Taking Chore Charts To the Dot.com World

  I talked to you yesterday about chores.  Ugh, chores.  The necessary evil.  Actually, that’s not entirely true.  The older Destiny gets, the easier it is to send her to her room, knowing when she exits, her laundry will be put away.  Or when I send Ty and Avery out to the kitchen, I know they will put away the majority of the dishes from the dishwasher without my help now, which is a nice change.  It took some one-on-one training and it took some extra time, but eventually they mastered the chore to the point of doing it alone most of the time.  The payoff I am seeing so far, is so worth it!  It gives me hope that one day I can hand them a dust rag, vacuum and the windex and send them to clean their own rooms!

  We used to use only sticker charts to reward good behavior and getting chores done promptly.  But recently, I discovered a site that helps keep track of your kids daily, weekly, even once-a-month, chores.  I promptly filled it out and we have been successfully using it ever since.  I love it and the kids are so proud to get to come to the computer and check off their items. 

MY JOB CHART was created for the conscientious parent as a tool to help teach their children to work.

….. An online job chart helps parents manage household jobs easily and efficiently.

Using an innovative job chart that is based on technology, positive feedback, and mutually determined rewards, myjobchart.com helps parents help their children be responsible and develop a good work ethic.

Here is how it works:

I log in and manage all chores and their point value.  I decide what days what chores need to be done, and myjobchart.com does the rest, listing off each child’s chosen chores for that particular day, in an easy check-off list. 

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This is what my screen looks like.  I can edit chores by day, or change how many points each job is worth as needed. It’s so simple!  

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Once after school and once before bed, each child logs in and checks off their completed tasks. The kids seem to respond best when they get to check chores off right away, otherwise, we’d not be logging in twice a day.  I supposed older kids would be fine logging in right before bed and feel rewarded for the tasks they had completed in the morning.  But little ones? Definitely still into instant gratification! :)

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The kids love the log in part, because they have their own password! SUPER COOL!

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This is the screen Destiny sees when she first logs in:

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  She checks the boxes of her completed tasks and off to the right you can see her total points are 133 so far.  Below that is a sticky note where I leave her messages.

This is an example of the reward page.  It keeps track of how many points your child has earned, as will as automatically subtract points when they spend them!

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    I am so pleased with this website and how responsive our kids have been to using it.  Best of all….it’s FREEEEEEEE!  And if it’s free, then it’s for me!

Go check it out!  www.myjobchart.com

  And no, they are not paying me to tell you about this, just something I’m excited about.  Hmm, that WOULD be nice though! :)

~T

Chores

   Our kids are expected to do chores, from unloading the dishwasher to feeding the dog.  We had not yet started Tylan, age 3 and Avery, age 1 1/2, on chores when I got put on bed rest while pregnant with Paxton last year, but that changed things in a hurry! Everyone had to carry some extra weight with Momma down for over 6 months! 

Here is sweet little Avery, at 20 months, doing a great job on her part of the dishwasher…the silverware!

 Destiny and Ty do the “regular” dishes, bowls and plates.  I do knives and the “extras”.   Ty’s favorite is when he gets to stand on the counter to put away the dishes.  Destiny was at school the day I took these, but every other time, one stacks clean dishes on the counter, and the other puts them away.

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    The children are also expected to make their own beds every morning, get dressed and brush teeth.  On laundry day, they are required to put away their clothes too. (the little ones still need my assistance)     We reward their good obedience and a job well done with stickers for their sticker chart062

  On cleaning day, Dale and I have recently started dividing the kids up between us, and helping them with dusting and vacuuming different parts of the house.  Destiny is also responsible for keeping the kid’s bathroom tidy during the week. This means toothpaste free sink, polished counter top and fingerprint free mirrors.

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  A new chore we’ve added since our chickens joined the family, is gathering eggs and feeding and giving water to the baby chickies. Ty and Destiny do this chore together after school :

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  We’ve only had one egg mishap for each kid. Destiny dropped one in the garage during her transfer to the fridge, and the other day Tylan, tripped out in the chicken coop.  Bye-bye 7 eggs!  That’s ok Ty, accidents happen!

