Let's talk weddings, shall we?

If you've read even a little bit of my blog, you know that I have a hubby that I ABSOLUTELY love and adore. He's the sweetest guy you'll ever meet, and he treats me like a queen...well, because I am...at least in my twisted little mind I am. We've been married for five blissful years, but we've been together for a little more than eight. He's my best friend, my other half, and a truly spectacular dad to our son. I feel so lucky every day that I married him. See, this is us:

Aren't we just adorable together?!

But there's this itty-bitty thing that I think about from time to time...ok, I'll be honest, I think about it A LOT! I know it will seem a trivial thing for most of you since the only thing that should matter is that I found the great love of my life. But what can I say? The inner girly-girl in me can't help but feel a bit...denied. Here's the deal folks:

WE NEVER HAD A WEDDING!

That's right, Fred and I did the Civil Ceremony thing at the courthouse. Let me give you some background: We did initially plan on having an actual wedding; we even had the date picked out. But, since life is what happens when you're busy trying to plan it, things didn't quite work out the way we wanted, and we had to cancel that date. Fast-forward to a few months later, and we just one day decide that we were going to get married the following Friday, and we weren't going to tell ANYONE! So we were sort of eloping. Hubby applied for the marriage license on a Tuesday, and we got hitched that Friday. Of course, everyone was shocked, some were even upset that we didn't tell them, but nonetheless, we were happy to finally be married. And we've been happy ever since. But...and there's always a but...I am in fact a girl who still loves fairy tales; they still make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside! And the truth is:

I REALLY WANT TO HAVE A WEDDING!

Oh how I want to have a wedding! I want it all: the white dress that makes me feel like a princess, my man in a tux that makes him look smokin' hot, our son in a tux as ring-bearer (is there an age limit on ring bearers?), and I want to have it at our church. I mean, I don't even have a photo of us from that oh-so-special day! Yes, yes, oh yes I want a wedding!

{WHEW!} Ok, glad I got that off my chest. For some reason this whole wedding business has been on my mind more, probably because everywhere I turn there are hundreds of wedding magazines on display, plus part of almost every craft store I go into looks like a WEDDING-PALOOZA exploded in it. Maybe that's why that yearning to walk down the aisle in a beautiful flowing wedding gown, with a bouquet of Sterling Silver Roses in hand, has been tugging at my heart strings. **SIGH**

Hubby and I have talked about this, and he says he does want to give me the wedding I've always wanted. Our goal right now is that by our tenth wedding anniversary, we can afford to throw a wedding bash together as we renew our vows in the church. Yea, I know, that seems like a long time to wait, but I think I'm ok with it. Fred and I have our whole lives together, so waiting a few more years won't hurt. So until then, I'll just be dreaming of gowns made of silk, gorgeous flowers, an elegant wedding cake, and having our friends and family with as we rejoice in the gift that is our love for one another. And that's truly the most important part, that we have the chance to renew our marriage vows in the company of our loved ones, while renewing our lifelong promises in the House of our Lord.

Until then, I hope you don't mind, every once in a while I may post about different ideas and inspirations for my dream wedding. I hope you will all enjoy it as I share with you!
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5,000 Questions...all about me!

One really awesome thing about blogging is that whenever I get stumped on what I should blog about, I seem to find ideas and inspiration on a fellow blogger's site, as is the case now. The only problem is, I had a bit of a brain fart, and I completely forgot which blog that was and who the lovely gal was that was kind enough to share, eek!! I'm usually very good about making sure I note the site and blogger that gave me the idea for a post, as I do in fact "BLOG WITH INTEGRITY" (go check out the button on the left if you wanna make sure!), but lately my noggin just hasn't been functioning properly. I'm forgetting names, dates, what time a certain homeschool group activity starts...is this the price of getting old? If it is, I'm in so much trouble... anyway, back to the task at hand...

So I was making my way through the blogosphere and saw that someone had posted a series of answers to a 5,000 QUESTION SURVEY. Now she didn't answer all 5,000 questions in one long post, thank goodness, as that would have been silly. Then I used Google to find the site that listed ALL 5,000 QUESTIONS so I could go through them a little at a time. Now some of these questions don't really apply to me, and since I am in fact the overlord of my blog, I can ignore those irrelevant inquiries. 'Cause that's just how I roll. So here goes:


So as not to overwhelm you, I've started just the first two questions...

1.Who are you?

