Milk Free Sausage Balls

When Ben was an infant, he had a cows milk allergy. Not only was it frustrating for him, but it was frustrating for me as his mom nursing! Do you know how much I adore cheese? Its kind of an obsession. So for almost a year Ben and I went without any milk or cheese. It was so hard but we did it and I was so proud! I remember breaking my cheese fast with the melting pot. What a way to go!

Fast forward some time and we thought he had grown out of it until a particularly difficult infection, round of antibiotics and me trying to give him yogurt to help his tummy.IMG_20151220_100543374 Turns out we are not past the milk allergy.  His terrible outbreak on his face around Christmas time had us going on a witch hunt for anything that would have milk in it in our house!

So in the time since we have tried to weed out and keep out as much milk from our house as possible. Luckily the kid is a good eater and loves peanut butter too so we usually don’t have too much of an issue.

Recently I started planning for is birthday party and we were throwing ideas around for breakfast foods we like, and good old fashioned sausage balls are one of our family faves. Unfortunately they have cheese. Boo. So Dave said “why don’t you make them without cheese?” Without cheese?? GASP! But that’s what makes them so YUMMY. Alas though, I couldn’t shake it from my mind the idea of making them without cheese. So I set out to try and make one.


IMG_4858So instead of cheese, I substituted egg. I wanted to share this because there was just no other milk/dairy free sausage ball I could find. This is so simple that I also feel bad acting like its an actual recipe, anyway, here’s the way I did it!



Milk Free Southern Sausage Balls


1lb sausage

2 eggs

3 cups of Bisquick (we use heart healthy bisquick)

Mix all the ingredients together.  use my mixer to get it started and then finish with my hands.

Roll into balls about an inch in diameter.


Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.


Things I noticed: These are a little dryer than normal and don’t have that lovely browning on top that the ones with cheese do.  I think that might be because I didn’t cook them as long, but I was afraid of them being too dry.  10 minutes was just right for my oven. Also, these obviously have no cheese. I had a friend recommend adding nutritional yeast to get that “cheddar” flavor. I personally didn’t have any on hand and these were just an experiment, but I plan to try some with too! Also, another person suggested a tablespoon of oil to help keep the moisture. Haven’t tried but sounds like another winner! Dave said they taste like a McD sausage biscuit. That’s praise coming from him! 🙂

Hope you enjoy!







The Search for Significance

Maybe I’m the only one. Perhaps this feeling only affects a few and these feelings I’m getting out will seem foreign to everyone else.

Do you ever have a feeling you were made for something more?

In going about my day to day life, I have this underlying feeling that I was made for something more. I was made for something different. That somehow, I’ve missed my “calling”.

I’m a perfectionist. I’m a “If you are going to do it, do it right and do it well” kind of person. You’ll see me usually busting myself to do whatever I’m doing, well. I’d like to think it’s because I’m doing it for the Lord, but its probably a combination of pride, and a need to be significant.

Have you ever heard the saying “jack-of-all-trades, but master of none”? That’s me. I have always been able to do average to above average on almost everything I’ve ever set my mind to. I’ll research, I’ll try and try and try, failing until I succeed, I’ll ask questions and do it until its done and I’m so proud! I’ll sit in the success and think “This is it! I’ve finally found my thing “.

After a while I find, however, there’s always someone better than me. There’s always someone who knows more and does a better job. And that thing that I was so excited about, now has grown dim until it no longer lights a fire in me and I become discouraged and I give up. “That’s not my thing” I tell myself and I move on.

My infertility was painful, but not as painful or as extraordinary as those I know. So there’s no reason to talk about it.

My marriage went through some tough spots and survived, but not as tough as those I know, so I can’t really compare or give advice.

My birth story was a nightmare to me and we came through, but there are other’s whose birth story was more difficult.

I capture images of beautiful families, but I don’t do as many as I’d want or have the highest tech equipment there is.

I write blogs about life and renovation, but there is no more renovation to be had and no more money for it. And let’s face it, I’m not an excellent writer.

I started and stopped writing lots of pieces of work because its hard and my words fall flat of accomplishing what I was hoping for them to inspire.

Even now, as I write this, I have thoughts in my imagination about what would happen if this went viral. I’d be someone. I’d be recognized. I’d feel important.

