Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

Christ has died
Christ is RISEN
Christ will come again

Saturday, March 30, 2013

{Repost} Dijon Pineapple Glazed Ham Recipe

Bone-in Ham with Dijon Pineapple Glaze
I've shared this recipe before as it is a family favorite and my go-to recipe for glazed ham.  But, with Easter right around the corner (tomorrow!!!) I wanted to make it available again.  I still have to run out to the store and buy a ham myself.  Hopefully, there are still some left!
Dijon-Pineapple Glaze
(adapted from Kraft Foods recipe)

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup maple syrup or honey (I've also used the glaze packet included with the ham for the syrup)

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

1 can crushed pineapple, with juice (I chop up frozen pineapple or canned pineapple chunks in my Vitamix)

1 tablespoon corn starch

whole cloves

Maraschino cherries, halved (optional)

 Heat oven to temperature listed in cooking directions included with the ham.  Mix syrup, sugar and mustard until blended.  Spread a portion of the glaze over the ham.  Add cloves and cherries to the top of the ham.  Bake ham according to directions.

Before the ham is done cooking, combine remaining glaze with corn starch and crushed pineapple in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Cook and stir over medium-low heat for 5 minutes or until thickened.  Serve sauce alongside ham.
Mary Ellen


Friday, March 29, 2013

{Repost} Decorating Easter Eggs

An oldie but goodie - inexpensive ways to decorate Easter eggs, along with ideas for creating your own natural dyes.  Please enjoy these tips from the ladies at Living On A Dime!

Before decorating Easter eggs, cover the entire table with newspaper. Keep a huge roll of paper towels or rags handy for messes. Have each kid wear one of dad's old (now disposable) tee shirts.

Making Easter Egg Stands
Cut toilet paper roll cores into one inch cylinders and use for egg stands. Decorate with stickers or paint.

Decorating Easter Eggs

Traditional Method
Hard boil eggs. Fill several mugs with boiling water and add 1-2 tsp. vinegar. Place a few drops of desired food coloring in each mug. Place eggs in mugs for several minutes until eggs reach desired shades.

Remove with a spoon. Place on paper towel to dry. When dry, polish with a small amount of shortening on a paper towel. Buff until glossy.

You can draw or write on the eggs with a light colored or white crayon before dipping. The drawing will remain white after the egg is dipped.

To clean out mugs, put a little bleach water in the cups and soak for a few minutes.

Glitter Eggs - Place 1 tablespoon each of glue and water in a cup. Stir the mixture and then paint the eggs with it. Sprinkle with glitter. This can also add sparkle to already dyed eggs!

Decoupaged Eggs - Tear small pieces of wrapping paper, napkins, stickers, or clip art. Mix equal amounts of glue and water. Paint egg with glue mixture. Place paper on top and then cover with more glue mixture. Let dry.

Spotted Eggs - Place 1 tsp. of cooking oil in dye. Dip the egg. The oil will cause the dye to make an irregular pattern on the egg.

Waxed Eggs - Dip a portion of the eggs in melted paraffin or candle wax. Then dip them in the dye. Remove from dye. Dry and peel off the wax. The egg will be white on one half and colored on the other half. You can also dip in dye before waxing to get two colors.

Hollow Eggs - Poke a hole in one end of an egg with a very small needle. Poke another slightly larger hole in the other end. Then blow on the small end and the egg will come out the other side. Decorate Easter eggs as desired.

Natural Easter Egg Dyes
If you would like to try decorating Easter eggs with natural dyes, try the following:
  • Yellow-- yellow onion skins, turmeric (1/2 tsp. per cup water) celery leaves
  • Orange--any yellow dye plus beet juice
  • Red--beets, paprika, red onion skins
  • Pink--cranberry juice
  • Blue--blackberries, grape juice concentrate, red cabbage
  • Brown--black tea, white oak, juniper berry, coffee, barberry
  • Light purple--blackberries, grapes, violets
  • Green--alfalfa, spinach, kale, violet blossom plus 1/4 tsp. baking soda, tansy, nettle, chervil, sorrel, parsley, carrot tops, beet tops or dip yellow egg in blue dye

Hard boil eggs with 1 tsp. vinegar in the water. Place dying ingredients in non-aluminum pans, cover with water and boil 5 minutes to 1 hour until desired color is achieved. Use enough material to make at least 1 cup dye. Crush ingredients as they boil to extract as much dye as possible. Strain the dye. Most dyes should be used hot. Let each egg sit in the dye until it reaches the desired color. Some dyes will take longer than others to make the desired colored on the egg. Remove the egg and let dry.


Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam are frugal living experts and the authors of the Dining On A Dime Cookbook. Dining On A Dime will help you save money on groceries and get out of debt by cooking quick and simple homemade meals. For free tips & recipes visit , sign up for our free Living On A Dime Newsletter and learn to save more!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Urgent Prayers Needed - UPDATE 3/13

Dear Friends, I'm writing this in a panic, so please forgive if this is a bit disjointed.  I left work early today to take Ashleigh to her orthodontist appointment, only to arrive home to several urgent messages at home and work from my Mother's doctor.  The lab work performed this morning came back showing my Mother's levels all out of whack.  The nurse mentioned something about possible renal failure and I went numb...  Dave is coming home from work now to be here with the children, while I take my Mother to the emergency room.  Please pray for us.

UPDATE (3/13) - Thank you for the prayers!  My sister and I spent the evening in the ER with my Mother.  Her potassium levels were elevated, which can signal renal failure.  But, she felt well and her EKG was fine.  The doctor gave her an IV and medication to bring her potassium down.  Fortunately, she was not admitted and we were able to go home late last night.  My Mother was ready to go! 

The ER physician noted her kidneys did show signs of wear and tear.  But, at 79 years old, that is to be expected.  We'll be following up with my Mother's primary care physician in the coming days to determine if she should be referred to a kidney specialist.  I'm trying not to let worry overtake my thoughts.  But, my concern is my Mother may be on the path towards dialysis.
Mary Ellen

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Caring for an Elderly Parent & Anxiety

Hello, All!  It seems like the last month has been a complete whirlwind!  One minute, I was excited the share the kid's school Valentine's with you all.  And before I knew it, March was upon us!  My Momma has been dealing with some ulcers on her feet and legs.  For a diabetic, wounds can be very problematic and slow to heal.  A few months ago, it started out as just one ulcer on the heel of her right foot.  After weeks of treatment at the wound care clinic, the wound was almost completely healed.  But, then she developed a severe itch on her legs after a vascular treatment.  The areas on her legs where she scratched, developed more wounds.  Her doctor at the wound care clinic was baffled as to how she could go from almost completely healed to pretty much back at square one.  After more testing, it was revealed that my Momma has a blockage in her left leg.  So, even though initially my siblings and I were all left scratching our heads (no pun intended) as to why Momma would scratch her legs raw, if she hadn't the blockage in her left leg might not have been discovered so soon.  Guess, it was one of those God things! :)
It's been difficult to see my Momma's health declining over the years.  In my mind, she's still the same formidable force she was when I was younger.  Growing up, I spent a lot of time wondering if she really loved me.  Her words at times could be more biting than the sting of her switch.  It's hard to reconcile the image in my mind with the frail woman she's become. 
My own health has been front and center lately as well.  Last month, I started experiencing a flushed feeling in my ears.  Dave suggested it might be due to an increase in my blood pressure.  My blood pressure has always been in the normal range, so I was taken aback when it did measure above normal.  It was a particularly stressful time at work - the whole working two positions, getting paid for one thing - and at home with my Momma's wound issues.  As things at work returned to a normal pace, the flushed feeling went away and my blood pressure returned to normal.  Until, this month when I started experiencing the same symptoms again.  As before, it's another stressful time at work.  This time, I went to my doctor.  The increase in my blood pressure appeared to be due in part to a reaction to an ingredient in an over the counter sinus medication.  However, I'm monitoring my blood pressure to see if further changes to diet and exercise may be needed.  I also had blood work done.  And, I did the one thing someone with health anxiety shouldn't do when they receive lab results - Google!  The iron levels looked high.  But, as Dave rightly pointed out, I'm not a medical professional.  I should speak with my doctor before diagnosing myself!  Plus, if there was anything of an urgent nature, my doctor would have called after reviewing the results.  Your prayers though would be greatly appreciated!
I've also started seeing a therapist to help me find effective strategies to deal with stress and anxiety.  I know some people scoff at the thought of therapy.  But, in the past I've found it very helpful to speak with someone not emotionally involved in the situation.  Sometimes, it takes direction from someone on the outside to get you back on the path of wellness and balance.   
Mary Ellen       

Sunday, March 3, 2013

What I'm Reading ~ I Declare by Joel Osteen

"I declare I have the grace I need for today.  I am full of power, strength and determination.  Nothing I face will be too much for me.  I will overcome every obstacle, outlast every challenge, and come through every difficulty better off than I was before.  This is my declaration."

Pastor Joel Osteen