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Apple Pancake Rings

Apple Pancake Rings


I found this idea for Apple Pancake Rings on Pinterest and decided to give it a try! The original recipe is here and it claimed to be easy so I was all for it…

Of course, in my typical style, I couldn’t use the original recipe because it calls for Bisquick which I don’t buy…so I improvised.

First, I made my own buttermilk pancake batter using freshly ground hard white wheat flour. Then, I cored the apples with the handy dandy Pampered Chef Apple Corer that I never use and cut them into slices:

Apple Pancake Rings

Then, using a toothpick as the recipe specifies, I dipped the pancakes into the batter and fried them in my cast iron skillet because I don’t have a griddle. I need a griddle. The first batch looked awful:

Apple Pancake Rings

I would NOT call this an easy process. Maybe I’m challenged as a cook, or perhaps you really DO have to use Bisquick, or maybe I just don’t have the right kitchen tools…anyhow, what I finally got to work (marginally), was to really lower the temperature and heavily grease my pan. When I put the dipped apple rings in the pan, the batter spread into the center. I let it cook for a few minutes and then cleaned out the center with a toothpick. The last few I made looked ok, but let me tell you, they are fabulous!! (But I think they would be better peeled as well as cored and sliced). Here’s what we finally got:

Apple Pancake Rings

I’m going to keep practicing and see if I can’t get some to look like Carla Hall’s (but without the Bisquick)!

I’m linking up to Ultimate Recipe Swap and Frugal Food Thursday.

Fried Apples-n-Onions

The kids and I are reading Farmer Boy right now. I’ve read the entire Little House on the Prairie Series several times and always love the books. I’m delighted to learn that my kids really enjoy them, too. Farmer Boy is a wonderful story but it always makes me hungry! There are so many delicious sounding, 100% natural, 100% homemade foods that Laura Ingalls Wilder describes with such enthusiasm – my stomach growls every time I read from it.

Since I currently cook most of our food from scratch, I can really appreciate the time it must have taken Almonzo’s mother to put homemade meals on the table for her large family. And I have all the modern conveniences: electric stove, dishwasher, grain mill…all them operate at the touch of a button. I don’t have to churn my own butter, make my own cheese, or milk (and slaughter) a cow, like they had to back then.

One of the recipes that Almonzo eats in Farmer Boy is Fried Apples-n-Onions. I happen to have a ton of apples and onions, so we made them yesterday for lunch. While I thought it was delicious, my pickier kid eaters weren’t that impressed. I really recommend though. It was super easy and very tasty! I found this recipe on online and made modifications as recommended in the comments. I love reading through comments on recipes. Sometimes they make me laugh, but sometimes they are really helpful, as they were in this case.

Fried Apples-n-Onions

2-3 TBS butter (bacon grease, if you have it)
6 sliced apples
6 sliced onions
3 TBS brown sugar

Melt the butter in your pan. Saute the onions in the butter until caramelized (10-15 minutes). Add the apple slices and brown sugar and cook about 5 minutes, until they are tender. I cooked these in my cast iron skillet! Next time I’d like to try it with bacon grease and a tarter apple. I have yellow delicious on hand right now, but I think a nice Granny Smith would probably be even better, or perhaps I should not have added the sugar. My only complaint was that it was a bit too sweet.

I’m linking up to Frugal Food Thursday,

Looming surgery…and a chaotic life!

If you’re wondering what’s up the radio silence, here’s the deal…Early last week we got a call that Sara’s hip surgery would be Nov 1, and not the 11th, as I had originally thought. My whole world was thrown into a tailspin. We had planned to spend this week at my mother’s house in Missouri and were taking strides to make that happen.

Suddenly, instead of having two weeks AFTER our trip to get my life in order, I had the FIVE days prior to our trip. I’ve been in panic mode since then.

I still have so much to do. My house has slowly been disintegrating into disorganized chaos because I’ve been spending all waking hours researching hip dyspliasa…I haven’t bought all the supplies I need for Sara post surgery, and I still have bags and bags of free apples, walnuts, and a few sugar pumpkins to deal with.

Additionally, the college class I taught ended last week. Grades were due and my next class started. Yes, it WAS a seriously chaotic week and blogging took a back seat. We were determined to go to Missouri so I worked hard to get things organized around here. It’s hard to put someone else in charge of my life if I can’t find what we need in my own house…

Happily, I got our homeschooling shelf cleared and organized. I cleaned out and organized almost all the cupboards in my kitchen and packed the apples to can in Missouri. I decided the pumpkins and walnuts will wait. I’ve also been making sure the kids have winter clothes because who the heck knows when winter will descend on Iowa. I bought coats and boots. Dug out all the gloves, scarves, and hats. Reorganized all their clothing so other people can find it.

Yesterday we packed for our afternoon departure to Missouri and had everything waiting by the door when my mother called to tell me she’s been sick. Normally, I’m not scared of being sick. But Sara won’t have her surgery if SHE’S sick. So, we stayed put. Now I’m dealing with disappointed kiddos and no food and no food plan…and me – a germaphobe for the first time in my life who’s afraid to go anywhere for fear of getting sick.

