Monday, October 21, 2013

Sunday Soup At Six: easy cheesy potato soup

So... The last 2 weeks we had steak at my moms (Sunday steak at six?) and then a potluck at the church.  I was really looking forward to soup night again when I realized it was the most stressful Sunday of the year for me and I had no back up canned soups to fall back on.  But I had potatoes, cream, and cheese so I made up a potato soup.
Some of my favorite soups are ones I make up as I go along.

I boiled about 8 potatoes of varying size and type (because some came from my garden and some from the store bag) in way too much water.  That wouldn't have been a problem had I drained some, but I neglected to remember that until too late.  I think the rule should be to leave only enough water that the tops of the potatoes are peaking up.  More than that and it's too watery.  My husband equated this to potato gravy.  
Then you transfer it in batches into the blender.  I wanted a smooth soup so I blended most of it.  Sometimes I split it and blend half and mash the rest so I have some potato chunks.  I returned the blended soup to the pot where I added salt.  I just salt it to taste, sorry, no measurements.  Maybe 2 tablespoons.  Go easy because you can always add more salt if needed at the table.
After the salt I added probably 3/4 to 1 cup of cream and two handfuls of shredded cheese and stirred.
I added a chives garnish at the end and a few bacon bits and of course more cheese.  They really enhanced the flavor.

This soup is REALLY good if you sautée leeks in butter before adding water and boiling the potatoes, but I was honestly too tired to go pick some leeks.  I needed easy comfort food and this was perfect!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sunday Soup At Six - Chicken Noodle Soup

Last week was the inauguration of Sunday Soup at Six.  My Sister in Law gave us the idea and we loved it.  Since they were in town we had them over and made veggie soup with all kinds of things from our garden.  The food was delicious and the company was amazing.  We topped it off with cookies and ice cream.  I wish all Sundays could be like that.
But I didn't take any pictures because I didn't plan to blog about it.
Now I have decided this is going to be a thing I blog about.  So it's basically exactly what it sounds like.  Each Sunday we have soup and try to eat it at six.  We'll see how many different soups we'll try.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

And of course, here is the recipe.
1 c. Chopped Celery
3 thinly sliced leeks
1 c. chopped carrot
8 cups chicken broth*
1 T. minced fresh parsley (or 1 t. dried)
1 1/2 t. fresh thyme (or 1/2 t. dried)
1 t. fresh rosemary (or 1/4 t. dried)
1 t. balsamic vinegar
1/4 t. pepper
4 ounces wide noodles
1 c. diced cooked chicken

*To make the chicken and chicken broth get some broilers or chicken breasts (frozen is fine) and place in a large stock pot.  I usually get about 10 breasts (or 4 broilers) and 2 gallons of water.  I add about 2 T dried parsley and 1 T dried basil and some pepper and boil for an hour.  Remove the breasts and dice or shred them and freeze them (use within 3 months) then I strain the broth and freeze that as well.  It tastes WAY better than any boullion or canned broth.

Place celery, leeks, carrots, and 1 cup of broth in a large saucepan.  Cover and cook over medium heat until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.  Stir in remaining chicken broth, herbs, vinegar, and pepper.  Bring to a boil; add noodles.  Cook until noodles are tender (abt 10 minutes); stir in chicken.  Reduce heat and simmer until heated through.
My kids all say it's amazing!  They especially love the broth.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Meeting Induced ADHD

I just diagnosed myself with this.  I also made it up.  I give you permission to do the same.
There's this thing about Mormons...
We believe in meetings, all that have been scheduled, all that are now scheduled.  And we believe that there will be scheduled many great and important meetings pertaining to the kingdom of God.
For the record, that's not a real Article of Faith.  But it should be.
So I went to a meeting tonight and generally I do pretty well.  After the first hour I get a little restless, but nothing a little doodling can't fix.
Of course by then, the person next to me asks what the speaker just said because she is, of course, taking copious notes.  I say, "sorry, I started thinking about something else he said." Because I'm too embarrassed to tell her that my mind had wandered a long time ago and by this time I was debating in my mind the merits of exposing my kids to more classic rock or to more folk songs and that it took a while for me to get there by way of canning, kale varieties, and home schooling.
By the time we were 1 hour 30 minutes into the meeting I was trying to conjure an excuse to call my husband or pretend my bladder was acting up and I needed a bathroom break.  Right about that time Igloo called me (thank you sweetie!!!) and I acted all urgent as I left to answer the call.
"Are you still in your meeting?"
"Yep.  They're still going."
"How much longer."
"It better be soon because I'm practicing dance steps in my seat."
Seriously folks.  I was pretty close to doing the electric slide just to keep myself from springing out of my chair yelling, "Freedom!!!!!"
It's not even that is was a bad meeting.  It was useful and pertinent.  I feel bad my legs were so jumpy, it was probably distracting.  But I cannot for the life of me understand how everyone else manages to sit perfectly still for two hours.  Tell me your secret!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Buzz

