Friday, October 31, 2008

Favorite Recipe Friday

Today's favorite recipe is Tacos.

What? What is so special about tacos?

Well this past Monday I made a homemade beef mixture. No more overpriced processed salt filled packets. And I made the taco shells. So easy and so much better than the stale boxed shells from the store.

Beef Tacos

1 lb lean ground beef
1 small onion,minced
3 garlic cloves,minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup smooth tomato sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon light brown sugar

Brown beef, drain off excess grease. Stir in onion,garlic,spices. Cook until soft. Add remaining ingredients;simmer until thickened about 10 minutes.

Taco Shells

3/4 cup oil
12 6 inch corn tortillas

In a small skillet,heat 3/4 cup oil over medium heat to 350 degrees. Using tongs to hold the tortilla,slip half of it into the hot oil. With a metal spatula in the other hand,submerge the half in the oil. Fry until set,but not brown,about 39 seconds. Flip the tortilla. Using the tongs,hold the tortilla open about 2 inches while keeping the bottom submerged in the oil. Fry until golden brown. Flip again and fry the other side until golden brown. Transfer the shell upside down to a paper towel lined baking sheet to drain. Repeat with remaining tortillas.

To assemble tacos, fill each shell with meat mixture, top with cheese,shredded lettuce,sour cream and salsa.



Thursday, October 30, 2008

Time to Get Serious

About my exercising. After weaning my last baby just over a year ago, I began noticing my jeans getting a little bit snugger and a little bit snugger. Now even my "fat"jeans are snugging up. UUGGHH!

Over the summer our family took up kayaking,which is a blast, so my arms are getting more toned. A few weeks ago I started riding my bike up and down our 1/4 mile driveway. But summer is over and the kayaks are stored away for the winter, and cooler weather moved in and the mornings are too busy to hop on my bike, and,and,and. I can make excuses all day. But that won't magically make this ever expanding tummy pooch disappear.

So my new plan is to get different exercise dvd's each trip to the library. Not only check them out but actually do them! Also watch what I eat, and drink a ton of water each day. They say most programs take about 6 weeks to see results. It is roughly six weeks til my birthday. So that's my goal. Six weeks to a much flatter belly!

I did Tae Bo yesterday. I feel it today! This morning I'm going to do the walking dvd. So there you have it. It's in writing. So now I HAVE to stick to it!

Time to get at it!

Have a great day!


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Menu Review Wednesday

Here is what our family had for dinner the past seven days.

Swiss Chicken,Corn,tossed salad

Tacos in homemade shells

Smoked turkey,mashed potatoes,gravy,cheesy green beans,stuffing,and rolls


Roasted Salmon,shrimp in garlic butter,and rice

Homemade Pizza

Hamburgers, oven fries

Have a great day!


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Homeschool Day

I love talking to other home school Moms about their schedules and curriculum. So today I thought I'd talk about our home school days.

Each fall the boys lay out all their books and put them in the order they want to work. They will tweek here and there until it goes smoothly.

Jacob(3rd grade) likes to go back and forth with reading subject,writing subject. So his order is Science, Spelling, History, English, Bible, Handwriting, History Stories For Children, and Math.

Luke(5th grade) likes all of his reading subjects up front, then his writing subjects. His order is History, Of America, Bible, Geography, English, Spelling, Math, and Science.

Caleb (kindergarten) We aren't as structured yet with Caleb. He is such a busy boy, always working on a project or in the garden. He'll do a few pages here and there each day in Math and Handwriting. We'll start working in his listening subjects,History,Science, and Bible as the weather cools. Which happens to be this week!

Nathan(almost 3)I like to say is in obedience school! During school he will color in a notebook,play quietly in his room,work on a puzzle, look at library books or watch an educational show on PBS.

At the start of each school day we begin Bible reading. I'll read the chapter of Proverbs for that day. (Today will be the 28th) The boys follow along in their Bibles. Then they each choose any one verse from that chapter and write it in a special notebook just for this. After they finish writing, they come show me the verse they chose and what they think it means. We'll talk about it for a bit until they understand and can hopefully relate it to their own life. My goal in this is first of all get into the habit of daily Bible reading. Second is that by hearing the Proverbs again and again over the coarse of the year, it will become ingrained in their hearts and will pop up down the road when they are older and really need some Godly wisdom.

We mainly work at the kitchen table. I can be cleaning up and help as needed. One ground rule we have is that Mom can only help one at a time so you raise your hand and wait your turn. Our school motto is: "I am patient, I wait my turn". Actually, that goes for all the time not just for school.

