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Bienvenido

IMG_8548Howdy and welcome to my very first blog post. If you are reading this, then you probably know a little bit about me already…if you just randomly stumbled across this, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Emily and I am rapidly approaching the big 3-0. I am happily married to my college sweetheart and we have the most gorgeous baby girl who just turned 1! I taught science in my hometown in East Texas for three years and loved every second of it, however, my husband was offered a position on an amazingly gorgeous ranch in West Texas, so we recently relocated to Marfa, Texas…hence the blog name “A Thousand Miles From Nowhere”, where I am absolutely slaying my new role as a ranch wife/stay at home momma….I use the term “slaying” quite loosely. My husband is actually from Alpine which is only about 40 miles away, so it’s a homecoming of sorts for him.

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Besides mommin’ and wife-in’, I thoroughly enjoy cookin’….there’s something peaceful and therapeutic about being in the kitchen and creating a meal from scratch (or box, or can, or whatever kind of “chef” you are), and serving it to people you care about. I cook from the heart and that is how I show my love for people. So if I’ve ever cooked you a meal, just know that I love ya! I will be sharing some recipes with y’all in the weeks to come, especially with all these fun holidays coming up!

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I actually just finished up a 6 day stint cooking for a “ranch crew”.  I have been cooking things like lasagna, spaghetti, bacon blue cheese burgers, spicy tacos, milk chocolate brownies, peanut butter cookies, and enough sweet tea to quench the thirst of a small army hiking across the Sahara (or the Ryan Flat…same thing). Little did I know that on the fifth day I would be earning my ranch wife sash! Here’s a little excerpt from my Facebook page after “the incident” involving a big sack of, well…nuts:

“The guys walk in for lunch and my hubby has a droopy ice bag that appears to be dripping. He walks into the kitchen where I have been slaving away over the stove all morning, and says, “Honey, I’ve got a surprise for you” as he hands me the bag. I open it and try to hide the horror on my face from the rest of the guys (because I’ve been trying to appear like I can cook ANYTHING with ease all week AND appear semi presentable with hair and makeup done and a dressed toddler by noon) as I take a peek in the bag and discover that he just handed me a VERY fresh sack of bull testicles. By the time I realize what I’m holding, and try to wipe the astonished look off of my face I look up to find that my husband had been talking to me while I was frozen in shock and I just caught the tail end of him saying “and don’t worry honey, today was a short day, there will be PLENTY more tomorrow!”

Official ranch wife status, y’all.

Does Pioneer Woman have a recipe for calf fries? (editors note:as it turns out, no, she does not…but my punchy ranch wife friends on Facebook helped me out and gave me some killer recipes)”

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So basically, my blog will be about the many hats that I wear… momma, wife, cook, maid, cowgirl, rattlesnake slayer (jk that’s my hubs), gate opener, dog petter, and the list goes on and on.

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Thanks for stopping by!

 

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Why I Quit my Job (…and Now Teach in my Pjs)

When I was a kid, my mom was a “stay at home mom” of 3. My dad was a cutting horse trainer at a top notch facility, which in turn allowed my mom to stay at the casa and care for us day in and day out, take us to playdates, make our favorite meals, and shower us with love day after day. My brother and sister started school not long after I was born (I’m quite a bit younger than those geezers), and I got to stay  home with my momma for 5 years all by myself! It was heaven. I miss the days of eating oatmeal and watching Gilligan’s Island snuggled up with my main squeeze.

I eventually started school, made good grades, and made it to graduation day (a lot happened in that timeline…but nothing really worth mentioning). I had NO CLUE what to do with my life. My only talent thus far had been horseback, but I didn’t see that as being a career option. College was never really on the forefront of my plans, but my mom and a client of my dads pushed me into attending a junior college close to home to see if anything struck a cord with me for my future. I took a handful of education courses after my basics, and as soon as I got to do observation hours in an actual classroom, I was hooked. I finished my coursework, did my student teaching and was certified for EC-6th grade, all subjects. I was NOT planning on starting a new job in August, I was engaged to my college sweetheart and was drowning in wedding plans for our December wedding. I wanted to sub a little bit and get my feet wet before jumping in and having a classroom of my own. My mom (always my cheerleader) had other plans…she was telling all of her friends that I needed a job, STAT. Word got around to a friend of ours who was a teacher and she relayed the message to her boss. I got a call around 10 pm sometime in late July from the principal of my hometown junior high saying that they were in a little bit of a pickle, and that I had been highly recommended from one of her staff members, to come in for an interview the next day. I was a nervous wreck. I wasn’t even qualified for the job that I was interviewing for…well I was semi qualified. It was for 6th and 8th grade science, I just had to get my 8th certification (which I did…don’t panic if you are a momma of one of my school kiddos…I was totally certified!!!). I went in, had a 5 minute interview, and was hired. I had no idea what I had gotten myself into. I didn’t even know that 8th grade science was a testing grade/subject at that time, meaning that the STAAR test would consume my being for the next 3 years, I even had nightmares that I would relay to my team teacher…who also had nightmares of “The Beast” as I affectionately named the dreaded test. I’m getting off topic. My bad. So, what I’m getting at is that I started teaching the August after graduation. I was in foreign territory. I had always wanted to teach younger kids (I did my student teaching in 3rd grade with sweet…well all but one…mostly sweet kiddos), and I had somehow managed to be surrounded by about 100 hormonal teenagers on a daily basis who couldn’t care less what I was trying to teach them about Newtons Laws. I did this for 3 years.

