I know I don't typically share stuff like this, but over the past couple years I've been addicted to decorating my Christmas tree! I've slowly been adding to my Christmas stash each year, and my husband will find Hobby Lobby and Michaels bags hidden through out the house starting in October. He loves it. That being said, I thought I would share our Christmas tree(s) each year, just as a little fun thing. And yes, I said trees plural. Currently we have two, the one pictured and another white tree with pink, blue, and silver. It's the girls' tree, and I let them decorate it because they aren't allowed to touch mine haha!!
So here it is, my Christmas Tree for 2016 :)!
My Christmas tree was THIS one from Walmart, and I love it!
As for my ornaments, I've collected over the years from different local stores and craft stores. And if my husband asks, that ornaments not new, I've totally had it forever ;).
Have you ever felt out of place? Like you just didn't belong and everyone is staring at you? That was me today at a juice place.
You see, I once again caught one of my kids sickness, because us parents are basically vacuums to their germs right? So I needed a juice, and I needed something to kick this cold! I put on some black leggings with paint stains on the butt along and my husband's sweatshirt and threw the kids in the car. They were in their current state mind you, which was one being pant-less, and the other having bed head mess.
(Have you ever seen those Hot Mess Mom videos? Yea that's me.)
We walked into the juice bar, which I quickly noticed was filled with young beautiful people. Many were dressed in workout gear having healthy lunches with friends, as they laughed about their responsibilities. Others had butt cheeks and booty shorts with tan legs and dogs in their purses.
And in comes me. Hot Mess.
Now, if you haven't met my third child, weh heell hellllll. Let me tell you about her. She's kind of in this phase right now where she screams really loud. It sounds like Mariah Carey/dying cat/squeeling pig. It's SO LOUD and makes your ears ring. She does it when she wants something, so obviously since I can't figure out what "AHHHHEEEEEEEEE" means, it happens frequently.
Often times when we are in public I hear a lot of, "oh my gosh's" and "wows!" The lady at target even put her delicate fingers to her ear and squinted her eyes because it's so loud.
Immediately after arriving at the juice bar, the shrills began. I tried my best to distract her but, "Look at the dog! Look at her legs!" just wasn't enough...
Everyone kept looking at me like they never wanted my life. Meanwhile, the lady making my juice was taking FOR-EV-ER. People were turning around in the chairs, cranking their necks, and probably pulling out their iPhones. I'm sure I am on youtube, just google 'Hot Mess Mom at Juice Bar.'
Eventually the juice was ready, and as I tried to pay/wrestle the screaming baby in my arms, the cashier said, "Awe, she's so cute."
You guys. I didn't even make eye contact. Was she NUTS?! Cute?! Give me my dang juice, no tip for you! Obviously she was nice, obviously my patience was well, gone. Obviously, I'm never going back. hahah.
Later that day as I rocked her to sleep, she lifted her sweaty head and stared at me with her BIG blue eyes and babbled something right to me. I'm assuming it was her way of saying how much she loves me, or maybe it was about Mickey Mouse. Either way, it's not always easy. Yet so quickly I am reminded why I love them so garsh dang much. I may not have it all together, but I know raising these strong willed girls is the greatest gift. For them, and for me.
Even if I have to find another juice bar.
Did you know that putting Barbie's hair in a pony tail is harder than it seems? It can't be too high where her hair sticks out straight, and it can't be too low because then it just doesn't look right. And then what happens if you do it wrong? Tears... Followed by Barbie gettin' knocked upside the head and chucked across the room.
Damn bad hair days, especially when it happens to Barbie.
I get asked roughly 30 times a day to assist in wardrobe changes, help with hot pink lipstick application, and "Mom, come see this picture I made!" Putting on shoes sometimes requires a tranquilizer, and so does brushing through morning bed head. Don't brush the part wrong, and definitely don't brush all of the hair back! Learn from my mistakes.
But amid the emotional attachments my girls have to every piece of item in their room, like gum wrappers and 180 little princess figurines, I have to remind myself to well...take a break. It's hard not to settle down when Olaf's carrot nose poked you right in the center of your foot as you walk down the hall. Or when you find your make brushes thrown in the toilet, lipstick smashed in the container, and bronzer crumbled on the floor. There is work to be done, and i've got to soak my white bedding in bleach due to the blue nail polish spilled all over...
But I've got to stop and tell the messes to wait. Then tell my OCD to calm down, and just be there with my girls. We spent the afternoon putting together Valentines for friends, talked about class boyfriends (say wha?!), and I showed them how to eat a fun dip. We snuggled and loved on our sweet little baby, laughed about silly things, and read Pinkalicious 5 times.
Sometimes I feel like my life is a broadway show. Constant singing. Constant. Followed by a fight scene or 35, lot's of emotions and feelings being hurt, not really sure how much more intense the afternoon can get because 'so and so isn't my BFF anymore'...
But then there is a moment.
Not a moment of silence...But a moment of perfection. Moment's where I realize there's more to life that organized toy bins and neatly brushed hair. That no matter how clean my house is, the most important thing in my life is changing and growing right in front of me. And they need more more than my 'to-do-list'.
So what is life like with 3 little divas?
Exciting, edge of your seat, full of so much love, never want it to end!
Excpet olaf. He's in a better place.
Life has a weird way of teaching you lessons.
Before, I didn't really know what was good for me.
Like a jelly bean green juicy jumpsuit.
Yes, yes I did.
It's weird, because sometimes we truly don't know that what we're doing isn't the best for us.
Since I was little girl, I've always had an issue with the way I felt about my weight. Even at the young age of 10, I had this negative view about my weight and body image. Always wanting to be skinnier, to feel better, and wishing I could feel comfortable in the clothes I wore...Without feeling like I wanted to run home and put on baggy sweats.
