That’s a wrap {October}.

 

Links to Love:

  1. Nine literary heroines we should try to try to be more like.
  2. And speaking of literary heroines, Jenny’s Etsy shop has two new ones!  Mary Poppins & Sara Crewe – they’ve joined the other ladies on Ava’s literary heroine banner.
  3. A trip down memory lane with Ava’s first year video compilation from last year.  I love this.  I started one for year two but it got away from me.  Maybe I’ll finish it someday.

 

Making Memories:

  1. Hey hey hey hey…we had a baby!  Owen’s birth story is here.  He is such a little dreamboat and we’re all crazy about him.  He’s growing on Ava too.  She was too busy at first to care much about this new little human in the house, but I think she’s figured out that he’s here to stay and she’s starting to take more of an interest.  It’s sweet to see her lean in slowly and kiss his head.  I hope they’ll be great friends someday.
  2. Ava’s spica cast came off!  Four days post baby, we took our first baby to have the cast removed and a brace put on.  Ava has learned to sit, scoot, and crawl in the brace and she’s loving her newfound freedom and independence.  It’s fun to have little messes around the house to show where she has been playing.  Don’t take for granted the path of destruction a toddler can leave in their wake – it’s far more upsetting when they aren’t able to move around on their own.
  3. Ava’s birthday was in late October and we had a great day.  I want to write more about it in another post, but as a quick recap, she got to decorate her own birthday cake, eat stroganoff and ice cream – her favorites, and received so many awesome toys, including a little doll playhouse that she has been coveting.  We loved celebrating with her.  She is such a blessing.
  4. We went to a Halloween party organized by the “cul de sac crew” neighborhood friends.  Ava was a black cat and she was the cutest little human black cat I’ve ever seen.

Bookish:

  1. In October I finished Persuasion by Jane Austen (4 stars) and The Cafe by the Sea by Jenny Colgan (3 stars).
  2. I’m currently listening to Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool and reading Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly and A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett.  I also just started Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.  I need to get with it if I want to finish re-reading the Harry Potter series this year.
  3. Kevin finished American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road and gave it 5 stars.
  4. Kevin is currently reading Naked by David Sedaris and HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Leadership.  He just downloaded Vengeance by Newt Gingrich and will start listening to it soon.
  5. Ava has been loving Llama Llama and her Nelly Gnu book.

Challenges:

  1. The month was full of happiness but also had some challenges.  Postpartum emotions were running wild, we had to adjust to sleeping in three hour (at most) chunks of time, and the brace was something new and different after our comfort zone of the cast.  There were a lot of tears – and they weren’t just from the newborn and the toddler.  Fortunately Kevin has managed to keep his eyes dry or we’d probably all float away from the amount of crying around here!

Sustenance:

  1. We made these honey garlic chicken thighs and it was FAR TOO SALTY for my taste.  Kevin said he liked them and he does like things saltier than I do, but I think he was just being polite because see above (lots of crying). 
  2. This slow cooker chili was really, really good.  We’ll definitely be making it again.  I used one can of kidney beans and one can of black beans rather than two cans of kidney beans and I’d do that again.  I also used some tomatoes grown by my aunt and freshly canned by my aunt, mom, and great aunt.  They were super good – so fresh!
  3. This paprika chicken and rice meal was delicious!!  I’ll broil the chicken thighs for a few minutes next time to crisp up the skins (they recommend it in the recipe but I didn’t take the time to do so), but other than that, we both really loved the dish.  Served it with roasted zucchini, yellow squash, and brussels sprouts.  Hearty and pretty healthy!
  4. Another slow cooker winner – this Poor Man’s Stew was tasty. I added whole mushrooms and they were a great addition.

How was your October?

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That’s a wrap {September}.

