Thursday, November 14, 2013

Momma's Night Out

Today I am super thankful for Momma's night out with one of my nearest and dearest friends, April.  April and I worked together for over two years. We grew a lot together and through the course of our employment, we formed a strong bond.  She's one of my closest friend and I love her to death.  We have similar ideas, we can tell each other our opinions and I just love her.  We always laugh and enjoy ourselves together and we can comfort each other during the dark and difficult times too; we have seen each other at our best and worst. April is my sister fom another mister.

I think what sealed our friendship is our journey toward motherhood.  When I was pregnant  we would talk about everything that was going on.  The day after my baby shower, when I was about 7-8 months along, April surprised everyone, including herself, by announcing she was pregnant! It was awesome.  Our children are now six months apart but we can share so much about parenting and life together.  I really appreciate having her around.   We don't work together anymore, she's lucky and blessed to be a stay at home mom in a far off town, but whenever I can I drag her away from her beautiful family and make her do things with me.  We've driven to LA to see New Kids on the Block and tonight we went on a whole new adventure.

Tonight, we got lost trying to avoid horrible traffic on the way to wine and canvas night.  It was part technological error, part me.  It was a whole lot of fun.  We talked and laughed and experienced something completely new...painting.  It's difficult to hold your wine glass in one hand and paint brush in the other when you are trying to blend and shade colors that look like they make no sense.

We drank wine and ate delicious cheeses while we chit chatted about dinner parties, weddings, babies and our families.  It was a night to relax and enjoy ourselves outside of our husbands and babies.  It was a time to reconnect and rejuvenate. It was wonderful and I can't wait to do it again.  It's nice to find people who refill your spirit bank and help you to feel renewed again.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Time for Faith

"Because of your little faith.
Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed,
you will say to this mountain,
"Move from here to there," and it will move.
Nothing will be impossible for you." - Matthew 17:14-20

Today, I am thankful for my faith and the peace it brings me.  Regardless of the size of my faith, I know it is mine and that I am loved.  I am truly blessed in this life I have been given.  I'm fine and so is my family.  While life isn't meant for the timid and somedays prove more challenging than others; I take comfort in all the blessings I have and realize that I am never truly alone even when I feel it the most.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Sneaky Squirrel

Today I am thankful for my son's laughter while we play the sneaky squirrel game on our first family game night. It's the best thing I've ever heard and it makes my heart happy. 

Today for numerous reasons heightened by hormones I was in a really bad mood.  I was irritated by life the moment I woke up.  I was tired from not sleeping well at night.  I was sore from being smushed in my bed by the tiny Bug, he takes up so much room. I was flustered that I was bloated and clothes didn't feel right. It sucked. 

Once I was at work it just spiraled. I was irritated at the thought of my day and dealing with this copier project and roll out.  I was just over it.  I also was missing my boss who was sick today.  She always brings a levity to the office and her laughter and energy perk me up.  I was just missing my normal and wanting more weekend.

Tonight, I had a casserole all made up and ready for the oven when I came home.  I was thankful for that Tator Tot Shepherds Pie, the recipe is easy and to taste below. It gave me the opportunity to grab a glass of wine, relax and play with my baby.  An easy worry free evening of bonding and playing a game.  It was like the me of yesterday gifted me of today with a delicious, warm, home cooked meal and quality time with my little family to make up for the stressful crap of today.  The me of yesterday was so thoughtful.  I hope she comes back again soon.

Tator Tot Shepherds Pie

These are all rough measurements depending on personal preference. This also makes a huge batch, like two 9x9s.

2 lbs ground beef
4 cans cut green beans
A small can of corn
A small can of peas
2 cans cream of mushroom
A medium sweet onion diced
2 carrots fine dice
HP sauce or Worchestershire sauce
Shredded Cheese
Tator Tots

Sauté the onions, carrots, and ground beef, seasoning to taste with salt, pepper, garlic salt, etcetera.

Add in the rest of the vegetables, cream of mushroom soup, and the HP Sauce (to taste).  When fully mixed week, place into baking dishes and top with shredded cheese.  (Two 9x9s used roughly 2 cups.)

