Category Archives: Family

Love Yourself

This season of the year brings out a lot of different emotions for everyone. You may be waiting in anticipation for Christmas to get here. You may be excited to see your family and maybe a little anxious to see what gifts are waiting for you under the tree. It may be full of despair if you didn’t have the extra money to buy gifts for your loved ones. You may be feeling hopeless or distraught.

Please don’t beat yourself up over things you can’t control. This season is meant to bring us feelings of peace, joy, and love. To fully experience this you must let go of your feelings of guilt. There is not any ‘perfect’ Christmas, ‘perfect’ gift, or ‘perfect’ person at least since that very first Christmas.

Before we can truly experience the full joy and peace of the season we need to love ourselves. There are a million things that can make us feel unloved or unworthy.

Do you feel like you aren’t enough? You just can’t quite get everything pulled together to pull off the perfect holiday celebration. Maybe you don’t have the trendiest clothes? If only you had nicer clothes then you would feel better about yourself. Maybe your hair is in desperate need of a cut or color? If only you had the money to do your hair you would feel prettier. Maybe your friends or family have deserted you? If only you were a better person they wouldn’t have left you feeling so unloved and rejected.

These could all be reasons to feel down in the dumps. But let me tell you something… they are all lies. Lies that are fed to us by the one who is out only to seek and devour, to destroy us. Satan wants us to believe that we are rejects and that we are unworthy of being loved.

God sent his only begotten son to show us His love. God loves you, He loves me, and He loves everyone around us. He wants us to fully experience His love for us. We can’t do that if we refuse to accept it or let go of our guilt or misconceptions that we have.

I want you to know that God loves you unconditionally. He loves you whether you are overweight or underweight. He loves you whether you have an addiction to alcohol, drugs, or anything else. He loves you if you drive a Mercedes or a bucket of rust. He loves you even when it seems that noone else does. He loves you whether you bite your nails to the quick or have the latest manicure.

I want you to know that you can feel at peace this holiday season. You can experience a joy so full that it overflows to those around you. You can experience a love like you’ve never known. Just take it to God and ask Him to help you with your feelings of inadequacies, unworthiness, or whatever it is that you may be feeling. He can and will take your burdens away and He will show you how to let your light shine in the darkest of days.

Merry Christmas!

Kids’ Morning Routine 

I have posted several ideas about routines that help keep our home running smoothly. Most of those ideas were meant for me to follow but there are a few for the kids.

Below is a picture of the morning routines that are posted in each of the kids’ bedrooms. We really struggled with mornings for a while. I would have several half dressed kids stumbling to the kitchen to eat. Their hair would be a mess and so would their attitudes!

They were in public school at the time too. Every morning was a hectic rush to make sure that they had gotten dressed and fixed their hair. It also never failed that someone would need to pee when we got to the bus stop which was right out our gate. Not too mention that their rooms would be a mess when I went through to do my normal checks in the morning. Something had to change!

I had come across a post, I tried to find the original post but haven’t yet, and there was a ‘Morning 5′ routine. It was so simple and easy. I decided to give it a quick try and it worked! My first list was just hand written. I then printed out some clip art and added to it for the little boys and for my special needs son. This picture is from one that is still posted in the little boys’ closet. This was in our ‘pre-laminator ‘ days and it really needs to be redone to look a little neater.

Just a very simple checklist of things for them to do before coming to the kitchen for breakfast:

  1. Go potty. When you have kids who are potty training this is such an important reminder for them. My special needs son also needs reminding of this as well as food is usually his top priority in the morning!
  2. Make your bed. Yes, this is a must in our house. I also make sure that my bed is made in the mornings as well.
  3. Get dressed. I usually lay out the little boys clothes the night before so they just have to go to the closet and grab an outfit. They can also pick something out of the dresser if Momma forgot or if they don’t like the outfit I set out. DD8 & DD9 can pick out their own outfits and DS14 will pick out his outfit and show to me before getting dressed. His wardrobe has pretty much been set up so that almost everything will coordinate but sometimes he will bring out a pair of shorts when it is really cold or a long sleeve shirt when it is really hot.
  4. Brush your hair. For the boys this is not really a big deal as they usually have short hair cuts. For the girls though this is a must as they have long hair and it is usually a mess when they get up.
  5. Hug Mommy! This one is more for fun and it kinda helps set the mood for a good day. (Watch for a post about the Attitude of Gratitude.) Plus DS14 really likes hugs!

