Wednesday, November 26, 2008

WFMW: Cheesy Vegetable Chicken Chowder

I got this recipe from a friend of mine while living in MD, and finally tried it the other day.  It was delicious and works for me because it's super easy and the ingredients are ones that I usually have on hand.  I will make this again and again, it was just so yummy.  Give it a try and enjoy!

1/2 c chopped onion
2 cloves garlic
celery salt or powder to taste
3/4 c sliced carrots
2 c chopped, peeled potatoes (I didn't peel mine)
5 c chicken broth*
1 17oz can whole kernel corn, drained
1/4 c melted butter
1/4 c flour
2 c warm milk
salt & pepper
1/8 t paprika
1 2oz jar pimento
8oz cheddar cheese
2 c chopped, cooked chicken

Combine first 6 ingredients in a large stock pot.  Simmer covered, until potaotes are tender.  Stir in corn.  

Blend butter and flour in a medium sauce pan.  Stir in warm milk (warm so it won't curdle) gradually.  Stirring constantly, cook over medium heat until thickened.  Add salt, pepper, paprika, pimento, cheese and chicken.  Cook until cheese melts, stirring constantly.  Stir into vegetable mixture.

My recipe says to serve with sweet vermouth and top with fresh parsley and cayenne pepper.  I didn't have any of those and it still tasted great.  Definately serve with fresh bread, though!  It's a real winner.

*(I didn't have 5 c of chicken broth on hand, but did have some chicken base "boullion".  It's called Better Than Boullion and it's made from chicken meat with natural juices.  I saw it at Wegmans and decided to give it a try.  So glad I did because I will use it all the time and not have to worry about ever having enough broth around.  This works great and is full of flavor, so much better than salty ol' boullion.  I definately recommend it.)

(I put the large orange next to the jar for size comparisons.  It's an 8oz jar and makes 9.5 qts of broth.)

Monday, November 24, 2008


I have a little secret to tell.  And when I'm done, feel free to tell another tired Mommy all about it!  

I went out to shop a few Friday's ago, but not to buy anything in particular.  I just needed to get out.  Jeff got the boys fed and tucked in for the night while I was gone, and I was able to walk around stores aimlessly just to see what there was without any care in the world!

My first stop was Toys 'R Us/Babies 'R Us.  I had to get a bottle brush.  Yep, back to the old fashioned cleaning helpers since we live without a dishwasher.  Did you read that?  We live without a dishwasher.  Don't ask me how.  I do not recommend it.  And no, that's not the secret.

So, I quickly located the bottle brush and decided I'd check out some toys in preparation for Jak's birthday and the soon-to-follow Christmas holiday.  Who knew that a Friday night would mean madness in a toy store?  All I could think of was, "Is this where people go on a Friday night?  Is this what I've been missing out on for the past 3 years without a car???"

I mosey'd on down the aisles, becoming well acquainted with all things Little People.  Then I went over to the toy kitchens, trying to decide if Jak would actually play with one for more than a day.  I decided that he wouldn't.  I looked at Thomas stuff, wagons, blocks, puzzles, stuffed animals (like we need any more of those!) and blocks.  Made some mental notes and made it through the maze of people (again, is this what people do on Friday nights?!) to the register.

From there, I went to Starbucks to have a yummy chai, and popped into Old Navy and JoAnn's, just to look.  It has been so long since I've been able to just look at things.  I either have a time frame (nursing or sharing a car is not conducive to just looking), or a baby or toddler or husband just looking right alongside of me.  I looked at clothes.  I looked at Christmas ornaments.  I looked at wreaths and garlands and pretty topiaries.  I called each of my sisters to tell them I found garlands for their mantels (seperate garlands, each to match thier own style of decor).  I looked at picture frames, of which I need many.  I looked at stamping stuff and fun papers.  I just looked at everything!!!  

And friends, it was pure bliss.

I decided I needed some more bliss so I went on to AC Moore.  Looked at a lot more stuff there, and I actually bought something!  My Secret Sister from MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) surprised me with an AC Moore gift card so I went and carefully chose a tart warmer to melt all of my Yankee Tarts in this winter.  I keep getting these awesome coupons for Yankee Candles but since we are monitoring every dime that comes and goes as we revise our family budget and accounting system, the coupons end up getting passed on to other lucky YC lovers and I am left with a non-scented house.  Well, a non-holiday scented house.  So, I was excited for my find after looking at the entire store wondering what I'd use my gift card on.

The clerk came on the intercom at approximately 9:25 to let us shoppers know they'd be closing in 5 mintues.  I made my way slowly up to the register, bought my tart warmer and cheerfully trekked back to my car.  

As I walked in the house with a smile on my face, I put my Wife and Mom hat back on and breathed a sigh of relief.  Who knew 3 hours of alone time, a warm drink and a $5 tart warmer could rejuvinate even the most tired of Mommies?  

There you have it.  Take it for what it's worth.  I'm passing my "secret" along to you and encouraging you to get out for a few know, just to look.  

Friday, November 21, 2008

You Know You're Doing OK When... are preparing dinner in the kitchen while your two kids play in the living room and you hear the older one say, promptly after the baby sneezes, "Bless You, Gon-boy!"

