Wednesday, February 13, 2019

My Love of Books 2019



Books upon Books upon Books...... I use to be one of those who would start a book and then would never finish it and then start another book and never finish it. The only book I had ever read fully through, which is actually surprising because it's a quite long one is Gone with the Wind, which turns out happens to also be my ALL TIME FAVORITE BOOK and ALL TIME FAVORITE MOVIE!!!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE it! I've actually read a handful of times and every time I read it, it captures me, just as it had the very first time I read it, through every page, through every chapter....

So this year,  I decided to try audibles because life with three kids, therapies, appointments, homeschool classes, sports, etc, I'm in the car  A LOT!!!!! So, I decided to give it a go and try some Audible Books, and I love them and the kids love them, so I actually let them pick some books out too. Here are the ones we have read already and I'll keep adding as we go through the year. and if you'd like more info on the books, just let me know.

Please keep in mind some of these are kid books too, but they wanted me to borrow these to listen to the Audible, which they have a new love of listening to audibles in the car as well. Nicholas is super into history.

1. The Life- Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
2. U.S. Constitution by iMinds (Nicholas picked this)
3. Whiskey In my Teacup by Reese Witherspoon
4. You are a Badass by Jen Sincero
5. Enjoy Every Sandwich by Lee Lipsenthal, M.D.
6. Magic Tree House Collection Books  1-8 by Marie Pope Osborne (Kids Pick)
7. Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (Brooklyn's pick)
8. We Love Each Other, But by Dr. Ellen Wachtel
9. Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle (currently reading)
10. Area 51 An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military Base by Anne Jacobsen (Nicholas' current Pick)



When life gives you lemons.



When life gives you lemons.... and lemons... and more lemons.... and even more.... I should really have opened a lemonade shop.... Sometimes there are things in life that happen.... Sometimes we feel as if we're drowning. Sometimes we feel as if things could not possibly get any worse and then whack something else happens, but hey that's life right... I just have to smile and endure. Endure every obstacle, endure every hardship, endure every small, mediocre or huge thing that may come my way... that may come our way.... My husband and I have built our family together and not everyday has been easy. We may look all sunshine and roses on the surface, but that's the surface, underneath that is the grit.... that true grit that has made us stronger and who we are as a couple. We are unstoppable..... Lemons have truly come our way.... With our children, sometimes with our marriage, with our house, but we smile, we endure, we pray and we look for the brighter days because we know that together as a family, that's all that matters. The kids are going to remember the memories we build for them so we are building freaking OUTSTANDING memories that they will remember forever.... Weekend Pajama days where we build a movie theater in the living room and just relax all day, pop popcorn and just relax....

So with every Lemon that may be thrown our way, we got this.... I really gotta teach the kids to make Lemonade.... LOL

Distance....




Sometimes I distance myself.... to something that feels real, to something that is unknown, to something that is me. I distance myself when I feel lost, I distance myself to escape, I distance myself when I'm crying out.... and when I distance myself I am not my true me.... When I distance myself it's because I need to work on bettering what's going on internally with me, so I seek out personal development... I have grown a true love of audibles.... I think 2019 is my year of Audible books...  I will do another posting about those and update it as the year progresses.... 

I completely shut off from my blog. For a few reasons honestly... A few very personal reasons and some out laziness I guess and focus on other things, but I don't want to get into all that with y'all and bore you with all the details, so let's just say I'm back and I'm ready to accomplish those goals I have. I have a lot of catching up to do to reach my goals, but I know I can do this.  

Just get ready y'all!!! I'm comin' for ya!!! Get ready for the Blog Catch Up!!!! 

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Saturday Mornings are for..... WAFFLES!!!!



Saturday Mornings are the best. The days the kids sleep in, the days for morning snuggles, the mornings for morning cartoons together, the mornings for special breakfast requests because we have those extra moments together. Saturday mornings are the moments of endless possibilities. Saturday mornings are when anything is possible... Some Saturdays may be as simple as pancakes or waffles and then there will be some complex Saturdays with some homemade eggs Benedict and you know I can never refuse to put my own little twist on it so we've pretty much tried them all from traditional Benedict's to crab, shrimp, lobster, spinach, asparagus..... oh yea, we're talking about WAFFLES today... Sorry, I get a little carried away when I start thinking about Benedict and what goes into making that buttery succulent Hollandaise sauce... Thinking about it just makes my mouth water.....

So for Waffles... Waffles are always so much fun to make. I have definitely been creative with waffles for my kids, from the traditional Belgian Waffles, to even Pizza Waffles... yes, you heard me right! I have made freaking Pizza Waffles! Those were actually so much fun to make! I had my SIL, bestie and her hubby over for dinner and we decided to do a dinner waffle bar of pizza waffles with Marinara dipping sauce... We got to build our own and we had a crazy amount of toppings. It was so much fun! I may have to try it again and post a recipe here because I think we made them and ate them so fast that none of us even got pictures of them!!! For Shame I tell ya!!!! 

