Ham & Hashbrown Casserole

We still have some leftover ham from Christmas and it’s getting close to it’s lasts days so I figured it was time to make more than just sandwiches with it. Enter a yummy, cheesy, ham and hash brown casserole that is easy to make and will make you feel like a boss making a homemade breakfast for your family. (maybe this is a norm for you, but it certainly is not in our house) . I love using leftovers in a less obvious way so rather than kids feeling like we’re eating ham, AGAIN, I sneak it into dishes like this. Also, this dish is super easy to make the night before and cover in the fridge over night. Then in the morning you can add the topping while your oven heats up and then stick it in to cook while everyone gets ready for the day and by the time they come downstairs dressed you’ll have breakfast ready to serve.

Click the link above for the printable version of the recipe. Continue to scroll to watch me in action, I promise it’s short.

Spray your 9×13 pan. Dump your potatoes, diced ham, bell pepper and cheese into the dish and stir to combine. (note: I am using a foil dish because…well I like as few dishes to clean after as possible but if you are using a glass dish it may not be as deep so you may need to mix the hashbrown mixture in a large bowl before dumping in the casserole dish)

In a separate bowl combine your eggs, water, onion powder, smoke paprika, salt and pepper and beat them real good. Stir in your can of green chiles and then pour over your hashbrown mix.

This is what it looks like after you mix it all together. I realized after I made this that it would be yummy with some crunch added to it. Think funeral potatoes meets breakfast casserole. So, I added a step to the printable version of the recipe. Melt 1/4 cup butter in a small mixing bowl, add 2 cups of Cornflakes and mix well, you want to make sure its covered in butter as to prevent burning. Sprinkle on top of your casserole and bake, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes at 375

Here we go…

In 2 separate blessings I have been told I would do work that would touch the lives of many and that if I stayed in touch with the guidance of the Spirit I would be used to influence many in a positive way. I was told I would be given opportunities to celebrate and rejoice with others as a result of the work I was doing. I have pondered over these comments for more hours than I could possibly count. 

About 1 year ago I started receiving these nudges. Little promptings and ideas would come about what I could be doing to make the comments given in those blessings a reality but I continuously pushed those thoughts to the side. “I’m about to have a baby that would be crazy to start now.” or the most common thought, “What do I have to share that would be of worth to anyone?!” or “Having 6 kids is kicking my butt, now is NOT the time to start anything”. But the reality is, I can find time for anything if it’s really important to me but I am just SCARED OUT OF MY MIND of trying something and failing miserably. being a joke, and scariest of all, not making a difference when I feel like I should be and letting Him down in the process. I have started to take baby steps here and there but honestly I still don’t have the full picture of what I am even supposed to be doing here, top that with trying to balance life and again, being terrified of putting myself out there and really starting this new venture and what do you know, a year has passed with nothing concrete. 

Well that all stops here because about a week ago during my personal study, I received another prompting of something I could/should do. My next thought was, “I don’t even know where to start with all of this!!!!” And immediately a very distinct prompting came, 

“Start with being vulnerable. Tell them what you know and what you don’t and go from there.” 

So here it is, friends. This is what I know: I am hoping to use this Instagram account to spread positivity, encouragement and hope. I want to create a community where everyone feels like a friend, and what do we do with our friends? We encourage them, we help give inspiration when we can, we help them out when they are starting a new venture, we share our stories of laughter, we tell them they can have the life they want and help them in anyway we can and we share experiences that help strengthen our testimonies, we make them laugh when they are having a bad day and cry with them when they are having a bad year. 

Here is what I don’t know: how I am going to do all of the above. 🙂 For real though, I’m not sure what all this account will have on it but I do know I won’t be trying to sell anything, and I’m not looking to make anything. I know there will be DIY projects (trust me if I can do the stuff I post, you can too), products that I love (but am not paid for telling you about), quotes that inspire me, recipes I love, accounts that I think are awesome and think you should follow too, articles that have moved me or that I would just love to discuss and maybe even the occasional challenge to spread some cheer or service. 

I’m not an expert in any field, I’m not even crazy good at just about anything 🙂 so I’m not sure why I’m feeling like I need to do this but I’m going to take a leap of faith and see what He has in store for me. I would feel so humbled to have your help. Tag a friend if you feel inspired to do so on any of the posts, make comments and let me know your opinion on articles or quotes or let me know what your family does if I’m sharing something our family does. I want this to be a place where we talk and discuss and share all that we have to share. I sincerely thank everyone who took the time to read this novel and I am so grateful for all the support from those who tag friends and make comments and support me in anyway while I figure out what my purpose is in this. 

Homemade Playdough

Little Miss and I decided we needed to make some playdough so we pulled out the recipe my mom used when we were growing up and got to work. Although this recipe does not have anything harmful in it, it doesn’t taste good either so I wouldn’t consider it edible. I do love the texture of this recipe though which is why I always go back to it.

