Talking about home, children, parenting, homeschooling, recipes, faith and much more. Hope you'll join me!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Blog Moving to New Address - Exciting!

Just wanted to let everyone know that my blog is moving to a new address!  It's oh-so-exciting!  A few things have to be worked out yet (my learning curve), but the new design is done and looks pretty spiffy (if I may say so). 

My designer and friend, Lori, is absolutely fantastic to work with and she has many exciting and fun ideas for making your blog look fabulous!  

Go check out her website, would you please?  

Tell her Susan sent you.  

Oh yes, my new address is

Look forward to seeing you there!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My Best Friend, My Childhood Room, and Senior Trip

I am linking up today over at Jen's Ink Pen! 

Jen asked her readers to share the following:

What do you remember about your very first best friend?
What did your childhood bedroom look like, smell like, feel like, or sound like?
Do you remember being allowed to do something as a child or teenager...that you would not think of letting your own child do today?

Simply reading her post brought back vivid memories, so I thought I'd join in!

My First Best Friend

My very first best friend was Tammy King.  I met her in my kindergarten class and quickly learned that she lived only 5 minutes away from me.  She lived with her grandparents in this sweet little home on a few acres.  I remember playing together in her beautiful room with a huge canopy bed.  It wasn't my style, but it totally fit her!  

She was so very sweet and a lot of fun!  We'd play dolls, draw together, and play outside.  We were inseparable in school - always sat next to each other and always found stuff to do together on the playground.  

In November of 1977, my parents finished building our home which was nearly 4 hours away.  The next summer, 1978, I was 9 years old and went on a trip with Tammy and her grandparents down South to Tennessee.  It was a great time!  It seemed though that after that time, we stopped writing as much and, sadly, eventually lost touch.  

I still have photos of her (found one!!) and wonder what ever happened to her.  Did she get married?  Have children?  

My Childhood Room

Ah yes, my room!  It was blue, all blue, with beautiful ruffled curtains that my Momma made me.  I had one painting hung on the wall (that my Momma painted).  I had a double size bed covered with a beautiful white chenille bedspread.  My first desk was a simple green tabletop with metal legs.  I loved that desk!  I think my parents still have it in their basement.  

My next desk, later in high school, was one that my Momma's daddy had built - very sturdy and a deep dark brown color.  I had my typewriter on it and would sit there to do my homework.  My fondest memory of using that desk was when I had a research paper due my senior year.  I spent countless hours at that desk poring through books to find information and then typing it out with that ole' typewriter.  My goodness, am I ever thankful now for Microsoft Word!  Can't tell you how much white out and correction tape I went through!  

My room was my haven, my refuge.  I had everything I needed in there to curl up with a good book, listen to music, and just spend time doing whatever I liked.  

Right outside my window was a dogwood tree that my Daddy planted for me when we first moved there.  It was then and still is now my favorite flowering tree.  In the spring, I would wake up to hear the birds singing and see the gorgeous blooms right outside.  It was my first view of the day...what a blessing!  

My husband and girls and I sleep in that very room whenever we visit my parents.  I feel so blessed to still be able to visit the home where I grew up.

The Senior Trip 

What bright person ever came up with the idea of sending several hundred seniors out into Cedar Point without chaperones?  When I think about that  Yes, we were seniors, but my, my.  

As a chaperone, I can't imagine the stress of making sure that each and every one of us got back onto the buses at the end of the day!  There weren't cell phones back then, so it was definitely the honor system - that you would show up when you were asked to do so!  

We had a blast, my friends and I, but I still marvel at the fact that we were let loose in a huge amusement park, even at that age.  We rode the rides, ate entirely too much cotton candy, took goofy photos, and made memories laughing together.  It was fantastic!  

 Diana, Julia, Me, Missy, Lorna

Will I let my girls go on a trip like that?  Hmmm...well, admittedly I'm one of those moms who will likely be a chaperone!  (shhh...don't tell my girls yet).  

