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Friday, October 17, 2014

Weeknight Recipes

I have always loved to cook. Growing up, my Mom always made the best meals and gave me good hands on experience in the kitchen. After becoming a mother myself, I realized I still needed to find a way to make great dinners, but ones that are easy enough for anyone. 

This post is going to be 5 of those recipes that are the easiest for me & yummiest for our family. I find a lot of my inspiration through pinterest, and then make my own version based on that! 

I hope you enjoy some of these as much as we have. Happy cooking!

1. Tostados

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
2 Garlic Cloves- Minced
1 Half of a Sweet Onion- Chopped
1 Jalepeno (seeded)- Chopped
1 Tablespoon Cumin
2 Teaspoons Chili Powder
1 Can Red Kidney Beans- Draines
1/4 Cup of water
Hard Tortillas
Mexican Cheese
Sour Cream

-Heat oven to 375.
-Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, onion, and jalepeno and cook until softened. Add the kidney beans. Take a large fork or masher, and mash mixture in skillet until smooth with some chunks. Add the spices and mix. Add roughly the 1/4 cup of water and simmer until no longer runny. 
-Spread mixture evenly onto about 6 hard tortillas. Top with cheese and bake for 5-7 minutes. Cheese should be golden and bubbly.
-Top with whichever remaining ingredients you like!

2. Taco Salad

1 LB Lean Ground Beef (turkey or chicken taste great as well)
1 Packet Low Sodium Taco Seasoning
2 Cups Ranch Dressing
1 Bottle Medium Taco Sauce
1 Can Black Beans
1 Can Yellow Corn
1 Bag Chopped Romaine Lettuce
Tortilla Chips
1 Cup Mexican Cheese

-Brown meat in the skillet until fully cooked.
-Meanwhile, combine ranch and taco sauce.
-Add lettuce, black beans and corn, tortilla chips, and cheese to a bowl and mix together.
-Toss dressing and salad. Put servings in a bowl and top with the prepared meat! 

3. Hawaiian Chicken Thighs

2 Packages of Chicken Thighs (usually 4 come in a pack)
2 containers of Hawaiian Marinade
1 Pineapple
1 Bag of Saffron Yellow Rice
1 Can Red Kidney Beans

-Rinse chicken and place in a container with marinade and let sit 4 hours, or overnight.
-Prepare rice according to package, and add the can of kidney beans, rinsed & drained, while rice is cooking.
-Heat grill to 400. Cook thighs about 12 minutes per side.
-Slice pineapple and grill until charred.
-Add all to plate and serve!

4. Sun Dried Tomato Pasta

1 Box Penne Pasta
1 LB Chicken Breasts
1 Packet Italian Seasoning
1/2 Cup Sundried Tomatoes w/ Herbs and Oil
1/3 Cup Chicken Broth
1/2 Cup Spinach

-Boil pasta according to package.
-In a skillet, heat sundried tomato oil over medium-high.
-Prepare chicken, and coat with 1/2 packet Italian seasoning.
-Cook chicken until it has reached 165 internal temperature.
-Add tomatoes, chicken broth, and spinach, and rest of italian seasoning.
-Toss with pasta and serve.

5. Tex Mex Chili

1 LB Ground Beef (again, turkey or chicken taste great too_
1 Packet Tex Mex Seasoning
1 Can Yellow Corn- drained
1 Can Black Beans- drained & rinsed
1 Can Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
Tortilla chips
Mexican Cheese
Sour Cream

-In a pot over medium high, brown beef until throughly cooked.
-Add corn, beans, tomatoes and seasoning. 
-Reduce heat to simmer for about 15 minutes.
-Serve in bowl topped with remaining ingredients.

Well, there you have it. My top 5 weeknight meals. These are super easy to put together, and all bursting with flavor!

Look in the future for more posts like this, along with a baked goods version.

Happy Eating!

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Myth of Having It All

Whoever said being a SAHM is easy, has it wrong. Let's not be fooled, it is not all daises and butterflies around here. 

There are days when i'm surprised the house isn't engulfed in flames. Dinner isn't always ready at 6 P.M. with a fully set table and dimmed lights. 
Laundry is usually in piles around the house, hopefully all clean. 
There are trails of sticky toddler feet from whatever he got into in the fridge. 
Dog hair is in my muffins. 

But, the one thing that is right, is that my child has a smile on his face. 
Giggles that can be heard from streets away. 
A momma that is there for him each step of the way.
A place that he calls home, no matter how messy it may be.

In reality, children could care less about a perfect home. They could care less about leftovers for dinner or a fresh hot meal. What they really need, is attention & guidance.
In the end, that's what they will remember. 
What we taught them. Not how often we mopped our floors.

