Menu Monday

Am I the only one still in a little shock that its already Thanksgiving?!!  This year has really flown by!  We are a little bummed because hubby doesn't get to be home with us this year but I'm determined to make it fun and special regardless!
Definitely taking it easy on the cooking this week but still trying a new recipe and have several recipes to link to for ya!!
Hamburger Stroganoff over Pasta w/ Peas
Cereal or Salad or Leftovers (or whatever you can find to eat!)
{this is probably the only time you'll ever see leftovers and exclamation marks together from me!}
Enchiladas & Pinto Beans
CP Chicken & Dumplings w/ Green Beans
I hope that everyone has a fabulous Thanksgiving full of family, food, & football (Go Cowboys!!) and that you take some time to really count your blessings!


Menu Monday

Woah.  Winter came to visit the beach early this year and it kinda has me thrown off!  Seriously, y'all....it is COLD.  And for any readers that live in the north, feel free to laugh...;)  But it has been in the 30's.  And let me remind you that I live in Florida.  By the beach.  Sigh.  My boys are praying for snow and I'm praying the opposite ~ I guess we'll see who's prayers are stronger! 
{totally kidding! haha!}
This weather has me wanting all kinds of yummy comfort food but my nutrition log and desires are kind of duking it out right now!  I did my best to find some middle ground! ;)
Skillet Sausage, Cous Cous, and Corn
CP Potato Soup w/ French Bread
~see recipe below~
Teryiaki Chicken, Jasmine Rice, & Pineapple
Chili & Cornbread
Meatloaf, Mash Potatoes, & Green Beans
Breakfast for Dinner
I know I originally found the potato soup recipe online but its been a long time ago and I have no idea where I found it to be able to link.  So I figured I'd just share it here!!  Very easy, quick, and SO yummy!!
Crockpot Potato Soup
30oz bag frozen hashbrowns
3 - 14oz cans of chicken broth
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 C onion, chopped
1/4 tsp pepper
1 pkg cream cheese, cubed

Combine everything in your crockpot except the cream cheese.  Cook on low for 4 -6 hours.  About 2 hours before serving, add in the cream cheese.  Cook until cheese is melted!!
Top with bacon pieces, cheese, crispy jalapenos or whatever else you think sounds good!!
*don't use reduced fat cream cheese because it doesn't melt well at all!*

Be sure to let me know what you think if you try it!! 

Last week, we tried Chicken Chili Verde tacos for the first time and it was a HUGE hit!  My super picky eater ate them.  My teenager ate and ate and ate them and then ate them for lunch the next day too!  And I made a salad with it instead of a taco and it was amazing!!  You should definitely give them a try!

Now I'm off to make a hot cup of coffee and try to get warm!!  Hope your week is off to a fabulous start!!



As promised in my Menu Monday post, here are the recipes for Crockpot BBQ Chicken and Honey Garlic Chicken!  Both of these are super quick and easy and super yummy!  They are also both on my very short list of things my RIDICULOUSLY picky eater will eat!
Crockpot BBQ Chicken
2-3 Chicken Breasts
1 bottle of bbq sauce
1/4 C vinegar
1/4 C brown sugar
1/2 - 1 tsp garlic powder
Mix bbq sauce with vinegar, brown sugar & garlic powder.  Place chicken in the crockpot and pour sauce over it.  Cook on low for 4-6 hours.
Honey Garlic Chicken
3 lg chicken breasts
1/2 C brown sugar
2 tsp dry mustard
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 C honey
Preheat oven to 350.
Lay chicken in 9x13 baking dish.  Spread each ingredient over the chicken in order and do NOT mix.  Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes.
**I only use about 1tsp of dry mustard cause my picky eater doesn't do spicy and the 2tsp is a little much for him.**
You'll have to let me know if you try either of these!!  They are definite hits for my family!
Happy Friday!!