This was me in high school.
I'm not going to sit here and say, "Look how fat I am, I'm pale, I was bloated, I look tired, and why in the heck aren't I wearing cuter shoes...yidda yadda!"
See, that would be mean.
But it's how I felt.
I was in the constant battle with myself, trying to feel good enough. You see I thought I was making the best choices for my body.I thought I was healthy. I thought that if I ran for 10 minutes it was okay for me to scarf down 3 chili dogs when I got home. I thought that eating a salad loaded with bacon, eggs, cheese, ranch dressing, and garlic croutons wasn't bad for you. I mean, it was a salad! How bad could it be? I struggled because I thought I was doing everything I could to be healthy, happy, & skinny. Why wasn't I?
I carried this (non) confidence in my self with me to college, and like most college students, eating & socializing is pretty common. It was a struggle for me to try to make the right choices, considering I really didn't even know what was right. Then something happened. I got sick.I felt bloated, crampy, and sick to my stomach ALL the time. (Could it be the chili dogs..no?!?) I went to several doctors, and no one could figure out what was wrong. Then one doctor took an x-ray of my stomach, and everything was black. My body wasn't digesting food. The doctor suggested I omit gluten and dairy to see if that worked. So for the next 2 years I did just that. You see, back then, there wasn't a lot of gluten-free/dairy free products, like there are today. So I had to eat really fresh and natural things like lean meats and fresh produce. At first, it was SOO hard. NO OLIVE GARDEN BREADSTICKS!!
With this new "lifestyle" I was living I began to notice not only a difference in my appearance but also how I felt. I had SO much energy. I was no longer tired and lethargic, now I felt awake and energetic. I decided to take up exercising, in particular running. I would wake up early in the morning and run...
Let me just add that I was never ever a runner. One time a friend and I tried out for track in HS, and we quit the next day.
Anyways I began to love it so much I started doing mini' "races" at school.
I felt great!
But I became obsessed. Then the doctors told me that I really wasn't allergic to gluten, but I was lactose intolerant, and I could start eating wheat again. I remember crying hysterically to my mom saying, "I'm gonna get fat again!" After that, I promised my self I wouldn't let me get back to the old me again so I started really watching what I ate. Canned vegetables and rice crackers were my staple. I probably consumed 300 calories a day.
Luckily through the support of family and friends, I knew that things had to change.
I knew my goal was to become healthy & happy, and not focus so much on the skinny part.
I decided the best way to make this change was to do some research and become educated. I quickly switched my major to Health and Nutrition, studying up on some reading, and began to really learn and understand the beauty of living a healthy lifestyle and all it has to offer.
I stopped the fad diets, kicked the low carb, fat free foods the curb. Diets just weren't working and I could never seem to stick with them, and there was no way I was going to diet the rest of my life. I knew that if I wanted to feel great inside and on the outside, I had to stop worrying about calories and counting my carbs. It just wasn't the way I wanted to live.
My goal was to eat food, enjoy it, and feel great. The only way I was able to accomplish this was by eating wholesome and natural foods. After that I not only began to feel great inside, but I was able to maintain and feel great about my healthy weight. Taking the pressure off of myself of dieting was a load off my shoulders, and now I knew that I could eat foods without the constant worry that I struggled with.
Life has thrown a lot of curve balls. Some have been more challenging than others, but I am still learning to this day to be grateful for the body I have been giving. I know now how to make the best choices for my body. I know now that I am healthy. I know that I can run for as long as I want and still come home and eat chocolate, and this is because I know that I am no longer afraid of food. Instead I know that what I put into my body is going to contribute how I feel on the outside. And I must add I know I feel great when I eat chocolate =]..
Now I know.
Everyday is a new day. I'm not going to say I'm perfect. I mean I usually eat a gallon little bit of chocolate every day. I don't always have time to work out, let alone shave my legs (TMI?). And sometimes my breakfast includes a cookie and left over brown rice.
This blog is about my life, my journey to making better decisions. All the while, trying my best to be an amazing wife and mother, and keeping my family healthy and happy.
My focus is to raise my family with the attitude that our bodies are temples and we need to respect and take care of them. That doesn't mean that we need to be skinny or fit into a size 2. That means that we need to give our bodies the food it needs to thrive, grow, and become strong to live healthy and happy lives.
That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.
I would say that 80% of the emails I get are from parents who are struggling with having their family and their children eat healthy. Even though it's an email or a comment, I can tell that they are stressed, worried, and feel a sense of failure because their child or spouse just hates eating healthy. As parents, we are responsible for the health and well being of our family, so living a healthy lifestyle and healthy eating are a sensitive and sometimes touchy subject. There are A LOT of different ways to live healthy and with those ways come A LOT of different opinions.
So why not give you mine right?
I've been meaning to write this post for a long time, but never really had the 'courage' to do so. Saying how we 'actually' live is kind of scary, not that I am ashamed. But what if people think I'm a fraud?! Majority of social media and blogs today are all about perfection. It's rare to see a REAL glimpse into someones life. As far as we know, all the other moms and dads are doing it perfectly, or at least better than you are right? Getting a good workout in every morning, eating healthy, feeding their kids all organic homemade, teaching their kids, dressing in the cutest clothes, and of coarse having the perfect house. One of my favorite quotes that I think fits perfectly is, " Love her dress, hate her."
So let's begin...
How do we really live a healthy lifestyle in our family...
There was a time when I had one baby where I made homemade crackers.
Homemade crackers with different nuts, seeds, and all things healthy.
