Cake Creations

Saturday, November 13, 2010

My latest cake creations. Still very much an amateur, but I've come a ways yet!

Bridal Shower Cake
Baby Boy Shower Cake


November Local Events

Monday, November 8, 2010

November is here and so are more fall, Thanksgiving, and pre-Christmas season events!

Nov 11th: Monett - Festival of Flavors
6 - 8 pm, First United Methodist Church
Tickets $12
Call Monett Chamber @ 235-7919

Nov 12th: Monett - Broadway Nights
To 9 pm, Downtown Monett

Nov 13th: Cassville - Christmas Open House
Throughout the day, Chamber and merchants

Nov 24th: Monett - Festival of Lights
5:30 pm - 9:30 pm daily
Light display in the South park through Dec 26

Nov 25th: Springfield - Turkey Trot
8:00 am, 5K run in Jordan Park and MSU area
...not to mention it's also THANKSGIVING!
I'm running this one! WHOOPEE - my first 5K on my 35th birthday!

*If you know of more around here, let me know and we'll get those posted too!


Home-made Dishwasher Detergent a BUST

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Well, after a run of good luck with all the different home-made recipes I have here on the blog, I've hit a dead end. Home-made Dishwasher detergent is a bust. After a few different alterations to the chemistry of the detergent, I've finally decided this stuff just doesn't cut it. Washing a load of dishes twice isn't cost or time effective. So, my earlier post on making your own home-made dishwasher detergent is now just a try it if you want post... I'll be switching back to store bought until something else comes out for me to try!


Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

Monday, September 20, 2010

I love to save. Yes, I do. I find much satisfaction in finding that incredible deal at a yard sale or flea market... that elusive 90% tag on a sale rack... or that make-it-yourself EASY recipe for cleaners. Myself and a few friends have been trying out various home-made cleaner recipes... some working well... others working not-so-well. Thus far, the home-made liquid laundry soap, fabric softener, stain spray, and various bathroom cleaners (concoctions of ammonia, vinegar, baking soda, and bleach [never mix vinegar & bleach!]) have all done very well.

So, now I'm ready to try my own home-made dishwasher detergent. A friend sent me hers because it was fogging up her dishes. I believe she too has hard water battles just as I do. I got hers to work OK if I used ONLY a tablespoon or LESS and also used vinegar as a rinse agent.... and I still experienced some "fog" on the dishes now and then. So, now I'm trying out another "recipe" for home-made dishwasher detergent. I'll give it a review after I've given this one a go.

Home-made Dishwasher Detergent

1 c Washing Soda (not Baking soda - sodium carbonate)
1 c Borax
6 pkts unsweetened Lemonade (like Koolaid) *citric acid

I ran the washing soda through my blender to really "powder"-it-up. Then I mixed all the ingredients up in a sealed container. I also through in one of those silicon packets (like found in purses & shoes) to help absorb moisture.
These mixes tend to clump, but it doesn't cause any issue other than having to break it up now & then.
Use 1 Tablespoon per load (no more).

Use vinegar as your rinse aid (instead of other store products)!

The vinegar helps to break up the hard water... the lemonade (citric acid) also helps to break up the hard water during the wash to help with a cleaner rinse.


The Little Engine that Could | Running Program

Friday, September 17, 2010

It's the beginning of Fall, and I am four weeks into my new running program: The Couch to 5K Running Program

When I started, I had hopes that if I was really really lucky, I might be able to do a 5K (3.1 miles) by the time the Turkey Trot came around this Thanksgiving... which also just so happens to be my 35th birthday! (I see a special T-shirt design in my future...)

Now honestly, I'm not a runner and never have been. I'm quite a chunky gal, so running, obviously, hasn't been a "thing" for me for a long time! But when I saw the Couch to 5K program through a friend on Facebook (yes, FB can be a GOOD thing!), it motivated me to, at the very least, give it a try. So, in prayer and with much apprehension I started the program. I acknowledged that I may very well fail, but at least I would try it out and see how it went... so, I DID.

You mothers out there will understand my initial concerns of WHEN I would have the opportunity to even do this exercise program. So, after much consideration of the very young ages of the children, the new school schedules, church activities, work schedules, farm schedules, etc. I decided to go with the EARLY AM runs. So, 5:30 AM is my new wake-up call. Boy was it painful at first... trust me... even this morning person was hurting when that alarm went off!

