What's For Dinner: Grilled Soda Pop Chicken

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Brad never criticizes me.  I mean it--he really doesn't.  He could come home to the house a complete disaster and me sitting on the couch eating chocolate, ignoring our fighting children and he still wouldn't utter a word against me.  Yes, he's a gem.

But there is one thing that Brad very early on in our relationship couldn't help but call me out on: my Utahn accent and terms. For one, I pronounce things differently.  Three examples: milk is "melk;" feel is "fill;" and mountains is "moun-ens," heavy on the guttural stop.  For another, I regularly use terms like, "Lurp" (describes a tall, skinny person) and "heck."  He can ignore all of this, except for my insistence that soda is "pop."

This is all to say, that I compromised and entitled this chicken as "Soda Pop" chicken, instead of just "Pop."  You're welcome, Brad!

I can't take credit for this marinated chicken.  It's something my mom has done with our grilled chicken for years and Brad and I even used this back when we were dating when we made our Sunday meals together.  The marinade is made up of two ingredients: lemon-lime soda and soy sauce.  You can go crazy and add garlic powder, but I haven't and it's perfect either way.

We paired ours with wild rice, diced avocado, and roasted vegetables.  It's so simple, and so so good. I promise!

 Grilled Soda Pop Chicken

Two parts lemon-lime Soda (Sprite, Fresca, etc. Diet is fine.)
One part soy sauce
(optional: garlic powder)

This marinade can feed big and small groups.  Place however many thawed chicken breasts you'll need for your group in a bowl.  Cover most of the chicken with lemon lime-soda and then half as much soy sauce as you did soda.  Add some optional garlic powder. Your chicken should be completely covered with marinade, so add more of the marinade ingredients if needed.  Put a lid or cellophane on the bowl and place it in the fridge.  Marinade the chicken overnight or a minimum of 4 hours.  Grill your chicken on medium high heat for around 6 minutes per side, alternating cooking time depending on the thickness of your chicken. Allow chicken to rest for a few minutes before slicing.  Serve immediately.

Do Something: Improving My Nightly Treat

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

I have a contradictory personality.

I enjoy people and building friendships, but I really need my alone time and am the first to be ready to leave a party. (I have read that this makes me an "extroverted introvert.") I LOVE working out, but I could just as easily enjoy sitting all day long. I am determined, but a talented procrastinator. I am very interested in quality nutrition, but I love chocolate like it's a cherished family member.

Two halves of me are always having a tug-of war.

Lately, I've been trying to focus on nurturing some bad parts of my "nature."

For the past few years, I've been so intent on getting rid of my perfectionist tendencies where it comes to my eating, that I have swung to the other side of the pendulum.  I have literally been eating a "It's-my-birthday!" dessert almost nightly for, hmmmm, I don't really know how long.

Now, I actually think this is an important part of my recovery from years and years of distorted eating.  (Yes, I've written several unpublished posts on this and I'll get around to those soon.)  I needed a year (OK, more like 3-5) of eating really well during the day, but my nightly treat including eating whatever the heck I wanted and in whatever quantities I felt like.  Here are some of my latest samplings, when it hasn't been ice cream, cookies, or loads of dark chocolate peanut butter cups:

(Side note: Please don't lecture me on the sugar-addiction research, like some people have on Instagram.  I know it.  I've read about it extensively, believe it, etc.  But cutting out food groups is not healthy for me mentally, even if it's a "treats only on the weekends" standard.  Living that way is a sure-fire way for me to spiral back to a bad place, really quickly. I have a whole other post in the line-up about how restriction (even in the name of health) too often and too easily leads to obsession, eating disorders, or even someone "failing" so much, they give up on health altogether.  I feel that a sugar-is-the-devil-attitude hinders far more than helps for most people in the long run.)

Even though I think it's been good for me mentally to get rid of iron-clad restrictions on what I eat, having dessert with this level of abandonment hasn't made me feel my best physically or emotionally.  And the latter is why I really want to improve.  Only eating one portion of any dessert is still super hard for me. I always want more, but it's more of an emotional thing, like my subconscious still believes it's my "last time" having a treat, or I'm staving off anxiety, boredom, sadness, or what have you.