I remember an older mom friend of mine saying, "I CAN'T believe you are making your own crackers?! How do you find the time?!"
I laughed but in my head thought, "Well you can accomplish anything at nap time!" I also thought, anyone can afford to buy majority of their food organic. Vegan diets are easy. Eating out at healthy restaurants is do-able. You can make anything homemade, during that beloved nap time. Fitting in exercise is the easiest thing...yada yada yada.
Well my friends, my opinion has definitely changed. I woke up. Or in my case, I never slept. Having 3 kids under 4 will do that to you. So where do I/my family stand now you ask?
Here is our reality.
Right now, I like to call our life the "Survival Stage."
With 3 kids under 4, a husband who works two jobs and 60 plus hours a week, along with a massive load of student debt, well we are just trying to survive ;).
Do we buy all Organic Food?
In an ideal world we would buy organic meats, fruits, dairy, grains, etc. There was a time when I did this, again when I was a young mom of one, and I spent A LOT. At the time we were a small family, technically only 2 and 1/2, so we weren't eating a lot, but buying organic in general was EXPENSIVE. I also shopped locally at the farmers markets and bought organic produce. I loved it.
But things have changed. Now with 5 mouths to feed, grown up bills, and our desert climate, organic isn't always possible. I just can't afford to spend 100 on produce alone. I can't. I've been to our local farmers markets and you can buy a tiny things of berries for 8 bucks, and that would be a snack for my 4 year old. It just isn't possible. Not with a mortgage and all the other bills right?
What about meat? I'm so excited because we just recently got a sprouts market in our city and their organic prices are so much better! If their organic meat is on sale and it's a good and similar price to what I would pay for non organic, than I will buy it. Otherwise my friends, at this point in our life, I can't spend 50 just on meat. Of coarse there is always the idea of incorporating for vegan/meat free dishes that way every meal isn't solely meat based. But still, a package of organic chicken breast at my local store is about 20 bucks. (That's one night of chicken dinner.)
What about Dairy? The same goes for dairy as it does meat. If it's on sale, we buy it. If not, we don't.
It's a hard reality for me to share, but I've learned that we all, if not a lot of us, are not in perfect financial stability. We just can't afford to pay 300 bucks a week on groceries, and frankly I don't really want to. I truly believe you just do the best you can. If you can't afford organic, great! If you can, great! But don't buy an 8 dollar mini organic watermelon. That's just crazy ;).
Does that mean I'm buying crap?
I still buy an abundance of fresh produce and majority of the time I make 3 meals a day for my family. Not always, but a lot of the time. Unless I had 3 hours of sleep the night before because I stayed up to watch the Bachelor. Then it's cheerios for breakfast.
Do your kids eat healthy? Do they eat vegetables?
Yes and Yes.
No and No.
Are we clear? haha! Here's the lowdown on healthy eating with my kids. My girls are learning who they are and developing a sense of, "It's my way or the highway" kind of attitude. It's a fun stage. Sometimes when I place vegetables in front of them they either laugh, cry, scream, or just eat them. Everyday is different. But I try and be consistent. I serve veggies with every meal. Sometimes they eat them, sometimes they spit them out and tell me that was disgusting.
With that being said, my kids have had boxed macaroni and cheese. And Oreos. This goes back to that "Survival Stage" where I had a new born baby who nursed on demand every hour, a toddler who was going through pacifier withdrawls, a 4 year old who thought she was 16, and a husband at work. The LAST thing I wanted to do was think about what to make for dinner. When those days happen, don't feel guilty about making a boxed macaroni and cheese. Just pat yourself on the back that your kids are being fed dinner! There were multiple times, yes multiple, where I would put a movie on to try and fit in a 30 minute nap only to wake up to find my 2 year old knee deep in a jar of nutella. It happens.
Do you exercise every day?
At this particular time in my life I would say I exercise 3/7 days a week. Is it a good solid workout? I wish, but no. I've been blessed with very alert kids. Kids that at the age of 4 still don't sleep through the night. Add a new born to that and when I wake up in the morning I'm crawling down stairs half asleep. I also have a husband who leaves at 6 in the morning for work and by the time he comes home, I am way to tired to work out.
With that being said, I try to fit in a walk, jog, or a workout video in every so often. But it's not easy right now, and THAT is ok. There was a time when I had a 18 month old and a 3 1/2 year old and I wasn't pregnant. I would run every day and get a great workout in. The kids were sleeping a little better and I felt more alive. That time will come again, but I know right now I just have to do the best I can. Are there moms who are better at this? Definitely. But I'm not that mom.
We are all different and we do things differently. Like I said, we do the best we can right?
Do you eat at healthy restaurants?
Yes and No.
(Aren't you loving my answers? SO clear.)
If you ask my husband, I'm constantly begging him to try new healthy, vegan, and sometimes raw food places. Sometimes he is willing but most of the time he isn't. If we eat out as a family, we try to be spending conscious and if I have a say, health conscious. We have definitely ordered a pizza, and my husband loves to take the girls to McDonalds. (I try and put my foot down on that, but marriage is compromise right?) It's not a weekly thing or even monthly, but my girls have had fast food. (And I really like red burritos without cheese from Del Taco. AHHHH!!) But if we eat out, I usually always order sometime healthy/light and my girls usually stick to similar things, like macaroni and cheese, or chicken. They don't really stray from that.
A long those lines, my girls love to eat at healthy juice places and have fresh juice and healthy baked goods. I usually take them with me to try new places and they are really open to doing things like that.
I love finding ways to live a healthier lifestyle. It truly changed my life and the way I feel. Somedays I am on top of it, and sometimes I am just trying to survive. I love to be in the kitchen, so I'm always trying to make healthier dishes. It's a passion. I love sharing those recipes and ideas with others so they can try them on their family. I also love the way exercise and healthy eating make me feel. Nothing makes me feel more energized for the day then when I get a good solid workout in.
