Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Easy Crockpot Shredded BBQ Chicken

I made this for dinner last night with Mac and cheese, acorn squash, and salads. I eat mine plain. Jared puts his on bread. I made it in hopes that the leftovers would be a good lunch meat for Jared. I hate paying $6 or $7 for lunchmeat at the deli. It is pretty much amazing, as all ATK recipes.  

Okay, some notes about the recipe:
1. The original recipe calls for a mixture of boneless, skinless thighs and breasts. I bought a bunch of chicken breast with skin and bones on super clearance at the grocery store. That is what I used and it turned out delicious. I just fished them out at the end and pulled off the skin and the bones. It was slightly more work, but I believe the skin and bones gave the breast meat more flavor. All that to say, use whatever you have. 
2. I made a double batch and frozen some of it for later after the baby is born. I fit 6 breasts in my crockpot (I think it is a 6 quart). I give you the recipe for a single recipe. 
3. I didn't have enough bbq sauce for a double batch, but I still think it is delicious. 

Shredded BBQ Chicken
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper 
3 pounds chicken
1-1/2 c bbq sauce 

1. Put chicken in bottom of crockpot. Sprinkle on spices. Pour on 1/2 to 3/4 cup of BBQ sauce. I used a bit of water too because I was trying to get all te BBQ sauce out of the jar. 

2. Cook for 4-6 hours on low. 

3. Take chicken out and shredded with a fork. Strain juice in bottom of crockpot. Mix 1 cup juice with remaining BBQ sauce and chicken. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Pumpkins muffins

10 dozen of them packed, frozen, and waiting for baby two to arrive. I used a recipe I adapted from the frugal girl blog. You can search frugal girl and pumpkin muffins to find the link. I cut the sugar in half, made them half whole wheat, and used applesauce for a 1/2 cup of the oil. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014


I stated that yesterday was a beautiful day, but I equally love the rain of today. It is a perfect rainy day. Martin and I ran around in the rain this afternoon because one of us wasn't sleepy for our nap. I was falling asleep on the couch and he was still bopping around. So I took him outside; I woke up and he became tired. Ha ha. 

Here are two bibs I made for a baby shower. The fabric on the left is much more pink, but it looks red here. I like to make big bibs because small bibs are worthless by the time a baby starts eating real food. I threw these together really quickly while Martin napped on Monday. I need to make myself some bibs. I only have three big bibs that were all given to me. I usually use a cloth napkin when they are dirty. Ha ha. Poor Martin. 

I also made two quick burp clothes. 

Lastly, I am so excited that tomorrow is Friday!! Why? Because I haven't seen Jared all week. He has had something EVERY night this week, except Monday when I had a baby shower. Poor Martin. He misses Jared too. We are both happy to have him all to ourselves tomorrow night. I really love having people over on Friday nights, but so often Friday is our only free night and I am selfish and want it all to myself. 

How is life so busy? Our kids aren't even old enough to be doing anything yet. One of them isn't even born yet. 

Have you been working on any fun projects recently? I finished one that I am excited about and will post next week. I like it so much that I am determined to eek out some time to make myself one too. :) 

What is your go to baby shower gift? I love burp clothes and bibs. I find them so useful and adorable. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

White Chicken Chili

I made this recipe up (because I was missing half the ingredients of the recipe I wanted to follow) in honor of the first day of fall and because I am still recovering from a cold and wanted soup. It was delicious. 

2 onions
2 jalapeƱos
1 red pepper
2-3 garlic cloves
3-4 tsp cumin

3-4 cups chicken broth
1-2 chicken breasts
3 cans cannelloni beans

1. I browned the chicken breasts in a pan with some olive oil and salt a pepper. Then I diced it up. But if I had had bone in chicken breast or thighs I would have boiled them, made stock, and added the chicken shredded. 

2. I heated some vegetable oil in a pan and added the diced onions and peppers. Once they softened and started to brown, I added the garlic and cumin for about 30 seconds. Then i added all but one cup of the chicken broth, the two cans of beans, and some corn (I just shook some in from a bag if frozen corn). 