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Happy Birthday Sweet Boy of Mine

Dear Jak,

Since the moment I knew of your presence, you have captured my heart. I promise you'll have it always, until the end of time.

730 days have passed since I first laid my eyes upon yours, and in that instant, a dream came true: I became a Mother.

We have a lot of fun together, you and I. And my hope is that we will continue to, even as you grow older and the challenges become greater. I want you to always know how loved you are, how wanted you were and are and always will be, and how I cherish my moments with you each day.

I look forward to the sound of your voice calling out my name as you wake with the morning light. I savor the wide smile on your face as you charge at me, arms extended, ready to throw them around my neck and squeeze! I love your wet kisses, and your hearty giggle. I love to tuck you in at night and kiss your sweetly scented blond head while I whisper "I love you" into your ear.

Even in the tough times, the times where you cry on the outside and I cry on the inside for having to discipline you (because I know how hard it is to obey even when you don't want to), I cherish you. Because I know that I am helping to mold a heart that hopefully will one day follow hard after God, and obey Him--even when it's tough.

You are a little boy now, Jak. No longer my "Baby Jak" but now my "Jak-man". You sleep in a big boy bed, you now sit at the table with Daddy and I instead of a high chair, you have a new carseat that will last until you're 7(!) and you'll soon be using the potty all the time. You are a curious, playful, fun-loving little boy. And as I sit and write about all of the changes this birthday brings, I look back in wonder and awe at that day two years ago, when you blessed our life so abundantly.

And I cry tears of joy, just like I did that day.

Thank you for being mine, sweet baby of mine. Thank you for making me a Mommy.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

WFMW--Holiday Traditions

My edition of Works for Me Wednesday is backwards for today.  

With Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner, I've been thinking constantly about traditions.  Jeff and I both bring different traditions to the table, and now that we have two little ones around, we want to be able to incorporate some of those into our family, as well as some new ones, too.  I love to hear about how others celebrate in/with their families, and am hoping to glean some ideas for things that we can incorporate into our own family as our boys grow.  We are anticipating a very exciting Christmas this year with Jak turning two, and being able to understand things a *bit* better, and although he won't fully understand much of it yet, nor will he remember it, we'd like to start to try to be intentional about how we do things for various holidays.
Some thoughts to get you started are:
-New Year's Eve/Day--any special things to do with your kids; ex:  a goal jar to be opened at the end of that new year, to see if any/all goals were accomplished
-Valentine's Day--is this a fun holiday for you or just a "Hallmark" holiday that passes by?  If it's fun, why?
St. Patrick's Day
Easter--Resurrection Eggs? Easter Bunny? Easter Baskets?  Easter Egg Hunt?
Memorial Day/Veteran's Day
4th of July
Mother's Day/Father's Day/Grandparent's Day
1st Day of School/Fall--Apple Picking?  Pumpkin Patch?  Harvest Party?
Halloween--do you do it?  Why or why not?
Thanksgiving--Soup Kitchen?  Giving an entire meal to a needy family? 
Christmas--the big one:  Santa or not, and WHY or WHY NOT (this is a big one for me!)?  Advent Calendar?  Advent Wreath?  Jesse Tree?  Stockings?  Cutting your own Tree?  Open presents on Christmas Eve or not?  Cookies?  Gingerbread Houses?  Driving to look at lights?  Caroling?  Trimming the Tree?  Soup Kitchen?  Angel Tree or Operation Shoebox at church?
Please feel free to add any other holidays or traditions that I might have missed or don’t know about!  And if it applies, please tell me how you incorporate your Faith into the tradition.
I am so eager to hear your responses.  I truly look forward to reading them all, and possibly incorporating them into our bag of traditions!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Baby Steps

I didn't think it would be so hard.

I didn't think my eyes would get wet.

I didn't think I'd take pictures to capture the sweet blonde head of hair sticking out from under the covers.

I didn't think I'd question our decision.

I didn't think it would be so hard... let go.

My baby boy is now in a big boy bed.


With each step forward out of babyhood and total dependency comes a furthering distance between a child and his parents. It's exciting to watch yet it's bittersweet. How much do we want our children to become intelligent, well-rounded, responsible people? Yet when they are fast on their way to becoming that, we watch from the sidelines, hoping they don't stumble, hoping they won't get hurt, holding our breath with every moment.

I feel like I've been doing that a lot lately. I am reliving all of Jak's early firsts through John, and it's wonderful. But as I bask in the memories of a happy baby boy growing up, I also realize that it's happening faster than I'd like it to.

I'm glad it doesn't all happen at once. Honestly, I don't think I could handle it. I just keep reminding steps, Kel. Baby steps.

Monday, November 3, 2008


I got this survey in an email from my friend, Melissa, and thought it'd be fun to use to start a meme.  If you so desire, feel free to call yourself "tagged" and play along!  Answer the questions below about having your firstborn and tag others when you're done:

1. Were you married at the time? yes

2. What were your reactions when you found out you were pregnant?  I got teary and was so happy, but yet couldn't believe that it was actually happening to me even thought I thought that I probably was!

