Friday, February 25, 2011

Muffins Fit For State!

So what do you do when you are going away for the weekend, need some snacky type of food and something for a quick breakfast?! You run to Butter Yum's blog and search through all her yummy recipes. She posted these muffins a week ago. They looked so good and of course so easy I just had to try them.

Unfortunately, they didn't survive 12 hours. Lots of happy faces and tummies though.


I just had to change them up a bit cause I can't leave well enough alone!

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Spice Muffins

1 Spice cake mix
1 can Pumpkin puree
1/2 - 3/4 cup water
1/2 bag mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In medium mixing bowl, combine cake mix and pumpkin. I found that when I used a name brand pumpkin it was a bit drier and I used 3/4 cup of water. This time using a store brand, I used 1/2 cup of water. Add water 1/4 cup at a time, mix will be on the stiff side. Add chocolate chips.

Add liners to muffin pan. Evenly distribute mix into 12 liners.

Bake in 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. Let cool, if you can.

These muffins just can't be described. Smooth and creamy is what they are!

If that isn't enough....

I got another award! This one is from the talented Sabrina @ Eat, Drink and Be Merry! Thank you so much Sabrina for including me! I am so honored!

So now for 7 things you may not know about me.


1. I am a total clutz! If there is a way to hurt myself, I will find it! Just today, I was playing in the yard with the kids. We were throwing these fluffy chunks of snow in the air and the dog was jumping for them. You had to hold them gently cause they would just disintegrate in your hands. I took one and told my son "Watch my incredible strength!" I smacked the top of my head with the snow clump. I do believe that I grabbed the only one that had a brick in the middle of it! Holy crap that hurt! I am hoping that the lump on my forehead turns purple so I can really feel stupid.

2. I love gadgets!

3. I like pumping gas cause I really like the smell of it.

4. I have realized that the fatter I get, the more I love to cook!

5. I hate peas!

6. I love scary movies but hate zombie and gory movies. If they are going to eat somebody in it, forget it!

7. Sometimes I take my shoes off without untying them even though I yell at my kids for doing that.

So there ya go! A few disturbing facts about me that you probably could of lived without knowing.

Now to pass it on to 10 bloggers!

Dar's Stuffings
Cher's Shots
Dragonfly Treasure
Red Couch Recipes
Live Laugh Make Something
Purple Rose
Observations of an Ordinary Life
Designs on 47th Street
Lisann's 48th Year
From My Front Porch In The Mountains

These ladies will have to write a post and post 7 things about them. Then pass it on to 10 bloggers.

As for me I am headed off to State Finals in Battle Creek! Hartland is ranked 3rd to win. It's a good thing this is not a talky blog cause I imagine I will be hoarse by the end of the weekend!

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Recycling for Organization

Here is a handy little tutorial to help with organization. It helps to keep all those loose magazines in order.

All you need is a box a bit wider than your magazines. I used an instant potato box.

Cereal boxes work good too. Just make sure that your box will hold your magazines. Also, when you buy your box, ask for a paper bag. You will need that for this project.

Cut the bottom off your paper bag, remove any handles and cut along the seam to open up the bag.

Now scrunch your cut up paper bag into a ball. Put the ball under running water and keep on scrunching til all the paper is wet.

Carefully unscrunch the paper and smooth out. Let dry. While your paper is drying, cut off the top of your box.

On one side of the box, measure up 3". Draw a straight line across the side of box. At the top, from the opposite side, measure in 3" on front and back of box. Mark the spot. Connect the straight line and this mark to make a diagonal line across the front and back of box. Cut along these lines.

When your paper is dry, starting at shorter side, glue paper around box leaving some at the top and bottom to fold over.

I used a bookmaking glue, but spray glue works well too. Make sure that you use it in a well ventilated area. Smooth down the paper as you go to prevent air pockets. Cut off any excess paper and glue top and bottom edges over.

Now take a bit of your excess paper and cut a piece to cover the shorter side where the edges meet. Leave a little extra on each side edge to fold over.

Mark your edge and score the line to get a crisp fold. Fold on score line and smooth edge with bone folder.

Glue in place matching up edges with front and back of box. Fold over and glue top and bottom.

Now for the embellishing! Scrunching and wetting the paper gives it a leather look. To enhance that, I used some of my distress ink.

I also used a paper stitching ruler and poked holes along the top and sides to further enhance the look.

