"Make sure that what you are doing and striving for is going to be worth any sacrifices you will have to make along the way. If it's a relationship, job, anything in life."

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Review 14: Outside Fryer

     With the new outside fryer setup and now working I wanted to use this time to give it a quick review.  For the past several years we have been frying some food inside with an electric fryer that we do love and works great.  However now with a gas fryer that can be used outside the smell of oil is no more!  I first used my father-in laws a while back and saw how nice it worked not to mention the clean up was fast and easy.  After frying for a while and moving our electric one to the basement where sometimes you would still smell oil I wanted to invest in one that can be used outside.

     The fryer is very effective and easy to use.  It is really just a propane take that has a line that connects to the fryer.  The fryer is a metal stand that has a round base to hold the pot of oil on.  Once lit there is a nob that allows gas flow to be lesser or greater.  The fryer came with the stand, large pot, basket and temp thermometer.  The pot that it came with is pretty large and we put in a little over a gallon of oil.  We ended up frying a lot of different foods.  I also did a large order of chicken wings that came out amazing.  I think the best thing is just the fact that you can have some fun fried foods but keep the smelling oil out of your house.

     Now Kayla and I do eat healthy however we do like to fry up some different foods or apps for friends and family every once and while as a treat.  As long as you don't fry ever night I think things will be ok in the healthy end!  After we were done I just emptied the oil and cleaned the pot out.  Last night I ended up getting a cast iron pot that I think will work even better.  After the oil is out I can just wipe it down.  The electric fryer is nice that we own however cleaning up takes time and if you want to keep your stuff nice and your food tasting great you do have to clean your fryer ever time.

     I will say the instructions on putting this together were not very well written.  We got it from Gander Mountain and it was affordable.  The fryer and pot that we got later total came to a little over $100.  You also need to get a propane tank as well, however it is cheap for the fun foods you can put out and if you take care of it then you will have it for years to come!   Like I noted however the instructions were not well written.  There weren't many to even read I would say.  We found our selves looking at the box and figuring it out our selves.  Now granted it isn't to difficult but there were a lot of parts so yes I would tell them to make better instructions for people.

     I am excited because I have new meals and small appetizers to try with the fryer.  So I am excited about doing this as well as the fact that it is getting warmer out so cooking outside will get easier.

     So as I Finnish up I would say yes to anyone who likes to cook look into an outside fryer.  You can make some fun meals with your family and even make your dishes.  Just remember to be safe and make sure the fryer is on a safe flat surface away from kids or pets.  Make sure you fry with caution because the hot oil can hurt you.  After make sure the flame is out and the gas tank is shut off.  Let the oil cool and keep the fryer protected.  Don't let anyone near it as it cools.  Then drain the oil and clean out your pot.  You are ready to go again!  Since this is a gas fryer you can cook all year round.  The fire heating up the pot will keep the oil at a good hot temperature even in the winter.  

                          I hope this review was helpful and if you have any questions let me know.

Here is my outside fryer.


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Tuesday's Tip: Vacations,Holidays & Single Parenting...

     Over the past several years I have given many tips about how single parents can help with the fact that it might be a holiday and you won't have your child.  I also talked about the fact that it might be a vacation week and you have to go a little bit longer without seeing them.  Well today I just wanted to re-up this and give all my fellow parents that have a child they share with someone else how to keep from getting lonely or nervous.

     The holidays can be a very difficult time especially if you have to split up the time and only see your child half of it or none of it even.  This can make your day very long.  Keeping busy has always been one of my best tips.  Spending it with loved ones is also very supportive.  Just calling your child to say hi and see how their day is going is very important to you and the child.  When I first started off years ago I had pretty bad nights not even thinking about holidays that is.  It was difficult there were many lonely nights and times when depression can set it if you don't do something.  Time will always help but in the beginning stages yes you can find yourself sitting alone and the seconds can feel like hours.  Sometimes a holiday will be next to a vacation so you won't see your child for a longer period of time.  Quinn is on Spring break with her Mom and it was her Easter so I didn't see her and I won't see her this week.

     As time moved on things of course did get better, as Quinn got older she was more aware and knew the time with each parent was important.  She also would call and be able to speak for a longer time frame which helps.  I also had Kayla in my life over time that really helped me.  I know moving on after a divorce or while raising a child as a single parent seems miles away for someone maybe that is right at the start of this all but never give up on hope.  I was such a different person several years ago and now so excited to share my life with along with Quinn.  So here are some tips below to help you out when you may find it isn't your time to spend with your child on a holiday or vacation...

1)  Know the vacation or holiday is coming up  and make sure you are aware if it is your time with your child or not.  Know the calendar year and what the agreement you have is.

2)  Make plans if it isn't your holiday.  This past Easter we didn't have Quinn so we went and visited Kayla's family.  We made plans to keep busy and have a good holiday.

