/Mommy works some more

5:30 — Daddy’s home!!! Eat dinner and drink wine

6:30 — play time before bed (sometimes a bath. I’m not gonna lie. We don’t bathe our kids nightly anymore. Judge if you will)

7:30 — Kids to bed!

I love a good schedule. It fills my need to control things. Of course, it’s not perfect and there are hiccups all the time! But for the most part, our days have a nice flow to them!

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And We’re Back!

Life has been super busy lately. I’ve been working a ton with little time for social media and blogging. It’s been a refreshing break actually! We are very much in our routine of school, snuggles, and anxiously awaiting the warmer weather!

After Valentine’s Day, we made the spontaneous decision to drive to NJ to visit our family! It was a slow time at work and, after our last trip proved to be a success, we vowed to do it more often than every two years!

My OCD and excessive planning help these things go smoothly! We split the 12 hour drive into two days on either side of the trip. It’s the best way to do it! Right when we start getting stir crazy, it’s time to stop at our hotel! We only hit a few trafficy spots, and may or may not have peed in a cup, BUT all in all the drive went smoothly!

It was a great week with my dad, cousins, and Stew’s parents. My dad is seriously one of my favorite people ever. We don’t get to see him nearly enough! And whenever we’re together it’s such a blast we never want it to end! Turner felt right at home and started losing articles of clothes by the minute, despite the fact that it was 19 degrees outside.

We went to my aunt and uncle’s house two nights for dinner. It’s one of our favorite things to do. I have two cousins and they’re both married with a total of 7 kids between the two of them. Add Turner and Gracie to the mix and it’s a downright nutty and hilarious extravaganza. It’s loud and the food is amazing always!

Not to mention Gracie and her sister from another mister! They are nearly identical!! And their outfits always match. We don’t even plan it :o)

It’s nice to get back to real life, but it makes me wish we didn’t live 12 hours away! Every time we get home, we love getting unpacked and settled, but we immediately start talking about the next time we’ll make the long journey!

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Valentine’s Day Traditions

Ahhhh Valentine’s Day. One of my favorite holidays! Not for the romance and flowers (that part’s nice too), but because we’ve weirdly made it a super special holiday! Stew and I started the tradition of making fondue every Valentine’s Day more than a decade ago. It’s evolved from sitting in his garage apartment that shook when someone walked up the stairs, to being in the comfort of our home surrounded by our babies (who stress us out and teach us how to love so deeply all at the same time)! It’s no better or worse, it just shows how life is ever-changing!

Valentine’s Day is one of those holidays that makes me think about love and relationships. It’s not like the movies. The years go by and people change. I don’t get butterflies when Stew and I hold hands, but there’s a different kind of love that has grown. It’s one of depth and comfort and need. It makes me think about how no one person is going to fit every check box and marriage isn’t easy. But it’s worth working at. It’s worth talking through the downs and celebrating the ups. I feel blessed to have a husband who loves me more than words can express and who thinks I’m beautiful in my sweatpants and glasses. That’s what it’s about, isn’t it? Once the newness and passion wear off, hopefully there’s a depth that keeps you coming back for more!

As moms, our husbands get the leftovers. They get the tired, stress-out version of us at the end of the day. They are the ears that hear our complaints. While we give to our jobs and our kids all day, our husbands don’t get any of that! So this holiday reminds me that our husbands deserve more than the other areas of our lives to which we give. Because when Mommy and Daddy are happy, the rest falls into place. So here’s to a Happy Valentine’s Day, wherever you may be!

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House Updates

I know it’s been nothing but radio silence over here! But all is well in the Watson abode. I’ve actually been SO productive lately! I’ve been working a ton, spending little time on social media, and soaking up my family time every chance I can get!

After the holidays, I went into spring cleaning mode. It helped that it’s been 70 degrees here (until this week that is)! We took down the decorations the weekend after Christmas and did a super clean of the house. It felt so good! I’ve also been purging like crazy. We’ve collected so much stuff over the years! If it wasn’t nailed down, I sold it or donated it! Then, with that money, I made a few small changes to the house that made a BIG difference! Here are our latest updates:

In Turner’s room, we really just updated the wall art. He had a great room to begin with!

Gracie’s room was a similar story! She had a collage wall above her crib, but it was never quite right. So we took it down, played with ideas on the floor, and created the perfect collage! We also picked up a “Hello Beautiful” sign for above her dresser.

Our room was a bit of a challenge. It’s really big and has three closets in a row with windows on one corner of the room. So I was on Pinterest searching for ideas! I saw a cute little sitting area in one photo that gave me the idea for this arrangement!

And my favorite update of all….the living room! We had two tall bookshelves on either side of the fireplace, but it looked too cluttered. So we replaced them with two sitting chairs with matching wall art on either side. Then opposite that, we created an amazing collage wall above the couch!

