Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sharks, Shark Costumes, and Atlantis

My five-year-old daughter is always saying things that amazes me.  Whether it's remembering something I said five months ago and holding me to it; or simply just outwitting me....she is constantly keeping me on my toes.

Our entire household got sick with Influenza A, one of the nastiest viruses I've ever had.  We'd been housebound for almost a week, so Callie was naturally about to go crazy.  She's an outdoor girl; she wants to be running and burning off energy every chance she gets.

"Mom, can we got to the pool?" She asked me after watching Kung Fu Panda for the fifth time.

"No, we can't go honey because we are sick.  But, daddy and I know how much you love sharks, and we were talking the other day about taking you and your brother to Atlantis.  It's got a huge waterpark where one of the water slides actually goes through the shark tank!"  I was hoping this would give her something to look forward to, no matter how far in the future this trip might actually be.

She thought about it for a moment before saying, "Mom, sharks think we are seals when we are in the ocean right, and that's why they eat humans?" 

Oh lord; too many Discovery channel shows, I thought.  "Yes honey, but we wouldn't actually be swimming with the sharks, so they couldn't bite us.  The slide goes through the tank, but it's enclosed so the sharks are on the outside of where you slide."

By the confusion on her face, I knew I wasn't getting through.  "I'm not so sure about that idea mom.  Let me think on it."

She sat there for a few more minutes, quiet, before piping up-"Mom, I've got it, I've got it!  Lets all buy shark costumes!"

It took me a moment to register what she was saying....and then all I could think was, cha-ching!  Have any of these undersea divers who want to learn about sharks thought about this before?  Hello! Then I realized, either way, my five-year-old is entirely too smart for her own good.  I can only hope this will bring good things for her future, even if it means trouble for her father and I until then!  ~Trina

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Anti-Chicken Fingers Movement ~ Creamy Beef & Sweet Potato Casserole

Watch out, this healthy dish is packing with all the flavor of any of your favorite comfort foods.  It's creamy, it has a carb (a healthy one), meat, and some yummy veggies.  And of course, cheese.

Everyone loved it.  My kids only  like sweet potatoes a few different ways, and this is one of them.  Enjoy!

1-Pd lean ground beef
1-Tbl olive oil
1-Can nonfat cream of mushroom soup
1-Can nonfat cream of celery soup
1/2-Cup nonfat or 1% milk
1-Can Corn
1- Onion, diced
3-Lg sweet potatoes, sliced into thin pieces
1-Cup low fat cheddar cheese mix, mozz cheese mix, or any cheese you desire

heat oven to 375. Brown ground beef and onion in the olive oil in large pan.  Once completely cooked, add all ingredients except potatoes and cheese.  Mix well and let simmer.  Meanwhile, spray bottom of 16" baking pan w/ nonstick cooking spray. Cover bottom of baking pan w/potatoes.  Pour meat mixture over potatoes.  Cook, uncovered, for thirty minutes.  Mix the mixture up, cover with foil, cook for 20 more minutes, or until potatoes are cooked through.  Add cheese to top, cook for a few more minutes, or until cheese is melted.  Serve w/salad or whatever you desire.  Happy Eating Friends! ~ Trina

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Anti-Chicken Fingers Movement ~ Chicken Souvlaki

 There are a lot of ingredients in this Greek dish, I will admit.  However, if you want a meal packing with flavor....this is it. Splurge for one night and cook something delightful and healthy for you family.  My husband was never thrilled about feta cheese until I started sneaking into dishes, and now he actually likes it!  The kids usually pick through it, but they do that anyway so why not keep introducing foods to them that enhance their selection?


