Ingredient of the month: Cream of Chicken Soup

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I am Chalece. My husband and I moved to Minnesota this past January. We have been married for almost 2 1/2 years. I grew up in Utah, Rob is from Wisconsin. We met in our Freshman ward at BYU. I graduated with my Bachelors this past December.
I am new to the mommy world. My little baby is 3 1/2 months old. She is so precious and I love watching her grow. I'd have to say that's my favorite thing to do right now, is just to watch her. I can't believe how much she has changed in just the last 3 months! She is so sweet and I know she likes me too. Being the food source does have its advantages! :) Being a mother has brought more happiness to my life than I ever thought possible.
I also like to scrapbook. I was so close to being caught up, then Brielle was born and I haven't done it since. I also like to play the piano, even though I haven't done it for a while.
Our reason for moving here was not entirely for school. Rob's dad was diagnosed with cancer almost 2 years ago, and with him going through different treatments, we thought we could be of help to them. And while I'm sure it's good for them that we're here, I also feel that this is where we are supposed to be. We have been so blessed ever since we got here. We just hope that can continue, as Rob is applying to dental schools. We are praying that we will be accepted here at the University of Minnesota.
I am so blessed with such a great family. Rob is a wonderful husband and father. I am so grateful for my parents and siblings, and for my parents and siblings that I was lucky enough to marry into. Family is the most important thing in my life. I am also grateful for such great friends here in Minnesota. It would have been so much harder to leave my comfort zone of Utah, if I didn't know that I could come to a group of so many wonderful friends through our church. I love this gospel, it is such a blessing in my life.

Kara & Will

Hey everyone! Okay, I got totally sidetracked yesterday. I meant to write something about me and ended up writing about our Halloween "Ghost Toes"... sorry. Well, here goes: I'm Kara, wife to a wonderful, funny, hardworking, BUSY husband - Scott, and mom to an amazing, little boy William. The first and foremost on my list of thing about me is I LOVE BEING A MOM! When I was little, I spent pretty much everyday either pretending to be a teacher to my dolls, or playing "house." Whenever anyone said "what do you want to be when you grow up?" I would say "a mom." I even said that all through highschool, and then I decided I better come up with something to study in college, so I got a bachelor's degree in Spanish Teaching with an ESL minor, and Master's degree in Second Language Teaching, from Utah State University.

Currently, we live in the gorgeous state on Minnesota and have honestly loved every moment. As a family we just love being together. Scott/Dad, is very busy, so our moments together as a family are precious. I love spending every second with Will and watching him grow everyday. He is the pride and joy of my life and I can't wait to have more kids. My favorite thing about being a mom today (well, lots because it was a holiday) was letting Will "help" me make pumpkin pancakes for dinner. He stood on the ladder and just laughed and laughed when I made a funny sound pouring the batter onto the griddle. Our children remind us so well to always enjoy life and get the most out of every moment.

Thanks for letting me be part of this blog, I love checking it out and posting to it! I know almost all the mommies on this blog and I must say, they are AMAZING women and moms, I'm glad that I get to learn from you! Oh, and if you havn't already noticed, I'm long winded (it comes from my mother - sorry).

Creamy Italian Chicken

Here is my favorite recipe with chicken in it. If you don't like mushrooms you can leave them out.
Creamy Italian Chicken
4 chicken breasts
¾ pkg. of dry Good Seasonings Italian dressing
(Rub seasonings into chicken, reserve extra seasonings and add if needed later)
½ cup chicken broth

Add above to crock pot and cook 4 hours-high.
8oz cream cheese
1 can cream chicken soup
2 T. flour
10-16 oz. fresh sliced mushrooms

Add mushrooms to crockpot. In seperat bowl cream together cream cheese, soup and flour and pour over chicken. Cook 1 hour more. If you are in a hurry, you may add all ingredients at beginning. The fresh mushrooms will go dark if cooked that long, so switch to canned or add mushrooms later. Serve over hot rice or lightly buttered egg noodles.


