Friday, October 7, 2011

Homeschool ideas (and it won't even feel like school)!

Just thought I'd take minute to toss out some "sneaky" ways to fit in school without your kids even thinking of it as school.  What could be better?

1)  Teach your kids to read prices with their favorite catalogue.  In my son's case he really likes a store called Outback Toys filled with all kinds of tractors.  He learned to read prices in less than a week and he did it all without really thinking of it as school.  He got to look at this favorite toys and I got in a math lesson.  That's what I'm talking about.

2)  With Christmas coming up I saw my son looking at his new Lego catalogue.  I told him to make a "wish list" of all the sets he would like to have.  I told him to include the item number, the name of the set and the price it cost.  In order to do this he had to read (to make sure he was looking at the right set) and write. 

I'm convinced more and more that homeschooling involves thinking outside the box.  Not all learning comes from sitting in a desk using conventional schoolbooks (although there is a place for this).  Sometimes kids are learning the most when we don't even realize it.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Kiss Your Diet Goodbye Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns! read that right!  Go ahead kiss your diet least just for today. Those who know me, know how much I love pumpkin.  You can read about my pumpkin obsession here. But for now, just know that you want NEED to try these cinnamon buns.  I started with a basic recipe, but as usual I changed it to fit my taste buds.  These take a little time, but they are sooooo worth it.  Come on Celebrate the season with me...and let your waistline go a little crazy as you enjoy one of these babies!

You will Need:
2 Packages of active dry yeast
1/2 cup of warm water (110-115)
4 eggs
1 cup of shortening
1 cup of canned pumpkin
1 cup of warm milk (110-115)
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of packed brown sugar
1/3 cup of instant butterscotch pudding
1/3 cup of instant vanilla pudding
1 tsp. of salt
7-8 cups of flour

For the Filling:
1 1/2 sticks of butter (approx.)  Some of this is used to butter your pans
1 cup of packed brown sugar
2 tsp. of cinnamon.
*The butter is for spreading on the dough and the pans.  Don't mix with the brown sugar and cinnamon.

For the Icing:
1/4 cup butter melted
3 T. of real maple syrup
1/2 cup of strong coffee
1 tsp. of vanilla
1/3 tsp. of cinnamon
5 cups of conf. sugar
*This is more of a "drizzle" then frosting, so don't be worried if it seems thin.  As it sits, it thickens.

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water.  Add the eggs, shortening, pumpkin, warm milk, sugars, pudding mixes, salt and 6 cups of flour.

Beat until smooth.  Mix in enough additional flour to make smooth and elastic.  I used my kitchen-aid but hands work just fine:)

Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top.
Cover and let Rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down and divide in half.  Roll each portion into a 12-in.X 8-in. rectangle.

Brush with butter and sprinkle with half of the cinnamon filling.  Leave some space around the edges (about 1/2 inch).  Roll up jelly-roll style starting with a long side.  Pinch seams closed.

Cut each into 12 slices and place in buttered pans.  Repeat with other portion.  Cover and let rise until doubled. 

Bake at 350 for 25-28 minutes until golden brown.  Spread icing over warm buns.

Enjoy these warm from the oven with (of course) more icing drizzled on top.  You might want to schedule about 3-4 hours of treadmill time in there somewhere.  Blessings to all!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Healthy Chocolate Milk...It's really good!

Hey there everyone.  It's been a few weeks longer than I like to go before updating my blog, but with homeschooling in full swing and a bunch of other "life" stuff, I just haven't had the time to update.  You will be happy to know that in my mind I have about 20 posts floating just to get them on the computer right?  So just a quick recipe today.  My kiddos love chocolate milk...okay the hubs and I love it to, but I just cringe watching chocolate milk being made with syrup from a bottle.  It is just loaded with all kinds of ingredients that aren't that great for us.  I DO NOT claim to know everything about health food, but making changes here and there really does help in the long run.  This recipe is loosely adapted from a recipe on the Internet, but I changed up the ingredients to suit our taste.  Give it a try.  No fancy or weird ingredients needed.  I Love chocolate and if I say it's good....IT IS GOOD!

You will need:

4 Cups of milk
3 Tab. of cocoa powder
4 Tab. of PURE maple syrup...not the fake stuff!
1 tsp. of vanilla

Add all these ingredients to your blender and mix until thoroughly combined.  Serve right away or refrigerate.  If you dont' use it right away you will have to mix/shake it up again before you serve.  It kind of separates, but don't worry, it still taste great!  This is chocolate milk you don't have to feel guilty about!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Hobby Lobby Heaven!

