That’s a wrap {April}.

 

Links to Love:

  1. I’m a birth devotee per this childbirth quiz.  I knew my love of birth stories would pay off big someday.
  2. This is inspiring. The first woman to run the Boston Marathon ran it again this year at age 70.
  3. Continuing with women in sports….  The kicker is my favorite on any football team.  {Unless it’s the Seattle Seahawks because I heart Russell Wilson.  But that’s another story.}  I loved this article about a high school senior making history when she received a scholarship to play football (position:  kicker) at a Division 1 school.
  4. This Heineken commercial is awesome.

Making Memories:

  1. April 7th marked the 7th anniversary of mine and Kevin’s first date!  We celebrated by going back to Jasmine, the Thai restaurant we went to on 4/7/2010.  I just love the life we have built together and I am so, so grateful for him.  Here’s the first date story if you’re interested.
  2. After our pre-Easter Saturday plans didn’t work out (see Challenges below), we capitalized on the open Saturday afternoon to go down to Honda and Kevin traded in his truck for a Pilot!  He loves it so much and it just fits our current stage of life so much better.  There was no way two carseats were going to fit in the Tacoma (we tried and he couldn’t even get his legs in the truck because the seat was so far forward) and he traded it in at a point that really maximized its trade in value.
  3. We had a few playdates with a few friends through the month.  It’s always fun to see our friends being parents.  We’re surrounded by such good people!
  4. I had a couple of Junior League workshifts to attend in April.  Nothing liking waiting until the last minute to fulfill those obligations.

Bookish:

  1. I’m still currently reading Team of Rivals and Sense and Sensibility.  These monthly updates make me feel like it takes forever to read some of these longer books, and maybe it does.  But I really am making progress on each!  I recently started re-reading the fourth Harry Potter as well.
  2. The only book I finished in April was The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines.  I listened to this one on Audible and I really enjoyed it!  It’s narrated by the couple which was very appealing.  I rated it four stars.
  3. Kevin finished The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 in April and rated it five stars.  He said it was really, really well researched and written.  Now he’s reading American Lion, which is about Andrew Jackson.
  4. We still have a lot to listen to in David Sedaris’ Me Talk Pretty One Day, but it’s really funny thus far.
  5. Ava’s favorite book is currently Ten Wriggly Wiggly Caterpillars.

Challenges:

  1. On the Saturday before Easter we loaded up into the car, started our David Sedaris book playing on Audible, and headed north to join my family Easter celebration for the day.  About 30 minutes into our three hour drive, Ava started fussing, which is pretty uncommon for her when she’s in the car seat.  I sat up, craned my neck, and looked down to check on her – just in time to see puke flowing out of her little mouth.  Ugh.  So much puke.  Her breakfast was…colorful coming back up.  And it didn’t smell too great.  Kevin pulled over and we cleaned up our poor baby as best we could.  We put her in the one change of clothes we carry in the diaper bag.  She was crying hysterically and we were all in agreement that the best course of action was to turn around and head straight home.  While it was sad to miss out on the family time, I’m glad we did what we did, because it would have been a miserable day if we’d kept on with the drive.  We still don’t know what was wrong.  Maybe her breakfast didn’t sit right?  Maybe she got car sick (she’s fine on swings and slides and has never shown an issue with being in the car before, so I’m really hoping she isn’t becoming prone to motion sickness)?  She seemed fine the rest of the day!  Especially after a nice bath.
  2. While I cannot complain about how this pregnancy is going because I’ve had it pretty easy, I did have one bout of pregnancy symptom – er – challenges in April.  I’ll just leave it at that and say I’m glad it seems to have passed and I’m going to very diligent about eating well and taking care of myself from this point forward.
  3. We’re starting to really plan out our master bath renovation and finding the stuff and making it all fit together has been a bit of a challenge.  I think we know what we want to accomplish, but gosh, there are a lot of pieces that need to come together to make it happen.  Our plan was to have the work done in May, but we’ll see if we need to push it to June.
  4. The weather was warm and we thought winter was behind us so we called our regular HVAC guy to come turn off the furnaces and turn on the swamp coolers.  Then a week later the temperatures dropped and it got down into the thirties overnight!  Sooooo cold.  Ava refuses to sleep with a blanket on her so I worried all night that she was going to get too cold.  Fortunately I think we all survived fine and the temps are rising again.  Hopefully we’re in the clear.

