Wednesday, September 21, 2016

One Pan Creamy Garlic Pasta

Several years ago I developed this recipe for one-pan pasta, for garlic lovers everywhere. It is similar to Alfredo but not quite so thick. This is a quick meal that goes great with some grilled chicken or roasted vegetables and can easily be tweaked for your own tastes. Now it's not the healthiest pasta but it's nice for a quick dinner on a hectic night every now and again. So without further ado...


One lb of pasta (I like Linguine but Daniel likes Penne)
4.5 Cups Chicken Broth
1 stick butter, cut into individual tablespoons
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoon olive oil
2-tsp dried basil
1 pinch dried parsley
2 pinches ground pepper
1/2 Cup milk
1/2 Cup grated Parmesan (more or less, per your taste)

So grab a pan and let's get this party started...
Saute your minced garlic in 2-Tablespoons of the butter and the oil. Don't burn the garlic! Once the butter has melted, pour in your chicken broth. Homemade chicken broth is the best. But in my first picture I shown Orrington Farms chicken broth seasoning that I mix in 4.5 cups of water.

Add your basil, parsley, ground black pepper to the broth. Bring the broth mixture to a boil.

Note: you can use fresh basil. In fact I strongly encourage it. Look at my basil plant here. Totally got ignored. Right as I tossed in the dried basil I realized I could have used fresh, doh!

Once the broth is boiling, add dry pasta. I break my linguine noodles in half. Boil per package directions (mine was 8 minutes). Keep the boil light. You shouldn't have to drain by the end. Let the water boil down. Stir frequently to make sure pasta doesn't stick together or to the pan.

Your pasta should look like this when done. Broth is almost completely gone.You should not need to drain. If you do find yours is wetter than this, go ahead and drain. It's okay to have some broth. The Parmesan will thicken up any remaining liquid.

 Add the remaining butter and stir until melted.

Add the milk. You can skip the butter and milk and just use whipping cream but it creates an almost sickeningly thick sauce that I cannot personally tolerate.

Add the Parmesan. Use a cheap grated Parmesan. We've tried name brand and it just clumps together. This particular Parmesan that we're using here is from Aldis and tastes just great.

Let the pasta sit for a few minutes after you stir in the Parmesan. The Parmesan will thicken the sauce. Serve it up and enjoy!

Easy copy-and-paste directions:

One-Pan Creamy Garlic Pasta
By Joy Hopkins

One lb of pasta (I like Linguine but Daniel likes Penne)
4.5 Cups Chicken Broth
1 stick butter, cut into individual tablespoons
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoon olive oil
2-tsp dried basil
1 pinch dried parsley
2 pinches ground pepper
1/2 Cup milk
1/2 Cup grated Parmesan (more or less, per your taste)
1). Saute garlic in 2-Tablespoons butter and olive oil
2). Add broth and then the spices.
3). Bring to boil. Add pasta and cook to package directions. Stir frequently.
4). Broth should boil down to almost nothing. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining butter until melted.
5). Add milk and stir.
6). Add Parmesan and stir.
7). Let set for a few minutes until thickened. Serve!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Free Online Educational Programs for Kids

We have three weeks of school under our belts thus far and I thought it'd be important to create a post that shares some of the invaluable and free resources I have discovered. Please note that I haven't used the entirety of all of these websites, so I cannot speak to their accuracy. Some of these I've put here as bookmarks for myself and my own use.

I personally feel that modern technology is very helpful, especially for visual learners, in education. We use these programs to supplement and help solidify concepts that are often hard to imagine without visual aid. One example would be history. Documentaries and online programs, pictures and re-enactments help children to paint a mental image of the past. You can visit towns that do live re-enactments and visit museums to see and learn of the past, but for the spur-of-the-moment learning opportunities it is super helpful to have information just a few clicks away. I don't like my kids to sit online all day, so they don't. We spread these programs out throughout the week.

These are free websites as of this date. Some may also offer additional member benefits for a small fee. You should not be required to provide any payment information for the free services.


