Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Chicken and Rice Casserole

So you guys are loving my easy meals posts. I'm so glad! I've gotten so many emails and comments from y'all saying you've tried some of the dishes and loved them. I probably have one more post I can gather up but after that I'm probably out. I've said before that we basically make the same dishes over and over. I like to venture out and make a new Pinterest recipe every now and then. And Scott grills for us a lot, especially in the summer. But for the most part I just recycle the same recipes every month. In the fall I'll have to share my favorite game day foods. They are yummy! But today I wanted to share this recipe that I posted on my Instagram Stories last week and had a lot of people ask me about. It's so easy I was able to share how to make it in one, 15 second story. But it was probably a little fast and I got asked how to make it so I thought I'd just post it on here.
There's a lot of chicken and rice casserole dishes out there but in my family, when we say we're having chicken and rice casserole, this is what we mean. My Mom made this meal for us when I was growing up and it was always one of our family favorites. Now I make it for my family and my boys love it! I think it's a perfect meal for little kiddos but an adult pallet can appreciate it too! It has so much flavor and it is seriously the easiest meal to make. I know I've claimed that about a lot of my meals before, but for real, this one is. Top three easiest recipes I make for sure.

Ingredients:
-Minute Rice (I do brown)
-Boneless, Skinless chicken breast or tenderloins
-1 can of golden mushroom soup
-1 pkg of Liptons Dry Onion Soup Mix

Directions:
-Cook your rice. I do 2 cups which equals 4 servings but you can do more if you have more mouths to feed.
-While your rice is cooking, mix together the soup, soup mix, and one can of water until well blended.
-Place cooked rice in the bottom of a casserole dish.
-Lay the chicken tenderloins on top of the rice
-Pour soup mix on top.
-Cover and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Please excuse the bad photo. I saved it from my Insta Stories after I started getting a lot of feedback and it's the only photo I have of the meal before it was plated. But this is what it looks like once it's been cooked. And I totally use disposable casserole pans all the time for easy cleanup.

There you go! That's all there is to it. This is the exact same "sauce" I use when I make a pork tenderloin in my crockpot also. I swear it tastes good poured over anything. I promise you will love this meal and it may become a favorite in your family too!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Friday. Saturday. Sunday.

We kicked our weekend off with our traditional Chick Fil A Friday. We don't eat there every Friday....but most Friday's we do, and I'm not even going to pretend like I don't love it! Bennett got to play in the play area for the very first time and he thought it was pretty cool! Campbell normally climbs all over the area but he stayed right by Bennett's side the entire time.
Another big event in Bennett's life happened over the weekend. We moved him to his convertible car seat. I love the UPPAbaby Mesa so much so I always keep my boys in it as long as possible. But the last few days Bennett had started crying as I was putting him into his car seat so I figured it was time to upgrade him to the big boy car seat. He seems much more content now although we still can't take a car ride without a paci. Not sure when we'll actually be able to do that honestly.
We had a fun Saturday night hanging out with a lot of our friends. We went to our neighbors/friends house and hung out until 7:00 hit and we had to leave because it was time for the boys to get ready for bed. Haha! We used to not meet up with friends until 7:00 and now that's when our evening ends. Babies and toddlers are everywhere now and I think our gatherings are way more fun than they used to be thanks to the presence of our sweet kiddos.
Yesterday we went to church then ate lunch after. Once I got Bennett down for a nap, I went to Walmart to get our food for the week. I love doing that. Getting food for the week. I don't know why but I always have. I guess I like having my refrigerator and pantry stocked and all of my dinners for the week planned out. It makes me feel organized which is a nice feeling, right?
This week is our last week of the MDO summer session. We have a month off before we start back. I'm a little sad that this is Campbell's last week with his teachers and classmates that he's had for almost a year now. He has had a great year and has grown so much. He'll just start talking about something that I know he picked up from school and it just makes me so happy that he's not only having fun but that he is learning too! Next month Campbell will officially start preschool and that just blows my mind! We will be at the same place but it's a different building with a different program. He will have a learning book and seem like such a big boy! It will be a little different for him than it has been the previous years but I think he'll love it. For now we're going to soak up our last week of him being a toddler at school before he turns into a preschooler.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Boys of Summer

