Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Inspiring Blog Award

Thank you so very much to Stacy Sews and Schools for awarding me a Very Inspiring Blogger Award! I am very honored!

 As with any blog award, there comes a set of rules:
1.  Display award image on your blog page.
2.  Link back to the person who nominated you.
3.  State 7 facts about yourself.
4.  Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award.
5.  Notify the bloggers that they have been nominated and link to their posts.

So, here are 7 facts about me to help you get to know me. 

1. I use to sing in choirs in high school and college. (In fact some friends are trying to get me to sing
    in our church's worship band right now. lol)

2. I'm of Irish, Scottish, English, Cherokee, Apache, Jewish, French and German descent. Basically
    I'm a mutt. ;)

3. I started a Spanish program for preschoolers my senior year of college. I taught 2-4 year olds
    Spanish and loved it!

4. Ever since I studied abroad in Spain, I've wanted to live there. There's always retirement, right?

5. I am terrified of eels. I think it all started with Disney's The Little Mermaid. I loved that movie,
    but the eels have always scared me. I'm afraid they'll electrocute me. I can't even stand they way
    they look. CREEPY!

6. My husband and I met on eHarmony! It really works! I can't believe how compatible my husband
    and I are. lol

7. I play video games and read comic books. I also LOVE Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter.  I'm secretly a nerd. Shhh!  Don't tell anyone.

Coming up with 7 things was harder than I thought. ha! 

Now to nominate blogs that inspire me! I know some people don't like this sort of thing, but I think it's great to know that someone finds you inspiring!  In no particular order, here they are!:)

1) Momastery
2)Stacy Sews and Schools  (I know she was already nominated, but she truly inspires me! )
3)Heart & Habit
4)Remain Calm, Have a Cupcake
5)Susan's Coffee Chronicles
6) Bean, P & Me
8)hhoagland - A Navy Wife vs. Fifty Shades of Chicken
9) Very Busy Mamá
10)Mami's Time Out
11)Notas de Mamá
13)Thrifty Decorating
14)Mama and Baby Love
15)A Little Unhinged

There you have it. Now go find some inspiration! <3

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Libros and Bedtime.

Since February is the month of love I thought I'd share something Liam loves. Books. Or as we call them, Libros. Here are his current favorites that we read at least once a day and  always before bed.

  1. La Tortuga Azul (The Blue Turtle) - This book has been his favorite for a while now. It's about a turtle that arrives first for a picnic even though he's the slowest. I found this book at Goodwill when I was pregnant. I'm always on the look out for books in Spanish and have lucked out a few times at our local thrift stores. 
  2. Tortillitas Para Mamá and Other Nursery Rhymes- This book is in English and Spanish and we found it at Barnes and Nobles. It contains lots of Hispanic nursery rhymes and songs. Tortillitas para Mamá is probably Liam's favorite thyme. He loves to tap his hand on his leg to the beat. 
  3. Mi Amor Por ti/ My love for You- This book was a Christmas present from Liam's Abuelita. He absolutely loves to look at all the animals in the book. 
  4. Los Pollitos Dicen/ The Baby Chicks are Singing - We sing this one more than read it. It's a cute little song and Liam insists on turning the pages.

 While on the subject of books and bedtime, I also want to share our families little routine.

When it's time for bed my husband takes Liam into his room and reads him his favorite books in our old vintage rocker. Then he says, "Ahora, cepillate los dientes, Liam." (Now, brush your teeth, Liam).  I'm usually sitting on the couch taking a much needed break at this point and I see Liam shoot out of his room and into his bathroom. After Daddy helps Liam brush his teeth it's my turn to take over. I sing Liam a lullaby in Spanish and then an Irish lullaby while we rock together. I've done this since he was first born and will continue to do it for as long as he lets me!

This is from this past November, but it was the most recent picture of the two of them in the rocking chair reading.

The Spanish lullaby is called "Duerme Niña". Of course, I change it to niño. I tried to find a YouTube video of it, but none of them were the right version, so here are the lyrics.
Duerme Mi Niña         
Duérmete mi niña,
duérmete mi amor,
duérmete pedazo,
de mi corazón.

Esta niña linda,
que nació de día,
quiere que la lleven,
a la dulcería.

Esta niña linda,
que nació de noche,
quiere que la lleven,
a pasear en coche.

The Irish lullaby is "Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ra". I remember my mom singing it to me when I was little. Here is the link to a YouTube video of it. I love hearing this old Irishman sing it! 

An Irish Lullaby (Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ra)
Over in Killarney,
Many years ago,
Me mother sang a song to me
In tones so sweet and low.
Just a simple little ditty,
In her good old Irish way,
And I'd give the world if she could sing
That song to me this day.

Hush, now don't you cry!
That's an Irish lullaby.

When Pablo isn't home (which happens quite often even without a deployment) Liam watches videos of Daddy reading his favorite books on the iPad.Then I read him a few more, brush his teeth and sing. We try to keep the same routine even when Daddy isn't home. <3

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

How Do I Love Thee?

Number 43 from Sonnets From the Portuguese

By Elizabeth Barrett Browning


How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints!---I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!---and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

I love this poem. I fell in love with the work of Elizabeth Barrett Browning during a high school literature class. I chose her for the topic of my author presentation in 10th grade or maybe she chose me. The passion and strength she shows in her sonnets speaks to me. Whenever Valentine's Day rolls around I always think of Sonnets From the Portuguese. So, I thought it fitting to share one of my favorites.

Once again I'm spending Valentine's Day without my husband. We have actually never been together on Valentine's Day since we met 4 years ago. We have the Navy to thank for that. ;)

It's quite alright though, because I have a handsome, young date for the occasion. This little charmer right here.  I may even let him stay up past 8pm and have grapes after dinner.

