Fire Pit Recipes (Good for Regular Grills Too!)

Hi all!  This post is a continuation of  my last one on quality time being a priority.  I hope you enjoyed reading it and learning how to make your own fire pit for under $100.  I thought I’d build on it and give you some of the recipes we used to break it in!

Bangin’ Bratwurst
12-24 bratwurst (we were serving 7 people and wanted leftovers for the next day or so)1-2 tablespoons of garlic powder
dutch oven
water to cover bratwurst

Put brats in the dutch over and add water.  Be sure the water is about an inch above the brats.  Add garlic.  Boil until the brats are grey-this can take 5-15 mins depending on if you boiled the water first or added the brats to cold water.  They should look like the brats on the left in the pic below.  Remove and place on a plate, platter or tray (you’ll be taking it to the grill).  Repeat the process if you have more brats.  They won’t take long to cook, so you may as well get them all out of the way.  Now get to grillin!  The brats should be turned one time and you’ll know they’re ready for turning when they turn the heavenly color on the right.  You may also hear the sizzle of the juices hitting the coals.
FB_IMG_1431809584307[1]On to the second recipe:

Awesome Onion Packet
See the foil pack on the grill?  It’s onions!  My parents have been cooking this every time they grill since they’ve gotten the recipe!  They always add potatoes to make a potato onion medley, but I was exhausted and was doing good to make the onions!  But I’ll include them in the recipe.

2 Vidalia onions, sliced into 1/4″ or 1/2″ rings, separated
3 pats of salted butter
black pepper (optional, to taste)
Aluminum foil
Potatoes sliced into 1/2″ pieces (you may want to add a little salt for flavor)

Fold your foil into a rectangle large enough to hold all of the ingredients.  If you mess up (like I did the first time) and make the rectangle too small, don’t worry.  Just cover it in another piece of larger foil or make another packet and distribute between the two foil packets.  Now, escort that beauty to the grill!  Depending on the heat of your grill, it could take 15-30 mins.  But if you add some music, friends and fun, it’ll seem like no time has passed at all!

I hope you enjoyed (and will enjoy) the recipes.  For a great dessert, check out my strawberry icebox cake.  It’s no bake and is done in a flash!  Have fun with the fam!

IMG_20140514_123621780Go ahead and make two, cuz believe me, it won’t last!
XO, Tonya

 

My Super Energy Drink! Only 3 Ingredients!

Hey y’all,
I have to share this recipe.  It’s something I’ve been drinking lately that’s improved my energy level like crazy!  It’s my chia seed energy drink.  I fill a glass with water, add about a teaspoon of chia seeds then add lemon or lime (sometimes both) and sugar to taste (optional).  Let them soak for about 20 minutes (go clean the kitchen or something-it’ll be worth the wait).  Now I’ll let you know up front, it’ll look weird.  It may even feel weird going down because of the seeds.  But I’m a cruncher (ice, crispy snacks, raw vegetables, hard candy, etc.) so I like crunching the little seeds.  It adds excitement and is like a prize for taking time to make my drink.  Check it out:

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I once found a 5lb bag of chia seeds for $8 in Ross (that was when they first emerged as a super food & everyone was all abuzz) but I didn’t want to invest in something I may hate.  So then when I finally took the dive, I couldn’t find them for less than about $4 for about 10-15oz!  *insert facepalm here*  But all was not lost!  I shopped around and now I get my chia seeds from Dollar Tree.  Yep!  DOLLAR TREE!  Tee hee!

There are other things you can put chia seeds in if you don’t like the texture of the energy drink:
yogurt, cereal, oatmeal, qinoa, salads/dressings, burgers (I guess, I really don’t know, but it would be kinda cool to try) or even muffins or cakes.  If you give it a try (or have tried already) give me a shout.  I’d like to know how it went.  To think, those little seeds we saw on the clay pots on the commercials were a superfood.  SMH.  S.M. H.! (*Here’s an article from the NY Times on how the whole chia seed phenomenon started!

Until next time!
XO, Tonya

Quality Time with Family is a High Priority (Fire Pit DIY Included)

I guess I should’ve titled this, “Quality Time with Family Should be a High Priority”, but I think I said it right.  Paying your bills, getting sleep or taking care of business in general are all high priority, but some feel it’s ok to shuffle them around in the mix.  The priority is still high, but what you choose to do is up to you.  I think it’s time to look at the definition:

Priority:
n. noun
1. Precedence, especially established by order of importance or urgency.
2. An established right to precedence.
3. An authoritative rating that establishes such precedence.