The search for significance is real. At least, it is for me. I want to feel needed, wanted, loved, important, irreplaceable, inspiring. I want to be an expert, someone others look to for advice, wisdom, and to be excellent at my thing.

I find however, emptiness in my never ending quest for my thing. A desire never quenched, a dream never realized, a wandering of sorts.

Being a Christian, my thoughts always drift back to my world-view. What does God say about my significance? What does God say about my thing? What did he create me for?

Matthew 10: 29-31

29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

The hairs on my head are numbered. The God of the universe knows the smallest sparrow, so of course he would know me.

Psalm 139:1-16 (emphasis added by me)

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.

God saw me at my creation. No matter where I go, he is there. He knows me.

Romans 5:8  – But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Not only does God know me, but he loved me.

So, if I truly believe like I say that I do, and I turn to what God says about me, regardless of my talents or lack thereof, I am significant.

Jesus, in his very nature, who was equal to God, according to Philippians 2  6-8, “did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage, rather he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant…he humbled himself…”

I am significant  because of who God is and what Jesus did. And in my significance, I am humbled. God does not require of me to be excellent with one thing. If I truly understand His sacrifice, then it requires me to be humble. To spend the rest of my life making much of Him. My significance comes not by realizing who I am, but by realize who He is and what He did.

What I am most passionate about? What is my one thing that brings my life significance? Jesus. My own self importance seems so small in comparison to Jesus.

And instead of coming to me for wisdom and excellence, look through me, and see him.

The Honey Don’t List

I’ve been in a DIY hiatus here recently! We did so much on the house when we first moved in and then again right before Ben was born, that there wasn’t too much we had left to do. And lets add to that oh you know, a little one and well, nothing really gets done!

However, I recently got bitten by the DIY bug again. The one that gets unsatisfied with the “un-done” projects and wants to get them all done…right immediately…all the things…

So Dave went away for a weekend and I had a “honey don’t” list I wanted to get done. What’s a honey don’t list? Coined at our last small group meeting a “honey don’t” list is a list of projects wife wants to do while husband is gone and can’t supervise (or say “Honey, please don’t….)! Ha!

My honey don’t list had so many items on it but I dwindled that down to just a couple and wanted to share with you. There’s so much that paint and a few small things can do to freshen up the space! So here’s my list:


(1) Paint the transition door: There’s a door that cuts the front of the house off from the back of the house. When we initially painted all the doors and trim white in the front of the house, we decided to temporarily leave the back the existing color. I made the mistake of leaving the door to the back of the house unpainted. And every time I shut the door it drove me crazy because it didn’t match the kitchen at all. 


So I fixed that! I painted the front of it white, and left the back the natural color. Oh, and using my handy dandy pink tools I also replaced the door knob and plates. Take that door! Now the transition to the back of the house looks like we did it on purpose and kept the existing color the way it is to “preserve the character” of the house. That’s a good excuse as any right?






(2) Finish the shoe molding and paint the bathroom walls. I have to say, Dave was right and I was wrong on this one. He wanted to paint the bathroom the same gray in our dining room and I was like “No! I want it to be clean and bright white!” But instead of clean and white, every time I walked in it I felt it was stark and jarring. So I admitted I was wrong. It didn’t meet my vision, and for the record, that’s why I have a honey don’t list…because well…sometimes my visions work and sometimes they crash and burn. So the bathroom was screaming to be painted. I used the same gray color from the dining room (I did have to buy an extra quart but 2.5 quarts was enough!), and I wanted to also finish out the one wall with shoe molding. We always had intentions on doing it, but I got my big girl tool belt on and cut them to size myself! And of course painted and installed them.


IMG_0164 IMG_0159 IMG_0157


IMG_0169 IMG_0167IMG_20150919_203212718

(3) Finally, my favorite…the Faux Capiz Chandelier! Holy cow do I love this! I initially was going to place this in our hall way, but then I got the idea (well actually Dave thought that it would look terrible in the hall way and our bed room so this was the third choice. I’m sensing a theme here that Dave might have better taste then I give him credit for. ) to put it in the bathroom! Here’s the How-To for the light fixture!


Here’s to another DIY weekend under my belt!

