Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thursday Night Potpourri: Pumpkin Contest & Chicken and Dumpling Soup

What does that even mean, anyway? a little bit of this and that, I assume?
Annual Pumpkin Decorating Contest:
This week was our school pumpkin decorating contest. it really is so much fun. Although, this year it just happened to fall on the week that I'm not walking and we hadn't prepared in advance so our pumpkin was pretty sad. I don't even have a picture of it. We submitted a pumpkin with magazine cut outs of facial features - eyes, nose, mouth, eyebrows, ears, ect. I thought it was okay, until I saw the competition - wow! Serious pumpkin artists out there. Anyway, I snapped a pic of this one during a parent/teacher conference. (Did you think that one was ours?!) It has a real freaking fish in it's mouth! It's an angler fish, if you couldn't tell.

Chicken & Dumpling Soup:

So this recipe just kind of happened. I was feeling good about making Pioneer Woman's chicken & dumpling recipe - the drop style dumplings are made with cornmeal instead of a flour recipe - but my husband always says he likes the noodle style dumplings so I tried to deliver. I found a generic recipe for dumplings and just did what I thought sounded good. here it is:
1 whole chicken
1/2 c. each of carrots, celery, and onion; sliced
2 T. butter
2 cloves garlic
parsley, basil, salt, and pepper; to taste
2 c. flour + more for kneading
1 T. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
I c. milk
In 2 qt. of water, boil your chicken until done. remove chicken and set aside, reserve stock. In another pot, sauté carrots, celery, onion, and seasonings in butter until soft. Add vegetables to stock and set to medium-high heat. De-bone chicken and set aside. In another bowl, combine dumpling ingredients and mix until soft ball forms. Let dough set for a few minutes, then roll out on flat, floured surface to desired thickness. *You may need to add small amounts of flour at this time so that the dough is not sticky. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into strips and gently drop into the (should be) simmering stock. Once all dumplings are in pot, add chicken and cook additional 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
Yay for cold days - this soup was a treat. I mean, not enough of a treat to stay away from the Halloween candy, but that is another post titled: will power
Also: I finally figured out why I just can't get on board the Scandal train. It comes on after Grey's and I half-watch it (like right now) just because it is on in the room, but I just can't get into it. Here's why: First, that show is pretty nasty. Second, and this is the real reason: That dude (the president) is a real jerk and if I were his wife, I would have killed him by now - so there wouldn't even be a show.
Right?! I can't stand cheaters.
Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Things To Do When You Can't Move.

I'm home alone with a toddler today and completely gimpy. My ankle hurts like a B and so basically, this is what I've been doing all morning:

1. Watching TV. Really, its just on for Nash. He has been saying things like "you're my best frwend, Mom" and "I love Thomas and Percy" so I oblige him with another episode of Thomas & Friends and Scooby Doo. And maybe some candy. It's totally awful, but so totally cute. And what else am I going to do with one leg?

2. Christmas Shopping on Amazon. My boys are getting some boring gifts this year - like bedding. They all asked for it though, so maybe they'll be excited. Ninja turtle sheets and a solid color quilt for Bryce and matching camo sheets and comforter for the big boys along with an army print for their wall. They will get some fun stuff, too, like legos and some cool games, but I'm just so tired of wasting money on junk that breaks or gets tossed aside after a few weeks. And can we even talk about how much stuff costs lately?! We are a family with a lot of debt from school that we want get rid of, so I'm not willing to drop thousands on Christmas. I like the 3 gifts rule: Baby Jesus got 3 gifts, but in recent years have drifted away from that. I also found a Christmas planning sheet that says something like "something to wear, something to read, something useful, and something asked for" - love that idea, too.

