Nana’s Taco Soup

3 pounds ground chuck

2 large onions, chopped

6-8 ribs celery, chopped

2 buttons garlic, minced

2 cans stewed tomatoes (Mexican style)

1 can Ro-tel tomatoes

2 cans pinto beans

2 cans white shoe peg corn

2 envelopes taco seasoning

1 envelope Ranch buttermilk seasoning

Brown meat, onions, celery, and garlic until tender.  In a large pot, add meat mixture to tomatoes, beans, corn, and rotel.  Add seasonings.  Simmer about 30-45 minutes.  Serve with tortilla chips.  Garnish with sour cream and sharp grated cheese.


I threw a Happy Birthday Jesus party for our homeschool co-op class last week.  This is a party that I usually plan every year.  It varies from year to year and sometimes I have it at my house.  This year we blew up lots of balloons….sang Happy Birthday Jesus…..we made “gospels granolas”  and studied the different symbol meanings of Christmas.  I made this cake and it turned out really, really well.  I have done several versions and this is my favorite!  We had hats, steamers, horns, hot chocolate with candy cane stirrers and the cake.  It was such a great birthday party!  Here is the recipe for the cake:

A Birthday Cake for Jesus

From The Rush’d Lady

Birthday Cake for Jesus

1 chocolate cake mix

1 white cake mix

white frosting

yellow, red, & green liquid food coloring

2 (8 or 9 inch) round cake pans

large red candle taper

box of small birthday candlesMix and bake chocolate cake mix according to box directions. Cool & flip out both. Wrap 1 layer and freeze for later use.

Mix white cake according to box directions. Divide batter in half. Put several drops of red food coloring in one half and mix to desired shade. Pour in one round cake pan. In the other half of batter, drop in green food color & mix. Put in other cake pan. Bake, cool, & pop out. Stack first chocolate layer, frost with white frosting, next red layer, frost, and last green layer. Frost whole cake with white frosting. Decorate.

To Decorate Jesus Birthday Cake

Red & yellow food coloring or

plastic decorations or

stencils & red and yellow piping gelCake is round = because Jesus was born into a world that is round.

1st layer of cake = is brown for our sins.

2nd layer = is red for Jesus’ blood shed for our sins.

3rd layer = is green for life = ours in our new heart.

Frosting is white = stands for Jesus’ purity & righteousness.

Border of Hearts around cake sides = represents each one of us standing as witnesses for Jesus around the world.

Gold Star in middle of cake top = star of Bethlehem = led wise men to Jesus. Star is 6 pointed =Star of David = Jewish nation in which Jesus is born.

Yellow border around Star = Grace of God encircles us.

Big Red candle in middle of star of David is Jesus.

Light candle then read Christmas story out of Bible. Light each person’s small candles out of Jesus’ candle & carefully stick in cake. Let our lights shine before men! Sing Happy Birthday to Jesus.

Take photographs for scrapbooks.

Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year!

~The Rush’d Lady


Walk Through Bethlehem

A friend of ours invited us to this event at their church.  It was so nice and meaningful for everyone!  There was a live nativity and even a place to dress as shepherds and men and women of Bethlehem and have pictures made!  The church served delicious  “shepherd’s stew” and potato soup.  The town of Bethlehem was so great….as we entered the gates we passed Roman soldiers and then stopped to sign the census….after that there were about twenty booths…olive oil pressing, potter’s wheel, dying cotton, wood chopping, bread baking, candle dipping, weaving, and more…..We had a great night!

This is my late post from last Wednesday!:)  This is one of our favorite Christmas side dish recipes.  It is a very southern dish and I believe originated in the Junior League cookbook in Baton Rouge in the 70’s.  We have had it every year I can remember for Christmas.

Spinach Madeleine

Serves:   6 servings


  • 2 packages frozen chopped spinach
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup spinach liquid
  • 1 (6-ounce) roll jalapeno cheese, cut into small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon celery salt


Cook spinach according to directions on package. Drain and reserve liquid. Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add flour, stirring until blended and smooth, but not brown. Add onion and cook until soft but not brown. Add evaporated milk and reserved spinach liquid slowly, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Cook until smooth and thick; continue stirring. Add the cheese, Worcestershire, black pepper, celery salt, garlic salt, red pepper, and salt, to taste. Stir until melted. Combine with cooked spinach. This may be served immediately or put into a casserole and topped with buttered bread crumbs. This flavor is improved if the latter is done and kept in the refrigerator overnight. This may also be frozen.

Handel Unit Study


This month in our homeschool co-op I have been teaching a unit on Handel.  We started off the program learning and reviewing the instruments in the symphony, the placement of the instruments, and the instrument families.  We listened to Peter and the Wolf and began to identify the different instruments.  I brought in my laptop and we listened to each instrument and to various pieces of Handel”s.  We focused on Messiah and Water Music.  We mapped Germany and England and made some Christmas crafts from both of these countries.  We learned that advent calenders originated in Germany and we made our own version using Hershey kisses. We also made some English crackers.We also had some snacks related to the Baroque period and England and Germany.  I also came up with a great BINGO game to help them learn all the great vocabulary words we learned.  They loved this activity!  We also made this stand-up symphony…it is best to use tag board.  This is a great individual activity.  Our family is actually going to the symphony to see Messiah this month.  We are all so excited!  These are some great links which we used in the study:





I would love to hear your unit study or homeschool co-op ideas!

