Thursday, December 27, 2012

As Quickly as it Came, Now it's Gone!!

The day after Christmas is bittersweet for me.  Its a great day to relax, all the stress is gone but now comes the realization that its over :(  My favorite holiday which really came too quickly, at least for me, is now over!  My tree will be up until January 6th but its not the same.  All the gifts have been opened and I'm already looking to put away some of the decor that is around the house.  Depressing.  Now to face several months of very cold & dark winter.

This year's Christmas wasn't crazy and since I'm unemployed, we really had to strap ourselves down so we didn't spend our usual amount on gifts, but I am very happy to say that my kids didn't miss a thing!  They were both very happy with everything they got & didn't ask about things they didn't get!! I was shocked to read about kids going on twitter to complain about their Christmas gifts, which all sounded like great gifts!  Thank God my kids are very grateful for everything they get, my son doesn't believe in Santa anymore so he knows how hard its been for us to come up with the extra money for gift shopping.  He was ecstatic with everything he got....it was only a few things but he knows they were a bit expensive.  My daughter is a bit harder to get around, because she does believe in Santa so mommy & daddy's financial problems shouldn't affect Christmas because Santa brings everything...LOL, I was so stressed.  But, again, I am ecstatic to say that both my kids were wonderful and didn't look for more, plus were very happy with their gifts!

Here are some pics from the past couple of days:

 Christmas Concert @ Church
 The Christmas baking begins the day before Christmas Eve
 Pumpkin Flan
 Red Velvet Cake.....waiting for it to cool before frosting it
 Merengue for merengue cookies
 My daughter had a blast decorating the red velvet cake..we tried, not the best but it was good!

Christmas Eve!! 
 Our dinner-Pernil (roasted pork shoulder), black beans, white rice & yucca
 Awesome family picture.....
 .....and then what happens when I leave the room! LOL!
 Our tradition is to give the kids our gift to them, and they exchange gifts with each other, so here they are opening up our gifts to them

 Now they are working on each other's gifts

 Christmas morning!!!!!  I know it looks like a lot, but I usually do a lot more. Yes I do go overboard during Christmas since I really don't let them buy any toys during the year. So this year was less than usual, but they didn't really notice or didn't mention anything...it was all smiles, excitement & laughter!


 Even our pets got a little something....


Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with your families!!!  Best way to spend the holidays is definitely with your loved ones!!!

How was your Christmas?  Ready for New Year's Eve?

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Eve Prep...

I am exhausted!!! For the past 2 days I've been cleaning and baking and prepping for our Christmas Eve meal or Noche Buena as we Cubans call it!  This is a day of family and eating and we usually spend it with other members of our family, but this year its just us! Our little family-my hubby and kids.  Now just because its only us four it doesn't mean we are skimping on the food!  I'm going to have food for the next day or two and for any guests that stop in on Christmas day!  Our meal is the traditional Roast Pork (pernil) with black beans and rice and yucca on the side.  Then for dessert we have cheesecake for my hubby & son, red velvet cake made by my daughter for anyone who wants a bite, pumpkin flan for me and lots of cookies and merengue cookies to last through the week!

The baking started yesterday, and today I seasoned the pork and I just put the black beans in water to soak them overnight!  I'm finished in the kitchen for tonight....Thank God!!!  Now I'm going to catch up on emails, watch 1 or 2 Christmas movies with baby girl and hopefully get in a Christmas story before bedtime.  I also need to come up with a good good-bye from Ken, our elf on the shelf.  His last night will be tomorrow since he will be going back to the North Pole with Santa :(  Kat is going to miss him, she wakes up every morning to see where he landed, but that all ends tomorrow.  In the next few days I will be posting some pictures from Ken and our Christmas Eve prep!

So, now I'm off....hope you all are getting ready for tomorrow!  Have a wonderful Christmas!!!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Gymnastics classes

Mondays are very hectic, the weekend is over, take kids to school, clean,cook, pick kids up from school, help with homework and gymnastics class! My daughters already in the second session of the year,and she's still loving every minute of it! She discovered gymnastics when McKenna, American Girl doll of the year 2012, came out. I got her the movie first and then we bought her the doll for her birthday. She wouldn't stop! Every day she would ask me if I had found a gymnastics school, and she would watch the McKenna movie over & over!

Finally in September, I did a search on google and found MGA-Meadowlands Gymnastics Academy-and they were only 30 minutes from home. I quickly called and found the pricing to be reasonable so I signed her up, and here we are 3 months later.

