Category Archives: Household related

The Greatest Garden Chicken Salad


Monday I packed the kids up and headed to Chicago for a day of fun. Before we left I put together a chicken salad to bring for lunch since we were meeting my brother in Millenium Park. In person I call my new concoction “Kick-ass Chicken Salad” or “The Best Chicken Salad in the Whole Damn World” but for posting purposes I settled on “Garden Chicken Salad” since all of the fresh ingredients are growing in my garden right now. (You can scroll to the end right now for the recipe or just keep reading.) I packed up my bomb chicken salad and the kids and hit the road.

Our first stop was the Field Museum. My bro got us a family membership for the kids’ birthdays and we LOVE it! There is so much to do there. The highlight of our trip this time were the mummies, especially the child mummies which I think creeped the kids out a little. We also enjoyed looking at the man-eating lions from Tsavo and exploring the Playlab but the best part was probably purchasing these gems…
These wax molds are what kids pine after at museums and other such places and it’s the first time I let them each get one. The kids were stoked to feed the machine their $2.00 and wait for it to poop out a little wax figurine and I enjoyed reminiscing on the times of my youth when I was allowed to do the same.

With our new toys in hand we headed to The Bean, officially called Cloud Gate, for lunch with Uncle Brenden.

DSC07139 It was a muggy day but we enjoyed it none-the-less because the rain had stopped and we were checking off an activity on our Summer bucket list, plus the location was pretty bomb, just like the chicken salad. Uncle Brenny brought some treats from Magnolia’s Bakery to round out the meal.

After lunch we headed to the Crown Fountain for a little splash time which for my girls soon turned into a drench fest and since we didn’t have swim suits they rode all the way home naked. I’m just glad I didn’t get pulled over or in an accident, that would have been awkward for my oldest!



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Below is the loose recipe for my new, kick-ass chicken salad. I usually add celery, carrot and Craisin to my chicken salad but since I was out of the usual cast of characters I had to get creative. A note about the recipe: In general I feel that people have very different chicken salad preferences so I’m just listing the ingredients I used since it’s really all about the flavor combo anyways and I have yet to actually  measure anything out.

Garden Chicken Salad

2 parts Plain Greek Yogurt to 1 part Mayonnaise

diced cucumber, seeds removed if large

diced raddish
diced sweet onion

halved cherry tomatoes

diced chicken (I made mine Sunday in the crockpot using a whole chicken, pat dry and covered in lots of fresh oregano, basil and parsley with a little salt and pepper too.)

fresh or dried dill to taste

salt and pepper to taste

*** Simply combine all the ingredients in a bowl and dig in!


Today will be my third day in a row eating it and it gets me excited for lunch time even before I eat breakfast! If you make it and have a minute, I’d love to know what you think.





Coughing Continues, Mommy Turns to Zombie


Well… ya know how yesterday I was boasting about the chopped onion remedy for coughs? Well, now that we’re going on day two and the littlest lady of the house was up ALL NIGHT LONG coughing in my face I’ve decided that 1) they indeed have a cold and it’s not some seasonal allergy and 2) all that really helps cure a cough is time. My son is already much better and slept peacefully through the night but his cough sounds bad when he does cough so we decided he’d stay home from school again. tired

As for my daughter, she rolled around, coughing in my face while we tried sleeping tummy-to-tummy, side-by-side, her feet to my face, her feet to her dad’s face, her head on my tummy etc… We did this bed dance from 1:30am until about 5:45am when her older sister came in and confessed she had peed her bed. I audibly sighed and whimpered and sent her into the shower as I closed my eyes again and hoped the mattress cover would do its job until I could motivate myself to crawl out of bed. Then about 15 minutes later my son came in and admitted he too had peed his bed. GAH! My husband sent him into the shower to join his sister and soon the wee-one who kept me awake all night and her dad joined the other two for some humid shower time. It’s a darn good thing we have two shower heads, a large shower and a huge hot water heater! I eventually joined in, but not before stealing a quick snooze alone, and sat like a zombie on the built in bench as our new coughaholic climbed onto my lap.

