Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What's Cooking Wednesday - The BEST Chicken Noodle Soup EVER!!

"They" say necessity is the mother of all invention. I was sick on Monday and really wanted my mother-in-law to make me some chicken soup. But she lives 10 hours away...

On my trusty laptop (it's a MacBook) I typed in 'easy chicken soup recipie'. Google then asked if I meant 'easy chicken soup recipe'. I clicked that and I found a simple recipe calling for 2 cans of cream of chicken, 1 can of mushroom soup, and some water and veggies and seasonings if you want. Easy.
Then I went to my pantry. 10 cans of cream of mushroom, 0 cans of cream of chicken. Not sure what the heck I was thinking when I bought all those cans of mushroom soup but girls and boys, this is why you need to MAKE A GROCERY SHOPPING LIST and TAKE IT WITH YOU. I'm just sayin'.

I did have 4 cans of Campbell's chicken noodle soup. It is cold season. So, I improvised. Basically, I did what I could feeling like crap. I sat down to chop this stuff (normally I stand, like they do on TV) and I took a few breaks.
The BEST Chicken Noodle Soup EVER Recipe

2 cans of Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup
4 cans of water
4 cups of water
1 big carrot, chopped
1 big celery stalk, chopped
1 green onion stalk, chopped
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 gloves garlic minced or chopped
2 tbl powdered chicken bullion
2 handfuls rotini noodles or any kind of thick pasta noodle
3-4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts (or leftover chicken)

(I know it seems like a lot but I just throw this stuff in 'cause the spice shelf is right there.)
1 bay leaf
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp Nature's Seasoning
1 tsp Lowry's Seasoned Salt
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp majoram
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground sage
1/2 tsp basil leaves

Pasta Noodles
Boil in salted, oiled water like directions say.
Drain. Set aside.

I used a hybrid. 2 frozen chicken breasts that I threw in a pot of water and boiled until cooked. But don't cook it at boiling or all this gunk floats up (I learned that from Martha Stewart). Drain. Shred. While the pasta and chicken were cooking, I picked off the last of the chicken on a whole chicken I had roasted the day before. Set aside.

Soup Directions
Add all the ingredients (except pasta, chicken, veggies) to stock pot and bring to a boil.
Lower stove heat, add veggies and chicken.
Cook until veggies are tender.
Add pasta.
Simmer on the lowest setting with the lid on the pot until your people come home.

Serve with crackers, corn bread, or bread or nothing.
Serves 6-8 adults (minimum)

Be sure to head on over to the Home of What's Cooking Wednesdays at The Fairy Blogmother.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Darkness Overcoming Beauty

The darkness of fear overtaking
the power of beauty
The latest painting by my incredibly talented husband.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Happy Valentines Day - 2010

Yes, this posting is 1 week late.
I've been busy and had some issues with
Blogger and iPhoto.
Not sure who to blame, really.
Most likely Blogger. Mac is perfect.

I wasn't putting much effort into Valentines Day
until Motor Mouth was all excited Saturday evening.
Here is what I mustered up...

Pink Heart Pancakes
Heart Ice Cubes
Lots of Pink Heart Pancakes
Pink Milk for the Kiddos
Red Raspberry Iced Tea for Mommy
Red Plates
Happy Kids
Table Decorations
Both kids wearing pink/red
J did come home with chocolate for everyone
And he surprised me with floor seats
to the Mariah Carey concert!!!!
I am ready for next year!!
We found some discounted items Monday
My fav find are the cookie cutters
We'll have heart shaped sandwiches next year!!
I even found a red box to store it all in...
And a green one for our St. Patty's decorations
Yes, I know we need to fill the green box...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Finished for Friday - Pond Friends

Finally, something I can post on

Pond Friends Stacking Toy
Frog pole, Dragon Fly, Lady Bug, Bumble Bee, Blue Base

I crocheted this for one of my friends who has a new baby. Not sure which friend yet. I have to choose from 10 people who are about to pop out a kiddo.

