Every Sunday is Easter

Little boy was sick on Easter and missed the celebration. Poor fella. But thankfully we finally got to at least get our annual family picture this past Sunday. Shockingly enough no one was freaking out about the bees constantly buzzing behind us.

easter 2015

IMG_0057

Morning Bible Study & Reading

A snippet from my Bible study and reading this morning. I like to share those “aha” moments that happen while I read or study. Hopefully it can help you today as it has helped me.

This is from my Christian Woman magazine March/April 2015, The Christian Growth Chart by Casandra Martin.

Every day we have the opportunity to humble our hearts and surrender to the work of the Spirit in our lives. We often don’t see the importance of the small choices as we make our way through our days. They seem inconsequential in the moment. One small choice doesn’t seem to hold eternal weight, yet this is where most of our growth takes place – in the every day…
…Christians are not supposed to be just a little bit more loving than the rest of the world or a tad more kind than their neighbors. This is counter-nature, counter-cultural, counter-comfortable evidence of God’s grace. I am not supposed to have just a little bit of joy, but so much joy that others can see it and notice His presence and transformation within me. That is what we see in the New Testament. Generosity that defies explanation, peace that passes understanding, and faithfulness that withstands persecution. The Spirit’s presence in my life is supposed to be so evident and His effect so tangible that the world sits up and takes notice.
The fruit of the Spirit is not a checklist of good behavior. It is a growth chart for how the Holy Spirit is working in transforming our lives into the image of Jesus. The good news is that no matter where you measure up today, God is willing and able to help you grow. Celebrate the growth you see. Surrender where you see the need. Walk in the Spirit. Abide in Him. Let the world see His presence in you.

All my favorite recipes

Crock Pot Lasagna, Mama Approved

A month or so ago we had an Italian themed meal after church and I wanted to try crock pot lasagna. It’s everything I love, it’s easy, cooks without me standing over it, and boom it’s done without much fuss.

I tried to find the recipe of a friend that I KNEW was good, but couldn’t find it. So I was forced to pull one from the internet & just pray it would work. And thankfully IT DID. I was mostly concerned whether the noodles would be cooked right and if I should buy the no-bake kind.

This recipe called for regular noodles and despite my reservations they turned out just right. I also struggled to find a recipe that didn’t require me to make my own pasta sauce. While I think it would be awesome to do, I personally felt the “ain’t nobody got time for that!” phrase circling in my head. One day I will make my own, but that day wasn’t it. I am open to suggestions for a good homemade pasta sauce though – leave it in the comments if you have a good one. ūüėä

I hope this recipe works well for your family also.

P.S. I doubled this recipe but not all noodles would fit, it was still great!

CROCKPOT LASAGNA – Mama Approved

 
 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound Ground Beef
  • Lasagna noodles
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups cottage cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Directions
Brown ground beef and drain. Spoon 1 C. spaghetti sauce in bottom of 4 quart crock pot. Mix remaining sauce with beef. Place 2 uncooked lasagna noodles on sauce in crock pot. Spread 1/3 meat mixture on top of noodles. Spread 3/4 C. cottage cheese over meat. Sprinkle 1/2 C. mozzarella cheese over cottage cheese. Add another layer of uncooked noodles, 1/3 meat mixture, the remaining cottage cheese and 1/2 C. mozzarella cheese. Place another layer of uncooked noodles, meat mixture, and mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over top. Cook on low for 4 hours. 

If cooked much longer, it gets a bit well done.

Original Recipe Here

All my favorite recipes

Magnificent Casserole

This is a recipe I first came across years ago after I began blogging. My family LOVES this and it’s a great one to take to church. It tends to impress even those who don’t like cottage cheese. Hope you enjoy!

Magnificent Casserole

2 pounds Lean Ground Beef

8 ounces Cream Cheese

1 tablespoon Green Pepper — minced

1/2 cup Sour Cream

1/2 cup Swiss Cheese — grated

8 ounces Egg Noodles — (package)

1 pound Cottage Cheese

1/3 cup Green Onion — chopped

2 cups Tomato Sauce

In a large pan, cook noodles in boiling, salted water until tender. Drain & set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese, cottage cheese and sour cream. Add onion and peppers. Set aside. Brown ground beef & drain any fat. Add tomato sauce to ground beef. Grease 9 x 13 inch cake pan or casserole dish, and arrange the following layers: Noodles, cheese mixture, meat mixture – then repeat. Top with grated Swiss cheese. Bake at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes.

