Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Quick Cinnamon Biscuits

Yesterday we started school.  My niece entered the 11th grade at a nearby Christian school, and my three oldest children entered another year of homeschooling.  I wanted breakfast to be a bit special so I made cinnamon rolls and turkey sausage.  The cinnamon rolls are actually “Cinnamon BISCUITS” that look, smell, and taste just like cinnamon rolls.  This recipe is pretty simple and quick.  You use baking powder instead of yeast, so you don’t have to wait for that lengthy rise time.  All you have to do is mix, knead, flatten, spread, roll, slice, bake, ice, and eat.  Sounds simple, right?  :-)
Really, though, these Cinnamon Biscuits are a hit.  When I asked my niece how they turned out, she said, “These are homemade??!”
Try ‘em.  You’ll like ‘em!
Quick Cinnamon Biscuits
(I found the recipe here, on a large comment response regarding breakfasts).
Dough: 2 1/2 c. flour
2 TBSP brown sugar, packed
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
Cinnamon/sugar mix:
1/4 c. brown sugar, packed
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Cream or milk mixed with powdered sugar to desired consistency
*Pre-heat oven to 400
*Combine dough ingredients until fairly incorporated. Knead together remaining dough bits and turn dough onto floured surface. Pat into approx. 9x13'' rectangle.
*Shmear 1 TBSP cream onto rectangle and sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar mix.
*Roll up rectangle, starting with long side, into a cylinder. Cut into 9 rounds.
*Place rounds, cut side down, in un-greased 9x9" pan and bake for about 30 min. (until lightly browned)
*Remove from oven and drizzle with icing
*Scarf with gusto.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Homeschool Planner Pages

If you are looking for some printable planner pages, check out this site:


They are very helpful!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Keeping Focus


Photo credit:  my parents

The other day I read an interesting blog post about “When Homemaking Gets in the Way of Mothering”.  It was a good post about making choices and spending our time where we need to spend it, maintaining our focus on being good moms.  Within the post was an excellent quote, one that struck me deeply:

And sometimes, we have to let go of the Good to make room for what is Good For Us, so that we can offer our Best and focus on the Essential.

This is exactly where I am at in life, and frankly, probably where a lot of us are on a pretty continual basis.  We have to make choices about what is good for us so that we can be our best and keep our focus where it needs to be.  It is not easy to give up certain images of our home being perfectly decorated and orderly.  It is not easy to put aside our own goals and desires.  It is not easy to see certain things remain undone.  However, we MUST focus on what is good for us.  I am continually trying to do that.  I am continually trying to get myself to bed earlier, eat better, be more joyful, and maintain a sane plate of duties, responsibilities, and activities.  Each day is a juggling act to manage with God’s help.

I encourage you, whether you are a mom or not, to focus on what is important for you during this season of your life.  That may mean putting aside some of the things you want to do.  It may even mean putting aside some of the things you feel you *should* do or *need* to do.

May we build ourselves up so we may run the race with endurance.

May our homes be joyful places.

May our hearts be filled with peace.

May our children and husbands feel blessed.

May all who are in relationship with us be encouraged and strengthened.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Cinnamon Muffins

These muffins are delicious!  They are very flavorful and fulfilling, definitely worth the effort - especially if you want to make a special breakfast or treat. 


*For the flour, I used the Eagle Mills All Purpose Flour made with Ultragrain entirely, i.e. no whole wheat flour.



(from “Easy Meals for Moms” blog)
modified from King Arthur Flour, yield 12 muffins

1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup diced pecans
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup flour
3 Tbsp. soft butter

3 Tbsp. butter, softened
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
2-3 Tbsp. water

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
3/4 cup milk
2 large eggs
1 cup flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 Tbsp cornstarch
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
Preheat your oven to 400°F.
Lightly grease muffin tins.
Prepare the topping by mixing the ingredients together until crumbly. Set aside.
Prepare the filling by mixing ingredients with enough water to make filling a soft, pudding-like consistency. Set it aside.
To make the batter:
In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, milk, and eggs.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
Add the dry mixture to the liquid, stirring just until combined.
Divide half the batter evenly among the muffin cups.
Dollop 2 tsp. cinnamon filling onto each muffin,
then top with the remaining batter.
Sprinkle with topping, pressing it in lightly.
Bake the muffins for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they’re golden brown.
Remove them from the oven,
and wait 5 minutes before transferring them from the pan to a rack to cool.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Getting Ready for School

