Thursday, October 14, 2010

Duck Soup by Jackie Urbanovic

Each day I start preschool time by asking Bearhugs and Darlin' to pick out a book each for me to read to them. I find that it is something they look forward to and beg for if we miss it. One of the books chosen for today was Duck Soup by Jackie Urbanovic. We received this book from an Aunt and Uncle as an addition to our library in honor of Bearhugs 5th birthday. It has become an instant favorite.

By Darlin' (DD3) and Bearhugs (DS5)

After our reading time the kids often want a craft to do that goes with the story. (Construction paper and glue never last very long at our house =) So for today I thought I'd take the time to share kiddo's creations. Notice Trapper and Trout won't be left out of preschool activities when if involves paper and glue!

By Trout (DS7) and Trapper (DS8)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Slow Cooked Moroccan Chicken from

Always on the hunt for more great recipes for the Crock-pot I came across this Moroccan-Style Chicken that my family loved. It is a little different than the typical American flavoring we are accustomed, too, but it is a fun ethnic food that we all enjoyed.
Slow Cooked Moroccan Chicken


  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 8 oz. baby carrots with tops, trimmed, or baby carrots, halved lengthwise if large
  • 1/2 cup pitted dried plums (prunes)
  • 1 14-oz. can reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 8 bone-in chicken thighs, skinned
  • 1-1/4 tsp. curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon


1. In a 4- to 5-quart slow cooker combine onion and carrots. Add plums and broth. Top with chicken. In a small bowl combine curry powder, salt, and cinnamon. Sprinkle over chicken.

2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours. Remove chicken, fruit, and vegetables from cooker with a slotted spoon. Spoon some of the cooking juices on each serving. Makes 4 servings.

This recipe is not my own and can be found at

Sunday, October 10, 2010

What I'm Learning About Tae Kwon Do

Hana, Dul, Set, Net...
Let me start by saying this is a crash cultural course if there ever was one! I have no background in martial arts of any form. No one in my family participated in them, I never attended any events surrounding them, and my understanding of martial arts was predominantly formed by movies such as The Karate Kid (think 1984 version with chopstick fly nabbing).

Fast forward a couple decades and now I have children that want an after school activity that both challenges and fascinates. Enter, Tae Kwon Do.

After a thorough search of the internet and local do-jangs we decided to look into a Kukkiwon approved studio that works with all ages. Upon visiting with Master M. we decided to preview the first couple classes before signing up full-time.

We were impressed and overwhelmed, to say the least. In the first class it became apparent that the older more experienced students are responsible for the younger students. My 7yo DS, Trout, jumped into the first class excited to try this new experience. In about 2 seconds he realized he had no idea what he was doing, didn't understand why this older boy was redirecting him, and figured it might be best to watch from the sidelines where his 3 siblings were already gawking at all that was going on.

The class starts with a simple stretching routine. As the students follow the masters instructions they are sure to respond with "Yes, Ma'am" and the proper Korean counting. They work through a series of simple exercises before moving to more difficult techniques that are to be learned or worked on by all participating. The more advanced "belts" (students that have tested to prove their advanced understanding) work to help the newer students, or lower "belts". Everyone in uniform is expected to participate. At this particular do-jang respect of authority is strongly emphasized as the students must respond properly and do as expected or they are punished with further exercise (most often push-ups).It's great! Currently all 4 of my kids participate, ages 8, 7, 5, & 3, and they love it! I love the training they are receiving on respect, discipline, exercise, routine, and defense. It is an excellent reinforcement of so many things we hope to instill in our children at home, but how fun and cool is it to learn while wearing white uniforms!

Stick around and I'll share more about all this in future posts as I am learning more all the time.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Homemade Meals- Hearty Veggie Beef Stew

As a busy mom and wife with 6 of us to feed, there are many times I find myself wondering how food is going to appear on our table come meal time. I enjoy cooking some days, some days I don't. I have lots of time to think about cooking some days, some days I don't. I have a thoroughly filled pantry and fridge some days and some days I don't. So as a favor to myself and a way of sharing some of the things I have learned with others, I hope to have an ongoing blog meme concerning all these matters. Let's begin...

The first of many recipes I want to share is assembled by myself and prepared by my trusty cooking companion, the Crock Pot. This recipe is great! Throw in all the ingredients, fix a side of biscuits (especially if you have no eggs for bread or rolls) and sit down to a great dinner once you have all congregated around the family meal table.

Hearty Veggie Beef Stew

2 lbs. lean stewing beef, thawed the night before and cut into 1" cubes
3 medium potatoes diced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and sliced chunky
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp thyme
16 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cups water
2 bouillon cubes (water and bouillon may be replaced with beef stock)

Combine all ingredients in crock. Cover and cook- Low for 8-10 hrs; High 4-5 hrs

Delicious option for the end of a cool fall day! Enjoy!