Monday, June 18, 2012


Patience.  Such a hard thing to have sometimes.  My patience is currently being tested as I wait for our baby girl to arrive.  Really, I should be more patient and not complaining, but it's just a little hard.  I'll be 38 weeks tomorrow and since my first came 9 days early I keep expecting this one to come early as well.
Some of you may know this, but I'm having the baby up in Idaho because we don't have any insurance yet in Utah.  I'm staying with my in-laws until baby girl comes, so at least I have a place to stay while I wait.  So grateful for family!  My husband's work was slow this past weekend so he came up here for 4 days.  Since I have been getting some contractions we tried anything and everything we could to get labor going, but no success...well, at least not with labor.  A week ago the Dr was concerned that the baby might be breech.  Today when I was checked we found that she has dropped and is not breech so that was wonderful news!!  The only downer at the appointment was that I'm still not dilated.  That being said, my husband left to go back home (6 hours away).  I wouldn't have been so sad about not being dilated today, but I'm just SO worried that if I suddenly go into labor like I did with my first, I'm afraid my husband won't make it in time.  With my son I was checked on a Monday and was not dilated or effaced at all, then 4 days later my water broke!  8 hours after my water broke my son was here.  So, you can see where there might be some concern. 
Anyway, just needed to vent my frustrations a little.  I guess I will just have to try and have faith in the Lord's timing and wait...

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Free craft day for kids at Michael's!

Did you know that Michael's offers free crafts for kids ages 3 and up?  I just found out and am pretty excited.  I don't have a Michael's near me, but while I'm staying with my in-laws in Idaho for about a month I'll be near one.  I'll have to try and take William before baby girl arrives.
To see the schedule for June, click here

Family pictures on a budget

We recently had our first family photo session.  Since our wedding (4 1/2 years ago!) this is the first time we've ever had someone else take our pictures--besides the occasional "Hey, will you take our picture real quick?" to a stranger.  I've been wanting to get good family pictures for a long time, but we've just never really had the money for it.  This time we decided we were willing to spend some money for good quality pictures, but in the end it didn't cost us a dime!  I LOVE when I can save some money!!
I wanted pictures outside, so hopefully they would seem more natural looking and let's face it, trying to get a 3 year old boy to pose in a studio just didn't seem like a possibility for us (at least not with our toddler).  I have a photographer friend who we were going to pay to do our pictures, but that ended up not working out, since she lives out of town.  We then decided we just needed someone, anyone to just take the pictures and we would edit them.  In talking to one of my friends I found out she use to do photography for weddings and such.  Awesome!  She was nice enough to give of her time and spend 2+ hours doing ours for FREE!!  She said she hadn't taken any pictures in over 4 years, but I was sure impressed with how they all turned out.  So thankful for such great friends--I owe you Ali! :)
So she took all the pictures, then I spent the time editing.  We recently bought adobe photoshop, but I have not yet learned how to use it, so the following pictures were edited on our Mac.  I was amazed at how simple it was and how great they turned out!  If you don't have a Mac, there are so many great photo editing sites online for the low price of FREE! :) I just googled "free online photo editing" and came up with a dozen or so sites.
For Mac users: For all the pictures, I first clicked the "enhance" button, then if they needed further editing, I went into the effects section and went on from there. A lot of the pictures I boosted the color (under effects) just to help them stand out more, but sometimes it did make the pictures too dark so I had to lighten a little.  Here are a few examples of pictures I edited and what I did.  

Changed to black and white, then clicked vignette for the black edge.
 Boosted the colors, then added the edge blur.
 Sometimes just simply changing the picture to black and white can do so much for the emotion in the photo.
 Changed to sepia, added edge blur, then matte.  Love how this one turned out!
 For this one all I did was boost the color.
 Just a quick boost of the color.
 Antique setting.  I liked the antique setting for some of the pictures of my son on the tractors and such, since the tractors are antiques.

All-in-all, here is what I have learned about saving money on family pictures:
  • You do not need to go to a studio, or necessarily even have a professional take the pictures, though it was nice that our friend has lots of experience! 
  • A little bit of quick photo editing goes a long way--I spent less than 30 seconds editing some of these.
  • There are so many new photographers out there who are willing to do free or dirt cheap photo sessions to expand their portfolio-don't be afraid to ask!
  • It is best to have someone with a dslr camera take the pictures.  It seems almost everyone now has one, so I'm sure if you talk to your friends you'll find one.
  • If you are taking them outside, make sure to do it early morning, or evening.  We did ours around 7pm and it was perfect!  The natural lighting helps a lot with the quality of the photos.
Hope this was helpful, thanks for reading!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

This is a recipe I learned about 7 years ago back in high school, but it has to be one of my very favorite dishes to make.  It's so delicious!  I've made it for a lot of friends, neighbors, and family.  Almost everyone that I make it for asks for the recipe, so I thought I'd share it with all of you.
Before I begin though, let me make you aware that not all measurements are exact.  You kind of just have to use your best judgement in deciding the consistency you like for your enchiladas.
  • 4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked white rice
  • about 1/2 lb pepper jack cheese, grated 
  • 8 oz fat free cream cheese
  • about 1 1/2 cups green chile enchilada sauce (I usually use medium for a little extra kick, but if you don't prefer spicy things, or maybe have kids, I'd go with mild)
  • 10-12 flour tortillas (soft taco size)
  • 1-2 cubes (depending on size) chicken bouillon (optional)
First, boil all the chicken with the chicken bouillon.  If you don't have bouillon don't worry.  A lot of times I don't use it and I really can not tell a difference.  Though, if I have it on hand and remember, I'll usually throw in a cube or two. 
While chicken is cooking start cooking rice, and preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.   Rice is not in the original recipe but a year or so ago my husband and i decided to start adding it.  It just makes the recipe go a lot further, and rice is cheap so we've been doing it ever since!
After chicken is cooked, shred and place in large bowl.
 Next, add cream cheese, a couple handfuls of pepper jack cheese, and about 1/4 to 1/2 cup enchilada sauce.
 Mix ingredients together.  I use my kitchen aid with the hook attachment because it makes it so much easier, but before I had a kitchen aid I just used my hands.  Don't worry about getting messy, you will be messy by the end of this-especially if you cook like me :)
After chicken, sauce, and cheeses are mixed thoroughly, add in rice.  Mix again.
Pour a small amount of enchilada sauce in baking dish.  Just enough to coat the bottom so the enchiladas don't stick--though almost every time I make these they stick a little to the dish anyway.
 I usually bake 10-12 enchiladas in a 9"X13" oven safe baking dish.
 Pour more sauce on a plate.  Coat tortilla on both sides with sauce, then add chicken mixture.  Roll up tortilla and place in baking dish.
 Top enchiladas with sauce and pepper jack cheese.  Bake in oven at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Enchiladas are done when cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly.  I like my enchiladas to be a little bit crispy, so I bake them until cheese starts to lightly brown.
Tips for good enchiladas:
  • Don't crowd enchiladas in pan
  • Don't underbake-nothing like taking a bite of something that is cold inside.
  • If you plan to have leftovers, make sure to eat them in a day or two.  They tend to go soggy fairly quick.  If I know I'm making more than we'll eat I just bake what we'll eat that night, then prepare the rest, cover, and put in the fridge to bake later in the week.
For a healthier variation, you can:
  • Prepare with brown rice, instead of white
  • Use whole wheat tortillas
  • Cut back on the cheese.  I  tend to use maybe a little more cheese than necessary, because it's just so yummy! :)
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