Sunday, May 31, 2009

Daybook - June 1

Outside My Window... Nice sunny mid 70's day.

I am thinking... it's almost time to leave for a birthday party we're attending for a 3 year old.

I am thankful for... no major catastrophies while Michael is away.
From the learning rooms... phonograms 35-43, addition drills, reading a few more verses in Proverbs, "Under the Sea"

From the kitchen... tortilla pizzas and fruit for dinner

I am wearing... a long denim skirt and red and white sleeveless top.

I am creating... a packing list

I am going... to Florida in 2 weeks (I miss my family and friends)!!

I am reading... "The Awakening" by Kate Chopin (not sure if I will continue this book, seems it might get inappropriate sexually) but I could be very wrong. Then I'll start on the complete set of Jane Austen novels

I am hoping... Rachael is feeling better when she wakes from her nap.

I am hearing... boys playing.

Around the house... bathrooms need to be cleaned and everything needs dusted.

One of my favorite things... my garden. It's coming along nicely, we might even get to eat some lettuce from it next week.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week... birthday party to attend today, appt. tomorrow morning, meal for MOPS friend who had a baby, physical therapy for Eli (thankfully all of these things are on different days)

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Be sure to visit the Simple Woman's Daybook for more wonderful entries.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Rachael's first hike

I'm so glad our weather has turned nice, we were really itching to do some hiking and exploring and today was the perfect day. Michael took the afternoon off, so it was a great time for us to get out. We drove out to Cheyenne Canyon and set off on one of the trails.
Today was Rachael's first hike (she was born late last summer) and she LOVED every bit of it! I wore her in the Beco Butterfly II (this was her first time on my back) and it was wonderful!

The boys adore this time of "exploring" and it is so good for them to have a change of scenery to explore and just be boys. Of course, they still make this mama's heart skitter when they get too close to the swift river many feet below or they try running downhill, but they are amazingly well behaved when we are on these walks.

Aren't these the cutest boys? They definitely fill my life with finer things.

You Capture - family

This was actually taken weekend before last, but I just love it so much! It truly shows who we are! We are at a stage where it is very difficult to take a photo of all 5 of us because the boys never want to sit still and Rachael seems to just copy them when she can! Just getting everyone looking in the general direction of the camera is challenging, but creates the best shots that really depict what this family is like.

This was taken on the Pueblo River Walk.

Be sure to visit Beth's site for more amazing family photos.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A birthday boy!

Today, my little guy is 3 years old. He's really not such a little guy any more. He's turning into a big kid much faster than I'd like.

Inside that tough-boy, strong-willed exterior, is one of the sweetest little boys you will ever meet and he really has a heart that will make him a very fine husband and gentleman one day.

He is a true treasure and God really knew putting him in my life would teach me some necessary (but very difficult) lessons in patience, gentleness, encouragement and love. I'm still working on learning those lessons to the fullest and feel like I am finally getting thru to the real heart of Eli. Every glimpse I see of what God has in store for him nearly brings me to tears.

* this is currently Eli's only camera face. He can't even do a normal non-smile face these days.... it's very amusing!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Homemade chicken stock - the easy way.

We love chicken around here and I love making one chicken go as far as possible.

My new favorite and super easy way to cook a whole chicken is in the crockpot. It's so simple and so delicious. You throw the chicken in, season and put on low for 6-8 hours. Really, what could be simpler?

So, in keeping with stretching that chicken as far as it can possibly go, I make chicken broth/stock from it. And I do it the easy way, also!

Note: this is usually done just after dinner since I've cooked the chicken to have some for dinner. Once I remove the chicken from the crockpot, I let it cool until it is manageable, then get to work separating it. I remove all the good meat (to freeze), then put EVERYTHING (skin, giblets, bones, etc.) back into the crockpot with whatever liquid the chicken has already given off. I then chop an onion, 2-3 celery stalks and 2-3 carrots and throw them in (you don't have to bother peeling the veggies since it will all be strained out later). Add enough COLD water to fill my pot about 1/2" from the top and add desired seasoning. Put the lid back on and leave it on low until the next morning (I usually don't have time to tend to it until after breakfast).

I turn it off and let it cool for a while, then strain the "stuff" thru a mesh strainer into a large pot.  I do discard all the "stuff" that gets strained out and then I strain the liquid once more through a super fine mesh strainer. Once cooled a bit more, I then transfer into pint (2 cup) jars or pint freezer containers (whichever I have available). I then let it cool completely in the fridge and skim off the fat that has floated to the top.  The following morning, once I'm certain it's cooled completely, I transfer the containers to the freezer for later use.

Tip: If you start with a cold chicken and don't add any water to it while it's cooking (it will give off it's own broth), the stock you make later will be more gelatinous because the bones release their gelatin better when they start off cold, rather than shocked with hot water. 

Be sure to visit The Stock Exchange over at Parenting the Tiniest of Miracles today for more great recipes and tips for making stock.