BEST EVER HOMEMADE CHEX MIX

Sharing this recipe makes me feel a little weird (and hungry) while we are in the middle of Whole30 but it is a special treat staple in our house, especially during the holidays, so it’s fresh on my mind and I certainly don’t plan to give it up forever. ūüėČ It’s such an easy, crowd pleasing snack¬†and comes together with minimal effort¬†– which is why you will find it at just about every large gathering you attend around here!

A friend text me not too long ago and asked me for “my” Chex Mix recipe. I was out and about and quickly text back “It’s the one on the back of the Wheat Chex Box then I just add X, Y, and Z!” Then I jumped on Google to double check (you can find¬†the official Original Chex Mix Recipe here) and realized there were about 10 other changes I need to tell her! Their recipe is fine (if my husband is making this for us that would be the one he uses and it tastes great!) but…mine is better. More flavor for sure.

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Best Ever Homemade Chex Mix
Dry Ingredients:
4 cups Corn Chex
4 cups Rice Chex
4 cups Wheat Chex
1 cup Salted Roasted Peanuts
2 cups Mini Twist or Rod Pretzels
2 cups Cheese Its

For the Sauce:
12 tablespoons (1.5 sticks) of butter (I like salted in this)
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3 teaspoons seasoned salt
1.5 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 cup Franks Hot Sauce

Pre-heat oven to 250. Melt/mix all sauce ingredients together on the stove or in the microwave. Pour slowly over the Chex mixture (I keep one of these pans in my pantry specifically for Chex Mix then wash it so I get a few uses) and stir to coat evenly as best you can. Bake for 1.5 hours stirring every 15-20 minutes. When it’s done baking spread it out over paper towels on your counter to dry some more before eating. I store mine in zip-locs or Tupperware and it keeps for…as long as my husband will allow haha.

You will see that my “extra stuff” or the snacks you add in other than actual Chex are different than the original recipe. The things listed below are what we like best but you can totally switch these things up according to what you enjoy. Playing with the different flavors or Cheese Its is one of our favorite things to do. The Hot and Spicy ones are the bomb in this if spicy is your thing!

Hope you enjoy! I’ll be back on Wednesday with a Whole30 Week One recap!

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CURRENTLY | JANUARY 2018

Happy New Year! It was back to life, back to reality yesterday and Camden and I were both sad to watch Nathan head to work. The holiday fog is starting to lift but the tree is still up! Sigh. We decided to do a day date to Pitch Perfect 3 (meh) and an early dinner on New Year’s Day instead of taking it down and that was a-ok with me. Please tell me some of you still have your Christmas decorations up, too…

Checking in today to link up with¬†Anne¬†for her monthly Currently prompt! It’s always so fun to chat about these seemingly random words and “meet” other ladies in the link-up. Looking forward to seeing what you ladies are starting, hoping, scheduling, reading, and playing right now!

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S T A R T I N G
Nathan and I both started Whole30 yesterday! He sent me a “Surprise! I’m going to do Whole30 with you!” text randomly mid-day yesterday and I was thrilled! Let’s face it, he was going to be eating mostly Whole30 compliant dinners but it’s awesome to be in this together. He actually has a couple of work trips scheduled this month so he is going to have it¬†much harder than me and I’m super proud of him for taking it on! I plan on doing a little Week One recap on the blog next week (what we ate, why we are doing this) but until then I’ve been trying to share my experience over on InstaStories. Follow me over there @RachelEmilyBlog if you are interested in keeping up! Find my Whole30 Pinterest board (pictured) here.

H O P I N G
I feel like this is a total theme with every post I’ve read on the topic lately but man, 2017 was a hard year, wasn’t it? Don’t get me wrong, there were some amazing things that happened and beautiful memories made but overall I wouldn’t rank it very high and the end of 2017 downright stunk for our family. Here’s to 2018, a fresh start, a renewed sense of our priorities, and reaching those goals!

S C H E D U L I N G
Nothing, ever again. The social engagements of the last two weeks have just about killed me. But I’m super happy to be¬†“scheduling things” in my new planner. The joy a new planner brings me is unmatched. Do you guys still use a paper planner? I’m so curious to know!

R E A D I N G
I just finished Winter Storm by Elin Hilderbrand¬†and it was pretty good. If you have read and liked other books by Elin Hilderbrand you would enjoy it! I also read¬†Merry & Bright by Debbie Macomber in one sitting during over Christmas while Camden was napping. I can’t tell you the last time it took me less than a month to read a book from start to finish let alone¬†one day, but don’t take that to mean it was a great book. It was a fun, Christmasy read but nothing to write home about and predictable from start to finish. I started Rachel Jeffs’ book Breaking Free¬†yesterday and I’m excited to dive in some more! In case you aren’t aware, Rachel Jeffs is the daughter of the FLDS (polygamist) cult leader Warren Jeffs and I have a weird fascination with polygamy. I’ve read¬†several¬†books about people who have been a part of the cult and gotten out (read this one multiple times) and it’s always so interesting to me.