Hmm, this one makes me feel very existential for some reason. Maybe because the coffee hasn't kicked in yet and my mind is still in a dream-like state. Well, the easiest answer would be GO READ MY PROFILE. But I'll elaborate a little bit anyway so as not to cheat my loyal readers.


I've had many names, which I know makes me sound like some international jet-setting grifter, but it's really not that glamorous. It really all stems from my mother giving three of her daughters the name MARIA {insert second name here}. I was baptized Maria Andrelita...yes, that was my whole first name, plus I had a middle name then my last name. From this, I gained the nickname Ma'an. So growing up, I was called Ma'an at home, then called Andrelita at school so that they could keep all three Maria girls straight, and now almost everyone calls me Maria, including hubby because he says Andrelita is too much of a mouthful. So now maybe you're beginning to understand why I chose the screen name MULTIPLE PERSONALITIES. And it's not just because of the whole I GREW UP WITH FOUR NAMES thing; it's more than that. I really do feel like I have Multiple Personalities because I wear so many hats: I'm a mom, wife, daughter, friend, sister. I'm a woman who at times likes to be a little girl at heart, who tries to enjoy the small and simple things in life. There are days when I do feel like I'm a plethora of beings in one mind, and they all seem to work together to create this crazy yet loving person that is me, one who puts God and family before anything else, and one who tries to see the world through rose-colored glasses. I wear every one of my hats with pride and joy, relishing every minute that I have being around people that I love and adore. So yea, I may have MULTIPLE PERSONALITIES, but they are all me, and I am all of them. {I warned you, I was feeling existential!}

2.What are the 3 most important things everyone should know about you?

Hmm, this one was a toughy, but I think I got it....
{1} As I stated in question one, I put God and family first before anything else.
{2} I'm fiercely loyal and protective of those I love, and I don't react well to those who would try and hurt those near and dear to my heart.
{3} I love to laugh, but am not afraid to cry; I love hard, and so I feel the sting of betrayal and just plain mean-ness much harder than most.
So that's enough of me for now, as most people can only handle me in small doses, and I don't want to scare you off. More will come later though, so be prepared. If you feel like playing along, go check out this SITE and you'll see all 5,000 questions. Have fun!

P.S. To the blogger who inspired this post, I'm truly sorry for forgetting your site name. Whoever you are, THANK YOU!!
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Random Re-cap...

It's not often that hubby has the weekend off because of his crazy work schedule. So this weekend was quite a treat for our little family, and we all got to spend some quality time together. Here's a quick re-cap of the highlights of our simple yet eventful last few days:

Friday

Retail therapy for all at IKEA (a truly magical store!)
Lunch at Don Pablo's {YUM!!}
Haircut for me at Bubbles
A matinee for me and the guys at the local cinema:

A great movie! Jer especially enjoyed it because he just finished reading the book about a week ago. And he thought the action scenes were pretty sweet too.

Saturday

Jer's Audition!
Jer got to do something for the very first time, something that was well beyond his comfort zone. Although he's a wonderful entertainer at home for mommy and daddy, performing for others is not quite his forte, and his shyness usually kicks into high gear at the mere prospect of being on a stage. Nonetheless, I've always known that deep down inside was a big ball of artistically inclined energy just waiting to burst forth. Which is why I was so glad when his homeschool friends, a set of the most adorable triplets you'll ever meet, encouraged Jer to audition for an upcoming local production of Peter Pan. He was incredibly nervous for two days before the audition, and was on the verge of an anxiety attack come Saturday morning. Still, he calmed down and regained the ability to breathe, and he courageously walked into that studio. And let me tell you, my boy did such an awesome job! He was nervous at first, of course, and a bit unsure of his footing. But soon enough he relaxed and started to really have fun, smiling and laughing as the director led them through a series of dance numbers. What I found to be ultra cool is that he was incorporating some his martial arts moves as he pretended to be a pirate. How awesome is that! The great thing about this program is that ALL the kids who audition get a part in the performance, and we'll find out next week what part Jer will be playing.

Saturday evening the three of us sat down to watch the Ravens play the Colts... and if any of you happened to watch that particular NFL game, you will understand when I say that I had two VERY sad boys on my hands by the end of the evening since the Ravens lost.

Despite a not-so-happy ending for my guys, I still think we had a great day. It takes a lot more than a football game to get me down!

