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We still have an Elf!!

I’ve managed to move her every single night. I really need to get a video of Clare finding her one morning because it is the most precious thing in the world. She talks about Snow Cone CONSTANTLY!!

Here’s what this creeper has been up to.

So I tried to set this up like a snowball fight, but this is not how Clare interpreted it at all. Granted, I should have probably used smaller marshmallows?? But this is all we had. Hahahaha! She was so excited that Snow Cone and Toddler Ariel were in a paper and marshmallow tree forest. Lol!

The next night, Snow Cone had a slumber party with Elsa and Anna next to the Frozen Advent Calendar. This one was a really big hit with Clare.

Daniel came in clutch on this next one. LEGOS GALORE!! We spent a solid twenty minutes building random things with Legos and then stuck Snow Cone in the Lego box. Easy peasy. And it was really fun to spend time with him doing this.

And last but least, alas. Tomorrow is show and tell day, and Clare is going to loose her ever loving elf mind, to know she can take Snow Cone Mccringleberry.

That’s all. The end and stuff. Stay tuned for more creepy elf things. Because we have a whopping fourteen more days of this ish.

Byeeeeee!

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Well I was 1000% right and this creepy little elf has been the hi-light of Clare’s weekend. Here’s how it’s going so far.

We set up Snow Cone for when Clare arrived home from school on Friday. She made her a heart out of popcorn and left her a little Minnie trinket and some doll clothes.

Note: If you’re not doing the “reporting to Santa part” you can bypass this book. Oops. She was so confused and then I was like…”oh look! Little Einstein’s is on Disney Plus!!’ And she forgot about it.

It was a really fun way to kick things off, but not what I had originally intended. Friday was St. Nicholas day and I wanted to leave her a food pantry shopping list. But Thursday and Friday were possibly the most stressful days out of my entire year (naturally), so I kind of threw crap together 5 minutes before school pick up.

Saturday morning, Clare woke up MUCH to her delight, to see that Snow Cone had, “used her elf magic” to put ALL her JoJo bows in one of our Christmas’s trees, aaaaand was wearing one herself.

I put the elf pretty high up in the tree and Clare brought her step stool in just took try to look closer. All day, she would run over to the tree and tell Snow Come things that were going on, and to tell her thank you for the fun doll clothes. It was SO SWEET.

Tomorrow she will wake up, and possibly be sad that she can’t play with her Barbie Car since Snow Cone is driving it… but that Elf went on a road trip in the middle of the night in it!!! At least she stopped at Bucees and brought back some treats.

So week one down. I’ve been fighting off a migraine for two days and wasn’t sure if could get all this together, but we did it!!! And Clare is having a BALL.

Thanks for hanging in there with us. More Elf reports coming soon.

Why I Said “YES” To Elf on the Shelf

Disclaimer: Daniel is still super upset that the Elf on the Shelf isn’t Legolas. He’s kind of boycotting this whole thing now because he thought Lord of the Rings was about to bring the Good News this holiday season. ONE ELF TO RULE THEM ALL! Okay. Sorry, Daniel.

I’ll be honest, y’all. I’m not exactly proud that I am now the proud owner of this creepy little jingle bell, but nevertheless, please meet Snow Cone McCringleberry. (Insert eye roll emoji here. Maybe the facepalm one, too.)

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My daughter doesn’t believe in Santa. In fact, she’ll tell you, “My Mom is Santa and someday I can be a Santa, too!” While I fear she will be the kid on the playground who ruins Christmas for other girls and boys, I promise we are trying to steer here in the right direction on this. But like, four year old’s do NOT KNOW DISCRETION.

We don’t do Santa in our house because:

  1. Hey kid. Mom and Dad work super duper hard and all of that stuff is actually from us.
  2. As children, we both saw other kids not get visited by Santa. This was really confusing because they were “good” and “smart” and generally nice humans.

Nonetheless, we teach her that yes, anyone CAN be Santa. It’s about seeing a need someone has and fulfilling that need. Maybe with a new warm coat, or a kind word. Maybe even a prayer! And the best part, is that it DOESN’T have to be Christmas to be a Santa.

We DO celebrate Saint Nicholas Day. He was an actual person known for generosity and also for slapping someone at the Council of Nicaea, who was spouting heresy about the Holy Trinity. It’s quite the story and actually really cool to hear Daniel recount this tale every year.

We usually celebrate with a special meal, and with an act of service.

So here we are, Elf.

We won’t be pretending that it’s watching her, or reporting to someone about her behavior, but we will use the elf to bring her notes and trinkets as we see fit, to enhance the Season of Adventus, and move it around every night for our own merriment and revelry. It’s possible that we may have ordered a dozen Stormtroopers to be at Snow Cone’s command? But I guess you’ll have to find out.

