Friday, November 9, 2012

Winter Wonderland

First big storm of the season.

We're having so much fun!  

My kids are having the time of their lives outside, running inside when they get too cold.

I'm no fool: I'm inside making cookies and waiting them to come inside exhausted.:)

Good times!

Saltine Crackers

My Mom used to eat saltine crackers with everything...EVERYTHING!  

Soups, salads, maybe even tuna fish salad might come to mind when one thinks of saltine crackers.

Nope.  I think of a peanut butter sandwich...butter and all...on a saltine.

I think of butter and raspberry jam.

And...wait for it...

Cream Cheese on a saltine.

They may sound like weird recipes, but boy were they yummy.

Such good comfort food on a nice, snowy day.:)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Mexican Lasagna

I am so excited about this!  Today for dinner we had Mexican Lasagna!  I was inspired by a similar dish on Pinterest and put my own twist on it.  I love this dish because it's tasty, my husband liked it, my kids liked it, and you can add/omit ingredients you like or dislike.  It's great!

2-3 Flour Tortillas
1 lb Ground Beef
1 Can Corn
1 Can Black Beans
1 Can Chopped Olives
3-4 Roma Tomatoes
1 Serrano Pepper
1 Small White Onion
1 Package Queso Fresco (or 1 pound)

I used these ingredients because they are part of our normal diet.  Queso Fresco is a traditional Mexican cheese but if you've never used it or don't have it in your house a Mexican blend of cheese would be good, or even just Mozzarella.     

You can choose whichever chile pepper you would like.  I prefer Serrano because of the flavor it leaves and it's not as spicy as others.  Serranos are found in most supermarkets, right next to the jalapenos.  They are usually thinner than jalapenos.

Okay!  Let's get started!

Salt the meat first and also add 1 tsp Oregano and 1tsp Cumin while you are cooking the meat.  It's not an essential part of the dish, but it sure brings some yummy flavor to the meat.  Cook the meat over medium high heat.  We like to cook the meat until it is almost at a burned state.  If you just brown it, when you add the red sauce we're going to make shortly, the meat tastes like it wasn't cooked sufficiently.

Chop the small onion into small pieces and add 3/4 to the meat.  

Now chop 1-2 tomatoes in bigger chunks than the onion.  You can used pre-diced tomatoes from a can, if you'd like, but make sure you drain them first.

While the tomatoes and onions are cooking, add the 1/4 onion to the blender as well as 2 tomatoes, chopped into large pieces.  

Add Serrano pepper.  I usually just use 1/2 of the Serrano.  If you use the whole Serrano it will be very spicy.  If you don't like spicy, I would even just use 1/4 of the pepper so you can get the flavor from it.

With 1 cup of water blend the ingredients together until they are in a complete liquid form.

Now that the onions in the skillet are translucent and the tomatoes are tender, add the ingredients from the blender.  Add salt.

Leave the skillet at medium high and let it begin to boil and boil all of the water out of the dish.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F

In a small bowl, add the black beans, the corn and the black olives.

In a 13x9 slightly greased dish, line the bottom with a flour tortilla.  My tortillas didn't fit well, obviously since the dish is square and the tortillas aren't, so just tear up the tortilla and make it work.:)

After the skillet has boiled out all of the water (about 20 minutes, or so, depending upon how much water your tomatoes had), then you can begin to build the lasagna.  This is what the meat should look like 

Add a thin layer of the beans, corn and olives on top of the tortilla.  Add a layer of meat.  Add a layer of grated cheese, then another tortilla.  After you have filled the dish with the layers you cook it in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.

Garnish with sour cream.

YUM!  I hope you like it!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Croup What?

The unfortunate time of the year is here: croup time!  B.L.A.H.!  It first hit my oldest son a week ago: let me tell you a little about him, first. 

He NEVER gets sick! 

We can all be down with the flu and he'll be running around playing.  That's what happened this day.  He came home from school and had lost his voice.

Yes, that is croup for Jesusito.

I was hoping that that's all that would happen.  Nope: soon our youngest, Miss Eva got a fever.  One must be spoiled with Arctic Circle when they're sick, right?

