Throw Back Thursday – First Grandchild

Oh memories.  I was browsing old photos for #TBT and this one caught my eye.  It’s a picture of me holding my first grandchild and only grandson for the first time.  What a joyous moment, I guess that’s written on my face, ha!  


This picture holds special memories for me too,  My second grandchild and only granddaughter was born a preemie, so I was unable to hold her for the first 3 months of her life.

I loved being a mother, but there’s nothing like being a grandmother.  Greatest role in the world.  

15 Tips To Save Money

 

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Are you wondering how to save money? I look back over my life when I first moved out of my parents house and out on my own, and boy have I come a long way.  For most of my life I have been a single mother.  Budgeting, scraping, and sacrificing was a way of life for me.  However, I’m proud to say things got better as time went on.  I was able to purchase my own home, send my daughter on a international vacation, college educated her,  purchased a new car for her college graduation, travel, and built a significant savings account and retirement nest egg.  This is not a boast, but a blessing.  As a result, I want to share my tips to save money with you.

You ask how I managed, I say discipline and remembering that every penny counts. Here are a few tips on how I saved:

  1. Pay yourself first – First, bank a portion of your check regularly. Put it into an account and forget about it.  I’ve cried broke my entire life, and I act as though the money doesn’t exist. People say they can hear me squeak.
  2. Shop wisely – I shop at thrift stores, yard sales and second hand stores. You can find brand new items, name brand items and gently used items. Don’t by-pass the Dollar Stores either, they’re great for school supplies, coloring books, crafts and snack items.
  3. Use coupons and discounts – You can save tons of money by using coupons and taking advantage of discounts.
  4. Look for free activities – Take advantage of free activities during the summer and holidays for family activities.
  5. Bank a part of your child support – If you’re single parent bank a portion of your child support. If you can’t bank half, bank what you can. I was able to send my daughter to Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Austria on child support that I saved for her.
  6. Drive an inexpensive car with low maintenance – My first car didn’t have an air conditioner and it was a straight stick. At this stage in my life I couldn’t handle either of the two, but I sacrificed when I was younger and able to endure.
  7. Pack your child’s lunch – My daughter was a brown bagger until high school. Packing her lunch relieved me of having to pay another bill.
  8. Limit credit cards – Additional tips to save money is cash and carry.  It was my motto for most things.  Buying budget furniture and refinishing items cut down on household expenses.
  9. Start a Thrift Saving Plan (TSP) or 401-K – I invested my money for the past 25 years, and again acted as if it didn’t exist. When I needed a loan, I borrowed from my TSP at a much lower interest rate. When I retire, I will have a monthly check from my employer as well as everything that I have saved and earned for 25 years in my TSP. I plan to use this money to travel the world.
  10. Purchase clothes off season – I purchase clothes on clearance at the end of each season for the following year. I’m now able to shop where ever I want whenever I want, but I still purchase the majority of my clothes off the clearance rack and the kid’s clothing there as well.
  11. Start a vacation club – I’m able to vacation several times a year. I treat my daughter, son-in-law, 2 grandchildren and my friend each summer to a week at the beach.
  12. Prepare meals for the week – This will eliminate stopping at fast food places and spending money unnecessarily.
  13. Become a DIYer – After I purchased my home, I did my own painting, mowed the lawn, trimmed it and fixed minor things around the house. I saved thousands of dollars by doing my own work and banked it.
  14. Assess your household expenses – Tips to save money can be applied to your household expenses.  Get rid of unnecessary expenses and bank that money. You were spending it initially, so you shouldn’t miss it if you bank it.
  15. Be Creative – When I break a dollar, I throw the money to the bottom of my purse. I empty my purse at the end of the week, and place the money into jars. Once the jars are full I head to the bank and place it into my travel account.
These tips to save money have worked for me over the years and I’m sure they will work for you too. Start out doing 1 or 2 tips and increase the tips as you go. Remember, pennies add up to dollars, dollars turn into hundreds of dollars and eventually thousands. What do you do to save money?