3)  Take the time to get ready for the holiday.  We made Quinn an Easter basket, we know we didn't have her on the day but we can celebrate after.  Kids really don't care as long as you are excited and well they get more stuff...

4)  Be excited, tell your child yes it may not be the holiday you see them but tell them how exciting it will be and when you get back you all will celebrate.

5)  Call your child on the holiday if you don't see them and say hi and ask them how their day is going!  Be excited to talk to them and hear their voice.  This might be the best tip I can give.  Show your child they even though it isn't your turn you still wanted to hear their voice and that you stopped everything that day to talk to them.

     There are many other tips however I think the biggest is to just find something to do and keep your mind occupied, reach out to your child and talk to them.  Let them know that when you see them again your will celebrate with them!  If the holiday is by a vacation some reason and it won't be for a week till you see your child don't stress.  Just remember the tips I told you.  Remember next year that holiday will most likely be yours and you will have them that time.

     Most importantly work together!  Work with the child's mother or father and always put their interest first...

If you have any tips you may have learned along the way please share!

Always remember,
You are Never Alone...


Monday, March 28, 2016

Happy Easter

    Hello everyone!  I hope you all had a great weekend and for those who celebrate Easter I hope you had a fun and relaxing day!  Even if you don't celebrate this day at least gives you a day to eat sweets!  I do hope everyone got to sit down and have a nice meal, be thankful for what they have and took time to remember this.  We shouldn't just be thankful on Thanksgiving, ever time we sit down to a nice meal in a safe home we need to remember what we have.

     For those who saw their kids I hope you had a great day with them and spend the day looking for Easter Eggs and baskets!  I hope you just enjoyed the time you have with them in general.  For any parents who didn't have them I hope you reached out and wished them a happy Easter.  This year we actually didn't have Quinn but that isn't going to stop us from getting out and enjoying the day.  It is how it goes and we have to move on.  We called her in the afternoon and she was so excited to hear from us!  We asked how her day was and what she found.  After she told us in her excited voice we told her we think we have saw some stuff around the house for her!  She got even more excited!

     In the end that is really what it's all about.  Just letting them know you are thinking of them if you can't be there.  You show them how much you care and to be excited for when they come over they can still celebrate with you!  We talked for a bit and then told her to have a great vacation and that we would see her soon.  You could tell by her voice shew was so excited and that really is all we need to do if it isn't your day with our kids!  Just call at least and let them know you are thinking about them and that the next time you see them you will have so much to do!

     So I do hope everyone did spend time with their loved ones and for those who didn't have kids this day I hope you reached out and said hello and that you were thinking of them!  As the Spring finally starts moving along I can't wait to get outside!  

I hope everyone is having a wonderful start to Spring...

Always Remember you are Never alone...


Friday, March 25, 2016

Good Friday

  Today is good Friday, now typically I don't blog about Religion much per my readers come from all different views which I love and always appreciated.  I like to blog about this day however because it is one of the days that my religion does have a very strong and personal ceremony.  A day to be remembered.  It makes us stop and remember what has been given and even in different religions there is sacrifice, so this day I hope may make any other religions think about what was done for them.  I feel with religion as long as people feel there is a great good, a good to do make this planet a better place that really is the main thing.  People from all different religions come together to love and live on one planet and we have to.

     For me this very special day even if sad or dark makes me repent and remember that we need to stop and pray.  Remember what we have been giving and to take a small part of our day to pray for those who need it.  My life I have experienced may events I knew someone or something was looking out for me keeping me safe.  I and many others have had those "close calls".  Even if something doesn't go your way it all has a purpose.  However if you celebrate Easter you should think about today.  Take time to remember what was given and that we have to be thankful.

     Today is a very powerful day and no matter what your religion I do hope either you think about this day for it is a day you celebrate or think about a day in your religion that may come soon where you remember what was given.  I don't want to get to in depth with religion but I wanted to say I hope no matter what you follow you believe in the goodness of life.  Watching out for others and treating others with respect and love...  

     I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend, I will try to get a post in for Easter Sunday.  If you have your kids, have fun with them!  Eat, play games, enjoy the time with them!  If you do not have them, call them!  This year I do not have Quinn so I will call and wish her a Happy Easter!

Have a safe and Happy Weekend Everyone...

Always Remember,

You Are Never Alone....


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Cheeseburger Pita Pocket

     Sometimes a great meal just comes to you...  We were walking though the store looking for something for dinner last Friday and I told Kayla and Quinn what about something fun, I saw pita pockets and thought how about a bacon cheeseburger pita pocket!  They were excited and a dinner was born!  We went home with the supplies we needed and cooked up this great dinner or even lunch meal that I think you would love!

