March 30, 2007
Friday Finds -- March 30th
I already have this recipe booklet -- but since I posted my tweaked a bit Really Good Low Fat Raisin Oatmeal Cookies, I found that they are still offering the recipe booklet.

And the best part, of course is that it is totally free. Click Raisins to order.

If you wander around their site -- they had 2 other free booklets they offered for a while.


March 29, 2007
Thankful Thursday # 2

When I was praying this morning -- I was thinking about what I am thankful for, and realized that this list could ultimately be miles long ...

I first and foremost am so very thankful for the grace of God. But for His grace ... I have no idea where I would be. I was not raised in church but felt His gentle prodding and my life took a different turn. A better one.

I am thankful for our church -- we had an awesome service last night. We had a visiting minister instead of Bible study -- and people were weeping and praising the Lord. Awesome.

I am thankful for the word of God -- which is ultimately our guide for life.

I am thankful for my hard-working husband, who has to put in 6 day weeks every week. (not by choice, but by his boss')

I am thankful for my kids, they may not be where they should be in the Lord according to people -- but they are all in church and not into drugs and/or worse things! God touched each one of them in a mighty way last night too!!

I am thankful that my husband makes our bed every morning, even when he is running late.

I am thankful for the Freecycle groups -- which have blessed us with needed items lately.

I am thankful that we have 3 vehicles in operation right now. We are short one and its a struggle to get everyone where they need to be -- but it could be worse. (I need to remember this!!)

I am thankful for the Lord Jesus for without Him ... where would we be?

Edited to add: I am thankful that they turned on the air conditioner in this very old building that I work in. And I am looking forward to our move into the brand new building in less than 2 months!! Yeah!


March 28, 2007
Slow Cooker Thursday -- Party Mix

I thought I would find something different this week to offer -- so here is a snack food. Head over to Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for more great slow cooker recipes.

Slow Cooker Party Mix

2 cups crispy wheat cereal squares

2 cups crispy rice cereal squares

4 cups toasted oat cereal

2 cups pretzel twists

1 cup peanuts

1/3 cup butter, melted

3 to 4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

3 dashes hot pepper sauce

Place cereals, pretzels, and peanuts in slow cooker. Carefully blend together.

Combine remaining ingredients and drizzle over cereal mixture, stirring carefully to blend.

Cover and cook on low setting for 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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March 27, 2007
Works for Me Wednesday -- Multi-use Tray
This my first post for Works for Me Wednesday - hosted by Rocks in my Dryer. Although I have been reaping the benefits of reading the posts for a while now.

I kept thinking that I can't think of anything that I do, that no one else already knows about. But on Sunday, when we were rolling out our homemade ww tortillas, I thought "my tray would be a great post for WFMW!

A few weeks ago, I was at a NAF sale on post. These are sales where you get all kinds of interesting things at pretty low prices on military installations. I have bought computers, furniture, appliances, pots, trash cans, wood etc. We were there at 0700, and I kept passing by these huge cafeteria type trays. I kept thinking, what could I use one of those for? They had a stack. My friend and I were standing there looking at them trying to figure out what they could be used for -- then she decided that they would work great for crafts (no glue on the table!), play dough projects; painting and I was of the "food" mentality -- and thought since they had a lip around the edge they could contain sprinkles and things like that from cookie/cake decorating. So, we decided for $1.00, why not? So we both bought one. (I also picked up a stainless steel one egg frying pan for 50 cents!!)

I was rolling out cookie dough on my older kitchen counters and after scrubbing and scraping to get the flour and yucky stuff off, I thought I am going to try it on my tray next time.

Well this tray works great! I'm not sure what it is made of, but the dough never sticks to it, as long as there is a bit of flour on it. Clean up is a breeze -- absolutely nothing to scrap off it.

So, my $1.00 multi-use tray definitely works for me in a multitude of projects; takes up minimal space ... and is quite handy. Now I just wish I had bought 2. One for crafts and one for the kitchen.

Here is a photo of the tray with a whole wheat tortilla on it. As you can see, its pretty big, although the photo makes it looks smaller than it is. I stand it up and lean it next to the stove, and it comes to about 3 /4 of the way up the height of the stove.

Too see what works for others, visit Rocks in My Dryer.

Edited: If anyone seriously wants one of these -- drop me an email. The expensive part would be shipping it. But I am willing to try at the next sale.


Tackle It Tuesday Meme

Something I've done on my kitchen counters is to "contain" all the odds and ends --salt and pepper shakers, sugar bowl, coffee grinder, honey bottle, olive oil etc.

