The pile that wouldn't fold!

For days I've sat and looked at this pile of laundry on my couch. It's a mismatched pile...a little from this load and a little from that load! I keep thinking I'll walk in the door and it'll be neatly folded and ready for me to put away but, it doesn't seem to happen.(sigh) 

My husband pulled a farm shirt out of "the pile" to wear the other day and I told him, "You can't go in public looking like that, with all those wrinkles!"

Our lives are a little like an unfolded laundry pile. Left unattended too long it gets all wrinkly and we sure don't want to expose our wrinkles to the public.

We WILL have wrinkles in our life but God's word helps keep us ironed out. It doesn't happen by itself, we have to continually fold our lives in His word day after day after day! Sometimes we even need a little extra "ironing" to get the deep wrinkles out when left unfolded too long. Get in His word today and get that life of yours on the fold to recovery!!

“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.”  Psalms‬ ‭119:105‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Typical Thursday...or was it?

Last night I started to miss my debit card! I knew I probably just dropped it in the bottom of my purse like I do once in a while. I've been "looking" for it for several days, (more like over a week) but I hadn't really "LOOKED" for it! So from about 9:45pm-2am I was SEARCHING high and low!! I dumped my purse 5 times!  YES, FIVE TIMES! I went out to my vehicle at least 4 times with a flashlight, searched my office paper stacks, went through my planner over and over, and finally convinced myself to head back to town to look at our Salon.  Before I could even back my vehicle out of the garage I had already scared myself to death about going to town in the dark alone! I told God to just help me find it so I could go to bed. I continued to search for a while and decided I'd call the bank in the morning!

Let me go on a rabbit trail for a minute...
I started an online bible study last week that I'm absolutely LOVING! I'm almost embarrassed to tell you the name of the study but here goes...(drum roll)...growing through PRAYER!

So back to my story...
I woke up this morning and got right to my bible study before I even called the bank. I went through today's study, filled in the blanks, and got down on my knees to pray as today's lesson suggested. Right after I was finished praying my phone rang and it was my husband. He wanted to know if I found my debit card and if not had I called the bank to report it lost. The next words out of his mouth were "if you'd have just put it back where it belonged you'd know where it was"! REALLY??!! Things started to get heated!!  I sort of, kind of, blew a fuse! Yes, I know I had just finished my study for the day so I should have been filled up with a bunch of "happy"! So, after we hung up I sent him a text message to apologize for being ugly and let him know that I was really just mad at myself for misplacing it.
Since I was studying about Prayer maybe I should just stop and pray about it and ask God to find it for me in a kind way instead of demanding he help me. So I bowed my head and kindly asked for Him to find it for me then I thanked him for already finding it before it was even found. I knew in my heart I was supposed to look in my purse again that was still scattered out all over my dining room floor. Hadn't I already done that FIVE times?! So instead I went back out to my vehicle and searched again. NOTHING! I came back inside and went through my purse one more time. You've got to be kidding me...there it was tucked in a side pocket right where I had already looked a bazillion times! I sat there on the floor and laughed out loud. I thanked Him once again and might have even called Him a show off! I love it when God cares enough about even the smallest things that he shares His love with us and lets us go a little coo coo for a minute. THANK YOU God!!

Not your average Mac & Cheese

OK…let’s be honest! This is one of those recipes that if you think about the calories involved you simply CANNOT enjoy it! So, today let’s play pretend and not think about the “c” word (calories)! You’ll thank me later! Or maybe you won’t?!

Years ago I tried a recipe for Mac & Cheese that had cottage cheese in it! *Some of you may want to exit this blog now. DON’T!! Trust me the cottage cheese makes it Heavenly!* For the life of me I have NO IDEA where I “filed” that recipe away!! I do remember loving it though! So a few months back I was on the search again! I finally ran across one that sort of kind of fit my memory of it but, it wasn’t exactly right! With a little tweaking here and a little tweaking there…By George I think I’ve Got it!!! I made it a month or so ago when all of our kiddos were here and it was a HIT! I made it again last night but I didn’t take a picture for you because (a) I used bow tie pasta instead of elbow macaroni and (b) I didn’t have any crackers so it was simply “naked” mac & cheese! It would be sort of like me going out in public without makeup and someone wanting to take a picture of me!  NOT HAPPENING!!!
Go give it a try!  Its great left-over too!!  Hey, I think I’ll go warm me up some!