I used a twine type of thread and a large eye needle to "sew" the edges. You can also use 6 strand embroidery floss. A pair of needle nosed pliers will help to pull the needle through.

When you are done, you have a beautiful and inexpensive holder for magazines! You can also use contact paper, fabric, burlap, etc.... The ideas are never ending to personalize your magazine holder!

Ta daaa!

Now, how do you go through enough boxes of instant potatoes for your magazine holders? Here is one quickie recipe that my family just loves! So easy to make for those days when you don't have alot of time to cook too!

Quickie Shepherd's Pie

1 lb hamburger
1 deep dish pie shell
1 can cream of mushroom soup
3-4 Tbs milk
6 servings of instant mashed potatoes (use directions on box to make)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In skillet, brown hamburger. Drain grease. Add mushroom soup and milk. Stir until meat is covered in soup mix. Add to pie shell. Make 6 servings of instant mashed potatoes. Add cheese and stir. Cover meat in pie shell with cheesy potatoes. Place in oven for 25 minutes or until potatoes are lightly brown and set. Let cool 5 minutes and serve!
I usually serve this with a salad. It makes a great meal when you are in a hurry! Sorry, no pics! It usually doesn't last long enough!

How would you embellish your magazine holder?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

From Mother Nature With Love

Last week was nice here. By Saturday it was a bit cold, but I was just toasty in a tank top and sweatshirt jacket. The only snow we had left in the yard was the piles where we had the driveway plowed. Those were disappearing. The grass was showing some green. The driveway was muddy and yucky from all the snow melting. I was already planning on doing some yardwork. Spring seemed to be just around the corner.

Mother Nature decided to do a bit of a makeover though! She has decided white is still in....

....with a bit of distressing. Just enough to see where the driveway is....

....and frosty windows.

Oh Punxsutawney Pete, you little varmint, you have failed me!

I guess the coat rack will still be piled with winter garments and boots will still be drying out by the door. No walking around the yard looking for bits of spring popping out of the ground. For now, it's more hibernating in the house. I guess I could do some organizing....

Welcome to Michigan!
If you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes, it'll change!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Let's Get Organized!

Things have gotten so out of hand lately. It seems like I am behind in everything. The more that I try to catch up, the more behind I get. I have been thinking lately about ways to get more organized. Here's what I have come up with.

First of all, I have tried to determine when I got so disorganized. I realized that I never really was organized. I just kind of added the additional responsibilities on top of one another. I have tried to do schedules and get frustrated when they just don't work. The reason they don't work is because my days are not cookie cutter days. Every day is different. My schedule needs to be flexible. How can you plan on doing homework EVERY day at 4 pm when we are heading to a school event? You can't. So each day, when I wake up I make a schedule for that day. Plan out what needs to be done and when it can get done. I was also killing myself getting home from school events at 5:30 and then figuring out what I was going to make for dinner, never mind cooking it. A big help with this was this one simple thing, a calendar. This particular calendar is great! It's called a mom calendar. There is a space at the top to put 5 names on top of the columns.

Down the left side is the days of the month. Everyone's activities can be written down and easily viewed. No more trying to cram a whole families activities in one little box on a traditional calendar. They also come with cutesy stickers!

See?! Under my column I wrote in what I am planning on making for dinner that night too. Using the calendar and planning the meals for the week was a huge help. Now I don't have to think about it one bit. Planning out dinner for the week, I was also able to make a grocery list AND look for coupons to save money. More on that later though.

I also realized that it was a slow and unnoticeable decline to chaos. It didn't happen overnight and it wasn't going to be fixed overnight. Since I have started helping my husband out with his business again, I need to juggle that and keeping the house. Monday, Wednesday and Friday is for his business. Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday is for housework. I "start" work for my husband at 8 am. The kids are fed, dressed and there is time for a quick tidy up in the house. When I am working for him, even though it is at home, I don't do any housework or cooking until 3 pm when I "quit" work. On the housework days, it is just housework. I divided the house into 3 days. Laundry and the basement is on Tuesdays, Thursday is for the main part of the house and Saturday is for bedrooms. This is where the big cleaning is done. After 3 pm every day, homework, afterschool activities, dinner and baths are scheduled. While the older kids are taking their baths and getting ready for the next day, I have time for my special project. My special projects are to help with organization.

Like I said, unless I ran through the house one day and pulled everything out of drawers and closets and dumped it on the floor, it didn't happen overnight. So I am planning on taking a little bit at a time and putting it on the schedule. One drawer, cupboard or closet a day. If I feel more industrious and do more that is a bonus! Who doesn't like bonuses?

