I feel like I have been holding out on you, but it has not been on purpose. The fact is having a new baby in the house is exhausting, even and especially the 4th time around.
We are overjoyed to announce the birth of our son! He was born on September 30th weighing in at 7 pounds 7 ounces. I made it a policy not to use my children's names on my blog years ago to protect them so I have to leave that piece of information out.
Big brothers love their new baby brother and are so excited each time they get to hold him.
Snuggling up with Daddy.
First car ride (home from the hospital)
We have had two weeks with additional help from each set of grandparents and are on our own now. The help was wonderful and we loved spending time with family. It was awesome to share this joyous occasion with them. Babies are such a blessing and they grow up way too fast. I'm going to enjoy some baby snuggles this afternoon (in between napping) if I can keep my eyes open. :)
Linking up at Friendship Friday
Get Ready for Halloween and Hours of Fun Dress-up Play with this Star Wars The Clone Troopers Commander Cody Costume and Clone Trooper Blaster
Disclosure: I received complimentary products in exchange for an honest review.
As you can imagine, in a house full of boys, Star Wars is a big deal. When asked to select a Halloween costume from Oriental Trading Company's wide selection, my son went straight for the Star Wars collection.
He chose this "The Clone Wars Commander Cody" costume and the "Clone Trooper Blaster" (sold separately). My son loves this costume with all of the details and the really cool helmet. The helmet has a front and a back piece that velcro together to form the clone trooper helmet. The helmet pieces seem to fit together well, but can come apart easily during play too. When they come apart, you can just put them back together again.
This "The Clone Wars Commander Cody" costume not only looks good, it is flexible and easy to wear for dress-up play too. I'm sure this costume will get hours of play long after Halloween has passed.
The boys are all excited about the Clone Trooper Blaster. They love playing with it and when they pull the trigger, it plays authentic Star Wars movie sounds. It takes two AAA batteries (not included).
Shop Oriental Trading Company for all of your Halloween costume needs for the whole family.
Linking up at Friendship Friday
I have pretty much hit the point of this pregnancy where cooking is super limited. I have made a few simple things this week like BLT’s and grilled cheese, but I just can't do anything more than that right now.
I don’t know if this is good or bad, but I have plenty of recipes and photos that I haven’t published yet. Good because I have some things to work on while I rest and wait for baby’s arrival. Bad because why on earth does it take me so long to write about and publish recipes? One of my recipes I still haven’t blogged is a year and a half old. I guess I need to focus a lot more.
Although, as I mentioned in this post, blogging is not the most important thing in my life. I try to put God and family first which means I might have an amazing dinner on the table, but I might not get the recipe written and edited for several months. So even though I would love to get more traffic from posting recipes more frequently, I run a one-woman blog (no paid team here) and a household with 3, almost 4 beautiful children. My husband is amazing and somehow finds time to read to the kids almost everyday, play with them everyday, help with homework, etc., but it’s still a lot for this busy, pregnant, tired, Mama.
I am hoping to bring you several of the recipes I have been working on for the past year in the near future, but if it takes longer, then it takes longer.
As Doris Day so beautifully sang,
Que sera, sera
On with the recipe…
We love love love this Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo. It’s a real treat in our house. I make it with just ¼ tsp. hot paprika so that it isn’t too spicy for the boys. They love it! My husband on the other hand, adds hot sauce and really enjoys it with a little more kick. It is mildly spicy as is, which is plenty spicy for the boys and I, but if you want more kick to it simply add more hot paprika, cayenne, maybe a ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes, or like my hubby add some hot sauce. Either way, it’s delicious and if you like gumbo, you will love this recipe.
I use raw shrimp when making this gumbo so I don’t risk over-cooking the shrimp and giving them an undesirable texture. You will see raw and cooked shrimp in the grocery store. Choose the raw shrimp and it will cook up perfectly.
I know beer might seem a little unusual in a gumbo recipe, but it accentuates the delicious flavor of the broth and gives more depth to the gumbo. You can’t taste the beer, but it combines with the other ingredients to create an amazing meld of flavors. If you are adverse to cooking with alcohol, simply substitute broth for the beer. You could use beef or chicken broth, whatever you have on hand.
Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo
1 lb. medium or large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
Fresh ground salt and pepper
½ tsp. dried thyme
6 garlic cloves, minced or 3 tsp. jarred minced garlic
4 T. olive oil
1 large sweet onion, diced
1 to 2 bell peppers, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
4 T. flour
1 T. ketchup
¼ to ½ tsp. hot paprika (depending on how spicy you want it)
¼ tsp. cayenne
1 C. fresh tomato, diced
6 oz. smoked andouille sausage or bacon chicken sausage, sliced into ½ inch rounds
4 ½ C. chicken broth
1 ½ C. beer
1 C. fresh or frozen okra, sliced into rounds
Cooked rice for serving
1. Season shrimp with salt, pepper, dried thyme, and 1 clove garlic minced or ½ tsp. jarred minced garlic. Set aside and refrigerate until needed.
2. Heat a heavy large pot to medium-high on the stove. Add the olive oil. Then add onion, bell peppers, and celery and stir-fry until golden brown. Sprinkle in flour and stir. Continue to cook for about 5 more minutes until this mixture is lightly browned. Add ketchup, hot paprika, cayenne, and the rest of the garlic. Cook and stir for another minute, then add tomatoes and sausage cooking for a couple of more minutes. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
3. Stir in broth and beer. Reduce heat to medium and cook for about 25 minutes.
4. Add okra and cook for about 5 more minutes. Then add shrimp and heat until shrimp curls and turns white.
5. Scoop rice into bowls then add gumbo. Enjoy!
Heavily adapted from Shrimp Gumbo with Andouille Sausage.
This post was sponsored by Premama as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own. #DrinkPremama #IC #ad
As most of you know, I am currently pregnant and anticipating the birth of our fourth child very soon. In the beginning of this pregnancy I experienced a lot of morning sickness. In fact for the first three to four months, I could get sick anytime of day. I unfortunately lost a lot of prenatal vitamins due to being sick all of the time. I even tried taking them at night, but could still get sick after taking them. I wish I would have had Premama Prenatal Vitamin Drink Mix since it is easier to take for women who experience morning sickness. It is also easier for those who have trouble swallowing pills.
I have been craving juice and fruit pretty much this entire pregnancy so it easy to remember to take Premama Essentials + DHA with my juice every morning. I keep my Premama Prenatal Vitamin Drink Mix on the window sill above the kitchen sink and mix it with a big glass of orange juice every morning.
It is both delicious and an easy way to take prenatal vitamins.
On a recent trip to Meijer, I found the whole collection of Premama Vitamin Drink Mixes in the vitamin section under the home health sign located near the pharmacy.
You can find all five varieties of Premama Vitamin Drink Mixes at Meijer.
I trust Premama products to provide the necessary vitamins and DHA for my growing baby. They contain folic acid levels similar to many prescription prenatal vitamins, and equal to, or greater than most leading nonprescription brands. They contain Omega-3 fatty acids and non-constipating iron often found only in prescription prenatal vitamins.
Strawberry Orange Smoothies
1. C. frozen strawberries (I freeze fresh strawberries for a few hours prior to blending.)
1/2 C. orange juice
1 packet Premama Vitamin Drink Mix
To make these delicious strawberry orange prenatal vitamin smoothies simply blend all ingredients in the blender.
Enter to win a Premama sample and $5 coupon by completing two social media actions before September 29th! Choose between Premama Lactation or Premama Fertility.
Use the Premama store locator to find a retailer near you.
If you are a blogger, you know there is a lot of behind the scenes work that goes into maintaining your blog and growing your blog readership and social stats. You also understand the importance of this for earning potential be it through sponsored posts, affiliate sales, direct sales or advertising. Generally speaking, the more readers you have, the more money you make. However, for many of us bloggers, (myself included) this blogging gig is very part-time. Which is ok, I want to spend time making homemade meals for my family and helping my kids with their homework, etc. I have to remember that there are more important things in life than being the most popular blogger on the planet. Sometimes I have to remind myself of this when I read very popular blogs with lots of traffic and social shares and comments. I've even read about blogger envy on other blogs including blogs I would consider at the height of popularity.
