Oreo Pancakes

I LOVE IT when I’m looking for a new recipe and find one I want to try on Pinterest! Well, today I actually modified 2 different recipes I found and then made it my own! Oh, here comes a Pinterest pin for me!!!! I hope you enjoy.

We have ice in our city today, so being “iced-in” the house I decided I needed to do something productive.

Freezer cooking is useful for me since I work full-time during the week, have a side business of photography and have a very active family. I am not one to make 30 meals in a day, but I do use my time to make double batches or just prepare something I can freeze while something else is cooking. I find that using my stove and oven while it’s warm certainly helps on my energy bills and I always have something in the freezer I can just pull out. Here’s what I made just in a few hours today: Pancake mix, Pancakes, Brownies, Seasoned Fries, chopped potatoes, mashed potatoes, corn muffins, pizza dough & chili. (In addition to supper.)

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And this is what my freezer looks like after I pulled something from it for supper and added my cooking from today. 🙂  You CAN do this! This is just a few extra minutes to build up your supply. And, as you can see I have a stash of Banquet chicken for the kids! 🙂

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My recipe tonight was pancakes. I wanted to find a homemade pancake mix that I could use to make a healthier pancake. I can’t vouch for how healthy these came out, but they were certainly delicious!

Here is the link to the recipe I found on Pinterest. I had actually found 2 and combined certain aspects before adding my own twist, but I can’t find that link. I will try to link it when I find it.

Pancake Mix

  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups Bisquick (only because I didn’t have regular flour)
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 1/8 Cup baking powder
  • 3/4 Confectioner’s sugar (sifted)
  • 3/4 cup butter cut in

Mix until mixture is a little crumbly. Store in airtight container or freezer bag. Store at room temperature.

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Directions to make:

Use 2 1/2 cups mix

1 cup milk

1 egg

Mix in bowl until blended. Pour onto hot griddle sprayed with cooking spray. Top with your favorite toppings.

Tonight, I used OREOS….Yes, Oreos! They were absolutely delicious!!!!

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I had some crumbled cookies left over from a recipe and I just sprinkled them on top of the pancake as it was cooking. I also made some with mini chocolate chips, flaxseed (there’s your healthy) and plain.

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If you are using the same topping, I would suggest mixing it in with the mix before you pour, but I wanted to make a variety and freeze them. The possibilities are almost endless on toppings….fruit, cookies, flavored baking chips (choc, butterscotch, peanut butter chips, etc.). Use your imagination!

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Now, if you like Oreos and pancakes or deep fried oreos, you will LOVE these!

What’s your favorite pancake addition?

 

What I Would Tell My High School Self

I am SO glad that I’m not in high school anymore! Not because I didn’t have friends or have fun, but simply because I am much more satisfied with being who I am now. Young people (and some not so young) can be cruel & make very unwise choices.

Although I have been a Christian since I was 8, I haven’t always lived for Christ. No, I’m not perfect now. Nor do I “have it all together”, but God is much more prevalent in my life now than then. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change the way my life has turned out…I LOVE it! Yes, some t

I was reading a blog the other day that was talking about what this woman would say to her “high school” self as she was preparing for her 10 yr high school reunion. Mainly geared toward single women, her point was that she wasn’t married and didn’t have children like she thought she would. Life hadn’t turned out exactly as she planned. It was a VERY good blog both for those whose life hasn’t turned out exactly like they planned AND for the rest of us whose life hasn’t turned out exactly like we planned. Yes, you read that right! I don’t believe anyone has their life planned out an everything goes exactly according to the plan. If it did, I believe people would have extremely boring lives!

So I thought to myself, “What would I say to me when I was in High School?” Though that has been more than 20 years ago, I still know some changes I would have made. Maybe my life wouldn’t be any different than it is now, but I SURE could have saved myself some heartache! Some of my advice is the same advice I give to young people now.

1. Don’t revolve your life around a boy/girl or lower your (& God’s) standards when it comes to right & wrong. Life moves much more quickly than you think and you WILL look back with regret one day if you do things only because “everyone else is doing such & such”.

