Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving Weekend.............

A few day's before Thanksgiving we headed over to my mom's house to make some stuffing for the local senior center and to help her prepare for Thanksgiving.  Below is Ashley's pics of some fall things at my moms house. :)

Two days later we went back for the feast. :)

Dad putting side dishes in the oven. I believe we had 11 different sides.. As a matter of fact I only ate sides, no turkey or ham! :)

Sweet potatoes were awesome!!! :)

Ashley's homemade bread!
Broccoli Casserole!!!

Full Adult table! :)
IT was a beautiful day, so we let the kids eat outside on the deck, since there was 12 of them! :) Below is mom's dog being very bad, he searched the kids table for scraps! :)
Dessert time!!! See the gorgeous little girl, I think she ate a whole apple pie! ;)


We had one minor catastrophe, my parents had made two turkeys, one the previous night and cut it all up, laid in a Pyrex dish to re-heat , when they put it in the oven about 10 mins later we heard a loud pop, and smoke started pouring out of the oven. The dish had shattered... of course we documented this.. :)

We had a wonderful time filled with family and friends.

On Friday we basically all laid around in a post thanksgiving coma, except for Ashley who went out black Friday shopping until 3am! :)

While alot of us were enjoying our Thanksgiving~ One of our family members was doing something even better. She was in the hospital giving birth!! :)  Now that's something to be Thankful for!!

On Saturday Hubby with the boys went out on his cousins boat to catch some fish!!! :)
New York Skyline from the boat. :)
 First Stripper catch, but just a hair to small to keep!
 Matt's first catch! A Sand shark!
 Everyone taking a turn feeling how soft the sand shark is!
The girls and I all stayed home and dug our Christmas decorations! Slowly the house is coming together for Christmas! :)

Hope your Thanksgiving was just as blessed! :)

From Our Home to Yours~~

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I am a fan of history! I love it. I love to read and imagine what life was like back then, how did it feel, what the clothing was like, and why.

When I think about Thanksgiving, and why we celebrate. Your mind can't help but naturally go to the Puritans and their voyage from England to here for religious freedom. They didn't want to be under the rule of England. They wanted to worship their God, their way! I mean talk about being a brave people. England was good for chopping of your head if you didn't agree with the King!

Imagine traveling here via the Mayflower, the rocky ocean, being crammed into a small space with 100 other people, people are sick, no potty!! Really! Your a little grossed out now aren't you? But  this is how they traveled, their core belief was soooo strong..they did what they had to do to have the freedom of religious persecution.

Then you finally see land, and your not where your suppose to be! Do you give up? Nope, you persevere...you start from scratch! You've lost half the people who came here with due to illness, yet you carry on. If you were well you took in the other children whose parents died along the voyage. Really picture that one. We come from such a selfish society now we won't help a child in need because we don't want to give up our own wants.  These people who had NO idea where their next meal was coming from took in children as their own!  That's a true sense of community!

When I think of how the Puritans worked for their food. Wow,  how fortunate we are to be able to run to Shop-Rite when we need something. 24 hours a day no less!!!

When the first Thanksgiving occurred, the Indians brought 5 deer to the feast. The Pilgrims were shocked, none of them had ever had deer meat before. In England at that time, if you ate deer it was because you had land, land equaled wealth. Needless to say they loved it.

It amazes me how much food even has a role in our society. The Pilgrims also ate tons and tons and tons of seafood, clams, mussels, lobsters etc. From reading in history I read that lobster  was also given to the slaves in the south. Because it was cheap and plentiful. When more people from England began to migrate here, they considered seafood a poor man's food because you had to catch it yourself to eat it.

Funny how times have changed. Now deer meat is considered gross, or for wacky people who hunt. In NJ as a matter of fact, only 2% of the population hunt. That's a pretty small amount considering how vast our state is. I'm not sure how many solely rely of deer meat for food, but it is delicious and can certainly supplement your grocery budget well. But it does have a slight stigma to it.

And seafood has become a sign of wealth. If you can afford seafood you must be doing well.

But none the less, Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday full of food, and a spirit of Thankfulness.
We have so much, by the grace of God to be thankful for.  Let us not forget it!!

Hebrews 12:28

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Simply Delicious Pumpkin Bread~Thanksgiving

This is a super easy, super delicious pumpkin bread!!!

3 C Flour
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
3 t cinnamon
2 C sugar
2 C pumpkin or one small can
4 eggs
1 1/4 C veggie oil
1/2 C nuts or chocolate chips (optional)

Mix everything together, bake 350* for 1 hour.

