Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Moving Quote of the Day

My daughter has now lived with all of our belongings in boxes for about the last 12 hours.  As she was eating captain crunch cereal out of a disposable cup she commented, "This is no lifestyle for a child." 

grace and peace,

Sunday, June 27, 2010


The packers will be here in the morning to begin the great packing project.  Two days of packing and one day of moving then the fun begins for me.  That would be the unpacking and putting away part.  I am ready to make the move.  I am ready for life to become normal once again.  I am not ready to leave our oldest son behind, but it is part of the process.  I guess they have to leave the nest sometime. 

I will do my best to get back to blogging as soon as possible. 

grace and peace,

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Twist on Sausage Biscuits

My husband loves sausage and biscuits.  He would eat sausage biscuits 7 days a week.  If you really want to make him happy, make some gravy.  He will love you forever.  I and the kids are getting tired of the same old sausage biscuits.  I was on this lady's blog and she had a "lazy" moment that I thought was fantastic.  I didn't use her recipe, but I used her idea.  If you go to her blog, she does have a recipe for this.  I used my Fast Food Biscuit recipe.  You can find that here.   To start these biscuits, you first need to brown a pound of sausage and crumble it like you would if you were browning ground beef.  After it has cooked, let it cool.  (I was in a hurry so I stuck my hot sausage in a bowl in the freezer while I made my biscuit dough).  Next, you make dough for homemade biscuits.  I used the large recipe and it was the perfect amount.  Once you have the dough mixed, add your cooked sausage and a large handful of shredded cheddar cheese.  I added extra cheese because I like cheese.  You do want you feel is necessary.  Mix again to ensure that the sausage and cheese are evenly distributed throughout the dough.  Roll dough out and cut out biscuits.  I used a large drinking glass to cut my biscuits.  I had 12 large biscuits when I was finished.  Bake according to your biscuit recipe.  I did add a few extra minutes to the baking time.  These sausage biscuits were fantastic.  This would be great if you needed a quick breakfast to eat while you were heading out the door.  My kids gobbled it up faster than I would have imagined.  Just because it was Father's Day, I also made gravy to serve with these.  I did make sure my husband knew the gravy was only there because it was a holiday.  I don't want him to think that these biscuits will always be served with gravy in our house!

grace and peace,

Friday, June 18, 2010

Lasagna Recipe

Several people have requested my lasagna recipe.  First, I must say that I make it different each and every time that I serve it. I don't use measurements as much as taste.  I just keep tasting the sauce and adding to it until it suits my desires.  This is only a problem when I share the recipe with others.  I am doing my best to be accurate, but you can change the amounts of the seasonings according to your taste buds.  This recipe makes 2 9x13 pans of lasagna.  I will often time bake one of the pans for dinner and freeze the other pan for later.  I have found that the lasagna tastes better if I freeze it BEFORE I bake it.  To use it, I let it thaw out in the refrigerator then I bake it until it is bubbly.  If I am serving a lot of people, I will use this recipe and put it in a large throw away roasting pan.  It bakes up nicely and is enough to feed a large crowd.  Hope you enjoy!

Brown 2 - 3 pounds of ground beef.  Cut up large onion, a large green pepper, and 2 cloves of garlic, and brown cook these along with the ground beef.  When meat is no longer pink, drain away the fat.  Place cooked meat and onions in a large dutch oven or stock pot.  To the meat add, 1 large can of tomato paste, 3 large cans tomato sauce, and 1 large can of tomatoes.  Add about 1 Tablespoon oregano, a scant Tablespoon of basil, about a Tablespoon of Italian Seasoning, 2 bay leaves, a splash of apple cider vinegar, salt to taste, and about a Tablespoon of sugar.  I also add crushed red peppers to my sauce because I like it to have a bit of a kick.  Cook this sauce for several hours so that the flavors can meld together.  I usually add extra oregano and salt to my sauce after letting it cook for a while.  I simmer mine for at least two hours and I stir it as needed.  This is also my basic spaghetti sauce, but I add Italian Sausage cut up with my ground beef for spaghetti.  (If you don't want to fool with the effort of the homemade sauce, Prego makes a nice sauce that is much quicker than this)!

After the sauce is cooked, cook a 1 pound box of Lasagna noodles according to package directions.  Drain.

While noodles are cooking, combine a large can of Parmesan Cheese with a large container of Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese.  (Please don't use cottage cheese...it ain't the same as Whole Milk Ricotta)! 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter your pans.  Spoon in a thin layer of sauce into the bottom of the pans.  Cover with a layer of noodles.  Sprinkle large handfuls of mozzarella cheese over the noodles. (I usually use almost all of two  large bags of Mozzarella cheese when I make lasagna).  Add ricotta cheese that was mixed with Parmesan cheese on top of the mozzarella.  Add some more sauce.  Continue layers ending with a layer of noodles.  I think a 9x13 pan holds three layers.  On the last layer of noodles, spread more sauce and sprinkle Parmesan cheese.  If I have leftover Mozzarella cheese, I sprinkle that on too.  Cover with foil and bake about an hour to an hour and a half our until bubbly.  I remove my foil the last 20 minutes of cooking.

