Pecan Pie Cake

Pecan Pie Cake

An Original Recipe from The Supermom Chef

2 cups granulated sugar
2 sticks butter, softened
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups chopped pecans

Cream butter and sugar; add remaining ingredients, stirring by hand. Pour into a 9×13″ baking dish and bake for 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees. Crumble cake; alternate cake and frosting (below) to make two layers of each.

Pecan Pie Cake Frosting
1 lg. container whipped topping
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened

Blend all ingredients together using a mixer.

Spread 1/2 of the frosting in-between layers of crumbled cake and the other half on top.

DIG IN!  It’s AMAZING!

Thanks to Supermom Chef, Mandy, for a GREAT recipe!

Happy Baking!

~T

Freezing Floridians

  We had some freezing Floridians arrive at our door this afternoon….the poor, dear, shivering souls.  We decided to keep them for a week or so, they seemed nice enough and they say they are potty trained….even this little furry one.  🙂 

  What a month of surprises!  First my brother Chad and his girlfriend Lauren, come to visit us from Florida, now Dad and Drea are here!  We feel so privileged to have such special guests come see us! We have a busy week planned full of hugs, story time, and snuggles for the kids, shopping at the local boutiques for Drea and I, and Dad and Dale are going to work on completing the laundry room.  I will write as I get the chance and definitely post pics of the laundry room as it progresses. 

 

Dad and Drea surprised Destiny by picking her up at school…….  They said she did a TRIPLE take before she realized who it was!  So sweet! 🙂

 

Have a happy Wednesday!

~T

 P.S.  I made a Pecan Pie CAKE this evening for dessert.  HOLY COW, I will share this recipe with you soon, you are gonna love it! 

Here, peek into the dish…..Mmm, frosting!

Just For This Morning…..

Just for this morning, I am going to smile when your whining at my feet, & laugh when I feel like crying.
Just for this morning, I will let you choose what you want to wear, and smile and say how perfect it is.

Just for this morning, I am going to step over the laundry, and pick you up and take you to the park to play.
Just for this morning, I will leave the dishes in the sink, and let you teach me how to put that puzzle of yours together.

Just for this afternoon, I will unplug the telephone and keep the computer off, and sit with you in the backyard and blow bubbles.
Just for this afternoon, I will not yell once, not even a tiny grumble.  Even when you scream and fuss, I will keep my cool and deal with it in a calm manner.
Just for this afternoon, I won’t worry about what you are going to be when you grow up, or second guess every decision I have made where you are concerned.
 Just for this afternoon, I will let you help me bake cookies, and I won’t stand over you trying to fix them.
Just for this evening, I will hold you in my arms and tell you a story about how you were born and how much I love you.
Just for this evening, I will let you splash in the tub and not get angry.

Just for this evening, I will let you stay up late while we sit on the porch and count all the stars.
Just for this evening, I will snuggle beside you for hours, and miss my favorite TV shows or computer time.

Just for this evening when I run my finger through your hair as you pray, I will simply be grateful that God has given me the greatest gift ever given.
I will think about the mothers and fathers who are searching for their missing children, the mommy’s and daddy’s who are kneeling beside their children’s graves rather than beside their beds, and the couples who are in hospital rooms watching their children suffer senselessly, and screaming inside that they can’t handle it anymore.

And when I kiss you good night I will hold you a little tighter, a little longer……it is then, that I will thank God for you, and ask Him for nothing, except one more day…………..

   As a weary mother of 4 little Fergusons, this moved me to tears!  How many times do I rush through lunch, so we can stay on schedule?  Or shove them out the door as fast as their little feet can move, so we get somewhere close to “on time”?  How many times have they asked me to stop and read them a book, or color with them, and I say, “Not now, mommy’s busy” and then never get around to it again? 

How many times do we show them that their work “isn’t quite good enough” by re-doing the bed they worked so hard to make? Or fixing the dinner table settings just an inch to the left?  How many times did they walk away with slumped shoulders and sad hearts because mommy didn’t take the time to listen to what they were REALLY saying?  

  Oh, how we stumble and fall as mothers.  Oh, how we break those little hearts without meaning to, and crush their spirits, rather than the wrong behavior, by our reactions. 

