Wednesday, April 29, 2009

German Oven Pancakes

German Oven Pancakes

This recipe goes by many names.  German Oven Pancakes, Dutch Babies, and my personal favorite -- from my toddler daughter, way back when -- Poofy Pancakes!  She thought they were magical.

They're a favorite around here. I try not to have them too often, as they're not too point-friendly, but the rest of the family still wants them all the time.

This recipe makes any cook feel good. What is it about 4 simple ingredients that makes this dish such a showstopper? The picture above was the Sweet Girl's first attempt. Look at those "poofy pancakes"!!

:-)  Pretty cool.

German Oven Pancakes

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup flour

3 large eggs

dash of salt

1 to 2 tablespoons of butter or margarine

Preheat your oven to 425° F.  We always made German Oven Pancakes in a 9x13 pan, but I grew up in a big family. A round pan or skillet can also be used. (Oh, and we always doubled the recipe. If you use a 9x13 pan, *definitely* double it.)

Place the butter in the bottom of the pan and place it in the oven while it's preheating to melt it. Mix your milk, flour, eggs and salt in a bowl. Use a wire whisk to blend, but make sure all the lumps have disappeared before moving on. (Some people blend this in a food processor.)  When you've got your mix ready, pour it over the melted butter in your pan, and place it back in the oven. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Edges will be puffed up.

This are a fun breakfast, and it can also make a beautiful brunch. My kid loves them plain -- just a little syrup for her, but depending on your mood or the season, they could be filled with berries, peaches, or sauteed apples. A dusting of powdered sugar or even whipped cream could top it off.  Casual or fancy, you can't go wrong with German Oven Pancakes.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Recessionistas do Food Storage...

Now that I have my FAB-ulous storage room whipped into shape, it's time to recessionista those shelves. Okay, so food storage may not be the most glamorous thing out there, but call it an investment in beauty sleep. I want A-list peace of mind on a B (or C or D)-list budget.   recessionista girl 3

We're gonna try to follow the Week-by-Week Storage Plan

Here's how you do it:

  • It's week by week.
  • Gather the suggested item and buy in quantity when possible.
  • Date it . Rotate it. Replace it.
  • Store it properly. Don't waste your money.
  • Plan with the seasons for availability and savings.
  • If you miss a week, move on, so you won't get behind.

Last week was DRY or CANNED MILK.

This week: TOILETRIES. Shampoo, shaving supplies, hand soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, etc.

I'm not planning for my shelves to be maxxed out anytime soon. I'll get what I can with the budget I have. (maybe I'll just be able to afford one or two items...) That's my advice to you, too. Get what you can with the budget you have. If you want to join me,  I'll be posting each week's item in my sidebar.

Having a little bit extra on hand -- and not spending a lot -- is a good thing (sorry, Martha!) .... you never know what's around the bend in the road!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Words to Live By

sunrise through rain


Courage doesn't always roar.
Sometimes courage is the quiet voice
at the end of the day saying,
"I will try again tomorrow."

                                                      -- Mary Anne Radmacher


The rest of my week was a little rough.
Don't you just love this saying?

picture credit

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Spring Break Adventures, Part 2

I told you we stuck around for Spring Break, opting for the mental break, instead of the physical one. We've got a lot on our plates right now, and I've got to tell you, it felt good to check out of the rat race for a bit. We also spent a little time with family, which was nice.

It can't all be about putting your feet up and eating bon-bons every day, though: I wanted to get something accomplished while we had some down time. So, I worked on the storeroom some more! I now have my butler's pantry (woo-hoo!!), I conquered the Mighty Magazine Mountain, and added a bit of food storage to our Mother Hubbard shelves. We just have one small area of shelves to declutter (Mr. H's stuff), and then the whole project will be complete. (insert happy dance here)

Here are some pictures. This is gonna be a picture heavy post. Sorry. A picture's worth a thousand words with this project! :-)

what a mess!

Declutter projects are always messy for me. I'm chucking things, making piles, creating havoc. From the chaos comes order.... by the way, I really REALLY wanted to show you my mighty magazine mountain I conquered:  I'm just too embarrassed.  It's right around that corner. Once I got started decluttering them -- sorting them into donate, keep, and trash piles -- well,  the whole storeroom floor was covered in mags, peeps. (sigh) What can I say here? I love to collect ideas. I love magazines. But I love order and freedom more. Bye bye, mags!

bye bye Family Fun magazines

I'm looking for a place to donate these to. Any ideas?

finally - empty shelves!