There is also one rule. Once a drawer or what not is organized, it stays like that. My trouble is that once I get something organized I turn keeping it that way into a chore. It's too hard to put something away or I don't have the time. For instance, my pots and pans. I used to keep them in a cupboard. Cupboard space in my kitchen is like gold. Every time I needed to get a pan or put one back I practically had to pull out all of them to do it. Hanging the pots and pans on a pot rack solved that, plus I like the look of the pot rack. I also realized how hard I was making things on myself to keep clean. Case in point is the bathroom garbage. Why keep the bags for the garbage can with all the other cleaning supplies? I am probably taking out that garbage every other day. I do tend to take out the garbage planning on putting in a new liner, but sometimes I get distracted and forget. So now, I keep the bags under the bathroom sink. I usually have an extra roll of bags anyways, so those are kept with the cleaning supplies for other small wastebaskets that aren't emptied as often.

Sundays are my prep for the upcoming week. I can do some cooking for the week, like cookies and snacks for after school or any part of dinner that can be done ahead. These are more time saving tips to allow more time for other areas that need more attention. There are a few meals that make more than one dinner's worth. The extras will be frozen for when I just don't feel like cooking. More on that later though.

So, now to do this on a weekly basis. That is going to be the hard part is the change. The first few weeks will be hard breaking old habits. The way I was living, was alot easier. I'm hoping that by taking little steps, this will get easier and stick.

Now, to stick with the whole organization thing, all this week will be about organization here at the farmhouse! Don't that sound like fun? I will be posting tips and tricks to getting organized, organized meals and even a craft project to help with organization. Get your cereal boxes ready! You won't want to miss this one!

Friday, February 18, 2011

I Hope You Are Not tired Of Chocolate!

I mean, who would ever be tired of chocolate?! Is it really possible?

I made this dessert for my aunt's wake and it was such a hit, I made another one this week! It's called "Better Than Sex" cake but at the wake I called it a French Silk pie.

Better Than Sex Cake

1-8 oz package cream cheese room temperature
1 cup confectioner's sugar
16 oz cool whip topping
3 small packages instant chocolate pudding
4 1/2 cups milk
1 package of oreos (I used GS Thin Mints this time)
Butter ( 1 cup if using oreos, 1 stick if using Thin Mints)

In food processor, pulse cookies and butter together until clumpy

Press into bottom of 9" springform pan.

With an electric mixer, cream cream cheese and sugar together.

Fold in 1/2 the cool whip. Add to springform pan with crust and spread evenly.

In medium bowl, whisk pudding mix and milk together.

When mixed, add to springform pan and spread evenly. Top with remaining cool whip and refrigerate atleast 3 hours to firm up.

Before serving, melt 1/2 cup of chocolate chips in microwave and drizzle over top of cake. Garnish if desired and serve.

Now onto other news....

First of all, I'd like to give a big Thank You! to Ellen @ Abounding Life for the sweet award she gave me. If you haven't visited Ellen, you should! Her blog is filled with beautiful things and a great outlook on life. Tell her I said "hi"!

Now I am supposed to tell when blogging clicked for me. I would have to say as soon as I started to meet and get to know all the wonderful women out there. You all have made me feel not so weird and alone. I can always count on you for a giggle, comfort and warm wishes! I love all of you!

To pass it on to 5 other bloggers is hard, but here goes....

These ladies have to post about when blogging clicked for them and pass it along to 5 other bloggers too. I can't wait to see what they write!

Thank you again Ellen!

To Tanya - There is no name on the back of the plates. The very nice lady at Marshall's told me that you could request at your local Marshall's those plates. She said they are so popular and in demand that they have brought them back! Very few stores have them on sale but every store should have the new arrivals.

Thank you everyone for your sweet comments about my table! As usual, you all gave me the warm fuzzies all day! I have quite a few more planned so look for more!

One last pic and info....

Besides having the handsomest wrestler on the team, Hartland is 7 for 7! Woo Hoo! Go Eagles!

Oh, before I forget, save those cool whip tubs! I have an upcoming post for next week on recycling them! There are also going to be some changes to the blog that I will let you know about. I have decided to use the blog as a tool to getting my life organized. I am so behind on EVERYTHING and chasing my tail trying to get caught up that I am going nowhere. So I will be posting tips (hopefully) that will help others get organized too. Until then....

Enjoy Your Weekend!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue....