I am hastily tying up loose ends so I can be prepared to start our new homeschool year in a little over a week.  This is what my kitchen table looks like at the moment:



I took everything off the school bookshelf and am sorting, sifting, organizing, and putting things where they belong.  I admit – this is not one of my strengths.  It is my husband’s strength.  He is a great organizer.  I tend to get overwhelmed in the process, trying to make decisions.  Nonetheless, tonight is the night of completion – I hope!  It is nearly 10:30 p.m., and after this post, I am back to the grind.  I just polished off two Dove Bars for energy!  Yes, two!!  I can justify one of them since I am a nursing mom – one is for the baby.  ~wink~ 

By the way, I am not very happy with the Dove Bar company right now.  They minimized their packaging and only include THREE Dove Bars per package now – arrrgghhh!  Of course, I don’t think the price has been reduced at all.  Don’t you hate that?!

Back to work…

UPDATE – a couple hours later… Project accomplished – for the most part!  Yippee!  I feel energized!  (Notice the clean kitchen table!).  I just have a couple questions for Hubby on some material set aside and am waiting for some curriculum to arrive in the mail.  Next step, for this week, planning and shopping for school supplies!


Thursday, August 19, 2010


Sweetness = A newborn melting in your arms as she falls asleep.

Sweetness = The warmth of your kiss on her baby soft cheek.

Sweetness = The grasp of your newborn’s tiny hand.

Sweetness = The glimpses of her sweet smile.

Sweetness = The comfort of nursing and cuddling your baby.

Sweetness = The love you feel when you care for her.



Dear Lord, thank you for this measure of sweetness in my life right now.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Grilled Vegetable Sandwiches


When I told my husband I wanted to make these, he was a bit hesitant, especially when he was at the fruit market with me buying the ingredients.  “Eggplant????  Zucchini???”  To which I replied, “Okay I will nix the eggplant and go with summer squash”.  “Squash???!!”  I had to encourage him to trust me… it would all be fine. 

To his surprise, my husband actually really enjoyed these sandwiches.  They were very tasty!  I used a large loaf of ciabatta bread for the bread, rather than the French bread listed in the recipe.  We gave these sandwiches the “thumbs up”.  Delicious, tasty, and healthful!  Happy eating!


Grilled Vegetable Sandwiches

from myrecipes.com


  • 2  tablespoons  light mayonnaise
  • 1  tablespoon  minced fresh basil
  • 2  tablespoons  olive oil
  • 3  tablespoons  balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1  red bell pepper, cut into eighths
  • 1  (1-pound) eggplant, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 1  sweet onion, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1  zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices
  • Cooking spray
  • 1  (8-ounce) loaf French bread, cut in half lengthwise
  • 6  (1-ounce) slices part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided


Prepare grill.

Combine mayonnaise and minced basil; cover and chill.

Combine oil and next 3 ingredients in a large bowl. Add bell pepper, eggplant, onion, and zucchini to dressing mixture; toss vegetable mixture well to coat.

Place bell pepper and eggplant on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 6 minutes. Add onion and zucchini; grill 5 minutes. Turn vegetables often, baste with dressing, and cook just until tender. Remove from grill, and keep warm.

Place bread on grill, cut side down, and grill 2 minutes. Turn bread, cut side up, and place half of cheese slices on bottom half of bread. Grill 1 minute or until cheese begins to melt.

Spread mayonnaise mixture over top half of bread. Top bottom half with vegetables, remaining cheese slices, and top half of bread. Cut crosswise into fourths.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Back from Camp

We  just returned from “Family Camp” at Camp Michawana – our annual church camp.  We were fortunate enough to stay in “The Lodge”, which has air conditioning, since we have a newborn baby.  It was HOT this past week.  Did you feel it?  It seems like it was all over the U.S., so I’m sure most of you did!

Family Camp was a bit challenging with a newborn baby.  Honestly, I was in tears Sunday night – the day after we arrived – thinking I would probably leave on Monday.  God, in His mercy, encouraged and strengthened me, though, and I made it through Thursday.  Our kids had a blast and were not anxious to leave whatsoever.  Our days were filled with swimming, archery, ping pong, tubing (for my 6 year old daughter – first time!), “Ga-ga”, board games, and other fun activities.







