Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I Am In Love With Mason!

....Mason jars that is ;-) I have always had a thing for drinking out of them and stuffing flowers in them when I was so poor I could not afford a vase. I would have to say that out of everything to decorate with Mason Jars are hands down my very favorite. I love the country feel they give to a dinner table.

It dawned on me a few months back that I really should replace all my cups with Mason Jars because not only are the cheap to replace, but you can actually mix a drink in them! I love the take a bunch of ice and coffee and then shake it all up to make the most chilled iced coffee around! So, this week I did it...I replaced all our cups with jars.

I bought three different sizes. Are they not awesome? Seriously, the best $30 I have spent in a long time (that bought me 36 glasses BTW)

I took the smaller jar (8 ounces) and made refrigerator oatmeal in them for the week (1/4 cup slow cooked oats, 1/4 cup greek yogurt, 1/4 cup milk, 1 1/2 tsp chia seed, 1 tsp pure maple syrup, and blue berries shaken together in a half pint mason jar and stored overnight to be kept up to four days) and had my V-8 on ice in the pint jar. Breakfast never looked so good!

I then found this adorable placement at the Walmart clearance rack for a $1 and had to have it for a center piece! I then found the flowers on clearance too. I headed over to the paint section and picked up red, blue and sunny yellow spray paint. I simply spray pained the jars and popped the flowers in them. Of course, I love me some smurfs and the smurfs are the same exact color of my breakfast nook so they had to be part of the center piece too :-) This whole thing cost me less than $15 and so easy and so US!!!!!!

I have big plans for more jars! This is just the beginning. There shall be candle holders, clear canisters, and holiday goodness in them soon enough.

So, do you love Mason too?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Whatcha Do Today?

As I  stated in my last post I am boycotting Facebook for the week and all I can say is "Wow!" . I mean, I have gotten so much accomplished today that maybe saying good bye to Facebook forever might be in my near way....I won't do that, but I did learn how much I am on it based on what I did today. This was my day with no Facebook:

5:15 -- Gym (and two loads of laundry)
9:45 -- Movie Club viewing of "Puss in Boots" at theater
11:30 -- Lunch at Burger King in which I wrote the list for the market and meal planned
12:30 -- Sprouts (whole foods market)
1:15 -- Walmart Super center
3:00 -- Got home and unloaded car, put away groceries, swapped out Mason Jars for my cups, spray painted three mason jars for center piece and cleaned out car.
4:00 -- Put my feet up and promptly fell asleep :-/
4:30 -- Started Dinner (Pintrest recipe)
5:00 -- Took daughter's earrings out and cleaned her lobes.
5:30 -- Made two breakfast options from recipes I found on Pintrest
6:00 -- Ate dinner (in which we all sat around the table)
6:30 -- Finished up breakfast options for meals
8:30 -- Jumped online to do this blog

I wonder what tomorrow has in store? Oh! Right! We are going to the water park since we have season pass tickets. Thankfully I remembered our Tuesday Water park days and I picked up a meal to throw together for the Crock is from Pintrest too! I got to admit that so far everything I have cooked off of Pinterest is really good. I would love to share the recipe, but a lot of them are copyrighted. Just look me up on Pintrest and check out my boards under "Yummy"...cause so far they are  all yummy.

Rambling...I am rambling AGAIN! Ah, well...I gotta needs to be cleaned. It has been abused today.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Boycott!

Early this morning....3:13 to be exact...I woke up with the clearest conviction. Do you do that? Get the best ideas in your slumber? Anyways, it dawned on me that lately I have been surviving, but not thriving and I needed to make a few changes in my life to live it to the fullest. So what did I do?

