Saturday, February 28, 2009

I'm a Cry Baby!

I have a love/hate relationship with my tears.

I hate it when I tear up at insignificant things like commercials or even more serious shows, articles, or the back of a cereal box (I kid about the last one). At least once a week I am fighting back tears during the morning devotions with my kiddos—these are children’s stories, people, and I can’t even get through them without taking a breather. I am also a sympathy crier, if anyone is shedding a single tear, they can count on me to join in. You know ‘weep with those who weep’, I get an A+ on that test!

Due to my uncontrollable tear ducts, I often skip shows I know will start the water-works. I pretty much avoid Lifetime at all costs. However, sometimes I just can’t resist which brings me back to the love/hate part of my relationship. I love stories of hope, joy, and triumph of the human spirit and yet I’m also drawn to stories of great tragedy. Maybe because the greatest joy often follows the greatest tragedy?

I get my overactive tears naturally, from a long line of criers: grandma, mom, aunts, and sisters, we all boo-hoo at the drop of a tissue. I will never forget sitting at my grandma’s table sharing about the death of my friend’s grandparent. The tears began to well up, the lump in my throat grew larger, and I had to stop. I remember being so embarrassed and saying, “I hate it when I do this!”

And then my darling Aunt Ruby (she’s my favorite, I hope the other 10 never read this but just in case I love you all!) said to me, ‘don’t ever be ashamed of being compassionate.’ That one statement changed my attitude toward my tears. I, even as a 14 year old girl, saw them as weakness. I felt I had a character flaw, I was a cry baby! But Ruby gave them a name, she called them compassion. Compassion is not a weak flaw it is a kind, sympathetic, caring character strength. One for which I am grateful God has chosen to use as part of my makeup, messy though it may be. Thanks Aunt Ruby!

Lamentations 3:22 – Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Double the Chocolate Muffins!

I've been on the hunt for a while for a good muffin recipe. Something that could double as a breakfast and lunch-packable treat.

Well I've found a contender. Let me introduce you to the Double the Chocolate Muffins. I'm guessing since most of the chocolate flavor comes from cocoa powder it's not too much of a nutrition nightmare! The recipe said it would make 12 muffins, but I got 24 mini muffins and 11 regular out of my batch.

Double the Chocolate Muffins

1 3/4 c. AP flour

1/2 c. cocoa powder, sifted

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 c. sugar

2 eggs

3/4 c milk

1/2 c. veg. oil

2 tsp vanilla

1 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 and prepare muffin pan.

In medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt.

In larger bowl, whisk together 1 c. of sugar, eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture until combined, fold in chocolate chips.

Spoon batter into pan. Sprinkle with remaining sugar.*

Bake for 10-12 minutes for minis, 18-22 for regular size.

*I have a great pic of Jilly sprinkling...okay..dousing the muffins with sugar but when I realized she was only wearing her undies I thought I better not post pics of mostly-naked children!

Instead here's one of her in a "Jilly-Bean Original" design. I hope her creativity shows up in other places because her color/pattern matching skills have not yet developed.

For more great recipes check out The Grocery Cart Challenge's Recipe Swap.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I Love a Steal!

Have I mentioned I love a good deal? And even better are those deals that really feel like steals. And I’m not suggesting you ever in any way, shape, or form even attempt to break the Eighth Commandment! It's just kind of fun to almost feel like you are, you know what I mean? The rush of a good's a total adrenaline rush for me. I know, sad huh?

So this past Christmas when I received an email inviting me to and was invited to participate in the Amazon Customer Vote deals, I thought, why not? Basically all I had to do was vote on different scenarios of three ‘rock-bottom bargains’. Then if I was picked I would get a chance to ‘possibly’ get one of the limited number of bargains. Huh? I know I was confused too, I just did what the emails told me. I was not really surprised when I got an email inviting me to participate in Deal #1. (I figured everybody got an ‘invitation’…ooh aren’t I special? Not.)