 

Wordless Wednesday – Sunset

                                                                    Sunset in the Virgin Islands

Turn It Up Tuesday – #72

Welcome to the 72nd week of Turn It Up Tuesday!
Last week, we had a record-breaking week with 406 posts – the most we’ve ever had!  And we’d like to thank each one of you for making last week and every week so amazing! Keep sharing your amazing posts with us here on Turn It Up Tuesday!
Thank you so much for joining us each week and for helping us hit another record this week!
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Turn It Up Tuesdays is all about being happy, excited, energetic…and having fun! Link up your favorite posts (old or new) and meet some awesome bloggers in return! Link up your funny stories, DIY posts, recipes, mommy moments — anything at all, as long as it is family-friendly. We want to laugh, be entertained, be inspired, and have a good time!
Thanks so much to everyone that joins us each week and makes this blog hop the best that it could be!

SPONSOR OF THE MONTH

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Andrea Keeney is a writer, blogger, mother, and wife. She is the creator of the blog, Parenting with Parents as well as the author of the book, Moms: As Elite as the C.I.A….Well Almost. When she isn’t pursuing her dreams of writing she is taking care of her three small children.
Attention! There is an elite group of women walking freely among the average citizens of the world. These freakishly instinctive beings are capable of physical, mental, and emotional acts of greatness. They tend to appear irritated, exhausted, and are almost always bombarded by very tiny renegades who are whining and/or yelling. These women come in many shapes and sizes, however they all respond to a single name: Mom. If you know one of these women, if you are one of these women, or if you are going to be one of these women, you need this book!
Are you looking to get your blog or website in front of numerous people per week? Do you enjoy Turn It Up Tuesdays? Interested in having your blog or website featured for an entire month?
Then, sponsor Turn It Up Tuesday for a month by clicking here! It’s only $5 for an entire month!

 

Welcome the lovely ladies of Turn It Up Tuesday!

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(from the top – left to right)
Natasha from Epic Mommy Adventures | Stacey from This Momma’s Ramblings | Jessica from The Wondering Brain | Cathy from A Peek Into My Paradise | Rhonda from Mother 2 Mother | Jillian from Baby Doodah | April from April Noelle | Ce Ce from A Chicago Mom | Melissa from The Coupon Chronicles | Cindy from Mom Maven | Tiffany from MrsTeeLoveLifeLaughter | Kelly from Making-More | Yolanda from That’s Mashed Up | Tenns from New Mama Diaries | Silvie from My Silly Little Gang | Mari from Living in Mommywood | Rose from What Rose Knows | Kimberly from Keystrokes by Kimberly | Chelsea from Mommie and Wee | Nancy from Afro-Chic Mompreneur | Tina from The Happy Creations | Zografia from Bisozozo | Elaine from Ramblings of a Bad Domestic Goddess

And welcome our awesome guest hosts for February!

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(from the top – left to right)
Danielle from insearchofthe25thhour | Cathy from Brand New Mom Blog | Latisha from Ask Latisha | Lisa from Blogghetti | Kelly from Mum-bo-Jumbo | Kim from Life in a House of Testosterone | Sarah from Pretty Simple Ideas

Interested in being a guest host for the month or becoming a permanent co-host?

Complete the form here! Monthly co-hosts will be chosen on a first come first-serve basis.  We’re now accepting guest hosts for February and March.

Here are the Featured posts from last week!

