Thursday, March 25, 2010

Delicious Dinner

It's been a while since I've posted any recipes. I've sort of been in a new recipe slump, but lately my motivation to cook and get food storage more organized has been rejuvenated. I tried a great recipe of chicken fingers that I have to share because it was just too good. I'm always looking for better/good/different ways to cook chicken and here it is courtesy of with a few minor adjustments:

Lemon Chicken Tenders
Takes about 35 minutes-ish

1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup Italian Season bread crumbs (I used Stove Top stuffing-I buy the big canister since we use it a lot with chicken pillows too)
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch pieces (chicken finger size)
2 eggs, slightly beaten

1/2 cup sugar (I only filled up my 1/2 cup about 3/4 the way)
1/2 cup lemon juice (same ratio as sugar, but I had plenty of sauce to drizzle)
1 1/2 tsp curry powder (not a huge fan, so we didn't even put this in at all)

1. Preheat oven to 400.

2. In a small bowl stir together paprika, salt, & pepper. Sprinkle seasoning over chicken pieces. Dip pieces in egg, then dredge in bread crumbs. Arrange chicken pieces in a single layer in an foil-lined (make sure you grease/spray it, I forgot and the chicken stuck) cookie sheet.

*What I did to make it easier and more like "shake and bake" I stuck the bread crumbs (stuffing), paprika, salt, & pepper in my blender and pulsed it a few times to combine it all into a more shake and bake like consistency. Then I put all my chicken in a bowl with the egg, put a lid on and shook it all up, you could probably just stir it though, it was a little messy when I took the lid off. Then I drained the excess egg and dumped my powdery crumb mixture, secured the lid and shook it up again. It worked great at coating the pieces and was a lot less messy than dipping them one at a time. Then I put them on the cookie sheet.

3. Bake in pre-heated oven for 15 minutes turning once.

*Since I can never remember, I just set the time for 7 minutes, turned the chicken, sprinkled a little more pepper over the top to make it a little more like lemon pepper chicken and put it back in for another 8 minutes.

4. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stir together sugar, lemon juice, and curry powder, stirring until sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes.

*Yep, except without the curry. :)

5. Drizzle lemon sauce over chicken, return to oven, and bake 5 minutes more.

*Even using about 75% of the called for sauce it was just perfect so it wasn't too sweet or too tangy and we had plenty to just take a spoon and pour almost a spoonful over each piece of chicken.

Damon hasn't been too keen on food lately, he's been watching his older brother no doubt, but tonight he ate all his chicken. We had it with a side of risotto, which I put way too much Parmesan in, but it was still edible-we'll try again another time, and some orange jello with mandarin oranges in it. (The jello was about to expire, I had to make it eventually even though we're not all super jello fans, well except Logan, who did eat that). I think Logan would have liked it if I would have waited on the jello and bribed him with it while he was still hungry, but we'll definitely put this recipe on a once a month schedule. It's a great recipe to figure out some more good rice side dishes. So, I hope you enjoy! One recommendation though, unless you have another set of hands in the kitchen, I don't recommend trying to do the risotto and the chicken at the same time, luckily Morgan was home in time to help, but risotto is a pretty constant thing, so next time I'll just do one at a time, it got kind of crazy.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

I'm So Glad When Daddy Comes Home

The last two weeks have been quite hectic to say the least. This will be a pretty boring, but informational (at least to me for my memory's sake) post, with a few okay pictures tossed in to break up the monotony. :) The craziness all started last Saturday. As Nursery Coordinator, I'm in charge of the monthly deep cleaning for the toys. Our wards rotate, so each ward only has to take care of it 4 times a year. Our ward was assigned March. It was too short of notice to get any groups (YM, YW, Scouts) to help out, so I just figured I would do it by myself, I mean, really how long could it take to deep clean two nursery rooms. I was sort of dreading it, and then my counselor in Primary said that she would be able to help, which was a great relief and then that same week, the Nursery Leader from another ward called and said they totally dropped the ball in February and didn't do it and would be more than happy to help or take a room, or whatever I wanted. Me still not realizing the amount of time it takes with few numbers said they could take one room and I would take the other. This really worked out the best because we didn't have to work around a lot of different schedules.

