My March of Indulgences with “The Traveling toddler”

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’ve been a little absent from the writing world.

Well, here I am back for a brief visit. I’ll spare you some details (not because they’re uninteresting, in fact if you love a good roller coaster ride, the last two years of my life would probably give you quite the thrill) because, honestly, I’m still in the middle of a long two year ride on the “Dave Ramsey Plan”.

There is so much reward in all the sacrifice financially, emotionally, and my dear sweet sanity, but we’re just still working on it and waiting for it.

When I’m on the victory side of the long underground tunnel, I’ll share the dirty details. For now, there’s this faint light at the end that seems to be getting brighter, but a lot slower than I’d like.

To distract myself from the emotion of these life lessons, I’ve been learning some fun new indulgences recipes in the wonderful healthy, mom-on-the-go, crockpot-cooking world as well as some indulgent not-so-healthy, but organic desserts in the meantime.

This amazing chocolate, peanut butter cup double layer cake with peanut butter whip topped with more peanut butter cups is one of them.20140327-142759.jpg</a
Recipe:

I opted for an organic chocolate cake and organic pudding mix as well as chocolate peanut cups from Sprouts Farmer’s Market, rather than the Reese’s, and let me tell you:

“it was the best cake I’ve ever had in my life!!!”

The confidential feedback from several family members who didn’t want to offend anyone. 😉 But at the end of the day we all agreed so I don’t think they’d mind my divulgence of information.

Another indulgent treat on this Dave Ramsey Plan journey, is implementing the “put a name to every dollar” idea. This discipline allowed us to plan a wonderful, much-needed family vacation to Seattle.

We visited the Space Needle:
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We went to the Seattle Zoo:
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This is my munchkin making his giraffe face.

We visited the Aquarium:
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My Boys Impersonating the otter’s eating.

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Pike’s Market:
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Our indulgent SIX Dollar Apple Fritter:

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Wine Tasting with our incredible friends who hosted us at there beautiful home:20140327-145533.jpg20140327-145557.jpg20140327-145617.jpg

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Seattle Science Center:

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Overall such a fantastic trip I wanted to share some of our memorable moments with you. Here’s one last one of me and my amazing hubby:
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Until my munchkin’s next nap time: Smile and just remember, when you’re going through a tough time, make time for yourself, your family, and your friends. It’s amazing how a brief break from the everyday routine can rejuvenate and reenergize you to finish the course.

I was reminded at Bible Study this morning to “finish the race”. Don’t quit along the way because it gets rough. You can do it! I believe in you! A lot of other people do too. Now, YOU just new to believe you can do it!<

The Traveling Toddler: Adventures with The Little Man

“You probably shouldn’t put your drink there,” I warned him, “He will grab it!” “Oh that’s ok.” He assures me.

Have you ever traveled with a baby? A toddler? If so, you know that even a couple-hour car ride can mean a peaceful nap, but any longer and you better be prepared to read, sing, feed, change a diaper, read, sing, feed, change a diaper at any given time.

We weren’t driving this trip either; we were flying. That’s not even the best part; our flight tickets are standby. So if anything can go haywire, it probably will, and I not only must improvise at any moment to entertain the little man, but I also get an audience of spectators.

Nothing better than a free, last minute, random, spur of the moment, all-day travel excursion alone with a toddler. Anything for Grandma!

Did I really attempt to fly unassisted with a 13 month old?

Yes, yes I am a little crazy! This trip is giving “flying by the seat of your pants” new meaning.

The ultra- planner in me started packing at the beginning of the week. We were leaving the 80 degree sunny Southern California on our way to 24 degrees and snowy Idaho. As if remembering all the extra gadgets and books wasn’t enough, I needed to pack triple the clothes so my poor little munchkin wouldn’t freeze.

I wake up extra early on Saturday morning so I can load the car and finish all the details before driving to the airport, and of all mornings the little man wakes up early. He pretty much wakes up between 7:30-7:45 every morning, but its mornings like this (or Sundays when we need to be to church on time) that he decides to change things up. This day he woke up extra early: 6am sharp!! Time for Daddy duty!

