Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Make Your Dreams Come True!

Prints from Lettered&Lined. Frames and mattes from a thrift store and spray painted gold.
Do you remember the scene from the movie Napoleon Dynamite where he doesn't have a presidential candidate speech prepared and his wise friend, Pedro says, "Just tell them, If you vote for me, all of your wildest dreams will come true."? Wouldn't it be great if making your dreams come true was as easy as a vote?  In reality, making your dreams come true is usually A LOT of blood, sweat and tears. There are setbacks and then some victories. It's quite a roller coaster ride! Today, I'm talking about how to keep your focus, and start to make those dreams come true.

 I love New Year's! I love the thought of a fresh start, the new possibilities. It's a clean slate. I always feel like I can do anything that first week of January! Anybody else feel like that? AND THEN the second week rolls around! I get distracted and start forgetting my goals and my high hopes!

A few years ago, I was introduced to a fantastic concept called Dream Books! I got together with a bunch of friends with a 3 ring binder and a stack of old magazines in hand! My friend in charge of this event had glue, scissors, more magazines and colored paper for us to use. She then set out the plan:

PUT YOUR DREAMS ON PAPER AND THEY WILL BE MORE LIKELY COME TRUE!!!

She shared with us that 85% of the things in your dream book would come true, if you kept that book out and looked at it often throughout the year as your are living and working toward your goals.

In my opinion, 85% of my dreams is pretty darn good!

In daughter's room. Print: lettered&lined
Since that time, I have had my family make these a couple of times. We have some big goals as a family, and I have some big ones for myself and my business this year, so I had us do them again. I love seeing what my kids come up with. I usually give them a quick pep talk about goal setting. I say things like "think of a big goal, then break it down into smaller short term goals that will lead to that big one". Yada, yada, yada. I get some eye rolling from the older ones, and some frustrated grunts from the younger ones, til we get to the crafty part of the assignment. Then, I tell them to think of some goals to better themselves personally, or in school, or in a talent they are pursuing. Whatever they want really, it's their project! I love the words that jump out at us as we scour magazines for the perfect lines or pictures to add to our books.

Now, you can make a book with different pages and some sections (like money, personal, business, home, spiritual, etc), or you can make a board of any size and fill that up to hang on your wall. Use whatever method will help you keep that focus. I use the boards for my kids because I can hang them on the wall by their beds and they can stare at it as they are waking up or going to sleep. (and maybe by osmosis whilst they sleep???!!! ;D)

I made a book because I can add more to it and focus on topics. Here are some pictures of our work to help get you inspired to get your goals up and in the open, so you can make them happen. Your family will see each other succeed in making dreams big or small come true! What an awesome thing to teach your children. Decide what you want, and go for it. Work hard to make it a reality.

Here is a great goal-setting printable from Homeschoolapalooza! Go print it out to keep a laser focus on a goal.

And finally, I have sprinkled in some of my favorite quotes, and a link to where you can pin them or buy them! (I am not affiliated with any of these fine shops, by the way. I just truly love their work!)

Happy New Year! 
                     GOOD LUCK MAKING YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE!
Education goals for kids
Family page
Financial page
Me page




This one is being shipped to me now! House of Belonging

7 inspiring quotes


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Caramel Chocolate Pretzels

These are delish! A favorite at Christmastime. My kids love helping make these. Even my 5 year old helped!

These make a great friend/neighbor gift.

You can even get gluten free pretzels and they taste really good!

Here is what you need:

*Honey Wheat Braided Twists (There are many brands of these now. You can find them pretty much anywhere.)
*Your favorite caramel recipe. Here is a super easy recipe, in case you don't have one. You can also just buy caramels and melt them, if you don't feel like making caramel. (But homemade is better!)
*Milk chocolate

Easy Caramel (and it really is!)
1 cup butter
1 lb. brown sugar (Just over 2 1/4 cups)
1 cup light corn syrup
1 15 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla

Melt butter in heavy 3 qt saucepan. Add brown sugar, stirring until well combined. Blend in corn syrup. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly. Cook and stir over medium heat until candy reaches firm ball stage, 6-12 minutes. Remove from heat; add vanilla. Pour into buttered pan over toasted almonds, pecans or just plain. This caramel is also used for turtles. Cool. Cut into small squares and wrap in plastic wrap (or waxed paper). Makes 2 1/2 pounds.

