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Showing posts from October, 2009

Happy Pumpkin Day:)

Hope you have a great weekend!!

Our Annual Pumpkin Carving Night

Some years we host a party with friends and some years we simply have a family night, but we always have a pumpkin carving night at the end of October. Its just one of our traditions. This year it was a family night that included my parents and sister.
We almost always have the same menu each year, too, but whatever the menu is it always includes white chili. Tonight's menu was:

Bread Pot Fondue
with Spicy Saltines Roasted Pumpkin Seeds White ChiliCornbreadand
Butter Cookies

Boy, was it yummy! I'll have to share that Bread Pot Fondue with Spicy Saltines with you soon. And maybe the Butter Cookies, too. Those are one of my all-time fave cookies.


After the food, we got down to business with the carving.

The Princess with Aunt KariMr. B and Vince
Nana and Papi chilled out with *It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown*. Bless their hearts, they just got home today from an almost-24-hour trip back home from Alaska. They were a little tired, to say the least.
And without further ado, her…

My Hands-Down-Most-Favorite-Potato-Soup Ever

Years ago~as in, before I was married~I worked in the historic downtown Van Buren, AR, in an adorable little gift shopped called Betsy's. The other ladies who worked there and I loved to order take out from a nearby diner called The Pie Plate. On Wednesdays they had the most wonderful potato soup served with homemade rolls. It was just amazing! Sadly, The Pie Plate closed its doors one day and the potato soup was gone. Until I discovered a recipe that seemed to have very similar ingredients (as I was avidly searching for one), so I tried it out making an addition or two and a couple of adjustments and...voila, I had recreated that delicious soup that I loved so much. Today I made it for my kiddos~yes, they loved it~and I wanted to share it with you. Its just that good!
Lora's Potato Soup 4 cups potatoes, peeled and cubed
3/4 cup celery
1 cup onion
1 cup sliced or chopped carrots
2 tsp. salt
2-4 cups water (enough to cover the veggies)
1 cup milk or half & half
1 cup heavy whipping…

A Little Housekeeping...The Real Kind

Lately it has become apparent to me that with all the balls I'm balancing~homemaking, parenting, homeschooling, blogging, life in general~I have dropped the house cleaning one majorly. Please don't tell my mother! I looked around the other day and couldn't believe the dust on everything, the floors that needed to be vacuumed/swept, all of the stuff piled around, not to mention the toys I was tripping over... You get the picture.

Now don't think that I'm of the opinion that my house needs to be perfect at all times, just maybe once in a while. LOL Seriously though, I like to have a relatively tidy house. One that can be picked up fairly quickly if there's unexpected visitors and, to be honest, it's usually like that. But homeschooling this year has been all-consuming for me--and I don't apologize for that. But I do think I can structure my days better and manage my time more efficiently so that I don't become overwhelmed with it all. So this past week…

Just a Little Window Shopping

This past weekend my sweet husband surprised me with an impromtu date night at PF Chang's. Yeah, he's pretty awesome! The restaurant is actually located in a town about an hour from where we live, so we had some great drive-time talk. I love that! Even after 12+ years we still have tons to talk about:)
After our very yummy dinner, I tricked him into letting me do a little window shopping (only I actually went inside the stores..heehee). I only checked out two faves: PotteryBarn and Williams-Sonoma--they were just too tempting. In my defense though all I bought was a tube of tomato paste. I've been wanting a tube of that for-e-ver. And now I have one. :) I did see some great stuff though and thought I'd share some of my *finds* with you. Just a little fall inspiration for you... the cutest acorn dish
(Pottery Barn)
really cool tiered serving piece (Pottery Barn)
don't you just love pottery?!
(Pottery Barn)
cozy sweater pillows...I want some!!:) (Pottery Barn)
I {h…

Menu Plan Monday: Oct 26th~31st

I know you may be saying, "oh look, Lora's menu planning again...", but I love doing this post every week. I don't know how I ever survived before menu planning. If, for some reason, I don't get my plan made by Monday--or, heaven forbid, not at all--its a very bad thing. My whole week is off. So if you've never tried menu planning, I highly recommend it.

In the past I've shared some of my frustrations with my kiddos *picky-ness*. I am still searching my recipes each week for dishes that everybody will eat (since I refuse to be a short-order cook!). This week I was very plesantly surprised at the kiddos' response to one of mine and Vince's fave comfort foods: pot pie! I had some roasted turkey in the freezer and thought that would be a great way to use it. The recipe I use is from Among Friends: Just a Matter of Thyme. I've been using it for years, its so easy and good. I've made more complicated and fancier pot pies, but this one is just a…

*Lions and Gazelles*

Here's Vince's latest video. He hasn't done one for a contest in a while, but he definitely hasn't lost he touch:) I think you'll enjoy it! I'm sorry that its not showing the full-screen. The video is in high definition and I think that's a problem for my blog:) Here's the link to YouTube for the full effect.

