You have to love vacation!!

I’m finally getting around to sharing our vacation with you!

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One of our all-time favorite vacations spots would have to be the beach, and more specifically the beaches of Charleston, South Carolina. Matter of fact, we love the whole low area of Charleston and Isle of Palms beach! It’s such a beautiful place, full of beautiful people, the people there are so amazing, there are so many different people all around but they all greet you with a smile and a hello, I don’t think I have met one rude person there ever in our trips. I love visiting the city market and looking at all the amazing talented people who sell their items there and just looking at all the sights.

I think one of the best thing to experience is when you finally arrive and get our of your vehicle, that amazing crisp ocean air just hits you and to me it’s so relaxing.

We had so much fun on our vacation this year and went to a few places we hadn’t gone before, we had to check out some pretty neat places, like we went to the Center for Birds of Prey which was just a little bit out of Charleston but so worth the drive! You pay one time to go and can even leave to go get lunch or something and come back, we spent almost a full day there and it was amazing and you don’t want to miss the live presentations, want to experience a falcon flying right by your head…. go there!

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We also got to get up close and personal with a baby owl (just no touching!)

IMG_20150409_122635   Isn’t he so cute!

If you do happen to visit be sure to go for lunch at the SeeWee restaurant, it’s got such sweet employees and oh my goodness.. delicious food and it’s also great for bigger families like ours because the serving sizes are huge so you can just split meals and the cost is great! The atmosphere is so neat too, it’s a really neat older restaurant!

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We also had lots of fun at a new place called Blackbeard’s cove, there was so much to do there, we started out playing putt putt (which I unfortunately stink at).

Then, we had the rock climbing!

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The kids got to jump in bounce houses and they even have a gem mining station there… how neat!

Then comes the fun of the go-carts! Jeremiah and Caidence got to ride in them for the first time and it was so much fun for them!!

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Another super fun thing we did was visit the South Carolina Aquarium, they had so many amazing things there, Jeremiah’s favorite were the lion sharks and we even got to hold sea urchins!!

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… and check out the live diving show!

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It was super sweet when Caidence put her hand to the glass and the diver touched it, she turned around with the biggest smile, I think that made it for her!

The jelly fish were pretty awesome too!

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Make sure you take the time to take the sea turtle hospital tour also, want to talk about amazing! You won’t want to miss it!!

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Where do you like to vacation? Have you visited these places before? If so, what was your favorite?

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A little honesty!

Okay, so I know I post a lot… A LOT about how we should be with our children, how even though we have hard times we should be so thankful we have them and that we should be gentle with them and not let ourselves get frustrated, and all of that is completely true, we really should, but, with that being said I don’t ever, want any of you to feel like I am in any way perfect…. HAHAHA… oh, sorry about that I just had to take a minute. I am far (like as far as Earth is from Pluto far) from perfect. So, I just thought I would share a few of my imperfections and a few of my biggest annoyances when it comes to being a mommy and I’m sure many of you will be able to agree with me…. and if you don’t, well, you’re lying 😉

FIRST off, you know when you get to go to the grocery store BY YOURSELF!! Yes, best ever, like a nice little vacation just you and your shopping cart, you can go down whatever aisle you choose, check off every single item off your list and you even have time to check to see what items are on sale and may even decide to check out the candy aisle so you can get yourself a nice yummy treat!! But let’s be real, how often does that really happen, for me, it’s not very often so let’s just get a run through of what has to happen to even make it to the grocery store.

Well, let’s see, first off you have to actually get all the kids dressed, have you ever actually counted the amount of articles of clothing it takes to clothe 4 children, if you’re lucky the girls may only need 2 each but, in most cases they skip the dresses so that’s 2 diapers, 2 pair of underwear, 4 pairs of pants, and 4 shirts (if they don’t get messy during the time that you’re helping someone else get dressed) 12….. 12 articles of clothing and during fall and winter you have to add socks!

Then there’s the shoes, and if you can get to this point and only have to help one child find the shoes that you could have sworn you just saw then you’re doing good. Now we get to loading up the car, this one I can’t really complain about too much, we’ve actually almost mastered our system of loading into the car I just say “climb up, buckle up” and my older two get to it while Isabelle waits for me to buckle Ethan in and then it’s her turn to get in. Now, getting out at the store that’s another story because now you have to figure out how to hold a baby (since Ethan grew out of his sling now… I need a wrap!!), while holding the baby you also have to hold two hands and then still watch out for the oldest which usually means me telling Jeremiah to grab a pocket and then you just pray that they have the carts that can hold 4 children at a time but usually it’s a no go. You see, my kiddos call that buggy the “block buggy” and they go nuts for it, if we can get that cart then it makes our trip be better at least for the first 10 minutes!!