Notice that the definition says order of importance (#1) & rating (#3).  So is a priority a priority because you make it one?  Or is it because it just is?

Well, this weekend I closed my jewelry store in order to spend time with my parents and family.  We built my husband a fire pit.  He is IN LOVE!  He even named it Osceola after the mascot of his favorite college team, the Florida State Seminoles.  My dad recorded the whole thing (OH GOD…) and we had a great time.  The children had fun and we even had a late night marshmallow roast.  And can I tell you that it was better than using our old conventional grill?  No lugging it in and out of the garage, no running across the yard after the cover that tried to blow away and event he stinking HOA board can’t complain because it isn’t a permanent structure!  Here’s some pics of ours after it was all done.
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It was 7 bricks around and 3 rows high with an extra layer of smaller bricks for the lip.  We will upgrade by adding another row (or 2) and surround the bottom row with some more decorative slabs.  You could choose to put your bricks tighter, but we found the gaps gave off great light and just a little heat, which is great for cool nights.  We secure the grate in the daytime by putting 2 of the smaller bricks on either side as an anchor.  Greensboro has wind gusts that can lift glass inserts from picnic tables, so we decided not to chance it.  I mean who wants to run down a grate rolling through the neighborhood?  In my next post, I’ll share some great recipes for the fire pit.
Interested in making one of your own?  Here’s a video of how to do it yourself!
Until next time, have fun spending quality time with friends and loved ones.

XO, Tonya

Have a Longevity Outlook When it Comes to Parenting

A5Parents (moms especially) sometimes get upset over small, insignificant things. I’m just being real. Stuff like flipping out over a dirty counter, but not acknowledging the beautiful art made for me by the child who made the mess. Yes, I’ve done it. Our pastor calls it “majoring in the minors”. We’ve been programmed to strive for continual perfection in every area by our society. Instead, we should focus on significant things of all sizes. “Mommy look what I did!”, “Dad will you come to my game?” or “Can I invite my friends over?” are all doors of opportunity. These doors are ways to support and be an active part of your child’s live. It will also increase widen the body of their experiences. When we don’t walk through these open doors, we increase the chances of those doors being shut to us. Even more, we root importance and acceptance issues, not to mention feelings of isolation, when we aren’t there for our kids. That’s when they’ll recruit other people (who don’t always mean them well) to enter into their vulnerable places. When those opportunities to engage with your children arise, act on them. It’ll deter unwanted situations in their future.

You’ve just read an excerpt from my book!  Want to read more?  Grab a copy for yourself or a loved one today on Amazon.com.  If you’re in the Greensboro, NC area tonight you can see me at Artemis along with a few other local authors.  Expect food, fun and pampering.  It’s Girl’s Night Out at Artemis!  I hope to see you there.  If you can’t make it, let me know where you are and I’ll let you know when I’ll be in the area.  Thanks and try NOT to kill your kids before they turn 18!

A5Tonya Joyner is a wife, mother of three, speaker, author, educator, trainer & entrepreneur.  She believes laughter is good medicine & inserts a dose of humor into her delivery to ensure that education isn’t torture for the teacher or the student!  If you’d like to book Tonya to speak at your engagement, contact her here.

I owe you a Mom Tip! Here’s an Excerpt from my Book to ease the pain…

Man, it’s been a wild weekend!  Mother’s Day, graduations, a passed family member, turning in grades, whew!  So in all the hustle and bustle, I missed a Mom tip!  Well I decided to thrown in a little snippet from my book instead.  I hope you enjoy it!  Leave me your thoughts below.

Champions

Parents should be champions.  We must be masters of offense and defense at all times.  Being the watchman in front and the defenders in back.   I’m reminded of a prophet in the Bible, Nehemiah.  In Nehemiah Chapter 4:15-18 it reads (The Message Bible)

15-18 Our enemies learned that we knew all about their plan and that God had frustrated it. And we went back to the wall and went to work. From then on half of my young men worked while the other half stood guard with lances, shields, bows, and mail armor. Military officers served as backup for everyone in Judah who was at work rebuilding the wall. The common laborers held a tool in one hand and a spear in the other. Each of the builders had a sword strapped to his side as he worked. I kept the trumpeter at my side to sound the alert.