We have found that starting shortly after breakfast works best for us. We can jump in and stay focused for a couple hours. After a short break we'll work til lunch. Whatever is not finished by lunch is done in the afternoon. Usually they finish in the morning. After lunch I try to have a read aloud time. I'll read either a current library book,Little House on the Prairie, or they can each choose a short book from our shelves downstairs. Then is nap time for Nathan and quiet play or outside for the others. During this time I'll clean up from lunch and start thinking about dinner.

Have a great day!


Monday, October 27, 2008

Birthday Party

We had the big birthday party yesterday. Surprise guests were the cousins from Colorado! Once everyone arrived, Bri took the kids on a hay rack ride around the property.

Back in the house Caleb opened his gifts and cards.

Then we dug into the turkey dinner. Bri had smoked the turkey all afternoon. With the smoked turkey we had mashed potatoes and gravy,cheesy green beans,stuffing,rolls, and cranberry sauce.

Finally time for cake and ice cream!

Afterward the big kids went downstairs to play while the adults visited. When everyone went home tired and happy, Bri had to check out the play camp gift with the boys before bed.

As they said in the old time newspaper columns, "A Good Time Was Had By All".

Have a great day!


Friday, October 24, 2008

Favorite Recipe Friday

Chicken Stew with Basil Dumplings

I got this recipe from Em at

It was the first recipe I tried in my new dutch oven over our new campfire ring. It was the BEST! Our fire was a little too hot so there was not as much gravy as I'm sure there would be in a regular oven bake, but my family still raved. Also because of the campfire,my cooking time was cut in half. This will definitely be making a regular appearance at this family's house.

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons melted butter
3/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons dried basil

1/2 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 carrots,sliced very thin
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried basil
4 cups chicken broth
1 bag frozen peas (10oz)
4 cups cooked chicken,cut into bite size pieces.

In dutch oven,saute onion and carrots in butter until almost tender. Add garlic and saute a couple more minutes. Add flour,salt,pepper,basil and broth. Stir with wire whisk until thick. Add peas and chicken and cook 5 minutes. Drop dumplings by large spoonfuls onto stew. Bake at 350 uncovered for 30 minutes and 10 minutes covered.

I really hope you get a chance to try this recipe soon!

Have a great day!


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Caleb is 5 Today!

Caleb is our third son. It has been an amazing 5 years. His big brown eyes and cheeky cheeks just melt your heart. We are so thankful that God blessed us with our precious Caleb Colt!

Each birthday the birthday boy gets to choose the menu for the entire day. So today our family will be eating breakfast burritos,mac n' cheese, and pizza.

For his birthday Caleb got a fishing pole from Daddy, a slingshot from one brother and a birthday game card with all sorts of activities from another brother. The big family party will be on Sunday afternoon.

Have a great day!


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Menu Review Wednesday

Here is what our family ate over the past week.

Hamburgers and Oven Fries

Enchiladas and Refried beans

Fish, Corn on the Cob, Coleslaw


Chicken Stew with Basil Dumplings

Beef Dough Balls


Another busy day ahead. Making yogurt,processing the last of the garden tomatoes,school, cleaning,and hopefully time to work on a quilt in progress.

Have a great day!


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Christian Radio

We listen to a lot of Christian radio in our house. The main station we listen to is BBN. Bible Broadcasting Network. To find it on your dial check out their website at

I like to listen to a sermon or two throughout the day. The boys love to listen to The Captain's Club at 3pm. It features a short reading from The Sugar Creek Gang books,Riddles in the Middle, Bible Quiz question,and a story from Uncle Charlie's storytime. In the evenings after dinner they listen to Adventures In Oddessy from Focus on the Family. They also play the old hymns that aren't sung as much in churches anymore. Overall it is a great family friendly station.

Give it a listen and see what you think.

Have a great day!


Monday, October 20, 2008

Busy Beaver Monday

We had a wonderful weekend! We camped out in our backyard. I got to use my new dutch over over the campfire twice, and both times the family loved the results. But now it is Monday and back to the grindstone as they say.

Thursday is C's 5th birthday. On Sunday we are having the family party. In addition to just cake and ice cream and presents, we are having everyone stay for a smoked turkey dinner. YUM!

So back to today's title. Today is DEEEP cleaning the house day. The boys really jumped in early with school and finished before we usually start! So they can help clean. We also need to pick any remaining peppers and tomatoes and green beans from the garden and pull up everything to add to the compost and put the garden to bed for the winter. Last of all is make dinner. I think I'll put on a pot of beans to make refried beans and enchilada's. That will leave plenty of leftovers for lunches the next several days.

