Monday, November 19, 2012

Crispie Rice Treats

I am serious about my crispie treats.  They are easy and quick to make.  They happen to be gluten and nut
free which is sometimes important.  But I thought I would share a few things I have learned from my own disasters.

1/4 cup butter/margarine, 1 bag marshmallow, 4 cups crispie rice cereal, 2 cup fruity rice cereal

Melt butter and marshmallow. Add cereal.  Place in greased  9 x 13 pan.  Flatten.  Cool and Serve.

Now to things learned.

Marshmallow creme did not work for me as a substitute.  It didn't stick together.
10 Campfire(jumbo) marshmallows = 1 bag of regular marshmallows.
The combo of fruity and regular make them look cool and like you worked hard with very little extra effort.
Adding too much butter makes it more sticky.
If you don't grease the pan they will stick.
Everything in your body wants to hurry up and push down the treats.  But if you wait a few minutes (~5min) it will work much better.  It won't stick to everything.
A quart sized zip lock bag is perfect for pushing down the treats into the dish.  Insert hand in bag.  Spray palm side of the bag and flatten.  No sticking and works better than a spatula.
Don't have a zip lock bag use sprayed wax paper or spatula.
Cut shapes and decorate using icing - easy edible fun.

Always cut and serve and pretend you worked hard.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A visit from NC friends

 I was a working stiff this day but the family enjoyed a seriously good day with these NC friends.  They had so much fun together.
 Aaron and Hannah playing in the rocks.
 It is amazing to me how kids just play; they don't make it complicated.  Just hi you want to, rocks, ball or hide and seek.  We, adults, I think, sometimes complicate it.  But I am thankful for the fun that can be had.
Ryan and Andrew playing some basketball.  It was a great day.  Thanks for making the detour in your vacation.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Aaron's Birthday

We had a low key birthday for Aaron.  But we did get to have a train cake.  This is an idea that we saw in an old magazine.  It turned out pretty well we used small loaf pans for the mold. I think the kids enjoyed eating the stuff off the cake almost as much as the cake itself.
Good things come in small packages and that describes Aaron.  He is definitely not the biggest but he keeps up with the big guys.  He loves to be a monkey/acrobat.  He is kind and gentle and patient with others.  Occasionally whiny(no one is perfect).

 Enjoying his presents and Andrew helping.

I don't know if this will play or not but this is Nana teaching the kids to make noise with their balloons.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A trip to the Zoo

The last two years we have gotten some sort of membership to a kids place of some kind.  Last year it was Children's Museum and this year it was the zoo.  There is always more places we want to visit.  I like this because the membership then gets you into other places at a free or reduced cost.  The boys have enjoyed the zoo and it has let us visit Bradley on a couple of occasions.
 Here is Andrew sitting on the statue.
 Aaron and Andrew checking things out.

Measuring themselves against the elephants.  This day there were a lot of school kids but the boys were finished with school so it was nice.
 One of the boys took an actual animal picture.
 And for $1.00 they took a little boat ride.  I don't usually do this but it was fun and not something we do very often.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Finishing 1st Grade

Andrew loved 1st grade and his teacher Mrs. Mowry.  He earned two awards this year one was for perfect attendance.  He literally begged the doctor to go back to school once.  And the second was for excellent handwriting.  This one makes his mother smile because she has been accused of writing like a guy and it was not a compliment.  You may have noticed the short hair cut lately.  He loves it.  I think that he likes the fact that he doesn't have to brush it.  He would like to shave it bald.  Mom is not ready for that yet.  Andrew does well in school his one weakness is that he wants to talk all the time.  Imagine that.  I love the young man he is working on becoming.  Onward to second grade.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

