Strawberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast Pockets

Strawberrycreamcheesefrenchtoast.jpgHappy Easter everyone. It has been a great holiday weekend so far and I am looking forward to spending the day with our families today. Our Easter baskets are ready. Our eggs are all dyed, well kind of. While coloring Easter eggs with Mai, she started cracking them all open to look for the babies inside. So there are some missing. 10009894_10202668501946974_5208840788299323223_n We have early morning mass. I wanted to have breakfast ready for the morning, so that we could eat quickly before we left, but I still wanted something yummy. I made these last night, I hope they still are as good this morning as they were last night. Strawberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast Pockets Ingredients: Filling 1 8oz package of cream cheese (softened) 1 5.3oz container of strawberry greek yogurt 1/4 cup of sugar 12-16 slices of bread 3 eggs confectioners sugar Preheat oven to 350. In a mixing bowl combine cream cheese, yogurt & sugar. Beat the ingredients until blended & smooth & then set aside. Cut the crusts off of the bread. Flatten the bread with a rolling pin. With a rubber spatula spread the mixture over a slice of flattened bread. Add a liberal amount to the center & thin out towards the edges. Place another slice of bread over the top and pinch around the edges. Use the back of the knife to press and seal the edges to form a pocket. Repeat these steps until all of the cream cheese mixture is used. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Dip each formed pocket into the eggs & place on a greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar. Bake for 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through. Let cool for a few minutes as filling is hot. Enjoy! 047 050052 053057 059061 062Strawberrycreamcheesefrenchtoast.jpg

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10 Ways for Mommy to Pamper Herself

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Today I was on the phone with a good friend of mine. We have been trying to make plans to get together for almost a month now, but it has been nearly impossible to find time.
Before having my daughter, I had responsibilities & life was still busy, but it was only as busy as I wanted it to be. I completely took for granted the little things in life that I was able to do. Not that long ago a Facebook friend had posted something to the effect of “I get mad when I see people waiting in line in the drive though at Dunkin Donuts. Get off your asses and go inside.” Obviously he never tried doing this with an infant or a toddler. I miss the “run in” to the store. There is no such thing when you have a little one. There is a “get your kid out of the car seat, pull them out kicking & screaming, chase them through the store while trying to grab a gallon of milk.” trip to the store. I wish there was a drive through everywhere. This is one of those little things taken for granted & missed.

I miss…

Sleeping in on the weekends
Taking showers when I want to
& just plain…
Pampering myself

The weather has been getting warmer & I put on flip flops for the first time this season & realized I still had remnants of polish from last summer on my toes. GROSS!
Like most mommy’s I rarely take time for me. It is important for mommies (and daddies too) to recharge their batteries & pamper themselves every once in a while. I know you are thinking when do I have the time. With Mother’s Day coming, it is time to make the time and allow yourself a little “me time”. So put down the dishes & the laundry and give yourself a treat.

Pamper yourself at home

Give yourself a homemade facial. Facial are wonderful. They leave you feeling fresh & clean. There are many simple facial treatments that you can make for yourself at home. I found this list a little while back with some amazing recipes for homemade facial. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/organic-authoritycom/face-mask_b_1690401.html

Meditate. Being a mother can be stressful. One of the best ways that I have found to release that stress is through meditation. It takes a little practice, but when done properly, it can clear your mind and spirit and prepare you for the challenges of your day.

Have a glass of wine. I am not much of a drinker since I had a baby, but I have to admit that every once in a while one glass of wine or a beer is just what the doctor ordered.

Take a bath. Light some scented candles, grab a good book & your favorite bubble bath & sink in and relax.

Take a walk or a run. A nice leisurely walk on a beautiful day can be so calming and therapeutic.

Get out & pamper yourself

Get a massage. I can’t think of many things that I enjoy better than having a massage. It is so relaxing that I have to fight to stay awake on the massage table. Actually a massage & a nap sound pretty good too.

Get a pedicure. Even though chipped nail polish & scaly feet are my signature look, an hour with a pumice stone & a fresh coat of paint on my toes would be nice.

Get a new haircut. There is something about a new hair style that makes me feel like a completely new woman. With every big life change I change my hair. When I got married, I chopped of all my hair. When I got pregnant, I cut bangs. It makes me fell renewed.

Go shopping. Like most women, I love new clothes. I used to shop for myself all the time, but after my daughter was born the only new clothes purchased were for her. Buy yourself a new outfit or a new pair of shoes.

Have a night out with the girls. It is always nice to catch up with your friends over dinner or drinks and fight over whose kid has the worst tantrums. Mine always wins. My new favorite girls nights out are the “Paint nite” classes. Look for one near you. They are worth it.

What are some things you do to pamper yourself?

 

 

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Yarn Embellished Initial Wall Hanging

yarninitial.jpgMy daughter as many of you may well know, is named after my mother. Mai is a less than common name, which is one of the things I love about it. She will always be unique. We have a lot of personalized & monagrammed things for her. I cannot see the letter M without thinking of my little munchkin. So when I was shopping at Michael’s and saw a giant wooden M for sale, I had to scoop it up. Her room is purple with golden & neutral tones, so I chose colors to compliment her room. What you will need: A wooden letter Different colored yarns Elmers glue Scissors Glue gun

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Purchase a cheap wooden letter from a craft store or make one yourself.