Lots of stuff cluttering up the counters. I have very limited counter space -- and needed to do something because it was getting to me. My kitchen is a sage green and cream and we want accents in red. Joann's had a great sale on their baskets (60% off, plus a 10% off your entire order) a few weeks back and I picked up a set of cream baskets with a red/cream stripe lining. Love them!

I do not have a before picture, but just picture in your mind: CLUTTER. LOL!

Here is the salt/pepper/sugar bowl contained in this little basket which is next to the toaster. That side of the counter is completely bare with those exceptions, and if I need room, I only have to move the 1 basket.

Photos were taken with my cell phone, so they are not the best quality.

This is a larger basket that I have at the other end of the counter. (yes, this is the only counter I have!) and it is sideways against the wall, so it doesn't take up as much space. My knife holder is behind it and my coffee maker is close to it. I have quite a bit of items in this basket. I pretty much use those items daily. Olive oil, coffee, coffee filters, Splenda container, honey jar, coffee grinder. This really works well for me. I have two other smaller ones. One on the kitchen table that holds paper napkins, and one on top of the microwave.

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March 26, 2007
Menu Plan Monday - March 26th

Welcome to another week of menus -- if you haven't ever planned your meals -- please take it from me -- it is a great help in your day to day life!!
Visit The Organized Junkie for lots of great menus and recipes (and all kinds of cool organizing tips!)
Monday -- Tilipia with Lemon Pepper / Brown Rice / Spinach
Tuesday -- Soft Tacos with Salad (Boys on own tonight!)
Wednesday -- Tuna sandwiches with veggies (Bible Study night)
Thursday-- Slow Cooker Thursday -- going to try something new
Friday -- Hamburgers / oven baked fries / baked beans / veggies
Saturday -- Have wedding in early afternoon and school stuff at night!
Sunday -- Baked Ziti (my mom's recipe) / Salad / Italian Bread
Since I didn't have any recipes to try, I thought I would post my healthy oatmeal raisin cookie recipes courtesy of Sun maid Raisins with a little tweaking!! These are a little lower in fat and calories, while still cutting out preservatives and the yucky stuff. These are yummy!!
Healthy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
1 cup whole wheat flour (I use soft wheat)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt (I use Sea Salt)
1 cup packed brown sugar (Sucanat is the better choice) **
1/4 cup plain, nonfat yogurt
2 Tablespoons canola oil ***
1 large egg (I usually only use the white portion of the egg)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/3 cups uncooked old-fashioned or quick cooking rolled oats
1 cup Sun-Maid Natural Raisins (or organic raisins ...)
HEAT oven to 350 F. Cover two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
COMBINE flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl.
COMBINE brown sugar, yogurt, oil, egg and vanilla in a large bowl. Add flour mixture to make a blended dough.
STIR in oats and raisins.
DROP by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets.
BAKE 10 to 12 minutes until lightly browned (I cook longer)
Let cool on cookie sheet for a couple of minutes then remove and completely cool on wire racks.

Makes 40 cookies
** They are really sweet so I usually use a bit less sugar.
*** I don't have any healthier oil -- and don't think olive would cut it, but think maybe if you use coconut oil that would be a healthy replacement.

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Spring Look
If you know me -- you know that I change things quite a bit -- and this blog is no exception. And I plan on changing the name too ... {grin}

It is feeling like Spring around Kansas ... things are finally turning green. I wouldn't be surprised if we saw snow or cold weather again, but ... its all good.

Template courtesty of Ms. Zoot.


March 24, 2007
Prayer Request -- Susannah Joy
I know many bloggers around my blog community are homeschoolers --and know the Maxwell Family and this may be old news, but please lift Susannah Joy and her mommy and daddy up in prayer.

When we started homeschooling about 15 years ago -- they were a huge encouragement.
We were blessed to be part of their group in the Leavenworth area.

Edited Sunday: The Lord decided to take this little blessing home with Him. Please continue to lift this family up in prayer.


March 23, 2007
Friday Find -- Popcorn Bowl and Recipe Book Templates
I thought every Friday I would post about something I have found over the past week -- that is either free or minimal charge. I've found a few things this past week!

I hope to have a button created this weekend to make it prettier.

First is a Free Popcorn Bowl Courtesy of Orville Redenbacher. You do not even have to pay for shipping, but you do have to send in 2 UPCs from the purchase of any two packages of their gourmet microwave popcorn.

Here is a link to the downloadable form: Free Popcorn Bowl
Offer expires 30 June 2007.
If anyone knows if this is on sale somewhere, or an online coupon link, please leave a comment and I'll add it to the post! Also Kroger has this on sale thru Tuesday 2 for $4.00
And second, on the blog of A So Called Perfect Life - there is:

Family Cookbooks! A How To Guide With Templates
Created and copyrighed by My So Called Perfect Life!

