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It’s been super cold here the last week or so, and it’s finally feeling more like February than spring. Not that I’m complaining about our sporadic days of warm weather, those are much appreciated! I made this recipe a few weeks ago when we were having one of those cold winter days, and it really does hit the spot. It sounds super intimidating, but I promise you it’s fairly easy to make and it really is amazing.
- Olive Oil- 1 tbsp.
- Pancetta – 1/2 lb.
- Chicken thighs and legs- 8-10 pieces
- Onion- 1 large diced
- Carrots- 2 medium peeled and chopped
- Garlic – 1-2 cloves, minced
- Brandy – ¼ cup
- Red Wine (your pick) -1/2 bottle
- Chicken Stock- 1 cup
- Thyme- 8-10 springs
- Butter- 1 tbsp.
- Flour- 1½ tbsp for thickening
- Mushrooms- ½ lb. sliced thickly
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 250F°.
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot that is oven safe. If you have a Dutch oven, that’s even better. Fry the pancetta for 8-10 minutes until browned and remove them to a plate lined with paper towels.
Season your chicken pieces with salt and pepper and place them in the same pot a few at a time so that there is enough space between them. Brown the chicken by cooking it a few minutes on each side to give it that nice brown color. Take them out and place them with the pancetta.
Dice up your onions and carrots and add them to the pot with salt and pepper, cooking over medium heat for 10 minutes, add the garlic to the pot and cook for 1 minute longer and getting a few stirs in. Add the brandy and scrape all the burned bits, and then add back the bacon and chicken , pour in your wine, chicken stock and thyme sprigs and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover with a lid and put it in the oven for 40 minutes.
Take out the pot and make sure that the chicken is cooked through. Melt the butter and using a whisk, incorporate the flour into the butter slowly while mixing. Take about a 1/4 of a cup of the sauce and incorporate it into the flour butter mix. Stir the mixture into the sauce as well as the mushrooms. I would try the sauce and see if you are okay with the taste and adjust accordingly. Put back in the oven with the lid off for 10-15 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken. I served ours over rice but bread would be great too.
One of the areas that I want to focus on this year is making our home work better for us. Right now, we have an empty room that we have meant to have as Billy’s big boy room in a few years. That room, however, has become kind of a catch all storage room. Having a small living room with a fair amount of toys is starting to make it a bit claustrophobic. Having an area that Billy can have as much fun as he wants and keeps the living room adultish is a win win for all. I’m also thinking that getting used to the area he will sleep in at night will make it less scary once we do make that transition.
I’m thinking of doing Jetstream Blue as a wall color, and doing an accent wall in a temporary wallpaper will make the playroom youthful and fun without being juvenile . I came across the transportation artwork on Easy, and I like bringing a bit of an international influence into the room that can perhaps inspire him about all the places he can go. We got the Kallax bookshelf at our last IKEA visit, which we are hoping to use for toy and book storage. I’ve found on Pinterest the idea of using the bookshelf as a reading bench that would add additional seating. The teepee is currently in our living room and loved by Bo, but we are hoping that as Billy gets older, he will enjoy using it with friends as much as our dog loves it.
What do you guys think? I’m so excited to get started on this and will keep you updated as this progresses.
I consider myself so fortunate to be able to have been raised to be bilingual. Being able to understand Spanish has given me the ability to be able to interact with family that I wouldn’t have been otherwise been able to. I’ve also been able to enjoy Spanish music in a way that perhaps I wouldn’t have been able to had I not had a grasp on the language. Not only are there great cultural reasons to speak another language, there have been studies showing that being bilingual can help with multitasking, as well as possibly delay the onset of Alzheimer’s.
Before I had my little guy, I always thought it would be a no brainer that I would be teaching my kids Spanish. I received lots of baby books in Spanish to help me with my goals. After Billy came into the world, and the months after, I found myself speaking mostly English to him. I felt so awkward speaking to my baby in the language that I knew, but wasn’t the most comfortable with. I did not realize how difficult it would be to take on this goal without the family support and the environment that I had growing up with plenty of native Spanish speakers.
