Savor the Season

I love homeschooling! I also love reading and listening to other homeschoolers stories, struggles and victories. I hope you will enjoy the homeschool stories I will be sharing from Guest Readers, as much as I do! Savor The Season Homeschooling … Continue reading

10 Things I want my Children to Know about Me

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Twelve years ago I stood at my Aunt’s grave. as tears flowed and shadows of uncertainty fall on my momma’s face. I wondered to myself, “Does my momma have regrets?”, “Is there questions she never asked her sister?”, “Are there words she never said?”.   I looked at the grave and back at my momma and I realized those were the same questions I needed to ask myself.

See, as we were burying my Aunt after her loss with cancer, my momma was dying.

She also had cancer and even though at the time I didn’t know how soon it would be, I still knew she would be leaving me soon. Some might say I was being too negative. I say I was preparing my self for the inevitable. I was the baby. I was not ready for my momma to leave. But nothing I said, nothing I did, was going to stop her from dying. If I didn’t prepare myself for her death, it would be her death that would defeat me.
That night, after the funeral, I asked my momma and my three sisters if we could start having mother/daughter outings. Just to spend time together, to connect with each other. So on Friday Nights we all would go out.  Sometimes to eat,  to visit someone or shopping. But mainly to talk and make memories.

I asked a lot of questions.
I wanted to hear stories of her childhood and teenage years.
I wanted to know what it was like when her and my dad married?
Why did they wait til almost 40 to have me?
What was she passionate about?
Did she have any regrets?
We continued this tradition for about six months until the time came when she was too sick to leave the house. Three months later she was gone.
I am so thankful for that opportunity I had to share those moments before it was too late. I have been thinking about that a lot lately. Life is always so busy, moving so fast, that I begin to ponder if I would have an opportunity to share my life with my children. What if tomorrow don’t come for me? Would they know stories from my childhood? Would they know the story about me and their dad? Would they know what I am most passionate about? Would they know that I love them with a love so pure that only a mother can experience?
I really am not so sure. Life becomes stressful, and my days run into nights and it seems to never stop. I decided I didn’t want this moment to pass. If for some reason I never had the chance to talk to them about me, then I wanted to document it for them.
So what do I want my children to know about me?
1) I AM NOT A SUPERHERO! I do not have super powers. I am human. I am not perfect. I am flawed. As a mother I need you to know that I am just a person who makes mistakes daily. Who will always make mistakes. I try my very best when it comes to your life not to make to many messes but I can’t promise it will always be rainbows and butterflies, there will be days of dark clouds and storms but I will love you every day reguardless of the situation.

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2) God will always be #1 in my life. No matter how much I love you, and believe me when I say I love you so much it hurts sometimes, God will ALWAYS be at the center of my life. God entrusted me enough to bless me with you all. He gave me life that will continue long after this chapter ends. There was a time that God was not my center. I was mad and angry, so I ran far away from God. But what I realized is that God gives us free will. He doesn’t control us, he loves us and gives us freedom to come to him, and even through the bad, he never left my side. I need you to always make sure God is #1 in your life as well.

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3) My heart is filled with compassion. Sometimes I feel like my heart is breaking into a million pieces over the sorrow that I feel for children who have lost their parents to addictions, neglect or abuse. Those children who just want to feel love again and a sense of security. The homeless people on the street with no family or warm bed, that for one reason or another has lost their way, from a failed marriage, a job or even an illness and now they are alone and burdened. For the elderly people, who on their face shows years of hardship. From the cotton fields, to the coal mines, farms and factories they have worked their fingers to the bone to supply a roof over their families head and food on the table. Those same people, much like my daddy who would give you the shirt off his back with no questions asked. For the people in the third world countries who never have the opportunity to freely worship Jesus. Who so many will never know the love that he has for them or hear the stories of his miracles.

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4) Animal Rescue burdens my heart. Yes I am an animal lover. And yes I know you make fun of me because I show you a thousand pictures a day of all the dogs who need a home, or the ones who have been adopted. Animal neglect and abuse lays heavily on my heart. And yes if there was a way, I would bring them all home. I know you think I’m silly for supporting so many rescues and shelters but what you probably don’t know is how many tears I have cried knowing an animal has been put down for lack of space at a shelter. How my wish is that all shelters would become NO-KILL, that all animals would have a chance to feel love and be loved. And when it’s my time to go, I would like that instead of flowers being sent, that a donation for an adoption would be made in my memory instead. And that I believe with all my heart that animals are sent to us to help us thru a hard time when we are not willing to let anyone else in.

