Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Quick 'N' Easy Kale Chips

I'm not gonna lie ya'll, I've been feeling pretty crummy. Lots and lots of pain... Lots and lots of tiredness... resulting in days where I accomplish lots and lots of a whole lot of nothing. I dealt with a tough bout of depression while my oldest two were away for the summer so I did a whole lot of self medicating. My drug of choice: Food.

Now that the kiddos are home, I'm naturally a little more conscious of what I put in my mouth. I tend to buy less easily accessible junk food when they're around cause I don't want them filling up on junk. Not only that but they eat all the good stuff before I could even get a lick at it anyway and that just leads to feelings of rage and resentment at the nerve of them having left me with less than a teaspoon of Nutella after scraping the side of the jar. So ya know what? If I can't have it... they ain't getting it either and in the long run it works out best for ALL of us. (Don't judge me.)

Anyhow. I know part of the reason for my feeling less than %100 (and having locked myself out of the house twice in less than a week) is because of what I'm putting into my body. And since forbidding myself of the occasional junk food snack has never worked in the past...


 ... I keep my eyes and taste buds open to discovering equally delicious yet nutritious snacks to replace the stuff I crave on my crummy-I-don't-give-a-danm-about-nothing-but-this-bag-of-chips-so-don't-touch/look/talk-to-me days which just leads to even MORE feelings of cruminess. 

Like I mentioned in past posts (like this one HERE)... I have a major weakness for salty snacks. Especially when I'm feeling down. One of the alternatives I've read about to reaching for a bag of chips is to eat kale chips sprinkled with sea salt. Except... I think this stuff is disgusting. Why do I buy it? While juicing didn't work out for me, tossing it into my fruit smoothies has. And then I consider that I thought all veggies were disgusting at one point, that is until I found a way of preparing them that suited my taste buds until I acquired a taste for them and even craved them without all the extra flavoring. Kale might just be one of em. I read a little about some of the benefits of eating kale chips HERE and figured it was worth a try. 

Here was the end result:


Now, I'm not gonna sit here and tell ya'll it was JUST like feasting on a big ol' bowl of Cheetos but better. It still tasted like... well... kale. Just a lot more tolerable version of it. And for those who love this stuff already in it's raw form... these might be heaven in a bowl. I sprinkled mine with a little extra sea salt (YEAH it WAS just a little extra salt, cut me some slack ya'll I'm tryin' here) and Parmesan cheese and I left them out on the table for everyone to try. Each time I walked past them I couldn't help picking at them. My love for new veggies usually begins with an appreciation for certain aspects of the veggie, such as the scent, color or texture before I begin the appreciate it in it's entirety. In this case I like the texture of the curly, brown, leafy part of the kale in it's baked form. Not only did it hold most of the flavor of the olive oil, sea salt and Parmesan cheese... the CRUNCH is unlike anything you could find in a prepackaged bag. Now, I probably would have finished off the bowl had it not been for the pesky little fruit fly I caught landing in my friggin snack. After that, I just couldn't bring myself to continue eating them. -__-


Moving on...

Even though these days it's been extremely difficult to stick to a meal plan or a permanent change in diet... it's not to say I won't find the motivation to stick to it someday without missing all that is sugary and salty. When that day comes, I could see these kale chips becoming a regular go-to snack. This first time around, my concern was burning these babies. Now that I had a crack at em, next time I'll be baking them long enough for all my leaves to turn into that nice crispy-looking brown. 

So here's a quick and easy how-to on making kale chips:

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. I usually buy kale in 16 oz bags. Where the fruit flies won't touch it. I used half a bag of kale. (So... approximately 8 oz or just 2 handfuls of the stuff...) and drizzle with 1 to 1.5 tablespoon/s of olive oil. Toss. 


3. Sprinkle evenly with sea salt to taste. ('Bout a tsp should do.)


3. Pour onto a cookie sheet. 


4. Spread out evenly.


5. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until the super curly edges are a toasty brown color. 


DONE!

