Chicken Stir Fry

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

This past weekend I made my Mom’s infamous Chicken Stir Fry recipe and it was delicious! This meal is one that I remember most from my childhood and thankfully due to my pregnancy cravings lately for rice and vegetables, I came up with the idea to try to recreate this yummy dish!!!

I tried to make this meal as easy as possible since with any stir fry recipe, a lot of preparation time can go into slicing and dicing your veggies. I bought a lot of my fresh veggies already pre-packaged by our grocer to save significant preparation time. If you are in the Cleveland area, I buy most of my veggies from Heinen’s which has an amazing selection of fresh vegetables and already pre-packaged vegetables already sliced for you. Buying pre-packaged veggies saves so much time!!!




{What you Need}

2-3 Boneless Chicken Breasts
Fresh Pea Pods
Fresh Bean Sprouts
Uncle Ben's Broccoli Almondine Rice - 2 packages
1 package Bird's Eye Steam Fresh Broccoli
1 small can of Water Chestnuts, drained
1/4 Small Yellow Onion chopped
2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 Pat of Butter or Margarine
Garlic Salt to Taste
Salt to Taste


{How You Make It}

With this recipe, you may want to get a few of the ingredients going at once.  I immediately started the rice cooking on the stove top and popped the Steam Fresh bag of broccoli into the microwave.  This way these two items will be ready to be added to your dish when you need them.  In a large skillet pan, brown the onion with the butter.  Once the onion is no longer crunchy, add your raw chicken.  Cook the chicken until no longer pink in the middle.  Spoon the cooked chicken into a small bowl to be used for later.  Add the oil to your skillet along with the Bean Sprouts, Pea Pods and Water Chestnuts.  The broccoli should also be done cooking in the microwave by now and can also be added as well.  Cook your veggies on low until they are soft adding a pinch of salt for taste.  Once your veggies are soft, add your rice and cooked chicken to your skillet.  Add more salt if necessary.  Saute all ingredients together in your skillet on low heat stirring every so often for about 15 minutes.  Place a lid over the skillet to keep the steam inside the skillet, this helps soften the veggies even more.  **Place a lid over the skillet to keep in the steam which will help soften up the veggies.**

**Karen At Home Blog...Homemaking Made Simple Tip**

Enjoy!!!

Today I am linking up with :

Hooking Up With Hooked on Houses
Transformation Thursday at Shabby Chic Cottage
Amanda over at Serenity Now for her Weekend Reading
Cheryl over at Tidy Mom for I'm Lovin' It
Rachel at Finger Prints on the Fridge for Feature Your Self Friday
Marni at Sassy Sites for Free For All Friday
Kojo Designs for Friday Fun Finds
Stories from A to Z for Tips and Tutes Tuesday
Chic on a Shoestring Decorating for Flaunt It Friday





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Life After Picnik

Tuesday, January 24, 2012



I almost cried when I woke up Saturday morning and read an email from Picnik.com saying that they were closing up shop as of April 2012.  What?!?  I know I speak for all Bloggers and Photo enthusiasts everywhere when I say I am beyond shocked and disappointed by their news!!  Why???  Don't they know I am about to have a baby and do not have the time to learn a new photo editing tool???  Everyone LOVED Picnik!!!  It was so unique and better than any on-line photo editing website out there.  I have used Picnik to design my blog, edit photos, and create all of the beautiful collages that you have seen in my posts.  Most of my 'Tips to A Better Blog' posts were all Picnik.com tutorials.  I loved sharing how to make blog buttons and blog headers with such a user friendly tool such as Picnik.com.  I do not own Photoshop Elements or have the time to learn this tool and Picnik.com certainly got the job done in my opinion.  I was actually happy paying the $4.95 a month just to enjoy all of the premium benefits that Picnik.com had to offer.  I may actually be willing to pay more just to keep the website going.  It was just that good!!!

So I am sure I speak for most of you that we are all now scrambling to find a photo editing website to master before April 2012.  I am sure you can also agree that who has the time to find a new tool just as user-friendly as Picnik and to become an expert at it like we all were with Picnik.  In the devastating email from Picnik.com, they explain that we can start using the Google+ photo editor instead.  As of now, I do not have a Google+ account or really wanted to join yet ANOTHER social media website but it is looking like I may now have to just to see what their editing tool is all about. 

