Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Blog Awards!

Thanks to my friend, Amy, at The Finer Things in Life who not only gave me one but two blog awards!!

The first one is the "Kreativ Blogger Award" and that has a little assignment with it!  I am to list six things that I am thankful for and then share the award with six other bloggers. 

I am thankful for...
  1. Christ being born as a baby, becoming a man and then dying on the cross for my sins!
  2. My wonderful hubby that God gave to me! He is my best friend! He is a great provider for me and our children!
  3. My five wonderful(most of the time! LOL) children. They are such a blessing to me!
  4. My warm house!  Lots of snow has fallen lately along with high winds and while over 19,000 homes in the area were without power from the weather we kept our power and our heat in the sub zero temperatures
  5. All the new friends that I have made around the blogosphere over the last year and a half! Being a stay at home/homeschooling mom, I don't get out too much with my IRL friends so it is good to come and read other blogs to see that I am not alone.
  6. For my pastor!  His sermons the last few weeks have really spoken to me and have made me think about myself and things that I need to change in order to grow more like Christ!

The second award is the "Lemonade Award" it is given to blogs that show "attitude and/or gratitude".  For this award my only assignment is nominate 10 blogs that show attitude and/or gratitude! 

Between the two awards that is a lot of blogs to nominate so I am going to take the time to nominate eight blogs and they get both awards! 

A New Endeavor in 2009 for Me!

Well just in case you haven't heard the news that is going around the blogosphere...I have an announcement to make regarding a new endeavor that I am going to be doing in the new year!

My friends Toni, Joy, and Kate who started Happy To Be At Home are in the process of relaunching the site with a whole new look but the same great content and more!  Starting tomorrow(January 1st) you will be able to cruise around the new site and read posts not only from the "3 Moms" but also from FOURTEEN other moms!!  

So you are probably wondering what this has to do with me!?! Well...Yours truly is one of the 14 Moms that will be a writing contributor on the site!  I will be writing posts about homeschooling while the other Moms will be writing about different things. Below is a list of the other contributing writers and their topics...

Erin from $5 Dinners--Kitchen topics
Lisa from Crazy Adventures In Parenting--Mothering & Military life
Rachel from Keep It Simple--frugality
Carri from The Peterson Clan--Large-family mothering
Sherry from Lamp Unto My Feet--Recipes/Kitchen
Susan from Susie’s Homemade--Crafty, D.I.Y stuff
Shannan from Chubbie Chica--Weight loss
Niki from Free 2 Be Frugal--Weekly freebies & coupons round-up
Author Tricia Goyer from & Parenting
Niki from Organizing Connection--organizing & simple living
Amy from The Finer Things in Life--MommyhoodJenna from Food With Kid Appeal--healthy food for kids
Amy from Mom’s Toolbox--travel

OH and just so you know...I am not going anywhere from here!  My blog will still be going full throttle in the new year with more posts on my parenting series, more deals and savings shopping, more recipes, more frugal tips, and even more homeschooling links!  So stick around here and enjoy me here along with coming over and visiting me at Happy To Be At Home!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

No Rise Yeast Dough

I got this recipe from a friend about a year ago and let me tell you that it can make life so much easier in the bread department of your kitchen!! Make it up and have a big batch of it sitting in the fridge to use with meals as the week progresses! OR make up the big batch, cook 'em and have the different rolls or breads to put in the freezer for the week. And the best part is you do not have to wait for them to rise!


Mix and let sit for about 15 minutes.
1 Tbs. yeast
1/2 C warm water
1 Tbs. sugar

Then add the following:

1/2 C. oil
2 C. *sour milk, buttermilk, or yogurt
1/2 C. sugar (or less)
1/2 tsp. soda
5 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
5 C. plain flour (maybe need a little more I use about 6 cups)

*1 cup sour milk= 1 cup of plain milk with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice* THIS NEEDS TO SIT AT LEAST 10 MINUTES TO CLABBER.


Mix and knead well. Place in a oiled bowl. This dough will keep in the fridge for a least a while if a tight lid is in place. Just take out the amount needed to be used at the time. This dough can be used immediately. There is no waiting for it to rise.

This dough can be used for the following: dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls, apple rolls, hot dog buns, hamburger buns, dough nut holes, pigs in blankets. Just use your imagination for different recipe uses.

Donut holes:
just pinch off a small amount and roll into a ball then fry in hot oil. after frying glaze them and let them drip on a cookie cooling rack. Place a paper towel or wax type paper and you can use the dripped icing over again.

Roll out dough then cut with cutter then carefully drop the donuts into hot oil to fry them until they are floating and golden in color. Drain on paper towels then glaze or dust them with powdered sugar or however you would like.

Cinnamon rolls:
roll out into a rectangle; spread melted butter/margarine and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on it. Then roll up from the small end and cut. Cutting the dough with string, thread, or dental floss will give you a clean cut. These can be baked with sides touching or as separate rolls. Bake in about 375-400 degree oven.

