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Baby Faces

 

 

 

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This week, Derrick will be visiting his Mom and Kaitie & Gracie will be home. So we will be having a Pizza & a Movie night with some baking, too!

Here is this week’s menu…

Monday:

Lunch ~ Apple Swiss Turkey Sandwiches and Smart Food white cheddar popcorn

I found this recipe in the “Good Food Kids Love” mini recipe mag from “Taste of Home”. I’m a sucker for their recipe books! They always have plenty that I find interesting. This turned out to be a delicious sandwich! All the kids ate theirs. I love finding new sandwiches – the same ones over and over again just get boring!

Dinner ~ Chicken Stuffed Shells

I saw a few stuffed shells recipes while I was going through my cookbooks doing this week’s meal planning, and I decided to make my own with ground chicken. Gracie is not a big fan of most meats, but she loves poultry. So, this one’s for her! This dinner disappeared fast! Memo to me…cut up the shells for the kids next time. They ate the stuffing and picked up the shells with their fingers!

Chicken Stuffed Shells

1 pound package of ground chicken

1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning (I like Emeril’s)

1 cup of minced carrots (I like to finely chop shredded carrots)

1 medium onion, diced small

1 celery stalk, diced small

2 cloves of garlic

salt & pepper to taste

homemade or jarred tomato sauce

12 large pasta shells

Parmesan cheese

olive oil

Cook pasta shells according to package directions. Add olive oil to preheated pan. Add carrots, onions, celery, and garlic. Sweat the veggies until they are soft, then add the ground chicken, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Cook the chicken through while mixing the ingredients together. Add about a cupful of the pasta sauce to the chicken mixture, stir to combine. Stuff the pasta shells and arrange in a dish, then cover with sauce and sprinkle with cheese.

Tuesday:

Lunch ~ fruit & cheese kabobs with cinnamon yogurt dip and pretzel sticks

This lunch could not be any easier. Wash, cut, and skewer grapes, strawberries and cheese cubes. Add some cinnamon to vanilla yogurt, and you’re good to go. Just make sure to pack enough skewers to fill ’em up.

Dinner ~ beef, bean, and avocado tacos

Any variation on a taco theme is a huge hit at our house! Here’s our version of tacos. I like the Garden of Eatin’ taco shells – make sure to heat them in the oven a bit before you stuff them. I like to brown the ground beef with a packet of taco seasoning, then mix in a can of refried beans (Amy’s are my favorite). I stuff the shellswith the beef & bean mixture, two slices of avocado, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, chopped black olives, finely chopped green onions, and sour cream. Everyone’s favorite salsa is served on the side. These get wolfed down faster than I can take my first bite!

Wednesday:

Lunch ~ Crunchy Vegetable Spread with a fruit cup

This recipe is also from “Taste of Home”. I modified it, using green onions and a few different pepper colors. I also added a teaspoonful of Lawry’s Seasoned Salt. This was accompanied by Publix Greenwise’s new wheat crackers – they are really yummy like Wheat Thins, but without  the hydrogenated oils – a major plus in my book!

Dinner ~ Honey Glazed Chicken & Carrots

Yum! This recipe is from Pillsbury’s “Hamburger & Chicken” mini recipe mag. I tried to find it online for you, but can’t. So, here is my modified version of the recipe:

Honey Glazed Chicken & Carrots

DSC_0015

Wide egg noodles

olive oil

8 chicken thighs

3 – 4 slices of uncured bacon

1 medium onion

1 package baby carrots

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup red wine vinegar (I used a nice Cabernet Sauvignon vinegar)

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

DSC_0016Cook an appropriate amount of the egg noodles for the number of people you are serving. Turn the oven on broil. Place the chicken thighs, skin side up, on a broiler-safe baking sheet. Oil, salt and pepper the chicken. Broil the chicken until the skin is crispy and the internal temperature reaches 175°.

While that is cooking, preheat a large pan over medium heat, then add the bacon and onions. Once the bacon starts to render, add the carrots. Cook for 10 minutes, then add the honey, vinegar and thyme. Stir frequently until the sauce thickens, then add the cooked chicken, skin side down. Lift the pan and shimmy the chicken around in the sauce to get it good and covered. Place the egg noodles in a serving dish, then place the chicken on top, skin side up. Pour the carrot mixture over the top of the chicken.

