Homemade Dump & Taste Chicken Soup

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During the winter months a lot of soup is made in my kitchen. In particular, a lot of this homemade chicken soup. The first time I made this for Jake was back when we were in college. We had been dating a few months and he came down with a terrible cold. Wanting to impress this guy who I had started to fall head over heels for, I decided to pull out all the stops and make my mom’s homemade chicken soup. It had been a favorite growing up, and although I hadn’t made it before, I knew it would be the perfect medicine.

I called my mom to ask her for the recipe, and soon learned it was pretty simple and almost impossible to mess up. You basically add a bunch of ingredients to a stockpot and sample it until it tastes just right for you. Hence, why I call it the “Homemade Dump & Taste Chicken Soup.”

If you’re looking for an easy go-to recipe for soup, this is it.

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Homemade Dump & Taste Chicken Soup

Ingredients:

-1 whole chicken (cut up) or 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts*

-1 can of corn, drained

-2 cups shredded carrots

-2 cups celery, chopped

-1 cup rice

-2 cups egg noodles (or whatever noodles you prefer or have on hand. I used penne in my last batch.)

-chicken bouillon cubes to taste

-salt and pepper to taste

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Instructions:

Fill a stockpot or dutch oven about halfway full of water and bring to a boil. Add a little salt to the water and boil the whole chicken or chicken breasts for about 20 – 30 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked. Keeping the water in the pot, carefully remove the chicken and set aside to cool. The chicken flavored water in the pan will serve as the broth for the soup. While the chicken is cooling, add the corn, carrots, celery, uncooked rice, and uncooked noodles to the water. Allow them to boil for a bit until tender. While they’re boiling, cut up the chicken into small chunks, removing all bones if you used a whole chicken. Add the chicken to the soup. Turn to low and let simmer until you’re ready to eat. While its simmering, taste the flavor of the soup. If you’d prefer a stronger chicken flavor, add a few chicken bouillion cubes and some salt and pepper to taste. Also feel free to add more rice if you want a thicker consistency. When you’re happy with how it tastes, serve it up!

Recommendations:

I think the soup has better flavor when using a whole chicken, but if you’re looking for a shortcut the chicken breasts work fine too. When buying a whole chicken at the deli, ask them to cut it up for you so all you need to do is dump it in the pan.

As is the case with a lot of soups, this one keeps getting better as the flavors have longer to mix, which means it is great for leftovers. It also works well to freeze it and pull it out on a day when you’re looking for a quick meal. It thickens as it sits, so when you reheat it you may need to add some more water and bouillon cubes. 

If you have your own patient to nurse back to health, or simply want a soup that will leave a lasting impression, I hope you’ll give my mom’s soup a try. It certainly did the trick to win over my honey’s heart!

Make it a great Tuesday, remembering to take a few minutes for yourself today!

Amber

 

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Enjoy God’s Best

We have a choice to make this week! We can either choose to feel overwhelmed by our circumstances, or we can aggressively expect good things.

I don’t know about you, but I can almost always expect moments throughout the week when my patience is tested or when I feel overwhelmed with everything that needs to get done. Those moments have the power to determine how the rest of my week will go. By choosing to look at the obstacles as opportunities, we can focus on how God wants to bless us through those trials.

God most certainly knows this, and reminded me of it again this weekend. Since moving to the area a little over a month ago, we’ve been trying out various churches. This week we went to Eagle Brook and I’m positive it was a divine appointment. They started a new series this week called “Losing Our Buts” which is about learning how to get rid of our excuses because they hold us back from experiencing life as God intends. I can hardly wait to listen to the rest of the series.

If we want to enjoy the best life God has for us, we need to realize that it starts with us. We have to believe what God’s word says about us more than we believe what others say or what our feelings or own minds say. We need to expect God’s best. We need to look ahead with confidence and excitement, knowing that God’s plan for our lives is awesome, even though it may seem a bit overwhelming at times. The truth is, God wants to pour out favor on our lives – kindness we don’t deserve.

My challenge for all of us this week is this:

Resist and refuse to let doubt convince you that good things won’t happen to you and your family. Ask God to give you divine supernatural favor and then expect to see it in your life every day! His blessings are abundant, if we’re just willing to take the time and acknowledge them.

“Constantly praising God and being in favor and goodwill with all the people; and the Lord kept adding to their number daily those who were being saved.” -Acts 2:47

Question of the Day:

Do you ever find yourself being overwhelmed by what’s ahead? How do you flip the switch and get into a different mindset?

Let’s enjoy God’s best for us this week!