Faux Capiz Shell Chandelier

Few things make me as giddy as seeing something I created with my hands come together the way I had hoped it would! My projects usually have one of two outcomes: (1) Awesome! or (2) Crash and burn. Obviously less crash and burn gets posted here! Ha! But this project has me so excited! I initially wanted to put this in the hall way or our bedroom but after gentle coaxing from Dave (he really loves the bedroom fixture, but I can’t for the life of me figure out why….) I decided to put this in the bathroom. Sometimes when he challenges me, my projects turn out much better than I expected. And sometimes his challenges make me very angry. LOL More often than not however, they are good and this is one of those! Seriously, look at how awesome it is!


So here’s my how to on creating this fixture!

Materials Needed:

  • wax paper
  • parchment paper (you need a lot more wax paper than parchment paper)
  • Something to cut the “shells” out with. I bought a 2in hole punch from Michaels. (it was 8.99 on sale!)
  • jump rings (think jewelry making section)
  • Something to punch a small hole with (I used and oversized safety pin)
  • small set of pliers
  • the rings from a lamp shade. I bought an old lampshade from Goodwill for $2 and used the top and bottom for a two tiered look.
  • wire to suspend the two rings together (I used jewelry making wire that I already had)
  • Iron and ironing board

So the first step was to get an old lamp shade. I got one that had a smaller ring at the top and a larger one at the bottom. One that looked something like this (I forgot to take a picture of it beforehand):


Then I stripped out the fabric between the two wires.

The next step is to make all the “shells”. Seriously. Lots and lots and lots of shells! I did two layers with each strip being 4 shells long. Together I needed about 200 shells for my light fixture. I wanted it to fit over the existing fixture so mine was more of a “shade”.


I took two pieces of parchment paper and then between them placed three pieces of wax paper. Each shell is 3 melted pieces of wax paper. Then with my iron set on low I melted the wax paper between the two sheets of parchment paper. Be careful here: if your wax paper actually touches your iron it melts on your iron. That’s why you need the parchment paper! Once you have melted the 3 pieces of paper, remove and set to the side. You will make several of these. I used my entire box of wax paper doing this piece.

Next, you use your hole punch to cut out the shells. Be careful here. I had to use 4-5 pieces of the melted wax paper for the hole punch to push through and make pretty circles. I had a lot of waste. If I didn’t press down super hard, the hole punch didn’t cut clearly. So make sure you have plenty of extra paper for mess ups!


After all the shells are punched, then you can start putting together your strips. After looking at several tutorials, I decided my favorite was to string them together with jump rings.


So I punched small holes in them (the bottom shell did not have a bottom hole obviously) and then put rings on each side. I used small pliers to gently pry the ring open and then also to close it.



Then I used the top ring to attach to the wire circle. Now, I did this in such a way that I could scoot them back and forth the way I wanted to. I figured once it was hanging up they wouldn’t move, but while I was making it I wanted to make sure I didn’t place them where I couldn’t move them if needed.


For the little pin holes, I found it easier to use  a pot holder (something soft) as opposed to a hard surface, so that my safety pin actually made a clean hold instead of bending the shell.


Oh, and to suspend the little ring from the larger ring, I used wire in three places. Nothing fancy, but it does the trick!


Finally, after it was completely done, it was time to hang! I bought some white hooks that I was able to screw into the ceiling, and using 4 of them, gently bent and placed the shade on them. And Ta-Da! New look!

IMG_0207 IMG_0208 IMG_0209

The whole project cost less than $20 (with the biggest expense being the hole punch, that if you had a coupon at Michaels would be even less)!

  • Wax paper: $3
  • Parchment paper: $3
  • Jump rings: $2
  • Lampshade: $2
  • Hole punch: $9

IMG_0191 Edit

Musings of Motherhood

As I come up on the one year mark of having a baby on the outside (ha!), I’m having all these thoughts back to one year ago and how much life would change in just one year.

While I only have a one child and he is less than a year old and I’ve only experienced a very small portion of what it means to be a mom, there are a few things that this stage of life have taught me.

Motherhood is hard. Like really, really hard.