Apple Rolls:
Make dough as you would for cinnamon rolls but instead of spreading butter and cinnamon you will spread an apple filling on the dough. Apple filling recipe follows after glaze recipe.
Bake these rolls like you would cinnamon rolls.

Bread sticks:
roll small amounts in long strips about the size of your finger and 8" long. Put these on a cookie sheet. Brush with egg white and sprinkle with sesame seeds or poppy seeds and bake at 400.

Pizza dough:
with greased hands, flatten dough to fit greased pizza pans but bake the crust about 5 minutes to keep the crust from getting soggy. Place your favorite toppings on the crust and finish baking!

Hot dog and hamburger buns: just shape them and bake them on cookie sheets

1/2 cup conf. sugar,
*1 Tbs. corn starch*
1/4 tsp. vanilla and
1 Tbs. boiling water


Cover peeled and cut up apples with sugar and allow this to rest over night to create its own juice. Simmer this until thick and apples are tender. You can also add cinnamon to this mixture. Never boil the apple mixture as it will burn easily. I always start the cooking process on the simmer setting/fire.

For more kitchen tips, ideas or recipes; head over to Tammy's Recipes OR head over to Blessed with Grace!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Menu Plan Monday 12/28-1/3

**It is hard to believe that this is the last week of 2008!! This year has seemingly gone by so fast!

I got all my Christmas baking done! I was able to make up FIVE goodie trays as gifts for the neighbors and still have plenty of sweets (and calories) around for my family, even after serving some for Christmas dinner dessert! I am going to be putting some of the sweets into the freezer to pull out over the next few weeks! I would hate to have my hard work go stale!

Last week's menu plan had some switching around of some meals so there is a couple of meals that will seem like repeats from last week but are carryovers! We decided to take S out to eat for her birthday so the homemade burgers & fries dinner will be this week!

I will be able to make it this week on the shopping I did two weeks ago!!! I have only stepped in the store to get WIC items!! It is payday towards the end of the week so I will be going to the store for a few deals on Friday and then doing more shopping next week.

This week’s menus still include hubby being home from work! So far we have done quite well in using up leftovers despite him being home so that is good! I will be working at making bigger meals towards the end of the week so that I have leftovers to send with him when he goes back to work next Monday.

We do not have any plans for New Year's other than my oldest son and hubby are going to our church's junior high new year's eve all nighter it will be a quiet night of lounging around!

If you are looking for some inspiration on meals you can find links to my menu suggestion lists over in my right side bar down by Organizing Junkie's button.

A special thanks to Laura-Organizing Junkie for hosting Menu Plan Monday! Need help with your menus; go check other delicious meal plans that have been linked at Laura-Organizing Junkie's site! **

Sunday (12-28)
Breakfast: eggs, sausage, hash browns, and biscuits
Lunch: bagel bite pizzas
Dinner: Oven Fried Chicken, Crashed Potatoes, and green beans(carryover)
Snack: Christmas cookies

Monday (12-29)
Breakfast: cereal and toast
Lunch: sandwich and chips
Dinner: saucy pork chops, rice and peas or salad
Snack: cake & ice cream (leftover from birthday party)

Tuesday (12-30)
Breakfast: waffles & sausage
Lunch: pizza
Dinner: burgers & hotdogs, fries, and corn (carryover)
Snack: snack basket

Wednesday (12-31)
Breakfast: pancakes
Lunch: sandwich & chips
Dinner: lemon pepper chicken, mashed potatoes, and corn
Snack: snack basket or leftover birthday cake!

Thursday (1-1) Happy New Year!!
Breakfast: bagels and cereal
Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: spaghetti and chicken parmesan served with garlic toast & salad
Snack: snack basket

Friday (1-2)
Breakfast: eggs, cereal and toaster strudel
Lunch: sandwiches & chips
Dinner: ??? Not sure what will get fixed here!
Snack: ice cream night

Saturday (1-3)
Breakfast: “Cook’s Choice”
Lunch: ??? probably leftovers!
Dinner: ??? Not sure what will get fixed here!
Snack: snack basket or popcorn

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Five Years Ago...

I found out that I was pregnant with #4 in March of 2003. At 22 weeks, I had my ultrasound and measurements and growth were very good. We did not find out if we were going to have a boy or a girl.

The pregnancy was very uneventful other than me having gestational diabetes diagnosed at 27 weeks. I changed my diet and went on with life as normal. Once Thanksgiving came around, I started getting into the full "nesting mode" so I thought that the baby was going to come early like what my three boys had. However, I carried the baby right to the due date...December 27th!

Labor started around 8am and I got to the hospital around 9:30am after dh stopped at McDonald's for a couple of breakfast biscuits!(yes he went thru the drive thru with me in labor in the passenger's seat!)