The extra cup of stock and the third can of beans I blended up until smooth in my food processor and then added that to the soup. 

3. Simmer for 1-3 hours. Eat with chips, cheese, guacamole, sour cream, etc. 

Today, my parents graciously took Martin, for the morning, so I could get a few things finished around the house. He was very excited to see "nanad" and "mama". I made 10 more quarts of applesauce (it took 2 hours), emptied my trash cans, dusted, washed diapers, graded labs (no funny answers this week), straightened my living room, sorted through piles of old magazines and threw most of them away, and put about 300 photos into albums (real photos, the ones you can hold in your hand and take out and look at without a power supply). 

Oh, and I have had the windows open all day. It is glorious. I love this weather. My house smells so clean and fresh and I haven't even started really cleaning it (ie vacuuming and wiping down things). 

I am off to put away a few loads of laundry and wipe down some counters and my kitchen table. I am so thankful to be feeling better. Praise God for health. Pregnancy colds seem to last so much longer.  I actually slept for two 3 hour periods last night, which might be why I have energy today. :) For the last week I have been waking up almost EVERY hour. Ugh. 

Speaking of pregnancy. I was 33 weeks on Sunday. I took this picture on the way out to lab on Monday. You can see about half my apples sitting in that bin and bag. They are all now a giant pot of applesauce. Woohoo. FYI: I kept them by the front door so the fruit flies didn't invade my kitchen. It seemed to work. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

My Weekend

Martin and were still recovering from colds this weekend, but we managed to go to the Fiddlers Convention for a while and out to lunch at Panara with Jared. Thank you so much to anyone that has ever given us Panara gift cards!! We love going on dates there. 

We also did a few errends around town, watched some Jeeves and Wooster and college football, made some baby shower gifts (more on that next week), and finished the 2 more pillows for the play closet. 

Oh, and we made some applesauce too. Martin had fun carrying apples from one room to the other and dropping them into the pan once I peeled them. He is a good helper. :) 

I love each stage of his life. He makes life so much fun and he is such a ham. Jared and I are constantly laughing at him. Martin does stuff and then looks at us, as if to say, "aren't I funny?" What a wonderful little boy. He is going to enjoy having a brother; he loves little kids. I am so thankful to be his mom. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

It's that time of year...

No knead bread, Italian eggplant rolls in red sauce, and salad for dinner. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Random Topics and Help Needed

1. Martin has finally started enjoying forts!! Jared had to be somewhere Wednesday evening and Martin and I both are recovering from some weird cold or allergies.  We built forts and knocked them over. Then we ran cars down the cushions at an angle. The fun is only beginning. I am looking forward to the first giant cardboard box that comes to our house. :) 

2. I also let Martin dump water all over the kitchen floor while I cooked dinner... Why? It keeps him busy, cleans up easily, and teaches him how to pour water from bowl to bowl. Oh, and it is FREE!!

3. I finished grading my labs today during nap time. This was the only funny answer: 
Q: What gas is it and why is it important?
A: the gas is called oxygen, it is important because it kills fishes and other organisms. 

How can you be in college and think fishes is a word or that oxygen kills them?!? Sigh. Otherwise, I have a really good class so far this year. I have told the baby that he can't come more than six days early. If he comes any time after November 3rd at about 730 or 800pm, that would fit my schedule perfectly. 

4. I made a maternity shirt. It is based on a design of another shirt I have that I really like. It turned out mostly well. 

5. After taking care of a sick baby this week, I have finally gone grocery shopping, gotten dressed in something not covered in snot, emptied my sink, semi straightened my house, run my dishwasher, and washed three loads of clothes and a load of diapers. I am almost caught up. It is amazing how much you accomplish when you aren't constantly holding a sick toddler. Speaking of sick toddler... He is getting way too heavy and long.  

6. Also speaking of the sick toddler... He has had four bloody noses in the last week. I have never had a bloody nose. I imagine they are quite upsetting. I need your help.  

