Monday, February 28, 2011


I never knew chili could be served in any other form until I was in my 20’s. I don’t know how widespread this recipe is, but I do know that friends from out of state always say, “We’d heard about you people eating your chili that-a-way.” They always say that with a skeptical look on their face, as if they are thinking we are crazy to call that chili. They always end up eating crow… er, well, chili and enjoying it. So, I hope you’ll enjoy my chili recipe and let me know how similar or different it is from what you eat in your neck of the woods.

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Yes, those are noodles in my chili. Some folks use spaghetti and some use macaroni. Some are very stringent about what they use. Me? I just use whichever is the closest in the cabinet.

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Start by browning 1 pound of ground beef with a big old diced onion. Season with salt and pepper.

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Add an equal amount (about 2 cans) of red beans or chili beans. I use red beans because I prefer to control my own spices rather than having them already in the can.

Also, add enough chili powder to lightly cover the whole thing. You can adjust the amount later if it isn’t enough, but you can’t take any away if you get too much so don’t get too crazy with the spices yet.

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Wish I had a little home canned tomato sauce, but the store bought stuff will have to do.

I add two cans of sauce. Then, fill the cans with water and add that. It rinses out the last little bits of sauce and the chili will need that water for cooking up the noodles.

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Yum. Let this simmer for at least 30 minutes.

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About a half an hour before you plan to eat, add the noodles. I add about 1 cup of macaroni or a small handful, about an 1 inch in diameter, of spaghetti. If you use spaghetti, you will want to break it into small, manageable pieces before adding it to the chili.

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This chili is perfect, because it’s a mild recipe that folks can fix up to their own tastes. Even kids will eat this chili! Some folks like to add cheese. Cheddar is lovely, but American cheese will work just fine as long as it’s not that terrible, fake, individually wrapped plastic stuff (but that’s just my opinion). You also need some saltine crackers. Don’t forget to set out the salt and pepper, chili powder, and hot sauce so people can “doctor it up.” Doesn’t hurt to set out the brown sugar, too. A fellow once brought his own bowl of brown sugar to my house, knowing he would want it for his chili. I guess he just wanted to be on the safe side and bring his own just in case I didn’t have any!

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This is “Kitten Britches,” and you just can’t serve chili without it. It’s just peanut butter mixed with honey or pancake syrup. Eat it off the spoon or be civilized and spread it on a piece of bread. It tastes fabulous with chili. It also pleases any persnickety kids in the group.

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Me? I add cheese and crackers. You’re gonna love it.

So, how do you eat your chili?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Quiet Week

My silly little blog was pretty quiet this past week, but my house sure wasn’t! Eric climbed on an airplane on Sunday for a week long business trip. I won’t lie. I was really nervous about him going. We’ve been together since I was 19 and never been apart for this long, let alone being apart for this long and me at home alone with four small children. I almost chickened out on Sunday and told him he just couldn’t go and we’d just have to somehow do without income and a house and eating and such. Somehow, I put on a smile (through the tears) and let him go.

What a LONG week! Sunday night, Eric ended up stranded in an airport as not one but two of the airplanes he was supposed to fly on were taken out of service for “mechanical failure.” He could have driven to the place they were going in about 6 or 7 hours, while the trip by airplane ended up taking about 21 hours. Happily, he got there safe and sound thought neither of us got much sleep that first night.

The days were not too bad, I guess because I’m used to him being gone at work. The nights really were pretty terrible, especially when the coyotes decided that spending the night in the field behind our house howling their terrifying, screeching howl would be a good plan.

Thought the week seemed to go very slowly, it did end and I did survive. I even found that I have some very wonderful helpers as the kids really stepped up to the plate and helped me get things done.

All this to say, I’ve missed you all! It’s so good to be back behind my keyboard. I have some good stuff in the works, as soon as I get the laundry done. ;)

Oh and by the way, thanks to all of you who “liked” my silly little blog on Facebook. If finally got the button working (I think) on the side of the blog. Hope you’ll “like” me if you haven’t already. Happy Sunday!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Today, I’m thankful…

My husband has a good job that is challenging and rewarding.

I am able to be at home, enjoying my family and providing for their needs each day.

The knowledge that God’s rich blessings to our family pale in comparison to His love.

The love and support of the kids’ grandparents.

Good friends who make this journey such fun.


What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

On Facebook Now!

I'm a dork. Really. I set up Fur Lined Toilet Seats on Facebook, but I can't get the "like" button put on my silly little blog. Oh, well.

So anyway, hope you'll look me up on facebook and "like" Fur Lined Toilet Seats. Okay, you gotta admit that it's a little funny to like fur lined toilet seats. Hope you'll "like" it anyway. ;)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Open Eyes

I won’t lie. I’m not a big fan of winter. The cold crispness, the icy chill, the gray bleak sky, the short days, and the silence just seem to get to me. By late January, I’m aching to see something green, put my hands in the soil, and feel the sunshine on my face.

