Friday, December 31, 2010

Are you making a New Year's Resolution?

'I used to make new years resolutions when I was younger and (of course) things fell apart or were forgotten after a few weeks.  Years of doing that have made me not want to make resolutions the last few years.  However, I realize I need to, and want to, make some changes and lately I've been thinking about making some resolutions.  What it really comes down to is taking better care of my body - what I put in it and what I do to it - so that means eating better and finding and doing exercises that are gentle on my knees and back.  After watching my husband do this last year and seeing how much better he felt and looked, I know I will have support and encouragement from him.  What I need to do is give myself the support and encouragement to do this, and that comes from spending time in God's word and receiving support and encouragement there.  And not only for taking care of my body, but for everything in life.  The daily devotions on the Proverbs 31 site have been wonderful for me, and today's devotion was no exception.  Wendy Blight talks about writing a new year's prayer - this is part of what she said:

Committing to a New Year’s Resolution will not necessarily bring profound lasting life change. Committing your heart to God…studying, learning, and praying His Word…that is what will bring eternal, lasting life transformation.

I invite you to join me this year in writing a New Year’s Prayer. To begin, examine your New Year’s Resolution and prayerfully ask the Lord to reveal the heart issue behind it. Ask Him to lead you through His Word to verses that directly address what you hear.

Listen to the power of God’s promise in our key verse today: “For the Word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires” (Hebrews 4:12, NLT).

Once you have found your verses, take each one and personalize it. Then join them together, along with your own words to make a prayer. Copy your prayer into a journal or notebook.

Friend, Isaiah 55 is God’s PROMISE to you. If you pray His Word over your life…over your heart…over your home, He will be FAITHFUL to prosper it and make it bear fruit!

This really is nothing new to my ears.  I've been told several times to do this, and I have done it....I need to do it more often.  Like all the time.  So, take the verses that God leads you to and write a prayer for yourself.  Your very own personalized new year's prayer...I'm sure you will find it better than any resolution you will make.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Top 10 Favorite Recipes for 2010

One more day for 2010. How quickly the year has gone by...will someone please tell me where the time went?! I've thought about things I wanted to do this year and how many of them I accomplished....I've come to the realization that I'm a procrastinator. A big one. Actually, I already knew that, I was just putting off admitting it :) One thing I did do this year was try new foods and recipes and here is a list of my top 10 faves (in no particular order):

Stone Gable Granola - it's so, so good!

Picture courtesy of Stone Gable

XXL M&M Chocolate Chip Cookies (aka Muffin Top Cookies)

(If you eat too many of these, you'll be running around like George of the Jungle)


I hope you find a recipe here that might tempt your taste buds.  Happy New Year!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Little Indiana Comes to Lowell

If you are just dying to see where I grew up, then you need to check out the Little Indiana blog. Jessica and her family visit small towns and blog about these little gems that make the state of Indiana what it is. It's kind of like Chuck Lofton on Channel 13 and his 1 tank getaways. Here are some of the more recent posts of Jessica's adventures to Lowell:

Jessica takes tons of pictures along the way (of course...who wouldn't want to document all this fun?) so click here to check out her Flickr photostream of Lowell and don't forget to enter her Classic o-gauge train set giveaway at Spike's Railhead.

What small town do you think she should visit next? Send her an email and I'm sure she will be there soon and ready to blog about your little Indiana town.

Happy Birthday to my Mom!!

Happy birthday to you.
Happy birthday to you.
Happy birthday dear mmooooommmm...
Happy birthday to you!!

We hope you have a wonderful birthday!!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Snow and Recipes

I love the first few snowfalls of the it covers the ground, totally white, undisturbed and clean, and everything looks so peaceful. 

We'll review this thought again in January.

To keep warm with this cold, snowy weather, I have two yummy, warm-your-tummy recipes to share.  Sorry there's not much else unless you want to hear about basketball practices and games.....

