Florida Fun: Meet the Twins Edition

  Remember when I posted this a last November when my brother, Chad and his wife, Lauren came for a visit?

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They were pregnant with identical twin boys.  From the get go, the Lord has worked miracle after miracle for this family, first in the womb, then during an emergency c-section at 32 weeks gestation, on Mother’s Day no less!

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And here they are, home from the NICU at last!

Colby and Brayden

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  I was soooooooo excited when Dale said he’d stay home with the kids, so I could fly down for 5 days and help out with the babies.  {Squeee!!!!!}  God is good and provided me with a ticket $200 less than the other prices I had been finding.

  At 10:30 pm, the night before I left, it was decided Paxton should come with me.  For multiple reasons, but partly because this is the last time he could fly free as a lap child.  Why not take advantage of some one on one time with Pax?!  I am a planner by nature, so it was out of character for me to be packing the morning I was leaving, but I went with it.  See how laid back I am getting in my old age?

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The airport was SO exciting!


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   Paxton was supposed to ride as a lap child, but the Lord was good to provide us a “spare seat”  on part of the way down. 

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  He played quietly with the few cars and books I packed, and sat nicely. I was so proud of him! 

  We had a 3 hour layover in Atlanta.  We walked and played during our long layover and watched the “pwanes” coming and going.  I love experiencing things through the eyes of my children!   

  We arrived way earlier than scheduled, but Dad and Drea were ready and waiting for us at the airport. Drea stayed with the car so she wouldn’t get a ticket, but Papa and Pax had a sweet reunion in the airport.

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  We drove the hour and a half to Chad’s house.  YAY! It was time to meet Brayden. Colby was still in the NICU at this point.  We all prayed really really hard that the doctors would allow him to come home. They were being very strict about him, as he was having some trouble with a dropping heart rate during his feedings. 

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  PRAISE GOD, he got released the morning after we arrived, so just as planned, I got to be there for Chad and Lauren’s first days at home as parents of identical twin preemie boys.  God is so good to give us the desires of our hearts! 

  Lauren went up to the hospital all by herself and brought those precious boys home: SUPER MOM already!

  They stopped at the family furniture store first, since that’s where we all were.

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Is it a bird, a plane?

NO! It’s SUPER MOM! 

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  Two babies in the car and she still stops to get Chad his favorite drink AND walks in all by herself! 

  Naturally we had to take lots of photos of the happy family, together at last!

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Uncle Chad and Aunt Lauren playing “Zoom” with Paxton.

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  My “vacation” was BUSY! In a good way.  I helped Lauren with the boys, cleaned their beautiful home, cooked, put some extra casseroles, cubed chicken and easy dinners in the freezer, reorganized the kitchen and played with Paxton! It was great!  I am ready to go back!  🙂

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I have never had a tiny baby, after Destiny’s 7 lbs 11 oz,  they were all 9 1/2 & over 10 pounds.  I loved being able to hold Colby and Brayden one handed!  And my arm didn’t even go numb like it used to with big babies Avery and Paxton! 🙂

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  We had one sunny day while we were there, since Hurricane Debbie was parked out in the ocean the whole time.

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{They got about 25 inches of rain and surrounding towns had tornadoes!}

   I didn’t care, I was there for the babies, so the rainy weather made it extra fun to be holed up in the house with the boys.

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I told Pax, “Be sure to hold his head.”

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“Uh oh, Mommy! He is starting to make some noises.”

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“You ok, buddy?”

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  Brave Chad and Lauren decided we’d all load up and head somewhere fun on Saturday.  We went to a really cool park.  You paid by the carload to get in, then you could swim in the natural spring! It was amazing!  Next time we come, I want to bring the kiddos and do this.  The water was so clear!

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   We put our names in at this cool restaurant that used to be a sugar mill.  It was such a cool old building.

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The wait was long, like an hour and a half, so we went to play while we waited.

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“I did it, Papa! Thanks for showing me how!”

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“I love you, Papa.”

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“Let’s eat already!”

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The twins thought it was time to eat too, so Chad and Lauren went and found a shady bench. You should’ve SEEN the crowds gathered around them asking questions about these itty bitty identical twin boys!

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We were all getting so hot and tired, but it was worth the wait in the long run. 

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This restaurant is famous for:  IMG_2399

  You cook your own breakfast on a griddle in the middle of the table! Too cool!

