Blueberry Blanket

Clint and I stayed at the Glick Mansion (a bed and breakfast) in Atchison last year and the Innkeeper made a wonderful breakfast! I was so impressed that I bought a set of recipes, which included items we had been served for breakfast during our stay at Glick Mansion and some that we had not. One dish that we had not tried was "Blueberry Blanket." This recipe caught my eye because there are only 4 ingredients and I happened to have them all in my kitchen.

Blueberry Blanket

1 pkg refrigerated crescent rolls
4 oz cream cheese, softened
2 TBL sugar
1/2 cup blueberries

Mix cream cheese and sugar together to blend. Open crescent rolls and seperate into 4 rectangles and pinch together seams so you have 4 complete rectangles.

Spread some cream cheese mixture on the rectangle (stay away from edges) and sprinkle on a few blueberries.

Bring the 4 corners up and over and pinch corners and seams together. Bake 11-13 minutes at 375 degrees.

A few notes:

1) My only complaint is that this only makes 4 Blueberry Blankets. 2) The recipe calls for the Blueberry Blanket to be topped with sifted powdered sugar. I was in a hurry and forgot to do this and I think that these were sweet enough without the sugar, but it would add to the presentation factor.
3) The second time I made these I used 3 oz of cream cheese and I think that was still a little too much. You could probably get by with using 2 - 2.5 oz of cream cheese and that would allow for more blueberries.


Cloth Diaper Giveaway.

I hate to post right on top of another post (Sarah has a post right underneath about some delicious looking Zucchinni Bread), but wanted to share this giveaway. I know that cloth diapers are not on everyone's radar, but I was really impressed with the mission of this company and wanted to share.
I'm even considering doing something similar, but I don't want to get a head of myself here. Here is the link to Passionate Homemaking for the giveaway and here is the link to the Envibum Website.  Thanks for humoring me! 


Whole Wheat Zuchini Bread

I love this recipe: not too sweet and not too hearty! The kids love it, and even one of our college guys who won't eat vegetables enjoys it. =) We are blessed to have people bring their Zucchini harvest abundance to church to share, and I'm always happy to grab a couple, grate them up to either use right away or freeze the gratings in a bag for later. This recipe makes 3 loaves (so make sure you have enough pans before you start!) which I also love because it allows us: 1 to eat, 1 to freeze, 1 to give away.

Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread

preheat oven to 350

6 eggs, beaten
1 C. honey
1 C. brown sugar
1/2 C. canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla
2 C. whole wheat flour
4 C. all purpose flour - or you could divide it 3/3 for a denser bread
2 Tbsp. Cinnamon
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. salt
4 C. Zucchini, grated
1 C. Walnuts, chopped (optional- I never use them)

Remember the flax seed and water combos that you can substitute for either fats or eggs! Or just throw a handful in anyway!

In a large mixing bowl beat your eggs. Add in honey, brown sugar, oil and vanilla. In a separate bowl combine and sift together dry ingredients. Slowly add dry ingredients into your mixing bowl until everything is well combined. Add in grated zucchini.

Grease 3 loaf pans. Fill and bake for 50-60 min. Let cool. Enjoy!


A Winning Combination!

Yesterday was a terrible day for me. Well, the first half at least! Reuben had been sick for four days, going on five. Fevers, congestion, general crankiness, you name it, we were experiencing it! You add that into nights of being up with him at all hours, and I was starting to run on empty! Thankfully, I had some quiet time with the Lord, and then He gave me and one and a half hour nap! Both of those combined to give me a re-energized focus and more patience with the two boys.

I have to say, though, that with all the stress, I was craving something sweet and salty. I went for a spoonful of peanut butter with a few chocolate chips. Probably my two favorite foods in the entire world. And when you combine them ... sheer bliss.

Anyway, made me think of a delicious and easy recipe from an old Southern Living cookbook of my mom's. Whenever I make these, they don't last long and I receive lots of compliments.


