The BBQ Pulled Chicken recipe I posted a couple of weeks ago has gotten rave reviews.  So, I’ve decided to give you a spin-off of that recipe.   I think you’ll like it just as much!  If you’ve been reading, you know that I love using my crock pot.  I call my crock pot the “domestic wife” in our family, because she always has a meal ready when we get home from work (or at least near ready). 

As mentioned, this is a spin-off of the BBQ Pulled Chicken recipe I talked about here.  If you missed that recipe, then I’ll give you a minute to read that post and catch up…….Ok, now that we are all on the same page, I’ll go on.

Chicken Quesadillas

Things You Need (serves 6)

  1. 2-1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken (from the crock pot)
  2. 2/3 cup salsa
  3. 1/3 cup sliced green onions
  4. 3/4 to 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  5. 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus extra salt to sprinkle
  6. 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  7. 6 flour tortillas (8 inches)
  8. 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  9. Sour cream and guacamole
  10. Olive oil (approximately 3 tablespoons)
  11. Optional, additional ingredients; black beans, corn, jalapeños, green peppers, tomatoes, or whatever you fancy.

Note: I’ve used a package of fajita seasoning to season the chicken mixture in the past when I didn’t have the seasonings mentioned above.  It was great too!

How-to

  1. Take chicken from crock pot and shred.  Instead of adding the BBQ as mentioned in the BBQ pulled chicken recipe, put the shredded chicken in a sauce pan along with the salsa, green onions, cumin, salt, and oregano.  This is where you would include any additional ingredients you choose.  Cook for about 10 minutes or until warm.
  2. Heat about ½ tablespoon olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat, sprinkle with salt to taste.
  3. Place one tortilla in pan.  On half the tortilla layer cheese, then chicken mixture, then more cheese.  Fold the tortilla in half to cover the cheese and chicken. 
  4. Watch the tortilla closely because it will cook fast.  As soon as the first side is golden brown, flip the entire quesadilla to cook the other side.  Once both sides are golden brown, remove from pan.
  5. Slice quesadilla and top with guacamole and sour cream. 
  6. Repeat for each quesadilla.  Enjoy!   

Note: I cook mine in olive oil to give it a nice crispy texture (oh, so yummy).  However, you can also heat in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. 

Psst…one more tip for my time crunching readers.  Cook enough chicken in the crock pot for both recipes.  Divide the chicken after shredding and put half in the fridge for later.  Make the BBQ pulled pork one day and the quesadillas another.  The meat will be ready throw in the pan with the other mexican-like ingredients.  You have two super quick meals for the week.  How great is that? 

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We are so tough on ourselves, aren’t we?  We make decisions for our children – sound, well-thought out, well-researched, I know this is the right way decisions – and then we turn out to be our worst critics.  I do this ALL the time – mostly over small things that shouldn’t really matter.  One day I’ll be thinking about how we should try to give our son more food to see if he’ll eat it.  The next day I worry that we are over feeding him.  It is always something isn’t it? 

I think we torture ourselves because we love our little ones to no end, and we want to do what is best for them.  We want to be a perfect mom and do everything the right way, because we feel they deserve nothing but the best.  We feel a great responsibility to do everything perfectly for our children.  After all, everything always comes back to the mom, right?  At least that is what is in the back of our minds.  We want people to say, “oh, your children are little angels, they are perfect, I’ve never seen one cuter,…”  We are invested in our children and they are a product of our direction, love, discipline, and…

When it comes to the big stuff we really stress, don’t we?  When it comes to parenting topics, there will always be a big debate.  There will always be someone out there to tell you that what you are doing is wrong.  It doesn’t matter what you do, it is wrong.  Well, that is not what For the Love of Mom is about.  I want you to feel uplifted and encouraged.  No two families, moms, or babies are the same; there isn’t one formula that works for every family.  I’ll be the first one to say, “Who cares?”  Who cares if your baby isn’t wearing socks?  Who cares if your baby’s nails are a little long?  (Actually, I’ll never even look at your baby’s nails.)  Who cares how much they eat or how often?  Who cares if your son is wearing high-water pants (I say that because my son has been wearing high-waters for the past month.  It took forever for the weather to warm up this year and I refused to spend money on “winter” clothes when I knew 80 degree weather was right around the corner and my son has tons of spring clothes waiting to be worn.)       

