Monday, August 31, 2009

Fall Recipe Exchange #3

Today's recipe comes from Sonya Tinsley. She's an awesome cook (yes, I have eaten her food first hand!) Find out more about her interesting life as a mom, adoptive mom and foster mom at Tinsley Troop.

Here's what she says about this yummy recipe:

"One of the first times I ever ate with Todd at his parents house, we had "Chicken Rolls" and I loved them then and I still love them and they are one of the staple meals in our home in the fall and winter....and well pretty much any time of the year! LOL

They are warm and creamy and just mmmm...mmmm GOOD!!!"

Chicken Rolls

1 cup Seasoned bread crumbs - (I don't use this. It's a texture thing)
2 pkg Crescent rolls (6 rolls total)
6 oz Lowfat cream cheese* (I sometimes substitute shredded cheddar cheese)
1/4 cup Butter (If not using the cream cheese - leave this out.)
2 Green onion, chopped fine (optional)
1/2 tsp Pepper
1 can Mushrooms, drained, chopped (optional)
2 cups Cooked chicken, diced
Butter flavored cooking spray

1 can Reduced-fat cream of mushroom soup*
1 can Reduced-fat cream of chicken soup*
1 Soup can full of lowfat milk

1. Mix cream cheese and butter; cream well. Add the green onion, pepper, mushrooms and chicken; stir well until everything is coated.
2. Flatten crescent rolls slightly. Put cream cheese mixture on one side of crescent triangle, rollup, spray with butter flavored cooking spray and sprinkle all of them with bread crumbs.

3. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes

Sauce: Mix cream of mushroom and cream of chicken soup with milk over stove to warm. Drizzle on top of baked crescent rolls, or place on the side for dipping.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Save Us From the Skunk, Lord!

Last night after a scrumptuous home cooked meal with some friends (at their home), our family pulled back into our gated communinity (AKA the church lot which happens to have a fence around it). When we drove up, much to our dismay, we saw a certain black and white creature trying to get through the chainlink fence right by the RV we are living in. Geez Louise!!!

As we sat there in the car we struggled with the solution.

1. Get out and walk carefully to the door of the RV and pray the skunk didn't spray us

2. Wait and see where the skunk ends up going once he's inside the fenced area

3. Call someone who has a gun (sorry animal rights activists) knowing that if we shot the skunk he would spray as a defense mechanism

4. Go to the store an stock up on Tomato Juice to bathe in.

Well because we live in Texas and anytime a gun can be involved in hunting-like circumstances you take advantage of the opportunity- We called our friend Jeremy...and within minutes he and oldest son appeared with not one...but two guns.

Thing is, during the time between the phone call and their arrival, the skunk got through the fence and headed towards the RV. That was the last we saw of him. They searched under the RV, under the church buses, vans, on the soccer no avail. Stinkin' Skunk.

All the while, the hunt is going on. Savannah is just about to have a panic attack in the car. She is worried about dad getting sprayed by the skunk. She decided that we needed to have prayer so I said's how it went...I kid you not.

Lord, please be with my daddy while he is out there looking for that skunk. Please don't let him get sprayed because the stores are closing and we won't be able to get any tomato juice for him to take a bath in. Please don't let the skunk spray us or our RV. AMEN.

I was laughing so hard! ...and a little thankful that she calmed her anxiety with prayer.

So, the skunk got away....the guys were disappointed that the use of guns was unnecessary. Maybe next time!

For more skunk stories with my family read The Skunk Always Wins

Friday, August 28, 2009

Life is like the Pit Grill

Last Sunday evening on our way out of church we decided to go eat with another family from the church. Bruce offered to select the eating establishment and when he said "Pit Grill" I shuddered. I have driven by the Pit Grill many times since moving here 2 months ago. It's not pretty. However, not to judge a book by it's cover, or a restaurant by it's location, I waited to see what the other's reaction would be. I've been to lots of whole in the wall places that were diamonds in the rough. The difference....I heard things like....gross, salmonella, food poisoning and more mentioned about the Pit Grill-But, Bruce wanted to eat there-bad.

So, we loaded up and headed to the infamous, open 24 hours a day, Pit Grill. We drove up and everyone got out of the cars. I am amazed we were able to find our way to the door- the thick smell and fog of cigarette smoke was so thick. We self-seated ourselves to the back of the place thinking the smell of smoke would be somewhat, NO!

We ordered. I was scared frankly. I ordered a BLT, thinking as long as the bacon is done, it should be ok. Meanwhile, I could hardly breathe. I took Savannah to the bathroom, which was surprisingly clean, and she asked what that smell was. I don't guess she's ever been around cigarette smoke before.

Our food arrived, and guess what? It wasn't too bad. I'd rate it with Waffle House or other establishments like that. But I could hardly enjoy it for the SMOKE! Needless to say we didn't have any lingering fellowship inside the restaurant that night...however we did stand outside and chat for a bit!

Never. Again.

Moral of the story:

No matter what things look like on the outside, or even how good the company is or how clean your bathroom is, if you're full of smoke...everyone is gonna know it eventually.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Girl from God

When we were about 20 weeks along in our pregnancy with Savannah, we had an ultrasound, confirming she was indeed female. I was excited. We went and registered that day. I dreamed of pink bows and braids and spend the night parties and frills and makeup and more. When she arrived just 7 weeks later, all I dreamed and prayed for was that she would survive!

Today is her 7th birthday. I can hardly believe it's been that long! From 2 lbs 6 oz. to a healthy 2nd grader, she's a walking miracle. Thank you Lord. Happy Birthday Savannah Malynne (which means "girl from God").

If you want to read more about Savannah's story...check our my blog about it at Surprise It's Octuplets

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Ever had blurred vision? It happened to me the other not literally, but figuratively for sure. On Monday we planned to go to Gunter to begin packing the house up. We've been delaying this purposefully with hopes that it would show better decorated and in turn sell quicker...but much to our disappointment this hasn't happened! So, I headed to Gunter about 15 minutes ahead of Bruce who was in the church van hauling a trailer (He was bringing friend/missionary with him to get them a few extra things we had at the house for their stay in a rental for the next year). I got to Gunter. The yard looked spectacular (thanks to our yardman and friend, LD, who has been keeping things in tip top shape while we've relocate). When I entered the house I went straight to the thermostat ...because this is TEXAS and you have to have airconditioning!!!! There I noticed our normal digital touchpad completely blank. Nothing showing. Clear. What had happened? After a run out to the unit outside where I noticed pieces of charred wood lying around, I deducted that it must have been struck by lightning. I called Bruce and he called the repairman.

Now I know you are probably thinking...blurred vision???...what are you talking about??? But in those moments as I waited for Bruce to get to the house, I found myself blurried by circumstances. This is what the enemy threw at me:

1. You are living in an RV

2. Your RV was struck by lightning

3. Your home isn't selling...and in fact it's costing you $$$ to fix the airconditioner

4. You're gaining weight (I know...odd...but he low balled me and threw that in there too!)

5. You're not ready to start school yet

6. You're kids are being affected by this life-transition

...and the list went on.

See what I mean? For a few moments I sat there in my comfy recliner and let my vision get blurred by my very temporary circumstances. What. In. The. World?

And almost as quickly, I heard God whisper in my ear one word: TEMPORAL. It cleared my vision almost instantly. I got my head screwed on straight and began thinking of all the eternal things HE is doing in my life:

1. Teaching me and my family to walk by faith

2. Allowing us to develop the bus outreach program at the church (a program really close to my heart!)

3. Seeing my children so excited about memorizing God's Word in AWANA

4. New eternal relationships being formed within our class at church

5. Ladies Bible Study

6. The opportunity to have talked with someone about turning their life over to the Lord.

7. His amazing provisions for us during this time

...and more.

Oh how quickly the devil can get in and throw sand in our eyes. I don't know about you but I want clear 20/20 vision when walking in this world. I don't want to be blindsighted by the traps, snares, broken airconditioners or lightning attracting RV's. I want to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith.

God help me stay focused on the one who sees, knows and is in control of it all!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

More Homeschooling Sites

These sites come recommended by Christina, my friend of ...25 years (OUCH!- are we that old???) The great thing about Christina is that she and I met in junior high when her great dad decided to start a homeschool basketball team. He took 7 jr high girls and tried to make us basketball players. 5 years later when we graduated he was coaching 3 or 4 homeschool teams and we were beating lots of unsespecting Christian School teams who thought we were just playing basketball for PE class. They didn't know Coach was life....not a hobby!

Christina and I have recently reconnected on Facebook. She is a homeschooling mom of two and an exceptional photographer. Her homeschool list is lengthy...but she's been doing this a while so hopefully you'll glean from her experience.

Thanks Christina!

Her List:

I noticed that others mentioned Enchanted Learning. Good things there. I subscribed when my kiddos were younger.
Amen on Donna Young!!
Paula's Archives
Ambleside OnlineBook Adventure
TanglewoodPaper Back Swap
Answers in Genesis videos
Dangerous Journey study guide
1000 good book list --- and other things on their site---love their history books.
Discovery Education--this is only free if the Public TV station in your state pays for schools to access it. In GA they do and they allow homeschoolers free access. We have to re-new each year by sending our attendance reports and intent letter to a secretary at our local PBS station and she send us the code. Obviously this is not christian. You may wonder why I keep mentioning that. Because I use lots of things that are not particularly christian in our homeschooling. There is so much good stuff out there and we use lots of things Christan and secular and when needed we add our Christian worldview and political views each step of the way.
Copywork ideas
Book of Centuries
animated atlas
Jan Brett
Old Fashioned Education
Not used--mathbugsZaner Blouser
NASApaper models
Math Facts
Project Gutenberg and The Baldwin Project are in the links below and are also among our favorites. I do find for us that is is better to not use free workbooks such as math/language, because the printing and paper costs are often more than buying the book. Lower costs programs that I have used or that others I know have used and loved
Explode The Code ---inexpensive workbooks from School Box (our local teacher supply store) The one for younger children is Get Ready for the Code.
First Language Lessons---loved this, but a very gentle approach. The price has gone up on these, but there may be plenty of used ones out there. We also loved the CD.After we taught basic letter formation (with Ian-zaner blouser and handwriting without tears/with Chloe, I just printed out an alphabet and showed her how to make the letters) we did copywork--Handwriting paper and then give them things to copy. Either on a chalkboard/whileboard or write it our for them. This can be Bible verses, spelling words, songs/hymns, etc. This kills two birds with one stone esp. for the reluctant writer. ; )
We have used George Washington's rules of civility, passages from good literature--some fun and some serious. Chloe always loved writing excerpts from Little House on the Prairie books. If you want a book for this instead we at one time or another used the Memoria Press Copywork book and some from .Reading great books is a wonderful way to learn to read or after learning to read. I loved this instead of readers---though w/my mom working in an Abeka school, we have our fair share of those too-we just treat them like books. We used Phonics Pathways and just read books.
I did use Rod and Staff English for awhile and may pick it back up. This is a no frills curriculum. You don't write in the books, so they can be used w/multiple children. For now this is why I am not using them---Ian is a very reluctant writer and it was killing him. It is a very thourough program. Compare w/Abeka, though R&S includes more writing instruction then Abeka. Mennonite company therefore very old fashioned and wholesome.
I have used several Math programs, but probably the best value in the lower grades is to get a workbook (Abeka, Horizons,Singapore, etc.) and either teach the concepts yourself or try to find a used cirrculum guide on a swap board or maybe e-bay.
Abeka workbooks can be ordered at the hotel meetings all around the USA for free shipping. If you don't mind using the library, you can do history and science completly with only the library, or get a guide of some sort and pull books to go w/it from the libraray.
Most of our homeschooling years I have loosely gone by The Well Trained Mind. I love her history--The Story of the World. You can buy the book and activity guide and just pull from the library. Some Christians do not like these, so fair warning. I did add Mystery of History and the Vos bible story book side by side w/these (a list helping coorelate those found here), but the author for MOH has not finished her history cycle, so at some point I had to start pulling from other resourses. I am a huge history buff and would love it if we didn't have to do any other subjects ever, so this may not be anything like what you are looking for. Some people I know will do a year of American History with their children and then start w/Story of the World. In the elementary years, I love how she outlines science. Using the library and the computer you can do a fantastic little science program. Fun too!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Fall Recipe Exchange #2

We are continuing our Fall Recipe Exchange. Click here to get the details on how you can have your recipe and blog featured.

This is from Keelie over at Red Writing . She is a super cook!!! You'll want to be sure to try this recipe this Fall. I can already smell the aroma from my new kitchen!

Pumpkin Pie Crunch

Extremely good and a little more interesting than your Granny's pumpkin pie. It is also really easy--the Thankgiving version of "dump cake."

1 (16 oz.) can solid-packed pumpkin 1
(12 oz.) can evaporated milk
3 eggs
1 1/2 c. sugar
5 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon works)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 pkg. yellow cake mix
1 c. butter
1 c. chopped pecans
Whipped Cream

In a large bowl, combine pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Pour into greased 9x13 inch pan. Sprinkle the cake mix evenly over the pumpkin mixture. Drizzle with melted butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 55 min. Cool completely. Serve with whipped cream. refrigerate leftovers.

My Fav No/Low Cost Homeschooling Sites

This is my third year homeschooling and I feel like I am just now getting into the groove of finding good, age appropriate online no/low cost supplemental materials. Just in case there's someone else out there that has struggled like me, here's my list. If you have a site that you love that is no/low cost, leave a comment below. I'd love to hear about it!
The Homeschool Mom

And this is from my hubby's cousin and homeschooling mom, Susan: has lots of helpful info. more for you than your kids, but I
love it!- is an Evan Moor website for $12.99 per month and has tons of printables, and I love Evan Moor stuff, so with it you can pick and
choose and have a huge selection without having to buy every single workbook you
want. It's worth the price ... Read More if you like that kind of stuff! It's probably my
favorite.- is $20.00 for the year, and they have a lot of
cool printables. Some are free, but the selection is much better if you join.- lots of educational games for free.

And this is from my friend and homeschool mom, Felicia:

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Fall Recipe Exchange #1

Check out The Fall Recipe Exchange going on right now. Feel free to join in.

This recipe is from Felicia, mom to 5 and wife to Jeremy. You can learn more about her at Are They All Yours? . What she doesn't mention is what a terrific welcoming friend she has been to me in my new town. Wow...everyone should be so blessed to have a Felicia in their life.

My Fall recipe, or just anytime recipe, would be Creamy Tacos. It is such yummy comfort food and it has always been one of Jeremy's favorite recipes. In fact, it was served at our rehearsal dinner, and I laugh every time I think about that!

Creamy Tacos

1 lb. ground beef

1 can rotel


1 can ranch style beans

shredded cheese

8oz. velveeta

sour cream

1 pint whipping cream

Crushed tortilla chips

Brown ground beef. Add rotel, beans, and velveeta. Stir frequently until cheese is melted. Just before serving, add the whipping cream. Place crushed chips in bowl, pour cheese sauce on top. Garnish with tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, sour cream, or whatever you desire.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Pizza and Pampers

The past two days Bruce, the kids and I made a fast track to west Texas, to the humble town of Snyder. We went for a fellowship meeting for the Texas BBF. It was a really quick trip and a little exhausting, but fun to do something spur of the moment...(cause we don't already live a life of adventure LOL).

Monday night after the service we met up with a college friend and headed to eat. We ended up at my favorite place in the whole world- Pizza Hut (OK so maybe I haven't really traveled the world too much to see what I am missing...but I do like me some pan crust Pizza Hut). So we sat, ate and fellowshiped. At the end of the meal we boxed our food up and headed to the car.

(WARNING- story ending here for anyone who cannot handle bodily function conversation)

On the way to the car Tucker informed me that he had pooped in his pants. Darn it! I thought we had the potty training mastered!!! So, unequipped, we headed to the only store in town open and bought some wipes and diapers...(Tuck had had diarrhea during the day so I was worried we might be dealing with a bigger problem).

So we entered the lobby of our hotel and stopped by the desk to see if the kids and I could get a late check-out. There was another pastor in front of us (I recognized him from the meeting earlier). He was asking about air freshener (I might should have asked about that in re: diarrhea). He turned to us and I guess in effort to make small talk said "Is that delivery for me?" motioning to the bag from the grocery store that Bruce held in his hands. He then glanced at me (I was holding the box of leftover pizza with drinks balanced on top) and said..."are you sure that bag isn't for me?" By this time I realized he was thinking that there was something to go with the pizza in the bag that Bruce held. But the thought of a 60 year old pastor asking if the delivery of diapers and wipes was for him, almost had me in an uncontrollable fit of giggles. He wouldn't stop...and even as he was walking away he was asking my kids "Are you sure that bag isn't for me?"

This story is pretty funny to me. But the more I got to think about the more I thought about how this is the way a lot of Christians live. They have the salvation (the pizza) to live a life for Christ. But what they have in their bag (life) doesn't really match what they have been given. We wallow around in disappointments, heartache, anger, unrest, when in reality, we've been given joy, peace, love and a host of other perfect gifts from above. Rather than it being comical as in our interaction with that pastor and the diapers, it is just sad. Sad that people who know Jesus in their heart, don't act like they know Him.