3. Catching up on the social media monster: blogging, FB, and IG. I have said this before, but I really have a love/hate relationship with social media. I'm a social person so in that regard, I really like the outlets SM provides. But, I also am a person who says ridiculous stuff at times and if you don't know me personally, it can probably be taken out of context pretty easily. example: my close friends and family know I am pretty conservative. I'm not afraid to stand up for my core beliefs because I've spent a long time pondering how I feel about things. I educate myself and research things and most likely have prayed about these kinds of issues. It is my opinion, just one of a few million out there. And believe it or not, my husband and I have differing views in a lot of topics.  I love good old fashioned debate about social issues and current events. And to go along with that, if you are my actual friend, then you also know that I respect other people's opinions, especially when they differ from mine because HELLO! I believe in American individualism and democracy. Vote how you want! Believe in what you want! Because we totally can! (unless you just believe in whatever celebrity you love believes in or because it is trendy, if that is the case, then I have a hard time respecting those opinions.)   However, bc of the reach of people on "friends" list (ie. acquaintances that you don't really know) you really can't talk about issues or compare opinions because someone always gets offended, or takes what you say or post out of context, or really, just gets pissed because you have a different opinion then they have. Just recently, I had a lady I barely know send me a private message "reminding" me that my husband was elected by republicans and democrats and that I should stop posting conservative hate posts. Since I hadn't posted anything I was really confused, but then realized that earlier that day I had liked a photo of Kermit the frog making a weird face while looking out the window with the caption "how I look when I pass someone with an Obama sticker on their car". It must have popped up on her newsfeed that I like the photo. and you know what, it is funny. do I really hate those people who voted for Obama? C'mon. Have some sense, people, and stopped getting so offended. It's okay to have different perspectives. And it's okay to laugh at stuff. Like, this. Even though I think that one is a little over the top. But, Boehner! and Obama looking through the window. ha ha ha ha. But seriously, I kind of hate both parties right now. Get them out of there! In fact, this next election, I am going to hold my vote for the first person to suggest term limits and income decreases on the house and senate. This blog post could go on for days.

4. Catching up on news. Another school shooting. why is mental health not sky rocketing into the forefront of issues? you've probably figured out already that I support the 2nd amendment right to own guns. In fact, when people talk about how they don't own guns it makes me nervous. why not?! Heaven forbid that someone tries to break into your home, but what if they did? and they had a gun? or tried to hurt your kids? I just feel a lot better knowing that at the first signs of someone attempting to get into my house, Travis (or I, if he wasn't home) would meet the intruder with some heat.  But, to each their own. So I fully find fault in mentally ill people having access to guns rather than finding fault that in the weapons themselves. It just doesn't make sense.

5. Daydreaming about all the stuff I wish I were doing: I wouldn't claim that I actually like cleaning, but good grief. My kitchen is a mess. And little Nash needs to get outside and run around. I am fully aware of the fact that HE is fully aware that I am working on one foot here. I wouldn't put it past him to take off on me. I mean, if I had to, I can hop pretty fast. :)

6. Working on church stuff. Never-ending, but good, work.

Monday, October 21, 2013

My #2 turns 8.

Our #2 is 8 years old today. The thing I remember most about Jackson's birth is that we had moved to Florida while I was six months along with him, in JULY, and I thought I was going to die. I also ripped a skirt all the way up the middle as I sat down while pregnant with him.  His was the easiest pregnancy and post pregnancy of all 4 boys - he nursed like a champ until he was 10 months old, he was such a happy baby, and showed his mischievous self as soon as he started crawling.
We celebrated his birthday last night and 20 minutes before the party was to start, as I was hanging his requested NFL birthday banner, I fell off a chair and had to go to the ER. My in-law siblings and uncle took over and they celebrated without Travis and I and he said his party wasn't ruined. The night before he got to go to his first hockey game of the season and today he brought donuts and milk to his class to celebrate. I'd say it was a good birthday (weekend).

In our church, 8 is a big deal, as that is when kids can get baptized. Jackson has a strong testimony of the gospel and is excited to get baptized this coming weekend.

Happy Birthday, J-Man!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Crock-Pot Lentil Soup


I mean, really. Is there anything better than Fall? Crisp air, soft sweaters, open windows, pumpkin everything, and soups, stews, and chili for days. 

I threw this in the crock-pot this morning, not really sure how it would turn out, but hopeful. And hopeful is really all you can be when coming up with a new recipe. (I've been let down a lot, by the way. Or, should I say that my family had been let down a lot?! Ha, they would confirm this for sure.) 

Any lentil lovers out there? I love lentils. Love. Them. I just always forget that and rarely use them. In fact, the lentils I used in this recipe have been sitting in the cabinet since last summer. 

Anyway, it turned out better than I expected, so I thought I'd share. 

1 16 oz bag dried lentils
2 qt. water
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 c. carrot, diced
1/2 c. celery, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 packaged ham steak, diced into bite size pieces
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. dried parsley 
Salt and pepper, to taste
a sprinkle of crushed red pepper

Add all ingredients in order to crock-pot and mix well. Cook on low for 4 hours, high for 2 additional hours. 

Serve with homemade crusty bread. 


Monday, October 7, 2013

Del Monte Winner


We have a winner! I numbered each name that had left a comment (twice for those that entered twice) and plugged it into The number generated was lucky number 13: 

Nicol Leckie

Thanks for reading the review and for all of the Halloween suggestions. I think we've got it: a robber, a gorilla, a power ranger, and a race car driver. I'm hosting a party for our church so I'm going to be: a robber (trying to steal Triston's thunder), an old school fortune teller, or a butterfly. Which really, might say something about my unconscious, but that's a completely different post. Excuse the fact that I've been soaking in psychology books lately. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sticky Pumpkin Buns on a Rainy Gerneral Conference Sunday.

