Thursday, July 31, 2008

Busy and hot

We were right around 100 degrees for much of the day, and are under a heat advisory tomorrow because we'll be around 105 most of the day, even staying into the 90's well into the evening. (We always cool down at night, so this is going to be weird.)

I got the school supplies shopping done, so that's one thing off my mind. Got a ton of household chores done, too. It's a good feeling. Too bad the house still doesn't look nice. But hey, it looks better.

My FaithWriters entry for the topic "Telephone" didn't win any awards, but it's now available through the index (see link on the right side of the page.)

Tonight's dinner was Ham Noodle Potato Bake.

1-1/2 lb ham; cooked and diced (I use turkey ham)
2 cup elbow macaroni; cooked
2 cans potatoes, diced; rinsed and drained OR about 3 potatoes, diced and cooked tender.
8 oz shredded cheddar
4 cans tomato soup
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 to taste garlic powder
1 to taste onion powder

Drain noodles and combine with ham, potatoes, soup and spices in a 10x15 pan. Top with parmesan followed by cheddar. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

More Fun in the Sun, and Other Things

Today was a busy day. It started fairly early with a trip to the dental hygienist for Nathanael. He did very well, especially since he was able to bring a DVD and watch it while she worked on him! Then came grocery shopping which cost far, far more than it should have. Then some errands/laundry/usual stuff, and then it was off to a pool party with the Small Group that we've belonged to for years. We had a lovely time, with good food and a lot of fun playing catch. Yes, you heard me right, playing catch. Three of us "old enough to know better" ladies, plus Andrew, all threw soggy tennis balls back and forth (2 of them, to keep things interesting) in the pool. We also got to see the very mischievous side of a certain one of us who loves to make the ball land just in front of you so it splashes water in your face, or right beside you when you aren't watching for it! That was fun, all of us hooting and hollering and laughing and acting half our ages! Nathanael had fun being out of his boot and in the water for the second time in a week. Phillip had fun fluttering around and thinking whatever thoughts amused him. John relaxed with the guys and talked.

Then we went home and had the usual evening routine, which now includes two blogs...

Yep, busy day.

Tomorrow we have to further abuse our bank account by shopping for school supplies! Eek!

Oh, my contribution to the picnic dinner was Five-Bean Salad. Want the recipe?

Go to Sam's Club.
Buy it.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sprinklers, Braces, and Mashed Potatoes

This is Phillip's idea of playing in the sprinkler. I had a better picture of it, but I had taken it with the camera tilted to "portrait" rather than "landscape" orientation, and Blogger can't handle that. It turns them over again on their sides. Frustrating. Anyway, Phillip hates getting wet, and normally doesn't try to play in the sprinkler at all. But today he decided to get out the umbrella and, as he put it, "risk my life here."

Nathanael will be going in to have his teeth cleaned tomorrow. Then on Friday he goes in to have impressions made, and on the following Wednesday he gets his braces on!

My new blog, "Just Another Clay Pot," hasn't gotten many visitors yet, which isn't surprising since it's so new. It isn't surprising that all but two of the visits have come from Colorado. What IS surprising is that the other two visits have come from two different cities in Poland! I don't know how or why people found it from way over there, unless perhaps one or both of them are photographers from whom I got permission to use pictures. Regardless, the internet is an amazing place.

Phillip gave me fits for a little while tonight, but I'm glad to say he improved his attitude and behavior. Things are much better now. He decided on something unusual for a bedtime snack, and with my help made himself instant mashed potatoes. That's a first, but it probably won't be the last.

