And we're having...


We are so excited for Isaac to have a little brother to play with and just excited for another boy, too. I really didn't have any clue or inkling of what gender the baby was, although I thought maybe it was girl since this pregnancy has been so different than the last, but when we walked into the room where they did the ultrasound, I had a sudden feeling that we were probably having a boy. I couldn't be more excited and although I would have been happy either way, I'm really excited for another boy! I know Isaac doesn't completely understand what's going on yet but I constantly am showing him that 'there's a baby in Mommy's belly'. I think he will definitely have some jealousy issues, not even necessarily because I will have to give some attention to another baby, but because it's just me and him all the time and I think he'll miss being able to just snuggle up with me, just him, and all the time that we spend together, just the two of us. I know I will miss it too, but I know that adding another child to a family is part of life and there will be lots of sweet things that come along with it too, and I think Isaac will be really sweet with a new baby. Other than this exciting news, I turned 27 last week and although I don't feel the age, it's crazy to think I've lived this many years already! I feel so young still, but with the years come many new and wonderful experiences, new stages of life. I love where I'm at with my growing family, being a stay-at-home mom, and I really couldn't imagine life any different right now. Thanksgiving was very nice this year, we hosted in our humble little home and had Manuel's parents over as well as a sister I visit teach at church who had to work that night and wasn't able to go with her husband to the usual Thanksgiving dinner at her brother-in-law's in Oakley. It was great to spend time with them and I made my first turkey ever! It turned out great which I was really happy about! I made some yummy side dishes too, but to my own surprise, didn't end up making any of my own desserts! That's my thing, ya know, so it was a little strange not doing anything sweet, but I did buy an apple pie, and a pumpkin pie, and Manuel's mom brought Crema Volteada, a yummy Peruvian flan-type dessert. We had a nice time and even did a little Black Friday shopping the next day. We didn't go out very early but we did find a good deal on a new point-and-shoot camera for ourselves which we've been looking at getting for about 6 months now. It was so nice having Manuel home the entire weekend, which hasn't happened in quite a while since he works every Saturday. We're already looking forward to Christmas Break which is in less than 3 weeks now! The house is decorated for Christmas, and I am definitely enjoying this time of year! I'll have to post some cute pictures of Isaac in the next couple of weeks and give some updates on fun holiday activities too. As always, love to all our family and friends!


Potato & Avocado Salad

As requested by a number of people, I have finally decided to post the recipe for my potato and avocado salad. This is an adaptation from one my mother-in-law makes but I prefer to roast my potatoes while she boils them. Either way, it turns out super yummy but I think the roasting process helps get more flavor into the actual potatoes before being mixed in with the rest of the salad. I love this take on potato salad because I'm not usually a fan of the typical potato salad and don't really like mayonnaise other than a thin spreading on a layered sandwich. I have provided approximate measurements for everything so any adjustments can be made according to personal taste. It's a pretty easy recipe but pretty darn delicious!

Potato & Avocado Salad


3 lbs. red potatoes
6-8 avocados, ripe but firm
½ large red onion
4 limes
4-6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil


Cut potatoes into small 1-inch cubes and spread out on large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil enough to lightly coat and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add chopped garlic and toss potatoes to evenly coat and spread out onto the baking sheet. Roast potatoes in a preheated 400° oven for 30-40 minutes, until crispy and golden brown, turning halfway through for even baking. Once potatoes have finished cooking, remove sheet and let cool.

Cut avocados into small 1-inch cubes, approximately the same size as the potatoes. Dice the onion and zest two of the limes.

In a large bowl, combine potatoes, avocados, onion and lime zest. Squeeze juice from all 4 limes over the mixture and toss. Add any additional salt, pepper, and/or olive oil to taste.

Makes enough for a crowd and great for potlucks!


Note: I once made this salad adding crisp bacon pieces and it was also very yummy! But I usually stick to the original ingredients since it tastes great as is. Sorry there's no photo, I should make this soon and repost with a tempting photo :)


Big News!!!

Well, sorry for the fact that there aren't any pictures this post, but our big news is:


We are very excited for the new little one on the way, and for Isaac to have a new little brother or sister! I am due April 12 and so far, this pregnancy has been a lot harder on me than the first. The morning sickness has been far worse, and I've been a lot more tired. I'm just hoping that this phase will go by quickly, because I'd much rather take the tired, worn-out feeling of the 3rd trimester, along with heartburn and all the other things that come towards the end over this 1st trimester any day. So, hopefully it won't last long! I'm glad that I got the weight off that I recently lost before we got pregnant again, and hopefully that will make for a nice, healthy pregnancy. I hope to not get the high blood pressure I got last time in my last couple of days of pregnancy before Isaac came because that made the labor and delivery process a little more difficult, and we were lucky it went better than it does for a lot of people who develop preeclampsia. Isaac is still pretty young, so I know he doesn't quite understand what is happening with a baby coming and all, but if what they say is true, he has definitely shown some character changes and has been showing more separation anxiety on certain occasions. He is a sweet boy though, and I truly believe that although he might have some jealousy toward a new baby, he will make a great big brother. Well, I'm gonna keep this one short, but will hopefully post again soon with some picture updates. Just wanted to share for those that didn't yet know!