A note about firm ball stage: You can use a candy thermometer (the stages are printed on mine along with the temps. Or, you can do it the old fashioned way, like my mom taught me and have a bowl of ice water sitting by the stove and you test it by dropping about 1 tsp caramel into the water. Let it cool for several seconds then make it into a ball. You will be able to tell if it's soft ball or hard ball by the consistency. Firm ball stage makes a firm, but not hard, ball. Hence the name. :)

Once caramel is done, let it cool a bit and then get dipping. I put mine on waxed paper or plastic wrap ( I have an obsession with waxed paper, for some reason. I think it reminds me of my grandma or something) If your caramel isn't quite firm enough, you may have to 'wrap' it back around the pretzels and then let it cool completely either on your counter or pop it outside or in fridge. Then, I melt my milk chocolate, and put some in a little plastic bag with a small hole cut off the tip. I pipe the chocolate onto the caramel, as shown in the picture above. I have a piping bag, but I hate the clean up! The baggie is so easy to just throw away once I'm done! You could also dip these in chocolate, but they are pretty rich, so the drizzling is nice.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Green Onion Cheese Ball--Quick and Easy!


This is one of my very favorite, tried and true recipes. It's so quick and easy to whip up! A friend shared it with me many years ago. I make it several times each holiday season, taking it to parties or just eating it around the table with my family. This also makes an excellent neighbor/friend gift!

1 8oz cream cheese, softened
2-3 green onions, chopped fine (use more or less, to your taste)
2 tsp butter, softened
About 1/4 tsp salt, to taste
chopped nuts of choice for rolling (I have used almonds, pecans and walnuts and love them all),optional

Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Whirl til mixed well. Scoop mixture out onto plastic wrap. Bring plastic wrap around the cheese and form a ball. Twist the end closed so the ball stays formed. Refrigerate for about an hour. Remove the plastic wrap, and roll ball in nuts if you like. I love the nuts! Serve with your favorite crackers. My favorites are  Wheat Thins, Ritz crackers or Cracked Pepper & Olive Oil Triskets. Enjoy!

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Secret Elf Project



In my husband's family, they did something called 'The Secret Elf'. They started at some point in December, and would do it til Christmas. We have continued this tradition with our kids, and we love it. Here is what you do:

First, have everyone write their names on little slips of paper, and put them in a container. Have everyone draw out a name, making sure they don't get their own! Haha.

Each day, you do some kind of little act of service for your person. You must try your best to keep it a secret! It's so fun. I love the sneaking around and giggles I hear, as people are doing their good deeds. When the kids were littler, my hubby and I had to help quite a bit. Now that they are older, they do a fine job of thinking up their own! There are chores done, notes on pillows of 'I love you' or a compliment, pictures drawn, and I have even seen cash! I also keep a little bowl of Christmas candy on the counter and we use that, too. One year, I had Chris, my husband.  I didn't want him to know it was me, so I kept having different kids write my notes (I kept them generic, so they couldn't guess, either). I had him fooled the whole time. See, it's even fun for the grown ups!

We choose a present to give our secret person in order to reveal our identities on Christmas morning. Some years we buy something, a few years we have made things for each other. Those are my very favorite years!

All in all, it is a wonderful time. It brings a sweet spirit into our home. Just now, my husband went in our room and found a note and candy on his pillow from his secret elf. I know who it is, and she happened to be walking through the kitchen when he found it and yelled, "I got something from my Secret Elf!" She grinned so big! My heart is bursting. This project will teach your kids about offering loving service. The kids talk about it all year long, and say how they can't wait til it's Secret Elf time again. They love the getting, but they also love the giving!

Good luck. I would love to hear how your 'Secret Elf Project' is going this year. Leave me a comment here or on Instagram or Facebook. Find me under Bedhead Designs. Merry Christmas!

For more ideas for family traditions, go here.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

DIY Christmas Ornament Wreath



I have seen these beautiful Christmas Ornament Wreaths in various stores. I thought they were so pretty! And, of course, I also thought, "I can make this"! So, I googled it and found one I really liked here on LiveLoveDIY.com. Check out her blog. It's really great.

Here is my version. I love how it turned out. I found the balls at a couple local dollar stores. I found a foam wreath to glue the ornaments on at Michael's for 40% off. They didn't have any at the dollar stores I went to. I used hot glue and it took me about half an hour to do it. I glued some to the wreath and some right onto each other, so I could get it to look just right. Let me know what you think!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Guest Post on Running Granny Green Blog





Last week, I wrote a guest post on my good friend, Carol Green's blog,Running Granny Green. She is an author, a granny, and a runner! Check out her blog for great tips on running, food and how to have a great life!