Also, when you spent over a decade consistently eliminating treats from your diet, incorporating them back in is going to take a lot of acclimating.  After almost another decade of gradually acclimating (with lots of ups and downs), I think I'm at a point now where it is OK for me to adjust how I'm dealing with treats, keeping my physical and emotional health in mind.

So, here is what I'm doing:

I still get a treat every night, but most nights I'm trying to keep it more simple: a little bowl of dark chocolate almonds, a few pieces of chocolate, a handful of Aussie licorice, a couple dark chocolate granola balls, etc.  I couple it with a mug of herbal tea, as a sort of ritual.

The key for me is to not say, "NO TREATS!" or "SUGAR IS BAD!" or even, "YOU CAN'T EAT THAT, IT'S NOT THE WEEKEND!"  There are no real parameters or restrictions.  More of a loosy-goosy, "Treats are always allowed, but try to keep them simpler most days, and stop when you feel full or anxious."

Also, the other key is for me to not set parameters on days-of-the-week when these moderate-treats are the norm.  That way, if I have a day (like yesterday) where I was planning on keeping it simple and ended up eating cookies with my kids mid-day, it's not like I've "blown it" and now either can't eat my small treat OR just eat another huge amount of dessert after the kids are in bed because I've already "broken" my rule.  There are no rules!  But there is a genuine search for mindfulness and balance.  That's the end-all be-all for me, not the size of my bottom.

I know for most people, that's not scary.  That's healthy, that's responsible.  But it is scary for me.  It's a tenuous position for me to be in, because I still have a difficult time trusting myself and worry about slipping back to either side of the pendulum: either crazy-restrictions or no-restrictions.

It's hard being in the middle, especially when social media is riddled with "clean eating" or "whole 30" posts.  But darn it, I can eat very healthy AND I can have treats.  That is OK!  That is still being healthy, as long as I'm trying to keep it within the realms of responsible moderation, alongside genuine love for myself and body.

At least, that's the mindset I'm working on.  How about you?

WOT: 30 Before 30 Update

Monday, May 23, 2016

Welp, I turn 30 in 21 days.

Not sure if you remember, but I have a bucket list of things I wanted to do before my birthday.  I've included it as a page now, here.  As you can see, I've added more to my completed section at the bottom, but most of my goals still need a lot of work.  And that's OK!  It has honestly been a lot of fun to even try, and I've decided a bucket list is going to be a yearly thing for me now.

I won't review all of my progress, but for today's Working On Things, I'd like to share just a few from my list that I've completed lately:

1) Adult Museum Trip: Last weekend, I went to the Oscar de La Renta exhibit at the De Young museum in Golden Gate Park.  Three friends came with me and it was such a wonderful time.  I love fashion (even though I'm not great at it), so it was incredible to see this designer's work so up-close.  He really was an artist!  I came away wishing I was rich and/or talented so I could wear beautiful gowns like that.  We had time to go through another exhibit.  I was reminded at how much I love museums; I find even their smell makes me feel alive.
Also, before we left we tried Twirl and Dip--dark chocolate dipped, vanilla bean ice cream cone sprinkled with sea salt.  I want to go back for that, alone!

2) Family Day in San Francisco: We did this when my family came to visit a few weeks ago.  We started with the Farmer's Market at the Ferry Building (where we loaded up on pastries and hot chocolate), then we went to Land's End.  Although I've been to the Sutro Baths before, I didn't realize the same parking lot was the starting point to one of the most gorgeous hikes I've been on in the Bay Area.  It bordered the coast and you hiked amongst SO many wild flowers and beautiful trees.  Your views included the Pacific Ocean and the Golden Gate Bridge, and we actually saw whales in the water!  My kids could even walk this one.  It's a must-do now for me when people come to town.  On our way out of the city, we ate at Nick's Tacos and headed home for some cookie dough cheesecake (I'll share that in a future post).  It was definitely one of the best days of my life, and I'm not just saying that!

3) Re-read the Book of Mormon: I just finished yesterday morning.  This was my first time using the audio option on the gospel library app.  I mostly listened this time instead of read, and I really, really liked doing that.  I started most of my runs/workouts listening, or even just doing my chores around the house.  Since I typically fall asleep when I try to read before bed, this was a terrific option for sleepy, busy moms like me.  I'm planning on going through the last general conference addresses and then Jesus the Christ, all through that audio option!

