Skillet Rosemary Chicken

Original recipe via Foodnetwork.com

I can’t attest to how kid-friendly this dish is, since I made it especially for the two adults in the house.  This was so easy to make; I was able to juggle steaming the carpet, prepping the food, cooking it, and picking up the kids from abuelo’s house at the same time.  The recipe attracted me with all its pantry staples.  I literally had to get three ingredients from the store to make this crisp and juicy chicken number!

 

Sorry the pic isn’t so great.  My food disappeared before I could get a better shot!

Click on the link up top for the complete recipe.  Enjoy!

Here’s a quick list of simple changes I made:

  1. used 1 lb. of red potatoes
  2. no kosher salt, just regular iodized
  3. used white button mushrooms instead of cremini
  4. used the whole recipe on 2 larger chicken breasts
  5. poured marinate into the pan to cook with the chicken
  6. cooked for 35 minutes in the oven
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Tackling the To-Do

I like lists.  I make at least three everyday.  At the very least.  Lesson plan for my toddlers.  A chore route for our meek 1000 sq. ft. apartment.  Things needing to be picked up at the store.  Creative projects for the day.  Household logistics that need to be taken care of.  What to do tomorrow or next week.  Community events for the month.  Wedding guest list.  Bills.  Etc.  Etc.  Etc.  I laugh at myself.  I use Notepad and Stickies.  Word, Excel, Wunderlist.  My iPhone. My iPad.  My iMac.  My Macbook.  Multiple pads of paper in different colors of varying sizes scattered all over my house…in the kitchen, in our bedroom, the living room, in my purse, on my work table.  I HAVE LISTS EVERYWHERE!!!

I suppose I write more bullet points than I can actually cross out.  Am I setting myself up for failure, or is it okay to dream large?

Here’s my solution for the obsessive and equally unsuccessful lister such as myself: just pick one.

One list to rule it all.

For the techie, list-taking apps might work best since the same lists may be accessible to most forms of technological device.  I can access all my lists via Wunderlist: on my phone, my computers, and my tablet.  I haven’t tried any other list apps out there, but the one I have works fine.

For the old-fashioned, try finding the best planner/organizer you can find for what you need.  I’ve been using Punctuate now for a few years, but it really lacks some things I’ve begun to need in my planning such as a budgeting section or meal planning calendar.  I’m on the course to designing and creating my own.  I’m listing all I would need in it!

Lastly, when writing daily to-do’s, try limiting lists to fewer tasks.  It’ll feel better having accomplished all out of your 10 to-do’s rather than 5 out of your 20.  And when you’ve finished your 10 and feel the urge to do more than what you’ve done, by all means, go ahead and be awesome at what you do!

Remember, trying to squeeze so much out of a day is great.  Just don’t forget to stop and smell the roses.

photo: jessicasimien.com
photo: jessicasimien.com

Don’t Let the Budget Dictate the Day

It has been just over 9 months since my beau and I got engaged.  I remember how it felt when marriage finally dawned on me days after his proposal.  I was nervous, ecstatic, anxious, elated, and just simply happy.  I was purely happy!  We spent the next few days celebrating our engagement.  Maybe a few weeks.  It was like we fell in love with each other all over again.  Yeah.  It was great.

Shortly after we came back, I started to do some minor wedding planning.  Wedding colors were picked.  We decided we wanted to do a beach ceremony versus a church one.  We thought of possible locations and started a rough guest list.  I started browsing through Pinterest and created a board to help me visualize the wedding I wanted to have.

The planning excitement was short-lived, however.  Next thing I knew, I was planning my son’s first birthday party in May.  My father was diagnosed with his second bout of cancer in June.  He was hospitalized and cut open shortly after diagnosis.  I gained another year of wisdom.  We moved and relocated closer to my beau’s work.  Packed and unpacked and still unpacking.  October brought Halloween in a rush, and before I knew it, I was cooking a Thanksgiving feast for what seemed like a whole town (okay…roughly fifty people!).

Each day just went by so quickly; I had forgotten I had a wedding to plan.

With four months left before the big day, we were almost forced to start thinking about it, since family started asking questions.  And why not go ahead and ask me if we’d been saving for it?

Big fat no.

wedding-budget-planningI really believe that money shouldn’t be the driving force of a wedding.  I still acknowledge the symbolism of a wedding ceremony, and that simply is marriage.  We could easily keep it much more subtle than what it’s sometimes beginning to seem like, but there’s nothing wrong with wanting a “dream” wedding.  Each person’s dream wedding is different from the other.  Once I thought I wanted to have a cathedral wedding a la Lady Di, super long train and all, 500 guests on the pews.  But thank God that’s all changed now!  A wedding ceremony should be all about the marriage of two people, two souls, two separate groups of families and friends.  It’s easy to forget that with all the glamour of glitter and gold, so I try to remind myself constantly.

