Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Today it's Spaghetti Soup!

With canning soup on my mind, I decided to start with another batch first thing this morning.  I didn't have to pack school lunches today, thanks to hot lunch, so I started chopping carrots and onions pretty early!  :)  I cooked the spaghetti noodles and hamburger.  After the kids were off for school, I mixed all the other ingredients and started filling jars!  I only made a half batch but it still gave me plenty of jars!



This is a fairly easy soup with not so many ingredients.  The longest part is waiting for it can for three hours.  I put the 15 quart jars in my water and when it started to boil, I set the timer in my mind.  After lunch, I got all the jars out of the boiling water and again hearing those lids seal on each jar was rewarding!  My spaghetti soup jars now sit right beside the cheeseburger soup jars.  They will all get carried down to the cellar within the next few days! 

After the soup was off, Ashlyn and I went over to school to hear Hadassah play her piano piece for ACSI.  She did well and got a blue ribbon!!!  She deserves the ribbon because she's been practicing so much on this piece.  We drove home from school slowly because it started to sleet.  Another wintry mix is in action.

It looks like it will be another cozy night here at home!  It might be more games of Candy Land, ping pong or Guess Who!?!  :)

Monday, March 2, 2015

Soup ...

Today was another busy day for me!  The kids started with a two hour delay at school and even though we enjoy these days, it gets me a later start to my day.  I am OK with that though!  The kids got on the bus at 9:30.  Mike was already off to work.  I had some laundry washed and dried.  Ashlyn and I went for groceries soon after the kids were off to school.  Yoder's has the yummiest Florida strawberries right now and the fresh veggies there hit the spot for us lately!!!  Ashlyn and I filled the cart with many fresh foods.  I pushed the big car cart all around the store with her hardly riding in it.  She said it was cold, yet she picked that cart!  I know I will not have toddlers in the house forever, so today we pushed the car cart!  :) 

I also grabbed some soup ingredients.  Because of the snow delays, Bible Study got canceled today.  That gave me the idea to make soup this afternoon.  Ashlyn and I got the soup and salad bar for lunch at Yoder's and then headed for home.  After we stopped for milk, eggs and juice, we came home to unload all the groceries.  Then I grabbed my chopper, my big tube for mixing the soup, jars and all the food ingredients.  I have good intentions but usually about half way into the mess, I'm ready to be done.  I peeled many potatoes and chopped them.  I chopped carrots.  Celery.  Browned lots of hamburger.  Butter.  Then mixed it all together!  It all smelled wonderful and looked great as I mixed and stirred in the seasonings.


 Ashlyn helped me fill the jars!


Ashlyn was busy playing with her tiny animals and pet shop pets while I chopped in the kitchen.  She loves these right now.  I was ready for a break and so she set up Candy Land.  :)  She helped me fill the fourteen quart jars.  I was happy to have the cooker going!  We played some Candy Land and then I went right back into the kitchen and made a big batch of Chili and warm corn bread for supper.  I also made a small batch of potato soup for me.  I didn't feel like having that chili powder in me and have it cause digestive problems later!  Everyone loved the warm soups!  It's by far a great comfort food for us on these cold, chilly days!

I got the jars out of the cooker three hours later and hearing those jars seal was music to my ears!  I hope the soup is tasty!  I used a new recipe but it was very similar to another one I used before! 
 

These soups will be so handy for the chilly winter/spring days yet to come and for easy supper meals when we do start working on the house project!  If they last till July, they will made a quick, easy supper or lunch after baby is born!  I love having soups on the canning shelves!  They make such a easy, delicious meal! 

Now, Mike and Matthew took Hadassah to her last basketball game.  Ashlyn and I stayed home to relax ... just like Mike suggested!  :)

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Cleaning house.