I was just invited to be one of the "Mommy's". I must say since I saw the link to this site on Chalece's blog I have checked it out daily. Actually just this morning my girls and I made those Ghost Toes. They loved it!! Chalece is my sister in law, she is married to my brother Rob. I am originally from Wisconsin, so I can sympathize with your Minnesota winters, although I live in Utah now and I much prefer the winters here. I have been married for 4 1/2 years to the greatest guy, Mike, who I met in our singles ward. I am a stay at home mom to two beautiful daughters, Mikelle who is 2 1/2 and Kaylee who is 7 1/2 months old. This is the most recent family photo we have, sad I know, this is us on July 4. Normally my husband doesn't have facial hair but he was experimenting. Thats me!


So I haven't even posted anything yet but I am Joni Lee. Our family just moved to Minnesota from Utah to go to school here for my husbands MHA degree and so far we really love it...but we haven't been here a winter yet so we will see! I have my associate degree in Medical Assisting and worked in a pediatric office for a little over two years, and loved it. My husband Brian, and I got married 3 1/2 years ago and we have two wonderful little boys who keep me busy; Marcus is 22 months and Tyson is 9 months. They are both really fun and I am grateful that I have the chance to watch them grow. Some things that I enjoy doing are skiing, hiking, running, and pretty much anything outdoors, but the biggest thing is being a mom. My favorite thing about being a mom is that each day I have the chance/responsibility to teach my boys what is really important in life as I am learning it with them. They teach me so much and I hope that somehow I can instill this gospel into their hearts so they can be truly happy. It is amazing how when you have those days where you relax just enough and let them teach you...those days are the best. Thanks Cassi for inviting me to this blog I will start to contribute a little more.

Me, Myself, and I

Hello! I'm Shalee and these are my kids Kara (2) and Jared (8 months.) We are living in MN (only for 6 more months!!) while my husband finishes up his MHA/MBA degree. We will have been here for 3 years and although I don't agree with the weather here I am so grateful we lived here so that we could make such good friends! Our family loves the great outdoors--even if we don't get to go camping much--and we love playing games. I love to cook and make greeting cards. My next hobby is going to be photography.

I am still trying to figure out how to be a good mom but I feel like I have been blessed with 2 amazing children who teach me how to love unconditionally a little bit more every day. I love seeing the things that they learn and I love how they interact with each other. I am a big advocate for reading to children too!! So that's us! I love learning from all of you on this blog!!


Ok I thought I would put my intro up now so that Bridget doesn't feel silly about being the only one still.

My name is Cassi. I grew up mostly in Arizona and then moved to Utah to go to BYU where I got a degree in Marriage, Family, and Human Development. Now we are in Minnesota so my husband can get his PhD. The story of how we met is long so the short version is that we met during a family spring break trip on a cruise ship when we were 13-yrs-old. 4 years later we connected again though I was in AZ and he was in WI, a couple months later he joined the church and we both got accepted into BYU. We've been married for 6 years this December. We have 3 crazy but cute kids; Parker who is 4, Mayli who is 2 and Jaden who is almost 3 months. Everywhere I go I get comments like "You've got your hands full" or "I don't know how you do it!" And I totally agree with both! But I've realized that if we are doing what's right and take each day one step at a time then things tend to work out and there is definitely someone watching over us. And I wouldn't trade anything for the life I have now.
My favorite thing about being a mom is seeing my kids reach those special milestones and realizing that I played a part in helping them get there. There's nothing better in the world than hearing your kids say "I love you" on their own!!



I did this with Will and we had a lot of fun. We hung them up by his little table and he loves to look at them and say "ghost toes!" or he'll shake his head no and say "mommy, paint toes" - he wasn't too fond of the paint, but he liked the finished product. It only took us a few minutes, and I thought this would make a great Halloween card for grandparents who live far away, as well as a great keepsake to see how your kids grow throughout the years!!