Prep Time:  5 Min
Cook Time: 25 Min
Total Time: 30 Min

1 lb of ground beef
1 package of pita pockets (about 6 per package)
1 Tomato
1 Onion
3 Strips of bacon, or bacon bits
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 Package of shredded Lettuce or one head you cut up.
Any two sides you would like to go with it.

Cook the ground beef until fully brown and keep on low.
As the meat is cooking, Cook the bacon and then cut into small pieces.  If you have bacon bits they will work too.  You can either cook the bacon in with the meat or separate.  Cooking them separate will keep the bacon fat out of the beef making it more healthy.
Add the shredded Cheese as needed.  You can measure out how ever much you like.
Add the bacon to the meat.
Cut up your Tomato, Onion and Lettuce.  You can sometimes find them pre-cut in the store too.
Open your pita pocket.
Layer your pocket however you like!

Here is my example:
I did toppings, then the beef and then a little more toppings, so this way you don't just eat your toppings first.  There are some at the bottom you can enjoy!

For our sides we did burned Broccoli and baked fries.  The Broccoli we will be putting that up on the blog soon too.  Fries we just cooked in the oven per the instructions.

     The dish as you can see came out great!  We absolutely loved it, such a fun and different take on your classic bacon cheese burger.  I would like to add you can substitute beef for turkey or cut up chicken too!  You can also not add any meat and make it vegetarian.  I think we enjoyed this dish because it was different, fun and the flavors all just mixed together and everything complemented each other so wonderfully.  Sometimes when you have a burger I feel we get used to that layered effect, this was different you had a mesh of meat and sides all together.  This meal is affordable and different, surprise your family or fiends, i think they will really enjoy this!   

Remember, cooking should be Fun, so have Fun doing it!


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Tuesday's Tip: Getting ready for Spring!


So yesterday was the first day of Spring!  As I looked out my window at work and saw the snow falling I didn't really feel it but its okay.  So now that we should be though the thick of things and that Spring is here I have a few great tips I think you might enjoy!

1)  First off wait for Spring to truly arrive!  It may still get cold so this is my first and most import tip.

2)  Start looking into yard work.  Think about cleaning up the gardens, raking even think about getting or looking into mulching!

3)  This is also a great time to do some Spring cleaning.  Wash the house windows, and the exterior its self.  Clean out your basement or attic and find out what you can get rid of or sell.

4)  Look into what needs painting.  Maybe the outside house, or your windows, you may want to re seal your windows as well.  Something we may do this year.

4)  Getting your snowblower put a way.  Run it till the gas is gone, then take out your lawn mower and change the oil, clean it up make sure it starts.

5)  When it gets warm enough put your screens down in your home.   Inspect them and see if any need repair.

6)  Make sure if you have a dehumidifier in your basement it is clean and ready.  Turn it on as well.  When you feel the cold weather is gone you can turn your furnace off and check your Air conditioner.  

7)   Put away your winter cloths and bring out your warmer weather ones.  Make sure you do this for your children too.  They will probably need new ones since they are growing.

8)  Generally inspect your house.  Over the winter you may find damage from ice or snow.  Check the foundation, and gutters.

9)  Clean your gutters, now that the rainy season is here you want them working correctly.

10)  Get ready to enjoy the warm weather.  Get outside and take a walk or bring the kids to the park.  As the weather warms up and the outside dry's make sure you are enjoying this time to get back outside!

     I hope everyone has a great Spring and I hope the following tips helped.  If you have any of your own let me know!  Very basic tips however some are easily missed, remember every season change requires us to adapt and get ready.  Heading into spring is a very big one because there is usually a lot of cleaning involved inside and out.  Have a great start to Spring everyone!

Always Remember,

You are Never Alone...


Monday, March 21, 2016

Breakfast Wraps

     I have been making this breakfast wrap for several years now.  For all my friends and family that have tried them I have had wonderful reviews.  So today I want to share my first breakfast meal with you on the Cooking Corner!

     This breakfast wrap is very easy to make and you can add or subtract items at your pleasure so don't be afraid to do so!  The following recipe will feed about 4 people, you can feed more or less depending how much you fill your wraps. 

Prep Time: 5
Cook Time: 15
Total Time: 20

6 Large Eggs
1/4 Vegetable Oil
Pepper to taste
1 Cup cut up Turkey
1 Cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 Tablespoons Milk
4 Wraps whatever style you like

In a small bowl whisk the eggs, mil and pepper.
In a large skillet, heat a little oil.
Add the egg mixture and cook over medium heat until eggs are set.
Stir in the cheese and turkey.
Once cooked place in the center of the tortillas and roll up.
Cut down the center and use a toothpick to hold.

Serve hot.

     This makes a great parenting breakfast because it is healthy and kids will love it!  My daughter always ask when we can have wraps.  The mix of eggs and turkey provide a healthy and filling meal to give you and your family energy with a low fat content.  The cleanup is easy and if you are on the go you can take this too.  *Please note, don't eat and drive even if it is a wrap*

     I hope you enjoyed this breakfast meal and be sure to add any other fun thinks like other vegetables or seasonings.  

