With Thanksgiving

  My heart is full of Thanksgiving for all God has done, and the blessing of family around the table.  In honor of Dale’s father eating supper with us nearly every night since he became our next door neighbor, I wanted to include him in this years picture.


  We are thankful God is giving him a good quality of life, as he goes through chemo, and fights Stage 4 cancer!  No matter how God chooses to heal our Papa Don, we know He has plans to bring Him hope and a future…..

  I am taking a blog break for a few weeks, to enjoy my family and get caught up after 22 photo sessions to edit in 3 weeks.  🙂

  Happy Thanksgiving, I am so blessed to have you in my life!



Adventures in Odyssey WINNER!

  I am soooo excited to announce the winner of the Adventure in Odyssey CD set!!!!!!!

Adventures in Odyssey

  Destiny helped me do the drawing last night:


Comment #29



NOVEMBER 13, 2013 AT 12:33 PM

What a generous offering! We have a Cedarmont CD in our van that we listen to over and over again (I’m talking year 2 of this cd)…it’s great and the kids LOVE it, but they don’t want to listen to anything else. I am thinking AIO might be just what we need!
P.S. Your toy closet looks so tidy!

  Congratulations, Tara!!!!!!!  Please email me your info so I can get this disc set coming your way. daleandtonya@msn.com

Thank you all for entering! Instead of being bummed you didn’t win, head on over and shop for some Adventures in Odyssey sets for those sweet kiddos of yours, I hope you all will LOVE them as much as we do.  There are sets 1-58, so start at the beginning and work your way up.

 Christian Bookstore is offering FREE SHIPPING until Thursday, Dec. 5th!!!
Just place an order of $35 or more before 11:59 PM EST on December 5, 2013, enter promotion code
418245, and choose Standard Shipping.

Share this code with your friends so they can enjoy Free Shipping too!

Hugs, T

On This Black Friday

  Thanksgiving is a week away! The day we celebrate things we are thankful for, how blessed we are to have food in our cabinets, clothes on our backs, warm beds to snuggle into at the end of the day, clean fresh water at the push of a button or twist of a handle.

How sad that the day after we are Thankful, we indulge in a rat race of shoving, hitting, pushing and even biting to grab more “stuff”. 

  You know what I am talking about:


  How sad that employees leave family functions early, to drive to work so people can shop.  How sad that some stores are even thinking about opening on Thanksgiving Day, as yet another day to take your money!

  Black Friday may mean profit for the store, bringing them “back in the black” after a tough year,  but Black Friday seems DARK to me…..

A day celebrating stuff, things, materialism, greedy gimmies and more, more, MORE.

  I hate the Greedy Gimmies, and I know this time of year, commercials are specifically designed to entice children to want it, need it, gotta have it!

   Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful 3 gifts for each child in this home, will be placed under the tree next month; some from garage sales, others great bargains along the way, but I am MORE thankful, that each child will have a chance to adopt a child close to their age through our church Shoe Box project again this year.  That once again we have opportunity to teach them to be blessed by GIVING, not always receiving.

Did you know that we don’t buy gifts for anyone other than our kids?  Dale and I don’t get each other anything. Why? We don’t need a darn thing!  Neither do our parents, or our cousins, or our friends.  We will make goodie platters, or just spend time with them.  They don’t NEED anything either.  This makes November a lot less hectic and saves all of us a ton of money.

  I am not saying you are wrong for planning to go at 2 am Friday morning to shop your Christmas list!  NOT AT ALL!!!!! I am a couponer, and bargain shopper, I LOVE a good deal just like you do.  I am simply asking you to Be Cautious when you go.  (Maybe this would be a great time for you to shop for the family in need you adopted so you can bless their socks off with something extra great….)  

Ask yourself some hard questions this year:

 In a World that is in desperate need of food, clothing, clean water, shelter, the love of Christ Jesus….is it truly necessary to use $800 towards a list of family and friends that really would be fine without your gift?  

  I am asking you to think twice before you snatch that electronic, or Barbie Dream House, or Furby, or the last item off the shelf as you see someone else approaching it.

I am asking you to DEFINE NECESSITY.


