Thursday, December 5, 2013

Guatemalan Pan Dulce Crescents

I've tried finding a good pan dulce recipe for years but they are all just a little too dry. This is the closest I've come to the pan dulce that I used to buy at Paiz on Carretera El Salvador. 

I created this recipe by combining my brother-in-law's Fat Tuesday roll recipe and a Guatemalan sweet roll. So here you have it…sorry about the pictures, but I am too tired to get my real camera out.


Pan Dulce Crescents

1 Tblsp yeast
1 cup warm water
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup powdered milk
1 egg
1/2 cup butter
1/2 tsp salt
3 1/2- 4 cups flour
1/2 tsp cardamom  or 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Topping:

2/3 cup white sugar

1/2 cup butter

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions
Proof the yeast in warm water. Add powdered milk, sugar, butter, salt, egg and half of the flour. Beat for several minutes. Gradually add the remaining flour and knead for several minutes.
Place in a large greased bowl, and turn the dough to coat. Cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled.
Topping:
Beat sugar and butter until fluffy. Add the flour to make a thick paste. Add vanilla.
Cut dough into two parts. Pressinto a circle and cut 12 pizza slices. Roll crescents by starting at the wide end and working towards the narrow point. Place patties of topping on top of the roll and pat down lightly. Use a knife to cut grooves in the topping. Cover and let rise until doubled.

Preheat oven to 375. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

How I Roll

Last Summer I made a little collage to sum up the joys of the season...
camping, water balloon fights, fresh foods and Yellowstone National Park.

Kind of a silly collage, but it means so much to me. The good times started just 6 weeks after my stroke. I was struggling in so many ways and still barely walking, but the sunshine and happy family moments created rich and beautiful memories.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Zucchini Dinner Puffs

Two weeks ago we tore out five of our zucchini plants but we still have plenty to enjoy.

Here are some easy quiche-like puffs we made last night. Please forgive the poor photo quality- I used my phone. I hadn't planned on posting this but half way through dinner Dallin exclaimed, "What is this? It's not yummy. It's DELICIOUS!".



Zucchini Puffs
1 Tbsp. butter
1 onion, chopped
1 large carrot, grated
1 large zucchini, grated
2 bacon strips, chopped
Garlic

Sauté for several minutes until tender and a little dry. Set aside to cool.

Mix
3 eggs (I used 6 egg whites)
1 cup cheese, shredded
1/4 cup cream
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp dry dill
1 tsp dry parsley

Add veggies beating until well mixed.

Fill greased muffin tins or silicone cups with the batter. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes (less if you use mini muffin tins). Makes 24 regular sized muffins.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Language of Flowers- Book Club

By recommendation at a ladies luncheon I put my name on the waiting list and finally got to read The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. I have always been enamored by the meanings of roses but have never considered that of other flowers.

Victoria, the main character in this book, slowly begins to develop the belief that flowers make their meanings come true. This idea aides in her transformation from a foster child who believes she cannot love or be loved to an adult that can feel the love and connection of family.

I asked myself a few questions whilst reading this book that I thought would be fun to hear about from a whole book club.

1. What flower do you think had the greatest impact on Victoria's ability to love others? What about the ability to let herself be loved?

2. Why was Grant so patient with her during her transformation? What in his life allowed him to see beyond her pushing him away?

3. Which flower did you enjoy the most in Victoria's life? Which one the least?

4. What flowers would you choose for your wedding? Would you want a few strong emotions to influence your marriage or a wide variety?

Here are a few of my favorite flowers with their meanings. The funny thing is I like some of them more and others a lot less knowing their meanings.

Gerber Daisy


Rhododendron- warning of danger; beware

Baby's Breath- everlasting love

Bougainvillea- passion

Cosmos- joy in love and life

Gerber Daisy- cheerfulness


Gardenia





Gardenia- refinement

Honeysuckle- devotion

Lavender- mistrust

Lilac- first emotions of love

Peony- anger

Sun Flower- false riches

Bougainvillea

Friday, July 12, 2013

improve your self-esteem

Tonight is my written national test to be an EMT and tomorrow are the practicals. I told myself I couldn't study at all today so that leaves me with cleaning the house, orchestrating kids' friendships or writing about something that's been on my mind for quite some time. So I'm writing...


Kiwi Loco with my three lovelies (just had to share)
During this past school year Ashley became distressed and then insecure because the girls in her class were wearing high heels to school. She desperately wanted to look like them, but I felt it was inappropriate to wear heels to school (especially in fourth grade and don't even get me started on the need for dress codes to address shoes also).

As Jesse and I watched her growing anxiety and increased feelings of self-doubt we talked about how we could help her develop a sense of security in her ability to make decisions. It's hard to explain, but she had me pick her clothes out every night because she didn't trust herself to choose well. She also constantly asked us simple questions like how many blankets or pillows she should sleep with. It was very sad to see.