I’m thrilled that the local schools are doing dual language programs, so that once he is ready for kindergarten, there will be the kind of support and reinforcement that hopefully will help him gain a mastery of the language. I do want to come up with ways that I can start doing things now. He does love music, so I know that would be a no brainer. Reading in Spanish he’s already showing resistance to.
What are your favorite Spanish children’s songs? Any suggestions for me?
This week has had it’s ups and downs, but I always feel like there are more ups than down. Billy has learned to jump off the floor, which is a huge deal since he is probably the most cautious little boy out there. Potty training accidents are fewer this week, but there have been two AM baths required.
I’ve started doing barre3 online, which I’m loving! Unfortunately, this cold Billy and I have gotten has put a bit of a damper on my will to exercise. I will get back on it, after a few days of Tylenol Cold Extra Strength and some much needed rest.
On the plus side, we’ve started calling contractors to come in for kitchen quotes. I also won $100 in the Powerball yesterday! I’m thinking a nice dinner out with our extra winnings.
We have been officially New Englanders for the past three years, which is crazy that time has flown so much. For pretty much the entire time, January and February have been the least enjoyable months here for me. Short of doing a getaway like we did last February, here are a few of my favorite things that help make the next few months a bit more bearable.
- I just got this robe for Christmas, and I love that I get to have a mini hotel experience getting out of the shower or out of bed. The Turkish cotton makes it so darn soft, and I love the monogram detail.
- We currently don’t have a fireplace in our living room, but with this sweet little candle, you get to experience all the wonderful smells of one. I’ve tried other less expensive fireplace candles, and it just doesn’t hold a candle (ha!) to this smell.
- I love a good throw for cuddling while watching movies. While what we have on our sofa is a lovely chenille one from Pottery Barn, my dream is to one day get a throw made with alpaca wool.
- Silly Cow Farms Hot Chocolate is one of the best hot chocolates I’ve tried out. I have to admit too that I’m a sucker for the cute packaging.
- I bought these socks on Block Island a couple of years ago, and they started my love affair with all things alpaca. Warm and toast indoors or with your Bean boots on, it brings a bit of luxe to your tootsies.
- It took me a bit of time to really find a tea that I look forward to brewing. It’s a black tea with lavender and bergamot that I like with just a bit of milk. If you like an Earl Grey or a Lady Grey, it’s worth checking out.
- I’ve found that a hot mustard bath to relax in and it has really helped with any achy muscles I might have from lugging around a toddler. Bonus is the incredibly soft skin that I get after sitting in the bath for thirty minutes.
What helps you get through the winter?
POSTED IN: alpaca, bathrobe, fireplace candle, hot chocolate, mustard bath, New England, tea, throw
POSTED IN: alpaca, bathrobe, fireplace candle, hot chocolate, mustard bath, New England, tea, throw
While the last year seemed to be a year full of travels and wedding activities, this year we are hoping to focus on a bit more on our little Cape Cod. The big ticket item that we are super excited to start with is our kitchen. While it’s not the worst kitchen, the cabinets have seen better days, and we could certainly use some more storage. Plus, would love a beautiful workplace for cooking and crafting with Billy.
Our current kitchen
We knew that since we consider this our starter home, we wanted to get as much bang for our buck that we can get. And who does that better than anyone else but IKEA? But just going an hour on their home planner is enough to knock some of the excitement out of you. After some Google searching, I came across Inspired Kitchen Design and immediately got excited. Virtual kitchen designers that help optimize our space and putting to paper what we have in mind, I could not be more excited. Bill was a good sport being pulled away from the Eagles and helped get all the measurements that were needed to start the process. I have some ideas for the overall look, so I’ll keep you guys posted as the kitchen progresses.
The last time I really posted, I was pregnant with this little guy. I have to admit, I did not like being pregnant and felt like I was falling apart for months. But ever the planner, I kept myself occupied for motherhood and my new reality as a SAHM. I did throughly enjoy researching every baby registry item, learning about the five Ses and practicing hypo birthing techniques every day.
