Monday, April 30, 2012


  Snakes!  Yes, it is that time of the year.  This past week my hubby has killed three cottonmouths.  it started out a few days ago with my 14 year old son heading out to weed the garden.  As he was walking toward the garden, he was about 10 feet from the back of the house and walked past his go-cart.  Well, guess what struck out at him?  Yep, a cottonmouth.  Luckily, it did not get him.  Hubby was outside at the time too and went and killed it.  Then yesterday, hubby and son started yard work cleaning paths to the different gardens, around the yard, etc. so we could see things better.  They found 2 more cottonmouths and a baby one.  All dead now.  We live in the country and know to always be on the look out but it seems they are out worse this year than past years.  Have you had any run-ins with snakes in your area this year?

Cotton mouth, cottonmouth snake, snakes in the garden

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Our son Ronny

   Our youngest son is named Ronny.  Ronny was born 7 1/2 years ago with a series of heart conditions.  Ronny was life flighted shortly after he was born and the doctors did not expect him to make it.  As soon as the helicopter lifted off taking him to a larger city and hospital, people began to pray.  By the time the helicopter reached Tulsa, Ronny had stabilized.  The nurse on the chopper with Ronny said it was amazing.  One minute Ronny was fighting for his life and the next minute he stabilized and rested peacefully.

     Ronny was only in NICU for a few days before he was released.  Ronny still suffers from Pulmonary Stenosis and ASD.  They say Ronny will require open heart surgery soon so please pray for Ronny.

      As I said before, we are believers and believe in the power of prayer.  For many years we have prayed that God would make Ronny strong enough to withstand anything thrown at him.  Well, God answered in a BIG way.  :-)  Ronny is a BIG boy.  Seriously, he is 7 1/2 years old and is 4'7" tall.  He is projected to be just over 7 feet tall.  He is the height and weight of a 12 year old (and the appetite).

    He wears a size 6 1/2 MEN'S shoe.  Men's small/medium t-shirts.  I guess you get the idea.  We always joke that maybe we prayed a little too hard.  (Just kidding, all prayer is wonderful).  Now the issue is that Ronny has heart conditions and a 7 year old child heart that is trying to maintain a 12 year old size body.  New issues but I believe God has a reason for everything.

    Pray for Ronny and share with me your stories.  Do you have a 7 year old?  How tall is he?

ASD, pulmonary stenosis,
Phineas (8 months) & Ronny (5)

ASD, Pulmonary Stenosis
Phineas (2), Ronny (6)

ASD, Pulmonary Stenosis
Ronny and Conner, both 7. 
The above picture is of Ronny and his friend Conner.  Conner is a "normal" sized 7 year old.  We grow 'em big, don't we?  :-)
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Friday, April 27, 2012

Frugal living tips to save you money!


    We are big in our household on not wasting much at all.  We reuse, recycle and do everything possible that everything we have is used, resused or consumed in some way.  Some examples, I make homemade bread for our family.  If the end dries out, we cut it off and I turn it into bread crumbs to be used in meatloaf or dressing or make croutons out of it.

        After we make a pot of coffee, we pour the coffee grounds out into our garden.  Coffee grounds at nitrogen to the soil and your garden will really benefit from it.  At the end of the day, if you have a little bit of coffee left in your coffee pot, don't pour it out.  Pour it into an ice tray so next time you want iced coffee, use the frozen coffee instead of regular ice.  When it melts, your iced coffee is great and not just watered down.

     When we have potatoes, we fry them up with the skins on.  The only time we peel a potato is when we have mashed potatoes and then we save the peelings for our pigs.  Or put them in a compost bin if you have one.  And if I boil the potatoes, I never pour out the "potato" water.  Save it in the refrigerator or freeze it.  I use potato water for soup & bread recipes.  Use it in place of plain water and the difference is wonderful.

     When I use an onion, I save the outer peelings and ends for when I make my chicken broth and chicken stock.  Same with carrot ends and peelings, celery, etc.  Use them for chicken broth or chicken stock.  Or feed them to your meat rabbits, chickens, or pigs.  Or if it is a green onion, I keep it and regrow it.  Here is how:  How to regrow green onions.
      When I cook chicken, I cook a whole chicken.  I save the neck and other parts my family won't eat to be used for the chicken broth I make.  The leftover bones will be cracked and used in my chicken stock.  I crack the bones because you get more minerals and nutrients into your stock from the marrow that is released.

      Any time you have an orange or lemon, grate off the peelings and freeze them until you need them for zest in a recipe.  Bananas go bad, freeze them and use them to make banana bread.  Feed the banana peels to your pigs or compost them.  When we crack open an egg, we put the egg shell out for the pigs, or we grind them up to be fed to our chickens or even rinse the eggshells, crush them than put them in your garden near the tomato or pepper plants.  The calcium will help them.

