Thursday, April 29, 2010

Mini Ham and Cheese Sandwiches

I was thinking about posting this recipe and thought, "Gee, how many people need to be coached in making ham and cheese sandwiches?" Then I got to thinking that these aren't ordinary ham and cheese sandwiches. Oh, no. They're buttery and garlicky and mustardy and simply delicious.

I make these often when we're having a church fellowship or get-together. They can be used as appetizers or eaten as a meal with a side dish or two. And they're super easy, just the way I like my recipes!

Here's what you need:

A package of heat and serve dinner rolls (I use Sara Lee)
Several slices of deli ham (so precise, I know)
Several slices of cheese - American, cheddar or Swiss
2 TBSP butter, melted
1 TBSP dried minced onion
1/2 TBSP mustard
1/2 teas poppy seeds
1/4 teas garlic powder

Mix together the butter, onion, mustard, poppy seeds and garlic powder. Set aside.

Slice the rolls in half horizontally. It's much easier to do this as one big rectangle.

Place on a baking sheet and remove the top. Layer the ham and cheese, overlapping as needed to completely cover the rectangle. You can use as much meat and cheese as you want, depending on how thick you want your sandwiches to be.

Replace the top and brush the butter mixture over it.

Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted. You might have to cut apart the middle to check.

Cool for 10 minutes, then cut apart into individual sandwiches. Serve warm.

This can be easily doubled if you're feeding a crowd. Or if you want to switch up the meat and cheese, just replace the ham with deli roast beef and use provolone or mozzarella. Turkey and Swiss would be great, too. But don't mess with the topping. It's fabulous!

For more tasty recipes, visit Blessed with Grace's Tempt My Tummy Tuesday.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What's up with the 80's remakes?

Okay, I grew up in the 80's. I have fond memories of movies and TV shows from that era. But lately it seems that Hollywood is obsessed with remaking them. Why? Are there no more stories to tell?

Was Clash of the Titans just that good that it demanded a retelling? I know that new technology has allowed for spectacular special effects, especially when compared to the original. But c'mon.

Other remakes coming to a theater near you include The Karate Kid, The A-Team, Red Dawn, Highlander, and Knight Rider. Ya know, some things are just meant to be remembered for their 80's campiness. What is Red Dawn without the Soviets and Cubans as the enemies? And no one will ever be able to replace Mr. T as BA Baracus in The A-Team.

But Hollywood seems determined to try. All I can say, they'd better not even THINK about touching Remington Steele. I mean it.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Vacation Preparation 101

Summer's coming which means vacation season will soon be in full swing. I thought I'd share a couple of tips I've found useful when getting ready to hit the road for a family getaway.

1. Make a list of toiletries you need to take - sunscreen, hair gel, toothpaste. Purchase some plastic bottles (available in the travel size section at Target or Walmart) and fill them up. Don't forget to label them! Place them in a Ziploc bag in your suitcase. If they leak, your entire suitcase won't smell like Tropical Rainforest.

2. Make a list of other items you want to take - a power strip, wet wipes, Uno cards, extra batteries for your camera, etc. As you accumulate these things, place them in a central location. For instance, we use a plastic tub to put all of our take-alongs in. Sometimes we start gathering things a few months before we leave. If we find a great deal on batteries, we go ahead and buy them, then put them in the take-along tub until time to pack. No more last-minute hunting for that item you put aside last month! It's all in one place.

3. If you're planning on doing a lot of walking, say at Disney World, buy a new pair of walking shoes now! Don't wait until the week before and think you'll have time to break them in. Trust me on this. You'll need a month or so of moderate use to get your shoes really broken in for Disney walking. Oh, take an extra pair of shoestrings, too. Go ahead - buy them right now and put them in your take-along tub. You'll thank me for it.

4. Speaking of walking, get yourself in physical condition before attempting to walk around Disney (or New York City). Go for a daily walk, again starting a month or more before your vacation. Did you know the average person walks at least 10 miles a day at Disney? So, please, don't punish your poor feet by going from zero to 10 without working up to it a bit.

5. If you're driving a long distance, check out your route before hand. Are there any interesting stops along the way? Can you schedule a break for lunch at a scenic national park? Or visit the world's largest ball of yarn for a photo op while passing through? Knowing these things will help make for a more pleasant trip. And you'll get to look really smart to your kids.

Above all, plan to have fun! Isn't that what vacations are all about anyway?

