Thursday, December 27, 2012

2012 Year in Review

Well this year is coming to a close and I have found I am using my blog less and less.  This year got away from me and I didn't even get Christmas cards out so I thought I would do a year end post so I can remember some of this year when I look back later.

This year has been another year of us buckling down and trying to pay off debt so we had no major purchases.  I changed jobs mid year to work in critical care to expand my knowledge and skills while also having more time at home.  It has been a very good decision for us on so many levels.  First, it really is helping me to learn and grow every day and bless others in a way I feel led by God to do.  Second, the flexibility of the schedule has made my home life better and somewhat easier to manage.  Third, it showed me that things are not always as they appear.  I realize how glad I am to leave where I was working because it was not the place I thought it was initially.  I miss the people I cared for and worked with, but the company as a whole was not an ideal fit for me. 

The hubby is still working, working, working to help on our debt process too.  He has been active in leading a fine group of boys who are turning into young men and he makes such a difference in their lives and he doesn't even realize the impact he has as a role model.  He does however, realize how much he loves doing this with them and that is great.  We have also gotten back into church more regularly which is helping us to be a better family overall.   We still need to be more involved, but it is progress for us to be regular attenders again.  He did have kidney stones this year and he realized that pain medication can be a very good thing.  We are at that stage in our life when we are feeling daily aches and pains and we try to not take our health for granted at all.  We went to the beach for a few days, but otherwise no real vacation destination to mention.

Bryan is mid year in the 8th grade and doing very well.  He is so much like his daddy that he learns something once and he "has" it.  He doesn't have to work very hard at all to make good grades and I keep reminding him how a little bit of effort could make him even better.  I have always said he will reach the bar no matter where it is, but he is not really interested in going past the bar....note to self to alway keep his bar really high.  He is playing trumpet for the third year and made all county band this year.  He has stopped his guitar lessons because he felt he had learned all he needed to play well.  He has taught himself keyboard by watching you tube videos.  Amazing.  After a little incident with a neighbor over the summer he stopped playing video games altogether.  What a blessing!!!  He is now more involved in Lego building and he has really elaborate sets and makes unique things with spare parts like his newly designed pinball machine.  I think he has great talents in building, imagination, tactile skills, etc.  I know he will do great things as an adult.  He is also very involved in youth at church and he received a GoBible audio version of the Bible and he listens to it every single night.  He will be through the entire Bible in no time at all.  I am still lagging behind him.

Meredith has had a very difficult year.  She has worked seven days a week at two jobs and finished her Masters degree in Exercise and Sports Physiology (or something like that...I probably don't have it exactly right).  She loves fitness and training and all that kind of stuff.  She reminds me of me at her age, but obviously I am not still into the fitness thing. haha.  She found out on Christmas Eve that she has a new position that will allow her a normal life again and hopefully now all things will begin to fall into place for her.  She is a strong, determined young woman with impeccable work ethic and she is very independent.  We are so proud of her, but it has been difficult to not be able to ease her burden during this hard year.  She wants a family now and I pray God leads the most perfect person into her life to give her all she dreams of.  She deserves the best and she works really hard.  Did I say I was proud of her??  Words can't describe how proud I am.  She still has Bella who is her canine companion and she is a great little dog.  Bella has had some health issues too and I hope she will be well this coming year.

My Mom has had some health issues this year that have  caused her to be hospitalized and have home health.  I hope she continues to heal and this battle she has been fighting will soon end its course.  We were at the doctor again today and still have a more to accomplish.  I made a calendar for her and my father in law for Christmas with her two grandchildren and she absolutely loves it.  She reads and plays games on her Kindle every single day and still reads constantly.  

As for me, changing jobs was the biggest news of the year.  I was running regularly until May/June and then I took a break that ended up breaking my stride and I haven't run since.  I really need to get back into it.  I have not lost any of the weight I wanted and it just seems to get pushed to the bottom of the to do list.  I wanted to get into school for my BSN but it seems that keeps getting pushed away too.  I was in a Bible study on Wednesday nights and had to give that up when my Mom got sick.  We are needing to get a newer vehicle and get our house in order and that seems to eat up my time.  I want my priorities to be God, Health, Family, etc.  but my life isn't always reflecting that.  This is my goal as I move into 2013.  I have done better in my spiritual health, but I still need to work on keeping my priorities intact and following God's plan for my life. 

P.S.  Note to self-   update blog more often :)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Chicken Tortilla Soup

This recipe if from my Trisha Yearwood cookbook.  Sounds like a good Halloween meal.


