Thursday, July 25, 2013

Falling behind

So I have pictures to post and things to write, but just feel like I am falling behind right now.  Life marches on behind the blog :)  and I need to be there for that life right now.  Busy summer.  I think I might be looking forward to school starting soon.  Will have lots of pictures to post soon.  Enjoy your summer!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

What's up Wednesday--sloppy joes

Love sloppy joes at our house.  Especially in the summer because they are a crock pot meal, so no heating up the house.  This is my grandma DeeDee's recipe, and it calls for Chicken Gumbo soup which is a staple in my pantry now because of this recipe.  Enjoy!
Sloppy Joes (Crock Pot)

2 lbs hamburger
1 large onion, chopped fine
1 large green pepper, chopped fine
1 cup ketchup
1 can chicken gumbo soup
1 Tab. mustard
1 Tab. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar

Brown hamburger with onion and pepper in large sauce pan. Drain.  Transfer to crock pot.  Add all other ingredients and mix well.  Put on low for several hours.  It is a very forgiving recipe.  I have put it on low all day (like 8 hours) or for just a few (3-4) and both are good, but the longer it cooks the more the flavors blend.  We always put cheese on ours, and I like mine with sliced sweet pickles.  Ah, the perfect comfort food.  Takes me right to my DeeDee's kitchen.  She always serves them that way with potato chips on the side.


Monday, July 15, 2013

2013 Blue Jeans Week 28

A great week of summer here.  My older girls ran their first 5K at midnight which was fun, and we finally got some trees planted in our front yard.  More about that over 2 year drama here--let me just say electric companies and their easements are awful.  But we are happy to get new trees in and finally put that behind us.  Here is a look at our week. . .
Sunday afternoon and Ben is reading out loud to the kids.  One of our favorite family activities.

We have sister missionaries in our town from our Church and one of them was leaving this week, so we got a picture.  These ladies are amazing, and our family loves them!

Classic summer fun--jumping on the trampoline with the sprinkler.  Mr J gets some air!

Our favorite summer pastime?  Watching this!  Lark Rise to Candleford is a very family friendly BBC series which my sister-in-law introduced us to and let us borrow her copy.  We love it!

Went to the city for some shopping today.  We love Costco and especially their ice cream!  Yum!

The girls after finishing their first midnight 5K.  They did awesome!

Finally getting some trees planted in our front yard!  Yeah!  We had good helpers!

Thanks for visiting!  Hope you had a great week!

I am linking up with Kleinworth Co and The Mom Creative.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Summer reading suggestions

So a girlfriend asked me, "Jen, I need some good authors.  Any suggestions?"

Little did she know. . . reading is a passion for me--a huge part of my life.  I am an English major after all :)  So, this is just the tip of the iceberg and some that I suggested to her.

I really like Jessica Day George's stuff--more YA but I like it.

I really enjoy the Susan Wittig Albert's The Beatrix Potter Cottage series--

Ally Condie--Matched trilogy is good

Have you read Lois Lowry's The Giver series?

John Flanagan's The Ranger's Apprentice series is one of our family's all time faves

I like (most) of Eva Ibbotson's stuff--The Morning Gift is my fave

Our Boys by Joe Drape--I really liked

Alan Bradley--The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is the first in a series--mystery

Kristen Britain's Green Rider series

Julia Golding's Dragonfly is Miss A's favorite book, and I really like it.

I like Janette Rallison's stuff--more YA but fun--like laugh out loud fun, and good characters

I love Joan Bauer's stuff--YA, but great, strong female characters

Richard Peck's A Long Way from Chicago and then A Year Down Yonder are excellent, laugh out loud--they are great read-alouds, and really all his stuff is good that I have read

Holes by Louis Sachar

Linda Hillenbrand--nonfiction, loved, loved, loved Unbroken by her

So hopefully in your hot summer weather (sure is hot here) you can find a good book to curl up with by your air conditioner or the pool!  Happy reading!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What's up Wednesday--no-bake peanut butter cookies

No secret at our house that we love cookies, and I really like them too :)  But in the summer it is hard to turn on the oven to make them.  When it is 100 degrees outside the last thing you want to do it turn your oven to 350 degrees inside.  So, we love no bake cookies, and especially this variety.  The chocolate kind is good, yes, but we like this one way better.  A dear friend (thanks Tiffany!)  shared this recipe with us years ago, and we so love them.  We hope you do too, and you can get a great cookie fix without turning on the oven!
Peanut Butter No-Bake Cookies

