Category Archives: Joshua

P365 – Day 91 Joshua’s Tortilla Soup

I’ve been meaning to try out this delicious soup ever since I read about it on Emily’s blog. I copied down the recipe and even passed it along to the EMF (E-Mail Family of aunts, friends and sister in law). I bought all the ingredients but the chicken broth. It’s hard to find a prepared chicken broth without sugar. So broth, no soup, that’s just how it goes.

Then I saw Dorothy had a vegetarianized version of the recipe on her blog. I always love reading Dorothy’s blog because she’s in England and uses words like “bunged” and “prithee” and “whilst.” You know those Brits, always trying to sound like they’re Shakespeare or something. Right now Dorothy and her family have Betty Puddles visiting them from New Hampshire. You can read about her trip to Hampton Court Palace here. Betty is a stuffed animal but don’t tell Dorothy and her family ’cause they think she’s real.

When I saw that Kristine had the soup posted on her blog as well (complete with pictures), I knew I just HAD to gather the rest of the ingredients and make this delicious sounding soup. I couldn’t let all of these women enjoy this recipe (bragging about it and eating all the leftovers) without getting in on the fun.

We had a Concert of Prayer at church this evening. As soon as I realized the event started at 5:30 pm (too early for dinner in this disorganized family), I knew it was a perfect chance to try out the Tortilla Soup. I asked Daniel to wash the crock pot and then gathered all the ingredients for Joshua (my chef du jour). He did a GREAT job of preparing the soup and everyone but Sarah and Rachel LOVED it. Somehow I gauged the salsa spicy factor just right for Tim and the children (ie NOT hardly spicy at all).

tortilla soup


28-32 oz. of chicken broth
2 cans refried beans
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained (Tim isn’t crazy about black beans so I used 1 can of black beans and 1 can of navy beans)
2 c. cooked chicken, cubed (I cooked two chicken breasts in the microwave and then added it to the soup)
1 can corn, drained (we used 2 cans)
2 c. salsa (we used 1 cup of salsa and 1 can of diced tomatoes)
1 c. water (I forgot to add this)

2 c. shredded cheddar
tortilla chips
sour cream

Place first seven ingredients in a pot and simmer for ten minutes. Turn off heat, add cheese, and stir until melted. [I put ours in the crock pot on medium low for an hour or two]

Serve with tortilla chips, cheese and sour cream as desired.

Delicious! Thank you, Joshua, for making dinner.


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P365 – Day 83 Squish Ball War

It wasn’t enough that we had the Civil War or the Poke War, now we have Father/Son Squish Ball War. Folks, this one isn’t pretty.

tim throws
blanket graygrabbingwrestling down

Just when you think it couldn’t get any worse, Joshua makes a startling comeback. He’s reaching for the ball, he makes a play, can he do it??

joshua wants the ball

Yes, not only was Joshua victorious, but he managed to work some magic with the prized ball.

joshua tosses the ball

People who live in Washington state understand how father and son can fall to such desperate straits. It’s the rain. It never stops. It’s grey and rainy and depressing. Boys, who need to go outside and run around and ride bikes and toss baseballs, are forced to terrible measures.

They should be:

tossing ball

Or even:

daniel scooter

But no, it’s too wet and grey and rainy to go outside. Sure we end up with a beautiful green state with gorgeous flowers and waterfalls and the like but it comes with a serious cost. All of that cooped up energy and testosterone leads boys to vicious wars with their siblings and, at times, even their fathers. Testosterone is one of the most important hormones for men. If its level is low, you should learn how testosterone therapy can help.
Poor Rachel. She was trying to talk to our friends in Thailand (who NEED to start posting on their new blog) amidst this Squish Ball War. The picture I took of her was so full of despair and frustration, I immediately had to delete it. It wasn’t fit to post. Thankfully the boys settled down and Rachel handed the Skype headphones over to Daniel.

daniel skypes

Strangely enough, the action and roughness and loud volume of the Squish Ball War didn’t seem to faze Daniel one bit. I’m not sure he even noticed.

b and w danieldaniel talks

Just when you think you can make a difference in life, that your little blog can bring cheer and even spiritual encouragement to people out there in the blogosphere, you end up with a post like this.

It’s the rain, friends, the rain.


