July 31, 2010

Best of Old House Kitchen: Cherry Cinnamon Applesauce

The next few weeks our family is going to be very busy!  We have two more camping trips, 4-H week, Vacation Bible School (my hubby's in charge of this so of course I'm helping, too!), our 16th wedding anniversary, a birthday celebration, and we have overnight guests coming to visit on two separate occasions!  Crazy busy!  So ya'll will forgive me if I re-post a few things here and there, right?  Good.  I knew you were nice like that!  : )  Monday menu plans will be new each week because, after all, we have to eat and I need a menu.  Tuesday's kitchen tips will be new and we'll keep following the Queen of the Castle series, but the recipes that I post will be our family's favorite ones.  I've taken a poll during one of our latest Dinner Time Quiz Shows so here is a family's favorite.

Cherry Cinnamon Applesauce

2 cups water
1/2 cup cinnamon candies (Red Hots) 
1 quart applesauce  (4 cups for those of you playing along at home) 
2 small (.3 ounce) packages of cherry Jello®


Boil water and cinnamon candies.  Stir until the candies are dissolved.  Remove from heat and stir in Jello®  until dissolved.  Stir in applesauce.  Carefully pour into a 2 or more quart dish.  Don't refrigerate right away because putting very hot items in the refrigerator makes the motor run more to get it back to the proper temp.  So wait at least 30 minutes or so.  Chill the dish at least 4 hours until set.



July 30, 2010

Best of Old House Kitchen: Chicken Tetrazzini

The next few weeks our family is going to be very busy!  We have two more camping trips, 4-H week, Vacation Bible School (my hubby's in charge of this so of course I'm helping, too!), our 16th wedding anniversary, a birthday celebration, and we have overnight guests coming to visit on two separate occasions!  Crazy busy!  So ya'll will forgive me if I re-post a few things here and there, right?  Good.  I knew you were nice like that!  : )  Monday menu plans will be new each week because, after all, we have to eat and I need a menu.  Tuesday's kitchen tips will be new and we'll keep following the Queen of the Castle series, but the recipes that I post will be our family's favorite ones.  I've taken a poll during one of our latest Dinner Time Quiz Shows so here is a family's favorite.

Chicken Tetrazzini
2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken cooked and chopped (this works out to be about 4 cups)
1 1/3 stick butter
1 cup flour
4 cups milk
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 tsp. garlic powder
3 cups cheddar cheese
16 oz. box thin spaghetti

Preheat oven 350 degrees.
Break noodles up into thirds or fourths (I do this so that it's a little easier to eat...and it doesn't have the Lady and the Tramp spaghetti thing going on.)
Cook noodles approx. 10 minutes in boiling, slightly salted water.  (After it's drained leave it in the large pot so you can mix in the sauce mixture.)
While they are boiling melt butter in a large sauce pan.  Stir in flour until blended and then stir in milk until it thickens.  (Keep stirring and make sure you don't have the heat up too high, you don't want to scorch the sauce.)
Stir in soup and garlic powder.
Blend in cheese and then the chicken.  Add to the pan of noodles and mix together.
Pour into large 9x13 dish -- it will be quite full (An 11 x 17 dish would be better.)

Topping:
1 dozen butter crackers, crushed
2 T. butter
Sprinkle topping mixture over the tetrazzini before baking.  Bake for 20-30 minutes.

Notes:
This meal is made for our family in mind...10 people...if you want a scaled down version and you don't have BigOven (it's designed so you can change the portion sizes) then see my conversion below.
Serving suggestions:  mixed veggies, a fruit dish, rolls or even garlic bread.

Scaled down to feed a smaller crew:
2/3 stick butter
1/2 c. flour
2 c. milk
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 lb chicken (2 c.)
1 1/2 c. cheddar cheese
8 oz. spaghetti
(Keep the topping recipe the same.  You may have a bit left over but you can package it up and save it in the freezer for next time.)

July 29, 2010

Queen of the Castle: Week 30

For those of you playing along...(if you've just joined us you can get caught up a bit here) we are on week 27 of the book Queen of the Castle: 52 weeks of encouragement for the uninspired, domestically challenged or just plain tired homemaker.
 
This week's chapter is titled "Flea Markets".  Lynne writes about getting rid of and buying things at a flea market (or garage sale).  She has one great suggestion that we (usually) try to adhere to: when one new item comes in a new item goes out (thrown away, given away, sold, etc.)  It's a great concept for the closet as well as mugs, pictures, knick knacks, anything in the home. 

"Flea market shopping is fun, though you need to be discriminating and not let bargain fever overtake you" warns Lynne.

Here are a few tips for shopping at a flea market (or garage sale for that matter):
*When you first get there, scan through the booths quickly before purchasing anything to get a feel for prices.
*Be aware of the two kinds of booths: those run by people who are cleaning out their garages and want to simply get rid of stuff, and those run by people whose goal is to make real money.  Just because you're at the flea-market, don't assume everything is bargain-priced.
*Bring small change such as quarters or one-dollar bills, in case the person running the booth runs out.
*You'll have better selection earlier in the day, but by day's end prices may be slashed to almost nothing.  So shop accordingly.

 - - -
"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where theives do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:19-21)

July 28, 2010

Best of Old House Kitchen: Lasagna

The next few weeks our family is going to be very busy!  We have two more camping trips, 4-H week, Vacation Bible School (my hubby's in charge of this so of course I'm helping, too!), our 16th wedding anniversary, a birthday celebration, and we have overnight guests coming to visit on two separate occasions!  Crazy busy!  So ya'll will forgive me if I re-post a few things here and there, right?  Good.  I knew you were nice like that!  : )  Monday menu plans will be new each week because, after all, we have to eat and I need a menu.  Tuesday's kitchen tips will be new and we'll keep following the Queen of the Castle series, but the recipes that I post will be our family's favorite ones.  I've taken a poll during one of our latest Dinner Time Quiz Shows so here is a family's favorite.

