Monday, November 24, 2008

Week Off

I'm back.

It's been kind of quiet around here this last week. Mostly because Mike took Wednesday-Sunday off this last week!

It was an unexpected surprise, and we all enjoyed it very much!

What did we do with our time off? Nothing!

It was awesome. Most days we were all in our pajamas until late and only got in clothing to go out and do something fun.

The kids still had school. I had not planned for them to have a break last week, but this week, and I wasn't about to give up my week-off-for-Thanksgiving.

But it was good, dad got to teach a bit, we got our two book dates that we owed completed, Mike and I went on a date, we all played a TON of Shang hi and we even got to go to the Orchard together as a family Saturday night! How fun was that?!

Last night Mike left for the Orchard-year-planning-overnight- trip. Today the kids and I will do the thanksgiving shopping for Mitchell/Jones Thanksgiving feast and take all the stuff to Paula's in preparation for our great day together.

Still waiting on snow. Real snow. We have had cold and flurries, but we need real snow. The kids are going crazy and unless there is snow on the ground there isn't much playing outside when it is this cold.

So, Please let it snow!!!


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Feed My Starving Children

We ended our school week this last week with a trip to Feed My Starving Children. It was great! The kids loved helping to fill the food bags with the nutritious food mix and they did such a great job!!

Joshi loved his hair net. Well, they all, except Faith, loved their hair nets. They really thought daddy needed one on his chin.

We had 86 people in our group and we packed a total of 90 boxes! The lady said that was enough food to feed 56 kids for one year! Amazing. Such an easy thing to do and it makes such a huge impact. We will definitely be putting it on our family calendar to do once a month, at least.

After we were done packing food, they had some of the food, that we had just packed, prepared for the kids to try. Seth devoured his and said,"Mom this is sooo good!! Can you make it at home?"

At first I thought, maybe he shouldn't like it so much.

I wanted him understand how desperate the situation was.

That these children are starving to DEATH and they will eat whatever, it is a matter of survival.
But then I realized, he had spent time and energy packing this food for these children who desperately needed it. Not only were these kids getting nutritious food that would help them survive and grow, but it actually tastes good too? How cool is that! He was really happy to have helped these kids and know that it wasn't some nasty concoction, but something that was yummy! What a cool kid!


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bread bowls and Soup

With cold weather upon us it was time to break out the soup recipes again.

Luckily my kiddos have all developed a love for most of the soups I make. Broccoli cheddar is a favorite of all except one. And she isn't the picky eater, I know this is just personal preference.

Anyways, when I suggest Broccoli cheddar soup yesterday they all cheered, except the one. Then it was suggested that mom should make bread bowls for everyone. Initially, I thought,"you've got to be kidding me!" But then the one who didn't like the soup had a look of hope on her face. So I succumbed.

I found this recipe on my favorite site. The only change I made was I made six bowls instead of 8, I used my kitchen aid for all the kneading, and I used Bakers Bread flour from Sams club instead of all purpose. Really people, not only the type but the brand of flour makes a difference. Trust me I have made a lot of bread and the flour and yeast that you use makes a difference.

They turned out beautiful. The kids were all very excited and ate up the soup and the bowl!

For the soup I modified a recipe I found last year.

Here it goes

2 tbs butter
two chicken breasts
pinch nutmeg
dried parsley
3 cups chicken bouillon-or broth
1 cup milk- with 1 cup flour
11 cups of water
three potatoes peeled, cubed and partially boiled
two carrots diced
two heads of broccoli- I used frozen, so I had to cook it less time. I just estimated how much to use.
three cups of cheese

I placed the chicken cut up, in a big stock pot with the butter. If you are going to use onion this would be a great time to put it in. We don't use onion, it hurts us.

After the chicken has browned I add the spices, carrots and one cup of bouillon. Let the chicken cook the rest of the way.

Then add the rest of the chicken bouillon (or broth) and the 11 cups of water.