Not your average Mac & Cheese

1 (8 oz.) package elbow macaroni
1 (8 oz.) package sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 (12 oz.) container small curd cottage cheese
1 (8 oz.) container sour cream
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1 sleeve Ritz crackers (crushed)
1/4 c. butter, melted

1.  Preheat oven to 350°. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil, add pasta, and cook until done; drain.
2.  Spray a 9x13 pan with Pam. Stir together macaroni, shredded cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, parmesan cheese, salt & pepper, and dry mustard. Pour into pan. In a small bowl, mix together crushed crackers and melted butter, stir. Sprinkle crackers over macaroni mixture.
3.  Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until top is golden.

Going head to head with those we love…

Sometimes life STUFF gets in the way! We don’t mean for it to. Slowly it quietly creeps in. We can choose to hang on to those feelings and let them grow bigger and bigger or we can choose to forgive.

The other day my husband and I went to the farm to check cattle. As he was counting heads I was watching and taking it all in. The cows were running and chasing and trying to get in front of each other. Every momma wanted to be first. Each one wanted to be the one to get the most! When the time came for the feed arm to come down and pour out their delicious supper, I couldn't quit watching two Momma cows fighting!

All they were worried about was who was going to get to the “dinner table” first! They fought so much that they missed supper. They had their heads down so long that by the time they looked up all the cattle cubes (their supper) were GONE! They missed it all because they were too caught up in a battle against each other.
*They also missed the gorgeous sunset right behind them (not that they probably would have cared about that one anyway!).

Isn't that just like us! How many times have we been in a tiff with a family member or a good friend and missed the big event or the biggest blessing right in front of us! Why do we allow “stuff” to get in our way?  Because we’re human! We need to look up more to find the “sunsets” that God has placed right around us.

Choosing to forgive can be the best feeling. The other person we’re at odds with may or may not make the same choice as us but that’s OK...all we can do is keep praying for them to change their heart. Each and every day we have a choice. It’s the life “stuff” we have to be in constant prayer about!  TODAY  I choose forgiveness!

Matthew 6:14-15 (NIV)
14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Mexican (crockpot) Chowder

Since it's supposed to snow and since this is one of our favorite soups, I thought I'd share it with you too!  I just purchased all of the ingredients for this so I can make it (even though it's NOT a church day)!!  Just because I told you it was a good church day soup doesn't mean it HAS to be "ONLY on Sunday" soup!

As I typed out the recipe I couldn't help but think about my dear sweet friend Esther...surely she needs a new recipe!  I'm 100% certain her recipe book is overflowing but, it makes my heart happy to know someone out there in blog land truly does try out my recipes!
Happy Snow Day to EVERYONE!

Mexican (crock pot) Chowder

4 chicken breasts cut up bite size (raw)
1 can chicken broth or (2 bouillon cubes+ 2 c. water)
4 c. water
2 T. minced garlic
1 c. chopped celery
1 small onion, chopped
3-4 raw potatoes, diced
2 carrots peeled and sliced
1 can Rotel’ (we like original but you could use mild instead)
1 sm. can chopped green chilies
2 cans french style green beans, drained
2 T. butter
1 tsp. ea. of the following…(salt, pepper, seasoned salt)
¼ c. cilantro (dried is all I usually have on hand)

Put all above ingredients in your crockpot and set on high for 4 hours {or refrigerate overnight}!

Right before serving (about 20-30 min. before) add:
2 packages Lipton’s noodle soup mix
½ c. cream
½ c. milk
2 inch hunk of velveeta cheese

NOTE:  This is a PERFECT after church recipe!  Just put all the ingredients in the crockpot the night before and pop it in the fridge!  Next morning about 8 turn it on high (4 hrs.) and it will be almost ready for you when you come home from church!  All you have to do is add the noodles, cream, milk, & cheese and let it all marry together while you’re changing out of your church clothes!!  ENJOY!

Extra goodness:  Crush up a handful of Frito’s and sprinkle on top of your delicious bowl of Mexican Chowder!!!  YUM!!

Martha or Mary or simply confused??

