Why Change is GOOD for the Faint of Heart

As some of you may have seen on social media, about a couple of weeks ago we received some very exciting news! We are moving back to Texas! Killeen, TX to be exact. A good ole country town with HEBs & Whataburgers as far as the eye can see. We couldn’t be happier!

When you have a spouse in the military, it can be so hard. New places every few years, new people, the long hours your spouse works. Not to mention those week to month long field ops and deployments. We have been so blessed in that we haven’t experienced a deployment in the almost 5 years my husband has been a Marine. For him, it’s a bittersweet thing. That’s why they join, right? Of course, he never wants to be away from me and the kids. But we have gone through lots of times where we couldn’t see or talk to each other. We’ve been through it all together. From poolee functions, boot camp, weeks of field ops, Sergeant’s course & now Recruiter’s school.

Related: Three Things I’ve Learned as a Marine Corps Wife

There are about to be a lot of changes happening with our little family. My husband is currently in school and will soon have a new job in the Marine Corps. Recruiter. So if you live in the Killeen or any of the surrounding areas, he’s about to get to know y’all & your kiddos REAL well. He will be changing lives [as corny as that sounds] 7 spreading the good word of the Marine Corps. We are all so proud of him. With that comes a lot of change as well. The only thing I’ve heard about being a recruiter’s wife is, “Be ready for the long hours.” Encouraging right? Eh. It’s okay. It’s like when you find out your pregnant and literally everyone who has had a baby has to share their wisdom with you. Like, “The first trimester sucks” , & “Just wait until the last 2 months. You’ll never stop peeing.” Oh, but my personal favorite, “You think you’re not getting any sleep now? Just wait til that baby comes.”

I GET IT! Ya know what I mean?

Anyways, although the long hours won’t be the highlight of this job, I know Tommy will get so much experience and pride from it. He has been studying and working so hard throughout his entire school, even practicing & using me as recruiting bait. Needless to say, I think we are all excited for this change! I haven’t seen him this exciting about the Marine Corps since he joined.

We lived in a few houses on base, but this one was special. The best neighbors & memories we will never forget!

I too will be getting a new job. I still plan to work in the same field as an ABA therapist, but with a different company that will allow me to be home on the weekends when my hubby won’t be. Or will be, since that’s the only time we will probably see each other. The life. I have an interview set up already & I am very excited for this transition. The company I have been with for the past year & a half has been so wonderful. I have learned so much working here. Working with children on the spectrum or that have any kind of special needs is truly my passion & they helped me to discover that!

Then there’s the whole thing about moving with two toddlers & two dogs. It’s gonna be an adventure y’all! The greatest thing about the move is that the Marine Corps is moving everything for us & packing it all. Such a huge stress taken off of our shoulders. Because looking for a house in a town you don’t & have never lived in is super stressful. Also looking for child care is tricky. But we are making the best of it. Our families have been so awesome & have offered to look at homes for us since they only live a couple of hours away. I just couldn’t feel more blessed y’all!

So this all sounds great, right? But WHY is it great? Especially for me. Someone who is so faint hearted. I like staying in my comfort zone when it comes to pretty much anything. I’m not the “adventurer” type. I don’t do dangerous things or take risks & chances. This man right here has helped me come out of my shell in so many ways.

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He adapts so well to new situations. He is my calm before & after the storm. Most times, he even helps me to avoid the storm altogether. Waiting to find out where we were going to be stationed next was one of the most stressful situations we have gone through. I cried so many tears of joy when Tommy called me to tell me the news. It is a moment I will never forget.

Related: 8 Ways I Show My Husband I Love Him

Being in California for the past four and a half years has been a big step out of my comfort zone. I was born and raised in Texas. I never imagined myself leaving it. But I would follow my husband anywhere. Living in this foreign [to me] state & meeting so many new people has helped me grow. It has made me so much stronger. I’m such a family girl & being away from my family was hard. So hard I can’t even explain. But the positive side of it is that it has really helped me to be more independent. I’ve had to do and learn a lot of things on my own when it comes to being a working mother & wife. And my introverted self managed to make some beautiful friends that might as well be family.

