Friday, April 26, 2013

Foodie Friday: Cheater Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

As I mentioned earlier this week, we were a sick house last week. I needed to find meal ideas that were bland enough that our stomachs could handle them, but also nutritious enough to help us get healthy! One day I ended up making this homemade chicken soup, but mine had a secret. I started it at 11 and we ate it by noon., but it was still had a great flavor. The secret? I started out with store bought chicken stock.
Peachy before chicken noodle soup.

Cheater Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup


-32 ounces store-bought chicken stock
-2 frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts
-chopped carrots, onions, and whatever other veggies you have on hand (You could also substitute a bag of frozen mixed vegetables.)
-1 cup uncooked noodles (I used elbow, but any pasta would do.)
-salt and pepper to taste


1. Pour stock into large pot. Add in frozen chicken and bring to boil. Lower heat to simmer. Continue to cook until chicken is cooked through. (Check with a thermometer or cut it open to make sure it is no longer pink.)
2. Remove chicken and chop into bite-sized pieces. Return to pot.
3. Add in vegetables and continue simmering until vegetables are tender.
4. Add pasta and return to a boil. Cook according to package directions.
5. Add salt and pepper to taste.

And there you have it. Easy and quick, but yummy and hardy chicken noodle soup.
Peachy after eating the chicken noodle soup. *Results may vary.*

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What Peachy Wore Wednesday (VIII)

A week ago Peachy and I were sick with the stomach variety of virus. While it was no fun for me, Peachy was really down and out. I sent this picture to Mr. Cherry on Thursday afternoon to show him that our little girl was feeling much better and back to her usual self.
It is hard to tell here, but she took her New Year's crown and decorated it with fabric scraps. To compliment this, she tied numerous blankets around her waist that flowed behind her like a train.
Unfortunately the trains made excellent moving targets for a little sister to try to grab on to and snatch away. Ah, the price of fashion.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Kid Activities: Tubes and Poms

I have all of these great pins on activities to do with the girls, but so much of the time I just do the same old activities. I decided to try to start being more intentional in the activities that we do. (Thanks to the wonderful Emily of Imperfect for inspiring me!)
I started by looking through my Preschool board and making a short list of activities and pojects that we could do. I tried to keep them limited to simple ideas that made use of items we already had on hand.
Here is one of the successful activities that we completed. The idea is from Imperfect Homemaker's list of 15 (more) Independent Activities for One-Year-Olds. I used painters tape to attach paper towel tubes to the side of the cupboards, making sure that they lined up to make a clear pathway. The girls could put pom poms through the tunnels and watch them come out the bottom. Sometimes we let had them fall to the floor and sometimes we had something under to catch them.

 While this was aimed toward the younger crowd, both girls enjoyed playing with the tunnels together.

 Later in the day, while Cream was napping, we changed the path to make one that connected the tubes and zig-zagged back and forth.

And then Peachy tried her hand at designing her own path. She even tried to incorporate wooden blocks. When we were done, I simply removed the tubes and stashed everything away for another day.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Furtue Blogger

This weekend Peachy asked if I could take some pictures for her. She set up this little display and wanted to make sure that I got her background into the frame.
So, here it is. Peachy's photo set up. She picked the middle doll out on a trip to Michaels this weekend. Of course she went for the trendiest, most Brat Doll like one she could find. (Not the sweet little cute princess I tried to steer her toward.) She knows what she likes!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

April, I'm Loving It

Here are some of the things that I am loving for April.
1) Call the Midwife: Since I can't get my British tellie fix with Downton Abbey right now, this series is filling in. It airs on PBS on Sunday night, but you can always stream it. Great show! But be ready with the Kleenex.
2) Little Bear: Television for the littles. We don't get many channels on our current cable plan. So I use some Amazon for the girls when we need an afternoon tv show. I stumbled across Little Bear a while back and am loving it. The plot lines are simple and sweet and the narration and music is calming. Perfect television for kids and parents!
3) Loreal go 360 Clean Facial Wash: (This in combination with #4 is bringing peace to my relationship with my face lately.) I bought this at the grocery store when I needed some new cleanser and have fallen in love. It has a little rubber brush that came built right in with the packaging that sticks to the shower wall if you would like. It gently exfoliates. And I really think my skin feels smoother since starting to use it.
4) Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream: I bought this little tube when I needed some more foundation. I like how lightweight it is, but that it still has good coverage. The lotion built in moisturizes without being too heavy for my oily skin.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Don't Leave Momma Unattended

This is what happens when Mr. Cherry allows me to go out and run errands sans kiddos.

I go to a fabric store and grow the fabric stash a bit. There are good things a coming!!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Farm Animals

Last week the girls and I headed to our local university for the Ag Department's spring animal viewing event. It is pretty low key, but I like having my city girls see some farm animals. There were chicks, ducklings, goats, donkeys, mini ponies, pigs, cows, bunnies, and sheep, oh my!

 And then we stopped to see this rare animal!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Weekend in the Rearview

We had a great weekend in our neck of the woods. It was one of those weekends where our family just seemed to click. Totally wonderful when that happens!

