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Breakfast Sandwiches for the Freezer

I have had multiple requests for this recipe.

Breakfast sandwiches that are so easy, so yummy,

and freeze well!

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Customize them with whatever bread, meat, or cheese your family enjoys.  I usually make a double-batch.  We’ll keep one batch in the refrigerator for eating that week, and freeze the other.  

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Breakfast Sandwiches for the Freezer

    • 12 eggs
    • 1/4 cup dairy product.  This can be milk, plain yogurt, sour cream, or whatever dairy you need to use up in your fridge.  The dairy helps to stabilize the eggs in the freezer, so they thaw and reheat with a better texture.
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
    • 12 servings of breakfast meats (bacon, sausage patties, Canadian bacon, ham, etc.  Our family especially enjoys the turkey sausage breakfast patties from WalMart)
    • 12 english muffins or sandwich thins
    • Butter or canola oil, if desired
    • 12 slices of your favorite cheese
  1.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  If you don’t have a Demarle muffin mold or baking sheet, get one!  But until then, you can generously grease a 9×13 pan.
  2. Whisk the eggs, dairy, salt and pepper.  (I use my stand mixer)
  3. Pour the egg mixture into the greased pan or muffin mold, and bake for 18-22 minutes, or until the center is just set.  Do not over-cook!
  4. Remove from the oven and allow the eggs to cool.
  5. While the eggs are cooling, toast your english muffins under broiler on low.  You may butter them if you wish – I spritz with canola oil because it’s fast and easy.
  6. Cut the eggs into 12 squares if you used a 9×13 pan.
  7. Build your sandwiches:  Bread, egg, meat, cheese, bread.
  8. Package and label your sandwiches.  I use sandwich bags.  If freezing, allow sandwiches to cool completely in the refrigerator, then package in a freezer-safe resealable bag or air-tight container.

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To reheat:

If frozen, allow sandwiches to thaw completely in refrigerator overnight.  Remove packaging and place on microwave-safe plate.  Heat on high for 30 seconds.  Turn over, and heat an additional 15-30 seconds until hot.  Alternately, you can reheat the sandwiches in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes, or use a toaster oven.

From my family to yours,

enjoy! 

 

When kids outgrow Santa

No matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to keep my babies little.  They are growing up so fast.  Every time I look at Micah, I think “When did he get to be such a tall, handsome young gentleman?”  Matthew is maturing, able to do so much for himself now, and Jesse is a 10-year-old with a heart of gold.  Mikayla has always been a sweet little lady, but even “baby Nathan” is almost six, and growing out of “little kid” things.

Screen Shot 2019-12-13 at 7.40.09 AMWe do Santa at our house, and Santa has been pretty amazing.  We watch Santa’s progression around the globe on the NORAD Santa tracker, we set out cookies (and carrots for the reindeer!), and everyone is extra, extra good for the month of December.  Ever since he was very little, Santa has made Jesse’s beloved stuffed dog “new” again every Christmas Eve.  Jesse would love the stuffing out of Brown Doggie through the course of every year, so Santa’s magic was needed to keep it around!

When Matthew started seeing signs of Advent this year, he asked if he could go home and help fold laundry.  With big, bright eyes, he told me, “I’m really helpful.  Santa’s coming!”

Nathan, at age 5, is still learning about this whole process.  Yesterday he questioned, “Wait….. you mean Santa and Jesus are ALWAYS watching us?”  Then, after a quick wardrobe check, he remarked, “Phew!  At least I’m wearing underwear.”

When our kids reach an age when they are ready to know more about Mr. Clause, they get a “top secret” letter.  Micah was thrilled when he got his letter years ago, so excited to be let in on such a special secret, and has enjoyed being able to contribute to the magic for the rest of the family.  Jesse got his letter this year, and with his usual enthusiastic joy, was ecstatic to become a part of Santa’s team.  I will post the letter below … just in case you have a need for something similar at your house.

From our family to yours, we with you a holy and happy Advent season, and a very Merry Christmas! 

. . .

Dear Jesse,

Now that you are 10, we know that you have some questions about Christmas and Santa, and we wanted to give you good, true answers.

“Is Santa real?” The answer is “Yes!”  St. Nicholas is very real.  He is as real as any other saint in heaven.  But he lives in heaven, and in our hearts, not at the North Pole.  He lives in every single person who works to keep his spirit of joy, generosity, and love for the Infant Jesus alive.

