Friday, January 30, 2015

Friday thoughts--a new challenge

My random Friday thoughts. . .
My quote for the week.  After reading it I felt like I needed to play Idina Menzel's Frozen "Let it Go," but I figured everyone knew exactly how it goes and all the words already, so it wasn't necessary that I put it on here :)  Seriously, I think this is a great quote.  We all make mistakes.  Things don't go as planned, but we need to remember each day is a new beginning.  We can start over. We can correct our wrongs and move forward.  We hold ourselves back by holding onto past mistakes and issues.  We really need to Let it go!  

So a little flashback.  Our state's birthday was this week.  It is tradition that we make a sunflower cake to celebrate.  We had done it for many years.  
This was our 2013 had some issues.  It got frosted before it was completely cooled, but that didn't bother the kids or the taste :)

This was this week's cake.  My kids are getting too big too fast!  

So a new challenge coming up for me and my family.  As you know, I headed the campaign to get a school bond passed to get new schools for our town last fall.  It didn't pass.  I need to remember that quote above.  I did my absolute best and worked very, very hard with some amazing people.  So now, we have spring elections coming up in April, and the filing deadline was this week--noon on Tuesday.  There were 4 openings on our local school board.  I worked very closely with many of the school board members on the bond campaign, and was truly inspired by what good people they were and how hard they worked.  When I found out my area school board member was not going to refile for election I got to thinking.  After many prayers and  much discussion with my family who were all 100% supportive of me, I filed to run for my area school board position.  This is a 4 year term.  An unpaid volunteer position.  I have been a weekly volunteer in our schools for the last 12 years.  When my oldest started kindergarten I was determined to volunteer one hour in each of my kid's classrooms every week.  I made it happen.  I am still doing it today and am extremely involved in my kids' schools.  I do what I do because I love my kids and care about all kids and their education.  I am running for the school board because of that--because I care about kids and want to do what is best for them.  Running for a public office was never on my "to-do" list.  I have no political ambitions nor personal agendas.  I personally really do not like politics.  I just care about kids and feel like I have the experience to benefit the schools by serving on the board.  Would appreciate your prayers during this time!  Elections are April 7.

A new challenge and adventure. . . here we go!  :)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

What's up Wednesday--on a Thursday--Mom's meatloaf

Better late than never, right?  Wednesday just slipped away from me--it was kind of a busy day, had the sister missionaries for dinner, Miss E had a dentist appointment,  Mr J had his cub scout pinewood derby--which he won!  And about a million other little things going on.  So, that results in my What's up Wednesday being posted on a Thursday, but life is still good.  This is my Mom's Meatloaf recipe, and it is sooooo good!  I have heard several people say they don't like meatloaf, but then they probably haven't had my mom's.  It is really good.  It is one of my family's favorite meals--meaning that everyone--all 6 of us, love it!  That is gold star material right there!  It pairs really well with the onion potatoes and carrots I posted last week.  Enjoy!
Mom's Meatloaf

2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup ketchup
1 package dry onion soup mix
2 lbs hamburger
1 1/2 cups oats, quick or regular

Mix all of the above ingredients together until well mixed--get your hands dirty :)

Place into a loaf pan and bake 350 for 1 hour 

then take out, drain any grease and mix 1/4 cup brown sugar with 1/3 cup ketchup.  Place over the top of the meatloaf and then continue cooking at 350 for 15 more minutes.  This becomes a sweet glaze over the top that is so yum!  


Monday, January 26, 2015

2015 Blue Jeans week 4

We have had a week that started out good, and then we sour with the flu hitting our house at the end.  Not fun.  It was especially not fun because this weekend Miss E was supposed to attend the state middle school honor band and concert, but she got sick.  Super disappointing! We were so sad she had to miss, but with a temp of 102 she wasn't going anywhere.  She shared it with me, so we didn't do much of anything this weekend.  Getting sick is no fun!  But we are slowly getting better and looking forward to another fun but busy week.  Here is a look at our last week. . .
Miss E made an amazing German Chocolate cake for our Sunday evening treat.  Yum!

We went to an impromptu acting and musical performance.  Miss A got called up to be a participant from the audience for a skit.  It was really funny!

Of course, a few basketball games filled our week as well.  Go Miss O!  She has amazing coaches!

Before everyone got sick, we were able to attend an amazing concert of a trombone quartet.  Pretty awesome!  They did workshops with the school kids during the day which was great for my 3 older girls, especially Miss E who plays the trombone.