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5) Children’s Ministry is my passion. I will always be thankful for the wondeful leaders and teachers who saw a raw gift in me and took a chance on helping me grow as a Children’s Leader. And even though I knew after a season in my life, that full-time ministry was not what God had intended for me in our family, I still love to be involved, creating programs, putting ideas and events to life. Being able to be a part of leading a child to Christ will always be worth the sacrafice of serving an extra service or spending an extra day preparing lessons and activities. Use the gifts and talents God has gave you for his good. And if the season your in is not one to use your gifts, continue growing your faith and your walk with God until a new season approaches.

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6) I will never regret Homeschooling you. Being able to teach you about life has been such an incredible blessing. Spending the days beside you as we learn together will be a gift I will always treasure. Watching you each grow into young adults might have been missed if we didn’t take the opportunity in front of us to school at home. I have enjoyed all the field trips we took together. I am not scared of the adults you will become. I know you will succeed at anything you put your minds and hearts to. And I am so proud of who you both are becoming.

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7) I would give you the world if I could. Not because I think you deserve it. Not because I think you have earned it, but because I love you enough that I want you to see first hand how unfair and cruel this world can be. Don’t set your eyes on worldly desires but on God and his promises. The world will fail you, but God never will.

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8) I loved my life as a child. It was a happy and carefree time with chasing fireflies in the summer and rabbit hunting with my dad in the winter. Watching tornados form the top of the celler and big family dinners and reunions with my aunts, uncles and cousins. Plastic water slides down a hill and pizza/french fries on Friday Nights while watching Full House. My playhouse out back with homemade curtains from my sister and tomato and salt rock soup. Swimming at the Lake, family trips to Dog Patch and weekends spent reading my new books. I may not have had big things or big trips, but I had family and love. Those are the things I remember the most.
9) I knew the first time I saw your father I was going to marry him. We met at a factory job when I was 19. There was something about the way he talked to me, that made me feel safe and content. I felt like I was home with him. It is a love that will last. Not always perfect but by morning the sun is always shining again. I will always be thankful for the love we share, for the home we built and the life we have.

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10) I have dreams. My dreams consist of following God’s plan for my life. Of course I have visions or ideas of one day owning a Tea Room, finding an old 1900 Farmhouse to fix up/live in and to own a Dog Sanctuary. I would also love to visit London, Paris, Venice, Maine, Hawaii, Seattle, The Grand Canyon and Yellowstone National Park. But I know as long as I follow God’s plan for my life, I will have no regrets at the end. Just know that you are my dreams. You are my life.

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I completely understand if you don’t quite know what to do with all this information right now. But there will come a time in your life when you will be so thankful and grateful that you have my dreams, visions and stories. That there won’t be regrets on knowing what I was like as a child, or why I love animals the way I do, or what did I really think about homeschooling you.
Just know this was from my heart, for you to cherish and love.
I have no regrets in my life. There is no choices I would redo. Each struggle, each heartache, each laugh and tear has formed us to the family we are. Enjoy your life. Love deeply and have no regrets about anything. Remember we are just passing through so make as many memories as you can, serve as many people as God allows you to, and always strive to be better tomorrow than you were today.

Whats Cookin with GraceandGravy: Meal Planning Week #3

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It’s a Tuesday afternoon, I’ve been running errands most of day and trying to catch up on laundry for the few moments I have been home.  Then I look at the clock and a uggggg sound comes out of my mouth.  It’s already time for the husby to get home for work and I haven’t even thought about dinner.  I run to the pantry to skim the contents, then head to the fridge only to remember I don’t have any meat thawing.  Now what am I going to do?  Supper is going to be late, and I can’t think of anything to throw together.
Does this sound like you?  Do you ever have those days when you cannot think of another single meal to cook?
Well, your not alone, I think as wives and mothers we all have those days more often than we would like to admit.  That is when I started Meal Planning.  I used to just write a menu and tape it to the fridge, but then I decided why not share it with you guys.
So WELCOME to “What’s Cookin with GraceandGravy: Meal Plans Week #3
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Each Sunday I will share with you what my meals for the week will be.
Maybe we can help to spark creativity in each other for our nightly dinners.
I had Cheesy Potato Soup on the menu last week, but both my kiddos ended up going to my dads to spend some time with him.  Husby and I decided there was no need and cooking a pot of soup just for us, so we grabbed a sandwich and saved the soup for a later day (:  Perfect for a crock pot, after church lunch meal.
I love making Shredded Chicken BBQ Sandwiches.  It’s one meal my whole family agrees on.  Of course, like I said before,

sometimes your choice of bread will make all the difference so for our Shredded Chicken BBQ Sandwiches, I like to use Deli Style Hamburger Buns.  Serve with a side of  Homemade Potato Chips and Enjoy!

