Thursday, July 31, 2008

Marinated Cucumbers

At the request of The VanKlan - I am offering up a great recipe I have from Weight Watchers using these....

Marinated Cucumbers

2 Medium Cucumbers
1 Small Red Onion
1/2 Red Bell Pepper
2/3 Cup Distilled White Vinegar
6 Packets Sucralose Non-Caloric Sweetener (Splenda)
Dash of Cayenne Pepper (I use way more than a dash)

1. Cut Cucumbers into thin slices - add onion and bell pepper

2. Combine Vinegar, Sweetener & Ground Pepper. Bring just to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool.

3. Pour vinegar mixture over cucumber mixture. Refrigerate, covered until chilled.

*That is my kind of recipe. 3 easy steps. This little dish is so good, so light, and so refreshing during the summer season. Despite the amount of cayenne pepper I use, the girls still eat it up. Remember vinegar boils quick and dissolves quick so ummm... don't walk away from the stove while your concoction is boiling - not that I have ever done that.

*If you decide to try the recipe - take a picture and email me or blog about it - I'd love to know!

We now have several Ziploc bags of these guys - jalapenos. Since we can't get green chili here - this is the next best thing. I'll probably be adding a few recipes on the blog using some of these - although all of my NM buddies already have every recipe known to man.

Just a sneak peak at what else is popping up in the garden. Anybody want to come over for dinner -dessert too since our freshly planted blueberry bushes are doing fabulous.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Date With Daddy

What better way to spend a hot afternoon with daddy than...

root beer floats -Paloma's personal favorite.

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, July 28, 2008

Any Guesses?

I'll give you three guesses to figure out where our family spent a wonderful, warm, sunny, Sunday afternoon...

You guessed it - the County Fair. We are unsure about whether or not we'll make it to the state fair due to our impending trip back to the midwest in August - so as a result we decided to take in the local Country Fair. Oh what fun - and what a change from last year. Paloma spent the majority of the time in her stroller last summer, but this summer she was in heaven. She loved the animals, the food, the rides. In all honesty, I think she had more fun than Mattea. And I can't get her to stop oinking and mooing. It is a hoot. Do check out the video below and see for yourself. Anybody have any plans for the fair this summer?

Piggy Noises

Friday, July 25, 2008

Me & My Sis

My two little girls enjoying each other's company this morning....Oh if they could always get a long this well!

Deep In Thought

Paloma and I were laying around wondering where in the world have all our blog friends gone. We know their are quite a few of you out there who read our blog (Grandma Dean, Aunt Michelle, Debbie, Dena, Uncle Mike - do I need to list more). We are so hoping that you would leave us a comment - simply let us know that you are here enjoying the wonderful pictures of my beautiful girls - or reading about my ridiculous true life stories lately. I'm sure if you leave me a comment I could come up with a few more to blog about it in the upcoming days. Anyways - make this be the day. If you don't have an account - simply hit the comments and sign in under anonymous. Remember to let me know who you are though. This is your day!!! You might even make Paloma smile - maybe! So please, please, please. If you have stopped by today - take the time to say HI.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

All Gone!

This post is for you daddy - Mattea wanted to show off her new haircut for you. She looks adorable. At first I was shocked - but it was exactly how I envisioned it. She looks soooo different.

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Mother's Thoughts

Though Dave is away and life is hectic, I have had the most blessed and cherishing days with my daughters. In a weird way I like the time alone as it gives me complete one on one time with my children. Granted, I am exhausted at the end of the day - both physically and emotionally but despite my fatigue, I have really had the opportunity to bond and love on my kids in a way I just haven't had before. Making sense? Probably not - but read on......

So as many of you may know, my relationship with Paloma has been different. I say that not necessarily in a bad way - just different. Knowing and really praying Paloma would be my last child, I created all these expectations of what I wanted her to be. I wanted this perfect relationship with her, I wanted the opportunity to bond and connect in the exact same way I did with my first baby. Mattea was an absolutely content and perfect baby in every sense of the word. She was mellow and happy. She came into our family and immediately fit in. She had a smile and personality that was like no other. Coming from the same gene pool, I just assumed that Paloma would be the same.

