Overnight Blueberry French Toast

This is a recipe that I traditionally make for our Christmas breakfast at home because I can make it the night or day before and also because it’s super easy. It leaves me free to enjoy some coffee before the kids get up while it’s baking. As if that’s not enough, it’s also very versatile. You could use other fruit or even no fruit to suit your family’s tastes (or what you’ve got on hand)

Ingredients for French Toast 

  • 16 slices of day old French bread* cubed (usually about a loaf and a half for me, depending on size)
  • 12 large eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup 
  • 1 tbsp vanilla 
  • 2- 8 oz packages cream cheese cubed
  • 2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen (but thawed)

Ingredients for Blueberry Sauce 

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch 
  • 1 cup blueberries 

Instructions for French Toast the night before:

  • Grease a large casserole dish
  • Cut French bread into cubes, about 1 to 1.5 inches. Put them in the bottom of the dish. 
  • Cube the 1 package of cream cheese into .5 to 1 inch pieces. Layer the pieces on top of the bread cubes, dispersing it evenly. 
  • Sprinkle 1 cup of blueberries on top of the bread and cream cheese. 
  • Repeat layering one time. 
  • In a large bowl, beat eggs. 
  • Add milk, vanilla and syrup to the eggs. Mix thoroughly. 
  • Pour egg mixture evenly over the French toast. 
  • Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. 

Instructions for French Toast the next morning:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • Remove French toast from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. 
  • Bake covered for 30 minutes. 
  • Uncover and continue baking an additional 30-45 minutes or until baked all the way through. 
  • Remove and top with Blueberry Sauce. See instructions below. 
  • Serve hot. 

Instructions for the Blueberry Sauce:

  • Bring water, sugar, and cornstarch to a boil, stirring constantly. 
  • Add blueberries and bring back to a boil, stirring constantly for 3-4 minutes or until blueberries burst. 
  • Pour the syrup evenly over the baked French toast. 
  • This can be made the night before too. You just need to reheat it before pouring it on the baked French toast. 

*Whenever I’m at the grocery store, I will buy the day old bread and keep it in the freezer for French toast and dressing recipes. You can use almost any type of bread you’ve got on hand. I’ve even used leftover cinnamon rolls to make overnight French toast before. 

This is a family favorite and makes a lot, so it’s great for a crowd or if you want leftovers. It freezes fairly well. I paired it with Cheesy Bacon Quiche but also sometimes do other egg related casseroles to provide some protein and even the sweetness out. 

I hope you enjoy this dish as much as we do! Oh, and Happy New Years Eve!!!


Photo Friday: Christmas Eve and Day with the Graves Family 

We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with Garen’s family. Clara and Kate love their Mama!They look like they just got busted. And they probably did get busted for pulling Mama’s pretty ornaments off the tree!Garen took some cute pictures of everyone. It was a fun time with the family, even if the big kids were with their Joe Daddy. He even caught a good one of me (complete with fixed hair and some makeup)…even if I do say so myself. I think he’s pretty talented….and handsome, as you can see from the family photo!

Repurposing Food: Strawberry Cheesecake Trifle 

This is another repurposing recipe. When I say recipe, I really mean more like guidelines for making something you need to get rid of look good. See another post for another similar trifle

I had some leftover pound cake in the freezer and wanted to fix something with it and incorporate cheesecake….because who doesn’t like cheesecake. I also had some frozen strawberries and cool whip in the freezer. And so this trifle was born. 


  • Pound cake- about 6 cups cut into cubes*
  • Frozen sliced strawberries- 6 cups**
  • Cream cheese- 2 packages, 16 oz
  • Cool whip- oz package
  • Sugar- 2 cups, divided 


  • Mix strawberries with 1 cup of sugar. Microwave if they’re still frozen. 
  • Cream the cream cheese with 1 cup of sugar. 
  • Beat cool whip into cream cheese mixture. 
  • Cut up pound cake. 
  • Layer about half of the pieces of cake into the bottom of the trifle dish. 
  • Spoon about half of the strawberries on top of the cake. 
  • Spoon about half of the cream cheese mixture on top of the strawberries. 
  • Repeat layers. 
  • Optional- sprinkle the top with sprinkles. 