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  It was SOOOO delicious!  What a fun treat!

    My trip was drawing to a close, and I missed my own little family, but it was hard to say goodbye, knowing I wouldn’t see these precious ones until they are 6 months old! IMG_2237

  After a long flight home, Pax and I were anxious to hug on our Ferguson family. 

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  The whole crew came to the airport to pick us up.  I, of course, don’t have photos of it, but Avery and Paxton held hands the whole way home, then giggled and played like best friends rest of the evening.  Destiny said the house was TOO QUIET with Paxton gone!  They have forbidden me from leaving for Florida again without them! They wanted to go meet Colby and Brayden, too!

  Thank you Chad and Lauren, for allowing us to come be a part of your first week home, all as a family!

  Love you, kiss those precious boys for me!

~ T 

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Blueberry White Chocolate Cream Cheese French Toast Casserole

  Now THAT is a title if I ever saw one!  I found this recipe on my cousin, Cassi’s blog over a year go and have been meaning to make it!  When Aldi’s had their blueberries on sale, I knew it was time.   Here’s the kicker though……

Do you know those new Cream Cheese Indulgence from Philadelphia? 

I had a coupon for one this week, so I bought it and had NO idea how I was going to use it.
Then it HIT me! 

   I was going to make Cassi’s French Toast Casserole, but I was going to replace one cream cheese with THIS………..IMG_1553

Oh my yummy goodness!

  I give you………

Blueberry White Chocolate Cream Cheese French Toast Casserole

(click for easy printable)

adapted from Laughter and Lattes

BB White Chocolate Cream Cheese FT cass (1)

Ingredients

  • FOR THE CASSEROLE:
  • * * * * * *
  • 1 loaf Whole Wheat French Bread, Sliced And Cubed
  • 8 ounces, weight Cream Cheese, Cubed
  • 8 ounces, weight White Chocolate Cream Cheese Indulgence From Philadelphia
  • 1 cup Fresh Blueberries
  • 12 whole Eggs
  • 2 cups Milk
  • ¼ cups Maple Syrup Or Honey
  • FOR THE BLUEBERRY SAUCE:
  • * * * * * *
  • ½ cups Sugar (scant)
  • 2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 cup Fresh Blueberries
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter

Spray 9×13 pan and arrange cubed french bread in your baking dish. Cut up cream cheese into 1 inch cubes. Sprinkle throughout french bread cubes. Open Cream Cheese Indulgence and plop it around as well.
Sprinkle 1 cup of blueberries over the top.

In a mixing bowl, combine 12 eggs, 2 cups milk, 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey. Pour this mixture over bread and cream cheese. Cover with foil.
Bake at 350* for 30 minutes covered and and additional 15-30 minutes uncovered. The middle should be set and the bread, golden brown.

For the sauce:
Stir together sugar and cornstarch in a medium sauce pan. Add 1 cup water and stir until smooth. Heat to boiling and stir 2-3 minutes until thickened. Add 1 cup blueberries and simmer 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn heat off and stir in 2 T. butter. Serve warm over French Toast Casserole.

Enjoy!

*This can be made ahead and put in the fridge overnight, unbaked. Bake as directed the next morning. Just heat up blueberry sauce before serving.

Happy Eating!

~T

BB White Chocolate Cream Cheese FT cass (3)

 

Shared with the following:

Hammock Tracks

Oops!

Yesterday three whole blogs posted.

THREE.

Ugh.

   Soooo, today I am here to tell you, that you need to go re-read one of them, and pretend it’s fresh for today!  Ok? 

  I have two REALLYREALLY good reasons for being so distracted…..

I’ll give you a clue:

They live in Florida.

And they stole my heart and all my time and attention for the past 5 days.

  Meet my identical twin nephews, Colby and Brayden.

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  See, I told you there were REALLYREALLY good reasons to be distracted from my blogging duties.

Thanks for understanding!  🙂

More pics to come as soon as I get my suitcase unpacked….

Hugs, T

Coconut Cream Poke Cake

This is post 2 for today, be sure to scroll down to post one to meet sweet 2 year old, Miles! 

I teasingly call my friend Brandie, from over at The Country Cook, “The Poke Cake Queen”. That girl has more delicious poke cakes on here site!  I’ve got my eye on her Boston Cream Poke Cake next, mmmm!

