Sugar Cookies

On Sunday, I got a rare and special treat. It was just me and Dakota. This never happens. My two youngest girls were at a sleepover and my oldest daughter went to work with Daddy that day. So it was just me and my boy. We went to breakfast at Dunkin Donuts and then came home to bake some cookies. All Dakota wanted was Christmas Tree Cookies with green sprinkles like on Blues Clue. And being that kind of Momma that’s exactly what he got.

Now I can’t take credit for this recipe as being my own. But it is the best recipe I have found for sugar cookies. I found this recipe on Pinterest. Check it out here.

Here is some pictures of how our cookies turned out.

growing a large family Growing a large family Growing a large family Growing a large familyGrowing a large familyGrowing a large family

Not only are they pretty but they were very tasty too.

Also check out my post from last year about my favorite childhood Christmas Cookie Here.

 

I am thankful….

I am thankful that my Hubby puts up with me as much as he does. I do love him even if I did say I wanted to buy a donkey and name it Babe (my pet name for him).

Growing a large family

I am thankful for my kids. Parenting is stressful, tiresome and some days down right awful. But without them I don’t what I would be doing or who I would be. I was meant to be a mom.

Growing a large family

I am thankful for my family. Sometimes they are stupid, crazy or weird. And some of them are all of the above all at once, but how would I know how to be normal if I didn’t have something to learn from. (To all the family members that read this, that wasn’t meant for you. Nope would never say that about you.)

Growing a large family

I am thankful for being able to homeschool and being able to have a homestead. I guess that falls under being thankful for my Hubby since he works very hard so that I don’t have too.

Growing a large family Growing a large family

I am thankful for my Autistic daughter. I am thankful it is only that and not anything worse. I have friends who are dealing with the possibility of death as an end result for their children’s condition. And I am very thankful that my daughter can walk, talk and function at a higher ability than some with this diagnosis. I know it could always be worse.

Growing a large family

I am thankful for my grandparents. Without them, I wouldn’t be half the person I am today. They stepped up and made sure I had a stable home and a place to call home. For that I am forever thankful. Even though 2 are gone, they are never far from my heart or my thoughts. I am an introvert like my Grandma. I only keep a few close friends. I am a farm girl like my Grandpa. And also got his love of Country Fried Steak and dumplins.

Growing a large family

I am an animal lover like my Grandmom and also got her need to feed and take care of people. My Grandmom was a picture of grace until you got on her bad side. Then the gloves were off. I feel like I am like that. I will always be polite, even to someone I don’t care for, but if you insult me or my family, you better watch out.

 

 

 

 

I have my Grandaddy’s sense of humor. In fact, I was just telling my hubby and kids that my Great-Grandmother (his Mother in law) never liked Grandaddy because of his sense of humor and the way he would eat his food. Like fried chicken, she always used a fork and knife, where Grandaddy would pick it up with his fingers. I notice my hubby using a fork sometimes where I am like it’s finger foods, I’m using my fingers! So in the end, I am convinced that my great-grandmother wouldn’t like me either. And especially not now that I named 2 different chickens after her. See there’s that sense of humor I was talking about. He also taught me about love and devotion. Seeing him still committed to my grandmother after she has been gone almost 22 years is inspiring. You don’t see love like that nowadays and I hope my marriage is just like theirs, Strong and withstanding time.

Growing a large family

So what are you thankful for?

 

This post is partying over at Simple Blog Hop

 

 

 

Holidays upon us..week 7

Well it is here. The holiday craziness is officially upon us. I know I am a little behind because of illnesses and remodeling. Yes, we decided to remodel in the middle of the holidays. We did the same thing 4 years ago too. We are just crazy like that. But thankfully it is done and now I just have to reorganize my house. I am also writing this while dealing with a very sick little girl and a million things on the to do list. But I always pull it off. Sometimes by the skin of my teeth. But hey that’s life.

So what should you be doing….

Hopefully you already shopped, are ready to shop, going shopping for everything!

Grocery shop for Thanksgiving no later than this Friday. It will save you from dealing with the massive crowds.

Make a plan for your Black Friday shopping. I am not participating because it seems the stores open earlier every year. I like to enjoy my Thanksgiving with my family and friends and shop on the actual Black Friday but I will just be shopping from this very computer I am writing you from.

Christmas shopping should already be happening. We have had boxes coming in at least 2-3 times a week here. I am almost completely done with my family outside of my household and just need to concentrate on my kids now. Hubby already bought his present so that’s one less person for me to worry about.