This morning Jack woke up at 5 and started on his school work.  He was done by seven.  I, of course, blogged into the late night hours which meant I didn't want to get up til 8:30.  I'm glad he can do most of his work on his own.  What took so long was getting those #$&%%$E$^# pictures off my phone.  That was a really long fake expletive.
I spent most of the day cleaning my house (FINALLY!) and actually got it done!  Mostly.  Okay, half.  But I did get the car port cleaned up so we are no longer the neighborhood eyesore.  My brother in law and nephews from Georgia stopped by for a visit and then we all went to see my sister in law who is out from Ohio.
I don't mind most visitors at my house, but I do struggle with some family members.  They live in giant houses and their kids just aren't used to small spaces like mine.  They get bored easily and chasing chickens doesn't appeal to them for some reason.  I don't get it.  Have you ever seen a chicken running?  HILARIOUS!  What's not to love?  Luckily Lego's are loved by everyone so I didn't have to hate my house long.
While visiting my SIL, Munchkin got her first bee sting right on her thumb!  I've only been stung by wasps, same with Jack, but this was a bee and the stinger was still in.  They are teeny!!  It was barely visible and I wish we could have kept it (nerd) for our insect collection.
We have a sad insect collection.  I've been waiting for our university museum to reopen from a remodel and hoping they would have equipment to buy.  So meanwhile we have some cockroaches, and a wasp, and some kind of black thingy sitting in a jar.  Pathetic.  At least the rock collection is pretty good.
Does anyone else breathe a sigh of relief when their kid is stung the first time and there's no allergic reaction?  I'm still waiting for Tumbleweed to be stung because she's our high risk kid since she has urticaria pigmentosa.  Munchkin had a a little swelling, but mostly just pain.  Poor kid wailed and wailed!  To help Munchkin feel better my in-laws took us to Pizza Pie Cafe.  We also went there with them two weeks ago where we bumped into Jack's kindergarten teacher.  Today we bumped into Munchkin's kindergarten teacher!  Too funny.
Tomorrow if our first free Saturday in months.  Actually, we've only had one, yes, ONE free Saturday since April.
See why I was complaining about the busyness a few days ago?
I keep thinking of all the gardening that needs to be done and the primary stuff to be planned and completed and that I finally have time for those.
And then I think I really just want to drive up to the mountains and wander about with my family.  :)

Friday, September 20, 2013

Summer in Pictures

Since I didn't blog much this summer, as usual, here is this year's installment of "Our Summer in Pictures!"  You should now have the Twentieth Century Fox theme going through your head.  Good!  Let's begin.

Summer started with a big ol' birthday party for my grandpa who turned 90.  Happy 90th grandpa!!!!

Took advantage of the opportunity to get some updated 4 generation pictures with my mom, grandma, and each of my little girls.

Next up was the annual 4th of July parade in my mom's little town.
Mom took this opportunity to introduce us to her new beau.  She married him last week.
Coolest license plate ever!!!!  If you can enlarge it, Doctor Who fans will be happy to see "BADWOLF"

 We made our first trip to Colonial Days.  Like a Renaissance Faire, but for colonial times.
Played old timey games
dressed in old timey clothes
joined the old timey militia
and went to old timey school
 That same weekend we also had a family reunion.  We went to a lot of local places and hung out.  It was really lovely.
While at a park, Munchkin heard a horse neigh and we went over to look.  The owner asked Munchkin if she'd like to pet and feed the horse.  She was so good with it that the owner invited her to ride for a bit.  Definitely her favorite part of the whole summer. 
racing sail boats
Even Igloo got into the spirit of things.  He has no idea I took this.  Good thing he never reads my blog! :)
Munchkin graduated from her online preschool.  I loved Rusty and Rosy and think she learned a lot from it!
Way to go girl!
My cousin got married!!  I learned that if you want to get Igloo on the dance floor you have to play Journey.  Then he'll stay when his daughters want to dance with him.

Check it out, we're doing the Thriller!
Lots of camping and mountain exploring!!
Exploring in the woods led us to paradise.
I started taking karate with Jack.
Testing for my yellow belt.
I even earned my belt!
Fire and Ice at my uncle's for Pioneer Day was amazing, as always.
More camping!!!
More camping with friends.
tree hugger in training
Love how tough she is
They have become good friends this summer
I love us.
 We learned Tumbleweed is pretty good with Lego's.