She gets the credits for this. I am just posting the link, you will need to visit here to obtain the template. Just click on the link above and it will take you straight to it.

I currently have my recipes saved individually in word documents and then have them in folders. But one recipe doesn't always take up an entire page. Check out the above link. She shares this great template -- I'm hoping I can copy and paste a lot of the recipes that I know I will make again. I really just need to delete those I've tried and probably won't make again.

Side note: One thing that I have done for my daughter, is to compile a recipe scrapbook with recipes that have been handed down through the years and ones we really like as a family.
It's a work in progress and good thing I only have 1 daughter!
But I thought that once I complete the recipes into the above format, I could print them, make a cool cover, bind and share with my 2 future daughter-n-laws! I personally would love a gift like that, what do you think?

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March 22, 2007
Slow Cooker Thursday -- Shredded Pork Tortillas

Shredded Pork Tortillas

1 package taco seasoning mix. (Or Visit My Life As Annie for a homemade mix)

1 boneless pork shoulder roast, about 3 to 3.5 pounds

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 cup chicken broth

1 8 ounce jar picante sauce

12 flour tortillas
(my kids like when I make them, but I found that Wal-Mart's Great Value Brand
has only 1 gram of fat per serving.)

Sour cream, shredded cheese, salsa, lettuce, tomatoes etc. for toppings.

Rub taco seasoning mix into pork and place in slow cooker. Combine garlic, broth, and picante sauce; pour over roast. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.

Remove meat from crock pot, reserving drippings. Shred meat with forks and return to crock pot. Stir well to combine with drippings.

To serve, spoon meat onto warmed tortillas and roll up. Top as desired with your choice of toppings.

Serve with rice and beans and/or a salad. Yummy!
For more Slow Cooker recipes visit Sandra's Blog.

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March 21, 2007
Organizational Challenge -- Are you up to it?

Am I up to it?

I decided to take this challenge because our extra room (which we refer to as the library) is a total mess. I'm not sure that 30 days will be enough, but that is my goal. I'll add a before photo and if you have any tips/ideas to make these process easier, I'm open for suggestions!!

Keep in mind I do have a full time job and we are very involved in church activities -- so time is always at a minimum.


March 20, 2007
Glory Only in the Lord
I accept the fact that I am not a writer or speaker -- I can think it -- but as soon as it starts to come out ... well ... it doesn't sound like what I was thinking? LOL!

I came across this scripture and if you read through the 3 translations -- the last one in simple terms (and no need of having me explain!!) is how I viewed myself, but the Lord took what no one thought was good and turned it in to something to Glorify Him. God is awesome and He alone should be glorified.

1 Corinthians 1:26-31

(King James Version)

26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.
30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

(New King James Version)

26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.
27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;
28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are,
29 that no flesh should glory in His presence.
30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—
31 that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.”

(New International Version)

26 Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.
27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.
28 He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are,
29 so that no one may boast before him.
30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.
31 Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."

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March 19, 2007
Menu Plan Monday - March 19th

I am really starting to depend on this menu plan -- some weeks I may switch it around, or not end up cooking dinner -- but just knowing that there is a plan, relieves some stress.
I am a planner. I prefer to know what I am doing and when.
I personally think planners accomplish more, but the husband begs to defer. {wink}
In any case for more menu plans and some awesome recipes ... go here.
Lemon Pepper Tilipia, green beans and bow tie pasta
Leftover Roast (adding fat free brown gravy and mushrooms and serving over
No Yolk Noodles.
KC Club Sandwiches** with veggies/low fat ranch (Bible Study night)
Crock pot Something -- going to try something new!! Check back.
Homemade Pizza***
(recipe for dough below -- this dough is so easy - try it!)
Chicken stir fry w/ brown rice
**KC (Kansas City) Club Sandwich (Recipe of Sorts)
Whole Wheat/Grain Bread (2 slices)
low fat/fat free Mayo
Turkey Breast slices (2-3 slices)
Turkey Bacon (2 slices)
Tomato slices
Red onion slices
Assemble all in sandwich. Toasting bread is optional. This is really yummy!
***Homemade Pizza Dough
2-1/2 C flour (I use an unbleached and whole wheat mixture)
1 t. salt
1 t. sugar
1 T quick-rise yeast (one package)
1 cup warm water
1 T olive oil
In a bowl, combine the first four ingredients. Add water and oil to flour mixture. Add additional flour if needed to form a soft dough. (I have never had a need to). Turn onto a floured surface, knead for 1 to 2 minutes until smooth. Spray bowl with PAM, place dough in bowl and turn to coat. Cover and let rise for 20 minutes. I've left this longer than 20 minutes and its been fine. Punch dough down and spread into a 12" or 16" pan.
I use a round pan with holes specifically for pizza and this dough fits perfectly.
If you need me to measure mine, just drop me a comment and I'll measure and post tonight.
Toppings: on top of sauce we like: mozzarella cheese, with any of these: red/green peppers, pineapple, ham, mushrooms, pepperoni. red onions. I was a little intimidated at first to make my own dough, because of previous failures, but this is a no failure dough. Let me know if you try it!