Finally! Down to empty shelves!

bins on standby!

A quick trip to Target to get bins...

packed up for the garage

All seasonal decorations packed up, and labeled. Spring, Summer, Winter and Fall.
You are moving to the garage. Sayonara!

ready for the garage

Off you go, then!

butler's pantry in the basement 

How do you like my butler's pantry? I don't cuss my kitchen as much, now that I have this space to hold my "extras". Yes -- those are some magazines.  But only my Victoria collection -- I could *not* part with these, people.  They are my little recessionista getaways. If you know this magazine, you know what I'm talking about here. I organized them by season. Great tip, Betsy! Thank you!

a good home for my extra dishes

Yay! Room for storing my extra sets of dishes. 

take that mother hubbard! starting on the food storage

Bye, bye junk room. Hello STORE-room. We've made a start on our food storage. With our current situation, we have got to start small and go slow. We are adding a little here and there, week by week.  We're gonna store what we need, and more importantly, what we'll EAT. (anybody else remember TVP buckets in their house growing up? LOL) I can't think of a smarter thing to do in these unsettled times, than to have a little set aside. I'm going to post what we're adding to our shelves week by week. You can follow along. Food storage week by week? I can handle that!

This week:  DRY or CANNED MILK

Once Mr. H is working steadily again, I'm going here and really stocking up. Love this site!

Just looking at those shelves gives me peace. I am so dang excited to use this room and those beautiful shelves!

counting my blessings that I got this project done

It's all about making your home a haven for your family. Has there been a better time to do this, than now? Transforming our junk room into a storeroom has helped me move closer to this personal goal. Having this room serve us, as it was designed to, helps me be happy with what I have, and shows me the true abundance I live in, despite our current situation.  Counting blessings. Happy.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Spring Break Adventures, Part 1

What I did on my spring break....sounds like I'm writing an elementary school essay! We did lots of little things, taking the stay-at-home-and-get-a-mental-break route instead of taking off and traveling. Getting off the crazy merry-go-round schedule, sleeping in, hanging out and working on projects is a worthy spring break, too!

I'll share a couple of things I did, but first I have to tell you the most amazing thing that happened during our break. We got snow. So what? you say -- you live by the mountains -- your springs are bound to have late snowstorms...

Yeah...but... a FOOT of snow? On April 16th? Look at what I woke up to:

flowering plum umbrella I mean tree

poor maple tree thought it was spring

its beginning to look a lot like Christmas

there is a pine tree somewhere underneath there

That last shot made my daughter say "Where do we live? RUSSIA!?" We found out later that only a couple of towns got hit like this. The rest of the state was saying "what snow?" What a shock to wake up to this, when you've got tulips and sunshine and green grass and bunnies on your mind...

I pulled on my winter boots (ACK!) and got out the snow shovel (double ACK!) and got busy shoveling tons of wet, heavy snow off of the driveway and sidewalks. Mr. H went around shaking our trees free of the weighty snow, and by doing that, saved our trees.


He disappeared after that for four hours as he, his friend and a chain saw helped all our neighbors take down broken branches and sometimes even downed trees. We were one of the very few that survived this crazy spring break blizzard with no damage to trees or property.

CRAZY! Are you sure it's not really December and I just got punk'd? LOL

was it was all just a dream?

When it looked like this at the end of the very same day, I really did feel like I was losing my mind! Did a foot of snow really happen? Thank goodness I have the pictures to prove it!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Words to Live By

April Snow on Blossoms


 In the spring

I have counted one hundred and thirty-six

different kinds of weather

inside of four and twenty hours.

                                                   ~ Mark Twain

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Weekend and the Week Ahead

I hope your Easter weekend was nice; ours was. We enjoyed perfect spring weather here -- big, fluffy white clouds in bright blue skies, and just a hint of a breeze. The spring flowers are blooming all around the neighborhood, and trees are starting to bud and bloom. Looking at all of that just made my heart feel light and happy. My soul felt the same way -- as we celebrated Easter.