10 years

In May, Perry and I went away for our tenth anniversary.  We had an amazing trip that was  relaxing and quiet and perfect for us.  We had considered several options and eventually settled St. Augustine, FL.  We are glad we did.  We wanted a place neither of us had been and relatively warm in May.  In addition we enjoyed a wonderful Bed and Breakfast called Old City House.  We have become a fan of Bed and Breakfasts when it is just us and it is a special occasion.
 We enjoyed checking out the fort at St. Augustine and learning a little more about the Spanish influence and exploration of the area.
 We enjoyed a carriage ride tour and walking the streets around the old city.  We enjoyed an amazing Brazilian restaurant and ate way to much food.  This is the place Restaurant and Cafe Sol Brazilierissimo. 
 We also checked out the Golf Hall of Fame.  Even as causal fans we enjoyed the visit. There different interactive things to do and a find this challenge with  a small reward at the end.  A chance to try to hit a ball to a green in the water and 18 holes of putt-putt to enjoy along with it.
 I think Perry's favorite part of the Hall of fame were the lockers in which the inductees could put whatever they wanted in their locker.  Some people had golf shoes, outfits, books and other mementos.  But in Betsy King's locker was only a Bible opened to her favorite verse.
We did finally check out the beach and climb to the top of the lighthouse.  We enjoyed an amazing view and the exercise.  I also got to enjoy facing my love of heights but the view was definitely worth it.  All in all it was a great way to celebrate 10 years with my hubby.  God has blessed me with an amazing man that is perfect me.  I pray that Lord will give us many more years. 

Friday, September 7, 2012


I am not very consistent in my personal daily devotions.  I have been trying once again to do better.  I have been reading the daily bread devo and doing the chapter readings to read thru the bible.  It happens to be in Jeremiah and Ezekiel.  Books that I have to say I have never read all the way thru it.  But I have to say I am enjoying these books even though they are sometimes considered depressing.  I am finding hope for those that remain faithful and a reminder to follow God's commands. I am also finding the fact that God is a super patient God.  The other thing I have been pondering is if I had seen Ezekiel and Jeremiah in action would I have written them off as crazy over the top religious people or would I have listened to their words.  Especially since there were other prophets around prophesying nice things.  The Bible says to test the prophets.  Sometimes it is difficult because their words are way in the future but the other thing is does it line up with scripture.  Nothing Ezekiel and Jeremiah was saying was different than anything that God had already said.  Just portrayed in a different way.  I just wanted to share a few of my thoughts on a couple of books I had taken for granted.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Aaron's Gotcha Day April 20th

 As you can see I am way behind but these are a couple of pictures from Aaron's Gotcha Day.  We went to Azteca and the fellas there were great as usual.
 We enjoyed our traditional Ice Cream Cake. 
Andrew got in on the act too.
It is hard to explain hows and why of life.  But Aaron and Andrew too are living proof that God know what he is doing even when we don't understand.  I thank the Lord for Aaron and rejoice in the plan he has for him.  May you grow each year to know Him more.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Well this young woman has been an amazing part of my life.  It is my hope that she will continue to be so.  But these are a couple pictures from her graduation in June.
 She has grown into a thinking woman that is thoughtful, kind and wants to do what it is right.  She working on reaching her goal of becoming a nurse.
 I don't know her future but God does and just as he told the people of Israel to trust Him it is my prayer that she will also.  Jeremiah 29 says this 10 This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years(P) are completed for Babylon, I will come to you(Q) and fulfill my good promise(R) to bring you back(S) to this place. 11 For I know the plans(T) I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper(U) you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.(V) 12 Then you will call(W) on me and come and pray(X) to me, and I will listen(Y) to you. 13 You will seek(Z) me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.(AA)
 These two have been neighbors for years and like to come by and check if the old folks are still awake.  We can freak them out by leaving lights on. :)
She loves my boys and the boys love her.  Congratulations Harley!!!  Note I could pull out the picture of you trying to catch the flowers at my wedding but I won't.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Where Do I begin...

 Well where do I begin?  This summer has been crazy busy and I kept waiting for it to slow down.  So I will start with Andrew and baseball.  He absolutely loved playing.  He did and has spent hours playing since the season. 
 He played in a coach pitch league.  The coach throws but he got to field at the pitcher's mound.  He loved it because he got to move around alot.  Imagine that.
He loves to hit and run.  And even though he doesn't hit very far he often makes it to base because he has some speed.  He loves his hat and shirt so much he has gotten a hole in his shirt.  Aaron likes the playgrounds that are near the ball fields.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Easter Concert

At the little school, they had their Easter concert.  They had a small skit along with energetic singing.  Andrew really gets into the music.  It is fun to watch.