Without a doubt I’m a Martha but oh how I long to be more like Mary!  The problem is…I LOVE too many things!  I always want to try EVERYTHING at least once and I always feel like things have to be perfect before inviting guests over or even opening the door to the UPS man just for a simple delivery! So I can only imagine if Jesus showed up at my door! I. WOULD. PANIC.!!
My brain never slows down it just wants to keep learning and doing and learning and doing!  Do you have any idea how hard it is to sit here and type and not keep getting up??!!  I tend to love everything I learn or do!  Sit still…what does that mean?  I often wonder if I make it to 80 if I’ll still be wondering what I’m supposed to be when I grow up?!  I come from a long line of “learners & doers”!!

My Great Grandma constantly had something in her hands working on it! I could sit and watch her for hours and just learn from her she was over the top amazing and she had a PINK kitchen to boot!!  She had to convert her garage into a fabric/craft room and had to build on a new garage because she ran out of room!  I loved to open her cabinets and just stare at all her fabric.  I have so many dear sweet memories of her.  Oh how I miss her!  My mom always says if the glue gun would have been invented before Great Grandma passed away she would still be alive today making everything she hadn't made before!

My Grandma well, let’s just say she’s over 80 (but acts 29) and on her last cruise her only regret was that she didn't go zip lining!  Grandma next time you go I expect pictures of this venture!
She’s as good as the younger generation on the iPhone/iPad or computer and her texting skills are top notch!  She’s the snazziest dressed grandma you’ll ever meet!  I'm certain it's where I get my love of animal print from!  She always tells me "you’re never too old to keep learning and trying new adventures"!  Her Lemon Meringue pie is the best this side of Heaven!

And my Mom, if you’ve ever been to her house you’ll understand what I’m about to say!  She often forgets for a split second she has company because she’s on to the next project or fixing the next meal all at the same time involving you in whatever she’s doing!  It may even be harder for her to sit still than it is for myself! She has the biggest heart and would do anything for anyone!  She loves to give “gifts” that she’s made for no reason at all.  She has the most decorated packages mailed through the post office any person could have.  Even though we live in the same town, sometimes I want her to mail things to me just to get one of her glorified boxes! One would think she has a deadline to meet because of how she hurries but she’s always so ahead of schedule it makes me wonder if I’m really adopted! I’ve asked her before “Mom, who are you making that for?” and her response has been, “Oh, I don’t know I'm just making it so I’ll have something ready for the next baby shower!” Come on people…who does that??  Me on the other hand…I wait til the VERY last minute then I’m scrambling to finish something but I always pull through!  It’s one benefit of having the “first born child perfectionism syndrome” because I care about every last detail and make sure it perfect before giving it as a gift!

I LOVE having a line of “doers” in my family!  I’m afraid I passed it on to at least one of my children too!  My son Brock is also a doer!  I think his wife blames me but in all honesty…it goes way farther back than me!!  And I'm almost positive that one or more of my grandchildren will inherit this trait!

Luke 10:38-42 (NIV)
At the Home of Martha and Mary
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[a] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

I’ve always been confused at the story of Martha & Mary!  If Martha didn’t do it then WHO was going to get the job done? And if Mary didn’t sit at the feet of Jesus then WHO was going to?  I think we have to be a little of both of these women but finding the right combination can get confusing!

Right here right now in the beginning of 2015 I’m vowing to myself and others that I’m going to try my very best to be a little more Mary and sit at the feet of Jesus a little longer.  And I’m 100% certain when my kids read this they’ll panic!  Don’t worry children I’ll still cook for you and make for you and do for you and your youngins too!!

How about you?  Are you a Martha or a Mary or are you just as confused as me...?

"Marking" Memories...

Yes, My Mom WAS Pinterest before Pinterest was Pinterest!  My sisters and I say this ALL the time! Since Pinterest was released my Mom can show us something and say...see I wasn't crazy someone else thought of this too!
We have the best, most creative Mom around!  So thankful for all her creativity and talent!  She inspires me in SO many ways!!

We’ve had a growth chart in her house for MANY years (since I was little, so does that make it a valuable antique?)!  It’s gone through the kids, grandkids, and now great grands!  The other day my sweet granddaughter said “ long before I get up to the giraffe?”

