Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas Card Photos

     We are only two days into Christmas break and I have to admit, these kids are driving me nuts!!! Now, I'm trying to give them the benefit of the doubt and say that it's just the Christmas excitement that has them going ape shit but honestly I think they're just trying to see how "bad" they can be before Santa really decides to give them a lump of coal. And let me tell you, this Santa is close! 
      As a mother of three, I know that at any given moment of the day, there is always one kid crying or throwing a fit, another kid fighting with their sibling or being picked on, and always something getting spilled, ripped, or broken. So of course I thought it would be a great idea to have the kids pose for a photo for our Christmas cards. What was I thinking???

The photos started off innocently enough expect my poor oldest daughter suffers from the same issue her mom suffers from: Extreme Fake Smiling. No matter how hard we try, a real "natural" smile in a photo is hard to come by. 

Here I told her to open her eyes more.... so naturally she decides to open her mouth also... 

Because I felt the photo shoot was going too well, I decided to throw in some tree decorations to up the cuteness factor. 

And now my oldest and youngest are both suffering from Extreme Fake Smiling.

Here was a great picture and I felt like it was almost prefect but I wanted to take just one more photo to make sure I caught them at their maximum cuteness. 

And then the tinsel broke..... 

From then on the photo shoot was a complete wash. Each kid took turns making the photo look silly and driving their mother crazy. 

After reviewing this picture I said, "oh I give up. Just pose however you want!"

And so of course this is what I got...

And this...

Let's not forget this...

And in this photo when I asked my middle child what she was doing she of course said, "that's my smelling a toot face." That's what I get for asking. Notice my oldest missing? Yup, she fell behind the chair, this photo shoot is officially over!

Loading the photos onto the computer I thought, surely out of 35 pictures there had to be at least one photo that was good right??? Well, call it a Christmas miracle because yes, there was one photo that did turn out good. And only one photo. I present to you our 2013 Christmas Card photo...... thank goodness I don't have to do this again for year! Now to figure out how to crop the time stamp on the photo.


Yours Truly, 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Pina Colada Jam

Christmas will be here before you know it and while most of my shopping is done, (I know am as shocked as you!) I still need to think of something to give to teachers, neighbors, and those people that you weren't expecting a gift from but now they're on your doorstep with one so you need to come up with something quick to give them! Yeh, I think there are a few people that do that to me on purpose just to see me squirm and go, "oh shoot. I didn't know we were exchanging gifts today, I'll have to bring your gift tomorrow......." Not this year though. This year, "Christmas will be OURS!!" (Shouted in my best Jack Skeleton voice.) Because when you add up all the school teachers, AWANAS leaders, Sunday School teachers, piano, choir, etc. we end up with approximately a billion people who deserve gifts for putting up with my brats sweet angels I needed a gift that is not only something people would want but something that could be mass produced.... 

Bring on the Pina Colada Jam! I got this here: Pina Colada Jam and while unfortunately all the alcohol cooks out, the taste is amazing!! Like lick the spoon even though it's still molten hot good. 

What you'll need:

3 1/2 cups fresh or frozen pineapple, peeled, cored and pureed (Do not use canned pineapple!)
1 cup of Cream of Coconut (I used the Coco Lopez brand, do not use Coconut Milk!!!)

1/3 cup light or coconut rum (I used Pineapple Jack's pineapple-coconut rum, it's sooo good!!)
1/4 cup real lemon juice
6 1/2 cups sugar
2- 3oz pkg. liquid pectin
1 teaspoon butter or margarine
9 half-pint glass canning jars with lids

1. Start your water bath canner and sterilize your 9 half-pint jars, lids, and bands. 

2. Once your pineapple is pureed put in a heavy pot along with your cream of coconut, rum, lemon juice and margarine. Stir well. 
3. Stir in the sugar to the mix and bring to a rolling boil on high. (A rolling boil is one that cannot be stirred down.) Stir constantly and boil hard for 5 minutes. 
4. Stir in pectin and bring back to rolling boil and boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and if needed, skim the foam. 
5. Ladle the hot Pina Colada jam into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch head space. Put on lids and twist bands until finger tight. 
6. Process jars in boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Remove jars and let seal. (Nothing like hearing the *pop* to let you know your jars are sealed!) If any jars are unsealed; refrigerate and use within 3 weeks. Enjoy!

