Friday, March 16, 2012

The Preschool

We have officially registered Sophia for preschool. 
What a relief!  I have been stressed out for days thinking and trying to figure out where she should go.  It was tough. 
It's either we can't afford it, it does not work with our schedules, or too far from where we live/work.  We know we needed  to compromise one or another.

We finally settled at The Preschool which our parish church started last year.  It is pricey but we decided to go ahead and bite the bullet.  Sophia has been longing to go there since we went to the open house they had last year.  At the time we decided to put off preschool for one more year because it is expensive and she was only two and a half years old, and too young to be schooled.
But she has been telling us, "That's my school!" every time we pass it on our way to church on Sundays.  And she said it with conviction! 

I must admit, I felt my heart ache every time she looks through the school gate and checks out the kids' arts & crafts posted on the walls.  It made me feel sad that we may not be able to afford to send her there.

We had a few other preschool choices but we felt The Preschool is what felt right.  It is close to home.
We know the people there.  The place is familiar to Sophia.  We know the director.  We see some of the kids that goes there at church.  
That it is far from both mine and my husband's job is the only issue we have.
Thankfully The Preschool was considerate of my long commute and will not charge us extra for after school care since we only need a few additional minutes before Sophia can be picked up.  That sealed the deal.  We just cannot afford to pay more on top of the tuition.  The tuition alone is expensive for us.

I'm still afraid on the dollar equivalent of this decision but I feel at peace.  God is good and He will provide.  I prayed for guidance in this decision and I have faith this is what He wills.
So Sophia begins preschool September 4th.  My little preschooler is excited and is looking forward to doing some "projects."
I love our little girl's optimism!
I need to have faith like hers and claim, "that's my ____!"

Meanwhile, hubby and I need to get our acts together and start learning how to manage our finances better.  We are cutting back on food - where we spend most.  We are a family of three and we spend about $800 a month on groceries.   That's too much I think.  That does not include my husband's daily lunch.  He eats out, which adds up and can get expensive.  

Also with our schedule, I would need to cook easier and quick meals during the week.  And this is where I will need Rachael Ray's help :)

This next recipe will definitely be added to the dinner rotation. It's a quick and impressive meal that I can whip up in 30 minutes or so. And although chicken breasts is my arch nemesis, this one is an exemption because it has great flavors and it isn't dry.

Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken

2 boneless, butterflied, skin-on chicken breasts
goat cheese, about 4 oz
arugula, about 1-1.5 cups
2 garlic cloves, sliced or chopped
3 sage leaves or other herbs such as rosemary, chopped
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 450°F
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in saute pan.
Add garlic and cook until it starts to smell (before it browns).
Add arugula, salt, pepper, a squirt of lemon and saute quickly about a minute until arugula is slightly wilted.  Set aside and when cool enough chop arugula and garlic.

Make stuffing. 
Mash softened, pliable goat cheese with a spoon.
Add chopped sage, arugula & garlic then mix.
Add lemon zest & a squirt of the juice
Add salt & pepper and mix well.
Taste and check for seasoning

Stuff the chicken.
Sprinkle salt and pepper on the inner side of the chicken then  add a spoonful of the stuffing.  Seal chicken using a twine or bamboo skewers.  Sprinkle salt and pepper on the chicken.

Cook stuffed chicken.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy bottomed skillet (I use a cast iron).
Brown stuffed chicken about 1-2 minutes on each side then transfer in the oven and cook for about 15-20 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through.  Chicken is cooked when meat thermometer registers 155°F.  Set aside and let meat rest for about 5 minutes before slicing.

Make gravy (optional)
transfer skillet to stovetop and remove some of the fat if it is too much.
Mix 1 tablespoon flour and 1/2 cup chicken broth (and 1/4 cup apple cider or juice, if available). Pour mixture to pan and cook, stirring for 2-3 minutes until thickened.  

Serve sliced chicken with gravy.

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