Monday, October 26, 2009

Mondays Simple Woman's Daybook

A look into my simple life....and others at Peggy's Simple Woman's Daybook Blog

FOR TODAY...October 26th

Outside my window... its is gray and chilly once again. Saturday, a gorgeous sunny fall day, might have been our last chance to see the trees in all their glorious autumn splendor.

I am thinking...about how nice a long hot bubble bath or massage would be right now.

I am thankful for...the dear boy who is snuggling on my lap while I blog. I'm gthankful he isn't too big to cuddle with mommy...yet.

I am yoga pants and my red church tshirt. And actually got my hair in a ponytail today. Hair is getting long enough...thinking about a new short do.

I am my Dad loved Marguerite Henry books. Our favorite was "Brighty of the Grand Canyon". He would read it aloud to us during the winter. This morning I taught my kids the silly braying donkey song that he taught us!

I am have to sort and change out baby clothes again already. Keira is outgrowing many of her 0-3 months outfits. She is also smiling, cooing, and reaching for stuff now too though :) They grow so fast!

I am reading...AGAINST ALL ODDS by Irene Hannon. Its book 1 of the Heroes of Quantico series. I accidently read #2 first! Its a christian novel about an FBI Hostage Rescue Team.

I am hoping... for a mild winter....with lots of snow. But not to cold, and NO ice storms!

On my frustrating it is to teach children not to interrupt.

From the learning rooms...phonics, spelling, math, bible reading, penmanship. oh...and play-doh.

Noticing that...its getting chilly in the house. Need to turn the furnace on.

Pondering these words..."oh how He loves us". From a new David Crowder song. Love it.

From the kitchen...we're fixing greasy cheeseburgers and french fries tonight :)

Around the house...have moved some furniture around. Put some stuff in the storage shed, so that we can shampoo carpets before winter.

One of my favorite things...a rainy day with a good book and hot chocolate.

From my picture journal...our fall family picture. Taken saturday.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Yummy/Easy Artisan Bread

Time: About 45 minutes plus about 3 hours’ resting and rising

1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
6 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, more for dusting dough

1. In a large bowl or plastic container, mix yeast and salt into 3 cups lukewarm water (about 100 degrees). Stir in flour, mixing until there are no dry patches. Dough will be quite loose. Cover, but not with an airtight lid. Let dough rise at room temperature 1 & 1/2 hours (or up to 5 hours).
2. Bake at this point or refrigerate, covered, for as long as two weeks. When ready to bake, sprinkle a little flour on dough and cut off a grapefruit-size piece with serrated knife. (I divided the dough in half and made 2 large loaves instead.) Turn dough in hands to lightly stretch surface, creating a rounded top and a lumpy bottom. Put dough on pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal; let rest 40 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough or refrigerate it.

3. Place broiler pan on bottom of oven. Place baking stone on middle rack and turn oven to 450 degrees; heat stone at that temperature for 20 minutes.

4. Dust dough with flour, slash top with serrated or very sharp knife three times. Slide onto stone. Pour one cup hot water into broiler pan and shut oven quickly to trap steam. Bake until well browned, about 30 minutes. Cool completely.

Yield: 4 loaves.

Variation: If not using stone, stretch rounded dough into oval and place in a greased, nonstick loaf pan. Let rest 40 minutes if fresh, an extra hour if refrigerated. Heat oven to 450 degrees for 5 minutes. Place pan on middle rack.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Family Heirlooms

"God is an amazing God- He blesses us in the most astonishing ways. He gave you the precious gift of parenthood. He knows whom you are dealing with and He loves your children far more than any parent can imagine, so take your concerns directly to the Lord!" Maggie Hogan

We spent the afternoon playing at the park. It was a gorgeous fall day. 72 degrees. The breeze was nice and cool, perfect for Ashleigh & Logan to fly their kite.
And just cool enough for Keira to wear the little sweater that her Grandma Barb made, with a little pink bonnet from her Great-Grandma Edie whom she never got to meet. They were originally Ashleigh's and have been passed down. Maybe some day they'll be an old family heirloom? ;)
I love this picture of her in them. She is such a little doll baby.