Dinner tonight was Bacon Chicken Alfredo

16 oz fettuccine
1/4 cup bacon bits; or to taste
3 cup chicken; cooked and shredded
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
16 oz Alfredo sauce
10 oz frozen chopped spinach; thawed, squeezed dry
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Thaw and dry the spinach. Cook fettuccine according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook chicken with salt, pepper, and bacon bits until juices run clear. Drain fettuccini, stir into skillet. Add the Alfredo sauce, spinach, and Italian seasoning. Cook and stir until heated through. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Fun in the Sun

My friend invited us over to swim at the lake near her house today. We spent most of the day there, and it was a lovely time. (The photo above was taken last year at the same spot.) It was nice for Nathanael because he could play and have fun without his boot on. We helped him hop on his good foot into the water, and once he was in there, he could use a floatie "noodle" thing and the life vest he was wearing to enable him to keep his weight off the injured foot. He had fun doing that, and afterwards we all went to my friend's house where the kids played some games while my friend and I talked.

Phillip is starting to show some interest in learning to ride a bike! This is a big deal, and I hope his interest holds. It was really sweet earlier because Andrew took it on himself to try to help Phillip learn. I wish I'd gotten a picture of that.

I can hardly believe that school starts in just over two weeks!

Tonight's dinner was just quick stuff. John grilled burgers and I cooked up corn. Nothing exciting to share there, I'm afraid.

Another New Venture

The biggest news of today is that I've decided to start another blog. It won't take the place of this one, but will be a complement to it.

For quite a while now I've been taking notes during my daily Bible study times, and that's always been a very encouraging and helpful process for me. But I don't often share those notes and thoughts with others, which means I'm not sharing the encouragement and help with others, either. So I've started a blog called, "Just Another Clay Pot." Whenever something comes along that encourages me from God's Word, that will be the venue I use to share it. There's a link to it on this page, there with my other links.

This blog will stay as it is... day-to-day stuff, recipes, etc. But I won't be sharing any recipes today. It was "Clean out the fridge day," and I know that everybody knows the recipe for that!

Today's sermon was very good. Pastor Vannoy preached out of Haggai, talking about being so self-centered that you disregard what God wants. Convicting stuff.

All three boys chose to stay in adult church, and I'm glad of that. Phillip spent most of the time sitting with his head between his knees and with his ears covered, but I think he still took in something of value somewhere along the way. I'm not sure why he prefers to stay in adult church, but it's fine with me.

Try not to faint at the shock of it, but I went out and trimmed a bush today. Now I can see out my kitchen window. The work wasn't strenuous or sustained enough to bring on that awful "Hot poker under my shoulder blade" pain that limits my physical activities so much, and it's encouraging to see the difference that little bit of effort made.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


One quick note: Last night I forgot to post the recipe for dinner, which was Spaghetti with Slow-Cooked Spaghetti Sauce. I've gone back and added it to yesterday's post, so if you'd like to have it, look there!

I got a lot of work done today. It's a good feeling, and I'm thankful to the Lord for His help. There's still an awful lot left to be done. In fact, it's almost 11 pm, and I still need to re-empty and re-fill the dishwasher, and dole out all of the medications for next week. So I'll just post some recipes and get back to it.

Tonight's dinner was "Chicken and Vegetable Noodle Soup" with "Herb Garlic Loaf" as a side dish.

Chicken and Vegetable Noodle Soup

7 cups milk
2 lb california-blend vegetables; frozen
1 cup american cheese; cubed
2 envelope dry chicken noodle soup mix
6 Cups chicken; cooked and shredded or diced

Note: 6 Cups shredded chicken = approx 2 lbs.

Crock Pot method:
Put all ingredients except for cheese in the crock pot on low heat for 8 hours. Add cheese during the last half hour.

OR (Below is the quick way to cook it, which I don't normally use.)

In a large saucepan, bring milk to a boil. Stir in chicken and vegetables and return to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 6 minutes. Stir in cheese and soup mix. Return to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 5-7 minutes or until the noodles are tender and the cheese is melted, stirring occasionally.

Herb-Garlic Loaf

3 cup bread flour
1 envelope savory herb with garlic soup mix
1/2 teaspoon Salt
4-1/2 teaspoon nonfat dry milk powder
1 tablespoon Sugar
4-1/2 teaspoon Butter; softened
1 cup water (I substitute Ginger Ale...makes fluffier bread)
2 tablespoon water
2-1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast

Bake in bread machine. Use basic bread setting.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Accepting comments now!

