I am tired. At 52 years old and still taking care of 6 toddlers and babies and my family every day, I am exhausted at times, ok…. most of the time!
We have all been there! I remember stumbling into walls I was so tired when my babies were young. All I wanted to do was go to sleep for 48 hours!
Clearly, that isn’t a possibility. Life goes on and so must we! We will survive. We have homes, children, laundry, work, meals, and relationships to tend to.
So how do we keep going when we really just want to nap or put our feet up? How do we keep from being overwhelmed and frustrated?
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! Doing daily routines is a huge lifesaver during times in your life where you are sleep deprived or overworked. You do those on autopilot. For all the other things that need to be attended to…..do them one thing at a time. One load of dishes, one room tidied up, one meal made. Put one foot in front of the other and try not to think of the whole picture, just what needs to be done next.
We often give ourselves too many outs, too many breaks. We are capable of far more than we think. Yes, it is really easy to say “I worked hard all day. I deserve to sit down and watch my favorite TV show instead of doing the dinner dishes.” but is that really doing yourself any favors? It’s not! Those things left undone will still be there when you are ready for bed or when you get up in the morning. It will put you that much more behind the next day and the next. It will snowball, get you down, make you depressed, make you make bad choices, make you grouchy and more tired.
I am not suggesting that we live on four hours of sleep and never stop working. Most definitely not! Sleep is very important for your health. I am talking about those times you know you should be folding clothes while watching that TV show. The times when you decide to just read one chapter of your book before starting dinner dishes….and then dishes don’t happen. The days you hit snooze too many times and decide not to do your morning routine.
Have you ever read Little House on the Prairie? Have you ever read the whole series? I know they are kids books but if you haven’t read them, read them. Read them to your kids. I have read them multiple times. I read them to my kids… maybe more than once. I am reading them to my granddaughter. They made a huge impression on me when I was a child. So much so that a few years ago when we had the chance we took the family to see Laura Ingalls Wilder’s house in Missouri. It was a wonderful experience.
Whenever I am tired and really just don’t wanna anymore, I think about all the things those people did and how hard they had to work just to survive. They couldn’t go through the drive-thru for lunch. They couldn’t even stop at the grocery store after work! Every single thing had to be planned, not days ahead but whole seasons and years ahead! They didn’t have a washer or dryer for laundry, Heck, they didn’t have the luxury of a couch to sit on and TV to watch while they folded their laundry! They would feel ashamed to be as lazy as we are now. We are capable of SO MUCH MORE! Modern convenience has us convinced and conditioned to feel we deserve to sit down and put our feet up.
A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to sleep–So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, and your need like an armed man.
Proverbs 6:10 and Proverbs 24:33
(Just a quick side note… did you know that the above verse is in the Bible TWICE?! The exact same wording. I am thinking we are to take notice of that verse!)
I am sure that if our lives depended on it, we would be up before dawn putting wood in the wood cook stove and starting those beans to soak. We would be milking the cow and feeding the horse. We would be canning all day during harvest and skinning deer and drying meat in the winter. Sewing clothes by lantern light would be our downtime. If our survival was at stake we would take far fewer breaks and find a strength within we didn’t know we had.
Next time you just don’t wanna…. remember, you have a TV and a couch. You have time and you are capable of so much more!
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
If you are interested in purchasing the “Little House” series, click on the image below!
The house where we raised our children was, shall I say, less than nice. When we moved in, there were three different wallpapers in the same room, purple kitchen cupboards with pink sponge painting on them, (Gag!) and bathroom tile that looked like a three-year-old did it with lots and lots of glue! It was bad! We had to remove carpet from one of our daughter’s bedrooms and couldn’t afford to replace it so she had a plywood floor. Our bedroom was in the basement and had a cement floor. On top of all that, the house was olive green. Blech. It was just not a pretty house.
Over time we were able to paint the house, turn the seven-foot tall weeds into a decent yard, and paint the god awful purple and pink kitchen cupboards white. Wow, was that a job! We never could afford carpet while we lived there and there remained a lot of things that were not aesthetically pleasing about the house.
Even though our house was not pretty, people that would come to our house always commented on how “nice” our house was. I am pretty sure I managed a “thank you” after picking up my jaw off the floor each time!