10 Things You Didn't Know About Me

In an effort to connect a little, I'm doing a little introduction. So, here are 10 random things you didn't know you didn't about me!

1. I played tenor saxophone 4 years in my high school marching band. If you handed me a sax now and asked me to play, I am quite sure I couldn't pick out one note on it now! (It's only been 21 years)

2. I have never ridden in a limo. My hubby thinks it's funny that I think that's a big deal, but he has been in one!

3. I was 20 before I saw a Star Wars movie.

4. I love dates with my husband, Chris. He is my best friend and my constant dream partner. We love dreaming about where we want to be and how we can get there!

5. I have a collection of unicorns from my tween/early teen years that my mother keeps trying to send home with me. What can I say, it was the 80's! They are fantastic. Some even have wings!

6. I hate to fly. I am a bit of a control freak and that is just more than my little controlling heart can handle. Maybe if I was the pilot...

7. I love music. (hence the band nerd comment above) I love listening to it. I love singing it. I think my favorite, though, is leading the children at my church in song. It is like leading a chorus of little angels and it makes me want to wave my arms big and sing at the top of my lungs with joy in listening to them sing precious truths!

8.  I have 10, yep I said TEN, sisters! (8 are technically in-laws, but they have become real sisters to me, too.)

9. I love animals, especially baby animals. Nothing. Better.

10. When I was little I always wanted to be a mom. I am so lucky that I get to be one 4 times over! They are wild and crazy and drive me nuts at times, but they are my favorite little people and are growing up so well in spite of their mother. They do my heart good, keep me young, and teach me stuff all the time. And I love how forgiving they are, cuz I mess up a lot being their mom.  But, I'm trying my best and I think we are having some fun along the way.

Stay tuned for more get to know yous.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Hunter's Hero (Meatball Sub) from Guy Fieri

My family LOVES these meatball subs shared by Guy Fieri on The Food Network! They are soo good. They take a little time, but are really worth it. Great for a party!


2 T olive oil
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
5 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup bread crumbs (I used 2-3 slices of white bread & tore them up)
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground pork sausage
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp red pepper flakes (I used just a pinch!)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 egg, beaten
7 hoagie rolls
marinara sauce (I love Prego traditional spaghetti sauce, but I canned my own this year!)
slices of mozzarella (use a lot)1/4 cup parmesan
Heat 1 T oil in large skillet over med. heat. Cook onion, bell pepper and garlic till tender, 5 mins. In bowl, pour milk over bread crumbs and stir till milk is absorbed. Add sauteed veggies, beef, pork sausage, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper and egg. Mix well. In same skillet used for veggies, heat remaining oil over med.heat. Form large meatballs, and drop into hot skillet. Brown on all sides and cook thoroughly, till juices are clear and meat is no longer pink. (This takes some patience.) On each hoagie roll, place 4 big meatballs, pour some marinara sauce (1/4 cup), couple slices of mozzarella, and sprinkle with parmesan. Put on cookie sheet and Broil in oven till toasty and melty. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Teaching Children Your Values Using Current Events

I attended a meeting put on by Al and Julene Jackson, (a dynamic couple with a beautiful family) about strengthening families. The ideas shared were things I felt like we should implement.  I had been doing some of them, like daily devotionals with the kids before school, but some were new. One in particular, was using current events to teach our children our values. My kids are homeschooled now, so they don't hear about current events like they did in public school. They were always coming home telling me how their teachers had talked to them about this or that. It was good to open that dialog and reinforce our family values with them. Since bringing them home, I have been meaning to implement some current events in our schedule, but just haven't found my balance yet to do that.  These were the thoughts in the back of my mind as this experience unfolded. Here is what I learned from the Jackson's.

I found a bunch of 'classic' videos in my church library last week. I remembered watching many of them as a teen and decided to bring them home and share them with my family.  As we watched one, I realized there was a teaching opportunity I hadn't expected pertaining to a certain current event that had troubled me recently. 

Subscribe to at least one newspaper. If you can, choose a local one, and then a more national one, so you can get a variety of current events. You can choose online or real paper. (you can even just do the Sunday edition, if you don't want a bunch of papers piling up. There will be plenty to choose from all week!) I like real paper because we can gather around it, and choose one that jumps out at us. Let the kids pick sometimes (or all the time), it will get them more interested. Once you have picked a topic, read the article out loud and start the discussion. I am teaching my children to search for truth with their hearts, conscience, and then minds. Ask them pointed thinking questions to help them get started. It doesn't hurt to sit there a few minutes in silence while they process. This will help them come up with questions and ideas they have. Then, share your family beliefs, expectations and values on the subject. Let them mull, even in awkward silence for a bit. 