It has come to my attention, thanks to a dear concerned reader, that I have not been receiving comments that have been posted on this blog. The fact is, no comments HAVE been posted here, despite some people's kind attempts to do so. I did not realize that I would have to go into the settings and change some things in order for you to be able to post them successfully. So my apologies to any and all who have tried to leave comments. Hopefully that problem is fixed now. If anyone wants to go back and re-post any comments that they tried to make on earlier entries, feel free to do so.

Just remember, all comments are publicly visible, so if you want to tell me anything privately, please email instead.

VBS finished today, and I must say it was a very good experience. We all finished up by enjoying a "Thank-you" luncheon that the church hosted for the workers.

The housework really suffered this week. Well, it's been suffering for longer than that, but it got even worse this week. So I'm planning to make tomorrow a serious workday. I'm posting that because I want you all to hold me accountable. More importantly, I'd like all the prayer I can get. I need it. We all do.

At VBS today, Phillip's craft was pottery. He, of course, made a telephone. I think it's great, but he hates it. He said it was one of his worst failures, and he was so upset that he ended up lying on the sofa in the foyer and burying his head between the back cushion and the seat cushion. That's a pretty common position for him when he's too upset to face life. But he got over it and had a pretty good day after that.

The kids all made dreidels this week, and learned how to play the dreidel game. That was pretty cool. They got to sand the wood and paint it and hammer the post through the hole and everything. They also did some basket weaving with paper and some sort of fibrous reedy material, and they made a few other things besides. I think they were the best crafts I've seen at a VBS, and all the kids seemed to enjoy them a lot.

Nathanael is more than halfway through with his boot-wearing time. He'll be glad to get rid of that.

His voice is deepening, though it can't be said to have "changed" yet. There's still a noticeable difference from just month or so ago. How do they grow up so fast?

Dinner tonight was Spaghetti with Slow-Cooked Spaghetti Sauce

2 lb ground beef
4 can diced tomatoes; undrained
16 oz tomato sauce
12 oz tomato paste
2 each bay leaf
2 tablespoon brown sugar
8 clove garlic; minced
4 teaspoon basil
4 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon thyme
16 oz spaghetti noodles; cooked
2 medium onion; chopped

In a skillet, brown sausage and onion; drain. Transfer to a slow cooker.
Add all but noodles. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or until heated
through. Discard bay leaf. Serve over cooked noodles.

An Honor

The judging results just came in for the FaithWriters Weekly Writing Contest on the topic of "Memory." I was pleased to see that my entry, "Both Blessing and Curse," placed second in my level (Advanced), and 4th overall. It will also be included in the FaithWriters quarterly publication, which makes it even more exciting.

You can always access any of my FaithWriters articles (except whichever one is currently undergoing the judging process) by clicking on the link to the "Index of my FaithWriters Writings" on the right side of this page (under "My other sites.")

Since I have now had 3 entries which have been judged highly enough, I have to leave the Advanced level and move up to the Masters level. That makes everything more challenging, for sure.

John took a class today about managing his diabetes. There will be others available so we can learn more about dietary issues.

VBS continues to go well, and I'm enjoying it more every day.

All for now!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Report, Rant, and Recipe

VBS went very well today. It's very fun to see the children enjoying their candle craft so much.

Not much to say other than that. Except perhaps a general complaint about HOA's. THIS IS AMERICA! I can't believe that anyone has the right to send us a letter that says, "You have to replace your roof, and you have to send us detailed information about the roofing materials you want to use, including color, type, number of shingles, etc, etc, etc, and you can't commence any work until you have our approval." I repeat...THIS IS AMERICA! That used to mean individual freedom, but those days are long gone, I fear.

Ok, I'm through ranting. Not through fuming, but through ranting.

Dinner tonight was "Zippy Beef Supper." But you'd better not let the HOA know that. There's probably a regulation against it.

