Saturday, October 30, 2010

Welcome Adrianna!

Welcome to the world little Adrianna Rae Mitchell.

Isn't she a wonderful little miracle!  Praise God for his intricate miraculous wonderful weavings!

Born October 30th at 6:06pm
7 lbs 4 oz.
19 1/2 inches

Friday, October 29, 2010

Dorito Delight

This is kinda like a hamburger version to my "Taco Chicken". 
It has a lot of similarities, yet tastes very different.
In this house we prefer the Taco Chicken version.  But this version is also easy to make, and it's been a super long time since we've had it.  TJ made it for him and the boys while I was gone at women of faith.  And the boys had the last of the left overs this week.  So I'm deciding to post it anyway, but you get a leftover picture on a kids plate :) since TJ didn't have the camera when he made it the first time.

Dorito Delight

1 lb hamburger
1 bag of Doritos
1 pkg taco seasoning
1 can cream of chicken
1 small onion
1 pkg cheddar cheese
1 8oz carton sour cream

Fry the hamburger, drain and season with taco seasoning.  Add soup and onion.  Crumble doritos in the bottom of a 9x13 pan.  Pour half the meat mixture on doritos, sprinkle with cheese.  Repeat for next layer.  End with another layer of doritos and cheese.  Heat at 300 for 15 minutes or until cheese melts.  Take out of the oven and spread sour cream on top.

Baked Meatballs


3 lbs Hamburger
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cups oatmeal
1 can evaporated milk
1 tsp pepper
2 eggs
2 tsps salt

2 cups ketchup
medium onion chopped (dry onion)
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 1/2 cups brown sugar

Mix together.  Shape into meatballs line in a pan.  Mix together the sauce and pour over the meatballs.
Bake at 350 for 1 hour.  Do not cover.

This makes a good portion.  More than 1 pan.  So if you don't want that many you can half the recipe.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sausage Noodle Soup

I had a pound of pork sausage in the fridge that I needed to use up.  But this is soup week!  So I had to find a sausage soup.  However I didn't find anything that I had all the ingredients for and I didn't want to go to the store.  So I improvised, and made it up.  I was pretty nervous about how this would turn out because I'm not that sort of person.  I usually change something in the recipe but I don't just make it up.

Well TJ gave this a 6 out of 10.  I was glad for that.  I thought it wasn't too bad for throwing something together.  Give it a try if you wish.  Maybe change a couple things if you are more inclined than I and let me know how yours turns out!

Sausage Noodle Soup

1 lb pork sausage, cooked
4 cups water
4 cubes beef bouillon
1 cup carrots
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cups egg noodles

Cook sausage and drain.  Bring water to a boil, and add the beef bouillon. Stir until dissolved, add green pepper and carrots and let simmer.  I cooked the noodles partially in the microwave first.  2 cups of noodles in 4 cups of water.  Cook in the microwave for 15 minutes and let sit for 5 more minutes before taking out.  Drain the water and add to the soup pot.   Add the sausage and let everything simmer 10-15 minutes more in the pot before serving.

Will it Float?

This time during our transportation unit, we talked about boats.  We read books about boats, and decided to test out some boats and other things that may or may not float.

I had the boys pick some toys or other things to see if they float or not.  We guessed before each one what we thought and then watched it happen.

Here's what did not float!

Here's what DID float!

Then we made a paper boat, and a boat out of tinfoil to see how many pennies we could get it to hold.
This tinfoil boat held 78 pennies before it got too heavy and sunk to the bottom

Fun experiment.  We had previously made boats out of tinfoil and tried different methods to see how many pennies it would hold, at a co-op homeschool class.  Monkey loved that project, so he was excited to do it again.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Baked Potato Soup

I first found the potato soup mix from Bear Creek, and love it.  It's a just add water mix that someone else made and it was so delicious I asked for the recipe.  She said, it's found in aisle 5 at Hy-Vee.  hahaha....

But this time I decided to make it homemade.
Here's the recipe I chose.

5-7 medium/small potaots
1 stick butter
2/3 cup flour
5 cups milk
1 pkg bacon
3/4 bag of cheddar cheese
8 oz sour cream

First I peeled and boiled the potatoes in water with 3 pressed garlic cloves in the water.  I boiled them until slightly mushy.  Next melt the butter on the stove and add the flour to it.  Cook the bacon and crumble it.  I cooked it last night in the oven so it was ready for tonight.  Mix everything in the crockpot, or in a pot on the stove.
This was thick, more like a chowder, but good.  And TJ prefers his soups thick and chewy more than thin and slurpy.  He rates it a 7 out of 10.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

2 chicken breasts- cooked and diced
1 cup frozen green beans
1 cup carrots
1 cup frozen broccoli
1/2 pkg of frozen egg noodles
4 cups chicken broth
1/4 tsp cumin

Cook the chicken and dice add a little garlic pepper and lawry's while cooking the chicken.  Cook the noodles in water first to thaw them.  (I put them in the microwave in water for 10 minutes and then let it sit in there until I'm read to add them to the broth)
Put the broth and veggies in a pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer covered. Add chicken, noodles and seasonings and let simmer until all heated through.

