Thursday, November 17, 2011

Preparing for Thanksgiving


“But thanks be to God! He gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:57 (NIV)

Are you anxious with Thanksgiving right around the corner? Don't be! Make your list of things that need to be done and do them in a timely manner so that you aren't stressed over Thanksgiving. This is especially important if you are preparing for a large number of family members. Here are some tips to add to your list to make things go smoother.

Turkey tips: If buying a whole turkey you need 1 pound per person. For a boneless breast plan 1/2 LB per person. Thawing: Frozen turkey needs 1 day in the fridge for every 4 pounds....so refrigerate a 12 LB turkey for 3 days. Basting: It can help the turkey brown evenly but the opening of the oven door can prolong baking time. A better way to keep it juicy is to pour some warmed broth over the carved slices.


Bread: Make the dough for your bread or rolls at the first part of the week. Allow the dough to rise fully once, shape it, wrap it well in freezer-safe plastic wrap or foil and freeze. When ready to bake, thaw the dough in the refrigerator. This will
usually take at least a few hours or overnight. Set it in a warm place and give it its second rise and bake.
If you have a bread machine use it to mix the dough. Bake the bread the night before the big day and refresh it in a 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven for 10 minutes just before serving.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Want to make your guests feel special? Set a vase of Sunflowers in their room! They are a touch of fall, freshness, & color to their room.

Having a Woodwick Pumpkin Candle will add a fall scent as well, getting your guests in the mood for a fabulous holiday!

Remember that you don't have get stressed out for your Thanksgiving Dinner to be a huge success. Plan what to do each day leading up to the big day, enjoy your friends & family during this time counting your many blessings that God has given you.

Enjoy your week with those you love~
Tina

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

You make it look so easy...

Well, that is what a friend told me this week. She asked me how I did all that I did and make it look so easy. Some days, I think, "It is anything but easy", but I did share some tips with her that seem to help out. I look at staying at home, my job. And just like any job you have hours that you work, tasks that have to be done, and projects that need to be seen to. My job just happens to be taking care of a house, husband, & 3 children. Everything that needs to be tended to gets put on my calendar, if it isn't on my calendar it is not a high priority.

When school starts, I take my calendar and put the school year on it. Because I am VP of our Elementary PTO, those meetings & events are added, so is Dance, Piano, Guitar, & any other child function that comes up. Yes, I even have a day set aside for our date night... If I didn't it would get overlooked & let's face it, we need to keep an intimate relationship with our husbands. They need to feel important in your life too.

Our children have 2 chores a day, they are alternated so that they never have the same chore every day. They are: Unload the dishwasher, Set the Table, Clear the Table, Gather clothes & put in Laundry room, Clean their Bathroom, Feed & Water the Pets. They do have to keep their rooms cleaned, but I don't consider that a chore, it is to build self respect & self pride. The rest of the house is mine! These chores I do with a timer... Yes a timer. I set it for 15 minutes and do NOTHING at all in that 15 minutes but the targeted area. If the phone rings, the machine gets it. It doesn't sound like a lot of time, but you would be surprised how long it really is. When the timer goes off, return phone calls, start supper, read your bible, etc. Once you get in the habit of this trick, you will find that you can get your housework done in less than 2 hours. That is everything, laundry, sweeping/mopping,dusting,bathroom, etc. Then you have the rest of your time to work at the school, scrapbook, paint, etc.

So last week I added some fun to my schedule & now on Saturday Nights I paint. It is a fun adult time event. Two hours with other Christian women that allows our creative minds to expand. This was our first painting! I can't wait until this weekend!


So what is on the schedule for the rest of the week? Wednesday: 2 loads of clothes, grocery shopping, my nails/toes done, make bread for supper tomorrow night at Church, clean the downstairs. Thursday: 2 loads of clothes, clean the upstairs, pinestraw in my flower beds. Friday: 2 loads of clothes, Dust, sweep & mop (touch up cleaning), date night. Saturday: Family time & Paint, Start defrosting the Turkey for Thanksgiving. Sunday: Church. Friday marks the beginning of Thanksgiving Break~we have fun plans for the week the kids are out of school. Movies on Monday, Making Christmas Presents on Tuesday, with Cooking & Baking on Wednesday prepping for 20 for our Thanksgiving Table. Fun filled days when they are out of school~got to love it!!!
So my morning starts with Bible study, prep/cook breakfast, wake the kids up for school. I start my first load of clothes before they leave. Once they leave, on the eliptic machine, second load of laundry. Around 9 I start my household cleaning and done by 11.
So see we all have the same 24 hours in the day, we just have different ways that we manage it. Work out a schedule that will accommodate your schedule and see how smoother your day can go. You will love the extra time to go walking enjoying the beauty that God made, find that time you wished you had for the gym, or to have lunch with your girl friends, volunteer at the school, volunteer at your local food bank, visit local nursing homes for the residents that never get visits, or anything else. Enjoy the added time you find~you will love it.

