Saturday, February 28, 2009

30 Things I Believe

My friend Lil' Mommy over at shared this very inspiring story. It really got me thinking about what I believe in. I figured I would share my thoughts:

1. I believe in faeries and magical pixie dust
2. I believe in love at first sight
3. I believe in fate and that things happen for a reason
4. I believe in karma
5. I believe we are all equal
6. I believe in friendship and cherishing your true friends for life
7. I believe kids have a secret language and are plotting to drive us insane and take over the world
8. I believe my kids are leading that group
9. I believe my kids are awesome and wonderful
10. I believe in treating others with respect
11. I believe I am a good wife and mother
12. I believe I have room for improvement
13. I believe in hard work
14. I believe with hard work we can all make a difference
15. I believe in doing what we can to save our planet
16. I believe in unconditional love
17. I believe in butterfly kisses
18. I believe in the power of waterfalls
19. I believe that time does heal all wounds
20. I believe my daddy is watching over me every day
21. I believe in taking ownership for your mistakes
22. I believe mistakes made are life lessons
23. I believe in helping others
24. I believe in the bond of sisterhood
25. I believe that one day my kids will listen to me
26. I believe that nature is a wonderful thing
27. I believe diets are evil
28. I believe coffee is the life blood of my day
29. I believe Yo Gabba Gabba really really weird
30. I believe in world peace

Please share with me what you believe in.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Cleaning like a mad woman

I have no idea what has gotten in to me. Maybe it is the fact that spring is just around the corner. Maybe it is just the fact that I am sick and tired of living with all the clutter and mess. I have been trying so hard to get into a routine. One of those wonderful routines where you clean as you go along so things never really get messy. It makes me crazy having to take hours out of my day to clean up the house when needed. We were doing so good but now things have slipped back into that rut that drives me completely insane.

I am certainly not blaming my husband because to be honest I am just as guilty of a lot of things. There is one huge difference though. I do most of the cleaning! So, if I leave a mess I am the one that ends up cleaning it anyways. On top of that I have to clean up after the two little ones and my hubby. Sometimes I feel like all I ever do is clean the house. With that, I woke up and I think I had just had enough. I started cleaning and doing stuff around the house to finish getting organized. I started cleaning just like I did when I was pregnant and about to deliver. On a mission and way too determined to get things done once and for all. Warm seasons are coming and the last thing I want is to have to deal with a messy house all the time or being stuck indoors all the time cleaning.

I just hope it all sticks. I am so tired of feeling this way. Tired of feeling so frustrated all the time.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Recipe Monday - Easy Enchiladas

My family is a big fan of Mexican food. I learned a lot of recipes from my step mother's family when I was growing up. Eating some of them takes me back to those days. This one I found a long time ago on my own and have modified it to fit my own wants and needs.

1 pkg corn tortillas
1 can enchilada sauce
1 can cream mushroom soup
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 onion
1 16 oz Pkg shredded cheddar or mexican cheese
salt and pepper

Chop onion and brown it in a large skillet with the ground beef. Season beef mixture with some salt and pepper. You can also add whatever other seasonings you like to your beef mixture. Sometimes I like to add a little garlic powder. In a sauce pan combine enchilada sauce and mushroom soup and put on medium low heat. Stir occassionally. Add a couple of tablespoons of the sauce to the beef mixture and stir. Reserve the rest for later.

In a small frying pan heat on medium heat enough oil to cover the tortillas (about 1/4 inch). Once it is heated, put tortillas in oil one at a time making sure they are completely covered and cook for just a few seconds (until they start to bubble). Remove them from the oil onto a paper towel to drain and cool. I usually do 2-3 at a time and then fill them. I like to always have a couple cooling while I am filling. It is just easier on my fingers. :)

Put a couple of tablespoons into the bottom of a 9 x 13 x 2 baking pan. Place a tortillas into the baking pan and spoon some of the beef mixture onto it. Roll it tightly. Repeat until pan is full. I can usually get 9-11 enchiladas in there. If you have leftover beef mixture just pour it into the sauce. I prefer to put the cheese on the enchiladas and then pour the sauce over that. You can do it either way really. You can add as much or as little cheese as you like. Cover with tinfoil and bake for 30 minutes in a 350 degree preheated oven.