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So we don’t do Santa, but you better believe Clare is ALL ABOUT Pixie Dust and fairies and these little elf dudes. When she began to ask for one over and over, I went kicking and screaming into the decision that we would in fact, adopt one and welcome it’s terrifying little rosy round face into our home. Yay!

Clare is only little once, and while this Elf will be haunting my dreams, she is SO very excited. I want to foster the wonder and imagination in her heart for as long as I can. I just want her to be a kid!!

Snow Cone McCringleberry will make her debut in Casa Rodriguez on Friday during our St. Nicholas celebration. I’m going to try my best to post the things we come up with, so you, too, can be inspired and entertained by this sinister little elfin doll baby.

And there you have it.

WISH ME LUCK AND STUFF. Maybe check on me on a few days to make sure the Elf hasn’t taken my soul.

PS If you’re a fan of Key and Peele, yes, Snow Cone is named after a one: Hingle McCringleberry.

I was sick for 33 days.

Can you even believe that? THIRTY THREE VERY LONG HORRIBLE DAYS.

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I was officially diagnosed with Flu (thanks, vaccine), Strep and  a sinus infection so my body just kind of freaked out. But that wasn’t really the main culprit. You see, I was three months into a brand new, full time job, on top of my already almost full-time Travel Business, also caring for a 4 year old who was home from school for almost TWO WHOLE WEEKS because of Strep (SO GROSS), and other household duties above and beyond that.

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Daniel was traveling weekly. Clare was in school full time. (My wife and mom heart has been crumbling at this.) Everything was so busy and so lonely, but I had to hold it together and press on and for the first time, I really felt like my grip on this was slipping. I’m usually the boss of this!! What was even happening?

I got to where I couldn’t sit up for more than 5 minutes at a time. I had a scary vasovagal episode (umm, thought I was 1000% dying), among many other weird symptoms that didn’t make sense. I was tired all the time–like first trimester tired–but I am noooot pregnant! I went to Urgent Care and my regular doctor four times over the course of this and every single dang test came back totally normal and healthy.

At one point, Daniel suggested I get a massage, which was honestly my first clue-in as to what was going on. It was the only day I felt any kind of relief. Ten minutes into my glorious 70-minute retreat, all the heaviness and tightness in my chest had disappeared. TOTALLY. (Until later that day, ha ha.)

Then, the answer. One day as I was literally laying in the bathroom with my phone, (Because–let’s just say–think of a horrible symptom you’ve had when you’re sick that involves the bathroom. I totally had it at some point. Seriously. Even that one.) and I was watching one of my favorite Disney Vloggers, Olivia, talk about why she was in a wheelchair recently during some of her Food and Wine Vlogs. And as she began to talk about what was going on in her life, I sat straight up. Everything she described was exactly what was going on with me. And you know what it was?

Drumroll…

 

FREAKING. STRESS.

Stress can kill you, bro.

 

But like…what? I don’t have stress issues. That’s CRAZY talk. No way. Not me. I can handle my business.

Turns out, NOPE. And THAT IS OKAY!! I’m actually totally normal.

 

I think in my mind, it’s still hard to wrap my brain around that because, sort of how allergies don’t REALLY seem ‘sick’ to me, I know full well that’s total junk. Allergies ARE sick, and stress CAN kill you. I don’t know why I don’t take this seriously enough. It definitely has my attention now.

 

SO.

The only way to get better, was to resolve some things. And honestly, once I kind of realized this, I immediately started to feel better.

I’ll say this really loud for those in the back, and also so I can really hear myself: YOU HAVE TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. BRO.

You have to. Adulting is hard. Parenting is hard. Having a career is hard. Having TWO careers is hard. Sometimes just getting out of bed is hard.

 

So here’s how I’m getting my resolve.

