Crockpot Lasagna

Happy Monday 😁

It’s time for the Meal Planning Monday Recipe! Crockpot Lasagna- I serve with a salad and garlic bread. It is a family favorite and sooooo easy!

I always use crockpot liners when I use my crockpot and it makes clean up a breeze!

Here is the recipe:

Crockpot Lasagna

1 lb. ground beef

1 large jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce (approx. 30oz)

8 oz pkg. lasagna noodles, uncooked

4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

15 oz ricotta cheese

Directions

1. Spray the inside of the crock-pot with cooking spray

2. Brown the ground beef

3. Stir the spaghetti sauce in with the ground beef

4. Spread 1/4 of the meat sauce on the bottom of the crock-pot

5. Arrange 1/3 of the uncooked noodles over the sauce (I usually break them up so they fit better)

6. Combine the cheeses in a bowl. Spoon 1/3 of the cheeses over the noodles.

7. Repeat these layers twice

8. Top with remaining sauce

9. Cover and cook on low for 4hrs

10. Let the lasagna stand in the crock-pot with the lid off for at least 10 minutes

Happiness is Simple

Happiness is simple.

Maybe I should say it like this instead-Simple makes me happy.

Simplicity makes me happy.

I am not saying that happiness is easy. (But it definitely isn’t as hard as people make it)

I am saying that keeping things simple is a key to my happiness.

I can say this as a fact:

I AM TRULY HAPPY

It’s that simple! Or maybe I’m simple (okay I know, enough of the word play with the word simple)

I am happy!

Definition:Happy-characterized by or indicative of pleasure, contentment, or joy.

I am content, I am joyful, I love my life!

I am grateful!

Happiness is a choice, it is not a destination. I decide that I am going to be happy and it’s not some place that I am going, it is right where I am.

I FIND JOY WHERE I AM.

That is what brings me contentment.

I find real joy in the everyday. Simple things. Not in material worldly things like what the commercials on TV tell me I need to be happy, but in the amazing beauty of the gifts that my God has given me.

First and foremost, the gift of salvation. I have the gift of eternal life because my Savior died for my sins.

My husband.

My marriage.

My children.

My family.

I am surrounded by things that make me happy. That brings me joy. I take the time to appreciate them and that is another key to my happiness.

Something else that I find joy in that makes me happy is- sharing it with others.

That can be done in many ways. Some as simple as just smiling at someone while I’m out and about or telling my kids a goofy joke(I have a lot of them). But I feel that I share it the best in my photography.

No, I am not a professional photographer, I am just a simple county gal who sees beauty in the world around me and I try to capture that to share with others. Most of the pictures I share here on the blog I took on our farm. The picture below I took over looking our farm, I finally found the perfect quote to describe it and that makes me happy.

Perfect isn’t it?

Don’t get me wrong my life isn’t perfect, no one’s is, but it is perfect for me.

I choose to roll with the punches, to find blessing in everything and

I choose to be happy.

I am not perfect, I am perfectly imperfect and I am perfectly happy.

Isn’t that simple?

If April showers bring May flowers, what does April snow bring?

If April showers bring May flowers, what does April snow bring?

Is this a joke????

No, if I remember it correctly the joke went like this:

If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring?

Pilgrims!

It didn’t say anything about snow in April. It is supposed to be spring. Sunny warm days. Not cold snowy ones! And definitely not on the first day of spring break!

Today is the first day of my children’s spring break. They go to a private Christian school so their schedule is different than our local county’s schools who are back in school this week. The county schools had a 2 hour delay so far today (to early to know if it is canceled yet) so they get to sleep in a little. My children on the other hand got up anticipating the first day of spring break and the looked out the window, saw snow and frowned.

Well, while it is disappointing to wake up to snow when you are expecting spring, it will definitely make us appreciate the spring weather when it does show up.Whenever that will be. And I sure hope it’s soon. It has been a long winter.

I guess if I like the warmer weather I should go farther south 🙂

Visit not move 😉

I could never leave the beautiful mountains of my home state.Even if the weather is crazy at times.It is where my heart sings while I’m here and when I’m gone my soul aches for it.

It truly is Almost Heaven!

Well back to my original question.If April showers bring May flowers, what does April snow bring? I think I just may have figured out the answer.

It brings grateful heart when spring does arrive.

Making Beauty From The Scraps

Making Beauty From The Scraps

I should have know that something was up.

Through out last week both of my children kept asking to help feed the horses, muck the stalls, clean the barn-anything that gave them some time in the barn. I thought they were enjoying the spring weather or just being out of the house.

I was wrong, they were not out there enjoying spring.

They were both out there up to something else.

Sometimes they were together, other times just one of them.

