Friday, September 27, 2013

Simple Potato Soup

Last week I made some Quick and Easy Vegetable Soup. This week I had another crazy day (Hmmm, seams to be a pattern... Oh yea, I'm a mom!) so I made another one of my fall backs: Simple potato soup. When ever I make mashed potatos for dinner I make about 16 helpings. My family only eats about 6-10 servings leaving me at least 6 servings. From this I make soup. What's my secret here?
 Evaporated milk! 

So here it is:

6-10 servings of mashed potatoes (Homemade or instant)
2 cans evaporated milk
1/8 cup Seasoned salt

Mix all ingredients in a pot on med heat.

Even easier than my veggie soup. The fun part is the garnishes:
  • Ritz Crackers: I know, I know more carbs, but hey, this is comfort food that's all!
  • Loaded potato soup: Add bacon bits, shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream.
  • Hot potato: just a few dashes of Tabasco.
  • Popcorn seasoning: Ranch and White Cheddar are our favorites, but it also comes in nacho, butter, and other fun flavors.
With this recipe you can make one pot and everyone can customize their soup to get just what they want. Win win!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fun Fall Felt Coasters

Total Time: 1-2 hours
Approximate Cost: Less than $5

My mom sent me a picture of cute fall coasters, so I decided to make my own. I love these. My favorite part is if Little Lady gets them she can't break them or hurt herself like she can with our thirsty stones.
  • 1 sheet each of felt: Orange, Yellow, Light Brown, Dark Brown
  • Embroidery Thread: Brown, Orange, Yellow
  • Scissors
  • Needle
  • 1 Strait Pin
  • Cardstock
Print the above pattern onto card stock. Cut then trace onto felt:
    • Dark Brown: 2 Acorn Back and 2 Acorn Top
    • Light Brown: 2 Acorn Bottom
    • Yellow: 2 Leaf and 1 Stem
    • Orange: 2 Leaf and 1 Stem

Cut pieces out. These are meant to be a little whimsical, fun and abstract, so you can always tweak them a little. I trimmed mine AFTER they were sewn together so they lined up better.

Use a strait pin to hold one acorn top and one acorn bottom together. Use an acorn back to line them up, but do not pin/sew the back together yet. Sew the top and bottom together using a 6 strand embroidery thread and a simple 1/4" stitch. I made one acorn with yellow thread and one acorn with orange thread to make them match the leaves.

Sew 3 'x's to the acorn top as shown above.

Sew the acorn back to the assembled front by stitching the perimeter. Once sewn you can trim the edges so they line up better.

Using brown thread sew contrasting stem to leaf (ie. Yellow stem on Orange leaf).

Sew the leaf of the same color to back. Trim the edges.

Make one more leaf and one more acorn. This whole project cost me $2 and I made a total of 8 coaster. This is easy enough that Rosey Posey (11) can make on her own and Bubee (5) can sew once I have them cut out. If you make some, please post pictures and tell me how yours turned out!

Like this idea?  Pin It!!!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Party at the State Fair

Every year the North Georgia State Fair is here the 2 weeks around Rosey Posey's birthday. Ever since she turned 5 it's been a part of her birthday celebration, and this year was no different. We picked up 3 of her friends and met up with family for some fun, food and shows at the fair.

We always go on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday. The fair has a GREAT deal for about $15 you get unlimited rides on theses days. Seeing how each ride averages $2-5 you can see how the $15 deal is AMAZING. The way the fair is laid out we usually start with rides and snacks, make our way to the back where the food is for dinner, watch one of the shows, then finish up the night with dessert and a few more ride.

Rosey Posey's favorite ride is the Himalayan while Bubee loves the motorcycles. I always measure the kid's heights before we go so I can tell quickly if they are the right height for each ride. Sadly we found out this will be Bubee's last year on the motorcycles, so needless to say he rode them about 6 times (About the only negative part of the unlimited rides pass)

The newest ride this year is the Ski Lift. It goes from one end of the fair to the other and  provides a beautiful Birdseye-view.

