Thursday, March 21, 2013

More PW Cooking

So, our little break is over and we are back to some Pioneer Woman cooking!  The following pictures of from the lemon blueberry pancakes.  And they were delicious.  I loved the mix of the citrus and the sweet!  I doubled the recipe and I think we ate all but 5 or 6 pancakes and had those for breakfast the next day.  I usually make whole wheat pancakes but I can very simply add the lemon zest, juice and blueberries to my current whole wheat recipe.  Same great flavor just maybe a little healthier.  We love breakfast for dinner.

Next up was pan fried kale.  I have heard so many great things about kale.  From chips to smoothies.  So I was real excited to try this.  A bunch of kale bought at our local co-op, 5-6 minced garlic cloves, a little bit of oil and we had a great veggie side dish.  I found that there is a perfect time between raw and totally cooked down where the kale was just right, not too crunchy not too soggy.  I will work on that happy medium in the future.

The last recipe I tried was the malted chocolate chip cookies.  I made these as a dessert for a "thing" we had at the house this past weekend.  I doubled this recipe as well.  All in all the cookies were tasty.  Everyone enjoyed them.  One downside I had was, they were to baked on wax paper on a cookie sheet.  I had a real tough time getting them off the wax paper.  Not sure why that was.  They were a nice change of pace from the cookies I usually make.  But, in all honesty, I think "my" cookie recipe is much better.

I made the ice coffee the other day with some left over coffee I had made.  It was good if you like coffee in the afternoon.  I let the kids each have a sip and they thought it was fabulous!  Go figure!

I still have to make the mozzarella cheese sticks and tonight we are having the His/Hers hamburgers.  My hubby makes one of the best hamburgers around, so this will be a true test of Pioneer Woman's talents.  Stayed tuned for our family review . . . 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Second Run

A week after our first attempt at a 5K, Nature Girl asked her daddy if she could run in a second race coming up the following week.  I left it to him as to whether he wanted to spend the money and watch the little guys.  (He had no real desire to run a 5K on his day off.  Plus the gun show was in town.)

Of course, daddy said yes.  I figured if I was going to take her, then I would "run" too.  We knew another family participating so that always makes it more fun.

Anyway, it was beautiful morning and a beautiful route.  Once the race started I never saw NG again.  She beat her time from the previous week by 5 minutes.  I was in the back with the walker/runners.  But, I was able to beat my time by almost 10 minutes.

We were both proud of ourselves and enjoyed the pancake and sausage breakfast afterwards.  Unfortunately, we haven't done much walking/running since then.

Anyway, it was kind of cool for just the two of us to do something kind of grown up together . . .

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


If I have a deficit as a teacher it would probably be in the area of hands on, crafty, experimental type stuff.  I am just not a hands on person and I am not big on the busy work for the sake of busy work.  But, every once in a while I get a wild hair to do something fun for school.

And here it is.  The phases of the moon in Oreos!  (Thanks to Pinterest.)  I loved it because I got to eat it.  The kids loved it because they got to eat it.

My kind of experiment . . .

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Gardens

About two weeks ago we went on another field trip to a local gardens.  It was owned by a man from up east and when he got older he gave the land to the state with the promise that the gardens would be kept up just the way he had them.  

He loved flowers, plants and trees and his gardens showed it.  We have been to this state park numerous times but never had a tour of the gardens and it was well worth it!  We had an early blooming this year because of the warm winter and so we visited at just the right time.  The old house is only open for about four months.  The exact months that he and his wife would come visit for the winter.

We learned that the Spanish Moss didn't harm trees.  Except if it got too heavy.  I love pictures of moss hanging from Live Oak trees.

He mentioned that this state park is the most used venue for weddings.  Gee, I wonder why?  ;)

Pansies.  My all time favorite flower.

The Century Plant.  It is suppose to flower only once every 100 years.

The old house.  Preserved just the way it was from many, many years ago.

There is so much more to say.   But, the field trip was so long ago.  And I don't remember a lot of the really neat stuff.  Tough getting old.  But, I do remember that we will definitely go back and take daddy next time.  I think he would really enjoy the history and the plant life of the gardens . . .