*You could use pretty much any kind of cake that you want. I will sometimes use angel food and it works well too for trifles. 

**You can use fresh strawberries if you have them and want to slice them. I was going for speed and what I had on hand. Also, it’s a really sweet dish, so if you don’t want that either eliminate or reduce the sugar for the strawberries. 

Trifles are always a hit with the kids…anything pudding-like is a crowd pleaser at our house. Add sprinkles and your golden. This was part of our Christmas menu, so red and green sprinkles did the trick. 

Again, the thing I like about trifles is that you can pretty much put anything in there that you want (or need to get rid of). Here’s a few idea variations as well. 

Adventures with Four: Enjoying a Blended Family Christmas

Will and Anna are fortunate enough to have two immediate families and four sets of extended families to celebrate with each holiday season. That’s a lot of Christmas fun for kids…and for us parents to orchestrate. 

Part of the coordination is out of our hands. Joe Daddy and I share the holiday break. One parent gets the kids from the last day of school until the 26th and then the other has them from the 26th until the end of the break per our agreement. It works fairly well but it also means that every other year, we don’t have Will and Anna with us for actual Christmas Eve and Day. 

We make the most of it and it’s a very merry holiday for everyone. 

Here’s how it works for us:

  • Plan in advance what dates the kids are going to be where. This allows us to plan our extended family gatherings as soon as we can. We did Christmas for the kids with Grandad and the Odoms and then with Garen’s family the second week of December. And we are at Garen’s mom’s with the little girls for Christmas. We will be going to my parents’ on the night of the 28th and celebrate New Years Eve there. That’s a lot to plan for and takes multiples rounds of packing and travel for a family of six!
  • Do as many family traditions as you can before the school holiday starts. We’ve started a family tradition of going to Holiday in the Park and to Santa’s Adventure. We also make a “thing” out of decorating the tree, complete with homemade chicken and dumplings. There are other traditions but that’s not the point of this post. The point here is to make sure you do them.  And to do them, they have to be planned if you share weekends with the kids’ other families. The few weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas fly by before you know it!
  • It’s important to be encouraging and inclusive of the kids’ other family traditions. When you have multiple families celebrating, there are always going to be different ways of doing things and that’s a good thing. Your kids will be well-rounded and open to new ideas as they grow. 
  • Use technology to your advantage. Skype and FaceTime allow you to still see the kids when they are with their other families. It is also special to do this with grandparents to keep them involved. 
  • We coordinate what is being given to the kids with various family members in an attempt to not get multiples of the same thing. Sometimes this works better than others. In the case that the kids get multiples, they can leave one at the other family’s house or maybe a grandparent’s house. It’s really not a big deal. 
  • Santa comes on Christmas morning, no matter where the kids are or who they’re with. This is less confusing for everyone. Again, coordinating this with the other parent is important for a good co-parenting relationship. 
  • We open the kids’ other presents on a day that we can be at home the majority of the day. This gives us plenty of time to play with any new toys and have a big, special Christmas breakfast, which was a big deal in my family growing up. 
  • Help the kids to pick out or make Christmas presents for their other family, especially their siblings. This year the kids picked out a fun toy purse with keys and phone for Madalyn and made yarn ornaments for the rest of the family. 
  • If your kids are away at their other family’s house for the holiday and you’re sad, remember that they are very fortunate to have more than one set of people to love them. More love. What’s better than that? With that said, it’s ok to miss them and be bummed a bit…especially if this is your first round. Stay busy with other family and/or friends or volunteer somewhere to keep yourself occupied. It doesn’t necessarily get easier but you do learn to adjust over the years. 
  • Remember that Christmas is really  a season and not just one day. And it’s not just about the gifts. It’s about celebrating your beliefs, spending time with family and friends, and enjoying traditions- old or new. It should be celebrated whenever you and your family can be together. This could be before or after Christmas and still be just as special if you let it be. 

I hope these tips from our experiences can be helpful. It can be hard to share, even as adults who know it’s best for the kids but this is how we make our holidays special for everyone in our family. It takes planning and coordination but it is well worth it! 

Merry Christmas from Our Family to Yours!

We wish you a Merry Christmas! Here’s our Christmas card this year, thanks to the wonderful work of Amanda B at ViriLovelyDesigns on Etsy.

