Sunday, December 11, 2016

Chicken Tortilla Soup

I have another yummy (and SUPER easy) soup recipe!!  

I thought I pinned a recipe online for this soup....Chicken Tortilla Soup. But, then I couldn't find anything even close to what I thought it was when I went to look for it. So....I just threw a bunch of stuff in the crock pot and it turned out SO GOOD! Seriously, I told Brandon before eating it, "Ummm, let me taste it first...just in case it's not very good!!" But it was so yummy!!

Here's the EASY recipe:

1 can of white meat chicken (This is the EASY way...I completely forgot to thaw out a chicken breast, but you could always cook one in your crockpot and then shred it and add the ingredients to it. Still easy, but you have to plan ahead.)

1 box of chicken broth (The big box...let's be real here, I can't remember the ounces.)

1 packet of taco seasoning

1 small bag of frozen corn

1 can of Rotel

1 can of White Northern Beans (or your favorite bean)

1 block of cream cheese

Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Tortilla Chips

Now, here are the instructions:

Throw everything except the Cheddar Cheese and Tortilla Chips in the crockpot. Cook on high for 3 hours. Stir occasionally to break up the cream cheese. I used a whisk to really break it up. I knew, for sure, my kids would freak out if they saw the chunks of white cheese in it.

When it's done cooking, put in a bowl and top with the shredded cheese and Tortilla Chips. You can add other toppings too. Like sour cream or Avocado. Ohhh, that would be so good.

Here's the best part. My. Kids. Ate. It. Even the beans. And the tomato chunks. Really.


But, unfortunately, we scarfed it up too fast for a picture. We seriously thought it was just going to be a ho hum soup. Ahh! It was so good!


Monday, September 26, 2016

Cheeseburger Soup - A Fall Favorite

It's been for-ev-er, my friends.  Let's face is hectic.  And, documenting every. single. detail.

Not possible for this life we're living.

But, fall has arrived.

It's my favorite.  Fall is my favorite.

Shorter days.  Cooler {hopefully to stay} days.

And, as our days are filled with the busy hustle and bustle of the first months of school, ball games, practices, homework, and running around doing everything that families like ours are doing in this {cra-zy} stage of life, I am still finding time to do something I love.


This fall {all 3 days of it}, I am in love with soups.  Today it was finally cool enough to have one of our favorites.

Cheeseburger Soup.

This Cheeseburger Soup, well, it's hearty.  It's creamy.  And, it's absolutely amazing.

Here's what you need:

1 lb of hamburger
1/2 cup of diced carrots
1/2 cup of diced celery
1/4 cup of onion
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon basil
2-3 cans of chicken broth (again, this depends on how 'thick' you want your soup or if you want it more soupy)
2 large potatoes, diced
5 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup of flour (this makes your soup a little thicker)
1 1/2 cups of milk (we use 1%)
2-3 cups of shredded cheddar cheese or Velveeta (we like it cheesy at our house, but if you'd like it a little more soupy, you can do less cheese!)

This is how easy this recipe is:

1. Fry up the hamburger and set aside.

2. In the same pan you cooked the hamburger in, throw in 1 tablespoon of butter and the diced carrots, celery, and onion.  Add the parsley and basil and mix it all up.

3. In a larger saucepan, combine the hamburger, cooked veggies, diced potatoes, and the chicken broth.  Bring to a boil.

3. In a smaller saucepan, melt the rest of the butter (4 tablespoons) with the flour.

4. Add the butter/flour mixture to the larger saucepan (stir it in), along with the milk and cheese.

5. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes (or as longer if time long as the potatoes are cooked how you like them, you can let it simmer for a couple hours if you need to or eat it right away!)

Five steps!  That's it!!

This is Brandon's pic.  Not professional.  That's just how we roll. 

We had our soup with some french bread...but, this would be SO good with a bread bowl or homemade rolls!!

Happy Fall, you guys!

And, thanks to my hubby, who took a picture and gave me a shout out on Facebook for my soup.  Ha!  I just hope everyone enjoys it as much as we do!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The City Museum - St. Louis

We had so much fun in St. Louis over Spring Break.

It was kind of a whirlwind trip.  Four days of going, going, going.

With cousins.

And one sick kid. {More on that later.}

We ate good food and explored the city of St. Louis.

We had many adventures...

But our favorite was The City Museum.

So, I thought I better share it.  Before my mush brain forgets.

If you've never been to The City Museum and you have kids between the ages of 4 and 40, you need to go!

I think the pictures do the talking, but this place is AWESOME.  Really.

Brandon even enjoyed it.

I have never seen anything like it.  You can climb, scoot, or crouch your way through  tunnels, caves, and slides.  Some of them are like, seriously, 30 feet in the air.  It was heaven for these boys...and the dads too.

Andrew and I scooted through this tunnel...WAY up high!  And, I swear it got more narrow the further we went.  Andrew just kept saying.  Mom, don't look down.  Don't look down.

And, Parker....he went out on this thing.  I think it was an old airplane that was barely hanging on.  Made my heart leap!

We loved the entire museum, but the outside section was our favorite part.  There is also a rooftop...luckily, for this momma, it was closed.  