Have a great day!


Friday, October 17, 2008

Eeyore's New House Take two

A few weeks ago the boys built this lean-to out of sticks from the brush pile we keep at the back of our property. I think it looks just like Eeyore's house in the Hundred Acre Wood from Winnie the Pooh. (take two because I tried to post this once before when I didn't know what I was doing! Thanks to Bri and HB I can post pictures now!)

Favorite Recipe Friday

Creamy Potato Soup

Fall is here with it's cooler days and even cooler evenings. This soup is so easy to put together and so warm and comforting. Our family loves to eat it with popcorn.

1 medium onion,chopped
1 celery rib,chopped
1 medium carrot,grated
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons flour
4 cups milk
1 can cream of mushroom soup,undiluted
1/2 cup processed cheese (velveeta)
6 large potatoes,peeled diced and cooked (about 8 cups)
1 teaspooon seasoned salt (opt)

In a large saucepan,start cooking potatoes in water until tender. Meanwhile in a dutch oven,saute onion,celery and carrot in butter until tender. Stir in flour until blended. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil;cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add soup,cheese,potatoes and seasoned salt;mix well. Cook and stir until cheese is melted and soup is heated through. Yield 10-12 servings (3 quarts)

Have a great day!


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Harvest Blessings

We have a couple pear trees in our front tear drop. They have been producing rock hard,no taste pears for several years. This year the boys discovered they have juice! They have taste! So They picked a large bag full. I made pear sauce and a couple pear pie fillings over the course of several days.
Over the weekend we noticed there were still a lot of pears hanging in one of the trees. So they picked ALL of them with help from Bri on a ladder. I didn't want to have pears sitting around producing fruit flies. So yesterday I decided to process them all. Thankfully I have a great peeler/corer gadget that takes care of business pretty efficiently. So four 1 gallon buckets of peels and cores out to the compost later, I have 10 beautiful quarts of pear pie filling sitting on my counter.

Other blessings from our garden have been countless tomatoes and bell peppers. I had fun learning to make my own marinara and pizza sauce,and fresh salsa. The green beans did fairly well. We got several nice butternut squash, and four almost five pumpkins.

One surprise was a cucumber vine growing among the pumpkins as well as morning glories. I transferred one morning glory to climb our antenna pole.

Another surprise was when we reworked some landscaping around the house and brought over some dirt from the pumpkin patch, a cantaloupe started growing in the strawberry patch. I am hoping they will have a chance to ripen before the first frost of the season.

Have a great day !


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Menu Review Wednesday

I can't believe it is Wednesday already! Let's see how much I can remember of the last seven meals.

Chicken strips

Turkey sausage burgers on english muffins,oven fries (We will NOT be repeating this meal)


Pizza for BIL's b-day

Chinese at the nature park

Potato soup with popcorn

Roast chicken,mashed potatoes,gravy,butternut squash

Have a great day!


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Blessings of Family and Friends

I know Thanksgiving is still well over a month away but I have been feeling so thankful for my family and friends lately I wanted to share. I'll start with my great Husband! All year long he has been extra wonderful. He is so great with the boys,teaching them to be strong,godly men. He fixes everything around the house. He bought me a dutch oven to use in our new campfire ring he and the boys built over the weekend!

Next One of my good friends gave us a beautiful log cabin king size quilt with pillow cases and shams. Just because. They had gotten a new bed spread and she knows I like quilts.

My boys bless me by helping each other even when not asked to do so,telling me their hopes and dreams,and just being so darn cute!

Count Your Many Blessings name them One by One
Count Your many Blessings See What God Has Done!

Have a great day


Friday, October 10, 2008

Favorite Recipes Friday

The Ham N' Beans last night were a big hit so here is the recipe.

Ham N' Beans

1 lb dried great northern beans,soaked overnight in water and drained
6 slices of bacon
1/2 large onion,diced
2 cups ham,diced
3 cans chicken broth (I just used homemade broth)
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 1/2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons salt (I omitted this as broth and bacon and ham had plenty of salt already)

1. In a large skillet,fry bacon until crisp then remove to paper towel lined plate,crumble

2. Add onion and ham to bacon grease,saute until browned

3. Combine all ingredients in crock pot

4. Cook on high for at least 8 hours.

I cooked mine in the crock pot about 6 hours then finished the last two hours on the stove. The beans just were not getting tender enough in the crock pot. I transferred all to my big soup kettle, brought it to a rolling boil then simmered covered till done,stirring occasionally.

