Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thursday Treats & Yums 10/27/11

I have been searching for ways to effortlessly make roasted chicken, and I read a few recipes for slow-cookers. So today I went for it.

CrockPot "Roasted" Chicken:
You'll Need:
1 whole roasting chicken
1/2 stick butter
Minced garlic (to your liking)
Chicken Seasoning (see note below)
Crock Pot
Tin foil.

Ready for this?

  • Roll 4-5 pieces of tin foil into 3/4-1" balls & place on bottom of crock pot.
  • Throughly rinse chicken, remove innards, and pat dry.
  • Place chicken on top of foil balls
  • Melt 1/2 stick of butter in microwave, add minced garlic
  • Pour melted butter/garlic over chicken
  • Sprinkle with Chicken Seasoning
  • Turn crockpot on low
  • Wait for the popper to pop (have a meat thermometer handy too! 165° F)
  • My chicken took about 7 hours on low. I've read that you can do 1 hr on high and 3 on low. 
The chicken came out perfectly juicy, and not dry like I thought it might. My only criticism is that the skin doesn't get crispy in a slow-cooker. I used the remainder of the chicken to make (the world's simplest) chicken pot pies. Yum! 

A note about Chicken Seasoning: So, in preparation for this post I went to my trusty bottle of Chicken Seasoning to see what it actually is. I always buy the same bottle, from the same store, and have since John & I started dating. I've never checked what's in it. Here's what I found. "Ingredients: Salt, Peper, Spices (including paprika)". Ummm. Wonderful. What spices might those be?? A search of their website brought me no answers. I suppose that's what I get for buying cheap dollar-store seasoning! 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wordy Wednesday 10/26/11

This week has been all about the books. Lucas is in full-fledged dinosaur obsession, so we've been reading last week's books a lot still.

I've tried to weasel in a few new books. Here's the one's he's taken to so far:

Little Blue Truck by: Alice Schertle
Lucas LOVES this book... only when John reads it to him. You see, John reads it in an awful southern accent. He and his father think that you must talk in a horrible attempt at a southern accent to discuss trucks. Lucas giggles away while John reads this to him in his goofy accent. I'm just glad he likes it! It's a cute story.

Frederick by: Leo Lionni
This has always been a favorite around here. Lucas calls it "Fwed-fick" which cracks me up every time. This started as an attempt to potty train. I took out all of the "longer" story books, with actual pages rather than board books, and read to Lucas while he sat on the potty early this summer. Well, we stopped trying to potty train, he lost interest, but we weren't ready to part with Frederick. What a great story. I love it.

I figured I should mention that I also read, albeit very slowly. Right now I'm finishing up Steig Larsson's trilogy by reading: 

I loved the first two. I will say that it took me a while to get "into" The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. It was slow in the beginning, but once it really grabbed me I was hooked. I flew through the second book (The Girl Who Played With Fire) in a couple days. The third one is slow going for me. I have midterms at school, and have been busy with park stuff, so I'm lucky to sneak in 10-20 minutes of reading a day. But I'm interested to see where the plot goes.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Photo Challenge Week of 10/24

This week's photo challenge is "face".

If you know Lucas, you know he's obsessed with brushing his teeth. He brushes every time I use the bathroom, which if you know me, is a lot! I decided that it was high time I documented some of his hilarity. 90% of his teeth-brushing technique is sucking the water out of his toothbrush. I love this face.

Linking up with The Paper Mama's Photo Challenge
  The Paper Mama

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thursday Treats & Yums 10/10/12

A new weekly recipe post? Ok!

I have to honest. I don't cook as often as I should, but when I do I feel so accomplished. Lucas LOVES to help me bake. Or cook anything that requires "mixing". He yells "mix, mix, mama! I do mix mix!" It's pretty adorable.

Tonight was not one of those nights. And I forgot to take photos, but that's ok. I will put the recipe here and add photos to next week's creation.

