Monday, January 31, 2011

Menu Monday

Last week's meals were so fact the chicken cacciatore was soooooo good...and I just had to make it again tonight.

I decided against using the blog recipe I posted and went with one from America's Test Kitchen. And it was FANTABULOUS.

Here is the recipe:

4 lbs bone in, skin on chicken pieces, trimmed
2 T vegetable oil
1 onion, minced
6 oz portobello mushroom caps, quartered
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 t fresh minced thyme (or 1 t dried)
1 T flour
1 C dry red wine
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 C chicken broth
2 t fresh minced rosemary (or 1 t dried)

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. 

Heat 2 t of vegetable oil in a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Add 1/2 chicken and cook until golden brown on both sides. Transfer the chicken to a plate (remove the browned skin is using chicken thighs). Pour off the chicken fat. Cook the remaining chicken in the same manner.

Pour off any chicken fat left in the pan. Add 2 t of oil, onion, mushrooms and 1/4 t of salt. Cook until the mushrooms are browned.

Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant. Stir in the flour. Whisk in the wine, scraping up any browned bits. Stir in tomatoes and broth. Nestle the chicken into the pot.

Cover and simmer until the chicken is fully cooked and tender (about 30 minutes for chicken breasts and 1 hour for thighs or drumsticks).

Transfer the chicken to a platter and cover. Stir in rosemary to sauce. Bring to boil and cook until thickened, about 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon sauce over chicken.
This was so easy and delicious. Everyone (except Josh - naturally) enjoyed this dish. The first time I cooked this, I used bone in, skin on chicken thighs and the second time I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs. I thought it was great both ways, but I think I preferred the boneless, skinless.

Also, I don't have a dutch oven -- it's on my list, so I just used a large skillet. It worked like a dream.

The beef stew was delicious and I am adding it to our list. The potato soup was okay, but not nearly as good or as easy as other recipes I have tried. Like this one: Potato Soup.

With the kids home so much last week I also made Thai Chicken Patties:
1 small onion, rough chopped
1 clove garlic
2 t ginger
1 jalapeno, seeded
4 bonelessm skinless chicken breasts
1/3 C cilantro
2 T fish sauce
2 egg whites
1/2 C bread crumbs

Combine onion, garlic, ginger, and jalapeno in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add chicken, cilantro and fish sauce and pulse until well blended. Transfer to a bowl and stir in egg whites and bread crumbs.

Heat broiler to high with rack at highest position. Line baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Shape patties, 1/2 inch thick. Place on baking sheets.

Broil until patties are lightly browned and flip and cook until browned on the other side.
Phew. Now for this week:

These recipes are from Pioneer Woman...and if you haven't read her yet...she does it, photography, everything!

We are going to try:

Red Thai Duck Curry (although I am going use chicken)
Chicken Parmigiana
Beef with Snow Peas
Pioneer Woman's Favorite Hamburger
Pan Fried Pork Chops with Parker House Rolls

And sometime this week, I also want to try:

Perfect Pancakes
Bobby's Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Let me know if you are trying any of these.

Happy cooking!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday Musings

We have been sitting down the dinner more as a family this year and it has been a really transformative experience for us.

We spent a good deal of the last year running in several different directions each night and not really finding time to eat as a family.

My goal this year has been to cook...not only to have good meals for the family, but also so that we would carve out that time for our family every day.

In addition to eating together, we also have started to use this time as our family scripture study. We spend some time eating and talking, and then we pull out the scriptures and read.

It has been a great blessing. 

Not only are we reading the scriptures together, but I have noticed that this time together has fostered a little more love and a little less contention in our house. We are getting along better, serving more and really growing as a family.

In fact, the scripture reading is going so well...I am finding that as the scriptures are coming alive for us, we have better discussions and the kids want to read more.

We are currently in Mosiah and learning about Abinadi and King Noah. The kids have been fascinated by this story and look forward to hearing more each day.

We have been reading one chapter at a time ... and the story has gotten so good the kids don't want to stop. I have to say that it has been such a joyous experience for me to see them so into it. One night this week, when I closed the book, they were actually disappointed.

As a mother -- I just want to yell -- O happy day!

Something is working.

Isn't that all you need know that something (anything) you are doing is having an impact?

It's funny how the smallest changes can make the biggest difference! 

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Keeping Memories

My life got so busy I just had to let some things I closed my shop at ScrapMatters and gave up most of my creative teams. While, that was hard to do, the upside is that I am finally scrapping again.

It isn't much, just a page here and there, but it's so great to be preserving our families memories.

I am working now on making sure that everything is spelled right on my finished pages and sending them off to be printed. Can't wait to have all those pages filling up my sadly empty scrapbooks!