This is why I am SO excited about this breakfast book I've been working on! I can't wait to share it with everyone.
But I'm not perfect, and neither are you. I'll be the first person to say I love a big slice of chocolate cake or chocolate chip cookie! You have do to what works best for you and your family. And if you are a young mom with little babies like me, well then just remember you are doing the best and just trying to 'survive' :). There will be a time when all those babies are in school and sleeping through the night, (or so I hope!). Then getting up at 6 to workout will be easier right? :)
Again, this was kind of scary for me to share, but I hope that I was able to answer some of my most frequently asked questions! More importantly, I hope you feel better about yourself! Thanks for all of your support and love my friends!
Let's talk about laundry. I LOATHE laundry.
Nope. Scratch that. I HATE laundry.
I feel bad because I think it's one of those things I should have told my husband before he married me. But I didn't.
See that pile on the bed? It's clean. Clean-ish.
That pile was washed a week ago. It's been in a pile for a week on the bottom of my bed/on the floor. Need a shirt? Look in that pile. Need new undies? The pile.
See that laundry basket behind The Pile? That's dirty laundry, SPILLING over the top.
Why does laundry hate me so much?
Do you see the time on the clock? You can't really tell but it says 2:57, in the afternoon. That's right. 3 in the afternoon and I haven't even thrown a dirty load of laundry into the wash. NOT ONE.
I could blame the children.
I mean, after all I have been taking care of 3 kids under 4 all day...You know what? It's all their fault! But I also hated/had issues with laundry B.C. (before children), so I guess it's technically not their fault. Which only means one thing...
Nailed it! Nice one me, nice one...
It's amazing how you don't think that life could get any better, or that you could share your heart any more, but as soon as we welcomed our 3rd sweet baby girl everything changed. I feel so incredibly blessed! Life with 3 girls...where do I begin?
I read this quote some time ago and I think it states perfectly how I feel...
"The Happiest State of Human Existence Is to Love Someone More Than You Love Yourself."
Trust me friends...That is truly where Happiness lies.
Thank you all So much for your kind words, comments, tweets, emails, instagram hellos, etc.! I feel the LOVE so much! I've been busy snuggling my little angel and I appreciate the patience. I've also been working on The Diva Dish E-book Breakfast Cookbook! I just need to tackle a few more recipes.
I do need a creative Hashtag to go with the book, so if anyone can think of one I am willing to send someone a 'prize' :).
Love your family & Love your friends! Happy Tuesday!
I think there is a 6th sense roaming about our household. Each one of us in our own way knows that the 5th member of our family will soon be here, and well.... Each one of us is handling the situation differently.
My girls personalities have completely switched, but I've still managed to have one 'out to get me' child, and 'one that really must love me' child.
My husband has been teaching my girls how to punch, fight, kick, and play sports non stop. I think he is starting to feel how little power he really is going to have living in a house with 7 women.
7 because I count as 3 women total. That's right. I've fully embraced the last stage of my pregnancy with more than enough hormones to the point where I cry over missing shoes and hugs from my littles.
And I cried at like every super bowl commercial.
We also just finished up the last of our 'major' kitchen projects before the baby comes! The minor things will come later, but my husband told me we have to pay our mortgage so...
After two weeks of being unable to use my kitchen, it felt nice to have a peaceful Sunday just enjoying my little family of 4 before we add one more!
We made lemonade, chicken +pasta, rolls, and chocolate. The recipes/links to recipes will be at the end of this post!
I feel like it's a calm before the storm, because guess what, we are naming our baby Storm.
...But more like, we will be lucky if we change out of our pajamas and do productive things after she arrives. Sorry hubs. And sorry kids. And sorry kitchen floors. And sorry hair...You won't be washed often.
Here are the recipes from our Sunday Dinner:
Strawberry Lemonade (Just water, no sparkling water)
Parmesan Italian Herb Rolls= Frozen Dough Rolls topped with melted coconut oil, grated Italian herbs, and freshly grated parmesan. Baked at 400 for 16 minutes in a greased cast iron skillet.
Salad= Not pictured, but it was just lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, apples, goat cheese, almonds, and dressing.
Brownies= Boxed w/ homemade frosting. (Melted chocolate chips, coconut oil, powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk)
I have to tell ya...Hitting the "NewPost" button on my blog felt SO weird and comforting at the same time. I've really missed opening my computer and sharing my love of health, with a little glimpse of my crazy beautiful life, and my overly dramatic personality... It's been too long my friends. Way too long.
Someone close to me recently told me that I portray myself having this perfect life in my posts/FB statuses/Instagram, but in reality my life isn't so. Like I've been fake...It was a little bit of an "ouch...really?" I feel like I've tried to be as real as Ican on social media and my blog post. I think I have done my best to share the good most definitely, but I also feel that I've been open with sharing some of the bad and the ugly. (We are entitled to some privacy right?) :)
I know that social media can be a place where we don't always show the reality of life, but I've always looked at this blog and my social media outlets as a place of positivity. A place of comfort, strength, passion, common ground for others, and definitely a place of reality.
So that had me thinking, and since then I've been eager to share a little bit of reality of my well...Imperfectly Perfect life.
It's been about a month since I've been present here on The Diva Dish, and before that I was touch and go. Truth is my friends, we all have touch days/months/years. Times where it's like, "Ok, can I really take much more?!" Times where we think everything is falling apart and there is NO way we can pick ourselves.
This has been one of those years.