I promptly pulled my IPhone off the charger, logged into FB and posted on my status that I would be taking a week off of it. Why? Why would I ever do such a thing? Well, I have noticed that over the course of the last few months (maybe years...ekkkkk) out of boredom and habit I have been logging into FB and checking out what was going on. It was just taking up to much of my time...I mean....perhaps I should put my face in a book. What is the fascination with the drama in other people's lives? Or should I say the cyber lives we create for ourselves and how we want the world to perceive us. I am just tired of watching everyone else's lives and I want to live mine. Not that I am not living because I am. My family and I actually stay exceptionally busy, but I can't help but wonder if I spend the time I normally do on FB on time around the house or out of the house and with the kids how much cooler and fulfilling would my life be? So, I am taking the week off. I still will be online of course to answer E-mails and actually start using my blogs again (sorry about letting them slide....I have been on Facebook)!

Once I go back I will limit my time to 15 minutes a day. Kind of stresses me out thinking about things like my cyber castle and all....hmmmm... I bet if I put as much time into my house as I do into my pretend castle my house could end up like a castle! That is a thought....

Anyways, I am rambling...I do that often...ramble.....where was I going with this? I forgot....has FB caused me to have ADD? the mean time I can't wait to see what my week has in store for me away from facebook :-)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Fruit Pizza

I am that Mom that will serve her children this Fruit Pizza at lunch to ensure that they get their fruit. Yes...I know it is horrible....or is it? I am sure you have seen these fruit pizzas before. Sometimes they are refered to as dessert pizzas. This one I actually came up with....I think...I mean I did not find it anywhere, but got the idea at the market and made it. For the sauce I use Nutella which is comparable to peanut butter in the breakdown of nutrients. Yep, it has protien :-) Ready for the recipe?

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

 pizza dough
small jar of Nutella spread
1 cup strawberries
1 C boysenberries
1 can of mandarin oranges drained well
1/4 C melted white chocolate

Pop open the can of dough and roll into a ball. Now roll it out to make the shape of a pizza. Place dough on cookie sheet or pizza stone (I used a stone) and bake for 13 minutes.

Slice the strawberries as the crust is baking. Wash the boysenberries and drain the oranges too.

Take hot crust out of the oven and immediately spread Nutella all over it. You need to do this while the crust is hot because it will melt slightly and be easy to spread.

Next layer the strawberries, boysenberries and oranges.

Heat the white chocolate in the microwave until melted (about 30 seconds to start and then e10 seconds making sure to stir often). Drizzle white chocolate over the pizza.

Let cool for about 20 minutes. Slice like pizza and dig in ;-)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Raiding the Kitchen For Breakfast

Today is the first day of summer break and I thought it would be fun to do a fun breakfast. So, I made Oatcake Cookies. Basically everything needed to make these is already in your kitchen. Unless you are a single 23 year old male who just has beer.....anyways here is the recipe:

Preheat over to 375

1 C Oats (quick or slow cooking)
1 C Flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 C shortening or butter
2 - 3 Tablespoons of ice cold water

Once the mixture resembles dough roll out on a floured surface and cut into about 2.5 circles and place on a cookie sheet. Pop in the oven for 12 - 15 minutes. Let them cool on a wire rack as you get whatever you can find in your cupboards to top them with.

The Oatcake cookies are not full of a bunch of flavor. They literally just provide the transportation to get the good stuff to your mouth. The thing I like about this breakfast is there are so many different options you can throw on the top and taste good! You could even do chocolate chips, Nutella,  seasonal fruit, bacon, ham, cheese, or a fried egg. The kids had so much fun with this because I let them choose how they were gonna top 'em. The only rule was they had to eat whatever they made.

I found in my kitchen butter, cream cheese, two types of preserves/jam, peanut butter, strawberries, coconut flakes, and cinnamon and sugar mix.

This is such a great way to use up stuff in your pantry AND create something from nothing :-)

Happy cooking!

