Friday, February 5, 2016

Friday thoughts. . .

Taxes are done!  Yeah!  FAFSA is done!  Needed to get them all done early because of the FAFSA and college deadlines.  I was disappointed this year, though.  I have used TAX Act for free for years and years--yes I do our taxes myself and always have, but this year I couldn't.  There are lots of places to do it free if you just have a 1040EZ/A but we use the 1040 and itemize, and I could not find anywhere to do it for free.  Bummer.  I still used TAX Act because they were the cheapest to do what I needed to do.  $25 did my state and federal e-filed.  Still not as good as free, but the cheapest I could find.  Then I had to do Miss A's, but hers were very simple and free all the way around both state and federal e-file.  Taxes.  What a fun thing to talk about on a Friday :)  but the fun thing is they are done and a refund is coming.  That is the fun thing :)

Have a great weekend!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

What's up Wednesday--a few new favorites

No original "me" recipes to share today, but wanted to share 3 new recipes I tried from other places and that we have LOVED!  They all went into my permanent cookbook, and even the kids wanted copies for their own cookbooks, so you know they were good!

The first one is a skillet s'mores.  Our family loves s'mores and since it is way too cold to go out and have one by the fire, this skillet one is perfect.  We devoured the whole thing in 5 minutes flat--with vanilla ice cream on top of it just after it came out of the oven.  Divine.  Please make it.  It is from Your Home Based Mom and you can find it here

Second new recipe we tried this week was also from Your Home Based Mom--check out her site, I like it.  I is a slow cooker Mongolian Beef, and we also all loved it.  Very easy and very good.  Love throw in the crock pot recipes that are just waiting for you ready to go at the end of the day.  You can find that one here

Last one was a brownie recipe--a junior mint brownie recipe.  It makes a small batch and uses a 4 oz box of junior mints.  Our family loves, loves, loves mint brownies.  The kind I usually make are pretty involved, but these are super simple, make in one bowl and you're done.  I found them at Skip to my Lou here. One thing about this recipe, in the directions it says to add the vanilla, but in the ingredients list it doesn't say vanilla, so I added 1 teaspoon.  They were good :)

Just sharing some yummy finds this week!  Hope you enjoy!  Have a great day!!!

Monday, February 1, 2016

2016 Blue Jeans Week 4

We had a great week.  We had our last school "Christmas" program that wasn't able to be scheduled until now.  We celebrated our state's birthday like we do every year with a sunflower cake.  Mr J and Nana showed off their quilt top.  We played some basketball games, made some treats, and enjoyed some very unseasonably warm weather.  Take a look at our week. . .
Had Girls Lunch Out with these amazing friends. I don't know what I was laughing at, but it was obviously funny :)  

Making our famous addiction recipe--needed it for a church activity.  Yum!

Mr J's school program.  They have an awesome African Drumming Circle group that he loves being in.

And he was excited to play the recorder for a few pieces.

Happy State Day!  We always make a sunflower cake to celebrate, but this year the kids requested a pie instead of a cake, so we had a chocolate cream pie with a sunflower on it.  Sadly Miss A missed our picture, but we all loved the pie!

My mom is an amazing quilter.  She had made a quilt with each of my kids over the years.  This past year or so she and Mr J have been working on his.  He picked out the material, design, and has sewed most of it.  The top is done and they are getting ready to put on the back and then Mr J will machine quilt it and bind it.  So grateful for my mom and her amazing influence in my kids' lives!  What a treasure!

Saturday we had an amazingly warm day and decided to hit some bike trails by our house.  It was really pretty.  Miss E had fun with us, but it was sooooo muddy!  Will have to wait for dry weather for a long period of time before we head back.  It was like riding through quick sand, but it was still pretty.  

Thanks for visiting!  Come back soon!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Friday thoughts...

I think having kids learn how to work and do service is soooooo very important--especially in this day and age where (most) kids have so much and really don't do much.  Last week we started volunteering at a local soup kitchen.  My kids were honestly not very excited about it.  Keeping it real--they were whining about it--mostly my 10 year old boy.  I reminded him to Rise and Shine not Rise and Whine--lesson from last week.  We got there, and helped for a few hours, and after they were all happy.  Happy they helped, happy to work, and happy to go back the next week.  I think it is so important to remind kids (and ourselves) it is not about you.  How many times do I tell my kids that?  I hear. . . "I don't want to . . ." and then I say, "This is not about you or what you want.  This is what you have to do."  I think that is a really important lesson to learn--and we have to keep re-learning and re-learning it no matter what age we are.  This life isn't all about us and what we want.  It is about serving, working, learning, and growing, and those are not always fun things, but so very, very important.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