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So, finally you’ve made it to your buggy and all in the knick of time because you were not sure how much longer you could wrangle them all through the parking lot. Now, that we’ve made it to the buggy you pray again that the younger three will happily sit in buggy but not usually the younger two don’t mind sitting in the buggy but Caidence always wants to “walk like a big girl” but, walking like a big girl with daddy around is a completely different walking like a big girl when it’s just mommy.

Since we have now finally made it to the shopping part of our shopping trip you just hope that at least no one starts a tantrum now, I will have to say I have been blessed and have so far never had a really, really big “meltdown” I’m talking like the whole kid screaming and laying in the floor not sure my kiddos would ever do that but I hope I don’t ever have to experience that, but, I have had to experience the I’m going to cry super loudly on purpose and make sure to tell everyone “you’re hurting my hand” when we both know that it’s not really hurting at all and I’m only holding your hand because if I weren’t then they would be trying to run down the aisle with all their might and if they weren’t then they would be perfectly fine… those, I have had. But, let’s just hope it doesn’t get to that.

Then, you hit that first aisle… you can usually tell by this point how the trips going to go, or at least how much time you’re going to have. There are always several things that let you know. If they’re just wanting to help pick out things to put in your cart, actually waiting to hear what you need then, you’re probably good to go, if they decide to quietly take their time eating the snack that you didn’t forget this time instead of eating it like they haven’t ever eaten food before then, you’re probably good. But, on the other hand, if they start picking at one another right away then you’ve got about 5 minutes until everyone’s on the edge of loosing it. Also, another warning sign is if they start to get more than 2 feet away from you as soon as you walk through the doors of the store then it’s not going to be a fun trip!!

So, let’s just say that now you have made it through your trip mostly unscathed.. usually meaning they only begged for something about 5 times each and the baby has played the game of throw the bottle the same amount. Then, there’s the dreaded checkout and hopefully there isn’t a line because that’s where the trouble really starts, they totally know what they’re doing when they put all that candy up front, it gets to us adults, just think of what it does with our kids… they can’t resist, there is no telling how many times I have been asked for candy in those lines while waiting… countless. But, then you get to your one meltdown saving moment.. checkout! I always let the kids help with this part, it always helps and always distracts them long enough to forget about the candy and that thing they just thought they had to have so badly!

Now, you’re in the home stretch you’ve almost made it, now you only have to make it to your vehicle and unload the groceries then manage to get the buggy put back and you’re done, you’ve made it! Now, let’s just hope you didn’t forget anything on your list!!

I know I’m not alone in this, and now that you know you aren’t either, share some of your funny… or not so funny grocery store tales, I’d love to hear from you!!!

Mama’s gone crazy!

You read that right, mama’s gone crazy!! I have started vlogging!! Woo hoo, I just uploaded my first ever vlog just a few minutes ago so be sure to catch me on youtube! I will post my video below!

You guys have no idea how excited I am that I have finally done this, I have been wanting to start vlogging for quite some time now and have just not had the time to do it and now I have some extra time on my hands…. never thought that would happen!! But, anyway I do now and so I decided to go for it!

I am so excited to do even more videos and to get even better at videoing and editing my videos as well, surprisingly this video only had 3 interruptions that needed to be edited out hehe! I may just show some outtakes in some of mine so you can see some of the craziness we have going on!

So, now that I’ve told you about it go watch the video for yourself on my new youtube channel 6inthemix!!!

Comment below and let me know what videos you would enjoy watching most!!

Cheesy, chicken, goodness coming up!

Oh my goodness you guys I have been wanting to share this new recipe with you all, it is absolutely fantastic!! It’s an anytime of the year meal for me, it’s so nice and creamy and is perfect for a cold fall or winter night, but also has some nice yummy veggies that make it oh so good for spring and summer as well!

But, anyway I’ll just get to the point of telling you what it is 🙂 it’s a super yummy, creamy cheesy chicken and potato chowder with carrots and celery (it would also be nice with peas too). It’s made almost the same as a potato soup with a nice twist and has protein and extra nutrition from the veggies.