Sprinkle with a little Parmesan cheese or whatever else your little kale baking heart desires and ENJOY!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wordless Wednesday [Night]

So as a little way of celebrating our last day of summer vacation before the kids hit the books tomorrow... we decided to make a beach day of it. Now, when I say "decide" I mean I had to drag my teenager out of her cave and achieved this with a quick but effective guilt trip. The other two were crazy to get outta the house so all I had to do was mention "agua" and they were in bathing suits before I could order them into their bathing suits.

But since this post was supposed to be wordless Wednesday but technically it's almost Thursday... Okay, okay... Here's a little look at our day =]












How did you mark the end of summer break?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Dearest, Lucas...

"He might only be here for a part of your life...
But to him, you are his entire world."
-unknown

In honor of National Dog Day, I'm going to turn the spot light over to a very special member of this family that doesn't get nearly in return what he gives us...

This is our miniature poodle and youngest son, Lucas.

Say "Hey" Lucas!

Lucas came to our lives May-ish 2012 when he was just a couple months old.

Lucas' First Baby Picture

With our little one being just 6 months at the time and the closest human to the ground- Lucas and baby became instant best friends and partners in crime.

Baby and puppy getting acquainted

Little did I know at the time the responsibility I had taken on. For having a puppy was nothing like having a puppy at all- but more like having another baby. 

Lucas first home haircut/Youtube tutorial fail... PetsMart saved this day.

But the decision to bring you into our home was ours, and raising you was our promise to keep.

Lucas sharing his home in return.

And while being your mom hasn't always been easy...

Lucas and baby cuddled up after a fight.

We wouldn't trade you for any other. (I was joking about the pug that one time.)

Halloween 2013

See, the truth really is... 
Playtime.

That the more I acknowledge how loved you really are... the harder it is to imagine having to go on without you someday- whenever that day comes. 


Like I tell all my kids when they misbehave... "Momma was joking about the whole adoption thing." Believe that even if I don't always like you- (like when you've peed our bed after laundry day... or when I slid on your poop in the dark... or how you bite the ears and limbs off all the kids new toys and annihilate the eco-friendly wooden ones...)

I still love you.

Thank you for being our loyal friend and companion. For being babies first best friend, co-conspirator and for keeping the monsters away at night. For always coming back no matter how much we push you away and for not leaving our side when we're in need of a friend. For nudging our hands with your cold nose in the summer and keeping our feet warm in the winter. For loving us on our worst days and loving us even more on the good. Thank you for forgiving us when we've been mean and not judging us when we're wrong. For the heads up when solicitors come knocking and alerting potential burglars that they won't be climbing through our windows at night without first being announced. There aren't many friends out there in the world that possess all of the qualities I've found in you- in fact, none. And this, my friend, makes you priceless.

Most of all, thank you for making our family COMPLETE. 

Love Always,

Mom.





Sunday, August 24, 2014

Trash to Treasure Coffee Table

For the sake of saving myself a whole lot of headaches, I like to keep things simple. With the amount of traffic we have going through our house any given day, that means keeping furniture to the minimum and making sure that whatever graces our space serves multiple purposes.

Which leads me to the coffee table. Without it, I have one less surface to rearrange and wipe. One less piece of furniture to trip over, bang up your big toe, slide back into place or take up needed space. But now since our living room is free of playpens, walkers and ride-ons... I've been keeping an eye out for a low priced coffee table. Since kids tend to jack your stuff up- the cheaper it is, the lesser it'll hurt when they crack the corner during a wrestling match.

So we took a trip to Goodwill to see what treasures we could find. We came across an old wicker trunk. A little beat up on the inside but for $5, it had a whole lot of potential. It sure beat the $90 for a footstool with storage we were eyeing a couple nights before.


A few small nails for reinforcement, a $3 can of spray paint, and a few little decorative touches later... We have our coffee table! Big enough to serve it's purpose, sturdy enough to hold our feet up, small enough to allow plenty of traffic space, and it provides some much needed storage for extra throw pillows and winter throws when not in use.



I mean, for $8 total- What do ya'll think?!



Saturday, August 23, 2014

Eviction Day

The day finally arrived.

After a year of headache, mind crunching and agonizing about how, when and where she was going to go... our little one has been evicted from our bedroom.


I recall about 3 years ago, moving into this apartment originally intended for about 4 and wracking my brain as to how we would comfortably fit 8 of us. Somehow with a little creative use of space, DE-CLUTTERING and cooperation from the clan, we managed to make a comfortable living space for us- changing table and crib included. It was pretty okay.