One of the main things I noticed while enjoying this new view was one of the games. I know that carnival games are all rigged to give you snowball's chance in hell of winning, but I never knew the basketball game was THIS bad! If you look you can see that the rims are not just smaller (Which I thought was the only thing) They are actually shaped differently.  So we did not play any games while there and saved our money to enjoy on other things...

Like food! One of my favorite things about the fair is there is such a choice of food that everyone can enjoy their own favorites and no one can be too picky. We had hamburgers, hot dogs, chili dogs, quesadilla and fresh french fries! No way I'm making that all in one night just the please everyone. ;)

After dinner it's time for a show. Last year they had alligators, this year it was sea lions! We learned some neat facts about pollutions effect on sea lions and even the difference between seals and sea lions (Like sea lions rotating hip). So not only was the show fun and down-right hilarious, it was very educational too.

We wrapped up the night with some good old fashion festival sweets: Ice cream, cotton candy and the best apple dumplings in the world!!!
Granny's Apple Dumplings!!! YUM!

Takeaway Tips
  • Get the best deal. Check for discount or early bird tickets, and especially special dates like kids free or unlimited rides.
  • Measure the kids before you go, that way you can tell quickly which rides they can enjoy. 
  • Resist the urge to play the games! Unless it's in your budget, you're probably going win more spending the money on lottery tickets.
  • Let everyone get what they want for dinner. It's your one chance for everyone to be happy without you having to be a short order cook.
  • Use any opportunity for an educational lesson. While this isn't your main goal, you never know what you or the kids can learn if you just look around.
  • Don't forget to budget your time too. We were at the fair for 7 hours and could have probably stayed longer. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Quick and Easy Harvest Basket Display

FINALLY!!! I was able to get the fall decor out this year. I'm still missing a box, but at least I got my two main boxes out! :D The results? A fun house of warm orange and reds.

This counter is the center piece to our house. It is smack dab in the middle of our living space. I try to keep it seasonally decorated not only because it looks great, but it also keeps it from being a hot spot or catch-all. Other than the pumpkin and flowers, all of these decorations are new this year. I found the scarecrows and basket 'fillings' in the dollar section at Target. The turkey and basket came from Joann's Crafts.

How to make your own:
Want to have a abundant harvest display? Use newspaper, paper towels, or my favorite: cotton to fill the basket, then place your harvest on top.

Start with the largest items and work your way down to the smallest, using floral to 'fill in' the holes.

What do you use for your 'harvest baskets'? Please share any links you have to your Fall decor!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Quick and Easy Veggie Soup

Fall is a time for chillies and soups. The warm soup just hits the spot as the nights come sooner and the temps get a little lower. The past 2 days have been CRAZY: Trying to get 3 vehicles repaired with fresh tires, having one kid out of school and bored all week, not to mention the age old question... What's for dinner?!? So needless to say, I didn't feel much like cooking today and fell back on one of my favorite home-made meals: Veggie soup. I don't know if I read the original recipe somewhere else or just made it up myself, but it's different each time. Here's my little secret:

V8 Juice!

That's it! That's how I make my homemade soup. Okay fine, there's a little more to it than that, but that's the base. Here's what I made tonight:

64oz of V8 
1 Cup of frozen Corn 
16 oz package of Baby Carrots
1 Cup fresh Green Beans
3 medium Golden Potatoes
2 cloves of Garlic
1/4 Cup diced Onion

Snap the beans, cut the potatoes, and mince the garlic. Add everything to a large pot, cook on med-high heat till the carrots and potatoes are as tender as you like. Stir often.

