Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Menu Plan Monday 1/28

I'm finally getting on the meal planning band wagon! Thanks, Lindy, for the inspiration. :D

Here goes:

SUN: Pot Roast, Carrots, Mashed Potatoes, Fresh Homemade Wheat Bread
MON: Beef Pot Pie, Orange Sections
TUE: Chicken Enchiladas, Mexican Rice, Green Salad
WED: Hamburgers, Chips, Apple Slices
THU: Potato Bar, (Chili, Cheese, Broccoli), Green Salad
FRI: Leftovers or Eat Out Family Night
SAT: Hot Ham/Turkey and Cheese Sandwiches on Fresh Homemade Wheat Bread, Soup, Veggie Tray

Farewell, President Hinckley

Ever since my father passed away, I'm very sensitive to death. No matter what, when someone passes away, feelings of grief, happiness, and thoughts about the next life, instantly move to the forefront of my mind.

The passing of President Gordon B. Hinckley, 15th President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is no different. Despite his age, it always seemed like he would live forever. His passing is bittersweet as I am deeply saddened and will truly miss him. At the same time, I'm happy for him as he is reunited forever with his precious wife, Marjorie.

He has been an inspiration to me and millions in the LDS and non-LDS community. As the President of the church throughout my entire adult life his wisdom, sense of humor, service to others, and spirituality have inspired and guided me always. Goodbye, President Hinckley, thank you, for all that you represented, taught, and shared with me and millions throughout the world.

My friend, Lindy, posted a quote by our Prophet on her blog, which I also wanted to share on ours. As she suggested, wouldn't it be wise for all of us to follow his counsel?

"My plea is that we stop seeking out the storm and enjoy more fully the sunlight. I am suggesting that as we go through life, we accentuate the positive. I am asking that we look deeper for the good, that we still our voices of insult and sarcasm, that we more generously compliment and endorse virtue and effort."

Family Home Evening, Good Times

Lately, when having family prayer, Sofia has not been wanting to say the prayer. It's been hard for Ryan and I to understand why this is as she's been praying by herself for a year and a half or so. Most of the time she says she doesn't know how.

Tonight for Family Home Evening we had our little lesson on prayer. With the use of some great visual aids my mother-in-law, Clarissa, gave to us we were able to enjoy a nice family discussion on the importance of prayer. Sofia loved holding the cute pictures and talking about what they meant. They were pictures of children and Jesus praying.

The sweetest thing happened as Ryan was talking about the steps to prayer. He was teaching about the step and importance of expressing gratitude. When he finished, he went around the room and asked each of us what we are grateful for. Sofia went first and she answered: "I'm thankful for being born." I can't even express in words how special and spiritual of a moment it was for each of us to hear her say that. As her mother it brought tears to my eyes and I felt so grateful to be Sofia's mom. It was a humbling moment and it reminded me how innocent and close to God little children are. We were amazed that she expressed something so special to her. I love my Sofia so much and I'll never forget tonight's Family Home Evening...none of us will.

Sofia said the closing prayer with some help from Papi and we enjoyed some ice cream cones when we were all done. I love Family Home Evening, it's a fun informal time to come together as a family, have fun, be uplifted, and enhance our family unity.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Are we having a girl or a boy?

Stay tuned as we have our ultrasound on Monday, Febraury 4, 2008! Only 7 1/2 more days to go!

We truly believe we are having a girl. It just feels right. We knew we were having a girl before Sofia was ever conceived and it's the same feeling with this one! Sofia is also convinced it's a girl--she loves the idea of a baby princess to play with. :) That said, we could all be wrong...In the end we're happy with either.

Take a moment and cast your vote for what you think we're having. It'll be interesting to see the consensus!

Hogheaven in Houston

For my 30th birthday, Ryan and Sofia gave me a plane ticket to Houston, Texas, to visit my Best Friend, Tori. From January 3-7th, I was flyin' solo with Tor. It was awesome and we had an absolute blast. (Thanks, Tori--wink wink) From eating the most amazing steak fajitas at Papasito's to throwing a surprise party for Tori's friend, Anela while sipping "virgin" strawberry daqueri's, to late night talks, a trip to the gym and plenty of shopping in between it was an all out girls weekend! I even re-vamped my sunday best wardrobe! YAY! Oh, and we even celebrated Kings Day--complete with the traditional King Cake. It was cool to spend 4 days in the city where I was born and even find the apartment building my parents lived in when I was born. That was really something special for me because for a moment I could sense the love and excitement my parents had when they welcomed me into the world. I am naturally super sentimental and couldn't help but feeling so grateful to my mom and dad for all of their sacrifices and love they gave to me and our special family.