If there is such a thing as Hobby Lobby Heaven I do believe I've died and gone there.  I really, totally, completely, fanatically love this store.  Besides the fabulous selection of home decor items, there is enough craft items to keep me busy from now until who knows when.  Did I mention they have a really great selection of Harvest/Christmas Items?  They have a really great selection of ornaments and just about anything else you might need for the Holidays.  There is only one problem...whenever I go in there I can't decide what to buy!  I like sewing and go ga-ga for fabrics, I love scrapbooking and card making and lose my mind over cute papers and embellishments!  I usually pick-up and put back a couple of times before I finally decide what to buy.  I almost have to go in with a list or I'm a mess.  With Hobby Lobby only being 15 minutes from my house, I think my husband is getting ready to have my license revoked:) 

Have a great Sunday everyone!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Hold Hands with your Hubby!

I love holding my husband's hand.  When our hands are together it feels like we can face anything.  When I think of my husbands hand I think of love, patience, hard work and sacrifice.  My husband held my hand when we were dating, he held my hand the day we got married, he has held my hand when I 've been sick, he still holds my hand "just because" and I'm sure when we are old and can't do much of anything else he will still hold my hand, and I his.  Holding hands says a lot.  It is such a easy thing to do so why don't we do it more?  You can use your hands for a lot of questionable things, but you can also do so much good as well.  You can care for your children, make a meal for someone, rub your husband's back, give his hand a squeeze when things are get the idea.  Think of what an inconvenience it would be to not have your hands; now think of all the good you can do with the ones you have.  I forget sometimes too, but today I'm going to make sure I hold my hubby's hand.  Will you?  Click the link below to hear a great song I think you will really enjoy and really reiterates what I am saying. Please make sure you pause my blog music at the bottom of my blog so the songs don't play at the same time.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Since tomorrow is the first day of September (the day Fall officially begins for me) I am posting a delicious recipe.  If you like pumpkin lattes you really need to try this recipe.  Being a coffee connoisseur, I really think this is good.  The only thing that I would do different is if you have a sieve to pour the milk/pumpkin mixture through as you add to the coffee go ahead and use it. If you don't have one, don't worry, it still tastes just as good.  Here you go!

You will need:

1/2 cup of ground coffee (try to use "good" just taste better).
1 1/2 cups of water
3 Cups of whole milk
3/4 cup of canned pumpkin
1/3 cup of packed brown sugar
Scant teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
Whipped cream and additonal cinnamon for garnish.

Brew the coffee and water in your drip coffee maker.  Meanwhile in a large pan combine the milk, pumpkin, brown sugar and spice.  Cook and stir over medium heat until steaming.  Divide the coffee among five mugs; add pumpkin mixture.  Garnish with whipped cream and additional cinnamon.

These are soooooo.... good.  Have a great Day.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It Doesn't Take Much to Make Me Happy

I'm all about simple things.  It is often the simple things in life that make us most happy.  Take a few minutes today to think about all the little things that truly make you happy...not the things you think you need to be happy.  Here's some things I thought of.

Cold sheets

The smell of wood smoke in crisp Autumn air

A cozy blanket

The crackle of wood in a fire

The sound of walking in crisp Autumn leaves

Holding my hubbies hand

A hot cup of coffee on a cool morning

A good book

The whistle of wind

Reading my Bible in the morning

Seeing my hubby pull into the driveway after being gone all day

Flannel pajamas

My daughters curls

My son on a tractor

The sound of sleighbells in winter

A sweet, crunchy apple

Making a home cooked meal for my family

Warm hats and mittens

A cup of cocoa

Christmas Music

The flicker of a candle

I could go on and on...What simple things are you thankful for?

S'more Pancakes!

Why not do something really special for your kiddos some morning before school.  I think any kid who sees these on their breakfast plate would be a happy camper.  I have seen several adaptions of this recipe, but I really didn't follow one so I will just tell you what I did.  Take a look.

