The real Hunger Games- I’ve got a picky eater

417465_4305492958448_1552985843_nEach one of my kids is so different. This one right here…is a pistol. Jonah has a soft heart. He is a hard worker with a hard head. He is twice the size of the rest of the kids his age. He has he worst case of middle childitis I have ever seen. He is a lover, a seeker of attention, a giver, a sweet boy…and a picky eater!

Jo-Jo arrived in a blizzard a few days early, a few days before Christmas. He latched on right away! So easy to nurse him. He would eat, burp, poo, repeat! He went to the tickle up (tippy cup) really well. He never ate baby food…he would shudder and spit and lock his jaw. He wanted real people food. Mashed potato, carrots and cheese and fruit. I am not sure when it started…

At first I thought he was just going through a “beige” period. I played along. I knew what he liked. I like to cook and I cook 3 meals a day for 5 people–not 5 meals 3 times a day. I have tried to ignore, bribe, punish, encourage, camouflage. I started adding a bit of what he doesn’t like into what he does. He will find the 3 peas or 6 springs of parsley and dig them out. He licks the plate clean when he loves something and plays the worst kind of games when he doesn’t. It’s like going through the stages of grief each night at supper.


I feel like every night is a battle of will. Jonah’s list of acceptable food is short. Baked chicken legs, steak, shrimp. Noodles, boiled potatoes, corn, raw carrots, celery, cooked brocoli, asparagus. Period. No sauce, no mixing, no touching, no variation.  He cries when I make chicken and dumplings, begs for death if I put sauce and meatballs on his spaghetti and would rather die than eat pot roast or gravy. Boiled eggs for breakfast–only, ever boiled.

A few months ago he started with the stirring the food around to look like he is eating it. He is tearing it up into little pieces and dropping it on the floor. He runs to the bathroom to “pee” (spit it out). It is driving me crazy!

I don’t worry about his growth and development. His height and weight are off the charts and his vocabulary is staggering. I worry about what he is missing. The adventure of eating, the experience. I want his life to be free and full of flavor. I see his future and it has ramen, saltines and chicken nuggets written all over it. I hate that he fears dinnertime. I hate that he eats  his boogers and not my suppers!


I know I can’t give up. I also know that these little men have hard heads. Kids can’t control much–but they control what goes in and when it comes out…Failure is not an option…What battles have to be won?

My other two stooges are munching on pomegranate seeds, mussels, cauliflower, breakfast burritos, black walnuts, sharp cheddar cheese and olives.

I found a gray eyebrow this morning…it had Jonah written all over it!

These are my thoughts…what do you think?

Sincerely, Sara

Bridal Shower Pennant Banner

PicMonkey CollageI am not the crafty one in the family. Amy has vision, talent and patience that I just do not own. I wanted to make a few things to tie the shower all together.  This was a casual get together –Not a fantasy pinteresting extravaganza. I had a budget of almost $0 so I put on my thinking cap and I got to work.


I pulled out the old Scrapbooking Rubbermaid tub. Ahh Scrapbooking. I loved it. I loved the finished product. I loved wasting hours creating 6 perfect pages.  I have had to give it up, but I have tons of bits and pieces, tools and tricks left over to help me with this simple project.


The bride to be choose yellow and gray for her wedding colors. I pulled out every sheet and scrap in those colors I could find. I mixed patterns. I really loved working with the sunny yellow papers on yet another cold, gray day.


I cheated here. I just printed off a 3 inch pennant template ’cause I just don’t think in angles. I used 12×12 sheets of paper and got 4 flags from each sheet and a good size piece of scrap  to use . I cut them all in about 20 minutes. I just pulled out the paper punch and strung them together with twine. They were rustic, simple, cheery and charming.

PicMonkey Collage

There you have it. Your fast, budget friendly way to dress up a casual get together, Use brown bags, wrapping paper, scraps or even the newspaper. Remember–just make your guests feel welcome and your event will be a success.

Sincerely, Sara

Bridal Shower Tea Party

Geddes_Anne_-_Bride_and_Groom_jtI have a new friend–Let’s call her Cheery. She has a son and a daughter both getting married this year. Funny how I have potty train Eli on my summer bucket list. Early bloomer meet late bloomer. She was talking about throwing a shower–I jumped at the chance to help  take over.


Aww, ain’t they sweet!?!

vintage tea party

Thursday I will show you the decorations and then later this week I will share the menu and recipes.