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March 16, 2007
Frugal Friday - Gifts

This is my first post -- although I have been reading the tips around the blog hemisphere for a few weeks. Mine may be old news, but its something I always try to do.

Around this time of year and then in the early fall -- there are many, many items of clothing on clearance. My children are all wearing adult size clothes and sometimes its hard to find for them. But I do have little people to buy gifts for and if I plan ahead, I have gifts for later in the year when their birthdays roll around and/or Christmas.
One item of clothing I always am in need of, are long sleeved knit tops. I wear them year round and have picked up quite a few of these in the last 2 months for about $2.00 each average.

Yesterday, all the kids clothes on clearance at Kmart were an additional 50% off the lowest prices. Check your local Kmart.

I picked up quite a few things. Quite a bit of it was licensed character wear. Cute, cute stuff. A sister in our church is expecting with a due date in June. Gift is covered now. 2 birthdays -- one in May and one in July -- done. =)

So, have a gift list handy, with sizes/age and shop when things are at rock bottom prices.

Our Kmart had quite a bit of kids clothes, and they had ladies flannel pajamas for $1.00. How about that for a Christmas gift??? Now is a great time to buy gloves, scarves, boots and pajamas.

Visit Biblical Womanhood for more great tips.


March 15, 2007
Thankful Thursday

This is my first post for Thankful Thursday.

We have really been struggling lately -- nothing seems to be going right!

We had a visiting missionary in service last night; Bro Rufus Parker (Asia Military Missions) and his message was very encouraging. We needed that!

Today I am thankful for Bro Parker's message. In essence come back into the Holiest of Holies and let your Father embrace you -- and take care of all your needs.

I am thankful for that small sprout of faith and joy I felt while praying! I am encouraged!

I am thankful that the temperatures are in the 30/40s, so that I can do my morning 5am walks and prayer time. Its been so cold the last 2 months, I had to switch to in front of the woodstove!

I am thankful for my husband and his job.

I am thankful for my daughter (even though she thinks I am capable of taking care of everything!)

I am thankful for my sons and Josh getting up right away this morning to take me to work, when he didn't need to.

I am thankful for the encouragement on the posts for Thankful Thursday. What a blessing!

But most of all today, I am thankful for the Lord Jesus Christ for laying down His life for us -- so that we can spend eternity with Him.

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Slow Cooking Thursday - Country Crockpot Chicken

Crockpot Country Chicken

1 pound small white potatoes, halved (going to use regular)
8 ounces baby carrots (half a 16-ounce bag)
1 medium onion, sliced
2 large ribs celery, sliced
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
1 1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into pieces
2 tsp dried mixed herbs
1 14.5 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth

Coat the inside of a 4-5 quart crockpot with nonstick cooking spray. Place vegetables in base of crockpot. Sprinkle with dried herbs. Add chicken pieces, then finish with canned tomatoes and broth. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, until vegetables are tender and chicken is cooked.
If you want to thicken the juices, make a cornstarch slurry of 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to 1/4 cup of broth or water and stir in half an hour before the end.
Visit here for more great recipes.

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March 13, 2007
Izzy's Story -- Pool/Water Safety!
Annie from My Life as Annie is wanting to get a message out.

One she learned about personally.

She almost lost her precious daughter Izzy to a drowning accident.
But the Lord decided that it was not her time.

Read Annie's story
here and visit Izzy's blog here to see her amazing progress!

Water Related Injuries:
In 2003, there were 3,306 unintentional fatal drownings in the United States, averaging nine people per day. This figure does not include drownings in boating-
related incidents (CDC 2005).

For every child 14 years and younger who dies from drowning, five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries. More than half of these children require hospitalization (CDC 2005).

Nonfatal drownings can cause brain damage that result in long-term disabilities ranging from memory problems and learning disabilities to the permanent loss of basic functioning (i.e., permanent vegetative state).