Spring isn’t here yet. Today, that’s quite evident as it is cold and dreary. Still, if you look very closely you’ll see it.

I sent the kids out a few days ago (when it was unseasonably warm) to search for signs of spring. Armed with their learning journals and a pencil, they went exploring. Wish I had pictures, but I was too busy sitting in the sun.

When they returned, they shared their treasures with me. There were pictures of tiny little daffodils shooting up from the earth. A few ants marched across the page. A tree demurely showed it tiny little buds. The new, green grass hid among last year’s brown blades. What an adventure they had!

Since then, the kids’ eyes are open wide to the changes happening all around them. Mary spotted some geese in their beautiful V as they were flying north. Sarah noticed the swollen buds on the dogwood tree waiting to burst forth with it’s flowers. Daniel heard strange noises one evening while locking up the chickens. Upon investigating a bit, I found that he had heard a bat fly by.

It’s amazing what we miss when we aren’t looking for something. The other day, I walked past the front step of our house several times without seeing what was hiding, trapped by fear of our mighty cat. Mary came to the door and asked me to come outside and help her. I was so surprised to see a beautiful blue bird hiding just out of the cat’s reach. Eric helped us rescue it and move it to a tree out in the field. We are all hoping it will fare better in the future.

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Vision is a funny thing, isn’t it. Sometimes we don’t see something unless we are looking for it.

God gave us such beauty to enjoy. Looking out my window at the brown and dreary meadow, it would be easy to miss. Late winter isn’t flamboyantly beautiful like the other seasons. I’ve never really appreciated the understated nature of the season. I’m seeing so many things I’ve missed before. I never knew winter could hold such amazing and subtle joys.

If I could have missed all this beauty, what else am I missing? Am I seeing the true beauty of the world and the people in it? Are my eyes open enough to see all this beauty? Is my heart big enough to contain all the love and beauty that is out there if I’ll just look for it? I’m praying that God will keep working on me, opening my eyes and my heart to this world and it’s people. It’s so beautiful. Just beautiful.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Carrot Cake

~For Gina and Connor

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My momma’s birthday cake.  A repeat of Sam’s birthday cake, ‘cause it was that good!

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Carrot cakes should have, well, you know, carrots. 

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Yum.  Four cups of finely grated carrots and one cup of yummy raisins. Set these aside until later.

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Mix up your wet ingredients; eggs, oil, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla.

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Measure the dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon, cloves, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) in a seperate bowl and add to the wet ingredients slowly.

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Slowly stir in those pretty carrots and raisins.

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Bake in two 9 inch cake pans.  I bought these pretties at an auction in bundle with about 10 other round pans of various sizes for about $3.00.  Talk about a deal.  I love country auctions. 

I know lots of people say that you must oil and flour pans to keep the cake from sticking.  It’s just no guarantee, so I use shortening to grease the pan, and then I cut waxed paper circles for the bottom. 

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Just peel the paper off after turning the cake out into a plate.  It’s the only fool-proof way I know, so I always use it when I need my cakes to come out of the pan in one piece.  There’s nothing worse than trying to put the crumbled cake back together before decorating.

Speaking of decorating, we need a good icing.  My cream cheese icing is a bit different.  It’s a cross between a butter-cream icing and a cream cheese based icing.  It’s sweet, light, fluffy, and yummy with just enough cream cheese flavor.

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I start by whipping a mixture of meringue powder and water until it forms peaks.

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Then, I slowly mix in about 2 cups of the powdered sugar.  Now, we can start adding the rest of the sugar, the cream cheese, and the shortening or butter.  Just alternate the ingredients, adding just a bit at a time.

All that is left is adding the flavorings and a bit of salt.  Yum!

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I like the way the cloves and the cinnamon add color and a bit of interest to the icing.

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Carrot Cake

4 cups carrots, finely grated

1 cup raisins

1 cup walnuts (optional)

4 eggs

1 cup oil or applesauce

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

A healthy dash of vanilla…  about 1 tablespoon

2 cups flour

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt


Butter-cream/Cream Cheese Icing

1/3 cup cold water

2 Tablespoons meringue powder

2 lbs powdered sugar

1/2 cup shortening

1 - 8 oz stick of cream cheese

1 teaspoon vanilla

dash of ground cloves

dash of cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

Friday, February 18, 2011

Crazy Noodles

The simplest things can be so much fun.  These curly, colorful noodles are a big hit with my littles.

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They love to measure and pour them.

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Then, out comes the home-made play dough they got at the library. The noodles are fun to stick in the dough. The kids also like rolling the noodles across the dough to leave cool tracks.

