Thursday, July 7, 2011

Of Advice for Newlyweds

You know how sometimes at weddings or bridal showers they have the guests write down bits of advice for the newlyweds? More often then not I can not for the life of me think of anything worthwhile to write down (until after the event is over!) so I usually end up writing down something kinda lame.

Well, after much thought and reflection, here is what my advice would be.

Bridal Shower advice: Make a deal with your soon-to-be-spouse that you will change any nasty diapers if he will take care of any barf. (You have to make this arrangement before you are married because your spouse may not agree to it once you have tied the knot. Note--you can get away with a lot at this time!) Before Curtis and I got married, I made sure we were clear on this one issue. (I like to plan ahead.) It has stood me in good stead many times over the years we have had kids, and oh, how grateful I have been for my foresight! I don't mind changing poopy diapers, but even when I look at barf I start gagging. Blah.

Wedding advice: You know that saying that one should never go to bed angry at one's spouse? Worst advice ever. It sounds good in theory, but in practice, it is not. Arguments tend to escalate and degenerate when people are tired. I believe it is much, MUCH better to sleep on it. I would say that about 90% of things people disagree about won't even matter to them the next morning, and the problems that do matter are much more easily solved when both parties are well rested.

So, that is my advice for the day.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Spicy Honey Chicken Recipe

O.K. I have not posted a recipe in a while, so here is one we found recently and absolutely love. (Well, at least Curtis and I love it. The kids love...pasta. Plain. That's about it. Well, no not really--they love fruits and veggies, thank goodness!)'s the recipe.

Spicy Honey Chicken

(Recipe by Our Best Bites)

8 boneless skinless chicken thighs, about 2lbs
(The creators of this recipe insist that thighs taste better in this recipe then breasts. I have tried both and actually prefer the chicken breasts sliced fairly thin)
2 t vegetable oil

2 t granulated garlic
2 t chili powder
1/2 t onion powder
1/2 t coriander
1 t kosher salt
1 t cumin
1/2 t chipotle chili powder

1/2 C Honey
1T Cider Vinegar

Combine the rub spices in bowl and mix well.

Use kitchen shears (or a pair of clean scissors) to trim off any excess fat from the chicken pieces. Pat dry. Drizzle oil over chicken and rub in with your hands to lightly coat all the pieces. Then toss chicken with the spice rub to coat all sides well. Use your hands and get in there! Grill chicken for 3-5 minutes on each side, until cooked through.
While chicken is cooking, warm honey in the microwave so it’s not so thick. Add the vinegar and combine well. Reserve 2T honey glaze for later. Take the rest and brush on chicken (both sides) in the final moments of grilling.
I’m gonna warn you that this can make a hot mess, literally. It’s sugar, and it’s gonna drip. But the smelly smoke is worth it for a minute or two. Just leave your grill on for a few minutes after the chicken is done to burn off any excess glaze. It’s totally worth it once you taste this stuff.
If you don’t have a bbq, try it on an indoor grill pan or use your broiler. Just be sure to open a window in case you burn your glaze!

Remember how I had you reserve that extra couple tablespoons of glaze? Ya, drizzle that on top now. Your taste buds will thank you.

This chicken is also great sliced on a salad. I made up an extra large batch of rub so I don't have to repeat that step next time I make this!

Look out, the Slug Monster Approaches!

Aaarrggghh! Here comes a seaweed slugmonster! Look out! She is coming to get you!

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We actually learned a cool fact about seaweed. You can use it to predict the weather. Apparently, when rain is looming on the horizon, the seaweed gets fatter, I assume because it absorbs moisture from the air. Conversely, when the weather is supposed to be nice, the seaweed gets thinner. Interesting, huh?! We should keep a swatch of seaweed on our back porch so we can predict what the weather will be like. Oh wait, it is always sunny and beautiful here, about 75 degrees.

Just kidding. We do get some rain here on occasion, thank goodness. As an aside, it is highly amusing to me to hear the locals apologizing for the weather to out-of-town guests when it rains!

Of Army Guys and Giant Lizards

Some time ago for Family Home Evening, we made these little habitat thingys. They turned out pretty cool if I do say so myself, and if you look close, you can see army guys fighting dinosaurs and giant lizards, frogs by ponds, and even an attempt at a waterfall!




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Of Climbing Kids

Our little Leila is going to be a rock climber for sure--I can't keep the kid off the table!

Here she is helping herself to some orange juice.

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Of Berries Worth Their Weight in Gold

Carlsbad, the city where we live, is well known not only for Legoland, but also for it's strawberry fields. Kayla, Adrianna, the kids and I, along with my youngest brother Joseph, who was visiting at the time, decided to take a trip to some U-pick fields nearby for a strawberry picking expedition. I had visions of coming home with oodles of sweet juicy berries to make loads of jam and pies with. We got there to the farm, super excited, with lots of bags to put our loads of berries in, and went up to the counter to check in and get instructions. Imagine my shock when I saw the prices they had listed--a one pint container was...get this...eight dollars. EIGHT DOLLARS! We're talking about a cup and a half's worth of berries here, folks. I tried to stifle my gasp of shock (keep in mind I had been buying a pound of berries at Wal-mart for .88!), gulped, and so as not to disappoint the kids, told the lady I would take a pint. On the up-side, I was happy to find out that they did allow as much taste testing as one wanted, so I told all the kids to eat hearty! They were delicious berries--amazingly delicious, and thank goodness for Joseph's help. He certainly did his part to help us get our eight bucks worth of berries, as you can see in the photo at the bottom! (On second glance, that particular picture might have been Kayla's bucket--she got the two pint bucket!)






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More Cute Photos

In order of appearance...
Leila, Enoch, Maile, Enoch, Arden's head, Leila

We are at Mermaid Lagoon in Never Never Land.

