Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday thoughts

My random Friday thoughts. . .
Another of my girls' locker inspirational quotes.  Never quit.  You can do it!  Good words of advice.  

So I got nominated to be the campaign manager/chairman for a school bond issue coming up in the November election in my town.  The bond issue is to build new schools which we sorely, desperately need.  I wanted to be involved from the beginning because I have been a weekly volunteer in the schools for the last 11 years and have seen what a sad state they are in.  I wanted to be involved, but not in charge. . .oh well.  Here we go.  I am committed to it.  I do feel very strongly about it.  I want to get the correct information out because when people see the numbers and get the correct information it is a no-brainer decision.  We need new schools!  So say a little prayer for me during the next 9 weeks and for my town that the people will hear the message and choose the right :)  Yes for our kids!  Yes for our schools!  Yes for the future of our community!! Never quit!  You can do it!

Have a great long weekend!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What's up Wednesday--zucchini soup

Another zucchini recipe favorite as my zucchini are sadly winding down.  It is way too hot here, and the zucchini don't like it.  So, I think we are down to our last dozen or so which is so sad.  Soup really isn't a hot summer food, but this soup is so good and so quick and easy to make.  We have had it several times this summer--hot weather aside.  This recipe feeds our family of 6 with a few leftovers.  You can half it easily.

Zucchini Soup

2 cups onions, chopped fine, (I always use dehydrated)
4 Tablespoons butter
6 cups sliced zucchini
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup milk or half and half

Options for topping--crumbled, cooked bacon, grated cheese, sour cream.

In a large pan cook onions in melted butter until tender then add sliced zucchini and chicken broth.  If using dehydrated onions just melt butter then add all together the onions, zucchini and broth.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to simmer and cook until tender about 15 minutes.  Add salt and pepper.  Pour half the mixture into a blender and blend until smooth.  Repeat with other half.  Return to pot and add milk and reheat, but do not boil.  Top with cheese, bacon, and sour cream.  Yum!
Happy Zucchini season!

Monday, August 25, 2014

2014 Blue Jeans Week 34

The school year has officially started.  Crazy here we come. . .
In case you didn't know, we are Captain America fans around here.  All the kids ended up wearing their Captain America shirts today, so we had to get a picture :)

Miss E got her braces on today!  She looks so cute!  And thankfully they are feeling good, so we are all happy!

Our neighbors down the street have been gone, and they asked Mr J and Miss E to take care of their dogs.  The kids loved playing with them and walking them morning and night.  They did a good job.

First day of 4th grade for Mr J with his awesome teacher!

First day of school for Miss O--she is a freshman in high school

First day of school for Miss E--she is in 7th grade.  No picture of Miss A yet--she is a junior in high school.  Crazy!

And what have I been doing while the kids are at school?  I have been helping to hem 60 new band uniforms :)  Never a dull moment.  Let the fun begin. . .

Thanks for visiting!  Have a great week and come back soon!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday thoughts--school has started!

My random Friday thoughts. . .
My weekly inspirational quote.  Love it.  Simple and to the point.  The choice is yours.  I personally prefer smart and happy :)  stupid and miserable have never really been my thing.  Miss E has this in her locker.

And school started this week!?!  Crazy!  My little guy is really not so little anymore--4th grade here he comes with his cute teacher that we love.  2 of his older sisters have had her, and she is the best!  So we are desperately trying to get into the "get to bed early, wake up early" routine, and are having a really hard time which worries me because next week Miss A and Miss O start their 6 a.m. church seminary class followed by 7 a.m. band.  They are going to have long days.  We have had crazy evenings--school open houses, volleyball practices, cross country practices, band uniform fittings, and we have only been in school 3 days!  Here we go!  I think I love summer so much because we can have super busy days, but have nothing in the evenings, and I love that.  That is the kind of schedule I like.  School is not like that.  There is something or usually 4 somethings every evening we need to be at or our kids do.  Divide and conquer.  It sure helps to have another driver--a nice thing Miss A can drive!  So here we go.  I told Ben the other night I felt like I was riding a roller coaster, you know that feeling as you slowly go up and up and up before you plunge straight down and go crazy fast?  Yeah, we have taken the plunge on our roller coaster ride and here we go!  Thankfully everyone seems happy with teachers, classes, school schedules, coaches, etc. so that helps immensely!  Here is to a good school year!  Hope yours goes well too!

