Category Archives: holidays

It’s All About The Fudge!

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Yes! It’s that time of year when I make a lot of FUDGE! I’ll probably be sick of Fudge this time next week but it’s good stuff and everyone loves it so much that they request it every year.

In case you haven’t tried your hand at making Fudge or if you are just needing a couple of good recipes I’m reposting the links to our favorite varieties down below.

I’ve tried a lot of Fudge recipes in the past as we always loved my mom’s Fudge. When we moved to Florida we weren’t as close to my mom as we once were and I had to figure out how to make it for my family… well, it was either that or spend a fortune in gas driving to visit grandma everytime we got a hankering for Fudge!



The kids and I went shopping today for supplies and I’ve ordered a few really cute tins to put the delicious treats in. As soon as the tins get here we will get started in the kitchen.

I promise that these recipes are fairly easy to make and we always have great success with them. I love that the base recipe can be changed for different flavors and this makes it one of my favorite candy recipes ever!

Here are the links to some great Fudge recipes:

My mouth is craving some FUDGE! We hope you enjoy these as much as we do! If you have a favorite Fudge recipe or Christmas Candy recipe please leave a link in the comments below as we’d love to give it a try!

7 Easy Steps To Simplify Your Life Today

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I had originally written this series of posts in honor of National Simplify Your Life Week, which falls during the first week of August, I decided to make a short list of 7 easy steps that almost anyone can use to simplify their life starting today. With the New Year fast approaching I thought it might be helpful to post this again for anyone looking to simplify their life and have more FREE time.

Now I’m not talking about anything drastic like selling everything you own and moving into a small secluded cabin with no electric. This actually sounds like a really good idea to me right now but my kids wouldn’t really like that. The tips below will not only help you to simplify your life but they will help you to be more efficient.

Click on each link for more information and helpful tips.

  1. Take Care of Yourself
  2. Reduce Your Screen Time
  3. Learn to say NO without feeling guilty
  4. Declutter your closet (and your house)
  5. Get Organized
  6. Set Up Routines
  7. Pay Off Those Debts and Bills

I wish you the best of luck with getting your life simplified! Let me know, in the comments below, of any tips that you have used to simplify your life.

Click here to get started on Step 1.

Start your  FREE account with the  Wealthy Affiliate program.

 

 

 

 

Large Family Planning Calendar For The New Year

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

I know most of us are probably not ready to think about the New Year as we are in the midst of holiday choas right now but with as many kiddos as I have I am always looking ahead. There are doctor appointments, dentist appointments, birthdays, and so many other events that I need to keep organized.

Our calendars keep our day to day activities running smoothly and help to keep us prepared for upcoming events. They are vital to keeping this Momma sane!

What features do you look for in a calendar? I know I like it to have enough room to write things in the blocks. I also like to have the moon phases and holidays on the calendar.

Do you like the stickers or not? I kinda like the idea of stickers and it helps me to tell at a glance what we have coming up if there are stickers on it.

While I absolutely love my Cozi mobile app and I always have it pulled up on my laptop. I keep everything from appointments to recipes on my Cozi calendar and my family members all have access to it as well. I still like to have a wall calendar as well so that I can refer to it quickly if I’m on the phone or if Mr. Awesome needs to double check something he can refer to it as well.

This led me to check out Amazon for some new planning calendars today. There is such a selection to choose from I’m really not sure which one I want to get yet but here are a few of the ones I’ve found:

Continue reading Large Family Planning Calendar For The New Year

Happy St. Nicholas Day 2018!

**This post may contain affiliate links to products we use.

Well the countdown to Christmas has officially started here. The kids are super excited after St. Nick stopped by sometime late last night. They had left their stockings on the table before bed and woke up to a big surprise!

They had been talking about our previous St. Nicholas Day celebrations and how they forgot to put their stockings out last year… Oops!

Don’t worry… that heater was not on ‘HEAT’ as we only have the flames going this morning  but it has been doing great job at keeping us warm and cozy so far.

St. Nick did not disappoint with a variety of small toys, coloring books, and other holiday items plus a tiny bit of candy. He also left a couple of new books and a holiday music cd for them. They are looking forward to a midday snack of gingerbread cookies and hot cocoa too!

He didn’t forget about the grownups either and even left a small gift for Nanny J and Papa O. He left Momma some much needed kitchen items, some holiday jewelry, and CHOCOLATE!

