Hunter’s Beans and Rice…

Years ago, Hallie learned how to make a meal we dubbed Hallie Chicken. It’s become a family favorite and she makes it about every other week.

Last year, we got Hunter in the kitchen to learn how to make a dinner. He started with Hallie chicken and then we branched out to another recipe. Originally it was called Stacy’s Beans and Rice because I got the recipe years and years ago from my friend Stacy. For some reason it got lost in the cookbook and then revived again in the last couple years. When I was telling her how much we love the recipe, she had no clue what recipe I was even talking about. Once Hunter learned how to make it we dubbed it Hunter’s beans and rice…sorry Stacy (it obviously wasn’t a recipe she used anymore because she didn’t remember it!)

This meal is very similar to the meal Hallie makes – a one pot wonder – which makes it easy for kids to make. This isn’t fancy by any stretch, but years from now, he’ll go to college and he won’t starve!

1 lb of ground beef
2 cans of dark red kidney beans
2 cups of salsa (16 oz jar)
1 1/2 cup water
2 cups minute rice
1 1/2 TBSP taco seasoning (or to your liking, we like taco seasoning)
Shredded cheese

Cook ground beef (Hunter often throws in some onions with the meat). Drain any fat. Add kidney beans (with liquid), salsa, water, rice and taco seasoning. Cook over medium heat. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally. Cook until rice is fully cooked and liquid is mostly gone. Stir in cheese to your liking. Use as a burrito filler. Or top with guacamole, sour cream and lettuce and eat with chips. Its not very pretty, but it’s tasty!

Note: My family eats this up so we usually 1.5x the recipe, but we don’t increase the meat – we increase everything else. For many families this recipe would be plenty, or cut it in half.

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Mother’s Day Loot…

The best part of a coronavirus mother’s day is all the hand-made goodness – they were all forced to be resourceful.

Hallie watercolored a picture of our family – she had me in tears. I love it and I love that she thought to paint it for me, it’s proudly hanging in my office.

Briggs showered me with all sorts of wonderful cards but this one takes the cake. I even helped him with this without realizing what it was (He needed help taping the tent structure on). Little did I know it would soon be a dog card. He knows how much I don’t like animals and always asks me why I hate dogs. So this card was quite funny. He may try and wear me down but it’s not going to make a bit of difference, my will is stronger than his persistence. 🙂

I also got a little paper bouquet from Briggs’ perschool. He thinks I make great chicken, I’m as beautiful as light and I’m nice because I put him to bed a lot.

Hallie helped all the kids fill out questionnaires which is always insightful. All the kids nailed that my favorite drink is water. Cannon was spot on when he said I really love cotton candy. Cannon thinks it’s my job to build things where as the older kids know I do graphic design. Hunter loves that we play soccer together. Bennett would love to travel to Europe with me and Hallie would love to go to Thailand.

We ate loaded crepes for breakfast – formally known as dessert crepes. Not sure when they were deemed appropriate for breakfast but it’s a fan favorite. I opt for a simple strawberries and banana with vanilla filling. The rest of the family goes all in (including peanut butter which just seems crazy!)

The kids sang me a mother’s day song – normally a song the primary kids sing at church – but they all joined in much to Hunter’s reluctance and Hallie’s prodding.

Hallie pampered me by painting my nails, the boys offered their massage services and everyone joined on the Sunday evening stroll around the neighborhood.

It was my kind of day.

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We sat around the dinner table tonight and I tried to explain to my kids just how hard and yet just how amazing motherhood can be.

It is frustrating on multiple levels and there’s nobody quite like kids to tell you just how bad you are at something (although my kids are great at telling me in the bathroom what a great wiper I am!). And yet when Briggs is calling my name after he’s woken up from his nap (thank you blessed child for still taking a nap) my heart swells 5 times seeing him sitting there holding his stuffed bear with bed head and face creases.

Motherhood is everything good and unfulfilling in my life – quite the paradox! I read once that motherhood is taking time for yourself while still giving all of yourself to your children (and I like to add making sure your spouse’s needs are also met). And of course, mothers are never sure if they’re doing it right so it easy to second guess and doubt yourself as a mother…and then as person… and when it’s really bad you may even question your existence. I’ve been everywhere on that spectrum. And yet, at the end of the day my kid’s think I’m great (I’ve got a stack of homemade cards today that would confirm that) and they forget, or just don’t see where I fall short. I think it’s God’s grace in motherhood which I’m eternally grateful for.

I’m not sure what I pictured motherhood would look like on me – but it’s nothing I ever imagined it would be or even anything I could’ve dreamed of. Each year gets better – hopefully I can still say that after sending kids off to high school!

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Summer school…

Just another day in paradise. 🙂

She finishes her Spanish class tomorrow – she couldn’t be more excited.

She’s counting down the days until school is out so she doesn’t have to sit for so many hours in this exact spot.

The problem is she has a high school summer school class she’s working on as well that doesn’t end anytime soon. She debated taking the class at all. Nothing like online World History – no video lectures, just pages of information she has to read and do assignments on. It was either this or wake up early for A hour next year. (If you take Seminary, a religion class, and do a sport you have to make up the credits either through summer school or through A-hour classes for two semesters in order to have your credit load work correctly.)

Evidently she dislikes waking up early more than summer school. She may change her mind after a semester of summer school!

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The perfect social distance…

This was taken several weeks ago (which is evident with the blankets and sweatshirts). But I want to remember the evenings that we spent walking and biking as a family when life was slow. I also want to remember on those walks when we would run into friends (on their own family walks) and my kids would be so excited to catch up if even for a minute. It’s nearly impossible to keep kids apart, especially when they’re excitedly telling their friend a story but we learned a good trick: One side had to stay touching black asphalt and the other side had to stay touching green grass. The perfect social distance.

I’m sure someday my kids are going to look back at this time and say, “Remember when…”

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