Crazy Days and Pumpkin Waffles

The last two weeks have been INSANE around here!

The anthology my book, Blue Christmas, is a part of, hit #1 on 6 Amazon lists. What a blast that has been. You can check it out for 99 cents here.

In the midst of marketing, writing another book, family parties, Halloween, directing the adult and children’s choir at our church, and a family rock climbing adventure, I wanted to make a warm breakfast for my kids. Usually, because I wake up with a to-do list in one hand, we’re a cereal-for-breakfast kind of family. But, every once in a while, I like to send my kids out the door with a hearty breakfast. This recipe adaption for my waffle recipe works great.

These pumpkin waffles are easy to make and taste delicious. Since you start out with your basic waffle recipe (or waffle mix) that your family already adores, your kids are sure to love them!

Pumpkin Waffles

Your basic waffle recipe (or waffle mix and eggs/oil/water called for on the box)

1/2 of a can of pumpkin

1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix it all together and throw it in the waffle iron. I like to serve ours with fresh whipped cream or organic whipped topping found in the freezer aisle, walnuts (only me and Mr. 8 will eat those) and blueberries. Also, I happened to have sugar free cranberry syrup today and it was de-vine on top.

I hope your family enjoys the flavors of fall as much as ours!

All the best!


Home Lunches Made Easy

Hey there.

Our first day of school is this week and we couldn’t be more excited. Well, some of us could be more excited, but that’s because some of us are teenagers and we don’t get excited about much. 🙂

One of the big changes around here this year is that we are going to pack a home lunch instead of taking school lunches. Let me start off by saying, I have no problem with school lunches. They have served my kids well for that last few years and I am grateful to the lunch workers that continually put together meals for my children.

The decision to go to home lunch was purely mathematical. I have 4 – count them 4 – kids who need lunch. At $40 each, that’s $120/month for lunches. Multiply that by 9 months and you get $1,080. Now, I figured we could pack them home lunches for about half that and, BOOM! $540 in my pocket! So we are brown bagging it this year.

My kids are all old enough that they can pack their own lunch, but we’ve packed home lunches before and the pantry looks like a 5-year-old had the best day of their life in there when it’s all said and done. I wanted to avoid that this year, so I set up a LUNCH STATION on a shelf they can all reach. Take a look.

lunch shelf

As you can see, I have a basket for something sweet, a fruit cup, lunch bags, crackers, and a small jar for milk money. If you look on the right, I’ve got a good stock of peanut butter for sandwiches (red lids.) There’s enough here to last us at least two weeks. They will need to grab a bag of peas or something out of the fridge to complete the lunch, but overall, this will make it much easier for us all and it only took about 15 minutes to put together.

I think this can be transferred to anyone’s home. You could use a cupboard or counter space if you have it. You could also dedicate a shelf in the fridge – crackers won’t go bad because they are cold. Do you use a lunch shelf? I’d love to hear how you organize to make making lunches easier for you or your kids. Just leave a comment below.


One Dirty Bowl Blog Tour


I’m busy. You’re busy. These days, everyone is busy. That’s why I wanted to share some of my tried and true, quick but beautiful dessert recipes. The new book is called One Dirty Bowl and it is chock full of dessert recipes you can make in just one bowl. Think of it – only one bowl to wash! Inside, you’ll find everything from White Chocolate and Strawberry Cupcakes to Chocolate Graham Cracker Cookies.

To celebrate the release of One Dirty Bowl, I’m hosting a blog tour with some amazing bloggers, home chefs, and book reviewers. You can check out their websites and find out what they think about One Dirty Bowl. You can also pick up a copy of the book at your local book store or on Amazon. Thanks for stopping by!

