Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to everyone!  I hope you have a safe and fun New Year's Eve!!!  I want to thank all of you for your wonderful posts, interactions, and positive comments throughout this year.  This blog truly started, not because of me, but because of a calling I felt.  I hope to continue to grow it as the year progresses. 

I wish for you much love, peace, and happiness for the new year.  And maybe to grow a little in your faith!!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas List Rules

We have new rules at our house this year for Christmas.  I'm not entirely sure how these are going to play out, but I heard them on K-Love and LOVE them!!!!

Each person's list must be divided into four parts:

  1. Something you want
  2. Something you need
  3. Something to wear
  4. Something to read
Santa will choose one thing from each list (maybe more, depending on value).  We've held strong to the three gift rule for several years (thinking Jesus only received three gifts, why would any of us deserve more than Him?) -- but that's kind of tough sometimes.............

I would be curious to know if any of you have ever tried this, or any other manner, of limiting Christmas gifts?  I get so uncomfortable when I realize what is spent each year on Christmas in this country.  I want to celebrate with my family and 

Let me know your thoughts.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude Finale

I knew when the month started that I would have a hard time coming every day and posting something I'm thankful for -- not that I didn't have 30 things, because I probably have 30 million things.....but rather I knew life would get in the way.  But I decided early on I wasn't going to stress about it.  I would do as I could!  What a concept!

I have a million things I want to say about our weekend away, but I will save that for another day.  Let's just say for now that I am very thankful for our families!  :)

I want to finish up with my attitude of gratitude.  God is so good to us and gives us so many things -- tangible and intangible.  Sometimes we have to step back and realize that everything He gives us is good -- even when it doesn't appear that way.

I've had two seperate things drop into my lap today to share my attitude of I'm going to wrap up with them.

The first is a video, showing that -- silly us -- we think things are always going wrong around us, or we don't appreciate the things we do have.  I LOVE THIS VIDEO!!!  It is SO TRUE.

Everything's amazing and nobody's happy.  That's about right.  :)

Finally, a little paragraph to pull together all my thoughts about being grateful for what we do have.  Thanks to my friend, Beth, for posting this today as a gentle reminder:

"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a c...ompany... a church... a home. The remarkable... thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes.”
Charles Swindoll

Thanks for sharing November's Attitude of Gratitude with me.  I'm hopeful I can continue to count my blessings!  :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday, 11/21 Attitude of Gratitude

I had a very interesting thing happen to me this weekend.  I travelled to Ottawa, Ohio, with my brother, his wife, and a couple of friends to go to the visitation of a family friend who passed away.  Years ago, my brother was in the seminary, studying to be a Catholic priest.  While there, many of the parents of the guys studying at the seminary became close friends.  I don't really know where the name came from (it may have been given to them somehow for all I know), but they called themselves "The Guild". 

Over the years, all of them got together several times a year.  Sometimes to go to dinner, or a dance (I know the Inca Ball was one of the fundraisers they supported), or to celebrate their anniversaries.  They spent many, many weekends up at "the river".  It took me many years to figure out what river they went to.  :)  It was the Ottawa River.  :)

When Duane entered the seminary, I was only 2 or so years old.  (So I really don't remember ever living with my brother -- isn't that odd?).  Eventually, as this group got closer and closer, they began to bring their kids to some of the events, which was neat, because I got to make some friends.  Little did I know at the time that some of them would become lifelong friends! 

The older we got, we saw each other less and less frequently all the time.  We grew up, went to college, got married, had kids......the old story that "life" got in the way.  However, our parents all still got together.....maybe not as frequently as they did in their younger years, but did as often as they could and still had some serious laughing fits when they did!  I loved watching this group.  The older I got, the more stories I heard.....and man, did they have some fun!  I'm surprised they weren't kicked out of some of the hotels they were in!

Now, it seems, we only see each other at funerals and viewings.  Each time, we get together and say, "We need to do lunch."  And then life gets in the way again.  As my cousin Janet said last week in her talk to our CCD class, "Don't say it if you don't mean it!  Don't say, 'Let's do lunch' if you have no intention of following through."  And she's right. 

So, Mary Kay and I are going to lunch.  Soon.  She only lives in Ottawa, for goodness sakes!  Not across the world!