Sustenance:

  1. These slow cooker beef gyros were really, really good.  Possibly one of the best slow cooker meals we’ve ever had.  I set up a bowl of chopped tomatoes, some feta cheese, sautéed onions (because I forgot to add the onions to the slow cooker with the beef stew meat – oops, but it worked out fine and dare I say, the sautéed onions may have been better than crock pot onions?), the beef, and the tzaitki sauce on the table, heated up a couple of pieces of pita bread, and we built our own gyros.  They were excellent – I highly recommend this recipe.  We made it twice in April and the second time wasn’t quite as good – I think I let the meat cook for too long in the slow cooker.
  2. Umm, I think that’s the only new recipe we tried in April….  We stuck to regular favorites.
  3. I’ve been very into sushi recently and while I can’t have some of my regular favorite rolls because they have raw fish, an avocado roll and California roll will do in a pinch.  Something about the texture is just so appealing to me recently.
  4. I’ve also become obsessed with the Duke City Ruben sandwich served at Bocadillo’s (it was on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives once and the owner was on Chopped!  Spoiler alert:  she won!).  I think I ate that sandwich three times in April.

How was your April?

A day in the life – April 2017.

Carrying on my tradition of posting a day-in-the-life play-by-play (so. many. hyphens) every six months!  Past posts:  October 2015April 2016October 2016 

These days, Ava is sleeping like a champ and wakes up between 6:30 and 7:30 each morning.  I know that seems like a wide range of time, and maybe it is.  As such, I wake up at around the same time because I will likely never be one to get up before my child(ren).  It’s just not who I am.  Kevin, on the other hand, wakes up at around 5:15 or 5:30.  He goes downstairs, has some coffee, reads the paper, watches Mike & Mike, and sometimes goes to the gym. If he doesn’t go to the gym, he’ll go upstairs when Ava wakes up and they start their morning by turning off the sound machine, opening the blinds, and changing a diaper.  They usually find me getting out of bed and we’ll all go downstairs together.  Unless I need to stop off to throw up (or not – it’s such a pointless exercise:  nausea and the urge to puke but empty stomach, so nothing happens), which is happening less, but still trips up the morning every few days.

We do breakfast.  Ava usually has yogurt and fruit; Kevin and I usually have an English muffin with peanut butter or almond butter.  Then we just hang out downstairs until around 8:00 when it’s time to go upstairs and start getting ready.  Ava is obsessed with my makeup these days and loves “makeup time”.  She’ll haul around the brushes and containers and scatter them about as I chase after her, collecting what I need as I need it.

If it’s a morning that I work, Kevin and I will head to work at a little before 9:00 or when Sue arrives to watch Ava.  Ava has been loving Grandma (Pa-ma, she calls her) these days so there aren’t any tears when we leave.  “See ya, folks,” is more her motto.  I’ll work through the morning (audits, audits, audits – that’s the name of the game recently) and Kevin and I will usually both go home for lunch at 1:00, if he doesn’t have a meeting or something.

We’ll hear about Ava’s morning – she has been taking 1 hour to 2 hour crib naps recently (party emoji!) and will usually be eating lunch when we get home.  We’ll eat with her (leftovers, egg and avocado burrito for me, lunchmeat sandwich for Kevin – those are common) and then Kevin goes back to work.

Ava and I play and go for a walk if it’s not too windy.  We’ll stop off at the park and she’ll play there for a bit.  She loves the slides and the swing and pointing at the sand (“HOT!”) and the little ant hills and the leaves and so forth.