I am asking you to be the hands and feet of Christ, to give to others less fortunate than yourself.

  To limit what you spend on yourselves this year.

Do NOT go in the RED to help stores get into the black.

  I hear of parents that take out $2000 loans every year for Christmas. 


  What could your child possibly need worth going into debt for?

  Why do families insist on buying for Aunt Jane and Uncle Bobby and all 15 cousins?
Can’t you draw names and just give something smaller, so you can all help someone other than yourselves?

  I am asking you to DEFINE NECESSITY.  Cut the fat.  Let’s get back to basics.

Lets work harder this year on being the hands and feet of Jesus.

  To use that money you set aside for gifts to help a local charity, buy a ton of groceries for the food bank, to adopt a family in need.  To teach your children selflessness rather than selfishness this Holiday season.  To guide them to look outside themselves, and the greedy little world they are living in.

  I am asking you to look into Compassion International, or to get a catalog from Samaritans Purse for gift ideas that keep on giving.

  Your $25 can help towards giving a milk cow to a starving family of 9.  ONE LESS GIFT for Uncle Frank, Aunt Sue and Cousin Betty, can give a village of 1000, clean drinking water for a lifetime.

We are blind, fat and greedy as a nation, we need to OPEN OUR EYES to the people hurting around us…..

  We need to DEFINE NECESSITY this Black Friday and upcoming Christmas season.


  It’s a big world out there, and it’s time we start seeing beyond ourselves.

I’ve had it.  I quit Christmas.

Give me CHRISTmas; so that everything may filter through HIM.

  Matthew 25:40  ’I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these….you did for me.’

Sometimes Moments

  Motherhood is full of “Sometimes Moments”….  

   Little one,

  I get tired and weary of the lists in my head, and the jobs that weigh on my shoulders, and I don’t always give you the best of me.

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  This is a sad reality to face, because there is nothing I love more than to serve you, teach you and instruct you.  I love to see your eyes shine with joy when you do a job right, and are praised, or to hear your giggles from the other room, as I prep supper for our family.

  Someday I am going to be gone.  Hopefully not for a long, long time.  Someday you will tell your children and grandchildren, stories from your childhood.  And oh man, do I hope you have GREAT stories to tell!

   See, Motherhood is full of “Sometimes Moments”:

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  Sometimes I can’t relax reading books to you, because my To Do list is running through my head, so I stop after 3 stories.

Sometimes I even skip pages or paragraphs, and I am sorry for that.   

  Sometimes I surprise you with a huge stack of books, and read to you ALL of lunch time while you eat.  I love to look around the table and see you all experiencing the book in such a real way. {to the point that I have to remind you to EAT!}

  Sometimes I answer harshly, and I see your eyes flinch.  These moments haunt me at night when I lie in bed and process the day. I want to rewind and answer softly, because I love you so much.

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  Sometimes, I remember to kneel down next to you and softly correct, pointing you back to a Savior that loves you so so much more than I could ever offer, even at my best.

  Sometimes when you ask for fresh water and ice in your night time cup, I sigh and make my irritation known without words, even though I tell you to serve others joyfully!   

  Sometimes I answer “Sure, sweetie!” And even put a drop of peppermint oil, or the chlorophyll you like so much, inside.  I love to treat you to the little things that mean so much.  

  Sometimes you ask to wear a certain dress to the store, and I roll my eyes and point to your room and say, “Go put on your pink leggings NOW,” even though it wouldn’t be the end of the world to let you wear that dress everyday.

  Sometimes I let you wear your favorite pink & black dress up high heels to run errands.  I love how proud you are to be “a fancy lady”.

Sometimes I get so frustrated at you for coming in head to toe covered in dirt.  I tell you to get into that laundry room, strip down and wash up in a mad voice.  

 Sometimes, I giggle and put my feet in the mud puddle you discovered, so we can talk about how good it feels to squish it between our toes.

  Sometimes, you wait outside on the trampoline for me to come jump with you while I finish up a phone call.  But, instead of cutting them short, and making you the priority, I stay on the phone and suddenly it’s supper time and daddy is home, so I call you inside instead.  I am sorry for that.

