Friday, February 19, 2010

I'm Hooked

I have Olympic fever. I've really been enjoying the Olympics this year and maybe even more so because my oldest asks lots of questions. It's really fun to see him get excited too!

And I am a bucket of tears ever time I hear the National Anthem and see our athletes on the podium. Such pride I have. ;) And also, when they have the montages of the day - a recap of all the highs and lows of the day - yeah, I cry through that too. It's been a lot of fun and I'm glad there's another week left.

Back to the couch with my family to watch some more winter sports!!

A few questions that maybe someone out there can answer:
1. Why is orange the color of the Dutch?
2. Why do our athlete's not cover their hearts when the National Anthem is being played?

That's all for now. ;)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Our Snow Statstics...So Far

We had another round of snow. It snowed off and on from Friday through Tuesday morning. This time we totaled at 10 inches. Which makes our grand total for this winter 52 inches. That's right, people, 4 feet 4 inches of snow!! (Our average is 18.9 inches.)

The record was set the winter of 1911-1912 with 72 inches. Someone got really excited when I told them that and said, "We can SO beat that!" I don't really want another 20 inches of snow so we can beat that record. I guess there'd at least be some sort of victory in that.

There are so many great verses about snow in the Bible. Here are a few of my favorites:

Psalm 51:7
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

Isaiah 1:18
"Come now, let us reason together,"
says the LORD.
"Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson, "

Another great passage, actually it's one of my favorites, is Job 38. God is reprimanding Job and God even uses some sarcasm in this passage. It's great!! God speaks of His power. How He controls the earth and what happens to it. How He has storehouses of snow and hail (vs. 22). It's a great passage about God's power and His sovereignty.

And Psalm 148 is just a great Psalm about all the earth, the heavens, the animals and the people praising God. Beautiful!!

Psalm 148
Praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD from the heavens,
praise him in the heights above.

Praise him, all his angels,
praise him, all his heavenly hosts.

Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars.

Praise him, you highest heavens
and you waters above the skies.

Let them praise the name of the LORD,
for he commanded and they were created.

He set them in place for ever and ever;
he gave a decree that will never pass away.

Praise the LORD from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,

lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
stormy winds that do his bidding,

you mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars,

wild animals and all cattle,
small creatures and flying birds,

kings of the earth and all nations,
you princes and all rulers on earth,

young men and maidens,
old men and children.

Let them praise the name of the LORD,
for his name alone is exalted;
his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.

He has raised up for his people a horn, b]">[b]
the praise of all his saints,
of Israel, the people close to his heart.
Praise the LORD.

Hope you're enjoying the weather wherever you are!!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Pumpkin Bars

Remember that pumpkin shortage we were supposed to have before Thanksgiving...well, I still have 8 cans of pumpkin in my pantry because I stocked up...just in case. We had no pumpkin shortage in Iowa, although I know some people in Colorado had problems finding pumpkin around Thanksgiving. But not here, hence the newest pumpkin recipe.

Pumpkin Bars

4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups flour

8 oz cream cheese
1 stick margarine, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp milk
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • Mix ingredients in a mixer on medium and pour into a greased jelly-roll pan. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.
  • Mix frosting together and frost bars when completely cooled.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Freezer Chicken Pot Pies

During my month of Kissing the TV Goodbye I wrote about how I made 12 chicken pot pies for the freezer and I thought I would share the recipe. They do require a little work, but are so worth it in the end. They are delicious, the meat is fresh and unprocessed, I know how much sodium is in them, and I can eat the gravy. Yumm-O!

Freezer Chicken Pot Pies
from: Cooks Country February/March 2007
printed with permission

