Every so often, I dust off the blog and write something wonderful...okay, so that really doesn't happen at all. Usually I write a post to brag about something I've made. Well, here it is-my yearly, blog post about something fantastic (at least in my opinion) that I've made. lol. These are for our Disney Trip. I made each kid a journal and an autograph book. Yay. Pictures are if inside and outside front and back covers.Autograph book pics to come.
So it's been a loooooong time since I've posted anything. I thought an easy way to get back into it would be to post a recipe that I shared with my MOMS group at church the other day. We shared our favorite meals that we enjoy. I said, "chicken spaghetti." That might invoke strange visions of chicken floating around with spaghetti noodles in red marinara sauce, but I can assure you, it's way more exciting than that. I'll give you the recipe as I received it, and then some tips I've used along the way to make it easier. Chicken spaghetti is not an every week kind of meal because in my opinion it takes too darn long to make, but it's nice to have a a "special" sort of meal that you can pepper in with your tried and true recipes.
1 1/2 lbs cooked and diced boneless skinless chicken breast
1 c. chopped celery
1 c. chopped onion
1 c. green pepper (red will work if you can't find green trust me, it happens!!)
1 T chilli powder
2 t. salt
1 t. pepper
1 can of tomato soup
2 cans of cream of chicken soup
1 package of spaghetti noodles
Start by boiling chicken breasts in water. Reserve water for later use.
Chop celery, green peppers, and onion. Or save yourself some time and effort by buying a bag of frozen chopped onion, and peppers. Some grocery stores also sell fresh chopped veggies, too.
Once chicken is cooked, cut up into bite sized pieces.
While cutting chicken, boil spaghetti in the chicken water in a big pot.Using a big pot will make it easier at the end when you combine all of the ingredients. You just want to cover the noodles with the water. If you have too much, throw the extra out, if you don't have enough, just add a little bit of regular water. Once spaghetti is tender, add 1 can of cream of chicken soup and let stand with no heat. Spaghetti will absorb soup.
In the mean time, saute celery, onion , and pepper in 1 T of butter. Add pepper, salt, chilli powder, 1 can of tomato soup, and 1 can of cream of chicken soup. Once it gets bubbly, add the chicken let it simmer for 10 minutes.
Combine spaghetti with sauce and chicken. Get out your muscles for this last step, it is not so easy to "stir."
Place in large casserole dish and bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until the top is sightly golden. All of my tips are in red.
This is what I'm wearing today. I know it's not the best pic, but my 3 year old took it. This could be a challenge for me as I don't have a full length mirror. I bought this dress at old Navy last year. It may not be the most flattering, but it is so comfortable-especially on hot days.
I know, I know-two ToT posts in one day! I'm pretty shocked as well. I actually even thought I might get three in today, and I wasn't even drinking when I thought that. Ha! So, I'm going to play catch up again and write about some of my favorite summer traditions or festivals that we like to attend. This was actually my topic idea from way back in the beginning of May. Oops! My bad.
So, here we go. Let's see. We always enjoy going to the track during the month of May. By track, I mean the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. One of our traditions was going to community day and driving around the track in our own car. This year, we had to change it up a bit and go on Bump Day because Community Day is always on a week day, and we didn't think it would be fair of us to go with out our oldest who is now in school. Bump day is also a fun day because it's a little bit less crowded, and it's also Armed Forces Day. There are various military vehicles at the track that the kids can climb into and ask local military personal questions about. I think the kids really enjoyed it. Oh-and then there is the whole "bump" part of bump day. Some of the drivers are trying to qualify for the race, and bump someone down the line in order to get into the race. It's pretty fun, and it's not as noisy for the kids.
One festival that we really enjoy takes place in the little town my Dad's side of the family lives in called North Webster, Indiana. They have a week long festival called the Mermaid Festival (I know-weird for landlocked, Indiana-but the town is on a lake, so I guess it works). I can remember this being a big deal for me as a kid growing up. They had rides, and food vendor's all week. It's similar to a county fair-but without the animals. Different community groups such as the Lion's Club, Kiwanis and different churches all have a food specialty they serve up on a designated night of the week. Think Potato Donuts one day, Pork Chop Dinner a different day, Fish Fry the next night. So, so good. It was and still is so much fun just to see the small community gather. Now my kids are going to the Mermaid Festival this year. Oh, and they even have a parade. My dad keeps saying he's going to put my kids in the parade. There is a "cutie" portion to the parade that has a theme every year, and the little cuties are on floats to match the theme of the festival. It's actually a pretty intense competition for some people. I'll be sad to miss it this year, but the kids are going to represent our side of the family.
Another fun tradition that we have in our town is a Summer Concert Series. It used to be on the lawn in front of the town hall, but now there is a small amphitheater behind the town hall that they use. Every Tuesday night there is a free concert for anyone to attend. I haven't made it, yet this year, but it's usually a fun time. Everyone brings chairs and snacks. The kids play together, and it's a great time for the whole family. I hope we can make one this year before the summer is over.