Lasagna

3/4 lb. ground beef
8 -ish lasagna noodles (make 'em fit in the pan however you can) I do three in a row lengthwise and then break one into about a 2/3 piece and place it at the end (perpendicular to the other ones). I buy the oven ready kind. No need to dirty another pot, right?
1 beaten egg
2 cups cottage cheese
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese divided (I'm cheap so I use the kind in the can)
1 T dried parsley flakes
4 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 can of Hunt's Garlic & Herb spaghetti sauce


Brown beef in a small stock pot (I usually sprinkle in a little pepper, onion powder and garlic powder while it's browning), drain, and then pour in one can of Hunt's Garlic & Herb spaghetti sauce. Heat until the sauce is warmed.

For filling: Combine the egg, cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, and parsley flakes.

Layer half noodles, then half filling (spread it out the best you can), half sauce/meat mixture, sprinkle 2 cups of mozzarella, then repeat. Once it's assembled sprinkle with the rest of the Parmesan cheese.

Bake in a preheated oven 375 degrees for about 30-35 minutes. Let it stand about 10 minutes. This gives you a chance to pop in some yummy garlic bread!

*Note: Sometimes I'm out of the Secret Sauce (Hunt's) so I'll use a different brand. Just make sure to add some extra garlic powder, oregano, basil and hint of onion powder. I love Hunt's Garlic & Herb. Way back in the beginning of our marriage a friend shared the secret of Hunt's Garlic & Herb and it was the start of my kitchen coup d'├ętat (another story).

July 27, 2010

Kitchen Tip Tuesday: More from Gooseberry Patch

Once again I bring you a few kitchen tips from the lovely gals Vicki and JoAnn at Gooseberry Patch!


Save time on clean-up...be sure to use a spatter screen when frying.  
If there's no spatter screen handy, try inverting a kitchen sieve over the skillet.

- - -

For a tasty change from bread & butter, serve slices of warm French or Italian bread with dipping oil.  Pour a thin layer of extra-virgin olive oil into saucers, drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with dried oregano.  Scrumptious!


July 26, 2010

Menu Plan Monday -- Week of July 26

This week is our Vacation Bible School week.  We will have a meal in the evenings at church every night so that will be wonderful to not have to fix anything for dinner.  If you are looking for something other than breakfast or a light lunch suggestion, then you might try searching my other menu plans.  
 

Monday (July 26)
Breakfast: Sour Cream Blueberry Bread
Lunch: Pancakes, Baked Eggs, fruit, Sausage Rolls
Dinner:  VBS

Tuesday (July 27)
Breakfast: french toast
Lunch: left over breakfast food??
Dinner:  VBS

Wednesday
(July 28)
Breakfast: cereal
Lunch: Tacos, refried beans, mexican rice, etc.
Dinner: VBS

Thursday (July 29)
Breakfast: eggs and toast or bagels
Lunch: left over tacos, etc.
Dinner: VBS

Friday (July 30)
Breakfast: muffins
Lunch: Stuffed Crust Pizza ??
Dinner: VBS

Saturday (July 31) 
Brreakfast: French Toast, bagels, scrambled eggs, bacon
Lunch:  Deli sandwiches, veggies, fruit, chips
Dinner: Grill hamburgers and hot dogs, Mac-n-cheese, fruit, veggies and dip, chips

Sunday (August 1) 
Breakfast: muffins
Lunch: Lasagna, garlic bread, veggies
Dinner: left overs

July 25, 2010

4-H Fun!

This week was 4-H judging.  (Just FYI, the 4 H's stand for Head, Heart, Hands, and Health.)  It was a whirlwind couple of days let me tell you!  Making sure we had every paper, tag or label that we needed was a chore in and of itself!  The kiddos did very well...especially since it was their first year (except Noah, he entered his chickens about 5 years ago).





Hannah was awarded a Blue Ribbon for her Bananaberry Muffins!
(She would have had an Honor and Grand Champion ribbons had we remembered all the right paperwork.
Hannah was a very good sport about it.  We're chalking it up as learning for next year.)



Rebekah was awarded a Blue Ribbon for her Twisty Pretzels!


(Pardon the funky picture...my computer's giving me fits!)
Noah was awarded a red ribbon for his Color Print Poster.  
(We left off numbers that were supposed to be on there!  Again...learning for next year!)

Noah was awarded Blue, Honor, and Champion ribbons for his 
Lego Original Creation!



Hannah was awarded a Blue Ribbon for her 
Needlecraft Embroidered Bookmark!


Rebekah was awarded Blue, Honor, and Reserve Champion Ribbons for her 
Needlecraft Soft Sculpture Sock Monkey  "Patrick"!

- - -
We're very proud of our 4-H'ers.  They had great attitudes, were polite with other children and the judges, and soaked it all up to do better next year.  
You kiddos ROCK!!  We love you!!

July 24, 2010

Best of Old House Kitchen: Lemon Shake Ups

The next few weeks our family is going to be very busy!  We have two more camping trips, 4-H week, Vacation Bible School (my hubby's in charge of this so of course I'm helping, too!), our 16th wedding anniversary, a birthday celebration, and we have overnight guests coming to visit on two separate occasions!  Crazy busy!  So ya'll will forgive me if I re-post a few things here and there, right?  Good.  I knew you were nice like that!  : )  Monday menu plans will be new each week because, after all, we have to eat and I need a menu.  Tuesday's kitchen tips will be new and we'll keep following the Queen of the Castle series, but the recipes that I post will be our family's favorite ones.  I've taken a poll during one of our latest Dinner Time Quiz Shows so here is a family's favorite.

Lemon Shake Ups

2 lemons (cut in half)
1/2 cup sugar
crushed ice
water

Squeeze lemons in a large glass or cup, add sugar and crushed ice (how much is up to you). Place the squeezed lemon halves in and add water (your desired amount). Cover and shake, shake, shake! Remove the lemon halves and enjoy!

*Feel free to add more sugar, less lemon, etc. to get your desired taste.
*Try boiling the sugar and lemon to make a syrup which can be frozen (into ice cubes) and used when desired.

Many Hands Make Light Work!

A few of you asked what chores my kiddos do.  I need to revamp this list because our youngest helper is 2 now and she loves to help, too.  This is one I wrote about a year and a half ago.  When I revamp it I'll post it but I know some of you need some help now. 