Life Lately

When I think of life around here lately I think....
FuN. MemoRies. fRiends. LoTs O' sMiles.
faMily. CaNdy.  puZzLes.
LoVe. gAmeS. SocCer. HalloWeeN.
FirEwOrkS. BesTieS. CraZy.
And the best way to share more in my opinion?!  Pictures!!  And lots of 'em!!
Meemi came for a visit....
Picking her up at the airport!!
the big boys love to play games with their Meemi!

and Dylan loves to do puzzles with her!

ice cream date!!
this is my abc book that Meemi made me when I was a little girl!  I haven't seen it in years and Meemi brought it to me!!  LOVE!  Brings back so many sweet memories!

one last hug and a tough goodbye.  it never gets easier but I'm so thankful for this time we had with her!
The day that Meemi left we were all kinda bummed and I know I didn't really feel like doing school work so instead we worked together on this 400 piece puzzle!  One of the things I love about homeschooling!  It took a couple of hours, a lot of patience and perseverance but we did it and the boys were super proud!!
all done and proud!!
Next up was Halloween!!  Brayden and Dylan dressed up and still enjoy trick or treating but Colby is "too cool" for trick or treating! ;)  My bestie's hubby LOVES Halloween, is always the scariest house in the neighborhood, and Colby has had so much fun helping him Halloween night for the last couple years.
Headed out w/ a duck hunter, spider man, and a soon to be creepy clown! ;)
Dylan and his "best fwend Ashwey"!  Cuties!

Our trick or treating crew!!

and here's Colby.  Creepy.
 Last weekend, we went to the Blue Angels Homecoming air show!  Our favorite is the night show!  The Blue Angels don't perform, but we are very fortunate that we get to see the Blues fly every time they practice (which is often! they fly RIGHT over our house!) so we like to go see the dark show!  They have all kinds of really neat stuff and lots of fireworks!!
the show kicks off with sky divers and the first one displays the flag while they play the national anthem!  Super cool!
the whole group!
the kiddos were captivated!!
me and my lil guys! and RIGHT after this pic my phone died. boo!  so no more air show pics!!
And I know I've posted about Dylan's soccer quite a bit but I was so proud of him after his game on Saturday!!  He scored 3 goals and did so well participating during the game.  Two of his goals were in the wrong goal but we'll take what we can get!  Haha!!  He was so proud of himself and we had lots of fun watching!
so proud of my crazy lil guy!
Life feels like its moving at warp speed!!  I cannot believe its already time for Thanksgiving and Christmas but I'm doing my best to enjoy these sweet boys of mine and the crazy, sometimes chaotic life that God has blessed us with!!


Menu Monday

Well....darn!  I missed posting last week mostly because I've been soooo sick.  I finally gave up and went to the doc last Monday and left with the most ridiculous bag of meds and strict orders from the doc to REST.  Sigh.  Thankfully, my Meemi had been in town and had a couple days til she left so I did my best to rest.  And then she left and I was exhausted and still sick and ugh!  But thankfully I am finally...as of today....feeling better!  3 weeks.  One of those weeks on antibiotics and FINALLY!!
isn't that a crazy big bag o' meds?!
All that to say that last week I was in survival mode!  But I'm back in the saddle again this week and here's what will fill our tummies!!
Homemade Pizzas
CP BBQ Chicken w/ Green Beans
Sausage & Veggie Bake
Honey Garlic Chicken w/ Broccoli
CP Chicken Chili Verde Tacos & Guacamole
Out to dinner w/ friends!
In my last Menu Monday post I shared links for recipes to two new recipes for us!  I am excited to report that both the Swedish Meatballs and the Southwest Eggrolls were HUGE hits!!  Its always fun to find recipes that the family enjoys!
This week, the Chicken Chili Verde tacos are new to us and I can't wait to try them!  Later this week I'll be posting my recipes for Honey Garlic Chicken and Crockpot BBQ chicken so be sure to check back!!  Both super simple and super tasty!  Hope everyone is staying warm and that your week is off to a great start!!


Our Little Soccer Star

Dylan finally played in a game last weekend!!!!  I really thought it might not happen....I mean....it only took 5 games!  And to be honest, I'm not sure what it was that changed!  He did SO well and I was soooo excited and proud!
He continues to do really well in practice ~ its so much fun to watch him!
warm ups!
he's all business at practice!!
I'm hoping this last weekend wasn't a fluke and that he will keep wanting to play in his games!!
about to score a goal!!
I was able to get video of one of his goals!!! {just ignore my "crazy mom" yelling! ha!}
And of course the game wouldn't be complete without a laugh!  I looked away for a minute and looked back up to see this....
Dylan and his little buddy just chillin' on the field!  The game was totally going on around them ~ Haha!  Never a dull moment with tot soccer!!
We're over halfway through the season and I'm having the best time watching my "baby" play!!
Goooo Lions!!!


