Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Easy Homemade Pancakes

I make pancakes a lot and love to try different recipes. Some are great and some not so great. This recipe is super easy (just as easy as a mix) and it's my "usual". Everybody loves it.

We often have lots of "extra" teenage boys around the house for Saturday morning breakfast and this is a quick (and cheap) way to feed a crowd. I usually double this recipe.

1 cup sifted self-rising flour (must be self-rising flour or the recipe will not work) I'll also tell you a secret...I rarely sift and the pancakes turn out fine. No guarantees though! :)
1 cup milk
1 egg
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat egg, oil and milk together; add to flour. Stir just until combined. Pour 1/4 cup batter on a hot buttered griddle. Turn with a spatula when bubbles begin to form on top. Cook second side until golden brown.

I also use self-rising flour in my biscuit recipe.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Easy Wall Art

I've been wanting to change my wall art on one of the walls in my living room. I found a metal star and a wooden sign that says "home" on sale for 50% off at Hobby Lobby, but I wanted to add something to it.

I found some mismatched old frames I had put up in a closet and I used my handy dandy can of black spray paint to make them all match. then I printed some pictures of the kids in a sepia tone and backed them with scrapbook paper. I think they turned out really cute.

When I am trying to decide how to arrange pictures on the wall, I arrange them on the floor first. That way I can see how they'll look and I won't put extra nail holes in the wall. Here is everything laid out on the floor, and in the final arrangement on the wall.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Chocolate Gravy

I'm finally posting the long awaited chocolate gravy recipe! :)

I usually start my gravy before I start the biscuits. This gravy will have to simmer 10 minutes or so and the biscuits bake up so quickly.

Combine in a saucepan (This pan is as old as I am. Seriously.):
2 tablespoons cocoa

2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 1/2 cup sugar

3 cups water

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk it all together.

Bring to a boil over medium heat and simmer for 10 minutes or so. It will SLOWLY start to thicken.

Pull your biscuits out of the oven. This one pan of biscuits would not have been nearly enough if all the kids were at home.

Butter your biscuit (that part is critical) and pour the gravy over. Mike likes to split his biscuits, butter each half and then pour the gravy over.

So yummy! Don't think about the calories. :)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Kitchen Gadgets

I love kitchen gadgets! Unfortunately, I don't have the budget or the storage space for them. These 2 are the kitchen gadgets I couldn't do without. The microwave comes in handy so often for warming leftovers, defrosting the hamburger meat I forgot to set out...all sorts of things. Plus I read somewhere that the microwave uses less energy than an oven. I like anything that will make my electric bill even a teeny bit smaller.

The Kitchen Aid mixer was a Christmas present years ago from my dad and step-mother. They bought me the extra large professional size and boy am I glad they did! I can make 3 loaves of bread in it at a time. It makes homemade pizza crust or pumpkin bread a snap. I use it at least once a week.

I have a small George Foreman type grill, but I can't use it. My kitchen has ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) plugs, and the grill blows them every time I plug it in! I can drag the huge 3 prong extension cord out of the garage, and run it from my dining room into the kitchen, but it's just not worth it. When I want to make hamburgers, I just fry them in a pan like my mother always did unless the man of the house wants to fire up the grill.

Other than that, the only gadgets I have are the coffee maker, toaster, blender and waffle iron (I'll have to get that out for breakfast in the morning). I don't like my counter tops to be cluttered and I don't have room in the cabinets for anything else so I think I've reached my limit on appliances. My can opener is a good old hand operated type and my food processor is a sharp knife.

Do you have lots of kitchen gadgets and appliances? Are they really worth the trouble of getting them out?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Things My Grandmother Taught Me

Originally posted April 28, 2008
Grandmother's Garden by Sarah Davis
Grandmother's Garden

When I was growing up I spent a lot of time with my mom's mom. We often went to her house after school. She helped me sew clothes for my Barbies and would let us drink Dr. Pepper which wasn't allowed at home. :)

The only time she worked after she was married was when she helped my grandfather with his hardware store after their daughters were grown (which he bought after he retired from farming). She's well into her 80s now and still hanging in there. She has her share of aches and pains, is dealing with some chronic health conditions, and she sometimes forgets things, but she always looks beautiful and never misses her weekly appointment with the hairdresser. I still love to visit my grandmother. She always tells me that she's proud of me and it means so much coming from her.

She taught me many things, but here are some highlights.

1. Make the bed and the whole room will look better. She was right. I always make my bed first thing in the morning.

2. Quality over quantity: not in time, but in clothing. She wasn't opposed to buying things on sale, but she always inspected the buttons and seams to make sure the garment was well made before she bought it. She told me that she would rather have a few well made items than a whole closet full of cheap things that would fall apart after the first wash. I can't say I abide by this every time I buy something, but I probably should. It's good advice.

