Crock Pot Baked Potato Soup

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This recipe has been in my recipe box for a few years as a favorite (unfortunately I didn’t write down the source of the recipe!).  It’s so easy to throw in the crockpot and enjoy on a chilly day.  Of course, everything is better with bacon, cheese, and a bread bowl from Panera.  🙂

Crock Pot Baked Potato Soup

Ingredients
For the Soup:
6 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 quart chicken broth (4 cups)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup butter
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 cup cream or half-and-half
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Toppings:
Chopped chives
Sour Cream
Bacon, crumbled
Cheese

Instructions:
Combine everything in the crockpot but the cream and shredded cheese in your crockpot.  Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours.  At the end of the cooking time, mash the potatoes until the soup is thickened and stir in the cream and cheese.

Top with your desired toppings and ENJOY!

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A Fairy, A Football Player & A Ballarina

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I’ve got three sweet girls….and it’s so fun to see each of their own little personalities develop during these little years.  I just want time to slow down, but it just keeps going by faster, and faster.  So for now, I will just take pictures….and blog…so I can look back and remember these very sweet times.

I found a little play make-up set I bought for the girls last year stuffed in the back of a drawer while nesting this weekend.  🙂  After naps, I declared a dress-up day and told all the girls to figure out what they wanted to be.  Of course, Brooke and Lauren were super excited about the make-up and hair….Lily not so much.  Brooke picked a fairy costume and wanted a braid in her hair.  Lily went through her laundry basket and picked out her OU shirt so she could be a football player.  She also informed me that she did not want to wear make-up, but that she wanted pig tails in her hair.  Lauren picked the girliest outfit of all….Brooke’s old ballerina leotard.  That girl…if she passes a mirror, you can be sure she will check herself out and fix her hair.
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Brooke // Such a sweet girl.  She has the sweetest heart.  She is such a giver – and that makes me so happy.  When she goes to school and gets a prize out of the treasure chest on Fridays, she asks the teacher if she can have one for her sisters too.  She is always concerned about how everyone is doing and feeling.  I pray that she will always have that love, care, and compassion  for others.  She’s in love with tinker-bell right now.  Landon is convinced that if she were a fairy, that she would be a “tinker fairy” (yes we watch tinker-bell movies together).  She loves to fix broken things and work with her hands just like her daddy!

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Lily // If any of the girls are “closer” to me than Landon, it is Lily….and it’s probably because she is the least like me.  She’s pretty rough, tough, drama-free and athletic.  I have a feeling that she and Beckham will have a special relationship.  Brooke and Lauren can often be found playing together and going “shopping”, but Lily usually has a ball in her hands.  She is very sympathetic to the needs of others.  She always senses when something is wrong and comes and puts her hand on your back to comfort whoever is hurting or sad.  She is the most cuddly, and I can always get a hug and a kiss from my Lily Reese.

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Lauren // Diva. Oh are we in trouble.  With that dimple and those eyelashes.  Lauren Grace is my GIRLY girl.  She is always batting those eyelashes, flashing a smile, and flipping her hair. If she has food on her hands, she asks me to sweet her hair out of her face so it doesn’t get dirty. When you ask who her friends are at school or church, she always names a boy.  I can always count on her to pose for pictures…she loves taking them!  She is also ultra sensitive, and can shed tears at the drop of a hat.  You can always count on her to be looking after her twin sister though – she always makes sure Lily is being taken care of.  When Lily is timid or shy, she takes her hand and comforts her.

These sweet little girls that are teaching me so much right now.  Sure, there are those days when I feel exhausted and worn…but when I think about all the amazing qualities each one of them already possesses, I’m amazed at the wonderful gifts God has given me.

A Father’s Love

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The girls all caught a nasty bug at the end of last week, so we spent most of the weekend indoors trying to get well.  We did a lot of cuddling, coloring and going a little stir crazy!  I have been wanting to take some photos of Landon with the girls for a while….it was so beautiful Saturday we bundled up and headed outside to take a few before the sun went down!  I love how they turned out.

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Landon is such a special daddy to these little girls.  He truly loves them and cares for them in such a sweet way!  He is my hero, living in a house with four girls.  He is sympathetic, patient….their first love…and there is no doubt that the girls know how much he loves them!  They have a special sparkle in their eyes for him.  It melts my heart!

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I’m thankful for the Godly, strong, loving example Landon is to our children.  I know this will have a profound effect on who they become, and I pray that their relationship only grows stronger as each year passes by.

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“To become a strong, confident woman, a daughter needs her father’s attention, protection, courage, and wisdom”
-from the book Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters

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Baby Bump Update – 34 weeks

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Photo Credit // Sara Eaton Photography

Five Weeks. 35 days until scheduled surgery.  I get teary eyed just thinking about meeting Beckham for the first time.  I smile when I think about what the girls will do when they see their little brother for the first time.  It has been a long road through this pregnancy, but we are in the home stretch!!!  I’m also feeling the urge to “nest”, organize and clean every nook of the house.  Landon came home from work and asked me if I paid someone to organize the kitchen cabinets…because yes, I organized every cabinet in one afternoon and he couldn’t believe it.  Now I just need to avoid cooking to keep them that way.  🙂

Baby Bump Progress via Instagram
Baby Bump Progress via Instagram

I thought I would do an update on the questions I answered here at 28 weeks.