I am grateful that God knows my children better than I. He knows the issues I deal with and struggle through in parenting these unique little hearts and minds. I pray that He guides my words and hand in all that we do. So that someday, it won't just be little crocheted sweaters we're passing down...but character, values, and generational blessings.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - Oct 19th

Monday: dinner at some friends - fajitas, beans, chips & white queso dip

Tuesday: Roasted chicken, rice, peas

Wednesday: Crockpot Night - Minestrone, Artisan Bread

Thursday: Freezer Pleaser - Spaghetti & Meatballs

Friday: leftovers night

Saturday: church group weenie hot dogs, chili, and smores!

Sunday: Breakfast for Dinner - Breakfast Burritos

What do you have planned for dinner this week?
To be inspired by over 400 more menus - head over and visit Menu Plan Monday at

Monday, October 19, 2009

Monday's Simple Woman's Daybook - Oct 19th

A look into my simple life....and others at Peggy's Simple Woman's Daybook Blog

FOR TODAY...October 19th

Outside my window... a gorgeous sunny autumn day for the kids to play outside! We've had cabin fever with all the chilly rainy days last week.

I am thinking...that Logan is too little to be saying "thats just not cool Mom"

I am thankful for... a freezer full of meat for the winter. Ready to start using some of the soup bones!

I am wearing... my flannel pj pants and a tshirt. Can't believe I admitted that! I will be getting dressed before we go to friend's for supper ;)

I am set the tv to record "Castle" and "Diners, Drive Ins & Dives" this evening.

I am going... to try taking some family pictures of the kids tomorrow.

I am reading...Deceived by James Scott Bell

I am hoping... to start a new writing project soon. Been holding off til we became a bit more adjusted with having a baby in the house.

On my mind... the highs & lows of parenting. How difficult it is to teach/train little ones...without focusing all on the negative. Have been having a lot of disciplanary issues, feel like what we've been doing isn't working. Any ideas or suggestions?

From the learning rooms... as Peggy @ Simple Woman's daybook said "outside living". The kids loved beiing outdoors today. I did work on some phonics with Ashleigh while Logan was napping.

Noticing that... honeybees are out en masse today.

Pondering these words... "It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all." - Laura Ingalls Wilder

From the kitchen... kitchen is clean and clear for the day. Heading over to some friends for fajitas tonight.

Around the house... my pumkin pie candle is burning on the counter. A fall breeze is coming in the back screen door. My mom is watching fox news....and baby Keira is cooing. We've finished the cleaning chores and laundry for the day. Enjoying a quiet afternoon.

One of my favorite things...roly poly babies :)

From my picture journal..."chubby cheeks"

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pumpkin Butter

~Pumpkin Butter~
I ran across this recipe on another homeschooler's blog last week. Somehow, I have never heard of pumpkin butter! But being such a big fan of autumn and anything pumpkiny...I knew we had to try it. So we turned it into a homeschool cooking class :) My mom helped Ashleigh make it, since I was occupied feeding Baby Keira.

15 oz of pure pumpkin - 2/3 cup brown sugar - 1/4 cup honey
1 Tbsp lemon juice - 1 tsp ground cinnamon - 1/8 tsp ground clove

Combine pumpkin, sugar, honey, lemon juice, cinnamon and cloves in medium, heavy-duty saucepan.

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring frequently, for 20 to 25 minutes or until thickened.

Serve with biscuits, breads and corn muffins. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 2 months.