2. Don’t be super concerned with your body image. Eat healthy, exercise & take care of your body, but don’t obsess about your body image. See yourself as your friends see you, not as you see you. Your friends love you because you are beautiful, funny, friendly, etc. Look at yourself through their eyes.

3. Surround yourself with positive people. If someone is constantly negative, you need to let them go.

4. Always rely on God and His Word. He will never lead you astray and sometimes friends and especially those who aren’t your friends will.

5. If you have a problem that seems like the end of the world, go to God first and always sleep on your decision to say anything. Never react by saying the first thing that comes to mind, but also don’t just ignore everything that people do to you. Basically, speak the truth in love & don’t be someone’s door mat.

6. Don’t be afraid to try new things! If you want to sing, act, drive, play a sport, whatever….don’t be afraid! TRY!

7. Prepare for college as early as you can. Even if you don’t go to college you have life experiences by having filled out applications, given references and interviewed.

8. Save money!!!! It is hard to save when you are young because you don’t make much money, but even if you put away $1 a week you can save! If I had started saving $1 a week when I got my first job, I would have over $8000 in savings JUST from that $1 a week!

9. Never quit! Don’t give up on your dreams even if life doesn’t turn out exactly how you planned it. Keep working toward whatever your goal is.

10. Don’t take your parents & grandparents for granted. You can’t get that time back once they are gone.

These are the first 10 things that popped in my head, but they ALL have meaning! I would encourage you if you are a young person to read these and really think about them. If you are 30 or older, think about or write out what you would tell yourself!

Some of my boys’ friends like to say “YOLO” (you only live once). EVERY time they do, I always reply “YODO” because you only die once, too! Make your life count for something greater than what YOU map it out to be. God has a greater plan…..NEVER doubt that!

3 Grandmas & a baby

There are lots of things in my life that bring me joy and make me laugh. God’s “sense of humor” is sometimes one of those things. He has a way of bringing good out of situations that some people would see no good in.

I recently found out that my oldest son & his girlfriend are expecting a baby. At first, I was a little shocked because I knew they hadn’t exactly “planned” it, but the idea grew on me quickly. Babies have a way of doing that!

So, I had been talking to Chris’ mom. Yes, I talk to my husband’s ex-wife, frequently. I affectionately call her my wife-in-law because when you marry someone you get their family as in-laws. And since she is Chris’ mother, she is family! Chris is my “bonus son”. I received him as a bonus when I married his Dad! Some people don’t understand how I can love a child that isn’t “mine” like my own. Well, he IS mine! Ask any parent of an adopted child and they will tell you the same thing.

We are fortunate to have a good relationship with Tammy & Jeff. We & our kids have stayed at each other’s houses. We have exchanged Christmas gifts & spent holidays together. And we have spent many hours around tables either at our homes or in restaurants during the last 20 years. Tammy & I have spent hours on the phone talking & praying. She even called me 2 yrs ago right after their house had been broken into to ask us to pray for them. Most people think we are weird when we tell them about our relationship, but we think this is what “normal” should be. 🙂

So, back to my original story. I was sitting at work the day after Chris had sent us a recording of the baby’s heartbeat — Oh how precious that sound is!!!! Tammy sent me a text and asked if I wanted to go to visit them. (Chris is in the Army and stationed in Kansas, so it is a long way from East/West TN!) Of course I did!!! So, over the course of the next couple days we got our plans & schedules together with them so we can visit them and our grandbaby in the oven.

I can’t begin to tell you how excited we are! Of course, I joke that maybe we will get a reality show out of this. 😉 You should see the looks on people’s faces when I tell them I’m flying to KC with my husband’s ex-wife and spending 4 days in the same hotel room with her! It is quite amusing. They just don’t realize we are going to have so much fun!

It is amazing the work that God has done in all our lives! He can make people see beyond themselves and do more than they could ever do on their own. More than we ever imagined! I just can’t help but think how blessed this baby will be.

I also can’t wait to meet her parents. I think there is something special about meeting the other grandparents-to-be. There is this common bond that you share. Can you imagine 3 soon to be Grandmas in the same room?! Nothing could be better except when the baby is here and we all get to hold it for the first time!

Be on the lookout, because if you know me you know pictures will be coming soon!!!!! I have already started packing my suitcase and so far it is half full of photography props.