Change is scary. Change is hard. But is is good. It is healthy. And it’s so EXCITING sometimes! We are so looking forward to this new chapter in our lives. We can’t wait to go back to our home state. Only a couple of hours away from family & friends. And don’t worry, the entire road trip will be documented & there will be an entire post [or two] dedicated to it! So blessed to have y’all on this journey with us!

Have any of you gone through some changes lately? Or have some coming up soon? Share them in the comments, I would love to hear about them & how you coped 🙂

Bluebonnets here we come!

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As always, God bless †

Brittany

Dogtags, Dolls & Dinosaurs is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

Why We Decided to Stop Having Kids at 25

Kids.

It’s what we all think about when picturing our life and how it pans out, right? Whether we want them or not. How many of them we want. What gender we want. If we want to have twins, adopt, or maybe foster. At some point or another, it crosses your mind. Some [like me] dream about becoming a mom. It’s what I’ve always wanted to be. God listened and answered my prayers. Although the road was a little bumpy at times, I got my babies & I couldn’t be happier.

But why stop?

My husband and I always wanted to have two babies. A boy & a girl. We actually wanted our boy first, but they got flip-flopped. And that’s okay! But there’s always that thought in the back of your mind- “What if we had one more?” Believe me, I thought about it. Hard. Our babies were born so close together, both such a blessing but so unexpected. Not at all how we had “planned”. The newborn phases came and went. Never again will we get to experience that. I had a hard time with that part. That “new mom” feeling won’t ever be felt again. But I’m okay with that. And here’s why…

Pregnancy was NOT my friend

Both of my pregnancies came with complications. The second more than the first. You can read more about that here. I feel like my doctor’s always had something that wasn’t going “right” every time I went to an appointment. I wasn’t gaining enough weight, my fluid was low, the baby was measuring small. And then with Noah I had some more extreme complications like premature rupture of membranes [water broke early], decreased fetal movement, and infection. It was just a lot & really rough on my body. I also had an annoying, constant morning sickness. Especially the first time around. Round ligament pain. Acne. Dry skin. Just the works, y’all. Don’t get me wrong, it was all SO worth it. Some women love being pregnant. Me, not so much. I feel bad saying that out loud sometimes, but it was just a little miserable for me. A miserable blessing.

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Checking my fluid…I had to go in 2-3 times a week to make sure my levels weren’t too low

We can focus on the children we have

This is not to say that we didn’t focus on our kiddos before we made this decision. But like I said before, you always wonder “what if?” Now that we’ve made this decision for our family, we know that these babies we have are it for us. They are the one and only’s. I cherish every single second with them. Every single chaotic & playful second. It makes you appreciate the time you have with them because you KNOW it won’t happen again. We won’t experience these toddler years again with another child, so we soak it all up every chance we get.

This was the day we brought Noah home from the hospital after 3 months in the NICU

Fear

I know people say that you shouldn’t let fear hold you back from doing anything. But in our case, I think it’s a legitimate reason. Our experience with Noah was the scariest thing I have ever gone through. I know our family went through it for a reason & it truly made me a stronger person and momma, but I don’t want to go through that again. Who knows, circumstances may be different if I were to get pregnant again. I just don’t want to chance it. The thing is, I know families who have gone through something similar to us, even something harder, & they have had more children that are completely healthy. But the thing with me is that I’m such a “worry wart” as my husband so graciously puts it. I stress when I know I shouldn’t. For the healthy of myself, my family, & that beautiful hypothetical baby- it’s the right decision for us. 

Related: The Truth Behind the Scar: A Story of Two C-Sections

God

The biggest reason. God has blessed us with what we’ve always wanted and dreamed of. Our boy & our girl. How could you ask for more? He is always looking out for us. I’ll tell you the moment I knew I was done having kids. It was just a simple moment that happens everyday. It was the weekend. My husband was home. We had just cleaned up after eating breakfast and were just sitting watching some Sunday morning cartoons. I was on the love seat & I look over to see the kids cuddling with their daddy. Just the three of them. No idea they were creating a moment I will never forget. I knew in that moment God was telling me that this was enough for me. These three humans are my world. My heart will always hold that moment dear.