Bring it back up to boil and while it is heating mix the milk and flour. Mix until it is smooth- no lumps, and slowly add it too the hot soup. If you have some lumps once you add it don't worry, they will cook out, beat them a bit with a whisk and they will disappear.

Add potatoes and broccoli. I turn the heat up and let it get to a rolling boil then turn down a bit but not too much because I like the broccoli to get pretty soft, so I can break it up with the spoon, before I serve. I usually cook this part for about 20-30 minutes. If using fresh broccoli, you will have to cook it a bit longer. Once we are about 5-10 minutes away from eating I add the cheese and stir. I didn't add any additional salt, but it did need a bit, I just added to my own, that way we aren't over salting. But it was a bit bland without it.

That's it. Easy and really yummy. I changed the original recipe, because it had a lot more butter and heavy cream. Also they mix the flour and butter and add it too the soup. Every time I did it the original recipes way, I had lots and lots of lumps that I couldn't get out, this way we had no lumps.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

November! Yikes!

Lots on my mind so hold on to your seats.

Having a hard time adjusting to the winter temps. Partly because we were having lovely fall weather and then all of a sudden had a weird warm front come in and then went from 70's to 40's in just a day. Yuck.

Busy week this week ending with Feed My Starving Children on Friday. I am excited about it, even though the set up of it was not that easy. I am finding that, unfortunately, setting up field trips for home schoolers isn't always easy. But the people at the actual center have been fabulous and very kind. The kids are really looking forward to it. We have really been wanting to get more active in the community and volunteer more, but it is hard to find a place that will let little guys volunteer.

Thanksgiving is just a couple weeks away!!! Weird. Paula will be out with the boys before Thanksgiving so I will be doing the thanksgiving dinner shopping alone. Sad, but so glad she is getting away. We will be cooking and eating together. It is going to be a sad day for us all. But I am so glad we will be together.

Still hoping our annual Black Friday shopping extravaganza works out. Paula and i love to plan and stratagize, and have such a good time dodging and weaving through the crowds! Very fun. We never go into it thinking we have to get anything, just some fun ideas of stuff we would like to get our hands on and if we get them, cool. Whatever. And how fun is it to price match every item you have at Walmart? The cashiers love us :) Oh and another fun thing is calling across the country and to other states to our friends and family who are doing the same thing as us at that very moment! It is a true bond.

Mike and I are planning relational gifts again this year for our family. The Orchard started this last year and it is such a great idea. Instead of spending so much on toys that break and garbage that no one really wants we were encouraged to put thought into our gifts and buy relational gifts. Things you can do together as a family. It means so much more! Then with the money you save do something meaningful for the community or the world.

So last year on Christmas morning, our kids opened up gifts from relatives and Santa. Then Mike and I had booked a stay at a water park in the Dells and spent Christmas and a couple of day after, there with the kids. We swam and played, ate and played and swam. It was very fun, and none of us had any regrets. It was the best, and the kids want to do it again this year.

And what happened to the money we saved in not buying a bunch of garbage toys? We donated to help drill wells in places that needed clean water. Very cool.

Okay, that is it for now.


Saturday, November 1, 2008

I am being blown away by the stories on mytatstory! If you haven't checked it out, do it. You will be amazed.

Have I mentioned how much I love the Orchard recently?


Halloween 2008

What a beautiful Halloween day we had!!! Mike has been super busy lately so we took the day to catch up on some stuff that had to get done! We almost ran out of time for carving pumpkins, but scaled down our design at the last minute and got these out on the porch.

Punk rock girl, was sad it was too warm to wear the black leather coat that Ms. Karen lent her from her rocker days:(

Yeah, I said too warm. Do you think we have lived her too long when high 50's- 60's is too warm for a coat?

Kylee went with the old blow up polar bear costume. Always funny.

Seth is always the challenge. He wanted a scuba diver, so I made his costume. Not too hard. It turned out pretty cute.

Joshi also went with one of our old blow up costumes. He was pretty excited to be wearing the shark this year. Also, loved the fact that he was a shark and Seth was a scuba diver :)

Hope you all had a great night!!