Saturday, December 24, 2011


I've said since the day she was born that Jesalyn was one with lots of character. And by character I mean personality.  She has been a little diva since she popped out of me.  And by "popped' I mean made me labor for 15 hours straight in not so fun pain. 

But as she is getting older, she is really coming into her personality.  This kid is hillarious.  She makes us laugh every single day.  I've caught her on more than one occassion making faces in the mirror just for fun.   So, the other night we were laying in bed (Yes, she still sleeps with us.  Throw the rocks, I know it's not good, but we miss her too much when she's in her own bed) trying to get her to fall asleep.  I'm half asleep myself and I hear her breathing kind of funny.

Jesalyn: *breathing* pause *breathing*

Me:  Jesalyn, what are you doing?  Breath right.  Is something wrong?

Jesalyn:  hahahah.

Me:  What's so funny?

Jesalyn:  I picka nose.  hahahah

Jarrod and I busted up laughing.  Now, know we do not promote nose picking. We give her tissues and talk to her about not spreading germs.  There was just something about the way she said it, and the fact that she laughed first.  Needless to say it took us a bit to fall asleep. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


So I've been asked to give a little update on my baby girl.  It is actually perfect timing because I have pictures on my camera that need to be transferred overAnd they just happen to be mostly of little JP.  I'll make the talking short and just get right to the pictures (the only reason your really here anyway right?)

 This was Thanksgiving morning.  We decided to let daddy sleep in.  Jes and I got dressed and went to Whole Foods to get a few things (and ate a yummy breakfast.  Sorry daddy, you snooze you lose.)

Here she is helping me make the crust for the sweet potato pie.  Yes, I know it's a square pan.  Whoever said pie had to be round??  Let's think outside of the box here people.

Waiting for daddy to get the strawberries ready so that she can help him clean them and cover them in chocolate.  Is this not the cutest smile in the world?

Here she is looking at the strawberry and saying "I like it!"  She is talking so much right now.  I'm talking full on sentences.  But more on that later. 

Helping daddy wash the strawberries.

So I made a broccoli casserole.  First time in my life I have bought Velveeta cheese (I accidentally bought the queso kind if your wondering why it's white and not the fake yellow kind.)   Here she is being silly, with a little help from daddy.  She is holding blocks of psuedo  cheese saying the word "cheese."

Then next set of pictures is the night we put up the Christmas tree.  I just realized I didn't take a picture of the finished project.  I might just have to do that. 

So, I decided to start a tradition this year of making homemade hot chocolate while decorating the tree.  I couldn't drink it because it turned out waaaaay too sweet.  Jarrod and Jesalyn, on the other hand, had no problem drinking it.

Merry Christmas!!!!

...and yes, I realize that Jes was on the counter barefoot while helping me cook.  If you are a germaphobe please note that the food did not go out or leave the house.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Feria #56

So I did it.  Something I never thought I would do, mainly because I don't have the *pardon my language* balls to do it.  But I got desperate.  I had no choice.  So, I did what anyone in my position would do.  I went to Target, bought a box of color and dyed my own hair.

Let's get this straight.  I have highlighted my hair several times.  Being a natural blond (yes, contrary to popular belief, my hair is naturally blond) you can't really screw up highlights.  You have three options: 1. you don't let the peroxide set long enough and the highlights aren't as bright as you want.  Not that big of a deal.  2. You let the peroxide set too long and the hair turns out a little too bright.  Not great, but still, I'm okay with white hair.  3. The peroxide sets just the right amount of time and your hair turns out perfect.

But with color, oh so many things could go wrong.  I chose a reddish brown color so my biggest fear???  Turning out looking like this guy: 

Which most definitely would turn into this guy on a bad day:

Let me preface this with, I had gotten my hair dyed about 2 months earlier by my stylist and it turned out great, so I wasn't starting with blond hair.  This must be said, because in my opinion no one, I repeat, no one should go from blond to brown (or black or red) on their own.  Please seek professional help for this. 