Slowly, she is learning to tumble, do cart wheels and walk the beam, plus she is conquering her fear of heights! I really shouldn't be wasting money on this now, but this is so great for her plus it can help with her dancing! Gymnastics will make her fit, strong & flexible, so I'm really hoping that we can continue to bring her here and that money will not become an issue.

She loves this!!!!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Wordless Wednesday ~ Dream

Yeah, I know, I'm late but its been a while since I've joined this blog hop, and I just couldn't let another week go by!  I love sharing my Disney pics and checking out everyone else's Disney pics....so here we go!

This week's theme is Dream-I love to dream, LOL!  Going to Disney always feels like a dream and I can't wait until the day I can visit during Christmas!


My baby girl's dream: to dress up like Cinderella at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique!  This was a great day!!

Head on over to Focused on the Magic for more Dreams!

Focused on the Magic

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Monday-back to menu planning

Well it's Tuesday(I should've wrote this yesterday) & I'm trying to bring some consistency back into our lives. Not sure when or how it happened,but m menu planning & organized schedules went out the window weeks ago! I really haven't been in the right state of mind to sit down & plan our days, but I really need to. Every night it's the same question, what's for dinner? I find myself repeating a lot of our meals and it really gets boring.
I've also strayed from my diet, surprise, surprise. So I am back on today, so my meal planning is really for my family as I'm done with trying to come up with "diet foods" that I can eat. I'm sticking with Smart One's & Lean Cuisine frozen meals until I lose at least 15 lbs! I can't really think of any other way for me, so my cooking is just for hubby & kids! 



Monday: grilled chicken with mashed potatoes
Tuesday: shrimp with rice
Wednesday: pasta with ground beef
Thursday: BBQ chicken with baked potato
Friday: rice with eggs

Check out more menus at I'm an Organizing Junkie

I keep the weekends free, these are usually take-out days or whatever I find I the fridge will be cooked :)

It's will be tough for me, especially when I make my fave foods(pasta) but I have to be strong!

Do you find it difficult to diet when you have to cook non-diet food for your family?

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Craziness in my life!

2 weeks without a single post! Wow, that's terrible!!! LOL, I just cannot find the time these days-between taking kids to school, hubby was on vacation for a week, job-hunting, cooking and stressing out about the lack of money, I just haven't had the time to sit here and write.  I'm going to try now since I have been preparing for Christmas and it really is my favorite time of year.  I put up my tree a few weeks ago and with the tree going up, our Elf on the Shelf-Ken-came back!  Let me tell you that its been a challenge finding a new and creative spot for him every night, and I still have until January 6th!  Reading other people's posts has really given me some ideas and inspiration but its not easy.  I'm even ashamed to admit, but more than once we've woken up to Ken being in the same spot as the day before, oops.....I forgot to move him!

After Christmas I will be putting together a collage of "Ken" pictures for all you to see the many places he's landed this year, hehehe, I can't wait.

For now, I'm just trying to get through each day and finish up my Christmas shopping.  Trying not to think about the fact that my unemployment will be cut-off at the end of the month and that I've applied to hundreds of jobs and nothing!  I need to start working January 2nd to bring in money, we really cannot afford to live on one income, as much as I would love that its just not possible for us.  So, I look to my kids, hubby and all the pretty Christmas decorations and music to keep me going.
Things have to get better.....there is a reason everything happens, right?









Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Day of Thanks!!

I've been up since 7:45, put the turkey in at 8 and have been watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade in between basting the turkey!  So far its been a great day!

I've also started checking out stores online to catch any good sales.  I'll be attached to my Ipad for the rest of the weekend!  I've given up on the craziness of going out and doing the Black Friday shopping-its just not worth it to me anymore.  I feel like I get better deals online, plus I'm a bit disappointed in seeing how some stores are opening up tonight at 8pm!  I need a job, but I am so glad that I don't work at any of these retailers!  Nobody should be open today....people should be home with their families.  Well, that's my opinion anyway and I definitely will NOT be out shopping at 8pm tonight!

Today is a great day to just be home and be appreciate the Blessings we have.  I hope you are all enjoying your loved ones on this day of thanks!  This year we are going to my sister-in-law's for dinner, so I don't have to cook everything!  I'm taking the turkey, honey-glazed carrots and desserts--lots of desserts.  Oh and how can I forget, I'm also taking the wine--what's dinner without wine ;)  Days like today make me a bit sad because I really wish I was spending it with my entire family, but that is impossible. There are also many things in my life that I wish were different, but I have to admit that I am very thankful for having such a wonderful family, we are all healthy, have a roof over our heads and food on the table-can't ask for more!

