Sunday, September 23, 2012

Dutch Country Bean Soup

1lb soup beans                     1 can tomato sauce
1 ham bone                          1/2 c diced potatoes
1/2 c chopped onion            2t minced parsley
1c diced celery                     salt and pepper if needed
*I also added 1lb smoked sausage

This soup is from an old Amish cookbook that has been converted to digital format and placed on Amazon for purchase (I got it when it was on the free list!) to be read with a Kindle or Kindle PC.  I love that cookbook.  The directions tend to be a little vague, but it does have ingredients and general directions.  Of course, with this soup, detailed directions aren't needed.  :)

This is my favorite part of making this soup.  I think the beans are so pretty when being rinsed!  When beans have been rinsed, use your preferred soaking method.  I used the quick soak method.  After soaking, drain the water and add fresh water.  Cook the beans slowly with a ham bone for two hours.  I didn't have a ham bone so I used two small ham hocks. 

Put in the onion, celery, potatoes, sausage, and the meat trimmed from the ham hocks.

Lastly, add in the parsley.

Stir well and cook until the vegetables are tender.


Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

God's Artwork

Hello, friends!

Bill has been home since Wednesday evening this time, but we have been so busy, I haven't had much time to be on the computer.  I did want to share this though.

The other night after I got the children in bed, I went outside to water flowers, and the weeds were screaming at me again.  It was such a cool evening I just had to take the opportunity to pull some.  I was all wrapped up in what I was doing with my face looking to the ground.  When I finished one little section, I stood upright and looked up.  The view of the setting sun setting the tops of the trees aglow took my breath away.

I nearly broke my neck on the slick pathway trying to run in the house to get my camera.  As I continued watching, this is what God painted in the sky.

Beautiful isn't it?  Oh, but God wasn't through!

I honestly thought at any second, I was going to hear God's voice just as surely as Moses and Samuel heard God!

Oh, I am so glad I looked up from the task at hand!!!

It has been a long time since I did a post with a moral, but this one has one.  How many times do we miss God's blessings because we are so caught up in our problems or responsibilities that we fail to turn our face to heaven to praise God or seek His guidance?  No matter what is happening in our lives, if we can simply make ourselves turn our eyes to our Heavenly father, He has such rich blessings that we could never imagine.  I can almost hear Him calling, "Look to me, my child.  I have such gifts you can't begin to comprehend."  Even when things look and feel hopeless, He is gently calling.  Oh, what love He desires to bestow upon us!  He is just there waiting patiently for us to seek Him.  Won't you seek Him today?  He is waiting with His arms outstretched!

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Boom, Bang, or Rotten Peas?

I am still working on the second sight word book for Jacob, but I can't seem to get my act together enough to finish it.  I felt it was time for another home school post, though.  (By the way, stay tuned to the blog later in the fall.  There should be plenty of home school blog posts to come!)

In case some of you have never heard of it, I'd like to share another game I used all the time while teaching public school.  But, please, don't think I made it up!  I don't think I am that creative!  :)  This is a game we called Bang! , but I have also heard it called Boom!   Like the fishing game, it can be used for many skills and levels.  The sky is the limit.  I use this game with both of my children at the same time sometimes.

To make the game, you will need Popsicle sticks or tongue depressors.  They can be found in the craft section of most stores.   Jacob is working letters, sounds, and a few sight words, so I wrote one letter or word on the end of each stick.  On one stick, the word "Boom" or "Bang" needs to be written.  Somehow, I lost mine, so I pulled a stick from a different game to represent "Boom".  After looking at it to do pictures for this post, I realized it looked like peas.  Perhaps I could change the name to "Rotten Peas!"  The word really doesn't matter.  In fact, the sillier the better!

You will also need a can or cup in which to put the sticks (written side down).  Here I have a Slim Jim can.  I have also used a Pringles can before.  I have seen other teachers use a coffee mug.  Just use what you have.  It doesn't have to be fancy.

The game is designed to have more than more player, but Jacob pulls it out all the time and plays by himself.  :)  To play, players take turns pulling one stick from the can at a time. 

He/she reads what is written on the stick.  If he is correct, he keeps the stick.  If he is incorrect or doesn't know what is on the stick, the stick goes back in the can, and the next player takes his turn.  Play continues until one person pulls the "Boom".  The person that pulls "Boom" puts all of his sticks back in the can, and play continues as long as student remain interested and engaged.  We make the "Boom" exaggerated and silly, so that putting the sticks back becomes a fun thing to do rather than one that causes tears.  Making it fun keeps the players engaged so that the skills are practiced for a longer period of time.

When Alissa plays with Jacob, I get her to put the words in ABC order or write sentences or a story with the words.  Another fun thing is for her to take Jacob on a "treasure hunt" to find things in the house or outside that begin with the sound of the letters she pulled.

I hope you can use the idea in your home school!  Let me know what new twists you add to it!

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

Just a Funny

You know, anyone can make salmon patties.  It is so easy!  Take two cans of salmon and remove the biggest bones.  Break up the meat in a bowl.  Add a little salt and pepper, 1/4 cup of cornmeal and one egg.  Mix well, and form into patties. Heat a small amount of oil in frying pan, and cook the patties until done.

Aren't they pretty when they are all done?

Now, while anyone can make those, it takes true talent to make these:

Yep, that's right!  It takes a real talent to make flat biscuits every single time!  I can't tell you my "secret" for getting them so nice and flat, but I will tell you I follow every recipe very carefully.  :)  We like to say we like the outsides of biscuits best, so that's all I make.  LOL!  Gotta love it.