For the ingredients I’m telling you what we use for our family of 6 and it was enough for the kids and I to have leftovers for lunch the next day, so you will need:

  • 5 russet potatoes peeled and diced, I left mine kind of large but small enough so they could get soft
  • 5 cups of chicken broth or if you use chicken bouillon cubes like I did then just follow the directions for broth
  • 4 diced carrots
  • 4 stalks of celery thinly sliced
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 4 chicken breast (I cut mine into cubes with shears before cooking)
  • 2-2 1/2 cups of shredded cheese, I use mild cheddar but you could try it out with different cheeses
  • 2 1/2 cups of heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup butter ( I do recommend using real butter, we cut our margarine a long time ago and I won’t go back!!)
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • garnish with fresh parsley (optional)

For this recipe you need to boil your chicken and your veggies first so in a large stock pot add your chicken, potatoes, carrots, celery and bay leaves and cover with chicken broth.

Bring it to a boil then cook on medium- medium/high for about 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked fully and veggies are no longer hard.

Now you’re going to make a roux with the butter and flour, in a separate pan melt the butter on medium heat then whisk in the flour until it’s nice and creamy smooth. After this you need to slowly add in the heavy cream mixing constantly until it’s combined completely you can now cut the heat up just a bit and bring it to a boil. Let it boil until you get a thicker consistency (usually about 2-3 minutes). Now cut your heat down to low and add in your yummy cheese. Mix it until all the cheese is melted! Once this is done you can add it to your chicken, broth, and veggies and mix thoroughly, cook on low for about 5 minutes and then you’re ready to serve and enjoy!!

Yum! Now I can’t wait to make this meal again!! It was a definite hit for the Ertzberger household!!

*** Don’t forget to let your kids help out with meal times, they will love it and you will enjoy it too! They can help with anything from washing the veggies to peeling or slicing them or even just helping mix give them some type of job and they will do it well and have so much fun!

Let me know if you give this meal a try, let me know how you like it in the comments!!

(Now I’m kicking myself for not taking pictures because it looked so yummy!! I’ll have to be sure to do that next time)

Food Tip!

I just wanted to share a nice little tip with you that I’ve just started to do to make our meat go a little farther because with a family of our size and a low food budget, anything to help out is great.

I knew that you could make black bean burgers but I had never tried them, but I thought that if you can make black bean burgers and they taste pretty much like the meat does then why not just add it to meat to make it last longer.

So, I soaked, cooked, and then pureed the beans and added the beans in with my meat before I browned it so far I’ve only used it with deer but I’m excited to see how it tastes with ground turkey as well but I make hash brown casserole, and you could taste the beans a little but it added a nice flavor to the meal and then I did this with enchilada casserole too and it was really, really good.

I love the fact that you can use half the meat you would usually use and get more than double out of it, all while having it taste great and it’s also very healthy.

To do this, I just used half a pound of the meat of your choice and two cups of black bean puree, add the beans before you brown the meat and mix it all together as the meat is being browned and use it just as you would the meat.

Let me know if you try this and how you like it, just comment below!

Children In The Kitchen

Do you let your children help in the kitchen?  I know that sometimes doing this can cause many messes and in some cases make whatever you’re cooking take more than twice as long to complete, but think of the memories you’re making and all the benefits.

For a long time I would very rarely let the kids help out and when I did I would get myself so stressed out just thinking about the messes that were about to happen, no one would have fun while cooking together which just defeats the purpose.

But, when you take the time to really truly enjoy it and realize how much you are teaching your children and loving them at the same time it really is one of the most fun activities you can do.  I absolutely love it when I can just push away the worry that something might get messed up and when I quit thinking about the mess that would have to be cleaned up it’s such a great experience.  Oh, and about those messes, if your kids are anything like mine, they will actually enjoy getting to help clean up a bit too.

So, get in the kitchen and get cooking with your kids.  Jeremiah is now old enough (he’s 5) to where I have finally started letting him do some things even at the stove here’s a picture of him helping me cook a few days ago and he did a wonderful job and was so careful.

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Caidence isn’t yet ready to do that, and she’s my big mess maker 🙂 but, she loves to help add ingredients in, and to help mix everything together.  I just pull up a chair or two up to the counter and give them instructions on what to do and they have a blast.

Do you enjoy cooking with your kids?  What is your favorite thing to make with them?  Comment below or feel free to share your pictures too.