SHE: Share Your Baby Advice

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Hey y'all,

You know our SHE group is growing this year and we couldn't be more excited. If you are a parent I know you can remember the feelings of anticipation mixed in with a whole lot of fear and what ifs, am I right?  I know that's how Mike & I were.  We really didn't know much about how our world would be changing and it changed a lot, but in the best ways.  We loved everything about being new parents (at least that is how I choose to remember it). But I know there were many challenges to new parents.  Today I want you to share with us your secrets to success.

What helped you through those first few days? Sleepless nights? Colic? Diaper rash? Diaper blowouts? Breast feeding dilemmas? Formula issues? Will this baby ever sleep? Adjusting to your new normal.


Share a comment about how you survived and thrived as a new parent. 
Our girls can't wait to hear your tips.  And please share your tips for Grand-parenting,
I want to be sure I do that very well.  




SHE: Freezer Meals Take 2

Tuesday, January 2, 2018


  






Hey Y'all,
If you joined us earlier in the week we talked about freezer meals and I shared some tips to prepare you. Today I will be sharing the recipes and suggestions that we used and found to be handy.  Now keep in mind this is a pretty much all day task, or at least it was for us.  But we really made a lot of foods. Plan to start early in the day. 
If you are a friend of SHE Degree, then you probably know that Brittney and her husband are expecting their first baby literally any day now. So that is the inspiration behind these freezer meals.






 




First Brittney found a few recipes she knew that they liked, wrote out the ingredients for each. If you are preparing 1 it's just as easy to make 2 and that is what we did. She doubled each recipe and the list of ingredients.  Keep in mind your available freezer space.  Next she surveyed her pantry and highlighted what she would need to pick up at the grocery store. And we were off to our neighborhood grocery to stock up on all the supplies we would need.



Once home, foods were organized and separated for each recipe. I recommend cleaning and prepping all your fresh veggies at once and have them ready to assemble.  But you can also prepare 1 recipe at a time. This might make it a little more organized if you get overwhelmed with your kitchen counters being covered and in disarray.  My kitchen appears to be a little chaotic any time I am cooking but it all comes back together nice and neatly at the end.


Now it's easier, just decide what you want to make first and go from there.  Some foods need to be flash frozen (fancy wording for placing on a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper and putting in the freezer for 1hr or so to freeze enough to keep their shape. Think meatballs and cookie dough). I suggest starting with those as you have some wait time.


Be sure to keep your work areas clean at all times, washing down counters and utensils to avoid any cross contamination from raw meat and chicken.  When packaging your meals, we used containers like these and double wrapped with aluminum foil. Each was labelled with the name and date. You may want to add a card inside the foil with any special baking instructions to save time later.  For example, we made the base for chicken casserole but did not add stuffing mix. When she is ready to bake it she will take out of the freezer, unwrap the foil and remove paper lid, sprinkle with stuffing mix and dollop bits of butter on top, recover with foil and bake according to directions.


Here is what we made and remember this are meant to serve 2-3 people. So if your family is larger, you might need to adjust the recipe up more to make 2 dinners. The number indicates how many pans were made of each.  These were all found on Pinterest ~ so they aren't our "original" recipes but I think they are a good variety of menu items.  We've shared links for most below


Cracked out Chicken (4)
Chicken Casserole  (2)**
Hamburgers   (4)
Crockpot hamburgers with gravy  (1)
Sausage balls  (4)
Swedish meatballs   (2- but each pan contains enough for 2 meals)
Pork chops and potatoes  ( 1 with leftovers)
Ravioli Lasagna  (4)
Caramel White-chocolate Cookie dough  (3 dozen individual cookies)
Garlic bread (16 slices)
Chicken strips (these are a healthy baked option)
Granola bars-  we make these in bite size balls



Brittney used casserole type pans for most of these, so she can just pop into her oven when she is ready for them.  But you can use freezer bags for some of these recipes too. They lie flat when frozen, but consider how you will prepare it. Will it go into the oven, crockpot or Instant Pot- freeze in the shape that will make it the easiest to transfer from freezer bag to container.  You can freeze in the bag in a bowl the shape of your casserole dish and just remove the bag once thoroughly frozen.  We want these meals to require as little effort as possible on the night you are preparing them, so thinking ahead will make things smoother in the long run.  Super easy to plunk a round frozen meal into a crock pot and go about your day. Grab a few sides and viola you have a hearty meal for your family that didn't take up your whole day preparing.  These are great for the "Oh no my family really wants dinner ....
what can I feed them?" nights

We hope these helped give you some encouragement to try some freezer meals of your own.  Let us hear from you~ what are your go to meals? Crock pot dishes?  



