Category Archives: Fun

Bacon Wrapped Goodness

Last summer, the kids and I had a cowboy day. We dug out some cowboy hats and bandanas, made up a wanted picture frame, and had a water gun duel at high noon. It was a lot of fun, but the real treat was dinner. I told them we were going to have Bacon Blankets for dinner. This was a throwback meal to when I was growing up and I hadn’t had it in ages. All the kids like bacon, they all like bread, and they all like cheese. I was pretty sure it was going to be a hit.

Bacon Wrapped Goodness

These Bacon Blankets are super easy to make and with all the bacon wrapped recipes floating around on the internet (bacon wrapped corn on the cobb?!?!) I’m feeling trendy! Just last week, we decided to make them again and the kids were delighted. PK was happy to have them too!

Let me just say, these aren’t good for you. The bacon juices (ok, fat) seep into the bread and onto the cheese and it makes a glorious mess on your grill. But, it makes your taste buds dance. You see we often look at life this way I think. We see the bacon – the bad for you or life’s troubles part, and forget that the bacon, cheese, and bread – all together, makes up life. It makes your life!

I want to encourage you to embrace your whole life…the good, the bad, the tasty parts, and those that leave a bad aftertaste. You really have something special to offer, everyday, to those around you. Bacon Blankets are delicious because it is all together. Sure, you can eat  each ingredient separately and each will taste good, but the fun is in wrapping it together.

If you’re a little behind in your quiet times or can’t settle into reading the Bible, (me included) think about it this way. You can read little verses here or there and they are good alone, but when you get the whole story, in context, it can really come alive and your Jesus loving taste buds will start to dance! PK did a great series on Ecclesiastes.  You can read my take on it and see how together faith really is better.

Ok, so here is the recipe for Bacon Blankets so you can make yourself some bacon wrapped goodness for your dinner!

Ingredients:

  • bread (two pieces per person…hubby may want three)
  • cheese (I used American, but muenster or mozzarella would be delicious too – one slice per piece of bread)
  • bacon (one slice per piece of bread)
  • toothpicks or kabob sticks

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Put a piece of bread down, one piece of cheese on top and roll it up. Wrap a piece of bacon around the rolled up bread and cheese and stick some toothpicks in it to hold. Repeat. Cook over the grill the best you can without burning them until the bacon is done the way you like it. Eat. Enjoy. Let your taste buds dance.

20151009_153415Need something for dessert?

These Lofthouse copycat cookies are really good and quite easy!

 

 

A Family Love Banner

A Family Love BannerAh, yes, the sound of the cash register ringing up the love of money. Are you feeling like you want to avoid that and instead make a genuine effort this Valentine’s Day? Look no further, the whole family can participate in this activity. I have nothing against the commercialism of Valentine’s Day, I just don’t need anymore stuff off the shelves. If you are looking for something to raise people up with loving words, this is it.

I have this fantastic window in my kitchen with very exciting white curtains. Ha! So, come holiday time, we like to jazz them up. For Valentine’s Day, I went digging in my bin of stuff and found some beads and festive paper. The kids helped make Valentine’s for the top row, I did the words, but then everyone helped with the bottom row.

Here’s what we did. Everyone was given two hearts for each person. On each heart, they had to write something they love about that person. It could be something they are good at, that they like to do together, something they admire about them, or anything as long as the words were loving and built the person up. So, in our family that meant each person got 10 hearts full of loving words.

We gave each pocket out after our Valentine’s meal and read them. It was so much fun to hear what others wrote because I didn’t look at them ahead of time. We did this early in the week before the 14th and we put them in as we finished. No peeking was the rule. It was so cute because my youngest daughter had me help her with everyone’s but she asked a brother to help her with mine, so it was a secret.

You see, kids love this. And whether everyone in the family gets along all the time or not, we all had something loving to say about each other. Because we are a family. We work hard to teach our children to say things that build each other up, to give hugs – not hits, and kisses – not kicks. Because we are a family. God has blessed us and allowed us to be together and we need to grow that bond and this is a great way.

