Monday, December 24, 2007

We're Crafty

This is what we are making today.

Hopefully ours will be as cute as these. If they are, I'll post a picture or two.
Merry Christmas Eve!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Packin' on the pounds...

My mom carried this dip to all sorts of functions when I was growing up. It was always a hit and
super simple to make. After I married, it became a standard around the holidays. During the last few years of mom's life, she couldn't have it due to dietary restrictions so we didn't make it. Now that she's gone, I'm making it in her honor. This dips for you, Mom!
If I were more organized, I would have a picture of the 'Cast', but I'm not. So here's the list instead:
2 blocks of cream cheese, softened
1 jar sliced dried beef, diced
2-3 green onions, chopped
1 can black olives, chopped

Toss it all in a bowl and stir. I use the KitchenAid. I'm lazy like that.

It'll look like this:

Serve with crackers and enjoy!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Unattended Children or Why We School Year Round

This afternoon I ran to the store to pick up a few previously forgotten items. This is what I returned to find.

Rock on.

Just ranting....

I really have a love/hate relationship with Freecycle. It's a wonderful concept - passing unwanted items to others who have use for them. That's the part I love.

Getting said persons to actually pick up the items they were so eager to receive is a different story all together. It becomes very frustrating. This is the part I hate.

We've been decluttering and clearing out so I've offered a lot of items. Only a handful have actually been taken. My front porch looks like Goodwill puked on it. This Thursday is the deadline for my fellow Freecyclers. No more excuses. No more extra time. No more. I'm done. I'm hauling it ALL off on Thursday come h*** or highwater!

The end.

Monday, December 17, 2007

MPM and Construction

It's going to go something like this:

spaghetti, foccacia, salad
chicken something, steamed broccoli*
grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, tomato soup
chicken nuggets, 'cafeteria' mac n cheese, green beans
tuna sandwiches, pickles, carrot sticks
oriental noodle bowls with turkey and veggies

*If you're thinking we eat a lot of broccoli, we do. It's the one vegetable that the whole family likes.

That's as far as I can think right now. I don't have much in the way of a menu.
But I DO have construction photos!

This is what we started with:

An enclosed garage.

On the other side of the exposed studs is our miniature laundry room.
It's tiny. Seriously. It's only as wide as the washer and dryer.
Once it was opened up:

And now:

Plenty of room for laundry baskets, some shelving, a drying rod and best of all I won't be face down in cat's box when I put clothes into the dryer! I'm so excited!
The outside:
To the left is our chest freezer, water softener, hot water heater and a whole slew of junk! There will be a small storage area. Hopefully we'll keep it neater than this!
Here is the room being framed:
And the closet, which is outside the room. Which hurts because this addition won't be considered a bedroom since there is no closet inside. However, it does give the boy more useable space.
Sheetrock going up:

And here it is insulated:

I know you were just dying to see that pink fuzzy stuff. You're welcome.

See that table? I have special plans for that. If I'm successful, I'll post about it.
'Till next blessed!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Merry Christmas to Me!

I mentioned earlier that my camera was on the's the replacement:

Oh yeah!

I also stated there were some things I'd like to check off my list. Exactly NONE of them have been completed! Instead, we have been making preparations for a family member to move in with us. This is a corner of our enclosed garage which we call a den. We have been working frantically to clear out this room so that the construction can begin. Nevermind all the school stuff and sports equipment!

If you can make it out, there is an outline of a soon-to-be new room for my son.
Maybe next week my neighbors will get their cookies. Maybe.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Everything's a noun

We are reviewing nouns today and if you could hear my son you would think we've never covered this before. For the last two hours we've played the 'make mom crazy' game. It goes like this:

ds: Is tv a noun?
mom: Is it a person, place or thing?
ds: It's a thing.
mom: Then it is a noun.

4 second pause

ds: Is dog a noun?
mom: Is it a person, place or thing?
ds: It's a thing.
mom: Then it is a noun.