1/2 c. margarine, softened
1/3 c. peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
1 egg
1 c. oats
1 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 package chocolate chips
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. smooth peanut butter
extra milk

Combine first 9 ingredients in a large mixing bowl: mix well. Press dough into a lightly greased 13x9 (although I usually use an 11x8 because I like them thicker). Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Let stand until chocolate melts: spread evenly. Combine powdered sugar, 1/4 c. peanut butter, and enough milk to make a thin consistency; beat well. Drizzle over cookies. Cut into squares when cooled.

Nurture Your Soul

I woke up this morning bleary eyed (as usual) and with a pounding headache (not usual).  I don't know about you, but headaches immediately put me in a bad mood.  It's like my head is constantly frowning, even if my face isn't.  I grumped my way through my morning bible study and then went to wake up the kids.  I still wasn't very awake so I decided to put on some good smelling lotion to make myself feel more awake.  It's my favorite lotion and I save it for special occasions (like headaches and needing to wake up I guess) because it's discontinued. 
After I put it on I started reading the lable.  It's a weird habit.  I've probably read this particular label a hundred times before, but this morning I really read it.

It states:  nourish your skin, nurture your soul.  As you soften and protect skin, breathe in the sensuous scent of amber myrrh and let it inspire true romance and total wellbeing whenever you need it most.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?  That's a pretty big claim for a little bottle of lotion.

I almost laughed out loud, when realized how I had missed it this morning.  I had just had an opportunity to spend time at the feet of the only One with power to nurture my soul and the source of true romance, and I was too concerned with my lack of sleep and my little headache to really pay attention to the LORD of all creation.   

It then brought to mind these verses: 
Psalm 23: 1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.  3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. (I also love that He says for His name's sake, but that's a story for another day).

Sometimes it is shocking how self absorbed I can be. How one miniscule thing can cloud my outlook for an entire day, week, month...you get the idea.

I also remembered the story behind the hymn "It is Well with My Soul".  Horatio Spafford had a little more going on than a mere headache.  And in the midst of his extreme heartache and loss, instead of curling up in the fetal position and giving up on life (kinda what I felt like doing this morning - I'm so pathetic) he penned one of the most beautiful hymns of praise I've ever heard.  If he was able to say "It is Well with My Soul" in his circumstances, how can I do anything less, but praise? 


Nursing Pads

After using disposable nursing pads for 4 months I decided to sew my own. Here are step by step instructions for this easy sewing project.

In order to make 4 pairs of nursing pads you will need 1/4 yard of flannel and 1/8 yard of fleece (don't forget to wash your fabric before you cut the fabric). Begin by tracing circles onto the fabric and cutting them out. You will need 4 flannel circles and 2 fleece circles for each pair. The circles should be between 3 1/2" and 4" in diameter (I traced around the top of a drinking glass).

After cutting out the circles, sandwich the fleece circle between 2 flannel circles and pin the fabric. You will want to sew the fabric together so that the fleece does not move around. I sewed two lines across the circle to accomplish this.

The final step is to sew around the circle using a lockstitch (that is just a straight stitch) and then sew around the circle again using the zigzag stitch.

Now you have a pair of nursing pads!!


Tips for doing the Walgreens Huggies deal

Maybe you saw the Money Saving Mom post about the Walgreens Huggies deal. I've been working on a post about how to make your way through the coupon maze successfully (at least semi! =) But I thought I would take a minute here to give you the DL on this deal.

It's advertised as Huggies for as low as $1. 64, which sounds AWESOME. But before you run out in giddy excitement and it turns into disappointment, here's how they come up with that number:
Buy 1 package of Huggies Diapers at $8.99
Use 15% off coupon (will deduct $1.35)
- this is only be emailed to Friends and Family Members
Use $2/1 coupon here
Use $1/1 Walgreens coupon (found in the Walgreens Childrens Activity Book)
- costs $0.99 to buy
Spend $4.64 out of pocket, Get $3 Register Reward (RR) back (the diapers for $1.64 is only in theory once you subtract the $3 RR you earned)

So you are really spending $4. 64, not $1.64 (pre tax) and only if you have all of those other coupons. And not counting the filler items you have to purchase to use all those coupons.

Your RR is good only for two weeks and then it expires.

