Tiny Tales Thursday...

Emmy continues to "find her voice" a little more each day. She has perfected any phrase that deals with the possessive pronoun of "my and mine" or the use of "Emmy's" as in...

Emmy: MY mommy.
Rad: No, Emmy she's my Mommy, too
Emmy: NO! MY Mommy!! EMMY's Mommy.

And more recently she has embraced the saying of "what mine is yours" as in...

Ryan eating a bowl of cereal
Emmy: I unt sum (I want some)

Katy eating grapes
Emmy: I unt sum

Radley eating goldfish
Emmy: I unt sum

Ryan eating a sandwich
Emmy: I unt sum

Katy putting on makeup
Emmy: I unt sum

And then there is the combo...

Radley eating a "treat"
Emmy: NO!! MY treat!! EMMY's treat!!! I unt sum!!!

This tiny tot is two indeed... 


Power Freezing...

So I've blogged lots about Power Cooking and the benefits of prepping meals in advance. I will continue to support this as a way for working moms (or anyone really) to save time, money and EFFORT in prepping home made meals that are (somewhat) nutritional for your family. However, it's important to note that you should have the following:

1. A group of trusted cooks to share PC duties with
2. Time to prep and cook all these meals pre-freeze
3. Time to cook meals post-freeze

What I've learned is that many of our PC recipes require the meals to be cooked/heated for up to an hour the day it is being served. By the time I pick up the kids, drive home, get everyone out the car, listen to stories, take a potty break, change clothes, and take a deep breath, the clock is already at 6pm and dinner still has to cook.... those are not fun nights in the King household.

So the solution...

POWER FREEZING  (I'm working on getting it trademarked ;))

What is power freezing you ask? Well, it's essentially the same thing as Power Cooking, except you don't actually have to cook anything. If you do, it's crockpot goods that you freeze just to throw into the crockpot to reheat.

Step 1: Gather ingredients (yes, all good recipes involve ranch and cream cheese)

Step 2: Chop any needed vegetables

Step 3a: Pour ingredients in respective crockpots

Step 3b: Or combine ingredients, place in ziplock bags and freeze

Step 4: Enjoy the fruits of your labor now and for weeks to come

The day I did this my mom and I made 10 meals for $60. Four meals are fully cooked and need to just be thawed and reheated either in the crockpot on warm all day or just popped into the microwave to serve. The remaining meals just need to be thawed and placed in a crock pot all day to cook.

It has been awesome to have this as I returned to work. I still want to power cook with my friends, but since we all seem to have crazy schedules, this is something easy that you can do alone and still reap all the glorious benefits!!

1. Parmesan Honey Pork - This is DELICIOUS. I cooked it first and then froze it, but I think next time I will just combine the ingredients and freeze and then cook. We served it on sliders with mashed potatoes and brocolli. The kids even ate it up!
2. Teriyaki Chicken - I wanted this to be sweeter than it was. I think I cooked it too long, but we just served over rice. Ryan loved it lots, the kids have liked stuff better.
3. Healthy BBQ Chicken - This was SOOOOO good. I was skeptical about chicken on a bone, but after being in the slow cooker all day they just pulled right out. We did drumsticks. The kids gobbled this up. We served with cornbread and all those veggies just snuck right in there!
4. Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos - We are keeping these stocked in our fridge. Easy prep and can just be microwaved like the taquitos you buy in the freezer section but much tastier and healthier. We eliminated the cilantro for the kids version. A big hit with the Kings.

I did one more recipe but I can't find it (which makes me sad bc it was also yummy).

So, friends ... go forth and freeze. And then enjoy the time you save with your kids, spouse, friends, or self! :)


Do the Freddy...

Is anyone else thinking of the scene from Troop Beverly Hills where the girls are volunteering at a retirement community and Shelly Long is trying to "do the Freddy" while pushing a wheel chair?

Anyone? Anyone? No? 