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  Sometimes I don’t answer that phone call, so that we can spend the time between after school and supper playing “Popcorn” on the trampoline, or just lying there, staring up at the clouds, talking.

  Sometimes I say ‘NO’ to something, just because No is often the quicker answer to come.

  Sometimes I say ‘YES’ and see your mouth drop open with surprise, and eyes light up with joy.  This makes me want to say Yes a whole lot more.

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  Sometimes I rush through family prayer time, because I have so many photos to edit, and a blog post to finish, or an article to turn in.  I know you can tell the difference, and I so want to show you with my actions, that prayer time is a priority.  That the quiet at the end of the day with you is worth savoring.

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  Sometimes, I rub your back, sing you a song, read your Bible Story, AND library books.  You get so excited about that, like it’s Christmas!

  I love our nightly tradition of praying, all as a family, taking turns going around the room.  It blesses me to hear you talk to your Father in Heaven, and tell Him about your day, your dreams and hearts desires for your future life.

  Sometimes I want the World to STOP, so I can have you all to myself without distractions.  No phone calls, no homework, no errands to run, no school committee meetings, no deadlines….just Family.

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Just together.

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  Shutting the gate to the World and just existing.  Slowing life down to a snails pace, so that I can be to you who I want to be. So that we can savor these years together that we are all under one roof.

  “Sometimes Moments” come each and every day, and I have a choice to make each and every time……..

And you know what?

  I choose you, little one.

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  You make my heart swell with love and joy.

  I choose to make all my “Sometimes Moments” count with you……

  Because just like we sing at night, “My Heart Says, I LOVE YOU…..”

All my love,


Chicken Enchilada Soup

  This soup has similar ingredients to the Creamy Chicken Enchilada Casserole we make.  However, the stand out ingredients are Beef Broth and Steak Sauce.  They really kick this soup up a notch.  We feed 7 of us on most nights, Dale and I, Papa Don and 4 kids.  So I doubled it and I am glad I did, we barely had a bowl left!

Chicken Enchilada Soup

{click title to print}

Chicken Enchilada Soup txt


  • 3 whole Chicken Breasts, Seasoned And Boiled, Then Shredded
  • 1 whole Small Onion Chopped
  • 1 whole Garlic Clove, Pressed
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 4 ounces, weight Can Chopped Green Chilies
  • 15 ounces, fluid Chicken Broth
  • 15 ounces, fluid Beef Broth
  • 10 ounces, weight Cream Of Chicken Soup
  • 1 Tablespoon Steak Sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1-½ cup Water
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 dash Chili Powder (optional)
  • Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, Corn Chips

Preparation Instructions

Place 3 chicken breasts in a large saucepan and fill with water, add a few dashes of salt. Boil until chicken is done, about 20 minutes. Drain water and shred breasts with fork. Set aside.

In large soup pot, saute chopped onion and 1 garlic clove, minced in 2 Tablespoons butter. Once the onion softens, add all other ingredients (except garnishes and chicken) and bring to a rolling boil. Turn heat to medium-low and stir in chicken shreds. Simmer 30 minutes to meld flavors.

Serve with freshly shredded mozzarella cheese and Fritos corn chips.



Pumpkin Cake Roll

  This was my #1 favorite Pumpkin Dessert when I was a kid.  I have been wanting to make it for 11 years now, but was just too scared.

  The roll up part seemed to tricky!!!!!  However, since I have conquered my fear of yeast packets, I figured I could handle rolling up a cake.  And I DID!  With my Mommy’s help of course.  🙂

(I had her stop by after work to assist me, but it was super simple, way easier than I thought!)

  Just make sure to work quickly, once the cake cools, it cracks, so it should already be rolled by that point.