Tina


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Recipes~Pumpkin Themed

Just a few ideas for your upcoming Thanksgiving Dinner. Or any event this month!

SPICE PUMPKIN CUPCAKES WITH FROSTING Makes 24 cupcakes.

1 tsp grated orange zest
3 cups powdered sugar
15 oz can pure pumpkin
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 cup sour cream, room temp
1/2 cup molasses
3 large eggs
1 cup + 6 tbs unsalted butter, room temp
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp baking powder
3 cups all purpose flour

HEAT oven to 350°. Line two 12 cup muffin tins with paper liners. In a bowl, whisk together ginger, flour, baking soda, baking powder, cloves and salt. Beat 1 cup butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs. Beat in pumpkin and molasses. ADD flour mixture, mixing until incorporated. Divide batter among muffin cups and bake until done, 25 min. Let cool 5 min. in pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. MAKE FROSTING---Beat powdered sugar, sour cream and remaining butter in a bowl until smooth. Increase speed and beat until fluffy. Stir in orange zest. Refrigerate frosting until stiff and spreadable, 1 hour. Frost cupcakes just before SERVING




PUMPKIN PIE WITH MAPLE WHIPPED CREAM Makes 10 servings.

1 cup heavy cream
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp vanilla
15 oz can pure pumpkin
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup + 6 tbs maple syrup
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 tbs sugar

IN A FOOD PROCESSOR, combine sugar, flour and 1/4 tsp salt. Add butter and pulse to form coarse crumbs. Add 2 tbs cold water, pulsing until dough begins to come together. Transfer dough to a piece of plastic wrap, shape into a 1" thick disk. Wrap and refrigerate until firm, 1 hour.

HEAT oven to 350°. On a floured surface, roll dough into a 12" circle. Fit it into bottom and up sides of a 9" pie plate, trim overhang 1/2" from the edge of the rim. Fold overhang under itself and crimp as desired. Refrigerate until ready to fill.
IN A BOWL, combine brown sugar, eggs, milk, pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon and remaining salt. Transfer to crust and bake until filling is set in the center and crust is golden brown, 65 min. Let cool. 10 min. before serving, beat remaining cream and 6 tbs maple syrup until soft peaks form. SERVE with pie

Monday, October 31, 2011

Holiday Time

I love this time of year~the decorating, the cooking, the baking, the smells of the season; but most of all the family time. Keeping to my schedule is important this time of year so that it doesn't become overwhelming. November is filled with decorations of Pumpkins, Scarecrows, fall leaves, pinecones, & Sunflowers; not to mention fall scented candles. Time to get the fireplace ready for the cool nights to enjoy home-made hot chocolate with marshmellows while having family night.



The kids will have a week off for Thanksgiving which means that we will have time set aside to keep up with their reading level but most of the time home will be spent preparing for Thanksgiving & out of town family arriving. The house will be filled with smells of fall, football, men hunting, & children laughing. Many times Thanksgiving is the only time of year that many think about what they are Thankful for. I try to emphisis to our kids that Thanksgiving is everyday of the year. So many get so busy during this time of year, that they don't have time to enjoy any of it~a missed blessing.



In the previous post I spoke about my "Tackle Box", this is a great way to keep up with what needs to be done so that nothing gets over looked. Once it becomes a habit it is easy to stick to it. Another trick I use to help stay on track is working non-stop for 15 minutes on a project. Use a timer and work on a project for 15 minutes; don't answer the phone~that's what the machine is for; don't go get something to eat or drink~it can wait until you are done. It's just 15 minutes! So what do I use this technique for? Everything! House cleaning, work projects, PTO project planning, etc. Did you know that working 15 minutes twice a day on household chores can keep your house clean all the time? I work 15 minutes down stairs & 15 minutes Upstair~this is dusting, sweeping, mopping, cleaning the bathrooms, dishes, & laundry! Eliminate stress from your life by implementing this small idea to your daily routine. You will have more time for your family, to work out, work on your hobbies, read your bible, start a new hobby,etc.


Let me know how it is working for you after your first week!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

November is here!

Yea! I love this time of year. Leaves changing colors, smell of pumpkin pies, cool mornings with sunny afternoons. November is often known to the men as No Shave November & to the Women as Thankful Month were you take each day and say what you are Thankful for. There are so many God Winks that we can be Thankful for. Everday that God awakens us is a day of Thanksgiving. Don't you agree?