They were working hard.

It was a labor of love.

I’m not sure when they finished it.

But, I was presented with the beautiful, precious gift today. The day after Good Friday and the day before Easter.

My heart was bursting with thankfulness and love. My eyes teared up. I was (believe it or not) speechless.

And here it is❤️

It is a masterpiece and fills my heart in so many ways.

My children made this from scraps that they found around the farm.

Pieces that were broken, no good, of no use. So they were thrown away.

But my children made those broken, useless pieces into something beautiful.

Something beautiful that represents The One who takes the broken, the no good, the ones thought to be useless, worthless and He makes them beautiful.

What an amazing expression of love!

They took those scraps and built the symbol of my Savior. The cross that He died on for my sins and yours. The very symbol that takes my broken undeserving worldly ways-my sins, away. It takes them and turns it in to beautiful loving forgiveness- an amazing grace.

What an amazing gift of love- a symbol of the greatest act of love.

“Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” 1 Corinthians 15:3b-4

Because He died for our sins we are a made new. We were broken, sinful, no good and He makes us in to something beautiful.

He died for you. For the forgiveness of your sins. Because He loves you.

Do you know this amazing grace? The unending Love of our Savior? Have you asked Him in to your heart and given Him your sins, your brokenness?

He will make beauty from the scraps.

To learn more you can visit:

https://peacewithgod.net/

What is that smell????

What is that smell?

That can be a dangerous question.

Just by hearing how it is asked is a predictor of if you want to know the answer or not.

Was it asked like this:

WHAT is THAT SMELL?

or What is that SMELL?

I would associate the first with a bad outcome. Such as that sippy cup of milk that somehow rolled under the couch and you didn’t know it was missing till you smelled it or-oh yeah,that bag of frozen food that when you had your teenager help carry groceries in from the car, they left it right BESIDE of the freezer and you didn’t see it there, even though you probably walked by it a few times. But your nose led you right to it after 2 days.

THE NOSE KNOWS!

But if asked the second way, something good is definitely around. Like when you first walk in to your Grandma’s house and you smell what is cooking. It smells familiar but you just can’t put your finer on it but you can’t wait to get your fingers in it. Or when you are shopping at the mall and smell a hint of a fragrance when passing the bath and body store and it smells so good you have to go in to see what fragrance it is.

Smell is really an amazing thing when you think about it. And is probably the most under appreciated of the five senses. It really amazes me how it triggers such strong memories. The smell of baby shampoo brings back so many memories of cuddling my babies. I really don’t think I put them down for their first few years of life, and every time I smell baby shampoo I truly feel my heart swell and I yearn for those cuddles again.

Are there any certain smells that do that to you?

It has been said that happiness has a smell.

I am sure that smell is something different for everyone but I’m also sure that the happiness comes from the memories that the smell triggers.

As you know, I live on a farm. So to say that I encounter many different smells in a day would be an understatement. And in my opinion that’s not a bad thing. Yes some aren’t as pleasant as others but overall it’s not so bad. Actually I rather enjoy it.

The smell of the hay when I walk in the barn, the smell of the honeysuckle blooming in the spring and the smell of the horses when I kiss their noses. So many good smells!

Have you ever stopped to think about what happiness smells like to you?

You may want to and I bet you will be pleasantly surprised the memories that come back to you.

Surviving On Jesus and Dry Shampoo

Sometimes you know it is just gonna be one of those days.

It is the end of March, so the weather is very unpredictable. Today it is rainy and dreary. That doesn’t help my motivation level. If anything it makes me want to take a nap.

It has been a busy day already, my energy is fading fast and I didn’t have a lot to start with.

I still have a list of things that need to be done today.

It’s gonna be one of those days.

You know. Those days. The days when you feel like you have to drag yourself through the day. The days that you feel like you are just surviving. Yeah, that kind.

I started the morning out pretty well. I was up on time, but moving slower than usual. I took a little extra time drinking my coffee in hopes that it would kick in sooner than later. The kids got up and ready better than they usually do and they were ready to walk out the door on time.

Yes I said they were.

It actually was me that wasn’t ready today.

They were ready and I was still drinking my coffee waiting for it to kick in. So when it finally registered in my brain that it was time to leave, and I wasn’t ready, I was in a little bit of a panic. I hadn’t even gotten my shower yet! How did I lose track of time like this?

Dry shampoo to the rescue!

A few sprays. Run a brush trough my hair and I am ready to face the world.

Out the door we go.

In the car and on our way.

Every morning on the way to school the kids and I pray in the car and this has been such a blessing to me.

Especially on days like today.