My house wont be spick & span from top to bottom when you come over. 
My dog will jump on you, because she is part of the family too.
If you're coming for dinner, it'll most likely be a pizza night.

Moms (and Dads)...take a break from worrying about perfections, and soak up the moment. 
Read your kids a new book. Take them outside and show them new things. 
Don't be so quick to tidy up their toys when they'll just throw them back everywhere 5 minutes later.

It's easy to get caught up in the moment of perfection, but what really matters is the fact that your children are growing up, so don't miss those extra moments. 

I won't always have an answer when you ask what I did this day, because I have a swarm of things in my head that happened.

One day, things will settle down. But that't not today, and sure won't be tomorrow.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

See you again

Like time suspended, a wound unmended- you and I.
We had no ending, no said goodbye;
For all my life, I'll wonder why.

I wasn't sure if I was going to write this, because not many people knew. We only told close friends, and a couple of family members, because it was still quite early. But, writing this is helping me grieve in a way. It is letting me appreciate life, although sometimes that life is too short, it is still there. 

On May 2nd, Alex and I found out we were expecting our second baby. We had planned this and were beyond happy when I told him the news. We told our parents the following week, and then I had an ultrasound May 15th to confirm and check the baby. After that we told our closest friends-a handful.

At that ultrasound, I was confirmed to be 6 weeks 1 day. We saw the baby, and heard the heartbeat, but it was so tiny so it was a bit hard to read. I was told that the heart rate was 91, but not to worry. I did worry at first. I read posts after posts of moms, all having different outcomes with the pregnancy. I began to pray about the safety and health of my baby, for protection. Everyone told me it would be fine, since Daniel is perfectly healthy, and was a good pregnancy. So, I trusted in that. I went on feeling great, happy as ever, created a pregnancy announcement, bought a big brother shirt for Daniel. We were all so ready to welcome a new pregnancy, and a new baby in the coming months.

Sometimes I had cramps, but never any signs of anything else. So I just assumed it was "growing" pains. I had those a lot while pregnant with Daniel.

On June 12th, I went in for my monthly followup. My doctor brought out the doppler listening device, and proceeded to check for the heartbeat. There was a lot of static from the machine, so she got a second one. Still a lot of static, no heartbeat made out. She said not to worry, but to come back in the afternoon when the ultrasound technician was there, to get an internal ultrasound. We went back at 4:00 pm. I was supposed to be 10 weeks. The ultrasound tech had a concerned look on her face, and my doctor walked into the room. They both studied the ultrasound, playing some noise from the machine, taking pictures, but I didn't know what was going on. Everyones eyes on the machine, yet I couldn't see a thing. My doctor proceeded to tell me that my baby had stopped developing shortly after the 6 week ultrasound. That my placenta was starting to detach. That I lost the baby. Alex immediately grabbed my hand, my doctor standing and holding my knees, and I sobbed. Sobbed for myself, but for my baby, who I was not able to provide for. The technician gave us a moment, ended the ultrasound, and we went into my doctors office. 

I thought maybe she would look at the pictures, tell me something different. Tell me anything positive. But, she didn't. She explained that this happens in 1 out of 5 women, even after a healthy pregnancy and baby. And that women go on to have more healthy pregnancies and babies. But I didn't care at that moment. I wanted this baby. I wanted to watch him/her grow, develop, be born, and grow outside of the womb. I wanted to see who he/she would turn out to be.

We had a couple of options. I could wait for my body to miscarry naturally, and that could take up to 2 or so weeks before it started. I could take Cytotec- a pill for stomach ulcers, but that is also used to induce contractions and expel the contents of the uterus. I could get a D&C- a surgical procedure that scrapes and suctions the contents of the uterus. We spoke about all the options. We decided that in my case, I should try the pills.

Friday June 13th, I took the three pills at 9:30pm. My doctor described this experience to start within an hour of taking them, and for it to go on a couple hours after that, and that it would be very intense. I waited. We watched Breaking Bad. It was past an hour, and nothing. We watched more episodes. I started getting mild menstrual like cramps, and light spotting. I was so tired, so around 12pm we decided to go to sleep. I tossed and turned, never really fell asleep. It was 4am when I got a sharp cramp, and darker bleeding. But nothing more than what I was used to from having my monthly cycle. I laid back down, and woke up at 8am when Daniel got up. I continued to feel crampy, dizzy, and upset for the remainder of the day, still bleeding, but not what my doctor had explained.

I searched the internet, talked to a couple of people, and found that the pill is not always effective. In most cases, women have to go on and get the D&C procedure anyways. I didn't sleep much Saturday night either, and had very bad lower back pain. Sunday was more of the same as before, but no more back or hip pain.

