Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cream Soup Mix

Several years ago, I attended a class on Once-A-Month Cooking. I got a recipe for Cream Soup Mix during that class, and it has been a staple in my kitchen pretty much ever since. Here is the recipe for you to try:

Cream Soup Mix

2 cups nonfat dry milk powder
3/4 cup cornstarch
*1/4 cup instant reduced sodium chicken or beef bouillon granules
1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1/2 tsp. dried basil leaves
1/4 tsp. white pepper

Combine all ingredients and mix well with wire whisk until blended. Store mix in an airtight container.

To prepare as a substitute for one can of condensed cream soup in recipes, stir together 1/3 cup dry mix and 1-1/4 cups water in a saucepan. Cook and stir until thickened.

*I do not add the bouillon granules. I add my bouillon at the time I reconstitute the mix. My current bouillon of choice is Better Than Broth.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Blog Much?

Well, it's obvious that I don't get here as often as I would like, but my little home on the web is not forgotten.

This coming weekend my DD and I are headed off to Mother/Daughter Cowgirl Camp. Unfortunately, the weather has turned chilly (hey, those of us who live in Tucson absolutely CANNOT take the cold). I am thankful it is not in the 100s, but warmer weather would be welcomed for camp. We did this back in April, too, and it was chilly then. But this time . . . we WILL be prepared. Knitted caps and scarves, thermal underwear, wool socks, down sleeping bags. We will be the warmest cowgirls in the west!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Learnin' 'Bout This Bloggin' Thing!

Please bear with me. I am so new to this blogging thing. I am experimenting--trying to find "my look." Having fun while doing so!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Generous Book Give-away

Click on over to http://ladybug-chronicles.blogspot.com/2009/07/perfect-mess-by-lisa-harper-blog-tour.html. For a chance to win The Hope of Refuge by Cindy Woodsmall. ABC Mom of 3 is being so great allowing us a chance to win something. Thanks ABC Mom!

Playing Catch-Up

O.K., so probably, the really good bloggers blog every day. And I'm glad they do, because it can be rather entertaining. However, I am not a really good blogger. I am a beginner. And probably I will look back on this and cringe. But it is what it is for now.

So . . . I have a lot of catching up to do today.

My Birthday 2009

Monday was my birthday. Now, I had originally planned on starting school that day, but I hit a couple of snags: 1) The Heart of the Matter Online Conference started that day with Sheila Wray Gregoire speaking on "Living Up to the Potential of Homeschooling." I love this gal. So part of my present to me was to listen to her first thing in the morning (6:15 AM). 2) My mom called me to say that she had asked off work for the day so she could spend it with me. Well, school could wait a day. So my mom came over and made french toast for breakfast. She used a bread she bought at Safeway that was made for making french toast. It actually had maple syrup baked into it. Anyway, this was a huge treat for me, because I tend to shy away from yeasted breads. But, you will be happy to know, I enjoyed it to the fullest.

Now, here's where it gets a little funny. I had decided to give myself the day off, right? So, why at 11:00 AM in Tucson (can we say, "Hot!") did I decide to go outside and do serious work on my pumpkin patch? We moved vines and pumpkins and mowed under them. We raked up grass. We were very sweatish. Well, I know the reason why: it was something I had been wanting to do, but wouldn't give myself permission to do because of all the other things that need my attention during a normal day.

So after a nice shower and a little nap, what did I decide to do next? Clean out the dirty, nasty, yucky, icky, gross pee trap in one of my children's bathroom sinks. Yes, I have a weird way of celebrating, don't I? But I was happy. This was something else I needed to do, but so many other things always pulled me away.

Dinner of the Birthday Day

Mom made Taco Rice for dinner. Basically this is what she did:

Browned 2 lbs. ground beef
Added taco seasoning and tomato sauce with a little water
Added cooked brown rice

This was served with all the usual taco fixings. Yummy, yummy to our tummies.

For dessert: my husband made me a Butterscotch Apple Cake. Can we say ohh, ahh? Why, yes, we can; and, yes, we did.