I served it with corn bread,fried zucchini slices,and applesauce.

Another favorite recipe is homemade pizza sauce. This came from Healthy Bratt over on

Pizza sauce

4 cups peeled,cored,seeded drained tomatoes

Put in sauce pan and start cooking on med/low

Add 1 teaspoon sugar
1/3 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/3 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon sweet basil

Stir occasionally to keep from scalding and keep the heat low (few bubbles) until thick. Puree after liquid is cooked out. Yield 1 pint About 2 pizzas worth.

I just made a double batch this morning. Sooo Good!

Fast Tomato Salsa

This recipe is from America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

I made this the other day for Bri for the first time. He just wanted to drink it! It is so easy and SOO Good! I doubled it and got 1 quart.

2 tablespoons minced red onion
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 garlic clove,minced
1/2 jalapeno chile,stemmed,seeded and minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (14.5oz ) can diced tomatoes,drained (I used 6 fresh from the garden)

Pulse all of the ingredients except for the tomatoes in a food processor until very finely minced,about 5 pulses. (I used my blender) Add the tomatoes and pulse until roughly chopped, about 2 pulses. Transfer the mixture to a fine mesh strainer and drain for about 1 minute before serving.

Have a great day!


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Kitchen Day

Today is mostly going to be spent in the kitchen. I have several things I have been putting off and today is the day to finally get them done.

Supper will be in the crock pot, so once I get that going I can "forget about it". It is a new recipe. If it turns out I'll post the recipe tomorrow.

I need to get a batch of yogurt made.

I have two zucchini I need to use up. I'll make black bottom zucchini bars with one and slice and fry the other for Bri. Fried zucchini is one of his favorites.

I have several tomatoes and too many bell peppers from the garden. I'll just dice and freeze most of the peppers. As for the tomatoes, I'll cook up and can some pizza sauce. Since making HB's sauce, there ain't no go'in back to store bought! I'll post that recipe tomorrow as well.

Of course there is school. Which we do at the kitchen table so I can still work and help as needed.

My four pumpkins are beautifully orange and still on the vine, but they will have to wait for another time.

Have a great day!


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wednesday Menu Review

Well I've decided to try and put some structure on this blog.

I know several people post upcoming menus for the week. I thought about doing that, but then realized I tend to change my mind about what to fix depending on weather,time,etc. So I'm going to post what we had for dinner the past 7 days each Wednesday.

* Two homemade thin crust pizzas. One for the boys:half pepperoni/sausage, half cheese. One for Bri and I: pepperoni,sausage,bell pepper,red onion,olives,cheese.

* Drive thru at Long John Silvers. Family size fish and hush puppies.

* Chili over corn chips topped with shredded cheese, hot cocoa.

* Taco salad,s'mores.

* Sausage,cheese,crackers, and grapes.

* Potato soup,popcorn

* Chicken Lasagna,roasted green beans from the garden.

Have a great day!


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

My Favorite Psalm

Psalm 103

Bless the Lord, O my soul;
and all that is within me, bless
his holy name.
Bless the Lord,O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits:
Who forgiveth all thine iniquities;
who healeth all thy diseases;
Who redeemeth thy life from
destruction; who crowneth thee
with lovingkindness and tender
Who satisfieth thy mouth with
good things; so that thy youth
is renewes like the eagle's.
The Lord executeth righteousness
and judgment for all that are oppressed.
He made known his ways unto Moses,
his acts unto the children of Israel.
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and plenteous
in mercy.
He will not always chide:
neither will he keep his anger for ever.
He hath not delt with us after our
sins;nor rewarded us according
to our iniquities.
For as the heaven is high above
the earth,so great is his mercy toward
them that fear him.
As far as the ease is from the west,
so far hath he removed our
transgressions from us.
Like as a father pitieth his
children,so the Lord pitieth
them that fear him.
For he knowth our frame; he
remembereth that we are dust.
As for man, his days are as grass:
as a flower of the field,so he
For the wind passeth over
it and it is gone; and the place
thereof shall know it no more.
But the mercy of the Lord is from
everlasting to everlasting upon
them that fear him,and his
righteousness unto children's children;
To such as keep his covenant,and to
those that remember his commandments
to do them.
The Lord hath prepared his throne in
the heavens; and his kingdom
ruleth over all.
Bless the Lord,ye his angels,that excel
in strength,that do his commandments,
hearkening unto the voice of his word.
Bless ye the Lord, all ye his hosts;ye ministers
of his, that do his pleasure.
Bless the Lord, all his works in all places
of his dominion:
bless the Lord, O my soul.

