Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Saturday Morning Traditions! [Buttermilk Pancake Recipe]

Growing up, our Saturday morning tradition was turning on Saturday morning cartoons as it was pretty much the only time we were able to watch TV.

When our oldest was old enough to start eating regular food, we started a different Saturday morning tradition of making buttermilk pancakes.

That tradition has continued on now nearly ever weekend without fail for the last 5 years! The only exceptions are when some of us are sick or we're traveling (and even then we tend to stop at IHOP and eat pancakes anyway).

Of course, now I'm up to making a DOUBLE batch of these to feed the whole clan! LOL


  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 4 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt

Blend all well to ensure no lumps! I use about 1/3 cup of batter for each pancake. Cook over medium heat a few minutes per side (flip when top looks "dry" and after air bubbles have formed and popped).

I don't have a griddle (YET) so I use 2 pans at a time with a tiny bit of PAM so they don't stick.

It really is THAT simple to get fresh, homemade buttermilk pancakes!

*** You can ALSO use this same recipe for buttermilk WAFFLES ***

*** If you thin this with a little extra milk, you can even make some CREPES! ***

This makes about 7 pancakes if you use the 1/3 cup per pancake. You can get more if you make them smaller for kiddos. I also find that the 1/3 cup size fits well in our toaster (you may have to experiment).

I double this recipe now for our big family, but you can easily make half if you're just cooking for 2.

Sometimes, I even TRIPLE this to make extra to freeze! Just pop them in the toaster to defrost/warm up on a busy morning!

Later Taters!

Please take a moment to click on the banners below to vote for my blog! 1 click = 1 vote & you can vote once per day on each banner! Thank you!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

1st Birthday Invitation Bliss - Basic Invite

This is a sponsored post from Basic Invite.

If you've followed my blog for a while, you know we have 5 kids, so saying we've had more than a couple "1st Birthdays" in our house is an understatement! And you would also know that I LOVE to throw an amazing party...

1st birthday parties are the most important, right? You are so excited to throw the best first birthday party for your baby and you want everything to be flawless. You spend hours on Pinterest choosing the perfect theme, you start gathering all the essentials - Party themed tableware - check, balloons galore - check, color coordinated wrapping paper - check, decor (premade or Pinterest-worthy or somewhere in between) - check.

Now, it’s time to invite your guests, but where do you start? Finding the perfect invitation for a party can be a task. You like this font, but that color or this design, but that texture. It can be challenging and downright discouraging.

Let me introduce to you a wonderful stationery dreamland called Basic Invite.

Basic Invite is an online stationery company that has a card for almost every major life moment including personalized wedding invitations, custom birth announcements, and most importantly in this case - creative first birthday invitations.

What is so special about that? Just wait… Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allow customers almost unlimited color options with instant previews online. Instead of being confined to your local stationery store’s limited stock all you have to do is scroll through until you find your favorite design and then customize it into the perfect invitation. It’s that easy. And it’s even more fun than it sounds!

If you are still skeptical about purchasing invitations online - I totally understand. Like me, you might feel a bit nervous that they won’t turn out exactly how you envision them, but that’s just it - Basic Invite gives you the opportunity to order custom samples of the actual invitation so you can see exactly what it will look like and exactly how it will FEEL before making your final purchase.

If that isn’t courtesy, I don’t know what is!

Here are the samples I ordered for Abigail's 1st Birthday! I was so blown away by the quality, it was so hard to choose which one to order!!!

The two sided one left more room for adding party details!

I liked that you can round off the corners on the invitations! 

I really loved this shaped design! {this is also the one I got with semi-gloss paper}

The samples were sent in a package that included the different paper options and colors available so I have a reference point for future orders too!

The Shimmer is gorgeous and I really loved the texture of the semi-gloss!

Colors for every occasion! You can change the paper color, the design colors - the customization is really endless here!

A first birthday is such a huge milestone - the little one everyone is celebrating may not remember the day in it’s entirety, but all your guests who came to celebrate sure will! Choose one of the 40 different colored envelopes and make those invitations REALLY pop right from the start!

RIGHT NOW, Basic Invite is offering 15% off everything right now! Go check out their site and grab the code!