I’m (mostly) just joking about all the negativity with teaching. I loved every one of my students, and tended to bond with the ones with the rough backgrounds. There was one kid that was in alternative school when the year started, and I heard SO many rumors about him. One was that he had tried to kill another kid with a knife at a basketball game(I overheard this from a group of kids…it was entirely false), I even had some other teachers warn me about him and his attitude. On the day we came back from Christmas break, he showed up on my 5th period roster, and I was terrified. If you’ve ever seen the SpongeBob episode of his cousin getting out of prison and wanting to meet him at his grandmas, and Spongebob keeps having flashbacks of his cousin beating him up as a kid…that was me. I was so scared! He walked in and I got the class going and then had the rest of the class work independently. He was obviously lost because he missed the whole fist semester with me. I went and sat with him and one on one got him caught up and explained what we were doing and got his journal set up with him. I did this for a few days to make sure he was up to speed on my policies and procedures, as well as where the class was at unit wise. He had issues with other teachers all year, but never with me. I even requested to have him in my testing group because he would sleep during the STAAR practice tests in other teachers rooms, but he didn’t in mine. I heard that he dropped out of school a couple of years later, and I’m heartbroken about that. I’m off topic again. What I’m getting at is that I loved my three years of teaching public school. My student and coworkers will always hold a special place in my heart.

When I got pregnant, my students were SO excited!!! I had gifts show up almost daily for my baby. We had bets on if it would be a boy or a girl, and I even had a couple of students cry with joy the day that I revealed the gender of our sweet baby girl. Kids would tell me stories about their little brothers and sisters. It was magical! Then the school year ended, another one began, and I taught for 4 weeks then Baby B was born! My maternity leave was amazing, except for the no pay for like 5 months (even though I was only off for 3). I extended my leave through Christmas because I could NOT leave my baby. Starting back to school after a long maternity leave filled with baby snuggles and cooing, was pure torture. I was a different person. Before baby, I had no reason to rush home…I could stay for after school tutorials, UIL events, and to set up labs because I didn’t need to rush to daycare to scoop my little love bug up. I found myself falling deeper and deeper into depression from being away from her day after day. I left for work usually before she was up (my husband took her to daycare), and by the time I got home from work and made dinner we barely had anytime to play before it was her bedtime (and mine…I was so exhausted). I was working horse shows on the weekend to make extra money for daycare and diapers so most of my weekends were consumed with work as well. It was miserable. The thought of quitting my job crossed my mind every single day. I remember one day telling my mom that I wanted to be a stay at home mom, and she laughed at me and said that didn’t really exist anymore, that she just got lucky when we were kids. Quitting my job was out of the question because we just couldn’t make it on one salary with rent, utilities, daycare (which was astronomical), phone bill, cable bill, grocery bill, gas, truck payments, horse feed, credit card bills, etc. So when my husband was offered a ranch job over the summer that would cut down on our bills in a major way and after putting pen to paper and seeing that we could maybe (just maybe) live off of his income alone (even though we would have to move 9 hours away from my hometown to the middle of nowhere), I strongly urged him to take it….and when I say urge…I really mean that I was a basket case and totally begged him and essentially made him take it. I wanted…no, I NEEDED to be with my daughter everyday. So we did it. I called my principal and broke my contract (it was still summer, but the start of school was rapidly approaching), we packed up and moved with 3 horses, 3 dogs, and an 11 month old, 500 miles across the great state of Texas.