 





Chicken Tator Tot Casserole
Chicken Casserole
 ** We omit the cream of mushroom soup and substitute chicken broth for milk in the chicken casserole recipe.  You want it a little bit runny, the dry stuffing mix will need the extra liquid. When ready to bake, just top with dry stuffing mix and add butter and chicken broth as needed.
       







xoxo, Amy 





SHE: New Years Eve

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Hey Y'all,

It is New Years Eve 2017!  I hope you are able to reflect back on this year and have memories more happy than sad, more love than loss and more gratitude for the life you have and those you get to do life with.

Do you have big plans? Ours are always pretty simple but fun none the less. We enjoy having family over for games and appetizers and of course trying to watch the ball drop at midnight. This year I think I will be struggling to see that big ball drop. But I am going to try.

Whatever your plans I hope they include the ones you love most.  Here are a few ideas for foods, games, and d├ęcor if you have decided to host a party last minute.  

Thank you for following the ladies of SHE Degree!  It is our hope that
you are learning new tips to make your life easier in some small way.
We love sharing with you and have some fun events planned for 2018. 

Keep listening for the birdie whispering in your ear ~ be the Best SHE you can be!
Titus 2:3-5 


Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!!

xoxo,  

SHE Degree

Lisa, Amy, Courtney, Brittney & Madison

image via google


SHE: Ready for 2018

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Hey Y'all,

We have had the best holiday season. I hope y'all have too. As much as I love the holiday  s, I am so excited to have the decorations down and put away and our house back to normal. Is it just me or does your house seem "empty" without all the Christmas decorations?  What is your tradition?   Do you take your decorations down right after Christmas or do you keep them up until the New Year? 

What about New Year's resolutions.... do you make them?  I don't typically make a list but I do try to reflect on the past year and pray that I am a better person for the year I have had.  Of course after all the holiday yummy treats, healthy eating and exercise should be at the top of my list.  This New Year we will also be welcoming a new baby into the world and into our family.  Y'all we are so excited!! We can't wait to see our daughter and son in law as Mom and Dad.  They are going to be such good parents. Who has grandchildren? We are really looking forward to this next season of life.

There is so much to do to get ready for a baby. One awesome thing we did was freezer meals. Brittney searched Pinterest and Google and found several recipes for foods they would actually eat. I am a big fan of recipes with minimal ingredients, normal everyday meals. They found a good variety of meals that weren't a tweaked version of the same chicken dish.

Some suggestions for you that we found out during our marathon cooking day.
Research your favorites and see how they can be changed to be freezer friendly. Some foods freeze better than others, use quality containers- you don't want to skimp on your containers only to find your meals ruined.  If you are a new mom, you might want to limit spicy, onions, peppers and potentially dairy items at first until you know if your baby is sensitive. 
Some recipes can be prepared to a point, frozen and then when you are ready to cook them you may need to make a batch of rice or top a casserole with bread crumbs or stuffing mix.  Nothing too difficult to do.

The better you plan out your day the easier and productive it will be.
1) Find your recipes
2) Make your grocery list
3) Order quality containers, we used these.
4) Make sure you have adequate freezer space for the number of freezer meals you plan to make
5) Don't forget heavy duty aluminum foil, wax paper and freezer bags

Are you ready to get started on a few of your own?  We will be sharing recipes we made this week. You can always visit our Pinterest boards for inspiration too.  Whether you are a new mom, working mom or anyone responsible for feeding a family, freezer meals are a hit.  With a little prep time, you can get a delicious dinner on the table any night of the week.  Please share with us your family favorites too!

Have a great week-end!!

xoxo,
Amy









SHE Makes A Lace Crown

Wednesday, December 27, 2017




  
Hello my crafty friends! Today I'm sharing my DIY lace crown. I'm a little embarrassed to post this because of the pictures, but I'm going to anyway. Just keep in mind that I was in a hurry and didn't have time to clean my craft room before this so there is stuff everywhere!

This is probably one of the easiest, but cutest crafts! If you have, or know, a little girl this is a must!!! (This also works if you’re a self-claimed princess like me – I plan to make myself one.) I made this lace crown for one of my best friend’s bachelorette party this past weekend. She was so cute!
All you need is some lace (I bought a half-yard), fabric stiffener, and hot glue. Optional items are paint, glitter, and something round to shape around (I used an old jumbo wine bottle).



Lay your lace out on a piece of wax paper and cover it in the fabric stiffener. (Helpful hint: the kind I bought pours out so I had to brush it on. I HIGHLY recommend getting stiffener that comes with a spray top) Now this needs to dry. I did this step right before I went to bed one night so it was able to have all night to dry. 