Here are a few things that might help you decipher this:  Their ages are in parenthesis.  I mark weeks on the calendar.  This week is week B, next week is week A, the following is B again, etc.  This list is chores that are done on Mondays (we usually make a mess on the weekends from just having fun, being busy or having guests) and Fridays (to get the house ready for any guests we may have).  So we call it the Monday/Friday Chart.  To get Week B on my chart I switch chores for Noah and Bekah, Hannah and Isaac Switch, and then Lydia and Eli switch.  (You should be able to enlarge it by clicking on it.)


 Here's their daily chore chart...again...it needs revamping.

 A few things to help you decipher this chart:  "librarian" means they tidy up the book shelf.  "diaper duty" means they refill the diaper basket, "game closet coordinator" means they make sure games and puzzles are put away where they should go, and "playroom supervisor" means they help the littler ones find things that need to be picked up when they are all cleaning the playroom.

Hope that helps ya'll.  Let me know if you have any questions!     : )







July 23, 2010

A Giveaway!

Head on over to Kendra's at New Life on a Homestead for her Survival Seed giveaway!

Best of Old House Kitchen: Creamy Chicken -n- Noodle Casserole

The next few weeks our family is going to be very busy!  We have two more camping trips, 4-H week, Vacation Bible School (my hubby's in charge of this so of course I'm helping, too!), our 16th wedding anniversary, a birthday celebration, and we have overnight guests coming to visit on two separate occasions!  Crazy busy!  So ya'll will forgive me if I re-post a few things here and there, right?  Good.  I knew you were nice like that!  : )  Monday menu plans will be new each week because, after all, we have to eat and I need a menu.  Tuesday's kitchen tips will be new and we'll keep following the Queen of the Castle series, but the recipes that I post will be our family's favorite ones.  I've taken a poll during one of our latest Dinner Time Quiz Shows so here is a family's favorite.

Creamy Chicken -n- Noodle Casserole
16 oz. egg noodles (cooked)
1 can cream of chicken soup
3/4 can of milk (I'm into dirtying as few dishes as possible!)
1/4 c. butter
1/2 lb. Velveeta
1 can of cooked chunk chicken (or 1/2 - 1 lb. cooked, chopped chicken -- depends on your preference)

Cook the egg noodles. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large microwave safe bowl. Cook for 4 minutes then stir. Cook it in the microwave for another 4-6 minutes until the mixture is nice and creamy. Still in the chicken, microwave for a minute or so then add the noodles.

Notes: You can put this in a baking dish and add cracker crumbles or crumbled chips as a topping and bake for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees. Or you can skip that step and just add the noodles to the bowl and serve from there. *whisper* That's what I do. They don't care about the fancy-schmancy presentation. But don't tell them there's an option. ; )

Or...you can make this mid-afternoon and then put it in a crock pot on warm to keep it warm. This is such a versatile dish! Oh so many options!

Also there are no leftovers with this meal. If I make a double batch then there might be a little bit for lunch the next day but the more I make the more they eat. I guess it's a good problem to have, eh? 

July 22, 2010

Queen of the Castle: Week 29

 For those of you playing along...(if you've just joined us you can get caught up a bit here) we are on week 29 of the book Queen of the Castle: 52 weeks of encouragement for the uninspired, domestically challenged or just plain tired homemaker.

This chapter is titled "Feasting on Fruit".  "July is a wonderful month to thank God for His goodness, in so many areas of our lives.  As we walk through the grocery store and see bins overflowing with juicy strawberries, cherries, and peaches, let it remind us of God's abundant provision.  In the past He faithfully provided manna in the desert to the Israelites.  He faithfully provides for you and me today."

Lynne, the author, encourage us to make chocolate dipped fruit and gives us a few other ideas like using up the watermelon in a few of the following ways:

*Make a fruit punch!  Puree 3 1/2 cups seeded watermelon cubes in small batches in the blender.  Combine watermelon puree and 3 1/2 cups lemonade or limeade in a pitcher along with2 cups orange juice.
*For a dessert or a snack, dab a slice of watermelon with sour cream (or plain yogurt) and a sprinkling of brown sugar.  
*When you don't think you can face that hunk of fruit one more time, chunk what's left into two-inch cubes, discarding rinds and seeds, and freeze in Ziploc bags.  Later in the summer, when you've given watermelon a rest, use it in frozen fruit smoothies.

Lynne also recommends canning jam with all the fresh fruit that abounds.  Canning jam is super easy.  I'm not talking freezer jam, either.  If you read my other post (here) about making jam to set aside for Christmas gifts, you'll remember that I don't care for freezer jam.  I think it's too sweet and the jam has a different flavor.  But I don't process my jam afterward either.  I use Kroger brand pectin (I'm sure you can use any brand.). They have a no process tip in their instructions. (You have to cook the jam but after it's canned you don't have to process it.) Keep the jars and lids sterile and hot and make sure the jam goes through a good rolling boil for a minute. Then you put the jam in the hot jars, wipe the rim, put on the lids and bands (very snugly) and then flip them upside down for 5 minutes. After that flip them right side up and then wait about 5-30 minutes to hear the pop of the lid that means it's sealed. I have canned jam like that for a few years now and there is no difference for us.  Except that you don't have to process it!
- - -
Lynne also reminds us of the fruit of the Spirit.  "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, patience, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (Gal. 5:22-23).  "For a fruit tree, fruit comes naturally.  Give it water, sunlight, soil with nutrients, and time and it eventually produces fruit. Producing fruit is what we were made for!  With enough time spent reading the Word, praying, asking Him to help us as we follow Him, God will bring about fruit in us.  Spend some time today reflecting on the list of fruit from Galatians.  Ask God to show you the one fruit you need more of in your life right now.  Pray specifically that God would bring about that fruit in you."

- - -


"Abide in Me, and I in you.  As the ranch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me.  I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing." (John 15:4-5)

July 21, 2010

Best of Old House Kitchen: Rigatoni Casserole

The next few weeks our family is going to be very busy!  We have two more camping trips, 4-H week, Vacation Bible School (my hubby's in charge of this so of course I'm helping, too!), our 16th wedding anniversary, a birthday celebration, and we have overnight guests coming to visit on two separate occasions!  Crazy busy!  So ya'll will forgive me if I re-post a few things here and there, right?  Good.  I knew you were nice like that!  : )  Monday menu plans will be new each week because, after all, we have to eat and I need a menu.  Tuesday's kitchen tips will be new and we'll keep following the Queen of the Castle series, but the recipes that I post will be our family's favorite ones.  I've taken a poll during one of our latest Dinner Time Quiz Shows so here is a family's favorite.