Anyway, we'll be getting dressed and heading out soon!  I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Monday, November 19, 2012

Busy, busy, busy....

I can't believe that I've ignored my blog for over a week now....wow!!! I just haven't had much time to sit here and write! So, here is a recap of my past week.....My birthday was last Monday and my hubby had the day off, so after dropping the kids at school, we took a ride to the Woodbury Outlets in NY and he bought my a Michael Kors bag....I've been dying to get one so you can imagine how ecstatic I was!! As soon as I got in the car, I switched everything over to my new MK bag and I'm still using it :D

Later that night, when the kids were home, my daughter wanted to bake me a cake so with my supervision, she did! LOL, it was cute....she loves singing Happy Birthday and will use any excuse to bake! The following week was our typical week, minus baseball....that's pretty much over for the moment.  We also added a new activity to our Sunday mornings...ice skating for my daughter!! I thought it would be great, she would definitely fall but so would other kids, so she wouldn't feel bad.  Boy was I wrong!!  After her 30 minutes of instruction, she came out in tears.  She cried for the next 20 minutes saying that she didn't want to go back!  Finally, after lots of back & forth between her and me and hubby, she said that she would go back...Hooray!! After lunch, we headed to Sports Authority to buy her a pair of ice skates, this way she would have her own and be more comfortable! Later that night, I tried to get her to watch some ice skating on tv, and I told her to watch so she can see that it is fun (hoping to add some excitement & really make her want to go back) but her response was "I know its fun!" :/  So what's the problem? I'm just hoping the next session goes better.

Now we are back to Monday, and even though this is a short week, its no less hectic.  My daughter's dance classes have been moved to Monday and Wednesday, since the school is closed Thursday and Friday.  Tomorrow we have gymnastics, and I have a turkey to season, so I can pop it in the oven early Thursday morning!  Fortunately, we have decided to spend Thanksgiving at my sister-in-laws house, so I don't have to cook everything.  I'm just taking the turkey, honey-glazed carrots, dessert and wine!

I was remembering past Thanksgivings and I can't seem to find too many pictures, not sure why.  But I did find pics from 2004 up until last year and I've put them into a little movie for you all to enjoy!



Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Wordless Wednesday~"Your November Calendar Shot"

My November Calendar Shots need to remind me of Sunny Florida in Disney since it is freezing here already!(in my opinion, lol)
Here is a nice quiet, relaxing spot at the Caribbean Beach Resort

Family pic in front of the castle - Love it :)


Thanks to Debs @ Focused on the Magic for hosting!

Focused on the Magic

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Keeping Warm with Hot Chocolate!

Well, it seems that winter is beginning to show itself here, and with the Nor'Easter that is headed our way, I don't want to think about the rest of the winter.  Unfortunately, as much as I avoid thinking about it , I can't avoid feeling it.  Going out at 6:30 am is really painful, ugh!  My car can't seem to warm up fast enough!  The only good thing out of the winter is being able to make my grandmother's hot chocolate!!! I love it!! It warms you up with the first sip, but if you are like me, you'll gain 20 pounds with just that first sip--LOL!

I posted a picture on Instagram a few days ago, and one of my followers asked for the recipe.  Now this isn't any 'secret' recipe, but I've never posted any recipes since I'm the one always looking to others for recipes.  After much thought, I decided - why not?  This is really great to enjoy after being outside in the snow....love coming inside to a warm cup of hot chocolate!

Now, a warning first: this is a very rich hot chocolate--some people don't like that its so sweet--I'm Cuban, so I love it!!  I love it so much that I can't drink the hot chocolates sold at Dunkin Doughnuts or any other place like that....they are too watery and not sweet at all - in my opinion!!  I'll let you be the judge! So here is Tati's Hot Chocolate(I've called her tati since I was a baby, never grandma, LOL)

Tati's Hot Chocolate

1 can evaporated milk
1 can condensed milk
chocolate (powder, syrup, or bar you grate yourself-I use Nestle Quick chocolate powder)
pinch of salt
water

Pour 1 can of evaporated milk into a saucepan.  Use that same can and fill with water then add to saucepan. Heat over medium heat.  Add pinch of salt and chocolate(add to your taste).  When milk begins to boil, remove from heat and add the can of condensed milk.  Stir well.

That's it!! Very quick, very sweet!!! 
I've recently added marshmallows to the top, OMG....it is amazing!!

Just make sure to keep an eye on it while you are heating it, I've turned my back on it for just a second and it has boiled over...what a mess!!! Now I stand there and watch it like a hawk!!