Sunday

Hubby and I dropped off Jer at Sunday school, while the two us decided to walk around the local flea market until it was time to pick him up. I love flea markets, you just never know what you'll find. Take this for instance:


Hubby came across a set of mint-condition collectible KISS bookends, still in the original box which of course we just had to get for Jer, since not only is this child OBSESSED with KISS, but his parents are a couple of enablers who can't help but feed his passions. We got them for an incredible price: 20 bucks!... which is awesome considering these are going for around $150 on collector websites...and the smile on my boy's face: PRICELESS!!

Oh, and not to mention I snagged a pair of ultra-cute toe socks! Yes, those would be MY obsession:

I can't help it! Nothing cheers up my day like a cute pair of socks! Ahhh, it's the little things, right?

How was YOUR weekend?
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Mama's Got A Brand New 'Do!

Allow me a brief moment of vanity, my dears...

Yes, I finally did it: I got a hair cut. Now you're most likely asking why this occasion warrants a blog post. The answer is: because the last time I got my hair cut was in October...

{of 2008!}

Believe me, I'm fully aware how freakishly unreal strange that sounds. I guess I just don't often think of styling my hair very much. Ninety-nine percent of the time, all my super-thick hair just gets put up in a bun anyway, mainly because I don't like hair in my face, and I just don't really pay that much attention to my hair other than washing and combing it (and there are days when I don't even get to the latter!). Also, I do realize that I've been blessed with some really thick and luscious hair, but folks, I'm not exaggerating when I say that it can take H-O-U-R-S to wash, dry, and style my hair so it looks all pretty. Because it's so time consuming, just the idea of trying to put some style in my coif exhausts me. Thus, I take the easy way out and just comb it through and clip it up into a bun.

Any-hoo, hubby insisted that I go ahead and get it done already, so I did. It was actually a great experience for me: my stylist was super sweet and very knowledgeable, and she actually took the time to ask me questions about the style I wanted. She also gave me a ton of information on keeping my hair healthy. For example, did you know that not getting your split ends cut off can actually lead to hair loss? Now I know why I was "shedding" like crazy! Lovelle did such an excellent job, and I did promise her that I'll be going back to see her on a more regular basis, as I really don't like the idea of losing any of my luxurious locks.

So tell me, how do you like my new 'do?
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I'll be saving up for therapy, not college!

As my profile description states, I am a homeschooling mama. I absolutely love it! As parents, we are our kids' first teachers in life; they learn their most basic life skills from us. And with homeschooling, I get to teach Language Arts, Math, Science, etc., along with continuing to educate him about morals, ethics, values, and spiritual growth. Despite having to make sacrifices, like having to survive on one income versus two, this is definitely the best decision we could have made. We are on year four of our educational journey, and it's been wonderful.....mostly.

Now that I've got that little disclaimer out of the way, please allow me a teeny tiny moment of whining as I tell you about one eensy weensy thing I don't love about homeschooling: I am with my son ALL. THE. TIME. We are practically attached to the hip almost 24 hours a day. Some of you are probably shaking your heads, making *tsk tsk* noises because you think I'm a terrible mom for not wanting to be with my 9-year-old ALL. THE. TIME. All I'm gonna say to that is, don't judge until you've walked in my shoes! Truth is, for the most part, I do love it. Jer and I have a great relationship and are very close. One could even say we're great pals. This is him:

...such a cutie right? Of course he is, he inherited his good looks from none other than yours truly. He has my hair, my smile, overall facial structure... and I've come to realize lately that he has also inherited some of my personality traits. Normally I would be bragging about how great that is, because I do believe that he's learned a great deal about kindness, compassion, charity, and love from me (and his daddy too!). But...and of course, there is always a big fat BUT... something happened a couple days ago that made me realize just HOW MUCH this kid has evolved into a mini-me.

The homeschool group we belong to hosted an indoor game-day this past Monday. Jer loves it because he and other homeschool kids get to just hang out and have fun playing board games or Twister. Each family brings in any game(s) they wish to share. This time around Jer decided to bring Jenga, Sorry, and Connect 4.

[Fast Forward To End of Game Day..]


