My Imperfectly Perfect Life

I have to tell ya…Hitting the “New Post” button on my blog felt SO weird and comforting at the same time. I’ve really missed opening my computer and sharing my love of health, with a little glimpse of my crazy beautiful life, and my overly dramatic personality…

It’s been too long my friends. Way too long.

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Someone close to me recently told me that I portray myself having this perfect life in my posts/FB statuses/Instagram, but in reality my life isn’t so. Like I’ve been fake…It was a little bit of an “ouch…really?” I feel like I’ve tried to be as real as I can on social media and my blog post. I think I have done my best to share the good most definitely, but I also feel that I’ve been open with sharing some of the bad and the ugly. (We are entitled to some privacy right?) :)

I know that social media can be a place where we don’t always show the reality of life, but I’ve always looked at this blog and my social media outlets as a place of positivity.  A place of comfort, strength, passion, common ground for others, and definitely a place of reality.

So that had me thinking, and since then I’ve been eager to share a little bit of reality of my well…Imperfectly Perfect life.

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It’s been about a month since I’ve been present here on The Diva Dish, and before that I was touch and go. Truth is my friends, we all have touch days/months/years. Times where it’s like, “Ok, can I really take much more?!” Times where we think everything is falling apart and there is NO way we can pick ourselves.

This has been one of those years.

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There has been a lot of loved ones lost this year, a lot of financial difficulties, relationships have been tried and tested between family members, friends, and my marriage. I’ve felt alone, lost, and even like a terrible mother and wife. I’ve seen loved ones struggle more than ever before, and I’ve been hurt by people who I respected and loved.

BUT…

There is always a but!

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I’ve also been blessed so much. I was able to get pregnant and continue to stay at home and raise my two baby girls. I’ve had many opportunities to see prayers answered by my loving Heavenly Father when I most needed them. I’ve learned the true value of friendship, and have seen many serve and sacrifice to help myself and my family out in many ways. I’ve learned that there is nothing better than a phone call of comfort from my mom or dad. And I have never felt closer to God than I do now…

I’ve become a lot stronger and so much more confident in myself than ever before, something which I’ve struggled with for a while. I know that I can do hard things, and I am doing the best I can to be a great mother, wife, friend, and woman.

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Why am I sharing this?

Not just to say that my life isn’t perfect, because I know that I’ve expressed that before.

What I really wanted to share was that life can be extremely difficult. We all go through things unimaginable, and no trial compares. It’s easy to get wrapped up in other peoples lives, thinking that their grass is greener (or their house is cleaner!)

But even in times of darkness, there is light. I’ve learned this so much this year. Even if it’s just a smile and an “I wove you!” from my two year old, or an “I’m so happy mom!” from my 4 year old. There IS light. Some days there will be more than others…But I know that we are strong, we are loved, and that no one is living a fairy tale.

More of like a broadway show, ya know :)!

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There will be multiple days of messy houses, laundry piles for DAYS, tantrums, toys on the floor, (and even some food!) And there will be nights where we order a pizza and eat three slices with ranch dressing and not feel bad about it..(And then have a bowl of rice krispies later that night!)

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And then there will be times where our world is turned upside down. Times where we fall and we don’t really want to get up, and we need help.

It’s so important to love others because we really don’t know what burdens others are carrying. Look for opportunities to serve and love others…

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And look for times where there is a little (or a lot) of light…

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I love you my friends and I’m grateful you have stuck with me this far during this year. I love this blog and I love all those who have supported me! Please know that despite the challenges this year has brought, we are doing GOOD! We are so blessed in more ways than we can count!

I’m so happy it’s the Holiday season! I can’t wait to eat more pumpkin and have hot chocolate by a sparkly christmas tree! With a large pile of laundry next to me of coarse :)!

Chicken Pesto Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes & Artichokes

*This is probably one of my families favorite meals to eat, and my favorite meal to make. Chicken Pesto Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes & Artichokes. It’s the easiest thing to throw together on a busy weeknight, and it’s great dish when you have to bring meals to others!* 

 

When Boo was first born, I will never forget all of the emotions I was experiencing. Scared, excited, overjoyed, blessed, freaking out, worried, emotional, irrational, tired, delirious, thirsty, and hungry.

