Saturday, August 15, 2009

Tasty Treat: Rustic Apricot Tart

This recipe came in my Taste of Home magazine a few years back. It instantly became a favorite because it it easy to make, it tastes great, and it isn't too rich or heavy!

Rustic Apricot Tart

SERVINGS 6 Servings

  • 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 cans (15 ounces each) reduced-sugar apricot halves, drained
  • Pastry for single-crust pie (9 inches)
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
  • 1 tablespoon fat-free milk

  1. In a large bowl, combine 1/4 cup sugar, cornstarch and pumpkin pie spice. Add apricots and toss to coat.
  2. Place pastry on a parchment paper-lined 12-in. pizza pan. (I use my Pizza Stone with no parchment paper)
  3. Brush with egg white to within 1-1/2 in. of edges.
  4. Spoon apricot mixture over egg white; sprinkle with almonds.
  5. Fold up edges of pastry over filling, leaving center uncovered.
  6. Brush folded pastry with milk; sprinkle with remaining sugar.
  7. Bake at 375° for 35-40 minutes or until crust is golden and filling is bubbly.
Allow it to cool and then enjoy!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Chit Chat: I Wish

The contents for today's post came to me in the shower. It is just a bunch of random thoughts...

I Wish...
  • the media embraced women with all body types, and didn't bombard us with ultra-skinny models, actresses, and spokeswomen.
  • the government was really for the people, because if it were, it wouldn't have turned a blind-eye to all the "creative" mortgages and lending practices that has put many people out of their homes.
  • the Church integrated itself into mainstream society better...the way to reach the lost is to walk among the lost, not to segregate ourselves in our Christian circles.
  • mothers didn't have to worry about perverts and child abductors.
  • people didn't have to go to to see if something is a scam before clicking on a link in an email.
  • people would realize that Jesus is the only thing that will fill the void they feel...not alcohol or drugs, the latest iPod or other technology gadget, a bigger house, a nicer car, a better job title, the body the media constantly blasts us with or more clothes.
  • scientists would find a cure for cancer.
  • companies provided more vacation time for employees

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Travel Tip: 3-Days in St. Louis

Sightseeing in St. Louis (A Sample 3-Day Itinerary)

St. Louis is a great city to visit with kids. If you only have three days to spend in St. Louis, here are some of the highlights you won't want to miss. There are many attractions in St. Louis, so it may be a place that you want to visit again.

Day 1
You can't visit St. Louis without going up in the St. Louis Arch. Plan to get there early to make sure you can go to the top. While you are there, make sure you check out the museum, and watch the movie on the making of the arch. It cost $10 to go to the top (with a National Parks Pass, it's only $7) and the movie is $7.

Depending on time, spend some time walking the Arch Grounds, and then head over to Scott Joplin's home and take a tour of the "King of Ragtime's" St. Louis home. Tours are $2.50 for adults.

After the tour, go to the City Museum. There are 4 floors of exhibits to explore. It's open until 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Admission is $12.

Day 2

On day 2, plan to explore some area's outside the city. Start of going out to Defiance, Mo and visit Daniel Boone's Home and Boonesfield Village. A 2-hour tour of both the home and village is $12.00.

After the tour, understand a little bit more of Missouri's history by visit Old St. Charles. Stroll along Main Street and check out the shops. Walk down to the river. Take a tour of the First Missouri State Capital. Tours are $2.50.

Day 3
Spend the last day in St. Louis at Forest Park. There are a plenitude of attractions to capture your attention here. Start at the St. Louis Zoo. Basic entry is free, but for some of the attractions, like the Children's Zoo and the train, there is a fee.

Next, walk up the hill to the Art Museum. The Art Museum is free; however, there is a fee for the featured exhibits.

If it is summer time, make sure to take in a show at the Muny. There is a section of seats in the back that are free on a first come first serve purpose. Make sure to get there early if you are opting for the free seats.

FINAL NOTE: Make sure to drive over to Ted Drewes on Old Route 66 (Chippewa). It's a St. Louis tradition. They serve the best frozen custard ever! (If you're not sure what to order...get a Fox Trot Sundae for me!)