Teach Your Monster to Read
Spelling City
Quill  (middle/high school writing)
Learning English Kids (British English)
English Grammar 101
Grammar Monster


Science Fusion (links to another blog that has all the links)
Mystery Science (we got first year free; this may change)


Archeology for Kids (lots of fun games)
BBC History for Kids
National Museum of American History


Kahn Academy


List of Music Resources
Hoffman Academy (free piano lessons)
Art for Kids Hub


Dance Mat

Interactive Sites
Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool 

This list could go on and on! These are ones that we've personally used or are interested in using.
Is there anything you'd add to the list? 

Note: We do use some other online resources, like Reading Eggs, but you would have to pay to continue using after your free trial offer. I want to keep the above list to websites that you can use for free for at least one year or longer.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Cloth Diapers (DiaperSwappers)

Temporary post to show images of the diapers that I have for sale, since I'm technologically challenged and cannot seem to figure out how to post directly to my DiaperSwappers sale post. Ah!

Okay so here's the girl lot:

And the boy lot:

Please contact me via DiaperSwappers!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Summer was...

School has already begun for us and I wonder what happened to summer. Summer was packed full of fun and this was probably the most summer fun that I've had with the kiddos. Older kids enjoy things much differently than toddlers and retain the memories. So here is what summer was for us...

Doll crafting! Elaina made all of the tiny things in the next two pics (first pic is of a mini shelf with a tiny lamp, handmade Kleenex box, mini bulletin board with tiny printables she cut out of American Girl magazine ads, tiny books that she made, etc.):

Enrollment day for music school!

Playing in the rain...

Piano recital...

Lots of art! Look at Judah's totally awesome volcanoes.

Lots of library trips...

New park opened up and it is the best park ever!

Car washes...

Birthday girl...

Potty training...

Picnics in the sunshine with all my babies...

Birthday boy!

Splashing in the fountains at the Concourse.

New bikes!

Bowling some balls...

Hanging out with my beauties (self-defense class):

Learning to kick butt...

Lots and lots of trips to the hardware store (whole separate post for that)...

Bike riding and running through the fountains... again...

Science experiments...

Selfies with all the kids when I was stuck in the nursery at church... those boys!

Just the girls now...

4th of July fun on the trampoline...

Party poppers on the 4th!

First time doing sparklers with the kids.

Teddy Bear Picnic, hosted by KC Museum...

Look at how big my baby is getting!

Fun games at the Teddy Bear Picnic

Crafts at the Teddy Bear Picnic

Silas looking so tiny and adorable with the display...

Balloon artist made these (Teddy Bear Picnic)

Silas was looking everywhere but at me...

Only a couple of my kids were patient enough to wait in line for face painting, ha! Abigail with her butterfly mask and (monkey?) balloon animal...

Early start on Christmas gift making...

Carnival time! Dreams came true when they got to ride ponies...

Love a duck!

Ah, we could stay here all day...

Holding chickens!

Finally putting in a garden bed, super late...

First piggy tails!

More play time at the park. She LOVED the swing!

Elaina putting her sewing machine to great use (next two pics):

 Convinced us to take them to the mall...

Discovering nature (and thankfully avoiding warts)!

We also went to the zoo but don't know where those pics are hiding.
We participated in Summer Reading at the local library, where Elaina earned a free book and a free box of a dozen doughnuts from our favorite doughnut place!

We may not have gotten to go to theme parks or leave the City, but I think we had a blast with what we could afford and with what was available. There were plenty of lazy movie days and indoor play, too. This introvert momma needs precious downtime between activities and most of these activities I did with all the kids, by myself! We also had a ton of time devoted to house projects (kitchen renovation and homeschool classroom renovation - posts coming soon).

There were a few regrets. I really wanted my kids to take swimming lessons, but unfortunately it is just too expensive for me to enroll all of them. (I did ask for discounts at every single place offering lessons, including the Y, but it still was too much for us.) So maybe a goal for next summer!

What summer fun was had with your family?!