Hope you enjoy my grandmother's(Tati) hot chocolate :)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Going back to Normal...Almost

Well, its been a week since Hurricane Sandy and some people and businesses have their power back so some kids have been able to return to school, my daughter included.  This is good, but it was so hard getting up this morning.  We were kind of lucky that my son still didn't have to go to school-he goes back tomorrow-so we didn't have to wake up at 5am.  Instead, my alarm was set for 7 am, my daughter covered her face with her stuffed animal, Nosy!  LOL, she really didn't want to get up, especially when I told her we were walking to school.  Her school is only 3 blocks away, so why lose my parking & waste gas, which is currently limited here in Jersey, to go 3 blocks.  I admit, I wasn't too happy with the walking idea either....its gotten really cold, but it definitely was the better choice.  Tomorrow I will be driving farther to take my son to school, so anyway I can save my gas will have to do!

So now she's in school, my son is studying for 2 upcoming tests and I'm trying to sort through the mess in my house.  I have laundry to do and a ton of papers and magazines to sort through and throw away.  I also need to figure out what to make for dinner this week...I really think it will be very basic meals.  My hubby and I are, once again, attempting a low-carb diet so I will have to prepare alternate meals for my kids.  What's it looking like so far?  A lot of chicken & salad for us & chicken with rice or pasta for the kids! Fun!


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hurricane Havoc!!

Well, I'm finally back to writing....this has been a crazy week so far and we didn't get it as bad as others.  Monday we went out to fill up on gas for our cars and generator, made sure we had enough milk, water & food at home and then we got home & stayed there.  As the night progressed, so did the wind!  It was so bad that our house would shake....I don't remember ever hearing such strong winds.  I do recall going through a hurricane in Florida when I was little, but I don't remember the experience just the preparation.  So yeah, this was a bit scary & our power didn't go out until really late at night.  It would flicker, then be back, then it went out for 5 minutes but came back and a bit later it just went out!  I was already in bed when the power went out completely, but I remember hearing my husband talking and the house being really dark...wow!! So, I kept sleeping with my kids!  All 3 of us were in our King size bed and slept all night.  My poor hubby stayed up and eventually fell asleep on the couch.  The next morning hubby turned on the generator so we were able to hook up our refrigerator, coffee maker, tv and internet!  The wind was winding down by the next morning, and we were very fortunate that the only thing that happened was loss of power.  There are neighboring towns and homes that suffered tremendous damage!  It's just awful to see places that we are very familiar with be destroyed!  I spent most of the day watching the news and watching the devastation throughout our state and New York, it is heartbreaking.  Since many roads were closed we stayed home all day, I was able to make dinner and we watched some more tv until hubby had to go to sleep.  So since he is the only one who knows how to operate the generator, he had to turn it off and we were powerless again.  My kids and I watched some movies on the laptop until it died and then we all went to bed....nothing else to do except sleep :)

The next morning we were finally able to get out of the house.  The power came back some time in the early morning, hubby went to work but when he came back we had to go to his sister's house to help clean up since she did have more damage and downed trees.  This was also Halloween and I felt so bad for my daughter....she's been looking forward to trick or treating and it didn't look like this was happening.  I got her dressed up in her black widow costume and we went to my sister-in-law's like that!

When we arrived, there was a lot to do....she didn't have damage to the house, but her trampoline and swing set were at the end of the yard, and a tree fell on her deck and tiki bar.  It banged up her grill, but fortunately it still worked so she can cook.  She was also without power, and from the look of her block it doesn't seem like she'll be getting power back soon.










The lines at the few open gas stations were miles long, it was ridiculous.  This morning I'm here and ready to do some groceries and clean up the mess in this house, plus finish the laundry I started before we lost power.

I've seen more pictures from the storm and it is awful.  Seaside Heights, our summer spot, is totally gone, homes completely destroyed and lives lost!  

We were very fortunate to come out of this storm with no major losses, but I am thinking of everyone else who has suffered in this storm.

My heart and prayers go out to all the victims from this storm.  





Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wordless Wednesday~The Letter "F"

Friends!

Fresh Food!


Fishy Friends!

Fun Crafts!

Fun in France

Fun by the Fountain!

Fantastic Fireworks!




Thanks to Debs @ Focused on the Magic for hosting!

Focused on the Magic

Wordless Wednesday Challenge - Favorite Disney Sidekicks

I'm a huge Disney fan and LOVE all of the characters, but if I had to choose my fave sidekicks it would be Goofy & Minnie!! ...