And that’s my life right now! I do plan to get back on track with the blogging and have some fun posts in the words for the next few days! I hope your world is good!

Cheesesteak Sandwich with a Couple of Twists

I’m always on the lookout for good lunch options as I often feel we’re in a lunch rut. I try to avoid lunch meat for a variety of reason, but mostly because it’s expensive and often full of questionable ingredients like nitrates and nitrites (known carcinogens). The problem is, we LIKE lunch meats! So what’s a cook to do?

Today I was looking at my options at the grocery store and decided to make a cheese-steak style sandwich with butterfly pork. The butterfly pork was on sale for $1 each and is one of my husband’s favorite. I added some of the last few peppers from my garden, onion, garlic, and provolone. It was super tasty!

First, I sauteed the pork and the veggies in a little coconut oil. Have you tried coconut oil yet? It’s really nice!

Then I sliced and buttered my own homemade 5 Grain Bread. It probably would have been better on a bun, but I have not yet mastered my own homemade buns. They’re hit and miss with me unfortunately. Anyhow, this was still good! It ended up being a cross between a grilled cheese and a philly cheesesteak – except with pork! YUM!

Do you have a good, non-bread machine bun recipe you’d like to share? And, what’s your favorite lunch recipe?

I’m linking up to Life as Mom, The Joys of Home Educating, and

Hip-Healthy Swaddling

You may or may not know, but my 17 month old daughter was recently diagnosed with a dislocated left hip. We didn’t know anything was wrong with her until she started walking with an obvious limp, and pressed hard for answers after her pediatrician was not very concerned.

Her hip dysplasia diagnosis has been a huge blow to me. I, like so many people, have an expectation of 100% healthy babies. Of course, there are no guarantees in life…and we love her just the same!!! 🙂 It’s just beyond sad to me that she will be fighting hip problems her entire life and that I have to put her through a horrible surgery in a couple of weeks and then deal with her in a spica cast for 6 weeks to 5 months.

About 1 in 1000 babies is diagnosed with hip dysplasia. HD can range from a looseness of the ball in the socket (meaning the hip is not stable), to an all out dislocated hip (my daughter’s problem). Some babies are born with an immediate problem, and in some, it just happens because of a predisposition sometime during the first year of life. Most newborn doctors and pediatricians screen for HD at well baby checks, but it’s still not found all the time.

Here are some things to watch out for:

  1. Uneven thigh folds – they should match up on both legs
  2. Less flexible hip on one side
  3. Strange gait when walking (limping or waddling)

Some things you can do:

  1. Have your baby evaluated by a pediatric chiropractor
  2. Discuss any risk factors with your doctor. Risk factors include family history, breech baby, c-section delivery, girl, and first born. Best I can tell, 75% of babies with HD are girls! And the leg most often impacted is the left.
  3. Practice hip healthy swaddling if you swaddle. The hip socket is still developing during the first year of life and pulling legs down tightly and not allowing them to be in their natural state can encourage more hip problems.
  4. Carry your baby on your hip and cloth diaper. These things help keep the hips properly aligned so they can develop as needed.

Since my baby was diagnosed, I have been researching almost non-stop. I’m compiling a list of resources and blogs that have been helping me and will post it soon, but if you’re facing this problem, The International Hip Dysplasia Institute is a good place to start.

day2day joys

Resources to Help Teach Kids Environmental Responsibility

Teaching my children to be good environmental stewards is very important to me. I’m always on the prowl for cute books and teaching ideas since a big part of our learning process is simply reading. Here are some wonderful resources I use to teach kids environmental responsibility.

Resources to Help Teach Kids Environmental Responsibility

*This post contains affiliate links which means I earn a commission on your purchase.*

1. The Lorax (Classic Seuss) My ALL TIME favorite book teaching kids to conserve resources and take care of animals. My kids love this book and ask me to read it almost every day. Dr. Seuss has a really cool Lorax project here rife with fun activities, information, and free downloads. Seussville also has a lot of great educational resources.


2.. The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest – Another fabulous book with beautiful pictures that shows how many animals are affected when one tree is cut down in the Amazon Rail Forest. Homeschool Share has compiled a list of different activities for teaching about the animals of the rain forest and the countries of South America. From the San Diego County Office of Education, this website has fun interactive activities to study South America, climate, mapping, and practice writing.

3. Compost Stew. Did you know you can compost dryer lint? I didn’t until I read this cute book about composting! I love this “cookbook” take on learning the alphabet! It’s very unique and refreshing. The author, Mary McKenna Siddals, has a website with lots of fun composting ideas!

4. The Berenstain Bears Don’t Pollute (Anymore). I love this book because it takes on a reformist tone. It talks about some harmful activities people do and shows how to make small changes to help the Earth! My kids love the all Berenstain Bears Book and this one in particular. If you’re looking for ideas to each your kids about air pollution and chemicals, this website has a nice compilation of activities.