And probably 456 other emotions that I can’t remember…

Oh yea, memory loss.

Chicken Pesto Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes & Artichokes, via The Diva Dish. Easy dish for a weeknight, and perfect to bring to others when making dinner for them!

When Boo was about two weeks old, and all of the family had headed back home, I remember feeling like “Oh my gosh…what do I do? How do I take care of her? What if she coughs? How come I can’t hold my pee when I laugh? Also, I am I seeing things or am I just tired?”

My husband was deep in the middle of finals for grad school and I was scared out of my mind every time he left that morning for school. I knew it would be at least 10 hours before I saw him, and probably 6 hours before I talked to him. I was eating random things here and there, and drinking straight from a bottle of cranberry juice…

It was kind of…a beautiful mess. (So to speak.)

Chicken Pesto Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes & Artichokes, via The Diva Dish. Easy dish for a weeknight, and perfect to bring to others when making dinner for them!

I was fully in love with my little new born, but hadn’t quite figured out how to live life as a new mom. I felt alone a lot, but at the same time so comforted knowing that she was always with me.

Then one night when my husband was studying late at school, there was a knock on my apartment door. I opened the door to find a lady and her young daughter smiling so big with handfuls of food. I knew this lady just a little bit from church, and had maybe talked to her once. She had just moved to our area after going through a horrible experience in her life and had ended up living in our apartment complex.

She stood there with this hot pasta dish, bread, a huge salad, and a delicious homemade strawberry pie.

Chicken Pesto Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes & Artichokes, via The Diva Dish. Easy dish for a weeknight, and perfect to bring to others when making dinner for them!

I’m pretty sure I balled my eyes out (and tried not to pee my pants) as she told me she had brought our family dinner because she knew the joys and stresses of being a new mom. As they held sweet Boo in their arms, all I could think about was how in that moment I wasn’t alone, and there was someone watching out for me. And even despite what this beautiful woman was going through, she had found the time to serve someone else, and help someone in need.

I’ll never forget that experience, and to this day I can still taste that strawberry pie.

At the beginning of this month, my girls and I made a goal to bring someone food every week. Not always a full meal, maybe some homemade bread or fresh cookies. For me, food is such a comfort, and I love sharing that with others.

This pasta dish has been one of my tried and true recipes from time to time as I’ve brought dinners to others. It’s SO easy, which is kind of a necessity if you are making dinner for not only YOUR family but someone else’s.

Chicken Pesto Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes & Artichokes, via The Diva Dish. Easy dish for a weeknight, and perfect to bring to others when making dinner for them!

Chicken Pesto Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes & Artichokes
 
This dish is SUPER simple and can come together quickly when you need a quick weeknight dinner! Also, it's the perfect dish to deliver to other families!
Ingredients
  • 1 pound, or a little more, pasta of choice. (The recipe works best with a tortellini pasta filled with cheese.)
  • 1-1½ c. pesto, jarred or fresh (or 1 jar.)
  • 1-2 cups sundried tomatoes, we prefer more :)
  • 1-1½ c. chopped canned artichokes
  • 1-2 cups shredded chicken
  • 8 oz mozzarella pears
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. Strain pasta and place in a large bowl. Add the pesto, tomatoes, artichokes, and chicken and mix until combined.
  3. Sprinkle the top with the mozzarella pears.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

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Chicken Pesto Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes & Artichokes, via The Diva Dish. Easy dish for a weeknight, and perfect to bring to others when making dinner for them!

I’m so grateful for moments like that. Times where I felt comfort even when I was scared.

Also, I’m grateful I don’t pee my pants any more. Unless I cough, sneeze, jump on a trampoline, and run…

So so grateful.

 

Would you guys like to be apart of something amazing?! Join my girls and I bring others a food of comfort one time each week for at least a month!  Let’s make others feel loved! xoxoxo

Thai Spiced Pumpkin Soup (Served in Pumpkins!)

Ever since the start of “Fall”, I’ve been craving a nice warm pumpkin soup served in a cute lil’ pumpkin!