Anyways, what I was meaning to tell you this morning aside from the story of my hellish night is that I’m starting to think all these cough remedies and different ways to soothe kids’ coughs are in fact just ways to keep parents busy thus making us feel helpful as our children suffer through coughing fits and their bodies heal themselves.  As far as the bowl of chopped onions on my nightstand is concerned, I’m pretty certain it had no positive effect on my daughter’s incessant coughs last night and just made me a little queasy (or was that my dog’s farts as he lay right next to my bed…) Yesterday I bought Vicks Vaporub Cough Suppressant Ointment and slathered her little chest and the bottoms of her feet (because I’ve read that helps) at 2:30am to no avail. The honey and lemon flavored cough drops don’t seem to help much nor does sucking on a Lifesaver. By now my kids are refusing to take a spoon full of honey and will only take one or two sips of warm honey and lemon water. They know what I’m up to and want no part in my shenanigans to help soothe their throats but neither are they complaining of their throats actually hurting so maybe I should take a cue from them and ignore their coughs and carry on…

Have you noticed my positivity toward home remedies and such is suffering today? That’s the lack of sleep. I’ll hop back on the happy mommy train again once I can get a nap but if today goes like yesterday no one will nap and we’ll drag through the day with the help of sugar and caffeine. There will be days like these in every household and right now it’s our turn. I think that means it’s time to break out the Playdoh, Kinetic Sand, baking soda and vinegar and/or any other messy activity that can hold the kids’ attention while I pretend to participate 🙂

If you actually made it to the end of this cough-saga, pity-party post…Thanks! You’re a trooper. We’ll move on from here together and I promise a better post in the near future! Maybe involving some of my new favorite household items I’ve been meaning to tell you about…

Happy Thursday!


Farmers Market Tuesday


It’s May which means the local farmers markets are opening for the season andFarmers Market 2014 I couldn’t be happier. The town of Woodstock has one of the best markets around and is open every Tuesday and Saturday from 8am until 1-pm. The market’s appeal has mostly to do with its charming location and numerous vendors but the fact that it’s my home town doesn’t hurt. Booths are set up around the Historic Woodstock Square and in the middle sits a gazebo where, once it warms up a bit, local musicians play for the crowd as children dance and run around. There is a wide range of vendors providing a variety of plants, veggies, fruits, meats, sweets, jewelry, jump ropes, wood crafts, clothing and my favorite… kettle corn! I am shoveling the sweet and salty goodness down my gullet as I type and may or may not be getting a little queasy. I feel like I’m force-feeding myself like a duck whose liver is being fattened for foie gras. I’ve tried to slow down but I can’t. I think I have a problem. I think I’m okay with that.

Anyways, today, despite the chilly temp we hit up the farmers market and bought 10 pounds of delicious, frozen blueberries, apple cider doughnuts and kettle corn. Then we picnicked in the trunk of our car before starting in on the kettle corn.  Maybe some day I’ll go to the farmers market and buy things like veggies and meats but right now we have a freezer full of pheasant and various pork products that need cooking and a garden growing all sorts of vegetables so it’s the delectable items I’m seeking out. But aren’t I always?

**Sorry body, you’ll just have to deal with the sugar intake. I’m not ready to curtail my cravings. I hope the exercise helps you. Love, me.**

In addition to the farmers market, the Woodstock Square is chalk-full of quaint shops to dip in and out of which is easier if you don’t have two mini-terrorists in tow. We kept to the market today but on nicer days we extend our outing and I dare to venture into a shop or two before my patience disappears or something gets broken and I jet home for nap/quiet time.

It’s really one of my favorite ways to spend the morning and the kids enjoy it as well, especially when the balloon man is there to create whatever whacky thing they can dream up.

So, which farmers markets are you giddy about and what do you love to get from them? I’d love to know!


Your Kettle-Corn Crazed Friend


Spring Time Home Improvements


Flowers are in abundance around the Bailey home both inside and out and it’s making me extremely happy. What’s even better is that about Month ago we had a fence installed to keep the dog home and the two year old in the backyard and it’s helping keep the dogs out of my flowers.


For the past two weekends, like many other households we have spent a lot of time outside cleaning up from Winter’s rage and Spring’s arrival. We’ve made numerous trips to the local nursery to buy flowers for our pots and others to hang from our decks and porches.



I assembled an herb garden in my old strawberry pot (despite the accurate fact my husband pointed out that I never fully utilize the herbs I plant) that I’m quite smitten with.