For Chicken
2 thick chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1/4 cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
juice from 1/2 a lemon
2 cloves garlic, minced
pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
sprinkle of paprika for color
For Tzatziki Sauce
1/2 cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cucumber, diced
1/2 teaspoon dill
1 tablespoon low-fat sour cream
pepper to taste
squeeze of fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chives, chopped
For Salad Garnish
12 grape tomatoes
6 leaves of lettuce, chopped
10 black olives, chopped
remaining cucumber half, chopped
1 medium green pepper, sliced thin
1 medium onion, chopped into thin strips
4 pieces of whole wheat pita or flatbread
feta cheese, crumbled, to your liking

Prepare your chicken first. Clean and cut them into chunks. Then, prepare the yogurt marinade by combining all your ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Once mixed, throw in your chicken and coat. Set to the side.
While that rests, chop up your onion and green pepper. Then, drizzle about a tablespoon of olive oil into a pan - cast iron is best here. Get it nice and hot, then throw in your chopped veggies. Let them cook, toss only occasionally so that they get a nice seared crunch. The idea is to cook them just enough without them losing their crunch.
While those cook, prepare your tzatziki sauce. Just mix all your ingredients together.
Remove your peppers and onions from the pan and set to the side. Lower the flame a bit, drizzle some more olive oil into the pan - just enough to coat the bottom a bit - then put in your chicken. For 1 inch chunks it'll generally take about 3 minutes per side for the chicken to cook through.
While the chicken cooks, cut up the rest of your veggies.
Once the chicken is cooked, prepare your plates - start with the pita, top with a healthy bit of the tzatziki sauce, followed by a hefty mound of veggies, then your chicken and a sprinkle of feta cheese
~Happy Eating Friends!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Have You Told Them You Loved Them Today?

I'm lucky enough to have a talented friend who takes my family pictures...and I wanted to share a few of them with all of you.  Seeing them reminds of how incredibly lucky I am to have a healthy, happy, whole family.

I get so upset by researching and learning about what goes on in our world when it comes to our precious children; what we do to one another has human beings.  It breaks my heart to know that God gave us this beautiful planet, and all these different, unique people to inhabit it with...and yet we have so much strife, murder and pain.  We've invited the devil to play on God's master piece of art, and now it's his playground as well.  It's depressing!

Although I can't change all the bad, I can keep writing, keep trying to make people aware, and most importantly, be thankful for what I have.  A beautiful,  happy and healthy family.

I'm making sure to give everyone a kiss and a squeeze today...and let them know just how much I love them.  Have you told your loved ones today how much you love and appreciate them?  Today, don't get caught up in what we can't change.  Let's celebrate in what we have!


Friday, March 23, 2012

Kony 2012 Creator’s Breakdown

When I heard about Jason Russell’s breakdown, I was heartbroken.   I knew that this would only once again bring attention away from what we should be focused on—the tragedy in Africa; and turn it towards scrutiny against the man behind the brilliant documentary.
 Through TMZ you can view the Kony 2012 creator pacing the sidewalks of a very busy street, naked and ranting.  I hated watching it.  For one, I hate to see someone publicly humiliate themselves like that, no matter who you are.  Secondly, for someone to be so broken down…someone who cared so deeply about a cause that he put his entire life on the line—that alone is so disappointing.
I can’t speak to whether his claims are true; he was exhausted, stressed from all the public criticism.  I think after putting your heart and soul into something and in return getting any negative feedback—well, it could be damaging for sure.  But does it really matter?  Does it matter if he was drunk?  Heck, I’d probably be drunk too!  Does it matter if he was high?  Not really.
What matters is that children in Africa are being murdered and raped because a man is still on the loose that should be captured and killed.  It matters that Americans have the ability to make a difference by simply paying attention –if nothing else, and making others aware of what’s going on.  Knowledge is power, and America has more power than most other countries.   What matters is caring about something other than putting down another human being simply because he’s following his passion and supporting a cause—while many other Americans are too selfish and ignorant to even consider doing the same.  It’s not that I’m not proud of my country; it’s just sometimes the people’s actions in it disgust me.
Jason, we don’t care about your breakdown.  We all have skeletons in our closets; we all have had those very publicly embarrassing moments in one way or another.  Keep up the good work; many people are still supporting you and the cause!  ~ Trina 

