Thursday, January 31, 2013

Almost Through Another Week

Wow. This is my third post of the week. So if you haven't seen the last two, please go back. And if you're wondering where they boys' video is that I said I'd take later, well, later hasn't come yet. For some reason, the boys just aren't as excited about making a video.

Jasmine went to her EEG. We don't know the results. She has to go back next month. In the meantime, they want an MRI of her brain activity. Hopefully they will tell us something.

She's done with basketball. She did play Tuesday night, but as you know if you've been following along, we're going to Beauty and the Beast the night of her last game. It's only being performed once. She was sick and missed her game and team photo on Saturday. But she going to go when Kaleb's team is having pictures and have an individual picture taken. But she won't have a team photo. I did just order her band photo though.

While I'm on the subject of Jasmine, here is the judges sheet from her history fair project.

She got 105 out of 107 on one--she forgot to separate the primary and secondary sources; and 65 out of 65 on the other--the teacher's record of what she turned in.

A lady who went to all of the games took many photos and posted them for the parents.  Here are some of Adam. He did not play every game and when he did play, it was only for a few minutes. But he had fun with it.

 Adam went to his Cross Country banquet Monday night. A little late since it ended back in November or early December.

The panini press has gotten a lot of use lately with both the raisin bread  and cream cheese sandwiches and meat.

The caseworker for this child called Wednesday morning, but AGAIN our county demanded OTI paperwork, which no other county will send until they get the updated home study. But our county won't take the time to update us unless the other county sends that paperwork first. Meaning, we are never going to get a state child. So unless God intervenes, we are done.

This week we also received notification that Tyler's job corps program was canceled by the Labor Department due to government wide budget cuts. They may restart it in July. They may not. If we knew they wouldn't, we'd start him in our local tech school. But we'd rather do this program as it's free, they provide transportation and the kids get to live in a group home in locations across the U.S. Tyler would have been going to KY. I do not think they should have cut this program because these are at risk kids who are willing to go through training to get a job.

So this week has been a bit disappointing in many areas. But we press on because what else can you do? We have a home, we have food, we have children. For those things we are thankful.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What's Cooking?

All six of the kids cooked in January, and we had some good food this month.

Adam made porcupine balls.

Porcupine Balls
2 lbs ground beef
12 oz tomato sauce
1 pkg spaghetti seasoning
1 c uncooked rice

Combine above ingredients, roll into balls and brown.
Lg tomato soup
1/3-1/2 can water
worcestershire sauce 1-2 tbs
mustard  1-2 tbs
Mix and pour over meatballs. Cover and simmer 45 minutes

And strawberry muffins made with fresh strawberries.

 Tyler made crockpot pasta.

Crock Pot Pizza
1 ½ lbs ground beef
8 oz rigatoni past
16 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
small can of tomato soup (don't add water)
28 oz pizza sauce
8 oz sliced pepperoni

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain and set aside. Brown the ground beef in a skillet over medium-high heat. Drain off grease.
In slow cooker, alternate layers of ground beef, noodles, cheese, soup, sauce and pepperoni.
Cook on Low setting for 4 hours.

 Kaleb made Haitian Macaroni and Cheese

Haitian Macaroni and Cheese
4 cups ziti                                             1 cup mayonnaise
1 ½ tsp salt                                           2 tbs vegetable oil
¾ c evaporated milk                              2 tbs ketchup
½ large onion minced                            1 cup + 1Tbs
2 eggs beaten                                       (we mixed cheddar and Colby last time and velveeta and parmesan this time)

Preheat oven 350F. Boil ziti in 8 cups water with 1 tsp salt for 10-12 minutes. Rinse with cold water. Add eggs, onion, milk, mayo, oil, ketchup and ½ tsp salt. Mix in 1 cup grated cheese. Pour into 8x8 pan and sprinkle with tbs grated cheese. Bake 50 minutes or until top is golden brown. Allow to cool 15 minutes before serving.

Jasmine made a recipe from the back of a box of pasta.