Mom and Dad are the people who fill your stocking and wrap the presents that appear by the fireplace – just as our parents did for us, their parents did for them, and you will do for your kids someday.  But, we are not Santa.  There is no one, single Santa.

Santa is billions of people who keep the spirit of Christmas alive.  Santa is the magic and love and spirit of giving to others. What he does, is teach children to believe in something they can’t see or touch. Throughout your life you will need this capacity to believe: in yourself, in your family, in your friends, and in God. You’ll need to be able to believe in things you can’t measure or hold in your hands.  You can’t see or measure love, generosity, or faith – but those things are very, very real.

Now you know the secret of how he gets down all of those chimneys on Christmas Eve: He has help from all of the people whose hearts he has filled with joy.  You could say that he truly does have lots and lots of “elves” that help him do his job!  With joyful hearts, people like Mommy and Daddy take our turn helping Santa do a job that would otherwise be impossible. So no, we are not Santa … but we do enjoy being his elves. 

Santa is the spirit of the real St. Nick, living on through years of tradition in every country across the globe.  He is love and magic and hope and happiness, all started by the generous and joyful spirit of the real St. Nicholas.  Can you imagine how happy St. Nick is when he gazes down on Earth and sees all the celebration for the birth of Christ, in his legacy of generosity?  We are on his team, and now you are too. 

Now, you are on our side of the magic, and it is a very important, privileged place to be.  You will have to work hard to preserve the magic for your younger siblings and for Matthew.  You can’t give us knowing glances or “thank-you’s” when you open your gift from Santa this year.  You can’t wink at us or do anything else to let on that you are now a part of the magic.  But you can experience the joy and wonder of it all, and let them believe in Santa.  And, if they ask you if Santa is “real,” you can confidently say “Yes!”

When you were little, you were VERY hard on Brown Doggie.  He was going to end up in shreds, yet you loved him like no child had ever loved a toy!  We bought all the Brown Doggies we could find, then every Christmas we replaced your Brown Doggie with a new one.  We needed a way to “fix” your beloved animal so you could keep loving him without having him fall apart! We have three more Brown Doggies set aside, so you can go ahead and put Brown Doggie out on Christmas Eve again if you want to. 

The story of the NORAD Santa Tracker is on the back of this letter.  It’s really a cool story … and proves that even the US Military is on Santa’s team, working to keep Christmas magic alive for young kids all over the world.  Santa has many, many helpers. 

Christmas should always feel magical, because the wonder and awe of God himself coming down to live with us as a humble baby is an incredible mystery we will never fully understand. We love you and always will.  Welcome to Santa’s Team!  Now, you get to help keep the magic alive too.

Love,   Mommy and Daddy

. . .

North American Aerospace Defense Command

The NORAD Santa Tracker

24 hours a day, 365 days a year, NORAD tracks everything that flies in and around North America in defense of our homelands. On Dec. 24, we have the very special mission of also tracking Santa.

NORAD has been tracking Santa since 1955 when a young child accidentally dialed the unlisted phone number of the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Operations Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, believing she was calling Santa Claus after seeing a promotion in a local newspaper.  Before the misprint, only a four-star general at the Pentagon and Colonel himself had that number.

It was the 1950s, war time, when the Colonel’s phone rang.  He answered it, expecting to hear that an air strike was happening and the US was under attack, but instead he heard a small voice say, “Is this Santa Clause?” 

The Colonel was quick to realize a mistake had been made, and assured the little girl that CONAD would guarantee Santa a safe journey from the North Pole.  He “Ho-Ho-Ho’d” and asked if she had been a good little girl.  He then assigned two airmen to sit by the phone and answer phone calls for Santa from other children.

The airmen had a big glass board with the United States on it, and when airplanes would come in they would track them. And Christmas Eve of 1955, when Colonel Shoup walked in, there was a drawing of a sleigh with eight reindeer coming over the North Pole… a joke from his airmen.  The Colonel looked at it for a while, and then called the radio station saying, “This is the commander at the Combat Alert Center, and we have an unidentified flying object. Why, it looks like a sleigh!” After that, the radio stations would call him nearly every hour and say, ‘Where’s Santa now?’

Thus a tradition was born that rolled over to NORAD when it was formed in 1958. Each year since, NORAD has dutifully reported Santa’s location on Dec. 24 to millions across the globe. 

 

Eleven!

Today is Matthew’s eleventh birthday!  Eleven!!  Can you believe it?

