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Sunday, May 30, 2010

This Memorial Day Don't Forget Who We Owe.

It is the
not the preacher,

who has given us freedom of religion.

It is
not the reporter,
who has given us freedom of the press.

It is
not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.

It is
not the campus organizer,
who has given us freedom to assemble.

It is
not the lawyer,
who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is
not the politician,
Who has given us the right to vote.

It is the
salutes the Flag,

It is


who serves
under the Flag,



taken from an email that is swirling around the internet - Never Forget 
Linked to Gratituesday because I am forever grateful for all Service Men and Women who are serving and have served our nation. 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

S is for Salmon Patties

Admittedly this isn't the most exciting S post you will read, but I promise they are delicious!
Jenny Matlock

Salmon Patties
2 cans Salmon, drained and mushed
2 eggs - beaten (gotten from the chickens down the road - right?!)
1 cup bread crumbs (preferrably from your own homemade bread or rolls)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder - (I am out of onion otherwise I would have sauteed about a quarter cup and added instead)
1/2 tsp dried mustard
salt and pepper to taste
1 cube spinach, 1 cube squash - thawed (optional but yummy)(I cooked, mashed and froze these in icecube trays and add them to lots of things)
1/2 - 1 cup shredded cheese (optional) I used pepperjack for spice - I added this after I made Joe's dairy free

Mix all thoroughly. Take a handful of the mix and mold into a patty shape, put in HOT pan covered in  bacon grease. Pat down with spatula to flatten. Cook for several minutes and then flip. The patty should be brown. Cook on second side several more minutes till cooked through. Continue until all is cooked.
We like to eat them with ketchup. They would be delicious on a bun with a slice of cheese melted on top. Great alternative to hamburgers. We eat these a lot in Lent.
Serves 6, more or less.

Sadly my main computer is on the fritz and I can't upload pictures on this antique computer. Imagine lovely pictures if you wouldn't mind.(Updated to add these yummy pictures)

Now hop on over to Mrs. Jenny Matlock's class and read all the other essays.

I will be linking to Life as Mom's Frugal Fridays, Food Renegade's Fight Back Fridays, and Ann Kroekers Food on Friday and Notes from the Cookie Jar's Food Revolution Friday.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Simple Ganache -
disclaimer - I don't know what real ganache tastes like, this is my version.

1/2 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips ( use the healthiest option you can find - preferably without HFCS or soy)(you can also use a fair trade chocolate bar or 2)
1/4 cup milk of your choice - I use coconut milk

Melt on stove at about medium heat in small pan stirring constantly until smooth. Pour over cake. Top with REAL whipping cream, add strawberries if you have them.

My kids no longer want frosting from a plastic tub - it is this or nothing. Smart kids!
Linked to Kristen's Works for Me Wednesday and Kelly the Kitchen Kop's Real Food Wednesday.
and Around My Family Table's Tip Day Thursday.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

R is for Relatives

It is my favorite time of the week – AlphabeThursdays!! Hop on over to Mrs. Matlocks and check out all the amazing R links.  Please play nice and visit the other kids, oh and if you want to be popular be sure to comment a lot.

I know you thought I was going to post on reconomics or recycling or maybe even rice pudding. But I am not. I am going to talk about my relatives.

I am willing to bet you all $.50 that if you added all the relatives of all the people who read this blog post together you wouldn’t have as many as I do. I am confident in that.

How do I know? Well I have over 800 relatives – not going any further away than my cousins, cousins kids and cousins grandkids.

Here is how it works:

My grandparents Laurence and Mary Tippmann had 16 children.

Tippmann 2 018
(aren’t they adorable? this was in the early 30’s)
                                  Tippmann pics 011
(my dad is the good looking one – at least I think so!)
These 16 children had 136 children.

These 136 children have had over 500 children. Yep, true story. Talk about your practicing Catholics. And this generation is no where near done. I am #25 out of 136 and I still have a couple years of fertility in me.