Friday was my birthday. The girls started it off bright and early by waking up a little after 6. Um, thanks! Mr. Cherry headed into work and the girls and I met up with friends at the mall. Little shopping was done, but we were able to get a great stash of $1 flip flops from Pennys.
God blessed my day by sending snowglobe snow. It is rare for me to get snow on my birthday, so I figured it was God's way of throwing some confetti for me.
I usually celebrate with a Dairy Queen cake.This year Mr. Cherry mixed it up and brought home this yummy carrot cake from Costco.
When Mr. Cherry came home he had flowers, cake, cards, and Clif Bars to celebrate. We chose a quiet evening in and dined on Chinese takeout once the munchkins were in bed for the night. (I had to laugh at us eating off of tv trays in the living room. Do we know how to be romantic or what?)

Saturday brought a cleaning day at home. It always feels good to have a clean house to live in. Big thanks to Mr. Cherry for helping me tackle the clutter, dirt, and grime. We also had some friends over for dinner and a game night. We ended up not getting around to the games since we were chatting.
And Sunday brought about church and then more snow. At least when it snows in April you know it won't be sticking around all that long.
The girls and I have some fun activities scheduled this week. Always a good week when you can leave the house and do something fun!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

On the Bright Side

Does winter still have an icy grip on your neck of the woods? We are no where near flip flop weather around here. Since there is really nothing that we can do about it, I decided to look for a few silver linings.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

What Peachy Wore Wednesday (VII)

Ever want to know what it would look like if you were to wear every piece of jewelry you owned? Wonder no more. Peachy decided to find out. And guess what? She loved the look. (That is until it got a little heavy for her. Then she had to take it off.)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Boden Inspired: Felt Circle Shirt

A while back, my friend had given me some pages from a Boden catalog of their felt embellished shirts as some inspiration.  Of course they were seasonal and I can no longer link to the actual shirts, but here is one from Ebay.
When that friend's daughters birthday rolled around, I knew just what to make for her. I decided to go with felt circles and a found a great stripped shirt at Target.
I layered mustard and grey wool blend felt and sewed a simple navy line through each one. I love how it turned out and may need to make one for myself.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Cream at 19 months

I wasn't planning on posting a 19 month update for Cream, but seeing how much she is growing and changing lately, I just couldn't resist.
(All of these pictures were taken by my friend Tina out of her home. She is just starting to get into photography and asked that I bring the girls over for a practice session. I love how all of the photos turned out and will post more later.)

*Cream's language development has all of a sudden started to soar. I would say it really started growing over the last month. She would add a new word almost everyday. Since Easter it has really taken off. She will say words to us all the time. And it is then our job to figure out just what it is that she is trying to communicate. The other morning she was in our room after waking up and told me hungry. This morning she told me breakfast and yogurt. During Bible class at church on Sunday she was looking at one of her picture books. She pointed at the apple and clear as day said, "Apple." Then she pointed and said shoes, towel, spoon, car, and meow meow (for cat.) It is so fun watching her soak in the world and figure it all out right now.

*She also has been asking to use the potty. Until this weekend, she hadn't had any luck in actually making potty while sitting on it. This weekend she had success. Now of course she wants to use the potty all the time. I am not thinking that she will be trained soon, but these are steps in the right direction.

*Lately she has ideas on not only what she should be doing, but also what other people should be doing. She will take your hand and show you where she would like you to sit. When we are getting ready to head out the door, she will make sure that everyone has a pair of their own shoes and also a jacket.

*She has really started to want to do things on her own. While at times this can be frustrating, it is also so gratifying watching her attempt and succeed at something like putting her boots or pants on.

*She continues to be our little mimic. If she sees someone do it, she had better give it a try. This can really be quite amusing. The other day I had to sternly whisper something to Peachy. Pretty soon Cream was right there whispering sternly with me. (It was hard to keep a straight face.)

*Even though I feel like I end up having to separate the two girls all of the time, there is still that genuine bond of siblings. When Cream can't see Peachy she goes around calling her name. And before she goes down for her nap, she always makes sure to tell her sister 'nigh, 'nigh.

*One of my favorite things right now is she will come up to me and with arms outstretched and say "Hug." Even when I am smack in the middle of preparing supper it is hard to resist and melts my heart.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Foodie Friday: Homemade Yogurt

Three or so Christmases ago I asked for a yogurt maker. I used it twice, wasn't happy with the results and stashed it away on a shelf for the next three years. One of my friends recently was telling me about how she makes yogurt at home. (She doesn't use a maker, you can check out the various methods online.) I decided to give her recipe a try. I also decided to give the yogurt maker another try. And great news, it worked! I think that the trick is to add any fruit or sweeteners just before eating, rather than part of the yogurt making process. (I am not expert, but that is what I think.) Anyway, I thought that I would share the yogurt making process with you today. It is really not all that complicated.

