Sunday, July 6, 2014

Pacemaker Change

My daughter was born with a congenital heart defect. See her story here:

Her first surgery was followed by a insertion of a pacemaker. This week, that pacemaker battery needs to be changed out.

Although it is a fairly simple and outpatient procedure, my nerves are frazzled and those memories back at Stanford come back flooding my mind.

The experience of seeing our first born child go through a heart surgery was nothing short of traumatic. She was just born and I had not formed the bond that I have with her now. I was a brand new Mom and did not know any better but, my heart ached for my child. So little and so strong. Her whole life was ahead of her if she could just pass that hurdle. Every breath she took before surgery was fast and took every bit of strength she had. She could not even eat because it was difficult for her to breathe and eat. The little creature that came out of me was going through heart failure before my very eyes and I was helpless to do anything about it. It was as if I woke up in a bad dream from the time I gave birth to the time she got her surgery. Those 6 hours waiting to see if the kid was going to live or die was the longest 6 hours of my life. There was another couple who was there too with their sweet daughter. They had gone through the heart surgeries before with their other kids. They encouraged us through the process. They were experiencing the same pain and helplessness but still took the time to ask us how it was going and offered encouragement. (Adam and Terra, we are eternally grateful to have met you and have been touched forever by your story. Looking forward to our kids growing up together). Coincidentally, they are the founders of an amazing organization called Hopeful Hearts

(Here's a the heartwarming story about our kids on Terra's blog :

Worry starts to come over me today, the enemy places "what ifs" that are outrageous and scary.
I remind myself that she was God child's first and that everything is in his hands. One of my favorite verses is, Matthew 6:26-34

"Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?"

Knowing that my child will be protected and loved by the will of a merciful and loving God brings me some comfort.

But perhaps the bigger challenge is to explain this all to my 4, almost 5 year old. I am really big about not lying to the kids because I want them to know that they can always come to us for the truth. She had been raised to know Jesus and loves the Lord. I have been prepping her for a month about this procedure. I told her that the pacemaker battery was going to be changed. She did not ask how it was going to be done. I had to tell her that they were going to cut her open and change out the battery. She freaked out. She asked if it would hurt. "Yes, it will hurt".

I made the mistake of saying to her about a month earlier that "everyone dies eventually". She started balling. She said "Mommy, I don't want you to die."  ME AND MY BIG MOUTH. I proceeded to tell her that when God wants us to go to heaven, we die we go to be with Jesus and Mommy will die when she is old, like 99 years old. She cried even harder. "But Mommy, I don't know how to drive or cook on the stove." I assured her that before I died I would make sure that I would teach her to drive and cook.

She asked me if she was going to die when they change her pacemaker. I told her "NO."

I took her to some pre-op procedures the other day. The worst part was when they had to draw blood. They gave her a numbing agent and covered her face with an I-Pad but she still screamed. "Mommy, please help me." Again, that helpless feeling came over me. I just rushed by her side and started to pray out loud with her as she was crying.

She has told me she is scared. All I can do is encourage her to be strong and brave and tell her not to be afraid. I used to tell her when she was 3 and would be afraid of monsters "There are no monsters, just Jesus." Then one day, after the dog went to the vet, I heard her telling the Dog, "Don't be scared Daisy, there are no monsters, just Jesus". I tell her that whenever she is afraid to just pray. That Jesus loves her.

Heavenly Father, I lift my precious child up to you because she is your child first. Touch the operating room, surgeon, nurses, instruments, and everything in that room. Please comfort her and allow her to feel your presence during the entire procedure. Cover her and our entire family with the blood of Jesus and protect us from spiritual, mental, and physical harm. May our entire family trust solely in you. Bind the works of the enemy and bring us your peace that surpasses all understanding. Thank you Lord for surrounding us with the friends and family through everything. Thank you for blessing us with precious children and entrusting us to teach her your ways and to love and serve you, Almighty Father.

 Philippians 4:6-7 "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Baby Advice from a Dad

 As Moms, we love to buy useless and the newest gadgets. It is nice to get a male perspective and what he thinks are the bare necessities. My wonderfully hilarious husband sent one of his best friends, who was soon to be a first time Dad a very long email describing what he thinks one would need to buy to take care of baby. I decided to let y'all read it. Enjoy.


