Category Archives: One Little Thing

If we do one little thing every day it still gets us where we’re going.

Full of Thanks

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Football is on in the living room, and I hear my sweet husband snoring away on the couch. We went fishing last night, I came home at 1, he went back out with his son and came home at 6:30. Since we had to be at his folks by 1 with a rice pudding in hand, he only had a few hours of sleep.

The kids are at their other parents houses, and I do miss my boys terribly. We have our big family back together tomorrow evening, and I am looking forward to the chaos. But, for now, I am relishing the silence. And snoring.

I have been accomplishing some of my goals – laundry is mostly caught up, and we have been following a meal plan. I haven’t been doing my devotional, but I have been taking my meds.

I did make a thankful list, though. It’s sarcastic, and pitiful, but absolutely truthful. I’m thankful for the health I have left, the family I have left, and the friends I have left. I vow to make the best of all of them.

So, for now, I bid you Happy Thanksgiving, and may your hearts be as full as your bellies.

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Gumption

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I’ve been trying to compile a list in my head of what I am thankful for. It’s hard, it’s been a hard year. It’s been a hard few years, actually. I want to be determined to make the coming year a million times better, but I struggle with the gumption to do anything about it.

Gumption. Funny word, that. My lack of gumption is a combination of lazy, tired, overwhelmed, depressed, poor, and feeling sorry for myself.

Maybe that will be my thing this year. Gumption.

In a spurt of gumption last week, I made a list of goals that I want to accomplish each day. They include at least 1 load of laundry, reading my Bible or doing devotion, take my meds – morning and night, and checking in with the outside world.

Oddly enough, laundry, my arch nemesis in a houseful of so many people, actually calms me. It makes me feel like I’m getting something accomplished. My challenge with it is making sure that the kids put their clean stuff in a dresser or closet instead of on the floor or in the dirty clothes. It’s a learning process.

Gumption, maybe everyone could use a little more of it.

 

One Little Thing… Summer fun, on the cheap!

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Today is the last day of school for my little hooligans, and since I am not working it is up to me to keep them occupied, healthy and happy. My goal is to limit the video game playing and tv watching, while increasing the outside (within reason – after all it IS Florida and 95 degrees!) and educational time.

I have been trying to make a list of the things we can do cheaply, and here are a few of my ideas.
1. Bowling – with free passes leftover from my oldest kid’s last birthday party.
2. Dog park
3. Beach
4. Swimming with friends
5. Science experiments at home
6. Bike riding
7. Parks with friends
8. Nature hikes
9. Dollar movies
10. Library

I also got workbooks for the kids so I can have them keep up on using their brain. Lofty plans, bit we’ll give it a go.

One Little Thing… Crockpot pork chops and gravy

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I really love those days during the week that I am able to browse Pinterest for some really great recipes. I get so excited, and dive in head first. This is what happened the other day when I planned pork chops for supper with one such recipe.

However, I didn’t have any cream of chicken, and cream of mushroom is the go to… And I wanted something different. The result was so good, and easy.

The pork chops I used were bone in, but if I had to do it again, I would probably use boneless because the bones fell out anyway, and I had to hunt them all down… And some still ended up on plates! I have also changed up how it’s put together because the gravy was a little gloppy in parts, so mixing with water before its cooked fixes the issue.

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Pork chops, cream of celery, ranch mix, Italian seasoning. Crock pot. 3 hours. Yummy. bucketfulofcrazy.wordpress.com

4 pork chops
1 can cream of celery
1 packet of ranch mix
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 cup water

Spray crock pot with non-stick spray, or place crock pot liner. Place pork chops on bottom of pot. In mixing bowl, mix ranch packet, Italian seasoning, cream of celery and 1/2 cup water. Pour over pork chops. Cook on high 3-4 hours.

Once pork chops are done, remove from pot, leaving as much gravy as possible. Some of the meat staying with the gravy is a good thing! Remove any bones at this point. Stir in 1/2 – 1 cup of water, whisk together to thin out gravy.

Everyone raved about this recipe, and I served it with mashed potatoes and corn. The gravy was awesome, especially with little bits of pork chop mixed in.