So that's my 'lil trip down memory lane.

All my best to you!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Crazy Busy Week!

It was a crazy busy week (last week) around here! 

There is much going on in our home and and some exciting online changes coming too!

I just finished up with our homeschool co-op curriculum sale today.  It is always a great time of looking at curriculum and fellowship with other like-minded moms.  I confess though, I did take a nap when we got home!

We also finished painting the kitchen and dining room a day or so ago.  Love, love the results!  We did two shades of green on the walls and it turned out exactly like I envisioned it looking in my head. 

We realized the other day that our kitchen and dining room are not the only green rooms in the house.  Our master bedroom, sunroom and hall bath are also green!  

One of our friends joked, "hey, does this mean you are going green?"   I guess is does!  All I know is that the color green makes me happy!  Another friend of ours mentioned that green is a sign of intelligence...ok, we will take it! (smile)

Ok, so exciting new changes...

My blog will soon be moved over to Word Press!  And, thanks to Lori at Web Midwife, I will also have a brand new design!  She is amazingly talented and very easy to work with.  If you are looking for a new design or simply need help with your blog elements, be sure to visit her site and contact her.  

I am also very excited to be part of a new adventure with my friend Denise.  You may already know her as The Cottage Chick.  She is now in the process of presenting a new blog called Denise in Bloom.  You can read more about it here.  Denise is a fantastic mom, writer, friend, blogger and website owner and I am proud to be a writer for her new blog!  

So, we are looking to the future with high hopes...and great anticipation.  It is going to be a lot of fun!

This week...two meetings the first two days of the week, my Mom is coming to visit, my parents are coming for the recital, and the flowers will hopefully go into the flowerbeds with my Mom helping me.  No worries!  It will somehow all get done...right?

Until next time...hopefully it will not be so long next time in between posts...

All my best to you!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Goodie Bags - Last Day of Class

This year I had the privilege of helping my friend Gail teach a class at our homeschool cooperative.  We taught 8th graders and up - what a terrific bunch of people!  

We taught financial principles that we know will benefit them when they get out into the world.  They learned about budgets, tithing, getting an apartment, family life, resumes and interviewing.  

They all did great with their mock interviews too!  Several of our moms graciously agreed to 'interview' our students so they had an idea of what it would be like to answer questions about their resume and their skills.

Their projects for the year involved taking the skills they had learned throughout the year and putting it all into a presentation.  Each student was given a budget - a honeymoon budget for the boys and a wedding budget for the girls.  Their presentations were excellent and everyone stayed within budget!

For our last day of class, Gail and I wanted to show the students that we appreciate them and their enthusiastic participation in the class, so we made up goodie bags for them.  It was a bit of a challenge to find small items that we thought teens would like, so we kept it simple.  

These goodie bags are really easy to put together and could be used for students or even birthday party treat bags.

What's Inside the Goodie Bags
  • Peppermint Patties
  • Mini chocolate bars
  • Two pencils
  • Dum-Dum lollipops 
  • 3 homemade chocolate chip cookies
I had purchased treat bags with the intention of placing everything into one bag, but the treat bags had a narrow mouth.  I simply placed the candy and pencils into the purchased treat bag and then put the cookies into a sandwich bag.  Tying the two together with twistie ties worked out perfectly.  

To dress up each bag a bit, I tied organza ribbon (love, love that stuff!) around each one along with each students' name printed out on cardstock.  

Upon receiving the goodie bag, one of the students said, "you're a really nice lady!"  How sweet! 

It was such a pleasure teaching the 8th grade and up students this year!  The goodie bags were just a small way of saying "thank you" to them.  

Anything at all could go into these goodie bags, so use your imagination and have fun with it!

Do you do something special for your students at the end of the year? 

Linking up with Amy for Anti-Procrastination Tuesday over at New Nostalgia!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Coffee Is...

Coffee is...

Love at 1st sight

 Giving you energy too...

Giving you a break from life

 and most important..keeps Mom happy!