My Mom made a chart for me when I became a MiMi!  My grandkids love to measure every time they’re at my house!  Sometimes I have to tell them “we just did that yesterday so I’m sure it’s going to be the same size”. But againwe measure and they stretch hoping to reach to the next animal!

Just a little project...

I know you probably think I’ve fallen off the face of the earth or then again maybe you haven’t even missed me at all!  Blogging has been on my mind for quite some time but Pinterest has kind of gotten in my way!  I see a project

I want to make it NOW!  I see a recipe and I have to try it NOW!  So you see

blogging has sort of taken a backseat!  I haven’t decided if Pinterest is a Blessing or a Curse!?!  Although the following blog post was not inspired by Pinterest!

Last night I ran to town to see if I could find a vase/container for a Christmas arrangement I want to make for my entry table.  Remember I live in a very small community and the closest Hobby Lobby is 40 miles away!  I checked Dollar General AND Alco with ZERO luck! 

But I did find 3 of these discounted all the way down to $1.25 ea.:

I made these stars several years ago for the older boys:

(they even look like they’ve been packed away for a few years)

I haven’t wanted to put them on my tree for a while because I didn’t have any for the other 3 grandkids and haven’t made time to go to my Mom’s to cut more out with her bandsaw!

After seeing the cute stockings at Alco it got me thinking

and here is what I came up with!  I love them and it took me WAY less time to make them!  Once in a while I have a good thought!

Here’s what I did:

1.)  Sanded the top of the stocking a bit just to smooth it up and get rid of some of the glitter.

2.)  Used one of my red craft paints that was a close match and repainted the stocking top with about 4 coats.

3.)  Used my handy dandy Silhouette Cameo to cut their names out of vinyl.

4.)  Stuck the names on them.

5.)  Used Mod Podge {Sparkle} over the top! {2 coats}

Note:  I may or may not have let the paint dry in between each painting!  {I’ll never tell}

It couldn’t have been any easier!  I think I’ll go back and see if they have anymore today!  I’m pretty sure I bought the last 3 they had but

maybe just maybe

they had some hiding someplace!

~Soup of the Day~

Amy’s  Beef Chowder

1 ½ - 2 lbs. lean ground beef
2 cloves of garlic
½ small onion, diced
Kosher salt & Black Pepper {heavy on the pepper}

In a large kettle brown the above ingredients.

1 tsp. dried basil
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 T. Worcestershire
2 c. beef stock
3-4 c. water
4-6 (small-med) potatoes diced to bite size
2 carrots peeled and diced
1 small head of cabbage, chopped
1 can rotel tomatoes
2 cans shoepeg corn, drained
2 cans French style green beans, drained

Cook on low until potatoes, carrots, and cabbage are done.

Turn off heat and add:
1 c. milk
1 c. whipping cream
2” hunk of velveeta
2 pkgs. of Lipton’s Chicken Noodle {dry} Soup

This makes a huge pot of soup and is even better the next day!!
*Remember if you're out of ground beef in the house then just substitute 4 large baked chicken breasts, shredded!  Equally as good!!

Just a little Christmas dress...

Often I get so excited to find new things to make that my mind gets super clogged with TMT (TOO MANY TUTORIALS)!!  The other day I found a cute little peasant dress pattern and couldn’t wait to make a Christmas dress for my sweet Aspen!  Sorry boys {Keegen, Preston, & Mac}I’m NOT making a dress for you, it just wouldn’t be right!  The dress was a breeze to make!  I also learned a new simple techniqueShirring!  I love learning new things!  I followed a tutorial on the internet!  Although I don’t have a Brother sewing machine, the instructions still helped out tremendously!  I always forget how much I love to sew until I pull out my machine again!

Aspen has a new Frosty the Snowman DVD and she's been watching it over and over so when I saw ^this fabric... I couldn’t resist!  I can't wait to give it to her!