Pretty easy!! And of course every time I make it, it's a little different depending on the available ingredients and who's eating. Here's a few variations:

  • Use a different V8. There's everything from low sodium to spicy V8 available.
  • Add meat. Ground beef is excellent! You can also use ground turkey, shredded pork or even some lamb.
  • Add or remove some vegetables. Some of our families other favorites includes broccoli, lima beans, cauliflower, and peas. The options are virtually endless! I try not to add any more tomatoes, since the V8 is so 'tomato-y'
  • Use a slow-cooker. If you don't want to think about dinner till dinner time start this in the slow cooker about 6-10 hours (depending on cooker, temp and how tender you like your veggies) before you plan on serving.
  • If you're really adventurous you can play with seasonings. I do suggest starting with the low sodium V8 if you want to try this.

 A pot of soup with some Ritz crackers = YUM!!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Changing of the Seasons!

September 15th is usually the official start of the Seibert household's fall: We rotate clothes, pull out the fall decor, really start planning some of our fall activities, and my favorite: Change the salt and pepper shakers. It's not officially a new season/month/holiday around here until I've changed the shakers. Yes I have a growing collection of about 20 sets, but it's one of those inexpensive items that seams to change the look of the whole house (Since our dinning table is literally in the middle of our living space.)

Out with the summer lady bugs; in with the fall pumpkins!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Fall Decorations

I can feel it... fall is knocking on my door!! I've started dreaming up some ideas for the yard and front porch. We live on a busy 4 lane road and I want the front to really 'pop' this year. What are some of you favorite Fall Decor ideas?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Stone Mountain Park

If you're ever in the Metro-Atlanta area, you really should check out Stone Mt. Park. The first time I set eyes upon the 825 foot granite rock I was about 4 years old. I have enjoyed many of summer days playing on the main lawn in front of the infamous sculpture of Davis, Lee, and Jackson including one crazy 4th of July (Note: NEVER visit on a holiday!!!).

This Past Saturday we enjoyed a day at the Yellow Daisy Festival: an arts and craft show at the park; followed by an evening enjoying the laser show.

Little Lady enjoyed most of the day from the confined view of her seat in the wagon; complete with her own safety fan. Not only was the wagon a great way to traverse the terrain, it served as a shopping cart for some of our craft show goodies.

 One of my favorite parts of the festival was watching Santa play bass! :P
 All through out the day we had to make sure everyone was well hydrated, covered in bug spray and sunblock and stayed cool. Little Lady enjoys the outdoors so much. She was content to sit tight in her chair enjoying the cool breeze of her puppy fan.

After walking over 5 miles it was time to claim our spot on the grass. If you get a chance to visit it is best to be on the lawn at least 2 hours before the show starts. We like to get there anywhere between 3 and 5 hours beforehand so we can picnic and the kids can play: The lawn there is HUGE and every kid loves to roll in the grass, blow bubbles, play tag, toss a ball, throw a Frisbee, and anything else they can imagine.
Our Stone Mt. 'kit' always has: large picnic blankets, several chairs, food, bubble, Frisbee, ball, 'glow in the dark' apparel (Glow sticks, flashing hats, etc.). By the time the older two were done playing Little Lady was worn out. Meme got her to sleep and I was SO happy we brought her camping nap tent.

Once the lights go down it's time to get the glow in the dark goodies out. There are vendors on site selling all sorts of goodies, but I find the same things in the dollar section of Target for SO MUCH less! The laser show is an amazing thing to see. All sorts of songs and images to take in topped with fireworks, it can be breath takeing!

Takeaway Tips
  • Check out the Stone Mt Park web page to plan your trip. We had a simple trip this time, but there's LOTS to do there including a trip to the top of the Mt, the duck ride, train, Crossroads village, and MORE
  • Travel smart not necessarily lite: No matter what you do there you will probably be doing a lot of walking. The best way to enjoy it all is to travel with all the necessities and usually a wagon or large stroller is best to transport it in.
  • Weather Safety: Stay cool/warm, don't get bit or burnt, if there's lightning: Stay OFF the lawn!!
  • Pack fun things to do. Take advantage of the HUGE lawn.
  • Don't forget the light up goodies... unless you don't mind spending $10 on a light up sword.
  • DO NOT go on holidays. Memorial day, 4th of July and Labor day are the worst. (The one time we went on the 4th of July I was 12 and we literally ate our picnic in the car stopped on the interstate because traffic was so bad to get into the park.)
  • Get to the lawn at least 2 hours before the show starts.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Friday Night Lights