Tonight for dinner we had:
Eggplant Parmigiana - easiest thing ever!
You will need:
9x12 pan (I use Pyrex)
Large frying pan (I use a jumbo cooker)
1 jar of tomato sauce (I use Francesco Rinaldi, cheap and delicious!)
1 medium eggplant (or whatever size will feed your family)
2-3 eggs (beaten)
Bread crumbs (Italian seasoned, or you can add seasoning to plain bread crumbs)
Oil to fry in (I use as little as I can get away with)
1 tbsp. minced garlic
Mozzarella & Parmesan cheese
  • Preheat oven to 350 ° F. 
  • I usually let the garlic sauté, on low, in the oil while I cut & bread the eggplant
  • Cut eggplant into 1/2" slices. If you cut it too thick, it won't cook properly.
  • Coat in flour, dip in egg & then coat with bread crumbs.
  • Fry eggplant slices on each side until golden brown, don't let oil get too hot, it will burn!  (usually takes about 2-3 mins on each side)
  • Spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of your Pyrex pan
  • Put eggplant in pan, overlapping each other.
  • Place a piece of mozzarella on each slice of eggplant
  • Top with remainder of jar of sauce
  • Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese
  • Bake in oven for about 30 minutes, until eggplant is soft when poke with a fork
I always serve this over pasta. Tonight we tried Ronzoni's Garden Delight fettuccine, and it was delicious. It made about 6 adult servings, assuming each adult eats 2 slices of eggplant. It was delicious. 

This has always been a go-to meal for me when I only have about 45 minutes to prepare something. Enjoy! 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wordy Wednesday 10-19-11

This week, as many before it, have been all about dinosaurs. Lucas is obsessed with the PBS Kids program called "Dinosaur Train" . There are a few episodes streaming on Netflix, so we usually let him watch an episode (or two) here & there. He loves it! He sings the song, and knows the names of all the dinosaurs. Do you know any 2 year olds that say "michelinoceras" on the regular? (Note: I am aware that a michelinoceras is not an actual dinosaur, but it is featured in a dinosaur train episode, and Lucas picked up the word)
The past few days we have been reading, and re-reading:

When Dinosaurs Came With Everything by Elise Broach

Elise Broach's story is so adorable. A boy is bored by his mother's errands, and is not thrilled about tagging along until he realizes that he gets a dinosaur with everything. Mom buys donuts, he gets a dinosaur. Boy gets a haircut, he gets a dinosaur. Not a toy dinosaur, an actual dinosaur. Cute story. Even cuter ending, when Mom decides to make lemons into lemonade and capitalizes on their new pets' various skills.

Encyclopedia Prehistorica Dinosaurs: The Definitive Pop-Up by Robert Sabuda & Matthew Reinhart

This is the pop-up book to end all pop-up books. I was floored when I picked this up off our book shelf. It was one of many hand-me-down books we acquired when my nanny-family moved to Spain. The pop-ups in this book seriously blow my mind. Each page is breath-taking, and has bonus tiny pop-ups behind little flaps with lots of nuggets of information. This is a book that will grow with Lucas, which is something I always love. I will say, he was a little nervous about the T-Rex pop-up, which comes straight out of the book in a chomping motion. He is now over that fear, and enjoys putting his finger in T-Rex's mouth and yelling "CHOMP" as the paper jaws close and he finger is trapped in paper teeth.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Photo Challenge Week of 10/15

Photo Challenge

Another addition to my new attempt at weekly posting will be linking up with Paper Mama's Photo Challenges. I've followed them for some time, and while I'm not a professional photographer, I'd still love to share the beauty I see in my son with her readers. To anyone clicking over from her site, Hello! 

Painting fun 

The Paper MamaThe Paper Mama

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Steppin' Out Saturday: 10/15/11

Lucas & I headed to a birthday party today. The weather in good old Massachusetts is as unpredictable as ever, so I wasn't sure what to wear. So this tunic with rolled sleeves seemed to fit the wishy-washy nature of the forecast. It's also SUPER windy so my hair is a mess. Oh well. I was comfy. Do note I took the boots off about 10 minutes after we took these photos, and threw on my trusty brown boat shoes. Much more realistic for a birthday party full of two year olds! 

My outfit:
Top, Belt & Necklace>> Thrifted

Lucas's Outfit:
Polo>> Kohl's
Sweater>> Target
Jeans>> Calvin Klein
Sneakers>> Target

Friday, October 14, 2011


My definition of an "ideal" Friday night has sure evolved a lot in the past 10 years or so.