Santa had even decorated a little bit and put these cute covers on the chairs.

And he must’ve met up with the UPS man at some point to grab our new Advent wreath for us. It had been stuck in delivery status as the driver couldn’t locate our house.

It is so much prettier than it looked on the internet! I had a hard time deciding what color to get but thought this was a good choice even though it isn’t the traditional Christmas colors. Now we are just waiting for the candles to arrive. After all this excitement it was time for breakfast:

This year I added the chocolate chips to the pancakes while on the griddle for our Santa Claus PancakesI forgot to pick up some fresh strawberries and blueberries so we made do with what we had here. I also didn’t realize that Mr. Jacob had added a couple of extra chocolate chips to Santa’s beard… lol!

The kids thought they were cute and very yummy. Later on we will be watching a few videos about St. Nick and taking a little about the history of Santa Claus.

If you want to check out some other activities please see St. Nicholas Day 2016 for some additional links.

Happy St. Nicholas Day everyone!

Our Favorite DIY Christmas Decorations For Kids in 2018

Have you been crazy busy this first week of December? How many of you have finished your shopping? How many haven’t bought the first gift yet? Well, I have been busy and my shopping is somewhere in between the two but I have a few ideas here that the kids can help with and they could double as really great gifts for grandparents and family members too!

Some of these links are affiliate links but there is no extra fee if you purchase through these links… it just means we may get a teeny weeny kickback which helps support our blog and our family.

I also have a TON of ideas saved on my Pinterest… my newest board is Christmas Crafts 2018. Here’s a screenshot of just some of the ideas I’ve found:

blog.jpg

I think we are going to get really busy with crafts so be sure to keep an eye out for lots of pics! If you aren’t feeling crafty or just don’t have time to shop for craft supplies then check out the following links for Amazon deals that can be shipped right to your home and most of them include everything you need to start crafting and keep the kids busy while you finish your shopping!

The neatest Christmas crafting idea I found is this Tree Mendous Ornament Decorating Kit:

I’ve got this (and an extra for a gift) in my Amazon cart right now plus a set of extra ornaments to go with it. Continue reading Our Favorite DIY Christmas Decorations For Kids in 2018

Easy As Pie Blackberry Dumplings

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! We did and we ate so much good food and will be eating some delicious leftovers for a few days. One of the best desserts was the Blackberry Dumplings I made in the crock pot (they can be made in the oven too). This recipe is similar to the Blackberry Pig in a Poke recipe but so much easier!

The caramel sauce and nutmeg are optional but they make it so much better. I think this would go nicely with some vanilla ice cream on the side too! You could also experiment with other fruits/berries as well as maybe changing the soda to Sprite or Mountain Dew. Add in your favorite nuts, raisins, or maybe some white chocolate chips too… whatever you and your family likes. Just have fun and enjoy experimenting as I know we do here.

Easy As Pie Blackberry Dumplings

Ingredients:

Dumplings:

  • 2-3 cans of crescent rolls
  • 2-3 c. blackberries
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 12 oz ginger ale, Sprite, or Mountain Dew

Sauce:

  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • a bit of ground nutmeg (freshly ground is best)

Directions:

Crock Pot Directions:

  1. Spray your crock pot with non stick spray.
  2. Place the berries in a small bowl and toss with the sugar. Let rest for about 10 minutes or so.
  3. Place 2-3 berries in each crescent roll and roll up making sure to pinch the sides closed.
  4. Place the ‘dumplings’ in the bottom of the crockpot. I did one layer to make sure they all got finished.
  5. If you have any leftover berries you can mash them up and add them to the soda and then pour this over the dumplings.
  6. Cook on high 3-4 hours… they will smell amazing!
  7. When ready to serve place the butter and brown sugar in a small bowl and microwave for 1-2 minutes until bubbly. Stir well.
  8. Drizzle the sauce over the individual servings and then sprinkle with a bit of nutmeg, if desired. Enjoy!

