Butternut Squash Casserole

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This butternut squash casserole is a nice change for holiday meals from the usual sweet potato casserole. I love root vegetables so this Christmas, I made this and a sweet potato casserole and I may make both this Easter too!

I got this recipe from my neighbour Christie who got it from her mother-in-law Val who got it from her aunt or cousin or something like that. That’s one of the signs of a great recipe…one that gets passed along and changed in little ways by each person who add their own little touches! I changed the recipe just ever so slightly to make it gluten free.

gluten free Butternut Squash Casserole - perfect for holiday meals!

I know that the picture doesn’t look that appetizing, but if you read the ingredients, you’ll see the oodles of deliciousness this has in store. Squash, butter, sugar, pecans, evaporated milk…heck, it’s practically dessert!

3 cups mashed cooked butternut squash
3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
5 oz. evaporated milk
pinch of salt

1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. melted butter
1/2 cup gluten free Rice Krispies, crumbled

Mix the top ingredients together and put into a 9×13 pan or casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Mix the topping ingredients together in a small bowl. Add the topping and put it back into the oven for another 10 minutes.

This recipe doubles well.

If you are looking for other gluten free recipes, you may be interested in following my Gluten Free Recipes Board on Pinterest.

Obstacles That Keep Me From Being the Mom I Want to Be

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I have already explained why I began my quest to stop yelling at my kids, shared some updates and truths along the way. Lately, my challenge hasn’t been going as well as it was. I have barely managed to keep myself from yelling. Harsh words have crept into my talks with the kids here and there. It’s a slippery slope.

I’ve made some observations along the way and come up with some things that are obstacles for me in success with this challenge. Your obstacles may be different than mine. The key is to identify what they are for you and to eliminate them when possible.

Obstacles That Keep Me From Being the Mom I Want to Be

I know the mom I want to be and that is a mom that encourages and builds up her children. I heard a quote once that the way you talk to your children becomes their inner voice and I saw it again just the other day. What a powerful reminder of why it is so important to speak praises and positive truths to my precious little ones.

Here are some of the obstacles that stand in the way of me being the mom I want to be:

Obstacle #1: My phone

Checking my phone for e-mails, replying to texts, checking social media sites…my phone is a distraction. It prevents me from being in the moment with my kids. Me being distracted makes it easy for me to feel annoyed when I am interrupted. Having my phone in my hand is an obstacle.

Talking on the phone (which I don’t do often) is another obstacle as my kids tend to misbehave badly when I’m on the phone. They also interrupt, ask me for things they know I would normally say no to, and get into more arguments with each other than they normally would.

I see these 2 phone situations as very separate. In the first, where my phone is a distraction and impedes good parenting. I need to make changes to ensure that when I’m with my kids, my focus and attention is on them. In the second scenario when I am on an actual phone call, my kids do need to learn not to interrupt or misbehave and it is my job to teach them that calmly and consistently. Calmly being the word that fits into this topic of not yelling!

Solution: Put my phone away when I am with the kids. Turn my ringer off whenever possible. Teach the kids that when I am on an actual phone call, they need to be respectful and behave accordingly.

Obstacle #2: My food

I have a tendency not to eat breakfast and not to eat healthy food in general. I make sure that my kids are getting plenty of fruits and vegetables but I don’t take the time to eat well myself. Hungry mom=grouchy mom!

I need to work on taking better care of myself (author of self-care book hangs her head in shame!) so that I am better able to take care of my kids. It’s simple in theory but actually practicing it is another story.

Solution: Pre-plan by having food available that is easy for me to grab in a hurry. This means baking some muffins to have in the freezer for fast breakfasts, having fruit and vegetables washed and cut, and buying groceries that I know that I will actually eat.

Obstacle #3: My spare time

At night after the kids are in bed, I like to watch TV. It helps me turn my brain off. It enables me to do other things like blogging or paperwork or homeschool planning while I watch a show.