Great Offer: 30% off Gymboree Coupon for August 20-23

Gymboree is having a Circle of Friends sale from August 20-23. Relieve 30% off your entire purchase, plus get FREE shipping online with a $100 purchase*. Use CFFRIEND for your discount. Shop at

*Coupon is valid for one transaction and only one coupon may be redeemed per customer.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

How to...Create a Budget

A few years ago, hubby and I took the Financial Peace Class at our church. The class was wonderful. I recommend it to all my friends that are getting married, that have teenagers leaving for college, and for anyone that just wants to learn to manage their money better.

I have learned that having a budget is crucial for saving money. It enables you to manage your money better, it gives you visibility where your money is going, and it highlights areas where you could save more.

To create a budget:
  1. Get out all your bills from the last month.
  2. Start making a list and recording all your bills. A sample list you may want to track could look something like:

    • Saving
      • Mortgage/Rent
      • Home Repairs
      • Home Owners Insurance
      • Electric
      • Water
      • Gas
      • Phone (cell/land line)
      • Trash
      • Internet
      • Car Payment(s)
      • Gas, Oil changes
      • Repairs
      • Insurance
      Insurance (Health, Life, Disability)
      Dining Out
      Other (Child Care, Christmas Gifts, Birthday Gifts)
      Vacation Savings (If I am saving for something like new furniture, or a vacation, it gets it's own category)

  3. Get out your paycheck stubs for the month, add them up, and determine whether you are in your budget.
  4. Analyze your budget.
    • If you are within your budget, congratulations! Now you should start adjusting to determine where you can save.
    • If you are spending more than you make, then look for areas of spending that you should cut back on or eliminate (i.e. Do you need both a land line and a cell phone?, Could you eat out less?).
  5. Repeat this every month. Are you saving more? Are you eliminating debt?
For more information on budgeting, check out Crown Financial Ministries Financial Tools or the Dave Ramsey's Website to find a class near you.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Travel Tips: Hot Round-TripAirfare Prices From Denver

I just got an email announcing some great prices from Denver!

United, Delta, Frontier and other airlines have stepped up competition for fall travel by slashing fares on a wide range of flights from Denver. Fares now start at $133-$192 round-trip, including taxes. Many of the new lower fares are even valid over Thanksgiving weekend.

Check the fares* out here:

*Prices available while seats last. Prices may change at any time.

Tasty Treats: 5-Minute Chocolate Cake

My good friend Stacia sent me this recipe. It is great for when you are having a chocolate craving. One coffee mug makes enough to share (if you should choose).


SERVINGS 1 -2 Servings (depending on how generous you are feeling).

  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
  • A small splash of vanilla extract
  • 1 large coffee mug (Microwave Safe)


  1. Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well.
  2. Add the egg and mix thoroughly.
  3. Pour in the milk and oil and mix well..
  4. Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again.
  5. Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts.
  6. The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed!
  7. Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.
  8. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Chit Chat: County Fair Visit

This weekend we spent a few hours at the county fair. Baby Boy got to ride the pony's. He seemed to really like it...especially compared to the other little boy close to his age. While at the pony ride area, I got to witness 2 boys about the same age, with 2 very different reactions.

Every time Other Boy's pony came around he (the boy, not the pony) looked absolutely miserable. His face was red and blotchy, and he was trying to climb off the pony. His dad just held him on the matter how much Other Boy squirmed his Daddy was going to make him wear his big boy pants and tough it out.

On the other hand, Baby Boy had a smile on his face most the time, waved at me a few times, and would lean forward to pet the pony every once in a while. I was so proud of Baby Boy's bravery and sense of adventure.

As I was snapping photos of Baby Boy and watching Other Boy on their pony ride, I wondered:
  • Why do some kids just embrace a love for animals, and others react with fear?
  • Is it the disposition of the kid, the reaction of the parents, a little of both, or neither?
  • Do kids with pets respond to other animals better?
In the grand scheme of things, I guess these question don't matter, since Baby Boy enjoyed his pony ride, and I don't have to figure out how to nurture Baby Boy's love and respect of animals. Pony's, pot belly pigs, calves, horses, sheep, and goat...they all captured Baby Boy's attention.

Check out the pigs, Mommy! Can I get one?

That's a horse? It looks like a grown up pony? Are you sure it isn't a pony? Next year, I think I'll be ready to ride one of these Daddy!

Boy, that sheep isn't the smartest animal in the's trying to eat the metal gate!

"Too bad these pot bellied pigs were almost $200. I could have had a new pet!" thought Baby Boy.

I think it likes me, Daddy!