Start cooking the eggs then add the turkey and cheese.

Mix everything up.

Wrap and serve!

     This wrap is sure to be a hit and being filled with eggs and turkey it will fill you and your family up and give you lots of energy to start your day!  Filled with powerful eggs and turkey you and your family will have a great start to the day and not feel to full or like you ate something heavy.  Give this a try and let me know how it goes or if you have other ideas for it!

Remember, cooking should be fun!  So have fun doing it!!!


Sunday, March 20, 2016

A Day on the Ice

     Yesterday we took our annual Ice skating trip and it was awesome!  Last year we went and had a blast so this year we knew we had to go again.   We went to the indoor rink and got started!  This year they had learning tools for kids which was nice so we didn't have to use the chairs this time!  Quinn was excited this time and went right out on the Ice.  The three of us went around and she got used to the skating.

     We let her go around her self too which we were so proud of because it shows her growing and seeing her limits.  We were so proud of her that day and had so much fun.   Remember getting out when the weather is cold or rainy is important!  When Quinn would take a break Kayla and I got to do some skating by our selves which was nice too.

     Skating is great for kids because it teaches them great motor skills.  Being able to balance is very important and skating will really help you and your kids get better at this.  Ice skating also is just so fun and romantic and one day maybe Quinn with go with someone she is dating, down the road of course!

     I will admit there were many kids skating and I was impressed how well they were doing and seeing how this might be something they will grow up doing.  I'm not sure about Quinn she may just want to do this more for fun than make it a profession, but you never know!

     Later that night we headed to dinner and had some dessert before bed.  The weekend was a fun one, Sunday we did some cleaning and just rested.  Quinns cleaning her room a lot better and following direction.  As the weekend closed out we looked back at our time and just saw how much we enjoyed it.  Even if we take sometime to relax on the couch.  I hope everyone had fun and a great time this weekend with their kids!

So you might be wondering what we did Friday?  Well actually made a great dinner, one we all enjoyed and I can't wait to post on my cooking corner!  We made a Cheeseburger Pita Pocket, stay tuned for more I can't wait to post on it...

Hope you enjoy the pics!

Always Remember,
You are Never alone...

There she goes!

Here we are

It was a good day on the ice!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Parmesan Asparagus

    Happy St. Patrick's Day! 
 I'm not Irish but I do have a great Green side dish for everyone today!

     I wanted to share a very easy and great side for almost any main dish.  Asparagus has many health benefits such as it is high in many minerals and fiber.  Green vegetables are also very good for your immune system and help your liver and kidneys function.  They clean out major organs like this, aside from that funny smell everyone knows about the vegetable is also has a very good taste and you can make it all different kinds of ways.   You can also pick them up at your local store or market for a pretty cheap price.  I have even bought them frozen which is still good because picked fruits and vegetables are usually flash frozen so they retain the minerals and nutrients.

     So below is a great oven roasted side dish you can put with chicken, beef, fish or even alone if you wish for a healthy snack.

Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Total Time: 25 Minutes

Asparagus: 1 bundle or package is about 4 servings
Olive Oil
Parmesan cheese grated

Heat your oven to 350
Rinse off the Asparagus and dry
Cut the bottoms off about .5 to 1 inch from the bottom
Lay the Asparagus flat on a tray like a cookie sheet, make sure it has a lip around
Drizzle olive oil on the Asparagus, just go back and fourth from top to bottom don't over drizzle.
Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the Asparagus.
Place the tray in the oven and cook for about 20 minutes you can go longer if you would like.  Test them my sicking a fork in the Asparagus and see how tough they are.
Take out and place on your dish and enjoy!

     I think you will enjoy this dish, it's really easy to make and is healthy too.  We like to have it when we eat chicken or fish.  Honestly we also like to make it if we just can't think about a veggie we both want, Kayla and I always can agree on this dish.   Thank you for reading and enjoy!

Always Remember, Cooking should be Fun!  So have Fun doing it!!!


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Giving them Responsibility and Room to Grow Part 2

     Last week I posted about how when your children grow up giving them more responsibility will help them.  In this second part I wanted to show you how you can in one example.  Recently I purchased an outside fryer.  Last week I asked Quinn if she would help Kayla and I assemble it!  We told her what we were doing and that we would love her help.  She was very excited to help and even though the directions weren't the best we did a great job working together.

     I know a lot of the times adults will do things while their kids watch, they may feel they can do it faster or the task maybe to difficult for them so they just take it over.  In this case I knew there would be some harder spots Kayla and I would do as well as some ones Quinn could do.  She helped assemble the parts and put things like washers and bolts together for us.  I was so excited she wanted to help and be a part of our project because when it was done she could say she helped put it together and working on things like this only boost ones feelings of being able to do more and more.  We went thought putting the fryer together all taking turns helping and working as a team.  Quinn was very excited to do her part and she did a great job as well.