Tuesday my Church Connect Group, is having a Family Pool Party.  We are all bringing finger foods to eat.  I decided to make a Variety Pinwheel Platter to take.  I will add  the basic pinwheel, Bacon Ranch Pinwheel, Southwest Pinwheel and a Basil, Pesto Pinwheel.  Be checking back for those great recipes!

I also decided to make Kid-Friendly Sushi, which is just Turkey and Cheese Roll Ups that I cut like Sushi.  So much fun!  And I think I will also make Mini Apple Pies for a quick bite size dessert.  Can’t wait for a fun-filled night with friends!

Wednesday’s are also so rushed before I have to have the kiddos at Youth Group, so this week its Fast and Friendly Tacos.  No frills, just plain ole beef tacos with a side of rice and beans.  Can’t get with easier than that.

For Thursday I decided to cook a larger meal with the past couple nights before that wasn’t “big dinners”.  I chose Roasted Lemon Pepper Chicken with Carrots and Potatoes, Mac-n-Cheese and maybe a loaf of homemade bread!

Friday is Take Out Night!  This Momma needs a break (:

Saturday is quick and easy around here, so its Subs and Pasta Salad!

Meal Plan Week 3

Chalkboard Image courtesy of Google Images

Would love to hear your meal plans for the week.   And I hope you enjoy a few of my meals!

Birthday Party on a Budget

 


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I love parties!

I love planning parties, decorating for parties, and hosting parties.

During the year, we don’t buy our kiddos a lot of extra except what they need, such as new shoes, clothes, items for an activity and ect.  So when their birthdays come around, I always want to make them special.  I will just say for the record, that yes I sometimes always  go overboard.  It drives the husby crazy!

But I also like to host birthday parties for family and friends as well.  And when I plan birthdays for them I have to stick to a budget.  I will say it’s not always easy.

My two great nieces turned four and five a few weeks back.  they came to stay with us for a few days the week of their birthdays, which happens to be two days apart from each other, and I wanted to make it special for them.

Since I have been tutoring this summer, I happened to have two of the kiddos at my house that day, whom my nieces know from church.  I thought wouldn’t it be fun to throw them a small birthday party!  Of course my mind started spinning as I got to planning.  Even though I wanted to make it special, I also needed to keep it small, in the budget and on a time schedule.

My daughter Lindy started looking for leftover party supplies I keep stashed around the house while I started on cakepops.  I prefer making cakepops for small parties.  They are fast, easy and so much fun.  I make my cake and icing homemade and I had white chocolate and sprinkles on hand from all the baking I do so I was out no expense.

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Lindy found green and yellow streamers that a friend had gave to me, that I thought would make a great background.  Next we  found a roll of leftover pink tablecloth from a church fundraiser last year.  I also found a teal tablecloth that was leftover from Lindy’s birthday last month,  that we used for a table runner.

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It was starting to come together and so far I hadn’t spent anything.

I realized that we didn’t have plates, forks and napkins so I ran to the store to pick those up  and found the cute yellow striped straws for .50.  I left the store with my supplies and only spent $4.00 plus tax.  When I got back home I placed the forks in a cute pink bucket, finished the cake pops and decided on strawberry lemonade to drink.  I mixed together half a package of sugar-free lemonade koolaid and 1/2 pack of sugar-free strawberry  koolaid, added a lemon slice on the side and “voila” we had party punch.

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Instead of using party cups, I used these cute plasic hug juice containers that I save and reuse.  they were perfect with the yellow striped straws.

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At Lindys party, we had photo props, so I pulled those out, put them in a cute bucket, added a couple frames that I had picked up at a thrift store several months back and hadn’t used and we had a really cute photo booth.

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I used a couple cute colored bowls for goldfish and gumballs, also left from Lindy’s party.

I placed the cakepops on a cake stand and we were almost ready.

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The last thing we needed was party hats.  I found a few pieces of leftover scrapbook paper that I had used for a craft and elastic string I had bought for another project I am working on, and we made these cute, tall party hats.

