All posts by Mrs. D

Easy Potato Soup

easy potato soup

Cooking from scratch is easy! Throw this Easy Potato Soup in the crock pot in the morning and it’s ready for dinner when you get home from work. Or whatever.

easy potato soup me

When we filmed The Potato Soup Movie for YouTube, it seemed to only make sense to put it here in writing, as well. I am including a number of things here that clarify and add to the info in the video. Proportions are for a 6 quart crock pot.

chopping potatoes

Easy Potato Soup

8 large (about 5 pounds) potatoes, any variety

1 large onion

5 large cloves garlic

2 quarts bone broth or chicken stock

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter or fat from bone broth

water to cover ingredients

milk, heavy cream, or half and half (enough to thin blended soup to desired consistency)

chopping onions

Dice potatoes into bite-sized pieces and put them in the crock pot. I leave the skins on but you can peel them if desired. Add bone broth, set crock pot to high. Peel and slice the onion very thin or dice. Peel and coarsely chop garlic. Saute onion and garlic in butter until translucent. It is okay for it to be slightly browned or caramelized. Add to crock pot. Add water to cover all ingredients. Cook on high for 6 hours or low for 8-10 hours.

sauteed onions

 

When potatoes are soft, turn off the crock pot. Soup will stay very hot for at least an hour.

potato soup in the pot

You can eat the soup just as it is or make it creamy.

making cream soup

 

To cream the soup, ladle or spoon potatoes and a bit of broth into blender container. Fill about half way. Be careful, as you don’t want to shock a cold container and have it crack or shatter. Let the potatoes cool a minute or so and slowly add about a cup of milk or cream. Place lid on blender container and blend at high speed about 30-60 seconds, until creamy. Return mixture to crock pot and repeat until soup is as creamy as you like. If you run out of milk or do not like dairy, chicken broth or water can be used. Use less milk if soup is not thick enough. Stir well and serve.

grandpa approved

One important thing I left out of the video: add-ins. Some of these could even be added into the soup while it is cooking. Sour cream, chives, and bacon make a particularly nice “Loaded Baked Potato Soup”. Put some of these on the side for people to choose from.

Add-ins:

  • Sour Cream

  • Chopped, cooked bacon

  • Chopped green onions

  • Shredded cheese

  • Salsa

  • Chopped tomatoes

Eat fresh and stay healthy.

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How to Make a Portable Trailer Skirt

portable trailer skirt

Over the past year, I have improved upon my trailer skirting. I knew I wanted it to be inexpensive, easy-on, easy-off, and compact enough to be easily portable. I think I have finally hit on a working combination. Here is how I made my current Portable Trailer Skirt.

insulation
minimal foam board skirting

When we got the Minnie, we started off with foam board and heat lamps. This necessitated being hooked up to electricity to run the heat lamps. My new skirt keeps the salt-water charged waste tanks thawed down to zero. Then it’s time for some supplemental heat down there. Or preferably a move to warmer temps.

trailer skirt supplies

Materials for the Portable Trailer Skirt:

Putting it together:

cutting tarp in snow

1. Cutting the tarp down to size.

My trailer measures 8’ x 26’ plus the tongue, which holds the house battery and 2 propane tanks. I figured I might want the tarps to wrap around those as well, so I estimated a
length of 80 feet, just to have some wiggle room. I cut the tarp into 5 strips measuring 3’ x 20’. To do this, I had to open it up outside. There was snow on the ground at the
time, so the tarp stayed fairly clean. I had my son stand on it to help hold it down and help fold up each piece as we went. We also used rocks to help hold the tarp down as I
cut.

tarp on sewing machine

2. Sewing on the bubble wrap.

The bubble wrap was only 12” wide, so I had to sew 3 tiers onto each strip of tarp. This was the most tedious part of the project. I was also concerned that it would be hard on
my sewing machine, but it did fine. I had to clean the tarp dust out frequently and had to be careful not to catch the presser foot on the bubble wrap, but otherwise, it was
straight seams and easing the bulk through the machine.

3. Black paint.
After sewing on all the bubble wrap, the next step was to paint the outside of the skirting black. This is to absorb more sun and help retain the heat around the trailer. It is very
windy where we usually are, so I had to wait for a still day to get the paint to stick to the tarps instead of floating away.

 applying reflectix trailer skirt

We first tried attaching the tarp with velcro, but the wind made short work of that. We also found the addition of Reflectix insulation to be a major factor in keeping the temps under the trailer more stable. First, we stand the Reflectix around the perimeter of the trailer. Over that goes the portable trailer skirt.

back of trailer skirt

I looked at what other people were doing with trailer skirts and liked the idea of attaching it with turn buttons. Amazon had them listed so I ordered 2 dozen and my son-in-law helped me to install them. I put the grommets on my tarp and attached it to the trailer turn buttons. It stayed on perfectly, but I now discovered that I needed to seal up the loose ends. This was a much better use of the velcro and keeps the wind from whipping the skirt up and blowing the Reflectix away.