By the way, that play dough is great! It doesn’t crumble or dry out easily. It’s so much easier to clean up than the store bought stuff! Just wish I could remember the “safe” place where I hid the recipe.

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The kids share, sort, measure, build, pour, and learn.

Me? I get the kitchen cleaned up or supper fixed without worrying what the kids are getting into.

I love big bowls of crazy noodles!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Feeling a little (well, a lot) blue this week, because some folks that I love very much are hurting.  Love isn’t just a feeling, you know.  It’s something you do, too.  Love is a verb.  So when we love someone, we rejoice with them over their blessings.  We also weep with them and try to help them carry their burdens.  That’s love.  It’s a good thing, the best thing.  My heart is sad, but that just means that the love is as it should be.

With that said, it seems a bit hard to count my blessings.  All the more reason to do so.  Here goes.


I have two tired yet excited big kids, worn out from a night at the tractor pull with their grandparents, aunts, and uncle.

I found a few daffodils pushing up out of the ground yesterday. 

My friend brought me two very wonderful boxes of “hand-me-down” school supplies that I can use in our home-school.

The weather is so beautiful that I have hung clothes out to dry this week!

The chickens are laying lots of big, beautiful eggs, keeping my mixing bowl quite full and our breakfast plates very satisfying.


What are you thankful for today?


~A little bonus for you…

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The suds from my kitchen sink are such fun to play with, especially when we blow them off our hands up in the air for Sam to catch.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


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My littlest little is a big boy now.

Two.  Really?  How did that happen?!

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The carrot cake was home-made with four, yes, four cups of carrots in the recipe.  It was so moist, I was almost too afraid to decorate it.

The puppy cookies are so easy!  Look close and you’ll see an upside down heart for the face, a small heart for the nose, and a medium sized heart cut in half for the ears.  They eyes are a bit of icing and a chocolate chip that was inserted upside-down.  They were so cute we had a hard time eating them.

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Could be that the kids and I went a little overboard with the cookie making, but we sure had fun. 

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I was maybe a little bit hopeful that he would like this gift the most.  Yup, those are what you think they are… big-boy underwear.

I’m not sure why helping me put them away after we washed them made such an impact on the little guy, but it sure did.  He looked up with those big blues of his and said, “Underwear.  Stay dry.  Like Danny.”

Ummmm… Okay, why not.  Right?  So we went for it and found that he’s a determined and independent little man.  He only needed one change all day long.  Can you believe that?! 

So, we are crossing our fingers and counting our blessings that our family’s 7 1/2 year diaper habit is drawing to a close, sooner rather than later. 

I’m not sure what happened. Somehow, just like that, he’s a “big boy.”  Really.  I guess all it took was blowing out two pretty little candles.

And yes, I know this is just the beginning of potty training and he’ll have his share of accidents and set-backs.  Still, it’s so nice to celebrate the successes!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Busy Bee

My littlest little turns two this week.  Imagine much mommy weeping right about now.  So sad to see this baby part of my life coming to an end (I can’t have more little ones for medical reasons).  Today, he surprised me by going to the bathroom, taking off his diaper and taking care of his business all by himself.  I’m so proud, yet not quite ready for him to grow up.  No slowing down time, is there?

I wish I could slow it down a little bit this week, though. I have a party to plan.  Yeah, that’s right.  Plan.  Um, could be that I procrastinated a bit on this one.  Maybe ‘cause I don’t really want him to grow up.  Maybe ‘cause I was lazy.  Anyway…

Gonna be a busy week.  As in crazy busy. 

Weeks like this make me need a great big toolbox of ideas for keeping them busy.  Considering the floor under our toilet is giving way (the toilet is rocking, people, and I imagine we’ll fix it ourselves), and the garden will need to be planted before long, and there is a pile of laundry a mile high in the basement…  Well, lets just say I need some help.

I need good ideas for working with little ones underfoot.  So, I’m going to ask for help.  HELP!!!!

Seriously. Help. Please.

Would you be willing to share your ideas with me?  You can post ideas in the comments section or link up a post you have already written about keeping the littles busy.  Or write a post, just for me. Maybe I’ll even get around to writing a post of my own with ideas for keeping the littles busy and out of trouble. 

Gotta go.  I have a house to clean, laundry to fold, a cake to bake, balloons to blow up, and gifts to wrap.  I’ll be checking back here, though.  I’m needing those new ideas. I can’t wait to hear from you. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Saturday School Show and Tell

~Link up or share your favorite lessons this week!


When I envisioned home-schooling my children, I pictured desks and worksheets.  Now, lets be honest…  There are worksheets.  We even have desks.  And yes, I do keep attendance. 

Though math worksheets and handwriting do make up a part of our school day, that isn’t all we do and it certainly isn’t the most important and wonderful part of our days.