Off I went running - Week 1 made me realize just how out of shape I really was. Sad.Sad.Sad. So, huffing and puffing I went - for a whole 3 minutes of running and then walking and then a little more running and then some walking - for a whole mile. I thought I was going to die. (Verses about your body being a temple and gluttony and laziness plagued me.) And so the theme continued for the next several weeks.

Week 4 - Something happened this morning... this incredible Friday Sep 17 morning. Something truly glorious! I was out doing my running/walking duo, except I skipped the walking part.
Yes, I ran... and ran... and RAN!
It was a beautiful morning... just before the sun was going to rise.
The owls were still hooting.
The ground was cool and the air crisp.
The cows were just beginning to stir.
The breeze was starting to slip between the trees.
The stars were like crystals in the sky.
My obnoxious rooster, Lenny, wasn't even crowing yet!

I decided today was the day to run 1 mile straight. So, I did. I hit a rough spot about 12 min in when fatigue hit and the heaving chest breathing pains almost took over, but I kept telling myself my mile wasn't done yet, and if I could just push a little further, I'd be there! But the "pocket" of pain passed and it was like I hit this bizarre "high" and suddenly the breathing became perfectly natural and the fatigue became less of a feeling of exhaustion and more of a feeling of automation.

And then I realized I had more in me... so I ran further, and further, until I had ran a full 2 miles - without stopping! For many of you, 2 miles probably isn't all that impressive, but for this heavy gal that's not a runner, this was a huge accomplishment. I still can't believe it. Honestly, I can't.

Well, here I am now ready for my next day of running - and really looking forward to it. (I cannot believe I just said that.) I know I can do 2 miles, so I've got 1 mile to go until I can reach my first goal of running that 5K Turkey Trot in November... but you know what the coolest part is? I know now that I'll be ready before then! Incredible. And to think, I started this whole thing praying to God to help me "give this thing a try" and to not let me embarrass myself with failure.
God is good.


Princess Birthday Bonanza

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Well, my little girl will soon turn 4. My tiny little sweet baby girl... my sweet baby that I rocked each night, my little angel.
Tomorrow, the 12th, at about 12:30 PM, my little girl will be four years old.
Tonight we celebrated with friends and family.
Earlier this month this same sweet little girl told her Mommy (who would do almost anything for her) that she wanted a castle cake this year... almost a predictable request for a 4 year old birthday party... but then she added that she also wanted it to have a volcano behind it!
Say huh?
She continued with this same request for the next several days and weeks. Obviously she was serious. So, Mommy made it happen in accordance as the little princess deemed it.But there was more "princessing" to do... frog kisses anyone?
And how 'bout glittery play dough... or "royal dough"!And Garrett wanted in on the present action.But there was one present at the end that Grace never expected...
A dollhouse taller than her!
We had a good time at the party tonight... and I look forward to many more with my sweet little princess!!
Pictures here by my friend Kara Guffey of Kara Guffey Photography - serving southwest Missouri!



Monday, August 30, 2010

Matthew 5:3,5 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." "Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth."

Are you a poor person? Do you live in poverty? Most of us would say "No" to these questions, and we're blessed to be able to do so, but perhaps our poverty lies elsewhere. For some, it really may be the common idea of a lack of money and provision, but for many of us, it might be in a lack of security or safety. Or what about a lack of a strong marriage or other personal relationships? Do you struggle with a lack of self-confidence or emotional stability?

We all have our own place's of poverty. This area is where God desperately wants you to meet Him. "Blessed are the poor"… your blessing is hidden in your need, in your hurt, in your poverty. We can be caught up in presenting a strong front, a Christian life, a perfect way… but we're not perfect, and that's where life gets real with God.

I'm not a perfect wife, mother, worker, or ministry servant. I never have been nor will I ever experience perfection in any of these things. BUT this is where God meets me – in my imperfection, in my shame, in my humility. He wraps a spotless robe of white around me, embraces me, shows me mercy, and helps me to do better each time.
I am so thankful to have His absolute perfect love. I may have areas of poverty in my life, but right now, I sure do feel like a very wealthy person!


Home-made Bisquick - Cheap & Easy!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Do you use a lot of Bisquick? It's quick to make, easy to mix and store, and cheaper than purchasing it in the store. AND -- You can make your own and control what ingredients go in it... and it's not hard.