1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
2 tbsp vegetable oil
5 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped fine
3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 celery rib, chopped fine
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup milk
2 tsp minced fresh thyme (I used 1/8 tsp dried thyme and 1 tsp dried parsley)
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 (15-oz) boxes Pillsbury Ready to Roll Pie Crust (is the recommended brand of Cook's Country)
1 large egg, beaten, plus 1 large egg, beaten for baking
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
6 (2-cup) disposable aluminum loaf pans
  1. To make ahead: Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tbsp oil in large Dutch oven over high heat until just smoking. Cook chicken until well browned, about 2 1/2 minutes per side. Add broth and bring to boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until chicken is cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer chicken to large plate and strain broth into bowl.
  2. Melt butter with remaining 1 tbsp oil in now empty Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook onion, carrots, celery, and 1/4 tsp salt until lightly browned and softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, add flour, and cook 1 minute. Whisk in reserved broth, milk, and thyme and simmer until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, using 2 forks, shred chicken into bite-sized pieces. Off heat, add chicken and lemon juice to sauce and season with salt and pepper. Transfer filling to medium blow and cool until just warm. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, about 1 hour.
  4. Unwrap and unroll pie crusts onto lightly floured counter. Glue 2 crusts together using 1 beaten egg. Repeat with remaining 2 crusts. Using loaf pan as a stencil, cut out 6 pastry toppings. Stir frozen peas into cold filling and divide mixture among the 6 disposable loaf pans. Top with pastry and use fork to seal edges. using paring knife, make 3 steam vents in each crust. Tightly wrap each loaf pan in 2 layers of plastic wrap and 1 layer of aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 2 months.
  5. When ready to serve: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Unwrap frozen pot pies and arrange on rimmed baking sheet. Brush crusts with egg, cover with foil, and bake 40 minutes. Uncover and bake until crusts are golden brown, about 35 minutes. Let pot pies rest 10 minutes before serving.

My Tips:
  • don't oversalt - taste as you go
  • I usually don't cook my veggies very long in step #2, that way they stay a little more firm after the pot pie is baked
  • write the "date to be eaten by" on the aluminum foil
  • reuse the foil to bake them
  • use an address label with the information in step #5 and put on each pot pie in the freezer, that way you don't have to look up the instructions every time you want to make one (or if you give them away the baking info is right there)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Kissing the TV Goodbye **Finale

It is officially February 1st and our month without TV is over!

I have to admit that I am really relieved. I don't think we'll be watching as much TV as we used to but it is nice to have it back as an option, at least for movies. And I did really well. I watched the weather channel during the first week when my husband was out of town and we were have a snow storm, but other than that (and our one movie a week, which we didn't always watch) I did pretty well!! My husband on the other hand, but I've already mentioned his moments of weakness. He did pretty well too. And my boys, were excellent. There were days when they just wanted to watch a movie. About half-way through the month we rented Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and watched it as a family. It was kind of nice having a movie night as something special.

This morning both of my boys are watching The Incredibles. They are both sick - coughing, snotty nose, general malaise - so they are glad to be chilling in the living room with their blankets and other lovies.

Here are some things I used to keep the boys busy:
  • Adventures in Odyssey CDs
  • Arthur CDs
  • books on CD - Imogene's Antlers, Toy Story 2, Cowboy Ned and Andy, and many many more
  • PBS Kids computer games (with supervision)
  • crafts
  • "special" toys - toys we only take out once a month (box of bugs, magnet puzzles, Leap Frog books/computer, Play-Doh
  • reading books - the library was a staple for us this month!
  • coloring & painting
  • helping mom cook

We had a lot of fun, but I am glad to have the option of movies back, especially today when they're not feeling well.

I finished another book, Through the Heart by Kate Morgenroth, and listened to a few more books on CD: The Manny Files by Christian Burch (a book for 7-10 year-olds; subtly suggests that The Manny is a homosexual throughout the book and in the end there is a kiss, kids may not understand but it's still wise to protect their hearts and minds), The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards, and No Talking by Andrew Clements (one of my husband's favorite children's authors). I also finished up my cleaning calendar (still waiting for my husband to print it), switched furniture around from room to room all throughout our house (I just needed some change), and spent more time with my boys at bedtime. I really cherish that time before bed now. When they're all cozy in bed, their prayers are said, they're songs are sung and they just talk. It's so sweet!

Also, it was really hard! Some evenings I was tired and didn't want to think. I wanted to veg out in front of the TV where I really didn't have to use my brain too much. I could read a magazine while watching TV, pay bills while watching TV, check my email while watching TV - but I found that I was unable to do so many things while listening to books on CD. I could only do things that didn't require a lot of thinking - painting my toenails, rip seams out of my projects that weren't going well, cutting out crafts for homeschooling, washing dishes, picking up the living room, sewing. Otherwise I'd get distracted and have to go back and listen to the same chapter over and over. ;) And most of the time I was dozing in the recliner by 7:30p. ;)

If Next time we do this challenge we will have to do it in the summer. When it's not -10 degrees, and we don't have a snow storm once a week; when we can play outside, go swimming, and go on walks. That would be a better time of year to put the TV away for the month.

Thanks for bearing with me through this month!! Will you be giving it a try?