Sunshine Chicken
From Gooseberry Patch Slow Cooker Recipes Cookbook

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 c. molasses
2 T. cider vinegar
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
2 T. orange juice
2 t. Dijon mustard
1/8 to 1/4 t. hot pepper sauce

Arrange chicken in a slow cooker, set aside.  Combine remaining ingredients and brush over chicken.  Cover and cook on low setting for 7 to 9 hours, or on high setting for 3 to 4 hours.  Serves 6.

I also found a good granola recipe on Stone Gable blog.  Lately I tend to look more for blogs that have recipes and crafty projects....I can tell my "tastes" are changing when looking for new blogs (I know, lame joke).

Stone Gable Granola
6 cups of oatmeal
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 1/2 cups slivered almonds
2 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1 cup coconut (flaked)
1/2 dark brown sugar
1/2 cup non flavored vegetable oil
1 tsp cinnamon
2 TBS vanilla
1-2 cups assorted dried fruit
1-2 cups of add-in (mini chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, cereals)

Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Mix all ingredients except dried fruit and add-ins in a large bowl. Mix well to coat evenly. Distribute on 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes. Turn every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely. Stir in dried fruit and add-ins.

Monday, November 29, 2010


I'm sure that if you do any crafts, scrapbooking, sewing, blogging, etc., you've heard of the Silhouette machine.  I really think the Silhouette and I need to be in some sort of crafty way.  It's actually so overwhelming to me to think of what can be done with this machine that my stomach is a big twisted bundle of nerves (this happens every time I get really, really excited about something).  Check out these cool projects that were accomplished with the Silhouette.

All photos courtesy of

So, hop on over to House of Hepworths to enter to win one of these little gems.  HOH is a cool, thrifty, decorating she's on Facebook and Twitter.  Check it won't be disappointed!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Weekend Recap

Well, I didn't realize how long it has been since I posted, so let's get caught up on the action over here. 
  • Thanksgiving was great.  No traveling, just the four of us.  Ryan has been asking for breakfast pizza for days, so Carl and I made our own version.....two thumbs up from Ryan.  For dinner I made Bobby Flay's turkey recipe from the Throwdown show with Pioneer Woman.  I also made his brussel sprout recipe and Pioneer Woman's mashed potatoe recipes = smiling faces, full tummies, and happy men.  If you didn't see the Throwndown episode, you can read about it here and here.

  • Ryan has had a few basketball games recently - his team is 3-1 so far.  Here's a picture from the game this weekend.   Practice for Ryan's school team starts tomorrow, Kyle has been having practice almost every day....we feel like we live in our cars some days....this is one time when I wish I lived closer to town.  Ok, that sounded really, really whiney...sorry about that.
  • I have snowflakes in my house.  Lots and lots of them.  Okay, I'll tell the truth...they are the paper kind.  Ryan started cutting around 10:00 on Thanksgiving morning and stopped cutting around 10:00 at night.  I even found a huge snowflake on my car, in my car, throughout the house, and then a gigantic one in the computer room. 

  • My youngest sister and her family came for a visit on Friday.  Say it with 'til you drop, shop 'til you drop.  Reality:  It's hard to shop on Black Friday with a 10 yo, 2 yo, and 4 month old even when you start shopping around lunch time.  It was nice to visit with my sister and her family, but we've decided to change our shopping plans for next year (hint, hint grandparents).

We ended the weekend visiting with friends and getting a Christmas tree.  Lights up today...decorations tomorrow.  My next question is how many more days are there until Christmas? 


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Football and Soup Recipes

Wow, I can't believe the weekend is over already!  Time is going by so fast and I don't even want to think about the number of days until Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I've been rearranging things in the house this weekend after our friends helped us move our piano on Friday night - I'm hoping to get pictures posted this week.  Carl and I are sooooooooo thankful for their help!  Speaking of being thankful, my thankful post for today is really a two parter:  1) the rain yesterday...we so desperately needed it; and 2) a Wabash victory over DePauw.

Speaking of Wabash, DePauw and the Monon Bell football game, here are some pictures from the game on Saturday.  Despite the rainy weather, it was a fun day and the rivalry lived up to it's hype.  Of course its always fun when the team you're rooting for is winning :)  To read more about the game, click here

 This is what both teams are playing for.
Even Elvis was there to cheer Wabash to victory.

