Crockpot Shredded Chicken

The easiest way I’ve found to make the chicken for my freezer food bases is to cook it in bulk in the crock pot. It is easy and when I slow cook it for hours it makes the most tender shredded chicken you can imagine. You don’t even have to use a fork, it falls apart in your hands. It also makes a great broth to use in other recipes or to freeze for later!
I buy my chicken breasts in bulk, but I’m toying with the idea of using thighs instead since they’re cheaper and I’m using them in recipes rather than by themselves. I buy them frozen but whatever chicken you have is fine. I use boneless always. I hate pulling stuff off the bone. Again, personal preference.

I fill my crock pot nearly to the top with frozen chicken. Breast, thighs, tenders, whatever suits your fancy. I then fill it to the top with water and add one can of chicken broth just for extra flavor. I add salt, pepper, and garlic and cook on high for about 5 hrs or so. What you get is the most tender shreddable chicken and it’s delicious. You can freeze it just like this or do what I do and use it in your base recipes.
I pull the amount of chicken I need for the recipe I’m working on, shred it into a bowl, add the other ingredients, stir then bag and freeze. Easy peasy!

Pieces of you

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It’s the little bits and pieces of you that I love the most. Your tiny button nose. Your blue eyes that look like lights they’re so bright. Your sweet little lips that poke out when you’re upset or break into the best smile I’ve ever seen.

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I love your hair and lack there of. Your ears that are tall on the top; that have my ear dimple at the bottom.

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Your little fingers that have the strongest grip and your nails that are always dirty underneath though I can’t figure out how. I love the dimples above your lips when you smile. Your weird little toes that I always have to count because it looks like you have extra.

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I love your skinny bird legs and your tiny belly. I love every little inch of you because they make up all of who you are. You are the brightest, smiley, sweetest, pleasant, content boy I’ve ever met. You are so full of joy and you are dramatic to a fault. You are always happy, until you aren’t, in which you scream until you are satisfied.

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Every piece of you is every piece of my heart. I can’t explain the love I have for you. I don’t understand it myself. I don’t know where 3 months have gone so fast, but at the same time I feel like you’ve been in my world forever. You are so a piece of me that life is only natural when you are right beside me. If you aren’t in my arms I feel like a part of me is missing. You are my world. Thank you for every piece of you. Thank you for all that you are. ❤

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3 months with Oliver

Sweet Oliver,
Congratulations! You’ve made it 3 months!

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I feel like I keep waiting for the “hard part” to start. There have been some tough days, but those always come at the times when I keep you out too long or you just get overstimulated. But you are just an easy baby. An easygoing baby. A very happy smiley boy. You are so happy, until you aren’t. You smile, you flirt, then when you get mad you scream like a banshee.
You aren’t a fan of being alone, and God forbid you wake up by yourself. You are going to give me tantrums in a few years, I just know it.
This month you have really come into your own. You are bright and so happy and so incredibly expressive. You are so strong. You hold your head up like a pro looking around at the TV or our voices. Oh the TV. You will watch ANYTHING on TV. You love it. You’re quite a fan of musicals, which of course I love. You’ve also found Dr. McStuffins. Ugh. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge Disney fan, huge. I was just hoping we had a while before you were pacified by a cartoon. I’m sure we’ll figure out a way to use your love of screen time to our advantage.

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You smile whenever you look at me now. Almost on command. I smile you smile. You’ve learned this week to switch from your happy smile to your pouty face and back. It’s amazing. So funny.

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You’ve also fallen in love with your hands all over again. You clasp them together, you suck on them, you try your best to hold your bottle. You use them to hold your blanket and rub it all over your face. You love soft blankets. Unfortunately some times those mean old hands take that blanket and get it stuck right over your face and you hate it!
You love looking at peoples faces and you want them to look right at you when they’re talking. You’re amazingly social and you love to talk back. You aren’t good at hiding your emotions. If you like someone you smile great big. If you don’t you give a big old pout. You really love women. I mean you LOVE women. You love to watch Say Yes to the Dress because it’s just a whole bunch of women on the screen. All your favorite things. Men… well, you warm up after a bit.
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You go to sleep around 10 every night. You’re usually up around 3 to eat, it’s an easy feed. Bottle but you never even open your eyes. You also get up around 5:30 when Daddy does for work. Another bottle but you aren’t quite ready to go back down right away. We stay up and talk for a bit and when we finally drift off you’re up by 9 or 10. A couple of times this week you slept til 11. That made for an interesting day. As great as you are a sleeper at night, you are a total non napper during the day. Even when you need one. You fight sleep like it’s your job. If you do finally fall asleep it’s just for a power nap and you’re up within 20 mins. I better not even think about getting anything done either because you’re sure to wake up mad if I’m ever very far away. When you’re awake you are ready to be entertained. It’s like you want to take in everything you can. You love to go outside and in the car. You want to see everything. You want to drink in the world.

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We are very go go go. You don’t mind it one bit. You get bored very easily, just like me, so getting out of the house is pretty much your favorite thing. You know when we leave we’ll see new people who will talk to you. Usually when we go somewhere during the day we go with your Aunt Heather and Sadie. Man oh man does Sadie love you. She always wants to hold you and rub on you. If someone gets to close to you she’s sure to take notice. You two are best friends.

I feel like you were almost created exactly for me, to give me what I was missing, to make my life easier and happier–much easier and happier than I expected. The more I learn about you, the more astonished I am at how perfectly your nature fits in with mine, like puzzle pieces. I feel intuitively tuned into your needs and it’s as if you, in turn, are aware of what I need from you. I am so grateful and amazed and blessed that you are not a source of stress for me, but happiness and calm.

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You are calm and observant and social. You give me those morning smiles and they melt my heart, and you happily look out the window or doze during car rides around town, and you sit alert at lunch or when we’re out with people looking around the room, smiling at all of your new friends. You eat when I feed you. You sleep when I rock with you. You babble at me when I talk to you. Thank you for being what I need, and thank you for teaching me to slow down a little bit. I love learning about you every day.

You’re the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.