How far along –  34 weeks

Baby Beckham – 4.75 pounds (what?!?), 17.75 inches and the size of a cantaloupe

Stretch marks – Yep.  Like I said, I don’t know if they are new, or old….but I’m not counting.  My belly is sticking out a lot farther than with the girls.  I’m definitely feeling “stuffed” these days!

Memory Loss – I am seriously losing brain cells.  It’s bad when you drive to the bank two times on Columbus Day, only to have your three year old remind you that the bank is closed. Or when you grab the handle of an iron skillet right after it comes out of a 450 degree oven.  Awesome.

Favorite moment this week – My Doctor’s Appointment.  I was a little discouraged physically when I went in to the doctor.  Landon has only been able to go to two appointments with me, so I usually fly solo.  I felt especially weepy, but when my doctor came in he gave me the biggest hug and told me he was proud of me for making it so far!  That hug was exactly what I needed.  I’m thankful for such a sweet and encouraging doctor.  I still remember the day we had the twins – he prayed with me and my family before they took me to the surgery room.  I’m not looking forward to surgery again, but I am looking forward to that special moment of prayer.

Movement – Hasn’t slowed down one bit.  I think Landon and I had a moment of panic last night that there is a hidden twin in there.  Not kidding.

Food cravings – My cereal cravings have died down slightly.  I haven’t been able to eat a lot of food in one sitting, so I just snack on food all day.  I’m having extreme nausea problems again, so my diet usually consists of animal crackers, cereal, oatmeal, pretzels, and sandwiches.  Sigh.  Can’t wait to eat “normal” again!

Maternity Clothes– Most of the time, yes!  I’m thankfully for the cooler weather, because I can layer some of my cute cardigans, and not feel like I’m wearing the same two shirts over and over.   I have had some questions about where I get my maternity clothes.  I haven’t bought many pieces, but I love the GAP.  Their clothes are very comfortable and classic.  H&M also has a really cute maternity line, and I just spotted some super cute new arrivals today!

Have you started to show yet – lol.

Gender– Still a boy.

Belly Button in or out-  Crazy.  I’m not quite sure.

Sister Funnies
“Beckham is going to be superman for halloween!” – Brooke (convinced he will be here for the fun)

“Kepbam is going to drink a lot of milk.  Chocolate milk.” – Lily

“Can you please tell baby Beckham to stop tooting.  It stinks in here.” – Lauren

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“Mommy, Beckham looks so cute today!” -Lauren has she pushes my belly button back in.

I’m going to miss being pregnant….feeling that sweet little life inside me.  I’ll miss those little hands and ears on my belly while they talk to their brother.  I’m enjoying these last weeks being pregnant for the last time…but I can’t wait to meet our sweet little boy!

Finding Rest

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The last few months, God has been revealing a lot of areas in my life that have needed change.  I am so grateful for His grace and forgiveness.  However, there is one major area in my life that I have been holding on to for a few years now.  It’s a desire of mine that I keep pleading with God to give to me and “be right” (if that makes any sense).  I have felt hurt, rejected and mistreated.  I have also let the bitterness and anger from this situation grow in my heart.   It is an area that I keep “giving” to the Lord, asking Him to fill that void, but not really giving it over to him.  The peace I have felt is only temporary, and after time the anger starts to come back and it has been a vicious, endless cycle.

Last week I realized how much this bitterness was overtaking my life.  It started building again over last week, and by Saturday afternoon I LOST it.  The kids misbehaving was the trigger, but it really wasn’t the kids that I was really angry at.  My husband looked at my reaction in shock, and I knew by the look on his face that I needed to figure this out.  We talked over nap time, and it was clear that there was a lot of anger and bitterness in my heart.  Of course, I couldn’t sleep that night….and I had terrible morning sickness on Sunday morning.   I knew Satan was trying his best to keep me from going to church, but I was determined and somehow mustered up the energy to get us all ready.  There was even a few times in the service I thought I was going to have to leave, but I knew I needed to listen to the message.  Through the sermon, the Holy Spirit convicted me so greatly about this specific area of my life that I have been holding on to.  I realized how much it has affected me, as well as my family.  How much I was letting lies take control of my thought life.  How this “good thing” that I have desired for so long and think is best for my family, isn’t necessarily what God wants in my life right now.   I prayed in my seat right there.  That God would forgive me for being so angry, for holding on to bitterness, for not trusting Him, and for thinking my way was better than His.  It’s amazing the freedom that I immediately felt.

Fast forward a few hours to small group.  Again, I have been struggling with extreme nausea around the clock…but I knew that by going I would be encouraged spiritually.  We discussed Rule 5 out of the Red Sea Rules….”Stay Calm and Confident, and give God time to work.”