Optional step – if you’re planning on painting your crown keep reading, if not you can skip ahead. I painted hers with gold paint. I wanted to make sure I kept the details of the lace though. So I grabbed my spray bottle (you can pick one up for a dollar at most stores), I poured some paint in there and mixed in just a little bit of water. I then sprayed it onto the lace. It gave it color without weighing it down with paint. I also sprinkled some glitter on while the paint was wet!





Once your stiffener (and paint) is dry trim any off the bottom if you need it shorter. I did this in a few cuts so I wouldn't go too short (ignore my bike and my socks...*embarrassed*). Now shape it into a circle as wide as you want (like I said, I used an old wine bottle) and hot glue the ends together.



Ta-Da! You’re now a princess! We secured hers to her head by sticking bobby pins through the holes in the lace.



Did you make one? I’d love to see it and/or here your tips. Let me know in the comments!

xo Courtney



SHE Does Casino Christmas

Monday, December 18, 2017



Christmas is so hectic in my house, and to add fuel to fire my mom, sister and I all have birthdays in the week leading up to Christmas! My dad has never been a fan of December – I wonder why?!? ($$$I think I know$$$)

Growing up we always called it our 90mph Christmas and it seemed so fitting. I thought there’s no way it could get any busier. I was wrong. I then grew up and got married. So now I have Christmas parties with work and friends, and a whole other family to celebrate with. It may be crazy, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

Between all of my family events and all of Hubs family events we about cover the spectrum of things to do. We have a variety of gift exchanges, normal gift swaps where everyone gets everyone a gift, and then my favorite – Casino Christmas!

We do Casino Christmas with my mom’s sisters and their spouses and kids. We start around dinner time and don’t usually go to bed until around 3 or 4 in the morning! Dad has a roulette table he pulls out. It’s a $20 buy in, second place gets their money back and first place wins the pot. I won last year and I’m ready to defend my title this year! After we wrap up roulette we head to the table for blackjack. Is gambling for Christmas a sin? I don’t know, but it’s done with family and so many laughs are had and memories made. At the end of the day that is all that matters!

Are you looking for a new tradition to spice things up? Casino Christmas is definitely the way to go!

 Let me know if you try it out and how it went. I’d love to hear about it!

xo Courtney


SHE Likes Big Bows...

Monday, December 11, 2017




.. And I can not lie. What's up y'all! Today I'm showing you how to make a big bow for the top of your tree! I LOVE making these. I usually make a new one each year and have made a few for the tree at my office. This could be scaled down to a smaller bow if that is what you're needing.

Let's get started...

First you need your ribbon. The key here is WIRED EDGE RIBBON. If the most perfect ribbon that you've ever seen doesn't say its wired then put it down and walk away. I'm not kidding! Without the wire your bow will fall flat and be a sad sad bow... 

This year I stuck with two colors, a red and a glitter gold, but I usually do three.



For this next part it is helpful to have an extra set of arms. It isn't necessary (I did it last year alone), but I promise you it is much easier and quicker. Have your helper hold their arms out to their sides - isn't Hubs just the best helper? Don't go any wider than this - been there done that. It makes a floppy bow, even with the wire, and like we said earlier floppy = sad.

Laying the ribbons on top of each other begin wrapping around and around. This part is personal preference - you can wrap as many times as you want. As you see in the picture I wrapped somewhere between six and eight times and have a nice full bow. You can wrap all the way to the end of the ribbon if you want, I've done it before. You end up with a tighter bow because there are more loops.



Once you've wrapped till your heart is happy, you're ready for the next step. If you didn't use the whole roll cut the ribbon to where it's even with the loops. In the picture above I cut it by Hubs hand, you don't need all of that hanging off the side.

Now take it and fold in half.



There in the middle, cut a slit on each side. Not too deep or it will fall apart!





With the left over ribbon cut a strip about eight inches or so. It'll need to be long enough to tie around your loops and then to tie it to the top of your tree.

So like I just said - tie it (and knot it!) around the middle where you just cut the slits. This is the point of cutting those slits so you can tie it good and tight.



Now for the fun part! It is time to start fluffing! Start by grabbing the top loop on one side and pulling it out. Continue for each of the loops and then do the other side.



See?



Once you have all your loops pulled out work your way through the bow moving loops around and shaping it until you are happy with it!



Now you're done! Just tie to the top of your tree and start decorating!



I hope you loved this tutorial as much as I loved making the bow.

Did you make one? Send me pictures - I'd LOVE to see it!

xo Courtney


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