Motivation

I should really put this on my “33 Things To Do” list as a source of motivation. I’ve always been entertaining the thought of “some day” having professional pictures taken of myself just for fun. Then I stumbled upon the portfolio of my old friend Ron Flores. I was intrigued by the retro shots in his repertoire and thought “Wouldn’t it be fun to be all glammed up 40s/50s style – which I LOVE – and have a fun photo shoot?” Maybe when I reach my goal, I will treat myself. :)

Retro Beach Bunny

Retro, Sexy & Classy

Reminds of a Classy Jazz Singer

Random Thoughts Thursday/Weekend Reminders to Self

  • Going to Aly’s championship game (if they win on Friday) – she’s doing so well and I’m so proud of her. Her base hit lead to their win yesterday against the toughest team in their league. Go Aly!
  • Hitting up Costco, the dollar store and Party City to get some items for Ella’s birthday party next week.
  • Running out of colored ink – need to replace ink cartridge ASAP!
  • Laundry, laundry, laundry.
  • I want to make turkey burgers from scratch – mmmm!
  • Pringles Baked Wheat Stix – yummy, healthy snack. Only 90 cals. Honey butter is my fave.
  • Need to start working up my eco-bag designs for two contests I plan on entering. What do I have to lose? Plus, it’s an excuse to design – oh, how I miss it so. Will post designs once I finish.
  • Irritated that meeting has been postponed twice – let’s see if it goes through tomorrow.
  • 31 cent scoop night was last night – took Ella and she loved her strawberry/banana ice cream.
  • Business idea has gotten me super-excited! I will soon have time to apply for business grants. Crossing fingers and hoping that fear doesn’t get the best of me.
  • Had a nice Happy Hour with my contractor friends this week – nice to be able to shoot the breeze with others in my sitch. *wink*
  • My heart goes out to my friend and his family for the loss of their mom after battling brain cancer. Will be saying good-bye to her tonight. :(

Borrowed Mom Advice

I heard a piece of advice from a mother that was on Oprah yesterday in regards to disciplining and raising her kids. I thought there was a lot of value in this:

“They have to think you CARE before they care what you think”

Having 2 teenagers, Hubby and I are constantly communicating with our children about anything from boyfriends/girlfriends to why they’re not allowed to have a Facebook or MySpace account right now to why it’s important to be honest with yourselves and with us to why it’s important to do well in school to why it’s important to choose good friends…the topics are endless.

When I heard the mother say those words “They have to think you CARE before they care what you think”  my Hubby and I looked at each other with a sigh of relief. We always include somewhere in our conversations with our teenagers that the reason why this rule is in place or this reprimand is in place or these limitations are set are because we love them and we care. Once your child feels the love, security and care from the parents, they’ll understand the rest of what you have to say with very little, or no, resistance. And believe me, when they’re older and parents themselves, they will thank you for it. :)

Random Things That Make Me Smile

  • The fact that Target carries Paul Frank – I heart my PF stickers!
  • Playing an old “slow jams” CD from my old dusted-off CaseLogic case – I was playing some Ginuwine, Jagged Edge and Donnell Jones. And my older kids were asking who was singing…I had to explain who these artists were. Haha.
  • The new song “Pyramid” by Philippines sensation Charice & rapper/singer Iyaz . I love this song!
  • Hearing Ella say “My bathday?” everytime she sees me on gabbafriends.com getting ideas for her upcoming birthday party.
  • The Taurus Riley reggae rendition of John Legend’s “Stay With You”, one of my songs for the Hubby.
  • Our upcoming date night – Dinner & EKOLU/Katchafire Concert this Friday. After much deliberation, we’re going to go true island style and will grab some eats at Chamorro Grill – it will be our first time so we’re excited!
  • My Hubby made very special plans for me on Mother’s Day – I am very excited! Thanks love.
  • Planning my upcoming date with Aubreigh, and thinking of ideas for the other kids. Stay tuned.
  • This weekend. :)

Weekend Recap

This weekend was perfect! Beautiful weather, quality time with the kids, as well as with the Hubby, and lots of relaxing. Here are some highlights:

  • Each kid got to do something on their own this weekend – Aub went ice skating with her friends and Bub went to the PowderPuff game/grabbed burgers with his gf; Aly rented The Squeakquel OnDemand on Friday night; and Ella got to hang out at the park with her cousin and godparents on Saturday. Happy Campers!
  • We cooked all weekend! Soft tacos on Friday night, Grilled Steaks & Veggies for lunch (and can you believe that I grilled all by myself??) and Beef & Veggie Chow Mein on Saturday night, I cooked a big breakfast of pancakes, bacon and eggs on Sunday (I always try to cook a big hearty breakfast on Sundays) and Chicken Adobo Sunday night.
  • I was able to spend some quality time with Ella on Saturday morning – after dropping off Bub at his SAT Prep class, Ella and I headed over to IHOP to eat pancakes, just the two of us. It was nice!
  • 6 loads of laundry – ALL DONE!
  • Ran lots of errands and had a coffee date with the Hubby on Saturday AND Sunday!
  • Planted an herb garden with the kids each painting a pot – this was a lot of FUN! Can’t wait to harvest the herbs.
  • Spent time in the lounge – I don’t get to spend nearly enough time in here as I’d like, but it was so nice and relaxing for me to sit on the couch and watch FoodTV. :)
  • Got to visit the dealership with the Hubby to check out our next new vehicle…hopefully.
  • Made a “Mommy & Aubreigh Day” invite for my one-on-one with Aubreigh. She is so excited and just RSVP’d with me via text (as the invite instructed :) ) this morning. I’m excited too.
  • Enjoyed a few hours to myself on Saturday while Ella napped – that’s when I folded laundry, caught up on my Tori & Dean episodes OnDemand and got to paint my toenails – in my world, these few hours are like gold!
  • Went out with the Hubby and Bub to teach him how to drive stick  in the Civic – his future car. Hubby made me drive to the practice place, and I was impressed that I still remembered how to drive stick. But it was fun and I think Bub learned an important lesson yesterday – “ease up on the clutch”! :)

Like I’ve mentioned in past posts, we are usually so incredibly busy every weekend, but this weekend was ideal – we had a good balance of individual, one-on-one and family time. I can honestly say that I feel well-rested and ready for the week. Have a great week, everyone!

#9 Plant an Herb Garden – Done!

Today we enjoyed San Diego weather at its best. While I knew I was going to plant my herb garden, I didn’t expect such a magical time spent with my family. The pots we purchased were plain, until I found some paint and sponges and had the idea to have each of our kids paint a pot. I’m always trying to find new experiences to share with the kids and new ways they can express themselves artistically and creatively. Here are several photos from our pot-painting-herb-planting day:

Plain pots before the paint

Seedlings

Mommy's little helper - love this pic especially because her shoes are on the wrong feet - so cute when kids do this. But she put them on herself, so that's what's important! :)

Mommy helping Ella paint her pot.

Ella loved painting for the first time!

Big brother, baby sister, small table and tiny chairs

Adding soil

Basil seedlings

Adding a personal touch...

Can't wait to make some pesto!

Ta-da!

A closer look...

Thank you, Daddy, for the awesome pics of our herb garden!

Bacon “Beats”

My Friday night was spent listening to the Hubby playing jazzy hip-hop in the lounge…here he is with the youngest of his four proteges, DJ Ella T. on the wheels of steel. :)

Proud Daddy DJ

Having fun with her Daddy

As you know, I’ve been looking through all my cookbooks and magazines for new recipes to try (see #21 on my 33 Things to Do list). In my Taste of Home magazine I found a recipe for Chocolate Covered Bacon – mmmmm! Sounds like an unusual combination but I’m noticing bacon in a lot of sweets lately. Since the two older kids had their own agendas last night (plans with their friends) I thought this would something fun for Aly, Ella and I to do together.

Snapshot of the recipe

The 3 ingredients: bacon, chocolate chips & pecans

The STAR of the show: Crispy Fried Bacon

Pecans - I chopped these up into smaller pieces

1/4 bag of semi-sweet chips melted

Mommy & her little sous chefs

Paying close attention to the technique

Voila - the finished product!

My little taste-tester :)

I’m very satisfied with how easy this was to make and how delicious they were. The family was impressed at how the two flavors worked so well together. I say this treat is especially good with CRISPY bacon – the crunchy factor adds a lot! So if you’re craving a salty and sweet treat, check in your fridge and pantry and give this recipe a try!

Another Way of Looking at It…

I found this nifty plate online that helps you envision what your food portions should look like based on every day items like a computer mouse or a deck of cards.

The perfect portion EVERY time :)

Also, I found these tips to help you measure your food when you don’t have your measuring cups/spoons handy.