Thursday, March 22, 2012, Obviously

We personally invite you to follow our blog and share in experiences we can all relate to while enjoying our favorite “go-to” after a rough day…that inviting glass of white or red. Whether you're a stay-at-home mom, working mom or work-at-home mom - we appreciate what you go through each and every day.  And though moms’ indulging in a glass of wine is not quite news, in 2011 several wineries started marketing directly to moms following studies showing women purchase 77% of the wine in the United States.  77%!

So we've got the stories to help you feel relief from a frustrating day or to relax with a smile after a cute experience with your little one, but how are you going to decide which bottle of wine or champagne to choose? is simply, incroyable  It is the place to go for everything wine.  Looking for a sweet and light white?  Or are you seeking a bold red?  Got $20 to spend or $75?  This site will point you in the right direction!  

If you are a mom and you love wine:, obviously! infographic
Brought To By, Purveyors of Fine Wine and Champagne 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Anti-Chicken Fingers Movement ~ Homeade Chicken Noodle Soup

Well, what crazy week it's been so far.  Both my son and I have been diagnosed with influenza A, and let me tell's no walk in the park.  If I can eat, I'm eating soup out of a can.  I've longed for someone to make me this yummy recipe, my kids love soup so it's always a hit and perfect for a day you aren't feeling well or the weather is bad. 


  • 1 tablespoon smart balance butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 4 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can vegetable broth
  • 1/2 pound chopped cooked chicken breast
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat egg noodles
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter. Cook onion and celery in butter until just tender, 5 minutes. Pour in chicken and vegetable broths and stir in chicken, noodles, carrots, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes before serving.

Happy Eating Friends! ~ Trina

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Anti-Chicken Fingers Movement - Orange Chicken Stir Fry

Do you ever get into such a routine with your family meals? I remember one month when it seemed like we had pork chops every week.  Or grilled steaks every Sunday for three months.  Or couldn't get enough of my hubs burritos and chili rellenos for what seemed like an entire season.  As I look back at old recipes, I find myself craving stir fry again.  And I remember when that was seen on our dinner table almost twice a week for an entire year.  My wok was a dear friend of mine. What simplicity!  And always delicious.  Orange chicken is by far one of my favorites!  Serve on top of brown rice and enjoy! Original Recipe

Orange Chicken Stir Fry
1 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup bean sprouts (optional)
1 package frozen stir fry vegetables


In a small bowl combine the orange juice, orange zest, soy sauce, salt, garlic and brown sugar. Mix well.
Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over medium high heat. When oil begins to bubble, add chicken. Saute until cooked through (no longer pink inside), about 7 to 10 minutes.

Add frozen vegetables and cook for 3 minutes. Add orange sauce mixture to chicken and cook until sauce begins to bubble. Add flour, a little bit at a time, until sauce has thickened to your liking. Add bean sprouts and cook for 1 minute; serve hot over brown rice.

Buon appetito!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Thirty and Fabulous

Okay, maybe that’s stretching it.  How about, 30 and feeling fabulous?  I mean, seriously.  I wonder why so many women I talk to want to go back to 20.  Other than of course for the perky breasts and the flat tummies.  Oh, and the wrinkle free skin, that was sure nice.
I feel so much more confident at 30 than I ever did at 20.  I feel so much prettier, happier…filled with so much more love.  I feel successful…I feel like the world is at my fingertips, and I believe it is.  I’ll take that with a few wrinkles and a bit sag here and there any day before I’d go back.
I’ve finally found myself, or as a recent quote I read said—I’ve made myself.  And as I head to celebrate the big day with some of my oldest and newest greatest friends…I feel like I truly know what it means to be blessed.
Don’t wish for 20.  Celebrate and revel in who you are, today.  You are much more fabulous than yesterday, I can assure you. ~ Trina

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Who is Tucker Max?