*I recommend beginning to brown ground beef first, then begin to boil water, and start chopping. This saves a good bit of time as long as you feel confident multi-tasking.

Note: If you will be freezing this casserole for later use, you may want to reduce or omit the amount of green pepper and onion which are used, as they have a tendency to get stronger over a long period of time.

Cornbread kitchen 2

Kitchen Furniture Search

Okay friends, I had intended to post this much earlier today, but you know how that goes.

Plans changed.

Now I have the time, let’s see how this goes. I was nervous about this post anyway. I mean, I’m showing you actual pictures of my actual kitchen, and while some of you I know, some of you I don’t. I’ll preface this with, I love love love my house.

BUT.

My house is old, like 1870’s old. It was built after the Civil War, while we were still “occupied by the North”. {I never really thought about that part of the War, but the Union had to stay and make sure everything stayed calm and no one tried to start up another rebellion.} Suffice to say, it’s OLD. It has been added-to and built-on until there are cracks in the seams, and floors so uneven you could have a marble race across the floor.¬†The kitchen floor especially needs a major overhaul.¬†The floor is about two layers of linoleum a top wood planks. I know it is two layers because you can see through a giant hole in a couple of spots to the layer underneath.

But I love it. Holes and all.

We do have intentions to renovate and enlarge the kitchen, but it’s one of those – you can’t fix the floor because you have to level it first and we intend to add on so you can’t fix the floor yet anyway, might as well wait and do it all at once – kind of things. So we live with the holes. And things are basically just like they were when we moved in 5 years ago. Moving in my motto was {and still is, mostly}¬†“put what furniture ‘ya got in the spaces ‘ya¬†need to fill and go with it”. Below you’ll see evidence of this motto. I’ve never been much of a decorator.

My quaint little country kitchen in need of an overhaul

My quaint little country kitchen in need of an overhaul

Here in this picture on the left you see the far right corner of my antique stove {which, yes, really still works – QUICK!¬†Cross your fingers and spit – or whatever un-jinxing superstitions you may have – I need my stove to keep working!} It’s one of those with a big space in between the two sets of eyes, just perfect for a cutting board. It also has not one, not two, but three, yes,THA-REE DRAWERS! Perfect for stashing pots and pans and lids galore! Not to mention adorable push-button eye temp controls! But more about my oven later.

To the right of the stove, you’ll see a small metal cabinet that you may be confused about. Let me ease your confusion. That right there is a table-top water heater. Added when they built the kitchen attached to the house {I assume – it may have been after}. It is old, but more modern-old than really-old. The hubs recently installed a full-sized water heater in the basement a.k.a. the potato cellar. This one is no longer needed nor useful. It was nice to have more counter space, but this baby is moving out. As well as the rusty metal cabinet on the far right. It doesn’t hold near the junk I need it to.

And last but not least on the right side of the photo you’ll see my beautiful authentic barn door. My hubs is not a fan. But I am. It’s not going anywhere. The table-top water heater and the rusty cabinet are going somewhere! And in their place I’m looking for a counter-ish height buffet to paint and place in that spot. I would like one with drawers {since I only have two in the rest of the whole house} AND cabinet doors {for storing pots and pans and plastic dishes}. I found some ideas on PINTEREST of course. Here’s one such blog about a remake of an old buffet that would be great, it has both drawers and cabinet space!¬†There’s no end to the others you can find by simply Googling ‘buffet painted’. But I have yet to find anything similar to buy and paint. I do not want something really old, because I refuse¬†to paint really old antiques. I choose to only paint circa 1970-1989 furniture, which I don’t really consider antique anyway. I’m just funny about it. I must insist on real wood as well. I also think I would like to paint it some funky color since my kitchen is soooo white. But I also think white with a dark wooden top would be beautiful. You’ll have to help me decide when I find that perfect piece! In the mean time, keep your ears out for my future furniture love. Thanks friends!

