Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Drooling over my leftovers

I'm sitting here at work slurping the rest of the super delicious (and easy) soup that I made on Sunday afternoon and I thought I need to share the recipe with someone...but with whom? With you...if anyone reads this. ;)

The recipe is from one of my favorite blogHers, Jenny, at Picky-Palate.com. She has lots of treats, lots of dinners and I've loved everything that I've tried of hers.

Without further ado...drumroll please....  Picky-Palate's Green Chili Chicken and Lime Soup

Green Chili Chicken and Lime Soup
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves fresh or roasted garlic, minced (I used a jar of roasted garlic, it was phenomenal!)
  • 80 oz chicken broth, 2 1/2 cartons of the 32 oz (I used 10 cups of broth made from chicken bouillon)
  • 10 oz can rotel tomatoes, mild
  • 7 oz can diced green chilies
  • 4 medium boneless skinless chicken breasts; cooked, shredded and lightly seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 2 1/2 Cups cooked rice of choice, Jenny used basmati (I used Calrose)
  • 1/4 Cup fresh lime juice (It took 4 limes for me to get 1/4 c)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • Pinches of Kosher salt, fresh cracked black pepper and Lawry’s Garlic Salt with Parsley to taste
  • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped (I only used 1/2 a bunch; Thad's not too hip on cilantro)
  • Fresh diced avocados, drizzled with lime juice
  • 1 Cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Tortilla chips (broken ones are okay, or you could put them at the bottom whole and pour the soup on top)
1.  Place oil into a large dutch oven over medium heat.  Saute onion for 5 minutes then add in garlic; cook for 1 minute. (I threw in the cooked rice here and stirred it around in the onion and garlic before adding the other ingredients) Stir in chicken broth, tomtoes, green chilies, chicken breast, rice, lime juice and seasonings.  Cook for 5 minutes; taste and season according to your liking.  Right before serving add chopped cilantro.

2.  Serve soup with fresh diced avocado, shredded cheese and crushed chips if desired.  If you can handle the heat, squeeze some Siracha over top, yum!!
10-12 servings

p.s. I think that it was a bit spicy (for kids) the first day (but perfect for me) but definitely lost the spice after the first day.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A good day at work!

I always have good intentions to speak to my Spanish students in Spanish but it doesn't always work out that way. I usually am good about saying "abran a la página setenta y siete" (open to pg. 77) or "saquen y pásenme la tarea" (take out and pass me the HW) but I could (and needed) to do more. The Spanish III teacher has been on my case about it and when I went to a reading conference last week I was reminded of how important it is and I was revved up to try it again (since the last time I tried to do "all Spanish" the kids just stared at me and I gave up after a few days of trying).

So on Monday as I was driving to work I remembered that I had wanted to start speaking Spanish to them at least half of the class period (since sometimes I do find it necessary to explain grammar in English if they can't figure out what it is supposed to mean). I had thought about putting on a wig or dressing up but I thought that I wouldn't be able to do that every day and I wanted this to be a daily occurrence so I thought about a sign that says "I don't speak English, speak to me in Spanish". Cheesy right? I wondered if I would I be able to pull it off, but then I thought, I am pretty dorky sometimes and decided to go for it.

I made a sign and tied it around my neck and stood at the door Monday as each of the students came in. Each period it was the same, they'd smile and start to say "hi" or "hola" and then look down at my sign, mumble something in English or Spanish and then try to speak to me in English and then when I answered, "lo siento, no hablo inglés" (sorry, but I don’t speak Spanish) they'd sigh and either try to speak to me in Spanish or just go and sit down. I was anxious to see how it'd go but by the end of the day I think that I was beaming. They all bought into it (save a few stinkers that I had to continue saying, "¿Qué?" and "lo siento, pero no entiendo inglés" to) and most of them (although not all were enjoying it) were trying and even though their Spanish wasn't perfect they were listening to me (and responding) and trying to speak in Spanish.