So today I decided to do something I have had on my mind to do for a long time. I updated my main photo on my Home Ec @ Home facebook page. The old photo was a single photo of dough slices stacked with butter and cinnamon and sugar to make cinnamon sugar pull-apart bread. Compared to newer photos, I have taken over the past year and a half since reading Tasty Food Photography, the old photo was terrible and yet I left it there on my facebook page for the whole world to see. Then finally today I took all of about 10 minutes to upload some of my favorite photos to create a photo collage on picmonkey, then uploaded the collage as my new facebook photo. I think it looks about a million times better and should do a lot more for my facebook page than my old photo. It gives a broader picture of my recipes and food photography.
Such a simple thing and yet I put it off for so long. So if you sometimes feel a little blog envy, do something productive for your blog instead of feeling sorry for yourself. However, if you don't have time to do it at that moment, don't put unnecessary pressure on yourself. Write it on your to-do list and save it for later. Take care of your family, yourself, your career, whatever it is that needs your attention at the moment.
Some other posts you might enjoy about improving your blog:
How to Increase Traffic to Your Food Blog
How I Am Improving my Food Photography and I Finally Made it onto Food Gawker and Taste Spotting!
Read my guest post at Blogelina: 3 Ways to Increase Traffic to Your Food Blog
And if you have a moment, like my facebook page, tweet this post, stumble it, pin it on pinterest, share it on facebook, etc. because it really does matter to bloggers like myself. Thank you! I appreciate it!
I am on instagram now too! You can follow me here.
Linking up at Share the Wealth, Create with Joy
I saw this today and thought I should enter my article "No More Perfect". When I started looking at other submissions, I saw my article and realized I must have submitted it already. We'll blame it on mommy brain. I guess that's what happens when you are very pregnant and have had a lot on your plate.
I know you all are busy but if you get a chance, please stop by The Today Parenting Team Challenge and vote for my article No More Perfect. You can scroll down to No More Perfect by Faith Still. Thank you! Love ya and I'll keep you posted on any baby news.
Last week my doctor told me I had to slow down and reduce my activities in order to keep baby in a few more weeks. I am not on bed rest, but I have to slow things down a bit which means no more walking the boys to school and no more lifting. I am listening to my body and resting throughout the day as needed and have now made it to 34 weeks. We are feeling good about this progress and will continue to rest and pray and thank God for his blessings for our growing family.
After an entire 3-day weekend of restaurants and take-out, we really needed a light home-cooked meal. And I needed an easy meal that I could throw together quickly without much effort. I planned on making a modified version of my balsamic grilled chicken, strawberry and feta salad. Modified because we still have to buy a new grill after our recent move so I was going to cook the chicken in the skillet. Then I decided to go a more savory route and make crispy Italian chicken instead.
I used the same idea to bread and fry the chicken cutlets as when I have made Italian Chicken strips. This is so simple you really don't even need a recipe.
Crispy Italian Chicken Salad: Serves 4
4 Chicken breast cutlets (these are thinner than regular boneless chicken breasts)
rich milk or cream
Italian flavored panko crumbs
salt and/or pepper
olive or coconut oil or a mix of both
1. Make three bowls for dipping the chicken before cooking. In the first bowl mix some flour with a little salt and/or pepper. In the second bowl pour in some milk or cream (about a cup). Put some Italian flavored panko crumbs in the third bowl.
2. Heat about 1/4 inch of olive oil or coconut oil (I mix both) in a skillet (I use my trusty old iron skillet.) at medium heat. Dip each chicken strip first into the flour mixture, then into the milk, then into the panko crumbs. Place in the hot oil and fry until golden brown on each side. The chicken will take a few minutes to cook on each side, but cutlets cook faster than thicker breasts. You can test the chicken with a meat thermometer if you have trouble knowing when it is done. When you cut through the meat it should be white when cooked through.