When I was little, my mom would make homemade noodles.  I have not tried this yet myself, but these specific noodles that I get from the frozen section are just like the noodles my mom would make so I go that route for now.  I remember her making the dough, rolling it really thin, and then hanging it on the towel rack in the kitchen to let the dough dry.  Then she'd cut it into strips.  Good memories. :)

TJ gives this a 6 out of 10.  It's nice and chunky like he likes it but for some reason it's not his favorite.  I love it though.  And those reasons might have something to do with the nostalgia or something like that, I'm not sure.

Hope you enjoy it too. :)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Homemade Taco Seasoning

One day I needed taco seasoning but realized I didn't have a package of it.   So I found a recipe online for how to make your own taco seasoning.

Spoon 1 tablespoon of minced dried onions in a small bowl or cup.
Add 2 teaspoons of chili powder.
Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt.
Add 1 teaspoon of garlic powder.
Add 1 teaspoon of cornstarch.
Add 1 teaspoon of ground cumin.
Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or hot paprika.
Stir to blend
Makes the equivalent of a 1 1/4-ounce package of taco seasoning mix.


Taco Soup #2

I made a previous taco soup....and got a new recipe for it from my Aunt JoAnn which is totally different than the first one I tried.  So here it is.

First of all, it calls for taco seasoning and I thought I had some but don't.  So I found a recipe online for how to make your own taco seasoning.   Click the link to see the taco seasoning recipe.

1 lb hamburger
1 can corn
1 can black beans
1 can mushrooms (which I did not use)
1 jar salsa
1 pkg taco seasoning

Don't drain the cans, cook the hamburger and mix together.  I cooked it in the crockpot for 2 hours on high.  I thought this was yummy.  It might taste a little different for me next time if I use a regular package of taco seasoning.  Since I made this new recipe for homemade taco seasoning and it had cayenne pepper in it, it had a little kick to it.  More than probably if it was regular taco seasoning.  I still liked it.
We put some sour cream in our bowls too.  Of course, cuz my husband is a sour cream fanatic. 

TJ gave this a 7 out of 10.  Maybe even 7 1/2 he said.

Simple as that!  It would have been good if we had tortilla chips to dip in there too, but we didn't.  Maybe next time.



In our unit we are talking about transportation.  So we were given a time-line of when certain things relating to transportation have been invented.

I decided to make a lapbook for the boys about the 3 ways to transport....air, water and land.  I thought I would stick to lapbooks that were prepared for me and all I had to do was cut them out and put them together.  So this was a leap for me to just make it up.  This could probably be a little more imaginative or something but it's purposeful and we can look at it time and time again.  So it will continue to teach.

Here's the complete thing.

Here's how you flap it open.

In the middle is where I printed out 3x3inch cards with pictures of ways to travel on land, by sea, or in the air.  (i.e. helicopter, sailboat, bus, airplane, train, bridge, etc.)  Open the correct flap, and put it in the pockets.

Then I wrote out the time-line for him and I found pictures to go with some of the events.  It will be so much more fun when Monkey is old enough and can look these things up online by himself. :)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Women of Faith 2010

Wow!  Watch out!  This was such an amazing weekend, 
I may not know when to stop talking about it! 

Where to start about Women of Faith. :)

I feel so incredibly blessed to have been a part of this wonderful event this year.

It started Friday at 10am, there was a boxed Lunch, then a break for supper and resumed at 7pm that night.  Saturday started at 9am with a few breaks and a boxed lunch and ended at 5pm.

Events included:

dramas by Nicole Johnson, which were inspiring, deep issues, 
somewhat "controversial" but wonderful reminders of the
Grace of God no matter what the circumstance you're going through in life.

Music by Mandisa, which was fun, energetic, inspiring and
showing a truly wonderful God given ability. 
 I didn't want to wait in the long line to take a picture so I just got as close as I could to take a picture of her while she was signing something for someone else.  She has such a sweet and loving spirit.  I would love to be friends with her in real life. :)

Music and speaking by Steven Curtis Chapman, and Mary Beth Chapman.
We had really good seats, but it was so dark in there besides the stage that it was hard to get a good picture.  This is Steven and Mary Beth singing "Got 2 b Tru."  It was hilarious!