~Lorene's Dressing~

This time of year things get all C-R-A-Z-Y!  I have to tell myself it’s time to take a deep breath and remember that I’m Thankful for SO SO many things!!!  I could bore you with a super long numbered blog post about all of my thankfulness or I could keep it short!  Today I've picked "keep it short"!
I’m so Thankful for the family heritage I have of being in the kitchen baking!  Yes, I do love me some kitchen time!!!  {Matter of fact it’s where I should be right now instead of typing a blog post}
Family recipes trickle down from many generations!  Through the years I’ve acquired many new recipes from tons of different sources!  One of my favorite sources is my Mother in Law Lorene!  I had a simple little question just the other day about one of her recipes and was wishing I had a direct line to Heaven to ask her about it!  I love to be able to cook/bake the things my family loves and requests every year!  In my husband’s eyes, I’ve mastered some of his Mom’s recipes and it makes my heart happy to be able to bake that special dish and bring the memories rushing back to him!
I had a friend ask me today if I made dressing.  I said with a big smile…YES I do!  She asked me in front of my husband and I don’t think she had a clue that THIS is one of those recipes that I’ve worked really hard to get just right!  When my Mother in Law gave me her “recipe” for her dressing, she only gave me the ingredients!  NO MEASUREMENTS!!  She just said a little of this and a little of that!!  It’s one of Mike’s favorites!
Keeping the post short as promised, here’s that Dressing Recipe:

Lorene’s (Cornbread) Dressing
{measurements tweaked by me}

Preheat oven to 350°
In a large skillet melt butter {about 8 tablespoons} then sauté:
2 c. celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
Only until onions are slightly transparent!  Pour over the following…

7-8 slices of homemade bread “chickled” up and dried out overnight {chickled is an old family word…just go with it!} it really means cubed or torn apart in pieces! {or you could use dried bread cubes from the store}
8x8 pan of cornbread {recipe following}
1 box Stove Top Chicken Stuffing Mix {optional, I’ve done it both ways and it’s equally good}  If I have it I use it!
6-7 c. chicken broth
1 tsp. salt
Fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp. sage
1 T. poultry seasoning

Taste and adjust seasonings as needed then add:
3 eggs, beaten
{the eggs are my addition!  Lorene didn’t add eggs but I feel like it makes it hold together!}
Mix well!  You can even get your hands in there to get it mixed up even better!  Kind of fun too!!

Pour dressing into a greased pan and bake until done!  Approximately 45 min.

Preheat oven to 400°
½ c. corn meal
¾ c. all purpose flour
½ c. sugar
¾ tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
3 T. vegetable oil
1 egg
½ c. milk
Mix all together and pour into a greased 8x8 pan.  Bake for approximately 20 min.  Pulling out of the oven when top is browned.  Let cool then “chickle” it up!  This cornbread is my recipe.  I’m not sure what Lorene used but this works for us!  I suppose you could use a Jiffy Cornbread mix if you wanted to cut corners!

Alrighty now go mix you up some Dressing!  You’ll have the best dressing at Thanksgiving!  I’ll make mine first thing in the morning!!!  You'll need to prep a little the day before!  My bread is made and drying and as soon as I post this I’m going to go make the cornbread for it!  Good Luck and let me know if it was a winner at your FEAST!  Happy Thanksgiving!

Birthday Weekend & NO title necessary!

Do you ever just want to get away and be “YOU”?  I did that over the weekend!  I was able to just be the “SISTER”!  We had a super fun weekend!  Don’t get me wrong...I LOVE being a Wife, a Mom, and a MiMi but sometimes getting to just be me is super neat and very refreshing!

The best part of the weekend is that we got to celebrate the first birthday of my niece Karmyn Ann!  It seems like only yesterday that she was born and we were traveling 4 1/2 hrs. to meet her for the first time!  Happy Birthday sweet one!

We stayed with my sister Kayda’s Grandparents in Law {Jake & Esther}.  I’m pretty sure I’ve never met more hospitable people in my life!  They always open their home to us and treat us just like family!  It makes you feel as if you’ve know them all your life!  They are definitely blessed with the gift of Hospitality!  Thanks so much Jake & Esther for always making us feel SO welcome!  So many times I don’t feel like I can do enough to have guests over!  Esther made a bowl of cereal feel like we were eating at the most expensive restaurant in the world!  It wasn’t the food that made it so special, it was the fellowship, the devotion Jake & Esther shared, and their love of others that makes you want to keep coming back every weekend!