  Below is a list of age appropriate chores for your kiddos that I got from Dr. Dobson’s website a few years ago. Yes, it takes longer to unload the dishwasher then when I do it myself, and things aren’t always done as tidy as this momma wants them, but I know this is teaching them a valuable lesson in responsibility.

Here are some age appropriate tasks:
Ages 3 to 5
Work alongside your children to help them perform simple chores like putting dirty clothes in the hamper, sorting laundry into color-coded piles, making their beds and feeding pets.

Ages 6 to 8
Children can dust and vacuum, put away their clothes, empty wastebaskets, set and clear the table, care for pets and help with some yard work.

Ages 9 to 12
Kids can unpack groceries, load and unload the dishwasher, mop the floor, fold laundry, wash the car, and help prepare simple meals.

  Most child-development experts agree that children shouldn’t be paid for household chores, which are part of contributing to family life. 

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Here are some tips for positive chores experience at your house:

Give kids ownership:  Have a family meeting and enlist the help of your children in selecting the chores they want to do.  Also have them participate in selecting the consequences for chores not performed in a timely manner.  Let kids know expectations ahead of time.

Use “shaping” to teach tasks:  First, let children watch you perform a chore as you talk through it step by step.  The next time, let children perform one part of the chore.  Each time, give kids a little more responsibility until they’re ready to tackle the chores alone.

Use language cues to spur self-reflection and responsible behavior.  Say “I see books on the floor” rather than giving a direct command.  That helps kids make decisions and reduces any defiance.

Offers encouragement.  Always thank children for their contributions and offer genuine praise for their efforts.  Instead of saying, “Your room looks good,” say, “Thank you for working so hard to put your clothes and toys in their proper place.”

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  The key here is not to expect perfection! I had to learn that I was crushing Destiny’s spirit when I’d go tidy her bed after she made it.  Wrinkled or not, she had done her best and worked SO hard on it!  By fixing it in front of her, I was showing her that her best wasn’t good enough. 

  I thank God that He allowed me to see her crest-fallen face and slumped shoulders once, early on, so He could open my eyes to what this was saying to her. 

Have a great one!  ~T

PS  Stay tuned, I am getting ready to post again, this time a FOOD post! I was excited enough to share it with you, that it deemed a double post day. Yup, deeelicious……

Savory Spring Quesadillas & Oven Roasted Asparagus

We had a great dinner tonight!  The kind where there are no complaints, only noises of Mmmm! and finger smacking around the table.  Love it!

Savory Spring Quesadillas

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16 medium-sized flour tortilla shells (We did each quesadilla half white and half wheat.)
1 lb chicken, cooked, seasoned and cut into strips (Tastes great coated in your fav BBQ sauce)
1/2 cup green onions, diced
16 strips of bacon, cooked & crumbled
2 avocados, diced and salted with kosher salt
A combo of Mild cheddar cheese and Colby Jack cheese, shredded
8 tbsp butter

  Preheat oven to 400*.  Lay out bacon across a baking sheet, and cook 15-20 minutes.  Drain on paper towels and reserve drippings for cooking your meat. (You’ll also use it for the asparagus.)

Add 1/2 tbsp bacon drippings to a skillet over medium heat. Add the green onions and saute about 2-3 mins until softened. Add the chicken in a single layer, seasoned with salt and pepper, and cook for about 5 mins or until chicken is golden and cooked through. Remove to a plate and clean out skillet.

Add about 1 T of butter to the skillet over medium heat. When foamy, add a tortilla and swirl it around to get it nice and buttery. Layer one side of the white tortilla with chicken, bacon, avocado, and cheeses. Cover with second tortilla, wheat this time.   Cook the tortilla for about 1-2 mins on each side or until golden brown and crispy. Use tongs to flip and press down. Place in warm oven on a cookie sheet to keep warm until dinner.

Repeat with the rest of the tortillas, adding a little more butter for each tortilla as needed. Cut into quarters with a pizza cutter & enjoy!

Makes 8 whole quesadillas rounds.