ABOUT CORNBREAD MAMA

Living on a small family farm in the Southeast Cornbread Mama enjoys sharing about her life. Between being the wife of a cowboy, homeschooling mom to boy/girl twins, artist, and Christ-follower praying for a simple life in this crazy world Cornbread Mama finds comfort in writing about her family adventures here on the farm surrounded by 18 cows and calves, 2 donkeys, 3 dogs, and 9 chickens. So pull up a rocker and sit a spell.

Good Morning/Good Night Checklist Printable *COLOR VERSION*

Printable Good Morning/Good Night Checklist - Boys

Printable Good Morning/Good Night Checklist – Boys

Printable Good Morning/Good Night Checklist - Girls

Printable Good Morning/Good Night Checklist – Girls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good morning? Or is it? I remember how hard it was to get the kids ready and out the door in the mornings. Nightmare! After I created these checklists and put them on the kids’ walls in their rooms, life was much easier. A lot of kids LOVE checklists. Most kids crave structure & knowing what’s next. This checklist allows them to visually see what they need to do in the mornings and at night. Preparations the night before really seemed to help my kids be ready to go in the morning. If I ever slipped up and said, “Eh, we’ll do that in the morning” for something on our Good Night list, the next morning was NOT so good! Hope this helps!

{My original post with the checklists were black and white, I thought today I’d give you a color version instead.}

Click to download PDF:
girl_checklist_2015 COLOR
boy_checklist_2015 COLOR

ABOUT CORNBREAD MAMA

Living on a small family farm in the Southeast Cornbread Mama enjoys sharing about her life. Between being the wife of a cowboy, homeschooling mom to boy/girl twins, artist, and Christ-follower praying for a simple life in this crazy world Cornbread Mama finds comfort in writing about her family adventures here on the farm surrounded by 18 cows and calves, 2 donkeys, 3 dogs, and 9 chickens. So pull up a rocker and sit a spell.

Sodium Benzoate and Jake

I caught myself feeling bum-fuzzled as I sat at the table trying to proceed with school while my son bounced, wriggled, and chirped loudly for several minutes. He’s a boy so he is very active, but this was different from his normal rambunctiousness. I had noticed this a few days before but couldn’t really put my finger on what it was. And it hit me. Like a 2×4 between the eyes. SYRUP! JoJo (my little chef) had made us the most wonderful pancakes for breakfast, and I had made sausage to compliment her dish. My son¬†covered his in syrup as usual, and gobbled them down.

I know you’re thinking about blaming the sugar in the syrup, but my kids can handle sugar. I know how my kids act with sugar in their systems, and this ‘ain’t it’. It was more than that. So I read the back of the bottle of store-brand syrup and two¬†words stood out to me – why I don’t know – was it divine intervention? Maybe. Or maybe I had just read it before and forgotten. Those two words were SODIUM BENZOATE.

Store brand syrup – unhealthy, I know – but didn’t realize it had this effect on my son

I Googled ‘sodium benzoate, kids’. And I realized this could possibly be a major problem for my son {and well, all of us}. From what I read it’s especially a problem when combined with food dyes ¬†and Vitamin C or Citric Acid, or… so many other things. This stuff is in TOOTHPASTE, MEDICINES, RELISH, PEPPERS, SALAD DRESSING, FRUIT JUICE, SODAS, CONDIMENTS‚Ķ

I know the web is full of conspiracy theorists and crazy super duper health nuts, and while I don’t know that I can be counted with either, I saw evidence of a problem with my child and I have a suspicion that SODIUM BENZOATE is a major culprit.

Research it for yourself, see how it affects your kid. Try to cut it out. It’s not terribly difficult, but it is something to watch for. I found it in my cabinets/fridge in the relish, syrup (of course), & salad dressing – so far. The search continues.

While my son has been tested for ADD/ADHD he passed the test and is just a normal little boy, or so they say. {winky, winky}. This list helped me begin to see that there’s a place to start {from healthychild.org – link below}. I copied this list into a notepad app on my phone so that I’ll always have it to refer to while out. Maybe you could try that as well.