*If you prefer whole wheat flour like I do, so you could mix it ALL w/ wheat or go half in half with white.
*Watching your sodium? I use the fake salt potassium stuff instead of regular salt. They also make a half and half sodium/potassium mix.
*Sugar an issue? Swap some or all of the sugar for your preferred sweetener like Splenda or the latest favorite, Stevia.

Home-made Bisquick

10 C Flour
3/8 C Baking Powder
1 tsp Cream of Tartar
1 1/4 C Powdered Milk
1 1/2 TB Salt
1/4 C Sugar
1 lb Oleo (shortening - like Crisco)

Mix all together and store in an airtight container.
Lasts approximately one month.


Local August Events!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Local August Events!!

August may be the dog days of summer, but there's still a lot of excitement and summer fun to be had around here!!

Monett Farmer's Market
Each Wed 3 pm - 7 pm & Sat 8 am - 1 pm
Downtown Monett off Broadway on Front Street

Fri Aug. 13th - "Broadway Nights" in downtown Monett
Businesses open until 9 pm or later
Special events planned including a "Chalk Walk".
Contact Monett Chamber for more info.:

Wed Aug. 18th - Sat. Aug 21st - Howdy Neighbor Days
Music, Car Show, Food, Carnival, Parade, & Games

Fri Aug. 20th - Sat. Aug 21st - Ernte Fest
North side of Freistatt on Hwy H
Contact info: Chairmen: Bob Dieckhoff (417) 466-3641 or Maurice Schoen (417) 235-7420
Dinner Menu : Adults = $8.00 Children = $5.00
German Potato Salad
Green Beans
(other snacks, sandwiches and dinner items available in snack shack)

Sat Aug. 21st - Seligman Truck and Tractor pull at Ruby's Event park on Hwy 37


*And my personal favorite!!!!!!!...
Sat Aug 28th - 100-mile garage sale
Several local communities involved in this including Monett and Pierce City
Info thru Mt. Vernon Chamber 417.466.7654
or Monett Chamber: 417.235.7919 Email:
**If you know your town is participating, let me know!

Sat Aug 28th - Dickerson Park Zoo - McDonald's $1 Day
Good for adults and kids
Open 9 am to 5 pm


Summer Daycamp Swap

Saturday, August 7, 2010

I know it's getting late in the summer, but I read about the concept of a co-op.-style summer camp swap to do with your friends. Each friend takes a turn hosting a day of "summer camp" or "fall camp" or ANY season of camp for that matter! This idea greatly intrigued me. I have many Christian friends that I would feel very comfortable entrusting the care of my children to. As I look into it, the more I realize this could really become a blessing to both you and your friends! A break to do what Mom needs to do, a savings on the cost of a babysitter while you do it, and the opportunity to serve one another in a much-needed way!
So, here's what I'm finding as I go along:

  • Come up with a theme for the day. It will make it more memorable for the kids involved.
  • Agree on discipline ahead of time. Ex. Time-outs, corners, etc. with phone calls if it needs further attention.
  • Agree on no TV, movies, computer, etc. beforehand.
  • Define any age limits of children involved in the summer camp swap.
  • Address nap times. All children are different. As long as everyone knows ahead of time, any nap schedule can be accommodated.
  • Before adding new members to the rotation, discuss in private with the existing members before offering.

Below might be a timeline example of a Summer Camp Swap for preschool-aged children (older children could do longer days):

9 AM Drop-off - Coloring sheets while they settle in
9:15 Books, Songs/Music, Circle Time
9:45 Craft/Art
10:15 Outdoor Activity
10:45 Small snack
11:00 Free Play
11:30 Indoor Activity
12:00 LUNCH!
12:30 Indoor Activity/Free Play
1:30 Pick-up
(This schedule allows for PreK ages to go home for rest/nap times in the afternoon.)

I'm curious if any of you have ever done anything like this. I'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas!!


Making Organic Affordable

Friday, July 30, 2010

Organic meat, eggs, cheeses, and produce is a wonderful thing. It's better for you and for the environment too. But it's not always better for your wallet. The struggle is trying to make healthier choices for your family while not doubling the grocery bill! How to make it all fit into your budget?

I found some recommendations on what produce is more "susceptible" to pesticides and what produce is a little safer to purchase without it being organic.

Here's the summary of recommendations from the Environmental Working Group and the Organic Center's dietary risk-index scores. The research bases the ratings on residual pesticides as well as the level toxicity of that pesticide.
The produce is listed in descending order of risk

Buy Organic As Often As You Can:

Bell Peppers
Imported Grapes

The Cleaner Options:

Sweet Peas
Sweet Potatoes

*I guess I have my own opinion on this though... the tomatoes. I feel like the thinness of the skin and the level of pesticides used in our particular area lends itself to make it worth it to buy tomatoes organic if possible.