Amber

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Moments Mommy Captured: 1/6/2013

Outside of New Year’s being on Tuesday, the rest of our week was pretty low key. It’s been nice to get back into our normal routine, enjoying the ordinary everyday moments with our little family.

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Our week started out with Joey and Madison staying with us. Baylen’s become quite fond of them. It’s so fun for me to see him bond with his aunt and uncle!

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We lucked out and found a babysitter for New Year’s so Jake and I headed out with some friends to Capital Grille. It was fun to get dressed up and go out!

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Baylen continues to becoming more independent everyday. Whenever we’re out and about he insists on walking on his own, which is great except for the fact that he doesn’t exactly understand what it means to stay by Mommy and Daddy. It’s good practice anyway, for when the girls come and we can’t carry him all the time anymore.

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If you would have asked me at the beginning of the week if I let Baylen stand at the top of the stairs with the gate open I would have said no way. But we worked on learning how to go down the stairs this week and he’s quickly becoming a pro. I still don’t quite trust him to go down the whole flight by himself without me spotting him, but I’m excited about a day soon when I don’t have to police the baby gates so closely.

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We’ve also working on eating with utensils this week. I’ve been giving them to him to play with for a while now, but it wasn’t until this week that he took a real interest in using them. I was quite impressed with how he was gobbling down the mac and cheese with his fork. As for the bites that didn’t make it into his mouth? For those I’m thankful we have a yellow lab.

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Our little man is such a busy body and until recently hasn’t been interested in sitting still for longer than about 5 seconds when it comes to reading him books. However, within the last few weeks he’s started to have favorite books and will bring them over. When we stick to his favorites, he’ll let us read them over and over.

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Bay’s movements have become a lot more focused and calculated lately. Whether he’s stacking and opening jewelry boxes, putting his straw in and out of his glass a million times in a row, or pointing to eyes and other body parts we’ve taught him, he loves to figure things out.

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Baylen got his first basketball lesson from Daddy this week. He was so intrigued.

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What started as his signal that he wanted to give an open mouthed kiss has become his signal for anything he wants to put in his mouth. I get to see this cute face when he wants a drink of something, wants his paci, wants a kiss, or wants to eat something from the cookie jar. That little guy knows how to get what he wants!

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Just a couple days ago Baylen started to copy us when we sneeze. Whenever he hears one of us say “Bless you!” he immediately breaks out in a series of fake sneezes, which is what he was doing in the picture above. Yes, at almost 15 months, our little man is a little ham.

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As for those little princesses? They’re growing too. I definitely feel like I’m starting to pop out big time. This was yesterday at 26.5 weeks!

That’s it for this week’s update! Take a few minutes today and think about the precious moments from your week! We are blessed, friends!

Amber

 

 

 

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Take 10 To Paint Your Nails

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Over the past year, I’ve tried to be more intentional about painting my nails from time to time. It takes intentionality because it’s so easy for me to talk myself out of it on account of the fact that the polish remains perfect for only about a half hour tops before I ding it up or chip it. Mommy duties certainly don’t make it easy to keep a good manicure.

However, when I put a fresh coat of polish on, something about it makes me feel dainty and sophisticated. It’s like a magic potion that transforms me from a frumpy housewife to a royal highness. Maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, but I think you get the picture. It’s amazing how spending a quick 10 minutes to pamper my nails can put a little spring in my step, which is exactly what I need some days.

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Today is one of those days. Baylen has been working on a molar and the past few nights have left me feeling quite exhausted. Thank goodness for Essie coming to my rescue for a perfect pick-me-up during Baylen’s nap time this morning.

I picked up this color on a recent Target run, along with this cute clutch! I’ve been looking for one for a while that zips up so I can throw it in the diaper bag when I’m out and about, and found this one on clearance for $7! Cute, huh?

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As far as nail polish goes, I personally think it’s totally worth it to spend a few extra dollars on Essie or OPI as opposed to the cheaper options because it actually stays on my fingers and doesn’t chip off as quickly.

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Treat yourself to a fun new nail color and take a few minutes to give yourself a manicure sometime soon. You may just feel like royalty! 😉

Question of the Day:

If you’ve painted your nails lately, do you have a recommendation for a fun color to try?

Happy Friday!

Amber

 

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DIY: Pegboard Jewelry Organizer

Our little family moved into a different house about a month ago, which means we’ve been busy unpacking and finding places to keep our things. We’ve moved several times since we were married five years ago, and each time my jewelry has been neglected, ending up in a dresser drawer with no organization whatsoever.