Tucker Max…hmm…where do I start?  Well, let me begin by saying, total dirtbag.  Oh, too forward for you?  Okay, let me think…hmm…nope, only profanities come to mind.  Think I’m kidding?  I doubt you’ve read his first book, I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell.

I remember thinking when my book club voted it in; wow, I’m not so sure about reading a book about a guy who’s only average looking and really has nothing spectacular going on for him except a blog about college life for boys.  Read that last word again:  boys!  But, of course, I went with the flow, and purchased a book that not only turned out to be one of my worst mistakes ever…but also a book I later dreamed of burning in full aggravation I spent even a piddly penny on the worthless thing.  It was full of raunchy, college-type escapades that real men wouldn't dream of doing.  Okay, some of it they may dream of, but they sure wouldn't treat women that way; nor would they write a book blasting the female race.

If you're an insecure, average—not really fabulous in anyway-kinda-guy, you’ll love Tucker Max.  He’ll make up for all those girls who shut you down and made you feel inferior, and all those football playing jocks you wish you could’ve hung out with.  I’ve found in my research mostly guys aching to have a beautiful girl…mostly because they can’t get one themselves, love Tucker Max.  And girls who are insecure and have only had good guys…they desperately want to be with Tucker Max.  A test of a true playa.  Love at its finest, right?  Oh, and of course, other jerks like him too.  Idiots often attract one another.

Guess what?  I know Tucker Max for what he is, and that’s an a-hole. I’m sitting here still trying to figure out why Tucker Max has bracelets that symbolize the same meaning Jesus does (WWTD), along with at least one best seller book and a movie!  A movie?  I don't understand America.  I mean, who would buy a book, especially if you are a female, called Sloppy Seconds?

My friend Amber swears that my issues are because I have a daughter, and I now have the need to raise her to be smarter than losers like Tucker.  However—I’m not sure that’s my real issue.  I’m thinking honestly, why should we have to train our daughters?  Why don’t we start with ourselves!?  I think my actual problem is that several smart, educated, beautiful women are falling for his lame lines and making him a millionaire, when really all he is, is an average, loser guy aching to make up for his inadequacies as a human.  It’s sad. 
So—to all you women who have the need to sleep with men to feel that feeling of being needed...STOP.  Your knight in shining armor is waiting.  Guys like Tucker Max throw your clothes out his window and make you look like a dumbass in front of his friends.  Real men wine and dine you, surprising you with flowers.  Whatever it is you are into, they are paying attention to your needs.

I ask all female friends…do you settle for beer and potato chips?  Or are you setting your sights on wine and caviar?  Whatever you dreams, please assure me you aren’t settling and swimming with the bottom feeders such as Tucker Max.

Think I’m joking?  Although I hate to add hits to his site – check it out if in doubt:

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Anti-Chicken Fingers Movement - Kahlua Grilled Shrimp Pasta

I personally think we should add a little Kahlua to every meal!  So here it is with shrimp and pasta.  Direct, from me to you!

Kahlua Grilled Shrimp Pasta

To Grill:
2 lb shrimp peeled
1 tomato, quartered
1/4 cup white wine
1 lemon, juiced
1 cups honey
1 tbsp basil, fresh chopped
1 tbsp thyme fresh chopped
1 tbsp cajun seasoned salt
1 tbsp cilantro fresh chopped
1 tbsp garlic chopped
1 tbsp parsley chopped
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce

1 cup kahlua
Corn starch to thicken
1.5 tbsp red pepper chopped
1 lb angel hair pasta

Mix all marinade ingredients: add shrimp and refrigerate for at least 6 hours. Grill shrimp and tomato over charcoal fire with mesquite and oak wood. Cook pasta according to package direction in a 2 quart stock pot. In a small bowl I make a small amount of roux from cornstarch and kahlua. In a skillet I pour in some kahlua and heat it on a medium temperature. After it begins to boil I add the roux (thickening agent) and stir until it is somewhat thick. Then I add the shrimp and cook just until the shrimp are coated - usually only about 5 minutes. If the kahlua starts to boil off, add more. Add Worcestershire sauce, red pepper and shrimp.  Serve warm on top of pasta.  Garnish with fresh cilantro and grilled tomato.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Toddler Tantrum Bumped Family From Flight

The heat rising up in your face. The tears forming behind your eyelids. The sound; piercing.

