Taco Soup–Crockpot Style

Today I am linking up at Kelly’s Korner for Crockpotalooza, so if your just stopping by, welcome!

I love using my crockpot in the fall and winter. There is nothing better than coming home to a wonderfully smelling house and dinner made! I have a few crockpot recipes that I like, but this is my all time favorite. I’ve shared it a couple of times already, but it is so good I thought I would share it again.

Ingredients:

1 onion, chopped, 1 can chili beans (15oz), 1 can black beans (15oz), 1 can whole kernel corn (15oz), 1 can tomato sauce (8oz), 1 bottle of beer, 2 cans of Rotel (if you want it spicy you could do 1 hot and 1 regular), 1 package Taco Seasoning, and 2-3 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts

Directions:

Place everything except the chicken in the crock pot and mix together. Add the chicken breasts (make sure they are covered by the other ingredient) and set the cooker to low. Cook for about 5 hours. Remove chicken and chop/shred and then put it back in the crock pot and continue to cook for about 2 hours.

*the first time I made this I wasn’t home to take the chicken out so I just let it cook for 6-7 hours. I chopped the chicken just before serving. While it tasted fine, the leftovers were much better because the chopped chicken had been able to soak in the soup.*

This tastes great served with tortillas or tortilla chips, and topped with sour cream and cheese.

Oh and just for the record, we are on day 70+ of triple digit temperatures (yesterdays high was 108!), BUT they are calling for a high of only 98 on Friday. I think I may need to break out the sweaters and make this soup. Haha!

Check here for more great crockpot recipes!

-Lauren-

Oh and our floors look amazing! I tried to take pictures last night but it was too dark. Hopefully I will get some taken today and post them tomorrow!

The Finished Dresser

Last weekend I painted my grandparent’s dresser for Aedan’s room. Then I spray painted the drawer pulls.  This weekend we were able to move it into Aedan’s room.

Before:

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And after:

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I love it! I don’t know what to do with all the drawers. At least 2 of the big drawers are totally empty.

When we moved the old dresser out, we also moved out his rocking chair. Now Aedan has so much more room to play. I spend the afternoon organizing his toys and decided he has way to many setting them up on his toy shelf.

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The bins hold stuffed toys, wooden blocks, foam blocks and then random toys. We used to have a lot of toys in a basket in the living room, but now that he has more room to play, I wanted to move most of them to his bedroom.

Oh and speaking of blocks, Aedan totally into building with them. For a long time he was into knocking them down because I taught him how to do that when he was about 6 months old he is a boy. But now he really likes to build and I love to watch him.

Really I love to watch him play with any toys. I work really hard writing and planning programs designed to teach my clients how to play appropriately with toys, so to see Aedan just do it is pretty fun.

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Our new floors get installed tomorrow! I am so excited!! I also found the perfect rug for our living room so I’ll post some before and after pictures soon!

-Lauren-

Dresser Drawer Pulls: Update

I decided to take my mom’s advice and try my hand at spray painting the original drawer pulls for 3 reasons.

1. I already had them so the project only set me back a can of spray paint.

2. The drawer pulls came with the dresser so they obviously fit unlike all the new ones at Home Depot.

3. And of course, because everyone knows that moms are always right. ;-)

So Aedan and I dropped by Home Depot again this morning. He didn’t wear his my sunglasses this time because it was actually raining! It rained for about 4 minutes and I actually had to think twice about how to turn on my windshield wipers.

Back in Home Depot, I picked up this little can of spray paint. I have to say, I am not usually big on the whole spray painting idea. It has been awhile since I have used it and when I did it was a MESS. All over my hands and I could never get an even coat. BUT I have heard great things about this stuff so I went for it.

Oh my goodness, this stuff is amazing! It took me all of 3 minutes to get the first coat on and my hands were totally clean. The paint went on even and looks great even after just one coat. I’m super excited!

 

 

Before:

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Progress (I need to add at least one more coat before they are actually finished):

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I think we are going to move the dresser into Aedan’s room this weekend so hopefully I will have some true after pictures soon!