I tried to figure out what it was that made people say that. It certainly wasn’t our super nice furniture! Although my mother in law’s hand-me-down 1970’s couch might have been cool once, it really wasn’t. It couldn’t be the beautiful artwork hanging on the walls that had been carefully selected from our exclusive GoodWill.
I am fairly certain that is was the feeling you got when you walked in our home and not the Thrift store curtains and well-overused second- hand piano that gave our guests that impression. It felt clean, peaceful and full of love.
I really struggled when we first moved there with all the work that needed to be done, the painting, the fixing, trying to make it look nice plus all the housework and laundry and cooking and homeschooling for a family of five. Then we took in a neighbor girl and we were a family of six! Family friends were struggling so I took on cooking and cleaning for them.
I struggled, it was hard, I did it, but my attitude was awful. I raised my voice at my kids when they didn’t do their chores in a timely manner. I complained to my husband about everything I had to do. I nagged him to do things. I was miserable and I was making my family miserable.
I remember one day saying “God, something has to change!” and in my head, I heard “yes, you do.” Uuughh……that wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. I knew it was right though. I said “ok, but you are going to have to help me!”
It was then that I came up with my mantra. “Make every room better, every time you are in it, even if it is just to smile.”. I repeat that over and over in my head as I move about my house. Now, I don’t know if smiling in an empty room really makes the room better, but I know it makes my attitude about cleaning and serving my family better!
When I began to do that, my heart started to change. Love gives. I wanted to serve and bless my family. I began to develop a system to keep our house clean without stress. It made such a difference in our home! It was then that people would comment on how beautiful our home was! It wasn’t just clean. It felt peaceful.
We can learn every trick in the book about cleaning and organizing and making things look nice, but if all we have is a clean house and a resentful attitude it will be felt. Your family will feel it, your guests will feel it.
“My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation, In secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places,”
Isaiah 32:18 NKJV
I am far from perfect and I still have to pray and overcome a bad attitude now and then. I get tired, sometimes exhausted and need to remind myself that my time with my kids is short. It is my heart’s desire to bless my family as much as I can, as long as I can. To create happy, loving memories of a home with that “feeling”.
We have all heard that “Cleaning with kids is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos”! It’s funny, can be true, but it doesn’t have to be.
What if I told you that you can have toddlers, teens and in between and still have a clean house without screaming and yelling. In fact, don’t do that! That will most likely defeat the purpose.
Is it hard work? It can be at first, but mostly the hard part is the training yourself and being consistent. The hard work is not you running around following all the children and picking up after them or nagging them non stop!
The key is routine, habits, consistency and discipline. (For you and your children).
Be an example. If you don’t make your bed, take care of your coat when you come home, or put your shoes away….. Why would they? I can’t stress this enough. Children do what you do, not what you say.
Let them see you clean your bathroom, do the dishes right after dinner, take the trash out, etc. Always put your things away before doing something else and always go to bed with a clean and tidy room. Let them see your routines and good habits.
I have heard all too often that when your kids are little it’s ok to have a messy house. Is it? What life skills are you teaching them? Let them see what work is. Impart a good work ethic. Have them help! You are not denying them time with you. You are teaching them something invaluable for life just by letting them see you have good habits. It’s ok to make them wait a minute. When they want something and you are just finishing the dishes, it is ok to say ” Ok, honey. I will get that for you as soon as I am finished.” Learning a bit of patience and noticing that other people are doing things are important for them too.
Let them know what is expected of them. Outline for them what they are supposed to do and when. Make a chart, Send them a list that they keep on their phone. Tell them that you expect them to clean up their toys after each activity. Tell them they are responsible to make their bed. Tell them they are to do homework immediately after school. Be specific. Have an attitude that tells them that you believe in them. If they think you don’t think they will do it, they won’t. If you don’t tell them it is expected of them, they won’t do it.
Break it down. Kids, and for that matter big people, come in all different personality types. I can tell a room full of 2-3-year-olds to clean up and I am going to see a lot of different responses. Some will start putting things away in all the wrong places, some will walk around dazed and confused with a toy in hand, some will pick up a toy to put away and then forget and start playing with it. Sometimes there is even that kid that eagerly puts everything away in the right places after the other kids have dumped them in all wonky.