Anyway my roots were coming in and my sister is getting married in 3 weeks.  I would not be home any time soon so that my hair chica could touch it up.  Yes, I drive 3 hours back "home" each time I get my hair done.  Hey, when you find someone good and affordable, you do not go elsewhere.  

So, Sunday night I sucked it up, put on my big girl panties and decided to take matter into my own hands.

I was so stinkin' scared as the color started to set.  It just kept getting redder and redder.  I thought about cutting the time short.  Just wash it out and deal with the grayish looking roots coming in.  That's the style for some people right??

But since I'm no Shakira I pressed onward.   I think it turned out okay:
"oh yeah, rockin' the red"

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Fog and patience

Oh wow.  I am so ashamed to say that I have not blogged or posted anything for two months.  A lot has been going on my little corner of the world.  So much that I have just been kind of coasting through it all.  I haven't been sleeping all that well.  I normally wake up three or four times in the night, and get up for good at around 4am.  But by 8 that night, I'm ready to crash. And then with this whole time change thing, let's just say I was hitting my REM sleep about 720 last night.  Yep, rocking my 20's  =)

All this "junk" that's going on isn't really junk, it could actually be a good thing.  It's just a matter of me being patient and waiting to see what will happen.  If you know me, you know patience is my very worst quality. I'm totally that person that clicks the Internet Explorer icon on my computer and if it's not running within .2 seconds, I click it again and again.  2 seconds later, I have 5 browsers running all at the same time.  Sometimes, I just need to slow down and take a breath.  I have to tell myself that sometimes, doing nothing is exactly what needs to be done.  I don't have to plan everything, calculate all the numbers, and have everything set in stone before the opportunity even presents itself.  

It's just that when I don't know every detail, I feel like I'm driving in some kind of a fog.  I can only see 3 steps in front of me when I want to see 3 miles.  I want to know whats coming.  Is there a bend up ahead?  A fork in the road? or am I smooth sailing for a while?  It drives me crazy.

And then I take a step back and look at the fog I'm surrounded by.  It's really kind of pretty.  It's make everything a little more "soft."   Things aren't so harsh when your looking at them through the clouds.  They make you slow down and really focus on what's right in front of you.  Don't worry about what's up ahead.  Do what needs to be done today.  And then, when tomorrow gets here, do what needs to be done then.  Take it one step or mile at a time.  And really enjoy what's happening right in front of you.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dining Room Table Discussion: To tattle or not to tattle is the question

The hubbs and I are in a bit of conundrum.  Well, he's not.  He knows that he's right and thinks I'm being silly for for questioning.  I just want to make sure I'm teaching my child correctly.  She is at the age now that things we do or say can/will start to shape and affect her.  It's not "don't touch the stove because it's hot" anymore.

Let me back up a bit.  Several months ago we were watching a cartoon with Jesalyn.  She was young enough that she had no idea what was going on or what the people were saying, but it entertained her so we let her watch it (I know, I know.....)  The days theme was on tattle telling.  As funny as it seems now, I can't remember if it swayed towards or against it.  I can't remember because afterwards, we started talking about it.  Jarrod was 100% tattle.  His thoughts were if someone is doing something to you, at a young age you should definitely tell the teacher.  I agreed to a point. As toddlers, you don't have the communication skills to sit down Dr. Phil style and talk to the other person about how what they are doing is hurting your feelings.  But at the same time, if you get in the habit of tattle-telling when your younger you become that junior high kid that no one likes. On the flip side, it's important that the child is comfortable to tell an adult when something serious is wrong. We agreed to disagree (well, sort of. I still hadn't made up my mind) and went on with our business.