....I've set the table,
Just for you!

I know it has room for improvement, but I used my new dishes for our belated Valentines dinner. I had to be at school with the bitty one for her Valentines party....

....which was immediately followed by Jeffrey's wrestling meet.

BTW, Hartland is undefeated 6-6 in wrestling and one of the teams to beat at state! Go Jeffrey!

Anyways, this is about a table, not more of my incessant bragging about my kids.


Onto the table!

I dressed the table with an antique tablecloth I bought last summer for a whopping $7.50!

I know it would look alot better if I had ironed it. I was in a rush though and just ran out of time. I love the cutwork on this tablecloth.

Then of course....

.... the star of the table, my new dishes! I also drove myself crazy cause I wanted crackle glass goblets. Wouldn't you know I could not find any?! Not a single one! So I picked up these balloon glasses from Pier 1.

I am still on the hunt for the goblets though! I love the crackle glass and the view of the snow out the window.

For napkins, I used ones that I made. They are a brown ticking stripe.

Napkins are really easy to make. I won't even do a tutorial on them because Yvonne @ Stone Gable wrote an excellent one already. You can find it here. I put the napkins under the top plate like this.

I used my everyday silverware, but I do have my eye on a set from Horchows.

Of course you need candles cause it is Valentine's Day!

My wonderful sister bought these for me for a Christmas gift many years ago. I just love them! They are by Mikasa and have the tiniest hint of pale pink on the base.

Pale pink roses in a vase with some petals scattered around for a centerpiece. I picked the pale pink roses to go with the muted tones of the table. I love this vase. Everytime I look at it, it reminds me of how sweet my husband is. When we got our first house, we were at Pier 1 shopping for stuff. I saw this vase and really liked it. He wouldn't buy it cause he said he wasn't going to buy me just a vase. Argh, I was so upset at him. The next day he came home and sheepishly handed me the vase with a dozen roses in it. He is so thoughtful!

To add a pop of color....

.... a box of chocolates on each plate for my loves.

So there it is, my debut table with my new stuff! I still need to improve on my tablescaping skills a bit, but it's a start!


Beef Wellington
Roasted Red Potatoes
French Green Beans with Almond Slivers
Merlot wine

Hope you enjoyed my tablescape as much as I did putting it together!

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Faded Light

Waking up this morning, the sunrise doesn't seem so magnificent. The light doesn't seem to dance magically on the snow. The light seems to be dimmer. Last night was spent saying goodbye to a very special lady.

She was the mischievious one. The one with the infectious laugh and ready smile. She was the thoughtful one. She remembered every birthday, every name, every child and spouse of a large family. She kept the family tree. She was the quiet one, yet she always light up the room.

My Aunt Julie was the 7th child of my grandparents. She met her husband when she was 14 and was married to him for 44 years. She has 4 children and devoted her life to them and her grandchildren. You always say her with one of her kids if not all of them. The only job she ever held was being mom and she did a wonderful job at it. She was strong, dedicated and always there. When my mom died, her and my Aunt Rose stepped in. I could always turn to her when I got frustrated with raising my own kids. She always made time for whoever needed her.

She has been battling lung cancer for the last few years. In between the chemo treatments, she still found time to spend with her children and grandchildren. Every time they told her they had the cancer under control, it would appear somewhere else. The process would start over again. Her spirits stayed up and she did as much as she could.

Yesterday they told her that the cancer would take her. The doctors gave her 1-2 weeks left. Her daughter called to give the news. She had one simple request, she wanted to say goodbye to everyone that she could. The hardest part was seeing her with her family, saying goodbye. She told her husband "You are an idiot and you've really pissed me off, but I love you more than anything." She cried when her grandchildren came in. She told them she was sorry and not to be mad at her. She wanted to spend more time with them, she just couldn't. She told them she would be watching and anytime they needed to talk to her she would be listening. When I hugged her goodbye she told me she would give a hug and kiss to my mom for me.

You can have a lifetime with someone and yet it never seems like there was enough time. It's hard when someone you love is here one minute and gone the next. You wonder if they knew how you felt, how much you loved them, how important they were in your life. I think it is harder having the time to say goodbye though. Leaving all you love and live for behind.

My Aunt died last night. She could no longer "fight like a girl". Cancer had won again taking yet someone else who was very loved. She died peacefully and quietly, surrounded by her family, just as she lived her life.

I love you Aunt Julie, but it just wasn't long enough.