Practice is what you get from worksheets.  Learning comes from experiences. 

We are rich in experiences.

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And I only got through September when I was pulling these photos…

This is the hard part of the year.  It’s February.  It’s cold.  Momma is tired.  Momma wants her kids to be able to go outside and play in the yard without bundling them up so much that they can’t fit down the slide. 

For classroom teachers, February is the longest month of the year, no matter what the calendar says.  Too many days with indoor recess makes teachers cranky.  C’mon.  Admit it. 

So, that’s why we are here.  Saturday School.  Hope you’ll join in the show-and-tell linky party today.  Share your touching stories.  Contribute your great lesson ideas.  Tell us about the miserable flop of a lesson that disappointed you.  Tell us about a field trip that really touched the kids.  Tell us about a lesson you learned years ago that will never be forgotten.  Tell about that tough as nails teacher that made you work hard and taught you more than any other.  Whatever.  Just share. 

You may post a link to a specific education related post on your blog.  If you don’t blog, leave a comment to share your story.  But share.  Inspire us.  Commiserate with us.  Make us laugh.  Make us cry.  And by all means, help us get through February with our sanity!

Hope you’ll share this post with lots of friends, too.  Don’t forget the nifty “Wanna Share” buttons on the right side of the blog that make it so easy to post a link to your facebook or twitter accounts. 


*By the way, I’m trying out a new link tool.  Not sure what to expect from them, so if you have any trouble linking up, please let me know.  :)

This Week in Our Little Home-school

Sometimes the best lessons just happen. 

Sometimes, they just happen to be an 87 year old, great-grandfather who just drove a long way for a visit. 

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Oh, how we have missed him since he ran off and got married a few years ago, moving out of state.  :)

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We love his hugs.

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Best of all, we love to hear his stories.  I think Danny was asking for a story about roosters in this picture.  We’ve been having a hard time with our rooster, Mr. Bugle, here lately.  Once the rooster story was told, a story about the apples Great-Grandpa wasn’t supposed to pick followed.  By the way, Grandpa and his brother ate the apples right off the tree so they wouldn’t get into any trouble for picking them.  Left the cores hanging there as proof of their innocence.  I do believe I can still see a bit of mischief in those eyes…

It was a wonderful night of learning, and not a worksheet in sight.

Get Ready, Get Set…

Calling all teachers, home-school mommas, and lifelong learners!

It’s almost time! 

Wanna share your favorite learning adventures? 

Saturday is the day! 

Share your favorite lesson plans… Take us on a photo field trip… Tell us about the lesson that went wrong… What about the unexpected lesson that your kids taught you!

Learning is about a lot more than worksheets.

So, share the fun with us! 

Write it on your hand, tie a string around your finger, or set a reminder on your cell phone!

Just don’t forget to stop by and share a link or a comment about a memorable lesson.


Saturday School, here at FLTS.

Don’t be late!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Thankful Thursday

**Okay… so I’m a bit sleep deprived… I posted this a day early!  Oh, well.  That’s life.  Hope you’ll share anyway!  ;)

Today, I’m thankful for…


Slow moving days, and no place to be.

Tylenol and Ibuprofen for my little one’s fever.

A nice, warm woodstove and shelter from the storm.

The sun peeking through the clouds, shining through the snowflakes.

Coffee and whipped heavy cream.


What makes you happy today?  I’m thankful for God’s simple blessings…



**Wonder how many comments we could get today?  If you have a minute, I hope you’ll share this post with your friends and ask them to count their blessings.  Just click on the “Wanna Share” feature on the right side of the blog to post this to your facebook or twitter account.  It’ll make my day.  I’ll dance in the kitchen.  I promise.  ;)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

What I Miss About Spring…

~A Mid-winter’s Dream


The sun shining brightly in a clear blue sky.

My shoulders feeling it’s warmth as I clean out the flower beds.


The little green shoots of the daffodils, the crocus, and the tulips,

As they push up through the earth, despite the snow.


The tree limbs, heavy with buds just waiting to unfold.

The darkening of the horizon that comes before the burst of green.


That peculiar smell of growth and warmth.

The clean freshness of a warm spring rain.


The curtains in my kitchen windows,

Blowing in the breeze.


The first of the pretty purple violas,

Peeking through the grass.


Bare feet and kids at play.

Clothes hanging on the line, dancing in the sun.


Planting the first seeds and seeing them grow.

Cute little calves playing in the fields.


Girls in pretty, flowery dresses.

Boys, itchy, wearing their ties.


Cute baby chicks, just a day old.

Pretty pastels, and bright green grass.


Oh Spring, won’t you hurry!?

Please come fast!



~What are you missing about spring?  Hope you’ll share, too!  :)