Baby Girl Christmas Nursery

I've really been in a funk with Aspens nursery in our new house. I didn't want to change things up until we made her big girl room but it really just didn't fit her personality anymore. We will address designing her a room that is "her" when we do her big girl room. For now, I've embraced all the girliness.

You can see her nursery in our old house here (most sources are linked in this post). 

I changed up a few minor things. The biggest thing that's changed is her new room is big enough for a love seat. We've loved having it in the room and sit there before bed every night and look out the widow over the neighborhood. 

It just so happen that as I was putting her room together, I was also decorating for Christmas so her room is decked out in what I'm calling "Girly Christmas".

Her room has this massive window and the room gets the best natural light in the entire house. 

We added these ikea photo ledges to hold some books that we can change up seasonally. Also, "If Your Happy and You Know It" is her favorite song and I found this cute little print at Love of Character. 

I added this round brass mirror from Target above the changing table (can't wait until I can call it a dresser instead of a changing table!) that I already had.

We also added some wooden pegs to hold bows, a basket full of stuffed animals and her outfit she wore on her first birthday (I think I'll keep that forever).

The Aspen pillow is from Linen and Ivory.

I love a good organized closet. She surprisingly doesn't have a ton of clothes so I took the opportunity to use the right half of her closet as a mini gallery wall and shelf to decorate...

I love these cube organizers (you can find them pretty much anywhere, target, walmart, ikea, etc) for closets. The top two shelves we have toys and blankets on but below we have cubes that store diapers and diaper pail liners.

Ha this was my treat after decorating her room... Apple Cider in my Santa Mug! 

I still havent hung anything above her crib.... when i find the perfect thing, I will know.

This ornament was her yearly onament from last year. Can't wait to have this tradition with both kids.

All bottle brush trees are from target dollar spot last year.

I did't link any sources here, mainly because I'm being lazy and quite honestly, it takes a lot of time to link items and my baby will only let me put him down for so long LOL. The majority of the sources are in the original nursery blog post here. If you can't find something I'd be happy to let you know where it's from! 

Easy Dinners

Let me start off with saying - we don't eat super healthy, but we do eat good and we don't spend a lot of time in the kitchen.

Us, like many others, have our rotation of dinners that we cycle through so I thought I'd come on here and share the recipes and give you my tips of how to eat yummy without spending all your time planning, shopping, cooking and cleaning up dinners.

We shoot to only cook "real" meals two times a week and spend the rest of the week eating left overs, pulling a home made meal out of the freezer or throwing together something fast (ie. see meals always on hand) or getting Uber Eats (we only do this maybe once every other week). And trust me, we aren't going out to dinner anymore without significant planing and it hasn't happened at all since Cooper's been born.

I currently am on a dairy free diet but this post does not reflect that and we've had to cut out some of these recipes or use alternative ingredients.

So before I share my recipes, I'll share my tips first.

1. USE YOUR CROCK POT. My crock pot is my best friend and I recently just upgraded my college tailgating crock pot to a very, low end adult crock pot and we use it ALL THE time.
2. Plan big batch dinners. Most recipes I'm going to share are big batch dinners that we can either freeze or eat left overs.
3. Don't let your left overs go to waste. If you know you are going out to dinner or have other dinner plans and won't be eating your left overs, throw them in the freezer. I keep freezer pans on hand and end up doing this quite a bit. Even if it's just a single serving - throw it in there. Someone will need lunch or be extra hungry someday.
4. Double up recipes
5.Make a bunch and freeze recipe staples. For example, I hate cleaning my spiraler that I use for zuchini spaghetti so I always make enough for 3-4 meals and put the extra in the freezer so I only have to clean once. I also really hate shredding chicken so on occasion i'll throw a few packages of chicken in the crock pot for the sole purpose of shredding, freezing and using for a recipe later.
6. Opt for chopped vegetables at the store. So, I always get onions that are chopped because lets be honest - does anyone enjoy chopping onions? I hate it so bad that i sometimes get my blender out and let it do the work if I don't have a chopped one on hand.
7. If i don't want to do the crock pot because i didn't put it in early enough, ill just modify the crock pot recipes and do them on the stove top. I've specifically done this with white chicken chili when i forgot to turn on the crock put and realized it when we went to go eat dinner. It took about 20 minutes on the stove top.

So basically my tips include your crock pot and the freezer :). Now onto the good stuff, the meals we cycle through.

Big Batch Dinners

Chili - I don't typically follow any one recipe for chili but this one here is similiar to how I make our chili. I don't put sugar in it and typically put several more cans of different type of beans. The great thing about chili is it's really forgiving and you can put lots of different stuff in it. One time i even put mushrooms in it.  We can typically eat on this for 2-3 days.

Crock Pot White Chicken Chili - This might be one of my favorite recipes. OMG so yummy. Recipe on The Chunky Chef. This one is seriously so quick to throw in the crock pot.

Crock Pot Jumbalaya recipe on Budget Bytes.

Million Dollar Spaghetti on Sugar Apron. I split this recipe and immediately freeze half of it because it makes A LOT!

Pesto Chicken - This is actually something I just made up one day. The easiest, and yummiest recipe ever. Put a package of chicken, carrots, 2 zuchini's, 1 squash, 1 onion, jar of pesto and a package of ranch seasoning and a dash of chicken broth in the crockpot on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. You can put the zuchini in much later if you prefer. I'd forget so I just put it in all together. Sometimes we eat it straight out of the crock pot and sometimes I make quinoa and we eat it over quinoa.

