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Showing posts from December, 2015

Dairy Free Baked Potato Soup

Wintertime, to me, means getting to eat some of my favorite foods - comfort foods.  They fill you up and keep you warm when the snow, ice, rain, and all things cold are ravaging the outside world.  When you just want to curl up in front of the fireplace, there's nothing like doing it with a big plate or bowl of a tasty winter meal.

But, winter meals become problematic when you're dealing with an allergy - especially a dairy allergy.  It's hard to find a good comfort meal that does not have some form of dairy in it.  If it doesn't have cream, then it's got butter in it.  And, while some meals are fairly easy to find good substitutes for the dairy products, other meals are not so easy.  Take, for example, potato soup.


I love a good baked potato.  Make it into a soup and it's even better.  Nothing warms me up faster on a winter evening than the flavor combination of bacon, onion, cheese, butter and potatoes.  Since learning that I have a child with a whey and case…

Choose Joy

Once upon a time, in a faraway kingdom, there lived a royal family.  This family had everything a person could dream of: glorious palaces, majestic horses to pull awe-inspiring carriages, glittering jewels, gowns spun from silver and gold threads, servants happily fulfilling every need, gardens overflowing with scrumptious fruits and vegetables, and lives filled with joy - so much joy that, even when it was raining, this family's kingdom was filled with light.


What may be hard to believe is that this family could be living anywhere.  They may not truly be royal.  They might live in a two-bedroom walk-up and the only majestic horses and carriages they have are the sneakers and loafers they use to walk back and forth to school and work.  Their clothing isn't anything fancy - it isn't even name brand.  The only time they have a servant fulfilling their needs is when they order fast food or pay the mailman to deliver a letter or package.  They don't have a yard for a garde…

The enemy of good

During a recently attended Girls' Night Out Art & Wine night, a very good friend of mine was attempting to help me improve my artwork by telling me that sometimes I just have to stop trying to make things better.  I was having a hard time putting down my paintbrush and walking away from the painting.  I kept trying to add something more that would improve it.  In my friend's role as a doctor, she explained to me a common surgical expression that the enemy of GOOD is BETTER - that sometimes, in trying to make things better, you can actually cause more harm or make things worse.  Sometimes, we have to be satisfied that things are just good.

In the time since this night, I have contemplated this concept  - especially as it relates to my children and my parenting.  I look at my children and see beautiful creatures.  But, then I often wonder what I can do or teach them that will make things easier for them or allow them greater opportunities.  I constantly question how I can be…

Losing my marbles

Out of the mouth of babes...there is truth. It may not be what's desired, but it is honest.

Things I tell my son

Since becoming a mother, many of the phrases that come out of my mouth have shocked me.  But, none have shocked me more than when I had a son.
The phrases that come out of my mouth generally have to do with a very specific body part...

You know you're a good friend when

If you get a call from me and I immediately ask for Santa, please just go with it...and know you're helping to keep my kids in line and me sane!

Caption this

As I seriously deliberated on which of this year's pictures would make the 2015 Family Christmas Card, I came across some definite outtakes.  Over the next few days, perhaps you can help me caption the pictures that did not make the Christmas card.  Starting with...



Food coloring and carpet

I try to keep my children occupied throughout the day - especially my three-year-old.  After all, I've learned, a busy child is one who is most likely not getting into things he (or she) should not be getting into.  However, every parent has those moments where you just have to step away.  Maybe it's to answer a knock at the door or a ringing phone.  Perhaps you need to make a meal.  Or, God forbid, you just have to go to the bathroom.

This was my mistake.  Why did I think that I could simply go to the bathroom?  It wasn't as though I was leaving my child unattended.  We were in our own home and, not to toot my own horn I was having an exceptionally awesome parenting day.  We had spent the morning reading books and playing with trains.  Not once had my child had to entertain himself with the TV or other form of technology.  I might have required a cup (or three) too many of coffee, but I was on top of my game. And yet, I desperately needed to go potty.  WHAT A MISTAKE!!!

I…

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie

One of my most favorite recipes to make during the holidays is Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie.  I first found this recipe on Allrecipes.com a couple of years ago, and I continue to go back to this recipe every year.  I've even given this pie out as a holiday gift to friends and it has become my most requested recipe.


The original recipe is fairly simple, but nonspecific as to they type of bourbon to use in the recipe.  I have changed that to suit my own tastes by using one of my favorite bourbons: Four Roses Single Barrel Kentucky Bourbon.  I am of the definite opinion that you can't just use Jack with this recipe.  It requires something a bit more refined and a smoother finish.

This pie is not for children.  The first time I made it, I realized that the alcohol does not all cook out.  In future versions, I attempted changing the amount of bourbon added to the recipe, but it just didn't taste as good.  I liked the combination of Four Roses with the chocolate and pecans - chan…

Hotel living: Marriott TownePlace Suites

Last year, my house had a water pipe break - causing damage to our floors.  Thankfully, the damage was not extensive and did not require immediate repair.  But, it did require us to move out of our house for an extended hotel stay.  We were blessed that this was covered by our homeowner's insurance.  And, we were doubly blessed that our insurance provider booked us in one of Marriott's TownePlace Suites.

Living outside of your home while having to maintain a regular schedule of school, work and extracurricular activities isn't easy.  Not only do you have to continue your regularly scheduled life, but you have to do it in a new, temporary location where you don't have everything you usually rely on.  Yes, you've attempted to prepare by packing enough clothes, toys, books, and other supplies, but it's still not home.

TownePlace Suites; however, helps you feel like you can still maintain your daily routine by providing a small kitchenette (including stove top, ove…

The problem with Thomas

My children love Thomas the Tank...they absolutely LOVE Thomas.  When he comes on TV, I know that my children will sit still and watch him.  This is a phenomenal benefit to me when I'm in need of a shower, trip to the bathroom, or while on a road trip.  So, what could be wrong with Thomas?

Have you ever watched a Thomas show or movie?  If you have, you've probably already starting singing the theme song either in your head or out loud - and you'll continue to have it running through your mind for hours to come.  It wouldn't be so bad if they only played the theme song once or twice at the beginning and/or end of the show.  No, they play it over and over and OVER again throughout the show!  They play it so much that I don't know how my children even hear what's actually being said during the show because all I hear is the theme song - with and without the lyrics.

Just writing this post has the theme song on constant play in my head.  If I hear the name Thomas, t…

Wall Drug, South Dakota

Road tripping across the country with just one parent and two kids, age 3 and 5, isn't always exciting.  With all of the obstacles I attempted to plan for, the one thing I forgot was summer road construction.  As we drove across many of the northern states, there were a lot of construction projects that brought our speed down to 45mph...thus increasing the time it took to get from one planned location to the next.  Then, when you add in limited attractions throughout the Plains states, kids will get bored...no matter how many movies you have for them to watch.


Thus, the appeal of Wall Drug, South Dakota.  It's in the middle of nowhere - and I mean NOWHERE.  It literally popped up on the highway right when I thought I was going to go insane from listening to Thomas: Tale of the Brave for the 75th time. 

Driving into Wall Drug is like driving into the Wild West.  My kids immediately were drawn to the old west store fronts and the appeal of panning for gold in numerous of the st…