I think this is the biggest take away I have from this whole experience. I never realized how much I judged other mothers until was one. It was never in a “you’re a bad mom” way, it was a “I highly doubt I’d let my child…” kind of way.  And then you have your own child and you realize that all moms are just doing what they can the best way they know how. Every child is different and when your child is acting like a fool in Walmart and you’ve been up for days and you just need that one item, yes, you are going to let your child scream because you know that if you try and hush them, it will just make things worse so you are determined to go in and out as quickly as possible.

Motherhood is tough on all of us. When you are tempted to think “that mom should…” or “I’d never let my child…” I want you to take a step back and remember you have no idea if that child or mama are having a bad day, or if their little skipped his or her nap, or what they are going through. Be encouraging, be respectful, and remember that mama is doing the best she can with the child that God has entrusted to her.

I’m so tempted to compare my child to others I’m seeing on social media.

If there is one thing Benjamin has taught me about himself is that he is going to do things in his own timing and in his own way regardless of what I think he should be doing.  Let’s take solid food for example.  For the longest time I could not get him to take any chunks of food. He was well beyond the age and developmental stage where he should be able to feed himself soft foods. But every time we would try he would gag and cry. I mean every. single. time. Then one day, around 10 months he took a puff and loved it. And we’ve never looked back. Or, lets take crawling for example. My child decided the best way to crawl would be army style. Oh he could crawl on his knees if he wanted to but he thought that plopping to his belly and using only his arms was superior. And then, last weekend, he decided he was faster crawling like a normal child.  Again he proved to his mama that he is fine, and that he is going to do things in his own way.  For me to compare him to other children is proving a futile effort. The doctors say he is developing normally and he’s a happy healthy little boy. I’m learning I need to take a social media break and let Benjamin develop in his own way and enjoy the process.

Motherhood leaves you so very tired.

My best girl friend’s husband, made a comment one time that being a parent means that you will know a level of tired you have never known and its the best reason to be so tired. Boy oh boy, was he right?  The whole pregnancy, I had this issue with sleeping. Benjamin or the hormones or something kept me from sleeping more than 2 hour stretches at a time. After 9 months of that, you think you are tired and you think when the baby comes I’ll be able to get more sleep than I am now. And the baby comes and you think, finally, I can sleep. Then the baby decides to feed for 45 minutes every three hours and you are his only food source, leaving  you exhausted. Then you think if only I could get him drinking a bottle and sleeping through the night, then I can rest. And he takes a bottle and he sleeps through the night (sort of), but then he gets sick and for days he’s up every thirty minutes crying. Then lets factor in 2 working parents, a house that needs cleaning (clean, what’s that? Oh that’s the thing that if I don’t do, the baby has dog hair balls all over him when he crawls on the floor), groceries that have to be bought or none of us eat, and then all the other things that life throws at you, and well, tired is an understatement.

You know though, through all the tired, there are moments of God’s grace. When you have nothing left to give and then you rely on him. When you are so tired from being up every night for a week with a sick baby, he randomly sleeps 8 hours straight and the whole house rests. Or when you are so frustrated because the house will never be clean or straight again, the baby reaches up to hold you and says “Mama!” with a huge smile and then leans in with his tongue out for “baby kisses”. Or when you haven’t showered for days, and your hair has spit up in it and you have no idea how long its been there, but your husband comes in like a knight in shining armor with pizza and gives you a big kiss and hug and tells you that you are the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen and he then plays with the baby in only the way his daddy can making them both giggle and making your heart explode. Yes, that makes this motherhood thing, totally worth it.

Benjamin–you’re mama isn’t perfect, but she loves you and she is so thankful God gave you to her to teach her so much about Him, herself, your daddy and life.  You just keep doing you, little guy, and take it easy on your mama as you grow, she’s growing too.

IMG_8071edit IMG_8479

A little curb appeal!

Spring is around the corner! I’m looking forward to this year and seeing our flowers come back this year. I love the Bradford Pear and how it blooms in white, and the crabapple tree that blooms pink, and then we get to watch the apples grow on the apple tree all summer. One thing that I’m really excited about this year are the transplanted iris’ that my mom planted in our front yard after the baby was born. My mom is so great at green things outside (I did not get that gene at all!). We basically did this for $50 and a lot of hard work.

There were lots of bushes in the front yard when we first moved into the house.

They were great, until we realized that they had to be pulled out to install a new drainage system around the house. So goodbye bushes!



