Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What to do with this damn Chicken- and a rant...

 Before I start into my chicken recipe, I thought I would mention that I am tired. Yep, exhausted, drained, and otherwise running on auto pilot. Starbucks just can't provide anything to help me. At this point I think I just need some good quality sleep. I wonder if the other moms at school, that are so perky and driven every single day, have an underground speed dealing operation. I honestly think our amazing PTC president might just be the drug lord of El Dorado Hills. Okay not really, but how DO they do it? 

So, without getting involved in any illegal substances, I just keep plugging along. My husband thinks I have a disease called Chronic Fatigue because everyday when he asks how I am, I say, "good but tired"! So, let me try to explain part of why I am so tired...

Did I get the message across?  BTW, that is a Queen sized bed! Okay, so hold the calls to the doctor honey. P.S.- Don't I look great! I mean, especially for not getting any sleep! :)

With that said, we have another busy day ahead of us and mommy doesn't have the time to do a lot of cooking. Last week I ran across the following slow cooker chicken recipe. I loved it! The hubby, (the one from the picture above) liked it too. We ate a lot and so did my kids...SUCCESS! 

Slow Cooker Twenty clove-Garlic Chicken 



  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3 to 3 1/2 lb cut-up organic whole chicken  pieces
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 medium bulb garlic (about 20 cloves) 
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • Directions:  

    1.  In small bowl, mix salt, paprika, pepper and oil to form paste; spread evenly over each piece of chicken. 

    2.  In 5- to 6-quart slow cooker, place onion slices. Arrange chicken over onion. Separate garlic into cloves;  do not peel cloves. Place garlic cloves around chicken.  Pour wine over top.

    3.  Cover; cook on Low setting 7 to 8 hours. 

    4. With slotted spoon, remove chicken, onion and garlic from slow cooker; place on serving platter. Squeeze garlic cloves to use cooked garlic on mashed potatoes, vegetables or bread.



    Monday, October 10, 2011

    I Heart Faces: Raise Your Hands

    This weeks photo challenge over at I Heart Faces instantly reminded me of a song I used to sing with my kids when they were in the very early stages of toddler-hood  and could not stop hitting one another. It went like this...

    My hands are for helping
    My hands are for holding
    My hands are for clapping
    when I hear a happy song
    My hands are for caring,
    My hands are for sharing
    My hands are for raising
    My hands are for kindness,
    not doing harm
    I control my hands
    'cause they're a part of me
    I have absolute control of the body parts on me
    My hands are for helping,
    My hands are for holding
    My hands are for kindness
    not doing harm

    This photo I took below says to me just how much a child uses their hands to communicate. This little guy was only 7 months old but seemed to be using his hands to reassure his four legged friend, who was a little unsure of the camera. It was so amazing to me, the bond between these brothers at such a young age and how, without words, they still understood and loved one another. Makes me swoon! 


    Tuesday, September 27, 2011


    "Most people are in favor of progress, it's the changes they don't like." - Source Unknown.  

     I guess this says it all for me right now. Truth is, I have always wanted progress, I want to keep moving forward. A still and stale life has never suited me. Currently though, I feel like if life stood still for a little while, I would be grateful.

    Progress has meant a few things for me lately that are somewhat hard to digest
    1.  Both of my babies are in school this year. Every day, 5 days a week, we get up, have breakfast together and I cart them off so they can spend their days with a teacher.  They grow faster than the speed of light and the thought that this cycle will continue for the next 12 years until they leave home for college, well it hurts.  
    2.  I have started, and grown my own business. That part is good! It has grown bigger than I thought it would. That part is also good.  I now have a business license, have begun collecting and paying taxes, and I am having difficulty managing family life and work life at times. That part is not that great.
    3.  I’m getting old. Enough said.
    4.  My dog has cancer and this means that time is passing and her cancer is growing. In a short time, we will need to make another hard decision to put our furry family member down.  I am reminded daily just how blessed we have been with her in our lives. To us, she was...
    a crashed puppy!   
    the adornment of our Christmas cards before kids.:) 
    the "licky monster"  
    a lover of all things water!

    the protector of our children...
    a giver of the feeling of always being watched, while in the bath!

    a beauty.

    a tennis ball chewer.

    an old lady who moves with cautious ease.
    You will always be loved Miss Casey Jane! Thank you for staying strong for us and for our babies for so long!