This has made the world of difference in our house. It has also helped to promote independence and responsibility in my kids. These are all simple tasks that can be done without much supervision and my kids know that they are expected to complete them each and every morning. It has also helped them to develop a sense of accountability as well.

Not too mention that it gives Momma a chance to get breakfast fixed and on the table while they are busy getting ready for the day. It takes a lot of stress out of the mornings as Momma doesn’t have to constantly remind them to do these things. I really enjoy getting those hugs first thing in the morning too!

Cheddar Muffins

In case you haven’t noticed we eat a lot of cheese. This is a quick and easy muffin that goes with just about any meal and we make them quite often.

Cheddar Muffins

Ingredients
•1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, (If using self rising flour then omit the salt and baking powder)

•1 tablespoon baking powder
•1 teaspoon salt
•2 c. cheddar cheese, grated or shredded
•1 c. milk
•1/4 c. butter or margarine, melted
•1 egg
•1/4 t. cayenne pepper, optional
•1/4 t. ground pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 375º F . Spray or grease a 12 cup Muffin Pan. In a large bowl, mix together the egg, milk and butter. Combine all of the dry ingredients in another bowl.Slowly stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Once mixed fold in cheddar cheese. Fill the muffin cups about 3/4 full and bake for 20-25 minutes.
Serve warm.

When life happens

If we’re on social media we always see pictures of everybody else’s lives. Many times the pictures look so perfect and pretty but in reality they’re not.

For instance, at Thanksgiving, I took some pictures of some beautiful pies but to start with these pies were anything but beautiful.

pie-crust

Then we have kids. We always see pictures of all fun crafts that we make. Rarely do we see when crafting goes wrong.

I had read somewhere that it was important to keep art supplies out to inspire children. I had also seen research about how important it was to allow them freedom of creativity.

After reading several post and researching ideas on Pinterest I had set up my own art center. Our school scissors were quickly locked back up after my one daughter was ‘inspired’ to give herself a haircut.

hair cut.jpg

Many times we see pictures of the beautifully organized playroom and school rooms. All the toys neatly organized in little cubbies. Activity tables sitting out for the kids to work on. But this is the reality of having all of those wonderful things when you find a snake in the house.

snake-6

Just remember that each of us must do what works for our family. Have fun with whatever it is that you’re doing. Don’t compare yourself to everyone else. And remember that life happens and that’s OK. We live and we learn that’s why it’s all about.

So just keep on making memories and enjoy your family. One day you’ll look back on these not so perfect moments and be able to laugh at them I promise.

December 18 – 24, 2016 meal plan

This is our basic meal plan for the week. Sometimes we will switch the days around if I forgot to set something out or put something in the crock pot. Please feel free to use this or change it around to suit your family’s needs.

Sunday

Breakfast:

Eggs (made your favorite way), grits (we love bacon grits), toast

Lunch:

PB & J w/fruit

Dinner:

Goulash, cheddar muffins

Snacks:

Muffins


Monday

Breakfast:

Cereal/Oatmeal

Lunch:

Leftovers

Dinner:

Skillet Chicken, Baked Eggplant, salad

Snacks:

Sopapillas


Tuesday

Breakfast:

French Toast

Lunch:

tuna salad sandwiches, fresh veggies

Dinner:

Crockpot Tortellini Soup, buttered bread

Snacks:

Peanut butter crackers


Wednesday

Breakfast:

Muffins

Lunch:

egg salad sandwiches, veggies

Dinner:

Root Beer Slow Cooker Pork, French Fries, slaw

Snacks:

Pizzelles


Thursday

Breakfast:

Pancakes

Lunch:

Leftovers

Dinner:

Red & White Pasta, Salad, Cheesy Garlic Pull-apart Bread

Snacks:

Popcorn


Friday

Breakfast:

Cereal/Oatmeal

Lunch:

Scrambled Egg Sandwiches

Dinner:

Fish w/Honey Mustard Sauce, baked sweet potato, salad

Snacks:

Homemade Cookies


Saturday

Breakfast:

Strawberry Strudels, yogurt

Lunch:

Pepperoni pockets, salad

Dinner:

Breakfast for Dinner (make your favorite breakfast meal and change things up a bit)

Snacks:

Birthday Cake for Jesus (this is a new tradition here at our house)

Strawberry Strudels

Strawberry Strudels (original recipe link)

Ingredients
•1 package (17.3 oz; 2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, thawed (I had enough filling to do 2 packages of puff pastry.)
•3/4 cup strawberry preserves
•1/2 cup cream cheese, room temperature
•1 egg, separated
•4 tablespoons powdered sugar
•1 tablespoons water
•2-3 teaspoons sugar
•1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
•1 pinch salt

Directions
1.Preheat oven to 400º F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat.
2.In a large bowl or mixer, beat cream cheese with vanilla extract, 3 tablespoons powdered sugar, egg yolk and salt. Beat until smooth.
3.Dust remaining powdered sugar over work surface and unfold puff pastry sheets.
4.Cut pastry along the creased lines and then evenly cut pastry strips into small squares or rectangles. (Note: I cut each sheet into 12 squares.)
5.Place strawberry preserves in a small glass or bowl and whisk until relaxed and loosened.
6.Take 1-2 teaspoons cream cheese filling and place it in middle of pastry square. Top cream cheese with 1 teaspoon strawberry preserves.
7.Take another piece of puff pastry and place it on top of filled puff pastry. Seal the edges and use a small knife to cut 2 small vents into the top of strudel to allow steam to escape. (I made a ‘burrito roll’ like in the video below and used a fork to seal the edges.)
8.Beat egg yolk and water in a small bowl and brush it over mini strudels. Sprinkle sugar over strudels, transfer to baking sheet and place in oven.
9.Bake for 17-19 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe adapted from All Food Recipes

Here is a video  that shows how to assemble these. Just in case anyone else hadn’t a clue like me 🙂

Pizzelles

These dainty little cookies are a real treat. They take me back to my grandmother’s kitchen. Her neighbor would make these delicious little cookies and bring them over every so often. How I loved them! I can’t say that these are as good as the ones I remember but I really do enjoy them.

My kids are amazed at the details in each cookie too. You can play around with the flavors to make suit the tastes of your family. Sprinkle them with a bit of powdered sugar for a extra special treat!

Pizzelles

  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 T. vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 t. baking powder

Directions:

Beat eggs and sugar until thick. Add in the melted butter and vanilla. Sift together the dry ingredients, and blend into the batter until smooth.
Heat the pizzelle iron, and brush with oil. Drop about one tablespoon of batter onto each side of the iron. You may need a little more or a little less depending on your iron. Bake until steam is no longer coming out of the iron. Carefully remove cookies from the iron and cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
Chocolate pizzelles, sift 1/4 cup cocoa with flour and baking powder, add 1/4 cup more sugar and 1/4 teaspoon more baking powder.

Root Beer Slow Cooker Pork

This is a new recipe to our menu planning. I hate shredding meat with a fork so I usually put the cooked meat into my bowl for the stand mixer and use the paddle attachment. I will put it on low and let the mixer ‘shred’ the meat for me. This works well for chicken breast also.

Root Beer Slow Cooker Pork (original post)

Ingredients

2 lbs of pork tenderloin

1 can or bottle of root beer

1- 18oz bottle of barbecue sauce

8 hamburger buns, split and toasted if desired

Directions

Place pork tenderloin in a crockpot and pour root beer over meat. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours, or until pork shreds easily with a fork.

Once cooked, drain and discard liquid. Shred pork and place back into the slow cooker. Toss with barbecue sauce and serve immediately, or keep warm in slow cooker until ready to serve. Serve on hamburger buns.

Enjoy!

Crockpot Tortellini Soup

This is a fairly new recipe that we have added to our rotating menu plan. My DD17 made this one day when I was out of town and it turned out beautifully even though she didn’t add the sausage.

I believe I had seen this posted on a FB page and jotted down the ingredients on a scrap piece of paper.

Crockpot Tortellini Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of cheese tortellini
  • 1 bag of fresh spinach, i think frozen would work in this too
  • 2 cans of italian-style diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 block cream cheese, cut into cubes
  • 1 lb. of ground sausage, cooked and broken into small pieces
  • 4 c. of chicken broth

Directions:

Put all ingredients in crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Uncover, stir, and cook for 1 more hour. It’s that easy! The kids ate it with buttered bread.