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P365 – Day 79 (A Boy and His Mitt)

The sun came out today. Hooray! I’m afraid I’m more affected by the weather than I like to believe. Yesterday was so grey and rainy, it was rather depressing. Although it was colder outside than it looked, the sunshine was delightful. I’m still fighting a fatigue of some sort (mini flu symptoms??) which left me rather tired all day (don’t ask me why I’m up this late blogging) and a serious need for comfort food. I think I ended up snitching bites of the kids’ peanut butter and banana sandwiches. Since I’m not supposed to eat bread or sugar these days, this was a sign that I was NOT doing well. Uh oh. I finally made a big bowl of steel cut oats with milk to curb the serious carb cravings.

Curb Carb Cravings. Kathy’s Curbing the Carb Cravings – Sorry, it’s late and I need to finish this and go to bed.

While dinner was in the oven, Tim was watching a movie to cheer him up (Maverick – sure to make you laugh), and I was on the phone Skyping with Tina; the boys went outside to play ball.


David is so excited to start baseball at the Y next session. He has been talking and thinking about it for a couple of weeks. Joshua drudged up this mitt for him. Talk about a well-appreciated gift!


Daniel is the only leftie in the family. He is in good company with his Uncle Thom.


Joshua is an awesome big brother. He went outside and played ball with the younger boys. They had a softball and tennis ball going so there was plenty of throwing and catching.


Brothers are the best!!

I decided to combat my fatigue and overwhelming hunger attacks (no doubt psychological as I already had that huge bowl of oatmeal) by going to the Y for a workout. Rachel came with me and did 4 miles on the bike while I was on the elliptical machine behind her. So lovely to have company. We didn’t linger — worked out and then went home. I topped the evening off with an apple and the rest of the broccoli from dinner. Rachel ate the last bit of the stuffed shells (the boys did NOT leave her much, greedy rascals) and then decided to follow my example and have a big bowl of steel cut oats. Yum. Oats might go down as my new comfort food.

Play Ball!


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P365 – Day 76 (Old Pictures)

I have a box full of pictures pulled from the drawers of my grandmother’s house. I originally took the pictures (mostly black and white shots almost 30 years old) to make a photo calendar for Nana. Every once in a while I would pull the box off my shelf and look through it. With five children and a busy life, the project was routinely pushed to the bottom of my list of priorities. When the guilt of the failed gift would snipe at me, I would console myself with the lovely relationship I had with Nana. I didn’t need to make her a calendar full of old pictures from my childhood, I wrote to her weekly and visited her every summer. My children grew up making annual trips to her home in Texas. In her last years, she had baskets of pictures of the great-grandchildren on shelves and counters. Of course, now I’m left with pictures of my cousins as small children and some wonderful photos of my parents as newlyweds.

dad, mom and granddaddy

Dad, Mom and Grandaddy on the Mesa in 1965.

Ever since my blog about the cousins I’ve been thinking about those pictures. My mother grew up in a big family but didn’t have any first cousins. Her mother was an only child and her father had one sibling, a younger brother who never married. How sad not to have any cousins.

uncle tom

This picture is a bit grey and fuzzy but I love that smile on Great Uncle Tom’s face.

Thankfully I didn’t have to face life as a poor, pathetic, cousin-less girl as my parents’ siblings were kind enough to have children and provide me with a passel of cousins. How do you classify a group of relatives? Is it a pack, a peck, a brood, or maybe a pride? I guess it depends on what type of animals they are. On my mother’s side, however, there was one tragic flaw; a serious lack of girls. I was the only granddaughter out of nine grandchildren. Talk about being outnumbered.


What an awesome family shot. Phil, in the front row, looks like he is having a GREAT time.

To make matters worse, I was not particularly tomboyish. I did my best to join in on the rough and tumble fun but every time we would visit I secretly searched for the dolls and dress up clothes. I knew they had to be hiding somewhere. It was bad enough not to have a sister, to not have any girl cousins on one whole side of the family was a true tragedy.

Fortunately, my mother’s older sister, who didn’t have any children herself, took special interest in me and made each of my annual visits memorable. We would have lunches out, talk about travel and books, and just enjoy each other. Almost every year she would give me some piece of beautiful jewelry. And then there was my mom’s twin sister, raising three very active boys, who loved me like a daughter. So, I guess saying I suffered is a bit of a stretch. Not to mention the fact that my grandparents could honestly say I was their favorite granddaughter, the one they loved best. :)

trying to keep up

Honestly, how’s a girl supposed to keep up with the boys in a dress that length?

