Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Strawberry Cream Trifle

So my favorite place to eat out, when I am lucky enough to go out, is The Olive Garden. I LOVE that place. I have only a couple of things I eat there, I am so adventurous.:-)
One thing that I REALLY, REALLY love is a strawberry dessert that comes in a little dish. It only take me a few bites to eat it all up....the name of the dessert escapes me. It has strawberries and syrup and white chocolate pudding in it. It is so good.

Well, because I am so desperate creative I have come up with my own version, a copycat. We are having some tonight too, since I loaded up on cheap strawberries yesterday.

Excuse the poor lighting in the photos. We have been having some crazy stormy weather today and therefore it was dark outside.

Start by slicing strawberries into quarters and then stir a little sugar in them. I usually cut up about 2 pounds of berries.

Now in another bowl pour in a can of sweetened condensed milk and 1 1/2 C water. Mix it with a whisk.

Add to the milk mixture a box of Cheesecake Instant Pudding.

Whisk it all together and let it set for 5 minutes.
Add 8 oz of whipped topping. You can also whip some cream and use that( it's always better with whipped cream!). Stir it all together well.

Get yourself a pound cake and cut it into cubes. I buy the large cake and let it sit on the counter several hours to defrost.

Now all you need to do is put some cake in the bottom of a pretty bowl. Drizle some strawberry syrup over the cake cubes.

Put some strawberries on top.

Now put some of the pudding mixture on next.

Repeat until you are all done. You can now leave it with pudding on top or smother some more whipped topping on top. Grate some white chocolate for garnish if you are feelin' a little crazy.

Now, isn't that pretty? All that needs to be done is to cover it and put it in the fridge until dessert time. Oh, don't forget to lick the bowl! Yeah, I didn't think you would!

Strawberry and Cream Trifle

1/2 C strawberry syrup
2 pounds Sliced strawberries, sprinkled with sugar
1 prepared pound cake, cubed
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 C water
1 box instant pudding, cheesecake flavor
8 oz whipped topping, plus more for garnish if desired

Combine milk, water and pudding mix in a bowl. Whisk well and let stand 5 minutes. Add whipped topping. Combine well.
Place some cake in bottom of bowl. Drizzle some syrup over the cake. Put some strawberries on next and then add some pudding next, Repeat layers until all gone. Top with whipped topping and grated white chocolate if desired. Store in the fridge.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Pantry

So I have been absent several days. Gosh, darn it life has been busy. What else could I expect?

There have been several days with a husband out of town, then a party to be hosted here, and of course then came Easter.
We have also been finishing up some obligatory testing (don't get me started on my feelings about standardized tests!)...but we are compliant:-)
I have to say that it has been nice to just be us and not be cleaning up EVERYTHING! Laundry has not been done in 2 days!....Tomorrow I will climb the mountainous piles and see what I can tackle.

On another subject, I finally had time to head out and get the pantry stocked up a bit once more. I do keep boxed goodies and conveniences around some what. It is nice when the kids are playing or if we decide to pack up a lunch for the lake to have some items here. I must also brag that we never need to scurry out with the threat of snow to buy food, as is the norm here in Georgia for so many.

So how do I keep the pantry stocked and organized? well I start by having my big sister come visit and get it all organized for me. I then promise to keep it that way. So far, I have:-)

My first stop today was Aldis. Here is a sampling of what I got. Again, we were low or out of many items and the strawberries were on sale for .99 a pound. I will be making a yummy dessert this week and will post it. After we unload groceries I grab my sharpie marker.
When you buy bulk items or items for long storage it is important to mark the date on them. This allows you to rotate the food and always use up what's been around the longest. I even mark the tops of canned goods. For example I bought a case of mandarin oranges today , marked them and moved them to the bottom of my stack of oranges. Yep, STACK. My kids love to snack on these canned mandarins.

As far as essentials and "treats" there are a few items that we larger families should always keep around. Popcorn is one but also rice crispie cereal, marshmallows, rootbeer, ice cream and ice cream cones. It is a rule and I never break such rules, honestly. I do buy Breyers vanilla when it's on sale, and what I mean is I STOCK up when it's on sale. I have 3 freezers:-) I like to also buy the large bucket of neopolitan ice cream for cones in the summer, and my advice is to splurge on a name brand. The cheapo stuff is nasty tasting.

So here are the 2 sides of the pantry. See, sis, it still looks pretty good! Everything is pretty much labeled with a date and stocked on the shelves like a store. See those Quaker Oats? I despise them. I actually ran out of regular oats and panicked because I have NEVER been without oats before. In my haste I went to Costo and bought those Quaker oats. They are blah:-( Fortunately my big sister is bringing me like 50 pounds of regular oats this summer. Speaking of which....
Behind the pantry door is where I keep my buckets of wheat, sugar, flour, popcorn, beans, etc. When you feed this many, it is always cheaper to  buy in bulk and also to COOK DINNER! :-) We do not eat out often at all, and in fact if we do it is usually a cheap pizza. McDonalds will run us $40....I can cook a huge meal for $5.
Well, laundry did not get done today.......

