Author Archives: jennifer

Decisions

If there’s one thing I didn’t anticipate about parenting, it is all the decisions that need to be made.
I didn’t foresee how difficult it would be to choose which activities to involve my children in,
how much to push them, how to maintain a balanced life for each of them individually and somehow find a balanced lifestyle for the family as a whole.

This week would be the week of decisions.
It doesn’t help that most of the year is decided in May, when you’re most exhausted and least able to really perceive how things will work out.

Gymnastics.  Soccer.  Piano lessons.
Scouts.  Church activities.  Swimming lessons.

What about time with friends?  Time to ride your bike?  Time to read a book?
What about time to work around the house?  Homework?  Time to go on an outing with Dad?
What about time for good, old-fashioned childhood?

You want them to develop their talents, to give them opportunities to stretch and find new strength deep inside them.  But you don’t want it to come with a price tag that ends up being too high.  You don’t want to burn them out or have them gone so much that you lose your opportunities to just be a family.

I have an old friend whose least favorite words are “missed opportunity”.  She makes many decisions with the assistance of these words.  As a mother, though, I’ve learned that every thing we choose to do means there are many other things we’re choosing NOT to do.  It’s important to grab opportunities when they come, but if we grab too many of them, we miss the opportunity to live a balanced life, or we miss the opportunity to gather at the kitchen table for family dinner (the studies regarding the importance of family dinner are amazing!).  So I guess my own question isn’t so much about whether this choice will turn out to be a missed opportunity as much as whether it is the RIGHT opportunity at the RIGHT time.  And you hope so much it will be a positive experience.

This is what you want to see.

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My husband took this picture on his phone at my daughter’s last gymnastics meet of the season.
She looks so happy, and so at home.  My eyes tear up a little because I’m so grateful it turned out to be such a great experience for her.

You hope your decisions feed them, make them happy in the true sense of the word.  You hope they will feel a sense of accomplishment because they’ve invested so much.

So with a deep breath and a prayer in my heart, we push forward with our choices for next year.
And oh, how I hope it will all work out!  Through the grace of God, I know it can.

Jennifer

HH’s Cinnamon Rolls

Also up for breakfast this morning:  homemade cinnamon rolls.

Rather than walk you through the entire experience, I will refer you to my recipe for homemade rolls,
as that is what I use to make my cinnamon rolls.

Hopeful Homemaker’s Homemade Rolls

Follow this recipe right up until you roll the dough out into a big rectangle.
Then, instead of cutting it into triangles to form rolls, spread about 1 Tablespoon of softenened butter over the rectangle.  I just use the back of a spoon to spread it all over.

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Next, pour 1/2 cup packed brown sugar over the dough and spread out.

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Now sprinkle cinnamon all over the sugar.

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Next, begin with a long side and carefully roll up.

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Continue rolling until it’s all rolled up.

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Now you need to cut it into slices.  You can use dental floss, or you can try a shortcut.
I love to use my handy dough scraper Have I mentioned that my dough scraper is one of my all time favorite kitchen tools?  If you bake bread or rolls at all, you’ll love one.
I just press down hard and very quickly to separate the dough.

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Continue until all the rolls are sliced and on the cookie sheet to rise.

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See how the dough scraper kept them nice and round?

Let rise for 10-15 minutes (remember, we’re using the SAF yeast so it doesn’t take too long)
Then bake at 375 degrees  for 10 minutes or until they’re turning golden brown.

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Allow to cool for about 5 minutes, then frost with whatever frosting you like.
I used a cream cheese frosting this time.

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Grab a fork and enjoy!  These are delicious.  Make some today!

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Sausage Souffle

My mom has been making this my whole life, and now I make it all the time for my family.

It’s a great, make-ahead breakfast dish that everyone always loves.

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To begin, start by cooking 13-16 ounces of sausage.
You can cook the little links if you want, and then cut them up, or you can buy
it packaged like this.

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I prefer to just use the Jimmy Dean, but I usually buy the 50% less fat variety
because there is so much less grease involved.
It was out of stock, so I had to go for the regular.

Cook the sausage.

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Meanwhile, lightly spray a 9×13 inch pan with non-stick spray.
Break about 10 or so pieces of bread and even cover the bottom of the pan.
(I prefer to use wheat bread with this recipe, but feel free to substitute with white.  You do want the bread to have a little substance to it.)

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Next, sprinkle about 1 cup of shredded cheese over the bread.

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When the sausage is browned, rinse it if it’s too greasy.
Then spread it over the bread and cheese.

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Sprinkle with one more cup of cheese.

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In a mixing bowl, beat 6 eggs.

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Add 1 teaspoon mustard and 2 cups milk.

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Mix well and then pour evenly over bread, sausage and cheese.

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Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, preheat the oven to 325 if you’re using a glass pan,
or 350 if you’re using  a metal pan.  I prefer glass.

While oven heats up, pour one can cream of mushroom soup and 1/2 cup milk into a bowl.

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Mix together and spread over egg and bread mixture.

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Place pan in oven and bake for 1 hour.
Remember:

325 degrees for a glass pan
350 for a metal pan.

When it’s done, pull it out of the oven, and good luck keeping people from eating it while they wait for the meal to begin!

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Let stand about 5 minutes, then slice and serve!
Sorry I don’t have a great picture.  Everyone was too hungry!

Enjoy!

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