And this leads to our budget.  There’s no reason not to have your dream wedding with whatever budget you may have.  I’ve spoken to so many wedding vendors, and I’ve found that most of them genuinely want to give you what you deserve on your day.  If they can’t work with the number you’ve given, then the next steps are to simply hang up the phone and move on to the next.  These days, I can’t imagine anyone who doesn’t know someone that knows someone who can either DJ or take awesome photographs or do DIY decorations on the side.  This is ultimately what we’ve resorted to in order to really stretch our budget.  From doing the decor ourselves and resorting to minimal floral work to reaching out to our artistic and talented friends for people in their circles who might be willing to do our wedding for a lower cost, the savings are just everywhere.  We really just have to cut the coupons and use them.

Whatever your budget may be, your wedding will be fabulous.  You are having a celebration, and as long as you’re happy, your family and friends will be.  The most important thing is still what goes on inside and not what goes on the tables.

I’ll post some of our budget ideas here as we get closer to our spring wedding.  If one person can have a dream wedding on a budget, so can the rest of us!

Toddlers on Heels

My two year old has been wearing my heels ever since she started walking.  Actually, she’s got her own one-inch heels collection, thanks to the many costumes and costume sets we’ve accumulated here at home.  Role-playing is a favorite activity in this household, especially since my daughter is now recognizing her ability to “pretend” she is someone else. The only problem is my son, who is now a year and a half, has caught on to the trend of wearing heels.  We have an abundance of girl-type costumes and yet no boy-types at all.  So, halloween was a great excuse for creating an outfit for my little boy.  He was Peter Pan and my daughter was Tinkerbell.

Every year, I try to think of something creative for my children to pretend as for their costumes.  This recent holiday inspired me to create again.  My fiancé asked me how come I don’t make clothes for our kids.  I guess the only excuse is really inexcusable, so I’m not even going to mention.  I should, and maybe I would from now on.

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2012 – Wonderwoman
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2013 – Flo the Progressive agent
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2013 – A last minute Ralph Macchio aka The Karate Kid
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2014 – Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, and their Disney friends

 

Here are some other photos of the kids dressing up.

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Superheroes and princesses.  See what I mean about my boy?  Too funny and too cute.

(Also, I just realized I don’t actually have a photo of one of my toddlers on heels.  Oops.)

That Tugging Feeling

I felt it that morning when I woke.  I had slept through the night.  That meant my toddlers dreamt of nice, silly things.  An uninterrupted night happens rarely as a cry or two usually gets me out of bed around 5 o’clock most days just before dawn.  Or at 3 o’clock.  Or both.  That morning when I awoke after a full night’s sleep, I ran to my kids’ room with that tugging feeling as if something was wrong.  And there they were, peaceful in slumber, motionless yet full of life.

There was a certain uneasiness in my gait that morning, as the thought kept drumming in my head: “You need to work out.  You need to work out.  You need to work out.”  I needed to work out.  I had set that unmotivated goal to burn off some of those lazy calories belting the six pack I’m hiding.  I decided to take it to the treadmill while the kids nap later on that afternoon.  I was trying to bide my time with my coffee when that tugging feeling again started to happen.

It was just a missed phone call.  I heard my phone’s vibrations amidst the noise of the kids and the fiancé and the television and the laundry.  Tug tug.  Two missed calls from my sister.  It’s not that she doesn’t call.  She does.  But most of the time, her phone calls were anticipated.  I almost always know when she’s going to call and for what reason.  And never back to back.  Never.  So, an unanticipated, back-to-back phone call from my sister was definitely interesting.  I automatically knew something was off.  It could’ve been a few things.  Help with their move via some babysitting.  Another typical argument with her husband that led to a getaway drive.  A quick break from the stress of her life, a venting of some sorts.  It could’ve been any of those.

It just wasn’t.  I called her back right away.  And as she said the words, I knew it just wasn’t.  “I have news.”  She said calmly.  I froze.

Later on that afternoon, I found myself staring at an image of a girl in the gym mirrors.  I had just finished running two miles, and I just had to sit down, regroup.  The run was unsuccessful in sorting out my thoughts.  I sat on one of the machine benches, staring at my reflection, seeing not a grown woman with two kids but rather a girl, lost in the confusion of life and its purpose and destination.  I saw a girl drowning in the same tears she cried upon hearing her sister’s voice on the phone.  “I have news.”  She said.  She was crying.  My sister was crying.  She never cried.  At least not in front of me.  I come from a family who spared no emotions to each other.  Unless…the moment was dire.

