Friday, September 5, 2014

Fill the Freezer: Breakfast Burritos

I know what is coming...Nora will be here VERY soon. I am going to be tired, but people still need to eat around here. I remembered how my friend Lydia had made these freezable breakfast burritos a while back. I thought I would give them a try.

I altered the recipe a little bit, based on what I had on hand and what we prefer. And...I didn't take any pictures. I blame it on baby brain. The whole process took less than thirty minutes. And I was able to make 18 burritos for less than 50 cents each (if you shop at Aldi).

Here's what I used.

1/2 stick of butter/margarine
1/3 onion, chopped (can also add green pepper)
18 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 lb. ground breakfast sausage, browned and drained (could use ham instead)
salt/pepper to taste
2 cups shredded cheese (I used Colby Jack)
20 flour tortillas (I used the medium size)

Saute the onions/peppers in the butter. Meanwhile, beat eggs and milk. Pour the eggs into the skillet with onions/peppers. Add meat, salt and pepper. Cook until the eggs are set. Mix in the shredded cheese and let melt.

Heat tortillas in microwave to make them more pliable. Add a little less than 1/2 cup of the egg mixture to each tortilla. Roll up burrito style. Wrap in a paper towel. Place in gallon size freezer bags. Once they are cool, freeze.

To cook, remove a burrito from freezer. Place burrito (still wrapped in the paper towel) in the microwave and heat for approximately one minute. Enjoy!

OR you can make these into a casserole to enjoy right away instead of storing them individually in paper towels. Place the burritos in a greased baking dish. Top with extra cheese and bake at 350 for 20 minutes...or until heated through.

I like to eat these plain, but many enjoy them dipped in salsa. You can add fresh tomatoes, sour cream, etc as toppings too. Some also add different ingredients to the egg mixture such as broccoli, ham, etc.

I am excited to have some quick, tasty options in my freezer for these upcoming busy days!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Embroidery Hoop Mobile

When I made Hudson's mobile, I did it because I liked the look of something decorative hanging above the crib. I thought it was a gimmick. I didn't think that a baby would actually be entertained by something twirling above their head...but he was. He also was fascinated by extreme contrasts in color. Black and white. Ceiling fans. So, when it came time to make Nora's mobile, I took these observations into consideration.

I had thought about making something to match the wreaths I had hanging over the guest bed, but in the end, I decided to make something more round. I had seen various tutorials for these decorative spheres made from embroidery hoops, but none were made into a baby mobile.  I looked at tons of tutorials. But in the end - I just had to work the hoops in my own way, into the form that I wanted.

I picked up two embroidery hoops (each one has two rings) for each sphere. I decided on two smaller spheres and one larger. These hoops were 69 cents each - some stain made the hoops have the darker color I hoped to obtain. Simple upholstery tacks held the rings in place.

My husband hung the spheres this morning using three simple hooks in the ceiling.

I love that it will give Nora something to easily focus on - looking at the spheres against the white ceiling.  They also spin ever so slightly.

They complement the darker elements of the room as well (like the crib).

Hudson was hanging out with me as I took pictures of Nora's mobile. While pretending to be Clark Kent in his Superman T Shirt and glasses, He helped to make sure I had enough natural light.

He held on to my lens cap and offered me snacks.

And he played quietly with all the clutter items I had removed from the other side of the room.

I think he knows change is coming. He is more cuddly with me. He rubs my belly and says "baby" and he has noticed more pink elements around the house...even Nora's books are a little more girly than what he is used to. (Shoe-La-La is an adorable rhyming story! Every little girl needs this glittery book! I was given it as a gift at my baby shower.)

We are very close to Nora's arrival. I have made it past the 38 week mark (5 weeks past the point where I had Hudson). At my doctor's appointment today, everything looked great. It's go keep checking back for pictures and details. She will be here before we know it.

I have panicked a few times, thinking of things that I haven't bought or done for Nora - but then I have to remind myself, there was a lot that I wasn't ready for when Hudson was born. I don't even think we had the crib assembled. And in the end, everything turned out just fine.

I've decorated her room - but some frames are still blank. I cannot wait to fill those frames with family photos.

I also stacked up a few "girl" classics - it won't be long before I can read books like Anne of Green Gables, Little Women or Sarah, Plain and Tall to her. (And we will, of course, also watch the movies!)

Nora Lynn, we are ready to meet you!

Read with Me

Tacolicious by Sara Deseran promised to contain festive recipes for tacos, snacks, cocktails and more. The pictures look delicious. The ideas sound fabulous. But the recipes seem too difficult and the ingredients too bizarre for the average home cook. For the "foodies" out there, this is the perfect book for you to challenge your pallet and your kitchen skills. For those of us hoping to only add a little zing to family taco night, you might want to look elsewhere.