Zippy Beef Supper

2 lb ground beef
1 medium onion; chopped
1 cup potatoes; cooked, cubed
11 oz nacho cheese soup; undiluted
10 oz cream of onion soup; undiluted
10 oz mexican-style diced tomatoes; undrained
2-3 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3 cup tortilla chips; crushed
4 oz shredded cheddar

In a large saucepan, cook potatoes. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, brown
the beef and onion; drain. Preheat oven to 350. Dice potatoes; add to meat
and cook, stirring, until heated through. Stir in the soups, tomatoes,
cumin and garlic powder; mix well. Transfer to a greased 13x9 pan. Cover
and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with tortilla chips and cheese.
Bake, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sleepy Tuesday

Today was the craziest day for our craft table at VBS. The theme of VBS is "Jerusalem Marketplace," and the kids are all divided into 12 "Tribes." But with only 5 days of VBS, that doesn't divide out evenly. So each craft table has one day in which they have 4 tribes, instead of 2. Today was our day. I'm pleased to say that we were able to get the candles made for the nearly 30 kids in the two 40-minute crafting sessions. I'm glad that I'm helping out. It's a good experience for me.

Andrew and Phillip got to make their candles today. They're quite pleased with them.

I spent a long time shredding two chickens that I cooked. It's a lot of work, but so worth it. I was able to freeze 13 cups of shredded chicken for future recipes, and that entire amount cost less than $9.00. That's a whole lot less than it used to cost me when I bought boneless skinless cuts (though I still use those for a few recipes).

We ordered pizza from Sam's Club, so no recipe to share today!

I'm feeling quite overwhelmed with housework right now. I got a bit behind, and it just piles up so fast...

I'm going to bed early tonight. *YAWN* So sleepy!

1st day of VBS

I wasn't sure what I'd be doing when I arrived at VBS this morning, but I hoped it wasn't crafts. I just can't get into cutting out bits of paper or gluing on tufts of cotton or macaroni noodles. But regardless, I knew I needed to do something to help out. Time to give a little something back, right?

I got snagged for a craft.

But you know what? It's a cool craft! It's way too much for one adult to handle, and I can't imagine why this poor woman didn't have anyone assigned to help her (except lack of volunteers, I guess). We're making candles decorated with real seashells. We use cups to hollow out indentations in buckets of sand that is just moist enough to hold its shape. We stick a wick in the bottom, and the kids pick out seashells to embed in the side, sticking up slightly over the edge of the indentation we 'd made. Then we pour in the hot wax and let it cool. At the end of the day we dig the candles out, brush off as much sand as we can, and send them home with the kids. They really come out cute, and each one is very unique!

Dinner tonight was Basil Chicken Strips.

4 lb chicken breast tenderloins
1 cup all purpose flour
1.5 cups Butter
1 cup red wine vinegar or cider vinegar
4 teaspoon basil

In a large resealable plastic bag, shake chicken strips and flour until
coated. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add the
chicken; saute for 5 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and basil; cook until
chicken juices run clear.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunday Rest

This morning was good. Our Adult Sunday School class is going through the book of Romans, and we had a very good discussion which broke off of that. Then church was an overview of the book of Zephaniah, focusing on the issue of pride. When we got home we had Taco Puffs for our afternoon dinner (we usually have Sunday's main meal right after church, and then the evening meal is "shift for yourself"). I'll put the recipe below.

After lunch was a nice long nap and then some interesting science-related TV shows (while I worked on a jigsaw puzzle with a Norman Rockwell theme). John did some more work on his new basement office/computer game room.

So, overall a nice, relaxing day.

Tomorrow starts VBS at our new church, and also marks a chance for me to get to spend some time with a new friend while our kids are there. We might end up helping out a little with VBS, too. I told them I could help in any way that didn't require me to be good with children. I'll probably pass out snacks or something. I imagine I'm probably capable of that! For such a small church, they're expecting a very big group of kids (90 already enrolled). That's scary. I'm glad there are folks out there that love working with large groups of children. We need 'em!

