Interesting Pages You should look at

Monday, December 15, 2014


Searching Pinterest - who knows what for - I found this terrific idea.....

I liked the idea, but had a few ideas to make it 'better.'  To start with, I wanted to add Bible verses.  If you look close you can see that there is a verse after each 'need' listed.  If you are interested in a copy of this (it's in word, so you can change the 'needs' or the verses as you see fit) just leave a message with your email.  We prayed that these would provide whatever was needed to whomever saw the flyer, then Baby girl and I hung some up around church and within an hour - as you can see - several needs were met.  We also hung some up around the local community college, and the bank.  There are some in the truck - along with tape, of course -  so we can hang some up in other places.  We haven't been to the grocery store in a few days, but plan to hang them up wherever we think they will be seen.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Apple Pancakes

In one of my many Pinterest searches lately, I found a recipe for Apple Pancakes.  Sounds yummy.  A little sweet apple added to one of our favorite morning treats.  So, I gave it a try. 

Apple Pancake Rings!  So good and pretty simple to make!  Click on photo to see the recipe I was inspired by.  I used my own scratch pancake mix.  Photos by ♥Lara Croft
This was a fail for me.  

While this treat tasted ok, the pancake was not fully cooked on the flipped side.  Maybe I just need to cut the apple ring thinner - I already had them pretty thin, but maybe they just needed to be even thinner to cook properly.

I pondered this for a few day.  I still had over a dozen apples in the refrigerator and needed some way to entice the kids to eat them.  I can only make so much baby food, the baby only eats 2-4 oz a day of baby food right now.  

Then I had an idea.  What if I diced the apples?

Using my homemade pancake mix, I went for it.

I decided to go for chocolate chip sized pieces since I knew that chocolate chips do not cause the pancakes to cook unevenly.

After mixing your pancake batter - add the apples.

I have a griddle (wanting a Blackstone griddle in the worst way!), but didn't want to pull it out so I used my griddle pan.  Don't heat it too high - pancakes burn easily.

These worked out so much better!  The kids inhaled them and asked for me to make more.  This will be added to my flavored pancake list (along with puffy,  smores, and bacon pancakes!)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Teaching A.D.D.

Are we - as an American society - teaching our children to be ADD?


Next time you are out in public, look around you.  I mean really look.  Now think back ten years.  What were people doing in the waiting room at a doctors office?  On a plane?  On a bus?  Did every man, woman, and child have an electronic device in their hands?  Were children given a movie - just to keep them quiet?  I don't remember ever being given something to keep me quiet.  I had to use my imagination, read a book, or find a toy to play with.  I also spent a lot of time writing or drawing.

Now think back 40 years.  What did people do to amuse themselves?  What did the women do?  Men?  What about the children?

I realize that many people may be reading a book or newspaper on their iPhone - but if you look over shoulders, it's typically Facebook, Instagram, or another social media website.  It drives me crazy to be in a youth service at church and see a teen playing candy crush and not reading their 'electronic Bible.'

When did we become so self-involved that we had to update everybody we know - and even those we don't know well - about every little thing in our lives?  Are we really so important that everyone needs to know the cute thing the cat did?   Do we really need to post about tonight's amazing dinner?  Is that game really that important.  If you don't make it to the next level, your life really will continue.

I know that the internet has helped people reconnect with family.  It's a great way to keep up with my great aunt who lives 5,000 miles away.  I send her emails instead of updating the entire world on my children's day to day activities.

I'm not saying all this is bad. For crying out loud I post a lot on this blog!  What I have a problem with is when we are so involved with telling others about our 'special moment' that we miss it because we are busy telling others - not enjoying it.  What I have a problem with is people who spend time on social media, and not socializing.

I will not let my children have a FB account.  It may seem cruel and unusual - I know most of their friends have one.  I turn mine off until one of them goes to camp and it's the only way to get updates (and photos!).  Why?  Because I see the stuff that people post.  I don't want to see it and I certainly don't want my children to see it either.

Why not turn to the person next to you and strike up a conversation?  How about using that 'smart' phone to make a phone call (NOT in the dr office!) and talk to that friend who is having a hard day.  Why not spend one on one time with your family, instead of sitting in the same room with them and everyone 'connecting' with hundreds of others that you really don't know?