We got right down to business today!  Mike and I both started out with a hearty breakfast of each: 1/2 blueberry bagel toasted, two over light eggs, sprinkle of salt, pepper, and basil, and then topped with a slice a provolone cheese.  We both had a half of an avocado on the side.  I juiced some fresh grapefruit juice.  It was so tasty and delicious!  We ended with some coffee.  The kids slept in long because of our late night playing settlers with John Ervin's.  :)

On our agenda today was to tackle the garage and barn!  Cleaning these two areas would be a job for sure!  We have two long shelves in the garage that are three shelves high.  They hold our coolers, tools, extra rolls of toilet paper and paper towels, a shoe rack, hunting equipment, yard sale items, gardening supplies, baby gear, etc..  The things we don't use or need anymore, we trashed.  We filled garage bags full of old shoes, old printers, old paint and old hats.  We organized the craft bin.  The shoe rack was reorganized.  The water cooler was emptied, cleaned and filled.  The trash and all the empty water jugs were burned.  Almost everything got a cleaning!  We made numerous trips downstairs.  The basement is being used for our storage unit until the new garage is built.  It looks much better and many more things were put into storage.

Then we moved out to the barn.  It was a cold day to work outside but we bundled up and the sunshine was beaming!  We organized the barn by filling more garbage bags with broken shovels, old flower pots, pieces of games that had no home, old training wheels, etc..  The sports rack got organized and cleaned.  Mike had a whole truck load of trash by the time we were finished!  We swept out the garage and the barn and then blew it with the blower.  They both look way better!  We all worked hard and were dirty till all was said and done.

I know that the mower still needs to go get serviced.  And the freezer and food inside of it still need to get moved to another location until the house project is completed.  The water cooler will need to get some repairs done to it.  Those bigger items will be Mike's chore but after cleaning out so much today, we will be ready to move those bigger things as soon as we need to!  It's an amazing feeling to have all that done!

The shelves are getting cleaned out!!!
 And the storage room is getting filled more little by little.



Thanks to the kids and to Mike for helping me!  The job looked like a huge job this morning but it really did go well!  We stopped around 2 and ate some warm soup and nachos.  Hadassah baked a batch of chocolate chip cookies for our fellowship meal tomorrow at church.  Mike has ever since been playing games with the children (Guess Who, Math 44, and Ping Pong).  Matthew laid out Mike's survival kit in the basement and has been intrigued ever since he found it.  Mike has a few items that if we would need to survive without electricity, we could for awhile.  Matthew loves things like this.  He asks lots of questions and going on a hiking trip would be so adventurous for him!  Meanwhile, I watched the next, and last, Bible Study lesson for next week.  We were all ready to relax!

Now, we have the whole weekend to relax, be with friends, drink some coffee and hear God's word being preached!  I hope your weekend will be relaxing too and stay warm!  It's still really cold outside but the forecast for next week is looking a bit warmer.?.  We might even hit the 40's!?!

It's still winter but it's the last day of February!  Spring is just around the corner, right???!!!  :)  Yeah!!!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Packing up ... one box at a time.

I have been packing one box at a time.  I am trying to pack up the things we will not need until the house project is complete.  I am trying to mark the boxes that I pack clearly so that when I go to unpack them, it won't be a guessing game as to where it goes.  Now, I know that I will have different places for different things when the house is all remodeled but marking the boxes should still be helpful!!! 

I have also tried to not let this whole project get me in knots or a stiff back but it is work!  Every day I think about it.  Every day I try to work ahead because I have this feeling that when we do actually get our permits, things will move quickly!  I can't pack up a whole house, garage, barn and closets in a day.  Or two days.  It takes lots of boxes and some kind of organization.

We have lived in this same house for fourteen years and I admit that things accumulate over the years.  Today, I got everything (well one little box is still there because I can't reach it) out from under our bed.  You may think ... what?  What do you store under your bed?  I had some large pictures under there that I only use over the holidays.  Some old photo's of younger years.  Some bedding things.  A box of old cards.  Etc..  I carried them all downstairs to our storage area.  I also boxed some clothing that I will not be wearing - for a few months anyway.  My closet is nothing but maternity right now!  It's hard to know if the house project will be done before baby arrives so I marked that box "summer clothes".  Just in case I have to come searching for smaller clothing.  :)  I went to Staples and bought two wardrobe boxes.  These cardboard boxes are used for hanging clothing in them while moving.  I look at all Mike's shirts and if I can avoid unfolding them all and ironing them when they go into his new closet ... I will!  Keeping them all hung up will help!  I don't like to iron!  :/  Plus, I will have a few things myself to add to these boxes. 