We love it out here. We are surrounded by mountains and work for the nicest couple who have kids about our daughters age so it’s pretty perfect. After about 3 months of living here and being home with my baby girl, I looked over our finances again and we were actually making it work! Like down to the penny! The problem with that was that we weren’t saving any money, and I was only paying the minimum on my credit card bills each  month.

I decided that I could contribute to our finances and do some type of work from home. After all, I have a college degree, and am a decent human being…surely someone will want to hire me to do something. I started doing some research on ways to make money from home…there are a lot of options out there….most of them are scams, or make you sell something for a company, or you are taking surveys for like 50 cents (which I did, and it was terrible and I got so many spam emails from the surveys). I even looked into being a virtual assistant…no thanks. About a month later a suggested post popped up on my Facebook newsfeed for a company called VIPKID that hires Americans to teach English to Chinese children from home…and I clicked on it. It sounded too good to be true, so I exited out forgot about it and continued my mindless facebook scrolling. The next day it was there again, and the next, and the next. So I ended up clicking on it again, read through the comments, and started researching this company to see what it was all about. One of the first things I came across was that it was listed as #5 on the Forbes top remote jobs list. That seemed intriguing, so I kept digging. I waded through hundreds (maybe thousands) of YouTube videos of past and present teachers giving reasons why they love the company, and even came across one saying that she no longer worked for VIPKID but that she still loved the company. I read reviews from the Chinese parents saying how much they loved the program and how much fun their kids had participating. I liked what I read, so I started researching pay scale…and I liked that too. Then I noticed what the hours were…and that put a screeching halt on all the things I liked about this company. The hours were nuts! I don’t know why my brain didn’t put that together sooner, I mean obviously you are teaching kids on the other side of the world…so SOMEONE is going to be up at weird hours, and it’s not going to be the kids. So I did more YouTube soul searching and watched some videos from moms who said that they work from 3-7 AM, then spend the whole day with their kiddos, and if they want to the open up a few evening time slots too. This confused me, at the time I didn’t know that these teachers were making their own schedule and could open up time slots whenever they wanted to teach, it wasn’t mandatory to teach those crazy hours.

So, I ended up applying, and I got a response back about an hour later saying that I was exactly what they were looking for. I then did a recorded interview where I told them a little about myself, and then introduced the letter M. It was 5 minutes total. I had no clue what I was doing, and I wasn’t even sure I wanted to pursue this avenue. About 24 hours later I got a response saying that I passed the interview process, and I was being invited to do a mock lesson. I didn’t know what that was, so I became a YouTube fanatic again. A mock is where you teach a lesson to an adult VIPKID teacher pretending to be a kid. VIPKID provided me with the information and the slides that I would teach, they even  listed what I should say and teach at the bottom of the slides. Little did I know that this is EXACTLY what teaching for this company is really like. There’s NO lesson plans and NO grading homework! You just teach what’s on the slide to ONE cute little Chinese kiddo at a time rather than a classroom full of kids! After completing Mock 1, I did a Mock 2 and passed that as well, uploaded the paperwork that is required, and I was officially a VIPKID teacher! The whole process took me about 2 weeks (it was Christmas time and I had to schedule the mocks to fit in with all my family who came to visit, and our traveling for the holidays). So that’s where I am now. I am teaching again…in my pjs most days, early in the morning, making $20 an hour, and playing with my kiddo all day every day, and spending time with my husband in the evenings. VIPKID is not for everyone, but it is perfect for me.

If you would like more information please feel free to contact me. My email is McChilly0510@aol.com or you can comment below. If you do not already have a referral please consider using me as one. I will help guide you through the hiring process. I just did it so it’s fresh on my mind!

Follow this link:

https://t.vipkid.com.cn/activity/popup?refereeId=10255722&refersourceid=a01

Or enter this code if you decide to apply: 063TD6

Lazy Philly Rolls

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I didn’t intend on doing a whole blog post for these, but they turned out delicious and I had some requests for the recipe…so here we are! This is my first ever ORIGINAL recipe on my blog. All my other posts thus far have been either my moms, grandmas, or great, great grandmas. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family did.

Ingredients:

-Package of roast beef lunchmeat (this is the lazy part)

-1 block cream cheese

-1/2 cup mozerella cheese

-1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

-1/2 stick of butter

-1 onion

-1 red bell pepper

-1 green bell pepper

-1 jalapeño

-1 package egg roll wrappers

-1 egg

-splash of water

-Oil for frying

Directions:

-In saucepan add butter and allow to melt.