These 500 children have begun having babies – about 50 or so I would guess.

That my friends is just my dad’s side. No second cousins and  no inlaws (that adds 100+ to the number).

My Mom came from a family of 9. They had 50 kids and so on and so forth totalling about 250.

So, that is why I am certain I have more relatives than you.

Yes, Christmas is fun.

Yes family reunions are wild.

No, I don’t know everyone’s name.

And weddings, weddings are HUMONGOUS!

I am so grateful for my large family. I have to admit growing up sometimes it was annoying having a relative everywhere I went. Made it hard to sneak around and be bad.
A problem the kids are having now is dating. We always tell them to find out who their grandpa is (or great-grandpa) to be sure they aren’t kissing their cousin! ewwww!

Tippmann pics 012 
I know this is hard to see – it is a picture of a picture but it was taken in 2000. There are over 500 people in the picture. This was our last family reunion.

Don’t forget the place to be is Jenny Matlock’s AlphabeThursday!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Get the Clutter Out!


I am joining Katie at Kitchen Stewardship’s Spring Cleaning Carnival “Get the Junk Out!” today. I have linked to Mandi at Organizing Your Way for the meme. 

Disclaimer: I am an organizational wanna be. My house is full of clutter. With 9 people comes stuff, lots of stuff. However if I was honest, and I am I would have to confess that 80% of the stuff is mine. Mostly books. Loads and Loads of books. I heart books. Whenever it is time majorly declutter I start with my books. It saddens me so to let any book go. I know I must, but it is like giving away a good friend.  Today I put about 50 books in the pile to take to the Pickens. Books I love but are no longer necessary or even relevant to my life.
                      5-1810 053
I have several strategies for decluttering my house and keeping most of the clutter at bay.
  • Daily I walk through with a grocery bag and I fill it with random trash – papers, broken toys, old magazines. This keeps the trash at bay.
  • Weekly I do the same walk through this time looking for things to send to the Pickens. As I do laundry I put the clothes to go in a basket in my laundry room. I then walk the bag/bags to the car to drop off at the next opportunity.
  • Monthly – or so -  I do a big declutter of an area. Today it was a bookshelf that housed my crafting books. I am no longer a Girl Scout leader and these fabulously wonderful books are now just clutter.
  • Seasonally I go through everyone’s drawers and pull out all that no longer fits or will not fit next year and put it into the box to go. I also clean out my attic in the spring and fall each time getting rid of more and more!
Sometimes it is necessary to be ruthless. Ask yourself if you really need the item, does it make you happy? Does it have a purpose? Could you share the item with someone else?

One of the most important things in decluttering is NOT cluttering to begin with. Before you buy something ask yourself the same questions plus these next few.  Is it a need or a want? Can you borrow the item if necessary? Do you already have something that would work?

Many people do one thing in, one thing out to help to keep the stuff from accumulating. I am not that disciplined but I do try.

Be sure that you are using the principals of reconomics: reduce, reuse, recycle, rehab. Remembering the following when you make the decision to either declutter the item, or to purchase another.
The Reconomy is good economy. Good for the planet, good for the pocket book. Recycle, resell, reuse, rehab. Buying, selling, donating and sharing "gently used" items rather than always going for the brand spankin' new gizmo or gadget.
The Reconomy also promotes simplicity. By getting rid of the stuff you don't want or need anymore through selling, donating or sharing your life becomes simpler.
Not only does each item that is reused, recycled, rehabbed and or resold help both parties it one less thing that needs energy to be produced, it reduces the size of your personal environmental footprint and one less thing landing in the landfill.

I never have garage sales - I don't live in an area that has a high enough traffic to make it worth my time. I have found it so helpful to take a bag or two at a time instead of letting it pile up.

How do you go about decluttering in your house?

I am also linking this to Works for Me Wednesday at We Are That Family.

Monday, May 17, 2010

How to wash those pesky hand washables!

They can be so annoying. I rarely hand wash but when I do I want to do it right!