The best part about this recipe is how easy it is. Dump all the ingredients into a saucepan, heat while stirring until it form a clump and then you simply roll it on the counter and knead it a bit and then you’re ready to play as soon as it cools. (maybe 3-5 minutes, tops) SO easy and so fun that the kids get to say they MADE their playdough, they love it!

We had so much fun rolling, cutting, forming, shaping, and then…building a snowman. Zoey was very captivated by how I made one…

So glad I had the camera ready to capture her reaction when I turned it around to show her…

She thought it was the silliest thing. Typical Arizona girl I guess. Then she decided to make her own and it’s just the cutest little thing ever. She did a good job and then took the “coal”, nose, arms and eyes off of mine to add to hers.

Zoey’s cute little doughman

If it’s a cold, chilly day and you want something to do with your child that takes very little effort but is so much fun, this is a great choice! Stores nicely in a gallon bag too so it entertains longer than just one sitting.

C & A Room

Ok, you are going to have to just forgive the poor quality pictures but until I hire a photographer to get decent pics you’re stuck with phone pics and with windows that always get crazy light, this is the best I have for now.

Also, Andi’s bedding does not match the room but when your daughter’s face lights up with excitement when she finds a space unicorn comforter you let go over your desire to have a perfectly decorated room so that she can have what she loves. This is me trying to convince myself I did the right thing 😉

We decided to go with a very light neutral color on the walls and the girls landed on Calm by Benjamin Moore (OC-22). We wanted a splash of color somewhere in the room and I convinced the girls to go against the norm and paint the shiplap wall a color. They chose Woodlawn Blue by Benjamin Moore (HC-147). I really do need to a get better pictures one day so ya’ll can see how beautiful these colors are they chose. Reminder, you can go to Home Depot and give them the name of a Benjamin Moore color and they can look up the formula, no need to have a sample on hand for them to color match. {high five to that technology!}

Now lets move on to the most important part of this post, the cost and reviews of what we did in their room. This corner of the room is by far the highlight of the space. A few months ago we decided to pull the books out of the play room and divide them amongst the kids’ rooms and so I knew that in each of their rooms we needed to include a place to at the very least store books, better yet, have a little reading nook if room permitted. Luckily in the girls room we could do both. And since they have bunk beds which makes it hard to just lay in bed and hang out, which is their favorite after school activity, we wanted to make sure there was comfy seating for both, especially Andi when she doesn’t want to have to climb up in her bed. I got the shelves and the swing on Amazon. The shelves came in a set of 2 as shown and the swing comes with just the swing so you need to account for the fact that you have to hang it yourself. We decided to go with chainlink and carabiners hanging from the anchors we put in the ceiling. All of the items were bought at Home Depot for around $24. (That brings the total of the swing to about $75) Both products have been awesome so far, no complaints. The shelves aren’t super deep but most chapter books do fit on their and the kids books they have in there (for reading to Taylor) we just lay against the wall so they look like they are being displayed which I like the look of so, they work for us.

Andi asked for “a golden light” for her birthday. She wanted a light next to the bed so she can read at night, I just love that kid! Anyway, guess where I found these gold sconces? You got it! AMAZON! I didn’t want a permanent fixture so these work perfectly for us. They are definitely bright enough and I think the quality is great for the price. The girls are loving being able to read in bed with the room light off and then just shut off their sconce when it’s time to go to bed. They feel so grown up. 🙂

Each girl has a small shelf next to their bed to hold just a couple items, just enough space to feel like they have a shelf that is their own for items of their own choice, but not big enough to turn into a clutter collector. The shelves I loved came in a 3 pack and they are all different sizes. Andi has the biggest because she is top bunk and doesn’t have anywhere else to store anything. Cambryn has the middle size since she can set a water bottle or book on the floor if needed and the smallest shelf is being used elsewhere in our house. This works for their room since they have bunkbeds and you can’t see the shelves next to each other. You would never know they had different sizes unless I pointed it out to you, which I did not due to the girls and I’m pretty sure they have no idea. Classic mom move.

We still need to add some pieces to the room. A large mirror and some cute framed pics of them together over the years are going to make their debut sometimes soon but for now, we’re happy with how it’s coming together. I love walking in their room and seeing them in their swing together giggling over their most recent inside joke or deep into their reading. It makes my mama heart happy. I love seeing how excited they are to show off their room to friends and hold their “sibling meetings” in there. It’s been a successful room makeover.

While we were busy at work in their bedroom they made this cute entrance to their room. I love seeing their creativity and them develop a love of decorating like their parents

Fun fact: these lanterns are from our wedding THIRTEEN years ago! How cool is that to have them now in the room of our oldest two?! The kids love to have sibling sleepovers in the girls’ room and stay up talking with just these lanterns on and I love to sneak a peek on them all in there making memories under those lights. We did not picture this is what life would be like 13 years later and that we would still have those lights and be putting them to use but man are we SO grateful for where life has taken us. It just makes my heart melt thinking about it.