I stood around and looked pretty, ha!, while my husband planted a ton of Summer bulbs for me and added broccoli, artichoke, radishes, carrots, and a free tomato plant to what is already growing in our garden.


Our hops are growing great so far so we strung them up so they can continue to climb up the side of our garage.


We’ve been working all week to turn our pond-like pool into something more swimable and we’re just about there although the water is barely 70°.


When it was about 60° my 6 year old was taunting her dad to throw her in. After assuring her about 10 times that he had no problem actually doing it, she taunted him once more so in she went! She got out bragging about how it wasn’t cold so in she was thrown again. She exited the pool without a smirk the second time! A hot shower ensued before it was off to bed for the night.


It’s been a lot of fun getting the outside set up for the Summer and of course there is still a lot of work left to do as always but we’re off to a good start and when I’m tired from working I just sit on the stoop in my driveway, look around me and breath in the beauty that is in full bloom.



Spring is a wonderful thing. I hope you all are enjoying it too!



You Know it’s Spring…


…When you wind up at Farm & Fleet on a chick-acquisition errand for a friend…



…and wind up getting a few for  yourself as well! They’re just too cute as babies to pass up and we needed a few more anyways (yes, I realize they will grow up but for now I’ll dote on them!) I grabbed us a Salmon Favorelle and a Black Australop, because that’s what my friend was getting and I trust her chicken knowledge, to go with our Barred Rock and Araucana.


Now, of course I finagled my friend into raising them for us with her own until they are old enough to be assimilated with the other two in our chicken tractor but for today, they are peeping away on my countertop, enjoying the sunshine.


Just for the record, I had no clue just how loudly a chick could chirp until now. I must say, it’s impressive and a bit painful at moments but they seem to be happy and we’re happy to have them!

Happy Spring!







Wednesday Night Trivia


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Take a look at these little cups. Here’s your question:

What are these little babies best used for in the Bailey household?




If you guessed “taking shots” you’re thinking too much like an adult but I do like where your head is at. Keep guessing…




If you guessed “having a tea party” you need to start thinking more outside the box. Try again…




If you guessed “drinking water out of the toilet while Mommy cleans up the kitchen” you must also have a toddler terrorizing your home because you’re dead nuts on it.

Thanks for playing!


Colleen Don’t-Know-When-I-Last-Cleaned-That-Toilet Bailey



What Early Spring Means Around These Parts…


Spring means flowers! It also means that I get to prove just how non-existent my green thumb is. 48 hours ago this was a beautiful hydrangea given to me by my Grammy. I killed it. Probably too much water but I swear I drained the excess… Ugh! It’s just a good thing my husband is the one that gets our garden up and running!



Despite my lack of floral skills I must say I’m a pro at cleaning the yard of dog and chicken poop. I’m not sure how highly regarded that skill is but boy-oh-boy I can sure shovel shit with the best of ’em. Spring really makes it disgustingly apparent how lazy we were over the Winter at waste removal. Due to all the snow this Winter our chicken tractor didn’t get moved around too much as you can clearly see by looking at this shot of the yard below. 


I lost track of how many 3 gallon buckets worth of waste I dumped over the back fence after 7. Those are some highly fertilized sections of lawn! After all that chicken clean up I came upon the location where my oldest dog had been dumping out all Winter long and although I appreciate the way he kept his feces confined to one area out on the periphery of the lawn, I was a bit surprised by the quantity I had to scoop. I have to be honest though, I didn’t even hate doing all this yard clean up. The weather was warm, the sun was shining and my toddler was confined to her crib despite the fact that she was protesting her nap for the third straight day.

Spring also means T-shirts and happiness. These kids definitely got the memo. They are mid-happy dance here.


I think I’ve smiled more over the past 3 days than the past 3 months just because I get to hear the gleeful shouts from my minions as they explore their backyard again. They’ve rediscovered the joys of swinging on the playground, riding their bikes and driving their jeep. It’s been a fun few days and I’m happy for the change of pace that this thaw has brought us, mud be damned!

Spring Break starts today for my kids and we are excited to sleep in, play hard and continue enjoying Spring, even though the temps are going to dip back down for a while.

I hope the weather is favorable for you like it has been for us.






