{Daily Pics} 8 Year Anniversary!

Because I'm totally exhausted and it's only Tuesday, here's some photos from the weekend plus Monday that I wanted to share...

Celebrating eight years of marriage to the love of my life TODAY!!! 

Lighting our unity candle at our wedding on September 30, 2006!

Sporting support for my home team and was happy to celebrate their victory!

The husband cleaning up the leftover signs of child's play in our front yard :)

Monday morning at the park!

Watching Frozen with their daddy, such sweet moments.

Speaking of Frozen, the girls got new Frozen gear from Target yesterday after Logan spotted a girl at the park wearing a Frozen shirt. She couldn't believe it!

And Harrison was ecstatic over his Paw Patrol shirt, also from Target!

The best smelling coconut vanilla candle and fresh roses, which always make me happy!

Here's to not getting my ass kicked by four two-year-olds this week!
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{Tyke Bites} Easy Prep Meals & a Chicken Crockpot Dinner

Food, food, food! I bring you another Tyke Bites post, featuring what a typical day of meals looks like in Quadville...

Breakfast was a super easy mix up of freshly pureed strawberries with vanilla full-fat Greek yogurt, topped with a dark chocolate Cheerio variety. A fan favorite among the crew!

Lunch was another easy make, consisting of ritz crackers and peanut butter, blueberry yogurt-covered pretzels, cheese and raspberries. The kids just don't seem to like sandwiches that much right now—with the exception of grilled cheese—so my go-to PB and honey sandwiches just aren't getting eaten. But crackers are always a win and PB has plenty of protein so figured it was a decent trade-off.

I can thank Pinterest for this dinner inspiration, a simple crockpot chicken recipe with potatoes, onions and carrots. For the quads, I added cheese, raspberries and clementines. And how cute are those plates!? Snagged them for a buck each at Target. The kids call them "new plates" every time I serve food on them. It's adorable.

Thanks for reading!
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{Littles Learning} Red Week

Earlier this summer, I vowed to begin adding more structure into each week with the quad squad. They are growing and picking up so much so fast these days that I really want to take advantage of their curious, inquiring, impressionable minds and pack them with as much learning as I can. I'm no teacher but I was homeschooled until I was 15 years old then attended a junior college and earned my associates degree when I was 18. Two years later, I graduated from Texas State University with a journalism degree. Considering I pretty much have an instant classroom and value education, I'm determined to do my best with the kiddos until they head off to kindergarten. (We won't be doing preschool since it's a hefty investment times four, though we're contemplating a day or two of mother's day out per week starting in the spring.)

Anywho, I've shared a few book-and-craft related projects under my new Littles Learning category and now I'm sharing the color series we did, in which we worked through each hue of the rainbow, spending one week on each color. 

Here's what we did for Red Week! And keep in mind these activities all took place on various days during the week...

*We started off with a simple activity using threaded beads and red pipe cleaners.

*I had everyone tear up red construction paper, which they loved demolishing.

*Then we added the torn paper to boxes filled with red tissue paper, filler paper and random red objects I gathered from their toy bins.

*We also did painting with various colors using Melissa & Doug paint brushes and cut up sponges (art smocks are from Ikea). We discussed all the different colors and practiced identifying red many times.

*The red piper cleaners made a second appearance inside empty Voss water bottles, and the kids were able to practice twisting off the lids and emptying and reinserting the pipe cleaners into the bottles. Sounds simple enough but kept them occupied on and off that afternoon!

*Lastly, we did a red discovery bin for the whole group with random red-hued items from their play room as well as a few red-covered books. 

*We also read several books on colors and general and practiced identifying all the colors throughout, and took a bath with red bath coloring one evening and only red bath toys (the foam letters and shapes are great for that). 

Stay tuned for more Color Series posts!
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{My Recipes} Crock Pot French Onion Chicken

Normally, I'm not a huge fan of crock pot cooking but I've certainly pulled out my slow cooker plenty of times since having the quads. In fact, I've started to appreciate it even more as I've gleaned various tasty recipes over the past couple years and have honed, well, my slow cooking skills. (Typically I'm cooking a 30-minute-type meal from scratch, but nothing beats the smell of delicious food cooking all day and having it ready to go with little prep work!)

I decided I wanted to try my hand at some simple French Onion Chicken and came up with this easy recipe that turned out delicious and also got approval—and a requested redo!—by the husband. Success.

2 large or 3 small boneless chicken breasts
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
1 packet Onion soup mix
1 tsp each: pepper, garlic powder, seasoning salt
2 cups baby carrots
1.5 cups chicken stock
Combine all ingredients in crock pot and cook on low for 4-5 hours, until chicken is cooked through and shreds easily with a fork. 

I topped our chicken with French Fried onions and only wish I'd had some gruyere cheese to add! We had brown rice, green beans and steamed carrots to round off a very filling meal. 