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Field Trip - Nina and Pinta

Last week was a week of field trips (including the dentist.)  We were able to go down to the coast and see an exact replica of Christopher Columbus' Nina and Pinta.  It was pretty cool.  And very small.  The guide told us about how the ship was made just exactly as it was done in the 1400s.  And a little bit about how life might of been aboard the ships.

The current ships were not made with any type of machinery.  One ship had left Spain with 12 anchors but because it took over 4 hours (or something like that) to raise up the anchor they returned with only 1.  Many times, because of enemies or bad weather, they would have to "cut and run."  (I love hearing the history behind many of the phrases I use nowadays.)

The crew would sleep on deck.  One time they landed on an island and they noticed the natives using hammocks so then brought hammocks aboard to help with the sleeping arrangements.  Down below, where the animals used to be kept is where the crew now sleeps.  They have a few modern conveniences.  They travel all over the United States showcasing the boats.  One man has been on board for 5 years.

The kids thought it was pretty cool, but very small given how many men traveled on them.  Little Mama just got through reading about Christopher Columbus so that was cool.  

Then, because we were on the coast, we had a special treat, we had a picnic lunch at the beach.  It was a little cool and a little windy, but it was sunny and the kids didn't seem to mind.  Most of the kids put their feet in the water.  Some even got totally wet.  Ahh to be a kid again.  I am sure I didn't even take off my shoes.

Next up our field trip to a local state park garden which was arrayed in its beautiful spring time colors . . .

Friday, March 8, 2013

PW: Not Sure the Week

As I mentioned before, I am a little behind in my Pioneer Woman cooking.  We decided to take a week off just to get caught up.  But, I still have not made the fried mozzarella sticks (this weekend) and the iced coffee (it has been WAY too cold to drink ice coffee.)

But, I have been able to make her basic chicken salad recipe which turned out to be really good.  I was a little surprised by that because first of all hubby makes an awesome chicken salad so we are kind of spoiled.  Second of all, we are not a big fruit and nuts in our salads and this recipe had both!

We all agreed that daddy's chicken salad was the best.  But, this is a great summer salad when we need a little change.  I don't think I would put it on bread.  It is the kind of salad that you put on a bed of lettuce and serve with a fancy bread like a croissant or something.  It was good and it was easy and I can totally see us doing it again.

Next up was wings and, as a family, we are a connoisseur of wings!  So, this was going to be another tough recipe for us to judge.  Again, it was pretty simple (except for the frying part but I am learning.)  The PW wing sauce was fabulous and we have decided we will not be buying wings out anymore.  The whole family said these were the best, by far, then any we could get out!  And it is considerably cheaper.  Next time we will have to double the recipe though!

The blue cheese dressing was an added bonus.  Hubby mentioned adding some extra ingredients to make it just right.

Next up is lemon blueberry pancakes and malted milk chocolate chip cookies. . . .

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Run, Family, Run

This past Saturday we "ran" our very first race.  Ever.

Back in January, a friend of mine invited us to sign up for a race or two, and then we would use that as motivation to "train" a couple of time a week.  Well, about two weeks ago, she and I looked at each other and realized the race was coming up and neither family had really "trained."

Oh well.  We participated anyway and had a great time.  It motivated us to really start taking exercising a little more seriously.  Our race weekend started out with a free spaghetti dinner on Friday night for the racers and all their family.  It was crazy to me how many people we knew or recognized.  I guess lots of runners in town.

For some reason I had registered hubby even though I knew he had to work.  I was kind of dreading getting up at the crack of dawn and taking all four kids to run in about 35 degree weather.  But we had friends there.  Friends always make things better!

We all started out together but that was the last we saw of anyone.  Mr. J had the two little girls in a double stroller and he ran all the way.  Running the 5K in 35 minutes!  The boys crossed the finish line right before him and Boop and his friend JD won second and third place for their age group.  They had their names announced, given medals and had their pictures taken.  Quite unexpected!  NG and her friend E came in around 40 minutes and Little Mama and another friend right after that.

I don't think I had the greatest time ever "run" in a 5K.  :)  But, I had a great time and was totally motivated to finish.  My friend and I came in around 50 minutes.  I just loved the feeling of actually accomplishing something!  I liked the runners high that I had until about mid-afternoon.  Then my hips and legs started to hurt.  But that was expected!