    Friday, July 29, 2011

    What to do with this damn chicken - detox recipes

    I normally post the chicken recipes on Wednesday but, I am doing it today because I forgot this week and, this one truly can not wait until next Wednesday. 

    In case you saw my recent post of Facebook about going through a sort of detox (temporarily), you should know that my children have survived 2 weeks of my recent experiment. I have not put them through my torture and they are still allowed their Cheez-its, but I have stared them down, in a very unhealthy way,  plenty of times when they get out the box.

    evil child!

    Basically, I have given up soda, coffee, any form of alcohol, most carbs with the exception of low sugar fruits and yogurt. I am only consuming, water, green tea, greek yogurt, lean meats, fruit and veggies. I have cheated a few times and have realized that carbs are a true addiction for me. But this whole thing was based on a recent request from my doctor due to my hereditary high blood pressure. This is not an attempt to turn into a Uber mom. If you have  heard the term Uber-mom you might think I am running down this path, with the idea of turning off the cable for the summer. No, my reasons were to save my sanity, not shelter my children and quiz them on Mandarin Flashcards instead. See definition of Uber-mom below....

    "Uber moms are highly successful career women who have take time off to make sure all their kids get into Harvard.  And you can usually tell the uber-moms, because they actually weigh less than their own children. So at the moment of conception, they're doing little butt exercises. Babies flop out, they're flashing Mandarin flashcards at the things. 

    Driving them home, and they want them to be enlightened, so they take them to Ben & Jerry's ice cream company with its own foreign policy. And they go to Whole Foods to get their baby formula. And Whole Foods is one of those progressive grocery stores where all the cashiers look like they're on loan from Amnesty International. They buy these seaweed-based snacks there called Veggie Booty with kale, which is for kids who come home and say,"Mom, mom, I want a snack that'll help prevent colon-rectal cancer."

    And so the kids are raised in a certain way, jumping through achievement hoops of the things we can measure -- SAT prep, oboe, soccer practice. They get into competitive colleges, they get good jobs, and sometimes they make a success of themselves in a superficial manner, and they make a ton of money. And sometimes you can see them at vacation places like Jackson Hole or Aspen. And they've become elegant and slender --they don't really have thighs; they just have one elegant calve on top of another.  They have kids of their own, and they've achieved a genetic miracle by marrying beautiful people, so their grandmoms look like Gertrude Stein, their daughters looks like Halle Berry -- I don't know how they've done that. They get there and they realize it's fashionable now to have dogs a third as tall as your ceiling heights. So they've got these furry 160-pound dogs -- look like velociraptors, all named after Jane Austen characters.
    And then when they get old, they haven't really developed a philosophy of life, but they've decided, "I've been successful at everything, I'm just not going to die." And so they hire personal trainers, they're popping Cialis like breath mints. You see them on the mountains up there. They're cross-country skiing up the mountain with these grim expressions that make Dick Cheney look like Jerry Lewis.  And as they whiz by you, it's like being passed by a little iron Raisinet going up the hill."

    So, back to the chicken. Since I am forced into eating only chicken, turkey or fish, I have needed more good chicken recipes that don't include the yummy sauces and breading that I am so fond of. This one came from my sister-in-law who served it to me on a recent visit to her home. I thought I may have died and gone to heaven, except I could still hear my children screaming in the background, which told me this better not be heaven or I have a bone to pick with someone!  So, thank you Karrie for your contribution to my need for change!

    Here goes folks. Close your eyes, imagine your garden sparkling in the morning dew, imagine the crisp pop in your mouth of that beauty of a cherry tomato you grew with only the up-most tender loving care (after beating the dog for eating all the other red ones). Imagine the Basil you planted in your garden that you gently plucked of flowers before the whole thing turned to seed. Now, open your eyes, realize the true condition of your garden and go to the store to get the following ingredients.

    Cherry Tomato Pesto Chicken
    • 4 boneless skinless organic, free range, happy chicken breasts
    • 1 carton cherry tomatoes -quartered
    • 2 heaping spoonfuls of pesto (with our without pinenuts included) the most garlic the better- I made my pesto just to make sure it had enough garlic. :)
    • 2 heaping spoonfuls of non-fat whipped cream cheese
    Salt and pepper your chicken breast and grill on the barbecue. Mix the cherry tomatoes, pesto and cream cheese together in a bowl. Dump a few large spoonfuls on top of your grilled chicken breasts. Eat and feel good about yourself.