 

Links to Love:

  1. This letter from a mother to her daughter.

  1. Road trips that showcase stunning fall foliage.  Gorgeous scenery here!
  2. And no links here, but my thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the hurricanes over the past few weeks and the shooting in Las Vegas last night. I don’t have words, but I do have prayers.  <3

Making Memories:

  1. Kevin has been assisting with the football team at home games only and while the team is in a bit of a “re-building” year, I think he is really enjoying getting out there to work with his former head coach and the kids.  It’s a beautiful field and campus and a great opportunity for him to get out of the house on the weekends and do something that he enjoys.  Ava and I wish we could go to the games, but they are always right during naptime.  And nothing messes with naptime.
  2. We met up with the Escape Room dream team again to do another room.  This one was super tech heavy and centered around getting into an Egyptian tomb.  We did it with time to spare!  Then we went to a brewery for beers and chicken with waffles.  It was a great afternoon!
  3. Ava has had several playdates with friends and neighbors and a birthday party attended in September.  We continue to usually have friends come to us because it is so much easier to have chair options for her to sit in at our house.
  4. Some friends that I met through Junior League threw a lovely brunch to celebrate Owen’s impending arrival.  I hope to write more about the three celebrations Owen has had in another post because it really is so sweet to me that people put so much love into making us feel special.  But I can barely manage to get up this one monthly recap post recently, so I want to be sure to share a bit about these highlights here too.  I had so much fun catching up with some of my favorite ladies.  Many of them aren’t in the local Junior League any longer or if they are, not very active or on Sustainer or Leave of Absence (yours truly) status, but I am so appreciative that the organization brought us together.  One friend (hi Megan!) even timed a trip to NM from NYC (where she currently lives) to come to the brunch!  It was an awesome morning and I felt so spoiled.
  5. We got Owen’s room painted and the crib and dresser delivered.  Décor has started to come together, even if it’s not on the walls yet.  A neighborhood friend has passed on so many baby clothes to us!  Owen has a much larger wardrobe already than Ava has ever had.
  6. My mother-in-law and a sweet friend threw a baby sprinkle brunch for Owen on September 30.  It was awesome!  The décor and the food and all the thoughtful little touches were so special.  There was a great turnout of family and friends and I loved having a chance to catch up with a few people I hadn’t seen in awhile.  Seriously.  I’m so spoiled!

Bookish:

  1. In September I finished five books:  Miss You by Kate Eberlen (3 stars), Fitness Junkie by Lucy Sykes (listened to this one on Audible and gave it 4 stars), The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (4 stars), Miss Mapp by E. F. Benson (4 stars), and Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters (4 stars).
  2. I’m currently reading Persuasion by Jane Austen and listening to Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool.  Both are great!
  3. Kevin finished All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr and gave it 5 stars.  He also finished The Spy Who Couldn’t Spell:  A Dyslexic Traitor, an Unbreakable Code, and the FBI’s Hunt for America’s Stolen Secrets by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee.  He gave it 4 stars.
  4. Kevin is currently reading Naked by David Sedaris and HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Leadership.  He’s listening to American Kingpin by Nick Bilton.
  5. Ava has been loving The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Ten Wriggly Wiggly Caterpillars, and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood:  Meet the Neighbors

Challenges:

  1. This phase of life has included many doctor’s appointments.  I am so fortunate that Kevin is able to make all the pre-natal checkups and all of Ava’s appointments too.  It does take time from work for both of us and that can lead to working evenings and so forth to stay caught up.  But the appointments have all been filled with so many blessings and I have my favorite guy right by my side for all of them, so I can’t say that this is a tough challenge.
  2. We have met our out-of-pocket max for Ava and will soon for myself and Owen, so big year for medical expenses.  I’m so grateful that we have good insurance and that our need to use it has been for stuff like welcoming a new baby into our family and tending to a medical need like hip dysplasia, which, while certainly challenging and scary, is treatable and was caught relatively early for our little Ava.

Sustenance:

  1. We made these mozzarella stuffed meatballs in the slow cooker for lunch one day and they were really good.  Except they gave me heartburn.  But that’s too unexpected at this gestational stage, so I can’t blame the recipe.  Easy, look fancy with the cheese oozing out of the center, and I recommend.
  2. Kevin and I went on a date night to Indigo Crow where we both feasted on Caesar salad and lobster ravioli.  He enjoyed a glass of wine and we both enjoyed the patio atmosphere and each other’s company.

How was your September?

A random assortment of random.