This is a picture you should remember.  This is what you’re doing.  You’re building up your kids while the world tries to tear them down through fear tactics, unruly behavior, lack of self-control, etc.  Too vague?  I’ll be more specific.  Lies, deceit, media hype, poor role models on TV, drinking, drugs (prescribed or not), premarital sex, bullying, kidnapping and well, you get the idea.  It’s a tough deal, but this is what we’ve signed up for.  However, I’ve written this book in hopes that it’ll help someone.
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You’ve just read an excerpt from my book!  Want to read more?  Grab a copy for yourself or a loved one today on Amazon.com.  If you’re in the Greensboro, NC area tonight you can see me at Artemis along with a few other local authors.  Expect food, fun and pampering.  It’s Girl’s Night Out at Artemis!  I hope to see you there.  If you can’t make it, let me know where you are and I’ll let you know when I’ll be in the area.  Thanks and try NOT to kill your kids before they turn 18!

A5Tonya Joyner is a wife, mother of three, speaker, author, educator, trainer & entrepreneur.  She believes laughter is good medicine & inserts a dose of humor into her delivery to ensure that education isn’t torture for the teacher or the student!  If you’d like to book Tonya to speak at your engagement, contact her here.

Listen to your Inklings

Have you ever had one of those days where you are just hit by an urge to do something, but you have no idea why?  Well, some call it intuition, some call it conscience but in my case, I call Him the Holy Spirit.  For instance, I’ve been avoiding putting air in my tires even though the warning on my dashboard says it’s due. My issue?  Being cheap.  Yep!  I think it’s ridiculous to pay for air.  I’m part of the generation where air for your tires was free.  Yes, FREE!  So no, I did not want to stop somewhere and pay a dollar for air. Okay, on a serious note I know that you have to pay the little people to use their machine. But back to the original topic.  What was the only reason I thought about it?  A little voice inside with telling me turn right instead of turn left. What was on the right? The gas station with free air! Now, I’d been trying to remember to do it when I drove by a Sheetz – for the last two months.  So you can see that I needed the little voice to chime in whenever possible!

Much of our lives have these kind of situations. We have things that we are avoiding or that slip our mind. So when the time is right, the little voice steps in and gives directions. So it is always in our best interest to listen.

Now let me add a disclaimer.  I’m not talking about people who walk around hearing crazy voices, or people know doggone well they should not be doing ridiculous things but do anyway because a little voice told them to. I’m talking about the still quiet voice of the Holy Spirit. I think the most interesting thing is that He’s doing great things inside of us even when we have no clue. There have been many times when I was told to pick up something from the store and just could not figure out why, just to later discover that a friend had a need for it.  And when you live 12 minutes away from a decent store like we do, it is indeed a blessing for someone to pick up something for you! So as you go about your day, be sure that you take that little voice seriously.  He’s looking out for you,  so listen out for Him!

Monday Mom Tip: Fighting Laziness

Have you ever known the right thing to do but just didn’t feel like it?  You know, knowing you should take out the trash or do the dishes and then the next day having to battle the stink?  So you would think that the next time you’d go ahead and deal with it instead of waiting, right?  Well, not always.  Ok, maybe I’m just talking about me here.

There are so many things that we avoid.  Call them what you will:  maintenance, tasks, chores, goals, whatever.  But at the end of the day, who are we really hurting most?  Ourselves and the ones we love.  But if we could just get a jump on those things that need attention, they won’t build up and overwhelm and crush us.  We were taught this lesson as children.  “Don’t let your work pile up”, “strike while the iron is hot”, “the early bird gets the worm”.  As we got older, the natural progression should’ve been that we could handle more because we learned to carry the former load along with the load each new year brought.

Well, some of us don’t have that testimony!  Some of us snuck away (bailed), lied, hid, procrastinated, threw someone else under the bus or one of my favorites “cleverly delegated” to some unsuspecting individual.  It works for the moment, but eventually, someone has to pay the piper.  So what did we do? (those of us who chose to put the grown up undergarments on, anyway)

We got serious.  We got organized.  We sucked it up!  We pulled out planners, calendars, apps and alarms.  We started using auto-draft, Outlook, ColorNote and sticky notes!  We became more responsible (albeit sometimes pouty and pitiful) grownups.

Don’t get me wrong, we’re not perfect and we may slip and fall (aka pay a late charge or a reconnect fee) but we’re here and we’re proud that we are no longer lifetime members of Club Lazy!  So raise your fists in victory my brothers!  Shout and dance my sisters!

Ok, who am I kidding?  Being a grownup is overrated and we all just want to take a nap.  Live it up kids, your clock is ticking…