Do you have any tricks for toddlers with bloody noses (ie how to distract them and how to stop the blood... He hates having his nose pinched)?

Do you have any tricks for getting blood out of clothes? 

How do I stop him from rubbing his head all over the crib when he falls asleep at night? He loves to smash his face into his blankets. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


I love hand-me-downs and thrift store clothes. How else can you get such good quality clothing for free or around $2 a piece of clothes?!? I am very thankful for good quality clothing, especially knowing a second little boy is coming along to wear out more clothes. Thank you to everyone who has ever given me clothes!!! We love you.  You have saved us SO much money!! Thank you for your generosity. 

My third option for clothes is Target. I found jeans there the other day, on clearance, for less than $2 a pair. And let's not forget about the 5 pairs of shoes for less than $20 I found last month at Target!! 

This is my latest find:
4 pairs of swim trunks and a rash guard in sizes 2T-5T!! 

My boys are set for the next few years for at least one pair of swim trunks. I bought these 50% off at Target at season end. I need I remember to do that more often. 

Also, I went to the big twice yearly consignment shop at the civic center and bought 22 items for cheaper than $50. It was mostly in sizes 2T-5T. I will need a few more summer things, which they sell in their spring shop, but mostly I am set for those few sizes. Oddly, 3T is my weakest lot right now (I should look for a coat after season in 3T and 5T). 

P.S. I am not saying that I don't need hand-me-downs. But even if I don't receive any more hand-me-downs, I wouldn't have to buy that much (t-shirts and play clothes). I mostly have stocked up on dress clothes and pants.  I am guessing pants are going to take a beating from two active little boys. 

For dinner tonight:
Sour cream chicken
Squash and zucchini

Thursday or Friday dinner:
New recipe - stuffed eggplant (if the recipe is good, I will post it)
No-knead bread
Spinach salad 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Gingery Stir-Fried Chicken and Bok Choy

Chicken marinade and coating:
1/4 c. Soy sauce
1 c. Water
1-2 pounds chicken, trimmed and sliced
2 T sesame oil
1 T cornstarch
1 T flour

1. Trim and slice chicken.  Marinate chicken in soy sauce and water for 20 minutes to 1 hour. Drain. 
2. Mix oil, cornstarch, ad flour until smooth. Toss chicken in mixture until evenly coated. 

I cut the bok choy incorrectly in this picture. I didn't read the directions. 

Sauce and veggies:
1/4 c. Chicken broth
1 T soy sauce
1 T oyster sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp cornstarch 
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
4 tsp minced ginger
1 medium garlic clove
Chicken from above
1-2 heads of bok choy
1-2 peppers, cut into 1/4" strips

3. Whisk broth, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, cornstarch, sugar, and red pepper flakes and 2tsp of the minced ginger. 
Combine remaining ginger, garlic, and 1 tsp oil in another bowl. 

4. Heat 2 tsp oil in pan. Add half chicken in flat layer. Cook without stirring until golden brown. Flip. Cook other side. 
Repeat with rest of chicken. 

5. Heat 1 tsp oil in pan. Add bok choy stalks and peppers. Stir fry until brown. Add garlic/ginger mixture in center.  Cook until fragrant (20-40 sec).  Mix with veggies as cook until they are tender-crisp. Add bok choy leaves and cook until they begin to wilt. 

6. Add sauce and chicken. Heat until chicken is warmed. Serve over rice. :)

This chicken is amazing. I love the texture and flavor. It uses up two of our csa veggies!!! Hooray. Now if only I could find something to do with eggplant. Grr. 

P.s. I want this wool flowery rug from Pottery Barn. I love the gray and purple together. Love. Love. Love. If this baby was a girl I would be very tempted to purchase it. Okay, I am still tempted.  Purple is my favorite color. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Yesterday, we went up to Lewis to cheer on Aunt Anna and Uncles Andrew and Luke as they raced in the dragon boat race. It was a gorgeous afternoon and we loved being outside. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Shelves in the Closet

Happy thought indeed!!

