YouTube Refresh

I finally got around to refreshing our Youtube Channel. Cleaned it up a bit and added some videos. We plan to be adding some more videos soon! I just bought my boys a new video camera, so we’ll see what randomness they come up with. So Subscribe and see what we are up to in video form.

I added a widget there on the side of the website, so you can always find the channel easily. I won’t tell you how long it took me yesterday to find a widget that worked and I liked. Well, I don’t think this one is perfect (There is a bunch I’d change), but after going through 10+ widgets, I called it good enough and just used that one…

 

 

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31 New Junior Ranger Badges

Ah! A new year! We have lots planned for this year, and I am sure hoping it is better than the last!

We enjoyed a wonderful Christmas Break as a family and getting things done around the house. It was lovely to enjoy so much family time.

One of the many projects I finally got to was dealing with all the Junior Ranger badges from this summer!

They earned 31 different badges, patches, and pins. Not too shabby for one trip!! We still have about 4 more booklets to do at home that has to do with our trip… but those may take us awhile to get to! (if we get to them before our next DC trip, I’ll call it a success!)

We never got back our Junior Ranger Badges from Arlington House or Great Falls. Arlington House was closed, so that may have something to do with it? We also haven’t received Cheasapeke Bay back. We sent those in a month or two ago… Guess we’ll see if they ever show up! (It took the Network to Freedom Badges a little over 2 months to arrive!)

We’ll be in Hawaii in a few weeks and we’ll hopefully earn 4 more badges!

The boy’s vests are getting pretty full! One likes to put some on his hat, the other doesn’t. He may not have a choice after awhile. We may need to get the toddler a vest while in Hawaii. He is already envious of his brothers! My daughter keeps them all on a ribbon and our oldest son… well, I keep them all in a drawer for him, until we decide what to do with his (he is not as “into” getting the badges as his siblings)

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Tuna noodle

I’ll admit that I am not a fan of tuna noodle. Sometimes, you try making it again, simply to see if you can make it better. Well, my husband has found a tuna noodle recipe that is actually GOOD! I was shocked. We loved this recipe! The key is the broken up Pita Chips on top. We make this now whenever we get to the bottom of one of those Costco bags of Pita chips. Great way to use up the bag and it is REALLY good on top of this!

This is a surprisingly good dish that is cheap and easy to make. Plus you use up a bag of chips – win-win!

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 1 small diced or shredded onion
  • 2 6oz cans of tuna, drained
  • 1 box of cooked pasta or egg noodles (around 10-13oz)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • the end of a bag of Pita chips or some broken Pita Chips

 

Directions:

Mix the cream of chicken, mayo, and milk together in a large bowl. Add in the tuna and onion. Finally, add in the pasta and the cheese. Pour into a casserole dish. Bake at 375 for 40 minutes. Sprinkle the broken Pita chips on top and bake another 5 minutes – if you want them warm – or simply serve.

 

Tuna noodle

Ingredients

  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 1 small diced or shredded onion
  • 2 6oz cans of tuna, drained
  • 1 box of cooked pasta or egg noodles (around 10-13oz)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • the end of a bag of Pita chips or some broken Pita Chips

Instructions

  1. Mix the cream of chicken, mayo, and milk together in a large bowl.
  2. Add in the tuna and onion.
  3. Finally, add in the pasta and the cheese.
  4. Pour into a casserole dish.
  5. Bake at 375 for 40 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle the broken Pita chips on top and bake another 5 minutes - if you want them warm - or simply serve. 
http://mismashedmom.com/2017/12/tuna-noodle.html

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Instant Pot Ranch Pork

Now I should catch up on some recipes that we’ve done! We have been making another Pork dish in the Instant Pot and it works great! I also make it in the crockpot – can easily be done in either. I love not smelling the pork cook for a long time in the Instant Pot (I’ve mentioned that I can’t stand the smell of pork cooking). It doesn’t get easier or simpler than this recipe! Plus it is delicious!

My Pork Roasts were boneless, thawed, and 2 smaller roasts. If yours are frozen or larger, add at least 10 minutes to cooking time (maybe 20 if large and frozen!)

Serve with Mashed Potatoes. The Pork sauce becomes a DELICIOUS gravy! YUM!

 

Ingredients:

  • Pork – I used 2 boneless sirloins. Can use chops or larger roasts
  • 1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 package dry ranch dressing mix
  • 1 can of water (use cream of chicken soup can)

 

Directions:

Add all ingredients to your Instant Pot. Use the Meat Setting for 30 minutes. (add 10 minutes if larger roasts or frozen. If a larger roast AND frozen, add 20 minutes). Allow to naturally depressurize so the meat has a chance to rest. You can then shred or slice your pork (depending on your preference).

Serve with Mashed Potatoes – the gravy is yummy over them!