We get in the car a few minutes early to my surprise so I decide we should grab a quick bite to eat. We order. We get our food, but wait…they’re running behind of course. We pull into the drive-thru overflow parking space A couple minutes later, they bring out the rest of our order. We’re on our way.

About 30 seconds into our drive, I notice we are going a different way than usual, but since its my husband’s neighborhood he grew up in I hesitate to say anything. Men always know the best way, right?!
I’ working on this self-control issue I have, so I decided to put cold water on the boiling curiosity.

Finally I ask gently, ” Why did you decide to go this way…” I’m trying, really I am! He explains how he didn’t want to turn left to cross traffic…” We were supposed to actually turn right, but I accept the answer.

Fighting my control-freak nature, trying not to get frustrated, I start eating really fast, feeding the munchkin, and shuffling through by bag nervously. Finally, about five minutes later we’re now driving south west and the airport is north east, I can’t help myself:

“Ok, I don’t mean to question you,” I interrogate ask calmly, “but why are we going this way? Ontario Airport is off the 60 freeway, since when do we go this way to get to the 60?”

“Ontario? You said nothing about Ontario!” He answers, “We always fly out of Long Beach!”

He quickly turns around and we try to “laugh” it off, after all we did leave a little early. I’ll be gone over a week; now is not the time to argue over something so silly.

He turns and says, “I’m ready for my sausage biscuit now” as I look down at the empty wrapper in my lap, chewing the last bite in my mouth, I guiltily realize that I was in such a hurry I ate his sandwich instead of mine.

“Oops! I still have the McMuffin… (insert scrunchy face)”

He is so bummed! “I don’t want the English muffin, I was really looking forward to the biscuit.”

I_really_feel_terrible, but I look at the time and we’re now 30 minutes behind schedule. I rudely tell him to stop acting like a child and we can’t stop to get him another one. Wow! That turned bad really quickly. Insert foot in mouth!

I apologize.

We arrive safely at the airport. We unload my two suitcases, one carry-on, my diaper bag/personal item, stroller, carseat, and a munchkin. We kiss and say good-bye. I check in.

After a long wait through the security line it’s finally our turn. I hate this part! Since the first time I traveled alone, at 15 years old, I get randomly searched every time I fly somewhere. No surprise, they pull me aside wipe my hands to test for unnamed “residue” and sure enough the alarm goes off. They take us to a private room. I unstrap Daniel from my carrier and place him in the carseat. I get pat down. All clear! This is why I don’t eat fast food! The only thing on my hands from that morning was the food I ate, and it was so greasy it set off the security alarms; disgusting!

Now, it’s waiting time. I went to the desk to find out how full the flight was and they told me there was one seat left, but I was seventh on the standby list. The sweet ladies asked why they didn’t put me on the flight that left 30 minutes prior? I kindly said I wasn’t sure, but inside was screaming, “If they didn’t make me get searched from head to toe for 30 minutes maybe I would’ve made it here sooner!!” It wasn’t looking promising, but we decided to pray instead of worry. Regardless of my negative human internal dialogue, I was confident we would get on because I know how cool God works, but He does tell us to ask Him to intervene, so I did.

An hour later I hear my name called. We got a ticket. “Thank you Jesus that in spite of my horrible attitude and desire to control everyone else when I can’t even control myself, you allowed me to get on this flight so I can go see my mom.”

We board the plane trying not to hit people in the head with my bags as we squeeze through the tiny aisle to find we we’re given a middle seat; at least we got on!!

Fortunately to my right was a nice lady, who I quickly learned was a mother of two teenage girls, and to my left was a young guy in college.

We take off with ease. The little man does great through the take-off and is just hanging out by my feet reading books and exploring everything around him. It’s now time for the lovely flight attendants to bring beverages and snacks. The lady next to me and I decline, knowing they would get knocked all over us by my little investigator, but the guy next to me orders his ginger ale.

“You probably shouldn’t put your drink there,” I warned him, “He will grab it!” “Oh thats ok.” He assures me.

Within seconds there’s soda all over the poor guys lap…I felt so bad, but…I warned him!

