Chicken and Avocado and Girls, Oh My!

Had an amazing weekend full of girls and good food and sun and water and and laughing till you pee moments. Fortunately, we had our own lifeguard at the pool! 😉 This green and white “bowl” slide might have had something to do with laughing till you pee. Oh my.  

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My sister brought her three girls to meet Hendrik and enjoy the final pool days of summer. We lathered them all up with sunscreen and swam until we were hungry enough to cook. The centerpiece of the weekend turned out to be a giant batch of Chicken and Avocado Enchiladas in Creamy Avocado Sauce which we found here (

The recipe calls for 4 cups of shredded chicken, which certainly would have served more than 4, but we doubled and had lots leftover. Kristin made the shredded chicken extra yummy by cooking it in the slow cooker while we were at the pool. She added 1 beer, some cumin, salt, pepper, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and the juice of a lime. It was fork-shredded to perfection! I had fun trying to make the sauce in a food processor that wasn’t big enough for all of the ingredients. I just kept pouring between bowls and the processing bowl. What a mess! A delicious, green, mexi-mess! 

Chicken and Avocado Enchiladas in Creamy Avocado Sauce 500 1143

Chicken and Avocado Enchiladas in Creamy Avocado Sauce

by Closet Cooking

Servings: makes 4 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup salsa verde
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (or Greek yogurt)
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 jalapeno, coarsely chopped (remove seeds for less heat)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cumin, toasted and ground
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 handful cilantro
  • 1/2 lime, juice
  • 4 cups cooked shredded chicken
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • 8 (7 inch) tortillas


  1. Puree the chicken broth, salsa verde, sour cream, avocados, jalapeno, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper, cilantro and lime juice in a blender or food processor.
  2. Mix the half of the sauce with the chicken, avocado, green onions and half of the cheese.
  3. Coat the bottom of a large baking dish with some of the sauce, wrap the chicken and avocado mixture in the tortillas and place them in the dish.
  4. Top the enchiladas with the remaining sauce and cheese and bake in a preheated 350F oven until the cheese has melted and the sides are bubbling, about 15-20 minutes.

Small Surprises in the Big City

Our Linda wanted to check Broadway off her bucket list and kindly checked it off the lists of Sister, Daughter, and Me, too! In honor of Libby’s 16th birthday (you might remember that we did have a little party last September!), she flew us all to NYC to see shows, eat amazing food, hike the urban jungle, and gawk in wonderment. You’ve all seen the big city on tv or explored it yourselves, perhaps, so I just thought I’d mention a few things that surprised me despite the stereotypes and one previous visit.

1. The taxi drivers are not there to make sure you have a nice ride. They are only paid to get you to your destination — no telling what’s going to happen on the way. The first time I took a taxi from JFK to Times Square, the driver jumped out of the car at a stop light to get himself a hotdog! Scared me to death! I actually prefer the subway.

2. The view may cost you $27, but it’s worth it. That’s what we paid to go to the Top of the Rock – 30 Rockefeller Center. I wasn’t sure I wanted to see the world from up there, but I am glad I did! Amazing, beautiful, different.


3. I knew space was at a premium in NY, but I didn’t know they stacked the cars like Hotwheels!


4. Broadway. Just Broadway. Have been a theater geek all my life, so should have expected to be brought to tears, but it caught me off guard. The tiny but grand theaters made me want to laugh with glee and then commune with the ghosts of shows past. It was very moving. We saw three shows from three different perspectives: balcony, box, and orchestra. Each one was perfect. The theater below is the Schubert — just the theater where A CHORUS LINE set the record for longest running show on Broadway!


5. My daughter. No fears. Just jumped into New York like Mary Tyler Moore going to Minneapolis. Hopping on and off the subway, benches in Central Park, curbs into swarms of people with umbrellas. She might have some kind of new york gene.



Must. Stop. Talking.

In 7th grade one of the teacher comments on my report card was “Kim is a good student who should talk less.” 

Hmmm, well, yes, shouldn’t all 7th grade students talk less? I didn’t give it much thought beyond rolling my eyes when my family teased me about it. 

But 30 years later, and it’s still true. I should talk less. I really am working on it. I am trying to listen. I am trying to stifle the tiny thoughts that pop into my head while someone else is talking. Teaching for 20 years didn’t really help me with this personality flaw because talking was a big part of my job. And now I probably type far too many of these tiny thoughts into my facebook status. Maybe that is a fairly innocuous way for me to get them out of my head — and readers can certainly choose to ignore them. 

Still, I keep making faux pas that could be avoided if I would shut up. Today I volunteered at my daughter’s middle school, helping with a “marketplace” where 50+ students made products to sell. The proceeds will go to Heifer International and an experience that they provide to help make our kids aware of life beyond their locale. I was really impressed. As I talked with (what appeared to be) another volunteer, I expressed my amazement that this teacher would take on such a huge project. So much work! She put so much time and energy into creating this meaningful opportunity for her students! I said that though I am also a teacher, I would never undertake such a big, complicated event. Of course that’s not really true. I’ve just done it enough times to know how much work it is. But anyway, that’s what I said. Then I was introduced to this person, and she turned out to be the Gifted Coordinator for the school district — the person to whom I would go for a job if I decide I want one. ARgh. Must. Stop. Talking. Made myself sound like a slacker!