     I was happy to note she didn't say no or told me she would rather do something else than help.  This can happen with children and you want to encourage them that helping is fun secretly knowing it is training them for life and working together as a team.  As we finished up we took some pictures and Kayla and I explained how proud we were for her helping us out.  Just a little bit of independence went a long way.

     So as she was doing her task I watched her but I didn't take over or bother her.  I just let her figure out what she needed to do and gave her time to know it was her job.  This also is important so they can think and problem solve.

      As I finish this post I would say to anyone have your kids help out and be a part of a project!  Some maybe to big for them, others maybe perfect.  If you even start off and have them give you tools, its still a great start.

I hope this two parter tip helped, remember let your kids grow with you and give them responsibility!
The Final Product!!

Always Remember,
You are Never Alone...


Monday, March 14, 2016

Crab Rangoon

     One of my new favorite appetizers and is very easy to make: Crab Rangoon.  I found this recipe from another food blogger and Chef.  Chef John who I have been following for a little while now.  He has a great blog and his videos are fun, professionally done and the dishes range from easy to more advanced!  I will post the link of his page where I found this great meal to make.  Crap Rangoon was actually invented in San Franco in the  1950's in case you wanted to have some fun background!  This appetizer is easy to make and your guest will be talking about it.

     One of my favorite things about this appetizer is the crunchy outside with a soft inside.  I think people look at this appetizer and feel it would be more difficult, when i saw Chef John's post I couldn't believe how easy and fun this would be.  I gave it a go and here is what I made!  I have many friends and family that said they came out great and enjoy them every time I make them.  After following the steps below you will really see how easy this dish is.

Prep Time: 30 Minutes Prep: 1-2 Hours of resting time
Cook Time: 1-2 Minutes
Total Time: 2.5 Hours

8 Ounces cream cheese
8 Ounces crab meat. (I used intimation crab meat which worked great)
1 clove crushed garlic
1/3 cup of chopped green onions
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 Package of Wonton Wrappers
Oil for frying

The sauce he made I did make and try, it was good you can go to Chef Johns link to get it or use duck sauce you can buy at the store.  I am not a big vinegar fan and the sauce is based is really ketchup and vinegar so I use the duck sauce.  However sauces are personal preference so what ever you like is up to you!

-In a medium bowl, mix cream cheese and crab meat.  It is easier to have the cheese soften first.
-Then add the Gallic, soy sauce, fish sauce, Worcestershire sauce and sesame oil.
To make it easy, mix all the ingredients in a bowl at once and then cover with wrap and put in the fridge for a few hours, at least 1 or 2.
-Take one wrapper, (you can use two) and use your finer and dip it in water and run it along the square Wonton.
-With a small ice scoop scoop a small portion into the center of the Wonton.
-The tricky part is to bring the corners up and then squeeze the sides.  If you watch Chef John's video he will show you how to.  Also you can use one or two Wonton's per Rangoon.
-Finnish the rest and then place them in 350 degree oil for about 2-3 minutes or until golden brown.  Try to keep your oil at around 350 or a little cooler.  If the oil is hotter the Crab Rangoon's will cook to fast or burn.
-After about a minute move them around and get all the edges.  Feel free to dunk them and keep them moving.
-Remove and let drain on rack or dish with a paper town under them.
-Serve with your choice of sauce you enjoy!

     Be sure to let them rest and cool a bit.  Try some different sauces and see what you like, the great part is the crunch to creamy portions.  You will love that great crunchy sound and texture as you then reach the soft inside.  You can also make the mix the night before and let it sit in your fridge overnight so the next day all you have to do is wrap them up.

If you would like to see where I found this or to see the video check out Chef Johns page.
Crab Rangoon

     I hope you enjoyed this easy and awesome recipe.  Your family and friends will love it and although it looks difficult you will know it wasn't which is the best part!  You can also make these and keep them in a warmer holder if you are going to a party.  

Mix up your stuffing and let sit.
A small portion in the middle and then fold them up. 

Wrapped up
Let fry until golden brown or about 3 or so minutes, make sure to move them around in the oil.
Serve with some sauce after they cool a bit.
There they are, Crab Rangoon.  


Cooking should be Fun, so have Fun doing it!


Sunday, March 13, 2016

Fat Kid Friday!

     This past Friday was Fat Kid Friday!  I attended one a long time ago and thought how fun this would be.  If you are wondering what one is well.  This party is for people to get together and just eat all the comfort food we love, snacks and drinks.  We wanted to have one because spring is coming up and with us eating healthy and working out but once the spring time comes we usually step up or game!  So we did one more big bash and had all the foods we wanted to enjoy.

