Monday, April 30, 2007

no makeup - no problem!

I'm really not sure when makeup became such an important part of my day or why I somehow began to think that I just wasn't pretty enough when not wearing any.... but I sure do know when all of that stopped!!! I met a man and fell in love and he fell in love with me!!!! Wanna know the best part? He loves me just the way I am no frills - no bells - no whistles and he adores, what he likes to call, my "morning face". Talk about your confidence booster!! It would be nice if the rest of the world could be so kind.

Now don't get me wrong, most days I do dab on a bit on concealer, eyeliner and mascara but on the days I don't, or on the days it is all off by the time my sweetie comes home, I still feel beautiful.

With that said, and in honor of my sweetie, and in honor of a newly found love of self, I submit my no make up picture (i even skipped my SPF because it's slightly tinted and helps even out skin tone) for the Bloggers Without Makeup contest over at Adventures in Babywearing. If you want to get in on the fun, click the link above and submit your own natural self before May 4!!!

We come in all shapes, sizes, and colors - Make up or not we all are and deserve to feel beautiful - this has been a great reminder of that!

I feel pretty oh so pretty......and you should too! :O)

Paper or not to paper? That is the question...

I need some of your thoughts and advice....

I live in a 5 person household and we do NOT have a dishwasher. Add to that the fact that we have a very small sink and that adds up to me doing the dishes at least three times a day. Now I have enlisted my 13 and 11 year old to help with the task - they each have the dishes 2 nights a week. However, the sink can only hold so much so I still end up doing what is left over later that night. One thing I can't stand is dirty dishes in the sink overnight - it drives me crazy!!!! I'll try sometimes to 'just let it go' but there are times when I wake up at 2am thinking about the dishes just sitting there and I have to get up to wash them.

I have recently considered using paper plates and this my friends is where i need your help! The thing is, I'm big on recycling and doing what I can to help out the environment and somehow using paper plates seems to go against that plan. I have not been able to find paper plates made from recycled materials - if I could that just might make my decision for me.

My dilemma is this: not having a dishwasher and using the sink means I am using much more water to get the dishes done than if I had a dishwasher but using paper plates means I am using up more trees.

I am thinking that at least using paper plates means that I am using a renewable resource (trees can be replanted) while water is a bit more precious than that - especially considering the fact that I live in Southern California and we are almost always in some sort of drought.

Any thoughts? I would greatly appreciate hearing what you think. I need to do something because I am currently obsessed with this thought.

Menu Plan 4/30/2007

Wow! I actually did it! I have accomplished my first step to creating a new SMART Habit! By Sunday afternoon, I had my meals chosen and had even gone to the grocery store. It felt/feels so good to know that I won't be having to make another trip to the market until next weekend!!! What will I do with all the free time?!? Thank you to Laura, the organizing junkie, for the invite to join in on the fun and for the link to Wednesday's dinner.

Sunday: Coconut Lime Chicken
Monday: Five Bean Chili
Tuesday: Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Wednesday: Zucchini Sausage Pasta
Thursday: Refrigerator Medley (our little name for left over night!)
Friday: take out or make at home pizza (it's movie night in our house)
Saturday: we'll be at the UCLA Pow Wow - and we'll have dinner (or more likely a really late lunch) there...did somebody say fry bread - YUMMO!

Happy cooking everyone!

(as a side note all meals in this house are served w/ salad - the prewashed and bagged kind -or whatever veggies catch my eye in the produce department)

Saturday, April 28, 2007

new (good for me) habits

I have learned a great deal since entering the blog world. One of the best things I have learned is that I am not alone - there are many women, moms, sisters, friends, daughters, fiances (wives) out there that think about and face many of the same things I do on a daily basis. Another of my favorite new discoveries is that I have learned that there are some really amazingly fabulous women who have not only implemented really helpful strategies in their own lives but are willing to share and help the rest of us do the same. Thank you ladies, I am very grateful!

