Thursday, December 12, 2013

KitchenAid Artisan Mixer Giveaway

A KitchenAid Mixer is a fabulous thing to have in anyone's kitchen. I have a way you can get one for free!


I grew up in a house with a KitchenAid mixer. It made making recipes a breeze. I actually never used a hand mixer growing up and the first time I tried it at my Aunt's house, let's just say I spent more time cleaning up than I did mixing.

My awesome friends at Indiana Family of Farmers are giving away one of these bad boys in the color of your choice to one lucky entry. All you have to do if fill out this super quick survey and then enter for your chance to win! This survey (and your chance to enter to win) runs through December 20th at midnight. Good luck!

This post was sponsored by Indiana Family of Farmers, but the memories and love for KitchenAid mixers is all my own.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Buying Meat On A Budget

Michael and I frequently have conversations regarding the fact that God takes care of us in all ways, including financially. One of these conversations happened two nights ago. We were marveling at how the money for Christmas has just fallen into our laps through different opportunities becoming available at the perfect time.

One of the hardest things to do when living on a budget that is stretched is buying meat. We don't buy meat based on the recipes I have planned for the week. We buy meat based on the Manager's Special stickers at our local grocery store and find a recipe. We have come across some pretty awesome deals throughout the years and are very thankful for these blessings.

You can do this too! It's simple...make frequent quick trips to your local grocer (preferably when you are already passing by for another reason...Michael stops by on his way home almost daily) and keep an eye out for those orange (or whatever color your grocer uses) sticker! Easy as that!

Yesterday we received an AMAZING blessing!


Michael made one of his daily runs to the store...this time to pick up ingredients for some Thanksgiving recipes I needed to whip up...and made his usual stop by the meat display. He saw a man standing by the case with a price gun printing up Manager Special stickers and started up a conversation with him.

This is where we struck GOLD!

There was a TON of chicken that had to be sold by the following day, but the store was closing early the next day. He asked Michael what all he would take if he could get a good price on it. My Michael, ever looking for the best bargain he can get, asked how cheap the packs would be.

The guy with the price gun said some packs as low as a dollar!

Michael told him he would buy it all if it was a dollar. The guy took him literally.

As the guy started marking every pack of chicken in the case down to $1.00, a crowd started to develop. There were some complaints from others that Michael was getting all of the packs handed straight to him, but a deal was a deal and the guy honored it. And as soon as he was done, Michael kept his head down and went straight to check out.

When Michael was finishing up loading the trunk, a guy he knows runs out with meat in his arms and says to Michael, "He's doing the pork now!" So, Michael ran back in, but all that was left was three full racks of ribs. And they were marked down to $2-$3! He was so excited and bought all three packs!

So that was how God blessed us with $180 worth of meat for $28! Here is the breakdown of what we got:

8 - 2 lb packs of boneless skinless packs
6 - packs of 14 full wings
4 - packs of 12 drumsticks
2 - packs of 8 thighs
3 - racks of ribs

That is at least 43 meals...coming out to $.65 per meal for BOTH of us for the meat portion! Guess what we are eating at our house for the next few months! ;)

I am so incredibly thankful for this blessing...reminds me of an old favorite..."Praise God from whom all blessings flow!"


Monday, November 25, 2013

Ryder's Battle with Fevers (Part 6)

Need to catch up?  Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5

The blood draws went on. Praise God for Nurse C! (I'll get back to Nurse K next time)

Nurse C started helping us out our second time in, but at first we didn't know her schedule and had to deal with some other nurses. Nurse C could usually get enough blood and with minimal trauma for everyone involved. She listened to me.

You see, every other nurse would not listen when I told them they were better off trying to get it while he was on my lap. Previous nurses had learned the hard way exactly how strong my little man was and how distraught he could get when held down on a table by 4+ adults. He became too scared and too distraught immediately when laid on a table and held down.

And can you blame him? Imagine being held down by four or more people 10 times larger than you, being stuck with a needle and you have absolutely no idea why it being done.

Not ONCE did they get blood by holding him down on a table. Not One. Single. Time. He was too strong to be held still. But what do I know, I'm just the mom.



I had rearranged my work schedule so that we could be at the office in time to have Nurse C do the draws each time. She left promptly at a certain time each day. If we were late, we were out of luck. We were very mindful of that and made sure we were early each time.

