Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Fully Loaded Tater Tot Casserole (FREE Tater Tot Cookbook Ebook April 25th!!)

It's the age-old question: what's for dinner? This question is followed by: what's for dessert?

Well, now you have lots of options because The Tater Tot Casserole Cookbook is in print version for just $6.49 (free shipping with Amazon Prime!)* so you can hold it in your hot little hands and keep it on your bookshelf. You can also give copies as gifts to friends and family and coworkers and neighbors and your kids' teachers and your mailman or mailwoman and your mechanic and anyone who cooks, which is like EVERYONE!

FREE for download on April 25, 2016!

In the process of making a print version, I made it BIGGER and BETTER for you! I added another tot recipe (Fully Loaded Tater Tot Casserole) for a total of 35 recipes. I asked friends and family and added some dessert recipes for a total of 13 wonderful desserts.

Each of the 48 recipes includes a personal note, and, of course, you still have the tips and funnies.

I've also added some information on meal planning basics since you can't have tater tot casserole every night of the week, right? Right?! Okay, maybe you can.

The Kindle version of the book is only $2.99, and if you are a subscriber of Kindle Unlimited, you can check out up to 10 ebooks per month that are part of the KU program. I always make my books available on the KU program!

I hope you enjoy it and spread the news ... I love reviews, good or bad! And every sale goes toward the "Moving to the Country" fund! Here is a recipe from the book called Fully Loaded and it's a bit different from the other recipes!

You’ll really dig this one! This is the new addition to the cookbook and has all kinds of decadent goodness! I added this one for my son Michael, who is not a fan of ground beef in general!

1 pound turkey deli lunch meat of your choice
2 pounds frozen tater tots
Jalapeno peppers, sliced
Black olives, sliced
1 cup sour cream
Green onions
½ pound of bacon, cooked crisp
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1.         Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray the bottom of a 9 x 13” pan with cooking spray.
2.       Cook bacon until crispy and transfer to paper towels to soak up any grease. Cut up bacon using scissors or chop on a cutting board.
3.       Chop the lunchmeat and place in the bottom of the sprayed 9 x 13” pan so the bottom of the pan is covered.
4.                      Dump out the bag of tater tots over the meat.
5.        Place remaining ingredients, including bacon, in the pan and stir it all up.
6.       Bake at 350 degrees uncovered for about 30 minutes.

7.         Take out of the oven and let cool for a few minutes before serving.

*The print edition got too costly when I tried to put photos in it, so I hopefully successfully made it so if you buy the print book you can get the Kindle version free, which has some fun photos in it. I figured you would rather have a $6.49 print book with no photos than a $17 print book with color pictures. Your order might take longer than 2 days to receive only because it's a print on demand service.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

My Fourth Child's First Communion #CatholicHippieMom

The milestones are just flying by while I'm homeschooling, carpooling, going to track meets and soccer games and practices, going to co-op, running errands, making meals, doing dishes and laundry. FLYING BY! I'm trying to grab on to them and enjoy them as much as I can. Sunday was my fourth kid's First Communion ceremony and my last kid to wear a beautiful white dress and veil and shoes ... which of course then starts me thinking about my kids getting married and then I'm a blubbery mess. So let's get back to the photos of the big day!

Yeah, this one is the WORST for making me cry! Imagine this in 15ish years!

Heading into the church. Her dad and I stood right there in June 1998 watching some of our newly married friends come out of the same church before we were even married ourselves.

Waiting in the vestibule.

She made this at her retreat the day before.

Processing. Not prah-cessing, but PRO-cessing.

She also got to help take up the money!

Waiting for First Communion and a little nervous.

We love Father Saiki!

Grandma Mac!

Bridget, the Director of Religous Education and overall sweetheart.

Eva and Samuel, partners in grime.

Eva Gavin, my Eva's godmother and my friend for 14 years and one of the neatest people I know.

Yes, My Little Pony is on the cake!

Parental units in front of the house.


Thursday, April 7, 2016

Remodeling a Kitchen on a Budget Without Losing Your Sanity #DIYKitchen

Just kidding! Some sanity was lost, but not much. Nobody was injured in the making of our kitchen, the dream kitchen for some fabulous person in the future. Thought you'd want to see some pix. There is already some interest in purchasing our home so bring on the bidding war ... we are hoping to get half a mil for it so we can find our dream property in the country on 10 acres complete with butler, cook, and personal trainer so TELL YOUR FRIENDS about our lovely home on the corner across from an elementary school at 9028 Grant Street in Overland Park, KS!!! (I put the address because I like to Google addresses I find on Realtor.com or Zillow and there's never anything cool or personal about them ... and I want potential buyers to know we put a lot of love into this kitchen to make it nice for them and that we believe in karma and did not create a crappy product just to hurry up and move!)