Ok, here's the recipe as promised:

Taco Puffs

1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup onion; chopped (I use 1/2 cup reconstituted Instant Minced Onions)
1 envelope taco seasoning
2 tube (17 oz each) jumbo sized, butter flavored refrigerated biscuits
8 slices American Cheese

Preheat oven to 400. In a skillet, cook beef, taco seasoning and onion over
medium heat until beef is browned and onion is tender; drain. Cool
slightly. Flatten half of the biscuits (one tube, which is 8 biscuits); place in an
ungreased 15x10 pan. Spoon 1/4 cup meat mixture onto each; top with 1 slice of cheese. Flatten the remaining biscuits; place on top and pinch
edges to seal tightly. (I don't normally bother with the pinching.) Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Important News Here

Oh my, I forgot to blog yesterday. And it was a big news day, too.

The biggest news was that John was diagnosed with diabetes. They seem to have caught it very early; in fact, the doctor said that some might call it "pre-diabetes." He said it didn't matter which you called it, because the treatment was the same. He's going to have to take some classes to learn about diet, etc, and he has an oral medication to take. Plus, he has to start exercising regularly. He's taking the news well, but of course it's a bit troubling, especially when you don't really know the ropes yet.

It's been deadly hot. Even now, after 6 pm, it's still 97 degrees!

We've had a couple of different roofing companies come out and give us estimates. The estimates vary widely (and of course we're only talking to well-established companies). It's going to be expensive, no matter what. But we have no choice. Our roof won't last another winter.

The roofers that have looked the job over have told us that we win the world record for hornets and yellow-jackets on/in a single roof. Not a record we like holding!

Today John decided he'd better go ahead and replace the attic fan. That was not a fun job in this heat. He went up with the fan and his trusty electric screwdriver/drill thingie, and was reaching around to start unscrewing the mounting for the old fan when he found himself inches from not one, not two, but three yellow-jacket nests, each with mobs of irritable winged stingers crawling and buzzing around them. Now, for those of you who don't know, John has had a deadly terror of stinging insects since being chased and stung all over as a young boy. (On that wonderful occasion, he got to hear the doctor tell his mother, "Well, if he's not dead in ten minutes, he'll be all right!" That sort of experience tends to make an impression.) Also, for those of you who don't know, John is claustrophobic. So having today's scary experience in an attic was just doubly fun. But he made his way down to where we keep the wasp spray and took it back up to the attic with him. He emptied what was left of that can, and found himself needing more. So he came back down and drove over to the store to buy some. After killing a bunch more nasties, he got ready to start his job again, only to see one of the creatures perched right near a hot light bulb. He knew he couldn't spray the bug without hitting the bulb, and he knew that might make the bulb explode. But since he feels the way he feels about bugs, he decided he didn't care if the whole house blew up, so he sprayed it. The bug died. The bulb didn't. Neither did we. Things were good.

He ventured to go the rest of the way up the ladder into the attic at that point, but then heard a loud buzzing and felt something ominous on his hip. He tells us that he screamed his head off. We didn't hear anything, but there were competing sounds in the house, and we weren't on the second floor. Anyway, it was a blessing that he didn't fall off the ladder in his terror. Especially since it wasn't a bug buzzing on his hip...just his phone.

Today I took advantage of a really great clearance sale at Sears. I almost never get new clothes for myself, but I got myself a Lands' End linen tunic blouse and two skirts (of some other brand), plus a pair of Lands' End sandals for Andrew and brilliant green Lands' End flip-flops for Phillip (all marked WAY down, even lower than what's in the sale catalog. I don't know about you, but I don't buy Lands' End at full price!). John's company had given him a Sears gift certificate as a token of appreciation, and it went to good use.

Nothing else of interest today, unless you're fascinated by grocery shopping. Anybody want to admit to that?

Yesterday John grilled burgers for our dinner, and tonight I just threw together some easy stuff because grocery shopping kept me out too late to cook. No recipes today, sorry!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Writer's Dream

Nothing like being handed a topic that's way too easy to write about! This weeks' FaithWriters contest topic was just announced this morning. It's "Telephones." If you know anything about my family, you know the only problem with that topic has been keeping it down to 750 words!

