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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Breakfast Casserole

This recipe is PERFECT for Christmas morning, or any morning that you want something special. You can make it the night before and it's ready to go in about an hour. You can even make it in a crockpot!

Pillsbury Tex-Mex Breakfast Casserole
Overnight Tex-Mex  Egg Bake 
photo cred:

Slow Cooker Sausage-Hash brown Casserole 
from The Brown Eyed Baker
Slow Cooker Sausage, Hash Brown & Cheddar Breakfast Casserole by @browneyedbaker ::

This recipe is from my neighbor Tiffany, not sure where she got it. 

Breakfast Casserole
6-8 slices white bread (or whatever you have-hot dog buns, wheat bread, etc.)
1/4 c softened butter (just for buttering the bread)
3 c grated colby jack cheese, or whatever you prefer
12 oz pork sausage, browned and drained if necessary (I use turkey sausage)
1 4 oz can green chiles
6 eggs
2 c milk
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dry mustard
salt & pepper to taste

Remove the crusts from your bread and lightly butter it one side.Place bread butter side down in a 9×13 baking dish. Cut up the bread as necessary to fit into the pan.
Grate your cheese and sprinkle it evenly over the top of the bread.  Spread the cooked sausage on top of that, and top with the green chiles.
In a medium sized mixing bowl whisk eggs. Add milk and then seasonings and whisk to combine well.  
Slowly stir the egg mixture while you pour it evenly on top of the assembled casserole. You’ll want to keep stirring or else the spices will all gather in one spot and drop onto one single piece of casserole.Cover well and place in the refrigerator overnight.
In the morning preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Pop the casserole in there and bake (uncovered) for 50-60 minutes. It's done when the center is set and the outside edges are golden brown. Let it cool for at least 10 minutes before serving or the casserole will fall apart.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas Holiday Break Fun

How do you stay busy after the holiday parties are over? When the Christmas Break begins it can be a mixed blessing for some of us. I love having my kids around, and not waking up at first light, but then there's me (aka Cruise Director) that feels like she should be "doing" something with them, not only because they won't be around here forever, but because mostly I genuinely like my children and want them to remember how awesome their childhood was.

Seriously...they have an awesome childhood despite the look on one or two faces this picture. So what to do....with 14 days of fun.....yeah. Is it holiday or helliday? I'm Kidding! This year it's holiday--that's my goal. I'm going to keep the screaming, yelling, fighting and eye rolling to a minimum, and remind myself that someday they will be off living their own lives under another roof. I will take time to love them and teach them, even it if feels like a huge amount of responsibility that I am nowhere near old enough to be ready for.

So here's some ideas that will help all of us survive the break!

1. Go to the Dollar Movie
2. Have Movie night at home ( often has discount codes)
3. Bake cookies (yes, you can cheat and use a box mix, or pre-made dough. No judgement!)
4. Go to a library and read! I know it sounds lame, but they need to keep their skills sharp!
5. Play cards or a board game.

6. Play "Would You Rather." There is an actual board game, but it's just as easy to do your own. Take turns asking crazy questions like: "Would you rather walk across hot coals or jump out of a burning building?" Or "Would you rather eat Brussels Sprouts or creamed spinach?" The questions are limitless, and it allows for kids (and adults) to use creative thinking skills. If you want to make it interesting you can keep "score" or give points for the most creative questions--it's limitless! This is a great car game to play on the way to Grandma's.

7. The Story Telling Game- taking turns one person starts a story and when ready says "pass" and then next person takes the story from there. Rotations continue until the story ends. This is another great car game to play on the way to Grandma's too.

8. Build a fort (you remember-- card tables, end tables and blankets) and have a paper or marshmallow snowball fight. The older kids will protest and think it's lame until they realize they can have a legit reason to throw things at their siblings. Remove all breakable items before snowballs start to fly. Take it from me, marshmallows can be destructive in the right hands.

9. Have a Scavenger Hunt-around the house or in the neighborhood this is a great way to kill some time. Here's a great link to get you started!

10. Make an Obstacle or Relay course--again inside or outside, you're creating a great memory!
11. Build a snowman. Marshmallows or snow (if you're lucky enough to have some), inside or outside, this is a fun way to hang out--TAKE PICS!
12. Fingerprint stamp art. Use a stamp pad and the kid's sweet little fingertips to create treasured works of art. Here's a link to get started!

