Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Daddy's Girls

These 4 are a bunch of characters, full of personality. Beautiful smiles. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

my weekend in pics

It's a later than usual post, and I promise to share more pics like I used to, but I lost my photo-mojo somewhere along the way or i lost my blogging mojo. I love taking pics, its so personal, it's time in a bottle. These pics are pure personality and change in my life. Jayla is her own person, her own voice, her own style. She looks remarkable so much like me, but nothing like myself at that age. I hope she continues to be bold, open, vulnerable and unique. She loves spending time with me, i hope that doesn't change. Isabella is so fun, she's like a little magnet to Jayla and I. Moving in with my sister has been so rewarding, i love spending time with everyone. I'm embarking on a few new changes on the horizon, wedding planning, potential new job, still unpacking boxes at the Tucson house and managing a forever changing schedule with kids both blood and bond. It's a temporary adventure before us but we're embracing it. Lets see what the Lord has planned for our lives. We're ready and willing just say when!


Monday, October 28, 2013

Jayla is TEN! Happy Birthday Birdie!

Top 10 Things I love Most about you!  

1. You have a heart for God. I love when you pray at night, this insight you show in faith is remarkable. I will have a small hand at raising you to make a difference in this hurting world and that gives me hope and faith that you will do great incredible things! 
You have a heart for others, that is truly unmatched at your age.  
 2. You are so funny! Your sense of humor is eons above your age, 
you get things with a look or a tone and we just know what each other is thinking all the time.

 3. I love that you're not easily embarrassed. From the fart stories in class to wearing funny hats and  dancing in the grocery store.
4.  You give the best hugs, the sweetest kisses and have the best laugh.

 5. Physically you're so tough, i love the stories about tether ball battles to the face and busting your hand open at the expense of not letting a 5th grade boy beat you!
 6. Your heart is so pure. You are moved by other's circumstances, you stand up for what's right, you wont even try lying, you don't let your friends influence your choice to be friends with someone they don't like. You don't compromise who you are.
 7. There is nothing or no one that can influence your personal style, i love that you have a voice and you express it outwardly. You are confident, free thinking and creative and that is only scratching the surface!
8. You're so cool and you don't even try!
9. You tell the best stories. There is something about you that everyone loves, it's something you can't explain or bottle up with one word or phrase. You are truly unique!

10. I can't imagine my life without you! The joy and laughter that comes with being your mother is beyond anything that could ever fill my heart and soul. I will spend the rest of my days soaking up everything about you and enjoy every minute of it! 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Peach Upside Down Cake

I promised to share this recipe yesterday.  Let me warn you it's not my most successful recipe, but it is a very good one and of course i learned some things. i have some tips on how to make a peach cake and how not to make a peach cake. You wont see this on any Pinterest Fail posts but if you've never been to that site definitely check it out, it makes my attempt a total win in my book! Don't be discouraged, it isn't a 100% fail and in my experience not many blog posts share where their recipes went wrong or how many times they made said recipe until they perfected it.  However you will save some time and effort when you execute this at home. It's also the best excuse to use those fresh peaches before they go out of season. 
The original recipe i followed used 4 fresh peaches, i only needed 3 to fill my pan. 
Start your caramel sauce on the stove for this you need 3 tablespoons of butter & 3/4 c brown sugar to the pan and let melt. Let the brown sugar to get all bubbly caramel goodness in a 9 inch cast iron pan. 
DO NOT STIR the goodness!
meanwhile you can peel the peaches with a vegetable peeler.
  Remember when I told you not to stir the caramel? ... yeah no matter how many time I've seen this mistake on my favorite show Chopped i absentmindedly stirred it! i cannot tell you how many chefs I've seen go home for this mistake alone a ten thousand dollar mistake! .. back to reality. Ok calm down self this is just a hobby but i seriously felt the pressure to deliver a beautiful cake!  this is what happens ... crystallized mess ... please don't stir it.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Banana Yogurt Pops

So easy and absolutely delicious!

1. Dip into your favorite yogurt
2.  Coat with your favorite toppings
(I use sliced almonds and mini semi sweet chips.)
3. Freeze on a sheet pan.

