Weekend Potluck #136

Hi and welcome to Weekend Potluck! Where friends and foodies meet and eat together, ALL Weekend long!

Now, let’s take a quick peek back at last week

The recipe with the most clicks was ~

Apple Cinnamon Cream Cheese Stuffed Biscuits by The Better Baker

Recipes that caught our attention ~

Club Sandwich Roll by Kitty’s Kozy Kitchen

Easy Apple Cake by Love Bakes Good Cakes

And, a personal favorite ~

Easy Turkey Broccoli Stir Fry by Baking Beauties

Your hostesses ~

Remember that when you link up, it shows on all FIVE blogs. Plus…


Linky Guidelines:

If you wish to be a featured recipe or for us to promote your recipe either on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, you MUST follow these instructions.

  1. Please link up to your exact post and not the main page to your blog.
  2. LINK BACK HERE from your post so that others can find the fun. (Need help linking back? Read this or watch this great instructional videoPlease use a direct link within your post.

When you are kind enough to follow our guidelines, we work hard to get you as much exposure as possible so that your time here is well invested. We want this to be a fun and rewarding experience for everyone!

Caramel Brownies

Real quick, before we get on to the chocolatey-caramel deliciousness, I just wanted to say a humble thank you for yesterday.  

  I guess I figured it would be the fellow bloggers that would connect and respond to my ‘Bloggers Are People Too’ post with a “yes” and an “amen” and a comment about it.  Oh, there were definitely some amens from fellow bloggers, they totally got where I was coming from, they have been on the receiving end of nasty, too.

  I think what surprised me, was all the comments from people who don’t blog.  You all didn’t let that stop you from coming alongside me with words of affirmation and encouragement, and that meant the world to me! You took the time to show me compassion, even if you hadn’t walked my path.  Simply amazing. I am blessed to have you in my life!  

  Truthfully, what I wanted to do yesterday was stamp my foot and shout to those mean forums,
“STOP looking for my husband on dating sites, STOP saying Jesus can’t heal a broken marriage this fast, stop calling me mean names, stop hate reading my blog, STOP accusing me of hurting my kids and especially of not giving the best care I could to my father in law. STOP COMING HERE TO THROW STONES…..”

You don’t know how many times I checked that site the first day I found it. They were sending all kinds of people my way, so I followed the link back to them.  I was actually in schok, unable to look away, even through little gasps of horror, and tear filled eyes.  After that first day, I walked away. I won’t go back.  I don’t want to know what they will say next.  I know who I serve, I know who I answer to, and I know one day, everyone will face their Creator and give an account of their lives, their actions and their words.  

  You don’t know how many times my fingers twitched and hovered over the keyboard with rebuttals and arrows to fling back.  But I didn’t.  I didn’t have to, because you all pointed me to Jesus.  You reminded me why the attacks come. My battle is not with flesh and blood, my battle is not with forums and snarky websites.  My battle is with satan, the prince of darkness.

Duh. How could’ve I missed that part?  Thanks for pointing me to the bigger picture yesterday. I needed it.

  The cool part about this, is that hundreds of people are coming from those sites, daily, to see what all the fuss is about.  I can only hope they find Jesus while they are here, that they find themselves captivated and unable to look away, because our Savior is irresistible.

 Hey, crazier things have happened!  ;)  That’s enough serious talk for today, let’s move on to dessert.

  This one comes from my Momma’s recipe box, and it always takes me back to my childhood. We lived in the coolest little bitty town.  The kind where you rode your bike alone everywhere, and played outside until dark, and your mom didn’t worry a bit.

   This simple recipe starts with a cake mix, and was the “Go To” recipe for Desserts at our house…when she let us have dessert, which wasn’t often.  She was a worse Sugar Nazi then I am!  Haha.

  I remember sneaking into our kitchen, and carefully opening the non-creaking cupboard door, where she had the Little Debbie’s stashed.  I would wait until she laid down for a little snooze on the couch, in the living room, so that I could be sure my “Operation Little Debbie” would be successful this time.