Hopefully you found my Holiday series helpful. I enjoyed writing it.

Happy Holidays ya’ll!

Christmas Planning…week 6

Last week, I came across this fantastic post by Christy Jordan. For those of you who don’t know, she runs a blog called Southern Plate and also has published 2 cookbooks. She is my blog idol.

Anyways.

She posted about how she makes a Christmas Notebook. It was so easy and simple. And I thought what better way to get organize than to have one place for everything.

I always have half used notebooks lying around so I put one to use and turned it into the Ford Family Christmas Notebook. Her is very fancy, where I just took a sharpie to the cover.

I did everything she did, but I also added in a page for Thanksgiving menu and grocery list.

And I will be adding pages for Christmas Cookies to bake, Elf on the Shelf Tricks and our 25 days of Christmas activities.

I hope ya’ll will find her blog and post as enjoyable as I did.

OH I forgot… Target and Walmart black friday ads is up on the site.

 

Holidays Upon us..week 6

We have 2 more weeks of Holidays upon us post and then it is here. All the craziness of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.

Thanksgiving: Get your final menu figured out! Hand out assignments of who is to bring what. Figure out your portion of the meal and make a grocery list. Also remember plates, cups and silverware. If you are fancy and use non-paper items, make sure you have enough. I use paper goods, but I like all of my food served in regular dishes. So I will be getting them out this week and washing them up and seeing what I still need.

Black Friday: The ads are slowly starting to roll out. I am still waiting for the 2 bigger ones: Target and Walmart. But there are a lot that have already been posted. Check them out here.

If you haven’t started yet, then start that shopping!!!

You only have 45 days to go!

I know I didn’t say anything about Christmas in this post. That’s because I have a special Christmas post coming on Wednesday.

Holidays upon us week 5….

Week 5 and 1 holiday down! How was your Halloween? Let me start by saying my plan of action didn’t happen like I thought it would because I didn’t actually go around and find out trunk or treat times. So we ended up in the one neighborhood in our entire city and now I know where everyone tricks or treats on Halloween.

Only 2 of my kids went trick or treating, my oldest was sleeping over at a friend’s house and my middle daughter had a homeschool glow party to attend. So it was just the littles with us.

Halloween 2015 Growing a large family

I was so proud of my zombie make up skills. I started to use the cheap Halloween make up and he immediately turned red. So I used my eyeshadow and lipstick. He loved it.

In character

In character

Our witch had a great time too. Until the next morning, when she realized she lost her hat at the last stop of the night.  Story of our life.. always losing something. But I did learn 2 valuable lessons for next year…

  1. take my own advice and actually plan by finding out the exact times
  2. Buy a wagon for little man to ride in. With his feet problems, he had a hard time walking a long distance.

So we are now in the first week of November. This is the perfect time for a nice deep cleaning. Get a jump on it instead of trying to pile in cleaning and cooking the week before. Halloween is over so I plan on getting rid of all the cobwebs in my house this week. Put away Halloween decorations and pull out anything for Thanksgiving. Reorganize kitchen and give it a good scrubbing. I am also hoping to steam clean the main carpet areas.

Friday before Halloween, I officially started Christmas Shopping! Definitely sit down, look at your list and get started!

Also you want to get an official response on who is coming for Thanksgiving or maybe where you are going. Get the menu set in stone this week and let everyone know who is to bring what.

Do you have family members that can’t stand to be in the same room? Me too! Usually this is never a problem because it just worked out that they weren’t in town at the same time. But this year, I am running into this exact scenario. I am going to tell you how I am handling it. I called one (the one I knew would be upset the most) and explained SO & SO is going to be here on Thanksgiving. You are more than welcome to come but I understand if you don’t want too. The response I got was “we will play it by ear.”

So what do you do with a response and situation like this? You don’t want to rely on someone for cranberry sauce and then they don’t show out of pettiness. Give them the small stuff. Say well if you do come, we would love if you would bring a dessert or a drink. Don’t give them any part of the main meal. Give them an item that someone else is also bringing so if they show and you have extra YAY. If not, then you are still covered.

In my family, I take over and do 99% of the cooking. My hubby likes my particular way of cooking things and I enjoy cooking and feeding people. It’s the southern in me.

Happy Holidays, Ya’ll!

Holidays upon us…week 4

Growing a large family

 

Halloween is here!!! Finally we are going to get one holiday behind us. But be prepared because Halloween always means the rest of the year is downhill!