I was hoping that that's all that would happen.  Nope: she woke up the next morning with very raspy breathing.  She wasn't coughing, though, so I wasn't sure what it was.  After a lovely visit to the Dr it was decided that it was, in fact, the beginning stages of croup and that I'd have to wait it out.  He prescribed us the steroids and we just had to wait until she got really sick.

Unfortunately Miss Eva is no stranger to this thing called croup.  The first time her big sister Jasmine saw her, she coughed all over her: Jasmine had had croup.:(  I am used to the dog bark, though, and not the loss of voice or the raspy breathing.

I was hoping the Dr was wrong and that she just had a cold.  Nope: last night she had an attack where she couldn't breath at all: she was using her whole body to take a breath.  I was scared to death, to say the least, and rushed her to the Primary Childrens.  Of course getting there she was completely fine.  The Dr and nurse were nice enough to chill with us until Eva got upset that they were there and the labored breathing started again.

Croup it is!  After a nice dose of steroids and TONS of ibuprofen, this is Eva today (10% of the time: the other 90% is spent in my arms.:))

Yes, Just Dance 4 has saved us. 

Like brother like sister, right?:)

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Horrible Consequences of ALS


I can't update my blog without updating you about what has happened to my life.  My beautiful mother was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrigs Disease, about two and a half years ago.  It is a horrible disease that I hope they find a cure for soon!  It's a disease that attacks the nerves in your body until they are pretty much dead: with the loss of function of the nerves the muscles in that area die as well. 

My Mom suddenly lost her energy about four years ago.  She knew there was something wrong with her and she went to different doctors, different specialists but was never able to find out.  I'm not sure why she chose to see a neurologist but after about 18 months of specialist she finally went to the U of U neuro unit.  She happened to see Dr. Bromberg who is the Dr. specializing in ALS here in Utah.  He took one look at her hand and knew what was wrong. 

I remember my Mom coming to my house that horrible night in March of 2010.  I was washing the dishes and was excited that my Mom had come to visit.  She didn't waste time and she didn't waste a tear telling me what she had.  I knew exactly what ALS was because of school and because of friends parents and I immediately started bawling.

This wasn't in my life plan.

My Mom was supposed to get old!  She was supposed to be around to see all of my kids grow up!

Even then, my Mom started this whole process with her awesome attitude.  ALWAYS positive!

I, on the other hand, did not start with that positive attitude. I think that it's not just when a person passes that you go through the bereavement process, it's when there's a terminal diagnosis.  All of us kids and spouses went through the process of anger, denial, and then acceptance.  The process would start afresh with each progression in the disease.  My Mom started to speak differently, like her tongue was too big for her mouth.  She then had a raspier voice.  This started about 6 months after diagnosis.  That and lack of energy were the things that were affecting her life.  Little by little we could tell her hands weren't as strong, then her voice was gone all together.

We as a family bought her an IPAD last Christmas so that she could begin to speak with the grandkids.  She would write us notes but I could tell that beautiful bond she had with my kids was slipping because they couldn't communicate with her.  She had a program on the IPAD where she could type and it would speak for her.  It was great to see those little kids light up when they could speak with her!  They loved to change the voice of the IPAD so it was a man speaking really low, or a woman speaking really fast.

Her back began to get weak and needed to get a wheelchair.  She had a motorized wheelchair and started using it full time probably around Christmastime last year.  Her legs weren't as good as they had been, but could still use them to change from one chair to another, but stairs were pretty much out of the question by then.  One of my favorite memories was her having races with my son: she in her wheelchair and he on his bike.  I remember her laughing and throwing her head back she was having so much fun.  It looked like so much fun that the neighbors girl also wanted to chase her.  It was a great day!

My little brother was her continuous caretaker all of these years.  He was always there and helped her with anything that she needed.  They had a great relationship and were always joking.  He would help her with her  medicine, feed her (which was taken by a 'button' she would call it, through her stomach).  She never complained and always had a good outlook on everything.

We were able to visit her the day before she passed away.  My brother and I believed her that she was going to live for years to come.  When I saw her that day, she looked incredibly sick.  She was pail and looked exhausted, but was smiling.  We thought she was so ill because of a new medicine she was taking.  I was excited because my kids were starting school that next day and I would be able to come help her more. I just lived blocks away and was always there when she needed any help: be it shower or whatever she needed, but of course, one always wanted to help more than they could.

