Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Garden Girls!

Long time, no post! Sorry 'bout that. Melissa and I (Jocelyn) will do better. Since we are both working teacher-moms, it's hard to post during the school year.

Well, it's break time now and Melissa and I are starting to think about our gardens for next year. My Darling Hubby has built a wonderful gardening world in our back yard, and Melissa will be starting her own. Let me show you some pictures from this past summer.

 The Boy playing hide-and-seek in the corn

 The Girl showing off her balance- notice the nice gardening beds Hubby made in the background

 Hubby showing off his plants to my parents

The Girl showing off her flowers. We harvested the seeds off these sunflowers once they were done growing. We could have a field of them this year. (but we won't) I'll have to find directions on how to properly roast sunflower seeds. Hmmm....

Now I have no idea what all Hubby planted in his garden. I know that there were 7 varieties of tomatoes alone. I also know we still have okra in abundance in our freezer. If you'd like to know a little more about our garden, feel free to check out my Hubby's gardening blog.

We currently have around 30 garden beds on our backyard and I believe Hubby has plans to build 5-7 more this year, then he'll be done building. (There won't be any more room)
We have our own compost pile that we use, along with a worm farm that if thriving. (We use the worms for their poop, you know. Our worms are excellent poopers.)

Hubby is currently looking into buying a pressure canner off Amazon for this year's crop. Unfortunately, we had so many tomatoes this season, and so little time to can them, that around 60% went wasted. With a pressure canner, this should not be a problem this upcoming season. Until now, Hubby was having to can the old fashioned way- big boiling pot of water. It took forever.

My New Year's Resolution is to be more supportive of the garden. I don't plan on turning the compost pile anytime soon, but I will help water, weed, pick, and prepare- more than I did this previous season. To help ensure my dedication, Hubby has allowed me to have ONE WHOLE BED for my very own. That's right! 1/30 of the garden will be mine, all mine!
That's a lot of pressure... and power. Oh, how I love power.

Mo original plan was to find the most obscure vegetable seed on the Internet and order it, just to drive Hubby crazy. Little did I know, I would find this fabulous website while I was searching:

They have a wonderful selection of seeds for anything you'd want or need in order to have a thriving garden here in the U.S. I looked all over their site and what did I see, on the last page of their Seed Mixes selection?
Seeds for Kids of All Ages!! It's a collection of seeds. Just that! You don't know what's in it! It's like a vegetable pinata! Some veggies, some flowers, possible a fruit thrown in for good measure. Who knows!
Is this awesome? Yes! 
Will it drive Hubby nuts? Absolutely!
 Do I need it? Of course! 
I bought 4 packets- they're just .50!
Melissa got in on the action and selected the hummingbird packet. The whole transaction only cost $7 and that included shipping! This is my new favorite site. Ever.

So, watch out World! There's a new gardener in town and she's ready for action!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Faith Friday- I say a little prayer for you...

The moment I wake up, before I put on my makeup.... I say a little prayer for you!

Another summer vacation has come and gone, and once again I find myself saying, "Holy poo! It's time for school again!" 

I'm not done with my summer yet! I'm not ready to take on another class of 17 different personalities! My house isn't clean enough, my kids aren't trained enough (The Kid starts Kinder this year!), my hubby isn't sympathetic enough..... well, that one is to be expected. Only other teachers can fully appreciate how much summer vacation isn't really a full vacation.


To prepare for this year, I'm starting the best way I know how- with prayer. I'm not going to listen to the stories from last year. I'm not going to hear any nay-saying about my class. I'm going to start the year fresh, with an Army of Angels at my side. (This is a slight nod to my classroom management plan- General Delk's Army!)


Philippians 4:13

New International Version (NIV)
13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. 

Of course, a little Dionne Warwick never hurts as well.

This version is fun too!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Cheesy Veggie soup

I'm not really sure what to call it, but it is cheesy and is filled with veggies.
I've been trying to create my own recipes lately and some tend to be hit-or-miss. This recipe was a little thick for my taste, but was perfect for Hubby- he licked his plate clean!

Here's what I tried:
2 cans chicken broth (low sodium)
2 cans cheesy broccoli soup (98% fat free)
1 bag California style mix veggies
a few shakes of minced onion, garlic powder, basil, and oregano


I put everything in my crockpot and set it on low- I was at school all day, so I set it on 10 hr this morning. It really doesn't matter. When I got home with the kids the house smelled like broccoli cheddar soup! I made some (canned) biscuits and served the soup over the biscuits.