The kids love them, i love em and best of all no guilt! 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Dutch Baby

I love breakfast foods, anything carb related really I don't discriminate from any pastry, donuts, cinnamon rolls, croissant, bagel, danish you name it i love it! I even scoured the internet for the most perfect pancake recipe and I've never looked at another recipe since. So it's logical that I would attempt at making a Dutch Pancake.  The minute I heard it of course I looked it up on Pinterest. Why on earth am I just hearing about this now i thought... so that was my weekend challenge. My only complaint from working an early shift is not having enough time to cook a decent breakfast. Luckily for Jayla I've mastered the morning routine to leave this in the oven for her in the mornings. This makes an easy morning for my mom who usually has a brood of kids in the morning and I feel better about dashing off to the office. Now it's super easy to make... but it takes 25 mins to bake. But trust me it's worth it! 
2 tablespoons unsalted butter 
3 eggs at room temperature
3/4 c. milk at room temperature
3/4 c all purpose flour
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract 
a pinch of salt 

Place the butter in a 12" oven-proof, non-stick skillet. 
place the skillet into the oven while it heats to 350 degrees.

 Combine the eggs, milk, flour, sugar, vanilla and salt in a blender and blend until smooth.

you can top this with anything really, but i choose blueberries or you can used mixed berries, 
maple syrup, powder sugar, fresh peaches & whipped cream the sky is the limit! 

 Remove the skillet from the oven and swirl the melted butter around so it evenly coats the pan. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet and return the skillet to the oven
 be patient for 25 minutes, or until the Dutch Baby is puffed and golden brown.
Garnish with a dusting of powdered sugar or maple syrup and top with fresh berries, if desired. Now I'd be lying if I really considered this a healthy breakfast food, but my argument is... it only has 2tsp of sugar plus the fresh fruit makes it a good option to consider add some yogurt and you have a nice breakfast. It's prefect for a light morning with a cup of coffee or even a perfect ending to a big meal as a dessert option. Maybe someone can try making it healthier by using wheat flour ... but why?
Some foods should just be called dessert and i wouldn't necessarily put this exact recipe on that list, but this was a funny read about how all those carbs i mentioned earlier are just that.

Monday, July 15, 2013

total jerk moment

it's been a long week... and it was only a Tuesday when i decided it's been too long of a week. I should note that this is not my usual behavior but hey i think we've all been there right?  We all have our moments... boy did i have a moment but i learned a great big lesson from my 9 yr old.

Just recently my entire family went out for a birthday dinner for my nephew, he choose a local place and it also so happened to be a specials night so the place was packed! I had already been a little impatient with the way the evening started but the night progressed ...slowly. Like a dripping faucet, small moments of bad service, forgetfulness, cold food etc. ... we were there for almost 3 hrs before i finally spoke up & asked for our bills, and beyond that we still waited 30 mins for our waitress to appear. She finally arrived and gathered some dirty dishes as well as the bill folders while fumbling with much more than she can handle in the first place THEN she reached for another glass. Like a train wreck i watched her dump the load of dirty dishes and food scraps onto my nephew, as she issued a simple "I'm sorry" and left to grab a rag. Meanwhile my sister and i uncovered him of everything including 2 full salad dressing cups running down his shirt.

 That was it! I had enough! I grabbed my keys, asked my family to go wait in the car and when she returned with the rag she handed it to my sister and gathered the bills.  As she reached for mine I said "Can I please have a manager handle my bill"  she looked at me completely surprised and says "I'm sorry is there a problem?"   so I began to list the various incidents that lead up to my current mood.  I wasn't rude but I was direct, meanwhile the manager walked up and replaced where she once stood and said nothing in return. ... our bills eventually made their way back to our table.

We left, i got into my car and my mom said "what happened?!".  As I proceeded to explain the entire night from my perspective I got some insight, with each little annoyance I identified, I defended the waitress. The service was slow; but it was a busy night, cold food; still good food. I think you get the point.  As I drove away she said "Did you leave a tip?" ... shamefully I replied "no".