Thanks for all the sweet comments and emails and texts and phone calls after my last post.  I so appreciate it.  While I am striving to think of this chapter as an adventure, I’d be lying if I said that’s easy.  There are minutes – hours – days when what we’re facing feels completely overwhelming and I am in complete denial (or hysterics, depending on the severity of the moment) that it’ll be our reality for a bit.  Anyway.  Thanks again.

Ava’s surgery was originally scheduled for today – June 19, but because the OR wasn’t available for long enough that day, it had to be postponed to next week.  At first I was upset about the delay because I was anxious to get on with it.  An earlier surgery meant the cast should have been coming off ten days earlier than it now will be, which is ten days further out from my due date with baby boy.  Waiting ten days for surgery means ten more days of the anxiety sprinkled unknown.  But overall it has worked out for the best because we had our master bath renovation start on June 5 and they were supposed to be done by June 16, but alas – are still going and probably won’t finish until June 21.  It’s nice to not have a newly body casted toddler in a house with the noise and stress of renovation projects.  Also, we got hit with a quick turnaround (5 days) audit at work, and while my boss could have handled that fine on her own, I’m glad I’m at work this week and able to help get all ready by Thursday.

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I think the surgery being today would have put a nervous damper on Kevin’s Father’s Day yesterday too, so it was nice that it was pushed back for that reason too.  We had a great Father’s Day celebrating our favorite guy.  Kiki and Rue got him a card and Ava and I got him a card.  We also gave him a book about dynamite dad’s and a photo to replace the one that was in a frame in his office at work.  I picked up Bocadillo’s breakfast burritos for breakfast and we just played in the park and at home and hung out during the morning.  Ava didn’t want to stop celebrating her dad long enough to nap in the morning, but she did take one in the afternoon when Kevin went to meet his dad for coffee.  Kevin’s parents came over for dinner and poor Kevin had to grill his own Father’s Day dinner.  The burgers and bell peppers were so delicious.  He also made his awesome guacamole.  Seriously – poor guy can’t get a break all year.  :)  I slaved over the stove to bake a box of store bought Thin Mint brownies, which were amazing with the vanilla Haagen-Dazs Sue brought.  Ava enjoyed her little burger with guacamole.  She’s hesitant to try new foods recently and at first she turned down some ice cream.  Kevin started questioning paternity.  Fortunately I convinced Ava to try a bite with the promise that it was “like a popsicle” (of which she’s only ever had healthy homemade versions) and she loved the ice cream.  :)  We also had her show off her ability to say her brother’s name and she told my step-dad via FaceTime, my mom and sister via recorded video, and Kevin’s parents in person.  I think they all approve of the name or are at least pretending to. :)  It was a great day and I hope that Kevin felt even half as special as we think he is because that would be a whole, whole lot.

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One morning at about 7:40, the doorbell rang.  We were expecting Sue soon after that time to watch Ava, so I thought I would see her when I opened the door.  Nope.  It was a police officer.  He had a serious look on his face and asked if everything was okay.  I said, “Umm, yes,” with what I imagine was a perplexed look on my face.

“Your panic alarm was set off.”

Oh.

Oops.

We have alarm fobs that include a button that automatically dispatches the police when it is pressed.  Ava likes playing with our keys and when she has the keys, we are quick to take that one away from her so that this very thing doesn’t happen.  But…earlier that morning, as we were getting ready, she started playing with the contents of my purse and when I noticed her toddling around with the keys, I asked Kevin to remove the fob.  Too late, we found.

I explained what had happened, he called off the two other officers that were patrolling our side yard, I apologized profusely, he only looked mildly annoyed, and that was that.  The city charges $25 a year as a “False Alarm Ordinance Fee” and I guess Ava just wanted to be sure it wasn’t for nothing this year.  We did get a sternly worded letter from the city police a few days later telling us that they operate on a ‘three strikes, you’re fined’ system, so we’ll try to keep our false alarm count under three.

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One riveting piece of trivia a la Amy is that my favorite place to tweeze my eyebrows is in my car, using the rearview mirror.  For some reason all my blonde little hard-to-see stray hairs become glaringly obvious in that rearview.

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We’ve been enjoying some good TV recently.