I thought I could just bang it out because it is simple. It really took a long time to make. J likes it a lot. I don't think he wants me to give it away...

Pattern is Lion Brand Vanna's Choice
Baby Pond Friends Stacking Toy
Pattern Number: 90075AD

Now, please head on over to the home of
Lit and Laundry to see what fabulous thing she

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Baby Showers are for Babies

I know some people don't believe in having baby showers for the 2nd or 3rd or other babies. Or, they feel it is okay for the 2nd baby if it is a different sex. However, I believe EVERY baby deserves a baby shower, whether it is the mom's 1st or 5th.
Widney Grandbaby #5 (not ours)

I believe the shower is for the baby, not the mom. Each child deserves to be celebrated and showered with presents. And let me tell you, by the 3rd or 4th kid, that mom needs new stuff! I do think the big ticket items like cribs, strollers, high chairs, play yards, swings should to go to the 1st baby and be reused for the next. But what baby doesn't need diapers or bibs or burp cloths or sleepers? It's so nice to have fresh new clothes for a fresh new baby.
Motor Mouth age 1 month (ours)

This thinking might come from my adoption world experience where some adoptive moms received baby showers and then the birth mom ended up changing her mind and taking the baby back (failed adoption). Many of those incredible adoptive moms gave EVERYTHING she had received for the baby to the baby and the birth mom. Why? Because ultimately, those were gifts for that baby.

I wish we would look at all baby showers that way. It's for the baby. Not the mom. Let's celebrate every baby's life and shower every baby with material and immaterial love.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Works for Me Wednesday

In my previous post: Tackle It Tuesday: Inconvenient Lifestyle, I wrote about what I am working on this year. 6 weeks into it, this is what has worked so far:

1 toy at a time
Making the kids stick to only playing with 1 toy at a time was lofty goal. But they got it. They sometimes play with 1 toy and leave it out while they play with another then another. But in the grand scheme of things, it is working.

5-minute bedtime clean
Which leads me to the kids' 5-minute clean at the end of the day. Because they don't take out 50 toys to play with and leave them everywhere, it makes the cleaning at the end of the day super easy. And, more importantly, the kids no longer argue or resist cleaning the play/bedroom. The amount of peace that brings to our home is priceless.

No Movies or Wii during the week
This was not on the original list but I no longer allow the kids to play movies in Motor Mouth's room after school. If it is a school night, they are not allowed to have big screen time. They are allowed to play with their little screens - Leapster games, Leapfrog books, kiddie laptops, math games on the desktop computer. Basically, if it is an educational screen, they can watch on a school night. Otherwise, nope.

15-minute clean
This worked for 3 weeks then fell apart when I got sick. When we do abide by it, it works amazingly well for general tidiness. If someone would help with this more, it might work better.

Activity Jar
I haven't pulled anything from the jar, but I did spend a lot of time crocheting a baby gift so I feel like this is accomplished.

Updates on the rest:
In January, I had 2 weeks of 45 hr/wk at my normally 32 hr/wk job and I got really sick for 4 straight days. Not that this excuses stuff, but I do believe it played a major role in the breakdown of the following:

- Widney Wednesday. I didn't get to Widney Wednesday in January. We did go to the top of the Hancock Building. I think I need to schedule this. But I have to say, we do a lot together as a family, so it's not like we are strangers running in crazy directions.

- 1 load of laundry per day. Sore subject as I lost The Mommy Project's laundry throwdown and still have not tackled that mountain.

- Night Prep. The prepping meals and clothes at night fell by the wayside but I do see the benefit and need for it.

- Home Cooking. I have cooked at home more. It's just hard when I have evening meetings at 6 pm across town.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Mini Me's Catalog Ad

Mini Me had her 1st modeling gig for
Land of Nod, a higher end kids furniture & accessory store.

You might recall Mini Me's 1st professional photo shoot.
If not, go here.

Here is a photo of Mini Me schlepping rugs
I snapped this pic of the catalog
w/my phone in low light.

