Sunday, June 27, 2010

Shopping and Swimming

Yesterday morning, I informed Luz that today we were going shopping for a new maya (swimsuit) for her!  She seemed to grasp the concept very well...maybe a little too well...and immediately started repeating the word, "shopping," over and over.  When we woke Juan up for the day, she told him exactly what our plans were.  He was, of course, thrilled.  Luckily he had some work to do and did not get to go shopping for a new maya for Luz.

Then, much to her delight, I informed Luz that right after naptime we would be going to the pool so that she could play in the water with her new maya on.  I pretty much won the best Mom of the universe award for that! Here she is with her new maya in the water!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Luz is a big girl...a post on bedtime

As parents, we made a mistake when Luz was a baby.  At this point, I'll admit we made more than one, but definitely at least one big one.  We rocked her to sleep at night.  Now she is 2 1/2 and until a few weeks ago, we were still rocking her to sleep at night.  Well, we made the big decision to stop it and let her grow up and be a big girl.  Juan has had a lot of success laying her down in the crib without any crying, fighting, begging, etc. so for the past couple of weeks he has been on bed duty.  Tonight the dreadful moment finally came when he was gone at bedtime and I was left to attempt to put her to bed without rocking her.  I geared up for the fight, but amazingly she laid down like a big girl and went to sleep on her own.  I am so happy about this!  She still takes some coaching for naptime, but I'd say bedtime is huge progress.  Way to go Luz!

Book Review: The Walk by Richard Paul Evans (Fiction)

My Rating: Thought-provoking and well-written
Appropriate for:  Young adults, Adults
I am in love with the way this man writes!  I love that his books are deep, yet I am able to read them in a day or two.  I love that they make you laugh and cry all on the same page.  I love that he adds the touch of his character's journaling.  I highly recommend this book!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

New Recipe: Spinach and Potato Fritatta (from It'

My Rating: Very yummy flavor!
So, apparently I am a little bit challenged in the area of following directions, including recipes.  I have actually eaten this once before when my Mom made it for me a couple of months ago.  She has told me how she made it, and I watched her make part of it.  But alas, I could not follow the directions and ended up with Spinach and Potato "scramble," which tasted very yummy and looked nothing like a respectable fritatta should look.  The recipe is found here, on my Mom's food blog, which I highly recommend.  If you want the scramble version, you can do what I did and use 6 regular potatoes of regular size and a couple of big handfuls of spinach, resulting in way too much food to really hold together in a cohesive form.  It was so tasty, but I think next time I will cut back on the quantities in order to conserve the shape...or maybe make 2 instead. :)  Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Book Review: Between the Lines by Erin Klingler (LDS fiction)

My Rating: Excellent!  A must-read!
Appropriate for: Young adults, Adults
I'm not even sure how to sufficiently describe this book.  It's about two journalists who meet each other while trying to crack a case that ends up being huge.  I enjoyed this book because it kept my heart racing wondering what would happen next with adventure around every corner.

Salad (I may be doing something right)

We eat a lot of salad in our house.  But this story started about a week ago when Juan, Luz and I went out to eat.  We ordered Luz a quesadilla and applesauce.  I ordered a fish sandwich and salad.  Well, Luz ate her applesauce while I ate my sandwich and then very demandingly wanted my salad.  She ate almost my entire salad while I started to try to get her to eat her quesadilla instead.  But then I thought, hey, I'm so happy that she wants the salad!  Here is a not-so-great shot of her devouring my salad at Art City Trolley in Springville.  (picture taken with a really bad glare on my phone)

The saga continues...tonight we had salad as our first course for dinner.  Well, we do that every night.  Apparently I have been depriving my daughter of full salad satisfaction.  For several months now I have just made the salad in individual bowls.  But Tio Matthew has requested that I do it like a normal person and make a big salad that we can all serve ourselves.  So, I decided to give everyone back their agency (at least as far as quantity goes) and do it the normal way.  Luz ate 3 full bowls of salad.  She just kept eating and eating it!  YEAH for salad!

