It's a Souptacular and Crockpotalooza

In case you haven't heard...Sophie over at Boo Mama is hosting a Souptacular/Crockpotalooza today! I may or may not have mentioned one or fifteen times that I am always looking for yummy recipes. I am going to rerun the recipes that I offered up for a Souptacular Works for me Wednesday back in January for those that missed it! I'll be over at Boo Mama's if you need me! Stop by and check out some fabulous recipes!

Country Cheddar Soup

2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 C. chopped carrot
1/2 C. chopped onion
1/2 C. chopped celery
5 Tbsp. flour
4 C. chicken broth
3 C. shredded cheddar cheese
12 oz. can of evaporated milk
Freshly ground pepper

In large saucepan melt butter. Add carrot, onion and celery. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until the veggies are tender. Sprinkle the veggies with flour, adding it 1 Tbsp. at a time, stirring until the flour is blended in. Add chicken broth to the saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat, add the shredded cheese, stirring with a large whisk until the cheeses is melted. Slowly add evaporated milk, stirring until the mixture is well blended and heated through. Add freshly ground pepper to taste. I also garnish with crumbled bacon--cause I can! :) Makes 6-8 servings.

Creamy Potato Soup

This is a soup recipe that I grew up with. One of my favorites...
Peeled, sliced potatoes (I usually figure 1 large potato per person that I am serving)
1/2 C. diced onion
1/2 C. diced carrot

1/2 C. diced celery

1/2 tsp. salt

Cook potatoes in just enough water to cover. Once potatoes have cooked, do not drain--add 1 can of cream of chicken soup. Stir to combine and cook on medium-heat until heated through. Serve. I garnish with crumbled bacon, shredded cheddar cheese and fresh ground black pepper. You could also garnish with sour cream and chive or green onions. (I have on occasion frozen the left overs and then reheated them in the crock pot later and it worked very well.)


Ahem, Is This Thing On?

Hey all. Remember me? I'm Maria. I used to blog around here. It has been a crazy last 10 days. I've got a lot of catching up to do. Here's what's been going around here:

My mom came up last Thursday night. Friday morning she and I left for St. Paul to attend Women of Faith. I've lost track how many of these weekends I've been to, maybe 8 or 10? Always fantastic! Loved the time with my mom and few girlfriends!

DH did his first solo over night with the kiddos. Everyone did pretty well--even my Little Man, who happens to be quite the mama's boy. I was nervous for all of them. Mostly because I know how miserable it can be listen to a screaming baby for hours on end. But thankfully (Praise God) my concerns were unwarranted. Thanks, DH for making it possible for me to be gone!

Tuesday evening, the women's organization at our church hosted the Fall Gathering for our conference. Which probably means nothing to you. Basically, we were responsible for helping plan an evening for 150 women, including dinner, leadership training and worship. I am currently serving as President of our local unit and many of the details fell to me. And those details consumed much of my time over the last couple of weeks. It was a great evening and I am SO GLAD that it is over. SO GLAD. Again, my DH came to the rescue and ran the projection at church for the worship service. I don't know what I do without him!

My house is reflective of my time being spent ironing out details for that event and being gone to Women of Faith. There is a tour of homes going on today over at one of my favorite sites. I would love to participate, but good grief the amount of work that needs to be done prior to taking pictures is overwhelming. We'll see...but if you love to look at homes, you really should head over and see Julia. I could spend hours on her site. Oh, wait. I do spend hours on her site. Maybe that is contributing to the condition of my house?

We are going to be doing some work in our back entry. It is in desperate need of attention and has been on "The List" since we moved in six years ago. But you know how that goes, always something else going on! Last night, DH pulled trim off a couple of the windows to measure for replacements. So, the wheels are now in motion and I am going to be battling with my tendency to make the project bigger than originally planned. Any one with me?

DH is in the process of changing jobs. He put in his notice this week and has begun the transition process. Please keep him in your prayers as he makes this move.

Have a fantastic weekend! I've missed you all. Maybe I'll be back later with pictures. Speaking of, I still owe you all pictures from A Maze N Farmyard a couple of weeks ago!


Nursery Rhymes Princess Pigtails Style

As I was cleaning up the kitchen after lunch today, I could hear Princess Pigtails in the hallway "reading" to her stuffed animals:
"Mary, Mary quite contrary how does your garden grow?
With silver bells and TACO shells and pretty maids all in a row."


