Best Cinnamon Rolls

Best Cinnamon Rolls

We come from a baking family and I like to think we know a little something about cinnamon rolls.  I have great memories watching my mother roll out sweet dough in a large rectangle and smearing butter with her bare hands before she sprinkled cinnamon and sugar over it.  It was pure love and I felt that the minute I had my first bite of her amazing rolls.

Interestingly enough, this isn’t a family recipe, or even one that I’ve had for very long.  But I know a good cinnamon roll when I see one and this recipe is one of the best.

I have a friend named Hal who is unassumingly the best baking/cooking man I know.  He always wins the church Chili cook-off’s this time of year, and can make a mean grilled flatbread pizza or two.  But the man is absolutely amazing at baking. And I have a special draw to him because he’s seriously good at it.  We’ve had many conversations about food and I don’t think there’s anything more wonderful to talk about.  I’m quite certain his family is the luckiest because he loves to cook and bake so much for them.

So I am very excited to share his recipe with you, with a few slight modifications of my own which is why I think I can call this cinnamon roll recipe, the best.  Enjoy!

Best Cinnamon Rolls {2}

Best Cinnamon Rolls
  • DOUGH:
  • 4 cups whole milk (yes whole)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 4 cups bread flour (Be sure it’s bread flour and you’ll be adding about 8-9 cups once you’re done)
  • 2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup cinnamon (more or less depending on preference)
  • ICING:
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 lb. powdered sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tsp. almond extract (imitation is fine, too)
  • enough milk to make icing spreadable
  1. Scald or scold milk (I stand over it and call it bad names). Add sugar and shortening and continue heating until shortening is melted. Cool slightly. In a large bowl, mix flour, instant yeast and salt. Pour hot milk mixture in with dry ingredients. Mix well. Add 4 eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each. Add additional flour, 1 cup at a time, until dough is sticky, not stiff and dry (approximately 8-9 cups once you are done) Allow dough to rise to double. Punch down. Let rise again. On floured counter top, roll dough to oblong strip approximately 12 to 14 inches wide, 3 feet long, and 1/2-inch thick. Pour melted butter and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on entire dough area. Roll dough, carefully tucking bread tightly around itself. Cut rolls by using dental floss to slice through the rolls at about 1 inch thick per roll. Place on sprayed jelly roll pan or use 2 9 x 13 pans. Aside from spray, you can also use a parchment/foil combination (found at Walmart and seen in photos) so your dough doesn’t stick. Carefully place the rolls down and being sure to tuck in the monkey tail of each roll. Let sit and rise while oven is preheating. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Prepare icing and frost after about 15 minutes after cooling down.

Best Cinnamon Rolls {3}

You Stay at Home?


So, I was going to post a pretty awesome Sweet Cinnamon Roll Recipe this week, But to be honest, I’ve been a little preoccupied.  It’s Fall Break for my kids and well, it’s been busy, We’ve been adventuring at least once or twice a day, heading to the park or an activity that I hope they’ll remember.  And we’ve been staying up on other things like practicing piano, and reading for school, and tidying our home so it’s peaceful here.

It’s been work.  And I’m not going to tell you I’ve loved every second of it, but I am going to tell you that I love being a mother.  It’s a choice I’ve made, and it’s more important to me than anything in the world.  Yes, I have a business.  Yes, my life is filled with many things, but I am choosing to focus my greatest effort, my greatest work, on the raising of my children.

I read an article that really touched me this morning.  I’ve read several of these kinds of articles in the last year or so.  I’ve pinned them on Pinterest and made sure I’m cataloging them in my hat of tricks for when I have to defend myself or explain to someone why I chose to have FIVE children.  (Yes, FIVE!) and if it’s really possible to be successful running a business, serving in my church, and being a good mother all at the same time.

I try. And most days I do alright.  And most days, I’m happy that I chose to stay at home with my children.  There are days I wish I DIDN’T have a business or DIDN’T have outside experiences that take me away from my sweet husband and children. But I will go to my grave saying that the greatest work I’ve ever done, is raising, nurturing, teaching, loving, building and blessing my children.

Here’s the article for you to read.  I hope you LOVE it as I did. (Press the link)

“You’re a Stay-At-Home Mom?  What do you DO all day?” 

What resonated with me?  Love that he said this…

“This conversation shouldn’t be necessary. I shouldn’t need to explain why it’s insane for anyone — particularly other women — to have such contempt and hostility for “stay at home” mothers. Are we really so shallow? Are we really so confused? Are we really the first culture in the history of mankind to fail to grasp the glory and seriousness of motherhood? The pagans deified Maternity and turned it into a goddess. We’ve gone the other direction; we treat it like a disease or an obstacle.

