do these faces look like the faces of unhappy kids?

how about this?

dancing with the sisters

and this?

more dancin'

i’ve mentioned my delightful (often mischievous yet), charming kids before and shared how my 3yr-old, second born has cerebral palsy. she uses a walker to get around which draws a lot of curious stares (not glances but stares…) when we’re out. i wasn’t sure how to feel or address the looks at first then i realized it’s natural to be curious and it’s a great teachable moment for my child and the passerby. but i’ll share the reasons why in another post.

i’ve gotten pretty good at discerning between genuinely curious stares and pity stares. you know the kind, the people who see my daughter in her walker and let out an audible “oooooooohhhh….” with an obvious pity face, sometimes even pointing. some will cover it up by adding things like “she’s so cute” or “look at her go with her walker”. no one’s ever had the cajones to voice what he/she’s really thinking…until last week that is…

we were at st louis children’s hospital (a children’s hospital of all places…) and my three girls and i had just boarded an elevator with a man and woman (unacquainted with one another). the woman let out the usual audible ‘oooohhhhh’ then followed it by saying “that’s so saaaaad!”

*blink*

my composed internal monologue: “did she really just say that aloud?”
my ‘ethnic’ internal monologue: “oh no she didn’t just say that about my baby girl!”

what i did:

looked her right in the eye…smiled as friendly as i could…gently placed my hand on her shoulder and said “it’s not sad: this is her life.”

in hindsight i could have said many more things but 1 – our elevator had reached our destination and 2 – inwardly i felt flustered and didn’t want to say something rude in response to her…honesty.

now that i’ve had time to collect my thoughts, i’m really not upset – in fact, i’m glad it happened. i feel better prepared to address that assumption from now on. the assumption that our (family’s) life is “sad” and unfulfilled because of her disability. is life how we thought it would be? no – but whose life is? quite frankly – maybe it’s just our family – but we do quite a bit of things that most families do – just not as frequently or as quickly. all my kids: play, visit parks, swim, cook, the 3yr olds are even learning to recognize letters/sounds/numbers, bike ride, take trips and the list goes on…

everyone’s life will include struggles and successes. not all struggles are “sad” – tough maybe, but not necessarily sad. often times it is our struggles that build character, deepens appreciation, and broadens our understanding of things. these collective experiences are also what makes each of us interesting and useful to one another as our lives intersect.

so take it from these faces – their lives are far from ‘sad’…on the contrary – these kids know how to enjoy life.

Posted by: zenmamajo | February 28, 2012

What’s in a Purse?

some women gotta have their shoes…

image from: foter.com

others adore fancy dresses…

image from: charlottesvilleweddingblog.com

and then there are…”purse investors“…*haha*

(i happen to love food presentation although i’m not particularly talented in this area. fortunately i have a very easy to please husband (and kids) so it doesn’t take much to impress *haha*.)

back to the purse investors though. i’m always curious about what’s inside people’s purses, particularly large, over-sized, mary poppins-like purses.

i took an inventory of my purse tonight and here’s what i found:

the ‘main’ pouch has my: wallet, meds, calendar, address book, lotion, patch the pirate cd, pony tail holder, hair clip, red envelope gift from my mom’s friend for our youngest (read more about red envelopes here). i’m most proud of my ‘bag of fun’ (aka: pencils, pens, erasers, color pens, and crayons for the kids).

the small outer pocket has: broken mini brush/mirror combo, pink mini hair comb (is that what that’s called?), dental floss (which i *never* use when i’m out…not sure why that’s in there…), loose change, sticker, lip balm, stolen library pencil (i love those little half pencils), spare key (which i’ve totally had to use), and my favorite: spray hand sanitizers.

in other words: i have a ‘mom’s purse’ *haha*.

so – what’s in your purse?

what was that? you’re a man? don’t be shy…men have purses – they’re called: pockets. i swear a man’s pockets can put mary poppins’ purse to shame…

Posted by: zenmamajo | February 17, 2012

Feed da Freeze: 40 Breakfast Burritos in No Time

hectic weekday mornings? tired of toasted waffles and valley oat bars for breakfast? would you love to grab something nutritious, hot, and homemade but just don’t have the time (or energy)?

image from: bellabunandco.blogspot.com

this might be the post for you.

we bought an upright freezer a couple of years ago and i *love* to ‘feed the freeze’. one of my favorite feeds are these breakfast burritos. i know what you’re thinking “freeze eggs?” yup. have you ever noticed how many frozen breakfast eggs items are sold at your local grocers?

now i’ll admit – the egg consistency is a little…spongy when reheated – but i promise it’s delicious (and i have a very picky sensitive palate).

