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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Chicken Pot Pie

I recently found a pie crust recipe that I wanted to try.  And I love pie as much as the next person, but it's not my preferred dessert.  So I used the recipe for chicken pot pie instead.  After all, I didn't think Mr. Napping would be too thrilled if I served the family chocolate cream pie for dinner.  He's of the opinion that if it doesn't have meat, it's not a meal.  I will say that this pie crust is a winner... and might just make an appearance at Big J's birthday dinner coming soon.  It was even still flaky the next day.    


- 1 2/3 cup all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup shortening
- 1 tsp salt
- 5 tbsp chilled orange juice
- 1 lb frozen veggie mix (beans, corn, carrots, peas)
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 can condensed cream of chicken soup*
- 3 to 4 medium to large chicken breasts, frozen

-  Thaw the chicken breasts and dice.  In a large pot on the stove, combine the chicken dices and the cup of chicken broth.  Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mostly cooked.
- Add the flour, shortening, and salt in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.  Add the orange juice and mix well until dough is formed.  (I just throw it all in my stand mixer and release the beast to it's own mixing devices while I check the chicken)
- Chill the dough in the fridge while you mix the rest of the filling up.
- When the chicken is mostly cooked, add the cream of chicken soup (don't add milk or water) and the mixed veggies.  Heat until the veggies are no longer frozen together and you can mix the filling.  Stir to mix evenly.  Remove from heat.
- Roll out half of the dough and spread in a 9-inch pie plate.  I am absolutely terrible at rolling pie crusts, completely horrendous.  I almost always end up pressing it into the plate and skipping the whole rolling process completely.  It still tastes yummy and no one knows I cheated.
- Pour filling into the pie plate and spread evenly across the pie crust.
- Roll out the remaining dough to cover the pie.  Cut any decorative vents if that's your thing.  Slits cut after it's on the pie work just as well (and make the transfer to pie plate a little easier). I have no tricks here.  Just do the best you can and use a pancake turner to help lift it off the counter if you have to.
- Use a fork to press the edges down and seal the pie.
- Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for 45-60 minutes.
- Let set 5-10 minutes.  Serve.

Yields approximately 8 servings.

* You can use this recipe at Buns in My Oven as a substitute for the soup if you'd rather, the comments say it's pretty delicious.

This post was written by Krista and originally appeared on While He Was Napping.

Monday, July 21, 2014

{Printable} Boredom Buster Jar

Have you gotten over the excitement of summer yet?  Sunshine, pool parties, beach trips, family reunions... and bored kids.  My kiddos aren't in school yet (Kindergarten starts next month!  Whaaaaaat?!), but my boys are driving me crazy with their antics.  A big part of the problem is that they are bored.  Now, I am all for letting kids figure out how to entertain themselves, but when they keep falling back on the pastime of fighting and bickering it's time for a little intervention!  For the sake of my sanity, if nothing else.  And I don't want to be the mom that yells all the time...

So, I created our Boredom Buster Jars.  If you were around last week, you saw that I actually made ours from craft sticks... because I have high hopes they will last longer that way and I can add to them as I need to.  But, I also made a printable version.  Because, let's face it, it took me FOREVER to write out all those darn sticks.  Seriously, probably about four hours.  No lie.  So, if you have better things to do with those four hours of your life, maybe a printable version is the way to go, eh?  You've got a paper cutter and a DVR'd show to keep you company and speed the process along, right?  Not necessary, but it may help.

The Sneak Peek version (this freebie I offer here on my blog) has 24 activities.  There are four activities in six different categories.  The label page has labels that will fit both a narrow mouth or a wide mouth canning jar lid.  A clean, plastic peanut butter jar is a great way to go too, and a little more kid-friendly.  Follow this link to download a single PDF with the three pages you'll need to complete your sneak peek jar.


- A clean container for your boredom jar
- Scissors or a paper cutter
- The Printable Boredom Buster Jar 3-page PDF
- Tape, glue or string

- Download and print out the PDF Boredom Buster Jar Printables.
- Cut the activity cards apart with the scissors or paper cutter.
- Fold them in half or quarters and put them in the container.
- Choose which labels you want to use from the print out.  Cut them out and adhere them to the container with tape, glue or string.

