August 27, 2012

Santa Fe Puffy Tacos

I love anything Mexican/Santa Fe inspired in our home. Luckily for me my husband shares the same love for spicy food and chips and salsa as I do. We have dishes like this often in our home. I'm always trying to come up with new variations for our dinners of these flavors.

I headed to World Market because they always have a great selection of unique food items in this category. I love that they have many different salsas and chips to choose from like salt and lime flavored, and roasted tomato salsa which is a fave of mine. I even picked up a marinade to use on my chicken for this recipe.
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They have a great selection of spices too. I love just looking at all the different things they have to offer from around the world. Many different flavors you can find here to make any meal really special. I picked up a few different hot sauces to try as well.
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Then I headed over to the kitchen ware aisle. I could easily spend hours looking at this type of stuff. One thing that I really love about shopping at World Market is all the unique things they have from different patterns to textures. Also the price point is really great too, I never feel like anything is going to break my bank and I can trust that it's always going to be affordable for my budget.
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This is the marinade that I picked up at World Market to prep my chicken in before I coked it. I only used half the bottle.
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Then I picked up these great moss green place mats to help set our table. I also picked up the grey cloth napkins too. I like using these just as much if not more than the paper ones. Don't be afraid to use cloth napkins. They aren't just for special occasions they can be for every day too and they wash clean so don't worry. 
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And to make the dinner even more special I picked up these cute little limonta drinks from World Market too. My hubby loved this touch to dinner. A fun special drink in a fun bottle always kicks it up a notch at dinner! 
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Santa Fe Puffy Tacos, these are open faced tacos you load up the toppings and eat! Want to enjoy these at home too? Adapted from here I found this on Pinterest but of coarse I didn't have all that it called for so I changed it up a bit. Click the link above to find the original one my version is below.


INGREDIENTS

¼ cup olive oil
1 rotisserie chicken shredded and marinated in BAJA Chipotle Lime Sauce from World Market
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely chopped
1 can of corn, drained
1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
3 cups chicken stock
1 14-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes in juice, crushed by hand
2 avocados, pitted, peeled, and mashed
2 cloves garlic, minced 
Juice of 1 lime 
Canola oil, for frying
1 package corn tortillas
Shredded iceberg lettuce, diced tomato, and shredded cheddar cheese, salsa , sour cream to garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Heat oil in an 8-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, onion, celery, carrot, corn and bell pepper; cook, stirring, until soft, about 20 minutes. Add chicken. Add stock and tomatoes, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook until chicken is very tender, allow this mixture to just sit and simmer while you prep the other ingrediants and set your table. Meanwhile, combine avocados, garlic, lime juice, and salt and pepper in a bowl; chill guacamole until ready to use, covering to avoid browning.

While mixture is still simmering fill a frying pan with oil enough to cover the bottom and consume your tortilla. Set to medium heat and begin frying your tortillas till they puff up. Remove from pan and put on a plate with a paper towel to drain excess grease off. Once they are all fried up take your chicken mixture and put it in a serving bowl. I drained off most of the juice and only added a bit towards the end to keep it moist. 

Serve and plate your tacos. Side note: the mixture will have juice left over add the chicken that you don't eat back into the pot and use later as a Chicken Tortilla soup with a garnish of chips and sour cream. Yum! 


World Market has an exciting Gourmet Getaway Sweepstakes going on right now, see below for details on how you can enter and win! 
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Gourmet Getaway Sweepstakes:
Grand Prize package includes:

  • A trip for two to to Santa Fe, New Mexico (this is a 5 day Trip for 2 to Santa Fe which includes airfare and hotel)
  • Hands on Southwestern Cooking class with Master Chef
  • Personally signed glossy cookbook
  • Multi-course dinner at the acclaimed Geronimo
  • Southwestern Foodie Tour with a cultural kick
  • A $1,000 World Market gift card

** There will also be 3 runner up prize winners that will each receive a $500 World Market gift card!
**The Gourmet Getaway Sweepstakes runs from August 18, 2012 until September 21, 2012.
**If you share the sweepstakes with 5 of your friends (via FB share or email) you can receive 5 additional bonus entries. This is part of the registration process when entering. Users can also enter daily for more chances to win.