Yummy...stop drooling:)

Here's what you'll need:

Pancake mix (whatever you prefer...want mine?  Click HERE).
Chocolate Chips
Marshmallow Creme
Graham Crackers

Here's what you do:

Cook your pancakes according to the recipe you use.  Just before you flip them over throw on some chocolate chips.  Once they're done put them on a plate and slather some marshmallow creme over the top.  Sprinkle with chocolate chips and crushed graham crackers (I used cinnamon teddy grahams).  Change up the ingredients for endless possibilities.  I wouldn't recommend serving this everyday...a little sweet maybe...but definitely a really nice treat for the kids.  Blessings.

What's In My Coffee Cupboard

Since my blog is all about the simple life...I thought I'd share what I feel is one of life's simple pleasures...A GOOD cup of coffee.  For all of you who may not be coffee drinkers (shame on you!) maybe its a cup of tea or hot chocolate.  At any is what's in my coffee cupboard.

I think that at any given time, I have several types of coffee in my house.  This isn't even all that I have right now...I have some flavored coffee as well.  I really love coffee, but having said that, I'm not a person who drinks cup after cup.  I'm more like a 2-3 cup a day drinker.  Seriously, I'm all about the experience of drinking coffee...the taste, the smell etc...I really enjoy my java.  And I enjoy it even more when its cold outside.  So what do you like to drink...what kind of coffee do you prefer?  I love to read your comments so feel free to leave one.  Have a Great Day!

Monday, August 29, 2011

First Day of School

Much as I hate to admit it...there is a certain degree of "fun-ness" (is that a word?) to  the first day of school.  I love the smell of new books and the feel of pages that have never been opened.  I can't say for sure but I'm not totally convinced that my children share these same sentiments.  I'm guessing that when I asked my son if he was ready to start school and he went..."aww..."followed by a contorted face that he wasn't reveling in the whole new book thing like myself.  But school must go on!

I'm so thankful that I get to homeschool.  Sometimes it's hard..I won't lie...but when I think of the alternatives...I realize that is is worth any sort of inconvenience.  When I woke up this morning I prayed that God would help me to be loving, patient and to speak kind words to my children as I teach them.  The "teaching" part is easy.  I was always a nerd in school...I loved school.  But the part that doesn't always come as easy is the patience, love, kindness, long-suffering, understanding.  I dare say that those are the most important.  I'm praying for a great year filled with fun, learning and growing together.  It is such a blessing to be able to have my kids home with me where I can direct their hearts and where they can truly "be themselves" without any sort of peer pressure to be something they're not.  To all of you who are beginning school...have a great year.  Wherever your kids attend school...bathe the school year in prayer, prayer and more prayer.  I don't want my kids to see my flesh as I teach them...I want them to see the fruits of the spirit being exercised in my life. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

My Cozy Kitchen

Today I was busy canning tomatoes and baking some zucchini bread with veggies from our Garden.  As the tomatoes were boiling in the canning pot, two loaves of whole wheat zucchini bread were cooling on the baking rack and simmering on the stove was a lovely pot of macaroni soup. For those of you who read my previous post about my love of macaroni soup... I just couldn't wait...I opened up one of my jars of tomatoes and threw a pot together.  My taste buds appreciated it.  And the thing that makes me most happy is that my kids loved the macaroni soup just like I did when I was little!  I don't think there are many things more cozy to me then the smells of the kitchen and the sounds of my children playing around the house.  All these things are what make a plain ole' house a HOME.  It is what my kids will remember when they are older and what makes me most happy in the here and now.  I am so thankful for the bounty of food the Lord has given us.  He daily loadeth us with benefits!

For the recipe I use for the zucchini HERE.

And here it is....the love of my life (well besides my hubs).

Have a simply great day everyone.  Remember to stop and be thankful for the little things.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

People Chow!

The recipe I'm sharing today has many versions and variations.  However the one I use comes from this lovely Gooseberry Patch Book:

Sorry about the flash in the picture.

The recipe calls for the following:

1 stick of butter
2 Cups of milk chocolate chips
1 cup of creamy peanut butter
1 box of rice Chex (17 1/2 oz.) I have used slightly less with satisfactory results.
1 bag (16 oz.) of confectioners sugar.

Combine butter, peanut butter and chocolate chips in a saucepan.  Melt over medium heat, stirring often. Pour over cereal and mix until thoroughly coated.  Place cereal in a paper sack, sprinkle in powdered sugar.  Fold down the top of the paper sack and shake well.  makes 3 pounds or about 12 servings.

Caution:  This stuff is addicting!  Author is not responsible for any accrued weight while consuming this recipe:)  I wonder if you eat it while walking on a treadmill it "cancels" out calories?

