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Monthly Archives: March 2013

My Easter Weekend

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Happy Easter to you all!  I have had such a wonderful, busy, weekend celebrating this holiday with my family.  I have been so busy that I have completely neglected my blog!  I am sure most of you reading understand that sometimes you are just too busy living life to take the time to blog about it.  But, I thought you might like a little look into the way we celebrate Easter as a family.

We had a blast coloring eggs…like we do every year.  I remember doing this when I was a little girl.  I think this is something most families enjoy…that would explain the massive amounts of egg coloring kits available.  Too many choices!  We went with marbellized eggs this year…pretty cool!  Although, I prefer the eggs wraps.  I always thought it was so fun to watch them shrink instantly around the eggs!




Next, we had our annual Easter egg hunt in the yard.  I learned from a childhood lesson not to hide the real eggs!  They really start to stink when you miss one…gross!  So, we hide tons of plastic eggs all over our yard and set the kiddos loose.  They run around like crazy trying to make sure they find the most eggs, even though there is no reward for finding the most.  What is it with competitiveness between siblings?



We spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying the warm sunshine with cousins.  We caught “spring peepers” and tadpoles in a ditch.  It’s the simple, and slightly gross, things that bring  joy to children.

When we finally made it home, it was time to start a new tradition…thanks to The Pioneer Woman.  We made Krispy Easter Eggs together!  My kids love to get in the kitchen, and they really enjoyed this fun, slightly messy, experience.







Easter Morning has arrived!  Who doesn’t love waking up entirely too early on Easter Morning to the sounds of your kids shouting “The Easter Bunny came, the Easter Bunny came!”?  Our bunny always brings outdoor toys and crafty toys…and, of course, CANDY!  This year, the kiddos were so excited to get bubbles, sidewalk chalk, play dough,  Shrinky Dinks, and a stuffed bunny.  I’m so glad my kids still appreciate simple toys…I think they actually prefer them!




We had a wonderful church service celebrating the true meaning of Easter.  I am so blessed to get to teach the little kids in our church.  Even though they enjoy the fun of the Easter Bunny, they still know the true reason we celebrate…Jesus.  And they are able to understand the simplicity of a thing we sometimes tend to complicate in adult life.  Oh, to have faith like a child!

We always have Easter dinner at my hubby’s momma’s house.  We always say we are not going to cook as much this year.  We always cook entirely too much, and we always eat entirely too much…ugh, my belly is full!

My contribution to the meal was my super buttery mashed potatoes.  Can you put too much butter in mashed potatoes?  To me, that’s what makes them taste so good.  I also made some yummy cupcakes…I will eventually post recipes for these.  I love a good cupcake…it’s up there with cheesecake on my fave dessert list!  Confetti cupcakes with a birdie’s nest on top  and jumbo carrot cake cupcakes…that’s what I call a sweet Easter celebration!



I am so fortunate to have all these wonderful traditions and celebrations, and all the wonderful people in my life to celebrate them with.  I hope your Easter was as special as mine!  I happened to notice a theme to my blog…simplicity.  I think life is so much more fun when we slow down and enjoy the simple things…like hunting eggs and playing with bubbles, and accepting the simple truth of Christ’s love.  So, I hope you had a “simply” wonderful, happy Easter!!!


The Liebster Award

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I was recently nominated for the Liebster Blog Award by Especially Made.  She is a mother and homeschooler raising a child with special needs.  She seems to do this with such a wonderful spirit about her.  I find her blog truly uplifting and inspiring.  I’m so honored that she enjoys my blog enough to nominate me for this award.  It is nice to have other bloggers out there going through life in much the same fashion as you are, some with extra challenges, who become a support system for you.  Part of being nominated for the Liebster Blog Award means I get to answer some questions given to me by this amazing mother and homeschooler.

Who inspires you? My children are my constant inspiration.  They are so full of love, joy, and laughter.  They always bring a smile to my face.