Remember, your banner doesn’t need to be fancy. We did a variation on this a couple of years ago with the Tree of Love. It’s not about the presentation, it’s about the words on the notes. You better believe I have all those notes tucked away. You never know, when they think they are too tough for love, I’ll be pulling them out.

So, get your chocolates and roses. Open a bottle of wine or make a heart shaped pizza. Celebrate Valentine’s Day however you like. And, if you’re feeling up to it, add in these messages. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Trying to Hide from God

Trying to Hide from GodMy family just got done playing an epic family game of hide and seek. I’ve written about our fun times doing this before. It’s great to do as the evenings get colder. We aren’t die hards – we play with the lights on, but boy is it fun!

We have rules when we play and one of them is, when you are found, you have to go sit on the yellow couch in the living room. So, to be funny, I decided to try hiding right in the room an arm’s length away from the sofa. I had eyeballed up the spot a couple turns before when I got out quick. The drapes were open to the sides of the window and they are pretty long. I thought I might be able to hide behind them. Wow! What a spot. My son (who is really good) walked all around the room and then upstairs. I’m trying to take shallow breaths so he didn’t see me and so I take a big breath.

He finds PK who comes downstairs and sits on the yellow couch. My son is still upstairs looking for others and then all of a sudden I hear a giggle. PK has found me! The rule is, he can’t tell. The other three kids have been found and my son comes down shouting, “Mom, you won!”. Well, I’m not giving up this spot. So, he goes around the first floor again. By this point PK is laughing out loud, the other kids catch on, and my son comes back in and finds me. This was the best spot ever.

Anyway, what does this have to do with hiding from God? Well, I thought about it while I was standing there trying not to move or breathe too much. How often do we try to hide from God? Do we try to hide our hurtful words, our pride, our lack of daily devotions? Who are we kidding? God knows it all. He knows our heart in regard to those things.

Remember in Genesis when Adam and Eve ate the fruit and then tried to hide in the garden? And what does God do? The Bible says, “But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” in Genesis 3:9. Of course God knew where they were and what they had done. But, he loved them. He wanted Adam and Eve to know He was looking for them! He could have come with thunder pounding and flaming swords. But, no, He came calling for them. And then, later on, He makes them clothes. What a loving God!

When we are hiding, He is calling for us with the same love as He showed Adam and Eve. We can’t live to perfection nor are we perfect. But, good news, He still loves us!

So, even though I had a fantastic spot to hide from my family, no place is hidden from God. He knows our thoughts, our desires, and more importantly, He knows the plan for us. Don’t hide from God so He can show you His purpose and His mission for your life. You don’t want to be hiding and miss out!

My Mom for President

MyMomFor PresidentWe were traveling somewhere and from the back of the car, one of my sons asks me, “Mommy, why don’t you run for president?” All the kids chime in about why it would be great if we lived in the White House. Some of the top picks were, they hear there is a bowling alley, it must have a pool, they thought they could each have their own room, and of course the presidential plane probably isn’t too bad either. After talking about it, they asked again, “Why don’t you run for president?” I told them I would check it out.

So, several days later, I was putzing on the internet and decided to check out what you had to do to get on the ballot for president. I mean, why not see? It could be inspirational for them. So, I found out. Well, sort of. It’s hard to find information on how to run for president.

Ballotpedia.org says, “In Pennsylvania, a presidential candidate seeking the nomination of a party must submit a nominating petition of 2,000 signatures and a $200 filing fee in order to gain access to the party’s primary ballot. An independent candidate can get on the general election ballot by submitting to the secretary of the commonwealth, no later than the second Friday after the primary, an affidavit of candidacy, a $200 fee, and a petition. This petition must contain signatures equaling at least 2 percent of the entire vote cast for any statewide elected candidate in the last election.” (see it here)

Hard to say if this is a legitimate site. But, if it is true, I could swing the $200 but I would still need 1,999 signatures. I mean, I get to sign for myself, right?

I found this outdated article, which is enough to shoot any hopefuls dream of being president down. Really, 150 million dollars on advertising? Do you have any idea how much GOOD $150 million will do?