Homeland ended several weeks (maybe even a couple of months?) ago.  My absolute favorite character on the show died (I won’t give more of a spoiler than that), which I’m still sad about.  {But NOT the level of sad I was when my favorite character in Breaking Bad died.  Immediately following that scene, Kevin made the mistake of trying to tickle me and I snapped at him.  “I am NOT in the mood to be tickled.  Mike just died.”  That line has become a standing joke for us.}  But about Homeland.  The season (was it season 6?) got better as it progressed but didn’t draw us in like the first few seasons did.

A Showtime show that got it RIGHT this year was Billions (season 2).  I really, really like that show.  We were really impressed with it.  I’ll be very interested to see where it goes next year.  When I grow up I want to be like Wendy.  She’s my favorite.

Silicon Valley is one episode away from wrapping up the current season and we’ve enjoyed what they’ve done.  I like that Jian-Yang has more of a role this season.  He and Erlich’s interactions are really funny.

Better Call Saul season finale is tonight and I am really on the edge of my seat to see what happens.  I have a feeling it’s going to be big.  Will Nacho die?  I’m worried about him.  Will Hector have the stroke or whatever happens that lands him in the wheelchair with a bell we know and love from Breaking Bad?  It has been a good season.  Jimmy is really starting to develop into Saul.  I loved the re-introduction of Gus this season.  And any time Mike gets on the screen is good time by me.

Big Bang Theory!  Who saw the final scene of the final episode of the season that just wrapped up coming??  Super sweet.  It was hard to get into BBT this year because the schedule was so sporadic.  Show airs on Monday!  No, wait, Thursday!  It’s on every week for a month.  Now it’s not on for two weeks.  Blah.  But overall, good ending for the season.

We exercised remarkable self-restraint and did not binge-watched House of Cards this season.  Mostly timing of the release, but also I thought it started out slow.  I think Frank is getting too philosophical and spending too much time talking to the viewers. We did finish the season over the weekend and I’m just apparently never happy because I thought the beginning of the season was too slow and the end was too fast.  There was so much happening!  It got hard for me to track all the pieces.  It did end with a high note of anticipation for next season.

I’m on season three of Grace and Frankie on Netflix and am enjoying it, although I don’t know that it’s as good as the first two seasons thus far.  That show is just so perfectly cast.  I love Jane Fonda as Grace.

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Are you watching any good shows? 

That’s a wrap {May}.

 

Links to Love:

  1. I’ve been doing a lot of internal audits at work and really have enjoyed listening to YouTube videos simultaneously.  I’m not super into makeup or hair really, but I’ve been loving Tati’s channel.  She’s just entertaining and because I’m not really in it to pick up makeup application tips or anything, it’s fine to have on in the background and not have my eyes on the video.
  2. Whack-a-meow is adorable.
  3. It’s vacation season.  I won’t be going to a beach this year, but a few of these look really nice.

Making Memories:

  1. We did a lot of prep for our master bath renovation.  The reno is scheduled for June, so we ordered the vanity, tub, tile, shelving, shower door, etc. in May.  Basically we spent A LOT of money.
  2. Mother’s Day was lovely.  We went to breakfast at Weck’s, which is our two-year-running Mother’s Day tradition.  Then we did our grocery shopping.  As a gift from Ava, Kevin gave me an adorable picture plaque with four of my favorite photos of Ava.  He also chooses the best cards and I always treasure the card itself, but most importantly his sweet, heartfelt message.  We had his parents over for dinner and he grilled up some delicious steak and bell peppers.  Ava took a 2 hour nap which means mama and dad took naps of their own!  It was a good day.
  3. We had a site re-credentialing audit at work and passed with flying colors.  Audits are always a lot of work and stressful, but our director of QA is great at getting us prepared, with a little help from her assistant (me :)).
  4. A few years ago, in prenatal yoga, I met a woman who owns a spa and beauty retreat here (Broadway Skin & Beauty Retreat).  My skin had been acting really wonky (pregnancy + a cold + weird variations in the weather patterns + …) so I decided to go get a facial with Devon.  It was really relaxing and fantastic.  Quite a treat!
  5. Kevin and I celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary!  Since it fell on a Wednesday this year, we decided to celebrate on the following Saturday by going to Indigo Crow, our favorite restaurant.  Lobster ravioli and ceasar salads all around.  Wine for the gentleman.  We sat on the outdoor patio and it was a perfect night.  We even stayed out until almost 9:00 and had Kevin’s parents put Ava to bed for the first time ever.  It went really well!  She has been such a champ at bedtime recently (knock wood a million times).