Let's get in the kitchen for some fun... here are some great recipes that you can do as a family event.

STREUSEL PEAR TART Makes 8 servings.


4 tbs unsalted butter, cut into 1/4" pieces
3/4 tsp apple pie spice
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 pkg 14 oz refrigerated piecrust, 1 crust
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup + 2 tbs flour
6 pears

Unroll piecrust into a 10" fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Press crust against the bottom and sides of pan, trimming top as needed so it is even with rim. Refrigerate. Heat oven to 425°. Peel, core and cut pears into 1/2" thick slices and place in a bowl. In a bowl, mix 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 tbs flour, apple pie spice and salt.
-Toss brown sugar mixture with pears to coat, then spoon into piecrust. In a bowl, stir together remaining brown sugar and flour. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle streusel over pears. Place tart on a rimmed baking sheet and bake 45 min. or until top is browned and pears are tender. SERVE warm
*************************************************************************************
CRISPY ALMOND COOKIES Makes 30 cookies.

1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
6 tbs unsalted butter, room temp
4 cups puffed corn cereal
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 large egg
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup almond butter
1 cup sliced almonds

Heat oven to 325°. Spread almonds on a baking sheet and bake 5 min. or until lightly toasted, transfer to a bowl. Wipe baking sheet clean. Beat butter, almond butter, honey, sugar and brown sugar in a bowl until smooth. Beat in egg. Add baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and vanilla and almond extract and beat until combined. Add cereal, chocolate chips and half of the almonds to dough and mix.
-Form tablespoonfuls of dough into 2" balls and arrange on 2 ungreased baking sheets. Do not line baking sheets with parchment paper, the cookies may stick to the paper. Top each with some of the remaining almonds. Bake 12 min. or until cookies spread out and turn brown. Let cookies cool 5 min. on baking sheets, then remove to a rack to cool completely. If you have difficulties removing cookies from baking sheets, return them to oven for 2 min. to soften. The cookies will crisp as they cool, then SERVE
*************************************************************************************
APPLE CIDER FLOATS Makes 2 servings.

In a saucepan, heat 2 cups apple cider with 1 cinnamon stick. Pour cider into 2 glasses. Top each glass with 1/2 cup vanilla ice cream, 1/2 tbs caramel sauce and a grating of nutmeg. SERVE each glass with a spoon
*************************************************************************************


What about changing up your Thanksgiving Dinner Menu with some of these?
LEMON ROAST TURKEY WITH ONIONS Makes 12 servings.

Salt and Pepper
2 onions, root ends discarded, then halved with skin on
1 tbs butter, room temp
2 tsp dried thyme
1 lemon, zested and halved
14 pound turkey, rinsed, patted dry

PLACE turkey in a roasting pan. Let turkey come to room temp, 1 hour. In a bowl, mash together butter and lemon zest. Smear butter mixture all over turkey. Squeeze lemon juice over turkey and put lemon halves in cavity. Place 2 onion halves in turkey cavity and the others in pan. Sprinkle thyme, salt and pepper over turkey. 20 min. before roasting, heat oven to 400°.

TIE LEGS of turkey together. Transfer to oven and roast 1 hour, lower temp to 350° and roast 1 hour longer. After second hour baste turkey with pan juices. Continue roasting basting twice until turkey registers 155° on an thermometer, 30 min. longer. Tilt turkey to pour any juices from cavity into pan. Transfer turkey to a carving board, tent with foil and let rest 30 min. before carving, then SERVE

DOUBLE PECAN CHOCOLATE PIE Makes 10 servings.

3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup light brown sugar
4 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbs sugar
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1 cup light corn syrup
6 tbs unsalted butter, cut into small pieces + 4 tbs melted
3 cups pecans
1 1/4 cups flour

IN A FOOD PROCESSOR, pulse sugar, flour, 1/2 cup pecans and 1/4 tsp salt until pecans are finely chopped. Add 6 tbs butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add 2 tbs cold water, pulsing until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed. Do not over mix. Transfer dough to a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a 1" thick disk. Wrap tightly and refrigerate until firm, 1 hour.
HEAT oven to 350°. On floured piece of parchment, roll disk of dough into a 12" circle. Slide onto a baking sheet and refrigerate until slightly firm, 10 min. Fit it into the bottom and up sides of a 9" pie plate. Trim dough so the overhang is even all the way around. Fold overhang under itself to create a thicker rim of dough and crimp as desired. Refrigerate until ready to fill.
IN A BOWL, whisk together corn syrup, eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon, 4 tbs melted butter and remaining salt. Stir in chocolate chips and remaining pecans. Spoon mixture into crust. Bake 30 min. Cover pie with foil and bake until filling if puffed and center is set, 20 min. more. Transfer pie to a wire rack and let it cool to room temp, then SERVE

I know that the holiday season is busy for everyone. Think of someone you know, maybe they are single or a family that will be spending Thanksgiving alone~invite them to join you and your family for Thanksgiving Dinner.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Where did October GO?