Victory celebration!

And now with the colder weather ahead, here are two soup recipes to warm you up.  I made these a few weeks ago and the entire family really liked them.

Chicken Tortilla Soup
2 T. canola oil
2 med. onions, chopped
2 c. diced cooked chicken
1 15 oz. can whole kernel mexicorn
1 15 oz. can black beans
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 4 oz. can chopped green chilies
1 envelope taco seasoning mix
2 14 oz. cans chicken broth
1/2 hot banana pepper, chopped (I didn't add this to my soup)

Saute onion in oil.  Add chicken, corn, beans, tomatoes, chilies and taco seasoning.  Stir to combine and add chicken broth.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.  Serve with optional shredded cheese and sour cream.  Serve corn chips on the side.

White Chili
1 c.chopped onion
1-2 cloves fresh garlic
1-2 tsp. ground cumin
3 c. cooked chicken breast
2 c. cooked wild rice
1 or 2 9 oz. cannelini beans
1 pkg. frozen white shoepeg corn
1 or 2 4 oz. cans diced green chilies
49 oz. chicken broth

Cook chicken in pan with enough water to cover along with 2-3 bouillon cubes.  Reserve liquid.  Saute onion, garlic and cumin.  Dice chicken into cubes and return liquid to pan and add remaining ingredients.  Add canned broth to desired consistency.  Garnish with shredded cheese when serving.

Have a great week everyone!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Thankful Post and Pumpkin Redford Recipe

Happy weekend all!  The weather has been absolutely beautiful this week and I'm hoping that the rain in the forecast will hold off until after the Wabash/DePauw football game has ended.  If you aren't familiar with the Monon Bell game, click here for more info. 

I'm trying to be consistently with my thankful posts and I'll recap the first 11 days of November and then add yesterday and today:  

1.   for hugs everyday from Ryan. 
2.   my back feels so much better :)
3.   my husband fixing our stove - now I can make more muffin top cookies.
4. if I would use them regularly, I would save even more money.
5.   for Kyle and his wonderful smile :D
6.    Ryan and how he enjoys playing basketball.  His first game was great!
7.    Rock Point Church...the service on Sunday was awesome!
8.    Coupons....I love how much money I save by using them.
9.    The start of a new grading period.  I hope this six weeks is better than the last one.
10.  Yoga class, no matter how hard it can be, I know my body feel better after class is over.
11.  Our Veterans and the sacrifices they have made.
12.  My dad and the time I got to spend with him and all the lessons he taught me. It was one year ago today that he passed away and I can't believe how fast time has gone.

13.  Good friends that are strong and willing to help move a piano :)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I have a yummy pumpkin recipe to share.  The teachers I used to work with would make it in the fall and it is one of my favorites. 

Pumpkin Redford
Recipe courtesy of Jan Vice

1st layer - crust
Mix 2 cups flour, 2 sticks butter, 1 cup chopped pecans.  Spread in a 13 x 9 pan or glass baking dish.  Bake 15 minutes at 350 degrees.  Cool and add 2nd layer.

2nd layer
Mix 16 oz (2 pkgs) cream cheese, 2 cups Cool Whip, 2 cups of powdered sugar, and 2 tsp. vanilla.  Spred on cooled crust.

3rd layer
Mix 2 pkgs instant vanilla pudding, 2 cups Cool Whip, 15 oz. can pumpkin, 1 1/3 cups. milk, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice.  Beat slowly just until well mixed.  Pour on top of cream cheese layer.

Spread cool whip on top and sprinkle with chopped pecans.

I'm going over to Colleen's blog to see what other great recipes everyone has posted.....come join me please.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thankful Update and Recipes

‎"A Veteran is someone, who at one point in their life, wrote a blank check payable to the USA for an amount up to, and including, their life." Thanking everyone who has made this sacrifice for me.

