Friday, February 26, 2016

Food For Friday: Oooey Gooey (Cake Mix) Butter Bars

There is seriously a reason that I am NOT a food blogger! I cannot remember to take pictures of my cooking creations to save my life!! This is a recipe that I have been requested to repeat ASAP, so hopefully I will have a picture to add soon.

Truth be told, I was in search for a good sweet treat for a couple of farm boys who had been on the road and/or working and farming all day. I went with burgers cooked in cast, mac and cheese, and corn for dinner, but dessert was tricky! I looked through a dozen recipes and never had all of the right ingredients until I scrolled across the one for Oooey Gooey (Cake Mix) Butter Bars. I always have cake mixes in the cabinet and luckily I had enough cream cheese on hand AND this was as good as a cheesecake, but less time consuming! So a WIN WIN in my household!

I got the recipe from HERE. But it is not a "new" recipe and Paula Deen has her own version as well.

Oooey Gooey (Cake Mix) Butter Bars

My beautiful food photo on my lovely Tupperware plastic plates.
No worries they were SO good I would probably eat them off anything ;)
1 yellow cake mix (just the mix)
1/2 cup of butter melted
3 eggs (not all used together- see directions)
8 oz cream cheese, softened
16 oz powdered sugar (m/l on preference)

WARNING: This is not a DIET friendly recipe. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Take out a 9x13 pan and grease the bottom. In a bowl, combine the dry cake mix, melted butter, and ONE egg. Mix well. Spread the mixture into the bottom of the pan. I used my fingers and palms to do this. In the bowl of a mixer, cream together the cream cheese. Add the two remaining eggs and beat until they are well combined. Add the powdered sugar.** Continue until well mixed. Pour over the crust and bake for 25-30 minutes. Do not over bake. This should be oooey and gooey in the middle. If you over bake, the bars will be hard and not delicious. Allow it to cool completely(ish) before cutting. Keep leftovers in fridge!

**I used 16 oz, but many of the reviews for this said that they were too sweet and to cut back on the powdered sugar. Be your own judge! 

Be prepared for this one to be requested daily. My hubs might have a new favorite. Plus it is simple and AMAZING!! Farm boy approved to say the least!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

What are you teaching your children?

Lately finding time to write a blog has just been impossible. I am far too busy throughout the school day and we just shut our internet off at home this week. Not to mention I haven't even been taking my laptop back home lately, because I know it is completely pointless. I so very ready for Spring Break to arrive and some actual free time to come my way! Another reason I have struggled has been somewhat of a "writer's block" situation. I come up with things I want to blog about, but either can't put my thoughts together or am afraid what I have to say is too direct for some people.

Being a teacher has taught me sooooooooo many things. While I have only been a mother for just over two years, I have been a teacher for 6 years. In those 6 years I have learned so many things about parenting that make me strive to be a better parent. I know all of my teacher friends can relate! There are so many heartbreaking things that we see as teachers that make us realize how good we have it and what we are determined not to do as parents.

When I seem to get frustrated with the world around me, I find myself looking on Pinterest for quotes that say how I feel or what I am thinking. Maybe a silly thing to do, but I refuse to post anything on Facebook about my somewhat negative thoughts and this just lets me come up with something. I ran across the above Jim Henson quote that fit so well in to what I was thinking. 

So many times as parents, we are so busy trying to teach our kids to do things that we forget that they are learning more from watching us everyday than we will ever be able to teach them. So I had to stop and ask myself, "Am I teaching Cole to be who I want him to be by my daily actions?" I think that is something that as parents (and even those of us who are teachers) need to stop and think about more often. 

When thinking through this there were a few conclusions I was able to come up with. Cole will know what the value of hard work is. He already has his own "chores" or jobs that helps us with, but more importantly he will know what hard work is because he sees it from both of his parents on a daily basis. Josh and I are always working to make our lives better. We are busting it to make farming a reality all while work full time jobs. Cole may only be two, but I know he already sees it. There is not time for laziness in our lives right now. He sees that too. I see SO many kids at school (in the last 6 years) who do not know what hard work is like. Some of them do not even know what it is like to work! They sit around and expect to get by with whatever they feel like doing or only putting in minimal work. I am always asking myself how I can help these kiddos. I seldom find a way to "change" their mind set, but how can I expect them to see the value in hard work when they don't see that from the people who brought them into this world? I can't. 

No, I don't mean all parents should be working multiple jobs and showing their kids how hard it is to be an adult. I mean that parents should be a model of what they want their kids to be. You want your kids to have chores such as doing the dishes or their own laundry? Then you have to set the example for them! If you never wash a dish or put your own clothes away, what is that teaching your kids? That is teaching them that they should not have to do it either, because they see that when they are adults like you are that they will have the choice NOT to. Again, the same goes for school work. If you are not a hard worker and your kids see you often quitting in the middle of things or with no desire to work, they are going to have the same attitude. 

