mom life, Uncategorized

Inexpensive Date Night Ideas (Christmas Edition)

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Date night has always been an important part of our marriage. We love having family time, but every once in awhile it is important for just the two of us to have time to ourselves. Especially when our kids were babies date night gave us the break we needed to be adults, to be together and not have the everyday distractions. But even now, with the kids being 7 and 5, we greatly appreciate the nights we get to do what we want to do!

Date Nights come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes it’s a nice dinner out at one of our favorite restaurants. Sometimes we like going to a movie. But sometimes, especially this time of year, we like to keep things more simple so our funds can go toward Christmas gifts. So here is our list of some of our favorite inexpensive date ideas…

  • Cook dinner together. (We recently made an entire steak dinner with sauteed mushrooms and onions, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, and garlic bread for less than $20. For the same meal at our favorite steak house in town was over $65)
  • Go for a drive.IMG_1383
  • Sample Holiday drinks together.
  • Play games. (Our favorites are Farkle, Gin Rummy, and Kings in the Corner)
  • Sit out at the firepit and talk.
  • Movie night in.
  • Watch your favorite Vloggers (Jon Olsson, Roman Atwood, Shonduras, are a few of our favs)
  • Unplug!IMG_1084
  • Go out for Coffee.
  • Go get Ice Cream or Frozen Yogurt.
  • Work on a project together. (House project, craft project, yard project etc.)
  • Go ice skating/rollerskating.
  • Go sledding
  • Go Skiing or Snowboarding.
  • Do a morning date. (Breakfast out together is always wonderful!DSC_0066
  • Take pictures of or, if you’re more artistic, paint the sunset together.
  • Go to a pottery painting studio and paint together (or do your own at home)
  • Go to local holiday events.
  • Do your Christmas shopping, kid free!
  • Go for a drive, while looking at Christmas lights, with coffee or cocoa.
  • Go to Holiday Craft Fairs.
  • Watch your childhood favorite Christmas movies.IMG_2185
  • Decorate your Christmas tree.
  • Wrap Presents while listening to Christmas music.

No matter what you do together it will be a time well spent. The time together is always much needed and always beneficial. Enjoy each other! What are some of your favorite things to do as a couple?

Recipes

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

My husband hasn’t been feeling very well the last couple of days and requested chicken noodle soup. I thought, I can either go to the store and buy canned soup, or make it from scratch (for close to the same price) and have several meals. So…I decided to make it from scratch! It turned out delicious and was super simple! I ended up with enough soup for dinner last night as well as enough for probably 4 more generous servings. Well worth the little effort and definitely a much better value than canned soup!

Ingredients:

1 lb chicken breast (or left over turkey)

2 Tablespoons butter

1 cup celery

1 cup chopped onions

1 cup chopped carrots

3 cloves of garlic

1 1/2 cups egg noodles

48 oz chicken broth

32 oz vegetable broth

1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning

1/2 teaspoon basil

1/2 teaspoon oregano

Directions:

Cook your chicken. I like to cook mine in a cast iron pan in the oven at 350 for about 20-25 minutes or until done. I seasoned it with garlic powder, onion powered, a little poultry seasoning and black pepper. I also added a little of the chicken broth to help with keeping it moist. Once done, cool, and then use a fork to shred.

Sauté your carrots, celery, onion, and garlic in 2 tablespoons of butter until soft.

Mix sautéed veggies, chicken, both broths, oregano, basil, and poultry seasoning in a large pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 30 minutes. Add in the egg noodles and simmer another 20 minutes or until noodles are soft.

Serve and enjoy!!

Recipes

Mini Pumpkin Pies

Today is our Thanksgiving fellowship at church and we wanted to try something new. Something that was going to be fun and traditional, but at the same time unique. So I hit up Pinterest and found these little guys! Now it’s always risky trying a new recipe to feed a bunch of people but I was feeling adventurous…and boy am I glad I was!! These things are beyond amazing! We of course had to sample them for ourselves…just to be sure! My husband said they were definitely a keeper and that the cookie crust was the perfect combination of chewy and crisp! My daughter said and I quote “These are absolutely amazing! Best cookies ever mama!” So if you are looking for something new this holiday season, these will definitely be a crowd pleaser. They are simple and delicious!

