Homemade Taco Seasoning

homemade_taco_seasoning_2

I haven’t given up the OREOs yet, but we are making steps towards a lifestyle where we make healthier food choices. It seems half our friend base is trying out the Whole 30 or has decided to eat Paleo, I am so proud of you….. but not that committed yet. We are over here just trying to decide whether to give the kids regular goldfish or the Horizon cow crackers, haha. One step I have made though is making my own taco seasoning. It is SUPER easy, SUPER cheap, & SUPER better for everyone involved (except the folks making the store bought taco seasoning).

 homemade_taco_seasoning

Here is what’s in my bowl….6 tablespoons of chili powder, 4 teaspoons of cumin, 3 teaspoons of paprika, 2 teaspoons of garlic powder, 2 teaspoons of onion powder, 1 teaspoon of black pepper. If you like your taco seasoning with a kick add 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper. 

taco_seasoning

Mix all the spices together. I store mine in a small jelly jar (any air tight container will work). Use 2 tablespoons of mix per every pound of meat. Enjoy!

taco_seaoning

I bought several of these spice at Dollar General for only 99 cents each! I hear Aldi has great deals on spices too!

Tips for Surviving Two Under Two

tips_two_under_two

Hey Mama,

I’m so glad you are here! Are you stressed? excited? scared? tired? overwhelmed? I hear you! When Chickadee was 10 months old we found out we were pregnant with Sprout. It was a little bit of a surprise & while I was excited I was also pretty overwhelmed. I mean I had just written that post about surviving the first three months with a newborn; we weren’t even to a year yet, and now another one little bundle was coming in less than 9 months. But here is the deal. I am here to tell you…YOU CAN DO IT. Sprout has turned one and Chickadee is 2.5 and we made it! And while there have been ups and downs and a lot of sleepless nights, the last year has been the most perfect gift from above. And for that reason I want to share what I have learned. 

So all of the tips I shared after Chickadee was born are still ESSENTIAL to bringing home baby number two. So make sure and check out that post also! These tips below are in addition…. I must note that all families are different, just like all babies, so what works for one doesn’t work for all. Please take all my advice with a grain of salt!