A CDC study about self-reported swimming ability (Gilchrist et al. 2000) found

Younger respondents reported greater swimming ability than older respondents;
Self-reported ability increased with level of education;
Among racial groups, African Americans reported the most limited swimming ability; and
Men of all ages, races, and educational levels consistently reported greater swimming ability than women

Groups at Risk
Males: In 2003, males accounted for 80% of fatal drownings in the United States (CDC 2005).

Children: In 2003, 782 children ages 0 to 14 years died from drowning (CDC 2005).
Although drowning rates have slowly declined (Branche 1999), drowning remains the second-leading cause of injury-related death for children ages 1 to 14 years (CDC 2005).

African Americans: Factors such as the environment (e.g., access to swimming pools) may contribute to the racial differences in drowning rates between African Americans and white Americans (Branche et al. 2004).

During 2002-2003, the overall age-adjusted fatal drowning rate for African Americans was 1.25 times higher than for whites (CDC 2005).

However, these rates vary by age. During this time, African-American infants under one year had a fatal drowning rate slightly higher than the drowning rate of white infants (CDC 2005).

Most infants drown in bathtubs, toilets, or household buckets. Among children 1 to 4 years of age, African Americans had a lower fatal drowning rate than whites. Drownings in this age group typically happen in residential swimming pools. African-American children ages 5 to 19 years fatally drowned at 2.3 times the rate of white children in this age group during 2002-2003 (CDC 2005).

As children get older, drownings often occur in open water areas such as ponds, lakes, and rivers. If African Americans participate less in water-related activities than whites, their drowning rates (per exposure) may be higher than currently reported (Branche et al. 2004).

Risk Factors
Children under age one most often drown in bathtubs, buckets, or toilets (Brenner et al. 2001).

Among children ages 1 to 4 years, most drownings occur in residential swimming pools (Brenner et al. 2001).

Most young children who drowned in pools were last seen in the home, had been out of sight less than five minutes, and were in the care of one or both parents at the time (Present 1987).

For persons with seizure disorders, drowning is the most common cause of unintentional injury death, with the bathtub as the site of highest drowning risk (Quan et al. 2006).

Alcohol use is involved in about 25% to 50% of adolescent and adult deaths associated with water recreation (Howland et al. 1995; Howland and Hingson 1988).

Alcohol influences balance, coordination, and judgment, and its effects are heightened by sun exposure and heat (Smith and Kraus 1988).

Boating carries risks for injury. In 2004, the U.S. Coast Guard received reports for 4,904 boating incidents; 3,363 participants were reported injured and 676 died in boating incidents.

Among those who drowned, 90% were not wearing life jackets. Most boating fatalities from 2004 (70%) were caused by drowning; the remainder were due to trauma, hypothermia, carbon monoxide poisoning, or other causes.

Alcohol was involved in about one-third of all reported boating fatalities. Open motor boats were involved in 42% of all reported incidents, and personal watercraft were involved in another 25% (USCG 2003).


Tackle it Tuesday-- Organize your documents on your PC
Tackle It Tuesday Meme

This is my project for today. I most likely will not complete it, but I plan on starting it! But I have already organized the 1GB, and most of the 40GB. I really just need to organize the laptop files and tweak them all a bit. And delete things I really don't need anymore.

We are short a car, so I have been doing quite a bit of taxi service, and my youngest has a band concert and practice tonight after school. The joys of teenagers!

I thought I would include some resources on organizing your files on your PC. This is mainly for documents -- I will tackle the photos next week!

And unfortunately I will not have a photo for this project ...

We have an external 40GB hard drive that we back everything up too ... especially my photos.
I've read that it is best to have 2 of these. Keep one in a safety deposit box and then swap out every few months with one you keep in a fire safe at home.
We haven't done that at this point. We do have the 40GB hard drive, but I also have a 1GB and a 2GB flash drive. I am working on my 1GB this morning; the 2GB just has photos on it, so that is being tackled next week.
Here are some internet reources to assist you and I'll put some tips on what I do.
My Tips:
I start with simple folders, bills, tax returns; photos; school; medical/dental; recipes; scrapbooking; crafts; tips and tricks; templates etc.
Inside there are sub-folders:
Scrapbooking has fonts; digital files; tutorials; layout ideas; sketches to name a few.
Recipes has bread, desserts, cakes, cookies, breakfast, crockpot, main dishes, side dishes etc.
Inside those sub-folders there are more subfolders:
Scrapbooking; sketches; Becky Higgins; Page Maps and Card Maps; Bazzill etc.
Inside those are for example:
Scrapbooking; sketches; Becky Higgins; 2 photos; 3 photos; 4-5 photos; 6 photos etc. Since that is how her sketches are organized.
Anything that will help you find information quickly. These are how I separate them in my mind, so it makes sense for me to organize the sketches that way. Of course, my husband doesn't have a need for these, so it may not make sense to him. Bills, tax returns are much easier to organize. Tax Returns I have sub-folders by year, and then inside a file with the year and name of the owner of the tax return.
We have lost files on my daughter's camera -- and instead of taking it into a computer repair store, there are programs available that cost less; and may get your files back. We were able to recover ALL of the photos (and even photos that we already had previously saved) Most of your information is still on your drives; but if the drive is damaged in some way, then definitely send it in or bring it to someone with more knowledge. This program is more for accidently deleting information. Recover My Files.


