Thursday, May 30, 2013

Yummy Potato Soup

Yesterday was a rainy day and nothing sounded better than soup. I happened to have a bunch of potatoes lying around so potato soup it would be! And Pioneer Woman's Soup no less. I started by cutting the onions. If you don't have a pair of these, don't hesitate. Get some now! They are perfect for tear free onion cutting! I felt so stylish in them I continued cutting the carrots and celery with them on. Try not to be jealous!

And here is the best part of the soup. The BACON! Mmmm... LOVE ME SOME BACON!
After the bacon is cooked and you scoop it out of the pot, try not to eat it while you cook the rest of the soup. I bet you can't resist at least one piece.

 Here is my newest kitchen gadget. Costco had it on sale and I HAD to get it! It worked so well pureeing part of the soup.
And here it is! Toped with a little sour cream, bacon, cheese and green onion! I'm actually salivating as I think of it.
 And here was the true test. The kid test!
 And here is the recipe. Pioneer Woman's recipe to be exact . . .


  • 6 slices Thin Bacon, Cut Into 1-inch Pieces
  • 1 whole Medium Onion, Diced
  • 3 whole Carrots, Scrubbed Clean And Diced
  • 3 stalks Celery, Diced
  • 6 whole Small Russet Potatoes, Peeled And Diced
  • 8 cups Low Sodium Chicken Or Vegetable Broth
  • 3 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt, More To Taste
  • Black Pepper To Taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cajun Spice Mix
  • 1 teaspoon Minced Fresh Parsley
  • 1 cup Grated Cheese Of Your Choice

Preparation Instructions

Add bacon pieces to a soup pot over medium heat and cook bacon until crisp and fat is rendered. Remove the bacon from the pot and set it aside. Pour off most of the grease, but do not clean the pot.
Return the hot to medium-high heat and add the onions, carrots, and celery. Stir and cook for 2 minutes or so, then add the diced potatoes. Cook for 5 minutes, seasoning with salt, pepper, and Cajun spice.
Pour in the broth and bring it to a gentle boil. Cook for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are starting to get tender. Whisk together the flour and the milk, then pour into the soup and allow the soup to cook for another 5 minutes.
Remove half to 2/3 the soup and blend in a blender/food process until completely smooth. Pour it back into the soup pot and stir to combine. Let it heat back up as you taste for seasonings, adding more of what it needs. Stir in cream, then stir in parsley, reserving a little for garnish.
Serve in bowls garnished with parsley, grated cheese and crisp bacon pieces.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Pooh Sticks

Every year when we go camping it's tradition to play the game "Pooh Sticks". This game comes from the classic Winnie the Pooh and is really quite a simple game, but the kids LOVE it and look forward to it every year! And truth be told, we (mom and dad), do too! To play, all you do is find a stick. Go to a nearby bridge with a river flowing underneath it. Starting at the upside of the river, everyone drops their sticks in at the same time. You then run to the other side of the bridge to see whose stick comes out on the other side first. The first stick to show up on the other side is the winner!
So here we are doing our first round of Pooh Sticks. This was the first time that Piglet was really involved and it was a lot of fun to watch her discover the excitement of this game.
 Here they are waiting for their sticks to come out on the other side.

 And here is our winner!
 Look how excited she was! LOVE IT!
 Even Porkchop was SUPER excited!
But shortly after our first couple rounds of Pooh Sticks, Piglet found a nearby field of buttercups and had to stop to smell the flowers. 
 She's our free spirit . . . or should I say strong willed!
 These really are silly traditions, but we LOVE them and look forward to them EVERY year! I only hope that my kids don't become to "cool" for Pooh Sticks!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

A New Camera Lens

My hubby got me a new camera lens for my birthday! I have had the stock lens that came with my camera for a long time now and have wanted a nicer lens for a long while now. I am pretty happy with this little lens. It does a really great job of blurring the background when I want it to, allowing for my focal point to stand out. So here is what I did today, in no particular order. 

I'm still learning how to use it!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Indoctrination in Common Core ELA Texts

After watching this video attached, I do not know where to even begin. I think all parents should be very aware of the Common Core standard whether you're public school or not. If you do public school, please take the time to watch this and check with your school to see whats really being taught. We are getting ourselves deeper and deeper into a mentality that the government knows better than us as parents in what and how to educate our children. And in what is shown in this video, by putting in "suggested answers" they are creating a new generation of an indoctrinated "herd", if you will. But you can decide for yourself!

