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When I get too busy to blog about anything important, you get a recipe because during the midst of LIFE I still have to cook.

Hubby and I created this when he wanted to grill out and I was tired of hamburgers and wanted a twist. So we put our brains together and came up with this:

1 lb ground beef
1 tsp italian seasoning
1 tsp minced garlic
2/3 c shredded mozzarella cheese

1 c prepared marinara (or any red pasta sauce you like)
1 box Pepperidge Farm Garlic Texas Toast (found in the freezer section)

Season the meat with the italian seasoning and garlic. Form into 6 large, but thin, patties (or 8 smaller, thin ones). Put a tablespoon or so of cheese in the center of half the patties, then top with the remaining ones, crimping along the edges of the burger.

Grill over medium-high heat until cooked through. Grill Texas toast for a few minutes until no longer frozen and toasted.

Assemble burger on Texas toast with marinara sauce as your condiment.

Next time, I'm going to recreate a baked french fry similar to Red Robin's Garlic Parmesan fries to go along with this.

Anyone who grew up in the '90s and went to church knew about Steven Curtis Chapman's music. His albums have touched so many people through the years and continue to do so. If you haven't heard already, he and his wife lost their 5 year old daughter yesterday in a tragic accident so as you pray today, remember this family who has ministered to millions of people, that they would know God's comfort during this horrible time.

I had to take a batch of cupcakes to the public school kindergarten in our town yesterday for a church member who couldn't get there for her son's birthday for various reasons. I was glad to help, but I have to admit I felt a deep sadness walking through those front doors.

I really, really liked school. I loved everything about it, especially in elementary school: new school supplies, bulletin boards, spelling bees, libraries, books, science projects, school picnics, field day, field trips, my own desk, recess, playgrounds, four square, maybe sometimes gym class...

Sometimes, even though I know the worldview taught in the public schools, I feel like my kids are missing out on something wonderful and fun. My son did attend for one semester before we pulled him out in our little town, where I am the only homeschooling family of elementary aged children, and I was in the classroom all the time helping. I saw firsthand that things were not getting done, my son was not challenged, and that all those first graders didn't even know their vowels from their consonants by January of that school year. So I knew we'd made the right decision to homeschool.

This choice was also confirmed on Sunday when the valedictorian of the high school class started her moving speech with, "The hardest part of giving this speech was not falling on my butt on my way up here." *sigh* THIS is the top of the class?? THIS is the product of 13 years? The rest wasn't much better.

BUT--School IS FUN. I know my second child, especially, who is so social and agreeable and friendly and smart, would have fantastic days in kindergarten. Are they missing out on some rite of passage for American children? Would I feel differently if I lived in a bigger city that had co-ops, support groups, and a church that had other homeschooling families? Is it just the isolation here that makes it difficult? Do I just wish I was "in the loop" with all the other parents, especially the church parents who send their kids and are hugely involved in the schools?

I don't know.

I've always wanted a hammock, but never had two trees to suspend it in between. I decided a free standing one would suffice so I asked for one for Mother's Day and hubby picked me out this one.


I'm reading Anne Rice's second book about Jesus, Christ the Lord-Road to Cana, and I spent a good hour or so yesterday letting my chores go, lying in my hammock, in the shade of my aspen and elm trees, reading.


Girl talk always has the best Friday Funnies! This is just so precious I interrupted by hubby's wiffle ball game in the backyard to share it! Please let me give this girl a lollipop! She's the sweetest thing!

Hosted today at Whatever Things. Be sure to check out recipes from all around the world.

Here's my recipe for delicious, rich Derby Pie from Saturday.

I've been lurking around Shannon's wildly popular blog, Rocks in My Dryer, for a while now. I thought it was time for me to hop on the WFMW bandwagon with a tip for how to save on diapers.

I am not your average grain-grinding, chicken-raising, raw honey-eating, long praire dress-wearing home schooling mom:

I use disposable diapers.

Here's what I do.

I buy the Walmart brand Parent's Choice (that's the yellow package) when my kids are little, especially when they are brand new because you're already changing a bazillion blow outs all day anyway no matter if they're in Huggies custom fit baby powder scented diapers or cheapies.

Now, as my kids get older things get more, uh, overfilled in that particular area. The deposits get bigger and smellier. I've found that the cheapies DO work fine for during the day, but at night I do splurge a bit and buy the better diapers, usually Luvs. The more expensive brands ARE better. If you use cheapies overnight, then you're changing sheets (and I already do that enough with two older brothers in the family!).

So there's my tip:
cheap diapers by day, expensive ones by night

You DO save money. Honest! I've done it with all three of my kids.

Derby Pie!

Ask and you shall receive, ladies! I lived in Louisville, KY for a few years and it was probably my favorite place to live. It's considered the northern most city in the southern part of the United States, so it had the best of both cultures, in my opinion.

You probably know about the most famous two minutes in sports: the Kentucky Derby held the first Saturday of May each year at Churchill Downs. I've never attended the event (It's expensive and the cheap seats are filled with stupid drunk people.) but there's a pie to commemorate it: The Derby Pie

Now, in restaurants all over Kentucky this pie is actually trademarked by Kern's Kitchens in Louisville. "Kern's Kitchens" is actually stamped all along the crust of the pie. You can also purchase them for about $13 at grocery stores. A restaurant cannot call it's chocolate nut pie a Derby Pie unless it was made in Kern's Kitchens.

Well, that doesn't stop good cooks all over the Bluegrass State from concocting their own versions, and I got my version from a longtime Kentucky resident.

So there's the story of the famous Derby Pie!