  Wouldn’t you know, the MILLISECOND that package crinkled she’d say, “HEY!” or “What do you think you are doing?” from the couch, and scare the living tar out of me.  Rats, so close!

  She did let me and my little brother peel the wrappers from the caramels used in this recipe.  And sometimes, she even let us eat the extras! Maybe THAT is where my obsession with caramel started?! Hmmm.

Caramel Brownies

{click title to print}

Caramel Brownies


These simple, but delicious, cake mix Brownies come from my Momma’s recipe box.

  • 1 box (15.25 Ounce Box) Chocolate Cake Mix
  • ½ cups Melted Butter
  • 5 ounces Evaporated Milk, Divided Use
  • 37 Brach’s Caramel Squares
  • 1 cup Chocolate Chips

  Combine DRY cake mix with 1/2 cup melted butter and 1/2 cup evaporated milk. Mixture will be thick.
Press a little over half into a sprayed 9×13 glass pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 6-8 minutes.
Unwrap 37 caramel squares, and combine them with 1/3 cup evaporated milk in a small saucepan. Heat over low heat and stir to melt and combine.
Sprinkle one cup of chocolate chips over par-baked brownies, then pour caramel over top.
Drop remaining batter in tablespoons over the surface.
Return to oven for 15 more minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
Cut while warm, but not piping hot, for best results.

Dig in!


Weekend Potluck #135

Hi and Welcome to Weekend Potluck! Where friends and foodies meet and eat together ALL weekend long!
Weekend Potluck Banner

Now, let’s take a quick peek back at last week

The recipe with the most clicks was ~

Apple Dumplings Cobbler by Cooking with K

Recipes that caught our attention ~

Chicken Pot Pie by Lemons for LuLu

Milky Way Brownie Bites by 2 Kids and Tired Cooks

And, a personal favorite ~

One Bowl Glazed Lemon Cupcakes by My Overflowing Cup

Your hostesses ~

Remember that when you link up, it shows on all FIVE blogs. Plus…


Linky Guidelines:

If you wish to be a featured recipe or for us to promote your recipe either on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, you MUST follow these instructions.

  1. Please link up to your exact post and not the main page to your blog.
  2. LINK BACK HERE from your post so that others can find the fun. (Need help linking back? Read this or watch this great instructional videoPlease use a direct link within your post.

When you are kind enough to follow our guidelines, we work hard to get you as much exposure as possible so that your time here is well invested. We want this to be a fun and rewarding experience for everyone!

8 Ways to Cultivate Peace At Home

  There seems to be a phenomenon of planting Busyness in the lives of our children. 

  From well before their crawling years on, they are being toted from activity to activity, place to place, thing to thing. Part of this may be due to older siblings activities, but a lot of this is new mommies being overwhelmed by their busy child, or bored at home with their one sleepy-head baby.

  Believe it or not, playing at home has to be taught!  So does learning to be Still and Content at Home.


  When a child is raised being toted from play date to play date, from Bible Study to local gym nursery, then this story time and that, they never learn to just find peace at being home. 

Home is to be our safe place. 

Home is where we find peace and rest.

Home is where the heart is.   

Home is where we teach and instruct our children how to live for Christ.

  If we want Christ to be the center of our hearts and home, then that means we need to stay here once in a while!

  This is a safe place where we learn to be a family.  To share our toys, be soft and gentle, we learn to share our hearts, and how to do the dishwasher, make the beds, obey first time, be bored, and be creative! 

  This is where manners are taught, along with morals, values, responsibility, and life lessons.

Home is where we teach them to put on the armor of God, and instruct them how to use it, before they enter the World.

Avery dishwasher

  And bonus, teaching your kids to play happily at home un-entertained, means that on the 3rd snow day, they are still playing nicely. 

  That on the 2nd month of summer, you won’t be so fast to wish school was back in session. 

  That when you have a new baby to take care of, the big kids know how to self entertain, while you catch up on laundry, or take a mini nap in the rocking chair.

Snow day

  When we create the need to have hype and go go go, we miss the peace and still place where Jesus speaks to our hearts during the day.

What are we afraid of in the still and quiet?  What does the Bible say about these things?