We went to Santa’s Adventure at the Parks Mall again this year. They’ve got a great Santa and we all love the Dreamworks 3-D sleigh ride. I’m not a huge Kung Fu Panda fan but the kids didn’t seem to mind and fun was had by all…even when Clara had a near-blowout right before sitting on Santa’s lap.

Again, Merry Christmas. I hope your holiday has been full of fun times with the ones you love.

Photo Friday: Six Flags Holiday in the Park

Last Friday was Will and Anna’s last day of school for the holidays. We celebrated with another trip to Six Flags Holiday in the Park. 

We have season tickets and also bought the meal pass, so we always eat there too. (I did the math and if we eat there four times, we’ve paid for it. We will probably use the meal pass during the summer instead of going to eat at a restaurant some too.)

Anywho…enough about me justifying how much we spent on it all. We had a BLAST! The kids are both old enough to ride a lot of the rides. The first one we rode was the bob sled. I’m not sure what it’s technically called now but I had forgotten how fun it was. Check us out….Garen looks excited, right?!?

He hung in there and rode all of the rides with us even though he gets motion sickness. I’m not sure if that’s true love or insanity…I’m going with love!

Auntie Em and Uncle Brian joined us too, which was totally fun!

Yes, that is a double chin you see on me. I may have been enjoying the holiday food and the Six Flags meal pass a little too much… Of course, they say the camera adds however many pounds. Excuses, excuses!

Speaking of food… Uncle Brian enduldged all of our cravings for a funnel cake by buying a Texas sized (and shaped) one at the end of the night. We didn’t even finish half of it. Everything is bigger in Texas. 

As you can see, Anna was exhausted by the time the park was closed at 10:00. (Their normal bedtime is 8:00 and 8:30, respectively.) On top of that, they had early-release from school, so they did a field trip with pizza and a trip to the trampoline park. Shockingly, we didn’t even make it out of the parking lot before Anna fell asleep and Will was out a few miles down the road.

We had a great time! The hot chocolate was tasty, the Christmas music was fun, the millions of lights were beautiful, the weather was nice, and the lines were surprisingly short. What more could you ask for from a trip to Six Flags?

Last Minute Gifting: Family Movie Night

Have I ever mentioned that I am the queen of procrastination? Well, they say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. So I’ll admit it: I wait until the last minute sometimes. Disclaimer: I did buy the almost all gifts early, mostly thanks to Amazon. 

Wrapping…now that’s a whole other story.

So, here’s my last minute creation after I forgot we’d not given our Taekwondo instructors a gift and yesterday was the last day of the year. (The older kids attend after-school taekwondo every weekday afternoon). Mr. Jeremy and Mrs. Renee have two young girls, so I wanted to find something they could all enjoy. I call my creation the Family Movie Night basket. 

I managed to put it together with a fast trip to the Dollar Tree and Walmart yesterday afternoon and for slightly over $20. 

Contents included:

  • Elf- the movie 
  • Microwave Popcorn
  • Cracker Jacks, complete with prizes
  • Whoppers
  • Chocolate truffles
  • Russel Stovers peppermint patties 

Wrapping included:

  • Popcorn bucket
  • White shredded paper (for filling)
  • Iridescent shredded plastic (for filling)
  • Plastic basket bag (came in a two-pack)
  • Wired ribbon 

It probably only took about 20 minutes. At about 20 dollars total it looks pretty nice and is a fun gift (not to toot my own horn, of course). It almost looks like a fancy expensive premade basket. 

Oh, and I included a gift receipt in case they already owned or didn’t like Elf… Although, who doesn’t like Elf?!? It’s a modern day classic!

There you have it: one last minute gift idea for a procrastinator like me. It’s pretty perfect for teachers, neighbors, or family-friend gifts without breaking the bank. And if you’re not like me, you could do it ahead of time and maybe even put more or special homemade treats in it. The possibilities are endless, folks! Just remember to put popcorn in there if you’re putting it in a popcorn holder…or that’d be weird. And not the cool kinda weird. 

In case you didn’t notice, I did it all from the front seat of my car even. Making a bow without any scissors…now that might be a talent that’s worth bragging about. Make-shiftery at its finest!

Happy last minute shopping to you all. Stay safe, stay sane!