Sigh....It took me a year to learn to make a great pie crust, so I refuse to give up on my biscuits.  I will make them every week if I have to until I get them just right.  :)

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Mama's Beans and Franks

Okay, I must confess...I dogs!  There!  I said it!  It is one processed, mystery meat that I can't fully give up.  I love a good hot dog every now and then!  Unfortunately, in trying to stretch every penny I can, I found something new to do with my hot dogs.  The idea isn't new by any means, but me doing it is totally new!

I took these ingredients
Did you notice I tried to find the healthiest
looking franks I could find at the super
store?  That counts for something, right?  :)
And I made this!

Yes, I know.  It's so impressive!  I've really out-done myself this time!  LOL!  Hey!  It was cheap and easy!  What can I say?
To make it, I soaked one pound of pintos.  I poured off the soaking water and then added water to about an inch above the beans and put them on the stove to cook.  After the beans came to a boil, I added a slightly rounded tablespoon of Better Than Bouillon beef base.  (The next time I make them, I am going to try using only half a tablespoon.  The beans turned out a little too salty for our taste.)  When the beans were done, I chopped five franks and added them to the beans.  I cooked the beans a little longer to heat the franks through.  Then I served with homemade cornbread and grapes! 

 So there is one of my simple, inexpensive meals!  I welcome your inexpensive ideas!  :)

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Buttermilk Spice-Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

I have been wanting to do this post for a while, but I wasn't quite sure how to do it.  I took two recipes that we love in my home, neither of which were my original recipes, and made them one.  It made one OUTSTANDING dish!  I just had to share.  The buttermilk brine is one I found on Pinterest.  The other part is one I found in a Woman's Day magazine that my mother-in-law sent to my house. It sounds very complicated, but in reality, it is a very easy recipe.  It just takes time to cut up the vegetables and let the chicken marinate.  I hope you try it!

Buttermilk Brine
2 c. buttermilk
5 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1T salt
1T sugar
1 1/2 t paprika
lots of black pepper

Spice-Roasted Chicken and Vegetables
3 lbs. chicken parts
2 medium red onions cut into wedges
1 1/2 lbs. carrots, cut into 3 inch sticks
1/2 lbs. parsnips or celery (or both  :)) cut into 3 inch sticks
2T olive oil
2 t paprika
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t table salt, plus additional 1/4 t
1/4 t black pepper, plus additional 1/4 t
Kosher salt or sea salt for sprinkling before adding to oven


Whisk together the brine ingredients.  Place chicken parts in a zip-top bag and pour the brine over the pieces.  Make sure the brine coats all pieces.  I also swish them around a couple times as it marinates.  Chicken can marinate for as little as two hours and up to 48 hours.  I almost always let mine marinate for about 24 hours.  When ready to roast the chicken, preheat oven to 425 degrees while preparing the vegetables.  Line two baking sheets with foil.  Cut the vegetables into sticks.  Toss vegetables with oil, salt, and pepper.  More can be added if desired, but I find I don't usually need it.

Divide the vegetables between the two baking sheets.

Remove the chicken from the brine and season with the paprika, cinnamon, 1/4 t salt, and 1/4 t pepper.

Nestle the chicken pieces among the vegetables.  Sprinkle everything with more sea salt or Kosher salt.

Place the baking sheets on the middle and bottom racks of the oven and roast for 15-20 minutes.  Switch the positions of the baking sheets, and roast until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender (about 15-20 minutes more depending on what chicken parts are being used).

Be careful when biting into the chicken as hot juice will pour from it!  :)  Let me know if you make it!  You won't be disappointed!  The brine can also be used before frying the chicken.  Add some salt, pepper, and paprika to your flour before frying, and MMMM, mmmmm, mmmm!  :)

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

He's Home!!!

Hello, friends!!!

Tomorrow marks two weeks since Bill left on his new endeavor.  This was two weeks ago:


Bill turned to the right head to I-75.  We turned to the left heading back home.  I watched as long as I could in my rear view mirror.  The children and I were all acting like we weren't crying, but it was a car full of heartache.  Goodness, at this point, I think even the dog was crying!  lol!

The first three or four days were really hard emotionally.  It was hard to hold it together when one of the children would start crying, especially when Jacob talked to Bill for the first time on the phone, and I had to watch the tears well up in his eyes as the conversation ended.  I just let him curl into me and cry until he felt better.  Who could help but let a few tears trickle down the cheeks?

By Monday or Tuesday it was easier and we were settling in to a routine.  At least I could finally talk about Bill being gone without crying right away.  Most of the time, anyway!  lol!, Bill came home a few days early!!!  He plans to be home for a few days before leaving back out.  He has promised not to be gone that long again.

Even with him gone, a hint of fall found it's way into the air for a couple of days, causing the nostalgic, warm fuzzies to stir inside.  When fall starts to creep into the air, the simple things seem to make me smile and bring me comfort, reminding me of the mighty God we serve.  I just had to pick up the camera and capture a few scenes in my home that made me smile and turn a thankful heart to God for his love, peace, and provision.

The sideboard/baking station in my kitchen
The overflowing vegetable basket beside my
And, yes, the thin, swirly peels from the organic carrots.

God has been so good to my family and me!  I cannot praise Him enough!  I don't deserve half of what he does for me.  How humble it makes me feel to know I am loved so completely.

What in your home makes you smile and have the warm fuzzies?  Or what in your home turns your heart to God in thanksgiving?

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!