Chicken Tortilla Soup

One of my favorite soups to make during the fall & winter is:
Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

I made up this recipe a few years ago & it has become a staple in our house during the cold months.

Here is what you need:
4-6 chicken breasts, cooked & diced
1 large (28 oz) can of diced tomatoes
1 (14 ounce) can enchilada sauce
(I use medium, but you can use mild or hot)
1 medium onion, chopped
(Or, if you are a cheater like me, I buy the pre-diced onion. My eyes are SO sensitive to onion & my eyes water so badly. The pre-diced stuff is the best invention since sliced bread!)
1 can chopped green chilies
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
1 (32 ounce) container chicken broth
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
Salt & Pepper (to taste)
1 (10 ounce) package frozen corn

For the garnish:
Corn Tortillas
Shredded Cheese
Sour Cream
Green Onions

Here are the Super Easy directions:
1. Boil your chicken breasts until fully cooked. Then, dice them up!
Or you can use my Quick & Easy Shredded Chicken Method {HERE}
2. Place diced chicken, diced tomatoes, enchilada sauce, onion, green chilies, mined garlic & corn into your crock pot.
3. Pour in chicken broth, add cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper.
4. Stir.5. Cover and cook on Low for 5 to 6 hours or on High for 2 to 3 hours.

About 30 miutes before you are going to serve the soup, you need to get the tortillas ready!
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Lightly brush both sides of tortillas with olive oil (or vegetable oil, whatever you have on hand!)Cut tortillas into strips (I use a pizza cutter) then spread on a baking sheet.
Bake in preheated oven until crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes.To serve, put tortilla strips over soup.
Then, I garnish that with sour cream, shredded cheese & sliced up avocado (you can garnish with green onions also, I just didn't have any)
It looks this pretty for about 10 seconds & then I stir it all together and eat it!
This soup is so easy & so yummy.
We go back for seconds every time I make it for dinner!



An Interview with 4 year old Kate

I decided to start a new tradition with my girls.
I am going to "interview" them after their birthday, asking them about their favorite things, foods, activities, etc.
I think it will be fun to look back each year & see how their ideas, thoughts & tastes have changed.

{Also included are photos from Kate's impromptu 4 year old photo shoot that we had the other day!}
But first, here are some stats:
(she had her 4 year well check this week)
Height: 39 inches (50th %)
Weight: 31 pounds (10th %)
Clothes: Mostly 3T {some 2T (skirts) & 4T (shirts)}
Shoe: 8
At 4 years old, Kate is only napping 1-2 times a week.
She is a terrible sleeper & still wakes up in the middle of the night.
(She sometimes has night terrors)
She goes to bed at 7:30 pm & wakes up around 7 am.
(Most nights she doesn't fall asleep until after 9pm)

Now, onto the Interview with Kate {age 4}
Favorite Number:

Favorite Letter:

Favorite Color:
2nd favorite is Pink.
Favorite Food:
Pineapple Pizza and Hot Dogs

Favorite Drink:
Chocolate Milk
Favorite Fruit:

Favorite Vegetable:
Favorite Snack:
Chocolate Goldfish

Favorite Treat:
Chocolate Milkshake

Favorite Dessert:
Chocolate Ice Cream
Favorite outfit:
Anything Purple. You need to get me more purple clothes.

Favorite thing to do at school:
Favorite thing to do at home:

Favorite thing to play with outside:
Ride my Bike
Favorite Book:
Where's the Poop
and Pinkalicous

Favorite Movie:
Cinderella, then Mary Poppins

Favorite TV Show:
Little Einsteins & Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
Favorite Animal:

Favorite place to visit:
Lake Tahoe

Who are your Best Friends:
Maddie, Nicole & my sister Claire
Favorite thing to do with Mommy:
Bake things like Cookies & Cupcakes

Favorite thing to do with Daddy:
Help him fix things that are broken & Going to his office

Favorite thing to do with Claire:
Play with the Dollhouse
What makes you happy?
My family & God. And chocolate.

What makes you sad?
That my friend Taylor moved to Boston. I miss her. I want to see her again.