So, today I am thankful for my old (even though she isn't old, our friendship is!) friend, Mary Kay.  And really, it's not for any of the reasons I mentioned above.  She said something to me yesterday, when I was at the funeral home to console her on the loss of her father, that took me back.  She nailed a trait in me that even I had never figured out.

As I was walking through the line, giving everyone a hug and sharing my condolences, I found myself crying.  Not a surprise if you know me, but I really do try to hold it together when I am the one who is supposed to be showing support.  :)  I got to Mary Kay and apologized for crying.  I said, "But I"m here for you!" to which she replied........

"You have never liked good byes your whole life.  When we would get together as little girls, when it was time to go, you would just disappear.  No hugs, no good byes -- you would just get in the car and wait for your parents."

And you know what?  She is absolutely, totally right.  I remember those times.  I would beg my parents not to leave because we were having such fun and....I didn't want to say good bye.

What's amazing about this revelation is that this is a woman that I have not seen on a regular basis in over 20 years -- I would say 30, but that might show my age :).  She picked up on this and was able to share with me.  Amazing.

I remember we would go to visit my cousins and I would cry all the way home to Botkins from Ft. Recovery........because I didn't want to say good bye.

I know that when our extended family gets together, very often I'm misty on the way out the door to leave.....because I don't want to say good bye.

Good byes are a huge part of our lives!  We leave certain people every day (our kids and husbands in the morning, leave our co-workers in the evenings, etc.).  Some good byes are certainly easier than others.

But final good byes, as we say to the dearly departed, are still really hard.  We want to hold hands with our loved ones forever.  We want to always have them in our grasp.

Soon enough, they will be in our grasp again.  Our time and their time in heaven are measured in two very different ways.

I know I'm at an age where I'm going to be saying a lot of good byes in the coming years ......but somehow I don't see them getting any easier.

And Mary Kay, thank you for noticing something about me that I hadn't noticed myself.  And for that, I owe you my attitude of gratitude.  Lunch soon?  I think yes.  I'll even buy.  And probably cry all the way home.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Today's attitude of gratitude....

I have a couple of choices today, but am going to go "in order" so my brain can keep track.  :)

Today, I want to express my utter thankfulness for our Pope, Cardinals, Bishops, Priests, deacons, seminarians, religious brothers and sisters, and any other consecrated religious.

As I said before, two of our girls went to NCYC this week (see next post if you missed it!).  I went four years ago, and Emily and Sarah went 2 years ago......and this year it was Emily and Becca's turn to go.  I have not been volunteering to chaperone, because I want others to have the same opportunity I had four years ago.....but man, did I miss it this year!  :(

It's at this conference that our kids, among many many other things, are granted exposure to many "religious" people.  After the morning session on Friday, our bishop asked the kids and chaperones from our diocese to stay after so he could spend some time with him.  He wanted to meet them and had a question and answer session.  Among the many questions asked, one of the kids asked him, "If I see you on the street, or around here, how do I address you?"  He mentioned that his mom calls him Joe, but he will answer to anything -- Bishop Joe, or Bishop Binzer.  It was a very unique opportunity for him to get to know the kids and hopefully help them realize he is a person like all of us.  He just has a different dress code!  :) 

Here's a picture of him with some of the people from our parish.  Our group wore pumpkin hats, and made buckeye necklaces to share (all the groups bring trading items -- it's a really fun tradition). 

I'm always praying for vocations, and I truly feel moments like this certainly cannot hurt, if anyone is considering religious life.  Somehow, once you meet someone, it is easier to ask questions, etc. 

Emily had the unique opportunity while there to bump into a religious brother.  He asked if they were from New Bremen and when they said yes, he mentioned that he was from Minster (the next town over from us).  I asked her a few questions, and was able to figure out that it was Brother Spieles, whose mother is a friend of mine!  What a beautifully small world we live in.  Chance meeting?  I think not.  :)

Perhaps one of the most visible people of the weekend was Bishop Coyne of the Indianapolis Diocese.  He celebrated the closing mass on Saturday evening.  It was amazing watching the procession -- 175 seminarians, 250 priests, 30 deacons, and 8 bishops.  INCREDIBLE!!!  He was the primary celebrant, so gave the homily -- which knocked it out of the park.  He discussed doing for others and not centering on ourselves......which is what a lot of the weekend was all about.  One of the neatest things he did was to ask everyone at the end of mass to pull out their cell phones and text "Called to Glory!" all at once.  I was watching the mass online, but did go to Facebook during that time to watch the statuses light up.  Totally awesome!  :) 

I'm thankful every day for our priests and deacons.  But sometimes, it takes an extraordinary event such as this to help me realize just how much!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

So sorry -- attitude of gratitude in catch up mode!!!!