I have been looking for some fun wrapping paper to put in the drawers but I am coming up empty handed. Any good store/sites I should check out? I thought about using scrapbook paper, but then I would have seams where the papers would have to line up…

-Lauren-

Midweek Randomness

First, how it is only Wednesday? It should at least be Friday already.
Jon has been out of town since Monday (he got back this afternoon) and I am always more tired when he is out of town. You would think it’s because it I don’t have any extra help with Aedan, but really Aedan was great and pretty easy over the last few days. I am tried because somehow I managed to stay up until at least midnight both nights watching random shows on Hulu. I may or may not have actually watched an entire episode of The Secret Life of an American Teenager. Worst acting ever, yet I sat through the whole thing.
We are officially going to to pick up our new flooring on Friday and it will be installed on Monday! So excited. Now we just need to find a rug for the living room…where should we look?
We don’t have cable. We haven’t had cable for almost a year actually. If you know me, you should know that this is very impressive. I’ll admit it. I enjoy my TV time. Even so, I haven’t missed cable too much. We get all the local channels in HD thanks to our HD antenna and we have Netflix and Hulu Plus, so we have plenty to watch. However, I really miss TLC, HGTV and the Food Network. I may or may not be trying to convince Jon to order cable just so that I can watch this show. So far, he’s not buying.
Today marked day 70 of triple digit temperatures in Austin. And it hasn’t been 70 days of 101 highs, it has been 70 days off temperatures in the 104-107 range. And guess what…this weekend they are calling for highs of 108/109. Awesome. Oh and rain. Well, I have pretty much forgotten what that looks like.
I’m dreaming of this…

Until then, I guess I will just have to have a bowl of ice cream. :)
-Lauren-

Painted Dresser

Back in the day, you know, before Aedan came around, I actually used to blog about crafts and DIY projects. For the past 17 months, I haven’t done too many projects. Shocking, I know.

BUT, this weekend I tackled a project and I thought I would share the details.

Last year, after my grandfather passed away, my grandmother moved to an independent living community. In doing so, she needed to get rid of a few pieces of furniture. One of them was the dresser she and my grandfather bought together in the 1950s.

I have been wanting to get a new dresser for Aedan because I hate the one that came with his crib. We have been pretty happy with the crib, but the dresser is awful. The drawers fall apart all the time and it is just cheaply made.. We decided we would get him a new dresser when we move him to a big boy bed. But since my grandparent’s dresser became available I jumped at the chance to have it.

Growing up, I had my great grandparent’s bedroom furniture in my room and now Aedan gets to have his great grandparent’s furniture in his room, love it!

I decided I wanted to paint the dresser – hence the project post. Here is the dresser before.

Well, not exactly before, since I had already removed all the hardware and then remembered to take a picture, but you get the idea.

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I love that it has so many drawers! I haven’t decided how I am going to organize it, but I will do a post on that soon.

Last Friday Aedan and I made a trip to Home Depot.

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What? Doesn’t everyone wear oversized sunglasses inside Home Depot? Seriously, he wore these the entire time we were in the store. Clearly his shirt says it all. :)

I picked up some tinted primer (a must have), some black paint, foam brushes and a roller. Then we stopped to look at the hardware selection. Here is the drawer handles that came on the dresser…

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In this picture they look black, but they are not. I think maybe they used to be a gold, but they are pretty weathered now. I thought it would be easy to pick out some new ones.

I was wrong (and this is quickly becoming the longest post ever!).

Apparently now most drawer/cabinet handles are either 3 inches or 5 inches long. Guess what mine are…4.5 inches. Lame. I haven’t decided if I am going to shop around and find something that fits or if I should just spray paint the ones I have…

Anyway, back to the project. So I started by priming.

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Then I applied 3 coats of black. I totally could have gotten away with 2 coats, but I painted the second coat at night (you know, when it was only 99 degrees outside) under poor garage lighting so I missed a few spots.

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Oh and here is a painting tip that I love. When you know you are going to have to paint multiple coats and hate washing brushes, just put them in a plastic bag and stick them in the refrigerator.

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I am going to let everything dry for a full 48 hours, which is so hard for me. I haven’t decided if I want to leave it straight black or distress it and stain over it, but hopefully I will have some after pictures soon (which I will take with my nice camera and not my iphone). :)

Oh and I did sand it down before and after the priming stage to get it nice a smooth. while I am not going to paint the inside of the drawers, I am thinking of putting some fun paper in the bottom of them like this.

Have you ever painted furniture? Any tips? Any advice on where to find a large selection of drawer handles?

-Lauren-

Home Improvements and a Video

First, thank you all for your comments about Lasik. I think I have decided to go through with it…just not until next year. There are a few things we want to get done on the house and I can handle contacts for another year.

