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    I am an Average Mom Too!

    I am an Average Mom Too!

    I cannot believe that we are just outside a month until Valentine’s Day! Ah! We are not huge Valentine’s day celebrators but I do love making cookies with my boys.

    They love the whole process. The mess, the sneaking bites, the mess, time with me, being creative, did I mention the mess?! Truly, they both love being in the kitchen but I rarely make time or have the patience to enjoy creating food with them but this is a tradition I try to keep every few months. Starting with

    Valentine's Day, then Easter, usually Halloween, and for sure Christmas.


    I shared back in October that I would show you all a simple way to look like you are super mom while actually being incredibly average just like me. Then guess what, life happened and I forgot all about posting my little secret. So here I am three and a half months later ready to spill the beans on how I make average look fancy.

    I started baking cookies with my boys in the last year and a half when my boys were both old enough to help or at least halfway enjoy making a mess. Ha.

    You start with whatever your favorite sugar cookie recipe is. I love this one by Katrina at Katrina’s Kitchen. I have included the link as well as Katrina’s full instructions. She has FAQ’s on the link which may be helpful to those of you who have never made sugar cookies.

    Best Sugar Cookie Recipe
    YIELD: 3 dozen cookies
    PREP TIME: 30 minutes
    COOK TIME: 6-8 minutes
    TOTAL TIME: 38 minutes
    Soft cut out sugar cookie recipe that keeps its shape and dough does not need to be chilled before baking- perfect edges every time!
    INGREDIENTS:
    1 Cup unsalted butter
    1 Cup granulated white sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/2 teaspoon almond extract
    1 egg
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    3 cups all purpose flour
     
    DIRECTIONS:
    Preheat oven to 350° F.
    In the bowl of your mixer cream butter and sugar until smooth, at least 3 minutes
    Beat in extracts and egg.
    In a separate bowl combine baking powder and salt with flour and add a little at a time to the wet ingredients. The dough will be very stiff. If it becomes too stiff for your mixer turn out the dough onto a countertop surface. Wet your hands and finish off kneading the dough by hand.
    DO NOT CHILL THE DOUGH. Divide into workable batches, roll out onto a floured surface and cut. You want these cookies to be on the thicker side (closer to 1/4 inch rather than 1/8).
    Bake at 350 for 6-8 minutes. Let cool on the cookie sheet until firm enough to transfer to a cooling rack.
    Original recipe © In Katrina's Kitchen

     

    I have used this recipe more times than I can count and I really love it. So now on to my secret little mom trick. All of you are always so impressed with my royal icing skills. DON’T BE! Y’all for real, I have no clue what I am doing and if I can do it you can too! I make cookies the boys probably 3 to 4 times a year, as I mentioned earlier, so I am no expert. Of course, if you make cookies all the time I would recommend making your own but I did that one time and then found this little-boxed gem! It saves time and thinking which is worth its weight in gold to me.

    I will say that I don’t actually follow it’s measurements. I put a couple tablespoons of water in and then just add more water till I get to the consistency I want. Easy peasy friends! I buy mine at our local Meijer like I said with the cookie cutters but you can obviously get it online as well. 

    Here are a few of my tips for beautiful cookies.

    • I use various sizes and shapes to add texture and fun for your eyes. It just adds a more dynamic look which makes them look more impressive than they actually are. For example, use several sizes of stars or for Valentine’s Day, I always use different size and shape variations of hearts. Like short fat one, tall skinny ones, or the more traditional looking heart. I hope that makes sense. For Halloween, I do various shaped pumpkins, bats, candy corn, etc. Hopefully, you get the idea.
    • Wilton sells these tubs of cookie cutters that are great if you are looking for variety. Our local Meijer store carries them but you can find them on Amazon as well.
    • Use a few colors to keep it simple. You want variety but every color you add is just more work for you. Not only in decorating but in the clean up. Who likes doing more dishes? Not me!
    • I generally start with a thicker outline to hold the interior design as that frosting will be a bit runnier till it sets up.