The people who completely immerse themselves in the tiring, thankless, profoundly important job of raising children ought to be put on a pedestal. We ought to revere them and admire them like we admire rocket scientists and war heroes. These women are doing something beautiful and complicated and challenging and terrifying and painful and joyous and essential. Whatever they are doing, they ARE doing something, and our civilization DEPENDS on them doing it well. Who else can say such a thing? What other job carries with it such consequences?”

The whole article is fantastic. I love it and had to share it.  I believe in mothers!  And I believe our society will crumble the minute we adopt the idea that being JUST a mother has no eternal value.

Mother in Waiting


Occasionally we get emails that really touch our hearts.  This one in particular struck a chord.

Hi Katie and Ginny,

My name is Marlous and I absolutely love your blog and headbands! 

I’m writing you because my husband and I are in love with our new baby.
I’m not pregnant, we’re adopting and are just getting started… we could use all the help we can get.

As you stated in one of your blogs the most powerful and meaningful experience you’ve had is to be able to be a mother and nurture your children! I would love to be able to share in that experience and can not wait until the time comes!

I grew up in the Netherlands and Thomas ( my husband ) is from North Carolina. We met while we were doing missions with YWAM in Canada and Africa. Being from two different countries we did the whole long distance relationship thing for a while… Then I immigrated to the United States and we got married in 2009! 

After 4 years of infertility we are adopting a baby and are doing lots of fundraisers at this moment to help us with the cost of the adoption. We are looking to get the word out to people about ways to help support us. 

At this moment we are selling my handmade jewelry on Etsy and local craft fairs, my husband does graphic design and photography and we’ve just done a family fun fundraiser including vendors, food, a bounce house, face painting, and live music.

Please let me know if you are interested in being part of our journey, we would really appreciate it!

Interested?  Absolutely.  But unfortunately this post has taken 3 months for me to write because I wanted to give it the adequate forethought and attention it deserves.

You see, Adoption holds a special little place in our family.  Sometime we may share the significance it has played in our lives, but for now, we hope you take our word for it.

I love Marlous already, and I’m quite certain she is going to make an excellent mother to one very lucky baby one day.  My heart was touched as I {read their story} about love, and life and learning through this challenge.


I’m impressed with their optimism, strength, and fortitude, and the way they’re using everything they have {JEWELRY + PHOTOGRAPHY + DESIGN} to make this a reality for them.

HeaderI often reflect upon the heart of my own mother, as she too sat for many years as a “Mother in waiting.”  I’m quite certain the loveliest mothers are often those whom God prepares babies to be born from the heart. 

Want to help?  Here’s what you can do.  PrayPray that they can raise money to bring their baby home, for a birth mother to select them as parents for her child, patience during this journey, wisdom to be great parents.

DonateGo to their ‘GoFundMe’ site to donate directly to their Adoption Fund:

ShopPurchase any product from their websites today! All profits will go towards funding their adoption.

ShareShare this post and their story with as many people as you can.

The Pots are also involved in this fantastic organization, Project117 which is an orphanage and home for mothers in crisis pregnancies.  I would love for you to check it out.

project117banner (1)


Pass the Baton

Several weeks ago I attended a evening church meeting where the guest speaker shared some thoughts that I have not been able to get out of my mind.  It was such a beautiful message that has had such an impact on me that I wanted to share it with you.

During the speakers talk he held up a hollow metal pipe about 12 inches long.  It was a baton used in a Track and Field relay race.  He talked about how passing the baton in a relay race is one of the most important parts of the race and that if the baton is not safely secured into the hand of the members of the relay team, it could drop and potentially the team could lose the race.  As he spoke, he passed the baton back and forth between his hands and as he securely placed it in the palm of each hand he talked about the importance we have as parents to secure things that are important into the lives of our children.  But as he continued talking, every once and a while, he would drop the baton on the podium and it would loudly clank and rattle until he picked it up.  By dropping the baton he symbolized something not being passed on to our children.  It was such a visual teaching moment for me that I can still here the loud sound of the baton dropping on the podium.  I knew then that I wanted to try my best to secure important things in the lives of my children.  Things that I didn’t want to drop the baton on.

