Boy, have we had a crazy, busy, exciting week at The Pates’ Place!
Of course, this was “Halloween Week.” I see almost every kid in our school and I can tell you that they have been wired up and crazy EVERY day this week. Our school also had Red Ribbon Week this week, so the kids dressed up differently every day. My favorite day was Crazy Hair Day. Elizabeth made a “Zombie Beehive” and, yes, that is all her own hair!
On Tuesday, Christopher’s football team won their district championship and completed an undefeated season. I am told that it was an incredible game. I watched the whole thing. Everybody else was tense and excited. I just felt like I was going to throw up the whole time! It was an emotional game for our boys. They have worked so hard this year!
On Thursday, Elizabeth ran her first 5K! She has been participating in Girls on the Run at our school – an incredible program from the YWCA. All of the girls in her group finished the practice 5K. They are working toward a 5K in November, but they actually ran one on Thursday! On our school track, that was 18 laps! We were so proud of her for this huge accomplishment!
Friday – well, Friday was Halloween. It’s always a challenge when Halloween falls on a school day! The kids are just so excited! I remember I was always excited for Halloween, too. That’s normal! But by the end of the day, I’m worn out! And then, it’s time to come home and get ready to give out candy. Most years, we have from 500-800 trick-or-treaters! Yes, that is a laundry basket full of candy!
Elizabeth didn’t trick-or-treat this year, but she dressed up to give out candy. She dressed as an 80’s girl. I was relieved to find that they still make Aqua Net Extra Super Hold. That’s what I used when I was going through my big, long 80’s hair phase.
Christopher didn’t dress up, but he wore his creepy contacts. I honestly think he scared more adults than kids!
Our family has a traditional meal that we have on Halloween night. In addition to corn dogs (they’re 50 cents at Sonic all day on Halloween!), we have potato soup! I make it in the crock pot, so it’s a great meal for a busy day and night! I love potato soup. It has such a wonderful velvety texture! And since I add bacon to mine, my family thinks it’s pretty much perfect.
Crock Pot Potato Soup
- 30-ounce bag of frozen shredded hash browns
- 1 32-ounce box of chicken stock
- 1 10.5-ounce can of cream of chicken soup
- 1 bag of frozen chopped onions
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- 1 teaspoon of garlic salt
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1 8-ounce package of cream cheese
- 1 2.5-ounce bag of real bacon pieces
Pour hash browns, onions, cream of chicken soup, chicken stock, salt, garlic salt, and pepper into a crock pot and stir to combine. Cook on low all day (6-8 hours). Add bacon and cream cheese and stir. Wait about 10 minutes for cream cheese to melt and then stir again. Use an immersion blender to blend the soup until smooth. Taste for seasoning. You may need to add more salt.
Well Duh #1: You can use light cream cheese (I did!), but not fat-free.
Well Duh #2: If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can blend the soup in batches in a regular blender. Just be sure to remove the plug from the lid of your blender and hold a folded kitchen towel over the opening. You really need to do this when you’re blending something hot – otherwise, the lid will blow off from the heat and steam.
Well Duh #3: Some people like to leave their soup a little chunkier. If that’s the way you like yours, just take out 2-3 cups of soup before blending and then stir it back in once the rest is smooth.
Well Duh #4: This soup freezes well. I just put it into a gallon-sized ZipLoc, squeeze out as much air as possible, and lay it flat to freeze. I sometimes freeze it in quart-sized freezer bags, too. I don’t fill them all the way up – just a cup or two in each bag – so it makes single servings.
Well Duh #5: It doubles well, too, so I usually make enough to eat half and freeze half.
Well Duh #6: I had to take the pictures of the soup the day after Halloween since we were so busy Halloween night. I should have added a little bit of chicken stock to thin it out. It was still delicious, but sitting overnight in the refrigerator left it very thick.
I love Halloween! It’s so much fun to sit at the end of our driveway and see all the sweet and scary costumes. I heard “Mrs. Pate!” from students more times than I can count. Michael brought a big speaker into the driveway and played kids’ music on it. We handed out candy to kids and gave bottled water to the police officers who were cruising our neighborhood to keep everyone safe. One of us would get cold and would come inside to eat a little warm soup before going back out. Elizabeth ended up going down to street to have chili and s’mores with some of her friends. By 9:00, we were all snug in our own house – tired, but happy.
Traditions are important. Whether it’s giving out Halloween candy or eating potato soup, when you do it as a family, it makes it special.