Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What's For Dinner?

I am really excited to share my next 2-week menu with you! I have been trying to do two weeks at a time because it usually saves me some money and an extra trip to the store.

A lot of the recipes I am making for this week and next were chosen based on the cooking method. I am the new owner of this beauty:

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas is Over...

We are entering a new season. While it does give you a fresh opportunity to kick a bad habit, resolve an issue, discover a new hobby or make some changes in your life, it always seems to take my joy.

Monday, December 19, 2011

What's for Dinner?

Here is what i've been cooking lately....

Chicken Tortellini Skillet Recipe
Photo from Taste of Home

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Felt Flowers

I had a wonderful time crafting with a dear friend of mine today. Check out what we worked on...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Christmas Quilt (that won't be done by Christmas unless I boogie)

Craftiness is not Optional is such an inspiring blog! A few months ago, I found this beautiful quilt there that I just had to duplicate for myself.

Photo from Craftiness is not Optional

Friday, December 9, 2011

McCalls 6049

My two favorite little girls, who just happen to be my first cousins babies, are all geared up to make Christmas cookies this year.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Good Read

I like to read. But it makes me sleepy. It's a true dilemma.

I enjoy novels, but my heart is in "self help" books. The majority of books in my small library are written to help folks like me raise children (who nap), pray for their husbands, become fearless, be a better friend, walk closer to God, live with purpose and save money like the Amish.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Organizing my Canning Lids

I have canning lids EVERYWHERE in my pantry. Sick to death of just piling them on a random shelf, I enlisted the help of hubbs to install this beautiful solution:

Saturday, December 3, 2011

What's for Dinner?

This week we have been enjoying..... (drum roll please)

Poor Man Steak (white Mennonite cookbook)
Green Bean Casserole
Peach Crisp Delight  (too much brown sugar for me)

Photo by Taste of Home

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Dinner and a Good Read

So, it has been a long time. I can only blog when Oliver is sleeping, and that has been an issue for the past while. Up until a few weeks ago, when I laid Oliver down to sleep, he might cry for 5 minutes before falling asleep. Now, he cries for thirty or more minutes, before falling asleep or making me crack under the pressure and rescuing him from, what he sees as an awful ordeal.

When I don't know how to deal with situations, like parenting for example, I turn to books. I rely on the wisdom given to Christian folks to help me through. One of my favorite authors and speaker is Dr. Kevin Lehman. His book First-Time Mom: Getting off on the Right Foot from Birth to First Grade has been a wonderful resource!

Friday, October 28, 2011

What's For Dinner?

It's Cold.  And I love it!
I have a Cold. And I hate it. Tomorrow I may just sleep all day. .... Ok, who am I kidding? I don't see that happening anytime soon.

Tomorrow is going to be cold and rainy all day. And I'm making this:

Photo from

Slow Cooker North Woods Wild Rice Soup

Monday, October 17, 2011

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Project #7

I know. I know. It takes me 10 years to complete a project. Some of my blogger "friends" can whip things up in an afternoon, but I will dabble here and there when I have a few free moments.

Here is Simplicity 2461

Monday, October 10, 2011

DIY Project and a Sales Pitch

*** After trying this soap, I do not recommend it. I tried it for a few months, using different d/w settings, and always had the same problem - it leaves "specks" all over the dishes and they don't feel clean to the touch. Thoroughly disappointed, I resorted back to my previous d/w detergent. If you find another that works great, please let me know! ***

I warned you. Homemade dishwasher detergent is here!

Here's what you need:

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

DIY Project and some Dinner

So I've been scaling the web for DIY projects. (If you haven't yet joined the "I'm addicted to Pinterest" club yet, please consider joining. It's incredible) While on Pinterest, I found this great DIY project for my Bath and Body scented plug-in.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Laundry Detergent and Diligence

*** I have been using this soap for months now and absolutely love it! ***

First off, I am so excited to write today's post! In an effort to save some mulah ($$$$), I made my own laundry detergent this morning :) Check it out...