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I really can’t tell you how I feel about being able to take maternity pics of my own grandchild! It’s funny how as you get older people tell you to “wait until you have grandchildren”. Now it’s almost here!

Stay tuned…..

Don’t you see that children are God ‘s best gift? The fruit of the womb his generous legacy? Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows are the children of a vigorous youth. Oh, how blessed are you parents, with your quivers full of children! Your enemies don’t stand a chance against you; you’ll sweep them right off your doorstep. (Psalm 127:3-5 MSG)

SSMT Memory Verse 2

It’s that time again friends! Today is the 15th, so it is our day for choosing another scripture for the SSMT Memory Team!

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I spoke a little about this on a previous blog when I had just chosen my first verse for 2013. I have started a list of my memory verses so you can see the ones I’ve chosen. Maybe it will be a verse you’ve not read, or perhaps, not read in the Message version that I love reading!

“Go out into the world uncorruped, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and the living God.”
Philippians 2:15 MSG

Are you participating in the SSMT? If so, what are the verses you have chosen so far?

Fit by 40

Fit by 40? What’s that you ask? Well, it is a motto that I came up with last year and I am sticking to it! Of course, some of you may think I’m already 40–and you would be WRONG! Ha! Ha! I have a little more time before that hits, but it isn’t really about the age. I’ve always felt that age was just a number. But weight, on the other hand, was a totally different subject. That was a number I was not willing to talk about.

Like a lot of people in America, I am not in “great” shape. I have tried & succeeded & failed & succeeded & failed & failed & failed at losing weight. This past year in May I had determined that I was never going to lose the weight for good. I gave away almost every stitch of clothing I couldn’t wear (both smaller & larger than my size at the time)!

Then in June, I talked to some friends who were going to do a Biggest loser “competition” starting at the end of July. I decided I was going to do it with them. I found that having friends who were wanting to eat healthier & exercise helped me SO much! I didn’t feel like I was alone in my struggles. That was the BEST decision I have made in a long time!

Prior to the competition starting I lost 13 lbs. That was motivating, but I knew that would come back in no time if I stopped exercising. During the actual competition, I lost 27 lbs. I was so excited! It was like a switch flipped for me and I was ready to be (& stay) healthy!
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Me in May 2012                        Me in Dec 2012
I took a month off after that and some friends and I began another competition. I wasn’t working as hard as before because it was the holidays, but I was still watching….just not exercising. I just didn’t want to get back in that mode of making excuses for why I didn’t exercise or why I didn’t eat healthy.

Now, the new year has come and I am back at being motivated. Thankfully I didn’t put any weight back on during my lull, but I know if I want to get the rest of this excess weight off I have to become serious again! So far I have added an additional 6 lbs to my total weight lost from my starting weight in July….that’s 46 lbs total! That is some serious weight, BUT that isn’t even the big picture!  I can do things now I never thought I would.

I was able to begin running last year. Although I’m not what you would consider a “runner”, I really enjoyed pushing myself to do something SO outside my comfort zone.

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I actually just signed up to do my very FIRST 5K! (Told you I wasn’t a runner.) I’m going to run the Color Me Rad 5K in Knoxville and I am super excited! I don’t hope to come out with the fastest time. What I do hope to come out with is the ability to mark something off my bucket list AND the knowledge I did something I never thought I could. In reality, almost 50 lbs ago I wouldn’t have been able to!

For those of you who want to know HOW I did this and if I used unhealthy products or lived on bread & water to lose 46 lbs in 5 months, I can assure you I didn’t!  There is no “miracle” way! We all put weight on 1 lb at a time and we have to take it off the same way. I have LOTS more I could write on this subject (and will some day), but know that if losing weight or becoming healthier is something you want to do you are NOT alone! Basically, it is hard work, but VERY worth it!