You can’t send that kid that picks up the toy and starts playing with it to his room when he is 10 and expect him to clean the giant mess on his own. Not happening. Most kids need some guidance. Even if you can’t stand there in the room, you can break it down for them. “Go pick up all your books and put them in the shelf and then come tell me when that is done.” “Now go find all the legos and put them in the box.” You are teaching them great problem-solving and organizing skills this way without overwhelming them.
Assume the best of them. If they left their backpack on the couch, just say, matter-of-factly, “Susan you must have forgotten to put your backpack away, I know you are normally good about that. Would you please take care of that?) They will respond better to that than telling them once again they have failed just like you thought. Not that you would say it that way, but they often hear that. This way they are still hearing what you expect of them and that you believe they are well-intentioned and worthy of trust. They will try to rise to that.
Be the parent. “She wouldn’t let me do her hair.” I couldn’t get him to put his coat on.” “All they will eat is chicken nuggets so that is what I have to make.” This might not make me very popular but, be the parent. When they are told to pick up the toys, they need to do it. If they are told to sit at the table all through dinner, they need to do it. Kids don’t know what is best, they don’t know what is good for them. That is why God gave them parents to teach them and train them.
If I rob a convenience store and the cops show up and say “Freeze! ” and I don’t….. Do you think they are going to shrug and say “She wouldn’t do what we said.”? Or will they offer me a candy bar and say if you freeze you can have this! No, I am going to get a really quick lesson in consequences!
It is not fair to let our kids go through childhood thinking that if they throw a fit or refuse to do things that they get their way. Life just isn’t like that. I won’t get on a political soapbox, but let’s just say I believe that is a lot of why our country is the way it is today.
Consequences for not obeying, refusing to listen will nip those in the bud. You have to be consistent though. If you aren’t …. well, kids know. Having to dish out a consequence a few times to have your kid respect what you say is so much kinder than forever after nagging, yelling and the constant power struggle. Better for both of you! Your child obeying you the first time you say something might just save his life someday. You are the parent! You are in charge.
Kids respect what you inspect. You do need to have a good expectation of your kids, but if you never check to make sure they have followed through on what is expected, they WILL notice. At 15, you obviously don’t have to check to see if he’s brushing his teeth ( I hope) but at 6 you sure do. Your 8-year-old child still needs reminders and supervision to get morning routines done and get off to school. Kids need to have homework checked. You show your kids that you are interested and that you care by checking to see they’ve done what is expected.
Praise for a job well done. When kids hear praise for what they did well, they want to continue doing it. That goes for all people, little ones and big ones! When your two-year-old puts his toys back, tell him how great a job he did! When she “makes” her bed, tell her how proud you are of her. (Don’t fix it… at least not in front of her!) If your teen cleans her room, tell her it looks nice!
I personally don’t believe in an allowance for daily things that are expected. Those are things that are just part of life for us and for them. If you want to teach the value of money and work then pay them for extra things like raking leaves, pulling weeds, that sort of thing. No one pays me for brushing my teeth and making my bed. Paying them for things like that gives them the idea they are doing it for YOU, not because it is just a life skill.
Give grace. be kind, be thoughtful. Have you ever had a really rough day? Of course. We all have! On those days that you didn’t seem to get anything done and things just didn’t go as planned, wouldn’t it be nice if someone took one of those things off your list for you and did it?
When your little one is having a harder day than usual; when the kids at school called her names or the spelling test was harder than she thought, be thoughtful and help her tidy her room before bed or turn her bed down for her.
Remember what it was like to be a teenager? I do! It was the worst thing EVER. Teens go through so much! The stress of changing hormones that they don’t even understand, horrible peer pressure, self-esteem is tough, other teens are not the least bit kind. They are required to make huge life decisions, do an enormous amount of difficult school work and do it well to get into schools they want to get into plus hold jobs too! It is a LOT!
When your teen is having a particularly rough day and they rushed out without making their bed, make it for them! Do a load of laundry and put it away for them! Make them feel that home is a safe place to be. A place where they feel loved and accepted even if they don’t quite get all their chores done now and then. Of course, respect their space. Make home a place they want to be.
By teaching your children the skills to organize and clean and giving them grace and love when they need it you are giving them the skills and character to be amazing successful people that this world so needs!
Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.
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The new year is fast approaching and it is the time when people begin to think of change. New habits they want to start, old ones they want to break.
I have not been a huge fan of New Year’s Resolutions. They sound good, but really they are just a way of procrastinating what we know we should be doing now, until the first of January. We will probably spend money to lose weight or exercise or start some new craft or hobby and then by March, if we are lucky to make it that long, we are back to where we were but with less money and nothing to show for it. I am not trying to be a Debbie downer here, but let’s face it, it is pretty typical.
I am very guilty of this myself, which is why I haven’t been a resolution enthusiast and most definitely don’t share my attempt at resolve to change an area of my life on social media. No one likes to fail publicly!
I am currently reading James Clear’s book Atomic Habits. It is one of the most amazing books I have ever read! If you want to really learn how to change your habits and change your life you need to get this book! It is powerful! Because of this book, I may change my opinion and actually make some New Year’s Resolutions this coming year and stick to them! I am learning so much!
We often we fail to follow through with our efforts to change because although we WISH to change, we don’t really WANT to. Even though we don’t like the habit or behavior we wish to change, it is comfortable. Change is hard. We may be afraid of change. It may be subconscious. We may not feel we deserve it. We got there for a reason. It may require working through those issues before change can happen.
Another reason our resolutions flop is because we don’t know how to go about changing! We rely on sheer willpower to make huge changes in our lives. When we are tired, stressed, hungry, sad, our willpower is the first of our character traits to bail on us! Our brain is trained to make us feel better and protect us. It doesn’t know that a quart of ice cream at 10pm is a bad thing. It just wants us to be ok.
There are some amazing habit hacks that you can use to help you actually stick to those resolutions!
Make your new habit as fun and attractive as possible! Buy a new pair of walking shoes or a cookbook.
Reward yourself! Pay yourself each time you work out and use that money for a spa day or for something you want.
Don’t make your new habit so difficult that you are defeated before you start. Go to the gym a couple times a week, not 6 days a week for two hours a day! Make it easy!
Remove any obstacles that would give you an excuse to not follow through. Set out your gym clothes at night. Get rid of all the junk food in the house.
If you are trying to stop watching so much TV put the remote in another room or on top of a shelf that you can’t reach well.
Change your routine. If you always have cookies after dinner and you want to stop, immediately after dinner, do something else! Go for a walk. Take a bath.
Most of those things relate to weight loss and healthy living but you can apply those principles to anything!
Those are just a few small things that are mentioned in this book. There is a wealth of knowledge in it!
You can purchase it here!
I am following his blog as well. It is always fascinating and I learn something new every time I read a new article. I am kind of a nerd when it comes to self-improvement, productivity, motivation and that sort of thing. If you are into that, you really should check it out!
If you are wanting to make a change in the New Year, whether in your home, in the way you go about housekeeping, or in your health or whatever it is you want to change, now actually is a good time to start planning and moving in that direction. With the proper tools and knowledge, you will be able to achieve your goals!
Check the routines page here on my blog for the basics to help you stay on track!
Get the Atomic Habits to help you learn how to best keep those habits in place
I am a list person! I love “to do lists” and “honey-do lists” and “things I want to make lists” and “grocery lists”. For some though, lists are overwhelming and discouraging. They are not a challenge but instead just daunting, and they are likely to give up before they start. If that is you, I want to help you!
First of all, your daily routines are going to become HABIT and you won’t need a list to tell you to do it. You may need to remind yourself for a while with sticky notes or index cards until your habits are set in stone but eventually, they are like breathing. That is the whole point! You won’t have to think about it! (If you haven’t read the daily routines on my blog, go do that now! Check in the main menu! )
If you get overwhelmed by lists, I am willing to bet that you put everything from “Clean the garage” to “feed the cat” on your list of things to do today. Your list is longer than your arm and you have work, your child has ball practice and you have to make cookies for the bake sale. Not a good day for cleaning the garage or anything else that is going to take more than five minutes to accomplish. That list, although some things like “feed the cat” need to happen today, is way too much and it is discouraging right off.
Even if you don’t think you are a “list person”, lists can be very helpful. Going to the store without a grocery list is like a dizzy blindfolded kid trying to hit a pinata. Good luck! If you don’t make a list of Christmas gifts to buy, you are guaranteed to forget someone. Awkward!!! Lists are very important!