Monday, October 6, 2008

One Lake Three Campsites

Last fall we went camping at El Dorado Lake. Our camp hosts told us about an event on Saturday called O.K. Kids Day. It stands for Outdoor Kansas Kids. They have different activities like archery,skeet shooting,horse back riding,fishing,petting zoo plus a free hot dog lunch and a goodie bag with a t-shirt,coupons from various sponsors,and pencils, balloons,etc. All Free. So we went and the kids had a ball. This is an annual event so we planned to go back this year.

We had panned to leave very early Saturday morning,then Friday as Bri took the day off work,then we ended up leaving Thursday evening about 6pm. This lake is about 45 min to 1 hour from our house so we were pushing it to get there and get set up before dark.

Over the summer our family developed a love of kayaking. So Bri had researched a place just outside of the state park where canoist and kayakers can put in and go up the White water river which feeds into the lake. The website he found gave good directions to get to this particular spot. So we arrive and get set up. It is a very wonderful spot. Right near the water, lots of wood for a camp fire, and secluded. The only thing is it is near train tracks that are very much in use day and night. But N Loves trains so it's ok. The next morning we wake up and the boys gather stones for a fire ring and build and maintain a great fire most of the day. Bri goes kayaking up the river and has a grand time. After lunch I take a nap with N in the tent and wake up to a truck pulling into our camp site. It is the local wildlife and parks ranger. We cannot camp here. It is for day use only. So we pack everything up and head into the state park.

We decide to camp at the same spot we had last year. Great place. Just across from the shower house,right on the water, plenty of wood. So we set up again and the boys gather wood,throw rocks in the water, have a great time. I heat up our chili over the fire and heat water to have hot cocoa with our dinner.

Saturday morning. OK KIDS DAY! The boys are beyond excited. Bri drives them over to watch set up while I fix breakfast. Back for a bite to eat and then off for a fun filled day. We start with the fishing derby after regestration. C catches the first fish of the day. An 18.5 inch Catfish! Next on to horse back riding,archery,skeet shooting,jumping in the inflatables,lunch and geo caching. Surprise visit from the Army national guard. Cool big army jeeps and army fire trucks. Back to camp for naps. Or is it?

Back at camp, the wind has picked up. It has been windy off and on but now is worse. Do we really want to stay on this open spot and fight the wind all night? NO! So we pack up again and set off for greener less windy pastures. We drive around checking this place or that. All the way on the other side of the lake we see a possibility. No go. Keep looking. Of course it's always the last place you look. Bri finds us the perfect spot. Behind a cedar tree. The wind is still blowing but our tent is safe from blowing in on us. After much gatheriing of more wood and an almost start to prairie burning we decide better not have a fire here. We still have a nice dinner and Bri and the boys find they can still roast marshmallows over the embers for s'mores. After washing the dishes we take a walk in the growing darkness. The boys proudly using thier new flashlight/lanterns they won at OK Kids. Back to camp for the best nights sleep all weekend.

Have a great day!


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Homemade Thin Crust Pizza Dough

I made this for the first time last night. With homemade pizza sauce and fresh veggies, WOW. We have a new family favorite. I got the recipe from Recipe Zaar.

Pizza Dough for Thin Crust Pizza
2 1/2 cups flour (I used 1 cup whole wheat;1 1/2 cup white)
1 pkg yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup warm water
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
cornmeal for sprinkling

1. Mix sugar in warm water.
2. sprinkle yeast on top.
3. Wait 10 minutes or until it gets foamy.
4. Pour into a large bowl.
5. Add flour,salt,olive oil.
6. Combine.
7. Knead for 6-8 minutes until you have a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (add a bit more flour if you need to).
8. Cover and let rest for 20-30 minutes.
9. Lightly grease two 12 inch pizza pans.
10. Sprinkle with a little bit of corn meal.
11. Divide dough in half.
12. Place each half on a pizza pan and pat it with your fingers until it stretches over the whole pan. (I used my rolling pin at the end just to make it smooth and even).
13. If desired,pre-bake at 425 F for 10 minutes. (I don't do this).
14. Then spread with pizza sauce and use the toppings of your choice.
15. bake at 425 F for 10-20 minutes,until bubbly and hot. (mine took 15 min).

Makes two 12 inch pizzas. Dough may also be frozen. Grease the inside of a zip lock baggie before putting in dough. This will make removing the dough easier when ready to use.

Have a great day!