     Don't know what to do with your corn cobs once you have eaten off the corn?  Well, how about making Corn cob stock out of them or corn cob jelly or coating them with peanut butter and bird seed and put out for squirrels and birds to eat?  All great and practical ideas.

     When your laundry detergent bottle or dish soap bottle is empty, fill them up with water and save them.  Use the soapy water to wash dishes on a camp-out, etc.  Just think before you throw anything away.  Think how can I use this item.  I am sure you can think of a use for it.   

   Do you have any other suggestions?  I would love to hear them.

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Chocolate Covered Bacon Recipe

       One of my favorite party recipes is CHOCOLATE COVERED BACON.  When I first heard of this, I almost gagged but it is surprisingly delicious.  We love it.  Salty and sweet never tasted so good together.   They make great gifts and they are great to sell at bazaars and bake sales.
recipe, bacon, chocolate covered bacon, bacon recipes
Chocolate covered bacon

   This recipe was a winner in a contest by Oklahoma New's Channel 6 and the Oklahoma Pork Council.  Check it out: Recipe Madness Contest.

      They are also super easy to make.  All you need is thick sliced bacon (the thicker the better), semi-sweet chocolate chips and shortening.     To begin:  place the bacon on a cookie sheet and place it in a preheated 400 degree oven.  Bake for 20 min.  You can cook it for a shorter amount of time for softer bacon but I think the crisp bacon works so much better.  Once the bacon is cooked, blot it with a paper towel to absorb the oil and remove from pan to cool.  As it cools, place the chocolate chips (1 bagful/2 c.) into a microwave safe bowl.  Add in 2 T. shortening and "nuke" for 30 seconds at a time, stirring often, until completely melted.

     Once the mixture is melted, use a pastry brush or the back side of a teaspoon to coat one side of the bacon completely.  Once that side is completely dry, turn over and coat the back side.   Package them up prettily or eat them.

    Here is how mine turned out!

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Chocolate covered bacon

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Pizza & Bowling: Family Night Out

   Recently our family was fortunate enough to get to go to Pizza Hut and go bowling.  It was the first time in a long time that we were able to do something like that and we had a fantastic time.  Gift certificates for things like that always make an awesome gift to families that do not get to do stuff like that very often.  We live on a very strict and fixed income and really appreciated the generosity.  Anyway, we wanted to share pictures from our family night.  Hope you enjoy!
Family night, bowling,
Brandon getting ready to bowl

Family night, bowling,
Brandon bowling.

Family night, bowling,
Me throwing my ball

Family night, bowling,
My Darling Hubby.

Family night, bowling,
My DH bowling.

Family night, bowling, Poteau

Family night, bowling, Poteau
Ronny watching his ball go.

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Easy French-Dip Sandwiches

   I don't know about you but I absolutely LOVE Arby's French Dip and Swiss sandwiches with au jus!  They are so delicious but we have to pinch pennies so we rarely go out to eat.  I found a recipe a few years back, tried it, modified it and now use it about once a month to treat my family.

Easy recipe, fast food recipe, french dip recipe, french dip sandwich, recipe, restaurant recipe

Easy French Dip Sandwiches


  • 1 (10.5 ounce) can beef consomm√© (It is different than the beef broth).
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 lb. thinly sliced roast beef from a deli
  • 8 slices Swiss cheese
  • 4 hoagie rolls, cut lengthwise (so you will have 8 halves of hoagie rolls).


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Lay the 8 hoagie halves on a cookie sheet.
  3. Heat up the beef consomme and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
  4.  Place the roast beef in the broth and warm for 3 minutes.
  5. Arrange the meat on the hoagie rolls and top each roll with 2 slices of cheese.
  6. Bake the sandwiches in the preheated oven for 5 minutes, or until the cheese just begins to melt. Serve the sandwiches with small bowls of the warm consomme for dipping. 
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A quick poll

I have 2 loaves of homemade bread in the oven right now. The house is smelling sooooo good right now. Do you make homemade bread at your house? If so, how often do you make it? We make 2 loaves every other day here.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Many Faces of Ronny

     Recently our youngest son Ronny was especially expressive while doing his homework.  He was so serious and "into" the homework that I couldn't help but snap a few pictures of his facial expressions.  I hope you enjoy viewing them as much as I do!
homeschool,  homeschooling, facial expressions, homework

homeschool,  homeschooling, facial expressions, homework
I love the look of seriousness he has here. 

homeschool,  homeschooling, facial expressions, homework

homeschool,  homeschooling, facial expressions, homework

homeschool,  homeschooling, facial expressions, homework

homeschool,  homeschooling, facial expressions, homework

    I am just really thankful that there is no one around to take pictures of me when I am deep in thought.  I sure doubt I would look as cute!