I guess it really comes down to YOU as a parent! Are you setting your expectations for your kids to be higher than the expectations for yourself?? I know that my expectations for Cole in life at age two and at age twenty-two will always be sky high. I also know that he will be able to achieve anything and not be afraid of hard work, because he will have grown up seeing his parents always giving everything their all. It is my wish for that boy to always know how loved he is and that his parents are working in every way to make his life a great one. I hope that we can all say that for our children!

Looking back, one of my firsts posts was about me being "That Mom." The frustration I feel when someone acts as if their child is an inconvenience is explainable. In that post I expressed my feeling of how I love my child and hate spending any time away from him. (Check it out if you haven't!) So one of my recent frustrations has been from people who act like their children are nothing more than an inconvenience to them! There are so many childless mothers out there that would LOVE nothing more than to be the one carrying your child or taking care of the ones you already have. So for the love of all of these mothers out there STOP COMPLAINING!!! Enjoy the time that you have to be with those children and find ways to appreciate their successes and their positive features. As I said in the beginning of the post, your children are learning from YOU! If you want them to grow up to be caring husbands and wives and loving parents, SHOW THEM WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE!! 

No child benefits from being neglected. Avoiding your children and pushing them off on someone else is teaching them that they are not a priority. If they are not a priority in life, they will not obey or listen to you as if you were a priority. I just wish ALL parents understood this. This is something that as a teacher I have seen from so many of my students. They have no respect for their parents or just have no relationship with them. Have we ever just stopped and thought to ourselves that we NEED to be that example for them?? As a teacher (and a mother) I strive to be that adult that they can learn from. While I am far from perfect, I am a positive role model for them. I love nothing more than seeing the joy in their faces when I run into them. The same goes for me as a parent. I love that my son loves to see me. I love that he gets so excited for me to pick him up. I love to see the love that he is shown on a daily basis come through in his actions around his friends.

Moral of this long and wordy post, BE THE EXAMPLE YOU WANT YOUR KIDS TO BE! Don't expect them to be something that they don't see in you. Want them to work hard? Show them the true meaning of being a hard worker. Don't force on them so much hard work to make life easier for you. Give them work they can be proud of and make you proud of. Don't set a bad example for them. After all they are a true blessing and not an inconvenience! 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Food For Friday: Stroganoff

I am going to throw this recipe out there since this is one of the 4 things I cooked this week. It is quick, easy, cheap, and husband approved.

FYI this is the Heinz picture from the Heinz recipe :) My photog skills and iPhone will never be that good. Nor is that my fiesta-ware.

Easy Peasy Beef Stroganoff
1 lb Ground Beef
1 jar of Heinz Beef Gravy
1/2 cup sour cream
Cooked Egg Noodles (I just always cook the whole bag)
*Can add mushrooms if you like those things :)

In a skillet, cook the ground beef until browned. Meanwhile boil your noodles and drain when they are cooked. (Duh!) Dump Add in the brown gravy to the skillet and simmer. Then add in the sour cream and stir until combined. Add a little salt or a lot in my household. Then serve over the noodles when they are finished.

I promise that next week I will be back to blogging. I just haven't had a spare minute this week and am typing this one as fast as my fat fingers will go. I have been "blog-spired" this week and have several good posts in the works. Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Good Friends are Hard to Find!

Good friends are hard to find...

I think as we all grow up and become adults we come to realize that good friends really are hard to find. We all have those friends that have been there forever and for some of us none of those friends are close by. We are all spread out in my case. I love them just as much now as then and we can pick up where we left off no matter how much time has passed. BUT we have almost all had kids, married, and moved away. So for all of us there becomes a time where you start that search for new friends. Not to replace the old ones of course, but new friends to build new memories with.

When I stop and think about what it takes to be friends with us, I realize we may seem a little out there. I mean who wants to be friends with people who have to be home every morning and every evening to milk cows? Who wants to be friends with people who know nothing outside of working full time and farming? So maybe we are just weird, but I will take it! 

Looking back at the close friends we have acquired since we got married and moved to Elkland, it is funny that we really were never just introduced. God knew exactly who we needed in our lives and exactly when we needed them. We became friends instantly and family over time. Over a short period of time their kids have become more like nieces and nephews and we are more like their aunt and uncle than anything else. Cole loves them all and can't wait to play with them anytime!!