  I am a sucker for Coconut or anything Pina Colada-ish, so I knew I had to make this right away!  I had everything on hand but the Cream of Coconut naturally, so sweet Dale stopped at the store for me on his way home from work!

Coconut Cream Poke Cake

by The Country Cook (tell Brandie Tonya says HI!)  🙂

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Ingredients

  • 1 box Cake Mix: White Or Golden Yellow
  • Ingredients Listed On Cake Box: Usually Eggs, Oil And Water
  • 15 ounces, fluid Can Of Cream Of Coconut (found In The Alcohol Aisle)
  • 8 ounces, weight Cool Whip , Thawed
  • 8 ounces, weight Sweetened, Flaked Coconut

Prepare and bake cake according to directions in a 9 x 13 pan. Remove cake from oven and while still hot, poke holes all over it with the end of a spoon.
Open your can of Cream of Coconut and stir well, pour evenly over entire cake. Chill cake for an hour, then spread with cool whip and sprinkle coconut over the top of all. Refrigerate until serving time for a minimum of 3 hours. It gets even BETTER, if you can wait overnight!

Dig in!

~T

Slow Cooker Angel Chicken with Baked Brown Rice

  I don’t know why this is called Angel chicken, but I will tell you, it will sure make your supper prep “Heavenly”, as you don’t even have to be bothered to thaw your chicken!

Is that the Hallelujah chorus I hear?!

  This was one of those more quiet suppers, as everyone was too busy feeding their faces and saying Mmmmm, to visit much until AFTER their plate was emptied and refilled.  I’d say that’s a SURE sign of a “Keeper”!

Slow Cooker Angel Chicken

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Ingredients

  • 6 whole Frozen Chicken Breasts
  • 8 ounces, weight Fresh Button Mushroom Slices
  • 8 ounces, weight Fresh Baby Bella Mushrooms, Sliced
  • ¼ cups Butter
  • 1 package (0.7 Oz) Italian Dry Seasoning Mix
  • 10 ounces, weight Can Cream Of Mushroom With Roasted Garlic
  • 10 ounces, fluid Tub Of Philly Italian Cheese And Herb Cooking Cream
  • 1 Tablespoon Corn Starch In A Splash Of Cold Water
  • Brown Rice, Cooked

Spray a large slow cooker, then layer both kinds of mushrooms in the bottom, followed by frozen chicken breasts.
Add melted butter, soup, Italian dressing packet and Italian Cheese and Herb Cooking cream to the crock pot, stirring as you add.
Close lid and cook on low for 5 hours.
1 1/2 hours before serving time, make a batch of Baked Brown Rice.

Delicious!

Brown Rice Bake

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1-½ cup Brown Basamati Rice

2 cups Chicken Broth

½ cups Water

½ teaspoons Salt

Preheat oven to 350*. Combine brown rice, chicken broth, water and salt in a 8×11 baking dish and cover tightly with foil. Bake 1 hour and 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit 5 minutes before removing foil and fluffing with fork.

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Winner winner Chicken Dinner!

~T

Florida Bound & BLT Chicken Salad with Homemade Dressing

  Guess what?! I get to go to Florida and meet my preemie miracle identical twin nephews, Colby and Brayden!  Brayden is home already, but please pray Colby can come home while I am there so I can be the most help to Chad and Lauren!  He is still having a bit of trouble and hasn’t been released yet.  God is so good to have blessed my brother and sis in law with such healthy baby boys. The NICU nurses said it was such a nice change to take care of healthy babies that just happened to be early.  (They were born at 32 weeks on Mother’s Day!)

  I  can’t wait to get my hands on the little Monkeys!  Pray I will be ok without my own little ones though, this will be the first time and the longest time I have ever been away from them.  Makes my heart hurt just THINKING about it!

 Oh and while you are praying anyhow, say a prayer for Dale.  He does such a great job managing the kids, the house and the cooking, but let’s all pray he has an extra great week with extra obedient kiddos! 🙂

  Anyhow, on to the food part of this post.  You how there are just some recipes that HAVE to be made year after year during a certain season?  We have a collection of salads we make each and every summer, despite my love of new recipes!  🙂   This, is one of them……

BLT Chicken Salad with Homemade Dressing

click title for easy printable

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FOR THE SALAD:

  • 10 cups Torn Leaf Lettuce (more Or Less Per Your Taste And Crowd Size)
  • 10 ounces, weight Grape Tomatoes, Halved
  • 8 whole Hard-boiled Eggs, Sliced
  • 12 strips Of Bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 4 whole Grilled Chicken Breasts, Sliced

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 1 cup Miracle Whip Or Mayonnaise
  • 8 Tablespoons Of Your Favorite BBQ Sauce
  • 4 Tablespoons Very Finely Chopped Onion
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper

Make dressing ahead of time and chill. Mix salad ingredients per the proportions you want, based on your crowd size, and top individual salads with dressing before serving.