All I can say is...Yummo! Very very delish. Its spicy like apple butter, while tasting like pumpkin pie. This recipe is definately a keeper! I think next time we'll make a larger batch and put it in canning jars. Would make great little gifts. A little jelly jar of pumpkin butter with a loaf of fresh baked bread.
Can you smell it.....? Spicy, warm pumpkin, toasted bread, coffee brewing, for an afternoon snack next to the fireplace. Snuggled all up in an afghan, on a misty fall day.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Raising the boy

"Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word." Psalm 119:9

Raising this 3 yr old, mischievous, little angel drives me to my knees daily. Causes me to read every christian parenting book known to man...not just once, but twice!
Such challenges, frustrations, and joys I have never know before. Such responsibility.
We are not just raising a little boy, but a mature God-fearing man. I pray that he will grow up to be a man of character, conviction, and commitment.
God tells us that boys/children are a blessing to us, and as we aim them in the right direction, they will go on to bless many others. Just keep reminding yourself of that during the messy, loud years, and enjoy the blessing of boys.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: chicken, mashed potatoes, corn on cob, biscuits & pumpkin butter

Tuesday: wild turkey breast, slow-cooker stuffing, shells n cheese, green beans

Wednesday: Crockpot Night - Enchilada Soup, tortilla chips

Thursday: leftovers

Friday: Family night - Homemade Pizza and a movie

Saturday: Reuben sandwiches

Sunday: Breakfast for Dinner - Caramel Banana French Toast, Sausage

What do you have planned for dinner this week?
To be inspired by over 400 more menus - head over and visit Menu Plan Monday at

Monday's Simple Woman's Daybook ~ Oct 12th

For today - Oct 12th, 2009 -

Outside my window...its a gray fall day. Neighborhood kids are out of school due to Columbus Day. So even though its chilly, lots of sweatshirts and pink cheeks running around out there, laughing and screaming...enjoying the last few moments of indian summer.

I am thinking...what am I thinking??

I am thankful for...God opening the doors for my mom to move down here. It will be such a nice blessing to have her near instead of 5 hours away.
I am wearing...jeans and a tshirt.

I am remembering...the crunch of falling leaves....smell of wood-fires burning...

I am fix a cup of hot tea.

I am reading...some homeschool blogs.

I am hoping...for a relaxing evening at home tonight. Warm and cozy.
On my mind....that baby Keira is going to wake up and need fed soon.
From the learning rooms...Ashleigh is doing very well with addition. Gets impatient though. She continues to enjoy phonics. We are using the Rod & Staff phonics curriculum. She has started reading some words and even sentences now.
Noticing phone is missing! Was wondering why my husband hadnt called on his way home yet....I must have left it around here somewhere....
Pondering these words...listening to Focus on the Family.
From the kitchen...going to cook up the wild turkey breast that my husband got this past weekend. Along with mashed potatoes, and corn.

Around the house...Logan is helping his Grandma bake biscuits to go along with the batch of pumpkin butter we made this afternoon. The kitchen smells spicy. Just right for fall :)

One of my favorite things...caramel candy corn! My sister introduced me to it last weekend. Love it even more than regular candy corn.

A few plans for the rest of the week....a quiet week at home. Catching up on school work after missing all last week due to flu. A doctor appointment. Homeschool co-op classes one afternoon.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...

You might enjoy reading other ladies' daybooks or perhaps you would like to start keeping your own journal... check out Peggy's site: The Simple Woman's Daybook for a list.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

I have been fighting the flu this week, so my dear husband made up a huge stockpot of this delicious soup. Homemade chicken noodle soup has always been my favorite soup. Probably because growing up, my mom's was amazing and always so comforting on cold winter days...or sick days. I love this creamy version. It has such a rich, thick broth. I hope you enjoy!

