Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Crockpot Chicken and Rice

Thanks to Pinterest, another winner in the crockpot last night!

Source: forkinit.blogspot.com via Stephanie on Pinterest

Crockpot Chicken and Rice

2-4 frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese (let sit out to soften)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 pkg. italian dressing seasoning (the dried kind in the packet)

Stir the cream cheese, cream of chicken, and seasoning together in the crockpot. I actually start it on low and let them sit in there for about 30 min so the cream cheese is softer to stir. Put the frozen chicken in and cover with the mix. Cook on high 4-6 hours or until the chicken is cooked and fall-apart-tender.

Cook the rice and smother with chicken mixture!

Recipe from here.

Project Life // September 11 - 17

Ignoring the fact that I have SEVERAL weeks to catch up in my Project Life album, I am celebrating that I actually finished ONE week. : ) I was going to post this last week and then all the sick baby stuff happened and it languished in my draft folder.

My assistant.


This week is from September 11-17. And, oh yes, I have many weeks prior to this to catch up on.


FYI, the blur is a photo of cancelled debit cards that someone tried to purchase about $300 worth of shoes on. Thankful for a husband that caught it quickly!


The second half of our week (above). The bottom left photo shows what we did on our second Friday Fun School with our friends, the B family. We read The Little Chapel that Stood (my review here) and talked a bit about September 11. Our craft that week was decorating thankful journals.




Have a great Tuesday!

Saturday, September 24, 2011


A few pictures to sort of sum up this week of crazy. To recap, it started here.

Several nights of sleeping (or not) downstairs so we didn't wake everyone else with crazy fussing.

Resting boy.

A care package arrived from my Dad via Amazon that has helped get me through the week.

What I will be doing while taking care of sick boy. Thanks Dad/ @dasyas!

There has been a LOT of coffee. (My girls love to drink out of these Disney coffee mugs that I used to collect. I am kicking myself that I got rid of most of them before they were born).

Now that I have all these little girls, I am kicking myself that I didn't save more of my Disney coffee mugs.

Starting to feel a bit better ... it was now Thursday and we were FINALLY starting to perk up a bit.

We are feeling better!

We even got a little school done this week.

Can you find the sleeping baby in there under the puppy?

On Thursday, we needed to make a run for some fresh produce ... we were cleaned out at home ... and we all needed out of the house. Because Mama is wild and crazy, we had lunch at Sam's.

Out of the house for the first time in days ... SAMs never looked so good!

While there, I ran into my holiday nemesis peanut brittle. It did not come home with me, thankfully.

My holiday nemesis! Ack!

And then, we were back at the dr's office for another check of the boy. (At this point, we had visited our wonderful pediatrician's office five times in as many days). The boy, while markedly improved on his croup and stridor, has a double ear infection and pinkeye. Apparently it is very normal for that to follow croup. So glad we are normal. : )

Back at our home away from home this week

The boy's bucket o' drugs and my notes for when he took which medicine. One three times a day, one once a day, one twice a day, plus the Motrin and whatever else as well as keep track of what his fever was. And eventually keeping track of B and N1's fever because they succumbed to the germ, although for them it has only turned into bad colds.

The boy's bucket o' drugs.

And that, my friends, has been our week.

  life rearranged

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fall Into Reading 2011

I'm not sure if participating in Katrina's Fall Into Reading Challenge qualifies me as certifiably insane or a glutton for punishment, especially after this week of super sick little people, but I'm feeling the need for a reading list. I keep adding to my to-be-read pile, but very little is actually getting read. This list will be my attempt at changing that!
There are so many other books I would like to add to this list, but since I already know it will be a huge stretch to finish these, I'm stopping here.

With my girls:
  • Finish our read-aloud of Little Men, by Louisa May Alcott. We are enjoying this, but it is slow going.
  • Start a new read-aloud, as yet to be determined. : ) As we are headed into fall, I want to pick something to match seasonally ... I really want to read Laura Ingalls Wilder's The Long Winter with them, but I'm trying to make myself hold out until after Christmas. It begs to read when it is coldest outside! 
For more reading inspiration, visit Katrina at Callapidder Days and add your list to the Fall Into Reading Challenge. Full details on how to participate here and here.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Read Aloud Thursday // The Little Chapel that Stood and Fireboat

In our country, we recently remembered the tenth anniversary of the tragedy of September 11. I will be completely honest with you - I have actively avoided discussing this with my children. How to handle it, how to explain it, how to give it the gravity that it deserved yet be appropriate for their ages. It overwhelmed me, as did the tragedy itself.