What's your favorite crock pot concoction?

Happy eating :)post signature


{Weekend Recap} Family Time & Milestones

After dealing with a long spat of Terrible Two-ness from our Quad Squad, things seem to have settled down a little bit. For now at least. But because now that I've openly said that, things are likely to get crazy again! Hopefully not until I've finished this post. ;)

Our weekend started off with a wonderful occasion - date night! We hadn't gone out together, not even for a meal, in over two months. It was mostly because of my double knee surgery, but now that I'm doing so much better, it was time. Our nanny came over during the quad's dinner, we bid our farewells and took off care free! If you know us at all, you'll know we headed straight to Texas Roadhouse for dinner then hit up the movies for the latest Liam Neeson flick, A Walk Among the Tombstones. We even snuck wine into the theater (shhhh!) and enjoyed every second of our night out! Can't believe our eight year wedding anniversary is next week!

Saturday morning started off with donuts in the front yard since it was in the high 70s still. The weather has mellowed a tiny bit in Dallas and high temps are topping out in the low 90s, versus triple digit heat. We try to capitalize on the friendlier weather in the mornings and evenings as much as possible.

While my parents are out of town, we're cat-sitting Maggi and the kids love feeding her treats and taking turns holding her!

Trystan decided to help me with a little laundry and got herself into one of daddy's white shirts. She wore it for about 30 minutes! As you can see in the pic, I needed all the help I could get sorting clothes since laundry has, ummm, piled up. And those orange tubs are my fall decor I just finished putting out and hope to share on the blog soon!

Later on Saturday morning the husband took both our dogs to the vet, so I kept the girls entertained with Melissa & Doug sticker books....

....and Harrison helped himself to the kid-friendly shelf of reading material on the other side of the living room. He even "read" the words on the pages and sort of made up his own stories and I loved sitting on the couch listening to him. :)

Sunday morning I actually got out of bed right when my alarm went off and we all were ready for church on time with a few extra minutes for pictures! The kids were very excited to go somewhere and are starting to recall what church is every week, as this is only their fourth time to attend. And Harrison absolutely made my day and melted my heart when I was buckling him into his car seat as we were preparing to leave and told him he was so handsome. Without skipping a beat, he replied, "And you're pretty, mommy!" SWEET PURE LOVE! That boy just has something special over me and always will.

Getting to church several times now has made both my husband and I so proud. Just months ago, finding the time to check out local churches, much less ready all four kids, load them, escort them in and introduce them to a strange new environment while simultaneously nearly doubling the children's class in one go, seemed very daunting. God blessed us with a wonderful Methodist church only five minutes from our home and we've been so pleased with every one we've met there as well as all the programs and children's workers. We met in person with the pastor and several key staff members and met each of the children's caretakers before bringing the kids along with us. We stayed with them the entire first Sunday we attended as a family, then stayed only half the time then only 10-15 minutes this morning after arriving at children's church with the crew before we snuck out to go into the service. They've done impressively well, with only one major meltdown by Kailey, and today the nursery workers said they discovered the trick to distracting the kids when we left the room—goldfish! Needless to say, finding a wonderful church home and getting back into church has been a big milestone for us!

As soon as we got home, I started in on lunch. I've always loved a big, hearty lunch after church, ever since I was little. My favorite thing is to go out to eat after church then lounge around all afternoon. But with four toddlers, sometimes it's just as well to eat at home then put them straight down for naps so that "lounging" can happen for a second! So I made steaks with lots of sea salt in butter in the cast iron skillet on the stove top, steamed broccoli with garlic and baked some potato wedges. Delish!

Everyone went into a little food coma and the kids went down for naps without much protest. I've caught up on some magazine reading, Pinterest-ing and completed our meal plan for the week. Over the weekend, we made a trip to Home Depot—all six of us!—for sand to put in the kid's sandbox they received for their birthday from my parents. Since we are entering fall and won't be using our baby pools for swimming now, it was the perfect time to pull the sandbox out of the garage and set it up. I have had a bag of sand toys sitting in waiting for the longest time (all found at the Dollar Store and Target on deep discounts) and dumped them into the sandbox this afternoon. Excited to let the kids out there to discover a new activity tomorrow since it'll be bath day and I figure that coincides perfectly for their first-ever sandbox introduction. :)

For now, it's time to escape to the grocery store while the husband takes over "kid duty" as the crew begins waking up from their naps. I might even squeeze in a pedicure while I'm freeeeeeeeee...
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{Five Things}

1. OGX Quenched Sea Mineral Moisture Shampoo & Conditioner - I'm easily sold on anything with an ocean-inspired scent and I already loved the OGX brand (formerly Organix), so when I spotted their new line of shampoos and conditioners that came out earlier this year, I stocked up. I love the sea mineral shampoo and conditioner for the moisturizing effect it has on my hair and it smells good between washes, which is usually a 2-3 day span for me. 