please don’t be intimidated by the number of ingredients. if that’s a turn off – simply eliminate everything except eggs (or eggs and cheese). (this will also dramatically cut down on prep time. might sound bland but anything other than a cold piece of toast or a bowl of cereal is delightful on a rushed week day morning…)

oh – and i started adding cilantro to my eggs a few years ago and loooooooove it! but if you feel that it is, in my 6 yr old’s words: “yuck” then, again: feel free to adjust! this post isn’t so much about the recipe as it is about saving you and your family time!

i also forgot to stage the requisite ‘ingredient foto’ but i did get it when everything was cut up…i hope to get better at preparing for these posts! *grin*

ingredients:
– 36 eggs
– 40 burrito wraps (this is a must – tortilla wraps are too small…oh and i also like to check sodium content – i buy ones that contain 320mg of sodium vs. 520 mg)
– 1 red bell pepper
– 1 yellow bell pepper (can use green – i just like to splurge for these)
– 1 white onion (or any onion)
– 2 bunches of cilantro (yes..bunches…didn’t i say i love cilantro? *hahah* seriously – feel free to omit/substitute – i bet basil would taste great)
– 2 bunches of spinach (they cook way down)
– 2 bundles of green onions (i love onions…)
– cheese
– 16 sausage patties (i like jones dairy farm – they’re msg and nitrate free and as healthy as sausage comes. plus they’re pre-cooked and always on sale at one of our grocers).
– salt/pepper to taste

optional:
– freezer bags or containers
– 40 paper towel sheets
– sharpie
– labels (i use blue painters tape as labels)

wash and chop everything. i use kitchen shears to chop the green onions and cilantro – great job for older kids. i even use the cilantro stem but leave the green onion bulbs.

time saver: cut the spinach into thirds while the tie/rubber band is still attached. then wash and rinse (several times if necessary…or just buy bagged if you don’t mind the extra cost and to save even more time).

money saver: did you know if you push those little white bulbs into some dirt that more green onions grow? yup – just snip them down when you need some and they’ll keep sprouting!

saute the onions and bell peppers. i like to cook the onions for a few minutes first so they saute rather than steam (adding the bell peppers at first would cause them to steam…although, i don’t know if this really matters since there’s going to be so much in the pan by the time i’m done…). i add the bell peppers to the side for a couple of minutes.

then toss together and cook a couple more minutes.

add cilantro, green onions and salt and pepper to taste. (i know…that’s a looooot of herbs…love my morning roughage *ha*).

add spinach (i had to do it in two batches because of the size of my pan).

cover so it will cook down.

meanwhile, crack and whip the eggs.

stir the cooked spinach and add the second batch now. only cook until it’s wilted.

give it a few good stirs. adjust seasoning as necessary.

pour it in to another dish to cool.

dump the veggie juice.

pour all the eggs into heated skillet (yes – all 38 eggs – trust me – they’ll cook).

let it cook for a few minutes then give it a good stir – be sure to scrap the bottom.

cook for a few more minutes and stir again.

meanwhile, warm the sausages up and layout the burrito wraps (be sure they are at room temp or warm them first so they’ll wrap without breaking).

sprinkle cheese and chopped sausage on top (turn off eggs when done. stir occasionally to cool quicker).

add veggies…

add eggs…

now it’s time to wrap!

how to wrap a burrito
these instructions apply to rolling egg rolls as well.

be sure the food is centered and not near the edge. oh: and resist the urge to overstuff (talking to myself here…).

fold the bottom up, then pull it down against the food so it is snug (the tuck is important so things stay together. be sure none of the food pokes out the sides).

fold the sides towards the center.

and roll the rest up!

now wrap it in a paper towel using the same rolling technique. why a paper towel? couple reasons: 1 – it keeps the burritos from sticking to one another during storage and 2 – you can just pull one from the freezer and put it directly in to the microwave without a plate. just be sure to remove the paper towel immediately otherwise it will stick once it cools.

voila! done!

it took about 40 minutes to make (the prep takes the longest…so – less veggies…less prep…more minutes in your life!).

i made a batch of 32 egg and cheese burritos later that same day and it only took 20 min. seriously. so worth the effort…mmmm.

next i packed everything. i’ll include how i pack and label because this method saves me the most time.

first i put about 10 in a large zip lock for my husband to take to work (he likes to eat breakfast at work) and put the rest in some large freezer containers i have (zip locks would work just fine but this just stacks nicer in the freezer = more space).

once packed – i pulled out my trusty tape and sharpie…

tore off the number of labels i needed, placed them on the table and wrote the titles…

then peel, stick and done!

*phew*! okay…seriously…i think it took me longer to put this post together than it does to make 40 burritos. for real! *hahah*

on those rushed mornings, just grab a burrito, nuke it for a minute 25 (maybe shorter/longer depending on your microwave) and you’re fueled up for the day!

do you like to feed the freeze? what are some of your favorite breakfast items to freeze?

happy cooking! and happy eating!

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