Here’s the thing though…I love to read! I love to read and find it relaxing and energizing but I rarely do it anymore because I can’t read and do other things at the same time. Instead of spending my spare time actually relaxing, I tell myself that I am relaxing because I’m watching TV, but I’m actually still working while just providing myself some background noise. This is another example of poor self care.

When I don’t re-energize in the evenings, I’m already running on empty when I start the next day. This makes it hard to have enough patience with my kids.

Solution: Get more organized so that I can accomplish more on a few select evenings and set aside evenings each week that are reserved for things that re-charge me such as a date night with The Husband, getting together to talk or laugh with friends, going for a walk, or reading in my bathtub.

Obstacle #4: My unfinished projects

I am usually drowning under paperwork and projects, with more ideas than I have time to complete. My to-do list is longer than I could complete in a year and some days, the clutter in the house feels like it could choke me. This all makes me feel overwhelmed. Feeling overwhelmed is like kryptonite for a mom who is trying not to yell.

Solution: Find a way to tackle some of the most pressing items on my to do list so that I can be more present and less stressed when I am with my kids. I don’t know quite how I’m going to accomplish this but I will start by not taking on any new projects until the ones I have already started are more under control.

Obstacle #5: Guilt and Comparison

It’s a vicious cycle. When I yell or say something I later regret or don’t handle a situation the way I wish I would have, I feel guilty, really guilty. This guilt eats at me and whispers things in my ear about what a bad mom I am, about how I don’t deserve the kids I have, about how every other mom is better than I am, about how much I stink at this parenting thing. Those whispers and negative thoughts only lead me to being an even worse mom.

I am of the philosophy that children do better with praise and encouragement than criticism, so why do I not hold that philosophy when it comes to how I speak to myself?

Comparison is another trap that stands in the way of me being the mom I want to be. I have strengths and weaknesses and they are different than the strengths and weaknesses of others. I need to embrace the way God made me and stop trying to live up to an unrealistic expectation I put on myself to be as good at everything as I perceive others to be. Comparison robs me of joy, which therefore robs my kids of having a cheerful mom.

Solution: The solution seems easy. I need to stop comparing myself, love the me that God created me to be and show myself forgiveness and grace when I make mistakes. Unfortunately, it’s harder to practice than it is to say but I’m working on it.

What obstacles are standing in the way of you being the mom you want to be?

Gluten Free Easter Treats

(This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosure policy.)

Easter is another one of those times when as a parent of a child on a gluten free diet, I have to watch him miss out on many of the treats that others get to enjoy. I try to think of ways that he can enjoy fun food for holiday celebrations. These gluten free Easter Eggs are really simple but are major kid pleasers!

Gluten Free Easter TreatsTo make these, you need:

  • plastic eggs
  • gluten free Rice Krispies
  • mini marshmallows
  • butter or margarine (if you use margarine and dark chocolate, then these will also be dairy free)
  • chocolate (I used milk and white chocolate chips)*
  • sprinkles or decorating sugar

*Note: Most chocolate chips are gluten free but you should still double check the label.

Wash the plastic eggs really well and dry them. Add 1/2 cup of margarine or butter and 5 1/2 cups of mini marshmallows to a large bowl. Melt in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring after. When the marshmallows have melted (this will take between 2 and 4 sessions of being in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time depending on your microwave), stir in 6 1/2 cups of gluten free Rice Krispies. You can also make the Rice Krispie mixture on the stovetop if you prefer not to use the microwave.

Using the plastic eggs, scoop the mixture into the plastic eggs and close them.

Allow them to harden somewhat and then remove from the plastic eggs and place in an empty egg carton. Melt chocolate and dip the tops of the eggs in chocolate and then dust them with sprinkles, placing them carefully back into the empty egg carton.

Put the egg carton in the fridge or freezer to allow the chocolate to harden.

