Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Chicken Recipe Question/Answer

Leanne asked if the chicken recipe I posted earlier today could be made in the crock pot. Good Question!! Since I am all about simplicity and doing what works for the family I often re-vamp recipes. YES, it can be done in the crock pot with just a simple modification: Use boneless skinless chicken meat rather than bone-in. (also add in 2/3 cup water) You also could reduce the amount of meat by a third (since the bones do weigh a lot). It would be easier in the crock pot... but a little more costly. Sometimes it is just plain worth the extra money!! So if you are really watching the pennies use bone in meat. (my local small town meat department often sells leg quarters for 49 cents/lb.) If you need an easier version use boneless skinless chicken. Enjoy!

The JUNE Simple Family Supper menu plan kit is ready for you to print off.

Summer is my FAVORITE time of the year, but I know it can be extra challenging to get supper together for the family. Summer is BUSY!!! Simple Family Supper to the rescue. Eat a healthy supper before (or after) you spend the evening at the ball park.

Read what Kathy, from TN,
had to say in a recent email she sent me:

" I love your idea and the detail that you put into monthly meal planning. I've never in my life gone to the grocery store only once a week and had no idea how to start. Saturday was my first attempt and you made it very easy. I love your system!! I've been telling everyone I know about it. Best of luck to you and your stay at home business- I am a big fan and supporter!"

Thank you, Kathy! It is my heart's desire to reduce stress and bring families closer together.
I am always open to comments and suggestions. I want to be a blessing to families.

Here are two recipes from the June menu. The first recipe is an
"Efficient" recipe. You will prepare extra meat that you will use
in the second, "Fast Track", recipe. Be a time saving cook!!

Southwest Roasted Chicken

***Efficient Cooking*** Slice and freeze extra meat
7 pounds bone in chicken pieces (remove skin if desired)
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp onion powder
½ - 1 tsp garlic powder
3 tsp paprika
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup lime juice (fresh or concentrate)

Roasting Bag

1) Prepare Roasting Bag according to manufacturer's directions.
2) Rinse and pat dry chicken with paper towel.
3) Place chicken in roasting bag, skin side up (or you can
remove the skin)
4) Mix together all the spices and rub on to chicken.
5) Sprinkle lime juice on top of meat. Close bag with
provided tie. ( you may have to layer up the chicken to get
it to all fit in the bag. Try to get as many possible pieces on
top for the best tasting skin. Use the bottom pieces for the
chicken you will freeze for later)
6) Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes. Cut open bag and
allow meat to cool 15 minutes before serving.

Side Suggestions: Baked potatoes with favorite toppings,
steamed veggies

Efficient Cooking: Remove the extra meat from the bone.
Freeze it in a labeled freezer bag for later!

Classic Chicken Salad

***Fast Track: Chicken meat from Roasted Chicken**
This can be mixed together early in the day for flavor to blend.

**Fast track cooked chicken (2-3 cups)
1/4 cup plain yogurt
¼ cup mayo or miracle whip
1 TBL cider vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste

1) In a small mixing bowl whisk together the yogurt, mayo
and seasonings. Add the chicken, stir well.
2) Refrigerate till serving. Serve on rolls or in pita bread.

Side Suggestions: Rolls or pita bread, baby carrots, bagged salad

Enjoy these simple suppers with your family!

Visit to print off your complete June
Menu plan. Save time, save money, reduce stress, build memories!!!


Life and Ball

Ethan has spent all of his summers at the ball park watching his brother and sister play. This year HE gets to play!!! He is loving it! Sorry the picture is blurry... took it through a wire fence. Here is Ethan... first game, first time on base! I don't think he stops smiling the whole time we are at the game..... He has wonderful coaches and the kids are so fun to watch at this level!!