Heartfelt Presents

From mom: Pink roses and a day without having to cook or clean the kitchen (Happy dance!!!)
From sis: Dove bar (Dancing, again!!!)
From hubby: This may sound a little weird, but he got me a plain wedding band. Now, I asked for this. We take karate, and I am not allowed to wear my wedding rings to class because of the setting. So I take it off for class, and several days later I realize I haven't put it back on. So now, I can still let everyone know that I am a happily married woman who goes to karate.

Here's where I choke up: This was the first year my children spent their own money on a gift for me. Don't get me wrong, it's not like I have been waiting for them to spend their money on me, but this is a MILESTONE, people! For an 11 year old and a 7 year old to go to the bank (or piggy bank), take out money, plan on the gift they want to buy, then ask Grammy to take them to buy the gift . . . that's big.

From 11 YO DD: Pier I gift card
From 7 YO DS: New yogurt bowl (I eat yogurt and cereal practically every morning for breakfast, and I like deep bowls with lots of room for mixing), new cup (that matched aforementioned bowl) for, "Anything you want to drink, Mom.", and a new mug. How absolutely sweet and precious?

Thus ended one of the happiest birthdays I can remember.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Simple Woman

FOR TODAY Friday, August 7, 2009
Outside my window... my basil plant needs harvesting.
I am thinking... we need to get back on task.
I am thankful for... a wonderful husband and great kids.
From the learning rooms...(in a few minutes) Sonlight Core 3+4.
From the kitchen... homemade pizza.
I am wearing... jean capris and a tee shirt.
I am creating... a blog.
I am going... to the library.
I am reading... "Women's Intuition" (Lisa Samson).
I am hoping... we will be calm in the face of upcoming changes.
I am hearing... the A/C.
Around the house... the kids are independently keeping themselves busy.
One of my favorite things... cherry fruit spread.
A few plans for the rest of the week: work on school schedules.
Here is picture thought I am sharing... Our first cucumber from our garden!

Join "The Simple Woman's Daybook" http://thesimplewomansdaybook.blogspot.com/

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Anxious to Start Our New School Year

Well, it is almost here--the beginning of our 7th year of homeschooling. When I started with my DD in kindergarten, I had a 3 year old and a nursing 1 year old. I needed something simple. Something that told me what to do when. I grew up in Pensacola, Florida, so I had some knowledge of Abeka. So that is the route we went. We used Abeka up through fourth grade. Then last year, I got a hold of Kathy Duffy's 100 Top Curriculm Picks. Well, from there the Lord took me on a little journey with Charlotte Mason. I didn't do everything the Charlotte Mason way, but I really like the philosophy. So this year, we are going to use Sonlight for our history. We are doing Core 3+4. I am trying to get my daughter in a good position for high school. We still have three years, but it doesn't hurt to prepare, right?

So, always in the past I have felt we should do arithmetic and language first. This year, I have decided to start our day with history and science. I want to get started at a more regular time each day. My older two children will work more on their own with their math and language, thus giving me the opportunity to get my 2nd grader reading better. Lessons will be scheduled, and if they are not finished, there will be homework. I want to get down to business. We need a little more structure. The last two years have wrecked havoc on our school day--we have had A LOT of major changes, and we have not done what I would have liked to. I think we learned a lot--at least I did about schooling and knowing my children. The last two years weren't wasted--they were good for me. But my daughter has desires for her life, and I want to help her realize those desires.
To that end, I am going to try very had to keep us at home much more this year. Last year, we participated in a co-op, and while it was great, it took a whole day out of our week. With little things that sounded great here and there, time was just eaten up. WE ARE STAYING HOME THIS YEAR! If something isn't planned, it won't be done. And things that are planned will be watched carefully for time.

My goal is for me to be up, have exercised, showered and dressed by 8:00 so I can fix breakfast and start school by 9:00. I would like the kids to be up at 7:30 so chores can be done. We will do the schooling we need to do together first, then break off into individual studies. Lunch will be between 11:30 and 12:00. Back to the books by 1:00 and hopefully done with our day by 3:00. This is what I would like, whether or not it happens remains to be seen.

I am excited though. I have very happy thoughts about this year.