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Jillian chose Free 5 Year Holidays List – 7 Step Homeschool Planner from Lina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus. “This is a fantastic list!! I’ve been looking for a complete list of holidays to use when blogging, but this will be great for homeschooling with my son. So excited to use it!”
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Nancy chose Why Bloggers Should Give Google+ More Attention! from Britney Dearest. “As a new blogger, I appreciated the insight that Britney gave in using google plus.”
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Rhonda chose Feeling Like a Mom Vs. Feeling Like a Mom Mess from Jersey Moms Blog. “I think most of us can relate to the joys of being a mother and than there are those days that we just feel like a complete mess. Funny and so true.”
Natasha also chose this post. “I can relate to almost every one of the feelings! This is definitely a funny, yet honest, take of how many (if not all) mothers feel. Great post!”
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Ce Ce chose jpeg vs png: When and How To Use It from Rekita Nicole Design Studio & Blog.
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Cindy chose Spring Nail Trends with Essie from Geniabeme. “I LOVE pretty nails and this nail art tutorial is perfect for spring. I think even I can manage this pretty manicure.”
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Zografia chose Why You Should Brand Your Blog from New Mama Diaries. “My New Year’s resolution was to make the most of blogging. Posts like this are helpful!”
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Mari chose She in 3D: Meet Shadai {Weight Loss Inspiration!} from Britney Dearest. “I chose this post because she shared a wonderful inspiring post. Anything is possible you just have to remove the blocks and take one step at a time.”
Chantale also chose this post. “Just when everyone is forgetting their New Year’s resolutions, this weight loss story is extremely inspiring! More importantly it is a lesson in self care and self love that anyone can benefit from.”
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Mari also chose Stop Searching For Balance in The Wrong Places, Just Make Time For You! by @chicmompreneur on She Owns It. “I also chose Nancy because I agree that without balance there is no success. It doesn’t matter if your a CEO, a SAHM or a Secretary. Healthy success requires balance and her post shared great messages.”
Stacey also chose this post. “This is one that falls into my goal for 2015, spending more time to focus on me. Towards the end of 2014, I found my self frazzled and disconnected, so I made the decision that I need to take time for me to put myself in balance. Thank you so much for sharing!”
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Rose chose Natural Eye Makeup Tutorial from Lauren McBride: The Blog. “I’ve been using the same boring eye colors (basic black and brown) for too long now and I could really use an updated look. This post inspired me to try new products and colors!”
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Tina chose You Are Dino-Mite: Paper Plate Dinosaurs from This Girl’s Life Blog. “A fantastic craft for kids.Simple cute and educational.A must do for mummies list.Thanks for sharing.”
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The post with the most clicks is 5 Ways I Make Money Blogging from Mama’s Got It Together.
Stop by and show some love to our featured bloggers this week! I’m sure they’d all appreciate it!
If you were featured above, feel free to share the badge below with pride on your blog or website!
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And the Best of the Best is…

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Show some love to our Best of the Best bloggers this week!!!!
As the Best of the Best, you win free ad space on Epic Mommy Adventures for 30 days! Please showcase the badge below with pride on your blog!
Please send an e-mail to Natasha at 1EpicMommy@gmail.com and she will provide you with all the details for the free ad space!
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So now that you’ve met our Sponsor for the month, our hosts and guest hosts, our Featured and the Best of the Best,

let’s get started!

*Show some love to your hosts and co-hosts simply by following them on social media and leaving a comment so they can follow you back.

*Link up as many posts as you’d like! The more, the merrier!

*Check out some of the other posts and make some new friends!

*Grab the button below and showcase on your sidebar! Invite your fellow bloggers to join the fun!

Epic Mommy Adventures

 

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Link up your posts, make some friends, and earn the chance to be featured or become the Best of the Best on Turn It Up Tuesday! We will feature the favorite posts each week!

**Disclaimer: Adding your link to this link party gives permission to Epic Mommy Adventures, along with co-hosts, guest hosts, and participants of Turn It Up Tuesday, to share your posts and pictures via social media and as features, roundups, etc. with an explicit link back to the original source.**

Never miss another Turn It Up Tuesday! Sign up for reminder e-mails!

Interested in reading all of our favorite posts on Turn It Up Tuesdays – past or present? Or do want to know if your post was featured before we go live next week? Follow Natasha Peter’s board Featured on Turn It Up Tuesdays! on Pinterest.

10 Tips To Stay Healthy – Sponsored Post



It’s a new year and my main goal is to eat healthier, exercise and stay healthy. I’ve fallen off track on my healthy eating goals so many times I’ve lost count. This year I decided to pick myself up, brush myself off and get back on track. I made peace with the fact that there’s no quick fix, it requires a lifestyle change. I’ve tried fad diets, prepacked food diets, eating like a bird, not eating, you name it only to end up frustrated and returning to my bad habits.  

They say timing is everything. When I was contacted by Molina Health Care to do a post on health issues that affect me and my family I gladly accepted. The first step to overcoming struggles is to talk about them. I had put together a list of tips to achieve and maintain a healthy eating lifestyle and I thought it would be perfect to share for this post. 

The turning point for me to get healthy was when I looked at pictures and realized just how much weight I had gained. I reached a point where I hated to get my picture taken. I was missing out on three generations of family pictures with my daughter and granddaughter, because I couldn’t bear to look at the majority of the photos. If there’s a health issue blowing in the wind it will find my family, so I knew that I had to get serious and get to work. We have a family history of high blood pressure, diabetics, obesity, heart attacks, cancer and the list goes on.   