All I care about is that little children are loved.  They deserve kisses, hugs, and tickles.  They deserve quality time with their parents.  My 8 month old has laughed so hard that he’s cried and couldn’t catch his breath.  It was the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen or heard.  I didn’t even know it was possible for an 8 month old.  I must say, that was my proudest “mom” moment to-date.  If I can make my son that happy then I feel like I’ve done the best job I can.  If children are loved then everything else will follow; they won’t be abused, they will be fed, and they will have a roof over their heads.  I would much rather watch a kid run into the arms of a parent picking them up from day care than to see a neglected kid at home with mom.  Don’t get me wrong, you have to do something.  You have to discipline, direct, shape, mold, and instill values.  I just think you need to decide what works for you, your children, and your family.  Then, do it the best way you know how, rather than getting sucked into the tornado of judgment and negativity.

I don’t know many of you personally, but I feel it safe to assume you wouldn’t  subscribe to a blog that didn’t support your efforts as a mother or parent.  With that said, I feel comfortable saying I think you are all great moms (parents).   

 Continue loving your children and give yourself a break from-time-to-time.  I’ll try to do the same.  Love and support other moms and dads even if they aren’t doing things exactly like you would.  Who cares, right? 

There isn’t a distinct purpose for this post other than reminding you that For the Love of Mom was created as an outlet for support and encouragement.  If you like For the Love of Mom, then please share!  If you haven’t yet subscribed, but find yourself on the site often, then why don’t you subscribe?!  (see right navigation bar).   

Enjoy this beautiful, sunny day! (well, it’s sunny where I live)

Most of the country is in for some nice weather this week (finally).  I plan to BBQ at least once, don’t you?  I like barbecuing because I can prep the meat and then let my husband take over.  It also tastes wonderful.  Here is a recipe for BBQ Cornish Game Hens.  My hens are defrosting as I speak type and I’m looking forward to throwing them on the grill this week.  With meat this good, there is no reason to get crazy with sides.  If you want a more relaxing dinner, just pair these hens with some corn on the cob and baked potatoes – two things you can also throw on the grill and forget about while you enjoy some family time.     

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 2 Cornish game hens (1 to 1-1/2 pounds each)
  • 3 Tbs. Olive Oil
  • 1/3 c. Lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs. Coarsely crushed black pepper
  • 1/2 Tsp. Salt
  • 1 Sprig fresh rosemary (optional, but will really make the dish!)

Directions

Split the hens lengthwise, rinse and pat dry. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, crushed pepper and salt. Place the hen halves in a plastic bag. Set the bag in a bowl. Pour the marinade over the hens. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight, turning the hens occasionally. When the charcoal briquets are medium hot, arrange them around a drip pan in a covered grill. Just before grilling, add the rosemary sprig to the coals. Remove the hens from the marinade and place them, skin side up, on the grill over the drip pan. Cover the grill and cook the hen halves for 45 minutes or until done, basting occasionally with the marinade.

Don’t they sound great?

I can’t think of a better day to celebrate the majority of my readers.  It takes a strong, determined, loving woman to go through life giving the love, support, encouragement, discipline, and direction children need to grow to be wonderful people.  I’m the first to admit that this the hardest, most time-consuming, exhausting, and emotional job we will ever have.  But isn’t it so worth it?  You all deserve to celebrate – whatever that means to you.  I hope you have a great day.  Thank you for all you do for your children.  It is no small feat.

I want to hear about your special day from your tear-jerking gifts – to where you went for lunch.   

Happy Mother’s Day!

The resentment/blame game falls on a broad spectrum.  We all fall victim from time-to-time, even if to the smallest degree.  Falling victim to the “game” isn’t the problem.  After all, we are all human, right?  How you move forward is what matters. 

Having our son caused my husband and I to look at things in a new light.  After having our son, we immediately entered this “tired, overworked, over stimulated, just fumbling around” little world.  Our leisurely nights spent curled up on the couch were gone and our workload doubled….in addition to waking up at night.  Both of us were guilty of noticing the things the other person “did not do” or magnifying the things we did.  Everything was fine while I was home because I took care of nearly everything around the house.  This “game” didn’t start until I returned to work.  As you can all relate, when you have a child you are always “on.”  You can’t sit and read after having a bad or incredibly long week.  You can’t just “check out” and decompress when you get home from work.  No; you have to smile, play, tickle, and run around the house pushing a car that your son loves to ride but can’t quite push himself.  It is exciting and exhausting all at the same time. 

Right about the time I started back to work, my son entered this gassy/fussy phase.  It seemed like it lasted forever.  In reality, it only really lasted about a month.  We both worked all day, came home to a baby who just felt miserable, and then fumbled through a nightly routine of spending 30+ minutes trying to get a crying baby to sleep.  It was hard on all three of us.  The good news is that once Kaden could burp and pass gas on his own then he was completely cured.

