Friday, December 26, 2014

Best Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

I actually made this version of Chicken noodle soup quite by accident. I was making soup for a friend and as I'm 1/2 into the cooking process I realize I bought 1 carton of chicken stock & 1 beef broth, instead if 2 chicken stocks!  As any mom of young kids can guess, I was not about to pack all 3 kiddos up and run to the store for 1 ingredient- AIN'T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR DAT.  So I kept on cooking, substituting the mistaken broth and hoping it was going to turn out ok...especially since it was for someone else's family!! Well, it miraculously turned out awesome and now it's the only version I'm making, the beef broth adds just the right flavor.

Also I have come to discover, any great soup starts with onions sautéed in butter, makes a HUGE difference. I'm just Sayin' :)


2-3 boneless chicken thighs
1/2 cup carrots, peeled, sliced
1/2 cup onions, diced
1/2 cup celery
4 tablespoons butter
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups beef broth 
1/4 teaspoon salt (you may want to add more, depending on what your family likes)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1 bay leaf
6-8 ounces dried pasta of choice (I just tried Yoder's Amish Egg Noodles, AMAZING!)


Sauté the onions, celery & carrots in the butter until they are soft.  Once cooked, add the raw chicken thighs and lightly brown them in the veggies & butter, (using more butter if needed) then add the broth, and the rest of the seasonings (including bay leaf).  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Simmer until chicken is thoroughly cooked (I do about half an hour.) Remove chicken & shred or dice, return to pan. Add the noodles and simmer until tender. (About 10-15 minutes.) Cook on low until ready to serve, the longer it simmers, the more the flavor meld together.  

Get ready for a party in your mouth! Great ending to a chilly day. Enjoy!

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Flex Express

Tonight we made a new family tradition.  I took a few ideas from Pinterest and threw in a few of my own & came up with the Flex Express.  It was so fun!

First we watched the movie Polar Express for movie night (every Friday we do pizza & a family movie- the whole family loves it!)  While the kids watched the beginning I ran around and prepared for our surprise.  I popped popcorn, had cocoa ready to be heated up, set the car up for our ride & hid new fleece robes (like the boy wears in the movie) & golden tickets in the kids beds. You can find more tips, ideas & printable tickets here. We have a Ford Flex so we personalized the tickets, that I made from a gold Christmas bag.

 After the movie we got ready for bed as usual, but when they pulled back their sheets they made a discovery!  We weren't going to bed after all!! They put on their cozy new robes, ran through the house all excited and headed to the garage...where daddy was exclaiming "ALL ABOARD!" He punched holes in their tickets & they climbed in and found their popcorn, Hot Chocolate (of course!) & Christmas light necklaces (picked up at the dollar store.). 

We then announced we were going on a Christmas light scavenger hunt.  Here is an example of a scavenger hunt, there are tons of lists online! It was a great night of listening to & singing Christmas carols and looking at all kinds of Christmas decorations & lights.  The kids asked if we could do this every year. I'm thinking it will have to be a tradition. It was super fun to plan and do, I love this kinda thing and watching their faces light up with joy was just priceless!

What are your fun Holiday traditions? If you try this come back and let me know how it goes!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Beginning

This is part of the Simply Christianity Series, if you missed the intro, check it out here. 

We are going to start where every good story does, the beginning.  

The Christian Faith holds to the belief that the universe, world & all the species inhabiting it were created in 6 days, by God.  If there is creation, there must be a creator. I wholeheartedly believe this and I believe it was a literal 6 days. 

You can read the biblical account in Genesis chapter 1 & 2.

Day-1 God spoke & created Light & Dark, He separated Morning & Evening
Day-2 He Separated the waters of heaven & earth with the sky.
Day-3 Created dry ground & separated the waters on the earth & called them the seas. Created all plants & trees.
Day-4 Created the Sun, moon & stars.
Day-5 Created Sea life & birds.
Day-6 Created all land animals, wild animals, livestock & small animals. Formed the first man & woman. And he saw all that He had made was good.
Day-7 God rested from working. 

