Dinner Tonight


We have a new favorite dish in our house.  It’s comfort food-esque, but made without cream soups; so it is healthier.  I came upon it one night by combining 3 different recipes I’d seen when I found myself with a variety of different leftovers in my fridge.  It’s pretty labor intensive, so I try to do it on a Saturday or on Taylor’s day off when I can spend a bit more time in the kitchen and do bits and pieces of it throughout the day.  Plus it makes an excellent leftover Sunday lunch!  So, instead of showing you the three different recipes I’m gonna write a “new” recipe to show my way.  :)  Enjoy!

Cheesy Chicken, Bacon, Rice Casserole


2-3 chicken breasts

1 package of bacon (we are loving the Hormel No Additives Bacon right now!)

4 cups cheddar cheese

4 cups cooked rice (2 cups uncooked) – I use long grain brown rice

chicken broth

2 cups milk

2 Tbs butter

2 Tbs flour

onion powder



Your choice veggies (my favorite in this dish are zucchini and carrots)


1. Cook chicken in your favorite method.  I like to use a crock pot since it’s easy and makes the chicken juicy and flavorful.  I do put a little seasoning on the chicken while it cooks.  When it is finished, cut into bite size pieces.

2. Cook bacon until crispy.  After cooled, crumbled.

3. Cook 2 cups of uncooked rice in 2 cups water + 3 cups chicken broth that has been brought to a boil.  (Amount on liquid based on using 2 cups of uncooked brown rice) Yields 4 cups cooked rice.

4. Cook your veggies per your preference.  I love to slice mine, sprinkle them with a little olive oil or melted butter, plus salt and pepper and roast them at 425 for about 10 minutes or so.  You could also sautee them on the stove and use a little onion and garlic for flavor.

5. In a large mixing bowl, place the cut-up chicken, crumbled bacon, and cooked veggies.  Set aside for later.

6. In a sauce pan, melt 2 Tbs. butter.  Add 3 Tbs. flour to melted butter to create a roux.  After that cooks for a min or two, add the 2 cups of milk.  Stir constantly.  Add onion powder, salt, and pepper to taste.  When the white sauce has thickened, turn off the heat and add 2 cups of the cheddar cheese.  Stir until it melts.

7. Add cooked rice to the cheese sauce and stir until coated evenly.

8. Add the cheesy rice to the mixing bowl with the chicken, bacon, and veggies.  Mix all together.

9. Transfer to a 9×13 casserole dish.  Top with the last 2 cups of cheddar cheese.

10.  Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes until the edges are bubbly and it’s heated through.

11. Enjoy this yummy one dish supper!

This recipe serves at least 6.  It makes a very large amount.  :)

Girls Weekend!


I should be packing.  Really I should.  I’m leaving in 45 minutes, but I can’t help but just sit for a minute to document my excitement for the weekend ahead of me.  Me and 4 of my closest girlfriends are rendezvousing for a weekend of girly fun!  There will be lots of talking and laughing ahead of us. Possibly some tears, and most definitely some prayers.  It is going to be a wonderful weekend.

These 4 ladies are so special to me.  We all met at college and were in and out of each other’s lives throughout the college years.  Various combinations of us were roommates at one point or another.  We have been together through bad boyfriends, good boyfriends, and then the special boyfriends that became the fiances and then the husbands.  These girls were 4 of the 10 ladies that stood with me on my wedding day.  Each of us have been in some of the other weddings of the group.  Between the 5 of us, we have 11 children under the age of 7 with 1 on the way.  We have been through the ups and downs of dating, marriage, and early parenting together.  We have supported each other through fertility issues, miscarriages, births, and adoption.  We have driven distances for weddings and baby showers.  We have gone long periods of time without talking and then picked right back up where we left off.  All 5 of us haven’t been in the same place at the same time since my wedding 4 1/2 years ago.

These ladies represent true friendship to me.  I have other true friendships that have also stood the test of time and distance.  But, this weekend these 4 ladies are the ones that I get to love on and share time with.  I am so blessed to call these 4 ladies friends!!!

Ginger, Larissa, Lauren, and Tanya-I love you all so much!  I’m thankful for our getaway weekend, and cannot wait to see the Lord bless us through each other!!!!