The FEC.gov site has plenty of info on campaign finance. Also, there are plenty of other sites with information, but it wasn’t as easy to find as I thought it would be. So, with that being said, if you want to be one of my 1,999 signatures, keep reading on why to vote for this Mom for president.

First, I want you all to know I don’t need fancy vacations. Staycations have been some of the best family times together. And if we lived in DC, there is a ton to do. I won’t be wasting money on lavish get-a-ways. It could be a boom to my local town to have me as president because tourism might go up. But, the neighbors might not like the extra attention and security, so I’ll have to be sensitive to that.

Second, I’ve already got a wardrobe. I know the best thrift shops to go to and find a great outfit. The media will quickly get tired of mentioning my clothes because I wear my favorite things all the time. I have five pairs of work pants, it doesn’t get much more boring than that. No need for designers to woo me, I’ve got some nice stuff in my closet already. I also have a warm coat for the inauguration and will put up the hood if I’m cold! Also, no worries about me running around in yoga pants…no thank you!

Third, I know people. A real leader surrounds themselves with people who are better then them and lets them be leaders too. Sometimes, these people are your ‘frenemies’ (thanks Disney) but they know stuff the best and so you work together. Also, I can make decisions. After all, I was lead navigator on car trips before Lola (PK’s phone) took over.   There’s nothing like  a decision to exit now or keep going that makes or breaks the length of the journey.

Fourth, there is just some ridiculous stuff that needs to be changed. Being a normal person, making regular people earnings, I know how it is when money is tight. I also know how to budget, stop spending, and prioritize. But, there are two things that really miff me.

  • One, taxes shouldn’t be that hard. I have a master’s degree, I’m not completely dumb. But, how come when the accountant does my taxes I get money back, but when I do them on a tax program I owe an incredible amount? Also, having just paid back the government a lot of money for the accountant’s mistake, I had to pay 6-8% interest. But on my money market account, I only make 0.2%?
  • Two, mortgage refinancing. When is a bank going step up and do the right thing? I’m pretty sure in order to change my interest rate, they just have to plug in the new rate number and the computer program does the rest. So why does it cost upwards of $5,000 to refinance? Fill needs, not greeds.
  • I thought of a third thing, health care. If the insurance companies would stop sending me hundreds of pieces of junk mail on glossy, heavyweight paper, I’m sure rates would drop dramatically.
  • Oh gee, here’s a fourth thing. Do you ever see that Facebook post that Congress shouldn’t be paid if they don’t pass a budget, just like all the services that would stop getting money? Give me a pen and I’ll sign on the dotted line for that now!

Are you seeing that common sense would prevail in my presidency? I mean, an email invite to the next White House dinner with meatball subs and homemade cookies would be just as effective as some elaborate invitation. Also, besides having a warm coat for the inauguration, I already know people who can sing the Star Spangled Banner, play at the ball (which would be much better as a cookout – if it wasn’t January!), and say a prayer. Yup, they are common, ordinary folk.

Fifth, I’m a teacher. We need to get back to teaching our children. Teach them skills for life, how to add and subtract, that there isn’t always a winner, and how to read. I tell my kids that if they can read they can do anything. It has broken my heart to know my kindergartener can read better than a student in an eighth grade class. I’ve also managed 250 second graders for a concert (I teach music) and produced a musical. I’m telling you, I can multi-task. And for goodness sake, let teacher’s teach. A five page lesson plan is just a waste of teacher talent.

Sixth, I’m a parent. If we don’t start loving our kids through our actions and words, we are going to have a lot of lonely adults. Please, love your kids! Love each other!

Seventh, I would promote kindness. Let’s get back to being nice to one another. Slow down, don’t be so quick to sue. The saying for the kids in our family is, “Give hugs, not hits. Give kisses, not kicks.” Sometimes the truth hurts, but delivered lovingly can make all the difference in a person’s response. Build people up with your words. No need to tear them down, there is enough in this world to take care of that.