I got hooked up to the monitoring device and the nurse could not keep a good reading coming on the baby's heartbeat. So I had to stay positioned a certain way in order for her to get good readings. Labor progressed along and I started noticing that they were contacting extra help(NICU nurses) being on standby before baby was actually delivered. I thought it strange that they were really not saying anything to me other than saying things like we are having trouble monitoring the baby.

The doctor broke my water around 1:30pm. I delivered a girl at 1:40pm!! She weighed 9lbs 12 oz. and was 22 inches long. She had the cord around her neck. Along with the fact that, she was delivered so fast that she wasn’t able to expel any of the fluid in her lungs naturally and didn't start breathing on her own upon delivery. After about 16 minutes of alternating between suctioning her lungs out and pumping her with a breathing tube, she was able to breathe on her own. She was placed on oxygen for 6 hours and earned herself a stay in NICU for observation. I was able to see her about 3 hours after she was born and hold her(tubes and all) for the first time. She was the biggest baby in the unit!

The doctors had to give us the run down as to what might happen to her negatively. The doctor also said that as long as her white blood count stays down she would be able to come home quickly. We had the faith that God didn’t give us this little girl to have her taken away from us so quickly. We got the prayer chain at our church going and other friends praying for our little S! She ended up not having any of the negative effects (like seizures, or stop breathing) happen to her in that first 24 hours! Amen!

Today she is a normal 5 year old little girl! Looking at her one would never guess the “scare” that she gave us coming into this world!


A Nutty Aversion

Excuse me as I think out loud and ramble a bit!....

What is the point of putting nuts in cookies, chocolate, and even salads??!! Why do people think that it is a wonderful thing to put walnuts, pecans or even macadamia nuts in those sweet delectibles that they make?? Do they bring flavor to a bland piece of goodness? or are they in there so that they can savor the nutty taste while picking out the pieces of nuts from between their teeth?!

I do not think about it during the rest of the year...just at holidays when I am sampling goodies that others have given me! I have to pick and choose what I eat because people fill their goodies with those little bits and pieces of nuts that I just can't handle eating! It is not like I am allergic to them it is just that my taste buds think that I have something very foreign in my mouth and then my reflexes kick into full gear! Nothing like eating something that looks sooo delightful only to have it ruined with my reflexes and the taste of nuts.

I know that in recent weeks I have shared a couple of recipes(fudge and salad) that have nuts in them BUT they have peanuts in them!! For some odd or maybe strange reason, I can handle eating peanuts when they are in goodies over those other nuts and eating plain peanuts. I can handle eating snicker bars and homemade peanut clusters and best of all, peanut butter. Don't put peanuts though on my ice cream sundae because that just doesn't go well with the taste buds either!

I wonder why that would be the case!?! Why can I handle it one way or one type of nut and not the other nuts? Oh the questions that come to my mind in trying to figure out my nutty aversion!

So do you have a nutty aversion or am I in this "boat" by myself? If nuts isn't your aversion, what do you shy away from in eating? I can add a few other foods to my list....mushrooms, brussel sprouts, olives along with shrimp, and scallops!

Okay...back to your regular schedule of posts around here!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!!


I want to take the time to wish all of you and your families a Merry Christmas!

I am going to be taking the time to enjoy my family over the next couple of days along with enjoying the season and remembering the true Reason for the Season!!

I will be back on Friday!  

Monday, December 22, 2008

Easy Peanut Butter Fudge

Over the last few days, I have been snowed in so I have had plenty of time to get my holiday baking done. I have several things in my freezer now to make up some goodie trays for the neighbors plus still have goodies available for us for the holidays. Today though was one of those days were my get up and go got up and left before I even got started on my day! So I was looking through my recipes, I found this one fudge recipe that makes ALOT but seemed easy to complete!

I got this fudge recipe from my friend, Leni!! I must say that this fudge is soooo easy!! It only has 3 ingredients, all of which I keep in my pantry!

So by now you are probably wondering what are the 3 ingredients and just how easy is this fudge!

Easy Peanut Butter Fudge

1 bag(12oz) milk chocolate chips
1 jar(18oz) crunchy peanut butter
1 can condensed milk

Put chocolate chips and peanut butter in a double boiler pan. Heat til the chocolate chips are melted(took about 5-7 minutes). Remove from heat and add the milk. Stir til smooth. Pour into a wax papered lined pan. I used a 15 x10 jelly roll pan. It isn't very thick but they make bite size pieces for kids! If you want thicker fudge use a 9x13 pan. Let cool and then cut into pieces. I stuck mine in the freezer to cool because I had the oven on and I knew that it would take a long time to firm up. Once it is cool you can cut it and put it in the fridge or freezer til you want it.

See I told you easy! Definitely something easy to do for last minute gift giving or needing something to take to that holiday party!

