Saturday, November 14, 2009

Yummy Shepherd's Pie

Yummy Shepherd's Pie

I made this for the first time a few months ago. It is now one of our favorites and we make it frequently. I have looked at several recipes for shepherd's pie. This seemed to me the easiest and the tastiest.

Dice and boil potatoes. Personally I don't peel them before cooking. It's the dietitian in me. If it grosses you out, then peel them.

Brown onion and ground beef.

Add veggies. Continue cooking.

Add worcestershire sauce and broth.

Sprinkle with flour. Mix well.

Mash Potatoes:

Add meat mixture to pan.

Spread mashed potatoes on top.

Yummy Shepherd's Pie

1 1/2 lbs ground round beef
1 onion chopped
1-2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
1 1/2 - 2 lbs potatoes (3 big ones)
8 tablespoons butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup beef broth
1 - 2 TBSP flour (optional)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 C warm milk
Salt, pepper, other seasonings of choice
1/2 - 1 C shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

Peel and cube potatoes, boil in salted water until tender (about 20 minutes).
While the potatoes are cooking, melt 4 Tablespoons butter (1/2 of a stick) in large frying pan.
Sauté onions in butter until tender over medium heat (10 mins). Add ground beef and sauté until no longer pink. Drain meat if desired. Add salt and pepper. Add the vegetables. Add worcesterchire sauce. Add half a cup of beef broth and cook, uncovered, over low heat for 10 minutes, adding more beef broth as necessary to keep moist. At this point you may sprinkle this mixture with flour, if desired.
Mash potatoes in bowl with milk and remainder of butter, season to taste.

Place beef and vegetable mixture in baking dish. (At this point you may sprinkle meat mixture with cheese if desired. I sometimes so this. Most of the time I don't.) Distribute mashed potatoes on top. Rough up with a fork so that there are peaks that will brown nicely. You can use the fork to make some designs in the potatoes as well.
Cook in 400 degree oven until bubbling and brown (about 30 minutes). Broil for last few minutes if necessary to brown potatoes.
Serves 4-6.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Making Homemade Chocolate Syrup

Make Your Own Chocolate Syrup
In my opinion, this chocolate syrup is amazing. It tastes so much richer than you-know-who's. It is so easy to make. I will never buy syrup again. Unless of course I find a killer deal. In the Bing house, we make chocolate milk by the gallon!

Combine dry ingredients.

Add water.

Stir to combine.

Stir constantly while boiling to prevent it from boiling over.

Finished product. Boy is it yummy!

Make Your Own Chocolate Syrup

1/2 C cocoa

1 C water

2 C sugar

1/8 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. vanilla

Mix the cocoa and the water in a saucepan. Heat and stir to dissolve the cocoa. Add the sugar, and stir to dissolve. Boil for 3 minutes over medium heat. Stir constantly to prevent it from boiling over. (This comes from experience. Very messy.) Add the salt and the vanilla. Let cool. Pour into a sterile glass jar (or contianer of your choice. I use a chocolate syrup bottle from you-know-who), and store in the refrigerator. Keeps for several months. Yields two cups.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Bomb - Chapter 7

by Evan Bingaman
grade 5, age 10

Chapter 7 - Hemisphere

Jeff sat up in his bed, sweating like crazy. BOOM! Jeff heard a loud sound in his basement. And. Then. The. World. Blew. Up.

That is the story of Jeff and the letter and the package. You are probably wondering how I am alive. Well, I am an alien. But that's a different story.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Bomb - Chapter 6

by Evan Bingaman
grade 5, age 10

Chapter 6 - Time To Die

"I know, Edd." Jeff said.

"Prank, It's just a prank." Edd said.

"NO, it's not." Jeff said with fear in his voice.

Next day...3:10PM

"I'm going to die!" Jeff called out.

"Don't worry, Jeff." Edd said.

Ding Dong. "I'll get it," Jeff said. He opened the door. Sitting there was a box. A box with a clown mask in it. Jeff picked up the mask. Inside the mask was a bomb. "Oh my GOSH!!!!" Jeff screamed.

A person dressed in black came out of nowhere, grabbed Edd and ran away. "Wait up!" Jeff ran after him sweating. The person got in a plane and took off. "No, No, No!" Jeff moaned.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Bomb - Chapter 5

by Evan Bingaman
grade 5, age 10

Chapter 5 - Noon

"What does Coil mean?" Edd said

"It means to-"

"I know what it means," Edd interrupted."I just meant what does it mean in the letter?"

"Beats me," Jeff said.

"I better get going, Jeff. See ya."

"Bye." Edd runs out the door. 'What does coil mean?' This thought was in Jeff's head all day.

After school..."Whoot!!" Kids were running out of school yelling. "School's out!"

Edd ran up to Jeff. "Hey Jeff. I know what coil means."