I knew this would happen --- November is such a busy month for us!!!  Sorry for leaving you hanging without any gratitudes for a while.  I hope you could sleep without knowing what I'm thankful for!

If I counted correctly, I last posted on 11/11, which would meant I owe 8 gratitudes.  Where do I start?

1.  My friend, Melissa.  She deserves her very own number.  She was such a great friend to me when the twins were born -- helping me many times when I couldn't see straight, coming over to chat, whatever.  She has since moved from New Bremen, but we still try to see each other as often as possible.  Unfortunately, her mother passed last week.  But, I must say that the homily at the funeral liturgy was phenomenol.  I chuckled a bit when the priest mentioned that Melissa's mother was "perfectly imperfect".  I didn't have to wonder long which of her children mentioned that!  I find it awfully wonderful to realize sometimes that God really does have an ultimate plan if we just go along with it.  Some of the words at the retreat really touched Melissa, enough to bring things into perspective for her.  It was beautiful!

2.  Our little community of New Bremen.  Last week, we had the annual German Family Christmas.  It's a time to get out and about and "shop locally".  We had a blast going from store to store seeing what was all available, looking for bargains, etc.  We really do have neat shopping around here, and I appreciate it!!  I REALLY appreciated my chair massage from Linda.  Can we do it all over again???  :)

3.  I'm thankful for the constitution and the laws that uphold it.  Specifically, last week we were very thankful for the ability to cast our vote (even though I couldn't vote in the two elections I wanted to!) to elect our officials, and vote for or against issues that will affect our every day lives.  Personally, I'm proud of my brother, Duane, who was able to hold his seat as Municipal Court judge for Shelby County.  I couldn't help but think of my parents who would have been so so proud of him!

4.  Our extended families -- the Kaisers and the Goettemoellers.  I love the closeness we all feel and the knowledge that if and when we need someone, they will be there.  I enjoy travelling with all of them, and look forward with great anticipation to the times that we spend together.  I'm also amazed at how much food we consume when we are all together.  As my sister-in-law said, you really must plan 4 meals per day!  LOL

5, 6, 7 & 8 -- Because all of this kind of rolls up together.  Emily and Becca are in Indianapolis this week with others from our church, at NCYC, which is the National Catholic Youth Conference.  It's a biennial event that they always look forward to with such great anticipation!  I'm thankful for Robin, our youth coordinator, who started taking kids several years ago (with two or three the first time! -- and who took over 40 people this time!).  Her willingness to share so much time with them and allow them to grow by leaps and bounds in their faith is awesome.  I'm thankful for the chaperones who went along -- they are also awesome to give of their time to help keep our kids safe (and hopefully grow in their own way a little, too!).  I'm thankful for the National Federation of Catholic Youth Ministry, who sponsors this event.  With over 23,000 people in attendance, I'm pretty sure there is a lot of planning that goes on!  I would guess that planning for the 2013 event is already in progress!  I'm thankful for the emcee, the music people, the presenters, the priests who come out (mass tonight is supposed to be awesome with the number of priests, bishops, seminarians, brothers, etc. present).  I'm thankful that our parish priest took time from his busy schedule to go to Indianapolis and spend some very quality time with our youth.  I think that's an important piece of growing in faith is the comfort level with your priest or rabbi or pastor or whomever leads your church, and I am thankful that he recognizes it as well.

Man, that's a lot of thankful!  :)  Thanks for hanging there with me.  I can already promise you that this week will hold a couple of combined posts as well.  :)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Friday -- 11-11-11

Today, I am, as many are -- very thankful for our vets.  I appreciate their willingness to sacrifice and serve our country.

I think of my dad, who served in the Korean War.  I wish he would have shared more stories of that time, but he never had the desire to. 

I think of my relatives and friends who have served -- and thank them many times over.

My nephew, John, is getting ready to head to Afghanistan within the next couple of weeks.  I applaud him, along with everyone going with him, and already there (as well as already home!) -- it has to be scary to do that, but they go in with their heads held high, knowing they have a job to do.

