Bluebird Days

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No new snowfall lately, but my gosh, the sky blue sky. It couldn't be prettier. It was definitely in the 60s in town today, and up at the mountain on Sunday you really didn't even need a coat. Spring is bursting at every seam in our neighborhood. It's been another busy week. We're shopping for preschools and it's strangely draining — exciting but also stressful, trying to keep track of everything (this one's a co-op, this one's neo-humanist, this one's two mornings a week, this one's three mornings a week, this one's Waldorf, this one's Montessori, this one's immersion [or wait, did he say "emerging"?], this one feels too big, this one's too radical, this one's one's got a rad outdoor space but I don't love the teacher, this one is perfect but there's no outdoor space, this one's too expensive, this one's too far from home . . . etc., etc., etc.). What I love is watching Amelia go into every space we visit and just check it out. She loves everything. This is just such an exciting time. She's growing and changing so much.  I absolutely love age three. I mean, it can be exhausting, and it can be maddening, and it is intense, but it really is just . . . awesome. I don't know. I'm tongue-tied. I wish I could explain.

I would've liked to have been a ski bum, and I'm strangely happy in stinky ski lodges with snowboarders and snow machines and powdered hot chocolate and beer and ski gear falling all over the place. I sat in a little snowdrift by the outdoor fire pit and watched Amelia slide down a ten-foot snow bank twenty times in perfect happiness. She's a willing snowbunny. Andy is a great snow dad. I can't believe it's almost Valentine's Day. Winter is waning. The snow felt soft and soggy. Our tulips are three inches out of the ground. Daffodils are blooming and it's still light out when we start our bedtime routine.

I took photos of my new crocheted bunnies and lamb, as well as my new little embroidery sampler. I think everything will be available in the next couple of weeks. I'm very happy with all of it! I'll tell you more about everything when I get all of the photos ready and have the patterns completely proofed and ready to go. It's all coming together. That's sort of stressful, too.

Can you help me with dinner? I want to make some kind of chicken breast thing, and a vegetable side. Any ideas? I can't think.

104 comments

I hope you already found a school you love but we ADORE our preschool if you are still looking. I'm not sure the part of town you want, but it is in NE off Halsey and 52nd. It is called Heartwood and the teachers are both sweet and GET preschoolers so well. I feel like they have created this magical community of families and I will be heartbroken when we graduate. It's a mix of everything...montesorri, play, Reggio, etc. They have an art teacher and music teacher come in once a week, too. The art teacher used to run the clay program at the children's museum. I just can't say enough good things! Good luck in your search!

Three is wonderful indeed. If I could do it again I wouldn't hesitate to choose Waldorf education again, although that's just me, and we did homeschool which changes the equation considerably :-) But we also had a marvellous school nearby for festivals, inspirations, etc. I wish I'd been educated the Waldorf way myself. Of course, its not right for everyone. I hope you find the perfect preschool for your lovely girl.

Wow, does anyone know the name of the yellow flowers in the last picture? I love them! (Beautiful photos!!)

Alicia, here is my offering for a dinner idea to meet your need. I have made this many times and find it to be very delicious and soooooo easy as chicken, beans and red potatoes are all cooked TOGETHER in the OVEN!
Lemony and lovely and so easy when I need a good tasting dinner that is
super easy: http://southernhospitalityblog.com/pan-roasted-lemon-chicken/
I hope you enjoy. Love, love, love your wonderful blog.

What adorable pictures. I can't believe your tulips and I'm impatient to see your new embroidery sampler. I am loving working on your SweetiePie ABCs and my little girls are enthralled with it, loving to figure out just what letter I'm working on next and what the picture is to go with it. My four year old stands over my shoulder with the photo of your finished project in her hand and sings the ABCs over and over while I work on it and then chattering about each picture in my ear. It is a precious memory that will come to mind forever after it's finished and hanging.

As for chicken recipes, this Chicken with Mushrooms and Zucchini is one of my go-to favorites: http://www.melskitchencafe.com/chicken-with-mushrooms-and-zucchini/ The recipe list always looks so simple to me that it seems impossible that combined they all yield something as mouthwatering as the end result but I pretty much have to stop myself from eating the whole pan before it gets to the table especially because my husband would be sorely disappointed not to get any...

Oh look at all that lovely snow! We're in the preschool conundrum too for my middle girl only with fewer choices! My eldest just stayed at her daycare nursery so it's a whole new decision for us! As for chicken suppers, my husband makes a fabulous chicken bacon and avocados quesadilla with side salad - yum!