Jeff said in a dark voice, "What? You know the word coil?"

"Yeah." Edd said. "We'll decode the letters into numbers by ABC order, like A equals 1, B equals 2."


Edd said, "The number is 315912."

"So, I'm going to die on 5/9/12 at 3:10 PM." Jeff said.

"But, Jeff. That's tomorrow!"

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Bomb - Chapter 4

by Evan Bingaman
Grade 5, age 10

Chapter 4 - Coil

"Package for you," the UPS man says. Jeff and Edd scream! "What's wrong?"

"Why are you in pink? Edd asks.

"Because it's dress wacky day at UPS. Can you please get your Mom to sign this?"

"I'm coming," Jeff's Mother yells. Jeff's mother walks into the room. "Where do I sign?"

"NO!" Jeff yells. "DON'T SIGN IT!"

"Why not, Jeff?"

"Because it's a bomb!"

"Jeff, stop being silly." Jeff's mother signs for the package. "Jeff, it says it's for you again. See ya," The UPS man walks away. Jeff's mother walks away. Jeff opens the package SLOWLY. Inside is a letter. Jeff opens the letter.

"Wait, how is there a letter inside a package?" Edd asks.

"No return address!"

"What?" Edd asks.

"I said, No return address." Jeff looks at the letter. It reads:

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Bomb - Chapter 3

written by Evan Bingaman

grade 5, age 10

Chapter 3 - Death at Noon

"What?!? that's impossible!" Edd said in a loud voice.

"Look," Jeff said.

"Wow, you're right," said Edd. "But the bottom of the words say 'The Movie'"

"Okay then, let's go to my house and look on the computer." Jeff said,

"What do you mean?" Edd responded.

"Let's see if it is a movie!" Jeff and Edd rush home. Jeff searches '3 hours to Domination'. Jeff scans the computer. "Aha!" Jeff says. Jeff clicks on a link that says '3 hours to Domination - The Movie'. "It says here that it's about a person who thinks the world is going to end, so he tries to blow it up."

"Phft," Edd starts laughing.

"Jeff, letter for you," Jeff's mother came down into the basement. Jeff grabs the letter and opens it. Jeff's mother walks away.

"What does it say?"

"It says, 'Death at noon. RUN!'"

"Let me see," Edd grabs the letter.

"Just a prank maybe?"

"Check the return address." Edd said. Jeff flips the letter over.

"Nope, doesn't say."

"Creepy, that's all I have to say!" Edd answered. "It's a prank."

"Check the return address."

Jeff flips the letter over. "Nope, it doesn't say."

"Creepy, that's all I have to say." Edd answered. "It's a prank."

"But I am going to DIE at noon!" Then they heard a knock on the door. Jeff runs upstairs and opens the door. Standing there was an UPS man dressed in pink.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Bomb Chapter 2

by Evan Bingaman
Grade 5, age 10

Chapter 2 - Domination
Jeff sat up in his bed. "Just a dream. Better get ready for school."
After school..."I'm telling you, Edd. It was the strangest dream. I mean, it felt so real."
"Like the man dressed in pink?" Edd asked. Jeff suddenly fell to the floor. "Jeff are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm fine. Just tripped over a box...A BOX! Edd, this is the box in my dream!"
"Sure, Jeff," Edd said. "Let's open it."
"NO!" Jeff quickly responded. Jeff got up off of the floor. "It may be dangerous, Edd."
"Well, Jeff. That's too bad." Edd picked up he box and opened it. "See just a box of clothes. Boy, did that scare you!"
"Clothes?" Jeff said.
"Yeah, see for yourself" Edd gives the box to Jeff.
"You're right, Edd" Jeff said. "But look at this. One of the shirts says 3 hours to domination."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Bomb Chapter 1

by Evan Bingaman
Grade 5, age 10

A long time ago, there was a man. This was an evil man. I would tell you why but the FBI wouldn't permit it. What's that, you won't tell...well, okay then.

Chapter 1 - The Box
Ding-dong. "Jeff, can you get the door?" Jeff's mother asked.
"No, I don't feel like it!" Jeff responded.
"Fine Mom, I will." Jeff ran downstairs and opened the door. "Sup?" Jeff said. Standing there was a tall man dressed in pink. "Why are you in pink?" Jeff asked.
"My family was in a terrible fire," the man paused. "The only clothes I had left were my sister's.
"Okay?" Jeff said in a weird voice.
"I have a box for you, Jeff" the man said.
"How do you know my name? Jeff said frantically.
"Here is the box, Jeff." Then the man ran away. Jeff opens the box inside is a bomb that says "3 hours to domination."