Happy 1st Birthday to your little one and happy customizing to you!

Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own.

Later Taters!

Please take a moment to click on the banners below to vote for my blog! 1 click = 1 vote & you can vote once per day on each banner! Thank you!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


I love history and I'm not sure exactly why, but the Titanic story has always intrigued me. I've read a few different books about it and watched several TV documentaries as well. I guess you could call me a Titanic enthusiast (is that even the right word to use for a tragedy though?)

When I found out there was a Titanic Museum just a few hours away in Pigeon Forge, TN, I jumped at the chance to take my family there to learn even more and see the amazing artifacts recovered from the site of the sinking.

You weren't allowed to take photos inside the museum which I think is only appropriate as it is a somber place and you don't want flashes going off constantly or people blocking the items on display.

Upon our arrival, we were each provided with a "Boarding Pass" with information about an actual passenger aboard Titanic. They had a great audio tour for adults with more information than you can even imagine about the Titanic. There was also a little "scavenger hunt" audio tour for the kids which they loved!

The beginning of the tour, you can sense the excitement as you learn about the design and construction of such a massive ship!

You then follow along in the galleries and learn about some passengers as you view pieces of history. Some (or many) of which you may not have ever heard about before! There are two artifacts right near the start of the tour - one was a deck chair and the other is this suitcase / trunk. As I looked at it I thought about how some people packed their entire life into a trunk and boarded Titanic to come to America.

*** This photo is a scan of a postcard I purchased in 
the gift shop of the Titanic Museum, Pigeon Forge ***

Did you know about the Laroche family traveling from France to Haiti who weren't even supposed to be on Titanic? They had First Class passage booked on another ship that wouldn't allow children to dine with their parents and so they switched their tickets to travel Second Class on Titanic instead. The pregnant wife and 2 daughters survived, the father did not.

Obviously that was just one of many tragic stories about that fateful crossing. Of the total 2,223 passengers and crew aboard the Titanic only 706 survived the disaster.

Passenger Chart from:

There are photos from Father Browne (who traveled on Titanic from Southampton to Queenstown) on display and it gives you a sense of what life was like for the passengers on the ship during the first part of it's journey across the sea. Seeing his photo of a child playing on the deck will make you choke up.

Photo Credit: Father Browne,

This must be one of the best known pictures taken on the “Titanic”. The six year old Robert Douglas Spedden whipping his spinning top, watched by his father Frederic, has attracted the attention of other passengers. 

The museum has a replica First Class Stateroom which looks so luxurious and puts even the nicest cruise ship "suites" to shame! You could also get a feel for the sheer size of the ship when you went into a hallway with a mirror at each end giving the illusion of the endless corridors passengers walked to get to their rooms.

The world's only full scale replica of the Grand Staircase (built from original blueprints at a cost of over $1 million) is also within the museum and where I think I first started to get really emotional. At first feeling overwhelmed at it's beauty and staring in awe for a few moments. As I slowly ascended the stairs however, the joy changed to sadness as I thought about those that walked those steps for the last time the night Titanic sank.

*** This photo is a scan of a postcard I purchased in
the gift shop of the Titanic Museum, Pigeon Forge ***

There were three parts of the museum that will stay with me forever, the staircase being the first. The second was a display that consisted of a replica staircase going to the Second or Third Class levels of the ship. The display shows rushing water coming down those steps. You can't help but feel some of the terror those passengers did that fateful night.

The final part that will stay with me forever is after you go through the replica bridge. You go out into the "icy night" and can touch an iceberg. You can also (if you choose) put your hand in the icy (28 degree) water. It will very literally send a chill down your spine. You truly get the sense of what it would have been like in those final moments before the ship sank...

*** This photo is a scan of a postcard I purchased in
the gift shop of the Titanic Museum, Pigeon Forge ***

As I stated above, photos were not permitted to take photographs inside the museum so I was very pleasantly surprised when we got to the room with THE violin that they were allowing photographs!

