Monday, June 22, 2009

Kids Workshops at Home Depot

We recently discovered that all of the Home Depots host Kids Workshops the first Saturday of the month. Mr. O and I took the kids there for the June workshop. The kids each received their own Home Depot smock as well as a pin depicting their workshop project. This month the project was a tool organizing kit for Dad for Father's Day. The kids get to keep the smock, and every time they go back for workshops, they add a pin to their smocks.

At first, Tank thought he should put his kit together with wood glue...that didn't work out so well. He looks cute though, huh?

Here's Banana showing off her decorated kit...

KK was happy observing and letting Daddy do all work (as you can see in the picture of Tank above)...

We were the neophytes there...It was great to be welcomed by families who have been do this with their children for a few years already. One little boy had almost 30 pins on his smock...impressive!!! Here's a closeup of the pin each of the kids received upon completion of their projects...
Upcoming projects for the kids are picnic caddies (July) and a message board (August). We'll be at the beach then, but if the weather is crappy, we are sure going to find a local Home Depot to pass some time by constructively.

P.S. I've since learned that Lowe's also hosts Build and Grow Clinics for kids every other Saturdya. You do need to reserve a spot though.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Best Family Pets...

When I was growing up, we didn't have any pets. If any one of us (siblings) asked for one, my dad would say, "Here, pet your dog/cat/hamster Ghost," and he would pretend to pat a ghost pet. You can imagine my surprise when my folks finally brought a loving brown lab into the family once most of the children (4 of 5) graduated from high school and college. When Hokie graced our presence, the baby of our family was 9yo. Hokie was Baby Brother's dog from the beginning, but very quickly, became everyone's pet.

When I was pregnant with Banana and Tank, I was on bedrest for 19w. Most of the last 5w of my pregnancy was spent at my parents' home "in case" I was to go into labor while Mr. O was at work. I know Hokie sensed how carefully everyone treaded around me. And, once he finally saw me on my feet and pacing with two mewling or howling infants, he pretty much stayed out of the way. However, if any of the babies' caretakers (trust me, there were many between me, Mr. O, Mim, Pop, CoCo and whoever was in the house) walked more than 10 feet away, he would sidle up and stand guard. Here's a picture of Hokie in his last days guarding Tank in late 2003/early 2004.

In Spring 2004, my sis and the Toad bought a home close by to ours. They had and still have a beautiful Bighon Frise named Bailey. Since I was home taking care of the twinkers, my sister dropped Bailey off each morning and either she or the Toad would pick him up at the end of the day. What a great family got to experience having a pet without all the expenses of "having" a pet. Here's a picture of Bailey checking out Banana...
Now, let's talk about the pets in my own household. I saw no reason for us to get any because we have pets in the family that we can adopt for a day or two, or even a week. We'll take them longer if we have to...but, shhh!

So, what's(re) the perfect pet(s) for young children? I think we found them!!! Banana & Tank are 5.5 and KK is 4. Just last month their Mim (my Mom) bought them their first fish tank. :)

All you have to feed these fish are 2 drops of dish soap in "clean" water. ;) Here's what happens if you don't refresh the water and feed the fish regularly. Instead of just floating, they sink to the bottom. That's my first clue that I need to clean out the "tank."

So, I clean out the tank. Instead of flushing the fish down the toilet, I wash them. :) I plop them back into the tank with 2 drops of Palmolive, and all is right in the world again!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Chicken Cacciatore

Here's a great and super-uber easy recipe for Chicken Cacciatore. I found this on Food Network, courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis. This has become my go-to recipe when I volunteer to make food for other families. Every time I have made this dish I have doubled or tripled the recipe; it's so good!!! I've also only used boneless chicken thighs and added sliced mushrooms. I wanted to show a picture, but it appears to have been deleted from my camera...That's what happens when my baby confiscates the camera.

  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 2 chicken breasts with skin and backbone, halved crosswise
  • 2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour, for dredging
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 ( 28-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons drained capers
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves


Sprinkle the chicken pieces with 1 teaspoon of each salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour to coat lightly.

In a large heavy saute pan, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and saute just until brown, about 5 minutes per side. If all the chicken does not fit in the pan, saute it in 2 batches. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside. Add the bell pepper, onion and garlic to the same pan and saute over medium heat until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juice, broth, capers and oregano. Return the chicken pieces to the pan and turn them to coat in the sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Continue simmering over medium-low heat until the chicken is just cooked through, about 30 minutes for the breast pieces, and 20 minutes for the thighs.

Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a platter. If necessary, boil the sauce until it thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Spoon off any excess fat from atop the sauce. Spoon the sauce over the chicken, then sprinkle with the basil and serve.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

She's getting it...slowly, but surely!!!

I asked KK if she knew how to wink. Here's her response...

Ta Da!!!!

I really should get this on video!!!