Slow Cooker Veggie Chili


This is one of my favorite recipes for a cold winter day…which here in Indiana it’s been quite cold lately! I normally write on my recipe cards the source of the recipe, but as you can see it’s blank which means I don’t remember where I found it. Sorry that I cannot give credit where credit is due! 🙂

It’s super easy to make; however, like most recipes that do not come from a box, there is a little time involved such as chopping veggies. But don’t let that deter you from a heart healthy and delicious dinner! Grab your crock pot and can opener and you’re good to go!

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Chop veggies…



and add spices.


Pour in tomatoes and drained and rinsed beans.


Add water and mix.


The recipe says cook for 2 hours but if you want your carrots and celery not crispy, cook for 3 hours.


Add avocados, cheese, sour cream or Greek yogurt, and chips if you desire!


And….depending on how big your family and appetites…leftovers to freeze! 🙂


(Recipe makes about 7-8 bowls depending on appetite!)

Yum! Enjoy!


DIY Christmas Gifts


For the past several years, we have done a gift exchange with Brett’s immediate family.  Usually over Thanksgiving someone puts everyone’s name in a bowl and we pass it around to pick the lucky person to buy a gift for. Since there is 8 of us, it saves us all quite a penny to only buy for 2 people.

So this year as the bowl is being passed, Brett’s mom, Carol, yells from the kitchen, “We should do DIY gifts this year!”   I immediately, responded, “Yes!” I was up for something different, plus I was thinking that depending on the idea it could be more cost effective, which would be a blessing to our slim Christmas budget.

We later all agreed, or more likely the girls agreed and we made the boys comply :), and off to my dusty Pinterest board I went to search for a meaningful gift idea.  (I rarely use Pinterest. I do have an account and some pins, but I’m quite old school and use that ancient tool on my browser called Bookmarks. 😉 )

Brett picked Jamie, his sister-in-law, and I had chosen Carol.  We threw out some ideas, and as we began to search on Pinterest, I found an awesome DIY gift for Jamie, and Brett found the perfect gift for his mom. So we switched!

Off to the stores we went to buy the materials. To make a long story short, Brett changed his initial idea because in his words, “Everyone else this year is doing the SAME gift idea because there are no 3.25″ wooden blocks anywhere!!!!”  He drove around several stores, I called some stores, and everyone was out of these blocks!  The phrase was even spoken by both of us at one point throughout the process, “We are never doing DIY gifts AGAIN!”

Here is what Brett made for his mom:

He started by painting two sides of 2-inch blocks.


Quickly sanded the edges of the blocks.


He printed 4 – 8×8 pictures on our printer at home.

Marked 2-inch segments and cut into 16 squares


Then used Mod Podge to glue each picture on a block. Let dry.


Sanded the corners again.





IMG_0560 IMG_0561For Jamie, I found the following clock to purchase on Pinterest and thought, I could make that! And so I did!

I bought 2 different faces. The one on top was an actual clock face while the bottom was a wooden square I found really cheap at Walmart. However, I was a little nervous because the wood was very thin and I would need to drill a hole for the actual clock hands.

IMG_0535I had Brett drill a hole in the middle and tested to ensure the motor fit. It worked!

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I painted both sides, choosing this blue because it was Jamie’s wedding color.

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Brett worked his Photoshop magic and printed the music beats.

(Jamie is an elementary music teacher!)


 I then shaded the back of the paper with chalk…


And traced the notes onto the board, leaving a chalk outline!

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Filled in the notes with a black Sharpie.


There was some chalk dust that I wiped away with a damp paper towel.


Screwed in the clock hands and motor and placed on a table top easel!


 By the end, we were pretty excited to give our gifts!!!  Once the gift exchange began, we quickly found out that Carol had Brett and Jamie had me! How fun!

Carol took Brett’s theater t-shirts from high school and made pillows!! Brett LOVES them!


And Jamie knew what a stressed Momma of 2 needed: homemade bath snow and a Disney music collection CD, which one song is performed by Jamie herself!


Even though it took some time, I thought that all the gifts were more meaningful than the usual scarf or sweater or DVD. Will we do DIY gifts next year?!  I guess we’ll have to wait and see!