What is the hardest part about blogging, if any? Time and confidence.  I live a very busy life, and often wonder if what I write will be of interest to anyone…at least I know it interests one blogger 🙂

What is your favorite quote? “Savor the Flavor”.  My granny always said this.  It wasn’t meant to just apply to food, but to all of life.

What is your favorite dessert? Cheesecake!  Love it!!!

What skill do you wish you had taken the time to learn when you were growing up? How to play a musical instrument…any would do.  I love to sing, and would like to be able to play as well…maybe one of these days. 

What is the one activity you wish you had the time to pursue? Well, that instrument would be nice, but right now, I wish I had time to finish my house…love the lack of trim and a half finished fireplace…it’s a new trend I’m starting…haha!

If money was no issue, where would you like to travel? If money was no issue, I would see the world…all of it…starting with Greece, of course.

What is your favorite holiday? Halloween…I love dressing up, maybe more than my kids do!

What is your favorite pastime? Cooking and Baking…followed closely by reading.

What book are you currently reading? A Day Away by Nora Roberts.  Sometimes there is nothing better than a mushy romance novel.

Do you play a musical instrument? Refer to previous questions…I can pick out a song or two on the piano and play “Shenandoah” on the guitar, but that’s about it.

Now, I am nominating other bloggers for this award.  These blogs bring me joy and usually laughter when I read them.  They are inspiring and comforting to me.  If you get a chance to stop by these blogs, I think you will really enjoy them…I know I do!

To the winners, if you would like to pass this award on, you can post about this award on your own blog with your own nominations. One of the rules for the Liebster Blog Award is to post your answers to the questions above that I answered. That way, I can get to know you all a little better! 🙂

Congrats to:

1.  Happily Occupied Homebodies

2.  Le Zoe Musings

3.  A Homeschool Mom

4.  The Two Boys Club

5.  life detoured

6.  our prairie home

Wedding Memories

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Looking at a post on a blog I follow, Le Zoe Musings, made me nostalgic for my wedding day.  It was one of the very best days of my life.  I remember freaking out the day before because we had tons of rain and flooding.  I even said that we might have to take a boat to the church!  However, on the day of our wedding, the sun was shining, and the sky was the most beautiful shade of blue.  Our family and friends showed up to help us celebrate, our ceremony was lovely and sweet…everything was perfect.

Care to take a walk down memory lane with me?


Here’s the  little country log church we were married in.


Standing on the steps with our friends and family who made up our wedding party.


Sharing a laugh with my bridesmaids.


Such handsome fellas!


My sweet little flower girl.


Hubby and our Ring Bearer…such cuties.


Our wedding ceremony was so simple and sweet…just what we wanted.


My momma and daddy…love them so!


Hubby’s momma and daddy…and our little nephew who made sure he found his way into most of our pictures…little stinker.


My very best friend!  I love him more every day!


This is one of my favorite pictures…I love my hubby’s hands.

I love looking back at all these pictures and remembering this wonderful day.  It has been almost 9 years, and we love each other more now than we did then. We have had our ups and downs, and they only made us stronger. We are partners in everything we do…including raising the best kiddos in the world.  We are the best of friends…there is no one I would rather talk to or spend my time with.  I’m so glad I get to grow old and wrinkly with him!  I feel so very blessed!

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

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This is a family recipe that my mom and dad used to make when I was a little girl.  I always loved spaghetti night!  The sauce is so good, you could just eat it in a big bowl by itself!  I know, I’ve done this many times!  When we had spaghetti, it was always served with iceberg lettuce cut in wedges and slices of Heiner’s Old Fashioned Bread, buttered, and folded in half.  I used to bury my spaghetti in “shaker cheese”, but I’ve learned that less is more with the cheese on the spaghetti.  My dad always buttered and folded everyone’s bread, and he also ate everyone’s leftovers.  We called him our “garbage disposal”.  This is one of those comfort food memories!  I find that many of my favorite memories revolve around food.  The tradition continues now with my own family.  I butter the bread for everyone, and my husband is the “garbage disposal”.  And it is now the job of my kids to put too much “shaker cheese” on their spaghetti.  I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do…maybe you can make your own spaghetti night traditions!