God has blessed us with friends who stop at the drop of the hat to come and help us out. I can't even count the number of times that I have made dinner for both families and sometimes all three families. We have gatherings almost weekly, and most of the time they are completely unplanned. I am that person who will cook for anyone and refuse to let someone go hungry. I love to cook and think the more the merrier. One of my fondest memories from the last two years before we moved was the annual planting season dinner. All of the boys work together to get everything planted and we always gather at the end of the day, typically well after dark and settle down for dinner all together. All 6 adults and 6 kiddos. My favorite time of the year! One of the best feelings in the world is a house full of people who are near and dear to my heart. The mess those kiddos create is well worth it. We aren't just passing time, we are making memories.

I stand constantly amazed at the things God gives us in life. Many of which we probably don't even deserve. The moral of this post is just that, God knew who we needed in our life, and he put them there exactly when we needed them. Those friends who seemed so hard to find were all a part of his bigger plan for us. He knew when we needed some one to depend on, vent with, someone to take you to the emergency room when you are puking your guts up for way too long, someone to help you milk when you are sicker than you ever want to be, someone to watch your kiddo when you have to be somewhere unplanned, someone to help out when you have major wardrobe malfunctions in public, someone to help you fix the sub floor and bathroom in your new house in 90 degree heat with, and someone just to listen when you need an ear.

Brody reading to Cole

Amanda painting away. 90 degrees and NO air! 

Ashley painting away. 90 degrees and NO air! 

Pool time with our favorites

The boys watch the tractor trying to pull the other one out

We all have those friends around that are there no matter what. I consider them more like family, but I know they were put in our lives for a reason. God is good all the time!

Sometimes things just don't go as planned...

Digging out

Red getting ready to pull out the Green thing

Thank God for good friends! 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Food for Friday- My favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

Okay, this is going to have to be a quick one! I almost did not even make it this far, but here is one of the recipes I promised the first week I would eventually share! (Sorry, no pictures just yet. I will whip some up this weekend and get them up next week!)

My FAVORITE Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are so moist and soft and delicious. I have people hinting around that they hope I make these all the time. They are simple and the recipe is nothing special. So here it is...

Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Soft, Gooey, and Delicious)

2 sticks butter at room temperature (leave them out for 15 minutes on your counter)
3/4 cup of brown sugar1/4 cup white sugar1 3.4 oz package of vanilla instant pudding mix2 eggs1 tsp vanilla extract2 1/4 cup flour1 tsp baking soda1/2 tsp salt2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix softened butter, brown sugar, and white sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. (Or by hand if you choose) Then add the pudding mix. DO NOT make the pudding. Just add the dry mix. Mix again. This is where I like to do a taste test. :) Add eggs and mix well. Add vanilla. Mix flour, baking soda, and salt in a separate container. Here where I am going to be real with you, I just throw it all in together in the mixer, because I don't want to wash another bowl. Mix the dry ingredients in. Then add your chocolate chips. Place into balls on a cookie sheet. I love to use my Pampered Chef scoop, my favorite PC cookie sheets, and PARCHMENT PAPER. Again with the no dishes thing! Bake for 7-10 minutes and remove to cool! When I make mine I use WAY less chocolate chips. I am not the biggest fan of chocolate chips so I cut back, but you may be a faithful chocolate lover and if so go for more! 

Also, if your butter is too soft, these cookies will be very very flat! They are still amazingly delicious, but they just aren't as pretty! 

There you have it!! This is another one of my favorite things to make with my favorite blonde boy! He loves to climb up and help mom in the kitchen and I enjoy it too. He really likes to stir and start up the mixer. I will always treasure the little moments with him. He is pretty much my world! 

Not a recent picture and not making cookies,
but my little kitchen helper! He was "helping"
me make Oreo Dessert.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Give Me Jesus

Some days we just need a little Jesus...

We all have those days, or weeks as it seems this week, where you just NEED guidance. I have definitely had one of those weeks! I have questioned myself more often than not and have prayed for guidance or even a glimpse of light. Let's just face it I have doubted God many times recently, but every time I do I pray for peace and understanding. I am in no way a wonderful perfect Christian and I have a lot of improvements to make in my own life, but this morning God finally showed me to trust in Him. He will not give up on us if we do not give up on him.

