Obsession Number Six:  HootieMomma
A few years back I sat back, looking at some of the baby gifts my friend Shelli and I had received for our girls and thought, in true Charla fashion, I can do that!  I started looking into "boutique style" baby gifts and holy cow!  They were expensive!  Plush burp cloths were going for $10+ bucks a piece.  So, I broke out my sewing machine and started making my own creations.  I then ventured into the world of diaper cakes.  With a little nudge from Dustin I started listing my creations on ebay and after a couple of years of good success, I opened an Etsy shop and HootieMomma was born. 

There isn't a ton of time in my day to pour into HootieMomma, but I love spending naptime trying out new creations.  No, I'm not replacing any income with what I make, but it gives me some mad money, and I love the creative outlet it gives me.  Here are a couple of my most recent creations...
Large Framed Bow Organizer

Boys Initial T-Shirt

Classic Diaper Cupcakes

You can check out my Etsy shop here and see a larger collection of my work on my site, here. 

Obsession Number Five:  Farm Stand
Back in the spring I set a couple of green goals when my friend Megan at Sorta Crunchy issued a challenge with Project Spring Green.  My main goal was to stop accepting plastic shopping bags.  Well, I haven't been great at reaching that goal, but I set two, and my second goal is going really, really well.  50% success isn't THAT bad.  My second goal was to purchase the majority of our produce from local vendors.  I really wasn't sure how it would go, but I knew I wasn't overly excited with buying my fruits and veggies at my local super center.  Here is a little update.....I haven't purchased produce at the store in weeks and I'm absolutely loving it!  There is a small farm stand on the edge of town on the way to our house.  It has been in business in Grove for 7 years and tries to get as much produce from the 4 states area as possible.  They even carry some produce that isn't locally available like avacados and pineapples.  It is wonderful!  I'm totally addicted.  We have had yummy homemade fried okra, little red potatoes, larger starchy potatoes, strawberries and blackberries from local farmers, and the best peaches I've ever had.  I even got a delicious watermelon yesterday, and I'm not a huge watermelon fan.  Mix that with potatoes and corn from my parents garden and it makes for a delicious summer! 

Go here to find a local Farmer's Market near you. 

Obsession Number Four:  Freezer Series 2
I love to cook, I really do, but there are some days where we just have a lot going on or I'm just too tired to cook a full meal.  Some of those nights I make Dustin take me to the yummy Mexican resturant here, and some nights we order in a pizza, but some nights I turn to my freezer stash.  Tonight I'm going to share my spaghetti sauce recipe.  I know most of you probably have one that you love, but this one is really, really good and a whole batch of it will last 2 meals, plus a lunch worth of leftovers for our family of 3.  We eat from the batch, then I put the rest in a Ziploc bag, label it and throw it in the freezer.  It doesn't take up much room and is just as good the second time around.  You may need to let some of the excess liquid evaporate off when you heat it up the second time around, but I sure love freezer speghetti night.  The most difficult thing I do is boil water. 

1lb. ground beef
1/2 lb. bulk sausage
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves of chopped garlic
2 cans of diced tomatoes
15oz. tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
black pepper to taste
1 tsp. parsley
1 Tblsp. sugar
1 bay leaf
1 jar of your favorite jarred speghetti sauce

Brown the beef and sausage.  Add onions and garlic the last couple of minutes.  Drain excess fat.  Add everything else and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30-45 minutes (the longer the better).  Remove the bay leaf before serving.  Allow to cool before you move it a Ziploc bag for the freezer.  I like to use a large glass measuring cup to hold the Ziploc bag while I'm adding the sauce.  Enjoy! 

*This is my adaptation of a recipe found in Stir Ups, a cookbook from the Enid Junior Welfare League.*

Obsession Number Four:  Freezer Series 1
I knew I loved my deep freeze.  I used it all of the time, I mean, you have to have somewhere to store a summer's worth of ice cream, right?  Well, I guess I didn't know HOW MUCH I loved my freezer until I didn't have it anymore.  This little guy in the top of my fridge in the apartment really just isn't cutting it.  I miss my freezer.  I long for my freezer.  I made double the meals and stored one in my freezer.  I made KJ's baby food and stored it in my freezer.  I hoarded Braum's ice cream and stored it in my freezer.  I'm obsessed with my freezer.  I can't wait to get it back!  I do have a wee little bit of room here and I try to use it wisely.  Over time I'm hoping to share some of my favorite freezer obsessions with you.  Hopefully I can get some friends to help out (Nix9to5 now I'm looking at you!). 