So here's some photos to highlight the best weekend ever--Tori feel free to add anything I may have left out. :)

Presenting, my BFF, Tori!!!

...and here we are drinking our virgin strawberry daqueri's

Anela (the birthday girl!), Me, Tori having a great time...

The apartments where my parents lived when I was born

After thirty years, my mom could still remember the exact address:
9550 Long Point Road, Houston, Texas

Movie and dessert night at The Chocolate Bar
...everything there is chocolate--chocolate candies, chocolate ice cream, chocolate cheesecake, chocolate pie...the list goes on and on and on!

No doubt, they live up to their motto!

So sorry this is all we had left to show for our decadent dessert spread...which included three different kinds of icecream and a three or four layer chocolate cake with cream and chocolate sauce. Holy Mother of Mercy--I could use a trip there right now!!

Kings Day was January 6th--we celebrated with many friends of Tori and of course, the traditional King Cake. It was absolutely scrumptious. It brought back memories of my childhood when my Grandparents Britton would ship us a King Cake every year. Before returning to Portland, I went to the bakery and purchased one for my Momma and fam--so yummy.

Tori's friend, Danny, and Tori. Seriously, I loved this guys hair. It reminded me of Ryan's hair when we were first married. Ryan didn't cut his hair for nearly 8 months and it looked just like this! Awesome.
I ate a dove chocolate and the inside of the wrapper said: "Your presence is often the best present." I think that sums up perfectly how I feel about my best friend, Tori. LYLAS to the MAX!

Upon returning to Portland, I was greeted by my sweet hubby, Ryan, Sofia, and my mom. Sofia came running towards me with two dozen GOREGEOUS long stem red roses--it was so nice to be home and with my family again. Thanks to each of you for making this trip possible, it was a blast.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Beef Carnitas, A Family Favorite

Everyone knows our family loves any food with a Latin or Spanish flare. This recipe is a staple for us and can be used to make so many great dishes. Tonight we're having Beef Carnitas Tacos for dinner but like I said the Beef Carnitas can be used to make various dishes including: empanadas, enchilada casseroles, and beef salad.

I found this recipe almost a year and a half ago in Cooking Light Magazine. It's such a stellar recipe that I've never found a reason to alter it. Give it a try, your tummies and waistline won't be sorry!

p.s. The timing of Beef Carnitas on our menu for the week is no coincidence...I'm having some serious physical cravings for red meat. It must be all the protein and iron! Not too worry--I'm doing my best not to over due it. :D

Sofia's Hair Makeover Extravaganza

I was away at the grocery store two nights ago shopping alone when Ryan called me to ask if I was almost home. I told him that I was finishing up my selections and quickly asked, "what happened?" He then said he'd wait to tell me when I arrived home. Right, like I'm going to let him wait--so I dragged it out of him..."Sofia has butchered her hair upstairs and cut a good 60% of it off!!!!" Holy cow, I never hurried up so fast to get out of the grocery store.
Apparently, she came downstairs and said, "Papi, what happened to my hair?" Ryan was staring at her puzzled and he said, "No, what did you DO to your hair?!?!" I rushed home to find Sofia's new "doo" and of course, my mouth dropped to the floor, as I stared at her head. Sofia what did you do to your hair, I asked. She replied, "I cut my hair, don't you like it?!?!" When her Papi asked her why she cut her hair, she replied, "It was getting too long!"

So there we sat wondering if any thing could be salvaged. The next day we went to the kids salon, Little Clippers. Let me just say this place is any parents saving grace. It's only for kids, and the kids get to choose what kind of "car" they sit in, they watch a movie while they get their haicut and can play when they're done! Where was a place like this when I was a kid?!?

