Tag Archives: family

Friday Night Special

Sorry for skipping Wednesday, right after committing to writing Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  I was a little depressed about having to go back to work after being off for two weeks.  Two glorious weeks.  It’s not my job, it was leaving my wonderful children.  I loved being with them, doing fun projects, trying new recipes, and just slowing down and hanging out. 

But that isn’t the only downer.  My job is very stressful.  I like my job, I like the people I work with, but I don’t like the stress.  It made my last pregnancy tough.  It wrecks havoc on my body.  How can I change this?  One thing I started while I was on vacation was walking and jogging.  I need some hard core endorphins!  Another thing I’m doing is changing my diet.  I am cutting out sugar, fast food (with some exceptions, I am human and have limitations), and processed foods.  I am on a quest to eat only real food.  When I eat fast food, it will be real food.  I need to research further, but no burgers for me, and more salads and occasionally Taco Bueno. 

I am reading tons of happiness books, too.  I am able to leave my stress at work, and when I’m home, I’m home.  I am practicing mindfulness and being fully in the moment.  When Q is in the bath, I’m not multitasking, I am enjoying my last baby.

One thing I read about constantly is EFT- Emotional Freedom Technique.  I have been too lazy and slightly doubtful to try.  I am going to watch the EFT videos on mercola.com and check out the app.  There is something to it, and I can use all of the tools possible.  Stay tuned for my results!

What do you do to stay stress free?  What makes you happy?  How do you keep your cool?  I play with my kids, hang out with my Jeffro, have a glass (or two) of wine, cook, read, play games with kiddos, and hang out with the ladies.  Sometimes I do so much, in the pursuit of utmost happiness, that it adds to my stress.  But, we only live once, I’ll only have this energy once, and who knows what will come of it? 

Yogurt Recipe:

4 Cups Milk (1 quart)

2 TBL yogurt or yogurt starter

Bring milk to a rolling boil, but stir occasionally

Let milk cool to lukewarm temperature

Take 1/2 cup of lukewarm milk and mix in 2 tbl of yogurt (from commercial yogurt or from a previous batch) mix well

Add yogurt starter/milk mixture into the rest of the lukewarm milk.  Pour well mixed milk/yogurt into glass container and let sit 6-8 hours in a warm (not hot) place until thickened up.  Save a small bit for your next batch.  Refrigerate and serve cold.  You have yogurt!  It was so easy.  I used some peach flavored milk.  Too much sugar for me, but something to experiment with.  And DELISH!

That is my recipe for today, courtesy of my neighbor, Liz.  What do you have for the hungry for change happiness project diet?  We’d love to hear from ya!


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Count Down to the Real World

Welp, Thursday will be here before I know it and it will be back to the grind. Three jobs, parenting, blogging, cooking, jogging, oh my. So, to keep it manageable and to make myself accountable to my little project, here, I am committing to writing Monday, Wednesday, Friday and maybe some Saturdays. That’s doable.

So today, I did a little vendor event for Pampered Chef. I am working on some fundraisers, one for American Heart Association and an upcoming one for melanoma research. You can contact me or check out my Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/ThePamperedActors, if you want to check out our fundraisers. We have at least one a month, or we’re doing something for S.T.A.G.E. (a local actors’ resource center in Dallas). I spent half of the day with Syd. Man, she was a huge help getting me organized.

I am trying to follow Dr. Mercola’s recommendation of intermittent fasting and not eating until lunch. My goal is to keep a small window of eating time so my body has time to “fast”. Check out mercola.com and “google” fasting for the “why”. It makes sense, but I will not do it justice if I try to explain the technicalities. I do know that when I do this, I am less hungry and eat less and better. GOAL! So no breakfast, had plain coffee from Starbucks with some half and half. Shared some tacos al pastor with Syd (and chips, salsa, bean dip and queso), but we shared. Again, corn chips are my weakness and not sure how I’ll do it. I can and have given up bread and pasta, and wheat in general, but man- living in the land of Tex-Mex, how do I give up the corn chip? Maybe I don’t.