There was a countdown to the deal going live and I watched it like a hawk with my fingers hovering over the keyboard. But totally thinking I had no chance, especially with my stinking dial-up internet (which now thankfully is gone). But miracle of miracles I actually was able to purchase one of the only 500 bargains available. I wouldn’t believe there was only a limited # except I read comments afterwards where other suckers, I mean, unfortunate souls, got an invite but did NOT actually get to purchase the lovely bargain.

Have I whetted your appetite? Are you ready? My boys got a fabulous and very unexpected Christmas gift this year. They received a Playstation 3 with controller, DVD remote, Little Big Planet game, and the trilogy of Pirates of the Caribbean Blu-Ray. All for the bargain basement price of $199.99. I kid you not. This package retailed for somewhere in the neighborhood of $500. That’s right, it was at least a $300 savings!!!

So that’s my very best bargain of 2009. Well, I should say it’s my biggest ‘savings’ on a single item, even if that item is a totally unnecessary, mind-mushing video game system. My boys thought we totally rocked and isn’t that what giving to your kids is all about? Just kidding...well...sort of!

Selfish Confession Alert: I was still very disappointed I didn’t get picked for another deal. The KitchenAid Stand Mixer being sold for the disgustingly low price of $79.99. And, yes, my fabulous messes, I would have traded your Christmas joy for that fabulous appliance in a half a heartbeat…Sorry boys!

Wanna see what others are gushing about? Head on over to the Things I love Thursday link up at The Diaper Diaries!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

It’s a pretty busy week here at the Messy Manor Home. Hopefully it’s going to be a very fun kind of busy though! Our children’s ministry is sponsoring a Girls Tea Party on Saturday afternoon. So I have to shop for the big event and spend some extra time at church this week getting our glam on. I think it’s going to be a fabulous fun event, the girls are being ‘introduced’ and given a chance to ‘walk the red carpet.’ I can’t wait to see my two sweet Messes all dolled up and sipping punch. What, there’s no tea at our tea party? Nope, not a drop!

As far as our very un-interesting meal plan for this week, I am trying to NOT grocery shop until Friday. Just a milk and bread run so we can make breakfast and pack lunch. I am hoping to stretch the pantry/freezer items until I can make a big trip on Friday!

Now, I think un-interesting might be a little harsh. I tried The Happy Housewife’s crockpot chicken recipe a couple weeks ago and my family scarfed it. And I apologize I can't find a link for the recipe (I think she had guest posted on another blog) but basically put a whole chicken in the crockpot, season with salt, pepper, and I use a garlic-herb mix from Sam's. Put on low for 8 hours and that's it! It’s really moist, yummy chicken and so cheap! I was a little skeptical b/c hubby doesn’t like rotisserie chicken, but this is so tender and literally oozing flavor—yum-o! And having leftovers for a second dish –BONUS!

Monday – Crockpot Chicken
Tuesday – BBQ Chicken Sammies, Homemade Buns
Wednesday – Leftovers
Thursday - Beef Tips w/ brown gravy
Friday - Homemade Pizza for the Mess Makers (if I make it to the grocery store…we’re out of cheese!)

For TONS of awesome menu plan ideas, check out Org Junkie’s Meal Plan Monday.

Friday, February 20, 2009

I'm Not a Morning Person

I really do love to cook breakfast but so far the battle between sleeping later and getting up early and cooking is not going so well. Ha! Who am I kidding? There’s no battle, I squeeze every single sleepy minute I can each and every morning!

I am embarrassed to admit my school children eat a cold or previously frozen meal six out of seven mornings. And the only reason they get one morning is because my in-laws make breakfast for our entire clan on Saturdays. And I mean full scale breakfast—bacon, eggs, biscuits, gravy, cinnamon rolls—yep, it’s a small price to pay for those 7 a.m. wake up calls every single Saturday.

However, I do love to make breakfast recipes. I usually get to flex my culinary muscles for the occasional brunch and our annual Christmas breakfast for the Collier clan. (And, yes, we really do qualify as a clan. My husband is Child #7 of 8, so there’s a ton of us. Okay more like 52, I think.)

The Happy Housewife hosted a hot breakfast challenge and I really, really wanted to participate but um.. well I did mention I’m not much of a morning cook? Example, this morning the youngest and I had bacon and eggs at 10 a.m., now there’s a good time for breakfast!