Once home again we’ll have a snack, then play or read or watch Raffi.  She’s obsessed with Raffi, and I don’t mind letting the DVD babysit for awhile as I rush around, cleaning up, prepping dinner, etc.  Or cuddling her on the couch and marveling at the eighties style clothes and hair of the kids and adults jamming to man in concert.

Sometimes we’ll go out in the backyard and play there for a bit.  We have a little sandbox for her and her favorite thing is climbing in and out and in and out and so on and so forth.

One day a neighborhood cat was on the back wall/fence and Ava spotted it and said, “Cat!”  The cat jumped down into another yard and ever since then Ava will point to that corner of the yard and say, “Again!” because she wants me to magically conjure up another cat.  Cats are hard to conjure.  That’s a tough pill for a one year old to swallow and I can tell that she does NOT understand why the cat isn’t on the wall.  She’s very patient through my rational explanations of cat independence, but I can tell with each “Again!” that she really just wants me to FIND A CAT.

Kevin comes home around 5:30 and if I’m on it, I’ll have started dinner.  Unless we’re grilling in which case, maybe I’ve prepped stuff, but I don’t turn on the grill (he’s shown me how no fewer than eight times and I just can’t seem to retain the information), so we wait for the grillmaster.  Dinner is served around 6:10 and we’ll eat together.  At the table, like adults!  This still shocks me because BA (Before Ava) we were committed couch and TV dinner people.  If we get done early enough and don’t need to do a bath (baths are approximately every other night or as needed, such as when peanut butter covered hands get raked through golden locks), we occasionally meet up with some families who live one street over from us.  There are five families and we call ourselves “the Five Families,” always in a Godfather-esque tone.  By we, I mean Kevin and me.  We’re too cool to actually do that in front of these people who can really just be considered acquaintances at this point.  But anyway, it’s nice to have other kids nearby and the ages range from 11 months old (well, in utero if you count the baby I’m growing!) to 6 years old – hopefully they’ll all be able to play together for many years to come.

Beginning at around 7:00, we put Ava in her pajamas and read three books with her.  We’ve been alternating nights on who puts her to bed, so one of us will say goodnight and tell her we love her and the other will pick her up, turn on the sound machine, and walk around her room, singing to her for about 5 minutes.  (Quick note on singing – she has strong opinions about which song she wants us to sing to her and will shake her head and say, “No,” until we settle on one she approves.)  When she’s getting drowsy (or sometimes not – she’s getting heavy and my back starts to hurt!), we’ll put her in the crib, finish the song we’re singing, and tell her goodnight and that Mama and Daddy love her.  Then we leave the room and – knock wood, please – she has been quiet as a little mouse, settling herself to sleep when she’s ready for the past two weeks or so.  It’s amazing.  We’re so proud of her.

Kevin and I will read or watch TV.  We commonly watch Chopped and Fixer Upper as re-runs, and our current “new” shows are Billions and Better Call Saul and Big Bang Theory, so if there is a new one for any of those, we’ll watch it.  We usually go upstairs between 9 and 9:30 and get ready for bed.  And that’s the day.  I love every moment with my little family.  I’m excited to do a post like this in October and see how things have changed.  We will have a newborn in the house!

What’s the typical day like in your life right now? 

That’s a wrap {March}.

 

Links to Love:

  1. This Bachelor/ette parody – this season, on The Babysitter. 
  2. The best country in the world….
  3. I believe very strongly in the Oxford comma, so I loved this.

Making Memories:

  1. I got to see a couple of friends who live out of state in March.  First, my friend Amy who I went to college with, was in town for a couple of days.  She and I went to China together a decade ago (can’t believe it has been so long!), and she currently lives in Oklahoma.  She was on a whirlwind tour of New Mexico to see family (and me) during her spring break.  It was so nice to catch up and see her travel companions too (her girlfriend and mom).  My friend Derek (my theatre buddy – we would always go to shows together when he lived here) was in town at the end of the month and we did lunch and then a Norwex party (he’s a consultant) the following day.  He’s just one of the friendliest people in the world and I loved getting to see him.
  2. There was a big Junior League women’s leadership symposium event and it was empowering and really a great experience.  Vicki Clark was the main speaker and she truly is amazing.  I can see why so many of my JL friends are Vicki Clark groupies!
  3. My mom, stepdad, sister, and Kevin’s parents were all in town and at our house at the same time, so we took that opportunity to dress Ava in the shirt she’s wearing in our family photo at the top of this post (photo cred to Lisa) and then we just waited to see how long it took our family to read the message.  My mother-in-law was the first to notice the writing and then everyone caught on quick.  :)
  4. It was for a sad event (the funeral service following my uncle’s passing) but I got to see a lot of my family on 3/25, which happens to be my sister’s birthday.  I love my aunts, uncles, cousins, immediate family, and any time with them is special.  My sister wanted Italian for her birthday dinner so we went to Trombino’s, which was really tasty.
  5. Long story but we decided to have Early Intervention test Ava, specifically to look at her gross motor skills because her walking gait seems a little off.  They believe that one of her legs is a little longer than the other and recommended that we take her to a pediatric orthopedist.  We’ll get our pediatrician’s opinion at the 18 month check up in April, but I think that she’ll probably agree with the recommendation.  Ava’s language skills, fine motor skills, etc. – everything else they test – looks age appropriate or beyond (her language comprehension is closer to 21-24 months!).

Bookish:

  1. I’m currently reading Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin, and Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen.
  2. In March I finished The Danish Way of Parenting (Jessica Joelle Alexander) – 3 stars; My Not So Perfect Life (Sophie Kinsella) – 4 stars, listened to that one on Audible; Nine Women, One Dress (Jane L. Rosen) – 4 stars; What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding (Kristin Newman) – 3 stars; The Hating Game (Sally Thorne) – 4 stars, listened to this one on Audible and I recommend reading the book versus listening; Where We Belong (Emily Giffin) – 4 stars; and The Vacationers (Emma Straub) – 3 stars.  So it was a pretty good month for reading.
  3. Still working my way through the great Harry Potter re-read as well.  In March I finished Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.  The fourth book is ready and waiting for me, but I want to make a little more progress on Team of Rivals before getting sucked in.
  4. Kevin is reading The Looming Tower.  I think he’s nearly done with it and then he and his mom are going to read an Andrew Jackson biography at the same time.

Challenges:

  1. My great uncle Donald passed away in March.  He was in his late 80’s and lived a life of routine and integrity.  Those may seem like funny things to reference, but that was him.  He had a quiet wit and a calm presence.  He was one of the smartest people in the world, I am convinced – an accountant and the career fit him.  He loved basketball and to travel.  He was one of my absolute favorite people and I will miss him.
  2. I was stricken by a stomach virus at the end of the month and it took me down for about 24 hours.  Then I was weak and scared of food for another 24 after that.  Right as I started feeling human again, poor Kevin caught what I had.  So we tag-teamed the whole parenting thing during that little phase.  Fortunately, Ava seems to have escaped that round of illness.  Definitely don’t want her to be sick!
  3. I have officially weaned her from nursing.  It was mostly unintentional.  We were down to just one feed a day, at night before she went to sleep.  My goal was to make it to 18 months and I thought it was going to happen.  But then I had Junior League meetings on two consecutive nights and I was unable to get out of those in time to get home for the bedtime routine.  48 hours between nursing sessions is not good for supply, so…there it was.  I’m sad that I didn’t meet my goal and sad that the chapter is over.  It is what it is.
  4. As mentioned, we’ll likely be taking Ava to a pediatric orthopedist, which is really sad because the poor thing gets so scared in doctors’ offices.  I know it’s going to be tough to see her in that stressful situation, needing x-rays, etc.  :(

Sustenance:

  1. Our Small Hours calls it Easy Shepherd’s Pie but it’s technically Cottage Pie since it uses beef rather than lamb or mutton.  Whatever.  It was delicious and really easy.  I put it together in the morning, let it refrigerate, and then Kevin popped it in the oven that afternoon/evening while I was at work.  A great make-ahead option!
  2. We made this one-pot creamy chicken bacon veggie pasta and I was very impressed.  We try not to eat pasta often, but I’d definitely do this one again.
  3. This crock pot chicken and rice soup was easy and as delicious as any other chicken and rice soup I’ve ever had, so I don’t think anything is lost by going crock pot versus stove top.  I overdid it on the dried thyme and rosemary (for my taste) and didn’t add enough salt, but I like to crumble saltine crackers up into my soup just prior to eating it anyway, so with that addition, it was perfect.
  4. I also enjoyed this shrimp and wild rice casserole.  We used broccoli instead of green bell pepper because I had some broccoli that needed to be used.  And I love the combo of rice/cheese/broccoli in general.  It would be easy to sub chicken for shrimp.  I think it would be tasty with scallops too.  Nice textures.  :)
  5. I made these little grape-caramel sauce-peanut snacks (referenced in this post) for a Norwex party at my house and they were really easy and really good.  Very snackable.  I probably ate about two dozen.

How was your March?

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 weekend away a week ago.

Do we drive or fly?

That was the question Kevin and I asked each other for the months leading up to our long weekend trip to Denver that was last weekend.  Ultimately we decided to drive and now – with a week’s worth of hindsight in my rear view mirror – we do not regret that decision.  Yes, we had to sing many, many versus of Row Row Row Your Boat and Tideo, but considering it was around 14.5 hours round trip, we can’t complain.

We started out at 9 AM on Friday.  Ava fell asleep around forty-five minutes into the drive and Kevin and I easily got into our audiobook – Duplicity.  Ava woke up after a solid 2+ hour nap, right as we were getting into a small town on I-25.  We stopped to eat, stretch our limbs, and fuel up, then hit the road again.  At first Ava was a bit annoyed with us for sticking her back in the carseat, especially when we realized 30 minutes after starting back on the road that I’d forgotten to nurse her and so we pulled over as soon as we could to get Starbucks and feed her.  After that she fell back asleep pretty quickly and woke up as we were getting into Denver.  5:00 traffic on a Friday afternoon annoyed all of us a bit, but we made it to Kevin’s parents’ place and there was beef stroganoff almost ready and we all forgot the long hours in the car pretty quickly.

The thing I was most nervous about going into this trip was sleep.  I love my sleep.  I need my sleep.  I covet sleep.  And I was worried that a few nights in a new environment was going to completely derail my perfect little night sleeping baby.  (Fear that any future babies will be bad sleepers is the number one reason Ava may be an only child.)  I’m not gonna lie – they weren’t the best three nights of sleep we’ve gotten, but they certainly weren’t the worst.  The combination of four hours worth of daytime sleep, a strange place, and the new bed (on the trip we used a travel crib that we normally corral her in when we’re getting ready in the morning) caused her to really fight falling asleep.  Eventually I got her to fall asleep – but she was in the adult bed.  I told Kevin we’d try co-sleeping and that worked for a hot minute.  Then Ava woke up, sat up, and was very excited to be having a slumber party with us.  The problem was that she didn’t especially feel like slumbering.  How do co-sleepers do it??  Kevin stood up, cradled her, and rocked her a bit until she fell asleep.  Then he set her in the travel crib and immediately laid down on the (hardwood!) floor next to her when she started to fuss.  His proximity calmed her down and she slept pretty well the remainder of the night.  Kevin stayed on the floor for most of the night – father of the year – and I think he still slept better than I did.  It was just one of those nights – I was nervous about Ava waking up again, guilty that Kevin was on the floor while I was sprawled in the comfy bed, annoyed that I couldn’t sleep, etc.  Ugh.

But!  We all survived (Kevin’s shoulder just barely), and woke up to half a foot of snow.  It was beautiful!  Freezing – around 5 degrees.  But beautiful.  And the condo is so well insulated that the air conditioner was running inside, so cozy, cozy.  We had a nice breakfast – Sue and Craig had bought fruit, English muffins, peanut butter, so Ava got her regular breakfast, which I think she appreciated.