Everyone is packing up, all the kids are doing a great job of helping tidy up. Jer and another boy, we'll call him Joe, were putting tables away. Joe picked up Jer's Sorry game off of a table, and accidentally dropped it. Playing pieces scatter, cards go flying...you get the picture right? Well, to say that Jer was not happy is putting it mildly. I watched him, and that precious oh-so-cute happy tween baby-face transformed, and was replaced by something that can only be described as the "Gollum and The Precious" look. He was markedly irritated, and he was not trying to hide it in any way. Joe's mom was saying in a slightly irritating a very sweet voice, "It's ok kids, it was an accident. We'll get it picked up." Meanwhile, Jer is scrambling to find every playing piece, taking a quick inventory to make sure nothing is missing, and making sure it was all packed neatly in the game box. And y'all, it was something straight out of an episode of Monk. And poor little Joe, who was trying so hard to help, had to endure my son's snotty little "I got it! I'll do it! I'll get it put away right!" comments. Needless to say, I was mortified. I could just feel all those other mommy eyes darting between me and my anal-retentive with psychotic tendencies son, wondering if any minute now either of us would spontaneously combust...Jer from irrationally motivated anger, and me from sheer embarrassment. All I could do was kneel down to his level and help him finish putting the damn game away. I told him to look at me, and I gave him my most effective 'you better stop embarrassing me' look, and said, "Jer, it's ok, it was an accident. Let's get it all cleaned up, ok?"

I said my quick goodbyes to the other moms, giving them all a smile that said "please don't banish me and my crazy child", in the most non-desperate way possible, and we high-tailed it out of there. Soon it was just Jer and I in the car, and I sat there for a minute just breathing, calming myself down, before starting the car. During the ride home I of course gave Jer the standard lecture on how it was very inappropriate for him to react that way, that Joe didn't mean to drop his game, that accidents happen, etc. {I know most of you are familiar with the dialogue of this particular type of lecture, so I won't bore with you salient details} In the midst of my discourse, I was hit with a gut-wrenching epiphany: OH. MY. GOSH. He got all of that from me!!

Whenever we play board games at home, I'm the one making sure ALL the pieces are put away just so. If you open the Monopoly box, you'll find that all the money and cards are stacked neatly in a ziploc baggie, as are the little houses and hotels. The same goes for the Life game, and of course, the Sorry game. I'm also very particular to make sure that none of the pieces are broken, that everything is tucked away neatly, because heaven forbid pieces go missing or get broken...the game can't be played if pieces break or get lost! This is the explanation I give my hubby and son when they give me the "I think she's gonna blow!" look after they ask why I'm being so O.C.D. about a silly board game. So what answer do you think my son gives me when I asked him why he got so upset with Joe over a teeny tiny accident? Yup, you guessed it: "Well, he could have broken it or lost the pieces."

I felt about *THIS BIG*. What the heck am I doing to this poor child?! It goes without saying that I've realized I have to seriously take the biggest chill pill I can get my hands on learn to relax and not be so anal-retentive, stop sweating the stupid small stuff, and let this little boy have fun being a normal sometimes-messy kid. Sure, I can still teach him to be neat and organized for the most part, but I do admit that I should probably not fly off the handle so much over tiny little details. I told my hubby about this whole incident, and he gave me that "Mmmmhmmmm!" look, and proceeded to tell me that I have to learn to pick my battles, and relax. Man I hate it when he's right!!

I'm a constant work-in-progress when it comes to this parenting thing, since this little human child didn't come with an instruction manual. In fact, I think as parents we are CONSTANTLY learning about our kids, and the journey will never be without challenges. So, I've chosen to look at this as a moment in time when my kid taught me a thing or two about who I am, and how I can change for the better. I know I'll get better at this, and hopefully my PSYCHO-MOMMY MOMENTS will be fewer and far between as time goes on. I certainly hope so... because otherwise, I'll be saving up for therapy, not college!

Have YOU had any PSYCHO-MOM MOMENTS lately?
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Small Talk Six: Childhood Memories

Jan. 9: Six of your most vivid childhood memories

It must have been fate that this was the topic for this week's Small Talk Six Saturday, since my mama recently sent me a huge package filled with a zillion photos of me as a little girl. I had so much fun perusing through them all, laughing and tearing up as all those memories flooded me with so many emotions. So I'm so glad to participating in STSS today, because it gives me a great excuse to share some nostalgia with you:

My dad was my hero, my favorite jungle gym to climb on, and one of my bestest friends.

Growing up, we didn't have a lot of money. But there was always the guarantee of entertainment during dinner, thanks to me!

To make some extra money for the family, we would all spend Saturdays and Sundays at this huge flea market, selling whatever we could, including items my dad procured from locations I have promised never to reveal. {shhh!}

I loved living in Hawaii! And this was my most favorite Hawaiian dress. I loved the red, the flowers, the way it moved in the breeze...and I just love how fabulous I looked in it!