Ingredients:

Crust:

1 pouch Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix

1 egg

1 stick of butter

Filling:

1 cup canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)

1 cup (8 oz) cream cheese

2 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

1/2 cup sugar

Topping:

Betty Crocker Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 F ( about 177 C). Spray 36 regular sized muffin cups with cooking spray. Make cookie dough as directed on the package. Shape cookie dough into 1 1/4 inch balls. Press dough evenly into bottoms of each muffin cup and slightly up sides.

In a medium bowl, stir pumpkin filling ingredients with a whisk until blended. Spoon a rounded teaspoonful of mixture into each dough filled muffin cup. Spread slightly.

Bake 8-12 minutes or until edges are light Golden brown and filling appears set. ( the cookies and the filling will be soft). Cool 10 minutes in pan; carefully remove to cooling rack.

Fill a piping bag or a baggie with one corner cut off, with Betty Crocker cream cheese frosting. Put a little swirl on top.

Enjoy!!!

Original pin:

https://pin.it/spfwpvsl6szwya

*Note*

I doubled the pie filling from the original recipe to fill 36 cupcake tins.

mom life, Recipes

Oreo Truffles

Today I have an extremely easy, no bake, delicious treat for you! This is one of our favorite potluck/fellowship recipes, because every time I bring it people comment on how good they are…but also because they are super simple!

With Halloween coming up a lot of us have parties we will be attending or if you’re like us you will have a harvest party at your church. These are perfect for those occasions! This is also something you can decorate for any season (they don’t have to be just pumpkins)!

Ingredients:

  • One package double stuff oreos (any flavor but I prefer original)
  • One package cream cheese
  • 1-2 bags of candy melts (any color you would like)
  • Green frosting for your pumpkin stems

Directions:

In a food processor crush up the entire package of Oreos.

Combine crushed Oreos and the entire package of room temperature cream cheese. Having the cream cheese at room temperature will make it much easier to combine.

Stir completely until all the Oreos and cream cheese are combined.

Refrigerate the Oreos mixture for about 1-1 1/2 hours (or freeze for about 30 minutes). You want the mixture to be stiff so that while you are rolling it into balls it stays together and doesn’t melt.

Roll into bite sized balls and place on to wax paper.

Refrigerate rolled balls for another 20-30 minutes.

Follow the instructions on your package of candy melts to melt them.

Place the Oreo balls into your melted candy melts and use a toothpick to move it around and completely coat it. Place it back onto your wax paper and remove the toothpick.

To decorate, use green icing to make stems.

For serving I used crushed Oreos for the dirt and arranged the pumpkins to look like a pumpkin patch!

Enjoy!

*note you will want to keep them cool until you are ready to serve them. When I take them to a potluck or fellowship I keep them in the freezer ready to go, until we are ready to leave the house.

mom life, Recipes

Apple Fritter Bread

This recipe is our families take on other recipes I’ve seen floating around. We are big Dutch apple pie fans and thought a crumble topping would take this to another level and oh man, Did it ever! It is simple, fun, and irresistible (and tastes amazing along side a cup of coffee)! Definitely a new family favorite.I found these cute little mini loaf pans at Lifeway (http://m.lifeway.com/Product/give-thanks-mini-loaf-pan-P006169314) and absolutely love them! I’m thinking of using these as Christmas gifts for friends and family and include one of our favorite breads as well as the recipe for them to make for themselves. It would be a unique and inexpensive gift that I’m sure everyone would appreciate!

Ingredients:

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2/3 cup white sugar

1/2 cup butter softened

2 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup milk

2 apples (any kind) peeled and chopped, then mixed with 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Crumble topping:

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon butter-melted

Mix together brown sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut in 1 tablespoon melted butter. Mixture will be somewhat clumpy.