Psalms 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God!”

The Bible tells us we should have “the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit” (1 Peter 3:4)

  So how do we go about training ourselves to be still? How do we “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts” (Colossians 3:15) when we are so preoccupied that our hearts are never silent?

  In pre-GPS days, often the only what to get to where you were going was to ask directions. In the spiritual life we can avoid driving in circles by asking the Holy Spirit to show us how to “be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him” (Psalm 37:7). And we can use Scripture to map out the route to peace.

  Before we begin to plead with God to help us with our problems, we can pray with the Psalmist, “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him” (Psalm 62:5). We can breathe deeply, inhaling the Spirit that gives us life. I sometimes take belly-expanding breaths to the rhythm of, “Come Holy Spirit…bring me peace.” It helps.
Read more here: http://www.guideposts.org/faith/bible-resources/be-still-feel-the-peace-of-jesus

Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)”Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

  I have compiled a list for you that I hope can help!

8 Ways to Cultivate Peace At Home

1) Play to Teach, Teach to Play

Play to Teach:
Teaching your children to play respectfully, and kindly, with each other.  Remind them that brothers and sisters are our best friends, and friends come and go, but family is forever.

This takes some training years, asking questions. “Would you treat your friend Abby from school the way you just treated your brother?  I didn’t think so!” 

  There are many opportunities for learning within playtime with mom, from counting change at the pretend grocery store, lessons in kindness and sharing, to lessons in what God says about dishonesty and cheating to get ahead.

Teach to Play:
  Sometimes, a child needs us to first play with them, “Let’s play school today. I’ll be the teacher and you two be my students.”  Next, once we have given them some foundation and ideas,  we can get the same thing accomplished by getting them started and slipping away.  “I set up the school board and notebooks today, why don’t you go play school while I finish up supper prep?” 

  The end result is telling them to go play, knowing they 100% know what to do, and watching them successfully set up and play an imagination game alone or with siblings.

  As the years go by, you can watch that amazing imagination of theirs takes over and they will come up with super cool things to play together while you work to keep your home.  From orphanage to ninjas!

2) Keep the TV Off

  When the children’s screen time has passed, (we do 1 show or 1 hour) shut the TV off…for the rest of the day.  We can watch our adult shows after the kids are in bed at night.  I am sure our time can be better used working around our homes anyways.  Going over lists, getting chores done, praying over our spouse, or whoever’s laundry we are folding at the moment is a much better use of our time.
When I had one baby, I  had a show I watched for every nursing.  When I had 2 kids, I noticed big sis would stop playing to watch my shows with me, and they weren’t always kid material, so I shut it off.
At first it was hard, I missed the noise.  But soon, I learned to embrace the things I had been missing out on, like Destiny doing a dance show for me while I nursed baby brother, or just the peace and quiet it brought my soul to sit there quietly and watch my baby eat.

  It’s easy to have the TV on for noise, but our bodies need peace to center.  We need to teach our brains to be still, to enjoy the silence. To enjoy those daily noises of our playing kids in the background. 

 When we are home and have to have the TV on for noise, it’s another form of busy, to keep the mind occupied.  Satan works in the busyness, he uses it as a weapon to drown out the still small voice of our Savior. BUSY=Burdened Under Satan’s Yolk

3) Turn Praise Music On

  If you are someone who likes to have the TV on for noise, replace it with praise music for 1 week and see how different the tone of your home feels. Its incredible!  It invites the presence of God into our home and lives. 

  And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom, peace, love, and joy……

4) Let Your Kids Get BORED.

  Boredom produces some of the BEST playtime activities!

  In fact, our kiddos rarely say the words “I’m Bored” anymore. There are too many cool things they love to do together, things they have learned over the years of having to find fun things to do at home, because I refuse to raise them to need to be entertained constantly.  The more kids I had, the more important it became to me, to stay home and work around their 2-3 time a day nap schedules.  This promoted a lot of good play time for our family, without having to leave the home to find fun.   

  If your bored children look to you for suggestions, make sure you have a craft section with pipe cleaners, glue, magazines, and construction paper, a game cabinet of choices, and some fun ideas ready to go for an easy send off.