For more great tips, visit We are THAT Family's Work for Me Wednesday. You'll find helpful hints and tricks to make your life easier. Why don't you jump in and share your own tip?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bites

It's no secret that I love peanut butter and chocolate together. I love them apart, too. But together...oohh, la, la! And I love making anything with them together. So I was delighted to find a recipe for a small batch of Reese cup-like treats, perfect for those moments when I'm craving a little chocolate and peanut butter yumminess.

Here's what you need:

3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 12 squares)
1/2 cup melted butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup chocolate chips

In a bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs with the butter and mix well.

Add the powdered sugar and peanut butter and stir well to combine.

Press into a greased 8-inch square pan. I used my hands and kept pressing until the mixture didn't move anymore. You want this mixture to be packed in tightly so it stays together! Chill for 30 minutes.

Melt the chocolate and carefully spread over the entire pan.

Chill for another 10-15 minutes until set. Then cut into small squares and enjoy!

For more yummy recipes, visit Blessed with Grace's Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Menu Plan - April 25- May 1

The last week of April! Can you believe it? Summer will be here before we know it! This week will be a busy one. I'm administering achievements tests to a fellow homeschooler, in addition to keeping up with my own children's assignments.

My husband is participating in our church's radio fundraising program every evening but Friday. You can listen in online by going to Truth Radio and clicking the "Listen Live" button. I've planned meals that he can reheat when he gets home or that I can take to him easily. I'm also trying out a couple of new recipes, too.

Here's the plan:

Chicken and rice soup

Stuffed peppers, roasted potatoes

Bacon chicken sandwiches, home fries

Sausage veggie calzones, chips

Chicken white bean wraps, cole slaw

Grilled brats on soft sandwich rolls, grilled veggies


For more great menu planning inspiration, go to Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday. You'll find all sorts of recipes and get some ideas for meals if you're in a meal planning rut.

Homeschool Field Trip - Tennessee Aquarium

Here are some highlights from our recent trip to Chattanooga and the Tennessee Aquarium!

The Princess and the penguins:

The upside-down jellies:

Bright seahorses:

I love this leafy sea dragon! Doesn't it look cool?

A Tennessee rattlesnake: (as I was taking this picture, my darling husband gently caressed my shoulder, just enough that I could feel his hand slithering toward my neck. He almost lost that hand!)

Scary shark headed right for us!

Me petting a stingray. It felt slimy and squishy!

Mr. Lego and the alligator:

After visiting the Aquarium, we walked a block to Sekisui, a Japanese sushi place right in downtown Chattanooga. The kids both ordered the child's sushi plate. The people behind us marveled that children would like sushi. What can I say? My children are unique!

We had a blast, with the exception of the screaming lady in the hotel. Even that was turned into a learning experience for the kiddos.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

What we've been studying in science

I thought I'd share what we've done recently in science. I asked the kids to choose a topic to study and they chose ocean animals. We have previously studied animal classification, so it was fun to see them noting that whales were mammals, squids were mollusks, etc. This unit study tied it all together for them.

We checked out several books from the library about whales, dolphins, sharks, jellyfish, seastars, squid, seashells, coral reefs, you name it. If it was about the ocean, we read it! Our favorite was The Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor. We also watched several videos online about coral reefs, jellyfish, etc. The kids loved seeing what we were studying in action!

We made a little book with lapbook elements that I found at Homeschool Share. This is a wonderful free resource for all kinds of lapbooks, so check them out. If you're not familiar with lapbooking, check out Jimmie's Squidoo lens with tons of info and examples.

I cut sheets of cardstock in half, then we glued the mini-books they had made onto the pages. We punched holes and tied the pages together with yarn. Very, very simple!

Here are a few pages to give you an idea of what we did:

I love making books like this so the kids have a tangible reminder of what they've learned during the course of the unit study. It also gives me a chance to evaluate their retention skills as they create the mini-books.

We capped our study off with a trip to the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga. I wonder if we'll take a trip to Hawaii when we study volcanoes? I wish!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Hotel Etiquette - or lack thereof

One lesson we've tried to each our kids is to be considerate of others. Easy to say, harder to put into practice, huh? But they got some first-hand experience on the importance of being considerate that I wanted to share.

Last night we drove to Chattanooga - about a 2-hour drive for us - and stayed at a Double Tree Inn. Because of hubby's business traveling, we often get free nights because of the points he accumulates. So we figured why not stay free then go to the Tennessee Aquarium the next morning?

