Morning Routine

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Monday, August 30, 2010

It's August 30th...where are my keys????

No new house keys graced my palm today. Sad.

Bev, our realtor, is working so hard trying to piggie-back us moving out of where we are and into our new house. Last I heard, we have 6 days to move out of here, although Bev is doing her best at dragging her feet for us. :)

Well, we'll see......

To be continued......

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Me Oh My!

A couple things have happened this week (that I cannot go into details without either hurting people's feelings and/or cause more harm than good) that made me recall a poster I read once in a classroom.

My attitude may need some adjusting, but I really think this might be a motto to which I shall refer this year:

Oh goodness...pray for me...

Friday, August 13, 2010

New designs

I'm so excited about moving to a new house. I'm terrible at designing a room but I'd love to have a pretty home. Good thing I've got great friends that are willing to give their opinions (which I value deeply). But I want to make sure my house looks like me and not like it belongs to them, kwim? So here's a few pics of rooms I like and examples of what I don't care for.
Mt. Baker traditional dining room

I don't care for that bubble light over the table but I do like the clean lines and simplicity of the room.

Carson Poetzl, Inc. mediterranean entry

I really like the color scheme here.

Entry way eclectic entry

I do NOT like this. For me, it's too cluttered and has way too much stuff to dust.

Trans-Pacific Design tropical living room

This feels like I'm waiting in the lobby of the Mirage in Vegas. Which is a good thing if I'm actually waiting in the lobby of the Mirage. But it's not what I want my home to feel like. :)

Textured surface - contemporary condo contemporary living room

I like this; can't really put my finger on why I like it...but I do.

Modern Bathroom - Hillside Residence modern bathroom

Clean and simple. I like it.

mobili decorati mediterranean bedroom

Those curtains are kinda cool! And I like how bright it is. But...that's all I like.

FISHER ISLAND modern kitchen

Diggin' the kitchen.

Kitchen counter modern kitchen

I like this one even better - the cool, opaque cabinets, the tile that's a different color.

VP Interiors 2010 contemporary kitchen

I like the height you get out of this kitchen. Very pretty.

Ok, well designers, I hope this gives you a better sense of my point of view/style.

Happy decorating!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

All for $8

these for $6
and and these for only $2
I love Albertsons double coupons.

My God is BIG

The place we're in now...yeah, it sold!!! Bev put it on the market on a Saturday, put the for sale sign in the 'yard' Sunday, we went on vacation on Monday, and later that week the buyer signed the contract. The week we went on vacation it sold!!! Totally convenient. The realtor office staff called our mobile home an eternal-listing because they don't sell. Ha, they don't know my God!

We have to be out of here by September 5th. We thought we'd be homeless until our short-sale house we want closed. During this time I had various reactions from people. But my absolute favorites were from two very special people - they opened up their homes for my family of 5 as if it were no big deal at all. Who does that?
It seriously warms my heart to know you guys love me and my family the way you do (and you know who you are!!!! I love you girls soooo much!!!!).

Well, see this house ---->

Yeah, the short-sale house we're buying... IT'S OURS!!!!!!!!

If all goes according to plan (I know, I know...famous last words but I'm in prayer that all will go according to God's's the best one out there!!!) we'll have the keys by 5pm on August 30th.

Perfect timing, God! A week where we'll have access to both homes. I'll take any stress relief while moving. Lord, I love how you love on us!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Pasta Caprese

My husband LOVES this dish. He calls it an explosion of flavors in his mouth. Wow! Now that's something. Have I mentioned we're foodie wanna-be's? It's what were meant to be once we have the empty nest syndrome. So we've got plenty of time to perfect our foodiness (is that even a word??).

Here's the recipe. I forgot to take a pic last time I made it.
Oh and we use buffalo mozzarella so I've never tried the freezing the cheese step. But if you have the regular mozzarella cheese, I trust that it's worth the freezing step. Bon Appetite!

Serves 4 to 6.

This dish will be very warm, not hot. The success of this recipe depends on high-quality ingredients, including ripe, in-season tomatoes and a fruity olive oil (the test kitchen prefers Columela Extra-Virgin). Don’t skip the step of freezing the mozzarella, as freezing prevents it from turning chewy when it comes in contact with the hot pasta. If handmade buffalo- or cow’s-milk mozzarella is available (it’s commonly found in gourmet and cheese shops packed in water), we highly recommend using it, but skip the step of freezing and add it to the tomatoes while marinating. Additional lemon juice or up to 1 teaspoon sugar can be added at the end to taste, depending on the ripeness of the tomatoes.