We take turns praying. Thanking God for all He has given us as we know all good things come from Him. Asking for healing, safety and protection for others and asking for His blessings and guidance as we face our day. This has really given me an insight on what is on my children’s hearts and minds. It helps us all start the day out right.

On days like this that is what helps me make it through the day.

Coffee, Dry shampoo and Jesus

Days like this really aren’t bad days. I am very grateful for my health, my family and all of the many blessings I have. Some days I just feel like I’m surviving instead of thriving.

I am still waiting for the coffee to kick in but as I drag my sleepy self through this day I will just be thankful to be able to do it.

I am not super woman. I will have days like this, and that is okay.

Oh, and we did make it to school on time 🙂

I Love Cleaning Up Messes I Didn’t Make. So I Became A Mom.

I Love Cleaning Up Messes I Didn’t Make. So I Became A Mom.

When I first read that I laughed out loud.

Sarcasm is some of my favorite humor.

But then it hit me.

A big part of my day has been doing just that, cleaning up messes I didn’t make.

I’m not complaining, it is part of the life I choose. There is nothing I love more than taking care of my family. And by taking care of them I let them know how much I love them. That includes, but is not limited to, cleaning up their messes.

As a Farm Wife and Mom, my responsibilities are just not inside our walls . Yes, I keep the house (for the most part) clean, make sure everyone has 3 meals a day and clean clothes. But I also cut grass, clean the barn and chicken coop, feed all of the animals and other farm chores. It truly is a lot of work. But I wouldn’t change it for anything!

I say that my house is clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy.

It is spring now and on the farm that brings more cleaning up to be done. It is time to clean up all that winter has left behind. Trees have fallen, fences are in need of repair. Everything is muddy and in need of some cleaning. It has been a hard winter. Not so much because we had a lot of snow but it was very cold. Uncommonly cold for our area. So we stayed cooped up inside most of the time. So needless to say-I am so glad Spring is finally here!

Spring is a time of renewal and reawakening. The birds are singing, the flowers are starting to break through the hardened earth and the sunshine is breaking through the gray clouds. It lifts my spirits and awakens my soul. It feels like a weight has been lifted.

It gets me thinking about life. About how old things becoming new again. How things come back to life. Bloom. Grow and flourish.

Which gets me to wondering about things that I may need to work on and improve in my spiritual life. About how my heart and mind could use an awakening, a renewal.

My heart and mind could use a good “spring cleaning”.

A renewal of my soul.

As I pondered that, I remembered something I had read. It is a cleaning schedule of sorts. A cleaning schedule that we could all benefit from. So thought I would share it with you.

Wash Day

Monday – Wash Day

Lord, help me wash away all my selfishness and vanity so I may serve you with perfect humility through the week ahead.

Tuesday – Ironing Day

Dear Lord, help me iron out all the wrinkles of prejudice I have collected through the years so that I may see the beauty in others.

Wednesday – Mending Day

O God, help me mend my ways so I will not set a bad example for others.

Thursday – Cleaning Day

Lord Jesus, help me to dust out all the many faults I have been hiding in the secret corners of my heart.

Friday – Shopping Day

O God, give me the grace to shop wisely so I may purchase eternal happiness for myself and all others in need of love.

Saturday – Cooking Day

Help me, my Savior, to brew a big kettle of brotherly love and serve it with the clean, sweet bread of human kindness.

Sunday – The Lord’s Day

O God, I have prepared my house for you. Please come into my heart as my honored guest so I may spend the day and the rest of my life in your presence.- Author Unknown

What do you think?

Could you benefit from it?

I know I can.

So now you know what I will be working on.

Cleaning up messes.

MY OWN

With the help of my Savior- Jesus Christ

I am imperfect but I am working on it.

And I am okay with that.

I AM PERFECTLY IMPERFECT.

Excuse Me, You Forgot To Wash Your Hands

Excuse me, you forgot to wash your hands.

Yep, I’m gonna say it.

But I hope it’s not to you.

It’s that time of year that everyone is sick with some type of yuck and there are germs everywhere!

Going to the grocery store and touching the buggy (yes, buggy- I’m from West Virginia, that is what we call it here. You may call them shopping carts) is like rubbing your hands in a Petri dish! Germs are everywhere. There is no way to avoid them and you can’t live your life in a bubble.

I don’t have time to be sick and I’m sure that you don’t either.

How do we avoid all of these germs?

That is nearly impossible!

So let’s reduce the amount of germs out there by NOT SPREADING them.

I can think of two simple things that would greatly reduce the amount of germs that we may come in contact with.

One would be WASH (pronounced worsh in my neck of the woods) YOUR HANDS!

I can’t tell you how many times I have seen people walk out of a public restroom without washing their hands. It disgusts me.

