Thursday, January 28, 2016

52 Weeks of Gratitude: Week 4

A little behind, but week 4 of my 52 Weeks of Gratitude challenge is a family member, I picked my son, who was 4 months old this week!! Ah, he's so big it's adorable. I wrote all of my favorite things about him on my chalk wall at home. I am so glad to have a boy, and to watch him grow. I've always wanted the mommy/son relationship.  I'm so so grateful for him even though it is hectic having my kids so young and close together. It will be great to see them play and grow up together.

Monday, January 18, 2016

52 Weeks of Gratitude: Week 3

Week 3 of the 52 week Gratitude Challenge is Family.

I'm so incredibly thankful for my tiny family. My kids bring me so much joy. Its amazing how much you can stress out over your children, and yet, your heart is more full than you ever could've imagined.


My little girl is approaching toddlerdom, or as we mom's joke, terdle-dom. But somehow even then she is my absolute favorite. I could be happy if she stayed this age forever. I miss her when she goes down for naps. I love hearing her little feet waddle into my room in the morning, I love watching her run "zo zah!" (so fast) to the potty. She has this potty training thing down pretty good. She is now running to the bathroom by herself and shutting the door. Privacy is important for a girl !! Haha...she will shove the door in your face and shout, No! If you try to peek. I guess she wants to copy how mom and dad use the potty. Today, she even took her jewelry in with her. Beats me.


I adore my little man. He is only 4 months and he is HUGE. It kills my back and spine injury to carry/nurse him, but I love holding him super close. He is a mama's boy. I so melt when he smiles. He is also starting to giggle which is the best! He definitely still has colic, and the screaming wears on me as his mother, but it makes those happy times so much sweeter. I see in his eyes an absolute pure love. Those eyes follow me around the room, and stare unblinkingly up at me when I'm feeding him. He's such a handsome little King.

I'm so grateful for my husband who is such an awesome dad. He is my best friend. We have a very good relationship and genuinely enjoy one another's company. We always work it out, one way or another. We don't want to be that couple that throws in the towel because life isn't easy. We both have firm understandings of our Heavenly Father, His plan for us, and how we will teach our children of Him. I'm so so so blessed.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Eat Good, Feel Better: Easy Recipes

I like to cook, and I find it very therapeutic. I'm also a health nut and prefer, when possible, to shop organic. I eat little meat and dairy, but I'm not a total vegan. I love my lifestyle, but it isn't cheap. Having done some research, I learned that it costs one person roughly $8 a day to eat "regular" or unhealthy. It costs roughly $35 a person a day to eat HEALTHY. That number scares most people into eating junk. Sadly, they don't realize that what they put into their bodies has long-term side affects.

Making the change to eat well is a sacrifice you have to make, but it isn't difficult once you adjust your budget. Cut back on coffee, eating out, tanning, whatever stuff you spend pocket change on. For me, it has been a lovely effort and I really enjoy the results.

Tonight, I made two extremely yummy dishes. A meal and a dessert, from ingredients I had lying around. Most of you have these items in your kitchen too. So if you wana give them a try, here ya go:

Dinner: Chicken Apple Quinoa Sautee
Dessert: Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes (vegan/paleo friendly)

Both combined are nearly fat free, besides olive oil and the lean fats in chicken, and the pumpkin puree. Seriously, it doesn't get better than this!!

For dinner, I started sauteeing garlic in 2 tbsp of olive oil. I used about 4 cloves. I added half cup of chopped red onions and 2 granny apples chopped. I cut up 5 chicken tenders and added them, along with lots of thyme, hint of cinnamon, black pepper, and salt. (yeah, sorry, I don't measure....) then I added about 1 cup chicken stock and sprinkled quinoa on top. I happen to know about how much would soak up the chicken stock without burning the pan. I then cut up 2 97% fat free hot dogs and tossed them in. Te he...yum.

While that was simmering, I blended 2 bananas with 1 can 100% pumpkin puree. Add about 2 tsp vanilla extract, and pumpkin pie seasonings. (nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger) sweeten with 2 TBS maple syrup and a packet of stevia. Full up muffin tins and bake at 350 for 20 min. Create whipped topping by using full fat coconut milk. (chill the can, scoop the fatty milk off the top of water separation and whip with beaters) Voila.