Today I found a penny,

Just laying on the ground.

But it's not just a penny,

This little coin I've found.

Found pennies come from heaven.

That's what my Grandpa told me.

He said Angels toss them down.

Oh, how I loved that story.

He said when an Angel misses you,

They toss a penny down,

Sometimes just to cheer you up,

To make a smile out of your frown.

So don't pass by that penny

When you're feeling blue;

It may be a Penny from Heaven

That an Angel's tossed to you.

Pass this on to the people who you care

about and who you feel that are angels to you.

An angel is now watching over you

I told my Aunt last night to hug and kiss my mom for me. Today, my cousin posted this on the internet. I read this right before I went to pick up the bitty one at school. While I was driving to pick her up, I dropped my phone. I got to the school and opened the van door to get it. There on the floor was an old penny. I just sat there sobbing like a baby because for the first time in a long time, I could feel my mom there comforting me.

Thank you Aunt Julie!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Shoulda Woulda Coulda

I shoulda been cleaning the basement. I am at a standstill though. My wonderful hubby brought home the trailer like I asked. There it sits empty. In my driveway. Somehow dragging up crap from the basement stairs, through 5 feet of snow, put it on the trailer (if I can find it now under 10' snow drifts) to go to the dumpster at our office doesn't sound like fun. Soooo.....

I decided on starting a new project. Cleaning of my personal tribe of pygmy slobs rooms. So began 2 days of being trapped in the house with my tribe of pygmy slobs. Lots of whining and crying. Thank goodness it didn't seem to bother them at all. The first day I started with the girls room. Girls are cleaner right?! BWAHAHAHAHA! I must have gotten the broken models. Okay, so your butt is the size of a postage stamp but put it in the hamper. I found dirty underwear EVERYWHERE! One pair was even being used as a bookmark, I think. I found it stuffed in the middle of a book. I mean who reads a book, says hey I have to eat some candy before mom finds it in my room and uses their undies to mark their spot? Do you take them off? Do you find a pair? What?!

The amount of candy wrappers that I found is unbelievable. I immediately made them an appointments for dental check ups. OMG! We have a rule, NO FOOD IN BEDROOMS. In a fit of anger after bending over to pick up the 5,783rd candy wrapper off the floor I called the children in.

"Isn't there a no food rule in the bedroom?"


"Why am I finding all these candy wrappers in here then?"

"Candy isn't food"


"Weeell.... when we try to eat candy in the morning you say not til you've had some food".

This is where my head splits open and that head that can shoot lasers out of her eyes and fire out of her nostrils appears.


I felt pretty good about this statement. I could just imagine if I had stopped at the mouth the boy certainly would of grabbed one of his sister's toys and put it in his mouth declaring it food and banishing it from their rooms. Thus resulting in his sister in a fit of tears and screaming. You know one of those little girl screams where it goes directly to your tail bone and shoots straight for the sensitive parts of your brain.

"So.... we can have candy for breakfast now?"

Pzooo Pzoooo

The little voices in my head just lasered one small child.

You know I always wondered why when we buy the kids really cute clothes, I see them wearing the same thing every day. I found out why. They won't look for a shirt. They just grab the first one on top and work their way down. Laundry day comes, clean goes on top and the things on the bottom get ignored. Some really cute things too. I started going through their clothes to get the ones that don't fit but they still insist on wearing out. 2 garbage bags of clothes to go to Goodwill JUST from the oldest girl. Don't say keep them for the little one either. I will forget that I have them or they will be totally out of style and she'll refuse to wear them. Besides I pulled, just out of the girls room, 7 loads of laundry! As much as I love to spend a week doing laundry, I don't need any more to wash.

I haven't even gotten to the boys room. Lawd knows what you will find in there. His room doesn't seem so bad though. A good part of his floor is showing. I do need to repaint his closet though. It's pink. Pepto bismol pink. The bitty one loves it. I found her in there playing cause she likes the "pink room".

Now that the room is somewhat cleaner, I have found that the bitty one has drawn on EVERYRTHING. The walls, the furniture, the drapes, the sheets.... Nothing has escaped her reign of terror. It is a good excuse to redo somethings. I have some ideas. I need to get another dresser for them. Or switch dressers. Or rent them apartments.

I also need to organize. Part of the problem is I just blow up and tell them to clean. They need to have places to put stuff and something to contain stuff. So I have been looking at some storage ideas for kids.

Any ideas besides shipping them off to Grandma?