years_are_short

  1. You will feel like a failure. YOU AREN’T. There will be days when you haven’t showered (a lot of days), dinner won’t be ready on time, you have both spit up and boogers on your shirt, the baby didn’t nap, and the toddler isn’t listening. I am not here to tell you it will be easy…it won’t be. BUT you are not a failure. God chose you to be the mama to these two little ones and for that reason you are exactly what they need. So take a breath, pull up those yoga pants, order a pizza, and just BE with them. Play. Give lots of hugs. Read lots of stories. and remember you will never get these crazy days back.
  2. Find something to entertain your toddler & keep them still, while you are feeding the baby. So I was one of those moms who thought their children would never watch TV. Well, I was wrong. During those first few months with Sprout, Curious George on PBS became our best friend…with Daniel Tiger coming in a close second (he is on Netflix!). She didn’t watch a lot, but during at least one of Sprout’s feedings we snuggled on the couch and let George and/or Daniel allow us all a moment to rest. A few other ideas are coloring, reading a book, or playing in a gated playroom!
  3. Get a good baby carrier. For Chickadee I LOVED the baby K’tan when she was little. But Sprout was an infant during the summer and I found it to be too hot. So I tried the Solly Baby with him instead & I LOVED it. The fabric is a lighter weight and very breathable. Now that Sprout is bigger I still carry him but use the Ergo instead. It is especially great at playgrounds! A baby carrier is a must when chasing after and trying to play with the toddler!
  4. Grocery/Errand Shopping. Okay…this one is tricky if you are trying to do it with both, but it is possible. And I HIGHLY suggest getting out to save your own sanity. You can do it! You really have two options. First, you can wear the baby in a carrier and let the toddler sit in the front of the buggy. This is a must if you are trying to do a BIG shopping trip. If you are just going for the essentials you can place the baby down in the large basket portion of the buggy and let the toddler sit in the seat (or you can wear the toddler on your back if you have an ERGO!). Other tips would be to bring snacks to keep the toddler busy. Also park near the cart return. That way you can get a buggy and load everyone up before you have to walk into the store (which is really hard carrying a newborn and holding the hand of a toddler). Once the baby is able to sit, we LOVE Publix, Kroger,Target and Costco around here because they all have the double buggies that have the double seats for two kids!! This is a must. Having the toddler try to walk & baby ride is a recipe for disaster around here. 
  5. Naps. Now that you have two instead of one you won’t hear anyone telling you to “Nap when the baby naps.” Let’s face it, for a while that will not be an option. For the first few months make sure you keep your toddler on the SAME sleep routine. They need to continue to nap and go to bed at the same time. Once the baby is a few months old and you’ve worked out a “routine/schedule” your main goal should be getting them both to take their afternoon nap at the same time. I was able to do this around the time Sprout was 4-5 months. They now both nap about 1:00 from anywhere to 2-2.5 hours. Here is an example of our routine/schedule when sprout was around 4 months. two_under_two_schedule
  6. Bedtime This will be different for you depending on how much help you have for the bedtime routine. I can only speak from experience, so I will share how we do it. I am super blessed to have a husband who is home most nights by 6/6:15. When Sprout was little we started bath time with both kids about 6:45. After playing for a few minutes, one of us washes the baby and takes him into his room to change into his pajamas (about 7:10), he then will nurse or take a bottle. The other stays with our toddler and plays a little bit longer in the tub. Then bathes her and takes her to put on pajamas. Then we all congregate in one room to read a story, usually from the Jesus Storybook Bible. After that we say the baby’s prayers, one of us puts him down (7:30). With his sound machine on!! The other takes our toddler to brush her teeth and usually read another story. Then we meet up in her room to say her prayers and tuck her in. Obviously there are nights where this plan goes out the window, but if it’s a normal night…it’s what we shoot for. If I am solo I usually feed the baby in the bathroom while my toddler plays in the tub. Then get her out to help me put baby boy down for the night before starting her bedtime routine. And some nights…we just skip baths all together because it’s too much. Figure out what works for you here and stick with it. Kids thrive on routine for a peaceful bedtime experience.
  7. Who Needs You More So it is inevitable….there will be moments (lots of them) with both kids are crying at the same time. It is in these moments you have to make a motherly judgement call and decide who needs you more in that moment. This can be hard sometimes but trust it will all be okay & most likely because they are so little they will not be scarred for life…they probably won’t even remember in an hour!
  8. Make Your Home Childproof (or at least a space you can confine them too) There were more times than I care to admit that I left Chickadee alone for a few seconds to run upstairs and get a diaper, or go to the bathroom, or reheat my tea for the 27th time. However, our home is pretty childproof. Furniture is secured to the wall, breakables are far out of reach, cabinets locked. We also have gates on both doorways to our playroom to help keep everyone pinned in if need to be. 
  9. It takes a Village We don’t have any family close by, but were lucky enough to have our parents trade off staying with us for the first two weeks after Sprout came home from the hospital. Having others around to help with household chores, cooking, toddler playing and baby holding was invaluable. However, after those first few weeks they went home and we were faced figuring out our new reality. Thankfully, our Sunday school class had a meal plan set up that took us through the first 3 months (2-3 meals a week). So that took cooking off of my to do list for a while. (Now I food prep during naptime!) If your husband suggests you have someone come clean the house, take it! If a friend says “Why don’t you drop off big brother/sister and run your errands with just one little one?” Say OK! Asking/accepting help does not mean you are failing. It only means that you realize it takes a village to raise little ones. Be thankful you have a village!
  10. Remember it will get easier! You will figure our your groove, your routine! One will become potty trained (less diaper deliveries!!!!). The nursing sessions will spread further out and everyone will start eating solid food. The baby will start sleeping through the night and your will remember to ALWAYS park next to the cart return at the grocery store. You will embrace your new normal and realize YOU CAN DO THIS. Soak it in. Enjoy two little ones snuggling in your lap during a story or splashing in the tub. They will be the best of friends and you won’t be able to imagine life any other way!
  11. ish…take lots of pictures, get a good double stroller (we love this one…and this one), remember to spend time with each child one on one, leave them with grandparents or a babysitter and go on a date night, ALWAYS have a change of clothes for everyone and lots of snacks, do the best you can and remember you are doing the best you can!!