5. Heroes of the Environment: True Stories of People Who Are Helping to Protect Our Planet – Finally, if you’re looking for good information for a more advanced reader, this is an excellent book! It tells stories of every day people making big changes in their own communities and encourages kids to find their own ways to make positive environmental impacts!

How do you teach your kids to be good environmental stewards? Do you have favorite books? I’d love to hear!

If you like this post to help teach kids environmental responsibility, you might like these posts too:

Books & Activities for Teaching about MLK Jr Day

Fun Groundhog Day Activities 

30 + Valentine’s Day Books for kids of all ages


Toad or Towed?

I’m sure I’ve never seen anyone accidentally mistake these two words, but I saw this sign at the St. Louis Zoo yesterday and it cracked me up!

Toad or Towed? Which Should You Use When?
toad or towed? Which one should you use when?

This just goes to show how many different word choices there are in the English language! 🙂

Just in case you want clarification…a TOAD (noun) is an amphibian. Some interesting facts I learned about toads: females are larger than males. They go through true metamorphosis from tadpole to toad. While they spend the early part of their life in water as tadpoles, they live the remainder of their lives on land.

Toads double in size in the summer and hibernate in groups during the winter to keep warm. Toads hop (frogs jump) and have dry warty skin. But, toads CANNOT give you warts. My kids have spent most of the summer collecting toads in our yard. I never realized the difference between toads and frogs, but if you want to know, just ask. After this summer, I am somewhat of a toad expert. 🙂



Mater from Cars


TOWED – is the past tense of the verb to TOW. TowMater is brought to you courtesy of one of my kids’ favorite movies.

And that’s your 5 Minute Grammar Lesson! 🙂 More on what we learned in St. Louis about hip dysplasia later. I’m still reeling from the second opinion appointment…

Boosting Immunity with Thieves Oil

thieves ol

Have you heard of Thieve’s Oil? It’s an essential oil that many friends have recommended to me  and I’ve been researching boosting immunity with Thieves Oil.

Boosting Immunity with Thieves Oil

Thieve’s Oil originated during Bubonic Plaque when  “outbreaks decimated the population of Asia and Europe for the better part of a thousand years. Out of this period emerged a legend of four thieves who were captured and charged with robbing the dead and dying victims. When the thieves were tried, the magistrate offered leniency if they would reveal how they resisted contracting the infection as they performed their gruesome acts. They told of a special concoction of aromatic herbs, including garlic, cloves and rosemary, that they rubbed on themselves before committing their crimes.” You can read more here.

I’m trying really hard to keep my 16 month old healthy as we’re getting ready for her hip dysplasia surgery. She’s prone to colds in the winter and has a snotty little nose right now and a bit of a cough. In fact, last winter she wound up in the hospital with pneumonia. I tell you what, I’ve not had such an unhealthy child before! I’m treading new waters with her.

Here are my efforts at keeping us all healthy:

In addition to eating lots of fresh fruits and veggies, I’ve also beefed up my own vitamin intake because I’m still nursing her. I’m taking probiotics, a multi-vitamin, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and fish oil. I’ve also limited my sugar intake and have starting using Thieve’s Oil. The cheapest I found for the  Thieves Essential Oil by Young Living Essential Oils – 15 ml was on Amazon. So I ordered it and it arrived last week. Following the directions, I diluted a little into lotion and am massaging it on her feet at night. I also added some to our humidifier and have been running that at night as well.

I think everything I’m doing is helping her cough. We’re still working with the runny nose, but I’m encouraged right now by the improvements in her cough. Of course, I’m not a medical professional and I can’t attribute her improvements to anything in particular. I’m just sharing what we’re doing right now in case you’re also looking for ways to boost immunity. I really feel pressure to kick the runny nose and cough so she’s not rejected for surgery.

If you’re curious about Thieve’s Oil, you can read about its Legend here. And here are 33 ways to use it! If you want to buy it, Amazon is the cheapest place I found it online. Here’s that link: Thieves Essential Oil by Young Living Essential Oils – 15 ml.

What do you do to keep your kids healthy? Visit Healthy 2day Wednesdays for more good ideas.

Witch or Which or Sandwich?

Earlier in the week as I was grading my college comp I papers, I noticed a few mistakes with the witch and which. So, in honor of my college students, here’s your 5 Minute Grammar Lesson!

#1. A WITCH is a magical woman. A noun. She might ride a broom and wear a pointy hat. Or, she may have tattoos and like to knit. You never know. Which is why you might not want to judge and brings me to point #2.

#2. WHICH is an adjective or a pronoun. You generally want more information when you use WHICH. WHICH car did you buy? WHICH book did you read? WHICH witch did you see last night?


#3. Of course, just to utterly confuse you, English has a third type of wich – SANDWICH – notice, no t or extra h as found in #1 and #2. But doesn’t that look good? 😉

Unfortunately, these three words are NOT interchangeable. As with so many other things in English, they just have to be memorized. I highly suggest not getting them confused on formal papers for English teachers! 🙂

And that’s your 5 Minute Grammar Lesson! Enjoy!!

Witch or Which or Sandwich ~5 minute grammar lesson