1 large head red leaf lettuce, torn into pieces
1 (8 oz.) ball fresh mozzarella, cut up
2 tomatoes, chunked
Balsamic vinegar glaze or your favorite salad dressing
Layer salad ingredients topping each salad with sliced crispy Italian chicken. Enjoy this simple and delicious meal.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All opinions are honest and are my own. #ad #spon #Groupon
We all like to save money, but we don't often have time to run all over town looking for the best deals. And for many of us with kids in tow (myself included) there is no such thing as running quickly into a store to comparison shop. Honestly, I feel like I am doing well just to get to the grocery store. I often find it is easier to shop online when the kids are in bed.
With the recent move, I am finding that we need lots of things to make our house feel like a home. The more we unpack, the more I discover we need. We have found several pieces of furniture and things for organizing various spaces in the home, however we still have a long way to go. We have a board game/guest room that needs a lot of attention, including new furniture. In addition, we still need some organizational things for the boys' rooms and the living room. With limited time and budget, I decided to check out Groupon Goods.
I found the Groupon Goods site easy to navigate with categories listed on the left side of the page. I have been shopping in the storage and organization section and am amazed at the huge selection of affordable, quality goods. There is literally something for every wish on my list.
If you need some things for your home, visit Groupon Goods. You will love the selection and affordable prices.
Linking up at Share the Wealth
My boys don't usually leave any bananas lying around to ripen for banana bread, but what a treat it is when they do. Waking up to a fresh loaf of banana bread makes my day. Plus, it is so easy to slice and serve with deli meats and cheeses for a fast school morning breakfast.
Truly moist and delicious...each bite has just the right amount of sweetness.
Like any busy Mom, I like feeding my family homemade food, but I also like simplicity in the kitchen. I make this banana bread batter in one bowl to save myself time both cooking and doing dishes. For more time saving and delicious recipes see my slow cooker recipes.
1 1/2 C. (about 3) bananas, mashed
1/2 C. butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 C. granulated sugar
1/4 C. brown sugar
1/4 C. honey
1 3/4 C. flour (I use 1/4 C. rice flour and 1 1/2 C. all-purpose flour)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 C. chopped walnuts (optional)
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a loaf pan.
2. With a wooden spoon mix bananas, eggs, butter, and vanilla in a mixing bowl.
3. Next stir in the sugars and honey.
4. Lastly, stir in the rest of the ingredients, stirring until combined. Batter will be thick.
5. Pour batter into pan and bake for 50-55 minutes until golden brown.
6. Cool on a wire rack, then remove from pan. Let bread cool completely before slicing.
Want to learn more about the health benefits of bananas? Read 24 Science backed health benefits of bananas.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All opinions are honest and are my own. #ad #spon #GrouponCoupons
If you have read any of my recent posts, you know that we have been extremely busy. We moved about a week and a half ago, then school started for the boys a few days after we moved. We have been unpacking and trying to get organized so that we can function normally. My husband is a professor so he is busy with his first week of school working late nights and leaving the house early in the morning before the boys get off to school. And to top it all off, I am 7 months pregnant. Needless to say, it is a very busy season for us. So when I find simple ways to save, I go for it.
Since moving into the new house, we have found that we need to buy several things, especially for the boys rooms. This is the first time that our oldest has had his own room so we are outfitting two rooms for the boys. With so much on our "to-buy" list, I decided to check out Groupon Coupons. I have bought Groupons in the past, but never used their coupons before. I was delighted to see coupons for stores I patronize already, like JCPenney. I printed a coupon for 20% off and headed to my local JCPenney store. I found some great twin XL sheets for the younger boys' new bunk beds at an already competitive price and saved an additional 20% with my Groupon Coupon.
Since our "to-buy" list is still a work in progress and my time is limited, I am going to use Groupon Coupons to save money when shopping online too. There are so many available stores and the coupons are a simple way to save, making my life easier in the process.
Make sure to check out Groupon Coupons. You might just find a coupon for something on your "to-buy" list too.
Linking up at Best Mom Advice, Share the Wealth
Welcome to Home Ec @ Home
Hi, I'm Faith, a former Family and Consumer Science (Home Economics) Teacher turned work at home Mom, bringing you family friendly, homemade recipes and homemaking tips to simplify your life. Join me on my homemaking and mothering journey.
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