In each of my children I see areas of their lives where they've developed a strong sense of self worth and other areas where they seem to flounder and seek constant confirmation and aproval. Like most parents, I want to help my children develop those skills that will enable them to cope with lifes' many challenges.


Recovering from a stroke has been a slow hard road for me, but I've learned some things about myself and how to become a stronger person. Not being able to talk well has been a challenge (I still stutter under stress and people are constantly asking me to repeat myself because I slur) but it has also taught me the need to cope with a changing body.


The most important lesson I've learned is that the greatest impact on my success or failure in this life lies within myself. My success is in the strength I have to overcome my weaknesses.


With that said...here is my post on how to improve self esteem.


Self esteem is defined as "a confidence and satisfaction in oneself" and "the personal value, self-respect and self-worth that you place on yourself".

Symptoms of low self esteem are:

  1. indecisive
  2. perfectionist
  3. shame
  4. can't handle criticism
  5. negative thinking and self-talk
  6. critical of yourself and others
  7. worry
  8. don't care about your physical appearance
  9. exaggerate
  10. blame
  11. make excuses
  12. can't express feelings
  13. dependent on others
  14. no boundaries
  15. can't laugh
  16. isolation from others
  17. feel hopeless
  18. need material possessions
  19. fear change
I would like to suggest seven things we can do to improve self esteem.


Improved Self Esteem in a Week

Day One- take care of yourself. The very first thing Jaden was told to do to escape being bullied was to brush his teeth, comb his hair and look put together before heading off to school. Getting out of bed a little earlier can seem impossible, but looking good leads to feeling good.

Day Two- be true to yourself. As you live the life you want to live you will grow to respect yourself more. There is no need to compare ourselves to others because we will never measure up to what we think others are. Just a word of advice: they aren't. A lot of things happen behind closed doors that you will never know about. We each have our own cross to bear. Some privately and others publicly.

Day Three- think positive. We hear that "you are what you eat". Well, you are what you think also. "Negative feelings like guilt, anger, and depression do not result from the bad things that happen to you, but from the way you think about these events. " -David Burns, Author of Ten Days to Self-Esteem

Day Four-
get intimate. The positive energy exchanged by touching and hugging those we love can give us great strength and confidence. When I couldn't talk Dallin would crawl in bed next to me and scrunch his body up against mine. The strength I felt from him is hard to describe but it buoyed me up and helped me press forward.

Day Five-
talk nice. Think of how the Lord must see you and tell yourself all the beautiful positive things he would if he were sitting next to you. Positive self-talk helps us grow to believe what we are telling ourselves. Accounts of near death experiences often tell of the great love Christ has for us as individuals.

Day Six- get naked. Yes it sounds weird, but Adam and Eve loved being given a body. Stand and look at your body and you can find the beauty in it. The soft skin, intense eyes, curves and lines, bumps and lumps and everything else that contributes to your amazing body, a gift from God made in his own image.

Day Seven- break out of your prison. Take some initiative and get out of bed or off the couch to serve and help someone around you. Whether it be stopping by to visit a sick or lonely neighbor or putting a Hershey kiss on each pillow in your home your spirit will be lifted and you will find a smile on your face as you give to others.


I hope that these ideas can help someone else out there. I know they have helped me.


remember:


"No one can make you feel inferior without your permission."
- Eleanor Roosevelt


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Thyroid Hormone Range

Twice a year I get my thyroid tested and then twice a year I search for a chart of the normal ranges. Sometimes I will find one I like, but more often I don't find any at all. So this time around I am posting my own chart so I don't have to repeatedly scour the vast world of the internet.


Just realized my chart has no FreeT4 (critical for me):

Free T4 - FT40.7    to 2.0Less than 0.7 is considered     indicative of possible  hypothyroidism.

While I was in Texas Chrisann recommended this book she is reading (Stop the Thyroid Madness). I was especially interested in the various options of non-synthetic thyroid hormone. Years ago my doc said he wanted to monitor me closely since high levels of thyroid hormone in your system can lead to a higher risk for osteoporosis. He has regularly checked my thyroid levels to make sure I am not taking a higher dose than necessary. Now I am wondering if non-synthetic thyroid hormone would help lower the risk of osteoporosis even more. If you know, tell me. :o)

P.S. Just a little plug for my doc...I saw three different doctors before finding one that was willing to treat me. My levels always fall within normal range, but at the bottom of the scale. This OB told me he'd treat me because of my symptoms and that I would know very quickly if it was going to help or not. He was right. The next morning I woke up with a clear head. For the first time in years I opened my eyes and was ready to wake up. No cloud around my head or 30 minutes to open my eyes all the way. Now I know when my meds need adjusted because I get that same fuzzy brain again.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

EMT First Responder Kit

I have searched high and low for a list of just what to carry in my personal EMT bag for times when I might be the first responder or get there faster than the ambulance. Pretty much impossible unless it's a neighbor- I probably should have thought about my propensity to be slow before choosing to become an EMT. That and my extreme gulibility. I was told that if an EMT calls the ambulance they are promptly stripped and laid on the gurney. I started thinking about how desperate I'd have to be to call 911 and really embarrassed myself by asking the experienced EMTs if that's actually true!