Now, since I only have 21 days left and just about as many goals to finish, I'd like to focus on the following:

1) Make or Bake 30 new recipes: this will be easy, as I only have one left.

2) Going to the LDS temple: I think I can squeeze in two more trips.

3) Dates with Brad: these might be home dates, but we can do at least three more (right, Brad?!).

4) Learn to watercolor: I had envisioned me taking a class before, but now I think I'll stick to looking at some youtube videos and just trying it out.

5) Complete an online class: I have wayyyy too many of these already signed up and paid for that I need to do.  I'm absolutely putting my foot down and making sure I finish at least one of these before my birthday.  I'm going to start with beginning sewing.  (I got the course through Modern Girl's Guide to Sewing.)

All the other goals are still for fun and motivation!  We'll see where I get in three weeks!

What are you working on these days?

Costco Favorites #3

Thursday, May 19, 2016

It's been a while since I've done a post on my Costco Favorites, but I've had these pictures for a while, so I thought I'd post these so I can move on to other go-to's and recent finds from my favorite store...

First, a note on organic food: I tend to go in waves of buying organic stuff--it depends on the day, how tight we are feeling financially, and what is on sale.  Prices ebb and flow, so while I might get organic eggs one visit, the next time I won't if it's a few dollars more than the last time.  Same with other products.  However, when I am introducing solids to my baby, I do tend to do more organic than not when it is reasonably priced.  I just feel like I really want to give that baby a good start.  I'll happily rarely go out to eat (including fast food), if that means I have a little more to spend on groceries for my new little eaters.  Also, since I make virtually 95% of our breakfasts, lunches (including Brad's), snacks, and dinners, I feel like it evens out.  Admittedly though, even then not everything in my house is organic--it's probably 50/50.  We are real people just doing the best we can with the funds we've got!

The first picture holds my three regular purchases--I get these every time (as well as milk, and bread).

1) Late July Multigrain Tortilla Chips: I really, really love these chips.  For my first trimester of my last pregnancy, I basically survived off of them and never got sick of them, and I was sick with the thought of almost all food.  I like them with your typical pairings of salsa and Mexican food, but I also love them with the roasted red pepper and tomato soup (second picture) and in place of crackers for my kids.  I don't think you'll regret trying these.
2 and 3) Organic Eggs and Salad Spring Mix: There's not much to say, other than you can't beat the price on either of these items.  I've been trying to eat more protein for breakfast, so we've been going through lots of eggs.  Even my kids will have scrambled eggs in addition to their cereal.  I like to use the salad mix underneath leftovers--just heat up a small bowl of whatever you ate for dinner the night before and place it on top of a big bowl of the lettuce.  You've got a delicious, easy, and healthy lunch!
4) Applesauce: We eat a lot of applesauce in our house, between re-filling reusable squeeze packets for my kids snacks when we are out on the town (I use these and these, although the latter are my favorite), our "applegurt" (see this post for more information on that), and just as sides for lunches and dinners.  I used to buy the Tree Top brand, but I recently discovered an organic brand that I like the taste of better, called North Coast.  Yes, it's a little more expensive. I've made peace with it.
5) NUTS: I buy all my nuts at Costco, because they are ridiculously expensive elsewhere.  I use them in salads, granola, granola bites, granola bars (I've been testing recipes, so you'll get a full report soon!), make-your-own-trailmix, and just by the handfuls for quick snacks.  I usually have a small container of nuts in my purse at all times.  I tend to usually get unfrosted for almonds and unsalted for all my nuts, just so I can control the salt level in my recipes.  Although, I recently accidentally got salted cashews and they are really, really good.
6) Pacific Red Pepper Tomato Soup: This is easily one of my favorite finds.  My kids love this soup, even the baby.  It has a little bit of a kick to it--so you can even use it in a sauce for home-made enchiladas, which I have done in a pinch.  My favorite is to have it for lunch (or an easy dinner!) and top it with a little crumble of bleu cheese (I also buy this from Costco...), and a side of those amazing tortilla chips.  Yum!  Just make sure to shake it really well the first time you open it.