With that said, I came across this little beauty that I just can't wait to get started on. It's SMART Habits Saturday! Sounds great and certainly like something that will be very very good for me. I have tried to start new healthy, good for me habits but never seem to make them a reality. I think my problem (besides being lazy) is that I've never had accountability.....I am hoping that sharing my habit goals with the rest of you will help me stay on target. My only problem at the moment is deciding which habit to start this week...........hmmmmmm

Thinking back to last week, I think I will choose what I struggled with the most. Since returning to school, I have realized that getting my life organized is a must. I have made some progress but one area that I just cannot seem to get together is weekly dinners. I find myself making multiple trips to the store to get ingredients needed and , sadly I am not exaggerating when I say, I went to the market every single day last week because I had not decided what to cook each night until I picked up my boys from school - or worse until about an hour before dinner should be on the table! We were all cranky with the extra trips out of the house in the middle of our busy after school routines. It was miserable! and diner time certainly was not as pleasant as it should be for me or my monkeys.

With that said, my new SMART Habit that I will begin this week is planning my weekly dinners ahead of time. My goal is to have a weekly menu in place by Sunday afternoon which will give me the opportunity to figure out exactly what I will need for the week and give me time to go to the market to get everything in only one trip. I already feel more relaxed just thinking about it.

Wish me luck! (and lots and lots of motivation and follow thru)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

A Fun (and easy) Contest

I was reading around in the blog world and came across a contest sponsored by Madison's Room You can enter for your chance to win these adorable hair clips for your little princess! Just visit this post and follow instructions. Basically all you have to do is sign Mr. Linky, leave a comment, add a link and your done! So easy and so worth it if you win! these little clips are just so cute!

It's been one of those days

It's been a rough couple of days for me. Extremely busy and not so pleasant in other ways. The busy part comes from it being the end of the semester. Finals are next week and I never feel prepared! I will get through it and do fine - I have in the past, I can't really imagine it being that different this time around. In some ways it is wonderful to know that I am one semester closer to graduating (With a graduation date estimated at 2010, it can seem never ending at times) but at the same time it kind of freaks me out too!

Weird, I know but yet, that is the truth. I think I get freaked out because getting one stop closer to graduating means I am one step closer to graduating! Which means, I am one step closer to being in the real world without the protection of being in school. I'll have to show my stuff and then it's sink or swim baby! That is scary to me. I suppose it stems from my continuing questioning of self and my abilities. I can be so confident in some ways and so not confident in others. I still feel not good enough, and not smart enough and like I won't succeed. It's not so fun when my insecurities pop up. It would be nice if they would make me work harder but what really happens is that it makes me want to quit. I want to give up when I don't think that I will 'make the grade' and it has been a very long and hard journey to learn to fight through that feeling.

Things have been not so pleasant because today, my ex husband and I had our first major argument since our separation 5 years ago. We have tried so hard to keep our relationship civil and work together for the kids and it has worked-for the most part..... I won't go into the details because it would take way too long to explain but I will say that it centered around my feeling like he was skimping on his responsibilities and leaving me to clean up the mess. I lost my temper today - BIG TIME. The kids weren't around - thank goodness! I feel so ashamed for losing my cool like that (even if I still think he deserved it). Perhaps it is the fact that we - well, I'll speak for myself - I have just let things go more often than I should have and therefore, I great deal of frustration and even resentment has been building and it all finally came to a boil. I have let things go because I felt like it just wasn't worth the argument because 1) there are more important things in life and 2) it really wouldn't change his behavior anyway. Today though, I just couldn't let it go any longer and so I didn't, I held on tight and rode it all the way to the end.

I wish I could say I feel better but I don't. I feel exhausted and on top of that, I got a call from my doctor right after the 'discussion' with some unpleasant news - karma? Could be. Sigh.....

Monday, April 23, 2007

a hundred years from now

"A hundred years from now, no one will remember the size of my bank account, the kind of car I drove or what type of house I lived in. What will matter is that I was important in the life of a child." (anonymous)

This is a quote on hold on to and sadly one that I have not thought of in a while. I was reminded when reading a post by another mom sharing her daughter's 100th day of school activity. My own mother shared this quote with me a few years back and it helped me gain a new perspective in life. In a world that is so concerned with and wrapped around image and material items, it is imperative to remember that, in the end, there really are more important things in life.