Special Speakers: Patsy Clairmont, Andy Andrews, Marilyn Meberg, Lisa Welchel

Andy Andrews was a very interesting character.  He is very energetic and has a great background and story about how God has used his life.  He talked about forgiveness.  He had some very interesting points about how forgiveness is life's "reset" button, and the difference between making a mistake and making a bad choice, and in that when you need to say I'm sorry, and you need to ask for forgiveness and how those two are very different. 

Patsy Clairmont also had some great stories about trials in her life and how God has used her and what he has taught her during these times.  She had some great pointers on fear and how to not let it grab hold of you.  She said something that struck me.....she said we need to Refuse, Replace and Repeat.  This is in talking about our own thoughts whether about ourselves, other people or just plain ol thoughts.  First we need to be aware of what we are thinking and immediately refuse those unkind, negative, bad thoughts that the devil throws at us, or fills the dead air with.  Then we need to do as the bible states in Philippians 4 and replace them with things that are pure, and lovely and good, etc.  Then we need to continuously repeat that to ourselves to keep our heart and minds guarded.

Lisa Welchel, if you don't know she was "Blair" on "The Facts of Life" tv show. :)  She talked about grownup friendships, and how even though she was on a tv show for 9 years, she could be among thousands of people and still felt alone.  Because she longed for a true friend.  She had a great story about her past and things she did to try and get friends or to push friends away.  But most of all she gave some great pointers on what to look for in a friend, what not to look for.

Sandi Patti was there, she gave a testimony and sang some songs.  What I related to her story the most with was when she talked about the thing she thought she wanted the most.  And she was told, no.  But then just a little while later God showed her another way and gave her something more wonderful.  And she phrased it as saying when she thought she thought she was on the edge of disaster, she was actually on the edge of the diving.  And I can relate to that so well.  She was stating that when she was told no to what she really really wanted for her life, she saw it as disaster, but further down the road, when God granted her something more wonderful, she saw that whole time she was really on the edge of the diving because God knew better and knew that He has something much more wonderful in store for her, just at a different time.  I have a similar story, which had been somewhat shared in my "Long Adoption Story".  But I might touch on this more in a different blog entry.

Marilyn Meberg talked about the "More needs" of life.  We as humans are always wanting more, no matter what you are talking about.  The grass is always greener on the other side, right?!  She gave some great insight on how are hearts are conditioned to long for more because God has put a little bit of heaven in our hearts so that we will never settle, but will always long for more.  But!!!  Life as it is on this earth does not fully satisfy all of our "more" needs!  That will be completed once we reach heaven.  The second time she spoke she clearly presented the gospel offering a moment for those to confess and believe. She also gave another phrase I loved.  "You can't out-sin Jesus' forgiveness."  And to that I say, Amen!  and Praise the Lord!  Because we all make mistakes and bad choices, but Jesus has paid the price for ALL of those sins.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sings and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness.

And probably the most touching, heart breaking, sobbing moments were during the songs of Steven Curtis Chapman, and the speaking of Mary Beth Chapman.  It is truly wonderful to see people sing their songs live, and see their heart as they sing, and to hear the testimony that goes along with why they felt led to write and sing such a song.  When he sang "Cinderella" I was very close to an all out sob fest.  He talked about it a little, but then Mary Beth talked about it more afterwards.  I held it together, barely. :(  When Mary Beth spoke, it was also encouraging to hear how others handle tough situations in life.  She said people have asked them how they survived the accident.  She said we didn't, we are just choosing to survive.  That is so true.  We can't always survive these things that happen, but we have to choose to do it anyway.  I was really encouraged by her phrase, The light shines brightest when the sky is the darkest.  This also resignated through me like earlier which may have to be touched on more later.  And another thing that was food for though was usually we are quick to ask "WHY ME?" when bad things happen, but given the world we live in, we should really be asking God Why not me?

Well, that was lengthy, but just a sample of what was presented this weekend.  Beyond that I went with my friend Heather and her church group from Wisconsin.   The others I met this weekend were such a wonderful blessing to me.  Praise the Lord for wonderful encouraging believers who can feel like your sister even though you have just met.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


The next 10 school days we will be talking about transportation/travel.  Today we started with trains.  So first we read a book that talks about the different types of train cars, and how the rail road is made and other details.  Then we drove around over and under railroad tracks.

We drove over to an EXEMPT track and looked at it up close and walked along it. :) 

And we have a rail car at the fair grounds "Village of Yesteryear", so we drove over to that to play around and see it.  Fun day at school.

 One vacation TJ and I went on there was a small train in town like this.  Not a real train track.  To be silly I laid down on the track and pretended like it was coming to run me over.  So the boys have seen that in my scrapbook and wanted to take a picture like that too.