Top with the Tator tots and bake for about 20 minutes at 450 degrees or until golden and toasty.  

To prep for later cooking right out of the fridge, bake at 450 degrees for 25 minutes uncovered and 10 minutes covered.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Momma's Back!

Tonight is short and sweet because I've been "living the fat pig" as my momma would say.  It's her version of living high on the hog.  My mom comes up with all kinds of wonderful sayings that make me laugh so much. I keep track of them and pull them out whenever I need a pick me up.

As I mentioned previously my mom was on a trip to Chicago for my cousin's marathon.  Tonight she came home and told us all about the wonderful time she had connecting with her sisters and her niece.  It's a good reminder about investing in your relationships with family; to continue with that theme we had a welcome home family dinner. I am thankful for family dinners. 

My sister Allie's boyfriend Joe and I cooked.  It's a really simple but impressive meal.  We started off with delicious fresh French bread and butter.  The butter is from Wisconsin and is very creamy and has a great flavor. Next we made Marcella Hazan's simple spaghetti sauce. It's ridiculous how easy it is; San Marzano tomatoes, butter, and a cut onion simmered together into a glorious and rich sauce.  Ugh! I love it way too much for my own good.  My favorite pictures and version come from Smitten Kitchen. Their take can be found here:

Joe is quite the gourmand and his favorite version adds a small bit of thinly sliced red onions and parsley marinated in red wine vinegar. It really adds a little something extra to enhance the dish.  Since he prepared it for me I haven't gone back to just the sauce alone.

We added a simple arugula, lemon and Parmesan salad with a spicy Italian sausage link.  Red wine was of course abundant.  I had saved two bottles of wine for +6 years and broken them out.  They were the '07 and '08 Reserve Shiraz from Yellowtail vineyard and even though they were the same wine they were night and day in flavor. The 2007 was acidic with strong notes of tobacco and leather to me.  The 2008 was sweeter and smoother with more fruit.  

It was a great way o relax and reconnect with each other.  I wish my other siblings had been there. I really relish having all my people together in one place.  Hopefully soon we can all get on the same page and coordinate our calendar. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Take a picture, it'll last longer

Today was another busy day.  We had our family photos scheduled for this afternoon with our neighbor Shae.  She is a fantastic photographer and she takes pictures of my family that will last forever.  You can find her at

I always go into my photography shoots planning something "timeless" because I know, ok I hope, these pictures will be passed down to my grandchildren and beyond. I want them to have pictures of us as we were. It's a little bit of me they can keep forever. I feel it's important because people are on loan, you never know when they will be gone.  The only things I have now of my grandparents are pictures and sadly there aren't enough for my liking.  I want to change that for my family.  I'm thankful I have the money and time to take such beautiful keepsakes. More importantly I am thankful for the photos themselves. One day my Bug will be a grown man with a life and family of his own but these pictures will remind me of when he was all mine.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Thankful for it all

TheToday has been such a wonderful and blessed day.  I woke up to a smiling and cheerful little Bug in my face saying , "Hi Momma!"

We went to Bug's toddler soccer practice and they had their first team picture and a little scrimmage. They look like little bees running around together. It melts my little heart to see Bug have fun learning new things and making friends.

After soccer we had a really nice brunch with my Dad, Sister Allie and her boyfriend Joe.  We always have a good time eating and talking about news stories. I had a delicious tri-tip and eggs. OMG it was delicious.  If you are ever in San Diego you need to go to Cali Comfort.  Their BBQ is so much better than Phil's; both are tasty but I'd take Cali Comfort over Phil's any day. 

On the way home the Bug fell asleep and took a glorious several hour nap whil I got ready for date night.  My hubby knows how much I love Harry Potter and he surprised me with tickets to the Potted Potter play at the Balboa Theater. Allie and Joe were kind enough to have a night in with Bug so we could be out on the town for a bit. It's fun to trade spots with them every so often. We get a taste of single com and they get a feel for the family life.  