    I added the following recipe as a side dish since It wasn't going to be mashed potatoes.

    Have a wonderful weekend and happy Friday.

    Wednesday, July 13, 2011

    Home away from home for 10 days...and we are back!

    We went for 10 days, we stayed, we played, we fished, we hiked, we swam, we boated, we built amazing Lego displays, and created yet another year of memories of our summers at Buck's Lake. We are back!

    Where in the world is Buck's Lake you ask? Well it is about a 20 minute drive from Quincy, CA and about 1 1/2 hours drive northeast from Chico, ca and about an hour south of Lake Almanor. Still don't get it? Here is a map...

    My parents bought a cabin at Buck's Lake about 13 years ago after years of camping there. It is a little slice of heaven tucked in the forest with great fishing, wildlife, and very minimal amounts of people, like you might get in Almanor or Tahoe. Our cabin is a small 2 bedroom 1 bath, A-framed place with only the essentials, which excludes phones, internet, cable and a dishwasher!

    isn't it cute!
    What it does have, is a ton of fun things to do, very comfortable accommodations, and the perfect setting for extreme relaxation. Here is a little glimpse of the inside.
    the cool dinning table that seats 10 with the giant Lazy Susan is my favorite part.
    Only downside of this place is that we have to get our fill during the summer and early fall because about 6-8 months out of the year there is snow. Nobody plows the roads up here so if we plan to come for a visit during the snowy season, we need to figure out how to get 2 dogs, 2 kids, 2 adults and all of our stuff up on snow mobiles for a 10 mile drive. At this point of our lives, it isn't very doable.  There is a great snowmobile park there for anyone who is willing to take on the challenge.

    Ahh, i love it there. I miss it already. It has so many great things about it and I can almost smell the fresh mountain air all the way from here at my little computer desk.  Here are some of the little things about it that has left my heart aching to go back .

    1. The endless amount of floor space for lego building.
    2. The wood burning stove that sits smack dab in the center of the room, which used to scare me to death when my kids were little but now, provides endless warmth on the cold evenings.
    3. A large deck for long days of reading, sunning, BBQing and just relaxing.
    4. Fresh wildflowers always adorning the table.
    5. A full sized shuffleboard table that is better suited for a dirty college bar
    6. A bottle open and old tin can to catch your caps, on the deck right next to a full cooler.
    7. Last but not least, my parents awesome decorating. 
    But, it is really about what is outside the cabin that draws us to this place every year. My kids spend all day outside doing things I could only dream of during regular days at home, when I am fighting them to go outside and play!

    He got his first Bow. Its not just fishing anymore folks! Yes, there was still snow on the ground behind him!
    Oh and the dogs, they love us for these trips too!
     It seems as though we won't make it back up this summer, prior to school starting. The kids go back to school August 11Th!!! I know, its crazy! Who do I talk to about this? When is this decision made and why wasn't I asked for my opinion?

    I hope all of your vacations are as great as ours was. We are back to the reality of the non-simple life. The phones are ringing off the hook and my kids have been asking for the iPad again. But, we still don't have cable (insert evil cackling laugh)! 


    Monday, June 20, 2011

    I Heart Faces: Let's hear it for the boys!;

    This is one of my all time favorite photos of my boys. On a recent trip to the coast, and on a very windy day, my Dad (AKA "Papa"), my husband, and my son launched the kite. 

    Okay, they tried really hard, had a few successful crash landings and one liftoff. It took them about an hour to assemble the very complicated spider-man kite and 30 minutes to wreck it. :) But, boy did they have a blast doing it. The wind whipped the kite on sharp upturns and even sharper crashes to the sand. My son ran around in circles, hooting and hollering with excitement. I sat in the sand and watched, snapped off some photos, and looked on as I thought about how lucky I am to have these very special men in my life.

    I love them! Let's hear it for the boys, men, uncles, fathers, and Papas!

    What a great challenge on the heels of Father's day! Hope you all had a great one. Check out the rest of the photos at I Heart Faces.