But if you have some other things out there that you need, it will help. You just have to shop in multiple transactions. You CAN use your $3 RR towards another pckg. but you will NOT get another $3 RR for that purchase because it is the same manufacturers coupon and they cancel each other out.* Only 1 RR prints out per qualifying item per transaction**, so if you are planning to buy multiple packages because it's such a good deal, half the deal is the RR, so you want to make sure that you purchase them all seperately so that you get your RR for each one. This coupon/RR game means usually at least 4-5 receipts per trip if you play it right...

MOST IMPORTANTLY: the number of coupons you are using CANNOT outnumber the items you are purchasing. So while this scenario looks fabulous, in re
ality, there's a 3:1 coupon:item ratio, which means you need to find 2 'fillers'. You can throw two pieces of $0.50 candy or gum or whatever and you'll be fine, just don't expect to only buy diapers.

But even if you don't get the friends and family discount, even if you don't have the activity book coupon, this still can be a good deal! Let me share with you what I did this week to make it simple for myself. Thankfully I did have some Huggies coupons fresh from the mail and from a good sharer, so that made it pretty sweet, but I will show you how to do it without even a single manufacturers coupon and still pull off a good deal!

Here's how: Another item that WG's currently has on sale is Dove Men's body wash.
It is on sale for $5.99. But then you get $6 RR for purchasing it, so it's essentially "free". So you buy your $5.99 bodywash. The cashier hands you the $6 RR and you keep it out because next you are buying your package of diapers for $8.99. Once your diaper pckg. is rung up, you hand back your $ 6RR and now your total is $2.99 pre tax. And the cashier hands you your $3 RR. That's a good deal. But you just spent $5.99 on body wash, and you want to even things out, so you take out your second bottle of body wash. This time you use your $3RR and your total (pt) is $2.99 AND you get a $6 RR for it. So then you buy your next pkg. of diapers @ $8.99, use your $6 RR and pay $2.99. So far you've spent $14.96 (gotten 2 pkgs and 2 body washes, and still have $3 RR to use!) And repeat this process for as many times as you have the patience and clear conscience! So even without any coupons, once you have that $6 RR, you're getting diapers for under $3 pt (our tax rate is such a kill joy!)

If you do have a Huggies coupon, remember that you MUST buy another item to be able to use both!

Another thing to keep in mind is that people are crazy, and the managers tend to grumpy. Since there is the
F&F deal tomorrow, I'm expecting it to be pretty busy and the hot deals like the body wash and diapers to sell out quickly. But I think I'm still going to venture out. Savings like this are worth it, But I'm not going to say it's easy. Besides all the mental work, things I struggle with are getting worked up that I might "miss out", or being frustrated when the things I am counting on to make it all work aren't available (like the body wash being sold out). Neither of those are fruits of the Spirit! =)

I hope this is at least somewhat helpful! I tried to think of the things that I had to learn the hard way and wished someone had explained to me. They always make it sound so amazing, but then it
still rings up for more money than you expect...you have to keep rolling your RR over on other items to make it worthwhile!

TIPS: use the cosmetic counter for checking out! Doing multiple transactions takes up time, and it's no fun having a line build up behind you. Everyone prefers/benefits if you check out in cosmetics.

* Don't use your RR on sale items from the same manufacturer. Both Huggies and Kotex will give you $3 RR this week, but if you use your $3 RR on the Kotex (@ 2/$6 w/ $3 RR) you won't get the Kotex RR because Kotex and Huggies are both Kimberly-Clark items. ** BUT you CAN buy the huggies and kotex together in the sam
e transaction and get both 3 RR.

Any Questions? =)

When I went out earlier this week, over the course of two trips I purchased 5 pkgs. Huggies, 5 Dove body washes, 2 Kotex (and was bummed b/c one of the extra coupons I had "didn't work...it's never easy!) and for fillers 3 books covers @ $0.50 ea. (although I realized later that I got charged .75 for one of them. grrr....) one little match box car for Joshy for $0.79, and an amazing little pair of sunglasses for LoLo that just happened to be in the clearance section for $0.89!