Mom and Jody were here the other day and we packed up all my china dishes.  The hutch and curio cabinet are now for sale.  They are both in cherry stain and in good condition.  If you or someone you know is interested, send me a message!  Thanks for your help ladies!  They carried box after box downstairs for me that I had put all our book shelf books into.  Games are boxed up.  Pictures are being carried down.  With my belly growing, this makes me tired so with their help, it went three times as fast!  :)

I asked Mike if tomorrow we can go through the garage and barn?  We have so much stuff that needs to be junked or moved.  Why do I store old printers in the garage?  Why do we have ten pairs of knee pads for hockey laying around in the barn?  All the bikes, freezer and food, water cooler and attic will be attacked tomorrow!  At least I am hoping so!  :)

Today I also made our payment for our new appliances.  We went a few weeks ago to pick out what we will need and to get great rebates and discounts, we needed to get these items paid for and ordered. 

We are still waiting for a cabinet pricing.  I went to three different cabinet shops and showed each one our blueprint.  I went over three times all the details ... kitchen, laundry, mudroom and bathrooms.  We will make a decision on the cabinet company in a few weeks.

God will help me/us through this whole project!  I need to only focus on today.  I don't like a bunch of changes all at one time and so this will be a stretch.  I can admit that.  I'm allowed to.  It feels better when I do.  When I think about all that needs to be done yet, I could go in a panic!!!  That wouldn't be good!  :)  Or I could think - what if we are still not finished when baby dear arrives?  We may not be moved in July.  But we may be!?!  One box, one day at a time is my focus!  A deep breath, lots of prayer and plenty of patience!

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Spring is always a very busy time for us.  The ball practices begin and then the games start.  Little League for Matthew and ballgames for hubby.  We plant many garden seeds.  We start pulling weeds and mowing the lawn.  I love to visit greenhouses and flowers get planted.  School days are filled with events and the last days are counted down.  BUT ... it will be different this Spring.  Well, at least some of it.  I'm sure we will be just as busy!  The ball games will still start.  I'm not sure how much of a garden we will have with the outside of the house being a mess from digging?  I would love to move my garden and make it bigger!  Maybe next year?  Pulling weeds and mowing yard will be a lot less until later in the summer.  New grass will need to be sown and I'll let the landscapers do their job!  I will still visit greenhouses even if it means to just eww and aww over the beauty!  :)  I know that this Spring and Summer will be filled with lots of memories and so I hope blogging can continue through it all!  I also hope that my pregnancy keeps going fast!  I'm half way through already and the time does seem to be going quickly!





Wednesday, February 25, 2015

"Sharks" on ice!!!

What a blast to see this all get planned!!!  Mike got a call last week inviting him to play hockey again with his old hockey team!  They made arrangements to play in an old chicken house that is being used to play ice hockey in this winter.  Mike was pumped and excited.  Not so excited about the "hockey" part as much as the "getting together with the guys" part!!!  I wasn't going to miss out either if I could help it!  I was a huge "Sharks" fan back in the day and went to every game possible!  :)  Mostly to see Mike play. 

We loved hockey games!  The Sharks wore a green jersey and we would shout and cheer for them!  Sometimes I would even help keep the score.  It was cold in the hockey rink but we didn't mind!  :)  You do things like freeze and being cold to have fun as teenagers!  I did like the game though when things stayed calm.  With Mike being a goalie, I never expected him to end up in a fight or in the penalty box.  Yeah!!!

Mike went searching for some hockey gear!  He sold all his equipment years ago and hadn't suited up as a goalie for a long, long time.  He got contacted with Buddy's mom and he borrowed all his equipment for the night. 

He walked in the back door with this humongous bag over his shoulder!  I couldn't help but chuckle!  Of course, I asked him if he still knows how to carry that bag anymore?  "Oh, yeah!"  :)  We watched him as he tried on the equipment making sure everything fits good enough for a few hours of fun!  He was excited and Matthew was right beside Mike handing him the next item! 










Matthew got all bundled up to and grabbed his skates.  There was no way he was going to miss this!  Watching his dad play goalie and hockey was exciting! 

After supper, Jr and Jayden picked up Mike and Matthew.  Kinda like old days there to.  :)  Jr and Mike went to many, many of their games together!  They also picked up Matt and Hunter and they were off to skate and play hockey!

