Coriander Chicken Kebabs with Yogurt Sauce


I found another delicious recipe from Cooking Classy!
 I am so happy when I find a recipe that both my kids and husband like. This recipe is easy to make with lots of flavor. It is going into our rotation. 



Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or less if you don't like heat)
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Cilantro Yogurt Sauce
  • 1/2 cup fat-free plain greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp cream (optional)
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1 fair pinch dried ginger
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Directions
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, 1/2 tsp lemon zest, 2 cloves garlic, coriander, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Place chicken pieces in a large resealable bag and pour marinade over chicken. Seal bag and press chicken into marinade. Allow to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Thread chicken onto skewers (if using wooden skewers soak in warm water for 5 minutes). Preheat a grill over medium-high heat. Brush grill lightly with oil and grill chicken, rotating once halfway through grilling, until cooked through, about 9 minutes. Serve warm with Lemon Cilantro Yogurt Sauce.
  • For Lemon Cilantro Yogurt Sauce:
  • Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator.
Enjoy!





Daughter's Strabismus Surgery



We have gone through a hard past few days. My little Emily had her strabismus surgery, to loosen and tighten her eye muscles. Emily was 3 when I noticed her slight misalignment in her left eye. We had her checked out right away and the ophthalmologist prescribed her glasses to try and strengthen her muscle. After one year we did not see any difference in the alignment of the eye, so the ophthalmologist suggested that patch her eye 2 hours a day. We did this for 2 years, without any significant correction. In fact I noticed that by now both of her eyes were misaligned. 


We got a new ophthalmologist and things finally started going somewhere. She started checking Emily every 2 months and said that she was a perfect candidate for strabismus surgery. I was a nervous wreck leading up to the surgery, I was trying to find anything I could online about the procedure and what to expect. I couldn't find much on how kids handle this procedure and decided to write a post to hopefully help someone in the same situation. 

Emily on the day of her procedure. She was giddy and nervous not really knowing what to expect. 


I think the hardest part was the first few hours after the procedure. When Emily came home she couldn't walk so she had to be carried. We got her comfortable in bed. She was crying because her eyes hurt. She fell asleep for an hour or so. She then woke up crying, we applied ice compresses to her eyes and that seemed to help with the pain. 

She was hungry by now since she wasn't allowed to eat after midnight the night of there procedure. 
I made her some scrambled eggs and cut up a banana for her, I had to feed her since she wouldn't open her eyes. I also had to carry her to the bathroom since she couldn't see where she was going. 

The doctor said that she should drink ice cold water and eat cold things because the cold in her mouth can help with the swelling in the eyes. 

I fed her some ice cream and she went back to sleep. 

She woke up crying again. It was so hard to see her this way. I just held her and cuddled with her and helped her hold the ice pack on her eyes. Her tears were bloody (which is normal after the procedure).

By now it was already noon (her procedure was at 8am)
She remembered that the night before I got her a "get well" present and she wanted to open it now. 

She pried her eyes open and I was shocked to see how bloody the inner whites were. I didn't let her see my shock, instead we opened her present. I got her the Princess Sophia Royal Family dolls and a DVD. She asked if she could watch the dvd.

I carried her downstairs and got her comfortable on the couch. 
She watched the movie while she dabbed her watery eyes and applied ice compresses. 

After the movie she started to play with her new dolls. It is amazing how fast she was bouncing back. 

By the evening she was already up and about playing with her brother. I gave her tylenol for the pain every 4 hours. She fell asleep at 9pm that night and woke up around midnight from the pain. I gave her more tylenol and she slept till morning. 

The next day my little sunshine was feeling so much better, but she still complained of pain around her eyes ( she didn't want to wear her glasses) and her eyes were watery (she carried around a tissue)
So I gave her tylenol every 4 hours. Other then that she was back to playing and running around with her brother. 

We had to apply an eye antibiotic twice a day which she hated. It made her eyes blurry for a bit. I would put it on and then cuddle with her to make her feel better for a minute or two. 


Peach Pie


What says summer more then peach pie? 
This is by far my favorite kind of pie, ok, maybe along with berry pie. The flaky crust combined with delicious peaches with a hint of cinnamon is incredible. Don't be surprised if you reach  for that second slice. 