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Since these Quesadillas are not “Mexican filled”, as they tend to usually be, we decided to go with an Asparagus side dish, rather than Spanish rice or bean dip etc. 

  Boy, were we ever glad we did! There was not one stitch of asparagus left, not one.  My kids CHOWED it!  Asking for more of “that green stuff”. 

Oven Roasted Bacon Dripped Asparagus

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2 bunches asparagus (about 50 or so stalks)

1/2 c. bacon drippings (reserved from quesadillas) 

{Use Olive oil if you have no bacon drippings at your disposal, but I’m sorry for you.  There is just no comparison in flavor!!!!! :) }

Generous amount of Kosher Salt (or to taste)

{Kosher Salt will make all the difference in something like this, you want the large-grained crunch and the mellow flavor this salt brings.}

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 425*.

After you wash the asparagus, lay out on a tea towel and thoroughly pat dry.  This is important so you don’t steam your asparagus, we’re going for roasted here.

Get out a cutting board and knife, you’ll need to remove the hard end of the stalk.  Do test cuts in tiny increments, starting at the bottom of the asparagus.  You’ll know where to cut by when knife easily slides through.

  Line up your asparagus on a couple of baking sheets, or your Pampered Chef bar pans.  Drizzle with bacon drippings and generously sprinkle with salt and cracked pepper.

  Roast asparagus for about 10 minutes, then test, so that you don’t over cook it!  You are wanting to maintain a bit of crisp still, but tender insides.

Enjoy!!!! This will rock your world!

Happy Cooking!

~T

This blog is linked to Made It On Monday on my friend, Lark’s site.

EVERYDAY SISTERS

 

I’m A Gentleman!

 Tylan LOVES to be told he’s a gentleman. He often races to the door to hold it first for “us girls” just so he can be told again what a gentleman he is.

  The other day, I heard a sweet, proud little voice say: “Hey Mommy?”

  When I turned, this is what I saw:

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Melt.  My.  Heart.

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Now if I could just teach him to pee indoors, we’d be set on the “Gentleman” thing!

049  That cute lil’ white hiney deserves a close-up:

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  His daddy taught him to do that, you know.

  I can hear him now:  “That’s my boy!!”

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HA HA HA!  :)

  No worries, only a garden hose caught at the perfect time. 

  Let’s keep it G-rated, people!!!!

~T

P.S.  Did you notice my new 4 little Ferguson header pictures, located at the top of this page?  My babies are growing up! A big thanks to my friend, Lisa from Toddlers & Scholars, for making it for me.

Smothered Mexican Chicken Roll ups, Baked Brown Spanish Rice & Butterfinger Cake

  It’s not very often I try to tackle 3 new recipes all in one meal, and it’s REALLY rare for us to love all 3 of them!!!!  But it happened!

  So, without further ado, I give you the Mexican supper of your dreams……Ole’!  And yum!  :)

Smothered Mexican Chicken Roll Ups

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  • 12 Chicken strips, pounded thin
  • 4 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
  • 16 oz. Salsa Verde (Green salsa made with tomatillas), divided
  • 1/2 bunch Cilantro, snipped
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin
  • ½ teaspoons Garlic Powder
  • 3 ounces Fresh Spinach
  • 3 ounces Pepper Jack Cheese, Shredded
  • 6 ounces shredded Mexican cheese
  • 6 ounces Tortilla Chips, Crushed

Flatten out the chicken to about 1/4″ thickness.

001Blend together the cream cheese, half the salsa, cilantro, cumin and garlic powder to form a sauce.

Spread sauce across each breast. 002

Top with both cheeses and a single layer of spinach.

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Roll closed and place in a 9×13 baking dish, seam side down.  Repeat until all 12 chicken roll ups are in place.  Pour remaining half jar of Salsa verde over the chicken and cover in crushed tortilla chips.

Bake at 350ºF covered for 1 hour or until chicken is cooked through.

  YUM!