Thai Spiced Pumpkin Soup, The Diva Dish, http://thediva-dish.com

Thai Spiced Pumpkin Soup, The Diva Dish, http://thediva-dish.com

But I wanted to spice it up a little different since my husband dreads anything pumpkin. ( I know…)

So I added some curry season, creamy coconut milk, and a little sweetness from a sweet potato. He actually really like it! Until he added one too many dashes of Franks Hot sauce and RUINED it.

Thai Spiced Pumpkin Soup, The Diva Dish, http://thediva-dish.com

Thai Spiced Pumpkin Soup, The Diva Dish, http://thediva-dish.com

He seems to think that Franks Hot sauce goes on EVERYTHING. I mean, it’s not like they market the product saying  it goes on EV.RY.THANG.

 

Or do they?

Don’t answer.

Thai Spiced Pumpkin Soup, The Diva Dish, http://thediva-dish.com

Thai Spiced Pumpkin Soup, The Diva Dish, http://thediva-dish.com

He also doesn’t like dessert, Real Housewives, or the color turquoise. (Which, I want to paint my whole house and every piece of furniture.) WHAT’S WRONG WITH HIM?! Not that much really…He’s adorable. But really? Who hates turquoise?

Now…About that Thai Spiced Pumpkin Soup…

Thai Spiced Pumpkin Soup, The Diva Dish, http://thediva-dish.com

Thai Spiced Pumpkin Soup
 
Ingredients
  • 2½ c. pumpkin puree, fresh or canned
  • 1 c. sweet potato puree
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 4 c. vegetable broth
  • 4 TB. madras curry powder, or another curry powder seasoning
  • grated nutmeg, or a sprinkle of ground nutmeg
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Topping:
  • Roasted pumpkin seeds
  • Drizzle of coconut milk
Instructions
  1. Add the puree, milk, broth, and curry powder in a pot over the stop. Turn the heat on to medium.
  2. Whisk all ingredients together until creamy. Let the soup come to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer. Add in your nutmeg and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Serve hot in bowls, or hollowed pumpkins, and top with roasted pumpkin seeds and a drizzle of coconut milk.

 

Thai Spiced Pumpkin Soup, The Diva Dish, http://thediva-dish.com

My dream is to one day hold a fabulous Thanksgiving Dinner at my house where I serve this soup in mini pumpkins and everyone says “Ooooh” and “Aaahhh”…

Then drizzle it with a yummy coconut milk and some crunchy roasted pumpkin seeds! It’s the perfect crouton for this soup!

Thai Spiced Pumpkin Soup, The Diva Dish, http://thediva-dish.com

Thai Spiced Pumpkin Soup, The Diva Dish, http://thediva-dish.com

I promise my next recipe won’t be pumpkin based…I think? Otherwise my husband might, well…Put Franks Hot Sauce on Pumpkin Pie.

Not ok…

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

We are basically in the fall/holiday season and I’m fully ready to embrace boots and sweaters. I’d also like to sip hot chocolate at the same time, while eating pumpkin & apple pie, with a pumpkin spice candle burning in my kitchen while listening to Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer.

Also..I’d like it snow.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread, http://thediva-dish.com

Unfortunately my kids are still pant-less and wearing T-shirts around the house, and my air condition is on full speed. And the larger I get, the more I desperately want to wear oversized comfy clothes, but I sweat like a sinner in church…

Would this be considered complaining?

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread, http://thediva-dish.com

(Side note: I just love that little face!)

But of coarse I have so much to be grateful for, and this afternoon when my little peanut woke up from her nap I decided we would do our best to bring the Fall season to us. And since it’s the season of..giving? (Isn’t is always?) We decided that sharing a piece of Fall with someone else would be best!

This pumpkin bread is the perfect recipe for when you feel like giving. It makes enough to make one loaf for you and one loaf for someone else.

Or 4 smaller loaves for you and 3 special friends.

Or even muffins for lots of friends if your popular.Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread, http://thediva-dish.com

You can use canned pumpkin, or if you are feeling creative you can make your own FRESH pumpkin puree! (There is also a really embarrassing video tutorial too! Win win!)  I usually try and make a large batch every season and then bathe in it.