Old fashioned glaze:

1/2 cup powdered sugar

2-3 Tablespoons milk or cream (depending on desired thickness)

Directions:

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees (about 176 Celsius), grease a 9X5 loaf pan or 3 mini loaf pans.

Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and set aside.

In another medium sized bowl, beat white sugar and butter until smooth and creamy.

Beat in eggs, one at a time, until blended in. Add in vanilla extract.

Combine flour and baking soda and then add into creamed butter mixture until well blended. Then add in milk and stir until smooth.

Pour some of your batter into prepared pan(s) (half of the batter for 9X5 pan or about 1/3 full in your mini loaf pans) add half of the apples and half of the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture-lightly pat the apples in and swirl brown sugar mixture through apples using a knife.

Pour remaining batter in and add remaining apples and brown sugar mixture- repeating patting and swirling.

Bake in a preheated oven for about 30 minutes then add your crumble topping and continue to bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Make your old fashioned glaze by combining powdered sugar and cream until smooth

Let your bread cool for about 20 minutes the drizzle with glaze.

Serve and enjoy!

mom life, Recipes

More than a Bacon Cheese Burger

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As you guys know my husband is a Youtuber. We just upgraded from the iPhone 6 to the iPhone 8 Plus and decided to really put it to the test. We have always used the Cannon DSLR for the majority of our photos and videos, however we have also used the iPhone 6 as a secondary camera for angle shots and some photos. The iPhone 8 Plus was used for all of these photos and for the entire video that was uploaded today. Take a look and tell us what you think but also give this recipe a try!! It turned out amazing!

Recipe:

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1/2 lb Ground beef patties, seasoned with garlic powder, onion powder, and cracked pepper.

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Maple Bacon

Sauteed mushrooms, onions, and fresh garlic.

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Fresh poppy seed artisan buns

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Romaine lettuce, tomato, Pepper Jack cheese, and Cheddar cheese.

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Topped off with Kansas City Heinz BBQ sauce.

Our Thoughts on the Camera:

We really liked everything about the new iPhone 8 plus. The photos were nice and crisp. The portrait function with aperture 1.8 worked nicely and gave it that blurred element that we were unable to achieve with the iPhone 6. However, in low light the video quality seemed to get slightly grainy. Colors were easily washed out and we had to keep refocusing on the item in order for the color to look more natural.

If you are using this on a regular basis for video making it will work really well for you, but you will want to make sure you keep an eye on your lighting. For every day use though and the occasional videoing it does an amazing job. It is an extremely convenient camera that you can carry at all time in your pocket or your purse.

You can check out our video here to see how the actual video footage came out and see more of our thoughts on how everything came out.

I hope you all are having a blessed weekend!

mom life, Recipes

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers


I hope you all are having a blessed day! We did a little grilling tonight and I thought I would share the recipe with you guys. They were seriously delicious! If you don’t want to grill them you can also bake them in the oven, but the grill gave them a great flavor! Let us know what you think of them!

To watch our tutorial video click here:

Bacon wrapped jalapeño poppers
Ingredient:

  • Jalapeño peppers (or mini bell peppers or if you don’t like the spice!)
  • Bacon slices
  • Lil’ smokies 
  • 1 cup cream cheese
  • 1 cup grated monterey jack
  • 1 tsp chipotle powder
  • 2 shallots, minced

Instructions:

Slice the jalapenos (or mini bell pepper) lengthwise. Use a spoon to remove the seeds and membrane.

Mix the cream cheese, monterey jack, chipotle powder and minced shallot. Spoon mixture into the peppers.

Place a lil’ smokie on top of the cream cheese mixture. Wrap a slice of bacon around each pepper. If the bacon is not staying tightly wrapped, you can us a tooth pick or a skewer to hold it in place.

If grilling you will cook it on medium, indirect heat, until the pepper and bacon are cooked. 

If you are using your oven you will preheat your oven to 425 and bake for about 20-25 minutes. Let them cool, serve and enjoy! 

mom life

What to do when your schedule is derailed.