  Even start a Pinterest Board of ideas.  That way when they come to you, you are armed with great suggestions, and if that doesn’t work, well there is always the option of assigning some extra chores to get those creative juices flowing!

  Don’t forget the classics child home imagination games of:
   House, table tent hideaways, King and Queen, school, and grocery store. If they are too young for that, it will come. Get them started on a color book, block tower to knock down, pretend you hear their baby crying in the other room and help make a little house to play in while they care for him or her, build a duplo block barn for all their animals, or a car town with a fun book ramp in the middle. 

5) Play WITH Them

   Playing with your kids can be so fun! I understand, it can fill our hearts with dread too, because we are tooooo busy.  But it’s necessary and a way to show them our love with Quality Time.  I say quality because that means no phone, or distractions, just 20-30 minutes to look in their eyes, grin and giggle, and give them mommy time with all of our attention.

  I do not chose to do this every time they ask, because again, I want them to succeed without me.  But being the silly waitress, the servant to the King & Queen, or simply curling up with them to read for a few minutes, fills their love banks, helps them get started on a fun game, and just makes me feel good as their Mom. I want to invest in them in this way. 

6) Provide Them Organized Play Space

  There is a distinct difference in how my children play when the play room is trashed, verses when it is clean. For this reason, we tidy up several times a day.  For us, before lunch and before dinner works best.
Right after dinner we do jammies, story, devotions and prayer, because bedtime routine should start by 7ish for us to achieve our goal of 7:30 lights out. We just don’t even have time for getting more toys out.
If you have later bedtimes, schedule a window of clean up time before you transition to jammies and bed, and make it part of the routine.

  Everything has a place and a place for everything. Every basket has a theme, every theme has a place in the play closet, so they can open it and choose what to get out for the activity of the moment.  This allows them to quickly move from idea to idea and find what they need to play together.
Clean closet

  They also know they HAVE to clean it up when they are done, but it doesn’t always happen.
That is still something we are working on.  Winking smile

  Beyond providing them ORGANIZED play space, let’s make sure we touch on that point, that ANY play space is better than none! Maybe an old attic room or basement storage room, turned play room? An office closet that could be used as both toy storage and a secret hideout?

  Don’t over look your outdoor space, maybe its time for a nicer swing set, a homemade balance beam, or a trampoline for a family Christmas present.

  Organize a space in the garage for easy access to bubbles, chalk, jump ropes and watering cans.  Give them a corner of the garden that is theirs to tend, or some old tools and scraps of wood daddy doesn’t need.

7) Make Your House a Home

    If you need to paint a room, or save for new to you furniture, do it.  Have a garage sale and save up.
As women, we typically want our homes to be a reflection of us, and it’s hard when it doesn’t look the way we desire it to.
I HATED when my house had plain white walls, I wasn’t happy and I wanted to move.  It was amazing what a warm tan and deep buffalo color, changed the way our living room felt.  Curtains next, then new to us furniture and suddenly I was in love and happy to be in that room.
When it doesn’t feel peaceful, or like we imagine it should look, it’s harder to find serenity within its walls. 

  That also means tidying up the places that drive you nuts, getting rid of clutter, using baskets to organize the chaos, hanging pictures or art.  Like I said, don’t be afraid to buy that gallon of paint, get rid of those dark curtains, and add some sheers to the windows to instantly brighten a room.

  Make your home a place you WANT to stay, curl up and find rest in.  There are enough DIY ideas out there now, that this can be done for very little out-of-pocket!

8) Lead By Example

  Find peace within your heart, to stay home.  Do the hard work now that it takes to teach a child to obey, rather than leave the house, so you don’t have to deal with their whining, or the dumping of the cat food one more time.  Use each time as an opportunity to train, not a time to escape.

Peace starts in your heart, and flows into the corners of your house, where it is felt and enjoyed by your family. 

  Your children pick up on your cues, so when you find peace at home, they will find it, too.

  I hope this post helps you feel empowered to stay home more often, and work on cultivating peace and contentment within its walls.