We were on week 3 at this point and arrived 10 minutes early. The line was to the door. I didn't think anything about it because we were early. We finally get up to the front, and I check Ryder in.

There was a note on Ryder's appointment that he was to see Nurse C. I reminded the lady checking us in that we were there to see Nurse C and that she needed to know immediately that we are there because she would be leaving soon. I was assured that she would be notified and instructed to go have a seat.

The line took up the 10 minutes we were early. From where I was sitting, I could see Nurse C at the call-in desk. I watched as 10 more minutes went by. I went up and said something again, but nothing was done. Another 10 minutes passed. I skipped the lady at the front and went through the door and around to the side. By this point I am practically frantic. I could not go through a repeat of the first time. There were only 10 more minutes until Nurse C left and we were still waiting. The lady that I talked to that time did actually get up and go tell Nurse C.

We were called back and a different nurse came in. I asked where Nurse C was and was informed in a very snippy tone that since we didn't get there until 20 after and Nurse C left at 30 after, we were not going to see her.



I did burst into tears at this point. I told her that we had been waiting for a HALF HOUR, that I had told the lady Nurse C needed to be notified immediately and that was not our fault.  I think my tears unnerved her at little because she softened considerably.

Another nurse came in that was supposed to be just as good as Nurse C, so I relaxed until she demanded that Ryder be put on the table or she would not even attempt to draw his blood.

I refused. I tried telling her everything I had told Nurse C. I explained that it wouldn't work with him on the table. I explained that Nurse C did it with him on my lap very quickly and it was a system that worked. But she just simply refused. So they left us to discuss it.

After 20 minutes, they came back and Michael had convinced me that they were professionals and know what they are doing. I was giving them two tries and that was it. I know that seems harsh, but they had been sticking the same vein in the same arm Every. Single. Time. I was sick of seeing Ryder go through this.

Needless to say, the nurse did not get blood from Ryder, and I had had enough.

To be continued...(Continue reading here for part seven - part eight)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Ryder's Battle with Fevers (Part 5)

Need to catch up?  Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4

The specialist wanted us to have blood draws twice a week for two weeks in addition to a blood draw the day of our appointment. We weren't really sure what exactly she was looking for, but she acted like it was the norm and the only way to figure out which of the three categories Ryder had.

So we go down to the Riley's blood draw station on the day of his appointment. These ladies are amazing at what they do. And even they could only find one vein in Ryder's arm that they would even attempt to draw from. She was in and out in less than five minutes. It was hard to see Ryder so scared, but we didn't think we had any other choice.

On the way home, Michael and I talked it over. We weren't too sure about going for a full six weeks. That would be 13 blood draws in just over 6 weeks. We decided to talk to Dr. D about it.

We had no idea how bad it would become. The first time we went in to have his blood drawn at his pediatrician's office, it was beyond a nightmare. I can't go into the details. It was the worst hour and a half of my life as a mom...and honestly, I still can't tell the details without sobbing uncontrollably. So please just take my word, it was something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.



The end of the first attempt was called by us and by Dr. D, no blood was drawn. Enough was enough. They weren't getting anywhere, and we were done watching Ryder go through it all. Dr. D came in and talked with us. He gave us some recommendations of nurses that we could request for the blood draws and listened to our concerns. He did not see why we needed to come in twice a week for 6 weeks or why it couldn't be a heel prick. He assured us that his office would call the specialist's office and try to get that straightened out. He hated seeing Ryder go through that as much as we did and wanted to get the necessary data while not traumatizing Ryder or us.

I received a call from Dr. D's office the next day saying that the specialist would not budge on what she wanted. Dr. D had even talked to her himself and she wouldn't change her orders.

Michael and I talked it over and decided we would give it a try for a short period of time so the specialist would know that we were trying to be cooperative, but we were not going the full 6 weeks.

I received a phone call at the beginning of the week after our appointment from the specialist herself and felt a little reassured by our conversation.




However, in the following three weeks, I was only able to get the specialist's nurse, Nurse K, on the phone...and there were many, many phone calls. Each time I spoke with Nurse K, my confidence in the specialist, in what we were going through with the blood draws and about what to do about all of this plummeted.