At Halloween I happily greeted a sweet 2-year-old neighbor and her mom, who has been expecting a baby. What did I say to her? “Oh! No baby yet?” She replied, “Actually there are two, and they are at home sleeping.” 

WHEN will I learn? 

Things my big sister taught me.

Things my big sister taught me.

Well, I have to say that I can’t imagine my life without my big sister.  I have learned so many valuable lessons over the years from her.  Now that I am 40 she still continues to teach me new things.  Three new things I recently learned:

1.  People love getting mail!  She mails everything.  Since she moved to Arkansas, she has mailed me books, banners and most recently Halloween costumes. The fact is that she would have mailed these things to me if she still lived in Fenton (35 minutes away).  I don’t know what it is.  There is just something she loves about it.  She likes writing and stationery and has always had an appreciation for proper etiquette.  She particularly loves sending unexpected treats.  Just yesterday my girls received homemade Halloween cards with sticker sheets inside.  You would have thought they won the lottery.  They ran in from school and these beautiful pieces of mail, addressed personally to each of them sat right by their afternoon snack.  They tore into them and were thrilled to have a hand written message from their Aunt Kim.  So lesson learned. . . receiving mail truly can make a person’s day!


2.  It’s good to feed your dog a raw food diet.  This one I admit I was a bit skeptical about.  However, she is a smart girl who does her research, so I listened.  She has been telling me for years how horrible it is to feed your dog store bought dog food.  She buys whole chickens and feeds them to her dog RAW 😦 .  Anyway, the other night I was making chicken tortilla soup.  To make it easier on myself I bought a rotisserie chicken.  As my dog stood diligently at my side, I decided to give this chicken diet a try.  I threw him a chicken leg.  Now, she told me that they eat the bones and all . . . and he did!  He loved it!  In fact he loved it so much I saved the other one for the next day.  My husband was really concerned when he saw our little dog going to town on this chicken leg.  “Is he really supposed to eat the bones?”

“Yep,” I replied, “Kim said the whole thing.”

I was pretty proud of myself, and when I called my sister a few days later I told her how I was getting on the raw food bandwagon.  She yelled through the phone, “What?  You gave him cooked chicken bones?”

“Yes, you said I could give him the bones.”

“I said RAW chicken bones!  You can’t feed a dog cooked chicken bones!!!  They splinter and could tear his internal organs.”

“Oh.  He seems okay to me though.”

A couple hours later I received a text from my sister that said, “I’m worried about Bogey.  You sure he’s okay?”

What’s the lesson here?  While a raw food diet may be good for your dog, the real lesson learned here is SMALL words matter too.  RAW really was the key!

3.  How to lock down your itunes account so your kids can’t buy things without your permission.  A few weeks ago I posted on facebook that I was a bit surprised when I got my itunes receipt via e-mail and there was a $1.99 charge for a game called “Pou.”  When I asked my kids about it, they explained that it was a game where you have to take care of a piece of poop.  Yes, apparently nothing is free these days.  Anyway my sister attended a PTO meeting the other night and called me on the way home.  During the meeting she had learned that there is a way to lock your child’s iphone/ipod so that they are unable to make purchases.  She quickly walked me through the steps.  The irony in this is that yesterday my sister received her i-tunes receipt and it had over $60 worth of charges that her daughter had made.  Lesson learned. . . don’t laugh at me for paying $2 for shit when you just spent $60 on your own pile.

It’s good to have a sister to teach you these things!

Love you, Sis!

Oh and on a side note.  I sent this entry to my sister to edit for me before I posted.  Usually she calls me up, and walks me through the edits explaining why the change is needed.  This time she called me, and as I went to my computer to make changes she said “Forget it!  I’ve explained the comma rules to you a million times and you still don’t get it.  I’ll make the changes myself and send you the finished copy.”  Lesson learned….Not paying attention can pay off!  BTW – I threw some extra commas in this last paragraph for good measure. 

A Few Things I Love. . .

1. Never, never going to the bank anymore. In fact, I can’t go to the bank bc my bank is in another state. All of my banking is done via Smartphone, even the deposits. I just endorse, photograph each side, and bing! Depo made! I love it.

2. Chalk paint. Not chalkboard paint. Paint with chalk in it. Annie Sloan or Cece Caldwell or Make Your Own; it’s amazing stuff because you don’t have to sand or prime. I am a very lazy painter.

3. Tea. I now understand why those European explorers just had to find a way to get tea. Sounded so strange to me in grade school. My preference is hot, green tea, but I’ll try anything. . . it never fails to cheer me up.

4. Modern art. I was sad to leave the St. Louis Art Museum’s modern art collection, but so lucky to find myself 10 minutes away from Alice Walton’s modern art collection! I think I’ll do a whole blog post on Crystal Bridges and my favorite pieces. Coming soon. .

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5. Haribo Gummi Bears. Feels a little weird putting that gummy substance in your body, but yum! Tastes so good — and probably reminds me of my teen years in Germany.