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These awesomely moist and tender pork chops tried to fall apart on me, but managed to mostly stay together long enough for me to get a pic! bucketfulofcrazy.wordpress.com

One Little Thing… Springtime cupcakes

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Tomorrow is pot luck day for my Nursing Class. I signed up to bring cupcakes because I always bring cupcakes. I love that I am finally comfortable enough with my “skillz” to fiddle with recipes and box mixes and actually have them turn out good.
I have a ton of strawberries in my freezer. I thought it’d be great to put them into cupcakes. I thought about angel food strawberry short-cup-cakes, or maybe chocolate strawberry, but I settled on strawberry lemon cupcakes. Mostly because I really didn’t want to make them from scratch and although I did have vanilla and yellow cake mixes, I also had lemon. Lemons go well with strawberries – like with strawberry lemonade. Yum.
Here is my recipe for delicious and easy 4 ingredient cupcakes.

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These are my strawberry lemon cupcakes just after the frosting went on. They were so pretty! bucketfulofcrazy.wordpress.com

Strawberry Lemon Cupcakes
1 box lemon cake mix
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups mushed thawed from frozen strawberries
1 teaspoon lemon flavoring (1 cap)

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These beauties were cuter up close.
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Mush up the strawberries well, I used a potato masher in a big 4 cup measuring cup and it worked great. (1 1/2 cups was the total of water and oil required by the mix. If your mix is different, use that amount). Pour the cake mix in a big bowl, pour in the strawberries, add eggs and lemon flavoring. Mix well.
Scoop into cupcake lined tins. Bake 15 minutes, or the low amount listed on your box.
Let cool.

I would love to share the frosting recipe, but it melted into a gooey mess. (It started with store frosting… therein lies the problem!) Perhaps if you frosted it with vanilla frosting and either filled with mushed berries, or drizzled with mushed berry goo it would do well?

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After 2 hours of hanging out in the carry container (not outside… in the classroom!), they looked like this. I was heartbroken, and NO ONE wanted to touch them. I think 3 or 4 people tried one. Besides me, of course.
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At least it tasted good!

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They were so good, even if I did have to eat them with a fork! bucketfulofcrazy.wordpress.com

One Little Thing… Sweet Crescents

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Yesterday I was in a breakfast mood that didn’t include a Slim Fast Shake or cereal. Again. I was really craving cinnamon buns but had none in the house. So I peeked in the fridge to see what I DID have, and came up with a brilliant idea.

(I haven’t checked Pinterest yet to see if it exists already, be right back! Nope!! Moving on.) I did this two ways in my experimenting. I took 1 package of crescent rolls and half were separated into the regular triangles, the other half was halved again to form 2 squares. The square ones had to go back in the oven a couple times, so I really prefer the regular crescent ones.

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These Sweet Crescents take 3 little things and turn them in to a whole whack of delicious!

Sweet Crescents

1 package crescent rolls

cinnamon (maybe 1 tsp total)

8 Tbsp leftover maple cream cheese frosting (recipe to follow)

Preheat oven to 375 (or as directed on crescent roll package).

Separate crescents and sprinkle with cinnamon.

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Unroll, sprinkle, squeeze, roll.
Easy peasy!

Squeeze about 1 Tbsp of frosting along big end of crescent.

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Rolled up and ready for a suntan.

Roll as normal.

Bake for 10 – 12 minutes.

Let cool (VERY IMPORTANT – those things are HOT!!!).

Enjoy.

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This, my friends, is 4 bits of goodness.
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Also, I saved one for later and it was a little deflated but really very good. Like something from a pastry shop. SO good.

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This was one of the square pastries that didn’t make the cut. Sadly, it had to get eaten as punishment. bucketfulofcrazy.wordpress.com.

Maple Cream cheese Frosting

This is what I use on buttermilk cupcakes and top with bacon. I’m sure any other frosting would work too. Bet chocolate would be awesome! Oooh, or Nutella! Anyway…

1/2 C butter, softened

8 oz cream cheese, softened (I use 1/3 less fat and it is fine)

1-2 tsp maple flavor (near the vanillas)

4 C powdered sugar

milk as needed

Cream together butter and cream cheese. Add maple and sugar (in increments, otherwise you’ll wear it). Add 1 Tbsp of milk if needed for consistency.

I load mine into a gallon size zipper bag (held up by a big tumbler cup because it’s easy to spoon in that way), snip the tip and frost my cupcakes. I put the whole gallon bag into a smaller zip top bag to save any leftovers. This keeps quite a while in the fridge.

One Little Thing… Weekly Menu Plan

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One of the things that I must each week is plan my menu for the next week. I have gone through a few different ways, all of which really work for me, to make and post the menu.

