Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Chicken Asparagus Yum

What to make for dinner?  I swear the hardest thing I do all day is figure out what's for dinner.  Sometimes I just start throwing things together.  Sometimes it turns out so so and sometimes it turns out really great.  Tonight's was a really great one.  And super easy plus used seasonal asparagus, which is just starting to grow here plus I had some from our recent Bountiful Basket offering (if you've never heard of Bountiful Baskets, check out the awesome produce you can get for an affordable amount at  As usual, I was in a hurry and didn't take pictures along the way plus we had dinner before I took a picture.  It's delicious enough to tell you about it anyway......Plus my daughter Doylenn was on the phone with me and we were talking about dinner and when I told her what I was making, she said she had the ingredients so she made it too.  She is the one who named it.

Chicken Asparagus Yum

I sprayed my 9x13 baking pan with olive oil cooking spray
Layered 2.5 pounds of frozen chicken breasts in bottom of pan
Covered that with the asparagus spears with the tough ends snapped away about a pound and a half
Poured 2 cans of cream of chicken soup over the top
Sprinkled with Rosemary Garlic McCormick Seasoning
Sprinkled seasoned breadcrumbs (I have a big can of Progresso Brand) over the top

Cover with foil and bake for about an hour at 375 degrees.  

It was done at that point and the asparagus was a bit brighter in color.  However, irrigating on the ranch takes time and hubby Paul wanted to irrigate before dinner, so I decreased the oven to 300 degrees and let it remain in the oven for about 45 more minutes.  

It was so moist and seasoned.  The soup sauce was great gravy on some instant mashed potatoes.

I'm thrilled to have some leftovers for both dinner tomorrow night and Paul's lunch tomorrow, plus I think I can freeze another lunch container for a future lunch.  

Monday, April 28, 2014

9 unexpected effects of homeschooling

We are about to wrap up our first year of homeschooling and I'm pleased to say it has been a success so far. Harlee has learned so much this year and I'm so proud of what she has done, but I have learned even more!  And we are both so ready for summer! So in my short stent of homeschooling (so far) here are a few things I didn't see coming at us.

1) If I make my children get dressed they ask where we are going.

I tell the girls to get dressed everyday, half the time they come out in summer dresses in the winter or in different pajamas than they wore to bed.  It's when I pick out proper seasonal clothing that are appropriate to wear in public that they start to interrogate me.

2) My yoga pants get quickly worn out, without ever making it to yoga.

Right after you order your homeschool curriculum you might as well stock up on yoga pants, they are more important than new pencils. Come on now, all the homeschool moms are doing it.

3) After moving to a new state it was actually easier to meet people and make friends compared to life before homeschool.

I have found a fantastic homeschool group that does a lot of cool things together. We have P.E. together and co-ops and all kinds of fabulous things. It's a lot of fun and I have met some fabulous ladies that are know-it-alls in all things homeschool.  (And not the annoying show-off-I'm-bettter-than-you kind of know-it-all either.)

4) Exasperating questions from strangers.

General curiosity I can handle, but please don't look at me in horror, ask me how in the world my children will ever learn to stand in line, especially while we are standing in line at the grocery store.  Clearly we are here on a field trip to learn how to stand in line and all the groceries are just for the heck of it.  We don't actually need milk and toilet paper. (Yes, this has happened to me...twice.)

Besides I have two children not one, we do stand in line practice for exactly 27 minutes every Friday, see my schedule?

8:45am give pet fish a bath
9:00am standing in line practice
9:27am pin things on pinterest
9:30am brush teeth while eating an Oreo

I know, I know you're looking at my Friday morning thinking about how ridiculous it is that I only spend 3 minutes on Pinterest; I mean is that even possible!?!

5) How much it costs.

First,  I pay taxes for public school and then I have to buy a curriculum and supplies for my children and for me as the teacher.  Even more money for science experiments and homeschool group projects and activities, and don't forget the yoga pants.

6) My house is always a mess.

Dusting has been replaced by phonics and vacuuming has been replaced by math. Science experiments have taken over my sewing time and TeachersPayTeachers has replaced working on my blog and writing my book.

7) I have lots of time to fold laundry.

Math time is laundry folding time.  Harlee needs me to be near her but not hovering, so I sit by her and fold lots and lots of laundry. The house might be a mess but at least I have clean yoga pants.

8) It is so so hard.

Most parents teach their kids their colors and how to count to ten. That's not so hard.  This is not like that.  Not even close. I'm teaching my 5 year old fractions and phonics while teaching my three year old number recognition and letter sounds, or on some days just to please leave her sister alone so at least one of them can learn. And try to not let our house end up on a FaBreze commercial all at the same time.