Friday, May 4, 2012


I lost my Grandma a few weeks ago and went home for the funeral and burial. It was a sweet precious time of fellowship and reflection was done on her life. My closest cousin, Matt, and I remembered  Grandma would start each and everyday with her Bible study and prayer time. The nights that I slept over I would wake up and go into the kitchen. There she would be in her blue or pink robe and slippers sitting at the kitchen table between the counter that housed her phone that was far to loud when it rang and the table that was scattered with her Bible and other Christian resources. I knew from a very young age that my Grandmother prayed over each and every one in the family each and every day. I am a fortunate woman to have had the faithful prayer of someone for 36 years of my life!

My Aunt, my Dad's sister and Grandma's only daughter, and I spoke about how we were going to follow that example that she left us. I hate to admit it, but I have become apathetic in a way and my relationship with God has been a struggle the last 4 years. However, knowing that I have the ability to prayerfully intercede for my three children (shown above with my Grandma) each and every day has convicted me to get back to my quite time with God AND I committed to doing it first thing in the morning.

Granted, I have only been home for about a week in a half now, but God spoke to me this morning. In fact, God has been whispering to me since I started (and before then, but I was not sensitive to his voice). However, today I feel as though I should blog about what he taught me. Satan has put up a few obstacles just in this last week and staying to my committed time with God in which I study his word and pray over my children has been challenged. Last week I was grief stricken, but I did stick to my commitment. This week I was hit with some incredible pain in my abdomen. Worse than labor pains. In fact, it has been the worst pain I have ever experienced in my entire life. The first day with the pain I did get my Bible study time in, but it was not first thing. Then yesterday, I decided that no matter what I would have my time with God. So I sat hunched over my desk and did it. This morning, I am still waiting to hear back from the doctor and I am having slight pains still, but I was determined to get my alone time in with God. This is what he revealed to me:

Revelation 2:20 - 23: Nevertheless I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. I have given her time to repent of her immorality but she is unwilling. So I will cast her on a bed of suffering and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. I will strike her children dead. Then all the church will know that I am he who searched hearts and minds and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.

God loved Jezebel and wanted her to turn from her ways so that he would come and fellowship with her (see Revelations 3:20). How do I know God loved Jezebel? According to the above scripture he gave her time to repent, but SHE was unwilling. Then in Revelation 3:19 it states" Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline, so be earnest and repent." Is Jesus not rebuking her in above scripture? It is like even there as he already knows her future he is trying to get her back. He loves her just like he loves every woman no matter their sin. Are you going through something? Do you feel as though God is rebuking you? Take courage! It is proof that he loves you.

James 1:2 : Consider it all joy, my brethren when you encounter various trials

2 Corinthians 12:9 : "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly therefore I will boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ dwells in me.

1 Thessalonians 5:18: Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

I thank God for my Grandma and her strong faith and constant prayer over me and my children. She was a great cook and always had a tin full of cookies in her freezer. She played "Kings in Corners" with my cousin and I. She also had a closet in her hall that always had a stash of soda and chips as well as games. I remember fondly doing the same puzzle at her house over and over again at each visit. She also turned me onto the love of movies such as "Miracle on 34th st" and "It's a Wonderful Life". I hope I never forget the New Year's Eve Game and pizza nights at her house or gathering around her table for holiday dinners in which she insisted on sitting in the chair that was closet to the kitchen so that she could load up your plate with food even though you were no longer hungry. She was not perfect, no one is, but she did have a reverence and respect for the Almighty. I did not realize it until after her death that she was living a life of example by her quite time with God and now it is my job to do that for my kids and someday my grandchildren. So, even though I have not prayed for my children consistently over the years they were covered in prayer each day by her. It humbles me and I feel truly blessed by her faithfulness to God.

Rest in Peace Grandma and may your treasures in Heaven be many!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sample From "Gather Around the Table"

Guess what? Guess what? My cookbook is now available on Amazon!


Anyways, I thought it would be fun to share a sampling of it :-)

Here is an introduction to a section of the book AND a recipe.

What can I say? I am feeling generous ;-) Enjoy!