 How do you like my (eldest) daughter's thoughts on coffee?  I love them!  

She did this for my website, but I had to sell the site, so I wanted to post it here to honor her beautiful creativity.  

Hope you are enjoying some delicious coffee yourself this morning!

All my best to you,

Monday, April 18, 2011

It's Working! So Far...

I don't know about you, but I have tried every tried and true technique I know or have read about to get my girls out the door on time.  We go over the next day's schedule the night before.  In the morning,  we talk about the way the day needs to go in order to get out the door on time.  

I let them know about an hour ahead of time that we are going to have to leave and that they need to have "teeth, hair, shoes" done by a certain time.  Another "heads up" comes 15 minutes before we have to walk out the door.  It's like pulling teeth to get them out the door when we need to be somewhere!  

My husband often (gently) tells me I have set my expectations too high for our girls and that I desire too much from them too soon in their lives.  I believe that...sometimes.  But now that our sweet daughters are 8 and 11, almost 9 and 12, I don't think getting out the door in a state that doesn't resemble just getting out of bed is all that much to ask.  (Am I alone here??)

Mind you, I realize that I am the only Type A personality in my family and I know that I'm a bit of an overachiever sometimes, but my goodness...

Ok, so one day last week I had had enough.  That's putting it lightly I'm afraid.  It was a crazy busy day for me and I was trying to meet a deadline and by late afternoon, we had to go to an appointment.  So, like usual, I let them know an hour ahead that we were going to be leaving the house.  Forty-five minutes later, do you want to know where I found my youngest?

She was lying on her stomach, feet in the air, munching a cookie, and reading a book very happily.  So, I say to her, "we have to leave in 15 minutes - have you brushed your teeth and hair?"  (I knew the answer already, but I have to ask, right?)  She of course, had not, and didn't seem in any hurry to do so.  Ten minutes later, she was still in the same place!

Ok, fast forward...we are in the van, we're going to be late for the appointment, and I'm not exactly in the greatest of moods.  

Now, I am going to preface these next statements with this:  our girls don't have cell phones, hand-held electronic games, or the like, so when it comes to taking a privilege away from them, it can be somewhat of a challenge.

However, they do receive 30 minutes of computer time per day.  So....

I explained (calmly) to them that day in the van that starting the following day, a new "rule" was in effect.  

For every minute they are late getting out the door, they will lose 10 minutes of their computer time.  (Gasp!)  So, if they are 3 minutes late getting out the door, they lose all of their computer time for that day.

Yes, I know, some of you are saying in your mind, "isn't that a little harsh when they only get 30 minutes anyway?"  It may seem that way, but let me say this...I am at the point where I believe the consequences have to be enough to motivate them.  

Guess what?  The next several days when we had to be somewhere at a specific time, they were ready early Whoopee!!  (Ok, I never say that, but it expresses my elation!)

It's far...

What techniques do you use to get your children out the door on time?

All my best to you!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Some Link Love...

Good Sunday Morning!

This is a simple post where I give some "link love" to some of my favorite blog posts this week.
Hope you enjoy!

Shag Pillow @ V & Co. - the cutest ever shag pillow!  Great for any room of the house.  I'm going to make a few of these for my girls' bedrooms.

Quilted Potholders @ Chocolate Covered Chaos - who doesn't need an extra set of cute potholders?  Her binding technique is ever so easy!

Easy Spring Decorating Ideas @ The Cottage Chick - brighten up every room of your home with these easy quick ideas from Denise.

My Rather Imperfect Home @ To Love, Honor and Vacuum - a great reminder about what is truly important and how to achieve some balance.  

And a few great websites I rediscovered over the weekend.  

Canning season is quickly approaching!  Great tips for canning just about anything you might think of to put into a jar.

What a great concept!  I'm in the process of reading more about this technique of saving and storing food.

Hope you have a blessed Sunday!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Spring Projects and Wish List

My hubby is a tax man, so from January to mid April, he is crazy busy at work.  However, after tax season is over, we always begin our spring projects.  