These are super simple and so yummy. The cream of mushroom soup adds a really nice flavor to them.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Brother's All Natural Fruit Snacks

I am always on the search for healthy snacks for my girls. I get so frustrated because so many things I pick up and look at are full of sugar. I do not mind my girls having a sugar treat now and then but that is just it. They should be a treat not a snack. I came across these freeze dried fruit snacks yesterday and thought I would give them a try. They are 100% all natural freeze dried which of course got my attention right away. When I got them home my oldest was begging for some. I opened a package for her and she loved them. My husband who is way too picky even opened a bag and had a snack. They are so light and practically dissolve in your mouth. I decided to give them to my 10 month old. She loved them and I had to fight her to keep her from eating them all at one time.

I went to their website at and was happy to see the logo up at the top. I did some searching around and you can find them at Costco, Walmart, Whole Foods, and several other locations. They even have a natural fat free potato chip that I am on the hunt for. I love chips and that just has my name written all over it. I definitely recommend giving them a shot.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Reconnecting with my Inner Blonde

I have been a blonde all my life and I absolutely love it. I have never attempted any type of coloring on my hair simply because I did not need it. Growing up the thought of my hair getting darker used to freak me out. I know it sounds crazy and quite vain but it is the sad pathetic truth about me.

Just over 3 years ago I got pregnant with my oldest daughter. Right away I could see it happening. Little by little she was stealing my blonde. Each day I noticed my hair getting darker and darker. After she was born I kept holding on to the possibility of a miracle. I hoped I would wake up one morning and it would all be back to normal. Well needless to say, I was disappointed. Not only did I not get my miracle but my hair continued to get darker from all the lingering hormones. Then I got pregnant with my youngest daughter. Let's just say, things only got worse. Now don't go getting me wrong. I love both of my daughters so much more and I would never trade them for my blonde hair back. I am really not vain despite what you might be feeling about me after reading this. Instead of trading them for my miracle I have decided to swallow my pride and do things the more conventional way. I am hitting the bottle. The hair dye bottle that is. My neighbor knows what she is doing and so I have agreed to put all my trust in her. Next week I am going to take the plunge.

I have to admit I am scared. For whatever crazy reason, it makes me very nervous and a little embarassed. I absolutely hate my current hair color though. I am still blonde but it is really a not so flattering mix. At least that is what I see when I look in the mirror. I long to have my color back and I am very anxious to give this a shot. I never make time anymore to mess with my hair or my makeup for that matter. I always feel so much better when I do though. It is hard to get past some things but I think this is the first step in some much needed pampering.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Recipe Monday - Beef Casserole

Growing up my mom would always make tuna casserole. I am only really a so so fan of tuna so this is my take on this recipe using beef. I have made this same one using a rotisserie chicken as well and it is yummy.

1 lb lean ground beef or ground tukey
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 cans milk
12 oz macaroni noodles
American cheese
Salt, Pepper, and garlic powder to taste

Brown the meat in a pan. Bring water to a boil and add macaroni. Cook until it is almost done. I usually look at the directions and subtract 2 minutes from the time they recommend. You do this because you are going to bake it and the macaroni will cook further. Do not forget to add salt to your pasta water once it comes to a boil. This will season the pasta while it is cooking.

While all this is happening mix in a bowl the soup, milk, salt, pepper and garlic powder (not garlic salt). I take american cheese and tear it into pieces and add to the soup mixture. You can really use any cheese you want for this. Drain any fat off the meat and then add it to the soup mixture. Once macaroni is ready drain the water and add it to the soup mixture as well. Mix this all together. I take a 9x13 glass pan and spray it with a little cooking spray. Pour the mixture into this pan. Top with a bit more cheese. Cover with tinfoil and bake on 350 for 30 minutes.

Lately I have been using the low fat mushroom soup and adding veggies to this one. Then I serve it with a salad on the side. I am also a huge fan of the Ronzoni Smart Pasta. Lots of fiber and calcium with a great taste.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Zout Stain Remover

I received a rebate coupon the other day for this and decided to give it a try. With my two girls the stains in this house are literally non stop. My youngest got ahold of the spoon the other day and decided to smear the lasagna on her hands all over her face, hair and shirt before I could even think of getting a wipe. My oldest tries very hard but I think the harder she tries the bigger the mess she makes. It is like it is drawn to them. The funny thing is I used to think there was no way my kids were going to be messy. I would hover while she ate like some insane person waiting for the moment I could swoop in and save the day. Even worse I spoon fed her myself for far too long. In my mind I knew she could do it herself but I was just out of my mind. All she needed was a little darn practice and a ton of messes and she would get the hang of it. Needless to say, I gave up that insanity really quickly. When the second one came along I was not even crazy enough to try and stop the mess. I have moved way past my momentary lapse in judgment.