Pumpkin Cake Roll

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Pumpkin Cake Roll



  • 3 whole Eggs
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • ⅔ cups Pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
  • ¾ cups Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Ginger
  • ½ teaspoons Nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoons Cloves
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans {optional}


  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 6 ounces, weight Softened Cream Cheese
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter, Softened
  • ½ teaspoons Vanilla
  • Powdered Sugar (for Sprinkling)

Preparation Instructions

Beat 3 eggs for 5 minutes, then add sugar, pumpkin, and lemon juice. Add in dry ingredients, flour through salt and beat until combined.  Stir in nuts if using.
Prepare a 15x10x1 inch pan with wax paper. Scrape cake batter into pan and spread evenly. Bake at 375 F for 15 minutes.
While this bakes, shake powdered sugar over a tea towel.
Make filling by combining all ingredients and whipping until smooth. Everything needs to be ready before the cake comes out!
Pull cake from the oven and let cool no more than 5 minutes before flipping it over on to your powdered sugar tea towel. Working the short way, roll up cake roll with the towel. Cool another 5 minutes and while cake is still warm, unroll, spread with filling evenly and all the way to the edges. Quickly re roll again or it will crack. Wrap with saran wrap and cool in fridge until serving. Sprinkle with more powdered sugar before serving.

Enjoy! I know I sure did, 3 pieces. 

That was a true confession right there….
Tee hee!  🙂

Hugs, T


Cream Cheese & Swiss Spinach Lasagna

  This is by FAR, the BEST Lasagna recipe I have ever made!!!! In fact, it is soooo good, that my Step Momma, Drea replaced her 25 year old family recipe with this one. 

You all, it is THAT GOOD!

  Now, if this sounds familiar, you are correct. This has been blogged before and comes from the 4 little Fergusons archives. I didn’t share the actual recipe back then, just linked it to Tasty Kitchen.   

THE Lasagna

This recipe deserves to be WRITTEN OUT on this blog, so here we go, round 2! My original recipe source was a Taste of Home magazine, but I changed scribbled and scratched the recipe up with my changes, which is always fun!

So, without further adieu, I give you…..

Cream Cheese & Swiss Spinach Lasagna

{click title to print}

Cream Cheese & Swiss spinach lasagna


  • 1 pound Lean Ground Beef
  • 1 pound Ground Sausage
  • 1 pound Ground Turkey
  • 1 whole Medium Onion, Finely Chopped
  • 3 whole Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 2 cans Tomato Sauce (15 Ounce Cans)
  • 1 can (8 Oz. Can) Tomato Sauce
  • 1 can (14 1 /2 Oz Can) Italian Diced Tomatoes, Undrained
  • 1 can (6 Oz. Can) Tomato Paste
  • 1 can Mushroom Pieces, Drained (6.5 Oz Can)
  • 2 teaspoons Dried Oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Basil
  • 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • ½ teaspoons Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • ½ teaspoons Pepper
  • 12 whole No-cook Lasagna Noodles
  • 12 ounces, weight Cream Cheese, Softened
  • 2 cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, Divided (Get Ball Of Mozzarella, & Shred It Yourself, Makes All The Difference!)
  • 2 cups Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 cups Shredded Swiss Cheese
  • 1 bag Fresh Spinach Leaves, 6 Ounce Bag

Preparation Instructions

In a large skillet, brown beef, sausage and turkey with onion and garlic until meat is no longer pink. Drain grease. Stir in the tomato sauce, tomatoes, tomato paste, drained mushrooms, oregano, basil, Italian seasoning, sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.

Spread 2 cups of the meat sauce in a greased oversized rectangle pan, like maybe a 12×15 extra deep pyrex. (I used my big Pampered Chef rectangle baker, and still almost overflowed it!)

  Top with 3 to 4 noodles, breaking as necessary to cover the area. Drop a third of the cream cheese over top and carefully spread to cover noodle layer. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup mozzarella and 2/3 cup each of Parmesan and Swiss. Spoon a third of the remaining sauce over the top. Layer 1 bag of spinach on top of the sauce. Repeat layers of noodles, cream cheese, cheeses and sauce, twice more. Make sure to save some mozzarella out for the top of your lasagna.

Place dish on a baking sheet. Cover the dish with a sheet of foil and bake at 350 F for 45 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with reserved mozzarella cheese. Bake uncovered for 10-15 minutes longer, or until bubbly. Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting.

ENJOY!!!!!!  This is seriously THE BEST Lasagna you will ever make!

  Dale hates Italian, lasagna in particular, and he went NUTS over this!!!

Go back to that original post and grab the Cheesy Bread recipe. You will want it to go with this Lasagna!