Ingredients:







1st Zoo Trip of the Year

We finally made it out to the Zoo this year. We decided to get yearly membership, since just one time visit for our family would cost about 1/2 of the yearly admission.

I love going to the zoo, I know, I know--- why?  I am a big kid. It's just something we did all the time as a kid and I enjoyed it and I still do. My kids love it too.

We surprised the kids this morning and they were ecstatic, they ate their breakfast really quick. No nagging them about finishing their food. :)

We made it there just 45 minutes after they opened and beat the Sunday crowd. We had a wonderful time. Baby William slept almost the entire time! He really loves his stroller.

We even got to see the lion keepers feed the lions today. Pretty awesome. The lion and lioness had 3 cubs 9 months ago. They are already almost 100 lbs each!

We are planning on going back soon with some friends, perhaps with a picnic lunch packed next time.

Love that we got yearly membership, and I am planning on fully taking advantage of that. 

Here's to more zoo trips :)







June Birchbox 2014


I am always eagerly awaiting my monthly birchbox. It's like a little present for me every month.

Let me tell you what birch box is, just in case you are not familiar with it.
It's a monthly subscription service which is $10.00 a month where you get sent 4-5 high-end samples each month. First you take a little survey so they can find out more about your skin, make up likes and dislikes so they know what to send you.

You then get to try out the products and review them on birchbox.com. For each review you get 10 points. Every 100 points equals $10 you can use in the shop. So if you review your 5 samples each month, thats $5 going back to you to use in the shop. So technically each box costs $5! Now, you can't beat a $5 little present for yourself, now can you? :)

With the birch box, I can try high end products without having to buy full size products. If I love the product, then I can go buy it :)

If you are interested in checking it out, go to Birch Box


5 Month Update



This little guy has mastered so many skills in the last month. Like rolling over as soon as he gets on a flat surface and discovering his voice. He will "talk" and scream with delight, pull his socks off and  even put his feet in his mouth. 


Weight/Length:  He is a healthy big boy.  I will get an exact weight and measurement on his next apt which is at 6 months. 
Sleep: He goes down anywhere from 9pm-10:30pm and sleeps till 6:30-7:30 in the morning. We co sleep, so as soon as I hear him moving around, and starting to wake up, I nurse him and he continues to sleep- which is usually at 12am, 3 am and 6am. He doesn't poop at night, so I don't change his diaper till he wakes up in the morning. He also sleeps really well in a stroller when we go on walks/shopping or the outside swing.
If he is fussy during the day, I swaddle him and give him a binky and rock him, he instantly falls asleep. I notice that motion is his secret. Anything moving puts him to sleep. 
Eating: We are still breast feeding, but we also have started to introduce solids. Everything he tried he liked so far. We have tried whole wheat baby cereal, avocado, banana, apples, squash. He especially enjoys his boon feeder ( I load it up with any kind of fruit we have and he will sit in his high chair feed him self, if he drops it, he gets really upset. 

William is learning how to use his straw sippy cup. All of my kids preferred a straw cup in the beginning because they did not have to lift it up to drink, and this one is great.


Sun-dried Tomato and Broccoli Pasta




I love pasta. No question about it. I have a few recipes I love and this one is one of my favorites because it is so simple to make and yet so delicious. You can serve with a salad and have a filling and delicious meal in about 30 minutes!

INGREDIENTS:

3 TB Olive oil
4 Cloves of garlic (sliced or coarsely shopped)
1 jar (8 oz) Sun Dried tomatoes  in oil
2 heads of broccoli (chopped)
1 box of pasta (penne or rigatoni) Cooked according to package instructions
salt and pepper
paprika
Parmesan cheese to serve


Preparation Instructions:

In a large saute pan, add olive oil and chopped garlic. Sauté for a minute or so, then add the sun dried tomatoes and all of the oil into the pan. Increase heat to med-high. Stir until fully combined and let cook for about 5 minutes on med-high heat. 

Add the broccoli. Stir to coat the broccoli well in the oil (you might need to add some more oil for richness) Combine all ingredients and cook on high heat about 10-15 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and 1/2 tsp of paprika. The sun dried tomatoes should be soft and dark. When broccoli is fork tender, it is done.