The current event that the movie brought out had both moral value questions and questions about how it could affect our own freedoms and other people in our lives. My kids range in age from 14 down to 5. Sometimes the topics may be over some heads, but they will glean something out. There is usually one big simple truth you can teach everyone, then get more detailed with the older ones as they ask. AND LET THEM ASK! Open it up to them, so it isn't just you up there expounding. Be sure to get down on their level, so they know this is a time to ask real (and sometimes hard or scary) questions. This will be a great way to keep the channels of communication open with your kids. If you are sharing a range of topics, even the touchy ones, they will see that it's totally cool to talk about anything with Mom or Dad. And THAT IS SO IMPORTANT! 

I am a strong believer in sharing my customs and beliefs with my children! I think it is wise to give them a foundation on which to build. As they go about their life, they will come to crossroads, or uncharted waters. They will need to draw from somewhere or someone, what to do in this or that situation. If we have not shared what we believe or what we have done, what do they have to stand on? It is important for the next generation to know what we believe and how we did things. They can then decide if it’s something worth passing on. Sometimes, they are not, and it is wise to be choosy. If your beliefs are not shared, though, your children cannot judge them for themselves.
Winston Churchill said, “A love for tradition has never weakened a nation, indeed it has strengthened nations in their hour of peril.”
I think this quote can be used in a family situation, too.  Knowledge of family values can strengthen us in an hour of peril.  Start sharing with your families today. You will find a new closeness and strength to your family. You will be confident that your kids can make choices and discern what is right and right for them.

Check out my other posts on how to implement a daily before school family devotional and how to teach your kids the constitution.  I will post some other ideas on helping our families be strong and building kids with good character soon.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Etsy Shop Blog Feature

April Bern of aprilbern.com featured my Etsy shop on her Handmade Weekend Post today. I'm so excited! Go check it out and learn a little something about me!


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Easy Way To Clean A Cast Iron Pan

Do you love cooking with cast iron, but hate cleaning them like I do? Well, here is a quick and easy way to clean them. Use a crumpled piece of newspaper! It's best to clean the pan while it's still hot/very warm. Scrape off the excess gunk with a metal spatula. If you need, add a little oil to the pan and wipe it out with the newspaper. Keep wiping and changing the newspaper til the newspaper no longer turns dark and nasty while wiping. This makes the process quick and easy. You and your cast iron pans will be so happy!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Cheeseburge Chowder and Crusty Artisan Bread





Here is a fall dinner the whole family can get behind! The only complaint was, there wasn't enough bread! This is an easy, quick recipe and you will most likely have every ingredient at your house. My sister-in-law shared this one with us years ago. It is a family favorite.

Cheeseburger Chowder

1 lb. ground beef
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
½ cup chopped celery
¼ cup chopped onion
1 T. instant beef bouillon granules
¼ t. pepper
½ t. salt
1½ cups water
2½ cups milk
3 T. flour
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar (I have used medium when I didn't have sharp, and I just add extra!)

-In large stock pot, brown beef; drain. Stir in potatoes, celery, onion, bouillon, pepper, salt and water. Cover and cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes. In medium bowl, whisk flour into ½ cup of milk; add to pot along with remaining milk. Cook and stir until thick and bubbly. Add cheese; heat and stir until cheese melts.

-Recipe from Good Things Utah 


Artisan Free-Form Loaf

This bread is heaven. Crusty on the outside, chewy on the inside. If you are afraid of making yeast bread, this is the one to start with. Another sister-in-law brought this one to the family a few years ago and it is a keeper! (FYI--I have 8 sisters-in-law and 2 sisters of my own, so I have many great cooks to lean on!) 


3 C lukewarm water
1 1/2 T yeast
1 1/2 T kosher or other coarse salt
6 1/2 cups unsifted, unbleached, all purpose white flour, measured with the scoop-and-sweep method
Cornmeal for pizza peel

1. Warm the water slightly: It should feel just a little warmer than body temp, 100 degrees.


2. Add yeast and salt to water in 5-quart bowl or, preferably in a resealable, lidded (not airtight) plastic food container. Don't worry about getting it all to dissolve.


