Category Archives: Life

White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting (original recipe from Cookies & Cups)

makes 4 cups of frosting

Ingredients:

1 lb (2 cups) butter

2 cups white chocolate chips

Instructions:

1. In a medium saucepan combine butter and white chocolate chips.

2. Melt together over low heat, stirring. The butter and white chocolate will separate.

3. When everything is melted remove from heat and allow to sit for 15 minutes or so. Place saucepan in fridge and refrigerate until the mixture becomes solid, approx 3 hours. I actually let mine sit overnight.

4. When you’re ready to prepare the frosting, remove from fridge and let it sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes or so, to take the chill off.

5. Place entire mass into bowl of stand mixer and beat for 2­3 minutes until frosting becomes light and fluffy.

6. Pipe or frost cupcakes or cake.

Notes If made ahead, you can store at room temperature for up to a day. If stored for longer in fridge, you will need to whip the frosting again, as it will get solid.

December 21, 2016

Well today did not go as planned or as expected. I have been waiting for a melt down from DS14 as he had a doctor appointment last week, a lab appointment this week, and all the excitement from the upcoming holiday. Today was the day.

I did get up and have my morning quiet time with little noise from anyone. As soon as he heard me enter the kitchen it started. There was no warning, no signs, no gradual warm up as we sometimes have. It was full blown yelling at me through his bedroom door. I greeted him as usual and instructed him to go to the bathroom, trying to keep on our normal routine and praying that this would be it.

Unfortunately it was not, it was just the beginning and we went through a mega meltdown, much bigger than I had anticipated. Everyone did the best they could to stay focused on their school work and to continue on with the day as normal. Once he was calmed down he decided to be extra sweet but wanted to stay in his room.

I have learned that these moments,when things are so trying and exhausting, are when we realize the awesome power of love. By not over reacting to his outbursts he is able to feel the love that we all have for him. It helps him to calm down whereas if we reacted by screaming or yelling it would only fuel his frustration and push him further over the edge.

I don’t blame anyone for the way they react because prior to having him in my life I may have reacted in a similar fashion. I may have thought he was just a spoiled brat trying to get his way. Knowing him as I know him I can usually tell when we are building up to a melt down. I also know a lot of the things that can trigger a melt down. I do my best to help him avoid these things or prepare for them in advance but there are times that things pop up and can not be avoided or prepared for.

I know that he does not enjoy them nor does he fully understand them. I can only imagine how it must feel to completely lose control and not understand what is happening. The only way he knows to respond is to yell, scream, hit, kick, or act out in other various manners. So we will just continue to work on learning ways to calm down and more positive ways to express our feelings.

I am extremely thankful that his melt down occurred at home instead of at the doctor’s office, the lab, or anywhere else. It is so much easier to help him through these if he is in familiar surroundings. Not too mention that the tension and comments from strangers do not always help very much in those situations.

When naptime finally arrived I was exhausted and all I could think of was a nap for myself. I knew that there were some things that really needed to get finished though. I enlisted the help of one of Santa’s elves, aka DD17, and started to wrap gifts. Then my friend came by for a visit. Just talking to her helped to reenergize me and lift my spirits. We exchanged gifts and one of the ones she had given me will definitely be one that will give me encouragement in the future.

After wrapping I finished up a couple more things on my To-Do list and began to make dinner. DS3 & DS4 were extremely interested in learning about all the herbs and seasonings that I was using. We also learned about kitchen safety around the hot stove and how it important it is for them not to play with the stove or the oven. I have found that including them in the dinner prep and trying to answer the questions they have makes them more interested in trying new foods and dishes.

The kids also learned how to make your own bread crumbs as Momma could not locate the container of Italian bread crumbs in the cabinet. They asked for mashed potatoes instead of salad too. I did not have the energy to peel the potatoes so we made some instant potatoes to go with dinner. (By adding a little sour cream it makes them almost as good as from scratch.)

While preparing dinner we were serenaded by DS14 who was singing his versions of his favorite Christmas carols. He also made me aware that he was hungry every five minutes or so. At one point he also started an argument with his little brothers about reindeer genealogy… lol… they have been researching reindeer a lot this week. I’m sure someone will need me to ask my friend, Google, for the answer to settle the argument.

The boys had a lot of fun playing with all of the empty shipping boxes from the gifts we had wrapped. They rearranged them again and again to make houses, castles, and a variety of other structures. Not too mention that DS8 helped the little boys hide in the boxes so they could scare Momma a few times. (Did I mention that the empty wrapping paper rolls make great pretend light sabers, too?)