We did a little shopping...{Thanks Dad}!  We ate a FEW meals!  And simply hung out and caught up on everything!  Sunday we went to church with Joe & Kayda!  The speaker of the morning was a Missionary!  Now I have to admit I kind of most definitely had an attitude when I realized we were going to be listening (for an hour) to a missionary!  Sorry, just being honest!  Please don’t send me ugly comments...I LOVE the work missionaries do (far more than I do) and I pray for them but I really wasn’t in the mood to listen to them on this particular Sunday!  Don’t tell me you’ve never felt that way!  I’m sure my mood stems from the fact that they are out there doing God’s work while I sit at home and selfishly enjoy doing “life”!  That’s usually when God gets a hold of me and says... “Listen up Girly, I have a different plan for you today so LOSE the attitude!”
These missionaries are headed to China!  They’ve been in the training phases of it for the last 14 months!  They have 3 small children and are headed there for several years.  Bless them!
I just have to share with you one example he gave us that really tugged at me.
When a person witnesses a car wreck and is asked to testify, the jury doesn’t want to know our expertise knowledge on car wrecks in general!  They just want to know what we have just observed in that particular wreck!  It’s the same as being a Christian...We don’t’ have to be an EXPERT or a Seminary graduate to share about Jesus, we just need to share what we’ve experienced in our own life!  What He’s done for us!
Now isn’t that something!  I tend to think that I’m not smart enough & I don’t know enough so I’ll just let the experts do the work!  *Discipleship means becoming more Christ like!  I guess you could say I’m a work in progress!  SO it IS my job to share!  I don’t have to be a Preacher, Missionary, Evangelist, etc... NO TITLE NECESSARY to share what the Bible teaches!  I’m called to be a “missionary” in my own back yard so I better get to work!

James 1:22-25
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

I guess it’s time to get out of my selfish comfort zone and get to work as a “missionary” right where I’m at!  I’m not supposed to wait to be sent somewhere to share what I’ve experienced in my own life!  I AM a Missionary!  All I have to do is open my mouth and share what I know and what I’ve experienced myself!  How about you?  Are you doing mission work right where you are?  If not, you and I both need to “LOSE” the attitude!

A little overwhelmed!

I was beginning to think I was drowning in my clutter!  I had to swim from the door to get to my office chair!  It had finally sucked me in and I had to do something about it!  I REALLY DO like organization {remember I'm the oldest of 6}! Sometimes I just get so busy that I get lost in it all and then it gets way too overwhelming to tackle! When I finally got it all cleaned up I sat down in my new clean space, smiled, looked around once again then opened Pinterest and found a pin from Funky Junk, then it all made sense to me!  I really kind of wish I would have taken a "before" picture.  Yeah I would have posted it on here! HA!!  Seriously, go read her post and you'll want to go clean your "area" too! {Luckily I had cleaned mine before I ever saw her post}. Funny how you feel SO refreshed after cleaning and organizing!  DUH, why don't I keep it that way?
The holidays are creeping up on us very fast...don't you want a fresh clean organized space for that hectic time of year!  NOW, go clean so you can get creative and report back!

If you've been to my house and wondered what was behind the closed door, now you know!

Note:  {please don't hate me for the following truth}
5 Saturdays before Thanksgiving
10 Saturdays before Christmas!
If that isn't a reality check...I don't know what is!


It's hard to believe this little guy is THREE!!!

Where has the time gone?  I thought he would be the baby forever!

Happy Birthday Sweet Mac!!  Hope your day is extra special!
Love you so much...MiMi & Poppy

Table for the little ones...

Well, I've OFFICIALLY completed the table and chairs!  I'm super happy with how it turned out.  It's been a long journey and I'm ready to move on to the next project.  Hopefully it won't take me a year to complete!

Here are a couple of the little darlins' enjoying it for the first time...

Only a year later...

Life got a little busy!  I'm just about to complete a project I started a year ago!  I'm so excited to finally put it inside my home.  Hey, at least I'm getting it finished before the Grands graduate from college!
I present to you {drum roll}THE FINISHED CHAIRS!

Just a little bit more and I'll show you the table!  It needed a little more bracing.  I had to wait to go to the store to get brackets! I should be able to get it finished today! I LOVE how the color turned out...what do you think?
Annie Sloan Chalk Paint:  Florence & Emperor's Silk {then waxed with Annie Sloan clear wax}


Sometimes I just need a little reminder of God's wonder...