This stuff would be great on biscuits, toast, ice cream, or even warmed up as a dipping sauce for coconut shrimp. Add a homemade tag or in our case a hand-painted (by the kids) ornament and you have the prefect homespun gift that anyone will enjoy. Goodbye Christmas Gift Guilt! Take that you overly nice, thoughtful gift-givers, who I may have only talked to twice this year but you still thought about me enough to give me some nice hand lotion. :-) 

Oh and don't forget, since you do have all the ingredients to make a Pina Colada, go ahead and pour yourself one!! 
Yours Truly, 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Joys of a "payback" child

You know how in Toy Story the main character, Andy signs the bottom of the foot of his toys? 

Courtesy of Disney Pixar

Yeah, this is how my middle child signs her toys. 

I blame her dad...... 

Yours Truly, 

Monday, July 29, 2013

The BEST Roasted Chicken Recipe EVER!

It's a rainy day here and so while the kids are making bed sheet forts in their room (no yelling for the last 30 minutes!!!) I am in the mood to cook. Not only do I want to cook but I want to make the BEST roasted chicken recipe ever. No really, it is! Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks.

The best part of this recipe? It's super easy with just a few ingredients.All you need is a whole chicken, 3 lemons, dried rosemary, salt, pepper, & 3/4 cups (1 1/2 sticks) of butter or margarine. I know that's a crap ton of butter unless you're Paula Deen but it is worth it. Feel free to add any other spices you would like; minced garlic would be great in this. 

Rinse and dry your chicken. And of course, pull out the bag of guts because we all know they're there and as disgusting as it is, it's not going to go away. So put on your big girl panties and shove your hand in there! (Sorry that was more for me then you.... I hate that part!) Now in a bowl combine softened margarine, 2 Tbsp. dried rosemary, a pinch of salt, a few grinds of pepper, and then the zest of all three lemons. Mix it all together.

In a large baking dish, take the margarine mixture and coat the chicken with it. This is where those years of putting sunscreen on kids will pay off. Make sure to get every crevice and even gently work it under the skin. Use all the margarine mixture and then cut the lemons in half, squeeze the juice over the chicken, and shove the lemons into the chicken cavity. Bake the chicken at 425 degrees for 1 hour 15 minutes or until done. Ready to see the finished product?!?!?


Wa-La! How freaking good does that look? Perfectly golden brown and the taste is AMAZING! This recipe is kid and husband approved. Because of the great flavor, and the massive amount of butter, this is a recipe I'll be saving for special occasions. A rainy Monday is a special occasion right?!

Yours Truly,


That's one kid approved meal!!


 The BEST Roasted Chicken


  • 1 whole Chicken
  • 3/4 cups Butter or Margarine, Softened
  • 3 whole Lemons
  • 2 Tbsp. Dried Rosemary
  • A pinch of salt and pepper

Preparation Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. In a bowl, combine softened butter, zest of three lemons, 2 Tbsp. dried rosemary, pinch of salt, and a couple grinds of pepper.
3. In a large baking dish, use your fingers to smear the butter mixture all over the chicken, under the skin, and inside the cavity. Cut the lemons in half and squeeze the juice all over the chicken. Place the lemon halves into the cavity of the chicken.
4. Place the chicken into the oven and roast it for 1 hour, 15 minutes or until done. Skin should be deep golden brown and juices should be sizzling.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Cherry Tasting

We recently went and picked cherries at a friend's house and I wanted to know if they were sour. So I did what every good mother would do and let the kids be the taste testers. 

Popping the cherries in their mouths

And the results

Yup. They're sour! 

Thanks to my taste testers I now know to add just a little more sugar to any upcoming cherry pies! I hope everyone else is having a great summer like we are. School will be here in less then a month and we are not ready for summer to end. Well, there are some days the kids make me REALLY excited for the school year to start but those are days I find fun chores for them to do like cherry tasting. :-) 

Yours Truly,

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Happy Pi Day!