Try not to eat it all on the way to the table!

Thursday:

Lunch ~ Good ole’ pb&j with a cheese stick and carrots & dip

Dinner ~ Rock Stars with Confetti and Bow Ties

Family Fun’s Family Cookbook has a recipe for pasta with veggie cut outs. I like the idea, so I just changed it up a bit.227 Bell peppers tend to be very heavy on the pesticide, so if you can’t find organic peppers, make sure you wash them thoroughly with veggie wash!I like the way this recipe turned out, so it is very likely to make a reappearance on a future Family Friday Rock Star theme.

Before dinner, we baked a batch of Immaculate Baking Company’s vanilla sugar cookies. I love that they are dairy free and have nothing at all icky in them! I mixed up a quick glaze of powdered sugar and plain Almond Breeze and sprinkled some Let’s Do Organic sprinkles on the top.

Rock Stars with Confetti & Bow Ties225

1 package of boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces

1 red bell pepper

1 yellow bell pepper

1 green bell pepper

1 zucchini

1 large yellow squash

1 medium to large carrot (or a big handful of shredded carrots)229

1 box of bow tie pasta

1 tablespoon of Italian Seasoning

olive oil

Cook the bow tie pasta according to package directions. Using a star shaped mini cookie cutter, cut the veggies into star shapes. No need to throw away the excess – just dice it into “confetti”! Preheat a large pan over medium heat, then add about a tablespoon or so of the oil and chicken. Cook the chicken, then remove it to a plate. Add a bit more oil if necessary, then add the veggie stars and confetti. Cook until desired doneness, then add the chicken back into the pan with the Italian seasoning and cooked pasta. Stir well to combine.  Rock on!

230After dinner, we enjoyed the cookies we made with some ice cream!

Well, mine was made with Turtle Mountain’s Purely Decadent coconut milk ice cream. It’s delicious!!!

Baby Caroline is dairy sensitive, and I don’t do soy, so these products are perfect for me. Their coconut milk yogurt is awesome, too!

I hope you enjoyed this week’s goodies… See you next week! :o)

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Chances are, the majority of the first readers to stop by here will be friends and family. But, since the random passer-by (Hi, Random Passer-By!) is possible, I’ll tell you all about our family and what you should expect to see here.

Let’s start with li’l ole me… Kimi's Wedding PhotoYes, it’s my wedding picture. Yes, I’m totally made up and looking unusually spiffy. Don’t worry, the real me will turn up soon enough. But I digress…

I was born in Florida and have lived here my whole life. I love it! Well, with the exception of a few unreasonably hot days in the summer and some equally unreasonably cold days in the winter – it’s fantastic. No matter where you go, there are all kinds of adventures accessible within a tankful’s range.

I feel like I’ve lived a pretty interesting life. My lifelong interests include horseback riding, martial arts, swimming, reading, writing, music, and theater. I’ve held a good variety jobs, including bakery employee, veterinary clinic receptionist, horseback riding instructor, swimming pool leak locator, scuba instructor, nanny, and Mom. I like that last one best.

Most of what you’ll read on this blog have to do with that last (and best) job. It has quite a job description! Childcare professional, educator, housekeeper, personal assistant, chef, baker, baby milk maker (moo), bedtime tucker-inner, lullaby singer, referee, defender of the peace, and all-around good snuggler (just to name a few key resume points).

I love my job, and it definitely keeps me busy. Like right now, for example, I have a peaceful, cuddly, warm baby fast asleep in my lap…but if I move her…well, not so peaceful anymore. Moments like this give me plenty of time online, but not so much time for the rest of my job. But seriously now, who could pass up that much sweetness and sugar all in one tiny little package? Which brings me to my wonderful husband…

DSC_0008 This is Adam with our sweet little bundle of honeysuckle goodness (you’ll meet her later). Did I completely cheat by jumping right past his fancy wedding picture into the deep end of randomness? Yep. But the blog is called that for a reason, after all. Anyway, Adam is completely, totally, and in all ways amazing. Not only is he one of the funniest people I’ve ever known (closely rivalled by my daughter Gracie, another one you’ll meet later), but he is the kind of husband and father every family needs. He’s smart, hard-working, motivated, multi-talented, loving, and would do absolutely anything for us. Does it get any better than that? I think not. He is a printed circuit board designer by day and an aspiring movie maker with an affection for horror movie makeup by night. He also once had a gig as a drummer in a punk band. It doesn’t get much more random than that…starting to understand the theme? Let’s move on…