To find out more about World Market visit these great sites to connect:

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™, I was excited to participate as a regular customer myself of World Market, all my opinions are my own.

August 24, 2012

{Featured} Modern Mom Magazine

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I'm so excited and honored to have an article in the new Fall issue of Modern Mom magazine. If you haven't heard of Modern Mom before it's an online community/website for Moms. They have awesome articles everyday for Moms to encourage Moms. Founded by celebrity mom Brooke Burke from Dancing with the Stars. 

My Article is called Five Things I've Learned. I'd love for you to check it out! Thanks to Modern Mom for this great feature!

The magazine is an online magazine that you can download and read from your smart phone or iPad and it's free to download a copy.

Click here to down load the app.

Ps- I'm excited because this officially crosses off #17 off my 30B430 list. 

August 22, 2012

{DIY} Applique Onesies & Tee Shirts

I really love making applique onesies and t-shirts for Ava. I've been making a few for the newest addition in our family lately too! I thought I'd share with you a fun and easy way to make applique onesies and t's for your kids too.

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You can do this method either with the sewing machine or not. When I first started making ones for Ava I didn't have a sewing machine and they still held up just great! I'll show you in the instructions below. So, let's get started!

First you'll want to cut out the shape of your applique you want to use. I usually just Google an image I want and print it off. For example I knew I wanted to make one with the state of Oklahoma on it, so I found an image online that I wanted and printed it off and then used it as a pattern to cut out my fabric. Below is a picture of of all the images I printed off and used for patterns.

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Here they all are cut out in my fabric/ felt of choice.

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In this image I used red felt. I use pins to secure the paper so that it doesn't slip while I'm cutting around it.

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Next, I like to secure my cut outs to the onesie so that they don't move around when I sew them on. To do this I use Heat Bond (which you can find at any craft store) I like to use the heat bond tape only because I like to cut out little strips to go around and secure the edges. Make sure you buy the extra hold bond.

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You can use the Heat Bond pages if you don't plan on sewing your onesie that will ensure it will be bonded to the shirt and not come off. I cut my strips to fit around the edges and then I follow the instructions according to the package to secure it.

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Now it's ready! If you'd like to leave your onesie like this without sewing the edges you can. Sewing it I think just finishes the look of the onesie. If you don't have a sewing machine you can hand stitch around it with some thread.

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Repeat this method with all your onesies, and then you will have a bunch that look like this ready to wear for your little one.

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I like to buy my t-shirts and onesies mostly from Wal-Mart (the Faded Glory Brand or Grananimails) I find that they run true to size and don't shrink much when you wash them. All these onesies pictured I found name brand at the thrift store. That's also a great place to look especially when making onesies since they can get a bit pricey. If you find a bunch of plain ones scoop them up if they're in good condition.

I hope you enjoy making these for your little ones. They are so fun and easy to make once you get the hang of it you'll be wanting to make all sorts of them.

Sharing with: SNAP Show & Tell, One Project At A Time, Sundae Scoop, Weekend Wrap Up Party, Overflowing with Creativity, Pretty Things on Thursday, Create & Inspire, Pitty Party

August 20, 2012

on being "busy."

I feel like life comes at you sometimes in waves. There are times when it seems it just won't slow down, and there are other seasons when I think we wish that we could make time pass more quickly.

I think it's a natural human behavior to want to fill our schedules up, be around people, make sure we have something to do always. But, does that mean that's always healthy?

Every body's always looking for and seeking balance in their lives. More time in their days to get stuff done and see more people.

I think sometimes we wear "busy-ness" as a badge of honor. Like somehow we're more important and our lives are more important the busier we are. Or the more meetings we have, the more lunch dates we schedule, the more important and full filling our lives make us.



Lately, I've been challenged to re-prioritize, slow down and make sure what I'm doing all fits into what's important.