Sometimes our minds get so busy thinking of all the things we need to do that we can’t focus or even sleep well. Putting those things in writing on a list helps to get it out of our brain and onto paper so you can rest or focus fully at the task at hand.
Lists help you feel grounded and less scattered. Lists allow you to be able to make a plan.
The trick to not getting overwhelmed with lists is to not put everything on the same list and don’t expect to get everything on your list done by lunchtime. You can have lists for things you don’t plan to have finished until next year!
Today I want you to take just a few minutes and start a “crockpot list”. Yes, a “crockpot list”! This is a list of things that you would eventually like to get done but aren’t vital do NOW! Things that can sit and “cook” for a while. This is not a list that you are to look at and feel pressured by. This is a list that you can look at next time you find yourself at home for an afternoon and you have two hours free….what on that list can you get done? Maybe your husband agreed to help you do some household things for one hour, what on that list can you do? You are waiting for a friend and they call and say they are running fifteen minutes late. There is a lot of things you can do in fifteen minutes instead of staring at the clock!
My “Crockpot List” looks like this:
Clean out/tidy the secretary desk (desk where we keep bills, coupons, envelopes, stamps etc.)
Clean and organize the corner cupboards in my kitchen
Work on my cookbook
Defrost the chest freezer and organize
Work on my book
Organize the craft supplies
Post the items I would like to sell on Marketplace
Scan old photos and save on my computer
Clean the junk drawer
Tidy the coat closet
Break down boxes to fit in the recycle bin
Make your crockpot list and keep it either in your day planner or the side of the fridge, where ever you will find it next time you have a few moments to work on something. A “Crockpot List” will help you be more productive and a better time manager!
The kids are back in school! My granddaughter is in 2nd grade this year. Time sure flies! The first week of school is always really exciting and she is anxious to get up and be ready for school and out the door on time. After that, it starts to get…. a little less exciting. Establishing good routines that first week is super important, and then making sure that they keep it up is important too!
Teaching life skills is one of the most important jobs we have as parents.
Teaching routines, goal setting, and self-discipline sets your kids up for success!
Even though I know my routines inside out and backward, I, as an adult, still like checking each item off and feeling successful first thing in the morning.
It is just as important for our kids to feel that way! Having a list, chart, whiteboard or some other way for them to mark off completed items, helps them feel successful, helps them to know exactly what is expected of them, keeps you from having to tell them over and over to do each item and it teaches self-discipline. Giving them some things that are super simple, especially at a young age, helps them feel good because it is not overwhelming and they have that sense of satisfaction right away. “Look Mom! I already have two things checked off my list!” Even though those two things were get dressed and brush their teeth, we need to let them feel that sense of accomplishment. It will encourage them to achieve more for that good feeling and a good work ethic is born! That sets them up for success later in life!
It’s up to you if you want to reward them for doing chores or routines. My own personal opinion is that it is important to teach them to feel the satisfaction of a job well done and get praise and or appreciation from you, not money. No one pays me to clean my house, unfortunately! It would be much harder for me to have a good attitude about doing it for simply the satisfaction of having a clean home if I had learned that everything I do demands compensation to be worthwhile. It’s extremely important to remember to praise and thank your children for the jobs they do. Don’t forget that we are trying to teach them to feel good about a job well done.
That being said, I think it is a very good life lesson when kids are compensated for doing things above and beyond what is laid out and expected of them. Their routines and normal chores should be expected, but raking the yard or weeding the garden may be a great way for them to earn money for something they really want. Money, or whatever has been chosen as payment for tasks, is a great way to teach them about finances and is extremely motivating.
Here is an excellent short read from Dave Ramsey on this topic!
Take a moment to thank your child and praise him for making his bed or even brushing his teeth today and don’t forget to pat yourself on the back and really feel good about what you got done too! Good job!! You are teaching your kids habits that will benefit them for life!
I have been trying a new thing!! I had heard how great fermented veggies were for your gut health and digestion. I wanted to try it! I am always up for a new experiment. The first batch I did was Brussels sprouts. That was the only fresh veggie I had on hand. I wouldn’t recommend them! They were…ok. If you are a fan of raw Brussels sprouts then maybe you would like them. This batch I am very excited about! Cauliflower!