9) How worth it it is.

I get to watch my children learn everyday.  I know what they are learning and I can teach them in a way that they learn best. Harlee gets good grades all the time.  If she doesn't, then it's my fault for not teaching her better or spending more time on a topic.  We say the Pledge of Allegiance and we study the Bible every single day.  It might be the hardest thing I have ever done, but it's also one of the best, and I wouldn't change it for the world.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Asparagus Parmesan

I love asparagus! Growing up in the salad bowl of California (Salinas Valley), I grew up eating an abundance of fresh vegetables. My family's dairy was surrounded by agricultural fields. Needless to say there was a vegetable of some sort on our dinner table every night! Now living in Colorado, when the water hits the ditch, I'm out walking in the fields picking the wild asparagus that pops up in the warm summer months! So nice having it all summer long. This recipe is a delicious way to change asparagus up and bring it to a new level of great flavor! I mean.. hello... there's cheese and butter on it... you can't go wrong there! So set your oven to 375 degrees and let's do this! Cheers! 

Yummy Goodness!

Asparagus Parmesan

1 pound of Asparagus
2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1/2 Cup Parmesan
1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 Teaspoon Pepper
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Melted Butter 

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Wash and prep your asparagus by cutting 1-2 inches off the bottom. Drizzle olive oil on a baking sheet and lay asparagus in pan. Sprinkle spices starting with parmesan then garlic powder, salt & pepper. Drizzle melted butter evenly over everything. Place in oven and bake for about 15-20 minutes until golden. Baking times depend on size of stems.

*You can use canned parmesan or even better fresh grated parmesan & romano mixed as a delicious combination.*

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Daisy Girl Scouts responsible for what I say and do (orange petal)

I'm a Girl Scout co-leader. I kind of fell into this job by default.  When I signed Harlee up for Girl Scouts I was told they needed more parent volunteers.  I happily signed up for that job.  I like being involved in her life.  And I couldn't imagine just dropping her off at Girl Scouts and picking her up later without knowing if her leaders are legit or not.

Then it turned into Harlee's troop needed a co-leader or there would be no troop. 

I was the only parent volunteer for her troop.

And that my friends in how a (co-)leader is born.

I have a vision of myself being leader next year, and the next and the next and the next, and basically forever, or til my girls don't want to be Girl Scouts anymore, whichever comes first.

A mom has got to do what a mom has got to do.

At our last meeting we earned our responsible for what I say and do petal.  It's the orange one. It was pretty fun!  Most of what I could find online involved making a chore chart and having the parents report back on how well the girls did their chores.

Sooooo not my job.  I have my own children to wrangle into doing chores.

While I was looking I saw the idea of decorating bags and then the girls can use their bags to be responsible for their own things.  And my mom (Honey Badger Carol), decided to embroider all the girls names on bags and GIVE them to our troop.  She even did one for Cheyenne and surprised me by doing one for me and the other leader.

I guess I'm going to have to stop calling her the meanest mommy in the world.

No, changed my mind.  I'm not going to stop; she is mean.  Like super duper mean.   She does lots of mean uhmmmm, I'll have to get back to you on that...but trust me, she is mean.

So my mom did the bags and mailed them to me.  I got fabric paint and the girls went wild.  We let them decorate the bags however they wanted since it would be their bag to keep and love, and use to be responsible (hopefully).

I helped Cheyenne with hers but she told me what to put on it.

The other thing we did at our meeting was to talk to the girls about being responsible for what they say.  We took a parachute and had all the girls hold it up.  Then I went around and had each girl make a promise.  I lead by saying "I promise to pick up three balls." Then I put three plastic balls on the parachute. Some girls were really smart and only promised to pick up one ball and others were overachievers who promised to pick up ten balls.

Then we let them wave the parachute around and throw the balls all around the room.  Of course we all had to scream and hide under the parachute...isn't that the real purpose of those things? Then they had to follow through on their promise.

P.S. My mom isn't really mean.  I totally thought she was when I was a teenager (of course, who doesn't?) but now we are best friends, and she does lots of nice things.  I still teasingly call her mean just cause I can. 

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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter 2014

I started about a week ago reading Easter books to the girls and trying to get them to understand that yes Easter is a lot of fun, but it means so much more than colored eggs and a chocolate bunny. I told them we use fun things to make this day special but we must remember that Jesus is the reason.

Dying eggs is so much fun.  It's like magic for kids to watch white eggs turn into vibrant colored beauties.

This is her dying special egg dying picture pose.

They were both so proud of their eggs when they were done.  I was proud we didn't make a huge mess and nothing got broken.

We did a much better job this year of not buying candy, just one small chocolate bunny each, and I made sure it was hollow even, I know I'm the no fun mom.  