YOU HAVE THIS MAMA!

Any other tips for new mamas joining the two under two club?

**This post contains affiliate links**

Quick Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

green_chile_chicken_enchiladas

Popping in to share a quick recipe with you today. Do you love Costco? This week was my monthly trip. I think my favorite purchase is always the $4.99 cooked rotisserie chicken. Have you tried it? I always pull off all the chicken when I get home and separate it into THREE freezer bags. I’ll use one bag for that nights dinner and freeze the rest. It’s amazing to pay $4.99 for three meals worth of chicken. My money saving heart LOVES it! This is one of the recipes I use a bag of chicken for.

QUICK Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas
Yields 4
Quick, easy, and delicious green chile chicken enchiladas
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 1lb of cooked and shredded chicken (I used the already cooked Costco rotisserie chicken)
  2. 2 cans of green chile enchilada sauce
  3. 4oz of cream cheese
  4. 1.5 cups of cheddar cheese
  5. Salt & Pepper
  6. 4 - 6 Flour Tortillas (depending on how full you fill each one)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a bowl mix shredded chicken, 1 can of enchilada sauce, cream cheese & 1 cup of cheddar cheese. Add about 1/2 tsp of salt & pepper or season to taste.
  3. In a 8x8 or 9x13 casserole dish pour 1/2 of the other can of enchilada sauce.
  4. Scoop a few spoonfuls of the chicken mixture into each flour tortilla and roll them up.
  5. Place them in the dish with the seam facing down.
  6. Top with remaining enchilada sauce and cheese
  7. Cook at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes
Notes
  1. You could also add onions, tomatoes, or rotel to the chicken mixture for even more flavor!
A Step In The Journey http://astepinthejourney.com/

 

Grab a bag of frozen Mexican rice & some seasoned black beans your meal is set! Oh, and if you want to double the recipe it heats up GREAT and freezes perfectly as well! 

9 Must Try Trifle Recipes

trifle_recipes

We are a little trifle crazy over here. I really don’t need a reason to whip one up, but for the sake of all of our waistlines I try and wait for one. Trifles are the easiest dessert to make and always look SUPER impressive. Here are a few of my favorites that I have whipped up over the past few years and a few I would like to try!

Please click on the link to view the recipe or pin the original post/image! Thanks :)

chocolate_peanut_butter_trifle

Chocolate Peanut Butter Trifle

oreo_brownie_trifle

OREO Brownie Trifle

strawberry_trifle_headerpic-400x600

Strawberry Trifle

banana_pudding_trifle1

Banana Pudding Trifle

carrot_cake_trifle_recipe-400x600

Carrot Cake Trifle 

red-white-blue-trifle

Red, White, & Blue Trifle

111

Birthday Cake Trifle

Cookies-and-Cream-Trifle-2

Cookies & Cream Trifle

exps22402_TH10389B010_01_5c_WEB

Caramel Apple Trifle

Are you drooling yet? So which one do you think you will make first? 

Money Tips from Mom

mom_quote

Mother Knows Best. I am blessed to have a mother that embodies this truth. She definitely knows best and knows that best doesn’t always mean best for her, but for those that she loves and cares about. I consider it a true blessing to be her daughter and have learned so much of what I know about being a mother and a wife, a sister and a friend from her. When SunTrust asked me to write a post sharing advice my mom gave me about money I must admit I hesitated at first. Not that my mom is bad with money, but I couldn’t think of any real heart to hearts we have had on the subject. Then I realized that is because she taught me by example.