Too bad.

Ok. Back to the story. 

Actually a back story is needed first.

Way back in the summer of 2000, my DZ little sis (Carolyn) and I thought it would be awesome to take a road trip. 

To New York City.

Our parents were crazy enough to let us, so we took off for the first leg of our trip before catching a Greyhound in Nashville, TN. (this is clearly a whole different post - but if you want to hear about it, let me know bc it is one of my all time favorite things to talk about).

Ok. So we were driving to Nashville when all of a sudden Carolyn starts screaming as if I am about to run off the road. I was not. However, that is exactly what she wanted me to do because she saw the sign for a "Steak N Shake". I had never had the pleasure of visiting a SNS - or really ever even heard of it, but she insisted that I exit immediately, circle back around and we eat. Immediately

And you know what?
It was sooo worth it.

Fast forward 12 years and BCS has welcomed a "SNS" competitor to town....

We made the "trek" to Bryan on Friday night to try it out.

And you know what?
It was super yummy!!!

The fries are super skinny and they do not hold back on their serving size. 
(Note to all my fellow BCSers that want to try - there are plenty on your plate to share with the kiddos so just order the kids main item and don't pay extra for the "basket")

The pattys are thin but juicy. They were the perfect size - I could finish the meal but wasn't feeling overly stuffed afterwards.

And the kids LOVED it.

Especially when they found out that we were getting custard after. I even taught Emmy the art of dipping her fries into the ice cream.

And like my daughter...she made sure that every.last.drop. was gone. 

We are **trying** to only eat out on Friday nights. It's a great way to celebrate the week and keep us motivated to eating more sensibly and not spending money on the unnecessary. I imagine that Freddy's will stay on our Friday night rotation. Who knows - maybe we will start a "Friday's at Freddy's" tradition. 


Free at last...

Thank God Almighty - we were FREE at last! 

We had our first free weekend since May 12 - and while we have thoroughly enjoyed every birthday, wedding, recital, reunion, mini meet and more - it was awesome to have nothing to do! 
(warning: picture overload)

So, like all good college town residents, we started our weekend on Thursday with our favorite meal of the week - "brinner" and then enjoyed a night at home playing with this cute baby...

I think it is impossible to spend too much time with those cheeks...

They just laid there next to her and giggled away and Landry just sat there and watched them roll over each other. 

They're still not used to sharing the spotlight.

Friday night gets its own post because we tried a new restaurant in town that I think will be added to our favorite rotation. Brought back some fun memories for me that are worth sharing. 

Saturday morning the kids and I headed to the Children's Museum (pics on phone) while Ryan took care of some yard work. Then it was time for some long naps for all (yay!). Once everyone was awake and properly fed we met the Baileys for one of our favorite summer traditions - pizza at the pool! 

This was our first time swimming this summer and once I realized it, I was so sad. Radley had gotten so confident swimming last year so we've regressed a little. But I think he'll be back in the swing of things no time. (Note to self: swimming lessons)

Landry rocked it though and didn't mind being in the water at all!

Radley and Kayla went diving for sharks, sticks and princesses of course.

And this one. 

Well, she didn't even want to get near the water. But we aren't going to have kids that don't like water so I just handed her over to Ryan. 

Once she got a pair of "gawgles" like the big kids she was all smiles. 
(She got so brave that after we were all dry and heading out we looked up and she was trying to get back IN the pool. In 4 feet of water. ALONE. - Thanks for the quick reflexes Will).

Then it was off for snocones. JJ's is a pretty famous place in BCS and we had never tried them before.

Radley and Kayla each got rainbow snocones.

And Emmy and I shared my favorite combo - peach and banana.

Then we all headed home for the quickest bath to bed routine we've ever accomplished. 

Today meant church, Target and groceries.

We have kids that like to be on the go and kinda love Target and the grocery store. Radley was ready to get home today though so he could help Ryan finish his project in the yard.

