March 31, 2011

Yummy Dinner - Grilled Bruschetta Chicken

We have usually eaten pretty well in our house, well that is when I cook. Which I've gotten better about it and we don't eat out that often anymore at all. Every weeknight I'm guaranteed to cook and maybe once on the weekend we eat out. With all this actual cooking I'm trying to divise a better system to meal planning and making grocery lists. And of course in the midst of that, because it wasn't enough work, I decided I wasn't actually cooking as healthy as I could be cooking. So, ignore the statement about my organizational skills because this has nothing to do with that. I was searching blogs and websites and magazines for healthy dinner recipes that didn't take fifty million years to cook with fifty million ingredients that would make my grocery bill fifty million dollars. And you know what I found? So called "healthy" recipes that still call for all-purpose flour, butter, bacon, cheese, sugar, etc. I'm slightly disgusted that our society coins these ingredients as healthy which leads the majority of our nation believing that they are eating better and being healthy when they truly are not. I will step off my soap box because I love me a big ol' biscuit with tons of butter and honey, but I'm not disillusioned to think that I'm eating healthy because I've concocted it to be less than 200 calories. Again, off my soapbox.

A few weeks ago I pinned a recipe on pinterest that was bruschetta chicken. I was too lazy to go back to pinterest today to get the recipe, but spent painstaking minutes trying to find a recipe similar (See my delima with life? I'm lazy and make things harder on myself than need be. As Richard tells me all the time, work smarter Audrey, not harder.). What I ended up writing down had nothing to do with the orginal recipe I saved, so I winged it and what I came up with Gillian said I could call a keeper.


1 lb of boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 large tomatoes, seeded and diced
3 T basil chopped
minced garlic. I think 2 cloves. I dunno, I never measure garlic.
Grated Parmesan cheese
2 T olive oil, divided
salt and pepper to taste.

I pulled out my grill pan and glazed it with a half the olive oil and preheated it. S&P the chicken to taste. Once pan is heated toss the chicken on and cook until done.
In the meantime, cut and seed tomato. Dice tomato. Roll and chop basil. Add basil and garlic (mince if need be, but I used my nifty fav of all time squeeze garlic). Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and S&P. Mix together. When the chicken is done, remove from heat and dust with grated parm. Serve smothered in the tomato mixture.

Not sure of the calorie count, but it's got to be pretty low considering the recipe I tweaked was around 180 per serving and it included flour, butter, egg substitute and bread crumbs. I served it with roasted petite red potatoes that I halved, brushed in EVOO, S&P and threw in the oven for 30 minutes. I actually had my dinner for leftovers because of a meeting I had to run out the door for and it was just as amazing. I need to be sure to keep this for a regular rotation. Sorry for the lack of pictures!

March 30, 2011

Lorelei of the Sea

When I was in high school I had an Eagle Eye Cherry cd, and on it was a song called "When Mermaids Cry".  It was about a mermaid named Lorelei. Ever since I've had a secret obsession with mermaids and went as far as wanting to name Gillian, Lorelei. Richard veto'd and I've never tried to name one of the girls that since (and the reason being I have a nice "theme" going...and every child he's veto'd my top choice saying I'm trying to name an 80 year old woman), but I still have a secret love of mermaids and the name Lorelei. Did I mention the first baby item I purchased for Gillian was a blanket from Gymboree that is covered in mermaids?? And she still sleeps with it.

A few months ago I started a mixed media painting. I wasn't sure what direction I was going with it until I had a few of the pieces just click into my mind that they looked like the intricate detailing that could belong on a mermaid's tail. Once I formed Lorelei, I put her away and have either been too busy or no creative juice flowing to play with her. That is until this week happened upon us. It was supposed to rain all week and I haven't been feeling the greatest. I've only left the house by choice once, and that's because we had no food. So here she is.

I wish my camera took better pictures so that you can see the detail the way I see. Guess if I'm going to keep painting I'll have to employ Megan to take pictures for me.


I say she's done, but that probably isn't a whole truth. I said she was done yesterday and I've gone back in and added a ton more detail. Gillian asked me yesterday afternoon where her belly button was. I responded by asking her if mermaids had belly buttons. Since this is going in her room, I obliged and gave Lorelei a belly button. I'm also thinking I may want to go in and throw an antiquing glaze over her to add interest. That would require me getting dressed and leaving the house though, and that interests me right now as much as watching paint dry.