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This wasn’t the exact moment, but captures it all nonetheless 🙂

We made this decision at 25 years old & it was a big one to make. At times we weren’t sure & we talked a lot about it. But after I had that little moment with God & thinking about all of these things, I am peace with the decision we made. We may seem young to a lot, but we have been through so much with our two little ones. Isn’t it funny how you focus on raising your children and watching them grow, all the while they are doing the same to with without either of you ever really knowing it? Life is beautiful!

As always, God bless †

Brittany

Kid-Friendly Pasta Salad

Summer is slowly approaching us! I’m half excited, half dreading it. Although the heat can be unbearable at times, all of the activities & FOOD associated with summer make it so worth it! Lately I have been trying to think of some new foods to make my littles. Sometimes chicken nuggets & mac n cheese just don’t cut it anymore! So I sat down & started to brainstorm some new recipes my kids would love! This pasta salad is so perfect for them & crazy healthy. I love it because it has so many ingredients, but they compliment each other nicely! I really like it because I can make a ton of it & serve it to them all week. It’s a refreshing meal that’s perfect for summer & SUPER easy to make, y’all!

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Here’s what you’ll need:

1 16 oz box/bag of organic pasta

1/4 cup sweet peas

1/4 cup diced carrots, raw

1/3 cup cherry tomatoes

Half of a cucumber, diced

1/3 cup mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup diced sweet ham

1/4 diced pepperoni

1 whole avocado, diced

1/2 cup lite honey mustard dressing

I know, A LOT of ingredients. But the great part about this recipe is that the only thing that needs to be cooked is the pasta & peas (if you got frozen like me)! Everything just needs to be diced & thrown in the bowl.

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First I want to start off with a tiny yet funny story about one of my ingredients. Either I was really running on “mommy brain” at the grocery store, or the produce guy mixed up the vegetables, but I totally grabbed a zucchini, not a cucumber. And I didn’t even realize it until I started cutting it up to put in the salad! So, sad to say, the cucumbers were not in this batch of pasta salad. But it was still delicious!

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Anywho, so first you will want to cook up your noodles as it’s stated on the box/bag. I bought some fun organic pasta from target. I thought the shape was cool & the colorful nature of them is awesome for kiddos!

Once your pasta is cooked, drain them & set them aside so they can start to cool a bit.

While it’s cooling, get to dicing! You’ll want to dice up everything! I went to my deli & got the ham and pepperoni sliced super thick. I only got one big slice of ham & a couple slices of pepperoni. You really don’t need much & the fresh deli meat is so much better than the other stuff! So dice up your meats, tomatoes, cheese, avocado, carrot, & cucumber if you didn’t mess that up like I did 😉

What’s also really great about this recipe is that you can make each ingredient as big or small as you like. It’s great for kids just starting to eat table foods all the way up to adulthood. Not gonna lie, I can kill a bowl of this stuff!

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I went ahead & got a bag of frozen peas. I steamed the entire bag and just saved the portion I didn’t use for the pasta for dinner later this week 🙂 Throw everything in your mixing bowl & top it all off with your dressing!

I used a lite honey mustard dressing, 1) because it adds some sweetness to the veggies & salty meats, and 2) because it’s so darn yummy!

Mix everything together & viola! The easiest meal you will probably ever make for your kiddos!

You can definitely eat it now or it’s even better if you toss it in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. It’s best when it’s chilled!

Kid-Friendly Pasta Salad

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 box/bag organic pasta
  • 1/4 cup peas
  • 1/3 cup fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup diced carrots, raw
  • 1/3 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 diced cucumbers
  • 1/4 cup diced ham
  • 1/4 cup diced pepperoni
  • 1 whole avocado
  • 1/2 cup lite honey mustard dressing

Directions

  1. Cook pasta according to box/bag, set aside
  2. Dice up ham, pepperoni, & veggies
  3. Add all ingredients to mixing bowl, stir well
  4. Add in dressing & enjoy!

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Here’s what I used:

Happy eating!