P L A Y I N G
We had some friends over on NYE (thank the good Lord for white noise machines) for snacks, drinks, and games and¬†What Do You Meme¬†was a big hit, have you guys played it? So terrible, but so so so funny! It’s in the same family of appropriateness as Cards Against Humanity¬†(which we also played) so I wouldn’t suggest playing with your children or grandmother but for a group of adults with a certain sense of humor – so much fun!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

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CHRISTMAS 2017

We had such a great Christmas this year! Exhausting (I think our Christmas celebration count is up to eight as of today), but great. Usually on the 28th¬†I would be feeling genuinely sad that the season is over and thinking of all the things I wanted to do and didn’t, but¬†that’s not how I’m feeling this year. I really feel like we squeezed every drop of fun and festivity out of this month even amidst the crazy work schedules, life’s curve balls, obligations. We had so much fun! I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and have been able to enjoy some down time with your loved ones over the past few days.

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As we were getting ready for our Christmas Eve festivities it started to snow! Camden watched from the window in our bedroom for a few minutes (yelling “RAIN!”) before I put on my big girl pants and let him go out and play in it. Well, I actually wasn’t in pants I was in my Christmas Eve dress and thigh high boots but it was worth it to see how excited he was. Nathan was showing him how to catch snowflakes on his tongue and we all had fun for about 7 minutes before we were freezing our butts off because we were improperly dressed. I hope we get more soon!
Camden’s Hat/Glove Combo | Puffy Vest | Sweater | Khakis | Shoes

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Shout out to all the parents just trying to get one good picture of your over-stimulated, over-sugared, over-tired children this Christmas. Solidarity.
My dress is old (similar here) | My OTK Boots |¬†Camden’s Sweater¬†|¬†Camden’s Khakis¬†|¬†Camden’s Shoes

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We started Christmas morning reading this book and hyping up Jesus’ birthday as soon as Camden woke up. Eventually I would like us to read Luke chapter 2 on Christmas morning but this book is way more our speed at 19 months old and does the trick, I think.

IMG_0039The kitchen was a huge hit! He has already spent many consecutive minutes playing with it ON HIS OWN. Hallelujah.

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After we opened our gifts we made cinnamon rolls (with Christmas sprinkles) and sang Happy Birthday to Jesus.

IMG_0230Toddler photo probs. This was seriously the best of like, 50. Insert eye roll here.

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Best part of Christmas? The nap I insisted we come home for in the middle of the day in between our four Christmas Day celebrations. Toddlers Moms of toddlers can’t hang. We have had an amazing week celebrating with so many people we love! Nathan is off through Jan. 2nd then heads straight back to traveling for work so we are soaking in some family of three time, too. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season!

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Linking up with Annie, Natalie, and Amanda.

FRIDAY FAVES – CHRISTMAS STYLE

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Eeek! Only three more days! I’m resisting the urge to say I can’t believe it (whoops). This time of year always flies by but we’ve gotten in a lot of festive fun so now it’s time to finish up the wrapping and make some yummy food. I wanted to pop in today and share some Christmas-y things we have been loving this year before it gets too late…

christmas faves - coffee
This coffee combo has been on heavy rotation for the last month. I’m not usually a fan of Donut Shop coffee but these are amazing and paired with the peppermint mocha creamer – perfection! I haven’t been able to find them in store at Target the last couple of weeks but they still have them online here¬†or you can get them on Amazon (72 ct. to Prime lol) here!

This candle from Hearth and Hand with Magnolia. My goodness guys, it smells like heaven on earth. I didn’t even buy any Bath and Body Works candles for my house this season, just several of these! (Just maybe don’t tell members of your family that the scent is teakwood and CURRY because they will be really grossed out and think you are a freak. Not that I know from experience.)

If you are a fan of hot chocolate you must make this recipe in your slower cooker this Christmas. I made it as part of a hot chocolate bar at a baby shower I recently threw and people raved and raved about it. So good.

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Nathan is actually the one who requested we all have matching Christmas jammies “as long as they aren’t those tight ones.” These are from Old Navy and sold out online but if you Google “Buffalo Check Pajamas” plenty of options come up that can be here before Christmas!

This time of year always makes me rethink our decision to not have cable. I just love those Christmas Hallmark movies you guys. The two Netflix originals (A Christmas Prince and A Christmas Inheritance) were pretty good and give me hope for the future, but it’s still not the same! I got a few of the Hallmark ones from last year on DVD at my local library and there are a few on Amazon. Deck the Halls (on Amazon) was one of my favorites. Amazon has a Hallmark “channel” that you can trial for a week or so to get some more options, so hopefully that will grow next year too. Don’t stand between me and cheesy Christmas movies. One of life’s great joys.

christmas faves - lindsay sterlnig
It wasn’t all¬†Christmas music all month like normal over here because #taylorswift but I gave this Lindsey Stirling album a try after seeing a commercial for it at Target and I really like it! She plays the violin but they are also heavy beat-driven…it just works. My faves are the ones she doesn’t sing on (sorry girl) but definitely worth a listen. I found it on Apple Music.