Touched by Jesus Through His Disciples


The Bible speaks often of the power of community.  This weekend my husband and I have experienced the beauty of living in community with other believers.  

For the last two weeks we have slowly been letting the news out that we were expecting our second child.  We had not made it “Facebook official” yet, but word was getting around.  Yesterday I was attending a MOPS leadership meeting when around lunch time I had to pack up and leave because I believed I was miscarrying.  24 hours later we are certain that a miscarriage is what is happening.  Today would have marked 6 weeks pregnant.  Because we chose not to keep the pregnancy a secret, we then found ourselves in a place of now needing to tell everyone what was happening.

Many, many couples chose to keep pregnancy news a secret until further on down the road.  I understand that decision, and we may make that decision next time-I don’t know.  BUT- I have to say that we have been hugely blessed by the fact that people did know we were pregnant.  We have received numerous calls, texts, and emails offering encouragement and empathy.  We have had offers to bring food as I am resting, and Taylor is taking up the slack on everything else right now.  My amazing group of MOPS leaders that I was with yesterday stopped what they were doing yesterday afternoon after I left and prayed for me.  We have felt COVERED in prayer for the last 24 hours.  

Unfortunately, this is not our first time experiencing this.  We miscarried our first 3 years ago at just 5 weeks, so we are familiar with this experience and the grieving process.  This time has proven to be a little easier.  We are both very at peace right now.  Of course we are sad, but we are being held by the Lord and feel extra measures of his grace and peace surrounding us during this time.  So, thank you.  Thank you to all of you who have been praying for us.  You are allowing yourselves to be used by Jesus to touch our lives!  We love you dearly.  We are so grateful for the community of believers and the beauty that can exist among those that follow Christ.

2 Years Old!!!


My precious little boy is 2 years old today!!!!  Man…a lot has happened in his short little life.  What joy he brings to us!!!  Here’s a little bit about Carter at 2:

-Weight: 25 lbs, 15.5oz; 20%ile (same %ile that he was at his 18 month check up)

-Height: 35 inches; 75%ile (up from the 50%ile at his 18 month check up) – TALL and SKINNY!

-He is a BIG talker!  I long ago lost count of how many words he knows.  He is using 2 and 3 word phrases.  And he seems to learn 2 to 3 new words a day.

-Favorite Carter-isms: mah-moh (lawn mower), ooch it (reach it), wah woo (love you), pips (chips), cocket pips (chocolate chips), oh my goodness (he says this one clear as day!), bess you, Carter (which he says no matter who sneezes).

-Favorite things: choo-choo trains, tractors, lawn mowers, tools, playing golf, watching southern gospel music videos, listening to music constantly, Bible class, singing songs at church, reading books, playing outside, going to the park

-He is a really great napper and nighttime sleeper, though I’m having to shorten his nap time cause he’s laying away at night for a long time.

-He is a picky eater.  His favorite foods are grilled cheese sandwiches, cream cheese sandwiches, yogurt, graham crackers, and fruit of any kind.  He will occasionally eat meat and veggies which are offered to him daily, but he’s not really all that interested yet.

-He loves to play at the playground and at indoor playscapes, but he is still pretty cautious and timid to try new things.  He will slowly venture out to do a few things, but he spends a lot of time watching other, bigger kids play.

-He knows two memory verses: “God is love” from 1 John 4:8 which he can say entirely by himself, and “Jesus is alive” from Matthew 28:6 which he will finish if I start it for him.

-He has begun to learn his colors and how to count.  His usual first guess for a color is blue, but he is beginning to guess blue, green, and yellow correctly about maybe half the time.  His favorite way to count is 3, 6, 7, 8, 9 ,10.  :)  He has also occasionally identified circles, triangles, and squares; but this is still very rare.

-If we spell his name out loud, he will tell us that it spells “Carter.”  And he is beginning to learn that his middle name is Ashton.

-He is starting to venture into the artistic world.  He likes to paint, color, and really likes to play with play doh.  And he will name his creations for you.

-He uses please and thank you regularly and has just recently started using thank you without being asked.  We are beginning to work on yes ma’am/no sir, etc; but it will be awhile before he does it without being reminded.

-He has dropped all of his sign language now that he is speaking so well.  Occasionally when he is REALLY excited about something he will sign please at the same time that he is saying it, but it always comes with the verbal word as well.

