Friday, March 20, 2009

Meatball Soup

I got this recipe from a friend from church, Kelly. I modified it a bit....and we all really love it! It's easy to make the meatballs ahead of time if you need to, or even make a big batch and freeze them to make soup whenever you get the urge. Note: The soup may thicken up substantially on the second day.....if it's too thick, just add more broth and a little more Italian seasoning when re-heating it.


1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 T. dried minced onions
1 minced garlic clove
2 t. dried basil
1/2 t. each salt and pepper
1 large beaten egg
1 pound ground turkey (or beef)

Mix all ingredients and shape into 1-inch balls. Makes about four dozen. Bake at 350 degrees until browned, about 12-15 minutes.

2 T. olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2-3 stalks celery, chopped
1 lb. carrots, sliced thinly
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups chicken broth (or beef broth)
1 (28 oz) can canned crushed tomatoes in puree
1 T. Italian seasoning
1/2 t. salt and pepper, or to taste
2 cups dry pasta (whatever desired shape - I used whole wheat penne)

In a large stock pan, saute onion, celery, carrots, and garlic in olive oil. When veggies are slightly tender, add broth, crushed tomatoes, and spices. Bring soup to a simmer over medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes. Then add meatballs and pasta and simmer until pasta is done.
Serve with additional Parmesan cheese on top, if desired.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Cinnamon Raisin Biscuits

Many thanks to Tammy's Recipes for this delightful breakfast (or anytime) treat! I made these for MOPS and they were very popular. I'll definitely make them again for my family to enjoy.
The biscuits are fine by themselves, but this cinnamon frosting really makes them wonderful. In fact, I could just eat the bowl of frosting without the biscuits. Probably not in my best interest, but mighty tasty.


1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 cup butter
1/2-1 cup milk (use less for hand-made biscuits; more for drop biscuits)
1 cup raisins
Frosting (optional....okay, not really)

Preheat oven to 450.
Mix together flours, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
Cut in butter until pea-sized.
Add enough milk for consistency.
Add raisins and shape into biscuits.
Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet or jelly roll pan.
Bake for 10-13 minutes. While baking, make the frosting.

Cinnamon frosting for biscuits:
3 Tablespoons softened butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
2-3 Tablespoons milk

Mix together softened butter and cinnamon. Add powdered sugar and stir. Add about 2-3 Tablespoons of milk and beat with electric mixer on HI for a minute or until light and fluffy. Spread over slightly cooled biscuits.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Where Should the Kitty Sleep?

Marissa(3) has a new favorite pastime....pretending she's a cat.

We don't own a cat and never will, due to extreme allergies on my part, and in general, the kids seem to prefer dogs anyways, but Marissa is definitely drawn to cats, both stuffed and real.

She and Corban(5) love to play their own version of "House", (which I can't exactly figure out, by the way, but they both know precisely what to do) in which often times Marissa is being a cat, while Corban is either a dog chasing her or her owner. Sometimes both. Like I said, it's a little hard to figure out.

All that to say, Marissa is frequently crawling around the house meowing, rubbing up against me, pawing at me, and so on. It's really quite pesky, for lack of a better word.

So today, when she was supposed to be getting down for a nap, I went in to her room to close her blinds and saw this.

Apparently she's decided that the storage section of her toddler train bed (hand-me-down from Corban) makes a lovely "Kitty Bed" and is very "comfortable", especially with her blanket and a little pillow. She just curled up in there and meowed. That's the reason her face looks so funny in the above picture....she's meowing.

She wanted to remain in there for the duration of her naptime......but mean old mommy insisted that she get on the mattress instead. Can't have her getting a crick in her neck, you know.

But I have to admit, she's pretty darn cute!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Macaroni and Cheese Dinner

This is one of my family's very favorite dinners. It's easy, quick, inexpensive, and just plain yummy. It may not be the healthiest food in the world, but I've done my best to add nutrition without compromising the taste that we love. It works out just fine using one pound of meat....but Grant definitely likes it if I add another half-pound. It's really up to you.


1 - 1-1/2 lbs ground turkey (93/7) - or ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1/2 t. garlic salt
1 t. chili powder
1 t. cumin
13.25 oz box whole wheat macaroni (or any pasta you prefer)
1 lb. Velveeta Light (or regular) - cut into cubes
1/2 cup milk, or more if desired
1 can Rotel-style tomatoes, drained

Start by getting macaroni cooking, as directed on box. While that's going, brown meat with onion. While cooking, sprinkle with garlic salt, chili powder, and cumin. Drain if desired (with this lean of meat, I don't always have anything to drain off.....use your own discretion!).
When macaroni is done, drain. In the same pot you cooked the macaroni it, pour the Velveeta cubes and milk. Stir constantly over a low heat until melted. Remove from heat and add cooked macaroni, Rotel tomatoes, and cooked meat. Stir until everything is coated with cheese. Serve immediately!

This serves my family of two adults and three young children at least two dinners, plus some leftovers for a lunch or two. And we're hearty eaters.

Friday, March 6, 2009

18 Months Old

Annika is 18-months old today and I wanted to share photos of her identifying body parts, taken on March 2. 2009.

