Monday, January 26, 2015

Jamming with the girls

Yesterday, we finished up our last Keepers class for L2L. I taught the girls(and a few moms) a lesson on food preservation. Since we were going to be giving the final product to some ladies at a Valentine's Special Brunch, I chose strawberry jam. I began by explaining what and why we can, the utensils used to make it easier and tips I learned along the way. After the mini lesson, we began the hands on stuff. The girls washed, cut and mashed the strawberries.

The next step was cooking the strawberry, pectin and sugar mixture.

I forgot to take a picture of the girls filling the jars but did get one after they were in the pot.

Once they were finished and placed on the counter to cool, we started hearing the popping sound. We were delighted as we heard each pop because it was the feeling of accomplishment! We still have to add a few accessories like a tag and some ribbon but here are our finished products……all 28 jars!

The best part of cooking is sampling!
 My mom brought biscuits and we smothered them in strawberry jam. 
I heard a lot of "mmmmmmm" coming from the kids and adults!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Changing up from my normal freezer cooking

The next few months are going to be very hectic around here for me. I will be trying to stay on track with the girl's schooling during the day, attending my classes 3 nights a week and training for 2 half marathons. Oh yeah…..I forgot to mention we will be moving for the fourth time in the past year and a half. So anything that will make my life a little easier right now is a huge plus!!!!! I figured freezer meals would definitely help for those days I have to be in class by 5:00. 

I have done freezer meals a couple of different ways in the past. Sometimes I cook everything all in one day and have a months worth of meals ready to go in the freezer. The problem with this is I am usually really tired by the end and have a backache. The other way is to cook different recipes for a couple of weeks doubling or maybe tripling the recipe in order to have meals for the freezer. I decided to try something new this time around. I assembled several bags of meals that would be crockpot ready. Since this is the first time I have tried several of these recipes, I only made a single recipe for most of them. If  they are good, I will definitely be doubling next time! This was by far the easiest preparation for freezer meals. I placed the meat in a ziploc bag, mixed the other ingredients in a bowl and poured them into the bag. That was basically it!!!! Here is what I made….

Chicken Fajitas

Hawaiian Chicken

Teriyaki Chicken

Cilantro Lime Chicken

These are a lot like the Southwest Chicken Wraps I make and love so I doubled this one!

Pepper Steak

I got all but one of the recipes from here. The pepper steak recipe was found here.

I have a ham and a turkey in the freezer so I will get more meals from those later. 

Since I had some homemade bread that needed to be used up, I made these for a quick breakfast. They were yummy! I got the recipe from 101 Days of Real Food.

I can't forget something sweet……

I whipped up a batch of homemade vanilla ice cream with my new ice cream maker I got for Christmas. I love this thing!!!!!! It is so easy and the ice cream is done in about 25 minutes. Sadly, the ice cream didn't last long enough to be considered an addition to the other freezer items.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

New Years

Once Exposure was over, we traveled to SC to my sister and brother in laws house for New Years. We   mainly stayed at the house and enjoyed each others company. 

The girls love Uncle Mike. My niece decided she wanted to marry him. Below is a picture from the ceremony.

Someone found a way to stay warm!

The annual several hour game of Phase 10

New Years Eve we sat by the fire and watched while the boys put on a firework show.

I think someone else is liking the big blanket!

New Years Day was filled with football, food and guns. I fill like I need to see how far I can spit after saying that!

Well…..I start back to school tomorrow so hopefully I can homeschool during the day, attend class three nights a week, take care of my family and still find a little time to blog about it! Atleast, I got caught up and you won't be seeing Christmas in July

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Exposure 2014

2 days after Christmas, we left for Atlanta for Exposure. If you are not familiar with Exposure, it is a huge youth rally with over 1700 kids. We went as chaperones this year. Carmel and Griffin have been several times but for the rest of our family it was a first. We stayed at the Marriot where part of Hunger Games was filmed and this particular weekend home for the TCU football team. They were getting ready for the Chickfila Peach Bowl with Ole Miss. Some of them were even spotted joining our worship times and classes. 

Ella and I had some time on our hands the second day we were there so we explored a little bit within the hotel. This is the same hotel we go to for the L2L convention but it's never decorated for Christmas. 

47th floor

I did not get very many pictures mainly because our family was scattered most of the time. 

Laney with her team

Griffin with his club

Here is a picture from the last night of everyone singing on the Atrium level. You can hear it several floors up. We even had a few to sneak away from the bar to see what was going on.

The final picture I took from FB. It is of everyone who attended. I was talking to someone when I heard "take a seat." I thought it was an announcement so I took front row. I soon found out that it was for the group picture. If you zoom in you will see Ella and I on front row to your right.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Christmas Day

After we finished Christmas at our house, we headed over to my parents to be with the rest of the family. We did our usual presents….eating……game!!!

Griffin was Santa this year.

Gifts from pop!