There has been a lot of loved ones lost this year, a lot of financial difficulties, relationships have been tried and tested between family members, friends, and my marriage. I've felt alone, lost, and even like a terrible mother and wife. I've seen loved ones struggle more than ever before, and I've been hurt by people who I respected and loved.
There is always a but!
I've also been blessed so much. I was able to get pregnant and continue to stay at home and raise my two baby girls. I've had many opportunities to see prayers answered by my loving Heavenly Father when I most needed them. I've learned the true value of friendship, and have seen many serve and sacrifice to help myself and my family out in many ways. I've learned that there is nothing better than a phone call of comfort from my mom or dad. And I have never felt closer to God than I do now...
I've become a lot stronger and so much more confident in myself than ever before, something which I've struggled with for a while. I know that I can do hard things, and I am doing the best I can to be a great mother, wife, friend, and woman.
Why am I sharing this?
Not just to say that my life isn't perfect, because I know that I've expressed that before.
What I really wanted to share was that life can be extremely difficult. We all go through things unimaginable, and no trial compares. It's easy to get wrapped up in other peoples lives, thinking that their grass is greener (or their house is cleaner!)
But even in times of darkness, there is light. I've learned this so much this year. Even if it's just a smile and an "I wove you!" from my two year old, or an "I'm so happy mom!" from my 4 year old. There IS light. Some days there will be more than others...But I know that we are strong, we are loved, and that no one is living a fairy tale.
More of like a broadway show, ya know :)!
There will be multiple days of messy houses, laundry piles for DAYS, tantrums, toys on the floor, (and even some food!) And there will be nights where we order a pizza and eat three slices with ranch dressing and not feel bad about it..(And then have a bowl of rice krispies later that night!)
And then there will be times where our world is turned upside down. Times where we fall and we don't really want to get up, and we need help.
It's so important to love others because we really don't know what burdens others are carrying. Look for opportunities to serve and love others...
And look for times where there is a little (or a lot) of light...
I love you my friends and I'm grateful you have stuck with me this far during this year. I love this blog and I love all those who have supported me! Please know that despite the challenges this year has brought, we are doing GOOD! We are so blessed in more ways than we can count!
I'm so happy it's the Holiday season! I can't wait to eat more pumpkin and have hot chocolate by a sparkly christmas tree! With a large pile of laundry next to me of coarse :)!
Ever since moving away from California, we haven't really played in the sand. (Unless you consider the Desert Sand mixed with rocks, then yes. Every day.) We miss it so much, and we will be calling this our home for the next week! This couldn't have come at a better time with our busy and crazy lifestyle. Sometimes we just need to take time and relax...And drink milkshakes.
Have you ever been to New Port Beach, California? What are your favorite activities? More importantly, where are the best places to EAT? :) We did the Crab Cooker, which was an old family favorite, but I would love to hear more of your ideas!
My plan was to have this post up two weeks ago... But if you follow me on social media, you know that we just bought a house (WOO HOO!), but we had two weeks to be out of our rental and move and clean everything (Boo!!).
But I have this problem where I like to plan parties for little kids who won't remember it and spend a lot of money and make it cute...I blame pinterest. So this year I halved-it. I did some cute decor, a few games, but I still kept it simple and had the party at the park and let the kids run wild on the play ground.
I have to say, it felt good to take it easy and not put TOO much stress into it! I think next year will be even more relaxed!
After all...I should save my stress (and money) for the three weddings I'll have to plan in the years down the road right??
The girls really wanted a Tinkerbell Party this year, but they have a lot of boy friends and I figured fairy wings and wands weren't really up their ally. So we changed it to Pirate and Pixie! I loved this theme so much, you really could have so much fun with it!
Here are some party details:
Food: (We had a lot of adults/family too!)
Orange 'pirate boats' (Saw this on pinterest too! Not sure where it originally came from though.)
Garden Salad-Kale salad from Costco, which is my FAVORITE!
Berry Marshmallows in cups
Tinkerbell cupcakes- I used my Cricut machine to cut flowers and designs for the toppings
Utensils/Straws/Plates/Napkins etc. (Partypail.com)
Walk the plank
Pirate Hook Ring Toss (Not sure where this idea came from, but it's all over pinterest)
Playing at the park
I just love being a mommy to my two darling baby girls, and every year I get a little sad that they are growing up! So grateful to have them in my life!
Thanks again for your patience friends! Love you all so much!
Oh my Heavens!! Where do I begin?!
(12 weeks Pregnant. I've grown since then!)
First of all, THANK YOU for all of the love, support, congrats, and sweet wishes from all of you! Our little family and this baby bump of mine feel so loved! I feel so blessed in so many ways!
When my second little girl was born, I vowed right there on the hospital table that I wasn't going to do it ever again. Not because I didn't love babies, but because that pregnancy/labor was so hard I swore to myself and everyone around me that we were done.
I gave away ALL...yes all...of my baby stuff. (Minus a few memorable items.) I was content with my decision and moved on with life as a mom of two little divas.
I saw a baby.
Seriously, that was all it took. Our neighbor had a baby and all of the sudden I had baby fever. I felt that there was another little angel in our life that needed to be with our family. I told my husband about it and he looked at me shocked and confused each time. Yes, there were multiple times we talked about babies. Finally, at one moment, we both felt it was right and well...I don't need to explain more do I?
So far, this pregnancy has been INCREDIBLY DIFFERENT and similar all the same. (Which is why we were convinced it was a boy....)
With each of my pregnancies, I always know immediately. It's a weird thing to explain, but I just always know. This one started out incredibly easy, to the point where I started to disbelieve what the FOUR pregnancy test were telling me. I had NO symptoms...Not one. Usually I'll have a few right off the bat, but this time I had nothing.
