Menu Planning with Big Mommy

"Louise's Specials" (cookies)As I flipped through Big Mommy’s recipe book this week, I decided to try my hand at her Oatmeal Crispies, cookies she referred to by her own name: “Louise’s Specials.”  She made them with me one day, going step by step, but I also have her handwritten recipe, complete with a quote at the bottom: “A woman can waste more with a teaspoon than a man can bring in with a shovel.” :)

In the interest of avoiding waste (hee-hee) , I’ve come up with our menu plan for the week.

* Crock-pot BBQ or Buffalo chicken (didn’t make last week), fresh asparagus
* Roasted Red Pepper Soup (need to call Mom for the recipe–I keep losing it!), grilled cheese sandwiches
* Chef Salads with leftover chicken
* Leftovers (we have SO MANY to eat!!)
* Spaghetti, Garlic Bread, Salad (my husband’s favorite dinner of all time, though I feel like a cheater by making it)

* Possibly dinner out or with friends one night

* Salad Social after church on Sunday: Artichoke & Tomato Macaroni Salad, MMMMMM!!!!

* Fruit
* Eggs Benedict (still haven’t made it)
* Sweet Potato Pancakes or Banana Pancakes (from Alicia’s recommendation)
* Smoothies
* Scrambled Eggs

* Leftovers
* Sandwiches

And I’m planning on making up Big Mommy’s cookies (recipe here!!) along with a batch of sugar cookies from another friend’s recipe to take around to all my neighbors this week, hopefully trying to start building relationships with them.Menu Plan Monday @

Through the Pentateuch

Bible in 90 Days

I gasped in disbelief as I finished my reading today, turned to the next page for a sneak peak of tomorrow’s reading, and saw…JOSHUA!!  It’s only been two weeks, less really, since I began this journey through the Bible, and already I’ve read the first five books of the Bible.

Then I pulled out my checklist to mark off the day’s reading, and I had to pause again.  I am checking of Day 15 out of 90, which means I am 1/6th of the way through the program, and 1/6th of the way through my Bible!  Hard to believe, but oh, so encouraging.

The best part about this program so far is the accountability for Bible reading in general; you see, if I miss a day, it is incredibly hard to catch up.  I am extremely motivated to remember and follow through.

The theme of my reading this week has been OBEY.  Continued repetition of God’s rules (I didn’t realize just how many times He said each command–it’s a lot!), along with the blessings for obedience and the curses for disobedience.  Oh Lord, may I realize how important it is to listen to Your voice the first time!

Stumbling through Blogdom

I truly feel like I’m groping through the dark sometimes, stumbling my way through the blogging world, trying to not only find my niche, but also find other bloggers with whom I can relate and from whom I can learn!

Anyway, this week has been more rewarding in that department, as I have stumbled across (and lingered to read) a few really neat bloggers:

Janna, over at Mommy’s Piggy Tales, has a mission that is very dear to my heart.  She is helping reader to develop their own (or their mom’s or grandmother’s) life story.  It’s a blogging challenge, and I think I’ll be joining her for the next group which starts October 7th!

No Time for Flashcards was brought to my attention by a guest post from Amanda, showing how to make really cute Panda rice balls.  I’m so excited to get some new ideas from these ladies!

And last but not least, Aubree Cherie, over at Living Free, blogs about cooking and eating without any dairy, gluten, or sugar.  Wow!  This blog caught my attention because of a friend whose son can’t eat wheat.  Should be a good resource for some healthful menu planning!

Have any particular websites or blogs struck your fancy this week?

Saturday Stumbles
"It's A Blog Party!"

Imagining A Finer Thing

Trugars from Big Mommy
(in her own words)

As children, for fun we’d catch mosquito hawks–or dragonflies–and tie a thread or string around their bodies, then let them fly with it.  These bugs had a pair of nice mesh-like wings and a long body and tail and we enjoyed seeing them fly as we held the string.  One of my brothers had a way with wasps and bugs with wings–the kind that had stingers in the end of their tails and if they got a chance to stick it in you it hurt and would make a place swell on you.  He’d let the wasp run his stinger out and in and he’d grab it and pull it out then play with the wasp.

I just remembered how us as kids wanted to do the forbidden, so we’d get a dried cob of corn and cut us a length of it like a pipe and bore out the pithy center for a hole, then make a hole on the lower side of the cob so it would have a place for our pipe stem.  We’d take a piece or stem from an elder bush and, with a wire, punch out the soft pith in it so we could have a stem for the pipe we made. There was a weed or bush called “life everlasting,” or rabbit tobacco, that substituted real well for tobacco for us and we’d crush some of that up and dry it so it would burn.  Then we were ready to get behind the barn or out of our parents’ sight and have us a smoke-blowing time after we lit the “tobacco” with our stolen matches.

There was a big mulberry tree in the yard and we’d climb in it and through the limbs that was tough and chase each other about over the tree. If it had berries on it, we would rub them on our faces and be red like Indians and get a whipping for it lots of times.