I am always on the lookout for some miracle product that promises to work wonders on the little disasters my precious ones create daily. This one made all those promises and more. They added a guarantee that all life's messes would become a distant memory. I tried it on some of the toughest stains too because afterall this was my miracle solution. Right? I was sadly disappointed that it took 5 separate washes to get out a fresh stain of chocolate milk that was spilled down Vic's white sweater. I had to wash a couple of other items multiple times too. It certainly is not a bad product and got out a fair amount of stains. When you give me a guarantee though call me silly but I expect more than the average stain remover. No, I did not try to get my money back with the guarantee because I simply have better things to do. I will not be making any future purchases though. So far the favorite in my house is the OxyClean one.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Cherished Moments

We all have those wonderful moments with our children that we look forward to and cherish forever. The day they were born, first words, first steps, and especially the funny wonderful things they say. This morning I woke up and found myself in one of those moments I will definitely cherish forever. A couple of weeks back I won an apron in a giveaway they were doing over at Mommytalk. The apron arrived in the mail the other day and it is absolutely adorable. Vic happened to see it and got so excited. She called it her "cooking costume" and she immediately wanted to cook with me. Without really thinking about it I told her we would make pancakes in the morning because what we were cooking at the time she could not help with.

The next morning I woke up as usual and got everyone downstairs for breakfast. I had not slept well the night before and I was tired and kind of cranky. I remember thinking all I wanted to do was get the girls a quick breakfast and get me some coffee. As I was washing a bottle I hear Victoria say "Mommy, I am ready to make pancakes". She was standing there behind me holding her "cooking costume". My first thought was "aww crap me and my big mouth". I was in no mood to make pancakes. I looked into that sweet little face and could not help myself. I grabbed the pancake mix and tied that cute little apron around her waste. She climbed up on a chair next to me and we mixed, giggled and made the best batch of pancakes ever. When all was said and done she wrapped her arms around my waste and said "Mommy, thank you for making pancakes with me". I cried and thought what a wonderful moment. I never even made it to the coffee and we had such a wonderful morning.

Victoria loves that apron and those hot pads so much. She ended up wearing it the entire day which included our trip to Walmart. She got a couple of strange looks but several more smiles. I love everyone over at Mommytalk. If it was not for their awesome giveaway I might not have had this moment to cherish. I wish I had pictures to show for it but I was way too busy in the moment to stop and worry about that. The one here is one I took of her afterwards. I can only hope for so many more of these cherished moments with both of my girls.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Forever and For Always

I am definitely no stranger to love and marriage. I have been married three times now. I like to think that the third time really is a charm. I was way too young when I was married before and had completely ignored the signs that told me those relationships were doomed before even starting. I swore to myself that I would never enter another marriage if there were any issues going in. I met my husband in the parking garage of the building we both worked in. I took one look at him and thought "Wow, he is hot!" So, I struck up a conversation with him. I have always been the type to go after what I wanted. That said, I decided to ask him out on a date. It really just happened actually. Some friends and I were going out to a sports bar to watch a basketball game and drink some beer. Yes, I know it seems odd but I am a huge San Antonio Spurs fan. I asked him if he wanted to join us. He did and we had a wonderful time. It turned out to be the start of the best part of my life. He even later confessed that he was so incredibly nervous prior to meeting me. Then he started thinking, "I am meeting a great girl to drink beer and watch basketball". What the heck did he have to be nervous about. It was every guys dream.

We have been married for 5 wonderful years now. I love him and I love our life so much. He is such an incredible husband and father. He supports me in everything I do. He makes a point every year to celebrate my birthday. Now that may not seem unusual but it is the way he puts it that makes it so much more special. He celebrates it truly because it was the beginning of my journey into his life. How awesome is that! He gave me two wonderful little girls. I believe in fate and that things happen for a reason. I was completely unable to have kids with either of my ex-husbands. When we decided to start a family we had no problem whatsoever. I am truly blessed and loved so very much. I feel it is time now for me to pay it back and make sure he knows how much I love and appreciate him. With time you get comfortable and tend to take things for granted. It is important to me that he knows how I feel and never has to wonder.