I also enjoy going to the local farmer's markets. This year I would like to try to make it to some of the surrounding area markets, just to see how they differ from ours. We like to pick up some local produce, and treats. Last year we joked as we left the farmer's market with coffee, bread, and some sweet kettle corn about how we were kind of the anti-healthy farmer's market people. Hey-we were still supporting our local vendor's though-so I guess that counts.
We are so very lucky to live in a city that has so many great, inexpensive things to see and do over the summer. I can't possibly touch on all of them here. I could go on and on, but this is my second post of the day...and nearly my bed time. If you are still looking for inspiration, check out some of the other ToT ladies blogs-I know they have already written about this topic.
So, I'm declaring today my official ToT catch up day. I will attempt to catch up on all missed topics in short little bursts through out the day today. Why am I playing catch up now? Well, let's just say the summer is about to get a little hectic for me, and my computer time will be even more limited than usual.
The first topic I'm going to attempt to cover is from May 27th: Write about someone you admire and why. I have to be honest, I could write about several people for this post. We have written about women we admire in the past, but this time I'm going to approach the topic a little bit differently. I'm not just writing about one person in particular that I admire (after some thought, I just couldn't narrow it down to one person), but I'm going to write about a group of people instead.
Teachers. I admire teachers immensely. Teachers have always been asked to go above and beyond their job descriptions. They don't get paid nearly what they are owed, and most of the time they have to use their own money to purchase items for their classrooms. Teachers are responsible for teaching our children, for educating them according to state and national standards, and often times they must stand in as a source of comfort and love when our children are away from their parents during school hours. They are molding future generations. What a responsibility. It's a lot of pressure, and so many of them do an outstanding job. They are to be commended and appreciated.
Given recent events in our society, it seems that teachers have an added role to their job description: the job of protector. I've been so moved by teachers shown in the media that have stepped forward to protect the children in their care. Some of them gave their lives, and others willingly put themselves in danger to protect their students. What love, what bravery, what self sacrifice. It's a lesson those students, parents, families, fellow teachers, and hopefully the world in general will never forget, and can learn from. To put someone above yourself like some of these teachers have recently done, is an act that is a rarity in this day and age. Teachers are heroes. They are to be appreciated, respected, and admired.
ToT Topic: What is your favorite season? Why/what makes you like it the most? Would you ever want to live where weather would be like that particular season year-round?
It's so funny how the more I think about something, the more I can change the way I feel about it. I could have a few different answers for this. I'm one of those people that likes having all four seasons-unless winter hangs on forever-which it can do in Indiana. If you would have asked me this answer last week, I would have said my favorite season is fall. Hands down. I love getting a break from the sweltering heat and humidity of summer, when those first few cool mornings and evenings occur in the fall. I like the crunch of the leaves, the color in the trees, and the smell of cinnamon and apples. I'm not sure why, but cinnamon and apples always remind me of fall. My birthday is in the fall, so that is probably why I grew up loving the fall. I'm a football fan, so I like the fall because football season starts. I love sitting around a warm fire on a cool fall night, or having a warm bowl of chili. I enjoy going to the apple orchard and pumpkin patch with my family in the fall. It's a time when my family gets together often because we have a lot of fall birthdays in the family.
Those are the reasons fall is one of my favorite seasons, but now I truly think I could find reasons to make each season my favorite (except maybe for winter-I'm still having hard feelings over that one). I love the spring flowers, and being able to get outside and enjoy seeing my kids run off steam outside (rather than driving everyone crazy running of steam in the house). I love to hear the birds chirping in the spring (until daylight savings, and then the chirping is annoying because it's so freaking early in the morning, and they all seem to live in a tree outside of my bedroom window). It's not too hot, so being outside is actually enjoyable. The only downfall is that sometimes winter can creep over into spring, and it can snow here as late as May. Those are springs that I do not enjoy. Spring call also be very, very rainy, and that is sometimes a bummer, too. I also do not enjoy the thunderstorms that come with spring. As for summer, what can I say? I love summer. I do not enjoy swimming in mild temperatures. Swimming for me is only enjoyable when it is hot outside. So, I love swimming on hot summer days. I love having ice cream treats after dinner as well as walks around the neighborhood. I do not however enjoy the humidity and 100 degree days of summer. I can not stand being around my whiny, hot kids. I feel in some ways that summer can almost trap us inside the house as much as winter if it's too dang hot outside. Winter. Okay, honestly, there are a couple things that I do like about winter. I do like the first substantial snow fall we get that we can play in. I like watching my kids sled down our front lawn, attempt to build snowmen, and have snow ball fights. It's such a treat to come in and have steaming cups of hot chocolate and marshmallows. Let's not forget Christmas either. Those are the things I like about winter. Oh, and I like running in the cold. There. I said it. I would much, much, prefer running in the cold than running in the heat. So, if you ask me right now, I would say I like each of the seasons for different reasons. I like that they change, and I don't (usually) have to live in the same season for more than a few months at a time. If, however, you ask me tomorrow, I might just say, my favorite season is fall. :)