Well, much to my surprise, Paloma was way different. From the beginning she was different. Her delivery was a bit more complicated. Her first few days at home were nothing mellow or happy. It seemed to be one problem after another. And although those problems were not serious - to a post-partum mom, they were catastrophic. It seemed as if my perfect outlook that I had created for my family was quickly falling apart - and we hadn't even made it past the first week. The ball continued to roll. The bonding that I had so wanted with Paloma was interrupted by her sister's plea to help her "go potty" or the endless loads of laundry that were piling up now with two children. I yearned for the days that I had with Mattea where I could lay around napping when she napped, holding her for hours on end because I had nothing else to do but love on my baby. That is what I wanted. That sweet scent of serenity I was able to experience with my first child. Now all I could hear was screaming, tantrums, crying, tantrums, phone calls, tantrums.... Life was different and I wasn't adapting.

Anyways, after succumbing to Satan's grip, I became overwhelmed by feelings of guilt. Guilt for not giving Paloma my undivided attention, guilt for not being the best mom I could to Mattea, guilt for not being as an attentive and supportive wife as I should have, guilt for disconnecting with my friends, guilt, guilt guilt. Soon I was overcome. And it didn't stop there. As Paloma struggled with her own personal issues, I struggled with guilt about why I couldn't help her, why I wasn't more compassionate, why she was requiring so much attention while Mattea so patiently sat on the sidelines.

Finally!!! In the last couple days I have seen the light! Literally. I am free from the guilt that once held me hostage. I am free to love both of my children - especially Paloma - whole heartidly. It was just this afternoon while Mattea was busy in the other room that I stepped back and was able to appreciate the amazing and beautiful little girl Paloma has become. She has had a struggle but man is that little girl resilient. She has been so happy, so spunky, so curious, so sweet. Her personality is so different from that of the baby I brought home 18 months ago. She is so compassionate and loving. I have been able to connect and bond with this sweet and precious child finally, in the way that I had always intended. I love these months just prior to turning two. They are curious and smart, sassy and sweet, pushing the boundaries but weary of wandering too far from mom's trusting grasp. I want so badly to redo the last 18 months - but I can't. I can look on to the future though with hope that I can make up for lost time and truly appreciate and remember THIS Paloma, the Paloma that is in front of me now.

Is This Really Learning?

A while back, my friend Merranda posted an idea for helping children sort. I hadn't really thought too much about the concept until I stumbled on this great assortment of paper in the $1 section at Target. It is paper of various colors and shapes. I decided to purchase, take home, and try out. This morning, Mattea rose before the rooster crowed and so we had quite a bit of time on our hands before her sister was up. After breakfast, I broke out the paper and asked her to sort. At first she didn't get it. But after realizing what I was asking, she quickly sorted the piles of papers into their correct hues. After successfully completing that task, she was asked to sort by shapes. That was a bit more difficult but she did complete the task as asked. Mattea is a bright little girl who now can identify all of her letters, count to 20, talk in Spanish, etc.... but the poor girl can not for the life of her learn her shapes. Part of it is me - I think shapes are boring so very rarely do I do a lesson on them. Slap on hand - I know. Right now we are working on money and time and that is way more exciting.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Playtime At The Park

Since Dave is away, the girls and I are doing everything we can to stay busy! It makes for some tiring days - but definitely more tolerable if we are on the go. Today we had the opportunity of spending some time at the park with some friends of ours. The girls were so excited (I think to be hanging out with someone other than mom). We are so lucky to have met such wonderful people since moving to our new home. Mattea has been able to meet some great friends and that goes for me as well. Thanks ladies for a great morning.

Muffin Tin Monday - Breakfast Style

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Rodeo Romance

I'm sorry to have kept you in suspense - I bet y'all are dying to know how the rodeo went the other night. Maybe not. Well, I actually really liked it. Dave and I had talked about going while we lived in Albuquerque but just never got around to it. So when the advertisements started for the Snake River Stampede - we called our babysitter, booked tickets, and prepared ourselves for a night of cowboys, wranglers, and chaps. Although I did not fit it in at all, I did have a very good time and would definitely consider going again next year.

This first picture features all of the little "cow people" who participated in the "Mutton Bustin" race. Apparently the first event allows 5-6 year old boys and girls to compete for a chance to win a pair of cowboy boots. All they have to do is ride a sheep longer than all the others. At first I was scared to death because those little sheep can run fast - but I have to give those kids credit. They did a fantastic job.

Some bucking horse that I was able to photograph. I think the whole point was to stay on until the buzzer went off?