J was disappointed you can't see more of her face
It could always be worse.
Imagine THIS being your child's ad...
You can order your own Spring 2010 catalog for free at www.landofnod.com (unless you are not living in the U.S.).

Monday, February 8, 2010


When Motor Mouth was an infant, J played instrumental lullaby CDs in his room 24/7. Sweet, melodic baby music. Very calm nursery.

We tried the same music with Mini Me.
She wasn't having it.

In his infinite wisdom, my darling husband realized Mini Me needed some hard bass tunes and searched his white boy CD collection until he found the closest thing that fit the bill.
Unpredictable by Jamie Foxx.
Who knew.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Knowing Me, Knowing You - Feb '10

It's time again for the monthly blog questionnaire hosted by one of my bloggy BFF's The Fairy Blogmother.

1. The Olympics are right around the corner, are you planning on watching?
Nope. J wants to watch the opening show but other than that, nope. Before I married this artsy man, I never missed an Olympics.

2. Which is your favourite Olympic Winter sport?
Figure skating. I knew who the skaters were when I was a good Canadian living in my home and native land. I did enjoy watching the ski jumping and the downhill, and the luge.

3. Okay you're in the candy store, what's the first thing you grab?
Either the Jelly Beans or sour gummy candies. Or both. Both.

4. What is your favourite John Hughes movie? Not sure what movies he made? Well, first you should be ashamed of yourself and I'm not sure we can be friends anymore. Secondly, click the link and see his impressive list of films, you'll be surprised...... go ahead I'll wait.

I'd have to say "Maid in Manhattan" for my most recent like. And "Ferris Beuler's Day Off" for my back in the day like. I still use quotes from Ferris Beuler and am amazed I live in Chicago - the city where Ferris sang 'Danke Schoen' in a parade.

I predict NAMK (The Mommy Project) will say 'Pretty in Pink' or 'Sixteen Candles' as her favorite. I know this because I watched it no less than 16 times each with her back in the day.

5. Okay you're going into the witness relocation program and you get to pick your new name, what will it be?
Kiki Freedmar

Alright, now please head on over to The Fairy Blogmother to see her answers and give some linky love if you decide to join in on the fun!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Super Nanny Trial Period

J and I watched Super Nanny for the first time in forever. Because of Super Nanny, we are going to start putting Mini Me on the Naughty Chair every time she cries. Something HAS to work with Mini Me. The crying all the time is not getting any better.
This week, my MIL was considering taking Mini Me for her Spring Break and asked what makes Mini Me cry. Mini Me cries...

- if she is hurt
- is tired
- is hungry
- has to leave
- has to stop doing something
- has been told 'no'
- thinks she is in trouble
- is in trouble
- if it is time to wake up
- if it is time to go to bed
- if it is time to go potty
- if Motor Mouth says 'Me 1st!' when it's time to pray or shower
- if she wants her hair straight/up/down/anything other than what you did
- if you ask her to get dressed
- if you ask her to put on her coat
- if you ask her to carry her backpack
- if you eat a restaurant other than McDonalds
- if she doesn't hear me say 'goodbye Mini Me' when I leave the car
- if she can't eat a sugar glazed donut in the car
- if she gets injured (but this one is justifiable)
- I know I'm missing at least 10 more scenarios...
For the last few months, I have taken to asking Mini Me if someone has hit her or if she is in pain when she starts crying. I tell her if someone has not hit or she is in pain, to stop crying. And I tell her I can't understand what she is saying when she cries and to please stop crying and use her words. It pretty much works.
In March, Mini Me will be 4. From birth, this child has been crying. Well, maybe 1-2 weeks after birth there was that honeymoon period. But as a baby, it was one thing after another: thrush, reflux, ear infections, formula/tummy problems, etc.
If Mini Me's pacifier fell out, she screamed and wailed. She had no lips so that thing fell out all the time. I couldn't sleep, I couldn't drive 5 minutes to church without the pacifier falling out and her screaming the whole rest of the way there. One night, I was so exhausted, I begged God to show me what to do because I had to sleep and couldn't deal with this. 'Medical tape' popped into my head. Yes, I taped her pacifier to her face with medical tape so it wouldn't hurt when it came off or leave marks. I always made sure there was enough room so she could spit up if need be. And I told her pediatrician and the children's pastors and adoption agency director so they knew what was going on.
If you didn't get her food that second, you had hell to pay, my friend. I put her on a schedule to get her food to her 15 minutes before she needed it.
My mother-in-law was not happy with us because we wouldn't let her have Mini Me overnight for about the first 3-4 months. Motor Mouth had been spending the night with his grandparents from 4 days old. Then I let her have Mini Me overnight. DonnaMomma never said a bad thing about Mini Me when asked how the night went. My sister-in-law was not so tactful and told me that Mini Me was a different kind of baby. For this reason alone, I could have love my sister-in-law for life - someone validated what I had been experiencing and trying to save others from. We didn't want J's parents to not love Mini Me as much as they loved Motor Mouth and we were terrified they would figure this out as soon as they got her overnight.
Mini Me cried herself to sleep every night. She wouldn't let you hold her or rock her to sleep as a baby. By the time she was a year old, I gave my baby rocking chair away. It had been my prized possession when Motor Mouth was a baby. I know I rocked him around the world and back again.
I kept thinking that when she gets over this sickness she will stop the crying. When she gets old enough to talk she will stop crying. If this or that or this or that she will stop the crying. It has been 4 years and I am exhausted. Her crying is the one thing that can set me off in 2 seconds.