-Chop onions, bell peppers, and jalapeños and add to saucepan.

-Add all cheeses.

-Chop up roast beef and add to saucepan.

-Let all of this cook until cheese is melted stirring every 2 or 3 minutes so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

-Line a baking dish with foil, pour the contents from the saucepan into baking dish and smooth it out until it is nice and flat. Stick the baking dish in the freezer for 2-4 hours (the longer the better.)

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-Remove from freezer and flip the foil over on a cutting board. Cut the mixture in half length wise, then in 1 inch slivers sideways (see picture for clarity).

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-Whisk one egg in a small bowl and add a splash of water. This is to seal the egg rolls. I used a small brush, but the tip of your finger will work just as well.

Now you are ready for the fun part!

-Place the mixture towards the bottom of your eggroll wrapper.

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-Fold the bottom up over the mixture.

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-Fold one side in.

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-Fold the opposite side in.

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-Roll upward leaving one inch unrolled.

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-Apply the egg mixture to the end and finish rolling the egg roll up tightly. Repeat until all of your mixture and egg roll wrappers are gone.

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-I use a small fry daddy, but you can also use any kind of skillet. If you are using a fry daddy, add oil until it reaches the max fill line. If you use a skillet pour until oil is about 1/2 inch deep, you will have to turn egg rolls half way through cooking to cook both sides evenly. Allow oil to get hot (you can test by adding a drop of water…if it sizzles it’s probably ready).

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-In batches (I did 3 per batch) add the egg rolls and allow them to fry for 3-5 minutes, or until golden brown. Repeat until all egg rolls are cooked.

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-Enjoy with family and friends…or eat them all yourself!

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P.S. They are even better the next day!

Let me know your feedback when you try this recipe! I’d love to hear how it went for you and if your family enjoyed them! Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

Mollie’s Mac

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Let me start by saying that cheese is my FAVORITE food. Any kind. If I were stranded on a deserted island and could only have one thing, it would be…well, it would be water, but cheese would be a close second. When I was a kid, my mom and I used to play this game where we would say “do you love me more than……” She would usually fill in the blank with things like Bouncy (my horse), Rebel (my dog), Hanson (the loves of my life), etc. and the answer was always “yes, of course”, because I love my mom a lot! But she would always end with “do you love me more than macaroni and cheese” and every single time I would hesitate a little before saying “yes” then changing the game with a scowl.

I consider any dish without cheese a total failure. I put it on everything, I eat it by the handful out of the bag standing in the kitchen (there’s no shame in my game), I’ve even been known to drink it if there’s any leftover from a cheese sauce dish that I cook. Luckily my husband knew about my cheese obsession before he married me.

My dream is to open up a macaroni food truck out of an ambulance (a very clean one) and call it “Mac Attack”. If I ever win the lottery or inherit an old ambulance from a relative then I’m totally doing it! And my great, great grandmother Mollie Smiley’s mac recipe will be listed first on my menu.

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Mollie’s Mac

Ingredients:

-large elbow macaroni

-velveeta

-evaporated milk (I usually end up using two cans)

-one stick of butter

– 2 or 3 eggs

-onion

-jalapeño

-garlic

-bacon (one pound)

Optional: I like to add any type of cheese I have on hand. This time I used asadero, Parmesan, mozzarella, sharp cheddar, and a whole block of velveeta.

Directions:

-Chop bacon into pieces and add to skillet. Let cook for a few minutes then add chopped onion, chopped garlic, and diced jalapeño. Let all that cook together until the bacon is fully cooked. Remove from skillet and place on plate with paper towel to cool.

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-Boil elbow macaroni until tender. Drain.

-While elbow macaroni is cooking, chop up all cheeses and set aside.

-chop butter up into small pieces.

-crack eggs and whisk (I like to add salt and pepper to the eggs)

-Pour elbow macaroni into large baking dish.

-Add your cheese and butter. Stir.

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-Add bacon, onion, garlic, jalapeño. Stir.

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-Pour egg mixture in. Stir.

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-Pour evaporated milk in until noodles are submerged (until you can see milk starting to collect above most of the noodles).

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-Bake for 45 minutes at 350. Stir every 10 minutes or so until cheese is ooey gooey and bubbly.

-I always add more cheese on top before serving…I topped mine with asadero this time!