After Potted Potter, my love took me for an amazing dinner at Bankers Hill.  This place is another must eat at establishment.  The service is wonderful, the bartender Christian is so knowledgable and talented, oh and the food is incredible.  We started off with a few cocktails and appetizers.  The bacon and orange marmalade "bruschetta" is to die for.  I wish we had ordered two servings; it was that good.  The toast was lightly grilled and topped with a goat cheese, orange and bacon marmalade with a frisée and apple salad on top.  I can't rave enough about this dish! I may go back tomorrow for more.  We followed this up with a delicate but delicious pear salad with pomegranate, goat cheese and honey over watercress. It was a solid dish but I still want more bruschetta.

My main course was a seasonal dish of fresh gnocchi and rosemary chicken meatballs with mushrooms and pumpkin.  It was so flavorful and filling but not too overwhelming.  It was a good portion but I wish there was more. I had to stop myself from licking my plate clean.  My Honey had a chipotle meatloaf over broccolini and scalloped potatoes. He let me have a few bites and his dish was tasty too.

The highlight of my evening was a cocktail.  My hubby has really been delving into whiskey, bourbons and scotch but they seem to strong for me.  I am always on the lookout for an approachable cocktail that we could share and help me understand his passion for the hooch.  I finally found one and it wasn't too girly either.  While I was at the vpbar chatting with the bartender we were discussing different bitter and a cocktail that was on the menu and how the bartender, Christian, would change it up for me. The original drink was called The Revolver and was a bourbon, coffee liquor, orange bitters and a orange rind.  Christian said he'd change it to a smoker scotch and exchange the orange bitters for a chocolate mole bitters.  It sounded wonderful so I ordered one and then another.  The smokiness of the Bomar Scotch paired beautifully with the bitters and liquor.  There was a smoky, salty and fresh smell that melded into a smooth drink with a strong smokiness on the back end.  It was the best cocktail I have had in a long time.  

Lastly, we ordered some desserts.  

A chocolate coconut tart with espresso gelato and kettle corn and....

A butterscotch pudding topped with creme fraiche, toffee and shortbread.

They were amazing but probably a little much.  The pudding was hands down the favorite.  I loved the flavors and textures between the pudding, creme and the shortbread.  It was perfect.

I am so thankful for days like today.  These days make all the other ones worth suffering through. Again, I am blessed. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

When Yaya's Away...

My mom, Bug's Yaya, is on a little vacation. My cousin is running in a big marathon this weekend in Chicago and my mom went with some of my aunts to cheer Les on.  This is an awesome experience for my mom and I am so excited for her.  My mom is Bug's primary caregiver while we are at work and I am really lucky that I have my mom to rely on.

Since my mom is on her little vacation we were really thankful the my sister Allie and Dad stepped in to watch Bug today.  They went to the Scripps Aquarium for a fun date just the three of them.  I have to say I have a fantastic support system and I am so thankful to have my sister Allie fight to watch Bug.

My son has a great relationship with my siblings and they each play a special role in his life but Bug and Allie are a team.  They love hard and fight hard.  They love to be with each other. They bake, they practice soccer, they do everything together.  Allie is his other mom when I can't be there and I'm greatful.  I love for the pictures of his day that she sends me occasionally or the videos of him fighting sleep or playing tricks on her.  

They are too cute together. It cracks me up to have Bug tell me about Auntie Allie or Ah-Yi as he calls her.  He will purposefully ignore her to make he mad but he cries whenever he isn't with her and he talks about her all the time.  He pines for her.  They are so close.

It's nice to take time to give thanks for the people around you and the roles they play and the ways they help you function.  Thank you Allie for all you do for Mr. Noodle and our little family.  We are so blessed to have you there for us.  We love you.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Momma's Night Off

Tonight I am really thankful for a surprise Momma's night off from cooking.  My hubs was craving his Mom's spaghetti and in his house, only he knows how to make it.  My spaghetti recipes, and there are several, are just to fancy for him. Even the basic ones won't do when you want frozen meatballs with Prego. 

