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!<

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?

Control Freaks Anonymous

Hi, my name is Danielle! “hi, Danielle!” and I’ve been a Control Freak for 27 years.

Yes, thats right. I celebrate my 27th birthday this weekend, and given my 10 month old’s ability to assert his will, I know I blessed my Mom with this control issue from birth. Thanks for putting up with me, Mom.

Have you ever found yourself so frustrated at someone, and as you thought about the details you got more and more frustrated realizing the person has done nothing wrong, and you’re just a control freak?!?!

Okay, maybe it’s just me…maybe not.

There’s something about leaving my munchkin in someone else’s hands that makes me feel like I’m the only one who knows what he needs during the day.

This is ridiculous!! When I’m gone he’s with one of three people: his Dad, his Grandma (mil), or a close family friend from church. Each of whom he adores! My issue has nothing to do with competence, it’s simply, I’m Mom and “Momma knows best!” Right?

I swear to everyone that my munchkin is not on a set “schedule”, “I let him tell me what he needs.” Yet I find myself writing minute details, down to activity suggestions for specific times during the day, that I pray will be followed. I’ll come home and want a play-by-play, and as I listen, secretly I’m stirring inside wishing I could’ve done the day differently. Wondering how the rest of the evening will play out since I wasn’t here with him.

I know that every day is a new day with him. Every day does change. When it’s just the two of us, I do follow his lead and don’t force time constraints on him. However, I know consistency is crucial for babies, so I try to keep certain things routine like story time, walks, errands or park days, bath time, etc.

I’m embarrassed even as I write these sad facts. Please Moms out there, tell me I’m not the only one!

As I drove to work, I pondered who I could call and vent my frustration without sounding like an idiot. Then I realized I hadn’t done my daily reading. I open up my app at a stoplight, and read the following from She Reads Truth- Daniel (my son’s name…ironic?) By: You Version:

“What am I clenching in my fist that I refuse to see as His [God’s]? What is it that I long so desperately to build, to control, to call MINE?

Epiphany: Gasp!! My child!

Can this really be? Am I that much of a control freak that I’m not trusting God with His very own creation. My Baby, My munchkin, My miracle. I feel so foolish. Yet just as I’m about to beat myself up, I remember Grace.

I realize that just as I have to guide and redirect my munchkin’s steps to protect him, God does the same with me. When is it that we assume our learning is over? No matter how old, Daniel will always be my baby; I will always be God’s child.

I am on a journey and need to let go! I am not in control. You’d think I’d know this after being “redirected” as much as I have been in my life.

As hard as this lesson has been, and as much as I’m still frustrated over Daniel not eating as much as I feed him, I need to get over it! Or GOI (pronounced \’gōi\ or goy) as my husband and I say frequently with sarcasm (I think it sounds nicer, thank you very much). Oh…my..gosh I really do have an issue, don’t I? Now is when I just need to laugh.

Well, until my munchkin’s next nap: thanks for letting me share my heart with you! I hope my tough life lessons or “redirections” will help you find peace or guidance in your circumstances, even if it is just to laugh at my ridiculousness.

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On a side note, my mom and best friend, who I call my sister, are coming to celebrate with me this weekend. Keep an eye out for fun stories and pictures from our girl’s weekend.

Conquering Anxiety When It Rears Its Ugly face

Anxiety! It’s a weird thing. For some, just reading the word, your heart is already pounding and palms starting to sweat. Maybe your eyes are getting blurry; there’s a knot in your stomach. Can you tell I’m quite familiar with the ugliness that peers it’s ugly head at me all too often? My best friend, who I call my sister, says, “let go!” And then we often remind each other its better to,”let go and let God!” But even that concept feels so distant at times.

Last Wednesday I boarded a plane out of a small Southern CA airport and headed up to what i like to call “the better part of California” to help throw my sister a baby shower for her second baby girl. With my munchkin in my lap, [sorry am i making you anxious thinking about the classic screaming infant in confined spaces?] we got ready for his first of probably many plane rides.
—- That’s not really why I’m writing, but i must say I’m not likely to do another 5 hour [which turns into 8 hours with feedings and diaper changes] car ride alone again after this trip! Flying was a breeze! We just bounced and played the whole way there and on the way home he slept in my arms. ——-

The past 6 years I’ve been on a journey of growth, overcoming setbacks from my past and characteristics about myself of which I’m not a fan. As I’ve become more self-aware, ridding fear, anxiety, and negativity (to name a few) from my life has been a long, emotional journey. I bring this topic up because this weekend I felt all these parts of myself that I thought were gone creep back in a take over. My responses to people were out of stress, my view of people was extremely judgemental, and my ability to organize and articulate my thoughts went completely out the window.

Its embarrassing to admit, but the only way to press forward is to admit when I’m wrong. All of the above come from my intrinsic desire of having control over every situation. When I finally realized that I am not the one in control of my life, I was able to release the negativity.

Do you ever find yourself so far beyond your past, then all of a sudden after coasting or even pressing courageously through life, you get sucked back into your old way of thinking?

I had a fabulous whirlwind of a weekend, but it was a great reality check for me. I can’t become complacent. I need to constantly be stretching myself so that I don’t sacrifice my relationships. Thankfully I have brilliantly talented, absolutely wonderful family, who takes me as I am. Even when I’m a mess sometimes!

With all that said, we put on a great shower! I look forward to embracing the next family gathering that guarantees a wonderful cocktail of stress, chaos, creativity, laughter, friendship, and a bond that will never be broken! Check out the pictures; my cousins deserve the credit! i may have been there with my hands in the mix, but my mind was too dysfunctional to pull this off:)

Well, until my munchkins next nap: remember, freedom comes from humility, even if that means admitting to yourself there needs to be a change. Sometimes that change simply starts with a smile.

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