Table Talk

Every night we come together to talk about our day and eat dinner around the table. We have this tradition that was started awhile back. I am actually kind of shocked that we came about this tradition the way that we did. I was watching the news one morning and President (I use that term lightly because...well...never mind) Obama said that in the evening their family would talk about their day by referring to it as a rose. They each would talk about a throne – something that was bad about the day. Then they would talk about a rose – something that was good about their day.

We have turned the Obama idea into our “Good and Bad”. We go around the table and say one bad thing that happened and what we could have done differently and one good thing. The rule is you can only say one of each. Sometimes we have a tendency (Parker more so than anyone) to just focus on the bad stuff, so by limiting it to mentioning only one thing it allows us to process it and deal with it then move on.

Usually what happens at our table (ok...ok...this always happens at the table) is we pray, start eating, and Parker says “It is time for good and bad. Who wants to go first? I will just start.” Parker’s good parts usually revolved around defeating Darth Vader somewhere in the galaxy. Annie’s good parts consist of if being Monday and finally being able to go back to school (in case you have not noticed she totally gets that from me. Hee-hee). Logan’s good parts are usually about a Pok√©mon battle he and his best friend had that afternoon. Charlie’s good part is about a sign he was able to sell, collect, or finish. My good parts are about how I enjoyed walking the kids to school and the cow that lives on the land across from the school mooed at me...I love cows.

The talk of the day continues. We are able to hash out upcoming events and who is going where and doing what. Annie tells us how much she loves salad, Logan tells me I am the best cook ever, and Parker makes sure to mention how good dinner is. My ego is stroked and all is right in the world!

Meal Four

Vegetable Cheese Soup

If you have been cooking using this book for the last three nights and following the meals......and let’s face it – you are not – but let’s just pretend that you are, shall we? Okay, so you have been cooking the last three nights following these amazing recipes and you realize that you are kind of sick of your oven and your stove top is beginning to feel abandoned. It needs some love. Tonight’s dinner we are gonna fire it up and make Parker’s favorite soup. I like this soup because it has vegetables in it and the kids (especially Parker!) ask for seconds and thirds every time I make it. Not only that, but this is super easy to make and takes little time and prep work.

32 ounces of chicken broth

32 ounces frozen mix of cauliflower and broccoli

24 ounces Velveeta cheese (that stuff that comes in a box that is highly processed, salty, and totally and completely bad for you! Know what I am talking about?)

Open up your frozen veggies and place in a strainer and run warm water over them to thaw slightly. Let them dry out a bit as you do the next few steps. Now, cut up that stuff pretending to be cheese into about 1 inch cubes. Place fake artery clogging cheese in a big pot. Turn your stove on to about low – medium to medium heat and start to melt that yellow gunk that is pretending to be cheese. Now add the broth and stir. As that starts to get warm take veggies and place in the blender with a little bit of the soup mix and blend. You want the veggies to turn to an icee consistency. Once the veggies are sufficiently blended – and what I mean by that is they are unrecognizable by anyone under the age of 7 – add it to the soup on the stove top. Stir and heat. Stir and heat. Stir and heat. Serve with pretzel rods.

As your family eats feel mixed emotions – good about getting them to eat their veggies bad because of the arties you are clogging with that pretend soft orange yellow (depending on how old it is) brick of fake wanna be cheese you disguised the good veggies with!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Gather Around the Table

I am super excited to release, announce, make available...whatever you want to call it MY COOKBOOK!!!!! Woo-hoo! It will be available on Amazon in about a week and at 1000 other outlets in 6 to 8 weeks. In the meantime you can order your copy for just $9.99 (yes I am shamelessly advertising right now) at:
I promise it is super yummy and fun to read.


Whatcha waiting for?