Showing off her teeth

Good old eye poke

Her nose, obviously. She loves pressing noses.

She's starting to grab her ear here.....can't really tell, but I promise, it's true.

Cute little tongue.




And cheeks.

She identifies more, but I didn't get pictures of everything.

We're pretty nuts about this girl.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Out of the Mouths of Babes....

Interview with Marissa, age 3, and Corban, age 5.

1. What is something mom always says to you?
M: Thank you when I give you a kiss.
C: Do your schoolwork!

2. What makes mom happy?
M: When I obey you. And also Corban needs to obey you too.
C: When I help her.

3. What makes mom sad?
M: When we leave. That makes me sad too.
C: When one of her friends died. (me: When did one of my friends die? Corban: I mean, it could make you sad)

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
M: Tickle me.
C: By tickling.

5. What was your mom like as a child?
M: I don't know.
C: I don't know.

6. How old is your mom?
M: 4
C: 30

7. How tall is your mom?
M: About 40 feet pounds.
C: All you could say is pretty big.

8.What is her favorite thing to do?
M: Go to the Gills' house.
C: Hug me.

9. What does your mom do when you're not around?
M: She makes dinner.
C: Look for me!

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
M: A Daddy.
C: I don't know.

11. What is your mom really good at?
M: Soccer, baseball, catching. (I have no idea where she came up with this answer. I rarely play soccer with the kids....and never played it as a youngster......and I haven't swung a bat since I was probably 10. And we never watch sports on tv either.)
C: Cooking, eating her breakfast, and making pictures.

12. What is your mom not very good at?
M: Umm, I don't know.
C: Fixing things.

13. What does your mom do for her job?
M: Make dinner.
C: Cooking, taking care of the kids.

14. What's your mom's favorite food?
M: Macaroni and cheese.
C: Ummm...that one's a hard one. Burgers and french fries from McDonalds?

15. What makes you proud of your mom?
M: obey you.
C: I'm happy that you make very very good food.

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?
M: Huh???
C: A clown.

17. What do you and your mom do together?
M: Make cookies, make muffins, make banana bread.
C: Schoolwork, play games against each other.

18. How are you and your mom the same?
M: My lips are pink and your lips are pink.
C: Our skin is the same, we're both very nice.

19. How are you and your mom different?
M: Your eyes are green, and mine aren't. They're brown, just like my Daddy's.
C: You're better at cooking than I am. Mommy has more money than I do.

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
M: You tell me you love me.
C: Because you give me kisses and hugs....and sometimes even sugars. ("Sugars" are when I kiss over their faces really fast, especially around their jawbones and chins where they seem to be really ticklish....okay, that sounds kinda weird....but they think it's hysterical and absolutely love it)

21. Where is your mom's favorite place to go?
M: The park.
C: To a wedding!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Great Laugh

Video taken on March 2, 2009
There's just nothing like the laugh of a baby/toddler. Priceless.

Last night Annika (18 months) and Grant had an exchange I found highly amusing. Grant was getting her ready for bed and before he got her pajamas on her, she started bolting down the hallway. He caught her and told her she needed to obey, that he was the boss. As he laid her on the changing table, he asked,

"Annika, who's the boss?"

She looked up at him quizzically.

He prompted, "You're supposed to answer, 'Daddy'".

"So, Annika, who's the boss?"

She smiled. "Mama."

Monday, March 2, 2009

Three Cheers for Snow!!

It finally happened! After months of winter, several forecasts of snow that resulted in exactly nothing, and a weekend full of rain, we woke up this morning to see a blanket of white over the neighborhood. Oh, the excitement!
The kids could barely make it through their pancake breakfast (one of their favorites), they just couldn't wait to get outside.
I was going to do homeschooling first...and wait for it to warm up just a bit....but ended up deciding it wasn't going to be worth the stress and we should just get outside. Good decision.
It was frigidly cold....and the snow was powdery and it wasn't good for too much, really. Our hands were all freezing despite our gloves and mittens in just minutes....but we had some fun anyways.

Monty the Wonderdog ferociously attacking a fallen branch in the excitement.

Oh Baby.....Annika (almost 18 months) didn't know what to think about her first look at snow and was not happy about it sticking to her mittens. Her little nose was bright red and all she wanted to do was go down the slide, but I wouldn't let her because she would just get covered in snow.

Here she is trying to get up the ladder to the slide.....which she can almost do by herself in warm weather, but with those slippery rungs, it wasn't happening.

Marissa (3) was nothing but happy. She didn't complain at all.

Corban (5) was thrilled initially, but wound up disappointed that we couldn't do much with the snow. Sorry, buddy. He did enjoy eating "snow granola bars"......his very own creation.

The kids were very proud of our pitiful excuse for a snowman. Seriously, this was the best we could do! That snow wouldn't stick for anything, except to our gloves. And when I left it unattended for a moment to get the carrot and raisins, Monty came over and tried to eat it. Goofy dog.

I think the best part of it all was the hot chocolate I made afterwards! Well, that and it's just fun to see snow. We see it so infrequently around here. Corban almost got teary-eyed when I told him it would melt in a couple of days. It's supposed to be in the 60's this weekend! That's Virginia weather for you.

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