Bacon Ranch Chicken Skillet
1 pkg Muueller's Ziti (16 oz)
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
6 slices bacon
1 lb bonelss, skinless chicken breast cubed
3 c chicken broth
1 ½ c milk
2 Tbs all-purpose flour
1 pkg original buttermilk ranch dressing (.4 oz)

Fry bacon until crisp. Cool and crumble.

Cook the chicken in the oil (or use the bacon grease) in a large skillet, stirring frequently until the chicken is browned.  Add the chicken broth and bring to simmer. Reduce heat and add the ziti. Cooked covered for ten minutes or until done stirring frequently.

Whisk together milk, flour and ranch dressing mix in a medium bowl. Add to pasta and cook, stirring frequently until slightly thickened. Gently stir in bacon an serve.

Optional: add diced tomatoes when you add the bacon. 

Kayla made chicken helper--Teriyaki Chicken.

Jessica made Haitian red beans and rice.

Haitian Red Beans
2 c dried red kidney beans
1 Tbs oil
½ c green bell pepper
1 onion diced or green  onions
4 garlic cloves crushed and minced
1 shallot minced
3 Tbs tomato paste
3 Tbs chicken bullion  *we added this to the recipe and doubled most of the other things except the beans otherwise they are very bland.
salt to taste
black pepper to taste

Soak beans for six hours in six cups of water. Then boil in same water for 1 hour. Do not drain.

Heat oil in a frying pan. Fry bell pepper, onion, garlic, shallot and tomato paste for 5 minutes. Add to beans. Add salt and pepper and  bullion and cook on low for 30 minutes or until beans are tender and liquid is thick and creamy.

Serve with rice.

So that's what we had this month. Does anyone have any simple (few ingredients!) Haitian recipes their kids have enjoyed? Or other favorite recipes?

Monday, January 28, 2013


On Friday the twins celebrated three years home.
Remember how Adam ended up with two birthday cakes? Well, this is the one we bought, redone for the twins.

Jasmine with her orchestra bells. She can hear a song and  with just a few tries, play it back on the bells.

Just Dance Disney

Home three years.

I told the kids that just the twins would blow out the candle.

A little ping pong action. The table takes up our whole family room except a little  room around the edges for the players.

It was beautiful weather outside this weekend.

Ready for church.

Adam's soccer team went to district, but they lost 0-5.

Jasmine finally got to do her presentation, but it didn't go on to city.  She told me that it was because she didn't get to present it, so I e-mailed the teacher just to check that. Here was her response.

Mrs. Cassel,
   It is true that Jasmine did not go to history fair but it was not due to her not being able to "do her project earlier." I had told her that I should of considered her project more closely and seriously.
 At the History Fair there was a lot of entries that pertained to Florida History/ N.A.S.A. There was Documentaries (same subject) like hers, Movies, Exhibits, Websites, etc.
Sometimes when there is a large influx of same theme or  subjects then judges will look at a project and see it as a topic that was run into the ground. As a teacher this also might happen.
Her project Documentary was very good...and I should of entered it in hind site.
Her work on the project was not typical of a 6th grader. As she presented it, I saw that she was well versed on her topic.  Again this is not typical of a 6th grader.
I am excited for her because she has 2 more years to created 2 more projects for History Fair. I am drooling with the possibility that she will only improve and will create a high quality project just like this last one. I told her I am going to put her Documentary on my Website as an examples of a great History Project.  
I am very proud her and I know so are you.

Still wish she'd have gotten to at least go on to city. I'll try to find the link to her project and post it.

Jasmine didn't feel well over the weekend and missed her basketball game and team pictures. Also a reception at church. She goes to Dothan tomorrow for an EEG to see if she's having petit mal seizures, so she'll miss school and probably her basketball game because she'll be there all day and it's quite a ways to go for an appointment, but I guess it's the closest pediatric neurologist. Her last game is February 5 and I bought us tickets to the Beauty and the Beast Broadway show that is coming to town that day, so she may have already played her last game.

Adam has his cross country banquet tonight, Jasmine has her EEG tomorrow and Jessica is getting one wisdom tooth pulled Thursday. That's our excitement for the week : ) 

If you didn't watch the girls' video in the last post, please go back and watch the first half. The second half is us talking.

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Girls

If you remember, last year I did a separate video of the three younger children. The older ones just weren't that excited about it.