Form a circle using the glue. Starting from the center begin circling the yarn around itself.

Form a circle using the glue. Starting from the center begin circling the yarn around itself.

Continue to circle around until you cover the glue circle.

Continue to circle around until you cover the glue circle.

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Snip the end of your yarn off and form into the circle.

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Working off the edge of the first circle add another glue circle and repeat the circling method.

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For circles that are not full because off cut out edges, form half circles around each side cutting off the ends at the edge.

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Continue this pattern, making circles as big or as small as you desire.

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To fill in uncovered spaces around the circles, fill in with a different colored yarn following the same lines as your circles.

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Line the edges of your letter with the accent yarn to smooth out your edges & add a more finished look.

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Braid the different colored yarns together & knot each end.

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With a glue gun add hot glue on the back of your initial where you would like your hanger.

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Press your braided yarn into the glue & repeat on the other side.

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Find a place to hang your craft.

 

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Kale Chips

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I am finally jumping on the kale bandwagon. People keep telling me about the benefits of kale. I was told that kale chips were a must try. This sounded so bizarre to me. I couldn’t imagine that a lettuce like green like kale could be a tasty snack, but I had to try it out.

Ingredients:

Kale (washed & dried or pre-washed)

Olive oil

Sea salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Tear the kale leaves from the middle veins. Discard the veins. Rub the leaves with olive oil & sprinkle with sea salt. Place on a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake for 15 minutes. Kale does shrink during baking.

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I definitely see what all the buzz is all about. These were wonderful. They bake up light and crispy & have a great flavor. The leaves do shrink quite a bit while baking, so make extra. These are a great alternative to greasy or sugary snacks.

 

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Bedtime Is My Favorite Time Of Day

1926897_10202635427920144_7271024365326400709_nAhhhh bedtime, sweet sweet bedtime… after a long hard day there is nothing better. Of course the bedtime I am referring to my daughter’s not my own. This time of the evening is something I look forward to all day. Between all the stresses of work and fixing meals and diffusing tantrums, you need to have a little peace in your day. When that clock hits 8 oclock, mommy’s face lights up like a Christmas tree on Christmas morning. The thing is it is not for the reasons that you probably suspect. Sure, I admit that putting her to bed gives me some much needed mommy time. Time to catch up on projects or with friends, to clean the house(if I ever decide too), to work on my blog, to watch tv or to just plain unwind. It is utterly divine. All of those thing are great, but they are not the reason I love putting my daughter to sleep.

I work full time, so I am away from my home and my family more often than I see them. When I get home, I try to squeeze in as much quality time as I can with them. This is not always easy with dinner time meltdowns, picking up toys, pulling Mai off of the dog. “Mai, Dukey is not a horse.” & Mai perfecting the drama that is the terrible 2s.

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But when it comes time to roll out our nighttime routine, my hyper little monster changes. We all do. Every mood lightens in the house, even the dog seems calmer. My husband & I take every opportunity that we have to put her to bed together. I think it is important. She splashes around playfully in her bath & tells us about how she is a mermaid. She calls me “Mama Sea Witch” & daddy “Tritan”. Little Mermaid fans, I am sure get the reference. She splashes about happily giggling and telling us all about her bath time adventures.

When she is ready to get out, she asks Tritan to get her a warm towel. Yes, a warm one. We have to warm her towel in the dryer during her bath before she gets out. Our daughter is a Diva. My husband will wrap her up snugly in her towel and she will make a content sigh “Mmmmmmmm”. I will wrap my arms around this sweet picture in front of me and we will all look in the bathroom mirror together & smile as we embrace our little mermaid.

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Usually at this point Mai asks for Mama Sea Witch to dry her off and put her jammies on. We will do so with daddy at her side. Then the three of us will make our way to the rocking chair for story time. One of us will sit on the rocking chair with our sleepy little girl on their lap and the other will sit in front on the ottoman. “What book do you want to read, baby?” “Steam Train Dream Train”, she says. It is a great choice. As she snuggles in with her thumb in her mouth and her favorite owl blanket draped over her legs, we all rock and read stories. She points out pictures and asks questions. If I am the one reading and rocking her on the chair, I will hold her tight & read to her while I press my cheek up against her chubby little face. I  take in breaths of her freshly cleaned hair and offer her hairline soft kisses in between words. Periodically, she will look up and reciprocate with a soft tender kiss. When I am not reading I simply stare. I take in every curve on her face. I watch the interaction between her & my my husband and smile as I can feel the love just radiating off of both of them. I try to memorize every sigh, every little smile. I make a mental sketch that I hope preserves well in my mind. When she has reached her story telling limit she will tell us “Sleep”. We lay our precious angel in her crib, kiss her goodnight and then I walk out of her room overcome with a feeling of pure love & serenity.

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These are the moments, the moments we need to drink in and savor because before we know it our little girl will no longer be sitting on our lap and cuddling with us on the rocking chair. In a blink she will be grown. So before she becomes a surly teenager, who has no regard for her dorky parents, I will cherish every beautiful minute of our time with our quickly growing girl. Remember, that even when you get older and start a family of your own, you still will always be my baby. “Goodnight sweet angel, mommy & daddy love you.”

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