Nature Walks

Sunday we went out for a hike through the nature trails in a nearby neighborhood. We chose a trail that follows along a creek - one of the dog's favorite things! We went for about 2.4 miles, but I'm sure that the dogs ran at least that. They run ahead and run back to find us and then run ahead again! I have an app on my phone called I Map My Run and it tracks us with gps so that we can calculate how far we go and the speed, etc. We were joking about needing to find a gps to put on Tyson and map how far he actually runs, I bet it is at least double what we do. And by the end he is barely even tired! It is very pretty out there, the trails walk through the woods, and at times pop up near the course. 
On the way:

Tyson likes to look out the back of the Jeep

Vegas checking out where we are headed

View of the golf course from the trail:

Here are some pictures of our hike:

Running hard

Are you slow pokes coming?!

Action shot

Flying up and down the hills

Leaping over sticks
And a video:

Exploring Umpstead

On Saturday we went out to Umpstead to hike some and let the dogs run wild. We went in the main entrance (on 70) and went all the way to the back, to the Sycamore Creek Trail but we basically made our own course. We ended up hiking and walking along the creek. The dogs really enjoyed just roaming around back there, in and out of the creek as they please and playing with sticks. We only ended up doing about a mile and a half because Trey's foot got wet... We were crossing the creek and one of the rocks was pretty slippery so his foot landed in the water! And it was only about 50 degrees so we headed back to the car. We can't wait for the weather to get really nice and be able to go out there often! Here are so pictures from the adventure:

And a couple of videos:

Tired babies napping later that day:

Sleeping on my sis

Adventure Walks

Lately we have been taking the dogs on runs on nice days and found an area in the back of our neighborhood that is pretty heavily wooded and desolate, perfect to let them run off of their leashes! We run a couple of miles around the neighborhood then come to this area to let them run.

 The open area runs next to a creek that they love to jump in and out of. Vegas loves the water and has passed her passion on to Tyson. They love to run ahead of us and run around like maniacs then turn back and run back to us, just going constantly back and forth. They get quite a workout! Vegas loves to tear up trees and sticks, so walking through the woods is awesome to her. Tyson has actually become a leader on most of their adventures, probably because he is faster and has a ridiculous amount of energy but it is too cute, he will turn around sometimes like "come on sis!" We are usually cracking up the whole time at their wild antics. 

Playing in the creek

She found a stick

Daddy, I need to kill this tree!!

Here is a video of them playing!

This weekend we went to Umpstead and hiked some trails there, I will blog about that tomorrow!

We also went to a nearby neighborhood and followed some of their trails through the woods. I'll post about that later this week! 

We are really enjoying finding fun places for them to explore.

The Shed is Complete!

Well the outside, that is. We have finally finished painting the shed. We used the same colors as the house to make it match. Here is the completely painted shed:

Up next, shelves and a work bench :)

A Little Bit of Snow!

On Saturday it was 65 degrees and Sunday we got snow! That's winter in NC. It didn't do a lot but stuck to the wet grass and looked pretty. The dogs enjoyed playing in it. I don't think Tyson remembers the snow from last winter when he was 6 weeks old, so it was like he saw snow for the first time. He got so rowdy and really enjoyed playing in it. We came in for a few minutes because we were cold and he stood at the door wanting to go back out and play! Here are a few pictures from the snow:

Snow in our front yard

Running around in the snow

The house... snowflakes still falling as I took the picture

Snow is so fun!

Attacking snowballs

Daddy, throw more snow balls!

Please, can we go back outside?!

A Pinterest Recipe

Last night we tried another new recipe! I found this one on pinterest and it was very basic. Normally on pinterest if you click on the pin it will direct you to the blog or webpage where the image originally came from but somehow this particular pin goes to a different recipe and the recipe that I tried is only written in the caption of a picture of yummy chicken. So it came from somewhere or someone, but I don't have a link to share!

Chicken in the Crockpot:
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 (8 oz) block of cream cheese, softened
4 chicken breasts (we only used 2 because that is all we had)
package Italian seasoning

Put ingredients in crockpot, cook on low for 4 hours. (I forgot to tell Trey what setting to cook it on and we did it on high for about 3.5 hours then low for the last 30 minutes and it was still fine!) Serve over pasta. If sauce is too thick when done, add a little bit of milk to it.

I'm sure it is full of fat, but that made it delicious :) It doesn't photograph beautifully but here was my pasta and chicken. We also put some green veggies with it.