Rigatoni Casserole
This recipe does well in the crock pot or baked in the oven! Even my children who don't care for spaghetti like this recipe! Enjoy!

1 16 oz. package of rigatoni noodles, cooked
1/2 lb. Italian sausage
26 oz. can spaghetti sauce
4 oz. pepperoni (cut pepperoni in quarters)
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese (canned kind is fine)

Brown sausage (drain), add sauce and pepperoni. Add cooked noodles and 1 1/2 cups cheese to meat mixture and stir. Place in a large casserole dish. Top with the remaining cheese.

Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes or until heated through.

Or: Crockpot on low for approx. 3-4 hours. The only thing is the cheese on top won't get bubbly and brown, and you might find that you'll need extra sauce so it doesn't get too dry.

July 20, 2010

Kitchen Tip Tuesday: Super Easy!

Gooseberry Patch is not just a wealth of yummy recipes.  Throughout the book you'll find at the bottom of almost every page a great decorating or craft idea, or super simple tips.  I have two super simple dishes to share with you.


Super Easy Side Dish
Bake a panful of roasted vegetables alongside a casserole.  Slice, cube or trim zucchini, cauliflower, sweet peppers, mushrooms, asparagus and other veggies of your choice.  Toss with olive oil and spread on a jelly-roll pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender.
  
- - -

Super Easy Dessert
After a spicy meal, serve this easy, refreshing dessert.  Dissolve a small 4-serving package of orange gelatin mix in one cup of boiling water.  Slowly blend in 2 cups of softened vanilla ice cream.  Spoon into 4 dessert dishes and chill for at least 20 minutes...yummy!

July 19, 2010

Menu Plan Monday -- Week of July 19

Monday (July 19)
Breakfast: Old House French Toast
Lunch: Cheese Quesadillas, chips, salsa, sour cream
Dinner: Breakfast for dinner...pancakes, eggs, sausage gravy and biscuits?

Tuesday (July 20)
Breakfast: egg and bagel (or english muffin) sandwiches
Lunch: grilled cheese, carrots, apples
Dinner: Easy Beef and Noodles, Smashed Potatoes, veggies, rolls

Wednesday
(July 21)
Breakfast: cereal
Lunch: left overs
Dinner: Sloppy Joes, chips, carrots

Thursday (July 22)
Breakfast: eggs and toast or bagels
Lunch: left over sloppy joes, carrots, chips(or popcorn), apple slices
Dinner:  Grilled Bruschetta Chicken, bow tie pasta, Potato Skins, veggies garlic bread

Friday (July 23)
Breakfast: Old House French Toast
Lunch: Grilled cheese or left overs?
Dinner: Stuffed Crust Pizza, carrots, chips, fruit

Saturday (July 24)
Breakfast: bagels
Lunch: left over pizza and/or sandwiches
Dinner: grilled burgers and hot dogs, baked beans, chips, carrots, fruit

Sunday (July 25)
Breakfast: Sour Cream Blueberry Bread
Lunch:  Creamy Chicken and Stuffing, Smashed Potatoes, veggies, rolls
Dinner: Clean out the fridge night!

July 18, 2010

Goat Love


This is our Isaac's Nubian goat named Skippy.  She is such a hoot!  
 We also have a Nigerian Dwarf named Sugar.  They both make us laugh...a lot! 

July 17, 2010

Best of Old House Kitchen: Chocolate Lava Cake

The next few weeks our family is going to be very busy!  We have two more camping trips, 4-H week, Vacation Bible School (my hubby's in charge of this so of course I'm helping, too!), our 16th wedding anniversary, a birthday celebration, and we have overnight guests coming to visit on two separate occasions!  Crazy busy!  So ya'll will forgive me if I re-post a few things here and there, right?  Good.  I knew you were nice like that!  : )  Monday menu plans will be new each week because, after all, we have to eat and I need a menu.  Tuesday's kitchen tips will be new and we'll keep following the Queen of the Castle series, but the recipes that I post will be our family's favorite ones.  I've taken a poll during one of our latest Dinner Time Quiz Shows so here is a family's favorite.


Chocolate Lava Cake
1 package Fudge cake mix (I like Betty Crocker's best)
3 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 2/3 cups water
1 package Jello-O Chocolate Flavor Instant Pudding Mix
2 cups cold milk
1 bag (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Mix together cake mix, eggs, oil and water. Pour into crock-pot.

Make Jello-O pudding using the milk. Pour over the cake mix in the crock-pot. Sprinkle chocolate chips all over the top of the batter.

Cook in the crock-pot on high for about 2-3 hours until the cake is still moist but doesn't jiggle.

Note: You may want to spray the sides of your crock-pot so the cake doesn't stick to it. You can also bake this in the oven 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes...again, until moist but not jiggly.

July 16, 2010

Best of Old House Kitchen: Parmesan Crusted Chicken

The next few weeks our family is going to be very busy!  We have two more camping trips, 4-H week, Vacation Bible School (my hubby's in charge of this so of course I'm helping, too!), our 16th wedding anniversary, a birthday celebration, and we have overnight guests coming to visit on two separate occasions!  Crazy busy!  So ya'll will forgive me if I re-post a few things here and there, right?  Good.  I knew you were nice like that!  : )  Monday menu plans will be new each week because, after all, we have to eat and I need a menu.  Tuesday's kitchen tips will be new and we'll keep following the Queen of the Castle series, but the recipes that I post will be our family's favorite ones.  I've taken a poll during one of our latest Dinner Time Quiz Shows so here is a family's favorite.