As always, God bless †

Brittany

A Look into Motherhood: An Interview with my Momma

Originally, my intention with this post was to explain and take you through my experiences I have gone through as a mother. Although I am celebrated this day by my kiddos, I figured I talk about myself enough. I want to talk to y’all about MY momma. Because she is one amazing person. She has raised me & taught me to be the woman & momma I am today. So she deserves like 100 million blog posts about her, but I hope this one will suffice ♥

I thought I would ask my mom some questions about motherhood & such. I loved getting to hear her answers. It was a fun little activity 🙂 Keep in mind that she had three daughters. Me being the oldest, and I have two younger sisters. God bless her!

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No. 1: What age was hardest to deal with?

Depends on which child you’re talking about. For you, it was…I don’t really feel like there was a “hard age” with you. There was regular mom and daughter stuff, but no specific age. For Rachel it was definitely 19-20 age range. That transition to adulthood was hard. For Allison I would say sophomore/junior years of high school. The hardest time you and I ever had was your freshman year of TCU before you left home. That was mostly because it was me having a hard time letting go & letting you be on your own, it wasn’t you being “hard”. 

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I was so surprised at her answer here! I figured that with three girls there was definitely a hard or difficult age to deal with. Like something really specific. I found it really interesting that she didn’t give one general age for all of us.

Related: 13 Months

No. 2: What is your most favorite gift we have ever given you on Mother’s Day?

*walks to her room and gets picture frame….*

Honestly, I had forgotten that we gave this to her on Mother’s Day! I always see it on her bedside table, but it slipped my mind when she had gotten it! And we had all written on the back of it. This was my junior year in high school that we gave this to her. It may seem like a weird picture to put in a frame but both of my parents were in love with this picture of all three of us. One of my momma’s favorite pictures ever. Just us in our element, together.

Related: Ten Last Minute Mother’s Day Gift Ideas UNDER $30

No. 3: Is motherhood as hard as they say it is? Why or why not?

Hard? No. Challenging at times, yes. Rewarding, most definitely. The reward is greater than the challenge. “Her children will rise up and bless her”. I feel like y’all bless me everyday. I’ve always felt that way.

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My momma is so sweet, oh my goodness.

No. 4: What is the difference between being a mother and being a Lola? [Lola is what my littles call her]

Well, being a mother…it was my responsibility to make sure you turned out to be an independent human being. Being a Lola, it’s now YOUR responsibility. I will probably take part in it every now & then, but you are the driver now. To be completely on the sidelines and watch it happen is a completely different ballgame. It is a love that there are no words for. I can’t even explain it. You feel that way about your own kids. It’s that intense, but different. 

I always wonder what it will be like when my kids have kids someday. I can see the immense love she has for my babies when she’s around them. And when she’s not! My family & I are truly blessed that our kids have such awesome grandparents!

Related: Five Reasons Why Healthy Grandparent-Grandchild Relationships are Important

No. 5: What is the best parenting advice anyone ever gave you? What advice would you give?

It wasn’t really advice that I got, it was doubt. I wouldn’t succeed. My marriage wouldn’t succeed, I was “too young”. Advice- to lift your kids up and not doubt them.

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A little backstory, my momma and daddy were 20 & 21 when they had little ol’ me. Got married when I was in my momma’s belly. She got a lot of doubt from others because of her age. Not just about me, but my daddy as well. That their marriage wouldn’t stand the test of time given the circumstances & their age. But I know we are all proud to say that they have been married for 27 years now! She went to college after having all three of us girls. Got her nursing degree with flying colors. She’s a true inspiration to me. I thought her advice was very encouraging & her story is one I’m sure a lot of moms experience!

Related: The Life of a “Younger” Momma

I loved asking my momma these questions & hearing what she had to say. It was such a cool learning experience for me. Even though you may think you know everything about someone, you can still learn something new! I think it would be so cool if some of y’all were to ask your mommas these questions & let me know how you liked it or share what they had to say! There’s a free printable version for you below!

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Happiest of Mother’s Days to y’all & I hope you enjoy this day that is so deservingly dedicated to you!

As always, God bless †

Brittany

 

Ten Last Minute Mother’s Day Gift Ideas UNDER $30

Mother’s Day is slowly creeping up on us y’all! Have you gotten your special momma a gift yet? No worries if you haven’t. I am so bad at sending gifts on time. Literally. My dad got his birthday gift almost a month late this year *face palm*. It’s all good, because this day isn’t about materialistic things. It’s about spending time with & honoring the woman that gave you life! I am a total advocate for love languages though, so if your momma’s love language is “gifts”, she will love these options I have found for y’all! 🙂

Probably like every other momma out there, or woman in general, I am obsessed with Amazon Prime. It is the most convenient & dangerous thing that has ever happened to anyone’s bank account.

