I love family. I love learning. I love food. This is simply a collection of thoughts, memories, and recipes that are a piece of me!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Welcome To The Minivan Club.

Last night, Bird and I were driving home from Tulsa at 10:30.  It was just us, and we were pretty excited.  We were all smiles...giddy, in fact.  Anticipation was building as we neared my parents' house where we would pick up our three babies and begin our journey together...as members of the minivan club.  It was just time we joined.  We had car seats that we needed to be using that wouldn't all fit together and give the kids enough room to sit comfortably in the back of our sweet little truck...you will be missed, little truck.

Rewind ten years.

Once upon a time, Bird and I lived a much different life.  Before we got married, I would jet off to big bad LA every couple of months, and we would go to shows and movies and walk on the boardwalk by the beach.  We would hang out at some of the coolest places I've ever seen, and we would go to quiet dinners alone and crazy loud dinners with his friends.  He would book musicians and DJs at the weekly spot he helped run where real life B-boys would come dance. Once I hung out with him as he helped judge a b-boy competition (did he judge...?  or organize...?  I don't remember, honestly) at the Colosseum in downtown LA.  You know...where they had the Olympics.  I remember leaving a party once to drive around all night looking for the Hollywood sign.  Ten years ago, we were so fun.

Fast forward to today.

This morning, I woke up early enough to shower before the kids woke up.  I got ready and did homeschool with my six year old first grader.  I made toast and eggs as Bird went off to his 9 to 5 job.  I got three kids dressed and fixed hair.  I swept the floor and washed the dishes.  And do you know what the highlight of our day was?  The kids and I installed car seats in our minivan after I let them choose their favorite spots.  We set up our DVD players on the backs of their seats and then went to get some groceries while they watched Cars for the millionth time.

So that's that. It has finally hit me: we are adults now.  We have jobs and bills and responsibilities...and a minivan.

Instead of starting a show at 10:30, we were headed home.  Because we had stories to read.  And games to play.  And movies to cuddle on the couch and watch as a family.  We had kisses and hugs to get and tickles to give.  We had funny things to hear.  We have family road trips to plan and princesses and huge mice to go see (though I won't lie...those mice are pretty frightening).  We have babies to hold.  We have blessings to be so thankful for...including a minivan.

I'm not going to lie to you and say that perhaps life ten years ago wasn't easier. The things that are fun and exciting now, though they would've seemed silly to me then, are so much better because I have the four most amazing people ever to share them with.

I won't say I didn't enjoy life back then. But I think I will hold my minivan club card high..because I'd much rather have what I have now-three kids, a wonderful husband, and an incredible life...and a minivan.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Quick and Simple Tex-Mex.

I always kinda giggle when people comment on how lucky Bird is to be married to me because he must eat so well all the time.  That's adorable.

Today for lunch, he brought cold pizza that was leftover from Saturday's lunch.

I will say, however, that I've taken pretty seriously the role of Top Chef in our house, and I've tried to specialize in learning to make things that can take Bird back to his southern California roots.  Be it my version of green sauceflan, or the shredded beef that I use in tacos or the beef tamales I make and sell, Bird is a big fan of it all...and all of it takes so much time.  No foolin', friends- those tamales are a labor of love.

The problem is that I'm a little white girl who grew up in small town Oklahoma, so my idea of Mexican food all throughout my childhood could be summed up in two words: Taco Bell.  (The most white I've ever felt in my life was telling the lady at Baja fresh that I wanted my taco "Americano style" the last time we were in LA.)  In addition, I do not have hours and hours every day to make a taco, so when I am feeling a little drive-thru taco craving, I need a true-to-my-roots fast food taco recipe...and I ain't finna use no seasoning packet. And I don't think you should either.  I don't think this could get easier, and it's definitely faster for me than driving the 40 minutes round trip to a dive-thru.

What you'll need:
1 lb of ground beef (I use 85/15, and I wouldn't suggest going any fattier)
half a can of Rotel
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

In a skillet, break up your ground beef.  Pour in half a can of Rotel, making sure to add the liquid in, too.  Mix it together really well before you add it to the heat.  Add in your salt, garlic powder, and pepper.  Mix it all together, and cook on a medium low heat until the beef is cooked and browned and all the liquid has cooked out.  Now, because I used a little leaner meat, I don't drain it.