So, I’ve been walking with the neighborhood ladies at least a couple nights a week for the last month. The last two nights I’ve jogged, alone. Tonight I jogged 1.5 miles in eighteen minutes. Not bad for an out of shape mom of three. I enjoy the company of the walkers, but I’ve never felt better than running and listening to music. Let me tell you that Pantera is a better running partner than Owl City. Sydney and I share an iTunes account and I haven’t set up play lists on my new phone. So, I get a lovely mix of tween tunes and thirty-two year old mom music. The Cranberries aren’t a very good motivational group to run to, either. But, ah the memories.

For dinner, Jeff made bun-less cheeseburgers with watermelon, pickle, red onion and tomato slices. Organic veggies, no clue about the pickle, and conventional Kroger brand meat and cheese. Small steps, right? My kombucha has been bottled and is sitting in a closet building carbonation. My second batch should be about ready to be bottled. I am so excited! I think even Jeff will enjoy our bacterial-yeasty goodness. My SCOBY is getting HUGE, while my belly is shrinking- finally!

Eating well and exercise really helps with the stress. When I stay away from sugar, man I feel good. I am really hoping to keep this up when I go back to work to keep the stress down. In about two weeks of being off work, I think I am finally getting my stress levels in check. I think that is my biggest problem. I have a very high stress job in which I wear many hats and don’t know how to prioritize all of the many tasks I have. Then, I have my home based bakery. And then my new Pampered Chef adventure, that I love, and am working daily on building. Plus, my exercising and mom’s group and book club. I can not tell you how busy I have been just Making Whoopie, doing Pampered Chef, and playing house the last two weeks. And, I’ve had a family emergency that I’ve been dealing with in the midst of all of this. Not emergency, conflict, something that has wrecked havoc on my stress levels and really forced me to take some much needed time off. An expensive blessing in disguise. How’s that for a positive spin?

I’ve been organizing, trying to set up daily routines, and systems to make juggling easier. I want all of us in a good auto pilot mode when I go back to work. Jeff is an amazing partner, but a creature of habit. He is such a good sport, and does make changes, but it is not easy and I have to really get a new habit up and running before he fully embraces it. I guess we’ll see how well we’ve done, come Thursday.

So, what are your routines? How do you eat healthy? We have a wonderful veggie co-op in which we pick up a box of veggies twice a month (http://yourhealthsource.org/), but I need something like that for meat. I have the dairy down the street, but will I really drive over there for it? We’ll see! I really want to hear what you do! Will you introduce me to my next “kombucha”? My aunt introduced it to me a couple of months ago, and now I’m addicted. LOVE it. What else is out there that I’m missing? I’ve got to know!

Talk to you on Wednesday, my last night of sweet freedom. I guess I need to spin some more positive energy- my last night before going back to a new and fresh office opportunity. Go team.

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Day Two, What Do I Do?

 My final goal is to eat all natural grass fed and freerange meat (or wild caught fish).  This will be my focus after we get the first two objectives down, and can go without eating from any boxes for a few days.
Stuffed Pepper Recipe
Green peppers
Any leftover meat (I had some brisket)
Parmesan Cheese
Sour Cream with dill seasoning
Cut green peppers in half and clean out seeds.  Dice up tomato and potato (better if cooked or left over from another meal).  Mix in veggies, some sour cream and dill (maybe 3 tbl spoons), and brisket.  Scoop into peppers and grate cheese on top.  Grill for 15 minutes or until cooked.  ENJOY!

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Manic Monday- Best of 2012 Casa Mama

So I’m going to spoil next week and just tell you that the worst service I received in 2012 was from ZeroRez carpet cleaning.  HORRIBLE!  I’ll retell that tale next week.  This week is about my favorite neighborhood restaurant, Casa Mama.

I am not sure what I like more about Casa Mama, the food, the proximity to my house or the service.  I met up there for a book club meeting over the summer and had fantastic mojitos.  I went there after church yesterday and had fabulous brisket tacos and the best migas I’ve ever had.  EVER.  And I love migas.

You start off with the best chips and a mild salsa in individual cups.  We went for brunch and the coffee rivals Cafe Brazil’s (have I written about that place?  Maybe later this month, my fav).  After you order, they bring out tiny tostadas, about twice the size of one of their corn chips, with beans and sour cream on it for everyone.  The baby couldn’t get enough!