So here’s my husband’s favorite breakfast quiche. I honestly do have a goal of finding recipes I’ll be able to make ahead and freeze. At least then I can serve a healthier-homemade version of those ‘previously frozen’ meals.


5 large eggs
½ c. milk
3 c. frozen shredded hash browns, thawed
1/3 c. onions, finely chopped
1½ c. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded, divided
4 – 6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled or ½ c. real bacon bits
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper

Preheat oven to 350°. Beat together eggs and milk in medium bowl, stir in potatoes, onions, salt and pepper. Stir in one cup of the cheese and half of the bacon. Pour into a greased 9” pie plate. Bake 25-30 minutes or until center is set (I usually have to bake mine 35-40 minutes). Sprinkle remaining bacon and ½ c. cheese over top, continue baking 3-4 minutes or until cheese is melted.

For more great recipes head over to The Grocery Cart Challenge.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

$5 or $10 Off HSM 3 - **UPDATED**

Go here and you can get a coupon for $5 off DVD, $10 off Blu-Ray.

And here's a $5 mail in rebate if you purchase any combo of 2 Hillshire Farms Deli Select lunchmeats or Sara Lee Smooth & Soft bread. Go Meat!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I Heart Recipezaar and DSL!

How’s that for an odd couple? But it’s true and today they both saved me from certain dinner disaster. I was diligently following my Menu Plan and working on a yummy pancake supper. Which everybody complained about: ‘why can’t I just have a sandwich,’ ‘breakfast is gross for dinner’—but yet every one of them managed to lick their plate clean!

So back to me flipping a batch of my BFF’s Best Ever Pancakes and, yes, they really are the best ever, you must, must try them! We had plain, chocolate chip, and brown-sugar-cinnamon pancakes. In the words of Rachel Ray—DELISH! Another quick tasty tidbit, my favorite variation is to add brown sugar, mashed banana, and toasted pecans…oh…my…goodness.

Back to our wonderful breakfast supper buffet, I got the butter from the fridge, the new blackberry syrup, and then on to the cabinet to get the ...NOOOOO!!! The bottle of pancake syrup had nothing but the tiniest, itty bitty threads in the bottom of the bottle. Now my Messes are total Sugar Addicts, and if I serve pancakes with no syrup I might as well put on the riot gear, cause flapjacks will be flying. That might be a tad bit harsh seeing as they’ve never really thrown their food at me, except maybe when they were babies.

Anyway, since they were already not happy about the backwards menu, I knew I had to do something and quick! I dashed over to the laptop (what? Don’t you ever dash?), straight to Recipezaar, typed in pancake syrup. Voila, in just a couple of seconds I had an easy recipe in my hot little hands. I whipped up this syrup while the kids were making their plates and grabbing drinks. Just three minutes to boil, a minute or two to cool and we were in business! It was easy, quick, and pretty darn tasty, too. Who knew syrup was so stinkin’ easy? I may never buy another bottle again!

Now let’s move on to the second recipient of my love fest…DSL. Oh DSL, DSL, how I love thee, let me count the ways (and yes that’s pretty much the only Shakespeare reference I have—Oops! I just searched that phrase and it’s from apologies for showing my literary ignorance).

We live in the boonies and have spent the last 10 years with dial-up (grrr) internet service. Go ahead and commiserate with me, it’s horrid and I hate dial up with a white hot passion. I still remember clearly that clear, cold day in the fall, October I believe it was, when my phone company called and said they were finally offering ‘extended reach DSL’ in my area. This began a long and, yes, even painful process filled with highs and lows and many missed appointments and quite a bit of frustration. Finally the day came, a wonderful glorious Tuesday in February and the most wonderful man in the whole universe came to my house and gave the greatest techno gift I’ve ever been given.

Not only did he bring high-speed world wide web access without tying up my phone line, he also gave me the ability to access recipes and blogs (and shop!!!) from any room in my house. Wireless, wireless, oh how I love thee wireless (Elizabeth Barrett Browning – Sonnets from the Portuguese it really is gorgeous and short, go read it!).