For the quartet's last number they had the high school band join them.  Miss A and Miss O are on the far right with their French Horns.  It was pretty awesome!

Friday Miss E was home sick so I didn't go anywhere, but started to try and catch up on my 2014 Project Life album.  I keep up on my blog really well, but my physical book I hadn't updated since May, so I worked hard and got though August done.  Yeah!  Ordered the rest of my year's pictures and looking forward to hopefully getting caught up and the year done next week so I can start my 2015 album.  Love Project Life!  Love how simple it is and that you can catch up so quickly.

And by Saturday I was down.  These were our essential items over the weekend.  Miss E was a good sport about it, though, she said, "at least this is way better than throwing up.  When you are sick and throwing up, that is the worst." Agreed.  Find the silver lining--we were sick but not throwing up, so that was good!

Here is hoping you all stay well and have a good week!
Thanks for visiting!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Friday thoughts---catching up

Friday thoughts. . .
Such a good thing to remember.  I am always telling my kids, "just do your best and that is all you can do."  My mom told me the same thing growing up.  I also tell my kids, "It doesn't matter if you are first or last, I don't care, just as long as you did your best."  It is important advice for them and me.  As long as we try our best, we are doing all we can and should be content with that because we will know and God will know we gave it our all and that was all we could do.  After we do our best we just have to turn it over to God and let His will be done.

I have been sooooooo far behind on my physical Project Life for 2014.  May was the last month I got done.  Summer I usually don't get much done with all the kids home, so August was going to be my catch-up month after the kids started back to school, but then I got involved in the school bond campaign and that sucked about every free minute I had until mid-November.  Then it was Christmas and crazy here, so I am way far behind.  I have pictures printed from May to August, so I am going to try and get those in today and then order the rest of the year so I can get those done next week.  I haven't even decided what kit I am going to do for 2015.  I have 2--Honey and Kiwi, so once I get 2014 done I will have to decide and start that.  Thank heavens I put all the pictures on my blog each week with comments so it is easy to update my physical book and don't wonder what the pictures are.  That is a good thing!  

Have a great weekend and see you Monday!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What's up Wednesday--Onion Potatoes and Carrots

Two of my favorite recipes are on this plate--my mom's amazing meatloaf which I will share next week and these divinely yummy onion potatoes and carrots.  Normally I keep my side dishes very, very basic.  I strive to have protein, carbs, veggies and fruit at both lunch and dinner.  Good food and good nutrition are all about balance and moderation.  These potatoes are super yummy and very easy.  They are great with a meatloaf, a roast, or chicken.  I have even put in a can of roast beef with the potatoes before baking and just had that for the main dish.  Yum!  Enjoy!

Onion Potatoes and Carrots
6 russet potatoes
2 -3 large carrots
1 package onion soup mix
1/4 cup butter

Scrub 6-8 potatoes, don't peel and slice thin width-wise.
Peel and slice carrots thin.
Spray 9x13 pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Spread sliced potatoes and carrots in pan.
Mix 1/2 cup warm water with 1 package onion soup mix.  Pour evenly over potatoes and carrots.  
Slice 1/4 cup butter into thin slices and place evenly over potatoes.
Cover with foil and bake 375 for 45 minutes.  

Carefully stir when done and serve.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Yum!

Monday, January 19, 2015

2015 Blue Jeans Week 3

Life is good.  Basketball and pep band continue to consume our lives right now--and will for the next 2 months.  Mr J got 3rd in the school spelling bee this week which was huge because spelling is not a strong point in our family :)  He gets to go to the county spelling bee in a few weeks.  He was sure excited!  We were very proud of him.  Homecoming was this week with all the extra things that involves and the game and dance.  Here is a look at our week. . .
I got some beautiful roses to have on my kitchen table this week.  Love, Love, love roses, they are my favorite!

Had these cute sister missionaries over for dinner from our church.  They are so sweet!  My family really enjoys having them over.

Had some free time to play some games one evening.  Apples to Apples Junior is a family favorite.

Basketball game one of 3 for the week.  Miss O making her free throw.  

Spelling Bee!  He got 3rd!  Yeah!

Pep band at the basketball game, the high school kids were joined by the Wichita State Shockers pep band, so they were extra loud and extra good!  Miss A on mellophone and Miss E right behind her on trombone.

