Food, Surviving Chaos

Slow Cooker Crock-Pot Chicken

Looking for a meal that can feed the family all week but only takes a day to cook? Check out this Crock-Pot recipe for a whole chicken. Yes, you can put a whole chicken in the Crock-Pot!!! This meal really comes in handy when I know we have a busy week of gymnastics, piano, work events, etc coming up. Make it on Sunday and you can use the leftover chicken for lunches or dinner the rest of the week. With all my recipes, this one is easy to customize, healthy and only takes a couple of ingredients. Bon Appetit!!

Ingredients

  • 4-5 pounds whole chicken
  • 6 stalks of celery, cut in half
  • 2 carrots cut in 1 inch pieces
  • 8 ounces of red potatoes cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 5 garlic cloves peeled and smashed
  • 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons of kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 teaspoons of olive oil

Let’s Make it!

  1. Arrange celery, carrots, garlic, rosemary and thyme into a 6 quart slow cooker bowl. The chicken will rest on top of the vegetables.
  2. Combine salt, paprika, black pepper, and olive oil in a bowl to make a seasoning paste.
  3. Remove giblets and neck from chicken (this items may have been removed before the chicken was packaged). Dry the chicken with a paper towel.
  4. Spread the seasoning paste evenly over the chicken.
  5. Place the chicken breast side up on top of the vegetables inside the Crock-Pot.
  6. Cover and cook on High for 4-5 hours or LOW for 6-7 hours.

Surviving Chaos

  • Use the leftover chicken to make chicken salad for lunch.
  • Add barbeque sauce to the leftover chicken and broil in the oven for 10 minutes for a quick weeknight dinner.
  • Make a gravy with the juices from the slow cooker by adding butter and flour.

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Family, Surviving Chaos

A B Choo Choo!

An ABC train is loads of fun! This was one of my first DIY kids projects when we my husband first started traveling. I needed a way to not only keep the kids entertained while I made dinner but also get them to learn something!! A few pieces colorful construction, laminating sheets (for durability) and creativity made this project a breeze. And as an added benefit, when we started traveling as a family, the ABC train came in handy as it was easy to pack in a carry-on for long plane rides or road trips. Its a win-win!

To make it, cut out 26 wheels (they can be any color) and label them with the ABCs. Next cut out the boxcars and add 3 letters per boxcar (or 1 or 2-its up to you!). As for the locomotive (or engine), I drew it by hand; there are lots of free locomotive printables online if free hand drawing is not your thing. Laminate all you pieces and voila!

Surviving Chaos Tips

  • Let the kids help cut out the all the pieces; keeps them busy for while and helps their scissor skills
  • Change the letters to numbers
  • Use sight words on the boxcars instead of letters. This is perfect for kiddos learning how to spell!
  • These also make great letter recognition flash cards
  • Put it in zip loc bag: it keeps the pieces together, an added layer of protection from spills and it’s TSA friendly
Surviving Chaos, When in

Taipei, Taiwan and the Flu

Recently, my husband visited his team in the beautiful city of Taipei, the capital of Taiwan. He typically travels to Taiwan twice a year but he managed to squeeze in 1 more trip before the end of the year. He really enjoys the mild weather in Taipei (especially since its always hot where we live) and doesn’t mind the rain that occurs a couple of times per day. He has learned the hard way to keep his umbrella close by. While there, he got the opportunity to visit the Golden Waterfall in Golden Ecological Park. Hmmm, this sounds too good to be true. Due to the regular rainfall in the mining area (there’s that consistent rain again) and abundant heavy metals, the water has a golden hue when it leaves the waterfall. If only there were REAL gold in the water…..wishful thinking! Its also a popular spot for newly weds and photographers so it can definitely get crowded (pun intended). He also visited the Chiufen Shengping Theater, he oldest existing theater in Taiwan, which shows old school movies a specific times of day during the week. If your a movie buff and like movies shown from an old school project, this place will definitely give you some nostalgia and trip down memory lane. In addition to movies, there’s a tour about the theater history, the gold rush and the Baroque architecture of the cinema.

A Foodies Paradise

Taipei features beautiful architecture throughout the city and is a foodie’s paradise. With food shops lining the streets, its easy for tasting a variety of different foods. Jiufen Old Street is the perfect place for foodies with so many vendors to choose from. Its lively, busy and features excellent views of the mountains and the sea. The cuisine ranges from traditional to exotic but worth a taste. My husband recently had his first experience with fresh squid; an experience he will never forget. Thankfully he was able to end it on a positive note with some Dragon Fruit, a delicious and sweet fruit.

On the home front

Meanwhile back at home, I was in true survival mode. The week started out great but things started going downhill and fast. During the week, the school kept sending messages about the flu outbreak at school and to keep your children home if they were sick. I kept breezing by the messages because I was for sure my kids were wearing their jackets/gloves/hats and washing their hands thoroughly….multiple times a day…with soap. Wishful thinking….our son lost his gloves, at some point earlier in the month (he never told me he lost them), and he was SORTA washing his hands. So low and behold…..he got the flu! Then our daughter got the combination of flu/strep/cold. How is that even possible??? Fun fact…..did you know that you can spread the flu BEFORE you are showing any symptoms? Did you know that your kids will tell you that their desk partner in class was sick with the flu AFTER they are sick AND while they are sitting in the doctor’s office?? Nothing like a doctor’s office confession!!

So there we were, sick and shut in. We couldn’t really leave the house and couldn’t have anyone over for fear of spreading their illnesses. This also meant I had to disinfect our ENTIRE house. Lysol, Whirlpool and I are now best friends: 10+ loads of laundry (maybe more as the loads started to blend together in my mind…..) and lots of wiping down light switches, door knobs, staircase rails, remote controls, etc. By the time it was all over (6 days later), we had a serious case of cabin fever; you’d be surprised by the type and how many games and songs get invented out of severe cases of boredom.

And without further a due, here are your tips for surviving chaos:

  • Stock up: I luckily had purchased a some bottles of fever reducing medicine, soup, crackers, elderberry syrup and ginger-ale. My husband laughed at me because he thought we wouldn’t need all that stuff….whose laughing now!
  • Delivery service: If you can have ANYTHING delivered-just. do. it. You don’t want have to pack up your kids and go to the store when they are feverish, fatigued, and cranky.
  • Keep learning: Believe it or not, our kids actually got bored of TV. School workbooks came in handy (thanks Barnes and Noble)
  • Morning Mantra: Have a positive saying that you can repeat to yourself; its heartbreaking when your little ones are sick and miserable.
  • Patience: Patience is a virtue. You’ll need lots of it.
  • Self care: Don’t forget to eat. Don’t forget your vitamins. Remember take a nap when they nap. You’ll thank me later!
  • Wine: Self explanatory-you earned it!!!!!!!

Until next time, safe travels…..

Family, Surviving Chaos

Time and Money

“If you’ve got the money I’ve got the time!” These felt toys, discovered in the Target Dollar Spot, are a favorite with our kids and are the perfect learning tool. And who doesn’t love to play with money?? The play money is perfect for counting and teaching good finance concepts (got to start them early). Now if they only made something for Bitcoin…..

From colors to counting to telling time, these felt toys are perfect for kids aged 3-7 and fit in any purse, carry-on or backpack. When my husband is traveling, I’ll pull these out at home to keep the kids occupied while I make dinner, do dishes, start/sort/fold laundry, etc. The best part for me (and I’m sure other moms) is that they are felt so they’re very durable- kid tested, mother approved!