Monday, October 31, 2011

Joseph's birthday

Jopie turned five last week.
He's a man of simple tastes.  He wanted to eat at Chick Fil A.

So we went there for lunch.

With Papa who happened to be in town on J's special day.

He wanted a remote control car.  And he got one.  Thank you, Papa.

I just like this picture of the boys hanging out.
Chris and his dad were discussing Ranger's baseball, or something like that.  They had gone to the World Series the night before for Game 5.  This was before "pre-game 6 depression."  This was before we knew what terrible things were to come.
Sorry, back to Jopie's bday.... 

[Note to self, if you want cute photos at your 5 year old's birthday party, don't serve fruit punch]
For the last month, whenever I would ask Joseph who he wanted at his birthday party, his answer was the same, "RILEY!"  She is the older sister of a friend from his spring baseball team.  She made a lasting impression on him.  This sweet girl made time in her busy schedule to come to my 5-year old's birthday party.  Thank you, Riley!

He also wanted a balloon cake from Costco.  How can you say no to that?

And he was only slightly irritated that his brother helped him blow out the candles.

Before the party, I dragged the birthday boy outside to take some birthday photos.

He's at the peak of his fake smiles.

Unless I get him laughing.

Or tell him to act goofy.

Then it gets just a little better.

Jopie, it seems like just yesterday you were born, the best baby there ever was.  That perfect (he really was a perfect baby, no exaggeration) baby has turned into a sweet-hearted, fun, and lively member of our family.  I'm always a little sad to let 4 go.  There's not much baby in him now.  The years, they are flying by.

Happy Birthday, Jopie!  Love you.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Dinner for $4? {Chicken and Rice Soup}

Growing up, I had was close friends with a family who had six kids.  In high school, I went over there every week.  I loved it because the atmosphere was so different from my family's.  There was constant activity, people coming and going, and lots of conversations going on at one time.  I have a wonderful family, but even at a young age, the desire grew in me to have a house bustling with people and activity. 

 What does this have to do with chicken and rice soup?  That's a good question.  One thing I remember about their house is that she always had a big pot of something on the stove.  And as the kids came in and out of their house from their various activities, they could help themselves to some good, healthy food.  I've been trying to do more of this lately, especially in the bustle of baseball season, when we are out much of the evening.  On Monday, when I made this soup, the boys had a bowl before baseball, and a bowl when they got home from baseball.  Healthy, cheap, and satisfying.  My favorite kind of meal.

I make this when I go to Costco and buy a rotisserie chicken.
I pick the chicken, divide the chicken in half.  I freeze one portion for later, and use the other part in this soup.  Then put all the bones and skin and the other leftover yuck part of the chicken in a big pot of water along with some onion and celery (I use the parts of the onion and celery I wouldn't use like the leafs of the celery and the skin part of the onion since it's just for flavor).  Boil this on the stove for an hour or so.  Then drain the bones and such so you have yummy broth.

It looks like this while it boils.

Then cut about this much onion, celery, and carrots.

And saute it in a little butter until it looks like this.

I use basmati rice because it's what I always have on hand, but I suppose you could use minute rice too.  I used 2 cups and added it to the boiling, drained broth.  Keep boiling until rice is cooked, about 10 minutes.  Then add the veggies and diced chicken, and salt and pepper to taste.

This is what you get.  We ate this for lunch the next day too.  It really goes a long way.
All for about $4.  The math:
2.50 for the chicken (remember I only used half)
.50 for rice
1.00 for veggies

[As a side note, when it sits overnight, the rice expands so I added some extra water and a couple of cubes chicken bouillon the next day]

All my kids love soup, but it makes Asher especially happy.

Go ahead and try it on this lovely fall day!

Friday, October 14, 2011


Have you ever been to Sprinkles Pretzels?

Remember Cousin Week?  Well, one thing I left out.  They got to talking in the car on the way home one night about their plan to open a store the next morning.

