Thursday, September 29, 2011

What's Cooking: Orange Chicken

I'm back at it again (at least this week anyway). I've found another new recipe I wanted to try and I decided to share it with you all.

I've been hearing a lot of buzz lately about a site called Pinterest. I saw that a friend had joined and thought I should too. Basically, Pinterest is a site where you can organize what you would normally bookmark, but also share them with your friends. This way you can see all sorts of great ideas you may not normally stumble upon during a normal google search. I'm pretty slow to pin things at the moment, but hopefully over time I can build up a nice collection of interesting recipes, crafts, and other neat projects to pursue.

Anyway, my point: I have seen a number of great looking recipes that other people have pinned. One is for
Orange Chicken cooked in the crock pot!

Modifications/Substitutions: I didn't cut the chicken into very small pieces because I wanted to be sure they wouldn't overcook and dry out. I ended up using vegetable oil instead of olive oil because my pan was pretty hot. Also, to spice things up a bit for Jonathan, we added a dash of red pepper flakes to his portion.

Ease: There was a little prep work involved in that I had to coat the chicken in flour and brown it before placing it in the slow cooker, but it was a simple and easy step. This was a very easy recipe to execute - 4.5 stars.

Affordability: I try to only buy boneless chicken when it is $1.99/pound. The other ingredients for this recipe are extremely affordable - 4 stars.

: I had high expectations for this recipe. I loved being able to smell the chicken cooking, anticipating a wonderful feast. I was a little disappointed though. I managed to still overcook my chicken (ugh) and I think the sauce was a little tart (though this could be due to cooking it a tad too long). And the site the recipe comes from had pictures of genuine-looking orange chicken - mine looked nothing like it. Jonathan gives this recipe a 3.5 though. He was actually pretty happy with it.

Family Friendly
: Why would your kids eat your chicken if your garbage disposal had a hard time chewing it? Seriously though, Abigail did really like the sauce and did actually eat some of the chicken. I think Sarah did try hers, but she passed on actually eating it. I think if I had executed this recipe better (like cutting down on the cook time) then we would have had more success. Poor chicken, only 2.5 stars for you. I am trying to make my kids like you, but cooking you is not one of my strengths.

What's Cooking Rating
: 3.5 stars (rounded to the nearest 0.25)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

6 Year Anniversary

This weekend Jonathan and I celebrated 6 years of marriage. I was thinking about it and realized that for 3 of our 6 anniversary celebrations I was pregnant.

Anyway, we decided to celebrate the same way we did last year. Since we've been the only ones to put the girls down for the night we typically go out during the day. We had "fajitas for two" at a local Mexican restaurant followed by a round of mini-golf. I beat Jonathan by 10 points (to be fair, last year he beat me by 10 points). For those wondering what a pregnant woman (with 8 weeks to go) looks like playing mini-golf here you go:

And here's one of Jonathan:
Taming Insanity

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Aquarium!

We went to the aquarium for a special family outing today. The last time we went was two years ago. Sarah tagged along, but this time she actually got to see the fish (since the last time she was a month shy of her due date ;-)

I tried to make our experience sort of like a field trip, so I made each of the girls an "Aquarium Scavenger Hunt" book. I picked 10 animals I knew the girls would see, jotted a few basic facts about them, and then had a check box for them to mark when we saw each one.

The girls had a blast. It was so fun to see them point and get excited with each new fish they saw. It was also cool because we happened to be there during feeding time for the giant main tank. The girls got to see a diver swim with the fish to feed them. They also got to see the giant sea turtle eat at the tank's surface.

Photo Fridays 09.23.11

The girls started playing a new game this week. They'll each grab a pillow and a blanket, yawn and stretch, and then pretend to go to sleep.

Yesterday they "slept" on the coffee table and got a little taste of what bunk bed life will be like.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Jonathan's Birthday

This past weekend was Jonathan's birthday. Now he is well into his 30's (ok, I'm exaggerating, he's only 31).

We had a pretty laid back birthday weekend. We finished it with nut-free German chocolate cake,
homemade ice cream, and presents. Happy birthday to a wonderful husband and Daddy!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Photo Fridays 09.16.11

It has been four solid weeks since Abigail's first day of homeschool. Today was another exciting first, Abigail's first day of co-op. After hearing about our homeschooling Abigail for preschool, a friend of mine invited us to join the homeschooling co-op she is a part of. I am so glad for the invite and for the opportunity to check out this aspect of homeschooling.

Every Friday Abigail will get together with other kids her age to learn her ABC's and 123's. She'll get to do crafts, read books, and spend time with some of her favorite people. She might even go on a field trip or two. I'll be an assistant for her class and also take care of Sarah along with another mom.

Today was a great first day. It was a bit challenging for me to try and keep Sarah entertained and quiet during our sessions. She even tried running off a few times. But, I'm sure with time, she'll get used to the idea of school. I think Abigail really enjoyed being around other people her age (and even some of the big kids). She wasn't too happy when it was time to go.