That's it.

This post was written by Krista and originally appeared on While He Was Napping.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Letter to My 30-Year-Old Self

I wrote this about two weeks ago as we were driving in the car on a family vacation.  The boys were watching movies in the back and Mr Napping had his earbuds in, so it was a relatively quiet moment.  This letter is for me.  It's not a fancy recipe or an easy tutorial.  You won't read it and think "wish I could mom it up like her.  She's got parenting figured out."  Because I don't.  Not even close.  I didn't get it ready to post like I wanted when I wanted to post it, so I wasn't going to.  You're not missing out on much.  But then I got the group invite on Facebook today for my 10 year High School Reunion and started feeling old (and maybe a little unaccomplished in life) again.

So, I decided to post it anyway.  Maybe I can grab a little moment in time and freeze things for just a few seconds.  I was talking to a friend the other day about how we don't really remember the little things about our babies.  The little sounds, the tiny fingers, the details.  Hopefully, with this, I can take some of the details and remind myself of them in the future.  When I'm senile and I've forgotten everything, you know.  So, read on if you wish.  You won't hurt my feelings if you don't.  This post is for me.

Dear 30-year-old Me,

Tomorrow you turn 27... when did we get so old?  Anyway, I write this hoping that, when you look back in three years, you'll be able to see growth and accomplishment. And maybe a few places you can set new goals and continue growing or make corrections,  if necessary.

Right now, you've got three kids (all boys, you know), ranging in age from 4 months to almost 5 years. Little N hit 4 months just today and he is growing so fast. His gummy smiles and more frequent giggles brighten every day. His gray-blue eyes twinkle like his daddy's and I can already tell he will love mischief and adventure - just like his big brothers, whom he adores by the way. He is such a good baby, sleeping 5-6 hours at night and so happy all day. He puts himself to sleep and even spits out his pacifier before he drifts off.

Little J is talking up a storm. By far, my favorite is when he says, "luh loo, mommy." He is such a tease and loves to laugh. He still climbs as high as his nerves of steel let him (which is TOO high). His laugh is infectious and sometimes I just have to tickle him so I get to hear it. I hope I never forget what it sounds like. He bounces back and forth between wanting to be a big boy and do everything himself and hanging on to his babyhood just a little longer. A common phrase right now is "I did it!" I hope he will be able to keep saying that for many more years.

Big J will be starting kindergarten next month and I'm not sure how I feel about that. Some days, I can't wait to get him back into a routine with other authority figures and more responsibility. He grows so much more when there's a high level of consistency, which with two other needy kids is sometimes hard to provide. But, my baby is growing up and I'm not ready for that. I'm not ready for peer pressure, mean kids, homework, and vacations only during school breaks. I'm not ready to let my chubby little blue-eyed baby turn into a boy. Once he starts this new growth spurt, it's not going to stop. And I don't want to miss anything. I want to keep him snuggled on my lap where I know he's safe. He doesn't always like me, but I have learned to handle his little boy tantrums. I'm not sure I can handle any teenage angst.
So, Momma, I hope you enjoy these next three years. I hope you remember that by the time you read this, that little kindergartner will be almost eight! Don't miss the next three years buried under piles of laundry, mountains of dishes and the pressure to write more blog posts or increase your social media presence. These three little boys are the ones that need your presence. They are your biggest fans and followers. They are the only three numbers that matter. I promise.

Momma, don't forget to keep your marriage burning. In three years, you'll have been married for the last 9.5 years (hopefully!). Remember why you fell for that tall, blue-eyed guy with the dark hair in the first place. Support him and his endeavors and give him reminders of why he is so awesome. Give him time to develop his relationships with the boys (and get yourself a little break). Love him the best you can and never miss a chance to let him know just how much you do.