On another note, am reading this book right now and really enjoying it.  

Date night tonight and Ben is in charge so we will see what we do.  Last time he chose to go play pickleball.  Have you ever played that?  It is sort of like tennis, but on a smaller court with wooden paddles for rackets and a sort of wiffle ball.  It was fun.  Sadly, it is way, way too hot around here now to do anything outside.  I think he might do a movie night with ice cream which I would think sounds about perfect, I need to just veg on the couch, but we will see.

Have a great weekend and see you Monday!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What's up Wednesday--Chili bow tie bake

So this recipe is not going to get you points for being gourmet, but it will get you points for being a fast dinner that everyone likes--at least in my family.  This is one of my many go-to "get dinner on the table quick" dinners.  It has saved me many a nights when we get home late from a game or school function and everyone is starving.  Hopefully it can help you out too!
Chili Bow Tie Bake

2 cups bow tie pasta, uncooked
1/2 onion, chopped
1 can tomato sauce
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 lb ground beef
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 can stewed tomatoes, puree
1/4 teaspoon salt
grated cheddar cheese

Cook pasta, and while that is cooking cook beef with onions and garlic powder, drain.  Stir in all other ingredients except pasta and cheese.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 5 minutes.  Drain pasta and stir into beef mix.  Heat through and stop with grated cheddar cheese.  

Fast, simple, good,  Enjoy!

Monday, August 18, 2014

2014 Blue Jeans Week 32

 This week was a fun, good one spent soaking up the last few days of summer.  School starts in 2 days here this week!  So here is a look at our last week. . .

I took a picture of our dinner tonight because the zucchini Miss A grew in her garden, the corn Mr J grew in his garden, the cantaloupe Miss E grew in her garden and the brownie is actually a zucchini brownie that Miss E grew.  The chicken we did not grow :)  But I was impressed by the fruits and veggies of their labors.  Miss O has more squash and pumpkins in her garden which aren't ready yet.  It was a yummy homegrown meal!

Took these 2 back to school supply shopping today--always fun :)

Miss E wanted to make some cupcakes from scratch today.  She made pretty fancy ones too!  Chocolate with penuche filling and frosting.  They were to.die.for! 

We got baby chicks in the spring and today we finally got our first egg!  The first of many more to come from our 7 laying hens we hope!  

Went swimming at the lake with the church youth group this evening.  The girls had fun!

Enjoying one of our favorite summer drinks--Brazilian lemonade (made with limes).  Perfect for a hot summer day!

Miss O and Miss A have had high school marching band camp this week every day from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Friday night they had a family dinner to show us what they had been doing.  They had some parents come down and join the kids while they showed them the push ups and other exercises they had been doing this week to get in shape for marching band.  Ben is down there with Miss A and Miss O--love her expression.  These are the hard, very slow push-ups!

Then we got to hear a teaser of what their show will be like this season.  We were very impressed.  Miss O and Miss A are the mellophones in the center of the middle row wearing the Captain American t-shirts :)  Each section was to have the same t-shirts, and my girls are the only mellophones.

Thanks for visiting!  Hope you have a good week!  Come back soon!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday thoughts

My random Friday thoughts. . .
Since January I have been posting the inspirational quotes Ben gave me as a Christmas present, and I have used them all.  My 3 girls in getting ready for school and getting decorations for their lockers decided they wanted inspirational quotes to decorate their lockers.  I was impressed by what they found and copied them to add to my other bathroom mirror inspirational quotes.  This is the first one.  Everyone has a story.  And I agree we would be a lot more loving and understanding if we knew each other's stories.  So my take on this is take the time to learn the stories of those you love, work with, live with, are friends with, interact with.  Hopefully you know most of the stories of those you love and live with, but I am sure there are a few things you don't know, so take the time to find out.  It can only bless both your lives as you move forward with a better understanding of who they are and what makes them who they are.  