There are moments when that thought really hits home for me. Like, for example, when my sons run across the playground to give me a hug when I pick them up for school or when my daughter and I giggle as we make cookies (and a mess) together. However, I never remember it more than the times I sneak at peak at my sleeping children and see how peaceful they are; without any cares in the world. It is in that moment that I say a prayer of thanks for their health and their safety, a prayer of thanks for the privilege of the opportunity to be a mother, and a prayer for all the help i need to continue to keep them safe, well, loved and happy.

I hope that in the end of my days here on earth that I have been important in the lives of my children. I hope they will remember that even though I couldn't afford or chose not to give them the latest gizmo or the name brand items and that even though we may not have always agreed with one another, that what I did do for them was accept them for who they are, love them for all their quirks and helped them understand that sometimes it is the simple things in life that matter most.

i will endure

i am chasing the sun

some say



(she’ll never make it)

i continue

i am chasing the sun

i will run





i am chasing the sun

i will endure

one day

the sun

will be chasing me

Sunday, April 15, 2007

stay at home? i don't think so!

i was lucky enough to be able to visit with my cousin and his family the other night. chris and kim live up in the sacramento area and have 3 lovely children. we have not seen them in YEARS! and so it was nice to have a little reunion even if it was too short :o(

in the course of the evening my mother asked kim if she was working or if she “just stayed at home.” what?! did she really just use those words?

the thing is, i don’t know any moms who do not work ‘outside’ their homes that would consider themselves a “stay at home” mom. when most people think of the word stay i believe that the following definition comes to mind : “to stop, halt, or pause; a standstill”. that in no way describes what a mom who society says “stays at home” does. mom’s who do not work outside their homes work at them. being the primary caregiver of a child is a lot of hard work! there are the feedings, diapers, tears, owees to mend, games to be played, errands to be run, lessons to be taught, discipline to give, cleaning to be done, play dates to attend and host, meals to be cooked, pta meetings, trips to the park, doctor appointments, grocery shopping……..the list goes on and on. for those who say it isn’t work, they should consider the incredible amount of money families pay child care professionals to do the (ummmm?) “staying” for them. in fact, they should consider the fact that there is a whole slew of professions related to the tasks that moms have to accomplish on a daily basis.

now i don’t think that my mom meant the question in a derogatory manner but i think that it doesn’t make it less insulting. perhaps my mom used the ’stay at home’ term because she has been a mom who worked outside of the home while my brother and i were young or more likely, perhaps she used it because that (for some reason) is the term that society uses to describe a mother does not work at a place of business outside the home. who knows?…but it did remind me how much of a problem i have with the label “stay at home mom”. i used to be a “stay at home mom” and i never stayed put no matter how many times or how many days i wished i could just sit, stay, good mom! but that is a luxury that i never seemed to have.

i’m not making any judgements here about whether a mom who works in the home or out of the home is better. i have been both and realize that both kinds work hard every day to care for and love their children to the best of their ability. each day moms complete task after task after task and very very little of it ever involves staying put. unless of course, you count the times we finally get to crash after our little ones are tucked in bed….at least until we are called back to duty because of hunger, or a bad dream or a sore throat or…….

Thursday, April 12, 2007

i forgot to remember

that is the response i got from enrique (age 7) when i asked him if the pups had been fed. “oh! i forgot to remember” i love it!

the things these kids say sometimes make my heart smile. i took a little trip down memory lane after hearing that from my little guy. one of my favorite things he also used to say was “my hands hurt”. it would come out any time he did not want to do something like help with the groceries or pick up the living room. the best part of the hurting hands routine was the presentation. enrique would literally present his hands to me palms up and give me the best puppy dog eyes he could muster along with a few tears and insist “but mommy, i can’t! my hands hurt” where/how do they come up with these things? i’ll admit it may not have always gotten him the freedom from the task but ocassionally i would fall for it… was just way too cute!