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Making Homemade Fabric Softener

We do a lot of laundry at our house. I used to go through fabric softener like it was going out of style. It gets really expensive so I found this recipe to make my own. This costs about $.02 per load (not counting the added water cost). From one batch, I am able to get 32 loads. The only fabric I have ever had a problem with while using this softener is my flannel pajamas. But to be honest, I don't mind a little static on my jammies.
How to make your own Fabric Softener:
Ingredients: 3 C water, 1 C conditioner, 1 1/2 C vinegar

Start with 3 C water

Add 1 C conditioner (I use coupons to buy conditioner. I can get a bottle (2 C) for $.50)

Use a whisk and mix together.

Add 1 1/2 Vinegar

Whisk again.

Pour into bottle of your choice.

Homemade Fabric Softener

3 C water

1 1/2 C vinegar

1 C hair conditioner (I use Suave)

Measure water into a bowl. Add conditioner. Whisk together. Add vinegar. Whisk again. Pour into a container or bottle of your choice. To use, add to your washer in according to the washers instructions.

Monday, October 26, 2009

First Day of School

Our decision to send the kids to Bricks and mortar school was a year long process. I have homeschooled since Evan was 3 years old. At the time of him needing to go to preschool, things were very tight for us financially. I figured there had to be another way so I decided to school him at home. Every year we would pray and ask the Lord what He wanted us to do for that year. We have felt that we were supposed to keep the kids home.

Last year was a really hard year for me as the teacher. I felt overwhelmed and burned out. Evan was in 4th grade. Lydia was in 2nd grade. Joshua was in Kindergarten. I felt throughout the year that I was in a constant battle. Attitudes, fighting, disrespect. I realized partway through the year that I didn't like to homeschool any more. I had no joy in doing it. I started praying and asking the Lord what He wanted for this year.

I told the Lord that I would homeschool again because I want to do what He wants me to do. I also told Him that I would school with a happy heart if that's what He wants for our family. I never got the desire back. I still had no desire to do it after praying for a while. I took that as confirmation about the decision to send them to school.

Thus the decision was made to send Evan and Lydia to the local public school. Since that has happened, we have seen such great changes in the kids. Evan has risen to the occasion. He uses manners. He is respectful. Lydia loves being with other kids. She is such a social butterfly.

We decided to keep Joshua home this year. Originally, we wanted to keep the kids home until they had a good foundation, in faith and in education. Joshua has been doing great since our decision.

I have been doing even better. The atmosphere in the house is totally different. I love not being stressed. I love not having to be the referee anymore.

Walking to the bus stop.

The Lydia's. We had to wake up Lydia Anne to walk with us. She still looks sleepy.

Some of the neighborhood kids.

Getting on the bus.

Still getting on the bus. There are 13 kids who get on the bus at our stop.

Still, getting on the bus.

Lydia and Chloe (a neighbor girl).

School is done. Joshua couldn't wait for them to get home.

Welcome home Lydia!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I Got Some Good News and Bad News

Date: Sept 30th 2009
Event: Joshua lost his first tooth at 6 1/2 years old.
How it happened: We don't really know. Here's the story...Joshua was brushing his teeth after eating lunch when he called out, "Mom! Come here quick!" I went to him and he told me his tooth was missing. I asked him where it was and he said he didn't know. We scoured the house for his missing tooth but to no avail. We never did find it. (Yes, we did check his waste products too.)

He called his pappy and told him, "Pap, I got some good news and bad news. The good news is I lost my tooth. The bad news is I lost my tooth."

He then requested spaghetti for supper that night so he could suck a noodle through his hole.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Hersheypark Happy

This summer we practically spent the whole summer at Hersheypark. We decided in September of last year that we wanted to do something special for the kids. We don't really go on vacation. We might do a day trip every now and then but have never gone on a real vacation. We decided that we wanted to do something that we could do all summer. $600 later we were the proud owners of 5 Hersheypark season passes. We had so much fun. We would go once a week with the whole family and then just the kids and I would go an additional time during the week and spend the day there.

Evan's highlight was being able to ride the Stormrunner.
Lydia's highlight was swimming.
Joshua's highlight was ZooAmerica.

I have notice through this summer that I am getting old. There were rides that I can no longer go on because of feeling sick. I can't even watch the Carousel anymore!

Lydia & Joshua on the Howler. I couldn't even watch this ride without being sick.

Evan & Alan on the Storm Runner. Evan loved it!

Joshua is a Reese's

Lydia is a Hersheybar

Evan is a Twizzlers.

Lydia on the Scrambler.

The most boring ride - The Frog Hopper. (I like this one!)

Joshua's last year to ride kiddie rides. He liked the dino ride,

Joshua loved watching the animal demonstrations.

Of all the times we have been to Zoo America, the bears were always sleeping. We were amazed the one time we were there and the bear was awake! There was one bear who was sitting in the water. There was a bee who kept flying around his nose. He was really funny when he would bat the bee away. Joshua got a huge kick out of it.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Funny Kid Pics

This is what happens when young people take your phone without you knowing about it.

This is the world from their point of view.