Sunday, October 30, 2011

Chili Cook-Off

Our Friends, Brad and Dana held their 1st Annual Chili Cook -Off and Pumpkin Carving Contest. 

 The little girls liked the whole idea of carving pumpkins but they did not like getting their hands slimy. Taylor was especially excited because this was the first year that she carved her pumpkin all by herself! I desperately tried to get Sean to bring his jigsaw to carve the pumpkins I even offered to clean it later but he did not think it was a good idea.
 Really, photos of people eating are just not all that great to look at so I chose to use the 'other' pictures instead. We had Dixie cups filled with each type of chili and a voting sheet to choose which chili was the crowd pleaser.
I made Chocolate Chipotle Chili
1 pound ground beef
1 cup diced onion
1 cup chopped red pepper
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp Chili powder
1 Tbsp Cocoa powder
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste
2 cans kidney beans 
1 can black beans
2 cans dice tomatoes
1 can chicken broth
1/2 cup roasted chipotle salsa
1 cup chocolate chips
Brown ground beef, onion, garlic, and bell pepper. Add seasoning and cooked bacon. Cook on low heat in the crock pot to enhance flavors. 1/2 hour before serving turn off heat and add 1 cup chocolate chips. Stir in chocolate chips and garnish with sour cream, or chives if desired. 

 I won the "That's Not Chili" award, even though it was the favorite among the women and children.
The best Chili award went to Dana for her White Chicken Chili.
I don't really like chili all that much but I am never one to turn down a competition.
Funny thing is the girls did not want to stick their hands in the pumpkins but they did not seem to mind dipping their hands in the bird bath then the sandbox getting the sand to stick. 
Libby told everyone that her mama bought her some new jeggings. Gotta love that girl and her sense of style. 

 Ruby had to micro manage the carving of her pumpkin.  We grew all of our pumpkins in our garden this year, I know very impressive. I'm thinking maybe a Charlie Brown Pumpkin Patch next fall!

We were hoping some of our friends with older children were going to be there but I think Taylor and Aaron loved being included with the adults and helping judge the chili, plus they made the coolest pumpkin, with the exception of Erik who had a significant amount of help carving 'his' pumpkin. I forgot to take pictures of the completed pumpkins ~ I will have to try to remember to do that before they rot.  
I love the smells of fall and the beautiful colors of all the leaves when the sun reflects off the trees. We had a beautiful drive home and enjoyed a bowl of Frosted Mini Wheats before reading and sending the children off to bed!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

4 Days With My Daughter

 My first born turned 21 last month. She has been living on her own for 2 years already. I can assure you that 18 or 19 years is not nearly enough time to have your children under your roof.

 I was so fortunate to be able to take a direct flight to San Diego for a long weekend together to celebrate her and to see where she lives. She moved to San Diego a year ago and has only been home a couple of times. It was my first time to San Diego. Mikaela doesn't have a car right now so we rented a car. I am always one to save a few dollars so I rented a cheap economy 2 door.
 When I got to the rental agency to pick up my car they offered me a 2012 Convertible Mustang for $5 more per day. I decided I could have one less coffee each day and it would be worth it. It really was worth it! I used the entire tank of gas! It really is too bad you can't seat 8 in one of these!

 She showed me all her favorite beaches, Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach and another one I can't remember the name of! It was pure bliss to eat out for every meal and have coffee and chocolate! I brought my running shoes with every intention of keeping up on my running but Alas, they never even left my suitcase.
 I debated about buying her a drink, after all I did not want to condone a certain lifestyle. But I figured it is a rite of passage and would be fun to have a froofy drink at an upscale restaurant on the beach. I almost choked at the cost of drink and was way beyond my frugality for her to only drink 1/3 of it!
I managed to enjoy my raspberry iced tea and then we finished our afternoon by laying in the sun on the beach in October!
Our time went way to quickly! I was surprised that I got all teary eyed leaving her.
I am further committed to diligently praying for my children every single day and trusting God to cover all my inadequacies as their mother.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Joys Of Homeschooling

Liberty and Erik in Ruby's bed reading some biographies 
Recently, I had someone asking me questions about homeschooling. She was thinking about homeschooling her children. She asked, "Wouldn't it be much easier to send them to public school?"
Of Course it would be easier! We are not called to do what is easy.  
I would be home with Liberty, who takes a 2 1/2 hour nap every day. 
I would miss seeing what they are learning, 
I would have 5 children in 4 different schools (that does not sound easier),
 I would still have to help with homework and make sure the work got done,
I would not get to take a field trip whenever we wanted,
I would not get to snuggle in front of the fire with my 5 year old and watch as she is learning how to read,
I would not get to listen to the creative play and sibling relationships that are so endearing. 

Guess, I just needed to convince myself that it IS worth it. I know it is, and I know I am not called to do what is easy, rather what is Right. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Cuneiform Cookies

Our Study this year runs from Creation to the Greeks. We were learning about the first alphabet after Noah's Flood, which used shapes and pictures to record information.

Syndi watched the kids for me earlier in the week and made the cookie dough with the little girls. The cookie dough sat in the fridge for a couple of days and I could not stop eating it!
We had to make the cookies or soon we would not have any dough left!

After practicing writing their names and memory verse for the week using Cuneiform we 'engraved' our cookies with our initials. Sadly, there was only enough dough for each child to have 2 cookies with 1 leftover for Papa.

Vanilla Sugar Cookies
1 Cup Butter
2/3 Cup Sugar
1 Egg
1 Tbsp Vanilla
2 1/2 Cups Flour
1/2 tsp. salt

Combine first 4 ingredients.. Add flour and salt mix well. Chill for 2 hours (or 2 days and eat some of the dough).
Roll and cut out cookies. Bake at 350 for 8 - 10 minutes

Monday, October 3, 2011

Bit Of A Letdown

Liberty Enjoying Some Delicious Ice Cream
 My half marathon is over and due to injuries I am not able to run right now. I feel like I worked so hard and achieved a goal and now, it's over. I am planning on doing another one in November and January but for now I just need to get better.
School started off with enthusiasm and now I am dealing with attitudes and poor work ethic. Frustrating and disappointing to say the least.
Organizing the day to day logistics, relationships, and requirements is not nearly as fun as going to the beach, delivering babies, eating ice cream and training for a half marathon. I am feeling a bit let down.