Weekend Misc and Hubs

Happy Saturday! What a beautiful morning.
  • While my kids didn't necessarily sleep in, they slept until a reasonable hour. (I'm wondering when 6a became a reasonable hour. I am so OLD.)
  • We baked the other pan of cinnamon rolls that I had in the fridge.
  • We are heading to Amaze N Farmyard today. They are having their Fall Festival--pumpkin patch, petting zoo, etc. We've never been and I am so excited to see Princess Pigtail's reaction. Stay tuned for pictures.
  • Tomorrow evening is Marriage Care at church. I've got to figure out what to make for the potluck. Any suggestions?
  • Jill posted this on Friday. I thought that it looked kind of fun and since I am at loss, I thought that I would play along. I will leave you with this...
Here's a little bit about my DH (Love you, Honey!):

1. He's sitting in front of the TV, what is on the screen? Well, he's a little of a TV addict, his TiVo list includes: The Unit, Chuck, Tougher in Alaska, and Good Eats. So, it's probably one of those unless he has gotten suckered by Princess Pigtails, then it is most likely Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. He also could be good with constant streaming of the History channel.

2. You're out to eat; what kind of dressing does he get on his salad? Bleu Cheese

3. What's one food he doesn't like? Tomatoes--although he tries to eat one slice per summer(when they are the BEST) just to check if he still dislikes them! He is also not a fan of the green pepper.

4. You go out. What does he order to drink? Depends. Either an Arnie Palmer, Dr. Pepper no ice or a beer (usually Blue Moon or a Bud Light).

5. Where did he go to high school? Champaign Centennial and Marshalltown.

6. What size shoe does he wear? 10 1/2.

7. If he was to collect anything, what would it be? Guns and power tools.

8. What is his favorite type of sandwich? A great Ruben or cheeseburger.

9. What would he eat every day if he could? Pizza or burgers.

10. What is his favorite cereal? Coco Pebbles or Peanut Butter Crunch.

11. What would he never wear? Anything with the University of Iowa Hawkeyes logo.

12. What is his favorite sports team? The Iowa State Cyclones.

13. Who will he vote for? He can share in the comments if he wants you to know.

14. Who is his best friend? Me. :) hehehe I suppose this is referring to "guy" friends. Hmm. I can say when he has a good joke to share he will usually call: Scott, Aaron (his brother) and Bill.

15. What is something you do that he wishes you wouldn't do? Spend time perusing real estate listings and then randomly emailing him the listing "just because".

16. How many states has he lived in? 4--Nebraska, Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota

17. What is his heritage? German

18. You bake him a cake for his birthday; what would it be? He would like German Chocolate or Red Velvet.

19. Did he play sports in high school? Yep. Soccer, football and wrestling.

20. What could he spend hours doing? Looking at/playing with/talking about guns or watching TV.

21. Does he belong to any men's organizations? He was a Theta Xi at ISU.


What I am Learning From Evie

My Bible study group has just started Liz Curtis Higg's Bad Girls of the Bible. We met this week to discuss the first chapter, a lesson on Eve or "Evie" as the author refers to her. What a chapter. I think that each of us had mistakenly assumed that having heard the story of The Fall hundreds of times since childhood, that we were pretty familiar with the story. And while that is probably true, I can tell you that in all my life I have never thought on Eve as much as I have in the last week. It was a fresh Word.

I do not want to turn this into a political or "dire economic situation" post. I do want to share that as I have mulled this over in my brain this week, God has actually been using this week's lesson to speak to me about our Nation's current "mess". The economy. The election time mudslinging. The fraud and lack of integrity in nearly every news story. It keeps bringing me back to God's Word and The Garden. The serpent was there with two promises: "your eyes will be opened" Gen. 3:5 and "you will be like God" Gen. 3:5.

To be like God and know it all. I shudder to think of the times even this week that I have tried to "be like God". I have allowed myself to be deceived. I have blamed others for the sin that I have committed (it's not my fault, I was the victim). There have been hundreds of times that I have allowed myself to become distracted and focused on something (or someone) other than God. This world is full of beautiful, shiny objects that clamor for my attention, my money, my thoughts. The longer that I look, the more my focus shifts. The more I want, desire, yearn. And Satan sits back and breathes a sigh of relief and chuckles.

I am drawn back to Liz Curtis Higg's words:
"The tree that had been in the middle of everything yet obediently avoided--for how long we don't know--suddenly, that tree was it. The all-consuming, gotta-have-it thing. Like a child of Christmas past who put only one item on her wish list--Cabbage Patch Doll, Tickle-Me-Elmo, Beanie Baby--Eve had a fixation about that tree.
She stopped looking to God for the truth....
She stopped looking at the good, wholesome fruit already available to her."
Liz Curtis Higgs, Bad Girls of the Bible, pg. 30.

"She stopped looking to God for the truth." Friends, we can not let the events of the world distract us. Satan is having an absolute hay day right now. We have found ourselves consumed by the "gotta have it" mentality--knowledge, control, objects or what we "can't have" because of the value of the "market". Many are paralyzed, looking to the network news for the truth rather than God. We are not enjoying all that we currently have been given, all that is currently available. We are not focused on God and his goodness. We expect fellow humans to be our "saviors".

