Monday, October 24, 2011

My Gamers

My children crack me up. The other day they found my Super Nintendo controllers. And althought they have only seen us play it once, they threw the plugs under the tv and began "playing."

Miss A was teaching her sister how to play!

I think she has figured it out!

She has it all figured out!

I love how they pretended/thought they were controlling the tv!

Uh oh! That is "the gamer face"! I think she may be sucked into this world.

Quick! Unplug it! Hurry, before that face sticks!

I think we made it before it was to late! It was a close one!
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Friday, October 21, 2011

Beds that Cole Made

Did I tell you that my girls needed beds? Yeah, they were sleeping on the floor. Did they care? No way!! They were so excited to be sharing a room, they would have slept on the floor with a blanket. So here are the before pictures.

And the after pictures!

Did I tell you that Cole was awesome?
I am so proud!

I found all the bedding at Target. All the linens, wall art, and rug was less than $100! I was stoked!

We had not let the girls see the beds since we got started. So now for the big reveal!


Yes, I know Miss C has her finger up her nose. But look at Miss A's face!

They were so excited. They kept telling us "Thank you so much!"

She is impressed! Can't you tell?

That face of satisfaction is totally worth all the hard work!
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Beds and Birds

My family has been very, very busy! I made a vow that I would not blog until we finished our latest project. Well, we have been finished for over a month and I still have not had time to blog. ;) Oh well, I am back. I think!

In case you did not know, I have a WONDERFUL husband! He is a awesome man, who would do just about anything for a total stranger. He helps, encourages, loves, laughs, works hard, and knows how to have a good time. He does whatever he can to make our lives easier. This fall has been no exception. My hubby built beds for our babies!

We have been needing to get the girls beds for a while now. They both HAD beds, but when Miss C's bed literally fell apart, we knew we had to do something. So, we started shopping! Holy Cow! Beds are expensive! The bed that I wanted was almost $1,000! And we weren't buying one bed. We were buying TWO. So my wonderful hubby decided that he would build them!

I have to be honest, I was SCARED! I really didn't know what we were getting ourselves into. But we did it anyway. So we invaded my dad's garage and got busy!

I have to tell you, I absolutely love working with Cole. We have the best time doing projects like this! We laugh and play. We learn from and talk to each other. It is awesome to be able to watch him do what he loves. I am so glad God has given me this man!

Back to the beds!
Foot board - check

Headboard - check

Hubby - check
(He is still smiling!)

Yes, I do! The bottom of the shirt says "Federal Witness Protection Agency"
You should see the looks he gets when he wears it! Some people look quite scared!

Base - check and square

Second Base Cabinet - check

Ready for paint!
Now, remember me telling you how wonderful my hubby is? He is a man's man. He likes to hunt and fish and do all those 'boy' things. But, he is a softy too. We watched this hummingbird all day. He was trapped inside the garage. He flew back and forth for hours! It was very sad. At the end of the day, the bird landed exhausted on the wall. Cole and took this opportunity to catch him. How many people can say they held a hummingbird? Cole can! We were quite scared that we had caught this bird and now we were going to watch it die. I ran and grabbed the feeder and prayed that the girls were not going to watch this thing die!

We put him up to the feeder and NOTHING! Cole and I just looked at each other and shook our heads. But then Cole said he felt a flutter and out came this teeny tiny tongue! And he went to town eating away!

My hubby sat there and fed a hummingbird for 15 minutes. They he flew off, right into the RV. :( 
Bummer! So, what did Cole do? Picked him up, and fed him for about 15 more minutes!

Finally, the bird sat up and looked around. He flew! He landed! He lived! He was still at my parents just a few weeks ago! How do we know it is the same bird? Well, we don't for sure. But, for some reason this one bird isn't afraid of people anymore!

Stay tuned for the finished bed project!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Soup, Soup, and more Soup!

I am so sorry this has taken me so long to post. I ended the weekend with a migraine. I am just getting my act together today. So without further ado...Soup!

Most casseroles call for a can of cream of something soup. You know, the gross stuff that seems to plop out of a can. The sound is so yucky.
Slurp, burp, SPLAT!

This past Saturday, I decided to tackle the creamed soups that we seem to go through like crazy in the winter.

These recipes are a guide. You can follow them word for word. But if you do not have an ingredient, no big deal. Substitute it or just leave it out. One thing I have learned about cooking is: a recipe is a guide. It is not something to agonize over. If you like more garlic, add it. If you hate it, do not put it in at all. Most of my cooking is NOT measured. I feel it out as I go. My wish is that you guys will have as much fun making these recipes for your family as I had making them for mine.

Cream of Mushroom was the first on my list. I was actually shocked by how easy it was.

Cream of Mushroom Soup
4 Tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic
8 oz chopped mushrooms
1 tsp salt
1 medium sweet onion
2 Tbsp flour
1/4 tsp pepper
2 cans chicken broth
(I did not have cans so I used about 3/4 a box)
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup heavy cream (or half and half or milk)
1 tsp fresh thyme (or 1/8 tsp dry thyme)

Clean the mushrooms and chop them roughly.

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Saute garlic until golden. Add mushrooms, onions, and salt. Cook until onions are soft.

Add flour and cook stirring constantly until smooth. Slowly add chicken broth. Simmer, stirring often until thick. Add nutmeg and pepper. Taste. You may want to add a little more salt.

At this time you can blend your soup to remove the larger pieces of vegetables.

Add cream and bring to a SIMMER.

Allow to cool on the counter before you freeze or refrigerate. I bag my soup 2 cups per bag. It usually is just enough for a sausage and rice casserole (my hubby's childhood favorite).

Next up was Cream of Celery.

I really made this one because the Cream of Chicken soup calls for 2 stalks of celery. What was I supposed to do with the rest of the stuff. I mean I like celery, but we both know I am not about to snack on it. :)

Cream of Celery Soup
(I put all of the vegetables in the food processor
and chopped them as fine as I could before it became a paste.)

4 tablespoons butter
15 ounces celery, coarsely chopped (about one head)
4 carrots, chopped finely
2-1/2 ounces onions, chopped
2 Tbsp flour
3-3/4 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
3-3/4 cups warm cream
Pinch of nutmeg

Melt butter in a sauce pan. Add celery, onions, carrots, and salt. Allow to cook until the onions are soft. Add flour and stir in well. Add chicken stock and pepper. Allow to thicken.

At this time you can blend your soup to remove the larger pieces of vegetables.

Slowly pour in them cream. Add nutmeg. Bring to a simmer.
Do not BOIL.

Hubby and the girls actually returned from the weekly Lowes trip about the time this one was finished. He and girls walked in and said YUM!
It was really good. I think it was our favorite.

And finally Cream of Chicken.

I made this one last only because I totally forgot to defrost the chicken.

 Cream of Chicken Soup

1/2 cup butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery (with leaves), chopped
3 medium carrots, chopped
2 tablespoon flour
1 box chicken broth
3 sprigs fresh thyme (1/4 tsp dried)
2 3/4 cups cooked, diced chicken
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Melt butter in a sauce pan. Add onion, celery, and carrots. Sprinkle with salt and allow to cook until the onions are soft. Add flour and stir until mixed well. Add chicken broth. Allow to boil until the carrots and celery are soft.

At this time you can blend your soup to remove the larger pieces of vegetables.

Add chicken.

Slowly add cream. Add pepper, salt, and thyme. Allow to simmer, but DO NOT BOIL.

*I blended my soup after I added the chicken. Why? Because I added the chicken to early. But, don't fret. It tasted wonderful. And who cares? It is going in another dish anyways.*

These really are not very hard to make at all. I made about 20 cups of soup in about three hours. It would not have taken that long if I would have defrosted and precooked my chicken.

My total cost was about $10. Which comes to about $1 per can of soup. I don't think I did bad at all.

I hope you enjoy these like we did!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Chocolate Syrup

I am not sure about you guys, but we go through a ton of chocolate syrup. Well, maybe not a ton, but we do use it a lot.

The girls have at least one cup of chocolate milk a day, then we have ice cream, and anything else we can find to use it on.

Since I read everything on the label these days, I was SHOCKED to find what was in chocolate syrup. After all, it is chocolate syrup. Does it need all of that junk I can't pronounce? NO!

So I set out to make my own. I know, shocker! Huh?
My hubby just laughs these days, when I say I am going to try to make it myself.

This is what I have found: experimenting with chocolate is FUN! That and making your own chocolate syrup is beyond easy.

You will need the following things:

Sugar, Cocoa, salt, and vanilla
(We use vanilla powder because some vanilla extract contains gluten. But either will work fine.)

Chocolate Syrup

1 1/4 cup Sugar
3/4 cup Cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
2 tablespoons vanilla extract

Whisk together sugar and cocoa in a medium sauce pan.

Add water and salt. Stir well.

Bring mixture to a boil and allow it to thicken slightly. Once it has thickened remove from heat.

Allow the wonderful stuff to sit for 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix well.

Allow to cool slightly before jarring.
(Let it come to room temperature before you put it in the fridge.)

The little squeeze containers would work great, but I have jars on hand!


Thursday, August 18, 2011

The zoo! (part 2)

The girls were amazed at a bird that big. We told Ansley she could nap in that huge nest. She was ready to go check out the other animals after that. ;)

These next two pictures are for my Daddy. He wants a few of these for pets. Can't you see that? My Mom would flip.

Charlotte loved that the sloth was asleep in a crib! :)

Milking a cow!

Barn owls!

Ansley wants a bunny. What do you think the cats would say about that?

Ansley was looking at the snakes. She was slightly freaked out. Speaking of freaked out. While we were looking at these crazy lizards this one bearded lizard ran up to the glass and hissed at me. I, of course, screamed. Ansley fell over and Charlotte pooped. Yes, the amphibian exhibit was quite interesting.

This is what the happens when I ask the girls to pose with each other. Enjoy!