Saturday, September 29, 2012

Cheesy Potato Soup {A Recipe}

If you are anything like me, when Fall hits and delivers the cool crisp air---your body is begging for soup.  Mine is, that's for sure.  I have a few favorites, and a few that are on my "go-to" list when the chills hit.

I absolutely love cheesy potato soup, but have yet to find a recipe that I can make that is just perfect.  So, I would continue to swoon over it, and get all excited when it was the "soup of the day" at a restaurant.

..............that is until now!  You guys are going to thank me later for this amazing recipe.  And, I am so sorry to say that I have absolutely no pictures of it.  Booo!    

I got this recipe from a co-worker, and was a little hesitant to make it.  Only because I had yet to find a good one.  I had almost given up even trying.  Bad attitude, I know.

It is so easy to make, and I will definitely be making it again.  I mean, it was so good that I am sharing the recipe, and I haven't stopped talking about it since I made it.  It's that good.  (Sorry honey---I am almost over the fact that *I* made a good cheesy potato soup.  I promise, I will stop talking about it soon!)

The run-down.......

I am going to tell you how I made it.  You can truly make any modifications you want.  And some portions may not be exact, but that's the beauty of cooking right?  You go with your gut instinct....or something like that.  Ha.

-1/2-3/4 stock pot full of potatoes
-16 oz sour cream
-family size can of cream of chicken soup (I don't remember how many ounces)
-1/2 block of velveeta cheese
-package of diced ham
-1 package of pre-cooked bacon

When making this soup, I used the little red potatoes.  I cleaned them (about 1/2 a bag or so--just depends on the sizes of potatoes, etc) and diced them up pretty small.  I did leave the skin on them, because we prefer that taste and texture.  You can peel them first if that is what you or your family prefer.

1.  Boil your potatoes until the potatoes are tender.
2.  While the potatoes are boiling, mix your sour cream and cream of chicken soup together.
3.  When the potatoes are tender, drain the excess water.  Add your cream mixture, and stir.
4.  Cube about 1/2 block of velveeta cheese (depending on how cheesy you like it, or how big of a batch you are making) and add that to the potatoes and cream mixture.
5.  Add your ham to the soup mixture.  I used the whole package of the already cubed ham, but you don't have to use that much.  It is very "hamy" (I may have made up that word...but you know what I mean. Ha.) but Carl and I really liked it like that.
6.  Microwave your bacon (I like mine really crispy) and add it to the soup mixture.
7.  Let the cheese melt, and the ham heat thoroughly, while occasionally stirring the soup.  Add as much milk as you would like, until you get the consistency that you and your family prefer.  I added some milk, but we prefer more of a "thick" soup, opposed to it being really runny.

I let the soup simmer for a while, and served it with a caesar salad, and french bread.
You can also add any vegetables that you and your family like.  I know a lot of people like onions, celery, carrots, or other veggies in their soups.  I live with a ridiculously extremely picky eater, so I didn't add any extras.

Side note---it makes for amazing left overs.  It makes a lot of soup, so Carl and I were eating it for a while.  After it's in the fridge, it thickens up a lot, but I didn't add any milk to the batch before putting it in the fridge. I just added milk to each bowl before microwaving it, so people could choose how thick/runny they prefer.

Let me know if you make it, and how it turns out.  You won't regret it if you do, and I am certain it will be a crowd pleaser!

Sorry for the lack of pictures of this recipe in the making.  But, I have this "after" the soup was made shot.  This would be Carson washing dishes.  It's never too early to start them doing chores, right?  I didn't think so :)  The kid has some mad skills with balancing himself, if I do say so myself!

Happy Weekend!  It's a beautiful Fall day in our neck of the woods.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Happy Harvest

I am in love with the change of Season that we are greeted with each quarter in Iowa.  The cool crisp air that Fall brings--that turns into a snow storm that leaves you stranded inside for a day in the Winter--switching to Spring that delivers brand new babies--and in turn switches to Summer which delivers everything outside.

My body begs for change every few months, and that is exactly what we get.  And Fall?  Fall is by far my favorite.  I love everything about it.  The colors.  The air.  My Fall decorations.  Pumpkins and trick-or-treating.  Baking fresh apple recipes.  And, Harvest itself.  The hustle and bustle of the farmers that are busy in the field.  All the talk that is floating around about how good/bad their yields in the fields are, or how many bushels they have.  How wet/dry their fields are, etc.  I work in an environment that has farmers all over talking about Harvest......and I love that about our rural community.

I see women delivering meals to the men who are busy working in the fields.  It brings back so many memories of when I was a little girl, and I used to help my Grandma prepare the meals to bring to the field.  I have so many fond memories of that, and helping my Dad and Grandpa in the field.

So, I did what any Farmer's Daughter would do, and brought my oldest Son to experience a little glimpse of Harvest himself with Papa.

Carson loves tractors, and has just recently fallen in love with his little combine.  The kind of love that leads him to think he needs to have that combine with him at all times.  In bed, on the toilet, during supper---he seems to always have it in his hands.  Everywhere.