What does it matter if you are busy with all sorts of things, but not making time for the most important things in life like family and friends? Sometimes I get so frustrated when people tell me; Oh I meant to call you but things just got so busy. Or, I meant to do that but life is just so busy.

Sure I understand when life happens. There's always room for grace. But our "busy-ness" shouldn't replace real friendships, it shouldn't replace family time, or date nights, or those small simple moments that make the most impact in your child's lives because we were to "busy" to stop and take a moment.

To have a real conversation.

To sit in silence with the Lord and let him speak to you.

To be still.

Lately I've been challenging myself to "unplug" the day when I get home and give more time to my family. To not feel so rushed through dinner time, bath time and all those small rituals that we do on a daily basis just so I can make sure the home is cleaned before I head to bed, or make sure I can have "my time" to before I turn in for the evening.

But challenging myself to take in those moments, allowing the schedule to bed time to fall to the way side so that quality time is given to those moments. Some of the practical ways I'm doing this are;
- shutting off my social media on my phone after 6 pm. only take calls that I know are important.
- scheduling more blog posts during nap times and bed times for the weeks ahead.
- making sure I'm not on my computer late at night unless my Husband is working on homework that way he can have my attention.
- taking a closer look at my appointments/commitments and re scheduling so as not compromising any quality time with family.

My challenge is for you too, what are some things you need to take another look at and ask yourself;

"Am I busy for a reason, or just because I feel I need to be? Are there things I need to re prioritize in my life so that the idea of being "busy" doesn't take over?"


August 17, 2012

A Coffee Date & A FREE Print for You!


Happy Friday Everyone! 
I'm excited to be having coffee with you all today. 



If you'd like to download your free 8x10 copy of this print please click here, it'll take you to a place to download or print your free PDF copy. Please note, these are for personal use only, my gift to you! Please do not re copy or sell. The watermark is removed for the download. 

Once again I'm linking up this week with Alissa at Rags to Stitches. 

Sharing the printable with these lovely parties: Overflowing with Creativity, Sundae Scoop, Weekend Wrap Up , Create & Inspire, SNAP Show & Tell, Pretty Things on Thursday, Pitty Party

Have a happy weekend! 

August 16, 2012

Design Ideas for Our Baby Boy Nursery

Since finding out that we're having a baby boy the ideas have been swirling about for how to design his nursery. It's exciting this time to be having a totally different gender and being able to design a completely different nursery. At first I thought I wanted to do something nautical, but then my mind changed and I knew I wanted to do something that would incorporate my husband's love of Sooner Football but with a modern twist. My goals for the room we're the same goals I had when dreaming up Ava's nursery:

1. Design something not to baby-ish that he could transition into
2. Mix modern and tradition pieces while still giving it personal touches
3. Stay in budget

Baby Boy Nursery



I really want to do neutral walls with the color but add in pops of red with the art work, curtains and accessories. I'm also loving this red chevron fabric that I found online to make a fun bed skirt with. Most of the big items we already have, we'll be using the same crib and changing table that Ava has in her room seen above. Also the glider will be taken out of Ava's room and moved into the nursery as well.

I really want to create a gallery wall of prints and photographs. Orion and I choose Bible verses for our children, we call them their "life verses" and they are scripture that we pray over them and use at their dedications. For the boy, we prayed and choose Micah 6:8. I was lucky to find a print that I love from Joy's Hope's shop: Hope for Sudan and bought it right away.



I love this print and it goes perfectly in the nursery plans. Here are a few other prints that I love for the gallery wall;

Source: etsy.com via Andrea on Pinterest


Source: etsy.com via Andrea on Pinterest


I really love these curtains as well, they are a bit pricey so I'm trying to decide if I can DIY them or if I love them enough to purchase them?!



Lots of fun ideas, I'm excited to start putting them all together and decorating. You can see my full inspiration of ideas here on my Pinterest board. 

Are you currently designing any spaces in your home? I'd love to hear your design inspiration thoughts. Leave them in the comments below. 