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

4 large chicken breasts

4 T chicken bouillon

10 C water

1/2 large onion, finely chopped

1 C chopped carrots

1 C chopped celery
1 minced garlic clove

1 tsp parsley or poultry seasonings

salt & pepper

10-14 oz egg noodles

1 pt heavy cream

1 C sour cream

In large pot, boil the water with the chicken, chicken bouillon, onion, carrots, and celery, and spices for 1 hour or until chicken is cooked thoroughly.Remove chicken and add egg noodles. Boil until tender. Meanwhile, dice cooked chicken. Place chicken back into pot and simmer until ready to eat. Add heavy cream and sour cream and heat through, but do not boil. Add more sour cream to get desired thickness.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Homemade Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup, and Artisan Bread
(made by my sweet husband especially for me, because I have been fighting some bug all weekend and fever today)

Tuesday: Leftovers

Wednesday: Crockpot Night - Enchilada Soup

Thursday: Fish & Chips

Friday: Family night - Homemade Pizza and a movie

Saturday: Mexican - bro-in-laws' birthday dinner

Sunday: Grill Night - bbq chicken, mashed potatoes, corn on cob
(carried over from last week)

To be inspired by over 400 more menus - head over and visit Menu Plan Monday at

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Carnitas & Black Beans


3 lbs. pork shoulder

2 tbs vegetable oil

1 tbs salt

1 tbs ground pepper

1 tbs paprika

1 tbs cayenne pepper

1 tsp oregano

2 bay leaves

2 cloves chopped garlic

2 large dried chipotle peppers

1/2 can coke

1/2 cup milk

2 tbs brown sugar

1. Trim the fat off of the roast. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet. While it’s getting hot, mix the spices together on a plate and roll the pork roast in them. Gently place the roast in the hot oil and sear all sides until browned.

2. Place it in the crockpot. Add the brown sugar, coke, milk, garlic, bay leaves and chipotle. Cook slow & low...5 hrs or so. It’s done when the pork starts to fall apart when poked with a spoon.

3. Remove the meat from the crockpot with a slotted spoon and shred it into smaller chunks. Remove any solids (peppers) from the broth. Pour into a large skillet and heat over medium heat. Fry the meat in this until it begins to crisp, and all the liquids are gone.

4. Serve with warmed corn tortillas, chopped fresh cilantro, wedges of lime, and diced red onion.

SpicyBlack Beans

2 cups dried black beans
2 1/2 quarts (10 cups) water
2-3 fresh sprigs oregano, or 1 Tbsp dried
3 bay leaves
6 small or 3 large sage leaves
2 teaspoons salt
4 Tbsp olive oil
2 yellow onions, chopped
2 chopped peppers – bell pepper, Anaheim, or jalapeño (your choice, depending on taste for heat), seeds, stems and ribs discarded
6 cloves crushed garlic
2 Tbsp chili powder or Tabasco to taste
1-2 teaspoons of puréed chipotle in adobo, chipotle Tabasco, or chipotle powder (to taste)
1 Tbsp cumin
Juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

1. Prepare the beans. Rinse and sort the beans, discarding any stones or shriveled beans. You can soak the beans overnight in cold water (cover with several inches of water) OR pour enough boiling water over them to cover by a few inches and soak them for an hour OR skip the pre-soaking step. Soaking will speed up the cooking process. If you soak, discard the soaking liquid after soaking.
2. Add beans to a large pot with 2 1/2 quarts (10 cups) of water. Add oregano, bay leaves, and sage. Bring the beans to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until the beans are soft, but not quite done. The time will vary depending on how large, dry, or old your beans are, and if you have pre-soaked them, from anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half.
3. While the beans are cooking, sauté onions and peppers in olive oil until soft. Add chili powder, and/or chili purée, cumin, and garlic. Sauté until spices are fragrant.
4. Fish out and discard the bay leaves, stems of oregano, and sage leaves from the pot of beans. Remove, but reserve, extra cooking liquid until there is about 1/2-inch of liquid above beans.
5. Add the onion mixture and salt to the pot of beans. Cook another hour or so until thickened. Add reserved liquid if needed.
6. Just before serving, add lime juice, and vinegar. Salt to taste. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro.
Serve with corn tortillas, and/or rice, sour cream, and salsa.
Serves 8.

Friday, October 2, 2009

How did she get to be so Big?

Ashleigh discovered her first loose tooth this week. It was wobbly and came out later that evening. I dont know how we missed it being loose!


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