I narrowed down the best urban strollers that are compact and lightweight for you.

Uppababy cruz
22 lbs

Bugaboo Bee
18.5 lbs

You probably want to go to try out the strollers to see what wifey likes:

*buy the cup holder attachment too for the stroller so you can hold your drink.  You need to bring your own flask though, so you can pour the whiskey in your coke.
*you also need the sun canopy too for the stroller so your kid doesn't get cooked out in the sun or goes blind from the brightness. 

Mommy Hook

This clip attaches to your stroller so wifey can carry her loot that she scammed you into buying, or that nice Gucci purse you better buy her, since she is carrying your first-born kid.

Baby Carrier

Get the ergo baby so you can hang the kid off the FRONT of your body and walk around.
you'll look pimp with a little kid looking around and drooling on you.  Plus, you can smell the ish faster when they take a dump.

Nasal Aspirator

Sucks the snots out when they are sick.  They will get sick. They will suffer, it's sad.

Temporal Thermometer

Takes their temperature so you can figure out if they are sick or not.

Diaper Bag

Wifey:  Skip Hop Duo Deluxe

It's big, but not the biggest one, so she can carry all the stuff, baby bottles, diapers, wipes, change of clothers, hat, shoes, stun gun, cell phone, ipad

Tony:  Skip Hop Dash Deluxe

This is the guy version of the skip hop bag.  You can use this in confidence that you won't look like a girl when you carry this around.  It's smaller that the Skip Hop Duo Deluxe.  But fittingly so, you aren't the mom, so you don't have the responsibility to carry all the baby crap around. That's actually her job.  You don't carry all that around as a man.  You'll forget stuff, but most importantly, you need baby wipes and diapers, baby bottle, and a change of clothes, and you'll be fine.

Sophie the Giraffe Teether Toy

Chew toy for the baby.  It squeaks so you can have loads of fun annoying wifey at restaurants or in bed.  Plus it amuses the kid.

Booginhead SippiGrip

Use this bad boy to tie down whatever the kid is playing with, ie. the giraffe, so they don't throw it on the ground and you forget.

Miracle Blanket 

Swaddles the kid so they shaddup and go to sleep.  Newborns are a pain in the ass.  Learn to swaddle, youtube it.

Desitin - diaper rash cream

This helps against butt rash, the kid is gonna get rash .  Use the maximum strength purple box Desitin.  The other butt rash stuff doesn't work.

Diaper Wipes

I use the Costco Kirkland ones currently, since the 2nd kid isn't as sensitive as the first  was when changing diapers.

If your kid is sensitive, use the Huggies pure-natural wipes.  They are the best for sensitive skin.


There are two major brands, Huggies and Pampers.  Everything else pretty much only equal or just plain sucks.  If you want to be real  cheap about it, then get the cloth diapers, you just need to clean up the crap yourself and wash them in the washing machine. But it reduces the costs of diapers.  hahahahaha

Use HUGGIES for girls and pampers for boys.

Baby Nail Cutter

This one is fine, the ones with the microscope or magnifying glass are useless.  Plus you can't see anyways after 15 years of staring at shell scripts and microsoft excel, so the magnifying glass nail cutters will only make you go blind faster.

Baby Wise

I suggest you read this book, make sure you get the book.  The book teaches you how to be a cold-hearted -mofo to your newborn to train them on how to sleep through the night.  Don't be a loser and coddle your kid when they are crying at night, they'll learn that behavior (either you or wifey is a wimp. I put my money on you) and mess you up the rest of their lives with stupid annoying things while you want to go to bed.  

This works for what the book says, trust me. You'll thank me.  If you ever plan on having sex with your wife again, read it, apply it, learn it.  Just do it.


Wait for the next gen HD screen, every kid needs an ipad.  Side load your own  movies onto the ipad.  If you don't have an IPAD, I suggest that you seriously invest in one.  It acts as another babysitter and provides countless hours of educational enjoyment for the kid.

* make sure you get the otterbox indestructible screen case though eventually.  Ours kid has already broken one screen on her ipad already.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Paella Mixta (Mixed) Spanish Homestyle

One very pregnant day, I had a craving for PAELLLA. I searched high and low for a place and found a few minutes from my home. I fell in love. But they only made Paella Tuesdays and Fridays. What was a pregnant wife to do?