4 second pause

ds: Is Santa a noun?
mom: Is it a person, place or thing?
ds: It's a person.
mom: Then it is a noun.

4 second pause

ds: Is pillow a noun?
mom: Is it a person, place or thing?
ds: It's a thing.
mom: Then it is a noun.

4 second pause

ds: Is tree a noun?
mom: Is it a person, place or thing?
ds: It's a thing.
mom: Then it is a noun.

4 second pause

ds: Is lamp a noun?
mom: Is it a person, place or thing?
ds: It's a thing.
mom: Then it is a noun.

After an hour and a half"
mom: Yes, son, everything's a noun.

4 second pause

ds: Is sister a noun?
mom: Is it a person, place or thing?
ds: It's a person.
mom: Then it is a noun.

He won. Mom is officially crazy.

Monday, December 10, 2007


Since nothing was consumed on the specific day it was planned for last week, I am taking a different approach to my meal planning. This week, I'll just list the meals and not assign them to a day. I'm such a rebel like that.

turkey chili, cornbread, apple slices
baked rosemary chicken, mashed potatoes, broccolli
tuna noodle casserole, peas, fruit salad
taco cups, spanish rice
sandwiches or fin-for-yourself night
broccolli cheese soup, crusty bread, pears
Friday is always pizza night! Woo Hoo!

I had wanted to try some new recipes this week, but we have too much going on. I'm just going to stick with tried & true's.

Also, I am studying Tammy's site with great excitement!

Other items I would like to check of my list this week:
6 dozen cookies for neighbors
For the freezer: 2 pumpkin pies, 1 pecan pie, another blueberry pound cake, pan of chicken enchiladas, farmer's breakfast casserole
3 bookcases reduced to 1 Ha!
Unclaimed Freecycle items to Goodwill
a pedicure!!!!

Praying that you all have a wonderfully productive week!

Friday, December 7, 2007


This afternoon as I clean my 'den', Casting Crowns is playing in the background.
I cannot tell you how many times I've actually lived the lyrics of this song. But I am so grateful for the Father's unending grace and forgiveness!!


Living on my own, thinking for myself
Castles in the sand, temporary wealth
Walls are falling down, storms are closing in
Tears have filled my eyes, here I am again

And I've held out as long as I can
Now I'm letting go and holding out my hand
Daddy, here I am again, will you take me back tonight
I went and made the world my friend, and it left me high and dry
I dragged Your name back through the mud
That You first found me in
Not worthy to be called Your son
Is this to be my end?
Daddy, here I am
Here I am again

Curse this morning sun, drags me in to one more day
Of reaping what I've sown, of living with my shame
Welcome to my world, and the life that I have made
Where one day you're a prince, the next day your a slave

And I've held out as long as I can
Now I'm letting go and holding out my hand
Daddy, here I am again, will you take me back tonight
I went and made the world my friend, and it left me high and dry
I dragged Your name back through the mud
That You first found me in
Not worthy to be called Your son
Is this to be my end?
Daddy, here I am
Here I am again

Too easy

This cake is way too easy. Dd made it earlier in the week and thankfully I set aside some for a friend. I fear I would have consumed it ALL.

Try it out.

Berry 'Pound' Cake
Preheat oven to 325
1 box yellow cake mix
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup oil (we used applesauce)
2 cups berries (we used frozen blueberries)

Mix together: cake mix, eggs and oil.
Fold in berries.
Pour into greased bundt pan and bake for 1 hour.

(Now, I added a glaze, but the recipe doesn't call for it.)

Also, is it still a pound cake even though it's baked in a bundt pan? All the pound cakes I've had were baked in a loaf pan. Am I sheltered? Is it a pound cake because of the ingredients? It has nothing to do with shape does it?

P.S. I would post a picture but my camera DIED!!!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

Hi Folks! It's Monday again, all day!
Last week was so easy, I'm doing it again. I've allowed for a lazy leftover night to prevent that whole pizza ordering, budget killing moment we had last week.