HA! I mean, not bathe…BAKE!! Oh my gosh…so awkward. 

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread, http://thediva-dish.com

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread, http://thediva-dish.com

And of coarse, save the mixer spoon and a few chocolate chips for those little mouths. Leave the bowl for yourself…

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread, http://thediva-dish.com

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread, http://thediva-dish.com

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread
 
Ingredients
  • 3 c. white whole wheat flour
  • 1½ c. coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ tsp. ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 c. melted coconut oil, cooled
  • ⅔ c. water
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 c. pumpkin puree, canned or fresh
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 bag chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and spices. Set the bowl aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, add the oil, water, eggs, pumpkin, and vanilla. Mix until combined, and then with the mixer on low add in the dry ingredients until combined.
  3. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  4. Grease two large bread pans, and divide the batter between the two.
  5. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45-50 minutes. Let the bread COMPLETELY cool in the pans before removing.
  6. Enjoy!

Recipe slightly adapted from this lovely and delicious Pumpkin Bread from What’s Gaby cooking!

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread, http://thediva-dish.com

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread, http://thediva-dish.com

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread, http://thediva-dish.com

Make sure you wrap up the loaf nicely with a sweet note and a burlap ribbon! Then grab your flip flops, sunglasses and 50 SPF as you head out the door to make your delivery…

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread, http://thediva-dish.com

Also, run the air conditioning in the car so the chocolate chips in the bread don’t melt…

#Immelting

 

Natural Sweet Recipes Guest Post!!!

I’ve always loved being apart of the blogging community because there are SO MANY fabulous people out there with amazing talents! The Naturally Sweet Recipes blog sisters are one of them and hold a special place in my heart for so many reasons. If you take a look over at their blog, you will see the most dreamiest and delectable treats and more ALL naturally sweetened! No refined or processed sugars or ingredients! They were the ones that introduced me to my obsession with coconut sugar! :)

I am SO lucky to have them on the blog today sharing some of their most popular recipes. Also, did you know they have a cookbook coming out! Not just any cookbook, but an EVERYTHING Naturally Sugar Free Cookbook. I know you’ve seen the Everything brand cooks right?! Yes! Have I mentioned how amazing they are yet?

 

Thanks ladies for sharing your (naturally) sweet goodness with The Diva Dish today! Much love! xoxo

Ari

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Hello Diva Dish Readers!

natural sweet recipes sisters

This is Annie, Holly and Chelsea at Natural Sweet Recipes. We’re sisters that blog about healthy recipes! We were so excited when Ari asked if we’d like to guest post. Ari’s our “naturally sweet sister” as she shares our same belief of low to no sugar and has been a great inspiration to us. We’ve tried some of her recipes and have loved them so much! This girl is an amazing example of living a healthy lifestyle despite a busy life with family, moves, work and kids!

 

Natural Sweet Recipes began just over 3 years ago. We were inspired to start blogging after members of our family were diagnosed with candida. Candida is a sugar and yeast overgrowth in the body and can wrack havoc in many different ways. We all gave the candida diet a shot. It turned out that there were sweeteners acceptable for the candida diet and they actually tasted delicious! This sparked an interest in discovering even more white sugar alternatives! When we loved the recipes we were sharing with each other, we decided to make our blog public and share our creations with everyone! As our blog has grown, we’ve been inspired to continue sharing our sugar-free recipes on our blog and our first cookbook will be released later this year on December 12th!

When people try our naturally sweetened desserts, the most popular statement made is “How is this sugar-free? It tastes so sweet!” We love when we can transform real whole foods into delicious desserts! We never use chemicals or products that contain aspartame or Splenda. You can learn about the sweeteners that we use in our Natural Sweetener Guide and why they are better than white sugar.  We’d love to share a few of our favorite recipes with you today!

 

Readers have loved these recipes:

 

Healthy Birthday Cake

healthy-birthday-cake-recipe

Honey Caramels

honey caramels

Healthy Vegan Nutella

healthy-nutella 

Our friends and family loves these recipes:

 

Chocolate Silk Brownies

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Naturally Sweet Bakery Style Chocolate Chip Cookies

healthy-chocolate-chip-cookies

Vegan Blueberry Lemon Pancakes (This recipe was inspired by Ari’s pancake recipe here!)