  As mom’s, we do our best to balance life, and these unrealistic expectations we put on ourselves, to be a certain way, have our house look just so, or enroll our kids in certain activities to give them “opportunities”, that maybe we never had.  But, somewhere along the way, somewhere in this hustle and bustle we call life, we’re missing out. 

We miss out on playing with our kids because we are never home, or when we are, we’re catching up from a busy weekend.  We miss those teachable moments in the car, because we turned on the dvd player, or are talking on our cell phones.  What happened to just singing songs and talking to our kids without media-based interruptions?  What happened to sitting on the front porch each evening, talking to your spouse after a hard days work, with kids crawling all over vying for your attention?  Does anyone DO that anymore?? We should!  Heck, it seems like people can barely manage family dinner, let alone a whole evening together! 

   Our kids are missing out on even BEING kids, because they have too many activities that rob them of the layed-back life they should be enjoying now.  Don’t the stresses of being an over-worked, under-slept adult come quick enough?  Our kids should be outside playing until we call them for supper, coming in flush cheeked and eyes sparkling, ready to chow some dinner before homework and bedtime.  What happened to that?  Where along the way, did we as the adults, decide to pass down our overly busy social schedules to our children, and at such an early age too!?  Do our 4 year olds really need to be in tap, jazz, piano, softball, knitting, ceramics and a spinning class at the local Y? No! 

 “Outside” activities, meaning those that take you from your home, need to be viewed as a privilege, not the norm.  Family time is sacred time, and anything that takes away from that, needs to be evaluated as to its worth.  Will this further the kingdom of God?  Is this building our family up? Is this time well spent?  Will it bring our family together or send us in different directions?  

    Is it morally wrong to allow your kids to experience these different activities?  Of course not.  It’s just that satan likes to use them to steal from your children….he steals their time!  Family time is gone. How about running around free and just being a kid?  Gone, because we are in the car eating fast food, rushing to the next event, or practice.  

  Remember the good ol’ days?  Playing with siblings and neighbor kids until the neighborhood moms would come out on their porches one by one, and call their kids in for dinner? How comforting it was to join my family for a delicious hot meal to end our day.  If felt peaceful, relaxed, low stress.

Did you know in the 1940’s, your average size home was 700 sq ft, and the average family had 7 kids?

Did you know in 2000, the average home being built was 2000 sq ft and the average family had 2 kids?

Our families are getting smaller and our homes are getting bigger…..and we all are going our separate ways. We are losing a precious gift called Family Time.  We are missing out on a living room so small that we HAVE to be together because there is no where else to go.  No where else to be, except together.

 When your kids are grown and gone, you won’t wish you had enrolled them in that cooking class, or ballet class, or soccer league.  You’ll wish for one more moment of family dinner time, with those sticky little hands tugging your arm to get your attention and say thanks for dinner.  Those teachable moments of learning to clear your own dishes and load them in the dishwasher.  You’ll wish for one more family game night, or Bible story time with all the kids lined up at your feet, listening intently.  One more moment to watch them wrestle on the floor with daddy before bed.  One more moment, lingering on the edge of the bed, with a footy jammed toddler’s sweet little head tucked under your chin….

Dale and I are super committed to keeping Family a priority.  In fact, we are in a war to protect it. It’s a sacred gift to be treasured and enjoyed.  We value the precious moments spent around the family table too much to share that with anything else! 

Go hug your babies extra tight today…..and really take a look at you and your family’s social calendars.  Cut some things out, commit to sitting down at least 4 days a week for family dinner and watch (AND FEEL) the changes occurring in your home! 

God will honor your “God first, family second, work (and activities) third” mentality. 

I’m off to bed, good night!

