Beautiful Life

Hey child up and go; A big world is out there waiting for us to live in every day. Outside you will find, there is love all around you; Takes you, makes you wanna' say; That it's a beautiful life and it's a beautiful world and it's a beautiful time to be here, to be here, to be here. -Fisher

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

By Request

This is a recipe post for my sweet friend, Andrea.  She has been asking for some recipe ideas since before we went to China.  I'm sure you can guess that that hasn't made the top of my do-to list for obvious reasons!  But today as I was making lunch I decided I would just do one.  One at a time every few days or weeks until she's happy.  Or I run out of fun, new recipes!  So here goes. 

And if you aren't interested in this awesome Chicken Noodle Soup recipe, just skip to the bottom to see a super cute dude eating said soup!

Oh, and Andrea, I know you said that your husband isn't crazy about soups because they aren't hearty enough for him.  Well, I intend to change his mind!  Do you see the picture of my husband over there?  Does he look like the kind of man that could be satisfied with a dainty soup?  Huh?  No.  This soup is kid friendly, teenager approved and man filling!  Trust me. 

Chelsea's Chicken Noodle


1 small onion
2-3 stalks celery
3 or more cloves garlic
1-2 cups frozen corn
2 32 oz boxes of broth (I use Veggie)
curry powder
Bragg Liquid Aminos
Kombu {optional-more on this later}
1 package egg noodles


First brown the chicken in a skillet with olive oil.  You can use boneless, skinless breast or I use tenderloins.  How much depends on how much you like.  We tend to go easy on the meat so I use about 1 tender per serving and this recipe will serve 8.  You can use more if you are big meat eaters.

Dice onion, press garlic, slice carrots and celery and then saute in olive oil until onions are transparent.  I do this in the pot I will use for the soup.

Next add the broth.  I use two boxes (32 oz each) of veggie broth or if I don't have any on hand, I will use vegetable soup base mixed with water. 

Cut the browned {or almost brown} chicken into bite sized pieces and add to the soup with 2 cups of frozen corn. 

Turn the heat up to bring the soup to a boil and add the seasonings while you wait.  I put in 3 or more Tbsp Bragg, a tsp curry powder, a thumb sized piece of Kombu {see package below}, some chopped parsley and salt and pepper to taste. 

Turn down to a simmer and leave on until the carrots are tender, about 20 minutes.  You can leave it on longer if you want. 

See the Kombu in the soup.  It's that green square in the bottom of the picture. I buy dried Kombu and tear off a piece to add to soups, sauces, grains and beans when cooking.   Kombu is a sea vegetable that reconstitutes and releases it's nutrients into the cooking liquid.  This is absorbed by your food and will infuse your foods with the highly alkalinizing minerals, iron and iodine.  So, I use it often! {Insert Significant Source rolling her eyes at me!}

The last thing you do is add the package of noodles and let simmer for another 5-10 minutes.  Take off the heat and serve!

I often make the soup up ahead of time, but do not add the noodles.  You can refrigerate or freeze the soup, reheat and add the noodles later. 

This soup is heavy on noodles and veggies so I can't see how it could not be classified as a hearty soup.  It's so hearty in fact that my kids eat it with a FORK!

And the best part?

It fills teenagers!

And cute 3 year-olds with hollow legs!

Monday, April 25, 2011

HIs First Easter

This was a lot of firsts all in one for the Li'l Emperor this week.  It started when we had our first family portraits as a family of EIGHT!  Eight y'all.  Go ahead and feel bad for the photographer.  She should be getting her Sainthood notification very shortly! 

Just in case anyone in the area is interested, we used Lynn Cobb.  Check her out at her website.  She is awesome!  Not only did she take amazing pictures of our large family, but she did it with an unbelievable amount of patience.  I asked her to do them at the upper end of Church St. in downtown because I think that area captures the essence of Charleston living.  As a family, we love to walk around downtown, so it made sense to us. 

Well, anyway.  Asher did great!  All the kids did a wonderful job and Lynn really captured us.  You can take a peek by clicking on this link.  You have to sign the guestbook to view the pictures.  Don't be afraid.  Your information doesn't go anywhere and the only people that can see it are the photographer and me.  Lynn already said that she doesn't even look.

Then of course, it was Easter.  I can't believe so much time has flown by since Asher came home.  It's been over two months since we were in China and meeting him for the first time! 

You would not believe the amount of English he uses now.  It's still mixed with Mandarin, which is very cute if I don't say so! 

We attended Church on Saturday Night which is pretty normal for us for Easter.  Our Church does an amazing outreach service at Boone Hall every year for Easter Sunday.  It's a wonderful tradition and we used to volunteer to help in some capacity every year.  We haven't in a while and a big part of that is our large family and the fact that the littlest ones have really bad reactions to bug bites.  There are usually about 5000 people in attendance that morning and I believe it's on the gnat calendar way in advance because they attend by the droves! I don't know about the gnats where you live, but Charleston gnats have teeth!

Well, I don't know if Steve {our rector} noticed or not, but part way through the service Saturday Night, a bored Li'l Emperor thought it would be cute to start imitating him.  Steve uses his hands while he speaks.  So Asher started by coping all Steve's hand motions.  Next thing I know, he's repeating the last few words of every sentence Steve says, to go with the hand motions.  No amount of shushing could make him stop either.  I finally had to threaten {between giggles} to take him out to the van.  That did it! I know the people in front of us were happy. 