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And we don’t just stop at desserts! We share yummy savory dishes that are often loaded with sugar.

 

The Cheesecake Factory’s Sweet Tamale Corn Cakes are delicious and healthy made gluten and sugar-free!

healthy-sweet-tamale-corn-cakes

Our Honey Mustard Dressing is fabulous on all your favorite salads or spread on fish and doesn’t contain any nasty chemicals or preservatives.

natural honey mustard dressing

There are so many alternatives to white sugar. We’ve found it’s hard to stop using whole sweeteners when you realize how delicious they are!

 

Thanks so much for having us, Ari! We hope everyone will stop on by our corner to say hi! We’d love to share more naturally sweetened recipes with you.

 

Do You Want To Build A Sand Castle?!

Beach Bums, The Diva Dish, http://thediva-dish.com

Beach Bums, The Diva Dish, http://thediva-dish.com

Beach Bums, The Diva Dish, http://thediva-dish.com

Beach Bums, The Diva Dish, http://thediva-dish.com

Beach Bums, The Diva Dish, http://thediva-dish.com

Beach Bums, The Diva Dish, http://thediva-dish.comBeach Bums, The Diva Dish, http://thediva-dish.com

Beach Bums, The Diva Dish, http://thediva-dish.com

Beach Bums, The Diva Dish, http://thediva-dish.com

Beach Bums, The Diva Dish, http://thediva-dish.com

Beach Bums, The Diva Dish, http://thediva-dish.com

Beach Bums, The Diva Dish, http://thediva-dish.com

Beach Bums, The Diva Dish, http://thediva-dish.com

Beach Bums, The Diva Dish, http://thediva-dish.com

Ever since moving away from California, we haven’t really played in the sand. (Unless you consider the Desert Sand mixed with rocks, then yes. Every day.) We miss it so much, and we will be calling this our home for the next week! This couldn’t have come at a better time with our busy and crazy lifestyle. Sometimes we just need to take time and relax…And drink milkshakes.

Have you ever been to New Port Beach, California? What are your favorite activities? More importantly, where are the best places to EAT? :) We did the Crab Cooker, which was an old family favorite, but I would love to hear more of your ideas!

Pirate & Pixie Birthday Party

My plan was to have this post up two weeks ago…

But if you follow me on social media, you know that we just bought a house (WOO HOO!), but we had two weeks to be out of our rental and move and clean everything (Boo!!).

This year for the girl’s birthday I really wanted to keep it simple, unlike THIS one…or THIS one…or THIS one…

But I have this problem where I like to plan parties for little kids who won’t remember it and spend a lot of money and make it cute…I blame pinterest. So this year I halved-it. I did some cute decor, a few games, but I still kept it simple and had the party at the park and let the kids run wild on the play ground.

I have to say, it felt good to take it easy and not put TOO much stress into it! I think next year will be even more relaxed!

After all…I should save my stress (and money) for the three weddings I’ll have to plan in the years down the road right??

The girls really wanted a Tinkerbell Party this year, but they have a lot of boy friends and I figured fairy wings and wands weren’t really up their ally. So we changed it to Pirate and Pixie! I loved this theme so much, you really could have so much fun with it!

Pirate & Pixie Party-The Diva Dish, http://thediva-dish.com

Pirate & Pixie Party-The Diva Dish, http://thediva-dish.com Pirate & Pixie Party-The Diva Dish, http://thediva-dish.com

