Stress Free Easter Ideas


Easter mornings are a special time. Maybe you head out with your family for a sunrise service at your local church, or maybe you wake up to the pitter-patter of little feet ready to go Easter egg hunting. In either case, the last thing you want to do is spend an hour in the kitchen cooking up a big breakfast.

Instead, you want to relax and enjoy a yummy meal with your loved ones for breakfast.  There’s an easy way to do just that.  Put your slow cooker to work.

Keep It Simple With Baked Slow Cooker Oatmeal

Oatmeal is always a breakfast favorite around here. It’s quick and easy enough to make in the slow cooker for weekend breakfasts throughout the year, but you can also make it special for Easter (or any other important day) with special add-ins and toppings like chocolate chips, nuts, dried fruits, whipped cream and the like.

Start with the basic recipe. Use rolled oats in this recipe. The finished oatmeal will turn out better than using quick cooking oats.

Mix 2 cups of dry oats, 2 cups of milk, and 2 cups of water. Add sugar, honey or the sweetener of your choice and mix. Cook on low overnight (for about 8 hours).

Add your favorite flavors and serve. We like ours with apple sauce, cinnamon, and walnuts. For a special Easter treat, you could set out small bowls with various fresh and dried fruit, nuts, chocolate chips and anything else that sounds tasty in oatmeal.

Get Ready For A Busy Day With A Hearty Breakfast Casserole

If you know you’ll have an early Easter dinner with the whole family; it may make sense to skip lunch and opt for a big hearty breakfast or brunch instead. Here’s an easy way to have your big breakfast cooking while you sleep.

Before you head to bed, fry up a pound of bacon. Allow it to cool a bit and chop it up. Dice a small onion while you’re at it. Crack open a dozen eggs and whisk them up in a large bowl. Add some salt and pepper to the eggs. Get out your slow cooker and a big 32 oz. bag of shredded hash browns.

Spray the slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray and layer ⅓ of the hash browns in the bottom of the crock. Top with ⅓ of the bacon and ½ cup of cheese. Repeat these layers two more times (omitting the cheese on the last layer). Pour the egg mixture over everything and top with the last ½ cup of cheese.

Cook everything on low for 10 to 12 hours and enjoy when you are ready for breakfast or lunch.

Cook the Perfect Easter Ham in Your Slow Cooker

One of the hardest things about cooking for a big gathering around the holidays – including Easter – is the logistics of figuring out what needs to go in the oven when. There just never seems to be enough time or space to bake the turkey, ham, casseroles, pies and rolls to perfection and get it all hot and ready at the same time. That’s where your slow cooker comes to the rescue. This Easter, cook your ham in this handy kitchen gadget and free up hours of valuable oven time.

To begin with, get out your largest slow cooker. Ideally, you want one that holds at least six quarts. The size of the ham you’re able to cook depends on the size of your slow cooker. Since these handy kitchen appliances aren’t terribly expensive, it may well be worth investing in a larger model if your current slow cooker is too small to hold a ham.

Choose a fully cooked ham that you think will fit in your slow cooker. It’s fine if it’s a bit of a close fit. You can even get away without the lid closing. When that happens after you put your ham into the slow cooker, grab some heavy duty aluminum foil and make a tent over your slow cooker instead of the lid. Be sure to seal everything well around the rim to prevent too much heat and moisture from escaping.

For easy clean-up, you may want to spray the inside of your crock with non-stick cooking spray before you add the ham. There is no need to add water or any cooking liquid. Cook the ham on low for six to eight hours or on high for four to five hours or until your entire ham is thoroughly heated. You can use a whole ham or a spiral sliced one for this cooking method.

If you prefer the outside to be a little browned, heat the ham in your slower cook, then carefully transfer it to a baking dish. Broil the ham for a few minutes until it develops a nice lightly browned crust. Keep an eye on it carefully. When broiling, you can go from perfectly cooked to burnt in less than a minute.

We decided brunch would be best for our family this year. In addition to a breakfast casserole, we’ll be adding a Burgers’ Smokehouse ham, fruit and probably some rolls. We’ll set the food, plates, silverware, and drinks on the counter and let everyone serve themselves. What a great way to spend part of Easter Sunday together in a relaxed way!