Ideal Friday night of 2001 Nicole: I was still in high school, so I would imagine that having ANY plans would have been great. Likely I would have been hanging out with a group of girls, in a basement somewhere, talking about boys, putting on face masks, and painting our nails. Or I was out with my "wilder" friend, sneaking into clubs or other such debauchery. I had my first "serious" boyfriend in 2001, so Friday night may have included a movie-watching night with him.

Ideal Friday night of 2002-2004 Nicole: I was living at Bridgewater State by that point. Again, any plans would have been nice, but in reality I was either working with my roommate on Friday nights, out drinking (underage) in Providence {or being the Designated Driver, which we always had}. I spent lots of time going to local shows during this time frame. I met some of my best friends at shows. Music has always been the common thread for all my friendships. My last option would have been hanging out with the worst "boyfriend" I ever had. He wasn't even really a boyfriend, so much as someone that I hung out with, and spent obscene amounts of time trying to impress. He was the definition of "loser" and I wasted some of my most attractive years on him. I also saw my husband for the first time at a party once during this time frame, though we were not introduced.

Ideal Friday night of 2005-2008 Nicole: John and I were dating by this point. We spent our Fridays doing anything and everything. We'd laugh into the wee hours of the morning. We'd drive aimlessly for hours. We'd go dancing. We'd eat late night food with more calories than we should consume in a day. We'd find adventure in doing nothing. We had great nights out with friends, and great nights in together. We'd go in his mom's hot tub in mid-January, and watch my hair freeze (since he didn't have any!) We had no one to answer to, and not a care in the world other than being together. We also spent a fair amount of time apart, with our own friends. I had plenty of girls nights out, and even more girls nights in. I spent more Fridays than I can remember scrapbooking, or playing with my nephew with my girlfriends.

Ideal Friday night of 2008-2009 Nicole: Pregnant Nicole wanted nothing more than to eat, and be catered to. John waited on my hand and foot, and never batted an eyelash. Friday night was really the middle of my weekend because I was working on Monday through Wednesday. We usually spent the time going over business plans, finances, or drawing ramps for the skatepark that was under development. As long as there was food involved, I was happy. I also rediscovered my love of reading while I was pregnant.

Ideal Friday night of Present Day Nicole: Quiet. I love the quiet of my house right now. John is at work, and while I miss him, and would rather he was home, I'm happy to have some alone time too. I love to sit on the couch, with a glass of wine, and my latest "project" and watch mindless TV. Sometimes I have a crochet project, sometimes an ancestry project, sometimes a homework assignment, but I always have something "busy" to do. My absolutely ideal Friday night (when I'm stuck home because John is at work) is to grab a glass of wine, fill the bathtub with hot water and bubbles, and read a book for hours. I'll refill that tub with warm water 15 times if I have to. (See also: I need a bigger, better tub. Whirlpool, are you listening?)

Tonight, I spent an extra long time rocking with my little guy, reading books. I'm writing this while my pumpkins seeds are roasting, and I'm anxiously awaiting my bath. There really is nothing better than a nice quiet Friday night in.

Though a Friday night out does have it's appeal too... Dancing & drinks? Ok!
Image via Pinterest 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Family Craft Time

We carved pumpkins as a family today. Lucas colored on his pumpkin with markers for about 15 mins and lost interest. John & I continued to work for 3 hours! Clearly someone (JOHN!) is an overachiever, and far more artistically inclined that me. That's fine. We had a ton of fun. I wish we had unlimited funds and could buy more pumpkins to carve.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wordy Wednesday 10-12-11

I'm going to try to start doing a few "weekly" posts. These scheduled posts help me to take inventory of the small blessings in my life, such as bedtime stories.

This weeks' favorites are:
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly (Caldecott Honor Book)
There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly - by Simms Taback 
We love "There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly." We've been reading it nearly every night for weeks. Yes, this book does contain the "Perhaps she'll die" line, from the folksong. Yes I read it as written. That's how it was sung to me as a little girl, and that's how I sing it to my son. He loves it. He sings along with me, and giggles away.