These first two are actually updates of older pages that I wasn't happy with. I hardly ever feel like i'm "done" with a page ...but I am finally getting rid of the original layered files and sending them to print.

(Kit: EZ Wishes from Erica Zane)

(Kit: Battle for the Galaxy, Lauren Grier and Penny Springmann)

And this is a totally new page I scrapped.

(Kit: Passion Fruit, DeCrow Designs)

Going over my's been fun to see my style change. I am finally feeling like i'm coming into my own.

One page from 2007, one from 2008 and one from 2010.

Think i'll ever get caught up?

Friday, January 28, 2011

This is the Life

 It's been such a fun snow day. The kids have played -- and played hard.

Mikayla and her friends made a giant snowball. And I do mean GIANT! They started small at the top of the hill and by the time it rolled down to the bottom and with a little additional was massive.

Then the girls turned it into the slide of death. Biggest ice cube...EVER.

Becky tried her hand at snowboarding...and she was amazing!

Emma and Josh spent some time making a snowman.

Joe spent some time digging tunnels in the snow. He wanted to show off his best side.

Oh wait. I think he meant this one.

And now, we've ended the evening with a massive sleepover. 

 And a big projection movie on the wall of the family room.

 Now this is the life.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

It's All About Timing


The kids had a blast, playing in the snow today.

Me? Not so much.

Troy, of course, was out of town today. He has impeccable timing, eh?

Shoveling the driveway wasn't so was the six feet into the road I had to shovel cause the snow plows only did the other half of the street. ack. that the shoveling is all behind me...I am going to sit my aching body down and watch the kids sled.

Now that the work is done...nothing left to do but enjoy the time off.

It is pretty isn't it?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

be careful what you wish for

Well, the kids have been wishing for snow...wearing their pajamas backwards, flushing ice down the toilet...I can't even think of all the stuff.

And after three fake "snow" days...we finally have the real deal.

Bring it on.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Part Blood Hound, I'm Sure

I have hidden every marker in the house.

I have banned them.

I have done everything I can possibly do to make sure that the markers are not accessible.

But no matter what I do...

She still finds them.

And colors on herself.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Menu Monday

Looks like this week is going to be a major catch up week for us.

With last week's ice week got off track and I never was quite able to get it back together.

However, we did make Chicken Enchiladas from a Hint of Honey...and WOW. They were so good. We will definitely be making that again -- although I have to confess that we will be using flour tortillas instead of whole wheat -- cause no matter how much more healthy they are...they just don't taste as good!

And...because I didn't make it to the grocery store last Monday as I had planned -- I didn't have all the ingredients for the meals we had selected -- so we went with Alfredo Sauce from Our Best Bites Blog. was a hit -- Josh had three bowls! We also didn't do this as healthy as they had suggested and used all the full fat stuff...yum-O!

We also made the Cashew Sweet and Sour Chicken. It was pretty good, although I would tweak it a little if I made it again.

Tonight is an easy night since the kids have swim lessons -- we are having Ling Ling Potstickers from costco. Only the best potstickers ever. 

For the rest of the week:

Beef Stew
Potato Soup

and Korean BBQ Beef...this one is my own recipes which is super easy and everyone loves. 

1-2 lbs thin sliced beef (you can buy it this way at the Asian Market or have the butcher thin slice a roast for you)
2 T rice wine
3 T sugar
1/3 C soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t pepper
1 T sesame oil

Mix the sauce, pour over the meat and let marinade 1 hour to overnight. Or...if you are in a hurry, just cook it right away. Still tastes amazing!

Pan fry the beef until done. 

On a side of the reasons we got off track last week was because we took advantage of Restaurant Week in DC and went to an AMAZING restaurant, Trummers on Main. I just love getting to go someplace so fancy and trying it out for a fraction of what they normally charge. It was worth it! 

And as if we weren't gluttons enough we also hit PF Chang's after a temple trip on Saturday. Oh the good things we ate. 

I think I love food. Too much.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I Just Can't Help Myself

I just can't. Each and every time Katie gets ready for dance just melts my heart and I have to take a photo.

How long can I keep her like this?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Oh The Things That I Could Learn

I think one of the best things about being a parent are the lessons we learn from our children...lessons we really can't learn any other way.

There are lessons to be learned when they mess up and we try hard to be patient. 

But sometimes...the lessons are learned when we mess up and they try hard to be patient.

That happened to me today. 

And how grateful I am to have children who forgive me when i'm yelling at them when a gentle reminder would have done the job.

Children have this amazing capacity to love us...even when we're wrong. 

Aren't we lucky?

