Sunday, January 27, 2013

14 Days of Valentines Part 3

So here we are at the final post in the 14 Days of Valentines!  I hope you have enjoyed the ideas, and have some inspiration to creatively show your love for your family.  I will probably use some of these same ideas again this year along with some new ones mixed in.  I'll be back to share those with you as they happen.

Before I share the ideas with you today, I would like to take a moment to remind you that you are loved.  You didn't arrive at this post by chance, my friend.  You came across it, because God wants you to know he loves you!  I would like to share a couple a lot of my favorite "love verses" with you.  May at least one bless you today!

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. (NIV)

1 Corinthians 13:4–8a 
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails ... (NIV)

1 Corinthians 13:13 
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (NIV)

Ephesians 5:33
However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. (NIV)
Colossians 3:14
And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (NIV)
1 Peter 4:8
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (NIV)
1 John 3:16
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. (NIV)
1 John 3:18
Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. (NIV)
1 John 4:8
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (NIV)

Okay, you now know how I feel about love!  I guess I should at least share the last of the Valentines.  :)

On February 11, I was doing "Flipz!"  :)  The tag read, "Your love makes my heart do 'Flipz'!"  This one has been requested again for this year, but I don't think it was because of my cheezy saying!  :)

February 12 was a cuddly kind of day.  I found these valentine versions of a chocolate Easter bunny at the store with a product name of cuddly cuties and knew they had to be part of my shinanigans.  :)  The tag read, "You are my cuddly cutie!"

February 13 was a rather domestic day.  I felt compelled to make heart-shaped strawberry fudge.  I was so shocked it actually worked!  The tag read, "You are my sweetheart!"

Annnnddddd......Drum roll, please.....

I spared my family the cheesy sayings on Valentine's Day, but there were still plenty of surprises!  I had only gotten the children a bag of marshmallows and a small gift, but when Bill came home in the wee hours of the morning from work, he also had gifts for the children and me!  He gave them the stuffed animal and candy.  He gave me a rose and card.  Aw!  Isn't he sweet?  And, yes.  I gave him a non-cheesy card, too.  ;)

Well, my friends that's a wrap!  Remember to always let your family know you love them.  None of us are promised tomorrow.  If you can have fun and be cheesy while doing it, then I say go for it.  :)

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Vegetable Soup

Mmmm....Cool days with a sick little one just simply call for soup!  Yesterday I cooked up a big pot of vegetable soup and then realized I had never shared it here.  I offer my sincere apologies; I know you just couldn't live much longer without it! heehee!  :)

I started with this.

The bag in the back is the empty vegetable soup blend bag.  I always like to add a little extra vegetables.  I normally use butter beans, but we were out.  I just used what I had.  You can add any vegetables you like.  To make the soup, place the vegetables in a large pot.  Pour in the vegetable juice.  Fill that bottle at least halfway full with water and add that. (I use close to a whole bottle of water.)  Adjust the water to your taste.  Bring the soup mixture to a boil.  Then add 3-6 tablespoons of Better Than Bouillon Beef Base to the soup and mix well.  (I use close to 6 tablespoons.)  Turn the heat to low and simmer for a couple of hours until vegetables reach your desired tenderness.  The soup is wonderful just like this, but sometimes I add previously cooked meat from the freezer.  Remember that ham I wrote about the other day?  I took out a bag and added it to my soup this time for a little protein boost.  :)

 Mmmm....It was so good!  We ate it last night and tonight.  We will eat it one more time before the leftovers go into the freezer in individual servings.  I am funny about reheating meats, so when I added the ham to the soup, I left it in bigger chunks so that I can make sure it is all gone before I freeze it.  Also, when I reheat the leftovers before freezing, I don't reheat the whole pot, only what we will eat at one sitting.  Quirky, I know.  I am just not sure about the safety of it.  :)  Maybe someone out there can offer some insight on that matter.

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

14 Days of Valentines Part 2

Yesterday I started the 14 Days of Valentines series.  It has been so fun for me to go back and remember the fun we had last year.  I can't wait to get started with this year's!  Today, however,  I would like to continue with the next few ideas from last year.

On February 6 I gave everyone a small apple juice with a tag that read, "Valentine, you are the apple of my eye!"

On February 7, I divided a box of Milk Duds between everyone.  The tag read, "My life would be a 'dud' without you in it."