Anyway, back to the task at hand...the perfect EMT kit.

After cross-referencing several sites and EMT chat threads I compiled this for under $100:

   


AIRWAY MANAGEMENT
Color coded oral airway set (still considering nasal airways)
Pocket Mask

BLEEDING CONTROL
4x4's Gauze Pads
5 Trauma Pads (5" x 9")
5 5x9 Sterile Abdominal Pads
1 Kerlix Gauze Roll (4.5" x 4 yards)
5 Triangular Bandages
3 2" Conforming Roller Gauze
3 4" Conforming Roller Gauze
1 Universal Aluminum Splint (36")
1 Roll 1" x 10yds Cloth Surgical Tape
2 Disposable Instant Cold Packs

SHOCK MANAGEMENT
1 Emergency Rescue Blanket (Mylar Blanket)

EMS SUPPLIES & ACCESSORIES
OTC Medicines (ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, antihistamine)
Gloves
*Blood Pressure Cuff
*Stethoscope
EMT Sheers
Pen Light

EXTRAS (possible addition later)
1 Multi Trauma Dressing (15" x 20")
Burn Sheet

I purchased this bag on Amazon to put all the supplies in:


I am now officially ready to be the first aid person at 4h camp next week- although I probably just need bandaids and lollipops!

P.S. Since I still have to take 3 finals before I can be an EMT I am not sure this is the perfect kit, but it looks like it to me. :o)

* These two items were purchased at the beginning of the class and are not part of the $100 cost of the kit


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Pre-Baptism Shoot

So in lieu of Jaden's upcoming baptism I decided to take some pictures of him and make a little announcement card.  He was so happy to pose for me and it was hard to choose one for the card.

So cute story...
When Ashley came out of the baptism font a couple years ago Jaden's first words were, "I get to do that in two birthdays!" Now it's his turn.





Thursday, April 4, 2013

Anniversary Ideas

In preparation for our getaway next week, I've been looking through pictures and thinking of some of our anniversary celebrations. It made me realize we've had some pretty fun and lots of silly time away together.

Our first anniversary here in the U.S. I made this chocolate bowl and filled it with strawberries...


Another year we went to Little America where we both tried to squeeze into a one person bath tub (not a  pretty sight, I tell ya!!)...


Last year we spent a fabulous week in Mexico (Hacienda Tres Rios) where we got to do this...



and my hair looked like this the whole time...


Now this year, are you ready for it?
We are going to stay in the Taj Mahal (just a room at the Anniversary Inn in Logan)...


 

So there you have it. Any ideas for how I might make it special? I am so open to suggestions right now!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Skylander Party

Last week was Jaden's big Skylander party. A part of me felt like I should be doing a cute "It's great to be 8" theme, but Skylanders it had to be.

The week of the party I asked Jaden what his expectations were and I got two things out of him. Fun and a Portal of Power cake. That left me with one thing to focus on. The cake. I was VERY worried about the cake because when I made cupcakes for his class they turned out like this (FYI: if cupcake liners are labelled as "no molds needed" it's a lie!).

Yep check that one out on the right. Terrible. Then I had to borrow a cake mix from a neighbor and luckily got the one on the left.


In the end, I had fun making and decorating the cake. I haven't used fondant in years and it's even better than play dough.

Portal of Power....


Here are other party pics (my little disclaimer: I had photography issues that day and no one to blame but myself)....



The bad guys are "jawbreakers" and Kaos is a bad guy...


Pop candy because of Pop Fizz...


Peeps because when Stump Smash smashes things birds fly out (the boys wouldn't eat the pink!)...


We also had Eruptor's Lava (red punch), Trigger Happy's gold coin chocolates and Skylander rings.

Dinamite because of Sonic Boom...


This is about the best smile I can get out of him when he is distracted...


Lots of fun boys!!


Now as long as Jesse doesn't expect a big bash for his birthday in May we should be home free for the next 10 1/2 months! Phew!!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Girls Spa Party

Last week we made invites for Ashley's party, I sent them off and got busy studying for my 5 EMT/CPR tests. Then the day before the party I thought, "Hey, maybe I should plan this thing." So I started moving furniture around and brainstorming and thought a spa was just what my ten year old needed to feel special. By the way, she loved it!

