Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Christmas Cookie Recipes

The Christmas baking season has commenced!

All three cookie recipes can be seen here.

Candy Cane Cookies/Spritz Cookies

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
food coloring

Cream butter, shortening and powdered sugar.  Blend in egg and extracts.  Stir in flour and salt.  Blend in food coloring, fill cookie press and press onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake at 375 degrees for 6-8 minutes.  Dark pans go less, light colored pans go a little longer.  Allow to cool 1 minute on pan and then cool completely on cookie rack or foil.

Butter Cookies

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 beaten egg
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix as usual for cookies - fat, sugar, egg, vanilla, dry ingredients.

Roll into small balls.  Roll in colored sugar, place on ungreased cookie sheet and flatten slightly.  Bake at 375 for 6-8 minutes.  Dark pans go less, light pans go longer.  Cool for 1-2 minutes on pan.

Mixed Nut Bars
(Although I didn't have enough butterscotch chips these still turned out well and they were so delicious.  Everybody loved these.  Warren loved the edges where the butterscotch sauce cooked up a little firmer.  I liked the gooey centers better.  They were all around winners.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup + 2 T. cold butter (divided)
1 can (11.5 ounce) mixed nuts - I've used salted and unsalted with good results
1 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 light corn syrup

Combine dry ingredients and 1/2 cup butter in food processor until crumbly.  Press into a greased 13x9x2 pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  Sprinkle with nuts.  Melt butterscotcch chips in microwave in 30 second blasts stirring well until melted.  Stir in corn syrup and 2 T. butter and throughly mixed.  Pour over nuts.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Cool and cut into 1 x 2 inch bars.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Jesus Calling::The Story of Christmas {review & giveaway}

Happy Advent

Merry Christmas

I am always looking to add to our Christmas season collection of books and after last year's fiasco with over 20 of our books getting wet and then moldy it's even more important to me than ever to build up our collection again. 

Replacing our old favorites and adding new titles is how it'll be done.  Jesus Calling::The Story of Christmas by Sarah Young is a new book out this year and it is so sweet.

First off the dust jacket is sparklized.  And who doesn't love sparkles at Christmas?  Only Grinches and Scrooges that's who.

Then even better than a sparklized cover is the fact that there are three versions of the story on the pages of this book.

There's scripture on each page, which when in hurry tells the whole story in under 6 minutes.  Busy parents still needing to wrap presents on Christmas Eve would never dream of only reading the scripture to get through the book quickly, but I tell you that just in case.

There's also a nice wordy story portion on each page.  It takes the scripture and puts it into story form.  Longer, yes, but beautiful and sweet and meaningful and all the things.  This was my 5 year olds favorite storyline.  

Then there is the Jesus Calling section on each page.  This is written from Jesus' point of view in first person.  Each page has a reminder of what Christmas is all about and what we should be waiting for or doing to get ready for Jesus.

So this is like three books in one.  For super snowy afternoons reading all three sections is a meaningful way to cuddle up on the couch with the kiddos.

Choose to read only one "storyline" on busy days - if you ever have those.


Crazier yet, let the kids look at all the pictures on their own and tell the story in their own words to their siblings.  That's one of my favorites because they add in all kinds of embellishments.


You can find the signup form by following this link to enter to win your copy of Jesus Calling::The Story of Christmas.

And it's OK if you simply want to buy it.  Here's my Amazon affiliate link (thank you so much).

It's currently 29% off!!

And since I'm always on the lookout for meaningful Christmas books, what's your favorite?  Share in the comments.  Thanks.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

God Bless You & Good Night {Book Giveaway}

As most of you know I review all kinds of media from FrontGate Media.  I especially love children's books and this boardbook was extra sweet.

Bedtime books rank high on my list.  Most authors know that parents are more ready for their children's bedtime than the child is so most bedtime books are short.  Long enough to have some cuddle time, but short enough to get those kids into bed.

God Bless You & Good Night has rhyming phrases which keep the flow going smoothly and really, what child doesn't like to guess what the next rhyming word will be?  I know my kids love that when I read 3 lines of a 4 line rhyme and stop before the last word so they can fill it in.

How can you resist touching that cutsey hedgehog?

God Bless You & Good Night is also a touch and feel book which is so engaging for kids.  Both my five and six year old have thumbed through this book many times just to feel the furry red panda, leathery elephant ear and glittery sky.

If this is sounding like a book you'd love to gift one of the littles on your Christmas list enter to win a copy first, then if you don't win hop on over to Amazon and pick one up.

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Any book that can get these two this close is a winner for sure.

In case you don't win here is my Amazon link where you can purchase your own copy of God Bless You & Good Night Touch and Feel book.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018


Sometimes homeschooling doesn't always equate to idyllic days of multi-age learning.  Sharing a good story with my kids is just about the best way to turn an upside down day into something we want to remember.   

Yesterday when math wasn't going quite as planned I grabbed a new book, gathered the kiddos on the couch and began reading.  It wasn't long before the bad attitudes evaporated and giggles were heard.

The book is a good one, The Cow Said Neigh! by Rory Feek.

