Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Kids in the Kitchen

Lately my children have been all about helping. Our four year old is especially engaged with household chores. If I don't find her "dusting" or propped on a chair "washing dishes", she's usually off making someone's bed or simply pretending to be everyone's mommy. This idea of helping has made for some interesting play and even more interesting meal times. 

Our three kiddos love helping out in the kitchen! Like many kids mine enjoy baking homemade cookies with mom or creating oddly shaped pancakes with dad. I love when our children get a thrill out of helping in the kitchen and my husband loves it even more than I do. He's very good about engaging our children in fun kitchen projects.

Just check out their latest creation:

Nailed it! 

Of course, the above photo is meant to be funny. This meal was a complete success. Most egg rolls turned out much "prettier" than the one pictured and all were delicious. 

My husband arranged a simple assembly line and laid out the basics: egg roll wrapping sheets, cheese, pepperoni and sausage. I added some flare with goat cheese filling while my hubby added sliced jalapeños to his egg roll. After each of the kiddos stuffed and rolled their pizza egg rolls, I added a small tooth pick to keep each rolls in tact. Then as a safety measure, my husband took over all frying duties. The end result were delicious cheesy egg rolls and a discussion about everything a person could put inside an egg roll...

1. Bananas with Nutella (with a sprinkle of powered sugar on top)
2. Veggies (sliced carrots and cabbage) and seasoned ground beef
3. Diced peaches with blueberry goat cheese 
4. Diced Strawberries with cream cheese 
5. More pizza toppings (i.e. Mushrooms, peppers, pineapple chunks).

We really had such a fun time with this kitchen creation and look forward to more. Not only did we all enjoy the quality time, but while in the kitchen our youngins become engaged in basic life skills, use their creativity and work as a team. 

Are your kids fans of helping out in the kitchen, too? Please share your kid-friendly recipes below!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Book of Life- Movie Review

Since I heard that there was going to be a animation movie about Dia De Los Muertos I was so excited. My girls and I painted up our faces like calaveras and we headed out to watch The Book of Life.  I went in with my hopes high for this film. I think that when you have a single movie representing an entire cultural tradition pressure mounts. Imagine having just one movie to represent Christmas?

The movie was absolutely fantastic. First of all it is visually stunning. I mean check it out...

Every single scene and setting was packed with gorgeous details from the hearts on the fences to the skulls on the matador outfits.

The story itself did such a great job of incorporating the traditions of Dia De Los Muertos as the backdrop to a story with a very familiar love triangle storyline: 2 best friends in love with the same girl with good and evil forces meddling in the middle of it all. This really is a movie about love and friendship.

I thought the casting of this movie was brilliant. From Diego Luna, Zoe Saldana, Danny Trejo, Ice Cube, Placido Domingo and a handful of Mexican-American comedians like Cheech Marin, Anjelah Johnson-Reyes and even Gabriel Iglesias. I was a little concerned with Channing Tatum as one of the leads but he really did a great job as Joaquin.

As if the visual eye candy, touching story and outstanding cast wasn't enough, the music made me fall in love with this movie. There is plenty of music sprinkled throughout the movie and it is an eclectic blend of traditional Mexican music, current Chicano super stars like La Santa Cecilia, as well as many songs sung by Diego Luna himself. But what really did me in was how the blended current rock hits with mariachi music. Ever wondered what Mumford and Sons would sound like if they were a mariachi band? Well then go see this film. This musical mash-up gets me everytime. I feel like if I could capture my soul in a song a rock/mariachi song would be it.

I cannot say enough great things about this movie. I plan on seeing it again very soon. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

When Married People Flirt

Flirting is a true skill. It's been a long time since I've dated, but I remember a thing or two about flirtatious behavior. Very recently I ended up in a long airplane line while in front of two adorable gentlemen who awkwardly flirted for several minutes. I tried not to listen to their seductive tones, incessant giggling and the sexual tension in their one-liners. I failed miserably and felt like a complete third wheel; but, when it was all said and done, I was truly amused by their flirting.

Flirting often changes when you're married. It almost becomes an underutilized skill. Once you've nabbed your match flirting fades. It is somehow replaced with routine and the instances of careless and connected flirtation can become few and far between.

But it really doesn't have to!

Married couples DON'T have to fit some societal mode. The dating game though scary at times has it's adrenaline & confidence-boosting benefits brought on by flirtation. It is both good for you and ultimately an ingredient for happy marriages.

It's those marriages that remember to keep the spark of young love alive that have a good chance of prosperity. Married couples should keep a fun flirtatious tone at the forefront. Plus, it's a great way to kick-start a long overdue night of passion!

Do you agree?!?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Creepy Clowns

Earlier this week we  shared some of our favorite kid-friendly Halloween movies. Of course there are the less family-freindly nightmare type of scary movies. For many, horror movies are a fun way to get the adreneline going. I am not one of those people. The few horror films I have seen still haunt me to this day.

Some people have fears of spiders, heights, or even driving over brides. The most terrifying movie I can remember seeing was Stephen King's "It". Holy Moly! It gave me a life-long uneasy feeling around clowns. This is not an uncommon fear. Coulrophobia is real. This season of "American Horror Story: Freak Show" has a very freaky clown character named Twisty. After just one episode and this crazy clown my dreams are being haunting.