Bookish:

  1. I’m still currently reading Team of Rivals and re-reading the fourth Harry Potter.
  2. The only book I finished in May was Sense and Sensibility.  I gave it three stars, cringed, and changed my rating to four stars.  It seemed like a sin to give Jane Austen three stars.
  3. Kevin is reading American Lion:  Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meacham and he’s listening to Good to Great by Jim Collins.
  4. We still have a lot to listen to in David Sedaris’ Me Talk Pretty One Day.  It’s really funny.  :)
  5. Ava’s favorite book to read is Old McDonald’s Woodshop.  She is obsessed with that book – calls it “zztt zztt zztt” because that’s the sound the saw makes.  She isn’t especially interested in reading Baby Beluga but she carries it around like a security blanket, even taking it into the crib with her at night.

Challenges:

  1. I had a really bad sore throat that became a head cold in early May.  It was the worst head cold I’ve had in years.  I feel like this pregnancy has really affected my immune system more than my pregnancy with Ava did.
  2. We learned something on June 1 that will present a Challenge with a capital C, and it really is overshadowing anything that may have seemed challenging in May.  Since I’m writing this after the fact (too OCD to not finish out the year with these monthly update posts – even if it means they may be late sometimes :)), our June and beyond challenge is really impeding my ability to backtrack and think of anything else to share about May challenges.  And I will share more on this mysterious new challenge in a future post.

Sustenance:

  1. We made this slow cooker melt-in-your-mouth pot roast, which was very delicious.
  2. These barbeque chicken sweet potatoes were hearty and tasty.  I wish we would have tried them in the winter – great cozy, cold weather food.
  3. The dinner of the month was definitely our lobster ravioli at Indigo Crow.  Always the best.

How was your May?

That’s a wrap {February}.

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Links to Love:

  1. A Golden Girls themed café has opened in Manhattan.  My sister and I will definitely be visiting it someday.  We love The Golden Girls!  It’s one of those shows that I like to watch when I’m tired or sick or sad…those quirky ladies just make everything better.
  2. Maternity photo themed pics showing off that beautiful…beer belly??  These are funny.
  3. Did you watch The Oscars?  We didn’t.  But I read about the Best Picture debacle on theSkimm Monday morning.  Craziness!  I feel so bad for the guy who handed Bonnie and Clyde the wrong envelope.  These tweets are hilarious.
  4. Ava is officially walking more than she’s crawling.  In fact, she’s not really crawling at all any more.  She resembles a drunk sailor as she toddles around but she’s on her own two feet and loving it.  I’m so sad.  Does this mean I officially have a toddler?  These are the only shoes she’ll keep on.  We are fans.
  5. 13 Children’s Books that Encourage Kindness Towards Others.  I want Ava to own all of these.

Making Memories:

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  1. On my birthday, Kevin gave me a gift certificate for a 90 minute (!!) massage at a local skin and body retreat.  I redeemed that on the first Saturday in February and it was lovely.  90 minutes is such a luxurious length of time to be pampered.  Thanks, Kevin!
  2. Kevin went to Phoenix with his dad for their annual Sun’s game extravaganza.  They ate good food, did a little shopping (Ava made out like a bandit, as you can imagine), and enjoyed a close basketball game where the Sun’s came out victorious.  Not too shabby.  This was their 23rd annual father/son trip.  Isn’t that amazing?  They always have a great time.
  3. My mom and step-dad live a 2.5 hour drive away from us, which isn’t bad but they stay busy with their jobs/farm/ranch and we stay busy with life and the whole pack of us are homebody’s so we don’t see each other very often.  In February, my mom and I started Skyping on Monday mornings.  I think that’ll be a good way for her to stay up on Ava’s latest and greatest tricks and it’s a nice time to connect.  I’ve enjoyed that new routine.
  4. One blustery Thursday night in February, I met five of my friends out at The Melting Pot for a girl’s night.  It was so fun.  I always come away refreshed and recharged when I spend time with these ladies.  We wore tiaras and the restaurant supplied us with wands, because we’re princesses.  Have you eaten at The Melting Pot? That was my first time and I did all four courses.  I loved the cheese (bread was my favorite dipper, obviously), was underwhelmed by the salad, thought the entrée was okay, and ate too much of the chocolate.  Next time I think I’d just do cheese and chocolate.  Although I did love the mushroom caps in coq au vin with green goddess sauce.  I may do entree for those alone.
  5. Ava had a few social events in February.  She met a friend at the aquarium one afternoon, and went to a friend’s house for a play date one Saturday.  We continue to attend music class on Tuesday’s, which she always really enjoys.