After lunch, I didn't even get the camera out...we were having too much fun.  What I didn't catch was the half pipe the kids could run up and hang from.  The rope swing.  The giant tops to sit and spin in. The art section.  The 'circus'.  The hidden caves.  The giant slides. {Which I don't think I could find my way to!}

You have got to check it out.  We will be going again soon!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

keeping them safe

This past weekend, we were faced with a parenting challenge that I didn't expect to happen for at least a few more years.  Parker was told something at school about the Internet and then he tried to find it himself once he was home.  Luckily, his dad is VERY smart about Internet safety and prohibiting this kind of stuff from entering our home, that Parker's iPod blocked it from displaying the context of the website he tried to find.  Unfortunately, the next day, when some friends were over, they tried it on another iPod that wasn't ours.  And although our friends had the iPod set to 'strict' in the settings, they still saw something completely inappropriate.  What they saw was NOT something you want your 8 year old boys to view...let alone the two 5 year old little brothers that were hanging out with them.  Luckily, Parker took one glimpse and threw it on the ground...just as his brother was running up the stairs to tell mom and dad what the boys were looking at.

Since this moment, I've been reassured by many moms that it's normal for kids to be curious...for kids to do what the older kids at school are telling them to do.  But, I feel like it's my job to educate my boys - between the right and wrong of the Internet and also what's appropriate for them.  Since this moment, Brandon and I have talked with Parker about what happened and Parker agrees that if he'd known what was going to pop up on that iPod, he wouldn't have typed in those words to the Google search.  He was embarrassed...sad...and just as upset as we were that it happened.

So, this morning, as my mind was considering whether to share this with the world, or not, I read 'the hands free momma' blog {something I haven't done for months} and it hit home on this very same topic.

Please read this and share her words with your kids.

So, I wanted to make sure I shared it.  YOU GUYS - we have GOT to keep our kids safe from the disturbing side of the Internet.  Make sure you've got settings in place to keep your kids safe, not only from instances like we just had, but also from chat rooms, Internet bullying, etc.  If you need help with this, let me know and I'll have Brandon write some instructions on this blog to help you.

Also, we need to educate our kiddos.  They need to know what is safe.  That we want them to be safe.  That they can come to us with any questions they might have.  They can tell us when they don't feel safe.  Even if they think they will get in trouble, we will help them.

Now, I know our situation here was small in scale to what's out there.  But, it scared me.  Kids are smart.  Older kids influence our young ones.  And even older kids influence the kids older than ours.  The Internet can be an awesome place to learn and explore, but it also puts some pretty awful, disturbing, and gross things at the fingertips of our kids.

Please take a moment to check your iPods, computers, and iPads, and phones.  Take a few minutes and talk to your kids about Internet safety.  Print off the Hands Free Momma's words and read them to your kids.

Parenting is hard enough....luckily we can do some things to make it easier on us and protect our kids.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Renewed Energy

Whew!  Ya'll - a move to a new place can really zap the energy out of a girl.  For me, it changed me a lot.

I mean, it's been 7 months since we moved and I am JUST NOW figuring all of this new out.

And, for some reason, today, I feel like writing.

Maybe it's because the kids are playing together quietly.

Maybe it's because our new little pup, went to hang out with grandma today. {More about our new pup in another post.}

Maybe it's because the sun is shining. {Can't tell you how much I love this.}

Maybe it's because my heart is feeling especially full right now. {I'll explain later.}

Maybe it's because we had one heck of a week last week. {Another day, my friends, another day.}

Maybe it's because we have Valentine's Day coming up and school parties this afternoon. {I LOVE the kid's Valentine's this year!}

Maybe it's because I finally caught up on the giant stack of mail laying next to my computer.

I'm not sure why today is the day, but here I am starting at this blank screen with so much to tell you but I can't figure out where to start.  Maybe I'll figure it out by tomorrow.

For months I've struggled with this little blog of mine.  Wondering if anyone ever even read it.  Wondering if I should remove it.  Wondering if it mattered.

But, my heart keeps telling me not to.  To keep it around.  It holds many memories for me.  {Which sounds strange, but seriously, one of my favorite things to do is go back and read about all of the events that I thought worthy of writing about on this blog.}

And then, today, something fun happened.  I logged into Blogger {for the first time in months} and looked at our 'stats' page.  To my surprise, people were still reading.  Still checking in.  Still pinning recipes and birthday party ideas and other things. Just this week the blog had more than 4,000 views.  I haven't written anything since November.  I'm not sure why this surprised me, but it did.

4,000 views in one week may not seem like a lot to some of you seasoned bloggers, but my blog gets maybe 100 views a day.  It surprised me that people were still wanting my meatball recipe and my whole wheat chocolate chip banana muffin recipe.  People were still wanting ideas for a Wipeout birthday party and wanting to know how to make a Pop Rocks Valentine.  People were still Googling 'how to help your child with speech delays' and 'Minecraft birthday ideas'.

The Internet is a crazy place, my friends.  I have a love-hate relationship with it.  I start reading and writing and I get sucked in.  It takes me to a new place.  Sometimes it's a good place and sometimes it's a not-so-good place.  Like when I start comparing myself to every other mom on Facebook...that's not good.  When I start shopping and I won't stop until I find the best deal on earth...not so good. When I pin and pin and pin, only to make myself feel bad for not cooking a huge, healthy dinner for my family every night.

But, this blog of mine.  This is good.  This makes me feel good.  It's one of my happy places.  Maybe it's even my therapist.  My hobby.  It's a treasure chest full of my memories.  And, I feel like maybe it holds a piece of my future.

Going forward, this little corner of my life is getting some renewed energy.  It may not make me famous or popular, but it's a part of me, and as long as I have access to it and a mind to think up new thoughts, I'm going to take advantage of it.

I'll keep you posted, but for now, I'm excited.  Excited about all that I can write and share with my friends, family, and anyone else interested in what I have to say.  I'm taking this renewed energy and running with it!

Happy {early} Valentine's Day!