And visited museums because well, we're nerds and I don't think there's anything cooler.
Of course, we had to visit the dinosaurs!
The shark was less cool this year.
Jack earned his Wolf in cub scouts.
He's super excited.
Munchkin played soccer.
She's ready for "bunch ball" to end
We visited the Great Basin Museum in Delta, UT.
old timey weaving.
 We also visited the Leamington Museum in Leamington, UT which is only open on Labor Day.  But I called the mayor and got us hooked up with a private tour 2 days earlier.  I'm awesome like that.
We found a sleeping bat outside the building.  Munchkin was soooo sad she couldn't take it home and begged for a pet bat the rest of the day.
 Of course the real reason for the visit was to meet up with Igloo's dad and step mom.
Lars and grandpa
And then school started!  Already?!  Yep.
First Day of Kindergarten!!!  She's real excited!
First day of home school!!!!  He's less excited.
There's just a peek at our very busy summer.  There was more, but this is long enough, I think!!!  I just need to be better about blogging!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Homeschool 2013

Well we are well into the throes of homeschooling and I made some changes this year I wanted to blog about.  I LOVE seeing how other people spend their homeschool days so why not add ours into the blogosphere?

First thing I'm doing differently:  Sabbath schooling.  Sabbath schooling means you homeschool for 6 weeks and rest the seventh week.  Last week was our seventh week and the timing could not have been better.  I honestly thought I'd spend the week getting caught up on gardening, sewing, and house cleaning but instead I used it to relax.  I played games.  I pinned.  No projects.  No big dejunking sprees.  I just let myself and my son take it easy.  It was very rejuvinating.  He had a harder time getting back into things Monday, but overall I think it has been helpful

The other thing I'm doing is accountability.  I'm not nagging any more.  It makes my son feel lousy and makes me cranky.  He needs me for science (2x/week) and spelling (3x/week) and everything else he can do on his own.  It is his responsibility to learn and I want to make sure he knows that.  It is harder for me to let go, but we are both less stressed this way.  It's not like I always get all my stuff done as soon as I wake up.  Why should he?

So here's what we're using this year:

Math:  I switched away from Singapore Math to Math Mammoth.  Not only is it cheaper, but I belive the curriculum to be superior.  I felt like all of last year was a waste.  He doesn't remember a lot of what he learned because there just wasn't enough practice. From talking with other parents, this is pretty common for fourth grade math.  Still, I wanted something with the option for more review.  So we are reviewing right now.  We reviewed 3rd grade so everything is really understood and now we're reviewing everything from last year and practicing what isn't fully comprehended.  I feel a lot better about things now.

Language Arts: We did heavy grammar last year so this year we are taking a break and working on writing and spelling.  I am using Excellence in Writing and can see why everyone is obsessed with it.  After 6 weeks I am already seeing an improvement AND he doesn't hate writing anymore!  From the same company I am also using Excellence in Spelling.  I decided I prefer the Orton-Gillingham method for teaching spelling rules and have really liked this program.  I was never really taught spelling rules, I just had to see a word and could memorize it.  So I am really liking learning the WHY behind some rules along with Jack.

I also have created book lists for my kids.  I bribe them to read the books on their lists for their required daily 30 minutes of reading and when they finish the list I get them a small toy.  I'm thinking I should put the lists on here.

Science: Germs, Polymers, Electricity and more!  I'm using Magic School Bus science kits (I  heart MSB) and Switched on Science which i am also falling in love with.  No text books here.  This is science the way it's supposed to be done!

History: So far it's been the American Revolution and Greece.  We'll see what he's interested in after that.

Electives:  Swimming lessons for PE and Drawing, Sculpting, and Animation for art/tech. This is an online class Jack is enrolled in where he uses a Bamboo Splash Pad to create digital drawings.  He will also learn how to do some stop motion animation.  He's eight, by the way.  Homeschooling rocks!!!!

There you have it.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Mrs. Mom

Hi Internets,
My mom is getting married tomorrow.  I don't think I mentioned that.  Then again it has been like 6+ weeks since I blogged.  I had kidney stone and started writing about it, but it felt so whiny I never published it.  And then I got so busy.
I detest busyness.
I don't even know what it is I want to write.  I feel so many mixed emotions about my family that I'm probably better off going back to therapy and figuring it out.  I do know that I'm tired of things changing.  Mom wont just be my mom anymore.  She'll be a wife.  Maybe this is what it's like when your kids grow up and get married.  You're so happy for them and excited.  But also sad, because they aren't just yours anymore.  I guess that's what I'm feeling.
Except I really don't have the time to feel it.  I don't need to go into detail about it, any other Mormon reading this knows what I'm talking about.  It often feels like every minute of your day is spoken for between church and family.  Suffice it to say I am definitely learning humility and my own mortal limits.  Something else I detest.

So lets talk about things I like.
Star Trek.  As I type this my husband and I are watching Into Darkness, which came out this week, again.  In the last 3 weeks I have watched every Star Trek movie ever made. Because I OWN every Star Trek movie ever made.  THAT is something I like. When I feel stressed I distract myself.  Science Fiction has always been a lovely diversion.  Plus it reminds me of my dad. :-)