Sofia chose the pink Barbie corvette, of course, with Sleeping Beauty as her video entertainment. She would not stop hammin' it up with the stylist. It was HILARIOUS! She kept saying things like, "What are you doing to my hair?" and "Yeah, I cut my hair!" and "Do you know the name of the witch on the movie? and of course, "Wow, my hair is SO COOL!" The stylist, 'Drea, and I could not stop laughing. She was just the little charmer, jokester, that she always is and I regretted not having our camcorder to record it all! The photos will have to tell the story. Most of them are her chatting away while she gets her haircut.

The beauty of the experience was that we dodged the a pixie cut, can I get a hallelujah?!?! In fact, Sofia's new "doo" is so cute, it's way more trendy than mine!!!

Here we go, combing through, to see what could be done.

This was a Sofia moment, where she asked, "Do you even know the name of that witch on the movie?"
Chop, chop, chop, with a smile!

This picture makes me laugh, instantly!

The pink Barbie Corvette, it doesn't get anymore cool than this!

Sofia says, "My hair is SO COOL!"

Blow dry, almost done!
Some spray glittler, to really "sparkle" like a Princess.

So adorable.
The back.

"Let me see, let me see!"
All done, it's play time now!!!

Sofia's First School Picture, Amiguitos Pre-school, 2007-2008

Here she is, as cute and adorable as can be!  This photo was taken in the Fall and comes with a funny story.  When Sofia first sat on the stool for her picture she refused to smile.  I know, I know--Sofia, refuse to smile?  Is that even possible?  She's always smiling and joking around but it was something about the school picture scene, I guess.  I kindly asked the photographer to give us a couple of minutes and I took Sofia aside to talk to her.  I asked her what was wrong, to which she responded, "I don't want to take my picture, Mami."  I responded to that by bribing her with a donut after the picture and it was as easy as that.  While bribes are used sparingly this was certainly the moment that called for one. Sofia had no problems hopping back up on the stool, and giving her biggest smile ever.  In the end, Sofia was happy (with her donut) and Mami and Papi were happy with her very first school picture.  So dang precious!  

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

Okay, everyone, this bread recipe is a definite keeper. I found it on allrecipes.com and then of course, modified it quite a bit...like I always do! To be honest, I don't think I'll every buy wheat bread from the store again. This is so good and let's just say my hubby is going to be the happiest guy on earth tomorrow when he opens his lunch bag. (A tuna salad sandwich on homemade bread awaits him)

Honey Whole Wheat Bread
  • 1 1/8 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat bran (if you don't have wheat bran substitute wheat flour)
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter (may also use veg/canola oil)
  • 1 package active dry yeast
Add ingredients according to the manufacturer's directions to your bread machine. Use the wheat bread cycle and light color setting. Most bread machines tell you to add the ingredients in the order they are listed--that's exactly what I did.

Feel free to play with the wheat flour and bran ratios--there's a lot of wiggle room there to make it to your liking. I'm going to add some flaxseed next time to give it an even healthier boost.


p.s. The picture above is not my own--the bread didn't last long enough to get a pic. :D

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Every Generation Experiences it...

So Stormy really wanted to see the movie, Hairspray, which I'm sure that most of you have either heard of or seen in it the past year. And so Stormy and I decided that we'd watch it as a family. Generally speaking the movie doesn't have anything that Sofía wouldn't normally see or hear around the house, not to mention that the movie is rated PG. 

From the moment we started the DVD, Sofía was mesmerized; she studied the dances, listened to the music, and by the end, put on a dress and danced her little heart out, rocking out to the music--it brought tears to my eyes. Mind you, this was the first time we'd watched the movie. Stormy departed for Houston, TX, the following day, and I told her that we were going to have to purchase the movie soundtrack and the DVD so that Sofía could continue rockin' out, as this is something I encourage. I believe it was AC/DC who said that "Rock-n-Roll ain't noise pollution."

The video clip takes place shortly after downloading the Hairspray Movie soundtrack from iTunes (hello, where else would I buy music?), and after Sofía had watched Hairspray three times. 

So while I rocked out to Grease, and other kids have their High School Musicals, my daughter has Hairspray

Enjoy the clip.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Christmas 2007, Part 2

We decorated our tree on Monday, December 3rd at about 9:30pm. Yes, Sofia was still awake, we had just returned from the gym about 45 minutes earlier and figured, if we didn't do it then it would be another week before the tree was decorated. We had a lot of fun and Sofia couldn't stop talking about her tree. I loved our tree as I do each and every year because I enjoy hanging all of the different ornaments. We have such a variety and almost everyone has a little story or meaning behind it. It was fun to talk about some of them and tell Sofia about them. It was so neat how she recognized a couple and could remember receiving them and why. Here are a few fun pics of the finished product.