We always seem to have a running list of things we want to paint, stain, change out, pitch, or re-vamp around here.  Since we've lived here for going on 14 years now, I guess that's understandable...right?

Our first major spring project will be to paint the fence beside the driveway, the eaves of the house, and the fence in front of the house.  The photos will help you see why we want to spruce things up a bit!

No, the shed isn't ours (sadly), but the sad looking fence is ours.  We painted it several years ago, but as you can see, time has taken its toll on it and it could use a real pick-me-up.  We have a brick home, so we're looking at colors that would compliment the colors that are in the brick.  

Who knew how hard it would be to choose a paint color?  Thankfully, we have Lisa, my sister-in-law, who has an amazing eye for color and interior (and exterior) design.  She helped us choose two paint colors that we'll use on the fences, around the windows of the house, and on the eaves.

For the indoor spring projects, I'm ready for a "new" kitchen and dining room look.  I love, love my fruit stencil, so I am going to keep that I think.  

The paint colors that Lisa chose are two different shades of green.  She suggested that the two end walls could be the darker shade and the side walls could be the lighter shade.  That way, the kitchen wouldn't feel closed in and yet, the two different shades would add some dimension and visual interest.  I love the idea!

Yes, this is our kitchen and dining room.  It's not huge, but it's a good size for us.  The curtains would probably still work in here, but I'm not sure I'm going to keep them.  Knowing me, I'll find some terrific fabric and want to make new valances.  

We did get a new range and I love it!  Behind the range though is chipped paint because of the heat generated back there.  I am hoping to get some stainless steel panels to put behind the stove to protect the wall and to put recipes up there while I'm cooking.   I see a visit to IKEA in my future.

See the fall-themed display behind the dining room table?  I love that a lot, but want to figure out how to switch it up a bit for the seasons without too much fuss.  I don't have a lot of storage other than the attic, so it would have to be something simple.  Still working on that idea...

Ok, this chandelier in our dining room...I have wanted to change it since we moved in!  But, as many of you know, life gets in the way and there is always something else that demands your money and attention.  Changing this out is on my wish list! 

Our outdoor light fixtures have seen better days.  I'd love to get some brushed nickel ones!  Another thing to add my wish list!

What spring projects do you have on tap?  

Do you have a wish list started?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Black and White Brownies with Pecans

Good Morning!  

It's definitely spring in Ohio - 80 degrees and windows open one day and 60 degrees and rain the next.  

I love rainy days though - they give us a good excuse to bake!  

These brownies were inspired by a recipe I found in a cookbook at the library called Budget Meals Cookbooks.  I changed it a bit and re-wrote the instructions because I found the original ones a bit "out of step" if you will.  

I hope you like these decadent, delicious, not-so-fat-free chocolate brownies!

Black and White Brownies with Pecans

Ingredients for the Brownies
  • 1 19-ounce package of your favorite fudge brownie mix
  • 1 10 to 12-ounce package of white baking pieces - I used Ghirardelli white chocolate chips
  • 1 6-ounce package semisweet chocolate pieces - I used what I had on hand, which was Bakers Semisweet Chocolate (6 ounces equate to approximately 1 cup)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Grease the bottom of 13x9x2-inch baking pan and set this aside.

Mix up the brownie mix according to the directions on the box.  

Stir in all of the white baking chips and 1/2 of the semisweet chocolate baking pieces or chips.  It will be a thick batter.  You will use the other 1/2 cup of the semisweet chocolate pieces on top of the frosted brownies.

Spread the batter into your prepared pan.

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 1/2 hour or until you can see that the center is set.  Remove from the oven and cool on wire rack.

Ingredients for the Frosting
  • 1/4 cup butter (not margarine), melted
  • 3 Tablespoons hot water
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup pecan pieces
For the topping or frosting of the brownies, begin by mixing together the melted butter and hot water in a medium size bowl.  

