Saturday, April 24, 2010

I HAVE to share this!

I just made the most amazing guacamole, and I have to share the recipe!


1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, skin removed
1 lime or lemon, cut in half
1/2 small white or yellow onion, finely chopped
1/4 poblano pepper (or jalapeno/serrano/etc, finely chopped
1 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
1/3 cup diced tomatoes with green chiles
garlic salt for taste

mash the avocado in a bowl
squeeze the juice from the lime/lemon halves in the the avocado
add the chopped onion, pepper, cilantro, and tomatoes, then stir
add garlic salt and mix well


I also made some fantastic salsa last night, here ya go!


5 tomatoes (more if they are small, less if they are large, your call)
1/2 poblano pepper or one whole jalapeno or serrano pepper, depends on your spice preference
3 garlic cloves
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 medium white or yellow onion

Turn oven to 325 degrees. Add cooking oil to 1 large glass baking dish and coat the dish. Place the tomatoes in the dish, then add the onion (facing down) and the pepper. Put the garlic cloves in some tin foil, dribble a little cooking oil over them, and then wrap them tightly in the foil and add them to the dish. Place the dish in the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes. Remove the tomatoes and put them in a food processor (for chunky salsa) or blender (for smooth salsa). Take the skin off of the onion, quarter it, and add it to the food processor/blender. Cut up the pepper in to large pieces and add that to the food processor/blender. Remove the garlic cloves and mash them with a fork, then add to food processor/blender. Add the cilantro and then blend everything together until it reaches the desired consistency (chunky, smooth, or a little of both). Pour in to a bowl and .....


I would have put up pictures, but the stuff was gone before I had a chance! That's a good thing, right??

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Yes, I know I look crazy.

This is how Layla looked at me today after I tried talking to her about my day.... sad, I know.

I watched the son of a friend this morning for a few hours, and he is the cutest little guy! But he and Andrew could NOT share to save their lives. I spent 3.5 hours distracting them from the toys the other was playing with, and trying to entertain them with my own silly antics. I think it worked, because he left happy and Andrew was still smiling.

While he was here the A/C repairman came out to take a look at our unit and figure out why it wasn't cooling the house. The verdict was low freon, as I suspected, so I happily paid him to refill the freon and then gave him the boot (respectfully) when he tried to convince me that I needed my entire system replaced for a cool $8,000. When pigs fly, my good sir!

Bryan came home early from a client site, so we took in a quick late lunch and then I came home, showered, checked email, and then it was time to go get Grace from school. She had a playdate after school with some school friends, so we drove down to the park and the kids played for a good 2 hours while I caught up with the moms.

Grace and Andrew were exhausted after running around for so long, so they were like two walking raw nerves after we got home. I figured it would be fine, I would get them settled in early and read to them for a while to zonk them out. Then the doorbell rang....

I completely forgot the home teachers were coming over tonight. It was the first night in a very long while that I didn't hear what was taught over the whining of the poor kids. After about 35 minutes they wrapped it up and went their way, so I put kids in bed. But Layla wanted to play, so she sat at the gate set up in the doorway of the bedroom with a toy rope in her mouth, pawing the gate and looking rather pathetic while Andrew said "Hahaha! Layla, you silly". So I got kids in bed, but Bryan had other plans.

He decided to finally put up the light fixture I have been wanting him to put up for months, so I was happy to help him out. We shut off the power and got to work. The kids were curious so they stood in the doorway watching while I tried to urge them back to bed and hold the flashlight still for Bryan. We finally got the light fixture put in, the kids back in bed, some playtime for Layla, and now all that is missing is my chips and salsa. But that will be remedied tomorrow when I go grocery shopping.

I can't wait to make some delicious homemade salsa!

PS - Layla, stop looking at me like that now.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Layla......... *shakes head*

Why is it so hard to housetrain Layla???