The following day (Monday, June 16th) I called my doctors office first thing, and got an appointment for the afternoon. When I went in, she did an exam and then sent me in for an ultrasound. It showed that nothing had changed, the baby was still in there, and the placenta was the same. We talked afterwards, discussed the same options. I decided to give the medication another try. After hearing about more risks with the D & C procedure, we decided that it would by my last option.

Tuesday June 14th, I took the round of 3 pills at 3:30pm. I had immediate bleeding. As the evening progressed I started getting cramps, and by 8:30 it was full blown and very intense. I ended up taking Motrin around 10:30, and was able to fall asleep at 1pm. I did not get much sleep, as the cramps would wake me up, and going back and forth to the bathroom. When Wednesday morning rolled around, I had still been very crampy with heavy bleeding. That night I passed more large clots, which was the end of it.

I had an appointment on Thursday the 15th, and was able to get the ultrasound. It showed that everything had passed. It really hit me then and there that just one month ago I had seen the heartbeat in there. And now, there was nothing, nothing to watch grow or feel movement. I had lost my first baby, and it's something I will never heal from. 

I pray every night to the baby, that he/she knows how much love I have. How sorry I am that I could not provide somewhere safe or healthy. But, then I pray to God, and thank him for giving me the opportunity to hold an angel, who is so special, and was needed up in heaven, and that we will see again someday. 

For our friends and family that did know, I am so grateful for your heartfelt words and support through this.

Pregnancy loss is something that is almost never talked about. I don't understand why. It happens, and it hurts, and it's even worse when people aren't familiar with it. 
I wish more people weren't so "hush hush" about it. Maybe that would have helped me..If I knew.

Each day is a struggle. Each time I go to the doctors the sweet assistant asks "Are you doing ok?" I always answer yes, but I know Im just lying.

I pray that I will be able to heal, and I pray for mother's just like me, that we can all heal together.

I will see you again,
This is not where it ends
I will carry you with me
'Till I see you again.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Shifting Gears

July 1st, Daniel is now 15 months. I feel like just yesterday we were celebrating his 1st birthday. How can 3 months have gone by in a blink of an eye? 
It's crazy to me.
He is a big ball of energy, all day long. Climbing, jumping, falling, running, everything in between. He laughs at fear, and is the most adventurous little person I know.

We have been in the middle of a move for a month now. From our apartment-to my parent's house-to finally our new home, it has been a whirlwind. We are all glad that it is settling down, and we'll be back to our normal days. The house had a lot of work to do: Paint, remove carpet-lay tile, new cabinets, new appliances, re-do bathrooms, new garage door, landscaping. Everything that would need to be done to a home, we did. I am so happy with how it turned out, and so incredibly blessed for the move. It's going to be great having SO much space for Daniel, and we will finally have our German Shepherd back.

I used the title "Shifting Gears" because we have been doing just that. Sometimes we are moving slow, and sometimes we are moving super speed, but it's all going in the right direction. You can never understand life and what it throws at you but we have been living day by day, and we're enjoying it.

In these past 3 months, there have been many other obstacles we've been faced with. For myself, I went through a pregnancy loss. I won't be going into detail on this post, but when the time is right, there will be a separate post. My heart aches each time I think of it, but Alex and Daniel have gotten me through the worst of it.

I have also been very blessed in these past months, too, as my love of Young Living Essential Oils, is reaching out to others. No matter where this takes me, I am only in it to spread the word and touch other peoples lives. There is no greater reward than seeing someone feel better, and that's all I want out of it. If you have questions regarding Young Living, I urge you to please reach out to me, so I can help you! Feel free to go back in posts on my blog, and read up a bit on what I have to say. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Cuckoo for coconut oil

I am always raving about coconut oil to any and everyone whenever I get the chance. It is SO amazing, and so very versatile. I finally had to dedicate a blog post to this awesomeness in a jar, so please enjoy! 

Coconut oil is known as a "Superfood", well because it's SUPER! In all seriousness, it's listed as this because of it's unique combo of fatty acids. These fatty acids aid in giving us so many health benefits. 

It has been shown that coconut oil has a therapeutic effect on many people suffering from a range of disorders, such as brain function or obesity. What I really love, is that the fatty acids also attack harmful pathogens, preventing illnesses or infections as well as helping you overcome the sickness much quicker.

A couple of my main uses for coconut oil are on my hair and body. I absolutely love using it as a moisturizer each night, and let the benefits just soak on in. Usually twice a week, I do a hair mask with coconut oil, either at night and cover with a shower cap, or early in the morning and then shower a few hours later. It has been amazing at reversing damage done to my hair over the years, adding the moisture back in, as well as helping my hair grow long and luscious in a short amount of time. For my face, I always use it as my moisturizer, and it's great for ALL skin types. Most people think (as I used to)  "I have oily-acne prone skin, I'm not putting oil on my face".. Wrong! Putting oil on your skin (I'm not talking about lathering it on like frosting) helps with the natural oils in your body, making a nice balance and leaving you with overall healthier and clearer skin. It is FABULOUS for acne, too, as the fatty acids break down the nastiness and give you a nice clean complexion. 

