Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tulips - in color

Several years ago (almost seven) Billy, Sadie and myself went to the Tulip festival. We went in the early part of April not knowing that we would find only one small patch of Tulips open!

Here is Sadie (five at the time) with the ONE and only open patch of flowers. One thing that makes me laugh is that I had adjusted the camera to take black and white photos once I realized there was nothing open. This is back before we had a digital camera, so this is the only copy we have!

Gotta love this shot of Sadie and Billy in the fields of tulips, nothing open! I do think that if you look closely Sadie is next to one little one that did open, but hard to tell in black and white.

Moving on to color... Last Sunday after church we went up to the Tulip Festival with our dear friends the Cacere's. I had no idea how bad the traffic would be, but it was fun to have some time with all our families together in one car enjoying the ride.

When we got there it was great to see so many of the Tulips open, they were beautiful!

Micah, Sadie, Samuel & Syrah; they were such troopers stopping often at the request of their mama's wanting photos!!

Much different from seven years ago! A little lady surrounded by pink!

Love this shot of all of us; it isn't often that all four of us get a shot together, so I was grateful for the Caceres capturing this!

You can see lots more photos that Katrina captured at their family site, she captured some amazing shots!!

Love this picture of Syrah.

We stopped and had a picnic lunch.

This is the view from above; there are many areas still not open so you still have time to go!! If you make a day of it you can stop by the town of LaConner which is one of my all time favorite little towns to window shop!

Sadie captured this one lone pink tulip peaking out!

On our way out Sadie captured this shot and I just love it! They ask that you not even pick up the petals; maybe this is why, she would have never captured this great shot otherwise.

After the tulips we went to a place that Katrina recommended. They had a small bakery, nursery, store and best of all ice cream that Katrina said was the best (which says a lot because she is not a fan of the ice cream!).

Katrina capturing the beautiful flowers they had in the nursery!

We had no idea that the line for the ice cream would be so long! However it was worth the wait and it ended the day perfectly (well, actually an amazing sermon from church ended it perfectly, but the ice cream ended our tulip trip!).

We had an amazing time and suggest that you look into heading on to the Tulip Festival yourself; I personally look forward to going again, hopefully it doesn't take us seven years!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Sharing some recipes

About 6 weeks ago I got this great new recipe book called Fix-it and Forget-it Big Cookbook by: Phyllis Pellman Good, as a birthday gift and I wanted to share some of the recipes out of it that we have tried and enjoyed. I shop two weeks at a time so I make a meal plan prior to shopping and do my best to stick to that plan. This book as made it very easy for me to throw something together in the crockpot and be on with the day.

Here are a few that we enjoyed:

Tortilla Soup

16oz can fat-free refried beans
15oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
14oz can fat-free chicken broth
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
3/4 cup chunky salsa
3/4 cup boneless, skinless cooked chicken, cubed
1/4 cup water
2 cups shredded cheese, divided
1 bag baked tortilla chips

1. Combine all ingredients except cheese and chips
2. Cook on low 3-4 hours, or until heated through
3. Add half of cheese. Stir until melted
4. Crush chips in bowls. Add Soup. Top with sour cream and more crushed chips

(I pre made the chicken in the morning and then came home during my lunch and got the rest of the meal ready - it was perfect!). This is not too spicy and there was enough to serve all of us and have left overs!!

Chicken Soft Tacos
(this is what the recipe is called, but not how I used it!)

1-1 1/2 lbs frozen, boneless, skinless chicken breasts
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 packet of taco seasoning

1. Place Chicken breast in slow cooker
2. Mix tomatoes and taco seasoning. Pour over chicken.
3. Cover. Cook on low for 6-8 hours
4. Serve in soft tortillas. Top with salsa, shredded cheese, guacamole and fresh tomatoes.

I took out #4 and shredded the chicken and added it to lettuce, corn and black beans for a variation of taco salad. I use lighthouse "jalapeno ranch" dressing (not too spicy when mixed conservatively with salad). Also there is a new salad topper on the market (usually with the croutons or almonds) that is tortilla strips; they have tons of different flavors and were a huge hit on this salad! I cooked this recipe overnight in the crockpot, shredded the chicken in the morning and then let sit in the refrigerator until it was time to serve!

I could also imagine using this chicken for enchiladas!