I've also learned through this process to be thankful for the spouses who stay behind to run the household.  It can't be easy to be without your loved one for that long, so I am impressed.

I am thankful that I live in the United States of America -- land of the free and home of the brave.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tonight's thankfulness

Today.....I'm thankful for the teacher's in our schools, and every school.  It can't be easy to figure out how each and every student learns, and help them to learn and be their very best.

We had parent-teacher conferences tonight.  It's always nice for us to have time to sit and talk with the teachers, and our kids, about what they are learning in school.  It gives us an opportunity to discuss issues going on the classroom, and also to commend our kids for some things they are doing right!

Kudos to our teachers for all they do!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude November 9

Tonight's gratitude:  my Catholic faith.

I have always said that one of the things that I LOVE about my faith is that no matter where I am, or where mass is being celebrated, the same things happen at the same time.  Even if attending a mass in a different language, one is able to figure out what it going on based upon what part of the mass it is, the priest's actions, etc.

Well, some "people" -- still haven't figured out who -- guessing the Pope and some Bishops -- decided that some of the wording we were using wasn't an exact translation.  Some languages were saying one thing, while others were saying another.  Still basically the same thing, but not the exact same thing.

So, they did something about it.  Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent (the Sunday following Thanksgiving), we will start to say different things at mass.  Not different meanings, but different words.  It will be confusing for a while, but that's ok.  Change is good.  It will make us think about what we are saying!  Hopefully, we will think a little harder about what we are saying, and take the words to heart more.

We were blessed to have Fr. Larry Tensi come to our church tonight to speak to us about these changes.  He is a very knowledgable priest, but one with a way of explaning things on my level, so I understand -- with just the right amount of humor interspersed in.  I loved his presentation. 

I'm sure we'll still have to consult the worship aid when all of this starts, but hopefully it will all make a little more sense. 

Do this in memory of me.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude November 8

Tonight's gratitude is easy.

I am so glad we live in a country where we are able to have a voice.  A voice in who serves us.  A voice on tax levies.  A voice on unions, and healthcare.  I am so glad.

Folks a long time ago fought for that right for us -- especially as women -- to have that right.  I'm so glad people exercise it!

I had a neat opportunity tonight -- to go to the Board of Elections and watch as the votes came in.  It wasn't quite as glamorous as watching the Presidential votes arrive -- with news reporters with their maps that turn colors as votes are tallied.  In fact, at first we watched the numbers coming in, and then a smart woman near us started counting as the numbers arrived.  LOL

My brother was running for Municipal Court Judge.  He is currently the judge, but had been appointed late last year, so had never been elected to the position.  So, his whole campaign was built on "Keep Judge Goettemoeller" as opposed to "Re-elect" because he had never been elected.  Also, because of that, we had no idea how the numbers would run.

We watched him pull ahead and then pull behind for a bit.  It was definitely a rollercoaster ride!  I would be able to tell what the numbers said based on his face when he returned with another precinct. 

In the end, he won.  Of course I was very happy and proud for him.  But, (and I mean this in all honesty) -- I would have been proud of him if he had been beaten by a lot.  He ran a great campaign.  And he runs a great courtroom.  He's looking out for people there.  He doesn't just hear stories and throw people in jail.  He figures out what is best for them (going to work, being with their family, etc.) and tries to make it work.  He's cut the budget since he's been there -- partially by not putting so many people in jail!

I so wish my parents could have been there tonight.  I felt my mother's presence with me today -- reminding me to be there for him tonight -- win or lose.  But my mom would have been so proud.  And my dad, too.  He missed going to Duane's swearing in by 6 days (he died 6 days prior to Duane taking the bench).  He's done a great job.  (He is, after all, "Our Son".)  LOL

Of course I like the election process because my brother won.  But I've been thinking of this post for hours.  I would have written this even if he had lost.  Because it's a system that works.  I may not always like the outcome, but I may not always campaign as hard as I could for some issues/candidates.  And, if I don't, how can I feel something is wrong? 

So, here's to parades, and shaking hands, and fundraisers -- all in the name of democracy at work.

And congratulations, Duane!  Love you!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude November 7

Today's gratitude probably should have come earlier, but other things worked better on the days I was thankful for them.  Because the #1 thing I am thankful for in my life is the love of my life, Jim.  My husband, my partner in crime, our kids' dad, provider for our family.....the list could go on.