It seems like this month has been a blur. Busy all month with activities in the school with the PTO, Homecoming, football games, dance, piano lessons, Fall Festival at school & one coming up Saturday at church; just a few things that has been keeping me busy. So I am so sorry for not keeping up with this blog. It did get me thinking about a practice that I have gotten out of that I need to put back in place. So I am reimplementing my "tackle box"! I have a file box that has file folders for every day of the month. It is a monthly "To Do" list.

So let's say that you want to start one for November. You will have all your file folders in the "Tackle Box", put all bills that are due on their due date that can be paid locally and those that need to be mailed; 5 days before due date. On November 1 go pull the 1st folder and do everything in that folder first. This will help keep you on track of all the things you need/want to do and won't get behind on the "Oh, that can wait projects," Like a blog.

My menu for Thanksgiving is already in my tackle box. Trying a few new recipes this year for our family dinner so when I am preparing them I will give the recipe and a photo. Yes, Sonya, just for you. As will be my daily "To Do" Lists.

We have a couple of busy months coming up. November is always big in our house with 6 Birthdays & Thanksgiving. I love decorating for the fall, baking pumpkin pies, Spice cakes, cute cookie cutter cookies. The Weekend of Thanksgiving we start our Christmas Baking and Candy Making. We have a great time making cornflake candy, Divinity, Fudge, No bake cookies, as well as the traditional cookies.

So what is on your agenda the rest of your month? Big plans for November yet?
Many Blessings~
Tina

Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday Madness

Do you want to add touches to your house but don't have the funds to buy decorating items? Try some of these cute ideas:

Give 'Em The Boot
Use old rain boots as vases. This lighthearted display is perfect for a spring part such as April Showers bring may flowers. For a southern theme, try cowboy boots instead!

Use pillow cases to update your throw pillows for fall. Simply place your throw pillow in a pillow case folding it into the case for a tight fit. You can change pastel pillows into deep fall colors in a matter of seconds.

To change up a look in a room simply swap out area rugs. It can change a look of a room by bring out accent colors in another room.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Welcome Fall!


So excited for the arrival of fall. Not only does that mean that we get a break scorching heat, but it also means that it's time to decorate. I love decorating, adding fall scents to the house whether it be through candles or bringing the outside in with mums. I start by adding a fall wreath at the door as well as door facing decorations. Decorating for fall doesn't have to be expensive, it is a matter of placement and using what you have or what is available outside that you can bring in.

Change out the candle scents so they match the season. No since in burning Magnolia when it's fall outside. Get a pumpkin, crackling campfire, s'mores, etc scent that will make you want to pull out your flannel sheets. Or simply bake items that will send an amazing fall aroma scent throughout your home like peanut butter cookies, pumpkin cookies, etc. (See two recipes below)

In your bathrooms swap your decorative towels to fall colors such as rust, brown, gold, etc. Things that remind you of the leaves changing colors. Add silk sunflowers to your towel rack or in a vase.

To change up your living room, change out your throw pillows to warmer colors. Don't have extra, you can use pillow cases to cover your existing ones. Add a basket of pine cones to your side table or coffee table, use old worn books to decorate as well, stacking them haphazardly to add height to existing items already displayed. Do you have a fireplace? Use branches with colored leaves to lay across the top of the fireplace; adding pine cones & ribbon.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

PAPRIKA CANDIED APPLES WITH CASHEWS Makes 8 servings.

8 small apples stuck through the bottom with wooden skewers or craft sticks
1 tsp smoked paprik
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup apple juice
2 cups sugar
2 cups chopped roasted cashews

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Place cashews in a bowl, set aside. Clip a candy thermometer to the inside of a saucepan. Combine sugar and apple juice in pan and boil swirling the pan until sugar is melted. Stir in corn syrup and paprika. Continue to cook, brushing down sides of pot to prevent crystallization. Remove from heat when mixture registers 305° on thermometer, 45 min. Working with 1 apple at a time and holding on to the skewer, dip apple into sugar syrup tilting pan and rotating skewer to coat fruit in a thin, even layer. Lift apple and twirl over pot to let excess drip off. Immediately dip bottom half of apple into nuts and stand nut end down on baking sheet. Let cool 10 min. at room temp before serving. Repeat with remaining apples, reheating sugar syrup as needed to restore fluidity, then SERVE...THESE APPLES ARE DELICIOUS, WE ALL ENJOYED THEM!
*************************************************************************************
PEANUT BUTTER CUP SQUARES WITH CHOCOLATE FROSTING Makes 16 servings.

