Happy Birthday, Jay!

Today my sweet husband spent more time thinking about me than himself, despite the fact that it is his special day. He got up early with the kids, allowing me a rare morning of sleeping late, which was WONDERFUL!! This afternoon I got out for a couple hours sans children to do some errands and some fun window shopping. What a treat.

At the last minute, upon the Birthday Boy’s suggestion, we managed to garner a couple of lovely babysitters who facilitated a night out for us: dinner and a movie, so we finally saw Narnia. We thought the movie was incredibly well done and thoroughly enjoyed it. Sadly, we did not deem it appropriate fare for any of the youngsters in our household at this time, so they shall have to wait and enjoy it in another year, or two, or three….

Well, again, Happy Birthday to Jay. We love you very much!!

Josiah in the Johnny Jumper

Our littlest boy had a first today: first time in the Johnny Jumper. I’m already noticing something fun about having siblings who are a little older with a new baby: everytime this tiny guy does something new and interesting, he has two or three fans right by his side, cheering him on, and enjoying his new accomplishment. Jonathan and Abigail even went so far as to climb to the back of the under stairs closet (their Mommy is not so fond of tight enclosed spaces!) to retrieve the jumper for their baby brother. Here are some photos of Josiah enjoying his new (well, new to him!) toy and showing off his best jump-up form, along with a few of his ardent admirers!!

Doesn’t it look like these two guys have the same expression on their cute little faces??

Healthful, Frugal Garlic Chicken Soup

Since I have caught Baby Josiah’s cold, I felt the need for some soothing homemade soup today. I generally love making and eating soup. Jay enjoys the eating part. The children love to join in the making part, but not the eating part so much. I continue in my motherly efforts to introduce them to many different types of homemades soups, in hopes that someday they may gain an appreciation for soup as a wholesome and comforting meall!!

The following recipe is a combination of an online recipe I found, along with some modifications I made to suit my purposes. The ingredients needed for this dish are pretty inexpensive, especially if you can buy your whole chicken on a good sale. Preparation was easy, if a little time-consuming, and the results were delicious, and (miraculously!) enjoyed by all five members of our family who eat at table.

Garlic Chicken Soup

1 whole chicken
1 1/2 cups baby carrots
2 stalks celery
1 large onion
2 heads (not cloves, but the entire heads) of garlic
1 tsp dried thyme
3 Tbs dried parsely
salt/pepper to taste
4-6 small potatoes, washed and diced (not peeled) – I used Gold Petites
4 Tbs butter
3 Tbs flour
3/4 cup white wine

Rinse chicken and discard or keep giblets, depending on if you like them for flavor. In food processor, mince: carrots, celery and onion. (I did them separately but I’m guessing you could combine them if you have room in your chopper.) Separate the cloves of garlic, but do not peel them. Put all this into a large stockpot and fill with water to cover all. Add seasonings.

Boil/simmer for about 2 hours, loosely covered, until broth is thick and rich, and chicken is cooked through and very tender (leg should loosen from body when you attempt to grab at it with tongs). Remove chicken for deboning.

Pour broth through a colander or sieve, reserving garlic cloves for use in soup. I used a colander with holes large enough that some of the minced vegetable pieces ended up in the final broth. I think it added something. After broth has sat for awhile, skim fat from top. Reserve broth till needed.

Into same pot (don’t wash it yet, folks!) put potatoes with water to cover. Boil till tender.

While potatoes are boiling, prep your chicken and your garlic: Carefully debone entire chicken, shredding and reserving meat. Extract pulp from garlic cloves (I just squeezed each clove, and the garlic inside popped out!).

Drain finished potatoes. Using SAME stockpot still, add butter and when it’s melted add your mushy garlic cloves. Add flour to this, whisking all to smooth the mixure. Add the white wine, keep whisking. Add broth back to pot, with chicken, and vegetables. Note: I didn’t end up using ALL the chicken meat, but kept back about 1 1/2 cups to make chicken salad. It was moist, flavorful chicken!

Bring soup to a low boil and allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve and enjoy!!

New banner

Yes, I finally updated the pictures at the top. And for the record, our three year old is not as tall as his seven year old sister. I decided to crop each picture to maximize the detail rather than attempting to crop them so they appeared in their relative sizes.

If you know the password, you can view all the photos from the photo shoot on our photo site. If you don’t know the password, but we know you, feel free to shoot us an email and we’ll pass it along.