A couple weeks before mom came, Dave ran some twine and killed the grass that was in the area we would be planting. So that it would be ready for planting.

Mom came up one morning before it was too hot, she was a trooper! I was recovering from C Section, so I had coffee in the chair while she worked (I felt really bad!)

Dave was really excited about the iris’. They were in the back of the house in the woods, covered in weeds. They were planted by Granny and survived all these years with no love or attention. Mom dug them up and planted them in the front, along with some bushes that we picked out. Then once everything was planted, mom used the pine straw from the woods and put it all around the house. We also found some large rocks and an angel statue out in the woods and used them too. I think it turned out great!

IMG_20140606_161154828 IMG_20140606_151952258IMG_20140606_152013481   IMG_20140606_161200894

As a bonus, she picked up some petunias for pots to hang from the A-frames on the swing.


Oh and this was a surprise! We have clay soil so I wasn’t sure that any other plants would survive, but this little guy loved the soil and grew and bloomed like crazy! It’s a Canna lily.


I cant wait to see if the iris’ and Canna lily bloom this year! So thankful for momma and some curb appeal!


Tiny House – Quiet Places

I am currently OB-sessed with the Tiny House movement. I watched a documentary on Netflix called “Tiny: A Story About Living Small” and it has me dreaming of building a tiny home and moving to a wide open space in the mountains with no debt. (Just a dream though, we are planted where we are now and not going anywhere!) I’m not much of an environmentalist like most of the folks who live in tiny houses, and I’m somewhat attached to things, but the idea of downsizing is so appealing.

When we moved to this house, we were downsizing–moving to a smaller, simpler home, one that would be more within our budget and help us get out of debt quicker, amongst other reasons. You wouldn’t think moving  to a home 200 square feet smaller would be that much difference, but most of the square footage in our old home was closets (I mean two bedrooms had two closets EACH!). In this home, we have maybe 1/3 of the storage space that we used to have. That forced me to rethink the items I had in storage. I sold quite a bit so that we had less to cram in the closets. Also, when we moved into this house, I had to downsize my wardrobe to fit the closet that we had.

So back to the tiny home idea. In the documentary, the home builder bought a wide open piece of land with nothing around him, and then built from scratch a tiny home of less than 200 sq ft on a trailer.  It was more than an RV or camper. This was literally a stick built home, but super small. The more I thought about this idea the more I was obsessed with it. In the exercise of downsizing my possessions to move here, it made me feel so free.  I think when you have so much stuff there is this temptation to think that you can’t live without it. The more I got rid of, the lighter I felt. I think that’s why a tiny house is so appealing. You have no space to keep things that aren’t essential so you have to pick and choose whats important. What you are left with are the things that matter the most and nothing you don’t need.

Not only was the lack of material possessions appealing, but also the idea of being in the middle of nowhere and the calm and quiet that would come with that sounds amazing.  When we moved out here,I was excited because there are lots of trees and wooded acres. What I wasn’t prepared for was the busy-ness of the highway in front of us and how close we feel to it. I long for a quiet place of solitude, like my old backyard in the middle of the cul-de-sac.

I recently discovered my quiet place–my place of restful solitude. I know it may sound odd for you guys since I’m an extrovert, but I think everyone longs for quiet rest sometimes. I know my heart does. So I was walking around the yard yesterday and I had an idea to go into the edge of the woods. I kept walking because I saw something I wanted to take a closer look at. Then I heard the sound of the creek in the distance. And the quiet. And I realized, I found my new favorite spot. Its perfect, you can hear the sounds of nature, birds, the creek, and you are surrounded by trees, with no highway or cars in sight. I know I looked like a crazy person taking a chair out into the woods, but it was exactly what I needed. Next up on the list, a hammock. A hammock in the woods where I can hear water, wind, birds and not see cars. Perfect.

God says in Psalm 46:10,  “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Taking time to be quiet, alone and to ponder on the gift that we have been given in Christ Jesus is a gift in itself. It can be in those moments where we can be refreshed, renewed, and content. Contentment is the end result of this chain of thought, peace and contentment. God is teaching me contentment in this exercise of finding this quiet place. I’m looking forward to more moments with God when spring finally comes.

Here’s to day-dreaming and restfulness! Where’s your quiet place of solitude?


IMG_20150308_113034 (2)