John is going for a blood test tomorrow. He had a physical recently, and his bloodwork showed elevated sugar and triglycerides. So he's going for a follow up. He has to fast as of 8:00 tonight, so he's rushing to make the chocolate chip cookies as fast as he can...

Tonight's dinner was Balsamic Chicken with Thyme. I'll include the regular recipe, but since I made it quite differently tonight, I'll include that, too. (For side dishes we just had plain old peas and applesauce.)

Balsamic Chicken with Thyme

3/8 cup flour
1-1/8 teaspoon salt
1-1/8 teaspoon pepper
6 halves chicken breast (boneless)(I use 12 of the little tenderloins instead)
3 tablespoon olive oil
1 large red onion
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3/4 teaspoon thyme

Mix flour and only 3/4 tsp EACH of salt and pepper on a plate. Add chicken;
turn to coat. Shake off excess. In a large heavy skillet, heat oil over
medium heat. Add chicken and cook, turning once, 10 minutes or until
browned and cooked through. Remove to a plate; cover to keep warm. Halve
onion lengthwise and slice. Add onion to skillet and saute 1-2 minutes
until lightly browned. Add broth, vinegar, thyme and remaining salt and
pepper. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring often, 7 minutes or until onions
are soft and sauce is syrupy. Place chicken on serving plates and spoon on
onions and sauce.

That's delicious as-is, but here's the slightly easier variation that I used tonight:

12 Chicken breast tenderloins
1 large red onion, finely chopped
3-1/3 cup chicken broth
6 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon thyme
1-1/2 cups Long-grain rice

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 25 or 30 minutes, until liquid is absorbed and chicken is fully cooked.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Andrew got a little tongue-tied this evening and said to me, "I wonder how thumbsy we would be if we had only clums." Now there's something to think about.

Well, I know you'll all be utterly fascinated to hear that today was a heavy laundry day. I could go into all of the intricate details of sorting, stain treatment, and folding, but I'm not willing to run the risk of over-exciting anyone.

The monkey has been rescued from the tree! John threw a rake at it until it came down. I guess if I was up in a tree and someone kept throwing a rake at me, I'd come down too! We should be glad that it was only about 10 or 12 feet up in the tree. It's a ginormous evergreen, so it could have been a whole lot worse. Actually, I have a photo of it from a couple of winters ago...let's see if I can find it. Yep, here it is:

The snow's piled up so deep around the base of the tree that it's hard to appreciate its actual height. Oh well.

A miscommunication led to a bit of a scare today. Mary (My sister) comes over every Wednesday night after work to watch our boys so we can go to Small Group (a church-related get-together). Well, as some of you know, Mary's health has not been at all good lately, so I mentioned to her that I thought perhaps she shouldn't come over tonight. She gave a response that I thought was a tactful way of saying that I was worrying too much, and I came away from the conversation thinking she was still coming over.

She came away from the conversation thinking we both understood that she was NOT coming over.

John and I waited for her to arrive, and when it became clear she was late, we started calling her cell phone. No answer. We kept trying for close to 45 minutes, and all the while I was growing more and more concerned because of the way her health has been. I eventually called a couple of local hospitals just to be on the safe side, but she wasn't there. I was actually on the phone with our Small Group hostess, asking her to pray, when my cell phone rang. It was Mary. "You called me?" she asked. She had turned her phone off and had no idea that we were expecting her or would be concerned.


Speaking of "Phew," John took the liner out of the special boot that Nathanael has been wearing. Oh my! "Phew" doesn't come close. It's soaking in the sink with Palmolive right now. See, I told you today was exciting!

For some strange reason I was really stressed out for much of the day. I felt like a stress bomb had exploded over my head, and the fallout just kept raining down on me for hours and hours. That was before the whole thing happened with Mary. Actually, I got a lot calmer during and after that.

The kids and I watched the first half of "Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel" tonight. It got too late to finish it, so we'll have to finish it tomorrow. Something to look forward to!

