Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Summertime Couscous Salad.

Last week I ran across a recipe for a Quinoa Salad from the Picky Palate that sounded really tasty.
I got excited to make this because one, it looked super easy, and two I wanted something light for dinner.
Then I remembered that last time I made Quinoa it was a disaster and no one ate it! So instead of having a repeat dinner moment, I came up with this version.

A super easy, yummy, summertime Couscous salad for all to enjoy!

Ingredients :
1 box of Couscous, any flavor. I used the regular.
2 cups broccoli florets uncooked
Instead of using the 2 cups cooked chicken the original recipe calls for, I bought a rotisserie chicken that I cut up. Much easier and tastier, plus I used it for a salad later that week.
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice from fresh lemon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 avocado, diced
*The recipe doesn't call for the almonds but I added them because it needed some crunch since I omitted the peppers. The next time I ate it, I added dried cranberries which was really good and gave it a nice, sweet flavor!*

1. Cook couscous according to package directions.
2. Place broccoli and chicken into a large bowl. Add couscous and stir together.
3. Place olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper into a medium bowl, whisking to combine. Pour over couscous and stir in cubed avocado.
4. Refrigerate until ready to eat. *I added the sliced almonds to the individual servings because I found that almonds tend to get soggy when combined with a little bit of liquid.*
Makes 8 servings

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Plane! The Plane!

This summer is flying by! The sun is shining brighter, hotter, and longer. The daylight runs into 8 pm making afternoons and evenings longer and more fun. More time to spend outside running in the park, taking long walks, and playing on the rooftop deck. B has been on hiatus from work for about a month and a half and I love every minute of him being home with us. I love my time with D alone, but life is much more fun with him around! We are doing a lot right now to prep for our move, as well and pack boxes and just soak up the summertime with D. I hate to see summer go and want to take full advantage of the time together as a family.

This morning we packed up some toys, a blanket, and some snacks and headed to LAX to watch the planes come in.
Free, easy, and hours of entertainment!
And we had SO MUCH FUN!
There is a small park across from In N Out (where we were going to grab lunch for a picnic) and the airport and it is designed for just this. Grab a blanket, lay back and watch the planes fly overhead! D ran around, watched the planes come in, said 'Doup-a-day' (his word for airplane) a million times over and had a perma smile on his face! This kid was in heaven.

This truly was a fun morning with him and B and one of my favorites. It was easy. Not a lot of fuss. Not a ton of stuff required to keep him busy, and most of all it was something we did as a family.

For a little boy who loves planes this was a great day! And for a mom who loves to see her little boy smile, an even better day.

oh yeah...
we also found a puddle and splashed for a good 15 minutes!
boys will be boys!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

I knew when I was a little girl that I wanted to find a man that would be an amazing father to my children. Someone who would measure up to my dad.

I remember the days of the two of us spending time fishing, riding bikes, swimming, and playing basketball for hours like they were yesterday. Those times are filed away in my memory bank and will always be cherished as special times between a daughter and her father. Those memories help build the bond we have now.

As I stood at the alter almost 3 years ago, I could honestly say I had found the one man who I could measure up to my dad when we had kids. Brandon is a wonderful father and one that I would choose over and over again. My husband is one of the most loving, adoring, caring, compassionate men I know. Never ever afraid to change a stinky diaper and trust me he has had his fair share of them! Never afraid to spend time alone with his son, even for a whole weekend while I gallivant all over Scottsdale with Lindsey. Never afraid to tell Declan over and over that he means the world to him.
I look and Brandon and Declan together and I thank my lucky stars that I chose this man to be the father of my kids. The memories of a father and son last a lifetime and I know these 2 will have some good ones!

Happy Father's Day to my wonderful husband and baby daddy! xoxo

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day Weekend!

This post is a day late because I had major phone issues, therefore not being able to upload the awesomeness that is my photos for this post!
Also, I did a friend a favor and babysat her little girl today so getting a post written while D napped was so not happening! We had fun though and it was a glimpse into life with 2 kids! Not too sure about all of that!