    Have so much fun with decorating! I put out all manner of sprinkles for the kids to get bonkers with. I will shoot you real straight here…I struggle with releasing control to let them just have fun so I always sit half aside for me to decorate myself after they are done. That way it limits my yelling at them and takes away my desire to control what every cookie looks like. All you super moms who are chill and your children are perfect don’t understand this side of the process but for all you normal moms can I get an AMEN?!?!?

    There you have it. The easy way to look like super mom! Buy the icing in a box, let your kids go crazy and then pour yourself a glass or wine, coffee, water, milk (whatever suits your fancy), crank the new “Greatest Showman Soundtrack” and ice your picture-perfect cookies.

    We will take them to friends, as well as flowers to some ladies we know who no longer have husbands living. This is actually my favorite thing to do. We go to my favorite local florist and get fresh bouquets and then just spend the afternoon driving around and delivering them to each woman and telling them we were thinking of them. It makes me proud to see my boys learning to love and serve others.

    Do you have any little traditions you keep each year that don’t revolve around Christmas? I am all for traditions year round and would love to hear about yours!

     

     

    2018 Here We Go

    2018 Here We Go

    “He must become greater; I must become less.” – John 3:30

    2018! Here we go. You may feel like me and look at everyone else thinking how do they have it all together? Maybe you are one of those who already has it together. Maybe you are watching all of us on this hamster wheel of life and just giggling at our expense. No matter where you are on the journey I hope you are moving forward. That is my goal.

    I am absolutely one of those people that get swept away in life. I honestly feel like life happens to me instead of me dictating what I want my life to look like. I mean who doesn’t get a little overwhelmed with all the expectations we are given.

    Eat clean, eat vegetarian, eat only lean meats, eat vegan, juice daily, never mind smoothies are better and fats are actually great for brain development.

    Recycle, waste less, have all the newest trends. In your home and in your closet! Wear heels, wear flats, and God forbid you wear white before Easter and after Labor day! Don’t ever be underdressed or overdressed and make sure you always wear matching underwear.

    Look fashion forward at all times, rock the athleisure look without sweating, workout every day, don’t weigh yourself ever, fit into a size 0 jean and an XXS top, but of course, have an abnormally large chest and rear for that size zero waist. Wear the perfect red lip, oh never mind, a neutral lip is all the rage. Use copious amounts of skincare products so you don’t actually look your God-given age and make sure that each of the products is clean of harmful products and animal cruelty.

    Read to your kids an hour a day, don’t let them watch TV because their brain melts, don’t buy toys from China because well, toxins. Have a beautifully staged basket of your great grandma’s childhood toys but don’t let your kids touch them because lead paint will kill us all. Teach your kids to clean like a maid at age two so your home is always Instagram spotless while you post pictures of them doing that homemade craft that will be thrown in the trash as soon as the picture is posted and you have yelled at them for making a bigger mess than is acceptable.

    Have a perfectly cozy farmhouse chic home filled with layers and layers of shiplap, old books, and vintage everything. Or a minimalist home with two chairs, a cardboard box couch that closes up for easy storage and only one perfectly placed candle to photograph and read by because of course, you don’t own a television.

     

      Enough is enough!

      My prayer for my home, myself and for 2018! Less for more!

      Not less is more, but less for more.

      It requires action and intention on my part! None of the above expectations matter.

     

    In my life I want...  

    Less stuff and more intention.

    Less extensive commitments to fill my calendar and more margin to spend time with those I love.

    Less food and more health.

    Less clutter in my home and more space to make real memories.

    Less spending on items and more experiences together with the money we saved.

    Less worry and more peace.

     

    Ultimately less of me and more of Jesus

    What do you want? Not in 2018 but in life? You and your creator get to set your own expectations for yourself! Nobody else gets to determine what you are and do.

    If you want to be a boho chic minimalist, who loves watching Daniel Tiger with your kids, making a mess baking and loves Zumba classes, you do that!

     If you want to be a spin teacher who rocks yoga pants, a top knot, and tennis shoes all day while shopping at Walmart for made in China toys for your newborn, eating pizza on Tuesdays and beer on Fridays, you do that!

