Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Home-Made Hot Cocoa Mix

If you’ve never had home-made hot cocoa mix before, try it, and you’ll never want anything else.  It is absolutely de-lish, and so easy to make.

Hot Cocoa Mix

1 – heaping cup non-dairy creamer
1 – heaping cup non-fat powdered milk
¾ - cup sugar
½ - cup unsweetened cocoa

Mix ingredients.  Use 3 - 4 heaping tablespoons per cup of hot water, and don’t be stingy on the hot cocoa mix, really 3 - 4 heaping tablespoons per cup of hot water.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Pumpkin Bread

This pumpkin bread is absolutely yummy.  It is Betty Crocker's recipe, except I use 2/3 cup canola oil instead of shortening, and I make one loaf plain and the other with 1 cup of raisins or dried cranberries.  Also, for the last 20 minutes of baking time, I place an air-bake cookie sheet directly under the loaf pans.  This allows the middle of the bread to cook completely, while not over-baking the bottoms.  Another tip: After I grease the pans, I line the bottoms with wax paper.  This makes the pans very non-stick.  These delicious pumpkin breads serve up very nicely with butter or whipped cream cheese.  They are a family favorite, and also make great gifts.  Enjoy!


2/3 cup shortening
2 2/3 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 can (1 pound) pumpkin
2/3 cup water
3 1/3 cups flour
2 teaspoons soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
2/3 cup coarsely chopped nuts (optional)
2/3 cup raisins


Heat oven to 350.  Grease two 9x5x3 inch loaf pans.  In large bowl, cream shortening and sugar until fluffy.  Pour in eggs pumpkin and water.  Blend in flour, soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and cloves.  Stir in nuts and raisins.  Pour into pans.  Bake about 70 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

5 Names - A Super Fun Game

I’m not sure who invented 5 Names, but we learned about it from our very dear friends, The Keatings.  This game is new and very exciting each time you play it, and best of all, it’s free!  I think it works best with 8 to 16 people.  Try it at your next family get together, and enjoy the fun!

Give each player 5 small pieces of paper, and have each person write a name on each of the 5 papers without letting anyone else see what you write.  It can be a real or fictional person, living or dead.  Personally, to keep it interesting and varied, I like to use 5 names from different categories, such as: politician (President Washington) or spouse (Martha Washington), actor (Harrison Ford) or character they played (Indiana Jones), cartoon or animated character (Snow White), family member (Jeff Silverberg), Person in the Bible (Moses), famous or infamous person (Gloria Albright), author (J.K Rowling), etc.

Break up into two teams. Put all the folded pieces of paper with the names on them into a hat or basket.  Choose a player on Team 1 to go first.  Have the other team give them 30 seconds on the clock.  The object is for the 1st player to describe each name that he pulls from the hat (without mentioning the name to his team members) and have his team member guess the name.  They must say the name as it appears on the paper.  So, if the paper says, President Washington, George Washington will not work, they must say President Washington.  Once a name is guessed, the 1st player moves on to see how many names he can get his team to guess in the 30 seconds.  The player may put or throw each paper on the floor in front of him, once that name has been guessed. When the other team yells, “Time”, player 1 must stop.  Gather up the papers and save them in a team pile to be counted later.  Now it’s Team 2’s turn. When the game returns to Team 1, pick a 2nd player to see how many names he can get his team to guess in the 30 seconds. Etcetera.  Keep playing until all the names are gone.  Keep taking turns with your team members, so that everyone gets a chance to describe the names.  Then add up how many names (papers) each team has guessed to find the winning team.

Note:  It may occur that someone may pick a name to describe that he has no idea who it is, in that case, he may put the name back in the hat and pick another.  But if you pick a name and you know who it is, you must attempt to describe it.

Our family has played this game many times, and it is super fun and exciting and "new" each time.  I think it’s my favorite game.  Hope you have as much fun as we do with it!