Friday afternoon I had the honor of being a "Special Friend" at this little lady's school. I used to nanny for Ashley until I had D. We are still very close and I was so glad I could be her 'special friend' and hang out with her for a few hours!

Friday we hit up LACMA and Jazz Night for some free jazz, wine, cheese, some beautiful LA weather and family time!

D was more interested in pushing his car around for 2 hours vs sitting still for a few minutes, eating and listening to the music BUT he is only 15 months so what are you gonna do!

Saturday we hung out at home in the morning and headed to a birthday party for a friends 2 kids later in the afternoon.
Again, D was more interested in pushing around a toy car then the actual party but again..WHAT CAN YOU DO?!?!

He did tolerate the swing for all of 2 minutes and smile while doing so!

He also played for all of 5 minutes with his little friend, Roxy, and then he was on to the next thing!

Sunday was Mother's Day and I got to sleep in for a bit and then we all headed to breakfast at Jack N' Jill's. I love this place!!

I splurged and got Cinnamon Croissant French Toast and it was to die for. So good!

We all napped and hung out at home for the rest of the day playing with trucks and cars and the Ipad. He's already an addict.
I also got to sneak off for a much needed mani/pedi! It was heaven!

B and D made me a homemade Mother's Day card that I am sure will be the first of many. I love it and want to frame it! It is precious and so special.

Later that evening after the wee one went to bed we had an amazing Shrimp Scampi dinner and watched The Killing! You guys, this show is AMAZING! You must watch. If you watched Harper's Island it is similar to that but on steroids! So good!!

All in all it was a wonderful weekend with my two boys!
This day is so special and reminds me just how truly blessed I am to be able to say I am a mom. And a mom to an amazing, rad kid at that!

Hope you all had a wonderful Mother's Day and got to spend it doing exactly what you wanted!
I missed my mom and wished I could have spent the day with her. She is truly the epitome of what a super mom is! She is amazing in every sense of the word and I can only hope that I am half of the mom to D that she is to me. If I can be that much then I am doing ok.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Imma Proud Mama!

Someone gave D an Etch a Sketch for his birthday and despite the fact that he couldn't really grasp the concept of it, I left it out for him to play with. We would show him how to scribble, erase, stamp, etc. No interest at all.

Yesterday that all changed! After a few tries with the Etch A Sketch D got it down!
He went to town scribbling on the board and then looked at me with such joy in his face as if to say "Mom, check it! I can scribble!"

Presenting the first scribble....

After the scribble, the praise, the clapping of the hands, the smiles, and the general over all "this is awesome!' he grabbed the Etch A Sketch, chucked it across the room, and went on his way.
Boys will be boys will be boys!

Monday, May 2, 2011

March For Babies Weekend.

Saturday I woke up bright and early to a gorgeous morning full of sunshine and cool temperatures to take part in the March of Dimes March for Babies walk in Los Angeles.

There have been so many people in the blog world taking part in this walk/race and I have loved reading everyone's stories on v how inspiring the day was. I agree 500%! The day was so inspiring and all I was hoping for when I signed up to race.

I did not have a premature baby. No one in our family was born prematurely. In fact, we all have huge babies! However, I am friends with many who weren't so lucky and had babies born way before their due date. They are all thriving, beautiful children now and are so lucky to be here. I chose these friends who were truly blessed with a miracle baby to honor and walk for.

The day was full of joy and love for people that I didn't even know. Such pride was seen in so many people's faces when they loaded their premature baby into the stroller and took their place at the starting line. Their shirts proudly displaying their child's name, birth weight, and the gestation week they were born. To read the back of a shirt and not have a lump in your throat immediately was impossible. Many displayed pictures of a tiny, almost unrecognizable, baby hooked up to tubes and IV's. Immediately you invision this baby fighting for his or her life, and a family at the time not knowing if they will make it. Many don't and there were a lot of people there walking for their "angels." Their faces were brave and they smiled as they saw others with children who had made it but your heart couldn't help but ache for them and their loss.