I remember one particular day when my husband and I were both spent and really tired.  I was mad because I always did the bedtime routine, and he was mad because he always cleaned the bottles.  (I quit breastfeeding by that point.  Here is my story.)  At that moment, we both thought we did more than the other and we just wanted 10 minutes to relax. 

We sat down and talked about everything on our minds.  My husband told me that he let me do the bedtime routine every night because he thought I really enjoyed that time with Kaden.  He told me that he’d do it if I wanted him to.  I immediately pulled back.  Surprisingly, I didn’t want to give it up.  I love stroking my son’s hair while he eats and relaxes, I love how he laughs when I brush his teeth before laying him down, and I love how he looks at me while rubbing my cheek.  We continued to go back-and-forth, talking about our perception of how the workload was being divvied up.  The conversation made us realize that we both do a lot.  Yes, I may cook almost every night, but my husband mows every 4 days in the summer.  He cleans the bottles every night so they are ready in the morning.  He lets me sleep in EVERY Saturday morning while he takes care of Kaden.  He cleans the litter box and vacuums and helps with laundry…and…. Do you get my point?  Since that conversation, we’ve done a good job avoiding the resentment/blame game.  Any time I’m tired and just want to relax, I just think about how much I really do love that time with my son and I think about all the other tasks my husband does to make my job easier.  He does the same.  It isn’t that we don’t get in a slump; we just don’t let those brief thoughts get to us or build in our minds.  At the same time, our eyes have been opened to the other’s stress.  My husband will come home early and cook from-time-to-time and I’ll vacuum the floors for him so he can relax.   

The Moral of the Story:

  • Communicate!  Often problems escalate because people don’t talk.  Tell one another what’s on your mind and listen to what they have to say.  Be open-minded and respectful.
  • It’s all about perspective.  Remember that each of you perceive a situation differently.  In the example I gave above, my husband “let” me do the bedtime routine because he could tell how much I loved it.  I, on the other hand, thought that he was pushing it on me because he was ready to “check out” and relax.  It is all about perspective.  If you don’t talk then you’ll never see where the other person is coming from.
  • Consider the whole story.  Start thinking about what the other person does do, rather than what they don’t do.  When you start to consider the whole picture, you might notice that the duties are pretty well divided and that the other person really does contribute.
  • You are a team.  You chose to go through life together.  You chose to have children together.  Look at it as “we” instead of “I” and work together.    
  • Relax.  If you are stressed and there is something that isn’t pressing, then put it off.  It is ok to skip doing laundry to keep your sanity.  Read the post about my laundry dilemma here.  At the same time, don’t worry about a chore left undone by your husband or wife.  Realize they are just as busy and also need time to relax. 

It’s Friday, which means the weekend has started.  Weekends are usually more relaxed and make for better opportunities to have needed conversations.  It is much easier to discuss things when you aren’t completely stressed.  So, take time this weekend to obliterate this “game” and start next week on a better track.    

Happy Friday!

This lesson touched me and caused me (and my husband) to think about how we want to raise our son.  There are obvious things that jump out to us, like loving God and people, being compassionate, strong, well-rounded, and the list goes on.  Since deciding to grow our family, we started thinking about all the things we wanted to instill in our future son or daughter, but never took the time to think about the “how” part.  It is easy for us to say, “I want my son to grow up loving people and loving life,” but puts things in perspective when we start thinking about the “how” part of that equation.  One of our many responsibilities as parents is to instill values, morals, and character traits in our children.  We want our son to be compassionate and caring.  In order to instill that trait, we need to demonstrate love and compassion ourselves.  We need to allow our son to practice compassion by volunteering as a family, working at a soup kitchen, or whatever those activities may be.  If we want our son to grow up loving and serving God, then we need to demonstrate our love for God and teach him as he grows.  It is the “how” part that is often difficult for parents.  As parents, we need to figure out the “how” part to see results in our children.  I hope you enjoy this read from Sharon Jaynes.  She provides thoughts about motherhood, women, and parenting.  If you enjoy this read, you’ll likely enjoy other articles by Sharon Jaynes.  We will never be perfect parents.  By taking time to think about this topic, we will be on our way to being the best parents we can be.         

   

LESSONS FROM THE BAMBOO FARMER

Today’s Truth
Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary (Galatians 6:9 NASB).