And of course, no blog post would be complete without a picture of the main event - bull riding. Ummm, not sure what to say. It was definitely cool to watch but man those guys have to be sore the next day?

Making Mistakes

After church this morning, we made lunch and took it outside to enjoy the wonderful weather we are having. The girls were eating and admiring the garden at the same time. Mattea was fascinated by the butterflies that were adorning our foliage an asked me "Mama is that a bird?" I really wasn't paying attention too well to the conversation and so I answered "yes." Daddy was quick to correct and tell her "No Matty, that isn't a bird, that's a butterfly."

After realizing I had told her wrong information, I turned and said "Sorry Mattea, mommy made a mistake. That isn't a bird, that is a butterfly"
Without hesitation she then responded

"Mama, God doesn't want you to mistakes." Swallow hard - hmmmm. Think quickly. Pray - God, how in the world can I explain in simple, 3 year old terms that I make mistakes daily. Not just daily, hourly. And that I have made several just this very morning - some the kids may have seen, some they may have not seen. And then quickly surveying my 3 year dictionary to find the perfect words used to describe the indescribable grace that God has so graciously given me when I make those mistakes.

I was lucky that David jumped in and gave a very simple, straightforward explanation and the conversation quickly turned to something else. Wow! I think it is simply amazing that some of my most stimulating conversations come between me and my toddler!

My Sleeping Beauty

The Big "20"

We are pleased to announce that finally, at 18 months, Paloma has reached 20 lbs. In fact the official weight was 20 lb 4 oz. Thought we would never hit the 20 lb mark. Shhhh - don't tell the American Academy of Pediatrics but Paloma has been forward facing in her car seat for months. As for height, she was measured at 30.5 inches - just a .5 inch behind her big sis at this age.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Gender Differences

In a current book that I am reading, I stumbled on a section about Gender Differences. I hadn't really given the subject a whole lot of thought until I began reading....

Little boys have a trail of masculine adjectives that distinctly separate them from little girls. Social conditioning? There might be some, but not sufficient enough to alter male and female predispositions embedded in nature's endowment of gender. The fact is, male and female brains are wired differently. Yes, little boys love trucks and little girls love dolls.

This inspired me to rummage through my toy room to see whether or not I am contributing to gender differences with my two GIRLS.

A purple and pink tent - which doubles as our princess castle - umm not too many boys have played within.

A whole lot of "mommy" accessories - kind of girlie.

Not so boyish! (May I add that I am seriously contemplating wearing this to the rodeo tonight - tonight is date night.)

A doll house - There is some blue and green on it???

Tea for two? It is blue....

Aaah Haaa! A tool box and little hammer purchased from Goodwill just the other day. I'm not doing so bad huh?

As I continued to read in the book though I felt relieved.

....parents should not attempt to gender-neutralize their little boys or girls, but rather appreciate the differences and work with each propensity.
On Becoming Preschool Wise - Gary Ezzo & Robert Bucknam

Ok - so I don't have to feel bad for having 2 girlie girls and raising them in a girlie house with girlie toys and girlie books. I have pink everything and dolls galore. I don't own a truck but rather lots and lots of girlie "stuff." And I don't feel bad but am rather embracing the fun of raising little women.

Pondering Thought For The Day

...the destiny of a child's life is shaped by his conscience.

...the conscience is not something you stir up in a child, rather something you shape in the child - carefully and with a purpose.

On Becoming Preschool Wise - Gary Ezzo & Robert Bucknam

Supper Solution - Part 1

My shopping trip today was most successful. Not only did I reward Mattea for her excellent progress with night training, I also came up with a solution for my dinner time chaos. Look above my friends. Since my children have this NEED to be in the same room as me, sucking all of my attention and emotions during dinner prep - I have now concocted a way to make everyone happy. I moved their kitchen to my kitchen. They no longer have an excuse to rummage through my cabinets in search of pots and pans , they now have their own. They no longer have the excuse to rummage through my cabinets in search of "food to make," they now have their own. AND, it makes for a great conversational piece in my kitchen. AND, it will help spark their creativity and imagination. Best $20.00 I ever spent. Paloma took to it right away - Mattea was busy with her new doll Cassy. I'll keep you updated on whether or not it works.