Along the far wall of our bedroom we made room for baby. As dad assembled the little ones crib, I secretly loved that there was no other space in our home for this crib, giving me the perfect excuse to keep baby close at all hours. It was inevitable that somewhere along the line we'd be asking the question... How long are we keeping baby in the room for? Cause let's face it... once the kid reaches a certain age- things get awkward.

BUT... for as long as we lived in this apartment, I wouldn't have to face the dread of moving baby away from us where surely something HORRIFIC was waiting to grab a hold of our little bundle at night. Like a mosquito that snuck in when we took out the trash... Those carry all types of diseases. What if she rolls onto her belly in her sleep? What if she learns to climb up the bars and falls on her head in the dark? What if her blanket rolls off on a cold night? What if it covers her face on a warm night? What if she spits up in her sleep? What if she wakes up crying and I don't hear her so she has no choice but to drown in her sorrow all alone, at night, in the dark, sobbing into her pillow, wondering what she's done for life to be so cruel as to land her in the care of a pair of cold-hearted son-ova-bitches that would leave this helpless child all alone to fend for herself in a separate space, forever breaking our bond of trust which later on surfaces as issues with detachment and mistrust in people for the rest of her natural born life?! 

What about EL CUCO!? *The Boogie Man*

Fast forward 3 years later... Each of my two older kids has their own room with a set of bunk beds in each room. Aside for every other weekend... we have 2 out of 4 beds sitting empty. My excuse last year for not moving her was the age gap between my oldest girl and the little one. One was 12 years and the babe just 1. She still made full use of her changing table, she occasionally woke up to nurse so the thought of her little self toddling alone in the night across our living room over to our bedroom was a little scary and really... she was just so little. Even though it seemed like such a great waste of space, especially since at the time my preteen preferred to sleep on her brothers top bunk leaving this entire room EMPTY- I just couldn't pull the trigger.


As of yesterday- I ran out of excuses. My teen girl has her moments of genius where she'll fill the room with her odds and ends while flexing her creative muscles. For the most part though, she sits on her bed reading on her tablet, fiddling through Tumblr and occupying very little space in this room. Either way, toddler or no toddler asleep in the bottom bunk... the little ones toys and play kitchen take up a great chunk of floor space in this bedroom. What difference does it really make to my teen to add the sleeping toddler that goes along with all of it?

*This was me talking myself into this transition into toddler hood*

The little one being the most independent of all my kids, she was ready to take the leap and waiting on me to catch up to her lead. Like ripping off a band aid... quickly and quietly with no warning or signal to dad that I was finally ready to evict our nosey little tenant... I took apart the crib and changing table. I made space for big sis to store her toiletries out of reach to little hands and named the top bunk her sacred space free of little people. Privacy is a luxury in this joint, so it's great that this teen girl tends to live alone in her own head anyway. While our bedroom is still home for the little ones clothes and a few little belongings... all of our girls toys already had a home in the girls room... all the little one needed to take over to the big girls room was her pillow and her blanket. 

As sad it was to realize there was no going back to the crib once it's gone- it was about time David and I reclaimed some space. We need to be able to retreat away from everything KIDS some of the time and I needed a little corner that I can retreat to without being bumped into, tripped over, tugged at and squeezed by. Well, I'll be plenty tug still but ya know... I have a spot out of their peripheral vision.

I don't know how this new sleeping arrangement will work out. I predict the little one will end up between mommy and daddy every once in a blue moon in order to free up some space for the older girls to hang out with their nail polish and boy band CD's and it's totally okay. While our little baby may be a little too big for a permanent set up in mommy and daddy's room- she's just the PERFECT age and size for frequent cuddle time in mommy and daddy's bed.

Now if only we can get dad to bed in the big people's room...


*Update*

It's been almost one week since Eviction day. Big sister is learning to keep her belongings out of reach the hard way (since my yelling and lecturing about cleanliness wasn't enough) resulting in a much tidier room. We've received little to no complaints in regards to her new downstairs neighbor. I'm also very happy to say the little one is enjoying the new digs...

Without daddy.