     So what was on the menu.  Well when people arrived we started out with chips and some dips then moved on to Pizza Logs, Mozzarella sticks.  We ate talked and just had fun, after a bit I brought out Crab Rangoon and some breaded honey garlic wings.  I won't lie the food came out pretty good and I was excited on the way I have been progressing.  Last I made us fried ice cream!  

     The food was great and the company too.  We took out some games and played into the night.  Laughing, drinking and just having fun.  A night where we can eat some good foods and not care.  I told everyone it was a judgement free zone!  

     So now that its over time to crack back down and get ready for the spring.  Summer is close and it is time to get ready!  Not that I mind, Kayla and I love cooking healthy and working out but I know we have to know step it up a bit.  For the meantime however the party was just awesome, a night to not worry...

Happy Fat Kid Friday!

     Always Remember,
You are Never Alone...


Thursday, March 10, 2016

Sweet Mashed Potatoes

     I am introducing some side dishes to my Cooking Corner site because sides are important to the meal but also when I am posting it will be easier to just put a link to what ever side I use.  This way I don't have to put the side on ever time with steps.  This will make posting easier but also so if any readers would like a good side to use they will be there for them to search though.

    So today I am sharing a great and very healthy side dish.  Everyone loves Mashed Potatoes, here is a great spin.  Mashed Sweet Potatoes!  Sweet Potatoes contain many vitamins and minerals as well as high levels of antioxidants.  They break down very easy in the body and are a great post work out snack.  The skin of a sweet potato is also encouraged to eat.  I know many people don't love the skin on potatoes however on a sweet potato I would encourage you to eat them.

     Now don't get this dish confused with Yams.  They are similar but are different so be sure when looking to get sweet potatoes.  Sometimes it is hard to tell but most supermarkets will have them separated or go to your local market for fresh grown sweet potatoes!  You can also grow your own if you have a garden.

Here is a great link for the benefits if you would like to learn more!
Sweet Potato Benefits

The following recipe will make about 4 servings.  This side dish is very easy so just add more if you need it.

Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 20 Minutes

4-6 Sweet Potatoes
1/4 Cup Skim Milk
1-2 Tablespoon Butter
1- Tablespoon brown sugar


-Rinse your sweet potatoes and cut the ends off.  However leave the skins on and cut them in half, then cut them in half again.  This will allow them to cook faster.
-Put them in a medium or larger  pot and fill with water.  Do not over fill you don't want your pot to boil over.
- Boil the potatoes till they are soft.  You can start of on high heat but go to medium and watch the stove at all times.
-Use a fork to test, if the for goes in easy they are ready.
-Take out and strain, then put in a nice sized bowl.
-Add about 1/4 cup of Milk
-Add about 1 table spoon of butter and start mashing.
-If you need more butter or milk you can add, but add slowly, or you will have mushy mashed potatoes.  Sweet potatoes mash easier so you won't need much.
-Once done add 1 or 2 table spoons of brown sugar.
-Stir a few more times with a spoon and then serve.

     You can add a little butter on top but you probably won't need to.  Also I found you don't need salt or pepper.  Sweep potatoes have a great taste so don't cover them up with a season like that.  This dish will not take long to make and will go great with meats, chicken and even fish dishes.  Eating more sweet potatoes is a very smart and healthy idea.  If you are sick of a backed sweet potato like sometimes get, mash them up and try something different!

     Try this dish out and you will find the taste it naturally gives off is amazing!  Like I said up top to, leave the skins on.  They won't bother you and will cook just as soft, the skins hold much of the important vitamins and minerals.  I was making this dish and Kayla told me about the brown sugar.  She told me her Papa put in the mashed sweet potatoes to help her eat them.  I tried this the other night and it really was a nice flavor.  This also may help your kids try something new too!

I hope you enjoyed this post for a great and healthy side dish.

A great side dish for lunch or dinner!

For more dishes be sure to check out the Cooking Corner.



Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Tuesday's Tip: Giving them responsibility and room to grow. Part 1

     As our children get older giving them more responsibility and trusting them to complete more task will only help them grow and learn to be more self sufficient as time moves on.  Now depending on their age you have to think about what responsibilities you are offering however a quick story.  This past weekend Kayla hosted a bridal shower for one of her close friends.  I knew Quinn was excited to be a part of it and Sunday she helped us get ready and clean the house.  As people arrived she asked how she can help and we let her know some of the things she could do.  She was happy to contribute and as I left to let the party begin i knew she would be fine.

     When I got back Kayla said she was such a good helper.  She told me Quinn walked around taking plates and helping clean up.  She was good and listened and talked to the other ladies that showed up.  I was excited to see her helping out and taking the lead to do things like clean up and help, she knew Kayla was busy and took responsibility on her own.  I know children around this age like the attention and sometimes I worry if she will get bored as they do.  It happens, however this was good so as part one of this two part blog I will say as a tip.