What You'll Need:

white craft paint

black construction paper

foam paint brush

little feet :)

black permanent marker

Here's How:

Paint the bottom of your youngsters feet. Firmly "plant" them - one at a time - on the black paper, repeat with the other foot. After they are dry, color eyes and a spooky mouth on them. I also wrote their name, age, and date on them with a silver pen (it just doesn't show up).

PS - I think this would be SO fun to do on a black tote bag for a trick-or-treat bag, then it would be a keepsake for years!!!

On Being Mom

I know that this is kind of long, but I just read it and loved what she was saying. I know that somedays I'm wishing for my kids to be a little older - but I realize that this will come all too soon, so I'm really trying to be better at enjoying the short phase that we're in right now. I hope that you enjoy this too!

On Being Mom
by Anna Quindlen, Newsweek Columnist and Author

All my babies are gone now. I say this not in sorrow but in disbelief.
I take great satisfaction in what I have today: three almost-adults,two taller than I am, one closing in fast. Three people who read thesame books I do and have learned not to be afraid of disagreeing with me intheir opinion of them, who sometimes tell vulgar jokes that make melaugh until I choke and cry, who need razor blades and shower gel andprivacy, who want to keep their doors closed more than I like. Who,miraculously, go to the bathroom, zip up their jackets and move foodfrom plate to mouth all by themselves. Like the trick soap I bought for the bathroom with a rubber ducky at its center, the baby is buried deep within each, barely discernible except through the unreliable haze of the past.
Everything in all the books I once poured over is finished for me now.Penelope Leach., T. Berry Brazelton., Dr. Spock. The ones on siblingrivalry and sleeping through the night and early-childhood education,all grown obsolete. Along with Goodnight Moon and Where the Wild ThingsAre, they are battered, spotted, well used. But I suspect that if youflipped the pages dust would rise like memories. What those books taught me,finally, and what the women on the playground taught me, and thewell-meaning relations --what they taught me, was that they couldn'treally teach me very much at all.
Raising children is presented at first as a true-false test, thenbecomes multiple choice, until finally, far along, you realize that itis an endless essay. No one knows anything.
One child responds well to positive reinforcement, another can bemanaged only with a stern voice and a timeout.
One child is toilet trained at 3, his sibling at 2.
When my first child was born, parents were told to put baby to bed onhis belly so that he would not choke on his own spit-up. By the time mylast arrived, babies were put down on their backs because of researchon sudden infant death syndrome.
To a new parent this ever-shifting certainty is terrifying, and thensoothing. Eventually you must learn to trust yourself. Eventually theresearch will follow. I remember 15 years ago poring over one of Dr.Brazelton's wonderful books on child development, in which he describesthree different sorts of infants: average, quiet, and active. I waslooking for a sub-quiet codicil for an 18-month old who did not walk.Was there something wrong with his fat little legs? Was there somethingwrong with his tiny little mind? Was he developmentally delayed,physically challenged? Was I insane? Last year he went to China. Next year hegoes to college. He can talk just fine. He can walk, too.
Every part of raising children is humbling, too.Believe me, mistakes were made.They have all been enshrined in the "Remember-When-Mom-Did " Hall ofFame.The outbursts, the temper tantrums, the bad language, mine, not theirs.The times the baby fell off the bed.The times I arrived late for preschool pickup.The nightmare sleepover. The horrible summer camp.The day when the youngest came barreling out of the classroom with a 98on her geography test, and I responded, "What did you get wrong?". (She insisted I includethat.)The time I ordered food at the McDonald's drive-through speaker andthen drove away without picking it up from the window. (They all insisted I include that.)I did not allow them to watch the Simpsons for the first two seasons.What was I thinking?
But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make whiledoing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularlyclear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is onepicture of the three of them, sitting in the grass on a quilt inthe shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish Icould remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how theysounded, and how they looked when they slept that night.
I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing:dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little moreand the getting it done a little less.
Even today I'm not sure what worked and what didn't, what was me andwhat was simply life. When they were very small, I suppose I thoughtsomeday they would become who they were because of what I'd done. Now I suspect they simply grew into their true selves because they demanded in a thousand ways that I back off and let them be. The books said to be relaxed and I was often tense, matter-of-fact and I was sometimes over the top.
And look how it all turned out. I wound up with the three people I like best in the world who have done more than anyone to excavate my essential humanity. That's what the books never told me. I was bound and determined to learn from the experts.
It just took me a while to figure out who the experts were.



