cozy kitchen day

Out of the last 9 school days, 8 of them I've had at least one sick child at home. I don't know what this flu bug is, but it has hit Ben, Hannah and Nina each twice in the last week and a half. Headache, stomach ache, cough, fever, and fatigue. They just lay on the couch all day with rosy cheeks and sleep. All the neighbor kids have had the same symptoms, so it's just going around I guess. Poor little Will has a really stuffy nose and a icky cough. Olivia, Clay and I haven't had it {knock on wood!}, but I'm so ready for everyone to be healthy again. I feel like if we could only get some sunshine and warmth, we would all feel so good!

At least the birds are back. That's always a sign that spring is right around the corner. We have had flocks of birds all over our back lawn, and swooping from roof to roof the last couple days. They always come back by March. One bird was singing and checking on the nest that's been on one of our outdoor speakers for the last five years. Maybe she's moving back in?

Today was gray with rain that turned to snow in the afternoon. Nina was sacked out on the couch and Will was sniffling through his tiny clogged nose, so clearly I wasn't going anywhere. I feel so bad for all these sick little kids, but I have to admit, I actually like it sometimes when I have the excuse to not go anywhere. I decided to spend some time in the kitchen in an effort to make a seemingly cold and dreary day into something cozy. I started out by getting a soup simmering on the stove for dinner, even though it was only noon. Clayton came up for a little break from work, "What's that awesome smell?" Then since the babies were sleeping too, I made myself a spinach salad and spread a couple pieces of flatbread with butter and orange marmalade from IKEA {my favorite}. I actually sat down to eat for once!

Baking is a sure way to warm up a snowy day, and I was in the baking mood. I found some big cans of pumpkin in my pantry. Usually pumpkin only sounds good to me in the fall, but Chocolate Chip Pumpkin bread was sounding pretty good today. Halfway through mixing it together, I found that Clayton had hard-boiled all but 2 of the eggs that were left in the fridge {again!}. Grrr...I needed 4 eggs!

Lucky for me, I have an awesome friend across the street. Even though she wasn't home when I called, she offered her garage code and told me to help myself to eggs in the fridge in her garage. I was so happy I didn't have to go to the store! {Thanks Krystal!}

Candles were lit and we all enjoyed some warm food tonight while watching the snow come down.


Here is the link to the Herbed White Bean and Sausage Soup recipe. I don't use dried beans when I make this. I use four cans of white beans instead {drained and rinsed}. Sometimes I add a little pasta to the soup too, and serve it with parmesan cheese grated on top.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

3 1/2 c. flour
3 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. allspice {or cloves}
2 tsp. cinnamon
4 eggs
2/3 c. water
1 c. canola oil
16 oz. canned pumpkin
1 c. chocolate chips

Stir all ingredients together, except the chocolate chips. When everything is combined, add the chocolate chips and mix well. Bake in 2 greased bread pans at 350 degrees for approx. 50-55 minutes, or until set in center.