If your child is hyperactive or has ADHD and you’d like to try eliminating these potential triggers, here’s are the artificial food dyes to look out for:

  • Yellow #6
  • Yellow #5
  • Sodium Benzoate
  • Red #40
  • Red #3
  • Orange B
  • Green #3
  • Blue #2
  • Blue #1
From my research I’ve discovered basically we just need to eat at home and grow as much of our own foods as possible. This article¬†HOW FOOD COMPANIES EXPLOIT AMERICANS WITH INGREDIENTS BANNED IN OTHER COUNTRIES¬†will scare the pants off of you when it comes to the crazy stuff we as Americans are being fed, and businesses are advertising as “safe” for our families! You might just start a garden today after reading it.
We’ve all just got to try to do the best for our families. Understanding the problem and where it stems from is just the beginning. Hopefully this article can help you find a place to start. Thanks for reading!
Other Links:

 

ABOUT CORNBREAD MAMA

Living on a small family farm in the Southeast Cornbread Mama enjoys sharing about her life. Between being the wife of a cowboy, homeschooling mom to boy/girl twins, artist, and Christ-follower praying for a simple life in this crazy world Cornbread Mama finds comfort in writing about her family adventures here on the farm surrounded by 18 cows and calves, 2 donkeys, 3 dogs, and 9 chickens. So pull up a rocker and sit a spell.

All my favorite recipes

Simple Sausage Casserole

The next time you’re invited to a shower or brunch or, well, anywhere they want you to bring finger-foods give this baby a try. It’s super easy and oh so yummy! Once you make it you’ll have to limit the number of times you allow yourself to make it per year or else you’ll gain 30 pounds. But you’ll be super happy while eating it. ;-) Give it a whirl!

Simple Sausage Casserole

1 pound bulk pork sausage

8 oz cream cheese (softened)

2 – 8oz cans refrigerated crescent rolls

Preheat oven to 350¬ļ. Grease bottom of 9×11 baking dish. Roll one can of dough out into the bottom of the baking dish without separating. Press together seams together. Bake for 5 minutes. While it‚Äôs baking, cook the sausage in a skillet over medium heat until crumbly & beginning to brown; drain. Careful not to overcook the dough (take it out after 5 minutes, just long enough to let it get semi-firm). Stir the cream cheese into the cooked sausage. Spread over baked crescent roll dough. Top the sausage mixture with the remaining can of rolls, pressing seams together. Return to oven & bake until the top layer is golden brown, about 8 minutes.

ABOUT CORNBREAD MAMA

Living on a small family farm in the Southeast Cornbread Mama enjoys sharing about her life. Between being the wife of a cowboy, homeschooling mom to boy/girl twins, artist, and Christ-follower praying for a simple life in this crazy world Cornbread Mama finds comfort in writing about her family adventures here on the farm surrounded by 18 cows and calves, 2 donkeys, 3 dogs, and 9 chickens. So pull up a rocker and sit a spell.

"If you're lucky enough to live at the lake, you're lucky enough."

Lucky Enough

Today is a beginning for us. After a very sick and busy February and March – with everything from stomach bug, to flu-like virus, to tooth pain/dry socket, and Spring Break – ¬†I look forward to getting back to our regularly scheduled programming.Today is the first day after spring break around here. This SB was our first in homeschool and like all other SBs before it, lacking in anything too terribly exciting. We stayed home mostly, like we always do. But really, staying home isn’t the same when you have a lake to fish in, fields to run in {dodging the land mines left by our bovine friends}, and family to spend time with.

Spring break always seems to fall on the week I have to work the most {I am a freelance graphic designer by trade, and have a regular monthly gig wherein I do the layout & other things for a small local newspaper}. So I always feel badly for the kids, but then again, they like to eat… a lot!