February 8 was one of my favorite days!  I LOVE Almond Joy bars!  "Sometimes you feel like a nut.  Sometimes...."well, in my case you are!  :)  The tag read, "Having you for a Valentine is pure joy!"

On February 9 I had to mix things up a bit.  We needed a sugar break!  The children got stickers with a note reading, "I am stuck on you!"  I didn't think my husband really wanted stickers, so I gave him a Paper Mate pen with a tag that read, "You are the perfect 'mate'!"  :)

And finally,

On February 10 we were still on a sugar break.  I was very unsure about giving the kiddos a candle, but they  ended up loving it.  We had to light them right away!  They had fun seeing whose candle burned the quickest.  Who knew $.44 could provide so much fun for two little ones?   The tag read, "You light up my life!"

Is your creative cheeziness flowing yet?  I hope you are brainstorming your own awesome ideas!  I know you've got some!

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

Friday, January 25, 2013

14 Days of Valentines Part 1

Last year I read about a woman who gave her husband a Valentine each day of February leading up to Valentine's Day.  I was so inspired I decided to do it for my husband and children.  Who doesn't like hearing he or she is loved?  Letting my family know I love them is something I can never overdo!  Valentine's just opened the opportunity to be creative in the ways I told them, and, too, it gave me permission to be a little more cheesy than usual!  Heehee!

Over the next couple of days I will share what I did each day.  I thought I better start early in case someone wanted join in the fun this year.  Yes, it really is FUN!  I love watching each member come in looking for his/her Valentine each morning and reading the note.  So, come on!  Let's get started!

The whole thing began with our math lesson on the first day of February.  That was when I decided I would do it everyday.  This was the first Valentine.  Alissa got to help with this one since it was her lesson, but no one knew I would I would do it the remaining days.

We used Hershey Kisses with messages like "You are kissable!", "You are my kissy-poo!", and, for the hubby, "I want to kiss you!"  :)

February 2 I used small cans of Mtn. Dew.  The children's notes read, "I 'dew' love you with all my heart."  The hub's note read, "Thank you for all you 'dew' for us.  We 'dew' love you!"

February 3 I used bags of peanuts with notes that read, "I am nuts about you!"

February 4 I divided a box of Crunch 'n Munch into three snack sized zip-top bags with notes that read, "Hey Valentine!  You put the 'crunch' in my 'munch'!"  And lastly, for today,...

on February 5 I gave each person a pack of Valentine themed cakes with a note reading, "Loving you is a piece of cake!"

Are your creative juices flowing yet?  Stay tuned for more ideas tomorrow!

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Outfits Without Hissyfits!

I have been meaning to share this post for a while, but, yeah, I am just now getting to it.

How many times have you ever been in a hurry to get out the door and you have a child following you all over the house whining about not knowing what to put on?  It used to happen to me a lot and drive me right up the wall!  That was me until I had to live away from home with my children during the week for almost a year due to my job!  I quickly learned tricks to make my life so much easier.  Each Sunday, I would have to pack our clothes for a week.  I don't like for tasks to take a long time and I didn't like forgetting things I needed. Ha!  Me forget something?  lol, Don't we know better!?   I would start with one child's clothes for the week.  I learned to fold shirts, undies, and socks into the pants times five, for each day of the week.  If a certain outfit required a particular pair of shoes, those also got folded into the pants. (Of course, if my little girl was wearing a dress, everything got folded into the dress.)  Then I would move to the next child and then myself.  I had the system down pat and could have us packed for a week in a matter of minutes.  When we got to the rental, unpacking was quick and easy.  I just pulled out the outfits and placed them into hanging organizer.  There was an opening for each day of the week.  Simple, easy-peasy, done! *dust hands and admire the finished results*  :)

Now that I don't have to live away from home anymore, praise the Lord, I don't have to pack anymore, but I have held onto the trick of folding outfits together for my youngest.  My oldest no longer needs so much help, mainly because she mostly wants to wear dresses when we go out.  I don't fold in the socks, undies, and shoes, of course, but having ready-to-go outfits in the drawer takes so much stress out of the mornings when I just want to pick up and go!  The children do still have separate pieces in their drawers for mix-and-match play clothes, but Jacob, especially, knows that when we are going somewhere he is to take out one of the pre-matched outfits.