I got today's freezer fav from good friend Donna Kates.  Donna has known me since way back in my FCCLA days and is a retired FACS teacher turned cookbook author.  I've had a couple of Donna's cookbooks for years and she focuses on economic dishes that are easy to prepare.  Perfect for today!  Each day she sends her friends on Facebook a recipe and this one popped into my inbox the other day.  Sounded good, but then I read where she wrote,

"Double this recipe and freeze for a quick breakfast. They are really good to pull out of the freezer on a hurried morning. Pop them in the microwave and they are ready to go. This is so much better for your budget than going up to a drive through window. Think about this for a complete breakfast. Split the biscuits and put in a spoonful or two of scrambled eggs and a slice of cheese."

My first breakfast freezer recipe.  I was sold.  So, I whipped up a batch during KJ's naptime and I am so glad I did.  They taste like sausage balls, but with more biscuit.  Soooo good!  Who doesn't like a sausage ball?  You show me that person and I will slap them in the face because they are from heaven those sausage balls.  But, since Dustin prefers bacon over sausage and I am the Wife of the Year, I decided to make a batch using bacon and those were yummy, too.  Here's the recipe...

8 oz. breakfast sausage
1 1/2 c. baking mix
1 c. grated cheddar cheese
1 egg, beaten
2 T. skim milk
In a large skillet, crumble and cook the sausage until done. Drain and rinse with hot water. Continue draining on paper towel. In a large bowl, mix the baking mix, cheese and cooked sausage. In a smaller bowl, beat the egg and milk. Pour the egg and milk mixture over the sausage mixture and blend. Shape into biscuits size pieces. Place on a baking sheet and bake at about 350 degrees for about 20 to 25 minutes.

Now, go forth, make biscuits, freeze and enjoy.  You'll thank me in the morning.

**Become a member of Donna's group on Facebook here, because who doesn't want a free recipe everyday?  You can also check out her cookbooks there.**

Obsession Number Three:  This Week For Dinner

Some of you know by now that Dustin bought a new home for my blog for Valentine's Day.  Now, instead of residing as part of the Blogger community, you can find me at http://www.charlasconfessions.com/.  Wow!  The process of building my own site is hard, especially for me being as technically challenged as I am.  As for now, I'm just linking my Blogger page to my new site.  I'll let you know when it is finally up and running. 

I thought it was time I added a new Obsession.  I really want these Obsessions to be something that I absolutely love and that is helpful to me, and today the Obsession is free!  It doesn't get much better than that! 

A few years ago I started menu planning.  Part of my reasoning was that I lived 20 miles away from the nearest grocery store and part of it was that I hated coming home and spending 15 minutes every night staring into the fridge and pantry trying to find all of the ingredients for whatever sounded good that night.  I created a menu for the week and made my grocery list accordingly.  I love not worrying about what we are going to have for dinner every night, but I've gotten where I hate actually making the menu.  I run out of ideas and feel like we have the same things over and over again.  I get frustrated and beg Dustin for his input, then normally, I don't like his ideas.  Typical woman, huh?  The menu isn't life or death.  There is usually one thing we don't end up having because life gets in the way and we end up grabing a Chicken Bacon and Swiss from Arby's.  Most weeks include one YoYo (Yo On Yo Own) night, but it is hard for Kennedy to browse the fridge and make her own dinner at the age of 2, so YoYo night is normally the night we go out to eat, have leftovers, or maybe even we'll munch on PB&J with carrot chips. 

In an effort to get out of a rut I started searching for recipes on the internet and ran into this week's Obsession.  This Week For Dinner is the blog brainchild of Jane Maynard.  She's just like the rest of us, a busy working mother and her blog is simple.  She shares her menu for the week, with recipes, and asks all of her readers to do the same.  The site has given me lots of ideas and is easy to read.  I browse it for 10-15 minutes every couple of weeks and pick up tons of ideas from Jane and her readers.  This week I'm trying her Bistro Chicken....

and an adaptation of her Oriental Chicken Salad.  And I think I may need to try these...

yum!  Look and search her site.  I'm sure you'll find lots of inspiration there, too. 


  1. I have a great idea . . . why don't you type up your weekly menus and share them with your sisters. That way, we can blog about our family's likes and dislikes, suggestions, etc. What a fantastic way to keep connected! r u sold?

  2. btw, that previous post was from Cindy.