The second day some were a bit dismayed at first to see the sign but still tried to speak Spanish. Two of the classes wouldn't let me take off the sign to speak in English the last ten minutes. And it was the same today. Most of them are really enjoying the challenge even if they're still having a hard time spitting out what they need to say. I have really great classes this year! :)

This morning second period one of my students, Kim, made my day (and made me laugh out loud!) She came in with her own sign. ¿A ustedes les gusta el letrero de Kim? :) (If you can't read her sign it says, "Lo siento señora Marcroft, pero, no hablo español esta semana." (Sorry Mrs. Marcroft but I don’t speak Spanish this week)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Mt. SAC Munchkin Run

NewCameraApril2010_MtSacMunchkinRun_ 009 My friend and colleague Jason emailed me about this fun run for the little guys at Mt. San Antonio College. I thought that it looked like fun so I signed the boys up and called my sister Cathy to see if she wanted to take her kids since Jared (especially) is really into running and races! She and Danny signed the kids up, my mom agreed to take the two youngest, and we drove up this morning for the event. Thad was going to go with us but then got called as Webelos leader and had a pack campout last night!

When we registered the kids got t-shirts and bibs with numbers on them and then they had two races: one for the 2-8 year olds and one for 9-12 year olds. NewCameraApril2010_MtSacMunchkinRun_ 087

Sammy, Jared and Liz were really excited about it and Nathan seemed excited until we went out onto the track. Then he started telling me “no   race” and then everyone was pushing to get up by the line and it just got worse and then the gunshot and he was crying! He cried the whole way around (I dragged him running the first 1/3 of the lap and then carried him and jogged the rest of the way).

The other kids did really well. Lizzie left Jared and Sammy in the dust, Jared came next and then Sammy, but they all ran very well and kept running the whole 400 meters (one lap). I was very proud of all three!

NewCameraApril2010_MtSacMunchkinRun_ 071  NewCameraApril2010_MtSacMunchkinRun_ 071  NewCameraApril2010_MtSacMunchkinRun_ 078 

After finishing they each got a medal and a free In-N-Out hamburger coupon! They loved getting medals (all except for Nate—he just screamed louder!)

After the race we watched a few of the high school races and then headed home. Sammy said, “Mom, when I’m 10 can I race again?” LOL. I think that he had a lot of fun and wants to do it again next year—I won’t make him wait until he’s 10!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Nathan: 2 year Surgery Update - April 14, 2010

NewCameraMarch2010_LBAquarium_3-30-10_ 027I can’t believe that two years ago today we were at Kaiser Sunset with Nathan after he had his surgery to correct Sagittal Synostosis. Time really flies! And I remember that after Daniel was born that one of the first things that I was anxious to hear was if he was okay or if his soft spot was closing as well. He got a clean bill of health :) and I was very relieved.

Either way I am grateful for the wonderful doctors at Kaiser especially Dr. Geman Cheng who noticed it at Nathanael’s first appointment and then carefully watched him and then referred us to the neurologist when his soft spot did indeed close. I am also grateful for their top-of-the-line surgeons, Dr. Wexler (plastic surgeon) and Dr. Cahan (neurosurgeon), who took care of him and kept him healthy and alive! They’re so genuine and down-to-earth too! And I would be remiss if I didn't thank our Heavenly Father for keeping him safe!

If you missed our exciting story with Nathan and want to read more about craniosynostosis / sagittal synostosis check these links to read our story.
Nathan_presurgery2If you’re a mom/dad looking for advice about surgery I would do it again in a heartbeat. His suffering was minimal (he really was up and running again in about 24 hours and even though his head was still cut  he was super happy!) and I don’t even want to think about what he’d be like now if he hadn’t had the surgery. He’s got a pretty nifty scar but you don’t even see it unless we cut his hair really short!  Please feel free to email me if you have any more questions!