What do you want to learn to do this year?
And, I want to take gymnastics.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
I don't want to grow up. I want to stay a little girl forever.
Me too, Kate, me too.


Kate's Cinderella Party

Saturday was Kate's Cinderella Birthday Party.
About 6 months ago, she told me she wanted a Cinderella Birthday Party.
My response? Yes. Done. You got it!
So, for the past 6 months, I have been "mentally" planning this party and had ideas swirling around in my head.
I was SO happy with how it turned out!

Here are the invites that I made:
{Now available in my Etsy shop!}
Because Kate's favorite color is purple, I knew I wanted to have touches of lavender along with "Cinderella" blue. I made some tissue pom poms:
The pom poms were hung above a kids table that I rented. It sat 12 kids which was perfect because we had 10 of Kate's friends at the party, plus Kate & Claire, so 12 total!
When the little girls arrived, I had crowns set up at the table so each of them could make their own crown. One of my neighbors still had some mini pumpkins leftover from Halloween, so I asked her if I could use them for the party. I added some glitter paint to them to give them that Cinderella feel!
I also printed out some Cinderella coloring pages, so that they could color if they finished their crown.
Other decorations included some fresh flowers & balloons:
The tables even has glass slippers on them (thanks to my friend Erin for mailing them!)
Napkins & Balloon
At 11:30, there was a knock at the door & guess who walked into our house?
Cinderella, of course!
As she entered the Family Room, a hush went over the room & she asked the Birthday Girl, Kate to come up. All the little girls were speechless & in awe (including Kate!)
She read Kate a Royal Birthday Proclamation.
Here is the proclamation she read:
And, then she gave Kate a Birthday crown:

Then Cinderella sat the girls down & told them the Cinderella story and sang to them.
She was an AMAZING Cinderella.
You could have heard a pin drop when she sang. All the girls were so attentive.
I was SO impressed.
Claire (aka Belle) wasn't that impressed & walked away for part of the story time:
I think she was still a little bitter she didn't get a crown from Cinderella but Kate did.
After the story, Cinderella did some fun little magic tricks for the girls, like turning tea water different colors.
After story time, it was time for lunch!
The Spread:
I set up the food table in my dinning room:
The Menu for the kids:
Sandwiches (PB & J or Turkey & Cheese)
Mini Pizza Bites:
Bibbiddi Boppidi Fruit Kabobs:
Veggies & Hummus
For the mom's:
Carriage Wheels (turkey & cream cheese pinwheel sandwiches)
2 types of salad:
While the girls were eating lunch, Cinderella called up each of the girls for face painting.
I wasn't sure if Kate would let Cinderella paint her face, but she did!
Kate asked for a pink & purple butterfly:
I noticed that half my friends/family wore some shade of purple to the party.
I think the subconsciously wore purple in honor Kate :)
Claire loved getting her face painted:

After face painting, it was time for cake!
Here is the dessert table:
Behind the dessert table was a banner I made Kate:
I made these cupcakes & designed some fun toppers for her:
I made dipped pretzles (Princess Wands) and dipped marshmallows ( to resemble the pillow that the Glass Slipper was carried on)
And, of course, my mother in law made another one of her beautiful cakes:

She loved having everyone singing to her...big smiles!
Trying to blow those candles out....
Kate's favorite part of blowing out candles is getting to take them out & lick the bottoms! ha!
After cake, it was time for Cinderella to go
All the girls gave her good-bye hugs...
And walked her to the door....
They all crowded at the door because they wanted to see her carriage....
(But, she came in a car & parked at the edge of our court, so we had to close the door....all the little girls huddled around the door trying to sneak a peek)
The party wrapped up soon after that & it was time to say goodbye to our guests.
For favors I got each girl a Cinderella book (because Kate LOVES to read books)
And, they got a glass slipper cookie that my friend Heather made.
Aren't they adorable?
I made the favor tags.
Kate saying goodbye to her guests:
It was a memorable party, one of my favorites for sure!
Thanks to all who came & helped celebrate Kate's 4th Birthday!

Click to see:
Kate's 1st Birthday Cupcake Party
Kate's 2nd Birthday Carnival Party
Kate's 3rd Birthday Minnie Mouse Party


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