Quote of the Day


We’re back from our week long vacation in Bucieras, Mexico which is just a few miles from Puerto Vallarta and we are trying to keep our sunny dispositions despite being back in the tundra, but more about our amazing vacation later.


The entryway to one of our two adjoining villas

For now, I’ll just share a quote from my oldest girl that sums up our mind set from the past week which occurred after a few hours of working on  our Valentine’s Day cards for school. My son started the conversation…

Odin: “I’m thirsty.”

Me: “Oh man, it’s been a long time since we’ve had something. What do you want, buddy? Lilly?”

Lilly: “Ummm, I’ll have a margarita.”


Where’s our house boy to offer and make us drinks again and again!?!

I guess it’s back to being the head servant in the household. Wamp Wahhh!!


Colleen I-Don’t-Even-Have-Tan-Lines Bailey


Our Snow Day of Sickness


Instead of having a fun, friend-filled day off of school our house was in a self-imposed state of quarantine.

This was my baby yesterday…

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She had a terrible time Sunday night combating a high fever, severe cough and runny nose. Thanks to the cough she woke up every 20-30 minutes and since she was sleeping in my bed her daddy and I were up every 20-30 minutes as well.

Then her brother puked in his bed and suddenly there four of us shuffling around for blanket use and pillow space.

Correction— There were actually only two of us shuffling around for blanket use and pillow space because, let’s be real, our sickly wee ones don’t really give a rats behind who they’re inconveniencing with their perpendicularly placed bodies and sprawling appendages as long as they are comfortable and able to sleep. And if we’re being “real” here, then you should know that I actually don’t mind playing blanket tug-o-war with my husband as long as my sweet babies sleep.

But then my son puked for a second time…in my bed.

Needless to say yesterday was a bit hairy. My son actually has been totally fine since he puked but his sleep-deprived, body-aching little sister needed to be in my arms all day, thus the photos of her misery. What else was I suppose to do throughout the day while getting my upper body workout?

Magically this little lady rallied in the evening and has been doing much better. She slept in my bed again but only woke up a few times. This is the happy, healthy (well healthier) toddler I’m use to seeing at the start of my day…

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Oh, I failed to mention that yesterday my washing machine decided to give me the middle finger and so you know those puke-covered sheets and clothes from Sunday night… well, they’re not clean yet even though they were washed twice. And then my older kids stripped down my toddler before her shower and she pooped on my carpet. Monday in the Bailey house was just lovely.

Today is proving to be amazingly better although my dog did confiscate a package that was delivered for our upcoming vacation and used it as an outdoor chew toy.  Luckily nothing was ruined by his shenanigans!

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Also, I freely admit I did a crap-tacular job training my dog and my punishment is never ending.

Enjoy the rest of your Tuesday!

~ Colleen




Coffee I’m Crazy About


Are you a coffee person? I never really was but now with three kids you’d better bet your patootie I am! I’m in love with Dirty Chai Lattes which is just a chai latte with a shot of espresso. It really gets me going though I save it as a special treat for days that I’m really dragging.

On a more regular basis I’ve been drinking various brands of coffee, not really loving any of them very much and always adding milk and sugar. Until recently that is. My daughter had yet another school fundraiser over the holidays and since I was feeling guilty for not participating in the 1,000 other fundraisers I bought my mom and myself each a 12oz bag of coffee. I picked a coffee from The Caring Bean order form called Jingle Bell Java because it was the holidays and I was hoping that it would allow me to adequately jingle my bells all day long with the kids throughout the quickly approaching Winter break.


As it turns out, I absolutely LOVE this coffee. It’s rich and smooth tasting without being bitter and I no longer feel the need to add milk and sugar to make my daily cup of Joe palatable. My mom flew through her bag because she drinks more coffee than I do but I’m still working on mine and you better believe I’ll be ordering more once this bag is gone. It sells for about $15 per 12oz which you may think is expensive but I’ve been buying less coffee while I’m out and about and waiting instead until I get home to make some so I think I make out in the long run.

You can check it out at if you’re not satisfied with your current coffee and want to try something wonderful.

You should know that my daughter’s school does not benefit in any way from your purchase and I am not being compensated for this post. I just wanted to share with you all a product I am enjoying on a daily basis.

Cheers to being relaxed, happy and energized!