I spoiled myself this weekend by picking up a spring tablecloth (on sale) to use with Easter dinner:

basketweave tablecloth

I love the basketweave pattern, but I love that's it's 100% polyester even more -- no ironing! :-) I'm gonna find out if any other colors are available, if so, I'm snagging some more! The table setting was simple, but pretty, with my Martha Stewart placemats from *years* ago, and some spring flowers in a basket. Simple is good. I can't call dinner a total success; there were those at the table that were already full of Easter candies, chocolate bunnies and sugar cookies! (insert pretend grumpy face here) LOL

This week is Spring Break here, and the days ahead are already full of family and projects and perhaps trying out a few of those stay-cation ideas... I'm gonna take a little break and enjoy it all.

Hope you have a wonderful week.

See you in a few days!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Words to Live By

He is Risen


O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 

                                              1 Corinthians 15:55


Visit here for more Easter Thoughts on Christ

Friday, April 10, 2009

Staycations: Use a Book to Get Away

Books are the original staycation! While reading a great book, you are whisked away on an adventure -- to another place, and often, to another time. Your traveling companions can range all the way from filthy pirates to royalty!  Wow. That really sounds like getting away -- and you haven't moved at all -- you're sitting there reading. Talk about frugal!

I'm a huge fan of children's literature. What books do you like to read? Fantasy? Mysteries? Historical?

Take that love of books and craft a staycation around it. Use your imagination and have fun with this. Here's an example -- let's take Treasure Island...treasure island book cover


  • ♦  a seafood dinner becomes Dining Aboard the Hispanola!
  • ♦  thrift store or Oriental Trading  pirate items could be gathered
  • ♦  have a treasure hunt (inside or out) (maps and clues for older kids, hot and cold clues: "you're getting warmer", "you're getting colder"...  for younger ones.)
  • ♦  watch a pirate movie or documentary together
  • ♦  how about everyone has to talk like a pirate the whole weekend -- those that slip must pay a doubloon....or walk the plank.... :-)

Using a book is a great way to have a staycation!

I've included an article in this packet that Al Young of the Storybook Home wrote years and years ago, way before "staycation" ever became a word. He called them "virtual vacations" back then. He had staycations figured out before any of us. Enjoy the ideas from his article and the other ideas included in the packet.  (As always, click on the blue link at the top to access/download the entire packet.)


I hope you've enjoyed Staycation Week here at the Bend in the Road. Times are unsettled now; we're all trying to be frugal and be more careful. But that doesn't mean we have to trade in a rich, full life. It's all about our dear ones and spending time with them and making memories. That's why I wanted to share these ideas with you. No matter what our circumstances, we can live well.... and have fun. ♥

So, go have fun!


Literary Staycations

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Staycations: Act Like a Tourist in your Own Hometown

touristNo packet today, but I am sharing some great ideas for discovering your own hometown. This was one of my favorite parts of the staycation class. We all take our hometown for granted. It's a great staycation!  .

Discover your city's history. Find out quirky facts. What are your city's famous places?  Follow the link below to find out how to make a Hometown Guide Binder.  This is a really cute idea for spotlighting your own hometown and what makes it great... and what a great memento for your family. Love it!


Act Like a Tourist in Your Own Town

Approach your own town with the same curiosity you'd bring to a foreign land, and its hidden treasures might surprise you.

Check out the chamber of commerce/city hall. You might learn all about secret, largely unknown sites, find out quirky historical facts, legends, and get tips on the town's best.  With a little preparation and imagination you could have your hometown adventure become a treasure hunt or a mystery to solve…

Pick up a community calendar; see what’s going on in your corner of the world.

Go on a quest to identify your favorite things about your hometown.  What's your town famous for? Does it have a restaurant or site that just can't be beat?  Here’s a place to go on-line that will teach you how to put together a hometown guide binder.

Take public transportation. Odd as it sounds, your little kids will love riding the bus around town.

Activities and adventures always await at the library...

How about your local fair or festival?

What local businesses are “famous” around town?

What else can you discover about your city?

picture credit

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Outdoor Staycations

family bike ride

The weather is warming up (finally!!) and the outdoors is calling! What outdoor activities does your family enjoy? Make a staycation out of it!  Here are some ideas for taking your staycation outdoors...

I'm also including a link to the Utah Staycation packet, for you locals. There's a treasure-trove of things to see and places to go in this packet. Utah is Staycation Central -- this state hits a 10 out of 10 when it comes to things to do and see and places to go!