The kids are always excited about staying at hotels, no matter how small or how many amenities. To them, every hotel room is a big deal. We don't let them turn the TV up loud, we remind them to keep their voices down and don't let them jump up and down out of respect for others beside, below or above us who might be trying to rest.

We had just turned in for the night (about 10:30, I think) when a woman in the room next to us began yelling obscenities. At the top of her voice. Her very shrill voice.

Apparently she was having an argument via cell phone with a man - I know this because she kept screaming that she was going to hang up the phone, she was going to hang up the phone. I wanted to scream back, "Just do it already!" Every other word out of her mouth was a curse word, most commonly the F-bomb.

The children were appalled. Oh, they didn't even realize she was cursing. They were appalled at her lack of consideration for those around her. "Doesn't she know people are trying to sleep?" "How rude!' they pronounced.

I used the opportunity to remind them that this was why Daddy and I tried to get them to think before they turned up the TV so loudly or talked at the top of their voices or jumped up and down on the bed. I don't know that they had ever really understood until it happened to them.

We turned the bedside radio clock on to a classical station to try to drown her out. Didn't work. Forty-five minutes later Charles called guest services and explained that we were trying to sleep, that we had young children and the woman next door was making a ruckus too loud for us to sleep. They promised to send someone up to "analyze" the situation and take action if necessary. A few minutes later we heard security knock on her door and ask if she was okay. She was told to pipe down because she was disturbing other guests. She did.

Lesson learned.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Helicopter vs. Free Range - what do you think?

You know what a helicopter parent is, right? One who hovers and never let their children fend for themselves. These are the parents who fight every battle for their children and never teach them how to handle situations on their own. These are the parents who call college deans and ask that their child's grade be changed.

What about a free range kid? Lenore Skenazy wrote a book about it after her experience letting her 9-yr-old ride the NY subway by himself and getting lots of criticism for it. She argues that we overprotect our kids so much that we fail to make them self-reliant. And while we've all heard someone say "Well, times have changed," or even said it ourselves, statistically crimes against children aren't higher than they were when we were kids. We just hear more about them thanks to the advent of round-the-clock news networks.

I thought back to my childhood, roaming the woods and hills of West Virginia. My brothers and I rode our bikes everywhere. When I was in kindergarten, the school bus dropped me off at the end of our dirt road and I walked about a quarter mile home all by myself. Sometimes Mom packed our lunches and we explored the countryside around us all day long. We walked to the playground at the end of the road by ourselves and looked out for each other with no adult supervision. When Mom went grocery shopping, she left us in the car (windows all rolled down in the summer) and we all survived.

Were there dangers then just like there are now? Could we have been abducted or gotten hurt? Sure. So why did our parents feel safe letting us take care of ourselves? And why do I cringe now at letting my kids cross the street and walk to the mailbox?

Common sense tells me that I can't protect my kids from every single thing that could harm them. My heart tells me that I should clutch them to me and never, ever let them out of my sight.

So here's my question. How do you let go of the paranoia and allow your children to learn to take care of themselves without feeling like a negligent parent? What do you think?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes

I have always liked Taco Bell's Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes. What's not to like about potatoes, cheese and sour cream? I mean, really? Except the calories (270) and fat grams (18).

I decided to make my own and lightened them up considerably. I thought I'd share my results with you.

You'll need:

6-8 potatoes, cut into small chunks
1 teas cumin
1/2 teas garlic powder
1/4 teas salt
shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream

Place the potatoes chunks in a large bowl. Sprinkle with the seasonings and stir to coat well.

Transfer to a greased baking sheet. I lined mine with foil, then used cooking spray to avoid sticking. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, then stir. If the potatoes aren't tender enough, put back in for another 10-15 minutes.

When the potatoes come out of the oven, immediately divide them among serving bowls and sprinkle with shredded cheese. The cheese will melt beautifully. Top with a dollop of sour cream. I will not judge you for the size of your dollops, okay? We all have our opinions about how big dollops should be, so just do your own thing here.

Sometimes I also sprinkle sliced green onions over the top. But this time I was out and I wasn't going to the store just for green onions. But they do add a nice little crunch and taste.

For more yummy recipes, visit Tempt My Tummy Tuesday over at Blessed with Grace.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Rice and bean burritos

I love the simplicity of burritos. I love how you can use leftovers and create a new, hand-held culinary delight. You can be as fancy or as plain as you like. You can let each family member choose their fillings. Or you can mix all the filling ingredients together and prepare a dozen at one time. Burritos can be frozen and reheated easily, so they're a great choice for a make-ahead meal.