     1)  Start when they are young and let them have some responsibly like cleaning up their toys.

     2)  Then move on as they get older like having them put up their dish after eating.

     3)  As they reach an even older age they can assist in cooking and cleaning up more too.

     4)  Move away from assisting to more just asking them polity, then move to not saying anything and seeing if they will do something like put their dishes away after dinner without asking.

     5)  Most important give them room to grow and trust them.  If you are having a party let them feel included and let them have their own set of responsibilities, I bet they will love the feeling of being a part of the process and helping out!

     Kids do like to help out because it makes them feel they are contributing and they like the reward of their parents telling them they did a great  job.  As a parent watch them take on more responsibilities and make sure to reward them with praise like telling them they did a good job and hugging them.  This is worth more than a sweet treat.  So as I noted this is part one of this post because tomorrow when we have Quinn I have a task for her.  I will be assembling a cooking tool and will require her help.  I am excited to ask her and have her assist.

     So as I finish this post, simple but start trusting your children with more and more task and responsibilities  Remember praise with words and hugs, you don't always need physical things like toys or candy.  This will set them up for life where after we do a good job at work our boss may say nice work but that's it.  Per that is our job and we can't do something the put our hand out.

     I hope this little quick tip helped and look for tomorrows post!

Always Remember,
You are never alone...



Friday, March 4, 2016

Real Men Play With Barbie's

     I wanted to end Quinn's and our last weekend update with this great post.  I know it is a bit late however a great tip for all Dad's.  I saw a post on G+ I really loved.  It is below.

     This is so true and this past weekend I took some time to hang out with Quinn and play on the floor.  Now we usually do a lot but yes I will admit I only played Barbie's with her once before.  So Saturday night I told her how about we do that.  She was so excited and the next day after we ate the two of us got down on the floor and played with her Barbies.  We used the Jeep, the house and some of her other toys to interact with our little play date.  Now laugh if you want however when a child spends time with their Dad or Mom it doesn't matter if there opposite gender what matters is your child is doing something they love and sharing that love with the person they love, you!  So as we played and took some fun pictures I said to my self how important this is that yes even though I am playing with a more girly toy the fact is Quinn knows the only place I want to be is there and by paying attention to just her.  

     So to my fellow Fathers with kids don't just buy them toy's  play with those toys!  If you have a little girl this might mean you are going to have some dolls, stuffed animals, pony's, Barbies or anything with girly colors or backgrounds.  However the biggest of Men are Fathers that spend time with their kids, get down on the floor and just show them the time they are spending together is the most important.  I think for Daughters it is different, Daddies are very special to all kids but Daughters look up to their Dad's.  They need us to show them that men are good and by teaching them how to be safe and trusting they will not resent the men of this world.  A child/parent bond is very important especially in a divorced home where you don't see your child as much.  I also note this when Kayla has time with Quinn, she is her step mom but also just as important.  Just as Quinn's Mom and her now Step dad too.

     After lunch her and I went outside to make a Snowman!  It was our first real one since the snow was perfect for it!  We had fun and later Kayla came out and joined in the fun.  Being outside was nice because the fresh air helps and the fact it was sunny was nice too.  We had a fun time building it and throwing the occasional snowball at each other too.  The Sunday was great we did a lot of bonding and had a ton of family time.  Parents make sure you take this time to bond as much as you can especially at this age.  They need you most and depend on you to teach them, love them and even discipline them when needed.

Just hanging out with Quinn

We had a lot of snow for our play day!

Getting started!

Almost done!

Here we are!

     So yes Real Men play with Barbies....

Always Remember,
You are Never Alone...


Thursday, March 3, 2016

Beer Batter Fish Fry (From Scratch)

Hello all! 

     A very special post today for my cooking corner today I made one of my favorite meals.  The Beer Battered Fish Fry, a classic dish and very easy to make.  For the longest time I always thought this was a difficult meal to make but it isn't.  Now below is how you can make one from scratch however I am going to post how to make one using a box recipe.  There are pre-made mixes that just need a beer or water.  I have made both and they both came out great!  

      However if you would like to try to make one homemade here is a great recipe.  I do give credit do the site i got this off of and there are a lot you can look over.  The base for the batter is really the same across the board with some different spices you will read about from others.  However they really are pretty similar.  One of the best parts is you can use all different kinds of fish.  I will advise some not to such as Salmon.  Salmon is a wild card that really needs to be cooked on the grill or pan seared.  Below you will see several kinds of fish including, Haddock, Alaskan Cod, Flounder, and Tilapia.  I know if you go out to eat you will see mainly Haddock however try other kinds of fish for a different taste.  They all came out great and my daughter was very impressed as well!  