Are y'all making the most of your summer? I always try to. I used to be a winter kind of girl before I had kids but now I'm all about the warm weather and summertime fun. Being outside is so much more fun than being inside when you have kiddos. We like to eat dinner on our back patio. We grill a lot so while Scott is cooking, we're just chillin in our backyard. The boys (and girls!) love it.
Something new we're doing this year is hanging out in our driveway a lot. Campbell has a lot of toys that he likes to play with and our driveway is the best place to do it. It's fun because neighbors are out and we always chat for a little bit with them. Sometimes we'll go for a "parade" as Campbell calls it, around our neighborhood. Campbell rides his scooter and Bennett rides in the cozy coupe.
Of course we love to go to the pool. It's not as challenging with two as I envisioned it to be. Campbell loves to swim and Bennett enjoys people watching. I can kind of block Bennett in with the pool loungers and create a little space for him to play with toys. He happily hangs out and it feels safer to me blocking him in since he likes to crawl all over the place. I usually just hang out in one of the loungers that's blocking Bennett in while I watch Campbell do his pool tricks. We try to get to the pool two or three times a week. When I was little it seemed like we were always at the pool and I loved it. I created a lot of great memories spending my summer at the pool and I hope my kids do too!
Something we love to do in the summer is go to the Bentonville Farmers Market. It's just something to do and I love snatching up some fresh fruits and vegetables. Walking around the square is just plain ol' fun and we usually grab lunch somewhere while we're there. I didn't grow up with a Farmers Market in my small town so maybe that's why I love it so much as an adult.
Sometimes it feels like we have lazy summer days where we stay inside all day because it's just so darn hot outside. But for the most part, I try to get us outside doing something fun. Usually at night when it's cooled off a little. We have such a great neighborhood full of young families and Campbell almost always has someone to play with whenever we're outdoors whether it's in our driveway, at the park or at the pool. There's a few things I like to try to do every summer that are still on my bucket list. I want to do putt putt golf, take a trip to the slash pad, and have friends over for a BBQ cookout. We've already done a lot of fun things this summer but I want to make a few more memories before it's over!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Five UnKnowns

Today I thought I'd post five things you may not know about me. I love reading this kind of stuff about other people so hopefully you'll enjoy reading mine!

1.) I sleep with an eye mask. I only do it in the summer when the light coming through my bedroom in the morning is so bright it feels like the sun is right in my backyard. Like, the whole entire sun. It drives me nuts. We have blackout curtains and they are thick, charcoal velvet so you would think they would do the trick but it's still so bright. The problem is we have to leave our bedroom door open so the girls can get in and out while we're sleeping so the light is coming through all of the windows in our house. If we could shut our door our room would be dark but we can't so eye mask it is. Scott asks me if I really can sleep with it on and I really can! I don't notice it at all. I sleep until my alarm goes off vs waking up as soon as the sun starts to rise. It's great!

2.) I take Plexus. I started in the spring after I decided I just couldn't take being exhausted anymore and wanted to try it to see if I would have more energy. Believe the hype people!!! It's amazing. I noticed a difference in how I felt the very. first. day. I do their probiotic and most days I take the pink drink but sometimes I forget. I love the probiotic.

3.) I hate cucumbers. I am not picky when it comes to food but I absolutely cannot stand the taste of cucumbers. Whenever I eat a salad I request them to leave off the cucumbers because I don't even like the way the lettuce tastes where the cucumber was laying on top of it. No cucumbers!!

4.) I am a Friends Expert. I have seen every episode of Friends about 12 million times. I own all of the DVD's and have even watched all of the bonus stuff on the DVD's like bloopers, episodes with the directors/creators commentary, etc. I have a couple of Friends board games and I always win and every time one of those Friends tests is floating around on Facebook, I take it and get a perfect score. I'm not trying to brag but....well, yes I am.

5.) Tuesday is my productive day. I don't plan for it to be like this but Tuesday is usually the day where I'm most productive around my house and I get a lot done. I think it's because it's usually our day where we have nothing to do so I just take advantage of it. I do laundry all day, clean and organize. It's kind of nice to knock it all out in one day so I can take it easy the rest of the week.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Wordless Wednesday

I took these photos of the boys about 2 weeks ago. I wanted some "American Summer" photos of them. I take a lot of photos of my boys with the camera but these are what Scott and I like to refer to as "real" photos. The kind where I get them dressed in cute outfits, fine an awesome location, and wait for the perfect lighting. We don't do photos like this very often but when we do, I just love them. I'm really proud of these pictures. Scott was working late so I did it all on my own. I like to have his help with "important" photos because it's SO hard to take pictures of two young children by yourself. Usually one of us is putting them back in the right spot (because toddlers don't stand/sit still in case you didn't know) and behind the photographer trying to get them to smile. But this was all on me. And even though these pictures were being taken when the boys should have been in bed, they cooperated pretty darn well! Here are a few of my favorites.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Gold Maxi

