Mornings. Most mornings in the Higham house are a flurry of kids getting ready for school, animals being fed, breakfast being made, and parents trying to get out the door for work. It wasn't always like it is now. But we're learning to adjust. And in learning to adjust, we're learning to be a little more thoughtful and prepared.
Amy has been back to work for almost a year. It's been a bit of a transition figuring out what life looks like with two working adults and a house full of kids. And one of the areas that we have the most to learn is in the morning. And while some mornings are better than others, we are learning how to make the most of the morning routines.
So we thought we'd share a few things that we are learning in hope that they might help you as work through your mornings!
prep, bedtime, dinner clean up, homework duty, and carpooling. If one morning is going to be uniquely busy, make a plan of who will do what.
We know that our most crazy mornings come when we aren't ready for them. So as much as we can, we try to plan ahead.
2. Do it the Night Before
Our mornings can be chaotic. 5 kids and 2 adults all getting ready at the same time can be a challenge. And it's really easy to lose our patience in the midst of all the chaos. But when we think ahead we can use our time to help alleviate some of the morning stress.
One of the ways we reduce stress is by getting things done the night before. Making lunches, laying out clothes, staging school bags and coats, and making sure you have everything you need for the next day is ready to go before bedtime has proven to be most helpful. In general, these tasks only take a few minutes to do, but in the morning, when you're running around, any one of these things could take up considerable time. So avoid the monkey wrench and pinpoint the tasks that can be accomplished the night before.
3. Work as a Team
Before Amy went back to work, we had a pretty good routine. We worked well together getting the kids ready for school, serving breakfast, and getting our day going. I had a job with flexible hours so getting into the office at a particular time wasn't always an issue. And while I still have some flexibility, Amy has to be at work at a specific time. That introduced a new stress. But a light went on one morning when Amy, while totally stressed out, said that she needed my help in the mornings.
That morning was a reminder of how important it is that we work together as a team. By Jay jumping in to help with the morning routine, the stress and frustration of mornings is greatly reduced. We know that the best way to make it through the morning is to work as a team. So as you make your plans, accomplish your task the night before, remember to work together as a team.
4. Involve Your Kids
When the kids were little Amy was able to pack lunches, clean up the dinner dishes, get the kids ready for bed, and plan your bible study. But the kids of have grown and the amount of lunches has increased. And while some of the kids eat the school lunches, there is still a bit of work to do to get them ready for school. The nice thing is, the kids are now old enough to help.
It was a great day when we finally ditched the stroller and diaper bag. But it was an even better day when the kids were old enough to do some tasks for themselves. Now, we have the kids help with the tasks they are able to do. So some nights our younger kids make their own lunches, help with breakfast or straighten up the house before school. Having the extra hands can be super helpful!
5. Remember, This Too Shall Pass
When the house is quiet and the kids are all in bed, we often think, "Where has the time gone?" Our oldest graduates this spring. Number two will graduate next spring. After that it will only be a matter time till our youngest heads off to college. Time flies! With that in mind, remember, this too shall pass.
Yes, mornings can be absolutely crazy, but that craziest is only for a short period of time. Before you know it, it will be gone. The kids will be grown and gone. And these crazy mornings will be memories. So in the midst of your morning routines, pause and remember that it only for a short time.
We haven't mastered mornings yet. Believe me, we still struggle to get everyone out the door. Some mornings are better that others. But we're doing our best.
How do you manage your busy mornings? Share your best morning tips and practices.
- the higham family
Breakfast. One of the most favorite meals of the day, especially here in the Higham house. We like breakfast. And, one of our families favorite breakfast meals is the sausage and egg breakfast sandwich. Today, we want to share with you a delicious, and easy breakfast to help you start your day!
Let's start with your ingredients. You'll need a bagel, choose your favorite. For the most part, our kids love the simple plain bagel. Amy and Jay, we often opt for an everything bagel, or when we're really lucky and have fresh bagels in the house, an Asiago Cheese bagel is pretty amazing.
Grab an egg; our eggs are "home grown," provided by our ladies in the yard! You will also need a sausage patty and a slice of cheese. We use a pre-cooked sausage patty found in the frozen section of your local grocery store. As for the cheese, again, our kiddo's prefer a yellow American cheese, while Amy and Jay like to fancy up their sandwiches with Swiss, Provolone, Pepperjack, Colby, or Munster.
Step One: Heat. Grease. Toast.