My older two went to town to run a few errands and just came back with some ice cream and chicken gizzards. I love how thoughtful they are! I’m gonna get out some hot sauce, eat a few gizzards, maybe a bit of ice cream, and then snuggle in my warm cozy bed.

So all in all, it was a pretty good day. The melt down was definitely not the highlight of the day but I have to take the good with the bad. I’ll take a melt down at home over a melt down in public any day.

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!

Fish w/Honey Mustard Sauce

I like fish and I like mustard but when I first saw this recipe I wasn’t quite sure that the two would go together very well. Surprisingly they did go together and my kids love the combination.

Fish w/Honey Mustard Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 T. oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 8-10 medium fish fillets, I often use tilapia, salmon, or swai
  • 2 t. paprika
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • 1/4 c. Dijon mustard
  • 2 T. honey

Directions:

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook onion until translucent.
Sprinkle fish with paprika and salt and pepper to taste and add to the skillet. Cook for 2 minutes per side or until nicely browned. Remove from the skillet and keep warm.
In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Add this mixture to the skillet, stir well and scrape up the bits from the bottom of the pan.
Return the cooked fish to the skillet and simmer for a minute or two. Serve with sauce drizzled over the top.

Note: I usually double the glaze and add a little water to it as everyone really likes it!

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!

Daily School Routine

Below is a copy of the checklist I made for the kids. This is just a simple checklist for their independent work. The pictures help the younger ones who can not yet read. DS14 also works best if he has a visual guide to follow.We have a few things that we do as a group, like our Bible studies, which are not included on the list.

I have found that this helps to keep them motivated as they can visually see what needs to be completed before they get to play. This also helps keep me organized as I can check their lists too.

I printed them out in color and laminated a copy for each child so they can check them off with a dry erase marker. I will also be posting a copy on our bulletin board in the kitchen as that is where we do the majority of our school work.

daily-school-routine

If your kiddos seem to have trouble remembering what needs finished or if they are constantly asking you what they need to do next maybe you should try making them a checklist as well. It will not only keep you from being so frazzled but will also help to make them more independent and responsible.

Happy Schooling!

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.

Sopapillas

My kids just love saying this, Sopapillas (Soap-ah-Pee-yas)! These are so easy to make and can be eaten plain, with the cinnamon and sugar mixture, or topped w/whipped cream and strawberry preserves.

These have been a NO-NO for me as I have been trying to eat better but I figured out a way to make them a little healthier so we can still enjoy them from time to time.

Sopapillas

Ingredients:

  • 8-10 flour tortillas, the smaller ones work better
  • canola oil for frying
  • 2 T. cinnamon
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • whipped cream, optional
  • strawberry preserves or ice cream topping, optional
  • honey, optional

Directions:

Use a pizza cutter or scissors to cut each tortillas into 4 wedges.

Combine the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl.

Heat the oil over a medium-high skillet. Fry tortillas until lightly browned and drain on a plate lined with paper towels. The tortillas will puff up as they cook.

Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar while warm.

Top with whipped cream and a drizzle of strawberry preserves, if desired. Can also be served with a drizzle of honey.

Note:

You can make these a little healthier by using low carb tortillas, coconut oil, and this cinnamon sugar mixture:

Use 2 T cinnamon to every 1/2 c. Stevia to make it in larger batches.

Also, go easy on the toppings and try to use sugar-free versions, if possible.


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 –Thank you!

 

Skillet Chicken

This is truly tasty dish that I really enjoy to prepare and eat. It does take a bit longer to prepare but it is so worth it! This is really good served with mashed potatoes to ladle the gravy over.

You could probably half the recipe or double it to fit your needs.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 T. canola or olive oil
  • 8-10 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 t. dried thyme
  • 1 T. garlic powder
  • 1 t. onion powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/3 c. water
  • 2 T. cornstarch
  • 4 T. chopped parsley, optional but puts a really pretty finishing touch

Directions:

Heat the oil in a skillet with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat. Cook the chicken, this may need to be done in batches, until slightly browned. When all chicken is cooked transfer it to a plate to keep warm.

In a small bowl, combine the seasonings (thyme through black pepper). Sprinkle seasonings over chicken and keep warm. Add 1 cup of water to the skillet and whisk up all of those browned bits from the bottom of the pan; bring to a boil.

Add chicken back to the skillet, cover and simmer for 10 to 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Transfer chicken back to a plate to keep warm.

Combine cornstarch and remaining water; add to pan broth and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. At this point you can add the chicken back to the pan or simply plate the chicken and serve with the gravy over top. Garnish with parsley, if desired.

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.