I came to the United States from the Philippines when I was four years old. This photo is from that day, at the very first American Restaurant I ever ate in. This was a magical day for me: I was reunited with my parents and two older siblings after being apart for a very long time, and I received my first ever Happy Meal. Life was GOOD! {and does anyone else notice what a hottie my mama was?}
And now for my absolute favorite memory...

When we all lived in Hawaii, mom and dad would take us to the beach as often as possible. We'd spend the whole day there, sometimes we wouldn't even go home until after sunset. I absolutely LOVED swimming in the ocean, so much that mom and dad could never get me to leave the water to eat the lunch or dinner mom was grilling in the fire pit. Being the awesome dad he was, and fearing his little girl would starve, my dad would instead come to the edge of the surf to feed me grapes. I'd take one, eat it, and run back into the water...I'd splash some more, then run back to my daddy for another grape. This is one of my most precious memories, and this one of my most treasured photographs.
Do you have a favorite childhood memory?

If you want to join in the fun, click on the button to the right and you'll be on your way!

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"Dental Phobias Maximus"

I don't know about the rest of you, but I don't know a single person who actually likes going to the dentist. Most of us dread the idea of going to that place where other grown folks stick their grubby latex-glove-covered fingers in your mouth, along with those instruments of torture, which they deviously call 'professional dental supplies'. But I don't think anyone could possibly have worse DENTAL PHOBIAS MAXIMUS than my hubby. And we're not talking about your average run-of-the-mill nervous anxiety here. We're talking about a man who at one time broke a dentist chair during a routine dental exam because he was gripping the arm-rest so hard, and who has in the past needed complete I.V. sedation before having a teeth-cleaning done. Yes, it is just that serious.

We are talking about a man who sweats, hyperventilates, and starts sliding down the chair to try escape the fingers attempting to gain access to his teeth. Thankfully, the dental practice's slogan is this: "WE CATER TO COWARDS." And boy am I glad they do! Hubby had to undergo a series of procedures to repair a wicked root canal, and each time he was put under heavy I.V. sedation. Now, that may not sound like too a big a deal for some folks, but you just have to trust me when I say that the drama surrounding my man's dental visits is quite unprecedented. Of course he's not the first person to have to undergo sedation for serious procedures like that, but I don't know many who have to undergo I.V. sedation for routine cleanings. The slightly more comedic portion of this saga usually occurs AFTER the appointment, when he's brought back into consciousness...well, I don't know that you can really call it being conscious since he's still so out of it. When they're done torturing working on him they wheel him out in a wheelchair, and my poor man has the most angry look on his face, he's drooling onto his shirt, and he can't speak. There's grunting noises, droopy head nods, and of course, trying to get up out of the wheelchair and escape wander off. Oh, and did I mention that while driving home on the freeway, my still-stoned-out-of-his-mind hubby tried to open the front passenger door as I was flying down I-695 going close to 70mph?! After telling this story to my friend Lu, who also happens to be the dental tech who HAS to be on duty for each of Fred's appointment, she always makes sure I have engaged the child-safety locks on the doors before we dump gently place Fred into the backseat of my car. Then there's the getting him in the house, which I do try to accomplish as quickly as possible since hubby starts trying to shed his clothes BEFORE he gets inside...he's usually shirtless by the time we reach the front porch.

Fast forward to today: FD-Day {Fred's Dentist Day}...

This time around, Dr. Dentist recommended trying an alternative to the I.V. sedation, since the last time hubby was put under he vomited, which is NOT good. So, he recommended the oral sedation method, which consisted of hubby taking a cocktail of what I like to refer to as HAPPY PILLS. He took two valium pills the night before, then two triazolam one hour prior to his appointment. Let's just say that by the time Lu took him back to the torture chamber exam room, he was nice and relaxed.

An already sleepy Fred, waiting in the lobby for his turn...

And apparently, when they took him back there, they gave him another dose of crushed up HAPPY PILLS under his tongue, plus they have him some HAPPY GAS. After all that, he drifted off to la-la land, and Dr. Dentist and Lu were able clean his pearly whites. Yay!

When they finished, Lu came and brought me back to the exam room, where I found my hubby to be awake, and seemingly coherent. Little did I know that my man was in a weird state of semi-consciousness, where he could speak and answer questions and carry on a conversation, but would later have absolutely NO recollection of it hours later. More on that in a minute...so, with Lu's help, we got hubby wheeled out of there...