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Three 14-ounce cans chicken broth
  • 4 cups half-and-half
  • One 10.75-ounce can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup prepared salsa, mild or spicy
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, boiled, drained and shredded
  • One 15-ounce can black beans, drained
  • One 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained
  • One 15-ounce can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • One 1.27-ounce packet fajita seasoning
  • One 16-ounce bag tortilla chips
  • 8 ounces Monterey Jack, grated
  • 8 ounces sharp Cheddar, grated
  • 1/2 cup sour cream


Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and the onion and saute until softened, 5 minutes. Add the flour and stir well, cooking for 1 minute more. Add the broth and the half-and-half. Stir in the cream of chicken soup, salsa, chicken, beans, corn, cumin and fajita seasoning. Continue to simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.
Crumble the tortilla chips into individual bowls and top with a ladle of soup. Sprinkle each serving with cheese and add a dollop of sour cream.

Friday, October 5, 2012

It's Fall Y;all

It's finally fall and I am loving it...well except my semi-annual bout of bronchitis/sinusitis.  I have found a little secret for you.  Wallmart Mullled Cider and Pumpkin candles smell absolutely divine and they are a fraction of the cost of Yankee and other popular brands that I normally buy.  You will not regret buying this candle I promise.  I am anxious to start baking and decorating for fall, but I must catch up on a few chores that I haven't kept up with since being sick.  Allergies are such a bummer.  Anyway I am blessed and thankful for what I have so I am off to do more laundry which is a constant reminder that my family has clothes to wear, electricity and a place to live.  Stay tuned, my birthday is coming soon and I have a plan to share.

P. S.  I may not go private yet....still thinking about it.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


The time has come for me to make my blog private.  If you are a regular reader and want to be included on my list of people allowed, please leave a comment or email me for consideration.  I am not sure when I will make the change but it will be soon.  Thanks!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Chicken Roll Ups

1 package stuffing mix (like Stove Top)
1 cup water
2 eggs-beaten
6 small chicken breasts, pounded (or just sliced thin) to 1/4 thickness
2 cans (10-3/4 oz each) cream of chicken soup
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp. paprika
1.  Combine stuffing mix and 1 cup of water.  Let stand for 5 minutes.  Stir in eggs.

2. Evenly spread stuffing mixture over each piece of chicken.
3. Roll up chicken from short end to enclose stuffing.  Place seam sides down in 9x13 inch baking dish.
4.  Mix soup and milk together and pour over chicken.  Sprinkle with paprika.
5.  Bake uncovered at 400℉ for 30 minutes or until no longer pink.

Serve with mashed potatoes if desired and use sauce as gravy.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Pam's Cheesecake

I don't know Pam, but Meg does and if she thinks it is the best then we should all agree.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Blueberry Buckle

This recipe is from Whatever blog from Meg.  She is da bomb and you should check her out.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Snickerdoodle Bread

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 pkg. Hershey's cinnamon chips
  • 3 TB sugar
  • 3 tsp. cinnamon
  • Instructions

  • Cream butter, sugar, salt and cinnamon until fluffy. Add eggs and mix well.
  • Add vanilla and sour cream and mix well.
  • Mix flour and baking powder in a separate bowl. Add to wet ingredients and mix until all combined.
  • Add cinnamon chips and stir into batter. Set aside.
  • Spoon batter into 4 mini loaf pans until about 2/3 full.
  • Mix 3 T. sugar and 3 t. cinnamon in a bowl and sprinkle over the batter in each loaf pan.
  • Bake at 350 for 35-38 minutes. Let cool before removing from pan.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Pesto Chicken Salad

  • 1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup plain fat-free yogurt
  • 1/3 cup commercial pesto (such as Buitoni)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 cups cubed skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted 
Serve with wheat thins, triscuits, or ritz crackers.

Photo and recipe from the driveway of my life blog :)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Key Lime Cake

Trisha Yearwood Key Lime Cake

■1 3-oz package lime-flavored gelatin
■1⅓ cups granulated sugar
■2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
■½ tsp salt
■1 tsp baking powder
■1 tsp baking soda
■5 large eggs, slightly beaten
■1½ cups vegetable oil
■¾ cup orange juice
■1 Tbsp lemon juice
■½ tsp vanilla extract
■½ cup Key lime juice (from about 25 small Key limes or 4 large regular limes)
■½ cup confectioners’ sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three 9-inch-round cake pans.