13. Make "I Spy" bottles from old, clear water bottles and white rice. Find "treasures" from your junk drawer (yes, we all have them, even I) and put them in the bottle. Fill the bottle 3/4 of the way with uncooked rice, glue the lid on, and shake. Kids will spend hours searching for the treasures, and it's great in the car. We used simple things like buttons, pennies, beads, pins and foam shapes for ours.

14. Make New Year's Poppers. Directions Here!
15. Play driving or walking bingo.  You can print cards for FREE HERE and select from a plethora of word and/or picture cards with varying themes. Once printed, take a walk or a drive crossing off what you find.

Bonus Idea: Teach them something you are good at--how to take a good picture, how to draw stick figures, how to change a tire--it really doesn't matter what it is, they will remember that YOU taught them something awesome!

Enjoy the holidays! And in case I don't make it back to blogging before Dec. 31- HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


Where have I been? Don't ask. For the last 3 weeks I have had the pleasure of being a maid, doctor and nurse to my children and husband as the flu and sinus colds have hit us time and time again. I will spare you the details, but let's just say 2 bottles of Lysol, and a bottle of Clorox wipes are just the tip of the iceberg that I have been dealing with. Not that I am so narcissistic to think that you live and die by my posts, but I don't want those of you who do read this to know I have not given up, just busy mopping up.

So now, onto better things!
We have started (or revived) an old neighborhood tradition. I call it "Good Neighbor Night" where I invite the entire neighborhood to our house for treats and hot chocolate, and the opportunity to give back to our community. This year we collected warm coats, blankets, towels and hygiene items for local charities. This tradition is what we do instead of neighbor gifts, although if you want to do both go for it. Besides helping those in our community that need a bit of cheer, we also have time to really get to know each other, talk and become better neighbors and friends. We got a good turn out for a new event, and the weather was beautiful, and not too cold. Our daughter, D. brought out Christmas books and read to the little kids on the porch--dang that I didn't get a picture! I had a great time, and I hope all my neighbors will look forward to coming again next year.

This is a new tradition, but I have lots of old ones that I look forward to each year. Why are traditions important? Why do we do them? Are they just a rut we run into, or is there a purpose? We each have a different answer to these, but here's my Two Cents Worth. Traditions are important; they create special memories for us that we can glean from during the year. Creating joy and happiness can sound a bit cheesy, but really creating positive emotions makes us better people. Happy people are needed by everyone--even grouches and grinches. You may not always remember what you ate during a certain event, or what the entertainment was, but you will always remember the feeling of what happenend.

Our Christmas Traditions include 1- Since Jesus is the reason for the season, we start with Him by putting out our Nativity scene one character at a time, beginning 12 days before Christmas. There is an accompanying scripture, song or story that goes along with each piece. Here's an idea link for the 12 Days Nativity. 2- Doing a Service Project as a family. This has ranged from making blankets for the hospital, coat drives, food drives, sending cards to military members, making welcome bags for women's shelters, sending random notes to neighbors who need some cheering, or donating to Toys for Tots and Angel Tree. There are lots of options, make a great memory by choosing a charity and getting involved. 3- Cocoa and Lite night is my favorite. We drive around the neighborhoods and check out others creative decor. There is a fun "I Spy Christmas" game or Bingo that you can play in the car. Print off your own cards HERE and see what you can find. 4- Movie Night and treats. What would any holiday be with food? Boring! We make our favorite treats like marshmallow popcorn, (recipe here) Chex mix, cookies and Spinach Artichoke dip (recipe here) and watch our favorite Christmas movies which always include "Charlie Brown's Christmas," "Elf," and if our teens allow it "A Christmas Story." We also watch "Mr. Kruger's Christmas" and if you haven't seen it you can find it HERE. 5- Reading "The Polar Express" and the story of Jesus' birth from Luke on Christmas Eve. I guess we have a good balance between the temporal and spiritual here, but we want to remember WHY we celebrate and have fun too.

Whatever you choose to do, remember WHY you doing it, and that the MEMORIES made are more important than anything under the tree.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Marshmallow Popcorn

This is the best, easiest, yummiest treat you will ever have. My friends Vicki and Tiffany are always whipping up awesomeness and this is from them! Thanks girls!

8 cups of popped corn (I like Kettle Corn)
2 cups mini marshmallows
2 cups cashews or peanuts (optional)
2 cups M&Ms or other small candy
3-4 squares of chocolate or white candy coating, melted

Mix the popcorn, marshmallows, nuts and candy together and pour onto wax paper. Drizzle melted chocolate over mix and let cool. Break into pieces and enjoy!

Use your imagination and mix in any small candy and nuts of your choosing for your own custom mix.