The Cow Said Neigh! is the story of some peculiar farm animals who wish they were like otheranimals on the farm. The cow wants to run free like a horse, the sheep wants a snout like a pig,the dog wants to be inside like the cat. Soon the entire farm is in chaos!
With silly farm animal sounds, clever rhymes, and adorable art, The Cow Said Neigh! will havekids of all ages laughing out loud as they celebrate the unique strengths in each of us.
This delightful picture book is sure to be read time and time again.

Here's part of the back story.  Rory Feek is the father of a little girl, Indiana, with Down syndrome.  What a beautiful thing how this all lined up.  October is Down syndrome awareness month, Rory wrote this book for his little girl and I had a chance to read it (many times, now) to our son Joseph who also has Down syndrome.  

Farm animal books always top the list of favorites at my home and I bet it does at yours, too.  

 The pictures are real and cartoony at the same time.  The farmer has the greatest expressions and the kids especially loved calling out the animal sounds as I read.

Coloring pages.  Oh how my kids love coloring pages and this book comes with a free download of 3 coloring pages.  Joseph, Peter, and Maria had a blast adding their own details to the printable illustrations.

I received my copy of The Cow Said Neigh! in return for a review and link to the giveaway.  All opinions are mine.

Be sure to click here to enter to win your very own copy of this extra special farm story.

In case you simply can't wait and want it today, click here.

*If you make a purchase through my Amazon link I receive a small commission at no extra expense to you.  Thank you; I appreciate it!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Tons of Recipes from a Day of Cooking

Hello!!!  Are you here from YouTube?  From the day I went back and forth homeschooling and cooking all day?  I'm so glad you're here and you'll be happy to that all the recipes from that video are in one place.  Right here!

First up the meatballs.  In the video I showed me making Savory Meatballs, but I mentioned that I made meatballs the week before and everybody loved them.  Well, here's the long story.  I love trying new recipes and changing up existing recipes.  My family would prefer I just stick with what they like and stop changing things up.  The week before I made a different meatball recipe which we actually happened to like even better than these, but they are both good.  As a bonus I'm sharing both recipes here.  The first will be what you saw in the video.  The second will be the ones I made "last week".

Savory Meatballs
6 pounds beef and venison mix
1/3 c. dry minced onion
1/3 c. beef bouillon
2 cups evaporated milk or regular milk

Mix all together.  Shape into small meatballs.  I place mine on either aluminum foil or parchment paper so cleanup is a bit easier.  Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through.  To test this cut one in half checking for doneness.

Use these in spaghetti sauce or brown gravy or however your family likes meatballs.  You can even combine 2 c. ketchup, 1 c. brown sugar and 1 T. Worcestershire sauce in crock-pot with meatballs.


4 1/2 pounds venison and beef mix
1 1/2 t. pepper
3 t. salt
3 t. parsley
3/4 c. diced onion
4 slices bread
1 1/4 c. milk

Soak bread in milk for 10 minutes.  Mix all above ingredients together and form into balls.  Bake on rimmed cookie sheet(s) at 350 for 45 minutes or more until meatballs are cooked through.

click here for recipe

Cheesy Potatoes (makes 1 9x13 casserole)
2 pounds frozen potato cubes
1 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1/2 c. chopped onions
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. melted butter
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Combine all ingredients except potatoes.  Stir in potato cubes.  If they are frozen together bang them on the counter a few times to loosen up the potato cubes.  Spread in greased 9x13 pan.  Top with crushed potato chips or buttered crushed corn flakes (if desired).  I don't do that; I'm usually in too much of a hurry.  Bake uncovered at 350 for 45 minutes.  Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Crock-pot Scalloped Potatoes
2 pounds potatoes, sliced (make fast work of this in a food processor)
1/2 t. cream of tartar
1 c. water
1 small onion, sliced
1/4 c. flour
1 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
2 T. butter
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 handfulls shredded cheddar or colby cheese
sliced ham

Toss sliced potatoes in water/cream of tartar solution for 10 minutes.  Drain.  Grease 4 quart crockpot.  Layer potatoes and onion.  Sprinkle with flour, salt and pepper.  Add ham slices and one handful cheese.  Make another layer just the same except do not put cheese on yet.  Spread cream soup over and add one more handful of cheese.  Cook on low for 7 - 9 hours.

Stove top Pepper Steak
click here for recipe

Although I never got to making the 7-Layer Salad that day I did just make it today and it was so good.  Here's how I make it.  It's quite forgiving

7-Layer Salad
1-2 heads of lettuce, torn into small pieces (it really depends on how big or little the heads of lettuce are)
1 very small red onion, sliced very thin
1/2 - 1 cup broccoli pieces
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1 c. frozen peas
half a cucumber, sliced
1 package of pre-cooked bacon (approx. 3 ounces), cut into 1 inch pieces
1 pkg. ranch dressing powder mix
2 cups mayonnaise
shredded cheddar cheese

You can really use any veggies you prefer.  Layer everything in a large glass casserole dish.  I have a 10x15 Pyrex dish that works perfectly for this.

Place bacon pieces on top.  Sprinkle ranch mix over entire top.  Spread mayo over all.  Cover with cheese.  Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 hours or until supper.  You can toss the entire mixture when it's serving time, but we prefer to serve it as is and scoop out what we want.

This is so good.  I might go dish me up some right now.  It's 11:00 p.m.

The full video can be seen here.