I had such a nice time.  20 gals, every age all gathered in a sunny, warm family room. Our cheeks flushed from laughing. It felt good. Talking about our own weddings. The dresses and flowers and cakes and for a moment we were all brides again, for just a moment, feeling the fresh excitement that a wedding brings. Some had been married for months, some more years than I have been alive– all coming together for this simple, old fashion, rite of passage. We oohed and ahhed at dish towels and crock pots. We talked about our silliest fight–and laughed at our silliness. I enjoyed so much watching the bride to be sitting in the chair doing the same thing we have all done, being the same girl we have all been.

So until next time–here is a sneak peek.

Did I mention it was a surprise?

Sincerely, Sara

Wishing I could switch places


heart pic

It’s ❤ month guys. Before Lucy I heard this thought, “better wear red on Friday”.

Now I think, “who is suffering?”

I can’t live through the month of February and not re-live the journey that God has carried me through with a special little girl.

I feel “special” (sort of) that I have gotten to SEE, first hand – FEEL, (literally) and KNOW… that this isn’t “all there is”. That I am loved as I love my children and that God is REAL!

Here is a post from a year ago…

Making the decision to have a child – it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.-    Elizabeth Stone

One year ago today my first daughter – 8 year old Lucy, underwent open heart surgery. She needed  to have her heart repaired and altered again. This wasn’t the first…

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Sochi (Russian) Chili

Did you watch the Olympics?


I only clicked on links that showed pics of the “toilet” situation and Bob Costas’ pink eyes…

Then it reminded me of a recipe…

My BFF married into a family that actually has a “secret” family recipe.

One day during a “play” date, she (the BFF) was talking about how she was looking forward to a time fast approaching when her MIL would be making “Russian” chili. “Russian” chili I ask? “Yes”, she replies. “What’s this?” I ask…

“Oh you can’t tell me”?

It’s like that commercial back in the day where the dry cleaner is telling all the customers about some “ancient chinese” secret but it’s really just Downey or whatever. I just loved it growing up. “Ancient Chinese Secret -huh?”

Annnyyway, back to the recipe – right?

IMG_1363-001I’ve heard tell that round steak had been used. But I went all out and got the bottom round.
IMG_1364-001IMG_1366-001IMG_1367-001IMG_1368-001IMG_1369-001IMG_1371-001IMG_1372-001IMG_1403-001It’s so meaty, spicy and flavorful that even Vladimir Putin would enjoy it. I know Jim was a pootin after his 2nd bowl. 😉

My first Date

I was a strange kid! So glad I am normal now,err sorta. I was born in Kankakee, Illinois. There was not a lot going on there in the 80’s. There  was 1 place off of the last exit on Interstate 57– The Redwood Inn  it was not a Buffet it was a SMORGASBOARD! It seemed to be so elegant. I had Jello with celery and walnuts inside, I ate liver and onions, prime rib, shrimp cocktail and chicken Caccatore, Kiev, Cordon Blue…and these little gray licorice flavored mints. There was a state of the art salad bar with creamy garlic dressing and desserts…. and I was there on a date with my Dad.

The Redwood Inn gave you a meal free on your Birthday so my Dad would schlep us there for dinner on our special day. Going out to eat, which we hardly ever did, on a weeknight, in the middle of cold, dark February really did make me feel special.

dadHe would warm up the old Buick, hold the door for me and pull out my chair. I got to have a Pepsi with my dinner too! I don’t remember what we talked about really, but I remember that we did. He would tell me I wasn’t right to choose liver and onions. We laughed a little, and home we would go in the dark to our little house. I would be looking forward to the next birthday date before the night was even over

Fast Forward 15 years or so. I was in Wheaton, Illinois for a few weeks. My Dad came up to eat dinner with me. We ate at a Macaroni Grill. We talked about hard things and easy things. I remember that dinner too.

So today it is my Birthday. The Redwood Inn is long gone and I am miles away from my Dad but I will miss them both just a bit today. I am going to get us ready for church and have a lunch date with these 4 Hanson men of mine. That first date though, those special Birthday dinners with my Dad will always be my favorite.

Sincerely, Sara

Ribeyes & Smashed Potatoes & Neck Ties


My husband collects ties.


I guess it’s better than wives and cheaper than cars.

It use to make me roll my eyes, but over the years…

I think it’s kind of sweet.


Sweet in that around Christmas time (he has substantially more “Happy Birthday” baby Jesus ties) he wears a different Christmas tie every day of the month. When a co-worker or a fellow church member or stranger on the street compliments his tie (yes, folks have complimented his ties) Jim whips it off and gives it to the person.