Jared was able to finish the shelves in the closet today. This time no one was injured (last time we worked on the closet, I sliced my thumb open on something unrelated in the kitchen and had to get stitches). 

Martin had a blast handing Jared screws and watching him screw them in. Martin even got to hold the drill once. He was very excited. He seems to really enjoy playing in his closet and I really love how it turned out. I am so thankful for my handy husband. :)




The shelves are great because they raise everything off the floor so the boys can play under the shelves (for a bit more floor space). It also give even more storage than before. I can even store a few Christmas decoration boxes and puzzles on the top shelves. 

They are 8" deep on the end wall and 12" deep and 10" deep on the side wall. The higher shelves are both longer and wider. The two lower shelves are shorter and only 10" deep. 

And the play table (which you have already seen):

I plan on making two more cushions to sit, lay, jump on. I also am planning on making a puppet theatre curtain for the doorway. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

When a child is sick

Thursday I had a whole list of things to do. The only thing I finished off the list was to cook dinner and grocery shop. Why? Martin started a fever while we were out grocery shopping and just wanted to be held most of the day. He would play by himself sometimes, but only if I was in the room, close by. 

I find games, books, and toys that Martin hasn't seen before distract him better when he is sick. I invent games sometimes (let's pick up pine cones, pour this water into different size bowls and cups, can you slide these matchsticks down the straws? etc.). I gave him this colander and some pipe cleaners and it became our favorite game yesterday. He would put them in, take them out, hand them to me, and repeat. 

He woke up three times last night.  The first two times I was able to pat his back and he fell asleep. The third time he was up for almost an hour. Needless to say, I am tired and glad we have no plans tonight. Oh, and our neighbor's car alarm went off at 2am, but somehow didn't manage to wake Martin. However, as I have mentioned in others posts, I am thankful for the times that I get to rock and hold him. Someday I won't be able to do that anymore and it will make me sad. For now I enjoy the  snuggles, even when they are at 3am. 

I had my cookbook out, and turned to the correct page, to post my pancake recipe, but as you can read, I was sidetracked again. Maybe today while he naps I can find some time. 

P.s. The highlight of my day was reaching into the bottom of my diaper bag and finding a banana tht had been there for over a week, maybe two or three. I have no idea how long it has been in there. It was all black and completely slimy. It spilled its stinky slime all over my diaper bag. 

Have you ever found anything strange or gross in your purse, backpack, or diaper bag? 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

CS Lewis

This q&a by John Piper is excellent (but when is John Piper not excellent?):

I didn't know they had featured him at their national conference last year. I am looking for those talks and audio files to listen to next. 

While we were away we listened to 5 of the 7 Narnia books, in the car, and I started rereading a Lewis book. I will leave you with this Lewis quote that is one of my new favorites. I think this needs to hang over my kids' changing table so I remember this in the midst of changing diapers. :) 

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Lab reports week one

These answers are more funny on later labs, yet these struck me as especially amusing today. I will leave the original spelling and punctuation, on this and all future posts, to emphasize how poor most college students English is and how they can't write in full sentences. 

Describe the material. 
-dark solid that looks solid, but it's shiny. 
-they both appear to be mosty the same except that a difference in color. 

Monday, September 08, 2014

We have been playing with cars, canning rings, and crayons today. We drew a road for the cars and colored on a cardboard box. We have been stringing the rings on some fabric strips and shaking them around to music. Martin also likes to put one of the rings on his foot and walk around the hardwood floors making a funny clicking noise. 

These are Martin's favorite pajamas right now. Unfortunately, he is outgrowing them. They have a tractor and truck on them. He pulls them out of the laundry basket or his drawer and chants, "tractor, tractor, tractor". 

Otherwise, it is a low key Monday. Mondays are usually recovery day from the weekend. 

I made some quick cornmeal BBQ chicken and acorn squash for dinner. I will serve it with green beans. I still have my eggplant left from the csa box this week. Any ideas? 