The best part of this whole thing was that every piece of art in the living room was from Hobby Lobby! AND they were 50% off!!!! Can you feel my excitement?! Doesn’t it look like I spent a fortune on these art pieces? The chairs we got for the living room were from Hobby Lobby too. Who knew they sold furniture!? My mind was completely blown after walking through there! It’s amazing how a few thought out changes can make our house feel completely different. I love love love it!

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Meal Prep w/ Printable Recipes and Grocery List!

I used to be really good at meal prep! Lately I haven’t really made it a priority though. We were doing those meal delivery services like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh, so I got lazy! I always plan our meals for the week and do one grocery shopping for the week (saves time and money), but I also like to plan weeks with similar ingredients so I can prep over the weekends. It takes some more planning, but it really makes our week nights so much easier! By the time Stew gets home from work, it’s 5.5:30 and Gracie starts melting down around 6:30. So we need to eat pretty much when he walks in the door! That means I need to get dinner made with two kids and a ringing phone (job hazard). Since I know I’m not the only one in this situation, I like to share my prep plans when I can! So this was our menu last week:

MENU:

**I’ve linked to recipes that can be downloaded and printed, as well as the grocery list for the week. I also wrote some notes below each day if there wasn’t a specific recipe to go along with it!

Saturday: Cook the pork in the slow cooker according to the recipe below so it’s ready to be used throughout the week.

Sunday: Braised Pork w/ roasted veggies (Recipe at bottom of post)

**Serve pork with roasted veggie of your choice. We used carrots tossed in olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. Roast at 400*F for 15-20 minutes or until softened.

Monday: Cuban Pork Panini

**Danielle Walker’s Recipe can be found in her cookbook, but I linked to one similar above.

Tuesday: Vegetable Stir Fry

Wednesday: Roasted spaghetti squash with meat sauce

Thursday: Pork Ragu Spaghetti

**Heat 2 cups shredded pork in saucepan with jar of your favorite tomato sauce (this is my favorite pasta sauce EVER). Serve over cooked spaghetti.

Friday: Pepperoni Pizza Pasta w/ Vegetable Noodles

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Can you guess what my main ingredient was?? PORK! Now, I don’t usually make pork. But I am bored with chicken, so I wanted to use something else that was delicious and could be used in several different meals. As long as the meat is good quality, I am ok with it!

My inspiration for this menu was my new cookbook Against All Grain. I discovered this cookbook through a friend. They have some major food allergies in their family. And, because we get together on a regular basis and share a meal, it made sense that I should research some new ideas! As soon as I opened this cookbook, I was sold. There were so many things to love. The photos are gorgeous, the recipes are simple, and they can easily be modified for people without food allergies! So, I ordered it on Amazon and now read it on a daily basis! Plus, Danielle Walker’s story is so amazing. What a humble and beautiful woman she is! I digress….

So my order of steps for meal prep is to:

1. make a meal list

2. make a grocery list AS you plan the meals (I use Shopping List FREE app. It’s incredible)

**(THIS WEEK’S PRINTABLE GROCERY LIST HERE)

3. map out the things I’ll prep in advance (i.e. slow cooker pork).

 

Slow Cooker Braised Pork
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
8 hr
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
8 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 Tbsp butter or oil
  2. 5 lbs boneless pork shoulder
  3. salt and pepper
  4. 6 ounces pancetta, diced
  5. 1 large yellow onion, large dice
  6. 5 cloves garlic, minced
  7. 1.5 cups chicken stock
Instructions
  1. Melt butter in large Dutch oven or deep skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Season pork with salt and pepper on all sides.
  3. Brown pork on all sides in batches and place in slow cooker.
  4. In the same pan you browned the pork, saute the pancetta, onions, and garlic over medium heat for 5-7 minutes.
  5. Add in chicken stock to deglaze the pan, scraping all the brown bits off the bottom with a wooden spoon. Pour mixture on top of pork.
  6. Cover slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.
  7. Skim any fat off the top.
  8. Shred and serve, or store in airtight container for later use.
Little Baby Watson http://littlebabywatson.com/

 

So now what? Write out the menu in your kitchen so you know what meal comes which day. Print out your grocery list and recipes. And breathe a sigh of relief that you have one week of delicious meals planned!

 

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Happy New Year!

This is my favorite post of the year! It’s a recap of our year in pictures! It’s been one of the best to date!

We dressed in our holiday best

We moved to a dreamy nest

We celebrated birthdays

And went on family vacays

And caught up on much needed rest!

It was a year to remember. One of growing, and learning, and loving more than we ever thought imaginable! A year of thanking God for our many blessings and praying for many more to come!

Thank you for letting us share our family with you! Wishing you a Happy New Year! May 2017 be filled with joy and blessings (and sparkly dresses)!

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