I've been meaning to share this look with you guys since the spring and I'm finally getting around to it. I LOVE this Piko dress. I have it in several colors. Every time I wear this particular color I always get so many compliments. I think we're all looking for a good, casual maxi and this one is wonderful!
This dress would be perfect to wear if you were pregnant. The fabric is so relaxing and breezy and could definitely handle a full term bump. It would be nice to have postpartum as well since it's such a relaxed fit and the stretchy neckline would be easy to breastfeed in.
I purchased this gold color in the spring thinking it would also be so pretty in the fall with a scarf and some booties. I have the burgundy color as well because I thought it would work well for Razorback games. The photo online makes it look more cranberry colored than it is in real life. It's definitely closer to a cardinal shade. After writing this post I feel like I need another color or two! They're just so great and you can wear them almost year round.
Shop The Look

Monday, July 10, 2017

The Joys of Blogging

A question I get asked frequently is why I started blogging. I've had this blog for almost 9 years now and have consistently written this entire time. I started the blog when I was living in Memphis. I was bored so I thought it would be fun and something to do. Social media was so different back then too and I think a lot more people blogged because Facebook and Instagram weren't really what they are today. Honestly, when I started the blog I didn't really know what I was doing. I just wrote posts about my life and didn't put much thought into it. I had never been a big blog reader before and didn't gain inspiration for anyone or anything. I just wrote. I had always written in a diary and this was basically just an online diary. I didn't spill as much private details, of course, but it was an easier and quicker way to write things down about what all was going on in my life. I was wedding planning and we were living in a different city and a lot was happening that I wanted to write down. It wasn't until a few months (maybe even a year) later that I realized people were actually reading it. And not just my close friends and family, but people that I didn't know or people I barely knew. Almost nine years later and I'm still here, writing about my simple little life and people are still reading. I always say that even if nobody read my blog I would still blog. I do this for me. I would love to figure out a way to get my blog made into a book. I know it can be done, I haven't looked into it much, but some day I would love to have this in print. Just a few copies to have for myself and my kids.
Scott asked me just last week if I'll blog forever and I laughed and said no. I don't know when I'll stop, I don't have plans to anytime soon, but I know I won't blog forever. Keeping up with my blog is actually very time consuming but it's worth it to me, for now. I can see eventually wanting to spend the time on other things but for now I plan to keep going for who knows how long!
Blogging is great because I have so much of my life documented for me to look back on. It's great for so many other things too. I've made so many friends from blogging. Girls that have reached out to let me know they read my blog and then we've gotten to know one another and have become real friends. I love that! I've had a lot of neat opportunities that I wouldn't have had if it weren't for blogging. Fun stuff, exciting stuff. It's really cool sometimes what happens simply because of this blog.
I very clearly remember setting up my blog. I had zero idea that what I was doing then would be what it is now or that I would still be blogging almost nine years later. It's been such a joy to blog and if I had the choice to do it all over again, or not do it, I would absolutely do it! I love sharing about our little life here. There isn't much to it, and sometimes I feel like I'm being really boring, but you still stick around and for that I say thank you!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Cars

We had a fun weekend! Campbell and I spent the majority of our Saturday hanging out at the pool together. Campbell loves to swim, a lot of our friends were there too, and I loved getting some one on one time with my little three year old. On Saturday evening Scott and I treated ourselves to a rare date night!
We did what we almost always do and went to the Bentonville square for dinner. It's just so lovely there! I would love to say that we left dinner with full bellies but that was not the case. Scott and I always share a meal (since most portions are so huge) but our meal was not share size. Like, not even close. So we went to the little ice cream shop next to the Walmart Museum and we each got a large sized ice cream cone. That did the trick.
I had to snap this pic of my boys after church today since they're twins. Everyone has always commented on how Campbell looks just like Scott. When he was a baby I did not see it at all. And I still don't when I look back on photos of baby Campbell. Campbell's baby photos look NOTHING like Scott's baby photos. I always just thought he had his own look. But now it's mind blowing to me how much they favor one another.
We ended our weekend by taking Campbell to see Cars 3. We've been wanting to take him for weeks but have hoped to get a babysitter for Bennett so we could really enjoy it. Today we finally decided to all attempt to go together. Initially we planned on just Scott and Campbell going together but Campbell wanted us all to go so that's what we did. We got the theater, loaded up on popcorn and skittles and grabbed our seats. Campbell was so excited. This was his second time to go to the theater to see a movie (he went to Finding Dory last summer) and he acted like a movie going pro! Bennett did great for about 30 minutes but then he started getting antsy so he and I left so we wouldn't disturb anyone. I knew we wouldn't last long but we lasted longer than I anticipated we would! 
Scott and Campbell stayed for the entire movie though and they had a great time! We didn't make it the whole way through the movie with Campbell last year, which we expected, but I knew he could do it this year. I love going to the movies and I'm so excited to take Campbell to more of them now that I know he can handle going. I'm sad I missed out on Cars but I'm glad Scott and Campbell got some one on one time. When I picked them up Campbell got in the car and said "Daddy took me to the movies mommy!" as if he had completely forgotten that I was there for the beginning of it. Haha!! Sweet boy.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Snacker