The trick with lasagna is to make sure you have time to let it set for awhile after it has been cooked.  I like to let mine set at least 30 minutes before cutting into it.  This keeps it from running all over the plate when serving.  If you don't have time to let it set, it still tastes the same but it isn't as pretty!  Enjoy!

grace and peace,

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Just So You Can Imagine With Me

Here are a few pictures that the realtor sent me of the new house.  I figured since I haven't seen it and you haven't seen it we could tour it together.  According to my husband, this is the great room that you enter when you walk through the front door.  (He promises that it is larger than the picture shows.  I'll let you know when I finally see it in person)!  If you go up the stairs, you would enter a balcony area that overlooks the great room.  There is a large loft area that will be used as an office, and there is also a master bedroom and bathroom up there on the other side.

Standing at the front door, looking through the great room you also see the kitchen.  (Please remember that I am just telling you what I have been told.  I really have no idea, but I will see it the day we move into it)!  The doorway that leads out of the kitchen takes you to the laundry room and walk in pantry on the left or if you go right you head out onto the screened in porch and deck area.  The wall that is just to the left of the doorway is going to be filled with a handmade hutch.  It hasn't been made as of yet, but I am busy making plans for my husband and his new shop.

This will be a much smaller kitchen for me to work in than what I have now.  I am a bit concerned about storing all of my stuff in here.  My husband has promised that we will have room for shelves to hold extra items in the laundry room.   The stove is set in the island, and there are more cabinets on both sides of the stove.  I love the tile.  I don't know that I would have ever had the guts to pick it out, but I think it is beautiful.  Guess what...I don't think much dirt will show on it!  Jumping for joy on that account!  The counter tops are solid surface, but we don't know what kind they are for sure.    The door way that is in the picture leads to the basement.  The basement is a LARGE shop area and it has a very nice full size bathroom down there.  If you look past the basement door, there is a short hallway.  There you will find 2 more large bedrooms and a nice size bathroom. 

This is the tub in the master bathroom.  Let me just say I am pleased about this little jewel. 

I can't wait to see our new home for myself.  As of now, I don't think I will get to see it until the day that we move into it.  Michael had to pick out carpet for the bedrooms.  Part of our offer for purchasing the house was that the sellers would replace the carpets, but we would get to pick it out.  They agreed and Michael went to the carpet store yesterday.  He called in a panic because he had no idea what he was doing.  I assured him if he could buy the house without my seeing it that he could buy carpet without me.  Apparently the sales lady felt bad for him or me, and sent him home with several samples! 

grace and peace,

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Move Update

Everything is moving along around here.  In less than two weeks, I should be moved into a new house!  We should close on our house here this week or early next week.  Then we have 30 days to turn over the house to the new owner.  The moving company will be here today to do a walk through and a survey of our things.  They will be moving us the week of June 21st. 

Michael put an offer on our new home and asked for us to rent it until we closed on it.  The sellers agreed so we take possession of that home on June 21st.  That means I won't have to live in a campground!  It was harder than I thought to have him look at the house without me.  He wanted me to go down and see it before we put an offer on it.  Our schedule here just didn't allow for that.  I encouraged him to put the offer in without me seeing it.  At first he was unwilling, and then the threat of camping brought him to his senses!  The funny part about the whole thing was this was the only house in the whole area that didn't have any inside pictures on the MLS listing!  I spent my weekend asking him questions about it.  Finally, after a few days the realtor did send us a lot of pictures.  It looks wonderful, and I am thankful. 

The very things that were tugging on my heart strings about leaving in our home are all present and most of them are better in the new home.  I was sad because I loved the new configuration of our living room, dining room, and kitchen.  It had a great room feel, and I have always wanted a great room.  Guess what the new house has?  A great room!!!  Just recently I decided I would love a screened in porch.  I don't even think I shared that with Michael, but it became an unspoken desire.  Guess what the new house has... a small screened in porch!  Our neighbor has demanded that our brand new stainless steel appliances stay with our house.  I was sick over this part of the deal.  I have cried buckets of tears.  Michael and I have fought more over the leaving of these appliances than anything about the whole move.  Let's just say you shouldn't mess with a woman and her new appliances.  In the end, I realized that it was the only way to seal the deal and I gave up my appliances.  Guess what the new house has?  Nicer appliances then the ones we have here!  (Yes, I had to beg forgiveness over that one)!  The list goes on and on. 