So somehow I was able to convince my loving husband to take me to BARCELONA.

While there I had really good paella and some no so great paella.  My absolute favorite was a place the locals go to get their paella fix called LA FONDA.

Just hearing the name makes my mouth water.

look at that pregnant lady ready to devour that paella.

I had to have paella at my beckoned call, so hubby and I took a Spanish cooking class while in Spain and learned how to make a home style paella mixta. They used local ingredients not readily available in California but I tried to stay authentic as possible and gave approximate measurements.  

Let's talk about the pan first. You will need a paella pan to cook this. Mine is 13 inches in diameter (from one end to the other). You can use a deeper skillet if you really can't find one. But you can Amazon one or even get one at World Market or even TJ Maxx. The recipe I have is for a 13 inch pan or service for 4. Please adjust accordingly. I learned that you don't want to cook all the rice you can, you need the rice to just cover the pan, this is not a rice cooker, you will need less rice than more. 

Paella takes a long time to cook and can be very time consuming. But you can break it down into quicker preparation times since the Sofrito, the paella sauce can be made ahead. We are starting a little backwards usually you cook the meat first but I want to start with the sofrito so that we have the option of storing and making ahead. Start with onions, garlic, and bell peppers cooking in olive oil.

Directly grate your tomatoes into that pot and add the diced squid because squid is tough if not cooked a long time.
 I found my squid packaged at 99 Ranch and used 1/2 the package.
 It will cook for about 30 minutes. Medium heat. Clean up while you wait.
 If you cook it in a mount, it will not burn. Do not let it burn. If the heat is too high, lower it.
 Remove the sofrito from the pan and freeze for future use. I like to double the recipe and freeze 1/2 for future use.

Take the chicken and the chorizo and stir fry in more olive oil. Season with kosher salt and Spanish paprika.

I use Cantimpalitos because I like the smaller size over the chorizo bilbao. I found this at for those in Los Angeles or for those of you in Orange County. 
 Remove just the chicken when it cooks all the way through and reserve.
 Pork needs to cook well and I like the chorizo to be super cooked and slightly blackend. So I leave it in the pan and cook the shrimp with it. Shrimp cooks very quickly. Two or three minutes each side. It turns pink when cooked. Once cooked, remove and save for later.
The secret to paella is layering of flavors. DO NOT discard any of the oil that the meat and shrimp is cooked in.
This is usually the part where people start their sofrito but since ours is already done, just add it to the pan grease with 2 cups of bomba or valencia rice. Saute the rice for approximately 3 minutes so that it can soak up all the flavor left in the pan as well as the sofrito and chorizo grease.

Paella rice is different from Asian white rice because it is a special rice that really takes in flavor. Bomba rice is the authentic rice used in paella in Spain but Valencia rice will do the job as well, it just needs more liquid to cook and is about 1/2 the price. I found my rice at the two Spanish stores mentioned above.

Add 4 cups of chicken stock to the rice and saffron powder. Note that for a truly authentic flavor, I suggest using home made broth with no carrots. Carrots are used in canned and traditional stock but adds a sweetness to your paella that is not authentic but tasty. Spaniards do not add carrots to their chicken stock

Saffron will give your paella that nice yellow color but is not necessary. I use a saffron powder and throw it in with the chicken stock. Since saffron is an expensive ingredient most home cooked traditional Spanish paella stays brown in color and omits saffron all together. Spanish restaurants however, do use it for the color.

Simmer the paella on low medium heat. Watch for burning. I do not include muscles and clams but now would be the time to include those in the mix. Remember the center of the rice will cook first. You will need to watch it the first time you cook it by gently lifting the rice in the middle. The edges cook last. If you find that the middle is cooking too fast, lower the heat. Again this is trial and error and you will figure this out depending on your stove. But be very careful not to burn the rice. The burned rice will give a burned flavor to the entire dish, remember, the Spanish rice takes in flavor.

 Once the rice is cooked add frozen peas and start arranging chicken and shrimp around the pan.

Remove from heat and cover the pan with foil for 15-20 minutes and ENJOY.