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The kiddos love them!

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Meet Jessie!  Look at that sweet face!

It was fast, threw together all before 1 pm.  It was cheap, spent appx $4.50 total and it was fun!

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Meet Silly Maddie!

Instead of games we let them draw with chalk on the driveway, have fun with the photo booth and watch a movie.

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They had a blast.  Happy Birthday Girls!

I got to thinking, I know other bloggers must have amazing party ideas as well.

So I got with some fellow blogging friends and we shared ideas.

 

Dawn from  HomemakingHacks has an amazing post on….

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Creating your own party decor will help make your party a success! The best news is that it’s probably a lot easier and less expensive than you think! With the help of basics and simple color coordination, you can make all different types of matching party goodies in under an hour.

I am so in love with the tape bunting around the jars!  So adorable! And so creative!

 

Another idea I love comes from Katelyn from What’s Up Fagan’s

 

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Several years ago, I decided not to just throw a birthday party for my daughter, I decided that she needed to do it with me. And not just her, the rest of her siblings needed to help too. It was a perfect way to teach them responsibility, kindness, even organization. I knew my children would have the motivation to help with such a great reward so I went to work. As they have gotten older, they help more and I do less and less.

Being a homeschool momma, I am all about my kiddos being independent and learning life skills at an early age.  Love this!

 

And make sure to drop by and check out Crystal’s Birthday Parties on a Tight Budget from  Crystal and Co.

 

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If you’re like a lot of party-lovin’ moms, you practically drool over fabulous pictures of designer birthday celebrations with gorgeous fondant cakes that START at one hundred dollars…and then reality hits: not in the budget this time. But do you know you can host an awesome kid’s birthday party on a really tight budget? It’s possible! Read on for some of my favorite money saving suggestions.

Thanks Crystal for the Awesome Ideas!

 

I hope you have enjoyed all of the amazing tips to help you stay on budget for your next party.

And make sure you check out each of these amazing blogs!

 

Baked Granola & Peaches

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Do you have local festivals?

Our county (which consists of 5 small, mainly rural, towns) hosts The Peach Festival, every July, that has been ongoing 1938! Wow! It’s actually the oldest festival in the state of Arkansas. I feel honored to be a part of such amazing history every year.

And did I mention food?

Just like county fairs, our festivals have some of the best food around!  Funnel Cakes, Fried Pies, Foot Long Corn Dogs, and Snow Cones, you can pretty much find it all here.

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Photo Courtesy of The Peach Festival Board

The Peach Festival will start next week, so to get in the “Peachy” spirit I decided to start experimenting with peach recipes.

I love peaches! I love the sweet, juicy taste that runs down your chin as you take a big bite (: In fact I don’t think I have came across a single peach dish that I haven’t loved!

If you have read my bio, then you know I’m a crunchy girl. Technically I love the Earth, try to eat organic as much as possible and I make a lot of our soaps and cleaners. I’m also a vegetarian so I eat a lot of granola.

I really like making my own so I can determine exactly what I am adding to it.  So I wanted to share this super easy Baked Granola and Peaches recipe with you today.

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Baked Granola & Peaches

What you need:

4 fresh peaches

For Granola:

1  cups oats

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/4 brown sugar

1/8 cup oil

1/2 cup homemade or organic maple syrup

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What you do:

1) Cut your peaches in half and remove pit.

2) Spoon a small amount of peach out to make room for granola.

3) Mix the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and oil together and then add in maple syrup.

4) Spoon granola onto each peach half.

5) Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and lay peaches on.

6) Bake peaches at 350 for appx 15-20 mins or until peaches are soft.

Another option for Granola:

If you want granola for later, spread evenly on lined cookie sheet and bake.  Store in a dry container.

Super easy and super delish!  Great for breakfast, brunch or a mid-afternoon snack.

You can top with cream (pictured) if you desire.  This cream consists of heavy whipping cream which I mixed until it become creamed.  I’m not a cream snob (:  I enjoy my Ready Whip and Cool Whip just like anybody else!  Ice Cream is also very good on top of the warm peaches!

Pick your Pleasure and Enjoy!

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And don’t miss The Peach Festival Blog Post coming soon!

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Summer Dates on a Budget: Local Aquatic Park

Summer Dates on a Budget Pool Welcome Back!

I am so glad you decided to join me again for our series on “Summer Dates on a Budget”.