Thankfully this week I’ve had some help from family, my grandmother stepped in one day {did I mention she’s 77?} and took them fishing ALL DAY. When I took them down the drive way to her house on the lake I walked in and saw her re-lining her bait-cast fishing rod. She only needed me to put my finger on the knot she’d tied because her tremors keep her from doing things like that on her own. I held the box of fishing line as she cranked away on her reel. Tying the hook on is the only thing she couldn’t remember how to do, so I gave her a quick reminder lesson. Quickly she pulled out a rubber june bug/chartreuse lizard, ran him through with her hook and she was ready to go. ¬†I can’t tell you how much I love that she is doing so well. My grandfather passed away one year and almost 2 months ago. While she misses him, like we all do, I’ve never seen her so happy to be on her own.¬†

The kids had a blast! When I came to pick them up to take JoJo to practice, “the boy” wasn’t ready to go and of course Big Mama {who is neither tall nor big} proclaimed, “Let him stay!!!”. She raised 4 boys, so she knows how to handle them and keep them entertained. With girls {like me} she’s a little out of her comfort zone but we’re still best buddies anyway, as long as I don’t ask her to wear anything pink or floral.

While our spring break wasn’t ¬†a trip to anywhere exotic or different we had a break and we enjoyed it. So, this post is a ‘get back to it Cornbread Mama’ reminder to myself. I had done very well posting every day until the plague hit our house. Hopefully we’ll be back on track and in our little rut again easily. Hope you enjoyed your spring break, or enjoy it if it’s coming up. Spend time with your family, that’s really what we all need mostly anyway.

ABOUT CORNBREAD MAMA

Living on a small family farm in the Southeast Cornbread Mama enjoys sharing about her life. Between being the wife of a cowboy, homeschooling mom to boy/girl twins, artist, and Christ-follower praying for a simple life in this crazy world Cornbread Mama finds comfort in writing about her family adventures here on the farm surrounded by 18 cows and calves, 2 donkeys, 3 dogs, and 9 chickens. So pull up a rocker and sit a spell.

Caffee Bros Cotton Gin

Fair to Middlin’

“Fair to middlin” have you ever heard that phrase? I have -my entire life. I thought it was ‘fair to midland’ though. I always assumed it was some geographical term. Then I was enlightened by my dear 77 year old grandmother who is as bright and spry as they come.

She was raised here in the home I live in and love, on a cotton farm. There was a cotton gin across the road that was run by her dad and uncles, the Caffee Bros. Cotton Gin. ¬†The picture at the top of this post is one of the only pictures we have of the gin in working order. Below is the other picture we have. My grandmother has memories of this place and the way things worked, it’s fascinating to talk to her about it. She grew up very close to her father who was one of the kindest men I’ve ever known. I am thankful that I was able to get to know my great-grandparents, something a lot of people cannot say, they passed away when I was 17. They had been married for… I can’t even remember how long. And they died within 2 days of each other of very different health problems. It was beautiful and sad at the same time.

Caffee Bros Cotton Gin, Alabama

Caffee Bros Cotton Gin, Alabama

Back to the phrase… she said that after they finished baling cotton, they would take a sample from each bale and wrap it in brown paper. They would then rate the quality of the cotton and ‘fair to middlin’ was one of the grades. Today it means ‘just okay’, or ‘fair’ as it did back then.

I don’t know about you but I really enjoy learning from our previous generations. I hope we continue to learn from them, if not we’re doomed to repeat the same mistakes.

A quick internet search revealed this info:

As to the original version of the phrase ‘fair to middling’, that is also of American origin. ‘Middling’ was and is a term used by farmers to describe the quality of farm produce, especially sheep. There were several loosely defined grades of produce: ‘good’, ‘fair, ‘middling’, ‘ordinary’ and ‘poor’.

‘Middling’ is an old Scots word and has been in use since at least the 15th century with the same meaning as now, that is, ‘of medium or moderate size, strength, quality’.

http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/fair-to-middling.html

ABOUT CORNBREAD MAMA

Living on a small family farm in the southeast Cornbread Mama enjoys sharing about her life. Between being the wife of a cowboy, homeschooling mom to boy/girl twins, artist, and Christ-follower praying for a simple life in this crazy world Cornbread Mama finds comfort in writing about her family adventures here on the farm surrounded by 18 cows and calves, 2 donkeys, 3 dogs, and 9 chickens. So pull up a rocker and sit a spell.