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We relaxed and played and went to Micci’s for lunch.  On the drive home, there was a minor incident involving Pearl (the car) and an icy road and a road sign pole, but the pole took the brunt of the damage and sacrificed itself to keep us from hitting another car, so all in all…whew.  Pearl has a slight scratch that you’d only notice if you knew to look for it and the pole is still standing – just at a bit more of an angle than before.  After lunch I managed to get Ava down for a crib nap and Kevin and I escaped to the Cherry Creek Mall.  I needed to get a couple of watch batteries and a few links taken out of a watch so it would fit better.  Kevin stopped by Art of Shaving and we wandered around.  We tromped home through the snow and found that Ava had woken up soon after we left so the nap had been quite short.  Boo.  More playing, relaxing, etc. and then we headed downtown to The Chophouse for dinner.  It was delicious – I had the prime rib, Kevin and Craig had the bone-in rib eye, Sue had the filet, Ava had sweet potato fries, cornbread, and a bit of everyone’s steak.  We made it home safely – the roads had not gotten any better as the sun went down.  Night two brought good sleep for all of us – Ava fought going to sleep once again, but once she finally surrendered, it was fine.  Craig and Sue’s couch in Denver has one long cushion, so Kevin brought that into our room and slept on it next to Ava.

On Sunday we had a relaxing morning and Ava cuddle napped with me for an hour and a half or so.  Craig went to pick up Panera and we ate that before bundling up and bidding Sue and Ava and Teddy adieu to head to the main event – the Broncos versus Patriots football game.  Tickets to the game were a generous birthday gift to Kevin from Craig and Sue.  Craig drove us to a friend’s house where we loaded up into his car and he drove us and Jana, another friend, to the light rail train station.  We took the train to the stadium and found our seats.  We were there 45 minutes or so before kick off, and because it was pretty cold, the stadium filled up slowly.  It was nice to have so few people there initially and we got to watch the teams warm up.

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We were in seats facing the sun and I didn’t mind at all the fact that I’d forgotten my sunglasses because it was downright comfy, despite the mercury sitting at about 20 degrees.  That blessed sun was a game changer.  Once it went down it got a little colder and the game was a bit disappointing.  It was awesome to see Tom Brady play in person though – he makes that quarterbacking thing look effortless.

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After the game we trekked back to the station and caught a train, disembarking and finding our friend waiting for us in his warm car.  He took us back to his house where we got into Craig’s car and he dropped us at the condo while he went to pick up Ollie’s (Chinese – some of our favorite food in Denver) for dinner.  Jana came over, Sue filled us in on the fun she, Ava, and Teddy had while we were at the game, and my feet eventually thawed from their game induced state of frozen.

I slept on the cushion next to Ava that night and we all slept well.  Just what we needed for the ride home the next day.  We left a little bit before Craig and Sue, but we all made it back to Albuquerque at around the same time.  Ava slept well from Denver to Raton, where we stopped for lunch, but she didn’t nap on the second half of the drive.  She grumbled a bit and we sang a lot of songs.  We were all giddy to be home!  We had a wonderful time with Craig, Sue, and Teddy, and it had been a great trip, but there is truly no place like home.  And we all missed Kiki and Rue.  They’d had a family friend stay with them, and they seemed a little disappointed to see us walk in that evening instead of her.  We tried not to take it personally.

Do you like road trips?  What’s the longest road trip you’ve taken?

Snapshot {November}.

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Making: Good use of nap time – even if it’s not as I planned. I had the best of intentions to make a turkey pot pie for lunch while Ava slumbered peacefully in her crib. But alas, she acts as though I am placing her gently into boiling lava when I attempt to move the little sleeper from my arms. So I was faced with a choice – pot pie and no nap…or an indulgent cuddle nap and no pot pie. I chose the nap, so here I sit, sleeping baby weight on me and I’m using the time to do this blog post. I can’t say I’m disappointed in my choice.