From My Bella Cucina to Yours!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Apple Crumb Pie~Thanksgiving

Posting on Homestead Barn Hop, I hope y'all will hop on over to my blog and read some more Thanksgiving Recipes. :)

This is not your ordinary Apple Pie!!! 

6 tart apples, peeled, cored, sliced
3/4 C sugar
1 T Cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
3/4 C packed brown sugar

1/2 C flour
3 t cinnamon
1/4 C butter

1 shell of a 9 in. Pie

Mix the first 5 ingredients well, until apples are coated evenly.  Put into pie shell.

Mix the crumb mix well, until nice and crumbly sprinkle on top of apples.

Bake 425* for 40-5- mins. Cover top and continue to bake for another 15.

From My Bella Cucina to Yours!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Creamy Cranberry Salad~Thanksgiving

3 C fresh or frozen cranberries, coarsely chopped
1 can (20oz) crushed pineapple drained
1 medium apple, peeled and chopped
2 C mini marshmallows
2/3 C Sugar
1/8 t Salt
1/4 C chopped walnuts
2 C whipping cream

In a bowl combine cranberries, pineapple, apple, marshmallows, sugar ,salt and walnuts. You can make this the night before. Just before serving whip the cream and fold into mixture.

Makes 10-12 servings

From My Bella Cucina to Yours!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Blessing Mix~Thanksgiving Give Away

Here's a fun thing you all can do as a family and give it away to others that you are thankful for! :)
We make these for neighbors, and people we may see while out doing our Thanksgiving Shopping etc.
You could also use it as a hostess gift if your going somewhere for Thanksgiving or the parting gifts to the people who came to your home.

Blessing Mix
Here's what you need, this is a flexible recipe..do as much or as little as needed.
Box of Bugles
Popped Corn
Dried Fruit, raisins, or a family favorite

Mix it all together and put in baggies, then make a nice tag our of card stock, or paper and attach to bag.

Blessing Mix
The Bugles are a symbol of the cornucopia, a horn of plenty.
The Pretzels represent arms folded in thanks and prayer.
The Popcorn reminds us that during the first winter, the pilgrims were allowed only five kernels of corn per day because food was so scarce.
The Fruit is a reminder that Thanksgiving is a  celebrations of the harvest.
The Peanuts represent seeds, the potential of the bounteous harvest for the next season if they are planted and well tended.

Happy Thanksgiving!
The .......... Family.

From Our Home to Yours!!! :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Best Cornbread Ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!~~

In honor of Thanksgiving, I'm going to post some of my favorite recipes for the next couple of days.

This is the BEST cornbread EVER!! I promise you, from my friend Theresa..

1/2 Stick Butter-softened
1 Egg
1 1/4 C Milk
1 1/4 C WHITE cornmeal
1 C flour
1 1/2 t salt
1 1/2 T baking powder
1/2 C Sugar

Mix it all together, pour in 9x13 bake 350* for 35 mins.

From My Bella Cucina to Yours! :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Happy Birthday Ashley!!!!!!!!!

It's amazing to me when you give birth what an instant bond develops. A love so deep you can't even explain it, nor understand it fully. If I can love someone sooo much, and our heavenly father loves us even more then that, I can't fathom it. How deep His love must go for us. And we are so bad, so undeserving.

17 years ago, my sweet precious girl was born. 17 days late, by the way! :) By day 5 in the hospital I couldn't wait to escape.Giving birth at 5:16 am has it's advantages, I could leave the hospital the next day or get the two day special. I chose to bail out the next day! :)

In the past 17 years I have watched you grow and mature, not only physically but spiritually as well. I watched you give your life to the Lord at 5 years old.  I remember sitting in church with you, and your little hand holding my fingers and twisting. It use to drive me nuts! I miss it now.
You have watched me over the years, and I see me in you. Sometimes good, sometimes.. I'm like oh, that's me..ugh!
Your love for the Lord has taught me a thing or two! I gleam from you as well my love. Your love for evangelism inspires me. The way you can minister to people, from church goers to the pizza man puts me at awe.
When people say what a great job I have done with you... I am quick to correct them. What a great job the LORD has done in you!!!!!!!! God has blessed me with you, and continues to bless me as I watch you grow in him.
Ashley, I look forward to watching your over the next 17 years and seeing what the Lord will do.
Thank You for encouraging me daily, thank you for being an excellent role model to your younger siblings, thank you for your outreach to anyone who will listen and even if they don't, you don't give up!

Psalm 144:12
That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; That our daughters may be as pillars, Sculptured in palace style

Proverbs 31:29
“ Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all.”

I love you my sweetness! :)


Monday, November 14, 2011

Easy Thanksgiving Dish, that you can take...