Throw the cooked pasta into the pan and mix well with the sauce. 

Serve with parmesan cheese.

Enjoy!








Back Yard Before and After

We have been working on our backyard and it is finally coming together. 

It has been one of those project that has been put on the back burner because it was so big. But now that most of the inside projects are done, so we have started working on the outside. 

I used to hate being in the back yard during the summer, because it was so HOT out there. The sun hit the patio directly, and even with a gazebo, it was too hot. 

We hired a friend to build us a patio roof last year, but it wasn't finished until fall time, after that we stopped working on the yard. 
Now that it is spring/summer, we have started cleaning the yard and planting some plants. 
We still want to paint the house and replace the roof, but those big projects will have to wait until next year. 

But even so, we love it now. We have a space for everything: grass for playing, playground, sandbox, garden boxes, and patio for dining. 

Welcome to my back yard...



Here is the before:


and After:


Last Day of Kindergarten

Miss Emily has finished her last day of kindergarten today!!

We have finished the curriculum Little Hearts for His Glory from front page to back page! Yippee!!


This year flew by so fast! I can't believe my little girl is now a 1st grader! I am not ready for her to grow up, but she is right before my very eyes. 

She is such a smart little cookie! She learned to read, write sentences, count to 100, do math problems and so much more. She is such a curious child, she will ask questions all day long, and if I don't know the answer she asks me to look it up online or find her a youtube video. Just today she asked me how plastic is made, so we looked it up :)

 I am learning so much just by teaching her.

I will be getting her a 1st grade workbook, which she will work on this summer (just to keep her skills sharp and so she doesn't forget everything) 


But now, bring on Summer!!



People have asked me weather or not I am going to be homeschooling for the next school year. My answer is "I don't know yet". I really enjoyed home schooling her this year and watch her succeed. We got school done in 2 hours or less, and then she was free to enjoy herself. 

It is just much harder now with a baby and I am struggling on getting everything done. 

There are three options for the next school year:


Homeschool 1st grade 
(I will need to figure out which curriculum as well)


Pros: 
I will continue to see my daughter all day long
My daughter wants to continue homeschooling
 I get to teach her at her level, she won't be held back or left behind
No need on waking up early and rushing around to get to the bus or driving her with the rest of the kids in tow. 

Cons: 
I feel stretched to the limit some days
Always wondering how we are doing (academic wise) and if she is doing enough since we are able to finish school so fast. 


Church Private School


Pros: 
It will give me more time with the younger kids. 
Affiliated with our Church 
She will be with her friends from church
She will learn Russian
She will be with children her age and able to attend field trips



Cons:
I won't see her 9am-4pm
Homework after she gets home- which means very limited amount of  family time
It is about 30 min away (no traffic) with traffic it is longer (but there is a carpool)
Monthly Tuition
Packing lunches

Public School

Pros:
It will give me more time with the younger kids. 
She will be around children her own age
I will know at what level she is academically

Cons:
I won't see her 9am-4pm
Homework after school means very little family time
I will need to get all the kids and drive her and pick her up, or have her take the bus (scary for me)


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 


As you can see, we have so much to think and pray about this summer. 
Miss Emily also has her strabismus surgery next week and will be healing after wards. 
So that is kind off a priority on my mind right now, I am praying God will bless the doctors hands and everything goes well. After that we will decide on the schooling question, but any input is appreciated. 



Bring on Summer!







Fathers Day Questioner "Card"

Fathers Day is just around the corner, So we have begun working on some Fathers Day gifts. I love the questioner type cards the kids can enter because they are so funny. It's so cute to see the kids honestly answer some questions.








We found this printable at Faithful Provisions 




Lemon Blueberry Cake


When I think of summer, I think Blueberries! 
It's no secret that blueberries are a favorite in our house,  we go picking at least two times during the summer, The kids love it!  We eat a ton and freeze a ton for baking and snacking.  When I saw this recipe, I just knew that I had to try it. I mean blueberries and lemons?! Can there be a better combination for a summer cake?

I love the combination of the lemon and blueberries, and the cream cheese frosting? YUM!
It is full of flavor and so moist and soft. 
 I can not wait to make it again with some fresh farm blueberries. 