I can't blame him though; his spaghetti is quicker, easier, and just as delicious. He will have to share his recipe of opening packages some day but tonight I am feeling so loved and special.  Being pampered by the person you love making you dinner, especially a delicious comfort meal complete with a clean kitchen and washed dishes...every adults dream come true.  I really lucked out.

Tonight was also Bug's first time really feeding himself Spaghetti. It was adorable to watch the struggle.  I learned that forks are optional; they are only used to help move the noodles from the messy bowl so you can pluck them off piece by piece. I tried it my self and it was kind of fun.  I had a fabulous night tonight. I have a messy little love bug and a sweet, caring honeybun.  This momma is really blessed. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Nothing is more important

Today was long day. I'm incredibly tired. The Bug is crying and refuses to go to sleep. He's had a long day. 

This afternoon was Bug's two year check up and everything with him is perfect. I am so thankful for his good health and growth.  It's something you take for granted until it's gone.  I have an old co-worker who has a son just a few years older than Bug who has been battling childhood cancer for over a year.  The family recently got great news that there is no evidence of disease left.  It's every parents worst nightmare and even though my son is happy, healthy, and thriving I am always afraid something horrible is around the bend.

Tonight I will snuggle my cranky son and thank God he's here, attitude and all, and he's healthy.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Today I am thankful for Dr. Kimberly Ventus Darks. As I mentioned previously I went to a women's conference with Dr. Kim a few weeks.  It was a life changing experience.   Dr. Kim is phenomenal and entertaining.  Her personality is almost as big as her hair!

I had no expectations for the day and I left feeling so fulfilled but I can't really explain what happened.  I know I was up in the front of the seminar so I participated a lot.  One of Dr. Kim's quirks, and there are several, was petting me constantly.  It was odd but I was willing to flow with it.  She petted lots of people in my seminar but I seemed to be her favorite.  She was drawn to playing with my hair, holding my hand and just touching me.  I've been listening to her seminar in the car the last few days while I was driving and I wonder now if it's part of her testing people's boundaries. I could have always said no or please stop touching me but I honestly didn't mind. In fact, having my arm petted like Mr. Bigglesworth just seemed like it was part of the process and experience.  The woman is freakin brilliant, entertaining, and wise.  I felt like I was part of something special and was soaking in every word. I didn't want to disrupt her flow. The one time my hand was unavailable to her I did throw off her flow and she mentioned it.  I thought it was hilarious and promptly replaced my hand in hers.  I felt a connection to her and the material.  It was a powerful experience and I relish it now weeks later.

Dr. Kim constantly says, "Flow with me" when she is getting to a point you need to take notice on. My favorite point was, "If you always do what you have always done you will always get what you have always got. If you want something that you have never had then you need to do something that you have never done!" It sounds funny at first but it's absolutely truthful.  You can't expect things to change unless you do too. She also makes you turn to your neighbor and repeat what she says.  It's fun and helps with retention. When I had to do an impersonation of this wonderful woman the first thing I thought of was to ask the attendees to turn to their neighbors and say, "This has been an strange day."  Dr. Kim had made us say it earlier on and she was was and it was wonderful.

I can't and won't give too much of the experience wih Dr. Kim away.  I fully wish everyone had the opportunity to experience this woman.  I truly feel like I have learned a lot from her and my life is going to be better for having met her and learned at her feet.  I hope that one day I can pass on her wisdom to my own family and friends. I'm thankful for her and the time we had together. It has made a difference in me. 

You can find more of Dr. Kim at

Monday, November 4, 2013

Egg-celent Mornings

It's time to bring the food back to the blog. One thing I am currently doing is weight watchers. I'm not unhappy with my weight really but my friend April was doing WW and rocking it so I thought I'd try it. I thought at the very least it would teach me good eating habits to pass on to Bug.

I suck at eating breakfasts. I have never really enjoyed breakfasts and eating them are supposedly keys to weightloss and good health. It's a struggle for me.  My favorite breakfasts are usually early lunches. In following WW I have been on a quest for a good breakfast. My easy go-to is a Chobani Flip. I really love the coconut yogurt with almonds and chocolate chips or the key line pie with white chocolate and pie crust.  They are amazingly good. I can forgive them for being my breakfasts. 