Heat your pan with a high to medium heat. We've learned that a pan that is too hot will cook the egg to fast, or burn it up. You want the egg fried evenly on both side with the white thoroughly cooked without it becoming to be too brown or burned, or the yoke becoming hard.
(That is unless you prefer a hard yoke.)
As the pan heats up, drop a slice of butter into the pan. Not too much butter, but enough to pool in the pan. Of course if you'd rather not use butter a veggie oil or an olive oil works just as well. However, we like the flavor of the butter, so butter it is.
With the butter, you'll know if your pan is too hot if the burn turns brown or burns.
If that happens, start over because it will leave your eggs brown and crispy.
If you have a second pan, heat it up for the sausage patty. Again, a high to medium heat is sufficient.
As you heat you pan, drop your bagel into the toaster, set to you desired level of toasting.
Step Two: The Egg & The Sausage.
As the butter melts in your pan, move it around so that it coats the entire cooking surface. When evenly covered, crack your eggs and drop them into the pan. At the same time, place your frozen patty into the second pan. (On school mornings, when we are usually rushed for time, we place our frozen patties into the microwave on high for 45 to 60 seconds. This thaws and warms the sausage patty. Then we place it into the pan to finish the heating and browning of the patty.)
Now back to the egg. Do you like your egg wet or dry?
Among our crew, the preference is split. Some of our guys like their egg to be runny, we call that "wet," while others prefer to have the yoke broken and mixed in with the egg. We call that, "dry."
As you watch your egg, you're looking to see that the white is just about cooked while the yoke is not. Here's where the pan heat matters. Too hot and the yoke will begin to harden on the bottom. If you look closely, you'll see a clear ring of white surrounding the yoke. This is when it's time to flip.
Timing is everything. Flipping the egg now will help with an even cooking of the white,
without the yoke becoming hard.
Don't forget to season your egg. Salt and pepper. Maybe a little paprika or parsley flakes.
Oh, and iIt's probably time to flip the sausage patty as well.
Step Three: The Construction.
By now, your bagel should be toasted, so grab a plate and start building up with the bottom of the bagel on the plate. We prefer to have the sausage patty on the bottom of the sandwich. With the sausage on the bottom, and the egg on top, you find that the sandwich stacks nicely. With the sausage on top, we learned that the sandwich is unbalanced and sausage patty slides out leaving a mess as you eat.
Add your cheese selection as the next layer.
Now add your egg.
For the sake of examples, the egg on the left is the "wet" egg. You can see that it still looks runny, yet the white around it is cooked. The egg on the right is the "dry" egg. The yellow yoke is cooked into the white of the egg. Note: the "dry" egg is not scrambled or mixed. We simply pop the yoke after we flip the egg and leave it cook as it is.
Top your egg off with your favorite condiment; ketchup, hot sauce, mayo, or whatever.
Then finish off with your bagel top, and your good to go!
There you have it, a sausage and egg breakfast sandwich!
Now if you're really adventurous, dress your sandwich up with a few additional toppings.
How about some spinach leaves, lettuce, a little red onion, or a pickle?
So, are you hungry yet?
Thanks for taking the time to read today's blog post. We hope you enjoyed the first installment of our new, Favorite Recipes, category. We hope to continue sharing our favorite recipes and cooking tips in the weeks and months to come.
We want to hear from you!
Since we're talking breakfast sandwiches, what's your favorite breakfast sandwich?
Please take a few minutes and leave a short comment below.
What's your favorite breakfast sandwich?
What toppings do you like to add to finish off your breakfast sandwich?
We'd love to hear from you!
Till next time, enjoy!
- the higham family -
We've been living in our house for a little over a year. When we moved in, we decided not to do any repainting. Instead, we wanted to wait and live in the house first, then paint according to how we felt about the house. So, for the last 17 months, we've lived with yellow walls in our living room and dinning room. But, all of that's about to change.
At the start of the year, Amy and I decided that it was time to make some changes around the house. Our commitment to serve our church helped to make the decision for us. We want to invest in our church family and our community, and our home is a big part of how we do that. We have always enjoyed welcoming friends and family into our home. Whether for dinner, a bible study, or a backyard cookout, we love to entertain our students and friends from the church.
We decided that over the Easter break, we would begin the makeover process. So, we spoke with the church property team (since we live in the manse) picked out our colors, gathered our decor, and got to work.
Together, Amy and I have painted a lot of rooms. I (Jay) hate painting. I always have. Fortunately, Amy likes to paint, so while I head up the patching, removing of outlet covers, and furnisher moving Amy attacks the walls. This year, though he's not pictured, Asher joined in and was a big help for Amy painting a significant amount of the walls while Amy cut in the edges.