Sofia presenting the Christmas Tree to the camera

A fun family group shot when it was all done!

The Christmas Tree in all its glowing glory

Fine, YOU WIN, Pregnant Brain!

For those of you who may or may not recall, pregnant brain struck big during my pregnancy with Sof. My mind was pretty much worthless and so it seemed that I lost brain cell after brain cell as the days went on. Some would try to console me by saying my brain cells were just taking a brake while others (bless their heart) actually told me the truth. Once you get it--it never goes away and only gets worst with each pregnancy thereafter.

Being the type of strong-willed, stubborn, and determined person that I am, I have tried to fight the pregnant brain theory...only to fail each and every dang time. Well, today was no exception and in fact was the frosting on the cake, the cherry on top, even better--the straw that broke the camels back!

That's right folks, I give up. I'm no longer going to fight it...pregnancy brain theory is true and my experience today solidified that for me.

It's Wednesday, January 2nd, I'm swamped with a disorganized house, a daughter who is dying to go back to school, some killer nausea and vomiting all morning, packing for my trip to Houston, laundry, oh and my nice thought to make meals for my family while I'm away. Sofia and I rush out the door a few minutes before 1:00pm to drive her to school about 30 minutes away. We arrive at what seems to be 20 minutes late only to find the doors locked. The Director and her teacher, Maestra Claudia, come to the door only to say, the school is closed today and doesn't re-open for classes until tomorrow, the 3rd. (which means the 4th for Sofia since she doesn't attend on Thursdays) That's right, everyone, I'm the 1 out of 120 parents who failed to read the newsletter where it stated that school doesn't resume until the 3rd. Which by the way, in the back of my mind, I swear I read it but instead read the 2nd--something my mind must have hallucinated.

Being the super efficient, ultra-organized freak that I am--I was utterly humiliated by my mistake. It was that moment where I realized my fight against pregnant brain was over and I had lost. On top of that my precious Sofia couldn't understand where the "ninos" were and didn't want to listen when I broke the news that Mami made a mistake and there was no school today. UGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!! The Director and teacher couldn't quite understand until I just started rambling about pregnant brain and how I was losing my mind. Being the empathetic beings they are, they were polite and laughed with me. I explained to them that in the month of December I had paid Sofia's tuition late, the rent late, and now this....I failed to mention the less important things like: finding myself in a room in my house and having no idea why I'm there, never being able to remember what the date is or even the day of the week, or calling someone on the phone only to immediately forget my main purpose in calling. The beauty that came from our trip to the school was that I actually remembered to pay the tuition on time...

So, there you go. It's over. I'm pregnant, a bit retarded, and the latests self-proclaimed victim of pregnant brain. Or actually I'm not the latest victim...I've just been in denial for a LONG time!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Christmas 2007, Part 1

Yes, I realize that Christmas is now over and we hadn't posted any of these yet. This month has been hectic as I've been trying to recover from my horrid all-day sickness, oh and we moved--more later on that!

So here is the first of a few posts highlighting our Christmas festivities!

The Christmas Tree

The beauty of Oregon is that there is an abundance of trees. I feel like it's against my own personal core beliefs to have anything but a real tree and since they're so cheap up here it's no big deal. We went to purchase a tree on Saturday, December 1st, and told Sofia that she could pick one out. She was so excited and conveniently picked out one of the biggest ones they had. Keep in mind, however, they only had really big ones for the most part so it was inevitable that we go home with a honkin' tree.

We got home and realized it would definitely need some trimming--NO--make that A LOT of trimming! Papi went to work with the axe and here are some highlights of the experience. Can we just say we we're so grateful for a garage to do this in?!?! It was pouring outside and would have been a miserable task otherwise!

Sofia watches Papi as he trims away...

Sofia helped Papi pick up all the branches and debris

Papi smiles as he's nearly finished trimming the monstrosity

Chop, chop, chop

The stand goes on

Voila! We have our Christmas Tree. It remained in the garage that night so it could dry and we decorated it on Monday, December 3rd, 2007. More on the finished product later!