1/2 cup chopped peanut butter cups
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 cup chocolate frosting
1 1/2 cups flour
2 large eggs
8 tbs salted butter

Heat oven to 350°. In bowl, beat butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla 2 min. or until light and fluffy. Beat in flour and baking powder, pour into greased foil lined 9" square pan. Bake 25 min. let cool. Spread with frosting. Sprinkle with peanut butter cups. Cut into squares, then SERVE
*************************************************************************************
NO PEEKING PEKING CHICKEN Makes 4 servings.

1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 tbs grated ginger
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
3/4 cup chopped green onions
8 bone in chicken thighs, skin discarded
1/4 tsp sesame oil
3 tbs honey
4 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt and Pepper

Season chicken with salt and pepper and place in a greased slow cooker. In a bowl, combine 3/4 cup green onions, garlic, soy sauce, honey, ginger and oil. Pour mixture over chicken, cover and cook on low until chicken is tender and done, 4 hours. SERVE with pan juices, sprinkled with 1/4 cup green onions
*************************************************************************************
MELT IN YOUR MOUTH TARRAGON CHICKEN Makes 4 servings.

1 tbs chopped tarragon
1 lemon, finely zest and juiced
1/3 cup heavy cream
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Salt and Pepper
1/2 cup + 2 tbs low sodium chicken broth
1 tbs chopped flat leaf parsley
2 tbs cornstarch
2 tbs chopped tarragon
4 pounds bone in chicken breasts, drumsticks and thighs, skin discarded
4 tbs Dijon mustard

Pour broth into a slow cooker. In a bowl, combine mustard, 1 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper, rub chicken with mustard. Place chicken in slow cooker and top with garlic and 2 tbs tarragon. Cover and cook on low until chicken is tender and done, 5 hours. Transfer chicken to a serving plate and cover to keep warm. Strain pan juices into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. In a bowl, combine cream and cornstarch. Whisk mixture into saucepan and cook until sauce is thickened, stir in lemon juice. Pour sauce over chicken. In a bowl, combine lemon zest, parsley and 1 tbs tarragon. Top chicken with zest herb mixture, then SERVE
*************************************************************************************
Today we planted mums, put pine straw on the flowerbeds, and picked gourds to dry to use for decorations and then turn into birdhouses for the Spring. Make decorating on the inside and out a family event. You can make memories & experience God's masterpiece all at once.

Have a great family weekend~
Tina

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wednesday Wisdom

Wednesday is considered "Hump Day", it falls in the middle of the week. But it is actually our day to meet in the Lord's house to be refuel and encouraged for the rest of the week. We are in Genesis, studied the flood tonight. Isn't this the way we have always viewed the ark?

When we dive into God's word we understand that by the diminsions that are given that it wasn't actually shaped like a boat, but rather a rectangle. Noah is an example of what a committment to God should look like. He was totally committed when God told him to build an Ark. He was giving Mercy for both himself and his family. He was giving a Mission~to build an Ark. Do you wonder if he worried about what everyone would think or say about him? The Bible says that he spent 160 years building the Ark...that is committment. Do we have the same kind of committment or is our committment more like if I have time I'll ...............? He was also giving a Message. This was to tell the people of his time to Repent & turn away from their sinful nature. Sound familiar? Isn't that our Mission as Christains? To bring people closer to God and help them have a personal relationship with God. Not much has changed since Noah's days, think about it. We, as Christians, are giving Mercy. Saved by Grace, the Blood of Jesus. We are giving a Mission~we are God's workmanship to do good works. We are giving a Message~the ABC's of being a Christian. God's timing is perfect! Noah didn't have to go out and gather the animals,God sent them. What would God send to us, if we were totally committed like Noah?
To defend ourselves we need to dive into God's word and put on the Armor Of God to protect us from the enemy. If we let him, he will have a louder voice that God. To fight him off~use scripture.


Saying a special prayer for the Holland Family. RIP John Holland~aka Neshoba 19. You will be missed.




God Bless,
Tina

Back to work

So summer is over, school has started and we have finally gotten back into a routine. Bear with me as I am learning how to do this and making myself make time to do it.

Nominations where held in May, where I was blessed to be nominated as Vice President of the PTO. Where worked on items all through the summer continuing to stay busy since school has started. With our Spirit Store kicking off the last week of August running every Friday as well as on Tuesday, Thursday, & Friday at the home games.
Then we sponsored a Scholastic Book Fair where the students could purchase their favorite books. This not only encouraged reading but also helped them find what interested them in their AR levels. This created a couple months of craziness for our teachers, so we rewarded them with a dessert day where they could have something sweet after lunch.
Now, the planning of the fall festival is going on with a month to get everything ready.