So even though my installer was probably over 60, completely gray, and smelled of stale cigarette smoke, he is now my new stud muffin. I’m sorry Johnny Depp I have betrayed thee.

(P.S. I just found the Things I Love Thursday carnival at Diaper Diaries...and being the shameless self-promoter that I am, I tossed this post into the mix.)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Works For Me Wednesday - Produce Bags

My mom shared a couple of green produce bags with me a couple of weeks ago. I had seen them, but I’m always a little leery of buying ‘as seen on TV’ items. My cousin, who works at a grocery store, shared this tip with mom and said his customers swear by them!

Since mine were free, I was happy to try them out! And guess what? They really did work! I like to buy bananas at our local Sam’s Club. Since they routinely have the lowest price (44 cents per lb) and most of the Messes love them, I like to buy 6 lbs at a time (2 -3 lb bags). Of course, it never failed that I almost always had at least one or two ‘naners that wouldn’t make it to the end. And sometimes I am industrious enough to make banana muffins or even just to remember to pop the quickly deteriorating fruit in the freezer. Unfortunately, more often than not, we’d have to send them off to their great reward before they completely decomposed on the counter and we had to bring out the scooper to get rid of ‘em.

But that was before the entrance into our lives of green produce bags (I don’t have a better name, my mom bought hers from Dollar General). Here’s a picture of bananas I’m happy to say were consumed by the Messes. These bananas were part of the 6lbs I purchased on February 6 and this photo was taken on February 15th. That’s about 10 days, and they were deliciously ripe, just beginning to get a couple of dark spots. Now I don’t know if they would have made it another day or not because they were devoured later that evening.

So green produce bags work for me!

If you’d like to see more Works for Me Wednesday ideas, check out Rocks in My Dryer but only for one more week!

I’m also being lazy today and posting this article at this blog (my personal ramblings) and the blog I am proud to share with my BFF – PJs Til Noon (two people’s personal ramblings).

A Cleaning Experiment

I’ve been researching lots of ways to pare down my household budget. One of the most practical and interesting to me is the use of homemade cleaners.

So basically to get started I bought a boatload of baking soda and vinegar and then I began the experiments. First I read I could use vinegar to clean my wood floors and since I was out of the cleaner I normally use (which costs over $4 a bottle) I thought I’d try it. I was worried about the scent, especially since the hubby is like a bloodhound when it comes to smells (good and bad).

Test Subject 1 – Vinegar
So I dug out my vinegar (you know I only use it to clean my coffee pot and once a year to dye eggs, no wait we didn’t do that last year…) Any hoo, I mopped the floors and they looked marh-va-lous! The smell was a little strong at first but as the floor dried the smell disappeared. Score one for vinegar. I next used it on my vinyl kitchen floor, and I have to say I think they even looked shinier. I had read somewhere vinegar could remove buildup, and I think it did! Give the stinky-stuff another point, it's a keeper.

Test Subject 2 – Baking Soda
Baking soda is good for just about anything and everything. Honestly, just swagbuck search the stuff and you’ll find hundreds of uses. One cleaning product I wasn’t sure I could give up was my bleach infused powdered cleanser (Comet). So I gave my baking soda the ultimate test right off the bat, kool-aid stains on my counter. My darling messes often drip rainbow-colored drops of that sweet beverage all over my cream colored countertops!

So here’s a picture of the spill and the guilty culprit.

I (actually one of my Mess Makers who was very interested in being my research partner) sprinkled just a small spoonful of baking soda right over the blemish. I didn’t even let it sit for long, just enough time to put the baking soda back under the sink.

I scrubbed, just a little with my scrubby sponge and voila..presto chango! The strawberry soil had vanished! Kind of hard to tell from my pic, but it really was completely gone.

Now I’m a believer! Especially when you I was able to purchase a 12 lb bag of baking soda for $5.79 and two gallons of vinegar for only $3.38. I’ll report back on how long this stuff lasts me…but really 12 pounds surely it’ll take a couple of months before my Messes need that much soda.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Woo-hoo, it’s Monday! Am I excited its Monday? Not really I just thought starting my day with a cheer would make me enjoy it more…um so far it’s not working.