Good morning! This past couple of weeks has been a chaotic time for our family! We were puppy sitting for a family friend, we baby sat our nephew for the week, AND then dealt with a lovely round of sickness! I feel like a tornado hit our house and my business has taken up residence on the back burner unfortunately. But, I have learned to not let these things stress me. I mean, what can we do? Life will happen and your schedule will get derailed. Here are some tips that I have found helpful with keeping sanity in chaotic times.

1.) Always make time to spend time with the Lord.

For me, especially on those extremely busy days, taking time first thing in the morning to sit down and meet with the Lord changes my entire perspective. It helps me to have a positive attitude and not let the little things frustrate me. On the days that I choose to skip my morning meeting with the Lord, I notice that I am snippy with my kids. Or frustrated with work problems that aren’t huge problems. OR grumpy with my husband and that isn’t fair to him either!

Even if you only have 20 minutes. You still have plenty of time to read a chapter, or a few verses, and then spend some time in prayer. Ask Him to go before you through out the day. Ask Him to help you accomplish the things He would like you to accomplish and to give you the energy/motivation to get those things done. Ask Him to help you with your attitude! I promise it really does help.

2.) Make a new plan.

My day is pretty much planned out and is one the same schedule every single day. From my morning meeting with the Lord, work hours, school time, chore time, etc, are all done roughly around the same time everyday. However, when things get changed, I still have non-negotiable things that need to be accomplished. So, I take the time to re-assess the day and determine how I will fit in what needs to be done. Some days, that means we are doing school work while our nephew is napping. Some days, that means making work hours happen while watching a movie with the kiddos.  Some days…that means I skip my chores (sigh) and unfortunately that’s where I am at today! I neglected my chores and now get to play catch up.

But! Making a schedule and sticking to it definitely helps. My important work things were still taken care of. My kids still got quality time with me and we were still able to have fun. My husband and I were able to accomplish some of his tasks (working on his latest video) and still got to spend time together as well.

3.) Make the catch up fun.

Nothing puts me in a better mood than listening to music and singing along! When I have a lot of dishes to catch up on or just regular cleaning to do, I will turn on my music and spend a couple of hours cleaning and singing! Sometimes the kids join in, sometimes I think they think I’ve lost it! But hey! I’m having fun and showing them that working can be fun too…it doesn’t have to be a chore. In fact one of my favorite memories from my childhood was watch my mom and my step-mom work. My mom was an extremely hard worker and one of her ways of making work fun was to have her favorite shows on for background noise. It distracted her from her work and was something we could also do together. My step-mom would blast her favorite music every Saturday and would spend the morning digging in deep to her weekly cleaning. It wasn’t rare to hear her singing or catch her dancing around while she worked!

Like my mom, another way I make work fun is by taking that time to watch something I want to watch. I will either tune into something on the T.V. or these days there are so many apps that you can catch up on your favorite shows with. One of my favorites lately is the Hallmark Channel APP. There are wholesome shows, without all the nonsense, that I can watch and the kids can watch with me.

Whatever works for you to make things fun do that! Podcasts, books on tape, listening to sermons…whatever!

4.) Ask for help if you need it!

There is nothing wrong with asking for help. I still need to tell myself this on a regular basis. I am guilty of not ever asking for help from Kenny. I feel like I am home and it is my job to keep the house clean and make sure all the chores are done. But, sometimes I do need help and it’s okay to ask for it. I’m still working on this one so I need this reminder more than anyone!

5.) Don’t sweat it!

No matter what, at the end of the day, don’t let it bother you. We are all human and I think often times we are too hard on ourselves. As long as your family is taken care of and know they are loved, you are doing your job. The house will get clean, the laundry will get folded, and the dishes will get done. Our families are the most important thing that God has given us. Be there for them and do what you can when you can. Don’t be a sluggard but don’t stress if not everything is done. I promise it’s okay!

I hope this helps you. If you have someone in your life that is struggling with this please share it with them. And if you have any tips on things that you do to combat the chaos of life share them with us too! We all need new tips and tricks from time to time! I hope you all are having a blessed Friday!