2. In a large mixing bowl, mix the gelatin, sugar, flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Stir to mix well. Add the eggs, oil, orange juice, lemon juice, and vanilla. Divide the batter evenly among the 3 pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Test for doneness by lightly touching the tops of the layers or inserting a toothpick. Cool the layers in the pans for 5 minutes, then turn them out onto racks.

3. While the layers are still hot, mix the lime juice and confectioners’ sugar and pour it over the layers on the racks. You can pierce the layers with a fork to allow the glaze to soak in better. Allow the layers to cool completely as you prepare the icing.


■½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
■1 (8-oz) package cream cheese, room temperature
■1 (1-lb) box confectioners’ sugar
(I used lime zest & lime juice in my icing)

1. Cream the butter and cream cheese. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar until the mixture is smooth and easy to spread. Spread the icing between the layers and on the top and sides of the cake.

Note: The cream cheese icing is optional. This cake is beautiful and tastes great with just the glaze poured over it. Serves 12

BBQ Meatballs

 Found this today at All Things Delicious blog and plan to make them soon. 

3 lbs. ground beef
1 1/2 C. milk OR 1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
1 C. oatmeal
1 C. cracker crumbs (I used Ritz crackers that I smashed)
2 eggs
1/2 C. chopped onion OR 2 Tbsp. dried chopped onion
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. chili powder
2 C. catsup
1 C. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. liquid smoke
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 C. chopped onion OR 2 Tbsp. dried, chopped onion
Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Banana Bread

1/2 c. butter
1 1/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoon sour cream
3 bananas, mashed
1 1/2 c. cake flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350
Cream butter and sugar, add eggs very lightly beaten, and the soda dissolved in the sour cream. Beat well; then add bananas, flour, salt and vanilla.   Mix well.
Bake in well greased and floured 8 inch square or 9 inch tube pane for 35-45 minutes.

*This is the original banana bread I make from "The Settlement Cook Book" that I have made for many years.  Nuts optional.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies

 Today I tried Sarah at Clover Lane's ( cookies.   What a nice change from chocolate chip!

1 cup butter
2 eggs
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup butterscotch chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a medium bowl mix butter, sugars, and eggs till smooth.
3. Add flour, baking powder, soda, salt and oats to butter mixture.
4. Don't forget the chips!
5. Drop on lightly sprayed cookie sheets.
6. Bake for about 9 minutes until brown and crispy around edges.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Summertime 2012

When I think of what I enjoy of summer here are a few of the things I am looking forward to.

  • Pool time
  • Cookout
  • Hammock Reading
  • Time at the Beach
  • Start new awesome job
  • Lemonade and watermelon 
  • BLT's
  • Read on my Kindle
  • Fun days with family
  • Movie time 
  • Bestie birthday
  • Sleeping in
  • Freshly mowed grass
  • Washing my car
  • Juicy tomatoes
  • Fresh sunflowers
  • Peach cobbler
  • cheeseburgers
  • Homemade ice cream
  • Get back into running
  • Shorts and flip flops
  • Putt putt
  • Tan Lines
  • Visit Amish store
  • Farmers Market
  • Rest
My list reaffirms that I enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of each of the seasons.  I hope you have a blessed summer if you read this.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Never Caught Up

I have not meant to neglect my blog.  I still read blogs, facebook, pinterest and twitter every day, but I seem to stay so far behind on my household duties that I don't have time to write and I simply have not been able to try a new recipe or project since taking my job over a year ago.  Something has to give and I hope to have some answers soon.  In the meantime feel free to search my old recipes until I get motivation in the next few weeks to make some needed changes.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Must Have Cookbooks

Sorry I have been missing lately.  Really no one reads my blog but me anyway, but I try to speak to my audience just in case I am not talking to myself.  Do yourself a favor and buy these two cookbooks.  P-Dub  (Pioneer Woman) has done it again and produced another fabulous book with some of her best recipes, but let's face it we lover her humor and photography as much as the food.  I have also received the Farm Chick cookbook this week and I must say this beats the heck out of bills in the mailbox.  Happy Mail!  Don't you just love getting fun stuff in the mail and having something to look forward to besides the phone bill, the cable, bill, etc. 

I am still running and did two miles yesterday.  I am still a pokey little puppy because of this darn weight, but I just feel so much better about myself when I do it. Yesterday was my first day running since the weather turned warm.  I ate two gnats I think- yuck.  