Last night as I was diving home from the city, this was the view I had for several miles.  Finally I had to pull over and capture the moment!  About a mile on down the road...the "view" was gone.

Bado and his best friend...

We were always told how "funny" basset hounds are... It couldn't be more true!!

Blurry, but I just had to share what we often look out the window and see! Bado and Mr. Grey on their perch!  Our vicious guard dog and guard cat!

This was the best picture I could get tonight of some of our funniness here on the farm! This was taken through the window holding back the blinds and hollering at sweet Bado hoping he didn't jump down!  Who wouldn't want a Basset?!?!
Never mind the poor drought stricken potted plants in the back ground!  They held on as long as they could!

Recipe Randomness!

Yesterday I had a day off!  Well, I would call it a day off, some of you may call it more "work" than "work".  I got to spend my afternoon in the of my favorite things to do!
A friend had a baby so I prepared a meal to take to them and a meal for us while I was at it!  Taking food to another family always worries me!  "what do they like and not like" "what should I fix" "will it be done in time"??  So I went with good old fashioned Roast, Potatoes, and Carrots!  I tried a new recipe that I found here!  It's really close to one that I've been making for years.  I usually use Campbell's Golden Mushroom Soup, Lipton's Onion Soup, Seasonings, and a little water!  Mike said that this one was the best roast I had ever made!  Hmmm...maybe he was extra hungry!?!

Fall-Apart Roast

3 1/2 – 5 pound beef roast {I used Rump Roast}
2 small jars or one large jar of beef gravy
1 can sliced mushrooms {any size you like}
1 envelope onion soup mix
1/2 c. pre-made Italian dressing

Mix everything up, pour it over the roast, and cook (covered) at 300° for 4-5 hours depending on the size of the roast. {I cooked mine on 350° for the full 5 hrs.}
Delicious, and melt-in-your-mouth tender.
*Add some potatoes and carrots the last couple hours to bake alongside the roast.

{NO picture needed...everyone
knows what a roast looks like, besides,
we ate it before I thought about it!}

I also made Arkansas Green Beans!  The best side dish EVER!!  A great dish to take to a pot luck supper!!

Arkansas Green Beans
  • 5 (15-ounce) cans green beans, drained
  • 12 slices bacon {or the whole pkg. like I did}
  • 2/3 c. brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. butter, melted
  • 7 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Preheat oven to 350°. Place the drained green beans in a 9×13″ baking pan.
Cook bacon in a frying pan on your stove top until bacon strips are cooked enough to chop into large pieces (they should be done, but not real crispy) {I cut mine into smaller pieces BEFORE frying}. Sprinkle the bacon pieces on top of the green beans.
Combine the brown sugar, melted butter, soy sauce, and garlic powder in a small bowl. Pour this mixture over the green beans and bacon. Bake uncovered at 350° for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and serve.

Then for dessert, I made one of my family's favorite {and most requested by my youngest Sister}...

Peach Pie {delivered to the friend}

Rita's Pie Crust {makes one crust}:
1 c. all purpose flour {not level! Dip measuring cup in flour and shake off excess}
1/2 c. crisco shortening
1/2 tsp. salt

Cut the crisco into the flour and salt until thoroughly mixed in. Then add 1/4 c. COLD water and mix with a fork until all water is incorporated.  Smooth dough into a ball, flatten and place on a floured surface.  Sprinkle a little flour on top of dough and roll out to desired size.
Note: Rita is my Grandma's sweet neighbor lady and when my Grandpa passed away she brought over a couple of pies!  I couldn't get over how flaky and wonderful her crusts were! She so graciously shared her recipe!  I will forever use this crust recipe!!

4 c. peaches
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp. almond extract
3 T. corn starch

Mix together and pour into unbaked pie crust. Top with a few pats of butter and then sprinkle cinnamon over all {to your liking}.  Sometimes I use the cinnamon and sometimes I don't, depending on my mood!  I have to add that I worked REALLY hard on perfecting this filling!  Many flopped pies before getting it absolutely right for our family!

Crumb Topping:
1 c. flour
pinch of salt
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter {cold}

Work together with pastry blender then "crumble" on top of pie with hands.

