Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween. It's our tradition to eat chili (butternut squash chili) go trick or treating, carve and light the pumpkins,   and watch Hocus Pocus.
Except not this year. Everyone in my house is sick, except me. Sunny and Rodney  are currently sick with some sort of bug.
I was so sad she had to be on Halloween. I had so many plans for us to go trick-or-treating and to dress her as a fairy. I have no idea where she picked it up, but we gave her some tylenol and she slept a lot, and cried. Poor thing!
I love handing out candy and socializing with my friendly neighborhood.  I got so many compliments on my orange door. And then came compliments on my hair. I love compliments, they did make my day!

 I am scheduling Sunny some speech therapy, so hopefully she can get going on that this month.  I would love for her to be able to communicate and tell me what she wants more effectively. I sense her frustration that she can't articulate the sentences she would like, so I hope speech therapy will be the answer to helping her.

How is it November already?  I want time to slow down a little. I love the Christmas season, but it comes and goes too quickly. We decided to get our tree up in about two weeks. Since we've been married, we have gotten our Christmas stuff out the second week of November. Another tradition.
We have a large fake tree we haven't set up in years, and we would love to enjoy it as long as possible.

I am a huge reindeer collector. There is about three of them I have seen in various stores that I want.  GAH!!

Today Rodney was a rock star in the kitchen. He actually always is.  He made about two dozen whole wheat flour tortillas and two batches of bread for the week. We haven't bought bread in a long time. Homemade is so much better.

Happy Halloween to one and all! What's your favorite candy? Mine is Three Muskateers and I end up eating it before the trick or treaters get it. They are addicting.

Don't get sick!


Japanese Style Noodle Bowls

                      Did you know that I lived with Japanese people for four years?

I think everyone who knows me, knows about Sunny's insomnia or sleep disorder. Since she hit her 2 year mark, her insomnia improved a lot. She went from waking up every 2-3 hours in the night to eventually only waking once or twice in the night. The hard part was me getting back to sleep and nighttime battles from her not wanting to sleep in her own bed.

I should also mention that Sunny doesn't take naps.

Last night was one of those nights I can recall all too well.  Nights she is up for hours and can not settle herself down.

We did eventually made our way into the kitchen where she ate a huge bowl of cheerios and milk,  then wanted to play. This went on from 12:15 to 3:05 am. I then put her in her own bed, turned on some white noise, and slept on the floor beside her. She slept for 15 minutes,  then wanted out of her bed to play. She went back to sleep at 4:30 and then was up at her regular time, 7:15 am. To this day, Sunny has never slept an entire night without waking up.

I have been very sleep deprived since the day she was born.  I knew I was in for a long haul that night she was born.  She cried for hours in the night. The nurses came and wheeled her off to the nursery. They called her "fiesty" when she was a day old, and she was.

Once we were home, the baby insomnia continued.  I called the doctor office and brought her in constantly. With all the crying and lack of sleep from my newborn, I for sure thought something was wrong.  She had blood tests, urine tests, an ECG. Every thing came back normal. He said she had colic. He said her tummy felt fine too, so no digestive problems he knew of. The insomnia was a mystery.

1.5 months later, came the two months of her skin tumor growing out of control and painful ulcers and blisters on her skin that kept all of us.
For us, this time period was hell, for lack of a better word.

I know of  parents who go through much harder trials from their babies & children.   My trials don't even compare to others, and I feel I shouldn't complain.

I have a friend in my neighborhood who I owe a ton of gratitude to. She keeps me motivated and going strong during this sleep deprived season of my life.

I am certainly not a morning person.  This dear person comes to get me many mornings  to get me out exercising.  Some days I am right out of bed and out the door. For the last 1.5 months, we have walked approximately 40 or more miles. I would never have done this without her. This has significantly improved my well-being.

Anyone in my shoes would know the toll sleep deprivation combined with nursing can do to someone's energy. The nursing is done, but unfortunately the baby insomnia Sunny was born with, is still around.