It was thick and creamy, not really a "soup", but not sure what else to call it. It was really good! Hubby was impressed and that hardly ever happens!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Strawberry Lemonade Cake

 I may have seen something like this on Pinterest, but I didn't pin it.

3 ingredients: box of lemon cake mix, can of strawberry pie filling, and can of lemon frosting

Easy steps:
Mix the cake mix and pie filling together,  spread into pan.

Cook according to directions on box.

Let it at least cool a little.  Top with frosting.  If you are watching what you eat and want this a little bit healthier top it with fat free Cool Whip instead.  In the picture below we did not use Cool Whip.

I apologize for not having a picture of the whole thing.  My husband wouldn't wait for it to cool enough, so we cut slices and smeared a little lot of frosting on top.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Chicken Tortilla Soup

I found this recipe on pinterest. To see the original, click {HERE}
I found that I liked the blog so much, that I added their button to the side of our blog. Check out the Real Mom Kitchen blog!

1 package chicken breasts (2 or 3 boneless/ skinless)
1 can cream of chicken
1 can tomato sauce (8oz, I used the rotel brand for extra spicy-ness!)
1 can black beans (drained)
1 can corn (drained)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 packet mild taco mix (original calls for enchilada mix)
1 1/2 cup water
2 cups milk


1. Mix the seasoning packet, water, and tomato sauce together in the crockpot.

2. Add the milk and cream of chicken soup. Mix until smooth.

3. Add the chicken breasts into the mixture.
4. On top of the chicken, add the corn, black beans, and diced tomatoes. Mix it all together.

5. Cook for desired time. An hour before it's done, take out the chicken, shred it, and add it back to the crock pot. 

I didn't get a picture of the finished product, but we ate it over chips and with shredded cheese on top. It was wonderful! It was good the next day for left-overs too!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Quick Pickles

Hubby's garden has really done well this year. We have proof of that ALL OVER our kitchen counters just waiting to be canned and/ or eaten.

Today Hubby was craving some quick pickles (we called them sour cucumbers when I was a kid) so that's what we made today.

2 cucumbers (fresh from our garden)
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup water

Chop up cucumbers and place them in a bowl

Add the vinegar and water

Get your seasonings ready
1 tsp salt
1tsp pepper
1 tsp ground coriander 

Add seasonings to the bowl and mix

You might want to add more water to completely cover the cucumbers. Cover with plastic wrap and let them soak in the fridge.

You can make them in the morning and let them soak all day, or make them at night and let them soak overnight.

It's a quick and healthy treat!

** If you have a variation, we'd love to hear about it! Share your recipe in the comments section!**

Friday, July 20, 2012

Faith Friday- Mama said...

 Psalm 139: 13-16
 13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb

 (old pic of the twins)
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.

You know, there are times I really feel like karma is a real thing. I might have been a difficult child growing up, and I remember my mother saying things like, "One of these days, you'll have a kid just like you." But I never thought it would happen.

Look at this face.

Two weeks old. I remember loving this time of The Kid's life. Bottles, diapers, burpings, and snuggles. I'm not sure what I did all day except stare at this little bundle of happiness. (Actually, I do remember. Laundry, dishes, and tearing my hair out...)

5 years later and I'm wishing we could go back to the 'no talking' days.

And the thing is, I know my mom probably wished the same thing when my sisters and I were growing up. Especially when it came to my younger sister, but that's another story.

little sis, me, big sis

My point is this- if you read the verse above it says that God had all of my days written in His book before I was even physically put on this Earth. I'm not going to go into predestination or anything like that, but think about it. God knew exactly who and what I was going to be before I was even a twinkle in my mother's eye.

Not only that, but I am fearfully and wonderfully made! My students would agree to the fearfully, and Hubby better agree to the wonderfully.

Here's another one:

Jeremiah 1:5

New International Version (NIV)
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew[a] you,
    before you were born I set you apart;
    I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. ”

I don't know about the prophet part, but I do believe that each of us is set aside for different purposes. Even at such young ages, I can see different personality traits that shine through each one of my kids. I just need to teach them to use their powers for good and not evil.

When I think of those verses I can remind myself that everything that comes at me is part of His plan. The children I was blessed (and I am blessed) with are mine for a reason. They are stars in my life, and even when they are throwing tantrums, they shine brightly. Loudly, but brightly. I don't know what's down the road for them, but God does.