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2-4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (see note above)
1 small garlic clove , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1/2 teaspoon)
1 small shallot , minced fine (about 2 tablespoons)
1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes , cored, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
12 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese , cut into 1/2-inch cubes (see note above)
1 pound penne pasta or other short tubular or curly pasta such as fusilli or campanelle
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon sugar (see note above)

1. Whisk oil, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, garlic, shallot, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together in large bowl. Add tomatoes and gently toss to combine; set aside. Do not marinate tomatoes for longer than 45 minutes.

2. While tomatoes are marinating, place mozzarella on plate and freeze until slightly firm, about 10 minutes. Bring 4 quarts water to rolling boil in stockpot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta, stir to separate, and cook until al dente. Drain well.

3. Add pasta and mozzarella to tomato mixture and gently toss to combine. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir in basil; adjust seasonings with salt, pepper, and additional lemon juice or sugar, if desired, and serve immediately.

Arroz con pollo

Have I shared my arroz con pollo recipe? It's really tasty and a bit unconventional with the green olives. And since I packed up all my cookbooks, I had to look online for the recipe. It just would've been easier had I posted it here. So just in case I need it in the future, here goes. And once again, I forgot to take a photo of the dish. I'm sorry.

6 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 tablespoons)
Table salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar plus 2 additional teaspoons
Ground black pepper
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), trimmed of excess skin and fat
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion , chopped fine (about 1 cup)
1 small green bell pepper , stemmed, seeded, and chopped fine (about 3/4 cup)
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup water
3 cups medium-grain rice (if using long-grain rice, increase water to 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup green olives (manzanilla), pitted and halved
1 tablespoon capers
1/2 cup jarred pimentos , cut into 1/4 by 2-inch strips
Lemon wedges , for serving


1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Place garlic and 1 teaspoon salt in large bowl; using rubber spatula, mix to make smooth paste. Add oregano, 1 tablespoon vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper to garlic-salt mixture; stir to combine. Place chicken in bowl with marinade. Coat chicken pieces evenly with marinade; set aside for 15 minutes.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, green pepper, and pepper flakes; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften, 4 to 8 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons cilantro; stir to combine. Push vegetables to sides of pot and increase heat to medium-high. Add chicken to clearing in center of pot, skin side down, in even layer. Cook, without moving chicken, until outer layer of meat becomes opaque, 2 to 4 minutes. (If chicken begins to brown, reduce heat to medium.) Using tongs, flip chicken and cook on second side until opaque, 2 to 4 minutes more. Add tomato sauce, broth, and water; stir to combine. Bring to simmer; cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 minutes.

3. Add rice, olives, capers, and 3/4 teaspoon salt; stir well. Bring to simmer, cover, and place pot in oven. After 10 minutes, remove pot from oven and stir chicken and rice once from bottom up. Return pot to oven. After another 10 minutes, stir once more, adding 1/4 cup water if rice appears dry and bottom of pot is beginning to burn. Cover and return pot to oven; cook until rice has absorbed all liquid and is tender but still holds its shape and temperature of chicken registers 175 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 10 minutes longer.

4. Using tongs, remove chicken from pot; replace lid and set pot aside. Remove and discard chicken skin; using 2 spoons, pull meat off bones into large chunks. Using fingers, remove remaining fat or dark veins from chicken pieces. Place chicken in large bowl and toss with remaining tablespoon olive oil, remaining 2 teaspoons vinegar, remaining 2 tablespoons cilantro, and pimentos; season with salt and pepper to taste. Place chicken on top of rice, cover, and let stand until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Serve, passing lemon wedges separately.

Our new morning routine

Update: we tried it this morning and it was AMAZING how my 5 year old cleaned his room, made his bed, and did general pick up around the house with joy! So I added a song to extend this time. he he. We also needed a little longer for breakfast so I added a song there too. So far so good!!!

With our very first day of school....ever...coming up soon, I thought it was a good idea to establish a very structured morning routine with the kids so we don't rack up the tardies. I saw a site online that sells materials that includes music cds that basically trains the kids to stay on a specific task for the duration of a song. And each song's tempo is geared towards that specific task. It sounded like that's what I needed...but not for the $80 price tag.

So tonight I created the playlist that is playing for you right now which is going to correlate to our new morning routine. I figured I'd start it this week to work out any kinks in time for school.