August 15, 2012

Oh Baby: 20 Weeks

This pregnancy is going by super fast! I can't hardly believe that we're already past the half way point. I'm actually behind on posting pictures, these pictures were all taken at 20 weeks but I'm not 22 weeks along. These summer months have flown by our family, and this time around I'm busy chasing after a toddler.

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The biggest surprise that has happened since the last update, is that we found out the gender of baby #2! At 19 weeks we found out that we're going to have a little baby BOY! I'm so excited for Ava to have a brother. I'm excited to get to be the Mom to a baby boy, and I'm happy that my husband will have a son. We will now get to experience what life is like with one of each and we couldn't be happier.

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Daily we talk to Ava about the baby, reminding her that she's going to have a baby brother. I figure if we keep talking about it, and be as excited as we are she'll catch the excitement as well. So far she seems to be doing well, and understanding a lot more now. Often she'll ask me about "the baby in my tummy." It's cute.

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So far there have been quite a few differences between this pregnancy and my first. I hope to do a post soon about all the differences I'm experiencing. For starters I'm craving sweets! Baking and then eating. With Ava I didn't crave sugar this much at all. We are all happy and healthy on this end, and that's all I could ask for is a healthy and happy baby.

Giving Back with Elmers #Bagitforward #Champion4Kids

Last week I told you about my back to school shopping experience, gathering school supplies to donate to those in need. This week I want to share with you about packing up our supplies and sending them to the family we choose.

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We decided to sent these supplies to my sister and her three kids. She's a single mom working hard to provide for her children. My husband grew up with a single mother and his two sisters. We know just how hard life can be sometimes, this was a perfect way for us to partner with Elmer's and give back in a great way too.

Ava got in on the action and helped us too. She helped me pack the box full of supplies and ship them. She was a great helper too. She kept looking at the crayons and wanted them for herself, luckily I had the foresight to buy her some at the store too.

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Side note; now is a great time to stock up on crayons and other things like things since they are so cheap. Even though Ava's not in school yet I scooped up two new boxes of crayons for her at 50 cents each!


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The family we're donating to. So excited for them to have their supplies, 
and be able to use them this school year. 




I am a member of the Collective Bias Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and Champions for Kids #CBias #SocialFabric all opinions are 100% my own. 

August 13, 2012

guilt that covers you like a warm blanket.

I don't even quite know when it happens or if there's a specific moment you can pin point when it starts to set it. But it's there. It's evident.

All of a sudden you're not sure.

You're second guessing yourself. You fight that battle between trying to do it all, have it all and still have time for everything else in your life.

It seems like a constant balancing act. A little bit of a war within yourself. Tugging you back and forth. At times it seems to ease up and just when you begin to give yourself a break there it is again smothering you like a warm blanket over you.

Guilt.

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That motherhood guilt. It seems all consuming. Sometimes it may seem like you can't shake it, like it just won't go away. The truth is, I don't know a mother out there that hasn't found herself face to face with guilty feelings in some way or another during her journey in motherhood.

There are days that I feel so guilty that I'm not with Ava more, that she goes to daycare. It breaks my heart when I see her cry when I leave her.

Days when I feel guilty for lots of other reasons. I end up saying "no" to a lot of activities, lunch dates or dinners with friends because I feel so guilty being away from her one more day or hour.

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The last few months the Lord has really been dealing with me in this area. I've been praying and trying to work through these feelings, because most of it I know is out of my control. Most of it, is the season we're in. And I know that it will pass, just like other seasons have. Seasons that felt so hard at the time but once you're out of them you feel like since you survived that you can do anything know.

Then you're challenged with another season God has you in, and that's where the lesson comes in. That's the chance to apply all that work that God did in your heart during the last season to the current season.

How do I deal with it? I try to remember and remind myself that I am not perfect. That life is not easy. But God is perfect. And when we seek his will and follow him that is perfection personified. 

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I let myself off the hook. Because I know that it isn't my job to figure it all out. It's God's. I give him all my fears and short comings. And the prayers, and the reasons why I feel so guilty.