Homemade Yogurt (1 quart)

1 quart milk (whole, 2%, and skim all work fine)
½ cup dry milk powder
2 Tbsp plain yogurt (While you can purchase yogurt starters, I think the easiest way is to purchase a small container of plain yogurt and use some of that as a starter. I have been using Fage, but others should work. Just make sure they have live active cultures.)

1. Combine milk and milk powder in saucepan, heat over med to med high heat until it reaches 190° (about 15 minutes, but use a thermometer). 

2.  Remove from heat, partly cover (to prevent a skin from forming) and cool to 110°.  (You can either just let it cool by taking it off the heat, although I like to speed up the cooling process by placing the pan in an ice water bath in my sink.) *The reason for heating the milk is to kill any bacteria, therefore it must be cooled before adding the yogurt or the live bacteria you want to grow will also be killed.*

3. Once cooled, mix ½ cup milk with yogurt until smooth, add to remaining milk and stir well. At this point, I scoop the milk mixture into the individual containers that my yogurt maker came with. I put them into the yogurt maker, uncovered, and pour in hot water around the jars. (While this isn't part of the directions on my yogurt maker, I think it keeps a more even temperature.) 

4. I keep my jars in the yogurt maker for 8-10 hours. Remember, the longer you keep them in there, the thicker the yogurt. I like mine thick, like Greek yogurt.

5. Remove jars from yogurt maker and cover and place in refrigerator. I like my yogurt with honey and fresh fruit. Sometimes I add a bit of vanilla or granola.

*If you don't have a yogurt maker, here are my friend's directions for hot water method. Pour milk/yogurt into very clean (or sterilized) quart jar, cover with saran wrap and keep undisturbed between 110° and 120° for 4-8 hours. To keep yogurt mixture at 115° fill a large stockpot with hot water, place jar in water and place in 115° oven  OR fill two quart jars with hot water and place with yogurt jar in a cooler, keep replacing hot water jars with new jars every couple hours. She does this in her oven by cycling the warm setting on and off throughout the day.*
**If you are looking into purchasing your own yogurt maker, I would suggest one that uses one large container rather than the individual ones.**

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Trader Joe's Love

This can only mean one thing, I went to a Trader Joe's!
I am not lucky enough to have a Trader Joe's in my neck of the woods, but when I am near one and have the chance, I love to go in and grab a few items.
Over Easter weekend, my sister-in-law and I snuck away to Trader Joe's. She has a regular shopping list for herself and her friends whenever she comes home. I just like to go and pick up whatever looks good to me.
These Cats Cookies for People are always a hit. I also like their multi-grain chips. And you pretty much can't go wrong with anything chocolate.
Do you shop at Trader Joe's? What are some of your favorites?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Ballet Bag and Shirt

One of Peachy's friends recently turned 4. (Okay, by recently I mean back in November. Time is really a relative thing on a blog, right?) We decided to give her a ballet themed gift that she could use for her dance classes.
I found this shirt on Etsy for inspiration:
Using a freezer paper stencil, I painted a ballerina silhouette on a plain shirt and a bag. Then I added some pink trim as the tutu and as edging on the bag.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Easter Recap 2013

Cream with cousin J
Peachy and Cream with cousin L
We have had an awesome past week filled with family time. Time with our little family and our extended family. It is such a blessing to be able to spend our holidays with those we love so much. (Too bad we couldn't be together with everyone. We missed some of you!!)
Cream and cousin L on the snowbank
The fun started with two aunties and two cousins driving up to visit us for a few days last week. While house guests are always fun, they are super fun when it means constant playmates. The cousins all played so well that we only left the house to play in the snow in the yard.
Dance party!
Cream playing with a childhood toy at Mr. Cherry's

Mr. Cherry was able to take Thursday through Monday off for Easter. It is always nice to have a bit more time and not have to feel so rushed when we drive to see our families for holidays. We started off at his parents' house where the girls got grandma and grandpa time followed by more aunt and uncle time along with more cousin time. We were able to worship with Mr. Cherry's family on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Peachy is at the age where the services hold meaning for her now. What a joy to be able to share your faith with your child and watch it blossom within them.
Story Time!

On Saturday we headed to my parents' for more grandma and grandpa time. We were able to go for a walk that afternoon and enjoy some springish weather. Cream ended up falling asleep in the stroller and continued to sleep in the driveway while my mom and I visited. (Traveling wears a toddler out!)
A little cousin piano recital

Sunday morning brought us to the church I was confirmed at and we were married in. It was a complete Easter service with choir and lots of instruments. Peachy just kept smiling and smiling and saying how happy she was that it was Easter. And she sang those hallelujahs with all of her heart. What a blessing to celebrate our Risen Redeemer with fellow believers.
Snack time!

We spent the rest of our time at my parents' visiting, and looking through old childhood toys and other items that I still had in my bedroom closet. I shredded all kinds of old financial papers and went through a big tub, over half of which I decided to purge. :o) Although it was fun thinking back on those times.
Peachy and cousin J helping grandpa make the coffee

After an easy drive home yesterday we are now getting back into our daily routines here. I hope you had a blessed Easter as well.
Cream wearing a vest my grandma made for me as a child