Last year, I brought Carson out to the fields, and we took a combine ride.  He was his true self, and it didn't surprise me one bit that he was very leery, and rather scared.  It is how Carson responds to every new situation, and I was not shocked.  But this year---I just had this gut feeling that it was going to be completely different.  And it was.

We talked about it for a very long time.  I thought preparing him for what we were about to experience would help.  Kind of like what I do before we are ready to go and get his picture taken.  Although, that situation never turns out as well as this one.  I mean, I don't think it matters how much preparing you do with this kid before pictures, he will always refuse and cry.

Anyway---I got off subject.

Back to combining.  We got out to the field, and Carson was so excited to see the combine heading towards us as the bean head was rotating 'round.  His face lit up, and I knew this was going to be good.

As the combine approached us, and got closer and closer---I felt Carson's legs wrap around me really tightly.  I think he was really nervous to get into this big piece of machinery.  And to be honest with you---I don't blame him.  That thing is big, and loud, and rather intimidating through his little eyes, I am sure.  But my little guy was brave, and got into the combine without a peep.  Generally if he is scared or nervous and doesn't want to do something, you will know.  He lets his voice be heard.  But this time, he soaked it all in.

We jumped in, and it didn't take him long to loosen up.  He instantly started to narrate everything that was taking place right before his eyes.  "Combine picking beans, I help Papa pick beans (he calls them green beans--so cute!), I unload beans into the trailer (wagon)" and so on.  Carson then decided that he needed to sit on Papa's lap and help him drive the combine.  This is when it got a bit tricky.  The combine has an "auto-steer" feature, so you are not allowed to touch the steering wheel, otherwise it will kick out of that mode.  It took a while for Carson to grasp that concept, but he eventually followed directions.  Later on, the ground was a little rough, and Papa wasn't using auto-steer, so Carson got to help steer.  I heard a few times "Wow, he has got quite the grip!" and "Let Papa help you steer" come from my Dad's mouth.  I had to kind of laugh, because Carson took this combining thing super serious.

Insert picture of his "this is serious business" face:

He doesn't take the job lightly.  This picture makes me smile, because I can remember all of those times that I thought it was so neat to be the "co-pilot" while riding with my Dad or Grandpa.

Our family may not live on a farm, but my boy may be a farmer in the making.  And if I didn't think he went anywhere without his combine before---he really isn't going anywhere without it now!

We already have another combining date planned for this week.  Only this time we will be in the corn fields.  Carson can't wait!  He actually hasn't stopped talking about it since we left the bean field.

Happy Harvest!  My most favorite time of the year.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fun with Paint

I'm a little behind on this blog when it comes to our Summer activities.  I am trying my best to catch up!

This Summer delivered some major heat.  I am talkin', 100+ degree temps for numerous days in a row, with very little relief.  With an infant in the house, we felt like one of us were grounded inside for most evenings.  Carson really likes it when Dad and Mama join him outside, so it made for a disappointed toddler at times.  So, we tried our best to come up with creative things to do inside.

I pick the boys up from daycare every evening after work, and I walked into the house with a trying two year old.  I think Daddy must have known this before we even got home, because he came to the rescue.  He had a little painting station all set up, and ready for Carson to dig right in.  (Please ignore the fact that my child has his shirt on backwards.  He likes to dress himself, and sometimes I choose not to fight him with turning it around.  You pick your battles, right!? Ha.)

He had so much fun painting a little masterpiece.  He and Carl sat and painted for a long time, and Carson displayed the biggest smile the whole time.

Thanks to Daddy for his help on this inside activity!  I am constantly telling him to rack his brain for more indoor fun for when the Winter months hit.  Hopefully he will deliver some good ones to add to my already long list.  But, if anyone has any suggestions, let me know!  We love trying new things :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

My boys.....

I seriously can't get enough of these boys.  They are my everything.  They are all so precious to me.

But seriously---trying to get a "good" picture of the 3 of them?  Next to impossible!  Please pray for me when we have family pictures this Fall.  I will more than likely be a stressed out hot mess.  But in all honesty---these are my favorite pictures.  It show exactly what our life is like right now, and I can guarantee you I will miss this someday.  So, I will embrace the imperfect family pictures, and laugh at these.  I can't help but laugh! 

A little run down of our little photo shoot......

......this would be Carson wanting to hold Weston, and trying to crab his arm at the same time.  Daddy tries to swoop in and stop the madness.

.....Carl listens to the crazy lady behind the camera by looking and smiling.  The rest of the boys haven't caught on yet.

......Carl is worried about Carson's books, Carson thinks there is something on TV that is far more interesting then looking at Mom, and I am sure Weston is trying his best to sit straight up.  That is what he does these days---jumps out of your arms to sit up.   

.....this picture is my favorite.  Carl has had it with telling Carson to be nice to Weston, and decides that he should just hold both boys.  The transition is always the hardest part :)

.....the handsome hubby listens to me.  Carson is doing something crazy--like always, and Weston has fixed his eyes on the TV. 

.....and whatever was on TV that captured the boys' attention, has now gotten to Carl. 

.....let's just ignore mama all together, and read a book. 