So Thanksgiving is my mom's holiday. Meaning every year she hosts this one for our family. I do Christmas Eve and My Aunt Lisa does Easter.

Anyway this is a super easy dish, that you make in your crock pot so you don't have to worry about reheating it in someone elses oven. Just make bring, plug in when you get there. :)

8 large sweet potato or yams. Depends on where you live as to what you call them.
chop up in small chunks. Put in crock pot on low and cook alllllllll day...

As the day progresses check them, as the get softer start to mash, I just use a good ol' fashion hand masher.

Once they are all mashed, throw in brown sugar and maple syrup to taste. You can make these as sweet as you like. You can also add cinnamon or cloves. This is such a flexible recipe.

Call it done!
You can make the day before as well. Keep in crock pot on warm, the house will smell delicious and you will thoroughly enjoy them!

From My Bella Cucina to Yours!!

When your child hurts.....

Oh, how hard it is to be a mom when your child hurts. Physically or Emotionally to watch your child hurt is so sad.  I wonder in times like these, why God.. What is the lesson in this pain?
As a mom, my emotions range from sadness to anger back to sadness.

For the past year, I have watched not only my daughter but my entire family struggle with loss.
At times it felt like we lost everything.  Our intimate circle of friends had decreased. We lost our church family. My daughter lost her best friend. Hard for a teenager to deal with.

We have struggled immensely, I have questioned God..more times then I care to recount. We are not in a church, nor am I sure..I wish to be.

This past weekend, I was talking with my girl..and I was watching her slowly look through her photo albums. My daughter loves to take pictures, so pretty much anything we do is documented at some point by photos.

I asked her if she was ok? And the tears just started to pour...she methodically started removing pictures from her albums, and said she feels like the last 4 years of her life was wasted on people who don't really care about her. 

I explained to her that our time was not wasted, we had many good times and those should be remembered. We can't focus on the hurts. I understand her hurt. We had people walk away from us without so much as an explanation. And we gave up on people. Hardest thing to do is to let people you love walk in sin, when you know~ they know better, yet they won't hear you. We walked away... we separated ourselves. Gosh that was hard, cause we know..we are not perfect people either. We prayed, and prayed and prayed. We sought other godly counsel..and then we walked away.

We're still praying for all..including ourselves. We pray for true repentance on their part. We pray that if we are wrong, that God will reveal it to us. But most importantly we continue to pray, cause we do know...they know better.

One of the hardest things to deal with is know that you have someones back, if they would just do the right thing..

As the sadness creeps up, we pray for peace. My daughter misses her friend. We all miss them.

I never want to feel my time is wasted. When we live for God we aren't wasting our time. Weather we remain friends with people until we die or we are only used for a short season.

NEVER think your time is wasted.

If you are hurting too, keep in mind that God is good...and he knows.
For what it's worth, if the families that we are in conflict with came to true repentance, we would forgive and move on. Until then we will continue to pray.

Heavenly Father,
I am grateful to you Lord. You know all things from beginning to end. You know why this happened the way it did, and only You completely know everyones heart. I continue to pray for repentance Lord. I ask that you would soften their hearts to reveal to them your word. I pray for a peace that surpasses all understanding. We will never understand your motives in this Lord, but we know your hand is in it. Thank You Lord for always be there. Thank You for reminding me, my time is never wasted when we do all things unto you.

From Our Home to Yours...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Italian Sausage Soup

This soup is a wonderful addition to your regular soup recipes.

1 lb. Italian Sausage, casings removed
1 large onion diced
2 carrots sliced
2 stalks celery diced
8 C Chicken Broth
1 8oz can
1 14 1/2 oz can diced tomatoes
3-4 cloves garlic, we like garlic..you can reduced as needed
1/2 t oregano
1/2 t rosemary
1/4 t thyme
1/4 t fennel seeds
1 bay leaf- optional
1/2 C orzo or Acini Di Pepe pasta

Now, instead of all the individual spices I use several shakes of Herb De Providence.. Love that stuff.

Saute carrots, onion, celery and sausage all together until sausage is not pink.
Add broth, undrained diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and all herbs..simmer for an hour, add pasta, simmer for another 30 mins. Enjoy!!!!

I make the pasta on the side.
Delicious with fresh grated cheese on top!

From My Bella Cucina to Yours! :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Instilling a Work Ethic

~~Genesis 2:2By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.~~

~~Genesis 2:15~The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.~~

~~Deuteronomy 5:13~Six days you shall labor and do all your work,~~

~~2 Thessalonians 3:10~For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.~~

There is over 500 verses in the bible that have the word "work" in them. Some of them in the context that I mean to discuss here.