Take the time this Christmas season to put your phone on silent.  Walk away.  20 years ago you were stuck with those people - and no phone to distract you.  It didn't kill you then - and you need to appreciate that time with them now.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Crock pot lasagna

I love cooking in my crock-pot.  I love finding new things too make it useful everyday.  (If you haven't tried the crock pot liners - try them!  They are fantastic!  The only reason I am not using one here is because I run out so fast!)  

So, I had seen a bunch of recipes for 'crock pot lasagna.'  I could not fathom how in the world you would make a casserole in a crock pot and it still come out 'right.'  Then I thought, how can you mess up lasagna?  It's a fancy, expensive spaghetti.  I don't worry about the look because as soon as you start to cut into it, it is no longer pretty (the only time I looks pretty is if you let it cool to almost room temp before cutting any how.)

To start - I do NOT boil my noodles.  No need to.  I do NOT buy the no boil either.  Just trust me.  Not all of the ingredients are shown here - I took the photo before taking some out (oops!)

You need noodles (broken is fine!), tomato sauce (I use cheap spaghetti sauce), mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese (you can sub cottage cheese!  It's cheaper!) and Parmesan (use the stuff in the bag in the dairy section - not the canned stuff, it's more expensive, but tastes better.  I used an Italian blend), and meat.  I use half sausage (jimmy dean type breakfast sausage) and half hamburger/ground turkey.  Depending on the price determines what meat is used.  If turkey is cheaper, I use it instead of hamburger. Since the breakfast sausage has a better flavor than plan hamburger (or even turkey) due to the spice blend, I use some of that.  Due to the price of the sausage, I am financially required to sub some other meat too.

Cover the bottom of your crock pot with tomato sauce - more than this, you are not boiling the noodles, so the raw noodles will need the sauce to soak up moisture and cook.

Add a layer of noodles.  No one will ever know if this layer is broken or all in one piece.

Add cheese - this is cooking, not rocket science.  Just slap it on top of the noodle.  Start with your ricotta, then add the shredded stuff.  Not too much, though. You will need some for the other layers.


At this point, I got the idea to add some fresh basil from the garden.  Might as well use it.  Plus, don't fresh herbs have vitamins or something?

Add a layer of meat

Add another layer of noodles

Add more sauce - again, more than you see here.

Cheese me, please!

Add more meat


Sauce - are you starting to see a pattern?

More meat - this is the last of the meat

At the bottom of the package  - all the broken noodles.  It's ok, You will never notice when cutting into them anyhow.

Last of the cheese

Cover and cook on medium for 3-4 hours.  I bet you could put it on low for about 6 hours.  We were hungry and the entire house smelled good.   I wasn't waiting long!

Oh yummy!  Broken noodles?  Where are they?

Guarantee no one cares about the original size of their noodles or even the order of the ingredients at this point.


1 pkg lasagna noodles 
1 can spaghetti sauce
1 bag mozzarella cheese
1 small container ricotta cheese 
1 bag Parmesan
roughly 1/2 lb sausage and 1/2 lb hamburger meat.


Layer ingredients in crock pot. Order does not matter as long as the sauce is on the noodles. Let cook 3-4 hours on medium heat.  Enjoy!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Built in loft bed

Finally!  My Baby Girl's room is "finished," painted, and moved in to.  I say "finished" because we had a lousy contractor and hubby will need to do the detail work that was poorly done, or not done at all.

The finishing touch on this room - a built in loft bed.  Nikki is an outdoor girl.  She would sleep outside every night if I would allow it.  Since I won't, we are bringing the outdoors into her room.  Starting with a bed built into a 'tree.'

Step one - build the bed.  Here daddy has finished the staining and is putting up the Nikki catcher.

Step 2 - add the ladder.  This is a hanging rope ladder.

Step 3 - Try it out!  She loves the challenge of the swinging ladder!  Daddy will bolt it into place when she is done playing

Step 4 - add the tent and decorate around the bed to look like a tree.

Well, step 4a is done.  I just need to get my artistic painter friend over to help with the painting now :)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Italian Bread in a Jar

Another jar recipe.

I love having most of the ingredients already set aside for a quick fix.  For this, all I need to have is yeast, water and butter.  Those are 3 things I typically have in the fridge, which makes this a super quick and easy throw together bread.

As you can see, I use an old pickle jar.  It has been thoroughly washed and de-pickled :)  If your jar has a smell (after being closed in the cupboard for a few days), put some baking soda in it for a while.  Then wash with vinegar and leave open a few days.