Don't worry...they showed up.
Around week 8 it hit me.
Nauseousness. Throwing up Every.Dang.Day. (Still pretty much am.). Headaches, fatigue, and did I mention my hate towards food?! This has been pretty similar with both my pregnancies, but food does not sound good. The look, texture, feel, smell, anything will turn me off. EVEN CHOCOLATE!!!! Some days I can stomach a certain food, and some days I can't. It has made things difficult because I feel like I'm not getting all the nutrients I need. I wish I was being dramatic, because let's be honest, I usually am...
But I swear the other day I bit into a carrot that didn't taste so good, I went to spit it out, and the act of well...doing that...made me loose my lunch. I also heated up soup in the microwave, and that did it for me too...I'm hoping the further along I get, the better I can eat. I really do miss food...
As for my exercise, the beginning of my pregnancy when I felt amazing, I was kicking butt. As soon as the vomiting started, my exercise pretty much stopped. It was hard feeling like I was in a car 24/7, loosing the food I did eat, and taking care of two very active girls. It's gotten a bit easier since then, so I've been taking it slow with my stationary bike and walks. If there is one thing I've learned in pregnancy, it's that exercise makes pregnancy and labor definitely easier, but pushing your self is never a smart thing. Just do the best you can, even if it's slow. Any movement is good.
I also nap pretty much every day, especially when I felt car sick. My laundry is rarely done, the dishes are pilled high, and my kids lived off TV and macaroni and cheese for a while as a laid down for the majority of my day. My poor husband came home to quite the scene every day from work. Luckily he loves me OH SO MUCH, so it was all good ;)!
I have to add that I know pregnancy in general can be a sensitive subject to others, especially those who have struggled with loss and infertility. It's hard to say this but a majority of my friends are suffering from these problems, and it's a horrible struggle to go through. I am so grateful for each one of these people in my life, they have been such amazing women to my daughters by loving, teaching, playing, and caring for them. I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have to do the things I am able to do, but please know that with those that struggle my heart is always with you! We are all mothers in our own way, whether we bare children or not, I truly believe that.
Thank you again friends for your love & support! I plan to do a series of post of the foods I HAVE been craving, and what I've done to make them more healthier! (For example, a ranch salad...Sounds so good right now!)
Love you all!!
We've been keeping a rather large secret for a very long time...
We are expecting another BABY GIRL in February, 2015!
A post will follow soon with all the details :)!
I guess you could call us 'moochers', since we've always relied on grandparents to go on family getaways and vacations, but for the first time we ventured out just us four. I wish we would have done this sooner, but with student life and school loans, we haven't had the opportunity to do so. Luckily, everything worked out perfectly for our little family to take this trip, and it was exactly what we needed. We didn't go anywhere exotic (well, to some it might be), just to the beautiful state of Utah. We haven't been in years, and I was dying to see grass. (It's against the religion of Las Vegas to have grass I think?) I've never felt more like a family than I did on this trip. I still feel happy thinking about the memories we created.
We visited my grandparents grave first thing, and it was a beautiful start to the trip. It really put things into perspective for me. I couldn't help but think how happy my grandparents were to see their two great granddaughters running around and reading the names on their grave site. I know they would have loved my babies more than anything!
The next day was July 4th, and boy does Utah love to celebrate. We attending the provo parade, and then sat under the stars on a large blanket in Pleasant Grove, Utah. We knew no one, but had so much fun cuddling, tickling, and laughing on that blanket as we waited for the fireworks.
On Saturday we went to Salt Lake City where we toured Temple Square. There are so many fabulous things about temple square that I love, especially all of the flowers, grass, and trees. (Again, non existent in Las Vegas.) We watched a movie, read stories, viewed beautiful buildings, and ate ice cream. Then we walked across the street to the mall and went to the Disney store. (There was some bribing that happened in order for that stop...)
I can't say it enough...I loved every second of this weekend. Every day home life is special in it's own way, but going out and doing things as a family, and enjoying each others company is completely different. I treasure these moments and I hope in 15 years my girls still consider my their best friend. (And my husband too!)
Oh, and seriously...I LOVE grass.
It's been a while since I've shared a visit to a restaurant here on the blog! What's even more sad is that I live in Las Vegas where tons of people visit often, and there are amazing restaurants galore! But...I have two little kids and no babysitter... And if we aren't out of a restaurant within 20 minutes, well...It gets dangerous.
That being said, our little family LOVES eating out. Ironic? No..More like, I just cleaned the kitchen and it would be really nice for it to stay clean for at least an hour...
Get in the car kids! We're gettin' tacos!
Majority of the time when we eat out, we chose Mexican. No, every time we eat out we chose Mexican. I go through salsa like I drink water, and my husband could eat burritos every day for lunch.
Correction. I think he does.
So when our good friends opened a Mexican Grilled Tacos Restaurant called Frijoles, there was no doubt in our minds that we had to check it out.
After eating there more than I'd like to admit, I knew I had to share this amazing find with all of you! Being a healthy lifestyle blog, I totally consider this something that is right up my alley. All the food and drinks are fresh, made right in front of you! There are meat and vegetarian options and...FOR CRYING OUT LOUD THEY HAVE THE MOST DELICIOUS SPINACH DRINK.
Was that clear?
If I'm correct, this drink was made with lime, spinach, and oranges. Dang It!...Now I'm craving it. I've also had their CHIA SEED lemonade, which was the perfect balance of sweetness and tangy-ness! But don't worry, if those drinks don't float your boat, there are a ton of fresh drinks right up front for you to sample and chose from!