Aren't they just adorable?

After everyone was up for naps it was time to finish up things in the yard...and look who decided to join us for the fun.


A copperhead. 

Poor thing. He's in the place that copperheads go once their heads have been removed with a shovel. 

Poor guy.

To distract the kiddos from the, um, disposal of our new friend I pulled out the big guns... 

Oreos snack packs and...

big girl panties!! 

These were a purchase at Target and she actually did pretty great! She had once accident and the rest of the time peed on the potty! 

Then it was time to get dinner ready.

It was a quick, easy and fun way to serve fish and get the kids involved! They were super excited to eat since they "helped". 

And I was super excited to eat because it was DELICIOUS! 

I know that was an incredibly long, picture heavy post. 

But - it was a wonderfully long, relaxing, enjoyable free weekend! 
Hope yours was too!


Tiny Tales Thursday...

I mentioned here that Radley was more than ready to get out on the dance floor and shake his thing at KK and Ryan's wedding. Well, he was king of the dance floor with his shoes off, pants pulled up and hair gelled. He caught the eye of more than one young lady and had smiles sprouting across the face of many attendees.

One young lady (about 21) came up to Radley and asked him to dance...

YL: Hi! Do you want to dance with me?
Rad: Ummmm. No, thanks.
:: pauses ::
Rad: But you can watch me though.

She thought it was so funny she had to come tell me.

Radley King...playing hard to get.


Emersyn is becoming quite the territorial little tot. No matter what you have, it is "hers". I can be cooking and have a spoon and she will point and say, "MY poon". Radley will be playing with trains and she will grab them and make her "whatcha talkin' 'bout Willis" face and exclain, "MY train!".

I am "MY mommy" (not Radley or Landry's). Food is "MY food". You get the idea.

Yesterday on the way home from school I was letting the kids play with "MY" phone. I had downloaded a new Duck Duck Moose app and wanted to see if they liked it. We were rotating turns and to no surprise, Emmy was not too happy with the idea.

Radley was waiting patiently for his turn. (I think even he is getting tired of her fits...the girl is wearing all of us out).

Me: Emmy it's Radley's turn.
Emmy: No. EMMY turn.
Me: Emersyn King. It is your brother's turn.
Emmy: MY turn.
Radley: No, Emmy. It's my turn now. You need to share.
Me: Emersyn give Radley the phone.
Emmy: ::reluctantly handing the phone over to Radley all the while exclaiming through tears:: MY turn! MY phone! Radley SHARE!

I don't think she got the memo about equal time allotted with toys. ;)


How She Does It: Jenn....

It's been a while since I did a post in this series and well, I think it's time to highlight one of my favorites...

This is Jenn.
(and her adorable 3 kiddos: Jackson, Adalyn and Henry)

We've met once. For five minutes. At my friend, Niki's, wedding. 

If we happened to live in closer proximity than say, 1500 miles, I'm sure we would be inseparable. Niki introduced us because of our similarities and I think we both maybe dismissed her enthusiasm because becoming "besties" with a complete stranger is pretty, for lack of better word, strange. Then I began blog stalking her and Niki was right - we would make pretty great friends. 

The blog world really is much smaller than we realize and I have loved watching Jenn's family grow and seek/share advice when needed. 

What she does.

Jenn is a SAHM of three of the most adorable kiddos. Jackson (5), Adalyn (3) and Henry (1). She's insanely in love with her husband, Dave and a strong Christian woman.

She sews. She bakes. She takes photographs. She crafts with her kids. She loves Jesus. She makes homemade one-of-a-kind gifts for just about everyone. Like all of her neighbors. She wakes up at 5am to work out. She is pretty much Pinterest without needing to pin anything. 

The amount of energy she puts into everything is pretty amazing - and that's coming from just what I see on a 17 inch screen. She doesn't sugar coat anything about her life - she is real and honest. Celebrating the frustrations along with all the happy moments, freely sharing all that it takes to be on this mommy ride. 