Jeff and Easton shared pancakes, sausage and scrambled eggs.  Easton told us that it was a better breakfast than donuts.  Nothing beats donuts!  Syd and I shared her migas and my brisket tacos.  Baby Q ate all of my beans and the veggies out of my rice.  I am gluten-free right now, so I got corn tortillas instead of flour.  The brisket is so tender and flavorful.  The rice is fluffy and filled with veggies, my favorite Spanish rice recipe.  The migas were so fluffy, filled with tomatoes, corn chip strips, onions, cheese and pico de gallo.  The eggs were so fluffy and not overcooked.  I will get the migas the next time!

I wish I could get some more of that coffee right now.  It was as good as the coffee we had on our Alaskan cruise honeymoon and our family Disney cruise.  I just may call up there and find out what kind of coffee they used!

Some of my other top 2012 restaurants include Hooters, Brios, downtown Plano’s Filmore Pub, Vickery Tavern, Kelly’s East Side and Urban Crust.  If you have a chance, read some of last year’s Manic Mondays.  My Hooters review cracked me up.  Next week I’ll rehash why ZeroRez SUCKS.  And I don’t use that word lightly.

Tomorrow- Tuesday Pinterest Review:  Do the do it yourself detergents work?

Daily Prayer:  Thank you God for my experiences.  As difficult as they were at the time, the lessons are invaluable now.  Thank you for reminding me of this when I am learning something new.  AMEN!

Daily Thanksgiving:  I am thankful for a new year, resolutions, a new beginning, and a prosperous and exciting 2013.

Kardashian Kash:  Can I buy more time?  The days feel too short sometimes.

Happiness Project Update:  For the first time in eleven and a half years, I went up to Sydney’s room and had nothing to point out for her to pick up.  TWO days in a row!  I can finally see progress.

Making Whoopie Flavor of the Day:  Red Velvet.  All of the flavor of the Southern delight without any of the artificial ingredients.  http://www.makingwhoopieplano.com


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Family Friday- Date Night

This week has been about making choices and just doing it. In all of my previous relationships, I got to a point where we’d bicker worse than my brother, Nathan, and I would when stuck in the backseat of a tiny Hyundai together. Stupid, petty and nonstop bickering until the relationship fizzled out. It is really easy to go there even now. So I don’t. If I get snappy or sarcastic it just leads to Jeff doing the same. So first and foremost, talk kindly to each other. My worst habit is probably being so comfortable that I can tell him anything. I can’t tell anyone anything, but I sure can tell Jeff what I think and sometimes it isn’t kind. I have to make a real effort to talk to him like my best friend, because he is. If we’re in that mode of not being able to say anything nice, we walk away until we can. Not only talk nicely, but tell each other nice things. It is so easy to take someone for granted. When I hear that dinner is good, or that he notices my efforts to clean up after marathon midnight baking, I try really hard to continue. He is the best lawn care person I know and pool cleaner, but I need to tell him so that he knows that I see all that he does. Actions speak louder than words, but how do we know the other person sees our actions unless they affirm them?

When we were talking to our marriage officiate, Skinny Pete from Breaking Bad- seriously, he told us that he and his wife always had a weekly date night. Just them, no kids. That may be the best advice I’ve ever gotten. That’s probably the best advice Skinny Pete has ever given, but hey. Jeff and I can’t go out weekly, but we can take time out of each week to just be together and talk, no kids. It is too easy to focus on kids or friends or family if you don’t have some alone time. And alone sleeping doesn’t count. I’ve tried. Date night gives us a chance to fall in love again. It gives us a chance to talk about the future not just about the child situation at hand. Going out reminds us of why we got together in the first place. It is a chance to laugh at inappropriate jokes, talk about things big ears shouldn’t hear, and escaping anything Disney Junior related. It is something to be dressed up for, planned and looked forward to. It should be like dating was in the beginning.