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Baked Brown Spanish Rice

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2 1/4 cups brown basamati rice

2 cans chicken broth

1 can rotel tomatoes with chilies, drained (you decide how hot you want, we did original)

1 tsp. chili powder (less if you don’t like heat)

1 tsp. cumin

Preheat oven to 350*.  Combine all ingredients in a 2 Qt. oven safe baking dish.  Stir well.  Cover with foil and bake for 80 minutes until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.  Let sit for 10 minutes out of the oven.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Fluff with a fork and serve with Smothered Chicken Roll Ups.

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Time for dessert!  You have probably heard of Health Bar Cake that uses German chocolate cake mix, gooey stuff and of course, crushed Heath bars.  Mmmm, one of our favorites!  This is the Butterfinger version, just as yummy and so easy too!

Butterfinger Cake

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Yellow, white or french vanilla cake mix

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 jar caramel topping

4 whole Butterfinger candy bars

Small cool whip

Bake the cake mix according to the package direction.  While hot, poke holes all over the cake.  Pour can of sweetened condensed milk and caramel over hot cake.  Crush up 3 Butterfingers and spread on top of gooey layer.  Allow to cool and refrigerate.  Once cooled completely, top with cool whip and last Butterfinger, crushed.  Serve cold. 

Eat within 3 days as it gets soggy otherwise!

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  I still can’t believe we were 3 for 3 with new recipe “Keepers”! My odds aren’t usually that good.

Try ‘em and let me know what your family thinks……..

Happy Cooking & Baking!

~T

 

The Death of Jesus

  At the age of 33, Jesus was condemned to the death penalty. jesus

  At the time crucifixion was the “worst” death.

Only the most dreadful criminals were condemned to be crucified.

The nails are thought to have been driven into His wrist, not into His palms as is commonly portrayed.

Each nail was 6 to 8 inches long.  Can you imagine?

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There’s a tendon in the wrist that extends to the shoulder.

The Roman guards knew that when the nails were being hammered into the wrist, that tendon would tear and break, later forcing Jesus to use His back muscles to support himself so that He could breathe. 

Both of His feet were nailed together. Thus He was forced to support Himself on the single nail that impaled His feet to the cross.

Jesus could not support himself with His legs because of the pain, so He was forced to alternate between arching His back then using his legs just to continue to breathe.

Imagine the struggle, the pain, the suffering, the courage.  Jesus endured this reality for over 3 hours.

Yes, over 3 hours!

Can you imagine this kind of suffering?

A few minutes before He died, Jesus stopped bleeding.

He was simply pouring water from His wounds.

The human adult body contains about 3.5 liters (just less than a gallon) of blood.

He had no more blood to bleed.

But before the nails and the spear, Jesus was whipped and beaten.

The whipping was so severe that it tore the flesh from His body.

The beating so horrific that His face was torn and his beard ripped from His face to the point of being un-recognizable. 

crucifixtionThe crown of thorns cut deeply into His scalp.

Most men would not have survived this torture. 

All this plus carrying His own cross for nearly a mile, while the crowd spat in his face and threw stones.

  The cross was almost 66 pounds, only for its higher part, where His hands were nailed.

Jesus had to endure this experience, so that you can have free access to God.

So that your sins could be washed away.

All of them, with no exception!

Don’t ignore the reason we celebrate Easter.

easterIt’s not about a silly bunny who delivers chicken eggs.

It’s not about new clothes and Easter baskets.

It’s about the fact that JESUS CHRIST DIED FOR YOU!

  And would’ve given His precious life even if you were the ONLY person on Earth.  Because He loves you that much!

The truth is that Jesus is the only salvation for the world.

What held Jesus to the cross was not three nails… It was His love for you and me that held Him there to endure to the end.

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May today we be still. 

  May we be in silent meditation, awe and wonder at the ultimate sacrifice we remember today;  God’s only Son, the perfect lamb, given as atonement for our sins.  Sins so filthy and so ugly draped across Jesus, that the Father Himself had to turn His face away from His Son. 

Or was it because He couldn’t bear to see the agony of it all, lest He send angels to swoop down and save His Son from this slow and painful death?

 Thankfully, this story has a happy ending: 

The grave couldn’t hold Jesus for long.  Hallelujah! 