Menu Monday

Well....I have been super sick all of the last week and I know that you know how exhausting it is to be the mama and be sick.  No fun!  Ain't nobody got time for hat!  So far, none of the boys have come down with it and for that I am thankful!
But sick or not, we have a FUN week planned!  My Meemi aka my grandma is coming for a visit tomorrow, of course the buzz of excitement over Halloween is growing daily, and I have been working on organizing a women's ministry event for Saturday and I can't wait to see it come together!
And now, the star of the show......
our menu for the week!!
Skillet Sausage, Couscous, & Corn
Teriyaki Chicken, Jasmine Rice, & Pineapple
Peanutty Chicken Cutlets & Roasted Carrots
Crockpot Potato Soup w/ French Bread
(yes we just had this last week.  I just love this stuff and wanted it again this week!!)
Chili & Cornbread
Crockpot Beef Stroganoff over Pasta w/ Peas 
Last week we tried Southwestern Egg Rolls and Swedish Meatballs for the first time and both were HUGE hits here!!  This week, the Teriyaki chicken is new to us ~ stay tuned!  I'll let ya know what we think next week!!
Hope your week is off to a great start!!


Menu Monday

We had such a fun weekend!!  It always seems to go by so fast!  Which brings us to another Monday and another menu!  Last week didn't go as I planned each day, so a couple of meals are repeated this week.  That's one thing about menu planning ~ if it doesn't happen as planned it means you've already got meals ready for the next week! ;)
Here's what will fuel the crazy in the Miculka home this week!!
CP Potato Soup w/ French Bread
Honey Garlic Chicken
CP Swedish Meatballs, Mash Potatoes, & Green Beans
As always, I'm linking to a few of the recipes!  Southwestern Egg Rolls & Swedish Meatballs are new for us this week ~ can't wait to try them!!  Hope everyone has a fun filled week!!


Menu Monday

It's that time again!!  I'm going to be trying at least one new recipe each week in an effort to add to our regular rotation of meals and I'm a little excited to try some new stuff!  As always I'm linking to a couple of recipes and if there is a meal I don't link to that you are wondering about, just ask!!  I'm all about sharing!
(this one didn't end up happening last week!)
Apple Chicken Meatballs & Sweet Potato Fries
Sausage & Veggie Bake
CP Potato Soup w/ French Bread
Peanut Pasta & Roasted Carrots
Lasagna, Salad, & Garlic Bread
All of the recipes I'm linking to this week are from Shay at Mix and Match Mama and if you are ever in need of meal ideas be sure to check her blog!!  She is the sweetest and her recipes are crowd {and family} pleasers!!
We are fighting flu season ickies already which is NO fun but I'm determined to have everyone healthy by the weekend because we've got some super fun plans!!
Hope your week is off to a fabulous start!


Fall Soccer

Dylan is playing soccer this year for the first time!!  It has got to be about the cutest thing ever!!
shopping for his gear!

He was so excited to go to his first practice and he's done really well at practice!  He listens to the coach and has already learned so much!

all ready for his 1st practice.
sweaty boy after working hard at practice!
And then it was time for his first game!  He woke up and couldn't wait to put his jersey on!  He asked over and over if it was time yet.  And then?  We got to the game and he REFUSED to step foot on the field.  Sigh.  I tried.  His brothers tried.  His coaches tried.  But all to no avail ~ he had his mind made up and he was NOT playing.
he started off sitting on the sideline.....
and then ended up laying face down on the sideline.  seriously.  sigh.
He has another game this weekend so I'm hoping he will actually play in it!!  I guess we will see!


Menu Monday

Happy Monday!
We finally have some fall like weather here in Pensacola and I'm loving it!!  Fall is my favorite for so many reasons ~ one of them is the routine it brings.  I love the freedom and fun of summer but I'm always very ready for the more structured routine that fall brings!  We are all settled into our school routine and I know I've said it before, but I love the structure that meal planning brings to my days so I'm back at it!  No guessing or trying to figure it out!
Here's what we'll be eating this week.....
Chili & Cornbread
CP Creamy Italian Chicken & Rice w/ Green Beans 
Honey Garlic Chicken & Broccoli
Enchiladas & Pinto Beans
CP Chicken & Dumplings w/ Green Beans
Breakfast for Dinner
Sharing is caring so I've linked to several recipes so that you can check them out if interested!  Hope everyone's week is off to a great start!!
And as a bonus....I made these Pumpkin Chocolate Chip muffins for breakfast one day last week and they were a hit!!  And I shared with 2 neighbor friends and got calls from both raving about them!  You've got to try them ~ SO simple and SO good!!