Well, this morning, I wanted to make a waffle that was good and healthier also for the kids and Jack since we're trying to eat better, so I was determined to come up with something and the thing I came up with was freaking amazing. The kids loved them and I don't think we even had any leftovers!!!! 

The best part of waffles is I get the best little helper in the kitchen....


Keto Waffles
Ingredients:
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 2 tablespoons butter,  melted
Directions:

Preheat Waffle Iron and adjust temperature to preferred doneness. 

While the waffle iron is warming, place all ingredients, except butter into a high powered blender or food processor and blend on high until all ingredients are incorporated. Add butter and blend again a few more seconds. 

Use cooking spray to lightly grease waffle iron to prevent sticking and place about 1/3 - 1/2 cup of batter to waffle iron and cook until it's browned to your preferred doneness. 

These waffles are perfect and serve warm topped with your favorite syrup. We love our sugar free maple syrup. 



Monday, January 14, 2019

McGriddles.... Low Carb Style

Ok, so I don't know about y'all but I love love love breakfast and everything it entails. Well, after a long week, I knew breakfast was just the answer my hubby needed. Breakfast seems to just bring everything together. If you've had a rough week, make breakfast! If you've had a rough day, make breakfast! Yes, the answer is always, Make Breakfast. So I wanted to try something a little fun. WE love those fast breakfasts on the go, but don't always want all those carby calories, so I wanted to find a low carb way to do it, but something that still tastes good and I came across this... A Low Carb McGriddle, which by the way, I'll be honest, the McDonalds Mcgriddle is actually one of my favorites. That savory with a little sweet... OMG!!!! Party in your mouth!!!!

Jack kept coming into the kitchen as I whipped up this breakfast and I wouldn't spill the secret of what I was making. I didn't want to tell him. I wanted it to be a surprise and a surprise indeed. I watched him as he sunk his teeth into that first bite and he loved it! I still need to perfect my egg. I'm thinking I need a square egg pan like the ole Mickey D's has so I can make a cute square folded one, but the scrambled egg one worked just fine and it still had an amazing taste.

Ingredients

For Pancake "Buns"


  • 1/2 cup sugar free pancake syrup
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 oz cream cheese
  • 2/3 cup Almond Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp maple extract
  • 10-15 drops liquid stevia

For filling

  • 4 eggs scrambled or fried
  • 4 slices cheddar cheese
  • slices bacon or breakfast sausage, cooked

Instructions

Heat the syrup to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Continue to boil for several minutes until syrup has thickened and reduced by half. 

Pour the syrup onto a parchment lined pan and place in into the freezer for at least 1 hour. 
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and grease a whoopie pie pan. Spray the inside of the rings with non-stick spray. 

Place the remaining ingredients for the buns into a blender and pulse until smooth. Pour evenly into the rings (approximately 2-3 tablespoons per pie mold)

Remove the syrup from the freezer and gently peel the parchment away from the syrup. Break it into small pieces and evenly distribute the pieces into the batter.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until set. Allow to cool slightly before removing from the rings.  




Assemble to sandwiches by topping one pancake bun with one slice of bacon or sausage, one egg and one slice of cheese, then top with a second bun.



Thursday, January 10, 2019

Forever Behind the Badge


It use to seem so natural when Jack would leave for work. I would say a prayer at night and pray for the safety of the officers he's with and all those on duty at night. Tonight was quite different. Two months ago when he took his new position, I was like, "Oh Yay! I'll get him every night now." Unless of course something big happens. Well that night was tonight. 

The kids had just finished eating dinner tonight. Brooklyn had some make-up work to do for school and Nicholas I knew was tired already.  And Jonathan was playing with a Build-A-Bear saying it was my bestie's new baby.... "That's baby Forrest!" he would say and then he would wrap him in his Paw Patrol Blanket and give him a kiss on the head. I just love when he does pretend play... It's so cute. 

It was a little after 8 o'clock when he received the call. There was an officer involved shooting, so Jack was to come in and assist the officers. I had never seen him get ready so fast. With every strap of the kevlar as he put it on, and the rest of his attire. He was rushing to get everything he needed. I, being the wife that I am, I wanted to make sure he would have something to eat just incase because I have no idea how long he will be gone.  I quickly throw together pretty much everything I would put in one of the kids lunches because it's something he doesn't need to keep in a fridge and he will have something to munch on just incase. 

As I kissed him goodbye, all my memories flew back into my heart.... The memories when I would kiss him goodbye every night. The memories and feelings flooded as I just sat at home with the kids. I put Nicholas and Brooklyn to bed and Jonathan wanted some snuggles, so I snuggled him until he passed out. And now he's just sleeping... On Daddy's side of the bed of course! LOL.