Resurrection Sunday, as you awake, may you celebrate our risen Lord!!!!!! 

Happy Easter to you and yours!

~T

 

 

Easter Recipes

  There are certain foods that come to mind when I think of Easter.  The obvious, HAM, which by the way, is best cooked in the crock pot on low all day with a can of coke. No kidding! Best ham I’ve ever had. 

Mini recipe:

5 lb. Cooks bone-in butt-cutt ham (needs to be bone in for this to work properly)

1 can coke

Shove ham in your crock pot, or cut to fit, whatever floats your boat.  Pour Coke over ham, shut the lid and 8 hours later, its carmalized to be the best darn ham you’ve ever tasted. I’m not kidding! I hate Coke so I had some serious doubts, but it’s easy and delish!cute-bunny

That was a bunny trail (ha ha, get it?) so on to the other Easter recipes I actually got on here to share with you:

Green Bean Haystacks, so unique and so yummy!

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This is taken before they were cooked because I, of course, failed to take an after, but they were beautiful and delicious! Trust me!

Green Bean Haystacks

1 pound Bacon, Cut In Half

2 bags (16 Oz. Bag) Whole Green Beans, Thawed

½ cups Butter

1/2 teaspoons Garlic Powder

½ cups Brown Sugar

1/2 teaspoons Black Pepper

Prep early in the day: thaw bacon, cook slightly, pull from pan while still soft. Bundle 10-12 green beans together and wrap with half a slice of bacon. Lay side-to-side in a 9×13 pan with bacon ends down. Place butter, garlic powder, brown sugar and black pepper in a saucepan and heat on low until sugar dissolves. Pour over bean stacks. Refrigerate for 4-6 hours.

Bake at 350ºF for 25-30 minutes.

AMAAAZING! And so pretty too!

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  These cookies have become an Easter tradition at our house.  I love the Bible verses associated with each step, and the kids love to help make these!!!  The end result is a meaningful Easter story and a yummy snack (breakfast treat?) for the next day.

RESURRECTION COOKIES

*Plan ahead, this recipe sits over-night.

1 cup whole pecans

1 teaspoon vinegar

3 egg whites

pinch salt

1 cup sugar

ziplock bag

wooden spoon or a wooden meat hammer

Masking tape

Bible

Important:  Preheat oven to 350*F before starting. 

051Place pecans in baggie and let children beat them with the wooden spoon or hammer to break them into small pieces.

Explain that after Jesus was arrested he was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read John 19:1-3

Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 teaspoon of vinegar into the mixing bowl.

Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross he was given vinegar to drink. Read John 19:28-30

Add egg whites to the vinegar. Eggs represent life.

Explain that Jesus gave his life to give us life. Read John 10:10-11

Sprinkle a little salt into each child’s hand. Let them taste. Then put a pinch of salt in the bowl.

Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus’s followers, and the bitterness of our own sin. Read Luke 23:27

So far, the ingredients are not very appetizing! Add 1 cup sugar to the bowl.

Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because he loves us. He wants us to know and belong to him. Read John 3:16 & Psalm 34:8

053Beat with a mixer on high-speed for 10 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks form.

Explain that the color white represents the purity in God’s eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. Read Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3

Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie sheets.

058Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus’s body was laid. Read Matthew 27:57-60

Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF. Give each child a piece of tape to seal the oven door.

Explain that Jesus’ tomb was sealed. Read Matthew 27:65-66

Leave the kitchen and go to bed. Acknowledge that the kids are feeling  sad that they’ve worked hard to make these cookies, and now have to leave them in 057the oven overnight.

Explain that Jesus’ followers were in sad when Jesus died and the tomb was sealed. Read John 16:20 and 22

The next morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie.

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Take a bite, the cookies are hollow!

Note: this year our cookies were not done, still chewy and soft inside, so we just baked them a bit longer at 350* this morning.

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Explain that on the first Easter morning, Jesus’ followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. HE HAS RISEN! Read Matthew 28:1-9

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  What are some Easter traditions in your family?