To be continued...(Continue reading here for part six - part seven - part eight)

Friday, November 15, 2013

Ryder's Battle with Fevers (Part 4)

Need to catch up? Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3

Red flag #1: When I asked questions regarding some research I did online. She seemed defensive. I can't imagine I am the first parent to come into her office that had done their research.

Then we came to possible treatments. Dr. F was pretty sure he had PFAPA, and was very set on steroids being the only option until Ryder turns two. When he turns two, he can have his tonsils and adenoids removed, which has a high success rate of eliminating the fevers. 

Red flag #2: When I mentioned another form of medicine used, she paused and just looked at me...then said, "How did you know about that?" She said it with a kind of wonder and edge in her voice that let me know she was not pleased. I found that so odd. Why did it seem like she didn't want me to know about any other options than the ONE she was placing before us? 

Red flag #3: When I started asking questions regarding the steroid treatment. She brushed them aside and wouldn't answer my questions directly. Now keep in mind that the steroids used for treatment of PFAPA aren't the same steroids you hear about in the news that body builders and athletes use illegally. But the word itself can strike fear into a parent who has a child in the most crucial years of physical development and is being told the only way to make them better is to use a steroid. I truly needed some reassurance that there was no possible way this medicine could hurt my child in the here and now and in the long run. I was offered nothing more than a, "Oh yea, it is fine." Not an ounce of reassurance.


There are three different categories of Periodic Fevers. Genetic, Cyclic Neutropenia and PFAPA. All of them sounded terrifying in their own right.

Genetic

With how Ryder was growing and developing on track and because of our ancestry, she told us that the genetic category was highly unlikely. He didn't show any signs that were specific to the genetic category at all. They could also rule this category out by checking his SED rate. So they did a SED rate blood draw that day. He had just finished a fever one week before (which means his SED rate could have been more than double) and is rate came back slightly elevated. Dr. F said this was completely normal since he had just had a fever and she would just get another one later, so she wasn't concerned.

PFAPA

There is not a test for PFAPA. It is a diagnosis of exclusion..meaning that if they ruled the other two out, then it is PFAPA. PFAPA is the most common though...and the one that is treated with steroids and later with the surgery.

Cyclic Neutropenia

Cyclic Neutropenia is the one they were looking to rule out at this point. If Ryder had CN, then taking the steroid would lower his already lowered immune system and cause him to be more susceptible to becoming seriously ill. However, when we found out how exactly they determine if he has it or not, we were in the place that no parent wants to be. 

Do you trust the physician without question or do you trust your gut that something isn't right?


Monday, November 11, 2013

Momma's Drop Chicken 'n Dumplins

I am not very good at planning out what is for dinner. You would think that as much as I cook that there has to be some kind of plan behind it.

Nope. Fly-By-The-Seat-of-My-Pants McGee here.

There are many nights where I have Michael pick an ingredient up on the way home from work (so much for having dinner on the table for him when he arrives! ha!) because I haven't thought ahead and planned.



Luckily, I have a few recipes that are my go-to recipes for when I really haven't planned. And Momma's Drop Chicken 'n Dumplins is at the top of that list.

Momma's momma actually taught her this recipe and it is on at least it's third generation as a family favorite. I don't know if Gramma learned it from her Momma or not. She passed away before I had any interest in cooking or asking her about her recipes, but her wonderful recipe and contagious laughter live on with us thanks to my Momma.


This is seriously easy.

Fill up a large pot 2/3 full with water, drop in 4-5 bullion cubes and bring to a boil.

While the water is getting to a boil, cut up 3 large chicken breasts into small pieces.

Once you have a rolling boil, put the cut up chicken in the water to cook.

While you are waiting for the chicken to pop to the top, cut up your biscuits into fourths.

Once the chicken is floating on the top, throw in your biscuits making sure they are separated.

I usually have to stir them in because I like a LOT of dumplins.

When all of the dumplins have plumped up, you are ready to serve it up and enjoy!

Momma's Drop Chicken 'n Dumplins












Ingredients
  • 2-3 Large Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 3-4 Tubes of Regular Biscuits
  • 4-5 Bullion Cubes

Directions
  • Fill up a large pot 2/3 full with water
  • Drop in bullion cubes
  • Bring to a boil
  • While the water is coming to a boil, cut up chicken breasts into small pieces
  • Once you have a rolling boil, put the cut up chicken in the water to cook
  • While waiting for the chicken to pop to the top, cut biscuits into fourths
  • Once the chicken is floating on top, throw in biscuits making sure they are separated
  • Stir to make sure all dumplins get into the water
  • Serve when all of the dumplins have plumped up

Note: I am participating in Indiana's Family of Farmers Table Talk Series and received a gift in exchange for my participation.

