Beer Taps

Tasty Tuesday–St. Patrick’s Day

Here’s a list of all of the St. Patrick’s Day inspired recipes I’ve shared. Less than a week to go!

Tasty Tuesday–Irish Beef Stew

Since St. Patrick’s Day is next week, I thought an Irish recipe would be appropriate. Bonus points because this recipe has Guinness in it!


  • 2 pounds chuck roast, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 pinch salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups Guinness
  • 2 cups chopped carrot
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Toss the beef cubes with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Dredge the beef in this to coat.
Heat the remaining oil in a deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the beef, and brown on all sides. Add the onions, and garlic. Stir the tomato paste into a small amount of water to dilute; pour into the pan and stir to blend. Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and cook for 5 minutes.
Pour 1/2 cup of the beer into the pan, and as it begins to boil, scrape any bits of food from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. This adds a lot of flavor to the broth. Pour in the rest of the beer, and add the carrots. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasoning before serving. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Cakeway to the West–Emma Kunz House

200 Years Old

On this date in 1814, an acre of land was donated by farmer George Blair for a new town square. (He also donated an additional adjoining 25 acres for the new county seat.)

He named his gift “Belleville,” which means “beautiful city” in French. There have been many significant events on the square, including speeches by two presidents and a nationally-renowned art festival. Things look very different 200 years later, but it’s still the heart of our town!



“Poopsy Pets?!?”

I really think I’ve finally seen everything:

I may be late to this party, but I’ve just never seen anything like this before. Until today. We were wandering around Target this morning and spotted the Moxie Girlz. But not just “girlz.” The “girlz” have pets. That poop. And not just any kind of poop, but rainbow, glitter, and jewel poop. I guess the unicorn that poops rainbows makes a certain amount of twisted sense, but I can’t even stretch to explain the koala and bunny. And if that’s not disturbing enough, you feed these animals their little pellets to start the whole process over.



Even the children were appalled. We had a good laugh, but none of us could figure out WHY anyone would want this toy. I mean, seriously…have toy manufacturers gotten so desperate that this is all that is left? These almost make “Bratz” dolls seem tolerable (then again, it’s the same company…no surprise there!). Maybe I’m just getting old, but is there not even a slightly more appropriate toy that they could have invented?

Toys sure have changed since I was a kid!

2013-14 School Year–Week Twenty-Three

This was an especially busy week of school, because in addition to all of our regular work, we added in our Lenten activities as well (Amon’s Adventure and the Jesus Tree), which mean a lot more reading out loud for me…my throat is parched! We also started memorizing a new hymn on Wednesday this week, instead of our usual Monday…”Christ the Life of All the Living.” I’m planning on us memorizing three or four Lenten hymns, plus a Palm Sunday hymn, and a Holy Week hymn, before Easter…we’ll see how that goes.

Turkey and Bunny continued to work on fractions in math. Adding and subtracting fractions with different denominators, adding and subtracting mixed number and improper fractions, finding common factors and lowest common denominators…it was all fractions, all the time this week! Ladybug has been working on adding three-digit numbers and continues to memorize her subtraction facts. And Chickadee has been working on number identification and counting to three! When you’re observing older siblings, I guess “school” begins early!

In language arts, Turkey and Bunny worked on identifying different adverbs, as well as the questions those adverbs answered (how, when, and where). Ladybug has been reviewing pronouns, because they’ve been giving her a little difficulty. She knows them until she’s asked to identify them in a sentence, at which point she promptly forgets them! So, we’re going over the pronoun lessons again.

Our history lessons focused on ancient China this week. We learned about the period of the warring states, the Qin dynasty and the building of the Great Wall. We also learned about Confucius and some of his teachings. Next week, we return to ancient Rome, and most of our remaining lessons will focus on that famous Empire.

We finished our study of Saturn in science this week, and got to have an outdoor experiment, since the weather today was nice. We made an Alka-Seltzer powered rocket! It traveled about eight feet, but due to how not level our front sidewalk is, it tipped over and traveled horizontally instead of vertically. The point was still made, though, and we were impressed that one tablet could create enough gas to make it travel that far!


Next week, in addition to our regular studies, we’ll be learning about Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day, and I’m hopeful that we’ll be having a St. Patrick’s Day field trip this year, too…details to come!

Chickadee Thursday

Spending some time reading with big brother:


A Calendar for Lent

Moose has really been interested in when each of the special days in Lent are going to happen, so in addition to our Jesus Tree, I decided to make a calendar where he can see when all of the special days occur:


We’re marking the current day with the purple cross. All of the Sundays are marked, as well as dates like St. Patrick’s Day, the Annunciation, and, of course, the days of Holy Week.

I’m sure it would look better if we had a color printer, but for now, this will do. I used tape on the movable dates, so we’ll be able to use this calendar for years to come!

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