However, this year I spotted two books via Elizabeth Foss' blog and immediately popped them into my Amazon cart and ordered them. Money well spent as they were wonderful resources this year and I plan to return to them many, many times in the future.

The Little Chapel that Stood is the story of a small church in New York City that is located near where the Twin Towers once stood. The story starts with the history of the building - George Washington and Alexander Hamilton both attended here. The church has been a refuge for Americans during the depression and for immigrants new to our country. The book then eases into the story of 9/11 and tells how once again this small church was a refuge and sanctuary for those that worked tirelessly to rescue those trapped in the Twin Towers. Written as a poem, it is a gentle way to tell of the sacrifice of the emergency workers who served our country that day. It touches on the concept of freedom and why it is so important and worth fighting for.

The second book was Fireboat. This is the story of an old fireboat that had served New York City for many years on the Hudson River. In 1931, the John J. Harvey fireboat was launched and it was the shiniest, fastest and largest fireboat of them all. It fought fires on the river for years, but New York city began to change and the fireboat wasn't as needed anymore. It was going to be sold as scrap when a group of friends bought it in 1995 and restored it to it's original working order for fun. However, on September 11, the John J. Harvey was an important piece in the rescue operations - shuttling people across the river safety and pumping water to the firetrucks when they could get to water pipes because they were broken and buried under the city's rubble. A true story that tells how even this small, seemingly insignificant, boat made a difference on 9/11.

One other link to share regarding September 11. Candace at His Mercy is New posted resources for a 9/11 study and lapbook for children to do. I'm bookmarking this for next year for the girls and we'll tackle this a little more in depth now that they have had some introduction to it this year.

Linking up with Amy at Hope is the Word for Read Aloud Thursday. I hope these resource will help you as you look for resource to share this story of tragedy and triumph with your children.

Pork Chop Romance

Pork chop romance

A family favorite in our crockpot, especially as the weather turns cooler. I got this recipe years ago from my Dad. It was one of his favorites to take when he went on fishing trips; this could be set up in the crockpot and be ready when they got back from a day at the lake. Even if the fishing wasn't great, dinner would be. : )

Pork Chop Romance

4-6 pork chops, bone-in or boneless
salt & pepper
1/4 cup oil
1 large onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick rings
2 cubes or 2 T chicken bouillon
2 cups hot water
8 oz. sour cream (I use fat free)

Season pork chops to taste and dredge in flour. Lightly brown in oil and place in crockpot; top with onion slices. Dissolve or soften bouillon in hot water and pour over chops. Cook on low for 7-8 hours (or high 3-4).

After the pork chops have cooked, stir 2 T flour into the sour cream and stir into the cooking juices. It doesn't need to be totally blended into the broth, but don't just dump it on top either. Turn crockpot to high for 15-30 minutes or until the liquid is slightly thickened. Serve with rice, noodles or potatoes as you choose. My favorite is to ladle the broth over a baked potato. Yum!

Linking up with LifeasMom's Crockpot Ultimate Recipe Swap today!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Slowing Down

Well, I had high hopes of a few things to post this week, but we have been derailed by a very sick baby boy.

Croup, along with something calls "stridor", has worn our little guy out over the last 24 hours. In four children, we have never had croup before so this was quite scary watching him struggle for air. (Croup apparently is the struggle to exhale, hence the cough that sounds like a seal bark. Stridor is the struggle to get air in so he had it coming and going).

We are so thankful for our pediatricians office who let us hang there for a good part of today while they watched him, checked respiratory rates and oxygen levels, and gave breathing treatments. God has taken care of us today and we are hoping for some good rest tonight for him.

Hoping your week is MUCH less exciting. : )

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fall Reading for the Second Grader

To keep N1 challenged in her reading, we are continuing on with our reading challenges that we started this summer. She reads all the time, but I want to make sure she is exposed to some great children's books that might slip through the cracks if we aren't deliberate about making a point to read them.

To that end, N1's fall reading list. She is required to read two books from this list (in addition to her regular reading that she does on her own) and anything further than that earns her little prizes.