I got all these ingredients from Wal-Mart for a total of $19.97! Here's what you will need:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Project #6 and What's for Dinner?

So, it's Wednesday morning - 10:28. Muffin is fast asleep. And I'm hungry. How is your morning?

Oliver had his 12 month vaccinations on Friday morning (4 in his chubby thighs) and he broke out in hives. They are terrible looking. (google them for a glimpse of disturbing images). So we rushed him to a walk-in clinic and they put him on steroids. After picking up the prescription, I scanned the side affects section anxiously looking at how this would affect his sleeping patterns. (by the way - I can never remember when to use effect/affect) When a prescription bottle for a young babe reads "may cause difficulty sleeping", I suddenly become very anxious at how this will affect (or effect) the next 10 days. Not that every mother looks for "may cause drowsiness" on the label.......  Although, sleeping may help Oliver relax a bit more, since he has been very irritable since his shots.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Happy Birthday Oliver

Our Oliver is 1.

When I had Oliver, many people told me to enjoy each moment because they will fly by. They were correct, for the most part. When I look back over the past year, this time went by very fast; however, there were many days (even months) that seemed to creep along at a snails pace. Why is it that the hardest and most frustrating days seem the longest and the best days are the shortest? I want to change that. 

We had a wonderful party with family to celebrate Oliver's special day!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Project #5 - Child's Gathered Apron

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am making a few items for the Greenwood Yard and Flea Sale happpening Saturday, September 3rd. I just completed my first project, a Child's Gathered Apron - Check out the tutorial I used HERE. I'm thinking about adding either a pocket or some buttons to add some character. I may even make some matching oven mitts with the leftover material.

I love this picture hubbs took of muffin and I :)

And this one too!

My craft room for the past couple months has been my 'formal' dining room table. My husband wants to start finishing off our bonus room, and I have great dreams of making it our office/my craft room. I'm thinking baby blue, white wainscoting, black/white accents... I'm pretty excited!

Meanwhile, as I write this, Oliver is screaming because I put him down for a nap. Ever since we started our napping routine back at 4 months old, Oliver cries every time I lay him down for a nap. I only assumed that he would naturally take his naps for several hours, but whoa was I wrong! It is not unusual for him to only sleep 2 1/2 hours during the day... all day....He's miserable. I'm miserable. The house is miserable because it's constant beg to be cleaned, is going unheard.

We have tried everything. Covering the window, noise makers, praying over his room, the list goes on. But Oliver continues to cry.... Poor little guy :(

Ok so I wrote the above at 1:00. Oliver finally dozed off at 1:15. It is now 1:52, and he is awake and crying... what should this momma do? Finding my chocolate stash is first on the list....

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Coop, Dinner and a Muffin

We have been experiencing cooler weather (65 degree mornings and 85 degree afternoons - shew!) and how better to celebrate than to make a casserole! Next week i'm having this:

Chicken Florentine Bow Tie Pasta

If you have not visited picky-palate, do it now. You'll thank me later. She has such a lovely "palate" of family friendly dishes!

My husband has been working feverishly on our chicken coop the past few months, and we finally have moved it to its permanent home in our front yard. No hens yet - but hopefully soon!

I stumbled on a new store in our area and have fallen in love. When we walked in, hubby said "this is big. You have until Oliver gets cranky." The Hobby Lobby is a beautiful display of anything crafty, decorative and anything else a girl needs! I got this fabric there and am using it to make these Pillowcase Dresses to sell at the Greenwood Yard and Flea Sale in September. I think I also will put together a few little girl aprons!

Muffin is growing so fast. He is starting to cruise, and his motor skills are developing more and more.
Have a super week!

Friday, August 5, 2011

What's For Dinner?

Last night was glorious! I donned some jeans, and Oliver and I went to watch Ryan clean up the garden. Yes, I watched :) I am not a vegetable gardening person, and the last thing I want to do is get down in the dirt with all those stink bugs and frogs... bleh!