Spaghetti with Meat Sauce


2 lb. ground chuck

1 onion, diced

1 green pepper, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tsp. parsley

2 tsp. basil

1 heaping tsp. oregano

5 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

salt and pepper, to taste

3- 15 oz. cans tomato sauce

1 Tbsp. sugar

6 oz. jar sliced mushrooms

1 lb. spaghetti noodles


1.  Brown meat in a large skillet.  Pour off fat.

2.  Add onion, pepper, garlic, herbs, Worcestershire, and salt and pepper.  Cook about 3-5 minutes.

3.  Add tomato sauce, sugar, and mushrooms.

4.  Let simmer for at least 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  The longer this sauce simmers, the better it will taste.  Make sure to taste your sauce to see if you need to add anything to it…remember, you are cooking for your taste buds!

5. Serve over spaghetti noodles cooked according to package directions.

Enjoy!  This makes quite a bit of spaghetti, so unless you are serving a large crowd, you will most likely have leftovers.  And like I said, the longer the sauce sits, the better, so leftovers the next day are wonderful!  I love leftovers!!!  Oh, and it’s okay if you sneak a bowl of sauce while it’s simmering…I usually do!  Yummy!

Low-Country Boil

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I love this meal!  It doesn’t have to be summertime for me to enjoy eating Low-Country Boil, although I do love eating this at a picnic table in the hot summer while I sip on a glass of iced tea!  Nothing like it!  I make two sauces to go with my boil.  First, you have to have a spicy cocktail sauce to dip that shrimp in.  Second, you can’t have red potatoes without potato sauce.  This meal is made in one big pot, drained, and dumped in a big pile on parchment or butcher paper.  Then, all you have to do is dig in and chow down!!!  Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!


Low-Country Boil


1/4 lb. cooked smoked sausage per person, cut in 1 inch pieces

1/4 cup (or more) Old Bay Seasoning

4-6 cloves garlic

2 small red potatoes per person

1 ear fresh corn per person, cleaned and cut in half (frozen corn will work if you can’t find fresh)

1/4 lb. uncooked large shrimp per person (fresh or frozen, shell on or off…depends on how much work you want to do)

Cocktail Sauce (recipe to follow)

Potato Sauce (recipe to follow)


Fill a big pot with enough water to cover all of your ingredients.  Add the sausage and Old Bay seasoning and boil for about 15 minutes.  Add the potatoes and garlic, and boil for another 15 minutes.  Add the corn and boil for about 10 more minutes.  Finally, add the shrimp and boil for about 3 more minutes.  Be careful not to overcook your shrimp!  Drain immediately and throw it on a table covered in parchment paper or butcher paper.  Serve with the dipping sauces.  Yum!!!


Cocktail Sauce


1 cup ketchup

1 Tbsp. prepared horseradish

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce


Stir all ingredients together in a serving bowl.  Cover until ready to use.

Potato Sauce


1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup mayonnaise

2 Tbsp. prepared Horseradish

2 tsp. Spicy Brown Mustard


Stir all ingredients together in a serving bowl.  Cover until ready to use.

A Day At The Clay Center

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My hubby was out of town this weekend, and when he isn’t around, my children and I feel a little sad.  So, to keep our minds occupied and make the time pass more quickly, I planned a very busy weekend for us.  We went shopping for spring clothes,  for new books (we can’t ever go shopping without buying books), and for party supplies for little man’s upcoming birthday!  We went to see Oz, The Great and Powerful…wonderful movie, by the way.  My son says it’s the best movie he’s seen in theaters, and my daughter is now in love with James Franco…he’s “cute”.  We also went to our favorite place in West Virginia…the Clay Center!