Monday: pork chops with potatoes and carrots, fruit*
Tuesday: beef & vegetable soup with cornbread
Wednesday: chicken enchiladas, chips, salad
Thursday: leftover soup & cornbread/or whatever you can find
Friday: chicken fried rice, egg rolls, egg drop soup
Saturday: chili with cornbread muffins
Sunday: restaurant for dinner, b-fast for supper

If you are not familiar with MPM, please hop on over and check it out!

*Yes, I know we had this last Monday. Kids & dh requested a repeat.

MPM Update

This was the plan:

Monday: salmon/steamed brocolli & cauliflower/wild rice
Tuesday: pork chops/cabbage/carrots *added potatoes
Wednesday: spagetti/focaccia bread/salad
Thursday: chili dogs/chips/salad*
Friday: homemade chicken noodle soup/fruit salad
Saturday: chimichangas/spanish rice/chips

This is how it went down:

Monday: As planned
Tuesday: As planned, added potatoes fruit salad
Wednesday: As planned
Thursday: Couldn't stomach the thought of chili dogs. Used Saturdays meal.
Friday: Got really lazy and ordered pizza.
Saturday: Leftover pizza
Sunday: As planned (fast food) for lunch, b-fast for supper.

I call this Success and will be participating again. This week, right after I hit 'publish'!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

It's called Christmas!

If you haven't checked out the guys of Go Fish yet, here's a little sample of what you are missing...

Monday, November 26, 2007


I'm participating in Menu Plan Monday to *hopefully* establish a habit of planning. Ha!
We'll see how it works and I'll post an update at the end of the week.

Monday: salmon/steamed brocolli & cauliflower/wild rice
Tuesday: pork chops/cabbage/carrots *added potatoes
Wednesday: spagetti/focaccia bread/salad
Thursday: chili dogs/chips/salad*
Friday: homemade chicken noodle soup/fruit salad
Saturday: chimichangas/spanish rice/chips

Just for kicks I've also made a list of lunches for the kids and I:
turkey sandwiches/chips/apple slices
tuna salad sandwiches/carrot sticks
hot dogs/mac-n-cheese *I'll eat a big salad on this day. Hot dogs = nasty!

whole wheat toast with peanut butter
oatmeal * 3
cold cereal with bananas

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


In preparation for the upcoming holiday, I am spending the day baking. In addition to the previously posted Starbucks Pumpkin Pound Cake I am making the following recipes:

Cornbread Dressing (Not an exact recipe)
1 hen boiled & deboned, reserve broth
2 pans of cornbread, crumbled
2-4 eggs, boiled & chopped
2 raw eggs, slightly beaten
celery, finely chopped
carrots, shredded
1-2 apples, shredded
green onions, chopped
broth from hen

Mix all together and place in baking dish. Bake @ 350 until done.

I don't know exactly where this recipe came from. If it's yours, step up and claim it!
Easy Pecan Pie
1 unbaked pie crust
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vailla
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup light Karo syrup
1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cup pecans, halves or chopped - your choice.

In saucepan, brown butter until it is golden but don't let it burn. Set aside so that it can cool. When cooled, add sugar, salt, vanilla, syrup and eggs. Mix well. Add lemon juice and fold in pecans. pecans. Pour mixture into pie shell and bake at 425 for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, reduce the heat to 325 and bake for another 55 minutes.