Here's what I use for mine:

Lentil rice burrito filling
1/2 cup black beans
Sharp cheddar cheese
Sour cream
6-8 tortillas

As you can tell by the ingredient list, I tend to keep mine simple. I whip up a batch of lentil rice burrito filling in the rice cooker. It's delicious and filling, and you can adjust the seasonings to suit your family's heat preferences. Of course, you can always use leftover white or brown rice and forego the lentils altogether. But don't forget to season the rice with taco sauce or seasoning, or your burritos will be bland.

I take the tortillas and place them between two damp paper towels. Then I heat them in the microwave for about 15 seconds so they are pliable. I place a tortilla on a square of aluminum foil and start layering my fillings, starting with the lentil-rice mixture. The kids don't like tomatoes or sour cream, so they just get the lentils, beans and cheese. And they're perfectly okay with that.

Here's the thing, I don't measure how much I put in each burrito. I just eyeball it. However, I have learned to NOT overstuff the burrito or I'll never get it folded.

To fold a burrito, start by folding the two sides in.

Then fold the bottom half up over the filling.

Then roll the whole thing over to cover the remaining filling. Don't try to fold the top down over the middle! Rolling it over leaves the seam already down on the foil.

Reach up over the rolled burrito and pull the foil down over it. Roll it up tightly in the foil and tuck the ends of the foil in. Put in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or so until the cheese has melted.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Menu Plan - April 18-24

We've had a lovely weekend here in the South. Hubby and I spent the day together yesterday without the kids, thanks to a dear friend. We watched a movie, ate, shopped, talked, watched another was great!

This week I'm going to try some new recipes. The family will be the guinea pigs, but if anyone else wants to stop by, let me know. I can always set an extra place at the table!

Here's the plan:

Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, cole slaw

Rice and bean burritos, tortilla chips and salsa

Lamb gyros on flatbread, ranch potato salad

Mexican chicken penne pasta, green beans, rolls

Sushi in Chattanooga - we're going to visit the TN Aquarium


Grilled hamburgers

For more menu planning inspiration, visit Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Mondays. You'll find tons of recipe links and menu ideas to jumpstart your own menu planning.

Ultimate Blog Party After Party Post

I had a great time finding new blogs and meeting new bloggy friends last week during 5 Minutes for Mom's Ultimate Blog Party. But like all parties, they must end. And this one ended on Friday, but I missed it because I was spending time with family. I had almost an entire day with hubby on Saturday, thanks to a dear friend who took the kids and let them play at the park and at her house. Sorry, but with alone time so rare, I just couldn't find blogging time.

So now that the party's over, participants have been asked to share at least three blogs we found. I found a lot of great ones, and I hate to leave anyone out. But here are a few of my favorites:

Mrs Mama Hen

The Amateur Kitchen

Homeschooling on a Wing and a Prayer

The Prairie Maid

Angie's Healthy Living

Go and check them out! Thanks also to everyone who stopped by here during the party. It's been so nice to meet you!

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Special Birthday Wish!

Today is my mom's birthday!

We've always had a wonderful relationship, and now that I'm a mom too, I can relate even better to her. She's been my most faithful supporter through the years. I know that through many tough times in my life, she lifted me up in prayer and called out my name before the Lord. Even though we're miles apart, there's nothing she wouldn't do for me or my family.

This is a picture of her and my Dad at our house for Christmas - the most recent visit we've had.

I love you, Mom! Thank for you showing Jesus to me all these years.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

What I Want You to Know

Years ago when I first started teaching, one of my 8th-grade students lost her mom to cancer. She was hurt and bewildered, partly because her parents didn't really prepare her for what was coming. Her mother, a devoted Christian, believed with all of her heart that God was going to heal her. So why discuss the prospect of death at all?

My heart broke for the entire family. The mother left so many things unsaid. The daughter felt angry and hurt that she didn't get a chance to ask her mother all those things a teenage girl doesn't know about life.

When my own daughter was born, I determined that I'd tell her what I wanted her to know before time ran out. Oh, I know that it's morbid and no mother really wants to think about not being there to watch their children grow up. But it happens. Every single day. And no, I am not suffering from any terminal illness (I say this for my mother's sake, who reads my blog).