Anyway, I had Jesse pick up a few things in town and scrounged around the house for the rest. The good news- this party can really be done on the fly. :o) The night of the party we sent the boys away (which they did happily- no way they were going to hang around for all the giggling and girl talk). The best part is they went to a wrestling tournament and Jaden took 2nd place in his class. He was so excited since it was his first time and he thought he'd "suck".

So back to the party...

Here she is right after blowing out the candles. Super happy because by this point she had finished a hair treatment, hand scrub and pedicure.


Party favors were a pair of flip flops to wear home with their fresh toe paint. I had a young woman volunteer to help me give pedicures (so nice of her). Ashley and I made jelly bean wraps to hold the flip flops together.


Candy jars...any real spa has an abundance of the yummy stuff we like (for me it would be fruit and smoothies, but the girls thought this candy was great).


If you like Chex mix you've gotta try this **Cherry Chocolate Chex Mix...


The party room finally ready (Ashley hiding while Gracee poses). The settings had face cloths and nail files. The center piece had brown sugar scrubs *(see bottom for recipe) and nail polish choices.


Food table (I also made pizza and had red creme soda for them). See my lovely new antique yellow deviled egg plate? Aunt Judy was the inspiration behind that since I was reluctant to pay just because it was an antique, really pretty up close though.


Tres Leches...definitely a girl thing since the boys around here don't like it. You can find my recipe here (which is really Vanessa's recipe, hehe).



These were a great addition to the party from my friend Emily. Ashley adores them and they are hanging in her room now. Emily claims they are easy to make, but she is way talented and I'm not sure I dare to try. ;o)


Posing before the party. Gracee must have taken this when they were filled to the brim with excitement and giggles.


All in all it was a great way to celebrate her birthday.

Special Spa Recipes...

*Brown Sugar Scrub
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
5 drops grapefruit oil
5 drops orange oil (maybe 10...we liked the orange oil)

Scrub onto hands. Rinse with warm water.

Hair Softening Spray
10-12 oz. spray bottle
1 cup warm water
2 Tbsp. aloe vera gel
15 drops peppermint oil
7 drops lemongrass oil

Spritz on hair as a daily leave-in moisturizer.

**Cherry Chocolate Chex Mix
10 oz. white or milk chocolate
10 cups chex mix
1/2 box cherry cake mix

Melt chocolate. Pour over Chex and stir until coated. Cover with cake mix- I dumped and stirred until it all stuck, but you can put it all in a ziploc bag and shake it around if you'd prefer that.

Voila!! Now I need to get it together for Jaden's Skylander party this week. :o) Oh happy mommy!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Banana Blueberry Crepes

My life has basically revolved around food photos and EMT class. Sadly, it seems I am getting worse at both instead of better. So, this weekend was just what the doctor ordered. We took the family to a hotel and we all swam and played to our hearts' content!

Here's a little clip of the kids in the jacuzzi...

video


We got a fabulous suite with a jacuzzi and king bed (the kids slept on the sofa bed in the living room). I found this great deal on the room for just $100 through hotels.com (including dinner and breakfast- which made life easier).

Ashley told me the Fabrizzio's were going to Logan also, so I texted Heather to see if she had found a place to stay. She called the hotel and our two families had a great weekend together. It was wonderful for the children to swim and watch movies with their friends. Plus, it's always nice having friends around!

On another note... last week my friend Emily had a Valentine's Day brunch. I love brunch! She made a quiche that was out-of-this-world! I made these lovelies...



Here's the recipe for the next time you are invited to brunch (or just want to have a tea party with your kids)...

Banana Filled Crepes

    1 1/2 cups flour 
    2 cups milk
    2 eggs
    1 Tbsp sugar
    1/2 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp salt
    2 tbs butter, melted
    1 tsp vanilla
      1/4 tsp almond extract

    Mix dry ingredients, then add wet. Beat together until they are smooth.

    Heat a medium sized skillet on medium-high. Pour 1/4 to1/3 cup batter in the center. Lift your skillet off the burner and whirl it around until you have a thin layer of batter covering the bottom of the skillet. Cook about 2 minutes. Flip over and cook another minute or two until it is lightly golden. Remove to a plate.

    Place sliced bananas on 1/2 of the crepe and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Fold two times (into quarters). Stack on plate. Cover with blueberries and whipped cream.

    Yum! I haven't had crepes in years. They remind me of my childhood in Guatemala. There was this place that made fabulous strawberry crepes with vanilla ice cream. I also remember their yummy spinach and cheese crepes (and the hot dog crepes that I never dared to taste!).

    I wonder how many of you recognize this sign? Does it bring back memories for you too?


    Or are you like my dad and husband? This is what they remember... Steak.

    The owner of Media Cancha
    I am so missing Guatemala right now. It is February and I should be there, but I chose to become an EMT and so that is what I am doing (or trying to do).

    Here's one last picture. This is where Jesse and I had our first date. It's an Argentine churrasco place and a story I will have to tell in full one of these days.