Dinner tonight was a last-minute thrown-together thing. Boxed macaroni and cheese, leftover diced turkey ham, and diced mixed vegetables, all mixed up together. It was a hit, and that's what counts.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Not the Most Productive Tuesday

Neither John nor I are feeling particularly well today. I felt tired and buzzy-headed enough to decide what I needed to do was stretch out on the couch and watch "Anne of Green Gables." That definitely improved my outlook on life. John is having some stomach troubles.

Actually the morning was quite nice, before the "yuckies" hit. We had our final installment of our Beth Moore Bible study at church, followed by a lasagna luncheon. I brought my Creamy Pea Salad, of course.

Phillip did some amazing things today. While John was at work, Phillip took it on himself to finish a job that John had started. John has been moving his "office" from our bedroom to the basement, and he ended last night with his upstairs desk only partially moved and re-assembled downstairs. Phillip decided on his own to go get the remaining parts from upstairs, bring them to the basement, and assemble them (including putting in the screws with an electric screwdriver). He even hooked up some electronics. We were very impressed and pleased.

The kids are all still happy with their new sleeping arrangements. For those who don't know, since Nathanael has a broken foot, we of course don't want him to have to climb up and down the ladder to his top bunk. So he has moved out of his bedroom into Andrew's room, and Andrew has moved into the other room with Phillip and has taken over the top bunk. It may turn out to be a permanent arrangement, which makes sense to me.

No further attempts have been made to rescue the monkey. Stay tuned.

I just got a rather remarkable narrative from Andrew. Because of the dangers of nuclear power, Andrew has come up with a unique new method of powering his own aircraft carrier. Nathanael says that it works in the same way as nuclear power runs off of Werther's Caramel candies. Andrew explains: "The Werther's are contained in a canister. They are evaporated, turn into steam, heat up pressurized water that goes through a heat exchanger; that heated water makes the Werther's float to a giant spinning blade, chopping them up into triangular pieces. Enough pieces are put into one thing that it turns into a turbine that spins around and gives the ship the power. Now, the extra steam runs the catapults on the ship. And whenever there's extra steam, a plane on either side of the carrier's flight deck takes off." Oh, to have such an imagination!

Tonight's dinner was Garlic Beef Stroganoff. I'll post the recipe. But wait, there's more! I'll throw in the Creamy Pea Salad recipe as an added bonus if you call right now!

Garlic Beef Stroganoff

2 teaspoon beef bouillon granules
1 cup Water; boiling
1 can cream of mushroom soup; undiluted
2 jar mushroom; drained
1 large onion; chopped
3 clove garlic; minced
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 lb round steak (boneless); cut into thin strips
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
8 oz Cream Cheese; cubed
1 to taste noodles; cooked

In a slow cooker, dissolve bouillon in water. Add soup, mushrooms, onion,
garlic, and Worcestershire. In a skillet, brown beef in oil. Transfer to
the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or until the meat is
tender. Stir in cream cheese until smooth. Serve over noodles.

Creamy Pea Salad

Note: Use triple this amount for potlucks and the like.

16 oz frozen peas; thawed, uncooked
1/4 cup shredded cheddar
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
1 tablespoon instant minced onion; reconstituted
1/2 cup miracle whip (The original recipe called for Mayonnaise)
1 to taste salt
1 to taste pepper
2 strips bacon; cooked and crumbled (actually, I use Bacon Bits, and I mix them in right along with everything else.)

In a bowl, combine the peas, cheeses, onion, miracle whip, salt and pepper;
mix well. Refrigerate until serving. Sprinkle with bacon.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Of Flying Monkeys and Yellow Jacket Nests

Andrew was playing "Keep away" or something like that with our neighbor, and it involved throwing his stuffed monkey around. Our neighbor's tree has some sort of strange magnetism, sort of like Charlie Brown's Kite-Eating Tree, and it pulls that particular child's aim toward it all the time. Now Andrew's monkey is way up in the tree, and naturally it's right next to an active yellow-jacket nest! It's too high to reach without a ladder, too. Ay-yay-yay. I'll let you know how the rescue effort goes.