The girls and I didn't want to miss seeing this either, so after the dishes were all cleaned, we got dressed warm and headed out to watch too.  The chicken house was old and beat up.  Wind was going right through it.  It was cold but that what you want to keep the ice frozen!  We walked in and saw the boys and Hunter watching their dads warm up.  Hunter sat on this old couch and cheered.  So cute!  He was happy to see Ashlyn come and they cheered together! 

The game started and the men started to skate hard.  They scored a few and the younger guys they played against scored some too.  We were only able to watch for about 45 minutes before we had to leave for Hadassah's basketball game.  "Go Sharks!!!"  Fun to watch this happen once again!  :)

We dropped Hunter off at his house.  He was brave and loved every bit of it as he watched.  His little nose was red and cold but he didn't seem to mind a bit.  :)  Then we went to Hadassah's basketball game at school.  She's doing great with this sport and really loves to play!  Her team won!

When we all got back home from our winter sports night out, some of us were sore.  :)  Playing winter sports is fun and it helps keep the winter weeks go faster.  However, we are very ready to start thinking about the Spring/Summer sports!  Riding bike, hitting baseballs, playing volleyball outside, swimming ... we are ready!!!  Now we just need the right weather conditions for it all!

This is the last week of February and March is right around the corner!  Spring is in March and so that means only a few more weeks of winter are left!  I can enjoy today.  I look forward to tomorrow.  I can't wait for Spring!  And then remodeling the house.  Next Summer.  Then baby will arrive!  Oh yes!  I can't wait!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Boundaries. A weekend getaway with Hadassah!

Preparing a teenager for the upcoming teen/adult years can be challenging.  It can also be a very enjoyable time and with some Godly boundaries, good advice and parental guidance, Mike and I will try to do our best!!! 

I planned a weekend with Hadassah to go through Passport2Purity (I would highly recommend this series) and talk about some boundaries in life!  We had such a great time and the whole trip was worth every penny spent, time spent and small preparations!

I picked Hadassah up at school at 1:30 Friday afternoon.  She knew we were going away for the night and spending some time with me!  We were both excited!  We stopped at home for our bags and then headed for some frozen yogurt!  (That's my fave right now!!!)  We filled our yogurt cups with frozen goodness and sprinkled on fruit and chocolates!  We sat at a booth and I presented her her booklet for the weekend.  I explained what we would do and what we would talk about.  Mike and I both wrote a small note to her to start this adventurous weekend!  :)  We were pumped with glee as we drove toward Lebanon.

On the way, we listened to the first session.  It made our drive go fast.  However, we drove and drove all around town to try to find our motel.  The GPS took us to the street but we could not locate the motel!  Finally, after making circles in the town, I called the motel and asked for help!  I punched the address in my phone too and finally we arrived at Holiday Express!  :)

We started session 2 soon after we got settled in our room.  Hadassah loved the projects that went along with these guided lessons for adulthood.  She chose Longhorn Steakhouse to have dinner at later that night!  We enjoyed some chicken and then went to TJ Max for some quick browsing!  Our bed felt good when we got back to the motel!  We were both really enjoying our time together!  Meanwhile, Mike was home with the other children.

Saturday morning, we ate breakfast in the motel lobby in front of the fireplace!  Cozy!  Again, we were excited about the next three lessons and got right down to business.  We did the next two and then it was time to check out of the motel and have some fun!  When we got down to the lobby again, we noticed it was snowing outside like crazy!  Everything had a white blanket of snow over it!  Oh my!  I didn't even check the weather and was surprised to see the snow. 

We made a quick stop at the Salvation Army store right beside the motel and ate some leftover chicken from the night before.  Then we headed for Hobby Lobby!  Hobby Lobby is a favorite place for Hadassah and I to shop at and that was the main reason I picked Lebanon for our getaway!  We browsed the lovely store and even found some treasures!  :)  Yeah! 

Time was going by so fast and it was 3:00 before we knew it!  Time to head home on the snow covered roads!  We made one more quick stop at Kmart.  Shopping Kmart is not some place I go to often and Hadassah and I went there the other week to find a footie pajama for her fun days at school.  She liked Kmart and so making another stop here was great for her.  At 3:30, we started our last session while we headed for home.  Our conversations were meaningful and we talked a whole bunch about boundaries in our lives.  Self control of our bodies.  Limits.  Goals.  Commitments to obeying the word of God and staying "pure" until marriage!