I used different sizes of plastic eggs to make mine which of course led to a bit of bickering over which of the kids would get the largest egg but we settled it by giving it to our friends!

gluten free Rice Krispie Easter eggsNow of course if you want to simplify things even more, you can simply make the same Rice Krispie mixture, press it into a greased pan and while it is still not set, add sprinkles to the top. This still gives a bit of a festive flair to your squares but takes much less time!

simple gluten free Easter treat

If you are looking for other gluten free ideas, you may be interested in checking out my Gluten Free Freezer Meals Series or following my Gluten Free Recipes Board on Pinterest.

Get Equipped Homeschool Giveaway

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I love being able to offer my readers the chance to win helpful resources! Many homeschoolers are living on one income and being able to save money is always a welcome opportunity. This particular giveaway is giving away $600 in prizes to 10 winners. Good luck!

Attention homeschoolers! Looking for resources, encouragement, and training for next school year? This giveaway has some great resources to get you started. We’re giving away $600 in prizes.

Get Equipped! Homeschool Giveaway - 10 winners, $600+ in prizes. Ends 4/19/14

8 Winners Will Get…

  • A live stream pass to the Family Discipleship and Homeschooling Conference (worth $29.95)
  • Two year-long handwriting workbooks—print and cursive—that help kids memorize a long text of Scripture, and a 30-day family Bible study that delves deeply into that same passage (worth $17.50)

2 Grand Prize Winners Will Get…

  • All the prizes mentioned above
  • A year-long subscription to Lessontrek’s lesson planning app (worth $60).



One-year subscription of Lessontrek’s lesson planning app (2 Winners)

Sponsor: Lessontrek


Lessontrek is a better and modern web application for online lesson planning for the homeschool, private, and public school teacher. Lessontrek helps parents create lesson plans quickly and easily. In just a few minutes you can setup your school year and subjects, create lessons and assignments, record grades, and more. Their handy drag-and-drop system makes reordering lessons easy.

“I like how you can organize the subjects, set up the school based on whenever you start and take breaks. I also like how easy it is to use and create the subjects, assignments and color code everything.” – Gretchen (Colorado)

Lesson trek is giving two Grand Prize winners a year subscription ($60 value for each).


Livestream Pass to the 2014 Family Discipleship and Homeschool Conference (10 Winners)

Sponsor: Christian Heritage

Live Stream Main Prize Image

Live stream Ken Ham to your living room! Enter to win a Live Stream Pass to 2014. Family Discipleship & Homeschooling Conference. 10 WINNERS!

Watch the preview video at http://bit.ly/1hea4QB

From the comfort of your own home, join thousands of other homeschoolers for two full days of hope, encouragement and inspiration. The live stream of the 2014 Family Discipleship and Homeschooling Conference will present something for every member of your family:

  • Fathers will be called to loving, servant leadership and faithful discipleship in the home by looking to their heavenly Father for the perfect example of fatherhood they never had.
  • Mothers will be encouraged with a fresh perspective on the big-picture “why” behind the daily routine of motherhood, as well as practical tips for keeping the “homeschool routine” from turning into the “homeschooling rat-race.”
  • Young adults and children will be prepared to engage the culture for Christ with a biblical view of history, science and defending the faith.

Through the lineup of dynamic speakers and practical sessions, you will be equipped to fulfill your great calling in life: making disciples of Jesus Christ – one child at a time.

One-year handwriting curriculum and accompanying family Bible study (10 Winners)

Sponsor: Intoxicated On Life

Philippians ESV Family Bundle

This bundle of resources is aimed at helping kids memorize and understand a longer text of Scripture—in this case, Philippians 2:1-18, the Apostle Paul’s great hymn to Christ celebrating his incarnation, death, and exaltation. The bundle comes with two handwriting workbooks—print and cursive—which provide a year’s worth of handwriting practice, vocabulary words, and dictation practice. The bundle also comes with a 30-day family Bible study and Scripture memory cards. All of these resources are centered on Philippians 2.

Intoxicated On Life is giving 10 winners this family bundle, each one priced at $17.50.

Enter the giveaway below!

This homeschool giveaway runs from April 10 to 19. Enter below and don’t forget to share this great opportunity with your friends!