Here's the breakdown:

Song 1: Breakfast at Tiffany's - wake up and get to the kitchen for breakfast
songs 2-4: all classical music, nice and slow to aid in digestion and communication
song 5: get it started - put dishes in sink and wash up
song 6: supercali...- 2 min song to brush teeth
song 7: imperial march (from star wars) - make bed/clean up room
song 8: 2 sec transition
song 9: theme to star wars - 5 min for chores (not sure what I'll have them do but they're doing somethin' darn it...or I can just delete it?)
songs 10-11: I love my shirt and boogie shoes - get dressed
song 12: pod - grab backpack/lunch/anything else you'll need for school and get to the car

each song category is different in tempo and style so the transition will be easy to hear. And time management for a 5 and 2 year old should be easier since the songs keep the time for them.

So from breakfast to out the door, in theory anyways, should only take us 37 minutes.

Let's hope it works cause with the 2 hours I just spent on this, I'm going to be seriously tired tomorrow! :)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The lengths I go to for my kids

Since our second car died (let's pause for a moment of silence.....) my hubby has been taking our only car to work with him in the wee hours of the morning; and by wee I mean before the sun comes up. Dang, that's early!

At my gym, they offered a kids version of the Zumba class and Jeremiah wanted to do it. So on Wednesday mornings, all of us get up before that rooster and we drive my hubby to work - just so we can have the car to make that Zumba-tonic class.

Well a couple of Wednesdays ago my hubby forgot it was Wednesday and drove himself to work. When I woke up and noticed him gone, my heart sank. Is it me or is there just something about not wanting to disappoint one of your kids. So I prayed,
"Lord, if this is one of those times where You would like to teach Jeremiah about disappointment, then so be it. But if there's another way to get to the gym, I'd prefer that."
And wouldn't you know, public transportation popped in my head. So online I went and sure enough, the one bus we needed drove right past where we live. So I synced up our departure time with Zumba-tonic and the 4 year old, 2 year old and 7 month old and I were on our way to the the middle of the heat!

And it turned out to be a fun trip overall.

So this week the kids and I were looking forward to another 'adventure' to the gym.

Well this time the adventure didn't go quite as nice.

After my workout (timeout...what about Jeremiah's zumba-tonic class, you ask? Oh, he decided he didn't want to go to class; only to kid care. Jeez, and I thought he'd be crushed at not getting to go last week. Ugh, just when I think I'm understanding that kid...) we walk to Subway for lunch then off to the bus stop to wait for the bus. Too bad I FORGET the bus schedule so I don't know how long we have to wait. Ok, not a big deal. I know it has to be less than 45 minutes since that's how long the cycle takes. And there's a nice shady, grassy spot right by the bus stop. And for July, it's a pretty mild day so far. We can do this!

"Mommy, I got poopoo." Nice, Beka! So I change her cause I ain't about to get on the bus with her smelling like death. Too bad there are no trash cans in the area. But there is a car wash nearby and they have trash cans. It's a short walk so the kids and I trek over to throw it away. And wouldn't you know it...there goes our bus and of course, we're not even close to the bus stop. Bye-bye bus. Hello, 45 minute wait.

Well, it is just 45 minutes, right. We can do this! Let's look on the bright side - we all have nice full bellies...oh wait, Nate didn't eat yet. Ok, I brought the diaper bag so I have a nursing cover. I'll just nurse Nate in the the bus stop...on the side of a pretty busy, 6 lane street.

He eats, let's go, and falls asleep. Ah another peaceful moment brought to you by La Leche League. :) I take a deep breath, sigh out my relief...ahhhh....hmmmm, feeling kinda drafty. Oh, well that's just because MY BOOB IS HANGING OUT from underneath the cover!!!! Uh ya, nice lesson in modesty, Dani! Let's just put that away, shall we?!? I wonder how many people...let's just not even go there.

Well, Nate's napping so I place him on the grass on top of the nursing cover. I sit down next to him. Beka is laying on the grass next to me and Jeremiah's playing with the ring tones on my phone. All is well.

Except for the red&black ants that are crawling all over Beka's back...BITING HER and leaving welts!

Oweee oweee mommy!! They're also crawling on the nursing cover but I squish them before they bite Nate. Ok, EVERYBODY UP! So we stand for the next 20 minutes or so until our bus comes.

Poor Nate didn't get a decent nap in, Beka has bite marks all over her shoulder, I'm exposing myself to a significant percentage of my hometown (hey, I think it's significant) and Jeremiah...well, he's actually pretty content. I guess one out of four isn't too bad.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The light at the end of the tunnel?