Breathe! We arrive at our first destination, Seattle, get lunch, change planes, and a quick hour flight later head to baggage claim in Boise and are greeted by my mom “Grandma Linda.”

Let the vacation begin! The anticipation of a relaxing week did not disappoint! We had such a great time! I hadn’t seen most of my mom’s side of my family in almost five years. It was so refreshing to catch up after so long. We watched football, played in the snow, ate good food with good company, saw life-size ice sculptures, fireworks as good as Disneyland, and so much more.

We finished our trip with a quick stop through Northern California to see my sisters and nieces and aimed home early the next morning.

I am so refreshed!

On the flight back the little man passed out in my lap and I started to read Dr. Kevin Leman’s “Stopping Stress before It Stops You”. How fitting! So far I’ve learned (paraphrased), life doesn’t give us stress, it gives us pressures, and whether we handle the pressure appropriately or not will determine if we have stress.

This information would have been helpful prior to the beginning of my trip, but now that I’m rejuvenated and have a clear head, I’m excited to learn different tools to apply in this next season life is taking us into. The first tool is having the right perspective. Onward I read…

Until my Munchkin’s next nap time: I encourage you to evaluate your perspective. I hope you’re able to step back and look at your circumstances, better than I did, and choose to breathe through them and smile, instead of getting easily frustrated. I encourage you to rid the negative self-talk, and rather than running from life’s disheveled circumstances, laugh and embrace the crazy!

What are some of your crazy travel stories? Any advice for a mom that will always be on the go?

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Munchkin’s Mustache Bash: Sneak Peak

Here’s just a peak at some of our moments captured this weekend.

After the second go-around of party festivities this coming weekend, I’ll post some of my great DIY projects from the gatherings.

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Shout out to my sis Em: she made that adorable mustache cake (and a lot lot more!!! I couldn’t have done this bash without her!!!)

The Munchkin is ONE

One year ago today, I laid in bed unable to sleep ( kind of like right now) thinking, and a little nervous/excited about how in the morning we would head to the hospital and induce labor to welcome our baby boy into the world.

All phone calls were made. My oldest sister Jamie was here, my best friend/ sister Amy (Em) was on the road first thing in the morning, my mom caught the first flight out of Boise, and my Dad jumped in the car as soon as we said per his request the words, “my water broke!”

After being admitted into the hospital and all monitors were in place, my MIL asks, “are those contractions?” Long story short, they were! Induction not necessary! A little over 3 1/2 jours later We welcomed Daniel Robert Kazarian into the world.

My life has never, and will never be the same!!!

He is such a joy; such a blessing!

Every day, since the day I found out I was pregnant, God has used Daniel’s precious miracle of a life to teach me important lessons. One of the biggest lessons is to Smile!

Daniel smiles all day. He lights up the room. Everyone will tell you that he just makes you feel so good when you look at him.

There’s days I’m exhausted and grumpy and he just looks at me with those big beautiful debatable-colored eyes and giggles. Right then I’m reminded to let go and let God and lighten up!

December 11, 2012…wow! A year ago already!!!

Thank you Jamie and Em for digging into my back with those strong hands when I needed you, and massaging my feet gently, and for getting me cold wash cloths at my beckoning call. Thank you for all of our conversations leading up to that beautiful day, preparing me for what was ahead, and all our chats now getting me through each day and sharing in all the milestones. Thank you for your selfless love, sacrificing so much to be here for us!

Thank you Joseph, my love, my hott husband, for standing by me the whole way through, holding my hand and gently coaching me. Mostly, thank you for bring the incredible Daddy to our son that you are! He loves his Daddy so much! You light up his world! I can see how much he looks up to you already; it melts my heart. I am beyond-words appreciative of all of your hard work and love for our family. I love you! P.S. you’re Hott:)

So, as I reflect upon this last year of life, challenges, growth and blessings, I realize the best advice I received was, ” enjoy each minute, it goes by fast.” There have been many sleepless nights and rough days that follow, there have been arguments through transitions, and many humbling lessons learned, but all-in-all I can honestly say that I have enjoyed each step along the way.

Daniel, I look forward to the rest of my life being your Mommy. You are a treasure My Little Miracle! I love you Munchkin!