I got there early about 8:30 on Saturday even though I was planning on getting there at 10:00. I got things started and realized I had forgotten the bleach (to soak the toys in). I tried calling Morgan, but he was out keeping the boys entertained, so I called my counselor and she said she would come up early too, thank goodness she did. We were able to finally finish everything up about 11:45. She had warned me before what a big project it was and that it took her and the primary presidency about 6-7 hours to do both rooms....I didn't believe I do! I'm so glad that I already have helped planned for the next three times I have to be in charge of this project. It really could be done in about 1 hour per room with enough people. I was glad to get out of there earlier than I thought though because Morgan would be leaving for about a week on Sunday and I wanted to spend some time as a family before he left.

He had a big review course in Houston for his Dosimetry Exam coming up in June. We took him to the airport early Sunday morning and dropped him off. The kids loved seeing the airplanes and thought it was really cool. We were all ready for church and ended up catching the last 20 minutes of sacrament meeting. It was easier to go than to find a sub for my responsibilities. They actually both sat on either side of me like angels for about 5 minutes, and then I ran out of cheerios!!!! Both of them wanted to get down and run around and so I took Damon out in the hall and Logan followed soon thereafter. Logan did pretty good to be quiet and sit out there with me, but Damon was fighting and wiggling to get down and run around, but my rule is that once they enter nursery, they lose all run around in the hallway during church benefits. We struggled through the last 15 minutes (I have no idea how my mom, or Morgan's mom for that matter did it with 5 kids on their own). Nursery time was sort of a struggle and I ended up going back and forth between nurseries for a while. I was able to catch most of Relief Society which was a good thing, I needed that few moments to prepare me for the rest of the week.

When we got home, I had to go visiting teaching. I didn't realize when I made the appointment that Morgan would already be gone and I thought I had a babysitter, but nope, now I had to take the boys with me, which was fine. Logan did great and didn't want to leave, Damon however was so determined to play with the door that he fell down the stairs, really fell hard. The stairs were right by the door and as he was pulling on it to open it or close it he lost his balance. I jumped up and flew down those stairs faster than I have moved in the last 3 months. He seemed okay so I picked him up. I ended up giving him my keys to calm him down and distract him. I let him down and he immediately proceeded to try and stick my keys in the electrical outlets. Oiy! So, I had to hold a squirmy boy for another few minutes while we wrapped things up.

That's when Logan threw his tantrum about not wanting to go home, so to get him in the car I had to tell him that soon we would be going to Grandma and Big Papa's house (not a lie, we were going up for a birthday party, but not as early as this). We got home and Logan refused to get out of the car, refused to come inside, and then refused to take off his shoes. *sigh* So, we headed up about an hour earlier than planned knowing that my kids would be so delightful after not getting a good nap. I did drive around for a while giving them extra time to sleep, but I didn't have very much gas in the car and was afraid I wouldn't make it home and I really didn't want to buy gas on Sunday. The kids had fun playing with cousins and did really well, no tantrums and we had a great dinner and lots of fun, but I was exhausted by the time we left.

Monday was a beautiful day and made up for any of the past, present, future of my single parent time with the boys. We were able to play outside almost all day long. On Tuesday, I had two visiting teaching appointments, but it was another great day so we got to walk and be outside most of the day. Wednesday I had my Dr. Appointment and then I went to the cannery after to finish up our year supply of oats. Then Thursday, poor Logan had a run in with mean mommy. We were out for a walk and as we walked past a neighbor's house, he snuck in the fence to go on their slide (neighbor's I don't know) I told him to come back and he didn't, then I said come back or we'll go home--and we had just come out. :( He wouldn't listen, so I had to drag/carry two screaming and fighting boys all the way home.