On a different note...every time my kids and I make this recipe it recalls special memories since it's tradition that I make this recipe every Christmas Eve. Do you have a recipe that has a sweet memory attached to it?  If so, share it with us.

"I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month."
 ~Harlan Miller~

Two more little reasons why I LOVE Fall!

I went to the store today to pick up a few misc. items but decided to stroll down the home fragrance aisle and... my heart leapt for joy.  There sitting on the shelf was a whole display of lovely new Fall scents by glade and Airwick.  Knowing I had coupons for these items I grabbed three and left on my merry way.  Is it weird that I look forward to going home and cleaning and then spraying (or plugging in) a Fall scent.  Hey what can I say...I'm easy to please.  Here's what I found!

The sprays are a scent that Glade came out with last year called "Cashmere Woods."  I sooooooo love this scent.  It reminds me of a cross between a woodsy smell and a comfy sweater with the lingering scent of perfume on it. 

The Airwick scent is called "Hot Chocolate and Fireside."  If that doesn't say enough...chocolate and the smell of a cozy fire...I think I'm in love.  Do you have a favorite fall scent?  If so please share it with me in the comment section.  Have a great day:)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


As I sat outside this morning drinking my coffee...I realized how content I felt.  As I sat on my porch and felt the warmth of the coffee cup in my hand and the cool breeze brushing against my skin I had such a feeling of contentment.  I really, truly love the simple life.  I like quiet moments and small blessings.  I was thinking to my self how richly I have been blessed and how wonderful God is.  I was thinking about all the wonderful things the Lord has provided for my family and I.  Just last night I was silently thinking (maybe not even praying necessarily) that I wanted to find some new curtains for my bedroom (the ones I bought not long ago were too dark so I used them somwhere else) but right now it's not in the budget...especiall since I have expensive taste sometimes.  We were at a thrift shop and lo and behold I found the most perfect curtains.  They were like new and exactly what I was looking for.  It reminded me once again...that God cares about even the little things and that He hears requests sometimes left unspoken.  Things here have been a little tighter than normal...but that's life.  The thought struck me that I really need not worry about money or the false sense of security it Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills.  Blessings

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Hot Cakes!

Today I'm sharing my hotcake recipe.  To me hotcakes (I prefer hotcakes instead of pancakes) are the ultimate comfort food.  I have searched high and low to find a recipe that I like.  This recipe was actually one of the more simple ones but it's become my favorite.

You will need:
1 1/4 cups of flour
1 Tab. of baking powder
1 Tab. of sugar
1/2 tsp. of salt
1 egg
1 1/3 cup of buttermilk
2 Tab. of veg. oil.

Stir together dry ingredients.  Stir together wet ingredients.  Mix together until moistened.  Don't over should still have some lumps.  It should look something like this:
Butter (use REAL butter) to grease your skillet.  Immediately start dropping batter onto the skillet (whatever size you like).  They are ready to flip when they look something like this:
Cook until the bottom is golden brown.  Quickly put these babies on a plate and put some butter on top.  Drizzle with syrup and enjoy.  Make sure you share!

Countdown to Fall!

To say that I am excited about the arrival of Fall would be the understatement of the century!  I wait all Summer for Fall to burst on the scene in all of its wondrous glory.  Thought I would give some reasons why I love fall so much!

1)  I love the colors...they are so warm and inviting.  It's no coincidence that my whole house is pretty much Fall colors.

2)  I love the Cinnamon Butter that Country Crock comes out with in the Fall/Winter Season.  Have you tried it?  You need to!

3)  I Love the aroma of flavored coffees brewing in my coffee pot...hazelnut, pumpkin spice, Golden French Toast...O Baby...Be still my heart.

4)  I love the smell of homemade baked goods filling my house...especially anything with pumpkin.

5)  I love my Northface Fleece...we hardly ever are away from eachother.

6)  I love scarves

7)  Honey Crisp Apples...Need I say more?

8)  Saturdays spent at Fall festivals with the hubs and kids.

9) Pumpkins, Gourds and haybales...O my!