Cherry Pie {kept here at home...Mike's favorite {YES, he's spoiled...peach is my all time favorite and I gave it up} I WILL BE MAKING ANOTHER PEACH!

2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. crisco
1/2 c. COLD water
Cut the crisco into the flour and salt until thoroughly mixed in. Then add the COLD water and mix with a fork until all water is incorporated.  Divide dough into 2 balls, flatten one at a time and place on a floured surface.  Sprinkle a little flour on top of dough and roll out to desired size. Repeat for top crust after filling is added.

3 cans tart cherries in water 
4 T. cornstarch {not heaping but not leveled off either}
1 1/4 c. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp. red food coloring
1/8 tsp. cinnamon

Mix up filling ingredients and let sit for 20-30 min. while you are making your pie crusts.  After placing your bottom crust in your pie pan, then pour in filling. {be careful not to let the RED cherry juice splatter on you}!  Put a few slits {or designs like I do and sometimes with small cookie cutters} in your top crust then place it over the filling.  In a small cup put about 1/4 c. sugar in it and add a little bit of milk stir until you have a smooth workable consistency! NOT too much milk or it will be too runny {it should still be grainy}!  Using a spoon, spoon it over your top crust covering it all then use the back of the spoon to smooth it around.  This will give you a sweet crunchy top crust!
*Bake for 20 minutes at 425° then lower the oven temperature to 375° {you may want to loosely lay a piece of foil over the top to protect the crust from burning} Bake for another hour or so, start checking on it after 45 minutes, until the crust looks nicely browned and the juices bubble up thickly.  Let pie cool for 3-4 hrs. before cutting it!

 I was going to squeeze in my HOMEMADE ROLLS too but...I ran out of time!  Oh well, there's always another "day off" for baking!

Old Fashioned Fried Chicken~Mmm, Mmm, GOOD!

Now I know most everyone knows how to make Fried Chicken.

I thought I did too until my husband came home with a new “recipe” from one of his sweet little weekly hair ladies.

He said, “You don’t know how to cut up a whole chicken do you!?” I said, “Of course I do, I used to cut them up all the time!!” He was amazed! I guess it’s been too long ago and he just doesn’t remember that I’ve done it before. Besides, who doesn’t want to buy one already cut up to cook!! He told me to grab a piece of paper and write down what he was about to tell me.
I looked at him and said, “Are you kidding? Do you really think I need a “recipe” for fried chicken?” {Remember, he’s the one that can’t boil water so for him to give me a recipe seemed quite odd!} So I went along with his little funny and wrote down word for word what he told me!
And then he said, “Don’t HAVE to use a cast iron skillet (aff. link) for it to turn out crispy!”
Well, I had to prove to him that I knew how. If you know know I LOVE a challenge!

We have a local bulk food store and they have FRESH {as in NEVER been frozen} whole chickens that come in on Thursday’s every week. So on Thursday I grabbed me a couple of chickens and the preparation began!

Old Fashioned Fried Chicken

1. Cut up your FRESH whole chicken! {I haven't looked but I’m certain youtube would have a video for this}

2. Soak chicken pieces it in salt water overnight in the fridge.

3. The next day, put shortening in a cast iron skillet and turn the fire up {not blasting up, just up}!

4. Lay the chicken pieces out on a plate or platter and season them with salt & pepper on both sides {I threw in a little garlic salt too}.

5. Dip the chicken pieces in flour ONLY {this is where I almost rebelled against his “recipe”! NO milk and egg or buttermilk?? How was this going to work?}

6. Crisp/brown both sides then turn the fire down a bit, put a lid on allowing a little steam to escape, and cook slowly!

Come to find out after talking with my Aunt…My Dad used to make the best fried chicken and my Aunt Ann always requested it when she visited!

She told me I did it right??!!! Aunt Ann...I have to tell you this one topped it!! Mike said it was the best fried chicken he’s ever eaten! AND my 7 yr. old grandson Keegen said {while eating warmed up left overs}...”MiMi, what did you do to this chicken, this is the best chicken in the world!”
Go ahead and give it a try! Get out of your fried chicken box and give Mike’s “recipe” a try! I promise you won’t be sorry you did! Remember, the cast iron skillet is a MUST!