Monday, January 19, 2015

My Non-expert Moving Tips (or Moving is Not for Sissies)

After living at the same address for 23 years, my husband and I moved to a different house. We didn't move to another state, another city, or even another neighborhood. We moved such a short distance from our previous home my Facebook neighborhood group didn't even change.

In spite of the short distance, the move was traumatic. Over the years, I somehow managed to fill every closet, drawer, and shelf with something. Not necessarily something worthwhile, as attested by the row of bulging trash bags on my curb, sitting together like travelers awaiting a bus, not knowing their next stop will be the landfill.

I have collected too many dishes, too many clothes, too many books. Did I mention books? Books seem to be a weakness of mine. I pity the men who carried the boxes of books I moved with me. The one thing I moved during the move that I hadn't counted on was DUST. I thought I was a pretty decent housekeeper, but apparently not. When everything was dismantled, ewwwww.

Now that my move is complete, here are my top five non-expert moving tips:

  • Make a list of all the agencies who will need a change of address. These can be numerous, such as insurance companies, magazines, credit card companies, driver's license bureau, doctors, etc, etc. Also, start early to get these changes in motion. Some require the changes to be made in writing, others can be made online.
  • Label every box you pack with the contents. You'll thank yourself when you're unpacking. 
  • Pack items by room. This will allow you to prioritize which rooms to unpack first.
  • Give away any furniture pieces that are not needed so they don't have to be moved.
  • Use handle-tie garbage bags to move clothing. Slip the clothing into the bags, then secure handles over hanger hooks.


Friday, January 9, 2015

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie is winter comfort food of the best kind, and because we're in the process of moving, I can use all the comfort I can get. We've been building a house for the past ten months, and it's finally almost finished. The packing and stacking seems as if it may never be finished, though. Cindy, the wife of our electrician, brightened one particularly stressful day by bringing us a Chicken Pot Pie for dinner, along with her recipe. After enjoying her generosity so much, I used Cindy's recipe and made the pot pie again for our dinner tonight. My grandson described the taste of this pot pie as "heavenly".

Print Recipe

Chicken Pot Pie

1 (10.5 ounce) can cream of potato soup
1 (10.75 ounce) can cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 (12.5 ounce) can chicken breast, drained
1 (15 ounce) can veg-all mixed vegetables, drained
1 Pillsbury deep dish frozen pie crust
1 Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine potato soup, chicken soup, and milk. Stir in thyme, chicken breast, and mixed vegetables. Pour mixture into deep dish crust. Cover with top crust, seal edges. Bake for 40 minutes until browned. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Rudolph Noses

The story of Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer has delighted children at Christmas time since 1939. When I attended an elementary school Christmas musical recently, I realized children are just as fascinated with Rudolph now as ever, and I hope they will continue to be for years to come.

To help be sure Rudolph remains the most famous reindeer of all, I've made Rudolph Noses for the children at my house to enjoy. These take practically no time to make, but you may want to make several batches because they disappear quickly too.

Rudolph Noses

What you need:
Bag of tiny pretzel twists
Bag of Hershey's kisses (or you can use Rolo's)
Bag of red and green M & M's (you'll only use the red ones)

Preheat oven to 170 degrees F. Prepare a sheet pan by lining with parchment paper. Lay pretzels out in a single layer on the parchment paper. Place one Hershey's kiss on each pretzel; bake for 4 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately top each with an M & M, pressing down gently. Allow to cool until firm. Place the pan in freezer for a few minutes to speed up cooling, if desired.

Rudolph noses are little salty, a little sweet, and a lot cute!

Friday, December 19, 2014

A Favorite Magazine

The January/February issue of Christian Woman Magazine has included my article "A Mother's Self-fulfilling Prophecy."

I'm super excited to have a favorite magazine like this one publish my article. Another article of mine was previously published by Christian Woman in their September/October issue.

A subscription to this magazine would make a great last minute gift if you're looking for something meaningful and inspiring for someone.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Baked Whole Apples

When you want to make your kitchen smell like apple pie without all the fuss, try making baked apples. These Baked Whole Apples are sweet little individual desserts that will please almost anyone. I used Granny Smith apples for mine, but any baking apple will do. The ingredients in the filling can be adjusted to suit your taste. Some like to add raisins to the filling, and ice cream or caramel sauce are optional after baking.

Print Recipe

Baked Whole Apples

4 baking apples
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup apple juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Core the apples, but don't cut all the way through. Leave the bottom of the apple intact. Trim away some of the peeling from the top of the apple. Place the apples upright in a small baking dish. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, cinnamon, and walnuts. Carefully spoon mixture into center of apples. Drizzle the melted butter over the brown sugar mixture, dividing the butter among the apples. Pour apple juice in baking dish around the apples. Bake for 35 minutes or until apples are tender. Serve with ice cream or caramel sauce, if desired.

Baked Whole Apples before baking


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Have You Entered?

*** December 12 *** is the last day to get your name entered in the drawing for one of ten $50 gift cards to the P. Allen Smith eStore. Here's the link for your entry, and you'll also get a 25% off shopping code:

 Some of the fun items I love from the P. Allen Smith eStore:

1. Glass salt canister -- I love the vintage look, not to mention the practical use too.

2. Set of 6 cup cake stands -- as a cake baker, I'm wanting these little gems.

3. Mesh wire basket -- So many uses for this retro basket around the house and garden.

4. Wooden seed box -- Perfect for the gardener on your list or maybe for yourself.

5. Cotton boll wreath -- One of my favorites -- reminds me of my childhood -- I remember when cotton was harvested by hand, not machines.

These few items are just a sampling of the many treasures available from P. Allen Smith. I'd love for you to be the winner of one of the $50 gift cards, so don't forget the deadline!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Sweet Sourdough Bread

This sourdough bread is the first I have baked from my newly made Sweet Sourdough Starter. No special talent is required to make bread like this, just the patience to care for a starter and the ability to follow a recipe. Sourdough starter can be used for a variety of baked goods, but probably the most popular is the basic white sourdough bread recipe. I love baking all kinds of bread, not just because home-baked is more delicious, but also because the smell of bread baking equals home and contentment to me.

Basic Sweet Sourdough Bread

1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 cup fed sweet sourdough starter
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
6 cups all-purpose flour + some additional

In a large bowl, combine sugar, water, and yeast; stir together. Set aside until the yeast bubbles, then add starter, oil, and salt. Stir in flour 1 cup at a time. Turn dough out onto floured surface and fold dough over gently several times, working in additional flour a little at a time as needed until dough is no longer sticky. Place dough in a large greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled. Punch down dough and shape into two loaves. Place in greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pans and let rise again. Bake at 325 degrees F for 35 minutes or until golden brown. Brush tops of loaves with melted butter.


Get your

25% off shopping code 

for the P. Allen Smith eStore by going to 

plus you will automatically be entered into a drawing 

for one of ten $50 gift cards. 

Deadline is December 12