Springtime Projects

Ah spring – it brings warmer temps and a strong desire to be outdoors. Of course, it also brings with a plethora of projects.

In addition to the usual lawn and landscape stuff, this year we’ve decided to make some upgrades to the backyard play structure for our kids and to add a vegetable garden.

I’ll be posting some of the vegetable garden project details here and in our new garden page.

The play structure plans and upgrades will be posted here for everyone to follow.

Valentine’s Day

Heavenly Father, thank You for my beautiful family and for the love we have for one another. Thank You for loved ones near and far.

Thank You, God, for first loving us.

Thank you for all of our gifts and blessings. Please guide us in sharing them with others.

Please open our hearts, freeing us from all that hinders Love and casting out all that is not Love.

Please, Lord, fill us with Your Love and make us instruments of Your Love and Peace.

Amen.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

On January 31, 2011, we made a yummy chicken tortilla soup. We started with a CrockPot Tortilla Soup recipe from Stephanie O’Dea’s blog A Year of Slow Cooking and made a few changes.

Ingredients

Original Revised Notes
3 cups of chicken broth 6 cups of chicken broth The soup was too thick for our liking with only 3 cups of chicken broth, so we doubled it.
1 ½ cups cooked chicken Same Needs a little more chicken.
½ onion ½ onion
1 cup frozen roasted corn 1 cup frozen corn Might try doubling the corn next time.
2 green onions skipped
28 oz can of tomatoes and juice Same plus one can of Rotel Diced or crushed tomatoes might work better.
1 cup chopped up vegetables that you have on hand 2 ½ cups of diced veggies:

1 cup carrots, ½ cup celery, 1 cup peppers. (We had red and orange peppers on hand, but green and yellow would work, too.)

Some more veggies might be nice, or maybe some black beans.
4 cloves of garlic Same
¼ t crushed red pepper flakes Same
½ t cayenne pepper Same
1 t cumin Same
salt to taste (especially if using a no-salt broth like I was) No additional salt added
optional garnish:

tortilla chips

parmesan cheese

sour cream

We ate the soup with tortilla chips (but rice would be nice, too), and we skipped the parmesan cheese for this Mexican-inspired soup.

Directions

The original recipe also had different directions. Here are our directions:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients except the chicken.
  2. Simmer on the stovetop for 3 hours.
  3. Add the cooked chicken.
  4. Simmer for an additional 2 hours.
  5. Enjoy your delicious Chicken Tortilla Soup!

Fire Department Field Trip

Do you love a kid who L-O-V-E-S fire trucks? ? I do! Matthew thinks they’re “beautiful,” so I asked the local Fire Department if we could stop by for a visit. I was delighted that the answer was “yes” and that we were able to invite some friends, too!

Our Fire Department Field Trip took place on Thursday, July 15th at 9 a.m. Each family brought something yummy to share with the FD staff as a thank you for their time and efforts.  The firemen were absolutely amazing with the kids, and I am so grateful for their time, patience, and enthusiasm. After the tour, we gathered at our house for some playtime.

Related Fire Truck and Firefighter Links:

Firefighter Danita Thomas – Early readers learn about neighborhood workers in Sholastic’s Community Club.

USFA Kids – Website for the U.S. Fire Administration for Kids

Sparky the Fire Dog Website – A fire safety resource for kid and families from the National Fire Protection Association

Firefighters – An interactive, on-line story from Pre-school Library (Just ignore the opening part where the firefighters appear rather nonchalant.)

Photo Gallery–click on thumbnails for photos

Her Drummer Plays the Harmonica…in Reverse

Adelaide’s latest interest is walking backwards. She’s been practicing every day. Sometimes, she likes to play the harmonica while walking backwards. The amusements are endless around here.

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” — Henry David Thoreau