We usually get my girls rice and quesadillas and then cause a huge rice bomb all over the floor. (But that's ok, we know the owners so they totally are ok with that :)! )
Rice is probably one of my favorite carbs besides sour dough bread, and this one fits the bill perfectly!
The salsa is fresh and somewhat chunky, just the way I prefer my salsa! And my husband...(Only he's not chunky, so that jokes not even funny.)
Now here is where things are going to get intense...
This corn. I swear I make "MMMmmmm" noises every time I take a bite. I've had my share of grilled corn, but this one is just different! I swear they sprinkle magic (yes that's right) on them or something, because this corn is incredibly addicting! It has the perfect char from the grill, the right amount of sweetness from the corn, a little spice, and the cojita cheese brings it all together!
Ahhh...The grilled tacos. I've never strayed, and i've always gotten the grilled chicken tacos and never once been disappointed. It's made with corn tortillas, seasoned and grilled chicken, amazing FRIJOLES (beans), salsa, guacamole, cheese, and sour cream. I usually skip the cheese and just get a little sour cream since I usually ate my weight in salsa, corn, and spinach juice. Just trying to balance things out...
My husband get's something different every time, and this last time he got a grilled shrimp burrito. I know this picture is horrible, but it was either this picture or one of him shoving the burrito in his mouth. I'm assuming he was very pleased :)!
So if you are ever visiting Las Vegas, or live locally, come try Frijoles!
I'm hoping to share more of my favorite 'healthy' restaurant Las Vegas finds in the near future since I get asked a lot the best places to eat! I might also throw in the best place to find chocolate cake...
I'm sure you won't mind though right?
My English teacher in college taught me (more than) one lesson I'll never forget...
He said that too often when we write, we are taught to go back and re-read every sentence after we write it. Then we look over every written word, grammar usage, grammatical errors, and eventually we find our selves proof reading those one to two sentences to the point where we've lost our voice. What we really felt like writing, or saying, is now long gone, because we over thought it, and worried to much about the 'past', and didn't just follow our thoughts, hearts and mind.
Just write, he would tell us.
"I don't care how many grammatical errors you have. Don't stop. Just write."
I've never forgotten that professor, except maybe his name...I blame the pregnancies. I remember each time I sat in that tiny classroom in the middle of Idaho, feeling as if the words and thoughts I wanted to express were valuable. And all the rules and guidelines I had learned about writing were somehow, not the main focus any more...
After taking that class, I remember looking at writing differently. Not seeing it as a dreaded horrible 'project' that was due by 9:30 the next morning...But an opportunity to express the things that I had been feeling, or had experienced. To somehow share the emotions that had come along side every learned experience.
And now, again, I look at that lesson even more differently.
I don't think my professor "so and so" had meant for his lesson to be taken this way, but I have a feeling he would have understood and agreed.
The past 5-6 years of my life have been one hell of a ride. I've had ups, downs, nauseating scared shitless moments, and so happy I can barely stand it experiences. Sometimes I wake up and wonder what is going to happen next, and I'm not going to lie...It freaks me out. It's scary to just start living and enjoying, when I want to go back and make sure every.little.thing is perfect.
How can I move forward when there are so many other things that I could work on to make life...Perfect?
I don't know if the world was always this way, but it seems more than ever there are so many rules, guidelines, and 'proper grammar' things that need to be followed in order to make things be...A+.
But what's the definition of having an A+ life? I'm not saying "Screw the Rules!", drive 150 on the freeway...No No. But what I think I'm trying to say is...
Don't go back and forth, over and under every nook and corner to make sure life is perfect. Don't 'read between the lines' and dot all the I's and cross all the T's. Just write.
Messes will happen, clothes will be dirty, chocolate will be eaten, food will be spilled, and houses will be small and dirty. Don't obsess over it. Just live.
Move forward. Show love. Express happiness. Live in the moment. AND EAT CHOCOLATE.
Maybe then, life won't be a'Project' that's due when you wake up Monday morning, but an opportunity to show love and gratitude, feel happiness...and peace.
Tonight as I rocked my one year old to sleep, I started to sing to her this song that my oldest daughter learned at church. After the first verse, Sweet Pea looked up at my and began to sing through her passy that was resting in her mouth. Her sweet little voice sang these words:
"My Life Is A Gift.
My Life Has A Plan.
My Life Has A Purpose, In Heaven It Began...."
Live this life that is a Gift, and give it Purpose...
Thank You Professor, for you have taught me more valuable lessons in my life than I could ever repay you for...
Just Write. Just Live.
While most 25 year olds spend their money on clothes, makeup, and pedicures I rack up my grocery shopping bill. I have a hard time saying no to food, like all the time. Most likely if a creeper in a broken down van opened his door to me and said he had a bag of chocolate chips...I'd probably get in the van.
(Note: Don't really do that.)
Costco is one of those places that I visit weekly, and a lot of times I am emailed about things to buy to stock a healthy pantry. Now, for those that don't know, Costco sells food and other items in bulk. Like you don't buy 1 bottle of ketchup, you buy 7. But there are things that I get weekly there because we plow through food in our house so often, that I have to go there to save money. (Yes husband, I said 'Save Money').
Here is a list of some of the things I think are worth getting at Costco. Every Costco is different, so you might not find what's on this list at your local store. I'm sure in a few months I'll do a part two because Costco likes to sell my favorite things for a little bit, and then all of the sudden..stop.
Living in Las Vegas, produce isn't as fresh or as cheap as it was in California. And since we eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, I tend to buy majority of my produce from Costco. It's the most cost effective for our family since my girls can eat a whole container of blueberries in two days! Often you can find Organic produce for not much of a price difference for non organic too!