I usually eat this on a tostada shell that I fry up myself (because it's so easy to do), and I prefer to shred my own cheese (because pre-shredded cheese has additives like powdered cellulose that keep it from clumping, but they also keep it from melting all beautifully)...but honestly, pour this over some tortilla chips, add a little cheese, lettuce, and sour cream, and you have dinner in like, ten minutes.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Don't Read This Blog Post.

I had a funny thing happen to me a while back.  I had someone email me and tell me she'd read through my blog and she was just in awe of me.  How did I have time to do those things with my kids?  How could I be such a great homeschool teacher?  How could I have the energy to write recipes?  Could she take her own kid's school pictures? ...How...?  ...When...?  I envy you.

I laughed it off and felt pretty good about myself.

Then I got another message of the same sort.

Then another.

Then someone mentioned something to me when they saw me at the store.

Then someone said something to Bird.

Well isn't that peachy?!  Thank you....thank you very much.

But then it got cold and Christmas was over and all of a sudden, I found myself stuck inside with three kids, husband at work, and my yearly season of bummed-outtedness kicked in.  I went back and read those emails because they made me feel so kind and loving and pretty and wise.  But then a funny thing happened.  I did a double take as I read through those emails and realized that those people had no idea how annoyed and frustrated and TIRED I really was, often when I wrote those things.  Well, jeepers.  That stinks.

I actually realized this a while back, and it made me stop publicly posting for the most part.

So if you've ever read my blog and thought, "Well, this girl has it all figured out...." I invite you to read this.  It is an account of the last week I've had.

I got sick (which really doesn't happen super often), and I am possibly the worst sick person ever.  I had just deep cleaned nearly every room in my house, and I was so excited about the ease of keeping it clean.  I was working on some new recipes that I was really excited about, and I was really on top of school.  Then BAM! ear and throat infection knocked me out.  All of a sudden, the kids were eating cereal for multiple meals per day, we were behind in school, and the house was...well...it was inhabited by three tiny crumb factories.  I was in constant pain, and not feeling up to doing anything, which just made me mad.  My mom kept our kids, and I cried and Bird took me to the emergency room where I got antibiotics and was told to take Sudafed- which makes me a wee bit loopy.  I went home, took my meds, and I don't remember much of the rest of that day.  The next day, Bird took the day off to stay home and nurse me and keep the kids so I could rest. Which, of course, I didn't do- which of course, made me feel worse...which made me more mad.  The next day, I decided I was going to brave grocery shopping (dumb idea.), but my dad kept the older kids so I only had my sweet Eva.  On the way home, I was drained, so I called and asked if they could stay longer so I could nap- which I didn't do.  The kitchen needed cleaning, after all.  So I cried and cried because I didn't feel better and I was just so tired.  Finally yesterday, Bird insisted I just lay on the couch and rest during the day.  There was to be no house work.  Guess who cried when he got home because not only was everything a disaster, but I still wasn't feeling any better?  Oh that's right.  Me.  So what did he do?  He pushed me out of the kitchen, demanded I rest, and pretty much took care of everything else all night.  All week I whined.  All week I cried.  Even today, when I felt back to my normal self, I still got a little frustrated when Isaiah spent ten minutes counting the lines on his paper and trying to figure out how long it would take him to finish his math sheet instead of just, you know, finishing his math sheet.  I cried when I realized I was going to be the one cleaning Eva's poop out of the bathtub, and I'd hate to see the face I made when Izzy got so upset that the clothes I'd chosen for her weren't her favorites. 

So my point is this:  Thank you so much for the kind words.  You all are so sweet...but you're so wrong.  I, in no way, have it all together.  (I just have an unbelievable husband and family unit helping me out...I could not be more thankful for them, especially after this week!) And if you're reading my blog for any reason other than to get to know me and maybe get a kick out of how weird and silly my kids can be, I'd ask you to step away.  Read some scripture.  Maybe start with Proverbs 31 (that lady is crazy awesome)- because scripture will always be way more encouraging to you than my words.

And trust me- if I can pull off this whole "mom" thing, so can you.