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Make a decision to let some stuff go. It is easy to get irritated at almost anything when you’re rushing around getting dinner ready, homework done, soccer and choir practice, auditions and baking, and then on top of it someone forgets to lock the front door or put underwear in the right hamper, or feed the dog. Is it that important? Feeding the dog is important, but not big enough of a deal to yell over. Is it important enough to put strain on a relationship, or show your children that’s how you treat your beloved? Make a choice not to let it get to you. Simple, but not easy. I pray every day for the reminder to be cool. It is not an excuse to get walked all over. But, it is the reason not to nag, and to accept that sometimes messy people can’t change into the perfectly organized person you want.

Don’t play the blame game. It is really easy to get irritated at your partner’s habits and blaming them for the strain in your relationship. What can you do to alleviate that strain? Can you quit nagging? Can you pick up after yourself? Can you just decide to have a better attitude? Why are you with this person, and what is it that made you fall in love with them? Look at yourself. No matter what the problem is, and how much the other person is to blame, figure out what can you do to aid in getting back to the good ol days. And talk to your partner without using “you” in the sentence. Talk about the strain without putting all of the blame on them. Make them feel at ease and not like you are alienating them. You’re in this together, so both parties play a role in everything. EVERYTHING. Figure out your part.

Some relationships are irreparable. Some are abusive and need to be dissolved. This does not address those situations. Full time jobs, full time hobbies, mommy’s groups, fantasy foot and three children are no excuse for Jeff and me not to focus on our number one- each other. Tonight, we’re sending the kids off to anyone who will take them and we’re going to dinner and maybe some more car shopping. J Yee-haw that is what date night has become.

My Daily Prayer: Thank you God for a partner who builds me up, is strong where I am weak, and pushes me creatively. Thank you for helping me step back and seeing what is truly important to us, and reminding me that our values do not have to be the same as others’. AMEN!

When I have Kardashian Kash: A private beach sounds very good right now. Wonder how my llama will feel about traveling.

Manic Monday- Mercy Wine Bar and Car Shopping

Making Whoopie Flavor of the Week: Mojito! Cha-cha-cha your way into the weekend with a Mojito Whoopie or Mojito Cupcake. Keylime cake and lime, mint, rum butter cream with a hint of vanilla.

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Whatever Wednesday- Permanent Smile

People used to always ask me what was wrong.  I didn’t know how to just be without frowning.  I’d get a haircut and the stylist would ask why was I sad.  I didn’t want to be perceived as unhappy or sad.  And now, I really want to show the world who I am.  I don’t want to be seen as unhappy.  I’m not.

I am quite silly.  To some, probably obnoxious, to others hilarious.  I want to be seen as that joyful person.  I am full of joy.  Joy for having a normal life.  Joy for actually feeling normal.  I know that normal is subjective.  For me, normal is having a somewhat predictable life.  Go to work, pick up kids, come home make dinner, husband comes  home, bathe kids and clean up, go to bed.  But I want to be more than just the predictable mom.  I have a joyful, but structured life.

Growing up, nothing was predictable.  My parents’ moods changed from one moment to the next.  What was acceptable one day, was a mortal sin, the next.  My Dad had money one day and none the next.  We moved every six months to a year.  Nothing was consistent.  My longest relationship was a year long and my best friend and I had a few times of estrangement, so not even my personal life was normal or consistent.   I continued these patterns of change and upheaval until I had Syd.  She grounded me, made me focus on our future and provide her the stability I didn’t have.

So I am full of joy at what seems like the mundane. But, it is so exciting to me.  Jeff comes home every night and we talk about our projects and the future.  The children show us their latest tricks.  While we are by no way perfect, I am perfectly happy with just being.  We practically do the same thing week in and week out.  After twenty years of the unknown, let me tell you how joyful I am at the thought of predictability.

So I am occasionally told to smile by my boss when I am frowning at my computer screen, but in general I try to walk around with a permanent smile.  Even on my worst day, it is far better than what it could be.  My worst day was probably losing my dad.  But, it was the day that I reconnected with family, and the day that Jeff had a professional break through, so it was bitter sweet.  And it led to me writing a short story about him and we just finished shooting the film adapatation of my story.  Sometimes I get into it with family or go months without being spoken to by someone, but at least it’s not years.  As long as I can find that “at least” to every situation, I can find a way to smile throughout the day.

My Daily Prayer:  Thank you God for not only showing me the “at least” in every situation, but for showing me the most.  Thank you for helping me to make the most of most everything.  AMEN!