Our niece is in the middle during a game of “Duck, Duck, Goose”





Friday, August 6, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.   inspired by SouleMama

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Love and Respect


On Wednesday nights at church we have been watching the “Love and Respect” videos by Emerson & Sarah Eggerichs.  They are phenomenal!  I would highly recommend them to anyone.  If you can’t buy them or don’t know of someone from whom you could borrow them, perhaps you could just read the book

The basic premise is this: 

Women and men are different, with different needs, different ways of thinking, different ways of speaking, different ways of understanding… different ways of living!  Women hear and see through pink.  Men hear and see through blue.  A woman’s basic need is LOVE, while a man’s basic need is RESPECT.  Our husbands need to know we appreciate them – their jobs, their opinions, their “solutions” to our problems, their strength, their handsomeness, their provision, and all they give to us.  They need to feel honored and respected.

We, women, can *not* expect our husbands to be like our girlfriends.  God did not create him to be that way.  We need to remember when we are communicating with our husbands, expecting from our husbands, and giving to our husbands, that they are just that – our HUSBANDS.  They are MEN.  They are different than we are, and that is a good thing in God’s eyes, and it needs to be in our eyes as well. 

I know I need to grow in acting like I RESPECT my husband, in private and in public.  I am trying and encourage you to do the same.

I wish you blessing upon your marriage!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Hershey’s Cake with an Oreo Twist


I have made the Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake multiple times for birthdays, and it is very good!  HOWEVER, I made  this recipe for my son’s birthday.  It uses the Hershey’s chocolate cake recipe baked with a layer of Oreo halves inside with a yummy whipped cream/Oreo crumb filling.  It is delicious, and everyone loved it.

*Note:  I think I would double the filling amount next time since it was a pretty thin layer.

Chocolate Oreo Cake


Original with “Good Things Catered”

For cake:
2 c. sugar
1-3/4 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. Hershey's Cocoa
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 c. milk
1/2 c. vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 c. boiling water
10-15 oreos twisted to separate cookies and reveal cream center
15 oreos, chopped directly in half through cookie
For icing:
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, melted
2/3 c. Hershey's Cocoa
3 c. powdered sugar
1/3 c. milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
For filling:
1/3 c. whipping cream
2 tsp powdered sugar
small dash vanilla extract
1/8 c. oreo cookie crumbs, made from reserved oreo sides
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare two 9-inch round baking pans, lining with parchment.
-On one layer of cake, place cookie halves that have been separated into the bottom of one pan, cream side up.
-Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl.
-Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes.
-Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin).
-Pour batter very carefully into prepared pans.
-Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
-Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans and place onto wire racks.
-Remove parchment and cool completely.
-Meanwhile, make frosting: stir melted butter into cocoa.
-Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency.
-Add small amount additional milk, if needed.
-Stir in vanilla.
(About 2 cups frosting.)
-Meanwhile, make filling: In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the cream, sugar and vanilla until stiff.
-Gently fold in the cookie crumbs.
-Scoop the mixture into a piping bag (or gallon sized ziploc bag).
-When cake is completely cooled, make icing dam around the top edge of the layer of cake that has oreos baked into it.
-Fill icing dam with a layer of cream filling.
-Place other cake layer on top, and frost with chocolate frosting.
-Place oreo halves around bottom edge and top of cake.
-Serve or store in refrigerator.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Remembering Peppy

Last night my daughter and I were looking for Peppy, my son’s pet hamster that he just got last Christmas, in his cage.  We could not find him just by peeking around.  After lifting up his house, there we found him, passed on from this life.  It was a shock, of course, even though I had been telling my husband that I felt like something wasn’t right with Peppy.  I was noticing differences – a lot of gray hair, slow movement, not eating much, etc…  I looked at a picture of Peppy on the frig. on Friday, when he was spry just a couple months ago.  In my head I thought, “Something just isn’t right.  I think Peppy isn’t going to make it”.  Sure enough… he didn’t.

It is hard to lose a pet – something you care for and love.  Non pet-owners don’t understand that, but when you give yourself to something, it matters.  It is hard for me to realize Peppy is gone, but even moreso, I feel grief for my son. 

My son wrote an acrostic poem about Peppy for his English assignment a month ago.  An acrostic poem is a poem which is written about a particular topic, and the letters of the word are the beginning of each line. 

Peppy likes to



Playful and

Yearning to explore.

IMG_4385 IMG_4402

We remember Peppy and the happiness he brought to us.