~T

 

Feels Like Fall Apple Crisp(with homemade caramel sauce)

  Fall is in the air, and I don’t know about you, but I can’t seem to make enough recipes involving apples or pumpkin.  I said OR, not AND.  Ew, pumpkin apple dessert!?  No thanks.  My apples and pumpkins like to be showcased in their OWN desserts, thank you.  🙂

  Anyhow, this simple crisp is delicious!  And the caramel sauce?  Well, that just takes it over the top!  I wish I had a photo of the finished product to show you, but alas, we gobbled it up before anyone thought to grab the camera. Oh well, maybe next time!  I did document some of the process though….did I mention these apples were picked from our very own apple tree?  First time in 8 years the weather conditions were right to allow them to turn red. Up until now, we thought there were green, tart, applesauce apples! Who knew?!

FEELS LIKE FALL APPLE CRISP  (with Homemade caramel sauce)                                                                                                                                                     

  • 10 cups Cored & Peeled Apples, Sliced In Thin Rings
  • 1 Tablespoon Flour (we Use White Wheat For Health Purposes)
  • 1 cup White Raw, Organic Sugar
  • 1 cup Old Fashion Oats
  • 2 cups White Wheat Flour (all Purpose Is Fine Too)
  • 2 cups Packed Brown Sugar
  • ½ teaspoons Baking Powder
  • ½ teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 1 cup Butter, Melted

Preheat oven to 350*.
Core, peel and slice apples.  I used this handy dandy Pampered Chef gadget called:

“The Apple Peeler Corer Slicer”   

(Say that ten times fast)

Place the sliced apple rings in a 9×13 baking dish.
Mix the white sugar, 1 T. flour, and ground cinnamon together, and sprinkle over apples.  Sprinkle with a bit of water.
Combine oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and melted butter.  Crumble evenly over apple mixture.
Bake in a preheated oven for 45 minutes.
Serve with ice cream and homemade caramel sauce.

EASY HOMEMADE CARAMEL SAUCE

2 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup whole milk

  Mix the sugar and condensed milk together in medium saucepan, and cook on medium heat until sugar is dissolved completely. Set aside.

 Melt the butter in another small saucepan, and stir in the vanilla and milk. Leave to simmer on
low heat until mixture is smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Slowly stir the butter mixture into the sugar mixture and leave to stand 3 to 5 minutes until mixture becomes thick.

Drizzle over apple crisp and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Pour leftover caramel into a glass jar and store in refrigerator.  Or just grab a spoon…mmmmm!

 

Look at this apple, every mom needs one of these Pampered Chef APCS gadgets! 

My kids went NUTS over the apples I sliced them using this great invention.  There is even a way to slice the apples leaving the peel on, which I made them do, of course, since that is the healthiest part! 

Happy Baking!

~T 🙂

Mommy, Reading makes my brain STRONG!

Ty came up to me the other day…..”Mommy, Reading makes my brain STRONG!”

Boy, was I ever proud! 🙂  We talk a lot about how TV makes your brain soggy. and reading makes your brain strong.  I guess he IS listening!  There is nothing I love more than to see my children sitting quietly with their noses in a book. 

 OR, better yet, reading to each other!     My favorite, is all 4 snuggled in my lap (or around my lap, my leg-to-child ratio is off), with a huge stack of books next to us.  Sadly, that has been occurring less lately, due to new baby, and life in general, but I am bound and determined to get that set reading time back!

     Once a month, we go to the public library, and boy, do the kids get excited about that!  I know the days following our library trip will be great, because they will spend a lot of their time reading their new books!  We get a big stack of books for the 2 middles, about 15-20.  Nothing inappropriate or gross, and nothing with more than a small paragraph per page.  On average, they say to watch for books with 1 line per page, per year.  For example: 2 year old=roughly 2 lines per page. 

 

 Tylan likes reading books by the truck full!  🙂  

   Destiny is so proud to get to go to the “big girl section” and pick out some chapter books.  She particularly likes Junie B. Jones, Ramona, the Elizabeth Gale Christian mystery series and anything to do with horses.  Last month, she was very interested in Helen Keller, so she checked out a few library books about her. As the oldest, Destiny is required to read for 1 hour on Saturday and 1 on Sunday while the other children nap.  This gives me the break and quiet time I am used to having during the school week, and gives her some resting time without making her feel like a baby that has to nap.  This will be a requirement of each of our children as they outgrown their naps!  