Just kidding. We are at La Jolla Cove in, you guessed it, La Jolla.

BTW, this cove is a popular snorkling place and I happen to have two nice sets of snorkling equipment that anyone is welcome to borrow! I would love for them to get used!




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Of Ships and Cannons

Did I post pictures of this already? I can't remember. Before school let out for the summer, we got part way through our history unit, and we talked a lot about ships and navigation. This is a fun cardboard ship we made out of a box, complete with a working cannon. (I know it works, because I was shot with it multiple times.)

The middle photo is a ship Curtis and the kids made out of K'nex. I am constantly amazed by the intricate creations they come up with using blocks, legos, K'nex, etc.!



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Of Fire and Love

This fall, we have a family trip planned to the Sequoia National Forest. The kids are so excited and have already started coming up with their lists of things to bring. Maile created her list in the picture below based on a food storage catalogue that had lots of little squares on the cover with photos of assorted foods in them. I loved her two additions which you can see in the upper left of her drawing--fire and love. Awwwwwwww....

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Of Random Photos

O.K., here are just a few random pictures I am throwing in.

Here are Maile and Ivana (upstairs neighbor) who have turned themselves into...mosaics. Very cute.


Here is a turtle Ivana and her family found meandering across a road near our house. They were kind enough to rescue it before it got squashed, and donated it to the local turtle association.


Here is just a picture of Maile I thought was cute.

You probably can't tell from this next photo, but this creation is a treasure map with all sorts of fun little details, including a volcano, palm trees, parrot, compass, and even a shovel. (We love FF magazine!)


The butterfly in the photo below is another Family Fun project we thought turned out great. They were oober simple to make, yet looked spectacular, especially when we had several of different colors on one plate.
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Welcome Inklings Academy

Homeschooling as a kid, I remember my mom always having a fun "graduation" for us at the end of every school year, with little diplomas, report cards, gifts, and treats. Mom did such a good job of making that a special event for us. I decided to do the same kind of thing for my kids this year as well. They loved it! (Note my choice of treat in the pictures!)

Although I started out homeschooling in January (through a local charter school) somewhat skeptical as to whether or not I would like it, I've found that it is a great outlet for my creative bent, and I LOVE learning right along with the kids. I don't miss the stress, busy-ness, soliciting, and time constraints of public school AT ALL! I love homeschooling, and I think we are in this long term, or until the kids decide they want to do something different!

This coming year, I have decided that we will do our own thing rather then go through the charter school. I know lots of parents who love the charter school, but it wasn't quite the right fit for our family--we're just too doggone independent, I guess! I am so excited for this upcoming school year, though! I have oodles of fun ideas to do with the kids!

Welcome, Inklings Academy! (Not to brag or anything, but I thought the name I picked out was quite clever, wouldn't you agree?!)


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Of Padres and Pretzels

Curtis and I bought a little upright piano for $150 off of craigslist a week or so ago. When we went to pick it up, the lady we bought it from offered us free tickets to a Padres game that was the next night. Incidentally, it happened to be "Mormon Night at the Padres." I have only been to one or two major league baseball games before when I lived in Boston, and Curtis had never been, so we took the lady up on her offer. It was delightful. We got there a little later then we had hoped, as we didn't factor in the traffic, but the seats were great--right near the front. Unfortunately, the Mormons must not have been praying hard enough, because our team got smoked, but it was fun, nonetheless!

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Thou Shalt Not Steal Fish

We had a delightful (if too short) visit a couple of weeks ago from Curtis' brother and his sweet little family. We drove up to Newport Beach and spent the day there, followed by a yummy pizza dinner outside. The kids (and adults, for that matter!) were very entertained by this pelican that was just meandering along the pier, waiting for a chance to snatch a fish or two out of some unsuspecting fisherman's bucket. He would even let the kids get close enough to pet him! The high excitement of the day was when this pelican attempted to steal a fish right off of a fisherman's pole! Yes, the pelican got stuck on the hook. Luckily, the fishermen were able to free him without too much trauma to the bird, as he came right back a few minutes later!


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Of Rules for High Class Entertainment

We have this darling little neighbor girl, Ivana, who comes over to our house nearly every day. Her and the kids decided to put on a 4-D play for us last week. Myself and Ivana's Mom were the audience. We were asked to wear our "4-D" sunglasses, so we could experience the full intensity of the 4-D special effects of the play.

The kids apparently felt the need to put some rules in place for us Moms, lest we get too wildly out of control:

No screaming
No yelling
No interruptions
No fighting

...and my personal favorite,

No going "Boooo" at the end.

We will try to control ourselves.

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You'll note the price for admission. It has gone up significantly since I put on plays as a kid! The kids and Ivana are always trying to come up with ways to earn lots of money. They wanted to invite all the neighbors, especially the two little girls who live next door. I informed them that the girls' dad was in school, so they probably couldn't afford the high admission rates. Without any hesitation or consultation with each other, all three of the kids enthusiastically decided that they would donate all the proceeds of their play to this little family. Sweetest kids ever.

Of Crabs, Crusts, and Corn on the Cob

Leila has discovered the joys of those little corn-on-the-cob skewers, and enthusiastically experimented with different positioning. It kept her entertained for most of dinner.



For Father's Day, we got a little creative and made these little crab sandwiches we saw in our FF magazine for lunch (no reflection on Curtis' temperment, of course!). We filled them with chicken salad, or peanut butter and jelly for the kids.

We had some guests over for dinner the other night. The kids are getting really good at stacking their plates after meals, and when I went to clean up the kitchen after guests had left, this was on Maile's plate that she had stacked. Apparently she does not like the crusts.
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