I actually straightened up the kitchen & got a headstart on laundry (oh my laundry runneth over) yesterday, we had no evening worship at church last night. Every year around Valentine's Day we celebrate our wonderful Senior citizens and enjoy a yummy fellowship meal-yay for church dinners! I ONLY do housework on Sundays if I know my Monday will be busy or if the house is a real disaster. Um, it was a combination of those reasons yesterday that motivated me.

I’m hoping to fill up the cookie jar today, but I’ve got to get groceries and that honestly just wears me out. I don’t think it’s the shopping, I think it’s my partner—Jilly Bean. q (The ‘q’ is not a typo, Jill is helping me and she wanted to push the Q when I needed it…obviously I needed it now so she would go away.)

Here’s my Proposed Weekly Menu..I’m hoping to actually stick to it this week!

Monday – Lasagna, salad, bread q (Alas, my ploy of allowing her to do it earlier did not work, she’s still here.)

Tuesday - Leftovers

Wednesday – Pancake Supper

Thursday - Ranch Beef Stroganoff, Noodles or Mashed Potatoes, Broccoli, Corn, Rolls (forgot about dentist & hair appointments last week so this is back on the menu. We treated ourselves to dinner out and I spent the next couple of hours griping about how many homemade pizzas I could have made for the $50 it cost us to eat…grrr…)

Friday - Hoagies and chips, one of my kids fav meals

Saturday Is Pizza Night for the Mess Makers

Q – Oops, that was me, not Jill

For TONS of awesome menu plan ideas, check out
Org Junkie’s Meal Plan Monday.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Freezer Pleaser

Here’s one of my standby freezer recipes. I love to make a big honking batch of these puppies and load up the freezer. But the real appeal to me is I can make a humongo mess just one day and get three bonus mess-less (or almost) meals for later!

The original recipe (I’ve tweaked it slightly…okay barely) was found in Taste of Home probably five years or more ago. I have also made them with half ground beef and half ground turkey. Gotta cut those calories where we can, right?

Less Mess Meatballs
4 eggs 2 c. dry bread crumbs
¾ c. finely chopped onion 1 Tbsp. salt
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce 1 tsp. pepper
4 lbs. lean ground beef

Put ground beef in large bowl. Beat eggs, add to meat, add other ingredients and mix well (it works best if you use your hands!). Shape into 1” balls, should make about 12 dozen. Place in single layers in ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 400° for 10-15 minutes, until no longer pink. Let cool. Wrap in plastic wrap and aluminum foil, place in freezer bags. Can freeze for up to 3 months. Meatballs are great in spaghetti, sandwiches, as an appetizer, etc.

Simple Sweet Sauce
1 c. ketchup ¼ tsp. garlic powder
¾ c. packed brown sugar ½ c. chopped onion
This makes enough to use as a pourover sauce. Just take out a bag of meatballs (no need to thaw) and throw this sauce on top, in the oven for 40-60 minutes...yum!

Bacon & Cheese Please!
When I make a batch of these I usually follow the above directions and make about ¾ into the meatballs. Then the remaining mix, I add several slices of chopped bacon and form individual serving size patties . Cut cheddar cheese into squares (maybe an inch?) and press into center of mixture. These take a little longer to bake but they’re so yummy, especially with the sauce…oh I am getting hungry!

Pizza Possibilities?
You can also use mozzarella cheese and top with warmed pizza sauce or even a slice or two of pepperoni.

For more great recipes head on over to The Grocery Cart Challenge’s Recipe Swap.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

KP Duty

I’m not cleaning my kitchen today. I may get around to it eventually, well I’ve got to at least run the dishwasher or we won’t have any clean plates tonight. And cereal bowls morph into a disgusting mess so quickly (go ahead shudder with me). Oh how I miss my paper bowls and plates—which I guess were actually some kind of Styrofoam?--but my budget and I guess more importantly Mother Earth are happy I’ve quit buying them.