Everyone loves getting to spend a few hours alone with the husby, boyfriend, or partner, without having to eat your food cold because you fed the baby first, or wiping food out of your hair that your 2 year old threw at you, or in my case having 2 nosey teenagers listen to your every word that I’m trying to say to my husby :/  How romantic is that!

Our emotional, mental and physical (: health strives for these outings alone.  But I know that for most of the time, money is tight and the last place you think to spend it is on your self. Right?

There is always diapers to buy, water bill to pay, school supplies to think about, not to mention that for some reason these little people in our house think they need to eat 3 times a day (:

If you are having some of those same thoughts I just mentioned, then you come to the right place, because I am going to give you another Summer Date Idea on a Budget.

And if you have missed my last 2 posts in the series, I hope you will catch up.

*Click on picture to take you to link farmersmarket1 Movie Night1 Have you heard the old saying “While the kids are away, the parents will play”?

Well thats exactly what my husby and I did!

A couple weeks ago while K and L were away at church camp, husby and I took advantage of the alone time and had a summer date. You might be saying, “Well, why did you have a date if you were home alone?” This is my thought, sometimes you need to do things that you don’t normally do.  Take advantage of having a night alone and go somewhere or do something together to laugh and have fun.

If I stayed home, this is what would have happened……

1) I would have cooked dinner

2) Then I would have cleaned up the kitchen

3) After taking the kitchen towels I just used to the laundry room,  I would notice the laundry piling   up and automatically started laundry

4) Of course the dryer would have been full of dry clothes so I would have to fold them and put them away.

Do you catch my drift?  There is always something at home that needs to be done and there would have been alone time alright, but it would be me alone doing housework and the husby alone doing whatever :/  Not a very romantic night in my book!

So we chose to a have a date night at our local aquatic park instead!  I think it was a definite win-win for me!

I know, I know, aquatic parks can be expensive, especially if your whole family is in tow.  If my family of four takes a day to enjoy the park, we leave spending no less than $50. Ekkk  That is a chunk out of our weekly budget.  But out local water park offers “family nights” certain days of the week from 5-8 pm.  Perfect time for us, and the best thing is its only $3 a person on those nights! SCORE!

So I put swimsuit on, packed the sunscreen and beach towels and we were ready to get our swim on! Our Aquatic Park just opened last year.  It’s not extremely big but they do have an awesome lazy river I love to float on!

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You would think with it being family night that it would be extremely over crowded.  But that wasn’t the case.  In fact, we got lounge chairs right away, laid our towels on them, and because it was so hot decided to get in the lazy river right away.

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After floating for quite sometime, we headed back to our lounge chairs to relax.  And you know what was amazing, no kiddo’s yelling, “Mom watch me slid!”, or “Mom I’m starvinggg.” for the hundredth time, or worrying that your kids have drowned while the lifeguard wasn’t watching.  Yes, I’m one of those paranoid moms :/

After relaxing, I decided I was starvingggg!  LOL  So off we went to the concession stand to see how much junk food we could find!  No judgement, its Date Night!

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Yum!  Pretzels with cheese, corn dogs and Pina Colada Slush Puppies! This is the life!  And we only spent $6 for food!

After we ate, we went back to play.  Husby even talked me into going down the slids!  It must be love, because I’m not a slid kinda girl (:

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Overall it was a great night!  And really, 3 hours at a water park is long enough for me.  But it was a great time to relax and be with the husby.  And all together we only spent $12!  Wow!  Cheap Date huh!

I encourage you to check out your local aquatic parks and pools.  See what specials they have going on!  Remember as long as you are having fun together, thats all that matters.  And I got a nice tan as a bonus (:

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Food, Freedom and Festivities: 4th of July

Food, Freedom and Festivities

 

I love the 4th of July!

I don’t remember exactly when I decided it was my favorite, or really why it was my favorite.

Maybe it’s the summertime and sunshine, or flag blowing in the wind.  Could be just the Freedom and Fireworks with friends and family.

No matter what the reason be, I just know I love the feeling I get on the 4th!

I love to make goodies for the BBQ’s and Picnics and crafts to decorate the house.

This year we spent the 4th at friends house having a BBQ/Pool Party.  I wanted to make it special for the family who invited us.  I always find it a treat to be invited to holiday’s and I want sure I impress to be invited again!

For the BBQ, I chose to make Freedom Frost Spritzer, Patriotic Mini Apple Pies, and Freedom Sprinkle Sugar Cookies (Y’all, all 4th of July goodies have to be named).