10)  Starbucks Pumpkin Spice's a beautiful thing.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Gooseberry Patch-Rise and Shine Quiche

Don't you just love the cover of this cozy:)

I don't think I've found a bad Gooseberry Patch Book yet.  They are all so quaint and filled with such great ideas.  I happened to try a recipe from this book simply because I had all the ingredients on hand...and needed to use up some hash browns in the freezer.  Turns out that everyone loved it.  They cleaned the pan and asked for more.  I definitely will be making this again.

You will need:

24 oz. pkg. frozen diced potatoes, thawed
1/3 cup butter melted
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup of shredded Swiss cheese (I used Monterrey Jack because it's what I had)
1 cup of cooked ham diced
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1/4 t. of seasoned salt

Press potatoes into the bottom of a greased 9X9 pan; brush with butter.  Bake at 425 for 25 minutes: top with cheeses and ham.  Set aside.  Beat milk, eggs and salt; pour over cheese mixture.  Reduce heat to 350 and bake for an additional 25-35 minutes (depends on your oven). 

Here is is right out of the oven!

Here's the quiche ready to eat...that lovely slice of bread is homemade Maple Wheat Bread that I made today.

Homemade Tomato Sauce...Yummo!

I had a few cooked tomatoes left over from canning so I decided to turn them into spaghetti sauce.  I really, really, really love just about any form.  It's even better with some homeade sauce.  I really didn't follow a recipe, but I will kind of give a rough estimate below.

I started with I'm guessing about 6 cups of tomatoes. 

I then added the following:

1 Tab. of dried parsley
1 tsp. of oregano
1 tsp. of basil
1 tsp. of italian seasoning
2 tsp. of garlic salt
1/2 tsp. of thyme
1 tsp. of salt
1 Tab. of olive oil

I basically cooked down the tomatoes a little and then added all the ingrdients.  I just kept adjusing the taste.  I added more garlic....because I LOVE garlic.  It came out really fresh tasting.  I'm really looking forward to eating it on a cold winter night.  

Friday, August 12, 2011

Canning Memories!

Is is just me, or does anyone else think canning jars are so pretty?  I love the simplicity of canning and the memories it brings back of yesteryear.  I love knowing I picked these tomatoes out of my garden this week and now they are ready to be put away for later use.  There is nothing like a fresh garden tomato, free of pesticides.  They really make my heart go pitter-patter.  Canned tomatoes bring back memories of my Grandma.  I remember watching her can tomatoes in her kitchen and boy...were they ever good.  I remember she would tell my Grandpa to go down to the basement and get a jar of that moment I knew she was going to make macaroni soup.  It was my favorite. She would brown some hamburger with a little onion, add the tomatoes, let it simmer a bit and then add some elbow macaroni.  She probably added a few other things but that's all I remember.  She would serve it in a bowl with some fresh Italian bread and REAL butter and it was soooo good!  To this day it is why I still absolutely love canned tomatoes.

My Mom came over last night to help me can...mostly because I wanted to make sure I was doing everything exactly right.  My Mom, my daughter and I all peeling tomatoes, seeds and juice flying was a special memory.  I'm sure there are tomato seeds and juice still lurking in my kitchen somewhere, only to be discovered at a later date.  Being in the kitchen with my Mom and daughter reminded me of a simpler time when people were happy with just having enough to eat and the strength to do the jobs that needed to be done.  And as I was cleaning up, I thanked the Lord for the fresh clean water we had to use after a day of hard work...a simple thing we take for granted but I am SO thankful that we have it...and a nice comfortable bed to crash in after a long day.  I am already anticipating making some macaroni soup with some fresh homemade bread and REAL butter...Come and Get it!
" A thing of beauty is  joy forever."

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Vintage Christmas Cards

My son designed this one...with just a little help from me:)

I totally LOVE vintage things...especially things from the 40's-50's.  As I was in my craft room (area) working away I had a brain storm.  I had all these really pretty Christmas cards that I had saved in a box because I just couldn't bear to throw away such lovely pictures.  I kept thinking to myself...maybe I can use these later.  Well there they sat for way to long...until today.  We re-furbished old cards into lovely vintage Christmas cards.  No two are alike...which makes them extra-special.  The kids even joined in and had a ball.  Check them out and give them a try yourself.  I just love looking at them:)  Maybe I'll send one to myself!