When your two-year-old has a tantrum, it can feel like the most embarrassing moment in your life. Especially when dozens of spectators surround you and your tot.  You'll try all the tricks in the book, and sometimes it just doesn't work. Your toddler has a mind of her own and she will decide when the tantrum is over.  We've all seen this in action.  When the heated moment begins, often without warning; you'll start with We don't act like that. Please be a big girl. The pitch gets higher. You try the You better stop this RIGHT NOW or you lose your [Enter: your child's favorite toy]. She's not moved. She's not listening-everyone else is. And you want to hide, but you're in charge and everyone is waiting for you to just DO SOMETHING! Your husband tries a few of his tricks.  Nothing.  In desperation, you beg If you stop crying, I'll give you a piece of [Enter: your child's favorite tasty treat]. And it feels like it lasts forever. Then you've done it; you've calmed your child down.  Or at least you think you had something to do with it.  At last, peace.

Then you're escorted off the plane.

The story of Dr. Colette Vieau and husband, Dr. Mordecai Stolk's experience on JetBlue was featured on NBC's The Today Show this morning.  What really made me feel for this family though (you can only feel so bad for a family leaving a Turks and Caicos vacation), was not so much their airline debacle, but the six minutes on live television with Matt Lauer.  If you ever have the chance to speak with Mr. Lauer on TV, chances are you're either hoping to leave the kiddos behind or you're praying they will behave extraordinarily!

Through the segment, I was holding my breath for the mom.  As pediatrician Dr. Vieau spoke about the tantrum, her three-year-old daughter squirmed and wiggled and twisted on her lap. I know this situation well.  Your child wants to be anywhere but your lap; but you're trying to hold an adult conversation at the bank, in the grocery store or even your pediatrician's office and at the very least, you want to look like you have control over this young child. But her older daugther was grabbing for her dad, reaching for his face, and even at one point worked her way down off her mom's lap to the set’s couch and was reaching for the coffee table.

Matt Lauer asked if the couple thought the experience to be mortifying which the dad quickly rebutted, "yes!" after giving a dad-voice "hey" to his fidgety daughter. Meanwhile, the culprit of the airline tantrum, their two-year-old sitting pretty on dad's lap, was behaving very well with just some little toddler talk.

This is just life with little ones.  Especially when you have a two-year-old and a three-year-old...trying to control them both is often a tricky task.

When asked what lesson was learned from this experience, Dr. Stolk stated, "Control your kids." To that I say, "pa ha!"  If a pediatrician can't "control" a child in the midst of a tantrum, who can?  Of course, there is always an end to a tantrum but how much of it is the parent controlling it or the child deciding she's done?

I think the lesson learned is that none of us are immune to toddler tantrums.  And we all survive matter how embarrassing they are at the time!

The NBC Today Show segment can be seen here.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Anti-Chicken Fingers Movement ~ Flash Pan Beef Fajitas

I originally got this recipe from weight watchers and morphed it into my own recipe.  The thing I don't like about weight watchers/counting points is that if you eat wheat anything, because it may have more calories, it's higher points than eating white.  I believe the health benefits, and the fact whole grains are harder to break down....make the entire points system idea fruitless for long-term goals.  It's great for learning portion control and healthy fats, but not so good when it comes to whole grains.  Below is my version of the meal.