3. When in doubt about what to wear, dress up. She said that being overdressed for an occasion was better than being too casual if everyone else is dressed up.

4. Always take care of your appearance. She still never leaves the house without her makeup and hair done, and a cute outfit on. She says that taking care of ourselves shows respect for our husbands and families. She still keeps her nails done too (something which I'm not very good at). My grandfather (who passed away in 1985) was also this way. He showered twice a day, once in the morning and once on returning from the farm, and always had a fresh shave and smelled of Lava Soap.

5. Write thank you notes. To this day I still don't want to get in trouble by forgetting to write a thank you note. :) I try to sit down and get my thank you notes written ASAP.

6. Be on time. This has been a huge struggle for me. Especially when the kids were small we were often late everywhere we went. Once we were late to Christmas dinner at my mother's house and my grandmother really let me have it.

7. You only have one chance to make a first impression. I can still hear her saying this when I meet people for the first time.

8. Go to church. We went to the same church that my grandparents did when I was little and we always sat next to them. Even after I was grown, married and living in a different town, my grandmother would call on a Sunday afternoon and ask "Did you go to church this morning?" She was always happy when I would answer "Yes ma'am!"

9. One of the things she taught me was not by anything she said, but by example. She and my grandfather modeled a wonderful marriage relationship for me. They were both always so thoughtful of one another and loved to laugh and have fun together. He referred to her as his "little roommate". It was their relationship that helped me understand what a gift marriage could be.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Blogging has lately felt more like an obligation and less like the fun hobby it was intended to be. I'm going to unplug and take a break for a few days to focus more on home and family and less on the computer.

I'm scheduling a few old posts for you to read. Maybe they'll be new to you. :)

Thanks for your patience!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Deviled Eggs

We love deviled eggs around here (even the kids). They are a Southern staple at holidays and funerals. :) I don't have a deviled egg plate, so I'm making do with my crystal serving dishes.

The girls and I have been making some for tomorrow's dinner. You can find detailed instructions on how to make them here.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Smallest Blessings Thursday

I find that when I appreciate and am thankful for the beauty in everyday things and in everyday situations that I am more likely to wear a smile and be content with where I am in life. I love that the Smallest Blessings meme at Her Southern Charm is encouraging that.

This week my smallest blessing is a plate of homemade cookies.

I am so thankful that I can be home in the afternoons to make cookies or some other treat for my kids and to sit around the snack bar with them while they talk about their day. I get to hear what's on their minds while they fill their hungry tummies with something Mama made with love. It's one of my favorite parts of the day.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Kitchen Bargains

The kitchen is probably my favorite room in the house. I spend a lot of time there and I love to have everyone gathered at the table or around the breakfast bar. When it came time to spend my birthday money, I of course, spent some of it on things for the kitchen.

I bought this cute little rooster. I think he really spruces up my kitchen table and he was only $7.99 at TJ Maxx. I've been wanting a rooster for awhile, but they are usually so expensive.

I also bought a bamboo cutting board. I have two plastic cutting boards; one very small and one huge. I've been wanting a bamboo cutting board because they are so pretty, but also because they are harder than wood and resistant to bacteria. This one is a perfect medium size that will be useful for almost all of my chopping. It was also a TJ Maxx bargain at $9.99. Even the one at WalMart was more expensive than that!

I got a couple of books too (surprised? ha ha), but I'll have to tell you about those later. I'm off to watch Bobby play in a band contest (he has a solo). Both books are really cute and one was written by a very sweet lady who is a blogger and comments here occasionally. Can you believe a published author has commented here? I can't!

See you soon!


Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Laundry by B. J. Schonberg

I had a wonderful birthday yesterday! Thank you ladies for all the comments and birthday wishes. I am having such fun reading through them. I love thinking about what life might be like in all the places that you live. Some as near as my own lovely state and some across the globe. You are the sweetest readers in blogland!

Today I'm playing catch up around the house, especially with laundry. Two days of not doing any has led to a huge Mt. Washmore calling my name. :) I found some HE detergent at Sam's that I'm looking forward to using. It is Ecos all natural detergent with organic lavender. I love the scent of lavender! Doing laundry is more fun when your detergent smells good don't you think?

I also have to find time today if possible to buy some groceries. If I get a chance this evening I'll show you the results of my birthday shopping. My mom insisted that I spend all my money on myself and not use it to buy groceries or something for the kids. Now what ever gave her the idea that I might do something like that? :)