I will try to post something I have made from my two cookbooks soon.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Time with God

I have been really trying to spend more time in my Bible and doing devotions this year and at times I have been better than others.  My family recently started attending a church in our community that we visited a few years back and now we are trying to connect again.  The recent series was about "Giving 10" by simply starting with giving at least 10 minutes a day to really reading your Bible.   I thought I was pretty consistent, but I realized that I was doing as much as I wanted.  I also really like doing devotions and I recently started this one above.  It is really life changing for me because it is written in the first person and reads as Jesus is talking to me directly.  That has really brought it to life more for me.   I finally realized today that many of the challenges I have faced in the last couple of weeks are what I feel are Satan trying to keep me away from all of this.  I have had countless things happen and the worst was an incident today that finally opened my eyes and made me realize that I am human and I am going to do human things at time and I need to continue pressing on with my devotions and Bible reading as it is making me stronger.  Tonight I attended a ladies Bible study on a Wednesday night for the first time in years.  I almost didn't go because my husband was working and I didn't want it to look bad at a new church that it was just me and my son.  I finally realized that was exactly what Satan had been beating me down about all week keeping me out of God's house with God's people.  I actually stopped at the door to the church and said quietly to myself, "take that Devil!"   Does that sound crazy???   I just really felt like all the stuff that has been happening has been because I was being tested and I felt so much better after the study because I met some new people and I was brave enough to walk in there and feel the presence of the Holy Spirit lift me up and make me feel so comfortable that I had won the battle.  Tomorrow is a new battle and I will continue to arm myself with God's word.  Pray for me if you will. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines Day

May you know the love that only Christ can give today!  
Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sinus Infection

I was beginning to think my running had actually made me immune from my beloved sinuses.  This week I found out I was wrong.  I have been keeping it low and I went to the doctor early on and got started on antibiotics so I am feeling better.  Hopefully we will actually get the laundry done since it was repaired yesterday.  When it pours.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Running Accessories

I have continued with my running (YAY ME) but I have been hard on myself for not improving quite as much I would like.  I did finally get to actually invest in some real running clothes.  I bought this cool pink shirt and some black capri pants that I am hoping will motivate me to run even more. I need running shoes too, but since they are so expensive they are on the waiting list. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Dreaming...House Goals and Ideas

Nice rectangular pool with diving board...the room at the end would be way down the road.

Screened porch off the back to lead to the concrete/bricked ares beside pool.
I would love to move my laundry out of the kitchen and to the garage. Then I could turn my laundry nook into a pantry.  See next photo.
This would make my life so much easier on so many levels. 

Add stacked stone to my fireplace.  I don't have a raised hearth, but this look is what I want. 

I need plantation shutters or blinds throughout my house....Can I hear an Amen!
We need an outside storage building for overflow.  The Amish make some really good ones in our area.  
I want to reorient my kitchen to face the den and change to white kitchen cabinets with granite counter tops.  Oh I would have hardwood floors instead.  See next example.
Of Course Pottery Barn furniture to finish it all off!

I don't even know where to begin!  We have got to start making some progress in this house or I am going to scream!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Running 2012

OK so this photo isn't me.  I am not that trim and my stride is no where near that long, but I am still running.  I have managed to only do two runs per week for the last two weeks instead of the 3-4 I want to do.  I started my 12 week program over before the holidays at a faster pace and trying to push myself to move beyond a snail's pace.  Some days I feel like I am doing better, and others like today I don't feel like I am improving at all.  Today I decided to walk on my street and run repeats on the hill that I dread so much.  The hill was brutal and it was freezing so 3 hills is all I got in.  Doesn't sound like much, but my heart and lungs were convinced otherwise.  I am also really trying to pay attention to the fuel that enters my body, again have not lost one red pound.  I am trying to keep my mind focused and see if I can make more progress.  I still have bigger things I want to do, I just have to stay committed and focused.  I admit it is hard in this dreary winter time, but I know every year June rolls around and I realize all the time I wasted.  Hopefully this year I will change my life the way I intend to instead of letting my mind win the battle.  I am strong!  I can do this!  I am also wanting to check into Crossfit or the YMCA as alternatives.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Mexican Stuffed Shells

Photo and recipe from

  • 1 lb. Ground beef browned and drained
  • 12 – 15 large shells cooked according to directions
  • 1 12 ounce jar mild picante sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 4-ounce can chopped chilies
  • 1 cup Monterrey Jack cheese shredded ( I use more)
  • 1 2.8 ounce can Durkee French Fried onions
You will need 2 mixing bowls.  In one bowl combine picante sauce, water,  and tomato sauce.  In another bowl place the browned ground meat adding 1/2 cup of the mixed sauce, along with the chilies, 1/2 cup of cheese, and 1/2 can of the onions.  Mix well.  Pour half the sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch oven proof casserole dish.  Stuff shell with the ground beef mixture.  Arrange shells in the baking dish.  Pour the remaining sauce over shells.  Bake covered for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  Top with the remaining onions and cheese and cook uncovered for about 5 minutes. 