I was watching one of those HGTV shows today where they follow first-time home buyers around. This guy had seen over 60 houses and was still looking. His realtor told the camera that if he didn't choose the next house she showed him, she was dumping him as a client because her time was money. Yikes!

My next thought was, "jeez, I hope Bev doesn't feel the same way about us!" you know, since we've been house hunting for a whole 3 months. lol

Well Bev emailed today to say our offer on the BID #5 house was accepted and will be submitted to the bank in the next day or two and that we are the only people the bank will talk to about the house; nobody else will be considered unless we back out.

O-M-G! Really????? Are you serious????

Could this really be our new home?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Bid number 6

Directly across the street from this house

is another house that is exactly the same. Well except it needs to be pained on the inside, the carpet needs to be replaced, as well as most of the blinds, the carpet in the dining room must be ripped out and replaced with tile (seriously, why do people have carpet where they eat?), and the yahoos that lost the house broke up all the concrete on the small backyard patio. So that will need to be replaced too. Oh, not to mention there's nothin' but dirt in the back yard...well along with all those pieces of concrete.

It's not a short sale so within a couple of weeks we should know if our bid was high enough to 'win' (like it's ebay or somethin').

What happened to this house? The silly seller's realtor came back with a counter offer. She hasn't even taken our bid to the bank yet. Last thing she told our realtor was that there weren't any offers but now all of a sudden there are other offers. Why is it that my realtor is the only one with integrity? Love my girl...soooo sick of all the others!
Anyways, we're stickin to our guns. We'll see if that money-hungry, er silly realtor likes them apples.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Loved this

For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts.
—1 Thessalonians 2:4

The story is told of a missionary couple who was preparing to retire after many years of service in Africa. The ship they had boarded to return to the U.S. also happened to be carrying President Theodore Roosevelt, who was returning from a hunting expedition. When they reached their destination and the passengers were disembarking, a crowd of admirers waited to meet the president as a big band played in the background. But when the time came for the missionary couple to step ashore, not a single soul was there to meet them. Discouraged, the husband buried his head in his hands and groaned, "I didn't want a parade, but at least someone could have come to welcome us home!" His wife turned to him and replied, "Honey, we are not home yet."

Harvest Daily Devotional

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Our fifth bid is for...

this baby. (Hard to believe we've put in five bids.) Anyways, this house is out in the sticks (the wayyyyyy southwest) but we've found that we can get more house for less bucks out there. So we're meeting up with Bev at church tomorrow to sign the bid papers. I know I've said this before, but Bev thinks we have a great shot at this one.

It's a beautiful house on the inside: 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, split wing, with an office (aka playroom), and I love the kitchen. I didn't take my camera when we went to see it so I have no pics of the inside to share.

So stay tuned. We'll see what happens next...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

All on his own

My four year old (well he's nearly five - in about 6 weeks) did this all by himself during snack time. He bit the pretzels to make the letters then arranged the letters to spell a word...all while I was busy with other things. And he asked no help.

Little smarty pants. Why he chose to spell 'fat' I'll never know.

All brown

My thumbs, that is.

"Care instructions: Basil is tough, don't worry too much about it. Keep the soil lightly moist, and expose your plant to as much light as you can. As long as you leave the bottom two leafs on a stem, the stem will continue to branch and grow new basil Bon Appetit!"

What the heck?!?

Oh, and did I mention that my cacti are dead too?

I give up.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The best house yet!

UPDATE: We can't afford the house of beauty. Well, we could IF it was in Ventura or Santa Barbara counties since those counties have a $15,000 forgivable grant for first time home buyers. But I suppose if the house were in one of those counties, then the price tag would be well over $179k, ya think?

We'll know tomorrow, hopefully, if we are able to afford this house. It's a house that we'll probably never move out of. Unless, of course, the Lord tarries and the kids move out. The pics are out of order, of course. :)

Front of the house.

Front porch


Back patio

Back fence.

The breakfast nook. The kitchen is on the left, family room behind and the dining area is through that door. Oh, and the wall on the right doesn't go all the way to the ceiling. I thought that was different and kinda cool!


Here's a great view of that wall I was telling you about. Kitchen is on the left, staircase on the right.

upstairs bedroom #1

the jack & jill bathroom shower. I love that shower wall! It goes about 3/4 of the length of the shower. It rocks!

Upstairs bedroom #2

Part of the master bath

Downstairs bedroom - I love the chandelier.

Backyard view from the big kitchen window.

I like the artwork on the walls in the family room.

This is the front porch. So cute!