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Puppet Making

    Puppet Making!  Doesn't this sound fun?  Well, we can honestly say, it was a blast.  I even made one.  What kind of fun crafts do you make with your children?

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Ronny and his creation.

Puppets, puppet making, homeschool craft, homeschooling,
Conner and his creation.

Puppets, puppet making, homeschool craft, homeschooling,
Brandon and his creation. (Kind of got that deer-in-the-headlights look going on.)

Puppets, puppet making, homeschool craft, homeschooling,
Me & my puppet!

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Homemade Meat Loaf Recipe

      Many people have been requesting my recipe for my meatloaf so by popular demand, here it is!  

    Melody's MMM Good Meatloaf
 2 lbs. hamburger meat
1 1/2 c. instant oats
1/2 c. ketchup
2 eggs
6 oz. can tomato paste
 1 1/2 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
    Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  

     Put all the ingredients into a bowl and "smush" them all together with your hands.  I know it is messy and feels gross but it is the only way to get it mixed together well enough.  Once it is mixed together thoroughly, divide the meat mixture into 2 equal parts.  Spray 2 loaf pans with cooking spray.  Place one half of the meat  mixture into each loaf pan and pat down. 

     Place one into your preheated oven for 1 hour.  Double wrap the other loaf in foil and then date it and place it in your freezer.  Frozen, it is good for 3 months.  Just pull it out next time you are pressed for time or need something for potluck.  


homemade meatloaf, meat loaf, meatloaf recipe, frugal living, cooking
Wrapped in foil, ready for the freezer.

      Prepare the glaze for the top of the meatloaf by mixing together 1/2 c. ketchup, 1 T. brown sugar, 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce, and 1 T. BBQ sauce (we use Honey BBQ sauce) all together in a small bowl.  Ten minutes before meatloaf is done, pour glaze over top of meatloaf and let it finish cooking. 

     This is a VERY moist meatloaf.  If you like a drier meatloaf, just add an additional 1/2 c. of oats and just leave out the tomato paste.

      A great side dish for the meatloaf is my Blue Ribbon Baked Beans and seasoned red potatoes or real mashed potatoes.

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Field Trip to an Airport

   As homeschoolers, we try to do some really fun field trips when we can.  For example, for National Aviation Day, which is August 19th, we went on tour of a nearby airport.  National Aviation Day is also Orville Wright's birthday, who was born 8/19/1871.  Of course, we all know that Orville and his brother Wilbur were responsible for inventing the first successful airplane.
      Anyway, to celebrate the day, we went on a tour of the airport in Poteau, OK.  It is a small airport but that is the beauty of it.  The man pretty much let us have a run of the whole place.  We got to go on the runway, see the airplanes up and personal and check out the hangars.  It was a real treat.

kit plane, kit airplane, field trip, homeschool, homeschooling, field day
This is a single seat "kit" plane.  From left to right, my son Brandon,  our friend Conner, and my son Ronny.  

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This plane was made in 1979.  It can fly for about 4 hours before it needs to refuel.  It cruises at about 150 m.p.h.

       One the drive back home over the mountain, my husband quizzed the children on what they had learned.  They went over the purpose of the wings and how they work; control services on how planes turn and go up and down; and learned about how they can tell how fast a plane goes by using a "pito" tube.
        What kinds of field trips do you make with your homeschool or family?  We would love to hear!

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Homemade Play-Doh

        Another thing we like to do at our home is to make homemade Play-Doh.  We use it in our homeschool program and just for fun.  The kids love to help make it and they really love to play with it.  I always let them help in the measuring of ingredients and stirring. 

      This is how we make it:
2 c. flour
1 c. salt
4 T. vegetable oil
4 T. apple cider vinegar PLUS add enough BOILING water to equal to 2 c. total
food coloring
glitter, optional

     I use canola oil but only because that is what we use at our house.  Whatever kind you use will work fine.  The glitter is also optional but the kids (even the boys) like glitter in their Play-Doh.  We use blue glitter in the blue Play-Doh, etc. but you can mix and match.  Just do what you want and have fun with the whole process.

    Help your children measure up and pour in the flour, salt and oil into a medium sized bowl.  Then have the adult measure and pour in the vinegar and hot water.  Stir well.  Once you have it mixed up good, divide it up into four equal sizes.    Place each glob into a separate bowl and add a few drops of food coloring and glitter.  Once each batch is mixed up, put it on the table and knead it a bit.  Once that is complete you are ready to play with it.

    Just remember that homemade Play-Doh is a lot softer than store bought.  My kids like it better because of this.  Store each color in its own baggie.

   Hope you enjoyed reading this.  We would love to hear from you...
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How to Make a Classic Christmas Rainbow Poke Cake

            This recipe has been around for a LONG time and to me, it never goes out of style.   It is colorful, festive, moist and utterl...