Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Mystic Aquarium

We had visitors! We love having visitors! This weekend was Easter weekend so my parents came for a visit. We decided that instead of sitting around the apartment all weekend we should take advantage of some of the things Connecticut has to offer. We ventured out to the Aquarium on Easter Sunday in the seaport town of Mystic. 

The dictator is probably going to be veterinary when she grows up. She has a love for animals that I have really never seen a kid have. She loves all animals too, big or small, scary or cute. The aquarium was right up her alley (minus the fact that they didn't have a polar bear, which is what she was looking for, thanks L for the $20.00 stuffed polar bear friend). 

Sea Lion Show

I have been to a couple of aquariums before (Newport Aquarium in Newport, KY , and Ripley's Aquarium in Gatlinburg, TN) and while this one was a good aquarium I wouldn't put it up there with the Newport Aquarium or the Ripley's Aquarium. The indoor area didn't have the moving sidewalks that took you under the shark tank, or entire walls of tanks (maybe one entire wall). It was just really one giant room with tanks of different types of fish, sharks, and turtles. Not that this is a bad thing, but it is kind of cool to ride a moving sidewalk through a tunnel with sharks over your head, or really pretty fish. 

Can you tell she loved having visitors?

The one major plus about the Mystic Aquarium is that it had great outdoor walking paths (probably more enjoyable in 60 degree weather, but we still managed in 45 degree weather.) The animals that you were able to see outside were a must, they are unlike the animals you see at a typically aquarium (minus the penguins.) The Beluga whale was definitely the top attraction for our family. The majority of Beluga whales live off the coast of North America, Greenland, and Russia in the arctic seas. It is known for its unmistakeable all white color and the absence of a dorsal fin. It is truly a beautiful creature. The Beluga's in Mystic are also certainly good at putting on a show. They came right up to the glass, Elin has not stopped talking about it since we left. Other animals featured outside included the rescued sea lions, seals, and the penguin exhibit. They have aquarium workers stationed throughout the walking path to fill you in on the detail of the animals. Pretty cool to hear how one of the rescued sea lions thinks he is human, so much so that when they rescued him he had just completed a mile walk with elementary school aged kids in a parade. 

Seriously how cool is this whale? 

We arrived just in time for the sea lions show. Most of these sea lions were rescued and were now trained to perform in this little show. It was a lot of talking about training so not that entertaining for a two year old, interesting for adults but not engaging for a toddler. We didn't last the entire show but it was fun to watch for a little bit. Definitely something that I think older kids would really enjoy. 

Overall, I wouldn't jump in my car and drive up from Kentucky just to go this aquarium. However, if you are in the vicinity and looking for something to do that is very family friendly this is great place to stop. Not only do you have the aquarium but there are several shops and restaurants around the aquarium area. Mystic is also famous for the seaport and "Mystic Pizza," which is based off a Julia Roberts movie. Seeing that it was Easter Sunday most of these places were closed but chances are we will be able to return to Mystic to explore. I have feeling this won't be our last time visiting the aquarium, the dictator will be demanding a return trip, probably soon. 

Monday, March 28, 2016

Guest Blogger: The Struggle Is Real

Today on the blog I have the opportunity to have a guest blogger. The Mr. has joined the family blog and so the post today is written entirely by him. Enjoy its pretty fabulous if I do say so myself.

The Struggle Is Real
By: Wes Logan 

Let me start of by saying to my wife thank you!  Thank you for loving our children, being supportive of our new adventure, and for granting me an opportunity to make a guest post on this blog (which I would have never discovered if my mother-in-law hadn’t accidently mentioned it).  I may only get one shot at this so here goes…