March 11, 2007
I Actually Won!
I won a prize from the Ultimate Blog Party. I couldn't believe it!

And we seriously needed this ... so we feel it was a blessing straight from Heaven! LOL!

Mommy Dearest at My Home Sweet Home offered Norton Antivirus 2007 as a prize and I am the blessed recipient! How awesome is that.

And she has a pretty cool blog ... go take a peek.


Menu Plan Monday - March 12th

I am sitting here contemplating what I should make this week ... and I am struggling, so I can just imagine what it would be like this week, if I didn't come u with some type of plan! I am trying to use what I have in my pantry.

Visit Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie to view more Menu Plans.

Monday - Chicken Potstickers (just one boy and myself)

Tuesday - Easter suit shopping! (eating out)
Wednesday: Tuna sandwiches and fresh veggies. (Bible Study night)
Friday: Beef Stir Fry w/Brown Rice
Saturday: Hamburgers on whole wheat buns and oven fries.
Sunday: Lemon Pepper Tilipia w/Whole Grain Chicken Rice and broccoli
Here is a hint about cooking brown rice. I rebelled because it just wasn't ... well you know ... RICE!! LOL!
I found the recipe from Crystal Miller at her website, The Family Homestead.
I put 2 cups of water, 1 cup brown rice, and 1 T. plain yogurt in a saucepan appx. 7 hours before I plan on cooking it. When its time to cook, I add 3/4 t. of salt and cook as normal. This makes a huge difference!! It tastes great.


March 9, 2007
Still there ...
I am employed by the military. I serve US and International Soldiers, and I am also a US Army Veteran and VERY PROUD of that.

Today I walked into our office and a lady was speaking to my co-worker.

She introduced herself and told us why she was there. She created a film about the National Anthem and invited us to the viewing. She is awesome.


Our PAO bought 6 copies to give out. Kids needs to watch this. Adults need to watch this.

Visit Still There the Movie to learn more. I've heard that CENTCOM purchased 1,000 copies.


Last Day of Party
and I didn't get on the internet but for a few minutes. Sigh!

Work was busy and Friday is weekly chore day, then we have prayer meetings and on and on...

I've enjoyed visiting the new blogs and thank you for stopping by mine! Come back anytime ... I may do the prize next week -- starting Tuesday. I'll post.


March 8, 2007
Cell Phone vs. Bible
I wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our cell phone?

What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets?
What if we flipped through it several times a day?
What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it?
What if we used it to receive messages from the text?
What if we treated it like we couldn't live without it?
What if we gave it to kids as gifts?
What if we used it when we traveled?
What if we used it in case of emergency?

This is something to make you go....hmm...where is my Bible?

Makes you stop and think "where are my priorities?"
{author unknown}

Oh, and one more thing. Unlike our cell phone, we don't have to worry about our Bible being disconnected because Jesus already paid the bill.
And no dropped calls!


The Party -- Prize Day?
Been thinking about offering a prize tomorrow ... leave a comment and/or if you have already posted a comment, then if your friend leaves a comment and mentions you in the comment, then you will get added to the drawing?

What do you think? So if you refer 3 friends, you get 4 entries??

It may be scrapbooking or perhaps a cook book? Let me scout around and I'll post more later.

Sound good? Leave a post here if you think so, but if you are new, then post a comment at my Party.


Slow Cooker Thursday - March 8, 2007

Crockpot Dump Cake

Spray crockpot with Pam or grease with butter.

Dump 2 cans of fruit pie filling into pot.

Pour dry cake mix over top.

Pour one melted stick of butter on top of that.

Put on lid. Usually is done when the edges turn brown.

Approximately 4 hours on low.

Add whipped topping or ice cream when serving. Serve warm.

Visit Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for more great Slow Cooker recipes.

