Teriyaki Beef Stir-Fry

I LOVE when I find a new recipe that I can’t get enough of and end up craving even the next day after making it. I like to buy meat when it goes on sale at the local grocery stores with the “Manager Sale” sticker on it. I have gotten meat for half off or more usually. It’s always hit and miss what kind of meat you will find there, but I have gotten fresh salmon, ribeye steaks, hamburger, turkey burger, and more! Its awesome and makes my day for sure when I find deals like this. I will buy whatever I can and then freeze for later use. I had some beef that needed to be used and so I searched for some Teriyaki Beef recipes and tried a couple different ones and then FINALLY found one that hit the spot after a few alterations!

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This easily makes enough for 4 people and I would serve over some brown rice also to make it go a little further.

Here it is!

Whisk together and set aside

1/2 cup pineapple 100% juice (I just used a can of crushed pineapple in 100% juice)
1/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
4 minced garlic cloves
1 tsp ginger powder
1 TBSP cornstarch **add very last after everything is already whisked together)

1 lb beef steak (can’t remember the variety) cut into bite sized chunks
2 cups broccoli florets
1 medium onion chopped
1 green pepper chopped
1 red pepper chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms

In large nonstick skillet stir fry bite sized beef chunks in olive oil until little to no pink left. Then set aside and keep warm.

Add broccoli, peppers, and onion to pan and stir fry for about 4 mins until onions are looking a little transparent (I did add a little more olive oil). Then add mushrooms and stir fry for about 2 mins more. Return beef to pan. Stir in liquid mixture and bring to a boil. Cook and stir until sauce is desired thickness. Serve over rice or rice on the side. **If you like extra sauce then double the liquid recipe.

This was so yummy and really easy. One of those great meals to have when friends come over b/c it doesn’t take a lot of time to prep or make. Hopefully you will enjoy as much as I did!

**Things I am grateful for today…

NAPS–yesterday was a rough one with my kids not getting naps and I paid for it around dinner time last night so today that was a definite must on the list. I feel much better after having a nap and I’m sure my little ones will be much happier this afternoon too.πŸ™‚

Laughter–Last night when my hubby got home from work, its normally around 8pm, he and I and our oldest were hanging out sitting on the couch and my little girl was being so goofy and kept trying to tickle my neck over and over. And she was being sneaky and tricky about it, and we were all belly laughing just at how hard she was laughing and it just feels so good to laugh like that. It’s like it takes weight off my shoulders and makes any worries not seem so big. True, real, laughter is powerful and good for the soul.

Love is in the air

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Yesterday my hubby and I celebrated our 6th anniversary together. In the past years we have always done summer sales for work and our anniversary (if I was out with him) was basically the only day he would take off in the summer. We would have a friend watch the kids and we would go do some fun activity such as shopping, pedicure, massage, etc and then go out to dinner. It has always been a day I really look forward to especially for the type of work he has done. It was nice to have that day together. Well this year being in a different job we were still able to keep the tradition alive. He took the day off and we had some awesome friends who were able to watch the kids while we went and walked around some little shops and then went out for a wonderful dinner.

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(my two handsome dates)

This year I had 2 dates. One being my handsome hubby and the other being my 6 month old baby boy. He was such a little trooper and just tagged along with us. During our dinner at this romantic restaurant, the night started out with the little guy making farting/spitting sounds non stop (he just learned how to do this) and I couldn’t keep from laughing, b/c yes I am immature that way and I just couldn’t get over all these people trying to enjoy their dinner and listening to those sounds.

Then about half way into the appetizers and breads the clouds had covered and we were sitting outside and I felt a splash and drips on me, and the hubby said “Oh, it must be rain.” I looked around and saw nothing and felt nothing else, and then looked over at him and realized we had just been freaking POOPED on! HA! Seriously?! Not a tree around and not a bird in site and we were literally about 2 feet from the inside door, so what were the chances? I guess pretty good knowing my history of getting pooped on by birds! I have to say I really am not fond of birds and I believe it stems back from getting pooped on as a kid in my grandparents hay loft in their barn by a pigeon and then also my cousin had pet birds and I was deathly afraid of those things swooping at my head and clawing my shoulders while walking around. Still sends shivers up my spine! Poop in my hair, on my clothes and on my forehead was really not the “spice” I was looking for!πŸ™‚ But thankfully the baby was with b/c I had baby wipes to help clean up! So all was good from then on out.

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(the gorgeous view from our table)

 

Its fun for me to reflect on the past years and to see how far we have came and all the things that have changed, including the changes in myself. I love how marriage can truly mold a person and each year the changes are significant–hopefully for the betterπŸ˜‰ My hubby is such a great example to me in so many ways. I am so grateful that I can be with this man for eternity!
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As we were driving, I had an idea that I brought up to him and we decided that we are going to plan one thing each anniversary year to do with just the two of us. Kind of a bucket list type plan. And on our anniversary we will choose for the following year. Almost as a tribute or a rekindling thing thats just for the two of us! This year I think we mutually decided we are going to plan to make a trip back to Taiwan to go see where he served his church mission for 2 years. I am so excited b/c I have always wanted to go and see all the cool things I have heard him talk about.