3. Mix in flour-kneading is unnecessary. Add all of flour at once, gently scooping up flour, then sweeping the top level with knife; don't press down into flour as you scoop or you'll have too much flour! Mix in standing mixer with dough hook attachment until mixture is uniform. Don't knead! No dry patches! This will yield a dough that is uniformly moist, wet, and loose enough to conform to the shape of the container.


4. Allow to rise. Cover with lid but do not put on air tight. 2 hours. Fully refrigerate dough-3 hours or overnight.


5. The gluten cloak: Don't knead, just cloak and shape a loaf 30-60 seconds. First, prepare a pizza wheel by sprinkling it liberally with cornmeal to prevent your loaf from sticking to it when you slide it into the oven. Sprinkle the surface of your refrigerated dough with flour. Pull up and cut off a 1 pound (grapefruit size) piece of dough, using a serrated knife. Hold the mass of dough in your hands and add a little more flour as needed so it doesn't stick to your hands. Gently stretch the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter turn as you go. Most of the dusting flour will fall off; it's not intended to be incorporated into the dough. The bottom doesn't need to look pretty but the correctly shaped loaf will be smooth and cohesive on top. This should only take 30-60 seconds.


6. Rest the loaf and let rise on pizza peel. 40 minutes-don't cover. (My 2 cents--I don't have a pizza peel. I use one of those really thin, flimsy plastic cutting boards and sprinkle it with quite a bit of cornmeal. I have found it slides off pretty easily. You just need to watch it when you slide the bread off not to melt it on the hot stone.)


7. Preheat oven and pizza stone on middle rack at 450. Place a broiler tray for holding water on any other shelf that won't interfere with the rising bread.


8. Dust and slash. Dust top of loaf with flour and cut with serrated knife in cross pattern about 1/4 inch deep. Or tick-tack-toe looks nice too.


9. Baking with steam. After preheat, slide loaf onto pizza stone. Quickly but carefully pour 1 cup hot water from tap into the broiler tray and close oven to trap steam. Bake for about 30 minutes or until crust is nicely browned and firm to the touch. Let cool on wire rack. You can store remaining dough in refrigerator for 14 days. Leave in plastic container with lid on but not airtight.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Redbook Feature!!

Today, I got to see my work in print! My lavender ruffle pillow cover was featured in REDBOOK magazine! Thank you, Redbook! I am honored!





Sunday, September 21, 2014

Nutella Icebox Cake

If you could taste Heaven, I'm pretty sure this is what it would taste like. (or bacon. It might be a tie. Haha!) It's so fluffy. It's rich, yet light. Simply delightful! My Mother-in-Law brought this cake to us for a party this summer and I have been dreaming about it ever since! I finally made it yesterday. It's really quick and easy, too. Sorry the picture isn't that great. It got devoured so fast, this was the only piece I had left to photograph! Now, that's saying something! This recipe comes from The Food Network Magazine. You can also find it on FoodNetwork.com.


1 3/4 cup heavy cream, cold!
1 1/2 cups mascarpone cheese
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup Nutella
20 whole chocolate graham crackers or other good chocolate cookie/cracker

Beat on low speed 1 cup cream, 3/4 cup mascarpone, all the sugar and vanilla till combined. Then beat till stiff peaks form, 1-2 minutes. (with my Bosch, it was about 30 seconds. watch it, I made butter out of it the first go around. boo.) Combine remaining 3/4 cup each cream, and mascarpone with the nutella in a separate bowl, beat till stiff peaks, 1-2 mins. (again, watch it close) Line bottom of 8 inch spring-form pan with 4 grahams in single layer, breaking up if needed to fill gaps. (my pan is a 9" springform. next time, I will 1 and 1/2 the recipe so it is taller. it will look prettier) Spread half the vanilla whipped cream over crackers. Top with another layer crackers. Spread half the Nutella mixture over, then layer crackers. Repeat ending with Nutella layer. Cover pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate 6 hrs or overnight. To serve, run a knife along edges of pan and remove springform sides.

Check out my family's recipe blog here for more great recipes. I have 8 sisters-in-law and 1 mother-in-law and they are all wicked cooks! 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Spooky Witch's Fingers

These are a favorite family tradition at our house! I have 4 kids and they think these are SO cool.  I think they look pretty neat myself! The first time I made them, boy #3 was 3 years old. When I showed him the picture of what we were making that day, he got the funniest look on his face. Seriously creeped out! Haha. And my favorite part about these is they have a disgusting secret! When you bite into them, there is a BONE inside!!!! (insert evil laugh here) These are quick and easy and all the kids can help.





