that was fast

our upstairs laptop has a bad virus. . .off to give it chicken noodle soup!

It's Freezing Friday: Mama Byrd's Vegetable Beef Soup

R.'s mom makes the best vegetable beef soup. . .I always eat bowls and bowls of eat when we visit. It has lots of beef and a great flavor. Over Thanksgiving, I asked her how she made it, and she was sweet to share her technique. Be forewarned, this makes a huge vat of soup, so adjust accordingly. Also, I don't have exact measurements (although I think I got it close), just the method. . .

One large (2-3 lb.) package stew beef (mine was from Sam's Club)
2 TB oil, for browning the meat
2 tsp. garlic powder
One can diced tomatoes, in juice

8 potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 carrots, peeled and diced
4 stalks celery, sliced
1 onion, diced
One can green beans
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 can canned peas, rinsed
24 ounces V8 juice
salt and pepper to taste

Trim the meat if needed and cut into dice-sized cubes. Brown in batches in large stockpot. Return all to pot after browning, season with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Add tomatoes and enough water to cover the meat. Cover and simmer at least one hour. Add remaining ingredients, along with more water to desired consistency. Cook over medium low heat an additional 2 hours or more. Salt and pepper to taste. It is good re-heated in the crockpot the next several days.

Watch 'Til the End if You Dare

Where Eagles Dare

(all the pictures in this post, with the exception of the Woody's pic, are courtesy of I got excited and forgot to take pictures!)

Last year, we had the February doldrums and were looking for something fun to do. I poked around a bit online and found out about the bald eagle migration along the Mississippi River during the winter. The National Great Rivers museum was sponsoring a "Masters of the Sky" bird show from the World Bird Sanctuary. We finished up the day with a drive down the " Great River Road" to Grafton, followed by cheeseburgers and shakes at Woody's back in Alton off Rt. 67. It was so much fun. . .we had to take R.'s mom and dad in March when they came out for T.'s birthday (although in March there aren't as many eagles to spot).

Okay, so my birthday is this Saturday, and since we've all been down in the dumps since we got home from the holidays, we decided to celebrate early and do the eagle trip. Saturday was cold, around 30 degrees, and overcast. A perfect day for eagle watching, in my book. We got a late start, and went to Woody's first, where our healthy eating commitment of the last week went out the window. I just love the food there, even if the place looks like a dump. The guys LOVE the fried chicken. The fries are good, the burgers, the shrimp, the MILKSHAKES, I love it all. And it is so cheap! We all ate there for 23 bucks. (that includes one very hungry teenager!)

We drove down to Pere Marquette state park after that, and that was the only disappointing part of the trip, as the visitor center was closed, the scenic drive was closed, and the bathrooms that were opened were GROSS. We decided to drive back down to the museum, and on the way an eagle flew right over our car. More than made up for the slummy bathrooms.

The museum was great, as usual. We took off from there right around 5:00 pm, and on the way out toward the town, we saw the eagle's nest, with an eagle in it. It was awesome. I would highly recommend this trip to anyone. Our church playgroup might do this as a field trip in February.

Things to know about the trip:
  • Take a camera and binoculars
  • Dress warmly
  • Don't go to the bathroom at Pere Marquette
  • Have fun!

Up and Running!

We now have a mini laptop upstairs--hopefully enabling me to post more frequently. If you would like to read about the family life of a mom of a 13 year old, a 3 year old, and a newborn (all boys!) drop on by. I will include recipes, day to day musings, fun things to do with the kids, and Christian inspiration.