Ryder's Battle with Fevers (Part 3)

If you are just joining this journey, you can read Part 1 and Part 2 and catch up.

Dr. D wanted to see Ryder during his next fever so he could examine him thoroughly. We didn't have to wait too long. Two weeks after his appointment, Ryder started another fever. 

Unfortunately, his fever started after Dr. D's hours on a Monday and Tuesday is his day off. I was told that he was booked solid on Wednesday. I explained that he had requested we come in during his fever and that Wednesday would likely be the last day. The nurse said she would check with Dr. D on Wednesday morning and see what he wanted to do.  Dr. D worked us in on Wednesday morning...he is awesome like that.


After examining Ryder, Dr. D was even more confident that he has some kind of cyclic fever...what is more widely know as Periodic Fever Syndrome. He explained that it is very rare and that he usually sees one case of it every few years or so. While we were in the office Dr. D called Riley to talk to a specialist there that dealt with Periodic Fever Syndromes on a regular basis. The specialist confirmed that the symptoms suggested that Dr. D was correct. So Dr. D's office put in a request for us to go to the specialist at Riley's.

We were contacted the following week with an opening on that Thursday. They had someone cancel on them and wanted to know if we could make it. Fortunately, we could. So we loaded Ryder up and took him to Indianapolis for his appointment later that week. 

Sidenote: Ryder took his first steps in the patient room at Riley. He had taken 3-5 steps together before that, but while we were waiting for the doctor, he walked about 10 feet. It was the bright spot of the day.


We met with the nurse...then the lady doing her residency (sorry...not sure what to call her)...then finally with Dr. F. She took her time with us and seemed to be very well informed. There was so much information thrown at us that I honestly couldn't take it all in. I tried writing things down as best I could..but there was simply too much information. 

She seemed very knowledgeable. I thought we were in the right place and going to get this figured out...but then a red flag went up.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Ryder's Battle with Fevers (Part 2)

If you are just joining me...check out Part 1 first.


After I took Ryder's temperature, I took him inside the restaurant to wait on Michael. I figured that the air conditioning inside would be better than the June heat outside. 

While I was inside waiting for Michael, the ladies behind the counter noticed Ryder's fire engine red cheeks and asked about him. And of course, as it always seems to happen, one of the ladies had an absolutely terrifying personal story from her childhood that involved a high fever. I was close to panicking. 


I called Ryder's pediatrician's office. Yet again the nurse (and it was never the same nurse) seemed unconcerned that his fever was above 105. I thought they would send us packing to the nearest hospital, but they gave us instructions on how to cool him down and told us we were far enough out from the last time we gave him Tylenol that we could give him Iburpofen, but to definitely not give him Tylenol at this point because it was too soon. 

So we stopped and got some Ibuprofen, did our best to get Ryder as cool and comfortable and possible and we hit the road. Luckily, he cooled down enough that he could nap while we drove, and we got home as fast we could. Ryder's fever was in the 102 range by the time we got home...I never thought I would be so happy to see 102 on a thermometer! And by Monday evening it was gone.


We already had his one year appointment with his new pediatrician scheduled for the week after vacation, so I was biting at the bit to discuss everything with him. And the day of Ryder's appointment I received a call that the doctor was sick and we needed to reschedule. I was disappointed, but knew he couldn't help it. Then they told me that the soonest they could reschedule it was over a month out. I was livid to say the least. Momma bear came out and after talking to three different people and threatening to go to a different office from here on out, magically an appointment became available less than a week out.

I am glad we were able to get in with Dr. D. We fell in love with him on our first visit. He had them do a more thorough exam than I had ever seen done and really took time to interact with Ryder and get to know him. He seemed to be caring and protective of our son instantly. It was amazing. When I described to him what had been happening with the fevers, he didn't blow me off. He didn't tell me that I was paranoid. He said two words that put definition to what was changing how normal was defined in our house...