Eating healthy was always a must in my home. A snack for my daughter was jello when she was growing up. I truly believe my high stress job took its toll on me over the years, but I knew that I could no longer allow my job to control me. My job was a means to make an income, not a means to end my life. Here’s the tips that I’m now using to stay healthy:

  1. Incorporate more fruits and vegetables into my diet –  I started a kitchen garden several years and I grow the majority of my vegetables during the summer along with fresh fruits. There’s nothing better than being able to pick fresh fruits and vegetables outside your door. 
  2. Preserve fresh vegetables – I now preserve fresh vegetables during the summer to make soups and other dishes throughout the year. I also grow fresh herbs to flavor my dishes. If you don’t have a kitchen garden, visit a local Farmer’s Market. Seal and freeze the fresh vegetables for later use. 
  3. Get a partner to help you stay on track – My daughter is a Beach Body coach so we have teamed up to ensure that I stay on track. 
  4. Don’t deprive yourself – Give yourself a day or two to enjoy the foods that you truly love. Depriving yourself is a set-up for failure. Saturday or Sunday are my days to eat out and enjoy a burger, slice of pizza or pasta dish.  I look forward to it and I don’t feel guilty. 
  5. Give up the excuses – Make your health a priority. 
  6. Exercise –  Exercise at least 30 minutes a day. If you can’t get in 30 get in 5, 10, 15 or 20. Some is better than none. 
  7. Educate yourself  –  Learn what foods provide nutrition and energy for the body. Prepackaged and junk food are empty calories and contain high amounts of sodium and sugar. I’ve replaced chips with popcorn, candy bars with fresh fruit, ice cream with frozen yogurt. Gradually add healthy items into your meal plan. 
  8. Drink plenty of water and don’t skip meals – I love water, so drinking it has never been a problem for me. I replaced soda with water and Gatorade and eat 4 – 5 small meals a day. 
  9. Learn portion controlI took a class at my local hospital on eating healthy. You will be surprised on what is considered a healthy portion. (I got my answer on how I gained the excess weight). 
  10. Relieve stress and get rest – Know the stress factors in your life and eliminate as many as you can. Get plenty of rest. Replace bed pillows if they are old and purchase them according to how you sleep. I’m a side sleeper, so I purchased pillows made for my position. I sleep throughout the night now. 
I have incorporated these 10 tips into my life and now they’re pretty much second nature. Getting healthy won’t happen overnight and there are no quick fixes, believe me I have tried them all. It requires a lifestyle change, which requires you to make your health a priority every day. Check out the Eating Well article on Molina Health Care. It discusses acceptable servings from each of the food groups and is worth the read. It’s great information for healthy eating.  

The opinions in this article are my own. I do not work for, or with, any brand mentioned in this article, nor do I have any official relationship with them.  I have a relationship with GigaSavvy, for whom I create original editorial content.

     






How To Companion Plant In The Vegetable Garden

Now is the time to start winter sowing flowers for your kitchen garden.  So start planning your seed purchases for outdoor or indoor sowing so you can transplant them in your garden.  I use companion planting in my kitchen garden.  Companion planting is the pairing of flowers and vegetables.  It’s a must in my garden, so I wanted to share my flowers in the garden and how I pair the with vegetables.  You can also check out my other backyard vegetable gardening tips.

Next, I purchase the majority of my flowers from the local garden center off the clearance rack. Flowers don’t have to go into your garden immediately, which will allow you time to find bargains on what you want to plant. Just save a spot in your garden for them and start looking for sales around Memorial Day or the clearance racks around early or mid-June. 

