Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tami's Amazing Tortilla Soup

It was too good to wait to take a picture of the pretty bowl.  So, this is what you get.  :D
3-4 chicken breasts
Lawry’s Chicken Fajita Packet OR Chicken Taco if you can’t find the packet OR use this recipe, but add 1/2 t extra bullion granules and use 3-4 T of the mix
1 can Mexican style stewed tomatoes
2 cans low-sodium Chicken Broth OR 1 box
5 strips of bacon
1 medium onion, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ green bell pepper, diced
½ red bell pepper, diced
1 can of corn, with juice
1 can black beans ( I used low-sodium and they were rinsed & drained)
½ t oregano
salt & pepper to taste (I didn't have to add any because the bacon salted it up for us)

  •  Cut up the chicken into small cubes and mix with the Lawry's Chicken Fajita Seasoning.  Make sure it is the chicken flavored one or else it will turn out with a beef & chicken combo flavor that isn't as appetizing.
  • Put the tomatoes, corn juice, and broth in a blender (I do this because I don't like giant chunks of tomato, but to each his own).
  • Cook the bacon until crispy.  Take the bacon aside on a paper towel to drain.  Make sure the heat is on low or medium-low so you don't burn anything.  Sautee the onion and garlic in the bacon grease.  I also put half the bell peppers in to sautee.  Add the onion mixture to the blender and blend until smooth.  
  • Sautee the rest of the bell pepper in the grease.  Add the seasoned chicken to the pot and cook through.  Take the blended mixture and add it to the pot.  If your pot isn't big enough, use a bigger one.  I did a half-recipe, so it wasn't necessary to find a bigger pot.
  • Add the corn, black beans, and oregano.
  • Let simmer 30-45 minutes.  Crumble the bacon and add.  You can add the bacon at any time.  But, the closer you add it till the end, the less soggy it will become.  I added mine about 5 minutes before serving. Salt & pepper to taste.

Serve with avocado, sour cream, cheese, olives, cilantro, etc.  Oh!  Don't forget the tortilla chips! 
It makes about 12-16 cups, depending on how much broth you add and how long it stews.

Some notes: 

I had everything ready to go before turning the oven on and it was a good move.  It took about 20 minutes until it was simmering, and I had everything washed and put away by the time it was done cooking.
This is a crockpot-friendly meal.  You can put the chicken and seasoning packet in and cook the chicken, then shred it.  You can use less chicken, too.  We make our chicken last by cutting it up before storing it, and we probably used 1 breast for half a recipe (2 for a whole recipe).
It was chunky and delicious.  One bowl filled us up (mine was a bit larger).  You can make this recipe stretch, too, by adding more broth.  The longer it stews the better the flavor gets.  Leftovers are amazing. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

We bought a lock for that door.

Utah County for New Years

My beautiful friend, Rena, was leaving on her mission at the beginning of January and Michael randomly had 4-5 days off, so we ventured up to Utah County to see her and other friends.
 Elai with Heather at In-n-Out

One good thing about going up is the wide variety of food options.  :)

 Elai's first Rubio's fish taco.  :D
 It was a hit!

 His latest thing is to tilt his head back and "laugh".  It isn't a real laugh, but rather a fake silly laugh.  It is hilarious.
 My lovely Rena friend!
 Rena's uncle fed Elai a banana split, but kept teasing him, pulling the spoon further forward when he would go to take a bite.  It was so funny. 

 Rena's mom and Elai.
 Grandma Lin fed Elai breakfast, but Elai soon took over on his own.  He loves using a fork and feeding himself.
 He loves his Grandma Lin, too.  :)

And more of just his cuteness.  :)

Sewing Project

 Handmade Buttons
 Inside seams.  I did french seams because I really didn't want to do a lining and I think it looks so much better. 
 Elai, checking out my work on his Aunt.
Finished product.  :D  I am very happy with how it turned out!
Merry Christmas! 2012

 Our first pancake turned out pretty amazing.  :)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas to All!