     If I want to be a thick girl who wishes she liked working out, loves carbs and cheese but is learning to care for my body in the most healthy way, Let me! I Can switch up my style between casual v-necks and dresses while caring for my tribe…let me! If I say no to the dinner out or the PTO meeting, LET ME! I am on a journey folks. A long journey to know what God’s best is for me and to know that I am not defined even by my outward appearance or surroundings.

     I am not saying, you do you, I am saying let Jesus be the framework that tells you what you can and should be. Follow Him and forget about everyone else’s opinions.

     

    “He must become greater; I must become less.” – John 3:30
    It will be my theme for this year! Less of me for More of Him!
    Happy New Year!

    Thank you 2017

    Thank you 2017

    For those of you who do not get my email newsletter, sorry you are missing all the fun and discounts! My subscribers got this silly list of statistics as well as a coupon code to start the new year! You, of course, can subscribe anytime so you don't miss future discounts but I did want to leave this little list of interesting statistics that summed up 2017 for Abby Chic. It was such a fun learning year and I truly am grateful for each of you for making this dream a reality. 

    2017 in numbers!

    • 1,520 feet of packaging tape
    • 575 feet of bubble wrap.
    • 52 trips to Lowes
    • 10,000 nails
    • 148 oz of stain
    • 1 broken shop vac
    • 2 nailed fingers
    • 1 trip to the urgent treatment center for tendonitis
    • 2 different wrist braces
    • 750 corner protectors
    • Listened to the Michael Buble Christmas album 15 times the month of December
    • Listened to over 100 hours of podcasts and audio books
    • 2 emotional breakdowns (thank you UPS)
    • 1 new website
    • 2 new bags
    • 6 new shirts
    • Approximately 730 coffees, most consumed cold
    • Shipped to 40 states and 3 Canadian Provinces
    • My top five states were Indiana, Kentucky, Texas, Ohio, and Georgia

    I look forward to 2018 and all the adventure, challenge, growth and joy it will hold!

    Simple and Clean Tomato Soup Recipe

    Simple and Clean Tomato Soup Recipe

    Y’all! This recipe! You are welcome in advance. I have never made this for anyone and them not ask for the recipe. Never. I mean it! Every person who has ever eatin’ it has asked. With the exception of the hubs of course, because well hello, I cook for him.


    Let me make a few things VERY CLEAR to those of you who don’t know me well yet.


    First, I look forward to knowing you. Truly, people are my favorite part of life!
    Second, I am not a whizz in the kitchen. We all know those people. I am not one of them. My friend Andrea can make something amazing out of nothing without batting a lash. She hosts with ease, presents a beautiful table, incredible wine, and tremendous food. I however, am lucky to cook a few times a week and it is typically spaghetti or pizza. Ha! You can ask my husband.


    Third, soup season saves me! Forget pumpkin spice, just give me soup season. Maybe I should make that a sign? Bahaha. I make great chili, vegetable soup, cheesy potato… but this my friends -is my best! It is clean, easy and a crowd pleaser. So without further delay, please meet your new go to meal this fall!


    I have been making this soup for years but it all came from me googling homemade tomato soup. I have no clue where the original recipe came from but I know that I don’t make it like I did when I first started making it, so oh well. If you are specific measurer don’t be worried, I will walk you through. But for my people who are “dumpers” (gross word but you know what I mean – you don’t use measurements and just “dump” stuff in a pot) you are in good company.


    With fresh tomato season rapidly coming to a close, you better get cooking!

     

    Ingredients
    • Between 2 and 3 lbs of tomatoes…enough to cut up and fill a cookie sheet.