This is the time of year that I love... Baking, cooking, decorating, family, & fun. Love to be able to fun things with cooking and fall is just the season to start that in. A cute little themed snack that is super easy are the Acorns. You can make your own Donut holes or use store bought ones, dip one end in chocolate then dip in crushed nuts. Top with a small pretzel stick in the top and you have a cute little snack that looks like an acorn. Great to send to school, take to church, etc~and you will be the creative super mom!

Here are some other super easy recipes that you might want to try since fall is peeking it's head around the corner:
CHIPOTLE TURKEY CHILI WITH APPLES & CHEDDAR Makes 4 servings.
1 cup organic cider
3 tbs tomato paste
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbs sweet smoked paprika
1 tbs ground coriander
1 can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
2 tbs olive or vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken stock
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
2 green apples
1 onion, chopped
1 tbs ground cumin
Salt and Pepper
2 pounds ground turkey
Shredded sharp cheddar cheese, toasted pumpkin seeds and tortilla chips

Heat oil in a pot or Dutch oven. Add turkey and cook until brown, breaking it up. Using a food processor or blender, puree chipotles and 2 tbs adobo sauce, scrape out chile seeds. Stir 2 tbs of the chipotle puree into meat, season with salt and pepper. Reserve remaining puree. Stir in coriander, cumin and paprika. Add onion and garlic. Peel and chop 1 apple and add to chili. Chop other unpeeled apple and dress with lemon juice. Add cinnamon and bay leaves to chili, cover and cook 10 min. Stir in tomato paste, then stock and cider, simmer. Top chili with cheese, reserved apple and pumpkin seeds. SERVE with tortilla chips
************************************************************************************

CURRY SPICED SHRIMP & RICE WITH A TOPPING Makes 4 servings.

1/2 cup cilantro or parsley leaves
1 1/2 pounds large peeled and deveined shrimp
2 tsp curry powder
Salt and Pepper
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup long grain white or brown rice
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 tbs olive or vegetable oil

Heat oil in a skillet. Add onion, carrots, and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper, cook covered until tender, 8 min. Add garlic and curry powder, cook 1 min. Add rice and 2 1/2 cups water, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered 15 min. Season shrimp with 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper and nestle them in the partially cooked rice. Scatter peas over top, cover cook until shrimp are opaque and rice is tender, 5 min. more. Fold in cilantro, then SERVE with this TOPPING---Mix together fat free Greek yogurt, chopped cucumber, lime juice, cumin and chopped cilantro or mint.
*************************************************************************************
ITALIAN PASTA & BEAN SOUP WITH CHEESE Makes 6 servings.

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes in juice
1 1/2 cups small bowtie pasta or other small pasta
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
Two 15 oz cans cannellini beans, rinsed
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
Salt and Pepper
1 tbs olive or vegetable oil

Heat oil in a saucepan. Add onion and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper, cook until beginning to soften, 5 min. Add garlic and cook 1 min. do not let it brown. Add broth and pasta and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until pasta is tender 10 min. Stir in beans and tomatoes and cook until heated through, 2 min. Remove from heat and stir in parsley. SERVE with cheese
*************************************************************************************
ROASTED SALMON, TOMATOES & CAULIFLOWER WITH RAISINS Makes 4 servings.

1/2 tsp curry powder
2 tbs olive or vegetable oil
1 small head cauliflower, cored and sliced
1/4 cup golden or regular raisins
1 1/2 pound piece skinless salmon fillet or other fish of choice
Salt and Pepper
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
2 small onions, cut into wedges

Heat oven to 425°. Place raisins in a pot, add enough water to cover and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let sit 15 min. Drain and set aside. Divide onions, cauliflower and tomatoes between 2 rimmed baking sheets. Toss each with 1 tbs oil and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper. Roast 20 min. Season salmon with curry and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper. Nestle it among vegetables on one of the baking sheets. Continue roasting both pans until salmon is opaque and vegetables are golden brown and tender, 15 min. more. Transfer salmon to plates. Toss vegetables with raisins and SERVE with salmon
*************************************************************************************
PASTA CARBONARA WITH BACON & CHEESE Makes 4 servings.

