Thursday, January 29, 2009
The recipe that we use is like no other. I have tried meatloaf seasonings pre-made in the store and oh my, I can't stomach the stuff. This recipe, however, works for both meatballs and meatloaf and we can't get enough. These meatballs in the homemade BBQ sauce are excellent for Superbowl Sunday or a potluck. When they are finished cooking you can throw them in a crockpot to keep them warm and head out to the party or potluck. Thank you Aunt Cheryle. With her permission, here is the recupe for the meatballs and one of the sauces we use.
I double this recipe and make meatloaf with it as well:
3lb lean hamburger 12oz. evaporated milk
1 cup oatmeal 1 cup smashed crackers
2 eggs 1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp garlic 1 tsp salt
2 tsp chili powder 1/2 tsp pepper
Mix all ingredients in large bowl. Make into golf size balls (our kids are great at this). We freeze them on freezer paper and then package them up with our foodsaver.
When you take the meatballs out, place them in pan. Cook in oven heated to 350 degrees with sauce for 30 minutes if thawed, 45-60 minutes if frozen. The cooking times are close to the same if you make meatloaves out of it.
2 cups ketchup 1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp liquid smoke 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
Stir all ingredients together until sugar is dissolved.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
We have a boys room and a girls room. We do have one extra bedroom and someday it may get occupied but for now this works well.
We are all very pleased with the results. The girls each have a large basket that slides under the beds for things they do not want on their shelf on the bookshelf. They also each get one bin on the bottom of the bookshelf for things they use often.
Most of the clothing is hung in the boys room also. They each have a storage box for the floor of the closet for toys and belongings as well as their treasure boxes on the top shelf of their closet. They share the one dresser for underclothes and pajamas and there is a lower shelf in the closet for shoes. Under the bed the garbage and fire trucks roll in nicely and Bub has a basket under there for storage as well. He even said this afternoon, "Well, our hardwork paid off." I would agree. The whole house feels lighter.
Unfortunately, during the great clean sweep, our washer gave out. We are under warranty but the repair man can't come until Wednesday. So now we are heading out to Nana's to wash clothes and have dinner. Now that their rooms are so nice I do not want to lose ground. Can you blame me?
Friday, January 23, 2009
After busy mornings schooling, we recently had to change the way we do quiet time around here. We have five children and 1pm - 3pm has always been our downtime. However, in the last few years we have gone from 5 children 6 and under to 5 children between the ages of 4 and 10. That really changes things as several of them have graduated from naps.
This last week we had a family meeting of sorts. Some of the older ones have a habit of entering the napping territory and forgetting their consideration somewhere along the way. Also, this time has become a time of "Mom, can I's" leaving me feeling like an activity director all day long.
We sat the older three children down and told them that we realize that they are no longer nappers but that does not mean that quiet time is not needed. We explained to them that while they are not responsible for the way mommy feels and behaves, they can have a significant impact either way. I shared for a bit about my personal choice to stay home with them and that our time is very valuable and short with them. I wanted to stress that is important for them to learn how to entertain themselves for periods of time and how healthy that is. It was really important to me to make sure that the kids understand that this is not "me time" which can have a self centered focus. This is a time for all of us to recharge, practicing consideration for others as well as the pursuit of individual interests.
So this is now how quiet time works in our home. Everyday at 1pm the two youngest are read a story and sent to bed. During the story time the older three are to get any activities they would like to work on. They may not go upstairs to get anything after the youngers are resting. They will read on their own for 30 minutes and then they have 90 minutes of free time. 30 minutes of that may be spent on media such as the Wii, a TV show or computer time.
I have really been enjoying our quiet times lately. You will often times find me sitting on the couch reading a book, working in the kitchen, getting to some projects or resting. At the same time the older kids are working on things that aren't very friendly to younger kids such as big lego projects or painting projects. It's very nice and I am feeling not as weary when 3pm comes like I used to.
“This post was written for Parent Bloggers Network as part of a sweepstakes sponsored by BOCA.”
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Of course, no first outside fire of the year would be complete without roasting marshmellows. We broke out a bag and everyone had a couple before retreating to the warm house. We had fun and my spirits were lifted.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Sunday, January 11, 2009
The moment you have all been waiting for. I know you thought it would never come but here it is. I decided to share with one lucky, randomly selected commenter a few of my favorite things.
What can you win? Well, let me tell you. In the basket (for photograophing purposes only) is the following.
1. A $5 Starbucks giftcard, because nothing says loving like a tall Sugar Free Vanilla Frap light. Say that three times fast.
2. A package of my favorite salted and roasted almonds.
3. A moisturizing anti-bacterial soap from Bath and Body Works. The scent is Dancing Waters and it smells sooooo good.
4. 2 color coordinating buckwheat hull freezer bags for an unfortunate headache handmade by yours truly.
5. Last but not least, there are 3 of the cutest little candles in three shades for those Calgon-take-me-away moments.
So how can you enter? There are three ways. Leave me a comment telling me how you found me and how long you have been reading. If you have your own blog, you can post an entry telling your readers about this contest with a link to my blog. If you do that, leave me a second comment with the link to your post. Third is if you a link to my blog in your sidebar. That's it! Easy as pie. I will leave this post up until sometime Tuesday evening when we draw a winner.
Thank you to those that read along as we navigate through parenthood, adoption and homemaking!