Here’s my list:

  • Marigolds (scented)  – The number 1 flower in my kitchen garden. I plant a combination of scented yellow and orange marigolds with my tomatoes and throughout the garden.
  • Petunias – Great with tomatoes, cabbage, cucumbers and beans.
  • Cosmos – Great for attracting bees, which you need for pollination. I usually find a good deal on Cosmos at my local nursery.
  • Sunflowers – These are a must in my garden. I plant them to feed the Gold Finch, but they are also great for pollination. I use them as a trellis for my cucumbers too. The cucumbers will grow up and wrap themselves around the stalk of the sunflowers.  Direct sow your cucumber seeds at the base of your sunflowers when the soil is warm enough. I winter sow my sunflowers.  You can see my post here, How To Make Bottle Greenhouses
  •  Sweet Pea – These are climbers and are great to plant with pole beans.
  • White Geraniums –  Great with tomatoes, corn, peppers and cabbage.  They keep Japanese Beetles away, so place them randomly in your garden.
  • Basil –  Although Basil is not considered a flower, it can planted with tomatoes.  I actually plant basil with my tomatoes plants as well as in my herb garden each season.  Using basil in my sauces and in my chili is a part of my recipes, so I must have plenty.  I also freeze it in ice trays. So, it’s a must in my garden.  I can never have enough.

Likewise,  I also do companion planting with my vegetables, especially tomatoes.  In addition, planting compatible vegetables help ward off insects that can destroy one or the other plant.  Most importantly, make the most of your space and make use of your plant’s ability to help the other grow. Here’s my list:

  • Tomatoes – Plant with basil, carrots, chives, garlic, cucumbers, lettuce, onions, or peas. Do not plant cabbage, kale, collards, cauliflower, broccoli or turnips with your tomatoes.
  • Peppers – Plant with basil, cucumbers or eggplant. (See the Do not plant list above).
  • Squash – Plant with bush beans or peas.  Do not plant with potatoes.
  • Cabbage – Plant with melons, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, spinach, or tomatoes. Do not plant with sage or peppers.
  • Cucumbers – Plant with peppers or sunflowers. Do not plant with potatoes.
  • Bush Beans – Plant with or near cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, corn, cucumbers, potatoes, or strawberries.  Do not plant with garlic, onions or any vegetables in that family.
  • Garlic – Plant with cabbage or tomatoes.  Do not plant with peas or beans.
Last, you can plant your companion plants together or in the same vicinity.  As a result, consider the pairs when you’re planning your garden layout.  Also, if you have questions about this list or other gardening questions please send an email to The Mailbox using rhonda@mother2motherblog.com.

You may also like: Winter Sowing

Sunday’s Best Linkup – #4

 

Welcome to Week 4 of  Mother 2 Mother’s Sunday’s Best Linkup. I’m happy to be the host of this fun and new linkup. Each month we will feature a theme, this month the theme is Baby It’s Cold Outside. Brrr! Please share your favorite winter posts old or new, cold weather recipes, crafts, winter scrapbook layouts, Christmas photos, anything that has a winter/cold weather flavor. 


                                                           I’m  Rhonda –  Your Host


Don’t have posts that fit into the theme, link up whatever post you would like to share. Anything goes here. You may link as many posts as you would like. Each week I will select my favorite post(s) and feature the blog on the link-up the following week.  An image from your post will be used on my blog the following week with a link back to your blog.  Be sure to check back to see if you’re the Sunday’s Best featured blogger of the week. 






February’s theme is Love Is In the Air.  We’re looking for loving memories of you and family, love stories, Valentine crafts, DIY, recipes, anything that you love and would like to share. 

I would love to connect with you on social media if we’re not following each other.  Please like my Facebook Page, follow me on Twitter,  Google+,  PinterestBlogLovin or subscribe/join my blog on the right before you leave.   


Mother 2 Mother
Mother 2 MotherOne last thing, please grab the Sunday’s Best button above and place it on your sidebar or Tweet the linkup using the hashtag #SundaysBest. I appreciate your help in promoting the linkup with Re-tweets and shares.  



The Sunday’s Best Post is:

 


Of Mice and Ramen – Year of the sheep.

All of the posts were great, and I appreciate each of you linking up.  Take a minute to visit this great blog and connect with Veronica.  Her cookies alone are worth the visit. 

Now, lets link up those posts and be sure to visit a few other bloggers who have posted while you’re here. This is a great way to meet and connect on social media.  Be sure to PIN or share any posts that you like, we all appreciate a little love.     


 

Why I No Longer Use The Word Weak




This is a guest post did I for the blog A Peek Into My Paradise.  I’ve decided to no longer define who I am by Strengths and Weaknesses. Here’s Webster’s definition of weak:  

    WEAK. 1 : lacking strength: as. a : deficient in physical vigor : feeble, debilitated. b : not able to sustain or exert much weight, pressure, or strain.