You do have amazing Montessori preschools in Portland, thanks to the training centre. I wish I could have attended the international congress. But then I'm a Montessori teacher and mum so biased. Good luck with your search. :)

Michaelanne says: February 10, 2016 at 03:50 AM

You are SO lucky to have all the options you have!! We have NOTHING. NOTHING. Just people running daycare centers..I am so glad we are no longer in need of daycare or preschool services! our area is just so lacking....but! we DO have SNOW! Does that make you want to move! haha! Portland looks AMAZING! Anyway...Good luck with the dinner choices! I am going to check back later and hope to find one myself! I am in a real cooking rut..everything seems the same!

http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/baked-chicken-breast/
This is the best BEST way to cook chicken breasts-- I seriously use it every time I make chicken in the oven because it is ridiculously easy, cooks fast and turns out really juicy. This, plus baked potatoes (um, in the microwave) and Brussels sprouts (steam-in-bag with cheddar melted over) is one of my husband's favorite meals. Happy eating!

You must try the Smitten Kitchen Chicken mushroom marsala. It has been on my list for a while and I can't believe I waited so long. I made it with thighs (her add-on suggestion) and I was so sad when I finished the leftovers. It is so simple and so tasty. With egg noodles and frozen peas (or fresh asparagus/green beans), you can't go wrong.

LOVE all the pictures today. As we are at least two months away from having the temps and flowers coming up that you have, the photos were a breath of fresh air and gave me hope that this too will pass (meaning the cold). There are some great recipe suggestions for you above--I may have to try a few myself. I always love a good stir-fry.

When my daughter was little, sometimes it could be challenging. She knew her own mind and was strong willed from a young age. She was always lovely though. I didn't go into combat with her, I listened and respected her opinions and her ways of doing things and I picked my battles carefully. Sometimes she needed to listen to me and actually she did. She did best in environments where they liked and encouraged her. Some teachers are amazing and a great match, others less so. You find though that there tends to be an ethos that works its way through, so some schools are great and others simply don't feel that way.

My daughter's smaller years (a little younger than Amelia to about 8) were practically speaking the most difficult for me. I marvelled at her though. The strange thing was that her teen years were effortless, and went as smoothly as anything. No rebellion, no stating of independence as she had already done that I suppose. She has always known her own mind and simply grew into it.

I love seeing Amelia striding out there with confidence and purpose; she seems so interested and just 'into' everything and so inquisitive about the world. I love that. She is wonderful to see. The pictures in the snow are some to treasure for sure.

My daughter did best without too many rules but with parameters set and led by people who care. The people are the important thing.

Your new patterns are gorgeous - who doesn't need a woolly sheep or floppy eared bunny for Easter?

sharon stanley says: February 10, 2016 at 05:28 AM

those snow pics make me so jealous. everyone needs a pink snowsuit....life is just better wearing one, i can see that. can't wait to see the patterns! precious. chicken: do you ever see that funny little quick video thing called tasty that pops up on fb? i'm not sure what it is but when it pops up, i can't look away and they had one recently where you took a boneless chicken breast and made cross-says slits about every 1/2 inch, but not all the way through. then you mixed spinach that you had sauted with ricotta cheese and stuffed into the little slits....you added some cheese on top and baked it...see if you can find it at tasty, as it looked divine and simple!

This is very delicious and easy, but best with thin-cut breasts. http://a-girl-and-her-fork.blogspot.com/2012/01/pollo-al-limone.html

I expected to see a bluebird in these photos! But I guess you meant your little bird and her blue barrette. :)

Lovely photos, as always.
Our Sunday dinner was Slow Cooker Chicken. Pour about 1/2 cup of Italian Dressing (I used the bottled kind) in the slow cooker, add about 1-2 cups of water (enough to cover every thing). Peel small potatoes, put in the bottom of the slow cooker, top with Chicken Breasts. Cook on High for about 4-5 hours while you're at Church, come home, smell the deliciousness, cut up some raw veggies and enjoy eating!

I loved three. I miss three, although it was the hardest age. I loved taking my daughter along to visit preschools and watching her reaction - there were some she just couldn't tolerate (halfway through the Waldorf tour, she looked at me and said, "Can we just not be here anymore?"). In the end, she told us which preschool she liked best and lobbied hard to go there for months.