I could go on and on, but these are the things I love today. More on another day when I am feeling reflective.


Pumpkin carving?

Pumpkin carving really isn’t as much fun as it sounds. I used to throw pumpkin carving parties, but it turns out that kids get pretty bored watching adults wield knives, and adults get pretty bored cleaning the guts out of pumpkins. The best part is the picture taking when all is said and done.

This year I’ve been inspired to go glitzy and pin sequins to craft pumpkins. I’ll still have them next year! Woohoo!

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It took a while, but I had plenty of good Missouri football and Cardinals playoff ball to watch while I pinned. My right thumb felt like I had poked a hole through it, but, hey. . . we’ve got thimbles, right? I don’t have any pretty ones like Kristin, but I found a plastic one in an old sewing kit, and it was invaluable. Next up. . .St. Louis Blues?

Storing Scarves


I usually keep my scares as neatly folded as possible because I don’t like them to be all wrinkly when I wear them. But my collection is growing (again–after purging the ones I wore as a restaurant hostess circa 1991). And they keep sliding off their shelf.

How about this? I like it because it reminds me of the way they display them in stores. But — two issues — they take up a lot of precious hanging space, and they will be wrinkled where they’re “tied” onto the rod. Hmmm. . . back to the drawing board. Anyone got the perfect solution?


The School Equestrian Team

DSC_0076 DSC_0217My youngest daughter is obsessed with horses. This may or may not be my fault. For the record, I have been afraid of horses since one bit me at Girl Scout camp in the sixth grade.

However, I was determined never to transfer my fears to my children, so I signed them up for horseback riding lessons when they were little. The older one moved on to dance, musical theater, student council, and boys. The younger one still thinks of nothing but horses.

So I hang out at smelly barns, reading my books and shooing flies away. In St. Louis we drove out into the country where she leased a sweet horse named Dimples. She’d trudge into hip high grass to fetch the horse, pick her muddy hooves out with a scary looking thing, spray her with fly spray, saddle up, and ride off into the distance, grinning with joy.  Easy peasy.

Big tears when we moved to Arkansas last year, but I told her that there were bound to be lots of horses just like Dimples.  Hmmm. . .nope. The girls here ride English, which means that they sport $300 helmets on their heads, $300 boots on their feet, and fancy threads in between. They still pick the hooves clean, but then they trot those ponies around a ring, leaping over fences with posture I can only dream of. It would be kind of cute if I weren’t writing the checks and biting my nails in the grandstand.

Fast forward a year, and C has joined an Interscholastic Equestrian Association riding team made up of middle and high school girls who practice together and then go to shows to challenge themselves to ride horses other than their own, using tack other than their own. That might not sound like a big deal, but in the usual shows they ride horses they know and are basically showing what the horse can do. In these team shows, they show what they can do as riders in completely unfamiliar circumstances. Not only do they draw horses from a hat, their coach has to choose which of them will place before the show, and they only earn points for the ones that she chooses correctly! It’s crazy challenging! But, it turns out, super fun, too. Despite the cold, windy day, I enjoyed seeing these athletes and horses work together. And the comaraderie! The girls helped each other get up to speed on which horse tends to (oh, how would I know?) act which way, and they acted as grooms for each other, and just generally supported one another in ways you wouldn’t see at a show where they are competitors. It was really neat to see horseback riding as a team sport.

When I was in high school, we were trying to convince the Powers That Be that cheerleading and dance team deserved to earn varsity letters. Now I’d like to see my daughter earn one in the IEA! Go Team!

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Love, Football, and Home Improvement

A long time ago, when we were dating, hubby took the time to explain football to me. This is a smart man. 20+ years later, and he has a built-in football buddy. Last Thursday he texted me that our hometown team the Rams would be playing that evening. I replied, “Awesome!” Dinner and then bonding in front of the tv. 

We settled into the recliners. Dog started sniffing around. Dog wanted a walk. Hubs got up and took him. Came back silent — that’s not good. And. . . football night in America. . .ruined. Of course hubby was mad about more than walking the dog. The dog’s walk must have given him time to think about all the things he was mad about. 

The next day I decided to look into The 5 Love Languages. I heard about these from my smart sister but thought I’d have to read the whole book and somehow persuade hubby to read the whole book to make use of them. Sigh. Two seconds of internet research turned up this:, the 5 Love Languages Quiz. 

Turns out that my “love language” is Acts of Service. I do things for people to show them my love. I do, and I do, and I do. I clean for them, I cook for them, I shop for them, and woe to them if they don’t notice! Sometimes I get sad when I realize that no one has done anything for me lately. I don’t want gifts, just a little help. Not that I need the help; it just shows me how much you love me! 

Met hubby for lunch with my new-found knowledge. Talked him into taking the quiz. His love language is . . . you’ll never guess. . . Physical Touch. Yes, I know. The Love Languages guy, Gary Chapman, is some kind of genius for stating the obvious and making a bajillion dollars for it. Anyway, something clicked for us. 

Last night, during Monday Night Football, hubby was in the garage. . . helping me paint the dining room chairs. Love, Football, and Home Improvement. A holy trinity for a Monday night.