   When she was a baby, and the only child (its hard to remember those days!) I was constantly nursing during the day, and would get bored, so I’d flip on the tv.  Eventually, I had a show I watched per nursing, like Starting Over for the 1:00 feeding, Oprah for the 4:00 etc.  But, as she got older and her schedule changed, my tv habits didn’t change.  I was still wanting to catch “my shows”.  Reality hit when she got old enough to stop playing on her blanket on the floor, and start staring at the TV instead.  That was my “Ah-ha” moment, and I shut it off for good! I wasn’t going to have my baby’s brain overstimulated by the flashing screen and being exposed to that junk!  I thought it’d be hard, but soon, it was easy to leave it off all day.  I started getting Christian fiction from the library and reading during nap time.  I loved it!  It got to the place where I was reading about 28 books a month because that’s how I chose to spend my quiet time and evenings after the kids went down. Now granted, this was all before 4 kids! I have had to stop getting any books when we go to the library, because with 4 little Ferguson’s, where would I find the time?  However, I know it’s just for a season, and I will get back to it again.  I love disappearing into a good book during those down times! For now, Dale and I are exhausted enough by the end of the day, that you’ll find us lying semiconscious on the love seat staring at the TV once the kids are asleep.  lol 🙂

    Don’t get me wrong, TV has its place. Heck, it’s the source of our weekend “date night”, when we rent a movie.  I just find it irritating and unproductive to have it on during the day.  This is why we don’t have cable.  I think it’d be too hard to keep those home improvement, fashion and baby shows off! Plus, as soon as the TV comes on, my kids are drawn to it like bugs to a light.  Why is that?  Even if it’s the most boring show on earth or a COMMERCIAL even, and they will stop and stare with their mouths open.  Ooo, I hate it! I tell them I can hear their brains getting soggy! 

    As a mom, I think its part of our job description to stop taking the easy route of flipping on the tv, and start promote reading to our children.  If we don’t, who will????  It’s my fervent prayer that my children will love to read.  I think it will make their school days so much more enjoyable, and promote good habits for when they have their own families.  I look forward to the day when all of my kids are readers and on some snowy, lazy, Saturday afternoon, our kids can be found in various locations of the house, with their noses in their book.  (Dale hates to read, so maybe we’d let him watch TV?) lol 🙂 

   According to this article, reading helps promote family relationships.  It also helps with your child’s attention span.  If they are constantly being entertained by flashing media and toys, how will they ever be satisfied with a book with no lights or moving parts? Or blocks that just stack? Or know what to do with that box of dress up clothes? 

  Be aware of your child’s exposure to this form of media and limit it! If drastic measures need to be taken, unplug the tv for a week (or two).  Watch their imaginations come to life!

  The following tips and suggestions will help you get started on your commitment to limit tv and get your family on that important road to reading with your child:

  • Be an example, let your child see you reading.
  • Spend time together, reading should be fun. Don’t push too hard, but stick to your guns too! Even 20 minutes a day will help for a lifetime.
  • Let your child read to you. Start out simple with easy-to-read books, and encourage your child to try new words.
  • Set aside daily reading times, like between lunch and naps. Or right before bed. You and your child can end your day by reading quietly together.  This is a good opportunity to start introducing them to daily Bible reading and quiet time with the Lord.
  • Tired of “baby books”?  Even young children can grasp chapter books. Start a gender neutral series like Little House on the Prairie, and read a chapter each night before Bible story time.  My mom did this for me when I was 2 years old.  And later on, as a 7-year-old,  I have such fond memories of her sitting in the hallway between my room and my little brother’s, reading out loud from a chapter book.  Oh, how we’d BEG her for just one more chapter!  🙂

   Our kids are entitled to 1 hour of TV a day. Period.  (In fact, once the kids are in school, they get none until the weekend.)  This hour may be spent on a mom approved tv show, or an educational computer game.  Once that time is up, the tv/computer goes off.  If the child fails to shut the tv or computer off after the 1 hour mark, they are grounded from the it the next day. It’s been very effective, and even 2-year-old Avery knows to get the remote and shut the tv off when the words come up! 