I am reminded that pizza and pampers don't mix.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Fall Recipe Exchange

My friend Kellie over at Red Writing is hosting a wreath making day. I'd like to join the fall festivities by hosting a recipe exchange. Email me at with your favorite fall recipe and a link to your blog and I will post it for all of us to try out. Feel free to send in multiple recipes and any pictures or comments you have about it such as a family story or an alteration you make. For instance I make a pretty great banana bread (I'm just sayin'), and I make a special spread to go on top of I might include that too. Maybe it's an old family recipe and you have a special memory to go with it.....whatever the case send it in. I'm desperate for some new tried and true fall recipes!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Need Help with Dinner?

On Thursday I was talking with Sharon Autry of Mom and Loving It! and she mentioned this wonderful website called .

For $5 a month you get access to a great website full of impressive ideas and meal plans. They do all the work for you....create menus, shopping list and even give you the list for your favorite store. They include price checks and keep everything on a budget of around $70 a week.

Check it out at and see what you think.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Things I like about living in the RV

Since our time in the RV is officially winding down...yes, we are moving into a house on Sept. 1. I thought I would be remiss if I didn't tell you about all the things that have made living in the RV so wonderful.

1. family.

2. It only take 20 minutes to clean.

3. The canopy off the side. Great for sheltering from the rain.

4. A break from cooking (yes, it's been nice....but guess what???...I can't wait to get into my new kitchen and make some bread).
5. Less of everything...laundry, toys, dishes.

6. Heavy drapes that close out the sun and make it extra cozy for naps, reading and jammie-movie days.

7. Lawncare

8. Large shade trees

9. Cable and Internet hooked up

10. Swivel chairs...I don't know why...I just do.

I am so thankful for the provisions that God has blessed us with during this time. He is looking out for this family.

The lyrics to this Lincoln Brewster song sum it up:

You dance over me,
While I am unaware,
You sing all around,
But I never hear a sound.

Lord I'm amazed by You,
Lord I'm amazed by You,
Lord I'm amazed by You,
How You love me.

You paint the morning sky,
With miracles in mind,
My hope will always stand,
For You hold me in Your hand.

Lord I'm amazed by You,
Lord I'm amazed by You,
Lord I'm amazed by You,
How You love me.

Lord I'm amazed by You,
Lord I'm amazed by You,
Lord I'm amazed by You,
How You love me.

How deep,
How wide,
How great,
Is Your love for me.

Lord I'm amazed by You,
Lord I'm amazed by You,
Lord I'm amazed by You,
How You love me.
Lord You love me.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


So our little RV excursion is coming to a close. It's been over a month now and we've crunched the numbers and are going to plunge into the world of mortgage and rent juggling. I know you'll miss the occasional RV humor we have all come to love, but alas, it's time to move on to bigger and better things.

First let me let you in on a little secret. We have looked at over 20 rentals. Not joking. I am amazed at what some landlords will charge for a cat urinated, carpet stained, mildew growing house. One house we went into smelled weird. I couldn't quite figure out what it was until I realized that the landlord had scented candles burning in every room....what do you think he was trying to cover up?

So, just as we thought there was no rental out there for us and that we would be filling multiple blog postings with hilarity from the RV, we got 2 calls from our special real estate agent friend. He had heard about 2 rentals. So we went and looked. They are both great. Now we have to decide. It would have been so much easier if one was horrible and the other was super, but no, now we have to make a real grown up decision. I hate this part.

I'll keep you posted on which one we choose...should be tonight!

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Garden at Jojo's House

My mom has an eye for gardening and thumbs to match! She has worked hard (along with my brother) to create a sweet, relaxing oasis in her yard. It's breathtakingly beautiful this time of year. Enjoy these pics of her flowers and vegetable gardens.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Wildlife Safari...and I am not talking about my family!

4 Wheelin', Friends and Family

The kids had the opportunity to do a little 4 wheelin' with a friend of the family while we were in GA. They had a blast. Tucker said he crashed into some trees while he was making a new road. That pretty much sums it up for him. If you are a child safety advocate...I apologize for the lack of helmets.

Home Again!

It's amazing what an RV can do for the soul. Well, actually maybe it's not the RV, maybe it's what's in the RV. My family, together.

The kids and I arrived at the airport last night at around 7:30pm and were greeted by an ever so camp tired husband/daddy. Reunited.

I'll be posting some great pics later of our trip. But for now....RV sweet RV.