Oven Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Spray a 9×13 pan with non stick spray.
  3. Place the berries in a small bowl and toss with the sugar. Let rest for about 10 minutes or so.
  4. Place 2-3 berries in each crescent roll and roll up making sure to pinch the sides closed.
  5. Place the ‘dumplings’ in the greased pan.
  6. If you have any leftover berries you can mash them up and add them to the soda and then pour this over the dumplings.
  7. Bake 20-30 minutes or until lightly browned.
  8. When ready to serve place the butter and brown sugar in a small bowl and microwave for 1-2 minutes until bubbly. Stir well.
  9. Drizzle the sauce over the individual servings and then sprinkle with a bit of nutmeg, if desired. Enjoy!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hey y’all I know it’s gonna be a super busy day but I wanted to pop in and wish you all a happy thanksgiving from our family to yours. We do appreciate each and every one of you.

I really do hope to get back to blogging on a more consistent basis very soon. Life has been so crazy here lately with homeschooling, Square dancing and kids! We’ve already had a few birthdays this month…. can you believe William is 16?!!! This has been a crazy transition for all of us trying to help him learn to handle these BIG teenage hormones and emotions.

We’ve also done a BIG rearranging of the house here. I’m excited about how everything is coming together and it really is starting to look and feel like HOME! 🏡 ❤️ I’ll be sure to post some pics soon… you may even notice some changes in the pics below.

The new arrangement has helped so much already. Last night was a lot of fun here as the kiddos all helped with Thanksgiving preparations. They’ve actually been helping all week as we rearranged and had to put our Fall decor back in place. (No Christmas decorations up here… at least til we get through Thanksgiving.)

We made some really fun snacks for tomorrow’s dinner:

Turkey cupcakes

The kids loved making these!

And then we made some pretzel cookies/candies.

(The Rolos unwrapped are so handy for this!)

And some acorn cookies:

They also made some ‘Indian corn’ with Reese’s pieces:

We can’t forget the Pinterest fail caramel apple bites:

They did look pretty good before but they’ve been sitting in a warm kitchen for a few hours and they are melting faster than the wicked witch after Dorothy threw a bucket of water on her.

After the kiddos were off to bed I set about getting a few things ready for tomorrow. There are some pies:

The pumpkin is the recipe I shared on my blog. The pecan is a new variation and I’ll share it once I’ve had a chance to taste it. I normally don’t recommend trying out brand new recipes the night before a big event but this wasn’t the only new recipe I worked on.

I love making yeast rolls for Thanksgiving and it is one of our traditions. I’ve been wanting to try to make some sweet Hawaiian rolls and finally did. The dough smelled heavenly and I’m hoping that they will taste as good.

I also whipped up a batch of my regular dinner rolls… I’ll share that recipe soon if I haven’t already. The rolls are now in the fridge waiting for their second rise so they can bake into golden deliciousness. My tummy is rumbling just thinking about the wonderful aroma that those rolls will be giving off tomorrow.

Another new thing we will be doing is frying our turkey. I’ve had a turkey fryer but haven’t used it for turkey yet. Our bird is in the fridge soaking in some Cajun butter injection juices. I’m hoping all goes well with this.

In addition to all of that I’ve gotten all the casseroles prepped and in the fridge. They are covered with foil and have the baking directions written on the tops. Just a few more things to take care of tomorrow before everyone gets here.

I’m so excited! This will be the biggest get together we’ve been able to have in our little house on the pond. Fingers crossed all goes well and everyone gets plenty to eat.

Then I have an exciting trip planned with the kiddos for this weekend. It should tie in nicely with our Little House on the Prairie Adventures. Anyway I better get a couple of hours of sleep before the kiddos are up and at em again.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday!

God bless!

Our Family Favorite Thanksgiving Desserts for 2018 (plus a peek at our Thanksgiving Menu)

I know this is a tad bit late but maybe it will be helpful for those of you still trying to find that perfect dessert for your family get together. Below are the 10 desserts that made the cut for our family Thanksgiving Dinner this year:

  1. Luscious Four Layer Pumpkin Cake
  2. Blackberry Pig in a Poke (I may try to experiment with a simpler version.)
  3. Chocolate Pudding Pie – (This was something I always looked forward too with my Mom-Mom)
  4. German Chocolate Pie
  5. Pumpkin Pie
  6. Pecan Pie
  7. Pumpkin Roll
  8. Brownies
  9. Easy Banana Pudding
  10. Cheesecake

I’m not sure if all of these will be homemade or store bought as I have quite a bit on my To-Do list already. I know that my oldest daughters will be helping with some of the dishes as well as other guests. Just writing this post has made me HUNGRY!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Want a peek at our Menu? Look below:

Thanksgiving Dinner 2018

I’ve also sent out a ‘draft’ with names beside each dish so everyone remembers who was making what… lol… I’m so forgetful sometimes it really helps. Many of these recipes can be found on our blog as well!