We enjoyed a time of snacks following the performance.  Andrew loves his teacher and when he puts his mind to it is doing well.  His favorite subject is gym and he loves to play 4 square at recess.  They just finished testing this week so it will be back to homework and the regular grind. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Resurrection Biscuits

I can take absolutely no credit for this idea.  Thank you Ellen - she posted this idea on facebook I believe.  It should also be noted that she used crescent rolls.  They would probably be less dry.  And I used the idea, Easter Sunday morning to bring our focus back to Jesus and his resurrection.  It is super simple and the boys had so much fun.  So here is how it works.
 One package of grands biscuits.  It should be noted that Andrew thought it was great that ours exploded when we opened it.  I guess I had had those biscuits awhile.  You also need 8 marshmallows, melted butter and cinnamon and sugar ( i used a ratio of 1Tablespoon of sugar to 1 teaspoon of cinnamon).  We then talked about how the the woman had washed Jesus feet with special perfume(the butter).
 And that it was the custom of the time to put spices on a persons body when he died (cinnamon and sugar).
 And that Jesus was buried in the tomb for three days (We pulled the biscuit apart and then had the boys seal the marshmallow in the biscuit).  Then we baked at 400 for about 15 minutes.  During which we read the Easter story from Andrew's children's Bible.
And the result was... empty center.  He is risen.  He is not here.  And it was good eats.  They were so excited they called and invited Abuela over to eat them with them. 

The boys also enjoyed a very low key Easter egg hunt which involved the eggs that they had colored with daddy earlier that week.  I have no photo evidence of this adventure.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Home study

We are in to process of renewing our paperwork for adoption number 3.  One of the requirements is a family picture.  We have a new home study agency due to the retirement of the our caseworker.  So I have been a little more stressed about this renewal than the last one.  However all went well.  We had to do some renewal stuff we hadn't considered because the last time we had a first review we had just moved into our house.  Thus all the permits and stuff had just been cleared by the township.  We are officially waiting 5 months and the average wait is 18 months to 3 years.  We are practicing patience whether we like it or not.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Rice Crispies Houses

I finally downloaded some pictures from my camera and some of them are from Christmas.  So here is one of our Christmas adventures.  I am not a huge fan of gingerbread but I thought decorating a gingerbread house might be fun.  So this is my alternative.

 These are Rice Crispie Treat house.  I put homemade rice crispie treats in 2 - 8 x 8 dishes.  Then I cut out a roof and chimney.  Of course I ate the evidence.  Then I let the boys decorate.
 We used icing as the glue and sprinkles, mixed nut mix, chocolate chips and other cereals to decorate.  We used cookie cutters as templates to trace if they wanted.  They had a blast decorating.  Grandpop and Abuela got in on the act.
Of course we ate the result. But I liked the fact that you actually wanted to eat the result.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The End of Cheese Sauce

Well one large can of cheese sauce can make and be used for all the following...

Cheese dip with salsa
Potato soup
Chicken casserole with cheese
A pizza cheese dip

Just a few things that can be done with cheese sauce.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Joy of Normal

I am going to visit the topic of infertlity but from an odd place.  Most people talk about the proccess and coming to peace with whatever happens.  And I have done these things but what about after that time.  You are not trying to get pregnant anymore; or you have gotten pregnant and you are done; or whatever your situation.  But what do you do when something "normal" for everyone else happens to you.  How do you feel?  What do you think?  I am not sure what others think but here is my experience recently.

It is a little hard to explain but there are things in life that normal for most people but for some people with infertlity there is nothing normal about it.  With all the drugs or testing you often feel like a pin cushion or science experiment or just "weird" or abnormal.  You come to terms with the fact you are never going to be "normal."  So when your body does something normal you are excited.  You go wow and then you start to wonder again.

Do I suddenly expect something to change.  To just say no is not totally true but it is sort of odd.  It crosses my mind but usually not enough to take a test or prusue it.  And then it goes to the back burner.  For me there isn't an extreme high or low anymore.  But normal in itself is exciting.  Maybe because it makes me feel less like a freak and more like everyone else.  "Normal" may only be a moment in time or may become a part regular part of my life.  Either way I am enjoying my normal moment.

To women and/or men dealing with infertlity enjoy the moments of normal.  Enjoy them for not what they could mean but just for being normal.  For me that is the joy of "Normal."