For more amazing fun, play round 2 & 3.  For round 2 put all the names back in the hat, but this time when you pick a name to describe it, you may only say one word.  For round 3, charades only ~ no talking, only acting.  It's great entertainment! 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Friday, October 28, 2011

Verbal Remedies

A Soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
~Proverbs 15:1~

A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.
~Proverbs ~

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
~Ephesians ~

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
~Ephesians ~

Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.
~1 Timothy 5:1,2~

Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.
~Proverbs ~

Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
~Colossians 4:6~

If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.

In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.
~Proverbs ~

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the LORD Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
~Colossians ~

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sweet Memories of my Mother ~ A Tribute to my Mom at her 90th Birthday Party

My Dad & Mom at the Party

Me, Sharing Memories, and my Girls, Singing Back-Up

The girls sang the words in italics (from Elvis' Memories), and I spoke the words in plain font.  It turned out really well.  My daughters have lovely voices.  I joined in on the last chorus.  BTW:  I am the ninth of ten children.  Doesn't my mother look great!

Sweet Memories of my Mother

Memories … Pressed between the pages of my mind.
Memories … Sweetened through the ages just like wine.
Memories … Memories …

I have a lot of sweet memories of Mom.  As a young child I loved to watch her sew and cook.  I think mainly because I just wanted to be near to her.  I especially remember Mom making her famous, home-made stuffing for the holidays.  She would let Greg and I cut bread cubes, and boy, did that make me feel special.  Even from my youth I have suffered from severe headaches.  But I remember they were so much easier to bear if Mom was there.  She wouldn’t leave my bedside until I had fallen asleep.  Like everything else, it was just BETTER if Mom was there.  Mom also spent many hours volunteering at the Catholic School and Church.  The Nuns had many kind words to say about her, which is no easy feat!

Memories …
Quiet thoughts come floating down,
And settle softly to the ground,
Like gold of autumn leaves around my feet.
I touch them and they burst apart with sweet memories.
Sweet memories …

Mom has been a good mother and a good friend.  Somehow, she has managed to combine the two without neglecting either role.  I would beg for rides to and from high school, and Mom would absolutely refuse, except for days when it was pouring down rain.  Then she would happily chauffer me and my friends to school and home again.  I would often come home from school or work and sit down at the kitchen table, just Mom and me, AND a box of Entenmanns’s Danish.  We would each declare, “I’ll just have a sliver.”  We would chat.  Then have another sliver and another, until we had almost demolished the entire pastry!  And I’m sure all of us kids remember Mom coming home very late at night from working at the hospital and making the rounds to each bedroom to make sure all of us were home safe and in bed.  She couldn’t go to sleep until all of her chicks were securely gathered in for the night.  And who can forget Mom’s contagious laugh?  Once she gets going, there is no stopping her, and soon the whole room is joining in on the fun.

Memories …
Of holding hands and red bouquets,
And twilights trimmed in purple haze.
And laughing eyes and simple ways,
And quiet nights and gentle days with you.
Memories … Memories …

As an adult with my own family, I often turn to my mother’s strengths and talents to inspire me.  Okay … I can handle six children all under the age of ten … Mom did that!  Or … I can paint the entire interior of my house … Mom did that!  Or … I can cook to feed a crowd … Mom did that!  Even in this new role in my life, mother-in-law, I still look to Mom’s example.  She’s been very supportive of my marriage, always kind and loving to Jeff and me and the children, but never interfering or offering unsolicited advice.  What a fine example!  At 90, she still is a blessing AND a beauty!