We've had some really high highs (the births of our children come to mind :) -- and some really low lows (a few scary days after the twins' birth, the death of my parents) -- and he has been the voice of reason through it all.  He's been there to hold my hand, give me a hug, or just let me cry -- he's been my rock.

I have never in my life met someone so calm and level-headed.  God certainly knew what he was doing -- much better than I, when we met and fell in love.  I could never have dreamt that I could fall even more in love with him than the day we were married.

But, I have.  And he is there, day in and day out.....when I have crazy ideas and dreams......he either goes along with them, or calmly explains to me why I might want to reconsider.  Even when I know I am right :) -- he there to steer me in the right direction.

I'm sure our opposite personalities have made more than a few chuckle -- I'm a little more outgoing than him :) -- but we really are a great team!

I would never lead you to believe that we have been perfect, but I'm not sure who is.  But I DO know that I couldn't be happier with anyone else in this world -- (even Tom Cruise has proven to have had major faults!  LOL) -- and I'm thankful that God had a plan, and we chose to follow it.

In joining your lives may God grant you both...
Love... to afford each other a special quality of time together. the accomplishments of one another.
Understanding...that your interests and desires
will not always be the same.
Friendship...based on mutual trust. speak of a misunderstanding
and to work on a solution
before the setting of the sun. comfort each other in pain and sorrow. realize rainbows follow rainy days. keep with you part of the child you used to be.
Mirth...from your sense of humor. live each day with the knowledge
that there is no promise of tomorrow.
May God bless you and keep you
in the Palm of His hand.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Today, I'm thankful for.....

Our priests.  Funny story from today -- a couple of our girls stayed at my brother's house last night (in McCartyville).  It had been a while since we had gone to church there, and Fr. John asked me a couple of weeks ago when we were coming back.  So, we thought today should be the day! 

Even with the time change and a few less people to get out the door, we were still cutting the timing close.  But, I had my heart set on going to mass at McCartyville, so off we went.

We walked in (during the first song, of course), and my heart sank.  Where, oh where, was Fr. John?  I looked on the altar and there was Fr. Kyle Schnippel, a priest, originally from Botkins, but whom is now the Director of Vocations for the Archdiocese.  I know Kyle, and generally love Kyle's masses, but was so looking forward to Fr. John's mass, my heart sank. 

And then it began.  The readings, the gospel, all proclaimed by readers and McCartyville's excellent deacon. 

Fr. Kyle took the podium for the homily.  And my heart changed -- he is always an excellent homilist, but today's was extraordinarily good.  I love a homily that makes me think -- even after mass -- and his did just that today. 

I'm still sorry we missed Fr. John this morning (and even more so when I figured out why -- he left for a tour of the Holy Land today -- with my brother and others....I had my weeks mixed up and didn't realize they were leaving this morning!) -- but God is always good.  Fr. Kyle had just what I needed today.

I always say that's what I love about the Catholic faith -- it doesn't matter where or when you go to mass -- it's basically the same (at least the same format) wherever you go.  And sometimes, just sometimes, the unexpected turns out to be a wonderful thing.  As it was this morning.

Thanks to Fr. Kyle, and all of our priests and bishops who provide liturgy, among other things, to help us celebrate the life of our Lord -- and give us the fuel to help us bring His word to the world!

My gratitude November 5

Today's attitude of gratitude is easy.  I'm so thankful for my family.  We had a family wedding today, welcoming Dana to our family.  It was a celebration to beat all celebrations!!!

I had a neat moment when my dad let me know he was in attendance at the wedding .....which made the day even sweeter.

I love my siblings, my nieces, nephews, and in are all the best!!!  Thank God for family!

You don't choose your family.  They are God's gift to you, as you are to them.  ~Desmond Tutu

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude

My thankfulness today is directed at my sisters in Christ.  What I saw tonight was amazing -- 200 women coming together to share their love of the Lord, and to share with one another their triumphs and their struggles.  It was wonderful to see old friends, meet some new friends, all the while watching friends be with one another. 

Jamie Schmiesing -- you are amazing.  You have such a wonderful peaceful presence, and tell such a beautiful story like no other.  Your family is so lucky to have you as their wife, mother, and center of their lives!