I will keep it real for you and show a smidgen of what piled up over 2 days. I have to add diapers and all of the clothes upstairs to this mountain. Speaking of which, since I started making my own laundry detergent it has saved us a BUNDLE! I have an HE machine and this homemade stuff works great. You can find my recipe HERE. It costs me about $5 for 4 months worth of detergent!

I also must confess that I do keep to myself a couple of treats that as a mom to many, can make even the worst days better. Here they are:

...and they both can be found in my pantry:-)

Tomorrow I will post on what I am cooking this week and hopefully my laundry will be more caught up.
Have a great night ya'll!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sunny Day

The weather was beautiful today! What can I say except we were out enjoying it!

We did start some end of year testing and will most likely take the whole week to complete it all. I personally think that these standardized tests are silly and do not show anything BUT it is a requirement here in Georgia. At least we can take some breaks and enjoy the nice warm air.

Even if  it also requires we pick ticks off the dogs!!!!!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

What a Week!

Sorry I did not update yesterday and again THANK YOU EVERYBODY who donated to Amazima! You all have done something special and it is appreciated. Look for a thank you note in the mail. If you haven't gone to read what Katie Davis is up to, go HERE. She is inspiring.

I have been very busy these last 2 days sewing a quilt and wrapping up the quilt raffle. Oh, and I had 7 kiddos to care for and there was home schooling to be done. Let's add to that some major storms that came roaring through the South!

We decided last night to sleep in the basement (un-finished) because our house is pretty tall and ALL of the children sleep on the top floor. We cleaned the basement up and made pallets. It is nice in that we have a projector movie screen and such down there. After 2 movies we turned lights out.
I have discovered that a couch is NOT wide enough for me and the baby to share. Thankfully the storm brought only rain, rain, and more rain.
By 2:30 am I brought the baby upstairs to my room so he could sleep in his bed. I also carried upstairs Zeb (who had a diaper leak!) and Rose. They both slept in my bed with me. Yep, I am not feeling too rested today so here I am at 10am drinking a coke.:-)

My goal is to have that basement finished by this time next year. It would have been much nicer to have a bedroom, bathroom and some carpet.

Switching topics now. Zeb LOVES bugs! In fact we got some caterpillars this year and they just turned to butterflies this week. We let them go a couple of days ago.  It is not unusual to see Zeb carrying a beetle around or an inch worm. So when I saw him yesterday with a rubbermaid shoe box and a little bug in it...I thought nothing of it. In fact, he played with his "bug" for an hour or so. He came and told me about his bug and I peeked into the box and saw a little black bug. Yep, nothing new here...UNTIL....until his sister got a close look and said, "Zeb has a pet tick!"

Yep, Zeb had been playing with a tiny little tick. So I did what any good mother would do. We flushed the tick down the toilet and of course this made the boy VERY angry. He sobbed and cried.
So I did what any good mother would do.
I asked Journee to go get him a pet cricket from her supply (she feeds them to her bearded dragon).

So Zeb and Rose played with the pet cricket for sometime. I started to feel sorry for the little bug and had them go and feed him to the baby chicks. Put him out of his misery. The baby birds loved him.

The sunshine will be back tomorrow! We will hopefully be outside playing and taking some pictures. I do plan to sew a couple of skirts, but hopefully that will not take too long. Look for some pictures Monday!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Quilt Winner!

Good morning everyone! I have to say that the outpouring of donations was incredible!

I ended up with a total of $865 to send Amazima!!!!!! That is incredible! Thank you, thank you to EVERYONE who gave money!

Here is where you can see what the money will do.

Now....the winner was chosen through and that lucky person is....

Mendie P.

Congratulations Mendie! I will get your quilt in the mail by tomorrow!

Thank you again everyone! Amazima is a wonderful ministry and they will use the money to help many children and women in need.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Last Day for Quilt Giveaway Entries!

Thank you, thank you to EVERYONE who has given to Amazima and have entered to win a quilt! Today is the LAST chance!

Here is a link to learn a little about Amazima and the founder Katie Davis! Please open your hearts and help. Help those that need help, that need a voice, that need so much.
Tomorrow night, I will announce a winner!

Here are some of the Amazima children!!!!!!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Worm Farm

 You have 5 days left to enter to win a quilt!!!!!!!!!!!! Check it out!

So we finally got the worms in for our worm farm. A long time ago we had several of these farms set up for our kitchen scraps. This year we are going to start composting again with worms.
The kids love to pick them up. Who COULD resist?