A huge congratulations to Miss Mattea - today was the day when she was allowed to hit the toy store aisles and buy the doll of her choice for finally staying dry at night. I have recently begun to panic because although Mattea has been potty trained since 20 months, nighttime has always been a struggle. She sleeps so soundly and waking up to use the potty has been the last thing from her mind. Well, the other night Mattea went to her drawer to pull out a pull up and - ooops - mommy had forgot to purchase more. Dave and I turned to each and decided that was our cue to begin night training. In all the books we had read, we had learned you can't really "night train" a child. Well, we decided we would be the first. Anyways, I won't bore you with the details but because Mattea is such a bright, bribeable little girl - we are now staying dry at night!!!

After a whole lot of contemplating at the store - Baby Cassy was chosen as the lucky lady to be taken home with Mattea. She has not put her down since we arrived home and has been careful to tuck her in, give her a pacifier, and feed her without letting Paloma near her. She is a proud girl and we are proud of her!!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Spilling Secrets

Look closely at the pot........ Now read on for a ridiculous cooking story brought to by whom other but myself.
This weekend, Dave and I decided to tag team supper since the girls were staying busy outside, I had stuff to do inside, Dave was trying to plant our new blue berry bushes, etc. Well, Dave had prepared corn on the cob and stuck it in the pan. He instructed me to start it at a certain time which would then correspond to our kabobs cooking on the grill. Easy right? I could totally handle that.
I ran in the house to find that I had missed the minute I was supposed to turn the stove on - so I ran over and popped that sucker up as high as it would go and left...obviously had more important stuff to do. Came back to check on it but did not find it boiling yet. Bummer - I was already behind schedule.
I then left the room to finish laundry or some other pressing task only to return minutes later to the most retched smell. Ummm, apparently David didn't add water to the pan of corn when he had thrown it together and then failed to reveal to me that slight detail. I, of course, wouldn't have even thought to check that since it is those kinds of details that I most often forget while in the kitchen. So, I'm thinking the pan might be ruined, and the corn - well, i just scraped off the side that was blackened and served it up to my family who didn't really ask too many questions. Now do you realize why I hate cooking?

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Picture Blog Tag

Ye haw! I got tagged by my coworker Kim to play Picture Blog Tag - and despite having 1000 things on my TO DO LIST, I dropped everything to play. So here goes. I did shorten it down from 10 pics to 5 though. The only rule was to take a photo of various "things" throughout your house without altering or doctoring them in anyway before shooting. So, here it is.
1) My refrigerator - Rather bare at the moment because we're heading in to the end of the week. We have some of the essentials though - coffee, creamer, ketchup, and a bottle of wine. I'll get to the grocery store eventually.

2) What my kids are doing now - Currently both are napping. This is Mattea camped out in her daddy's tent instead of her bed - Don't ask? If I even attempted to open the door to Paloma's room nap time would be over - so you'll have to trust that she is also sound asleep in dreamland.

3) Favorite room of the house - Hands down - the play room. The kids have so much fun in there and learn so much every day. Even though it is one of the first rooms our guests see as they enter our house, I love it just the same. I read a book once that basically said you have the rest of your life to have a perfectly decorated "dream home" but right now our goal is to make it as kid friendly as possible. So this room could serve a better purpose I'm sure but for now it is our super fun playroom.

4) Your kitchen sink - This is truly no fair BECAUSE you will never, ever, ever come into my house and find any dishes sitting in my sink. I hate that. I will stay up extra late in order for the dishes to be done and the sink scrubbed before turning in for the night. Anal, OCD, Type A - YES!!! But today, of course, the day that I am to be honest, you will in fact find dishes in my sink (but as a side note, after snapping the pic I unloaded the dishwasher and cleaned them all up). In my defense though - my housekeeper was unable to come yesterday - bummer!

5) My toilet - Actually my children's toilet. My toilet is not quite as fun. The children's potty is way more interesting & believe it or not more clean. And may I just add - right before nap time Paloma once again used her little potty - as featured above. Yeah Paloma!

So Kim - there you are, an abbreviated version of Blog Tag. I won't officially tag anyone but I would love for any of you out there to do it (ie. Merranda, Kim, Dena, Courtney etc....) Here is the full length list
Refrigerator, Closet, Self Portrait, Favorite Room, Kitchen Sink, Laundry Room, Toilet, What are your kids doing, Dream Vacation & Favorite Shoes
Be sure to let me know if you play along......

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sunday Special

Couldn't resist sharing a few photos from this morning.