Fortunately, I have found a few tutorials around the Blog world with the same desperate plea as myself and have even demonstrated a few tutorials of different tools around the Internet.  I haven't had a chance to try any of them yet, however, I am certainly willing to try!!!


Today Censational Girl demonstrated Pixlr which has a few photo editing features that she found attractive along with iPiccy, GIMP and Splash Up.  I have yet to try either of these tools but I am willing to learn.  She does however mention that not one tool alone can even compare to Picnik. 


Between Naps on the Porch also put together a list of 9 free alternatives of photo editing websites that I am plan on checking out as well.  Fotoflexer looks especially interesting to me.


I saw on Twitter yesterday that Natalie over at Extraordinary Love had put together a Google+ tutorial which shows how to edit photos.  Unfortunately she mentions that she could not find a college feature, hopefully one will be added in the future when Picnik.com shuts down. 


If you are looking for a Photo editing tool that uses collage similar to Picnik.com, I found a Blog Header tutorial from over at A Charming Nest that demonstrate how to create a blog header using the collage tool in Picasa.  Since I designed my blog header from the Picnik.com collage feature, this was especially interesting to me. 

If you know of a photo editing website similar to Picnik.com or how you are handling this big news, I would to hear from you!!!






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Tidbits & Trends Thursday

Thursday, January 19, 2012




Hello friends, I hope you are all having a good week!!!  This week has been a very productive one for me! I have completed several projects around the house and have even started a few new ones.  I hope to share a few of them with you in the near future.  I have realized too that I REALLY need to do a better job at taking BEFORE pictures once I start a project because some of them really have been a significant change around here.  I honestly don't think I have been this productive with home projects since before Jillian was born.  This has really been pretty fun and exciting for me.  My house feels more clean and organized than it has in a long time.


  • I am glad you are all enjoying the 'Pin It' Button tutorial that I posted about last week.  I have received so many comments and emails that you are all using it for your blogs and that makes me so happy!  I love making some one's life easier so please let me now if you have tried it on your blog and if you have any questions!!!
  • Speaking of Pinterest, it really does seem like it is all the rage lately.  I woke up this morning to my radio alarm to hear Brooke from 95.5 The Fish talking about it.  It made me smile how it's is really everywhere these days!!  It's funny because since it is linked to your Facebook page, I really have seen an increase in actual real life friends following my Pin Boards these days in addition to my usual Blogger friends.  So if you are new to my Blog through Pinterest via my personal Facebook page, please send me an email or leave me a comment saying hello!  I typically do not tell too many real life friends about my blog so it's interesting to me to see who is finding my hobby via Pinterest!!

  • My heart has also been pretty heavy this week.  My cat Bandit, and first "baby", passed away on Monday and I can't stop thinking about him.  I adopted him back when I was 24, living on my own in a rented apartment, and enjoying the life of a single career woman.  He was my buddy and special friend during that time.  I can honestly say he was the best cat I have ever owned.  Growing up, we seemed to always have cats, each one special in their own way, however he was just a REALLY good cat.  He was not like other cats who are often independent and will show affection and attention on their terms.  He was a pal, a buddy, and loved being around people.  He was always at your side and loved to play.  He had a spunky and energetic side too that was so cute.  He also loved other cats too which is also unusual, unless of course it was a kitten.  He did not like any cat that was younger than him because you could tell he loved being the center of attention.  He always had to be "the baby."  When I got married, my parents took full ownership of him because Jeff was allergic.  Plus, my parents were retired and being the people cat that he was, would have been lonely living in our home all day with Jeff and I at work 40 hours+ a week.  It was a great situation and will always be thankful to my parents for taking such good care of him.  I feel awful for them too since he was such a big part of their lives for so long.  

  • It's going to be so hard explaining to Jillian why Grandma and Grandpa's kitty isn't around for her to harass pet anymore.  I know my heart is going to break when she asks me about it. 
  • I have been trying to take better care of my skin in 2012 and bought a few items from the Oil of Olay Regenerist line at Target this week.  I am really hoping for an improvement in my skin and hopefully will fight off any additional damage.  I tried the Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream and Regenerist Regenerating Cream Cleanser this morning and I really love the smell which I wasn't expecting.  I will let you know how it's going after a month of use. 