Memories … Pressed between the pages of my mind.
Memories … Sweetened through the ages just like wine.
Memories … Memories …

Monday, October 10, 2011

My Spin on Pioneer Woman's "Pasta Alla Vodka"

I followed Pioneer Woman's recipe (see link below) for her "Pasta Alla Vodka" with a few changes.  First thing in the morning a put a bag of frozen chicken thighs in the crock pot with a cup of water and a teaspoon of salt, and let it cook on low all day.  Then I skinned & deboned the chicken thighs and added them to the pasta dish.  The meat was very tender and falling off the bone.  I also substituted chicken broth from the crock pot in place of the vodka, and I used half regular pasta and half whole wheat pasta.  Lastly, I poured it all into a 9" x 13" casserole dish and topped it with shredded cheese.  I used a mexican mix of cheese.  It was de-lish!

Yummy ... Yum ... Yum

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Political Family

A Political Family ~ A Short Film (4 minutes)

We borrowed most of our lines from politicians and celebrities.

A.K.A. ~  What would our family budget be like if it was run like the U.S. Government?

Click on this link to view the skit.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Ducks, Geese & Scripture

I remember hearing Dr. R.C. Sproul say that the phrase here, "fall on the ground" has the meaning of the bird landing on the ground.  Notice this does not change the context, only enlarges the understanding of verse.  (FYI: I don't trust any explanation of a word or phrase in the Bible that changes the context of the verse.)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Peach & Pudding Cake

I got this recipe from my very good friend Lori, and she found it on the inside lid to an egg carton.  It is absolutely yummy, and can be served hot or cold.  Your family will love this moist, peach & cheese-cake-like cake, and your guests will want the recipe.  Enjoy!

Peach & Pudding Cake

1 - pkg. yellow cake mix
1 – cup oil
4 – eggs
1 – sm. pkg. instant van. pudding mix
1 – cup water
1 – lg. can sliced peaches, drained, reserving 3 T. juice
1 – cup sugar
1 ½ - pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
Powdered Sugar

Combine cake mix, oil, eggs, pudding mix, and water.  Mix according to package directions.  Pour batter into greased 9”x13” baking pan.  Mix together sugar, cream cheese, & peach juice.  Spoon mixture evenly over the batter.  (See Pic 1)  Cut each peach slice in half and layer on batter.  (See Pic 2) Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes.  (See Pic 3) Cool.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar.  (See Pic 4) Store cake in refridgerator.  Cake is also very good warm.

Pic 1

Pic 2

Pic 3 ~ The tooth pick test will not work with this cake.  Instead, grab both sides of the pan with pot holders and give it a shake.  If it holds firm, it's probably done.  If it looks like a wave of liquid batter is rolling across the cake just beneath the surface, it's not done.  :)

Pic 4 ~ It really does look prettier with the powdered sugar.  :)

Monday, July 25, 2011


"Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." Luke 12:27

Friday, June 24, 2011

Party Favors

Hersey's Kisses with the Bride & Groom's Names & Wedding Date

In this case the Kisses read:  Jason & Nicole ~ June 26, 2010

Print out a sheet of names & dates for your special occasion: wedding, anniversary, birthday, etc.  Cut into small strips.  Very carefully, slightly unwrap each kiss, just enough to pull out the "Hersey's Kiss" tag and replace it with your own tag.  Re-wrap Kiss.  Scatter Kisses on party tables.  Very pretty & tasty too!  I have also made up a couple hundred of these and given them to the bride at her wedding shower.  She loved them, and used them at her reception.  You can order these at specialty wedding shops for about $20 a pound, or make them yourself for simply the cost of the Kisses.

The flower on this table is floating in a plastic ice cream dish that I bought at Wal-Mart for under a dollar.  I really like these "low" table decorations, because they are pretty, and easy to talk over (as opposed to a tall vase).  Florists will sometimes give away their open roses, because they can't sell them.  However, I used gerber daisies here, because we were in a small town, and the only florist was completely out of roses.

A brandy glass also works beautifully to float a rose.

I got this idea from my mother-in-law who has rose bushes.  She often floats roses in these pretty glasses on her kitchen table.  I bought this one at a re-sale shop for a buck.  They are short and easy to reach across, and really make any event table look very special.