This is Jasmine's post and video HERE

This is Kaleb's post and video HERE

This is Kayla's post and video HERE

Jasmine has been working on her drums a lot and I've been meaning to take some newer video of her. Since Jessica is here tonight which is very rare, I thought I'd get all the girls. However, the video did get a little long--10 minutes. The first half is the girls showing their stuff and the second half is me asking them questions. So if nothing else, please watch the first five minutes to get to know the girls  a little better.

Today is also the third anniversary of the twins coming home and I have pictures to post later. But for now--the video. Please watch and leave the girls a comment.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

It's All About Food

Well, it's not really all about food. But most of my pictures are of food!

Guess what? Jasmine still hasn't done her presentation! Her teacher called her up to do her history fair presentation on Wednesday--one week and one day late. She just got started, and then the class was over! She thought she'd get to do it today for sure, but the teacher was out of the classroom sitting up the history fair in the library--with Jasmine and another student still waiting to present theirs to the class. That's just crazy! At this point Jasmine doesn't really care.

This is the cream cheese thing I told you about at the end of the last post.

It came out really well, like having cheese cake for breakfast!

We do half birthdays here. We started it when the older ones were young. You can't start saying you are "going on ___" (the next age) until after your half birthday. Tyler's half birthday was yesterday. So now he can say he's going on 23 : ) 

The donuts were going to be a surprise (the kids never think about their half birthdays except Jessica whose is Valentine's Day), but then I made him go get them.  That way he got to choose the kinds, and I got to avoid an errand. The ones in the sandwich bags are the ones he reserved for himself.

This morning I wanted to use up stale English muffins, hot dog buns and french bread. So this is what I came up with.

I was just getting ready to finish up this post when Jessica called from work. She'd had a  run in with her boss and wanted picked up rather than our plan of staying to see Red Dawn when she got off of work. She was still upset when I got there, so we went to Red Elephant (no clue why it's named that) to give her time to settle in. So here are more food pictures taken with her iPod. Has anyone seen Red Dawn? I'm worried about the amount of swearing in it. Is the movie worth it?

Jasmine had a basketball game tonight. She only has a couple left. She's had fun, but it's her first competitive team, and the coach is very intense. The summer team we had her on turned out not to be worth it. I don't know if she'll play next year or not. She might go out for track at the end of February for her school, but we need to work a little harder on competing assignments. She really just forgets about them if she's not reminded. And she doesn't always write everything in her planner so I don't know what's due.

Unfortunately I have one grounded for the weekend for lying to me (after having been given a chance to give the real answer) and the same child is also grounded several days next week. Does anyone else see a problem with having 33 unexcused tardies in the first two quarters? 

For some of them, he's showing up to class over 15 minutes late. I made a deal with him that if he gets an unexcused tardy (I allotted him 9 free ones for the year but he had 17 the first 3 weeks of school) he rides the bus straight home that day and nothing else happens. But he didn't do that. Not once. So now he makes them all up in a row. I'm actually even letting him off with half the number of days if he does some work on the days he comes home. He is grumbling and I think I'm being really reasonable to not add an extra penalty because of him not coming home on those days. I was really tempted to make it double due to that, but didn't.

Before you ask, there is no reason he's not making it to class on time other than that he is just hanging out with his friends. The ones where he's coming in over 15 minutes late are to the class right after lunch because he just doesn't want to leave his friends and go. I would imagine many of them are tardy too, but probably not the same ones every day.

On another note, tomorrow (Friday) marks the three year anniversary of the twins coming home.

After 36 hours in the airport, we left after 1:00 a.m. January 25, 2010.

We drove a little ways and stopped for the night. They were so dirty that they took baths even though it was after 2:00 a.m. We got to bed around 3:00 a.m.

A reporter from the TV station was waiting for us when we got home late that afternoon.

I'll post more about the twins tomorrow or Saturday.

Tomorrow is the judging for the history fair, so I hope Jasmine gets to do her presentation, have her project judged for the fair (not from her presentation, but I think a panel of people comes in and judges them) and we'll be done with it. Her project is a power point on the space program in FL so I can't post a picture of it.

Hope you are all having a good week. Leave me a comment :)