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March 7, 2007
Ultimate Blog Party

Welcome to my blog! I am rather new at blogging and have just recently started participating in some of the weekly events: Menu Plan Monday, Tackle it Tuesday etc. They are great motivators!

My ultimate goal is to provide an inspirational type blog, along with tips and ideas for moms who work outside the home. Moms like me. We really are the ones who try to juggle everything! But in the process of juggling everything, blogging is low on the list!

A friend of ours always referred to us as the Crooksters (our last name is Crook) -- so hence the blog url. And my blog seems to be a little of this and a little of that ...

Some personal info: I am married to a wonderful man (who I don't appreciate enough!); he is a minister for the Lord Jesus Christ. We have 3 teenagers. A daughter in college, our resident princess; a son who is home educated with a virtual school and is a junior in high school; our resident computer geek; and a son who is a freshman and attends our local high school. He is our resident Musician.
I work outside the home with International Military Students who attend the military school and go on to be generals and leaders in their countries.
We live in the country with 2 horses, 2 goats, 1 dog, and entirely too many cats! Anyone want a cat? [grin}
I scrapbook, love to read and take walks; and strive to be organized! I don't think I do too bad a job because when I read all these tips, I say to myself "Hey I already do that!". If you need some advice on how to handle things with 3 teenagers, working outside the home and having a full time church activity schedule; and at the same time trying to keep things in order at home. I'd be glad to share.

I plan on visiting some party blogs this weekend, since transportation is limited at our house lately ... please leave a comment and I'll be sure to visit you!

I have some Coke Zero, Spiced Chai Tea along with cookies to snack on!

Be Blessed ...

P.S. If anyone knows how I can keep this post at the top ... I'd appreciate your technical expertise! LOL!


Tackle it Tuesday -- My First
Tackle It Tuesday Meme

This is my first Tackle it Tuesday post ... I actually did get this done on Tuesday, but didn't have time to post until Wednesday morning! I have been looking and looking at my bedroom and started working on some of the drawers a few weeks ago. Mainly my "unmentionables" -- and that drawer was organized with shoe boxes. I wear dresses 24/7, so I have underclothes, top things, (in case that word decides to show up in a search!), slips, socks, and pantyhose, plus under shirt type things and my drawer isn't that big, so I wanted to fit them all in there and I did.

But anyway, I attacked two other drawers ... I have a bag full of shirts to give away, and still have too many. And then I worked on this:

Lovely isn't it? We live in an older farmhouse, and are in the process of remodeling -- but my closet does NOT have doors ... we do have a HUGE walk in closet and I have a lot of clothes in there too, and hubby keeps all his in there. I usually swap out winter and summer dresses and hang those in there.

Here is the finished results: (and it actually only took me about an hour and a half)

I still need to hang the stack of curtains that is on the top shelf ... but first I need to paint. All the trim is done, but its been so cold that it hasn't happened. The orange basket is actually the dry cleaning basket. I work on a military installation and dry cleaning is inexpensive. (I don't use the one at the PX). Hub's shirts are only $1.00. Since he wears a shirt and tie EVERY SINGLE DAY ... its more manageable to get them done by someone other than me! Plus he does actually wears them twice, so we get our moneys' worth.

I was hoping hubby would notice, but if he did he didn't say anything! Of course, if I did his closet, he would notice that.


March 5, 2007
Menu Plan Monday - March 5, 2007

What's on your menu this week?

Visit I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menu plans!

Monday: BBQ Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Broccoli (leftover from Sunday!)

Tuesday: Taco Salad, corn and spanish rice

Wednesday: Breakfast for Dinner (Omelets, Whole Wheat Toast, Sausage)

Thursday: Crock-pot Jambalaya

Friday: Hamburgers on whole wheat buns, oven fries.
(I only use 90% or leaner ground beef)

Saturday: Pasta, Italian Cheese Bread, Salad

Sunday: crock- pot roast, Ranch Potatoes, green beans

In case: Chicken stir-fry (in case another meal doesn’t work out, I am in the mood for this!)


March 3, 2007
Interesting Links ...
Once I change my blog (again!) and figure out how to add favorite links to the side bar, I will put these sites there for ease of finding. Here are a few sites I visit often.

Biblical Womanhood

The Aldi Queen -- just found this one tonight. While I am in the process of switching to a healthier diet (whole foods) -- Aldi is still a place we shop.

Mom Advice -- lots of good tips and advice.

Eating Well -- great recipes and sample menus for healthy eating.

The Family Homestead

Tammy's Recipes lots and lots of recipes. Family recipes.