I brought the box of pictures down to my computer two weeks ago. They’ve been sitting here patiently while I ignored them. I wasn’t exactly sure what to do with them. What do you do with a pile of memories? I guess in our house you get them on to the computer and into a blog as soon as possible. Silly me, what was I thinking?

Today I came up with a brilliant idea. Joshua had already played some computer games, read a bit of his book and watched a movie. He was clearly idle and in need of a project. It was rainy and grey and the flu was casting a rather lethargic pall on the household. I thought, if Joshua had some time on his hands, he might be willing to work on my box of pictures. I asked him to try taking pictures of the pictures with the digital camera.

box of pictures

I set him up in the dining room where there is a good source of natural light. It took him a long time to get clear pictures of each photo (and some of the originals were blurry or faded so he was definitely working with raw materials) but in the end he had over 250 digital images for me. Deleting and sorting through brought the number closer to 175. I was thrilled to have copies of the old photos on the computer.

kathy as a young girl

Joshua and the boys say I look just like Rachel in this picture. Hmmm.

Tim wasn’t sure taking pictures of pictures would result in the clearest image. He thought we might have better results using the scanner. I need to try it out and see. I guess it depends on the quality of our scanner. I’m not sure I can convince Joshua to work with this big stack of pictures again.

How long before I pull out the next box of photos? Don’t tell Joshua how many hundreds of photos are tucked away on shelves here and there.


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P365 – Day 75 (More Civil War)

Once again Joshua proved to be an able teacher (I mean assistant) in my Civil War class. Really, I would feel guilty if he didn’t have so much fun preparing and planning the class. Really. Just because I spent the evening watching a movie and cutting out little vegetables for the kindergarteners instead of working all night on Civil War plans is no reason to doubt my sincerity. It was hard cutting out those veggies. All those edges in the lettuce leaves. Whew.

This week we studied the Battle of Gettysburg. Joshua drew an elaborate map of the terrain and mounted it to a large piece of plywood.

civil war map

It’s best not to look too closely at those toy soldiers since some of them are holding assault rifles and bazookas.

Joshua gave me a list of the 11 or 12 generals who played primary roles in the three day battle and I wrote them on 3×5 cards. It’s hard work being the assistant for such a slave driver (ooo, bad pun for a Civil War class, sorry, it was unintended). Joshua assigned the generals to the kids in our class and gave them toy soldiers (each plastic soldier represented one thousand Union or Confederate soldiers).

explaining the battle

Joshua is an excellent teacher. If he had any desire to be in charge, he could easily overthrow my position and run the class himself. Thankfully he is (mostly) content to lead from behind the wings. Today, as we went through the battle, Joshua explained details from the campaign. The casualties from Gettysburg were unbelievable – over 50,000 men dead. I’m not sure the students could really grasp such high numbers. I’m not sure that I can wrap my head around such a tragedy happening right here on American soil.

class picture

These aren’t a bunch of ‘dummies.’

Joshua found the Civil War for Dummies book at the library and used it to help bring the battle to life for us.

A few things we discussed today in class:

1) One of the generals, Gen. Sickles, was hit in the leg by a cannonball. The leg had to be amputated but was preserved by medical personnel. After his recovery, Sickles donated the bones and the cannonball to the Army Medical Museum in Washington – where it continues on display at that facility located at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. What a great guy! Actually he was a bit of a rogue and rascal but we can only cover so much each week.

2) General Stuart, considered to be General Lee’s eyes and ears, misinterpreted orders during the Gettysburg Campaign. He took a wrong turn and didn’t show up until the second day of battle, leaving Lee blinded in enemy territory. Oops.

3) Some say the battle was started because Confederates went into town looking for shoes. Hard to move barefoot troops at a brisk pace, all those thorns and rocks slow people down.

In my opinion, it is these kinds of details and quirky facts that make history come alive. Thank you, Joshua, for running the class. You were a great general, directing the armies. :)

At the close of class we read the Gettysburg Address. I was very moved by Abraham Lincoln’s speech. The idea of facing such incredible losses and then encouraging people to continue to fight to hold the country together is so powerful.

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
Abraham Lincoln


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