Hope you try them out and LOVE them 😊 IF YOU DO, leave your comments below and send me a recipe fav of your own!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Driving Skills: And All You Need to Know About A Person

You can learn all you need to know about someone by the way they drive. A car. On the road. Around other vehicles of motion.
Image result for cartoon driver
I discovered this and can attest to all of the things I'm about to say because I used to be one of these people...
When you're sitting behind the wheel, inside a car, "anonymous" to other people, it means you can do just about anything and not have to worry about facing the other individual. This is why it shows people's true integrity.
You might not say straight to someone's face, "My time is more important than yours, buddy!" but you say the same thing when you speed down the highway cutting people off. You just do it clandestinely, kind of the way people bully online. Its an easy way to hide yourself, but still show your true colors. Yep, I was one of those speed racers until recently...
As I've grown up and matured, I've noticed how much my driving has changed. Now, take note, I am an assertive driver. I have never had a single speeding ticket, and I've never been in a single car wreck. Knock on wood.  But I definitely have had my days of reckless, rude, and inconsiderate driving. I'll give you a few examples.

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First of all: have you ever been driving and some dude in the lane next to you butts in front of you, barely missing your bumper? Stupid, right ? So, you swerve around into the left lane to go around him. More often than not, you cut someone else off just to avenge yourself. And so the cycle continues. With every driver thinking they're more important than the next.
I used to get so angry when cars would slide in front of me, so I would do this and slide into the next lane quickly, efficiently, and rudely, without a care for the cars I may have "slipped" in front of. Be honest, that's what they are to you. To me. Cars. We don't see them as drivers, people, with heartbeats and feelings. We see them as cars, as we are seen as a car to them. I've never caused an accident of course, but I've done some dumb maneuvers just to prove my point to the driver who cut me off, who probably won't even remember he did it five minutes later. I mean, it's a little ridiculous. This kind of move is the "I'll show you!" attitude. People who like revenge and who always want to be right.

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The next scenario is the hypocrite. These are they who HATE letting people merge, EVEN when merging is part of the lane change...not to mention the law. Say, someone is trying to merge and they have their blinker on. You're the car they manage to slow down a whole 2 seconds as they abide the traffic regulations, and yet you're thinking, "No, idiot! Find your own highway!" while trying your very best to run them off the road, or tailgate them just to piss them off.  Somehow, ironically, when the time comes for YOU to merge into a lane, it becomes the most important thing in the world for you and you feel a burning hate towards anyone who doesn't immediately let you in!!! And when the person behind you tried to kiss your bumper, you brake check them and flip them the bird because, you're important. Ha ha...funny how it would be so simple if every car in a merging situation magically went every other, and traffic could flow like a river in a Pocahontas film. That's why I was a hypocrite, wanting my way, but so carelessly avoiding giving others their way when it was the nice thing to do. Do you fall into this category?

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Maybe you're the "must go faster " folk. You have to drive 90 mph everywhere you go, regardless of the speed limit. You endanger hundreds of innocent lives by speeding around town because you feel like a hot shot. Or you're incredibly impatient, like myself. Either way, if you were to crash and hit someone else, you'd both be killed. What if you killed someone else, but you were to live? What if you caused an accident, but got by unscathed and unaffected? If you fall into this category, you likely think you deserve to be one step ahead of everyone else. And you're gonna get there, no matter what.
Word from the wise, slow down.

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Maybe you're too slow. Maybe you're lazy and have a chip on your shoulder about it, so you make a point to drive 10 miles slower than the speed of traffic just for kicks. Or you simply love attention, and some is better than none. You typically attract the negative kind. So, making everyone mad by going snail speed is your style. Unless, of course, you're the mini van creeping across every speed bump and pot hole and corner turn in the valley...I feel for you. Some people will never understand what it takes to keep the baby in the car seat calm. I do. I do!!!!
(see my other post about the dude that honked at me )

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Maybe you're the, I don't care how hard you've worked on your life, I'm gonna cheat my way to the top, driver...For example, you speed past a crammed lane full of people, perhaps in an exit lane. Then you hurry and slip in last second, causing a car to slam on their breaks, so you can get off the exit. Maybe you even cause an accident, But you don't know, or care, because you got want you wanted. For a guy, this might be screwing someone over at work to get that raise or promotion, for a woman, it might be screwing someone....at work....using that female appeal to get what you want. Congratulations, your mother and Jesus are probably very proud of you.