The Clay Center is an arts and science museum located in Charleston, WV.  We have been visiting this wonderful museum since my children were very young, and they still love it today.  It’s almost like our home away from home.  The center  has three levels of fun and education for children, with some exhibits that always remain the same and others that are constantly changing.  They have giant screen films and a planetarium.  They also offer family fun days to celebrate holidays.  Earth Day celebration is coming up soon!  And they have special concerts just for children.  One of our favorites was the Seussical Musical…all about Dr. Seuss stories!  There are kid’s camps, children’s programs, outdoor programs, adult programs, and so much more.  No wonder we love it so much!

So, we visited the Clay Center and took lots of pictures of the fun!  I hope you all are ready to be overloaded with photos!  I love watching my kids enjoy themselves and being able to freeze those moments to enjoy them forever.  Here is a glimpse of our day at the Clay Center…

We started off the day with a visit to our favorite exhibit, Earth City, where we explored…you guessed it…earth sciences.


Learn about Port Royal, Jamaica’s experience with liquefaction by burying your hands in a quick-sandy earthquake.


Explore the natural wonders through a really neat View Finder exhibit.


Learn myths and facts about how fog forms.  My kids like to try to blow the fog away…that’s what my son is doing in this picture.


Ahhhh!  It’s a giant waterfall!


Try to bury a skull with sand and learn about a land that was “consumed by the sands”.


Learn about locks and dams.  Did you know that dams are usually named after the town that gets flooded when they are made?  Summersville Dam got its name because the town directly in the flood path was called Gad…would you like to visit Gad Dam…I didn’t think so!


Mountain vs. Water…learn all about erosion and how the flow of water has affected our mountains.


Careful…you will get wet in Earth City!  At least if you play like my kids you will!

Next, we went to the Mylan Explore-atory.  This is a constantly changing exhibit, currently displaying the hands-on experience, Little Builders.


Ride on construction equipment.



Pretend to paint the building…two rollers at a time…and don’t forget your hard hat and bright orange vest!


Maybe you’d like to learn how to do some plumbing.  My kids made poop noises the whole time and were racing the clock to get the pipes connected before the poop came rushing out.  Why are kids so fascinated with poop?



Build your own little town…or a giant castle like my daughter did!

We spent some time in Health Royale learning about health and wellness.  I love this exhibit, but I’m still sad they took out “The Yodler”.  It was our favorite part of this gallery.


This is a neat “repeat the pattern” game using…body noises!  Again with the poo sounds!  And burping, sneezing, hiccuping, and so on.


Here you can make interesting faces.  My kids like to try to make super crazy looking faces!



This is the main attraction in Health Royale.  It’s like Hollywood Squares with health questions.  The guests on the show are body parts with names like Mr. P (I pity the fool…) and Pelvis (you know, like Elvis in the shape of a pelvis).


Could there be anything more fun than stretching out an intestine?  Did you know that your small intestine is about 20 feet long?  Where does it fit?

We traveled downstairs to the Gizmo Factory.  This gallery has over 30 exhibits dealing with physical science!



Discover the power of water and how the force somehow balances a ball as it spins it around and around.  Way cool!


This exhibit is all about smoke and mirrors…and laser beams.



Learn about pulleys and how they work as you try to lift yourself into the air.  Not an easy task!  Momma usually ends up doing the hard work while the kiddos sit back and enjoy the ride!


We love these pin-screens in small size, but we really LOVE them in giant size!

We didn’t make it to the planetarium on this trip because we’ve already seen the film on The Planets, but we did take time to see the giant screen film, Volcanoes of the Deep Sea.


Here we are waiting to watch the film which ended up being quite fascinating.  It was really about the sea animals who live in the aftermath of underwater volcanoes.  In waters that should boil them to a crisp, some animals have managed to not only survive, but thrive!  My son says this was his favorite film so far, even better than Giants of Patagonia…a film about dinosaurs!

And, of course, we finished our day with a nice stroll through the art gallery.  Right now, it is crowded with some of the most beautiful quilts.  I’m jealous because I’ve always wanted to learn to quilt…maybe one of these days.