We swiftly scored one success off our list after it had been up for about a week. She devoured All of a Kind Family and pronounced it great, prompting a search for the out-of-print sequels at the library and the checking out of several of them on CD so that she could listen to them.


You can see our other book choices below:


Truthfully, I put Anne of Green Gables on there to challenge her, but she picked that one right up and has gotten about eight or nine chapters into it already. It's definitely slower reading for her, but we checked out a hardback from the library for her that had bigger print than my old, falling apart paperback from my box set, and so far so good. Whether she finishes it or not? We'll see.

So far this little reading plan seems to be working for us to challenge her beyond what she typically picks up, which right now is a steady diet of Hank the Cowdog and Dick King-Smith. She recently decided that she likes Dick King-Smith (author of Babe and other funny animal stories) after I had been stealthly placing them in her book basket for months. Her comment: "I really like these Dick King-Smith's books. I guess you could say I'm a fan." : ) Music to my ears!

Linking up today with Kids Pick over at Five Minutes for Books.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Friday Fun School // Week 1

As part of our schooling adventures this year, we have planned for an "unschooling" fun Friday every week. We go to Bible study in the morning and then spend our afternoons with our friends, the B family, doing some sort of activity, whether it is a craft project, outdoor adventure, or service project.

This week was our first Friday Fun School, and although the two mamas were about to keel over from exhaustion when it was done, it went great. Thanks to a couple of great ideas from some of my favorite crafty blogs, we were prepared, the kids had a ball, and no one was hurt in the making of this craft. : )

First, we started with our craft. I hit up one of my FAVORITE craft blogs (and just for all round photography and color and mama inspiration) Whatever. Meg posted a very cool butterfly canvas craft several months ago and we decided that would be the perfect project to kick of our Friday activities. For those that are interested, we had seven kids tackling this project and they all thoroughly enjoyed it - we had five girls (ages 10, 7, 5, 5 and 4) and two boys (8 and 3). (We also had two little boys, 20 months and 11 months, who were taking naps during this time). Busy!

I brought in Travis' laptop so that I could show them what our end result was supposed to look like.


I even dug out my not glamorous industrial apron from Sam's in case I got hit with a random paint brush somewhere during the event.


Next up: painting our watercolor paper with bold strokes and bright colors. Then we let this dry so that we could eventually punch our butterflies out from it. My tip: spend the extra dollars and buy the watercolor paper. I was so glad I did. It gives your butterflies a little extra bit of texture to them and the color from the paint stays so much better.


Note our bold and bright painting shirts. : )



After putting our watercolor paper aside to dry, the kids each picked out a color of acrylic paint and painted their canvas. (No pictures of that). Then, as our watercolors and canvases began to dry, we began punching out butterflies and gluing them on.


I thought all our used, punched out watercolor trash was pretty. : )


While we were waiting for things to dry, we snacked. Cake batter blondies. Super easy, super good. Another of our little plans for our Friday school is to have the kids take turns making the snacks (reading the recipe, following the directions, etc.) and this recipe is perfect for that.


The finished products:


This was a big project for our first Friday. I don't know that every week will be as complicated, but for kicking off our year, it was perfect. And, I know how three original works of art hanging in our dining room. : )

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Inspired By ::: 10 Things, Vol. 4

For today ... a listy. Ten things that have caught my eye online over the past few weeks taken straight from my boards at Pinterest. (Pinterest is like a visual bulletin board online to store and catalog things you find on various websites. Genius. Totally helping me keep on track of all those links or ideas I want to save but never keep up with). I've linked my Pinterest over on the right if you are on there and interested in following. : )

1. Wishing I could sew.

2. Am saving jars.

3. Made this. Super yum.

4. Made these cake batter blondies, too. Super duper yum.

5. Searching for some new slow-cooker recipes.

6. Collecting ideas for some Christmas ornament projects.

7. We made this on Friday for our Friday Fun School with friend. (Sponsored by the letter "f" apparently). Will blog soon. : ) 

8. Currently. Love little scrapbooking memes like this that chronicle current favorites. 

9. How handy is this? Small mason jar with black sandpaper on top to strike matches on.

10. This? Just cool. Would look neat in the school room. : ) 

Linking up with Shimelle's 10 Things on the 10th!