Cyclic Fevers.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Ryder's Battle with Fevers (Part 1)

We've been dealing with something for a while now that I thought I would share with you. Please know that I do not share this with you to whine and complain, but to inform. Most doctors have never even heard of this.

What we have been dealing with is extremely rare and most have no idea what it is. Heck, we are still learning ourselves. While it is has been and will continue to be a trial and hard to go through as a family, we are extremely lucky. There are much worse things that we could be faced with. We praise God that our burden is as light as it is.


So what is it that we have been dealing with?

On May 28th(I remember the date because it was the night before a huge golf outing I was organizing) Ryder had a fever. I called his doctor’s office and was told by a nurse that we could bring him in if we wanted to, but we could also wait 3 days to see if his fever went away. If he still had a fever after 3 days, then call back and get an appointment. I even called back the following day when his fever went upwards of 104 degrees. Still they weren’t concerned even though I was near frantic.

I knew what would happen if we went in. They would do a strep test (he was drinking and eating, so I knew his throat felt fine), glance at his ears (he wasn't acting like his ear were hurting at all, so I was pretty sure that wasn't it) and declare that he had a virus and it would be gone by the third day.

You see at the beginning of May, Ryder had a virus. I didn't know this at the time. I just knew he was sick, so we took him to the doctor. We were actually between pediatricians at the time. Our wonderful Dr. H had moved to a different office and we were waiting on Dr. D to move into the office. This office has a ton of doctor’s, and I didn’t think anything of having an appointment with Dr. S (Enough initials for you yet?! Don’t worry, it gets simpler in just a bit.). That was, until we actually had an appointment with Dr. S. She did the strep test, barely looked at Ryder, didn’t listen to me at all, concluded that he had some kind of virus and scooted us right on out the door.

I was completely stunned. I had no problem with it being a virus, but I have had longer visits with an express checkout lady! Dr. H had always been so attentive and caring and always listened to us to find out what was going on with Ryder and looked him over head to toe, so I was knocked for a loop. Ryder was over his virus in a few days, and we went on about our lives. But when I heard what the nurse said at the end of May, I figured it was probably another virus and not worth it to get Ryder out when he was feeling lousy to just be basically ignored and shoved back out the door.


So we waited. Sure enough at almost 72 hours on the dot the fever was gone.(Thankfully, since Ryder’s 1st birthday party was on day four.) I doubted myself and my gut feeling that there was something more that wasn’t right. It was too soon after his virus. His fever went much higher than it ever had before. It just didn't seem right. However, the nurses at his pediatrician's office seemed unconcerned. I was counting the days until Dr. D joined their office so we could have someone to truly discuss our concerns with again. 

Fast forward two weeks and one day from the end of his last fever. We are on our way back from our vacation heading toward my best friend and her husband’s house in Tennessee. (It’s great when your best friend lives in the Smokies! You can always stop by on your way to and from Florida!) Ryder was getting fussy about two hours out from their house. We pulled over to see what was wrong. He was a little warm. It wasn’t bad, but we could tell that he was in pain, so we gave him some medicine. He took a nap and was alright by the time we got there.


However, in the middle of the night, his fever spiked up and we had one of those long nights that every parent has been through when your baby is sick. We took turns holding him while the other one slept. (I am very lucky to have such a wonderful partner in this parenting thing.)

Ryder’s fever went down a little. We were at least 6 hours out and had to get home. So we gave him a dose of medicine and got on the road. Before it was time for his next dosage, he was wailing. We pulled over and got him out. He was on fire. His skin was almost painful to touch. I quickly took his temperature while Michael ran inside a restaurant to wet a rag to try and cool him down.

His fever was at 105.3 and we were hours from home, hours from anyone we knew, hours from his doctor. We were terrified.

To be continued…(Continue reading here for part two - part three - part four - part five - part six - part seven - part eight)

Friday, October 11, 2013

Easy Quesadillas - Dinner On The Go

We all need portable dinners from time to time. Whether you are in the field at harvest time, on the run to your kids activities or trying to keep your husband fed when he is only in the house for ten minutes between work and leaving for band practice, you want to keep your family fed. These Easy Quesadillas are sure to become a family favorite!


Michael plays in a band called Crossroads. Yep...he's mine. (I LOVE watching him play!)