The day came where I went into labor, right in the early morning. I was doing pretty well throughout, even though thanks to a certain 98 percentile head, I ended up pushing for four hours. I don’t think I could really describe what it was like to have Billy placed on me after all was said and done. What I didn’t prepare myself for being told that there was something wrong. The hospital transfers after the news, and then getting told that his heart needed surgery, and rather quickly.
I am so grateful that he is heathy after going through that initial bump in the road. We have since been spending our days learning and growing from each other. I did not imagine that I would have been staying at home, but I have found it to be so much more rewarding than I had anticipated. The last few years have inspired me, in a few words, to lead a more meaningful life. I hope that you follow me along trying to work on that goal.
Hello There! I know there’s a few people out there who have stopped in since two years ago. Thanks so much for checking in when I really was neglecting this space the past couple of years. But I believe that for now, I am back to writing and sharing what my whereabouts and thoughts are. There’s a whole lot that is happened in the last two years, so I’ll give little updates on that as well. I hope that you all have had a great holiday season, and join me in starting 2016 with just a bit of spark.
One of the things I really love about myself is my long, thick, curly hair. I was in denial about it for years, and flattened it to no end since high school. In my late 20s, I got tired of fighting who I was and learned to love and embrace it. Here’s what I learned in the past 3 or 4 years about keeping curly hair looking good.
1. An amazing haircut is essential. Go to someone that specializes in curly haircuts and has them on the list of services at the salon, a Deva trained stylist is even better. You really need the proper layers to help those curls have optimal bounce.
2. Sulfate free shampoo followed by a great shampoo. I used to use all Deva products, but in an effort to cut down on costs, I found Shea Moisture Curl & Shine sulfate free shampoo at the drugstore. The one thing I won’t scrimp on is quality conditioner, which is why I have the DevaCurl One Condition pictured. My hair loves this conditioner, and plenty of it. This is also the part that I use my fingers or a wide tooth comb to detangle. Outside of this, I never brush or comb my hair.
3. After the shower and before even reaching for a towel, I distribute a healthy amount of alcohol free gel to my hair, bend over, and scrunch it in. This prevents that crispy crunch thing that can happen with gel when you put it in when the hair is too dry. I also like to put some styling creme in after this step. I really like Living Proof’s Styling Creme. Expensive, but it helps with the frizz and it lasts a really long time.
4. Do not use the terry towel that you dry yourself off on your hair! That creates a whole lot of frizz and mess. Bending over again, scrunch with a microfiber towel. In a pinch, I will use a T shirt for this step. In the summer, this will be the last step for me, and I will just air dry. If I need to dry it in a hurry or it’s cold outside, I’ll use a dryer with a diffuser. Thick hair requires an investment in a hair dryer that packs a punch. You’ll be surprised how much quicker your hair will dry with the right tool, plus they last for years. I love the Twin Turbo series of dryers.
Here I am pretending to sail, curls to the wind
So, hey there! It has been ages since I’ve written something here. I had this intention of what my summer was going to be, and then we were taken for quite the loop when finding out days before my husband’s 30th birthday that we would be expecting. I have to be honest, I wasn’t exactly thrilled the first few days. I realize that the reaction isn’t what people would envision for someone in my situation, but I want to put it out there because that was my reality. I am such a planner, and this was not supposed to be in the cards for at least a little while. Not only that, I got really overwhelmed about the idea of being a mother. I have never really been around babies, how could I possibly be a good mother? Yeah, I freaked out. But then I took a big breath, put my big girl panties on, and figured out how to go forward.
That meant going HAM on what all of this was going to entail. I embraced what God had in store for us, and accepted, and then I read. I spent my days reading about pregnancy. How the baby grows and what changes to expect physically and emotionally. After I did that, I started to read up on what to actually do with the bundle of joy. WTF was an umbrella stroller?? Heck, even the basic, what do you need for a diaper change??
So instead of updating my blog, I just threw myself into this. Youtube was super helpful to start off with. I can’t even tell you how many of the CloudMom videos I watched. The lady has 5 kids, she must know what she is talking about! Videos led into Pinterest, and mommy blogs, and now a much more confident, excited mom to be!
I’ll be documenting here things I read up about along the way and how everything is working, in addition to all the other interests I had pre baby. Less than a month to go, cannot wait!