But if something WERE to happen to me, I want the Princess to have the words of wisdom I long to share with her as she grows up, the lessons I have learned. Most of it she won't understand right now. After all, she's only 7. But she won't always be. She'll need my guidance and love even if I'm no longer there.

So I wrote down what I wanted her to know and created a hardbound photo book with all of my advice through Shutterfly. I divided the book into categories - About You, About Us, About God, About Marriage, etc. Here's a sample:

"About Us. We are not perfect, so don't expect us to be. We have made and will make mistakes in parenting you. But never forget that there are no two people on this earth who love you as much as we do. We have more of ourselves invested in you than anyone else. You might think we're being too strict or don't want you to fun, but we've been around longer and we know things you don't. We want to protect you from things you don't understand are harmful. So please know, that no matter what, your well-being is our concern. We want only the best for you. We love you so much!"

And another one:

"About Life. Honey, I'll just tell you straight up - life isn't fair. People will disappoint you. Plans will not always work out. Loved ones will die. Hardships and trials will come. Face these difficulties with grace and dignity. Lean on the Lord. Don't give bitterness a place in your heart. Your happiness does not rest on your circumstances. You can choose to have joy in spite of the difficulties you encounter. Give yourself an opportunity to grieve the losses but remember that life goes on. It might not seem like it at the time, but put one foot in front of the other and keep going. Quitting is not an option. Ask yourself at the end of the day, 'What have I done today to make Jesus proud?' Strive to be a good, kind friend. When you fail, pick yourself up and try again. Don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it. You are not in this alone. You have God's reservoir of grace to draw from, and you can always lean on us for love and support. Ultimately, how your life turns out is up to you. Choose to do right and you choose blessings. Choose to go your own way and you choose unhappiness. Your potential is unlimited. Put it to good use."

This last page says, "Every day I thank God for the privilege of being your Mom."

I'm currently working on a similar book for Mr. Lego. I've been waiting until Shutterfly had a sale on photo books and free shipping. Here's the deal for that. I have to finish by April 29 to get the special price and shipping.

What about you? Have you ever done something like this for children? A scrapbook maybe? Would you ever consider doing it?

Let's talk vacations

Who doesn't love getting away and relaxing for a few days, a week, or even two? With vacation season gearing up soon, I thought it might be fun to dish on your favorite vacation spots and tips. You can read my number one vacation tip here.

All of my family lives out of state, so for many years we've spent our vacation time going to visit here, there, and everywhere. When the children came along, we thought it was important to start creating vacation memories that didn't just include going to visit relatives. Don't get me wrong, I love to visit family. But sometimes we just wanted it to be the four of us, ya know?

We took the kids to Disney World in February 2007 and then again last year in October. And of course, we all just loved it.

Both times we saved up and paid for the trip before we even left home. We don't feel it's prudent to go into debt for a vacation, so if we can't pay for it before we go, we don't go. It doesn't hurt that my husband's job provides plenty of opportunities to accumulate airline miles, so we can fly free to Orlando.

We're planning our next Disney trip for Februay 2012. (We like to go in the off-season because of cheaper rates and smaller crowds. Plus the weather is cooler than the summer months). By then, Mr. Lego will be 10 and we'll have to pay adult prices for him. Can you believe that? 10?

How about you? Are theme parks your thing?

What's your favorite family vacation spot?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Great Flour Experiment

I've been taking baby steps to make my family's eating habits healthier. I knew if I made any sudden drastic changes, there would be resistance. No one likes change, right?

I've been buying King Arthur flour because I think it's the finest quality you can get without actually grinding your own wheat. King Arthur doesn't bleach or bromate their flours, and they do not use genetically modified wheat. It's pricier than other brands, but I believe that the improved quality is worth it.

So when I found out that King Arthur produced white whole wheat flour, I couldn't wait to try it! This flour is made from hard white wheat and is lighter in texture and color than traditional whole wheat. It has the same nutrition of whole wheat without the grittiness.

I decided to mix it with equal amounts of KA Unbleached All-Purpose flour and see how it worked. I made cheesy garlic breadsticks, Chinese chicken, soft sandwich rolls...basically any recipe I had that called for all-purpose flour.

The results have been amazing! Charles has commented several times that the breadsticks seem so much tastier. Pizza dough is chewier and has more texture. I love that we're getting more nutrition while enjoying better tasting food!

