February 26, 2013

Cheeseburger Soup

I confess, when I started making this soup for the very first time, I inwardly groaned. Between the veggies and the potatoes I thought surely this meal could only end in tears.

In other words, my kids would be crying that they had to eat yet another "healthy" meal and not the ever coveted frozen chicken nuggets.

Well, I don't actually give them to my kids frozen, I do cook them you know... usually. Yeesh, give me some credit!

But this really was a HUGE hit with everyone! Especially with Jacob. He ate three big bowls of it!

And believe me, he never eats three bowls of anything. I've already made this more than once because he literally begged me to make it again.

And that NEVER happens.


1 pound ground beef
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
3/4 cup shredded carrots
3/4 cup finely diced celery
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
4 tablespoons butter, divided
3 cups chicken broth
4 cups peeled and diced potatoes
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cups cheddar cheese
1 can Campbell's condensed Cheddar Cheese soup
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup sour cream

1.  Brown the ground beef in 3 quart saucepan.  Drain and set aside.
2. In the same saucepan add 1 T butter and add onion, shredded carrots, celery. parsley flakes, and basil.  Saute until tender.
3.  Add the broth, potatoes and beef and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
4.  In small skillet melt remaining butter (3 T) and add the flour.  Cook and stir for 3-5 minutes or until bubbly.  Add to the soup and bring to a boil.  Cook and stir for 2 minutes.  Reduce heat to low.
5. Stir in the cheese, soup, milk, salt and pepper.  Cook and stir until cheese melts.  Remove from heat and blend in sour cream.  
Yield 8 servings

Seriously, try it. It's really good. If you're a vegetarian you could leave out the beef and add more veggies, and use vegetable broth instead of chicken.

It seems to take me roughly 30 minutes to make.

Taste: 5 out of 5 stars
Ease: 4 out of 5 stars
Time: 4.5 out of 5 stars 

Let me know what you think!
Adapted from Taste of Home

February 25, 2013

Fake Naps

Is anyone else feeling jealous right now?

'Cause I totally was.

Until I realized he was just laying there sucking on bread.

No, that is not a typo.

Please don't make me elaborate, it's kind of gross.

Pish... nice try you little fakers!

You will not make me jealous of your fake nap!!

I refuse!

I protest!


*sigh* Too late.

Do you think anyone will notice if I just kind of lay down and...zzzzzzzz.....OOF!

Mommy! Mommy! I'm hungry! And Claira's poopy! Can I have a sandwich? I think Jacob spilled his juice......

February 21, 2013

My New Dynamic Duo

During the first half of the school year, I would get asked quite often how I was enjoying having only two kids at home while the other three were at school.

I'm sure these poor unfortunate souls had no idea what they were unleashing with their seemingly innocent question.

How do I like it? HOW DO I LIKE IT!? It's terrible!! Awful! Alayna and Claira follow me around like wild, ravaging, starving puppy dogs begging, whimpering, crying for my every moment. A girl can't even use the bathroom in peace! Without their older siblings, they are lost! Lost I say! They have no clue what to do with themselves with no older siblings to torture them or to entertain them!

*clearing throat* Said in a most calm and lady like manner of course.

But it's true, at first it was really hard. You could tell these girls did not like having their older siblings gone.

But over the last few months it's been fun seeing these two learn how to play with each other and become friends. While Claira is still the baby to Savannah, Joseph, and Jacob, she is now either Alayna's best friend, or arch nemesis.

They still fight plenty, but they can also play really well. Usually I overhear something along these lines:

Alayna: Okay Claira, I am the princess, and you are my slave. You have to do everything I tell you. Now go get me a drink!


Alayna: Okay Claira, you be the boy princess and I'll be the girl princess and you have to save me from the bad guys. Then you can be my pony too.

Now that's true love.

Besides, I think Alayna is starting to enjoy having a protege'. Someone she can teach all her dirty little tricks to.

I use to think with the boys only being 14 months apart that they were quite the dynamic duo.

But I'm telling you, these girls are giving those boys a run for their money.

Oh dear.....