Well, until my munchkins next nap time: thank you for enjoying this journey with me. Thank you for letting me be vulnerable and sharing some family time with me today. I hope this encourages you to love on your family and friends even more. Make each day, each moment count as of it were your last. And, of course, SMILE!

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BBQ Chicken Sandwhich

I’ll make this short and sweet, for all of you drooling over the picture already.

Don’t be deceived by the chicken and cabbage that this is healthy…it’s not…but it sure is delicious!!

I’ve made these sandwiches a few times and i’ve tweaked the recipe a little each time; this was my favorite.

I come from a huge Sicilian family. We cook expecting company, going back for not just seconds, but thirds (otherwise Nana thinks either you didn’t like it or you’re on a diet and need “meat on your bones”), and leftovers.

Serves 10-12
Ingredients for Chicken:
6 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
1/4 Cup Montreal’s Steak Seasoning
1 bottle Sweet Baby Rays BBQ Sauce
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
2 teaspoons Spicy Brown Mustard

Ingredients for Coleslaw:Top Secret KFC Coleslaw Recipe

1. Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towels

2. Apply generous amount of seasoning to both sides

3. Put in Crockpot and add all other ingredients

4. Set Crockpot on low or 8-hour setting (go make Coleslaw; it needs time to sit and soak up flavor before serving!!)

5. After 2 hours check if its cooked through; if it is, put checked on cutting board and shred with 2 forks

6. Add back to Crockpot for 2 hours or until ready to serve

7.Toast bread:Ten minutes before serving, put rolls in a 375 degree oven to toast. I used fresh baked Artisan bread from Costco. I’ve made this before and used a French loaf and also cheese rolls. The Artisan bread has been my favorite!

8. Put a healthy serving of coleslaw on bread, scoop chicken on top, grab a few napkins, Enjoy!!

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Until my munchkin’s next nap time: breathe and enjoy the flavor of yummy food! Smile while your cooking; it changes the way it tastes, I promise! Go for a walk. This time of year is filled with really good hearty foods and amazing desserts, but there’s also beautiful fall leaves and cool, crisp mornings. Walk a little more so you don’t feel so guilty about all of the deliciousness.

Tis the Season if Blessings and Baking

Along with being so incredibly blessed and thankful for God’s continuous grace in my life, this time of year also reminds me how much I love to bake!

I was given the heavenly gift of tasting a Cronut for the first time a few weeks ago and have been obsessively talking about it since. When my MIL asked me to bake something for Thanksgiving breakfast, I couldn’t resist!

I made the dough pretty quickly, but the rising and “turning” process required some precious TLC. The reward, however, after deep frying those precious, little, round circles of pleasure, and rolling them in sugar and cinnamon… and drizzling them with cream cheese frosting…was pure delight to say the least! It was Deliciousness! As my “Pin” board is appropriately called. YUM! YUM!

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<a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/food52/diy-make-your-own-cronuts?sub=2374252_1313128&s=mobile#1313128&quot;

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Pinterest Recipe

I made up my own frosting. Super easy!
Ingredients:
1.4 oz cream cheese
2.1/2 cup buttermilk (or substitute regular milk and 1 tablespoon butter)
3.1 teaspoon vanilla
4.1-2 cups powdered sugar: (taste as you go)

1. Beat first 3 ingredients on high for 2 minutes: or get a really good arm work out and bust out the good ol’ fashion whisk like I did.
2. Whisk in powdered sugar gradually to taste
3.Try to only eat a spoonful and save the rest for whatever dessert you’ve made it for

I don’t intend on turning this into a cooking blog, but lately this is what my Mommy life is all about. I’ve utilized every nap time for the past few weeks getting ready for my munchkin’s FIRST birthday party next weekend. I cannot believe he turns ONE already! It’s so cliche, but time flies!

Needless to say, I’ve been a bit absent from the writing world, and spending every “free” moment being the best Pinterest mom I can be. I’m addicted, and will have plenty of photos to prove my obsession in the next few weeks.

That being said, I’m trying new recipes as well as creating my own. Today’s creation was a dessert for Women’s Bible Study. I’m calling these Apple Cinnamon Roll-ups, and I have to pass them on! It is so easy and is a must for all you Moms on the go.