Pirate & Pixie Party-The Diva Dish, http://thediva-dish.com

Pirate & Pixie Party-The Diva Dish, http://thediva-dish.com

Pirate & Pixie Party- The Diva Dish http://thediva-dish.com

Pirate & Pixie Party- The Diva Dish http://thediva-dish.com

Pirate & Pixie Party- The Diva Dish http://thediva-dish.com

Pirate & Pixie Party- The Diva Dish http://thediva-dish.com

Pirate & Pixie Party- The Diva Dish http://thediva-dish.com

Pirate & Pixie Party- The Diva Dish http://thediva-dish.com

Pirate & Pixie Party- The Diva Dish http://thediva-dish.com

Pirate & Pixie Party- The Diva Dish http://thediva-dish.com

Pirate & Pixie Party- The Diva Dish http://thediva-dish.com

Pirate & Pixie Party- The Diva Dish http://thediva-dish.com

Pirate & Pixie Party- The Diva Dish http://thediva-dish.com

Pirate & Pixie Party- The Diva Dish http://thediva-dish.com

Pirate & Pixie Party- The Diva Dish http://thediva-dish.com

Here are some party details:

Food: (We had a lot of adults/family too!)

Pirate Booty

Berries

Orange ‘pirate boats’ (Saw this on pinterest too! Not sure where it originally came from though.)

Garden Salad-Kale salad from Costco, which is my FAVORITE!

Berry Marshmallows in cups

Pizza

Tinkerbell cupcakes- I used my Cricut machine to cut flowers and designs for the toppings

Pirate Cupcakes

Decorations: 

Fans/Lanterns (Minted.com)

Utensils/Straws/Plates/Napkins etc. (Partypail.com)

Games:

Walk the plank

Pirate Hook Ring Toss (Not sure where this idea came from, but it’s all over pinterest)

Piñata

Playing at the park

 

I just love being a mommy to my two darling baby girls, and every year I get a little sad that they are growing up! So grateful to have them in my life!

Thanks again for your patience friends! Love you all so much!

 

No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

There was this one time last week where I’m positive people wanted to call CPS on me…

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It was a day like every other. The girls requested to dress them selves, which meant rain boots, pink dresses, matching head bands, and crocs. My 4 year old did the makeup of her self and the two year old. Although they looked as if they both had black eyes, I’ve learned in my few years of being their mommy that I need to pick my battles wisely. Rain boots and black eyes for make-up were fine in my book…that day…

We entered into the store, Hobby Lobby, and the girls eyes lit up as they noticed Christmas, Halloween, and pink sparkly things placed strategically around the store. I knew immediately keeping them in the cart was going to be nearly impossible…I knew things might end badly. I should have turned around. But I didn’t.

I became too confident in my parenting skills.

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As we walked around the store searching for the things I needed, all the trinkets and sparkly things started to affect the children. GREATLY. They ran, they screamed, they grabbed, they pulled. (By they I mean the two year old.) I tried my best to keep them in control, threatening them with loosing toys and iPad time, then bribing them with old food at the bottom of my bag.

Then things got bad. Real bad.

The two year old had about had it. I tried my hardest to buckle her in the cart, but the screams made it embarrassing and impossible to continue. As we headed for the checkout line I stupidly let me girls play with the GOSH FREAKING DARN toys that sit near the register.

DUMB Arielle. DUMB.

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I noticed the two year old taking a liking to a pink unicorn and in my head knew crap was about to hit the fan. I planned an escape rout in my head, which involved dropping the toy and running out the door.

But then, in the process of the toy being dropped and the screams beginning…The 4 year old had to pee. BAD. BAD as in it’s coming out bad. So we rushed to the back of the store, one child holding them selves, the other screaming a scream only people have nightmares about.  We then rushed into the bathroom stall and handled business.

The two year old was still screaming, and this time even louder. I tried everything I could to calm her, but clearly she wasn’t having it. A good 10 minutes went by in that bathroom, because I was too embarrassed to leave. I thought, maybe if she just stops we can run out and no one will notice.

Then an employee comes to check on us, ya know, because it sounded like I was BEATING MY CHILD. At that moment I knew I had to leave.

 

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As we walked to the front of the store with the screaming, legs and arms flailing child in my arms, I saw and felt each entire person’s eyes glaring and me. I could read their thoughts,  “Unfit mother, spoiled brats, OMG SHE’S PREGNANT WITH ANOTHER!!”…

I had to bite my tongue from screaming, “WHAT THE HECK IS EVERYONE LOOKING AT?!”