Enjoy!

  I’ll tell you all about my trip when I get back home!!!!!!!!

~T

Southwest Chicken Chop Salad

  Have you ever paid Lauren, of Lauren’s Latest a visit? She has some reallyreally fantastic recipes, and she does NOT help my new recipe obsession. I am Oh-so glad my friend, Joy sent me the link.  I promptly printed off and knew I had to make it! 

Mmmm!  Voted the NEW number 1 best summer salad at our house.  That vote includes all of my 4 little Fergusons!

  I made a few changes, but you can go see her original here.

Southwest Chicken Chop Salad

adapted from Lauren’s Latest

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Ingredients:
4 cups diced chicken
1 red or yellow pepper, diced
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can sweet yellow corn drained
1 10 oz box cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
6 green onions, sliced
1 large romaine heart, washed and chopped
1 head of curly leaf lettuce, washed and chopped
1 bunch cilantro, snipped
3 just under ripe avocados, diced
1 cup Mexican cheese shreds

4 cups crushed “Hint Of Lime” Tortilla chips (don’t skip the lime ones, it MAKES it!)

For the dressing:
1 cup mayonnaise or miracle whip
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon ranch seasoning
1 tablespoon taco seasoning
2 drops of doTERRA lime oil (or 2 T. lime juice if you don’t have your oils yet) 🙂
Splash of milk until dressing consistency
salt & pepper, to taste

Directions:
Chop chop chop all the separate ingredients.

  In a medium bowl, mix diced pepper, beans, corn, tomato halves, green onions and snipped cilantro.

   Store washed lettuce separately, and only chop what you think you’ll need for one meal, otherwise, the knife causes the lettuce to brown quickly!

In a small bowl, stir all dressing ingredients together until smooth. Refrigerate until serving time. 

  Just before supper, in a large serving bowl, mix together enough salad ingredients: lettuce and that great pico you  made, along with some Mexican cheese, all per your taste.  Toss with dressing, crushed tortilla chips and cubed avocado. 

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  We ate on this for a couple of suppers and I had it every day for lunch, I loved it THAT much! By keeping your ingredients separate until right before serving each time, you are able to keep it longer!

  I seriously could make this all over again and eat it every day for lunch, it is SO fresh and good! And that dressing?  To DIE for!

Thanks Lauren, for another great “Keeper”!

Hugs, T

 

4 little Fergusons Photography: Baby Ben

This is post 2 for today, be sure to scroll down and check out a delicious Mexican Chicken salad recipe…..

Baby Ben was my first ever newborn session! 

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And now, he’s already 9 months old! What a doll baby!  He was a total angel for our session and so much fun.

~T

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Not too sure about that big black camera in his face…..

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Mexican Chicken Salad Wraps

This Mexican Chicken Salad is awesome! I could totally see me making it every summer for an easy “go-to” supper, after a day at the pool.  It was delicious the first night, served warm AND just as good the next day cold from the fridge!!!!!

Mexican Chicken Salad

(For Wraps or Chips)

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Ingredients

  • 8 whole Chicken Breast Strips, Cooked And Shredded
  • 4 ounces, weight Mexican Cheese
  • 1 can (16 Oz. Can) Mexican Beans With Chili Sauce, Partially Drained
  • 2 Tablespoons Chopped Red Bell Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Chopped Green Bell Pepper
  • 4 ounces, weight Green Chilies
  • 1 package (about 1 Oz. Packet) Taco Seasoning
  • ½ cups Sour Cream
  • ½ cups Mayonnaise
  • Sliced Olives And Tomatoes To Taste.
  • For Serving: Tortilla Chips, Whole Wheat Tortillas

Mix all ingredients together and serve with chips or tortillas. Simple and delicious!

We served this in bowls, as pictured, and dipped chips into the chicken salad.  It tasted great with guacamole and salsa on the side as well.

~T