Ingredients:
Crescent roll dough (I used Pillsbury; make sure you keep it cold or it becomes really sticky and hard to work with.)
3 Apples (just choose your favorite)
3 cups Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Raw Sugar (I like the texture)
Cinnamon- to taste (I used a few tablespoons)
2-3 tablespoons butter (cold)

Oven preheated to 350:
1. Peel and Cut apples into small squares

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2. Mix Brown Sugar, Raw Sugar, and Cinnamon in medium size bowl and pinch in butter (there will be a few clumps)
3. Add Apples and mix with hands until apples are coated

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4.Unroll dough on baking sheet

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5. Drop about a teaspoon of apple mixture at large end of each triangle

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6. Roll dough over, pinching dough on sides if necessary to keep apples wrapped snug inside: ( Don’t worry about how pretty the look. Once they bake, they puff up and look much better.

7. Bake 12-15 minutes: until fluffy and golden brown

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8. Drizzle that delicious cream cheese frosting that I used for the Cronuts and you’re set

9. Dig in and admire your mean baking skills and this gooey, flakey, yumminess!

Until my munchkin’s next nap time, happy baking! Smile! Do something you enjoy! You have control over what you make of life. This time of year is not only a great reminder to be appreciative of all of God’s blessings, but also realizing what your gifts are and making a point of sharing those gifts with others. My gifts to you today are my love of baking and those amazing melt-in-your-mouth yummies, but just wait…I made killer BBQ chicken sandwiches for dinner..keep your eyes out for my upcoming post!

Living NOW

October has just blurred into the month of November. With birthday celebrations, Diamond in the Rough-Women’s Conference, my mom and sis in town, voluteering at our Church’s Halloween alternative called Kidz Block Party, my husband working 15 days straight from 2a.m to 8p.m., and now my poor little munchkin has been sick for five days…I’m just enjoying the ride, living each day in each moment.

Living in the present is a concept of which I am constantly reminding myself. Life is so much more fulfilling when I’m not “waiting” for what’s to come next.

Believe me, it is not easy to do when we’re paying off student loans, living with in-laws, and seeing each other in passing as we balance intentional family time with laundry, taking a shower, and sleep, eating, living.

Each of the events that has happened over the last month has left me just simply relishing them. Soaking every moment in. As I did my daily reading this morning, I was reminded again:

There are a lot of boasting people out there–they decide what they want and expect everything to run smoothly. That can be a trick of Satan. If he can get them to focus on tomorrow or next year, they don’t have to deal with the problems in their lives right now. They can live in a world of only good things that will take place in the future. Isn’t that like driving a car down the highway and ignoring what’s right in front of us because we’re focused on the traffic signal five blocks ahead? We’re setting ourselves up for a wreck.

Jesus promised us a life of abundance (see John 10:10). But we can’t enter into that abundance if we’re not giving our lives fully to Him. Don’t spend today planning tomorrow and avoiding the issues that confront you now.
-From the book Battlefield of the Mind Devotional by Joyce Meyer. Copyright © 2005 by Joyce Meyer. Published by FaithWords. All rights reserved.

1103, 1104, 1105, 1107, 1108… “Where’s 1106?” I holler around the corner to my mom and bellman. My best friend sis and I are so confused as our room number is missing. The bellman says, “follow me over here.” We walk down the hall and around the corner, into our Presidential Suite!!!!

No wonder our room didn’t fit in that hallway, it took up the whole corner of the building.

As we walked in to our room at 11:30pm we quickly realized action needed to take place promptly in order to enjoy this room we only had for one night. I put my munchkin to sleep, started a bubble bath, and when I was done the three o is enjoyed a glass of wine by the fireplace with Chinese take-out. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect birthday evening.

I know these photos are long overdue, but here’s a few that we’re taken my birthday weekend. Sorry there aren’t more. We were just having way too much fun!

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Until my munchkin’s next nap time: Happy Thursday! Know that today you are blessed! Today, Thursday, November 7, 2013 is half-way over, smile and think: what are you going to do to make the best with the rest?