Recipe is for 13 inch Paella pan (Serves approximately 4 people)
For the Sofrito:
1 Cup finely chopped green and red bell peppers
1 small/ medium Onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic minced
2 Grated Roma tomatoes
Squid 1/2 package or 1/4 lb
Extra Virgin Olive Oil


1/2 lb or 4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken thighs chopped into two inch pieces
1/2 lb  unpeeled large Shrimp
1/3 lb Cantimpalitos (Spanish style cocktail sausage) or Chorizo Bilbao

2 cups Valencia Rice/Bomba rice
4 cups or 2.5 cans of chicken stock/broth

saffron powder (optional)
Clams and muscles (optional)
frozen Peas

13 inch Paella Pan


Cook the shrimp in your paella pan with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. lightly salt Remove shrimp and set aside. DO NOT DISCARD oil.
Add more oil and cook the chicken lightly salt and paprika. Set aside.

saute and cook the bell peppers and onion for approximately 10 minutes on medium heat to allow browning. Grate the 2 tomatoes directly in the pan. Add your chopped squid and cook in a mount for 20-30 minutes more.

Add rice, stir and fry about 3 minutes, and add the chicken stock. Add the saffron powder

Do not move the paella. Add the muscles and clams while the rice is 1/2 cooked. Once the rice on the edges are cooked the dish is done. If the rice is still under cooked and broth has evaporated, add water or broth.

Turn off heat, cover the pan and let stand 15-20 minutes.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

This girl's tongue is a Fire

 So I never intended this blog to be a place for me to vent my confessions but here goes another one.

For those of you who know me, you know I have a big mouth and am a fighter for injustice. Today I was reflecting on James 3. 

JAMES Chapter 3 Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things.
See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men.

Then later today, I got into a little bit of an issue with my big mouth and sensitive heart and I wrongly accused someone of something. My first instance was to confront this person on Facebook because I thought they were shooting at me with a remark they made on their wall.

I thought I used my better judgement but simply just sending a strong email. I read it twice to make sure the shrew in me did not come out. But of course, it did. And here I was patting myself on the back for not starting a cat fight on Facebook. 

Then the awkward moment you realize you were being an idiot and got it all WRONG. Man, I just read James 3 THIS MORNING. Harsh lesson learned. Thank you Lord.

When the person responded, I realized that I got it all wrong. It just so happened that three minutes after I posted a picture, this person also posted a statement on their wall and I assumed that it was targeted toward me.

My husband's response was "CHICS". And really, this happens so much when I deal with other females. Why do we as females take offense so easily? 

I remember a retreat I went to where the speaker said, we need to grow thicker skin like bark and be strong. We need to empower one another and if we all grow thicker bark and become strong trees, we become a forest and great things happen.

Tonight I realize I must grow thicker bark and not jump to conclusions. I also need to reflect on why I thought such statements were targeted toward me and why I was offended. So while I think some more and really get to the root of my stupidity and pray to be more grounded in the WORD as I write an apology email, remember that words and our tongues need constant taming. 

Until next time.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Fortune Cookie Valentine and Printable

 So today we have another Valentine printable I made for all of you to download and print.

You will need a box of individually wrapped fortune cookies. I got mine at the 99 Cent Store. Each box has 12 so each Valentine will cost you less than 9 Cents each!

Print out the printables below, cut on the lines and voila!. Fold the printout in half and staple shut right on the fortune cookie wrapper. Just print, cut. staple. If you want to be super fancy, dip each cookie in chocolate and re-wrap.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Valentine's Printable

I love Valentine's Day. I am probably late sharing all this so, there will be a stream of posts. Here is a Corinthian's 13 free printable I created. Just right click and save on your computer.

Loomatic- Loom band Valentines 5 free Printables

So, I bought a Rainbow Loom for my daughter and it turns out it was too difficult for her. So like any crafter, I went away on my loom. So now there are bracelets and other loomables that I decided to give as Valentines. Here are some of the printables I found online.

Visit Kori over at Paper & Pigtails for a cute and colorful Loom Band Valentine.

 Mique at Thirty Hand Made Days has an IL-LOOM_INATING printable just for us.
Jen at Heyjenrenee posted the coolest printables.

 Thank you Rebecca for not one but two Loomentine options.

Until Next time,