Tuesday, January 8, 2013

An introduction to our nest and three precious little chicks!

So because I am very new to blogging and haven't quite figured out how to navigate Blogger, I will introduce our gang in a blog post.  We are the Gosselin Five: Tyler, Monica, YaYa, Pippa and sweet baby Nico!
Photo credit: Joy Neville Photography
I will start by introducing myself!  Tyler is going to do his own introduction :)
My name is Monica, I am 30 years old and the proud wife of Tyler and proud mother of three beautiful daughters.  I played college basketball, I competed nationally and internationally in Tae Kwon Do, lived in Rome for 2 years and speak Italian, am a self taught portrait photographer on a very part time basis and now run a wonderful AdvoCare business!  I love my family, Italy, horses, cooking, live music, my best friend Christina, super tuscans, chevre, planning parties and trips, and photography.  I am NOT a perfectionist, I wear my heart on my sleeve, I make mistakes, I apologize, I am forgiving, I am tough, resilient and strong but painfully sensitive at the same time.  I adore my father, I am a dreamer, I believe in love, I struggle with my faith but still have hope. My dream is to own a ranch in the hill country and spend holidays there.  I cannot wait for the day to take my girls to Rome, the eternal city.  I miss Rome, it is always in my heart. I married an amazing man that I feel truly blessed to do life with.  I am grateful for this life I lead and all the people in it.  Especially my three little people and my Goose.
Hello blog, this is Tyler, aka Daddy or Babe. When my wife first approached me about starting a blog, my initial response was, "Yea sure babe, that sounds great. You'll have fun with that".  She went on to explain how this would be a family blog that would require my contribution.  I held back my hesitation as my beautiful wife described this as an opportunity to chronicle our lives as a family, and lend our daughters a reference in the future they may utilize to learn and reflect on their early years.  I am proud to contribute to my family's blog and offer my own personal entries as I continue my journey discovering who I am as a man, father and husband.  I won't dive into my personal history since it does not hold a candle to my wife's interesting life, but I will explain my personal outlook.  It is my mission in life to give all of myself to this family.  I am truly blessed to share and build a life with an impressive girl whose tenacity for life and compassion for others always leaves me in awe.  My wife is an inspiration to be a stronger and better man who continues to strive for the best for our family.  My girls are my everything.  Their sweet voices stir a blissful ringing in my soul.  Their kisses strengthen the beating of my heart.  Their glowing faces light up my spirit.  Every breath in my lungs is full of the inspiration and delight they bring to my daily life.  I am a better man because I am their father.  All that being said, I am more than happy to pour my heart and soul into this blog.  My loving wife is always thinking of great ideas, and this blog, I believe, is one that our family will enjoy.
Let us introduce you to the little girl that made us parents...

 This is Felisita Leon aka YaYa!  She was born January 26, 2009.  If we had to describe YaYa in one word it would be whimsical.  You can see it in the way she photographs.  She is magic, she is sweet, she is very sensitive, she is HILARIOUS and so so smart.  She is stunningly beautiful and loves big.  She is our lovey and she will tell you so.  YaYa is a true princess.  She is THEATRICAL!  At the age of 2 she could recite entire scenes from Annie.  YaYa is an old soul, she is our firstborn love, she is heaven.
22 months after YaYa, came our second girl...

Filippa Mignon aka Pippa was born November 22, 2010!  Man o Man little Pipp has our hearts, BIGTIME!  Pippa is fierce and strong but sweet at the same time.  I call her my little warrior princess as she was born on the day my grandfather was laid to rest.  He was a warrior for our family.  Call me crazy but he is embodied in her spirit.  Pippa is tough as nails, she has a force in her and of the three girls she looks the most like me!  She loves her mikki and her paci.  She thinks YaYa is the greatest thing since sliced bread and LOVES numbers and counting.  At 16 months old she could count to ten in English and Spanish and could say her ABC's.  Her favorite toy is the abacus.  Tyler thinks she is going to be a mathlete, lol! Pippa Doll is fiercly loving and loyal.  She is TALL!  Off the charts in her height, always has been :)  Pippa is a special little soul.  We love her so much.
When Pippa was 8 months old we found out we were expecting this little birdie...
Nicolette James aka Nico was born on May 29th, 2012!  She is a dream.  She has the purest white porcelain skin, and the sweetest little pout.  She smells like a baby. She is tiny but mighty.  She hardly sleeps during the day...  Little cat naps here and there.  She is ON THE MOVE!  Leaps and bounds ahead of her sisters in her milestones.  Little Nic wants in on the fun!  We are very anxious to see what kind of little person she will be.  As of now she is the sweetest happiest little babe and we are so glad she is ours.
So that is our gang.  Soon I will figure out how to create an About Me section but for now we have been formally introduced.  We started this blog as a way to chronicle our lives and adventures as a new family of five.  I am not crafty by any means, so this blog will serve as our baby book and family yearbook! 


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Soup, Soup and more Soup! I love Soup!

