Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I HEART the Library

Our local public library is a quick two minute drive or nice easy walk from our house.  Aiden and I can be found there at least twice a week.  I'm convinced it's truly a gift for moms and their kids (well, really for anyone).  Anything you could possibly want to research or read about is available, along with so many wonderful children's books, CDs, DVDs, and TOYS. 




Aiden loves the children's section, with it's variety of toys to play with and pull to standing on, cushions, mirrors, and lots of colorful books.  I sit and read a book in the comfortable armchair in the children's section while he plays with the toys. 




Can you tell from the photos what his favorite toy in the library is????





I get so excited about the rows and rows of books, and all the bedtime story times we have and will have in the future.  Every time it still amazes me that I can get them for free (well, for three weeks at least : ).  And if our library doesn't have a book I want, there's always the library catalogue where you can put them on hold from another branch.  


Aiden's picks for the day...

Do you have a favorite children's book to recommend to us for our next visit to the library?  If so, we'd love to hear about it and why it's such a great book.  Happy Reading!

Simple Whole Roasted Chicken

I like to try out many different recipes, but overall, they need to be fairly simple.  I made this the other night for dinner, along with sweet potatoes, corn and bread.  The flavor, aroma and tenderness of the chicken in this recipe is amazing, and Brandon and Aiden both like it alot. 

Whenever I see a whole roaster chicken on sale, I buy it just so I can make this.  I know the ingredient combination may sound interesting, but believe me, the flavor is amazing! 



















Simple Whole Roasted Chicken: 

Ingredients:
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. white sugar
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 (4 lb.) whole chicken
5 cloves garlic, crushed

Directions:
1. In a small bowl, mix the salt, sugar, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, and cinnamon.  Rub the chicken with the mixture.  Cover chicken, and place in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
2.  Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
3.  Stuff the chicken cavity with the garlic.  Place the chicken, breast side down, on a rack in a roasting pan. 
4.  Roast 15 minutes in the preheated oven.  Reduce heat to 450 degrees F, and continue roasting 15 minutes.  Baste chicken with pan drippings, reduce heat to 425 degrees F, and continue roasting 30 minutes, to an internal temperature of 180 degrees F.  Let stand 20 minutes before serving. 

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I think the key to the tenderness is roasting it breast side down (not that I'm an expert by any means).  Also, since we're just a family of 3, we always have left-overs.  The leftover chicken from this recipe can be added to almost anything (I made quesadillas, but it could be added to pasta with a cream sauce, soup, etc).

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Indoor Waterpark Adventures

We took a spontaneous mini family vacation down to Sandusky, OH (only 2 1/2 hours away!) to an indoor waterpark for two days. 


Aiden loved the water.  I was very proud of him.


(A bonus was that I found these swim trunks on clearance at Zellers for $2.50 and the swim shirt for $3.00....yeah for good deals)



All that playing made him sleepy though.. (he definitely slept well when we got home!)

My other "boy" loved the water too.




The main lobby of the hotel.  Complete with talking animals (that moose on the wall started moving and making sounds when we were sitting below it).


Part of our room - the living room area


Soaking up some sun on the balcony.


Breakfast at the hotel.

Aiden was eager to eat what we were eating.


Wait a minute.... : )




I love seeing how Brandon loves on his boy.  Don't they seem to have the same expression here?  I love it.

It was a nice, quick getaway, and we were thankful for it!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sweet Potato Casserole recipe

This is oh so good... just beware, it's a little like eating dessert.  We decided it just needs a pie crust and it could be dessert.  This is great for Thanksgiving or Christmas, but also for Easter. 

Ingredients:

4 and 1/2 C. cooked and mashed sweet potatoes
1/2 C. butter; melted
1/3 C. milk
1 C. white sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs, beaten

Topping:
1 C. light brown sugar
1/2 C. all-purpose flour
1/3 C. butter
1 C. chopped pecans

Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9 X 13 inch baking dish.
2.  In a large bowl, mix together mashed sweet potatoes, 1/2 C. butter, milk, sugar, vanilla extract, and eggs.  Spread sweet potato mixture into the prepared baking dish.  In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar and flour.  Cut in 1/3 C. butter until mixture is crumbly, then stir in pecans.  Sprinkle pecan mixture over the sweet potatoes. 
3. Bake for 25 mins. in the preheated oven, or until golden brown. 

Enjoy!!

Chasing little chick...

Easter (a little late)

 My parents came up for a visit from IN over Easter weekend, and we enjoyed a trip to the Detroit Zoo .... 



Aiden didn't notice all of the animals as he is still young, but he did love the peacocks.



And the grizzly bears.

And the giraffes.

It was kind of a rainy day, so we had to boot around the zoo pretty quick, but it was still fun...


Aiden saying hi to the animals.

Back at home, we enjoyed some nice time with grandpa and grandma D ...


Aiden and Grandma

Aiden and Grandpa.

Aiden and Grandma

Grandpa apparently showing him another picture of a giraffe like the one he saw at the zoo.

The biggest hit in Aiden's little Easter basket was a little dollar store wind-up chick that he loves to chase.  (I may post a video soon). 

It was a very nice Easter and after church Easter morning, we all enjoyed a big Easter dinner at Brandon's parents' as we always do.  Since Brandon is on staff at Campbell, and it's important for him to be there for Sundays like Easter, my parents have come up here the last two years, and we're enjoying this new tradition.  Recently I've also been given the "official duty" of bringing Sweet Potato Casserole to every major family holiday gathering.  I'll put the recipe up here soon.  It's delicious!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Random cuteness....

If you would like to follow my blog, I've added the "follow" button on the left sidebar.  Just click it, and you can easily be updated when I make a new post.  I would love to know who (if anyone besides family) reads it, so please don't be shy! :) 

By the way, Aiden says "hi".  He's 10 months now!
Every month I keep saying that it's my favorite age so far, but I really do think 10 months is just the best!  We're having so much fun!

And these video clips of Aiden and Brandon make me laugh out loud every time.  They'll just make you happy!



Here's another....this went on for a couple minutes.. I don't know whose laugh is crazier, my husband's or Aiden's!



I will post some more photos from Easter soon.  My parents came up for the weekend, and we went to the zoo.  Oh, but we did end up giving Aiden this storybook Bible as part of his Easter basket.  I love the subtitle, "Every story whispers His name".   I know he's only 10 months, but my desire is to start the family tradition of family devotions from an early age.

Emily