3. How did you find out you were pregnant?  a routine physical at the dr.'s office...I told her I was late and so they did a test and not 3 minutes after the dr. came in to do the physical the nurse knocked on the door, the dr. went out and came right back in with a smile on her face and said, "Kelly, you are pregnant!"
4. Who did you tell first?  since Jeff was getting a physical at the same time, he found out when I did.  So, then we told his sister Jennifer because we were meeting her for lunch and wanted her to know first!
5. Did you want to find out the sex?  I didn't want to but Jeff wanted to.
6. Due date?  November 8, 2006
7. Did you deliver early or late?  10 days "late"
8. Did you have morning sickness? no
9. What did you crave?  Ice cream 
10. Who irritated you the most!  No one, really.
11. What was your first child's sex?  Male
12. How many pounds did you gain throughout the pregnancy?  39
13. Did you have any complications during your pregnancy?  No, I was very blessed with healthy and easy pregnancies both times
14. Where did you give birth?  At home, on the bed
15. How many hours were you in labor?  almost 14
16. Who drove you to the hospital?  Ha!
17. Who watched?  Jeff, my Mom, my friend Kelly and our 2 midwives
18. Was it natural or c-section?  all natural
19. Did you take medicine to ease the pain?  no
20. How much did your child weigh?  7 pounds, 7 ounces
21. Did your child have any complications?  no
22. What did you name him/her?  Jeffery Alan Knapp, II  (nickname:  JAK)
23. How old is your first born today?  will be 2 years old in a few short weeks!  My how time flies.
24. Who does your child look like?  a great mix of both of us

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Jak is in full talk mode these days so here are some things that he says in case you can't figure out what's coming out of his mouth if/when he talks to you (emphasis added where necessary):  

gICKin  (chicken)
peeee  (piggy)
peas  (please)
muah  (thank you--he still signs this word but now it has the added effect of blowing a kiss)
gonbooyy!!  (John-boy)
raous  (flowers)
buusch  (spoon--don't ask me where he got that one from!?)
beer  (bear)
beeps/beets--depending on the day  (bib)
helpee  (help)
godods  (donuts)
wawa  (water)
siy-siy  (outside)
puple!  (football)
key  (kitty)
budy  (birdy)
meets  (music)
pay  (pray)
gumPIN  (pumpkin)
peopo  (people)
anmals  (animals)

Awss  (Alex, his cousin)
Teetci  (Tracy, his aunt)
Geff  (Jeff [Jak likes to mimic me!])
Kaiyee  (Kelly [he actually will call me that when addressing me!])
Soshine  (Sonja Lee from Fisher-Price Little People)
Nisan  (Nathan, his cousin)
Yeesha  (Lisa, his aunts)
Sera  (Sarah, his cousin)
Masshew  (Matthew, his cousin)
Eek  (Eric, his cousin)
Emee  (Emily, his aunt)
Gen  (Jenn, his aunt)
Sofie  (Grandma's dog Sofie, and his friend, Sofia)
Deba  (Grandpa & Grandma Dennis' dog, Reba)
Oui-Oui or Oui-Ouis  (Louise, our friend)
GAK!  (Jak, of course!)

This kid is so cute, we can't get enough of him!!!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween 2008

Jeff and I had so much fun this year, celebrating Halloween with our little kiddos.  John just smiled the day away, as always (so thankful for that boy--he is such a joy and so easy!), and Jak was really into the Trick-or-Treating once he understood that when you said it--or something that sounded somewhat like it--you got treats in your bucket!  

We went over to my sister's house early in the afternoon, to visit with Steve who is home on leave from Afghanistan.  Thier neighborhod held a party so that everyone could see him because my sister banished everyone from visiting or calling while he's home.  I don't blame her.  I mean, they have a lot of reconnecting to do, especially as he gets acquainted with his new daughter whom he met for the first time as he got off the airplane!  

So, we went and had a garbage can turkey (ever have one of those?  It's completely cooked in a metal garbage can--a clean one, of course!), which was delicious, and some other yummy goodies.  Then it was time to get the kids in their costumes and off we went!  John ended up falling asleep on my Mom's lap for a while, so we took Jak alone.  He was a bit confuesed at first, but it didn't take long for the concept to take hold.

After each house put a treat in his bucket, he'd shout, "Mo' teets!"  The treat givers got a real kick out of that.  :)  We ended up doing the entire street, minus the cul-de-sac.  That's around 25 houses for those little frog legs!  By the end, he was walking...real...slow...and once we got back to Tracy's he lost it.  We did what any normal parents would do in a situation like that.  We gave him some mo' teets!

He got a second wind shortly after and started wrestling a bit with Daddy.  When we finally packed up and got ready to leave, he was in a zombie-ish state, and we called it a night.  A really fun night.  

And The Winner Is...

Jak chose the Froggy as soon as I put it on, way back when!  He is a boy who knows what he wants!  And apparently he has good taste, since the majority of you voted for the Frog as well!  Thanks for your votes and comments, it was fun to see what everyone thought!