  Feel like you are too busy to read to your kids?  Even just reading a book or two while they are eating lunch can make a life long difference.  Is it too easy to use the TV as a way to buy yourself time?   “Go watch tv until dinner is ready.”  Be prepared, for these moments….for example, I give my kids assignments:  “Go outside and run around the circle drive 3 times before coming back in.” or “Starting in my room, run through each room of the house and touch something red.” Then orange, then yellow etc.   Or, if you want them close by, open the doors to your Tupperware cupboard, hand them a spoon or two to stir with, and watch the fun begin!

  Another back up plan we have for crazy moments are books on CD.  They are PERFECT for this kind of “mommy is going crazy and everything is hectic” scenario.  We have a Disney toddler series that are CD’s and corresponding board books.  Another one we have that Ty really enjoys is the “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie”, “If You Give A Moose A Muffin”, and, “If You Give A Pig A Pancake” books on CD, with fun songs between each story.  “The Emperors Nightingale” is a story CD (no book) for Destiny’s age range, it was Grandma Eileen’s favorite record when she was a kid.  There are some great Adventures in Odyssey story CD’s from Focus on the Family too!  It’s so good for our kids to just HEAR the story and picture it for themselves in their minds.

 Go to Focus on the Family’s website for Adventures in Odyssey, or  go to amazon and shop around for kids books on CD.  Some of them are pricey, but we figure it’s worth it so that tv isn’t the only “go to” option.

  You know the best part about limiting tv time and making it a privilege rather than the norm?  When I am really needing them to use some tv time, like during a road trip, or if I am sick or they are sick, I can put on a movie for my kids, and they will not budge from that couch until it is over.  

Below are some shocking statistics on reading and tv watching:

It is estimated that more than $2 billion is spent each year on students who repeat a grade because they have reading problems. 

66% of Americans eat dinner while watching tv.

44 million adults in the U.S. can’t read well enough to read a simple story to a child. 

Minutes per week parents spend in meaningful conversation with their kids: 3.5

Over one million children drop out of school each year, costing the nation over $240 billion in lost earnings, forgone tax revenues, and expenditures for social services.

Percentage of daycare that use tv during a typical day: 70%

60 percent of America’s prison inmates are illiterate and 85% of all juvenile offenders have reading problems. 

Average hours in school, 900.  Hours per year your average youth spends watching tv: 1500

Out-of-school reading habits of students has shown that even 15 minutes a day of independent reading can expose students to more than a million words of text in a year. 

Number of murders your child sees on tv by the time they finish elementary school: 8,000

In a class of 20 students, few if any teachers can find even 5 minutes of time in a day to devote to reading with each student.

 Average violent acts your child sees on tv by the time they are 18:  200,000

Percentage of 4-6 years olds, who when asked to choose between tv time and spending time with their father, prefered tv time: 54%

   Sickening, isn’t it?  Well, this has gotten long enough, I am stepping off my soap box now.  Can you tell I am passionate about this issue?  Is this long enough that it counts as your reading for today?! lol 🙂

Have a fantastic weekend! 

~T 🙂

My future reader…

Broccoli, Ham & Cheese Calzone

  Supper was a success!  Everyone loved the calzone….. Here is the recipe: (this is the Ferguson Family variation)

BROCCOLI, HAM & CHEESE CALZONE

3 T. Miracle Whip

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1 1/2 cups fresh broccoli florets, cut in small pieces

1 package diced ham

1/2 small onion, chopped

1 1/2 cups shredded swiss cheese

1 cup Colby Jack shreds

1 T. Olive oil

2 homemade whole wheat crusts, recipe follows  

(Or, if this makes you too nervous, you can use 2 pkg. refrigerated pizza crust)

Parmesan cheese, grated.

  Preheat oven to 450*.  Combine mayo, and mustard in a large bowl. Add broccoli, onion, ham pieces and cheeses, season with salt, pepper and garlic to taste.  Stir well to coat.  Brush bar pan with olive oil and spread half of homemade pizza dough out on stone, stretching and pressing dough to cover bottom.  Fill with broccoli mixture.  Unroll remaining dough on top, press edges together.  Cut 12 slits across the top.  Brush with olive oil and top with Parmesan cheese.  Bake for 14-16 minutes or until a nice golden brown.  We served ours with a side of whole mushrooms sautéed in butter.  It was super low-calorie! lol 🙂 

I asked Avery if she liked supper.  She just showed me her food.  Does that mean yes? 