Homecoming Dance...beautiful Miss O ready to go.  She had a fun time with all her friends.

Thanks for visiting!  Hope you have a great week!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Jen's 2014 Reading list

For the past several years I have had the goal of reading as many books as I will have candles on my birthday cake.  Some years I go way over, and some years I barely make it.  This year I barely made it.  Since August I have really been behind on all the "normal stuff" I do because of the school bond campaign that I was in charge of, and then as soon as that was over, it was time for Christmas, so I feel lucky I actually got as many as I was supposed to this year.  I made the goal of reading 10 non-fiction books for 2014, but that didn't happen.  I think I read 4.  My goal is to try to read 10 this year. I don't know that I could pick one favorite book that I read.  There were several that I really liked.  I will star them in the list.  I don't think there were any that I didn't like because if I start reading a book and don't like it, then I don't finish it, but I must admit, and don't hate me for it, The Fault in our Stars was really not a favorite.  I know a lot of people loved that one.  Me, not so much. But we can still be friends, right??? :) So, without further adieu, my 2014 reading list--not in any particular order, just by when I read them. . .

1.  Wonder by R.J. Palacio ***this was one of my favorites, if you haven't read this yet, it is a must-read
2.  First in Their Hearts:  A biography of George Washington by Thomas J. Fleming
3.  Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson***loved this one.  Can't wait for the sequel that just came out!
4.  Carry On, Warrior:  Thoughts on Life Unarmed by Glennon Doyle Melton
5.  The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery*** love anything she writes.  Great classics!
6.  The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson*** another great book by him
7.  Hattie Ever After by Kirk Larson***Sequel to Hattie's Big Sky.  Both are great!
8.  The Apprentices by Maik Meloy***Sequel to The Apothecary
9.  The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw
10.  The Silver Bowl by Diane Stanley
11.  The Cup and the Crown by Diane Stanley**Silver Bowl trilogy Book 2
12.  The Princess of Cortova by Diane Stanley**Silver Bowl trilogy Book 3
13.  The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen**Book 1 in the Ascendance Trilogy**A favorite
14.  The Runaway King by Jennifer Nielsen**Book 2 in the Ascendance Trilogy
15.  The Shadow Throne by Jennifer  Nielsen**Book 3 in the Ascendance Trilogy
16.  Trice Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris**3rd book in Once Upon a Marigold series
17.  The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
18.  What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
19.  Legend by Marie Lu
20.  Prodigy by Marie Lu **Legend trilogy Book 2
21.  Champion by Marie Lu **Legend trilogy Book 3
22.  The Fault in our Stars by John Green
23.  The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James
24.  Princess of the Silver Woods by Jessica Day George
25.  Dark Canyon by Louis L'Amour
26.  Last of the Breed by Louis L'Amour**another favorite, our whole family read and loved
27.  Dangerous by Shannon Hale**another favorite
28.  Evertrue by Aston Brodi
29.  Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo**Grisha Trilogy Book 1
30.  Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo**Grisha Trilogy Book 2
31.  Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo**Grisha Trilogy Book 3
32.  On Little Wings by Regina Sirois
33.  The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen**a favorite
34.  The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
35.  Maggie Vaults over the Moon by Grant Overstake
36.  All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
37.  Still Alice by Lisa Genova**book about a women who gets Alzheimer's**a favorite
38.  Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card**one of my favorites for the year

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

What's up Wednesday--buttermilk pancakes

This is my mom's buttermilk pancake recipe, and they are sooooo good!  Last week everyone had Monday off--our final day of the holidays--so Ben and Mr J made us these pancakes for breakfast.  Divine!  You have to use real buttermilk, though.  Substitutes just don't cut it for this recipe.  They freeze really well.  We usually double the recipe so we have extras to heat up for breakfast on busy mornings.  Enjoy!
Buttermilk pancakes

Beat together:
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
4 Tab oil

In another bowl mix together:
2 1/2 cups flour
1 Tab sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 scant tsp salt

Mix dry ingredients with mixed liquid ingredients with a wire whisk.  Add more buttermilk if mixture is too thick, but try to keep it pretty thick.  Drop by 1/4 cup on hot, lightly greased griddle.  Bake on one side until bubbles appear, turn and cook until done on other.