I bought the Weight Watchers 50th Anniversary Cookbook and it rocks. The best thing I've made so far is the Bacon and Broccoli Egg cups.  I didn't have everything I needed and I couldn't share it even if I did but what I can share is the "base" recipe which I have made twice. It's a play on the original and I love it. It's so easy to change up the mix ins. If you are on WW just make sure to point it out for yourself. So today I am so thankful for my breakfasts.

Broccoli Mozzarella Muffins 
Makes 11-12 muffins, 3 muffins per serving
Approx 5 points plus per serving

1 package frozen broccoli pieces
1 small onion diced
1 cup low fat buttermilk
3 eggs
3 egg whites
1-2 tsp coarse mustard
1 table spoon Penzey's Pasta Sprinkle or other Italian Seasoning
2 Garlic cloves minced
2 table spoons flour
1/3 cup shredded low fat mozzarella
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350*. 

Spray the muffin tins with cooking spray or line them for easy on the go breakfasts. 

Place the frozen broccoli and onion in a pan and sauté for 6-10 minutes with the Italian seasonings. After they have sautéed take them off the heat and sprinkle the flour over them and mix.

While the broccoli and onions are cooking place the buttermilk, eggs and egg whites in a bowl and mix with the cheese, mustard, salt and pepper.

Mix the vegetables with the eggs and cheese. Measure out 1/3 c and place in each muffin slot.  This should make 12 muffins.  Bake for 20 minutes or until set.  Remove from the times and eat or store for weekday breakfasts. These are delicious heated up in the microwave for 1:30-2 minutes.

I'm thinking you can add in other vegetable or sub whatever you want.  I'm going to try spinach with sun dried tomatoes soon.  I think that will be delicious.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Date Day

Today was wonderful and I really enjoyed myself. I was able to do something I should do more often and need to make more time to do...I dated my parents. I spend a lot of time with my parents but I miss having the one on one experience with them. As the oldest of four I have to share my parents.  I don't really mind and I love being around my entire family but it's always a little special and indulgent to have my parents to myself. It's even moreso when I can have one on one time with each of them and for that I am extremely thankful.

I spent the morning shopping and hanging out with my mom.  It was a lot of fun. My mom is an awesome woman with such a big heart. She is always really smart and insightful. My mom has a great laugh and I love to see her smile too.  I love to make my mom smile.

So today we were shopping for my Mom's trip to Chicago with her sisters to see my cousin run a big marathon. It's always an adventure to find the right article of clothing.  Not to short.  Not too warm.  It can't be itchy.  Oh and it can't be tight!  It was quite a task because everything right now is warm, tight, short and covered in itchy embellishments, like sweaters woven with tinsel.

Spending time with my mom today was more than just running through stores and trying to find the perfect fit. It was more like connecting with her on another level as women...friends...moms.  I found myself listening to her several times today like a sage advisor and I was trying to soak it all in.  When I was younger I didn't always understand why she would say or do or feel the way she did.  So much has changed since having Bug and I get it now. Mom, I understand everything now and I am sorry for ever doubting you or questioning your reasons!

Later in the day I grabbed my Daddy to go meet my sister Allie and her boyfriend for a delicious lunner at The Carnitas Snack Shack.  It was nice getting to take my Dad out as my date. I think he really enjoyed being out with two of his girls.  He was so cute and surprised my sister with a steaming bowl of delicious mussels, her favorite. That's my Dad's way of communicating. Growing up he would always bring us home a favorite treat or buy us a little small gift. We all call it "love stuff". It's his way of acknowledging he's thinking of you.  "Love stuff" is so special and it never gets old, it can heal event the deepest of wounds.

After our lunner we decided to go driving around to talk and just spend time with each other. It was really nice. Driving is a special thing for my Dad.  He drives as a way to think and clear his head and I can see why.  Just being on the road with nowhere in particular to go can be very freeing and creative too.  It leads to great ideas and conversations. 