As these memories flooded me though, I said a little prayer. As I said goodnight to our babies, I told them to say a prayer as well, for daddy and the other law enforcement officers working tonight.  This was the first time Jack has had to leave so quickly, so they were both concerned, so I tried to explain as best I could to a 6 and 7 year old about what was going on. 

If I said it were easy, I would be lying. I may make it look easy on the surface from the beautiful facebook posts, the happy smiles, the positive quotes, the endless amount of positivity that you see on my cover… In reality, there are very hard moments. Moments where I cry myself to sleep, moments where this man who is one of the strongest I know can somehow endure everything he sees at work and doesn’t shed a tear except for those few instances where he has brought his work home with him. Those times are few and I remember them vividly because I watched the man who is so strong suddenly crumble. 

Jack never likes to bring his work home. He doesn’t want to scare me because he knows I get scared and worry about what goes on while he’s in the line of duty, but I do worry. It’s my job as a wife and I never know what may happen when he walks out that door and I think that’s what scares me the most. 

Some friends never truly understand, but my close close close friends and my family gets it thank goodness. There’s the absence of my wonderful husband at so many holidays, birthdays, get-togethers, but it’s what I signed up for and even though there are absences, he’s doing this job and putting himself in the line of duty everyday so that I am able to stay home with our kids everyday. 

All in all, being a LEO wife life is amazing, it’s challenging, it has it’s ups, it has its downs, but it’s worth it, every second, every minute, every hour of every day…. Because he’s mine…. Each and every day, I walk the LINE……



Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Roasted Red Pepper Chicken


Day 8 of 365:

Today was the kids first day back to school from Winter Break.  I would be lying if I said getting out of bed was super easy this morning. Since we returned from Hawaii, the kids sleep schedule has been a bit off, so last night I wanted to make sire we were all up in time, so I got a little OCD and setup multiple alarms. 6am rolled around this am and it was the ole, "Why are we up this early mom????" for the first 30 minutes. I guess the kids really were enjoying that beauty sleep they had been getting the past 3 weeks. Well, that time is over now kiddos!!! LOL

Thank goodness I had the kids get their clothes ready last night cause getting dressed this morning was super easy and I even had some extra time to do breakfast requests. Brooklyn wanted an over easy egg with a side of apples, Nicholas wanted the homemade granola I made the other day and Jonathan spent the night at my parents last night so he had no requests for me this am and when I swung by this am to drop off the car seats, he was still sleeping, so he got an extra day of beauty rest. 

My dad was so great and was a big help with the kiddos today and pickup for school and helping with Jonathan. Nicholas started his Anatomy class today and he had his first field trip for home school which was to the theater. We saw the new Mary Poppins which was super cute! We loved the movie, minus the numerous bathroom trips, but it never fails when we go to the movies.... multiple bathroom trips. The joy of taking kids to the movies. Nicholas loved his Anatomy class though, and asked if he could go back tomorrow, which I told him he could cause he is going to be taking 3 classes on Wednesdays. He's so excited to be spending some more time at the new Center. His Wednesdays are definitely going to be busy busy busy between school and ABA. 

Today with the field trip, we didn't get done until almost 4:30, and so I went to my parents to relieve my dad. Brooklyn had Brownies tonight so I knew I wouldn't be done running around with the kids until 7:30. Yes, Brownies... and guess what???? Guess what time it is??? It's cookie season!!! Taking Pre-orders stating Friday!!!! 

Since this day was such a crazy day, I didn't have a chance to cook anything. It was leftover day for me, but I didn't want to leave you guys hanging and I wanted to share with you one of my favorite recipes. I made this dish for my bestie on one of our dinner nights. It was one of those recipes that I was just trying out and OMG it was so good!!!! Definitely at the top of my list for good recipes!!!!


Roasted Red Pepper Chicken

INGREDIENTS

  • 1.5 lb chicken thighs, boneless/skinless
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp pink salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • oz goat cheese
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

ROASTED RED PEPPER SAUCE

  • 4 oz roasted red peppers (in water)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and heat a large skillet to medium high heat.

Add the thighs to a large mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper. 

Add coconut oil to the hot skillet and lay the thighs in the skillet. Cook 4-5 minutes on each side.

While the chicken is cooking, make the sauce. Add the roasted red peppers, garlic cloves and olive oil to a blender and pulse until pureed. 

Add heavy cream to the sauce and blend once more.

Once thighs have cooked through most of the way, remove from heat and pour the sauce over the thighs. If desired, flip the thighs over to fully coat them.

Crumble goat cheese on top of the thighs and place in the oven for 10-12 minutes.

Garnish with fresh parsley and serve immediately! I served mine with spiraled butternut squash noodles and asparagus, lightly tossed with browned butter. 

Best stored in an air tight container in the fridge up to 5 days.