Nathan_presurgery3 * If you look at the picture to the right you can kind of see that his head just looks a little funny. On the left you can see that the closed fontanel (soft spot) wasn’t allowing his little head to expand as needed causing a funny football like shape. I am grateful for modern medicine (and faith, prayer and great surgeons!)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Spring Break Fun 2010

Spring break, spring break, where have you gone?! I had so many good intentions and so many plans to catch up. I was going to get a whole bunch of grading done (I did a few hours but not enough), I was going to de-clutter and clean my house (ha! I got started but with daily avalanches named Nathan and Sammy I didn’t get far enough) I was going to do laundry (I started that and just put the first two loads away), I was going to clean out the backyard of weeds and start my garden (again, started that), and I was going to play with my kids…

The one thing that I did do was play with my boys. Here are pictures from our stay-at-home play with Mom and Dad fun week! I think that they had fun and even though my house is still a disaster, my grading isn’t done and my laundry is still dirty it was all worth it.

One day it was nice and windy so we did bubbles (I cheated and bought a bubble gun for $4) and kites! I found a kite for $1 at Wal-mart and so I wasn’t devastated when they broke it the next day but it was fun while it lasted…

Another day we loaded up the boys and the bread that I got on clearance and headed to Heritage, or as the boys call it, the duck park. We fed the ducks, even got to see two sets of little ducklings, and of course played on the toys.

I picked up some clearance PJs at Target one day while getting out of the house with the boys (they all love the footed pajamas still) and was excited to find them in all three of the boys sizes so I dressed them up and got a picture of my triplets. We also let the boys bathe with Danny once…it gets a little crowded in there but they loved it!

Yet another day we had a fun birthday party with Cousin Lizzie who is turning 5 and played all afternoon with the kids at the park.

Another morning when I realized that I couldn’t get my backyard ready to have a big garden (plus we’re still trying to redo it) we went to Lowe’s and picked up pots and plants and when the little boys took naps Sammy and Daddy helped me plant strawberries, zucchini, yellow squash, Japanese cucumber and a tomato plant. Later that day we also made jam!

NewCameraApril2010_SpringBreak2010_ 191And today to finish it off we went to Heritage Park (Santa Fe Springs) to see/climb on the trains, birds and to walk the beautiful grounds there.

And then after naps to top off a great week we went to the  $2 movie theater in La Mirada and saw Tooth Fairy with the boys. It was pretty cute and you can’t beat the whole family seeing it for $8! Sammy was a bit grumpy that he didn’t get to “play more” after the movie but I think that we had a great week! Maybe I need another week to recover…ha!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Freezer Jam Memories Old and New

NewCameraApril2010_SpringBreak2010_ 181I always remember helping my mom make strawberry freezer jam as a kid and loving eating it (and not really enjoying store bought jam) so when I saw this post over at Our Best Bites on making strawberry jam (no cooking involved) and then I saw 1385_1A_FPstrawberries on sale (until Tuesday 4/13/10) at Stater Brothers for .69/lb I knew that I had to make some, and I’m glad I did because it is sooo easy and way delicious!
NewCameraApril2010_SpringBreak2010_ 184I decided to let the boys “help” me. That didn’t last long. They helped measure the sugar and then mashed for two or three minutes but it was too tricky for them. Oh well. They’ll be happy when they get this on their first PB&J!
That said, you need to head to Stater Brothers, pick up 2 or 3 lbs of strawberries (you need four cups of crushed strawberries which 2 lbs should do unless you have little helpers eating your cleaned cut up strawberries!) and pick up some Pectin (in the canning goods section). I got the Ball brand (instead of Sure Jell) this year which was cheaper (by half) and used less sugar than some of the others! I went and picked up NewCameraApril2010_SpringBreak2010_ 213more strawberries and pectin today because it was so easy and I want to have more jam in my freezer for later! 4 cups of jam won’t last that long in my house!)
One more note: I made it a second time…if you like chunky jam smash them with your potato masher if you want it smooth, blend it up in your blender! Or do half in your blender and half by hand; either way you’ll have delicious jam!
Update: This morning I was so anxious to eat it that I made biscuits from this recipe here on Homesick Texan (and they’re not too hard at all!) and put butter and jam on them. Talk about heaven! Yum-oh! I feel so domesticated! And if you noticed, I have two different colors of jam…while making NewCameraApril2010_SpringBreak2010_ 214bthe first batch (ahem) I run out of sugar and filled the last 1/4 c. with colored sugar from my cookie sprinkle shakers (see top picture). The left is straight sugar and totally pureed strawberries and too smooth. The top is too chunky. If I make a third batch I’m doing the half/half thing.