This week is going to be easy! Finish up last-minute preparations for Halloween. If you have small children, enjoy watching their excitement over this fun holiday. I love doing crafts and making special treats leading up to the big day.

Now would also be a good time to go over safety rules with your child. Review the rules almost everyday, especially with little ones. It will take all week for it to stick in their heads.

Another thing to start doing is going through your winter clothes. Living in Central Florida, we really don’t get the freezing cold temperatures all the time. But we do get days that start off in the 30’s and finish in the 60’s. And with the El Nino this year, we are predicted to be wetter and colder. So I like to be prepared ahead of time for anything. I have had that moment of panic where I realized my kids didn’t have jackets warm enough for a 20 degree morning. It was not fun running around trying to find last-minute jackets. Mind you I did find an amazing deal on some adorable jackets, but that doesn’t mean the stress was worth it! I would also go ahead and wash the jackets, mittens, scarves and any extra blankets that might have been in storage the last few months.

Fresh Market is now taking orders for the holidays. Here is the link.

Keep on looking for gift ideas for Christmas and keep on decluttering the house. In the last month and a half, I have made several runs to Goodwill and I will probably still make a few more.

If you are one of those wonderfully crafty people that love giving handmade items, now would be the time to get started!

Be safe and have a Happy Halloween!

 

***I am in no way getting paid for the endorsement of Fresh Market. Just had a great experience and wanted to pass it along.***

 

This post is partying over at

Strangers & Pilgrims

 

 

Holidays upon us…week 3

Good Monday Morning ya’ll. I hope this week is so much better than last week. Maybe I can play catch up on my To-Do list. So let’s jump right into it.

Halloween: You should be pretty well prepared for this Holiday. I picked up the last 2 items I needed this past weekend. But I know some of you have kids in school and sometimes they do a Halloween party. Start thinking about what you want to donate for that. Even though we homeschool, I make a big deal out the holiday and make it feel like a fun day. We have special treats and theme lunches or breakfast. Ghost pancakes anyone?

Growing a Large Family

Throwback pictures

Those of you in neighborhoods that participate in Trick or Treating, buy your candy now. And make sure it’s candy you like! This way if it’s one of those years where not many kids came by, you aren’t stuck with a bunch of candy you can’t stand. I personally like to buy plain chocolate bars, M&M’s, Reese Pieces and peanut butter cups. Why? Because they can be frozen and made into yummy desserts throughout the whole year. I also buy lollipops or goldfish crackers for the little ones who can’t eat candy.

Thanksgiving: Make your invite list. And start putting the word out that those people are more than welcome to come over on Thanksgiving. But give them a deadline on when they need to give you a definite answer. Start thinking of your menu and what items you want to be in charge of. I am also making up my cornbread and freezing it this week for my cornbread stuffing. I am changing it up a little bit this year. I will post the recipe later in the week.

Throwback pictures

Throwback pictures

Black Friday: I added this category this week because I know a lot of people are into that day after Thanksgiving shopping. I did it once, with a 4 month old, while being exhausted and sick. Thank god my hubby and brother went with me. But since then I haven’t seen anything that has made me jump up and rush out at 3am! But I do still check the ads, which is what you should be doing too. Starting now, keep checking for Black Friday ads online here. You know everything gets leaked on the internet and these are no exception. As of this morning, there aren’t any out but you can sign up for ad alerts when they do start hitting the net. And believe me they will start coming out very soon! So why not get a heads up!?

Throwback pictures

Throwback pictures

Christmas: Maybe you aren’t the hit all the stores and get everything done the day after Thanksgiving type of person. Me neither! But I do like to shop and I like to shop in my jammies! Shopping online has become my favorite past time. And if I have to buy something why not get a little money back or points towards a gift card for myself. My 2 favorite websites for shopping is My Points and Ebates. My Points also has a store where you can buy gift cards and earn bonus points. Get an account set up and familiarize with the website and how things work. Also look for their daily deals where you can get double or triple the points. Might even see a deal you can’t pass up.

Also if you are one of those people that buy little things throughout the year (like me!) then now is the time to go through all that stuff and make a list. I always have list broken down of who I need to shop for and what I have bought them already. This year I will add an amount category.

I hope you are enjoying this series as much as I am enjoying writing it. See you next Monday for week 4.

Holidays upon us…week 2

I know I am late this week, it’s just been the week from hell. Sickness, Doctor appointments and more sickness has taken over. But I finally have a chance to get week 2 posted.