Eighth, I’m experienced. I already mentioned my multi-tasking skills. Yes, I can hear and keep two simultaneous conversations straight. But, I was also president of my senior class. (I did a lousy job, but stuff got done.) I was also president of resident life or something or other in college. (I did better, but was young.) Now, I’m president of momagement in our household. I’m not afraid to leave the tough notes and carry through.

Ninth, I know that being president is not all about me. It’s about people. Those I know and those I don’t. We all need to learn how to take ‘me’ out of the equation. We have special gifts that God has blessed us with. These gifts are not so that we are amazing, but so that we can use them to help other people grow in their faith. We need to promote love and not ourselves.

Tenth, my kids think it would be cool. My husband and I are responsible for them. And, setting an example of going after things is a great dream. That is why I blog, that is why I set up shop, and that is why I’m publishing a book.  So, what if right now on a good day 10 people visit my blog and I’ve only got two followers on my TpT store (and yes, one of them is myself)? It takes time and perseverance and hard work to build up a business. My kids need to know that they have choices and opportunities. Isn’t that what America was built on? The American dream is mostly alive and well in our house, we all just need to be encouraged.

So, there you have it. I love the United States. We waved a flag long before it was cool and like to celebrate with a good burger with the best of them. This mom is up for the challenge of a presidential run. I’m pretty sure that the news shouldn’t get to choose which candidates gets heard and who is silenced. Let the decision come back to the people and don’t knock off candidates just because they poll less. We all deserve a fair chance.

Since I’m not sure that I’ve even met 1,999 people in my life and could qualify with signatures, your liking this will show my children what a dream for presidency can be. And if anyone is looking for a running mate, I could be open to that too. Happy voting!

Homemade Texas Roadhouse Rolls

Going to Texas Roadhouse is always a treat for our family. Last time we were there, everyone filled up on so many rolls and peanuts we actually had leftover dinner to bring home! My son asked me if I could make the rolls at home. So, I found this recipe for Texas Roadhouse’s Rolls with Cinnamon Butter. I didn’t need the butter, but the picture of the rolls was enough to make me want to try this recipe. So, I did.

Texas Roadhouse Rolls

They take some time, what with the double rising and all, but if you want good bread, it sure is worth it. I actually made the dough in the morning before work and put it in the fridge. I had my son take it out when he got home (because PK is forgetful) and let it warm up. It was easy to pat out and fold. My only thing is I made them too big! That’s not really a bad thing since they were so good. But if you are looking for uniformity, watch as you cut.

I am saying this recipe is a keeper for Will it Work Wednesday. A delicious keeper. They are sweet and after the first bite my son said they’re just like them. I’ll be making these again. Now I need to work on steaks. If you need a yummy dessert, try these soft Lofthouse style cookies. Gee, wonder what other recipes I can find with the word house in it! Enjoy!

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Copycat Lofthouse Cookies

20151009_153357If you are looking for a delicious dessert to bring to your next get together, these cookies are definitely it. Soft Lofthouse Style Frosted Cookies really are an ultimate cookie.

I love finding things that work (the first time) for Will it Work Wednesdays. With six people in our family, I need to find keeper recipes. How about you?

Like the homemade tootsie rolls, I recommend following the recipe. They rolled out well without sticking too much. Just be sure to flour your cookie cutter occasionally. I got 48 nice circles and had a little icing leftover. I usually use margarine in baking and it turns out well. However, PK came home with super cheap margarine one day. I don’t recommend it for the icing. I had to add another cup or so of sugar and no milk to get it thickened up. I’ll definitely be making these again.

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If you like to plan ahead, I want you to know I cut out all the discs and froze some (unbaked) on a tray. When I was ready to make more, I let them thaw on a tray before baking and you would never know. I love little advantages like that. Work once, eat many times, right?

Follow this link and make some today. They won’t last long once you do!

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Homemade Tootsie Rolls are Delicious!

Homemade Tootsie Rolls

Are you looking for a sweet, easy treat for snack or to pull out for dessert? Will it Work Wednesday is letting you know you have to try these tootsie rolls. I remember seeing a ‘How do they make that’ sort of show once and saw them making them. Who knew I would be able to replicate them at home?