Here is a look at one of Jacob's winter drawers.  He has two drawers for winter clothes (thank goodness for hand-me-downs!) and one drawer for summer clothes.  The summer clothes don't take up as much room right now while he is still little, so the one drawer is plenty for the moment.

Shirts folded inside the pants
Pants folded over the shirts
I do a similar thing for his Sunday clothes.  I simply hang his shirt over the matching pants.  Just that simple.  He just takes out the outfit of his choice, not that he has that many.  : )

What do we do with all these clothes at the end of the day?  You can read the post I wrote on our laundry organization here.

What handy-dandy tips do you have?  I would love to hear!

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Tuna Salad

Last week I found a ham on sale and picked it up.  We ate and ate ham.  We had potato and ham soup, ham with collards I had frozen from our New Year's Supper, ham by itself for a snack, and ham sandwiches.  I am hammed out!  :)  I still put three small bags in the freezer with the ham bone for future meals.  That $11.00 has served us well as I have striven to stretch our groceries to the max!

Then I cooked a whole, organic chicken that I found on sale for just under $6.00 a while back.  I had it stored up in the freezer for a rainy day.  heehee!  Little did I know it would really get used on a rainy day!  :)  We ate chicken noodle soup for two or three meals, and half of that chicken is in the freezer to use for a future casserole that will provide another two meals.  Now I am chickened out, but eating healthy and frugally can be done!

Today, I wanted something different and easy for lunch.  I just didn't want to make a mess.  I spied a can of tuna tucked away on the lazy susan, and I reeled that fish in.  It was mine for the fixin'!  I have always loved tuna salad, and, surprisingly, my children do too!  I prefer it on soft, white bread, but we ate our last slice of bread yesterday. ( I guess I need to get in the kitchen tomorrow and see if I can whip up a loaf since I really don't want to go to the store in the midst of this horrible flu season.)  We ate it with soda crackers which happens to be my second choice anyway.  :)

I'm sorry I didn't pretty it up more, but by the time I got through throwing it together, my sugar had dropped too low, and I was trembling like a leaf.  I was just ready to eat!

Now, you have to remember that I am a southern cook.  I don't come from a fancy background, and I cook like I was taught...southern, simple, country....:)  There is nothing fancy in this salad, but I will tell you the secret to good tuna salad is the salt.  If enough is not used, the salad is always going to taste bland and flat.

Tuna Salad
1 large can of tuna packed in water
1/4 -1/2 cup mayonnaise, depending on how creamy you prefer.  Use plain yogurt for a low-fat option.
1 stalk of celery, chopped
4 oz. dill relish or 1 large dill pickle, diced
1 boiled egg, chopped
salt and pepper to taste, remember to use enough salt

Combine ingredients in a bowl and serve right away or store, covered, in the refrigerator. Serve on a sandwich or with crackers.

Mmm!  It is so good!  I don't eat it often, but I love it when we do!  Happy mixing, and....

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Chicken Fiesta Soup

Goodness!  After spending several hours trying to find a solution for not being able to upload photos to finish this post, I think I have finally figured it out.  :)  I had to switch browsers.   Yay!!!  Now I can finally share this soup recipe with you!  I thought I would never be able to do another post!  :)

After a desperate search for something to throw together for supper last night, these (plus a can of black beans) are the ingredients I pulled from the freezer and cupboard.

*update:  I left the black beans out of the picture!  Sorry!

I am not super fond of recipes involving rice and tomatoes, so I was very unsure if I would like this recipe.  As it turns out, it was delicious!  I couldn't wait to share it with you!

3-5 chicken tenderloins
1 large can of petite diced tomatoes
1 can of original Ro-Tel
1 can of white kidney beans
1 can of black beans
1 small box of chicken broth
1 package of taco seasoning (I used 1 -2 T of my own.)
1 cup of uncooked rice, any type you like

Place the first six ingredients in a crock pot.  Cook on high for two hours or until tenders are done.  Remove the tenders and shred them.  Return shredded chicken to the crock pot with the rice and continue cooking for another 1-2 hours until the rice is done.  Serve and enjoy!

I topped mine with 1 crisp tostada, shredded cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and a sprinkle of chives.  Mmmm...It was so good!

Let me know what you think if you try it!

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!