Recipe: Broccoli-Topped Potatoes

I had planned to make the Broccoli-Topped Potatoes from the $5 Dinner Mom cookbook I have. HOWEVER, things got a little crazy and then I realized I didn’t put the potatoes in the oven to bake! It was Sunday…the day we have to eat dinner by 4:30 to leave by 5:00 to get to church for AWANA. Yikes!

If it was a potato for just myself, I would have done the microwave. Seven potatoes in the microwave, though?? Not gonna work.

So, I decided to adjust the recipe and made mashed potatoes with sour cream and homemade ranch. I was pleasantly surprised with the results, and everyone ate it for dinner and then for leftovers the next day! Win!!

Broccoli-Topped Potatoes

7 potatoes (I used the baking potatoes I had planned to actually bake), peeled and cut into quarters

1/4 cup homemade ranch (or bottled)

Sour cream

Whole Milk


Fresh broccoli, cut into pieces

Cheddar Cheese

1. Boil potatoes in water until soft.While cooking, steam broccoli in pan (or in rice cooker, if it is like mine and has that steaming tray – LOVE IT!).

2. Drain potatoes and mash slightly. Then add in ranch, sour cream (to taste), milk (to taste), and butter (to taste). Mix/mash to desired consistency.

3. Spread potatoes in 9×13 baking dish. Top with broccoli pieces. Sprinkle as much cheese as you like over broccoli.

4. Bake at 325 degrees until cheese melts.


We topped everybody’s serving with some extra sour cream. It was delicious!

Bake It Tuesday

Today I have a couple of things to bake for our week.

Bread – making this by hand with THIS recipe. This should help get us to the weekend or even through Sunday, depending on how much everyone is craving bread. :)

Cookies – of course! We eat homemade desserts often. I will probably make peanut butter chocolate chips cookies, using coconut oil instead of butter. That helps save our butter for the delicious bread!!

Muffins – banana chocolate chip and maybe apple cinnamon. Muffins are awesome for quick breakfasts…if you make them ahead of time. I will probably make more than a dozen of each because with 7 people (all of whom eat at least 2 muffins in a meal) they don’t last long!

I am tempted to make a pumpkin pie just because it is Thanksgiving this week, but I know there will be LOTS of yummy goodies at my mom’s on Thursday. Seriously, we have some really great bakers in our family. Thankfully, my two married brothers have wives that are awesome bakers! So, we are looking forward to eating later this week. haha!


Menu Plan

I deviated from our menu plan slightly on Saturday. Instead of chicken and dumplings, I ended up doing a chicken stuffing casserole. It was a very long day, and I was not up for making dumplings. I enjoyed just dumping all the ingredients into a casserole dish and baking it. :)

This week is probably going to feel difficult, since we are stretching our normal two-week menu a few extra days. BUT, I think having Thanksgiving will help…..LEFTOVERS!!!

Does anyone else menu plan? I would love to hear what you all are working on this week, including a Thanksgiving menu! I am just responsible for the jello salad to bring over to my parents’ house, so I am not doing a bunch of baking or cooking. Are any of you responsible for the whole meal?? Please share!

School Successes

My last post about homeschool was about the struggle we have with math. Today, I wanted to share a success we are having!!


That was our last Spelling list in cursive. Yes, those are super easy words to spell. I was mostly just focusing on the handwriting portion of them (and actually my girls often misspell a few of those words when they are rushing through their work!). I needed words with “e” connecting and some uppercase letters for practice. And the girls are writing them beautifully! They are doing so well with reading the cursive handwriting, too. I was impressed with how well they read it; I always thought reading it was harder than writing it…especially since everyone has their own little differences in how they write the letters.

And please don’t judge my handwriting in that picture. :) I know I write cursive like a child when I do it on the chalkboard. Haha!

I am so proud of Iris and Lily for their pretty writing. I do laugh, though, because they rush through printing and it is atrocious! Yet, they can somehow have beautiful cursive writing?! Silly girls.

Happy Friday!

Psalm 16:8-9 (NLT)

“I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. No wonder my heart is glad and I rejoice. My body rests in safety.”

One of the greatest things about knowing Jesus personally…is knowing He is always with me. Some days that is so convicting…when I am yelling at my children or saying hurtful things to my husband. When I am grumbling about the long line at the store or wishing for more things we don’t need.

Some days, knowing He is always there is extremely comforting. When my feelings are hurt or I feel defeated. When I am alone for 12 hours with the kids and feel like I haven’t gotten one thing right.

Knowing He is there creates so much JOY in my heart. He cares. He loves me. He walks with me through the tough times AND through the good times. He is pushing me to do more and be more and love more. He brings a peace and a joy to my soul that nothing else can. He helps me love my husband and children more than I thought I could. He washes me clean when I confess. His “mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning…” (Lamentations 3:22-23, ESV) It doesn’t matter where I ended the day before; I can start over again today. He sees me as His perfect Creation.