First be sure you have the right detergent. Something made for delicates. I grew up using Woolite, I am sure there are other greener alternatives. (note to self, find a green alternative when my Woolite runs out.) Here is one to try.

Secondly, fill a sink or large plastic tub with warm water, add about a teaspoon of detergent. Swirl it around with your hand to mix it in. Add your garment and swirl also. Be careful, do this gently, oh so gently. If you rub the garment or pull or stretch the material it can change shape. Do this for about 2-5 minutes.

Thirdly, fold the clothes into itself and gently squeeze the water out by pushing it against the side. Empty the water, refill with clean warm water, swirl and rinse, squeeze and drain. Keep doing this until the clothes are free of detergent. Will take a couple times.

Nextly (I know that isn't a word I just like the sound of it)lay the garment on a white towel and smooth out any wrinkles. Roll up the towel with the clothes in it. Press down to soak up any water. You many need to do this again with another towel if it is still pretty wet.

Finally, Lay flat on a drying rack shaping it, leaving it there to dry completely.
I am linking t his to 11th Heaven’s Homemaker Monday! Lots of great links there.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Saturday Centus #2 I double dog dare you!

Jenny Matlock

This post is linked to Saturday Centus week 2.  A 100 word story based on a prompt. The prompt is in bold below.

“I dare you, I double dog dare you!” the words kept coming back to Sara as she nervously walked into the airport. Could she do it?  Sara thought of the cancer that was aggressively eating away at her life. She knew that it was now or never. She thought of her husband and daughters, how would they remember her? She wanted to leave her daughters a legacy of courage. One of a woman that was strong, brave adventurous and full of life.  She had no choice but to take the dare. She boarded the plane and said a quick prayer. The small Cessna 172 picked up speed as it roared down the runway, Sara at the controls, the flight instructor beside her.

A Case of Mistaken Identity

He looks like a nice kid doesn't he? You can just never tell!

The other day I got a call from my children's principal. It seems my son Joe, who is 12 brought a toy gun to school.

This is so very much NOT ALLOWED!

The principal was wonderful, she said things like "He couldn't even shoot paper bullets with it." She did allude to some places having a no tolerance policy - but she wasn't going to do anything other than take the gun and have me come get it.

We got off the phone and while I was trying to get a hold of my husband I kept thinking "thankfully he didn't take his paintball gun or his airsoft gun" - these babies look real and can cause some real hurt. I also wondered where he got a toy gun like she described, we haven't had one in these parts for coons age!
My son is destined to be an out of control teenager!

Then about 5 minutes later I get a second call - Good grief what have my children done now???? Well, the principal was calling to say it was a case of mistaken identify. The teacher had told her the wrong name and she had called the wrong Mom. Ooops!

Can I get a great big SHAWOO!!!!!!

Sorry Joe, for ever doubting you!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Q is for Q-Tips

I was in a quandary as to what to do my essay on this week for Mrs. Matlock's AlphabeThursday. I think Baby Gays are perfect. Read on to find out why.

In 1923  Leo Gerstenzang, the original founder of the Q-tips Company, observed his wife applying wads of cotton to toothpicks to clean their child's ears and came up with  the idea of manufacturing a ready-to-use cotton swab.
They were originally called Baby Gays and in 1926, the labels were changed to read Q-tips Baby Gays. Later the name Baby Gays was discarded and Q-tips became the name for the  cotton swabs.

Did you know that the Q in Q-tips stands for quality and the word tips describes the cotton swab at the end of the stick? I didn't!

While Q-Tips were originally made to be used as an ear cleaner it is now discouraged - we are told to put nothing in our ears smaller than our elbow. So what do we do with those hundreds of little Q-Tips? Well I just happen to have a few tips for you!