Black Friday Breakfast
Quiche in a Bag (if I recall correctly, this is from 30 Day Gourmet)
In a gallon sized bag mix the following ingredients:
1 cup cooked meat, chopped (turkey, duh!)
1 cup veggies, chopped (I used sauted red & green peppers and broccolli)
1 cup shredded cheese, whatever you prefer
1/4 cup diced onion (we used green)
Now blend together:
2 cups milk
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup flour
*optional dash or four of Tabasco
Pour this into the bag and toss in the freezer if making several days ahead / refrigerator if preparing the day before.
When ready to cook, thaw and pour into a pre-baked (5-7 minutes) pie shell. Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes, until set in the middle. You can also add extra cheese to the top if you like.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Giving Thanks take 2

I am thankful for:
the Bible
Dr Pepper
our youth pastor
my best friends, Lara & Leah
microfiber cloths
crafty posters like maize hutton, purlbee and not martha
my sisters-in-law
our pastor
ice makers
this product
pretty scrapbook paper

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Giving Thanks

In no particular order, I am thankful for
my husband
our children
warm socks
our health
my grandmother
soft sheets
our home
our church
calendars with big blocks
silk pillowcases
our friends
wicked fast internet access
home school friendly laws
go karts
mechanical pencils
my parents

to be continued...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Weight Gain

In light of my recent weight gain, I decided to post this hilarious little segment I found on It's by Chonda Pierce, a Christian comedienne. If you can handle the voice, she's quite funny.

Unrelated, but also quite humorous.

Monday, November 12, 2007

China Free

HERE is a link to a blog that lists many options for (hopefully) lead-free toys. I have to admit, I was less than worried when the first few recalls came out. My kids are beyong putting things in their mouths and such. However, after reading the labels on tons of toys this week I found there are very few toys NOT made in China! I was a little surprised.
Anyway, there's a link to help you get the lead out of Christmas this year. Ha, I made a funny.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Good hair days are back!

Recently I've been hating my hair. Like throwing the brush on the bathroom floor hating. The ugly kind of hate. It's very thick, coarse, kinky and frizzy. It's also experiencing a bad cut. Nothing will make you consider a Sinead O'Connor buzz cut like waking up to thick, kinky, frizzy, badly butchered hair every morning.
However, I decided to put the clippers down and try one more blooming hair product.
Drum roll please.....

It's a product from REGIS Salons' (small) line of straightening products. The claims were simple. 'A lightweight gel that won't dry out the hair. Adds texture, definition and styling flexibility.' The instructions fairly easy 'Directions:Apply to damp hair and let air-dry for a wet look. For added volume, apply to damp hair and blow-dry.' Honestly, I wasn't expecting much. I have paid upwards of $20 for 1.7 oz hair product failures before. This 6$ bottle, with its plain packaging and minimal claims didn't offer my locks much hope. Looking back I don't know why I bought it, but I am very pleased that I did!
The cream is just that: cream. It's bottled with a pump which dispenses a perfect amount of cream for my shoulder length hair. I applied it to my still damp hair and combed it through. Then allowed my hair to air dry a bit more as I plucked, picked, moisturized and applied my 'war-paint'. It was drying time. Do or die time. This is where I usually end up disappointed and perhaps "dropping" a hairbrush or two. Ahem. The straightening products I've used in the past have actually made my hair thicker and somewhat even more coarse, as if that is possible. I clip the majority of hair up to dry the underside first as it is the curliest. After just a few strokes with the hairdryer and brush, guess what? VOILA'! Soft, shiny and STRAIGHT hair! I was surprise and somewhat skeptical but after completing my entire head....STOKED! I have straight, Bouncin' and Behavin' hair! After trying millions thousands hundreds, okay at least 10 different straightening products, I've finally found one that works and doesn't absorb half of our grocery budget! Now, I just cannot wait for the bad cut to grow out!

*For some reason it cracks me up that I don't allow my kids to use the word 'hate' and I just wrote a post filled with the word! At least it turned loving at the end, right?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Is everyone running like crazy this time of year?
I am terribly busy these days. Especially for someone who doesn't like to be 'busy'.
Between schooling, church, scouts, 'co-op' and regular household stuff, we will be out of the house most of this week! This is so unlike me. Usually I schedule trips/events so that we are home at least 3 full days a week. Some may find that odd, but it works best for us.