Bookish:

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  1. I just finished listening to Anna Kendrick’s Scrappy Little Nobody and I really liked it.  I gave it 4 stars.  It is my favorite comedic memoir (or whatever that genre is) that I’ve read/listened to.  She’s not crude like so many of them are, and while there is some foul language, I think it’s well placed and not over the top.  She’s hilarious.
  2. Kevin and I finished listening to Duplicity by Newt Gingrich.  It was really well written and action packed.  Kevin gave it 5 stars and I gave it 4 stars.  We’ll probably start the sequel when we travel for Easter.
  3. I finished The Secret Garden and gave it 4 stars.  It’s a quick, easy, classic read.  I remember loving the movie as a kid, but I don’t think I’d ever read the book.  I also re-read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and it was just as amazing the second time.  I love that series.
  4. I’m currently still reading The Danish Way of Parenting:  A Guide to Raising the Happiest Kids in the World by Jessica Joelle Alexander & Iben Sandhal; Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets; Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (reading this one on my phone/iPad); and Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin.  I’m in a jack of many, master of none phase when it comes to reading.  I need to commit to finishing the Danish parenting book and put some time in with Team of Rivals but Harry Potter keeps calling my name.
  5. Kevin has been reading The Looming Tower: Al-Quaeda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright. He’s enjoying his online class that he started last month as well.  They’re about to start a group project that’s a simulation of an Everest climb.  Sounds taxing.

Challenges:

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  1. Naps continue to be a challenge for us.  Well, for Ava.  Kevin and I would gladly go down for daily naps if we could.  I’ve weaned Ava from the mid-day feed, so it really does have to be Goldilocks timing (not too tired, not too hyper) to get her to nap.  Sometimes we stroller nap in the late afternoon if I couldn’t get her down in the crib.  Sue has tried crib napping but Ava tends to wake up early and then they cuddle nap.  This too shall pass.  Days just seem really long when the child refuses a mid-day rest.  Overall though, we can’t complain.
  2. Kiki, while doing quite well for 14 years old (76 in human years), continues to refuse her thyroid medicine every other day or so, and she has been throwing up a lot.  We did some lab work over the weekend and should get results soon.  Hopefully there is something else we can try to keep her healthy.  She did gain weight though and seems to feel fine, so it’s not too bad.

Sustenance:

  1. I posted about our favorite chicken recipes in February – we ate each of those at least once during the month.
  2. We’ve still been into the overnight oats.  Those work especially well on the mornings that Kevin has personal training sessions at the gym.
  3. I’d like a chef to start doing my shopping and cooking.  I feel like we have been in such a rut recently.  And mealtimes just keep rolling around, not going anywhere.  Blah.

How was your February?  Would you choose a maid, a cook, or a chauffer to lighten your load? 

Capsule recipe box: chicken.

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There are a few recipes we do really well in our house and these dinners are in regular rotation.  A capsule wardrobe of recipes, if you will.  While sometimes it feels like a rut, it’s a tasty rut.  I decided to share some of our favorite chicken recipes today and hope that you’ll link to some of your favorites in the comments so I can expand my repertoire.  Four of the recipes I’m sharing today just kind of evolved organically in our own kitchen, so I’m typing out the details on what we do to make it come together.  I hesitate to even call them “recipes” because they’re so basic!  The other recipes are things I found through Pinterest, usually, and I’ve linked to the original posts.