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Our weekend consisted of a little bit of this: 
Lemon chiffon cake

Dinner with Michelle in Cambridge

Crabs with my family
Swimming and a picnic with friends
Grocery shopping
Some house cleaning
Lots of playing with cars and trains
And dumping crayons out of the box and putting them back in

I hope you all have had a great weekend. The class I teach starts Monday. Martin will probably want to help me grade all the labs. :)

Friday, September 05, 2014

Busy week (Martin Update)

We came back from Birmingham and Georgia last Sunday (pictures and a post about the trip to come) and I had spent the rest of the week playing catchup and trying to remind Martin of his routine. Martin has been the easiest part. He, thankfully, is almost back to a normal nap and bedtime routine. I am mostly unpacked and back into my own routine. 

We both also had doctors appointments this week and other errands to run and bills to pay. Martin still has a big head (95%), but he is still tall for his age so it balances out the head. I don't think about his head unless I am trying to get a shirt off him or he is standing next to a child with a small head. :) I think he is perfect. The nameless baby boy continues to move, ALL the time, and is healthy as well. I try to ignore babies wen they are inside; I find them creepy. There is just something really strange about having another human INSIDE you and it moves around and kicks your organs all day long. I know a lot of mothers love feeling the baby move and being pregnant, but I love it when it is over and the baby is out and I can see him. Enough of that. I am glad he is healthy. 

Martin talks ALL the time now. I understand about 50 words (I counted because they always ask at the doctors). He knows how to ask for certain food items now, cheese, bananas, crackers. He loves to play outside in the water (which we did today). Books are even more fun now because he points to all the things he knows and excitedly calls out their names. He loves his trains and his farm and will play with them by himself. Oh, and he climbs, throws, and runs now.  The running resulted in three or four skinned knees on our trip, but thankfully, babies heal quickly. 

The most fun part of this stage is him wanting to help out. He loves to carry small packages in from the grocery store to the kitchen or throw things in the trash can or hand me dishes from the dishwasher or pull a new diaper out when I need to change him. Today he helped me water the plants outside, unload the dishwasher, and put his clothes in the laundry hamper. He is sweet, most of the time. 

We made a boat today from a macaroni box. The giant chicken has had fun riding around in it today. I made a double batch of Mac and cheese for two picnics we are attending this weekend. Yay, for not waiting until the last minute to decide what to make. I normally do that. It is stressful. And I continue to organize his room and toy closet. I bought bins for both of them this weekend. 

I really want to make these mailboxes from a blog my sister showed me, ikatbag. If you get a chance, check out her Narnia dresses that she sewed her daughters. They are beautiful.  I don't think Martin would fully appreciate the mailboxes now. However, they are hopefully in our future (along with the mailbag and set of letters and stamps she made). Maybe one mailbox in the boys room and one in their toy closet and they can leave each other letters... Or maybe just destroy them. One day maybe I will have some girls who will want to play gentler things. :) Please, don't misunderstand, I love building and tearing up stuff too, probably more. Ha. A change of pace would be nice every once in a while. 

I have tried a few new meals this week, none of them are worth mentioning. I have been trying to use up stuff in the pantry and from the trip. But we have also had some old favorites: Mac and cheese, grilled chicken, nachos and pico, and banana pudding (I know we don't normally have desserts around the house, but Jared specially requested a dessert last night because he had a hard day). 

Banana pudding warm from the oven

Pico from heirloom tomatoes (during both pregnancies, I have loved savory things - I am curious to see if I have a girl someday, if I crave more sweet things - I think it is a myth just like the myth that you can tell the baby's gender by the Chinese calendar or how fast their heart is or how you carry the baby - both my sons should have been girls by all old wives tales). 

We have a busy weekend so I doubt any shelves will be installed in Martin's closet, but if they do, I will post pictures. Also, coming is a recipe for Mac and cheese that I now use (based on an atk recipe of course, but slightly modified). 

Any tips to wear an active toddler down so he takes better naps? Fresh air and water seem to be the two best methods I have found so far. I am looking forward to the fall weather. It is my favorite season. Can you believe it is September already?