    Monday, June 13, 2011

    Finding photo creativity

    I struggle often with finding my creative juices while taking photos.  I love to get cool new angels and poses that don't look posed. I want to have fun and make my clients happy although, there are times when I am just not feeling it.  

    Sometimes I need a boost and they just don't have the kind I need at Jamba Juice. I recently discovered Pinterest. If you have not been there yet, well go! Find it, love it, make it your own. I just cant get enough!  Anyway I saw this cool pin about ways to keep creativity in your photos.

                                                                                            Source: via Michele on Pinterest

    I'm going to try to follow this... 
    • I already cleaned up my workspace (#2) and now on to my house, which might take a little longer.
    • I took a road trip this weekend and definitely documented (#23), more to come on that. 
    • I  practice daily as my models/children can attest to (#29) 
    • I turned on some crazy Pandora today (#5)
    • I did an honest self portrait (#13). That was a big deal for me. I'm not usually in front of the camera, so it was a little awkward, which meant I just didn't look at the camera.  
    What do you think?

    I have to work on #17 but im also going to try to spell it right. :) I won't be doing # 28 because I don't cut and paste and that is what my blog is for anyway.  

    Well,  off to do #6!  

    Happy Monday! Now, go do something creative.


    Sunday, June 12, 2011

    I Heart Faces: Bright & Vivid

    Someone told her there might be a bug in the weeds....

    ... and there was. Daddy spent the evening removing a tick. Poor Mouse, but I got a cool picture. :)

    Go see the rest of the Bright and Vivid entries at I Heart Faces .


    Monday, June 6, 2011

    I Heart Faces: From a Distance

    "From a distance, there is harmony,
    and it echoes through the land.
    It's the voice of hope, it's the voice of peace,
    it's the voice of every man"

    I love to watch my children play from a distance. When they don't see me, they are truly being themselves. From a distance there really is harmony!

    The challenge this week at I Heart Faces is From A Distance, go check out the rest


    Summer survival week 1

    We have survived one whole week of summer, so far. I am actually (don't let my husband hear this) enjoying this whole no TV thing. I have found that while I thought I used to have the TV on for the noise, I must have actually stopped to watch it occasionally, because I am getting more done now. Weird? 

    We went to the gym 3 days last week, which proved to be a great way to get the kids out of the house for some activity in the childcare center, while mommy tries to remove some of the post lent (back to drinking milk) pounds I have put on. I got most of the Mount Everest pile of laundry done so at least now I can easily open the door to the laundry room, which is such a weight lift for me! We have been listening to more Pandora and I actually read a whole book in one week, which hasn't happened since the whole Twilight Saga. Nuf said!

    The kids have been doing a lot more playing outdoors, even in the rain, since our summer weather seems to have forgotten to appear thus far. Mouse has been reading more books and they both have done a lot of art. They have discovered the board games that have been otherwise untouched for about a year. Sad, I know. I forgot how much I loved Candy Land as a kid. 

     We also did something fun that was new to me. We LISTENED to a book! I had mistakenly ordered the Junie B. Jones audio books instead of the real deal and so we listened. And we listened some more. And the kids and I killed about 2 hours, laying on the floor with our blankets, listening to the books. It was so nice and it will be a sure fire way to pass time in the rainy weather. 

    They look enthused, huh!

    Here is the best part,...wait for it! When I get these 2 unused AT&T cable boxes back to the cable company, I get a whole $300 back! Yippee! That should help pay for some form of extra curricular summer activities to help us get through. I'm thinking Piano lessons. Up until now, the piano's only purpose is serving as a time-out spot for children that have not stopped whining about the lack of TV and are otherwise getting into mischief!

    If there was a pouting award...he might win!
     Today, we started a new adventure, which my Jedi and Mouse have been eagerly anticipating. The arrival of their cousin (we shall call him The Monkey).

    The Monkey will be joining us for the whole week, every other week, the whole summer. I am thinking we will be embarking on many adventures together. Firstly, we had to lay down the rules for the summer, so that we can ensure the tattling will be kept to a minimum and mommy can remain pleasant and happy. Here goes...

    And that pretty much sums up the rules...

     Now, for today we shall play happily and begin our 2 weeks of swim lessons. According to Mother Earth, today will mark the end of the rain for a while, at least I really really hope so...

    Can you hear the church choir singing?