They were a little muddy from and earlier escapade and as I was taking off Damon's shoes to take him inside Logan flipped out and ran off. I tossed (gently placed) Damon inside, shut the door and ran after Logan in all my pregnant glory while telling him to stop and come back. I finally caught up with him and he was laughing!!! That's what got me. How could he not understand how serious of a situation this was?! I grabbed him and set him down on the nearest doorstep and gave him a spanking. (yes, I sort of felt bad after, but not enough that I regret it and really he probably didn't even feel it, but boy did he understand). It was the final straw. I carried him and loved him on the way home as he cried. We had a nice long talk about how he needs to listen to mommy and can't run away from me and that he needs to ask to use other friend's toys. Somewhere along there I must have said "this is not a joke" because the rest of the day I kept hearing, "mom, it's not a joke huh" We stayed in the rest of the day, but I tell you what, everytime we walk by that fence now, it's "I have to ask mommy and no going on the slide" and when he refused that temptation the first time I could have baked him a cake, you would have thought he just won the Nobel Prize for how proud I was. I also had a Stake Nursery Leader Training Meeting that evening which was the same evening Morgan was coming home. (YEAH!) It turned out that the meeting didn't got very long so me and the boys got to pick up Daddy at the airport. Oh how we missed him!!!! but we did survive. Logan and Damon were both so happy to see daddy. The next morning when they saw him they were so hyper, running around the house yelling daddy daddy daddy. It was too good!
Logan likes watching his shows on the computer now, but doesn't like Damon trying to climb up with him. I think in this picture he is telling Damon no and in the process of spitting on him (a habit we are trying to break, along with scratching). The faces were just too crazy not to post. On Friday we got to spend the whole day with Daddy. We did run several errands together as a family, which I love.

The kids even got some quality Play Doh time. Both of them were total Daddy's boys for most of the day and I think a little afraid to let him out of their sights.

It was too cold to play outside, and by the end of the day we needed something else to do. We found some discount tickets for Kangaroo Zoo-a bounce house/slide mecca for the kids and decided to go, since it would only be $6 for the whole family. The kids absolutely loved it and of course I forgot the camera. It was have been a perfect photo op too. We'll have to go again before Logan is 3 and has to pay full price. :) I even got to go on a couple slides with the kids, but don't worry mom, I was careful not to hurt my bulging belly.
Logan was even brave enough and able to climb up most of the toys and ladders himself. I think he really liked being that independent. Damon needed help, but by the end of the night even he was being let down the slides by himself. We stayed for almost a 2 hours, and the kids were getting tired and we were all getting hungry. It just happened that there was a Weinerschnitzel, Panda Express, and Quizno's all by each other. Perfect! Hot Dogs for the kids, Chinese for me (a rarity when pregnant or at all for that matter) and Quizno's for Morgan. Yes, we really did go to three locations and ended up eating all our different food in Quizno's since there wasn't any crowd. It really was the perfect day especially with us all together as a family.
Today (Saturday) we've been focusing on getting our 72 hours kits up to date. Last time we did them was just after we moved to Oklahoma and Logan was so little he didn't really need anything. It was quite a change this time....and most of our stuff was expired after 3 years. We got to play outside a little bit and run around for some errands. It definitely wasn't as jam-packed as yesterday, but it was a still a good day. And to top off all the craziness of the past two weeks, we also get to speak in church tomorrow! I finally finished my talk a little earlier (hence, I'm actually blogging) and Morgan is finishing up his now. All I know is that I could not make it alone and I need my husband and I'm so glad that he is home now and here with us. Logan and Damon love him so much and so do I! Until next time....which hopefully will be before March is over.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Marching Along