An Apple A Day...

As part of our Autumn unit study we've been learning some fun facts about apples. We really enjoyed this book on Johnny Appleseed~the illustrations are beautiful! And since we all love apples, one of our fall traditions is to make our favorite apple cake. Today seemed an appropriate day to do that:)
The Princess had a blast cracking her first egg and helping with the mixer. It was fun making this recipe with her. She's the fourth generation in my family to make this cake~the recipe was handed down from my mother's mother. Its so simple and yet so incredibly delicious, the kind of cake that gets better each day.
We thought it would be fun to take it over to share with my parents before they leave tomorrow for a trip to Alaska. It was a fun evening: eating cake and listening to my dad read stories to the kiddos. Its one of their favorite things to do together. I have to admit that I love to sneak in and listen to them, too~especially when its a story that he read to me as a c…

A Perfect Fall Day

This week we started a new unit study on *Autumn*. We're enjoying learning all about the seasons and much more! The study guide we're using is a freebie unit study that I received from The Old Schoolhouse magazine (love them!) and its really fun. Each day there are tons of fun outdoor activities suggested, so we decided that *nature walking* at Nana and Papi's house was in order. Yesterday was the perfect fall day, the weather couldn't have been nicer.
My parents' house is built on a lot that is less than an acre in size, but you would not believe the trees they have! Literally hundreds! So there are leaves in abundance~much to my children's delight! Every fall they talk about how they can't wait to jump in the leaves at their Nana and Papi's house. And jump they do!! Besides walking in leaves, jumping in leaves and picking leaves (I have a project I'm working on that I'll show you soon), we also did a little gathering of acorns and even checked …

The War of the Marshmallows

PVC pipe & electrical tape: $12.18 1 bag of mini marshmallows: $1.00 One man-vs-5 kiddos in marshmallow gun wars:
PRICELESS

Our plans this past weekend did not go as planned. We had originally planned to take the kiddos to see *Where The Wild Things Are*, until we read the review on PluggedInOnline.com. Then we thought we'd take them to the mall to see some local student robotics teams compete, except when we got there the show had just ended. So, we were feeling a little less-than-successful in keeping any promises to our children in the way of fun for the weekend. Then my awesome husband had the greatest idea!! He headed for Lowe's and got supplies to make some marshmallow guns while I went to Aldi and picked up some mini marshmallows. A couple of weeks ago when we were at the apple festival we saw some of these "guns" and Vince said "I could make those!" Apparently he hadn't forgotten about it, because he certainly whipped up some of those guns. The …

Menu Plan Monday: Oct 19th~24th

Whew...we made it through last week! It was a busy one! Thank goodness for meal plans, I have no idea what I ever did without them. Now if I could just get the planning down for breakfast and lunch, too. That would be nice.

This week should be a little slower (hopefully!) because I am in desperate need of some time at home. Talk about being behind on housekeeping, I've got quite the *to-do* list going.

Things that really, really need to get done this week are:
finish changing out the clothes for the seasons in our closetsclean, clean, clean! iron what's in the ironing basketI'm so glad that the menu plan in good to go for the week:Monday: Potato soup for the fam; Moms' nite out for our homeschool group
Tuesday:Fish stick po'boys and baked potatoes
Wednesday: (meal at church)
Thursday:Turkey pot pie*
Friday:Chili dogs & frito chili pie
Saturday:Quiche Lorraine*
*I'll be sharing these recipes later in the week


I'm in the mood for some good comfort foods this week, …

A Fun Start On My Christmas Shopping

I have been looking forward to this week ever since I knew that we were moving back to Arkansas this year. Its the week of the War Eagle Fair in NW Arkansas!! Before I moved to Alabama for three years, I went every year. And how I have missed it. I haven't found anything to compare. War Eagle is a tiny community near Fayetteville. You have to drive way off of the highway on this picturesque little road until you get to these huge cow pastures where you park:) There is an old grist mill there beside the river with an old bridge. It's gorgeous in the fall, with the leaves turning their many colors.
my sister & me I have no idea how many vendors are at this fair each year, but there have to be hundreds. They have everything imaginable: decor, jewelry, pottery, antiques, gourmet foods (I think I hit every sample-heehee)... Its just so much fun! It always gets me in the holiday spirit and I even got a small start on my shopping for this year. I took my mom, sister and aunt with …