For other kitchen tips, head over to Tammy's Recipes!!
For other tempting tummy recipes and more; head over to Blessed with Grace!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Menu Plan Monday 12/21-12/27

**The last two weeks of 2008 are upon us!!  Christmas week and then the week leading up to the New Year!!   This means that my hubby will be working on Monday and Tuesday of this week and then will be home with us until January 5th!!  I am excited about him being home with us for that many days BUT that also means that meals (especially lunches) are going to need to be planned a little differently!  I don’t know what it is about him being home but there seems to be an expectation there that I am to fix something for all of us which means more cooking and less telling the kids to fix themselves a sandwich grab some chips and some carrots or apples.  This isn’t a bad thing, but there seems to be more leftovers that don’t get the attention they would otherwise and hence they get wasted!

Speaking of wasted, I ended up having to throw out EIGHT eggs this morning due to them being over TWO weeks past their best by date!  I hate doing that but I really don’t want to take the chance of food poisoning my family.   I didn’t get to all the baking I had planned last week so hence the eggs went bad! 

Last week's menu plan ended up going quite well despite me not having two days’ dinners planned initially, however I went to the store and did grocery shopping in the middle of the week so I had enough things to finish out my week of meals.    

This week's shopping trip was my major shopping trip of the month!!  I made it to Sam's Club for my monthly run along with hitting up the usual grocery stores.  The best I can figure I will be able to stay out of the stores until after Christmas for any groceries!  And if I do anything grocery wise it will be for the fresh things like milk, veggies and fruit.  Thankfully I did all the shopping last week before the nasty weather and the last minute gift frenzy!

This week’s menus not only have our Christmas meal but also a birthday meal!  My daughter turns five on Saturday!!  It is hard to believe that five years has passed since our “little scare”!

If you are looking for some inspiration on meals you can find links to my menu suggestion lists over in my right side bar down by Organizing Junkie's button.

A special thanks to Laura-Organizing Junkie for hosting Menu Plan Monday! Need help with your menus; go check other delicious meal plans that have been linked at Laura-Organizing Junkie's site! **

Sunday (12-21)

Breakfast: eggs, sausage, hash browns, and jiffy muffins

Lunch: leftover  pizza bagels

Dinner: smorgasbord—lemon pepper chicken, mac & cheese or rosemary potatoes with green beans, and biscuits. (and if you have mac & cheese you have your choice of corn or peas)

Snack: Christmas candy (cause we ate a late dinner with being snowed in!)


Monday (12-22)

Breakfast: cereal and toast

Lunch: sandwich and chips

Dinner: chili, rice, and corn muffins (carry over from last week)

Snack: snack basket


Tuesday (12-23)

Breakfast: waffles & sausage

Lunch: chicken nuggets

Dinner: roasted chicken, mashed taters, and corn

Snack: cookies & milk

Wednesday (12-24)
french toast

Lunch: grilled cheese & Chicken Rice Soup

Dinner: ??? Not sure what will get fixed here!

Snack: snack basket

Thursday (12-25) Merry Christmas!

Breakfast: cinnamon rolls, eggs, hash browns, and sausage (Christmas morning tradition)

Lunch: sandwiches & chips

Dinner: honey baked ham, mashed taters, corn, apple snicker salad and more desserts than one can imagine!

Snack: snack basket


Friday (12-26)

Breakfast: eggs, cereal and toast

Lunch: leftovers

Dinner: Oven Fried Chicken, Crashed Potatoes, and green beans

Snack: ice cream night                                      


Saturday (12-27)  Happy 5th Birthday, S!!

Breakfast: “Cook’s Choice”

Lunch: ???  probably leftovers!

Dinner: burgers & hotdogs, fries, and corn (birthday meal tradition)

Snack:  snack basket  or popcorn




Winter Weather

In the last THREE days, we have been snowed in twice!!  On Friday, we had record snowfall for that particular day.  Most areas, including my area got over 11 inches of snow!!!

My hubby had to go out our patio slider door(that is covered) so that he could take this picture of our side door. 

This picture is after they(hubby and the three older boys) used the snowblower and shovels down our driveway!  The sun decided to come out on Saturday while they were digging us out!

NOW today we are under blizzard conditions because the wind is whipping all the snow from Friday and today all over the place!  We decided to not go to church this morning because of the conditions and then the evening activities at church were cancelled!   The picture below is of my hubby and three older boys as they were walking around the backyard!  They found a drift that "swallowed" hubby's 34 inch inseam legs!!

And to think they are saying that Tuesday will be the same as Friday and Sunday!!  Oh winter weather in the Midwest!  There is very little chance that we will be having a "green Christmas"!!

Singing Sunday

For Christmas week, here is one of my favorite Christmas carols!  

Away in A Manager

Away in a manger, no crib for his bed
The little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head
The stars in the bright sky looked down where he lay
The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay

The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes,
But little Lord Jesus no crying he makes.
I love Thee, Lord Jesus, look down from the sky
And stay by my cradle till morning is nigh.

Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever, and love me, I pray.
Bless all the dear children in thy tender care,
And take us to heaven, to live with Thee there.   