Ah, March, it has begun so quickly. So, quite a bit has actually happened in the last little while. I haven't posted in a couple weeks because our computer got a very nasty, very sneaky virus. Needless to say, we ended up having to change our credit card information (our bank was so awesome when this whole mess happened), we had to completely re-format (totally erase EVERYTHING) on our computer, and re-load it all, and now we're going to have to keep tabs on our credit for a while to make sure nothing fishy turns up. We didn't have any anti-virus software installed and we totally paid the price. We were even considering scrapping our computer and getting a new one, but luckily we have an awesome brother who loaned us his portable hard drive and we were able to save all our files and get our computer cleaned up and back to normal and now it's running faster than it has for a long time. We still need to do a few adjustments to it though, I busted our CD/DVD burner so we need to get that fixed, but that seems like a lot less than paying for a whole new computer. And we did order some good antivirus software and learned our lesson. On good news though, I have some awesome kids who keep me on my toes, but make life fun.
Lately we have been doing puzzles. Damon just likes to put in the pieces in the box and take them out.

But Logan insists that I help him do the puzzle (about 20 times each sitting). It does get a little monotonous, but since I do get to sit down I can't complain too much. He's getting better at the puzzles too. Pretty soon he can just do them by himself and I'll be doing them 20 times with Damon.

Although, sometimes even he gets lucky enough to fit a piece by himself.

I do have to make sure they have separate puzzles though. These are great from the dollar store. 25 pieces and fairly durable, at least for what it is.

This past week was a week of nesting and projects. Since Damon was born when Logan was 17 months, I feel like I should be having this new baby right now since Damon is 17 months and my nesting habits are kicking in already. I really wanted to do something with the "nursery"/boys' room. I had this great vision of paint and decor and once I got that in my head I couldn't sleep until it was done. So, one morning I went and got the fabric and made these curtains. Logan was actually really excited about them though I'm not sure why. I was going to surprise Morgan with the painting while he was away for his test review in Houston next week, but honestly once I bought the paint I cracked it out that same day. I'm so wonder my kids are too. :) Anyway. I'm SOOOOO glad that I didn't wait. It was a much bigger project than I anticipated, but I LOVE it! And my husband was such a good sport and trooper and helped me out with it. I can't imagine having done it by myself. I'm good with a paint brush, but no good with a paint roller. So, here's the finished project: Just imagine the curtains with the room because the picture I got of it was really dark and didn't turn out and Damon is sleeping right now so I don't want to get another one right now...maybe later:

I started out doing the light blue around the room, I had to tape and measure everything and surprisingly it turned out straight and level across the whole room.
Then we painted all the brown/tan color on top. It was interesting trying to get that done with the kids hanging around. Damon is brave and likes to climb up and down the ladder, but Logan will only go about two steps.

Logan was really excited when he saw all the painted balls on the walls. "Look mom, a soccer ball, and a basketball, and an ice cream cone (golf ball on a golf tee-he knows that now)."

It was a really fun project and I'm glad it's done. I think it will satiate my desire to paint the rest of the house for a while. I really like painting, but I'd forgotten how much of a chore it is....kinda like having kids, once enough time passes you want to do it again. :)
There are still a few touch ups to do where the kids touched the paint or smeared it, but I think I got most of the big places. I'm just glad it's dry now!

The boys love it and so do I. It turned out just the way I wanted. I think the only thing we'll add later are some murals on the wall, maybe a soccer scene, or basketball, or football, or something like that. The top walls still seem so bare. I do have some shelves that might make it look better, but the biggest part is now complete! So, since that has really been my focus we haven't done much else. Potty training is at about the same as it was two weeks ago...non-existent. He still insists on sitting on the potty for an hour before bathtime, but nothing happens and he absolutely refused to wear underwear, "no, mom, I just need another diaper" soon though we're going to have to take the next step. Today while I was making some flight arrangements for Morgan's review next week he comes up and says "mom, can you wash the poo poo off my hand" yep, he stuck his hand down his diaper full of poo. It was not a very happy moment, but now he's quietly watching Curious George downstairs, so I think I'll go take a nap. Whew....until next time....