Despite seeing all the stink bugs, we had an enjoyable evening outside chit-chatting. We also decided that we really need a fire ring. Our ideal resolution would be to ride on up to East Back Mountain Road and steal some Pennsylvania rocks from our favorite PA people :) Stay tuned....

Well, here is what we're having for dinner next week:

Feta Sun Dried Tomato Turkey Burger Sliders
Photo by picky-palate

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

some GREAT reads

I love trips to the library. Today I came home with a bundle of goodies and a 16 inch receipt :) From Better Homes and Gardens to Birds and Blooms, I became inspired to liven up my deck and my furry little friends feeders. But one magazine in particular grabbed my attention. I was inspired by every project and excited to see how easy they were to duplicate.

You will love this magazine - I promise (if you're like me, that is :))

Monday, July 18, 2011

Project #4

I am excited to finally show you my project #4! Although this project should only take a few hours to complete, it took me about two weeks (a few minutes here and there).

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Project #3

I've been working on this project for quite a bit. I made a few mistakes and had to remove some stitches and start all over....
I just love this gray fabric

Sunday, June 12, 2011

What's For Dinner?

So what's for dinner this week? When I ask my hardworking husband what he wants for supper each week, I always get the same answer... "I don't care". It's when we actually sit down to dinner that he gives me his preferences, and his preference during the hot summertime is light dinners. So, not wanting to make dinners that are light on flavor or on fat and needing to fill the hardworking boy up, I have searched my favorite food blogs for ideas. Here is what the Swartzentrubers are having this week:

BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad

Photo - Picky Palate

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Project #2

So I finally finished project #2 - a cute market skirt for one of my favorite people :)

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Good Read

I borrowed this book from a friend about a year ago (kind of embarrassing) and finally decided that I need to read it and return it to her! It has completely captured me. I find it intriguing, encouraging, educational, alarming and challenging.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Oh Sweet Potatoes - You Have My Heart

Aside from my love of Jesus, my hubby and my muffin is my love of sweet potatoes! I am obsessed with them. I'm not sure if it is the rich, vibrant color, the sweet tangy flavor, the maple syrup I drown them in or the butter I bathe them in while baking. All I know is that when they melt in my mouth, I sing praises to God for creating this earthy vegetable! (p.s. they are going in our garden this year)

This brings me to a very curious question... What is the difference between sweet potatoes, yams and butternut squash? I think they are all the same... Any insight?

Next week, I am going to try grilling some sweet potatoes (or yams or butternut squash). I'm pretty stoked about it! I watched an episode of Chopped on my iPod this morning and their grilled sweet potatoes (or yams or butternut squash) looked amazing! I also want to try sweet potato fries sometime too.

Now don't these look amazing
Picture of Baked Sweet Potato Fries Recipe

Photo and recipe courtesy of The Food Network
Sweet Potato Fries

Looking for some sweet potato fries tonight? Head on over to the Georgia House Restaurant!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

What's For Dinner?

I seem to go on these spurts... For a whole week, I'll cook all new recipes. Then I'll wonder back to those good old favorites of mine. So for this week, I found all my new ideas from Semi-Homemade, Sandra Lee Magazine.

Beef Stew

So I haven't had beef stew since I lived at home. I never really liked it, but i'm giving it another chance....

Chicken in Mushroom-Wine Sauce
Mashed Potatoes
Green Beans

I will be using apple juice instead of red wine and boneless/skinless chicken thighs instead of bone-in.

Meatballs and Marinara

I will be making my own meatballs instead of the store bought. Meatball Recipe

I recently stumbled on these cute little things:
Picture of Little Lemon Meringue Pies Recipe
(photo courtesy of

I am going to try to make them for Easter with a standard pie crust instead of the crust used in the recipe.

Over and Out

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"Light" = Blah......

I was tricked! I recently checked out the Food Network magazine from the library and tried a new recipe. I didn't realize that it was "light" until after I made it. Boy did it make all the difference. I even tried to add fat into it late in the cooking process, but it was too late. What a disaster.... Check it out for yourselves! It looks tasty, but don't let it trick you too!

Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs

So, tonight for supper, I am learning from my experiences and cooking with butter, cheese, pasta and CREAM! Now that's what i'm talking about. You can't go wrong with that lineup! Here it is (photo taken by The Pioneer Woman)

Grilled Chicken with Lemon Basil Pasta


Although mine will be lacking the basil because it has vanished from the supermarkets. (I am growing it as we speak - more pictures on that later). And the chances of mine looking like the above, are slim....

Thank you CREAM for enriching my life - and my waistline!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Clean your Oven Day

Today is "clean your oven day" at our house! I dread this chore every year. In my mind, I have made it out to be this horrific, time consuming, dirty task that causes dread and anxiety to bubble up in me whenever something spills onto the oven floor.
Well - I finally got so tired of all the filth and grime and decided it was time! I cranked on the 'self clean' and let it do the work. After it ran its course and cooled down, I whipped out my 409 and a sponge and went to work. Surprisingly, seven minutes later I was finished! And here I wasted all that worry and dread on such a little, pitiful task....

So, my encouragement to you. Clean your oven TODAY. Don't think. Just do it!
You will feel better.

And throw away the sponge when you're done.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Elephant Ears

I have always wanted to try puff pastry, so when I stumbled on this recipe I jumped on it!

Start out with thawed puff pastry

Roll out into an 11-in. x 8-in. rectangle. Combine 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon and sprinkle over pastry.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Project #1

I am almost finished with my first sewing project and thanks to the help of my wonderful Mother, I have cute little kitchen curtains.

Monday, March 21, 2011

What a Hoot

Aren't these adorable!

I couldn't wait to make them! They are out of the Hello Cupcake cookbook. The eyes are mini Oreo's and mini M&M's. The beak is a yellow chocolate-covered sunflower seed.

Friday, March 18, 2011

My New Favorite Things

So here are three of my new favorite things:

Muffin (he will always be my #1 favorite :) right there with hubby)

My new moccasins from Ryan for my birthday

And finally these garlic cheddar biscuits

I like to add 1/8 t. of onion salt and parsley to the butter and garlic. Pure goodness!

Enjoy your Day!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I'm So Excited.....

Look at what I just got!!!!!!!!!!!

Guess what i'm making with them?? Stay tuned.... (Hint - 2 of them belong in the kitchen)

Meanwhile, here is a picture my muffin. What a cutie!

Sunday, February 20, 2011


I had some fun with my girlfriends this afternoon making cupcakes...

Butterflies by Beth

Mums by Maria

And I made baked cherry, blueberry and peach pies

What Fun!!

What's for dinner this week?

Hamloaf and Macaroni/cheese (granny style)
Baked beans/hotdogs
Sweet & Smoky Oven BBQ chicken (white Mennonite cookbook)

When my mom returns from her sewing retreat, we are going to get together so she can teach me some sewing basics. My first project is going to be The Market Skirt. I'm so excited to see how it goes! Now if I prove to have no sewing talent whatsoever, I may reconsider this new hobby and stick with cupcakes...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

What's For Dinner?

Today was baking day....

First, we made Sweet Potato Rolls.... rising

Mmmmm.... Nice and warm

Then we made chocolate cookies with PB frosting, courtesy of the tastykitchen blog

And lastly we made Valentine sugar cookies

I'm taking all three things to Small Groups tomorrow.

So what's for dinner this week?

Pork Roast - recipe courtesy of my Uncle Skeeter
Pork Roast, Granny Smith apples, garlic salt, onion salt, season-all, brown sugar and honey mustard all gathered together in my beautiful dutch oven baked on low for several hours.Served with baked sweet potatoes smothered in butter and maple syrup.
Homemade pizza

Saturday, February 5, 2011

I Love Saturday Evenings

I love Saturday evenings. As I reflect on today and the activities of this week, I am almost giddy with excitement for Sunday. (And football has nothing to do with it). As a child, I remember “preparing” for Sunday – Cleaning the house, washing the car, and mowing the grass. We wanted to start the week out fresh and clean! Sunday morning was spent in church followed by a meat and potatoes dinner that filled us up and made us sleepy. In the afternoon, we usually put puzzles together (which I don’t have the patience for anymore), played with the cats and enjoyed an afternoon snooze.