  • Once again this year I am watching 'The Bachelor' which I am sure isn't all that surprising to you!  I really like Ben and how he handled himself with Ashley, however, he has some crazy women vying for his attention this season!!! So far I like Kacie as a person but not really sure if she would leave her life in TN for California.  I can see that being a compromise for her.  And what was up with the Shawntel making a surprise appearance on this weeks episode???  I am sure there is a better explanation to why she decided to show up on Reality Steve or somewhere else on the interweb's.    I really do not want to read any spoilers on this season's outcome so I decided not to Google it.  If any of you have heard what that was all about, I would love to hear your take on it.  I am suspecting they probably have met before since a lot of the Bachelor's/Bachlorette interact in the same social circles.  I am really hoping for her sake she just didn't decide on whim to go on the show without even meeting him!!!

  • Jillian is really turning into a girly girl which I guess I really shouldn't be all that surprised since that is me to a T!  She is truly is taking after her Mom and LOVES shopping at Target and will actually ask me to go on occasion.  It's hysterical!!  Yesterday, she and I went to Target on my day off and she actually started telling me what she liked and what she didn't.  I was looking through the clothing racks of the Liz Lange maternity section and held up a sweater to my body when she says to me "I like this one."  Then I held up another top and she shook her head 'No' and said "No like this one."  I started cracking up!!!  So I grabbed a few more to see what she thought of them too.  She is too much!!!!!
I hope you are all having a good week!!!  Tomorrow is Friday, woohoo!!!!












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Jillian's 2nd Birthday Party

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


We celebrated Jillian's 2nd Birthday last week and I am so excited on how it turned out.  I was really stressing at one point because the creative ideas were just not flowing and I was feeling severe holiday burnout when the time came to plan her party.  I remember the same exact thing happened to me last year and telling myself to start earlier this year but that just didn't happen.  It's so easy to tell myself to plan better next time, but when the next time comes, why is it I am always find myself scrambling again?

Anyway, four days before her party I came up with a pink and green theme instead of a character theme and just went with it.  Colors are so much easier to plan for a party!!!  Who doesn't sell pink and green items?  As you can see, this party has a similar look and style to her first party.  I made the tissue paper poms again, however, I did change it up a bit and had a few new creative ideas up my sleeve. 


A few hours before the guests were to arrive, I came up with the crazy idea for personalized water bottles in pink to add to the decor.  It was an easy addition to the event and couldn't have done it without the easy tutorial from Sarah at Life Sweet Life Blog


My sister helped me put together the fruit kabobs which were a huge hit and a great way to add color to your food display.  If I had really been thinking, perhaps just watermelon, strawberries and green grapes would have been a fun idea and would have kept to the pink and green theme.  Like I said, start early with the planning next year....ha!


The Birthday girl  had a blast playing with her cousins. The older Jillian gets, the more fun and interaction she seems to have with her them.  I just love seeing her have a blast with all of her cousins, it really makes holidays and birthdays so much fun in our house!!


Jillian LOVED singing happy birthday, she and I had even been practicing blowing out birthday candles for a few days already.  It's so cute how she knows birthday parties involve blowing out candles!


Trying to take a picture of the birthday girl in her birthday pink outfit was another challenge in itself.  Trying to crawl around the floor 30 weeks pregnant and chasing a toddler with a camera was quite entertaining to our guests I am sure.  She just wouldn't sit still!  There was way too much fun for to be had.


Here is the birthday girl looking all pretty in pink!  Happy Birthday to my sweet girl!!

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2012 Home Goals and Projects

Sunday, January 15, 2012



The Nester is hosting a link up this week on your 2012 Home Goals and Projects and I thought this was a wonderful idea for me to put all of my home 'to-do' lists out there to keep me motivated and hold me accountable. this year. I will be very curious to see which items on this list get crossed off in the midst of another baby being added to our home in only a few short weeks!!! Right now I have been going nuts thinking of all the little projects I want to get done around the house before our little boy arrives! I know full well once he does, this list is going to come to a screeching halt!!! Target is going to LOVE me here in the next few weeks since a lot of my projects involve shopping at my favorite happy place!

{Baby Boy Nursery}


We are in the process of turning the Guest Bedroom into the little man's nursery.  Even though our little man continues to remain nameless, his nursery is starting to come together. If you follow me on Pinterest, you have probably been seeing several nursery inspiration pictures and baby boy bedding 'pin's' coming through on your 'Following' stream with my name on it. 