In the jar, mix together:

3 cups bread flour
3 Tablespoons Grated parmesan cheese (sometimes I use an italian mix)
1 Tablespoon dry milk
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons italian seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

When ready to bake, simply add in:

 9 ounces (1 cup+ 2 Tablespoons) room temperature water
2 Tablespoons room temperature butter or margarine
2 teaspoons active dry yeast (or 1 1/2 tsp bread machine/fast rise yeast)

Mix all ingredients in the breadmaker and set on dough.  When the dough is finished, transfer to a bread pan or cookie sheet.  Bake at 200 degrees F for 20 minutes, then turn the heat up to 350 for the last 10-15 minutes.  Your bread is finished when the crust is crispy and just browning.

*Note:  I do not add the yeast into the jar mix to make sure it stays active and rises properly.

**  With the grated cheese in this recipe I keep the jar in the fridge (I know you buy the cheese in the non-refrigerated section, but once opened the directions say to keep refrigerated)

Monday, November 3, 2014

5 month update

Today is the five month birthday of our sweet little man. I cannot believe we've had him for almost 3 months! I also cannot believe how much things have changed in the last 10 years. 

I have babies I've had three babies.  I even used diapers with all 3 of my children. However, I ventured recently back into the cloth diaper world. These things are fancy! When my son was little, 16 years ago, we simply had tri fold cloth diapers.  You fold the diaper, pin it (and try not to poke yourself or the baby) and cover the cloth with a thin, un-decorative vinyl cover. This could get messy, smelly, was usually bulky, but it was definitely less expensive than the standard disposable diaper. 
Things have not changed that much today. However now these diapers are all in one. And I don't have to worry about diaper pins! I love that! I don't personally care about what is covering my sons rear end, however, I do enjoy the cammo dinosaurs over the plain white plastic. It is much cuter. However I do have to look at the cost. Reusable cloth, even at today's fancy price, is still cheaper than the traditional disposable.  It is still significantly higher than it was 16 years ago.  I know the cost of living has gone up - along with everything else, but when I used to pay about $10 for a pack of 6 and now I am happy paying $10 for A hand-me-down cloth diaper.  That is a significant change.

Then there's baby food. With all 3 of my bio-kids I made their baby food. I did this partially because I was broke and could not afford to buy store bought baby food. I also knew that homemade baby food was significantly healthier. While I'm not a total health nut, (just don't ask my children), I want to make sure I start my children out on the right foot. That means lean meat and lots of green vegetables. I think that we are programmed to enjoy sweet things, so fruit is easy, butternut squash, not so much. 

You can still buy the standard Gerber 2 ounce jars of baby food at any grocery store. But now there are so many options for making homemade baby food!  When my big kids were little you simply made it in a blender and you were done.  Now there are multiple options to make this a much easier task for working parents, "lazy cooks," like me, or even newbies freshly venturing into this wonderful world.  Personally, I will be sticking to the basics.  I have my ninja and kitchen aid (I LOVE the juicer/sauce maker!) and figure that will do the trick for as long as I will need it to.

Another thing I have noticed that has changed a lot is the toys.
Have you noticed that nearly every children's toy these day take batteries?  There are so many electronics! I realize that the toys makers are trying to make 'educational toys,' but they no longer require an imagination, just batteries.  These are a royal pain to clean during flu season!  I don't mind the noise. I do mind the noise of a sick kid, though. I prefer the toys that I can throw in the dishwasher, or washer machine, quickly sanitize, and hand back with for them to play.  I don't like spraying Lysol on something that my baby is going to put in his mouth. 

My sons favorite toys when he was two was a pan, and wooden spoons from the dollar store. He has his own cabinet in the kitchen. Not only would he open the cabinet and pull out his "toys," he would get inside the cabinet and drum on his toy! I can recall a time about 13 years ago when we bought a new refrigerator.  That new refrigerator came with a really big, brand new playhouse. Also known as a refrigerator box. My oldest daughter and my son played in the box for over a month. I finally took that box and put it outside. They played in it for another 2 weeks. I thought we were done with that box.  It sat out in the rain and dew for weeks. That box would not die! Finally it magically disappeared one day when the trash man came :(  

Just recently we had to buy a new washer and dryer. We also got the pedestals.  Of course they came in a beautiful, brown, cardboard box. Both of my girls, 10 and 12 at the time, still thoroughly enjoyed playing in the boxes.  I noticed that their friends did as well...  I had to throw them away after they would not stand up on their own. These are classic toys! Any child would love these. Not everything has to be electronic, light up, or take batteries. 