there are so many moments that come up in my life as a mom that i just don’t ever want to forget to remember. perhaps i’ve been more sentimental than usual about the kids growing up. my daughter will be 13 tomorrow and i tear up everytime i think about it. i also tear up when i remember (and at times struggle to remember) all the little things my little ones used to say and do. it has always been the little and simple moments of life that have meant the most to me. they grow up and change so fast and there are so many moments that i just want to freeze time so i can enjoy and take in the moment just a little bit longer.

i love this monkey hurting hands, forgetting to remember, and all!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

say it aint so!

this friday, april 13th (yes that’s friday the 13th) my oldest child and only daughter turns 13! Eeek a teenager…..nooooooo say it aint so! i cannot believe that my precious little baby girl is already 13 years old. fellow moms out there - you know what i mean: these monkeys grow up way too fast!

so, a teenager huh? i have received condolences from many about the following years and many well wishes and good lucks in dealing with a teenage daughter. but you know what? having a teenager does not worry me at all! i am not scared of the years to come no matter how dark some might think they will be. danielle is a beautiful soul (intelligent, kind, loving, generous, helpful, determined, strong, compassionate….to name a few of her attributes) and even though she does have an attitude on certain occasions, it is nothing to be worried about. i mean, in terms of the other things that i see going on in the lives of her peers, if all i have to deal with is a few rolled eyes and a couple ‘whatevers’ than i will count my blessing and will not complain.

i actually do not anticipate much of a struggle with danielle. she is growing up and will want to do more and more on her own as she explores her independance and i am sure that she will test the limits along the way. but all children do that at all stages in their lives. that is what growing up is all about.

as dani turns 13 i am trying to figure out where the time flew and exactly how quickly the next few years will pass. i realize that she will live more and more of her life outside of the home and away from me. i worry that i haven’t taught her all she needs to know or that i won’t have the time to teach her before she moves on and eventually lives away from home. perhaps it is selfish, but what bothers me the most about he pending teenage years is i the fact that i will miss her dearly. i continually ask ‘how much longer/often will i get to spend mornings or evenings with her watching our favorite TV show (gilmore girls)? how often will i get to make cupcakes or cookies with her w/ our ’special love’? how many more days will we get to go shopping and laugh as we try on the hats in Macy’s? how many more nights will i get to have her sit on my bed and go on and on and on and on and on about what happened at school that day? how many more opportunities will i get to wrap my arms around her and tell her how much she is loved (especially when she has had a bad day)? i have a sneaky suspicion that i won’t get as nearly as much of any of those things that i will want.

i truly treasure the moments i get with her. she was so small and fragile when she was born (a premie weighing 3lbs 1oz) and has grown into a beautiful girl who is strong and determined and sure of herself. i am immensely proud of who she is and the choices she makes on a daily basis. i know that she must grow up and i can accept that. it is, however, a very hard thing for me to learn to let go. my heart is sad to think about the day when she will leave home and as i send her off with all the love and support i have to give her, i will be sad to lose a part of my life that is so important to me.

so having a teenager for me is not so scary except for the fact that i may not be as ready to let her grow up as i should be…

Monday, April 9, 2007

the happiest place on earth

yes - that’s right- i’m talking about DISNEYLAND….well sort of…..

yesterday was a fabulous day. jerry and i, along with his brother, took the kids to well, you guessed it, disneyland. what a fun thing to do as a family. it was the first ‘big’ family outing we have all taken together. we have done visits to family and spent many weekends and weeknights together but this was our first major outing together. it was such a wonderful way to celebrate the new family we’ve created. it meant so much to me to have jerry by my side and to know that we are creating new memories together with the kids.

so we all know that disneyland claims itself to be ‘the happiest place on earth’ - and i have to tell you it was a very happy day. everyone got to ride on the rides they wanted (i chose the carousel thank you very much) and we got through the day without any tears or arguments and without anyone getting lost :o) there was ice cream and a fabulous dinner in new orleans square and lots of laughter and hugs and all around fun. we exhausted ourselves and when we finally left, the monkeys could barely keep their eyes open on the tram back to the parking lot. a very happy day at a very happy place indeed but, the happiest place? i’m not so sure

after a long drive home, jerr and i dragged the kids inside. he carried the little guy while i tried to convince danielle and luis that they needed to wake up and take themselves inside because there was no way we could carry them in. a few minutes later, after final hugs and kisses they were all tucked in and sound asleep. i looked at their beautiful faces and marveled at how big they are and yet how little they still are at the same time. i said a thank you to the powers that be for such amazing children, for the fact that they are safe and for their health. i then walked down the hall and crawled into bed next to jerry who turned over and wrapped his arms around me… that moment, i felt safe and loved and perfectly content.