 Happy Valentine's Day!!

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Monday, February 11, 2013

6 Meals in 2 Hours {The Joy of Slow Cooker Freezer Cooking}

I love my slow cooker. It is the most used appliance next to the microwave in the Rivas household. I also love dumping food from my freezer into the slow cooker, turning it on and then going about my day until dinnertime. I never knew this was possible until I stumbled upon Mama and Baby Love while I was pregnant. I was looking for easy freezer meals to make so that we would have food ready to go during the first few weeks after Liam was born. (It ended up working out beautifully! )

When I found the Freezer Cooking with Slow Cookers Recipes post I knew immediately that this was for me. As I said, I love my slow cooker and the idea of having everything ready to go was perfect. I like the idea of freezer cooking, but I just do not have the time (or the dishes) to spend an entire weekend cooking. Yes, it's all done, but then I have to put it in the oven a second time. ha!

Slow cooker freezer cooking is basically prepping everything, throwing it in a bag, labeling it and then throwing it in the freezer until you need it! My method of freezer cooking goes a little something like this :
  1. Write the name of the recipe, cooking time and the date on a gallon size freezer bag.
  2. Chop any vegetables needed for the recipe, put them in the bag.
  3. Throw in the meat
  4. Toss in anything extra. Seasonings, spices, tomato paste, etc.
  5. Zip it up, give it a good shake and squeeze to mix everything together. 
  6. Move on to the next recipe! 
The day before you want to enjoy your meal just place it in the refrigerator overnight and pop it in the slow cooker the next morning. You could also leave it on the counter a few hours before placing it in the slow cooker. It's okay if it's still frozen in places. Easy peasy!

A couple weeks ago I did 6 meals in 2 hours and that was with stopping to give Liam lunch. That is what I love about this! As requested on my Facebook page, here are the recipes I used that day.

  • Beef Tips and Gravy from The Country Cook. I served this over mashed potatoes with a side of peas and mushrooms. 

  • Stephanie's Goulash from Mama and Baby Love. This is served over egg noodles that you cook that day before serving dinner. I also recommend the Chicken Curry at this link. It's delicious and gets made pretty frequently around here.

  • Greek Chicken from Tone it Up! Blog. I used chicken breasts for this recipe instead of a small whole chicken and I served it over couscous, because that's what I had!

That same day I also made 2 dozen egg cups for breakfast. I did a dozen spinach, mushroom and a dozen sausage and mozzarella. They are basically little crustless quiches. These are great for popping into the microwave for a quick breakfast. Those recipes can be found below.


To freeze these, I just wrapped each one in tinfoil and then placed them in a gallon size bag labeled either Spinach or Sausage.  Place them in the refrigerator the night before to defrost them. The next morning wrap in a paper towel and microwave for 30 seconds without the tinfoil, of course. ;)

There you go.  A few breakfasts and dinners that are easy and delicious!

I think most slow cooker recipes can be adapted to freeze. So, if you'd like some more recipes, check out my Slow Cooker board on Pinterest!

Let me know if you have any questions! <3

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Surprise, Surprise.

  I seriously got the biggest surprise ever this week and it wasn't my husband getting to come home for a few days before deployment. Well, I guess that was the first surprise. The second one will have to be revealed after I tell this little tale.

My husbands ship pulled in this past Sunday for a few days before leaving again on deployment on Friday (tomorrow)! He had Monday and Tuesday off and then duty Wednesday before liberty ended Thursday, so our little family made the best of them. Dinners out, lots of Daddy/Son playtime and just enjoying every minute together!

On our way to get Daddy Monday morning!
Home after 3 weeks.

Then Wednesday rolls around. A friend posted a news article on Facebook saying, "Breaking: Deployment Delayed." Then more news stations started posting the same information. No one believed it. It was 2 days away! There was no way it was delayed.

My husband was on duty, so I couldn't ask him if it was true until he called me. He called about 30 minutes after the articles had been released and said that there was no change to the schedule. As he sat in the hanger bay talking to me there were cranes moving extra pallets of food onto the ship in preparation for deployment.  Then the Captain came over the 1MC to make an announcement. The hubby said he'd call me right back when the Captain finished.  Those 4 minutes seemed to drag on forever. 

When he called back the second time I could hear the happiness in his voice before he even got out the good news. It was true! Deployment had been delayed! There was no word on how long until they'd leave again, but at that moment it did not matter. All I knew is that I'd been given more time with my husband...more time as a family.

Our future is uncertain. As a Navy family we're always on call. I'm learning that more and more now. All we can do is cherish every moment together and live like he deploys tomorrow.

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Friday, February 1, 2013

Sólo Sentimientos.

 Sólo Sentimientos.

Para ti, mi niñito extraordinario, no hay palabras.
Sólo sentimientos.
Nada puede describir el amor que tengo para tí.
Sólo tu lo puedes sentir y tu eres el único que lo puede sentir.
Tu eres el sentimiento.
Tu eres el amor.
Tu eres mía y yo soy tuyo.
Te amo con todo que es dentro de mí y más.
Con el poder del sol y la fuerza del mar, Te amo.
Cada brillante, hermosa mañana y los grises también,
Te amaré con este amor que no tiene palabras.
Sólo sentimientos.
Para siempre.

Only Feelings.

For you, my amazing baby boy, there are no words.
Only feelings.
Nothing can describe the love I have for you.
Only you can feel it, you are the only one who feels it.
You are the feeling.
You are the love.
You are mine and I am yours.
I love you with all that is within me and more.
With the power of the sun and the force of the sea, I love you.
Each bright, beautiful morning and the grey ones too, 
I will love you with this love that has no words.
Only feelings.


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