To the women who planned this -- Robin, Tess, and Kim -- amazing foresight on your part.  People want this and need this -- thank you for taking the time to put it together.  What a gift.

To my friend, Melissa -- thanks for your help tonight.  I truly couldn't have done it without you!

Alicia -- thanks for bringing your wine.  That was so fun!  You are such a great friend.

I am already looking forward to next year's program.  Can't wait to see what it holds!
Many people asked me tonight for a copy of my handouts at the retreat.  Here they are, copied and pasted from a Word document (so you could copy and paste them right back into a word document and print them!)  Sorry, I can't attach a word document here.

Had a great time tonight -- will write more later (may be Sunday, as tomorrow is an extremely busy and exciting day!).

Quick, Easy Meals for Busy Moms!


Pam Kaiser
Pantry Basics:
Group 1:
Pasta (noodles, spaghetti, etc.)
Rice (white, long grain, wild)
Vegetables (frozen, canned)

Group 2:
Spaghetti Sauce
Creamy soups (mushroom, chicken, celery, cheese)
Ranch Dressing

Group 3:
Group 4 (optional):
Add any spices that may enhance the meal, or special tastes that your family might like.
To make an easy casserole, pick one item from each list.  Mix together – may want to add cheese or top with cheese.  Bake at 350 (if meat is already cooked) for 30 mins.  Add a salad or fruit and dinner is ready!

To Die for Crock Pot Roast
  • 1 (4 -5 lb) beef roast, any kind
  • 1 (1 1/4 ounce) package brown gravy mix, dry
  • 1 (1 1/4 ounce) package dried Italian salad dressing mix
  • 1 (1 1/4 ounce) package ranch dressing mix, dry
  • 1/2 cup water
Place beef roast in crock pot.
Mix the dried mixes together in a bowl and sprinkle over the roast.
Pour the water around the roast.
Cook on low for 7-9 hours.

Easy Cheese Soup
2 cans Nacho Cheese Soup
2 ½ c milk
½ pkg hash browns
Mix soup and milk together in crock pot.  Add potatoes.  Cook on low 2-3 hours.  Serve with chopped onions, bacon bits.

Sausage Apple Bake
  • 6 Granny Smith or Jonathan apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 pounds pre-cooked bratwurst or kielbasa
  • 2 teaspoons butter, or to taste
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled, sliced thin
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded, diced
  • 2 zucchini, sliced thin
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella or Jack cheese (optional)
Peel, core and slice apples. Layer apples and sausage on the bottom of a 9 by 13 by 2-inch casserole dish and dot with butter. Then layer the onions, potatoes, bell peppers and zucchini. Bake in a preheated 300 degree oven for 1 hour. Once casserole is cooked, cover the top with cheese and bake until melted.

Cream Cheese Chicken

--1 can cream-of-something soup
--1/2 cup chicken broth
--frozen chicken pieces
--packet of Italian salad dressing mix
--2 cloves minced garlic
--block of cream cheese (to add later)


Put everything except for the cream cheese into the crockpot. Cook on low for 6 hours, or until the chicken is cooked through and begins to shred. Shred the chicken with two large forks, and mix in the block of cream cheese. Switch the crock to high and cook for another 30 minutes, or until the cream cheese is fully melted.
Serve over pasta.

Chicken Pammy

1 box chicken Stuffing
½ c. butter or margarine
6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup (Regular or 98% Fat Free)
1 c. sour cream
Swiss Cheese slices
Fresh mushrooms (optional)
·         Heat the oven to 350°F.  Melt butter and mix with contents of stuffing mix.  Set aside.
·         Lay chicken in pan (may want to cut in smaller pieces to help bake faster).
·         Lay swiss cheese slices over the top of the chicken.
·         Slice mushrooms over the top (if wanted).
·         Stir the soup and sour cream in a small bowl. Pour the soup mixture over the chicken. 
·         Spoon stuffing over the top of all
·         Cover the baking dish with foil.
·         Bake for 1 hour or until the chicken is cooked through.  I like to remove the foil the last 10 minutes or so so the stuffing gets a little crunchy.  Let sit for 5 minutes or so before serving.