The hardback book was filled with yummy looking colorful pictures. I also like the fact that it didn't have a dust jacket, like most hard back cookbooks. I find that my cookbooks get messy in the kitchen - the dust jacket is usually the first thing to get thrown out, and I am left with an ugly plain book. That is not the case with Tacolicious. The fun image on the front of the book is printed directly on the canvas cover.

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

I have always loved the popular Bible stories highlighting God's use of a woman in His plan. I was excited to see that Sarah Jakes had written Colliding with Destiny - Finding Hope in the Legacy of Ruth.

Although this book is written in chapter form, it would be ideal for a daily or weekly devotional. Thought provoking questions are found at the end of each chapter as well as a commitment prayer. The chapters are a good length, rather than leaving you feeling that you'll never make it to the end.

The writer focuses on comparing how Ruth dealt with difficulty with how God wants us to handle it. This would be an excellent read for someone struggling through a hard time (depression, loss of loved one, or general disappointments in life).  It would greatly encourage someone looking for redemption and restoration. Although the book didn't initially grip me, it did make me think that it could be a great encouragement to someone facing life difficulties.

I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.

If you think that reviewing books might be an activity that you would enjoy, I soon plan to post a list of the places that I receive books from. Most only require a blog post and a review posted to a retail site (such as Amazon). The books are yours to keep. Most offer both eBooks and hard copies.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Read with Me

I am always on the lookout for holiday themed books that my kids and I can enjoy together. I was excited to receive a board book to review! That meant that my little boy and I could read the story together without my fearing that he was about to rip out the pages. My Happy Pumpkin: God's Love Shining Through Me by Crystal Bowman was an adorable little tale that any kid will enjoy. The story was beautifully illustrated and filled with brightly colored pictures. The rhyming stanzas made it a fun book to read aloud. Many books today emphasize the relationship of the child with Mommy, while this book focused on Daddy. It told of picking, harvesting, cleaning and carving a pumpkin. Halloween was never mentioned, but this book would be perfect to read during the fall activities of the year. It gave a Biblical analogy of how, like the pumpkin, Jesus picks us out, cleans us up and lets His light shine through us. Some pages were a little wordy for my 21 month old's attention span, but I foresee this being a book that we will read again and again in the future.

I received My Happy Pumpkin from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

The Life: Seek, Find, Give is a great resource to have on hand. In the form of a mini magazine, glossy, colorful pages help the reader understand how God's story (Jesus) can intersect with our story. It also shows how it is then our responsibility to share that story (salvation) with others. In less than 100 small pages, the reader is taken through the Gospel of John. The pages are laid out like a well designed magazine/booklet, filled with quotes and explanations. This is the perfect booklet to give to someone with questions about the Christian life. I also love that it is written in the New Living Translation - making it easy for the non-believer to understand. I am praying about who the Lord may have me to pass this booklet on to.

I received The Life from the Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for an honest review.

I was so excited to receive and learn from the book Your Family in Pictures by Me Ra Koh. The Parent's Guide to Photographing Holidays, Family Portraits, and Everyday Life. I own a DSLR and I try to capture memories of our family and life through pictures. Each year, I do a big photo book to remember the events. I was starting to feel like all my pictures were looking the same. This book was super helpful. I don't know much about shooting manually, but this book made me experiement with some of the settings on my camera. I now try to shoot in natural light (so I don't have to use a flash). And I have also started trying to take pictures from Hudson's eye level. The perspective of him playing, etc is so much better when I don't just take all the images standing above him. Different family events are laid out in this book along with examples of photos and instructions of how you can capture similar images. I enjoyed the full color, glossy pages. The authors instructions were easy to follow and made me feel that I could learn a few things from her descriptions. If you are a parent like me, hoping to capture the everyday life of your family in photos, this books would be an excellent resource for you! I am hoping to look through other instructional books by this author.
I received Your Family in Pictures from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

 Miracle in a Dry Season Miracle in a Dry Season by Sarah Loudin Thomas was a fun novel to get lost in. These days while nine months pregnant, I am either exhausted or I can't sleep. During my sleepless moments, I was eager to pull out this story and get to know the characters. I had never read anything by this author, but her character descriptions and story development were entertaining. I was confused with the time period - I think I read several chapters before I realized it was set in the 1950's. For some reason, I kept thinking that it took place in the 1800's. Each time a character would get into a car or turn on the radio, I was a little thrown off. The story was refreshing. and an easy read. It wasn't filled with the suspense element that I usually look for in a book, but I still enjoyed it. I also loved that the cover had a real picture on it and was not the typical cartoon drawing of main characters. I like when I am able to come up with my own picture of the characters. Plus, I keep craving peaches during this pregnancy...maybe this book cover contributed to that. ha.

I received Miracle in a Dry Season from Bethany Publishers in exchange for an honest review. I look forward to reading more by this author.