Best Pumpkin Bread Recipes

Celebrate the fall season and bake the BEST PUMPKIN BREAD recipes around. 

Go HERE to view and print. 

There would be pictures, but we ate it all.

Pretty Pumpkin

When your child creates a craft it becomes a memory of a time spent with you. I have been creating "memory crafts" with my children since they were able to hold a crayon. This year we are making crafts that would be perfect to give as a gift or decorations that just may become an heirloom you will treasure for years to come. 

Pretty Pumpkin

You will need:

Wooden pumpkin and jewels were purchased at Hobby Lobby.
pumpkin $4.99 (40% off sale)
jewels $4.99 (40% off sale)
You can find acrylic paints at most craft stores. I found these paints at Walmart.

Paint your pumpkin orange and the stand another color. I chose brown but gray or white would also be a great choice. One coat of paint is all you need.

Spread glue evenly over one section at a time. Make sure your jewels have plenty of glue holding them in place. Don't worry if the glue looks too heavy, it will dry clear.

Add some lights...

and they will say, "I made that!".

Before My Feet Hit the Floor

I have now been a mother for twenty-three years. That may seem like a long time but for me the years have flown. When you stop and think about it we really do not have our children in our homes with us for very long. This is a short poem I wrote in my journal after my second child was born. It took two children to realize that I must pray every morning before my feet even hit the floor. I would sit on the side of the bed each morning listing all the things that could happen that day and asking God to help me through each of them. Some days there was more listening to God than praying.

As a mom I would like to challenge you to do this. This became a practice and then eventually a very good habit which I am sure saved me from many mistakes we make as parents. 

Psalm 5:3
My voice You shall hear in the morning, O LORD;
In the morning I will direct it to You, 
And I will look up. 

Rate the Recipe and Never Beg Your Children to Eat

Do you spend your dinnertime begging your children to eat their food? 

Not this girl

When I introduce a new food to my children I put a very small amount on their plate and they have to eat it. They may not eat every bit of it but if they try it with a good attitude and refrain from saying "yuck" then it has been a successful dinner. I have found that when I continue to put a small amount on their plate they eventually eat it; sometimes without even realizing it. 

It wasn't this way with my first child. (we never know what we are doing with our first) I was determined that he was going to eat his green beans whether he liked them or not. The idea of being forced to eat these long chewy green things with dry beans inside of them (sounds appealing) made him more determined that he was not going to eat those long chewy green things with dry beans inside of them. Well, as usual I was more determined than he was. Looking back if I would have just put a small amount on his plate each night he probably would have eventually eaten his green beans without a battle. 

Imagine if this was you sitting there being told that you are going to eat a new food whether you liked it or not. Cooked cabbage smells weird to me & why would you want to eat something that looks like cooked lettuce. This is exactly how they feel sometimes when food is set in front of them.

Over the years I have tried different recipes and for a time we had a New Recipe Night almost every week. I started asking the kids to give me a score on all the meals. If it didn't make a high enough combined score I never cooked it again. We now call these new recipe nights "RATE THE RECIPE".

Here is how we Rate the Recipe.
1. Choose and prepare a new recipe. 
You can ask your children to choose a recipe in one of your many cookbooks or check out some of the websites listed below.
2. Ask your family members, including yourself, to rate the recipe using the scale of 1 to 10. 
1 being the lowest and 10 the highest.
3. After each meal add the total points received and divide by how many is in your family.
This does not include the two year old or the dog. 


Possible score - 60 points
Dad - 9
Mom - 8
Jacob - 7
Spencer - 10
Elliot - 8
Asher - 9
Score - 51 - I will prepare this recipe again.

Possible score - 60 points
Dad - 8
Mom - 9
Jacob - 5
Spencer - 4
Elliot - 1
Asher - 5
Score - 32 - I will NOT prepare this recipe again.

Your children are more likely to eat the vegetables on their plate if they enjoy the main dish.