Once that is mixed well, add the powdered sugar and mix again.  Next, add the unsweetened cocoa powder and then the vanilla.  Mix together until the frosting has a smooth consistency.

Spread the frosting over the brownies (completely cooled brownies).  

Sprinkle the top with the remaining 1/2 cup of semisweet chocolate pieces and pecan pieces.  

Because I used the Bakers Semisweet Chocolate Squares, I had to break them up using a knife before using them in this recipe.  You could easily use chocolate chips too.

Once the frosting is completely cooled, cut the brownies into bars.

They're oh-so-chocolatey and rich!  

Serve with ice cream if you like. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Do You Need Some Sabbath?

  That empty bench under the shade tree is calling my name...

It's a question that has been on my mind and heart ever since our music pastor asked in choir practice, "Does anyone need some Sabbath?"  Of course, when he asked that question, my hand shot up right away.  I thought later that if I was being really transparent, both of my hands should have gone into the air.  Maybe I should have just stood up!

Of course, just this last Wednesday, he walked past me in the lobby when I was talking to a friend of mine and caught me yawning and said, "you need some Sabbath!".  Don't I know it...

So, I've been thinking on this a lot...and realistically, I know (and you know) that life isn't structured to have time to truly rest every day, so we have to create or schedule the time.  If your days are anything like mine, they're filled with responsibilities, to-do lists, and errands.  There is always something to do!  

I confess that on Sundays, I do take a nap after church and lunch.  My family has been so gracious to give me that quiet time so I can re-group for another busy week.  I've found that my body is programmed now to expect it and sometimes I am falling asleep at the table! 

I've been thinking can I get some semblance of Sabbath during the week?  Is it even possible?  I think it is.  I'm referring to times other than your devotional and prayer time (although that works well too!).

I know life is busy and it carries me away nearly every day with everything I need to accomplish, so I'm trying to be realistic in my expectations.

What do you think about these ideas for taking some Sabbath, rest, time during your week? 
  • Sitting on the patio and listening to the birds sing
  • Reading a good book for 30 minutes
  • 20-minute nap
  • Sipping your favorite beverage without doing anything else at the same time
  • A nice hot shower 
  • Going to the library or bookstore just to browse 
  • Coffee with a friend
  • Sitting on the front porch and watching the people go by
  • Playing a game with your children
  • Listening to great classical music 
  • Watching a 1/2 hour show 
These are things that appeal to me, but I'm sure there are many others you ladies could come up with...would you be willing to share? 

I'd love to hear how you incorporate some rest/quiet time into your week.

All my best to you today,

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

You Know It's Spring When...

It seems that spring has sprung here in Ohio!  Now, I know we're headed for some cold weather in the next week or so, but there have been clear evidences this past week that spring is's just going to hide for a bit for the next few days.  

You know spring has arrived when...

The rhubarb is beginning to make it's way through the soil - I can taste the pie already...

The daffodils promise to come forth with color...soon...

Spring projects have begun!  This was once our sandbox complete with four railroad ties around the perimeter and filled with sand.  Our girls no longer really use the sandbox (sniff, sniff), so we decided to use the sand underneath the pool this year and turn this area into grass.  We moved the railroad ties across the yard to use them for holding firewood up off the ground.  Creative, 'eh? 

Birds are singing and are out and about

What else?

Hot rods and classic cars are cruisin' and rumblin' down the street looking all shiny!

Windows are open in the house and the spring air smells wonderful!

We saw three robins the other day.

My girls are outside as soon as they are done with their school work.

My husband has spring fever and wants to get things done in the yard and the house (YEAH!)
I can smell the dirt when it rains and envision flowers in the flower bed (call me crazy, but I love how the scents of spring waft through the air after it rains!)

We see more people walking their dogs and just walking the neighborhood.

We've talked to our neighbors for the first time in months!  We all seem to hibernate during the winter months.

