Saturday, March 29, 2008

More Snow= Potato Corn Chowder

Yesterday afternoon the feather-like flakes started swirling through the air.

They soon started piling up, so a warm, comforting dinner was in order.

I have been making a potato corn chowder recipe for a long time that my family loves. But I was getting a little bored with it. So, last night I changed it up a bit. I made it thicker and creamier; and I added fingerling potatoes, cheddar cheese, and broccoli.

Jen's Potato Corn Chowder

1 sweet yellow onion, finely chopped

1 Tablespoon butter

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 large russet potato, peeled and diced

8 or so fingerling potatoes, sliced 1/8 inch thick

5 cups chicken stock

1 cup frozen corn

1 1/2 cups half-n-half

3 Tablespoons flour

3/4 cup broccoli florets, bite size

3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter with olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, cook, covered; stirring occasionally until translucent, about 10 minutes. Don't let it brown.

Add chicken stock, russet potato, corn, and a little salt. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are soft, about 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, add flour to a small bowl, add a little half-n-half, whisk with a fork until smooth, adding half-n-half a little at a time until it is all incorporated.

When potatoes are soft, mash in the pot with a potato masher. Stir in half-n-half mixture and fingerling potatoes. Simmer about 5 minutes, add broccoli, continue to simmer for a few more minutes until broccoli is al dente (unless you like it softer). Take soup off heat, stir in cheese.

To serve, I add a little frozen corn to the bottom of each bowl, then ladle in soup. This cools off the soup for my kids (and husband) without watering it down.

I wish I had taken a picture! Next time...

I like to make popovers or corn muffins to go with this. This time we had warm corn muffins with butter and honey. Yum.

This morning we woke to this:

So, I guess we need more comfort soup tonight. Anyone have a good recipe?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Gratitude Journal

sleeping in

waking up to baby laughter and babble

sunshine after snow

daddy playing with his girls

family dinner

dishwasher humming, dishes done

...Thank you, Lord

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Happy first day of Spring! Here is what we woke up to:

A nice little dusting of snow. Spring for us up here is like this. We really can't start planting for a while yet. We will have lots of nice sunny days, but the nights get very cold. Still, it's much better than January:

No, that tree is not in bloom. It's snow. Yes, we experienced a January miracle: our maple tree blossomed with snow. Beautiful isn't it?

Anyway, we had quite a bit of snow that month. A storm every weekend. Then the last week the schools were closed for the whole week! School almost never closes for snow up here. For the 12 years I taught school, we had maybe 4 snow days. Three of them during an ice storm, so they were because of power outages, not snow. So, the first year I'm not teaching, a whole week off!! No fair.

Ok, enough about snow!! Come on Spring! I'm so ready for you.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Gratitude Journal

I'm trying to remember to be more thankful, more mindful of all the blessings God has bestowed on me. The days get so busy with laundry, diapers, teaching, cooking, and cleaning that I easily forget to see all of the beauty and joy around me, to appreciate the little details, moments that are good in my life. So, I'm starting this Gratitude Journal, to help me take notice and remember and not take things for granted. I'll add to it here and there as I practice being grateful. And if I am having a particularly bad day, I can go back and read my list of blessings.

So, here I go...

baby boy having a good nap
a husband working at home, close
giggly girls coming home soon
sunshine filtering through the clouds, getting warmer
warm, milky tea and a quiet hour to myself

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

My girls hadn't realized today was St. Patrick's Day. I made sure the baby and I had on something green, then surprised them with green pancakes. I yelled, "Happy St. Patrick's Day!" and pinched them, then realized they inadvertantly had green on, so they got to pinch me back. Next time I'll have to check more closely :).

All in all, it was a fun start for a Monday.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Four Years (or The Dream)

I have this habit or tendency-oh, I don't know what to call it-to think back to what was happening in my life this time last year, or in this case, four years ago. My life was so very different only four short years ago.

I was a single girl, a teacher, fixing up my old house. I was planning a garden, and getting prepared to do foster care. I was 31, kinda lonely, and spent my days teaching, reading, and dreaming of having a family. I did enjoy my single/childless-ness, too. I had traveled a bit, read a lot, and spent time volunteering at church, and oh, yeah, I averaged 9 hours of sleep a night. But I was ready, I was tired of me-time. I wanted to be a mom, have a family. Foster care was my solution for the time being.

That spring I met my future husband. That summer I became a foster mom to a little, tow-headed, 23 month-old girl who couldn't talk. That fall, her 6 year-old sister came to live with us too. She didn't talk much either, well, she talked quite a bit actually; I just couldn't understand her.

Life had changed dramatically. I had what I always wanted. Well, kinda. The girls weren't really mine, and my boyfriend had to go home every night. And, gosh, it was much harder than I thought to be a mom! But that's another story!

Fast forward two years. My life changed dramatically again in three short months. I adopted the girls in August, got married in September, and found out I was pregnant in October. Making up for lost time I guess.

I just love comparing and contrasting my present circumstances with the past. Not with regret, just awe. It is just so interesting to see how God set everything into motion. To look at my beautiful girls, my sweet baby boy, my handsome husband, and then picture myself alone, in my old house, dreaming...

And I'm filled with gratitude.

I don't read much anymore, I certainly don't get nine hours of sleep at night, but I get to wake up every morning and live that dream.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Oh, Spring!

It's so close, I can almost taste it. Or should I say smell it...lilacs, freshly cut grass, warm soil...

I love spring. All the other seasons are nice, and I appreciate certain aspects of each, but spring!

Maybe because it comes after such dark, cold, colorless days. I crave sunshine. And I love being outside.


My girls and I have been perusing gardening books, catalogs, and magazines since January. We have big dreams of colorful flowers, sweet berries and yummy veggies. Well, I dream of yummy veggies, my girls not so much. But I am hoping to tempt them with some fun miniature carrots, squash, and eggplants...we'll see. I'm excited for them to experience the law of sowing and reaping; to be able to see first hand how hard work leads to bountiful harvest. As well, we will be spending quality time together as we tend, sow, weed, feed, and relish our garden.

Spring=open air

As well as gardening, spring means more time outdoors for

taking walks, playing tag, riding bikes

picnics, cartwheels, cloud watching

Last spring I couldn't attempt cartwheels; I was in my third trimester. My girls spent hours perfecting their cartwheels and I was itching to do some myself. It's probably a good thing I restrained myself...(smile). This year--watch out girls, mommy is going give you a run for your money!

Spring=new life

Spring hold so many promises, new beginnings. The perfect time to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. We spend so much time and energy on Christmas, and then Easter slides by without much thought. I want to change this in my household; put more emphasis on why we celebrate. Some of my ideas so far:

*Read One Wintry Night by Ruth Bell Graham to my girls. This beautiful story starts with Adam and Eve to explain why Jesus was born in the first place. It is more of a Christmas story, but it ends with the reason Jesus was born, with the cross and the resurrection.

*Create an Easter Tree. Using cut branches for the tree, blown out and painted eggs, and homemade ornaments that correspond to the Easter story. So far I've thought of a lamb, nails, a cross for ornaments. Of course the girls will help with this.

Well, enough daydreaming for now. My spring fever has me antsy to clean out a corner or a cupboard or two during my son's nap time!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


baby toes
slobbery kisses
dimpled knuckles
Having a great time hanging out with my little man today.
Big sisters are at our homeschool connection classes.
Time for more sweetness...
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