The run was through a really neat neighborhood and it was cool to see the pretty houses.  It was kind of hilly so that was a challenge.  It has motivated NG to start running on her own and she wants to run in the next race.  She has even asked for running clothes for her birthday.  We will see how long it lasts.

I kind of like it though, because it has motivate me to get in a little bit better shape.  Glad we stepped out of our comfort zone on a chilly Saturday morning . . .

Monday, March 4, 2013

Little Mama and the Last Birthday Pictures

So I just uploaded a bunch of pictures from the last three or so weeks and I still have Little Mama birthday pictures.  Which I really shouldn't be surprised because she had three birthday parties!  

The next couple pictures are from her actual birthday day.  They had ballet that day and we came home, ate a quick supper and then went roller skating with a bunch of friends.

Little Mama and the shoulder strap of her new Vera Bradley Hipster.

One of her gifts was a Mason jar full of very specific reasons why I love her.  I told her on days that were hard or on days when I wasn't being especially loving or just any day at all, she could pull out a little slip of colorful card stock that helped her to remember just how much I really love her.  

This picture is from Little Mama's family birthday party.  With a surprise visit from Grandma.  Well, as surprise a visit as we can do in this family!

LM got to pick what Pioneer Woman recipes I would do for the week and one of them was this cherry limeade.  So, I made it for her family party and it was a big hit!

My beautiful baby girl and her delicious birthday cake. . .

Friday, March 1, 2013

Fallout From a Busy Life

January was wonderful.  I wish all my months could be like January.  But, it is the end of February and I honestly have no idea where the time has gone.  I am sure time was taken to enjoy all of the wonderful things that our life has to offer us.  But, doing all of those good things comes with a cost.  And the costs are not quite as apparent.

Because we have been so busy with life, the following things have gone by the wayside.  Things, that I feel, are important for us to function in the way God has called us to function as a family.

-We have had little family worship time around the dinner table.
-My personal quiet time has suffered.
-We haven't been able to do Meals on Wheels for three weeks.
-We aren't getting enough sleep.
-We are not eating right.
-We have been split up as a family (part of the family at one activity and part at another)
-No consistency in school work.
-The house is a wreck.  Messy and dirty.
-We are not able to give 100%. to the great things to do.
-No baking, PW cooking and developing home skills.
-There isn't much rest or regrouping.
-All the habits that we have been working on have been lost or have to be relearned.
-No blog posts.
-Only functioning for what needs to be done right at the moment.
-Hubby and I don't have time to talk.
-Constantly under pressure.
-Regularly scheduling things are our "home" Tuesdays.

I read somewhere recently that a simpler, slower life is more reflective of God.  Because we have more time to focus on Him and the things to be grateful to Him for.  When we are crazy busy our sinful, selfish, impatient nature rears it's ugly head.  And, in all honesty, the first thing to go is my (our) thankfulness.

I believe our days should be somewhat similar with the ability to be flexible when the need arises.  We learn good habits by consistency.  We are much more able to be patient and loving and serving when we are not harried and tired.  These are things I feel we need to have as a younger family.  When we are super busy the love, kindness and servitude disappear.  On my part as well!  God says we are to run from the temptation of sin.  To me, that says we need to slow down.

I am totally to blame for the chaos in our house this month.  Hubby and I have had more than one conversation on how to control it now, before it becomes a habit.

I am going to take time today to go over March.  Pray over our to-do list and event calendar and trim out the things that are good but not great.  I want us to be totally where we are when we are there.  But, that entails not worry about what the next thing is on the calendar.

Yesterday was tough for me.  We did a TON of good things and the kids had a blast.  Field trip, lunch on the beach, ballet, baseball, church, drama practice.  But I am tired.  Once in awhile is fine but it should not be the norm for us.  The kids are tired and the next few days are much the same.  I suppose we could have skipped a thing or two but we committed and, if we commit to something, I believe we have a responsibility to follow through.

As the kids get older and involved in more things, I know there is no easy answer.  I have to stop committing to so many good things so we can give our best to the great things.  I have to start some where.  We will see how March goes . . .