Parmesan Crusted Chicken

12 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups Mayonnaise
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I'm cheap so I used Kraft from the can -- got it nearly free with sale and coupons!)
4 Roma tomatoes seeded and chopped
1 T Italian herbs
1 T basil
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

Crumbs:
2/3 tube of butter crackers, crushed into little bitty bits! (the rectangular kind that are mouthwatering good...yummy butter goodness!)
3 T Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. garlic salt

The goal to cooking the chicken right is to have them the same size. You will want to cut each chicken breast into at least 3 separate equal sized pieces. Cut them on a slant not in three chunks...you want it to look pretty! :)

Place the chicken in 2 -- 9x13 baking dishes. In a bowl combine mayonnaise, parm. cheese, roma tomatoes, Italian herbs, basil, and cayenne pepper. Spread the mixture over the top of the chicken.

Mix the crumb ingredients and sprinkle over the chicken. Place in a pre-heated 425 degree oven and bake for 25-35 minutes until cooked through.

July 15, 2010

Queen of the Castle: Week 28

For those of you playing along...(if you've just joined us you can get caught up a bit here) we are on week 28 of the book Queen of the Castle: 52 weeks of encouragement for the uninspired, domestically challenged or just plain tired homemaker.

This week's chapter is titled "Shh! The Queen is Rejuvenating: Nuturing Ourselves".  While we find it easy to say yes to various tasks around the house or to things other people outside of the home ask us to do we often find it difficult to say yes to doing something for ourselves.  Now don't get me wrong, I think the "Me Time" mantra has been blown way out of proportion in some homes, but we do need to do something fun for ourselves once in a while. Lynne, the author, suggests making a list of fun things you like to do such as sitting in the sun with a good book, window shopping, playing the piano, or just listening to music (that does not include hand clapping or ending in "Bing-o was his name-o").  Pick one thing from the list a week.  Mark it on your calendar even to remind yourself to do something fun and for yourself!


"Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands" (Isaiah 49:16)
"Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!" (Isaiah 43:1)

We are valuable to Him and He tells us so!  He created us and loves us.  Kind of like how we feel about our own children, wouldn't you say?  Lynne goes on to say that "we serve our families all day long that we forget to treat ourselves.  Not buying a new living room set or anything but a quiet moment during the day to reflect on the wonder of being crafted by the same God who made the sun and the stars!"

Here are a few of my suggestions for little pick-me-ups!

*While the baby (although she's 2 now I guess I should call her a toddler?  Nah...) is napping I sit down with a nice glass of chai or iced tea and read through a magazine or a book (This is when the other kiddos have some quiet play time in the playroom!)
*Give your feet a soak in epsom salts and milk!  Scrub them with a pumice stone and then when they're dry slather with cream.  
*Paint your tootsies!  Even in the winter!  I give myself a pedicure about once a month.   (I paint my girls' toes, too!)  I even indulge in some little toe decals to make it fun!  (Hearts around Valentine's Day, stars in the summer, snowflakes in the winter...you get the idea.)
*Pandora.com has a lovely selection of free music you can listen to.  Play it on your computer as you paint your tootsies or read a book  
*Set aside one night a month to get crafty!  I go to a monthly rubber stamp club where I have fun with friends and enjoy being creative!  


So...make your own list of fun (and inexpensive!) things for you to do that give you a boost and a little bit of "me time".
  
- - -

"God created man in His own image." (Genesis 1:27)



July 14, 2010

Best of Old House Kitchen: Chicken Pot Pie

The next few weeks our family is going to be very busy!  We have two more camping trips, 4-H week, Vacation Bible School (my hubby's in charge of this so of course I'm helping, too!), our 16th wedding anniversary, a birthday celebration, and we have overnight guests coming to visit on two separate occasions!  Crazy busy!  So ya'll will forgive me if I re-post a few things here and there, right?  Good.  I knew you were nice like that!  : )  Monday menu plans will be new each week because, after all, we have to eat and I need a menu.  Tuesday's kitchen tips will be new and we'll keep following the Queen of the Castle series, but the recipes that I post will be our family's favorite ones.  I've taken a poll during one of our latest Dinner Time Quiz Shows so here is a family's favorite.

Chicken Pot Pie
This recipe is for 3 pot pies -- if you don't need to eat three, then eat one, bless a friend with one, and stick the other one in the fridge for another day that week. ; )

Double Crust Pie Crust Recipe x3
2 lb. bag of frozen mixed veggies (I get the kind with carrots, peas, and green beans)
2 T. onion powder (or 2 medium onions chopped)
1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup flour (I use unbleached all-purpose)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sage
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. pepper
4 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups milk
3 pounds cubed cooked chicken (or turkey for turkey pot pie)
1/4 cup dried parsley (or 1/2 cup fresh)

Make the pie crust and stick it in the fridge for a while to stiffen up. Cook the mixed veggies according to the package; drain. In a very large saucepan melt butter and stir in onion powder (or cook onions until tender). Stir in flour, salt, sage, thyme, parsley (unless fresh then add it when the chicken is added) and pepper. Add chicken broth and milk all at once. Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly. Stir in drained veggies and chicken. Heat while mixing until it's bubbly. Turn it down to warm then roll out your pie crusts, pour in the fillings, then top with crust. Flute edges of pastry, cut slits in the top for steam to escape. Cover the edges with foil and bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes, remove the foil and bake until golden brown on top (about 20 minutes more).

Notes:
*Sometimes I'm feeling really industrious so I dice up some potatoes, cook them most of the way then add that to the pot pie filling. Make sure to reduce the veggies to 1 lb. or you'll have extra filling left.

*Also, you can pour the filling into a 9x13 baking dish. Roll out the pie crust (use 1 double crust recipe) and place over the top. Flute the edges, cut slits in the top. Bake 450 degrees for 15 minutes or so.

July 13, 2010

Psst...

Tiffany has all sorts of wonderful kitchen tips posted over at Raising Homemakers today.  
Since this is Kitchen Tip Tuesday I thought it would fit right in!  Go check it out!  

Kitchen Tip Tuesday: Yummy Bacon!

Frying bacon is not on my list of fun things to do.  As a matter of fact it's a love-hate relationship between bacon and me.  We love to eat it.  Some of us more than others. A-hem.  But it makes such a mess to fry it.  So I decided to start baking it.  I love cooking bacon now.  Really!  Follow these steps and you might just enjoy bacon again.