Sunday morning found us bright and early with some excited kids.  Asher was of course, clueless.  This year I didn't put Easter Baskets on the table for the kids.  I wanted them to focus on the Resurrection first.  With that in mind, we did a Resurrection Egg Hunt, complete with Bible verses that explained the story of Easter.

The older children all took turns to read from the Bible.

And everyone got in on the action of locating all the Resurrection Eggs too!

Each egg contained a visual of the Easter Story.  A toy donkey, a cup, a leather whip, a crown of get the picture.  And they got the picture, which is the important part!

It wasn't about the hunt, it was about the story.

Then after a some play time and cooking time, we had a lovely dinner together. 

And surprise!  Lizzie made it to dinner.  I believe this is the first Easter dinner she's been too since sometime in high school.  Sadly, it was also the last time we will see her for a while.

Lizzie will finish her junior year here at College of Charleston and move back to Lexington to find a job for the summer.  Pray for her and her other family as this summer is set to be a rough one.  Her step-father will be deployed overseas at the end of May for a year.  This is the first time this has happened and I don't think any of them really know what to expect.

The kids had a hug fest before she headed back to campus to finish all her exams and papers.

While Paul drove Lizzie back, I had the chance to do a little egg dying with the little ones.  I didn't buy a ton of eggs this year.  Each little one ended up with only three eggs to dye, but they had a blast anyway!

Surprisingly, Asher really enjoyed this activity.  Even more surprisingly, he did not make a huge mess!

Isabel is the reason we can't just forgo the egg dying.  She really gets into it!

And some how comes up with some masterpieces!  All she had to get this was a wax candle and the egg dye.  I have no idea what she did!

We ended the day with a good ole fashioned candy egg hunt!

I hope each and every one of you had a glorious Easter Sunday with family and friends.  I know we did!  I assure you Asher did.  He consumed more candy yesterday than he has since he left China! Thankfully, there is just a little left and then this is going to be a candy free home for a while.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Back in Time

This post obviously isn't a recap of anything adoption related or a look back at how far we've come as an adoptive family.

It's about a little time travel!  The kind of time travel that takes place when two boys got to go back to The Roaring Twenties!  But, ahead as grown men.  As an actor/producer and a director in Hollywood.  It was a sort of back in time, ahead in time experiment, I guess!  

I don't have to tell you that it was quite interesting to see my boys as grown men from a different time period!  And right now, that is the only way I want to see my boys as grown men!  Just so you know. 

But, boy were they handsome in this time period! When Lizzie saw the thumbnail to this picture {before I told her what the pictures were all about}, she thought it was a picture of her Papa Shaw {my daddy}! 

What was this all about? Well, our homeschool student council hosted a 1920's themed mystery party that our twins attended.  In costume! Along with about 30 other 8th through 12th graders.  Mostly in costume. 

The party was apparently a huge success.  I can tell you that my boys had an absolute blast and we feel so blessed that while some teen boys are loitering at the mall, hanging off their "girlfriends" as I saw this spring break week, my boys are perfectly happy to be having G-rated fun under parental supervision with their friends! 

This mystery party involved some of the top actors, actresses, agents, directors and producers of the time.  All trying to solve the who done it mystery while also trying to make alliances with other actors, directors and producers to complete an award winning movie! 

Based on how confident Noah looks here, I am afraid we may be in big trouble.

And no!  My children did not take up smoking for the night.  They simply thought these fake cigarettes we found at the local costume store were hilarious!  And it did make them seem more authentic. I have to admit that it was pretty neat that you could "blow smoke".  Right up Noah's practical joke side!

Who ever said that homeschoolers are unsocialized has never hung out with my kids for a week!  

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

These are a Few of My His Favorite Things

Before you break out in song from the reference to Sound of Music.....oh, is that just me?  Well fine.  Before I break out in song {yes, I know you don't want to hear it}, I thought I'd share a few photos from this morning's recess playtime.

As we've gotten to know our boy and he's gotten to do/have/experience things I'm not sure he ever did/had/experienced before, it's been pretty easy to see what he likes and doesn't like.  He's easy to read like that. 

I put broccoli in the buggy at the store and say "Yummy".  Asher looks at me, shakes his head and says "No yummy!" His likes are just as easy to distinguish as his dis-likes are. 

There are two things that Asher asks for as soon as he wakes every morning. Cereal!  Bicycle!  In that order, too.  He races to get dressed {in his Cwars shirts, of course} and get to the kitchen for some grub.  A bowl of cereal later and he is ready to ride!

And ride and ride! 

Like the pink shades? He found those yesterday and has decided they are the bomb! Claimed them for himself and I dare you to touch them.  He will have a fit.

What could be cooler than a Spider Man bike and pink polka dot shades?  I mean, really.  Does it get any better? 

Yes, he cuts his sister off like this all the time.  And, runs into her!  Don't worry about her too much.  She's got gumption.  She will take him down in b-ball!

When we need a break from biking, basketball is the fall back activity of choice!

Then we have to play with "My trucks!" that his super cool Godparents gifted him with last week. 

These are just a few of his favorite things!

Now, I'm off to find a copy of The Sound of Music somewhere.
At least I know that Isabel will watch it with me!