I’ve titled my post “The Struggle is Real” because as any parent knows raising children is not an easy task.  Children will test your patience’s.  Children will test your marriage.  Children will make crazy demands!  At some point they will even break you, forcing you to cave on all the promises you made before having children (no videogames, television, candy, etc.).  The Mrs. and I agreed to limit our children’s sugar intake and television time.  Sounds easy, right?  Think again!  When your child wakes up at 4:30 a.m. for several consecutive days, demanding for you “to go to the playroom” tell me you wouldn’t turn on the tv to get a few extra hours of sleep.  As for sugar, forget about it.  When it comes time to potty training your children you will do anything to get that done.  So what, I have to eat at Chick-fila four times a week right now because my daughter stands up after a #2 yelling “I did it, I get Chick-fila.”  Some of you are laughing because you can relate.  Some of you may be judging but you will see the struggle is real!  Now that you have some background I’d like to spend my remaining time touching on three valuable lessons I’ve learned since becoming a parent.

It’s okay to waste food.  I’m currently learning this lesson the hard way.  Perhaps reading this will prevent some of you from falling in the same trap as me.  If you’re like me you don’t like to see things go to waste, especially food.  I’m here to tell you, drop the doughnuts!  In the last year or so I’ve found myself eating more half eaten grilled cheese, doughnuts, bags of fruit snacks or whatever else you can imagine a toddler attempting to eat.  All because I didn’t want to just toss the extras in the garbage.  And the result of all this extra consumption to no surprise is gaining weight, too much weight! Lucky for me I’m tall, so to some degree this massive weight gain has been somewhat hidden.  And like all bad habits once you start it’s hard to stop.  It’s time for me to say goodbye to the extras and hello to the treadmill.  Just writing the word treadmill makes me tired.

Don’t be quick to judge.  When you don’t have children it’s easy to be judgmental towards those who do.  However, as the saying goes you don’t know what life is like for someone until you live a day in their shoes.  Prior to life with children I may have found myself questioning why a child was still in their pj's in the afternoon.  Now when I see a child at the grocery store dressed as Disney princess or still in their pj’s it just makes me smile. Some battles just aren't worth fighting. In my opinion, this is one of the greatest lessons I’ve been taught through my children.  I’ve made a conscious effort to apply this principle in my life and have found my relationships with people to be more meaningful.  And the final lesson is…          

The reward is greater than the struggle.  When titling this blog I left off some very important letters.  It should have read: The Struggle Is Really Worth It!  Yes, children will test us but the love you receive from your child will far outweigh any struggle that has quickly passed.  It’s the simple things like an unexpected hug or kiss or the occasional “I love you” that can warm your heart in a way that you have never experienced.  For me personally, I experienced this the other day when the daughter came up to me and said “dad you are my best friend.”  Simple words that had an unbelieve effect.  I must admit, it got even sweeter when the Mrs. asked if she was the also the dictators best friend to which she responded and is still responding to this day “no dad is my best friend.”  Parenting is certainly not a competition amongst spouses but it is fun to be on the winning side every once in a while!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Dump and Bake= Amazing Concept

Dump and Bake? Seriously it's the coolest, easiest concept. Today's recipe comes from none other than my BFF Katie Marks (who seriously just welcomed the most adorable little girl, who I can't wait to meet, Congrats Mark's Family.)

We have been very busy to say the least at the Logan household. Last week we tried to take full advantage of the nice weather that CT was having, this week hopefully my blog will be better, lets just say their is snow on the ground. No park for us! With the whole trying to get two kids under 3 out the door for a little fun at the park I needed something that would be super easy and quick to make before the Mr. got home from work. Katie delivered just that!

We have entered the toddler sleep regression phase, ugh to say the least! I have tried everything under the sun to help the little miss out, so far losing on this battle. Last week I decided to move her nap time up, so park time came in the afternoon, hence why I needed something quick before the Mr. came home. 

The cool thing about a dump and bake recipe is that it literally means dump and bake. I was skeptical at first, because lets be honest I have never cooked noodles in the oven. All the ingredients that are required for this recipe are just dumped into the casserole dish, and baked. How cool is that? I mean there was hardly any prep time, five minutes max. 

