Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Abby's "Famous" Chili

We had a chili bar at Caroline's birthday party and a ton of people asked me for the recipe.  I don't remember exactly who all asked me for the recipe, so I thought I would post it here and that way everyone can enjoy.  It is so good- make it this weekend and enjoy with some football!


(2) pounds lean ground beef
(1) medium green bell pepper, chopped
(1) small onion, chopped
(2) cans (15oz) red kidney beans, undrained
(2) packages (1.25oz) chili seasoning mix
(1) can (15oz) tomato sauce, I usually get the 24oz jar and use most of it
(1) can (10oz) diced tomatoes and green chilies

Open slow cooker liner and place it inside a 5 to 6 1/2-quart slow cooker bowl.  Fit liner snugly against the bottom and sides of bowl; pull top of liner over rim of bowl.

Brown ground beef, bell pepper, and onion in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until beef is no longer pink.
(I brown meat first, then add veggies)

Drain well.

Place beef mixture into slow cooker liner.  Combine remaining ingredients in a medium bowl.  Pour over beef mixture; gently stir with wooden or plastic spoon to combine.  Place lid on slow cooker.

Cook on High for 2 hours and then cook on Low for 1 hour.  Carefully remove lid to allow steam to escape. 

Serve directly from slow cooker. 

Top with your favorite toppings- mine are sour cream and fritos!

Do not lift or transport liner with food inside.  Cool slow cooker completely; remover liner and toss.

Hope you enjoy, just like the people below did!  :)

 Caroline's party...

2015 Super Bowl...

Monday, September 28, 2015

Caroline- a year in review

Dear Caroline,

You have had a fun and adventurous first year and I wanted to recap for you some of the things you have done.

You have been to Butler's Orchard to pick pumpkins

You dressed as a lamb for Halloween 

You have been to the Smithsonian's National Zoo multiple times

You met Santa Claus

You were Baptized

You enjoyed a lot of snow days

You took a road trip to Atlanta, Georgia

You have been to the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum

You have been to Pennsylvania to visit your Nana and Pap Pap more than half a dozen times

You have been on your first boat ride (at Grandpa Fred's) and to your first beach

You have met your new cousins- baby cousin and Annalise

You have been swimming

You have taken wagon rides

The states you have been to include: Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia (you have also been to Washington, DC)

You have 3 1/2 teeth and you can walk, crawl, and climb up the stairs and into your chair

We have enjoyed all of these adventures with you over the past year and we are excited to see what the next year will bring.  We love you so much our sweet girl!


Mom and Dad

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Caroline's First Birthday Party!!

We celebrated Caroline's first birthday in style with a pink and orange fall-themed party!  The party was on her actual birthday and we had a ton of friends and family here to help her celebrate with fun, food, and cake (of course)!

We started Caroline's birthday with a doughnut family breakfast and she LOVED her first doughnut.  Once breakfast was done, it was time to get ready for the party.  I want to say a HUGE thank you to Ben and my mom- without their help, the party would not have been such a success!  :)  Ben and my mom helped with EVERYTHING and I am truly grateful.  I would also like to send out a second thank you to Brigette, Al, and Sally Anne for helping us with the finishing touches of the party set-up.  Brigette iced all the cupcakes and made the signs, Al helped prepare all the drinks and help Ben pick up last minute party supplies, and Sally Anne kept the girls entertained while we finished setting up.

Once the party got started, the big kids went to the basement to decorate pumpkins.  After the pumpkin decorating, we enjoyed lunch and the kids played in the basement.  We finished the party with Caroline's cake and cupcakes for all the kids and adults.  It was such a great day, thank you to everyone that helped us celebrate!

Ps. There are about 9284 photos, hope you enjoy!

 Good morning Caroline!
Happy Birthday!

 Birthday Princess!

 Taking a picture of Ben taking a picture :)

 First diaper change as a one-year-old

 On her way to her birthday breakfast

Happy Birthday!

 Birthday breakfast- Dunkin Donuts!

 I love this birthday girl!


 Ummm... what's this?

 Happy Birthday!

 Ohhhh... this is good!


 Birthday outfit

 Welcome to the party, come on in!

 Pumpkin decorating!

Happy Birthday Caroline!

 The "big kids" decorating pumpkins

 They are all very creative

 Upstairs, we had a chili bar and hot dogs.  
For sides we had a veggie tray and apples with caramel dip.

 Caroline's pumpkin smash cake and cupcakes for all the guests.
(Thank you Brigette for decorating all the cupcakes!)

Drink and snack table.
We had pumpkin beers and apple cider, punch, juice boxes and bottled water.
We also had rice krispy treats (mini hay bales), goldfish, 
cheese balls, candy corn, candy pumpkins, and fall M&Ms.

I printed out her monthly pictures for everyone to enjoy one more time :)

 Mom and Dad with the birthday girl

 Aunt Brigette with the birthday girl

 Time for the birthday cake!

 She tasted the icing for a bit


 Then she dug in and enjoyed it!

 Sister party pic

 Mom, Caroline, and Dad

She loved her pumpkin cake!

 The big kids enjoyed cupcakes on the deck

 Thank you Vicki for sending me these pictures!

 The big kids enjoyed the cupcakes!

 Once everyone was gone, we opened presents and enjoyed playing with all the new toys!

 Big sister enjoyed opening presents too

 I think she loves her new chair

 Family photo

Happy birthday sweet girl!