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I made this for Thanksgiving this past week and my cousin in laws boyfriend told me my dish was the best. Obviously, super credible source! Let me know if you try it and what you think! Bon appetite!IMG_9327.JPG

 

 

Holiday Guide for the Minimalist Gifter

By now, you have probably heard about a little thing called “minimalist giving.” If by some chance you haven’t, allow me to fill you in. In an effort to avoid falling into a deep dark hole of financial debt during this holiday season, like so many (myself included) do around this time of year, many families are opting for a more financially responsible approach.

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Minimalist giving is an act of giving a fewer amount of gifts, including more meaningful items that are less likely to get shoved in the back of the closet and donated a year later. The idea is this: something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read, something to make, something to eat, and one more thing.

When I first heard about minimalist giving, I was a little skeptical. I already had my Christmas list filled out for my husband and daughter and was positive that I would have WAY more items in my Amazon cart than what would fit into these categories. I told my husband about it and his response was “holy cow, how much stuff are you planning on getting us.” Which just opened my eyes to how much junk I buy every year that they don’t really need!

So I’m doing it. I am going to give minimalist(ish) giving a shot this year…with a twist. I’m adding stocking stuffers (sue me).

Since we moved out to the sticks, Christmas shopping is harder than ever! The nearest town with a store other than Porters or True Value is over 2 hours away. So, I invested in Amazon prime and ordered every single thing online. Y’all, we don’t even have an address we are so far out of town ,so I’m having to get it all shipped to my mother in laws an hour away!

If you are still on the fence about what to get for your kiddo or hubs, here’s my list to give you some ideas:

~Husband~

Want: One of the best perks of living so far from civilization is being so close to the stars, and seeing them in their brightest and purest form…this will help us see them a little clearer.

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https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01DBK1GIK/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B01DBK1GIK&linkCode=as2&tag=ehendryx0909-20&linkId=6137cff4e83471f340df01596286e4b3

Need: He’s always borrowing from friends, now he can hang anything I want, WHEN I want!

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https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B013G9O2XM/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B013G9O2XM&linkCode=as2&tag=ehendryx0909-20&linkId=5ec656a9fd4a6cbf554cdaedc7ab7af7

Wear: Maybe he will stop wearing mine!!

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https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FBD2G0I/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00FBD2G0I&linkCode=as2&tag=ehendryx0909-20&linkId=e630c9227c5a19daad66870ecbecae45

Read: I bet he will let me borrow this when he’s finished…or before he starts…

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https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/142621555X/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=142621555X&linkCode=as2&tag=ehendryx0909-20&linkId=3e6d47c7d7ac49df009f935e5a7e126f

Make: This will help him work on his saddle, boots, spur straps, etc.

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https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06XDMB7H5/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B06XDMB7H5&linkCode=as2&tag=ehendryx0909-20&linkId=ecd22e39ef26e92c8212d3a88b7e2647

Eat: I’m making him a snack box to keep in his truck. He drives around checking cattle all day and is ALWAYS hungry!

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https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N9X7QJZ/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B01N9X7QJZ&linkCode=as2&tag=ehendryx0909-20&linkId=7b500c1a84655462be1e75024c62943e

One More Thing: Because who doesn’t like shower beer?

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https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N6WX4YN/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B01N6WX4YN&linkCode=as2&tag=ehendryx0909-20&linkId=4fdcb2623657f93ee8cfd987b50ea377

 

 

 

 

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(My daughters first Christmas. She was 3 months old, had a room full of presents, and couldn’t have cared less.)

~Kiddo (one year old-girl)~

Want: Since she can’t really articulate what she wants…I’ll assume she is pining for this tricycle that we can help her ride!

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https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01GGKRNC0/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B01GGKRNC0&linkCode=as2&tag=ehendryx0909-20&linkId=e02d4c0795e56dfaca0024214202ec76

Need: We have started the sippy cup battle…and I’m losing! Maybe these will help…they are more for my benefit than hers.

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https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IN8OHAA/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00IN8OHAA&linkCode=as2&tag=ehendryx0909-20&linkId=c45522b7a8c47bfa5d9f3af7c068331a

Wear: How cute are these twisted x infant shoes in leopard???? She has the pink ones (in two sizes), but I think Santa might be swinging by with these bad boys!

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https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075K61PMX/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B075K61PMX&linkCode=as2&tag=ehendryx0909-20&linkId=e4ad47338b41197f4ce2b15abd343fd3

Read: Obviously, I’m obsessed with Pioneer Woman! We love Charlie the Ranch Dog and need to add to her collection.

Make: This felt Christmas tree is a great idea for kids! My inlaws beat me to the punch on this one and put one together for my daughter to play with this year!