They have practice on Thursday nights. His office doesn't close until 5:00 (he usually doesn't come home until 6:00 or later trying to wrap everything up) and practice starts at 6:00 two towns away. So unless I want him eating fast food every Thursday, I need to have a grab and go meal he can eat in the car. He usually flies in the door around 5:20 and is out the door by 5:30. Not exactly enough time to sit down and have a meal. This week he was quite happy to not hit up a drive through because he loves my Easy Quesadillas.

This is recipe hits the main three requirements in our house...quick, easy and super yummy. It literally took me less than 30 minutes to whip up one for each of us...and that is saying something since I am usually quick prep impaired. And, in this case, it also met the requirement of being portable! Extra Wife Score for me!

I took two chicken breasts, sprinkled them with Lawry's seasoned salt and grilled them on our indoor grill (like a Foreman grill, but not that brand) for 5 minutes. (Side Note: I LOVE that we can have chicken breasts grilled that quickly! It is also awesome for throwing together a quick grilled chicken salad when you are in a pinch.) Once they were done, I sliced each breast into thin strips.

Next I heated up my handy dandy quesadilla maker that Cris got me for Christmas one year (hence the cute designs in my tortillas) and sprayed it with cooking spray. Then I placed one tortilla on the bottom, placed chicken strips evenly leaving enough room at the edges for them to be crimped together by the maker, added cheese and a little salsa. I topped it with another tortilla and close the quesadilla maker. It is important that you get the maker completely closed, otherwise it won't make it sealed around the edges...or the pretty little designs. ;)

Then wait a couple minutes until the green ready light lights up. Remove the quesadilla and cut into wedges with a pizza cutter and throw it on a paper plate. Then pour a little salsa for dipping in a sealable container and hand it all to your hubby as he flies out the door guitar in hand!

Then you repeat the process for the remaining quesadillas. For my family, that was a full one for myself and a half for Ryder.

Easy as can be!

Easy Quesadillas











Ingredients:
2 Chicken Breasts
1 cup of cheese
1/4 cup of salsa
5 burrito tortillas

Direction:
1. Sprinkle 2 chicken breasts with Lawry's seasoned salt
2. Place chicken on indoor grill and cook for time specified by manufacturer (for mine it is 5 minutes)
3. Remove chicken once it is cooked through and slice into thin strips
4. Spray heated quesadilla maker with cooking spray and place 1 tortilla on bottom of maker
5. Place a little more than 1/3 of the chicken evenly in center 3/4 of tortilla
6. Sprinkle a little more than 1/3 of the cheese on top of chicken
7. Drizzle a little more than 1/3 of the salsa over cheese and chicken
8. Place second tortilla on top and close quesadilla maker completely
9. When the ready light lights up, remove quesadilla and repeat the process for second quesadilla, use remaining ingredients for the third, smaller quesadilla (fold in half before closing the quesadilla maker)
10. Cut all three into wedges with a pizza cutter and serve with salsa

Note: I am participating in Indiana's Family of Farmers Table Talk Series and received a gift in exchange for my participation.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Momma's Meatloaf Recipe

When Indiana's Family of Farmers asked us to write about a recipe that related to the farm for this round of Table Talk, I knew exactly what I was going to do!

I grew up on a farm where we raised cattle. That meant a lot of things. It meant picking up rocks out of the new hay field...pitchin' hay since before I weighed as much as the bales...herding cattle...bottle feeding calves. It meant we knew what responsibility was and took pride in being a part of it all. So when Momma made dinner, we knew all the hard work it took to get it there.

As can be expected, I grew up in a meat and potatoes family. I mean that as literally as possible. Every single meal had meat and potatoes...and it was fabulous! And one of our family favorites was Momma's Meatloaf Recipe.


The only problem with trying to make one of Momma's recipes is that she doesn't exactly write them down or have measurements she goes by. She knows by sight when she has the perfect amount of each ingredient.

However, I pinned her down and from the taste of how this turned out, by golly I think we got it!

Preheat your oven. (See below for temperatures, times and how they will come out.) Then spray your pan that you will bake your meatloaf in and set aside. Next mix together the 1 cup of crushed crackers, 1/4 cup dried onions, a little bit of salt and pepper. Now add 1 egg, 1/4 cup of ketchup and 1 to 1 1/2 lbs of ground beef to the dry ingredients and mix all together. Place entire mixture in pan that was set aside and shape into a loaf.