Here is what you need:
Your favorite peanut butter cookie recipe (I have included one in case you need it)
Green food coloring
Straight pretzels
Slivered almonds

1 tube of chocolate icing

Peanut Butter Cookies (from my trusty Pillsbury Cookbook)
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 c butter
1/2 c peanut butter
2 T milk
1 t vanilla
1 egg
1 3/4 c flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
Regular directions for cookies:
Heat oven to 375F. In large bowl, cream sugars, and butter. Blend in peanut butter, milk, vanilla, and egg. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets; flatten balls in crisscross pattern with fork dipped in sugar (I just roll mine in sugar first then flatten with fork). Bake at 375F for 10-12 min or til golden brown. Makes 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

To make witch's fingers:
Make dough as directed above, but add a little bit of green food coloring to make them look like real witch fingers!  Roll dough into finger-sized logs, inserting a pretzel in the middle of each finger. Then shape them to look like old witch fingers with gnarly knuckles. Take a knife and make little lines to look like knuckle lines. (look at my photo and you'll get it.) Then make an indentation at the top for the nail bed. (You will add a slivered almond after it's baked to look like the fingernail.) Bake. Check your first batch at 8 minutes to see if you need to adjust time, depending on how big you make your fingers. After they cool a bit, put a little chocolate icing on each nail bed. Press an almond on to look like a fingernail. Let some of the icing squish out a bit so the nails look good and dirty. What witch do you know with lovely clean nails??!!  (again, add the evil laugh)

Arrange these on a plate or wrapped in tissue paper in a take out box. They look amazingly real! We love taking these around to friends and seeing their reactions. I also like asking them later if the kids ate them or not. It's funny to find out who was freaked out and who ate them with gusto!!

Happy haunting. Hope this adds to your Halloween fun!

Check out some of my other recipes: meatball subs, cheeseburger chowder and bread, nutella icebox cake

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Homemade Mult-Grain Pancake Mix



In honor of 'Back to School', I am posting this recipe from my family blog. If you need other good breakfast recipes, (or anything else) check it out, here

I decided I wanted to make my own pancake mix. Since I have a wheat grinder, I thought I should be thinking of more ways to use it.  I am also interested in fresher, more quality foods. These are just under 90% whole grain!  This recipe is from the King Arthur Flour Company's website.  It is SOOOO delicious! This stores in an airtight container at room temp for 2 weeks, or indefinately in the fridge or freezer.  Everyone gave these a thumbs up.  This will be really fast to whip up before school! 

4 cups King Arthur white whole wheat flour (or whatever kind you like, I grind my own)
1 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
3 1/2 cups old-fashioned or rolled oats
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 cup vegetable oil

To Make Mix
1.Grind the oats in a food processer until they are chopped fine, but not a powder. (I just use quick oats and don't bother grinding. One less step.)
2.Put the flour, oats, and all other dry ingredients into a mixer with a paddle. Mix on slow speed, and drizzle the vegetable oil into the bowl slowly while the mixer is running.
3.Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks at room temperature, or indefinitely in the refrigerator or freezer.
To Make Pancakes:
1.Whisk together 1 cup of mix, 1 cup of buttermilk (you can use soured milk, but buttermilk gives noticeably superior results; a combination of half plain yogurt and half milk also will do), and 1 large egg. Don't worry if it seems thin at first: the oats will soak up the milk, and the mix will thicken a bit as it stands. Let the batter stand for at least 20 minutes before cooking.
2.Heat a lightly greased griddle to 350°F (if you've got a griddle with a temperature setting; if not, medium-hot will do).
3.Drop the batter onto it in 1/4-cupfuls (a jumbo cookie scoop works well here) to make a 4" diameter pancake. If you have English muffin rings, use them; they make a perfectly round, evenly thick pancake. When the edges look dry and bubbles come to the surface without breaking (after about 2 minutes, if your griddle is the correct temperature), turn the pancake over to finish cooking on the second side, which will take about 2 minutes.
4.Serve pancakes immediately, or stack and hold in a warm oven.
Yield: a batch using one cup of the mix will make about eight 4" pancakes.
Note: If you don't have buttermilk in the house, try the yogurt and milk combination first; if you happen to have buttermilk powder, try this: In place of the buttermilk, add 1/4 cup buttermilk powder to 1 cup of dry mix, then stir in 1 cup water and 1 large egg. The results won't be as magnificent as using liquid buttermilk, but you'll still have very tasty pancakes.
Variation: Add 1 tablespoon orange juice to the dry mix along with the buttermilk. We've found that the acidity and sweetness of the orange juice helps mellow the tannic taste some people perceive in whole wheat flour; while the pancakes won't have any orange flavor, they may taste slightly milder to you, if you're not a fan of whole wheat flour (but still want to get more whole grains into your diet).