Recommended  Cookbooks & Magazines

Southern Living Cookbooks
Best Recipes from American Country Inns and Bed & Breakfasts
Everyday Food (Martha Stewart)
Cooking Light
Taste of Home 
Better Homes & Gardens
Southern Living COOKBOOK - America’s Best Home Cooking
3 Books in 1 - Old Fashioned Cookies,
Country Casseroles, Grilling &  More
Better Homes & Gardens
Easy Slow Cooker Cookbook
Rachel Ray

Recommended Websites 

My Beach Post ~ Mother Bear Does Not Compare

I always like to be ahead of the game. My children have told me that when they leave home I should send them off with a hand-stitched pillow with these words. "It's better to be 15 minutes early than 15 minutes late". Life happens, things come up or we sometimes procrastinate. (me!)

My blogpost was all ready for CMB and I thought I would "clean up" my computer while I was on vacation. WHOOPS. 
So here is the blogpost I wrote for CMB while I was enjoying the waves. Probably one of the corniest posts I have ever written. But hey, I was on vacation. 

Hope it encourages a mom or two and reminds us all that it's okay. It's really okay. 


Back to School ~ I Don't Want My Kids To Be Cool.

It's that time of the year again. 
Time to go back to school. 
As moms this can be a time of concern for our children especially if they are entering a new school or high school. Have no fear, Mom. If you have raised them to seek God in all they do, they will be just fine. 

My post over at CMB.

No "Face In The Phone" at Lake Winnie

My family moved to Chattanooga when I was thirteen years of age. Australia was my home and I longed to go back but that was not the plan God had for us. I am thankful that God led my family here and I have been able to plant roots with my husband and my children. 

Chattanooga is a wonderful place to live with so much to see & do. We have parks, aquariums, trails to explore, awesome shopping, antique malls & more. 

My first year of a high school I made a wonderful friend and her parents would take us to Lake Winnie during the summers. We grew apart over the years, but I have fond memories of our times there together. 

Sure, I make jokes about Lake Winnie and the need for anti-bacterial hand sanitizer & a tetanus shot before spending the day there, but deep down in my heart I really enjoy every minute of it. 

Here's my post over at Chattanooga Moms Blog. A little nostalgia along with a dash of wisdom from my seven year old son. 

Come on, get HAPPY!

Summertime and My Thighs

January 1st, the day we make that New Year's resolution to get in shape and to drop a few pounds. Life gets busy and we are hit or miss at the gym. Before we know it, May is here and it's now time to pull out the shorts. Well, it's June, and I am having to settle for capri pants. Some of you know how I feel about capri pants. I think they are weird and even weirder when men wear them. 

I tore my hip months ago and it will never be the same. This old girl has to pop her hip back into place every now and then. It hurts and it sounds awful. I was cleared by the doctor to run months ago, but there is a fear that I will injure myself again. My thighs are fluffy (okay fine, they are fat) and my core is weak so I must overcome my fear.

For several days I packed up the car and checked out all the different trails in the Chattanooga area. Chattanoogans, we are blessed with so many beautiful places to walk. 

I ran a little without any problems and I cannot wait to take off and sprint. I will be 45 years old in a few months and I could give you plenty of excuses to why I should not be running. I could give you more reasons why I must. 

So today is June 1st, my January 1st. If you live in the Chattanooga area and you are a "MOM ON THE MOVE" I would love to hear from you. Share your pics of you on the move on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using tag #momsonthemoveinchatt.

Go to MOMS ON THE MOVE IN CHATTANOOGA to read my post over at Chattanooga Moms Blog to plan your "MOVE" day. 

If you see me running at the park, please be sure to wave at me as we F-L-Y by each other. 



Dear Young Mom, Let Them Be Kids

It is very important to teach your children to respect and obey their elders. We just need to make sure that we are not controlling their every move and preventing them from experiencing life. 
Children learn from experience just like I have & I have discovered that I needed to allow my children to be children.

Click the title to view the post.
Dear Young Mom, Let Them Be Kids

Bathroom Makeover on a Budget

The time has FINALLY come to re-do the scary bathroom.

KEEPING - The cabinet is at least ten years old but it was built to last, unlike the new ones you purchase in the home improvement stores.

REMOVING - Floor, fixtures, mirror, countertop, curtain rod, toilet.....
Wallpaper was removed before I took this picture. I started tearing it down the day we moved in. 

Walls - The walls were not prepared properly before the previous owners applied wallpaper. The walls either needed to be repaired or covered up since removing the wallpaper basically destroyed them.