......Carl and Weston are very interested in whatever is on TV.  Carson is trying to attack Weston, while Carl tries his best to not let it happen.  

.......Aaaaand, we are done with this photo gig!  

Out of all of those pictures, I couldn't find a single ONE that had everyone looking.  I didn't even care if they were smiling!  Haha.  Life with a hubby, a toddler, and an infant.  Ohhh, I love it so much :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Current Status

We have had a lot going on in our world these days.  And since this little space of mine is truly something for me to look back on, and is my little "diary"...I thought I would update my future self on our current status.

Insert bittersweet picture.

It's going to be very hard to leave this house that we have called home for 2 years now.  We have put a lot of sweat into this house, and have put in countless hours to make it our home.  But we feel this is right.  We are ready for our next big adventure, and ready for our next step together as a family.  Carl and I have done a lot of thinking, talking, praying, and weighing the 'pros' and 'cons' about this situation, and we have decided that this is best thing for our family.

Along with many, many things I will miss about this house, I am also going to miss our gigantic Moon Plant that has taken over the entire corner of our flower garden.  Carl and I joke about it everytime we see it, and always have a little 'talk' with the plant, and it usually consists of something like....."Dude, we never water you, settle down!  Stop growing so much!  You are taking over the entire corner of our flower garden, and covering up other plants--stop being so selfish!"  Haha.  We are thinking about naming the plant, because---you know, if you talk to it, you should probably be on a 'first-name-basis' right?

We know where our next home will be city wise, but we don't know the exact house that we will soon call a home.  We don't know when our home will sell....but when the time comes, we will be ready.  For right now----we get to go through the joys of waiting patiently impatiently, and hoping for a quick sale.  Oh, and trying our best to have a 'show ready' home at all times.  Did you know that is next to impossible with two little monstrous boys?!  Ha.  But, I wouldn't have it any other way!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Parkersburg Days

A couple weekends ago, we got the opportunity to check another thing off our "Summer List!"  We attended the annual Parkersburg Days celebration, and had a lot of fun!

The parade is always so fun, and is usually really good for being a small town parade.  And the best part?  Candy!

We sat by my good friend Carrie, and her daughter Tinley.

Unfortunately, Carson got scared about 2 minutes into the parade.  This gigantic bowling pin came walking towards us, and Carson ran and hid behind the tree.  I will admit though--it wasn't the most kid-friendly costume.  It was windy out, the big bowling pin was on the verge of blowing over, and sort of made a leery "blowing-stomping" noise with every step the person made.  Carson didn't move much from his Daddy's lap the rest of the parade.  He still enjoyed a few pieces of candy that he got brave enough to dart after, and returned back to "home base" which was his Daddy's lap.

After the parade we headed down to the park, and enjoyed some food and music.  It's a lot of fun to see and talk with people that we don't see often.  I love to hear about everyone's Summer, and talk to the little ones that are waiting for school to start with much anticipation.

There was also face painting going on, but Carson didn't care to partake in this activity.  We did get the chance to see Kendra and Kennedy all decked out with their cheeks painted.  How fun!

We have had a lot of fun things checked off our Summer List this year, and I am really enjoying looking at the pictures, and thinking of the memories we have been making.  Summer 2012 has certainly been proving itself to be a great one for our family! 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

My Princess is ONE

My dearest little niece Natalie, turned ONE!  I still can't believe that a year ago, I was awe struck by her perfect little body, and instantly fell in love with this little girl.  I was having baby fever big time, and she came at the perfect time.  Carl and I also found out a week after she was born, that we were pregnant with Weston!

Natalie is so precious.  She is walking, starting to talk, and it is so fun to watch her grow.  She has the cutest personality, little curls to go with her attitude, and is busy as can be.  (The picture below makes me laugh everytime.  This is her..."I'm ONE" pose! Haha.)

Her birthday party was nothing shy of amazing.  My Sister is her Mother, after all, and she did not disappoint.  There were details galore, a bounce house for the kids, a bags game, kick ball, party favors to take home, a cupcake decorating station, and great food.

It was so much fun to take it all in.  I could sit and watch little ones play all day.  I am a people watcher, and it truly fascinates me.  Carson had so much fun in the bounce house, and was reminded (repetatively) to be nice to the smaller children.  Weston was along for the ride, and the Baby Bjorn has been a life saver these days!  He loves that thing, and I love having him pressed against my chest at all times.

Natalie had fun playing around with her little cake.  It was such a joy to watch her devour it, eat it, and add a little frosting to her hair :)

Now that Natalie can walk, her and Carson are having a lot of fun playing together.  Carson sometimes struggles with sharing, and being nice, but we are working on that very hard.  He always asks where "Natty" is, and it makes my heart smile knowing he will be growing up with her.  It is so much fun to see them interact, and I know as they both grow older, it will become even more fun.

Happy Birthday Natalie!  I can't wait to do your hair, make-up, play dress up, have tea parties, get pedicures, etc...with you someday.  Hey-- I only have boys, so I get to live through you when it comes to the "girly" things :)  You truly are the sweetest little "cupcake."  We love you so very much, and I thank the Lord for blessing our family with YOU!