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Maybe you're the "traffic laws don't apply to me". This translates to "I'm special" in just about every aspect of life. Ask yourself this: if it was the middle of the night or no one was around, and no one would see, and you pulled up to a Stop Sign, would you stop? Or keep rolling? Keep on driving full speed? (here is where integrity is key) If you don't think it really matters, because you're just one driver, and it's just one Stop Sign, you belong in this category. It might seem like a silly rule to you or me, but these silly rules keep basic systems functioning. A bunch of simple rules, all combined, form a society, a happy little machine that performs in harmony.  If everyone decided at once that they didn't need to stop at a Stop Sign, the world would go to chaos. What makes you so dang special?
Gah, it's embarrassing how s p e c i a l I can be when driving, especially when I'm grumpy. Grumpy drivers go from a level 1 Special Syndrome to a level 10 Arrogant SOB in a heartbeat.

Image result for cartoon driver
If you just don't EVER use your rear view mirror, you probably don't even realize there are other cars on the road. The self-absorbed driver. You're the type who thinks you should have your own reality TV show, that's how cool you are to yourself, while those of us inside of REALity are shaking our heads and rolling our eyes.
If not, and you genuinely just don't pay attention to stuff, then you're just an air head. It's okay, at least you're not a jerk about it. But seriously, it's a green light. Go.


Whether you squeeze into crammed lanes without using your blinker, or run yellow lights because you're just so dang rushed, your behaviors on the streets reveal more about you than you would like to admit. The truth is, these qualities transfer over into all aspects of our lives. If we are impatient on the road, we are impatient in our homes, at work, at the grocery. When we don't abide a traffic law we find silly, we find ways to avoid rules at home, we disregard God's laws for worldly popularity, we are dishonest in our dealings with our fellow men when it benefits us.  If we think car mirrors are for checking our makeup, we are more obsessed with ourselves than is healthy.
Basically, we are how we drive.
You'll agree with me. One day.


When I came to terms with how my driving reflected me as a human, it calmed me. Real fast. I know it's hard to want to see it, and most people won't ever learn to change their driving. (Because they're special, remember?) But for those of us who do, we retain that integrity. We can be the elite of humans, who drive like competent grandma and grandpa's, who let people merge and who stop at Stop Signs on abandoned country roads. Our wild teenage years of racing around town and wreaking havoc on the road and being selfish behind steering wheels, a92nd everywhere, are far behind us as we drive a mild 4 miles over the speed limit, slow at red lights, and pause for pedestrians. Yes, you and I, we are the impatient people who are always in a rush, and we will have a weak moment or two when getting to the gas station is suddenly Our single greatest endeavor, but we have learned that being kind, even anonymously behind the wheel, is as important as saying out loud, "You matter too."


Next time you take a drive, maybe you'll think a little bit more about it and about how you're not the most important person in the universe.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

52 weeks of Gratitude: week 2

52 weeks of Gratitude.
2016

This week, week 2, the topic is spouse or significant other.

I have so many things to write about my husband I don't think I could contain it to one blog post. I'll sum up my favorite points for everyone's sake.

1. He is always there for me, it doesn't matter how grumpy I am. He will come put his arms around me and ask what he can do for me.

2. He is always trying to be a better man. He admits his weaknesses and openly discusses them with me and sets goals on how to grow.

3. We grow together. I hear, so often, that couples "grow apart". Its a crock of $h!t. No offense....you don't grow apart on accident, and it takes really real significant effort to grow together. We are good at that. At talking, communicating love languages and being honest, dedicated, available.

I am so lucky to have the husband I do, and the best father for my children.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Content with your Beauty

I was contemplating this New Year, 2016, and a couple of my resolutions and I was pleased to discover none of them had anything to do with beauty. The physical kind.


In the past, I've always had some physical goal. Lose weight. Gain weight (muscle). Learn how to do my makeup. Buy cute clothes that flatter your figure. You get the idea. I'm a die hard fitness geek, I'm a Chegan. A cheating vegan. I like my wardrobe and face creams and curling irons. The truth is, I'm like every woman who has lived with body insecurities most of her life. The silly thing is, I have always been in the best shape of my life the year before. Hahaa....so as I'm getting older, I am learning to appreciate what I have, while I have it, instead of thinking, "Man I wish I was skinnier...." Only to look back and realize, "Wow I was skinny!" Or, "I wish I didn't have these wrinkles!" and then realize a year later, "I'm only getting wrinkly-er!"

I've become a little annoyed with this concept of being ageless. What is wrong with looking 30? 40? 70? What is right with being 50, and simply looking like a plastic version of your 50 year old self instead of a 20 year old you?

I remember what it was like wanting to stay in my prime longer. I remember distinctly when I woke up no longer there. I also remember when it didn't matter.


I decided there are three levels of contentment with beauty.

The way to discover what level you are is to ask yourself this question: How Pretty Did You Feel Today?