We made a final stop at Panera Bread for some sandwiches, soup and salad!  After we ate, I gave her a gift!  She absolutely loved it and she can't wait to wear it on special occasions!

It was great to be off the snowy roads and back home with the hubby and kiddoes again!  The whole getaway was perfect and God blessed us with a lovely, sweet girl that wants to follow Jesus with her whole heart, mind and soul!  I know this weekend will be a big impact on her teenage and upcoming years!  It's one weekend I will always treasure!!!  Forever!

"I love you so much Hadassah!!!  Always trust in the Lord!"

Enjoying the frozen yogurt even when it's freezing outside!!!  :)
She loved the fun little projects with each lesson!

 
Hadassah thinks Longhorn has the best ever chicken strips!  I went with something not fried since little baby inside would like that much, much better!  :)
 
Hadassah could not get over the moon scene when we left the motel that night.  The moon was only a fingernail bright but there were two bright stars right beside it!  She tried to capture it on the photo but it really was way prettier than this!

The way home ... blizzard conditions but only ended up with three or so inches.
Panera Bread!
  A "promise ring"!

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Yesterday church was canceled because of the snowy, icy roads.  We enjoyed the morning at home with church in the living room.  :)  We listened to a sermon online/live and the topic was on ... boundaries!  Pretty fitting for our weekend.  :)

In the afternoon, Mike and Matthew threw some football in the back yard.  In the snow. 

 
 
We are still having winter conditions here but guess what???  It is still winter.  :)  Even though we can't wait for Spring to arrive, we will be patient. 
 
I am feeling that more packing things in boxes should get done today.?.  I think I might tackle the hutch dishes ... after I restock the fridge with fresh fruit and veggies!  I plan on selling my big, cherry hutch.  If you or if you know someone who might be interested in a hutch, let me know. 
 
Have a great wintry day!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Sledding ... brr!

With all this cold, pardon me, freezing cold weather ... we finally went sledding.  I've been wanting to do this with the kids for weeks and now we did!  We have to get on the ice skates yet and go skating!  This winter has been more ice than snow.  We keep getting these small 1 - 2 inches of snow falls.  With the tempts being in the teens for days, everything freezes up quickly.

On Tuesday, the kids did not have school.  I'm not exactly sure why because the roads were not bad at all.  It was the first 'snow day off' though and it made the kids excited.  We started out being lazy and enjoying some good breakfast.  Then we went to the library for some books.  Hadassah's been begging for a good book.  Then we went home for lunch and loaded up the snow clothes and sleds.  I had called Katie Ann and asked if we could come sled on their hill?  She said that we could come.

We got there and we bundled up really good.  We headed for the hill but quickly realized that everything was frozen!!!  We had to hang on to the fence to get to the hill area.  :/  I was a bit uneasy because I didn't want to go a sliding and fall!  I kept a hold of the fence and we made it to the sledding area.  But that wasn't any better!  The kids didn't mind a bit though!  They loved it!  It was a workout for them!  It took lots of effort for them to get on their sleds and then make their crawl up to the top again!  :) 

Ashlyn loved it too until she lost her glove on a ride down.  When her and Hadassah got to the bottom, they fell a couple of times just trying to get back up.  That made her hand go into the snow and sudden freezing pains hit her hands!  It was so, so cold!  We finally got her to the fence and I slowly took her hand and walked toward the house.  She cried the whole way there but when we got inside the house, the warmness warmed her right up.  She was smiling before too long! 

Matthew and Hadassah stayed out for a bit longer but because it was such hard work to get back up the hill, they finished the sledding rides early.  It would be fun to go back when there's lots of fresh snow on the ground and not just an icy mess!

The fresh air and sledding was still fun and a memory!  Thanks Katie Ann and kids for welcoming us to your sledding hill!  :)

Matthew went flying down the hill and then he had to crawl his way back up.
 Hold on to the fence!!!  Pull!!!

 The girls went together every time!
 There they go!

 Time to crawl back up now!
 She loved it!  Well, until her little fingers got very cold!  Can't say I blame her!
 Matthew had a blast!
 Matthew and Matthew went together.

 "How was it, Sweets?"
 "Great!  Let's go again!"
 "Let's try to get up first!"
 Under the snow was solid ice!
 It's time to get warm!  Her one hand was so cold!