Monday, March 30, 2015

Do You Chia?

There are many things I'm trying to do better about in my life.  Sometimes this list seems really long. How about you?

The big thing right now is getting healthy.  Exercise is still a distant thing these days, unfortunately. However,  getting better foods into my diet more often has been going much better.  Baby steps, right?!

This has become my breakfast just about every morning.

Two simple things to add to your oatmeal that can take it up a notch and add some great extra nutrition.   One tablespoon of chia seeds and a big spoon full of vanilla yogurt.
Mix and eat.
Adding just one tbsp of chia seeds helps keep me full longer in the morning and helps keep me from 'grazing' through the pantry.  It also adds extra fiber, omega-3, protein, and calcium to my diet in a very easy form.

Other areas where we've added chia seeds - 1/3 C to our blackberry cobbler, homemade jam, and in almond milk to make pudding.

Now, while these little beauties have no flavor, there is no way to hide the texture of having all those extra little seeds in your dish.  Not a problem for me; but, for those with food texture issues (like my daughter), this could pose a major problem.

So, do you use chia seeds?  What's your favorite way to use them?  Share with us!

Extra Reading:
Top 10 Health Benefits of Chia Seeds 
11 Proven Health Benefits of Chia Seeds

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

My Baby Turned 5. WHAT?!

I used to think time didn't like me.  Really.  I know I did it to myself, but there for a while life was a bit overwhelming.  Okay, completely overwhelming.  Nothing like having five kids in six years.

Now that I finally feel like I'm getting my proverbial feet under me, time is starting to pick up speed and go maybe just a little faster than I would like.

It really hits home when the baby starts to no longer look like a baby.

He's growing up just a little too fast.  It's a mixed bag of emotions for this momma.  On one hand, I love seeing my kids grow and learn new things.  On the other hand, he is definitely our last and we will never go through all those baby 'firsts' ever again.

He was very adamant that he wanted a cake this year and not cupcakes.  (I really liked those cupcakes from last year, though!)

What he wasn't sure about, was what would be on said cake.  One day before his birthday celebration, he finally narrowed it down to either The Hulk or TMNT.  At least they have the same colors.

Once he settled on TMNT, I got to work on the cake.

I really had a lot of fun doing this!  No, it's not professionally done.  I'm sure I did so many things 'wrong', but I don't care.  He could tell what the picture was supposed to be and he was happy.  That made me happy and the work worth it.

So, what are the popular picks for birthdays?  I'm always curious if my kids just like what they like or are going with the current popular trend.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Do You Know What Tomorrow Is?

This is where the nerd in me really shows.....

A couple of others I thought were funny....

Do a quick 'pi day shirt' search on Google and you'll see all kinds of creative pi pun shirts.

I also find shows like Big Bang Theory hilarious.  Now you probably know a little too much about me.  :)

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A Little Update On Madi

Many of you know our daughter was able to end her chemotherapy treatment for leukemia in November of  2014.  A great time for all of us, but especially her.  She's been doing great since then and we are VERY grateful for her progress.

She's about four months out and sometimes it's amazing the difference in her.  If you asked her before treatment ended how she felt, she would always say 'good' or 'fine'.  And really, she did - compared to how she had felt for the previous months during heavy treatment.

Now you can ask her how she feels and you'll get 'REALLY good!' as a response.  It's a great and unexpected change!

She's able to keep up with her siblings a little bit better these days.  And she's always up for any activity.  The timing couldn't be more perfect now that the weather is warming up.

Madi is still being monitored closely by her group of doctors.  Something that definitely gives Dad and Mom some extra piece of mind.  Blood work is done every two weeks (for now).  She is also receiving her IVIG (immune therapy) to keep her compromised immune system strong during cold and flu season.  We also give her supplements that have been cleared by her doctors.  

So, once a month we head over to the treatment center for several hours of IVIG, art therapy, playtime and candy for the little ones.  I go fully prepared to do some work - although, I rarely get much done.

Other things that have been progressing for Madi?  At six months out from the end of treatment, Madi will have the option of getting her port out.  To say the least, she is looking forward to it.  It doesn't bother her, unless it gets bumped, but it does come with some restrictions that would be nice to not worry about any longer.  In order to get that port out, she has to be okay with getting blood drawn from her arm.  Once she found out what was required, she was ready to start practicing.  
This girl doesn't seem to be intimidated by much of anything!

Being a mom, I certainly have concerns as we move forward.  I liken it to being a first time parent and going straight to panic mode whenever anything happens.  You probably know what that's like, right?  "The baby has a fever!  Should I call the doctor?" or "I know head wounds bleed a lot, but is this too much?" or "Does that cough sound worse today?  Is that a wheezing sound when he's breathing?"

Only mine sound like this now.... "She just fell asleep in the middle of the day.  Is it because she had a sleepover a few days ago, or is she getting sick?" and "Hmmm.... is she looking pale or is that her normal coloring?" and "How long has that bruise been on her leg/arm/body?  What color is it?  Does it look like it's healing?" and my favorite "Where did that rash come from!"  It's a new place for me to be when my usual MO is "Suck it up, sweetie!  It's just a {fill in the blank}.  You're going to be fine."  I'm learning to adjust!  

