A Family Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

Our family made the obligatory fall pilgrimage to a pumpkin patch this weekend.  We made the hour and a half drive to Mike’s Farm and, while I was sort of dreading that trek with a toddler, the whole trip was amazing!

Lucas could not have enjoyed the hayride to the pumpkin patch more!  He was loving running around the field and didn’t like being “stuck” on the wagon while we were waiting for it to fill up but as soon as the tractor started he was so excited.  He was almost transfixed as we drove through the woods.

And the excitement he had when actually getting to the patch and being “cut lose” was one of the cutest things I’d ever seen!  He loved exploring the pumpkin patch and looking at all the different pumpkins.

We let him pick out his own little pumpkin and we got a larger pumpkin to carve as a family.  Poor Darrin had to juggle two pumpkins, a water bottle, my purse and L’s backpack as we made our way back to the tractor.  Lucas decided to help out – and watching him try and lift the big pumpkin was the highlight of the trip for me.

After we made our way back to the main farm, we let the little guy run around for a while before heading to grab some lunch and then making the trip back home.

It truly was the perfect Saturday morning – I’m already looking forward to next fall when we head back!

But now, some photos of the little man and his first trip to a Pumpkin Patch!

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Spicy and Delicious Buffalo Chicken Casserole

So first things first – I apparently decided to take the summer off.  It wasn’t planned but a lot of great things started happening and that’s how it ended up.

And these great things?  I opened up an Etsy shop specializing in customized digital chalkboards, I started writing for two other blogs (Adventures in Breastfeeding and Chip and Co – which is a Disney blog) and my child became a full blown toddler!

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Could he be any cuter?

But I’m back and, hopefully, better than ever.  I decided to kick off my comeback with a delicious dinner I’ve been making a lot since I came up with it.  Now, I’m not a huge fan of using processed foods but sometimes a girl just needs some Ranch and Wing sauce in her life and as a busy mom I don’t always have time to make it from scratch.  That said, this really is a delicious – and somewhat healthy – meal that even my toddler loves.



BuffaloChickenCasserole
Ingredients:

2lbs of potatoes (I prefer Yucon Gold), diced into 1in pieces

2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil

1 packet of Ranch seasoning

1.5lbs of cooked, shredded chicken (I cook mine in the Crockpot with a little garlic powder, thyme and chicken stock)

3 carrots, diced

3 stalks of celery, diced

4oz of wing sauce (any flavor you want – adjust the heat to your preference)

1 cup of cheddar cheese

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Preheat the oven to 400

Toss the potatoes with 2lbs of water, the olive oil and the ranch seasoning

Roast for 35-40 minutes (until potatoes are tender)

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While the potatoes are cooking, soften the carrots and celery in a skillet over medium heat.  As I was getting my ingredients ready I realized I didn’t have enough celery so I added a small diced onion to the mix.  Feel free to add one as well.

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Once the veggies are softened (about 8 minutes) combine with the shredded chicken and the wing sauce.

Place the cooked potatoes on the bottom of a greased 9×13 baking dish and top with the chicken and veggie mix.  Sprinkle the cheese over the chicken mix.

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Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

Remove the foil and place under the broiler for a minute or two to brown up the cheese.

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I served this with a side of Garlic and Parmesan Spaghetti Squash and the family loved it!

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This meal is certainly a major player in our dinner rotation and hopefully it will be in yours too!