Back to School Homeschool Edition

On the blog today, Back to School: Homeschool Edition.  After a long trip home, some of us are less than enthusiastic. Hee hee!

It is going to be a great year and they had a wonderful first few days.

Hugs, T


Dill Chicken Salad Stuffed Cucumbers

  I am soooo in love with the Stuffed Cucumbers at the State Fair.  But for $8, I knew I could make something just as good, if not better, for a fourth of the price!!!!!

  Ok, so the photo is ugly, but y’all, this chicken salad was beyond AMAZING inside those crisp garden cucs! YUMMO

Dill Chicken Salad Stuffed Cucumbers

{click title to print}

Dill Chicken Salad Stuffed Cucs


  • 4 whole Chicken Breasts, Cooked, Seasoned And Diced
  • 1 whole Onion, Finely Diced
  • 3 Tablespoons Dill
  • 1 cup Mayonnaise
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • Garlic Powder, To Taste
  • 4 whole Cucumbers, Halved With Seeds Scooped Out

Preparation Instructions

Place cooked, cubed, cooled chicken in a large bowl, mix with onion, mayo, dill and seasonings.
Peel, cut in half and scoop out seeds of each cucumber then fill with cold chicken salad.
Serve with sliced garden tomatoes for a delicious summer time supper!

QUICK! Make this before summer is over!  Winking smile

Hugs, T

Southwest Chicken Chop Salad

  Have you ever paid Lauren, of Lauren’s Latest a visit? She has some reallyreally fantastic recipes, and she does NOT help my new recipe obsession. I am Oh-so glad my friend, Joy sent me the link.  I promptly printed off and knew I had to make it! 

Mmmm!  Voted the NEW number 1 best summer salad at our house.  That vote includes all of my 4 little Fergusons!

  I made a few changes, but you can go see her original here.

Southwest Chicken Chop Salad

adapted from Lauren’s Latest


4 cups diced chicken
1 red or yellow pepper, diced
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can sweet yellow corn drained
1 10 oz box cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
6 green onions, sliced
1 large romaine heart, washed and chopped
1 head of curly leaf lettuce, washed and chopped
1 bunch cilantro, snipped
3 just under ripe avocados, diced
1 cup Mexican cheese shreds

4 cups crushed “Hint Of Lime” Tortilla chips (don’t skip the lime ones, it MAKES it!)

For the dressing:
1 cup mayonnaise or miracle whip
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon ranch seasoning
1 tablespoon taco seasoning
2 drops of doTERRA lime oil (or 2 T. lime juice if you don’t have your oils yet) 🙂
Splash of milk until dressing consistency
salt & pepper, to taste

Chop chop chop all the separate ingredients.

  In a medium bowl, mix diced pepper, beans, corn, tomato halves, green onions and snipped cilantro.

   Store washed lettuce separately, and only chop what you think you’ll need for one meal, otherwise, the knife causes the lettuce to brown quickly!

In a small bowl, stir all dressing ingredients together until smooth. Refrigerate until serving time. 

  Just before supper, in a large serving bowl, mix together enough salad ingredients: lettuce and that great pico you  made, along with some Mexican cheese, all per your taste.  Toss with dressing, crushed tortilla chips and cubed avocado. 

  IMG_6749 text

  We ate on this for a couple of suppers and I had it every day for lunch, I loved it THAT much! By keeping your ingredients separate until right before serving each time, you are able to keep it longer!

  I seriously could make this all over again and eat it every day for lunch, it is SO fresh and good! And that dressing?  To DIE for!

Thanks Lauren, for another great “Keeper”!

Hugs, T


Good-bye, Sweet Summer

  Well, Monday school starts and with it the Summer season draws to a close.  It doesn’t seem possible, I need more time with all my kids home!  More peeking out the kitchen window to kids shrieking and having fun in the yard, bunk bed sibling sleepovers with giggles late into the night (well 9:00, but that’s late for them), pool time, swimsuit tan lines, towels on the line, Popsicles, backyard BBQ’s, summer sunsets, watching the fireflies come out and hearing the locusts call their bedtime chant. 


  I didn’t get my fill of corn on the cob, watermelon, cucumber salad or tomato sandwiches this year, due to my poor over-heated garden… we wait for another year, another season.


  It’s back to early bedtime, alarm clock setting for early mornings, hearty breakfasts, homework, evening backpack checks, uniform filled laundry and required reading.  But, with the end of Summer comes the promise of Fall……the return of crisp Kansas air, leaves crunching under your feet, pumpkins, soups and all that Fall entails.


  The kids have really had a fun summer together and I love the changes I see in 002them as they all grow up a bit, they really really play well together.  The latest craze? “Barbie Beauty Salon”.  Destiny is the best stylist around!


  I have let the kids play outside EXTRA long this week, and for the first time in all our years out here, they have started to explore the property, expand their territory a bit.  They found a “Hideout” for themselves in our old lean-to.




  It even has an emergency escape hatch….cool!


Aren’t my kids so fashion forward?  I mean really, snow boots with shorts is a really good look, wouldn’t you say?  🙂


  Apparently, the Goat Head stickers (MEAN ol’ stickers that look like thorns and put poison in your foot…) poke them when they wear their Croc play shoes.  Hey, we live in the country, whatever works!

  In other news, Pax has started signing more at meal time.  We’ve done Baby Sign with each of our children and LOVE it!  He’s been good at “All Done” for a while now, but has added “More”, which I have yet to capture on video  (The little booger will do it before and after the camera, but never when I have it on, STINKER!) and “Please.” 

  I also, due to supper-making chaos, handed him the fork for the first time, to allow him to self-feed.  He went after his turkey, sweet potatoes and peas with gusto, doing waaaay better than I imagined…….