12 oz linguine pasta
3 large egg yolks

1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
7 slices bacon, cut into pieces

Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 3/4 cup of the cooking water and drain pasta. In a bowl, whisk together yolks, Parmesan, and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper, whisk in 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Cook bacon in a skillet until crisp, 8 min. Add pasta to skillet and toss. Transfer pasta and bacon to bowl with egg mixture and toss until noodles are coated. SERVE immediately, sprinkle with additional Parmesan and pepper, if desired
*************************************************************************************
QUICK RIBOLLITA SOUP WITH VEGGIES & CHEESE Makes 6 servings.

Shaved parmigiano reggiano cheese
2 slices bread, torn into small pieces
A few grates nutmeg
1 small bunch Swiss chard, stemmed
2 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped
2 ribs celery with leafy tops, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 potato, peeled and diced
1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil
1 quart low sodium chicken stock
14 oz can cannellini beans, rinsed
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
1 bunch kale, stemmed
Salt and Pepper
1 large bay leaf
1 onion, chopped
1 medium zucchini
1/4 pound pancetta or bacon, chopped

In a pot, heat oil. Add pancetta and brown for 3 min. Stir in potatoes, cover pot and cook until browned, 3 min. Grate zucchini. Uncover pot and add zucchini, carrots, onion, celery, bay leaf and rosemary, season with salt and pepper. Cover to quick cook the vegetables. Thinly shred kale and Swiss chard. Stir tomato into pot. Add greens to wilt and season with nutmeg. Stir in beans and bread. Add stock and 1 cup water, cover and bring to a boil, cook 3 min. Uncover and stir to thicken, then turn off heat. SERVE soup in bowls and top with cheese
************************************************************************************
PAPPA AL POMODORO SOUP WITH GRILLED EGGPLANT Makes 4 servings.

Coarsely grated ricotta salata or smoked ricotta cheese
1 pound stale bread, cubed
1 small onion, peeled
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3 pounds tomatoes or 2 cans 28 oz each Italian tomatoes
1 small eggplant, thinly sliced crosswise
1 cup basil leaves, torn
1 quart low sodium chicken stock
1 chile pepper, finely chopped
Ice water
1/2 cup olive or vegetable oil
Salt and Pepper

Heat a grill pan or outdoor grill. Salt eggplant and set on paper towels for 15 min. then pat dry. Brush eggplant with 1/4 cup oil and grill 8 min. Coarsely chop. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Fill a bowl with ice water. Score ends of tomatoes with a large "X". Boil tomatoes to a count of 30, then plunge into ice water. Peel tomatoes. In a pot, heat remaining oil. Add garlic and chile pepper. Grate onion into pot. Stir for 3 min. Add tomatoes and crush, season with salt and pepper. Stir in stock and bring to a boil. Stir in bread and basil after 5 min. Cook until bread has broken down and soup is thickened, 5 more min. SERVE soup in bowls and top with eggplant and cheese

This homemade tip is for my special friend Sonya~Love ya girl

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent
Here's a simple recipe for dishwasher soap:
• 1 cup of borax
• 1 cup of baking soda
• ¼ cup of table salt
• 2 packets (half an ounce) of unsweetened lemon Kool-Aid
You can try to save even more by buying ingredients in bulk, but another idea is to find smaller and much cheaper boxes at your local dollar store: a good idea to since you'll want to try a small amount at first to see if you like the results. The amounts listed above are good for 16 loads -- one tablespoon each -- so even small batches will last a while.

Have a great Wednesday! Take your family to church tonight~they deserve it.

Tina

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Joys & Sorrow

This week has been full of an array of emotions. It seems the closer to the end of school we get the busier we are. Awards day, getting ready for the end of the year dance recital, ordering class ring for my oldest. Reality sets in that these wonderful gifts from God grow up! We have to be ready & prepare them with the tools that will help them make the best decisions for their life. Giving them their foundation through the Bible.

Monday was Art in the Park for out TAG program. My youngest son won second place in his division. So proud of him. It makes my heart smile to see his eyes light up. He walks to the beat of a different drum and he does it proudly.

Tuesday was spent cleaning around the house and the yard. Bikes laid where the kids laid them, balls in the yard; I realized that the things I was picking up would some day not be there. That one day in the near future I would long for the day where I would pick up their toys in the yard. It's not that far off, how time flies.

Wednesday we were in chapter 19 in Revelation. What a study this has been, yes, Sonya, we are still in Revelation. (LOL) We prayed for a family in our church who's son has a rare disease that falls under MD. God hears all of prayers, he answers them! God is in control of all things! How blessed we are when our children are healthy and normal!

Today was awards day at the middle school. It was shocking that kids would BOO those that did an outstanding job & received awards. And what made it worse was that when the students were repremanded and sent to the back of the auditorium, their parents were upset that their child was "singled" out. They should be mad that their child would act in such disrespect~in my opinion! How can we expect our children to do the right thing, when we as adults don't. It is my experience that if a teacher says that the child did something wrong, they did. Teachers don't have time to "Make Up" stories. They are too busy! Our generation knows little about respect for self or others, manners, & courtesey. Time to look at what we are teacher our children.