As girls we used to pretend to cook and the things we used was a mess–we’d take some wet dirt and make all kind of goodies and put some on a shingle or board and pretend we baked them in our unreal stove.  Sounds silly now, but then it was a reality to us as our imaginations worked.

 *       *       *

My Thoughts

I think we adults use our imaginations too much in the wrong way.  We imagine what the world should be, how it works, and who the people around us really are, whether or not our image matches reality.

The facts are hard.  People aren’t as nice as we want them to be.  Life isn’t as easy as we thought it would be.  Our preconceived notions about what is fair and what isn’t, well, ”life isn’t fair,” right?

On the other hand, Big Mommy, the great woman that she was, “imagined” for her entire life that she was treated unfairly.  But from my perspective, Big Mommy had a lively mind, active hands, and a heart full of affection right up until the day she went to heaven.  Our family still, because of her influence, gets together for holidays and actually enjoys each other’s company.  Life is good.  Yes, in the past, people hurt Big Mommy.  Hurt her deeply.  And so she believed that her life was worse than everyone else’s; she could actively relive her painful history in her imagination.

But imagination can also help us overcome the bitterness.  We can begin to see things the way they were meant to be, instead of the way they really are.  Some things just surpass our knowledge—even our imagination—and we have to trust that God will reveal them to us in the time that we need them.  The greatest truth of all is His love for us, a revelation that we can never fully grasp but one which is worth all the mental energy we can muster to discover.

Go ahead, imagine.

Things I LOVE — Baby Books!

Reading is a thing I love, but reading with my little girl adds a new element entirely!  :)   So much fun!

Before Naomi was born, my mom recommended looking up black and white picture books for tiny infants (because of the contrast), and Look, Look! is my favorite of all.  The author, Peter Linenthal, also wrote Look Look Outside, Look at the Animals, and Look at Baby’s House.  All three of these books sport clear and whimsical illustrations, with brightly colored, simplistic words.  My baby LOVED them, even from weeks (days?) old.

It was amazing to watch her point to pictures as soon as she could point, and to just gaze and gaze at them even before that.  I purchased this book as a baby shower gift, as well as Baby Animals Black and White by Phyliss Limbacher Tildes, for a friend with a newborn, and her baby boy did the same thing!  I would highly recommend them, especially to get the reading going early!

Also, by the way, The Book Depository is another place I’ve found these books, and if the books are in stock, they’re cheaper than Amazon prices. They also offer free shipping worldwide with no minimum.  I happen to have a few 10% off coupons that I can pass out if you are interested!  Just leave me a comment requesting one, and I’ll have them out by tomorrow for you all.

This post is linked to Things I Love Thursday.

Try New Adventures Thursday — A Bathroom Remodel

This is my daughter, my husband (behind her, under the floor), and my new bathroom.  :)   When we moved into our house almost two years ago, the second bathroom was completely unusable…except as a closet.

So our new adventure is….


….remodeling!  :)   That’s my father-in-law, working hard to help us out.


And my little girl, handing her daddy a tool.  Isn’t she precious?  :)

This is what it looks like now:


I may be able to use my new Whirlpool this weekend, if my sweet hubby can finish the plumbing!  :D   Next step, putting up the walls and tub fixtures, then tile, flooring, and paint.  I’ll keep you posted.

Do any of you have color scheme suggestions?  I’m especially lost when it comes to tile….Try New Adventures Thursday @ "Alicia's Homemaking!"

Big Mommy’s Rolls

I promised this recipe earlier in the week, and here it is, complete with pictures.  These rolls are SOOOOO yummy, sweet and wheaty, especially served with softened butter and, as Pooh would say, “Hunny.”  :)

First, dissolve one package of active dry yeast and one teaspoon of honey or white sugar in 1/2 cup of warm water.

Yeast dissolvingMeanwhile, combine 1 egg, 3/4 cup warm water, 1/4 cup melted butter, 4 tablespoons honey, and 1 teaspoon salt in a separate bowl.Combining wet ingredientsOnce these are all mixed, add the yeast mixture (after it has sat–ripened–for at least five minutes), then gradually stir in 3 1/2 cups of flour.  I used fresh-ground whole wheat from a friend, but if you are using whole wheat flour from the grocery store, you may need to mix it, half white/half wheat.  Add more/less flour as needed to create a dough; it will be slightly sticky.Adding dry ingredientsKnead the dough on a floured surface for 10 minutes, or until the dough is elastic and pliable.Floury ball of doughPut a small amount of oil in a bowl, then rub the ball of dough in it to coat.  Set out to rise…Dough ready to rise…until doubled.Risen doughAfter the dough has risen, punch it down to release the built-up air, then form into dinner rolls or two bread loaves.  Let rise until doubled again.Rolls on a pan, ready to bakeBake rolls at 400 degrees for 12-14 minutes, or until golden brown.  Bake loaves at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until they sound hollow when tapped on the top.Rolls bakingYUM!!!

Do you have any favorite recipes from your great-grandmother (or grandmother, aunt, mother, cousin….)?