Easter is coming!  I'm so thankful we celebrate the Lord's resurrection each year.  It's a good reminder to me of what He did on the cross for me, even though I do think of it throughout the year too.  It's a blessed time of family coming together.  The worship services and praise music on that weekend especially make my heart sing with joy!

I hope you are enjoying these precious few days of spring...rain or shine.  We will be enduring the unbearably hot weather again very soon and be stuck back in the house with the AC running full blast before we know it (at least I will, I don't handle high humidity gracefully I'm afraid).

All my best to you today,

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Shopping Challenges

Last Sunday, our oldest daughter Julie came to me and asked me to help her pick something out to wear to church.  I quickly realized after perusing her closet, she truly had nothing "church-like" to wear!  Don't get me wrong, we wear jeans to church sometimes and it's totally fine (in my humble opinion) to do so, but we gals like to get dressed up now and then too.  I told Julie right then we were going shopping that afternoon for church-worthy clothes and of course, she was thrilled!

Little did we know what we would face when it came to the selection for girls her age/height/weight!  She is 11 years old, is in the 90th percentile for height, and is very slim.  She dresses modestly as well, so we were simply hoping to find a few things for her to mix/match that would be appropriate for spring and possibly transition into summer.  The list included:  camisoles (love those for layering), dress shoes, skirts, tops, and a belt.  Not an impossible list, right?

Our first stop was Once Upon a Child, a consignment shop that offers some very nice quality clothing at a fraction of the cost we would pay at most retail stores.  We found one beautiful chocolate brown skirt (still had the tags!) for about $5.50.  Next stop - the mall.  We hit Macy's first.  Oh my...there was absolutely nothing other than one really cute jacket, but it was nearly $35 and I wasn't sure how long she would actually be able to wear it, so we passed on it.  Elder Beerman had absolutely nothing to offer her age other than frilly or casual wear.

JcPenney and Sears were very slim pickings too!  We found one top for her at Sears for $6.00 (on clearance) and then at JcPenney we did find a very pretty top and dress slacks.  Justice was on our route too for camisoles.  These are a great little addition to any wardrobe because they can be layered in so many ways.  Julie surprisingly found a beautiful plaid/flowered shirt she liked there too.  Luckily, I had a 40% off coupon, so the total was very reasonable.  Payless Shoes was our last stop and we did find adorable slip on shoes for a whopping $7.00.  All in all, I think we spent just under $80 for everything, which was more than I wanted to spend, but considering what we got, it was relatively reasonable.  

But, ladies, here are my thoughts on clothes for girls size 14/16.  Most of what we saw for her size was either very "little girl" looking or it looked like something I would never let her wear (and she wouldn't want to wear).  Where did the cute blouses go?  What about cute little jackets that could be a great addition to spring and fall outfits?  It seemed like the styles went from very casual to very dressy, with nothing in between!  It was very frustrating and disappointing at times to walk into the section for her size and then look around and say, "is this it?"  

The other thing we both noted was that the color seems to be gone from clothes for her age too.  The pieces we found for her were black, white, and shades of brown.  Every girls needs their neutral pieces, yes, but where is all the color??  Just curious what your thoughts might be on that topic?

The one store we didn't make it to was Kohl's.  We need to visit there at some point soon, but we are overall very surprised and disappointed at the choices available for girls size 14/16 in the major department stores. 

Boy, if someone had the talent for designing, I'd say that's a niche that's wide open!  

Where do you shop for your girls?  Where have you had success?  I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic!

All my best to you today!

Saturday Spotlight at Frugal & Focused - Thank You!

I'm honored today to be featured at Janet's beautiful blog,  Frugal and Focused.  Janet has a beautifully sweet spirit and it shines through her blog every time she writes.  I've thoroughly enjoyed meeting her via blog land and enjoy reading her posts too!  Thank you kindly Janet for featuring Busy 'Lil  Homemaker today!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award

Marie at Chocolate Covered Chaos graciously nominated my blog for the Stylish Blogger Award last week.  I am honored!  Thank you Marie!  