 

 

 

WHOLE WHEAT BREAD MACHINE PIZZA DOUGH

You CAN do this! The bread machine does all the hard work.  We love it! 

It’s such a good alternative to buying white flour crusts!

Makes 2 – 14 inch round pizzas, or in this case, the rectangle top and bottom crust of your calzone.

Ingredients:

1 1/3 cups water
2 T. Olive oil
3/4 tsp. salt
2 cups white wheat flour  (you can use all-purpose)
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp bread machine yeast
 
1. Add ingredients in the order given into the bread machine pan.
2. Start dough cycle. (on my machine this takes 1 1/2 hours)
3. Once the dough is done, remove it from the pan onto a floured work surface.
4. Pinch dough into 2 parts.  Roll dough to fit the shape of your baking sheet. 

Follow Calzone recipe directions from here.

  Ahh, and now the good part……dessert!  These are truly amazing!  We skipped the last step of dipping the tops in chocolate.  I don’t like the chocolate to overpower the graham crust and marshmallow! 

 These are almost as good as the real deal, and in a tidy bite sized morsel to boot! 🙂

S’MORE CUPS from Pampered Chef

Ingredients:

7   whole graham crackers 
1/4   cup powdered sugar
6   tbsp butter, melted
4   bars milk chocolate candy, divided
12   large marshmallows
 Directions:
  1.  Preheat oven to 350°F. Place graham crackers into a large resealable plastic bag. Finely crush into crumbs.  Combine graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar and butter in a small bowl.  Using a small cookie scoop, place scant scoop of crumb mixture in each cup of a mini muffin pan. Press crumbs to form shallow cups with a Tart Shaper. Bake 4-5 minutes or until edges are bubbling. Meanwhile, break two of the candy bars into rectangles. Remove pan from oven; place one rectangle into each cup.
  2.  Cut marshmallows in half crosswise using kitchen shears dipped in cold water. Place one marshmallow half, cut-side down, into each cup. Return to oven 1-2 minutes or until marshmallows are just slightly softened. Remove from oven to a cooling rack; cool 15 minutes. Carefully remove cups from pan. Cool completely.
  3.   Break remaining candy bars and place in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH 1 minute-11/2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring every 20 seconds. Dip the top of each marshmallow in melted chocolate. Turn top-side up and let stand 40 minutes-1 hour or until set.

Yield: 24 cups

Happy Cooking!
~T 🙂

Recipes from this weekend….

   Brrr~ I am freezing my hiney off today!  Thankfully Dale got a fire going this morning before work, which is so nice and cozy, but even so, its 66 degrees in here.  My “soft” butter I leave out in the cabinet for toast, is not so soft right now! 🙂 

   Today is going much better than yesterday, everyone was fed, clothed and playing nicely by 8:30, the sink is dish free, the kids are currently napping, and I am trying a new recipe for dinner tonight.  That always makes me happy!

  I LOOOOOVE trying new recipes!  In fact, it may just be an addiction.  I currently have quite a few new recipe choices at my disposal! 

All this, PLUS a new Pampered Chef book from my bestest best friend in the whole world…. 

Making monthly menus is so much more fun with good resources like these!

And a kitchen drawer FULL of print off’s, yet to be tried! Yay!

  We are having a Broccoli, Ham and Cheese Calzone for supper, it’s a Pampered Chef recipe.  Man, I love Pampered Chef stuff!  Their recipes often call for pre-made dough, so instead, we’ll be making some whole wheat pizza dough.  For the sake of healthy eating, I try to use whole wheat flours in place of white whenever possible.  And, for the sake of UN-healthy eating, I will also be trying a new recipe I found from P. Chef:  S’mores Cups.  Sounds yummy! 🙂

   If these pass the test and get the Ferguson stamp of approval, I will be sharing these with you tomorrow.  Until then, here are a few recipes from this weekend…..

Happy cooking!