I have a weekly tear off on my Mommy calendar hanging on the fridge that combines both traditional calendar with by-person planner, with an extra line for my menu for the week. It is really how I started with the menu planning, because it let me see what is going on each day as I decide what to make. For instance, on my 10 hour hospital clinical day, I can choose leftovers or Jake cooking something, because I am wiped afterwards. If it is a day that one of the boys is spending the night elsewhere I can plan something that they don’t like, but the rest of us do so everyone is happy. The downside is that it’s big and a little unwieldy, so I have slacked on using it. I still jot down stuff in the top bit of real calendar because it’s easy to get to and easy to remember since it’s on the fridge. It it comes to a time where each person has a lot of things to remember for themselves, I will go back to it.

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A calendar like this with a line for each person (and an extra for Menu in my home) is a great way to see what’s gong on if everyone has different schedules, or schedules that change.

Another way I choose what we are eating, and always post the menu, is my dry erase board. I love this for a few reasons. First, you can see it from the table and anywhere else in the kitchen so I (mostly) don’t get asked THAT question anymore. I also love that it has my freezer inventory list attached to it so I can see what I have when making the menu, which helps save time and money. Better to use whatcha got instead of buying stuff you don’t got. I try to buy big when sales are good, so shopping my freezer helps me get the best price for my meals.

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This is a way that everyone can see what we are having and I can see what we need!

And finally, the new way I have been planning, has been with sticky notes on my Day-Timer ruler thing, I started using the little tabs a couple weeks ago, and kept them as the week passed. Then, while I was waiting for a store to open, I filled out a bunch more with meals that my family likes. Now what I have been doing is emptying the old week, putting those tabs on the Day-Timer folder they live on, and picking new meals for the next week. Once I got home, I put the meals on the dry erase so everyone can see it, and also making sure I have all the meat that I need for the week, and if there is any other items that I need for the meals. In this case it was potatoes and French bread for the sloppy Joe boats.

I use the ruler in my Day-Timer so I can see what we are having when I'm not at home.

I use the ruler in my Day-Timer so I can see what we are having when I’m not at home.

The beauty of this is many-fold. I don’t waste tabs because I reuse the ones I have, it is easy to weed out stuff my family doesn’t like or add new things to try, and its portable.

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Using and reusing tabs makes quick work of figuring out a menu plan for the week.

Do you plan a menu? How do you do it?

One Little Thing… Outta the freezer

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Last night I grabbed a bag of cilantro lime chicken out of the freezer. I intended to make it on Wednesday, but the kids ate with their grandparents and I wasn’t going to make a big meal for just the two of us. At 10 I put it in the crock pot, should be ready at 6. That’s the beauty of these crock pot freezer meals.

Pull it out to defrost. Empty bag into crock pot. Turn it on. Wait. Serve.

Easy peasy!

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We’re currently in the wait portion of the meal. Fingers crossed that the hubby and kids like it! Now to get some cleaning done.

One Little Thing… Get To Know Your Kids

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This is my 6 year old's answers. He's pretty funny, and enchanting.

This is my 6 year old’s answers. He’s pretty funny, and enchanting.

I decided a couple months ago to get to know my kids with a 20 Questions inspired by a post on Reaves, Party of Four. I really loved that idea, and I wanted to recreate it on my own. I was just starting to play with some new found fonts, but I had a blast asking these questions and hearing their creative and, uh interesting answers!

Jake is 11, dramatic, funny, full of himself, and sweet.

Jake is 11, dramatic, funny, full of himself, and sweet.

I sat with them at the dinner table when they were finishing diner and I had already finished (slow, those two!) and started asking these questions. I asked Jake if he wanted to write his own answers and he said no. I don’t think Sean could swing that much writing yet, maybe next year! I would like to do this every year, perhaps on their birthdays. It will go well with their birthday morning photo! Tradition… I like it.

So do a little something to make your Mommy heart swell – get to know the little people living with you!

One Little Thing: Local (yummy) fun!

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I love that this is what $2.50 of hand picked strawberries from a local farm looks like!

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My 6 year old had a blast picking the biggest and best berries and talking (a lot) to everyone else there. We got enough to fill two paper box tops, this is mine and my mother-in-law got the other one. 11 pounds for $5.50. Can’t beat it!

Does your area have a place to pick berries, or apples, or veggies? Take advantage, support the locals, enjoy the fruits of your labor!!