But back to the lack of kitchen cleaning today, a couple of nights ago I had a crazy dream. During my nighttime slumber, where I may or may not occasionally emit a delicate snore (Daryl may debate this description), I dreamed a tree fell on our house and crashed through the kitchen. Now, this in and of itself was not so weird, but I remember what my first thought was (in the dream) “all right, now I can finally get new countertops!”

So I’m currently sitting in my living room, watching the trees ~~~SWAY~~~! We’re under a high wind advisory here in the heart of Virginia and our home is surrounded by trees on three sides. Now, as hubby would say we’ve got good strong white oaks (or are they red? I’m sorry honey, I do listen, usually) and there’s nothing to worry about. But today I’ve decided to be superstitious and take the dream as a warning just in case…

Okay, that last sentence is an almost total falsehood (and, yes, I'm trying to tamp down the *hope* b/c I really would like new countertops but not b/c of a destructive runaway tree). The truth of the matter is I’m just not feeling the ‘clean’ today.

All I want is to stay is stay in my pjs ‘til noon and read the new book I got from (don't you love their cheaper books?). It’s a regency romance “Reclaiming Lord Rockleigh” by Nancy Butler who is one of my fav RR writers!

So I’m off to refill my cup and snuggle up with a book for an hour or two. Well maybe just one because we’ve got dental appointments today for the Main Messes. And I really do have to clean my mess in the kitchen...eventually.

Happy MessMaking!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Messy Proof

Here's what my kitchen looks like when I'm in the middle of a mess-making marathon or what some of you may commonly refer to as cooking. Please note the Nesquik, this is a necessity at our household as Jilly is a two-cup girl. We've got her on a 10-step program. I wish I were kidding. She is not a morning person (or an afternoon person), she needs a shot of calcium with a double dose of sugar and chocolate in order to function.

And here's what the kitchen looks like after a cleaning spree. I may make a lot of messes but that just means I spend a lot of time cleaning them up. Yeah, that's how I roll.

Here's another picture of my mess when I'm 'working'. I think I was menu planning, making a shopping list, and working on ideas for our upcoming Girls Tea Party.
And here are the very best Messes I've ever made! And, yes, they really are messes, I tried to think of a cute anagram to represent MESS but it really wasn't going well...Mom's Extra Special Sweeties..oh gag me with a spoon!
The JDC CLUB ~ Myrtle Beach, SC ~ August 2008

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Happiness is...

Happiness is a full cookie jar.

Happiness is my family enjoying my homemade treats (the jar is currently 1/3 empty.)

Happiness is knowing my day slaving over two big batches of cookies was not spent in vain. (Oh my aching feet!)

Happiness is the fact I've only eaten two, that's right only two, of my delicious creations. One PB cookie, hot from the oven, oh yes, and tonight for dessert one chocolate chip masterpiece. Okay, so maybe you wouldn't call a simple Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie a masterpiece but this is my blog and I choose to put it in that category. Now for a true Louvre-worthy masterpiece, you must try the Mall Cinnamon Rolls I made last week...oh good gracious they were spectacular. To quote Daryl (hubby), 'why are you doing this to me?' Yeah, they were that good.

I believe happiness is a daily choice. The joy of the Lord is my strength. It's my choice whether I rely on that strength day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. Somedays I make the right choice all day long (well you know, again my blog, my version of the story), I start my day with devotions and prayer. I am kind to my children and honor and respect my husband. Other days it's a struggle from the moment my feet hit the floor. I snap at the children and complain to the hubby. And it's only taken me about 13 years to learn the old adage 'when mama ain't happy, nobody's happy', is really true.

I realize there are days when storms hit and happiness is not in the forecast. But I'm addressing the ordinary, regular routine days (do these really exist?). I, me, Pam, I set the tone for my family's days. I can't tell you how many times my boys have left for school and I wish I could call them back in and apologize for fussing about shoes or shirts or the mess they left from breakfast. What a great thing way to start your day (read with saracasm) fussing again...sigh... So one of my goals this year is realize how my 'tude and tone affect everybody else's tude and tone! Did I mention I'm an underachiever? But this is one goal that deserves a lot more effort.

Happiness is a Happy Mom...even is she is Messy!