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Monthly Sam's Run

I finally made it to Sam's for my December monthly run!!  

Here is what I purchased this month...
  • 1- 5qt pail vanilla ice cream $5.02
  • 5 lbs Country Crock Margarine $4.42
  • 1 1/4 gallons canola oil $9.88
  • 5lbs frozen cut corn $4.76
  • 6 lbs shredded hashbrowns $4.88
  • 60 count box waffles $8.26
  • 12 count individual pizzas $10.76
  • 72 count box bagel bites $9.72
  • 200 count bag Halls cough drops $6.22(with sales tax)
  • 3 lbs beef hot dogs $$7.86
  • 72 ct box american cheese slices $8.27
  • 5 lbs mild cheddar cheese $12.63
  • 72 ct box fruit snacks $8.42
  • 24 oz can parmesan cheese $7.79
  • 3-45 oz jars Ragu spaghetti sauce $6.37
  • 52 oz can Planters Honey Roasted Peanuts $5.87
  • 2 pack Rold Gold Pretzels $5.88
  • 2 pack bagels $4.36
  • 56 oz bag M&Ms $7.70
  • 2lb bag El Matador Tortilla Chips $2.58
  • 2 pk-60 oz bottles Mrs. Butterworth's syrup $6.34
  • 2-40oz bottles Jif peanut butter $7.13
  • 12 pk. Swanson's chicken broth $7.77
  • 12 pk. Campbell's tomato soup $8.08
Total: $170.97

Weekly Shopping Trip--Saved $129.72

I don't know about you but grocery shopping for me at this time of year is just stressful!!  I don't stress too much about the sales and deals as much as I do the crowds!!  It is like everyone comes out of the woodwork and it does not matter what time I hit the stores they are crowded!!  

Anyway, I did get some major grocery shopping done this week(including my monthly Sam's run) with it being a "payday week" and IF I figured things out correctly I should make it til the first of the year without doing anything more than getting my WIC and fresh veggies & fruit.   

So without further ado my savings for the week....

First stop...Duthlers(corner grocery store)
  • 4 pkgs Eckrich smoky links $8.00
Total: $8.00
Savings Total: $3.96

Second stop....Family Fare
  • 11.21lbs ground chuck $21.19 ($1.79/lb)
  • 5.26lbs pork loin chops $9.42 ($1.79/lb)
  • 3.97lbs half ham $7.11 ($1.79/lb)
  • 20lbs potatoes $3.98
  • 2-18ct eggs $3.18
  • 3 bags Hershey choc. chips $3.41 ($1.14 each)
  • 2 gallons Milk $3.98
Total: $52.27
Savings Total: $40.92

Third Stop...Meijer
  • 1 bottle Chloraseptic spray $4.68
  • 1 pkg Oral-B toothbrush refills $15.39
  • 1 Reynolds foil $2.49
  • 1 bottle Downy fabric softener $2.49
  • 1 bottle Dove body wash $1.99
  • 2 bags potato chips $3.98
  • 6.13lb whole chicken roaster $6.01
  • 15.30lbs boneless/skinless chicken breasts $27.39
  • 4 bags Green Giant Steamers 67¢ (this is NOT a typo!  they were on sale for 79¢ each and I had 2-60¢/1, 1-50¢/1, and 1-$1/1 coupons!  The $1 off coupon was only able to be redeemed for 79¢ basically making one bag free!)
  • 2.88lbs apples $2.79
  • 2 bags marshmallows $1.92
  • 2 boxes waffles $2.28
  • 1 Sara Lee cheesecake bites $2.29 (my splurge but they were 1/2 off!)
  • 1 bottle mint extract  $2.44
  • 5lbs wheat flour $1.99
  • 2 containers frosting $2.00
  • 1-2liter Rootbeer $1.10(with deposit)
  • 2 boxes muffin mix $2.49($1.25 each)
  • 3 bags cookie mix $3.10 ($1.03 each)
  • 3 boxes brownie mix $4.10 ($1.37 each)
  • 5 tubes crescent rolls $4.50(90¢ each)
  • 4 tubes cinnamon rolls $3.70(93¢ each)
  • 2 boxes cream cheese $1.95(98¢ each)
  • 2 tubs Parkay margarines $1.75 (88¢ each)
  • 2 containers sour cream $2.00
  • 2 pkgs little smokies $4.00
  • 10 containers yogurt $4.60
  • 5 cans tomato sauce $5.00
  • 2-12pks Faygo pop $7.74
  • 1 bag Tyson chicken nuggets $4.50
  • 5 bottles Juicy Juice $9.25 ($1.85 each)
  • 4 boxes cereal $5.00 ($1.25 each)
Total: $148.59
Savings Total: $84.84 (non-coupon savings $57.70; coupon savings $27.14)

GRAND TOTAL: $338.58

For more savings stories head over to Becentsable's Centsable Savings Stories! 