As I looked at Baby D, I realized how lucky I was to have a healthy baby who was born 3 days after his due date. So many mothers and families can't say that. This fact breaks my heart and makes me realize how lucky I truly am. Yes, children can be difficult and I would be lying if I didn't say that D can be a handful and there are times when I think "this sucks!" It is a reality though. I would take a million bad days over one of the days those people live without their child. I can't even imagine the pain of a loss like that.

We finished the race in 45 minutes and D was a total trooper! The energy of the walkers was contagious. Balloons filled the air, sun shone down on everyone, people raised their banners and flags all for one common goal, to raise money and awareness for the March of Dimes. Too celebrate the babies that were there in person and in spirit.

After the race we walked around and checked out some of the booths, listened to some music, and celebrated the day!
A long stare fest with a firetruck for D and Chick-Fil-A for mama was the topper to an already amazing day.

I walked 3 miles and burned some major calories only to add them back and then some I am sure, BUT it was worth it!

This was a day I will never forget and I am already rallying the friends together for a team next year!

The weekend fun continued into Sunday, as well.
We hit up the beach and pier in Santa Monica for an early morning stroll and coffee. The weather and beach were gorgeous!

The rest of the afternoon was spent watching a marathon of The Killing while D slept! I am addicted to this show!! Once awake we played with some trucks, Skyped with family, listened to music and I got to sneak away for an hour long massage! It was heaven!

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend with your family and friends!
This weekend was just what I needed. You know when you have one of those that opens your eyes to so many wonderful things in your life that you were kinda skipping over? This weekend was one of those for me and I am so thankful for that.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Handmade Journal Winner!!

The winner of the Handmade Journal by Tricia from Pretty and Personal Papers is ......

Lucky #7!
Natalie, @natablogs!

Congrats, Natalie!!
Comment below with your email address so I can get some info from you!!
Thanks to everyone who entered.

On Saturday, I Will Be Marching.

This Saturday Baby D and I are Marching for Babies for The March of Dimes!
We are so excited to take part in the fundraiser and I know a lot of bloggy moms are doing the same.
My goal was to raise $200 and I raised that plus $200 more and I trying to hit a new goal of $500! I am so grateful for all the love and support I have gotten from friends and family. It warms my heart to know that people are so willing to help others during this time of economic struggle.
I can't express how important this walk is for me. Not only to show support for those that I don't know, but to show support for someone that is a friend of mine. My friend, Kerri, had a baby born prematurely and thanks to the March of Dimes and their help and continuous effort to help families and babies in need, Ava is a thriving almost 4 year old full of energy, love, laughter and most of all a heart to keep on living!

The birth story of Ava, from my friend Kerri.

I went to my 24-week check-up on July 23rd, 2007. It was supposed to be a quick visit: check my blood pressure, urine test (joy!) listen to baby’s heart, check-up on my overall health and baby’s. I knew something was not quite right when they took my normal urine test…it was far from normal from what it had previously been the other 8 times I had taken this test. The stick was all white…not a good sign, but I thought maybe it was something very minor and proceeded out to the area where the nurse was waiting to take my blood pressure. Things went off the track even further then. Nurse took my blood pressure 3 times and then took me to one of the rooms and went to go get the doctor. I wasn’t even supposed to see my doctor that day. My OB came in and she took my blood pressure two more times. She then proceeded to tell my husband and I that I would not be going home, but would instead be going across the street to the hospital and would be checked in. We weren’t exactly sure what was happening and why, but we were both scared as hell.