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March 2, 2007
We had a kitchen full of cooks last night! After work on Thursday, I usually try and run errands before I head home. My work day ends at 330 ... I made it home about 545pm!

There is an Anniversary Service at our church this evening, plus a Spring Food Fair at work ... and I am required to work. Two co-workers are TDY, so off I go ... I had to make a Chocolate cake for the dinner at church plus something for the food fair. Hence the craziness in the kitchen!

I am not a big fan of chocolate cake and decided making them (I made 2!) is a huge mess!

In the midst of making dinner ... (that chicken is yummy!) chicken, whole grain Spanish rice (good stuff!); a pasta salad (for the fair); corn and homemade whole grain tortillas ... I was making the cakes.

I made an Almond Joy Cake (really a Mounds cake because I had no almonds...) (if you want the recipe, let me know, it does look yummy!); a Midnight Chocolate Cake while Josh was cooking the tortillas and my husband and I were sharing rolling them out! I've gotten better since my last try.

The floor was a mess! I ended up having to sweep and mop. It was fun ... but boy the dishes were piled up. Poor Sarai ... whose job it is to put them all away in the morning!

I told the kids that I really needed a Tortilla Press! Hint, hint!

God is good!

Edited: Regarding last post ... they apparently continued to revive Georgia on the way to the hospital and at the ER. They were about to pronounce her dead, when one of the docs decided No, let's not give up. She was without a heart beat for 45 minutes! She did have food stuck but it was so far down that only jabbing a tube down her throat dislodged it. She is ALIVE! In ICU, in critical condition, but ALIVE. Please pray for her ... that she will be restored. My daughter and co-workers were praying in that break room Wednesday. What a witness to what the Lord can do!

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March 1, 2007
Life is so Precious
My daughter Sarai came home looking like the world had fallen apart.

For her it did a little bit yesterday.

She works for a health insurance company in the prescription/mail order area and during lunch in the break room, one of her packers, Georgia acted like she was choking. Then she turned blue. They attempted to do the Heimlich thinking that food was stuck. They called 911. But it was too late. The EMT's think she had a stroke. She was in great physical shape, even ran daily. She always brought treats and told Sarai to listen to her Mom!

She left this world in the blink of any eye.

She was 42 years old. I am 41. My husband is 47.

She was a single parent and is leaving behind a son.

My heart aches quite a bit today, please pray for her son. Please pray for Sarai. She went to work today but going in that room is going to bring it all back. They had grief counselors come in right away, but you know ... our hope is in the Lord.

He is the only true Comforter and sustainer of Life.

I'm reminded today, that Life is so very, very precious. I take it for granted.

I need to be sure all my affairs are in order.
We have 3 teenagers ... I know that God will ultimately be there for them should my husband or I leave this world before we think we should die, but ... not that we'll know after, but we do need to make sure NOW that all is in order for them.

Hug your loved ones EVERYDAY. Let them know you love them EVERYDAY.

Get your affairs in order. That's one less worry and go enjoy the life the Lord has blessed you with.

God Bless!

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Slow Cooker Thursday
We live in the "country" -- so trash pick up is every other week. In my (usual) mad rush to get out of the house and get to work on time AND get the trash out -- AND get something started for dinner due to errands after work -- lots going on this weekend. I remembered my friend Melinda telling me about this recipe she threw together. I quickly texted her to get all the details ...

Did I mention that its snowing? It was 63 yesterday! {sigh}

Here's my recipe for today, I'll call it Melinda's Crockpot Chicken. Good with rice and/or on tortillas.


4 frozen boneless/skinless chicken breasts

1 bag frozen Pepper and Onion Blend (we use Kroger brand)

1 can Rotel Tomatoes

1 can black beans, drained/rinsed.

For good measure, I added a little salt, garlic powder and a sprinkle or two of cumin.

Cook on low all day. High about 4 hours.
And here is a Breakfast Crock-pot Recipe that I am going to try this weekend. Whatever is left over we can use during the week to put in tortillas and have a quick, nutrious breakfast.
Southwest Crockpot Breakfast

1 Tbsp. butter
1 lb. bulk breakfast sausage, cooked and drained
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
4-oz. can chopped green chilies, drained
2-1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
18 eggs
Grease inside of crockpot with butter.
Starting with sausage, layer meat, onions, peppers, chilies, and cheese, repeating the layering process until all ingredients are used.
In large mixer bowl, beat eggs with wire whisk or eggbeater until combined, then pour over mixture in the crockpot.
Cover and cook on low 7-8 hours. Serve with sour cream or fresh salsa. 12 servings

For more Slow Cooker Recipes, visit: Dairy of a SAHM.