The Christmas tree is one of my favorite parts of Christmas….I love selecting the tree and putting up……stringing lots of lights and then sorting through all those wonderful decorations!  I love the way the house smells with a live tree!  After Christmas the tree goes off to be recycled and turned into mulch by the town.  The ornaments are a very fun part of our tree.   We have collected lots of special ornaments over the years and it is so fun to pull each one out and remember where we were when got the ornament.  We started a tradition a while back where we give each girl an ornament for Christmas and then when they leave and have their own home we can pass their collection of ornaments to them.  I always get one for myself too where I will be able to more easily part with ornaments!  We are planning to drink hot chocolate this year as we pull all our Christmas decorations for our “holiday” closet! 

Here are some interesting facts about Christmas trees:

Christmas Tree Facts

  • Christmas Trees provide pleasant experiences filled with fun and fine spirit!
  • Over 36 million American families enjoy the holidays with the fragrance and beauty of a real Christmas Tree every year.
  • Choosing a real Christmas tree is a fun outing for the whole family and easy to do.
  • Real Christmas trees are an all-American product, grown in all 50 states, including Alaska and Hawaii. Most artificial trees are manufactured in Korea, Taiwan, or Hong Kong.
  • Real trees are a renewable, recyclable resource. Artificial trees contain non- biodegradable plastics and metals. Christmas Trees are the ultimate recyclable: Dead trees provide mulch, bird feeders, fish refuge and shore-up material for beach fronts.
  • For every real Christmas tree harvested, 2 to 3 seedlings are planted in its place.
  • There are about I million acres in production for growing Christmas trees. Each acre of farmed Christmas trees provides the daily oxygen needs of 18 people.
  • There are about 15,000 Christmas tree growers in the US, and over 100,000 people employed full or part time in the industry.
  • There are approximately 5,000 choose and cut farms in the US.
  • It can take as many as 15 years to grow a tree of average retail sale height (6 feet), but the average growing time is 7 years.
  • The top Christmas tree producing states are Oregon, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, California, and North Carolina.
  • The top selling Christmas trees are: Balsam fir, Douglas-fir, Fraser fir, Noble fir, Scotch pine, Virginia pine, and White pine.
  • Christmas Trees enrich our earth, our hearts and our souls.
  • Christmas Trees give us plenty of fun!

Oh Christmas Tree

1. O Christmas tree. O Christmas tree,
Thou tree most fair and lovely.
O Christmas tree. O Christmas tree,
Thou tree most fair and lovely.
The sight of thee at Christmas-tide
Spreads hope and gladness far and wide.
O Christmas tree. O Christmas tree,
Thou tree most fair and lovely.

2. O Christmas tree. O Christmas tree,
Thou hast a wondrous message.
O Christmas tree. O Christmas tree,
Thou hast a wondrous message.
Thou dost proclaim the Savior’s birth,
Good will to men and peace on earth.
O Christmas tree. O Christmas tree,
Thou hast a wondrous message.

3. O Christmas tree. O Christmas tree,
You glow with Christmas brightness.
O Christmas tree. O Christmas tree,
We sing with joyful lightness.
The radiance of this happy night,
To all of us gives hope and light,
O Christmas tree. O Christmas tree,
You glow with Christmas brightness.

We always like to read this book about Christmas trees.

Here is an ornament project we are going to do this year.  It has several different ornaments such as candy cane, wreaths, bows, bells, candles, and stars and then has a story to go with each one.  For example, the bell stands for ringing bells to guide lost sheep back to the fold and the candy cane, represents the shape of the shepherd’s crook which is used to bring lost lambs back to the fold.

Russian Tea

16 cups water

whole cloves (enough to fill a tea steeper)

4 small cans frozen orange juice

6 small tea bags

2 cups sugar

3 cinnamon sticks

1 large can pineapple juice

1 small can lemonade

Boil the water, sugar, cinnamon sticks and cloves on stove for about 5 minutes.  Turn off stove.  Add tea bags and steep for 5 minutes.  Remove the bags.  Add the juices and the lemonade.  Serve hot from the stove. If storing left over tea, remove steeper of cloves and cinnamon sticks before placing in refrigerator.

Festive Eggnog Punch

1 quart eggnog

2 pt. peppermint ice cream, softenend

1 cup ginger ale

Blend ingredients together.  Pour into a punch bowl.  Hang candy canes around the bowl.

Friendship Tea Mix

18 ounces Tang drink mix
1 cup instant iced tea
2 cups granulated sugar
1 package powdered lemonade mix
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Mix and place into a covered jar or other container. For hot tea mix 2/3 tablespoon to 1 cup of hot water. For iced tea mix substitute cold water and pour over ice