Below is what I used as well as a link to the video however like I said thy this or make your own changes.  I know next time I will but this first time I followed the following recipe below. 

1 Cup all purpose flower
2 Tablespoons garlic powder
2 Tablespoons paprika
2 Tablespoons ground black pepper
1 Egg beaten
Lemon wedge's
1 (12 fluid oz) can or bottle of beer, or water
Salt and Pepper to taste

     Heat oil in a deep fryer to 365 degrees F (185 degrees C). Rinse fish, pat dry, and season with salt and pepper.

     Combine flour, garlic powder, paprika, 2 teaspoons salt, and 2 teaspoons pepper. Stir egg into dry ingredients. Gradually mix in beer until a thin batter is formed. You should be able to see the fish through the batter after it has been dipped.

   Lightly flour each side of your fish with flour.

      Dip fish fillets into the batter, then drop one at a time into hot oil. Fry fish, turning once, until both sides are golden brown. Drain on paper towels, and serve warm.

This dish will take about 15 min to prep about 15 minutes to cook with a total time of about  30 minutes.  

For a side dish you can cook your standard fries and make this a classic fish and chips!  You can also have a potato or veggie.  The side is up to you, we oven cooked fries.

Here are the links for you as well:
I would like to thank Allrecipes and Linda for this great meal.


Here is your flour and batter mix before the beer was added.

All the fish I used.  They all were great pieces and all had a different taste to them which was nice.

As you can see they have a great golden shell.
Classic Fish and Chips!
Here is my end result.  The dish came out great the fish had a crispy shell with a nice hot flaky inside.  

I would encourage you to try this dish out.  If you can fry outside or a very well ventilated area please do.  Remember when frying the oil will fill the rooms and if your kitchen is smaller you will smell oil for a while.  Try cooking outside or if you have a good ventilation system like I noted before.

I hope you enjoyed this post if you have any questions or comments let me know.

Stay tuned for my next dish.

Always remember,

Cooking should be fun, so have fun doing it!


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Tuesday's Tip: How to communicate when an injury occurs.

     I got a call from my ex this past Sunday.  She left a message explaining how Quinn fell off her bike and just bumped her arm.  She took her to the urgent care and checked her out and did an X-Ray.  I called her back and we talked about what happened.  I listened to everything and then told her if she needs anything let us know.  Kayla and I spoke to Quinn and told her were glad shes ok and we know she's a tough cookie.    The next day her Mom advised she didn't need a follow up but her arm is in a sling for a bit.  So I am posting a tip today per what I learned from this first medium injury and how you can learn and be a strong parent if you are divorced and working together.

     I stayed calm when we spoke and was happy she called to advise what we can do.  When you are divorced especially whit new spouses yes the parent that doesn't have the child for that moment can get jealous or upset if they feel left out of something.  So instead of getting mad and saying you should have called sooner, listen to what happen and maybe some of the tips below may help.

     1)   When you get a phone call regarding an injury listen to what happens before jumping in.  If the injury is serious your ex should call you sooner and advise.  If it is minor just hear what happened.  Remember you don't live together so the first priority is to get the child safe then asses what is happening.

     2)   This brings me to this tip, if you have the child and something happens yes get right to the professionals first then after treatment call the people you need.  If the case is very serous call your spouse and advise this soon.  Example if your going to the hospital.

     3)    Very important if you are receiving a phone call that something did happen stay calm.  If your ex already brought your child to the doctor or urgent care then just hear what the story was.  Don't start yelling or getting upset about who was called.  Remember the child's saftey comes first before anything especially jealousy.

     4)     Ask to speak with your child and see how they are now doing and that you care and can't wait to see them.   Let them know how much you love them and let them tell you what the story was.  Kids like to re tell the story too.

     5)    Thank your ex for letting you know what happened and let them know if they need anything to just let you know this.  Be a team player and just be civil.  If the time has passed you can't go back its to late so just be nice and work forward on healing the child.

     Anything more urgent yes call your ex and tell them to meet you asap if it is extreme.  If something went wrong and they didn't tell you, and it was extreme then yes advise them you need to know something like this sooner.  I would really hope everyone out there would.  Bumps and bruises are a part of life and kids get them because they are growing, learning and testing the limits.  Again don't fight over time frames as long as your child is OK and you were notified.  This was the first time something like this went down for us  and everything was OK.  I don't know exactly what time she got hurt but Kayla and I were notified and we spoke to Quinn who was happy to hear from us.  We will see her tomorrow and everything is OK.  It worked out better than yelling or screaming about why I wasn't called right away so just be calm and asses the information.

    I can't tell you how hard it is to be divorced with a child going back and fourth, raising a child is hard enough now take that child away part of the week and see.  Be strong and stay calm.  I hope the following tips helped and if there is anything to add please comment below.

Always Remember,
You are Never Alone...