Our backyard is a bit of a mess, ignore it please we are working on changing it up a bit.

My favorite picture of the day.

After hunting for eggs it was time for breakfast.  The girls requested blueberry pancakes and they got it.  I love it when my family makes food requests.  That means I don't have to think about what to make.

I made these silly bunny pancakes and I wasn't sure at first if I would post the picture or not.  But I soon realized that I didn't make these pancakes to get a bazillion repins on pinterest.  I made them for my children.  And my children loved them.

I think it's important to remember that no blogger is perfect.  It's easy to look at bloggers and everything awesome they do and wonder how they do it all.  How come everything looks so perfect and how do they keep their house so clean all the time?  How do they have time for it all?  I think it's important to remember to not try and keep up with the bloggers.  We show off our awesome stuff because it's awesome.  Do you think I'm going to take a picture of my living room when it's a mess and post it for the world to see.  No I'm not, and other bloggers don't either.  So here is my proof of being a regular human, here is my pintrosisty.  And it was also perfect, because that's what my children thought, and I made it for them.

I digress...back to our Easter fun day....

 Easter bread! So fun, the girls asked if we could have it every year, and yes I think we will.

And of course sticky little hands sneaking a deviled egg.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Folded diaper cakes are way easier!

I love making diaper cakes.  I actually planned on making a ton of mini diaper cakes for my friend's king of the jungle baby shower as part of the decor but I couldn't find cake toppers that would look good, match the theme and be something useful, and I didn't want to buy a load of crap.  So I made a big one instead.

This is my first time doing a non-rolled diaper cake.  It was tons faster!

Here is (most of) the stuff I used...only lots more diapers.

I started setting the folded diapers up, they stayed up on their own surprising well but a bottle of lotion never hurts!

I rolled one diaper and bound it with a rubber band and stuck it in the middle.

Tie that baby off with some leftover Christmas curling ribbon.

Start over and go around again!

I made the second tier with six rolled diapers and I rolled a onesie and put it in the middle. 

At this point I was out of diapers so I started sticking in some of the goodies.

Then I realized I could just steal diapers from my own child!  Who cares if the top tier is made out of a different size diapers? 

I normally use 3-4 rolls of ribbon around all the tiers but when I was buying bias tape for the car seat blanket I made I seen blanket ribbon sashing!  Soooooo much cheaper then buying all that ribbon.  The diaper cakes I make are loaded with cool mom gear so I really don't need patterned ribbon, or at least that's what I think.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Homemade bread crumbs

Homemade bread crumbs is just about the easiest thing ever, and it's a great way to save money.

We don't particularly care for the heal of the bread so I always have a bread bag full of heals in my freezer.  All those uneaten rolls, hotdog buns, hamburger buns and stale bread ends up there too.  Anything bread that we aren't going to eat gets saved.  We have just enough of bread stuff we don't want to eat to make enough bread crumbs for the year and two huge batches of stuffing for Christmas and Thanksgiving. 

1. Set out all the bread you will be using on a cookie sheet and let it get a bit hard.  This will happen faster if it isn't in a big pile and you flip em over after a while. I tend to put it in a big pile and then get frustrated when it is taking so long.
2. Using a food processor, crunch up all your hard bread into a powder.
3. Spread out crumbs on a cookie sheet no thicker than 1/2 inch.
4. Bake for an hour at 250 degrees.
5. Store in a jar with a lid.

Click to print recipe.

Now, go forth and make crumbs!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Girl Scouts give back

Now that cookie season is over I have so much more time on my hands.  I would of never of believed how much time it takes.  Or how many cookies my darling 5 year old could sell.  She sold 758 boxes of cookies!

I'm so proud of how hard all the girls worked this year.  They were so determined to sell lots of cookies.  Of course getting an american girl doll for selling 750 boxes is quite the motivator.

Well played girl scouts...well played.

Our troop decided they wanted to help an animal with some of their money that they earned from cookie sales.  Where we live there is no pound, all the animals are taken care of through foster families. The adoption coordinator said they get lots of donations for dog stuff but almost nothing for cats!

We took our girls on a shopping trip to walmart and they picked out kitten food, cat litter, bowls, toys and collars.

After our shopping spree we were able to go to the adoption coordinators home where she kindly let us see her two litters of kittens.  The girls were even able to hold four day old kittens! The other litter was only one day old and we were understandably not able to touch them, but man were they cute!

My Girl Scout!
Don't you dare tell her she isn't a Girl Scout!
One day old kittens!

Yes I have 10 girls in my troop, but you will never see pictures of them on here.  Not my children not my choice.  It's a privacy thing, I'm sure you understand. 

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