Utah Staycation Ideas

Get out there and have some frugal fun!

Click on the blue link to fully view/download the packet.


Outdoor Staycations

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Staycations with a Theme

spa basket
Once you've decided to take a staycation, the next step is to make it FUN. One way to do that is to pick a theme... like, turn your own home into a hotel (complete with mints on the pillows) and give everyone travel size soaps and shampoos... or have a dinosaur day... or my favorite -- how about a spa day?!  Read on for more fun ideas for staycations with a theme.

Click on the blue link to fully view/download the packet.



Staycations with a Theme

Monday, April 6, 2009

Staycations: A How-to


It's Staycation Week here at The Bend in the Road!  I recently presented a class at church workshop offering ideas for staycations for families. I also want to share the information I gathered with you, dear readers. ☺ So, all this week, I'll share handouts from my class and different staycation ideas.

So, what the heck is a staycation?

Everybody needs a vacation. We all need a break. But what do you do when gas prices are insane, or you've been laid off/you're on a spartan budget, or vacation days are few and far between? You stay home and vacation! Otherwise known as "stay-cation". It sounds kinda crazy, but with a little planning and preparation, you can reap all the benefits of a traditional vacation, but staying close to home, budget intact.

How do I take a staycation?

I bet you're asking how to make this work. Really. C'mon. What about the phone, email, computer/blogs, laundry and chores? They're all just right there! Ask yourself this: do you do those things on vacation?  Uh, NO!  :-) The success of a staycation depends on how you approach it; you gotta have the right attitude.

So, make your list of what needs to get done before you "leave". Clean the house, pay bills, do the laundry.  Prepare the automatic "out of the office" reply on your email. Notify family and friends you are on "vacation" and when you'll be back...

(to be continued)

Read to find out more ideas on how to set up a staycation.  Here's the first handout, giving you a "how-to" on staycationing.  Enjoy.

Okay, I researched a couple ways of making these documents available to you. The best option was You're free to look at and read the document, but if you want to download it, you will need to create an account with them. (Again, free.) Don't let that deter you. If you just check the box saying you don't want them to contact you with updates, blah, blah, blah -- it's painless. Then you can download these documents. Let me know if you have any issues. Click on the blue link ("staycations: a how-to") below to view the full document and/or download.


Staycations: A How-to


source material

picture credit

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Words to Live By

My Sweet Girl's Daffies 2

Happy Daffodil Sunday!


I love daffodils.  Their burst of bright color is medicine to my soul after a long, cold, grey winter. Here's another reason I love 'em:


In December 2006, our Sweet Girl was involved in a serious sledding accident. Many friends, family members and neighbors shared their loved and concern for her at the time of the accident. There were some long days ahead for her; days of pain, wheelchairs, x-rays and lots of physical therapy. It was a long road to recovery.

One day, well into the journey to get better and stronger, and after the get-well cards and notes had dwindled, my sweet next door neighbor brought over a bouquet of daffodils for my daughter to cheer her up. (those pictured) Just 'cause she was thinking of her. The Sweet Girl's eyes just lit up and I took note of how much this little gesture meant to her. My neighbor was an angel that day.

I'm happy to report that our Sweet Girl is now healthy and happy. She recovered and we know that miracles happen in our lives. We are blessed.  ♥

I don't think my Sweet Girl and I have ever really forgotten that daffodil day. Ever since, we've tried to notice when someone needs a little TLC and we've brought them daffodils. If daffies are out of season, then another yellow flower -- roses, usually. (We're from Texas, so it's all good, y'all!) But, they've got to be yellow. That's the tradition. It's been a fun pay-it-forward thing we do.


I came across this sweet old daffodil poem not too long ago that encourages me. It hits a little too close to home this year, because we have had a cold and snowy spring here! (ack! so ready for warm days!) I can relate personally to its message -- but, we all have adversity in our lives, don't we? Well, I hope you like it, too.  This poem offers "words to live by".  Enjoy.




by Anna Warner


Daffy-down-dilly came up in the cold,

   Through the brown mould,

Although the March breezes blew keen on her face

Although the white snow lay in many a place.


Daffy-down-dilly had heard under ground

    The sweet rushing sound

Of the streams, as they burst off their white winter chains, –

Of the whistling Spring winds and the pattering rains.