As we got in the car, dramatically I might add, I sat there and started to laugh…and then cry. No way did that just happen.

And as I looked up in my rear view mirror to look at my two precious darling little divas, I heard a quiet whimpering voice say,

“Mommy…Can I have a Chookie?”

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5.0 from 2 reviews
No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies
 
Ingredients
  • ½ c. honey
  • ¼ c. coconut oil
  • ¼ c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • dash of salt
  • ½ c. peanut butter or almond butter*
  • ¾ c. quick oats
  • ⅓ c. dried cranberries
  • ⅓ c. unsweetened coconut
  • 2 TB. chopped dark chocolate
  • 1 TB. chia seeds
  • * If you use a more natural peanut butter, they tend to have more oil to them. Take this into consideration when making the cookies. You may need to take a way 1 TB. of coconut oil if your nut butter seems really oily.
Instructions
  1. In a sauce pan, melt honey, coconut oil, and salt. Stir in cocoa powder and nut butter until combined and melted, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Remove the pot from the heat, cover it with a lid, and let it sit for about 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the lid, stir in the oats, cranberries, coconut, chocolate, and chia seeds.
  4. Using a small cookie cutter, scoop the cookies out onto a baking sheet fitted with parchment paper or baking mat.
  5. You can top the cookies with additional coconut if desired.
  6. Place the cookies in the fridge and let them set for at least 30 minutes. Keep them in an airtight container in the fridge.
  7. Enjoy!!
  8. Adapted from Food Network Magazine

 

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And that my friends is why I will never go to the store ever again in my life.

The end.

Currently Craving: Ranch Salad w/ Croutons

I feel almost embarrassed to be posting the following ‘recipe’ because, well it’s not really a recipe.

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At this moment in my life there are about 5 foods that I can eat without grossing me out. It’s horrible and I’m over it, but at the same time I am kind of enjoying it. The foods I can currently stomach aren’t normally foods that I would eat, and the foods I would normally eat…yuck.

At this point, one of my favorite foods to eat is a large crunchy salad with ranch and croutons. For years I have tried my best to stay away from ranch. Not because it’s disgusting, because let’s be honest…You could put that gold on everything. It’s a very ‘heavy’ dressing with a high amount of unhealthy fat, and not always the best ingredients. I love love love salads, and I would much rather have my calories and (healthy) fats from the ingredients in the salad…then waste it on the salad dressing.

But then I got pregnant.

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It all started when I was early into this pregnancy and we had a bunch of family in town. Everyone decided on eating at BJ’s restaurant. I was on the verge of loosing my lunch, and decided to keep my meal simple with a small cup of soup and a side house salad.

They brought me this crunchy (water filled) lettuce with small diced tomatoes and big garlic croutons. It already had been drizzled in ranch, and I would have said something, but I knew I needed food in my stomach and decided I should probably just be quiet and stuff my face.

I dream every night about that salad.

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Since then I’ve recreated that salad at home, because come meal time it’s one of the only foods I can stomach. Obviously you could add a meat protein on top if desired, but at this point meat well…ya know. GUYS! NOTHING SOUNDS GOOD!

I added sunflower seeds on top and that has worked great. As for protein, I’ve had to really get creative in ways to get enough in my body. Protein is really important while pregnant!

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Like I said before, this isn’t a recipe. But I’m 100% positive this is a healthy salad, and perfect to serve alongside dinner to your family. To be honest, both my girls LOVE this salad, and usually eat it all up when I serve it with their dinner.

I am way more open to eating ranch now, but I know it’s a sauce I will use more sparingly later on. For now…

I’ll put that stuff on everything.

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*I spent about a good 10 minutes in the ranch isle at my local health food store, and decided on Annies Cowgirl Ranch. I felt it had the best ingredients! Any other ranch brands you love please let me know!*

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Easy Ranch Salad (Pregnancy Cravings)
 
Ingredients
  • Romain Lettuce
  • Shredded Carrots
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Diced Cucumber
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Whole Wheat Croutons*
  • Ranch Dressing**
  • * You can use a healthier bread such as Ezekial, a gluten free, etc. Feel free to toast the bread in the oven for a homemade crouton.
  • **Use a natural brand of Ranch Dressing, such as Annies. Less preservatives and added ingredients.
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients in a bowl and mix together.
  2. Serve immediately.
  3. (Although there really isn't a recipe needed ;)...)

