Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Tasty Tuesday: Hot Cocoa Mix

I don't know about y'all, but as soon as the weather gets a little chilly I'm ready for hot cocoa!  The recipe below is tried and true and makes A LOT.  Like you should make it with plans to give some away...  It's great to package and give as a gift, or you and your family can drink cocoa daily until next summer.  Either option works! 

The Ingredients

  • 14 quarts dry milk (this is a powder for those of us not used to buying this sort of thing)
  • 2 pounds Nestle chocolate mix (aka Nesquick)
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 2 pounds instant creamer (aka Cremora)

The Directions

Combine ingredients.  To serve, stir 1/3 cup cocoa mix into 1 cup hot water.   Top with marshmallows, whipped cream, or any other yumminess of your choice.  Enjoy! 

Packaging & Presentation Ideas

Create a hot cocoa bar at your next get-together... 

(Apparently this is a thing.  There's like 18 billion of them on Pinterest, and some of them are insane. I think I gained 5 pounds just by looking at them.  Consider yourself warned.) 

Make little cocoa reindeer...
Super cute to give away to neighbors or kids' classmates, and your kids can "help" put them together.  

Use mason jars to package great gifts...

There are lots of other ideas out there, but no matter how you wrap it this cocoa is DELISH! 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Tasty Tuesday: Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos

 I don't know about y'all, but Taco Tuesday is VERY popular at our house, which I must admit is due in large part to The Lego Movie.  But hey, who doesn't love tacos??  So let's taco 'bout how awesomely easy this slow cooker taco chicken recipe is! 

The Ingredients

  • boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or tenderloins)
  • taco seasoning
  • salsa
  • tortillas and toppings of your choice (cheese, lettuce, tomato, sour cream, guacamole, corn)

The Directions

Place chicken in slow cooker and sprinkle with taco seasoning and then plop a few spoonfuls of salsa on top.  (I use frozen chicken cause ain't nobody got time for defrosting but you can do as you please.)  Cook on low to medium for 4-6 hours and shred with forks approximately one hour before serving.  The chicken tends to be very juicy so I serve with a slotted spoon.  I like to put the chicken, tortillas and toppings on the table and let everyone assemble their own tacos.  Fun for all and less work for me! 
Viva Taco Tuesday!   

(taco tuesday photo source)
(lego man photo source)
(chicken tacos photo source)

Thursday, October 15, 2015

October's Devotional

Pamela shared the following devotional with us at our last meeting and has some really helpful and practical advice for taking of ourselves and embracing rest...

Good morning! I’m Pamela.  I have two children, Abby, 4 and Benjamin, 2.  I am also a part-time nurse at Anmed. In my job I assess my patients so that the anesthesiologist can decide if the patient is a good candidate for the proposed surgery.  I listen to their stories, and look at their numbers, and by the end of my interview I have a clear picture of their health.  I see many people who have not taken very good care of themselves through the years.

A little bit about my personal story:

I know there are ways that I can do a better job of taking care of myself: I need to exercise more, consume less sugar, eat more veggies, drink more water, etc, but I have come a long way in the last few years.  After having both of my babies, I suffered from extreme anxiety and postpartum depression, to the point that I became unable to care for my babies.  The mental health counselors recommended inpatient treatment, so I was hospitalized after having both of my babies.  I had to rely completely on my family to take care of my children.  So I unfortunately know from experience what can happen when I do not get enough sleep and take care of myself first, before caring for others.  The best analogy I can think of is, “you must put the oxygen mask on yourself first, before you can be any good to anyone else.”  And also, this week, I saw a picture on facebook stating: “you can’t pour from an empty cup.”  This is so true.  

As moms of young children, who depend on us for everything, we must take care of ourselves, in order to be any good to our children, our husbands, or anyone else.  We must find ways to rest, each day, each week.  Even God shows us the need for rest, when he created the universe, and then rested on the 7th day.  Do we as moms find enough hours through the week to simply rest?  Absolutely not.  Because the demands on us as mothers of young children are so high right now.  But we must listen to our bodies, and when we are sick and/or tired, we must ask God for His strength.  We should stop what we are doing, and just sit down on the sofa between the toys, and the laundry, and just be.  Do whatever helps you rest: praying, yoga, journaling, reading, even watching TV.  One day this week I was really tired around 2 pm and I just laid down on the floor in my son’s room for 30 min, not asleep because my kids don’t nap anymore, but at least I rested.  We must do this from time to time.

So What does the Bible say?

Isaiah 40:28-31
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
The Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
And his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
And increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
And young men stumble and fall;
But those who hope in the Lord
Will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
They will run and not grow weary,
They will walk and not be faint.