So these last few weeks as I have thought, “am I passing the baton,” I have found myself asking these questions:  Am I passing the baton to my children when it comes to my belief in Jesus Christ and my love for His gospel?  Am I passing the baton to my children and teaching them how to work hard and do hard things?  Am I passing the baton to my children when it comes to serving and respecting others?  Am I passing the baton to my children and teaching them how to iron shirts, clean bathrooms, and even bottle peaches?  Of course there are so many things and parts of our lives that we want to pass on to our children, but the question is, are we actively doing these things now.

So last Monday night I did something that I normally would not have done on a school night.  After all the kids were in bed, I grabbed my oldest daughter, my 13 year old, and asked her to come to the kitchen.  I told her I needed to teach her how to do something, just as my mother had taught me.  She of course looked slightly puzzled, but as I pointed to a beautiful box of peaches that was given to us, I told her that I was going to teach her how to bottle peaches.

Peaches in a box |

It would of course have been better to do it on a weekend, but I knew the peaches could not wait and that “passing the baton” moment was right there.  So for an hour, I taught her how to boil, chill and peel a peach.  We heated bottles, packed bottles and lifted out the bubbles with a knife just like my mom had taught me.  It was a wonderful “passing the baton” moment that I know we both enjoyed.

Annie bottling peaches |

I know it seems like a small way to “pass the baton” to my child,  but it truly was something that I wanted her to know how to do.  I hope as we look at our lives that we will recognize the things that we want our children to know how to do and that we will work actively towards teaching them these things.  Even if it is just learning how to bottle peaches.

PILLOW TALK {Tips for Teens}

Tips for Teens {Pillow Talk}

Well, I’ve officially been a mother to a teenager for 2 months and 1 day.  We’ve entered the world of late overs, texting, and innocent crushes. I have to say, I’m loving it.  Not every part, but as a whole, I’m really loving how my time as a parent is starting to transition.  Oh sure, I’m still in the baby/toddler mode for a while, but I’ll be honest; my heart’s turning towards the needs and demands of my older children. And I am okay with that.

But with those demands come some harsh realities.  Oh you know those ones. The kind that make you vomit when you think too hard about an awkward experience you had in Jr. High.  It’s just a weird stage of life.  It’s hormones, and emotions, and physical stuff partying in these kids until they’re ready to burst.  Do you remember?

Tips for Teens {Pillow Talk} {1}

So tonight I wrote a little note.  It was quite simple.  And I put it in a pillow my sis and I had picked up.  I stuck it on my daughter’s bed when she was least expecting it and waited.  I’d told her I loved her, to share her light, to hang in there, to be happy.  And I reaffirmed to her that these little problems she’s experiencing will just be little blips on her road of life.

Tips for Teens {Pillow Talk} {2}

She came and hugged me.  We said a few words.  We connected.  And I felt like this little gesture had just meant the world to my daughter.  How often do we underestimate words of comfort?  And how often do we miss the seemingly all too common opportunities to express love?  Our teenagers need love and attention, and heartfelt connections from us more than we think.  And I think they want us to connect at levels that will comfort their minds, ease their worries, and soften their hearts.  That’s my “Tip for Teens.”

Tips for Teens {Pillow Talk} {3}

And I must say, this was my most favorite “Pillow Talk” I’ve ever had.

SIDE NOTE:  I bought this pillow from The Queen Bee Market at SNAP! in Utah in April.  There was a vendor there selling these fantastic pillows.  My sister and I saw them and decided they’d come in super handy.  I can’t see that the woman has a website, but she does have a Facebook page if you are interested in ordering a pillow.  Check out: Posh Compendium here

Perfect Zucchini Bread

Perfect Zucchini Bread |

My family’s been making this bread as long as I can remember.  My mom thinks it originated from my Grandma Great.  It’s moist and so flavorful.  We wanted to share.  ENJOY!

Perfect Zucchini Bread |

Perfect Zucchini Bread |

Perfect Zucchini Bread
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. soda
  • 3 tsp cinnamon (or 2 heaping)
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup nuts (if desired)
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Sift dry ingredients.
  3. Mix eggs, oil, zucchini and vanilla together.
  4. Add dry ingredients and mix well.
  5. Bake in loaf pans for 35 to 45 or until an inserted knife comes out clean. May take longer depending on over.
  6. Enjoy!

Perfect Zucchini Bread |

Day In | Day Out

The Ordinary Acts |

School is well under way.  We’re in our daily grind of ins and outs.  There’s a ton of lunches to be made, carpools to coordinate, places to be, and homework to be done.  We’re getting in the groove of what will be the next several months of our life here in our home.