-He knows all of his great-grandparents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and a few other extended family members and can identify them in pictures.

All in all he is a growing and changing two-year-old that is out to take the world by storm.  He is so much fun.  We are so thankful that he is in our lives!!!  Happy Birthday, my sweet little man!

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6 weeks until Terrible Twos or Terrific Twos?


As I am typing this, my 22 month old is sitting next to me at the kitchen table playing with Play-Doh.  Or at least it’s the beginnings of playing with Play-Doh.  He mostly takes the lids on and off while moving the Play-Doh from one cup to another.  But, hey, he’s working on his sorting, organizing, and fine motor skills!  It won’t be long til he’s showing off all of his sculptural Play-Doh creations.

We are 6 weeks from my little man’s 2nd birthday.  At moments I simply cannot believe it’s that time of year again.  Didn’t he just turn 1?  On second thought, wasn’t he just born yesterday?  Ready or not, though, here it comes.  Part of me has been dreading two.  The whole terrible twos thing has had me concerned–afraid that I will totally lose my precious little boy to the whims of fits and tantrums.  Then many other moms tell me that three is worse than two these days, and I start wondering how I’ll ever enjoy this time in his life.  But, this week, as I’ve played with Carter and become aware of several things that are changing in him as he gets older I decided I’m going to denounce that type of attitude in myself.  The fact of the matter is since he was about 18 months old, Carter has been asserting his independence and choosing disobedience at times; and that just continues to emerge more strongly as he gets nearer to two.  Some days are harder than others.  Some days I can’t wait until bedtime cause I’m not sure I can discipline and redirect one more time that day without pulling my hair out.  But, I refuse to let my child be defined by his moments of “terrible twos”!

I also refuse to continue passing on that negative attitude to other parents!  Taylor and I have long talked about how terrible other Christians can be about passing on negative attitudes to each other all in the name of honesty.  We used to get so tired of hearing people tell us that the joys of being newly weds would never last.  Then, we started hearing about how it’s great to be parents, BUT you’ll never sleep again or have time just the two of you.  And so on and so forth.  Is any of that true?  To a certain extent, yes; but why aren’t we encouraging each other rather than passing on feelings of doom for each new season of life?  We have made it a point to tell newlyweds about how much fun marriage is and to tell new parents that there is just nothing more amazing than holding your child for the first time.  I want this same attitude to be in our hearts and minds as we approach the “terrible twos.”

So, on that note, I want to list the wondering, amazing, special things about my son that come with being 22 months old and 6 weeks away from his 2nd birthday:

1. His language is BOOMING!  He is starting to use two and three words phrases.  He can communicate almost everything he wants or needs.  His language also gets clearer every day meaning we have to “translate” less and less.

2. He is starting to pretend.  The other day I caught him having a serious conversation with his stuffed zebra.  He also can play in his kitchen and tell me what he’s cooking and ask me to take bites.

3. He is starting to name his drawings when he colors.  Of course, it’s all still scribbles, but his imagination is working, and he KNOWS what he drew.

4. He is in the early stages of learning his colors and learning to count.

5. He can reference songs he likes by one word that sticks out to him.  We have to be on top of our game to realize exactly what song goes with which word.  :)

6. He is following directions better every day especially when it comes to helping clean up toys.

7. He loves to help mama clean.

8. He is becoming his daddy’s shadow more and more every day.  Daddy is his hero, and he wants to do everything daddy does.  And, when Daddy isn’t here, he often pretends to be doing things that Daddy does.  It’s absolutely precious!

There is so much more about him that I can’t even list here.  I find myself so proud of him as I watch him learn and grow.  Each new stage has its challenges, but the joys far outweigh the hard parts!  What a precious boy the Lord has given me!!


Easter 2013


I’m a little late on posting Easter pictures because Carter was actually sick last week.  He was feeling much better last Sunday, but I wasn’t comfortable taking him to church yet.  We were able to do our Easter egg hunt last Sunday and then dressed in our Easter outfits today!

Here’s some pictures of Carter hunting eggs and opening them:

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He really got into the Easter egg hunt thing this year.  It was a lot of fun for all of us!!

Here’s pictures from today in his precious Easter outfit:

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