Celebrating Easter with your loved ones should be about spending time together as a family, not stressing about getting the house clean, the table set, and a big dinner ready on time. Keep it simple, focus on what is important to everyone, and make sure there is plenty of time and energy for you to enjoy this special day with your loved ones.

Wishing you a Blessed Easter,


Dyeing Easter Eggs In Your Slow Cooker

Dyeing hard boiled eggs for Easter is a lot of fun, but it can get a little messy.  If you have a lot of little helpers around, dealing with boiling water on the stove is not always the greatest idea. Why not get your slow cooker out of the cabinet and dye your Easter eggs in it this year?

Before you get started, do yourself a favor and grab a package of crockpot liners. They are fairly inexpensive and will prevent the dye from penetrating your crock. Even though we’re dealing with food safe ingredients here, it won’t harm you to skip this step, but if you do, don’t be surprised if your slow cooker insert ends up being discolored.

Dyeing With Kool-Aid

A fun and easy way to start coloring Easter eggs is with packets of Kool-Aid. Grab a few bright colors and think about how you want to go about dyeing your eggs. Start with the lightest color and then mix to your heart’s content. For example, you could go from yellow to orange, red and finally purple. If you have more than one slow cooker, you’ll have even more coloring options.

Start by lining your slow cooker and adding just enough water to cover your hard boiled eggs. Turn your slow cooker on high and allow the water to heat up for about 2 hours. Add enough Kool-Aid packets to get a nice, deep color, and then carefully dip your eggs into the slow cooker. There’s no need to add vinegar since the drink mix has citric acid in it. Dye the eggs as you would with commercial Easter egg dyes.

Natural Dyes in The Slow Cooker

Another fun option is to use things like onion skin and red cabbage to dye your eggs. You’ll end up with some lovely natural shades. Cook up the dye stock in your slow cooker, then carefully ladle it into cups or glass jars and dip your eggs in for dyeing. You’ll still want to add a liner before you start cooking will prevent discoloration of your crock.

In each case, fill your slow cooker about half full with water. Add plenty of the plant material suggested below and allow it to cook on high for 3 to 4 hours until your dye liquid is fairly dark.

Here are some ideas for making the dyes:

–  Several big handfuls of dry onion skins (I save them ahead of time)

–  One small head of red cabbage, sliced

–  Six beets, quartered

–  1 to 2 cups of coffee grounds

–  8 to 10 tea bags – more for deeper colors.

Allow the dye to cook, then carefully ladle some of the liquid in jars and let your hard boiled eggs to sit in the mixture for several minutes. The longer they sit, the darker the color. You’ll end up with pretty soft shades of yellow, purple, red, brown, and green. All will be earthy, subtle tones.

Until next time,



Making the Best of a Rainy Day

Does rain ruin your day? Do you repeat, “Rain, rain go away?”

Rainy days have power. Sometimes, you need the peace and quiet of a rainy day to slow down and meditate.

Meditating on what matters to you is a great way to use a rainy day. Listen to the soft sound of the rain hitting the earth and the buildings around you. Go outside and smell the way rain makes everything fresh and clean. Feel the renewal that rain brings to the earth and the creatures that inhabit it. Rain is cleansing, and you can be cleansed by it too.

You deserve the cleansing that rain brings. Rain can provide you with just what you need to feel healthy, whole and strong again. When you learn to appreciate the rain, it can lead you to a place of amazing peace and serenity.

Appreciate the Change That the Rain Brings to the World

Rain and change go hand in hand. They match and mirror each other. Without water, there would be no life – no people, animals, or plants to enjoy. Everything that exists, grows, and develops in this world does so because there is rain available. Take time to appreciate the rain and be thankful for the chance to enjoy it!

Each and every day is a gift. Even the gloomiest of skies can bring sunshine into your heart. Rainy days invite your weary body and soul to slow down and count your many blessings.

Here are some things you can do to make the best use of a rainy day: 

– Catch up on the sleep that you’re missing out on during busy, sunny days.

– Read something of value that you’ve been putting off.

– Practice a self-improvement activity you’ve been putting off for a while.

– Get together with like-minded people who share your goals and values.

– Call or write an old friend you haven’t spoken to in a while.

– Play a board game or reminisce with your family.

– Get rid of some of the clutter in your home that competes for your attention and robs you of peace.