Top 10 Uses for Q-Tips (Plus One or Two)

  1. Detail Your Car – Use Q-tips to clean the vent slits and the small grooves on your dashboard by dipping the tip in water or Armor All
  2. Painting Tool – If you are painting with acrylics or oils, you will find that Q-tips are a painters favorite tool to do small touch ups of random paint drippings.  Also painters like to cut the cotton tip off, at a desired angle, so that they can add small details and texture to their oil paintings..
  3. Clean Behind Faucets – If your bathroom and kitchen faucets are like mine, there is a small reservoir of collected water behind the fixture and the lip of the sink.  Use the length of the Q-tip to wipe clean that reservoir while still keeping your hands clean.
  4. Keyboard Cleaner – You should clean your work keyboard once a month at the least.  While the power is off, shake your keyboard upside down to loosen dust and crumbs.  Then dip a Q-tip in rubbing alcohol and wipe down the top and sides of every key.  This might take some time, but you will be sure to kill any bacteria from sneezing and eating at your desk.
  5. Seals Envelopes – If you are planning a wedding, you might not want to lick all 100 invitation envelopes closed.  Instead, dip one or two Q-tips into a small bowl of water, shake excess water off then wipe on your envelopes for the moisture you need to make a secure  bond.
  6. Spot Treat Clothes – If you drop a spot of food on your clothes and you know you won’t be able to wash it right away, dip a Q-tip in some fresh water then into your laundry detergent.  Rub that solution over the front of the stain until the cotton tip picks up the spot.  Repeat with clean Q-tips and solution on the front and back of the stain until you are satisfied the spot won’t stain.  Then toss the clothes into the dirty laundry basket for future cleaning.
  7. Cleaning up stray nail polish - after a home manicure or pedicure. Just dip the tip into nail polish remover (don’t oversaturate) and gently rub away polish. 
  8.  Sticky Stuff- When using sticky or messy substances like superglue and engine grease, cotton swabs are a great way to get the job done without getting your hands dirty. 
  9. Arts and Crafts - glue them together and make awesome snowflakes to decorate for winter. You can build forts and fake glasses. What about a 3D replica of a bridge. 
  10. Makeup Tool – Use the cotton tip to smudge eyeliner and eyeshadow for a softer look.  You can also dip a clean Q-tip in some makeup remover to easily remove eyeliner, eyeshadow and mascara mistakes with great precision. Plus the following:
    • Smudging and softening eyeliner. After lining the upper lids, use a swab to gently smudge the liner to soften thick lines.
    • Pressing on false eyelashes. Once you’ve attached the lash to the lip, use the tip of the swab to press and hold the lash in place until it dries. (do women still use these?)
    • Removing mascara smears or oopsies. Slightly dampen the tip and dab away any stray mascara.
    • Applying lip gloss. Keep your lip brush from getting gloppy with gloss by using a fresh Q-Tip to apply that final glossy finish.
    • Cleaning around your ears. Saturate the cotton tips with your regular facial toner or witch hazel and gently swipe around the inner curve of the upper lobe and for heaven’s sake, clean up behind those ears.
    • Spot treating a zit. Dab your pimple potion on the end of the Q-Tip and dot it directly on the breakout.
    • Zapping a whitehead. When a whitehead is clearly about to burst at the worst possible moment, take a Q-Tip in each hand and gently squeeze upward on each side of the mountain of puss until it makes its way to the surface. I recommend you cleanse the area before and after.
    • Applying makeup in a pinch. When your makeup brushes are filthy or you’re on the road, use Q-Tips to apply concealer, eyeshadow and lip gloss.
    1. The bonus tip: use Q-tips to apply calamine lotion to poison ivy or poison oak.  
    2. The bonus, bonus tip: Home Improvement - Use them for detailed home improvement jobs like applying tile grout, re-caulking your bathtub, and spackling nail holes.

    There is even a Facebook Page dedicated to "Countless Uses for QTips" if you want more ideas.

    What do you use your Q-Tips for?