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When I saw pegboards on Pinterest being used as jewelry organizers, I immediately knew I wanted some variation for my own closet. Jake and I set out for Home Depot a couple weeks ago and picked up a 2′ by 4′ white wooden pegboard, some trimboard, stain, picture hangers, and peghooks. This project came together for around $25, which is much less than buying a standard jewelry box!

After staining the piece of trimboard, my handy husband made some angled cuts so he could nail it on to create a perfectly sized frame for the border. He also added a wood frame to the back of the board so that it could sit flush against the wall and I’d be able to easily add peg hooks without having to pull it away from the wall.

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Jake of course had his little helper intently watching his every move. That little guy sure loves his daddy.

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I’m really happy with how the finished product turned out! Being able to see all my jewelry displayed as I get dressed has encouraged me to wear it more often which always makes me feel a little more put together. I’m also glad we went with a big pegboard because I can rearrange the pegs as I like and have lots of room to grow into it.

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If you don’t have access to the tools or manpower to cut and make your own frame, or prefer a different size, you could find a frame you like and ask the workers at the home improvement store to cut the pegboard to fit the size of your frame. Then simply frame it like a picture and hang it up!

Even though most of my jewelry is fairly inexpensive and comes from Target or Forever 21, it’s nice to know I’m taking good care of it and don’t have to worry about everything getting tangled in my dresser anymore. Check one organization project off the list!

Question for the Day:

How do you organize your jewelry? 

Have a great Thursday! Take a few minutes to organize something in your life today!

Amber

 

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Kick It Out Workout

The post holiday blues have begun to set in a bit this morning. After two glorious weeks of enjoying Jake’s laid back holiday work schedule, sending him out the door for work today was no fun at all.

Since I’m in a bit of a funk, I need to get my blood flowing and release some endorphins to flip around my attitude a bit. This Kick It Out Workout is sure to do just that. If you need a little pick me up today, take 10 minutes and join me in doing these simple power packed moves that will give you the motivation to confidently kick off the new year! You’ll also get a great burn in your butt and thighs!

Below are a couple videos to walk you through how to do the moves in the workout.

 

Kick It Out Workout

-100 side kicks (50 each leg)

-50 back kicks (25 each leg)

-50 front kicks (25 each leg)

-50 kneeling reverse butt kicks (25 each leg)

-50 kneeling straight legged back kicks (25 each leg)

And with that, you’ve done 300 kicks! Great work! I’d call that a great start to the New Year!

Question for the Day:

Are you experiencing post holiday blues? If so, how do you plan to get out of the funk? 

Make it a great Wednesday as you love on your families! And don’t forget to find a few minutes of “me time!”

Amber

 

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Overnight French Toast & Sperry Giveaway Winner

Happy New Year! Thank you to everybody who entered the Sperry Slippers Giveaway! It makes me excited to host more giveaways in the future. Rafflecopter randomly selected the winner, and the Sperrys will go to…Dominique C. Congratulations, Dominique! I’ll get in contact with you today to get your color preference and size!

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I have a fantastic recipe for Overnight French Toast to share with you today! If you’re a bit exhausted from all your holiday food preparations, then this recipe will be a nice little break for you. It was passed on to me from my mother-in-law and is something our family has been enjoying quite often lately. I love this recipe for a few reasons. Not only does it taste great, but it’s incredibly easy to prepare and is made with ingredients that most of us already have on hand.  It’s perfect to serve for breakfast when you want something a little more than cereal, or have house guests but don’t want to be slaving over the griddle all morning.

Overnight French Toast

Ingredients:

-8 slices of bread

-3 eggs, beaten

-3/4 cup milk

-1 tablespoon vanilla

-2 tablespoons sugar

-1 tablespoon cinnamon

-desired toppings

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a  9 x 13 baking pan with cooking spray. Put bread into pan by stacks of two, so you have four stacks, as seen below. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla, sugar, and cinnamon. Evenly pour the mixture over the bread. Cover the pan and quickly tip upside down, then right side up again. Store covered in the refrigerator overnight, or for at least 2 hours. Bake at 400 for 20 – 30 minutes, or until lightly browned. Makes 4 servings. Serve with desired toppings.

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Variations: This recipe is super easy to change up and add your own twist. We love it with cinnamon raisin bread or if you have extra eggnog to use up from the holidays we’ve used that in the place of the milk and it turns out delicious. I’ve also diced up a couple apples into tiny pieces and put them between the bread slices for a yummy apple cinnamon flavor!

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Pretty simple, right? Take it easy on yourself and perhaps even serve this on a “breakfast for dinner” kind of night.

Enjoy the rest of your holiday and find a few minutes for “me time” today!

Amber

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Sperry Slippers Giveaway: Last Day to Enter

Happy New Year’s Eve!