Goulash

This meal looks amazing and smells so good when it is cooking. Sometimes I will add a little leftover spaghetti sauce to it too, if I happen to have some sitting in the fridge.

1 lb. hamburger (can use other ground meats, if desired)
1 medium onion, chopped
1/3 cup bell pepper, chopped (use whatever kind you hav)
2 cups uncooked elbow noodles
1- 15 oz. can of stewed tomatoes
1- 15 oz. can tomato sauce
5 cups of water
1 T. sugar
1 T. Italian seasoning
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
2 t. salt
1 t. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper
dash of hot sauce, optional
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
2 c. cheddar cheese, shredded

Brown meat with the onion and the bell pepper. Add the everything else except the hot sauce and cheeses. Bring to a boil then set on low. Cover and simmer, about 15-20 minutes, until the macaroni is tender and most of the water is absorbed. Be sure to stir occasionally to keep the noodles from sticking. Add more water if it seems too dry or leave the lid off to get rid of excess water.
Sprinkle with cheeses before serving.

Bacon Grits/Cheesy Grits

My kids love grits, buttered grits, cheesy grits, and especially bacon grits! This is a super simple way to prepare them when you are short on time. My kids usually eat these served over their scrambled eggs with some jelly toast on the side.

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. grits, prepared according to package
  • 4 T butter or margarine
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8-10 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled

Add the butter to the prepared grits and stir until completely melted. Season to taste. Save a few bacon crumbles for sprinkling on top and stir the rest into the grits. Serve.

For cheese grits:

  • 2 c. grits, prepared according to package
  • 4 T butter or margarine
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 T. garlic powder, more or less depending on your taste
  • 1 c. cheese, sliced, shredded, cubed or whatever you have on hand

Add the butter to the prepared grits and stir until completely melted. Season to taste.Add garlic powder and cheese. Stir until melted. Serve.

 

 

Help! There’s a snake in my boot!

Help! There’s a snake in my boot, actually it was in the closet but it could’ve been in my boot as some point. The cover photo for this post was taken just last month. My 14-year-old had said he spotted a snake in the heat vent. Many people would think that he was just imagining things. But I know that this could have been a real possibility. So I prepared myself with a pair of kitchen tongs and my brother helped me to close off all the heat vents.

Last month appeared to be a false alarm. No snake ever emerged from the heat vents or anywhere else in the house that we saw. However we have had some not so false alarms in the past year.

The picture below is a snake that we found in our kitchen last November. Yes, those are the kitchen tongs. This was not the only snake we found though.

I was actually pretty calm this time around as this has been the second snake we had found in the house within a few months.

snakekitchen.jpg

This is what my bedroom looked like after my daughter had called me last May. She had saw a snake in the playroom. Imagine her surprise when she bent down to pick up the toy snake so she could vacuum and it moved.

snake8.jpg

This is another picture of my closet when we were looking for the snake. Needless to say this prompted me to do a major decluttering.

snake 7.jpg

This is a picture of the play room after the snake was spotted.

snake-6

After a second, more thorough, search of the house the snake was eventually found in my closet. If you look closely in the corner there is a tiny hole in the wall and that’s where he was.

snake4.jpg

This is the snake that was found in the closet the first time. He was let loose only to be found in the chicken house a couple weeks later.

snake3.jpg

Below was the second snake that we found near the house. He was curled up under the hood of my truck. I could not believe my eyes when my son sent me this picture. He had borrowed my truck to jumpstart his early in the morning. I bet he was shocked to find this under the hood.

snaketruck2.jpg

After asking Google and many of my Facebook friends no one had a good solution for getting the snake out of my truck. My truck sat in the hot sun for three whole days trying to bake him out. I tried to throw mothballs under the truck and various other suggestions to no avail.

You can see him playing peekaboo in the grill. I was paranoid that the snake would pop out while I was driving down the road or something. That’s when I found out that kitchen tongs work well for grabbing hold of snakes.

snaketruck.jpg
Remember that if you ever happen to find a snake in your house, or your vehicle, just try to stay calm. If you’re unsure of how to remove the snake or if you cannot positively identify the snake then don’t touch it. Call the professionals, if needed.

This was just a quick little post to show you that it that it always pays to be prepared for anything.