While there is so much I could talk about in the creation story the focus of our study is on God's relationship with us.  A few things I wanted to point out:

-When God created humanity He designed them in His image.  He says "Let us make Human beings in our image, to be like us..." Gen 1:26

- Take a look at the phrases "Let us" & "Our image".  Our God is 3 parts: Father, Son& Spirit. (Think about the molecule H2O in it's liquid state it is water, solid-ice, gas-steam, it has different forms but is still H2O ) He was speaking to and of all parts of himself.

- All 3 parts of God were present in Creation. God the Father spoke the Word (Jesus Christ is that Word) and the Holy Spirit moved.

God is a creative being and he gets pleasure by creating. The Creator made this spectacular, perfect world and he wanted someone to enjoy it and take care of it and it gave Him pleasure to have someone to have a genuine relationship with. Colossians 1:16 says "All things were created by Him & For Him." He did not create us for ourselves, he created us for himself, because He wanted to.  He didn't need us, but He wanted us.  And we get this amazing privilege of doing life with The Creator & by walking with Him we find our true purpose.

So, God created man & woman to be like Him and to live a life of love, for God himself is love.  He made humanity in right relationship with himself.  They could talk with The Lord because they were not tainted, they walked with God with no shame and no condemnation and they were lovely because He loved them.  There was no question about it, they knew Him and lived in the Love of God. This is how he made us & how it is supposed to be. 

God created humans with a spot in our hearts that long for that beautiful relationship with Him.  Knowing about him, doing things for him, following rules to try to please him will not fill that spot. Only knowing Him & being with Him will satisfy our souls.

In the beginning all that God made was good and lovely and the world was perfect. 

Next in this series we'll go over THE FALL -So... What happened? 


Read the Jesus Storybook Bible pages 18-27

Why was creation and Adam & Eve "lovely"?
What did God want people to share with Him?

In the Bible, read John 1:1-10 & vs 14

Who is the "Word"? 
Who gave life to everything that was created? 
What was the Word full of? 

Read 1 John 4:16

God is ________? 

Microwaved Coffee

Last week I snapped this simple shot of my first microwaved cup of coffee of the day.

One day I may be able to drink a full, fresh, warm cup of coffee without distractions...but until that day I am thankful for the interruptions- it means there are little ones around who still need their mommy's help & affirmation. 

Just a reminder to embrace your season of life!

Friday, December 5, 2014


SIMPLY CHRISTIANITY is a simple look at the story of the Christ and where we fit in. This is a series I'm going to be doing to present what I believe and how it has changed me to the core. This series can serve as a great reminder of the basics of the faith of Christianity or an introduction to.  Feel free to use it as a tool however you see fit. I'm excited to start this journey and see where it takes us. 

So...what is the bible?

Put simply: The Bible is a collection of stories written by many (over forty) authors over thousands of years (16 centuries)that is telling one big story.  It is a story that reveals God to us and of His love for humanity.  

The Hero of the entire adventure is Jesus.  He is hidden and hinted at in every book of the Old Testament and unveiled for all of us to see and meet in the New Testament.

It has been said that the Old Testament is Jesus concealed and the New Testament is Jesus revealed.  Basically, the Bible is all about Him and how we fit into His story. 

Contained within the pages of this "Holy Book" are first hand accounts of astounding miracles, glimpses at the power and the nature of our Creator, epic battles, surprising scandals, truths that provide the source of strength-hope-love, promises from God Himself, a way to live life to the fullest, the answers to the questions that every one asks, safety from trouble, where we meet a hero and savior like no other, and get insight into our true destiny.  

Can't wait to dive into this journey with you, first we'll take a look at THE BEGINNING

This weeks reading: The Jesus Storybook bible pages 10-17

In your life what have you seen the bible primarily as?

What fresh or new way are you looking at the bible?

Luke 24:27 , John 1:45, John 5:39

What do these verses say the Old Testament (Moses & the Prophets) was pointing to, talking about or testifying to? 

The Bible
The Jesus Storybook Bible