...and into the car.

Oh, my poor poor man! On the way home he said he was absolutely starving, and basically whined for a Burger King cheeseburger and a Coke...event though it was only 10am. Being the pushover sweet wife that I am, we picked up some food and went home.

This time around hubby didn't do a strip show on the front lawn, although he did almost face-plant in the snow when he almost missed the curb. {My cat-like reflexes saved him.} With the help of my trusty sidekick (and oh-so-sweet son), we got hubby inside, where he did actually do a face plant...onto the loveseat. I managed to un-shoe and un-coat him, sat him down at the table, and the three of us had lunch together. Now people, have you ever watched a seriously drunk person eat? Well that's what hubby looked like as he slowly but surely consumed his cheeseburger, then worked on his fries. That, my friends, was hilarious to watch as he would pick each fry and try to put it in his mouth...and kept missing! I know you might say I'm mean for doing it, but I couldn't help myself, and I just had to video tape him while he ate. All I can say is that if I was REALLY wicked, I would post that video here. But as such, I do have some scruples, so all you folks get are pics. {sorry!}

After the comedy show lunch, I finally got hubby into bed, where he slept for a little over six hours. He eventually woke up, wiped the sleep from his eyes, and like a newborn giraffe, he wobbled downstairs to join the rest of the conscious world. And here's the kicker my lovlies:

HE. DOESN'T. REMEMBER. ANY OF IT!!

Nope. None of it. According to him, the last thing he remembers was being led back to the exam room. Everything else was apparently a drug-induced void. Thank goodness I have the photos and video so my man can actually SEE just how HILARIOUS his dentist appointments are. After all is said and done, when hubby was completely coherent and fully conscious, I got to put the cherry on top of this particular day by telling him that: HE HAS TO GO BACK TO THE DENTIST IN A FEW WEEKS TO GET A CROWN PUT ON A PROBLEM TOOTH!

Dentist office copay: $0
Burger King Lunch: $15
Look on hubby's face when I told him about his next FD-Day dentist appointment: PRICELESS!

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Chili Night: Jeromy's Debut

Tasty Thursdays presents...

There's something I want to make very clear: I absolutely LOVE food. I love to eat it, smell it, taste, see it, bake it, cook it, etc. I love watching cooking shows on Food Network; there's something about the way that Bobby Flay character maneuvers around a grill, the way he battles it out in kitchen stadium like a chef-gladiator... {AHEM} Sorry, got distracted there for a second.... I'm not the greatest cook in the world, and in many ways I'm still learning to apply my limited gastronomical skills in ways that won't set off the smoke alarm in the house. Nonetheless, despite my amateur home chef status, I find that nothing else makes your food taste SOOO good than a healthy dose of LOVE in it. I don't care how many culinary degrees you have or how many restaurants you own, or how many cooking shows you have: a meal made with love beats a fancy schmancy five-star restaurant meal any day. And what I bring to the table today, my lovelies, is the super-yummy HOME-MADE CHILI cooked up by none other than my chef-in-training, Jeromy.

This recipe is actually one that hubby uses every time we have a craving for chili. And let me just tell you folks, he follows it to the big fat letter 'T'. He never deviates from it or tries to experiment by using different ingredients. Thank goodness, because I personally think this is THE best chili recipe ever. It's super-chunky, full of flavor, and with just the right amount of heat. So this last chili night that we had, I was uber-delighted when hubby decided to take Jeromy into the kitchen and let him make his first-ever batch of MAN-FOOD. Being the nervous mama that I am, I wasn't sure about him being so close to an open-flame, or wielding a sharp object. But, I decided to have faith and let my guys work it out in the kitchen. Besides, who was I to argue? I was being given a night off from cooking, so I really had no business complaining. I relinquished control of my kitchen, my sanctuary, and got cozy on the couch watching re-runs of Criminal Minds, whilst awaiting the culinary offerings that was to come.