It's General Conference weekend and this morning I am getting right out of bed to make these sticky pumpkin buns. delish.

The $50 Walmart giveway from my last post ends tomorrow! Make sure you comment to be entered in the drawing. I will post the winner here tomorrow morning.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Del Monte Fruit Burst Squeezers

Let me tell you about a typical day for our little family. We wake up and someone will always complain about breakfast. Always. We get ready for school, I drop the big boys off and then Nash and I head home for a day filled with errands and chores, play time and some basic preschool time, whatever else that we have to do and hopefully a nap thrown somewhere in there, too.

We pick the boys up at 2:45 and then the real fun starts. Between soccer, flag football, tackle football, activity day for church, and chess team - we're hopping all over town. except for Thursdays. Thursdays are usually quite and oh so appreciated!

Throughout all these different activities I have at least 1 hungry kid. (read: whiny, bored, and/or complaining like the dickens.) On these crazy days I usually have dinner waiting in a crock pot, but that could be hours away - so, we stock up on snacks. And my poor van. Well, you can imagine with 4 boys what the inside looks like. (but, it makes for a great weekend chore for the littles so...I win.)

And snacking. Ugh. I really kind of hate it. The things I want my kids to snack on and the things they want to snack just don't allow us to see eye to eye.  Enter Del Monte. Del Monte sent us a gift pack containing their new product, Fruit Burst Squeezers, to try out.

These fun and convenient little squeeze packs contain 1 1/2 servings of fruit puree or a fruit/veggie combo puree. No artificial flavors and no high fructose corn syrup. Made right here in the U.S. and is an excellent source of vitamin A and C. They are available at your local Walmart, in packs of four, for under $3.00.

That's the technical stuff - here's the inside scoop; the stuff that moms really want to know:

It's pretty good and healthy. Fruitburst Squeezers are a blended purée of real fruit and real veggies. Flavors include mango-peach, blueberry, strawberry, apple-cinnamon, and mixed berry. Our family's most liked flavors ended up being apple-cinnamon and strawberry. The blueberry was a little on the sour side. And bonus: they are even better when refrigerated. 

Super convenient: great to throw in your purse, diaper bag, lunch box or take along on the way to practice, school, ect. I packed one along on my recent doctor's appointment for Nash - even though he is only 2, he was able to eat it completely on his own without help from me. (which...was great. It may have spared me from an awkward moment - I was almost completely naked under the office gown. Ahem.)

And finally, the packaging. What is it about squeezable food that kids love?! My boys think it is super fun. Best marketing packaging ever. 

May I suggest that you try new Del Monte Fruit Burst Squeezers? Of course I can - it's my blog. Next time you are at Walmart, pick up a pack. Your kiddos (or you- grown ups love them, too) will be glad you did.

Because you finally got to the end of this post - here's a fun giveaway for you! Del Monte is giving away a $50 Walmart gift card to one reader. All you have to do is leave one comment on this blog post answering what you, or your kids, or someone that you know is going to be for Halloween. Completely selfish on my part: I need some ideas!  If I don't know you personally, make sure to leave an e-mail address also so I can get in contact with you. I will randomly choose a commenter on Monday, October 7 and post the winner that day.

UPDATE: I've had several people message me that their comments aren't showing up on my blog. If you've read this post via facebook, my blog facebook page, or instagram and can not leave a message here, please go back to original media post and leave a comment there (or 2 if you are a follower) and I will add it to the drawing. Sorry - tech stuff, UGH.

Bonus: if you "Follow" my blog (over there---->) enter twice by commenting "follower" in a separate comment.

Happy Commenting!

"Like" Del Monte on Facebook. Follow on Pinterest & Twitter.
For  more info on Del Monte Fruit Burst Squeezers or other Del Monte products, go here.

The Del Monte products, information, gift pack, and gift card have been provided by Del Monte.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013


As if we don't have enough to worry about as parents - major things like education, instilling morals and values, making sure they are well rounded socially & academically; basic things like making sure they brush their teeth correctly, getting them to ball practice on time, making them take a shower or clean up after themselves; scary things like health issues, kidnappers/child molestors, and safety (ECT ECT ECT in every category) BUT NOW we are going to have to add a couple more to the list.

and for crying out loud, This.  


Ps. I failed miserably during my "post every day in September" idea. Maybe I'll shoot for Oct? I DID just get out all my Halloween decorations this morning and I'm having tons of fun thinking of ways to scare my kids!

Pps. Stay tuned - Del Monte sent us a new product for review. ...and there is a $50 walmart gift card giveaway for you!

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