I know I am.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Don't Judge Me

I have spent the last couple of days sorting through clothes, shoes, and even halloween costumes.

My house is a disaster...but soon...most of these clothes will be finding new homes...or going to the salvation army.

It was a walk down memory lane to sort through all my baby clothes. WOW. I had a lot of stuff!

It was so fun to remember my kids wearing all those teeny, tiny little clothes. Made me almost wish for a baby. (ALMOST...but no, sorry Troy.)

I have been saving pretty much everything that I though the kids might wear again...and since I haven't had a boy since Josh, that's 7 extra years worth of baby clothes. And sooooo many more girl clothes on top of that.

But, really. Why am I hanging on to all this stuff? 

No reason other than I just felt like I needed to save it. But, luckily, now I feel like it's time to give it away.

I managed to get all the baby clothes down to just one bin that I just couldn't bear to part with.

But I have boxes and boxes and bags of things to give away...and don't even get me started on the shoes.

Don't judge me.

But seriously...there had to be 50 pairs of shoes. Maybe more. 


That's insane.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Menu Monday

Still cooking.

I don't know if you are getting anything out of these menu posts, but I have to say I am loving it.

I am enjoying trying all these new recipes, but in addition to that I am loving having all my meals (and the recipes) posted where I can easily refer to them.

Last weeks meals were great. We made everything except the enchiladas -- Mikayla had a basketball game and it messed up our schedule -- so we had a leftover night. I am planning on an crock pot night next time there is basketball.

We will be adding the pork sandwiches, chili, ribolitta, and pork tenderloin to our family menu.

Although I personally (and Troy too) REALLY loved the curry soup and the shrimp tacos -- and I mean REALLY LOVED -- the kids were not fans, so it's no go for those.

And as for Josh -- he LOVED the pork sandwiches. He ate two! 

This week's recipes are from the blog Our Best Bites

Chicken Cacciatore
Cashew Sweet and Sour Pork
Beef Stew
Potato Soup
Sweet and Savory Flank Steak

Saturday, January 15, 2011

O Happy Day!

It has been a long road, but we were notified this week that the school went ahead and purchased the equipment  Emma needed to be able to hear in class.

O happy day! 

I wasn't sure how it would work, but after trying out the system and seeing the HUGE difference it made in Emma's life, the school agreed that she needed the equipment. And it's hers for as long as she's in middle school.

Of course, we have to do this all over again when she starts high school, but i'll fight that battle when we get there.
This is the transmitter. The teacher wears this around their neck with a little microphone.

This is the receiver. Emma wears one at the bottom of each hearing aid and it puts the teacher's voice right into her hearing aids. She can hear no matter what the noise in the classroom.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Basketball Diaries

I lost my voice tonight. Screaming.'s not what you think.

It was in fact basketball. (I were thinking I was yelling at ... Troy. : ) )

These girls might not have won...but they sure have heart. (If only they had elbows too...okay...kidding..sort of.)

They are just so darn nice. But, I think with a little more practice we have the makings of a pretty fine team.

Plus, they had fun.

And that's all that really matters.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Goodbye Old Friend

Coke Zero.

Oh I how I miss you.

Soda is so bad for you. Intellectually I know this. Which is why every year I vow to stop drinking it.

It's been 13 days. (I have made it several months before...but always have gone back.)

Because...sometimes it calls to me.



I can hear it.

Even now.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

No Food for Her, Please

Somebody lost a tooth.

Becky came home from school with her tooth in a cute little container. She said she lost it while she was eating lunch.

And...she didn't want to eat any more meals --  in case she should lose any more teeth.

After reassuring her, she gingerly ate dinner. Hopefully, the worry will leave her soon.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Worn Out

The life of a three year old is hard.

Playing. TV. Hanging out with friends.

It just wears you out.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Now We're Cooking

This week's menu come's courtesy of the Hint of Honey blog. I don't personally know Jessie (I do know her parents -- they rock!) -- her blog is FABULOUS.

This week:

Here is the curry soup:

My gosh. It was beyond amazing. A personal favorite.

This recipe called for I cooked up a big batch, cut it up and put it in freezer bags for four more meals.

Normally, I just boil the chicken for this kind of meal, but that can lead to tough or dry chicken. So this time, I used this method for oven roasting chicken. It worked so great. The chicken was moist and delicious. I am excited to do this again.

Lisa asked how my family was taking all these new meals. And I would say mostly good.

Josh doesn't like anything. And out of the six new recipes I tried last week, he only really loved the pumpkin pancakes. Which, by the way were a universal favorite.

The rest of the kids pretty much liked everything else.