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https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MSH9A35/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B01MSH9A35&linkCode=as2&tag=ehendryx0909-20&linkId=cc68534c780529127e8dc51601d025ad

Eat: Can’t make cookies for Santa without cookie cutters! These western ones will suit our family just fine.

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https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000JGAC5S/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B000JGAC5S&linkCode=as2&tag=ehendryx0909-20&linkId=1b83bd02d0b06f18f27b593727f26713

One More Thing: We don’t watch a lot of tv, but when we make the 10 hour drive back home to visit my side of the family, she likes to watch DVDs on her portable DVD player. I won’t mind listening to classic Disney movies (and quoting them word for word) for the whole trip!

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https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00002CF5X/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00002CF5X&linkCode=as2&tag=ehendryx0909-20&linkId=56b0eb1c1da39dd5621c3b326e792ce3

The Best Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe of All Time…Pinky Swear

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(Links to these gorgeous Vietri dishes at the bottom)

I grew up around women who could create masterpieces in the kitchen. Seriously. My grandmother, Honey, is widely remembered for her chicken salad and ranger cookies, and my mom’s fried chicken is the best I have ever tasted and she can make gravy out of ANYTHING. So naturally, I learned how to cook, not by flipping through cookbooks, but by observing these two women for decades.

About 10 years ago, I was getting ready to go out into the world on my own, and decided that I needed to go visit with my grandma to get a few of her recipes down on paper. I was in her neighborhood so I gave her a jingle and told her I was coming over. With only about 10 minutes of  notice, I walked in her front door and of course she had a gorgeous lunch ready. She always had food on hand for visitors (that must be where I get it…if I even see dust on our dirt road I get the tea brewing and the cookies baking faster than you can say George Strait.

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(Honey and I at my graduation party…what a beautiful soul)

This particular day, I was packing a notebook and a pen…I was determined to get some of her secrets. I sat down at the kitchen table while she continued to bake a cake that she was providing to a restaurant later that evening (she baked deserts for a local upscale restaurant in our hometown for years), and asked her for her fried chicken, marble cheesecake, macaroni, and chicken salad recipes. She rattled them off without batting an eye or slowing in her tedious baking. Then I got the gumption to ask if she had any of her recipes written down anywhere. At first she said no…then a few seconds later she said “you know what, actually I do!” She then proceeded to pull out TWO full notebooks of handwritten recipes from a drawer I had never noticed in her kitchen. They were magical! I asked her if I could make copies, for our families eyes only, and miraculously, she agreed. Honeys Secret Cookbook is one of my most prized possessions and when I miss her (which is everyday) I like to pull it out and just look through it. Her handwriting was gorgeous, and I can almost hear her saying the little adjustments that she scribbled on each recipe as she made them over and over again.

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As much as I loved Honeys chicken noodle soup, my Momma’s got her beat! Today’s recipe is full of all the best things in life…like butter and noodles…mmmmm. If anyone even sneezes within a two mile radius of anyone in my family, I whip out my Momma’s chicken noodle soup recipe and get to boiling.

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(Mom and I at my nephews soccer game)

So, without further ado, here it is…The Best Chicken Noodle Soup of all Time:

Ingredients:

– Whole Chicken

-onion

-garlic

-celery

-1 stick of butter

-chicken boullion cubes

-carrots

-wide egg noodles

-milk

-salt

-pepper

*optional: crackers, chicken broth, and jalapeños (I stopped adding jalapeños when my daughter was old enough to start eating this)

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Directions:

In large pot, allow stick of butter to melt. Add chopped onion, celery, and garlic and sauté for 3 or 4 minutes. Wash whole chicken, add chicken to pot and almost cover with water (I like to add a couple of cans of chicken broth here as well, but it’s not mandatory for flavor). Salt and Pepper, add 3 or 4 chicken bouillon cubes. Bring to boil, then turn down to low heat and let simmer for two hours. Take the whole chicken out and set it on a plate, allow it to cool completely (I have a hard time here because I’m a muncher…I have burned my fingers and tongue more times than I can count while making this). While chicken is cooling, turn heat back up, chop carrots and add to boiling water. Once chicken has cooled, debone chicken adding meat back into the pot. Add bag of wide egg noodles. Turn heat down and let Soup simmer for 30-45 minutes. Add 2 cups of milk, salt and pepper to taste, and serve with crackers. It’s SO good and I promise it will cure whatever is ailing you!