A business associate lost her son today. Last week he was found in the pool and placed on life support, today they took him off support and let God's will be done. With the events of today I thought back at the birth of my children. How we awaited their arrival to see their eyes, their tiny noses, if they would have hair and what color. The normal things that we think about as mothers when we are awaiting our precious gifts from God. Today was a stark reminder that our children are gifts from God and he can call them home at anytime. I pray for TC & her family that God will strengthen them & that they will find comfort in knowing that Casey is with God, his Savior.

God Bless~
Tina

Friday, April 15, 2011

Time to get this ROLLING


I have been dabbling with this area, it is time to get serious about it. I am learning so please bear with me. Life around her has been quite crazy, it always is when you have children. Bear with me, I am still learning :)

Today I relearned a great lesson. This week has been extremely busy. Monday was spent getting things ready for Art in the Park, a competition for our ECTAG program. Along with my Mom visiting until Thursday and a show on Monday night. Tuesday was spent working at our old house trying to remodel it~spent the day laying tile and grouting it, along with painting the Master Bed/Bathroom, second bathroom, and the living room. Wednesday we went shopping for more supplies for the remodel, made Rice Pudding for Dinner at church. Thursday was more work on the Art in the Park prepping 600 bags for Lunch, picking up a tux & have it fitted, dance for Shelby, & dinner. And today's schedule was supposed to be super busy as well with Art in the Park working the concession stand and serving lunch, deliverying orders, helping my 16 year old son get ready for Prom by 4 PM, going by the bank, grocery shopping, and running errands. But God had other plans! It's it amazing that when we overload ourselves that God will step in and say~Whoa~slow down. When we don't give ourself rest, he shows us that He is in total control and that we just think we are. I really didn't know how I was going to do it all & now I don't have to. We received notice this morning around 5 AM that Art in the Park was postponed until Monday due to severe weather moving in. The school districts participating from area counties did not want to have their children on the roads. My lesson learned... I just thought I was in control of it~God said too much & excuse me, "I'm in control" if you won't slow yourself down, I will! God is so good :)

School is rapidly coming to an end. We only have 5 short weeks to go and they are packed full of end of the year events. My oldest is ordering his class ring next Tuesday~is he really 16 years old?? Where did the time go? It seems like just yesterday that he was laid in my arms with bright blue eyes and a look of "What Now" on his face.
I saw him first in February when they said, "You have a boy," I waited long to hear these words so he became my joy.
And every time his birthday came I saw him growing tall, and then he started off to school in just no time at all.
It seemed I only turned around and he was in his teens,he went around in funny hats and his favorite holey jeans.....

We are now going into the next journey of his life~And my prayer for him is God, Bless him!

We are preparing for our daughters dance recital on May 21 & then we leave for our Disney Trip. Can't wait to have some time we can all have fun with no schedules! I won't know what to do....
Have a very blessed day~Off to get started on my to do list

Tina

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Luck VS Faith

Boys came home from Winter Youth retreat. Cody returned to work & on Thursday morning a call that every mother hopes she never gets came in. Cody works a short distance from the house, not having been gone long I thought he might of ran out of gas. Instead he was calling to say he had an accident. Jumping up, I left the house in my pj's and jacket to go tend to him. I am so thankful that he called me, had someone else done it, they would have had to tended to me. Driving up to the accident I saw where the car wasn't just in the ditch but had rolled several times before landing upright in the ditch.

After seeing the wreckage and seeing him walking towards me tears sprang to my eyes. I was so thankful that he was not injured. His car was completely totaled, bending the frame, yet when you walked around to the driver's side there wasn't a scratch on the car from the wheel base to the middle of the back door. Cody simply said God protected us Momma. And, yes, he did. They were not LUCKY, they were fully protected by God!

My Grandmother use to tell us when we were young that as you get older the year goes by faster. I never believed her, but it does seem that way now that I am older and my kids are heading to the Graduation Line. I don't know where the time went. I only pray that the time that I have spent with them at home has prepared them for what life has in store for them.

Praying for them to hold on to their faith & not allow peer pressure to make them someone that they won't recongnize.

We seem to be staying busy with Basketball practice on Monday Night & games on Friday Nights for Dustin. Dance on Thursday for Shelby. Church on Wednesday Night and Sunday/Sunday Night. Love spending time with the kids doing the things that they want to do. Cheering them on & being their biggest supporters.

So thankful for my family~loving my life~