We love our smoothies in our house, so frozen fruit is a must! Right now I have a huge bag or Organic dark sweet cherries! I usually buy one bag, and use that up until it's done and then I'll switch to another fruit. Again, this has just been the most cost effective for our family too since we use it so much!
Sabra Single Serving Packets
I'm almost positive these aren't going to last at Costco because I love them so much! They used to see a HUGE tub of Sabra hummus for $5, and now it's gone! But it's ok, because now they switched to these single serving packets! It's perfect for out families hummus obsession, because I can take one out and eat it as a snack without eating the whole tub. I also put this in my daughters lunch for school!
Mama Chia Packets
These are so amazing! It's basically a sweet chia gel in a packet that you can suck right out when you need a little something. Perfect for me or the girls, we both love them!
The girls favorite yogurt, especially the strawberry. Usually this is the most cost effective for us since we eat a lot of it!
My one year old is obsessed with the apple sauce packets, so when Costco has them I always buy them because they don't last long! And most often, they are more expensive in other grocery stores!
Pure Maple Syrup
This is the syrup I use when cooking, baking, pancake making, etc. It's 100% pure! Maple syrup is SO expensive, but I've noticed I get more for my money at Costco!
Almond butter is delicious, especially when you add a little honey and cinnamon to it. This is a great find at costco, especially since it's all natural with no added sugars! And again, more for your money!
Almond Butter Packets
These are perfect for lunches or quick snacks! I'm always looking for things like this to make life easier!
Great brand of oats, and you get a lot for your money!
I just barely finished my bag of quinoa from costco that I got MONTHS ago! I keep it in the fridge/freezer so it last long!
$20 for a HUGE thing of coconut oil. If you use it as often as I do, then definitely look into this!
Quinoa & Brown Rice:
Microwaveable rice that's perfect and healthy for quick dinners and lunches!
This is similar with the quinoa in that this last forever and I keep it in the fridge until it's all gone!
Along the same lines as the Chia seeds! Last forever and more for the money!
I usually buy my non dairy milks at costco, they have coconut, soy, and almond. (I use a lot during the week.) I also buy eggs there because of the great price!
If costco gets rid of this salsa, I swear I will break up with them! This is the BEST salsa, and it's gone within the week. I put this crap on everything!
Fage Greek Yogurt
My favorite favorite yogurt! It's so thick and creamy, it's the perfect sub for sour cream and perfect for baking! You get a HUGE tub for like $5!
7 Superfoods Salad
This salad has kale, brussels sprouts, cabbage, pumpkin seeds, etc. I LOVE THIS SALAD! I have this often for lunch with a leftover protein from dinner! It's seriously the best, even my girls love it! (And my husband!)
Evolution Apple Juice
Liquid gold my friends. Everybody loves juice, but I'm kind of a snob towards juice that isn't fresh. It taste SO much better, and this is an example! We fight over this juice in our house, that's a fact.
Honey Chia Bread
This is a new find for me, but they give a lot of samples of it with warm melted butter. I'm now addicted! It's the perfect toast/breakfast bread with a little almond butter, honey, cinnamon, or coconut oil!
See what I mean...
Now I will say this...Don't buy all of this at once. Unless you want to spend $600 at Costco.
What are your favorite things to get at Costco? Did I miss any fun finds? Also, my children were cuddling while I shopped and took pictures for this post. My three year old was tickling my one year old and singing to her...
Costco may be what heaven is like...
This Easter is more different than any Easter I've ever experienced...
Besides being a year older, living in a different state, and making Easter dinner by myself for our small family...This Easter I've grown up. Or, I've become more of a grown up. I wouldn't go too far into saying I'm an adult.
I still call my mom 1..2..3 times a day.
It seems like with every day, month, year comes new challenges, big or small, tragic or simple. With each challenge, we grow. Eventually. Sometimes those challenges send us back farther than we've ever been. Sometimes challenges push us to try harder and move forward. Either way. We all experience them.
I spent last weekend in the beautiful state of Virginia. Seriously, there was so much grass I didn't know how to handle it. (You know..living in a desert and all.) I was there visiting one of my best friends who recently lost her 4 month old baby. A long with me on the trip came two other friends of mine. It was an emotional weekend, but filled with so much love.
A few days after returning home from my trip (which convinced me I'll never fly again after being stuck in Denver for 10 hours...), my husband and I found out that a family member had just lost their 20 month old baby. My heart sunk, and seriously...I don't think It's going to feel back to normal ever again.
Ever since then, I've just wanted to sit and hold my babies. I've been letting the little things go that are insignificant, and honestly have taken up wasted time. I wanted to share this with you guys because I know that many of you, if not every one of us, is struggling with some type of challenge in our life. I know that it's hard to move forward when times are difficult. I know that it's a struggle to grow from these challenges.
But I also feel that eventually we will move forward and we will grow.
I've become even more grateful for my knowledge that families are forever, and that we will see our loved ones again. I am overwhelmed with the knowledge that my Savior and Heavenly Father love us, and feel our pain. I am grateful for the knowledge of prayer, and I know that it works. And each prayer said on behalf of others truly brings comfort.
This Easter I am going to try my best to really Love One Another. I'm going to Choose Happiness. And I'm going to be grateful for what I have now, and not focus on what I wish life could be like if this or that was happening.
Hug you loved ones for me! And Happy Monday, and I'm so grateful for each one of you!!
I'm so excited to finally share this video with all of you, it's been a long work in progress! For a while, I've been wanting to have a video to briefly let others know what this blog, The Diva Dish, is all about. After a lot of help from my incredibly talented brothers, we were able to finish it!
Thanks again friends for sharing along this journey with my family to a healthy & happier life! Much love to you all xoxo!!