Mix-It-and-Run Chicken

2 15oz cans cut green beans, undrained
2 10oz cans cream of mushroom soup
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1/2 tsp salt

1. Drain beans, reserving juice in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
2. Stir in soup into bean juice, blending thoroughly. Set aside.
3. Place beans in slow cooker. Sprinkle with salt.
4. Place chicken in cooker. Sprinkle with salt.
5. Top with soup.
6. Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours, or until chicken is tender, but not dry or mushy.

I really enjoyed this recipe and served it over rice. One thing I love is that once you try something ideas on how to improve the meal often come up. We think next time we make this one (on next weeks meal plan), we will cook the rice and put in a casserole dish, put chicken over rice, cover with shredded cheese and bake on 350 until cheese is melted. It was super yummy on it's own, but we are excited to try the variation.

There are so many meals in this book and we have tried a few that we feel were good, but not great. We have tried a few that we made notes to change things here and there and we will try again and the great thing is there are 1400 recipes, so many more to add to the list! You can get your own copy of this cook book by clicking here.

I had a few more recipes that are out of our family favorites, but I ran out of time this morning. I will post those and a few more soon!

Monday, April 13, 2009

A tad behind

Finding time to blog this time of year is always difficult, so you end up with a few weeks worth of pictures and a big long post. That was your official warning...

A week ago Saturday was a beautiful day outside... actually we had an amazing weekend! We had thought it would be fun to go to the zoo with my dad (who was celebrating a birthday) and Kelly!

Syrah riding the baboon!

So many of the animals were enjoying the sun it was fun to see. We often hit the zoo when it is less then favorable weather and never would I have thought we would have gone on the first nice day of the year, but I am glad we did because it was fun to see so many animals out enjoying the sun as we were!

Sadie has taken a liking to photography and you can catch her shooting pictures all day!

I loved this picture - this Tiger looks like the wild beast he is, however, he really was just rolling around playing with the branches like a kitten.

Only last year did we realize that the zoo had a Red Panda. Most often we can barely catch a glimpse of him curled up in the trees, but this day we was our roaming and marking his territory. Come to find out the zoo has four of them, but they become violent to each other so they keep them separated (hence why he felt it necessary to leave his mark).

One thing we like to do is sit in the open bird part of the tropical rain forest. I personally could sit there for hours. This little guy landed right where we were sitting. Sadie reached out not to touch him, but to show how close he came to us!

Hard to believe that is our little girl walking between her Grandpa and Kelly!

This was one of my favorite parts of the day. This little goose (come to find out this is some type of swan, looks like a goose to me!) was standing on one leg. We watched him for quite awhile stand with confidence there on one leg, still as can be.

The funny part was he was the sole swan in a sea of flamingos. It tickled me funny like the little guy thought that he was one of them!

We ended a great day with big smiles!

We were able to spend some time with some friends on Sunday after going to an amazing morning church service and we finished off the weekend with an evening service that gave us tons of truth to chew on all week!

This last weekend was obviously the celebrating of our Lord and Savior who took our sins from us and gave us life through his resurrection!

The girls ready for Easter service. Might have to have Syrah start standing on the stairs to get these shots!

After service we were invited to join our friends the Caceres's. Each year they host an Easter Egg hunt for the kiddos, but this year they decided to have a family hunt and an Easter Brunch. We felt very blessed to be included in their family time on such a joyful day!

Amara, Samuel, Dayton, Micah, Syrah and Sadie ready to start looking for some eggs.

I just love this picture of the handsome cousins!

Sadie looking for eggs - the smile says it all!

After the hunt each of the kids checked out what they found!

Sadie, Samuel, Micah & Dayton checking out their finds!

For the friends and family that stop by we thank you for being patient through the times in life that when things slow down we spend the time with those who matter most and that is each other. We pray for all our family and friends that the Spirit of our Lord be present in your lives each day and causing transformation with each forward step.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I can take a joke, but really??

I am staring out my window and it is SNOWING.... come on all ready!!

Just a few pictures to share, not many words to speak!

Billy & Sadie took a weekend trip to celebrate Jeremiah's birthday (only pictures that came home were from the drive down!)

Donuts and friends - a great combination!!

Happy Birthday Grandma!!! We love you!!

Watson meets Syrah with love!

New member of the Jansson Family - Watson!