The hostess was more than happy to turn over the dessert making to me, but I wanted to make sure that since it was a Pool Party, the desserts were easy to grab and eat.

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First up is the Freedom Frost Spritzer.

Here is Arkansas, it is super HOT, and the humidity makes you sweat buckets after being outside for even 5 minutes.  Because of that, it is super important to stay hydrated.  This drink is cool and refreshing, as well as, great to help you stay replenished because it contains electrolytes.

I’ll be honest with you.  I’m not a huge fan of gatorade, but adding in the lemon-lime soda and the ginger-ale, completely changes the flavor and I really love it.

Go all out if you feel like it and add whole cherries or a few strawberry slices for a more festive look.

Ingredients:

1 32 oz bottle of Frost Glacier Freeze Gatorade

1 20 oz lemon-lime drink

1 20 oz ginger-ale

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How to make it:

1) Freeze your bottles of drinks until slushy (If you don’t have time to wait til they are slushy, just add ice to your drink dispenser)

2) Add your gatorade, lemon-lime drink and ginger-ale together

3) Add any fruit that you like

4) Serve

So quick and easy!

 

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For one of the desserts I decided on Patriotic Mini Apple Pies.

I LOVE making these!  They are so cute and easy.  You really can’t mess them up.

So if you are frightened of your pie looking like it was made by preschoolers, then this is definitely the way to go.

And who doesn’t like bite size apple pie? Right!  I think my husby consumed 6 in a matter of 5 minutes!

 

What you need:

1 package of pre-made Pie Crusts

(or click on picture for Pie Crust Recipe)

1 Can of Apple Filling

1 tbsp of Cinnamon or sugar crystals

1 tbsp of Butter

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Now let’s begin:

1) Start with making your pie crusts.

If you are not a pie making person, then use the ready made pie crusts out of the dairy section of your local grocer.

Simplify!  There is no shame in using a pre-made crust (:

My favorite recipe is The Pioneer Woman’s Pie Crust.  If you don’t have a favorite recipe, then by all means try this one!

 

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Click on picture for Pie Crust Recipe

 

Don’t you just love old pastry cutters?  I do!  I love cutting the butter into the flour! Makes me think of simplier times.  Sigh

2) After you crust is complete and rolled, cut out 4 inch circles.  I use a lid of a canister that I have because it is perfect size.  Anything you have will work.  Don’t panic if its not the exact size.  I promise the pie will go on.

3) Use a cupcake/muffin pan and cut 3-4 inch long strips of parchment paper appx 1 inch wide.  Enough for all slots in your pan.

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The parchment paper will make it so much easier to lift pies out of pan after they have cooked.

4) Take your crust circles and place in cupcake holes.  I try to make pleads in my crust as much as I can for a little extra character.

5) Fill your pie crusts will apple filling.  I used can apples for these and used appx 2 apples and a little filling in each pie.

**Check back soon for my post on Homemade Apple Filling! (The Apples are just now ready to pick)

6) Save enough dough to cut out mini stars.

This star cutter was actually from a Christmas Mini Cookie Cutter Set I got for super cheap after the holidays!  Hey works for me!

7) I then added a tiny bit of butter on top of the stars and sprinkled cinnamon.  YUM!

 

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If you will notice in the picture above, these are sprinkled with red sugar crystals.  My husby thought some of the stars should be red!  If it makes him happy, then yes I will add red sugar crystals to half of my pies!

8) Bake at 350 for appx 20 mins, checking your pies along the way.

I hope you enjoy making these as much as I do.  And with the parchment paper as tabs, they should be really easy to lift out of the pan.

 

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Can you really have a Holiday without Sugar Cookies?   Are they not a staple of days gone by?  I decided for this 4th of July I would make Freedom Sprinkle Sugar Cookies, which is your basic sugar cookies with festive sprinkles.

I love making sugar cookies, but what I love more is letting the kiddos decorate them!  This has been a tradition in our house since the kids could walk.  Don’t you just love traditions? No matter if it’s Easter, Christmas or the 4th, we need decorated sugar cookies!

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For my sugar cookie recipe you will need:

2 cups of sugar (wouldn’t be sugar cookies without lots of sugar)

2 cups of All-Purpose Flour

1 cup of butter softened (2 sticks)

1 egg

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp of salt (I love kosher salt)

1 1/2 tsp of vanilla or vanilla paste (I prefer paste, so much more flavor)

1/4 cup of flour for rolling

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This is how I do it:

1) I start with a parchment paper covered cookie sheet.

