Monthly Archives: October 2012

Three Days of Yummy Food: Rosemary Chicken

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I go through spurts. Some days I enjoy spending time in the kitchen, and some days I simply don’t have the time to slave over a stove for hours. This is a recipe I made up once when I felt ambitious but was limited on time. It has only a few ingredients, and is quick to put together. It is also easy to jazz up, or to increase the number of servings!

What you need for 4 servings:

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 4 bulbs (yes, bulbs) of garlic
  • 5 sprigs of rosemary, divided
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper

And the recipe…

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Oil a rectangular baking dish.

2. Cut bulbs of garlic in half horizontally. To do this, leave all skin intact, place the garlic on a cutting board on its side, and slice so that you have the top and bottom of the garlic still intact. Place them cut side up in the baking dish.

3. Drizzle the cut side of the garlic generously with olive oil, and place a sprig of rosemary on top.

4. Place a chicken breast on top of each rosemary sprig. Drizzle chicken breasts with olive oil. Chop remaining sprig of rosemary. Sprinkle each chicken breast with chopped rosemary and salt & pepper.

5. Bake at 4oo degrees for about 45 minutes, or until appropriate temperature is reached.

I serve this with smashed potatoes and a green veggie, and it makes for a healthy meal that has a short prep time. My boys get excited when I make this because they love eating the roasted garlic with the chicken. Hope you like it as much as we do!

Three Days of Yummy Food: A Panini

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As part of a three day series of some of my favorite go-to recipes, I wanted to share a favorite panini recipe that was invented by a family member known for making up delicious-ness! It is super simple – and can easily be “jazzed up” and tailored to individual tastes!

What you need for 6 sandwiches:

  • 1-1 1/2 block of cream cheese (8-12 oz), softened
  • 1-1 1/2 lb turkey (I use sundried tomato turkey available at our deli)
  • 1 oz sundried tomatoes
  • 2-6 garlic cloves
  • loaf of bread
  • olive oil

And the recipe…

1. Put cream cheese into a medium bowl. Mince the garlic cloves into the bowl. (The more garlic you add, the spicier it will be and the worse your garlic breath. I use six – I love garlic!)

2. Chop the sundried tomatoes. I do this by putting them into a small glass measuring cup and cutting them with scissors. Add to cream cheese. Stir to combine.

3. Slice loaf of bread into 12 pieces. Spread each slice with the cream cheese mixture.

4. Place into a skillet with a little olive oil brushed on the backs of the slices. Place turkey on top. Top with other slice of bread, with cream cheese and olive oil on each of its sides.

5. Cook for 3-5 minutes per side on medium heat. I have a grill pan, so I use that. But it would be absolutely fine to use a regular skillet. You can use another skillet to set on top of the sandwiches to make them more pressed.

And – in just a matter of about 10-15 minutes from start to finish you have an easy, yummy sandwich! I would love to know how you make yours unique!

21 Days to a More Disciplined Life: A Review

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A few weeks ago, my husband came home to me cleaning the floor on my hands and knees, with bread in the oven and applesauce cooking on the stove. I had on an apron, and there were clean smells coming from within the house.

He just stared and me and said, “What are you doing?”

I looked back at him and simply replied, “This is what happens when you read about the pilrgims all day!”

Sometimes I have days like this. Days when I am on top of things. The laundry gets done, the house is mostly cleaned and straightened. Dinner is thought-out and prepared. I enjoy these days.

But most days are not like this. Especially lately.

I was drowning in a sea of things that needed to get done. Everywhere I turned, I saw evidence of my failures and lack of discipline. Sure, the house looked generally good. But the closets and other little areas were collecting piles and in great disarray. I needed help.

So I was very excited when I got the privilege of reviewing Crystal Paine’s new ebook, 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life. I started to read it, and got all pumped up to make a game plan to start tackling those areas that have caused me such grief and guilt. And I feel so much better already! Unlike some books on discipline, this book doesn’t take a long time to read, and it is broken down into very manageable, practical pieces!

So, if you are like me and you’re struggling through some undisciplined areas in your life, I encourage you to check it out! She has it on sale right now…for just 99 cents!  On October 26, the price will go up to $4.99. Let me know how it helps you!

What I Didn’t Expect When Expecting Boys

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When I was pregnant, I had the cutest little shirt that said “Bundle of Boy.” I proudly wore it during portions of three pregnancies.

I don’t quite remember what I expected out of my sweet little boys, but I can, in retrospect, say that there were things I did not necessarily expect out of those sweet little bundles! I decided to jot down just a few things that my boys have taught me. This list is by no means comprehensive, nor am I saying these things apply to all boys or only to boys.

Just a little of what I didn’t expect when I was expecting boys…

Mud puddles have invisible targets on them. It is most exciting to “hit the bulls eye” when wearing church clothes.

All rocks belong in any nearby body of water, puddles not excluded.

Fences are not to keep people and pets out or in. They are for hurdling.

Knock knock jokes are way funny. Made up ones are even better.

The words toot, bottom, and poo (or any variations of these words) are funny. Always. Especially in knock knock jokes.

Teaching boys to go potty requires the teaching of two positions: standing and sitting. Technique and aim are important.

The toilet (and surrounding area) need to be cleaned every day or two. Cleaning the floor around the toilet is essential.

Even with good technique and aim, and with good cleaning practice, an air freshener in the bathroom is a good idea.