I most definitely do not discredit her work or her efforts, and I hesitated to leave a tip or not, but in my haste i left with the tip intended in my hand wrestling with the idea to tip or not to tip? but then i was out the door and in my car faster than i realized. i certainly did not feel good about it. Then it hit me! I identified the exact word that left me so upset. DISAPPOINTED! i was disappointed with her response to essentially trashing my nephew quite literally. As a consumer he chose to spend his birthday at this establishment and as a large group we spent a pretty penny there. I didn't make a fuss the entire night and i hadn't intended to speak up at any point until the accident. I was disappointed in how she just disregarded him as some kid who took the brunt of her error, i was disappointed in her lack of apology to another human being, i was disappointed in the manager's response as well.

Being in a service type job myself i know full well that you can only control your actions and like a movie scene when one replays an entire night in a flash of light i gained some perspective and i said to my mom "i just feel like turning around and leaving her a tip, she worked for it, she did the best she could considering the night,  she absolutely didn't trash him on purpose..." and so i turned around.

i walked in and slid the money towards the host at the front counter and said "can you please give this to my waitress?" The host certainly knew who i was (it was pretty obvious) and then i said "actually, can i speak to her?" not even having any idea what i would say to her with my tail between my legs. The hostess points her out literally standing behind me, and i handed her the cash and a sincere apology for my behavior.  She of course didn't expect it and offered up her own apology that i was unwilling to hear, because honestly i knew i was wrong and i was insensitive and i felt like mud about it. I left, feeling much better but still feeling like mud. i got my sassy butt into my car and drove away.

Here's the lesson: In the heat of all this self imposed drama I had a huge realization that Jayla was in the car. Yeah ... listened to the whole darn thing.  I certainly do not want to be a bully nor an example to her on how i once treated another person.   As i routinely do i reached back for her hand in the back seat and offer advice or affection this time i offered an apology, for what she witnessed  "Birdie, I'm sorry you saw me act like that, there's no excuse for treating anyone like that and I'm sorry you had to see it". she replied "it's OK momma, you're always teaching me something!" (real chipper voice) I'm thinking OMG! what is she talking about?  Did i just teach her to be a big ol jerk to someone?!

With great confidence and joy she said "Forgiveness" I'm telling you, I teared up!   I was just feeling completely ugly on the inside for my total jerk moment and she brought the light back into me!

Your children are watching, they see everything! Children need to see lessons in humility and forgiveness and lessons on being humble. I say often that we need to lead by example, I know from this i will try and be more patient and forgiving more outwardly toward everyone you just never know who's watching.  I told this story to a friend a day later, and he says to me " You know how that experience impacted you, it likely impacted the waitress just as much! and i bet you that's something she may never forget" - Thank you Jack for the support i hope you're right! I was encouraged to write this blog post, not only for myself but for the moments we are ugly on the outside. We have a chance to redeem ourselves not only for peace of mind but for the dignity we can redeem and offer to others. Be impactful as often as you can, it truly isn't unnoticed. 

our everything

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


i love basil, it grows like a weed,with such abundance and aroma and so easy to grow in your garden or pots on the window sill. It's my favorite herb that is also so versatile, i make my own pesto, it repels mosquitoes, has some great health benefits and adds tons of fresh flavor to any dish. I use it in grilled cheese with french bread and tomatoes. i love it in pasta with sun dried tomatoes, i love it as a pizza sauce, and grilling. I was excited to see the BzzCampaign for Filippo Berio Olive Oil so i thought i'd share my go-to recipe for a simple pesto:

  • 1/4 c walnuts 
  • 1/4 c pine nuts 
  • 3-6 cloves of chopped garlic
  •  3-4 c fresh basil leaves
  •  kosher salt & ground black pepper to taste
  •  1/2 c good olive oil (Filippo Berio® Extra Virgin Olive Oil )
  • 1/2 c freshly grated parmesan cheese
Combine in a blender or food processor until pasty consistency i like my chunky but you can blend to desired consistency. i'm headed home today with plenty of ideas to use what i have left in the fridge and prepare another batch! How do you use your basil at home? I've read that you can freeze it also to save for the off season, perhaps i may give that a try sometime. please share your tips and tricks to basil recipes or gardening tips i would love to hear em!