This is the front door and living room. I was standing in the dining area.

There's a door connecting the dining area to the kitchen. I was standing in the doorway. The kitchen is on the right. The family room is straight ahead. Through that doorway behind Jeremiah is the downtairs bathroom as well as the only downstairs bedroom.

the raised grilling area is on the right.

I seriously can't believe they don't want more money for this house! But we can only afford it if the rumor of gov't funding is true. We heard that for first time home buyers, they gov't (I think it's the gov't anyway...they seem to have lots of money to give away) pays for a 20% down payment. It that gets paid for, then our monthly payments would be less than $1,000/month (I think).

I'm excited and nervous and I don't want to get my hopes up cause I will be sooooo sad if we don't get this house. If God is cool with us living here, then we'll get it. If we can't afford it, then we'll find something else.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Another day, another bid

UPDATE: We were the 2nd highest bid. Which means we're the back up bid in case the highest and best bid falls through for some reason. Oh well...

At least that's how it seems.

Here's our newest desire:

Our realtor is really excited about this one. Just between you and me, I think this is the first house that she thinks we actually have a chance of getting. lol

We'll see.

Friday, May 28, 2010

I have to change

With the blessing of baby number 3, hey there Nate!, comes changes I have to make to keep my sanity. Here's my list:

1. I remember my fabulous friend Tara saying once, a long while ago, that she has to get her car washed weekly in order for it to stay clean. I didn't exactly know what she meant then but I sure do now.
The kids and I went to the car wash today and it wasn't necessarily for the outside of the car. I took a kitchen size trash bag with me to put all the stuff that needs to go INSIDE my home and I filled that bag up with: about a zillion shoes, a few pair of socks, toys, toys, toys, a sweatshirt, a windbreaker, and pens.
I think I'm going to have to be like Tara and cruz thru (he he, get it?) the car wash weekly just to get me to clean out the stuff from the inside.

2. I have to change my laundry routine. At least the putting away of laundry. I used to bring in the basket of clean laundry, sort and organize it all, then put things away. No longer do I get to do this since it seems as if I'm constantly getting interrupted by children. So now I take my basket of clean laundry, pull out one item, put it away, pull out one item, put it away, pull out one item, put it back because I have to break up a fight or change a poopy diaper, or (fill in the blank), come back. Repeat.
Doing laundry this way leaves me feeling less frustrated since I don't have piles of clean clothes scattered EVERYWHERE from kids jumping on my bed or from me or my hubby shoving them off the bed so we can sleep.

3. I've noticed when my coupon binder is on the verge of disorganization or when my car is messy or when my home is super messy (notice I said 'super' messy since it is just messy most of the time), then my healthy eating habits fly out the window (as evidence of my non-weight loss this week). It took me a lot of thinking and soul searching to come up with that revelation. I can be so dense when it comes to common sense stuff in life (not my fortay).

Well that's my short list for now. And with just these few minor changes, I have a bit more peace in my life.

So what things have you had to change in order to keep peace in your family as it grows?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Date Night vs MOPS

Fridays have become the official date night for my hubby and me, thank you Papa and Bana for being willing to watch ALL the kids for us!!!

But this Friday is my MOPS' groups Moms' Night Out at Moo Creamery.

So I mentioned this to Pascual, then added,
"but if you want to take me out on a date, then I'll go with you instead."

"I wasn't expecting that", he replied.

OMG, that is so sad that I've got him conditioned to take second fiddle to MOPS. That shouldn't be! Time to sit and think and re-prioritize the things in my life!

Don't get me wrong, I have loved me some MOPS, but it WILL NOT take top dollar to the man I vowed my life to. Cause I REALLY LOVE ME SOME PASCUAL!!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Date night was my pick tonight

My hubby and I are nearly polar opposites. So when we get to go on date nights, to make it fair we've decided to take turns picking where we go and what we do.

Tonight it was my pick. So I chose to try out Cafe Crepes.

We decided to choose and share. He chose

the filet pannini which was well seasoned and tender.


I chose

the chicken fajita crepe.


Both of these dinners came with a side and we both chose red potatoes.

So good.

I could eat a bowl full of these!!! In fact, by the time I remembered to break out the camera to photograph this yumminess, I had already wolfed down my potatoes. These are Pascual's. I made him wait to eat until I could get the pic. He he.

For dessert we shared

the lemon delight, oh how I love lemon and berries!!!,

and the Nutella with strawberries.

Seriously I can live off Nutella.

It was delicious and the company was great to boot.

I love date night.