My name is Bridget and right now my family of four lives in Minnesota while my husband is going to law school. We have a very energetic 2 1/2-year-old daughter named Rachel and a extremely cuddly 5-month-old son named Ian. We moved to the frozen north from Bountiful, Utah where we sadly leave wonderful grandparents (and babysitters, weep, weep!) behind. My husband and I have been married for almost 7 years and we met on the first blind date that I'd ever been on. My favorite part about being a mom is the chance to laugh and play with my kids. It's so amazing to see their unique personalities developing and very humbling to realize the incredible responsibility Heavenly Father has given me as a mom. Other than enjoying being at home with my family, I love music and pretty much anything outdoors. Thanks Cassi and Shalee for organizing this blog and I love hearing from all of you!

Intros and Feedback

Hi Ladies,

Now that we have a pretty good group of mommies on here I thought it would be fun to do some introductions. Most of us know each other already but there are a couple who aren't living here in MN. So if everyone doesn't mind posting a short intro to themselves I thought that would be a fun way to get to know everyone. Then in the future if we add authors we can have them do the same. Label it with "intro". You can do it however you want just be sure to include your name, some kind of description of yourself, and what your favorite thing about being a mom is. Also if you want to include a picture of you or your family that would definitely be fun too!!

Also, since this blog has been up and running for a couple months now I wanted to get some feedback. Is there anything we could do to this blog to make it more fun or more helpful? Is the weekly ingredient box making it so we only get recipe posts? If you ever have any ideas on things to add please let us know. And if you know someone who you'd like to be an author let us know that too. We'd like to try and keep it to no more than 10 people but we're definitely up for getting insight from beyond the NB ward boundary lines, haha. And also, we'd like to keep the author list to people who want to post. So if we notice someone hasn't posted in several months we'll take their name off. Everyone can enjoy the blog as a reader but we want to keep the author list to people who want to post.

Ok that's it. Sorry for the long text only post! Thanks for the great participation so far. Everyone's tips and recipes have been awesome! I hope everyone has a Happy Halloween and I'm excited to see your intros! :)

Praline Pumpkin Dessert

I love this dessert, it is great for when you want a fall dessert but don't want to make pumpkin pie. I found it in a monthly Betty Crocker cookbook. Yum!

Praline Pumpkin Dessert

1 can (15 oz) pumpkin
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
3 eggs
4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 package butter recipe yellow cake mix
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
¾ cup melted margarine or butter

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray bottom and sides of a 9x13 inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
2. Beat together pumpkin, milk, eggs, and spices with a wire whisk in a large bowl. Pour into pan.
3. Sprinkle dry cake mix over pumpkin mixture. Sprinkle with nuts. Pour melted butter evenly on top of dessert.
4. Bake 50-60 minutes or until center is cooked through. Cool.
5. Serve warm or chilled with fresh whipped cream.

Serves 12


Caramel Apple Cider

YUM YUM YUM! This is tasty stuff. I even like to make the whip cream to top our apple crisp. This recipe comes from Family Fun (of course!).... enjoy and have a very spooky Halloween!

1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 cups apple cider
1/2 cup water
Caramel whipped cream
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon brown sugar

1. First, bring the cream and brown sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the cider and the water and raise the heat to medium high, heating just until the cider begins to steam, about 4 minutes.
2. Divide among 4 mugs, top each one with 2 tablespoons of caramel whipped cream (recipe follows) and serve immediately.
3. Caramel Whipped Cream: In a small chilled bowl, whip the heavy cream with the brown sugar until soft peaks form.