We have started putting her on the naughty chair every time she cries. I pray to God it works. I need some relief from the crying.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Parent Fail #327

Thursday, I got to work with Motor Mouth on time and with such a wonderful, peaceful morning under our belts. Everything just flowed and went so smoothly. I even got to work early! Then Motor Mouth saw another kid from his class and said, "Mommy! It's Pajama Day today!!"

In a shocked and dazed state, I quickly made it to his teacher who...was wearing HER pajamas. Nice.
I had an 8:00 am marketing meeting and spent 7:35 to 7:50 trying to reach my husband to ask him to head back home to get a pair of PJ's for Motor Mouth. Did I mention J was to be in the 8:00 am meeting with me?

Clearly, Daddy saved the day as I found Motor Mouth's discarded jeans and shirt in a heap next to my office chair. I have since learned Motor Mouth's Star Wars PJs were a big hit with the kids in his class. Seems he has cool hair and cool PJs.

Friday morning, Mini Me told us it was Pajama Day at her school. Naturally, we did not believe our 3 year old because we thought she just wanted to wear PJs like her brother did the day before. We told Mini Me her teacher would have given us a note if that were the case. Mini Me said she heard her principal talk and say to wear pajamas on Friday. On went the uniform.

As J was putting her lunch in her backpack, he noticed the note from her teacher saying that for a $1 donation, Mini Me could wear pajamas today. Did I mention the kids and I had our coats on and we were on time so I could get to work on time??

Mini Me looked very cute in her pajamas with her robe hanging down past her coat. And she has a great time at pajama day. I was 15 minutes late for work.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Reunited and it feels so good!!

This is me in grade 9 or 10 with my friend Churcher. I had good times with Churcher. We used to volunteer at the hospital every Friday after school to deliver flowers to patients. I got involved and suckered her in some how. Not sure how I managed it. We were supposed to be Candy Stripers. You know, pink and white striped dress, ankle socks. Well, Churcher was not exactly the dress wearing type. We very soon began wearing blue jackets instead.

I met Churcher in grade 8 when her family lived in our school area. I remember how excited she was when she won a battle to attend our high school. Churcher took a couple city buses every day to get to school. We lost touch after grade 12. I have missed this girl for all these years and wondered where she was and what happened to her.
Months ago, I commented on this photo of Churcher posted by a mutual high school friend, basically asking if anyone knew what happened to her. This week, the mutual friend's sister works with Churcher and passed on my email address and I exchanged emails with Churcher tonight. How awesome is that?!!