~T

This post linked to EVERYDAY SISTERS.

Clever, no?! Um, no.

  The other day, when we were hiding Easter eggs before bed, the kids put their Easter baskets on as hats.  I thought they looked terribly adorable and quickly insisted they leave them on for a bit so I could grab my camera and take a quick photo or two.   More like 10.

My mind was already thinking ahead to an upcoming Easter post that I could use these in, it was going to be so cute and clever, no?!

  Ummmmmm, NO.

  Didn’t work AT ALL.

4 tired kids + 4 fuzzy chicky basket hats =  CHAOS

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Avery sat like this for several minutes, silently contemplating life from below the rim of her “hat”.

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Letting it go, and moving on…..

In other news, Spring is officially here.  Want to know how I know?

  ‘Cause my kiddos feet are looking like this every time they knock on the back door to be let in.

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  Which is why they stop here, in the laundry room, to wash hands AND feet, before setting foot in mom’s clean house.

  Good job, buddy!050

Oh, and faces too. Did you know……Snot + Sand = Smud?

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   Springs arrival also means we can have snack time outside each afternoon, and do homework on a blanket in the yard.  LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!

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  Tomorrow I am doing a post on an Easter tradition of ours, making “Resurrection Cookies”.  Come back and check it out, they are really neat! 

~T

P.S.  Guess who started walking today, just a few days after he turned 8 months?  This may not be uncommon at your house, but at our house, babies don’t start doing this for a few more months and do not walk until they are a year.  (Or if you are Destiny, don’t walk until 18 months old)

Pax grabbed onto this Postal cart and off he went through the kitchen.

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Then he fell down twice and wouldn’t have anything do with it after that.

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Good! That was a close one. 

Oh, wait, I meant awwww, poor baby!

 

Mr. Postman, Floral Flashback & Not Your Ordinary Fruit Pizza

  Why hello there Mr. Postman!  What did you bring me today?

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  Not too many bills I hope!

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  Being a Postman looks like it takes a lot of concentration!

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  Thank you Sir, see you tomorrow!

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    I love when the kids come up with creative things to play!!!!

  Speaking of play, we got out some old sheets this weekend.  Would you believe that purple floral number used to grace my bed as a child?  Helloooooo 1980’s!

  I love how something as simple as a set of old sheets can promote hours of play.  From Rapunzel hair to Super man capes, Baby transportation, to baby Jesus, and the grand finale of Pillow Sack races!  They tried it all and had a blast doing it!

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Recipe time! 

After giving out this recipe to my best friend, I had a MAJOR Fruit Pizza craving and a major problem;  the only fresh fruit I had was pineapple.  So I dug in the deep freeze and pulled some Peaches, Blackberries and Blueberries that we froze last summer.  This was not going to be a beautiful Fruit Pizza, but by golly, it was sure going to taste good!

  My favorite part about this Fruit Pizza, and the thing I think that makes it unique from other recipes you’ve tried, is the Blueberry glaze you make to layer on top of the cream cheese layer.  Super YUMMY!

  Here is the recipe, excuse the picture, I told you I had to use what I had on hand, there was no time to scurry off to the store!133

  FRUIT PIZZA (click for printable version)

Crust:

1 1/2 cup flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 sticks soft butter

Mix ingredients well.  Pat into pizza pan or circle stone from Pampered Chef.  Bake 12 minutes at 350*.  Cool, then loosen cookie from stone using the back side of a large bread knife. 

Cream Cheese Layer:

Combine 1 pkg. Cream cheese and 1/4 cup sugar, spread over cooled cookie.

Blueberry glaze:

2 cups fresh, or still frozen blueberries

1 1/2 T. Cornstarch

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

  In saucepan, combine above ingredients except berries.  Cook, stirring until clear, thick and gel-like.  Remove from heat.  Add drained berries.  Spread on top of cream cheese layer.

  Decorate with fruit of your choice.

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Dig in! Betcha there won’t be any left!  But, a word to the wise, IF there is any remaining, its great on day 2, but is soggy by day 3.  So eat up!

Happy Baking!

~T