Well, I see that I'm behind on my thankful posts and it's not because I'm not thankful.....just busy.  So, let's go back to the 6th so I can tell you what I have been thankful for recently:

6.    Ryan and how he enjoys playing basketball.  His first game was great!
7.    Rock Point Church...the service on Sunday was awesome!
8.    Coupons....I love how much money I save by using them.
9.    The start of a new grading period.  I hope this six weeks is better than the last one.
10.  Yoga class, no matter how hard it can be, I know my body feel better after class is over.
11.  Our Veterans and the sacrifices they have made.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I also have two wonderfully delicious recipes to share.  The first is Moroccan Pot Roast and it has chick peas, apricots, mint, cilantro, raisins, cumin, and paprika.  It looks like alot of ingredients and alot of time, but it is so worth it....your house will smell so good when you make this.

MAKES: 10 to 12 servings
PREP: 20 minutes
COOK: 3 hours 13 minutes

1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
2 (2-pound) chuck roasts
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 yellow onions, chopped
6 carrots, chopped (about 1 pound)
2 garlic cloves, smashed
2 tablespoons ground paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 (32-ounce) box low-sodium beef broth
2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
½ cup chopped dried apricots
½ cup golden raisins
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
¼ cup chopped fresh mint

1. Preheat oven to 325°. Heat olive oil in a large heavy-duty roasting pan set over 2 burners over medium-high heat.  Sprinkle each roast with sea salt and pepper. Sear roasts in pan about 4 minutes per side. Remove from pan and place on a platter.
2. Add onion, carrot, and garlic to pan and cook, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes. Combine paprika, cumin, and cinnamon in a small bowl; add to vegetables and cook stirring constantly about 2 more minutes. Add broth and return roasts to roasting pan. Cover with aluminum foil and bake 3 to 3 1/2 hours or until fork-tender. Remove beef from pot and place on a platter; tent with aluminum foil to keep warm.
3. Skim layer of fat from surface of cooking liquid. Add chickpeas to liquid and place over medium heat stirring occasionally until chickpeas are warm.  Stir in remaining ingredients. Separate meat into portions and spoon liquid and vegetables over beef. Serve warm.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The second recipe is Edamame Corn Salad.  The corn, onions, edamame, red peppers, and cilantro, tossed with rice wine and balsamic vinegars is music to your taste buds. 

Edamame Corn Salad
Recipe courtesey of Cindy Thompson

3 cups frozen Edamame
3 cups frozen corn
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
¼ cup diced red onion
1 medium chopped red bell pepper

Combine ingredients in large bowl (corn and edamame can still be frozen when mixed in the bowl-does not need to be thawed)

3 tbsp Balsalmic Vinegar
3 tbsp rice or white wine vinegar
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 small garlic cloves , minced (I used 2 tsp freeze dried garlic)
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp onion powder

Mix dressing in a separate container and pour over salad. Toss until salad is evenly coated.

NOTE: This salad does not keep very long in the fridge.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

Until next time,

Friday, November 5, 2010

I'm Thankful For....

Taking a cue from my husbands cousin Sherri, each day in November I will write one thing I am thankful for....I'm going back to the first of November....

1.   for hugs everyday from Ryan. 
2.   my back feels so much better :)
3.   my husband fixing our stove - now I can make more muffin top cookies.
4. if I would use them regularly, I would save even more money.
5.   for Kyle and his wonderful smile :D

Tomorrow I'm going to post about our trick-or-treat wasn't what we expected, but we had a great time.. 

See ya tomorrow!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy (Belated) Birthday!

Happy Birthday to my wonderful, awesome, rockin' hubby!!  You're the absolute best sweetheart!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

National Chocolate Day

I found out this morning that it is National Chocolate Day today...and this "holiday" is repeated again on December 28 and 29.  I say you can never have too much chocolate! Now if you think chocolate is bad for you, read this and think again :)

* Cacao, the source of chocolate, contains antibacterial agents that fight tooth decay. Of course, this is counteracted by the high sugar content of milk chocolate.
* The smell of chocolate may increase theta brain waves, resulting in relaxation.
* Chocolate contains phenyl ethylamine, a mild mood elevator.
* The cocoa butter in chocolate contains oleic acid, a mono-unsaturated fat which may raise good cholesterol.
* Drinking a cup of hot chocolate before meals may actually diminish appetite.
* Men who eat chocolate live a year longer than those who don't.
* The flavanoids in chocolate may help keep blood vessels elastic.
* Chocolate increases antioxidant levels in the blood.
* Mexican healers use chocolate to treat bronchitis and insect bites.
* The carbohydrates in chocolate raise serotonin levels in the brain, resulting in a sense of well-being.