Easy Sweet Freezer Pickles!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

OK, so I'll admit it. I'm not a canner... at least not yet.
So, in the meantime, I have had to find a way to not only USE all these cucumbers my garden is producing but also how to STORE all these cucumbers.
Thank goodness for Cucumber-Cream soup and now, Sweet Freezer Pickles!

So, here's how you make these UBER SIMPLE Sweet Freezer Pickles:

In a large saucepan, heat to boil:
2 cups vinegar
2 cups sugar
2 TBsp salt
2 TBsp mustard powder

Stir and set aside to cool slightly.
Thinly slice 8 medium sized cumbers and 2 medium onions.
In a very large bowl, cover cucumbers and onions with the liquid mixture.
Spoon vegetables and sauce into containers or zip bags and store in the freezer!

Yep, it's really that easy.
Now that's my kind of cookin'!


Where have all the eggs gone?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Woe is me... the chicken egg counts have been down - way down... for WEEKS. I just figured it was the heat, the stress from recent fox attacks, whatever...

Nope. We may have found the culprit in all our missing eggs.

Does it disturb anyone else how Courtney PROUDLY holds this gigant-o snake? ...and how he brought it in my kitchen!?

He found it in the north nest box curled up with a broody hen. I'm surprised she hadn't pecked his eyes out!


My Baby Boy is ONE!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

My baby boy is now officially ONE YEAR OLD. It's the end of a "baby era" here at the Goff house. At least, we believe it's the end of an era!
Garrett had his first birthday party here at the house with lots of friends and family! We indulged in cake (my first attempt at home-made marshmallow fondant) and ice cream, had fun with presents and playing, and then went off for naps so that everyone could return that evening for grilling out and some firework festivities!!



Practice with a Fondant Cake

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Garrett's 1st birthday is coming soon, and I decided this year that I would make his first cake using fondant... I guess that makes two firsts. I've been told home-made marshmallow fondant tastes sooooo much better than store-bought, and it's much cheaper too... especially if you're making a lot of it! Today was my first go and it went OK. Dyeing fondant seems to be the biggest challenge though (thus the tie dye pink ;-).

I used a home-made marshmallow fondant and here's how it goes:
*Grease counter with oleo (Crisco).
  1. Pour out 1/2 a bag of powdered sugar onto surface.
  2. In large greased bowl, pour a full bag of marshmallows (reg or min) and 1/2 Tbsp of water.
  3. Microwave in 30 sec increments stirring between until marshmallows melt (usually around 2 min).
  4. Pour melted marshmallow onto powdered sugar surface.
  5. Grease hands and knead. (This is a very messy process but also a little fun. Who doesn't love pla-dough!?)Work until pliable. If it becomes sticky, add more powdered sugar).
  6. Roll into ball, grease the ball with oleo, and wrap in saran wrap.
  7. Refridgerate to firm 4+ hours.
  8. Buttercream crumb-coat your cake before laying on fondant. Refridgerate an hour or so. When you remove, rub the edges to remove any excessive roughness.
  9. Roll to 1/4" thickness to lay over cake.
  10. Lay over cake. Gently rub and pull down to smooth out the sides from overlap. Trim bulk to aid in this process. Set aside bulk for dyeing later.
  11. To dye, knead the heck out of it with your gel dye (or reg dye). This will seem neverending. Mine never really did become a smooth color!

Below are pictures from our process:

Some handy tools to have around.

Sorry, no pics of MY fondant process... too messy. But here's the finished product ready to go to the fridge. Here's the YouTube How to video link I used though:

My favorite icing... Wilton's Buttercream below - for my filling and crumb coating above.
Grace picks out the practice cake colors. Pink and green of COURSE!
My white base layer of fondant layed on and tucked in around the 9" double layer cake.
Grace helped out cutting shapes and rolling balls!

The finished product:

Ready to eat!!


"Why?" "How come?"

Friday, June 18, 2010

I should have taken a picture of it. There it was, a big sign on the wall of The Magic House:

The average 4 year old
asks 437 questions a day.