March 27, 2011

Working for the Weekend

Richard has put in a lot of hours at work lately, so Addison and I decided to head down to his office to catch a few minutes with him one afternoon. Some nights he is lucky if he gets to see her for five minutes before she heads to bed, so I take small opportunities to go to him for her sake.
We weren't in the office long before she started making herself way to comfortable. She began pulling books off of shelves and running into the other offices. Of course none of the soldiers mind, and they think she's adorable, but I booked it out of there before she stirred up too much trouble. Now that she's walking(running) I try to let her walk instead of carrying her if the area is safe enough. She found the stairs on the way to the car. We don't have these at home.
And this is the random picture of a Blue Angel flying by the house. It really is no where close to being overhead but it's loud enough to feel like it's in the house with you.
We all loaded up in the car on Friday night and headed out to buy a powerwasher. We have major concrete areas due to the pool in the backyard and the front sidewalks were just disgusting with caked in dirt. Saturday afternoon Richard started to powerwash and the girls and I decided it was warm enough to try out the pool.
Winnie went swimming too.
All the meanwhile poor Daddy worked.
And I'm sure right now you are thinking, you said you went swimming, but there aren't any swimming pictures. That dang baby is impossible to coral next to the water. I couldn't have the camera taking pictures and keep her from drowning at the same time. I have to work on my strategy.
We finished off the night by setting up the Wii outside and playing Just Dance next to the pool in the dark. Gillian said she is going to start using it as her after school work out. I think these girls are going to grow up not knowing that they have a choice whether or not they exercise. Of course, towards the end of the night I was the only one dancing and R+girls were back in the pool. I didn't get any pictures of the night because my camera stinks in that setting.
Today I took the girls' to Perdido Kids Park for a birthday party. It was blazing hot and all I could think about was coming home to get back in the pool.
I once again failed at taking any actual pool pictures, so I made them get back in for me.
I love this picture even though I cut Gigi's head off.
G jumps far,
Nenna jumps high,
and Winnie cowers under the lounge chair because I keep throwing her in the pool.
And poor Richard...still cleaning.
Hopefully this fixes my lack of big girl pictures from the past few weeks! It's supposed to rain alllll week. Blah. Not that I should complain because most of my family and friends are STILL dealing with snow. So, if I don't blog for a while that's why. I'm doing a lot of reading and watching movies at home in my downtime and letting Addy run wild in nothing but a diaper the other 15 hours of the day.

March 25, 2011

Dining Chair Re-Up

Back when Richard first joined the army he bought me a beautiful dining room table and chairs with part of his enlistment bonus. I love(d) this table, but I've always had conflicting feelings toward the chairs. #1 the seats are upholstered. #2 I wasn't crazy about the fabric choice on the chairs, they just really didn't reflect my personal style at all. We've moved several times now and have been through the red dirt of Hawaii and the gritty black sand of Arizona. The outside elements take a toll on your upholstery believe it or not. I attempted to oxyclean the upholstery about a year ago and it helped for a while, but then the fabric started looking dingy again.

I bought some fabric a while back on major discount that I had intentions of using as roman shades in the breakfast nook. Months later and it was still sitting in my laundry room on a shelf with the rest of my fabric remnants. All the sudden yesterday I had an epiphany that I could use this fabric to recover my chairs! I started off with one chair and I loved the result, but then started thinking I wanted more. I didn't want to tire of the same fabric overwhelming all six chairs. I played around with a few schemes with Megan over @. I finally decided to go with the flow of one pattern for every two chairs. I love the end result.

Here's the before picture of what the chairs look like straight from the manufacturer plus a few years of dirt, grim, and kids spilling stuff on them.


And after 2 days of pulling and stapling and running out of staples and buying four sets of the wrong size of staple, here is the end result.


And the fabric up close.


See the peacock and hummingbird??? This is the original fabric. I bought it because of those details. I love it!


^This one is on the two chairs with the arms. I like the pattern a lot but wasn't sure it was good to stick with my birdy friends allll the time, so it went on the two chairs that get stuck in another room occassionally.


And just a simple print to pull it all together.

I think I'm going to take the scraps from the three and attempt to make a table runner out of them. Or maybe some wall art?? I dunno. Guess you can't know if I don't!

And just for your viewing pleasure, what happens when Mommy is busy decorating the house....


They were all over my house. I was finding them at 4 o'clock when I do a one last clean up in preparation for daddy to come home from work. Oh well, there are worse things for her to be playing with, huh?

I can't wait to share some other projects I am either working on or have formed in my head. In the meantime I'm going to attempt to take some pictures of those other two kids that live with me this weekend.

March 23, 2011

New Friends

Being in this strange situation as far as the Army goes, with such a small company occupying a naval base, making friends as a spouse can be difficult to say the least. Finally after sitting here for months, lots of random trips to the mall, craft stores and Target I decided I needed to meet other moms. I joined a playgroup and was fortunate enough to have a few moms reach out to me on a personal level and not just the regular group setting. I'm thankful for these women even if I don't see them on a daily or even weekly basis. They help me keep my sanity. A(mommy) and S(baby) are Addison and my friends that we play with during the day while big sisters are at school. After meeting we discovered that we actually occupied space in Sierra Vista at the same time, but never met. We've attended a lot of the same playgroups together and have done a few things out on our own without the playgroup.

Here is picture of Addison from a playgroup at the beach. We got together with a group of moms at Blue Angel Recreation Center. It's a private military campground/beach/paintball/disc golf/playground kinda place.


I took her bathing suit but never changed her in to it. It started out way chillier than expected. I forget that the temp drops a good five degrees the closer to the water you are. Didn't really matter though, because she refused to go close to the water. She just wanted to sit in the sand and steal other people's snacks. I literally had to pull her off some person we don't know's blanket five times because she was trying to get into her cheez-it box.

Yesterday, A(mommy) texted me and asked if we wanted to drive down to NAS Pensacola with her and S(baby) to watch the Blue Angels practice because they are finally back in town. Loaded the girls up and drove down there only to have practice cancelled due to visibility. We decided to let the girls go inside the Naval Aviation Museum to run some energy off so it wasn't a totally wasted trip.

Addison inside the miniature aircraft carrier.


She isn't quite ready as far as her motor skills go to move the cars around the map, but she was diligently working on it.


Addy and S(baby) deciding which way to have their moms chase them. I love how only the stroller is in focus.


I guess she needed a break.


We went upstairs to kill more time until lunch. I hadn't visited this section of the museum when Mom and Dad were down here at Thanksgiving. All we really looked at during that visit were airplanes. I think we actually missed the part of the museum the bigger girls would enjoy. I'm marking it down as a place to keep them busy during spring break.


She had to be wrangled at this point. She was getting tired and I was getting hungry. Too much work for me to chase her. And we have a molar on the verge of busting through. Hence the hand in the mouth ALL the time.


We ended the morning at the Hip Pocket Deli off of Barrancas Ave for lunch. Richard had visited it a few weeks ago when he had a work lunch and gave it rave reviews. You truly could drive right past it and never know...I almost did even though I was looking for it. I wish I remembered to take a picture of it so I can show you exactly what I mean by hole in the wall. But it was freaking amazing. Best gyro I've eaten. Again cash only (I had to run across four lanes of traffic to an ATM), only open for lunch the hours of 10-2 and most of the sandwiches/pitas are $7 with drinks costing $1. They only had one highchair and a couple of boosters so that made lunch with Addy and S(baby) interesting. It reminded me kinda of Maui Mikes for my Hawaii ladies. Not much to the place and heavily military influenced. I will be returning as often as my wallet and waistline allow me.

March 22, 2011

Spring has Sprung

Richard and I have been spending a lot of time outside the past few weekends trying to get the yard and pool in order to enjoy with the warmer weather. We've worked our hinneys off and it's starting to pay off already I'd like to think. A few weeks ago we went to Home Depot to talk to the garden center about plants. We wanted to know what would thrive in our yard and what did best with little care because Richard is so busy and I'm kind of a space cadet about feeding anything other than my children. The worker in the garden center said that their Spring Expo would be on March 19th and we should wait until then to buy any plants. They'd have the Easter bunny and be serving lemonade (sold the kids!) and cheesecake topped with blueberries (sold me!). So, we packed up the crew and headed there to get out business done and had the kids picture taken with the Easter Bunny. Best family picture to date.


We then returned home to get to work again. The previous weekend we hacked down a yellow jessamine that had claimed the fence as hers and was swallowing it whole. It's now a big pile of sticks. It's already sprouting new vines, so we bought a few plants to place in front of it in the meantime so it's not a big eye sore of a stick pile. If someone knows if we need to cut it back more please let me know. Richard and I are not green thumbs and are winging it most of the time.


We also have this flower box that also serves as a waterfall for the pool. We had the yellow flowers above in it, but they were shedding into the pool and driving Richard crazy so I repotted them elsewhere and put a lot of different annuals in there that are smaller (for the time being).


These are supposed to die out in May, but they are doing really well right now! I put some Miracle Grow on them and the next day it looked like they had new 10 inch high shoots on them.


And here's the pool. I'm not sure I can ever live without one now.


And me by the pool with a well deserved beer after busting my butt all day.


Richard and Addison having a drink too.


And Addison explaining to her Mommy the importance of sunscreen. Apparently I've missed that memo a few times


I know I'm failing as a mother to include all three of my children in this blog post, but the older two won't hang around me long enough for me to snap their pictures. Especially that middle one. She's always a giant blur.