Doing my Christmas dreaming...a little early this year!

christmas scenes Pictures, Images and Photos

Hey everyone...I was just looking at my last post and realized I was going on a month. I really don't like to go that long without posting something...somehow the time got away from me. I have been super busy trying to get our home school material ready for this year. On top of that I have also been trying to get some painting done around the house. So the title of this post suggest I am doing my Christmas Dreaming...although I don't think for me it's that early. Everyone knows I love Christmas. I love the colors, the smells, the cold, the lights, flannel sheets and Christmas Decorations. My heart rate is increasing just thinking about it all. So anyway...about this time every year I pull out my paper and pen and plan all the recipes I want to make, plan out gift giving and holiday meals. I even think about my decorations and what I want to try that's new. You may even catch me listening to a Christmas tune while I happily make cards or sew gifts. Crazy for some, but that's just me. I guess I should emphasize that for me the Holiday season starts in September and goes through December. It only comes once a year and I like to enjoy it. As soon as September rolls around you can bet I'm thinking of my fall decorations and the Thanksgiving turkey...did someone say Turkey? Mashed Potatoes with gravy? So here are a few pictures of the cards I've been making. Some I like better than others...but as I get going I feel more creative. Also the containers I made for our cookie swap out of oatmeal containers are at the bottom.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


Today was kind of a bittersweet day...we found out a good friend is expecting a new life, our Grandpa is at the end of his life (only a very short time left) and some dear friends who have been at our church for over four months are moving on to someplace else (her husband's work takes them to many different places).  Days like this always cause me to be still and ponder.  One thing is for sure in life and that is....that life always changes.  Everyday life begins and ends, people come and go and life just keeps changing.  In the case of our Grandpa...he and Grandma have been married for over 59 years.  I wonder what it must be like to one day wake up and the person you have had by your side for almost all your life is no longer there.  No more hand to hold, no more smile to look at, no more gentle laugh or sweet voice to listen to (by the way they had a fantastic of love and sacrifice).  Sometimes when death is near it makes us think about the things that are most important...the things that really matter.
In the case of our Grandpa...he isn't really dying.  In fact, he is going to be really alive for the first time in his life.  No more pain or death for him.  It's all uphill from this point.  You see all of us are dying everyday.  Do you ever think about that?  All of our lives are winding down.  Sure we don't often think about it and perhaps we don't want to dwell on death all the time, but then again...maybe it would help us keep perspective.
This evening we had a going away party for our dear friends (who feel like family)...but perhaps in heaven they are preparing a "coming home" celebration for our Grandpa and all the other believers who will pass through Heaven's gate..."Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints."
So with all these changes and the sometimes sad or happy feelings they bring, I am reminded once again...that this life is only a dream...Heaven is reality.  We are strangers and pilgrims passing through a foreign land on our way towards home.  If we are Christians we should never really feel "at home" in this world.  I think the loss we sometimes feel when change comes is really just the imprint on the heart of a Christian that this world is not our home.  We all are seeking that home which "God prepared for us before the world began..." 
So while the world keeps changing and rearranging...God is still the same... and Heaven is still Home for the believer.  The old saying "Home Sweet Home" will take on a whole new meaning in Heaven.  There will be no more sickness, no more death and no more good byes to friends we love so dear.  When we enter Heaven's gate we will breathe a sigh and our hearts will say " are finally home."

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Greek Pizza

If you like your veggies and well, feta cheese,then you will love this pizza. My hubby declared it the best Pizza he ever had.  I eat up comments like that!  It's taken me a while to perfect my Pizza crust.  I know how to get the perfect crust everytime...finally.  I like my crust not to thin, crispy on the bottom but still soft when you bite into it.  Feel free to use your own recipe or give mine a try.  I use my kitchen aid for the whole process, but you can easily do it by hand.  Just mix in enough flour by hand to make kneading easier and then keep adding flour as you need to acheive desired consistency.

For the Crust:
1 Cup of warm water (110-115 degrees)
1 Packet of yeast
2 teaspoons of olive oil
1 tsp of salt
About 3 1/2 cups of flour

Combine water and yeast until foamy.  Next add the olive oil and salt along with 2 1/2 cups of flour.  Stir for about 1 minute until combined.  Keep adding flour until you have pliable dough...not to sticky and not to stiff.  Grease a bowl (I keep mine right in the kitchen-aid bowl) and turn dough once to coat.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled.

Once your dough has doubled, preheat oven to 450.

Punch down the dough and let rest for just a minute or two.  For this pizza I use a square pan (15x10).  I like to spray my pan with just a bit of cooking spray and then sprinkle on some corn meal.  Using your HANDS spread the dough out...this should be easy since the dough is so pliable.  Now it's time to assemble the toppings.

