Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Skillet Pizza–a great way to eat pizza in the summer!


Recently I was in the mood for homemade pizza.  It’s been so hot this summer that I sure don’t feel like using the oven much.

I used my regular pizza dough and went to the task of whipping up some skillet pizza. It was delish, and everyone enjoyed it!


Skillet Pizza
printable version

1 double recipe of pizza dough, for about 8 servings
Pizza sauce
Mozzarella cheese
Choice of toppings:  I used turkey pepperoni, tomatoes, and parmesan cheese.
Olive oil, for cooking the pizza

Divide pizza dough into eight portions.  Form a portion into a ball and then roll it out into a circle.

Heat a skillet (I use cast iron) on medium/high heat with a thin layer of oil covering the bottom.  Place the dough circle into the oil.  (You can test to see if the oil is at a good temp by sprinkling a little water into it.  If it sizzles, it’s ready!)

Cook the dough until the top forms bubbles, and the bottom appears golden.  Flip the dough and immediately top with sauce, cheese, and toppings.  (You may want to turn the heat down just a tad at this point and then turn it up a little bit again when you are starting another pizza).

Cook the pizza until the cheese is melted.  Make sure you watch the bottom of the dough (and the heat level) so it doesn’t burn.

Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Summer “Bucket List”

Guess what I’ve been working on lately?  Yep – my summer bucket list.  How did you guess?  ~smile~

Summer Bucket List

I realize the summer seems like it is “almost over”, but I still have a lot I want to accomplish.  The past few days, I have been thinking a lot about people I want to see and things I want to do.  If I don’t make a plan, the summer will whisk itself away, and September will throw its crazy schedule into my face, leaving all of my hopes and dreams for the next month behind.

Tonight I started solidifying my bucket list on paper.  For just about a minute, I scratched out what you see in the above photo.  Yep, I just started listing away!  It’s incomplete for sure, but it’s in motion.

Some of my categories so far…

Kids (what my kids have said they would like to do)
Home (projects, organization, cleaning…)
Personal (things like devotions and exercise!)

I’m sure I can think of more! 

Have you made a bucket list for yourself?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Multiplication Lapbook

I have always held lapbooks in high regard.  They look so creative, colorful, and comprehensive. 

I finally made one!

As I mentioned yesterday, my daughter is a very hands-on girl.  I thought summer would be a good time to make a lapbook so she could study her math drills.


2’s – a fold, flip bookP7030015
3’s – an envelope with math fact circles, pictured to the right
4’s – listed in two columns on lined paper
5’s – a rotating, circle with a window to display separate facts
6’s – a “book” that opens in slits to reveal each problem
7’s – a flower
8’s – triangles
9’s – a heart, listing the facts vertically
10’s – a celebration of balloons

Have you ever made a lapbook?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hopscotch Math Drills

My third grader really needs to learn her math drills.  She is an active, creative girl.  Reviewing math facts on a sheet of paper just doesn’t seem to cut it.  However, I can create an activity like this and hit a nerve!

First I wrote out her math facts on a sheet of paper – large and bold so she could see them from a chair while hopscotching.


Then we created a hopscotch sketch for her where she could perform her drills.


As she hopped along, she would recite, “Nine times ________ equals _______”.

My son saw her doing it and decided he wanted to join her!  ~smile~

This is a great summer activity for keeping your children’s brains fresh and for reinforcing those essential math drills that provide a good foundation.

Tomorrow I will share the multiplication lapbook we made.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Baked Oatmeal Casserole–yum, yum, yum!


I made this for breakfast today!  It falls nothing short of delicious!

It is fruity, nutty, and chocolaty.  What more could you ask for?!

You can find the recipe here.

I used a 9x13 pan, and the casserole turned out differently than the urban nester’s photo.  Hers looks more like a cake.  I think I would prefer the way mine turned out.

Also, I served it with a bit of homemade, lightly-sweetened, whipped cream


Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Lesson in Matthew 6–the Finale to My Table and Chairs Saga

Almost a year ago, I explained my Peculiar Situation to you.  In a nutshell, I had a mismatched table and chairs set for which I desperately needed more chairs for our family.  I found some chairs … had to return them … and was back to square one.  For more exciting details, be sure to read my post from last year.

It is always good to finish what you start, so I thought I should let you know how that story ended.  Yes, it finally ended.

A couple months ago, we found a BEAUTIFUL table and chairs set on Craigslist:  an elegant cherry-colored wood table with eight chairs, some still wrapped in plastic, two leaves, and a table pad!  We got the set for a wonderful deal, and I was absolutely thrilled!

Table and chairs

It took a long time to find a set that would suit us well that didn’t cost us our limbs.  God is good.  We must be patient.

Once I had my new set, I knew it was time to say goodbye to my other table and chairs.  That wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.  Even though it wasn’t working well for my family, the truth is that I really did like the items.  They, too, were lovely to me.

We sold the table and chairs separately on Craigslist since they did not go very well together, and we only had four chairs. First we sold the chairs…

The lady who bought my chairs was very kind and warm.  She loved the chairs, and I felt good selling them to her.  She didn’t ask me to go down in price, and she was excited to become the owner of my precious chairs.

The table was another story…

We put it on Craigslist for one week… two weeks… three weeks… just about a month.  During that month, we docked our price $125 from the time we began.  We were anxious to get rid of the table, especially since it was taking up a lot of space wherever it was.