"Now then," thought Daffy, deep down in her heart, –

    "It's time I should start!"


So she pushed her soft leaves through the hard frozen ground,

Quite up to the surface, and there she looked round.

There was snow all about her, – grey clouds overhead, –

    The trees all looked dead.


Then how do you think Daffy-down-dilly felt,

When the sun would not shine and the ice would not melt?

"Cold weather!" thought Daffy, still working away:

    "The earth's hard to-day!


There's but a half inch of my leaves to be seen,

And two-thirds of that is more yellow than green!"

"I can't do much yet – but I'll do what I can.

    It's well I began!


For unless I can manage to lift up my head,

The people will think that the Spring herself's dead."

So, little by little, she brought her leaves out,

    All clustered about;


And then her bright flowers began to unfold,

Till Daffy stood robed in her Spring green and gold.

O Daffy-down-dilly! so brave and so true!

    I wish all were like you! .

So ready for duty in all sorts of weather,

And holding forth courage and beauty together.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

April Fools

So, did you survive the day? Is your family more about the fun or the pranks? We had a little of both yesterday -- here's how it all turned out.

The day started off a little bumpy -- nobody played pranks, but the morning didn't go well at all. Everything went wrong. The Sweet Girl got up late and was grumpy, and Mr. H got caught in a snowstorm and a massive traffic snarl on the freeway on the way to his contract job. All that snow in the morning wasn't very amusing.  At all. You know, we felt a little "punked" -- and nobody was doing anything to us! Oh well.

The rest of the day went pretty smoothly, once the snow stopped. I gathered a few things for dinner -- our Groucho Marx glasses and some whoopie cushions, namely.

I know. SO Martha. :-)

Getting ready for an April Fool's dinner

Dinner was nothin' but cupcakes. We made the meatloaf cupcakes I told you about yesterday, and some real cupcakes to reward  those brave enough to try the April Fool ones.

Cupcakes for Dinner

  April Fool's Cupcakes

I think the April Fool's cupcakes turned out pretty cute! They were tasty, too! My Sweet Girl gave me a few eye rolls about dinner. (Okay, so maybe the whoopie cushions on the chairs was going too far. Heh heh. Teenagers. What are ya gonna do? :-) You know, next year, she'll be talking about how fun this was! Love her to pieces!)  ♥♥♥♥  I sweetened her up with the real cupcakes.

She smiled even more when she got "egged" later that night. We heard a doorbell ring, and opened the door to our front yard *covered* in plastic Easter eggs. She had to go out into the cold, dark night and get all the eggs from the yard. (Most of them had candy inside.) She had to open the eggs one by one to find the one egg with the note inside that told her who did it! So fun.

We got egged

Yep, we had a fun day. Hope you did too!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fool's Day Yummies


Here's what we're having for dinner tonight.. . cupcakes!  Yep -- April Fools! These are actually little meatloaves cooked in cupcake liners and the frosting is colored mashed potatoes.  Can't wait to see my family's faces.  There is a method behind my madness here; the small cupcake portion is going to keep the point count down -- so I can have just as much fun as the rest of the family and still stick to my plan. Although I could probably be talked into having real cupcakes for dinner any time you need me to.  Maybe our Groucho Marx glasses set out on plates and whoopie cushions on all the chairs to complete the night.... This is gonna be fun.

Here's the how-to on Cupcakes for Dinner:

Meat Loaf

1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Potato Frosting
3 cups mashed potatoes
Food coloring

1.  Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line 12 muffin tin cups with foil bake cups.
2.  In a large bowl, mix together all of the meat loaf ingredients until well combined. Divide the mixture evenly among the lined cups (the liners should be about three quarters full).
3.  Place the filled muffin tins on cookie sheets and bake the cupcakes for about 15 minutes or until cooked through.
4.  Divide the mashed potatoes among three small bowls and stir a few drops of food coloring into each batch to create blue, yellow, and pink pastel frostings. Spread a generous dollop on each cupcake. Makes 12 cupcakes.


Here are some other ideas you might like. Have a silly, fun day today!

Magic Milk Bowl

Gag Lunch

Ice Cream Potatoes

A Fool's Dinner

Fauxberry Pie


All recipes courtesy of Family Fun magazine.