We're looking forward to what the rest of the school year holds!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


We've got to spend more time with my niece, Bridget in the past few days. I managed to grab a few pictures of her and my girls while we were out and about.

On Friday we took the girls to lunch. Unfortunately, there was only one high chair in the whole restaurant, so Bridget and Sarah had a little more freedom in their big girl chairs. Though, only Sarah took advantage and kept getting down and up to roam and such.

On Tuesday we drove Nonna around to run a few errands and Bridget came too. I was surprised to see that my 3 1/2 year old and my almost 2 year old did pretty much all of the whining, and Bridget (15 months) was as pleasant as could be. Here are my girls being silly and Bridget just sitting along for the ride.

Taming Insanity

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Beautiful Sunday!

This Sunday was such a beautiful day! The best part was spending it at the beach with our church, GENESIS, for our annual baptism service (we call it Get Drenched!). I've been talking about baptisms with Abigail all week and she, in turn, kept asking me when we were going to go to the baptism service. Needless to say, she was excited.

The girls were so well-behaved and sat through most of the service without making too much noise. Of course, it helped that the church floor was made of sand and they had buckets and shovels with them. We got to hear a number of people share their stories and then watched them as they were baptized in the Atlantic Ocean.

We stayed for a good 4 hours and all had a great time! I'm looking forward to next year!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Belly Shots: 30 Weeks!

We are 75 percent done with this pregnancy! In 10 short weeks (or so) we will be welcoming Lily into the world.

My Doctor apparently likes "boring" pregnancies. My pregnancies with Abigail and Sarah were boring and my pregnancy with Lily is no different. My Doctor actually told me once that I was one of his best "customers" (not sure if this was because of the boring pregnancies or the fact that I am on number 3).

I don't have much new to report about little Lily's activity. I can say that she is very active though, especially at night. You can literally see her move sometimes.

Just for fun, here's a little top 10 list. I'll call it The Top 10 Things that are NOT My Friend.

10. My Stuffy Nose - I've been congested since the beginning of this pregnancy. Thankfully it gets better
as the day goes on.

Cinnamon - One of the few "foods" that bother me, which is unfortunate because I really like cinnamon.

Maternity Pants - They just never seem to fit right. I do have one good pair of pants that I LOVE, but I can't get away with wearing them every day (plus, see #1).

7. Sitting up Straight - This at least isn't Lily's friend. When I try to sit up straight she will protest. She just doesn't get all that much room when I try to have a nice posture while sitting.

6. 1:30/2:00/2:30 PM - Every day without fail I hit a huge invisible wall. I lose all my energy and motivation.

5. Mornings - A few weeks ago I resolved to get up before the girls so I could get a head start on the day. This lasted exactly two days. Abigail then started getting up earlier than she had been. Jonathan gets up before the sun (around 5:15 or so) so he can have his quiet time and get freelance work done. Then the girls wake up and he gently wakes me up to tell me it's 6:45 or 7:00. I really should start getting to bed sooner.

4. Dropping Things - It is so frustrating to grab the diaper bag, my purse, and Sarah from the van, then go to our front door, keys in hand when OOPS there they go! So, I have to put Sarah down and bend over to grab the keys. Sometimes when I'm inside and drop something I just leave it to pick it up later.

3. Shoes with Laces - Ok, I'll be honest, I haven't put sneakers on in a very long time. I love being able to simply slip on my beloved flip flops. But, with the fall fast approaching I fear I will not be able to get away with it much longer. The more time passes, the more my belly will grow, making it more difficult to put on and tie my shoes. Note to self: maybe I should start teaching Abigail how to tie shoes.

2. The Animal Game - This one is my fault. Remember, way back when, when I invented a fun thing for the girls to do while I cleaned their room? Well, they love this game and they play it all. the. time. Sometimes a few times a day (also my fault, because I keep putting the animals away so they can keep tossing them in the crib). I really need to work on getting them to clean up after the dreaded animal game.

1. Stairs and Laundry - Our laundry room is downstairs. We have four people in our family and we all go through a decent amount of clothes. I'm not a fan of going up and down, up and down, just so my family can wear clean clothes ;-) Also, if I want to go anywhere, I have to use the stairs. And, if I want to come back, I have to use the stairs AGAIN (and going up)! Really, they aren't all that bad, it just takes a lot of time and energy.

And now for a belly shot:

Friday, September 2, 2011

Photo Fridays 09.02.11 - Fun at the Park

We visited a new park today in Nonna, Uncle Nick and Auntie Laura's neck of the woods. We started off with a little picnic and then headed over to the playground. The setup was a little advanced for the girls, but they still managed to have some fun.

And for some more fun check out a post from a little over a year ago when all three girls went to the park.