Friday, December 19, 2008

Holiday Goodie Plates

Welcome to the Happy to be At Home readers!! Please come in and have a seat and look around!
I have plenty of recipes, deals and homeschooling resources. 

For the rest of my readers....

It is 6 days until Christmas!!!  Are you trying to figure out a gift to give to your neighbors or those people on your list who are hard to buy for Christmas?!

Head over to Happy to be At Home and read my guest post about sample goodie plates as gifts!!

Homemade goodies are definitely a gift someone can not refuse!!  

Merry Christmas!

**removed the links in this post as they are no longer valid**

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Holiday Main Course

After drinking wassail and feasting on various appetizers and salad,  it is really hard to think about even eating a main coarse. 

For the main coarse, it is a whole ham that has been brushed with a honey glaze.  Bake at 200° for 6-7 hours or put in your crockpot on low in the morning and it will be ready to serve at dinnertime. 

The honey glaze consists of 1/2 cup orange juice, 1/2 cup honey and 1 cup light brown sugar. 

Along with the ham is served mashed potatoes that has plain yogurt or sour cream and melted butter stirred into them. 

For veggies, there is a pot of corn, green bean casserole and it would not be the holidays without my dad's cole slaw!

So there you have it, just a simple main coarse to compliment all the appetizers, and salads!!

For other main coarse meals, head over to my bloggy friend, Amy's--Finer Things in life.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Virtual Cookie Exchange

Doing my reading around the blogosphere this morning and found that my friend, Amy over at Mom's Toolbox is hosting a virtual cookie exchange!! I couldn't pass by without sharing some of my favorite cookie recipes!

The first is one that I loved making with my mom growing up!!  


1 can chow mein noodles
1 bag(12oz) butterscotch chips (or chocolate chips)
2/3 cup creamy or crunchy peanut butter
2 cups salted peanuts(optional)

In a bowl, mix peanuts and noodles together, set aside. In a double boiler pan, melt chips and peanut butter together until smooth. Remove from the heat, and pour over peanuts and noodles, stir til combined. Drop by the teaspoonful on wax paper. Cool til hardened. To speed up the cooling process you can put them on wax paper on a cookie sheet and put in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Then there is "Santa Surprise Cookies" or Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies

2 sticks butter (softened)
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3½ cups all purpose flour (sifted)
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 bag SNICKERS miniatures

Combine the butter, peanut butter, and sugars using a mixer on a medium to low speed until light and fluffy. Slowly and eggs and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Then mix in flour, salt and baking soda. Cover and chill dough for 2-3 hours. Unwrap all SNICKERS Miniatures. Remove dough from refrigerator. Divide into 1 tablespoon pieces and flatten. Place a SNICKERS Miniatures in the center of each piece of dough. Form the dough into a ball around each SNICKERS Miniature. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 300° F for 10-12 minutes. Let cookies cool on baking rack or wax paper. 
Makes 2 dozen cookies.

Notes: Instead of using mini Snickers, I have used mini Milky Ways or Rolos!
Also if you desire you can spruce up Santa’s surprise by drizzling melted DOVE Milk or Dark Chocolate Gifts or melted chocolate chips over the top of each cookie!)

If you would like to find other cookie recipes, head over to Mom's Toolbox Virtual Cookie Exchange!!

Holiday Salad

I love making this salad at Christmas time because it works for me!!  Like my appetizers,  it is simple to make when you are making things for a party.  It can be made the night before and there are no worries(other than you eating before the party!) that it won't still look yummy for the party!  It is one of those salads where you begin to wonder if it should be a dessert or a salad! Well there is fruit in it right!!?? AND there is milk! So it must be just a salad!

I love the taste of this salad!  To me it tastes like creamy carmel apples that are A LOT easier to eat!  This is a salad that is liked by all!!  Even my hubby who doesn't like eating "combination foods" will eat this salad!  Also using green and red apples makes it look soooo festive. 

**photo courtesy of Taste of Home

Apple Snicker Salad

4 Granny Smith Apples, cored & chopped
4 Red Delicious Apples, cored & chopped
6 Snicker bars(2.7oz), chopped
1 (12 ounces) Cool Whip
1 (6 oz pkg) Vanilla Pudding
2 1/2 cups milk

In a large bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set. Fold in whipped topping. Fold in apples and candy bars. Refrigerate until serving. 

Notes: Using slightly frozen Snicker bars helps in the chopping of the bars! You can add more Snicker bars or more apples depending on how creamy you want it to be!  You can also make this without the pudding, by just chopping the apples, snicker bars and cool whip together!  In my opinion though it tastes better with the pudding!

For more works for me head over to Rocks in my Dryer!

Also if you are looking for more holiday salad recipes, head over to Parenting the Tiniest of Miracles for the next stop on the holiday bloggy progressive dinner!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Holiday Appetizers

I don't do much in the way of appetizers for holidays, however, there are few appetizers that make an appearance during the holidays.