Find the Vietri dishes below:

Dinner plate: http://amzn.to/2hHk25h

Cereal Bowl: http://amzn.to/2zdJpmM

Salad plate (turquoise): http://amzn.to/2hK8Gxj

 

Mommin’ Ain’t Easy

I remember subconsciously rolling my eyes and sighing every time one of my stay at home mom friends would tell me how tired she was. Silently judging her and thinking “seriously…don’t you just stay in your pjs, play, and take naps all day? How hard can that be?”

When my husband and I made the decision to move to west Texas, he mentioned in conversation one day that maybe I would be able to stay home with our one year old instead of teaching in our new location. When we put our budget down on paper, we realized that we COULD live off of his salary…it would be tight, but was doable. I jumped at the opportunity to stay home with my little love bug. I hated sending her off to daycare day after day and being on the teacher grind from sun up to sun down with no family time to speak of. I said to myself, “you deserve this…you NEED a break!” Little did I know that I would never again get a break…ever. Cue the jaws theme song (only sort of joking).

Here’s a snapshot of a day in the life of a stay at home mom:

6:15 am- Wake up, make coffee, get dressed, speak to husband briefly while chugging coffee before he’s out the door to start his busy day on the ranch.

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Best mom ever mug for those awesome Momma’s in your life: http://amzn.to/2yUjHj5

6:45 am- Baby is up!!! Change her diaper, strip her pjs off (breakfast is next and we DO NOT eat oatmeal, or really any food, with clothes on), stick her in high chair.

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Fischer Price learn with me zebra walker: http://amzn.to/2hJdO51

7:00 am- Baby is busy eating oatmeal and toast watching Wallykazam, so it’s time to get some work done. Run around and attempt to straighten the house, make the bed, start laundry, unload dishwasher that ran overnight, chug more coffee.

7:20 am- Clean baby up, clean highchair off, let dog clean up oatmeal mess off of the kitchen floor (don’t judge me), put clothes on baby.

7:30-9:30 am- Read any and every book that baby hands you, play with every single toy and stuffed animal in existence, watch baby perform a Dora dance and singalong without actually being able to articulate words yet.  Repeat until 9:30.

9:30 am- Baby is ready for her first nap of the day. Change diaper, give milk in sippy cup (or bottle depending on what kind of mood she’s in…we are working on breaking the bottle habit), turn on her humidifier, lay her down and tip toe out of the room.

9:40-10:10 am- Workout. I just started this a month ago, but I make myself workout during her first nap because I know that I won’t do it if I wait until her afternoon nap. It’s 30 minutes. I can do (almost) anything for 30 minutes.

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21 Day fix program works wonders!!!

http://amzn.to/2AbhYtY

10:10-10:30 am- Free time!!! Better shower and try to not look like a homeless person. I try to clean up a little just in case we have unexpected company so they don’t run for the hills and so my husband won’t confuse my scent with the heifers he’s been out feeding.

10:30 am- Baby is up!!! Change diaper, make a snack (usually apple slices or strawberries with juice).

10:45 am- 12:30 pm- Read any and every book that baby hands you, play with every single toy and stuffed animal in existence, watch baby perform a Peppa Pig dance and singalong without actually being able to articulate words yet. Repeat until 12:30.

12:30 pm- Lunch time! Make baby lunch (usually grilled cheese or quesadilla with fruit, or leftovers from the night before). Stick baby in highchair to eat. Make lunch for hubs (usually sandwhiches or leftovers from the night before). I eat whatever they leave on their plates or a shake of some sort.

1:00-2:30 pm- Read any and every book that baby hands you, play with every single toy and stuffed animal in existence, watch baby perform a Paw Patrol dance and singalong without actually being able to articulate words yet. Repeat until 2:30.

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2:30 pm- Baby is ready for her second nap of the day. Change diaper, give milk in sippy cup, turn on her humidifier, lay her down and army crawl out of the room (I like to keep things fresh with my escape plans).

2:30-3:30 pm- Nap time! Haha JK! Time to clean up messes from playtime, start loading the dishwasher with breakfast and lunch dishes, and the laundry isn’t going to fold itself. Might drink another cup of coffee here (or snort it through a straw…or just mainline it)

3:30 pm- Baby is up!!! Change diaper, make an afternoon snack (usually dry cereal, goldfish, or fruit again with water or juice).

3:40- 5:30 pm- Read any and every book that baby hands you, play with every single toy and stuffed animal in existence, watch baby perform a Backyardigans dance and singalong without actually being able to articulate words yet. Repeat until 5:30.