Common Core

Monday, May 20, 2013

Dutch Oven Cornbread

Best Ever Cornbread
So as Memorial Weekend approaches and we are preparing for our annual "campout" I was reminded of a recipe I used last year and I never posted about it. It's this AMAZING cornbread that we did in the dutch oven. This stuff is sooooo good! It tastes like honey, but there isn't any honey it. We served it with chili and it was PERFECT! If you are looking for a low fat, low sugar recipe than turn away, because this isn't it! But once you make it, I promise, you won't be disappointed. Now we did it in the dutch oven but I'm sure you could make it in an oven as well. I'd say maybe 350 for the same amount of time should do nicely. Try it out and let me know what you think!

Best Ever Cornbread

1cup butter; melted2cups cornmeal
4eggs; beaten3cups all-purpose flour
3cups milk4tsp. baking powder
2cups sugar1tsp. salt

In a large bowl mix together butter, eggs, and milk. In a separate bowl sift together sugar, cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients 1 cup at a time until well blended. Spoon cornbread mixture into a lightly greased 12" Dutch oven and spread evenly.
Cover Dutch oven and bake using 8-10 briquettes bottom and 14-16 briquettes top for 45 minutes or until cornbread turns golden brown.
NOTE: For even browning make sure to turn the oven and lid 1/4 turn in opposite directions every 10 minutes.
Serve warm with honey butter.
Serves: 10-12

*recipe found here

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Uh Oh Jar and Blessings Jar

So here is another attempt at making our home run smoother. I have made up these 2 little jars. One is an Uh-oh jar and a blessings jar. If I find a child acting up, being disrespectful, fighting, tattling, etc. they get to pick a slip from the uh-oh jar. These slips contain chores that I might need to be done around the house, mainly ones that I don't want to do. If they complain about having to get a chore from the uh-oh jar, they get another one and will continue to get more chores the more they complain! Crossing my fingers that this works!
And as to not be a complete negative nelly, I decided to do a blessings jar as well. These are for times when I notice one of the kids being extra good. Inside this jar are little rewards, like a piece of gum, chocolate, extra computer time, etc. 
I'm hoping this will make me notice more of the positive things my kids do and not just focus on the negative.  
Wish us luck!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Math Help for the Homeschooler AND Public Schooler

So a Zumba friend of mine, who happens to be a public school teacher, gave me a great resource tip. It's a FREE website called xtramath. It's a website dedicated to drilling those basic math facts that are so very important. 
So here's what you do! You go the website and click the sign up button. After filling in just a couple items of info you then can add each child separately where they will receive their own pin number. After signing up, your child can go in and do an assessment to establish a proper beginning point. After that they go in and start doing drills. They are timed and the website will chart their progress to show if they are improving. The kids can see this chart and enjoy watching the graph move upwards and it pushes them to do better so the graph doesn't fall. You as a parent or teacher can also monitor their progress. 
For a FREE program it's pretty great! If your kids are anything like mine and LOVE computer time, this is a great program. You might be surprised when your kids ask if they can do xtramath on a regular basis! Here is the link

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Sloppy Janes

Here's a new favorite recipe of ours. It's a twist on the classic sloppy joe. Easier on the waistline by using ground turkey instead of ground beef. And don't worry you don't miss out on any flavor. Even my son ate these after sitting there for 15 mins with me trying to convince him it wasn't poisoned.  
So here you go! Super simple and Super delicious!


  • tablespoons olive oil
  • pounds ground turkey
  • tablespoon garlic powder
  • tablespoon onion powder
  • tablespoon smoked paprika
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • cloves garlic, grated
  • green bell peppers, diced
  • large onion, finely diced
  • (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 14 ounces tomato puree
  • cup ketchup
  • tablespoons brown sugar
  • tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • tablespoons cider vinegar
  • tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 24 small potato rolls, lightly toasted


In a large skillet, add the olive oil and ground turkey, sprinkle with the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt and pepper and cook, breaking up with the back of a wooden spoon or potato masher, until the meat is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, bell peppers and onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes.
Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato puree, ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens up, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve warm on toasted potato rolls.(we used hamburger buns)
*recipe by Kelsey Nixon on