Have you tried any of these?  Any tips or additional finds of your own?

*There are some affiliate links here (my first ever, so I imagine I'll earn a cent or two), but feel free to search for the products I linked to in a separate window!

Guest Post by Shelley: Doing What Scares Me--Life After Littles

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

You are in for a special treat!  My dear, funny, talented friend and fellow blogger is here to guest-post today, talking about her experience with the Do Something That Scares You challenge.  I’m also posting on her blog, here. Take it away, Shelley!

I'm sure you've noticed that our friend Monica is pretty focused on overcoming fears, and when we talked about swapping blogs for a day she said she wanted me to write about doing something that scares me. "How completely apropos," I thought, since I am knee deep in a project that scares me silly at the same time that I'm super excited about it.

Oh wait! Before I dive into my story I should introduce myself.
possible profile pic2.jpg
My name is Shelley. I have four kids and I've been a stay at home momlette for, no joke, twenty-two years. Good times for sure, but now that the kiddos are growing up I've been wondering what, exactly, I should be doing with myself.

It's kind of great but also a little worrisome to find myself with the freedom to pursue what I want. Like, how do I even know what I want? I've spent the last two decades focused on what everyone else wants...and needs...and has to have...for school tomorrow, for dinner, for a birthday party. It kind of never ends. You feel me?

But, even though it felt like it never would, that time is winding down. I still have two teenagers at home, and the mom job is a big deal, but there is finally room in my life to do something else too.

Side note: please, please, know I am only writing about my experience. Yay for moms who have been able to work and mother, and a big cheer for moms who have sacrificed what they want to support their families, and a huge high five to moms who have figured out how to balance following their dreams with parenting. I salute you all!

So - back to what I should do with my life. Besides vacuum and wait for kids to get home from school.

I thought about getting a grown up people type job but my degree in art history coupled with years of not "working" doesn't lend itself to much money making AND, plus, in addition to which, having a boss is no fun.

I've become accustom to my in-charge-of-myself lifestyle and I don't want to give it up.

Of course, I considered increasing my volunteer work, but guess what? After a billion years of being room mom and serving in my church, I don't really want to do that either.

Over the last few years I have considered and discarded a multitude of employment possibilities and kept coming back to the desire to spend my time creatively and, hopefully, find a way to make money from that creativity. I dabbled in painting furniture for clients. I love doing it, but I stress myself waaaaaay out worrying about delivering perfection. That coupled with the time and multiple steps it takes to complete a project make it not quite right.

After loads of soul searching I decided I wanted to really give blogging a go. And at the same time, I opened an Etsy shop where I sell zipper pouches and other handmade lovelies. I’ve shifted my blogging focus from family and parenting to updates on how we’re renovating our old ranch house and DIY project tutorials. I’m curious about how to make all the things and as I experiment with decorating, designing, cooking and creating it’s fun to share with all my internet friends.


It’s Scary. I mean, my dad will laugh when he reads that; whenever I cop to having anxiety he says, “no one was shooting at you today, right?”

BUT. It is scary to put myself out there so much. I’ve created facebook and instagram accounts for my shop. I feel like I’ve bombarded my friends with photos of what I’m doing. What if it doesn’t go anywhere?

I'm not terribly afraid of failing, but I'm really uncomfortable with the possibility that all my friends and family will see me fail. A nice quiet, private failure I'm sure I could handle, but a giant, public, face plant makes me squirm with anxiety!

“Look! There’s Shelley,” they might say, “She thought she could do something, but nope!”

It’s a little bit of a catch twenty-two though; it’s tough to grow a blog and handmade business if I don’t tell anyone what I’m doing.
So I fight the boogie monster of fear and self doubt by making small goals, checklists and plans that I can feel good about when I complete them. As a smart lady I know told me: I need to measure my success in the things I can control, and not stress too much about the other stuff.

It was Monica who said that :-)

Thanks for sticking with me till the end of my confession. I hope you’ll visit my blog www.barnaclebutt.blogspot.com where she’s blogging today. I’ll wrap up with a little shameless self promotion and invite you to visit my etsy shop too. It’s https://www.etsy.com/shop/BarnacleDesigns.