It rained again last night, so she stood there shivering by the back door, refusing to do her business outside. She didn't use her puppy pads, even after I sprayed them with the "mark" spray. Instead, she ran over to my area rug, AGAIN, and peed on the corner of it before I could stop her. But this time IT SMELLS REALLY BAD. I put enzyme spray on it, I did Nature's Miracle 3-in-1 spray, I did Folex, I put baking soda on it, and it STILL SMELLS (all of these were applied seperately over the course of 12 hours). The spray to keep her away from the area rug is NOT working, so she has spent the majority of the day in her kennel in the garage. Every time I have let her out to get her to go pee, she just stands in the backyard and stares at me. Since the ground is still damp, she doesn't want to go outside. Back to the kennel she goes then! The kennel will become her refuge, so I don't punish her right before I put her in. Instead, I pick her up, scratch her ears, put her in the kennel, and walk away without saying anything.

But...... ugh. I really like my area rug! Did she have to pee on that? Does she have to try to single out the area rug every time she tries to pee or poo in the house? It's going to cost an arm and a leg to get it cleaned. It might be cheaper just to go get another one. But the one I have is one I bought when we were in Ohio this past Christmas. I haven't seen any like it since we got back to Texas. So I am not happy with Layla right now, at all. We make a ton of progress with housetraining, and then she regresses completely after it rains. What on earth can I do???

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A crying shame!

I feel like I am cheating on my inner-baker with a tub of convenience!

I LOVE to bake, bread, cakes, muffins, cupcakes, cookies, pastries, it is all so much fun for me. But I had an inner-conflict. Grace has been bringing home one fundraiser after another from school this year, and we had not ordered anything from the ridiculously priced catalogues. So I caved and bought some cookie dough from the last fundraiser and we got the tub today. It is overpriced for the amount, of course, and the tub reminds me of a tub of margarine.

Grace said "Alright! Can I help you make them?", so I had to explain to her that we don't "make" these cookies, we just scoop the already-made dough out of the container and put it on the baking stone, then put it in the oven to cook. She stared at me blankly and then said "ooooookaaaaaay....." in an unsure voice. So I followed the directions by turning the oven to 325, then I peeled off the plastic safety seal from the dough. Grace and I just stood there and stared blankly at the dough for at least half a minute before she said "That's it???". I said "pretty much" and then took a spoon and started scooping the dough out and dropping it on to the baking stone. Grace's response was "booooooooring, come get me when the cookies are done!" and then skipped off to play. I felt so UNFULFILLED after baking them. There was NO mixing, NO pouring, NO measuring, and NO flour messes to clean afterwards.

But then I ate one after they had all cooled down. They were really good! I felt like I was commiting some sort of baking crime and that I had probably jinxed my next batch of cookies by taking the convenience route.

Grumpy cookie, please don't be disappointed in me, I promise it wont happen again!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Rockin' the suburbs???

To the people who insist on driving through the neighborhood with their "music" blaring, trying to make a point...... you live in the suburbs. That is as far removed from hardcore and rough as it can possibly get. Listen to some jazz (quietly or with the windows up), buy an argyle sweater, eat some sushi, and come to terms with your "boring" (safe) life. Go try some Panera Bread, bake some muffins for your neighbor, and then be thankful for what you have. A good life in a safe area.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Grateful, we praise thee with songs of delight!

My knees might hurt from kneeling in prayer, and my head might hurt from all the information I have put in to it. My muscles might ache from the work I have done, but my heart is light and filled with happiness. I love how Heavenly Father chooses to bless us in a way that we would not immediately recognize were it not for or own eyes being opened through our own efforts.

The water heater leaked and caused some damage, but someone from church came and helped us fix it. Then my great uncle informed me of a place to get metal water heater stands and gas water heaters at a discount, with the warranty.

The air conditioner stopped cooling the house as well as it should, but we have been blessed with amazing weather.

Grace got sick, but someone kind extended charity our way to help her heal.

I thought I was getting sick, but it turned out to be tonsiloliths, which I can remedy myself at home.

Layla's vet did not charge me for her last visit, just for the sulfur dip, which is working great, by the way!

Andrew has not come down with Strep since Grace had it last week.

My hardest class for my degree is almost over! I am making a good grade, and I am confident I will do well on the final next week.

I had an amazing weekend with friends and family, and this week has been good thus far. I even got the mini trampoline I wanted for working out at home. Target did not have it yesterday, so I tried to look on Craigslist a second time after not finding anything on there the first time. Someone had just posted one and I got it this morning for half the price I would have paid at Target.