A level one will have a response similar to this : I did not feel pretty. I thought about it all day, every time I looked in the mirror. I thought about ways to look prettier, but none of them worked. I went to bed feeling very unpretty.

A level two will have A response similar to this: I felt sort of pretty. I thought about it a couple of times. I felt okay, unless I compared myself to someone else. I changed something about my appearance, and then I felt prettier. I went to bed knowing how to make myself look prettier tomorrow.

A level three will have a response similar to this: I did not think about it once today.

I'm proud to report I am between level two and three, closer to three. I wake up most days and go throughout my day without a care for how "pretty" I am. Not to brag, but I know where I stand on the pretty-0-meter, and frankly I just don't care. If you know me, you know I take great pride in my body by exercising. You also know I make a hobby of fashion, and I dress cutsie and trendy because it makes me happy. But if you've known me for many years, you've probably seen a huge transition in me, from what was once a girl who would not leave the house without makeup, who could not be seen in flats, and who took an hour to get ready, and STILL felt ugly everywhere she went, into a girl who mostly wears yoga pants, looooves her hobby of replacing all those fun heels into flats, rocks the natural curly wavy messy hair on a daily basis, and goes makeup free 90% of the time, and STILL feels confident. Yep, I sometimes go to bed not even wondering at all how pretty I was that day.

Of course, I still believe in being put together. I brush my teeth and find ways to be an attractive spouse, don't get me wrong. However, that large, spacious, superficial hole in my self-esteem has been magnificently reduced over the last two years and I feel SO FREE !!! I love not letting that stupid, stupid pressure from the world to look or be a certain way govern how good I feel. I can feel happy and confident and beauty in being me, just me, the motherly me that I am. Insert a small spiritual bit, cause I do that...I don't think my Heavenly Father and Mother care if I'm a super model (no offense) I've just met so many people the world would call "poor looking" and they were such content people. On the contrary I've met many "blessed looking" people who were wildly unhappy. No part of my divine destiny includes being "pretty" as you may call it. I am no better a daughter of God than any other girl, pretty or not. It will not lessen my value as a mother to be "unpretty" . It is only good for me to learn to give up arrogance and conceit, finding happiness within, and then radiating that confidence in other aspects of my life instead of surface deep attributes. I understand how the Adversary has been working to destroy the happiness of humankind, and train the focus of success and triumph in such artificial appearances.

Disclosure as a conclusion: I in no way mean to offend women by this. We all have different opinions on the matter of beauty and I withhold my judgments. This is a personal endeavor, one that has brought me contentment. I enjoy being pretty in smaller ways, in that I'm happy with who I am, with aging, and with being  the best ME. I wish more girls could find contentment with their beauty, in whatever way possible. The world is a different place, with strong women. I think a strong woman is the ultimate super hero. She who is confident and brave can conquer anything. Besides, there are so many talents and heavenly qualities beyond physical prettiness. I envy the woman who thinks not of her looks, is still beautiful, and helps bring other women into this realm. Being absorbed in looks was a weakness of mine for many years and I no longer let it consume me. That is my feat. And it has left plenty of room on my resolutions list for this new, fabulous year!!

My 2016 New Years Resolutions will be posted soon! Share yours with me!



2016 Resolutions: 52 weeks of Gratitude

So, this is my goal. To complete this 52 week Gratitude Challenge.

Hopefully I can gut it out, lol.

#1. Why start this challenge?
Answer: because I have a real gratitude problem.

I let my stresses overwhelm me and affect my mood when, in reality, I live a more blessed life than 95% of the world. I need to count my blessings. I used to think having a bad hair day, running out of gas, and having a fight with my man were seriously bad day worthy. Now, it is a crying baby, surviving a week on 5 hours of sleep, and chronic spinal pain. Still, when I forget how lucky and fortunate I am, I lead a fairly grumpy life.


Are we worried about our food being cold, or are we grateful we have food? Do we moan and complain about the weather, or are we grateful we don't have many natural disasters? Are we cranky because we are tired since our children keep us up all night, or are we grateful we can bear children? 


I'm totally guilty of this, but how many of us count our problems instead of our blessings? I kinda get disgusted with myself when I realise how blessed I really am and that I have little if no reason to complain. I want to try following the scriptures more and have a grateful heart. There are promises to those who show gratitude to their Lord, and one of them is a joyful heart. I need that. A joyful heart. Starting last year, I made a resolution to be more positive. That change did wonders for my demeanor. Now it's time to add gratitude to my divine attributes. One thing at a time, right ? Join me if you like and leave your responses below!!