Have a great weekend and see you Monday!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What's up Wednesday--zucchini chocolate cake

So another recipe from our zucchini list which we have been working on lately as we harvest 1-2 zucchini a day.  Loving it.  This is one of my favorites!  The frosting makes it.  It is the best.  And when you can get a serving of vegetables with chocolate cake and frosting?  Can't beat that!  Enjoy!
Zucchini Chocolate Cake
1 cup oil
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk
3 (1 ounce each) squares unsweetened baking chocolate
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups grated zucchini

In a large bowl combine oil, sugar and eggs.  Add dry ingredients to sugar mix.  Add milk and mix well.  Melt baking chocolate in microwave safe bowl for 20 second intervals stirring after each until completely melted.  Blend chocolate and vanilla into batter.  Stir in zucchini.  Bake in greased 9x13 pan at 350 for about 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.  

Cool slightly and then frost with this amazing frosting. . .

Chocolate Butter Frosting
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup milk
2 (1 ounce each) squares unsweetened baking chocolate, melted
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a medium saucepan bring the butter and milk to a boil.  Remove from heat.  Add melted chocolate, powdered sugar, and vanilla and beat until smooth then pour over slightly cooled cake.

Monday, August 11, 2014

2014 Blue Jeans Week 32

As our summer is quickly winding down, we tried to take advantage of our slower days and enjoy the free time.  Summers may be busy during the day, but we have thankfully not busy evenings.  School is the total opposite.  Our evenings are very full during the school year which I have a hard time with, so we trying to soak up our lazy summer evenings while they last.  Take a look at our week. . .
Tonight Mr J and I played Make and Break a fun block building game he got for Christmas last year.

The kids have fun on a cooler day on the trampoline.

This evening Ben was playing Qbitz with the kids.  That is a fun game we enjoy, but only 4 can play.

We enjoyed A&W's free root beer float day today--yum!  The perfect summer treat! 

We went and had lunch with Ben at work today.  Miss O missed because of band camp.  Ben finally got some pictures up in his office.  Looks good. 

As Mr J was doing his allowance money this week I noticed his orange juice coin purse was labeled "Mishion money" which made me smile.  It should say "Mission money" but it all works :)

Back-to-school shopping in the city today.  It was crazy!  We needed to buy 7 pairs of shoes for these kids for school and various sports.  We had to wait in line over 20 minutes at Nike and other stores to get checked out.  Crazy busy!  Wall to wall people, worse than black Friday.  Glad that is over!

Thanks for visiting!  Come back soon and have a great week!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Friday thoughts

 My random Friday thoughts. . .

So if you have been following my Friday thoughts, you know that I got all these quotes from Ben for Christmas.  He said they were basically reminders for him :)  I have been putting one up on our bathroom mirror weekly since the beginning of the year.  I came to my last one this week.  He gave me a half a years worth of great advice that we both needed :)  and I am just going to go through them again because they all bear repeating.  This one is especially good since I do the opposite all the time.  Need to be more positive. 

So wanted to give an update on what everyone is reading right now.  I am on the 3rd book in the Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo and loving it.  Miss E and Miss O both read the series before me and really liked it.  It is fantasy loosely based in a Russia type country with magic and good fighting evil.  We have all really enjoyed them.

Ben is reading this 1000 page monster.  I love Brandon Sanderson's stuff, but I just couldn't make myself start this 1000 page monster, but it didn't stop Ben.  He is about 400 pages into it, and says it is really good.  Honestly, everything of Brandon Sanderson's I like, and maybe someday I might get up the courage to tackle this one.  