1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2.  I find that it's easier to handle the cooked bacon for sandwiches, etc. if the strips are smaller than full length.  I cut them with my kitchen scissors.  If you buy bacon in the shrink-wrap package this is really easy.  Just cut the whole thing in half and then the bacon will slide out of the wrapper.


3.  Separate the bacon and lay the strips out on the baking sheet.


4.  Bake for about 15-20 minutes until it's the desired crispiness.   Be careful removing the baking sheet from the oven...hot grease!

5.  Drain the grease into a bowl (pour it into a can that will be thrown away) and remove the bacon from the baking sheet.  Place the bacon on a plate with paper towel to soak up extra grease.

6.  Enjoy!  Either eat it right away or put it in the fridge.  I like to bake up several batches at once.


Now if I could just rid my house of the ode de bacon smell I'd be even happier with my bacon!  ; )

July 12, 2010

Zucchini Madness!!

It's one of the hardiest of garden vegetables.  If everything else in my garden dies I know the zucchini are sure to thrive!  I didn't grow any this year because I have at least 5 bags of grated zucchini waiting for me from last year and if I do want fresh I'm sure I'll find someone that needs to get rid of some.  I was in those shoes last summer.  People would run from me if they saw me toting bags of zucchini!

I promised a friend that I would post a few recipes for zucchini.  I know it's Monday and today's post is already up but I figured I'd give you a little bonus today. 

Fried Zucchini
Mix together in a bowl:
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 T. parmesan cheese (from the can)
2 tsp. salt and pepper
1/8 tsp. garlic powder

Dip sliced zucchini in 1 mixed egg and dip in the mix.  Fry in 2-4 T. oil.  Cool on a plate with paper towel.  Yummy!

Zucchini Cake
Beat together the following:
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
1 c. vegetable oil (I sometimes use 1/2 cup veg. oil and 1/2 cup applesauce)

Mix in another bowl:
2 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt

Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.  Stir in 2 c. shredded zucchini and if you prefer 1/2 c. chopped walnuts.
Pour into a greased 9x13 pan.  Bake 35-40 (or until toothpick comes out clean) in a 350 degree oven.
Cool.  Frost with cream cheese frosting!
Enjoy!

Pineapple Zucchini Bread

3 eggs
1 c. oil (again...you can use 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup applesauce)
2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. sugar
2 ripe and mashed bananas

3 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. nutmeg
8 1/4 oz. can crushed pineapple drained
2 cups grated zucchini (can be peeled or unpeeled)

Beat together eggs, oil, sugar, vanilla, and bananas until well mixed.  Stir in grated zucchini and drained pineapple.  Stir together (I use a whisk) flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Add flour mixture to wet mixture and stir until mixture is well blended.  Pour batter into greased and floured (only grease and flour the bottoms) 5x9 in. loaf pans (makes 2).  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until done.  (Knife poked in should come out clean.)

Enjoy!

Menu Plan Monday -- Week of July 12

Last week so sooo crazy hot and humid that I varied my menu plans quite a bit.  This week's menu plan is very similar to last week's.  We also acquired 6 more egg laying hens so our egg stash will be larger therefore we can have eggs more!  Yahoo!

Monday (July 5)
Breakfast: Bagel and egg sandwiches and juice
Lunch: left over soup, grilled cheese, carrots, apples, pretzels
Dinner:  Grilled Bruschetta Chicken, bow tie pasta, garlic bread

Tuesday (July 6)
Breakfast: Eggs and pancakes
Lunch:  Chicken wraps using left over grilled bruschetta chicken, carrots, pretzels
Dinner:  Chicken Burritos, refried beans, chopped black olives, chopped onions, sour cream, salsa, Mexican rice

Wednesday
(July 7)
Breakfast: cereal
Lunch:  deli sandwiches, chips, veggies and fruit
Dinner:  Grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, chips, baked beans, corn on the cob, carrots & dip

Thursday (July 8)
Breakfast: Muffins
Lunch: left overs hamburgers and hot dogs, chips, veggies
Dinner:  Taco dip and chips, veggies, fruit

Friday (July 9)
Breakfast: Granola bars
Lunch: deli sandwiches, chips, fruit
Dinner: Pizza pudgie pies?

Saturday (July 10)
Breakfast: Granola bars and muffins
Lunch: Grilled chicken, baked potatoes, veggies?
Dinner:  Not sure??

Sunday (July 11)
Breakfast: Ollie Kookins
Lunch: Wraps with left over grilled chicken, veggies, fruit
Dinner: Clean out the fridge night!!

July 11, 2010

Red, White, and Blue

I took a few pictures of the kiddos after church on Sunday.  I thought I'd share them with you.  I usually let my kiddos pick their clothes but for special occasions I decide at least the colors.  Sunday was the 4th so of course my criteria was red, white, and blue!  : )






July 10, 2010

Frosty Fruit Salad


If you haven't already checked out Gooseberry Patch's blog you really need to!  Click here to go visit Vicki and JoAnn! You can go there for some fun tips, recipes, and crafts.  This week they posted the following recipe!  Scrumptious!!  That's all I have to say!  


Frosty Fruit Salad


7-oz. can apricots, drained, juice     reserved and chopped
17-oz. can crushed pineapple,
    drained and juice reserved
1/2 c. sugar
3  10-oz. pkgs. frozen
    strawberries, thawed
6-oz. can frozen orange juice
    concentrate
2 T. lemon juice
2 lbs. seedless grapes, halved
4 bananas, diced


Heat reserved juices and sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium heat; stir until sugar dissolves. Add strawberries, orange juice concentrate and lemon juice. Heat until warmed; remove from heat. Combine apricots, pineapple, grapes and bananas together in a small mixing bowl; stir into heated mixture. Pour into a freezer-proof serving dish; freeze overnight. Remove from freezer about 15 to 25 minutes before serving. Makes 25 to 30 servings.

Enjoy!

July 9, 2010

Bananaberry Muffins

When I found out that my 9 year old daughter would be making muffins for her 4-H project I got the following recipe from my friend Karla over at The Culinary Enthusiast.  These muffins are similar to the Sour Cream Blueberry Bread that my family loves.  Heavenly! 