You will need:
Alfredo sauce
Fresh parm.cheese
Fresh tomatoes, thinly sliced
Green Pepper
Black olives
Spinach (fresh or frozen that had been thawed and drained
Garlic salt

The reason there are no exact measurements is because you really can use as much or little as you want.  Start by spreading some Alfredo sauce over the crust. Use as much or little as you want...keep in mind you don't want soggy crust.  I used a thin layer for mine.  Sprinkle some parm. cheese over the alfredo.
After you've added the parm., throw some spinach on. Spread a single layer of tomatoes over the entire pizza.  Set aside for just a moment.  Now throw some onions, green pepper and olives in a pan with olive oil.  Over high heat saute unil crisp tender.  I like to let mine sit a few minutes before I stir them, gives the veggies that nice "blackened" look which makes the pizza look rustic.  Once those veggies are done, throw them on top of the tomatoes.  Now sprinkle the feta over all.  Throw on a little more parm. if you like along with a sprinkle of garlic salt.  Now put the pizza in the oven on the lowest rack and cook for about 13-15 minutes.  The feta doesn't melt entirely so go more by the crust.  I sometimes take a spatula to lift up the pizza so I can check the crust to make sure it's crispy...but again...depends on your personal preference.
Remove from the oven and let sit about 5 minutes before cutting.  Dig in and don't forget to SHARE:)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

An Old Fasthioned Family!

Lately I've been thinking about this concept of an "old fashioned" family.  Does it mean that I'm walking around in dress and petty coat?  Does it mean I'm driving a car from the "fifties."  Rather It's a mindset.  Why is everyone so afraid of being labeled "old fashioned."  For some people its a dirty word.  Just because things are new and progressive doesn't automatically mean they are right.  That line of thinking is like a Pandora's box..Once you open it all kind of crazy things might come out.

For me the "Good ole' days" doesn't speak of a time when all was right in the world, but rather when things were more right with how people acted in society in general...I didn't say everyone.  A day when people still had morals, when things were clearly "right or wrong" not "morally acceptable."  So having said's the reason why I consider my family to be...."an old fashioned" family.

~We  teach our children how to act in public and at home.  My kids don't rule the house and dictate where we go. They are taught to look adults in the eye and not to mumble when they talk.  They are given clearly understood directions as to what is acceptable and what is not.  My little boy is taught to care for his sister and love here and watch out for her.

~We teach our kids to the Lord and proper care of things that we own.  That entails not ruining your toys by foolish or rough play, but also includes teaching them the value of a dollar and hard work.  If something gets broke there isn't always money to buy another's a life lesson all kids need to learn.  Take care of things when you are young and you will do the same when you are older.  Many people in the world don't have the luxury of owning things much less ruining them.  Being a good steward and being frugal go hand in hand.

~We still put on our Sunday Best.  Honestly, most people look like they just rolled out of bed when they come to church.  People can get all dolled up for all kinds of things but for some reason when it comes to church it's just too much work.

~We teach our kids that life revolves around church and not vice-versa.  You don't schedule events on church days nor do you miss church for anything other than sickness or being away (which we always try to find a good church).

~Respect for God's house...we teach our children that though we as Christians are the church, the building is the Place we meet to Worship the Lord and it's not a jungle gym.  Yes our kids have acted crazy in church, but its always dealt with and the children are lovingly reminded how "we ought to obey ourselves in the house of God."  Money and time are invested in the church and children need to respect that. In line with that we teach and train our children about proper behaviour at stores, other people's houses etc...  In a nut shell....we teach our children self-control.  There are rules that govern everything we do, so it is only logical that there are rules for how to act in various places.

~Family Meals....we do them faithfully.  Its a standing appointment unless you're sick.  We still pray and read scripture and we teach our children proper manners like "please, thank you and may I be excused."  Because of this we have been able from a very young age to take our children to  fancy restaurants without worry of them misbehaving.  They are growing up enjoying things that many children never get to enjoy because we know they will theatre, musical concerts (good music) etc...

~We all fulfill our rolls...Dad leads, Mom supports and follows (no I'm not perfect, but I know what is required of me) and our children are obedient to their parents.  Things work smoothly and we are all happy fulfilling our God-designed rolls.