Go get your copy and get cookin' today! :-)

Friday, March 23, 2012

PW's Iced Coffee With a Slight Twist (And Pump)

I like LOVE coffee. In fact I really <3 <3 <3 *Coffee*<3 <3 <3 Even better than just regular coffee is ICED COFFEE. Living in the southwest it gets very HOT and nothing is better than a cold drink to help combat the heat. I recently purchased the new Pioneer Woman's cookbook (PW stands for Pioneer Woman in case you were wondering) and in it is a recipe for iced coffee (she also has it listed on her website). I immediately made a B line to my local market to pick up everything to make it. I ran into two dilemmas. First, I could not find cheese cloth (used to strain the the grinds). Secondly, I did not have big enough containers nor the storage space to make as much as the recipe makes. Not a big deal about the second reason -- just half the recipe. Well, after some modifications I figured it out! I also changed the recipe slightly because I like me some Cowboy strong coffee and hers is much more creamier and silky. Mine is more of a "WOW! Now that is some strong Coffee." This is how I make it. Oh, and before you ask "Why not just brew it and then add some ice?" Basically, by cold brewing iced coffee it does not hurt your stomach. I have always ended up with a sore tummy after I brew coffee and put it on ice. Apparently I am not the only one that has that problem. It is really hard on your stomach lining. This coffee taste better and does not cause you any discomfort.

I used the Pampered Chef large pitcher that holds a gallon of liquid. I like it because you can pump it (so to speak) and make sure you get all the coffee grinds soaked in water. First, I empty one pound of coffee grinds in the pitcher and add water until it is full. I then pump it to make sure the grinds are thoroughly soaked. Let it sit for 24 hours on the counter. Any less time makes for weaker coffee.
 Next, you are going to strain it. I could not find cheese cloth to do this step so I just used my coffee maker and poured it right through. It strained it just fine (I mean that was what it was made to do, right?).
I have to empty out the basket after each pour because it is icky. Just make sure you empty the grinds in the trash and not your garbage disposal because it will end up causing problems with your pipes. I learned that the hard way.
 See, it strains it perfectly :-)
 Naturally, all that coffee will not fit in one pot. After each full pot of strained coffee I pour it in another container to just hold it. Oh, and yes those are PW cookbooks behind my pitcher.
 As the last portion of coffee is straining I wash the Pampered Chef pitcher because I am going to use it to store my coffee. The reason is because of the pump feature on it. See, I add about 1/3 can of sweet and condensed milk to the coffee.
 Now, add the coffee and pump away to mix it thoroughly. Every time I want iced coffee I can just pump to get it all mixed up again. Easy peasy :-)

 The finished coffee. This should last us three or four days and there are two of us that drink it. Not only do I like this better than my " Venti Iced Cafe Americano with Sugar Free Vanilla Extra Ice Light Water Upside down" from Starbucks it is also way more economical.
 My coffee. Totally love the Mason jar as a cup. In fact, I am going to replace all my cups with Mason Jars! Cute, cheap, and functional. I mean I can slap an lid on it and shake for a perfectly shaken beverage :-)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Purple Potty

This is going to be a strange blog entry. I mean it is gonna make you scratch your head and wonder why on earth I would talk about something like this, but I am just like that -- random and strange. Hence, sometimes my blog entries will reflect that.
Before I go any further I would just like to give you a little background on why this topic excites me. A few weeks back we were at a dog show in which my kids' were competing. I had to go to the bathroom so I ventured over to the restroom. You can imagine my shock and brief panic when I walked into the women's restroom and there were no doors on the stalls. Now, I have been in plenty of nasty bathrooms in my lifetime. Heck a few years back I was in a bathroom and got some hobo's pee all over my pants. It was disgusting, but at least I had a door. Never in my public bathroom use have I not had a door on a stall until that bathroom run.
SO, fast forward to last week when once again I found myself at a dog show and needing to take a tinkle. I ask my fellow show goers where the nearest restroom was. They all directed me to the outhouse/port a potty.
Oh no.....again? Last time I had my Coach purse with me and did not know what to do with it in the doorless stall....this time I had a different, but nice purse. Where was I suppose to set it in a stinky port a potty? I then thought "at least I have a door." I then ventrued off to find the toliets.