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Nobody loves birthdays as much as Matthew does.  He loves the joy, celebration, friends, family, ice cream cake, presents – no matter whose birthday we’re celebrating, he’s all for it!  But, there is something very, very special about his birthdays.  All of the kids recognize it, and plan for weeks.  They count up their chore money to see what gift they can buy for him, help plan his party and his cake, and help him count down the days … all just to hear that joyful squeal and see his big smile when his big day comes.

Last night, Matthew’s prayer before dinner was:

 

“Thank you for tomorrow.” 

 

Through the chaos of our family dinner, the profoundness of his prayer sunk in… “Thank you for tomorrow.”

This is the child who wasn’t supposed to have a “tomorrow.”  This is the child that wasn’t expected to live through the night… who kept us up more than once, wondering if he would live another day.

Yes, Lord, thank You for all of the “tomorrows” that You have given us with this beautiful, joyful, loving child,  and all of the tomorrows yet to come.

May we all be thankful for our own tomorrows.

Early Morning Cuddles

Yesterday, Nathan woke up at 5:50, as he usually does.  As is our routine, I got him a cup of milk, started a “Cat in the Hat” video, and sat down with my coffee for 20 minutes of quiet time before our busy day started.

At 6:10, a very sleepy-eyed Matthew came out of his room, and asked to sit on my lap.  He said, “so cozy…” as he drifted off to sleep on my shoulder.  I loved every minute of it – snuggling with my big 10-year-old bundle of love.

For the next half hour, as Matthew slept in my arms, all I could think about was how blessed we are to have this beautiful child in our family.  I thought back to when we were so scared – so unsure of what our future and his future would bring.  What would it be like to raise a child with Down syndrome?  How would it affect our lives and the lives of our other kids?

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Snuggling with his biggest cousin, Dominic

 

Now, we have a big ol’ bundle of goofy cuddly love, and wonder what we were so scared of.  To any new parents wondering what life is going to be like raising a child with an extra chromosome, please know that even though it’s not always easy (but, this is true of any child!), it is SO very worth it.  You will be immeasurably blessed, in ways you can’t even imagine right now.  Yes, you will also be challenged, and you will grow.  You will learn to slow down a little bit, gain patience and understanding, and you will love and be loved like never before.

Matthew woke up, looked up at me with his big blueberry eyes, and said, “I love you, Mommy.  Thanks for the cuddle.”

I love you, too, Mister.  More than you’ll ever know.

Kitchen Remodel: Reveal!

After four years in this house, we finally saved enough to tackle the kitchen remodel!  When we first moved in, the kitchen looked like this:

I think God was trying to teach me a lesson in patience and perfectionism by giving me white floors in a house in the country with 5 kids!

Also, we didn’t eat in the “dining” area of the house, because it was carpeted!  One of our first major projects was to put in luxury vinyl plank flooring (“dirt” brown color!).

When we put in the flooring, we lifted the island completely out of the kitchen so we could have the flooring go under the island, knowing we hoped to change the footprint of the island in the future.  We also moved the island out toward the living area of the kitchen, giving the kitchen more work space and a more open feel.

Then, the kitchen looked like this:  The countertops were baby blue, the cabinets were a very worn white paint, and the drawers were so stiff to open that the fronts were coming off from all of the pulling.

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In October, we began the process of taking out the existing cabinets and countertops, removing the soffit on the ceiling to open up the space, and do some much-needed electrical and plumbing updates.

After several months of work, the remodel is finally complete!  The last pieces were finished just after my foot surgery in early January.

Are you ready for the “after” pictures? I can’t wait to show them to you, because I can hardly believe this is the same house!  I absolutely love how it all came together, and I am one very happy mama.

Ready?…..

 

Ta Da!

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Taking out the ceiling soffit and lowering the island to countertop level really opened up the space.  My entire ceiling feels higher!

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Yes, there are TWO dishwashers! It’s amazing how much easier it is to clean up, when there is room for everything to go in the dishwasher – even big stuff!

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My dad is still finishing up the custom inserts for my baking drawers, and then I will show you the “inside tour” of the storage and functional features that I love.

 

Many thanks to my incredible husband. 

(I love you even more than I love my new kitchen!)

 

 

Credits:

Custom cherry cabinets by Systematic Wood Designs, Walla Walla

Cambria quartz countertops in “Berwyn,” installed through the Costco countertop program

General Contractor: Sutherland Enterprises

Backsplash tile work: Doug Huenergardt, Floor 2 Ceiling Contracting, LLC