To celebrate this absolutely delicious wonderful day, I would like to share this recipe that Rochella shared with me this morning and this will definitely be on the menu this weekend.  What is your favorite chocolate recipe?

 Recipe courtesy of Betty Crocker

1 can (21 oz) cherry pie filling
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups fresh raspberries
3/4 cup chocolate ice cream
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup Original Bisquick® mix
3 tablespoons sliced almonds

Heat oven to 375°F. In mediumbowl, mix pie filling and extract; fold in raspberries. 
Spread in ungreased8-inch square pan. Bake 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in mediummicrowavable bowl, microwave ice cream and 
chocolate chips on High about 1minute 30 seconds, stirring every 30 seconds, until smooth. 
Add Bisquick mix;mix well. Let stand until fruit is done baking.

Drop dough into 8 mounds(about 3 tablespoons each) on hot fruit. 
Sprinkle each mound with almonds. Bake15 to 18 minutes longer or until chocolate 
topping is just set. Serve warm.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Love it...Hate it

I've never posted about this before and it seems rather silly at my age to even be complaining about this, but my hair drives me crazy.....with a capital C.  It is a major source of frustration for me at times.  Here are just some little factoids about my life experience with my hair:
  • I have naturally curly hair.  Even though I have lots of hair, it's fine and frizzes easily depending on the humidity, products I use, and how I style it.  Sometimes I have (semi-seriously) thought about shaving my head a wearing a wig.  
  • When I was younger, I would ALWAYS choose a straight-hair hairstyle.  ALWAYS.  Why is it that people with straight hair want curly hair, and people with curly hair want straight hair?  I know there are people out there that would like to have curly hair, but right now I would like to have straight hair.  Here's my other issue....I have straightened my hair and it just doesn't look right on me.  I really think I was born to have curly hair.  
  • I have tried several products and don't like to "mess" with my hair....but I think that's what I'm going to have to do.
  • I wanted to be a beautician, hairdresser, hair stylist, whatever they are called and I went to school for business instead.  Maybe if I went to beauty school, I would have a better grip on this little problem in my life.  
  • I was born with straight hair and I don't think it started getting curly until I was around 18 months old.  
So, this is just a little vent of mine.  I feel better now.  All done...until the next humid, hot, rainy day in Indiana.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Ironman Excitement and Pumpkin Recipe

You can feel the excitement in our house this week and it's building every day. There are only 2 more days until the boys race in the GNCC Ironman in Crawfordsville. This will be Ryan's second year racing and he is starting to get a little wound up. I really think he's more excited than what he's sharing with us, and that's ok - we just want him to have a good time this weekend. Carl is also racing after being pit crew leader last year and I can't wait to watch both of them! There's alot more excitement about this race because its local, we know some other people that are racing, everybody in town talks about it, and its a 3 day event full of fun. Here are some pictures from practice this week.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

I received this recipe from the food service manager at work and is delicious.  One of my co-workers made it and she did add another 1/2 brick of cream cheese and a little more pumpkin spice - yummmy!!  Don't be fooled by the picture - it's the only one I had.

Recipe courtesy of Farm Bureau Magazine

Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip with Apples andPears
1 package (8 ounces) NeufchateI1/3-less-fat cream cheese
1 can (15 ounces) pure pumpkin
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
11/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
Apples, pears and Asian pears, cut intothick slices

Combine creamcheese, pumpkin, brown sugarand pumpkin pie spice in a food processor untilthoroughly blended.Chill at least one hour before serving. Serve with slices of fresh pears, apples and Asian pears.  

Makes about 2% cups dip (11 servings of ;4-cup each)
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