Bananaberry Muffins

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, room temperature
2 eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (I used two medium-sized bananas.)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup fresh blueberries - rinse and pat dry  (You can use frozen, but rinse them to thaw and then dry with a paper towel.)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray or grease muffin tin.
Place butter, eggs, bananas and vanilla in stand mixer.  Mix on low until just combined.
Sift flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together with a wire whisk in a separate bowl.
Add dry mixture to the wet mixture in the mixer.  Mix on low until just combined.
Fold in blueberries with a wooden spoon or spatula. Reserve some to place on the tops.
Bake for about 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Serve while still warm with butter.
Makes 12 wonderfully delicious muffins.

 Hannah with her muffins and Rebekah with her pretzels. My proud little cooks.  Judging is in a few weeks.  We'll be eating a lot of muffins and pretzels with all of the practice they intend to do!

July 8, 2010

Queen of the Castle: Week 27

For those of you playing along...(if you've just joined us you can get caught up a bit here) we are on week 27 of the book Queen of the Castle: 52 weeks of encouragement for the uninspired, domestically challenged or just plain tired homemaker.


This week's chapter is titled "Trippety Doo Dah:  The Family Vacation".  Author Lynne Walker laments the fact that family vacations are a lot of work.  But I agree with her that they are well worth it.  Besides the memories and bonds that are created we all need a break!  Our family has a few more small camping trips planned before my husband goes back to teaching in the fall (which is not too far away, sadly...I enjoy having him home more in the summer).  I am the list maker, the bag packer, the grocery getter, and the final list checker. (My husband does plenty of his share of work during these camping adventures...think driver, tour guide, hiking guide, fishing guide, life guard, and all around Mr. Fix-it.  Remind me to tell you the story some time about when our propane tanks fell of the camper on the way home one time!)  It's a pretty tiring job but it's worth every bit of it!  


I'll share with you some prevacation suggestions that Lynne suggests that also work for us:

* If you don't want to come home to bags of  cucumber juice in your crisper, make sure you clean out your refrigerator -- at least the fruit and vegetable compartments -- before you leave.  And might I also suggest checking the dates on raw meat you think you'll fix when you get back.  Those dates are there for a reason.  But, I um...wouldn't have any experience in that.  ...  Moving right along...


*If you've bought itty-bitty hairspray, test it out before leaving to make sure the spray lands on your actual hair and not in your eye, like a lemon with a perverse sense of humor.  Again...I wouldn't have any experience here at all...a-hem.

*Stick two large plastic garbage bags in your suitcase, one for dirty clothes (makes doing laundry when you get home a cinch -- no sniffing for what's clean and what isn't) and one for bathing suits or other still-damp clothes.  You're laughing with me, right?


*If you have time change the sheets on the beds and give the house a good once-over.  There is nothing like coming home to a clean house and a clean bed to nuzzle into that night.  


*Make it a point a day or two after vacation to still be officially on vacation.  Our schedule doesn't allow for a whole day after to rest since we have several 3 day or so camping trips sprinkled about the summer but we still enjoy some down time.  When we get home we empty out the camper and van (we clean the camper the next day), sort laundry and decide what absolutely needs washed that evening, put away the rest, order a pizza and watch a movie or episode of Little House on the Prairie!  We do manage to sneak to our e-mails, Facebook, and blogs after the kiddos are in bed to see if anything is urgent then we turn in for the night.  I highly recommend a mini vacation after the vacation!  


*Most importantly, remember that God is with you on your trip.  He doesn't live only in your house or your state.  He is everywhere.  You may feel lost or disoriented when you're in unfamiliar surroundings.  But He will never leave you.  With that I add the reminder to pray;  thank Him for the ability to go on a vacation, thank Him at meals, read the Word with the family, sing praises to Him.  What a better way to rest than in Him.


- - -


"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?"  Romans 8:35 NKJV

July 7, 2010

Sausage and Rice

I tried this recipe (from Thriftyfun.com) last week with some smoked sausage I picked up pretty cheap.  It got rave reviews all the way around the table!  I, once again, tweaked it.  You can find the original here.




2 lb. Kielbasa sausage
1 can of chunk pineapple and juice
1 large green pepper
3 tomatoes
1 T cornstarch
1 T vinegar
1 T soy sauce
1/2 c preserves (I used pineapple ice cream topping)
2 cups snap peas

Slice kielbasa and then cut slices into quarters and cook in a large covered skillet.  Cut up pepper and tomatoes, add to pan.  In a separate dish, combine cornstarch,vinegar,soy sauce and preserves.  Do not taste test the sauce at this point (icky, trust me!). Simply add it to the pan with sausage and veggies.  Now add the pineapple and the juice from the can and stir.  Here I added about 2 cups snap peas. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes on low -medium.  Serve over hot white rice.  Enjoy!

*pic. from Ekrich.com

July 6, 2010

Out Galavantin' Again...


Kitchen Tip Tuesday will return next week.  
Today ya'll will find me over at Raising Homemakers.  
See you there!

July 5, 2010

Menu Plan Monday -- Week of July 5

Monday (July 5)
Breakfast: Bagel and egg sandwiches and juice
Lunch: left over hot dogs and hamburgers, carrots, apples, pretzels
Dinner:  Grilled Bruschetta Chicken, bow tie pasta, garlic bread

Tuesday (July 6)
Breakfast: Baked Oatmeal
Lunch:  Chicken wraps using left over grilled bruschetta chicken, carrots, pretzels
Dinner:  Chicken Burritos, refried beans, chopped black olives, chopped onions, sour cream, salsa, Mexican rice

Wednesday
(July 7)
Breakfast: cereal
Lunch:  Sloppy Joes, chips, carrots, fruit
Dinner: Creamy Chicken Sandwiches, home made buns (recipe coming), fresh veggies, fruit salad

Thursday (July 8)
Breakfast: Muffins
Lunch: left overs
Dinner: Lemony Pork Picatta, Smashed Potatoes, veggies, rolls (we didn't get to this meal last week)

Friday (July 9)
Breakfast: Cereal
Lunch: left overs
Dinner: Stuffed Crust Pizza, chips, carrots, apples

Saturday (July 10)
Breakfast: Muffins
Lunch: left over pizza
Dinner:  Not sure...maybe something grilled?