In talking with my hubs about some of our day to day stresses this morning I became easily frustrated with some of these stresses. These are things that every adult goes through. Honestly, I could use a serious break from being an "adult" these days, but couldn't we all?? Anyways, a little time passed by before I was able to resume the conversation with him, and it seemed maybe the mood had changed a little bit. He mentioned that he had talked to his boss whose wife is very ill and she had a bad spell last night that sent them to the ER. Had the timing been different it could have cost her life. This really put my problems into perspective. While my life is not always as grand as I wish it was (I mean I have bills and responsibilities after all- who wouldn't love a life without those, ha) it could always be way worse. There is always someone out there that would love to have your "problems" instead of their own. It also reminded us both of how blessed we are and that we are blessed beyond what we truly deserve. I feel like God finally gave me that reminder that I was looking for. It was like I took a deep breath and just gave it all to God. This is something I really struggle with doing, but I know I am not alone. This seems to be something that we all deal with these days. Moral of the story, I think my new saying is "Give me Jesus!" Here is a little insight to why and my attempt to make the first part of this post flow into the second part (sorry, I write these in multiple sittings and sometimes the ideas just don't mesh together perfectly).

I will call this part I NEED JESUS...

I am a huge fan of traditional country hymns. It is my calming music. It helps me focus on God and encourages me to focus on things much larger than my smaller problems. Our milk barn does not have a good radio. In fact, I bought a cheap CD player at Wal-Mart and it is fairly useless! These radios now do not come with actual antennas and without an antenna when you live out of town you are out of luck!! Moral of the story is the only part of the CD player works is the CD player part. So when milking my music of choice is hymns from The Grand Ole Opry. I think the cows enjoy a little Jesus in their day as well. (Fact: Cows do like music...maybe a future post to come on that one) When at school I "jam" out to my favorite Country Hymn Pandora station. It keeps me grounded and directed and puts me in a better mood! My favorite go-to hymn right now is "Give Me Jesus" sang by Vince Gill.

The lyrics of this one just seem to hit me and remind me that He is all that I need. As a Christian I have to learn to deal with all of the worldly problems that come my way, but as a Christian I can also give all of those things to God and he will guide me through life the way He intends it to be. This is so hard for all of us humans to grasp. It is so easy to get caught up in the day to day stresses and forget that everything you face is a part of a much bigger plan. I am a CONTROL person. (Not controlling, just like to have control) I want to have everything under my control, but ultimately I have to realize that He has control and He will not fail us! Here are those lyrics that can shut down my fears and doubts and lead me into giving it all to God. 

Give Me Jesus
In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise
Give me Jesus
Give me Jesus, give me Jesus
You can have all this world
But give me Jesus
And when I am alone
Oh and when I am alone
And when I am alone
Give me Jesus
Give me Jesus, give me Jesus
You can have all this world
But give me Jesus
And when I come to die
Oh and when I come to die
And when I come to die
Give me Jesus
Give me Jesus, give me Jesus
You can have all this world
You can have all this world
You can have all this world
But give me Jesus

So here is my final words, if you are having a rough day or even a rough week, remember to cast your cares upon Jesus. Be thankful for the blessings you have and spend some time with God. I write this as a reminder to myself to practice this daily! 

Image from HERE

My ultimate goal is to learn to trust in God's timing. What is your goal?? Comment with your goal or favorite scriptures that help you when you need it the most.

Monday, February 1, 2016

A Look Back at January 2016

Well a whole month has passed in the year 2016 already! It has went by quickly and I am completely okay with that! I am not the biggest fan of winter weather. I enjoy sunshine and warm weather and there has not been much of that this month. The last two days of the month were more my style! 60 degrees and sunny is right up my alley!!

There is not much to recap for the month of January. We rang in the new year the same way we always do, playing Rook and eating with Jordan and Ella (minus Aunt Ashie and Papa). We celebrated at our house in hopes on making it easier for Cole, but he has yet to be asleep before midnight on any of his New Year's celebrations.

Rook with the family

Other than that, looking back through pictures from the month there wasn't a lot happening! We spent a lot of time bundling up to head out for chores and did not get to play in the snow at all. I got stranded on the way home the night it was icy and it took me 4 hours to get home. Then the one day we actually had snow I had to work when everyone else was out enjoying a snow day. SO no snow time for my blonde boy. He loved sledding last year, but I have mixed emotions on whether or not I want to do it this year. :) 

Playing in the feed with our tractors.

Being cute in my Carhartts

Feeding hay with my dad. Learning to drive the tractor.

Sometimes we "dress" ourselves and go outside when mom says no.
*Disclaimer- the barn heater is on and he was not out for very long!

We rounded the month out with a trip to Bolivar. he played while I worked a math contest, but on the way home we stopped at Creator Delights and had fun picking out some yummy candy! Throw in a few play dates with Cole's BFFs Brody and Arihanna, a lot more tractor rides, and a Sunday lunch at Nana's and you have our January. We enjoy the simple life and are blessed to be "busy" with the things that we love to do! I started the month out with two weeks at home with Cole, hit up the ER with a nasty nasty stomach bug, and rebounded to finish the  month out with beautiful weather.

Enjoying our sweet tarts from Creator Delights.

Wonderful weather for a tractor ride.