CHICKEN FAJITAS

There are a million and one fajita seasoning packets that you can get at the grocery store, or recipes for seasoning mixes that can be found online.  We do not use any of those.  We keep our fajitas really simple!  Here is the process we follow.

Ingredients:
Chicken breasts, sliced into strips
Bell peppers, sliced into strips
Onion, sliced into half-rings
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper
Garlic powder
Sometimes we’ll add a little turmeric or paprika to add a little something special.
Tortillas
Cheddar cheese, grated

Tools:
Cutting board
Knife
Skillet
Tongs or fork
Plates

Process:

  1. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a skillet and season the chicken breast strips with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and any other seasonings you want to include
  2. Cook the chicken breast strips through.  Remove from pan and place on a plate.
  3. Using the same skillet (add a little more olive oil if needed, but we usually don’t find it’s necessary), cook the onion for a few minutes until it starts to soften.  Then add the bell peppers to the skillet and cook the veggies through.  Add a little salt and pepper to season them! (Side note:  if we’re in a hurry, we’ll often sauté the onions and bell peppers simultaneously in another skillet as the chicken is cooking.  Dirties an extra skillet, but does practically cut the cook time in half.)
  4. Add the chicken back into the skillet and mix the meat and veggies together.  Turn the burner down and let it all simmer together for a few minutes while you prep the tortillas.
  5. You can heat tortillas on the stove top but we always just put the tortilla on a plate, spread cheddar cheese on the tortilla, and stick it in the microwave for thirty seconds.
  6. Load the tortilla up with fajita mix and dive in.  :)

PAN-SEARED CHICKEN WITH BALSAMIC CREAM SAUCE

This is one of our FAVORITE, go-to meals.  Kevin and I especially love to make it on a weekend when we can prepare it together because we each play our roles so well in putting it together (I prep and clean as he actually stands over the stove doing the cooking).  You can access the recipe we use here.  We serve the chicken and the oh-so-delicious sauce with egg noodles.

MUM’S GARLIC LEMON CHICKEN

This is another favorite.  It’s from The Londoner and it’s so easy and delicious.  I definitely recommend serving it with the salad that she details in the post.  We love the pairing and the salad dressing recipe she includes is amazingly good.  You can get all the deets here.

ROASTED CHICKEN WITH SWEET POTATOES

This is one is so simple and so, so good.  Kevin and Ava love it too and we’ve been eating it at least once every few weeks recently.

Ingredients:
Chicken thighs, bone in and skin on
Sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
Salt
Pepper
Garlic powder
Oregano
Turmeric
Any other seasonings you’d like!
Olive oil

Tools:
Baking sheet with side (not a flat cookie sheet style pan)
Aluminum foil (optional)
Clean hands!

Process:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Spread a piece of aluminum foil over the baking sheet, covering the sides of the sheet.  This is optional but really helps make clean up a cinch.
  3. Place chicken thighs on baking sheet, skin side up.
  4. Arrange sweet potato chunks around chicken thighs.
  5. Season liberally with chosen seasonings.  Drizzle olive oil over it all.
  6. Use hands to mix things about and get the seasonings and oils spread around.
  7. Bake for around 45-50 minutes or until chicken thighs are cooked through.  Broil for 2 minutes to get the skin crispy.

GREEN CHILE SAUCE CHICKEN BURRITOS

This is a favorite because it’s so easy (slow cooker!) and really tasty.  We use a local green chile sauce – 505 Green Chile Sauce.  You can use any green chile sauce your grocery store carries.

Ingredients:
Green chile sauce – 1 jar
Chicken breasts – we usually do three or four, sometimes more if we want a lot of leftovers for lunches
Tortillas
Cheddar cheese, grated

Tools:
Slow cooker
Slow cooker liner (optional)

Process:

  1. If using the slow cooker liner, place it in the slow cooker.
  2. Place chicken breasts in slow cooker and pour the green chile sauce over the top.
  3. Lid on, slow cooker on, and cook!  Times vary – you know your slow cooker better than anyone else.  Ours is pretty fast we can usually do three chicken breasts on low for around four hours and be fine.
  4. When the chicken breasts are done, use two forks to shred the meat.
  5. We usually just spread some cheddar cheese on a tortilla and put it in the microwave for 30 seconds, then load up the tortilla with the shredded meat.  Fold like a burrito and enjoy this easy-peasy dinner.  You could get fancy and have sour cream, avocado, onions, tomatoes, other toppings, available too!