When I Have Kardashian Kash:  I really need a llama.  I need some baby llama drama in my life.

Tomorrow- Thankful Thursday


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Family Friday- teething buttheads

Teething babies confirm my feeling of not wanting to do this a fourth time. I love babies. I love kids. I love having a big family. But, I really love my sanity and so does my family. I hate being cranky and short of patience. I learned long ago not to ask for help with patience because this is exactly what I would be given!

Q is the most laid back baby. If she were either my first or second, I would have hurried up and had a few more within just a couple of years of each other. Right now, she is as needy as the first two were! She wants to eat every two hours, 24/7, she doesn’t want to be put down, and she is whiny. But, when you’re at your breaking point, she starts laughing and smiling or crawling toward someone’s pizza trying to eat it. She knows how to make everything okay.

Easton is going through a testing phase. He tests me by calling people butthead to see if I really will take away his swimming privilege. And I did, two days in a row. So he started calling people poopoo head. Yeah, not butthead, but still calling names. That will get swimming taken away, too! Hopefully, he will quickly see that I am serious and that he needs to stop the name calling. How’s that for a reaction, buddy? Not as good as Sydster’s shrieks of protest, but hey. And, we’ve been accident free for awhile!

Then there’s the Sydster. I have to say, she is getting better and better. She is handling the hormones of tweendom better than expected. She still frowns when we ask about chores, but in general, she has a good attitude and follows her routine. Her bedroom is our biggest battle ground, but it is far cleaner than mine ever was at her age. I want her to learn now how to put everything in its place. I want her to be better equipped than I was, but it is still a struggle sometimes. We went up to the church to help out a program where some homeless families stayed up there for the week. We did a day shift where we helped with lunch and played with the kids. When we left, she said, “well, they don’t have chores, huh? Lucky”. Yep, that’s the Sydster! Always seeing the positive. Kind of.

Fortunately, Jeffro and I aren’t generally cranky at the same time. He had a rough Saturday and Sunday was tough on me. Saturday, I tried to keep the kids entertained and did the bathing and nighttime routines so he could chill. On Sunday, he took Q grocery shopping while Easton and Syd napped/lay down so I could chill. He is pretty good about knowing when I need extra help and really steps it up. He has been extra good about getting Q at night and bringing her to me so that I don’t have to fully wake up twice. I can put her back down and try to fall back to sleep until the next round. Easton has been waking up too, but normally wakes up while I’m feeding Q, so Jeff gets to take care of him, too. I am very thankful for him and don’t know how I ever survived Sydney’s infancy without similar help. I am extremely grateful, even if I am quite tired and cranky.

My Daily Prayer: Thank you, God, for giving me only what I can handle. Thank you for your lessons and guiding me down your path. Thank you for the people in my life that help me when I can only do so much. AMEN!

Daily Thanksgiving: I am thankful for healthy children, with VERY healthy appetites. I am thankful for Jeff stepping in when I am not 100%. He truly completes me.

When I have Kardashian Kash: I will pursue every one of my compulsive hair-brained ideas. I will start my tater-truck, run my Whoopie and More Bakery, make films, write a book, rescue animals, become a certified natural child-birth teacher, and learn how to cook from a professional. The next week, I am not sure where I’ll start, maybe rehabbing junk into treasure for my antique store.

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Thankful Thursday- power of your word part 2

Last Thankful Thursday we talked about the power of your words, and how the successful are those who proclaim that they will be somebody someday. By the way, I will be a writer and famous baker soon. 😀 But, what about the power of negative words? Have you noticed that people who say they have a family curse really seem to have one? Have you noticed that when someone proclaims something negative, it generally comes true? Here is my challenge that I issue to all of you: speak only positive things for the next month and let the readers here know what happens. I want to hear if it doesn’t work. I want to hear what does!

I used to say that I had a poor immune system and caught every cold. I also said I had extremely healthy children who never got sick. Guess what? I caught every cold and my kids rarely caught anything. Now, I say I am healthy and have even been told that my Stage III Chronic Kidney Disease is barely Stage I, now and not worth talking to a specialist about! This time two years ago, it bothered me so badly that I was seeing all sorts of specialists. But now, I am as healthy as a horse. Jeff never talks about getting sick and about how healthy he is. He missed work due to health once in the eight years I’ve known him.