“Moses said to the people Do not be afraid.  Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today.  For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever.  The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”
– Exodus 14:13-14

“I cannot solve every problem, cure every hurt, or avoid every fear, but I can leave room for God.  I don’t have the answer to every dilemma, but I can leave room for God to work.  I can’t do the impossible, but He is able to do “exceedingly abundantly above all” that I could ask or imagine.  The Lord delights in the impossible.” (page 50 of the Red Sea Rules)

“Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him…Do not fret – it only causes harm.”
-Psalm 37:7-8

God can accomplish anything in his timing if it’s HIS will, not because I think it should be accomplished.  Waiting is exactly the opposite of what I have been doing….I have been doing a LOT of forcing and trying to make things work.  I’ve also been doing a lot of negative and fearful thinking.  I have let my emotions take control of my thought life.  The truth was brought up in small group, that we can take control of our thoughts.  No matter how much we are hurting, how we have been wronged, how tired we are, how sick we are….what time of month it is….we can choose to think on truth.  This is where I struggle so greatly….it has just been such a natural reaction to go straight to my emotions and think selfishly.  It has been easy to blame sin on lack of sleep, pregnancy hormones and stress.  The last couple days when those thoughts have come up, I have said a verse to myself….I have prayed….and I have really felt a real peace about the situation.  I have seen that what I have desired for so long is not what I NEED.  I need to give this situation completely over to God.  I need to feel secure, loved and accepted by God.  I need to rest in Him to take care of me and my family.  He is doing just that….and will continue to do that I just have to rest in Him.

We sang this song at the end of the service on Sunday, and it also keeps coming to mind over the last couple days.  My favorite line…“The Lord has promised Good to me, His word my hope secures”.

Amazing Grace (Chris Tomlin)
Amazing grace
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I’m found
Was blind, but now I see’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed

My chains are gone
I’ve been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, amazing grace

The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow
The sun forbear to shine
But God, Who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.
Will be forever mine.
You are forever mine.

DIY No Sew TuTu Tutorial

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I just love making tutus for halloween costumes and birthday parties.  It’s great how cute, easy, and inexpensive they are to make.  They also make great items for playing dress-up with afterwards!

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Lily & Lauren are going to be black cats this year.  When I asked for volunteers to take photos, Lauren was the only one that offered.  🙂  The total cost for two halloween costumes was around $11.  We already had the black leggings and shirts (which are fantastic everyday essentials!). Everything for the tutus, headbands and tails were purchased at Hobby Lobby at 1/2 price!  Here’s a few of our tutus from the last few years….

Let’s get started!

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Here’s what you will need…
Rolls of Tulle (you can use yards of tulle and cut into strips, but these rolls make it SO much easier!).  I purchased the larger roll pictured at Walmart – it was 3.99 for 50 yards.  I purchased two of the glitter rolls (only 15 yards on each) at hobby lobby, and made two tutus out of all three rolls of tulle.
Ribbon – I like using the wider ribbon for these tutus, so the bow that you see when you tie the tutu is nice and full!
Scissors
Board, piece of cardboard, tupperware lid for easy cutting (optional)

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Step 1 // First, figure out how long you would like your tutu to be.  Double that measurement and that is how long you will cut your strips of tulle.  You can cut each strip individually, or use this method that will help cut your time tremendously!!!  I used the top of a tupperware box, because it was the perfect length for this tutu. (You could use a piece of cardboard or something similar).  Just keep wrapping your tulle around the “cutting board” until you reach the end.  Cut the tulle at both ends and you will end up with strips that are all exactly the same length!  🙂

Step 2 // Kind of goes with step one.  🙂  When you are done wrapping/cutting you will be ready to make your tutu!

Step 3 // Wrap your ribbon tightly around an object.  I used the tupperware lid….you can use a chair or something similar.  It is not necessary to do this, but will make it easier when you knot the tulle strips around the ribbon.

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Step 4 // Take a strip of tulle and fold it in half

Step 5 // Place the folded strip underneath the ribbon.  Grab the ends together.

Step 6 // Pull the ends away from you, and pull them underneath the loop.  Pull it tight until a knot forms.

Step 7 // Keep “slip knotting” away and slide all the knots together tightly together on the ribbon.  I usually estimate the length, and try the tutu on one of the girls when I think it is big enough.  The great thing about these, is you can slide the knots closer together or separate them slightly to make the tutu fit your little girl just right!

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Happy Crafting!!!

Pumpkin Patch Fun

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Last weekend the weather was PERFECT.  We threw our halloween shirts on and headed to the pumpkin patch!

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The girls had so much fun playing in the mazes and scoping out all the pumpkins.  I love watching them enjoy life together.

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Lily even brought the rest her dinner along.  She needed a “to-go” roll from Texas Roadhouse…she enjoyed it for about two hours.  I probably should have taken one “to-go” as well because it sure did look good two hours later.

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I can’t believe how big they are getting!  Last year the twins still so small!  They are SO EXCITED about fall, halloween and baby Beckham.  They are sure he will be here to dress up for halloween with them.  🙂  Brooke is going to be Tinker Bell and the twins are going to be little black cats.

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We even found the cutest baby pumpkin for Beckham. We are savoring this beautiful fall weather and enjoying being together as a family.  I can’t wait to add one more “pumpkin” to the mix next year!  

Hope y’all have a wonderful weekend!!!