And the Weight Is Off!



I finally did it! I chopped off my hair! I had been thinking about doing it for a while but was so unsure if I really wanted to do it or not, and exactly when. Well, once I decided I really wanted to do it, I wanted to do it right then. So a few weeks ago, I chopped it off! It was a little bittersweet because my hair was probably the longest it had ever been in my life and it ended up being shorter than I'd wanted, but overall I'm really happy with it. I just wanted a change, especially since in addition to the weight of my hair being off, I have finally met my goal of losing 40 pound! Getting both of these weights off feels great. I started my weight-loss goal about the first week of April and although some weeks were not as successful as others, I feel great that I've finally lost the weight. The funny thing is, I can't blame it on baby weight. I had gained quite a bit of weight when I was working before I even got pregnant (stress, maybe?!) and that was really what I had to work at, since I didn't have any trouble getting the weight off that I had gained during my pregnancy. (How does that work? I dont' know!) I've been working out a few times a week, doing slim-fast shakes for 2 meals a day (most days), and preparing overall healthier meals for my family. It has not been easy, but it's totally been worth it. And even though my body isn't what it used to be before baby, I still feel good enough about myself and it feels great to fit back into clothes that I haven't worn in what seems like forever! And I am now back down to what I weighed when I got married, almost 4 years ago! And through this post, I am in no way trying to show off or make anyone out there feel bad if they're not where they'd like to be, I simply want to share my success and maybe in some small way, inspire someone else to do the same. I can't say either that the way I did it is the way everyone should do it. I just did what I knew I could handle and now I hope to be able to maintain a healthy weight and keep my motivation up to exercise more and eat healthier. It's amazing the energy I've gained along the way too, which is definitely necessary at this point in motherhood when I've got a crazy little toddler to keep up with! And I know I haven't posted any recipes in quite a while. It has been a crazy summer in many ways, and I feel that my time has been limited in the blogging world. I will soon post some yummy and healthy recipes I plan to try but for now, here's a muffin recipe I really like:

Whole Wheat Honey Banana Muffins:

3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons wheat germ (optional)
2/3 cup olive oil or 2/3 cup canola oil
1 cup honey
4 eggs
2 cups mashed ripe bananas
1/2 cup hot water

Recipe & Photo Courtesy: www.food.com (keyword: whole wheat honey banana muffins)

