Tomorrow is December 23rd. No, I don't think I need to tell you this, but the date is important to the story. See, 10 years ago, yes an entire decade, I left my life as a "working girl" to become a full time mommy to my then, 3 month old baby boy.
Alex was born in September and I was lucky enough to take 3 months maternity leave. When I returned at the beginning of December, I had all intentions of being a working mom. We had a sitter lined up. We had a schedule of who would take him and when. Then, my very first full day back, my baby was sick for the first time, and I had to send him to the doctor with his Daddy. (Well, him and both grandmas....I wanted reinforcements. So, yes, it took three people to take the infant to the doctor's office.) I was sick with worry, and I spent most of the day in tears because I couldn't be there.
When I got home that night, Mr. E and I talked long and hard about how we wanted our son to be raised. I had a month before he was actually going to start daycare. See, my mother-in-law had volunteered to watch him for the first month I was back at work to hopefully make the transition easier. And it did. I was able to go to work every day knowing he was in great hands at home, safe in his crib, being loved on every minute. But no matter how much that comforted me, I missed my baby. It was that simple. I wanted to be the one at home with him.
So, after many conversations, some strict budget planning, and soul searching, we decided I would put in my two week notice so I could be a full time SAHM. As sad as I was to hand that letter to my boss, who was also a close friend, I was so relieved. I felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders.
So, come December 23, 2004, I packed my desk into a box, I gave my hugs, I said my good-byes and I never looked back. It's a decision I have never regretted. Not for a single second. I have had the absolute privilege to be with my son every day, for the past ten years. I was the one here with him when he said his first word, took his first step, and every milestone in between. Even now as a 4th grader, I'm the last one he sees before school, and the first one he sees every day when I pick him up.
Even on the worst days when I hadn't left the house in days, when he was teething and cranky, and I craved some adult conversation, I knew I was incredibly blessed to be at home with him, and I thanked God for allowing me to be.
So today's recipe is dedicated to that career I left behind. To the fabulous people I worked with and still miss. I worked with a fantastic group of women, and one of things we were famous for was our carry-ins. Everyone would bring a dish to share and we would eat and eat and eat all day long. This would have been something they would have loved, and I wish I could have shared it with them. But it was given to me about a decade too late. A decade that has flown by in the blink of an eye; and been the most rewarding of my life.
This would be perfect for any holiday party you're throwing. Your guests will love the amazing flavor, and you will adore how easy it is!
Crock Pot Spicy Beef Queso
1 lb. ground beef
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
2/3 c. water
2 TBS taco seasoning
2-4 pickled jalapeno slices, finely diced
32 oz. Velveeta, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 (10 oz.) cans diced tomatoes with green chilies
In a large skillet brown beef and onion over medium heat. Drain if necessary. Add jalapenos, water and taco seasoning. Increase heat to high and cook, stirring frequently, until liquid evaporates. Add beef mixture, cheese cubes and both cans diced tomatoes. Stir well. Cook on LOW for 1-2 hours. Stir well. Reduce heat to warm setting during party and stir often.