5:30-6:30 pm- Thank the good Lord that dad is home!!! We ride along and feed horses, steers, and dogs. This is our favorite part of the day.

We couldn’t go on feed runs with dad without our bumbo floor seat:

http://amzn.to/2hJdm6A

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6:30 pm- Start dinner while baby clings to my legs. Dad is home now so when I yell “daddy” every couple of minutes he distracts her…but somehow she always magically manages to end up attached to me again.

7:30 pm- Eat dinner.

8:00 pm- Start bedtime routine: bath, pjs, book, bottle…I mean sippy cup…ok I mean bottle (I’m weak) of milk, turn humidifier on, set hall lights, lay baby down and stop drop n roll out of the room as quiet as a mouse.

8:45 pm- Pour a big glass of vino. Put away leftovers, load dishwasher from dinner dishes and turn on, clean kitchen, put away laundry, put on pjs, talk to hubs for a few minutes, remember glass of wine that you poured 30 minutes ago and chug it, ask hubby what movie we should start tonight knowing damn well that neither of us will make it 10 minutes before falling asleep. Decide just to go to bed so you can do it all over again mañana.

I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

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F Words

It’s November, which means it’s the month of “Thankfulness” (aka a WHOLE month of daily thankful Facebook posts). I try to keep it simple and stick to the F words…..Faith, family, friends, and (of course) food!

Faith is the most important of these. I was raised as a Christian (Southern Baptist to be exact), and although we don’t make it into town for church every single Sunday, we do read the Bible and pray every day. When I was a kid, my parents made sure we went to Sunday school, church, and Wednesday night youth group every week and church camp every summer. I searched and prayed to find a man who had the same beliefs as I did and God gave me a husband who is just as adamant about raising our daughter in the word as I am, and I am so thankful (and blessed) for that!

Family is next. First and foremost…my husband is an angel and my daughter is the definition of every Bryan Adams song ever written. They are my life. I am SO thankful that God blessed me with them, even though I did NOT deserve them! I don’t know how I got so lucky.

My parents have been married for 39 years! I’ve got a brother and a sister, two nephews, a niece, countless aunts, uncles, and cousins. Almost 3 years ago I inherited a whole new family when I married my husband and I really hit the family lottery with them! Family has always been important to me, but when I had my daughter the importance of family hit a whole new level. And let’s be honest, most (if not all) of the hits I get on this blog are obligatory from my family! Thanks guys, love y’all!

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Friends!! I don’t have a huge group of friends, what I’ve got is even better! I have a small, close knit gang of girlfriends who I’ve known literally my entire life! They know everything about me and vice versa. We don’t have to beat around the bush with courtesy, we just jump right in with truthful opinions and love when we get together. They tell me when my makeup doesn’t match my neck, and I tell them when they shouldn’t wear “those” pants! It’s brutal, and honest, and full of love and I wouldn’t want it any other way!

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Food…my favorite. I do more cooking in November than in any other month. This is the month that I take my crock pot out of the cabinet and it doesn’t go back in until the weather warms up (which is every other week until the end of time in Texas).

We had a cold front blow into west Texas, and something inside me snapped into soup, stew and everything pumpkin spice mode. The first day I made a BIG pot of Pioneer Woman Stew and cast iron corn bread. One of my husbands friends was at the ranch shoeing horses that day so I insisted he stay for dinner and we all (including my one year old) scarfed down as much of it as we could. The next day we still had plenty of leftovers so I made a shepherds pie with rest of it.

The next day I made something new that I hadn’t tried before and it turned out really scrumptious and warmed us to the bones!

Crock Pot BBQ Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes (I need to work on the name…maybe something Texan with the word “taters”…)

It’s super simple:

Ingredients (you have to say this in a Nacho Libre accent or it won’t turn out “in-greeeeed-ee-ints”)

-2 or 3 lbs of chicken breasts or tenderloins

-2 cups BBQ sauce

-1/2 stick butter

-1/2 cup brown sugar

-1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

– 1 yellow onion chopped

-Sweet Potato

*Optional: cheese and sour cream for topping

Directions

Place chicken in crock pot. Mix BBQ sauce, brown sugar, butter, and worchestershire sauce in bowl until combined, pour on top of chicken and top with onions. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours.

Wrap sweet potatoes in foil, place on pan and cook for 2 hours at 350 degrees.

Shred chicken in sauce, let it sit and soak up the sauce for 15 minutes.

Slice open potatoes, add a little butter, cheese, sour cream and top with chicken! So good!