Here is my wonderful husband's handiwork. Countertops bought at Home Depot and installed by TopMaster and they did a great job. Undermount sink so I can wipe junk right into it and not into my hand ... woo hoo! New faucet. New hood. Newish gas stove and dishwasher. New backsplash, which took Aron all weekend to put in and looks amazing. Yeah, I know the white fridge doesn't match, but the buyer can move their own stainless one in to matchy matchy.

Aron will make doors for the pantry and redo the floor to be some sort of wood or lookalike ... I don't know what I'm talking about.


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

April 6 is National #Walking Day! My Walking Story

My awesome new shoes from Elite Feet in Leawood, KS that practically cured my plantar faciitis, which I was worried would keep me from walking anymore. Mention my name and I get a $10 credit!
Back in the 1990s, before I became a mom, I really enjoyed walking to lose weight, to feel good listening to music and talk radio and to just get away from work on my lunch break. I just always felt better after a walk. It all started when my mom took me on a few walk and talks. My dad walked for a living as a mail carrier. Then I met a man coming out of my abusive marriage and his name was Steve Walker. No joke. His mother would walk the number of miles equal to how old she was going to be each year. So if she was going to turn 75 on Sunday, she would walk 75 miles from the previous Monday through Sunday. That’s over 10 miles a day! 

The day came when she talked us into doing a 5K with her in the cold. A 5K is only 3.1 miles … totally doable for many people. Keep in mind I was 23 years old, so walking 3.1 miles on Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza should have been no problem. Let’s just say I was a bit sore because I wasn’t used to walking so much. Even though she has passed on and Steve and I only lasted a couple of years, what she did never left my mind.

I met my husband Aron in 1995, we married three years later and had our first child in 2001. In the years before I became a mom, I walked a few 5Ks for various causes (one with my friend Shelley for breast cancer) and walked on my lunch break from work quite often. Sometimes I would walk around the park behind our apartment.

October 2000 found my husband and I walking a half marathon (13.1 miles) in Downtown Kansas City after zero training and coming straight back from a two-week New England vacation. Little did we know our son Joel was walking with us in my womb! I was proud that I had gone from walking 3.1 miles at age 23 to 13.1 miles at age 29. Yes, I was sore by the end but it was so worth it! 

So why didn’t I keep it up? Why didn’t I prioritize my health, as well as something I loved doing? It was like a hobby that kept me healthy in body and mind. And I just stopped doing it.

Well, I fell in love with mothering like falling off a cliff … I was all in and there was no way back for me. I was a breastfeeding, cosleeping, diaper-changing, puke-cleaning, cloth diaper-washing, baby-holding machine. My son Joel was very fond of being held and I was fond of holding him, so putting him in a stroller often made him cry. I did not want him crying so I just skipped strollers altogether most of the time.

I should have left the house alone for a 20-minute walk sometimes but I was a new mom and didn’t trust just anyone to care for my baby. Besides, when I was out of his smelling range, he would cry. Again with the not wanting him to cry. It was just easier to stay home and with him, I reasoned.

When I was pregnant with our second child, Michael, I got the chance to go to California with Joel and my husband for his work. I walked around an office park pretty much every day just to have something to do and Joel did just fine in the stroller as a toddler with some Cheerios and a sippy cup. 

We added four more kids to our family and rarely would I go on a formal walk. Walking around the zoo or a nature park or to the park, sure. But it was not often that I would put on my headphones and tell my husband I was heading out for 20 minutes, because my kids were all attached to me and I didn’t want to leave them anyway.

I walked a 5K with my son called Battle of the Bean a couple of years ago and it was amazing! They are for a good cause but they can get costly. These days I’ll pick a kid who wants to come walk with me and we just go for 20-30 minutes. We chat, we learn the days of the week, we gripe, we just hang out. It rocks.

Mostly I head out alone for 30 minutes to return a RedBox or a library book or hit the grocery store. When summer hits I'll walk as early as I can in the morning then maybe again at night with my husband or with a kidlet. When it's warm I wear my OOFOS sandals because they are like butter on my feet. Check out my review here!

I hope you have a happy walking day ... I'd love to hear your walking story!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Tax Day Freebies 2016 #TaxDayFreebies

Here are some tax-day freebies! Enjoy!

By the way, are your taxes done? Who does them at your  house?

I used to do my own before I was married, then Aron took them over and does them quite well. Even though we get money back on federal for being breeders, he still procrastinates doing the taxes. It's kind of a pain, and I don't blame him. It's nice to lead an uncomplicated life so the taxes are pretty simple.

Those poor rich folks and their complicated taxes ;-)

So, yeah, our taxes have not even been started. We've been busy with this:

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