First one is the good ol' fresh veggie tray!  I don't purchase the ones that are already made up waiting for you in the produce section of the grocery store. I go to Aldi or Save A Lot and get a variety of fresh veggies and cut them up onto a tray. Then for dip, since I get TWO huge bottles of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing from Sam's on a regular basis, I pour some of the dressing into a bowl to go along with the veggies.

Second one is a fruit tray.  Whenever I do up a fruit tray it seems that my picky eater kids will find it quite amusing to see how much fruit they can eat off the tray!  Now don't think I am complaining but why do kids do that??  Why will they not eat the fruit at any other time other than if I make a pretty tray of various fruits!?!

Third one is bbq smokies. I love stocking up on these little smokies when they are on sale around the holidays!  They make for a quick(or oh crap I totally forgot about the party!) appetizer!

I put two packages of the lil' smokies in my crockpot along with a bottle of Baby Ray's Honey BBQ sauce(there isn't a better tasting sauce!) and let them simmer for 4-5 hours on low or 2-3 hours on high.   I have also done this with the rope type sausage....cut up into "coins" and dump them in with the BBQ sauce in the crockpot!

All three of these are easy and quick to do and you don't have to stress over whether they will get eaten or not!

For other kitchen tips, head over to Tammy's Recipes

For other tempting tummy recipes and more; head over to Blessed with Grace! Today they are also doing a giveaway because it is their birthday!!

Also for other holiday appetizers, head over to A Simple Walk where she is hosting today's bloggy progressive dinner.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Menu Plan Monday 12/14-12-20

**Another week is upon us so that means it is time for another menu plan!  This is just a plan and it could change on the cook’s whim!

Last week's menu plan ended up being thrown out the window about mid-week due to tummy sickness that set in with a few of the occupants here. My hubby is still having some issues but for the most part we are all on the mend.  Hence that means the menu at the beginning of the week will not include any spicy foods.   

This week's shopping trip was just to get the essentials needed to finish some meals for the week!  However, I see having to go to the stores this week again more for getting more meats in the freezer.  I am planning on getting to Sam’s in the next couple of days to do finally do my December bulk purchases shopping trip. 

If you are looking for some inspiration on meals you can find links to my menu suggestion lists over in my right side bar down by Organizing Junkie's button.

A special thanks to Laura-Organizing Junkie for hosting Menu Plan Monday! Need help with your menus; go check other delicious meal plans that have been linked at Laura-Organizing Junkie's site! **

Sunday (12-14)

Breakfast: eggs, bacon, hash browns, and chocolate donuts

Lunch: leftover pizza

Dinner: sloppy joes, fries, and carrots (carryover from last week)

Snack: snack basket

Monday (12-15)

Breakfast: cereal and muffins

Lunch: leftovers

Dinner: “Long John Silver’s night”—fish, shrimp & chicken, fries, and corn (carryover from last week)

Snack: snack basket


Tuesday (12-16)

Breakfast: Pancakes & sausage

Lunch: sandwich and chips

Dinner: Creamy Chicken served over noodles, and peas

Snack: cookies & milk

Wednesday (12-17)

Breakfast: bagels, and cereal

Lunch: pizza

Dinner: burgers, pan fries, and corn

Snack: snack basket

Thursday (12-18)

Breakfast: cereal and poptarts

Lunch: leftovers or sandwiches & chips

Dinner: chili, rice and corn muffins

Snack: snack basket


Friday (12-19)

Breakfast: eggs, cereal and toast

Lunch: sandwiches & chips

Dinner: ??? (looking for inspiration)

Snack: ice cream night                                      


Saturday (12-20)

Breakfast: “Cook’s Choice”

Lunch: ???  probably leftovers!

Dinner: ??? (looking for inspiration)

Snack:  snack basket  or popcorn




Holiday Wassail Drink

Non-Alcoholic Wassail

2 quarts apple cider
2 cups orange juice
1 (46 fluid ounce) can pineapple juice
2 (3 inch) cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon whole cloves
1 pinch of nutmeg
1/2 cup honey 

In a slow-cooker or a large pot over low heat, combine apple cider, orange juice and lemon juice. Season with cloves, ginger and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer. If using a slow cooker, allow to simmer all day. Serve hot. Strain out cinnamon sticks and cloves before serving if desired.

OH this make the house smell soooo good!  I make this when I am throwing a holiday party. 

For more holiday drinks stop by Five Js for day one of the Bloggy Progressive Dinner. You can share your favorite drink recipe and enter to win her giveaway!

Christmas at Sonshine's

Welcome to my home!! 

This is my front door! A fresh wreath of greens!
My living room is the only room that I have my holiday decorations. I still have a two year who loves to sneak around and mess with the decorations so I keep them in a room that I can keep an eye on or block off so that he can not be in there without supervision. 

