Friday, November 30, 2012


It was made apparent during our trip to Paris last year what a huge disadvantage it is to only know one language. I won't lie, I tried to bust out some high school French, and was understood maybe half of the time. Reading menus and maps was a little easier, but understanding it when spoken? Forget about it. I so wish I had stuck with learning a second language past the two French classes I took in high school.

Even though more and more people populate the planet, we're growing smaller and more connected than ever thanks to technology. Wouldn't it be wonderful if every child was taught a mandatory second language beginning in Kindergarten? I'm not sure if that's controversial or not, but I think it would be great. Communication is key, and any leg up we can give our kids is beneficial.

I've been looking into some language learning programs for kids. There are some great clips on Youtube, like this French one* I watched from Dino Lingo. Judah is too young now for much "screen time" - and TV and Video really doesn't hold his attention for very long. I like that these clips are short and have fun music in the background. And of course the animation is great for little ones. He doesn't have any real words at this point (just turned 9 months, yay!), so I don't know how effective trying to incorporate a foreign language would be. I don't want to be one of those moms that goes crazy with the flash cards trying to make my child some kind of genius (ahem...the "Your baby can read" scam that just went under...). I would just want to do it in a casual and fun way.

If we did implement some foreign-language learning, I wouldn't be overzealous about it, but I do think it would be a fun way to expose Judah to different cultures early on. I actually remember learning how to count to ten in Spanish in my Kindergarten class. I've also heard that children that grow up in bi-lingual households have a better grasp of language and communication overall, but are also later to speak.

I'd love to know, did you or are you planning on teaching your child a second language? How do you go about doing it in your everyday life? Are you casual about it or really hardcore, and how is it working out?

*I watched this video complimentary through

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

On The Menu: Copycat Chili's Chicken Enchilada Soup

I could also title this post "...Or, why I need an immersion blender in my life." But we'll get to that later.

Soup. I could eat soup for every meal, every day. So many varieties! It's the first thing I look for on the menu, and Chili's Chicken Enchilada Soup is fast becoming one of my favorite go-tos when ordering out. I also enjoy On the Border's Chicken Tortilla Soup. I've been looking for copycat recipes for both of these, but this one for Chili's Chicken Enchilada Soup actually tastes pretty damn close to what I pay for at the restaurant, and was pretty easy to make (minus an unfortunate blending mishap). This recipe is slightly adapted in size an ingredients from Lindsey's Lucious. My husband actually said he preferred this soup over my Chicken Tortilla Soup, because he's not the biggest black bean fan and "didn't feel like he needed to navigate the soup for fear of hitting a bean minefield."

(Makes about 6 large portions)
• 1 Tablespoon olive oil
• 1 Medium onion - diced
• 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
• 1 10oz can Old El Paso red enchilada sauce - mild
• 10 oz. Velveeta Cheese, cubed
• 1 Cup shredded cheddar cheese
• 1 Tsp cumin
• 1 Tsp chili powder
• 1 - 2 Tsp Chicken Soup Base (I used the powdered bullion)
• 1/2 Tsp cayenne / cajun spice
• 2 Cups Chicken Stock
• 1/2 Cup canned tomato sauce
• Two large chicken breasts - diced and cooked
• Three 6" corn tortillas, diced.
• Optional: 1/2 - 1 Can Golden Corn, Drained
• Garnishes: Sour Cream, Pico de Gallo, Crushed Tortilla Chips

1. Cook your diced chicken in a skillet with olive oil, salt and pepper until completely cooked through. Set aside. Make sure your pieces of chicken are small enough to scoop up in a spoon for soup - you don't want a giant piece of chicken on your spoon. Kind of ruins the whole "soup" thing.

2. Heat your olive oil in a deep soup pot over medium. Add your onion and saute for a few minutes until soft. Add your garlic and saute for 30 seconds - 1 minute.

3. Add in the rest of the ingredients except for the chicken and the optional corn.

4. If you have an immersion blender. blend the soup at this point until you have a smooth consistency. If not, you will just have to continually whisk until the chopped corn tortillas dissolve. This is where things got a bit tricky for me. You see... I don't have an immersion blender...

*If you don't have an immersion blender, please don't be dumb like me and try to blend it in a normal blender. Just trust me on this one. In other news, the dogs enjoyed my mistake. Luckily I only lost a little of the actual soup.

5. Ok, now add in your chicken and corn and heat through.

6. Serve with sour cream, pico, and crushed tortilla chips. Yum!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Blog Update

We interrupt this programming to bring you this public service announcement. If you direct your attention to the right-hand column, you will now notice I've added two pages to the blog: Recipes and DIY/Craft Projects. That's right, I've finally gotten my act together and have categorized all the recipes and crafts featured since I've started blogging. You may now return to your regularly scheduled blog hopping.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy Halloween (A Day Late) + ON THE MENU

I just wanted to share some pics of Judah's first Halloween. I originally wasn't going to dress him up, but 1.) I caved to peer pressure and 2.) I saw this adorable costume on and couldn't resist.  Presenting ROCKETMAN...

Everyone kept asking where his helmet was - that was the only downside of the costume, and I was too lazy to DIY one. I think he was pretty cute nonetheless.

He was a hit at the company Halloween Party.

Then we visited his grandparents & great-grandparents for "trick or treating." He got a new toy remote and we got cookies. As if we didn't have sugar :)

Mischevious look. He's fully mobile now.

That little tongue is always out. We call him Michael Jordan.
And of course, I had to bring him by my office for our company Halloween party. We decorated our departments and had a little bake-off. Which brings me to my "On The Menu" portion of this post...
ORANGE CREAMCICLE CUPCAKES. They didn't all get eaten, but they got good reviews. And I may or may not have had one for breakfast this morning.

• 1 Box 2-layer white cake mix, I used Duncan Hines French Vanilla
• 1 3oz. Box Jell-O Orange Flavored Gelatin mix
• 1 Small Box Jell-O Cheesecake Instant Pudding mix
• 4 Eggs
• 1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
• 1 1/4 Cup Orange Juice
• 1 Tsp. Vanilla

Frosting: I used Duncan Hines Frostings Creations in Orange Creme. I'm not a huge fan of traditional icing, but I really like this and would like to try some of their other flavors as well.

Beat all ingredients and divide into paper-lined muffin tins. Mine made about 24. Bake at 350° for about 18 minutes. Let cool in tins on a wire rack for 5 minutes then pop them out of the tins to cool completely. Wait until the cupcakes are completely cool before frosting. Enjoy!

Hope you all had a lovely and spooky Halloween!