Do I need all this body wash and the other fillers? Not necessarily or immediately. But am I wasting money? As long as I keep it a good deal, then no! I have a shelf downstairs for all the "extras" and I use them as gift-fillers, gift packages to college students and military men, to help my siblings and parents, and in the past I've even been able to send several "shipments" of goods down with people to Haiti, so I don't feel like it's a waste. (I have a fried with crazy mad coupon skills who sells whatever she doesn't use at her garage sale and averages $600 in sales. Isn't that amazing?!)

Let's break it down:
$36.96 spent; $75. 61 saved; $6 RR earned for next purchases
(all in a "mere" 10 receipts)
Even if I spent that total just on 5 pckgs diapers, it's still only $7.39 ea. but instead I got all the other things along with them too! (This is just one deal scenario- there are lots of ways to do it, and I'm not the best at it, but this was really straightforward and the most cost effective for me)

But $37 is still hard to swallow if you're going in there thinking you're only going to spend $1.64 per Huggies package.

The coupon game isn't for everyone, and it's not always profitable. I am not completely sold on it. But this is a good week for moms using disposable diapers to try it out if you are interested! I don't want you to think it's as easy or amazing as the pros make it sound, because that can be really disappointing and frustrating, I have been there so many times! But at the same time, if I can do it, anyone can!

Good luck!


Love for everyday

In keeping with the idea of Valentine's Day, love has been foremost in my thoughts this month. It was accidental, actually!

Around the first of the month, I was doing my daily quiet time, and found myself reading I Corinthians 13. Mind you, I dutifully memorized this chapter several times throughout Sunday school and junior high for various teachers. So I often start off reading it with a "not so great" attitude. Thinking that I know exactly what this chapter says, etc.

But this time it struck me. Well, it struck the "mommy" chord in me. Lately I have struggled with being too sharp with Jonah. He pushes me just to the edge, and then I speak too harshly! Then I feel remorse and apologize to him. But his sweet little face looking up at me has caused me to cry out to the Lord and ask for extra measures of patience and creativity to deal with this guy who has such energy and persistence. As I read the love chapter ... I realized this was my answer. To continue to ask the Lord to fill me with more true love for Jonah. His love. I can hardly imagine that I could love Jonah more than I do - but my love is still imperfect! I need the overflow of the Lord's love for Jonah to spill out. To cover my imperfections and mistakes. Only through God's perfect love can I even begin to change. If my heart's desire (which it is) is to be the best mommy possible - amidst my fatal flaw of being human - then I will stop relying on my best efforts and give Jonah the best LOVE I can. God's Love. This is my daily prayer, especially this month.

The cookies are just a fun project Jonah and I did: cookies for his friends and his teachers at the gym childcare center. Happy Valentine's Day!


Milled Flax Seed

Here's a tip to fortify all these granola, granola bars, muffins, and other yummy baked goods you're making: you can substitute flax seed for wheat germ (or just add it in even if the recipe doesn't call for it!).

I found this out by happy substitution, as I didn't have the wheat germ that all the granola recipes were calling for. But I did have a box of milled flax seed (you can find it in the wheat section) on hand so I used it in place of the wheat germ. As far as complimenting the ingredients it was working out just fine, and then I talked to my sister one day while searching for wheat germ at the store (never did find it) and she noted that flax seed is even more nutritionally beneficial than wheat germ, so that was even more of a relief! Isn't it nice when the ingredients that you have on hand work out as great, 'accidental' substitutes?!

Here are some other ways that you can use flax seed as a substitute:
(from the Hodgson Mill box)

Fat Substitute- 3Tbsp. can replace 1 Tbsp fat/oil

Egg Subsitute- 1 Tbsp. + 3 Tbsp. water can replace one egg
I started making muffins the other day and realized that I all had was 1 egg, and the recipe called for 4, so I threw caution to the wind and went for it, not knowing at all how it would work out. I would have preferred to start with a 'safer' 1:1 substitution. However, they turned out really well! I could hardly tell the difference, and the kids certainly didn't notice!

Note- I haven't used wheat germ, so I can't compare the difference this substitution will make in your recipes. But it has really worked out well for me in a pinch, and in a mixing bowl =)


Homemade Granola Bars

Somebody pretty amazing gave me a gorgeous and
girly apron for my birthday. I had already been
meaning to try a recipe for homemade granola bars,
but since the apron was given to me last week,
I decided to "not delay", and try some right away!