Believe it or not something even more freaky than a TV character has been happening in Bakersfield and Wasco, California. It is like every single one of your nightmares are coming true. Imagine running errands at night and running into this....

I don't know if I would scream or wet myself, or both. In different towns there have been multiple sightings of someone dressed up as a creepy clown and usually carrying some sort of weapon. And with all things these days, this "prank" has been linked to an Instagram account.

You can rest a little because a 14 year old kid was arrested in connection with this horrible prank.

So tell us!
What are your biggest fears? 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

No Shame in the Labor and Delivery Game

This beautiful angel marks grandchild number 18 for my mother. Such a sweet little thing who was long overdue in more ways than one. When she was finally ready for her big entrance we all awaited with open arms. No one's arms stretched greater with love than that of her two doting parents.

Once I heard of her arrival I rushed to the maternity ward to meet this sweet pea. There I faced the all too familiar yet distant memory of giving birth. As I entered the delivery room I was flooded with more than just love for this child but with comments from both of her parents about how hard labor really was. Her mother immediately expressed how she wishes she would have been stronger.


She had nothing to feel bad about or short of accomplishing. Yet, I've seen this before. I had three children naturally. Hardest thing I've ever done. I get it moms, I really do. However, many times I've felt mothers who experience c-section births say less than ideal things about themselves after childbirth. Somehow there's guilt associated with having a non-natural birth especially around those of us known to have gone the rare epidural-free route and delivered naturally.

To me, there's no shame in the labor and delivery game. The end result is ALL that ever really MATTERS. We all get to the grand finale differently and some moms' processes are much harder than others, of course. What's certain for every birth and mother who deliveries naturally or not is that they're all bonafide champions. Our bodies endure an unthinkable pain. Our mind is in a state of disarray. This process is inexplicably HARD to understand or fathom unless you've been there personally. Don't let movies, magazines or cocky birth accountants convince you otherwise. 

Whatever the journey of childbirth every woman who experiences it has earned her stripes. There's no chart to map one delivery type more significantly accomplished than another. There is no tally and surely no score sheet. We all went through our unique journey and we should be proud of how the story unfolds. 

After my niece's mother talked about wishing she had more strength, I simply leaned into her painfully weary and excruciatingly tired space to reassure her of the victory she'd accomplished. Her daughter's entry into this world was just as it was meant to be and no one's preconceived notions should alter that truth. Every birth resulting in a healthy mother and child, no matter the birthing process, is a victorious feat worth honoring. 

Have you experienced post c-section guilt or know a mom who has? 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

First Taylor Swift now Rob Lowe: Parenting Advice

Recently I found myself quoting Taylor Swift to my 9 year old while doling out advice. Then while reading Rob Lowe's latest autobiography I read some parenting advice that made me stop and then write it down. Mr. Lowe was talking about his marriage and he said...

"... kids will only be as happy as their parents" 

So Rob Lowe is devastatingly handsome but he has some good advice that I needed to hear.  

We all know that parenting can be competitive. These days if all 24 hours of your day is not focused on your kids then you are not being a good parent. I had to admit that I fall into this trap constantly. I tend to put the happiness and needs of my children before my own. Rob Lowe's message is simple, happy Mommies and Daddies equal happy kids. 

I have always felt that kid's personalities and moods feed off their parents. When people mention to us how chilled out our kids usually are I always say, ''Have you met their father?" My husband is one of the most laid-back people out there. I have also noticed that when I am stressed and frantic my kids tend to act up more. I am on edge, they feel it, so they are on edge. So naturally this would be the same for happy parents. If I am happy and in a good mood, then my kids would feel that and be the same. Why didn't I ever think of that? 

So it took 80's hearththrob Rob Lowe to open my eyes to this. To remind me that this 24 hours parenting thing is not necessary. That it is not just okay but there is no need to feel guilty about it. By making time to make sure that I am happy, doing things that make me happy, makes me a better parent and gives me happy kids. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Smooth Groove

I could save this post for our latest obsessions at the end of the month, but I'm too hooked to wait. They say musical tastes change and boy is that indelibly true. Without a doubt musical tastes evolve. I went from top 40 and radio pop to indie folk and electronic. 

With that said, I am currently obsessed with Banks. You know great artists only need to go by one name à la Adele. Banks was born and raised in Cali. and produces groove-filled creations. Her jams take me to a whole new place. There it's dark & sexy. I'm transported to a bar lounge dancing to my heart's content. Her dark R&B as it's referred to has that effect on me, but her voice takes matters to a whole new level. Billboard called her a "magnetic writer with songs to obsess over."

As I listen to her I am swaying left to right craving a decadent drink and my honey to lose myself dancing. Sure, I am just sitting in my kitchen surrounded by kids' messes, but a girl can (day) dream. Seriously though, Banks is a lovely gem with a voice to match, great beats and music that needs to take over the radio. I can't be more disappointed with what's considered the mainstream music of this generation. 

Now, tell me you agree…

What do you think of Banks?