    Sunday, May 9, 2010

    Saturday Centus #1

    I am participating in Saturday Centus with Jenny Matlock. This is my first attempt at using a writing prompt. Certainly fun!
    Jenny Matlock
    My untied shoelace changed my life. As I leaned down to re-tie it, I kicked away a few leaves. When I turned my head slightly to look where the leaves had been, I was astonished to see a rubber-banded wad of hundred dollar bills nestled in a little indention in the muddy ground.

    As I stooped to retrieve the money I realized that this could  be the money missing from the recent bank heist. I took it home and sat down at the table. Back and forth my mind went whether to keep the money which I really needed or to return it to the bank that had just foreclosed on my home. 

    No one would know, they were unmarked bills mine for the taking. I wrestled with the knowledge that I would be no better than those I considered crooks. Finally virtue won out and I returned the money. Silly virtuous girl.

    Happy Mother's Day!

    My most important job is that of Mother. 
    We were talking the other day about what my kids want to be when they grow up. 
    They asked me what I had wanted to be.
    I had two choices: a religious nun in some order who wears a habit. 
    The habit was important to me, if I was going to give my life to Christ, I wanted to look the part. 

    My second choice was the momma of a big family.
    Eight children to be exact. 
    I always figured I would have eight children. 
    I exceeded my own expectations. 

    God choose marriage and motherhood as my vocation and I am so grateful.
    I am blessed to have a wonderful Mother - Mimi.  A wonderful role model.

    It is my hope that my children will continue to love me and want to be a part of my life. 
    It isn't cheap to have a large family, but it isn't exponentially more expensive or even harder than a small family. 
    What is exponentially more is the love and laughter, heartache and pain, blessings and graces that come with Motherhood.
    Daily I thank God for Blessing my with my family.

    Friday, May 7, 2010

    Thai Chicken

    I love all things Asian (I may have mentioned that before) here is a delicious and easy crock pot recipe that reminds me of the cashew chicken at my favorite Thai restaurant for a lot less money than going out. 

    Thai Chicken

    4 whole chicken breasts cut in half giving you 8 pieces
    1 TBS grated gingerroot
    3 green onions, sliced
    1 (14oz) can coconut milk
    1/2 tsp tumeric
    1/4 to 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (how spicy do you want it?)
    1 8oz can pinneapple chunks, drained (or fresh works also)
    2 TBS corn starch
    2 TBS water
    cooked rice
    1/2 cup chopped peanuts (or cashews)

    Place chicken in a slow cooker. Add gingerroot, green onions, coconut milk, turmeric and pepper flakes. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until chicken is tender. Turn to High and add the pineapple. In a small bowl dissolve the cornstarch in water; stir into chicken mixture in cooker. Cover and cook on High about 15 minutes. Serve over rice and sprinkle with peanuts.

    Sometimes we add broccoli or peppers to this. Always delicious!

    Submitted to Food Renegade's Fight Back Friday,  and Life as Mom's Frugal Fridays and the Cooking Festival at Moms in Need of Mercy.

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010

    P is for the Pickens

    Time again for my absolute favorite meme - AlphabeThursday. Besides learning so many wonderful things as I make my way through the list of great posts everyone is so generous with the comments - it makes me smile all weekend as they come in! Thank you everyone!!!

    Now - on to my post - P is for the Picken's. Some people call it the Goodwill, Salvation Army, The Boutique, Thrift Store or Second Hand Store. Mimi always calls it the Pickens. We always hope the pickens are good when we are out thriftstoring. (yes I made that word up, sorry Mrs. Matlock)

    I just love to go to the Pickens I have several on my normal route, 2 Goodwills, a Salvation Army, a St. Vincent dePaul and even a Mennonite and a Lutheran Thrift Store.

    Look at all the choices. There are a plethora of Pickens in every town in seems, you just have to think outside the Goodwill box. Not that the Goodwill is bad but there are so many other places to get a bargain. Many churches have thriftstores, not only to raise money but also to help the community. These are my favorite ones. Usually they are cleaner (in my area anyhow) and they have the more interesting things.