Today is the last day to enter the Sperry Slippers Giveaway! Thank you to all of you who have helped make this kick-off giveaway successful. I’m excited to randomly select the winner tomorrow and get started with official posts!

Before I share the fifth and final way to enter, we have a few days left to cover as far as what you can expect weekly on Mommy’s Me Time.

Monday: Surrendering

The most crucial part of my day is when I surrender it to the Lord. By surrendering my own desires and wants on a daily basis, and giving the Lord control, I am able to love my family selflessly. When I welcome Him into the most mundane moments of mommyhood, its amazing to see glimpses of His goodness when I least expect it. This life is not about me or my family, it’s about our Heavenly Father, and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We simply get to be part of HIS STORY. Mondays will be focused on surrendering our week to HIM!

Tuesdays: Family Friendly Recipes

Sometimes all it takes to get a little extra mommy motivation is finding a yummy new recipe to prepare for your family! Growing up in the midwest has given me a love for hearty and nutritious meals that leave everybody satisfied. I also have a bit of a sweet tooth and most certainly like to keep it balanced with delicious desserts from time to time.

Wednesday: Workouts 

We all know that having kids takes a toll on our bodies. We’ll likely never have the same bods as we did in high school or college, which in my opinion is a beautiful mark of being a momma. However, breaking a sweat does so much more than help us to lose baby weight. More importantly it releases endorphins that can keep us feeling calm and sexy! When we feel good, we exude confidence. We can use that confidence to love on our families!

As a recap, here’s what the rest of the week will look like:

Thursday: Home Improvement (DIY, Organizational Ideas, or Decorating)

Friday: Affordable Fashion

Weekends: Capturing Moments with my Family

In order for you to stay up-to-date with the posts on Mommy’s Me Time, I’d love it if you subscribed! In fact, that’s the fifth and final way to enter the giveaway. For your last official entry, subscribe by email (located on the right side of the page) or add Mommy’s Me Time to your Google Reader or whatever reader you use.

Sperry Slippers All Colors

As always, officially enter through Rafflecopter below. The deadline to enter is midnight tonight. If you haven’t taken advantage of all five ways to enter, do so today! This contest is open to those with a US mailing address only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Spend some time today looking back at 2012 in thankfulness for the many joys and trials you were able to experience. How awesome that we were given another year to live and breathe and move!

Amber

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Sperry Slippers Giveaway: “Capture The Moment” Entry

Good Morning! We are enjoying a pretty low key Saturday morning around here, which is also how I’m planning to keep the weekends on Mommy’s Me Time. Weekends will be a time when I enjoy the moments with my little family, and posts will be dedicated to sharing the moments I capture.

As we all know, life goes fast and kids grow up way too quickly. It’s so important to capture some of the precious moments along the way so we can always remember the details! On tough mommy days, I also like to use pictures to keep my perspective, to remind myself of the joyful blessings of little ones despite the ways they may test my patience!

In the spirit of capturing moments with our loved ones, today’s entry to win the pair of Sperry Slippers requires doing just that! Here’s what I need you to do to be qualified for another entry:

1. Take a picture today of you enjoying a fun or special moment with your family or friends.

2. Post it to either Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, and use the hashtag #mommysmetime. Your post will show up in the Hashtag Feed on Mommy’s Me Time!

3. Per usual, officially enter using Rafflecopter below. As a reminder, your entries are only valid if you use Rafflecopter. This contest is open to US residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Capture some great moments today!

Amber

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Sperry Slippers Giveaway: Instagram Entry

Happy Friday, Everybody! I hope your weekend ahead will include lots of relaxation!

Before I get to the third way to enter the Sperrys Giveaway, let’s talk Fridays! My goal for Fridays on Mommy’s Me Time is to dedicate it to style and fashion of some sort. Just because we’re mommies doesn’t mean we need to give up fashion and let ourselves go. In fact, I’d say its even more important when we’re mommies to feel good about ourselves! When we feel good about how we look, we’re going to be in a better mood for our family. It’s amazing how taking a shower each day, getting dressed in real clothes instead of sweatpants, and putting a little effort into our hair and make-up can make a huge difference in how we go about our days!

The third way to enter the Sperry Slippers Giveaway is fun and easy!

1. Follow me on Instagram (@amberkuiper)

2. Find the picture below in my album, take a screenshot, re-post, and tag me in the post.

3. After you’ve done this, officially enter using Rafflecopter (below).

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have a great Friday, and try to take a few minutes to spruce yourself up a bit for the weekend. You are beautiful, and deserve to feel like it!

Amber

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