At the end of each chapter of my Bible study book is a section of personal application--a "what can we learn from_____". Here are three of the lessons that Ms. Curtis Higg's points out that we can learn from Eve:
(Excerpts from pgs. 39 & 40)
  • Don't get into a debate with Satan. "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. " James 4:7
  • Know God's Word so you won't be fooled. "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." Psalm 119:11
  • Let's avoid the blame game. "Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God-through Jesus Christ our Lord!" Romans 7:24-2
It is easy to get discouraged, to be fearful and hopeless. Every where you turn, the flow of information is slapping us in the face. I can easily be counted as one of those at times. Our God is still on the throne! I have been reminded multiple times this week that He is bigger than ANY mess that I have made. I have been consciously trying to focus on God and get into his Word deliberately. I have found it hard with kids to be consistent. I have been examining my thoughts and actions and confessing more--trying to avoid the "blame game". I have been trying to enjoy what I have and not be distracted by those things that I don't. It is hard but I am praying for strength to press on.


Works For Me Wednesday-Stain Removal

It's another Works For Me Wednesday. To be perfectly honest, I almost posted a "Works For Me Friday" last week because I was so excited to share my new tip for stain removal. I know I am a sad and pitiful woman!
This summer, we had the pleasure of being the recipients of some very delicious and very, very cute "baby" peaches from my grandfather's farm. "Baby" because they were quite possibly the tiniest peaches I have ever seen--think Clementine size. Anywhoo, I am getting off track. So, Princess Pigtails thought they were the best ever--one because Grandpa Great had grown them and two because they were "just her size". She ate nearly every one of them herself. Enter the problem. Peach juice on more shirts and jammy shirt than I care to admit. Not a little juice, mind you. Lots of juice, which equals lots of stains. I tried everything, pre-treating, bleach water, soaking in OxiClean. No luck.
Last week, my mom told me to try soaking the shirts in dissolved dishwasher crystals. No kidding. About a tablespoon or so of the dishwasher soap in some warm water and soak the shirts at least overnight--I left them about 36 hours. The stains are gone in their entirety. Which is amazing, because the one pajama shirt, for sure, had been treated, washed and dried probably half a dozen or more times since the initial staining! Lame thing to get excited about, but I just could not believe it! I'm excited to tackle a few of those baby food stained bibs and shirt!

For more Works for Me Wednesday tips head on over and see Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer. If you need me, I'll be in the laundry room...


Things I Love Thursday-The Pumpkin Dessert

Fall is upon us. It sounds so profound, right? Like I'm going to dispense some serious wisdom. Ah, but my faithful readers, all two of you, you know me better than to expect that! I will however share a new recipe with you. It's easy and the perfect dessert for fall. I would highly recommend it with a cup of coffee--which may or may not end up being my breakfast this morning.

The Pumpkin Dessert
Beat 6 eggs and add 1 1/2 cups sugar
Stir in 3 cups of pumpkin (basically 2 12 oz. cans of solid pack pumpkin)
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (I just use my own mix of cinnamon, nutmeg and ground cloves)
1 12 oz can of evaporated milk
Mix well and pour into an ungreased 9 x 13 baking dish

In a separate bowl, cut 1 stick of butter into 1 Jiffy yellow cake mix to make a crumb mixture. Sprinkle over pumpkin in dish. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Allow to cool and serve with whipped cream.

There you have it. It might be a stretch to say I LOVE it, but it is something that I really enjoy! Take a moment and cruise over to Diaper Diaries and check out more things that you couldn't or shouldn't live with out!

Works for Me Wednesday--Kitchen Organization

It's a themed Works for Me Wednesday over at Rocks In My Dryer. This week, the theme is Kitchen Organization. Yikes. If only you could see my kitchen, you would wonder why on earth I was even bothering blogging on such a topic when I am clearly not an expert in this area. But I will press on and pass along a few tips that help me maintain a small amount of sanity in my kitchen.
Here's what I've got for you:
1. When freezing items, label them (simply what is it and when was it prepared or the date you are tossing it in the freezer). I just keep a roll of masking tape in the drawer right beside my fridge. Makes it easy to slap a label on the container...
2. Meal planning. I wrote about it here. Seriously, people. This has been key for me to keep things organized. I don't know why I drug my feet (and kicked and screamed) about this for so long. I only plan the evening meals--lunches are nearly always sandwiches of some sort or leftovers. I could go on and on about planning the meals but here's the bottom line for us: less chaos in the kitchen, less stress for me and less waste and spoilage of food.

So, that's what Works For Me. For more inspiring and brilliant tips to kitchen organization, head over and see Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer.