Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Quick and Easy Chicken Recipe

When I am looking for a new recipe, I have very few requirements. It needs to be easy. And the prep work needs to be minimal. I found a wonderful recipe that meets both of those criteria and is delicious to boot!

The ingredients needed are:
*6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
*6 slices bacon
*1 C uncooked white rice
*Cajun seasoning
*1 can cream of chicken soup
*1 C chicken broth
*Garlic salt
*1 tsp. oregano

Preheat oven to 300.

Line the bottom of an 8" or 9" square glass baking dish with bacon.

Add the cup of uncooked rice.

Place the chicken on top.

Season the chicken with plenty of salt, pepper, paprika, and cajun seasoning.

In a separate bowl, combine soup and chicken broth.

(today water is playing the part of chicken broth.)

Add a dash of garlic salt.

Add 1 tsp. oregano.

Add 1 large palmful of dried parsley.

Whisk together.

Pour on top of the chicken. Don't stir.

Put a double layer of aluminum foil over the pan and bake for 2 hours.


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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Life in the Country

Except for a short stint in town when I was in grades one and two, I have always lived in the country. And for the last 11 years, on a farm. And while there are a few aggravating things about country life (read: flies!) I can't imagine living anywhere else. Here are my top ten reasons for living in the country.

10. The smells. Fresh cut grass, wood smoke, corn pollinating, the fresh country air. (Not manure-we're pretending manure doesn't exist for the sake of this post.)

9. Lightning bugs. There's something about sitting outside in the summer, watching the lightning bugs. There isn't much light out here, so it makes it even more special.

8. Seclusion. We aren't very far from town, but one of my favorite things about where we are is being surrounded by fields. I love when the fields around the house are planted with corn (as they are this year.) By late summer, the house is completely surrounded by corn plants 7 feet tall. It's a very secure, secluded feeling that I love.

7. No noise. Living out here is quiet (when the kids aren't around.) There's no traffic or street noise. No horns beeping or sirens blaring. There's the occasional "moo." That's about it.

6. Experiences. I love giving our kids this experience of living in the country. They get to get their hands dirty and work. They have plenty of pets to care for. They get to see cattle every day. They can see, ride, and work on machinery. They watch the crops being planted, grown, and harvested. There's so much to do and experience here.

5. Plenty of space for a garden. This year we have planted corn, tomatoes, cucumber, green peppers, red peppers, zucchini, squash, watermelon, cantaloupe, and eggplant. Can't wait for those tomatoes to be ready. These's nothing better than a fresh, warm tomato straight from the garden.

4. Grass to mow. Fresh cut grass is one of my favorite smells, and I love mowing the grass. It gets me outside in the warm sun and gives me a couple hours of me time during the summer while the kids play. I love how the sound of the mower drowns out everything else.

3. Telling the kids to "go play outside" and not having to worry about them being out there without me for a few minutes while I take a deep breath and regroup.

2. Hanging laundry on the line. I am sure you can do this in town as well, but there's something about the fresh country air and seeing those clothes gently sway in the breeze.

1. No neighbors. I love looking out and seeing land, not houses. Being able to run outside looking a mess or half-dressed...unless there is a whole crew of farm men in the field nearby. Heh.

What do you love about where you live? Is it the tall buildings and city lights? Maybe a quiet neighborhood in the suburbs? Tell me what makes your space special.

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Keeper of the Light

I just finished yet another Diane Chamberlain book, Keeper of the Light. It did not disappoint. It was slightly slow to start, but once it picked up, I couldn't put the Kindle down.
In this book, we meet married couple Paul and Olivia. Paul is secretly in love with his former flame, Annie. One night, Annie is rushed to Dr. Olivia's ER and dies. With her death, she leaves behind a trail of sorrow and heartache, confusion and questions. This book offers twists and turns as Olivia struggles between Paul and Annie's husband, Alec. I loved the ending...although it was so good I didn't want it to end! You can find this book on Amazon for $8.61 or send it to your Kindle for $8.18.
Happy reading!

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Disney World Recap

We came, we saw, we kicked Disney's ass.

Okay, Disney pretty much kicked our asses...but it was so much fun!

We kept the vacation a secret until we arrived at the airport. Right before we left, we brought the luggage out and told the kids we were staying at a hotel in Indianapolis. They totally bought it because we had just done that a few weeks ago. Cole started crying because he wanted to stay on the farm and NOT go to a hotel!

We got to the airport shuttle stop and told the kids where we were really going! They couldn't believe it! They were almost more excited to hear that Aunt Susie and the baby (and baby #2) were coming along too!

We stayed at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort. The rooms were good, setting was nice, food court and swimming pools were great!

We spent the first day at Magic Kingdom. And it was magical, albeit hot.

Cole got picked to drive the boat during the jungle cruise. He took his responsibility very seriously.

We also climbed the Swiss Family Treehouse, rode the magic carpets of Aladdin and the carousel, and joined Captain Jack Sparrow on the Pirates of the Caribbean.

We rode Splash Mountain, It's a Small Word, and Dumbo the Flying Elephants. We saw the Country Bear Jamboree (dumb!), the Carousel of Progress, and Mickey's PhilharMagic (my favorite part!)

The second day brought us to Animal Kingdom.

We went on the safari

and watched the Flights of Wonder bird show.

We also watched It's Tough to be a Bug (SO great!)

Festival of the Lion King

rode the Wildlife Express Train to Rafiki's Planet Watch

spent some time at Dinoland

and then mommy and daddy rode Expedition Everest sans children.

Favorite part of Animal Kingdom? Definitely the Bug's Life 3D show!

Day 3 was Epcot.

It was fun exploring the countries in Epcot. We watched a movie in China, ate in Germany, and walked through all the other countries.

We had lunch with the princesses at the Norway castle. Claire was in princess heaven. We saw Belle, Aurora, Ariel, Snow White, and Cinderella. She had her picture taken with each princess, got a hug, and even went on the princess parade through the restaurant.

We also rode the Seas with Nemo

went on Soarin', played in ImageWorks and rode Mission: Space, Living with the Land, and Test Track.

Favorite part of Epcot? Besides seeing Claire's face during the princess lunch, it would have to be Soarin! So fun!

Day 4 was Hollywood Studios. Very hot and crowded, thanks to Star Wars weekend. But we had a great time, nonetheless.

We left the kids with Aunt Susie and did Tower of Terror. Scary.

We all did Rock 'n Roller Coaster. I cannot believe how great the kids did-their first big roller coaster and they loved it! It went super fast, upside down, corkscrews, you name it! I was the only scared one!

The boys enjoyed the Indiana Jones Stunt Show while the girls watched the Little Mermaid show. Then we all rode the Toy Story Mania ride. So fun! But oh-so-thankful for Fast Passes! That ride had a 2 hour wait most of the day.

We also saw the Muppet Vision 3D, Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show, and the Beauty and the Beast Musical.

Favorite part of Hollywood Studios? All of it! Except the heat and crowd!

3:30 Monday morning came very early. The bellman came at 4:20 to pick us and our luggage up to bring us to the main desk. We then boarded the Disney Magical Express at 5:00 a.m. to go to the airport. We boarded the plane at 7:30 a.m. and were home by noon.

We had a great time during our first trip to Walt Disney World, but were all happy to get home! Now it officially feels like summer break!

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