And then I remember that HE holds me to a standard of GRACE not PERFECTION.

Then I remind myself that I am only human, doing the best I can with what God's given me. And that it's OK if I can't do it all, or don't want to. That it's OK to say "no" to somethings, as long as I give myself a break, do something for myself every now and then. And try not to let that guilt be so suffocating and instead find freedom in who I am and who He's made me to be.

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I pray today that you feel encouraged to let those feelings go, because they are crippling. And God wants you to find freedom and be the best woman, mother, wife, and friend that He's created you to be. Maybe you aren't a mother today, but maybe you're just a woman overwhelmed with guilt for various reasons this too if for you.

This is one of my favorite scriptures, because it reminds me that even when things aren't perfect God is. Even when I fail, He doesn't. And as long as I keep my eyes on Jesus he is always in control, he's my strength.

Though my heart and flesh may fail, God is the strength of my heart and portion forever. 


August 10, 2012

A Coffee Date: When God Calls

Hey Everyone! Happy Friday! Today I'm sharing a vlog, I sorta don't like vlogging only because I don't like to hear my voice. Sounds so weird, but here's to pushing myself out of my comfort zone!

Today's vlog & coffee date are about sharing what God's laid on your heart lately. Come listen and see what I've been pondering in my heart for a while now and how God's using it.


Ps- I think I used the word "excited" a million times during the time of this vlog! 

Ok, now you're turn if we were having coffee today what would you tell me about what God's doing in your life during this season. 

Once again, I'll be linking up with Alissa. Go here to check out her blog and listen to some other amazing bloggers share their hearts.

Have a happy weekend! Come back next week for some fun craft projects that I'll be sharing as well as a few other things on my heart these days. 

Happy Friday! 

Cheese & Spinach Pinwheels

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These are honestly one of my fave go-to simple appetizers to make for parties and gatherings. Today I want to show you how you can make these two for your next party or evening at home with your family.

What you'll need:
1 package crescent rolls
8 slices of ham thinly sliced
4 slices of Provolone cheese (or you could use Swiss if you like)
Bunch of spinach leaves

Here's what you do, roll out your crescents keeping two of them together to form squares. Press and firmly seal the separations together like this;
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Next you'll add two slices of ham on each square, press into the dough.
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Add your spinach, I just like to add enough to cover the whole area.
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The add your cheese, I break mine apart and just use 1 slice per square like so;
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Then you'll roll your squares up and make sure you firmly seal the edges together. You don't want them falling apart while cutting them.
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Cut your rolls about an inch apart, and place them on a cookie sheet. They will look like this once they're cut:
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Bake them at 375 degrees for 13 minutes. Take them out of the oven allow them to cool a bit and then serve.
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Enjoy! These are so good and are the perfect appetizer or small snack! 

August 8, 2012

Back to School Shopping & #Champion4Kids #Bagitforward

It's back to school time! Can you believe it already, we don't have kids in school yet so we don't feel it as much as other parents do just yet. But, I love back to school time. I want to head back to school just so I could buy school supplies all over again. I'm excited to team up with Elmers and Champion for kids to give people in need some much needed school supplies as they head back to school! 

This was an awesome way for me to get my whole family involved in the process and give back. The Elmers Bag it Forward Campaign gives charities and families in need the chance to obtain the school supplies they need for their families. I was able to team up with Elmers to take part in this project. 

I choose to donate the school supplies we bought to my nephew and two nieces. As a single Mom of three kids heading back to school I can only imagine how hard it is to do all those things, work and provide for kids on your own. I wanted to give back to them and ease some things off her mind. School supplies were an easy way to do just that and give back. 

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I'm excited to send these supplies off to help others. Come back next week and hear how we donated and their reactions. 

To see more of my shopping experience visit my Google+ album hereTo hear more about these awesome projects and causes and how you can get involved too, please visit the links below and find out more:

I am a member of the Collective Bias Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and Champions for Kids #CBias #SocialFabric, all opinions are 100% my own. 

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