12-oz boneless sirloin steak, trimmed & thinly sliced
2-tsp ground cumin
1 1/2-tsp blackened steak seasoning
1/4-tsp of salt
1-TBL of olive oil
2- Green Bell Peppers, thinly sliced (can substitute one for another color such as red or yellow if you wish)
1- Lg onion, diced
4 - Whole wheat 8-inch tortillas
1- Lime, cut into wedges (this made the meal)
light sour cream (optional)
salsa (optional)

Combine first four ingredients in a medium bowl; toss well.  Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and steak mixture to pan until cooked, remove from pan.  Add vegetables to pan (if you need a bit more oil to saute, add it), saute 2 minutes.  Add steak back to pan and cook 30 seconds or so until fully heated.  Squeeze lime juice over the mixture, serve over tortillas with sour cream or salsa as desired.

Happy eating friends! ~Trina

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Dos And Don'ts of Moving With Young Kids

Tomorrow, my family and I will celebrate one week in our new home!  One week!  Oh, but this means so much more than it looks right now as I read it on my computer screen.  Let's be real, though. It's been 20 days since we've begun this journey we call moving. (I won't count the five weeks of preparation that preceded said move.)  

In between several meltdowns this week, many of my friends have quoted to me that moving is one of the top stresses in life.  And I've found that to be quite true.  Especially with two little ones in tow.  So I want to share a little of what I learned and help anyone else out there who may one day make a move with one or two or more of their young children.  Help me, help you. 

*This written for a move requiring a relocation by car more than five hours from where you were living, with no family (moms, dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles) in either location, and on a smart family budget. 

DON'T have your kids around on moving day.  Hire a babysitter on moving day. This may change the whole stress level of your entire move.  Had we hired a babysitter or even sent our kiddos to a friend's house that last day, we could've saved many tears and changed the tone of the move.  No matter how much you think you've done to be ahead of schedule, there is just so much to do that last day.  It isn't fair to your kids, to have them hang around with no chance of staying "out of the way" the entire day...much less an hour.  I can almost guarantee you'll also get double the amount of packing, loading and cleaning done without having them at your feet.  

DO explain to your kids in advance that you will be moving soon so that they have time to get used to the idea (as much as they can in their little minds).  This will also give them a better understanding of the big picture when it comes time to say good-bye to their friends.  If you're moving to a new state, buy a book about that state and be excited about the new place when you read it.  Share with your child all the cool things you know about the new place, including pictures of your new house if you have them. 

DO take your time on the drive. Roll the windows down (if it's nice, of course) and crank up some good ol' James Taylor and enjoy the drive.  Stop every couple of hours and let your kids run around.  I have a friend who advised to stop for lunch at a place with a playland and let the kids run wild.  Then have them eat in the car.  You get a little break and they get some much-needed fun.  And this may result in a nice long nap for them!

DON'T let your kids see you sweat.  You will be stressed throughout your move. You will want to snap at your children when your mind is running down the list of one million things you need to do in a short amount of time in order to get settled.  But you've got time.  Make a list of what needs to be done and set each with a priority level.  Some things really don't need to be done right away.  Some things do.  Decide and stay cool!

DO take time each day that you're settling to get the kids out of the house.  Whether its to the local playground or out for an ice cream cone. I know you want to stay inside and get things done, but you will appreciate the break too.  And their smiles will make it worth it!

DON'T worry if you want to fall asleep at 8:00pm instead of staying up past their bedtime to get even more done.  Sleep.  Everything will still be there tomorrow and you'll be better off if you do!

DO make sure you keep their favorite comfort item with them the entire way from the last packing day, the road trip, the hotel stay and move-in day.  Whenever they get a little insecure or nervous about all the change, they'll know that not everything is changing.

DON'T feel bad if you are feeling so much on your shoulders! Take a deep breath.  Take it one day at a time.  You will be settled soon enough. 