Finally, around all this, we place our heavy tent weights, our extra sewer tank, and propane tank just for extra insurance in case the wind blows. If the temps dip below zero or stay below 30F for several days we still have to break out the heat lamps, but the skirting is doing its job and helping us stay warm and cozy.

And the best part about the Portable Trailer Skirt is that it comes off easy, rolls right up (both the skirt and the Reflectix), and stows away in the back of the truck or in the basement when it’s not needed.

 

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Pompeii

 pompeii
The 2014 movie Pompeii is great historical fiction. I have found movies to be a great tool to use in the homeschool. Especially historical fiction.

Pompeii got the boy and me (and his older brother!) discussing the AD79 eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. We talked about how volcanoes work. We discussed other events of the era. The persecution of the early Christians. The historian Pliny the Younger, who witnessed the event from his Uncle Pliny the Elder’s villa across the Bay of Naples.

The boys, of course, were fascinated by the whole gladiator thing. I love to scrutinize the costumes and settings. And so many ways to die as a volcano erupts. Even though we knew the real ending, we couldn’t help but hope for survivors.

Despite the goofs in period accuracy and geography, we enjoyed Pompeii. It made for good discussion and fun escape.

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Jungle Doctor and the Whirlwind

jungle doctor

Jungle Doctor And The Whirlwind – Review

http://christianaudio.com/jungle-doctor-and-the-whirlwind-paul-white

Jungle Doctor and the Whirlwind is a fun read, rather like the tradition of James Herriot and Tom Dooley. The book follows Australian missionary Dr. Paul White on his daily adventures. As a physician to tribal peoples in Tanzania, Africa, navigating mud tracks, surviving violent whirlwind dust storms, and battling a dysentery epidemic are all in a day’s work.

Dr. White passes on biblical principles in his daily practice through fables and story telling. His faithful friend and assistant, Daudi, also serves as his interpreter with the natives. The doctor performs surgery and treats patients in the most primitive conditions. As a result, he faces off against witch doctors and drug lords.

White’s narrative style hooks the reader and rivets him until the final page. Thankfully, there are several more books in the series, so readers can satisfy their need to hear more Jungle Doctor adventures.

I enjoy the way narrator Paul Michael reads with distinct and clear character voices. Yet he is easy to listen to. Of the 29 Jungle Doctor books written by Paul White, Christian Audio has 4 of them in audiobook. Each book runs about 2-3 hours. Priced at $10.98, Jungle Doctor and the Whirlwind is great for family listening, car rides, and storytime. Produced in audiobook form for Christian Audio (c)2012.

Thanks to Christian Audio for providing me with a free review copy of this audiobook. No other compensation was received for this review.

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40 Books Reading Challenge

40 books reading challenge

Somewhere in the last month I read an article about a 40 books reading challenge. A teacher had challenged her class to read 40 books for the school year. The theory is that this will foster a love of reading. It sounded like a good idea. I did a quick search so I could let you know where I first read about it and I discovered that this challenge has been around a long time.

Yak has reading assignments for school, but he does not really enjoy them, and he gets through them as quickly and minimally as possible.

There is much discussion and many variations on the 40 book challenge, but I kept ours simple. My goals are to get the boy reading for pleasure again, and expand his teenage mind beyond video games. With this in mind, we set some ground rules:

Yak will read:

4 books a month of his choice = 1 brand new book of his choice.

Books must be:

at least 200 pages (not including index, etc.)

over 300 pages = 2 books

must not be objectionable to mom

prize book not to exceed $20 unless mom okays it.

There will be a bigger prize at the 1/2 way mark (20 books read). This is not decided yet, but may involve pizza, a special dinner out, a trip to a trampoline park, or some other excursion.

There will be a grand prize when the goal of 40 books read is reached. Disneyland is a possibility, or maybe a water park. Not for sure there yet, either.

A journal must be kept, documenting:

name of book

author

date started

date finished

how well he liked it

main points he noticed

So far he is on track with a book a week, and well on the way to his first prize. I am enjoying our book discussions (I try to read what he is reading) and they also help me to determine whether he is actually reading!

 

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