We covered the walls with floor to ceiling beadboard. A very inexpensive way to update any room. You can find this at your local home improvement store.

Paint - Chose a NEW color that I haven't seen anywhere before. It just hit the shelves a few months ago at ACE hardware. I have always been a bit of a Benjamin Moore Paint snob, but I love this color and I wanted to give Valspar another chance. 

Floor - Super excited about my flooring. I made a trip to the Home Depot to purchase some flooring very similar to this design. Someone had ordered Pergo in Coastal Pine & changed their minds. DISCOUNT! Regular price is $39.16 a box. It was marked down to $29.66. I bought four boxes & I actually like it better than the one I had originally chosen.

***UPDATE: Floor still looks great a year after installation. The floors pattern doesn't show any wear or fading as I have seen other floors do. I have been very pleased.

I call it an instant coupon from God. 



It was time to get to work!

Paul laid the flooring. I lightly sanded the cabinet and stained using CABOTS PREMIUM WOOD FINISH. I chose Espresso. This is the BEST staining product I have ever used!

***UPDATE: Stain still looks like new and cabinets can be wiped off easily without any streaks. Planning on using this brand of stain to redo some living room furniture this summer.

New light fixtures, found at Lowes.

Found a new mirror at Homegoods for only $16.00!!

I removed the hinges from the doors and cleaned with mineral spirits. Instead of purchasing new hinges I spray painted the hinge with Brushed Nickel spray paint. 

Purchased a rust-free shower rod found at

Replaced the cabinet knobs & hinges.

New toilet.

New towel rods and door hooks

New toilet roll holder. YAY, it's the little things.

New countertop and faucet.

 A BIG THANK YOU to my wonderful son Spencer! He scraped, sanded & painted the ugly old popcorn ceiling.

Postpartum Isolation and the Power of Friendship

Do you have a friend who recently had a baby? Have you checked on her lately? My post over at Chattanooga Moms Blog shares ways that you can be a help and an encouragement to a new mom. Not all moms deal with loneliness. If they have feelings of depression, it doesn't mean that they are weak or that they don't have it all together. It means that we may not be doing the best job as a community, as a friend. 


EASY Crockpot Lemon Pepper Chicken Pasta


Lemon Pepper Chicken Pasta

1 pound chicken breast sliced in 2" strips
Lemon pepper seasoning
3 tbs butter 
1/2 onion, coarsely chopped 
1 (10 ounce) can golden mushroom soup
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (8 ounce) uncooked bowtie pasta

Pat chicken dry with paper towels and rub lemon pepper seasoning on each piece. 

Melt butter in large pan.  Place chicken in melted butter and brown. 
Spray the sides of crockpot with cooking spray. 
Place browned chicken in the bottom of slow cooker & pour melted butter over chicken.
In a separate bowl combine onions, mushroom soup & diced tomatoes.

Pour mixture over chicken.

Cover and cook on LOW 4 hours. 

Cook bowtie pasta as directed. Mix with chicken and sauce and serve. 

Serve with salad & Italian bread.


Don't feel like slicing chicken - buy 1 pound of tenderloins instead.
Want to cut the fat -  substitute butter for olive oil
Love onions - add a whole onion.
Instead of bowtie pasta - use a box of angel hair pasta.

Positive Words are Sunshine to the Soul of a Child

The words that we say to our children have a huge impact on their lives. They believe the words that you say, and they become them. I hope this blog post will help you as you raise your young child and that it will guide you to find new positive words to share as you go through the teenage years. 

Click the title below to view the post.

Permanent Ink, Permanent Scars

Proverbs 25:11
A word fitly spoken is like apples of golden in pictures of silver.

Writing, writing, writing. Texting, texting, texting. We are doing it all the time. We are becoming a non-verbal society. It’s as if we are mute. First it was e-mail, then texting & now social media. Social media? What is it really?
Social Media (noun plural but singular or plural in construction) forms of electronic communication through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages & other content.
Online communities? That even sounds weird. We “friend”, we “unfriend”. Some even feel the need to announce that they are going to have an “unfriending” day. It’s like being in the third grade again, hoping to get an invitation to a birthday party. “Unfriend” quietly, please. We block, we follow, we unfollow. It’s just all so unnatural.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love sharing on Facebook. My life is sunshine everyday, a much needed rain in the afternoon & then a rainbow right before a beautiful sunset. NOT! “Life” on Facebook isn’t real. Sure I share prayer requests & encourage others that are going through difficult times. But there is something missing, and I believe it is personal contact. Seeing a persons face in a conversation is important. Cluing into their body language & embracing them with a hug can’t be shared on Facebook.