My Dad is the coolest, most insanely smart, and interesting man ever.  He can captivate your attention with his easy going ways and words. I think he and I like using each other as sounding boards because others might think we are crazy.  We have a way of communicating with each other openly and honestly.  I always leave conversations with him feeling a little better.  This long drive was no exception.  I feel like we are on the same page, as part of a team.

If anything, today's Thankfullness solidified in me that as we age we really need to foster our relationships with our parents on different levels.  I was in a training a week ago with Dr. Kim.  The woman is a dynamo and everyone should have the pleasure of hearing her speak.  One point she made that sticks out to me today is the roles of parents in our lives. According to Dr. Kim, parents play four different roles in their child's life. Not all roles happen at the same time but the roles present themselves as the need occurs. The first role is as nurse, parents primarily care for the physical, spiritual and mental wellness of their children.  The second role as King/Queen of their household, the authoritarian of the child's life.  The third role is as coach to mold and teach their child.  The final role is as a special friend to support and interact with your child as they age to adulthood. 

I am really lucky that I have had the best parents possible. They have been all these roles to me and more. I hope I can learn from them and foster the same good relationship with my children because in all the ways parents do everything to mold us, we mold them too.  For good or for bad we have shaped each other and the way we relate and interact. As we age we need to continue to foster and deepen our relationship roots. It's how we learn, love, and continue to grow. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Adventure Time!

I may actually be getting on track here for the 30 Days of Thanks! I'm shocked and in awe that I actually have some time to collect my thoughts and write. It could be because both my boys are under the weather and tucked in for the night. I wish they were both feeling better but I'll cherish the silence and me time however I can get it.

Today's thankful moment is brought to you by impromptu adventure in mommying. My husband and our dear friend were treated to free tickets to the San Diego Brewers Guild Beer Fest and Bug and I were the designated driver and tag along.  Josh and Doug had an awesome time. Below is evidence A. 

Bug and I were free to just do whatever we wanted. He requested Yaya's House so we hung out at my parents for awhile. When it was time to pick up the boys, Bug and I got in a little early and the boys were running a little behind. To kill some time it thought I'd show Bug the Star of India and the other cool ships in the marina. A visiting ship, the Arc Gloria, is visitng from Columbia and was free to tour. I was real lye cited to take Bug on his first boat. We climbed aboard and he was so excited. The ropes and sails were flowing in the wind and the waves rocked the ship gently. It was awesome getting to experience all of this with Bug.

He was so cute exploring the cabins and seeing the sailors working. He tried so hard to climb the steep stairs by himself. Some were just to steep and dangerous but always the chivalrous young man he'd say to me, "Momma Help." He was such a sweet date. 

I am so thankful for the impromptu adventures that are placed in our way. It's a blessing to try new things and experience through my Bug's eyes. 

30 days of Thanks...just one day late

I wanted to blog yesterday and start the 30 days on time but I was too beat. The Bug is still sick and I am waffling between sickness and being well.  I want to do each of my blessings justice but none is better than the other. I will post the disclaimer that these blessings and things I am thankful for are random in order and the ones most present in my mind at the time.  

November 1 -

I am thankful for my sick baby snuggles. I know one day he will grow up and will be able to carry me.  One day he will prefer to snuggle with someone else. For now, I am so greatful for the quiet times he clings to me; the moments when only Momma's arms will do. 

The snuggles help me more than he knows. There are times I doubt myself as a mom but Bug never doubts me. I was reminded of this when I was watching a video on YouTube about mom's perceptions compared with their children's opinions. 

I need to listen more to what Bug thinks of me.  He has a better grasp on life and isn't as jaded and bogged down with baggage. Ok, I should note he is learning the art of manipulation by calling me Mommy in the sweetest tone ever instead of the usual Momma. He's such a smart kid. Whatever happens though I know he needs me and I need him. In the quiet safety of our cuddles I just stare at him in awe and am so thankful for him and our bond. 

blogger template by lovebird