Enjoy with butter and syrup or whatever you like on pancakes--peanut butter, nutella, applesauce, jam--a few of our favorites :)

Monday, January 12, 2015

2015 Blue Jeans Week 2

 School started back up for us on Tuesday of this past week, so we had one extra day of vacation to enjoy. It was super cold here, and we enjoyed our fireplace.  Got our yearly goals done and got right back into the swing of basketball games and pep band which will consume our life for the next 2 months :)  Take a look at our week. . .
Making goals for the new year is something very important to our family.  The beginning of each year we sit down, discuss, and write down our personal goals.  We focus on 4 areas--physical, mental, spiritual, and temporal.  We make posters of our goals and then put them up in our rooms where we can see them daily to remind us of our goals.  Got them done for this year.  Exciting to see what we can accomplish!

It has been super cold here, and we have loved using our fireplace.  Makes it extra toasty and warm.  So nice to relax in front of it and read a book.

On our last day of vacation Mr J and Ben made us buttermilk pancakes for breakfast.  Yum!  A perfect way to start the day!

And life here we come. . .basketball pep band.  Miss E playing the trombone and Miss A playing the mellophone (they are the horns with the biggest bells).  Their pep band is amazing, really loud, but amazing!

And homework here we come again.  If the kids every need help with English they come to me, with math, they know to go to their Dad.  Miss O obviously needed help with math :)

Basketball games here we come.  2nd game of the week.  Miss O shooting a free throw in a game this week that she made, and they won!  Yeah!  

On Saturday the girls went out with the sister missionaries from our Church for a few hours to serve and help teach people about Jesus Christ.  They had a great time!  So grateful for these cute missionaries and the positive influence they have on our family!  So grateful for Jesus Christ and that my girls can help share about His love with other!

Thanks for visiting!  I post (almost) every 
Monday--pictures for the week
Wednesday--a favorite recipe
Friday--random thoughts :)  This week I will be sharing my 2014 reading list on Friday, so if you need a good book for 2015 check it out!

Have a great one!

Friday, January 9, 2015

2014 family favorite books

We are big readers in our house.  Always have been.  Being the daughter of a elementary school librarian and an English major, it goes goes with the territory.  Normally each Christmas I write a newsletter and have everyone put down their favorite book for the year.  I did a different type of Christmas card this which didn't work with a newsletter, so I never got those favorite books recorded.  A dear friend wrote me and asked me what our favorites were since she is a book lover and says she always looks forward to seeing what we read, so in honor of her I asked everyone what their favorte books where this past year and am recording them here.  I am going to list my 2014 reading list next week, but until then, here is a look at my family's favorites. . .

Ben—Brandon Sanderson’s The Stormlight Archive book 2 Words of Radiance  ***be warned, these are huge, huge books, but Ben loves them.  He insists I put them on my to-read list for 2015
Jen—man, it was hard to choose a favorite. . . so here are few I really liked this year
    -Wonder by R.J. Palacio
    -Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
    -The False Prince series by Jennifer Nielsen
    -Dangerous by Shannon Hale
    -Still Alice by Lisa Genova
    -Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card
    -The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen
Abigail--The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Olivia—45 pounds (more or less) by Kelly Barson
Ella—Legend series by Marie Lu
Jesse—Tuesdays at the Castle, Wednesdays in the Tower, Thursdays with the Crown books by Jessica Day George


Happy reading in 2015!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

2014 Blue Jeans year wrap-up, beginning of 2015

Wrapping up our 2014---my oldest 2 got to go to San Antonio, TX with their high school band and play in the Alamo Bowl half-time show.  They had a great time!  So New Year's Eve was a little quieter without them here.  They were gone most of last week.  We celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary by getting away for the weekend which was so nice.  Here is a look at our end of 2014 and beginning of 2015.  Take a look. . .
The girls are all packed up and ready to head out the door to get on the bus with their high school band to go to San Antonio, TX to play in the Alamo Bowl half-time show!  

We had a pretty quiet New Year's Eve with the oldest two gone. We all enjoyed our sparkling apple cider to bring in the New Year and watched the classic movie  The Great Escape.

Ben and I got away for the weekend to celebrate our 19th anniversary a week late.  Better late than never.  We enjoyed attending the temple together on our getaway.  So beautiful at night!

They are home!  They had a great time!  It was a little cold down there, but they enjoyed it and slept a lot when they got home :) We are sure glad to have them home!

Miss A helped Mr J make some bread sticks for dinner.  They were yummy!

Thanks for visiting!  Looking forward to a great 2015!  Thanks for visiting and keeping up with our 2014!