Recipe is from Cooking Classy

Ingredients:
CAKE
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour     * I had no cake flour, so I substituted
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp milk
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

  • Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 16 oz cream cheese, softened (2 pkgs)
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • Blueberries and lemon slices, for garnish (optional)


Directions
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 4 9-inch round baking pans and line the bottom of each with a round of parchment paper. Butter parchment paper and lightly dust pan with flour, shaking out excess.
  • Sift cake flour into a mixing bowl. Add all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and whisk for 30 seconds, set aside. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, whip together butter, granulated sugar and lemon zest until mixture is pale and fluffy. In a 2 cup liquid measuring cup, measure out milk then stir in sour cream and lemon juice, let rest 3 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, mix eggs into butter mixture one a time, then stir in lemon juice and vanilla extract. Toss blueberries with 3 Tbsp of the flour mixture. Working in three separate batches, beginning and ending with remaining flour mixture, add 1/3 of the flour mixture alternating with 1/2 of the milk mixture and mixing just until combined after each addition. Gently fold in blueberries. Divide mixture evenly among prepared baking pans. Bake in preheated oven until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 27-30 minutes. Cool in baking pans about 20 - 30 minute then invert onto wire racks to cool completely. Once cool, frost with cream cheese frosting and decorate with blueberries and lemon slices if desired. Store in an airtight container.
  • Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitter with the paddle attachment, whip butter until pale and fluffy. Add cream cheese and mix until smooth and fluffy. Add vanilla and lemon extract and powdered sugar and blend several minutes longer until smooth and fluffy (if frosting seems slightly runny, you can chill it for a bit before frosting cake).

Enjoy!







Hot Weather Favorites


It has been so warm lately, and I have been loving it. Sunnshine= Happiness, right?
I have been using my warm weather favorites, and wanted to share them with you.  


I have fine/thin hair and during the summer it gets really oily, especially if I am not washing it daily. I like to freshen it up with my favorite dry shampoo: NYM Clean Freak. I have about 6 other brands, and this is my favorite, I have lost count of how many cans I have gone through.


I love this sea salt spray for my hair. I just spray it into my ends and let my hair dry naturally. I love the look of wavy hair during the summer. Just don't forget to also use a leave in conditioner on your ends or you will dry out your ends. Its all natural, which is awesome. 


I burn really fast in the sun, so sun block is a must for me. However, if I am outside, I can get lazy about reapplying it. So I love this spray sunblock, I can reapply regularly and not get my hands all in unblock, So I have no excuse for laziness. This one is my favorite, It is waterproof, sweat proof, paraben free, oil free, uva/uvb protection. 



I use a different sunscreen for my face: Kiehls Super Fluid, I have tried a lot of different face sunblocks, and love this one the best. It is very watery and dries really fast so I can apply makeup on top. This is my 2nd bottle. Love it!


So what does a pale girl who doesn't tan do in the summer? Use sunless tanner off course. This is my favorite sunless tanner, it is a mouse which you apply with a mitt, it is tinted, so you can see where you have applied it, which helps with avoiding streaks. After 6 hours, wash it off and you have beautifully bronzed skin. 


I am a chap-stick freak, I have to always have some on my lips, These are so amazing! They literally melt on top of your lips, they taste amazing and they have SPF! I am currently using the mango and pomegranate.



Weekend Getaway to the Oregon Coast

We decided to go on a last minute weekend beach getaway to the Oregon Coast. We stayed in our trusty condo, which happens to be a time share. We don't own the time share, we just know someone who knows someone.... ;)

Now Oregon beaches are not your dreamy sandy beaches with warm water and palm trees swaying... Instead they are usually cold, especially in Spring. This weekend it was in the 60's... brrr.... Never the less, we still enjoyed every minute of it. 

We went with our friends, who also have 3 kids. So there were 6 kids under 7! It was crazy, but so fun! The kids are still talking about it. 
We all stayed in a 3 bedroom condo and pitched in with the food. And let me tell you, there was so much food and I ate way to much.


We are already planning on going again in the summer, hopefully on a hot day, or at least warm enough to swim in the condo pool.