Pioneer Woman Inspired Chicken Noodle Stew

I love to take recipes that I know and love and find ways to make them fit into a healthy lifestyle!  While the original version of this dish is delectable, a few small tweaks makes it a little more fit-fam-friendly.  I kept most of the basics the same and just pumped up the veggies, decreased the carbs, and tweaked the portion size a bit.  

Pioneer Woman Inspired Chicken Noodle Stew

Serves 6-8 
64 oz of Low-sodium (organic if you can find it) Chicken Broth*
2-3 pounds of chicken, cooked*
1 medium onion, diced
4 stalks of celery, diced
6-8 carrots, diced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
8 oz egg noodles (the homestyle ones in the freezer section are the best!)
1/2 cup half-and-half

Pour chicken broth into a large stock pot and bring to a boil.  Add chicken, onions, celery and carrots to the pot.  Add seasonings and reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.  Stir in the noodles and simmer until the noodles are to the desired doneness.  Stir in half-and-half to make it nice and creamy.  

If you are a fixer, this equates to 1 Red, 1 Green, 1 Yellow, and 2 teaspoons.  

Let me know if you try it out!

*You can use a whole 2-3 pound chicken, cook in water with salt and pepper, to make your own chicken and broth.  Place the chicken in a large stock pot and cover with water.  Bring the water to a boil and then simmer for 45 minutes.  Once the chicken is done remove from water, shred chicken, return bones to the pot and boil for 20 minutes.  Remove the bones.  Chicken, broth - done! 

Or you can cheat like I did - boil boneless, skinless chicken breasts for 20ish minutes and use boxed chicken broth.  :)

Dear Difficult Child...

My sister posted this letter on Facebook this evening.  It perfectly describes my sweet Cate-bug!  She has such a strong will.  I know if we can help mold her into a girl who loves Jesus above all else, she will change the world for Him!  
Cate, you have been described as "a spitfire"  since the day you were born.  I knew it long before.  I knew it by the way you stubbornly sat on your foot throughout the majority of your ultrasound.  You also enjoyed hiding your beautiful face the entire time.  I knew from the way you kicked away the doppler when a nurse would try to find your heartbeat.  I knew by the way seemed intent on being in control of how and when you entered the world.  You are fierce, my dear!  I can't wait to see the woman of God you will become.  But for now, I just hope we both make it to your second birthday in one piece!  

"Dear difficult child, 
You've always given me a run for my money. Parenting tactics that worked on your siblings don't work on you. Where they'd give in, you'd push back. Where they'd say "I'm sorry" you'd say "I hate you." My parenting self-esteem has taken many hits as you challenge me over and over again. Your will is like iron and bending it takes all of my energy. 
I've had to dig deep to parent you. I've had to follow through and be stronger than I've ever been before. To be honest, you exhaust me mentally and emotionally. You've embarrassed me in public more times than I can count. 
Some days I feel like I'm failing you, but I refuse to give up. Why?
Because you're mine and I know that one day you'll move mountains. I know that if I can just help you channel that steel will into something good, you'll be a force to be reckoned with. You're fearless. You'll move mountains. You'll defend the silenced. You'll shape the future. You'll breathe fire. 
As you sit in time out, finally calm after screaming and yelling, I want you to know that even though you think I'm the enemy, I'm your biggest cheerleader. You may look in the mirror and see a tear-streaked child with messy hair, but I see a powerhouse. I see a game changer. I see a leader. 
When you finally apologize and learn today's lesson we'll hug it out like we always do and I'll pray that you get it. 
Keep doing you, sweetheart. I know you have fire burning inside of you. It's my job to make sure that you don't let it consume you but instead use it to burn a path in the world one day. 
I get you and I love you. 
xoxo Mama"

Rocking My Baby, 'Cause Babies Don't Keep

Tonight I got to rock Cate to sleep.  Not nurse her to sleep like I've done a million (painful) times.  I got to rock with her snuggled in to me, just breathing.  It was precious!

She had insisted on having her daddy do bedtime; I happily obliged.  You see, Cate and I have never had a sweet, precious nursing relationship.  It has, quite literally, been a battle from day one.  However, she is also very attached to nursing.  At 18 months, she still wants milk before bed every night.  I used to love that I could soothe her to sleep.  Even though it has always been uncomfortable with Cate, I love that I have been able to nurse both of my babies.  But...I. Am. Done.  I am done with the pinching, biting, yanking, painful thing that is nursing Cate.  

So when she asked for daddy at bedtime, I took off to Cooper's room.  I got him in bed and then headed out to the living room.  Tanner got Cate in bed after lots of angry objection.  It seemed like she was settling in for a moment and then the fussing began.  She just could wind down.  

So I went into her room and picked her up.  She immediately started asking for milk.  I'll give you two guesses what her response was.  I told her we were not having milk tonight and she just melted down.  After a minute of trying to console her, she pointed to her chair and said, "Rock?"  I happily agreed to rock, but warned her that there would be no milk.  She seemed to be okay with that so we sat.  

We sat and snuggled without one of us being chomped on.  I felt her body start to go limp as she drifted off to sleep.  I heard her breathing slow and become that heavy huffing of rest.  And although the to-do list kept trying to creep in, I just rocked.  I rocked because she let me.  I rocked because she won't let me often.  I rocked because she won't be little forever.  I rocked...