Turns out I had severe pre-eclampsia. My blood pressure was extremely high (190/110!) and I had a large amount of protein in my urine. Neither good for me or my baby. On the 24th, I was transferred to a hospital with a Level III NICU. The original intent was to keep me in the hospital on bed rest till my baby was 28 weeks. However, my pre-eclampsia was determined to be so severe that I had to be transferred immediately and that I would have an emergency c-section either that day or the next. I was on the verge of a stroke, so the sooner they could get the baby out, the better for both of us. They loaded me up with steroids and decided to wait till the 25th so that the steroids would have a better shot at working on my baby’s lungs.

Ava Marie was born at 10:00 a.m. on July 25th, 2007. She weighed 1 lb 4 oz. It is hard to fathom a BABY that size and that this baby was alive and screaming with all her little might when she came out into the world. To put her size in perspective, she could wear my husband’s wedding ring as a bracelet. Yes, a ring as a bracelet on her very tiny little wrist.

Ava stayed in the NICU for 101 days. We were very lucky in the regard that she never had many “issues” that seem to plague little ones in the NICU such as brain bleeds, eye problems, cerebral palsy, debilitating illness, reflux, staph infections, etc. Not to say her journey was easy, not by any means, but she was a fighter from day one. The nurses and doctors were amazed at her spunk and perseverance.

I remember the first week that I was home from the hospital. I woke up one night about 3:00 a.m. and went to go watch TV as I couldn’t fall back asleep. As I sat there watching mindless reruns, a commercial came on for the March of Dimes. Seeing that commercial made me realize I wasn’t alone and that there were services out there for families like mine. I remember immediately opening my laptop and going to the March of Dimes website. They had a plethora of information and a whole online community for NICU families. Being able to read stories from other parents in the same situation was such a blessing.

Ava will be four years old this July. Looking at this special kid, you would never know that she started her life in such a fragile state. She has amazed us with her capacity for life from day one. She is full of energy and we never have a dull moment!

I have met little Ava and she is an amazing little lady and her mama is a one of a kind with a heart full of gold. I will forever be grateful that I met Kerri through a friend. She and Ava are a constant inspiration and a true example of a fighter.

If you would like to donate to the March of Dimes, please click the badge to the right on my sidebar.
Thank you!

Monday, April 25, 2011

This is How We Did Easter.

Last year we celebrated Easter with a 4 month old who didn't know what was what! He cooperated and kept the celebratory bunny ears on and didn't fight me on them!
We had a small celebration as a family and it was perfect.
Skip to one year later, and I have 15 month old who FOUGHT me on the ears and didn't cooperate! Such is life with a toddler!
We still had a great Easter and spent it with some friends and their families.

The Easter Bunny hooked D up this year with some cool finds from the dollar bin at Target, some truck books, a bath book, a giant egg with his name on it and an UffDa bunny sewn by the lovely Emily.
Huge hits in the basket this year were soccer ball eggs I found at Target, as well as a truck book and the bunny.

We had a nice Easter breakfast courtesy of Trader Joe's sweet rolls and Starbucks coffee.
I had grand plans to make The Pioneer Woman's rolls and take some to the party we were going to at noon.
BUT who am I kidding! I had zero time to get it all done.

I made one roll without icing for D. He hated it! Threw it and only wanted fruit! This kid is bizzare!!

I did manage to make some Easter treats for the party though!
Zomg! Easter Bark was to die for!

So most of my friends are parental units now. Everyone has babies or kids and they all played and ran around together and had a mini egg hunt! It was really fun and pretty rad seeing my friends kids playing with my Baby D.
The egg hunt was not a huge hit with D, BUT did like stopping in his tracks when he heard a plane. The joys of living in the LAX flight pattern!
Also, truck and car playing for hours!

My little bunny....

and the other little bunnies, June and Avery....

It was a fun day full of great friends and Easter eggs, candy, and yummy food.
So much fun was had that these two crashed....HARD!

I'm looking forward to next year when D gets a little more into Easter and the whole egg and bunny thing.
Hope everyone had a great Easter and a wonderful weekend!
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