Gracie This is Peyton Grace. AKA “Gracie”. Doesn’t she look sweet and pretty, playing in the pool dappled with sunlight? Yep, she’ll cute the “awww!”s right out of anyone, but don’t be fooled! Note the impish grin? Yes, this darling beauty is the quiet stinker of the house and hands-down the funniest kid I’ve ever met. Invariably, Gracie will come up with some perfect little gem of 5-year-old silliness that puts me in stitches. Yes, they will all end up posted here (check out the Twitter feed up there on the right). Her favorite things include horses, swimming, princesses, and any cute animal.

Here’s an interesting fact about my wonderful Princess Grace: she was born with a thumb and two fused fingers on her right hand (complete simple syndactyly). When she was six months old, she had surgery to separate them at Arnold Palmer Hospital, performed by Dr. Birnbaum of Nemours. The results were fantastic, and Gracie has never let it slow her down. She is truly amazing and thinks it’s really cool that she can reach in places the rest of us can’t! If you ask her, she’ll tell you all about how the doctor gave her a heart-shaped scar on her fingers so she’ll always remember Mommy loves her.

Next is my Kaitlynn Beth. AKA “Kaitie”. Gracie’s twin and our tomboy in a tiara. DSC_0170Always laughing, always playful, she can really put a smile on our faces. She’s smart as a whip, but often has her head in the clouds, which can make her challenging sometimes. A natural athlete ( the kid has one hell of a six pack for a five-year-old), she has had her share of bumps and bruises while giving me mommy-heart-attacks. She loves to swim, and is learning how to snorkel. She’s an avid reader and can do so at about second grade level. Some of her favorite things are animals, books, art, and princesses.

DSC_0104My stepson Derrick Orion rounds out the list of bigs (that’s short for “big kids” around here). Cute as a button, our seven-year-old bean pole is as tall as most nine-year-olds. He’s one of those kids that makes you wish the energy he has came in a bottle. Consequently, one of his favorite things to do is run. Fast. His non-stop “play mode” does get him into trouble sometimes, doing homework with him is often like pulling teeth, but this sweet little blue-green-eyed boy doesn’t have a mean bone in his body. Some of his favorite interests include dinosaurs, sharks, reading, TV, and video games (which, to his dismay, are not free-flowing around here).

Last, but certainly not least, our “little”. Sweet baby Caroline Olivia. Born July 30th, she is the newest addition to our random clan. We have no fear that she will grow into her destiny of randomness. She is a mellow, happy baby and is just starting to show us her big smile! She looks so much like her Daddy that we call her his little clone, but when we look at pictures of me at her age , we look very much alike, too! We are all looking forward to watching her grow. Some of her interests include staring at the toys in her bed, Mama’s milk, Daddy’s lovin’, filling her diapers, spitting up, and generally being ridiculously cute.Sweet Caroline

We are really enjoying life as a blended family. It definitely has its challenges, but it’s all so rewarding! The bigs have such a great relationship, and I sincerely hope it carries on into their adulthood.

And finally, I think I should mention the whole purpose of me writing in the first place. I want to record our activities and experiences to share with other parents. I have found that some of the greatest resources are online articles posted by parents who are experiencing similar joys and issues as we are. So, without further ado, the topics that will make it to the blog are including but not limited to…

  • blended families and step-parenting
  • family trips and activities, including reviews
  • natural living choices, including: chemical-free food and home environment, cloth diapering, breastfeeding, delayed/selective/non-vaccination, organics, etc.
  • adventures in public education and supplementing at home
  • our Family Friday tradition, including: themed crafts, meals, and other fun
  • parenting and family related book and magazine reviews
  • movie, TV show, video game, and other entertainment reviews in relation to family
  • recipes and food successes (or failures) with our picky eaters
  • baby and big kid milestones and cuteness (obligatory mom stuff)
  • weekly meal planning
  • and, of course, the gems of randomness that spout forth from the mouths of our babes (and my husband)!

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