My Family LOVES football. (Okay, Rosey Posey only likes it if she's AT a game). It's such a unique atmosphere: team spirit, competition, community, and just the enjoyable fall air! Our family enjoys everything from going to a HS game, to watching collage football all day Saturdays, to participating in a fantasy NFL football league. It's the best 4.5 months out of the year!! :D

This past Friday, we braved a local HS game for the first time as a family. We left Little Lady (13mo. old) with my folks, dressed in the school colors and headed out the door to the unknown: Would the kids enjoy the game, where should we park, did Bubee even need a ticket, how much should we
budget, surely we can eat there... Since we don't have kids at the school I didn't even know where to get tickets. I was able to call the school that day and find out tickets were $7 each, but that's about all I knew.

Our first hurdle was parking. We opted to park a little bit away from the school and walk, but even that proved difficult. The first place we parked, unloaded and was headed to the school when my husband spotted a sign: "No School Parking". {insert mommy grumbles here} So we all loaded back up and searched for another spot. We finally hesitantly parked across from the school at a business park (praise God we didn't get towed!).

After a short trek across a 4-lane road with 2 kids in tow, we made it! At this point we were just fallowing the crowd to find our way. Found the front gate and got tickets. Fortunately Bubee was free!

The first thing I noticed was all the vendors. I quickly realized today was the "backyard brawl" (the opposing team was from a school only about 4 miles away) so there was LOTS of businesses from the community. We made our way to the stand collecting lots of flyers, goodies, and souvenirs. I was tickled pink to see that one of the flyers was 6 FREE items from our local Chik-fil-a!  YUM!

Once we made it to the stands I realized we would be spending the night sitting on concrete. The stands was nothing more than concrete stairs: no padding, no back, just concrete! :/ Fortunately the kids didn't mind too much.

Rosey Posey and I made our way to the concession stand to grab dinner and left the boys to watch the warm-ups. I was so glad we got there early as the concession stand line only grew all night. Chik-fil-a sandwiches and cheeseburgers, not the healthiest of dinners, but some of the BEST football food!

After eating, we opted to sit the kids on the seats in front of us. This made it so much easier to watch both the game and the kiddos. It took him a little bit, but once Bubee realized he could make as much noise as he wanted to when the home team scored he started giving his 'outdoor voice' a work out.
About mid way through the second quarter the kids started to get restless. So we let them get face paints. Chik-fil-a was doing free face painting with the school colors/logos.This really helped brake up the time sitting and allowed the kids to experience more of the team spirit.

The half time show at any HS or collage football game is one of my favorite parts of Fall. Not sure why, but I love to watch a marching band. We are blessed to live so close to Lassiter as their marching band has been in the Macy's Thanksgiving day parade many times and not to mention the numerouse bowl parades (Rose, Orange, and Citrus). It's always wonderful to watch them!

The night was wonderful! The kids enjoyed the game. Bubee LOVED getting to dance and cheer real loud. Rosey Posey liked the face painting and seeing a few of her friends. Chris enjoyed watching football, and I was just happy to spend some time out of the house with most of the family.

Takeaway Tips
  • Call the school ahead of time to find out about tickets, parking, etc.
  • Bring a soft stadium seat. Your back will thank you!
  • Pay for parking. The $5 it would of cost us would have been so worth it to avoid the head ache of finding a 'tow-free' parking spot and crossing 4 lanes of metro-Atlanta traffic. 
  • Go ahead and take any flyers, who knows: it could be a FREE dinner ;)
  • Budget! While the food there was great, it wasn't the cheapest. Take a little extra and indulge some.
  • If you can, sit the kids INFRONT of you not beside! This will give you the best view of the game while still supervising kids.
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