How do we instill a positive work ethic in a society that demands things be handed to them on a silver platter, not only that you should be spoon feeding them as well. EVERYONE is a WINNER society screams! SPREAD THE WEALTH!!!!!!, SHARE, GIVE ME, ME, ME MORE, AND NO I DON'T WANT TO WORK FOR IT, I SHOULDN'T HAVE TOO!!!!!!!!!!!!

The selfishness is discus ting, our society has allowed this laziness to take over.
Feminism as a part in this as well. Feminist women have brought their sons up to be weak, and make the woman carry her 'fair share' of the work load. Our roles haves become blurred, with stay at home dads, and woman portraying the "we can have it all" mentality. It goes against our natural desire. Genesis 3:14~To the woman He said: I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children;Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.” ~
God created us to be our husbands helper, not the provider. That is the husbands role. We are called to help, uplift, talk of sweet things, so our husband will be known at the gates.

Instead, our society enables woman to let outside work be their calling, not the work of the home. Allow nannies, day cares, grandparents to fill the job of the parents.

I see the Generation X, and Y doing things that I just don't understand. I am a Gen X'er.
But I was raised differently, I was raised that you work for what you want. No work, No treat. Pure and Simple. Most of my life my mom was single mom, she worked hard for OUR NEEDS, not our wants and desires. My mom has always been a hard worker, still is to this day. I envy her ability to do it so well. I think I would have cried everyday that I had to leave my child behind to go to work. I know it wasn't what she wanted, but she did it and she did it well. Thanks Mom!!! :)

We teach all our children to work, and I don't mean gender specific work.. I mean to work in general. Many a times I have sat and handed my husband tools while he worked on our vehicles, or pressed the break pedal down, or heard more about engines then I care too. My daughters have learned how to use a saw and the log splitter, my boys have learned how to cook, do laundry and wash dishes. We each learn each others jobs, so when the time comes and we all need to pitch in, we can.

Last week we had what I like to call a working vacation. We have become close with the campground owners. They are wonderful people. Great with the children, always allowing us to help out in anyway we can.
The campground closed last weekend until spring of next year. There was a lot to be done. We did little odd jobs for them, like raking, leaf blowing, garbage detail, moving picnic tables and fire rings etc.
We do this as a family to, 1. teach the children what it's like to be a business owner. 2. to instill a good work ethic.
We encourage our children to take an Entrepreneurial route in life. My husband and I have had several side business in our 20 years together. From power washing to making candles, our current on is a outdoor movie business. Each business worked for a specific time and then we moved on to what would work for us again. We teach the children each aspect of every business and they all help. No one is ever to small to help, even if that means helping make lunch to serve the older ones that are doing the physical work.
The campground owners complemented us on how hard we worked, she said they felt bad because they saw the progression. What normally takes them 12 hours was done in much less time. But many hands make light work. While I appreciate her complements of how hard we worked the compliment I appreciate the most was when she said, "your kids worked so hard, and with smiles on their faces" . That meant so much to me.
Because we can all do work, begrudgingly or we can do it all for the glory of God. The key is to teach our children and remind ourselves that everything, EVERYTHING we do is for the glory of our Lord and Savior. Even the littlest task of wiping a nose, to a full on campground clean up. It's all for his Glory, His Love to shine through our efforts. If you want to instill a good work ethic, lead by example, work along side your children and remember WHO your doing it for.
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From Our Home to Yours...........

Monday, November 7, 2011

Happy Birthday Jacob!!

So while we were away we celebrated Jacob's 11th birthday!!!

We spent a week at the campground, (more to come on that) It was a wonderful time.

Jacob's request for his birthday was a Scooby Doo cake, chocolate filled with chocolate pudding.

Lucky for me I have a friend who lives not to far from the campground, and we invited her family back to the camper for some yummy cake, and then we all headed out to go bowling.
Gotta love when one friend and her family = instant party. My friend Lisa has 7 children and a loving heart for them all, she also opens her home to foster children. She inspires me.. :)

SO with our large group we headed out to Blue Ball Lanes, and even got the group rate! :)
2 games of bowling, with shoe rental $8.00 per person! :)

After bowling we headed to Joe's Famous Wieners and Wings, this place is super delicious.

We loaded up on garlic, spicy and honey bbq wings, along with cheese steaks and fries.

Below is my Ashley with Lisa's Ashlee. Little Ashlee loved on my Ashley all night!! :)

A great time was had by all!! :)

Friendship is a blessing!

From Our Home To Yours,

Blessings..... <3

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