There's been some crazy energy swings lately, so the doctor humored me and ordered some extra blood work.  At this point, everything continues to look good.  Keep praying she continues to do well and can leave this part of her life in her past.  Thanks for all your concern and continued request about Madi and her health!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Family Favorite Recipe: Cherry Delight

This week has been full of recipes!  Not planned, but it certainly has worked out well.

A little back ground on this one.... This is a recipe my husband's grandmother would make for her family.  I was introduced to this recipe when my husband and I started dating some 16 years ago.  Since then, it's been one of the top requested desserts around here.

Original Recipe (9x9 or pie)

25-30 graham crackers
3/4 - 1 stick margarine

1/2 C powdered sugar
4 oz cream cheese (softened)
1 package Dream Whip (prepared)

1 21 oz can cherry pie filling

Crumble graham crackers and mix with melted margarine.  (Quick and Easy Method)  Spread and press into the bottom of a pie pan or 9x9 dish.  Bake at 325* for 10 minutes.  Place to the side and let cool.

Prepare package of Dream Whip according to directions on box.  Set to side.

Cream together powdered sugar and softened cream cheese.

Mix Dream Whip and sugar mixture together.  Spread on cooled graham cracker crust.  Top with cherry pie filling.

{The above is where it all started.  We generally make a 9x13 size since nothing in a 9x9 dish lasts very long in a family of 7.  We also like more cream cheese flavor.  Adding more cream cheese will also give you a denser filling - just so you know.}

Altered Version (for 9x13)

1 1/2 packages graham crackers 
1 stick butter (melted)

1 C powdered sugar
16 oz cream cheese (softened)
2 package Dream Whip (prepared)

2  21 oz can cherry pie filling

Crumble graham crackers and mix with melted butter.  (Quick and Easy Method)  Spread and press into the bottom of a 9x13 dish.  Bake at 325* for 10 minutes.  Place to the side and let cool.

Prepare packages of Dream Whip according to directions on box.  Set to side.

Cream together powdered sugar and softened cream cheese.

Mix Dream Whip and sugar mixture together.  Spread on cooled graham cracker crust.  Top with cherry pie filling.

Save a few of the graham cracker crumbs to sprinkle on top of the finished dish to make it even more appealing.  


Keep loving Life!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Family Favorite Recipes: Two Bean Chicken Chili

This is a recipe my SIL introduced us to soon after she and my brother were married. It's amazingly easy to make for a family meal or to double when having company.  And, {IF you have any leftovers} it reheats well in the microwave or on the stove top.

Would you like to have a freezer meal or slow cooker meal with little to no prep work needing to be done?  THIS IS THAT RECIPE!!

2 Bean Chicken Chili


1 can Black Beans (rinsed and drained)

1 can Pinto Beans (rinsed and drained)

2 cans chicken broth

8 oz. corn

1 T chili powder

1 clove of garlic

1 jar chunky mild salsa

3 cups cooked chicken

8 oz tomato sauce (Mexican hot if available)

1 chopped zucchini (optional)


Place all ingredients in a large soup pot on stove top.  Stir and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 30 minutes.

That's it.  Seriously.

Want to add a little extra to it?  Our family likes to put a dollop of sour cream on top, a good sprinkle of shredded cheese and then scoop it all up with Fritos or Tostitos.  {Has anyone else noticed that my recipes never end up in the low fat category?!}

Monday, March 2, 2015

Graham Cracker Crust Made Easy

We had company this weekend.  Great company.

The menu for the night?  Potato Soup, 2 Bean Chicken Chili, all the fixin's, Fresh Fruit, Blackberry Cobbler and Cherry Delight.

All easy enough and super yummy.

It was the first time I used my food processor to make a homemade pie crust.  My kids that were standing around watching were quick to let me know that Nonnie (my mother) does this better.  Even though they were right, I still felt very accomplished once finished.

Next on my to-do list was making the Cherry Delight which has a graham cracker crust.  This is my least favorite crust to make because it's time consuming and messy.  You know - putting the crackers in a gallon size bag and pounding away with either my fists or rolling pin.  But, since it's one of our family's favorite recipes - guess that make's it a labor of love.

So, after making one dessert, I was dreading moving on to the next dessert.  Until I had an 'AHA!' moment while cleaning up my food processor.  If I could make pie crust dough in it, why couldn't I make my graham cracker crust with the help of the food processor?

And it worked!!!  Yay!

Just add your graham crackers to your food processor.

Pulse for a couple of seconds.

Add your melted butter.

Pulse for a couple more seconds until well blended.

Now all you have to do is spread the mixture in a pie pan of your choice.


So, is this something everyone else has been doing for years and I'm just late to the party?  Or do you have another way to make crushing the graham crackers super easy?
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