Now for the cooking temperature and times. If you TRULY want to make it like Momma made it, you bake it at 400 for around 45 minutes...until the edges are burnt really well.

Why you ask! Welp, Dad likes burnt meatloaf, so she burns the edges for him every time. That is true love if I've ever seen it. ;)

Now, if you have plenty of time, bake it at 300 for 1 1/2 hours. Your edges shouldn't be black and the middle will be done. If you want to speed things up a bit, kick up the heat to 400, BUT watch it very carefully and it should take 30-40 minutes. All ovens are different, so be sure and keep a close eye on it if you don't want it burnt and make sure the center is completely done before serving.

I had tried a different recipe a while back for a meatloaf and Michael wasn't impressed (I'm still in shock that he actually didn't like something!). However, he raved about this one and said I could make this one as often as I like.



Momma knows how to make a mean meatloaf, and I'm glad she passed that along so Ryder can say the same of his Momma. :)

Enjoy!

Note: I am participating in Indiana's Family of Farmers Table Talk Series and received a gift in exchange for my participation.

Ingredients:
1 cup of crushed crackers
1/4 cup dried onions
A couple pinches of salt and pepper.
1 egg
1/4 cup of ketchup
1 to 1 1/2 lbs of ground beef

Directions:
Mix together dry ingredients.
Add the rest of the ingredients to the dry ingredient mixture and combine thoroughly.
Place mixture in a greased baking pan and shape into a loaf.
Bake on 300 for 1 1/2 hours until the center is cooked through.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Message from God...

This past year has been a whirlwind, but the last month or two have just been insane. Between work events that I have either been planning and coordinating or attending out of town, Ryder getting sick two times (in one month, four times since the end of February :( ), Ryder's first birthday party, our vacation and having three yards to mow, etc. etc....it has been kinda busy round here.

So the last of all the madness was our vacation. We had been gone for almost a week and a half, so the yards were calling for some attention. My goal for the afternoon was to get yards 2 and 3 mowed and rush home to a sick baby.

First obstacle, I forgot the gas can for the mower. There was gas in the mower, but I always like to fill it up before I leave for the next time. So I hunted down my Uncle Donnie and borrowed his. (He is one awesome Uncle...so much so that I was claiming him as an Uncle LONG before he was married to my Aunt Suzie. :) ) His gas can was full, so I was off to yard 2 pretty quick.;

I get there and at first think it doesn't look that bad, but it was crazy thick and taller than it looked, so it is slow going.

I always divide that yard into four sections to mow. Two large and two small. I get done with the first large section and move on to the second...and my Zune dies. So I take it in to charge. As I am walking in, I see the gas can. It is in the shade, but swelled up. So I release the pressure and go on in.

I had a couple of phone calls to make, so I went ahead and did that. Then I thought I should check the oil on the mower and added just a tiny bit. As I came outside after returning the oil, I noticed the gas can was swelled up again. I thought that was strange since it hadn't been that long since I released the pressure, but did it again and went back to mowing.

About 15-20 minutes later the mower starts acting funny and then dies. Hmmm...it has never acted that exact way before. So I try to start it again. It turns over and eventually starts, but dies shortly thereafter.

My first thought was in my Dad's voice, "It is just as bad to put too much oil in as it is to have too little,"....crap! But I only put in a tiny little bit! It was just a little low...how in the world did that tinnie tiny amount screw up my mower?! Ugh! We CANNOT afford to fix this mower right now! We have medical bills coming out of our ears, so a bill for fixing the mower just isn't feasible right now! And I definitely do not have the time to deal with this...at all!

So I cry out to God and beg him to show me what to do and help me. I am overwhelmed and exhausted and need his help. I don't expect an immediate reply, so I decide to get out of the sun and go into the house. Maybe it is like a computer and just needs a few minutes to get over it's hissy fit.

Off across the yard I go to the house. As I go in to do a few things that need done inside, I notice that the gas can is swelled up AGAIN, so I let the pressure out and go inside. After a little bit of beating myself up for obviously killing my mower with that extra oil I added and a few chores, I decide to go out and give a try one more time before moving on to yard 3 and admitting to Michael that I just cost us who knows how much money because I am an idiot.

As I walk out the door, I notice the gas can is swelled up again. So I release the pressure and shake my head. I know it is hot outside, but this is getting kinda ridiculous.