Well, this Christmas we spent in Cedar City with our tiny family and skyped and factimed out to those around us. 
On Christmas Eve, we made peanut butter fudge (Michael's family recipe), Put together gingerbread houses, went shopping for last minute gifts, and watched The Polar Express.  Elai loved all the hustle and bustle and he really enjoyed when we laid him down for bed and Opa read "Twas the Night Before Christmas" to him via a recorded book.  He thought it was so cool and kept turning the pages after the book was finished.  He loved hearing his voice and pointed to the pictures.  :)
This morning, when Elai came out and saw the tree lit up with all the presents (thank you to everyone--he loved all his new toys and has been playing non-stop), he got super excited and picked up the one non-wrapped present and laughed and tried to shake it open.  :)  Fun!  While we opened the presents, Elai didn't care about anything until the wrapping and that was off, then it was play time!
Michael and I went and saw Les Miserables after the morning rush.  It was really good.  There were a few parts, towards the end of Fantine's life and when we meet the Thernardiers that were kinda ew, but other than that we thought it was well done and definitely got the tears going, especially at the end.
Soon after we got home, Leanna skyped from Canada and it was great!  We got to hear convos from the Thompsons in Spanish Fork (they talked to her in canada, then we heard it here in cedar--crazy!).  She gets home soon and we are excited to see her.
We still have lots of calls and festivities to enjoy and Elai, thankfully, is taking a nap today so he can enjoy the night (us, too).
We love you all! 
Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

New Phone!

So, when we signed up for internet, we also got a land line to help with communication if our cell phones lose service (it happens).
We got this amazing phone from  It is the VTech DS6321 Digital phone.  It is sleek and fun, but the best part is that it connects through bluetooth to our cell phones!  So, when we get home, the bluetooth connects.  When we get a phone call on our cell, it rings on the home phone.  Now, we can have both of us on a headset instead of crowding around the phone when we both want to talk.  Also, Elai isn't constantly grabbing at the phone when we both want to talk, too!  It is brilliant. 
It also connects to our phone directories, so any number in our cell is in the phone.  We don't pay for caller id on the home phone, but it still comes up with "Jimmy Johns" or whomever is calling. 
All in All, we love having the land line.  :) 
VTech DS6321-3 DECT 6.0 Cordless Phone, Silver/Black, 3 Handsets
Bought at

Friday, December 21, 2012

Here We Are!

To all those who say we never post on our blog anymore, Bah!  I just checked the blogosphere and I am lacking in updates from you, too! :D

But, the great thing is that we now have internet!!!  So, while Elai naps, we can update you on our oh-so-boring lives.

Events of the past few weeks:
1. The semester is over-ish.  We took on too much this semester and now have a few more assignments to turn in to our very generous professors.  We have a plan for this next semester and hopefully it works.

2.  We joined Gold's Gym for our Christmas present.  It includes child care while we work out and like always, Michael is seeing great results while I see nothing.  I have started logging my food intake on and it is actually a really great system.  You get a letter grade for your day and for each food, you can put in your recipes, and you can add workouts.  I am a fan.  Hopefully it helps me to track the food I eat along with my exercise and I can see some results.

3. Elai is growing up!  He got a present for Christmas from his Oma and Opa--a toddler bed!  Michael put it together last night and Elai just loves it!  He cuddles up on it and climbs up and down.  It is a bit of an adjustment for us because he hasn't been napping quite so well (the toys are too easy to come by), but we love that he has such a great place to sleep.  Thanks, Opa & Oma!

4. Michael got an internship!  He recently focused his career path towards becoming an archivist, so when a local internship came to his attention for assisting a museum curator, he jumped at it and they picked him!  It is a similar field and he is so excited.  It will start in January and he can do as few or as many hours as he wants.  Hopefully we can work it out easily enough.  I am so proud of him.

5.  Along with #4, we have been looking at Grad schools for Michael to get a Masters in Library Science.  The top school is at UNC Chapel Hill.  I am not too happy about going further from San Diego, but I love that we will be closer to loved family and friends!  Also, less snow.  Always a plus in my book.

6. Christmas is almost here and we are so grateful for family and friends and we love you all.

He is too cute.  We seriously made an adorable offspring.

Nap time!

Oh yeah, Elai learned how to draw. . .

Elai is really good with the tree.  He gets angry at the pinecone, loves to ring the bell, and is very good and being gentle when he touches the other ornaments.

At the Ward Christmas party, Santa showed up and Elai had a blast.  :)

He freaks out when he sees this cookie tin.  He cries until we give him some.  Not the ideal breakfast, but hey, once in a blue moon I am just a pushover.

Cuddling up for bed!

Sound asleep in the big bed!
Many much more tidings to come! ;)

Friday, November 30, 2012

Quick Update

Just wanted to post a quick update. Julie and I are finishing our fall semester this next week. This last week Elai had his 15 month appointment. He is doing well. He loves to run and chats up a storm. We are starting to make out what we think are actual words he is saying. According to his latest doctors appointment, he has officially out grown his rear-facing car seat. Yeah! Also, I received an internship at a local state park! Other than that, life is moving along as usual. We will post more and catch up on the past few months once the semester is over.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

One small step for Elai, wait why are you scared?