What's For Dinner: Roasted Veggie Grain Bowl (With Optional Sausage)

Thursday, May 12, 2016

My obsession with meals-in-bowls started with this baby a few months ago: Roasted Veggie Grain Bowl.  I use my roasted veggies from Costco and layer them between grains, protein, and hummus.  We've had it for dinner 3-4 times since with great success, and I've had it for lunch for almost 2 1/2 months straight. I just make a big batch of each layer, keep them in separate tupperware containers, then assemble and heat up my bowl once my youngest two are napping.

This meal was inspired by a quick reference Tina from Carrots 'N' Cake made that she was loving rice bowls with hummus-as-dressing.  (I can't find the post, but linked to her blog.)  I made it for lunch at first and loved it so much I dared venture into dinner territory.  That time, I sautéed thinly sliced chicken-apple sausage (from Costco!) with roasted sweet potatoes and man, it was gooooood!   My kids loved it too.

This is the veggie burger variation.

I'm not sick of these grain bowls yet because you can do so many variations of it, mixing
up the layers using what you have on hand in the following order:

GRAIN (brown rice, quinoa, white rice, couscous)
ROASTED VEGGIES (I usually roast mine with coconut oil/olive oil and salt and pepper)
PROTEIN (I alternate broiling a veggie burger and breaking it up, using sautéed chicken sausage, or slicing a hard-boiled egg)
TOPPING (hummus--I feel like you can't skip this as it's the "dressing," and even diced avocado with a sprinkling of pink himalayan salt or sea salt)

Aaaaaaand, here's a low-quality GIF, just because:

Try it and let me know what variations you and your family love!

Monterey Bay Aquarium: Sometimes "Fun!" is No Fun

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

You know those days where you go on adventures with your kids--ones that take a surprising amount of energy and which you enter with high expectations?  Ever had one of those adventure-days that completely bombed?  Well, that happened to us a month when we went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

I love going on adventures with my kids.  But sometimes, they just don't go according to plan.  This was simply one of those times.

We are lucky for two big reasons: 1) This incredible aquarium is only a few hours from our home.  2) Our great friends gave us their membership guest passes, so we didn't have to shell out a bunch of cash.

We entered our visit with high expectations because we had a blast going last year, even if that visit started with us forgetting the guest passes at home and having to cough up the full-priced tickets.  This time, CJ in particular was very, very excited to see her favorite animal: the hammerhead shark.

But once CJ has her mind set on something, it's very difficult to distract her.  Girlfriend wanted to see those hammerheads, and she wanted to see them quickly.  We wanted to go to the big tank to see said sharks during the coolest time--feeding time--so we were trying to kill time and see other exhibits.  Those other exhibits were so, so cool, but CJ was not happy and made that very clear.

Throw in a baby that refused to sleep the entire two hour drive (during his nap time) and a tantrum-prone, always-running-away 2 year old, and Brad and I were already giving each other the raised eyebrows above our kids. As in, "Do we really want to do this?!"

He is clearly so, so tired.  Baby D is the champion of holding on to being awake, exhaustion be darned.

We finally got to the big tank and claimed our spot (which was a feat, considering the crowds) and I did my best to get that baby to sleep and staying asleep.  We still had to wait a while for the feeding though, so by the time it officially began, RG was so, so over it.  Out little guy likes to MOVE all the time, so sitting still is a very difficult activity for him, even if there's amazing things to look at.  Partway through the narrated feeding, he started to get upset.  His protests gradually picked up intensity and volume the remainder of the feeding, and by the end he was at a full-throttle!  Baby D woke up in the middle of this, so Brad and I switched kids and I ran our literally kicking-and-screaming 2 year old past all the exhibits to a hallway next to a restroom, where he could scream, cry, and punch until he could calm down. Brad and I had to keep switching off at this point during the rages.  And they were RAGES!  Yes, we got SO many stares.  Yes, they even sent an employee to make sure everything is OK. But after 20 minutes, he finally calmed down.