DO kiss and hug and cuddle your children often through this journey. Make them smile and laugh.  Remind them that you love them and that you are not going will always be by their side!

DO get out and have fun as a family that first night. Celebrate! Remember, this is an exciting new adventure!

DO call your friends and cry to them when you are feeling overwhelmed.  If your friends* are anything like mine, you will feel 100% relieved after you talk to them and it'll save your husband and your kids from seeing you upset!

And finally, and maybe most importantly...

DO have lots of wine on hand.  If you need a glass at naptime, so be it.  If a glass at 4pm right before the hubs gets home from work, go for it.  You will be amazed at how one glass of wine can take your stress level from a raging 10 to a happy and mellow 2.  

*For all of you who have listened to me this week, who are always there for me, I thank you and love you!  

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Anti-Chicken Fingers Movement ~ Pepper Steak & Rice

This meal is wonderful, it's a nice change to a plain old meat and potatoes or any simple American-food routine. The kids aren't super fond of the green peppers, but I make them eat at least one every time.

  • 1 lb skirt steak, round steak, or sirloin sliced thinly
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 3- TBL Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 can beef broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Whole Grain Rice or potatoes (mashed) to serve the meal over
  • Lightly coat steak with cornstarch. Shake off any excess. Saute in medium high pan with about 3 Tbsp of oil, till brown. Remove from pan and place aside.
Using the same pan, add about 3 Tbs of olive oil and saute the green pepper and onion. Add salt and pepper to taste. Saute to desired doneness.
Return meat to the pan and turn heat to high. Add soy sauce and 1/2 or 1 can of beef broth. Turn heat down and taste. You may have to adjust the salt content due to the soy sauce and broth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Make a corn starch slurry in a separate dish, by adding about 2 Tbsp of cornstarch with 3/4 cup of very cold water. It should be a thick, but liquid, consistency. Add the slurry to the pan to thicken the sauce. Add slowly, as you don’t want it too thick!
Serve over mashed potatoes, or rice (I served w/white rice as I had some leftover from a previous recipe, but have also made w/brown - which I prefer)
~Happy Eating Friends! ~ Trina

Monday, March 5, 2012

A Little Spring Cleaning

If you live in sunny, yet wintery Colorado like I do, you likely aren’t ready to see the flowers blooming and the birds singing—even with the mild winter we’ve had.  However, in many other parts of the world…you are feeling the wane of winter and the beginning of spring.  I love spring because it always signifies a new beginning; the end of the dreadful winter days, dark coming much too early and everything being cold and quiet.  The end of being stuck indoors with sick and restless kiddos.
I believe that every year, you should welcome spring with open arms and a clean home.  Yes friends, I’m talking about spring cleaning.  Don’t sigh yet…I’ve got some easy tips that will help maneuver you through those scary nooks and crannies we ignore throughout the year.

1.     Clean places you avoid during the year first.  Mop, vacuum, sweep under the refrigerator, the stove, the couches, and any other furniture that gets missed throughout the year.  There's nothing more embarrassing (well okay, there are but you get the point) then a repair man coming out and seeing three years worth of dirt crumbs, bugs...and who knows what else underneath your appliances.

2.     Refrigerator and freezer – take everything out, throw away what’s old…and scrub, scrub, scrub.  Replace filters as necessary.

3.     Clean your medicine cabinet!  Yes, most of the items are outdated, and they are only cluttering an area that should be easily accessible when the kiddos are sick and need Tylenol or band aids.  Organize by adult, then child meds to make finding them easier.

4.     Clean out closets.  Swap clothes if necessary (we put winter clothes under the house in plastic storage bins during the warmer months).  For the kids, pack away outfits by size if you aren’t saving them.  We have a local store that purchases gently used clothes for a small amount of cash, but you can also donate them

5.     Organize your filing system.  For bills, etc you are saving, what’s necessary?  Most bills (not medical) but TV, phone etc can be thrown out after a year or so.  Don’t clutter up an area you have to deal with every week and won't need to save for taxes.