New Recipe: Chile Cheese Polenta (from the Rice Dream carton)

My Rating: Easy and Creamy
My cravings for creaminess have taken me to a new level of experimentation.  Texture seems to be HUGE with me this pregnancy and one of those amazing textures is creamy.  I found this recipe on the back of the Rice Dream carton...kind of funny...and decided to try it.  I loved polenta as a missionary in Argentina and sadly have not done much with it in the past 10 years.  I couldn't find polenta at the 2 grocery stores I went to, so I ended up using Quaker yellow corn meal.  It worked beautifully.  I could have used Rice Dream and probably should have, but I happened to have a lot of milk in my fridge today, so I used milk instead.  As for the other ingredients, I used diced chilies, a regular store brand of corn, jack cheese, and did not add any salt or pepper.  I think we all sprinkled some pepper on our individual bowls.  Next time I might use an additional cup of milk so it will be a little bit thinner consistency.  Enjoy!

1-7 oz. can diced green chilies or jalapenos, drained
1 cup Westbrae Natural whole kernel corn, drained
4 cups Rice Dream Original
1 cup dry polenta or course ground corn meal
1/2 cup shredded cheese
3 tablespoons butter
Hain Sea Salt and pepper
In medium saucepan, bring chilies, corn and Rice Dream to a boil.  Slowly add polenta, whisking constantly until smooth, about 6 minutes.  Mix in cheese and butter.  Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

New Recipe: Died and Gone to Heaven Cake (from Devil's Food Cake)

My Rating: Amazing!
I mentioned this book previously when I reviewed Evil Chicken Dinner by Laree.  I absolutely loved Devil's Food Cake!  And I really, really enjoyed both making and eating this dessert.  Tio Matthew and I actually made this for Father's Day, but alas, we were so full from eating Angel Chicken Pasta that we did not get around to eating it until today.  We made it in 2 pie dishes and used half the recipe in each (but actually ended up using almost a full container of ice cream in each).  I really liked the chocolate sauce made with the Hershey's syrup and sweetened condensed milk.  It was the perfect combination of chocolate gooey-ness for me.  I used Breyer's Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream, which we all loved, as well as chopped walnuts in lieu of pecans.  Enjoy!

The recipe is found here.  Click to download recipes from the book!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

Luz has the best dad in the whole world!  He loves her so much and loves for her to know that.  He is patient and happy when they play together.  He teaches her how to be a kind person.  He works hard for our family.  We love you Papรก!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Tio Matthew has arrived!

Luz and I got to pick Tio Matthew up from the airport today.  We are so excited that he will be staying with us for the next few weeks while attending BYU for the summer.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Good friends, good times

Today I had a great time with a friend and her little girl.  I am grateful for true friends and treasured memories.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

New Recipe: Brazilian Lemonade (from

My Rating: LOVE it!
Husband's Rating: Can you please make it everyday?
I actually found this about a month ago as a result of yet another craving.  I probably make it once a week now and try to have the ingredients on hand in case the craving hits.  Tonight I made it to go with Juan's carne asada...a perfect compliment!  I have a lime juicer, so I cut the limes in half and squeeze the juice out into the blender.  Then I cut the limes in eighths and put them in also.  I add 4 cups water and postpone adding anything else until later.  (Note: I have tried adding the sugar and it gets a bit messy and sticky, so I opt to add it at the end.)  Pulse the Blend-tec about 5-10 times.  Strain the liquid into another pitcher.  Then I put the limes back in with 2 more cups of water and pulse about 5 times.  Strain the liquid into the pitcher.  Throw away the limes.  Then I pour all of the liquid back in the Blend-tec, add the sugar and sweetened condensed milk, pulse about 3 times and serve over ice.  Enjoy!

Find the recipe and more photos here.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Book Review: Plain Paradise by Beth Wiseman (Fiction)

Rating: Very good, especially after reading the first 2 in this series.  Plain Paradise is #3.
Appropriate for: Young adults, Adults
This is a novel about a woman's journey into an Amish Community where she discovers new meaning to the words faith, hope, and love.  I enjoyed it because it was very well-written and opened my eyes to the trials and faith of others.

Book Review: Band of Sisters by Annette Lyon (LDS fiction)

Rating: Good, worth reading
Appropriate for: Adults
From the back cover: When the war on terror calls their husbands to duty, five LDS women are left behind to fight battles of their own.  I enjoyed this book because of its compelling plot, unique characterization, and emotional impact.