This is a picture on day 3. It is starting to get cloudy! That is just what it is supposed to do!
Fresh vegetable of choice:cauliflowercucumber, carrots, green beans, asparagus, radishes, whatever suits your fancy
1 1/2tablespoonsea salt
bay leaf, peppercorns, jalapenos, or other spices you want to use.
1leafcabbageor small ziplock baggie of rice
1wide mouth mason jar with lid
Stir the salt and water together until dissolved.
Pour the salt water over the vegetables leaving 1/2″ of headspace. Tap jar on counter and wiggle around to get rid of air bubbles and pockets.
Fold a small cabbage leaf and press it down on top of the vegetables so that it keeps the vegetables submerged in the salt water. or put a bit of rice in a snack ziplock bag removing all the air and place on top of vegetables to keep the vegetables submerged.
Close the lid on the jar tightly and place it out of direct sunlight in a relatively moderate temperature (68-75 degrees).
You will start to see some bubbling around day 2 or so. After day 2, over a sink (it will kinda fizz and leak as you begin to open it), gently loosen the lid to let some of the gas escape once or twice a day.
The vegetables are ready anywhere from day 4-10. The longer they sit, the tangier they’ll be. Taste them starting on day 4 to figure out your preference. I like them best around day 5 or so.
Once you decide they’re the level of sourness you’re looking for, place the jar in the refrigerator where it will keep for a couple of months.
Cook’n is a next generation recipe app that makes it fun and easy to share favorite recipes.
When the alarm goes off at 5am, what gets you out of bed to go exercise? Motivation or discipline? I can tell you for me it’s not motivation! I don’t “feel” like doing it! I am still working on establishing the discipline. I’m getting there!
Motivation is based on emotion, feeling and impulse. It’s helpful to have those things but not necessary to accomplish a task or achieve a goal.
We seem to want to put our feelings in the wrong place, backward in fact when we want to “motivate” to do something. For example, “I can’t seem to motivate to vacuum the house.” What we are saying is I am not having a goodFEELING about the act of vacuuming. Instead, we need to CHOOSE to vacuum and then FEEL good about the vacuuming being done.
We could wait forever to get excited and worked up about vacuuming! It might never happen! Waiting for motivation causes procrastination.
Self-discipline is the key to achieving anything you have set out to do. More specifically, self-discipline is what will help you establish habits that will then not require motivation or self-discipline to do. The habit of brushing your teeth in the morning has been so ingrained in your brain that it doesn’t take motivation or self-discipline to do each day. In fact, I would bet most of us do it before we are fully awake! Its practically like breathing!
Self-discipline will be there when motivation fails you. Motivation is a fair weather friend. Discipline will conquer fear. It will overcome frustration. It will help you get up and keep going when you fall down.
How can you build self-discipline? discipline is like a muscle. It needs to be used to get stronger! The first few times making yourself get up at 5am is hard. After a while, it gets easier. (I’m still at the “its hard” part!)
Make it as easy as possible to make the best choices. If you are dieting, don’t buy a dozen doughnuts for the office.
Have a plan. If you are trying to resolve to have a clean house, put a system in place. Don’t just flounder.
Make small changes. Don’t decide you are going to go to the gym 6 days a week, never ever eat sugar again, lose 10 pounds by the weekend and start taking an online course at the same time! One thing at a time!
Take time to reward yourself or just enjoy the benefit of what you have done! This is extremely important! Our brains are wired to want to achieve a reward. Besides, you deserve it!
People who have good self-discipline are happier people! Be the boss of yourself! Don’t let your feelings tell you what to do!
Remove chorizo from casings. In a large skillet, cook chorizo and ground beef until browned. Drain off fat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the skillet and add diced poblano, red bell pepper, and green onion to meat. Cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add salsa and water and stir to combine. Cook until reduced slightly.
In another skillet, heat oil and fry tortillas until crisp turning once.
Fry 6 eggs as desired. Divide chorizo mixture between the six tortillas, top with cheese, egg, hot sauce and avocado. Garnish with sour cream and more green onion.
Cook’n is a next generation recipe app that makes it fun and easy to share favorite recipes.