One more thing, Momma. Don't give up on yourself. Wife and mother are very important roles, but don't lose yourself completely. There will be days, I daresay, that you'll dislike or even hate that these roles take so much time, energy and work. The days you climb into bed frazzled, exhausted and dreading sunrise or the next middle-of-the-night feeding session with the baby are the moments to remember that you're not alone. It's okay to ask for help. You can still be supermom, even if you don't do everything yourself.

Take time for your interests and hobbies. Work them in when you can. Get the family involved. The day will come when you can bake, sew, photograph and blog without interruptions every five minutes. While you may not miss those interruptions, you will miss your babies. So, make your hobbies happen, but don't sacrifice the kids. Stay in the moment. Be there. Listen and play, read stories, paint pictures. Cook and sew with them. Teach them. Love them.

Momma, do your best and never give up. You are awesome. You may not change the world, but contributing three respectful, kind and generous boys to it is no small feat. Good luck! Always remember, tomorrow is another day. Enjoy them as they come, even if sometimes that simply means surviving. You got this.  Happy birthday.


Monday, July 14, 2014

Washi Tape Summer Boredom Buster Jars

Summer is half over already!  Back when I didn't spend my days chasing three little hooligans and trying to keep them entertained all day, I lived for summer.  Now, I'm a little apprehensive when summer hits full force.  We live in the desert, which means that it's too hot to play outside from about 11am until around 5pm.  That's a lot of hours inside.  Climbing and bouncing off the walls.

Sometimes, I have a hard time coming up with things for us to do that will involve, entertain and maybe educate both of my boys while still allowing me to step aside for a few minutes if the baby needs something.  So, I put together a list and then made us our very own Boredom Buster Jar.  Actually, two jars... they wouldn't all fit in one!  Now, when we need something to do, we just pull out a stick and we're on our way to some fun!


- Craft sticks
- Permanent Marker
- Washi Tape in seven designs
- Jars or containers to hold your sticks

- Gather ideas of activities your kids would like to do.  Include things like projects you can make together, things they can do on their own, activities that will help get the wiggles out, and even places to go.  I had a running list on my phone that I kept adding to for about two or three weeks.  When I came upon something else I thought my kids would enjoy, I'd add it to the list.

- Write each activity on a craft stick with a permanent marker.

- Divide the sticks into categories.  My categories were:
     - Things we can do
     - Things we can make
     - Energy Bug (activities to help focus their bouncing off the walls into something a little less destructive)
     - Quiet time activities (things for my almost-5-year-old to do on his own while his brothers nap)
     - Family activities (things we wanted to do as a family, such as a drive in movie or the new splash pad)
     - Outside play time (activities to do outside.  With temps in the high 90's and triple digits, outside activities aren't always an option here in the desert).
     - Fun with food (activities to do with food, often ending with snack time)

- Tape each stick in a single category with the same color washi tape.  You could also paint the ends or use some other method of distinguishing the sticks.  Washi tape was quick, easy, and mess-free.  If you have a problem with the tape sticking, a small piece of scotch tape or a swipe with a glue stick should fix the problem.

- Store your sticks in a jar (or jars...) and the next time boredom strikes, prepare to be a superhero!

This post was written by Krista and originally appeared on While He Was Napping.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Strawberry Pineapple Lemonade

I love lemonade.  But not just regular lemonade.  Not that stuff you get out of the soda fountain at fast food restaurants.  The good stuff.  Real lemons, real sugar and a delicious add-in.  Or two.  Yummmm...  my newest experiment got a little tropical.  And it was amazing.


Large Batch:
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup strawberry puree (approximately 10 strawberries blended well)
- 3/4 cup sugar (or to taste)
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup pineapple puree (crushed pineapple works too)
- 1 gallon water

Single Serving:
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp strawberry puree (approximately 3 strawberries blended well)
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp pineapple puree (approximately 6 pineapple chunks)
- 12 oz water

- Mix all ingredients in a large pitcher or a large glass until sugar is dissolved and well mixed.  Serve over ice or chill in the fridge.  Enjoy!

This post was written by Krista and originally appeared on While He Was Napping.

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