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mothers Day

I hope everyone had an amazing mothers day! Hopefully you were pampered and loved on as much as I was whether you have children or not, but just because you are a woman and that makes you amazing! And if you weren't, make sure you recognize your own awesomeness and go do something for yourself. Happy late mothers day to all you fabulous women out there!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Cupcakes-The Reason for the Lack of Posts

Here's the reason for my absence! 300+cupcakes. 
I'm pretty sure I will need to do double workouts this week to make up for all the taste testing I "had" to do. 
Here's the flavor break down. 
The white and turquoise frosted cakes are white cake with organic strawberry filling and a white chocolate buttercream.
The coral colored cakes are peach with actual white flesh peach pieces inside the cake and then a brown sugar cream cheese frosting.
The chocolate is well . . . chocolate. I'm pretty sure the name should be death by chocolate or at the very least have a warning label stating that these could produce a chocolate induced coma. They are chocolate cake with a chocolate ganache filling and then an incredibly rich chocolate frosting. 
As for what went the fastest . . . the mini cupcakes in all flavors. I think everyone wanted to try all the flavors, so they would just take one of each of the mini cupcakes. Personally, I LOVED the chocolate, because I have a slight addiction to chocolate, but the peach was pretty good . . . in my humble opinion, of course!

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Today Porkchop accomplished a major milestone! He learned to ride his bike without training wheels. It's so crazy how quickly he picked it up. We took off his training wheels and pedals on Sunday just so he could scoot around and get used to the balance. Today he told his dad, "maybe we should put the petals back on." Then he thought about it and said, "maybe not. We can do it another day." Then a couple seconds later, "Let's put them back on now!" His little vocalized thought process with a hint of anxiety was pretty cute! So my hubby put them back on and within maybe 2 minutes he was off and running. I guess not running . . . more like riding.

And look how pleased he was with himself. So proud. I tried to convince him he was able to do it because he ate all his dinner, but he didn't believe me.
*side note: Porkchop NEVER wants to eat dinner unless it's pasta with sauce and cheese, pizza, mac and cheese . . . the kraft variety, dinosaur chicken nuggets, or sandwiches. So when he ate all his Sloppy Jane for dinner, after quiet a bit of coaxing, we were pretty pleased and tried to convince him that's why he rode his bike so well. I'm very sad he didn't believe me!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

So the other day we were lucky to have our friends come and stay with us on their way out to go on a cruise. However, they had to leave at around 5:00 in the morning. For anyone who knows me, I DO NOT wake up that early. Not for anyone, doesn't matter who you are! I love ya, but it's just not right in my mind to be up that early! :) So in order for them to have some sort of breakfast on their way out the door in the morning I made some muffins that they could grab if they wanted. I decided to go with lemon blueberry. Mmmm....lemon and blueberry! Sooooo goooood!!!! 
I had heard or read somewhere that someone used dried blueberries in their muffins so I decided to give it a go. I ended up liking using the dry because I didn't have to be as careful folding them in so my batter wouldn't turn purple, but they still gave plenty of flavor.

So here is the recipe I went with adapted from
    Muffin Ingredients:
  • streusel topping (see ingredients below)
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen (I used dried)
  • 2 cups + 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 7 Tbsp. milk
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. loosely-packed lemon zest
  • (I added a few drops of doTerra's lemon oil to the batter as well)
  • Stresuel Topping Ingredients:
  • 2 Tbsp. melted butter, slightly cooled
  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup raw sugar ( i didn't have raw sugar so I just used all granulated and I thought they turned out fine)
  • (I also added a little lemon zest to the tops fo the muffins when the came out of the oven)

Friday, May 3, 2013

A Little Taste of Paris and Cuddles

For the longest time I have been driving past this little French Bakery and for longest time didn't even see that it was there. Then all of a sudden while sitting at a stop light I saw it! This beautiful little gem. I had to go in! And look what I found! These little beauties. Hmm... How could I pick? So I went with what I had in Paris . . .
 Pan au chocolat! Don't be confused by the sign that says chocolate croissant. They are one in the same . . .TASTY!!! If I could I would eat there every morning, have a croissant and a hot chocolate, and then look at pictures of Paris on my IPad and pretend I was still there. Alas, my waistline probably couldn't handle that, even with all the zumba classes and hot hula that I frequently enjoy.
 And on a completely different note, look how we found these two. Piglet is completely wedged in a corner. Two cute kiddos . . . but then again I'm pretty partial!

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