Last weekend was jam-packed also. Saturday we had a side-job which occupied most of the day plus I had a hair appointment (don't ask). Sunday was church of course. Sparky was gracious enough to teach for me since I was unprepared. After church we made a trip into the city to pick up a cake for my father-in-law's SURPRISE 70th birthday party! It was a success and so sweet. My talented s-i-l created a great slide show set to a sweet song. It was fabulous! Most of the pictures I had never seen. At the first lull, we scooted out to get back to church for a meeting. Then of course, it was Monday. Monday's are always tough, but Sparky actually joked that he would be glad to get back to work so he could get some rest!

Since the holidays are just around the corner, I'm thinking I should just get used to the busy-ness.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

In honor of Fall

Our temps are dropping. From the 90's to the 60's overnight. That's a big drop, People. We were wearing shorts and sweating on Sunday. Monday's temps brought out the sweats and socks!

This book* is on my rotating list of cookbooks to check out from our local library. It's fabulous! It's contains the recipe for my all-time favorite pumpkin recipe. Starbucks Pumpkin Pound Cake. Pumpkin. Pound Cake. What's not to love?
So in honor of the long awaited arrival of Fall, go make this. Now.

Butter-flavored cooking spray
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup fat-free vanilla yogurt (not artificially sweetened)
3 egg whites
1 cup canned pumpkin

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mist an 8 1/2x4 1/2x2 1/2 inch nonstick loaf pan with cooking spray; set aside.

Sift flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cloves and nutmeg into a mixing bowl, set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, yogurt, and egg whites. Using a sturdy whisk, mix until thoroughly blended. Stir in the pumpkin. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture. Stir until no flour is visible. Pour into the reserved pan.

Bake for 55-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Remove cake to the rack to cool completely. When cool, cut into 8 slices.

Nutritional Information:
Per serving: 246 calories, 5 g protein, 57 g carbohydrates, trace fat, trace sat fat, 2 g fiber.

Alexander’s version saves 64 calories, 12 grams of fat, and 1.5 grams of saturated fat over the original.

Yield: 8 servings

*In case you have a fear of linking: Fast Food Fix: 75 Amazing Recipe Makeovers of Your Fast Food Restaurant Favorites by Devin Alexander

Monday, October 22, 2007

Cooking, lots of cooking

I just recently returned from a short trip to visit with my dad and grandmother. I cooked, cleaned, cooked, visited, cooked, watched a little CABLE! TV!, cooked, laundry, and then I cooked some more. Oh, and then there was the cooking. Lots of cooking, folks. Did you catch that?
Basically, I simply double my standard recipes that I know freeze well. When fully cooked, I freeze into indiviual portions in handy dandy FoodSaver bags. Oh how I love thee, FoodSaver! This is the model we use. This is the newest version. Much sleeker and more modern looking. It also claims to have an 'Advanced Design'. However, I'm not rushing out to replace my 'older' model. So far it's worked wonderfully for me.

While there are several cookbooks and websites listing recipes for bulk cooking, I find it best to use my own. They are standard family friendly recipes. Nothing special, but so nice to have in the freezer. Here's a list of what I recently stocked: taco soup, minestrone soup, turkey chili, beef pot roast with potatoes and carrots, lasagna, sausage balls, chicken spagetti, chicken and rice, soft sugar cookies and brownies. It only took two days of cooking to store about 3 months worth of food!
So, if you have the urge to start freezer cooking, get to it! The weather is perfect. What are you waiting for? A recipe? Oh, ok. This is my favorite version of Taco Soup.
4 lbs ground beef or ground turkey
2 onions, chopped
4 cans Ro-Tel tomatoes (Diced tomatoes with green chilies)
1 large bottle V8 juice
3 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 large bag frozen whole kernel corn
3 packages French's Chili-O seasoning
3 packages Ranch Style dressing mix
Enough water to make it 'soupy'.

Brown ground beef or turkey with chopped onions. Drain if necessary.
Add all other ingredients to meat/onion mixture. Stir well. Simmer over low heat 20-30 minutes. Cool and freeze in individual containers.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My new love....