Color scheme inspiration as of now:



Source: etsy.com via Karen At Home on Pinterest

I have not found the ideal gray chevron bedding yet, so I decided to go with a Chevron pattern as accents instead.  I did find an Etsy seller who will make baby bedding sheets in a gray chevron pattern so I am also considering this as an option.  The blue-green-gray paint color is just about finalized, I made several trips to Sherwin Williams this weekend trying to narrow down the perfect color without looking too girlie for Jeff!

Here is the bedding via Pottery Barn Kids. I felt this gray and white bedding would look perfect with the blue/green and chevron color scheme I am going with. Instead of the gray polka dot sheet, picture a gray chevron sheeting set.


Goals:
1. Finish the nursery before baby boy arrives! Hopefully that is achievable, ha!
2. Find perfect blue-green-gray paint color which doesn't look "too" girly.
3. Find Chevron pattern scrap book paper in gray to frame and hang on the wall.
4. Find the perfect gray faux silk curtains.
5. The window needs a blind!
6. Find and Order the furniture.


{Great Room Wall}

 

As you can see, the blank wall in our Great Room has stumped me for awhile now.  I think the main thing throwing me off is the thermostat smack dab in the middle.  What an eyesore!!!  Not quite sure what our builder was thinking with this one and I somehow managed to miss it during the walk through as well.  So now I am stuck with it and I am sure Jeff doesn't want to take the time of the money to move it so I must work with it some how.  You can imagine my joy when I can across this inspirational picture on Pinterest. 





These poor people have the same thermostat issue that we have and have chosen to embrace it and not hide it!!! 


I have recently ordered this black cabinet from Walmart.com for this wall which will double as storage for all of Jillian's coloring books and puzzles.  I was so excited that it arrived this weekend for Jeff to put it together, however, the top loooked like this:


So we had to take it back to Walmart and order another one.  Grrr!!!

I am also in the works of designing a photo wall for above the cabinet which will hopefully "hide" the thermostat.  I am also possibly thinking to finding a frame with the glass removed to put around the thermostat to really hide it. 

{Master Bath}
My friend Jenna over at Hamlett's Daily Dose provided me with this inspiration for what to do over our Master Bathroom Toilet.  For awhile now, the master bathroom has been a blank slate ever since we painted it 3 years ago.  I wanted to do more to make it more of a spa like retreat to go with the spa like paint color.




Goals:

1. Add chocolate colored faux silk valances to both windows. 
2. I bought the cherry wood floating shelves to go over the toilet at Target this week, need to install.
3. Buy more hand towels to be used as decor on the floating shelves.
4. Buy a basket and other accessories for the floating shelves.
5. Buy more bath towels to match new decor.
6. Buy a better basket for my side of the bathroom.
7. Organize under the cabinets and the linen closets!!! 
8. Toss old toiletries and organize medicine.


I have so many more ideas floating around in my head but these are the biggest projects that stick out and are most likely the most achievable in 2012.  I would LOVE a new dining room set, however, I just don't feel that is going to get done this year.  More of a 2013 goal to work towards.........

Have you set goals for your home in 2012?  Make sure you stop by The Nester to see other 2012 Home Goals and Projects!



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Add a Pin It Button to Blog Posts

Thursday, January 12, 2012





Who isn't obsessed with Pinterest these days?  It seems that I have been using it for everything lately!  From planning to Jillian's 2nd birthday party to organizing my home in the new year, Pinterest was some how involved in the process.  How did we ever plan anything before without Pinterest?  With Pinterest gaining so much popularity I decided to add a 'Pin It' button on all of my posts to make them easier for myself, and for my readers, to Pin my ideas to their boards.



In just a few simple steps, you too can be 'Pinning' away your own blog posts in just a few minutes too!!



{How to Add a Pinterest Button to Blog Posts}


1. Go to your blogger account dashboard.  Click on Settings then Formatting.





2. Scroll down to the bottom of the Formatting page to Post Template Section and Paste the HTML code that you see below.  The Post Template section will repeat the HTML code that you paste in this area for every Blog Post that you publish.  I also have my Google Analytics code posted in this section as well which you are not able to see here.