And now for a quick summer update: We have really enjoyed our summer so far with frequent trips to the pool, fun in the sun, and getting to see family! My parents came down from Oregon to attend my cousin's wedding and it was great to see them and spend time with them. Isaac loved being with them and getting to play a lot with his cousins, and it was also a great opportunity to see some extended family I haven't seen in a long time. The time my parents were here really made me wish we lived closer to each other, especially because Isaac just had so much fun. Manuel started his job a couple of weeks ago where he's interning at a home infusion pharmacy for University of Utah Healthcare. It is a great opportunity for him and they've given him full-time hours until he starts school at the end of August. Then he'll go to part-time hours and what a blessing, he won't have to work Sundays! He will, however, probably have to work holidays which is a bummer, but so is life! Isaac had a speech evaluation for our local early intervention program since he hasn't really said many "words" we can understand yet and qualified for services. I understand that doctors and speech specialists are simply trying to sort out any language delays or other learning disabilities in children earlier and earlier these days so they can catch things sooner and make a plan of action. I am not really worried about Isaac because he is very "verbal" in his own sort of language and is constantly using sounds, etc. Plus, he uses several signs to communicate with us and understands directions well. He's also the first child child and a lot of the time it's just me and him. After the evaluation, the specialist came out to sort of do her own "evaluation" and to set up some goals with me for him. I'm not sure what to think of her yet since I really felt like she underestimated Isaac's abilities, making several judgments of him based on how he "performed" just during the moments she was there. On top of having a stranger in our home and probably not behaving/acting the way he normally does, Isaac was super tired at the time and really needed a nap, which didn't help things. But I was perfectly honest with her and told her I'm not concerned that his level of talking is a problem, I just want to take advantage of the services and help him in any ways we can so he doesn't fall behind his peers. I will give her another try on our next visit, but if I feel like she could hold us back in this process because of her judgments/opinions about Isaac's abilities, I may request for a different specialist to work with us. I am proud of Isaac for all that he can do, and if anything, the visit really made me do a lot of my own thinking that I need to create a more consistent schedule for Isaac. So far, it has helped a lot. I have our days laid out to include plenty of play time, learning time, meals, errands, etc. including both scheduled structure time and "scheduled" unstructured time. Isaac is such a fun boy these days. He loves to play outside, be with other kids (although nursery at church has been a bit of a battle the last couple of weeks), jump, dance, climb, ride his bike, and play with kitchen tools. He is also quite the affectionate little guy. He gives the sweetest hugs and kisses spontaneously on his own, loves to snuggle, and loves when we sit and read stories together before both his naps and bedtime. His favorite books are ones that are songs I can sing like "This Old Man", "There Was An Old Lady", and "Five Little Penguins". Soon, we plan to get some books in Spanish so Manuel can read more to him as well. Isaac's favorite songs are ones with motions like "The Itsy Bitsy Spider", "Popcorn Popping", and "Baby Shark". Part of our new "routine" includes library time every week where Isaac and I can go and pick out some books/shows he'd like as well as ones I will reserve online and pick up as we go in so I don't have to battle him at checkout! Isaac is also quite the little socialite. Everywhere we are or everywhere we go, he waves to everyone! I think it's adorable he's so friendly and everyone else seems to think so too :) And potty training might be right around the corner for us. So far, he's not that interested in using the potty his abuelita got him, as he'd much rather use it in its stool form and climb up to turn on the water and put things in the sink to get wet. What a little goofball! But for a couple of months now, whenever he has a wet diaper and is uncomfortable, he'll go to his room and bring me the wipes and a new diaper. And when he needs to go #2, he points to his diaper, takes my hand, and pulls me into his room, especially when we have guests over (he doesn't like to do his business in front of people). I'm in no hurry to rush him into potty training, especially because he is still so young, but he is showing some signs of readiness, and I'll keep trying to introduce the potty to him with no pressure.

Well, that about sums it up for now so until next time, love to all our family and friends!


Memorial Day Weekend & Black Bean Brownies

Since it was forecasted that Memorial Day this year was going to be rainy, we decided to have our barbecue picnic on the Saturday before. It was such a warm and beautiful day! We found out about Mill Creek Canyon which is only about a 10 minute drive from our place and it turned out great. There are some nice picnic areas there and we found a great spot where the creek ran along and was surrounded by trees. Breaking from my diet that day, we made some yummy turkey burgers topped with tomatoes, cheddar, caramelized onions, avocado, and crispy bacon on some whole wheat sandwich thins. They were delicious! We also grilled up some baby back ribs since I found them on sale and I made a super yummy Kansas City barbecue sauce I found on the Food Network website. I also tried a brownie recipe from skinnytaste.com made simply from black beans pureed with some water and then added to the box brownie mix (I love the Betty Crocker dark chocolate kind and I also used less-sodium black beans), omitting the oil and eggs. You literally cannot taste the black beans in them, and although they do have a much different texture than regular brownies, the flavor is great, you gotta give them a try! Overall, it was a really fun day, we spent it just the three of us and Isaac really loved it. He has a love for nature that I think he gets from his tree-hugging Oregonian mama :) While we were there, Manuel met a woman from Guatemala who was there with some friends and family and had a little dog. Isaac started chasing it and wanted to play with it and ever since, has had a fascination with dogs. Every time we see one at the park or around our complex, he wants to play with them and he's so cute and gentle with them! I wish we could get him a puppy, I know he would love it, but we'll probably wait until he's older and can take on more responsibility with having a pet. For Memorial Day, we took Isaac to the pool and had some yummy Olive Garden takeout at home. It was such a nice and relaxing way to spend our weekend. Here are some pictures from our day in the canyon:

Here is the recipe for the barbecue sauce I used, courtesy Food Network: (Before it cooked on the ribs, it tasted a little sweet, but afterwards, it had such an awesome flavor)


And here is the recipe for the black bean brownies, super easy, and courtesy Gina from skinnytaste.com:


Hope everyone enjoyed their Memorial Day weekend as much as we did ours and try these recipes! Love to all our family and friends!


Pool Time!!!

