Friday, March 30, 2007

Asian Chicken Drumsticks

I found this recipe in a magazine some time ago, and everyone in our family likes it (which is a rare and wonderful thing). It's very easy and quick to put together, and I thought I'd share it.

Asian Chicken Drumsticks

1/2 cup soy sauce or tamari
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon bottled chopped garlic
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
6 skinless chicken drumsticks with thighs attached

1. In the bottom of a 3 1/2-quart, or larger, slow cooker, place all of the ingredients except for the chicken, stirring well to mix.
2. Add chicken; stir to coat with the sauce.
3. Cover and cook on low for 5 hours.

I have only ever used leg and thigh quarters with the skin on, and it turns out just fine. The chicken comes out super tender. I usually serve this with some sort of vegetable and plain brown rice with some of the sauce spooned on it. It's also good with fried rice. Enjoy!

Friday, March 23, 2007

From My Daughters' Perspective

During the two days I was at the Hearts at Home conference, Abbie told everyone, "Mama is in Bloomington learning how to be a good Mama!"

Hannah imagined my weekend this way: "They line up a bunch of plastic pretend children on the stage. The plastic children have recordings in them to make them say, 'Mine! Mine! Mine!' over and over. Then they teach the Mommies how to deal with it!" (Hmmm... I think I missed that workshop - better order up the tape!)

The first morning I was home was Sunday and we were all trying to get ready for church. Rachel said something unkind to Abbie, so I told her she had to say two nice, kind things to Abbie (as suggested in Lisa Whelchel's "Creative Correction" workshop). Hannah was observing the whole thing, and when Rachel and Abbie had kissed and made up, Hannah said to me, "I know what you learned this weekend!"

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Hearts at Home Weekend

Last Friday and Saturday, I did something virtually unheard of - I left town for two days without children. Mind you, I adore my children and love my life as a full-time wife and mom, but it was time for me to take a little mini-break and focus on Becky for just a couple of days. I went to the Hearts at Home national conference in Bloomington IL. Hearts at Home is an international ministry for moms - as their slogan says, "Helping Moms Love Their Lives". I made the two-hour drive south with my friend, Lisa, and met my cousin Kaye and her friend Robyn, who flew in together from Vermont. We spent the two days attending workshops on subjects such as parenting, taking time out for ourselves, spending time with God, and hospitality. The first main speaker was Jill Savage, president of Hearts at Home, who, I just found out, adopted one of her sons from Russia. We chatted for a few minutes while she signed her book for me, and we talked a little about international adoption. The other main speaker was Lisa Whelchel, whom you may remember as Blair from the 80s sitcom "The Facts of Life". She has a great sense of humor, along with a deep faith - put the two together and she was a wonderful speaker. We enjoyed praise music led by a three-woman group from California called "Crimson Bridge" - they led a praise and worship time at the Friday night Mom's Night Out, and it was particularly moving and powerful. It was just an all-around awesome time for moms (over 5,000 of us) to come together to share, laugh, cry, learn and pray. Lisa, Kaye, Robyn and I have already decided to attend again next year!

Kaye and me with Hearts at Home president and author, Jill Savage.

Me with Lisa Whelchel as she signed my copy of her book, "Creative Correction".

Lisa speaking at the Mom's Night Out.

"Crimson Bridge" performed - I got one of their great CDs.
Kaye, Robyn, me and Lisa at Mom's Night Out.

Bag Ladies with our complimentary Hearts at Home tote bags.

Blessings of Life in the Country

Our neighbor, Kathy, boards her horses in our stable. We get to enjoy the beauty of these animals, watch them run around, and let little visiting friends pet and feed them. In the summer, Hannah has a job of giving them their evening hay, a good way for her to learn a little responsibility. Every so often, Kathy takes the time to let our girls sit on one of her horses and she leads them around the pasture. The girls absolutely love it. This past Sunday was Abbie's first time up on a horse. She finally decided to give it a try, though we didn't think she would, as she kept hanging on to us and saying, "I don't want him to eat me!" But once she was up there, well, her smile says it all!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Abbie's First Haircut

A couple of days before her third birthday, I finally took Abbie in for her first haircut. Her hair has grown so slowly, but it was finally time to neaten things up a bit and get the "scragglies" out of her eyes. My friend Cindy, one of the moms from Hannah's group, is a hair stylist, and has given each of our girls their first haircuts, complete with plenty of photos.
The cut...

The blow dry...

The finished product! Isn't she lovely?

Another Photo Update

Al gave me this awesome one-cup-at-a-time coffee maker for Christmas. It has brought my caffeine consumption to a new level!

The shirt says it all (so does the smile)!

Hannah and her friend YuYu gave a little informal recital in our living room a few weeks ago. Both girls are doing so well in their music, and they seemed to enjoy performing for their families.

We celebrated Rachel's Gotcha Day in February with our traditional Chinese dinner and family photo.

Abbie celebrated her third birthday with some of her neighborhood friends.

Make a wish!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Hamburger Helper

I read this great tip in a magazine the other day. I tried it last night and it really worked!

I like my hamburger to be really broken up into tiny bits when I brown it, but a wooden spoon or spatula just don't work very well. Last night, I used a pastry blender (you know, the tool you use to cut shortening into your pie crust), and it worked just great!

Do I need to get a life?

Mmmm! Chocolate Cake!

My friend Tiffany gave me this recipe several years ago. I can't possibly count how many times I've made it. It's quick and easy, you can keep all the ingredients on hand in case you have to prepare an unexpected dessert, and most importantly, it is totally yummy! I've had so many people ask me for the recipe, so I just decided to post it here...

Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake
1 box yellow cake mix (NO pudding in the mix)
1 cup milk
1 cup oil
4 eggs
2 small boxes INSTANT chocolate pudding mix
1 tsp. vanilla
1 12-oz package (2 cups) semi-sweet chocolate chips
Mix and bake in Pam-sprayed bundt cake pan at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes.

That's it! You can eat it plain or sprinkle a little powdered sugar on it. You can slice it at the table, or if you're taking it somewhere, you can slice and lay it out on a platter - it makes a lovely presentation. Yummo!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Just had to share...

We had Abbie's three-year portraits taken last week. She loved the camera (and it loved her, too)!