I decided to use a recipe from Food Network's Ina Garten.
I had seen the episode where she makes them, and they
looked delicious and seemed pretty straightforward.
I read up on the reviews on the site before trying the recipe.
I actually followed it pretty closely! Just a few small substitutions.
You can find it here.

First, I toasted the oats and the coconut together (I omitted
nuts this first time around - I was out and really wanted to try the recipe anyway)

While they were toasting, I melted and then simmered together
the sweeteners and the binding ingredients: honey, a little butter, brown sugar, vanilla, etc.

In Ina's recipe, she cuts up a few different kinds of dried fruits that she bought, but I have this amazing bag of cut up, dried fruit that I bought last fall from the fruit and nut truck and have been saving in the freezer for this very reason!

Then, you mix the toasted ingredients, wet ingredients, and the fruit together in a large bowl.

Press it into a waxed papered, greased 8x8 pan. Press hard! Bake for about 15 minutes. Then, DON'T TOUCH until they are fully cooled. If you try while they are warm, the bars will crumble and become granola, rather than bars. I turned them out onto a cutting board and used a very sharp knife to make quick and precise cuts.

After I cut them into bars, I wrapped each one in a little sandwich bag for quick grab 'n go type breakfasts, snacks, etc. Eli and I LOVE them! I cut the pan into eight bars. I'm sure it could be doubled to make a 9x13 as well.

They are pure deliciousness. Although they do have some sweeteners in them, at least you know that there are no preservatives, and you can completely control what kind of ingredients you put in your bars. Try and enjoy!

Habitat ReStore

Lawrence is very fortunate to have the Habitat ReStore. This is a wonderful place to shop if you are planning to do any remodeling, regardless of the size of the project! It is also a great place to donate any used (or new) building supplies.

Sales from the Habitat ReStore benefit Habitat for Humanity. On their website (http://www.lawrencerestore.com/) they explain their purpose:

Habitat ReStore accepts and resells quality new and used building materials, furniture, and appliances. Habitat's ReStores support the building programs of Lawrence HfH, while reducing the amount of quality materials that are headed for overflowing landfills! You can expect prices around 50% of retail.

On Saturday, February 13th, everything in the store is 20% off!!

I believe that Habitat for Humanity is a wonderful Christian ministry and I just wanted to share this information as a way to support them. I am not affiliated with HfH or Habitat ReStore, nor am I paid to advertise for them.


Using Up My Orange Peels - Candying

Since ALDI has oranges on sale for $.99 a bag we have been cruising through them.  Every time we would throw away or compost the peels I thought there has to be something better that can be done with these.  So I Google searched what to do with orange peels and decided to give candying them a try.  I actually have Elisa to thank for recipe.  Here's how it went.

I blanched the orange peels twice, as they were too bitter after the first blanching. I probably should have done it one more time, but I got impatient.
I drained them and then put them into a pot with 2 cups of water and 2 cups of sugar.
I had a picture of them in the pot again, but it looks just like the previous one.  I then cooked them until they were slightly transparent - About an hour.
And Voila, candied orange peels! The ones on the left got dipped in chocolate, and the ones on the right are sugared. - tasty!
I'm still saving my orange peels and want to try a homemade orange cleaner next. I let you know how it turns out.

Do Not Lose Heart ...

16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4)

For my girls in the 6 a.m. club (and others that may find encouragement in this): This was in my Bible reading this morning. It encouraged me! This is a familiar passage to us all, I am sure, but I felt in my spirit that God spoke to me, to us, though it. We may not yet see an outward result from our commitment (other than tiredness, cranky children, etc.), but our obedience is making a difference. And no matter how we feel, our spirits are being renewed by spending time with Him and giving Him the priority each morning. His Word will not return void. So let us not lose heart. Let's fix our eyes on Him and believe an eternal work is going on.


