Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Zucchini Round up ~ Banana Zucchini Bread ~

Mmmm... another Zucchini recipe. This bread is so sweet. I love that the recipe makes two loaves of bread. You can either share with a friend or you can freeze the second one. Which also reminds me. Did you know that you can freeze your Zucchini. Just shred it, measure out 2 cups (that's what most baking recipes call for), squeeze the extra water out of it and put in a freezer bag. Then pop it into the freezer.

Banana Zucchini Bread

4 eggs
2 c sugar
1 c vegetable oil
2 mashed medium ripe bananas
3 c flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
1-1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1-1/2 c shredded unpeeled Zucchini
1 c chopped pecans or walnuts

  • In a bowl, beat eggs. Blend in sugar and oil. Add bananas and mix well. Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and slowly mix into the egg mixture. Stir in Zucchini and nuts. 
  • Pour into two greased 9in X 5in loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes. Remove from pans to a wire rack to cool completely.(skip this part if your impatient like me)
Wrap and freeze one loaf or share with a friend.

Monday, August 29, 2011

But all of the other kids have one

It has come to my attention that my children are becoming just a tad bit spoiled. When I was growing up we never would have expected something because other kids had it. We were lucky to have food on the table and clothes on our back. Our clothes were hand me downs or bought from Kmart. There was no American Eagle or Aero. We had a few good outfits and that was it. My children have so many clothes in there drawers that I can't even close them. Not that I want them to grow up poor or I'm not thankful for all the clothes that they have but I want them to be grateful for the things that they have not just expect things. Have you ever been to a child's birthday party and the kid rips into his gifts, tosses the card to the side and then throws the gift into a pile with the others? He doesn't stop to thank anybody, probably because he has no clue who it's from because he tossed the card. That's the vision that I get in my head when my kids pitch a fit about getting a new toy because someone else has one. I have to proudly say that my children are not that bad, but when my six year old wants to toss an entire Lego set because he's missing one piece and then in the same breath asks me for a different set... that gets to me. So after this has all brewed in my mind for a while I had this great idea. An awesome, spectacular, glorious idea.
  I thought that this Christmas instead of buying my children 6-7 gifts each, I would only buy them a couple and then have them choose gifts to donate to a family in need this year with the money that I saved. Then they would be thankful for the few gifts that they received and would get a great lesson in being giving. After all isn't that the end goal. Don't we want our children to be thankful and giving. I don't want my children growing up to always want something more or better. I don't want them to have bitter and selfish hearts. The cold hard truth is; life is tough. The world doesn't owe you a thing and maybe we should be preparing our children for it instead of trying to shield them from it. Just sayin!

With a thankful heart,

Friday, August 26, 2011

Zucchini round up ~dessert ~

OK now it's time for some dessert. The kids wont even know that there's veggies in these.

Zucchini Whoopie Pies

1 C shredded zucchini
1 C sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
½ C shortening
1 egg
2 C flour
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
1 tsp salt
½ C milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 C nuts (optional)
Mix zucchini, sugar, shortening and egg. Add dry ingredients. Mix, alternating with milk. Combine and stir in vanilla and nuts. Drop by teaspoons on greased pan about 2 in apart. Make sure you only do a tsp because they double in size.  Bake at 350 deg for 7-10 minutes. I substituted the Vanilla Extract with Almond because I like it better. I didn't use nuts because I didn't have any and I used a can of cream cheese frosting from my pantry because I was low on confectioners sugar. Next time I will definitely add the nuts and make my own filling.
4 oz cream cheese
3 T softened margarine
½ lb confectioners sugar
2 tsp vanilla

Cool whoopie pies. Spread filling on a whoopie pie than top with a second pie, like a sandwich. Then eat up.
This recipe makes about 40 sandwiches. It was hard to get a good count because the kids kept stealing them off the plate.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Did you hear about Suzie down the street?

Have you ever said something and then right after you said it thought "why did I say that"? So often our mouths get us in trouble. When we hear something bad about someone we automatically need all the details. It's like Eww... Suzie's crying. Why? What happened? Who can I tell about this? Why can't we just learn to keep our mouths closed at the appropriate time? So many times it gets us in trouble and yet we never learn. God must feel like we do as parents when we tell our children "how many times have I told you...." I think it's an issue with both men and woman but it tends to be worse with woman. Probably because we talk just a tad bit more then men. I also think that woman can be a bit catty too. I think that most of the time we say things bad about others just to make ourselves feel better about ourselves. Like for example when you are talking badly about Suzie and Joe Shmoe"s marriage down the street maybe the problem is in your marriage. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? Matt 7:3. The Bible gives us warnings over and over again about keeping or mouths closed. It refers to our tongue as a sword. Gossips are compared to murderer's. Just a few verses to get the point across.