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
2 3 4 5

Coffee for the Brain


Seasons of Humility


Deal Sharing Aunt


Saving for   My Family


Cami Checketts


Author Cindy C. Bennett


Eat Cake For Dinner


Cindy M. Hogan


Kimberley Griffiths Little


Little Light Design Collective


A Book A Day


Bookworm Lisa


For What It’s Worth


So Simply Sara


Thoughts in Progress


Wishful Endings


Emmy Mom


Danyelle Ferguson


My Life One Story At A Time


Min Reads and Reviews


LDS Women’s Book Reviews


  1. L. Sowards


Diony George



Confessions   of Me: One Crazy Mom




Nada Mas   Que Amor


Training a New Puppy When You Have Kids

 Lady Morgan



Bringing a new puppy home is never a small decision, at least at our house. We had an amazing dog, Creed, that we got when we were first married. With all my free time – I was only working one full-time job so I had all this extra time – I trained him well. His good behavior and quick obedience made him a wonderful companion for our family. When he passed away two years ago, it left a hole in our hearts and our home.

There were several reasons we didn’t go out and get a new dog right away.

1. We had a three year old. Smaller children tend to grab a dog’s hide and hang on tight. This hurts the dog and they nip or bite to get free. I didn’t want to subject a dog to the pulling or my daughter to the nipping – so we waited.

2. I have four children, two of which were still pretty young. I was busy training kids and didn’t have the patience to train a puppy too.

3. Whereas I was only working 1 full-time job when we got Creed, I am now working two part-time jobs and have four children. Life needed to calm down a bit before a puppy came home.

4. Finally, we just weren’t ready to have a new puppy. We loved Creed so much that it took time to mourn him.

This summer was a better time for us in many ways. 

1. The kids are older. I can send most of them out to walk with the dog and not have to supervise.

2. My kids can now dress themselves, make their lunches, pour milk, and take showers. Can’t tell you how much free time that gives me. (Okay, not really that much, but enough.)

3. I’m still working all those jobs, but they have become routine and manageable.

4.  I wanted the kids to get a greater sense of responsibility and I was also ready to take it on. Getting a puppy is a lot of work. Managing children when you get a puppy is a lot more. 🙂


As you can see, she’s beautiful. 

We named her Lady Morgan. She is a pure bread border collie and smart as a whip.

The first week she was home, the kids would fight over who got to walk her and who got to hold her. Now that the novelty has worn off, they grumble a little about having to do it, but when they take good care of her, their affection grows. 

We started out setting the timer so that they would know when it was their turn to take the care of the puppy. Now we set the timer so they stick with her. We are currently house training her, but she will be an outside dog. We feel it’s important that she be inside for the first few weeks to bond with us and that necessitates house training. 

A small puppy can control their bladder one hour for every month of age. When we got Morgan, she was a month-and-a-half old so she had to go out every hour-and-a-half. She’s now two months old so we’ve increased the time to two hours. As long as we stick with that schedule, we don’t have accidents. I’ve been encouraged that she has whined a couple of times indicating she needs to go out before the two hours are up. 

Another thing we’ve done is keep her attached to one of us while she’s in the house. That way, the kids don’t forget to watch her and she’s much less likely to sneak off and wet the carpet.

Giving her an eating schedule has helped quite a bit. At six weeks, she was fed three times a day. Her first meal was after her walk in the morning. Then she had lunch, and then dinner was about 5 p.m. The early dinner made it possible for her system to go through the digestive processes to a point that she could make it through the night without needing to go out. I’ll tell you what, after not having a baby wake me up for over three years, I was not happy to get up with a puppy. 

I’m sure there will be other items that pop up as we go and I’ll keep you informed of her progress. In the mean time, if you have any puppy training tips please let me know in the comments section below. 

Ah, Sumertime

I am always looking for ways for my kids to be creative and stay away from the TV during the summer. Projects that keep them interested without my supervision are all the better. That’s why, when the local library sneaked a “Build a Robot Contest” flier into my library bag, I was pretty happy to hand it over to Mr. 10 and let him go.

Mr. 10 has what we call an “engineer brain.” He learns visually which can make some parts of school more difficult; but, he can also read schematics, plans, and graphics like a champ. He can put things together because somehow his brain just knows what to do. When it came time to assemble the new basketball hoop for the front yard, he was right there with the tools and know-how to get it done. I love how his brain works – it’s like a super power.

He spent a full day drawing out ideas. I wish he’d saved a few of the early plans because they were pretty awesome. In the end, this is what he came up with.