This morning Phillip told me, "When I grow up, I'm going to have a house with a subway crossing in the basement!" To him, this sounds like a good thing...

Hey, I'm thinking of providing a list of links here to my friends' blogs/websites. If you'd like a link added (and you're someone I know personally), let me know.

Dinner tonight is Au Gratin Taco Bake.

2 lb ground beef
2 package (4.9 oz) au gratin potatoes
2 cans corn; undrained
2 cans stewed tomatoes; undrained
1+1/2 cup milk
1 cup water
2 tablespoon taco seasoning mix
8 oz shredded cheddar

Preheat oven to 350. Brown beef and drain. Stir in the potatoes and sauce
mix, add all remaining ingredients except cheddar. Transfer to a GREASED
10x15 pan. Cover and bake for 65-70 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
Sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered, 5 minutes longer or until cheese
is melted.

Good night, everyone!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A very pleasant Sunday

We've had a pretty nice Sunday overall, despite the usual bumps in the road that come with having three boys. Three very unique boys. Anyway, church was quite good. Our pastor is doing a series called "Majoring on the Minors," and it's a survey of the Minor Prophets. Today we looked at Habakkuk. Pastor Rick is an excellent preacher, so of course the sermon was good. Phillip actually sat through adult church with us, which was a first.

After church they had "Pizza with the Pastors." After a pizza lunch they brought us all inside to talk a bit about the church and answer any questions we might have. I liked what I heard. Afterwards I asked the pastor's wife if we might have them over after church sometime for dinner, and she said she'd love that. She's going to get back with me about scheduling it. I look forward to the chance to get better acquainted.

John gave all three boys "buzz cuts" today. It's the first time he's done that, and he did fine. At the cost of haircuts these days, his efforts saved us a bundle.

This weekend has been much cooler. Not cool, mind you, but after several days at 100 degrees, merely being in the 80's was quite a relief.

I guess that's all for now.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

First Post

This is an experiment to see how I like using blogging to keep in touch.

What's new lately?

A couple of days ago we decided to take Nathanael to a podiatrist, because he had been complaining off and on of a sore foot for a while. Turns out he has a stress fracture in that foot! We have no idea how it happened, but he has to wear a special boot for the next month.

Today's excitement began when we smelled a very alarming hot smell in the house. We searched high and low for the better part of an hour, and finally John discovered that there was a fan in the boys' room that was turned on "High," but the blades weren't turning! Needless to say it was getting very hot, and we're grateful he found it before a fire broke out!

Our family is currently attending Discovery Fellowship Church. We are very pleased with the solid Biblical teaching and are strongly considering joining.

Dinner tonight is Cheesy Ham Chowder and Ginger Ale Bread. Recipes below!

Cheesy Ham Chowder

10 strips bacon; diced (I use Bacon Bits to taste and skip the bacon-cooking step, substituting butter for the bacon drippings.)
1 large onion; chopped
1 cup carrot; diced
3 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3 cup milk
1-1/2 cup Water
2-1/2 cup potato; cubed
1 can (15 oz) corn; drained
2 teaspoon chicken bouillon
1 to taste pepper
12 oz cheddar cheese
2 cup ham; cooked, diced (I use Turkey Ham)

In a large soup kettle, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp.
Remove to paper towels to drain. In the drippings,saute onion and carrots
until tender. Stir in flour until blended. Gradually add milk and water.
Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.* Add the
potatoes, corn, bouillon and pepper. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for
20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Add cheese and ham; heat until
cheese is melted. Stir in bacon. *(I usually transfer this to the crock pot after doing the "cook and stir for 2 minutes" step. I add everything else but the cheese at that point, and put the cheese in during the last half-hour.)

Ginger Ale Bread

3 cup bread flour
3 tablespoon sugar
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup ginger ale; warm
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
2-1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast

Place all ingredients in bread machine in order suggested by manufacturer.
Use basic bread setting. Check dough after five minutes of mixing; add
one to 2 tbsp. of water or flour if needed.