Pumpkin Roll Recipe

This recipe takes a while to get the finished product, but when you do, you won't regret it! This is one of Rob's favorite desserts.

Pumpkin Roll
3 eggs
1 c sugar
2/3 c pumpkin
1 tsp lemon juice

3/4 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt

Beat the eggs for 3 minutes. Slowly add the sugar. Stir in the pumpkin and lemon juice.

In another bowl mix the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.

Combine both mixtures together. Grease and flour a 15x10 jelly roll pan (a regular cookie sheet works great). Spread the mixture onto the pan and topp with chopped nuts (optional, but I like walnuts the best).

Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes, then turn it onto a towel which you've powdered sugared previously. Roll the towell and the spread. Let it cool for about 30 minutes, then unroll.

1 c powdered sugar
4 TBSP margarine, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla
6 oz cream cheese

Beat until smooth. Spread over the cake, and roll it back up. Cover it with wax paper and freeze it for at least 45 minutes, then you can cut it into slices to serve.
It's a lot to do, but so worth the wait!

Chocolate Pudding Halloween Treat

Okay, so this is one of those things that probably everyone knows about, but it's a ton of fun for kids to do - especially around Halloween time. We love to make some chocolate pudding, sprinkle crushed up Oreos on top and then decorate the "mud" with gummy worms, candy corns, little pumpkins, and/or nutter butters (we pretend they're ghosts or gravestones). Rachel LOVES making this treat because she can decorate it herself and it's pretty good at the end too so that's always a bonus! I wish that I could say that I made the one pictured at the left, but of course I have to give Kraft the credit for that one (they call it "Ghosts in the Graveyard" if you want to look up their details). Happy Halloween everyone!


Cinnasweet Pumpkin Seeds

Ok I got this recipe off of the allrecipes website. We tried it out and I think it would have been really good except the baking time is way too long. They have the seeds cooking for an hour and they were burnt for me. So if you try this out I suggest only cooking the seeds for 30 minutes and then taste them to see if they are done.

Cinnasweet Pumpkin Seeds

4 cups pumpkin seeds, rinsed and dried
1/2 cup margarine, melted
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup white sugar, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine the pumpkin seeds, margarine, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl; stir to coat the seeds. Spread the seeds in a single layer in a 10x15 inch cookie pan.
Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes; stir and return to oven for 15 minutes more; remove from oven and sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar over the seeds; stir to coat. Return to oven and bake another 15 minutes before removing again to sprinkle with remaining sugar and stirring. Bake another 15 minutes. Allow to cool before serving. Store leftover seeds in an airtight container.


e.l.f. cosmetics

I have also bought from elf, and i loved their stuff. I actually had a coupon code and got everything for .50 each so I loaded up. I really like their lip gloss, you can wear it alone. And their eyeshadow is pretty nice. If you need some stuff, try it out!

By the way, I am new, Cassi invited me, but I'm not from MN, I'm from good ol AZ. I'll be envious of you in the summer and you can be envious of me during the winter! I'm excited to join! Erika


e.l.f. makeup

About a month ago I was sent this link to a website where you could order makeup for $1. So I ordered a bunch and it finally came today. It took a while because I guess a lot of other people got the link at the same time and so a lot of things were on back order. But despite the long wait the makeup is only $1 a piece which is pretty cheap. And so far it doesn't seem like bad quality. So if you want to check it out go here. And I'll put the link on the sidebar as well.


Okay, I know that technically this is does not contain apples, but it is apple themed. Plus, it is the season to eat things like pumpkin pancakes and apple cider syrup, right?!