It’s easy to let the ordinary tasks of caring and mothering work into a systematic, even robotic condition of: wake up, do everything, repeat. And it’s easy to find a little discouragement and dissatisfaction along the way.  With this, many of us find ways to escape the humdrum and monotony of daily life.  Which can be good and bad, depending on what we do with our time we choose to escape.

I like to think I’m not alone when I stop to wonder if I’m teaching all my children the right things.  Am I giving them the opportunities needed to help them learn what they need to?  Do they value the same things I do?  Have I ruined them for life? Haha.  Maybe.

But the older I get, the more I’ve realized the power of the ordinary acts that make up each day. What lessons am I teaching my children when I cheerfully welcome them home from school, or when I do laundry with love in my heart, or when I make a home cooked meal that they truly enjoyed?

What attitude can they feel from me as I participate each day in the daily grind? 

I know I can do more to recognize and welcome an attitude of remembering there’s power in the ordinary acts of daily life.

Will you join me?

Grilled Zucchini Nachos

Like many of you, our garden is overflowing with tons of zucchini.  Recently a good friend recommended we try these Grilled Zucchini Nachos from Two Peas and Their Pod.   It is a colorful dish that is surprisingly delicious and uses a ton of vegetables.  I added a little extra lime and a dollop of sour cream for our families liking.  If you would like the recipe click {here}.

Grilled Zucchini Nachos |

SAVOR THE FLAVORS {dating & waiting}

I love that the youth of our church are encouraged to wait until they’re 16 to date. It seems like it’s an appropriate time when most teenagers have developed a little bit of maturity, and they’ve had enough experience in regular social situations to know how to treat and respect the opposite sex.

Because of this, our church family hosts a night called Dynamic Dating for the 15-year-olds who’ll be turning 16 that year. It’s a time to bring the youth together for a practice run of sorts. And let’s be honest. There can be some majorly awkward moments when you’re first starting to date! They sit boy girl at dinner, and are taught etiquette and table manners and other skills that will help them.

Each year, they ask a couple to come help teach a principle that would be meaningful towards the end of the evening.  My husband Bill and I jumped at the opportunity to do so.  We wanted to teach the idea that dating was the chance to get to know what you really wanted in a potential spouse some day.

Our class title was SAVOR THE FLAVORS.  We talked about the excitement that comes from dating all sorts of people {flavors} and waiting to settle down with just one flavor until an appropriate time. {pre-marriage}.

Dynamic Dating |

We talked about that there’s a flavor out there for everyone, and that you’ll never know exactly what you love without having had the chance to try several flavors in the past.

Savor the Flavors |

Savor the Flavors|

We had the table all set-up. complete with fake ice cream  in cones.  Find the recipe for that here.  LOVED it.

Dynamic Dating |

We made a Dating Notebook for each of them, to make an effort to record experiences, even put pictures so they can keep a record of the kids they date. Speed Flirting |

The kids then spent time afterwards SPEED FLIRTING.  They just get to know each other for a minute or so, and then are asked to rotate spots for the next minute, enabling the opportunity to talk to someone else.  It’s very fun to watch.  That room was filled with hormones, but the good kind! 😉

I thought this idea was fun to share, and the principle taught can easily be used to adapt as a lesson for your own youth.  How fun would a quick trip to Baskin Robbins be combined with a little parental instruction be?  Pretty awesome.

Zucchini Casserole

Zucchini Casserole |

Zucchini Casserole
This is a family favorite and has been enjoyed for years. Whether it’s a regular week night or a special Sunday dinner, its rich flavor and creamy texture make this a favorite for any occasion. We particularly enjoy it during the late summer months and fall season when zucchinis grow in abundance, though we’ve been known to make it year round. This vegetarian dish can stand on it’s own, but we love it as a side dish for grilled chicken. This is one of the only ways I can get my kids to eat zucchini. See if it too passes the kid test in your home.
  • 6 cups peeled, sliced zucchini
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • 8 oz. box of Stove Top Stuffing
  • 1 cube butter
  1. Boil zucchini with onions for 5-7 minutes or until tender.
  2. Strain.
  3. In another bowl, mix sour cream, cream of chicken soup and cheese.
  4. Add zucchini with onions to the mixture and mix together.
  5. In another separate bowl, melt butter in microwave.
  6. Add dry stuffing to butter and mix together so the stuffing is coated.
  7. In a 9 x 9 or 9 x 13 glass dish, put 1/2 buttered-stuffing mixture on the bottom.
  8. Add creamy zucchini mixture, leveling as best as possible.
  9. Add remaining stuffing to top the casserole.
  10. Cover part of the time and cook on 350 for 30 minutes.
  11. ENJOY!