I know this isn’t a meal, per se, but I could eat them as one!  SOOOO yummy, nutritious, and easy.  Add some homemade soup (my favorite with these is potato/vegetable), and there you go!

Top Ten Writing Goals

"Pole Cat"The skunk is relevant, I promise.  :)

I need a refresher every now and then, so I thought I’d let you in.  These goals are the ones I am striving to keep foremost in my mind as I write, blog, brainstorm, and read.

1. To bring glory to my Creator.  I wrote a post recently about being a peg for God to hang His glory on.  :)   What a great concept, and one I can apply to my writing as well.  God, hang your glory all over Trugars!

2. To honor my great-grandmother, a.k.a. “Big Mommy.”  She turned 100 years old on September 21st, 2009, and went home to be with the Lord on November 25th, 2009.  So many memories, so much love!  We miss you, Big Mommy.

3. To bless my family with a written record of all the stories we know and love.  One of our favorite pastimes as children (my generation AND my parents’ generation!) was to sit around Big Mommy’s feet and listen to “trugars.”  These true stories from her life in the by-gone days need to be recorded for posterity’s sake!

4. To break the cycle of bitterness I have seen in myself and in our family.  Bitterness was one of Big Mommy’s hardest struggles to overcome, and that struggle has continued through the generations.  With God’s help, we can break free!

5. To encourage others in their struggles with bitterness.  I’m sure the lessons Big Mommy taught my family can help others to break the cycle of bitterness and walk in freedom as well!

6. To share fun stories with others.  I’m sure more than just my family will appreciate the story of Big Mommy shooting a “pole cat” (commonly known as a skunk) IN her closet and what followed.

7. To get something published with a real publisher.  I don’t want to self-publish.  I want to know that what I wrote was worth writing, that others will read it, and that I will have help in the process.

8. To see my book in Barnes & Noble and at the local library.  Something about those two places conveys the sense of arrival to me.  I will be a real author when my book is available there.

9. To make some extra money.  This probably seems so ignoble compared to my other goals, but in order to be completely honest, I have to include it.  As a military family, we are working hard to stay within our budget, and a little extra income wouldn’t hurt!

10. To learn.  Throughout this process, I have learned so much, and I continue to discover new things every day.  I want, most of all, to learn more about my Savior, but also more about myself, my family, my history, and writing & publishing in general.

Phew.  Keeping all these in mind (and in the proper order, not necessarily that listed above, but close), is quite the challenge!  What goals do you have with your current projects, especially writing?

I Made It!

Bible in 90 Days

As mentioned in a previous post, I have begun an adventure to read through the entire Bible in 90 days.  Due to the fact that I had not finished my own Bible-reading program yet, I started two days late, but as of today, I have finally caught up!

This week has been a whirlwind of reading Job & quite a bit of Psalms (my personal plan), followed by Genesis, Exodus, and the beginning of Leviticus.  I don’t think I’ve seen the overview of God’s hand in history quite like this before, and it’s exciting!  I have to admit, some sections are more dry than others, but then again, I’m breezing through them instead of staying there for days on end.

One thing that stood out to me: Not only did Moses’ mother get to care for her own baby, but she was paid for it!  What a random blessing; may God turn my trials into just such benefits!  :)   Another thought: Leviticus gives the procedure for cleansing lepers who had been healed.  Before Jesus came, I wonder just how many lepers were able to take advantage of those laws.  I think those would have been exciting rituals to carry out for the first time, if you were a priest!

What have you read in your Bible this week?

Menu Planning Monday

Menu PlanningI don’t know that Big Mommy ever had a menu plan; she probably just cooked whatever had come out of the garden or smokehouse that day.  I, on the other hand, find that I don’t cook nearly as much or eat as healthily as I should unless I have a menu plan.  I’ll include Big Mommy in my kitchen though, utilizing some of her tried-and-true recipes in my plan, and perhaps branching out to try some of the recipes in her book that I have never tasted.

Like Alicia, I find that having a certain set of themes each week really helps my menu-planning.  Our themes are pretty basic, but somehow they jog the menu-planning part of my brain.  :)   We don’t always have the same theme each day (i.e. Mondays is beef), but we always have each theme once per week.  Without further ado, the themes are:


I only have five themes, because usually we end up eating out or with a friend at least once per week, and there are always leftovers to fill in!

This week, we’ll be having Eggs Benedict for breakfast at least once (been craving it!!), plus smoothies, yogurt, cereal, and sweet potato pancakes (I just add a jar of sweet potato baby food to the batter-yum!).  Lunches will mostly be leftovers, with perhaps some salads or sandwiches to fill in.  Dinner?

Monday: Cornflake Fish, Broccoli, Red Potatoes with Cream Sauce
Tuessday: Lasagna from the freezer, salad, garlic bread
Wednesday: Roasted Veggie soup from the freezer, Big Mommy’s Rolls (recipe to follow)
Thursday: Buffalo/BBQ Chicken in the crockpot, sliced tomatoes from the garden, rice
Friday: Turkey burgers, oven fries, veggies with dip