Friday, February 24, 2012

Leftover Cheese Sauce

Sometimes you end up with strange leftovers.  In my case I bought a very large container of cheese sauce.  I thought I was going to do nachos for a super bowl party but things change.  So first I made tacos.  And here is the other idea I came up with to use some more cheese sauce.

Cheese Potato Soup

4 medium potatoes peeled and diced into small pieces
6 slices of bacon
1/2 onion diced
1/2 cup diced carrots
2 cups of milk
1-2 cups of water
1/2 to 3/4 cup of cheese sauce

Cook potatoes in boiling water till soft.  Meanwhile cook bacon and save drippings.  Dice the bacon to be added later.  Saute onions and carrots until soft in drippings.  Add milk and water.  Heat slowly on low heat.  When potatoes are soft drain and add to soup.  Add cheese sauce.  Stir until cheese sauce melts/mixes with the soup.  Heat until warm.  Add bacon and serve.  This fed our family of four.

You probably notice there is no celery.  You are welcome to add - it doesn't fly very well at our house.
I was putting peas in until I couldn't find any in freezer.

So I am down to a half a can of cheese sauce.  I may share a few more ideas until I am done. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A reminder from My Sons

Most of the time I wonder if my sons are listening to the lessons we are trying to teach.  As for the millionth time, I say work it out or you are not going to like mom's solution.  Or when they have taken a swing at each other.  But once and while...

One of my sons this week reminded me that telling others about Christ and inviting them to church is not as complicated as we adults make it out to be.  He had gone on a tractor ride with a friend of ours and as the ride finished.  He simply asked him if he wanted to go to church.  The gentlemen who is a pastor of another local church let us know what he had done and said that sometime that he would come to church.  And he did today and my son sat with him.

Being a typically logical person, I first thought that they had talked about it in class.  But later learned no.  He just felt that needed to do it.  I am grateful to the gentlemen that agreed to come because with that simple answer he gave my son courage to do it again.  I am sure that many times the answer may be no.  It reminds me to just ask it is up to God to control the results.

My other son came down Sabbath morning and said I want to give my money to God.  And he proceeded to get money out of his piggy bank.  He was so excited to give his money in the offering plate.  Another reminder to me to just give.  Instead of thinking of all the reasons we can't or shouldn't.

These were my glimmers among the normal chaos.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

3 years for Andrew

Andrew has been home 3 years.  Part of me can not imagine life without Andrew.  He brings so much energy to our lives.  He still loves to play and run.  He would have mom and Dad throwing football, playing basket or playing tag all the time if he could.  But he is also reading and absorbing so much.  He is still a pleaser but is learning to stand on his own.  We are encouraging his Ravens fandom in Steeler country.  He still plunges ahead and thinks later but he is learning to take responsibility.  He can be kind and thoughtful.  He wants to fix things.  Lately he has been saying he wants to be a football player when he grows up.  We will see.

I thankful for God's amazing gift to us.  Our family would not be the same without our Andrew.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Sometimes there is a recipe that looks really easy and quick but an ingredient can't be found.  So the result is something that takes a little longer but is just as good.  I couldn't find the pre-made beef tips with gravy.  I am going to post the link to this recipe the way it was originally and it looks like it could be made in about 10 or 15 minutes. It says it feeds 3 but the version I made easily feeds 4 to 6 depending on the amount of rice made and other sides.  So here is the link .

Amanda version Mushroom Beef tips

3 cups cooked rice
1.5 pounds beef pieces
2 cups beef broth
1.5 cups water
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups sliced mushrooms
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup sour cream

Place the beef pieces and beef broth in a slow cooker on low for 4 to 5 hours.  Then combine cornstarch and water and add to slow cooker.  Increase the temperature to high.  Let cook a half hour or until the gravy is thick.  Once the gravy is thick.  Saute mushrooms in butter for 2 minutes then add gravy mixture to skillet.  Mix together. Add sour cream. Serve over the rice.

In the original recipe they kept some of the mushrooms separate - I did not but you are welcome to do it.  It would probably look prettier.

By doing this in the crockpot/slow cooker I was able to leave it and not fuss with it and it is super moist.