We get to choose which give-a-way we would like to win. My top picks are:

1) Circle C Adventure books

2) $50.00 Rainbow Resource Center gift certificate

3) $50.00 Currclick gift certificate

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My Own Personal Homeschool Conference!

I am really so excited. The Homeschool Conference that I would normally attend was last weekend. For months I have really been wanting to go, but I just could not bring myself to spend the money--tickets to the conference, gas, hotel, food, etc. I have been looking at "conferences" held online--where you can listen live or download the chats for later. Still, the one I found was a little more expensive than I was willing to spend. Then, through The Homeschool Lounge, I came across the Heart of the Matter online conference! The 2009 conference costs $12.95. I got to digging, looking, and found that I really like the topics from the 2008 conference. I was bummed! I missed those. And, yet, hark! I was able to get all the downloads from 2008 as well as a ticket to 2009 for $19.95! Yeah! I have my own conference going on while I am cleaning and doing dishes. Although, I need to sit down and re-listen to a few because I need to take some notes.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Dinner of the Day - Well Dinner Last Night

I made one of my quick and easy-to-love dinners. Spaghetti in a pot. I made spaghetti sauce (I have also used jarred sauce before). When it was hot, I added in a box of whole wheat rotini noodles and a cup of water. It went into the oven on 350º for about an hour. I served it with green beans.

In the past, I have cooked this entirely on the stovetop. I have also put it in the oven at 275º when I was going to be gone from the house for a little while.

Thoughts on this meal: Quick, easy, filling, yummy. Not anything overly exciting, but not anything to sneeze at either.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Dinner of the Day

Egg Casserole

Over medium heat, saute 2 tsp. minced garlic in approximately 2 Tbs. olive oil. Add fresh baby spinach (amount depends on taste). Cover and cook over low heat until wilted.

In a 9"x13" pan sprayed with cooking spray, layer 1 pkg. Simply Potatoes (diced with onion), wilted spinach, 4 ounces chopped ham and crumbled goat cheese (amount to taste). Whisk 1 dozen eggs with milk or water and seasonings (I used salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder). Pour egg mixture into pan over potatoes and spinach. I baked this at 275º for about an hour and 15 minutes since I had to run kids to karate. It could also be baked at 350º for a lesser amount of time. Bake until a knife comes out clean.

I served this with:

Banana Blueberry Muffins

I simply made my favorite banana muffins:

2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup mashed ripe banana
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Adding: 1 pint blueberries.

Topped with: Crumbs from blueberry granola

In a medium bowl mix flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.

In a separate bowl cream oil and sugar, add eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth. Stir in milk and mashed banana and mix well.

Fold in flour mixture into the liquid ingredients until combined.

Fill greased muffin tins two-thirds of the way full.

Bake in a preheated 350º oven for 25 to 30 minutes.

Thoughts on this meal:
It's a keeper! Everyone loves eggs. It was quick and easy and I was able to let it cook while I was away. I really need to stock up on blueberries while they are on sale ($1.00 a pint!) Got the bananas at a great deal--$.89/3 pounds at Costco.

First post on a new blog

O.K., so why am I here? Not the BIG "Why am I here?" Just why do I want to blog. Well, I feel the need to be heard. The thought occurs that I may not be heard by anyone in particular, but I will have at least put my thoughts out there.

What do I want this blog to be? I want to keep track of my day to day life. What I am doing with my children. The meals I am preparing. I want to have a place to comment about things I see in my world. And I say my world because even though the world is so large, my little corner is so very teeny tiny.

So to start. I have recently been on a quest to feed my family less meat. Not for any noble cause like I have compassion on all the animals (although I am not without feelings for them). But I was in Sprouts one day shopping. I looked down at my cart and was simply disgusted my the amount of meat I had in the cart and the lack of vegetables. I put all the meat back that day and strolled around the produce section. I came home that night and made roasted vegetable and black bean burritos. I had started a new journey for us. Now it is my goal to greatly reduce our meat consumption--though not completely. It is my hope that this blog helps me keep track of what meals I have prepared thereby making a template for me to shop and cook by.