6.     Go through Toys, throw away what needs it and donate what you can/what your children don’t need any more.  

7.     Vacuum and shampoo the carpets to include underneath the furniture (often times there are spills under there we don't know about).

8.     The garage may be the man-cave, but it should be spruced up too.  Enlist your husband by researching if Lowes or Home Depot is having any sales on hooks, or other organizational tools for his space – his job will be cleaning the garage.

9.     Enlist your children’s help also.  Promise if they can organize or do simple cleaning tasks in their rooms, you will take them to the park or indoor pool later.  This will keep them out of your hair, at least for a little while, while you clean.

Usually, spring cleaning is at least a two day process with kids.   To keep motivated, I try to plan a dinner party the following weekend, and buy a small bouquet of a springy flower, such as tulips, for the table and light a candle with a fun scent at home.   Play some music you like and get cleaning

If you have any household cleaning items you like or other cleaning tips, let us know!  Comment on this post or email:

~ Trina


Saturday, March 3, 2012

A Miracle in a Tornado

With each natural disaster, we hear about God's wonderful miracles.  We heard it with the survivors of the most recent tsunami.  We hear it every time there's a hurricane.  Although it can't take away from the losses we encounter by such an atrocity,  it does show that amazing things happen; even in the wake of disaster. is one of the links where I read about the baby girl found alone in an Indiana field.  The child, a sole survivor in her family, was found Friday night after a string of devastating tornadoes.  She's currently in a hospital in critical condition...and authorities are trying to figure out how she ended up in a field 10 miles from where she lived.

I have to wonder...was she carried by torrential winds, 10 miles from her home?  Critical condition is extremely serious...I can only imagine her fear.  I wonder, has she suffered greatly?  The news hasn't released much info but I can promise you one thing...this mama will be following, and more importantly, praying for her full recovery.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Hurt Feelings and Forgiveness

I wrote this about a year ago. It's so wild how quickly kids pick up your sayings.  (And people tell me I'm too sensitive!)  ~ Leah

My 17-month-old was already buckled in his car seat. I’d grabbed my two-year-old who was more interested in seeing any hint of desperation on my face as he ran from me in the record-high summer heat.  I swooped him up and tickled him all the way to his car seat, imagining this as the best distraction to get him buckled in.  I sat him down and in the midst of the laughter; I was secretly delighted with my lighthearted manipulation.  Then abruptly, like Jekyll to Hyde, his little hand struck me with a force I didn’t know he had; he’d smacked me right in the middle of my face.

I looked at him with confusion as I could see him trying to process the severity of his actions.  With a questioning half-smile, he searched my face, an expression I’m sure he’d never seen on me before.  We were just laughing and having fun. What had possessed this little man to just throw out a whack like that?  And in my face!  I was hurt…and confused.

I firmly explained to him that we do not hit.  No matter what!  I think I said it three times, actually, just to be clear.  I went around shutting the door next to my youngest son.

“And furthermore,” I ranted as I returned to his side. “I think what you did was really mean and you really hurt my feelings.  Really!”  I slammed his door.

I think that was the first time I ever used the phrase “hurt feelings” with him.  He got quiet.   I was still reeling, and a few minutes later, as I drove down the interstate, I looked at him in the rearview mirror and saw a sweet little boy fast asleep, his head bobbing down on his shoulder, the way only a child could be comfy.  We arrived at the farmer’s market and he woke up with a charming smile.  As I strapped him into his side of the double stroller, he looked at me pointedly and said, “I love you, Mama.”

Forgiveness has never come so easy.

An hour or so later, tired from the fun in the sun, I told him he couldn’t ride the mechanical dragon at the grocery store because he hadn’t been listening when I told him to sit in the cart.  He dissolved into tears, and then desperately shouted, “Mama, you’re hurting my feelings!”