In short the Great Flour Experiment has been a success!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Awesome Banana Muffins

Ahhh, bananas. It seems like we never eat them all up before the last few start turning black and getting mushy. I'm not sure why that is because we all like them. Somehow, a few are always forgotten and I have to come up with something to do with them. Because I hate throwing food out. I hate it.

So one of the obvious things to do with ripe bananas is to make muffins. But I was getting a bit weary of my usual recipe, so I decided to branch out a bit with a new one. And I'm so glad I did.

This muffin recipe has oats and coconut and is unbelievably moist.

Here's what you need:

3 cups flour (I used half white, half wheat)
2 cups sugar (I used turbinado)
2 teas baking powder
1 teas baking soda
1 teas salt
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup milk
2 teas vanilla extract
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup oil
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup oats (quick or old-fashioned, doesn't matter)
1 cups chopped nuts
1 cup shredded coconut

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners. In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients. The brown stuff in this picture is the turbinado sugar. It's brown but the crystals are bigger than brown sugar.

In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, milk, vanilla, butter and oil.

Mix into the dry ingredients, combining just until moistened.

Fold in the mashed bananas, oats, nuts and coconut. The batter will be thick.

Spoon the batter into the muffin cups. They'll be almost full.

Bake for 20 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center of one comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.

These muffins are the best banana muffins I've ever had. No kidding. Charles just would not stop eating them. Every time I turned around, there he was peeling the paper off another one! The kids enjoyed them, too. I think they're the new favorite around here.

Check out some more tasty recipes at Blessed with Grace's Tempt My Tummy Tuesday!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Menu Plan - April 11-17

Spring is finally here to stay! And with it, a coating of yellow pollen on everything. And I mean everything. If the dog stays outside too long, she comes in and shakes it off onto the floor!

But I'm so thankful for the warmer weather and the gorgeous colors. Our dogwoods are in full bloom and the azaleas are getting ready to burst out with color. The trees greened up almost overnight. I love it!

This week's menu plan is simple. Last week I cooked for seven extra people who were staying with us, so I'm giving myself a break! The hamburgers, chicken and meatballs were all prepared ahead of time and frozen, so it's only a matter of thawing and reheating.

Here's the plan:

Beef stir-fry, rice

Tacos, tortilla chips

Chinese chicken, rice

Grilled hamburgers, home fries

Grilled chicken, green beans, squash

Pasta and meatballs, cheesy garlic breadsticks

Steamed fish, broccoli

For more great menu ideas, check out Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Mondays. You can find tons of inspiration for tasty meals there.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

We have a winner!

Thanks so much to every one who entered my first ever giveaway. I loved reading your comments and learning more about your crafting habits. Y'all are truly a blessing to me.

Without further ado, the winner is Michelle! Her comment:
"Oh I Love this giveaway!!
I crochet `Prayer Blankets. I started out only giving these to the elderly, as time went on I began making them for who the Lord lays on my heart. It takes about 10 skeins of the super-saver yarn. I pray for that person while crocheting, and no one ever knows who it's for til I walk up to them, hand them the blanket & say `I've been praying for you."

Michelle, I think this ministry you have is unique and heartfelt, and I'm thrilled to be able to help in some small way. May God continue to bless you as you bless others!

And special thanks to the Princess, who drew the winning name out of a hat:

Don't forget to join the Ultimate Blog Party hosted by 5 Minutes for Mom if you haven't already. There are tons of great prizes to be given away, so get partying!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Five Question Friday

I was visiting my friend Cop Mama and she was participating in this cool meme called Five Question Friday. What a fun way to share things about yourself and get to know other bloggers, too! Click on the button below to get all the details and to join in!

Who would you want to play you in a movie of your life? Amy Adams

2. Did you ever go to summer camp? Yes! I always went to church camp and always had a good time.

3. What sends you running and screaming in the other direction? Spiders. They seek me out.

4. What is something you do that drives your spouse nuts? I can't begin to imagine! Ha! No, I often try to apply the passenger's side brake when he's driving the car. What? There's no brake over there, you say?

5. What is currently your favorite song? Before the Throne of God Above, a Christian song about my standing with God through Jesus.

While you're here, enter my first ever giveaway. It ends tonight at midnight.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Put on those party's time to party!

Ultimate Blog Party 2010

Welcome to Taste and See God's Goodness. I'm Marsha and I just turned 40 last month. So I think a little partying is in order, don't you? I made a pan of Hot Fudge Cake just for my party guests! Looks like some of you have already dug in!