So, Happy Friday! I pray you find your joy in Jesus as I have. It is a joy like no other!!


Organized Home: Assigning Tasks to Days…and People

Last Thursday, I gave some ideas for getting together a huge list of the tasks you need done around your home. Today I want to share a bit of how I assign tasks to different days. AND how I try to assign tasks to different people in my house. I emphasize TRY because I have not yet found the magical step that actually gets these certain people to complete their tasks regularly…without my constant nagging or yelling! :)

Ok, so I know that every Thursday we have a physical therapy appointment from 10-11AM. Every Tuesday evening my husband has a church commitment. Every Wednesday evening is Iris’ kids’ program at church. And Sundays…they are just out of the whole equation of housework.

What I like to do is break down the items for different rooms or areas of the house. For example, vacuuming: I don’t vacuum upstairs, downstairs and the staircase all on the same day. It would be too much for me. So, I break it down into Vacuum Kid Rooms, Vacuum Master Bedroom and Loft, Vacuum Downstairs, and Vacuum Stairs.

Here is how my Monday to Friday looks:


Wash kids’ sheets (because the night before they run around at church and don’t get baths when they get home. I know, we’re gross.)

Dust kid rooms – Assigned to Iris, Lily, Addy, and Buddy


Change Hand Towels in Bathrooms

Collect garbage for Garbage Day – Assigned to Iris and Lily


Wash Master Bedroom Sheets (because my husband has a later evening on Tuesdays, this gives me extra time to get the sheets back on the bed…in case our day gets crazy!)

Dust Master Bedroom

Vacuum Master Bedroom

Quick Clean toilets, sinks and mirrors


Check toilet paper supply in bathrooms – Assigned to Addy

Sweep kitchen floor

Wipe down kitchen appliances, inside microwave, and stove top

(this is a light day because we have to have an early dinner to get Iris to her church program by 5:15PM)


Change hand towels in bathrooms

Clean Showers and toilets, sinks and mirrors

Vacuum stairs


Wash kitchen floor

Dust Downstairs (living and family rooms)

Vacuum Downstairs


Laundry, if needed

Do any tasks I didn’t get done on the weekdays :)

Wipe down toilets, sinks and mirrors

Ok, so this is my IDEAL list of tasks. Of course, I also have the daily tasks of:


Empty/Load/Run Dishwasher

Kitchen Cleanup and Wipe Counters

My goal is to get the whole house cleaned well, over a period of 5-6 days. I used to cram all the cleaning into one day and would be so frustrated if that day turned into chaos or we ended up not even being home! So, I set out to spread the tasks across 5 weekdays and a very little bit on Saturday.

Am I consistent with this?

Absolutely NOT!

Am I trying to stay on top of it?

Of course!

This series of posts is to help ME stay on top of the tasks and chores, so I don’t become overwhelmed. It is also meant to be an encouragement for those of you that are already overwhelmed, to maybe find a starting point and get back on track with your housework. It doesn’t HAVE to be frustrating. It isn’t meant to be aggravating. Housework is just that…work. But if we can find a way to organize it and take care of it responsibly, we can stay on top of the work and keep from being overwhelmed. So we can enjoy our families!

I have no idea if my posts make sense or are sequential, but I love feedback. So please share if you are enjoying this or hate this or have anything extra to add!! Again, I am still working on consistency and finding my rhythm with the housework. I think posting it here gives me some accountability (especially if any of you come to my house regularly…yikes!). And I want to be an encouragement, not an annoyance. Please feel free to comment and share your thoughts or ideas! Thanks!






Recipe: Bean and Barley Soup

Brrr, it is COLD here! A Polar Vortex already…and it is only November! I planned a lot of warm comfort foods for the next two weeks, which we love in cold weather. A new one I created and works for a meatless meal is Bean and Barley Soup. This soup is simple and quick. Yes, it does simmer for an hour, but the hands-on time is pretty short. Enjoy!

Bean and Barley Soup

8 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup diced onion

1 stalk celery, diced

2 large carrots, diced

1 cup hulled barley, rinsed

salt and pepper

garlic powder, to taste

1 can (15 oz) white beans, rinsed and drained (I used Great Northern this time, but we have used cannellini as well. Both work great.)

1. Heat broth and veggies in large pot to a boil. Add in seasonings and barley. Return to boil and then reduce to simmer for about 60 minutes or more.

2. Once veggies are very tender and barley is cooked, add in beans. Heat through and then serve!

We love this with homemade bread and salad or applesauce! A great warm meal for a cold night!!