We tried to salvage the day, but CJ was not satisfied with the amount of hammerhead sharks she had seen.  And she spent the rest of the time talking about it and wanting to go home.  "Mom, I'm having a hard time!"  "This is the worst Saturday ever!"  We went to a smaller exhibit where kids can color, and that helped a bit.

But fairly quickly, our kids were done with coloring.  We ate our packed lunches and moved on to the other side of the aquarium where they have inter-active exhibits where you can touch some sea creatures and be under a wave simulator.
Sidenote: Brad is attractive. 
 Baby D was into love-biting me and hugging me tightly around the neck, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Thank you, D, for being the best behaved while at the Aquarium.

 CJ loved the wave simulator, but RG was too afraid to be under it.

These were sections that we enjoyed a lot last year, but the crowds were huge, the kids were grumpy, and the baby fussy.   So we eventually raced through what was left and decided to get the heck out of Dodge.  

And yes, Baby D cried most of the two hours home.  

It wasn't what we had hoped for, but at least we got some cute photos out of it!  (Photos can be so misleading.  It's a good thing I know the truth, or else I'd think while looking at our post that our little family is perfect.)

This whole post isn't to complain about us being able to go somewhere awesome with our kids; it's just to say, those good-hard days happen!  It's disappointing when you make extra effort to have a special day as a family and that day leaves you exhausted and frustrated.  But that's life.  Memories were still made and we would still do that Saturday again in a heartbeat.

Well, maybe in another six months!

What's For Dinner: Mexican Quinoa Bowls

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

My favorite meals lately have been all about BOWLS filled with layers of goodness.  The great thing about bowl-meals is that each family member can customize it according to their likes/dislikes.  You can also adapt the recipe each time you make it to use what you have on hand.

This recipe--Mexican Quinoa Bowls--would be a perfect meal for Cinco de Mayo on Thursday, so I hope you try it out!

I based this recipe off of this one.  The first time I made it for dinner, I was a little nervous if Brad would like it since it is more of a "Moni meal," but he was a big fan.  My kids were too, although I mostly kept the layers divided evenly on a plate for them.

I've made this several times since without re-checking the recipe, so what you'll see here is more of a "add some of this, add more of that" recipe rather than one with exact measurements.

The main deal-breaker ingredients you'll want: "Mexican" spices (CUMIN for sure, and some paprika, cayenne pepper, ore red pepper, etc. in addition), LIMES, cilantro (although, I've made this recipe without it), coconut oil (you can replace this with other fats/oils), and honey--that's your surprise ingredient.  Everything can be played with according to your taste. You can even do ground beef, instead of chicken.

And if you don't like quinoa, you can always replace it with good ol' rice!

This is how we layer it (from bottom to top):
Sweet Potato Salsa/Relish
Mexican-style Meat
Toppings: Cheese, Sour Cream/Plain Yogurt, Diced Avocado, additional squeeze of Lime

I warn you that the below recipes and steps look complicated.  They really aren't.  You just have to time things well and cook them in a certain order.  Underneath the recipes, I give short instructions on the order I cook all of this.  

Coconut oil
Cilantro, minced

Make one-two cups of quinoa according to package's direction, adding a teaspoon or two of coconut oil before cooking (you can use butter or another fat here).  Once it's made, add squeezed juice of half a lime, salt and pepper, and a little diced cilantro.

Sweet Potato Salsa/Relish
1-3 medium sweet potatoes
Coconut oil
Salt and Pepper
Half of onion, finely diced
Mexican spices (cumin, especially)
Black/Pinto Beans
Cilantro, minced

Dice sweet potatoes (use as much or as little a your group requires).  In a big bowl, drizzle potatoes with melted coconut oil (around 1 TB), and salt and pepper.  Bake at 350 degrees for fifteen-twenty minutes, or until they're almost cooked all the way through. (Note: I usually bake the chicken at the same time on a second rack.  See bottom of post for more on that.)

Midway through cooking, on the stovetop using a big skillet, heat up 1/2 - 1 TB of coconut oil and sauté onion until it's caramelized.  Add a tablespoon or two of honey, juice from one lime, and some shakes of Mexican spices: cumin, paprika, red pepper.  Put the baked sweet potatoes in and sauté a few more minutes until sweet potatoes are officially cooked through. Add one can (or start with half a can, if you're not using a lot of sweet potato) of drained beans--either black or pinto.  Gently add more salt and pepper and lime, according to taste.  Sprinkle with 1-2 TB of minced cilantro.