I try the mower again and it is even less cooperative. Elbows on the steering wheel and head in my heads, I pray to God again to just tell me what to do...to open my eyes to what I need to do...to just please help! So I get up and decide to move on to yard 3. I was waisting too much time.

I got off the mower, walked a few steps while berating myself again about adding oil and it hit me...the GAS TANK!

I opened it up...yep! Bone dry!

I added gas and she started right up! We went on our merry way and finished up.

I am sure God had quite a chuckle as he tried and tried and TRIED to get my attention with the swelling gas can...and much like in the rest of my life, I was absolutely, completely and utterly oblivious to the obvious signs he was putting in my path. Thankfully he forced my eyes open before I had someone come look at it and REALLY made myself look like a fool! And praise God that it was only that the tank was empty and not something more!

Makes me wonder what other signs he is putting in my path for the rest of my life that I am totally missing. Hmmm...

At least he gave me these two to help me out along the way :)


Sunday, February 24, 2013

It's Been A While...

On the 9th, it was four months since my last post to be exact. Wow. How does that even happen?!

If blogging didn't require me to actually TYPE OUT the post, then I would have had about a million posts between my last post and this one. I have had countless things come up where I would think "Wow! I want to do a post on that!", but never took the time to sit down and write it out. (Case in point, I started typing this post on the FIRST of this month!)


I am seriously amazed by all you Mom Bloggers. Am I missing the secret? How on God's green earth do you do it?! I get up at 5:15 each day and go non-stop until I get to bed somewhere around 11:00 and get up at least once a night with Ryder. I am a zombie as is...yet, I know I am not any busier than any other Mom out there. So if I am missing some essential Mommy secret, please share!


But anyway...Bug (aka Ryder...I started calling him Bug-A-Boo in the hospital and it has become my special name for him...poor kid!) is growing like crazy! He turned 8 months old on Valentine's Day, and I seriously don't know where the two months have gone! I was dreading the 6 month mark like none other because it meant he was more than half way to no longer being a baby. His 6th month came and went so fast, it felt like I had hardly blinked. Now he is well on his way to 9 months and 20 lbs!


And is getting cuter by the day if I do say so myself! :)

At the beginning of the month, he started doing the army crawl and just yesterday he decided to try it out on his hands and knees. He says Mama, Dada, Hi, Hi Da, Ba ba and something that sounds a LOT like Ryder. Just recently he has started squealing...oh boy.

While I know he is only 8 1/2 months old, I am trying to teach him things anyway. So we try to encourage him to say his words instead of squealing/screeching/imitating a baby pterodactyl. We are also trying to teach him what not to get into. I try to not use the word no. My awesome sister did something with my niece that worked very well and helped to avoid a prolonged "no is my only word" stage with Miss Add, and I LOVE it! When Ryder is doing something he isn't supposed to do, we say "ahah ahah ah!"  He stops, looks at us and SOMETIMES he will actually stop what he is doing. And when he does, he is rewarded with estactic THANK YOUs!  Now he doesn't always stop what he is doing and we have to stay on him to stop, but he is learning what that means, and I love that he is learning the meaning of no, but hasn't even uttered the first resemblance of no.

Now, please note, that I realize the inevitable "no" stage will come. I just hope that it will be a long way off and short lived.

Anyway, back to the fun stuff. :)


(Ryder is pictured here with his good buddy, Hunter, who you may remember from a previous post is only 8 days younger than him...oh the fun that is ahead! Can you tell that Hunter's mommy is an amazing photographer??? If you are in Southern Indiana and need a photographer, she is definitely who I recommend! She did our wedding and Ryder's newborn pics, and they are AWEsome!)

We have been having a lot of fun around here. Everyone told me it would get easier and better...and it is so true! While I will always cherish those first months when he was so tiny, I also enjoy the new stages immensely! He has such a personality. He loves to smile and giggle and the expressions he makes are priceless! 

He has also started being VERY clingy and a definitely a Mommy's boy. While that isn't very fun when someone else who loves him dearly wants to hold him, and he is having none of it...I love the times when all he wants is his Mommy...melts my heart.


Well, that's all for now. Hopefully I will be back before another four months passes! Oh my...in four more months, my baby will be one! Excuse me while I weep in the corner!
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