3/4 c. sugar
2 T. cornstarch
1/8 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. cinnamon
2 c. apple cider (I think you can use apple juice too)

In a saucepan, mix together sugar and cornstarch. Add nutmeg, cinnamon, and apple cider. Bring to a boil. Serve on pancakes or waffles. This really does go great with pumpkin pancakes, if you'd like that recipe, let me know and I'll post it.


Cinnamon Apple Streusel Bars

We usually make these around Christmas and they are so good!

1 1/4 c. graham cracker crumbs
1 1/4 c. flour
3/4 c. packed brown sugar (divided)
1/4 c. sugar
1 t. cinnamon
3/4 c. butter, melted
2 c. peeled and chopped apples (about 2 medium apples)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 13X9 inch baking pan. Combine graham cracker crumbs, flour, 1/2 c. brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, and butter in large bowl until well blended; reserve 1 cup of mixture. Press remaining crumb mixture into bottom of pan. Bake 8 minutes. Remove from oven; set aside.

Toss apples with remaining 1/4 c. brown sugar in medium bowl until brown sugar is dissolved; arrange apples over baked crust. Sprinkle reserved 1 c. crumb mixture over filling. Bake 30 to 35 minutes more or until apples are tender. Remove pan and cool completely. Drizzle with glaze (listed below). Cut into bars. Makes 3 dozen bars.

Combine 1/2 c. powdered sugar and 1 T milk in small bowl until well blended.

Recipe is from "Old Fashioned Christmas Cookies," Publications International, Ltd.


Nilla Apple Crisp

Kraft gets credit for this recipe too. We made this over the weekend and it was really good!

Nilla Apple Crisp

8 cups thinly sliced peeled Granny Smith apples (about 4 large/2 lb.)
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar, divided
2 tsp. ground cinnamon, divided
1/3 cup old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats
1/4 cup cold margarine
25 NILLA Wafers, crushed (about 1 cup crumbs)
1-1/2 cups thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Toss apples with 1/4 cup of the brown sugar and 1 tsp. of the cinnamon. Spoon into 8- or 9-inch square baking dish.
COMBINE oats, the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon in medium bowl. Cut in margarine with pastry blender or two knives, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add wafer crumbs; mix well. Spread crumb mixture evenly over apples.
BAKE 30 to 35 min. or until apples are tender. Serve warm or cooled. Top with whipped topping.


Simply Lasagna

Okay, so for my hamburger recipe I'm just doing a link to the Kraft recipe that our family loves for an easy lasagna. What's great about this recipe is that you don't have to cook the noodles before putting them into the lasagna, so it save a lot of time and in my case a lot of scorch-marks on your fingers!

With this fun idea for a weekly ingredient, you'll probably figure out that I'm addicted to Kraft recipes. We get a quarterly (free!) magazine with their recipe ideas and it has been a fun way for me to try new things. If you're interested, check out this magazine online.


No more cold medicine for kids under 2

An article came out on CNN yesterday about cold medicines for children under 2. We all have little ones under 2 so I thought this was information we could all use. Especially with cold season approaching us.
To see the article click here.


Baked Spaghetti

Here's mine. I love this stuff but it's got brown sugar in it so how could it not be good? And we are not huge onion or celery fans over here so I always leave those out and I just add more green pepper.

Baked Spaghetti

8 oz spaghetti, cooked
1 ½ lbs hamburger
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1-2 stocks celery, chopped (optional)
1 16 oz can stewed tomatoes
16 oz ketchup
3 T brown sugar

Brown hamburger, onion, green pepper and celery in skillet. Salt and pepper to taste. Mix in spaghetti, tomatoes, ketchup and sugar and pour into large pan. Bake

Temp- 400 degrees
Bake Time- 30 min
Serves- 6-8

Enchilada casserole

This is a great fast recipe. You can do it with hamburger using red enchilada sauce or chicken using green enchilada sauce - both are delicious!