Without getting into any details growing up we had some ups and downs in “bank account” department. I of course never knew this until I was older. My parents never let it impact how we interacted as a family or how we gave to our community. I have a vivid memory though of being in college and sitting in my car one day when it all hit me. All my parents had done over the years and all they had sacrificed in my 20ish years of existence. They helped to make me who I was at 20 and continue to shape who I am today. So while we never really had a “money conversation” here are a few things I learned by watching their example.  

BE GENEROUS

My mom (and dad too!) taught me to give my time, give my money, and give my ear. To whom much is given, much is expected. We have all been blessed in many ways and my mom taught me we should use our gifts to bless others as well. She is a shining example of living out “what is mine is yours.” This is because she knows whatever she has is a gift from the Lord and those gifts are meant to be shared. So when she is not busy loving on her kids and grandkids or molding young lives in her kindergarten classroom, you will find her giving her time taking meals to shut-ins, holding babies in the Philippines, raising money for a family who lost their house, or meeting a friend for dinner who just needs to talk. I am honestly not sure how she does it all. Anyone who knows my parents know they are generous in so many ways, more than I could ever list here.

WORK HARD

Mama both worked and stayed home when I was growing up. She has always had a heart for children, so the years she was not home with us she ran a preschool program at a church or taught kindergarten. She puts her heart and soul into her job. Teaching is a calling for sure and she has answered it to the fullest. She continues to work hard teaching kindergarten and does not take the responsibility of molding young lives lightly. This has taught me the importance of working hard and doing what needs to be done to take care of your family. (and as I work hard on this little blog it helps me do just that!)

GET CREATIVE

You don’t need money to create memories! As I mentioned before there were a few time growing up where things were a little tight. However, that never kept us from having fun. My mom taught me how to get creative, in order to save money. For example, she has told me stories of how I would spend hours in the tupperware cabinet or banging pots and pans while totally ignoring the brand new toy my grandmother had sent. Cooking and baking was often a family fun activity. And boxes, well boxes could be made into anything…like a spaceship that will take you to the moon or a full functioning grocery store stocked with the food from my mom’s pantry.

NEVER PAY FULL PRICE

My mom’s shopping habits are a little bit of a joke in our house. I’ve often heard my mom tell my dad about a great sale on ____fill in the blank____she just had to buy them. And he respond jokingly “Well you should have bought 7!” My mom knows how to shop a sale, and she has definitely passed that trait onto us. TJMaxx and Marshalls are often my best friend when it comes to looking for new clothes for me. As for the kids I buy a majority of their clothes consignment where I find the best deals on clothes that often look brand new. When at the grocery store I’ve learned you can save A LOT when sticking to what is one sale and using coupons. Buy One Get One Free, anyone?

……

Whenever I find myself in a stressful situation whether about money or motherhood I always turn to my mom’s advice, because let’s face it…she probably told me the best way to do it in the beginning. Love your mom this #MothersMay and every day. Let’s celebrate them all year long! A little encouragement goes a long way. 

If you haven’t already signed up to be a part of SunTrust’s OnUp Movement, you are missing out so head on over. Maybe even do it with your mom! Also, make sure and sign up for SunTrust’s onUpdates for more of “Mom’s Financial Advice.”

At SunTrust Bank their purpose is lighting the way to financial well-being. When you feel confident about your money, you can save for your goals and spend knowingly on what matters most to you.  

The onUp movement was created to guide millions of people one step at a time towards a more financially confident life without ever losing sight of the moments that matter along the way.

Join the growing number of people transforming their stress into positive motivation to move onUp.

Join the movement

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust. The opinions and text are all mine.