Look at your own situation and your friends, coworkers and family around you. Notice who talks about never having money and never being able to get out of the hole. They always have the worst luck, right? If that is you, I challenge you to start talking positively about your finances. That doesn’t mean be a dummy with your money. That means quit saying, “when it rains, it pours.” Quit asking what else could possibly happen. When you ask “what else?” something always happens, right? Quit asking!

I can truly tell you that this works. Right now good ol’ Jeffro and I are finding that once something breaks and we fix it, something else happens. Once we refill our emergency fund, something happens to deplete it. So I challenged him to quit asking what else could happen to us. I told him to start talking positively about our house. He booked a couple of jobs since we started talking more positively. Not even 24 hours after I told him to quit cursing our home, he benefitted from his positive words.

You can be of any faith for this to work, so I challenge you to try it now. Give it a good month, and trust me, it is hard to get out of the negativity rut. Try it, even if you want to prove me wrong, please try! I challenge you to give it all you’ve got for a good month. This time next month, I will tell you about how prosperous we’ve become because we quit cursing our home.

This works with relationships, too. If you talk about how crappy your in laws are, probably not much room for improvement. Try looking for and talking up the good qualities in a troubled relationship. This is something we can all work on. I am guilty of saying Syd had a hard time adjusting. I became more positive and now she’s striving! I need to talk about the positives of Easton’s potty training! (Fortunately, I have the best in laws, for the record!)

Bad things happen. We have crappy relationships in our lives. Things break. My point here is positive words break negative cycles. It is truly like magic, although I truly know why this works ;). Try it, you don’t have to buy it, but try!

My Daily Prayer: Dear God, thank you for giving me only positive words to say. Thank you for helping me break the negativity cycle! AMEN!

My Daily Thanksgiving: I am thankful for a happy and very healthy family that loves one another.

When I have Kardashian Kash: I will have hair extensions since my hair grows so slowly and false eyelashes! There will be other false items, too. Babies are hard on a mama. just FYI

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Family Friday- Boys vs. Girls

Sydster isn’t the girliest of girls and most of you know that Ebro likes to wear my shoes.  But, Bud is still very much a boy and very different than his sisters.  Until I had him, I was very much of the nurture versus nature school of thought.  Now that I have two girls and a boy, I believe in nature versus nurture. 

After sharing a bathroom with two brothers, I thought all boys were disgusting pigs.  Fortunately, I married the tidiest man ever and one who doesn’t need to pee in the bushes.  But, last weekend Syd and I caught Bud with his pants down peeing in the bushes.  He didn’t learn that from his daddy and he most certainly didn’t learn that from Sydney or me.  Nature. 

Syd likes singing and performing and cries from paper cuts and skinned knees.  Ebro likes to run around, get dirty, and maybe only cries if there is blood.  Q only cries if she’s hungry and I’m not fast enough, but we’ll see how she turns out.

I am very glad to have a baby girl.  With Ebro, once the diaper came off, the stream could hit you in the face if you didn’t cover it in time.  With Q, she just leave a little puddle.  Mouth breathing is okay again, if I were a mouth breather.

Syd may be extra sensitive, but she’s not very touchy feeley.  Ebro loves nothing more than to snuggle.  He wants to be held, sit in my lap, and thanks me anytime I pat his head.  The funny thing is he only co-slept with us for a few months.  Sydney slept with me for a year and ended up in my bed every night for the next three years.  I guess she got her fill of mommy time.  Bud isn’t just sweet with me, he loves everyone.  Both he and Syd are outgoing and have never met a stranger.  But Ebro doesn’t mind roughhousing and such.  Syd can’t stand someone looking at her sideways.

I guess we’ll just have to wait on Q to settle the nature versus nurture argument.  Or maybe she’ll just further confuse them.

My daily prayer:  Thank you God for the people in my life.  Thank you for a husband whose strengths are my weaknesses, for a loving son who warms my heart every day, a sweet and poignant daughter, and a baby girl that makes us all laugh.

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