 

Instant Pot Ranch Pork

Ingredients

  • Pork - I used 2 boneless sirloins. Can use chops or larger roasts
  • 1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 package dry ranch dressing mix
  • 1 can of water (use cream of chicken soup can)

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to your Instant Pot.
  2. Use the Meat Setting for 30 minutes. (add 10 minutes if larger roasts or frozen. If a larger roast AND frozen, add 20 minutes).
  3. Allow to naturally depressurize so the meat has a chance to rest.
  4. You can then shred or slice your pork (depending on your preference). 
http://mismashedmom.com/2017/12/instant-pot-ranch-pork.html

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Wings and Waves

Give my kids a pool/waterpark/ocean and they can be happy for hours (or a week, as was the case when we stayed at Disney’s Aulani in Hawaii!).

We love a good water slide! We went to Wings and Wave again, because my kids enjoy it so much. They had BOGO Friday’s, so when the kids had a Friday off school, we headed up to enjoy! We have never paid full price here, it is too expensive (especially for a family of 7!), but BOGO is much more affordable (and baby was free). Considering we spent the entire day there – from open to close – we got our money’s worth! I think this was our 3rd or 4th trip.

Their food there isn’t terribly expensive, but we took snacks and lunch in with us. Are you supposed to? Well, not sure about that, but no one stopped us and we used their tables to eat and no one cared (but your mileage may vary).

They have waterslides for kids of all ages. From babies to thrill seekers. You will have a workout complete when you are done here. The BIG slides are located on top of the building, inside a 747 (the park is airplane themed) that is on top of the waterpark. It is a HIKE up there. A Good 5-6 stories each time you walk up there to a waterslide. There are 4 slides coming out of the 747. My older kids rode each one at least 6 times. Not sure how they managed to hike up there that many times! There weren’t many lines when we were there, so they got to ride a lot!

There is a big dump bucket play area for kids of all ages. It has 2 or 3 slides that smaller kids can go on (I believe they still have a height restriction, it’s just not as tall). The baby liked playing in the water coming out of the ground here. There is also a toddler area with small slides for them to go down and more splash pad areas. There is a vortex and basketball playing area.

There is, of course, the wave pool. This is always a favorite. The kids love riding the waves in their innertubes. They also enjoy jumping the waves as well. Now if there was just a lazy river, I could live here (I love lazy rivers… I could live on one. I wish I had one circling my house)

Wings and Wave is quite a bit of fun and a great way to spend a day as a family. Bring water bottles and snacks. Don’t pay full price. Wait for them to have a special, especially if you have more than 4 people.

 

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Wildlife Safari

Another of my favorite places in Oregon is the Wildlife Safari. We go about once a year. You can always get a Groupon for it, so never pay full price.

There is a little zoo area that is free for anyone to visit. Some fun animals, including flamingos and wallaroo’s, and a petting zoo! You can also take a Camel ride. Years ago, I rode an Elephant here. I still fondly remember that and I was just a kid! They often have one of their Cheetah’s here as well (their Cheetah program is world famous).

The Drive-thru is the main attraction at Wildlife Safari. You can almost always get a great picture of a giraffe. They always seem to be walking on the road next to our car (every visit, without fail!). Zebra’s often come close to the cars as well. One time, the Rhino was walking on the road near us. We stayed well back from it, but it still made me a bit nervous with that horn! The Bears and Elephants are fun. Last time we were there, they were feeding the Lions! It was so cool to watch!! I took some video of it because we were so transfixed watching it.  They have an area where you can buy food and feed it to the animals from your car. We did it once and it makes it very hard to move the car again because the animals swarm your car to get the food!

It is a fun way to spend a morning or afternoon. I love seeing the animals up close and wandering around in their habitats. The little zoo area is fun as well. I can highly recommend coming here with kids of all ages. They will enjoy pointing at and watching the animals from the car! Just don’t pay full price and get a Groupon before coming.

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Salt Creek Falls


One of the best things about living in the Pacific Northwest is the beauty that surrounds you everywhere. We have some of the most incredible Waterfalls. Silver Falls is one of my favorite places on this planet. I’ve driven by Multnomah falls so many times, that I think I forget the amazing beauty that I simply take for granted having seen it so many times.

On the way to Crater Lake, Salt Creek Falls was just off the road. Thanks to friends posting pictures, I knew about this place (that I had never heard of before). It is the second (some things I read say 3rd) highest waterfall in Oregon. How had I never heard of it?!?! Well, I posted pictures after we went and we had several friends planning trips to Crater Lake that added it their to-do list because they hadn’t heard of it either – glad I wasn’t the only one.

It is REALLY easy to get to – the Waterfall is just off the parking lot. Any age or ability can get to the viewpoint.

If you plan a stop here – bring bug spray!!! Seriously, you will be EATEN ALIVE! Soooooo many Mosquitos. We did not bring bug spray. It was VERY early in the morning, but luckily there was one lone lady there. She had Bug Spray. She very nicely offered to spray all of us with bug spray. Thinking back, it may be strange to allow a stranger to spray you and your kids with some spray. Well, she looked nice and trustworthy! And she was, it was organic bug spray from Costco. It was very nice of her to share and it kept us from getting too many bug bites!

If you’re on your way to Crater Lake or near this area of Oregon, stop by Salt Creek Falls and view a spectacular Waterfall. Just don’t forget the bug spray!

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