I have spent years defining what I have perceived to be my Strengths and Weaknesses.  There are areas that I wish to improve, but when I assessed my skills and qualities I had a hard time finding weaknesses.  Here’s why:

  • I have raised a daughter as single mother and college educated her
  • I’m helping to raise 2 grandchildren
  • I manage a home 
  • I clean my home
  • I prepare the meals
  • I do the laundry
  • I work outside out the home 40 hours per week
  • I budget the income and pay the bills
  • I spend time blogging
  • I guest blog for other bloggers
  • I grow my own vegetables
  • I can summer produce for winter use and saving on the grocery bill
  • I maintain the outside of my home with the exception of mowing the grass ( I have lawn service)
  • I find time for family and friends 
  • I take the car in to be serviced after I negotiate a deal on the vehicle I’m purchasing

I could continue my list, but you get my drift. Weak, how can I be weak. It takes strength and endurance to do all of the above on a regular basis.  Now I do have a few things that I have a hard time passing up like chocolate, coffee, and chips. These just happen to be things that I like to indulge in, they don’t make me who I am. Life beats us down enough, why contribute to the negativity by placing unflattering labels on yourself. 


I have accepted that I am a work in progress and ever evolving.  Because I don’t always meet my goals or I’m not perfect doesn’t mean that I lack strength. There are many factors that contribute to how much I can accomplish and what I accomplish. I have found that if I set goals and continuously working toward them, it reduces the stress that I place on myself. I think as women we try to accomplish too much and often end up with the weight of the world on our shoulders. When we can no longer bear the weight we see ourselves as weak or society sees us as weak.  


Because I’m not as physically strong as a man doesn’t mean that I’m weak.  That’s just the way I was made. The majority of the time, I don’t want to open the jar, hammer a stake in the ground, change a dirty tire or haul heavy items. I simply don’t want to break a nail, have back pain or prove how manly I am, ha.  Now don’t get me wrong, I can hammer, change a tire, shovel the driveway, and haul heavy items. I’ve been single for many years. I can get it done.          
I have found that setting priorities has helped me meet my ever changing goals. Nothing is more important to me than my family, so whatever goals I set they come after my family.  If I don’t achieve them during the year, I continue to work on them the following year. 


I’m adding weak to the list of items that I’ve tossed because I will never wear or use it again. Join me ladies, you’ll find that you will have a ton lifted off your shoulders and you will feel much better.  Replace the word Weaknesses on your list with  Things I Wish To Improve!  
   

Crockpot Recipe: Pork Chops

crockpot recipes

Looking for a delicious crockpot recipe for pork chops?  I have an easy, but delicious one for you.  And it only uses 3 ingredients.  Delicious and simple!  So, how can you not want to try this crockpot recipe.  Furthermore, it uses 3 ingredients.  And the end result is a moist, tender chop that is perfect for dinner.  Also, it’s a perfect recipe to pair with rice, potatoes, or a salad and crusty bread.  Go ahead, wipe the sweat off your brow.  Oh right, this one didn’t require you to work up a sweat.

And crockpot recipes are a great go to turn to when your time is limited.  Put the ingredients in the crock and head off to run errands or do other chores around the house.

This is a simple recipe.  Here’s the ingredients that you will need for this recipe:

  • 1 can of Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1 packet of Ranch Salad Dressing mix (The picture actually shows 2)
  • 3 – 4 thick cut pork chops

First, spray your crock with PAM to keep the ingredients from sticking.  Next, layer the pork chops on the bottom of the crockpot.  Spread the Cream of Chicken soup over the chops. Be generous, you want the pork chops to be thoroughly covered.  Be sure to lift the chops and spread the soup over the bottom of the chop too.  You may have to place a part of one chop onto the next chop.  If so, that will fine.  They will all cook thoroughly.  Pour 1 packet of the Ranch Dressing over the soup.  Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 4.  I prefer to cook mine for 6 hours.  The chops practically fall off the bone.

Last, the end result is a moist, juicy and delicious chop.  As a result, be sure to Pin this crockpot recipe.  Because you will want to make them again and again.  So, serve this dish with your favorite sides and vegetable.  Enjoy!  

Wordless Wednesday – Strut Your Stuff

This picture was taken at Hunt Club Farm in Virginia Beach, VA during one of our trips to their petting zoo with my grandchildren.