Craft Room of My DREAMS!

It has begun!  Operation craft room makeover has officially started and it ismessy. Carpets are up, glue is slowly but surely coming off with the help of paint thinner and our muscles and we are getting one step closer to the room of my dreams.  

Are you ready to picture this with me?  Black and white stripe floors, large table in the middle of the room with storage in it.  The perfect place for the kids and I to do crafts together while making memories that will last a lifetime.  A closet that is so beautifully organized that it will make your heart skip a beat when you look at it (ok, I may have a problem when it comes to obsessive organizing), some artwork that represents my two homes, beach and desert, pegboard with more organization and some greenery, and of course a couch for friends and family to sit and visit with those of us creating at the table.

One of the inspiration pictures I have had my eye on for a long time now.

Do you see it?  I can’t wait to make it come to life and share it.  

What’s for dinner tonight?!

Every time my kids walk through the door I swear the first thing out of their mouth is, “What’s for dinner?” I can’t count how many times my immediate thought is, “Crap, I have to pick again?” I really do like cooking but for some reason I hate choosing what to cook. Weird? Just me? I don’t know, but in case you are the same way and you are dreading having to figure out what to cook, let alone something that everyone will eat, let me give you a suggestion:

If you have these ingredients on hand then you are in luck because I have a super easy, super yummy recipe to share with you from Dinner Then Dessert. Is there anything better than contemplating what to make for dinner, AGAIN, and then seeing someone post about what they are making for dinner and you get excited because you realize you have the ingredients for that too and now you don’t have to decide?! I hope that is happening for you RIGHT NOW. I pretty much always keep these ingredients on hand because there are so many recipes I can make with them but this is definitely one of our favorite. This Cheesy Taco Pasta is delicious and easy enough for my 11 year old to make it by herself which is always a bonus.

Here is to knowing what’s for dinner! {insert high five} What are your favorite “go to” meals?

2 Things That Are Helping Me Get Through Nursing

First and foremost I want to say there should be NO JUDGEMENT on how parents choose to feed their baby.  Nursing, pumping, formulait doesn’t matter we are ALL doing our best and have our kids best interest in mind.  Like a hilarious meme I once saw said”they all end up eating Cheerios off the floor of the car anyway”. : ) 

With that being said, this post is geared to those who are trying to make breastfeeding work and are struggling because mama, I get it!  I have struggled to breastfeed each of my six kids some only lasted 4 months, others 12 months.  This go around is by far the easiest and that’s because of two factors.

  1. I started following a support group on Instagram and I got so much information {and support} from them which was a huge help.  @pump_momma_pump gives tips on relieving clogged ducts, increasing your milk supply, what you can do with oversupply, how to deal with high lipase milk, and more.  All though it focuses a lot on pumping, they are very encouraging of all women, no matter how you choose to feed your babypumping, nursing or formula.  
  2. I learned about Power Pumping and it was LIFE CHANGING.  So anytime I noticed a dip in my supply (which is pretty often for me.  My supply fluctuates a lot depending on diet, exercise, water intake all of that.  I feel like I’m pretty sensitive to each of those areas and it doesn’t take much to notice a decrease in my supply.  Also, baby girl started sleeping through the night {yay!} but it effected my supply as well)  So in the past if I noticed a decrease I would try to just feed more often and for some that works great, but I never had much success with it.  This time I’ve done Power Pumping and within less than a week of doing it ONCE a day I would notice a difference.  So, here’s how it works: Pump for 20 minutes, rest for 10 minutes, pump for 10 minutes, rest for 10 minutes, pump for 10 minutes.  As you see, it’s an hour spent once a day but that’s all you need to signal your body that it’s not producing enough and needs to step up it’s game.  After our most recent vacation I noticed I was getting a little less than usual when I was pumping (which explained why the baby kept wanting to nurse SO MUCH) but honestly haven’t had a hour each day to spare so I increased my water intake and then pumped my usual amount, waited 10 minutes and pumped again for 10 more minutes (so a total of 40 minutes probably) and I noticed an increase within 48 hours.  So with 2 “power pumps”, increase in water and nursing baby still I increased it faster than usual.  Keep in mind baby girl is 5 months now so my supply is a little more established, I would definitely stick to a full hour of Power Pumping if you have a newborn and are trying to increase your supply and for sure do it for at least a week.  

I just thought I would do a post for any women out there really wanting to make nursing work but struggling.  Hopefully this will help.  And go follow @pump_momma_pump for sure!  If you have tried everything and it’s still not working that is O.K. too!  You love your baby and your baby knows it, not from whether you nurse her/him or not but by the love they feel radiating from you each time you hold her/him and THAT is what matters.  

Look who started getting the hang of holding her bottle!

If you know someone who may benefit from these tips please share, we can all use more support and encouragement from one another.