Update #2: The recipe depends on the pectin you buy. If you buy the Ball Brand it's 4 cups of smashed strawberries, 1 1/2 c. sugar and the pectin, stir for at least three minutes and then let it set for 30 mins and wa-lah! :) The recipe is on the bag! If you buy sure jell check out this post.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Our Nightly Treat - muahahaha!

NewCameraApril2010_SpringBreak2010_ 047bSome may call us pigs but after a day with three crazy boys sometimes you need some comfort food and for us (especially lately) it’s been delicious salted popcorn (thanks to a long standing “made on the stove with hot oil”  Driggs family tradition that I learned from my Dad) and chocolate malts (made with Carnation Malted milk, vanilla ice cream and milk; topped with whipped cream and mini chocolate chips). Mmm….and if you’re ever at our house after the boys are in bed we might just share with you. You’ll just have to promise not to let them in on our little secret!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific

We went to the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific one afternoon last week because they had a special and teachers got in free so I only had to pay for parking and to get Sammy in (the others are still free). I went with my mom (teacher - free!) and Cathy and Danny (free, free!) and their kids (not free!) and we had a blast! I wish that Thad would have been able to go to but it was kind of at the last minute and he had to work. NewCameraMarch2010_LBAquarium_3-30-10_ 119

The highlights: They had a really neat lorikeet exhibit (even though they would dive bomb us from time to time) and the kids really liked being up close with the birds and feeding them nectar that we had purchased.

NewCameraMarch2010_LBAquarium_3-30-10_ 086They also had a place where you could touch sea anemones, sea stars, sea slugs and other little creatures, and another place where you could touch little tiger sharks, fish and sting rays. The big kids loved it! Nathan was very worried and kept trying to pull all of us back telling us, "don't touch it!"

NewCameraMarch2010_LBAquarium_3-30-10_ 133

I also loved the jellyfish (although I didn't get many pictures inside--it was too dark!) It was a fun afternoon and the boys really loved it! We'll have to go back again another day! Enjoy the pictures!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Easter Fun 2010

I can’t believe how fast this year is going! Easter already? Wow! We had fun dying eggs with cousins one day, and then another day with friends. The boys had a blast.

Saturday was the first day of conference and we dressed the boys up and headed to the chapel. They were great actually (for being 7 months, 2.5 and almost 4.5!) I really enjoyed the am session and we started a new tradition of going to eat frozen yogurt after conference that I am excited to keep up! The boys really enjoyed it! I didn’t have my camera for that :( but here is an attempt at a picture after the Sunday morning session. We took a picture with our friend Hyemi! :)

NewCameraMarch2010_Easter2010_ 051

Here are some pictures from the rest of our crazy Easter! Sunday morning Sarah and William invited us over for breakfast before conference (yum!) and we were able to play a little…

After conference and naps we headed to the Driggs and did an Easter Egg hunt with the cousins. All in all it was a good day. Busy, but good. (There are LOTS of pictures so make sure that you click below to see all of them!)

p.s. I had fun with our simple Easter baskets and eggs at home. I hid about two dozen eggs around the living room and had the baskets sitting on the table. In the morning they got up and started playing (eggs all around them) and they didn’t notice anything. Eventually Nate found one egg, they sat down and shared the four gummy bears inside of it and then continued playing. Nathan even grabbed the egg shaped sidewalk chalk that was RIGHT in front of the baskets and kept playing. About ten minutes later they found another egg and shared its contents and then the light went on for Sammy and he started searching for eggs. They’re so silly! (I love the pictures of them playing because you can see the eggs in the background and they are still oblivious to them!)

I guess that I should include our attempt at a family picture too! Trying to get us all to smile and look at the same time is quite difficult! Phew!


And just us! Happy Easter!


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