FHE was such a good experience yesterday. We talked about loving one another and helping one another at home. I realized just how eager my children are to help and that they truly have an understanding of family love.

So it is proof to me that the best blessings from Heavenly Father are those that can be viewed as subtle. I also was reminded that we are blessed according not only to our faith, but according to our effort as well.

Life is beautiful!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Go Jacque, it's your birthday! Go and partay! Like an old laday!

Not so much old, but I can finally see my carefree, whimsical, idealistic thoughts of my youth slowly fluttering out of the window. Tomorrow is my birthday, and I have softened the "blow" by celebrating through the weekend. I am turning 27, yes.... I know it is NOT old by any means. But it means I am now in my late twenties and fewer people are going to be calling me girl or young lady. Instead it will be a battering of ma'ams, Mrs. Halda, and plain ole' "lady".

I have two children, and one of them is already in elementary school! I have a mortgage, I pay bills, we just paid off our first car, and I am more concerned about what debs we will pay down in the next year than I am with where we will be going on our date this weekend for date night. The transition is gripping me! So this is how I have battled it through the weekend:

1. I shopped for 2 hours at Plato's Closet yesterday and bought 6 shirts, a new pair of jeans, and 3 necklaces (all for under $75 I might add...... see what I mean!)
2. I went out to eat with some other girls last night at my friend's husband's new restaurant, and we splurged, big time!
3. I had a Clash of the Titans movie party at the house today. Even though only one person showed up, I still felt like a dorky kid again, cheering Perseus on and boo-ing when Medusa showed up.
4. I ate a frito pie with onions and jalapenos on it from Ritters. I haven't had one of those in a looooooooooooooong time!
5. I WILL be eating chocolate tomorrow for my birthday breakfast, and Bryan and I will watch some movie that will make me laugh, cry, and spin in circles like a lunatic. That movie will probably be Sense & Sensibility.

So, this is gearing me up to yell "27, here I come, watch out!" when I officially become that age tomorrow.

If you see me at church, give me chocolate and a hug, and tell me I will be young forever! Or something to that effect. :-)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Sickies and Cruddies

Layla is still scratching, so we are taking back to the vet tomorrow morning. Let's get that one out of the way now!

Grace came home from school with a fever and a red throat yesterday afternoon. We had to take her to the Take Care clinic down the road. The doctor at the clinic was wonderful, and thorough, and really good with Grace. She swabbed her throat and the swab came back positive for Strep in less than 3 minutes. Nasty, nasty case of it. So we were sent on our way with antibiotics and hope. After two doses she seems to be back to her old self, singing, dancing, stomping her feet when she's not getting her way, then dramatically throwing herself on to her bed when she gets reprimanded for being dramatic about not getting her way. :-)

Andrew is showing no signs of being sick, and neither is anyone else. I like it that way, and I hope it stays that way!

So tomorrow night is supposed to be a girl's night out, and I hope nothing stops it from happening. I haven't had a girl's night out in AGES, and I am SO READY FOR ONE. Besides, my birthday is on Sunday and I want to go out with other women to eat and relax as part of my present. So determination and lots of vitamin C will hopefully get me there! Wish me luck!

PS - I took a 2 hour nap today, it felt AMAZING!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Puddle of Tears and Cottage Cheese

My husband tells me that my chin looks like cottage cheese in a bag when I cry. Sometimes that is the extent of his sympathy. He is just too logically-minded to understand that sometimes people need to cry, freak out, rant, or become immensely annoyed to move past something and on to the next thing. But tonight he tried his hand at being sympathetic.....

He got home from work at about 6:45pm and was going to leave at 7:45pm to go play basketball at the church until 10:40pm, so it is one of those days where we would all see him for about an hour and then he would be gone again.

The kitchen sink sprayer hose decided to spring a nasty leak while he was home, causing the area under the kitchen sink to flood AGAIN, for the FIFTH time in less than TWO YEARS. I promise, if I here that country song "Just Another Day in Paradise" again, I am going to dismantle the car stereo and boycott the radio station. That is so not the mentality I have on it all right now. Instead, I kind of just want to live in a mud hut with the kids and not have to worry about paying for things that wont work properly, or having to fix things that will just break down soon after again.