So now, even though my house isn’t clean, my car is covered in mud and salt, and my grass is dead, I excitedly anticipate Sunday and still desire to start my week out fresh and clean.

Meanwhile, Ryan just ate three pieces of cake….. “It’s ok, I added milk” ~ Ryan

So as I wind down the evening with a glass of Pepsi (my guilty pleasure), I am happy! I’ve got my roast and potatoes out for tomorrow’s dinner, I’ll play with Oliver instead of cats, pray for a nap, but my puzzles will stay in the closet.

Friday, January 28, 2011

2010 Reflections on Cooking, Labor and Babies

Reflections on Cooking
What a year! So many changes.... I thoroughly enjoyed trying all my new recipes, although I have to confess - my favorites are all the dishes I grew up on in the good old red and white Mennonite cookbooks. Pioneer Woman comes in a strong second though. Her step by step instructions taught me how to make fried chicken, gravy and a pot roast!
Over the past year, a few things have grabbed my heart, and I now claim them as my favorites/can't live without them:

Not in any specific order:
1. My wooden cutting board and fruit/anything basket

2. Catch all dish - home for my wedding rings (currently guarded by two adorable snowmen)

3. Tongs - one of my favorite utensils!

4. Dutch Oven in Cranberry - Love this!! It is perfect for roasts, deep frying, soup and much more!

5. BUTTER - need I say more....

6. French Fried Onions - You can put these on everything :)

7. Mini Casserole Dishes - what's not to love about these

8. Bath and Body Works Fresh Lime Basil hand foam wash

Reflections on Labor
1 word - epidural!
I couldn't stop complimenting the doctor who administered this drug. I'm guessing he gets that a lot :) I faced my biggest fear this year, and it wasn't worth all the worry and stress I gave it. My labor was made much easier with drugs. I have no shame in admitting that I am a pure wimp when it comes to pain, needles and blood! And when I go in to deliver my next child, I will once again ask (plead) for drugs :)

Reflections on babies
While everyone puts the fear of God in you about labor, no one ever told me about the emotions of bringing your new bundle home. "A child will change your life" - understatement of the year! No one could have prepared me for those first few weeks. I am so grateful for the support system I had (hubby/mom/mother-in-law). At almost 4 months, I am just now getting back into a somewhat normal routine. Although every day, I find myself changing my mindset that this is the new normal for us. And when i'm having a bad day, all it takes is a smile from Oliver and somehow all those frustrations just melt away.
My favorite sounds - the coo's of my son and the garage door opening at 5:00 p.m.
My favorite time of day - early morning snuggle times with Oliver and sitting down to dinner with Ryan
A few of my favorite baby things:
1. Oliver's new P.J.'s (thanks to his Aunt Jo)

2. Oliver's new lamb (thanks to Grandma K.)

3. Baby boy socks

Effective January 3rd, I am making the transition from full time to two days a week. Ryan and I both felt an unrest about me returning to work full time. So with much prayer, we trusted Gods leading for me to quit my job. When I went in to resign, I was offered two days a week, which was exactly what I was looking for! What an awesome answer to prayer. (Next time I doubt that God will come through - just slap me).

New sacrifices will need to be made now that our income has been decreased. I won't be able to eat at my favorite restaurants as often as I like, buy that adorable sweater at GAP or even have my sons pictures taken at my favorite photographer, but I find the sacrifices worth it! If it means I can stay home with my son, see his first steps, wipe all his tears and instill in him the values that are so important - I give them up gladly!

So with a diaper rag on my shoulder and a snotty, congested child on my lap, I am embracing my new life - a mother in need of Gods grace....every hour!