Use a Rainy Day to Achieve Peace

A full calendar often drowns out your body’s cries for rest. Rain brings a slower pace that forces you to steer your day in a different direction than your normal hustle and bustle. When you do, it’s easier for you to see the value in the simpler things. Embracing simplicity and living life at a slower pace sometimes are vital components to a balanced life.

The next time a rainy day comes your way, choose to slow down and embrace the opportunity to rest your mind and body. Pay attention to the softness that the rain offers. Experience a gentleness of spirit as you listen to the soothing sounds of the thunderstorm outside. And remind yourself that, when the storms of life come, you can experience this same peace!

Until next time,


One More Thought About Friends


As I’m sure you’ve noticed, I have only posted about friendships on my new blog. Why did I do that, you may ask. Well, I am truly blessed to have some amazing friends, and I wanted to share that with all of you.

You see, my mother passed away on March 29, and my father died on April 1. Although their deaths were 31 years apart, one thing both situations had in common is the support of my friends.

I was a freshman in college when my father died unexpectedly in a car accident. Friends played an important part in helping me get through that difficult time. As you read in my post, How Foxie Roxie and PB Became Friends, Roxie traveled all the way from St. Louis to my hometown by bus! My hometown friends were there for me while I was home, and a few of my other college friends came for the funeral.

When my mom passed away, my friends were there to support me once again! Even though 31 years had passed, many of the same friends were there, as well as some new ones! My friends were there for me when I needed a shoulder to lean on, a hug, or just needed to talk during the time she was in the hospital and nursing home, and after she passed away.

To my readers, please remember, when you have a friend going through some tough times, sometimes it’s the small things they’ll remember that you did for them. You never know how much a phone call, text, hug, or a smile can do for a friend in need. Sometimes it’s as easy as just sitting by them saying nothing, just being there is all they need from you.

Thank you to all my friends that have been there for me through the years! I am so blessed and thankful I have you in my life!

Until next time,


Mid-Life Friendships


My amazing circle of girlfriends is an absolute blessing! My friends are always there for me, and I for them, when we need each other to celebrate something great or for support during tough times. Sometimes we need a chat session over breakfast or lunch, and sometimes a few drinks after work hit the spot! I have shared a lot of good times and bad with these special ladies! I can tell them anything, and they will keep it to themselves, and they can trust me to do the same!

However, some of you may not be so fortunate. As you approach your forties and fifties, you may find that your friendships have dwindled away. It’s a big change from the days when you were attending school or raising young children. During those days, surrounded by other students and parents, everyone was eager to get together for study groups and birthday parties. You may feel like you’re on your own now, especially if you’re transitioning through a divorce or packing your kids off to college. The following are just a few tips for staying in touch with old friends and possibly making new ones.

Tips for Old Friendships

1. Mark your schedule. Meeting up with friends is just as important as following up with business clients; pull out your calendar to stay on track.

2. Take a vacation. Video calls and texting long distances are nice, but they can’t match sitting around the table together after dinner; use your personal and business travel to drop in on each other occasionally.

3. Collaborate on a project. Pursue the same activities even while you’re apart. You’ll have plenty to talk about if you’re both taking gourmet cooking classes, learning a new craft, or training for a charity run.

4. Revive former ties. Perhaps you still wonder about a high school or college classmate you haven’t seen in years; take the initiative to be the first to reach out.

Tips for Any Friendship

1. Reveal yourself. No matter your age, friendships develop when we allow others to know us; share more personal information as you become comfortable with each other.

2. Focus on quality. Having a few close friends beats having hundreds of followers on Facebook; concentrate on meaningful interactions instead of arbitrary definitions of popularity.

3. Exchange support. Giving and taking may be the most important sign of a quality friendship. Move into your golden years with a circle of friends who serve as advisors, sounding boards, and cheerleaders.

4. Accept change. At the same time, distinguish between relationships worth sustaining and those that have run their course.

At midlife, you still have plenty of fascinating years ahead, so find your buddies and have fun. With skillful cultivation, many friendships can last a lifetime. Remember, you’re never too old to find new pals!

Be sure to check out my other blog posts on friendship, How Foxie Roxie and PB Became Friends and 5 Indicators of a True Friendship.