I LOVE parchment paper.

I don’t know how I ever survived without it!

Doesn’t it make life so much simpler?

2) Then I cream together my butter and sugar until it is completely mixed, almost to a mixed stage.

3) Then I add in my egg and vanilla.

4) In a separate bowl, i slightly whisk together my flour, salt and baking powder.

5) I then add the dry ingredients to my sugar/butter/egg mixture.

6) Mix together well.

7) At this point you have 2 options.  You can roll into balls and bake, or you can roll out like pie crusts appx 1/8 inch thick and cut out circles.

I normally roll out and cut into circles with a round cookie/fondant cutter.  you can also use a biscuit cutter (:

If you go for this option, you will need to lay out a piece of parchment paper and use your remainder of flour so your dough does not stick.

8) Lay your circles or dough balls  appx 3 inch apart on cookie sheet.

9) Bake at 350 for 8-10 or until they start to turn slightly brown around edges.

Don’t over bake, they are suppose to be chewy.

Yields appx 20 cookies.

10) After cookies cool then decorate with your favorite icing, sprinkles and sugar crystals.

Enjoy!

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Now that the snacks are made, it’s time for a little decorating!  I drive my husby crazy sometimes with all of my decorating for parties, events, holidays and just to make the house more cozy and appealing me me.

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I wanted to do something very simple for the front porch.  We have a super cute wrought iron table on one side and a white porch swing on the other, so just a little something festive was the key.  I chose to decorate the table which sits in front of an old screen door.  I covered the table in a blue star material and added a chalkboard, a rusted star planter, which i added a flag material to, and a patriotic plaid placemat for a center piece.

Nothing fancy but perfect!

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I have several of these white wooden garden chairs.  I have some inside and I leave some outside.  I really enjoy sitting ferns and planters of flowers on the outside chairs.  In this pic I am using the rusted planter with flag print material.  Such a cute idea to sit beside your front steps or on the porch.

Sometimes all you  need is subtle touches.

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This idea is great for a small 4th of July get together or a morning brunch.  I used my table from my porch, added a couple of my garden chairs and make a super cute place sitting with all of the festive food.

Now how easy is that.  Took maybe 5 minutes.

I love having small get togethers and brunches.  This set up is also great for a Tea Party.

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And what kind of Holiday would it be without dressing festive?

My kiddos and I have done several different shirts in the past for the 4Th.  This year we have been on a Tie-Dye kick so we decided 4th Tie-Dye Shirts would be perfect.

We have done several different dyeing in the past.  We have used the regular tie-dye, we have used kool-aid, but I feel the Rit dye works the best for fading.

What we used:

White t-shirts (we chose v-necks for a different look this year)

package of rubber bands

Rit Dye in Cherry Red and Royal Blue

2 large bowls

Newspaper

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How we made them:

1) First wrap rubberbands around your shirt

The awesome thing about tie-dye is that you really can’t mess it up.  Every shirt has its own unique design.

I prefer to wad my shirt up and place rubberbands in random places (:

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2) Add 1/3 bottle of dye to appx 2 gallons of hot water in a large bowl.

I use the same color bowl as dye so it won’t stain.  And yes I use a little more dye, and less water than called for because I want my colors to pop!

3) Place newspapers on floor (or go outside) and set bowls of die on top.

4) Dip one section of your shirt in a color and hold for 3-4 minutes.

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5) Gently wring out using a glove or plastic bag on hand and dip another section in same color or other color dye.

You can do half the shirt one color, the other half another color or sections in each color

6) When shirt is covered in dye, place in plastic bag and let leave for 12 hours so colors will set in.

7) After the 12 hours, remove shirt from bag and rinse with warm water as you start to remove rubberbands.

8) After all bands are removed, rinse shirt in cool water, until water is mostly clear.

9) Hang shirt up to dry part way and then continue drying in clothes dryer.

10) Remove shirt and you are ready to wear!

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After all the drinks, desserts and shirts were made, we were ready for a great night of Food, Freedom and Festivities with friends.

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We ate, and swam, and got ready for fireworks!

 

 

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And after dark we enjoyed playing with a few sparklers.

 

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Overall it was a another wonderful 4Th of July.

I hope you had am amazing day of Food, Freedom and Festivities in your neck of the woods!

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