New Recipe: Leftover Rice Pancakes (from

My Rating: A good start, needs a little work
Luz' Rating:  Loved them!  She ate 3!
The other night I found this recipe on a blog I follow.  I decided to try it with some leftover brown rice I had.  I found that this recipe makes 2 good-size pancakes.  I cooked them in a little bit of butter and served them with syrup on top.  Luz LOVED them!  She kept wanting more.  I thought the texture was good, but the flavor was pretty bland and needed something.  Maybe cinnamon?  A pinch of sugar?  I am going to work on this and will let you know in a future post.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Book Review: Devil's Food Cake by Josi S. Kilpack (Fiction) - Part 3 of 3

Rating: Very good read
Appropriate for: Young adults, Adults
From the back cover: With her son, Shawn, at her side, her reputation on the line, and a full cast of characters Sadie Hoffmiller is once again on the case.  It is written by an LDS author, but not LDS themed.  I enjoyed this book because it kept me up all night reading.  I just couldn't get enough, especially after Lemon Tart and English Trifle...and I can't wait to try some of the recipes!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Book Review: Courting Miss Lancaster by Sarah M. Eden (Fiction)

Rating: Cute
Appropriate for: Young adults, Adults
This is very cute, clean book about life in the era of London dukes and duchesses.  It is written by an LDS author, but not LDS themed.  I enjoyed this book because it was a relaxing and romantic adventure.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sewing Project #2 - nursing cover

Tami suggested I sew a nursing know, a nice, rectangular thing with straight lines.  I loved making this project, although had a glitch with my machine right at the beginning.  Luckily, she let me use her machine, but my lines are definitely not straight.  Here it is folks, that is 2 yards of fabric!  I am really hoping not to flash anyone this time around.  We'll see...

I liked this one so much I decided to make another.  Obviously in love with polka dots. :)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sewing Project #1 - double sided flannel blankets

Recently, Tami offered to teach me how to sew.  I have done a few things here and there over the years, but I felt like I could branch out more with some supervision.  So, I guess, she offered to supervise my sewing and offer some of her expertise when needed.  The first thing I wanted to do is sew double-sided flannel blankets.  I made them for a friend who had a preemie baby boy.  I think they turned out really cute, although that has more to do with the fabric than the actual sewing. :)  [Ok, now that I've posted the pics, I realize that the lighting was really bad when I took them.  Sorry about that!]

Monday, June 7, 2010

Grandpa Millar

Grandpa Millar passed away on Memorial Day (May 31st).  Today was his funeral.  Now we all know that funerals are for the living and not the dead.  I feel very, very sad not to be in California right now with family, remembering the good times with Grandpa.  Unfortunately, because of my pregnancy complications, traveling is out of the question for me right now.

I remember Grandpa with a smile on his face.  When I was younger, he always tickled the dinner table, watching TV, anytime I got within arm's reach, there he was--tickling me!   Grandpa always had stories to tell and lots of life experience under his belt.  Grandpa was a very patient teacher.  I was just 10 or 11 when he attempted to teach Carolyn and I to drive his tractor.  I don't know if I would have been so brave, but it made me feel grown up and special to have that time with him.  Grandpa could turn a stressful situation into something to tease and laugh about.  Something about a tractor and a barn roof comes to mind.

Grandpa was very accepting of people and helped them feel included.  When Juan first started going up to the farm with me, Grandpa got some hot sauce to keep on hand just for Juan.  Juan loved to talk about the farm with Grandpa.  They talked about the avocado trees and other gardening topics.  They also talked about building and fixing things.

Luz got to meet Grandpa July 2008 when she was around 7 months old.  They saw each other again around Halloween 2009.

I know that life was not always easy for Grandpa.  One thing I am hoping to carry on as part of his legacy is a positive attitude and a smile on my face, even when things are tough.  I love you and will miss you Grandpa!!!

Grandma, Jacob, Grandpa - October 2009

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Book Review: On Becoming Toddlerwise by Garry Ezzo, M.A. and Robert Buckham, M.D. (Non fiction)

Rating: Very good
Appropriate for: Especially written for parents of toddlers
Good ideas to implement with toddlers.  I appreciated their insights with the first two book and this third volume did not disappoint me either.  I enjoyed this book because I learned some things and reinforced some things I had already figured out.  I consider it research for an important job I have right now.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Book Review: A Loving Heart by Anita Stansfield (LDS fiction) - Part 3 of 4

Rating: Very good, especially after reading the 1st 2 in this series.  
Appropriate for: Young adults, Adults
This book includes parts of the plot that are suspenseful, romantic, happy, sad...  I enjoyed A Loving Heart because it is engaging, well-written, emotional, and makes you want to read the next part!