Scooping the bites to his mouth with ease…. 



  Half a bowl later, I was still working on the Broccoli & Cheese Twice Baked Potatoes (yum~recipe coming!) so he gave up the fork and went to hands….


And later still, face. 


Success! Messy success, but he the job got done none-the-less and was so proud of himself!


  Well, I should close.  Like I said, school starts Monday and I need to go write “Destiny” on a million and one more individual markers, marker lids, notebooks, folders, crayons, pencils and erasers.  How do you people with multiple kids in school get this accomplished in good time? 


What an undertaking!  The old Tonya would have had this done a month early. But this new Tonya, the one with 4 kids?  She’s more of a “Fly By The Seat of Her Pants” kinda gal…..waiting until the last weekend before school starts to get it done.


Rebel, I know.


Southwest Cream Cheese Stuffed Red Peppers

  I don’t know about you, but my garden is NOT doing well this year.

Sad tomato plants:


Even more sad green bean plants:


  We are barely getting any tomatoes and got only 1 batch of green beans before the plants fried in the hot sun. 

  It was 112* almost everyday we were gone to Florida and with Kansas being behind 10 inches of rain, things are very brown and dead here.  😦  Praise the Lord we did get some rain recently, but not before farmers lost cattle and crops.  In comparison, this seems minor, but I’m still mourning the loss of Blackberry cobbler and a freezer full of blackberries to get us through the winter….all our blackberries shriveled up before plumping up for the first time in 9 years.  Yes, it was THAT hot!

  Right now we are getting carrots, red peppers and jalapenos from the garden, for those we are thankful! 


We love to grill out jalapeno poppers.  Just halve and seed the jalapenos, fill with seasoned cream cheese (we like to use Southwest Seasoning), wrap in bacon, secure with toothpick and grill.  DEEELICIOUS!  What do you mean do I have a photo?  Noooo, that would’ve required me to think before Dale and I gobbled them all up pigishly.

{Oink oink}

  With our Red Peppers I made this for supper:

Southwest Cream Cheese Stuffed Red Peppers049

  • 2 Tablespoons Southwest Seasoning (from Pampered Chef, it’s AMAZING! But you can use cumin, chili powder…anything you deem Mexican flavors, instead.)
  • 4 ounces, weight Spreadable Cream Cheese (I Believe Its Called Whipped And Is Found In The Bagel Section)
  • 8 whole Large Red Peppers
  • 2 cups Cooked Meat Of Your Choice: Shredded Pork, Taco Meat, Or Shredded Chicken.
  • 2 cups Shredded Cheese, More Or Less As Desired
  • Optional Garnishes: Sour Cream, Guacamole
  • 1 cup Uncooked Brown Rice
  • 2 Tablespoons Cooking Oil
  • 1 whole Small Onion Chopped
  • 1 whole Garlic Clove, Pressed
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • 2 whole Large Tomatoes, Chopped
  • 2 cups Chicken Broth

Preparation Instructions

First, make your Southwest Cream Cheese by adding 2 tablespoons of Southwest seasoning (or cumin, garlic and chili powder) to 4 ounces of spreadable cream cheese. Refrigerate until ready to make supper, pulling it out of the refrigerator 20 minutes ahead of time to soften up a bit.

Make Mexican rice: In a large skillet over medium heat, saute rice in hot oil until slightly browned. Add the onion, garlic and salt. Cook over low heat until onion is tender. Add tomatoes, cook over medium heat until softened. Add broth; cover and simmer until water is absorbed.

Cut each red pepper in half vertically (from the stem straight down). Remove seeds and pop off the green top. Place in a large pot of salted water, bring to a boil and allow peppers to cook for 5-7 minutes or until starting to soften. Then remove them from the water, drain and cool.

Meanwhile, prepare meat of your choice or grab whatever is leftover in the fridge.

Spread each pepper with 1 Tablespoon (or more to taste) of seasoned cream cheese. Add shredded meat, Mexican rice and top with cheese, filling pepper just to the brim.

Place peppers on a baking sheet and bake at 350F for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Serve hot with sour cream or guacamole on top.

This is SO versatile!  You could use black beans, corn, cilantro, anything you deem “Mexican-ish” in this. Don’t have time to make Mexican rice? Then get one of those Knorr packets of Mexican rice for even faster prep time.

They were delicious, and despite my children’s first reaction: “But I don’t like red peppers!”, they ate them and even asked for seconds.

This is PRECISELY why “No Thank You Bites” are required at our house!

So, how does your garden grow?


Back to Oz

  Our Florida trip is done, suitcases unpacked, laundry caught up (for but a moment).  Here are all the rest of the photos from an amazing 2 week-long dream of a family vacation!  (Thanks Drea for sending me home with all the photos you took, too! Very helpful as I filled in the blanks on all these Florida posts!)




Paxton found the glass dining room table quite perplexing!





Hello homemade Long John Donut.  I love you.





One of those embarrassing Bring A Trail of Toilet Out of the Bathroom with you moments.  Paxton seems unfazed.



What is it with Paxton and toilet paper this week????????????




Now this is a drool-worthy Birthday dinner if I ever saw one!10861084


This is my plate, wonder where everyone else’s is?


Avery’s 3rd birthday:


Heading home again:


  It was a pretty uneventful trip home, other than the second plane having a broken Air Conditioner.  Oh the misery of hot little people wanting to be held in a stuffy plane with only 2 seats on each side of it and barely any cool air blowing!  Ugh.

Oh, and that 1 extra suitcase I had to bring home?  Yeah, it about put us in a major bind as we had trouble finding room for everything in the Tahoe!




Thanks for sticking with me through my “Family Vacation Slide Show”.   🙂 Tomorrow, its back to the Land of Oz.