And, while there isn't a guidebook for parenting, I'm glad to know that God has a book with my children's lives in it. I can only imagine what wonderful things are in store for my precious angel blessings.

 p.s. I only call them precious angel blessings when they get on my nerves. I'm trying to speak the sweetness into existence. The house is loud right now due to bath and bed time. *sigh*

Mama said there'd be days like this.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Hide and Seek Meatloaf

I'm not a veggie eater, I'm more of a fruit lover. Hubby on the other hand, loves his veggies and only likes apples from the fruit category. Our kids are a wonderful combination of the two of us. Of course, it helps if you can't tell what veggies are being eaten.

This is my recipe for meatloaf that I use to hide veggies. I know everyone likes his/ her own meatloaf recipe a different way, but this one works for us!

1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground turkey
1/4 cup oats
1 egg
meatloaf seasoning
Worcestershire sauce
Tobasco sauce (not pictured)
veggies of your choice 
( we like carrots, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower)


1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Thaw meat
3. Puree chosen veggies. 
We used carrots (a whole can of sliced carrots) and some steamed broccoli and cauliflower.

4. Mix the thawed ground beef and turkey, pureed veggies, 1/4 cup dry oats, 1 egg, meatloaf seasoning, a few splashes of worcestershire sauce and tobasco- all in a large mixing bowl. 

A real Southern woman would use her hands, but I'm a wuss and use a slotted spoon. I try to not touch raw meat. Eeeewwwww. 

5. Place meatloaf mixture into a baking dish.
If you like tomato sauce or ketchup on your meatloaf, this would be the time to add it to the top.

I love this dish from Pampered Chef. It helps with portion control and we have perfect sized left-overs!

6. Bake at 350 for 1 hour

We eat our meatloaf with rice or a size of veggies. (For those in my house not scared of vegetables) The only veggie I've tried to hide and it didn't work was peas. They made the meatloaf gritty. 

A friend of mine says she uses a box of Stove Top dressing instead of oats and meatloaf seasoning. 

I haven't tried it, but it's something to consider!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Faith Friday: How to Gossip

Confession Time:  One of my biggest struggles is with gossip.  I don't tell secrets that others confide in me.  However, listening to others' gossip used to be a favorite past time of mine.

Then it happened.  I heard the gossip I didn't want to hear.  One of my friends was gossiping about another friend in a pretty hurtful way.  The big chicken that I am didn't say anything even though I should have.

I got angry.  How can she call her a friend and say these things about her?  Would she want those kinds of things said about her?  And the biggie:  if she says those kinds of things about her friends, what's she saying about me when I'm not around?

Then I got embarrassed. What do the things I listen to say about the kind of friend I am?  Of course that thought came to me much later, but hopefully next time I will do better.  For now I am practicing a different way of gossip.  Here are the rules in case you are interested:

1.  Think about why you are sharing what you are sharing.  Is it to get attention?  Is it to let others know "what kind of person" they are?  Oh, and telling someone something "just so they know" isn't a good reason, the other person's smart they can figure it out.

2.  Think about what you are hearing.  Would you want that said about you?  If the person being talked about walked in the room and heard what was being said would you be embarrassed to be sitting there?

3.  Think about something positive to say instead.  Lately I've been having a pretty good time telling others what people have been saying about them, but only the good stuff.  It surprises them.  In a good way.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas

I'm not really sure if they really are enchiladas, but you use tortillas, so it's related!

I made these for Hubby and the kids and it was a huge hit! I modified a recipe that I saw on Pinterest for my own evil purposes! (evil laughter here) For the original recipe, click {HERE}

All the ingredients I used were either low fat or low sodium- or both if available. 

2 cans chicken 
(the picture shows 3, but I only needed 2)
2 box frozen spinach- thawed
1 can corn (drained)
1 can cream of chicken
1 can cream of mushroom
flour tortillas (or corn- your preference)
1/4 package of taco seasoning
shredded cheese
Preheat oven to 350 and spray baking dish with cooking spray

1. Combine the chicken, corn, and spinach in a bowl

2. Place mixture in the tortillas and top with cheese

3. Roll them up and place in a 9x13 baking dish

4. Mix the cream soups in a small bowl and add the taco seasoning. (only 1/4 of the package) Spread the soup on top.

5. Sprinkle cheese on top and bake for 40-45 min


I made this again as a vegetarian dish and used 2 cream of mushroom soups, and substituted the chicken with a can of black beans and a can of mushrooms. De-lish!