Now, like the good blogging mom that I am, I crept back into the kitchen a few times to take a few photos with my cell camera. The boys grudgingly allowed me my fun, but of course made me leave as soon as I was done snapping. From my spot in the living room I could hear the sounds of sizzling food, chopping, and man voices. Soon enough, all sorts of delicious smells were permeating throughout the house, and dinner was ready. I have never seen a boy so proud of his culinary work! He had put so much work and love into it. This kid had the biggest smile on his face, and he couldn't wait for me to taste it. We all spooned hefty portions of the chili into bowls, passed around slices of store-bought corn bread (what? I haven't taught the boy baking yet!), and Jeromy announced that I was to take the first bite. And I did...and I was in Chili-made heaven! It was absolutely delicious! My baby was just beaming with pride, as was hubby, like the master watching his grasshopper reach for the stars. The three of us ate just about the whole pot that night. I was a happy, fed, and proud mama!

Here's the recipe in case you want to try it. For the those of you who prefer a little less heat in your chili, feel free to reduce the amount of chili powder.

Ingredients:
1 pound ground beef
1 cup onion, chopped
3/4 cup green peppers, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 16-oz can diced tomatoes, unstrained
1 16-oz dark red kidney beans, strained
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried basil, crushed (or use fresh, your choice)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper.

In a large skillet, cook ground beef until browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain excess fat. In a large soup pot over medium heat, add the browned meat, onions, peppers, and garlic. Cook until the onions and peppers are tender. Stir in canned tomatoes (including the juice), beans (drained), tomato sauce, chili powder, basil, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring often, then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.

According to hubby, the key to getting all those delicious flavors to come out is making sure you LOVE on the chili, meaning make sure you stir it often. And that's it!



Happy eating folks! And remember, always put the love in your food!

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I Resolve...

I haven't always been too keen on making New Year's Resolutions, and I'm not entirely sure why. Maybe it has something to do with not wanting to set myself up for failure. But this year, I think I'm gonna jump on that particular bandwagon since I find myself constantly pondering over how I want this year to not just be different from the last, but better as well. I thought about posting a sort of 'year-in-review' highlight of 2009, but decided against it. Because for 2010, I'm all about moving forward. Not that there weren't a great many wonderful things that happened in 2009, for it indeed was a year of transitions, surprises, and many blessings...I've just chosen to set myself on a path towards change and personal progress. Thus, I've come up with three resolutions for myself:

I RESOLVE...

...to get serious about losing weight and getting in shape. And this time it's not just so I can wear those sexy hip hugger jeans without having a 'muffin-top' (c'mon ladies, you know what I mean), or so I can go to the beach and not feel mortified at the thought of people seeing me in a bathing suit. This time, it's because I want to be healthier. With all my pre-existing medical conditions, and the fact that I'm not getting any younger, I know I'm at a much greater risk of heart disease. And let's face it, the world would be a boring place without me, right? Plus, I do want to be a grandmother one day so my grandchildren can exact revenge on my son for all the gray hair he's going to give me one day. As such, I resolve to exercise on a regular basis, and do a complete overhaul of my daily diet. So stay tuned folks, I'm sure I will be sharing with you all the whining and possible crying that is to come. But I also look forward to sharing my joy with you as I start to lose weight. Oh yea, I'm gonna look AND feel fabulous!

I RESOLVE...

...to give my writing the time and devotion I've been promising to give it for so long. Writing has always been a passion of mine, and I still hold on to my dream of one day finishing my novel, being published, and ultimate be heralded as a literary genius (ok, that last one is probably a serious pipe dream, but I at least would like to be published...I can survive without the heralding). Lately, meaning the past few years, I've quite neglected my writing. I don't really know why it happened, except to say that the creative monkeys in my head either went on sabbatical, vacation, or a strike, and writing just became more laborious than fun. Even my journal writing and blogging suffered for it! But here and now, I resolve to get the creative monkeys back on track, whip 'em into shape, and continue my literary work. Who knows, I might just be brave enough to share some my writing with all of you (that's a BIG maybe, as most writers tend to be uber sensitive to criticism...at least this writer!).

I RESOLVE...

...to fill my life with as much peace and love as possible. What does that mean you ask? It means getting rid of all the toxic components in my life...and yes, that means toxic people as well. C'mon my friends, y'all know what I'm talking about. We all know people like that, people who bring nothing but drama and nonsensical negativity (say that five times really fast!) into your life, the ones who drive you to the point of insanity and potential homicidal mania. Yes, those people...be gone with them I say! Instead, I resolve to surround myself with those who enrich my life and bring joy to my heart...like you, my blog friend!

Hopefully, with God's help and guidance, 2010 will be a year of peace, love, joy, and many more blessings for me, my family, and for all of you as well.

*All the above photos, including my big, new and swanky blog photo way up top, are from this SITE.**
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