We enjoyed ourselves very much and can’t wait until our next visit.  And, it helped pass the time while daddy was away.  I hope you enjoyed the tour of our day at the Clay Center.  These pictures only show a handful of the fun and interesting things you can do here.  If you are ever in Charleston, WV, you have to make time to check it out!

Artsy Kids: Origami

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We have been studying the Japanese culture in history and geography.  In studying the culture, my children are learning that there is a lot more to Japan than just business and industry.  The people also care about old traditions and customs, and this helps to make this culture unique.

The children in Japan learn a very old form of art called origami- paper folding.  They also wear kimonos, and celebrate holidays such as Shogatsu, Girl’s Day, and Boy’s Day where they get to wear bright costumes, play games, and get presents.  They take their shoes off when entering a home.  They traditionally eat at low tables, kneeling on cushions, while using chopsticks.

These are just a few of the traditions and customs my children found interesting and fun.  They especially liked the idea of a holiday just for boys and girls, eating on the floor, and the art of paper folding.

So, we decided to try our hand at a little paper folding…origami.  I received a 365 day origami calendar several years ago, and never made the time to use it.  I dug it out of my craft bin, and let the kids pick what they wanted to make.  My daughter chose a peacock and my son chose a rattlesnake.

We first had to make a base shape, and from there, followed the directions for each animal.  There was a lot of folding, unfolding, fixing, folding again, unfolding again, folding some more…you get the idea.  It was quite the learning experience!  We ended up really enjoying ourselves, and our pieces turned out pretty good for a first attempt.  The kids are already picking which pieces they want to make tomorrow…maybe this will become a 365 day project for us.

Here are a few pictures from our origami adventure…


Trying to figure out the directions


My daughter is a natural at origami


My son rocking the accordion fold


Sweet little pink peacock


Super scary rattlesnake



And, of course, they had to add detail…feathers and fangs!


And here’s momma’s butterfly…I couldn’t miss out on all the fun!

Kids in the Kitchen: Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Clearly, there is a lot of cooking going on in my house.  I love to cook, and so do my kids.  Today, they were dying to make some cookies after we finished up with school.   We have made these cookies many. many times, and we love them!  They are super yummy…and the oatmeal and cranberries make them sort of healthy…right?  Sure they do!

So, here are my kids demonstrating the process of making delicious Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies…hope you enjoy this as much as they did!


Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies


2/3 cups butter, softened

2/3 cups brown sugar, packed

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/4 cups dried cranberries

2/3 cups white chocolate chips (or a little more if you know what’s good for you!)


1.  Preheat oven to 375F.

2.  Use an electric mixer to beat the butter and brown sugar together until fluffy.  Hope you don’t have as much trouble getting that packed brown sugar out of the measuring cup as we did…making cookies is hard work!  Whew!


3.  Add eggs, mixing well.

4.  Combine oats, flour, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl.  Add to butter mixture gradually, mixing after each addition.




5.  Stir in dried cranberries and white chocolate chips.



6.  Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Cool on wire rack.  Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.




7.  Dress up like cowboys and cowgirls before devouring your cookies!  Mmmm, good, yummy, yee-haw!!!  The wearing of the cowboy hats makes the cookies taste better…really!  You should try it!




Artsy Kids: String Printing

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We got artsy in the style of Jackson Pollock today!  He was known for his splatter-like paintings.  He would put holes in buckets of paint , hang them from the ceiling, and swing them over his canvas to get some of his splatter effects…way cool!  We didn’t hang paint buckets from our ceiling today and swing them around, but we did swing some string to get a similar effect to a Pollock.  The bucket thing does sound super fun, though…I may have to try it sometime!

To try string printing, you will need heavyweight drawing paper, liquid acrylic paint, paint cups, cotton string (cut to lengths as long as your forearm), and craft sticks.


Dip your sting into the paint.  Use a craft stick to coat the string with paint.

Holding the string above your paper, let your arm drop and let the string go limp on the paper.


Continue with this motion until you are ready to change colors.



Use one string per color to avoid mixing!


You can also move the string in different directions or drag the string across the paper to get a different effect.  This is what my son chose to do.