3 cups white sugar
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup milk
1/2 tes vanilla
1 1/2 cups peanut butter (you can use either crunchy or creamy, or a combination)
4 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats

In a large sauce pan over medium heat combine butter, sugar and milk.  Bring to a rapid boil and boil for one full minute.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and peanut butter.  Mix in the oats stirring until the mixture begins to cool slightly.  Drop batter by teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper and let cool until set.  These are great to freeze and eat frozen too!


Monday, July 8, 2013

2013 Blue Jeans Week 27

This week was a lot slower in terms of places to go and things to do which was very nice and very needed!  We had a great 4th of July celebration, and the kids have enjoyed sleeping in the backyard in the tent a few nights in a row.  We have had extremely un-July like temperatures--we needed jackets to watch the fireworks on the night of the 4th, and that has been divine.  I think normal July temps are coming, but we are loving it while it lasts especially after last summer's drought and extreme heat!  Here is a look at our week. . . 
Mr J and Ben take some time each week to work on his scouting.  That boy loves marking things off!

Girls shopping trip today.  These 4 let loose on downtown and had a ball.

We had an evening walk as a family.  Sure love these kids!

We went to a nearby small town for their 3rd of July fireworks display.  The kids enjoyed a game of Frisbee before it got dark and the fireworks started.

Our crew on the 4th trying out their layered drinks.  They thought they were so cool!  See previous post for  recipe.  We had a great time and loved the cooler temps!

Mr J watering our garden which we got in way too late, but that is okay.  Gardens are more for building character than veggies sometimes I think :)

The tent in the back yard that the kids have enjoyed sleeping in several nights this past week.

Thanks for visiting!  Hope you had a great 4th of July week!

Friday, July 5, 2013


Evidence of a lot of fun had by all. . .
Sleeping outside in the tent. . .

fireworks. . .

and evidence of more fireworks. . .

and everyone loves those roman candles. . .

and sparklers. . .

evidence of a great time!

Hope your 4th was great too!  See you Monday!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

What's up Wednesday--4th of July edition

We love the 4th of July at our house!  4th of July picnics are definitely a favorite too.  These are two recipes we made last year that were big hits and also requested again this year.
This magical layered patriotic drink amazed everyone.  I was a rock star mom for letting them make this let me tell you.

Yum!  I found the recipe here.  This year we are using white grape cherry juice for the bottom, blue Gatorade for the middle, and sprite zero for the top--key to this is fill the glass with ice before you pour in the drinks, and then when you do pour in the drinks, pour them slowly on the ice.

Another easy, yummy recipe we had for dessert last year that Miss O made we found here.  They were light and yum and looked so patriotic with their red, white, and blue.

Have a safe and wonderful 4th of July!

Monday, July 1, 2013

2013 Blue Jeans Week 26

Kind of a sad and happy week.  Sad--a fox got into the hen house and killed all our chickens.  Not fun.  Happy--fun summer activities--kids' science camp, library and good books, friends over, and a night out with my mom.  Looking forward to a much slower 4th of July week!  Hope your week was good!  Here is a look at ours. . .
This picture is the last of my chicken's eggs.  So sad they are gone.  We need to get some more soon so we can get some more eggs like these!

Mr J heading to the library with his bag packed full of books.  Super reader!

Enjoying the half price shakes after 8 p.m. at Sonic and their summer of shakes!  Yum!

They had a kids' science camp this week for kids up to 3rd grade.  Mr J went and had a blast, but all these awesome girls volunteered to help.  There were 35 kids, so I know they were appreciated, and they had fun!

Van milestone--over 200,000 miles this week.  We are running that baby into the ground--she is very well used and loved and just needs to last a few more months. . . please!

Summer fun!  Miss O had a friend over, and they enjoyed the sprinkler!

Got to attend a women's church meeting with my mom and the theme was Come unto Christ.  It was excellent and so nice to spend time with her!

Thanks for visiting!  Hope you have a great week!

I am linking up with Kleinworth Co and The Mom Creative