inside my home with the children safe and my love by my side……that, for me, is the happiest place on earth and i’ll take that any day over disneyland!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

will she remember me next time?

i went to visit my grandmother today. i try to see her every other week but honestly, i should see her more often. she is getting old. she’s 86, lives in an assisted living community, confined to a wheel chair and her memory is starting to go. she lives about one mile away and so with taking all of that into consideration, i should see her at least once every week. the thing is though, visiting her is really hard for me emotionally. growing up, my grandmother was this amazingly strong woman who ran a very tight ship and was so independant. my grandfather died when i was about a year old and she never remarried so she was very used to doing things on her own and doing things her way.

and now she has to rely on others to almost everything and there is very little choice in her world. it is so sad to see her struggle with the reality of her life these days. and it is so sad to see her memory go. i’ll call and tell her i am coming to visit and by the time i get there 10 minutes later she doesn’t always remember that i called. she can’t remember the names of my kids sometimes and has not been able to remember the fact that i am engaged lately. she has met my fiance and every time we talk she’ll ask about my love life and i’ll tell her it’s fantastic and tell her about jerry and ask if she remembers the day he came to visit. she says ‘oh yes’ but i can tell she really doesn’t .

today i brought her a new phone because her other one decided to stop working. i had to tell her 3 times that i brought her a phone since she kept telling me that hers was not working. i then had to show her how to use the new one each time. i just felt like telling her ‘don’t you dare grandma. don’t you dare not understand how this works. you are smart and lively and an example to me of how to be a strong woman in this world. don’t you dare not be that person anymore!’ i didn’t of course, it’s not her fault and it wouldn’t make a difference anyways. i wish it would.

maybe its selfish that i just want to hold on to the person that she was and so struggle to see her because i don’t want to face the reality of who she has become. it scares me. she is my last living grandparent and i did not handle the deaths of my father’s parents when they passed away 8 and 9 years ago.. i’d like to think that i have grown since then and would now be able to handle the situation differently but i’m not so sure about that. it still scares me and i still want to avoid it and deny it as much as i possibly can.

the reality is that my grandmother has done nothing but love me all my life and now as she ages and her time on this planet is limited she deserves nothing less than all the best from me and for me to love her and be there for her the way she was always there for me. it is selfish to not visit because it is difficult or uncomfortable for me. i am sure i made many days of her life difficult or uncomfortable….yeah very sure.

my grandmother is still a wonderful woman who i feel blessed to have had in my life and i am grateful that my children have the privilege of getting to know her too! it is sad to know that one of these days she might very well not know me next time i visit. but even though i ask myself if she’ll remember me next time i will keep visiting and will go more often and enjoy the time that i have with her now because i know that i may not have that much time left.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

no more school no more books..

remember feeling that way? i do and apparently at the moment, that is how my little monkey feels.

so my 7 year old son is in second grade. for some strange reason, at least in this school district, being in second grade means being having an incredible amount of classwork and homework. well, maybe the reason is not that strange, i am sure it has to do with the fact that there are so many fundamentals about writing and mathematics that are taught in this grade. anyway that is not the point of this thought.

so the point is that my son has reently been getting behind in his class work-his writing assignments specifically. this last week, he came home w/ a progress report which stated he was missing 11 - yes 11!- writing assignments for the week. that is unbelievable. i mean one, that he got behind but two that in one week so many writing assingments would be given. see, it wouldn’t be that bad if he just had to write them once (they are all friendly letters which are about the length of a paragraph each) but each one is to be written as a rough draft, proof read and then printed neatly on a final page w/ a picture included. now, taking the fact that i someday will be a teacher, i can totally understand that it is important for the students to learn and even master the writing process. but come one 15 writing assingments in one week seems a bit ridiculous to me!