This was such a fun art project!  My kids really enjoyed swinging the string around and watching the designs appear on the paper…and on the countertop! You might want to put some newspaper on whatever surface you choose to do this project on to protect it.  I had to scrub to get the paint off, but it was worth it!  My kids were so proud of their artwork!


And here are the finished products…string printings by my little artists…



A St. Patrick’s Day Feast

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Slainte!  I hope you all had a very happy St. Patrick’s Day!  It is one of my favorite holidays to celebrate.  I have a very strong Irish heritage…my granny was a Fitzpatrick!  I have also been to Ireland, and once you’ve seen all that unearthly green, it calls to you.  Ireland truly holds magic.  So, yes, I love to celebrate St. Patty’s Day!

I had my family up for a St. Patty’s Day feast complete with Corned Beef and Cabbage, Irish Soda Bread, and a delicious Apple Cake.  I know St. Patrick’s Day was yesterday, but you might want to make this yummy meal next year to celebrate with your family!

Here are the super yummy recipes:

Corned Beef and Cabbage Dinner


This is a traditional dinner eaten in the U.S. to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.


2 lbs. small red potatoes

1 1/2 cups baby carrots

1 onion, cut into wedges

2-4 lbs. corned beef brisket with seasoning pack

1 small head of cabbage, cut into wedges

1/2 stick butter

salt and pepper, to taste


1.  Place potatoes, carrots, and onions in a slow cooker.  Top with corned beef brisket.  Sprinkle contents of seasoning packet.  Add enough water just to cover brisket.

2.  Cover and cook on low setting for 8 to 10 hours.

3.  About 40 minutes before serving, place cabbage wedges in a large pot.  Cover with water, and add 1/2 stick of butter and salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, or until crisp-tender.

4.  Make Potato Sauce.  (Recipe to follow)

5.  Serve brisket and all vegetables on a large platter with a bowl of Potato Sauce on the side…family style.

Potato Sauce


1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup mayonnaise

2 Tbsp. prepared Horseradish

2 tsp. Spicy Brown Mustard


Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.  This is wonderful to dip the red potatoes in, and I also like my corned beef dipped in it!

Irish Soda Bread


Soda bread is a staple in Ireland, and is so easy to make!  Cut a cross in the bread to ward off evil, or let the fairies out!


vegetable oil

3 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1 3/4 cups buttermilk


1.  Preheat oven to 425F.  Oil a baking sheet.

2.  Mix together the flour, salt, and baking soda.  Pour in the buttermilk, and mix well using your hands.

3.  Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly.  Shape into an 8 inch circle.  Place the dough on the baking sheet and cut a cross in the top.

4.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve warm with lots of butter!

Apple Cake


Legend says that St. Patrick planted an apple tree in a settlement outside of Armagh.  Today, Armagh County is known as Orchard County and has apple festivals and tours.  Pretty cool, huh?  Whether the legend is true or not, this cake is absolutely, without a doubt, delicious!  Especially when it’s still warm from the oven…yum!


2 large Granny Smith apples

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. salt

1 stick butter

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 Tbsp. milk

Streusel Topping-

1 cup all-purpose flour

6 Tbsp. butter

1/2 cup sugar


1.  Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease a 9 inch round springform pan.  (Or use cake release, which I prefer.)

2.  Make the streusel topping.  Cut butter into flour until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.  Stir in the sugar and reserve.

3.  Peel, core, and thinly slice apples.  Mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl.  Put butter and sugar in a separate bowl and beat together.  Gradually beat in the eggs.  Slowly mix in the flour mixture.  Mix in the milk.

4.  Spoon the batter into the pan and smooth and even out the top.  Cover with sliced apples and sprinkle the streusel topping evenly on top.  Bake for 1 hour, or until top is lightly browned.  Let cool slightly before removing the sides of the pan.  Slice and serve still warm!

I hope you will enjoy these dishes as much as I did…and may the luck of the Irish be with you.  I guess it already is if you are lucky enough to eat such good food!  I love food!!!

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