She is such a sweet and kind person - you must visit her blog!  She shares excellent recipes, homeschooling and field trip adventures, and just all around wonderful things about her life and family.

There are some rules with accepting this award.
1. Thank and link back to the person giving you this award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Pass this award on to other bloggers you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic!
4. Contact these bloggers, and tell them about the award.

7 Things About Me
  • I would love to live in the country...with a dirt road leading me to my driveway
  • I think walking on the treadmill is boring - but necessary
  • Love my family very much!  Love Jesus more!
  • I'm an excellent wallflower 
  • I often wonder if today is the day I might get it together...just once
  • My favorite times of the year are spring and fall - no sweat months!
  • I'm constantly juggling my time, my passions, and my commitments
 Trying to figure out which blogs I wanted to nominate was really tough!  But here are my picks:

Do take the time to visit these gals and their blogs!  They all have something special to offer and I am sure you will enjoy them!  

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Chocolate Recipes and Coffee Recipes - Yum!

Who doesn't love chocolate?  I know I do!  And I must confess to truly enjoying a cup of coffee too.  I am especially fond of the flavored coffees available now too, but do not like paying $4 to $5 for the privilege of drinking one!  I'm always looking for inexpensive ways to enjoy my flavored coffee and stay within my budget.  

Perhaps you'll find these recipes to be a help to your budget too.  

I've been very busy working on my website, Chocolate and Coffee Recipes.  I've added several new recipes over the last few days that I'd love to share with you.  I'd love to know if you try any of them - please leave me a comment or contact me through my blog!

Chocolate Recipes


Coffee Recipes

And, if you've ever wondered about which baking cocoa you should use for a recipe, I hope you'll check out my easy tip for remembering which one is best.

All my best to you today!


Friday, February 18, 2011

No Difference...

So Julie (11-year-old daughter) and I head out to the grocery last night.  Heather had a sore throat all day, so she happily stayed home with Daddy to snuggle in the recliner and go over her Awana verses. 

Julie and I are in the van, just approaching Meijer when we had this short conversation...

Me:  Julie, I didn't put on any makeup other than mascara tonight...

Julie:  It's okay Mommy, I don't mind...

Me:  Well, I'm just letting you know I didn't get all "done up" to come to the grocery...

Julie:  It's really ok  Mommy.  There's no difference at all when you don't wear makeup - really, I don't notice at all!

Me:  Oh, really?

Julie:  Really Mommy, I don't.

Me:  (under my breath)  Oh boy...

Of course I'm thinking, great, I look this bad all the time even when I try??

Then the next thought...knowing our Julie the way I do, she wasn't being mean when she said that to me.  She was trying to be complimentary.  In her mind, Mommy looks beautiful no matter what (at least that is what she has told me many times).  Hmmm...I wish I had her perspective

I thought more about that conversation through the evening hours and it occurred to me that I need to present my best self when I can, but I also know that there will be times when that just doesn't happen.  And...that's ok.  My daughters need to know that it's ok if you don't dress to the nines and put on your best outfit just to go to the grocery store.  I never want my girls to think they are "less" of a person just because they chose to put their hair up in a ponytail and skip the makeup.  (No, they're not wearing makeup yet!) 

I want them to see what I see...what the Lord sees...when they look into the mirror.  That's going to be tough for me to teach them given that I struggle mightily with what I see in the mirror each day.  But, it's my heart that they see themselves as beautiful, talented, compassionate, loving people and I'm committed to helping them realize that through God's Word and through our words. 

The Lord has been 'talking' to me through the Bible study I'm in now.  It deals with the state of the heart.  My goodness, I knew I needed a billboard, but this study really is showing me how much I need to allow the Lord into my heart of hearts.  My girls and their heart character are part of what He is showing me too.  I am trying to listen!

Enough rambling for today....