Leviticus 19:16 – “Do not go about spreading slander among your people. Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the Lord.”

Proverbs 11:13 – “A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret.”

Romans 1:29 – “They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips.”

1 Timothy 5:13 – “Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to.”

Matthew 7:1 – “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”

Proverbs 18:8 – “The words of gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s inmost parts.”

Deuteronomy 13:14 – “Then you must inquire, probe and investigate it thoroughly.”

Matthew 7:12 – “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

Ephesians 4:29 – “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

OK it was more then just a few. Just one more..last one I promise. This one is my favorite:
Proverbs 26:20 – “Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down.”
But you get it know right. Please don't get the impression that I never gossip. I'm just as much to blame as the next girl. I'm just becoming more aware of it and making it a point to watch what comes out of my mouth and removing the wood from the fire.

Peace Out,

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Well Planned Day

Over the last couple weeks I've had the privilege of reviewing The Well Planned Day 2011-2012 Planner in PDF form. This planner is loaded with lots charts and lists. It's a list makers dream come true. The planner has a section in the beginning to paste a picture of your family and record special family moments. Then a section for contacts and a chart for budgeting. Then there are chore charts and daily schedules for both you and your children. I don't always stick to a schedule but it's nice to have one to keep you on track for the day. I've also learned as a mom and a home school/Sunday school teacher that kids like structure. So having something for my kids to go by is nice as well.
   Then for your homeschooling needs, there are pages to set your semester goals and and write down your daily assignments for up to four children. The slots are small if your using it for four kids, but it's doable if you keep it brief and write small. At the back of the planner there is a report card to fill out and there are attendance reports for each child as well. There's a monthly calender and a Year at a glance calender included. The monthly calender has a section at the bottom of each month to write down your bills that are due that month and books you may want to read. You can also record field trips and activities for the month. A Bible reading is listed for each day as well. There are also great articles to read through out the planner and shopping lists. You can plan your meals out right on your assignment and daily activities pages. I love knowing what I'm cooking for the week ahead of time. It takes half of the battle out of putting dinner on the table. My kids love it when I post that nights meal on the blackboard each morning. Last but not least there is a section for holiday planning, greeting card list, and gift giving. They really put a lot of thought into this planner. OK so no review is complete without a pros and con's list so here it is:

*you can totally become organized with this planner even        
if you don't have a organizing bone in your body.                        

* It's very stylish. The colors are beautiful.

* You can reuse a lot of the pages for years to come if you
buy the PDF version.

* You can customize the pages in Adobe with the PDF version.

* It's a good price at $24.95 for 230 pages.

* I didn't like that I couldn't take the PDF version with me anywhere. If I wanted to print it all out it would cost me $30 in ink. Then you have to buy a binder on top of that. If you buy the already printed version you can't reuse the pages and customize it.

* a table of contents would have been helpful. I had to flip through 200 pages every time I wanted to find a certain page.

In the end the pros outweighed the con's so I would definitely recommend this planner to you. If your interested in purchasing one for yourself here's a link:

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Zucchini round up

It's that time of year again when the Zucchini and Squash are plentiful. So I've been in search of some good recipes. This is my first post of a series of some good recipes to help use up some of your Zucchini and Squash stock pile.

My first recipe is for a Zucchini and Tomato Parmesan

You will need:

1 large Zucchini or 2 small ones
2 large tomatoes
1 1/2 c of Mozzarella cheese
1 jar of tomato sauce
4-6 tbl butter
garlic salt

Preheat your oven to 450

Slice up your Zucchini and tomatoes in 1/4 in thick slices. Saute your Zucchini in butter and place 1/3 of it in the bottom of a greased 9x12 pan, sprinkle with garlic salt, then layer 1/3 of your tomatoes on top of that, then 1/2 c sauce and 1/2 c cheese. Then repeat all that two more times. Bake in oven for 20-25 min until the cheese on top is browned and it's bubbling around the edges. It's going to look a little watery at first but the sauce will thicken when it cools a little. Serve over pasta and use the remainder of you sauce to put on top of the pasta. I used Ronzoni Garden Delight pasta. This is a great vegetarian dish. You wont even miss the meat.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Great Escape with my family.