A couple came to look at it last weekend.  They looked at my cherished table and nitpicked quite a bit, saying they would have to do a lot of work to it… it was definitely a big job… etc.  They did not want my table or so I thought.

They called the next morning and had a “change of heart”.  They also wanted us to come down in price, another $75.  Gulp!  My husband was away on a golf trip, and I texted him.  “Jump on it!” was basically his answer.  Their offer was the lowest he would go, but he wanted the table gone… now!

Long story short, the couple did get the table, but I dealt with a lot of emotions.  I felt upset that they were so picky about my table and got a steal of a deal in the mean time. 

Through it all, though, God spoke softly to me. 

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth”.  Matthew 6:19

I knew I had to stop dwelling upon my beloved table so much and move forward.  I had to surrender the situation and trust God for everything, even the lack of extra money I was hoping to get out of the situation.

I was reminded of God’s gentle work again yesterday as I saw the following verse on the back of a minivan in front of me:

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”.  Matthew 6:21

Yes, God wants to be my treasure.
He wants my heart fully.

I must let go of earthly treasures and be lost in Him.

Are you holding onto something besides God
and His purpose for your life?

Friday, July 6, 2012

White Velvet Cake with White (or Colored) Frosting



My youngest daughter turned two years old a couple weeks ago.  Her thoughtful older sister wanted to make her a cake.  With this great recipe, we made a cake that turned out wonderfully!  Everyone enjoyed it!



It came out of the oven looking superb!  When you prepare your cake pans by greasing them, lining with parchment paper, and then greasing again, your cakes will turn out of the pan very easily.


My daughter had been planning this cake in her head for a while.  She wanted a smaller square cake on top of a larger square cake with yellow frosting and pink accents.  My daughter was happy with the results.

White Frosting

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1 t vanilla
2 to 3 T milk

Beat butter on medium-high speed until creamy.  Gradually beat in sugar until smooth.  Beat in vanilla and 2 T milk.  Add additional milk, if needed, to reach your desired consistency.

The sweet birthday girl


If you are looking for other cake recipes, I highlighted some other yummy cakes in my “Cake Extravaganza” last year.

Confetti Cake Ice Cream Sandwich Cake
Chocolate Cakes Red Velvet Cake
Yellow Cake Choc. PB Wacky Cake
“Better Than a Hug” Cake Root Beer Float Cake
Sour Cream Banana Cake  

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Embracing Life’s Seasons, with Joy


Winter.  Spring.  Summer.  Fall.

All of those words bring images to our minds.  Some bring comfort.  Others may bring hesitation and concern.

Some people like to live in places, or at least dream of living in places, where there is no huge change in the seasons.  On the other hand, I actually enjoy living in a state where there are distinct seasons and wouldn’t choose to leave unless God spoke a word from heaven.

However, I find myself struggling at times to feel the same way about my life.  I don’t always enjoy being in a more wintry season.  I feel like I have been in a difficult season of life for a long time now.  Feelings of loneliness, barrenness, and despair sometimes accompany me.  Days can seem like weeks, as I struggle and strive to produce order and victory in my own life and home.  It isn’t always easy to feel joyful about this season of my life.  However, if I step back and gain proper perspective, I can see how blessed I am even in this wintry season.

To tell you the truth, I am spoiled rotten.

I have a man who loves me,
Children who desire to be with me,
and friends who bless me.

I don’t have to go outside of my home to earn a paycheck.
As my husband says, “I make the money.  You make the home.”

I have a beautiful house,
am well-provided for,
and continually have tasty and nutritious food to enjoy.

I am part of the Body of Christ,
am cleansed by Jesus’ blood,
am forgiven and redeemed,
and loved immensely by God.

I have a great pastor,
appreciate my local church tremendously,
and still possess the freedom to worship my God in my own country.

And the list goes on and on…

Yes, even during this wintry season of mine, I have plenty to uphold me.  I have plenty of blessings to go around. 

It is essential for me to accept the difficulties God allows in my life and still see the great beauty that lies all around me.

Are you in a difficult season of life?

God is still there and His beauty surrounds you.

Stand back and take a good, hard look.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Girls’ Lock-In

The past week has been busy.  I hosted a surprise 30th birthday party for a friend.  I celebrated my daughter’s 2nd birthday (for which I still have to post the cake recipe), and planned a lock-in for the girls’ groups at church, ages 5 through 13.

My husband became the head of the boys’ groups last fall, and as of the beginning of June, I have become the leader over the girls’ groups.  My husband did a lock-in for the boys in the winter.  Since then the girls had really hoped they could do one.  It had been in the back of my mind to help host one for them, even before I became the leader.  When I took on my new responsibility a few weeks ago, I quickly hopped into action and planned a lock-in.

The girls had a lot of fun.  We didn’t even get to all of the things I had planned.

We had a beauty room where the girls could get their
hair done and faces painted.


We made mosaic craft designs.  I got the idea from “Family Fun”.
Sketch your design on a paper plate.
Mix an equal amount of white glue and water in a cup.
Paint onto mixture plate and affix small pieces of magazine scraps.
When design is complete, coat the top with the glue mixture.


We roasted marshmallows for S’mores over sterno fuel cans.


The girls also did an impromptu fashion show with sleeping bags and blankets that was quite amusing, painted nails, and had fun goofing around together.

They are looking forward to next year, Lord willing!