I didn't use their brand of flour.  I ground my own WW flour and I only use unbleached anyway.  I only had quick oats on hand, so I used those instead.  I only had the mixture sit 10 minutes.  It seemed fine.  I also didn't have buttermilk, so I used the sour milk.  Whenever I do this in a buttermilk recipe, it makes a thinner pancake.  I don't mind the thinner, but it is different with the real stuff.  I would say they are better with buttermilk , but still delicious no matter what is used.  They also said you can freeze buttermilk in 1 cup portions to use at later times.  Also, these are fabulous with berries in them.  And my kids loved jam on them.

Check out my other recipes: 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Homemade Asphalt Pie (aka Grasshopper Pie)

Asphalt Pie is one of my all time favorite treats. I can eat it any time of the year! My family loves it, too, so there is usually at least one request for it as a birthday cake. It's so fast and easy to whip up.
Here is what you do...

1 carton (the regular size used to be 2 quarts, but it's like 1.5 now) of your favorite Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream
22-26 Oreo cookies,  crushed (you know I always do 26. and then, I just eat the Oreo-y, buttery goodness. this is how I would prefer to eat Oreos--steeped in butter! haha!)
1/3 cup melted butter
Caramel ice cream topping
Chocolate syrup
Whipped cream, (sweetened) you can make your own, but I actually like to use the squirty kind as long as it's real whipped cream. I like how it comes out light and fluffy. And it's fun.

So, crush your Oreos and mix them with the butter. Then put them into a pie plate. (I like a 10 inch pie plate, but any size is fine) Be sure and get the crumbs up the sides and do it fairly thick. If it's too thin, it doesn't hold up well when you scoop it out of the pan to serve. Reserve about 1/3 cup for the top to make it look nice.  After you get the crust into the pan, put it in the freezer til it's hardened. After the crust is hardened, take the ice cream out of the freezer and let it soften a bit, take the crust back out of the freezer. Then get a metal spatula and scoop it out of carton and cram it into the Oreo crust. Sprinkle the reserved crumbs onto the top of the ice cream. Stick it back into the freezer for an hour or so til ready to serve.

Take out the pie and cut into serving slices. Add whipped cream to top and then drizzle with caramel and chocolate.  Serve!  It is always a hit!!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Daily Family Devotional--Part 2



Part 2. Once you have the inspirational devotional down, you can add a new element to it--becoming a Constitutional Family.  


I will remind you it is important not to throw too much at your family all at once. If you have young children or teens, you may be hard pressed to get them to pay attention for long periods without lashing out irrationally in some form!


Another thing to figure out is what time is best to do this with your family. Morning may work best for some, but others might prefer to do it at night. I liked sending my kids off each morning with some truth, light and inspiration to help them feel strong and happy and help them make good choices during the day. Decide what works best and be diligent in doing it every. single. day.


So, how do you start to be a Constitution loving family?

Start out with a prayer. Ask God to bless you with his Spirit. Ask for clear minds and receptive hearts to abound! Ask for whatever else you need. Be sure to thank Him for all his blessings.  Next, sing a hymn or patriotic song. This year, we are going to learn all the patriotic American songs I can think of! My children haven’t learned them in school like I did. ‘You’re a Grand Old Flag’, ‘My Country Tis of Thee’, ‘God Bless America’, ‘God Bless the USA’ , 'The Star Spangled Banner' and any others that come to mind will be on the docket.