The other great thing about a dump and bake recipe is clean up. You only use one pan. You don't have to cook the noodles (1 pan), cook the chicken (2 pans), bake the casserole (3 pans). You simply use one casserole dish and you have all you need. Clean up is a piece of cake. 

The one thing that I did notice about this recipe that I did change up a bit, was that I added a few more spices. When reading the recipe I felt like it sort of lacked some flavor. I opted for adding garlic powder and oregano. You italian lover's out there pick your spices I am sure you can't go wrong. I am actually not sure how much garlic powder I added or oregano. In my grandmothers words "a pinch, or a dash," I know that helps out a lot. My guess is a teaspoon or so, just enough to add some flavor. 

Overall, this is a go to recipe in my families recipe box. I forgot to even mention that the picky eater, Elin, ate this scrumptious meal. Toddler friendly friends! With summer approaching I am sure I will be scavenging the internet for dump and bake recipes. The last place I am probably going to be able to keep either of my kids is indoors, so I am going to need several quick and easy throw together meals such as this one. Hope you had a fabulous weekend, sorry about the poor picture taking (I promise one day it will be great). I hate to say this being spring and all but "Stay Warm Friends."


  • 1 jar (24 oz.) of marinara sauce
  • 1 package (13.5 oz.) uncooked penne noodles (can substitute with other noodles similar in size)
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 1/2 pounds raw chicken breast tenders (or thinly sliced chicken breast)
  • 1 1/2 cups mozzarella 
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese 
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs 
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp. oregano (or to taste)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste 
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Spray a 13x9 inch baking dish. 

Add pasta, marinara sauce, and water to the dish and stir to combine. Place chicken in a single layer on top. 

Cover tightly with aluminum foil (you want to make sure the dish is tightly covered because you don't want any of the moisture to escape.)

Bake covered for 30 minutes

Uncover, and stir

Spread mozzarella over the top and sprinkle with breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese. Bake uncovered for 5 to 10 more minutes (or until cheese is melted, and top is golden brown). 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

If you Send It, I will Save It

I love getting mail, other than bills. Its probably one of my favorite things. Christmas is by far the best time of year, for numerous reasons, but definitely in the mail department. I smile every time I open up an adorable Christmas card, especially those with a cute face or pet looking back at me. 

Photo cards are awesome, not to say that a regular card isn't but there is something about a photo card that makes you smile. I try to always send a photo card, mainly because I'm slightly obsessed with my kids, but also because I know people enjoy getting them.

 Watch Tory and Mal's family grow! (2009)

Photo cards are expensive to purchase (so head over to NOLA Lou Lou where I can design one and you can print it) and most of the time they just end up in the garbage. I get it there is only so much room on your fridge, Christmas has past, babies have grown, but I just hate throwing them away.

Or better yet, watch my sweet nephew Jude grow (2010 his first Christmas Card)


Not only did they cost someone money, but they are adorable. Hence my blog post today. I want to share with you what I have done with my picture cards, and some normal cards that were to hard to throw away. My mom and Aunt Mimi gave me the idea (not sure if they still keep up with their's or not) and I have been diligent in keeping all of those precious cards since The Logan family was officially established in 2009.


When the Mr. and I got married at our first Christmas I purchased a photo album, probably from Hobby Lobby. The album has those old school sticky pages that you have to peel the film back to place the photo in it, you know what I am talking about right? 


2012 Little Jude became a Big Brother welcome Layla Bell

I decided I would keep all the Christmas photo cards sent to me. I marked the first page 2009 and began placing the cards in the album. It started out with just Christmas cards, but then a friend got engaged and sent a photo Save the Date, well I'll keep that of course. Each year I marked the next blank page or spot with the year and then placed all the pictures from that year behind it. 
2013 Mal and Tory had a new addition, welcome Van

Along the way more people got married, then began having babies and birth announcements were sent, kids started having birthday parties and their invite includes their precious photo, you just can't trash these things. The album has turned into more than just Christmas cards thats for sure. It has turned into a great memory book where I have been able to watch families grow and change over the years. It has also been a great source for prayer. Each time I open this book or see it on the shelf I am reminded to pray for each one of those people that covers its pages. Pray for their health, well-being, and over all spirit. Pray that God is using them in whatever way he deems necessary. Pray that each one of them knows their heavenly father and one day when we all reach heaven I will see their face for all of eternity. 


