January 31, 2013

Cherry Delight Dessert

My mother always made this dessert when I was growing up and it was one of my favorites.
Even though it's been a while since I've made it myself,I thought I would share the recipe so that others could experience the scrumptious flavor too!

For the bottom layer-

2 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
2/3 cup of butter or margarine 

Press into a 13 X 9 cake pan and bake at 350 degrees until golden.

For the middle layer-

1 eight ounce packages of cream cheese-softened
3 Tablespoons of powered sugar
1 package of Cool Whip

Combine and mix well.
Spread over cooled crust.

Top layer-

I used fresh berries,cooked with a little water and cornstarch,but you can use canned cherry (or another fruit like blueberry or strawberry) pie filling.
You can also top with fresh fruit.

January 30, 2013

Organizing and De-cluttering with a Large Family

Having a large family tends to run along side having a lot of things.

Even with a fairly large home,it would be so easy to become overrun with stuff.

Because (at this point) we have all boys,there is a lot of sameness and sharing;so many trucks,cars,trains and blocks;lot's of hand me down clothing in every size.

Laundry seems to be never ending and toys are plentiful,so to keep a sense of organization,practicality and neatness,I have developed a few habits;a system if you will.

I read a book a while back that my sister in law gifted to me (A Sane Woman's Guide to Raising a Large Family) and in this book,a particular paragraph stuck out and thumped me on the nose:

"Think of everything in your house as taking up square footage of your home...think of how much you spend on your mortgage or to maintain your home.Now,are those items in your house paying for the space they are using?"
These aren't the exact words the author used,but you get the point.

If I haven't used it in a year and I probably won't use it in the next year,realistically it needs to GO.
If it's broken or missing pieces it needs to GO.
If there are ten more just like it,chances are it won't be missed.

I like to take my biggest "issues" and break them down into four categories:


In a large family too many things tends to be the biggest challenge in the home.

Every time we purchase something that comes in a large box (a toaster,toolbox,disposable diapers) I do my best to fill the box with either- A.)trash,or B.) Donations.

Broken toys,socks with holes,puzzles with missing pieces,torn coloring books,old or unneeded paperwork/bills and the like-all go into the trash box.

When it seems that a family member has too many clothes or won't wear an item they have,it goes into the donation box.The same goes for extra kitchen items,toys that don't receive enough love or books that weren't great enough to keep.


The boys' playroom isn't always the neatest....but a few times each week we all go in the room together and pick up all the train tracks,books and stuffed animals and put them in their appropriate places.

The boys each have a large tote with their name one it-the older boys have one in each of their rooms with a few of their toys,while the youngest (Jacobi,19 mos) has one in the living room with some age appropriate toys.

We don't leave toys sitting around the house;they either get picked up and taken to the playroom or put in a toy tote.


I am no newbie at laundry.
Thankfully my mother began teaching me at an early age all about housekeeping.
When I began thinking about all the laundry that can grow in mounds with having a large family,I was thrilled to see how the Duggar Family manages their laundry situation!
When we purchased our home,the first thing I had to have was a Family Closet<~~you can see mine here.

Once the closet was "installed" and I utilized it,the only thought I had was "How did I not have this before!"

The Family Closet is off to the right~>

Because the family closet is directly beside my open laundry area,it makes it so easy to transfer all the folded or hanging clothes right over to their respectable places.
Every large family should consider setting up a family closet-just the ease of placement alone,having everything in one spot is so convenient!

So those are my biggest tips:

Keep it simple.
Don't be afraid to throw things away or donate them!
Less really is more.

January 29, 2013

Chocolate Peanut Butter bars (not so healthy but oh so tasty!)

My husband loves chocolate.
My children love sweets.
I like Reeses Cups.

These Chocolate Peanut Butter bars may not be a healthy recipe,but they are SO melt-in-your-mouth YUMMY!

What you'll need:

For the bottom layer-
1 cup of butter melted
1 cup of peanut butter
2 cups of graham cracker crumbs

2 cups of powered sugar

Mix this together and press into the bottom of a cake pan.

For the topping-
1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate)
4 tablespoons of peanut butter.

Heat the chocolate and peanut butter slowly until soft and smooth,stir it up and immediately spread it over the bottom layer in the cake pan.

Let it sit for a while so that it can set-and there you have it!

I did tweak this a little bit-I really can't stand using SO much butter,so I use a little less (about 2/3 cup) and then use a bit of water to add the additional moisture.