So anyway, Bryan tried to comfort me after yelling and the scrutinizing (I replaced the faucet in the kitchen sink not long ago, after waiting and waiting and waiting for him to do it). He hugged me and wiped my face, and then attempted to listen with understanding and compassion. Then he left to go play basketball. Oh well.

Fine, so for now I will just drink some St. John's Wort tea, pound back some NyQuil (haha!) and call it a night. I. Am. Done.

At least Layla pooped in the yard BY HERSELF today. Andrew did a lot of work with the letter "A", Grace got to see ladybugs in a jar at school, and I made some yummy easy strudel.

Good night. :-)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Tension and love.... after all, it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things

I have been getting tension headaches on a regular basis (every other day) for the past couple of weeks.

Could it be from the difficulty of my advanced accounting class?
Could it be from hiking everywhere with Andrew on my back or in a wagon?
Could it be from the stress of Bryan starting a new job with new paydays, new insurance, and new hours?
Could it be from Grace's increased lying (over little things)?
Could it be from Andrew's new phobia of insects that has him worrying about every little speck around the house?
Could it be from Layla's multiple vet visits that result in new medicine and higher costs each time?
Could it be from Layla pooping on my area rug EVERY DAY??
Could it be from the water heater pipes causing that nasty leak and the fact that the AC stopped blowing cold air today?
Could it be from the bills that are slightly overdue that we can't pay until at least Friday now, due to Layla being sick and the friggin' AC crapping out?
Could it be from the Neon STILL NOT BEING DRIVEABLE?
Could it be from the fact that we still need to have a tune-up done on the Focus that we just paid off?

I don't know..... all I know is that St. John's Wort, chamomile tea, lavender essential oil, and Advil have been my constant companions recently. We need to pay our HOA dues this weekend, but if the AC needs work and Layla needs more medicine, how can we possibly work it out? Isn't a higher salary supposed to make this process a little easier??? Ugh. Sometimes I want to just throw in the towel. If one thing is working just fine, another is falling apart. I don't remember this being covered in the part of physics that states that for every action there is a reaction. These things don't even relate to one another. But at least our house isn't completely falling apart, our children are healthy, Bryan still has a job, I am still getting my education, we still have food, clothes, transportation, friends, family, and love. But do things need to keep breaking around here???? I mean COME ON!!! Is this REALLY necessary???!!!!

There..... I feel a little better now. Excalmation marks do help.

On a different note..... my husband and I went and celebrated our 7 year anniversary today. It is officially tomorrow, but with it being Easter and Conference weekend, we thought it would be best to celebrate today. We saw the new Clash of the Titans. I. Was. NOT. Impressed. Yes, there were some enhancements to fictional creatures via CGI. Yes, there were some twists in the story line to stray from the original to attempt to make it fresh..... but Calibos was NOT the evil alter-ego of Acrisius.... are you serious??? Danae was Acrisius' daughter, NOT his wife.... Cassiopeia does not die at the hands of Hades...... the scorpions come from the poisonous blood of Medusa's head, NOT Calibos' blood....... and where the heck is Bubo?? He appears for 5 seconds as a toy and is tossed to the side? No way! Needless to say, we will not be buying it to add to our movie collection.

But we did have some delicious Mediterranean salads at La Madeleine, and some nice fresh strawberries. We got to hang out alone all afternoon and reminisce on the past 8 years of our "courtship" (1 year of dating and 7 years of marriage). We still love each other very much and still consider the other to be our best friend. We are very blessed that we have each other and I hope the next 7 years are filled with just as much love, progress, and happiness.

Besides, tomorrow is Easter and General Conference! We get to feast on the word of the Lord and my grandmother's potato salad. Woohoo! I love hearing the church authorities share their revelations with the world, and I love spending time with my family. I love watching my kids have fun and I love eating good food with good people. Tomorrow will make up for the AC being a useless hunk of metal today.

Much love to all! God bless you and your loved ones!