I love using coconut oil as a carrier oil for my Essential Oils, as well as cooking, and oil pulling. 

It's just pretty wonderful all around, and now it's your turn to fall in looooove with it..you'll thank me later!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Family photos

Here are our beautiful family photos, taken by Photos By Jewel.

I met Julie before Alex and I got married, as she was our wedding photographer. I loved her photos, her presence and professionalism. Ever since we got our Engagement pictures back, I was HOOKED on her work. Not only is she a wonderful photographer, but she is very personal, doesn't rush or make you uncomfortable, and is fun to be around. Shortly after our Engagement session, Julie announced she was pregnant! *For those that haven't seen our wedding photos, I was 6 months pregnant at the time.* We were so happy for her, and the fact that I had a new friend, and now our babies would be friends! She has taken many photos of our family as we grow, and I was lucky to make such a wonderful friend in the process. With that being said, if you are in South Florida, and are looking for a photographer, I can't say enough great things about her (can't you tell?). These are our most recent photos. She took Daniels cake smash, first birthday, and our family photos all around the same time.

Those were taken at the Morikami Museum, and it was absolutely beautiful!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Our life updates

I feel as if I have been so inactive with my blog, besides doing Young Living posts, I have not been so great at updating you all with our personal lives.. Sorry!

Lets begin with Daniel, always a good place to start. 

He is growing, growing, and growing some more. I swear he never slows down. Ever since he started walking a couple months back, he hardly ever stops moving. His new favorite activity: climbing! Lord, help me. He is a little rascal, but the cutest one for sure. Anything he can get his hands and feet on automatically become a challenge that he must complete. It's quite comical to watch sometimes.

Being outdoors is one of his favorite places to be. We currently live on a lake and the ducks are always outside swimming or coming onto our patio. I guess it is mating season for the ducks, because every couple of weeks there are lots of ducklings, the most i've seen are 14! Unfortunately, nature isn't being so nice to these babies, and they hardly ever make it. But, Daniel enjoys seeing them, and feeding them. One made a nest right under our stairwell, so every time we leave the house he waves hi & bye to her, even when she's not there he still peeks his head to the nest. I know he's going to love animals just like his momma. 

He now has all 4 molars in-making 12 teeth total, so chomping away on any and everything is now easy peasy. He weighs 23 pounds, and is 33 inches tall. Another haircut is going to happen pretty soon, because apparently he got his fast growing THICK hair from me, and he gets hot hot hot in this heat.

He's very smart in knowing which things go where, who is who, and letting us know what he wants. He knows who our dog is in a picture, all the characters of mickey mouse clubhouse, elmo, and of course Alex & I and our parents. When he's hungry, he walks to the highchair and points up, to put him in. Says and shakes his head no when he is done or doesn't agree with something. With all that good has to come a little bad, and when I tell you about his tantrums, that has to be as bad as it gets. I cannot believe my eyes when he throws these fits, he's only ONE! I have just begun to ignore him, leave the room, and when he is done he comes to me and everything is ok. He hates when I tell him no, but it is important to teach him right from wrong early, and although it's frustrating sometimes, I always approach the matter calmly, and talk to him through it. Even though he may not understand me, I feel that consistency is best.

Now that Daniel is pretty much spoken for, I have some updates on Alex and I, and our housing situation..

I am doing really well with Young Living Essential Oils. They have not only provided a secondary income for us, but a much more healthier life. I have been so blessed with stumbling into this company, and know that God had this set out for me all along. With that being said, Alex is also doing well. Currently, he went back to school for night classes in order to finish his degree. We could not be more proud of him, and all of his hard work. As far as schooling for me, I have my Doula workshop in October. It was originally for this June, but with a couple of things going on, it was best to push it back a couple of months.

We will be moving from our apartment into a rental home this June, and could not be happier about it. Although we would love to buy a home right now, it's not the wisest decision. The rental home gives us a lot of flexibility, and plenty of space. It is also much cheaper than our apartment, so we will be able to save more money for when the time does come to buy a home. 

With my 21st birthday coming up on June 3rd, I have reflected on all of the years that flew by. It amazes me how one person can change so much, all for the better. I have learned many valuable life lessons in my short amount of years, but being a mother and wife certainly has aged me more than others. I look forward to many more years of happiness with my family, and friends that have been there along the way.

Well, thats all of our updates! Following this post will be our family pictures that were taken last month. 

Thanks for reading!