Counting Kisses - By: Karen Katz
"Counting Kisses" has been another go-to book for many months. I credit this book with my sons ability to count so well. I have no been a diligent "teacher" to my son. As a former preschool teacher, I'm surprised that I don't "instruct" him as much as I did when I taught, or even when I was a nanny. I find that in a mothering role, I tend to teach my showing and engaging him in everyday practices that lead to learning. I do count aloud, but I don't ever "teach" him to count. He surprised me one day at a restaurant with my parents when he took out the sugar packets and successfully counted to 8. This book counts down from 10 kisses, to the final kiss before bedtime. Lucas loves it and can tell me where each of the kisses land. For example, if I were to say to him "10 kisses on teeny tiny...?" he'll yell "TOES!". At first I thought he just remembered the order of the body parts in the book, so I would pick numbers at random one day, and say the first line from that page, and he'd finish it. He adores this book.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Monday, October 10, 2011

Busy weekend

Weekends are always busy. This weekend was especially busy!

Friday night, Lucas & I attended a suprise 30th birthday party for my best friend's sister. Turns out she got engaged that morning and announced at the party. It was great fun, though Lucas and I only lasted about an hour. 7pm is a bit late for Lucas to start partying. I made these delicious donuts for the party, but forgot them!! Sorry, Lisa!

Saturday was a whirlwind of preparations. I baked 2 batches of Rolo cake-mix cookies, and plated them with my donuts. I ran around like a crazy person to get Lucas all packed up for his overnight visit with my in-laws. After dropping him off, I made a mad dash back home and had a whopping 45 minutes to get ready for the 3rd Annual True To You Stump Trivia Night Fundraiser. I wore my FAVORITE (to date) thrifted dress. It's an adorable magenta pinstriped house dress. I love it.

Sunday we spent the day at my mother in law's house. Lucas loves it there, and after seeing the photos below, anyone can see why. It's so peaceful on the lake, and the comfort of being at a grandparents house, combined with the beautiful scenery is just irreplaceable. I love spending time there!

The view

My handsome husband

The boys heading out to go fishing

Yes, his eyes are THAT blue

I love these chubby little hands

1st fish of 5 !!! 

He had to touch all of the fish & throw them back in!

See what I caught, guys?
**Before I catch heat from the safety police. I know he should have a life vest on when near open water, this lake happens to be knee deep at the end of this dock, and there were 6 adults and two children. Also, we had Lucas wash his hands after touching the fish, I know they have bacteria and germs on them. **

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Saturday Night Out

I finally got out on a Saturday night!

John and I were joined by his sister, aunt & father, to attend a breast cancer fundraiser. My parents, sister,brother-in-law and most of my Dad's side of the family was there as well.

We had a blast competing (horribly) in trivia, and trying to win (unsuccessfully) raffles. I forgot to take photos of my newly thrifted dress, until we got home. I will forewarn you, I was a little tipsy, and apparently feeling saucy because I'm mugging it up for the camera. Also, I apparently spilled something on myself before taking photos. Bummer.

Shoes>hand-me-ups from my sister
Necklace> Pearls, a gift from my GodMother

Here's a cute photo of Lucas with all his bedtime friends. Internet, meet Baby, HopHop, Monkey, Elephant Pillow, Big blankie & brown blankie. Oh and Pillow pet.

Linking up with Mandy from Harper's Happenings

Saturday, October 1, 2011

New obsession

I am obsessed with my family tree lately. I don't know why, but it is so captivating. I've spent the better part of the past week on trying to explore all direct avenues back to my family's immigration to the US. Obviously, some branches are much longer than others.

So far I've traced my mother's paternal side back to Scotland, her maternal side back to England, my father's maternal side back to Canada/Scotland and Ireland and his paternal side back to Ireland. I've researched as far back as my US membership will allow for now.

Normally I would be antsy to get an World membership to keep searching, but I think I'll be smart about it. I'm going to chat with few members of my grandparents' generation that I have left. I'm going to get as much detail as I can from them, and get as much documented as possible.

Then my plan is to locate photos for all of the family members that are still alive, or that I can locate photos for. There are over 200 people on my family tree thus far, but only 40 photos or so. Many of those are John's side of the family, which I haven't even begun to really add. I added his parents and grandparents and siblings. I will likely make an entirely different tree for that side.

I have a feeling this will take over my life if I let it (like I have this week), so I'm going to start giving myself and "allowance". An hour a day, or less, and that's it. There's no reason to rush this, and no reason to take time away from the present to learn about the past. I'm not truly honoring my ancestors by spending all my time figuring out who they are, and not continuing to live in the present.

I'll update on my progress from time to time, assuming I remember.