When I got up at about 8:00, my kitchen looked like this.
It was serious and intense.  Asher was making his world-famous apple boats.  The others were making chocolate covered pretzels.

This is where you had to purchase your snacks.

It was hard to keep up with the demand.

Even the littles joined in.  All in all, a very sweet breakfast was had.  A big mess was made.

We miss you, Elsa and Mary.  Come back and visit us soon.

Monday, October 10, 2011


It's been a LONG hot summer here.
These photos were taken in September during the first rain we had in months.  As you can tell, the boys were more than a little excited.

We had rain this weekend too.  It was glorious, except that it cancelled the Ranger's playoff game that Papa was going to take us to.

It would be selfish of us to complain about rain because of a baseball game.  I guess the livelihood of many farmers and ranchers trumps our playoff tickets.
Thank you, Lord, for all this glorious rain.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Grammar Lessons

Remember this sweet post.

About the notes like this one that Samuel leaves around the house for me.

Well, the other day Sweet Samuel got in trouble for something or the other.
He was punished
A couple minutes later I found this taped to my bedroom door.

Not only did he renounce his love for me,
But it was also a reminder we have some grammar lessons to do.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I Really Can't Believe It.

Cry Cry is 3.
All he wanted for his birthday was a Dinosaur Train cake.

He was mesmerized by it.  
He wanted to be right by "his" cake.

Can you see the coveting in this picture?

All the kids eating their sandwiches, cheese balls, grapes, and cherry kool-aid.

What's not to love?

Nathan, I'm not ready for you to be 3.

But you seem to be.

So I guess that is just the way it will have to be.
You'll be 3, and I'll have to live with it.

Here's to 3...
Love you.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Clipboards {Home School Organization}

My motto for this school year is INDEPENDENCE.

I think because I've had the luxury of Graham and Asher in the same grade, they've been slightly spoiled in getting my undivided attention.  As far as school is concerned, that is.
I admit to doing some hand-holding these last few years.
They needed it at first.  Boys are easily distracted by anything and everything, or at least my boys are.
But they are getting bigger and I'm needing more time to work with Samuel (and I'll need to throw Joseph in the mix next year), who gratefully, is not as easily distracted.  I can give him a task, and he pretty much finishes it without me having to prod him.  But now that he's in first grade, he needs more of my time.

I'm not introducing this as some new idea patented by me. 
It's nothing more than list-making (which I happen to LOVE!)
I confess to making lists and putting tasks on the list which I've already done, just for the satisfaction of crossing them off.  Anyone else share in my OCD qualities?

All of our boys have a favorite color.  Through the years, it has become their color.

Graham is green.
Asher is red.
Samuel is blue.
Joseph is orange.
Nathan is yellow.

So every Sunday night, I print out a sheet for each day, in their color, of all they need to do on that particular day.  I also put whatever worksheets they have for the week under their daily sheets so I don't have to fish for them while we are in the middle of our school day.

For us, our Mondays and Wednesdays are the same.
And our Tuesdays and Thursdays are the same.
The deal is if you can get it all done on Monday-Thursday, then we will have a fun day on Friday.
And guess what?

For four weeks now, it's worked like a charm!

My old system was to have my own notebook with what we needed to get done each day in it.
When they did it, I would cross it off, but they had no way of knowing really what was to go on that day.  It was all in my little head.
So I would say something like, "Time to do English and Spelling!"  
And then, I would get multiple groans.
But now, they know it needs to get done, so they are pressing me to get it over with.
It's not that they now love English and Spelling passionately or something, but they know getting things done is their ticket to lunch or playtime.

And I think they like to cross it off almost as much as I do.
They get mad at me when I do it for them.

An example of what Samuel does on Mondays.

And example of what Graham would do on Mondays.
Asher does the same.

This is how they start the day.  
Clear expectations.... ahhhh!

 I'd love to hear some of your organization ideas in the comments section.
Off to start my Monday.