20151002_193314Check out the recipe I used here. Follow the recipe and they are delicious. A few hints that will help (in my opinion):

  • Make sure you put enough powdered sugar in so the dough is really stiff.
  • When you are rolling out the dough, do it on parchment paper and then lift it onto the tray. I just used my hands and patted it down. Don’t worry about the extra sugar, it will get rolled up in it.
  • Make sure the dough stays cool. As soon as it warms up it melts together.
  • Don’t even bother wrapping them, just eat them!

20151003_105914My only issue is that they do melt together when sitting out. So, I just leave them on the tray in the fridge and they are self serve. They don’t look like much, but the kids love eating them! I did wrap them in wax paper the first time I made them.  That took a lot of effort when they were unwrapped just as fast!

Have fun making and eating them!

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Tomato, Basil, Cheese Yum!

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Looking for something to do with those last tomatoes? Here is a yummy side that can be presented two ways. I’ve brought both to some get togethers over the summer and didn’t bring any back home!

I basically put tomatoes, basil, and cheese into the search bar of Pinterest to see what could be done. Here is one recipe that got me going. The little kabobs were so cute. From there, I decided to just mix pepperoni, basil leaves, tomatoes, and cheese. The first time I used Asiago cheese on the kabobs, but in the dish it is just plain old mozzarella.

Pop the ingredients onto a toothpick, put on a pretty plate and you are on your way. I didn’t drizzle any dressing on top. Be sure to slide everything off the toothpick and into your mouth at once for some fireworks for your taste buds! In the dish, it was just as tasty.

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Go ahead and give this salad a try with those last tomatoes. I think you’ll find it tasty and simple to put together. I know it has inspired me to try to use my fresh basil more. May I suggest putting the tomato and basil leaves on a grilled cheese sandwich? I did this too and it was delicious! Enjoy!

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Bread on a Stick

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Even though summer is ending this campfire camping food is still great for outdoors in the fall. Bread on a stick is simple and tasty. If you are looking for just the right food to try over the campfire, this is it.

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The dough is pretty simple. Just some flour, baking powder, salt and water. Some recipes use butter or oil. You can just search and find one. Mix it together and let it set for a few minutes. Pull the dough into pieces and roll it out between your hands. I’m telling you it is that easy.

If you’re lucky, the kids found the sticks and you can wrap that dough around it. If your hubby has the fire going you are all set. Hold them over the fire, preferably not catching them on fire! let them cook until it puffs out and looks done.

We served ours with some spaghetti sauce. Go ahead and try it! Play a good game of corn hole on your homemade board afterwards.

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Cardboard Corn Hole Game

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We went camping the other week and the kids had been talking about the corn hole game since last summer when we camped with friends and they had it. Of course we were going to leave in a couple of days and I know how the thrill of having something lasts for a few minutes and they are on to the next thing. So, when I saw some DIY corn hole games on Pinterest I thought they looked really nice. Heavy duty, cute designs painted on, and super expensive!

First off, we don’t have room for that in our car or pop up. Second, seriously, I don’t call spending $100 to make something like that thrifty as some posts claimed. Obviously there are different ideas of thrifty out there and that is ok.

So, if you’ve seen my other cardboard things, you know it is pretty neat what you can do with a box. And wouldn’t you know, beside our recycle bin was the perfect box. So the kids and I got to work.

They found a lid that was the perfect size to trace for our circle. We had one circle, but then they decided it needed two, with each hole worth different points. Next I cut, then they decorated, and then popped it together across the back with a rubber band and brad. It collapses flat and takes less than 10 seconds to put back together.

For the bean bags, we filled some sandwich bags with a little rice, sealed them up and then shoved it in a sock and turned the sock again. Wa-la our bean bags were done.

IMG_0044Remember, I’m not always looking for perfection and so this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. That’s okay. We had a blast with this. And having one worked out fine because one person tossed and then the other stood by the box and threw the bags back.

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The kids were very efficient. We played it for quite some time while we camped in the peaceful moments when we weren’t growling at each other over why do we camp because we are such hotel people! But, it was fun and something to remember! Go ahead and give it a try!

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