Which leads me to what we want to get done on the house…

First we are going to have laminate floor put down in our living room and hallways. It is something we have wanted to do for awhile. Our living room carpet is looking pretty pathetic thanks to Hiro and Aedan. We already picked out what we are going to put down and they came to measure this today. Maybe I will have before and after pictures next week!!

The second thing we want to add is a sprinkler system. This we will probably do in the fall because let’s face it, no matter how much we water, our grass is still going to look bad with an excessive amount of days over 100. Speaking of which, is it fall yet?!?!

So recently I made the mistake of showing Aedan videos of him on You Tube. He now thinks that anytime I am on my computer I am watching these videos. Sigh

How cute is that smile. :)

We have had a busy week around here, so I am looking forward to a relaxing weekend!

-Lauren-

Lasik…to Do or Not to Do

I’ve been thinking about getting Lasik done. It is something I have been thinking about for a long time, but lately I have been seriously considering it.

Seriously enough to get more information from my doctor, who has been telling for the past 4 years (since I started seeing him) that I would be a good candidate. My prescription hasn’t changed since I got contacts my junior year in high school.

My doctor set me up to get a formal screening for the surgery. The screening went well and it looks like they think I am a good candidate too.

After the tests, the doctor walked me through the Lasik procedure. Actually what they want to do is called iLasik.. Since when does everything get an “I” in front of it. I made me smile since he was showing me all of this on an iPad.

Anyway, he explained the whole procedure. Like every.single.detail.

I should probably tell you that when I first got contacts, my doctor made me stay at the office until I could put in and take out each contact. I was there for what seemed like forever. It took me so long to get used to the fact that I was basically trying to poke myself in the eye.

Since then I have gotten 100% better about the contact thing, but hearing all about this procedure was a little uncomfortable.

So here I am, doctor says it’s a go, Jon says I can go ahead with it and I know it will be awesome to not have to deal with glasses or contacts. BUT I’m not sure I can handle the 7-8 minute procedure. Well, that and I have to wear my glasses for 2-3 weeks straight, yuck!

Anyone had Lasik done or know someone who has? What was your/their experience??

-Lauren-

Let’s Make This Happen!

About a month ago I read about this family and it broke my heart. I can not imagine having to go through something like this. I don’t think anyone can.

Today I saw this and I thought it was such a neat story. Check it out and take a few minutes and a stamp to help out. Oh and don’t forget to pass the message on!

-Lauren-

Staycation Almost Over

I was right, our week off has flown by! How can it already be Friday?!?!

I thought I would do a little recap of our week…

On Monday we headed down to Gruene to spend a couple of days with Jon’s parents. They rented a cute little condo for the entire week and it’s only about an hour drive from us, which is perfect.

We had a lot of fun, even though it was so so hot!

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Oh and check out someone’s new hair cut! Jon and I decided to buzz it and we did not mean to do it that short! We used Jon’s beard trimmer and apparently a 4 on that is different from a 4 on hair clippers. Oh well, lesson learned, it already looks longer than it does in these pictures.

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Oh and I don’t think I ever mentioned that I got a hair cut too. I chopped of 6 inches! It doesn’t look the greatest in this picture, but I LOVE it!

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Okay, back to our week…

So Monday and Tuesday we hung out in Gruene. We spent some time at the pool, did some shopping, and played at a very fun park.

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We are actually headed back down there for the day tomorrow.

On Wednesday my sister drove in and my parents and grandmother came over for dinner. It was fun to see everyone! My sister stayed with us until today and even babysat Aedan last night so Jon and I could have a date night. So fun!

Aedan has had a blast having an extra playmates everyday, he may go through withdrawals next week when it is just he and I during the day!

Looks like its going to be a quiet night at home for us since we are going to have busy days on Saturday and Sunday. Then it’s back to work on Monday, sigh.

-Lauren-

Cars Overboard

Aedan likes to play with his cars. He drives them on the floor all over the living room or his bedroom. But lately, this is he favorite thing to do with them…

He puts one up on the entertainment center…

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Pushes it…

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If it doesn’t go far enough, he pushes it again…

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Then he tries to reach them after they have fallen off…

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Hmm, that didn’t work. Maybe moving the speaker will work…

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Nope. Didn’t work either. Time to sit down and look sad so mommy will rescue the cars so I can play do it all over again.

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Silly boy.

-Lauren-