Not only should you wash your hands after you go to the restroom but also before you eat, after you cough or sneeze or even just when you are out in public.

Come on now, we all learned this in Kindergarten.

Which leads me to the second way we can stop spreading germs.

Yep, I am going to say it.

If your child is sick KEEP THEM HOME FROM SCHOOL. And since some have a difficulty defining sick, here ya go-Do they have a fever? A runny nose or congestion that isn’t caused by seasonal allergies (be honest)? Have they been vomiting or had diarrhea in the past 24 hours?

If so, PLEASE keep them home.

I do realize that it is easy to say and harder to do. You may have to find childcare or take a day off of work. But so will the parents of the other children that your child gets sick!

Not to mention what I see is even more important- your baby is sick, THEY NEED YOU! Keep them home and take care of them, baby them. And yes, if you are sick you need to stay home and take care of yourself also! You deserve a break anyway. Your body is even telling you!

We are all in this together, it is us against these stinkin germs.

Let’s show them who is boss!

Somedays Running Late Is The Only Exercise I Get

According to my husband- if you aren’t early, then you are late.

Well then-I AM ALWAYS LATE.

He also says that I will be late for my own funeral. I’m not sure if that is possible, but if it is possible, he is probably right (he usually is).

Somedays (more like most days) running late is the only exercise I get. Yes, I am usually late. Is that a bad thing? Some would say it is. But I will tell you that I don’t do it intentionally. I don’t do it to be rude or disrespectful.

It is just part of who I am.

Perfectly Imperfect.

And I’m okay with that.

Maybe I should explain this a little better.

I am an eternal optimist.

I believe most people are good. I forgive people who I know don’t deserve it. I see beauty where others don’t. I can’t go past a baby, a puppy or a flower with out noticing and more than likely talking to it.

The Oxford Dictionary defines an optimist as follows:

Optimist

NOUN

Definition-a person who tends to be hopeful and confident about the future or the success of something.

Philosophy-a person who believes that this world is the best of all possible worlds or that good must ultimately prevail over evil.

So I guess you could say that my cup isn’t half empty.

It is overflowing (with sweet tea of course)!

But it also means that in my happy-go-lucky mind that I always have plenty of time. I have time to read one more chapter, I have time to get one more thing checked off of my list before I leave the house. I have time to stop and smell the roses. Although I really don’t have that time, I will be late. And I usually am.

I apologize if my tardiness has ever effected you or your plans. And, I apologize in advance because if I am part of your plans, it probably will. I hope that you understand why now.

I am an eternal optimist.

And I won’t apologize for that.

This morning as I was thinking about this (as I was running late getting my kids to school… again) I realized that today is the first day of spring. That made me think of a quote I had read about optimism.

“An optimist is the human personification of spring”-Susan J. Bissonette

How perfect is that quote for today?!

So go out and enjoy this first day of spring, even if it is raining there as it is here.

After all, rain is just liquid sunshine!

And remember, if I’m supposed to meet you, I will be there…. eventually.

I just stopped to smell the roses.

Carrots and Chocolate Cake

Did that title say carrots and chocolate cake?

Yes, it did.

Actually I could have titled it a few different things.

Like- Salad and Ice Cream,Kale Chips and Fudge Brownies, Salmon and Bacon.

All are things I should be eating and what I really eat instead.

Meal planning is very important. Remember that if you fail to plan you plan to fail. These are all things I try to tell myself as I sit here and stare at the blank grocery list before me.

I try.

I really do.

I make a sort of menu for the week before I go grocery shopping. I take my time, plan it out and make good choices. I think about what we have going on during the next week so I know what days the kids need lunches for school. I take into account what evenings we have activities which will determine if it needs to be a quick meal or possibly left overs and also what I can fix that everyone will eat. A lot of thought and planning goes into feeding your family healthy meals.

So I make my list and head to the store. I get all of the fruits and vegetables listed. I get all of the lean meat and whole grains to follow the menu for the week. I stick to the plan and head to the registers.

Hey what is that on sale over there?

Oreos?

That’s a good deal. I’ll get some for the kids as a treat when they get home from school.

Oh no, I forgot the frozen corn. Guess I have to head over to the freezer section.

Ice cream is BOGO this week?

Guess I should get 2.

And so it begins. The implosion of my healthy menu.

I have good intentions. And as long as everything is in moderation it will be fine.

Until everyone else has gone to bed and I remember the Oreos I bought and eat half a package by myself.

Until the kids “don’t feel” like eating what I made for dinner and they want something else and I’m too tired to argue so I just tell them that they can find something else to eat because I already made a meal. Then they walk out of the kitchen with a bowl of ice cream.

I had good intentions.

Really I did.