Cooking: The meal plan this week was as follows:  Monday – lemon chicken picata with roasted kale and brussels sprouts; Tuesday – spicy tomato garlic shrimp with spaghetti squash; today – roasted chicken thighs and sweet potatoes; Thursday – green chile and beef enchilada casserole and pinto beans; and Friday – we’ll likely pick up Dion’s or Flying Star. I’ll throw together the aforementioned turkey pot pie (using turkey my mother in law roasted yesterday) at some point and it will be good for lunches.

Drinking: Water.  I’ve felt soooo much better since I gave up my (average of) twice a week peppermint mocha, so I know I need to be strong and keep avoiding.  But I did give in and drink one yesterday so… It’s a dangerous course to give in for “just one” – wish me luck.

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Reading: So many books going!  Team of Rivals (which I’ll be working on for a long time), Jane Eyre (re-reading it on my phone while Ava nurses/cuddle naps because classics are free and it has been about 9 years since I last read it!), A Gentleman in Moscow (good, but not nearly as interesting to me as Rules of Civility – by the same author), Love the One You’re With (listening to it on Audible as I drive around town – an easy listen), and lastly, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim (one that Kevin and I listened to on our way to and from Thanksgiving at my family’s place about an hour and a half south of where we live.  It is funny and had us cracking up a lot on the drive!  Now we’re listening to it in smaller increments as we drive to grocery shop, etc.).

Wanting: Some clarity on a few personal changes I’ve been considering. Nothing I can talk about now (hello, vague) but I’ll update you as I can.

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Looking: At the path of toys and books Hurricane Ava has left in her wake.  Confession:  I actually enjoying picking everything up at the end of the day, placing each item in its correct place, and leaving a clean canvas for her to play upon the following day.  I time myself and there’s a sense of instant gratification. Messy to neat in 1.75 minutes.

Eating: Nothing now. Lunch when Ava awakes – I’ll likely ask Kevin to bring me something. Or eat leftover chicken piccata.

 Wishing: That I was always this patient and accepting of thwarted crib naps. Some days I feel so overwhelmed with all the stuff I need to be doing while Ava is sleeping. Some days I’m convinced that it’s because we’ve allowed cuddle naps that she won’t crib nap consistently well and some days I’m certain that the cuddle nap on that particular day is going to be THE indulgence that turns her into a bad sleeper. Today I don’t care. Today I’m just thankful that I have a schedule that allows me to hold her while she naps and today I’m appreciative of this stage because someday she won’t want to let me hold her for an hour and a half and that will be sad.

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Enjoying: Hot lemon honey water each evening with Kevin.  It’s so soothing and a lovely way to end the day.

Loving: This phase with Ava. She is seriously so fun at 13 months. I count myself lucky to be her sidekick. Her newest thing? “Ava,what does a snake say?” And she responds with, “Sssssssssss!” She’s also started blowing on her food when it’s warm and she’s so good at using a spoon and fork (pre-loaded but I think it will click soon that she can be her own master spear’er of food). She is pushing her little push toy around and transitioning from one piece of furniture to another but still prefers crawling and hasn’t taken independent steps. I stumbled across this article and thought it was interesting – fits Ava completely. She has such a cautious, easy temperament – it’s not surprising that she’s a later than average walker.

Hoping: The thyroid medicine we started Kiki on yesterday works well for her. She is such a sweet cat. I want her to be healthy forever.

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Needing: To do a blog post about my October Stitch Fix box.  Maybe I’ll just wait and combine it with the scheduled January box.  I think I’ve also got an item or two through Trunk Club that I haven’t posted about…..

Smelling: Fresh laundry scent from the baby passed out on top of me.

Feeling: Super proud of myself – I am done with my Christmas shopping.  It’s self preservation really – I can’t stand the crowds and chaos and stress that comes with shopping closer to the holiday.  It’s such a relief to be done.

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Wearing: Jeans and a sweater. Cozy socks and house shoes.

Watching: Gilmore Girls.  I’m on the last few episodes of the seventh season and then I’ll start the newly released Netflix version.  I want to get caught up on the PBS Anne series this weekend too!

What are you wishing/needing/loving/eating right now?