Now so far I have managed to buy one refill of pages for my book and it is still in tack. However, as I was recently adding a save the date for 2016 to the book I noticed that it was rather full and I would need to purchase the next volume.  


Don't worry though Volume 1 will remain on the self and I will continue to pray special prayers for each person whose face is found in this book. Just remember if you send it chances are I am saving it and praying for you!

Monday, March 14, 2016

No One Tells You the Ugly Parts

Sorry for my short hideous last week. I blogged on Monday and turned around and it was Friday. Seriously last week was the longest, shortest week. The Logan family is over the hump in potty training and all I can say is potty training is for the birds. No one tells you that it is probably one of the hardest things you will do as a parent, at the point I seriously haven't experienced anything this difficult. I mean seriously y'all I had two fever blisters and a mouth ulcer from potty training. 

I thought that in honor of being over the potty training hump, yes I do believe we officially have a big girl in the house, I would give my readers the top 5 list of things a.) to buy b.) to brace yourself for. 

1. Cozy Green Potty Seat 2. Step Stool 3. Potty Cover (for public restrooms) 
4. Treats 5. Pull Ups (we call them nighttime panties, we aren't nighttime trained yet)

This was our third, yes you heard me, third attempt at potty training. You just can't force a stubborn child to do anything, even when you know they are ready. Elin had all the signs of being ready at 18 months, but she is a stubborn, take it all in kind of girl so the first attempt was a failure. We tried the whole set a timer, take her when it went off every 15 minutes approach. First of all it is exhausting and annoying for both parties. She hated it, I can't blame her who wants to sit in the bathroom all day.

Second attempt included a multitude of things: run around naked, set timer, sticker chart, celebrate, watch videos while sitting on the potty, little potty, big, potty, etc., etc., etc. Elin's thoughts on this approach were to scream bloody murder at the mention of the word potty. Hence, why our second attempt included a million things. We lasted two days with her telling us she would just use her diaper and we caved. See stubborn!

Third attempt, I just decided not to stress as much, emphasis on as much! Elin is a planner, but this time I decided not to even discuss with her prior to the day. I just woke up one day and said today is the day. Went in her room told her it was the day and that there were no more diapers in the house her size. I did not set a timer and just decided either she tells me, has an accident, or I just ask her if she needs to go. At first she was resistant telling me she would just use her diaper, come on girl! However, I quickly was trying to think of a reward that she would go for. She already watches TV before bedtime and nap time, not much of a reward if you already get to do it. She does not however get to use our iPhones, and my dad (grandparent privilege) lets her watch his iPad, she loves it. He downloaded Kid YouTube, and for whatever reason she loves to watch "Peppa Pig" on his iPad, and we have the weird child who likes to watch other kids take their toys out of packages, who knows? I decided to tell my stubborn child that if she would just go to the potty she would get a special treat (Sour Patch Kids, don't judge I know they are loaded with sugar), and get to play on B's iPad, aka watch Peppa Pig. Worked like a charm. We celebrated, we put stickers on the chart, and we got 8 minutes of Peppa Pig time after we went potty. With only a couple accidents the first three days, she figured it out pretty quickly. Now the whole number 2 business, different story. That took one accident and she had it completely figured out. Plus, the Mr. promised to take her to her favorite place, Chick-fli-a, every time she went number 2 in the potty. We ate Chick-fli-a three days in a roll, and then we decided that we could just stick to eating there on Saturday's, to expensive to do every time, plus she has the hang of it now. 