Robyn is playing ball for the 5th summer. She is a natural athlete with a passion for the game. She is a dynamite catcher. She is struggling this year..... the last couple of years she has played on some very strong teams, but this year has been a little frustrating. It is a good learning opportunity for her to step up and be a leader and continue to play her heart out even if some of the others are not following suite. Her team actually won a game last night so that cheered her up a bit!! She came home extra encouraged because the coach on the OTHER team came up to her after the game and told her that she "is a great catcher and wished that his catcher could make plays like her"! A positive word goes a LONG way!!! Softball has a good way of teaching life lessons: we can't control how others are acting (living, playing, speaking), but we do have control over our own actions and we have a choice.... become like those we are around or stand up for what is right and keep our actions correct.

Robyn had a very bad attitude during one game and wasn't behaving in a way that set a good example. She later apologized to her coaches and has worked very hard at keeping the right attitude and doing her personal best regardless of others.
Isn't that life?? Isn't it so easy to justify a "bad attitude" because circumstances are not going the way we want?? It is so easy to let the choices and actions of others "put us in a bad mood". However, Jesus calls us to personal responsibility... It doesn't matter how others are acting... we are not responsible for them... we are totally responsible for our OWN actions, attitudes and words!!!


Friday, May 22, 2009

Blogging to blog....

Do you ever just post a post just to keep the blog going or do you always have something you want to say?? When I first started blogging I looked at it more like a journal than anything else. Then I started writing for readers..... I'm not sure that the mental shift has been good. If you have noticed I haven't been posting as often as usual. May is probably the busiest month of the year around our place... second only to December. I have really been doing some self evaluation.... I am all about "Choosing Simplicity" in our life and blogging was creating a lot of 'mental clutter'. I decided to do some de-cluttering..... really evaluate what and why I post.

To be completely honest, I have struggled with rejection issues my entire life. God has done amazing things in my life to heal my heart and set me free from this bondage. I no longer weigh the low 105 lbs I did in high school (the skinny people are always loved, right?). My BMI is now in the healthy range. I also don't try to 'fit in' everywhere.... except in the bloggy world... YIKES! I haven't liked the pressure I have put on myself to have a good and read blog. I have found myself falling into the trap of wanting to be 'IN' the right group... hang with the 'popular' gals... be WORTH something. YUCK! I AM WORTH something..... I am worth everything to Jesus, to my husband, to my children, my family and the friends that really love me for who I am!!!

I have met some really great people here on-line and I have learned so much and been encouraged in so many ways by reading their blogs. However, the comparison trap is WAY too easy for me to fall into. "Choosing Simplicity" has ment cutting out a lot of blogging time for me. I have blogs that I will continue to read, but I am choosing to let go of some others. The same pressure I faced for years to be the "tall, skinny girl with curly hair" has manifested itself to have a "insightful, encouraging and meaningful" blog. I am choosing TODAY to let go of that pressure once and for all.... I am going back to blogging for fun rather than to gain readership. So, if I never have anyone read my blog again... OK! Life is too short to worry about my 'readership' when I should be spending more time reading to my children, singing with them, being silly and training them up to be well rounded adults!!!! They will not care if I am one of those "popular" blogs... they just want me!


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Simple Family Supper GIVE AWAY...

Want to win a FREE month of the Simple Family Supper menu plan??
Eliminate the 'What is for supper?' question from your life, increase family time and save some money at the grocery store!!!
Just leave a comment to enter!!!! Drawing will be on Saturday.


Making Friendship a priority

It is so easy to let LIFE get in the way of spending times with friends. You know what I mean.... there is always the house, the kids, the work, the school, the activities, and church.... If I am not intentional about SCHEDULING time with friends it just doesn't happen. I have a "Mom's Group" Bible study that meets every Friday morning. It is a HUGE blessing!!! That group of ladies is my weekly lifeline. We are going to get the whole families together for a cook-out at our place this Sunday evening! We are all looking forward to it. Not everyone will be able to come, but we decided to quit waiting for the "perfect" time when everyone could come and just DO IT!!!! Letting go of perfectionism can be hard... but oh, so worth it!!!

Today, I visited with another friend. Our children had a wonderful time playing together and Brook and I had a chance to catch up. I hadn't seen Brook in months..... we hadn't put it on the schedule. We had a GREAT chat and it reminded me again how important making time for friendships really is.... The fact is that at the end of the day it is the relationships that bring value and satisfaction to life!!!! By the way, Brook is an EXCELLENT seamstress.... you can visit her shop, here. I am blessed to own several things sewn by her loving hands!