Sunday (July 11)
Breakfast: Sour Cream Blueberry Bread
Lunch:  Chicken & Rice Soup, Bread
Dinner: Not sure...small groups tonight

July 4, 2010

Happy 4th Ya'll!


Our family went on a little camping adventure early last week so I thought I'd share some pictures with you today.

Of course there was some swimming involved.  We even got Nana to get in the water!


There was some hiking to be had.


Some fishing took place.  


Some caught more than others...but we couldn't keep any of them.  (They were too tiny!) 


There was a little bit of "chinchump" feeding.  That's what Abby called them.  : )

 (O.K. so it wasn't a chipmunk but a red squirrel...she thought it was a chipmunk so we played along!)

Lots of bug catching!

A lot of playground testing.  They all passed inspection!


Much sun was had by all. 
(O.K. so my tootsies don't look so tan here...but they got some sun!)


The most important thing we did this week was have fun together!  


Happy 4th of July Ya'll!!

Go visit Old Centennial Farmhouse  for a great reminder about Independence and  Freedom!

July 3, 2010

Pretzel Salad with a Twist

I posted the basic Strawberry Pretzel Salad before, but this is with a very small twist for the 4th of July holiday weekend! 

Red, White, and Blue Pretzel Salad

Crust:
2 cup crushed pretzels
3/4 cup melted margarine
3 T. sugar

Mix and spread in a 9x13 baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees for 6-8 minutes.

Cream layer:
8 oz. cream cheese -- softened
8-10 oz. Cool Whip
1 cup sugar

Mix together in a stand mixer until smooth. Spread over (cooled) crust and place dish in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes or until chilled.

Strawberry layer:
2 cup boiling water
2 small boxes strawberry jello
2 10 oz. boxes of frozen strawberries (thawed). (I usually used sliced strawberries that we picked in the summer and froze in syrup -- about 2 1/2 cups.)

Boil the water, add jello and stir until dissolved. Add the strawberries and stir. DO NOT add cold water like the jello directions instruct. Carefully pour over the cream cheese and place in the fridge to chill. (About 3-4 hours.)

Now...are you ready for the blue part?  Sprinkle with fresh washed and dried blueberries!  Tadaaa!  ; )

July 2, 2010

Brown Bottom Cupcakes

Lynne, author from Queen of the Castle: 52 weeks of encouragement for the uninspired, domestically challenged or just plain tired homemaker, has recipes in her book here and there. This one looks very yummy!

Brown Bottom Cupcakes

Cream together:
8 oz. package cream cheese 1 egg 1/3 cup sugar 1/8 tsp. salt

Add: 1 cup chocolate chips

Set aside. In separate bowl, sift together:
1 1/2 cups flour 1 tsp. baking soda 1/2 tsp. salt 1 cup sugar 1/4 cup cocoa

Add:
1 cup water 1/2 cup vegetable oil (I use canola) 1 T. vinegar 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Fill cupcake papers about half full of batter. (Make sure to use papers, by the way; cupcakes will stick to the muffin pan if you plop the batter in directly.) Drop one full tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture into the middle of batter. Bake thirty minutes at 350 degrees. Makes twelve to sixteen.

No frosting needed. Honest.

*Note: Fill any empty muffin cups with water as you bake, to prevent bottom of empty cups from burning.

July 1, 2010

Queen of the Castle: Week 26


For those of you playing along...(if you've just joined us you can get caught up a bit here) we are on week 26 of the book Queen of the Castle: 52 weeks of encouragement for the uninspired, domestically challenged or just plain tired homemaker.

This week's chapter is entitled "Chore Time: Training the Children". I agree with the author, Lynne, about the fact that while it's more fun to ask the kiddos to help you make chocolate pudding than it is to sort through toys and books some things just need to be done. If we don't teach our children how to do those tasks they will flounder in their adult years. Either that or pay someone else to do them. (That's not a good idea!)


"Anything you do to prepare them for the future is a way of saying 'I love you.'" (Tim Kimmel in
Little House on the Freeway: Help for the Hurried Home).

Lynne shares her multiple frustrations in trying to get her children to do chores. Various charts, bribes, schemes, etc. I feel her pain and frustrations. I flounder at times in getting the troups to go forth and conquer the mound of toys, books, games, etc. I remember when our oldest turned 7 and I had this light-bulb moment "Wow! He could be productive in cleaning the home! Hmm...I wonder if his sister could, too?". Thus began the chore chart. We have a list of daily things they need to do in the home from the now teenager down to the four year old. (Even the 2 year old takes joy in helping out, too! Score!!) Then we have what we call Monday/Friday chores. These are more in-depth cleaning assignments like stocking toilet paper, vacuuming, mopping, dusting, etc. The reason we do these on those certain days is we usually have company at some point during the weekend and then on Monday because after said company, church activities and (depending on the weather) how busy and outdoorsy we were the house could use a pick-me-up! If you all are interested in this chart I can post it here or e-mail it to you (Just drop me a line.). We also have a point system at our house for rewards and discipline. That helps keep the chores momentum going.


Here are a few suggestions the author gives to motivate your children to help with chores:


*Be clear about what you'd like done (without yelling and nagging!) and when you'd like the work completed.


*You may get help faster by saying no to the TV, computer time, or going outside until chores are finished.


*Clean
with your kids so they don't feel like they're getting "punished". I have found that if I am working right along with them (even near them with a different task) they work so much better with a cheerful attitude!

*Make a reward clear. "Once we finish our chores, I'll take you for some ice cream (or the park, or the library, etc.)."
The other day our cherry tree had a lot of ripe cherries on it. I sent the kiddos out with buckets and they picked quite a few. Once they got inside they were very grumpy about pitting them. I made it a competition. Boys were against girls (I usually mix up the teams). Each team had the same amount of cherries to pit. The team to have their bucket pitted first won ice cream sundaes with all the toppings they wished (good thing the toppings were on sale and I had coupons!). The losing team got ice cream with only one topping of their choice. Let me tell you they pit cherries at lightning speed and they did a great job, too! The girls were done first and then helped the boys finish their cherries. Team work with a reward is a great thing!
- - -

"She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness." (Proverbs 31:27
NIV)
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