Fast forward to yesterday.  I go to pick Jesalyn up at day care.  The teacher tells me that my daughter has two reports for that day.  They get a report anytime something happens (i.e. falls and bumps her head, got hit in the head with a toy....)  Today's reports were because she bit two different kids.  Two!  A few months back, we got a report that she bit someone but the teacher played it off.   "I can't really tell her 'go Jesalyn' but she was kind of sticking up for herself.  She was minding her own business playing with a blanket and another kid came up and grabbed it from her hand.  Jesalyn said no, and when the child didn't let go she bit her."  Other than that, we hadn't had any problems.  But now, two kids in one day.  On the drive home I talked to her about how it wasn't nice to bite.  That it hurts people when you bite them and she didn't want to hurt any of her friends at school.  That night, I was changing her diaper, again reinforcing that she should not bite people.  "Just because someone takes something from you, that doesn't mean you should bite them...." and then I was stuck, I just set the sentence up so that it required the alternate action to biting.  I saw her looking at me listening as if saying "then what should I do mommy?"  From the other room Jarrod says "tell her to tell the teacher."  I had nothing else, so that's exactly what I did.
And so here we are at our conundrum.  Part of me wants to say just share your things.  If someone takes it from you, just let them have it and play with something else.  A bigger part of me says "no way!" if you have it, and someone just grabs it from you, stand up for yourself.  The issue is at age 2, standing up for yourself translates to "bite."
Am I making this too complicated.  Mommys?  Teachers? Nannies?  I need some input here....

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Pear Galette

First off, for those of you that don't know what a galette is, let me give you the definition according to Wikipedia (the only place to get real, true information.  do you sense the sarcasm?). 

"Galette is a general term used in the French cuisine to designate various types of flat, round or freeform crusty cakes,[1] similar in concept to a Chinese bing. One notable type is the galette des Rois (King cake) eaten on the day of Epiphany. In French Canada, the term galette is usually applied to pastries best described as large cookies."

If you knew this already.  50 cool points!!!   If you didn't know what a galette was, don't feel bad, I had to look it up too.  Let me give you my definition.

Galette:  Pure, yummy, awesomeness.   Perfect food for people who aren't crazy about pies (aka:myself) but like the idea of them.

I think I liked this so much because the filling wasn't so thick that you had a mouthful of pears.  You get to actually taste the crust, which in my opinion is the best part.  Kind of like a pear pizza.  Plus, it isn't so sweet that all you tasted was sugar.  It's easier to describe if you just try it yourself.  
*You could substitute any other fruit in place of the pears* 

Preheat oven to 350degrees
To make the dough:
and sugar all go in a bowl.  Mix

add chopped butter and mix until it resembles course crumbs

It will form together when pressed, but easily fall apart

Slowly pour the buttermilk in and mix until a dough starts to form.  *picture turned out fuzzy*

Form dough into a ball and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 45min

Cut your pears up in thin slices and set aside

Once the dough is done, take out and roll out to as close to a 14-15 inch circle you can get.  
The dough gets sticky as you work with it, and you don't want to add extra flour.  I found rolling it out between two pieces of parchment paper to work great.  When its rolled out, transfer it directly to the cookie sheet your baking it on.

brush the dough with the apricot preserves

layer on the pears leaving about a 2inch border

Fold the border over.

brush the edge with egg wash

sprinkle on the sugar
and cinnamon and bake

Once the crust is browned and the pears are tender (about 45-50 min) take out of the oven
*yes, I know I need new baking sheets =)*

add some whip cream and enjoy!!!