     Happy Pi Day! Or for all my brainy folks out there, Happy 3.141592653589793.... oh who gives a crap Day! Like most sweet toothed people out there I have turned Pi Day into Pie Day and thought it only fair that I share with you one of my favorite and easiest pie recipes. It is my Cherry Blueberry Pie! This pie became a family favorite at first bite and is now a Thanksgiving staple right next to my 1st prize winning (no seriously) Caramel Pecan Apple Pie and my Maple Walnut Pumpkin Pie. 
     Speaking of prize winning, let me tell you a little back story on this pie. This pie was the first pie I ever learned to make and even though I hadn't mastered a pie dough recipe, I considered this MY amazing pie. I was so proud of this pie that I decided to enter it into our local BBQ Blow-out Pie Contest. Needless to say, my store-bought pie dough, canned cherry pie filling, and minimal homemade efforts didn't get first place..... it didn't even place at all. But, after the judging they (local 4H families) slice up the pies and sell them by the slice and I will have you know that my pie was the 1st to be sold out. So while this pie isn't completely made from scratch; it is freakin' tasty. I won't even judge you if you use store bought pie crust. 
      It may have taken me 4 years and about 5 different recipes but I finally did win that pie contest. While I didn't get a fancy ribbon that I probably would have worn for the next month and a half, I did get myself a sweet set of measuring cups. Woot Woot! Anyways, back to the Cherry Blueberry Pie Recipe! 

Cherry-Blueberry Pie

Pie crust for double-crust pie 
½ cup sugar
2 Tbsp. corn starch
1 can (21 oz) Cherry Pie Filling or 2 cups homemade Cherry Pie Filling
1 ½ cups fresh or frozen blueberries 

1 egg white
1 tsp. water
2 tsp. coarse sugar

1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Place half of pie crust in 9-in glass pie plate.
2. In large bowl, mix ½ cup sugar and the cornstarch. Stir in cherry pie 
filling and blueberries. Spoon into crust-lined pie plate. Top with second 
half of crust; seal edges and flute. Cut slits or shapes in several places
in top crust.
3. In small bowl, beat egg white and water with fork until blended. Brush 
over top of pie and sprinkle with 2 tsp. coarse sugar. Cover edges of pie 
with 2-3 inch wide strips of foil to prevent excessive browning. Remove 
foil during the last 15 minutes of baking.
4. Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Cool on cooling 
rack at least 2 hours before serving. Enjoy!! 
K2 as a baby enjoying Mama's Cherry Blueberry Pie

Yours Truly, 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Cheesecake Cookies

We're having a snow day today and while I should be doing something productive like cleaning I've been spending most of the day looking up recipes on pinterest. The plus side of being a slacker on a snow day is that unlike most days when I don't clean my house, the odds of someone showing up unexpectedly at my front door is not very likely. Isn't there an ancient proverb that says, "If your house is a mess but no one is around to see it, is it really dirty?" Sounds legit to me!  

I don't know what it is about being snowed in with three wild kids that makes a person want to find an excuse to spend the day cooking in the kitchen but that's where I'm at. And since I know that's where a lot of my other local friends are at I thought I would bless you all with the best cookie recipe on Earth. No really, it seriously is amazing..... unless you don't like cheesecake and then well, this isn't your cookie, you cheesecake hating freak. 

Cheesecake cookies are just that, cookies that taste like a fruit topped cheesecake only in a mini guilt free cookie version. I got this recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe and what you will need is:

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
2 1/2 sticks butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 cans (20-ounce) pie filling

Oh and don't forget some eager helpers.

Now, combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In another bowl with an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, butter and sugar until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time and then the vanilla. Reduce speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture until just combined. Refrigerate dough for an hour or until firm. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Place graham cracker crumbs in a bowl. Roll the dough into 1 1/2-inch balls, then roll the balls in graham cracker crumbs. Place balls 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Using your thumb, make an indentation in the center of each ball. Place a Tbsp. of pie filling in the dimple. 

I know it looks like it will spill out but it shouldn't. (At least it didn't with mine) Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Cool for five minutes on the sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled take a bite and then run to this page and comment on how amazing these cookies are. I wasn't lying!