When I call it "THE" violin - I mean it literally... THE violin.. the one that belonged to Bandmaster Wallace Hartley. THE violin that played the last song ever heard by those passengers before the ship sank... They said when talking about it that it very likely wasn't a valuable violin for the time - it was likely the least expensive one you could buy back then...

We were told that after the band finished playing, he wrapped his violin in clothes and put it in this case and then STRAPPED the case to his body. He most likely knew he wasn't going to survive and he wanted his most prized possession to stay with him.

And now it is nearly priceless (the postcard I purchased with a photo of the violin states it's valued at $1.7 million) and tells the story of the man who played it, the band that played "til the end" and of those souls who heard it play before they met their tragic end.

*** This photo is a scan of a postcard I purchased in
the gift shop of the Titanic Museum, Pigeon Forge ***

IMPORTANT NOTE!!! The violin will only be on display there until September after which it will go back to Europe and I'm not sure if you'll ever be able to see it in public again,

In the violin room is where we were able to search the survivor list to see if we (the name on our Boarding Passes) survived the wreck. I'm happy to report that all but my husband survived (which was true of many of the surviving families on the actual Titanic).

Our family won't soon forget our incredible experience at the Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge - but we made sure to get some souvenirs from the gift shop along with our photos that were taken along our tour in the museum!

This is well worth going to see. Homeschoolers for sure should go and any Titanic enthusiast of course should go. History is what it is and man learned a tragic lesson that no matter how "mighty" of a ship they build, nothing is unsinkable...

Later Taters!

Please take a moment to click on the banners below to vote for my blog! 1 click = 1 vote & you can vote once per day on each banner! Thank you!

DELICIOUS Black Bean Brownies!

You heard me correctly - BLACK BEAN BROWNIES!!!

Did you know that 1 can of black beans contains only 1/2 gram of fat while providing you with 6 grams of dietary fiber and 7 grams of protein??? Beans are pretty awesome!

BUT, how do you get your family to actually EAT them? My trick is hiding it in YUMMY things!

Our family LOVES these and I love that I get them to eat a little healthier without them even realizing it!


2 15 oz. cans Black Beans, drained and rinsed
6 Large Eggs
1 stick of UNSALTED Butter, melted
1 1/2 Cups of Granulated Sugar
1 tsp Salt
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 Cup of Cocoa Powder
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 cup of  Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease an 9x13 baking dish (I use pam spray and it usually slides right out after it cools).
3. Place beans in food processor or blender with eggs  and blend until smooth.
4. Add all other ingredients to your mixer bowl.
5. Add bean/egg mix to bowl and blend well.
6. Add half the chocolate chips into the batter.
7. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish (get it as even as you can - it's not exactly "easy" to spread).
8. Top with the rest of the chocolate chips.
9. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes.
10. Let cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting into pieces and devouring.
11. Repeat all of the above because there will be NO leftovers ;)

These taste very very rich. There is no need to utilize milk chocolate chips to these as I believe that puts them way over the top. Next time we plan to try it with peanut butter chips though (for at least half of the chips) and I'll let you know how it turns out!

Hey - I never said these were HEALTHY - I said they were healthIER... LOL

Later Taters!

Please take a moment to click on the banners below to vote for my blog! 1 click = 1 vote & you can vote once per day on each banner! Thank you!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Rescuers of the LOST Sippy

Every mom has been there - your child "lost" their sippy. But WHERE is it? In the car or house somewhere usually. I've found them under rear seats of vehicles, wedged under carseats, in cubby bins in the playroom, in the toybox, behind the toilet, in the tub, under beds, in closets, in dresser drawers & even in the recycling bin!

Well, after a certain amount of time (which varies depending on exactly WHAT was in that cup), you begin to think a) that you'll NEVER find it & b) that when / if you DO find it, it's gonna be tossed in the trash because there are just some smells you DO NOT want to smell & the thought of a child drinking from a once-moldy cup is just NASTY!!!

So, at exactly what point does the "search & rescue" mission become a "recovery" effort?

I'll tell you when...