So my encouragement for you today is to make some time for REAL life friendships. Internet friendships are great and valuable (I have 'met' some very wonderful people on the computer), but there is something extremely SPECIAL about real, in the flesh, friendships!!!!! Give a friend a call and schedule a visit!!!


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Summer time treat: home made slushies

One of our FAVORITE summertime treats is home made slushies.... Extremely easy and most definitely budget friendly. We will make these several times a week. In fact, I sit here sipping one as I type. Try making them with gatorade powder to take to ball games.... they are very refreshing and go a long way to keeping a hard working ball player cool.

Home Made Slushies
In a blender combine:
4 cups ice cubes
4 cups cold water
1 pkt koolade (any flavor)
1/2-2/3 cup sugar (depending on how sweet you want it)

Process till smooth..... ENJOY!!!!!!


Friday, May 15, 2009

EASY (super fast) Banana Poppy Seed Bread

I haven't been baking much lately.... too busy enjoying life OUTSIDE!! However, I realized that my family was missing the goodies that they are used to enjoying. So, last night I gave this snappy recipe a try... it was a HUGE hit!!! Talk about EASY (and frugal).... I hope you like it as much as we did! It was the perfect way to use a couple of over ripe bananas.

EASY Banana Poppy Seed Bread
1 Pkg (18 1/4 oz) yellow cake mix
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
1 tsp poppy seeds (you can omit these)

1) Mash the bananas and milk together till smooth
2) In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients. Beat with mixer for 2 minutes.
3) Pour batter into 2 greased loaf pans
4) Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool.

For more frugal friday posts visit


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

101 ways to CHOOSE SIMPLICITY (21-25)

101 Ways to Choose Simplicity
(ways #21-25)

It has been a while since I wrote in this series.... I have 'chosen simplicity' the last few weeks by strictly limiting my computer time. Spring is an extra busy season for our family. The 'homestead' requires much more of my time and I have had 3 children in sports. Enough said!

To continue on in this series, keep in mind that every family is different. What 'simplifies' life for us might not work for you. Also I have to constantly remind myself that every little thing I do to simplify my life adds up.... not any one thing makes it complete. I also remind myself that life is seasons.... literally..... Life in the winter is drastically different than in the summer.... our lifestyle must be flexible!! So, without further rambling.....
#21: Have BASIC shoes.
Ones for everyday and a few dressier ones.
Now, I will admit, I am not a 'shoe girl' anyway, but limiting the number of shoes in this home helps a TON! With 6 pairs of feet we could end up with a TON of shoes.... NOT necessary!!! I keep our shoe selection to a minimum... focusing on quality and comfort rather than quantity and latest fashion.

#22: Have an extra set of sheets for each bed.
Take one set off to wash and IMMEDIATELY put on the 'extra' clean set. Some people keep their extra set stored between the mattress and the box spring.... I keep mine in a dresser drawer. The extra sets for the kids are in the upstairs linen closet. Bedtime needs no additional stress... having the clean sheets on and ready really helps simplify bedtime!

#23: Build up a surplus.
As much as the budget allows (even if it is just a few dollars each week) build up a surplus of things you know your family uses. When items are on sale stock up.... then get to the point that you only buy them when they are on sale. This will save you a ton of money in the long run and will save you stress!!! Nothing says 'I love you' like never running out of toilet paper!!! This is a reminder to myself.... I let my 'stock pile' of klenex run out.... now we NEED them and I hate to buy them when they aren't on sale! I also find it a great comfort to know that we have a few weeks worth of food in the house.... it is always wise to have the means to feed your family.