So, as you probably already guessed, Elai took his first step! It was last Tuesday. (Yes, I know we are behind in getting it posted.) He was very nervous at first, but then once he realized we were excited, he started doing it more often. The best part was that his Oma and Opa were able to be there for it. In all, he probably took five steps on Tuesday, and a few on Thursday. Then on Friday, Julie and I tried to get him to take more steps, but he just kept bending his knees. He also seemed a little scared to try it again. All I could think was, "Wait, why are you scared? You were doing it just fine yesterday. Mommy and Daddy are right here and won't let you fall, just like yesterday. So why won't you take a step?" It was kind of annoying, but he is too cute to be annoyed with. He does randomly stand on his own, holding onto nothing, but if we start cheering, he immediately grabs on to things. Oh well, at least he has taken the plunge. So we all will be on to bigger and better adventures!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Jimmy Johns, Meet Elai. Elai. . .wait! Stop! Oh, bacon. . .

So, the other night Michael and I decided it would be nice to go out to Jimmy Johns for dinner.  We were both craving sandwiches and well, we're lazy.
We grabbed the bubbs, dressed him up all cute, and took off. 
We got our food while Elai made faces with the employees behind the counter.  He tried to eat the stack of gift cards, but luckily we got them before they got slobbered on.
Elai is now eating a lot more of the food we eat, so he thinks anything we eat is his to eat, too.  Uh, no.  I am still too possessive over my food. 
Anyways, we got some bread so he could eat the mini pieces.  This wouldn't do for him, so he lunged across the table and grabbed the giant hunk o bread and stuffed it in his mouth.  If you haven't seen a lil one try and stuff his cheeks with half a loaf of bread, it is hilarious.  He was really good about just scraping the soggy parts into his mouth, so we let him at it.
Further into the meal, I took the bacon off my sandwich (too salty for me sometimes).  Oh, what does the cute boy do?  he grabs both pieces (one for each hand) and proceeds to slap my face with them.  Yes, I was baconated.  (it's a word, I promise. . .) All over my face and neck, then to the window and back to my face.  What does Hubby do?  Laughs.  I'll admit, I was laughing, too, but hey!  I just got bacon rubbed all over my face.  Not so hott.
The adventure continues as I realize Elai has lost a shoe.  Where is this missing shoe?  By the register.  Oops!  And by the time I find it his sock is missing too!  Seriously, kid?  Hahaha. 
Elai, meanwhile, is still stuffing his face with that bread at every conceivable opportunity.  He coughed a little and so we decided to give him some water from a water bottle.  I drank about half so he wouldn't spill.  WRONG.  The cuteness got DRENCHED!  He grabbed it and squeezed.  About half of what was left went all over his face and shirt.  He had this stunned look, then handed the bottle back to me.  I guess that's what I get for going for the cheap bottles!  hahaha
By the time we left, there were prints covering the window, crumbs everywhere, a water puddle on the floor, one exhausted mama, and a very happy little boy who probably thought he had the coolest parents ever to let him play with everything like that. 
*sigh*  Eating out with an 11-month old is difficult!  :D

Poo Face

Note to self: NEVER leave my child unattended with just a diaper on. . .AGAIN. . .

Oops.  Daddy forgot mommy's lesson.  Luckily he brought home chocolate and flowers.  :)

I am now not so terrified of him eating random pieces of lint off the floor--he's eaten poo, so how much worse could it get?

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Michael's Bday!

Michael recently had a birthday, and it was a blast!  He got an xbox 360 with kinect, plus games.  Thanks to all those who pitched in!  Denny's for breakfast for the free slam, and Ninja for dinner and a show.  After, we got some shaved ice at the Tiki Shack and headed out to Parowan Gap to watch the sun set, which it does down the middle of the gap on his birthday.  Overall, a great day!

Pictures, Mostly Elai.

Elai got into our trash, and when we found him, he was eating puffs he found inside. 

Drunken Bottle photo.  LOL.  he is so cute!

Learning to stand.  He can walk along the bed/couches, tables, etc.

One of his funny faces when we go to take a picture of him nowadays.  The puff stuck to his face is just too good.

Same day as above, just as funny.  I forget what freaked him out so much, but I think it was some form of food.

Weekend in St. George.  Elai had a cold, which is so sad!  I hate when he is stuffy and puffy.

Elai was watching Curious George while I got some homework done, and it got really quiet.  I went in to check on him and found this.  Cute!