Over this past weekend our family finally had a chance to hang out together for a whole day. This summer has been so busy for all of us and It's such a rare occasion that we all can stop our individual routines and meet in one place. We spent the whole day at Six Flags. Then after we went out to eat on the way home. These kind of things require two things. Time and money. We never seem to have both at the same time.  During our time together I couldn't help but think about how my children are growing up so fast. They would run from  ride to ride and measure themselves at each one to see if they could get on . My youngest just made it this year by the hair on his head. I don't know if it's because he's our last baby or what, but he seems to have retained is "babyness" the longest. He still loves to cuddle, which as any mommy knows... is so important when it's your last baby. One of the other things I was reminded of was how different they each are when they are without the other siblings. It's like I have a totally different child when they are alone. I feel like my eyes are being opened to this child that I don't even know. It's kinda sad to me that I get so busy  raising my kids that I don't even really know them. So I have decided that this year I am scheduling time for each one my children, just the two of us. I might let Doug tag along too. I don't want to miss out on knowing what's important to them. I want to really get to know each of my kids, because before I know it they'll be all grown up with their own families. I feel the need to just slow down and enjoy my kids now. There will be plenty of time to work on other things later. After all, they're only little once and we only get one shot at getting it right.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The next 12 months of my life down on paper.

Finally, I have reached the 90 % done point with my curriculum planning. I feel like I can start my school year on a good note. I'm starting my 3 year old son's schooling this year and I'm hoping that if he has his own school work to do, he'll be less distracting to the other kids. I know, it's wishful thinking. A girl can dream... can't she? I'm looking forward to more hands on lessons with the kids this year and I'm focusing on our character training. I'm using this great set of lessons that Focus on the Family puts out. It's called Kids of Integrity. The lessons provide you with hands on learning lessons, Bible story references, helpful suggestions if your child is having trouble with that particular character trait and even prayer suggestions. This is the link if your interested. . I'm also planning on more outside the home activities this winter to keep mommy from going crazy  to keep the kids from getting bored.
  I've made a few adjustments with my own schedule and responsibilities in hopes of having a smoother school year. I had too make some hard choices this year in the ministries department. I think sometimes we need to let go of certain things in our lives to make room for the things that our more important. I find if I spread myself too thin, in too many areas..... then I don't do well in any thing that I'm doing. Kinda like a garden with too many plants planted in it. The flowers may bloom but not as much as it would with less plants sucking up the nutrients in the soil. Get it? I know you do. So bring it on 2012 because I will probably be ready to throw in the towel by January I'm totally prepared. How about you?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

I found this great recipe yesterday. They're easy to make and taste great. The kids inhaled them. I used chopped up chunks of chocolate that I had in my pantry because I didn't have chocolate chips. Oh ya and they're only 99 calories a cookie.

Banana Chocolate Chip cookies
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips 

In a small bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, banana and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips.
Drop by tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray..

Bake at 350° for 9-11 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool. Yield: 2 dozen.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Clean up, clean up, everybody, everywhere....

That's the tune playing through my head today. I'm going through all my closets and cupboards. Tossing the garbage and passing on the usable stuff. Even the kids are in on it. I gave them each a bag and and told them to fill it with the things they didn't want or play with anymore. What a great feeling it is to be organized and have things all neat and clean. So in the spirit of cleaning up I thought I'd offer up some organizing tips for some of the rooms of the house that tend to get cluttered.

The Bedroom - Start with the closet. Go through and get rid of anything that doesn't fit or you haven't worn in the last 18 months. If it's ripped or stained throw it away. If it's still wearable give it to your local mission. Now girls, when I say this... I know how hard it is to get rid of clothes. You got the clothes that you set aside for "fat days" and the "when I loose weight clothes". Get rid of them. If they're too big it will only give you the option to gain a few pounds. When your clothes start getting tight that means it's time too buckle down on some exercise and getting rid of bad eating habits. And for the clothes that are too small, well just think of how much incentive you'll have to loose weight if you get to go shopping when you loose the weight. After you've done that pack away your seasonal clothes that your not going to use for the next 4-6 months in a tote. You can store the tote in your closet or in an attic. Then switch them out at the start of the new season. Place some crates on the floor for shoes. Or better yet get a shoe rack or the closet. You can also store things under the bed in baskets too. Things like extra sheets and blankets or gift bags.

The Kitchen- Start with the cupboards and try to use to same rule of thumb that you used for your clothes. If you haven't used it in the last 18 months chances are you don't need it. Wipe down the cupboards as your going through things. Save old shoe boxes for things like plastic lids and cookie cutters. 
  My kitchen counters always get mail and papers piled on them. Then when I get sick of looking at the pile and pushing things out of my way, Ill go through it and I waste a half of time. After I got tired of this pattern I tried using one of those 3 tier letter organizers that you would put on your office desk. When you come in the house with your mail, toss the junk mail immediately and put bills in one tier, things that need to be filed in another and the things that need immediate attention in the top tier. Then it's all up off the counter and already sorted.

  The pantry is another place that always needs attention in my house. Go through your food items and get rid of out of date items and wipe down the shelves. I keep a big glass cookie jar in there that I pour boxes of individually wrapped snacks in. That saves me room on the shelves for other things. You can keep plastic baskets or a plastic storage container that you lost the lid too in there for small items like kool aid and salad dressing packets.