February 18, 2013

Pink Heart and Chocolate Day

When Hubby handed me roses at the end of Valentine's Day, wrapped all fancy in that clear crinkly plastic stuff with the rubber band around the stems and the price tag still on it from Walmart, Alayna exclaimed, "Oooooh! Daddy gave you floweeeers! He wants to kiss yooooouuuu and marry you mommy!"
She seems to have an uncanny insight into Hubby's motives 10 years ago when we were dating.
Valentine's Day 2003
That's how they trick you into liking them. They hide the Walmart price tags until you've been married longer than a year.

After that they don't bother anymore.

*sigh* Where did all the romance go?

They say in order to have a successful relationship, you need to communicate what you want and need.

Next time I'll be sure to tell Hubby that I "need" him to take the price tag off.

Just to be more romantic.

Anyway, V-Day morning I whipped out the pancake batter and the food dye to make pink pancakes. Somehow, it never gets old for the kids to have pink pancakes.... even if *eh hem* I have only ever done it once before.

But let's pretend for a minute that I'm a cool mom and do it all the time.

So, pink pancakes never get old.

Cute little stinkers.

I even went all out and made heart-shaped peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch.

Oooooh yaaaaa.

And that's how I trick my children into thinking I'm a cool mom.

After the kids got home from school, Savannah said we should go over to daddy's work and fill his truck up with balloons and cover it in paper hearts.

Well I was fresh out of balloons so I did the next best thing I could think of.

 After we finished that, I handed the kids a bunch of stickers and told them to decorate the table.

At first I felt kind of guilty for not getting more stickers for them to use.

But by the end of the day, they had pocked and ripped a bajillion holes into the red plastic tablecloth, so I threw it away that night.

I really didn't feel guilty after that.

Well, I didn't make anything heart shaped for dinner that night, but I did try out a new recipe (tweaked a bit for our family) and the kids LOVED it! Who knew Cheeseburger Soup would be such a hit!

I'll be sure to post the recipe.

So, what did you guys do for V-Day?

February 13, 2013

"I Wish I Was A Glow Worm" Valentines

As I was browsing through my Valentine's Day board on Pinterest and checking out all the cute Valentine ideas and trying to decide which one to do for the kids school classes, it occurred to me that everyone would have seen these ideas and so everyone would be making them!

Wow, that was a world class run-on sentence. Good to know I haven't lost my touch at terrible grammar.

Anyway, not that I mind everyone doing the same pinterest ideas, I was just feeling rebellious all of a sudden and wanted to something original.

Last year we made these:

And that was really fun.

This year I was really digging all the glow stick ideas. But in the name of originality, I made these.

I obviously didn't come up with the little poem, but I've always thought it was fun!

Hubby's reaction: Is that entirely appropriate?

Joseph's reaction: These are AWESOME!

Savannah's reaction: Uh... seriously? What does that have to do with Valentine's Day?

Jacob's reaction: But where's the candy?

Admittedly everyone is fine and even excited about them now, but my ego took a bit of a beating there.

I thought they were super fun and cute!

So, what do you think?

February 11, 2013

February Family Challenge - Say It

I have these memories of my mom going all out on the holidays.

Regardless of whether is was a big holiday like Christmas, or a little one like St.Patrick's Day, it was something special.

The walls would be covered in cute holiday decorations, the table was set up and decorated complete with special paper plates, cups, and napkins. There was usually a special meal and little goodies for everyone.

Valentin's Day 2010

Even last Valentine's Day was saved by my mom after I totally dropped the ball, being the totally awesome parent that I am. Eh hem.....

Good thing I don't have any of it recorded so my kids won't remember me eating all their chocolate.


Anyway, as I was contemplating what this month's "Play With Your Family" challenge should be, especially in light of it being "the month of love", my mind automatically jumped to all the cute family crafts or treats that could be made together.

Valentine's Day 2012

Then something completely different came to mind.

Every once in a while my parents would put a chair in the middle of the living room and one by one we would all take turns sitting in it. While you were in the hot seat, everyone else would say something they liked about that person. It couldn't be a physical feature (like eyes or hair) it had to be a character trait. It ended with us having to say something about ourselves that we liked.

I believe the idea was for us to notice the good in each other, to make our family bond stronger, while building self esteem in ourselves.

Because let's face it, the world today can be brutal when it comes to how we see ourselves.

And you know what I'm talking about. There isn't a single of one us that isn't beating ourselves up over something we don't like. And you know it's true, we are far more comfortable focusing on our weaknesses than our strengths.