Friend to Friend
For years I told people that I was in labor for 23 hours. However, the truth is more like 21 years. Being a mother has been the most fulfilling, frustrating, exciting, exhausting, mind-boggling, hair-raising thrilling tiring, stimulating, soul-stirring, delightful, difficult, consuming, laborious, uplifting, inspiring, challenging, captivating, and rewarding job I’ve ever had. Did I mention difficult? I should have gotten a clue when I was told that having a child begins with a word called “labor.”

I’ve had times when I felt like throwing up my hands in frustrations and saying, “I quit!” Is what I’m doing making any difference to anyone? I want results! Show me results!  Then I think about the bamboo tree.

When the Chinese plant bamboo, first they plant the seeds, then water, and fertilize them. The first year, nothing happens. The second year they continue to water and fertilize the seeds, and still nothing happens. The farmer continues this process for a third and fourth year with no visual results. Then sometime during the fifth year, in a period of approximately six weeks, the Chinese bamboo grows ninety feet.

The question is, did it grow ninety feet in six weeks or did it grow ninety feet in five years? The obvious answer is that it grew ninety feet in five years. If the grower hadn’t applied water and fertilizer every year, there would be no bamboo.

It is the same way with raising children. We pour into their lives. We plant seeds of character, pull weeds with discipline, water with prayer, and fertilize with encouraging words. Then one day, if we are persistent and consistent, we will see beautiful results. 

If you are in the midst of raising your children, or even a parent of grown children waiting to see the results, I want to encourage you to press on.  Don’t give up!  Keep praying!  Keep encouraging!  Keep loving! And one day, when you least expect it, your child will “rise up and call you blessed.”

 

Closing Thoughts: How to Get Started and Move Forward

  • Make a list of character traits that you long to see in your child.   
  • What seeds are you planting in his or her heart to produce such a crop?  What are you doing in your life to demonstrate the traits you wish to instill?  Basically, think about the “how” part. 
  • Make a list of glimpses of good fruit that you see budding in your child this week.  Periodically evaluate progress in your children.    
  • Most of all, don’t give up, but rather press on.  Your little bamboo trees will soon grow up to be as beautiful as you imagined.    

Mother’s Day Ideas

It is Wednesday….mid-week….we are on the down hill toward Sunday….which is Mother’s Day!  Dads, are the plans made?  Mom’s have you gotten excited about your special day?  Sons and Daughters, have you been working on that special gift for your mother? 

Mother’s Day is much more meaningful to me this year.  It isn’t more meaningful because I’m a “mother” and get to celebrate, but because I now know how it feels to be a mother.  Emotionally, it is the most wonderful feeling in the world.  My heart has been filled with much more love than I ever thought possible and continues to grow with each day, which also seems impossible.  I now belong to the “it is indescribable, you’ll know when you’re a mother” club.   I love my son more than life itself and could never begin to explain the love I have for him (hence the name of the club).  I’m thrilled to call  myself a member.  To me, Mother’s Day feels like a day more for my son than for me.  I don’t feel as though I need this grand recognition for anything I’ve done during my short time being a mother.  In fact, I don’t want recognition.  The things I do are for my son, not for myself.  My recognition will come when he is 25 and shows me what a great man he’s turned out to be.  The job isn’t easy, but I never asked for it to be.  If my life is busy it is because I choose to be present in my son’s life, as I’m sure you all can relate.  I know my husband is planning something great and I’ll be thankful, but I’m really just looking forward to spending the day with my son.   

If you are looking for a great Mother’s Day gift for your mom, then these ideas may help.  I want to hear about amazing, meaningful, Mother’s Day gifts you’ve either given or received.  I can always use ideas. 

Check out Social Graces post on DIY Concertina Photo Album.   Doesn’t it look fabulous?  It is an easy DIY project.

I recently created a photobook on Shutterfly.  I had a free coupon and had free shipping, so it was free.  I decided that I’d make a book for Kaden, so I turned the photobook into a story book.  You can see the exact book I made here.  I’m biased, but I think it turned out perfect.  Many relatives have seen gushed about the book – a response we didn’t quite expect.  We are going to make story books to give out for Grandparent’s Day this September (if you know Kaden’s grandparents, then shhhhh!).  However, I think it is a great idea for mother’s day as well.  

Click here for gift ideas for mothers in every stage of motherhood – new mom to empty nester.   Some ideas are a little corny, but if you love The Holiday, you’ll appreciate me saying, “some moms are looking for corny in their lives.”  Do you remember a similar line in the movie?  I think I have the entire movie memorized.  Getting back on track,  there are also some really great ideas. 

Tell me something wonderful about your little one(s).  Do you have special gift ideas?

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