I hope that this post got some of you motivated. Happy cleaning!!!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Scope and Sequence for my life

We're coming to the end of summer and I'm all about lesson plans and curriculum's right now. So in the process of planning my school year, I decided to make a Scope and Sequence for my life. It looks a little like this so far.

Pick out the healthy relationships at this time in my life and dispose of the toxic ones
Visit my mother more often
Have dinner with dad at least once a month
Spend more time with my husband and kids

Spiritual training
Make reading my Bible a part of my daily routine
Make Bible and Character training part of my kids curriculum this year
Make praying before bed with the kids part of our bedtime routine
Start another small group

Stay focused, more goal oriented
Be more consistent

Pick a ministry that best suits me and stick to just that one or two so that I can be more fruitful in it.
Make more of an effort to talk to people that I don't know on Sunday morning

Organize my kitchen cabinets
Update the kids chore lists
Get rid of the things that our cluttering my house
Reorganize my sewing materials and sewing area

Teresa's pantry
Get more items in my shop
Prepare for next years vendor fairs
Make myself a bag to advertise for myself  :)

Phew!! I already feel better. Now to just get started.

Monday, August 1, 2011


1. Severe despondency and dejection, accompanied by feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy.

2. A condition of mental disturbance, typically with lack of energy and difficulty in maintaining concentration or interest in life I had not thought of.

   Can you guess what this post is about? So lately I've been very busy with church a family and summer things. I finally got to start a garden this year. Something I've been wanting to do for many years but every year I'm either pregnant or my children were too little for me to put time into it. My youngest is now 3 and I finally have my chance. I had no idea how much time and energy getting it started would require. I did it though. It's small, but It'll increase in size a little each year. I try to keep myself busy, it's the way that I cope with things.When ever I'm upset about something I clean my house. I dive into my ministries at church and find new things to take on. One week it might be organizing the kids toys the next may be bringing home a kitten....His name is Taylor in case your wondering. Coming up on this August, I have this dark cloud moving over my head. Many of you already know that August is when I lost my baby brother. You see one of my worst fears is falling victim to depression. I've seen so many people in my life suffer from it and it runs in my family. Both my Grandmother and my mother suffered from it and I'm so afraid that one day I will be next. My mother's battle with depression started when she was a teenager and she still suffers from it today. I don't remember hardly anything of my childhood up until the age of maybe of 12. I'm not sure why... maybe I just have a bad memory. Anyway, what I do remember is my mother sitting on the couch with her blanket watching TV all of the time. sometimes she would just be siting there in the quiet just sobbing. Then I didn't realize what was happening and maybe I was just being a selfish teenager. When I was about 13 my mother tried to kill her self by taking a bottle of prescription drugs and had to be rushed to the hospital to have her stomach pumped. After that she was in and out of psychiatric hospitals all the time. She abused her medication often and drank alcohol on top of that. We suddenly switched roles and I became the mother and her the child. I moved out when I was 15 because I couldn't take it anymore. I don't want to paint the wrong picture of my mother. She's a good woman and she's had her share of hardships in life, just like the rest of us Soul Sista's. My father was a truck driver and wasn't home very often and my older brother clung to his friends and my younger brother just kinda was left to himself. With no parental guidance he started his addiction to alcohol at the age of 13 and it finally took his life almost two years ago this August at the age of 28. My mother about 4 years ago had a stroke that the doctors claimed was probably brought on by her abuse of medication for so many years. She now lives in a nursing home and is wheelchair bound. She is completely dependent on other people to care for her. She's able to carry on conversations and feed her self and her memory is sketchy. But she'll tell you that she wishes that she just died. She has some good days though. The nurses treat her well and I try to visit her as often as I can. 

After a conversation with a friend of mine I realized that the reason that depression is so scary to me is because it could mean leaving my children at a young age without a mother or leaving them with the burden of caring for me. So with all this being said, I am not depressed and I'm not having any kind of mental breakdown. I'm just very aware of it and when I start feeling down I make sure that I pick myself right back up. I refuse to let it get to me. I realize that it's just another one of my fears. Some are not so lucky they can't just "snap out of it". I used to think that medications were bad because of the struggle that I had with my mom but know that I see so many other woman in my life using medication and seeing the good that it does for them. Some people need it and It's not something that they can just get over. I'm talking about good Christian woman here. They prayed about it and still do. I believe that God doesn't want us to struggle. I believe that God had a hand in developing this medication to help people who need it. I'm sorry if I'm offending anyone when it comes this topic of taking medication. This is just my opinion and it's my blog.
Na na na na naaa!!