Free two day shipping. Need I say more?

Anyways, I was doing some deep searching last week & found some really awesome Mother’s Day gifts for super cheap!

I was basically going off of what I would like as a momma & what I know my momma likes. I tried to find a variety of different products because I know everyone’s mommas are into different things! And all different ages as well. They are perfect for all you mommas out there, & I’m so happy to share them with you!

No. 1: Essential oil set with diffuser OR car diffuser

I put this as the very first because recently I have become a bit of an oil freak. This was actually one of my gifts I got a little early this year & I’m so in love. This is the diffuser we have in our daughter’s room. It’s perfect for a bedside table or even a smaller living area. We had it in our living room for the longest time & it filled the room nicely. Plus is comes with all of these awesome essential oils! I have started using my diffuser in leu of candles. They are just more natural & have so many benefits to them.

If your momma already has a diffuser she loves & uses, I would highly recommend a car diffuser! I have the one below. My husband got it for me for my birthday. It’s such an awesome gift & I get a lot of use out of it! They have some that can sit in your cup holder, but I like this one because it hooks up to the outlet in your car. Plus you can pick your momma’s favorite color!

No. 2: Cute Picture Frames

I feel like this is a universal gift you get for someone that you know they will like. You can never go wrong with a good picture frame. Canvases are a big thing right now I feel like. I love them! But they aren’t the best “last minute” gifts because they are more personalized & take a bit more time to prepare before they are shipped or picked up. Amazon has a ton of super cute picture frames for moms. Here are some of my personal favorites that I found!

Click images to follow link 🙂

My mom’s house is covered with pictures of our entire family & she always loves to add to the collection. I especially love that tree with the hanging birds! My mom always calls us her “chicks” & i just think that’s so cute!

No. 3: Devotionals 

I don’t know about y’all, but there is no greater gift ever given to us than the gift of our God! My momma is such a strong believer & faithful lover of Christ & I know she would love to sit down & read His word everyday.

This is the devotional I got for myself not long ago, & I haven’t been committing to it like I should, but it is so awesome! It’s made specifically for moms. To me, it is such a thoughtful gift!

 

Click images to follow link 🙂

No. 4: Side-by-side journal

I didn’t even know these existed until I stumbled upon them on Amazon. They are the coolest thing. These would be perfect for a granddaughter & Grandma too! It talks about feelings & family. All things  that children need to be taught about. Seriously I can’t get enough of these. I might just buy it for me & my daughter because they are just so cool! What a special bonding activity to share with your momma or little ones!

Click images to follow link 🙂

I’m totally just sitting her typing this & raving about these to my hubby. These are just the sweetest things I have ever seen. It’s a diary that you & your daughter can share. You can decide who is allowed to read it. You can write in it without the other one & then go back and read it later. I can’t even with these. Too cute. PERFECT if you have a “momma-to-be” friend. ♥

No. 5: Herb garden starter kit

Another amazing find! Who else hates buying herbs at the store?! I have been wanting to start my own herb garden lately. I got the idea from my mom who has also been wanting to start her own. She doesn’t have a big backyard, so these little indoor starter kits would be perfect for her! Any mommas who love to cook, loves fresh herbal tea or throws down some mojitos on the weekends would love this gift! And they are so cheap, too. All under $30 & all organic!

 

Click images to follow link 🙂

No. 6: Prayer journal

I am just really into these journals, y’all. They make me think of my momma, too. She secretly loves to write I just know it! Writing your prayers down can really help sort out your thoughts, worries & stresses, & struggles. It’s a different way to connect with God that I think all of us mommas could use! Throughout my day I think about things that I want to pray about & honestly I forget a good bit of them by the end of the day. I try to pray throughout my day when I feel like I need to, but little toddlers & life can get in the way. Having a journal is a good way to write down something in the moment when you think about it, & then come back & pray about it later on.

 

Click images to follow link 🙂

Some journals have prompts and ideas on what to pray about for that day. Even when you may think there is nothing to pray about, there is ALWAYS something. Mommas have that innate need to help others even when we feel helpless. Praying provides help to others more than we realize!

No. 7: Coffee mugs

This is another gift you cannot go wrong with! My mom is addicted to coffee [I guess that’s where I get it from]. Pretty sure every momma needs coffee to get through those days that seem to drag on. Or the days that are so jam packed with stuff, you’re afraid you won’t be able to keep up. Having a cute coffee mug/cup can always lift your spirits!

Click images to follow link 🙂

No. 8: Kitchen gadgets & decor

When looking for gifts, one of my go-tos is anything my momma can use in the kitchen. Great for moms who love to cook. And I found so many cute things for the kitchen on Amazon! I mean anything- dish towels, aprons, utensils, you name it. Every time your momma wipes her hands clean on that quirky little dish towel, she will think of you and smile [if she isn’t already thinking of you, which she probably is].

   

Click images to follow link 🙂

No. 9 Bath bombs & other beauty items

Ever since having children, I have savored my bath times. It has gotten to the point where I plan out my baths. Bath bombs & salts are THE BEST. If you ever wonder what to get me for any occasion/holiday, get me something I can put in my bath. Bath time for mommas & kiddos are two polar opposite concepts. It is a time we can relax, in the quiet, maybe light some candles & just be. Yet another gift you simply can’t go wrong with!

No. 10: Willow Tree memory box

My final find of these amazing Amazon Mother’s Day gifts are these sweet keepsakes. I have always been a fan of the Willow Tree brand. I have a few figurines throughout my home that I absolutely adore. I had no idea, though, that they made these memory boxes! So cute. They have a specific mother/daughter one that is a great pick for Mother’s Day. And one for Grandmas! They are the perfect size to put small memories like favorite pictures, crafts, tickets from places you went together. Anything that means something special to your momma could be kept in this box. An extremely thoughtful gift that she will hold near & dear to her heart forever! Gifts like these are my favorite!

 

I hope y’all can find something extra special for that extra special momma of yours this Mother’s Day. Not gonna lie, I have ALL of these in my “Wish List” right now just waiting to be purchased! Also, *hint hint* to my hubby for future reference 😉 If you think any of these amazing gifts would be perfect for your momma, you can click on the picture of that item & it will take you straight to the link! Happy shopping everyone, & Happy Mother’s Week!

As always, God bless †

Brittany

Dogtags, Dolls & Dinosaurs is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

Momma’s Texas Style Green Beans

Happy Mother’s Week!! I’m totally making this a thing! A whole week dedicated to all of you awesome mommas out there! Personally, I will be honoring my sweet momma in some different little ways on my blog this week. The first is the way to my heart…food. My mom always cooked the most delicious meals as I was growing up. She dreams of opening up her own diner someday & I think that would be the most perfect thing ever! She’s an amazing cook. I get most of my inspiration for my recipes from her.

This one is all her! She started making these green beans when I was about middle school or early high school age & our whole family loves them! They are seriously so yummy. The reason I love them so much is that all of the ingredients have so much flavor in and of themselves that you don’t have to add a bunch of seasoning and things to it. I call them “Texas Style” because of the fried bacon. It just reminds me of the south & home!

It’s so simple. And y’all all know my love of simple recipes! An added plus to this one is it’s a super cheap side dish! Less than $5. Your wallet will love you 🙂 & so will your tummy.

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Here is what you’ll need:

2 cups of fresh green beans

3 cloves of garlic

4 slices of mesquite smoked bacon

Salt & Pepper

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There are only a few simple steps to this recipe & that’s why I love it! Well that, & it just melts in you mouth. I like to prepare everything beforehand. To do this, just cut the ends off of your green beans like so.

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The ends usually have little stems on them & it just makes for a more satisfying look, if you ask me. If I have some extra long ones, I will cut those in half because I don’t particularly like super long beans. But if you do, by all means, leave them that way! 🙂

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Next, go ahead and rinse off your green beans thoroughly. Make sure all of them get coated in water and mixed around a bit. Always better to be safe than sorry when dealing with fresh vegetables. ALWAYS wash them before you cook them & eat them.