Then they decided to pretend like it was coming and stand there looking scared.  They are quite the actors. :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

New Sweet & Sour Chicken with Fried Rice

 Tonight was chinese night!  

I got a new wok at IKEA for $5.  
Steal of a deal, I know. :)

Today was the first time I got to use it!  Yay.  It worked great.

I have another sweet and sour chicken recipe I've made before.  This time I used a bottle of sweet and sour I got from the store to test it out and see the difference.

Here's the brands I used for the sweet and sour and the fried rice seasoning.

I prepared it the way it says on the sweet and sour bottle.  But it says to make Sweet and Sour Pork, and I changed it to chicken.   Here's what I did for the chicken.
First notice my nice new wok! :)  YAY!

3 chicken breasts, thawed and cut into 1 inch cubes.
1 bottle sweet and sour sauce
soy sauce
green pepper
olive oil

Cut chicken into 1 inch cubes, dip in cornstarch and soy sauce.  Brown in 2 Tbsp oil slowly in a hot skillet.  Add 1/4 cup water; simmer, covered 20 minutes stirring twice.  Cut 2 carrots into thin slices, 1 onion and 1 bell pepper into 1 inch squares, stir into skillet with 1 cup sweet and sour sauce.  Simmer, covered, 10 minutes, stirring frequently.  add 1 cup pineapple chunks, heat through.
(I did not use the onion, or pineapple just because I didn't have it.)
TJ gave this a 7 out of 10, and he said he likes it better than my other sweet and sour chicken recipe which is linked above.

Fried Rice

2 cups minute rice
green onion
olive oil
seasoning packet
soy sauce

First I cooked minute rice, and just to simplify....
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil.  Remove from the heat, add your 2 cups of rice cover and let stand 5 minutes.  Use the same amount of water/rice no matter how much you want to make. :)

I let it cool, and put the rice in my large skillet with 2 tbsp of olive oil and green onions.  Next add the seasoning packet and 2 tsp soy sauce.  Stir-fry for 1 minute.  Next push the rice to the side and add your 2 eggs and scramble.  Then stir into the rice.  Add your peas and carrots!

This was yummy!  TJ gave it a 7 out of 10.

Calendar Presentation Board

After seeing a couple examples from some friends.  I decided to make a more hands on Calendar Board for the kids.  We've tried working on the days and months just by looking at the regular calendar but I thought they might like the more hands on approach.

And I will have to say, it was pretty fun for me in the putting together process. :)

Here it is.

The orange envelopes are holding different things.  The top one is holding different faces for how you feel.  One is holding the seasons.  And the one under that is holding things that happen during that season.  I'm possibly going to add different pictures for the holidays too so we can add them to the calendar.  And the white spot on the left side is for Bible Verses.  The middle right has 3 laminated pieces glued on.  One to write the current temp, which we have to look up online.  And then we are going to keep track of the high and low temp for the month.

For the months and days, I cut the letters out, put them on a white background and then used packing tape as my laminate. :)

 October's missing because it is the month of October! :)

 I still need to write over the words with's kinda hard to see in this picture, Today is, Wednesday, Tomorrow is Thursday, Yesterday was Tuesday.

 We have Bear's birthday in the fall time and the leaves fall.  I need to make a picture for Thanksgiving yet.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ground Beef Spiral Bake

8 oz spiral pasta
1 lb hamburger
1/3 cup onion
2 cloves garlic
1 large can spaghetti sauce
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano
2 cups mozz cheese

Cook pasta.  Cook beef and onion.  Add garlic and cook 1 minute longer.  Drain.  Stir in the spaghetti sauce, tomato paste, basil and oregano. (I also added some crushed red pepper) Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 5-10 minutes.  Stir pasta into meat  mixture.  Transfer in a 9x13 pan.  Sprinkle with 2 cups of cheese.  Bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes.

**I did not precook my noodles this time and it turned out just fine.  They were the quick cook rotini noodles.  I'm not sure if that made a difference or not. ?!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Company potatoes

 2 lbs frozen hash browns (square potato, not the shredded potato)
 8 oz. cheddar cheese
16 oz sour cram
 1 can cream of chicken
 1/2 cup chopped onion
 1 tsp garlic powder
 1 stick butter

Mix all ingredients, put in a 9x13 pan and bake at 350 for 40-60 minutes.
Or put in a crock pot on low for 4 hours. 

I usually cook mine in the crockpot.  But my mom put them in the oven this time.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Photography-My Family

I did my own family photo shoot while at my mom's. :)
She gave me her tripod to use, and it worked well.  Here's some of our family pics.

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