1. water filled sippy - about a week (as long as it was filtered or bottled water) - regular tap water you might have 5 days tops... anything beyond that and it'll be slimy (probably not moldy but why chance it?)
2. juice (or diluted juice sippy) - 4 days max (shorter if it's in a hot car) before mold will set in
3. the dreaded MILK filled sippy - 24 hours indoors (12 in a car during COLD weather, 6 during hot)... milk will become curdled which is just as gross to me as mold

Anything beyond the above timeframes, and I'll be tossing that sippy & sneakily replacing it with an IDENTICAL one to be purchased when the child who lost it isn't looking!

This one for example... has been sitting in our trunk organizer (which was in the HOT van then brought into the house)... I'm not even sure HOW long honestly... but way past the "window" to save it...

It still has MILK in it (or what WAS milk anyway)... EWWWWWWW!!!!

It went in the trash can after I took photos both for this blog post and to ensure I get an IDENTICAL one from the store tonight...

How long after a sippy was lost have you found it (& where was it hiding?)?

Later Taters!

Please take a moment to click on the banners below to vote for my blog! 1 click = 1 vote & you can vote once per day on each banner! Thank you!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

On Wednesdays, We Wear Pink: Chicken Parisienne - CROCK POT MEAL

"On Wednesdays, we wear pink."

Did you get the reference? It's one of the teenager's favorite movies so I've seen it a time or 10...

There IS a bit of truth in it for our family - Wednesday nights are dance class for the preschooler! She's still new to dance, but loves taking Ballet and Tap with Ms. Claire.

So Wednesday nights are hectic (that's putting it quite MILDLY)...the last bus drops off at 4 and we have to be out the door to ballet by 5:15!!! That includes getting changed for class and hair up in a bun before we run out the door too!!!

It's the PERFECT night to have a crock pot meal! The easier, the better on a weeknight (or ANY night) - am I right?

Of course, that means REMEMBERING to throw the food in the crock pot in the morning right? Well, with this recipe, you can remember around LUNCH TIME and still have a delicious dinner!!! SAY WHAT?? Keep reading!



  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cubed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 can (10.75 oz) cream of chicken soup (just the stuff in the can - don't add milk or water or anything else with it)
  • 1 8oz can sliced mushrooms, drained (you can also sub fresh sliced mushrooms)
  • 2/3 cup white wine (I mainly use my favorite Moscato)
  • 1 cup sour cream (added during last 30 minutes)
(Not Pictured: Sour Cream - But don't forget it!!!)


  1. Add all ingredients except sour cream to crock pot and mix well.
  2. Put crock on LOW for 6 to 8 hours OR on HIGH 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours - remember I said you can forget til lunchtime and still have a crock pot meal?
  3. When there are 30 minutes left on the timer (or up to 1 hour if you're cooking it on low), add in the sour cream and mix really well.
  4. Start pot of water for rice (or noodles) at the same time you add the sour cream and the timing will be perfect where it's all done together!
We serve this over rice [I cheat and buy the 10 minute brown rice], but you can also serve it over egg noodles. You can sprinkle a bit of fresh parsley on top for color if you want or leave it plain - our kids don't like "the green stuff".

Of course, we don't make this EVERY week, but we always do a crock pot meal on Wednesdays and as the kids get older and involved in more activities, I see us using the crock pot even MORE.

How often do you make a crock pot meal? What is your favorite?

Later Taters!

Please take a moment to click on the banners below to vote for my blog! 1 click = 1 vote & you can vote once per day on each banner! Thank you!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Eggless Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Do you love the taste of cookie dough, but don't want to risk salmonella?

Well, here you have it folks, cookie dough you can eat by the SPOONFUL!!! (or bowlful - I won't tell I promise - no judgement from me!)

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

It truly tastes as amazing as it looks! My teenage daughter and I made a triple batch because PMS is coming and we're gonna be prepared! LOL!

NOTE: Seeing as there is no ingredient to allow for the cookies to RISE (i.e. baking soda or baking powder) I would think this "cookie dough" shouldn't actually be baked into cookies... but you could try that if you want some eggless cookies also I guess? And, there is a LOT of sugar in this do NOT for diabetics either!!!

Later Taters!

Please take a moment to click on the banners below to vote for my blog! 1 click = 1 vote & you can vote once per day on each banner! Thank you!