All my best to you,

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A 'Lil of This and A 'Lil of That & A Recipe

Greetings from ice and snow covered Ohio!  We've been experiencing one of the worst snow storms since the 1950s - at least that's what the morning news folks said today.  I know we are not getting anything compared to Chicago!  Sure hope those folks were prepared and are staying safe.

It's been a while since I've written, so I thought I'd just share a few things that are going on here for us as of late.  Just a 'lil of this and a 'lil of that...

One of the biggest changes we made happened just today.  We made some changes as to the direction of education for our oldest daughter.  We'll see how it works out.  We've needed to make a change of sorts for a bit, and we hope this will be the answer.  If not, we will look at something else.

I started a Bible study a few weeks ago.  I haven't participated in a Bible study where a bunch of gals meet for a very long time.  I was sitting in service one of the weeks they announced it (the deadline to sign up was that Sunday) and I felt the weight of the Holy Spirit on my shoulders I walked back and signed up!  I have learned enough in my Christian walk to know that if I don't listen to Him, I am going to miss out on something He has for me.  I'm excited about the study - it's Beth Moore's study called David:  Seeking a Heart Like His.  I've only been to the introduction meeting, but it was great!  I've never been through a Beth Moore study before, so this should prove to be interesting.  I feel in my heart that the Lord is going to do something great in me through the study.  Between you, me, and the Lord, I'm a bit scared!  It's not easy allowing the Lord to chip away at the walls of your least it isn't for me!  And yet, I am anticipating, with excitement along with a bit of fear, what He will do in these next weeks.  I'll let you know how it goes.

We've discovered Boboli pizza crusts - yum!  I know they aren't the healthiest in the world, but I figure they're at least marginally better than the ones we buy from our local pizza place.  They're really quite good with cheese, pepperoni, and some veggies!

For those of you who don't know, I was adopted when I was 10 days old.  I lived a blessed life with my parents and brother and love them very much!  About 7 years ago, the Lord allowed my birth mom and family to locate me.  I have been blessed ever since with their love and friendship in my life!  There's a lot more to that story, but that will have to wait until another time. But, that leads in to what happened over the weekend.

I was chatting with my (birth) Mom, Chris, and she I were discussing how interesting it would have been for me to meet my paternal grandmother (mother of my birth father).  The little I knew about my grandmother was that she was from England and had never lost her beautiful accent.  She had a sweet spirit and Chris said she always had a good relationship with her.  As I ended the conversation and got off of the phone with Mom, I decided to see if I could find her online.  What I found was her obituary...and surprisingly (to me) it made me somewhat sad.  She was a beautiful woman with classic tastes.  I would have loved talking to her I think!  Her obituary can be found here:  Tribute to Mrs. Joan Ada Anzelmo.  My husband says he sees the resemblance when he looks at her eyes.  Do you see any resemblance? 

I share this because I feel it's a gift from God to me.  He obviously saw fit for me to find her online and have yet another piece of my history puzzle put in place for me.  The doors to that side of the family have consistently been closed, so I am convinced that the Lord is protecting me from something.  For whatever reason, He has not allowed any of those relationships to enter into my life.  I am resting in that and joyful that the Lord would give me this glimpse into who my paternal grandmother was when she was on this earth.

Ok, I mentioned a recipe in the title, didn't I?  We tried this dish only last week and found it to be tender and delicious.  You'll especially like it if you enjoy a bit of citrus flavor in your meats/sauces!  I served it over brown rice.  

Honey Roasted Pork Loin
2 lbs pork loin  
to taste salt and pepper
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 cup chicken broth

Prep Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 55 mins

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Season the pork and place in a roasting pan.

In a separate bowl, mix together the honey, juice, oil and thyme.

Pour over the pork.

Add the broth to the pan.

Bake until internal temperature reaches 150 (45-60 minutes).

Baste frequently.  (I basted every fifteen minutes.)
Strain the pan juices into a saucepan.

Reduce until slightly thickened.

Serve over the sliced pork.

Recipe Resource:

All my best to you!