Monday, February 9, 2009

A Menu for My Messes

Disclaimer: I am very excited to be participating in my first Menu Planning Monday. I am hoping to do all of my linking, etc, correctly. But please extend grace and forgiveness (and advice) to a newbie if I totally mess it up!

Today is baking day! The plan for today is to bake up a big pile of chocolate chip cookies, granola bars, yeast rolls, and a loaf of sandwich bread (not sure which yet..I’m still searching for a great recipe..maybe a honey wheat?) . I’m also hoping to try out an oatmeal bar recipe, my hubby loves Quaker Oatmeal To Go bars and I’d love to find a cheaper, homemade alternative.

Just a little background on our weekly schedule, I work on Tuesdays and Wednesdays so those nights are always either crockpot meals, leftovers, or a fast fix! Tuesdays are also gymnastics for Josie--our oldest girl--and if we can squeeze it in prayer meeting at our church (thankfully we’re only 5 min away). Wednesdays are family night at church and we’re in charge of children’s classes so we head out no later than 6 every Wednesday. It’s a busy schedule but it makes us appreciate our ‘slow’ days that much more!

Monday - Chicken Casserole, Baked Potato Bar, Green Beans, Yeast Rolls

Tuesday - Crockpot Spaghetti, Salad, Copycat Outback Ranch Dressing, Italian Bread

Wednesday - Hamburgers/Hot Dogs, Baked Fries

Thursday - Ranch Beef Stroganoff, Noodles or Mashed Potatoes, Broccoli, Corn, Rolls

Friday the 13th - Bean Burritos for me and hubby, Tacos for the kiddos

Saturday Is Pizza Night for the Mess Makers -Cheese for the kids, Pepperoni for me, Mushrooms for the love of my life! Happy Valentine’s Day to my wonderful family—you still make me smile every day!

For more great menu plans check out

Sunday, February 8, 2009

I'm a Mess!

And me? I’m a Mess! I’m nothing and have nothing; make something of me. You can do it; you’ve got what it takes – but God, don’t put it off.
Psalms 40:17 The Message

Isn’t that the coolest scripture? The Message bible is so fabulous, I love it! I really am a Mom of Many Messes, but God is ever-so-patiently making something so much more out of me.

I have been married for 15 years to an amazing man (the least messy one in our family) and we have four beautiful mess-makers (two boys 11 & 13, two girls 4 & 8). I thought I would always reign as the supreme mess-maker but my children are definitely giving me a run for my money. I work two days a week at our church, where my husband is the Children’s Pastor (he also works a full time job). Other than that I’m an almost full-time SAHM.
My passions are loving Jesus and my family, children’s ministry, and frugal living. (Okay, I also really love ice-cold Mtn Dews, hot Chick-fil-a sandwiches, Reese cups, and Regency Romance books..ah..sounds like a little corner of heaven to me).

So why am I blogging? One, I’m obsessed. I spend way too much time reading blogs—I’m always clicking links to find a new treasure (when I should be cleaning up my messes). Two, I want to be able to post giveaways so I can earn another entry (selfish I know but honest). Three, I have been encouraged so much from the ladies who are blogging and making themselves accountable to..well basiclaly the whole world! So as I make my goals for this year of 2009, I want to be able to have a place to record and review my progress. We’ll see how it works. Staying motivated and committed is not one of my greater qualities, but again I’m a work in progress! So check back as I post my goals for my spiritual, financial, physical, & emotional health and my family goals. And finally probably the biggest reason—I really love to talk and share even the most minute details of my ever so mundane life so why not expend some of that energy into the written word?

I guess that’s it in a rather large nutshell or maybe that was the whole tree. My goals are to blog about whatever Mess is currently overtaking my life whether it’s frugal living attempts, children’s ministry blunders (like today when I was ‘in character’ and my wig fell off in front of all the kids..sigh..), parenting joys and mistakes (our first teenager..double sigh..), or just nonsensical stuff. Like the fact that it’s 10:00 at night, all the kids are in the bed, Hubby’s reading The Shack, and I’m typing alone watching Shrek and trying to convince myself that I don’t need another snack before bed.

Hope you’ll check back in and see how I get in and hopefully out of my Many Messes.