Here is the actual HTML code that you will need to copy from my post into your Post Template box:









3. Save your changes. The next time you publish a blog post, the Pin It Button will appear at the bottom of your post.

Edited to Add: I am so excited you are all loving my 'Pin It' Button tutorial!!!  I have had several questions on the position of the button so I thought I would add some clarificaiton.  I added the HTML code in the code above to position the button in the center of m posts.  A few of you would like it to be Left Justified so it shows up on the left hand side of your posts.  To do this, when you copy and paste the code above, either remove the two codes or change them to say .  I believe either should work for you.  Good luck and let me know if you are using the button in your posts, I love hearing how much you are loving it!


Happy Pinning!!!


Today I am linking up with :

Amanda over at Serenity Now for her Weekend Reading

Cheryl over at Tidy Mom for I'm Lovin' It

Rachel at Finger Prints on the Fridge for Feature Your Self Friday

Marni at Sassy Sites for Free For All Friday

Kojo Designs for Friday Fun Finds

Stories from A to Z for Tips and Tutes Tuesday

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Thirty-One Gifts Spring Premiere

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


On Saturday, for the first time ever, Thirty-One revealed its new Spring line to consultants via the Silver screen! In movie theaters across the country, consultants got to see the beautiful new products and hear lots of exciting updates. If I wasn’t already a consultant, our new kit and Start Swell program would have me signing up in a second! It was a fun experience and just makes me more excited for National Conference in Atlanta in August! Woohoo! I can’t wait! The premiere also included the “Why?” for several of our consultants and directors. I needed a box of Kleenex while listening to them with all of the crazy pregnancy hormones I have going on right now. It is great to be reminded that it isn’t about purses, it is about changing lives and helping women!! Whether it is finding the right item to organize their home, helping them find the perfect gift, or offering them an opportunity to realize their dreams, Thirty-One Gifts has the answer! I know I have shared my “Why” on here in the past and this past weekend certainly confirmed that I made the right decision by following my heart. I really feel like God intervened and is showing me the way through Thirty-One like he has with so many other women. I met up with my team at Panera for breakfast before the big reveal. It was so nice to finally meet my Director and other members of the team that I have interacted with so much these past few months. After chatting it up at Panera, we all headed over to the Valley View Cinema for the big event.



The long line of women carrying Thirty-One purses just to get into the event was impressive!!! Needless to say, we are a large group of women crazy about Thirty-One and the opportunities and rewards it brings to our lives.




It was fun sitting with my team and sharing out thoughts about what we thought was going to be revealed in the Premiere. I sat next to Gia and Sheena (who is due a day after me, crazy!) who were a blast to hang out with. I actually met Gia several years ago on TheNest.com as a newlywed and also reconnected with her through blogging. It’s crazy to think we signed up to be Thirty-One Consultants at the same time and are now on the same team. Seeing a sneak peak of Thirty-One’s Spring catalog on Saturday got me so excited for Spring! Spring is certainly in the air with Thirty-One!

Tidbits & Trends Thursday

Thursday, January 05, 2012

I am the type of person that has a million thoughts rolling around in my head at all times.  If I don't take at least an hour at night to unwind, thoughts will be swirling around in my brain as I lay in bed and sleep will just not come.  I thought I would utilize my blog as an opportunity to write some of those thoughts down once a week in hopes of capturing those runaway thoughts and to document the little projects I am always working on in my head.  Today I am kicking off a new feature here at Karen At Home that I am very excited about! With that said, I introduce to you my weekly Tidbits & Trends post. 
  • The other day I was laying in bed watching "You Got Mail" on WE when a commercial came on for a new reality show called "Texas Multi Mamas."  I literally almost fell out of bed  because I recognized one of the Mamas in the show.  It was Suz from Steece's Pieces blog.  Anyone else read this blog?  Steece's Pieces was one of the first blogs I ever read.  I read this blog long before I ever had a blog or thought about having children.  Her blog was so compelling to me as I followed her story of Infertility to an awesome Mama of Quads.  I hadn't read her blog in sometime but I recognized her adorable haircut immediately.  I have watched a few episodes already and I am loving it so far! 
  • Jillian's 2nd Birthday party is this weekend and I am so not prepared for it.  Having a child's birthday around the holiday is tough!  I am partied out but I so badly to give her a fun 2nd Birthday party.  I am trying to keep the theme and decoration simple yet cute, hopefully it will all come together by this weekend!
  • Is your Christmas decor still up or down?  We officially took our tree down tonight after we both got home for work.  We just couldn't stand it anymore.  As I mentioned in my last post, our tree was seriously mangy and needed to be put out of it's misery.  I thought Jillian would take it a lot harder than she did.  She LOVED the Christmas tree this year.  All Christmas lights were "Santa lights" to Jillian and it was adorable having her constantly ask us to turn the "Santa lights" on.  I can't believe we are going to have two kids come next Christmas!!!
  • I have been enjoying reading my friend Sarah's Project 365 over at Life Sweet Life set to weekly summary posts.  I have heard a lot over the years about Project 365, however, the thought of remembering to take a picture and documenting it every day was a bit daunting to me.  I love Sarah's weekly summary posts of all the pictures she took for the week.  A weekly post is something I can handle!!!  Are you doing a Project 365 or 52 this year?  Project 52 it is for me!  I would love to hear if you are hoping to do a Project 365, Project 52 or something similar this year.  How are you organizing all of the pictures?  How are you remembering to take all of your pictures?  My friend Melissa over at Stafford Stories recommended an awesome iPhone app to organize your daily pictures.  You can also use the App to set up a daily reminder to take your picture.  Such a great idea!!!
Hope you enjoyed the first T&T Thursday! Enjoy your day!