I am really starting to love cooking in the crockpot - aka not doing much work myself!

What Teachers Make

I came across this poem/video a while back but saw it again on a website with a bunch of random things tonight and was reminded of it. I find it pretty entertaining and wanted to share. 

What Teachers Make 
by Taylor Mali

New Recipes!

If you haven't noticed by my posts recently, I'm trying to  be a decent cook these days! I have found recipes on pinterest and other websites and have been trying them out. 

Last night we cooked the Chicken-Bacon Alfredo, that we prepared on Sunday with all of our freezer cooking. It was pretty good! It has artichoke hearts in it, I'm not a huge fan of them - I don't dislike them but I don't love them. I would say either don't include them -- but I don't know if they added to some of the flavor that I like -- or I should probably have chopped them up better - probably would use the food processor next time. Sadly, I didn't take any pictures before we dove in! Here is the link for the recipe though: Chicken Bacon Alfredo

Tonight I made Chicken Pot Pie! I have never made it before and it was pretty good! This recipe has a crust made of bisquick. It was pretty easy to make and also pretty delicious! 
Mixing the crust on the left, chicken, veggies, cream of chicken soup and chicken broth

Before adding the crust


My serving!

I also made a dessert a week or two ago, that I repeated tonight. I got the "recipe" from a friend at work. It is so good! It basically consists of chips ahoy and whipped cream! 

It's very simple, dip cookies in milk and make a layer of them on the bottom of dish. Layer cool whip on top of the cookies, another layer of cookies (dipped in milk) and another layer of cool whip, continue for as many layers as you want/can fit/have supplies for! Crumble left over cookies on the top. The container I used is a 2 qt pyrex bowl. When I made it before for a dinner with friends I did a few more layers so that we had enough to go around. Since this is just for me & Trey I did a little bit less. I used 1 package of chips ahoy and 1 container of cool whip this time, if you want a bigger serving get 2 of each!

Putting layers together

Freezer Cooking: Success!

Well I guess I should wait until we actually eat some of the meals to call it a success, but after about 5 hours of preparing we have 13 meals in the freezer and 1 cooked in the crock pot for dinner that night! I had been wanting to stock the freezer with prepared meals for a while but hadn't quite figured out what meals and how exactly to do it. Thanks to a friend's blog and pinterest, I became motivated!
We made 5 crock pot meals... 1 that we cooked right away and 4 that we froze (each meal actually made 2 bags that will provide dinner for the two of us, then left overs for lunch the next day!)

We have a Food Saver that we sealed these in, gallon freezer bags would work too
 Those meals were teriyaki chicken, vegetable beef soup, healthy bbq chicken, goulash/beef stew and cooked for dinner that night was balsamic & onion pot roast - it was delicious! The entire lay out of freezer cooking with these crock pot meals came from this blog. The link to the pot roast is in there too, but the pot roast came from here. I was really impressed with how much I liked it. We made mashed potatoes to go with the pot roast.


I also created some meals that are not crock pot based. I found a few on this blog basically you make the meal and then freeze it in a pan, let it thaw in the fridge during the day and throw it in the oven when you want to eat it! From there we made chicken-bacon alfredo, chicken cacciatore (2 bags and serve over spagetti), sausage spinach stuffed shells (this made a lot too, probably 2 dinners worth - I did have to store it in 2 baking dishes).

Stuffed Shells

I labeled directions on the bags/foil of anything to add and what temperature to cook at

I will try to remember to take pictures when we actually eat the meals and post about how they were. Hopefully it will all be delicious! My shopping trip cost about $150, but that was with some left over chicken and veggies that I will be using to make a chicken pot pie, so that's 15 meals (+ left overs for lunch) so only about $10 each, although I did have some basics at home and will serve some of the meals over potatoes, rice or noodles that I already had.

Lots of veggies


Speaking of rice, Trey and I have a habit of starting to cook something, like stir fry, that needs rice to go with it and totally forgetting about the rice until we are halfway through cooking. So I read about cooking rice ahead of time and freezing it. I decided to give it a try. I cooked a few cups in my new rice cooker and froze it in bags portioned to about what we use for a dinner meal. I'll let you know how it goes but apparently you just thaw it under warm water, and throw it in the microwave for 2-3 minutes! Way better than the 20 it takes to cook in the first place!

Freezing rice
 Most of the time while we were cooking Vegas and Tyson laid in the sun in the kitchen, occasionally getting up to see if they could find any scraps.
Tyson is watching out the window for his girlfriend at the fence

She loves him :)