Zeb could hardly keep his excitement under control. He is soooooo happy that he has a family who has 2000 worms!

Now we just tuck them in some damp newspaper and start feeding them scraps. They will have me some nice compost in no time, and fishing season is just around the corner too! Happy days on Barefoot Farm!!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Adoption, DFCS and My Headache

Here it is!
These are the papers FINALLY filled out and ALL requirements for DFCS to continue with our adoption request. I was so excited to get it all in! It was a PAIN to get it ALL done as many of the forms were the same form only in a different layout. I filled out the SAME information many, many times. We also got our health screenings, drug tests, TB skin tests, rabies updates (for the dogs, of course) and the list goes on and on. DONE! Finished!
Then, of course, my social worker looked at me and said, "I have another form for you to fill out on all of your children."
What??????? I looked at the form and it asks EXACTLY what I filled out on another form. I pointed this out and she agreed but insisted that it is required. So, I guess they need me to AGAIN list down on paper my kids' names and dates of birth and eye and hair color (which is crazy) and their ss numbers, etc.
Then she dropped another bomb. She stated that since we have water near our property (a creek about 50 yards away) we would have to take a water safety course. ****Here is where my head starts to ache****
I was frustrated. I told her that I was sick of these requirements. I pointed out that it was a waste of money and time and reminded her that my husband, who works in the ER as a provider, was required to take First Aid and that it was silly. ***sigh*** What next? What will they require next?
I am honestly ready to throw in the towel. Devin is not discouraged, though. He said we would just do what they want. 
There is no place in this DFCS office to look at situations case by case. They have a box to check off and it must get checked off. This is our government at work.
After my pity party on the drive home, Devin took me for an icecream and told me to chin up or man up or stop whining....something like that. I was pretty busy shoveling ice cream and hot fudge and such in my mouth.
I HAVE decided something though, I should have expected this. I should have seen this coming. It is so very sad to say, but I see why so many people decide not to adopt. I see why it is discouraging for so many. I have felt that way and I feel that way now BUT......I know in my heart there is a child who needs someone to press on. Who needs a mom and dad to just suck it up and take a silly water course. Who desperately needs a family to fill out a billion forms again and again so that they can be loved forever. There is a child waiting for me and I know that this crap silly class process will make it all worth it. My child is worth all of this.
So this is my adoption so far. I will stay cheerful and grateful. I will be the lady down at DFCS who is very willing to go the extra mile to find her child. I will be finding a water safety course to take and I will NOT complain because I KNOW my child is worth it.

I want to also THANK everyone who has contributed to my Quilt raffle and donated money for Amazima. Thank you, thank you!!!!!! I have recieved more than what the chip in states as some friends have written me checks! It's not too late to chip in and get a chance to win my quilt. I can't wait to send the money off to Katie! Click HERE to find out more!

Tomorrow I will tell ya'll about what we did today. We had a busy, busy day in the garden and putting together a worm farm. That makes about 2000 more critters in my house. I am sure DFCS would love that!!!! :-)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Few Macro Pictures

These were taken today. Macro photography is tough.....gonna take a ton of practice!

Little bug on Zeb's hand.

Honey Bee on Cherry Blossom

Feral honey bee (?) on cherry blossom.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

It Could Be Vanity

***Please check out the quilt giveaway! Help Ugandan orphans and Amazima Ministries!***

Today my un-exercised , baby making body attempted to run a mile. I have not run in about 15 years, since BEFORE kids.
I am happy to say that I did not require any CPR and that I actually ran a tad over 1/2 mile before having to walk. crawl.
So there you go, I am getting in better cardio so that I can keep up with my wild young boys. I am hoping that my belly will also flatten more and that my back side will return. It has been MIA since my fourth pregnancy. So, cardio. It's not all vanity:-)

Today was nice enough to clean chicken coops. It was very windy too, but I managed to take my newest toy outside for a little practice.

I have a new macro lens now. It's a lot tougher than I thought but I will be practicing and reading advice from pros and hope to someday get the perfect honey bee picture.

I would have taken some honey bee shots today but I did mention the wind, right? Well, it makes the ladies quite cranky when it's windy out so it is usually best to give them space on such days.  I had to settle for a dragonfly and tree frog instead.

Last, I want to let you all in on a cool, cool site.
Go HERE and you can see a live camera feed over a hummingbird nest. they are raising 2 babies right now. Yes, the nest is in a rose bush!

Go  HERE and watch a mating Bald Eagle pair! They are hatching eggs and one has already hatched.

This should allow your home schoolers to look up some facts on these birds and also learn a bit about research cameras such as these.

Now time to take some vitamin I, aka ibuprofen, and a hot bath!
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