I love to cook, which is really why I started to blog. Friends and family were asking me for recipes, so I decided to put them all in one place so everyone could access them.

Here are a few of my family's favorite recipes:

Honey Bun Cake
Homemade Chicken Nuggets
Cheesy Garlic Breadsticks

I also love being a wife and mom. My husband and I have been married for 11 years and it just keeps getting better. My son, Mr. Lego, is nine. He is an avid reader and Lego builder, as well as a Mario Kart enthusiast. My daughter, the Princess, is seven. She wants to be a princess, a ballerina, and a paleontologist when she grows up! Ambitious, isn't she?

A former classroom teacher, I now teach my children at home. And I love it! Occasionally I'll share our homeschool adventures with you.

More important than all of this, though, is my walk with the Lord. I can't be a great wife, mother, or teacher if I'm out of step with Him. Sometimes I'll share what God has been doing in my life. I love to talk about His grace and mercy, none of which I deserve. And I just love meeting fellow believers and expanding my "family."

So take a look around and feel free to comment. I can't wait to meet some new friends!

Oh, one more thing. Doesn't a party almost always include presents? Well, there are some fabulous prizes being given away this year! Check them out here.

If I were to win, my top three picks would be:

#8 under the US and Canada category, a $55 Amazon gift certificate provided by Kelly's Lucky You ;

And from the US only category, #8, a Buds to Blooms Photo Tile Necklace provided by Elemental Memories

and # 3, a $150 shopping spree at A Rocking Horse to Love.

If my top three picks are chosen, I'd like to win 50, 63, 76, 73, 15, 87, or 89.

Tomorrow's Friday already!

We've had company since Monday and I've been so busy with cooking and having fun that I've just now had a minute to sit down and catch my breath. My sister-in-law and five nieces and nephews came to visit for a few days. It was lovely chaos with all of the cousins playing together.

Now it's quiet around here, and I've realized that tomorrow is FRIDAY! This week has flown by!

And do you know what tomorrow is? It's the start of 5 Minutes for Mom's Ultimate Blog Party.

Not only that, my first ever giveaway ends at midnight tomorrow, so be sure to check it out and leave a comment to enter.

Now I'm going to go make some herbal tea and relax!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wanna party with me?

Ultimate Blog Party 2010

Starting April 9, 5 Minutes for is hosting its annual blog carnival, the Ultimate Blog Party. Last year's carnival had over 2,000 participants with tons of prizes and fun.

This will be my first year participating, and I can't wait! I love meeting new friends in the bloggy world and sharing ideas and encouragement.

For more details, click on the Blog Party banner to get an idea of what is going on. And get your party hats on, 'cause it's gonna be a good one!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Number One Vacation Tip

This week at We Are THAT Family, it's the Greatest Tips edition. So I thought I'd share my number one vacation tip.

Take a power strip with you. Pack it in your suitcase along with your shoes. No matter where you're staying, take the power strip. Even when we go to visit family, we take one so we can charge our phones or cameras without inconveniencing our hosts. Hotels rarely have enough outlets either.

Since vacation season is gearing up soon, I'll be posting some Disney vacation tips, so be sure to stop back to check them out. And don't forget to enter my first ever giveaway. It ends on Friday.

For more great tips on everything from food prep to parenting, visit We are THAT Family's Works for Me Wednesday.

Savory beef roast

One of my favorite ways to feed a crowd is to slow cook a roast, pork or beef, and shred it to make sandwiches. The meat stretches so much further that way. When I do a pork roast, I offer a variety of BBQ sauces (see my tip for that here). But this recipe for savory beef requires no sauce. It's tasty and flavorful without it.

Here's what you'll need:

3-4 lb. beef roast (I use whatever's on sale)
1 TBSP dried minced onion
1 teas salt
2 teas garlic powder
2 teas dried oregano
1 teas dried rosemary, crushed
1 teas celery seed
dash of cayenne pepper

Cut the roast in half and place in a slow cooker. In a small bowl, combine the seasonings. Sprinkle over the roast. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until the meat shreds easily with a fork. After shredding, return the meat to the slow cooker to soak up the juices. Serve on sandwich rolls.

You don't have to add any water to the slow cooker. The juices from the roast and from slow cooking will be enough.

To make the sandwiches even more special, add sliced provolone cheese. Yum!

For more delicious recipes, visit Blessed with Grace's Tempt My Tummy Tuesday and Life as Mom's Ultimate Recipe Swap.