 

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Now…Let’s pretend I didn’t just take pictures of a salad with ranch and tomatoes and call it a recipe, ya?

 

Pregnancy #3-Update/All About

Oh my Heavens!! Where do I begin?!

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(12 weeks Pregnant. I’ve grown since then!)

First of all, THANK YOU for all of the love, support, congrats, and sweet wishes from all of you! Our little family and this baby bump of mine feel so loved! I feel so blessed in so many ways!

When my second little girl was born, I vowed right there on the hospital table that I wasn’t going to do it ever again. Not because I didn’t love babies, but because that pregnancy/labor was so hard I swore to myself and everyone around me that we were done.

I gave away ALL…yes all…of my baby stuff. (Minus a few memorable items.) I was content with my decision and moved on with life as a mom of two little divas.

But then…

I saw a baby.

Seriously, that was all it took. Our neighbor had a baby and all of the sudden I had baby fever. I felt that there was another little angel in our life that needed to be with our family. I told my husband about it and he looked at me shocked and confused each time. Yes, there were multiple times we talked about babies. Finally, at one moment, we both felt it was right and well…I don’t need to explain more do I?

So far, this pregnancy has been INCREDIBLY DIFFERENT and similar all the same. (Which is why we were convinced it was a boy….)

With each of my pregnancies, I always know immediately. It’s a weird thing to explain, but I just always know. This one started out incredibly easy, to the point where I started to disbelieve what the FOUR pregnancy test were telling me. I had NO symptoms…Not one. Usually I’ll have a few right off the bat, but this time I had nothing.

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Don’t worry…they showed up.

Around week 8 it hit me.

Nauseousness. Throwing up Every.Dang.Day. (Still pretty much am.). Headaches, fatigue, and did I mention my hate towards food?! This has been pretty similar with both my pregnancies, but food does not sound good. The look, texture, feel, smell, anything will turn me off. EVEN CHOCOLATE!!!! Some days I can stomach a certain food, and some days I can’t. It has made things difficult because I feel like I’m not getting all the nutrients I need. I wish I was being dramatic, because let’s be honest, I usually am…

But I swear the other day I bit into a carrot that didn’t taste so good, I went to spit it out, and the act of well…doing that…made me loose my lunch. I also heated up soup in the microwave, and that did it for me too…I’m hoping the further along I get, the better I can eat. I really do miss food…

As for my exercise, the beginning of my pregnancy when I felt amazing, I was kicking butt. As soon as the vomiting started, my exercise pretty much stopped. It was hard feeling like I was in a car 24/7, loosing the food I did eat, and taking care of two very active girls. It’s gotten a bit easier since then, so I’ve been taking it slow with my stationary bike and walks. If there is one thing I’ve learned in pregnancy, it’s that exercise makes pregnancy and labor definitely easier, but pushing your self is never a smart thing. Just do the best you can, even if it’s slow. Any movement is good.

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I also nap pretty much every day, especially when I felt car sick. My laundry is rarely done, the dishes are pilled high, and my kids lived off TV and macaroni and cheese for a while as a laid down for the majority of my day. My poor husband came home to quite the scene every day from work. Luckily he loves me OH SO MUCH, so it was all good ;)!

I have to add that I know pregnancy in general can be a sensitive subject to others, especially those who have struggled with loss and infertility. It’s hard to say this but a majority of my friends are suffering from these problems, and it’s a horrible struggle to go through. I am so grateful for each one of these people in my life, they have been such amazing women to my daughters by loving, teaching, playing, and caring for them. I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have to do the things I am able to do, but please know that with those that struggle my heart is always with you! We are all mothers in our own way, whether we bare children or not, I truly believe that.

 

Thank you again friends for your love & support! I plan to do a series of post of the foods I HAVE been craving, and what I’ve done to make them more healthier! (For example, a ranch salad…Sounds so good right now!)

Love you all!!