Our family favorite chicken dinner is chicken wrapped in bacon. Cut chicken breasts into 1-2 inch pieces, wrap each piece in bacon. In a hot skillet, cook on each side until the bacon is crispy, then put in the oven at 350 to finish cooking. We serve with rice and brussels sprouts (cooked in the chicken/bacon pan once the chicken is cooked).

Probably too late, but my favorite easy meal right now is fried rice! veggies, scrambled egg, tofu or chicken, unsalted peanuts. soy sauce, green onions & sesame seeds on top.

My grandmother used to make this delicious chicken dish from a 1970's Southern Living Cookbook called Chicken Cornelia. I love to make it because it has very easy prep and then you stick it in the oven to cook for an hour or so and then when it is done it is delicious. You put boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a deep dish. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and paprika. Mix a can of cream of mushroom, a can of cream of chicken and a pint of whipping cream. Pour that over the chicken breasts and bake for an hour or a little longer depending on size and amount of chicken. The chicken is tender and juicy and you have a luscious golden gravy to serve over the chicken. You can sauté some mushrooms to put on top when you serve. I usually make mashed potatoes and green beans to go with. It is so yummy and my family loves it! You can also serve with rice. I sometimes cut up the leftovers and make a casserole with rice and veggies the next day.
My littlest is also 3 and I think this is just the funnest age. I am loving every second of his life. I hope you guys have a great spring!

I've been wanting to make some kind of stuffed chicken breast thing lately... I'm thinking a flattened chicken breast lined with bacon... maybe some cheese... maybe some mushrooms & peppers & garlic? Rolled into a tube & dipped in butter. Something like that.

Maybe that will inspire you! :-D

I love your posts and it's the first time I'm commenting though I'm a long time reader and appreciator ... thank you for sharing your tender and beautiful photographs and embracing us all with your thoughts and musings of the heart.
Wanted to share this recipe in thanks for all the wonder. It's one we take to potlucks, friends in need and when we need some soul chicken food ourselves!
Chicken Stew with Lemon Dumplings: (it's in my Paprika app I got thanks to you!) 1 onion chopped, 4 large carrots diced, 3 sticks celery, 1 cup peas, 1 large diced potato (optional), 4 - 6 Tblspns olive oil or butter, 8 - 10 chicken pieces, Thyme, Bay Leaves, Ground Pepper, Salt to your liking, 8 cloves of garlic.
Dumplings: 1 1/2 cups of flour, 2 tsp baking powder, pinch salt, zest of lemon, 1/4 - 1/2 cup of chopped parsley, 1/2 stick butter, 1 cup buttermilk
Method: Brown chicken with onion, add rest of veggies, cover with water or chicken stock (I guess adding a splash of wine would be good too!). Add all the herbs, seasoning and garlic and a squeeze of lemon juice if you wish after the zesting. Simmer 30 minutes.
Dumplings: Mix all dry ingredients and herbs, add lemon zest. Rub in butter, add buttermilk and your dough is ready. When chicken is done, bring to very low simmer, spoon over the dumplings, put the lid on and simmer again for 20 minutes - no peeking! They are delicious :)
This is from a recipe book from the 80's, Australian Women's Weekly. So good, a tried and tested well loved old favourite!

Love your pics! What a beautiful child! She is so grown up now. I have been reading your blog all through her life and am amazed at how much she has grown! So fun to watch her through your pictures and see how sweet she is. Love the pic with her friend crafting.

Happy Valentines Day to you and your family! Thanks for sharing!

Is there a preschool attached to the elementary school near your house?

Three is awesome - no explanation necessary. For chicken - just had Barefoot Contessa Lemon Chicken Breasts. Fast, easy & yummy. 1/4 c olive oil, 3 Tbs minced garlic, 1/3 c dry white wine, 1 Tbs lemon zest, 2 Tbs lemon juice, 1-1/2 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, salt & Pepper. Four boneless chicken breasts, 1 lemon. Heat the oil gently add the garlic for just one minute. Off heat add everything but chicken and last lemon. Pour oil mix into 9x12 baking dish. Place chicken breasts on top & sprinkle them liberally with s & P. Cut lemon into 8 wedges & tuck around chicken. Bake 30-40 mins (400 deg) until chicken is done. Allow to rest for 10 mins. (Ina used boneless skin on breasts - I used boneless & skinless & it was just fine)

Not sure where you are located in Portland but my kids did preschool at Childswork in SE near Hawthorne and we loved it!!
Also, I love your blog so much :)

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About Alicia Paulson

About

My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com

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Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.