1-2 Thawed Chicken Breasts (I usually use just one)
Mexican Spices
Salt and Pepper

Place breasts in a smaller baking dish, sprayed with cooking spray.  Sprinkle those mexican spices and salt and pepper.  Bake at 350, for 20-30 minutes (depending on how thick your chicken is) until the liquid runs clear and chicken is cooked through.  Allow chicken to rest for a few minutes, then cut up into diced-size pieces.

I usually cook in this order: start with the first half of the sweet potato recipe and chicken.  While those are baking, make the quinoa then mince cilantro.  While quinoa cooks, start and finish the second half of the sweet potato recipe (where you sauté onion).  While that cooks, I quickly prepare the toppings (shred cheese, dice avocados, etc.).  Take sweet potato salsa off the heat.  Dice the chicken.  Assemble all the cooked parts. Layer according to instructions above.  Enjoy!

Things I Want to Remember, Round 3

Monday, May 2, 2016

CJ was actually trying to tell me she wanted "a little bit" of nutella toast when she got home...  Notice her other fingers!
* CJ read a book about a boy who stubbed his toe and all these crazy events that followed as a result.  Naturally, she is "stubbing" her toe all day long.  When she does, she runs up to me and says, "Mom!!  I stubbed my toe!  But nothing else happened..."
* She has become very taken to a little stuffed bear.  It accompanies her almost everywhere and she makes sure to get it in the photos too.
* For some reason, CJ is reticent to go to Primary and has had to leave early a few times to be with me.  (I think they switched the order of how things go and that ruffles CJ's psyche.)  She didn't want to go to church today, saying she just wanted to be with mom.  However, after I whispered in her ear that if she made it through Primary, I'd give her a little piece of chocolate, her eyes brightened right up.  After church--and successfully making it through Primary--CJ recounted how during Sharing Time, "I wanted to be with you, Mom--but I remembered you said I could have some chocolate, so I stayed!"

* Poor little guy turned 3 years old last Sunday.  I say "poor," because right when we were about to eat his cookies and open his last two gifts, he ran into a corner of a table and we spent the last two hours of his birthday in the same hospital he made his entrance.  Brad ended up driving the other two kids around so Baby D could sleep while I hung out with RG in the ER.  It wasn't awful; actually, I kind of relished the one-on-one time I had with him.  He was so scared at some parts, his hands were shaking.  But for the most part, RG was content sitting on my lap and spending time with mama as I did my best to keep him entertained.  They gave him cotton candy-flavored laughing gas and he was a BIG FAN.  It calmed him down enough that they were finally able to really examine the wound and see that glue would be enough.  After they were all done, he kept requesting more cotton candy gas.  I got a big kick out of him, which was really nice because he's been a real handful.  It helped me see this little guy through fresh eyes.  I love him so, so much.
* RG is a silly, imaginative, crazy little guy.  He makes me laugh and he makes me lose my mind--like when he won't stop terrorizing his sister with T-Rex sounds.  I really do appreciate his creativity and want him to feel free to be the fun little boy--and sometimes dinosaur--that he is.

Improvise!  Baby boy needs a hat and a toy and these were both in the car, thanks to big sis.

* All the Baby Center articles I get sent tell me that Baby D should be crawling by now, and trying to walk.  Um, nope!  Baby D likes to be in mom's arms or right next to me at all times.  I don't really blame him, because they second I set him down, the dementors--I mean, siblings--come swooping down on him.  9+ months with him in our lives and the older two still haven't learned how to be gentle with him.  I think they love him so much that they can't control themselves.  That's at least what I tell myself...
*Baby D slept all through the night twice this past week.  Joyous times!  Of course, these were the nights that I went to bed around 2 AM, so now I just need to work on myself.
* This guy does not like getting his diaper changed one bit.  He cries so devastatingly when I lay him on the changing table and flips around, so it's very difficult to change him.  I try to sing him songs while he's there, but he's only convinced I'm not going to abandon him there about half the time.
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