Now about this picture.... as you'll notice I used two different kinds of pie filling. One was a store bought cherry pie filling and the other was a homemade mixed berry pie filling. In theory, both of these pie fillings would be acceptable. That is however if you're not a novice canner like myself. In that case you'll end up with some amazing cherry cheesecake cookies and some cheesecake cookies that taste like burnt raisins. Apparently I had the heat on the homemade pie filling a little too high and completely burnt it. At least only half of the cookies had to be scraped off and salvaged, I'd call that a win in my book. 

I guess I better go call my mom and let her know that jar of homemade pie filling I gave her may not be as good as I had hoped..... eh, let her find out for herself! :-) 

Yours Truly,

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Winter Bucket List

    Guess who is still keeping up the seasonal Bucket List tradition? This girl!!! What What! While we have already checked a few of the items off, here is our Winter Bucket List. 

    What I like about this activity is that everyone in the family gets to suggest things to do (within reason) and at the end of the season the list becomes a keepsake for our memory boxes..... aka file folders that I throw keepsake junk in so I don't have to feel bad about my lack of ability to scrapbook. No seriously. I made a scrapbook once using Elmer's glue and markers then went to a scrapbooking party and got laughed out of the place. Never again! But anyways, enough about that, what's on your Winter Bucket List?

Yours Truly,

Elf on the Shelf Gone Wrong!

    I know, I know, I've been slacking on the ole' blog updates and while I would love to say there's some good reason for it like a trip to the Bahamas, the real reason is because my computer sucks. It is soooo slow and is constantly freezing up. I can barely get through a facebook status update let alone a blog post but there's hope on the horizon. Hopefully very soon I will have saved up enough for a new computer. That or there's some phantom millionaire reader that just can't handle the thought of being deprived of my witty blog updates and is going to buy me a new computer. Either way works for me.
    So I had all these really awesome blog update ideas throughout the Christmas break but never got around to typing them up. But trust me, they were really good. Did everyone have a good holiday? Ours was good, but of course the highlight for me was being able to say goodbye to that stupid elf! Yes I know my hate for that elf is unnatural but it's not without cause. 
    When we first got that Elf on the Shelf (from the in-laws) I had all intentions of being that fun mom that thinks up the cool spots for the kids to find the elf. I must have pinned a hundred different ideas but lack of supplies, motivation, and just plain remembering to move the dang thing played against me. All the while that stupid little elf sat there (in the same spot for three days) smiling at me and my failure at becoming one of "those" moms. 
   While my BFF Jess sympathized with me she still held out hope that I or better yet, we could set up one of those silly, cool elf scenes for the kids to wake up and find. The plan was that she would come visit and stay the night and we would set up the elf for the kids to find. Okay, I'm game. 
     So Jessica found the prefect Elf scenario and by prefect I of course mean, I had at least some of the supplies needed. And we waited for the kids to go to sleep. We decided to go with the ole' Elf making a snow angel out of flour. Sounds simple enough. 

Photo courtesy of  Real Life, Real Estate, Real Dana

    We got the kids in bed, set up the elf, and after a few more hours of girl talk, I went to bed knowing that thanks to my BFF Jess I was finally going to feel the reward of being one of "those" moms. Okay, I think you guys are getting to know me by now, do anyone of you think that really happened? No, this is what I woke up to. 

    Isn't that just wonderful? Not only did I wake up to that but I also got to hear two girls scream and cry because as any good elf owner knows, the most important rule is that you cannot touch the elf. Thanks Jess, this is so much better then the usual, "oh look he's on the bookshelf, AGAIN!" Apparently touching the elf caused him to lose his magic powers which then leads to your kids having a panic attack over magicless elves. 
    Using my own little creativity I made the elf a little bed to recover in and the girls wrote him a note to let him know just how sorry they were. I know, I know, it's a freaking toy elf but if you're this far in like I am you just gotta roll with it. 

   And I gotta say the bed actually turned out kind of cute. But the best part is that because K3 touched the elf, I didn't have to move him that night. Score! Okay, so maybe I forgot about him and left him there for four days but as I tell my kids, that's just because he lost a lot of magic and needed the extra recovery time.

Yours Truly,