~T 🙂

RED HOT BAKED APPLES

These were amazing, and so pretty in color!

Ingredients:

6 Granny Smiths (any crisp baking apple will do)

Scant, unpacked 1/2 c. brown sugar 

1/3 cup red hots + a few for topping

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

 Preheat oven 350*.  Lightly grease 8×8 pan. Core apples leaving approx. 1/2 inch at the bottom.  Peel if desired.  Arrange apples in baking dish.  Mix together sugar, cinnamon and red hots.  Fill each apple with sugar mixture, topping with a few extra red hots.  Bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes, basting with pan juices to keep apples moist.   This recipe is so easy to double or triple for a large group! (increase bake time accordingly) 

 

HILLBILLY HOTDOGS

I am not a big hotdog fan, but if you are going to eat a hotdog,

THIS is the way to do it! YUM!

Ingredients:

1 pkg hotdog buns, buttered and toasted before serving
1 pkg hotdogs, grilled
1 container fine coleslaw, or make your own
Chopped onions
Yellow mustard
Chili sauce (recipe below)

Chili recipe:
Boil a lb or two of ground beef until done & boiled down with minimal liquid left. Then add ketchup, onion powder, chili powder & maybe some garlic salt. Just do it to taste, it is really a mild, fine chili ” sauce”.
 
Serve grilled hotdogs on butter toasted bun with coleslaw, mustard, onions and chili on top. 
Dig in! They are divine!!!!

The Chaos I gladly call my life

My house is a mess. 

Case in point…..

  The play closet.

The culprits.

The answer.

“Children, you have 10 minutes to clean up or everything goes in this trash bag…..”

That got my little cleaners moving!

Ah, beautiful.

   Today has been a chaotic day to say the least.  I don’t know if it’s because we are coming off a super busy weekend, or because I have lost some of my organization skills when we added baby #4 to the family?  Whatever the reason, we are off schedule and out of sorts today!

  See, when you live in Tonya-land, you are expected to operate on a beautifully crafted, well-balanced schedule.   The sun is always shining, the birds always singing. Everyone gets along, as they hug each others shoulders and sing “Kumbaya”.   Haha~ not! But, there are a few house rules…..

  Everything has a place and a place for everything. Beds need to be tidy. Pj’s hung up on their appropriate hooks. Bathroom counters and sinks must be clean after you brush your teeth or wash your hands. 1 basket of toys must be put away before another is brought out.  All morning chores must be completed before you may use your alloted 1 hour of TV time. Lunch is at 11, nap time at 12:15 and on we go. 

Except, none of that happened today!  Paxton was gassy and didn’t nurse good, which meant he was too hungry to sleep and too sleepy to eat.  He fussed most of the morning….

Unless he could see me, then he would immediately stop crying and do this…..

Oh, there you are.

Hi Mommy!

What a stinker!

  Lunch didn’t get over until 1:26, which sets back nap time by a long shot.  Which means when 3:15 rolls around and we have to go get big sis from school, my little ones will all still be sleeping, which means they get woke up, which means they are cranky, which makes for a super long evening. 

Oh, the joys of being off schedule! 

  This is my sink.

  If you know me, you know my sink NEVER, EVER looks like this.  It’s just not acceptable and totally against the rules in Tonya-land!  I am a “don’t got to bed until the house is perfect” kinda gal.  Recently, as in 2 months ago when Pax was born, I have slacked a bit on this rule, and DO go to bed with dishes in the sink sometimes. BUT here is my compromise: they are perfectly rinsed and stacked neatly in order by size, ready to load in the dishwasher the next morning.  🙂  I told you I was a bit anal.  (Man I hate that word. What’s a better one: picky? OCD? meticulous?)

  Anyhow, last night I was at parent teacher conference, and then Wal-Mart getting groceries until 10.  And, after putting away groceries,  I was too tired to deal with the horrifying sink!  Guess that’s part of having 4 kids, you have to learn to let some things go.  You know, like your body, your house, your privilege to take a shower or go to the bathroom uninterrupted etc etc…..