Halloween: Finalize your plans and costumes! If you wait too much longer, you’re going to be running around like a chicken with its head cut off, trying to find your or your child’s costume.

Thanksgiving: Thanksgiving seems to be the one holiday I use the most spices. So now would be a good time to go through your spice cabinet and make a list of any that need to be replaced. This will make it easy when you see a really good sale or coupon. Another thing, I forgot to mention, sign up for Fresh Market’s emails. Last year they sent out an email to pre-order your turkey and also sent a coupon for $5 off.

Start collecting your recipes and putting them some place where you will know where they are at. This will save you time when you are making a grocery list and begin cooking on Thanksgiving.

Christmas: Just keep looking for different ideas. This year looks like it will be really tight budget wise for us, so I have already started letting people know that I am shopping for kids 18 and under only; with the exceptions of my Mom and my Mother in Law. And while we are on the subject of budgets: make one and stick to it for Christmas. This is the hardest thing for me! But I am going to try my best this year.

This is all I can think of right now. I am literally running on caffeine. I promise next week will be much better and on time.

Holidays upon us…Week 1

Well it’s the first full week of October. And that means the holiday frenzy begins. But first, can I just say Man, this year flew by! So I thought I would blog about what I am doing to prepare for the holidays. Every Monday, there will be a post about what I have done to get ahead of the craziness. In October, we have homecoming, Alissa’s 18th Birthday and Halloween. But I am also thinking ahead to Thanksgiving and Christmas because with a family this size and a schedule as busy as ours is, I don’t have time to be running out the door the day before to prepare.

First thing, get your kids talking about Halloween. Especially if they want the most popular costume on the shelves, you have got to find it now. Believe me, I ran into this problem last year with my son’s costume.

Last years Olaf costume

Last years Olaf costume

Everybody wanted to be a character from Frozen. And trying to find the costume in his size at a reasonable price was a nightmare. As you can see, I got it but it was a close one and cost more than I like to admit! So get them talking now. I have a feeling if you try to go out even the week of Halloween you will have a hard time. At our Walmart, the school supplies were gone and it was the day of school starting. Everyone is trying to get ahead so you need to be even more ahead of them. And if your going to be making your child’s costume get started NOW!

Luckily for me, my kids have been talking about it for the last 2 weeks. I actually had to put a rule that no one could talk about Halloween until October 1st it was becoming an all day, every day conversation.

Now is also a good time for figure out your plans. Usually we go to my mom’s house in the next city over because my little country city doesn’t do much as far as house to house. But this year, we will have 1 kid doing their own thing, 1 kid going to a party and 2 with us trick or treating. So we have to stay close by to be able to pick up one or both kids. We will be going to the trunk or treats around Plant City.

Next, Thanksgiving! If you plan on ordering a farm fresh turkey, now is the time to do it and put your deposit down. Some areas it may even be too late. If that’s the case start looking for a backup plan. I can say with total confidence that if you can’t do farm fresh and you have a Fresh Market near you, get it from there. That is where last years turkey came from and it was the best one we ever had. I know in my area most of the farm fresh have all been reserved. So I will probably get a Fresh Market turkey.

Growing a large family

 

Now, Christmas!  Definitely start looking at sales ads, emails or just cyber window shopping. Start getting an idea of the new holiday items coming out so you can be making a list of things to possibly buy. I haven’t actually bought any presents yet because I have 2 birthdays to get through first. But I usually start shopping the end of the month. But I have been keeping my eye out on the new video games coming out, toys and latest electronics.

This month is actually a pretty easy month. Mostly just mental stuff. So what I also like to do is declutter and start organizing. I have actually been doing this for a few weeks already, but I still have a tons more to go. I just have this need to purge before the holidays hit and the all the gift giving happens. What I am doing is selling what I think someone else would appreciate and donating the rest.

And of course, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t at least mention homesteading preparations. I use the deep litter method during the winter. And even though I still have about 3 months before a significant cold front moves through, I like to be prepared and not caught off guard. Now is the time to do a deep cleaning of your coop and fix anything that needs to be fix. I have a fence that has been calling my name for a couple of months now. I also took everything out of the coop, scrubbed it good and put bed shavings in. This is the start of deep litter method. Every day I fluff and turn the bed shavings and add more in once a week.  I keep adding more bed shavings for a good month or two, depending on the weather, before I start adding the straw layer which will hold the heat. I will also be ordering my ingredients to make my own chicken scratch.

Look for week 2 next Monday. Happy Holidays Ya’ll!