I will be adding the Apricot Chicken, Garlic Chicken Penne with Spinach, and Pumpkin Pancakes to our family's regular dinners.

I will also be adding the Tortilla Soup to our family food storage recipes. 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sunday Busy Sunday

Doesn't he look so serious? It's Sunday. So of course he's working on fulfilling the duties of his calling.

I really am glad that he does...even if I have moments where I wish he wouldn't.

Is that horrible? Ever have a love/hate relationship with a calling. Especially when it wasn't your own?

My own calling is great. I have enjoyed being Josh's teacher.

When I found out that I was going to be his teacher, I knew he would not be thrilled.

So, I asked him, "Who is the WORST person you could imagine having as your primary teacher?"

He gave it some good thought and said, "Lord Voldemort."

Unfortunately for him, it was even worse than that.

Now that the crying is finally over, I think it's working out just fine!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Super Saturdays

I love Saturdays. I really do.

But probably not for the reasons that you think.

I love Satruday's because at our house, Saturday is chore day.

And everyone has a chore.

Mikayla, Emma and Joe each have three chores each that rotate weekly.

And Josh and Becky have a few smaller chores that they do.

Katie...well, mostly we hope she wants to watch tv, because no one can make a mess faster!

Really, all kids can do chores...and we know so many families that don't require their kids to help out very much. I don't know how they do it!

Love Saturday.

ps. Troy says I just love Saturdays cause he let's me sleep in.

There might be something to that. : )

Friday, January 7, 2011

Craft On

I have been in a crafty mood...and paper and wreaths are at the top of my list.

This was my first...made with old book pages and a styrofoam wreath form.

The darker leaves were baked.

Then came this apple, also made from an old book.

This next wreath cause a little more of a stir when Troy say I had cannibalized some sheet music for the cause. wasn't music he played and the wreath turned out awesome. I will post another full photo of the wreath when I have a little more light.

This wreath is made with a scallop punch and brown paper lunch sacks. i love it!

And here is my newest one...made with cream felt roses. I finished this today...but ran out of light to take a photo. Even half done I love it.

It's been so nice to finally feel inspired to really try and decorate our house. We've been here five years and we have had a lot of bare walls. I have more to show, but that's a good start.

What crafts do you have going? Any good links?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Just Dance

Troy often laments that there are not more photos of him when he was young. As the youngest of six...he feels like all the milestones were documented with the older children, and so his milestones didn't seem so important.

(Of course...I have my own thoughts about how cushy it is to be the baby of the family!)

Anyway...for all his complaining...I don't think he needs to worry that I don't take enough photos of Katie.

Cause I have to think if Troy had been this cute as a kid...his mom would have taken more pictures! : )

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Come and Get It!

I'm feeling highly motivated in so many areas of my life -- I don't know what it is about the new year, but it always feels like a fresh start.

I have wanted to do a little more cooking (and I know Troy has been hoping for the same thing) I am making my way through the recipes on my friend Lara's AWESOME BLOG

She has every type of recipe you can think of ... and all are family friendly and easy to make.

This week we have tried:

We had the Chicken Salad tonight:

And for the remainder of the week we will be having:

Navajo Tacos (I am using a yummy cinnamon roll dough and frying it up)

I'm so glad I have friends who go to all the trouble to find the good recipies and work out the kinks so that my family can eat like kings! 

Thanks Lara! 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Back to Life

It's amazing how quickly life goes from slow and sleepy to 100 miles an hour.

Everyone has gone back to school/work...and the kids already have a pile of homework.

Is it too early to look forward to summer vacation?

The one good thing about this time of year is the chance to reevaluate and recommit to the things that are most important.

Like I already said, I'm not a big fan of resolutions...mostly cause I don't keep them. But I do have some things that I would like to focus on in the coming months:

1. Sitting down to meals as a family -- every night possible.
2. Eating healthier.
3. Moving more.
4. Daily scripture study/family prayer
5. Weekly Family Home Evening
6. Photo a day

Any new goals? Old ones?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Fresh and Funky

Emma has style. She knows what she likes and she's really coming into her own.

She decided that she needed a new haircut and I just love her fun, funky style. I think she made the perfect choice.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Jesus Wants Me For a Sunbeam

My little Katie became a sunbeam today.

Sunbeams are the 3 year children's class at church...the age at which they stop attending the nursery and actually become part of the main children's program.  I can hardly believe it.

She did great.

I too got a new class today and I have to say, what a lovely group of children.

It's the same age I taught last year and I am excited to teach them and learn from them. We will be focusing on the New Testament and I am beyond thrilled to be so focused on Jesus Christ.

I hope it will be a good experience for us all.

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