Here is a list of products, websites or workout plans that I use:

logo     Lose It Website

1.  I started using the Lose-It app on my phone to find out how many calories were in the foods I was eating and to log those foods so I knew how many I was actually putting in my mouth during the course of a day.  Trust me, when it says you should have 1405 calories, but you log your food and you have eaten 2600 you get a rude awakening! Cutting calories HAS to be done in order to lose weight and your calorie amount goes down the thinner you get, so Lose-It automatically adjusts what you should have in order to continue losing weight. Do you realize that to lose 1 lb you must either cut out or work off 3500 calories?!?!?!  That’s why the average person can cut back and eat less, but still not lose weight!

zumba-logo23 Zumba with Letitia & Kim

2.  I started working out with weight machines, ellipticals, stationary bikes & the track at my church and doing Zumba at Talley Ward. Letitia & Kim are great inspirations! They have come up with creative exercises & toning and mix things up so you work your entire body. They are even going back to get a new certification soon and I’m SO excited!

XOOMA-007sml         Xooma Products

3.  I started using Xooma products–the X20 sachets for water and the AM Xtra capsules. These products helped me to drink more water (which is essential in losing weight), but they also contain minerals that your body needs, so I also became healthier. The AM capsules help give you energy and that helped me to maintain a workout regimen.

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4.  I have found LOTS of suggestions, healthy recipes and motivation on Pinterest!  It has definitely helped me create healthy recipes that are different than “old standbys” that are not healthy for me. It is an online pin board where you can “pin” things you like and go back to them at any time. To me, it is MUCH better than having 10 different cookbooks taking up room in my kitchen when you only like 3 recipes in the entire book! 🙂

Do you have any tips for losing weight? I would love to hear them!

Discarded

If you drive down any highway or street in your neighborhood, you can see things thrown in the ditch. Fast food cups, garbage, wrappers, all kinds of things people don’t want any more. Things that they have discarded. Discarded means: “to get rid of especially as useless or unwanted”.

Have you ever felt that way? More importantly, have you ever treated people that way?

There are lots of things in my house (or my car) that need to be discarded. I don’t have a problem throwing away items I know I don’t need…..like a receipt for gas. Mainly because I know in a few days I will have another one just like it! Ha ha!

Other things – like tickets from my boys’ sporting events, photos or special things that have a meaning to me – I don’t want to discard. You may come into my house and wonder why I would keep something. But it is important to ME.

I was unable to really think about this over the last week without being upset. Our family dog of over 11 years was missing. He had been gone 5 days, but just the night before we had gotten a call that he had been spotted a few hours before.

We jumped in the car, armed with flashlights and a huge spotlight and scoured the neighborhood and the one behind it for over an hour without any luck. All the while assuming the cops were going to get called because we were spotlighting people’s homes!

The next morning we decided to go back to the same neighborhood and still couldn’t find him. Then we drove toward the neighborhood behind it.

That’s when I saw him. Our beloved chocolate lab was in the ditch. No! He wasn’t discarded! We loved him! God, please just let him be asleep!

He was gone. That was true heartbreak for us because he had been a part of our family since he was an 8 week old puppy. We had had a few other dogs before in our 20 years together. Some had been given away when we moved and some had to be put to sleep due to illness, but we had never had to bring home a lifeless animal and dig a grave for him.

Pet lovers say that pets are part of your family. Some of you may be reading this thinking that is silly because they aren’t a person. I can assure you that they feel like a part of the family. I’m not going to say it would be the same to lose a human family member, but if you love them you will most definitely grieve for them.

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One thing I’ve relied on this last week are the happy memories we had with him. He grew up with our children and they loved him immensely. We will miss him, but being dog lovers I’m sure we will have another dog. No dog could ever replace our Hershey, but we can most definitely give love to another animal that weaves its way into our family.

God has made me focus more on how quickly things can change. Friendships can be made or lost; people you love can be gone in an instant; life as you know it can change in the blink of an eye.

We should be ever mindful that the words we say have GREAT meaning as do our actions. I want to be a better wife, mother & friend this year. I don’t want to discard people who are important to me!

So, if you get a random text from me or I call you more often, just know it’s because I want you to know I care. Even if you don’t hear from me more and you are a friend, know I am praying for you more often. I am writing my friend’s names down and will be spending part of my quiet time praying specifically for one friend a day.

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Heartbreak hurts. Losing my dog, who was one of my best friends that loved me unconditionally, hurt. God can heal relationships and heal your hurts. Don’t discard Him! Focus on the only thing that can give you hope in this broken world filled with broken people.

I pray that you feel loved today!