We are diaper free!!!  My "baby" is growing up SO fast!!

While I am excited to not have to buy diapers and carry them everywhere and all that comes along with having a little one in diapers, my heart hurts just a little. 
How is he so big already?!  I feel like I've really tried to cherish each stage with him.  Having a pre-teen/teenager and a baby/toddler at the same time gives unique perspective on just how quickly it goes by!  And yet, even with that perspective and trying my best to really enjoy each stage it all just seems to pass just a little too quickly!
I really have to give my mother in law most of the credit on this one ~ last week while I was away on my trip,  she had the boys and did the heavy lifting with potty training! { I know.  I know.  Don't hate me too much! ;) }   And after a few days of staying pretty close to home and working thru a few kinks this week, I think it is safe to say littlest is potty trained!

And a little bonus for ya......some outtakes from trying to get a pic of him today!  Why, oh why, is it like a mini workout to get a decent pic?!  Ha!!

Such a silly boy!
Goodbye baby/toddler days and hello life with all big boys!!


My Trip & Thoughts on Blogging

I've spent a lot of time thinking about blogging the last couple of months.  Most of those thoughts centered around how much I miss it.  And about all that blogging has brought into my life.
The first blog post I ever wrote says so perfectly why I started blogging.  You can read it HERE.  And for a long time, I feel I stayed so true to my original desires in starting this blog.  And then life got really hard.  REALLY hard.  And I'm so frustrated with myself for letting the "hard" in my life distract me from so much.  Especially from blogging the day to day consistently.  I absolutely love to look back over the years at all that I have recorded here and I have no doubt that so much of it I wouldn't remember if it wasn't for blogging.
Then there are the unexpected gifts that have come from blogging!  One of the greatest of these is the friendships born out of growing to know each other through our writing.  Erin, at Bringing Up Burns, is one of my oldest and dearest blogging friends.  Our friendship was born before I even wrote my first blog post and I don't think either of us could have guessed just what a blessing this friendship would grow to be!! 
There are very few people who not only comprehend but actually share my love for reality tv.  Especially for Big Brother.  And The Bachelor/ette.  And then there's The Young & the Restless.  Yeah....judge me all you want.  I own my crazy and there is no shame in my game! And Erin?!  She just gets it.  She's my people!!  This common love brought us closer originally.  Over the years the friendship grew and we have seen each other through the highest of highs and prayed each other through some rough lows.  Erin is an amazing woman. wife. mom. friend.  She is crazy talented and gorgeous!  She has inspired me in so many ways for so long!  For years we have talked about how "one day" we were going to make it work to meet in person.  And then?!  It happened.  It all fell into place and I spent 5 glorious days with her last week.  5 days in her home, getting to do life with her and getting to know her family, watching the Big Brother 16 finale together and then y'all???  We went to the Big Brother cast party in LA.  Best.Night.Ever!!!
Finale night.  In our #teamcody shirts.  sad that our favorite jersey boy didn't win.
got to do some LA sight seeing!
@ the party!  Me & Mr. Calafiore | Me, Paul, & Kat | Me &  Ryan | Erin, Me, & Beast Mode Cowboy aka Caleb.
Danielle & me. | Me & Brittany.

more @ the party!  Me & Judd | Gina Marie & me | Me & Amber | Erin, Kat, Victoria, & me.

Erin ~ thank you for last week.  Every single thing I've always admired about you was confirmed to me in every way.  You amaze me!  Your love for your family.  Your talent.  The rock star way you are just you and its fabulous!  I'm beyond grateful for you. and our friendship. and the memories made last week!  BeaSt MoDe.  Barefoot what?!  EleVen.  KaT.  8 hrs and 8 bottles.  Bitches on motorcycles.  No fOrKs.  "You're Nick and you're hot"  LuKe. So many memories and so much fun!  I flove you. 
Planning and anticipating and enjoying this trip has really helped me realize what a gift blogging has been and is.  And I could give a laundry list of reasons why I'm too busy or blah blah blah but the reality is that we make time for the things that matter.  I don't think I realized just how much, but blogging matters to me.  A lot.  So I am going to make time to journal the day to day ~ the big and little happenings ~ this beautiful life that is mine!