All I can say about potty training is every kid is different. The biggest challenge is figuring out what works best for your kid. I am sure Baylor will completely different from Elin, but hey I told you it was the hardest thing a parent has to do in the early years. 

Monday, March 7, 2016

Joey Garlic's

We are in potty training mode at the Logan family household. Day 6 and I feel like we have had a break through, Elin asked me to go to the potty. Can I please get an amen. No one prepared me for how difficult potty training a hard headed child was. This is by far the most challenging thing we have done thus far as parents (hence the two fever blisters and mouth ulcer I am rocking right now.)

Since we are potty training we have been sticking close to home. Some co-workers of Wes' suggested that we try Joey Garlic's, which is a small chain italian restaurant. We don't eat out often which is why I had to blog about this fabulous place.

We started off hoping this would be our first outing in big girl panties. However, when we got there the wait was an hour for a table (happening place.) We decided to do take out instead. The take out menu was the same as there regular menu.

The Mr. coworkers told us the portions were large and I am so thankful we listened. We decided to split the Chicken Parm sandwich, amazing just let me tell you. The big girl wanted pizza of course and even the kids portion was huge. I honestly will have a hard time choosing next time what to order, because the pizza was so delicious. To make this place even better it was only $18.00 plus tip for all of us to eat. I can't wait to take our next visitors there. If your by chance planning a trip to Connecticut write this one down as a place to eat.

Thursday, March 3, 2016


Connecticut people love their pizza. They laugh at us when we tell them we like Papa Johns. Honestly though I have yet to have a pizza here that was better, apparently we are going to all the bad places though. The best places are in New Haven, we plan on hitting those up when we take the kids on a college visit to Yale (set the bar high people). 

In Connecticut they have lingo for pizza. They typically call good pizza "A (the name of the letter) pizza," if they are ordering a cheese pizza they say "I'll have a Mooz pizza." I just still order cheese, but hey I refuse to loose my southern accent or roots while living here. 

Pizza is a staple in this house. I have blogged before that it is nearly impossible to get Elin to try anything new. She loves pizza though, she doesn't care if its Papa Johns or the worst Connecticut pizza we can find. She loves pizza! She also loves to make pizza at home, it is quick, and she can help. My little helper tiger! 

Now for you true Martha Stewart's out there I am sure you would whip up your own crust and it would be a true homemade pizza, but I am all about easy so I buy the canned crust and call it homemade. This recipe actually was my mom's and can be adapted in anyway. You can add whatever toppings you choose and I am sure it would be great. 

Now I usually follow the directions on the can for cooking the crust, but I also add an additional step just because I think it makes the pizza that much better. I will put the crust in the oven without in toppings and cook it for about 4 minutes, just to really get it warm and make it a bit firmer. 

We have started potty training this week, so this was go to meal just because of how it quick it is to cook. It takes about 10 minutes to prepare and about 13 minutes to cook. Like I said it is super quick and hit with a toddler. I am sure it wouldn't be approved by Connecticut standards but hey it "A Pizza" in my books. 


1 can of Pillsbury Thick Pizza Crust
1 jar of Ragu Pizza Sauce 
1 bag of cheese (I used Mexican but that was all I had)
1/2 cup of sausage (half the roll of packaged sausage)

Topping idea: green pepper, banana peppers, pepperoni, black olives, onions, etc. (I used banana peppers)

Heat oven to 425 degrees 

Spray a pizza pan lightly with cooking spray. Spread crust on pizza pan. Place in oven for about 4 minutes. 

Brown sausage while crust is cooking. 

Remove crust from the oven. Spread pizza sauce (I am pretty generous with the pizza sauce, usually use the the whole jar). Spread sausage (or whatever meat you are using) evenly on crust. Place any toppings you desire on pizza. Cover with cheese.

Place pizza in oven and cook for about 13 minutes, or until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown. 

My Sous Chef, yeah I know she is cute!!!