I remember telling her a blonde joke, her laughing and us talking about family.  The last thing we spoke about was a family member who was having problems in her life.  She was so concerned and wanted to make sure she was okay.

She hugged me differently when we left.

She knew.

I have struggled wondering why she didn't tell me.  Wouldn't that have been nice to know?  No, it wouldn't have.  She didn't want to put more stress on any of us.  I know she didn't want to leave us, but she was at peace. Days later I found out that Dr. Bromberg had said that she was living by pure willpower, her body should have shut down months ago.  I am so grateful she stayed just a little longer with us.

I am also at peace.  I miss her a ton and often make myself dream about her, but I am glad to know that she is finally on her mission.  Her whole life she talked about how one day she would be a missionary and would share her testimony of Jesus Christ with anyone who would listen.  She is fulfilling her wish.  I am glad that she first shared that testimony to me and help me grow with a knowledge of Christs teachings.

Families Are Forever!

Long time no see!

I must repent: it has been WAY too long since my last post!  I'm going to start this blogging thing back up and share my cute family experiences with you all!:)

My handsome son is now in 1st grade!  He is in a dual-immersion program learning spanish and he is so excited about it!  He says that his favorite subject is spanish, which makes this gringa so proud!  We used to speak exclusively spanish (I've realized recently that that is no longer the case) but he would just speak english.  He is now speaking to us in spanish with his cute little english accent.:)  Like Mommy like son, right?:)

This little Princess is in her first year of preschool and LOVES it!  She counts off her friends everyday.:)  Her best friend right now is a little boy in our Stake and they grab each others hands and walk into class together: they are seriously adorable!  She has had a speech impediment her whole life and recently we found out it was because of fluid behind her ears.  She had to have her tonsils and adenoids out as well so her ears were fixed at the same time. It was incredible to watch her recovery!  The same day she wanted to go play!  She only complained about her neck hurting once and she is doing so much better!  She has a lot more energy and speaks so much better!  She is in love with her daddy and rarely stops complaining about me...oh well.:)  Just a stage.:)

This little precious one is attached to my hip most of the time.  She is such a cute little thing!  She is very tender and at this moment is cuddling a little bear while watching SpongeBob SquarePants.  She is two years old and loves her brother and sister!  She loves to cuddle with everyone and loves to sit in my matter where I'm sitting or where we're at.:)  She would do the same to my mom: she would wait patiently while my mom would clean off whatever she had in her lap and then she would take possession of her.:)

Overall this cute little family is doing great!  I will be posting more adventures more often!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Mexican Birthdays

We were lucky enough to go to Mexico in April and some of May to visit Jesus' family. We happened to be there during Jesusito's birthday, so we had a birthday party for him, and I think it was the BIGGEST party he has ever had and will ever have!
Imagine being in a backyard with these cute table toppers everwhere, streamers everywhere and posters of Spiderman everywhere...Jesusito was in heaven!

Jesusito had a blast! There was dancing, games, toys for everyone: just really fun! My sister in laws in Mexico stayed up the previous day and night and prepared food for the party. There were two yummy tres leche cakes made by my niece and they were fantastic! They went all out and all they asked me to do was blow up balloons...okay.:)

Jesusito was so excited that it was his birthday and was so excited to have Happy Birthday sung to him. So when he saw the cakes, he was all ready for them to sing, but they started singing "Las mananitas" which Jesusito had no clue what it was about. You can see in his face up above the confusion..."Las mananitas" is not a short song, either...
They're still singing and Jesusito is getting more and more anxious
Until he blew the candles out...can you tell they're still singing?:) We also did "mordida," which is pretty much him biting a piece of the cake and us shoving his face in. He knew exactly what was going to happen and when I told him they wouldn't do it, he was so mad at me when they did. I'm such a bad mom, but I got a great video.:) Hopefully one day I can figure out how to upload it on here.:)

He was out as soon as he hit the pillow. He had such a fun time and it was a great experience for him!

The funniest part was the pinata, though. Those Mexican kids are VERY aggressive, not to mention their Mexican moms as well.:) Jesusito and Jasmine had never been around a crowd like that with a Pinata and didn't grab any candy at all! They just sat there and cried! Good thing their Gringa mom was as aggressive as the Mexican moms!:)