I am so excited that this Valentine's Day we are getting to go out on a date just the two of us. We have not done that in such a long time and have only done it twice in the last 3 years since our girls were born. My sister moved here and has agreed to babysit for us. I feel like we are going on that first date again. Since the girls were born he does not get near enough of my attention. He never complains but I know he needs more. I think this is our time to reconnect and spend more quality time focusing on us.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Go Red for Women

February is heart health month. So many people die each day from heart disease. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women. Every minute, someone's mother, daughter, wife or sister dies from heart disease and stroke in the United States. My family is no stranger to heart disease and stroke. My Daddy and my Grandmother both suffered from it. My Mom also had a stroke just a few years back. Donations help the American Heart Association protect hearts and lives year-round by allowing funds for research, education and advocacy programs to fight heart disease. I have decided to donate 10% of all my profits from Giliena's Italian Charms and European Beads for the month of February to the American Heart Association. I plan on picking a new charity each month. Let's all get together and support the fight against heart disease. Head on over to Giliena's and check out all the wonderful new items I have and help me donate to a wonderful cause. The new custom typewriter key photo bracelets are fantastic. You send me the photos and I resize them and create a wonderful keepsake for you.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Crazy Week

I have had some crazy weeks in my life but this one really has to be up there on top as one of the craziest. My sister was moving here from Texas to live closer to me and my family. She arrived here last Sunday evening. Her adventure alone was insane. She rented a Penske truck and was supposed to get a 22 foot one. She ended up with a 26 foot truck and was then towing a trailer with her car behind it. Now if you have ever seen my sister you would realize just how crazy this is. She is barely 4' 11" tall. She had to stretch her leg just to be able to push on the gas and brake. When she was getting ready to leave I kept telling myself if anyone could pull this off it would be her. She woke up early in the morning of the day they were to head out only to find a flat tire on the trailer. After that was fixed and she was finally on the road she discovered that the truck itself would barely go more than 45-50 mph. If she got to a hill it would come to a crawl at 30mph. A trip that was supposed to take 2 days tops ended up taking 4 full days. In the end though, I was right in my assumption. She pulled it off like a champ.

Once she got here it was just the two of us and her oldest daughter to unload everything. We only had a few hours too in order to get it done due to the rules at her apartment complex. It would not have been too bad except for the appliance dolly she rented was just as defective as the truck. The rubber things on it that help move it up stairs was not functioning. Basically I was left pulling and dragging this up two flights of stairs with the heaviest items she had. We were sore and beaten after just a few short hours. You never really realize how old and out of shape you are until you are forced to move furniture.

All in all it was a lot of work but we had a lot of fun. I wish I had a video camera set up to film the 3 of us trying to move her king size mattress. There was a lot of laughter going on for that. It took us a week but she is finally settled and I am so happy to have them here with me. Now I am getting back on track with what I need to get done.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Recipe Monday - Carne Guisada

Yes, I know today is Sunday and I usually post my recipe on Monday. This recipe is being featured over at Mommytalk today so I am a day early with this. I am feeling some pressure here though because I have to follow crazy yummy doughnuts and some incredible baked mac n' cheese.

This one is a favorite in my house though so I thought it was a good time to share it. My step mother is Hispanic so I learned a lot of wonderful stuff from her family. I actually used to make homemade tortillas to eat with this and they would send it over the top. That recipe is for another day though. Carne Guisada is also know as a Mexican or TexMex Stew. We usually turn it into tacos which is where the homemade flour tortillas came in.

So, here goes:

2-3 lbs Stew Meat
1 Bell Pepper Chopped
1 Onion Chopped
1 Can Chopped or Crushed Tomatoes Drained
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 1/2 tsp cumin
2 Tbsp oil
2 Tbsp Flour
2 - 2 1/2 Cups Beef Broth

Add oil to a large stock pot and heat. Add stew meat and brown on medium high heat. Add Cumin, Salt, Pepper, garlic and flour. Stir frequently and cook for about 2 minutes just to cook the flour some but do not let it burn. Add broth and bring to a boil. You want to make sure the liquid covers the meat by at least an inch. Cover, Reduce heat and simmer. Cook for 1 hour stirring occassionally. Then add the Tomato, Onion and Bell Pepper. I always wait to add the these veggies so they do not disintegrate during the long cooking process. Cover again and simmer for another 1 - 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is tender and literally falling apart. If you want to spice it up just a bit then seed and chop a jalapeno and add it to the pot.

I love to make this whenever I make a roast. I usually buy a big roast and cook it for dinner one night. Then I take the leftover roast meat and add all the ingredients above. In this instance I will sautee the onions and peppers and then add the meat and remaining ingredients. I cook it for about 30-45 minutes in order for all the ingredients to kind of come together. We love it because it takes a leftover meal and creates a completely different flavor. It does not even seem like we are eating leftovers.


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