I was so happy when I walked in and saw this:
 Yes, that is fully stocked toilet paper in a silver container. And that is my naked leg that the TP is resting on....took the picture as I tinkled....I really had to go. Hey, don't judge me. I have had three children. Two of which were over 10 pounds and if I don't go when I have to go I WILL drizzle.

You can imagine my complete and total delight when I turned around and saw an area designed for my Starbucks coffee cup....okay maybe not my Starbucks cup, but a cup holder none the less! Oh joy!
 There even was a fully stocked area to cleanse my hands complete with soap, paper towels, garbage can, and a foot pumped water faucet. Oh to be able to pee in comfort and wash my hands is pure bliss!
 What is this? A mirror too?!?!?! A lot of restrooms in public parks do not have a mirror, but this purple slice of portable bathroom heaven did. I was able to fluff my hair (love that big curls are coming back in. I mean take a look at the hair, cute right?) and apply my lipstick.

I was tickled when I saw the full instant hand sanitizer right there in the port a potty. I was able to give a quick squirt before sitting down to pee...and during the process of urination...and of course right after I went. I am kind of a clean freak and having pee of my own or anyone else on me grosses me out. In fact, I just threw up in my mouth at the thought of it.

Finally, let's not just take a moment of silence and appreciate the best part.....their beautiful wonderful royal color -- PURPLE.
I don't recall ever having so much fun and appreciation for a bathroom before, much less a port a potty. Take a moment today and relish in the simple (and sometimes disgusting) things in your life that make it easier. Oh, and every time you have a door on a stall be thankful.....oh and a place to set your Coach purse in a thankful. In all things be thankful. Even in the bathroom -- be thankful.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Best Cookies EVER (Gingerbread Molasses)

Today I made the yummiest cookies ever. Well, they were the yummiest cookies I have made since Christmas, but still good! This is MY cookie:
 Yes it is on my leg. I was being a slob and lazy...did not want to have to dirty a plate and had no patience for a paper towel. You are lucky that I even took a picture of it because it really wanted to be in my tummy. Is that picture not good enough? Here is another one of a plate full of these yummy cookies:
 They were super easy to make too! I bet you want to know how I came up with this sweet treat, right? You did not actually think I would keep it a secret did ya? Of course not! I am gonna tell you just how to make these little babies. Here they are before they went into the oven:
 I just love raw cookie dough, don't you? You wanna know a secret? I ate the equivalent of a cookie in it's dough form. Yeah...I did....totally guilty as charged. I gotta confess that it tasted way better after it was cooked though. That like never happens, but with this cookies, so yummy after it has had time in the oven.
The secret to this cookie (or one of the secrets to this cookie) is the sugar that you roll the dough in.

 Then you just place them on a cookie sheet (or in my case a stone), bake in a 350 preheated oven for 16 minutes and there you have it -- the yummiest cookies in the west.

But....wait....the have not given us the recipe. You just told us about rolling them in sugar and baking them, what are the ingredients.

Well, that is the thing...I have no clue what the ingredients or the portions are...I really don't!

That is mean!

How can that be so?!?!?! You made them right? Well yeah I made them, but not really....


I cheated....

I was lazy and found this at Trader Joe's:
Yep, I am a schmuck -- a total fraud, but WOW were they good!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Seven Monsters

I have been missing in action on my blogging the last month. Part of the reason is because we have had another litter of Golden Retrievers. They are now 7 weeks old and are getting ready to head to their new homes. Whenever we have a breeding it is always a fun time in our home. It truely is a family affair and we all pitch in to make it successful. However, by the end of week 8 we are pooped out and ready for our fur babies to go to their loving homes. Here are a few pictures of this litter:

It always amazes me at how much these puppies grow in just 8 short weeks. They come into the world unable to see, hear or walk. They simply rely on Mama to feed them and they use their nose to find her. Then, just a few weeks later, they are ready to tackle the world -- a gentle reminder to cherish everyday and live in the moment because nothing last forever even though it may feel like it.