Since we got our 1-year memberships at the Holladay Lions Fitness & Rec Center, we decided to take advantage of a warm day about a week and a half ago and take Isaac to the pool for the first time. It was so much fun! I didn't plan on getting in the water since I was dressed to work out afterwards, so Manuel got in with Isaac. His first reaction was a little fear and clearly by the first picture of him and Manuel, he was reaching for me almost in tears to take him out. So I ended up rolling up my pants and getting in with him so he wouldn't be scared. I swung him back and forth and showed him how to splash in the water and eventually, he really started to enjoy it. By the end, he didn't want to leave and he was just having so much fun. It was so fun for us as parents to see him learning and trying something new. We've since taken him again and plan to hopefully take him once every week during the summer, if not more. I myself have always had a love for the water and for swimming since I was just a little girl and plan to teach our kids to swim as well. Here are some pictures from that day:

This was actually the last picture we took right before leaving, when a really nice girl offered to take this for us :)

"Mommy, save me!"

Isaac starting to have some fun

A little blurry, but I love how happy Isaac looks here :)

And last week, I was a little lazy with taking pictures of the meals we ate but here was what probably ended up being my favorite. It's another from Gina from skinnytaste.com called Asian Turkey Meatballs with Lime Sesame Dipping Sauce.


I didn't have sesame oil on hand so I just used some canola oil and threw in some sesame seeds. The recipe also makes large meatballs, but I made mine smaller using a small cookie dough scoop. These meatballs have so much flavor! I didn't eat mine with noodles that night for dinner since I was trying to save on calories and carbs that day, but I made Manuel's with some udon noodles and I'm sure they'd also be delicious over some brown rice. I actually plan on making this again this week but I'm going to try adding some spinach to the meatball mix just to include some extra nutrition. You gotta give these a try, sooo good!

Until next time, love to our family and friends!


Mother's Day & Other Weekly Highlights

The last week and a half have been great. Manuel finished up with his finals on the 2nd, completing his first year of pharmacy school. I'm so proud of him for doing so well! I know it's not easy to be in such an intense program, especially when you have a small (and at times, demanding) family to take care of. Manuel has been a great support to me at home on top of his studies. He has especially helped me out by taking care of Isaac while I'm at the piano and organ throughout most of the meetings at church and more recently, taking care of him while I am putting in my time and efforts at the gym. Since Manuel finished up with his finals the beginning of last week, we've had some great quality time to spend together as a family as well as time to get some things done that had been put on the back burner for some time. It's great to accomplish these things before Manuel gets going again this coming Monday with his summer classes. Luckily they will only last 8 weeks and then we'll have the rest of the summer to spend together but hopefully Manuel will also have a job by then. Isaac has been a bundle of fun and is always surprising us with new smiles, laughs, sounds, and facial expressions. Here are some photos of Isaac from the last couple of weeks:

All messy after smearing Split Pea Soup all over his face and hair :)

"Mom, this is not amusing!"

"Okay, maybe it is..."

Pushing Daddy around on his trike

And Daddy then pushing Isaac on his trike

And Isaac helping Mommy cook dinner

Mother's Day was better than I could have imagined. First, my mom surprised me by sending me a beautiful bouquet of flowers that arrived on Friday.

Then, Saturday Manuel brought me home a gorgeous bouquet of roses and a beautiful card.

The rest of the day was spent relaxing, taking Isaac to the park, and a late-night movie at home. Sunday morning, I woke up to Isaac giving me hugs and kisses, more than usual which means I think he secretly knew it was a special day for his Mama. Manuel told me the thought crossed his mind to make me breakfast but knew that since I was on my diet, I probably wouldn't be able to eat it. I appreciated the thought but also appreciated that he wanted to support me in my goals :) We got ready and went to church and then drove down to Provo to spend the afternoon and eat dinner with Manuel's parents and grandma. It was a really great time, and although it was raining, we even took Isaac to the nearby park. Maybe that was a mistake though, we all got soaked! But the drive home in the pouring rain was relaxing enough for Isaac to fall asleep and I was glad to be in a heated car. Here's a picture Manuel took of me and Isaac at the park:

And finally, some more fun adventures in healthy cooking but just a couple of recipes to share this week:

Huevos Rancheros - http://www.skinnytaste.com/2011/04/huevos-rancheros.html
(These were so easy to make, and sooo good! This was Manuel's portion by the way, I just thought it looked bigger and better for the picture)

Split Pea Soup with Ham - http://www.skinnytaste.com/2008/03/split-peas-soup-with-ham-2-points.html
(Also a super yummy dish, I served this with reduced-fat crescent rolls)

Barbacoa Beef - http://www.skinnytaste.com/2010/04/barbacoa-beef.html
(I was planning on serving this over brown rice but decided to use quinoa instead which turned out pretty good. The only negative was that I went a little heavy on the chipotle peppers and it ended up a little too spicy--lesson learned!)

Hopefully with the warmer days approaching this weekend, we'll have even more fun pictures to share before Manuel is back to school. Until next time, love to all our family and friends!