~We teach our girl to be a lady (she's still learning and I might add that this doesn't just come from wearing a dress) and we are training our boy to be a man so that he can lead a family someday.  They don't follow modern media and their roll models are not girls dressed like harlots or effeminate boys.

~We live simply...we aren't overcrowded with media, possessions, hobbies (we have them) but we make an effort to keep all things in their place so we can enjoy being a family and have quality time together.  We aren't running around all week taking one kid here, one kid there and Mom and Dad someplace else.  Sometimes people just need to stay still and be thankful for what they have and realize that all the things our society says we need to be successful are only a ploy from satan.  They distract us from the heart of the matter...and that is...dealing with the matter of the heart and it's sinful condition.  Sometimes all of us as people are to "earthly minded."  Maybe we should all start looking beyond this earth into eternity.  To what really what last what is incorruptible and doth not fade away.

So what gets me started on all this...for one is some news articles I've read.  Another is how many Christian families are falling apart and have no impact whatsoever on the world around them.  Maybe this is why God has called my husband and I to ministry....because we are so troubled by what we see around us.  Because we want to be different...because we have told the Lord that we want to be set apart from him.

I Love my husband, I love my kids and I'm so thankful for them.  Were it not for my wonderful husband I may not be where I am today.  He is a faithful, Godly man who works hard for his family and for the Lord. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Spinach and Bean Quesedillas

I threw these together for lunch today using some items I had on hand and they were super fanastically good.  And the best part they are so easy to make...especially on a hot day like today!

All you need is:
Tortillas (any size will do but I used the smallest ones)
Refried beans
Fresh spinach leaves
Colby Jack cheese (or any flavor you like)
little bit of oil
Sour cream

Spread some of the refried beans on one of the tortillas.  Top with some fresh spinach leaves.  Put lots of cheese on top of the spinach and place another toritlla on top.

Place in a preheated and very lightly oiled skillet.  Cook until toasty and lightly brown.  Flip that baby over and do the same for the other side.  Remove from skillet and cut into quarters with a pizza cutter.  Serve with some sour cream (I used Chipolte sour cream...YUM!) and some salsa.  Enjoy!

Monday, June 6, 2011

A very "frugal" shopping trip!

Here is a picture of all the items I bought today.  I thought it might be a little hard to see all the items so I took a few more "up close shots."

I do use a lot of coupons, but I am not a hoarder.  I don't have a storage room for my stuff, I pretty much just use my large chest freezer, my small pantry and underneath my bathroom sink.  I also don't buy things I wouldn't use or no one likes (unless it's completely free and I can give it to someone who needs it.)  For instance...last week I got 7 half gallons of Friendly's ice cream for free.  We don't eat a lot of ice cream so I brought it to church and invited everyone to stay for an impromptu time of fellowship.

Having said that...I'm just happy to get more stuff, for less money, thus making the grocery budget go further.
Also really quick...We really make an effort to eat healthy.  I use primarily Whole Wheat flour in my baking for our family and also really limit white sugar.  I cook almost exclusively from scratch and try not to buy too much prepared food.  In cases like the rice sides you see in the picture....I usally doctor those up with chicken and loads of veggies and fresh lemon.  Don't sacrafice eating well just to save money.  Use your head and buy things you can enhance with fresh fruits, veggies and lean meat.

So this is what I got:

2 Oikos yogurts
3 (6 packs each) of Danimals yougurt tubes
4 (6 packs each) Dan-o-nino Yougurt
1 Smart Balance Spread
2 (18 ct.) Egglands best eggs
Coffee filters (no coupons for those)
3 (1/2 gal.) Smart Balance milk
6 packages of Knorr's Rice sides
4 cases (12 cans each) of soda (this is for treats only.  I don't give my kids much soda)
2 Febreeze sprays
2 Covergirl Natureluxe lip glosses
2 Oral-B Pulsar toothbrushes
2 Colgate 360 toothbrushes
2 Crest Pro-Health mouthwashes (33.8 oz. each)
2 Gillete bodywashes
2 Old Spice Body Washes (Denali and Matterhorn scents)
2 John Frieda shampoo/conditioner
4 packages of Chi-Chis tortillas
1 package of coleslaw
1(36 oz.)Tide stain release (I Love this stuff...gets out just about anything)
Tide Stain release booster pacs (18 count)

Total Before Savings-$189.05
Total After savings and coupons-$44.87
Total savings this trip-$144.18