Valentine's Day 2010


Share one thing about each member of your family that you like, including YOURSELF.

  • You can do it in a family setting like I described earlier, a perfect Family Home Evening activity.

  • If you have younger kids, write it down in a journal.

  • If you have kids who don't live at home anymore, send them a letter.

  • If it's just you and your husband, tell him, then look in the mirror and tell yourself.

Remember, it can not be a physical trait, but a character/personality one.

So, in this ever cheesy "month of love" don't forget celebrate the good things about yourself and those in your family.

Share your experience or any family Valentine's traditions by:
  • Commenting on this post.
  • Linking up below.
  • Sharing on my Facebook page.

We're always looking for fun ideas.

Brought to you by:
The Family Network

February 8, 2013

Up and Out

I don't normally think, "I can't wait for this week to be over!" Because that's just silly! I mean, the end of one week only means the beginning of another, and if you're always wishing the week would be over, it would seem like you're wishing away your life.

Whoa, that came out WAY more philosophical than I had intended.

But today, I am quite happy that this week is almost over.

While Hubby was off traversing all over London and Germany this past week, we were dealing with RSV drama here at home.

Well, he did have to deal with a cold during it all, so I guess I can forgive him.

If he cleans all the bathrooms.

And rubs my feet.

Anyway, one sick kid led to two, which led to three, which led to four, which led to a sick mom. By then we were back to three sick kids, which gratefully went back down to two.

But not before a trip to the 24-hour redicare confirmed my two youngest had RSV. So we've been going through home remedies for their coughs like crazy since you can't treat the viral infection with antibiotics.

It seems kind of silly that the two kids who got sick the worst, were the two who never go anywhere! Figures. But I've been cleaning and washing everything in sight with disinfectant.

And I mean everything! Pillows, mattresses, light switches doorknobs, couches, floors, the works.

Anyway, today I'm feeling about back to normal myself and the girls are finally coming up and out of this thing.

Good thing too. It's hard enough to get Alayna to let me brush out her always and ever tangled hair, but being sick didn't really help any.

She turned into a rabid cat the one time I tried.

Some things are just are not worth losing a finger over.

February 4, 2013

There should seriously be a law against moms getting sick.

Ear infection.

Sore throat.

Aches and chills.

A few sick kids.

Hubby out of town.



As I sat in the corner last night sucking my thumb, Savannah came up to me wondering what we were going to do for dinner. After a quick think through, I told her there were hot dogs in the fridge. It was the best I could do at the moment.

She was so good. She got out the dogs, one for everybody, heated them up, placed them on six different plates, asked who wanted buns, (which is really just regular bread) and gave them all the ketchup and mustard they wanted.

She even put mine on a "bun" and put the ketchup on it in a very special way. She handed me the plate and said, "Look mom! It's a butterfly! Just like you make for us!" 

After the kids were done eating, Savannah cleaned up all the plates, turned to me and said, "Whew! That was a lot a work!" Haha!

Sometimes I can't help but think that when the going gets tough, my kids true colors really shine. I have such good kids.

People use to tell me that they are a lot of help when they get older, and that things are less intense. I didn't think it would ever happen or that we'd ever reach that point, but it's true! Kids really do grow up!!

Eeesh... I'm not ready for them to grow up or anything, but I must admit, during times like this the extra help is so very nice.

The scary thing is, I'm really getting up there in age!

Now, I don't obsess over age or wrinkles or anything. I may only wash the makeup off my face at night a few handfuls of times... a month... eh hem. And I actually really like "smile lines" on people!

But when I was looking at these pictures, I confess I really did a double-take.

Little miss Claira loves to go through the tupperware and find a cute hat to wear. Then she'll pick one out for me so we can be stylish together.

She's thoughtful like that.

I know, she's adorable.

But then I looked at this one and may or may not have gasped... just a little.

Holy wrinkly wrinkles Batman!

I turn 30 this year.

It's funny how you feel so cool and grown up when you turn 20. But people tend to freak out when they turn 30.

I'm not freaking out, just... wow. Look at those wrinkles!

Okay, now that you've all shared my moment of crisis, I'm going to go drown my sicky pain in more Ibuprofen and try not to think evil thoughts about my husband for being in London.
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