Yes there is always a little dance put on. “No, I can’t take your tie” – “Yes, take it – it’s a gift”


It was Valentines Evening, I told him work late if you like – he likes to do this sometimes, I wonder why?

Actually don’t answer that.

He called on the way home and was all like, “what’s for dinner?” I was like, “something easy”.

He probably thought pizza. Actually this meal was super easy

He loved it (I did too)!

Full of red meat, Amy

Peppermint Patty Crock Pot Hot Chocolate & Happy Valentines Day


If making an entire crock pot of hot chocolate is wrong, then I don’t wanna be right.

It’s got an entire gallon of milk in it. Okay, its whole milk but anyway…

It’s unbelievably cold here, like the movie the day after tomorrow cold.

If you haven’t seen that movie watch it in August.


Back to my “low cal” Hot Chocolate 😉

Start with a bag of York Peppermint Patties. Unwrap em (don’t eat any) turn your crock on high and melt down those candies. You should stir them as they soften. Slowly start to pour in the gallon of milk. Once you have poured in the milk turn it to low and add in a cup of malt powder.

Ladle it into your nicest tea or coffee cup, drink and repeat. Unless you start sweating and then you may be in sugar shock. I guess drink a glass of water in between.?

Happy Valentines Day!


You are loved, Amy – Sara & Hannah


Chicken and Dumplings the perfect weeknight warm up

IMGP3736We are all freezing here! The cold air hurts your skin. We needed a stick to your ribs, warm you from the inside out dinner. I want to make Chicken and Dumplings.

We are trying to be thrifty this month. I used 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts for this dinner and it feeds 4 just fine. I poach them gently in plain old water. I have also used whole boiled chicken, left over rotisseri chicken and roasted bone in breast. Use whatever chicken you like.

IMGP3710I saw this in an ad once and made a vow to try it. I am not a food stylist and it is a busy weeknight. I used my veggie peeler and cut 2 long carrots into hearts. Com’on people–it’s Valentines Day.

2 chicken breasts, shredded, about 2 cups

1 packages Swanson Flavor Boost 516c5c08dd670.preview-620

6 cups water or Chicken stock

2 carrots sliced

2 ribs celery finely chopped, leaves and all

Bring all the above to a gentle boil

Now for the dumplings. I have used many recipes but there is one, never fail, always on hand secret I keep….

IMGP3713Mix according to directions. 2 cup mix, 2/3 cup milk. I add 1/4 cup chopped parsley and 1 tablespoon black pepper. Mix lightly until just combined. Drop into your gently boiling pot. Cook uncovered first for 10 minutes–set a timer cause time flies. Cover, reduce heat to medium and cook 10 minutes more. DON”T lift the lid.

Bisquick tip…Keep it in the fridge. It will last longer and always work great. (it says so right on the box, I just started doing it!)

IMGP3735There is our warm, savory, comforting dinner.

What is your favorite comfort food?

Sincerely, Sara

♥ Don’t tell me sisters don’t think alike.

Hi, it’s me – the middle slice.

I made chicken and dumplings the same night.

We may have made the same dish at the same time but we prepared it a bit differently.

Here’s my version.


I ran to Aldi’s an hour before dinner, right after the kids got home from school and I set them up with a snack.

IMG_1217-001It was cheaper to buy a whole chicken than just the breasts. I’ll use the legs and thighs for another chicken dish this week. I boiled it with parsley, salt, pepper and some garlic powder (I put that on everything, no lie).

IMG_1219-001I too put carrots in this time. Normally I don’t. While I cut them up, I also cut up celery and we dipped those in kosher salt and crunched and talked about our day.

IMG_1228-001I used the Aldi “baking mix” for my dumplings. I mixed it with milk and black pepper and let it rise on the counter for 5 mins. I had already taken out the chick and worked on getting the breasts out. I added 4 bouillon cubes to the natural chicken broth and brought it to a roaring boil. I dropped in teaspoon fulls and covered with a lid. After 10 mins I lowered the heat and took off the lid.

IMG_1241-001It took a half an hour for it to cool down in the bowl so the kids could eat it. The house smelled so good and it tasted like a little hug. Dishes, finished up homework, baths, books and bed. I think we were all still full when we went to bed. Usually there’s a little asking for some snacks between baths and books.

Burpin’ Up, Amy