What's up Wednesday--crock pot chocolate cake

No, this is not a picture of what the cake looks like out of the crock pot :)  This is a picture of what this recipe looks like if you bake it in the oven.  I didn't get a picture of it in the crock pot because my family devoured it in about 10 minutes flat--the whole thing, it was that good.  So, if you want to, you can bake this recipe in a bundt pan in the oven at 350 for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and dust with powdered sugar, but we LOVED how it tasted in the crock pot---so moist, and yum.  It is really yummy baked also, so 2 great options for this recipe.
Amazing Crock Pot Chocolate Cake

1 box chocolate cake--any kind, milk, devil's food, whatever flavor of chocolate you like
1 cup sour cream
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup water
4 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 (4 serving size) box of instant chocolate pudding--again any chocolate flavor you like

Coat the inside of your crock pot with nonstick cooking spray.  Mix all above ingredients in a big bowl until well mixed.  Pour into crock pot.  Cover, Cook on LOW 3-4 hours or HIGH 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours.  Serve with vanilla ice cream if you want--we didn't have any and just devoured it with large glasses of milk but it would be extra good with ice cream. Yum!

Monday, January 25, 2016

2016 Blue Jeans Week 3

We had a quieter, relaxing week with some extra sleep because of winter weather this past week.  One day school didn't start until 10 because of an ice storm.  That was nice to sleep in!  It was a nice calm week so take a look. . .
The sophomore basketball girls all dressed up.  Miss O on the end.  They are a good group of girls!

Had Mr J's DARE graduation this week.  Talked about it on my Friday post last week.  An amazing guest speaker with lots of good life lessons.  Way to go Mr J!

Miss O found this mustache somewhere and said it helped her clean better :)  Whatever, as long as she cleans I am good with it :)

Miss O driving me around for some errands in her car that she loves!

Miss A had her first forensics meet this week.  She is doing poetry--a dramatized reading, and impromptu speaking.  She ended up getting first in poetry and 3rd in impromptu.  Pretty good for a first meet!  The first place qualifies her for state competition in April.  Way to go!

And speaking of qualifying for state, Miss O on her French horn made it as alternate for state band.  She was both disappointed and excited.  If any of the top 8 in the state can't go, she gets to as #9.  This picture is from the front page of the paper--woohoo!

And this picture is also from the front page of the paper--can you tell we live in a small town??? :) This article covered the DARE graduation and Mr J up there dancing the DARE dance with some of his classmates.

It was a good week.  Hope you had a great one!  Come back soon!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Friday thoughts

This week my son has his DARE graduation.  I was my 4th and last DARE graduation over these many years.  I think DARE is a great program, and it has been a good thing for all of my kids.  The interesting thing about this week's program was the guest speaker.  This man told of his journey as he nearly lost his life about 2 years ago in a horrible accident.  He shared 3 great lessons he took from the accident and the amazing journey of recovery he has gone through--and continues to go through.   I wanted to share them with you.

Lesson 1:  Live every day with Purpose, Character, and Passion.  You are only given this one day once, and what you choose to do with this day better be important because you are trading one whole day of your life for it.

Lesson 2:  Stuff doesn't matter.  As he was laying on his hospital bed in immense pain and barely alive he didn't care about his car, iphone, TV, clothes, computer etc.  Stuff didn't matter.  What did and still does truly matter???  Faith--his faith in and his relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, Family--his wife and kids, parents, extended family, and Friends--good, supportive friends that called, brought dinner by, visited, cared enough to be there in the tough times.  Those are the things that really matter in this life, so arrange your priorities to match those things that matter--faith, family, friends.

Lesson 3:  Each day when you get up you have the choice to "Rise and SHINE" or "Rise and WHINE."  No matter what your circumstances, you have that choice.  You can choose to be grateful or choose to be bitter and negative.  He said he could have been bitter he had seven broken ribs, a collapsed lung, and a shattered tail bone, but he chose to be grateful he had 17 other ribs that weren't broken, one lung that was still whole and working, and he could still walk even with a shattered tailbone.  He was not paralyzed.  He chose to Rise and Shine and not Rise and Whine.  Love that.

Wow.  What great lessons we all need to remember.  I was grateful for this man who shared his story and his continued journey and was willing to let these kids (and adults) hear it and learn from it.

Have a great weekend.