Friday, January 9, 2009
Thursday, January 8, 2009
This blog has helped me to process things as they happen. Check back tomorrow as I will be hosting a giveaway celebrating my first year. You never know what the loot might be!
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
This morning we had oatmeal with yogurt on top. Most of the kids liked it. The ones who didn't just didn't care for the multi-berry yogurt flavor. I will remedy that soon as we will be making our own yogurt in the very near future. How cool are we?
I made the oatmeal with a little bit of butter, added ground flaxseed for heart health and then topped it with yogurt. Healthy and decent tasting. Let me tell you, that means a lot coming from someone who can't stand oatmeal.
Sunday I was in the mood to make something new for a late afternoon snack for my family. I came across a recipe here for soft pretzels and my on my were they a hit. We dipped them in ranch but you could use any dipping sauce that you would like or none at all. They were just as yummy plain too. Enjoy!
4 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 c. warm water
2 t. kosher salt
1 T. sugar
1 package yeast (2 1/4 t.)2 oz. melted butter
Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in a bowl or stand mixer and sprinkle yeast on top. Let sit 5 minutes until it begins to foam. Add flour and butter and knead 4-5 minutes. Oil a bowl and put dough in when done. Cover and let rise 45-55 minutes. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bring 10 c. water to a boil with 2/3 c. baking soda. Break off small amounts of dough and roll into a snake-like coil. It's easier to shape if the coil is thinner. Shape it into a pretzel form and place into boiling water for abut 30 seconds each. Remove and place on well greased baking sheets. Beat 1 egg mixed with 1 T. water and brush on the pretzels. Sprinkle kosher salt on and bake for 12-15 minutes. Keep an eye on them at the end so you can take them out when they are lightly golden brown.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
I knew that homeschooling would be a rewarding venture but there has been an unexpected benefit. I received a good education and did learn a lot despite a few teachers that needed to be in some sort of therapy. Two of my teachers had exploding episodes where chairs were flung about the room. Granted, some of the kids that they had to deal with may have led me to an emotional breakdown but it fostered a less than academic atmosphere. In the early days of my education I attended a school that had an excellent reading program and this formed a strong foundation for learning in my life. So much can be learned by reading. I am reasearcher by nature and if a topic comes up that I need information on, I am quick to find a book or eight on the subject.
The aspect that I am loving about homeschooling is the second chance at an education. I chose not to go to college, a decision I don't regret. But there is something to be said for learning as an adult. I had good and bad teachers and a few mediocre ones. The teachers that made a difference in my learning were the ones who were excited about what we were learning, that presented it as new and learned right along side of his/her students. I love those aha! moments as I am learning right along side my kids. We are both excited and I think that is a positive example to them. Learning is not only sitting inside a classroom. I want to foster a life of learning for my kids. It's the walks in our neighborhood when we discover a new plant. It's a teaching moment in the car about grammar or a new vocabulary word that someone uses at the dinner table that everyone wants to know the meaning.
I want my kids to love learning. There is great satisfaction for me when we are talking about something and one of the kids runs to get a book to get more information. I think one of the best gifts you can give your kids is to teach them how to learn. They ask me questions all of the time. I don't always have the answers but I know how to get them. That's what I want to teach them. Not all of the answers, but how to get the answers.
This morning I am feeling grateful for the opportunity to learn right along side my kids. (Thanks Mom for all of the reading to us you did when we were young, it made a difference!)
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Yesterday was the big day for the fish purchase for his tank. The store in our town was having an "ick" problem and couldn't sell any fish right now. So, his dad took him to a neighboring town to pick them out. We let him pick the two he wanted and then the man at the store gave him a freebie third as he couldn't get it back out of the bag.
So, Bub is now the proud caretaker of three fish. The appropriately colored black and orange fish are named James and Jaquizz for two players from his favorite college football team (the third teeny tiny freebie fish is Rodgers). Five points to the person who knows which team those brothers play for without looking it up. Ok, five points to anyone other than Brooke!
The fish have been given a valued spot next to his lego creations and football memorabilia.
Friday, January 2, 2009
1) Began homeschooling the twins in January. This was scary and exciting all at the same time.
2) Spent a weekend with my Mom and sisters for our annual girls shopping and laughing weekend.
3) Took a fantastic trip to Leavenworth as a family. Gorgeous scenery and much relaxing fun had.
4) In April track was in full swing for the twins as well as school for Steve.
5) Bub won a meet taking him on to the state track meet. Both of the twins had a great season.
6) We celebrated hubby's sister graduation from college in June with a really fun party with lots of old friends and family.
7) July started out with us hanging out with friends for a few days at the beach. The middle had Steve and I celebrating our 11th anniversary and it ended with an incredible camping trip with the kids.
8) August was full of more camping and the exciting news that my sister was expecting their second child after years of infertility.
9) Football was in full swing in September. Bub had a great season this year and learned a lot. We also started homeschooling all of the children. Rewarding and challenging for me in a good way.
10) October held more games and a really meaningful Sunday at a friend's church for a Pottersfield presentation.
11) Steve took a day off in November for us to go on a field trip to a local university for the morning. We went and watched a football game at the same university with the older three kids for an exciting game on national television. This month also brough the diabetes diagnosis that has changed the way we live. Found so early this was a God send and we all feel lots better.
12) December brought the start of basketball for Lil as well as lots of time with family and friends.
That's it in a nutshell folks. Blessings to you in 2009!