Mr J is reading Harry Potter #3 which is personally probably my favorite one of the series.

Miss E is reading #3 in the Peter Lerangis Seven Wonders series.

Miss O just finished the Grisha series that I am currently reading.

Miss A just finished The Princess Bride by William Goldman--what a classic.

On another note, we watched the movie Noah last weekend and would not recommend it.  It was dumb (rock people?), totally not accurate, and really a waste of time and money.  We were disappointed.  

On that happy note :)  have a good weekend and see you Monday!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

What's up Wednesday--zucchini quesadillas

So as I have mentioned before I love zucchini, and we planted a whole bunch in our garden this year.  We have been getting 1-2 each day, and I am loving it!  This recipe is probably my whole family's favorite way to have zucchini--we each have different zucchini recipes which are our favorites, but we all agree on loving this one.  We have it about once a week during high zucchini season.  I found this several years ago in a Family Fun magazine and have made some changes so it is perfect for our family.  We dip these in sour cream and salsa.  The spices can be adjusted to your liking.  They are pretty mild made this way.  Enjoy!

Zucchini Quesadillas

1 can corn, drained
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can grated zucchini, squeezed dry
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder
3 cups cheddar cheese, grated
1 (12.5 oz) can chicken, shredded

Mix everything up together in a large bowl but tortillas.  Put 1/3 cup on each half of a tortilla and fold over.  Cook each side on a skillet or pan over medium high heat until crisp and lightly brown turning to get both sides.  Serve with salsa and sour cream.

Monday, August 4, 2014

2014 Blue Jeans Week 31

A pretty calm week here.  The calm before the crazy storm of school starts in a few weeks.  Here is a look at our week. . .
Mr J and Miss E enjoyed some ice cream and playing the game of Life together during some down time.

They "hayed" the back field of our house this week.  I love the look of all the hay bails.

Swim team is officially over, and we had an awards dinner at the park.  These two got the Super Twin award because they always did everything together.  They had fun!

Beating the heat on a summer afternoon by jumping on the trampoline with the sprinkler.  Summer fun!

My amazing brother-in-law made me this cool magnetic board that I finally got up on the wall this week with my calendar magnets my sister got me.  Love it!  All ready to be organized for school--hopefully :)

 Miss O was in charge of dinner tonight and made pizza.  Yum!  She is a super pizza maker!  I will have to share her recipe next week.

We enjoyed some family game time this weekend playing "Seven Wonders."  So nice when everyone can be home together.  Those evenings are getting fewer and farther between as the kids get older with jobs, sports and such.  Time just goes way to fast!  

Thanks for visiting!  Have a great week!  I post recipes on Wednesdays and random thoughts on Fridays :)  Come back soon!

I am linking up with The Mom Creative

Friday, August 1, 2014

Friday thoughts

 My random Friday thoughts. . . 
My weekly inspirational bathroom mirror quote.  Talking to each other is so important and making that time a priority is important too.  We need to do better about date nights.  That is my goal lately.  Weekly date nights.  We go in spurts on that--do well for a while, then kids' schedules get crazy and we slack off.  With summer and vacations we have gotten off, so we are starting new now.  We live in a small town, so date nights and things to do can be challenging.  I don't mind movie dates, just not every week, so I am going to have to be more creative.  I have told Ben we will switch being in charge of the date each week.  We enjoy playing games together.  Skip-bo is one of my favorite that you can play with 2 people.  

My 14 year old daughter Miss O found this book at the library last week.  It is a trilogy and all 3 are out--love it when all the books in a series are out, and trilogies are so nice.  She read all 3 in 3 days.  She loved them.  I am about 3/4 of the way through number one.  Miss E, my 12 year old, is almost done with #2.  An interesting, well-written, and fun fantasy story.

Then wanted to share our family pictures from the reunion.

Thought they turned out cute.

And how can it be August already??  2 1/2 weeks till school starts again.  

Have a great weekend!