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After you get those washed, set them aside. Bacon is the first thing that goes in the skillet, so go ahead and get those cut up as well. I use kitchen shears for these because it takes less than a minute and your hands don’t get as greasy! I cut mine into about 1 inch slices. Heat up your skillet on medium heat, and throw that bacon on there!

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The biggest thing here is that you don’t want to cook the bacon all the way. Maybe about halfway. Until the slices start to look a little translucent and they begin to change color a bit. If you notice your bacon is cooking a little faster than you want, you can always turn the heat down. I know everyone’s stoves are different!

Once you start to see that color change happening, add in your green beans.

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While you’re letting that delicious bacon grease and flavor coat those green beans, chop up your garlic. Super finely chopped. Then add that into the skillet. Still keeping the heat on medium or a little lower. You also don’t want your garlic to burn. Low & slow is sometimes the key to this recipe.

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I usually let mine sit & cook for at least 20 minutes. I like my green beans to still have a bit of a crunch to them. If you like squishy and super soft green beans, that’s when the low & slow comes in. Just keep the temperature around medium-low & cook until it’s reached the tenderness you desire. Sometimes, covering the skillet helps a lot. The steam will help make those green beans softer a lot faster!

When the green beans are pretty much done, I add in the salt & pepper. Not a specific amount, just to taste. The bacon itself already has a good bit of saltiness to it, so you don’t need a lot of salt. Plus this dish is so savory, you really might not even need extra seasonings!

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Stir & serve!

This little serving dish was my momma’s. She is obsessed with vintage pyrex. OBSESSED. She has some really awesome collections, though. I’ve gotten a few pieces passed down to me, & this is one of them. It’s such a perfect holder for these beautiful & scrumptious green beans!

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I encourage you to make a meal for your momma this week! Food is just good for the soul & is such a sweet way to say “I love you”. And I’m sure she would LOVE my momma’s green beans 🙂 just sayin’.

Happy eating & Happy Mother’s Week!

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Here’s what I used:

 

As always, God bless †

Brittany

8 Engaging Ways to Teach Your Child the Alphabet

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Ever get tired of singing the ABC’s over & over again? Do you feel like your kiddo is just singing along with the “words” or do they actually know what each letter is and looks like? I started thinking about this last week. Our daughter has really gotten into nursery rhymes & we love to listen to her sing her ABC’s. She is to the point now where she says every letter! But if I were to ask her, “Where is the letter A?” She would most likely hand me a different letter. She can sing it perfectly, but identifying letters is still a learning process for her.

This lead me to think of some fun ways I could incorporate learning letters into our everyday life with items or toys we may already have in our home. In honor of teacher appreciation week, I am here to tell y’all that learning letters can be so much fun! Learning is not always associated with worksheets! Back when I was a preschool teacher, I remember having to come up with so many different ways to teach the alphabet [and really anything in general]. You have to be creative! You can incorporate modern day ideas & learning techniques to teach your kiddos just about anything. And your kiddo will feel so rewarded after completing each of these fun activities. Which is the whole purpose right?! Enabling that independence that I touched on last week is key!

Learn more aboutHow to Encourage & Promote Independence in Your Child

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No. 1 : Letterboard

I see these things all over the place! Like my kitchen for instance ;). But they aren’t just for cute & witty quotes or sweet bible verses you want to read every day. They can also be a wonderful way to teach you child the alphabet! It’s a great visual tool. Your child can be hands on with it, but the letters can be pretty small, so make sure you monitor them during this activity.

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If your child[ren] are starting to learn the letters, up the challenge level a bit! Put the entire alphabet on the board, but leave out 3-5 letters. Have them put in the missing letters in the correct places. This can also be a great way for them to learn how to spell their names, & [you all know how much I advocate for this] helps them to work on those fine motor skills. I guess it’s the child development student in me, but that’s always an added bonus that makes me happy 🙂

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I got mine on Amazon. You can get it at the link here!

No. 2: Chalk

So simple right!? I did this SO much with my littler clients doing ABA therapy. Mixing the fresh air and kids’ love of the outdoors with learning. My kids love to play with chalk & they can start practicing writing out their letters in a fun way! No boring pencil & paper!