Until next time,

5 Indicators of a True Friendship

You’ve probably realized that friends come and go. In some cases, your interests change as you get older. In other cases, something happens that forces you to part ways with those you once considered friends. At the end of the day, however, you can identify the friendships that have a real foundation.

Identify these truths in your relationships to determine which ones represent true friendship:

1. Friendship withstands disagreements. Anybody you consider a true friend can attest to the fact that disagreements undoubtedly happen, but that person can also confirm that your bond withstands those disagreements.

• True friends know that regardless of the differences or disagreements, the foundation of the relationship still exists.

• A sign of true friendship is when two people continue to live well with each other after a disagreement.

2. Friends keep it real. The beauty about friendship is that there is rarely any pretense. Friends share their vulnerabilities with each other. They trust that their quirks are accepted by each other.

• Your real friends hardly worry about what you think of their actions or behaviors. They know that if there’s one person in the world who understands them, it’s you!

• It’s also safe to say that your real friends avoid sugar-coating anything they’re saying to you. Expect to get their opinion as real as it comes!

3. Confidentiality is respected. When the matter of confidentiality comes up, you can tell a friend by whether your request for confidentiality is respected. True friends acknowledge the importance of maintaining your trust.

• With real friends in your life, you can feel comfortable sharing your deepest secrets. Your secrets will be just as safe with friends as they are when you keep them to yourself.

• Your private space is important to you, and a genuine friend understands that. They know when to step aside and give you the time you need. And they do this without feeling offended.

4. Support is unconditional. It’s true that friends sometimes have different interests and beliefs, but even when viewpoints are different, true friends still offer support to each other.

• Friends usually offer advice to each other, and even when the advice you get is different from what you want to hear, you know it’s coming from a genuine sentiment.

• If you need someone to lean on when you’re going through a rough spot, your real friends instinctively know. They’ll show up when you least expect it and bring loads of hugs with them!

5. Achievements are celebrated. It’s unlikely that you’ll find a true friend who doesn’t celebrate your achievements. The questionable friends may feel envious of your success, but true friends get just as excited as you do about your victories.

• You’ll likely even find a true friend helping you prepare for an upcoming job interview. Even if it’s a success they want for themselves, they’re happy just knowing you stand a good chance of being the victor.

• Sincere friends take the time to congratulate each other. They give gifts, treat each other to dinner, and make other special gestures. They like to show that they care.


I know I have been blessed with a few amazing girlfriends who have been by my side during good times and bad; marriage and divorce; death of parents; and many other life experiences! Together we have laughed, cried, shopped, traveled, and talked until we were just down right exhausted. I don’t know what I would have done without my wonderful friends; you know who you are!

Have you identified anybody who embodies a true friend after looking at these indicators? If you have, latch on to that person as long as you can! A genuine friend can be difficult to find. You’ll find great joy when you nurture your friendships.

Commit to being the kind of friend to others as you want them to be to you. Friendship works both ways!

Until next time,

How Foxie Roxie and PB Became Friends

As I prepared to write my first blog post, I was overcome with emotion to write about my great friend, Roxie. You see, today is Roxie’s birthday, Happy Birthday, my friend!

Roxie and I grew up in very different environments, but that didn’t stop us from becoming long-time friends – 36 years now! Roxie grew up in St. Louis and I grew up on a farm in NW Missouri.

We first talked to each other in the parking lot at Central Missouri State University, now known as the University of Central Missouri. We were carrying heaping arms full of items to our dorm and talked all the way into the building. As we started climbing the stairs, we were shocked to find out we were going to the same room! Little did we know that we’d be starting an amazing friendship.

Roxie was only at CMSU for one term then went back home to St. Louis. Roxie and I had a lot of fun during our short time as roomies. My parents adored her and loved sending us care packages full of great homemade food items! She came home with me, and I went home with her, our families blended!

After Roxie had left CMSU, we stayed in touch as much as possible. There were no cell phones, but calling cards to be able to call long distance. I’ll never forget calling her crying on April 1, 1982. My father was killed in a car wreck that day, and the one person I needed to talk to was Roxie. She took a bus all the way across the state to my hometown so she could be with me several days while I was going through that very difficult time.

We have visited each other many times through the years, and each time it’s just like we’ve not been apart. I truly feel God puts people in your lives when you need them, sometimes you just don’t know the reasons for a while.

Thanks for reading my first blog post. I look forward to spending time with you again soon.