Pulled Pork
1 pork loin (or any cut of pork roast)
1 bottle of Barbecue sauce (your choice – we like Sweet Baby Ray’s)

Roast meat until done (160 degrees) – about 1 ½ hours at 350 depending, on size of roast.  Remove any fatty pieces.  Shred with two forks.  Pour barbecue sauce over and mix.  Add a little of the juices from the roasting pan, or chicken broth to make a little soupy, especially if you are adding to crock pot.  Serve on buns. 

Italian Dressing Chicken (Amy Fullenkamp)
Chicken breast for each family member
Pour most of a bottle of Italian dressing
1/4 - 1 cup of soy sauce (to taste)
- this recipe can be put in a crock pot or marinaded and cooked over the grill.  Serve with baked potatoes in the microwave and too easy!

Beer Marinade.
I like this better with Beef.
Add most of a bottle of Italian dressing.
1 can of beer.
Marinade and grill.

Tator Tot Casserole (Amy Fullenkamp)
 (This is Fullenkamp recipe. For some reason, it tastes even better when reheated)
- Mix together one bag of tator tots, 1 bag (2 cans drained) of green beans, 1 can of mushroom soup, 1 lb cooked ground beef, and 1/2 a bag of mozzarella cheese.  Place in 9x13 pan.  Sprinkle rest of cheese on top and bake. 350 for 30ish(till warm and bubbly).

Fiesta Chicken (Amy Fullenkamp)
(This recipe has A LOT of room to play with.) Any chicken pieces - enough for family
1 bag frozen corn
1 bag frozen peppers&onions
1 Jar salsa/ 1/2 can rotel / 1 can rotel (started with salsa when the girls were young and ryan just added hot sauce to his.  Switched to rotel to please Ryan as the girls got older and could handle more
OPTIONAL:   (I have left these out to save prep time)
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp pepper
Shredded Cheese (place over top of the dish at the end)

1)Can be made in crock pot or in 9x13 pan
2) make above and serve over rice
3) Double corn and serve as chicken with corn/salsa side dish
3) Mince up the chicken and return to the mix. Serve with Tortilla chips as a hearty dip
4) Substitute chicken or add black beans to make it heartier and cheaper
5) make in crock pot. Dice chicken and return to crock.  Place cheese in everyone's individual bowl.  Pour mixture over top and stir together to melt cheese.  Makes a tasty quick take on tortilla soup.

Italian Potatoes (Amy Fullenkamp)
 (This tastes amazing like you put a lot of work into it.  However it is really easy. TONS of flavor with little prep work)
- Slice 1 onion and a potato and 1/2 for each person.  Layer potatoes, onions, and Italian dressing into a skillet till full.  Cook on medium heat for about 45 min, flipping as needed, until cooked through.

STEWS! (Amy Fullenkamp)
Probably my easiest, heartiest, stand by meals.
Add a protein - chicken, beef, sausage
Add several bags of frozen veggies
Add water, tomato juice/sauce/paste, or stocks ADD A GRILL MATE MARINADE.  Montreal chicken, garlic and herb, mesquite, etc.  Sure you use half a bottle that costs $2-$3.  However by the time you add all the other spices or bottles of flavors it is really not that expensive.  Plus you know that the spices will taste good.

Also, all you have to do is change one of the things in the lists above to totally change a recipe. Take a soup from broth-based to tomato-based to totally change the taste!  Lots of room to play which makes it hard to get in a rut.
Whenever Kroger has frozen bags of veggies on sale for $1, I stock up!

Skillet Barbecue Meal. (Amy Fullenkamp)
This is the best easiest "homemade" BBQ sauce we have found.  It is a GREAT base and then depending on how you like your sauce (hot, sweet, tangy), it is easy to add a little more of an ingredient to tweak the whole thing.  Family favorite for something a little different.

2 tbs minced onion
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup tomato paste (one of those little cans)
2 tbs brown sugar
1 tbs soy sauce
2 tsp lime juice
dash of salt

Coat skillet with cooking spray; place over medium heat till hot. Add onion and garlic. Saute 1 minute.  Add remaining ingredients to skillet and stire well.  Add a protein (chicken, pork chops) and bring to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until tender.  (20 minute for pork chops, longer for chicken) *this also works great in the crock pot. Just mix everything in the crock and set on low for the day.  AWESOME!  Add some quick microwaved baked potatoes and you have a full meal.
Also free of all top 8 allergens except Soy.
--From Light Cooking for Two.