  So today, my world is not tidy.  It’s a little chaotic.  My To Do list is a mile and a half long.  The laundry room is full of dirty laundry.  The sink is full of dirty dishes.  I need to place several orders online and pay a stack of bills.  I wanted to post this note by 8 am, and I need to go vote. 

  How was I to find time to unload the dishwasher, when Paxton needed to nurse again, the dog was crossing her legs at the front door, begging to go out, the load in the washing machine desperately needed to be switched over to the dryer, and lunch needed to be made??????

 

    I wasn’t.  Sometimes it just doesn’t happen in the right order, or on time, and you just roll with it!  When life throws you lemons, chuck them back and demand chocolate!  🙂   No, really, try to make lemonade.  Take those moments and roll with them.  Don’t get stressed, and don’t stress your kiddos, momma.  You set the tone of the home for the WHOLE DAY!

  For me, learning to be a good mom, is learning to let go.  It’s hard for someone as picky as myself, but its been good for me to fail to achieve the perfection I often seek in my home.  

  Do you know what did happen?  I got to read to my kids, I got to coo at my sweet baby, and had the privilege of being a “listening ear” to a dear friend that needed to unload.  Today, THAT was my job.

 Oh, and an added bonus? I was fortunate enough to get a shower AND do my hair today…..before NOON no less!

Kids, the ladies manning the voting booth today thank you, as do I….. 🙂

~T

P.S.  You know those recipes I was going to post today?  The ones from the bonfire?  Let’s just wait until tomorrow, I gotta go tackle that sink full of dishes while the kids are still down.  🙂

The dog too…..

Florida Surprise & Fall Fest

 
Fall Fest was a success and my kids are in bed,  happily sleeping off their sugar high…..
Avery likes sleeping with something special each night.  Usually its a doll or stuffed animal, but nope, not this time.  Her choice? A box of Milk Duds.  I made her put it under her pillow and let me just say, they BETTER all still be in that box in the morning!  
 

  Besides Fall Fest, we had a weekend full of family fun!  Some surprise company showed up clear from Florida!  My brother, Chad and his girlfriend, Lauren decided to come for a short, spur of the moment visit.  Mom and I were the only ones that knew about our special company, and even I wasn’t supposed to be privy to that info. Mom slipped up and told me, but I was glad to help plan for their stay! 🙂

They squeezed into the pantry and jumped out at Dale when I sent him for a bag of chips…..
Apparently, when your name is Dale and you’re super laid back, this is as surprised as you get!

Surprise! The view from the pantry.

 

We had the whole family out for a bonfire, complete with Hillbilly hotdogs and S’mores.  (I’ll try to post the Hillbilly Hotdog recipe tomorrow, they were delish!)  That evening we celebrated Chad and Grandpa’s birthdays, since they are only a day apart.  Dessert choices?  Triple Chocolate Cake, Baked Apples and an amaaaaazing cheesecake by Mark. 

With desserts like that, how can a girl be expected to choose?  I had no choice but to try a bit of each.  I figure the first dessert was for Paxton, the next for me, and the 3rd, for us to share.   🙂  

Chad put together a beautiful picture frame of he and Grandpa’s shared birthday parties over the years, the first being age 2 and 57, the last one taken for the 17th and 72nd birthday’s.  A photo from the party will fill the empty slot representing their 26th and 81st birthdays!  How special! 

 Destiny had no school Thursday, Friday and Monday, for parent-teacher conferences. What a total God thing that Uncle Chad’s trip correlated with her time off!!!!! We had such a great time,  just hanging out with them, and playing games till 2 am.  Lauren and I kicked some butt at Tribond.  Well, actually, the guys won, but only because we let them. 🙂  My only complaint was the weekend went too fast!
Here are some pictures from the weekend…… 

I am off to do laundry and make a menu & grocery list for November. 

Guess, its back to real life again! 

May your day be blessed with happy kids, who NEVER beg for the candy you stashed on top of the fridge, who have cavity free teeth, and who do not whine and fuss all day from an overly busy, super-duper exciting, sugar coma kinda weekend……and may you not be caught as you sneak the chocolate from the kids’ candy stash!

Happy Monday!  🙂 

~T

Bye, Chad and Lauren, come back soon.