Tuesday, September 25, 2018

It's Fall! And that means . . . Soup for Dinner!

Ahhhhh, I am so excited for Fall!
This is definitely my favorite time of year, 
but perhaps even more so this year as we had such a long Summer.

One of my favorite things about Fall is all of the yummy soup options for dinner.
I don't love spending hours in the kitchen, nor am I able to with our busy schedule, so a big pot of soup with a side of salad and bread makes me super happy!

I tend to switch off among three of our favorites:

Cheeseburger Soup 
{we're a hunting family so we *always* have a freezer full of ground venison, making this a staple during Fall and Winter months}.

Half of our family LOVES chili, half of us aren't into spicy, but still this is one that winds up on our table fairly frequently.

And finally,

Ham and Potato
Whenever we have leftover ham, I make up a pot of this soup.
It is thick and delicious, and keeps us warm and full on those crisp nights.

You will need:

8 {ish} potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup grated carrots
2 cups diced ham
6 cups chicken broth
8 Tbsps. butter (divided)
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup flour
2 cups whole milk
salt & pepper to taste

Grab a large pot, throw in 2 Tbsps. of butter, onion, and carrots. 
Sauté for a minute or two over medium heat.  
Then add peeled and cubed potatoes, ham, and chicken broth.
Bring to a boil and allow to boil for 15 minutes or so ~ 
until the potatoes are tender, then reduce heat to low.
 Meanwhile, in a large skillet {Medium Heat}, toss in the remaining 6 Tbsps. of butter 
and two cloves of garlic {finely chopped}. 
Sauté for a few minutes, then add the flour.
Once the butter/flour mixture gets bubbly, slowly add the milk. 
Once it is thickened {4-5 minutes},
add to the pot. Stir to combine.

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And then . . . ya need some bread, y'all. 
I typically make homemade bread 2-3 times a week.
If you like your bread machine, use it! 
I never could stand using mine, so I just use the old-fashioned oven.

Just remember to start the dough before the soup, 
so you'll have fresh baked bread to eat *with* dinner . . . not hours later.

Easy-Peasy Homemade Bread

You'll need:

2 Cups Warm Milk
2 Packets of Yeast
2 Tbsps. of Sugar
1 Tbsp. of Salt
3 Tbsps. of Softened Butter
5-6 Cups of Flour

Preheat oven to 350*
Throw the yeast, sugar, and warm milk into a bowl, and set aside for 5 minutes until bubbly.
Add salt, butter, and flour, and work into a dough.

Let rise for 45-60 minutes.

Dive the dough in half, shape into two loaves, and place on a large cookie sheet.
Let rise again for 30-45 minutes.

Pop in the oven at 350* for 25-35 minutes
{Ovens vary ~ mine seems to run hot, so my loaves are ready to be taken out at about 25 minutes}.

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Monday, August 20, 2018

Happy 16th Birthday, Sierra Elizabeth

Oh my my.


Hold on like, forever, while I {try to} let that sink in.

My oldest baby girl, I can hardly believe you are sixteen years old today.
How could it have been SIXTEEN YEARS AGO 
that they laid you on my chest, and said, "congratulations"?  
Sixteen years since tiny baby toes, and little newborn sounds.
In some ways it is heartbreaking to watch you grow. 
To watch you head out, navigating life more and more on your own.
In others it makes my heart burst to see all you've accomplished.
The adventures that lie ahead of you are full of excitement!

Sierra Elizabeth, you:

Love to read.
You devour a book the minute you pick it up.

Are super organized.
You make lists every day to ensure you get everything accomplished.

Are a bit of a dreamer.
Always reaching for the ideal, and hoping for the best in every situation.

Are an AWESOME helper.
If we need something done, we go to you.
You are always willing to help, no matter how large the task.

You love big, are fiercely loyal, and have a heart of gold.
And we cannot wait to see what new adventures you face in the coming year.

Love you bigger than the sky!

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Monday, June 18, 2018

Happy 7th Birthday, Taylor Grace

Happy Birthday Miss Taylor Grace!

I'm equal parts happy and sad when I look through seven years of photographs and memories.
It's so exciting to see the young lady you are becoming, but this mama also misses those teeny baby days, the tiny little feet learning to walk, and watching as you take in everything new for the first time.

Taylor Grace,

You are seven years old today!

You love the color blue.

You can play Legos with your sister, Kam, ALL.DAY.LONG

After visiting Texas you have decided you want to live there . . .
and work at Sea World
(Because Orcas are your absolute favorite!)

You are, by far, the most independent child I know.

You love animals.

You have BIG emotions:
You love fiercely and fight strongly.

God knew just what we needed when He sent you to us,
and we love you bigger than the sky!

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Friday, May 18, 2018

Annual Beach Trip 2018

We are freshly home {and unpacked, and laundered!} 
from our annual beach trip with Nana and Gramps.

It was a super quick trip this time, because life = BUSY.
But we had so so much fun!

We started the trip with a stop at Camp 18 :

For IQ games and yummy food.

And, of course, our traditional photo out front.

It was overcast, and a little chilly, but that didn't stop us from
walking the boardwalk.

There were thousands and thousands of these blue, jelly-fish-looking thingamajigs 
all over the beach.

So, obviously I googled it, and they are called: Velella Velella.
They wash up by the billions each Spring along the Oregon Coast.
They are just beautiful!

After a stroll we headed to Funland to play some games.

Then more beach combing,


And modeling ;)

We decided to come home a bit early to get a jump start on a busy weekend, 
but what fun we had!

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Thursday, April 12, 2018


The end of February we got to tag along with Jeremy on a work trip to Austin.
Since we'd never been to Texas, we thought we'd tack on a few extra days and head 
south to San Antonio ~ I'd always wanted to go, and I'm so glad we did!

~ . ~ . ~ . ~ . ~ . ~ . ~ . ~ . ~ . ~

The girls LOVE to travel.
And it's such fun, because everywhere we go, they are treated like royalty.
 The flight attendants were so sweet to them from the second we stepped on the plane. 
They even got to pass out snacks and drinks to the passengers.

Then they got special treat bags of their own.

When Jeremy wasn't in meetings we got to explore the city.
And it was just beautiful!
So colorful and vibrant, and full of rich history.
And it smelled like barbecue wherever we went! :)

We visited the University of Texas, and were awed by the beauty of the campus.
The conference put on a fabulous dinner, and we even got to go down on the field afterward.

And after thoroughly enjoying Austin, we headed to San Antonio ~
For some sunshine, more good food, and sight-seeing.

We toured the Alamo, strolled along the Riverwalk, and enjoyed local cuisine.

And we ended our trip with a visit to SeaWorld San Antonio.
What a BEAUTIFUL park!

We watched shows,

rode rides,

and made new friends.

And just like that, it was time to go home :(


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