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This is the chalk we use & it lasts us forever!

No. 3: Bath Crayons

Bath time is everyone’s favorite time of the day in this house. Our daughter is always singing her nursery rhymes in the tub. When she starts singing her ABC’s, I like to get out the bath crayons or markers & write out some letters on the side of the bathtub. She loves to guess the letters I’m writing. We are starting to introduce the letters to our son too. He’s still pretty little, though. The night I took these pics, I was having her trace the letters I had drawn. She did pretty good! I love watching her try new things & absorb every ounce of knowledge I try to pass onto her! They really are little sponges.

We have always used the Crayola bath markers & crayons. They comes off easy, are non-toxic & are the perfect size for their little hands!

No. 4: Apps

My children are allowed 30 minutes a day on the iPad. I feel strongly about limiting their screen time, but I am totally not opposed to it. I do believe there are some educational apps out there that can help our children learn. This is one of them!

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ABC Genius is an awesome app to help children learn the alphabet. They have different kinds of activities you can do as well. They have a simple game that tells you to, “Touch the A”, and gives you a little check mark and tells you, “Great job!” when you get it right. They can practice tracing, matching, differentiating between uppercase and lowercase, and tons of other stuff. The game is free, but you can pay a little to unlock a lot more games for your kiddos. Its very engaging and interactive!

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No. 5: Letter scavenger hunt

You can turn a lesson for letter recognition into something super fun for your kiddos with this interactive game! You’ll need a sheet of paper, or whatever you have around the house to write on, for every letter. Then you post the letters in random spots around your house. Or you can make it a fun water play game as well. Get some water guns & whoever finds the letter first gets to shoot it!

This would be a really fun game for those older kids. You can make the hiding spots a little more tricky for them too!

Here are some other fun activities & props you can use!

No. 6: Matching & board games

There are so many types of educational games out there to help your child practice recognizing letters & eventually learning to spell words. There’s matching games, card games, board games, you name it. These can also help with differentiating between upper and lower case letters. They also have games that help you identify letters & match them up with the picture that starts with that letter. All so wonderful in teaching your kiddos the alphabet!

Here are my top choices for y’all!

 

No. 7: Food

Food is a fun & very reinforcing tool to use when teaching children any type of skill. I recently found some fun foods that come in ABC shapes! My daughter LOVES them. Sometimes I even make a mixture of regular macaroni and cheese and ABC mac n cheese, mix the noodles, & have her find the letters. When she finds them, she gets to eat them! Perfect reinforcement & it won’t feel like the kiddos are doing work, because it’s fun! I’ve also just gotten into this thing where I like to find fun cookie cutter shapes & cut their sandwiches into that shape! You can buy ABC cookie cutters & do the same! Or you can actually make ABC cookies! How fun!

My favs!

No. 8: Foam letters & magnets

My last little items on the list here are so popular! I’m pretty sure if you have a friend with kids they have a fridge covered in those plastic or wooden alphabet letters. I sure do. You might also walk into their bathroom & see the foam bath letter scattered all over the tub! Again…guilty. These two items are perfect for little guys. Especially the foam letters. I really like these when first introducing letters. They can put them in their mouth & can be perfect little teethers. I like to try and spell things out for Paislee & then have her tell me what the letters are. Same with the fridge magnets. I’m in the kitchen for probably a quarter of the day [at least] and the kids are always following me in there. While I’m doing the dishes or cooking dinner I can ask Paislee, “Hey, can you find the P?” You keep them busy [which is always a plus] & they are practicing that recognition!

Here’s what we use!

 

Honestly, I think I’m going to start setting aside time every day to work on these skills with my kiddos! Working things like this into your daily routines is so important & can really set your child up for success when they enter preschool. When I taught preschool we would spend a week, sometimes two, on each letter. This will really help your child to learn and absorb all the info you teach them. Repetition is key!

Like I always say, I’m no expert, but I pray y’all have so much fun teaching and guiding your kiddos! That’s one of the many blessings of being a stay at home momma. You get to be apart of all the learning that takes place! It’s such a rewarding and warm feeling when you see them “get it” for the first time. Enjoy, & happy learning! 🙂

As always, God bless †

Brittany

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