Standing in line at the market yesterday, I pawed this little beauty for what seemed like a whole 12 seconds! Strangely, I found myself wishing the checker would have forgotten the code for broccolli crowns or perhaps the pomegranate. Pomegranate, now that's an easily forgettable fruit. ANYway, as I waited for the whole 12 seconds, I found myself intrigued with this mag. Now, I couldn't purchase it because I have a deal with my husband regarding magazines. It seems my collection is slightly 'out of hand'. Whatever. I didn't buy it, but I will next week. Oh yeah. Check it out if you haven't already - I do realize I am occasionally often behind the times....

Monday, October 15, 2007

Doing my part....

Go here to find a recycling center on your area!

Obligatory Momsense


A child to dress

Would it be so terrible if say, someone, considered having another child for the solitary purpose of making this dress seen on rostichery?

Festivedaisy made it too!

What's that you say? What if it was a boy? Well, that's easy! I'd make him a BLUE pillowcase dress!

This is perplexing

Chris over @ Notes from the Trenches posted about this a few days ago. It's just too much for my pea brain to comprehend. At first I could only see her spinning clockwise. Only one cup of coffee at that point. However, several hours & mugs o'java later she was spinning in both directions! Freaky! My two kids & husband could see her spinning in both directions the very moment they glanced at her. This morning, I can only see her spinning counter-clockwise. Go figure.
Go here to see it for yourself! Which way is she spinning?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

How will you vote?

Which candidate best represents your political views? Take this quiz. You may be surprised!
Select a candidate

Tasty Peas

We did in fact have peas again last night. I think I could eat them 'round the clock. Of course, fresh peas are always best, then fresh/frozen, THEN grocery store peas. These are my favorite store bought brand if I happen to be out of fresh/frozen:

Smokey bacon flavor and onions already in there! What a deal! All the work is basically done for you. Now, if you try these, don't salt before tasting.

On to cornbread. Usually I make it from scratch using an altered version of my Grandmother's recipe. Yesterday I was in a hurry & feeling particularly lazy since the peas were so easy. Here is my favorite cornbread mix:

Martha White Yellow - NO sugar. If you put sugar in your bread - it's then cake. Whew. Glad we got that out of the way.

Those muffins I was talking about yesterday....I'm not feeling it today. Hopefully in the next few hours we can finish school & I will be in the right frame of mind to cook.

Dinner will be sandwiches and fruit.
Supper will be Sloppy Joes and coleslaw.

What are you eating today?

*I couldn't find a picture of the peas online, so I pulled this bag out of the trash. Yes, really. I did. Just keepin' it real.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

What's for supper?

Tonight we are having grilled ham & cheese sandwiches with peas & cornbread. Hey, it's been a busy day. I'm not feeling particularly creative. The peas & cornbread were served at lunch, so I'm sure the kids will prefer the sandwiches. The Man, on the other hand, will love the other.
Side salads will also grace the table.

Tomorrow I'll be making some sort of muffins and possibly cookies. No, not for supper, silly! I've no plan for that. Dessert is first on my list!

On the highway....

A few weekends ago we travelled a bit outside our town to a scouting event. On the way we saw many things that made us chuckle. The best was an advertisement painted on the window of a "Dollar Store". It said: " SALE $1.19" No kidding. I so wished I had my camera with me - for the scouting activities as well as the painted window.

Hola Internet Peeps!

Here's my imaginary Q & A:

Why did you start a blog?
This blog was crated on a whim. A silly whim. (Anyone catch that reference?)

What makes you think you can 'write'?
I don't. It's a blog, daily or weekly entries of my homeschooling / toe picking / basket weaving / trying new recipes / etc. not a novel.

Why do you homeschool?
It's the best method of legal torture I could imagine: making them spend 24/7 with the mother they've caused to lose her mind.

Do you seriously weave baskets?
Why do you ask? Do you doubt me?