And in Matthew 11:28, Jesus said,

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

We must not operate on our own strength, but ask for God’s strength to fill us, and ask for him to take away our heavy burdens. And we must take care of ourselves.

As a nurse and mom, I encourage you to do those things that we often put off: 
  • See your OB/GYN for a yearly pap smear and breast exam. 
  • Know your numbers: your BP, cholesterol, BMI
  • If you have been dealing with something that you know is not right, see your doctor, and don’t delay.
  • Modify your diet, get more exercise, and aim for 8 hrs of sleep at night.
  • If you are having trouble with your mood, anxiety, or depression see a doctor right away. Don’t live day after day, month after month with it. This is Satan stealing your time and you can’t get that precious time back.
  • And if you are already too busy, learn to say No to people, and consider giving up something that takes up too much time or energy right now.  (Look for Lysa Terkheurst’s book The Best Yes for help with saying No.)
There are so many little things we can do to ensure that we are able to be the best moms we can be. Embrace Rest. Don’t pour from an empty cup.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

MOPS On The Town @ the Pumpkin Patch

This week a bunch of our mamas took their little pumpkins to Trinity UMC's Pumpkin Patch!  It's great fun and all proceeds go to charity.  For more info, click here.  

Prepare yourself for some cuteness as you scroll through the following pics!  

Our little Moppets were able to play games, listen to a pumpkin story, and pick out a pumpkin of their very own to take home... 

Granted, pumpkins can bring out all sorts of emotions... 
 But kids always love to play in the haystack and we're pretty sure a fun time was had by all!  

Be sure to join us next month for MOPS On The Town at Electric City Gymnastics!    

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Tasty Tuesday - Taco Soup

Taco soup is perfect in the fall as the weather starts to cool off... Why not make a pot and invite some friends over to enjoy it together?  Worried your kids might not dig it?  Serve some cheese quesadillas with it... just pop folded flour tortillas filled with shredded cheese in the microwave for a few seconds and voila!  You've got chewy, cheesy goodness to accompany this hearty soup.  Now on to the recipe! 


  • 1 lb. ground turkey or lean beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 (1 oz.) package hidden valley ranch dressing mix
  • 1 (1 oz) package taco seasoning Mix
  • 1 (16 oz.) can pinto beans
  • 1 (16 oz) can chili beans (either hot or regular)
  • 1 (16 oz) can whole kernel corn
  • 1 (8 oz) can Mexican-style tomatoes
  • 1 (8 oz) can diced tomatoes (any flavor)


Brown meat & onions and drain.  Mix Ranch & Taco seasonings into meat, and then add the rest of the ingredients (undrained) to the mixture.  Simmer for 1 hour. For extra deliciousness, top with sour cream, shredded cheese and crumbled tortilla chips!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Now that it's October, kicking off Tasty Tuesday with a pumpkin recipe just seemed like the right thing to do.  And who doesn't love freshly baked homemade cookies??  Thanks to Pamela for sharing this favorite recipe!


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 cups (12-ounce bag) milk chocolate chips, not semisweet
  • Nonstick cooking spray or parchment paper


 Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray cookie sheets with nonstick spray or line them with parchment paper.

Using a mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Beat in the white and brown sugars, a little at a time, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time, then mix in the vanilla and pumpkin puree. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Slowly beat the flour mixture into the batter in thirds. Stir in the chips. Scoop the cookie dough by heaping tablespoons onto the prepared cookie sheets and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cookies are browned around the edges. Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and let them rest for 2 minutes. Take the cookies off with a spatula and cool them on wire racks.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Stacking Wood Blocks Craft Tutorial

We made these cute little decorative wood blocks at our September meeting!  You can rotate the stacking blocks so your seasonal decor is always up to date whether it's winter, spring, summer or fall.  This is a great starter DIY project and you could make a set for yourself or someone else with the directions below... OR just use this as a jumping off point for all kinds of wood block creativity!

Supplies needed:

  • (3) 2x2 wood blocks in 4", 5", and 6" lengths 
  • 3 printed scrapbook papers for each season/holiday just a little smaller than each block. You will need 4 season or holidays, so this is a total of 12 papers. 
  • Modge Podge
  • Foam Brush


Using the foam brush, apply a very light coat of Modge Podge and glue the paper to the corresponding size block. Repeat this process for each side of all 3 blocks. Once dry (5-10 min) put another light coat of Modge Podge on the top of the paper. Let dry completely before stacking. Rotate the blocks as the seasons change and enjoy year-round cuteness!

As you can see, our fabulous Craft Leader Margaret created ways to use the wood blocks for all different holidays!

Really, the possibilities are endless...  So go get your decoupage on and enjoy!!!