One Pan Italian Sausage from Chelseas Messy Apron. I modify it to match the veggies we want in it. We can eat on this for two dinners and two lunches... and then I get sick of it. Also, a meal i typically make quinoa with.

Photo and Alternate Recipe from Just a Taste

Zucchini Spaghetti - We've got this one mastered and don't follow a recipe but if you don't have a favorite red sauce recipe you can find one here. We actually just use jarred spaghetti sauce and put Italian sausage, peppers, onions and mushrooms in it.

For the zucchini as noodles we spiralize them and salt and pepper the shizzzz out of them, put a little olive oil in a pan and saute them for a few minutes. I skip the step most people recommend of drying your zucchini. This occasionally results in really runny spaghetti but its still yummy.

Best Ever Meatloaf from Pip and Ebby - I know meatloaf is controversy but if you hate meatloaf, i encourage you to try this recipe and CHANGE YOUR MIND. You will want to eat meatloaf for every meal. With this we typically pair garlic toast or just a bagged salad.

Easy Enchiladas - We also don't follow a recipe for this but similar to what we do is linked. Basically just ground beef, with a taco seasoning package and an onion, and put a can of corn in it. Then I roll the mixture in tortillas and pour canned enchilada sauce over them and a bag of cheese and bake. Sometimes i put beans or green chilis in them. I ALWAYS freeze an extra batch of enchiladas. I leave the sauce and cheese off of the batch i freeze and then put sauce on when we are ready to pull them out of the freezer and eat them.

Chicken Carnitas from Gimme Some Oven. Makes a ton, super delicious and can freeze the left overs.

Chicken Parm Quinoa from Fit Foodie Finds - One of our favorites and also healthy!! We typically devour this so don't ever freeze it but do eat on it for a few meals. I think it would probably freeze well though. We tend to use the chicken tenderloins instead of breast.

Reams Chicken Noodle Recipe - seriously such a hearty, yummy meal. It makes a ton so we always freeze half of it. It taste even better when you pull it out of the freezer and eat it up. We get mashed potatoes from the deli section at the store to eat with it. OH, i can never find a bay leaf so I leave that out.

Food/Meals we always have on hand
1. Stuff for BLT's. Literally every week at the grocery store I get bacon, bread, tomato and lettuce. I also always have boxes of Velveeta shells and cream on hand for a quick and easy side with BLT's.
2. Guacamole - i always have a few avocados on hand and will eat guac for a meal on occasion or just cut up an avocado for a side. This also means I always have tortilla chips on hand.
3. Naan bread pizzas. I typically grab naan bread at the store too and will make simple pizza's with them. I typically just put olive oil, mozzarella, tomato and goat cheese on mine. Or really whatever fresh produce and cheese I have on hand. Jud prefers meat so he will put shredded chicken on his (hello, chicken in freezer!).
4. Tacos - all you have to have is tortillas (which stay good forever), ground beef and taco seasoning. Super easy to whip up in about 10 minutes. and who doesn't love tacos??? We of course always have salsa and sour cream in the fridge too. And since avacados are another staple - we always throw together some guac to eat with our tacos.

So basically we eat a lot of chicken and ground beef.... But in all seriousness I hope you find some of this helpful and can find a few meals to fit into your family rotation and learn to love your crock pot and freezer as much as I do! I also only have 1-2 meals in the freezer at a time because we are constantly pulling something out to eat.

Santa Pictures!

We received the Santa photos back we took a few weeks ago with 9 Sparrow Lane. Oh my goodness was it the sweetest set up in the cutest little cottage studio. And Santa, he was perfect. Even I wanted to crawl up on his lap and tell him everything I wanted for Christmas (I didn't - don't worry).

I've been maybe a little early with my Christmas spirit this year but when you see Santa the weekend after Halloween, you really just cant help but get in the spirit and deck out your entire house in Christmas tree's afterward.

Aspen loves her books right now. Not so much reading the stories but flipping through, and ripping out pages. Ya know, toddler shennanigans. We got half a smile out of her when Santa broke out the book.

Coop and one of his many grumpy man faces. I swear, he's really never grumpy though! 

My personal favorite because this is real life. This is real life even when Santa's not around. Toddler fits are serious ya'all. I always thought before having kids, when I'd see a kid acting out in public, that my kids would never act like that. LOL. 

This is also one of my favorite Aspen faces. When she's mad at you but not quite fit territory yet, she will avoid eye contact. When do these tiny humans get so many emotions and opinions? I swear, it happened overnight. 

Mr. Cooper looks so cozy and peaceful snuggled up in Santa's arms.

Those big brown eyes get me every time. 

Also, isn't this the sweetest kiss from Santa? I'm normally weird about people kissing my kids (thank you RSV season) but I absolutely loveee this.... 

Christi took such beautiful photos. I swear Aspen cried the ENTIRE time but she managed to get some pictures with her looking somewhat content. Photographers are magic, right? I mean honestly, every time I look at professional photos of our family I feel a sense of magic... these people are my people, and God gave me them!

I never really planned on going to the mall to get Santa photos but these pictures solidified that feeling. We will be visiting Christi, Santa and the cute elves (her kiddos) at the studio year after year. And you can bet that grandparents will be getting pictures of my kids for Christmas.

I highly recommend booking your next family, maternity, birth (SO WISH I WOULD HAVE DONE BIRTH PHOTOS WITH ONE OR BOTH OF MY KIDS), newborn.. ya know whatever type of session you need with 9 Sparrow Lane. Side note: can I have another kid so I can have birth photography?