As I said before, the walls were a bright yellow. All the walls were bright yellow. Dinning room AND the living room. Instead of the yellow, we wanted a warmer, more rustic color. So we went with a great color called, Quiet Zone. (Yes, there's irony in that we painted our living room and dinning room with Quiet Zone.)
Paint, while an inexpensive makeover tool, can still be a little pricey, especially with brands that claim one-coat coverage. Fortunately, one of the local hardware stores runs some pretty incredible paint sales and we were able to pick up our paint at a reasonable price.
The paint? Clark + Kensington, Paint + Primer in One. Amy chose the premium interior, eggshell enamel. It's a thicker paint that coats well. It's smooth and holds its color really nicely. We did apply to coats to our walls simply to be sure that we didn't leave any spots. Overall, I think we're pretty happy with our paint choice.
With the walls now patched and painted, both the living room and the dining room took on a new look. Fresh, clean and warmed up, the new color actual does what its name suggests, quiets the zone. Don't get me wrong, the room is still filled with commotion, but when you sit down in the space, there is a quiet calm that comes over you.
We let the walls dry for a couple of days before the decorating. Once everything had set, we began the task of laying out the decor for hanging. I have been trolling Pinterest for a number of weeks looking at different"rustic" themed pins, and I love the look of the hodge-podged, eclectic stacking of wall art.
We combed the house for some of our favorite, rustic pieces of wall art. I wanted to fill our focal wall with art that spoke to who we are; our faith and our family. We found just the right amount art to fill the wall without overwhelming the space. And, the best part...we didn't have to buy any of it!
We love these two items. From the days when Amy sold Southern Living at Home, the candle holders are perfect for the space and look awesome on either side of the main living room window.
The makeover isn't complete. We are in the market for a gray sectional sofa that will fit into the corner of the room. Amy did pick up these amazing curtains that absolutely pop against the wall color and tie the decor and paint together.
Along with a new sectional sofa we have plans to build two end tables, a coffee table, an entertainment stand to house the TV hardware, and 2 bookshelves that will frame our wall mounted TV.
We'll post the update photos as we complete the final project pieces. So, be sure to keep an eye out for part two of our living room/dining room makeover!
- the higham family
Our little "farm-family" is growing and we're having so much fun watching and learning.
If you are a long time blog reader and vlog watcher, you know that we have been raising a pair of ducks. We purchased them as ducklings about a year ago, along with our chickens. The ducklings were a perfect pair, one female and one male. Late last summer, the female started laying eggs. She wasn't very consistent at first, an egg every day or so. Then winter came, and she really did lay very much at all.
However, she became very regular in February with an egg a day. This was great, in that we were able to use some of the eggs in Amy's baking, while sharing the eggs with some friends. But towards the end of February, we had a plan. We wanted to try to hatch some of our duck eggs.
As March rolled in, we started setting aside a couple duck eggs. We went online and ordered an inexpensive incubator. We wasn't sure if it was going to work, but we wanted to try. Since we had a male and a female, we knew we were getting fertilized eggs. The incubator arrived. We did our research. Then we went to work.
We placed 5 eggs into the incubator, and thought, here we go!
Now here we are, a number of weeks later and we are so excited to have some new friends!
On the Thursday after Easter, we said hello to our first duckling. (He's the one on the left.) We were thrilled that we were able to actually hatch one of the eggs. Then we lost two eggs. I thought, this might not good as well as I thought. We then had 2 eggs left. The one egg I knew had a chance. As we got closer to its hatching date, we could watch the egg rock back and forth as the little duck inside moved.
Once again, I wasn't sure this one would make it, but this past Wednesday afternoon, our second little duckling emerged from it's egg, 6 days after it's sibling. This is the duckling on the right. And yes it's little.
Two little ducklings. They are so cute. But we still had one more egg in the incubator. The question was, will it hatch? There was no movement. No pipping. No rocking. Guest we're going to just have to wait and see.
Then, all of a sudden...
Friday evening we went to one of our son's baseball games. When we came home, we were shocked to find our third little friend.
Look, he's posing.
We still have a number of eggs to hatch. When they do, we will be looking for a few loving homes willing to care for this cute little friends!
- the higham family
Thanks for taking the time to read The Higham Family Blog. Each week we try to share new content about something we are learning, something we love, or something to offer encouragement to the family. We love to hear from our readers, so please share your thought in the comment section of each post.