1 can red enchilada sauce
1 can(small) diced mild green chiles
1 can petite diced tomatoes
cooked hamburger (I usually do anywhere from 1/2lb to 1 lb) - you can cook your hamburger with a little onion and green pepper if you want. I usually just have mine frozen, so I just pull it out of the freezer, microwave it, and mix it in.

Layer in a round casserole dish:
Corn tortillas
Enchilada mix
(until dish is full - last layer should be cheese)

Bake at 350 until golden bubbly, usually about 1/2 hour... until heated through. You can serve it with sour cream or even lettuce and guacamole.


Weekly Ingredient

Hey Blogging Mommies,

We're going to start something new on here that we thought would be fun. On the sidebar we are adding a "Weekly Ingredient" box and every week the ingredient will change. So if you have a good, easy recipe that has that ingredient in it, post it up. Make sure you label the post with "recipes" too so that we can all easily find all the recipes when we want to.

If you don't have a recipe that's fine or if you have a recipe that you want to put up that doesn't have the ingredient in it, that's definitely fine too. This is just to give us more ideas of something to post and hopefully we'll build up our recipe section a little.

Since this week is half over already we'll start with a super easy one.

If you ever have any fun ideas to make this blog more fun let us know! Keep the good posts coming!


Homemade Finger Paints

My friend Martha Stewart gave me this recipe and we had a blast this morning finger painting. I have to admit half the fun is making it together with your little one.

4 TBSP. Sugar
1/2 cup Cornstarch
2 cups Cold Water
Food Coloring

Stir sugar and cornstarch together and add cold water. Heat on stove on medium heat (stir constantly) until thickened (only a couple minutes) and then separate into bowls and add food coloring for desired color. I just bought finger painting paper at Target for a few bucks. So easy and so fun!!

Deceptively Delicious

So, I don't usually get to choose any shows during the day (whenever they t.v. is on we're watching Sesame Street or our new favorite Super Why), but since Rachel took an extra-long nap yesterday I caught Oprah. She had Jessica Seinfeld on talking about ways to hide vegetables into meals. We've actually been really lucky with Rachel being willing to eat vegetables, but I thought this was a great idea to make sure that your family is getting enough vegetables without having to nag your kids to eat. Basically all she does is puree steamed veggies (carrots, cauliflower, etc.) once a week and keeps the purees in plastic baggies in her fridge to add to whatever she's cooking. She then just adds at least one puree to the meal (depending on the color so it doesn't look weird for the kids). She has put together a cookbook of all types of recipes that incorporate these purees, but she said that you can really add them to anything (scrambled eggs, mac and cheese, brownies). I was just excited because making the purees is pretty much how I make baby food anyway, so when I start doing it for Ian I'll just double it to also put in our meals - well, if it doesn't taste crazy! Anyways, if you'd like to learn more, check out her "Deceptively Delicious" tips.



Okay, I have no idea what to call this post, but it seems I've had freezer on the brain! When my mother in-law was here, she saw how much stuff I ridiculously try to cram into my small freezer. I'll admit, I'm a freezer junkie, but it just save so much time and energy... and food! So, the day she left, she paid for half of a chest freezer for us. I was SO thrilled, it is just the right size and I'm loving the extra freezer space. So, here goes, my favorite ideas for freezer stuff:

1. Celery: I buy a bag of celery hearts from Costco (I think there are 4-5 for about $3.00), then I leave one out and chop the rest, put it in snack size ziplocs and freeze them. Then later, I can use them in soups, stir fry, lasagna... whatever

2. About once or twice a month, I cook a bunch of chicken in my crockpot, shred it, bag it and freeze it. Talk about easiest meals ever!!!