This colder weather has inspired the soup lover in me.  I really do just LOVE soup and my little YaYa has inherited the love of it too.  This week alone I made three different soups that were all Challenge friendly.  The first two are chicken based soups so I will start by explaining my basic chicken soup recipe.
First of all I always use bone-in chicken thighs with the skin on.  I turn my soup pan on and heat 2 tbs of EVOO on medium flame.  Get the pan nice and hot.  Not blazing hot, but hot.  I prep the thighs with garlic sea salt (moderation peeps) and black pepper.  I sear them on both sides till they are good and browned then remove them from the pan.  Then add the chopped (large diced) yellow onion. Sautee in the pan and add a splash of white wine (2 tbs-ish).  While the onions are sauteeing take a wooden spoon and scrape up the good chicken remnants and flavor from the bottom of the pan. The onions sautee till they are translucent then add whatever other veggies are going into the soup.  Usually (for us) carrots and celery.  After 10 minutes or so I put the chicken back into the pan and pour in the stock (one container of low sodium organic chicken stock), water (2 cups), 2 minced garlic cloves, a bay leaf and cover.  Cook for one hour then remove chicken from the bone and put back in the soup.  Simmer 30 more minutes. If you want to add rice do so at the time you de-bone the chicken. Add one cup of whole grain rice and let it cook for 20-30 minutes (until tender).  Remove from the heat and serve.

Total cook time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Tastes even better the next day for lunch.

For more robust flavor you can add 1 tsp of cumin and 1 tsp of fresh cilantro.  For a kick add one fresh jalapeno diced. 
White Chicken Chile Ingredients
  • 6 chicken thighs
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1½ cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried leaf oregano
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 2 cans (about 15 ounces each) great northern beans, drained, rinsed
  • 1 can (12 to 15 oz.) corn, drained
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro, optional

     Follow the basic chicken recipe. Add the cumin, oregano and sea salt when you pour in the stock and water.  Add the corn, beans and cilantro after an hour when you de-bone the chicken!

    Here is one of my favorite soups that was shared with me by our cousin Michelle in VT!

    Vegetable Barley Soup with Turkey Jalapeño Meatballs

    First, I keep home made frozen meatballs in my freezer. These are just ground turkey, chopped fresh jalapeños and egg. You can use the seeds if you want it spicier.

    I chopped onion, carrots, celery and sautéed them in a tiny bit of olive oil. Mince a few cloves of garlic into it. Add in veggie broth and diced tomato. I also added some crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil and add in frozen meatballs and barley. When barley is tender throw in some baby spinach and let it wilt. Enjoy!

    Sorry for all the cell phone photos.  Had I known they were going to make the blog I would have used the big camera.  Will do so from now on!
    Buon Apetit!

    Saturday, January 5, 2013

    Hello 2013 and Hello Pinterest!

    The first week of 2013 proved wonderful.  I started another cleanse.  I seriously love cleansing.  It is so necessary.  You know that popular quote, "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels."  Well I would like to re-write it, "Nothing tastes as great as cleansing feels."  My journey with AdvoCare has little to do with weight any more.  We no longer have a scale in the house.  I could care less how much I weigh.  I am OBSESSED with how I feel when I eat clean, drink tons of water and supplement correctly.  I have three children, 3 years and under.  My health and energy levels are necessary to my survival (and my sanity) on so many levels.
    What else did the first week of 2013 reveal to us you might ask?  PINTEREST!  OMG where have we been?  Tyler got an account today also.  We were signing each other out on our ONE computer all day.  All I know is since I discovered Pinterest on Wednesday, I have already painted Pippa's room AND the breakfast nook so he better get to all those landscaping projects he has been pinning, lol!
    So this is what we got done in Pippa's room!

      These two walls are yellow while the other two are lilac.  I have already been asked how we managed to get the stripes done and looking straight.  Here is the tutorial we followed!  http://unskinnyboppy.com/.../lazy-girls-timesaving-tips-for-painting/  Will post photos of the final reveal when we are done!
    We also got started on a sweet little DIY Reading Tree for the nursery.  Tyler free handed the tree (he is beyond artistic and talented!) and I painted it.  I love the blue print, his attention to detail and the measurements.  He has a background in architecture ;)  I will definitely be saving it to show Nico one day.  She is so loved...

    I managed to paint the breakfast nook today also.  MAN that was a beating.  Two blisters and multiple hand cramps later I will be hiring someone to paint the kitchen, lol! 
    So our week consisted of cleansing and home projects!  I will be posting some recipes to the Bites page here in a bit :)  Hope you all enjoyed the first week of the year.  We sure did! 

    Tuesday, January 1, 2013

    New Year, New Beginnings, New Fun!

    Hello All and Happy New Year!  Welcome to The Gosselin Five family blog :)  Starting a family blog was number one on our Resolution List this year!  We are so excited for a fun new way to keep you up with the Gosselins and to start this blog so that our girls can look back on their adventures as time goes on.  Our blog will also be a place to share our journey with AdvoCare and weightloss as well as my life as a photographer and mother of three.  The man in the house has also promised to contribute to the blog which is SUPER exciting.  (We shall see if he holds up his end...  I am not counting on it but he has been known to surprise me!) 
    2012 was a wonderful year for our family.  We welcomed our third perfect baby girl Nicolette James, YaYa and Pippa are growing and loving each other more and more everyday and Tyler and I lost a combined 35 pounds and we are well on our way to debt freedom.  We look forward to 2013 with high hopes and big plans and are excited to journal it all here and to share it with the people we love the most.
    Being that our first post is on New Years Day here is our list of resolutions this year. 
    1.  Start a family blog!
    2.  Visit our family in Vermont 
    3. Build/plant our vegetable and herb garden.
    4.  Join a produce co-op.
    5. Pay off debt.
    We hope you will tag along as we tackle our list and have some serious fun in the process.  Goodnight all and best of luck to everyone in 2013!