We have two windows in the living room and over those windows hubby made shelves for holiday decorations.  He made the shelves such where the shelf supports are also used to hold our curtain rods.  Over our smaller window is our nativity.
Over the larger window is just some various Christmas decorations.  Up there this year is baskets with Christmas trees, fake holly and poinsettas and cinnamon scented pinecones. 

Here are the decorations on my desk....
The angel was just made by my daughter in Sunday school yesterday.  The little smore snowman angel was made by one of my older boys a few years ago in Sunday school! I put this on my desk as a little reminder of how I am to treat each day through the holiday season. 
My hubby decided this year to keep the branches that needed to be cut off our tree to fit in the stand and he decorated the top of the television. 
Here is our tree with a lighted star as the topper.   We get a fresh tree every year. We decorate simply with red, gold, blue, and silver ball ornaments along with special ones that we have gotten over the years.
Here is a few of our special ones....
To celebrate hubby's German heritage we have an ornament that says "Fröhliche Weihnachten" (Merry Christmas)
We also have several ornaments reminding us of the "Reason for the Season". 
We have five different Hallmark "Baby's First Christmas" ornaments for each of our kids. This one is my youngest son's.   Hubby and I also have a Hallmark one for our first Christmas together as a married couple. 

Merry Christmas!! Thank you for coming into my home to see my decorations!  If you would like to see other Christmas decorations head over to BooMama's Christmas Tour of Homes.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Singing Sunday

I Can Only Imagine 
by MercyMe

I can only imagine
What it will be like
When I walk
By your side

I can only imagine
What my eyes will see
When your face
Is before me
I can only imagine

I can only imagine

Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel
Will I dance for you Jesus or in awe of you be still
Will I stand in your presence or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine

I can only imagine

I can only imagine
When that day comes
And I find myself
Standing in the Son

I can only imagine
When all I will do
Is forever
Forever worship You
I can only imagine

I can only imagine


I can only imagine [x2]

I can only imagine
When all I will do
Is forever, forever worship you

I can only imagine

Friday, December 12, 2008

Frugal Friday--A Freezer & Pantry Meal

I had meatballs in my freezer and I wanted to do something with them other than putting them in marinara sauce or spaghetti sauce so I decided to do some beef gravy. 

I made up some beef gravy using a can of beef broth and cream of mushroom soup. I added about 1/4 cup of sour cream to the mixture along with a little bit of cornstarch for thickening. I simmered it on the stove and made sure that it was mixed up well and then poured it over my already cooked but frozen meatballs. Then I put them in the oven at 350° for an hour.

While the meatballs were cooking I made up some mashed potatoes and heated up a bag of frozen corn!  Simple, yet filling! 

Weekly Shopping Trip--Spent $67.84

This week's trip was a little nerve racking for me in that I am really, really, really watching my pennies!  It seems that December is the month were I just get the things that we need and do not allow myself to stockpile.  As a matter of fact, I seem to work for the stockpile and only shop to complete meals for the week.  I think some of it has to do with the fact of wanting to be able to use the extra money I normally would use on my stockpile to make sure there are presents under the tree that we didn't have to charge on our credit cards.  I just don't like getting into debt of gifts that are given to others. 

Anyway, back to my weekly shopping trip...I didn't even spend $70 this week!! YEAH!  However, I only saved around $19 BUT I did shop at Save A Lot so I guess you could say that I saved more than just $19!  

Here is the breakdown of what I purchased this week...

1st stop...Save A Lot(where I used a $5 off $30 coupon that I got in my local paper!)
  • 2 bottles Apple Juice $3.38
  • 2.62lbs bananas $1.55
  • 1 bag family pack chicken nuggets $4.49
  • 2 cans beef broth 98¢
  • 4 cans biscuits $1.52
  • 2 containers  Chocolate Cool Whip $2.78
  • 3 bags frozen corn $2.97
  • 8 cans cream of chicken soup $3.92
  • 2 bags shredded hash browns $2.78
  • 1 gallon chocolate milk $2.99
  • 1 bottle molasses $1.99
  • 2 cans condensed milk $2.78
  • 1 bottle canola oil $3.29
  • 2 jars pizza sauce $1.98
  • 2 graham cracker crusts $1.98
  • 1 bottle taco sauce $1.29
  • 6 cans tomato sauce $2.94
TOTAL: $40.59 after $5 off coupon was used!

2nd Stop...Meijer: 
  • 5.11lbs boneless/skinless chicken breasts $9.15
  • 3 boxes kleenex $3.25
  • 1lb cheddar cheese $4.00
  • 1 pkg american cheese slices $2.00
  • 4 cans tomato soup $2.00
  • 1 bag cough drops $1.27
TOTAL with tax: $21.97
Savings Total: $7.69 (non coupon savings $6.79; total coupon savings 90¢)

3rd Stop...Family Fare: 
  • 2 jars Ragu Sauce $1.99
  • 10# potatoes $3.29
TOTAL: $5.28
Savings Total: $6.28