The scariest thing to me is realizing that my writings are in “permanent ink”. My words will live on forever. Same with e-mails. This writing will become our legacy & how we will be remembered. Think about it. When we are gone this will be evidence of our existence. Words that are spoken can never be taken back. Words in writing are permanent ink. Some seem to find great joy in setting others straight through messages, but would cowardly walk away if confronted face to face. This is what we seem to be forgetting how to do. Relationships can’t be restored unless you see each other face to face & shake each others hands.

This is the same with spoken words. Words that have been spoken are recorded in the mind. They are replayed even after forgiveness. They are permanent scars. When our name is mentioned, these will be the memories that they have of us. There have been many times that I have had to go back & apologize to my husband & children for unkind or harsh words. I can never go back & erase those words. They are there forever. All I can do is make it right & promise to never do it again.

Yes, there are times when we have to respond to those who have wronged us. Let it be direct & to the point. Listing all the wrongs, as I have determined through personal experience, doesn’t make you feel any better. It just brings up more animosity. Sometimes you just have to let it go & let God take care of it.

Proverbs 17:27
He that hath knowledge spareth (restrains)his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.

 My New Year’s resolution is to spend more time with family & friends. It’s so much easier to just send a message. When Facebook first made its debut, I thought it was great. It saved me from being on the phone during my busy day. If I needed to tell someone something, it would just take me a few seconds to write them a quick text. Now I kind of miss talking on the phone. What if a friend really needed me to call her? One of my friends went through a difficult time last year. I wasn’t there for her. I regret that. I was too busy to be a good friend.
I always love to receive cards or notes from friends & family. I have kept every single one.

Simple Menu Planning

It's that time of the year again! Time to spring clean and attempt to get life back in order. I love to get everything organized before the school year is over so I can sit by the pool or just simply enjoy some down time at home during the summer. 

The application of cooking has almost become obsolete around here lately. This is due to a combination of disorganization and the lack of desire to cook. 

I need to do this again, so I thought I would share it with you. 

Organize Your Recipes

You will need (click on each item)
1. Stickies
5. Cardstock or printing paper

What to do
1. Go through ALL of your cookbooks & mark with stickies the recipes that you already prepare & plan to prepare.
2. Cut out or scan all the recipes to your computer. After making sure they are loaded on to your computer you can donate your cookbooks or share them with your friends. No need to keep them, they just take up space.
3. Print & cut each recipe to fit into the clear sheet-protector. These are wonderful to use because they can be easily wiped off if food gets on them while cooking.
4. Make a weekly menu for at least four weeks. Use the divider to separate each week when placing them in your binder.

Keep your binder in the kitchen where everyone can see it. When you get home late & your family says that they didn't know what to do for dinner, remind them of this handy dandy notebook. :)

Miss Rumphius is Coming!

Literature studies are a great way to build a child's vocabulary. There is always something else to discover beyond the story line in any book when you read to your child. 

I call it "thinking outside the book". 

This is a sample of the first lesson. 
Miss Rumphius.

You will be able to purchase the lessons and everything that you need for each lesson online in the fall of 2016.
Classes will be offered in the Chattanooga area beginning August of 2016.

Middle right: my two oldest boys who are now in college. 

Teaching the class

Children are chosen to become a word that is found in the story. When they hear their word, they hold the word up & this helps each child be reminded of the new vocabulary word. 

Science was incorporated in this study. 

For Miss. Rumphius we studied the parts of the plant. 
Children were given a fake flower and were able to place their fingers on the different parts of the flower while viewing the flower diagram in the lesson.

We must have a little FUN too. 

We painted Lupines of blue and purple.

Then of course we had to do something to make the world more beautiful!

We planted Lupine seeds in a small flower pot to take home. 

For more information, please email me at