Meet Rover the Robot!

Rover has some pretty cool options. For example, he has a computer screen on his belly where you can type up your homework assignment.

Homework Screen

He also has jet packs so he can go where ever you need him to and get there fast.


Check out the propeller.


All in all, he spent over a week planning, gathering materials, and actually building the thing. I have to admit, I helped with the spray paint and the hot glue. There are a few things I wasn’t ready to turn him loose with yet.


Once we got Rover to the library, Mr. 10 had to say goodbye. He’ll get Rover back at the end of the summer. They were so excited that they put him in the front display window. You can drive by and check him out. Mr. 10 wasn’t sad to see him go because he made Rover with the intent to put him in the contest. I’m happy the library wants to keep him all summer because that means I won’t have to find a place to store him for a few more months. All in all, it was a wonderful week for Mr. 10 and he was truly pleased with the outcome.

Now I have to ask, what are we going to do for the rest of the summer?!


End of School Teacher Gift

ImageWith the end of another school year fast approaching, I tremble with fear and a whole lot more excitement. I love having my children home. They are each others best friends and truly creative in their play.

But, they have also had fantastic teachers this year and we wanted to give them a little something that let them know we appreciated their efforts. So this is what we came up with.




I’m not sure if you can read the note. It says, “Thanks for a joyous year! We love you to pieces!”

Then we bought a bag of Almond Joy Pieces, punched a couple holes in the top, and tied it all up with ribbons. This one was minimal because it was coming from Mr. 7 and he didn’t want it to look too girlie. 🙂

I hope you have a fantastic summer. I can’t wait for it to begin.

Three Tips for Making Powdered Milk Your Family Will Actually Drink

The idea of saving money by making powdered milk may seem like a bit of a stretch. Sure, there are other ways you can save money, but when you have kids, milk can be one of your big ticket items at the grocery store.

For example, if you bought 6 gallons of milk a week at the average price per gallon ($3.70) you would spend $22.20 a week on milk. That’s $1,154.40 a year.


A #10 can of powdered milk costs $11.63. The brand I buy makes 7.75 gallons of milk per can. That means a gallon of powdered milk costs $1.50. Let’s switch out the regular milk with powdered milk and we’re spending $9.00 a week on milk. That’s $468.00 a year or a savings of $686.40.

The Right Mix

Now, I’m not suggesting that you switch over to powdered milk completely. What I’m saying is to mix it half and half. Since you probably have a half-empty gallon of milk in the fridge you can start right away. Simply mix up enough powdered milk to fill that gallon back up. If you have a gallon that’s almost gone, open a new gallon, pour half of it into the empty gallon, and mix enough powdered milk to fill them both up. You’ve double the amount of milk in your fridge without a trip to the store. You will need to buy milk to replenish the fresh milk you’ve used, just save a couple containers for the next batch of milk cocktails.

While my family doesn’t particularly like the taste of powdered milk, they don’t notice the flavor is different as long as I do the half-and-half thing. In fact, no one has even noticed. Not even the discerning taste buds of my hubby have picked up on the change in our milk delivery.

Blending and Mixing

Texture is a big deal to kids and husbands alike. That’s why it’s so important that your milk be smooth, not lumpy. To get this important consistency, use a blender to mix your milk. Most dried milk products require that you mix warm water with the powder and then add the cold water. You can do this in your blender. You may end up with a bit of froth at the top, but don’t worry. When the milk gets cold, simply shake the jug a little and the bubbles disappear.

Storing the Milk

Discreetness is essential to tricking, I mean convincing, your family to try powdered milk. By now, your kids are probably conditioned to drink milk from a plastic jug that comes from the store. That’s why it is imperative that you store the mixed milk cocktails in original milk containers.  If their eyes tell them it’s just like always, their taste buds are likely to follow.

If you can’t remember which jugs are mixed and which ones are new, you can put a little dot on the top of the mixed milk. That will help you to keep things straight even if the jugs get shuffled in the fridge.

With these tried and true techniques, you’ll be on your way to saving money in no time. Now, what are you going to do with all your savings?