Next, do a little bit of scripture or other inspirational text study. (those videos I was telling you about would be great here, too)

Now, on to the main topic. Does it sound daunting to you to teach about the Founding Fathers and Constitution? I know I was intimidated at first. I must admit, I don’t know much about the Constitution or the Founding Fathers or the Revolution. The biggest thing I had going for me is I am passionate about it! I have a strong desire for us to know about our Constitution so we can be informed and proactive citizens!  I found a fantastic, easy to understand book and some online resources that have been really great. The book I have chosen to teach from is called ‘The 5,000 Year Leap: A Miracle That Changed the World’ by Cleon Skousen. It is AMAZING! It’s concise, easy to understand and it’s quite a conversational read. I feel like I can hear Mr. Skousen speaking it.  I am still not done with it, but I’m ready to teach what I have learned. We will be going small section by small section. I will have a big notepad to write important info on so we can memorize things as we go. This one is all about the Founding Fathers, and what led them to be passionate about starting a new country with a totally new form of government. What principles were important to them? Why did they feel they were so important? You really get into their heads and see why they believed what they did. It all rings very true to me as I read. It all makes perfect sense. I am beginning to see that much has changed from their original inspired document.  I shake my head as I see how they knew what could happen if we weren’t careful. They tried to put in place protections, but, people have changed things and taken out those safeguards. They knew all this because they were in the middle of the tyranny from a Monarch and knew there was a better way and they were led by God to form this country. 

Another great resource is the National Center for Constitutional Studies. You can get copies of the Constitution here. There is even a free online course about the constitution here that I took and it's very helpful. One more place that has tons of ideas is Homemakers for America. Again, there is tons of info about teaching liberty to our families. 

I know as we begin to teach these correct principles to our families, we will become closer. We will also be very knowledgeable about some very important things! Our country is in a disturbing time. Liberties are being threatened. I feel a strong need to teach my family, so that they will learn to be thinkers, but more importantly FEELERS. I want them to be able to feel when something is a correct principle or a false one. We need to be independent souls who can figure things out and then act on the impressions we receive. It will take great strength and courage. I am confident as we teach our families daily from Holy Scripture and other Sacred Writings, like the Constitution, our country will be in great hands in the future!

Watch for 2 more posts on this topic: Cottage Meetings: Teaching our neighbors to revere liberty, and, Teaching Children Your Values Using Current Events. And Part 1 of Daily family devotional.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

DIY Daily Family Devotional--Part One



As the new school year begins, I am sharing a tradition that is near and dear to my heart--The DAILY FAMILY DEVOTIONAL.  

Each morning before school, we gather as a family around the breakfast table.  We start with a prayer, we sing a song (usually a hymn) and then get a little inspiration from the scriptures to start our day off right. I loved sending my children off to school with their minds stuffed with some positive light and a prayer with their mother.  My heart was not at peace about sending them to public school in the first place, so this helped ease my soul a bit. But in the end, I brought mine home because that was what my heart ended up whispering needed to be done. But, even though they are home schooled, we still do a devotional. This year we will be focusing on learning about our Constitution and love of our great country. (that is a blog post for another day)

So, how do you start to do a daily devotional with your family, you ask? It’s easy. I will list it out for you.

1.       KEEP IT SHORT AND SIMPLE.  If your children are young, or if you haven’t done anything like this before, then keep it to about 5 minutes. That is plenty of time to give a good dose of wisdom and light. As you get used to things, you can make it longer as you feel the need. (ours are about 15 min)

2.       Start with a prayer. If you haven’t prayed out loud with your family before, start today. It, again, should be short and simple.  Just start by addressing God. Then, thank Him for your blessings. Last, Ask him for what you need.  Then close with an Amen. Get personal. Tell Heavenly Father any specific troubles you are having. Ask him to bless the children individually. Ask for protection, courage and strength for the children as they are away from home. Having a family prayer is a most holy event. Your family will feel a special power and closeness. You will all crave this time together! You have heard the saying, “The family that prays together, stays together”, and it is very true.

3.       Read from your favorite book of Scripture or an inspirational book or magazine. You can start from the beginning of the book and go straight through and discuss what you read each day, or you can just find subjects or stories you want to share with your family and teach them about that.  You can do it yourself each day or you could get your children involved. Mine read scripture/religious magazines on their own, too, so I assign a day of the week to each one and they are in charge of the lesson that day. I expect them to share the story, what we can learn from it, and why they liked it and wanted to share it. 

4.       If you have time, or want to add a little something extra, (or don't have time one day to do the whole regimen) find a good video clip to add to your devotional. My church puts out these really powerful, videos about scripture stories or making good choices and being a good person. They are online here. They are so well made, they are AMAZING! I’m so happy we live in an age that we have these conveniences at our fingertips!

If you decide to start this in your family, I know you will feel a new closeness. I know you will feel at peace sending your children out into the world because you have sent them with a piece of light and love from your heart each morning. It will provide a shield for them, and it will give you a peaceful mind.  Let me know how it goes in your family. I would love to hear from you! 

Check out my other posts on teaching your kids: here and here.