2. Rimmel 60 Second Nail in I Lilac You - Normally there isn't time or necessity for me to have my nails painted. But I've been a longtime user of Rimmel's 60 Second polish so I grabbed a fresh shade of lilac and put some on and it took about five minutes to apply and dry and lasted about four days. Not bad! Plus I got several compliments on the hue.

3. Burt's Bees Facial Cleansing Towelettes in Grapefruit - These are great for a quick freshen up in the middle of the day or after a workout, or for a quick face clean at night if I haven't worn any makeup that day (which, let's be honest, is way too frequent). Love the smell, the soft after-effect and the time-saver!

4. Trader Joe's Organic Virgin Coconut Oil - I've talked about my love of Coconut Oil before—I use it for face lotion, undereye cream, burn, scrapes and insect bite relief and more. And now I've begun using it for deodorant! A friend of mine told me she'd started using it for that purpose so I gave it a whirl. A pea-sized amount applied to the underarm in the morning and I smell fresh all day long!

5. TRESemm√© Treatment Split Remedy Conditioning Spray - Because I have naturally curly hair, it sometimes takes awhile to get all the kinks brushed out after I shower. So I pretty much always have a conditioning or detangler spray on hand. The one I'd been using for years is no longer available (hate when that happens), so I recently picked this up at Target. I've always liked the TRESemme brand and this was no exception. It's lightweight and non-greasy and gives my hair the extra nourishment and detangling it needs. Plus it's budget-friendly!
Thanks for reading along this edition of Five Things!
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{Weekend Recap} Labors of Love, Hunting & More

I've posted a few times (like here and here) about how things have been, um, very challenging right now with the quad squad. I really did think that the "terrible twos" were a myth or just a label for ornery kids that were a pain in the ass. Then my four toddlers turned into ornery kids that are a pain in my ass and I realized the "terrible twos" was a real thing. And I got really sad and extra tired for awhile. But then with the constant encouragement and friendly reminders from fellow quad moms who have older kids, from my own mom and mother-in-law and encouragement both to and from the husband, I'm reminded that this is a stage just like any other and it will not last forever! I still smile and laugh several times a day, so that's gotta count for something, right!?

Our weekend was a fairly good one, despite my ongoing recovery from getting both my knees scoped two weeks ago and having a torn meniscus repaired in both as well. (I'm still of the mindset that getting both knees done at once is easier than one at a time and drawing the whole process out. Though being hobbled and laid up with two bum knees is frustrating, to say the least.) Each knee has three small incisions where the scopes went in, so the stitches are minimal and I'm hoping the scars are, too. I've been keeping Vitamin E oil and coconut oil on them to reduce redness and help with healing.

The husband and I decided the kids needed to get out of the house Saturday so we loaded them up in the 'burb and headed to his parent's house for an afternoon outing. The kids enjoyed it very much and Grandmommy made them snow cones to enjoy in the yard, while they ran around and played and got rosy red cheeks. Then we cooled off inside, ate tons of pizza for dinner, took baths in the tub and headed home for a late bedtime. Everyone passed out promptly, which makes for a happy (though worn out) momma and daddy!

I wasn't feeling very well Sunday morning and my knees were hurting pretty good, so we moseyed around the house and spent time with the kids then fed them lunch and put them down for rock solid naps. Loving the quiet house, we both hit the couch and made it through two episodes of the first season of House of Cards. I'm not usually one for political-based shows, but this one has us both intrigued! Afterward, I ran to Carter's and took advantage of their Labor Day sale, 25% off clearance prices and 50% off the entire store plus a coupon for 25% off my total purchase (nearly everything I got is pictured below, except the four pairs of sunglasses!). Harrison is mostly set right now so all he got was a cool camo dinosaur t-shirt, while the girls needed some pants, tops and PJs. I seriously LOVE shopping Carter's! So glad their clothes go up to 7T, so hopefully I can shop there for many more years. ;)

Late in the afternoon, we reunited with the husband's family again on Sunday, this time at our house and accompanied by his two brothers (one older, one younger) as well. The kids loved more outdoor play time in the front yard and got a kick out of watching Daddy show them how to hula hoop! Grandmommy brought BBQ for dinner and babies and adults all wolfed down food and adults got some wine. ;) Then the guys prepped to go dove hunting all day Labor Day together—it's an annual event and the husband takes our white lab, Shiner, who's a trained hunting dog and acts like a puppy in the fields, he's so excited!

While the husband was away hunting, my mother-in-law came over to help me out with the kiddos. They were feisty, to say the least. Holy lesson-in-patience. Nearly pulled out all my hair. I think my mother-in-law and I have both recovered a little bit—she went home and rested and my mom came over yesterday to help provide much-needed relief!—so we're at it again today. And now I'm off to the doctor for the first appointment since surgery and am hoping for a good report.

Happy Hump Day!
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