There was that tug again as I walked back home from the gym.  Thoughts were still racing.  Heart was still being pulled by the gravity of life and all that was beautifully tragic in it.  How fleeting was that moment? How sad was our cause?  How small are we really?  Because at the time this was all chaotically happening before me, I felt so tiny and helpless.

Days later, I finally decided to write again.  I thought of selfishly capitalizing on my newfound, grave emotions, but I had already forgotten the ramblings of my head when I first learned that a person in remission can suddenly, out of the bluest blue, be in the total opposite physical state.  And that is simply NOT in remission, my friends.  After being cancer-worry-free the last few years, my father’s lungs has again betrayed him just as he did them a lifetime ago.

Tug tug.  The tugging baffles me as my relationship with my dad is stoic at best.  Between us stands a whole lot of history and a whole lot of “no-history” at the same time, if that makes any sense.  It leaves oceans of stories for another time.  Maybe it’s the grandkids.  Maybe I’ve just gotten older, softer.  I don’t know what it is.  But this second time around that cancer’s decided to come visit my father, it’s just a tad more threatening.  More frightening.  More sinking.  More affecting.  More heartbreaking.

Definitely so much more heartbreaking.  “Papa’s cancer is back.”  She said.

Heartbreak pang.  Intermittent tugging.  Silent tears.

On Change, Part 2

It’s crippling.  And it definitely takes a lot for me to admit.  But it’s true.  I have an uncanny disability to stick to something.  I can’t stay on track.  I can’t finish many of the things I start.  I can’t deliver on personal endeavors.  I can’t give myself what I want.  How else can I say it?

The word Everything on a To-Do list on a dry erase board to remiLet’s extrapolate.  First off, I say most because that’s what I meant.  Most.  Not all.  Just many.  I also say personal endeavors because for some reason, if it’s for someone else, I have no problem producing.

I can’t finish that class I keep taking.  I can’t finish that family photo album I keep buying materials for.  I can’t finish that book I keep picking up only to put down.  I can’t finish that song I started to write so long ago.  I can’t finish sewing that dress I was supposed to wear for a special occasion last year.  I can’t finish so many things I think of that I haven’t even begun to produce.  I almost feel like I can’t finish even before I start.

So yeah.  It’s pretty crippling.  Am I juggling too many balls?  Wearing too many hats?

I guess it calls for some type of change, first of which should be learning how to say no.

Step 1: Say no.

Then, I suppose I can pick a project and not do any others until that one is done.

Step 2: Pick one.

Should I give myself a time limit as well?  Yeah.  I suppose I should.

Step 3: Set a time.

What next?  The hardest part then.  I suppose I should just stick to it.

Step 4: Stick to it, but don’t get stuck.

Let’s see how this one works out.  I’m trying to be as optimistic as I could, but there is a looming feeling of defeat and total laxness about it.  If I lose to myself, then it’s my loss.  Totally horrible sentence, but it’s true.  So…

Step 5: Be accountable.

I’ll tell you my personal projects as I go.  Maybe it’s easier to succeed if there’s an audience around.  I won’t add Step 6 on here just yet.  At least not until I finish one project.

 

Guard Your Manhood

It makes me chuckle a little bit.  The notion of “manhood.”  Tough.  Unbreakable.  Very…..manly, I suppose.

I’ve only seen the commercial once.  I didn’t even know it was really an issue for men.  Apparently, bladder leakage affects roughly “23 million men, including one in five men over 60,” according to adage.com.  If you’re a female at least in your 20s or if you’ve delivered a baby naturally at some point, you know how much of an issue this could be.  I don’t mean to gross you out, but females do have to worry about all sorts of leakages: blood, mucus, urine, and whatever else.  I’m just saying.

images-1There’s so much riding heavily on our men ‘being or acting like men‘ that even medical matters become embarrassment details that really shouldn’t be.  Having an issue like, say a bladder leakage, doesn’t make someone feel less of a man, does it?  I can’t say.  I really don’t know how men feel about these things.  So here goes the question.

Why do men ever feel like they have to “guard” their manhood?  What takes “manhood” away?  As a woman, I’ve never felt like I had to defend my femininity in any situation.  I’m sure there are others who’ve felt the opposite.  But I’m curious, what is it about men in our society needing to assert their manhood…all the time?

So man up!  Answer me, if you may, you man of all men.  I’d like to know how you feel about your “manhood.”

If you haven’t seen the commercial, watch it here.  Enjoy as I did!