Sweet Rolls

So easy and simple, yet so good!!

2 cans crescent rolls
8 oz. cream cheese
1 stick real butter
1 cup sugar

Spray 9X13 pan with spray and preheat over per directions on crescent rolls.  Unroll first can and press seams together.  Microwave (yes microwave) cream cheese for about a minute to melt/soften it then stir the cup of sugar into it until well mixed.   Spread this goodness onto crescent rolls.   Top with second can of crescent rolls and pinch seams as well as possible.  Melt stick of butter and pour evenly over top.  Sprinkle generously with cinnamon and bake according to crescent roll directions.  Enjoy!

The picture does not do them justice.  Cut into squares to serve.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Well here we are...

How can it possibly be 2012?   I don't know if I was ready.  I am not one to make resolutions, but I am continually in a state of making goals and revamping them.  I will say 2011 in hindsight ended up being a year with many challenges.
*  I changed jobs in nursing to one where I feel very fulfilled and it also has a scheduled that allows me to be a better mom.  It still requires complex scheduling and help from others, but ultimately I have been less tired and overextended which makes for a better me.  Learning a new job and new way of doing things have been a challenge.  Thankfully I finally am starting to feel settled. 
*  I have been very conflicted about returning to school and even though I keep wanting to God seems to have other purposes for me and it hasn't panned out yet. 
* I decided on a dare really from my husband to take up running again.  He actually started with me and lasted a whole three weeks.  I really think he just tapped into my competitive nature and got me started and he really knew once I lit the fire I would go.  I am still not fast, but I completed my first 5k after not running in many, many years.  I started around Labor day and have run 3 days per week most every single week since then.  I actually started my 12 week program over at a faster speed to try to improve.  I really, really want to completed a marathon.  Shhh...don't tell anybody, but I really think I can do it.  I have my mind set on a target date/time and I will keep it posted if if comes up in the near decade.  I think running is a difficult thing to do even when done slowly.  I have been somewhat disappointed that I have not lost "one red pound" as I like to say, but really that is my own fault because I have not changed my eating habits - at all.   I know if I get serious about doing distance running I must change my fuel.  That just may work if i start really training.  Time will tell.
* My FIL and very dear neighbor had bypass surgery in the fall.  Reality of taking care of the importance of taking care of my health.
* This paying off debt thing is really hard.  We have really been on lock down and done without so many things.  I am hoping 2012 is the year of a positive turn around because I am so very tired of not having any money to do anything.  We are blessed to have a roof over our head and electricity, but some time you work and work and want to just do more than get by.  I hope this will be our year.  We have sacrificed for a long time to get here.
*Family is the ultimate most important thing on earth.  I want to keep making memories and cherish time together.
* My spiritual life is a bit of a work in progress.  I am able to do my devotions of most days and pray continually, but I want us to have a permanent church home.  I pray we will find our place and build relationships and be involved in more activities.  If you read this please consider praying for all these things for our family.
* I tried to take even the smallest opportunities to take care of myself.  It is hard for me.  I like to take care of others and honestly I am pretty low maintenance and have low self confidence.  I have tried to paint my nails more.  It seems like a little thing, but I am a nervous nellie and I will pick and pick if they are not painted and I have never had long nails.  Simple things like this and burning candles that I enjoy are just a couple of ways I have tried to take care of myself with a limited budget.
*Blogging has not been as easy for me.  I have been in a rut with meals and trying to be healthy, quick, cost effective, and pleasing to everyone is hard.  I have had hard time trying to manage my time and keeping the house going. I really wish I could hire a housekeeper so I could come home and just be off, but it is as likely as winning the lottery at this point.  My standards have had to be lowered somewhat and hopefully I will improve in this area this year.

I wanted to get my thoughts written down in hopes it will help me establish my goals for 2012.  Wish me luck!

P.S. Remember time FLIES!!!! Make the most of it!!!