Where do you find the simple classic toys? Without paying a fortune (or buying new appliances). I love my leapfrog magnets on the fridge. However, they are quite pricey.  This is part of the reason my fridge is a giant chalk board.  It's great if a child can recognize the letters, but they really need to also learn to write the letters as well.  Penmanship is not taught in school - we have to teach it at home.

It's more than just toys and diapers that have changed.  Have you looked at baby gear lately?  My sweet little man does not like taking a bath.  It's too bad.  As much as he spits up, we take a daily bath.  Sometimes three or four baths a day. He will fight and will not sit still.  He is too small to sit in a bath seat of any kind, and his little baby bath is apparently uncomfortable.  I decided to look online for alternatives. I was shocked to find a baby bath that acts as a mini Jacuzzi! Not only does it vibrate and help the child to sit up, it cost over $50. Are you kidding me? What child needs a vibrating bath tub? What is the point of this? Why do we, as parents, spend so much on unnecessary items? After already having three children I have learned what is and what is not necessary. When we first got our little man and had to make an emergency trip to the store, I remembered many of these things. I have not gone back to get many. Bottle drying racks what's the point? I have a counter and don't need one more thing to clutter it up. I can see the purpose of it, but do not see the necessity. (I was given one - I use it, but would not buy one.)  

Bottles, are necessities when formula feeding. $30 bottles are available, but not a necessity. I honestly do not see how the $30 dollar bottle can reduce colic better than a two dollar bottle. I know that every parent has their own opinions and desires for their child, however. in the end we all have the same goal in mind, only the best for a sweet baby. We always want them to have better than we had, to do better than us, and to experience only the best in life. However at what cost do we stop? Do we give them anything and everything no matter what the cost? Are we willing to file for bankruptcy just to make sure our children have the best? I think that it is wonderful that so many parents are able to provide the best of the best for their children. I don't see the need for $300 baby swing (yeah I found one!). The $10 used one I bought is more than sufficient for what I need. I could not see the difference in the three hundred dollar ones and the $50 one brand new. 

Along with all of this I have also remembered God's great sense of humor. I love my son.  When I had him I was a new mom and learned a lot with him. When I had my second child, I knew there would be many things that were very different. God made us all special and he loves each one of us. He made us all unique, although in His image. When I had my 3rd I was shocked. There are three sides to the spectrum? I knew there would be opposites somewhere, but I did not know there was a third side to this opposite! 

Now that I have a fourth I am remembering Gods great sense of humor also includes many, many sides. This little man is so completely different from any other baby that I've had. Talking about just his medical needs, those are minor. He's a very healthy baby boy. I'm talking about his personality. The things he does, his reactions, giggles, his gassy-ness, all very different from the other three children that I gave birth to. It can't be a cultural thing, he came to us straight out the hospital. He had no time to learn any culture. This is a human thing. This is God showing me that although each and every one of us is so totally and completely different, we are all covered with the fingerprints of God. 

I can only imagine how it will be one day when we're in heaven. Here on earth I can see my husband in my son. I can see my mother in my oldest daughter. I can see much of myself and my youngest daughter. I can also see a lot of my father in my son. Even my stepfather has had enough influence on my oldest daughter that I can see some of him in her.  There is no blood relations, but she has picked up a lot from him.  I have also noticed the big kids pointing out how the baby is like grandma, momma, brother or sister.  So how much more are we going to be like our Heavenly Father? He created us. All of us. He created us in His image. That's in Genesis. Knowing that because I came from my mother, I am a lot like her, how much more am I like my Heavenly Father?  

The last 3 months have been a wonderful adventure. I am very thankful that I've had this time with my sweet boy. Although we still have not heard about parental rights, anything about court, or gotten much information from CPS or the caseworkers, I stick with the verse that God will never leave me nor forsake me, and also to be content with the things that I have. God reminds me daily that I need to be content that I have him. Be content that I am able to give him a good foundation.  Even if he were to leave us tomorrow, heaven forbid! I can have peace knowing that I love him, hopefully made him feel secure, read to him from the Bible, sang him gospel songs, and at least planted a seed of hope in him for when he's older. It's all any of us can do for any of our children. 
Although I did not give birth to him, and he can leave at any time., isn't that the truth with all of our children? We don't know what hope what tomorrow holds. I could lose any of my children at any time for any reason. My job while here on earth is simply too teach them what God wants me to teach them, and do the best that I can. With God's help I know that I will, and that I can.