After looking all over town for something to wear on Christmas with no luck, I ordered this dress from Nordstrom. It should be here today and fingers triple crossed I like it!

I’ve been trying really hard to finish the new Elin Hiderbrand book, Winter Storms but I can not keep my eyes open for more than a couple pages per night. The book is really good though! I also listened to I Heart Christmas on audiobook (which seems to be the route I should go these days – wah) and it was really cute.

There you go! Hope you found something that will brighten up the your last few days before The Big Day! Merry Christmas!!

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Linking up with Katie, Meet @ the Barre, Liz, and The Slaughters.

CHRISTMAS PREPARATIONS (WE’VE SEEN SANTA NO LESS THAN THREE TIMES)

If you are a mom of littles, you might now be singing “Christmas preparations, you can see them all around. Are you ready for Christmas day to come? Sing it with me, or if you’re a monkey hum!” in your head. Sorry about that. Curious George A Very Monkey Christmas (or Mis-Mis George as Cam likes to say) has been played at least 19730x over the last couple of months and I just couldn’t get it out of my head as a title to this post. #momlife

I shared over on Instagram that life has been a little bit of a doozy lately but we have stayed intentional in doing festive things as much as we possibly can! Nathan and I LOVE the Christmas season and it seems like that fire is catching in our son for sure, which is just incredible to watch. Here is some of what we’ve been up to this month:

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Oh Target. Why do I “need” something from you what seems like every darn day during the holidays? Sigh.

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Cam was SO into decorating both the little tree we got him for his room and our big tree! Only two “balls” were thrown and shattered in the process. Since then he has barely even touched the tree or anything on it which I was not expecting at all!

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This one has been interested in helping in the kitchen lately, which I love! I’m pretty sure he “helped” by eating the majority of the Cheese Its and making bigger messes than I’ve ever seen in my life, but that’s ok. These times pictured right here are what make the really hard, busy, stressful times of the month all worth it. It’s such a good reminder that putting in a little extra effort to make the regular days “special” is totally worth it every time.

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The first week or so of December was unseasonably warm in our area so we went out after dinner a few times to check out the neighborhood lights. Some of our neighbors really go big. Camden loves Christmas “wights” most of all so this was one of his favorite things we did, I think.

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I mean. Can you even with how cute he is?! I love this sweet boy more than I could ever possibly say. He is growing up too fast!


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Speaking of growing up too fast, my baby sister is graduating from high school this year. How is that possible? She had her last Christmas dance and the next morning we snapped this picture while we were visiting their church to support my dad as he became an elder.
(Ps. These are the best jeans ever and I love this Target top so much!)

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Our town has a really awesome light display and one night a year they open it up for walkers (usually you have to drive). We’ve gone the last three years and I just love this little tradition of ours! It’s fun to go at whatever pace you want and really get to soak it all in. I would highly recommend if you are in the area!

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Gingerbread house making! Don’t let this cute photo fool you, Cam was not that interested in this activity. Candy and icing are meant for eating, period. End of story. Do not try to convince him otherwise.

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We love Christmas!!
(We do not love pink eye, which is the reason it looks like my son got punched in the eye. Pink eye was one of the many, many, MANY not-so-fun things we dealt with this month.)

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This kid cracks us up. He is OBSESSED with Santa which I did not expect in the slightest. This picture was taken at a Stories with Santa our local library put on (again highly recommend if you are local) and by the end of the stories and carols homeboy had weaseled his way to the front and would not hear of giving Santa any personal space.¬† Finally the time comes to sit on Santa’s lap and…this photo is what I get. No smiles at all. Meeting Santa is serious business.

Exhibit B:

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Friends, for 10 minutes before this I was considering leaving before we even saw Santa because I was having to physically restrain my child from running in front of everyone to get to up there. Then it’s our turn and deadpan. Will not smile, will not say one word to Santa. Insert eye roll here.

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Has to be the one to turn on the “wights” all over the house after he wakes up <3

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I can’t believe how lucky I am to call these boys mine! Love them so much.

One more because I just can’t stop…

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Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

I hope you all are having a very merry Christmas season. I know it’s not all wonder and laughs, life doesn’t get less hard this time of year – it can actually¬†be a much harder season for a lot of people. If you are going through a hard time or if you are stressed out by all the things you feel you have to do this Christmas please know that I am praying for you and that this season is about something much more than the gifts we give and festive things we do. Heck, it’s not even about going from house to house visiting alllll the¬†family (though that is another special part of Christmas).¬†This season, to us, is¬†about celebrating the birth of Jesus who is the ultimate giver of unceasing joy even in times when you would think being joyful is just not possible. After the month we’ve had in our house I can tell you for sure, the joy you see in these pictures is bigger than all of that¬†extra stuff. It’s because we have been given the ultimate gift of a Savior.

Wishing you all the joy and love this holiday season!

Keep up with all my posts on Bloglovin | See day to day pictures & stories on Instagram | Read my tweets on Twitter | Like the Rachel Emily Blog on Facebook | Pin along with me on Pinterest

Linking up with Annie, Natalie, and Amanda.