#24: Clip your key chain to your purse strap or belt loop.
I hate the sinking feeling I get when I am frantically searching for my keys!!! A few years ago I purchase a simple metal clip that I put on my key chain... now I clip it to by purse or my belt loop.... end of the frantic search at the bottom of my purse!!!! I love knowing where my keys are at all times!!!!!
#25: Breakfast for supper!
We really enjoy breakfast food (pancakes, eggs, bacon, waffles, sausage and buscuits, etc) but don't have the time or energy to fix these in the mornings. Our solution is to have a 'breakfast' night once a week for supper. We call it our 'family tradition' in Simple Family Supper. We have lots of fun with pancakes... letters, happy faces, shapes and since we raise chickens we usually have an abundance of eggs. I always make a BIG batch of the pancakes, waffles or french toast and freeze any left over for the kids to warm up on weekday mornings.

What do you think?? Have you found any of these helpful in your own life?? I would love to hear from you!


Thanks for your prayers!!!

The woman's retreat last weekend went GREAT!!!
God is SO good!!!

The power of God was evident in so many ways and many lives were set free.
God used all of the presenters and the worship time to lead us to freedom in God's grace and to expose the space we have 'rented' in our minds to negative thinking. With over 50,000 thoughts a day we all have plenty of opportunity for thoughts to head in negative directions. I know that I have struggled with lots of negative self talk..... I wouldn't dream of putting other people 'down' the way I put myself 'down' with all kinds of negative self talk thoughts! YUCK!! Over the weekend we learned valuable life skills on refusing to think down and to replace it with Gods word, God's way. There is positive, there is beauty, there is a promise from God for ALL situations!!!!! It really is a matter of discipline.... STOPPING the thought pattern and replacing it with God's TRUTH!!! I am so DONE listening to the lies of the enemy and the lies I create myself!!!

So, today I have been putting these principles into PRACTICE!!! My house has become neglected due to EXCESSIVE duties outside of the home. We have also had some beautiful weather and the garden is completely in!!!!! (I am really excited about our garden this year, but that is for another post) Today is a rainy day and I don't have anywhere I have to GO until 5:30 this afternoon!!! You know what that means????? Laundry, cleaning and playing with the little boys!!!! I am thanking God for this day to accomplish all this rather than grumble about all that needs done and belittle myself for letting things get this bad.

So, the death to negative thoughts and listening to lies!!!

Friday, May 8, 2009

More than SURVIVAL.... living VICTORIOUSLY in the home!

God has such an awesome plan and purpose, it is just so difficult to see and realize it above the LOUD chaos of this world. This weekend I am participating in a Ladies Retreat with our church. It is important to get away, to a quiet place away from the constant rush of life, and seek God.

Please pray for me this weekend that I will hear God, that I will grow in Him. Please also pray that I will speak the words that HE wants me to speak as I lead a 'break out' session called "More than SURVIVAL.... living VICTORIOUSLY in the home"! God has put such a passion in my heart for the home and family. The enemy does all he can to destroy marriage, families and homes, but through the power of GOD we can overcome the world!!! Please pray that women will be encouraged, challenged, convicted and equipped this weekend.

Thank you for your prayers!!!
Happy Mother's Day!!
Being a 'Mom' is the hardest thing I have ever done (or will ever do) but with God ALL things are possible!!! I praise God for His GRACE, MERCY and WISDOM... for without them I would hate to face each new day.


Monday, May 4, 2009

Legacy of love!

This is my Great Grandmother Ollie with my 3 year old Grandma Marjorie. This picture was taken in 1927! My grandmother is celebrating her 85th birthday this month and my sister, Melissa, and I are on photo duty. It has been a fun labor of love. I have learned so much about our family legacy. My family LOVES pictures.... even way back then! It is amazing how many OLD photos my grandma has of her family. I will admit we are a camera happy family whenever we get together.

(above) This is my grandmother holding her *new* baby! Baby Nila was her 5th and final baby... all girls! My Mom, Wanda, was their second daughter. Look at how sharp she looks... and so trim for just having a 10 lb baby!!

(above) My Grandfather, Wilbur, along with his bride of 50 years, Grandma Marge!! They celebrated their 50th the same year my husband and I got married. That is very special to me. My grandfather went to heaven just 6 months after this picture was taken. His legacy continues to live on!