Kentucky Derby Pie

1 c sugar
1/2 c flour
2 beaten eggs
1 stick butter, melted and cooled slightly
3/4 c chopped pecans
3/4 c semi sweet chocolate chips
1 t vanilla
2 T Kentucky Bourbon-optional
unbaked pie shell

(This first step is disputed in our home. I like it, hubby doesn't so for him I don't soak the nuts.)

Heat oven to 350.

Soak the nuts in bourbon. Set aside, draining excess bourbon off.

Mix sugar and flour. Add eggs and butter. Add nuts, chips, and vanilla. Pour into unbaked pie shell and bake for 30 minutes at 350.

I have had to cover it in foil and cook longer on occasion, watching it every 5-10 minutes or so. It should be chewy, not runny. I check it with a toothpick.

You must let this cool completely before cutting it. In fact, I try to make it the day before. It tastes better that way!

One more story about it:

When I was tired and 4 months pregnant with my little girl and very nauseated and tired and all that, I had just finished hubby's birthday pie and had it cooling on the counter. My stupid dog, the over-sized Sheltie, got on the counter and ate the top out of the ENTIRE pie. I held that grudge for a long time...I'm very careful about my Derby pies. I ended making him another one.

This month is hosted by Whatever Things.

The theme seems fun: special dishes from your region of the world, foods that are unique to your geographic location.

I know what I'll be posting because it's what my husband asks for every birthday:


Next Thursday's the day!

I was reading the news this morning and have been following the story of the Austrian man who imprisoned his daughter and committed unspeakable crimes against her and her children. An article over at Fox news suggests that perhaps this man has some kind of mental disorder so he will plead insanity and be placed in a mental institution instead of prison.

Does this seem right? I know this isn't the first time, or the last, that this will happen. But when you have a high view of the Doctrines of Grace and a clear understanding of the utter depravity of the human heart, then anything like this is possible for any person, BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD. The wickedness of what this man has done is the seed of sin that is in every human heart from the time of Adam.

The DSM-IV doesn't have a category for sin because, apparently, there is no such thing. Everything wrong with a person's mental state can be attributed to chemicals in the brain so no one is responsible for any of his or her actions because the person "can't help themselves".

The lawyer quoted in this article asserts that he cannot imagine anyone doing such a thing unless he had some mental problem. The problem, however, is that this man's problem goes much deeper than his mental condition: it goes to the heart and his need for the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit to cleanse and change this man. And I pray that somehow that will happen.

The Sigh

I have a bad habit I wasn't aware of until recently. It's something that has replaced my too frequent "growl". It usually appears when I'm frustrated that the toilet hasn't been flushed, the kids wet the bed again, the baby won't sleep, or I have mountains of laundry to fold. I've tried to be more cognizant of my growling problem because I know it signals utter discontentment with my lot in life and communicates to my children that if you don't like what's happening to you, you can fuss and complain and that's OK.

But it's been replaced by the "sigh", which still communicates discontentment but in more of a "poor me" I don't deserve to slave all day in this kitchen, waiting on everybody, washing dishes. I don't deserve to have to clean up this muddy floor AGAIN. I shouldn't have to wash his sheets AGAIN. I shouldn't have to tell him to stop bugging his brother AGAIN. I already have more dishes to wash? Am I the only one who sees the pee all over the bathroom floor? And the newest one:

"I'm pregnant. I shouldn't have to ___________."

The sigh tells my children that I don't delight in them. It tells them I don't delight in the Lord as my strength and my salvation. It tells them that staying home and caring for children is a thankless job that I wish I didn't have to do but feel obligated to do. It's not accompanied by a smile. In fact, it removes all love from whatever task I might be doing.

So I suppose you could phrase my problem like this:

If I have a large family, but find myself irritated with the work that goes with it, I'm no better than a childless couple who finds kids annoying.

If I homeschool, but do it grudgingly then I am no different from the public school teacher who has no passion for her students and no fear of God.

If I attend church regularly, but complain about those who aren't as faithful as I am, I am the worst of hypocrites and might as well stay home.

If I live frugally with one car, no satellite TV, discount store clothes, a small house, and limited budget, but complain that I don't have enough to buy the toys I think I need, then my supposed self control with spending money is a sham and I'm really very greedy.

BUT if I tend to my family's needs with love, homeschool in view of making disciples, attend church joyfully, and rejoice in the provision God has for my life, I have LOVE, which "bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."

So I pray for love, and I pray that my sigh will be one of contentment and rest and joy.

I catered a church dinner yesterday and so my week has been consumed with preparations for it. I think I'll post a recipe for you from it. Everyone seemed to enjoy the good Southern comfort food I prepared.

I'm also 10 1/2 weeks pregnant and still tired, a little queasy, tired, did I say tired? Wah, wah so tired. OK. And not terribly articulate around here.

Enough already. Here's the recipe:

Chicken Fried Chicken

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded in a ziplock bag to an even thickness
30 saltine crackers
2 T instant potato flakes
2 T flour
1 t seasoned salt
1/2 t pepper
3 eggs
1/2 bottle (or so) of canola oil

a big thick skillet or a nice wide electric skillet (I prefer the electric one.)

In food processor, combine the crackers, potato flakes, flour, seasoned salt and pepper. Process until fine crumbs. Put in a ziplock bag.

In a pie plate, scramble the eggs. Heat the oil on the stove over med/medium high heat or 300-350 on the electric skillet. Dip the chicken in the egg, then shake in the cracker crumbs. Fry until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Don't flip them over until the coating "sets" otherwise it all comes off. I like to use tongs to flip. And wear an apron!

I've been making this for a looooong time. I did 20 chicken breasts yesterday. Whew. Let me know if you try it and if you like, too.

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