2 1/2. When I buy a huge package of hamburger at Costco, I cook all but a handful, bag it in small ziplocs, freeze it and then it is ready for whatever I want to do with it, soup, tacos (just add the seasoning), etc.... you get the idea

3. dry beans: you can get a bag of dry beans for less than a dollar. Since beans are a long process, I cook a whole bag at once, put them in little ziplocs, freeze them, and then use them in soups, casseroles, salads, just like I would out of a can. (We never eat the whole can at once, and this way, I get a lot more for my $)

4. Pizza dough: Trader Joes has awesome pizza dough for 1$. Or, you can make your own, double the batch and freeze half of it in a ziploc. Before you want to use it, just get it out in plenty of time for it to thaw on the counter. It works great and saves the mess of making dough everytime you make pizza (we make pizza a lot!)

5. It seems like fruit (especially banans) ripen insanely fast here in MN. So, when my bananas get too soft, I peel them, sometime I slice or moosh them, or just leave them whole, bag them and freeze them. THen you can use them for banana bread, and smoothies.

6. I just heard this idea, I havn't tried it, so if you do, post a comment and let us know how it worked out. My friend in Rochester has an apple orchard, she said she picks her apples, peels and slices them, and then freezes them. She says they work great to cook with, and don't really turn very brown. She loves to use them like this in apple pies, apple crisp, etc. Sounds like a great idea to me!

I've decided freezing food is a great way to go, if you need more ideas or recipes for food I fix and then freeze, let me know!


Women who know...

I'm sure as mothers we were all struck by Sister Beck's talk in this mornings General Conference (If you are unfamiliar with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints click here) She shared ways that we as mothers can strengthen our homes and families in a way that didn't make me feel guilty for all of my shortcomings but rather motivated me to be the best mom starting now. Here are some of the principles that I pulled out of her talk...feel free to add more or comment!

Mothers who know:

Know who we are
Who God is and have made covenants with him
Desire to bear children (hmmm, maybe I'll be a little less whiny in my next pregnancy!)
Honor Sacred Ordinances and Covenants
Are Nurturers (and good homemakers!)
Are Leaders
Are always Teachers
Do less (I especially loved this principle of allowing less media in the home and less distractions that take children out of the home and away from the family)
Live on Less and Consume Less
Choose Carefully and try not to do it all


You know you're a stay at home mom if...

-On the days where you don't have anywhere to go you tend to stay in your pajamas until at least 2:00

-Substances like pee, poop, spit up, throw up, snot, and spit no longer seem so terribly disgusting because you're usually covered in one of them.

-You can carry a diaper bag, a purse, a handful of mail, a couple bags of groceries, and at least 2 kids from the car to the house.

-You and your friends are used to having choppy conversations that are constantly being interrupted mid sentence to help a child, catch a child, or yell to a child.

-You have the morning cartoon schedule memorized... and so does your child

-You know how to cut a peanut butter sandwich into triangles, rectangles, or hexagons!!!

-Only you can translate what your 18-24 month old is saying

-You've become an expert at peeling the skin off of apples, peaches, pears, and grapes!

-Baby drool is pretty much the same thing as water right?

-You get to see firsthand all your child's milestones (first smile, step, words, days of school, etc...) and you're the first person they run to when they are hurt or upset.

Being a stay at home mom is definitely a full time job, but it's the most rewarding one out there.


Kid Chores

I've been thinking a lot about things that Rachel can now help with around the house. She is always so proud of herself whenever I figure out things that she can help with, and I was wondering what types of things you have your kids do to help? When I'm up to having her "help" she loves to help me put her clothes away, dust, wash the windows/floors with her spray bottle of water, sweep with her little broom, and put the silverware away. And, of course, cooking is always very exciting with toddler assistance! So, any ideas would be very much appreciated because she loves helping and I appreciate the enthusiasm about household tasks!


Ideas Needed!

Want a turn to ask the "Tricks of the Trade" question? Or do you have a good idea for the weekly poll or ingredient of the week?
We definitely want all our mommy bloggers to help us out with ideas for these and we always want to have all of our authors and readers involved. So leave a comment here or email if you want a turn or have an idea!
And if you're not an author on the blog but have a question you'd like us to ask we'd love to hear it! Just leave a comment and one of us will ask it the next available week!