2012 did not start out kindly for them. All 3 kiddos got this very rare, very strange virus that seemed never ending. I don't know what I would have done in the same situation, but Jenn handled it with grace and faith. Such strong, gracious, glorious faith. 

She leaves for a 20 day mission trip to Uganda in 3 days. She is called to serve and acts on that calling. 

How she does it:

She loves Jesus. She honors her husband. She adores her kids. 

In that order. 

She has a great support network. She isn't afraid to say that "its" hard. Because it is. Being a mommy is hard and I have found that when I say that and admit that I don't always have "it" together - "it" gets easier. 

She is motivated by making her children's lives enriched. I love reading about all the creative projects she does with them. They play together. The cook together. The learn together. 

She laughs. When Addie decides to start taking off pjs at naps - Jenn puts them on backwards. 

She prays. Outloud. 

She admits when she's scared. And frustrated. And joyful. And she offers her praises to Him. 

Did I mention that she is leaving for AFRICA in 3 days? She is. She could use your prayers. 

Jenn - I want you to know people notice what you do. You are a great source of motivation and inspiration for me. You set a great example to all us mommies. I'm glad to call you my friend and know that one day we'll get these tots together and enjoy Margarita Monday. 


Wedding bells...

Don't these three look like they have somewhere special to be? 

{and incredibly adorable, too!}

Saturday was the BIG day for KK and "Mr. Ryan" and these two ROCKED it!
{sorry about the pic, Ryan didn't know I had camera on manual mode - he tried}

But this was the biggest moment of the day... 

Probably one of the sweetest ceremonies I have witnessed (and I have been to tons of weddings - 33 while Ryan and I were dating). They wrote personal vows to one another and you couldn't help but smile and cry along right with them. Ryan spoke such beautiful words about Katelin and that precious girl has a heart of pure gold... you could feel her heart as she spoke.

These were their smiles right after the ceremony... 

And this kid loved his sign KK made. 
(Don't you think she could sell those on etsy?)

We all had such a great time that Emmy tried to join the church. 

Radley of course had tons of questions about getting married. He wanted to see KK's rings and I think he approved. Then he kept asking me about the rings Daddy gave me.

:: When did he give you that ring, Mommy? Why? Then he gave you this one when you married him? Did you give Daddy a ring? Why? Will I give you a ring when I get married? I am going to marry you and Emmy and then Landry.:: 

Then it was off to the reception. And can I just tell you - best.food.ever. Chicken Fried Steak/Chicken, potatoes, green beans, bread and TONS of kolaches (Ryan was in heaven). 

As soon as Katelin and Ryan finished their dance Radley looked at me and Ryan and literally screamed, "IS IT TIME FOR ME TO DANCE NOW!?!?!"

And then proceeded to run out to the dance floor...

Aren't they beautiful?

This kid. 

I was super proud of all of my kiddos. They got such positive attention all day and just smiled through it all. Emmy and Radley were as polite as can be and Landry let us shuffle her from person to person. She is a trooper baby - she was up until 10:30pm both nights and didn't fuss at all. 

This one didn't know what to think about everything. She is going through a HUGE mommy phase. 
{and I secretly love it}

Me and my girls heading out to the dance floor. 

Radley got some major grocery store feet from his dancing... 

He looked like such a little man this weekend. And acted like a big kid. I was proud of him. 

I look at this picture and hold back tears. I have known them since before Radley came along. And now we are at their wedding with 3 kids. And before we know it - they will probably have kids of their own. I feel like Ryan and I are kids ourselves and yet we have these young adults that look to us for direction and example and I just pray that we are doing it right. 

We love you, KK and Mr. Ryan! Thank you for letting us celebrate your big day. Know that we will continue to celebrate and pray for you each and every big {and small} moment along the way. 

And know that to one little boy - you are the moon and stars.