The Grain Group
1/2 cooked cup rice —- tennis ball
1 pancake (1 ounce or 5″) —- compact disc (CD)
1 piece of cornbread (2 ounces) —- bar of soap
1 slice of bread (1 ounce) —- audiocassette tape
1 cup of pasta/spaghetti (2 ounces) —- a fist
1 cup of cereal flakes (1 ounce) —- a fist

The Vegetable Group
1 cup green salad —- baseball or a fist
1 medium baked potato (1 cup) —- computer mouse or a fist
1/2 cup cooked broccoli —- light bulb
1/2 cup serving —- 6 asparagus spears; 7 or 8 baby carrots; 1 ear of corn on the cob

The Fruit Group
1/2 cup of grapes (15 grapes) —- light bulb
1/2 cup of fresh fruit —- 7 cotton balls
1 medium size fruit —- tennis ball or a fist
1 cup of cut-up fruit —- baseball or a fist
1/4 cup raisins —- large egg

The Milk Group
1 1/2 ounces hard cheese —- 9-volt battery or your index and middle fingers
1 ounce of processed cheese —- your thumb
1 cup of ice cream —- baseball

The Meat and Beans Group
2 tablespoons peanut butter (= 2 oz. meat) —- ping-pong ball
1 teaspoon peanut butter (= 1/3 oz. meat) —- fingertip
1 tablespoon peanut butter (= 1 oz. meat) —- thumb tip
3 ounces grilled/baked fish or chicken —- checkbook
3 ounces cooked meat, fish, poultry —- your palm, a deck or cards or a cassette tape

Inspiration

With Ella’s birthday around the corner, I have a couple of weeks to put all the final details together. I love seeing what people come up with when it comes to party planning details. I love being inspired by the creative, the crafty and just the plain old genius minds that come up with these things!

I heart the itty bitty heart in this design.
Now I would totally wear any of these birthday hats – such a cute DIY idea!
Love this color combination – muted, earthy, but still feminine & chic.
The time and patience it took to write on a cupcake – that’s LOVE.
Places in a “Tiny City” for a “Tiny 2” themed birthday – no city is a city without a Starbucks!
Each guest received an “In Flight Meal” for this travel-themed party. Clever!
Who says you can’t take the beach with you wherever you go??
Very cute sugar cookies…and not heavy on the frosting either! :)

What a sweet idea for a 2nd birthday party favor - TWO cupcakes!

Lollipops can wear costumes too – so cute!

Random Thoughts Thursday

  • WW is going well – been trying to cook healthier meals at home. Last night we made a veggie stir fry of tofu, brussel sprouts and butternut squash flavored with a few slices of turkey bacon. We had about 2 oz of chicken breast on the side. I think I need to find a new way to prepare brussel sprouts – this wasn’t the ideal as it was pretty bitter. But we ate it! Yay, us. Willing to give brussel sprouts another chance. :)

Before we added the butternut squash
  • Me being a huge “list” person, I found this online tool called tadalist.com. You write your list and you can email it to yourself. Last week when I was running errands, I was able to pull up the list on my BB and as I checked off items, they disappeared from the list. Not the smartest tool – it can use more features, but it worked just fine for me.
  • Did you notice I changed up the layout design of the blog?? I like it much better – it adds a little splash of color in the headlines.
  • We recently hosted a sports-themed baby shower and are getting ready for Ella’s Yo Gabba Gabba 2nd birthday party in a couple of weeks. I found this website in my Better Homes and Gardens mag http://partyperfectblog.blogspot.com/. So many great ideas that you can pull off yourself. We love themed parties so this site is a great source of inspiration.
  • Bankers Hill is an older neighborhood in San Diego that I’ve never really explored. This is where Cucina Urbana is located. I’m interested in going back to see what else is sprouting in that neighborhood.
  • Was able to spend some QT with my little Ella yesterday at Barnes & Noble. I love our neighborhood bookstore.
  • Wondering if Aly’s game today is going to be rained out…this weather is so unpredictable! One minute the sun is shining, the next minute it’s pouring! Regardless, I wouldn’t trade our San Diego weather for no other city’s. :)
  • Thinking about our family trip this summer – where to stay, what to do, etc. We’re definitely going to do Disneyland though!
  • So excited that we don’t have a busy weekend ahead of us – I plan on working on our master bedroom and working on Ella’s birthday details, and if I have time, maybe I’ll try and start my herb garden. :)