    • 1 large onion

    • 3-4 fresh garlic cloves

    • 1 can of coconut milk (I only use the kind pictured because of personal preference)

    • A little olive oil

    • A few shakes of pepper…around ½ tsp

    • 1 tsp or so of salt. (I will cover this through recipe)

    • A handful of fresh basil (you can use the tube or dried kind but I prefer fresh) 

    Start by preheating your oven to 400 and getting out two cookie sheets. I cover mine in foil but you do not have to. I just prefer easier cleanup. Then you get to chopping. Here is where you will understand that I do not measure. I cut up enough tomatoes to fill a cookie sheet! Like pack them in. You do not have to peel them. Just rinse and cut! I use a mixture of tomatoes because I think it makes the soup taste fuller but you can use all one type or a mixture like me. You cannot mess this up! Once you have them all cut and the tray full, you can drizzle with olive oil and then salt and pepper the whole tray!

     

    Once you have the tomatoes in slice your onion and peel your garlic cloves. You will then drizzle with oil, salt and pepper these on the second cooking sheet and place them in the top rack of the oven.

    oven

    Once your tomatoes are soft (like mushy) and your onions are more clear looking and soft as well you will take them all out of the oven. In my oven it is around 20 minutes. Again, you aren’t going to mess this up. Just set a timer for 20 and then check every five minutes following till you feel like they look good to you.

    cooked tomatoes

    Now, go get an apron! I have splattered myself EVERY SINGLE TIME and I still never learn. Ha! You will use a spoon or spatula to scoop all your cooked goodies into a blender. Once you have them all in you add your basil and coconut milk.

    coconut milk
    Like I mentioned before this is the only kind I use because it gives you the creaminess of tomato soup without any coconut flavor. Additionally, you can use the whole can but I only use the thick fatty, white part that is more solid on the top of the can. Again total personal preference but I like the thick creamier soups.

    Once you have your lid good an closed blend away. You could use an immersion blender but I have always preferred to use a regular blender for mine because it ensures less chunks and a more smooth, creamy texture. Again, preference.


    Ta-da! You are welcome in advance. I have taken this meal to new moms, friends battling cancer, dinner parties and much more. I love that it is not only clean (dairy free, nut free, gluten free) but it is so yummy. If you are fans of dairy and gluten like we are in our home it pairs amazingly well with your favorite grilled cheese. My personal fave is pepper jack but to each his own.

     

    soup 

    Have fun and let me know how you like it! What are some of your favorite soups to make as it gets cooler?

    Happy Cooking!

    Abby

    One Shirt All the Ways!

    One Shirt All the Ways!

    Did you know that some of the world’s most influential people eliminate as many small decisions as possible? For example, what the heck to wear every morning when they bound out of bed. Well, rolled out if you are anything like me. I really want a coffee pot on my night stand. We should make that a thing. Back to the point at hand…Obama wore a gray or navy suit every day. Steve Jobs, black on black on jeans. We have all seen it. Even every day folks like you and me worldwide have bought into the whole idea of a daily uniform. I’m all for uniforms if you ask me. Ha. I mean not having to figure out what my kiddos are wearing everyday would be a dream. 

    I love my shirts for lots of reason but their ease and diversity is the biggest reason. They go with anything and for any occasion. Stay at home mom busy running errands? No problem.
    Headed to the office for meetings? I have you covered. Literally.

    Going to the gym after a full day? You will look great doing it.

    Everyone loves to make their lives as easy as possible. Well, at least I do. Remember my night stand coffee pot idea… as silly as it sounds a good graphic t-shirt can do just that. It never fails that every morning I go and stand in my closet filled with clothes and after a few moments I reach for a graphic tee that I feel good in but also reminds me of important biblical truths.

    My goal in the next year is to print all of my shirts using ethically made and sustainable brands so that not only are you buying a product that is screen printed with a biblical truth but also reinforces those beliefs through the ethical employment of those who make the shirts.

    I will go ahead and answer these questions now because inevitably I will get them.

    The shirts do not shrink. I wash mine on cold and it has held up for more washes than I can begin to count.

    They are screen-printed, not vinyl so they will not need to be washed or ironed in a specific way to maintain the design.

    I do not hand paint each shirt. I have my design digitized and that is what they use to screen print.

    I would love to see you style any and all of the designs your way. Tag me on Instagram @mrsabbychic.