Going potty outside is desirable. A bush is the perfect go-to potty spot.

Sometimes, even when indoors, it is necessary to go out of the way to run outdoors to utilize said potty bush.

Moss does not grow under bushes frequently watered with potty.

Sometimes it is best not to say, “Let’s not do that. We do not have time for a trip to the ER.” Self-fulfilling prophecy is a beast.

Wrestling is always fun. And once someone is established as a wrestling buddy, that person is always viewed as fair game for wrestling.

Dirt and mud are fun. They taste good, too.

Belching is an art. And it makes a good punch line for knock knock jokes.

Conflict? Just whack your brother on the head with a slinky. He will slug you back. Problem solved.

Grandparents should be asked not to purchase toy light sabers for Christmas. See above.

Moms of boys should be encouraged not to scream at the sight of bugs so as to help their boys be manlier.  When a bug is brought into the house, this rule does not apply.

Spitting is considered cool. Emphasize spitting is only allowed when teeth are being brushed.

Little men need food, water, shelter, clothing, and Legos – in that order.

Legos and hot wheels are sometimes strategically placed so as to make parents do a funny dance when stepped on.

Matching means wearing a dark green shirt with light green shorts. It is also perfectly acceptable to wear a pair of shoes that is a different shade of green altogether.

Deep thoughts often come out at the dinner table: “If everyone had a bottom where their head is, then you would have to go to the bathroom by putting your head in the toilet. Then you would have to flush with your foot, and you would flush yourself down.”

It is a good idea to have a couch boys are allowed to jump on and one they are not allowed to jump on. Freedom and limits are both necessary.

But the best lessons I’ve learned?

Little boys cry sometimes.
Boys need hugs and kisses, too.
Boys love their mommas.
And no words can describe the deep, deep love that mommas have for their boys.

What an unexpected world. What a bundle of boy.

DIY: A Reading Highlighter Bookmark

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I was shopping in the teacher store one day, and saw something like this little doodad. I knew it was something I could make, and so I tried it out early last year when I was teaching our oldest little man to read. At the time, I wanted something to help him transition to focusing on lines instead of individual words. Since then, we have also used this to highlight vocabulary words and do other word studies. They are super simple and inexpensive to make!

To make this, you will need:

  • A paper cutter
  • Transparency sheet (or other thin plastic sturdy piece, such as a plastic to-go container)
  • Yellow (or other light color) permanent marker
  • Sturdy paperboard or cardstock
  • Tape (not shown)

Once you’ve gathered the materials, away we go:

First, cut your paperboard to the desired dimensions. Mine is 6″x2.”

Then, cut a window. I made one that is 1/2″x5.” I did this by placing the paper cutter blade down 3/4″ down from the top and 1/2″ in from the side. (At this point, I taped the paperboard to the cutter to keep it from sliding.) I then cut the 5″ length. I repeated this by turning the rectangle upside down and making the same cut. Finally, I cut the small, half inch length on each end to remove the “window.”

Okay, this is the super easy part. Color a section of plastic (slightly bigger than your window) with the permanent marker. Finally, tape it to the “back” of your paperboard. And, voila! A reading highlighter for your favorite new(er) reader!

Driving the Kids: The Soundtrack

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The day is happy. For the most part, everyone is getting along. School is going well. Meals are healthy and thought-out in advance. I am showered and dressed, and I have makeup on. Everything is going well. Cue the song “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning.”

We lose track of time as we prance about the house all day singing our song when the clock strikes 3:45. We have to be somewhere at 4.

Then panic sets in, and I become a drill sergeant barking orders:
Change your shirt! (You can’t go in public in *that*!)
Put on your shoes!
Where is your coat?

Then the kids get cranky and whiny. They start yelling across the house, bickering, and fighting. Socks, shoes, and coats seem to fly through the air.

And the baby looks at me and grins. There is a stench in the air. Toddler Law says they must always poo as you’re walking out the door.

We make it to the van. One still doesn’t have shoes, one has a crusty face, and one is missing.

We are in our seats, but no one feels settled. We are all spent, tired, and cranky. It is 3:59.

Cue “It’s the End of the World as We Know It.”

I’ve come to realize that some of my weakest parenting occurs during the rush to get out the door. It’s a pattern I know I need to fix, giving myself more time and praying for more patience. I’m going to work on that.

Because it would sure be nice to “Hit the Road, Jack,” with a smile on all of our faces.

How Spilled Milk Adds Up

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The boys are being careless and silly. Then, as if in slow motion, the milk comes soaring across the table and spills into my lap. The boys look at me, wide-eyed.

I can feel the steam rising from my feet, all the way up until, out of my mouth, spews forth a comment not kindly spoken and in a voice that is definitely raised.

Mommy just cried over spilled milk.

My kids are sad, and I feel guilty for my wrath. Dripping with milk, I go to my room to change. Then I remember what my mom used to say to me in times like this.

Dear, you need to count to ten.

Apparently I have always struggled with overreacting because I remember her saying that to me. A lot.

But it’s funny that in my parenting journey, I had somehow forgotten the wisdom of those simple words.

Count to ten.

So I’ve started doing that. I’ve started simply counting to ten. And sure enough, my words have been kinder, my demeanor more loving, my voice more calm, my words more carefully chosen.

I count to ten. My words become sweeter to their dear little ears, and my toddler learns a math concept. Everyone wins.