    Tips for shopping thrift:

    1. Decide why you are going. Are you just looking for cute stuff in general or do you have something in mind? You can also use directories online to find your nearest thrift store from sites like
    2. Start looking. Some stores are more organized than others. After you have been to a few you'll know which ones are better than others. Understand the system if you can. You may find things organized by gender, type of clothes, color and size, or you may find just a mass of clothes and household objects. Start with the more organized stores until you become proficient at looking through clothes.
    3. Pick up anything that catches your eye and possibly try it on in the dressing room. If you don't like the idea of putting someone else's clothes on before washing them, buy whatever you think will look nice, wash the items at home, and re-donate them as needed. Also you should know that the clothing item may look better on you then it does on the hanger! So try something on, you might like it. Experiment with clothes; put different things together.
    4. Don't forget the other items in a thrift store. If you need to furnish an apartment inexpensively, for instance, thrift stores can be an excellent source of dishes, pots and pans, and even furnishings. Don't forget to look for a good deal on an attractive bedspread to cover up a comfortable but unsightly sofa. You might even find that shopping in a thrift store is less costly than moving items or renting furniture. You also can find awesome decor for your room, like posters, pictures, trinkets and more.
      • It might not all match, but that can be a great thing. Go for an eclectic look, instead. If you'd like mixed pieces to have a bit more unity, try painting, covering, or refinishing them.
    5. If you love to read, browse through the book selection. Used books are often very inexpensive, but many of the books found in relatively low-traffic thrift shops are beat up. Make sure a book isn't missing any pages before buyin it- a simple flip-through works well enough. I have gotten many great books from thrift stores.
    6. Check out the accessories. You'll find belts, purses, luggage, shoes, hats, and even jewelry (usually the costume variety) at a fraction of their regular prices.
    7. Watch for bargains. Many thrift stores have sales or clearance racks to unload items that have not sold in some time. Also, keep a look out for store-wide sales, such as student discount day or others. Most thrift shops will have signs up for these events.
    8. Before buying an item, take a good look at it. Did somebody get rid of it for an obvious reason, or is it in good shape? Is it stained? Does it have any holes or tears that can't be easily fixed?
      • Certain items, such as can openers, are very seldom donated unless they're not working.
      • Clothing, by contrast, is frequently discarded simply because it no longer fits or flatters its original owner, or simply because it's last year's style. Do, however, look over it for obvious damage such as a stain or tear.
    9. If the thrift store has a make-up or underwear section, feel free to bypass them without guilt. Many people aren't comfortable with wearing used underwear, and makeup may be incredibly old.
    10. As for music, most shops have lots of old CD's and records. Be forewarned, though- most of the music is awful. A good catch is rare, but make sure the CD isn't scratched or otherwise obviously damaged.
    I have purchased many items at the Pickens, Mimi however is the queen - she buys lots of furniture and clothing and dishes at the thrift stores. I promise you, you would never be able to pick out which items are brand new and from upscale boutiques and which where purchased humbly at the Pickens.

    In these crazy economic times it is a great way to save money and reuse, repurpose and recycle - reconomics at its best!

    Here are two of my favorite sites that showcase how these ladies use Pickens and garage sales to make gorgeous outfits. New Dress A Day is a wonderful blog where a 20 something gal makes a new outfit everyday from some really interesting Picken finds. And then there is Balancing Beauty and Bedlam's Frugal Fashionista series. Great stuff - she is a real bargain hunter!

    I challenge you all to make a trip to your closest Pickens Store and see what treasures you find!

    I am also linking this to Works for Me Wednesday at We Are That Family. 

    Tuesday, May 4, 2010


    Oh yes I did! Diana, at A little bit of Spain in Iowa was hosting a giveaway for the book Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, With Recipes by Jennifer McLagan.

    I just love Diana's blog, so full of delicious, whole, real food recipes. She talks about the local food movement, organic farming, and she has given me some great recipes that my family loves.

    Thanks again Diana!