Breakfast with Santa

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Happy New Years everyone!  I hope you all had a blessed Christmas and a happy New Years!  I just love New Years, there is really something to be said about starting fresh with a clean slate.  So much to look forward too, it really does renew the spirit!!!  It sounds like I am not the only one who caught the Organizing bug.  I don't know if mine is due to my nesting kicking in or what but I have been obsessed lately with Organizing Blogs like you wouldn't believe!  My Pinterest account is going wild with Organizing ideas!!!  The next few posts I would like to capture our Christmas holiday season before those memories start to fade and the organizing and nursery planning start to take over!  Are your Christmas decorations packed away just yet?  We haven't started yet, we were hoping to leave everything up for Jillian's 2nd Birthday party this weekend, however, our tree is looking extremely mangy right now with each passing day.  I am sure the fire department would consider our house a major fire hazard! Jillian is a very lucky girl, she got to eat Breakfast with Santa not once, but twice this year!!!  We were very lucky to have been able to coordinate a Breakfast with Santa with each set of Grandparents which was such a treat for Jillian.  Our first Breakfast with Santa took place at the Strongsville Recreation Center.  They did an amazing job with the kids and we had so much fun too as parents watching all of them run around!  My sister also was able to join us with her girls which made it extra special! The event started off with Breakfast served at each table for the families.  We all ate and then participated in a raffle prize for toys.  Afterwards, we anxiously awaited Santa's big arrival!!!  Finally the big man showed up and every one applauded and cheered as he walked through the room, waving as he went.  Afterwards, a major line formed to get a picture with the man himself which took quite some time.   Over an hour, perhaps?  Poor Jeff and my sister's husband waited in line for us while my sister and I tried entertaining the girls.  A few of the "elves" sang songs and read books with the kids which helped distract them a bit as we waited for pictures with Santa.  Jillian and my sister's daughter, Nicole, enjoyed dancing around to the songs together which was so adorable!  Finally it was our turn to take a picture with Santa and Jillian was just not having it.  She cried and cried so we attempted a family picture with a crying, stiff-arming toddler.  I wish we had a better picture besides this side shot, I am sure her face would have been priceless.  In total this year, we saw Santa three times and the final time Jillian at least didn't cry when she got near him.  Jillian does love Santa, but from afar!  (We were in a bit of a hurry that morning and bolted out the door without our good camera.  Ugh!  So Iphone pictures it is.)
Our second Breakfast with Santa this holiday season was at Lake Farm Park with Jeff's parents.  It was such an adorable place!
The Farm park was fully decked out with Christmas decorations and a Santa's Workshop for the children to make a toy after breakfast.  Jillian had a blast making a little wooden bear which Santa's elves helped her put it together. 
Jillian was still not a fan of Santa up close but this was the one and only time this year we actually got a photo of her not crying on Santa's lap.  This was also the event that I was bound and determined to get a good picture of Jillian in her Christmas dress for our Christmas card.  Luckily I captured just the right shot in front of one of the Christmas trees! 
The Lake Farm park is a cute little park with lots of farm animals for the kids to pet.  This was our second time there, the first time was in the Fall and we had such a blast visiting with all of the animals.  Jillian loved it, we can't wait to go back again this Summer.

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