Another barbecue sauce:
1 can tomato soup
½ c. brown sugar
2 T vinegar
Onion to taste
Dash of Worcestershire Sauce

Mix all together.  I like to put this over leftover hamburgers the next day.  Bake. 
This combination also makes an excellent topping for meatloaf.

Beef and Noodle Toss (Amy Fullenkamp)
Shocking flavor for so few ingredients. I usually make this whenever I see a manager's special on Mushrooms.

8 oz Noodles of choice
1 lb ground beef
1 cup crushed or diced tomatoes
8 oz mushrooms (they suggest crimini or button. I use whatever)
2 tsp minced garlic
1 14 oz can beef broth

1. Cooked noodles and drain.
2. Heat skillet and add meat; cook and drain.  Add tomatoes, mushrooms and garlic.  Cook 5 minutes.  Add broth cook 3 to 4 minutes more until beef is done and liquid is slightly thickened.
3. add cooked noodles to skillet and stir gently to coat.  Heat through and Serve!
--With Gluten Free noodles and the right broth this is free of all top
8 allergens
-- from Better homes and garden but I tweaked the heck out of it to price it lower.  Wasn't going to use excellent cuts of beef or pints of grape tomatoes on my little mouths. :)

Summer Corn Chowder (Amy Fullenkamp)
I make this when corn is in season.  It adds so much flavor I was shocked at the difference the corn stock made!  If I am making this for my family, I make it a bit easier than the recipe calls for.  We have corn on the cob and I save all the cobs.  I make this soup the next day and then add corn that I have in the freezer.  It is all the same I guess but then I don't have to sit in the kitchen cutting corn off the cob - bleh! too busy for that!

6 ears of corn
4 slices of bacon (or chopped ham)
1 onion chopped
4 cups milk
1 tbs cornstarch

1. Put the cobs in waters and sprinkle salt and pepper in a pot with a tight fitting lid over medium-high heat.  Bring to boil, then turn to low, cover and cook for 20 min.
2. In a separate skillet cook bacon/ham and onions until soft.
3. Remove cobs from stock and discard.  Add milk, corn kernels, ham, and onion to the stock and bring to boil.  Lower the heat so the soup bubbles gently.  Cook uncovered stirring frequently until the corn is tender.  About 10 minutes.
4. Whisk the cornstarch in a small bowl with 2 tbs water until smooth.
 Add to the soup; stir until soup thickens, about a minute.  Adjust seasoning as needed and serve!

Egg Casserole


  • 12 eggs, beaten
  • 2 c. milk
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground breakfast sausage
  • 16 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
  • 7 slices white bread, torn into pieces


1.      Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2.      Brown sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drain off grease, and set aside to cool. Pour the eggs into a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish.
3.      In a separate large bowl, combine the sausage, bread and 12 ounces of the cheese. Mix well and pour this into the egg mixture. Top with the remaining 4 ounces of cheese and cover with foil.
4.      Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 15 minutes, uncover, and bake until casserole is golden brown and bubbly.
***you can substitute other meats if you want (bacon, ham, etc.) and cheese as well (swiss, provolone) as your family likes.

Brownie Bites

1 pkg. brownie mix, mixed according to package directions
Minitature Reese Cups, unwrapped, frozen

Mix brownie batter according to package directions.  Fill mini muffin pans about ½ - 2/3 full.  Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees.  Immediately upon removing from oven, insert a Reese cup in the center.  Let sit for 10 minutes or so until cool.  Using a plastic knife, circle around the cup to remove.

Father’s “Salad”
A priest friend shared with me that his mom always told him salad was good for him because it was colorful, and colorful was good!  So, he started to volunteer to bring salad to gatherings – he thought it was easy to make, and everyone seemed to like it.  It IS colorful!!!  J

1 pkg. plain M&Ms
1 pkg. peanut M&Ms
1 pkg. peanut butter M&Ms
Any other flavors of M&Ms that you can find and enjoy – add a bag of them!

Pour all into a bowl and toss gently.  Serve and enjoy!

My favorite cooking websites: (they have an area where you can put in ingredients you want to use and it will come up with recipes that you might like – I love this!)

A favorite family prayer:
God is great, God is good, and we thank him for our food!  Amen.

Enjoy your mealtimes together!!!  Make memories!  Make the dinner table an argument free zone, so that everyone enjoys the time together.  Instead, make memories!