Monday, August 30, 2010

Special lunch

One Saturday a few weeks ago when Bill was working I decided to make lunch fun.
Syd and I had a little party.
we brought her table into the kitchen

we had fun finger food

used fancy tooth picks

and tried to keep this guy out of our plates!

it does not have to be a special day or event to have a special lunch

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Chicken Stock

If you guessed that we made chicken stock you are correct. Each winter I buy so much stock, chicken and beef but more chicken. I love to make soup and most of them require stock of some sort. I decided I am tired of paying for stock when it is so easy to make. I roughly followed this recipe and then froze the stock in various portion sizes. When making soup I need quart size containers but sometimes I need a 1/4 or 1/2 cup to make a sauce or cook some couscous so I did freeze some smaller portions. So far it is working great and I used the chicken that cooked in the stock for chicken pot pie so really nothing went to waste. Have you ever made stock?

2 (3 1/2 to 4 pound) chickens, well rinsed, quartered with the excess fat removed (I used chicken pieces- legs and thighs because that was what I had on hand)
1 1/2 gallons cold water, or enough to cover the chickens
2 cups coarsely chopped onions
1 cup coarsely chopped carrots
1 cup coarsely chopped celery
1/4 cup peeled garlic
Sachet consisting of: 2 bay leaves, 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, 1/4 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns, 4 parsley stems, wrapped in cheesecloth and tied with string
Place all the ingredients into a large (3 to 4 gallon) stockpot and set over a medium-high heat. Bring the contents of the pot to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Skim the impurities and fat that rise to the top. Cook the stock over the next 6 hours, skimming as needed. Do not allow the stock to boil, or the fat and scum will mix with the stock and cause it to become cloudy.

When the stock is complete, strain through a fine mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth and refrigerate or freeze what is not used. Once cool enough to handle, pick the meat off of the chicken bones and use it for a chicken salad, or a soup, gumbo or ragout.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Any Guesses?

Random tidbits

Can you believe it is the middle of August? I am craving autumn!!! I absolutely love fall, I do believe it is my favorite season although I like each season. Interested in why I love fall, check out this post.

While at Walmart a few days ago they had all the back to school sales- crayons for 25 cents, watercolor paints for 1 dollar, folders 15 cents. I stood staring at all the bright colored folders just trying to come up with a reason to buy them. I could not think of a good use for them at this point so I did not purchase any but it was so tempting. I did touch them, there is something about new school supplies, a crisp folder, a newly sharpened pencil. Tell me I am not the only one who feels this way. I did buy a few items because I stock up when on sale. I love giving craft bags for birthday presents and occasionally I use new craft supplies as a prize for Syd or a stocking stuffer or Easter basket filler. I bought several containers of Elmer's glue because we may decide to make more glue and cinnamon ornaments.

We had a budget overhaul at our house a few weeks ago. My husband and I are both fortunate enough to have good jobs but we also have bills. I am in charge of paying bills and have been since we moved to NC. When we lived in Indiana and I was getting my Master's degree Bill was in charge of the check book. Bill's business and the quality of leads has changed lately and after discussing we felt the need to change some spending habits. We are striving to be responsible and simplify. One change we made was to cancel DVR and TV on demand. Sydney is so confused, she just doesn't understand why I cannot just turn on Angelina Ballerina or Bernstein Bears. Personally I do miss a few shows and the ability to record shows and order a movie but TV is not a necessity and we do still have one just less options. We are also continuing to watch eating out and entertainment expenses. It is hard to be responsible at times. We were planning to sign Sydney up for dance but after discussing things we decided not to this fall. Syd has no idea what she is even missing but it still was a hard decision for us. When I was pregnant with Griffin at the very end I was tired and Bill started blocking one week day evening to be home and help me with the kids. Since Syd is not doing dance Bill is going to start working that extra day to get more leads and hopefully more income.

Hmm, I guess that's all my random thoughts for now.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Val and Vinny

My friend Val and I at the beach. I have introduced you to Val before and told you all that we have in common.
Since we are both PAs we both went to the conference at the beach and our families shared a condo.
We took this photo before we headed out to a talk that Val was giving on headaches and treatment options. It is one of the very few times while we were at the beach that we did our hair and applied makeup.

This is Vinny, Griffin's little friend.

He loves to point

Vinny at the beach 2010

yeah so much fun

standing up to stairs in condo

hanging out at the water park

loving the sun and water

thinking about the stairs again

we had a great week at the beach with our friends!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A few (okay several) favorites

Griffin and Bill under Apache Pier

Sydney rolling in the waves, she is fearless!

Griffin and I on the beach. This is not my favorite picture of me but I love the way my little man is holding onto my suit.

Syd running out onto the beach

laying back in the water

so calm and still

soaking up the sun

Sydney and Bill on the lazy river

on a not so lazy ride
daddy was playing motor boat

the water slide
remember the slide last year

I took this picture at just the right moment

Griffin spitting out his paci so he could eat sand and shells

Griffin screaming because I took the shells out of his mouth

sweet, sleeping, sick

Syd creating sand masterpieces

I love when Griffin sits like this, so cute


splashing in water

eating more sand

so happy playing on beach

Bill demonstrating how to ride surf board

ready to ride waves

so sleepy after playing in sun

we had a wonderful week, more pictures to come

Monday, August 23, 2010

Home away from home

Our section of the condo

living room and eating area

upstairs living room

view from upstairs

kitchen area and balcony

our bathroom

upstairs area

Syd checking out all bathrooms

One of kids rooms
our room

little decorations

just to remind you where you are in case you forgot

we went to Myrtle Beach for the North Carolina Academy of Physician Assistants summer conference
We had a great trip and there are many more pictures to follow