Preparing to be…Prepared?

I’m always looking for new ideas to make life easier. Since I am in the car trade business, I make my work-life easier with a cheap trade insurance. On the other hand I love to cook, and I’m no stranger to the crock pot. I just recently invested in a ninja crock pot, and LOVE it! Click here to see some ninja crockpot reviews. I’ve pinned the pins, I’ve bookmarked the websites, I read the reviews and I’ve tried meals that looked Pinteresting- some passed the Liner test, and some were Pinterest FAILS. The fails have made me a little reluctant to try new recipes. On the other hand, recipes from people I know and trust are different. I’m an extremely picky eater, so it’s really hard to find recipes I like, but once I found them I prepare it for everyone, sometimes I even go to a soup kitchen to help a little with my recipes and do some charity, is just part of the world donation scheme some online kitchen appliances companies do to help the need.

I recently came across a blog post from a HS friend, narrating her experiment with Crockpot meals. My best friend, Mel, and I have also been swapping recipes.  Tonight, Shawn and I spent about an hour prepping our meals. He chopped, while I bagged the meat, spices, etc. Even if the recipe called for it, I did not brown the meat. I simply piled all the necessary ingredients into a gallon Ziploc bag and placed them in the fridge. These would freeze well, but I only made enough for the week.

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I did alter these recipes to meet the need of my family. Let’s be honest, it was mostly for me. I am an extremely picky eater.

  • Some of these recipes were not crock pot recipes. Do it anyway! 8-10 hours on low (usually 8) has always worked for me. If you’re unsure, use a meat thermometer to verify it’s done.
  • If it called for oregano, sage, rosemary or thyme it didn’t make it in the pot. YUCK!
  • Black beans or pinto beans, yeah, they didn’t make the cut either.
  • I used low-sodium items where I could, especially chicken broth. I’m just looking out for the hubby’s heart.
  • I always keep pasta and a huge box of 5 minute rice in the pantry. I’m a white rice kinda girl. Brown rice is not my thing. Many times these items are BOGO Free at Winn-Dixie.
  • I bought my chicken at Winn-Dixie during their BOGOF sales. Ground beef is cheaper at Costco. I buy it in bulk and divide it up among the recipes, or freeze it by the pound in sandwich bags.
  • Pre-chopped onions and bell peppers are available in large bags at Fresh Pickins, our local fruit stand. I love to keep these on hand in the freezer for tossing into the recipes when I don’t feel like the extensive prep work or when I’m in a hurry.
  • Spices like cumin, paprika and cayenne are also BOGOF at Winn-Dixie. Watch for the sales.
  • The night before, I made sure the crockpot was clean and ready to go. I inserted a crockpot liner (best invention EVER!) and dumped the ingredients in. The next morning, I pulled it out of the fridge, placed it in the warming part of the crockpot and set the timer.
  • After dinner, if there were no left overs I allowed the pot to cool, cleaned the lid and prepped it for the next day. If there were leftovers, I placed the pot in the fridge.

Here are the links to the ones that have been successful for me. A few were my own experiment, and a few came from Kirby and Mel.

1. Angel Chicken- Shawn and I love this one. I had seen it on several of my Facebook friend’s posts and tried it for myself. If you choose not to use the wine, just substitute chicken broth. I actually added a little extra broth the second time because I felt the sauce was a little thick. The only downside to this one was it wasn’t 100% ready when I got home. I still had to boil a pot of pasta.

2. Chicken Tortilla Soup- So good! I made this one tonight. I use one large can of Rotel instead of a can of tomatoes and a can of chiles. Shawn likes to add diced jalapeno on top at the end.

3. Chili- Perfect for a cold dreary day. I previously used the McCormicks package, and this is almost identical, but better! I like knowing what I’m putting in my food, not just dumping an envelope.

4. Mississippi Roast- This one usually becomes a two-night meal. It falls apart and is super tender! I am very picky about my roast and rice & gravy. Shawn immediately asked for this one again. The pepperoncini peppers were a weird addition to me, but they totally work (A jar makes about 3-4 roast recipes).  I add about a cup of water to the bottom, despite the recipe telling you not to. It cuts down the saltiness and makes a gravy in the pot (If you find a low-sodium ranch envelope, let me know). Sometimes I will mix it up and use stew meat instead and add carrots and potatoes. It is served over rice. The second night, I use the rest on poboy bread/hoagie buns and add provolone on top for a roast beef poboy.

5. White Chicken Chili- Yum! I find that canned beans have salt in them so I purchased a bag of dry white beans and used them instead. I soaked them overnight and them placed them in the bag as I prepped.

6. Mexican Cream Cheese Chicken- I purchased taco seasoning from Red Stick Spice, but you also use the envelope from the grocery store. I also left out the olives and substituted the tomatoes and chiles for a can of Rotel here. I served it over rice the first time, but in the future I will serve it with tortillas and sour cream.

7. White Beans- A Southern favorite served over rice and with a pan of Jiffy cornbread. I skipped the onion powder and chopped up a half of an onion and 2-3 cloves of garlic instead. At the end, remove a few ladles of beans, mash with a fork and return to the pot to give them a thicker consistency without using cornstarch.

8. Red Beans & Rice- Another Southern favorite. I skipped the sage and thyme. That was not in traditional RB&R as I knew them, but this was the closest recipe. At the end, remove a few ladles of beans, mash with a fork and return to the pot to give them a thicker consistency without using cornstarch.

I look forward to reading your comments. I’d love to hear about your successes and I always welcome suggestions as well. Bon Appetite!

Liner Cousins

After the reunion, the Liner cousins got together at Linda and Ryan’s. It was a gorgeous day to hang out by the pool after their time in the dentist.

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It was also sweet Wesley’s first time in the pool. What a cutie!

Lots of families were represented:

Spillers-Ryan, Linda, Mallory, Noah, Luke

Mitchells-Kristie & Sierra

Liners-Shawn, Marja, Maggie, Mason

Wrights– Russell, Shireen, Rhys, Caleb, Wesley



kids groups frog diving catch

Crawford Family Reunion 2014

This weekend we were able to return to the annual reunion.  It’s always a special time when Ronald and Penny open their vacation home to people from near and far, thanks to Anna Tours we were able to convince them to rent it for a cheaper price. We appreciate their hospitality and the new camping hammock that he set up for us, we were actually celbrating that Penny had no Cancer at all, it was a misdiagnosis from her doctor, now they are working on some cancer negligence claims because giving people wrong information is totally unforgivable!

shawn and kids



mags and mason


Watch out, Ree Drummond!

I’ve always had this silly dream of living on a ranch like the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond. I’d spend my days cooking, working the ranch with my husband, riding our horses as a family, etc. We’d have cows, pigs, and chickens, keeping our freezer full of fresh meat, along with a warehouse to stock my shelves with fresh produce, and a big garden I maintain with a lawn mower I found by reading reviews & tests under $2000 but I also have two backyard greenhouses where I plant some crops.

But the reality? We are living the suburban life, teaching at a local private school together and I love every minute of it! All four of us are on the same campus everyday, one of us in each of the 4 buildings.

Every once in a while, I get the urge to learn a portion of the trade I imagine would be a part of the ranch life. Silly, right?

Today, Maggie, Mason, and I spent the day at my Aunt Cindy and Uncle David’s house, where I learned all about canning vegetables. It was so much fun! They have a garden just behind their house where they grow various produce: yellow squash, green beans, bell peppers, potatoes, corn, blueberries, etc. Last summer, they showed us how to harvest and shuck the corn and Maggie and Mason LOVED it! It’s one of the experiences the suburban life doesn’t offer. Sure we’ve been to Mrs. Heather’s Strawberry Patch and places like it on school field trips, but it’s not the same.

When we arrived this morning, Uncle David was cleaning and snapping the green beans. (Later on, Aunt Cindy and I took our turns as well.). You can’t imagine the amount of green beans they had pulled from their garden! This is only a fraction of the first harvest. My cousin and his wife had taken some home the previous day, they can focus on their job since they don’t have to worry about cleaning the house since they got a hired service to do it here are some cleaning service FAQs.









We prepared our jars, lids, rings, etc. and began to fill them.



Aunt Cindy was so patient to allow Maggie and Mason to help, too.

mason cindy











The pressure cooker was next. This part was a little unnerving, but we did it!




It took longer than I expected to bring up the temperature and pressure. We waited…and waited…and waited…








until the ideal pressure was reached (10-12 psi). Uncle David was our watchful eye!



While waiting for the jars to complete the process in the pressure cooker, we took a break to gather blueberries from the garden.