January 27, 2013

The most basic,healthy and tasty potato soup...

I'm not a gourmet cook.
I don't normally prepare foods that have a big list of ingredients-partly because it's a pain and partly because it's rare that I actually HAVE all the ingredients.
I also live by the mantra "Less is more" and it's cheaper......

I love potato soup.

I love to save money.


So,this recipe is so easy I almost feel ridiculous sharing it.

(I must add that I don't generally follow recipes necessarily and I like to just "toss" things together;however I will do my best with sharing how much I used!)

Easy Potato soup
2 pounds of potatoes,peeled and diced.
3 large carrots,sliced thin.
1-2 large stalks of celery,cut into small pieces.
1 large onion,diced small.
Salt to taste.

I cook all of the vegetables in a generous amount of water (I like a lot of broth) until softened.

Sometimes I add some saltine crackers for added flavor,but I also like the soup plain.

When I make soup,I normally bake some homemade bread or biscuits.
You can find my favorite bread recipe HERE

January 21, 2013

The aftermath of postpartum depression

I have been thinking about writing this for a while now.

The word "aftermath" suggests that there is an end to postpartum depression.

I want to be very clear on something..for me postpartum depression hasn't just "gone away".
What I mean is that although I have found some relief from the intensity of the symptoms,I don't believe that I will ever fully be "over" the impact it has had on my life.

I struggled with PPD for almost two years of my life;nine months of that was actually perinatal depression (while I was pregnant).

For two years my life was disrupted;turned upside down in a way that you don't just "recover" from overnight.

I can't speak for all women either;there's a good chance that every woman experiences things vastly different than I have.
I believe that PPD runs it's course uniquely with each individual woman;some possibly never get "over" it and some have highs and lows that linger for years.

I don't know for sure what caused my PPD...I imagine that it was a cocktail of things:
The hormones from pregnancy and birth;from breastfeeding and the return of my menstrual cycle postpartum.
It may have been related to my unrealistic expectations of myself;the perfectionist that I pressured myself to be.
It wouldn't be far fetched to suggest that environmental stressors-relationships,parenting,poor diet-all had something to do with it.

The thing I can be sure of though,is that it wasn't my fault.

All of those racing thoughts in my head;the negative self talk.....those things were not "realistic" and they weren't fair.

I feel that our culture puts so much pressure on new moms and unlike other countries around the world,the U.S and other developed cultures has the highest and most severe rates of PPD in the world.
We don't support each other;we don't look out for new moms and young families.

Responsibility for the family tends to fall exactly there: on the family.

It's not ideal to have no support and to have all the added pressure of jumping right back up and continuing to manage life as if you didn't just give birth.

We abuse the postpartum period-the Babymoon-by suggesting that it's a weakness to lay around with our new baby;it makes us a failure to ask for help with our other children;we're lazy if all of the household chores aren't done in those early weeks.

When I sought out help for my PPD,it took me months to find someone who would even work with me financially.
This type of battle just to get support made my struggle with PPD worse...I felt so alone-even more so than I did before I decided to seek help.

My mind is a bit clearer now and I have found the courage to stop the negative self talk.
I've gotten my perfectionism under better control and I'm able to forgive myself for not being "perfect".

The journey I have had with PPD will forever affect the way I think;it has made me more aware of what mental illnesses can be like and the frustrations of not getting help when you need it most.

There is no guarantee that postpartum depression won't rear it's ugly head again....and that bothers me.

I have found some powerful tools that have helped me overcome the worst of it in the past-the most powerful tool of all is seeking love and strength through the Lord.
I learned to stop often,not just during times of anxiety or sadness;I would stop and say a little prayer asking for guidance and support.

I wish that I could reach out to all of the women who battle PPD and hold them,pray with them.

PPD isn't fake,it doesn't mean that you are weak.....it means that you are trying to be too strong and you need more time and support.

I don't understand the lack of support;why is there no help available for women with a very real,very serious need.
In a country with all the medical technology who spends more money on "health" than any other country in the world,how do we NOT have help ready for these women?

The reality is that these women normally struggle alone.

I implore all of you reading this:
If you know a new mom or a mom who seems to be struggling with a full plate,reach out.
Pay attention to how she's feeling,ask her what she needs.

Most women who have PPD don't ask for help;they often don't even know what is "wrong" with them.

As human beings we owe it to our mama's,babies and families to pay attention and help one another.

It's the worst place in the world to be when it feels like no one is there.