now i am not the type of mom who constantly blames others or outside circumstances when my kids make mistakes. i know he definitely needs to be held responsible for the situation and he being held responsible and will be catching up on these assingments by the end of the week.

the thing is, he just does not like writing. AT. ALL. and i hate feeling like i am forcing him but mostly, i struggle with how to relay the message that school is important - because it is- w/out putting to much pressure. not just with my youngest but with the other 2 as well. in our family, school is your job, and you should show up everyday, prepared, ready to work and should always do your best. now don’t go thinking that i’m some crazy over achieving mom who demands that the kids get straight A’s. their best is their best - they are all capable of passing and that is all that is required. if their best is a C then so be it. but right now, the work isn’t even getting done to be graded!

so i don’t want to put too much pressure but want to relay that his school work is important. so if you read my other post -you’ll know that my ex isn’t much help lately. there is lots of playing the playstation and goofing off on ‘dad’s days’ instead of homework getting done. so now the poor little guy is getting really mixed messages. that sucks! see like i said so many things would have been easier if i could have waited for the right partner a long time ago. my kids wouldn’t have to navigate the drastic differences in mom and dads opinion about fundamental life issues…..

i just feel overwhelmed

Sunday, April 1, 2007

southern pulled pork (slow cooker recipe)

serves 8
prep time 10 minutes
cook time 7-8 hrs on low nad 4 hrs on high


2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 1/2 lb pork shoulder roast
garlic salt
lemon pepper
12 oz bottle chili sauce
3 - 1.31 oz sloppy joe mix
1/2 cup low sodium beef broth
hamburger buns


heat oil in large skillet over med-high heat
season pork roast w/ garlic salt and and lemon pepper
brown roast on all sides and place in 4 to 5 quart slow cooker
in small bowl, combine chili sauce, sloppy joe mix and broth
pour over roast
cover and cook for 7-8 hrs on low or 4 hrs on high
to serve shred pork and place on buns

from Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade cook book

five bean chili (slow cooker recipe)

serves 8
prep time 15 minutes
cooking time 7-8 hrs on low 4 hrs on high


1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
2 cups chopped onion
15 oz can light red kidney beans
15 oz can dark red kidney beans
15 oz can cannellini beans
15 oz can butter beans, drained
15 oz can pinto beans, drained
2 - 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes w/ chiles
2 - 1.25 oz packets chili seasoning mix
1/2 cup tomato sauce
salt and pepper
sliced green onion
shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream


brown ground beef with onions in skillet over medium high heat
drain fat and add to 4 to 5 quart slow cooker
add all beans, tomatoes, chili seasoning and tomato sauce to slow cooker - stir
cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 4 hours
season to tast with salt and pepper
serve with oinion, cheese and sour cream (if desired)

we usually eat this w/ corn bread

from Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade cook book

coconut lime chicken

serves 4
prep time 10 min
cook time 12 minutes


2 tsps peanut oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tsp curry powder
14 oz can light or regular coconut milk**
4 oz can diced green chiles, drained if necessary
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp finely grated lime zest
1/4 cup chopped scallions (white and green parts)
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
salt and pepper

**14 oz of regular coconut milk contains 840 calories nad 70 g of fat (49 of which are saturated fat)
14oz of light coconut milk contains 315 calories and and 28 g of fat (21 of which are saturated fat)


heat oil in large skillet over med heat
add garlic and cook stirring for 1 min
add chicken and cook until golden brown on all sides - about 5 min
add curry powder and cook, stirring, until fragrant - about 1 min
add coconut milk, chiles, lime juice and zest - bring to simmer until chicken is cooked through - about 5 minutes
season to taste with salt and pepper
remove from heat, stir in scallions and cilantro and serve

in our house we serve over white or brown rice (depending on what's in the pantry) with . you can use shrimp instead of chicken and it is just as yummy

from Robin Miller Quick Fix Meals cookbook