Recipe:  slightly adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod


1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup coarse cornmeal
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons apricot preserves
2 large Bartlett pears, thinly sliced
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
1T cinnamon


1. To make the dough, combine flour, sugar, cornmeal, and salt in a in a bowl. Add butter pieces and mix in with a pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles coarse meal.
Slowing pour in the buttermilk until a dough forms a ball.
Wrap the dough ball in plastic wrap or parchment paper. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes before rolling out.
2. Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
3. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place on a sheet of parchment paper. Place another sheet of parchment paper on top of the dough.  Starting at the center of the dough, roll out, forming a 14-15-inch wide circle. Place the dough with parchment paper on a baking sheet. Brush the bottom of the dough with the apricot preserves. Arrange sliced pears in a spoke pattern on the galette dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Fold the border over the pears, overlapping where necessary and pressing gently to adhere the folds.
4. Lightly brush the edge of the dough with the egg and sprinkle crust and pears with turbinado sugar and cinnamon.
5. Bake the galette for 45-50 minutes, or until the pears are tender and the crust is golden brown. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack to cool for at least 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
*Note-you can make the galette dough in advance. It will keep in the refrigerator for 3 days. Serve the pear galette with whipped cream or ice cream.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

French toast with grandma

Jesalyn got a lot of quality baking time with MaMa this weekend.  This kid is destined to bake when she gets older.  It's in her genes  =) 
Her favorite was making french toast in the morning

Start with some eggs.

Whisk those up really good

 Add in your spices

 ..and then mama secret weapon (vanilla creamer)

 Mix, mix, mix..

Pour in a little milk and mix

 And then cook them up on the stove.  Be very careful when flipping

And then enjoy the fruits of your labor

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

General Tso's Chicken

In my house, we have a love for Chinese food.  If it were allowed, we would have it at least once a week.  There is just nothing more simple than sitting down with a nice big bowl of rice, some sort of a chicken dish, and a couple of crab ragoons to top it off.  We like it so much that one of the first things we bought after getting married was a restaurant style rice maker.  We go through so much rice at our house, it's probably embarrassing.  It's just so easy to make and you can eat it with just about anything.  While my standard rice go-to is topped with sharp cheddar cheese, sour cream, and sriracha hot sauce (try it and you'll never eat another brand of hot sauce,) I decided to get a little crazy with our rice and make a main course to go with it.  I am normally a sweet and sour kind of girl.  I use to eat General Tso's, but it mentally got to me with each bite.  It just didn't have that chicken texture, I didn't know exactly what was in it, and I finally gave it up.  While the flavors were good, I just couldn't shake that "what is this" feeling.

And then, I came upon this recipe.  If this turned out, my problem would be solved.  It turned out not to taste exactly like the restaurant style dish, but I loved the texture and flavors of it.  It has a strong ginger taste to it, so if your not in love with ginger, I would cut back on it and add a little more garlic in replace of it.
It was so easy to make too.  It actually turned out easier to make than it is to pronounce.  The more people I talk to, the more pronunciations I get.  Before I get to the recipe I'm curious what you all call it.

1. General "So's"
2. General "Chow's"
3. General "T-So's" 
4. Geners "Show's"
5. "fill in the blank."

....and now to the recipe
 the recipe calls for chicken thighs, but I only buy chicken breast.  This worked great.  Cut it into chunks

Next step is to add your sesame oil, soy sauce, egg white, and cornstarch in a bowl.  The mix will be kind of goopy and thick.  

Put your chicken in the sauce and cover to let sit

In a deep saucepan, add your garlic and ginger to the hot oil and cook until it starts to smell up your kitchen (yummy.)  Do you not let your garlic get all brown.  There is not going back from burnt garlic.

In a separate bowl, add the rest of the sauce ingredients and add to the garlic and ginger.
Cook until boiling and thick.  Turn on low and simmer while you cook the chicken.

To test my oil, I normally sacrifice one piece. When I think it's hot, I will throw it in. If it doesn't sizzle, I know it's not ready.  I leave it there until it starts.

Once hot, add the rest of the chicken and cook until it's all nice and browned on both sides.

Does that not look absolutely delicious!!!!
...and we are not done yet.

Once all of the chicken is cooked, mix it with the sauce simmering on the stove.

Throw in some steamed broccoli, a decorative pile of rice, and you've got yourself a meal!

You can find the recipe here.