HONEY SESAME CHICKEN

This is a slow cooker meal that we serve over rice.  It’s really delicious and easy.  Here is the link to the recipe.

 

Do any of these sound like something you would like?  Share your favorite chicken recipe with me please!

A bit on blogging and my favorite blogs.

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Ah, blogging.  I love looking back at past blog posts.  I love having a record of the past four (five? How long have I had this blog?  A good blogger would probably know how long their blog has existed.) years because my life has changed so much in that time – engagement, marriage, job changes, pregnancy, baby.  But honestly if someone else could write the blog posts about my life, I’d let them.  I don’t love writing like so many of my favorite bloggers do.  Writing posts falls more and more to the back burner because I’m not passionate about it and therefore don’t prioritize it.  I think I posted twice or maybe three times in December.  Maybe I’ll stop blogging altogether at some point, but for now I try to just write a post here or there as I want to, as I can.

I’m very appreciative of the friendships blogging has brought.  Several bloggers I consider friends no longer keep blogs, but we follow one another on Instagram and/or keep in touch as pen pals via snail mail, and I like that the interwebs were site for friendship to develop.  There are other blogger friends that still keep blogs and I am always excited to see a new post from them.  I confess that I tend to be a lazy blogger and mostly keep up with bloggers that seem to keep up with me.  You read and comment on my blog, I’ll read and comment on yours.  I’m trying to get better about replying, via email, to comments.  I tend to let them stack up and then do a mass deletion party in my inbox because I’ve let so much time pass since the comment came in that it would be weird to reply!  I’d like to stay more on top of things and reply in a timely manner.  I also have been trying to reply to questions in the comments instead of emailing a reply, just in case other people are curious about the answer to the question.

Here are a few of my favorite blogs – the #wemetonline folks who still blog regularly and I think of as friends.

Rach at This Italian Family.  Rach was my first blog friend and she is the most inspiring and kind person ever!  Her blog is always such a joy to read – recipes, travel, photography, her pup Oreo, and her passion for bringing happiness to people in her life.

Allie at Allie’s Life.  Allie and I have become pen pals as well and she is so sweet!  She’s a fabulous baker and loves animals and her family.  She has a dog named Lola and a cat named Malcolm, who Rue thinks is really dreamy.  :)

Miriam at Farm Girl.  Miriam lives in Canada – British Columbia, I believe.  She and her husband just moved to a new place and the photos of it are breathtakingly beautiful.  Miriam loves animals and they own a lot of them – dogs, chickens, rabbits, horses…  My favorite is her big white dog named Bear.

Amanda at The Lady Okie.  Amanda is a good writer and always has clever post ideas.  She gives great book reviews, tells funny stories, and is very authentic.   Like many of these ladies, I think we’d be friends in real life if we lived closer.

Allison at Nestful of Love.  Allison posts some great recipes and craft ideas.  Her little boy is right around a year older than Ava, so I’m always making mental notes of things to try next year as she tests them out with him!

Nicole at Just Live It.  Nicole has a cute little boy and is expecting her second baby later this year.  She posts about their day-to-day and is a great photographer.

Rachel at The New Normal.  Rachel doesn’t post often, but I enjoy keeping up with her and her family.  She has a cat named The Fonz who looks a lot like Kiki!

The list is so short.  I miss Janelle and Becky and Gina and Jenny and Jen and…I’m sure there are others, who formerly blogged!  But Instagram is good for staying in touch with them.  :)

Other blogs I enjoy but don’t often comment on include Bridget at Tales of Me and the Husband and Grace at Camp Patton.

And there are a few people I know in real life – Tiffany at Little House, Big Life, Lori at Five Feet Rising, Britt at The Fisk Files….

What are your favorite blogs to read?  What motivates you to keep a blog?