He's Home and Menu Monday

Well...we've survived another deployment!!  You might think that each time it would somehow get easier but it definitely doesn't.  Each time brings its own unique challenges but God is good and I'm ever so thankful for His grace!! 

Without getting into all the crazy military lingo, while this wasn't our first deployment, but it was our first time to have the opportunity to be pier side when the ship pulled back in!  It was SUCH a neat experience and I'm so thankful we got to do it!
Here you can see the boat as they were almost pier side!  They had been "manning the rails" or standing around the perimeter like that for quite a long time!!

This is us waiting thru all the stuff that has to be done before they are allowed off the boat.  Hubby was standing directly in front of us!!  We could see him and he could see us!! 

My first hug!!!

the boys running to their daddy!!
This time is definitely different in that hubby is stationed about 6 hours away from us.  So he got to come home for 2 weeks and then had to go back to the ship.  The ship schedule is very demanding and not always flexible at all but we are hopeful that we will get to spend at least a few days a month together while they are in port.  Certainly not easy but we are confident that we are walking the path that God has called our family to and so we are walking in trust.  Trusting that God's plans for our family (while hard to see or understand right now) are good and looking forward excitedly to the day our family can be under the same roof again!!
While home on leave,  John laughed one day and told me that one of his favorite things he'd seen since being home was the menu on the fridge from the end of March!!  Haha!!  Oops!  So I figured it was time to get it together and get back to menu planning!! ;)
Here's what will fuel our summer fun this week....
Crockpot Creamy Chicken & Rice w/ Green Beans
Bisquick Chicken Parm over Pasta w/ Salad
Breakfast for Dinner ~ Biscuits w/ Sausage Gravy & Scrambled Eggs
Make Your Own Pizzas
BBQ Sandwiches & Green Beans
Hope everybody's week is off to a wonderful start!!  Don't forget to click on the linked meals to check out the recipes!!
Happy Monday!
But he said to me, "my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ's power may rest on me.
~2  Corinthians 12:9~


Menu Monday!!!

It's been a while since I've done a Menu Monday post and I've missed it!!  I'm craving the routine that menu planning brings to my evenings ~ no wondering what to make or trying to figure it out!  Here's what will fuel the fun around here this week....
*Tuesday ~ Crockpot Beef Stew w/ French Bread
*Wednesday ~ Tacos
*Thursday ~ Breakfast for Dinner
*Friday ~ Crockpot Bacon Ranch Chicken over Pasta w/ Side Salad
*Saturday ~ Eat Out!
Yum yum yum!!!  We've got cooler temps headed our way today for what I'm hoping will be the last cold front to come through!!  We are ready for sunshine and lots of beach time around here!  Be sure to click on any meals that are linked to get the recipes!  Hope everyone has a great week!!
I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
~Psalm 27:13~


Guys Night.....

......plus Mom! hehe!!

Last month when I heard that the Harlem Globetrotters were coming to town, I just knew my older boys would LOVE to go!!  And then?!  I was able to score great seats on Groupon so I got tickets and told the boys they could each invite a friend!! 

Last night was the night.....I dropped littlest off, picked up a couple extra boys and we headed out for the night!  I took the 4 of them to dinner and then we headed downtown.  I'm not sure who had more fun ~ I loved the time to just focus on Colby & Brayden!  My time and attention is largely occupied by Dylan, (because ya know...he's 2 and well...need I say more?!!) so I wanted last night to be all about these two handsome older boys of mine!! 

{got their Globetrotter bballs and they were ready for the show!}

{there they are!!!}

{there was lots of dancing!}

{get on your feeet!!!!}

{after the show they were able to get several autographs ~ so cool!!  This is the boys with Thunder!!}

{Colby getting TNT's autograph!!  The only female on the team ~ again...so cool!}

{Brayden's biggest wish was to get Scooter's autograph!  Not only did he get the autograph but a picture too!!}

{On our way out w/ their autographed balls!!}
They laughed, danced, sang at the top of their lungs in the car, ate lots of junk food, laughed some more ~ it was just such a great night with them!! And the Globetrotters??!!  SO FUN!!  They put on a great show!

There is just something about seeing true joy in my little guys smiles that just makes my heart smile!  These are memories I will never forget and I don't think they will either!  They are still over the moon excited and talking about it today!