Life with the Shirley Family

Life with the Shirley Family

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I love my job!

I do love my job, or should I say jobs!! Well, I love most of them! Right now I can say I do not love ironing or emptying the dishwasher. But I love being a mom, a wife, a speech-language pathologist, a volunteer at the boys' school, a Cubbies' director, and well, that is all I can think of at this time.

Tonight was Super Heroes Night at AWANA. The 3 and 4 year olds had so much fun dressing up, and so did my leaders! I got to come as my favorite super hero--Wonder Woman of course! I did change her name, however, to Cubbie Women!! I have to say that I have a great group of leaders! They all dressed up and made the night so much fun for the kids. The olders clubs focused on how Jesus is the real Super Hero, and since our lesson was about creation, we were able to talk about how only God can create, therefore, He is a super hero! It was an awesome night. My only regret is that I didn't get the red boots for my costume!!

Our younger group of clubbers

Super girl and Bat girl!

Our very active older group of clubbers!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Free Card!!

I love pictures and I love getting free cards whenever I can! I especially love the card on the previous post because it was made just in time to get to Dave's Grandpa only a little late for his birthday. If you go onto Shutterfly, you can get a free card too and only have to pay for it to be shipped to that special birthday person in your life...the one you always forget about until the last minute!!!

I don't know if you can view the entire card, but I thought I was really clever in how I made the back. Whenver Dave's Grandpa receives a card from someone, he always looks at the back of it to see if it a Hallmark. So I thought I would have some fun with him. I wrote, Shirleymark...when you care enough to send the best!, on the back. I sure hope he still has the habit of reading the back of cards!!

5x7 Folded Card

Sunny And Bright Birthday Card
Click here to browse Shutterfly's modern graduation invitations.
View the entire collection of cards.

Friday, September 16, 2011

More recipes

Well, I have not pulled out the camera during dinner this week, but we have had some yummy meals. I must admit that it is nice to not have to do a lot of cooking each night, but I wish I could somehow have a once a month dish washing plan!! Also, I kind of miss eating out! Dave is saving me tonight, though. He is taking me out to eat without the kids! Yeah!!

But I thought I would share some more favorites. We have eaten chicken and rice twice now and love it! Poulet de France (or chicken and stuffing) was good also, although more of a meal to provide sustenance and not too much palatal pleasure. Taco pie was not the biggest hit in our family; maybe because I forgot to add the extras like cheese, sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes... And we also had a very yummy chicken tetrazinni. I think that is it. With Nathan and Camden both in ball and AWANA's started, it has been tricky to eat at home this week even with meals prepared!

Chicken Tetrazinni

1 16 oz package spaghetti (use half)
1 1/4 cups chopped onion (or onion powder for me)
3 tbsp margarine (not needed unless you use a real onion)
1 cup chopped green bell pepper (omitted at my house)
5 1/2 cups cooked, diced chicken
4 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 soup can of milk
salt and pepper to taste

Break spaghetti in half and cook as directed on package until al dente; drain. (Saute onions in margarine) Or throughly mix some onion powder and all the remaining ingredients with spaghetti in a large bowl. (Using your hands works well if spaghetti is not too hot) Put spaghetti mixture in 2 containers and freeze.

Te prepare, thaw tetrazinni and put in a baking dish. Bake uncovered in preheated 350 degree oven until bubbly, about 30-40 minutes.

Poulet De France

1 12 oz package seasoned bread stuffing (6 cups)
2 tbsp melted margarine
2 cups chicken broth (I strained our chicken broth through cheese cloth from where we cooked the chicken and it worked well)
3 cups chopped, cooked chicken
1/2 cups finely chopped onion (or onion powder)
1/4 cup minced chives (we omitted this time)
1/2 cup finely chopped celery (normally is blend my celery, but omitted this time)
1/2 cup light mayo
3/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup grated mild cheddar cheese

In a medium bowl, mix stuffing, melted margarine, and 1 1/4 cups broth. Mix chicken, 3/4 cup broth, onion, chives, celery, mayo and salt in another bowl.

Spread half the stuffing in a 13x9x2 inch baking dish treated with nonstick spray. Spread chicken mixture over stuffing. Cover with remaining stuffing. Whisk eggs, milk and soup in a large bowl. Pour sauce evenly over stuffing. Cover dish with foil and freeze. Put cheese in small freezer bag and attach it to dish. **

To prepare for serving, thaw grated cheese and chicken dish. Bake covered in a 325 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle with cheese, and continue to bake uncovered for 10 minutes.

**If you take it out of the freezer before it freezes too hard, you can cut it in half and put it in separate freezer bags. One half is enough for our family and it helps with freezer space.

Chicken and rice

2 (1 1/4 lb) roasted chickens (we used about 1 1/2 cups cooked chicken)
1 small onion minced (or onion powder of course!)
1/2 cup light mayo
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 (8 oz) can water chestnuts (omitted)
1 (14 1/2 oz can chicken broth
1 (6.2 oz) package long-grain and wild rice mix, cooked

Remove chicken from bones and chop chicken. Stir together chicken and remaining ingredients. Spoon evenly into 2 lightly greased 8 inch square baking dishes. Wrap in aluminum foil. (or divide into 2 gallon freezer bags).

For serving, thaw and bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes or until throughly heated. This serves 4, but without any leftovers in my family and sometimes with asking for more than I have. When the boys get older, I will have to serve both dishes at one time!!

The first recipe came from my Once-a-Month Cooking cookbook, but the last came from Southern Living's 2001 cookbook.

