5 Things on My Bucket List

1. visit Israel

2. white water rafting

3. rapelling

4. write a book & get it published

5. go on a missions trip to a foreign country



I am so thankful for cooking, and for cooking for my family…for some people that might sound like a nightmare, but to me, it’s something great, especially after after our house flooded in Hurricane Ike and I was without a kitchen for months!

I guess I’m something of an unlikely chef.  I never cooked when I was growing up.  I didn’t even have any interest in really trying to.  When I got married, my poor husband got the point of just asking what kind of Hamburger Helper we were having for dinner that night – it was all we ate!  I literally didn’t know how to boil an egg.  When I finally got tired of that, I started experimenting…that was worse.  Some nights dinner was inedible.  But over time, I started learning what sounded good and what didn’t, and my experiments got better.  Now I love to cook and bake…if anything, my husband gets tired of me experimenting because I don’t cook his old favorites often enough!  It’s relaxing to go into the kitchen, whip up something yummy, and hear my husband and kids say, “Wow!  This is really good.”

Sour Cream Cheesecake with Praline Sauce

This is a holiday favorite at our house!  I also make it for a lot of church potlucks – that way I get a little bit, and the rest goes home with someone else – otherwise I would eat way more than I need to!  LOL


1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

4 tbsp sugar

1/2 stick melted butter


3 8-oz packages cream cheese, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

5 large eggs

1 tbsp vanilla extract


1 1/2 cups sour cream

4 tbsp sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

Praline Sauce:

2 tbsp light brown sugar

2 tbsp corn starch

1 cup dark corn syrup

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.

For crust, stir together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter – pat into bottom and sides of a springform pan.

For filling, beat together cream cheese and sugar; beat in eggs, one at a time, then add vanilla; pour filling into crust and bake for 1 hour.

Remove cake from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.

For topping, mix sour cream, sugar, and vanilla until well blended; spread over top of warm cheesecake and return to oven for 5 minutes.

Cool cake to room temperature in pan, then cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight.

To serve, loosen cake from pan with a knife, then remove sides of pan. 

To make sauce, mix brown sugar and cornstarch in a small saucepan; add in corn syrup and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thick; remove from heat, stir in nuts and vanilla, and cool slightly.  Pour over cheesecake before serving.


Menu Plan Monday – Nov. 16th

Monday’s Lunch: easy taco casserole, Dinner: spaghetti

Tuesday’s Lunch: chili dogs, Dinner: baked ricotta bowls

Wednesday’s Lunch: leftovers (spaghetti), Dinner: chicken and black bean enchiladas

Thursday’s Lunch: chili dogs, Dinner: soup and sandwiches  (Note: If you haven’t guessed, Thursday is my busiest day of the week!)

Friday’s Lunch: leftovers (chicken and black bean enchiladas), Dinner: EAT OUT!

Saturday’s Lunch: Church event, we will eat there, Dinner: soup and sandwiches

Sunday’s Lunch: fried raviolli, Sunday’s Dinner: chicken and green chili straws

Note to self…

I went running again yesterday…my 3rd time for the week.  I was really proud of myself, and I finished my workout with a little more ease than before.  I also learned an important lesson…don’t run when the “real” runners are on the track. 

I thought, oh, it’s Saturday morning, the track will be empty…WRONG!  The first people I saw were a coach and a high school track kid, who easily ran lap after lap as I jogged one minute, walked one and a half, jogged one, etc., while desperately gasping for air towards the end of every one minute run.  The kid put me to shame, making it quite obvious that I’m still in the “couch potato” portion of the “Couch Potato to 5K Plan.”

Finally, the kid finished, and I thought, great, I’m almost done too, maybe I won’t see anyone else…then the bikers arrived.  A couple, probably a good 10 to 15 years older than me, came up on their bikes, parked them, and started running the bleachers before they started their laps at the track.  Once again, I, the fitness trainer and gym manager, was put to shame.

All in all, despite having to share the track with “real” runners instead of newbie wannabes like myself, I was proud of myself for running, however slow it was.  I feel great – even though I already work out regularly, I think adding something new to the routine is great.  I just kept telling myself that one day, before too long, I will be one of them…I think.

College Here I Come!

I’m so excited…I registered for two college yesterday!  I’ve been thinking about and praying about this for so long, but it didn’t really feel “real” until yesterday.  Having that slip of paper in my hand with my advisor’s signature and my class schedule was such an awesome feeling!  My classes will be challenging – not to mention the balancing act of juggling family, home, work, church, kids activities, and now college – but I’m more excited about this than I’ve been about anything for a very long time.

My Miche Bag

I just got my Miche bag last month and I am so in love with this purse!  I first discovered it when a member of the gym where I work brought hers in.  The concept is so simple but so amazing!  The purse is a basic black bag, but there are magnets on the outside lining – they use a special kind of magnet that will not effect your credit cards, debit cards, or cell phone.  You can buy dozens of adorable magnetic shells for the purse, then whenever you want to change your purse, just pull off one shell and put on another.  For a purse junkie like myself, this is a dream come true!  I have 5 shells for mine now, and I already have several more picked out to buy.  It is worth every penny you will spend on it!  Check it out at www.4miche.com

5 Things I Never Leave Home Without

1. my day planner (a.k.a. my brain – just about everything I need to know is in there)

2. cell phone

3. Miche bag

4. a good book

5. my journal

Thankful Thursday

Today is my first meeting with my college advisor…I’m nervous, but I’m so excited too!  I’m so grateful for the chance to return to college.

I dropped out of college after two years to marry my husband, and a few months later, I found out I was expecting my oldest.  I’ve never regretted quitting – I was a straight A student on a full academic scholarship, taking 18 hours a semester, and I was so completely burned out.  To add it, I really didn’t know what I wanted to study or what career I wanted to pursue.  I needed a break, but I always knew I wanted to go back.  For years, I held onto the dream, but the time was never right…until now.  So today I start a new chapter in my life, and it’s one that I’m really excited about.   College, here I come!

Taco Soup

This is a quick and easy favorite at our house, and it’s on my menu plan for this week.  This also freezes well, so sometimes I’ll make a double batch and save some for later.  Enjoy!

1 lb. ground beef

1 can each of corn, chili beans, dark kidney beans, light kidney beans, diced tomatoes

1 package of taco seasoning (I use Taco Bell)

1 package dry ranch dressing mix

Brown and drain ground beef and add taco seasoning according to package directions.  In a separate pan, mix all other ingredients.  Add beef mixture when done.  Add 1 can of water.  Heat through.  Serve over tortilla chips and top with cheese and sour cream.


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