Just Like Grandma’s Chocolate Pudding

I don’t know if this is actually the recipe that my Mom-mom used but it is close. If you don’t like the ‘skin’ that cooked pudding has then simply place a piece of plastic wrap over the warm pudding so that the wrap touches the top of the pudding. When cool you remove the wrap and the ‘skin’.

Just Like Grandma’s Chocolate Pudding

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2/3 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. cocoa powder
  • 4 T. cornstarch
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 2-1/4 cups milk
  • 2 T. butter or margarine
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

DIRECTIONS:

In a medium size saucepan whisk together the first four ingredients. Slowly stir in the milk.

Cook this mixture over medium heat until it boils. Stir constantly and boil for about 1 minute.

Remove your pan from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla.

Pour into a serving bowl and chill for about 2-3 hours.

For Pie:

I usually only use 2 cups of milk and then pour this into a baked pie shell or a graham cracker crust. Chill for 2-3 hours. Top with whipped cream, if desired.

 

Pumpkin Pie Filling From Scratch

I know that this time of year there are ao many pumpkin related recipes going around but Pumpkin Pie is a big traadition around here so I wanted to share our recipe. You can put this into a store bought pie shell or try your hand at a made scratch from pie crust as well.

Pumpkin Pie Filling From Scratch

Ingredients:

  • 1 pie crust, store bought or made from scratch
  • 2 c. pumpkin, cooked and mashed
  • 1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar
  • 2 t. pumpkin pie spice (or 1/2 t. ground cinnamon, 1/2 t. ground ginger, 1/2 t. ground nutmeg)
  • 1/2 t. salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400.

Put your pie crust into you pie pan.

Mix together the remaining ingredients and pour into the pie shell.

Bake 40 -50 minutes or until the center is done.

Enjoy as is or with cool whip.

Strangers Did My Grocery Shopping This Weekend And I’m Glad!

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This might sound a bit scary to some of you as it did to me, at first. Last year I started doing a few ‘Click n Pull’ orders from Sam’s Club  and I loved the ease and convenience of the whole process. Not to mention the time (and $$) it saved me by not walking the whole store every time I needed something. (Don’t you hate it when stores move something and it takes FOREVER to find it? I’ve found that stores have been rearranging EVERYTHING for the holidays and I spend so much time trying to find our ‘regular’ items it’s not even funny!)

Well, some of you may already be familiar with the Grocery Pickup service offered at some Walmarts but I hadn’t had the chance to give it a try although I really wanted to. After shopping with all of the kids last week and realizing how hard it is to get around some of the stores this time of year I figured now is as good a time as any to give it a go. Continue reading Strangers Did My Grocery Shopping This Weekend And I’m Glad!

Free Printable Shopping Guide

I know, I know …. some of us just don’t want to think about Christmas shopping yet, even though I have already bought a couple of gifts. However I am getting a lot of requests about what my kiddos want or what sizes they are wearing so I think its time to make up my list so I can send it to those people who have asked for information.

Usually I just write it out on a piece of notebook paper but I thought others might benefit from this idea too so instead of just telling you about it I am including a FREE Printable Shopping Guide for you to use as well.

shopping guide

This can be used to write down information for your family or for information about others that you may need to shop for. You can even file this away for future reference for birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Just snap a photo of the completed form and you’ll always have it handy when shopping or if someone calls to ask you for sizes when you are knee deep in the mud trying to rescue a ball from being eaten by Mr. Snappy the friendly turtle… another story for another day.

I will be making mine up just as soon as I hit that blue Publish button. I’ll write or type in each child’s name, sizes (clothing and shoes), their favorite/preferred colors, and anything they might be interested in which for us will be lots of dinosaurs and little house on the prairie… lol. The notes will be used for other information that I might need to give like their ages or ‘assigned’ color. Yeah…. we color code some things around here like cups, baskets, and school items to help keep track of things with so many kiddos.

Anyway here is the link again to the download:

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE PRINTABLE SHOPPING GUIDE

Enjoy and happy shopping!