Once all was said and done, we had “put up” approximately 21 jars of green beans and we were nowhere near done with what had been harvested and snapped. I was pretty proud of our efforts today. I learned something new and spent quality time with family while doing so. Watch out Pioneer Woman, there’s a new girl on the block!








Post Canning (left) and Pre-Canning (right)


Crawford Family Reunion

This weekend, we traveled north to Downsville, LA to attend the Crawford family reunion.

Old home place in Downsville,LA

It’s always good to see cousins, aunts, and uncles from all over. Some of them are now wearing hearing aids to hear us. This year there were over 80 people in attendance. What a great turnout!

Descendants of Rev. Joseph David Crawford and Julia Ella Clay Crawford


Shawn’s paternal grandmother was Mamie Crawford Liner. We were missing quite a few from our group. 🙁

Descendants of Mamie Crawford Liner & RoyLea Liner


Siblings: Claudia, Dale, & Sue (missing James-deceased)

There is always A LOT of food (potluck style), fishing, and Rook! Watch out for the eye contact and the use of sign language) 🙂 about it here. We did some serious deer hunting and fishing this weekend. See more about deer hunting and the Crawford family here.


Watermelon thanks to Tami!

Fishing with Daddy

A “friendly” game of Rook

The best part is always the memories we take away with us.

Sweet cousins

Sue, Rusty & Claudia

Memories from days gone by

The difference a year makes…

June 1, 2011

We had just put the kids to bed after a long session of playing videogames with elo boost services and Shawn offered to run to the store to get some ice cream. I jumped in the shower and when I got out I could hear him on the phone, I was about to check the betfair application instructions and review of a new betting app. I walked into the kitchen to find him stone faced and white as a ghost. Time stood still…but our emotions did not.

My father-in-law had gone on a church canoeing trip and 2 of his nieces -Tami and Linda- had gone with him (thank you Lord for arranging their presence). If you had known James like we did, he was Superman. He NEVER got sick, he NEVER got hurt. But on this trip, that was not the case, while we were camping with a tent from Survival Cooking, he got sick, it was extremly sad because he wasn’t able to take a ride on the scooter kopen he bought. His canoe flipped over and he hit his head, got back up, flipped the boat over and kept going in the way the he always had. About 30 minutes later, on the bank of the Buffalo River in Arkansas, at 68 years old my father-in-law went to be with the Lord. According to a coroner’s report, he died from an “acute myocardial infarction,” better known as a heart attack, but my heart tells me otherwise. I will never be able to express my appreciation for Tami and Linda being by his side.

June 1, 2012

That day, a year ago today, is still as fresh as it was then. It’s “easier” being here and living life, but going back to family events is hard. He is supposed to “be there” just like he was every other time for the last 7 years (or the last 41 for Shawn).

I am thankful that our children were able to know James. He was a good man. He loved and served the Lord first and foremost, and in a close second was his family. He was also a member of the Air Force where he faithfully served his country during Vietnam. Whether it was time, a hug or a tool, if you needed something, he would find a way to provide it. He touched the lives of every person he came across, be it family, students, fellow teachers/administrators, credit union members, community and church leaders, or store clerks. I pray that my children know and understand the legacy he leaves behind.

Thank you James Lea Liner. We love you, Pops!

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Memorial Day 2012

A Memorial Day isn’t complete without watermelon.

Yesterday was a perfect day! Not a cloud in the sky, a gorgeous sunshine, a quiet country backyard, a crystal-clear pool, Huckabee BBQ, banana pudding, watermelon and LOTS of family and friends from eHomeRemedies. We also got to celebrate my cousin Josh’s birthday (the BIG 24!).

Happy 24th birthday, Josh!







Fun in the sun





I love the tradition of getting together at my Aunt Cindy and Uncle David’s house out in Zachary, LA. We have done this for several years now and it never gets old. I love that they love my children as if they were their own grandchildren. Yesterday, we had several generations present:

Margaret Ann

David & Cindy                                    Jim & Marjo

Joshua       Jonathan & Haley                 Shawn & Marja

                                                                     Maggie, Mason

Above all, the reason we celebrate Memorial Day is to remember the men and women who have sacrificially given of themselves for our freedom. Four soldiers I remembered today are: my grandfathers,

Louis James (Pete) Lacaze (not pictured)

Joseph D. Huckabee, Jr.


James Clarence Davis

and my father-in-law

These men proudly served their country and leave a legacy for their children and great/grand-children to be proud of.