Monday, April 19, 2010

Soup for Dinner

Dear Ladies,

Soup would be excellent for dinner now while the days are cool, so I was going to send you the recipe for Taco soup. However, I already send that one to you. It is on the blog page for you to use any time.

Another easy dish for a cool night would be White Chicken Chili. All of the ingredients can be put in the crock pot in the morning and will be ready by dinner. Crock pots are great for days when you are going to be out all day. Either you can put it together the night before or in the morning before you leave. This chili isn't very spicy, so everyone should enjoy it.

White Chicken Chili
1 medium onion, chopped
3 Tablespoons oil
1 (4oz) can of chopped green chilies, drained
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 (15.8 oz) cans of great northern beans
1 (14.5 oz) can of chicken broth(I usually just use bouillon)
1 1/2 cups finely chopped cooked chicken

Put all the above ingredients in a crock pot and cook on low all day. Serve with Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese, sour cream, andtortilla chips.

We like corn bread with our soup, so I'm including that recipe for you also.

Corn Bread

1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup corn meal
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
1 beaten egg

Mix all ingredients together and bake in a 8x8" pan. I bake mine in an iron skillet.
Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

The following link has all the recipes that have been sent in past letters.



Monday, April 12, 2010


Dear Ladies,

Mondays always seem to be busy days. When my kids were little I always felt Mondays were the hardest day of the week. Because I hadn't done much housework over the weekend I had a lot of catching up to do. Now we have Sunday clean up time and everyone has jobs to help to clean up our weekend mess. Sometimes we skip our clean up time, like we did last night. We opted to watch a movie instead.

However, today I felt like there was SO much to do. Of course much of it is still undone. I was able to cross off a few of the items on my to-do list. I never seem to have enough time or energy to complete everything that needs to be done. I'm sure there are times when all of us feel this way. Was today one of those days for you?

I don't have any great tip for you today, but just wanted to give you a bit of encouragement. You are not alone. We all feel like we can't get it all done, we all get overwhelmed and want to quit. We all have jobs left undone when we head to bed at night and most of us probably have dirty dishes in the sink.

When you are completely overwhelmed, step back and decide which jobs are the most important and complete them first. But above all remember that your most important job is loving your family and sometimes that means leaving the laundry unfolded for one more day. Far more important are the bedtime kisses, the afternoon story, the time spent listening to a love one tell about his day or the opportunity take a walk together.
I love to hear from you, please add emailing Melissa to your to-do list. I'll understand, however, if that job never gets crossed off.

Blessings to all,

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Be Spontaneous-Have an Adventure

Dear Ladies,

I recently purchased a new laptop.. It is actually a netbook, just the right size to fit in my purse. We bought the one with a larger battery, so I will be able to use the computer anywhere I wanted. The best part is, the computer is a vibrant purple color.

So many days I want to write to you and send a bit of encouragement or a quick thought, but my time and energy is in short supply most days. We recently laid a new ceramic tile floor in our kitchen. It is hard to get much done during the week, so most of our work has to be done on the weekends. Yesterday, we spent some time outside replanting three fruit trees and some moving some plants in our front flower garden. It was a perfect day to be outside, so we put our school work aside and went out. Some days a spontaneous change in plans is a welcome change from the normal.

Are you ever spontaneous? Do ever just change all your plans to do something different? Spring is a great time for some spontaneous adventures. I love to take adventures with my kids. I call them adventures, but that can mean whatever I decide is the event for the day. Sometimes that means packing a picnic and finding a local park with a playground. Other times we may just go to a nearby park and hike or follow a stream. If I’m really feeling adventurous we will take the metro into DC and go to a museum, however, I wasn’t comfortable making the trip until my children were older.

For those of you who live in the North Stafford area, I put together a list of few fun places you might enjoy taking your children. If you don’t live in Stafford, scout your area for parks and recreation areas; make the hunt for these places part of your adventure. Remember to take along a pail for all the treasures the children find.

Happy Adventures,


Below is a list of 10 local places that are fun to explore with younger and older children.

1. Clair Brooks Park- The park has a Frisbee golf course that runs through the woods. It is a beautiful path to follow and at one point there is a little waterfall, with a small basin of water at the bottom. This is a fun spot for a picnic and playing in the water. In mid-summer the place is almost dry.

2. Smith Park- There is a nice playground and a path to the creek. We like to find places with water. There are always some fun creatures to find in the water.

3. Alum Springs Park in Fredericksburg-This is a wonderful little park set in the woods. There is a trail to the creek which leads to some rocky overhangs. During the Civil War the citizens of Fredericksburg hid under these rocky overhangs during the battle of Fredericksburg. Historical markers along the trail tell the history of the area.

4. Willowmear Park- This park is mostly sport fields, but there is a playground and a paved path. Children enjoy riding bikes and scooters along the path from one end of the park to the other. The park is located on Mountainview Road.

5. Prince William National Forest- There isn’t a playground that I know of at PWNF, but there are plenty of places to hike. There is a small entrance fee. Check the park’s website for more details and directions.

6. Aquia Landing-In the summer the park is open for swimming in the Potomac. The beach is sandy in places. There is a fee per person to swim. The following link has additional information about the park.

7. Leesylvania State Park- this park is near Dumfries and is along the Potomac River. Swimming is not allowed in the river, but you can explore along the shore looking for pretty rocks and other items that have been washed up.For more information check out the park’s website:

8. Funland/Chuckie Cheese-For a few dollars you and your children can spend a rainy afternoon playing games. The folks at Chuckie Cheese don’t mind if you just play games and don’t purchase a pizza. The children usually end up with a handful of tickets they can redeem for a cheap prize, adding to the afternoon fun.

9. Carl’s Ice Cream –Carl’s has been in Fredericksburg forever. I was introduced to Carl’s years ago, by a native to the area (thanks, Shelley). The line is long on hot days, but the staff is very efficient and the line moves quickly. A regular ice cream cone is very reasonably priced. Carl’s is at 2200 Princess Anne St, are open Sunday-Thursday from 11am -11pm and on Friday-Saturday from 11am-11:30pm.

10. Lunga Lake-This small park is part of Quantico. We enjoy taking walks near the lake and gathering pinecones. The lake would also be a good place for little ones to try their hand at fishing. There is a picnic shelter and a small playground. To get to the park drive out Onville Rd. When you arrive at the guard house, let the guard know you are going to the lake; they can give you directions from there. If you have a vehicle decal for military installations you shouldn’t have any trouble getting through the gate. Otherwise you may have to show your driver’s license and let the guard inspect your car, but I’m not completely sure.

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