Monday, September 12, 2011


This past weekend has been a weekend of reflecting. Beginning with the sirens invading our neighborhood; Nathan and his friend Ben riding their bikes through the police cars and thinking there must have been a big robbery; thinking I should FB Amanda to find out what was happening on her street; to putting all the pieces together and figuring out that it was Amanda who was found dead in her house. It seems unreal. A girl whom I taught in SS and tutored in her home. Well, at least I tried, as her mom pointed out tonight at the funeral home. Amanda definitely wanted to do things her way.

What I keep thinking about, other than the obvious of how hard this must be for her mom and the fact that Amanda herself was a mom to two little girls who now have no parents (since the husband/dad took Amanda's life), is how much we don't know people. I knew Amanda when she was younger and later became her "friend" on FB. It seemed like she was doing good with her life. She was married, something that her neighbors were not sure of, and her girls were her life. This much was very clear by any posts she had on FB. But how much do we know our neighbors and what should I be doing to show love to my neighbors?

I also keep thinking about how evil is really real. I have a kid I see for therapy who lives in the projects. His mom was telling me that there had been a shooting there the other night. Of course this is horrible, but in today's world, our attitudes about these actions have been desensitized and we don't think too much of it. But what I really wanted to tell the mom was, "Yeah, that happened in my neighborhood too." Evil can happen and does happen anywhere.

But at the end of my reflections is a prayer for Amanda's mom and family and especially for her two little girls. And thankfulness that Amanda was saved and is now in heaven with her father. And also a prayer of thanksgiving for my husband who loves me and would not physically hurt me. And lots of extra hugs for my two boys who have their parents by the grace of God. Rest in peace Amanda.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Cooking Party

My friend Becky and I recently had a cooking party. Our goal was to make food that was relatively easy, good to eat, and something our kids would also eat. Neither of us like chunks in our food, so we worked well together. We cooked 14 different recipes and stuck them in the freezer! Due to popular demand (this is for you Shannon), I have taken pictures of the first two meals we have eaten. There were no pictures taken while cooking...we were too busy cooking and too messy to get the camera out. But we had a lot of fun cooking together. Well at least hanging out together! And now we don't have to do major cooking for the next, well, 14+ days. And so far, the food has been very good!

So here are the first two meals with recipes. These two recipes came from my old cookbook, Once-A-Month Cooking.

French Stew

3 lbs beef stew meat
1 10 3/4 oz can beef consomme
3 large peeled and sliced carrots (we used baby carrots, half bag)
1 16 oz can whole green beans, drained
1 8 1/2 oz can whole onions, drained (I omitted)
1 16 oz can small peas, drained
1 16 oz can peeled tomatoes
1 cup water
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup tapioca
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup fine, dry bread crumbs
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Mix ingredients in a large covered pot. Bake in a 250 degree oven for 6-8 hrs or in a large crockpot 8-10 hrs on low (I used the oven). Allow to cool, and put in freezer container.

To prepare for serving, thaw stew and heat until bubbly.

We ate ours over rice.

Well,I am no food photographer and this may not look to appetizing, but it tasted good! Did I mention that both the boys ate the carrots!

Joes to go

1 lb ground beef
3/4 cup finely chopped onion (or onion powder as I use)
1 1/2 tsp garlic salt (or a little less garlic powder as I use)
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 cup chili sauce
1/4 brown sugar
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp prepared mustard
1 8-oz tomato sauce

Cook and stir ground beef and onion; drain. Add garlic, pepper, chili sauce, brown sugar, white vinegar, mustard and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. simmer uncovered 10 minutes,stirring occasionally. Cool and freeze.

To serve, thaw; heat until sauce is bubbly and serve on warmed buns.

Nathan's favorite, sloppy joes...he says I always make the best sloppy joes!

Dave enduring pictures while eating his food!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Bible Bee 2011

Nathan participated in an event this summer called the Bible Bee. We joined the competition without much knowledge of what all it entailed and were immediately overwhelmed! There are two tracks in the competition-the local only (called Timothy) track and the National track. In order to make it to the National finals, you have to participate in the National track to begin with and this means learning more verses. Nathan, of course, being a competitor, wanted to go with the National track. We signed him up for that, but since he will turn 11 before the National competion in November, he was not in the primary division, but the junior. After receiving the stack of verses he had to learn, I easily talked him into changing to the Timothy track. To compare the two, Timothy track needed to learn on average 6 Bible passages a week for 12 weeks while the National track needed to learn 20. (And a passage is between 1-4 verses in the Timothy track.)

In addition to learning Bible verses, we also had a daily Bible study in I Peter. To me it was similar to a Precept type study, but not as indepth since it was for kids. It did, though, take a lot of time and catch up days due to Nathan being gone at different camps.

I was very proud of Nathan for doing this. He was the one who wanted to participate to begin with, but he did want to quit. Although I was for him changing his track, I didn't think it would be a good thing for him to quit. So he stuck it out. I was especially proud of him when he stuck to learning his verses and doing his Bible study when he found out that he was the only one in his age division, so he had won before he started. But the goal of a Bible Bee is not just to win, but to learn God's word. And he did! He had 10 minutes to recite 25 verses picked from the stack of verses he needed to learn. He had not learned every verse, so he had to pass on 6 verses. But of the ones he said, he only missed on average, less then one point per verse. And at least two of those points was from not saying the reference.

In the local bee, he did win first place, and last as the Pastor pointed out! But when we were able to see his scores compared to the rest of the nation, it sounded a lot better. He was 42 out of 255!! So yeah for Nathan! He did great!

The winners from Charleston Baptist!! Grace Jackson also won first place!

Our local Bible Bee participants