It's 11:45 AM, and I am almost certain my 3 1/2 year old has already asked 436 questions. I have been told this phase was coming and that it was normal. I have been told that it's a good sign that they begin to ask sooooo many questions - it's a sign that they are learning.
Well, I am here to tell you that my kid is learning... a whole lot! I have heard parents complain, um, I mean discuss, how much their 4 and 5 year old asked questions... about how tiring it could be. I thought to myself then, "Yeah, that's probably a little annoying to answer questions all the time." I had no idea what they really meant though.
Sometimes, I honest to goodness get tired of hearing myself talk. I wish I would just shut up... but I can't because HERE COMES ANOTHER QUESTION! Oh my goodness.

Well, I am so thankful to have a happy healthy 3 1/2 year old, and I am thankful that she's here to ask all 437 questions a day... I just noticed that I haven't had to answer a question for the last 15 minutes... well, she is napping...


I'd like to be a buffalo at Grant's Farm

Monday, June 14, 2010

Our last day in St. Louis was another fun one. We packed up, checked out, and headed for one last park day at Grant's Farm. What a neat place to spend a couple of hours. It started out with a tram ride around half the park and then dropped us off at a "walk-around" area. This is where Grace got up close and personal with kids - the goat kind that is. We also saw chickens with hair (Crested Polish or something like that) and chickens with pants (feathers down their legs). I made note of these exotic dancing chickens and have a list started for our chicken farm! She also saw buffalo (boy do they have an easy life!), foxes, lemurs, camels, parrots, iguanas, elephants, and, of COURSE, Clydesdales. And once again, here are the pics to show a few...

Buffalo and their babes

Clean-up tub in one of the stall areas - we should have filled it and given her a bath right there. Her teeth were blue from her sno-one!

Getting up close and personal with a baby Clydesdale!
You can see momma Clydesdale in the background of this picture.
Well, it's all over now, but what fun we had... and what good memories Grace will have. We'll have to go back and do it all again in a few years when Garrett can live it up with her!
Happy Vacationing Everyone!


The Very Magical Magic House - St. Louis

Sunday, June 13, 2010

It was another great day here in St. Louis. We experience much magic at The Magic House! That place is HUGE and is loaded with activities for everyone from babies to elders! We absolutely wore ourselves out and were ready to relax that evening!

Garrett in "the oval office"

Lunch at The Picnic Basket in The Magic House
The mirror maze was fun

Grace built her own working set of gears
Floating on air balls fascinated Garrett

The bubble organ was a hoot

And when the day was over and Courtney and I were ready to collapse, THIS is what Grace was doing. No more monkeys jumping on the bed, girl!

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  • The Way They Learn - Tobias
  • Teaching the Trivium - Bluedorn
  • The Well-Trained Mind
  • Get Wisdom! - Ruth Younts
  • Little House on the Prairie series - Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • The Pursuit of Holiness - Jerry Bridges
  • Primal - Mark Batterson
  • Hipster Christianity - Brett McCracken
  • Gospel Powered Parenting - William P. Farley
  • Five Things Every Christian Needs to Grow - RC Sproul
  • When People are Big and God is Small - Edward T. Welch
  • Chosen by God - RC Sproul
  • The Discipline of Grace - Jerry Bridges
  • Radical - David Platt

Reading it Now!

  • The New Read-Aloud Handbook - Trelease
  • Honey for a Child's Heart - Gladys Hunt
  • Little House in the Big Woods - Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • Bringing up Boys - Dr James Dobson

Past Reads

  • The Three R's - Ruth Beechick
  • Mary Pride's Complete Guide to Homeschooling
  • What is a Healthy Church? - Mark Dever
  • What is a Healthy Church Member? - Thabiti M. Anyabwile
  • Feminine Appeal - Carolyn Mahaney
  • Shepherding a Child's Heart - Ted Tripp
  • Crazy Love - Francis Chan
  • When Life is Hard - James MacDonald
  • Food and Love - Dr. Gary Smalley
  • For Women Only - Shaunti Feldhahn
  • For Men Only - Jeff and Shaunti Feldhahn
  • The Gospel for Real Life - Jerry Bridges
  • Living the Cross Centered Life - CJ Mahaney
  • Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul by John and Stasi Eldredge
  • Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man's Soul - John Eldredge
  • Dare to Discipline - Dr. James Dobson
  • The No-Cry Sleep Solution - Elizabeth Pantley
  • Parenting is Not for Cowards by Dr. James Dobson
  • The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel
  • The Strong Willed Child by Dr. James Dobson

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