It's hard to believe that tomorrow is Friday. Short week! The boys had Mothers Day Out today and I got so much done. Things that I've needed to do but have put off for weeks. Once I was finished with my to-do list, I had about an hour to just do fun stuff. I went to the mall and walked around. I love that our mall is outdoors. It's so pleasant! I didn't really have much to do so I decided to walk over to Fresh Market to grab some dinner. They had a really yummy 'Little Big Meal' this week so I chose that. Do y'all do those? They are so delicious and usually make two meals for us which makes it an even better deal!
I cut these hydrangeas two weeks ago and they still look just like this. They've lasted so long! I am so spoiled by my hydrangeas and will always have to have some. I love cutting them and enjoying them inside. I walk over to my hydrangea shrubs multiple times a week just to look at them. Ha! I know that sounds silly but I just think they're so beautiful and they make me happy.
Bennett tickled me today. I have a "snack basket" that I keep on the floor of our pantry. While I was getting dinner ready, Bennett crawled to the panty, rummaged through the snack basket, discovered an applesauce and held it out with his arm stretched as far as it could go to let me know he would like for me to open it for him. Stinker. He had the cutest grin on his face and even though his dinner was almost ready, I just couldn't resist. So I guess Bennett knows how to ask for snacks now. I'm in trouble! The amount of applesauce we go through in this house is crazy. Both of my boys are obsessed with applesauce. Our grocery bill has increased significantly since these hungry boys came around. I can only imagine how much food we'll go through when they're teenagers! We're going to have to buy Sam's sized everything!!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Firecracker Fourth

We had a great 4th of July! It rained on us a lot but that didn't stop us from enjoying the day.
Our neighborhood always has a big event on the 4th called Firecracker Fourth. It starts with a parade and thankfully the rain held off the entire time. Campbell and Bennett had so much fun. Campbell loves stuff like that and Bennett just took it all in. I decorated their little rides the night before and I thought they turned out so cute!!
We had a food truck come to our neighborhood to serve food but while we were waiting in line for it a downpour came and we ran back home. It didn't look like it was going to let up any time soon, and we were hungry, so we decided to hop in the car and go eat some cheeseburgers--very American. Ha! We got back home and basically just laid around for a while until dinner and then we went outside to play with some little fireworks that we picked up for Campbell.
Our neighbors were all out shooting fireworks and playing with sparklers too so we hung out with them until it was time to put the boys to bed. We have a big firework show in our neighborhood (like, it's really impressive!!) and last year we let Campbell stay up for it but this year we just put him to bed. He is kind of scared of fireworks and isn't all that impressed with them so Scott and I decided to drink some wine and watch the show kid-free. We actually went next door to our neighbors and watched on their back porch with them and we had so much fun! We stayed up way too late but we had a great time hanging out so it's worth my tiredness today!
My favorite part of the day was definitely the parade. The boys looked so cute (all of the kids did!!) and they had a great time and I love seeing them have fun. I got a little sad last night watching the firework show because this will be our last year in our neighborhood. Our big 4th of July party was actually my idea and I got the event started the first summer we were here, six years ago. Our neighborhood was new at the time and didn't have very many houses in it so it was just a tiny little event with probably 30 people. We grilled hotdogs and everyone brought a side dish. We hung out at the pool all day and had maybe $100 worth of fireworks that we shot off that evening. But everyone had a blast! Now the event is huge! More than 200 people show up, we had a food truck this year and our firework show is seriously so amazing! Everyone always has a great time and I'm just really proud of what it's turned into and that I had the idea to do it six years ago. I don't know who will take over the planning once I'm gone, but I know it will probably continue for many, many years and I'm glad that so many people have made a lot of great memories from my little Firecracker Fourth party idea.