I can't wait to share our new home with y'all.  It doesn't need renovations because it is already finished and it is only 5 years old.  It does need decorating and landscaping.  That is the fun part so we are excited about that.  Michael is already making plans on the furniture that he wants to build to go into the new home.  There is still a lot to be accomplished here in the next few weeks.  I look forward to sharing it as we go!

grace and peace,

Friday, June 11, 2010

Harder Than I thought

I wrote earlier in the day about how Michael was going to pick out  our house and I had told him to put an offer on one if he liked it.  You know, I trust him and all.  He is in the process of looking and he had the audacity of finding a house that doesn't have any pictures on the MLS.  I can't even kind of sort of imagine what it looks like because there isn't anything to help direct my imagination!!!   Well, there are his descriptions.  He gave me a lovely description of the shop area.  That was about the time I started feeling a panic attack.  "WHAT ABOUT THE KITCHEN," was all I could think about while he kept giving more description of the shop. 

I'll keep you updated in between panic attacks!

grace and peace,

Simple, But Not Cheap

My house desires are not complicated.  I want a few acres to grow a garden and to raise some farm animals.  I also want some space so my rowdy kids can run and romp without bothering the next door neighbors.  I want a  functional house, but it doesn't have to be new with all the bells and whistles.  I love the look of the house in the picture.  It is located at Cades Cove, and every time I go into the house I dream about what it would have been like to live there. 

The desires that we have for a house with a little land may be simple, but they aren't cheap.  I am still breathing in a brown paper bag trying to recover an even breathing pattern every time I look at house prices!  Michael is looking at houses this morning in our new area.  I have given him the go ahead to put an offer on any house that he sees that would fit our criteria without me seeing it.  He knows me and he knows my likes and dislikes.  He knows what I value in a home.  We are getting down to the wire on time here, and I trust him to make the right decision.  With all that being said, I am still very anxious to see what he chooses.  I want a play by play report of his day!  I'll keep y'all up to date as well!  Who knows, we may not be living in a campground yet!

grace and peace,

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Moving Update

Things are going so fast around here that I am having trouble keeping up with it all.  Michael started work this week, and let me just say that my heart is so full of thanksgiving for this job.  With each new day brings a new benefit that we can celebrate.  We have excellent health insurance AND dental insurance.  Each of my kids have asked for a dental appointment.  TVA will be packing AND moving AND storing our belongings.   This will occur sometime during the third week of June.  We are working on selling our house to our neighbor.  I could and would love to write a book about this whole process, but that wouldn't be prudent at this time.  Let me just say it has been an adventure and I am ready to get off the roller coaster!

The big question that is left in my life for now is where are we going to live. In less than three weeks, we will leave this home and move somewhere.  We just don't know where as of today.  We looked at all of the rentals and we understood the reason that they didn't mind for Missy to be with our family.  It would have been hard for us to live in them, and I am not picky!  There isn't a lot of options to choose from in the new location.  Rentals are scarce as hen's teeth, and we have yet to see a good one.  We are now trying to find a house to buy.  That is a whole new adventure, and we are having a hard time finding one that suits our needs.  If we didn't want acreage, we could find a house with no problems.  We just don't think we would be happy living in a neighborhood and so we don't want to settle for that. 

Don't worry though I do have a plan for living arrangements...even if nobody in my family is thrilled with the idea.  If all else fails, I plan on camping until a house of some sort comes available.  That is the best plan I have come up with, and I am hoping and praying that my husband has an alternative plan brewing! 

grace and peace,

Saturday, June 05, 2010

A Six Year Old's Date Night

This morning the phone rang.  Matthew's girlfriend wanted to talk with the six year old.  I hear him listing off some of his favorite movie watching foods:  Popcorn, M&Ms, Reeses Cups, and Sprite.  I then hear him giggle and say, "It's a date then."  He was beaming.  He quickly informed me that he and Chelsea would be having a movie night in the basement with all of his favorite candy and popcorn.  She was bringing the food and drinks and he was going to provide the movie.  Apparently she saw that Toy Story was coming on t.v. tonight.  She had remembered that Seth had never seen Toy Story so she was making sure that he saw it tonight with her and plenty of treats!

Did I mention that I love this girl? 

grace and peace,

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

No Trouble What So Ever!

We are planning on renting a house when we make the move to the Watts Bar area.  We need some time to get to know the area before we buy our final home/farm.  Sounds like a great plan right?  Well, don't forget the 5 kids and the 200 pound English Mastiff that we house in our home.  We can't get rid of the dog, but we are going to par it down to 4 kids since our oldest son will be staying at college.  That should count for something!

Michael has spent a lot of time on the phone today with potential landlords.  Just in case any of them read this blog, I wanted to make sure they realize that Missy does sleep a lot!  Look, she is having a hard time staying awake in the snow.

See she even falls asleep while she is chewing.  Of course she is chewing on wood that is in her designated chew pile.  She would never chew on the house or anything like that!

She is staying out of trouble on the deck.  Once again she is having a hard time staying awake. 

This dog will cause no problems at all for a landlord because she is rarely awake.  She can't do much damage sleeping!  Well, at least that was the sales pitch I heard Michael relaying each and every time he talked with a perspective landlord.  He must have done something right because we have 5 people willing to show us their house for us to rent.  That was including us bringing all 5 kids and one English Mastiff.  We haven't told them about the cows yet!

grace and peace,