Raisin Bran Muffins

I recently got a craving for muffins that my mom used to make using Raisin Bran cereal. This recipe makes 4 dozen muffins, but the batter can be stored in a tightly covered plastic container in the refrigerator for up to 6 weeks. I have not tried freezing the muffins, but I bet they would freeze with no problem.

Raisin Bran Muffins

15 oz Raisin Bran cereal
1 cup oil
4 eggs
1 qt buttermilk
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups sugar
5 cups flour
3 tsp baking soda
4 tsp baking powder

In a large mixing bowl, stir together all ingredients. Fill paper lined muffin tins about 2/3 full. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-16 minutes.

Clint doesn't like raisins so I picked out most of the raisins and substituted craisins and the muffins tasted great!

(Sorry no pics...I will try to remember to have the camera handy next time!)


I received a text this morning from another member of the 6 o'clock club (I assume) and it said: "This is the day the Lord hath made; We will rejoice and be glad in it." My first thought was "what an encouragement" and secondly, thought with as much sarcasm as I could muster up at 6:10 am, was "wow, I bet today is going to be a great day!" Rather than rejoicing, my mind starting thinking about all of the things that could go wrong today that would test my faith and give me the opportunity to grumble or, if I was "holy" enough, to rejoice!

Rather than anticipate troubles, I am going to expect to have a great day!! If troubles do come along, then I will seek God for strength and peace, acknowledge that God is in control and REJOICE!


Just Plain 'Ole Vinegar ...

I love my bathroom sink. I think it's pretty. It makes our insanely small bathroom quite likable. It caught my eye when we bought our home ... it had a pretty base and fancy handles. Nothing like our duplex had! But about a year ago, I noticed hard water deposits growing around the base of the handles and in the corners. Water seems to sit there. And once it evaporates it leaves gunk. So, I kept putting up with it. Well, attempting to clean it off, actually. With Comet. Bleach. Soft Scrub. And numerous other cleaners. Nothing worked! I've mentioned to Eli several times that I needed to find something that would work. So last week I Googled it. Apparently there are products that should work, but most websites suggested trying vinegar. Go figure. I should have known! Since I had that readily available in my pantry, making it a cost-free alternative, I decided I would give it a go. And since Wednesday is my "bathroom cleaning" day each week, today was the day to see if good 'ole vinegar was to be my savior.

Starting out ... can you see that little ring around the faucet handle?

And look - there's more on the other side - yuck!

1. First I poured small amounts of vinegar around the handles and in the corners of the sink. And let it sit for about 10 minutes while I cleaned the shower and the toilet.

2. I then took my faithful "scrubbing purpose" toothbrush to the task once again. Right away I could see the deposits flaking off the sink.

3. The toothbrush scrubbed some more.

4. After I washed off the vinegar and gunk with plain water, I thoroughly cleaned the sink as usual with my trusty disinfectant cleaner (although I can't say that vinegar and bleach combine to create an alluring scent).

Look! No rings!

Okay, just look one more time. All white. Once again. I'm sold. And hello, why didn't I try this a long time ago! My sink now looks clean when it is clean. Sigh. You should try it.


6 a.m.

Hello 6 'o' clock.   My how dark you look through my squinty sleep filled eyes.

Welcome Ladies to the 1st day of the 6:00 a.m. club.  I trust that all of you made it out of bed and into the word at 'o' dark hundred this morning .  I know that all of us won't be able to post daily (myself included), but I was hoping that every once in a while we could write down triumphs, struggles or things that we are learning.

My triumph, this morning, is that I actually got out of bed after a rotten nights sleep!  My struggle (I can tell already) is going to be my attitude.  All awake, and no sleep, makes Jeni a GRUMPY girl.  I am trying to lay that down and remember that dying to my flesh is kinda the point, but I am addicted to my pillow and it's hard to let go.  What I'm learning...hmmm...that this cannot, and will not happen without the Lord.  And that His grace is all sufficient.

Also I encourage you guys to sign up here.  It's completely unnecessary, but I signed up and they already sent an e-mail, that I found to be really encouraging.

I'm going to try and pray for you each morning, starting tomorrow heh..heh.  If you have specific prayer requests feel free to e-mail or call me.

I love you guys and I am so excited that we are in this together!