  1. Admitting you have a problem is the first step, amiright?!
  2. When I feel that onset of tiredness, or the waves of the stress coming back, I stop what I’m doing and just lay down. Think. Pray. Meditate. Listen to something soothing. Take deep breaths.
  3. I got on a quarterly schedule with my massage lady at Viva Day Spa. It’s something I can plan, afford, and fit into my schedule and IT HELPS.
  4. Clocking out at 5pm. I can’t do this with my Travel Work, but that’s okay. This still helps!
  5. Vacation–in my industry, this is often right around the corner. I have full plans to TOTALLY unplug. I need that. My brain and my soul need that, too.
  6. Asking for help. Like the blessed service that is HEB Home Grocery Delivery! (ALL THE HEART EYES! And cue the Angels singing.) This hard because for so long our budget was SO tight I feel like I have to be the hero and make everything fit and work. But now that we have a whole other paycheck, I can delegate things and hire out help where we need it. Which is great because my house looked like a total dumpster fire at the end of those 33 days. (How were we even still alive?) These conveniences help me be a better mom, wife, chef, taxi driver, blah blah blah, you get the pic.
  7. Creating my own office space. We have one office space, which Daniel SO graciously let me squeeze into, but it’s just not working anymore. We are both often on the phone and a lot of times I end up at the dining table anyway, or he has to a phone call in another room. We both need space to create and grow, so I’m taking a small portion of our tax return and making this happen by converting our guest room to an office. I am beyond excited!

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This might be the MOST important one:

   8. Making time to play.

Last weekend? Daniel was gone again, so I used some hotel points to take Clare on a mini-staycation. We just went down the road, but we did so in style. Comfy pajamas, happy meals in hand, treats from the gas station, and OF COURSE Clare’s Fancy Nancy Tea Set so we could really make it a party.

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We had the BEST TIME! I truly went kicking and screaming putting her into PreK last Fall. I could NOT have asked for a better place to put her-we love love love it and she is thriving. But I miss her so much during the day, and this kind of thing, is so special and needed.

 

I’m not perfect at this. I will continue to stress out, but I think I have a handle on how to recognize this better, and put some preventative measures in place.

 

And seriously readers, PLEASE. Take care of yourself, too, okay?

 

 

Vegan “Sour Cream” Enchiladas

Who am I even?

We sort of accidentally fell into this crazy vortex of vegetables and really simplified eating and grocery shopping and I don’t hate the side effects one bit.

So here I am, typing up my very first vegan recipe, and it just sounds weird as I read this out loud in my head. “Vegan.” LOL! I just can’t.

Anyway, here we go! AND IT WAS SO TASTY!!

 

I had a serious crave for Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas. And being a serious Texan, I know how to throw some of these down without an actual recipe. However, y’all….Y’ALL…I am not a chef, and I don’t really know everything about what I’m doing yet. So don’t hate with the opinions, just enjoy this delish meal sometime. :)

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This made about 8 enchiladas, in a square pan, and I filled them pretty darn full. This is pretty approximate, so just take a deep breath an embrace your inner-mexican food side and go with the flow to see how the tortillas lead you. Here’s what I did:

FIRST—preheat your oven to 425, and grease a square shaped pan (or a 9×13 if you want to make more/stuff them less, or whathaveyou).

Things you’ll need aside from the Enchiladas:

Tortillas (I used HEB’s Wheat)

Square baking dish, or other  baking dish of your choice

An oven

A stovetop

A food processor or blender

Spoons and pans and stuff

 

For the “Sour Cream” Sauce:

1.5 cups of Cashews, soaked for at LEAST 10 minutes (then drained)

1.5 cups of Coconut Yogurt

2 shakes of Cumin

10oz can of green chilies with their sauce

Water IF NEEDED to thin things out, but you may want to just eyeball this. No more than a quarter cup most likely-ish.

 

Dump all the things into your food processor, blender, etc. and BLEND THAT JUNK! Set to the side.

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For the Filling

I chopped up:

1 cucumber

1 tomato

Half a yellow squash

(Because I had random bits of things leftover from lunch)

—And sauteed them in a tiny bit of EVOO and a WHOLE LOTTA lime, on the stove top. In the meantime, I rinsed a can of black beans, and chopped up an avocado (OH YES! I SAID IT! To go INSIDE!! It’s so good and creamy, just do it and you’re totally welcome.)  I also added a handful of Vegan shredded cheese and some giantly huge spoonfuls of the sauce and gave it a good stir, by hand.

 

When the filling is done, take your square pan (or whatever you are using) and coat the bottom with a thin layer of your sauce. Then, just fill each tortilla, roll it up, and dump all the rest of the creamy non-dairy sauce of joy onto all your enchiladas!

 

SOOO at this point, I just threw it in the oven for about 22 minutes (don’t judge me, I was also boiling corn). I read later that it’s a good idea to keep in moisture, to cover it in foil for at least half the cooking time but I definitely did not do that. Sorry, enchiladas.

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I served everything with refried beans and corn. I was going to make street corn but then remembered that I am not an overachiever when it comes to dinner time, laughed, and then went on my way.  The beans were a bit heavy so I think next time I’ll slice up some fruit instead.

All in all, this was a family hit, so we will repeat this again soon.

Let me know if you make this! And if you have any other Mexican Food Recipes I should try!