To make life simpler around here,  I love to throw together easy meals. If you have Ramon noodles around, eggs, and assorted veggies and meat, you are set to make this. I also suggest chicken or beef stock in leau of the packet that comes in Raman noodles.
Serving Size: 3 people
Ingredients: (double if using more noodles)
3 packages Raman noodles, toss the packet out.
1/4 c. Cooked corn
1/4 c carrots, cut in long strips
1/4 c. Chopped red pepper
1/4 c. Cooked broccoli florets
1/4 c. Chopped scallions
1/4 c. Chopped cilantro leaves
3 hard boiled eggs
3 Chicken or rib meat, pre cooked and diced up.

Cook noodles according to package directions. I recommend cooking in stock instead of water.

Sautee veggies, except cilantro, in oil and set aside.

In a bowl,  mix 1/2 c. Tamari sauce, 1/2 T brown sugar, 1 T. Rice vinager, and 1 T. Sesame oil and 1/8 tsp. Ginger to the noodles and broth.

After tossing noodles in bowl, assemble veggies, meat and egg on top.

Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves.


Mango Pecan Salad

Back when I had a paying job, I loved splurging on shrimp. I would eat it as much as I could.

I am now a stay at home mama. Things are different. Sacrifices must be made. I rarely buy shrimp.  We are on a strict budget, especially since we are paying for two house mortgages at the moment. Shrimp is just not in the budget.

Recently, I got a great deal on some and couldn't pass it up. I decided I needed to make a delicious,  nutritious meal.
We generally have pecans around the house since Sunny loves nuts. I decided to toss them in.  They work perfectly.

Last year I made this same salad, but added avocado in lieu of mango.  This time, no avocado.
                         Isn't it gorgeous?

Mango's are darn expensive at the moment,  so I got the diced Mango cups, found in the apple sause section. Having already diced Mango,  makes this recipe very quick to assemble.

You could omit the diced cherry tomatoes if you prefer, but I had some I needed to use up.

I love bright colorful things. They make me happy! So, I knew this salad would photograph well.
While this isn't practical for me to eat all the time, I love how healthy and filling it is.

Treat yourself to this. I think we all deserve it once in awhile.


1 pound cooked, peeled baby shrimp
1 1/2 c. Chopped cucumber
1-2 mango cups
1 tsp. Diced jalapeno pepper
1/ 4 c. Fresh chopped cilantro leaves
1/4 c. Chopped baked pecans
1 tsp. Lime juice
1/4 tsp. Salt
Pinch of pepper
1/4 c. Chopped cherry tomatoes
 Mix in bowl. Top with more cilantro if prefer.


Soft Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cookies

It's that time of year!  Pumpkin, apples, cinnamon galore.
When we bake these cookies, we add a little something extra to set them apart. 
These are super moist,  full of spice,  and hints of dark chocolate. 
Last week, we failed at making these. Something went wrong. We tried again this week, and perfected. This makes a lot of cookies. Too much.  I need to give some away.

 I am dressing Sunny more preppy and somewhat western. I am on the hunt for reasonably priced cowgirl boots. She is very tall and lean like me and has outgrown clothes from last fall. She loves new clothes. I wonder if she will be a clothes horse one day like her grandma.
After church, we went for a little walk while dad baked bread. We bake two loaves of bread every weekend to supply us for the week. I love the way our home smells from it. 

I have over 76 pounds of cat food. Remember when I bought 4 gigantic bags for . 4 cents at Petsmart.  It's very good cat food, all natural and grain free. I knew I needed to make some calls. I called my mom's neighbor. They gladly took 1 bag plus 1/2 of bag. I gave one bag to my next door neighbors. I still have one large bag to whomever wants it. Placing this food into others hands was bitter sweet. A reminder that Tigger is really gone, but that other cats can be nourished by it.
Cookies are great n all, but is there anything more sweet then a child? I think not.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Preheat to 350

What you'll do:
In a medium bowl cream together 
3/4 c. Sugar
1/2 c. Brown sugar
1/2 c butter softened
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 egg
1 15 oz can of pumpkin
1/2 c. Canola oil
Blend with mixer

In another medium bowl add:
2 1/2 c. Unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. Baking powder
1 T. Pumpkin Pie Spice
A pinch of cloves,  nutmeg,  cinnamon,  and ginger.

Mix and add to wet ingredients.  Add 1 to 2 c. Chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded spoonfuls on greased, silicon,  or parchment paper.

Bake for 10- 14 min.
Recipe source: adapted from Melskitchencafe. Com


Mango Salsa (see January archive on right for recipe)