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(sunset drive home)

OPERATION-Get Mommy Back! (The idea)

 

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(after taking these pics, I sat there looking at them on my phone and it officially hit me that I have a lot of kids & not only that but they are all really little!πŸ™‚ it’s funny how you see yourself differently in a picture/video than you see yourself in real life.)

Lately I have been struggling with numerous things but especially with my role of being a mother to my 3 beautiful children. I’m sure it has been partially due to a lack of sleep but I had been noticing each day was getting worse and worse, and I would literally wake up already looking forward to bedtime for the kids. My prayers (when said) would consist of asking for help to be patient and loving with my kids but without fail the time where I was losing my patience was happening earlier and earlier in the day. The vicious cycle was literally eating me alive. I always felt guilty but I was at a point where I was just giving up quicker and quicker.

I feel for me that to really want to change, things have to get pretty bad before I end up wanting to do a major over-haul. This happened.

I am a pretty proactive positive person for the most part but I admit I have been in a funk with my motherly duties for a few months now, and like I said each day I could literally see it slipping away from me. So I hit a wall and broke down to my sister-in-law, (had already minorly broke down to my sister, mom, mother-in-law, and random friends before as well) but as I sat there mass texting my sis-in-law, venting my feelings and emotions, and crying while texting b/c I knew things had gotten really bad, I felt trapped. And then as soon as I got it all out it was like the answers were unfolding immediately after the texting fiasco was over. I realized…

THIS CAN CHANGE! It’s all up to me! The power is in my hands and I need to take control!

All this time I have been trying to “fix” my kids and trying to figure out what is wrong with them/me and our relationship.

The whole time it has been me!

So that night I was up late making a plan to change. I named it “OPERATION-get mommy back!” I wrote out my rough draft and then also ran to the store and got some supplies so that I could start first thing the next morning.

I decided I was going to devote an entire week completely to my kids and then after the week assess how things went and what I could change and tweak. My days had recently been consisting of me doing everything possible to keep them busy with other people and activities so I could have a “break” but what I was getting out of that was 2 very cranky, sassy, ungrateful kids and a very mean mom. I would be in tears most days at some point b/c I was so frustrated with what was happening.

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the plan

I could hardly sleep that night because I was so excited for our new adventure together! I was also assuming that it would take a few days for things to settle in and for the kids to get used to their “new” mom. Remember this was going to be a COMPLETE transformation for mom and for our days. Updates on our progress to come…

Boogie Board

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Have you ever had a child who LOVES to color? I mean coloring could be his/her absolute favorite thing to do? Where you as the mom, puts a bucket of crayons and markers out on the kitchen table with a big stack of paper and no matter the time of day you find her there? OR you find her in her room, in your car, in the bathroom, with beautiful, colorful, unique masterpieces all over everything BUT the paper.

Well… my oldest who is now 5 years old seriously cannot contain herself for her love of coloring. I can’t count the number of times me or my hubby has taken her colors away b/c she has decided to color on something other than the paper. I at first thought it was just a phase but I was wrong, very wrong. She has colored on her body, her bed, the walls, the furniture, the whole backseat of my car, the floor, her toys, the windows, literally you name is and she has colored on it…multiple times even. In fact its funny b/c just today we were taking out our JENGA game (one of my favorites) and stacking the blocks and I found her name written on many of the blocks and I have no idea when this occurred.

With this little “situation” we have here in our household, I hate taking away something that I know she really loves, so I have found a few solutions. One which is amazing but somewhat turns expensive especially if they like to color a lot, and that is the Crayola Color Wonder markers and books. I actually love them too. The markers don’t color on anything but the special paper, but they do dry out somewhat quickly and are a little pricey if you are buying often. They also offer other Color Wonder products that I’m sure are great too for your little artists!

The most recent thing I have discovered though is the Boogie Board. This thing is amazing for the little ones and so light and durable that you can bring it anywhere with you! It was around $25 on Amazon which I thought was a major deal, given I needed a stress free solution for my “situation”. If you haven’t already, check these things out! They would be great for me as a mom too for all the lists I love to make!

**what I’m grateful for today…

familiar friendly strangers. I go to the same few grocery stores all the time. my routine usually consists of going to the gym, then for the sake of saving myself another trip of loading all the kids into the car I stop at a few places on the way home from the gym. This is something I usually regret b/c its close to lunch time and all of us end up being cranky and hungry, but a few days ago I was in the grocery store and this little sarcastic old man started talking to my kids who were at the time throwing fits. He distracted them long enough for me to hurry and get the rest of my produce and then he ended up being in line behind us too when checking out. At the time I didn’t think much of it but this man is definitely someone I would love to sit down and have a glass of cold lemonade and a good conversation and laugh with. After distracting my kids he yelled out “where’s the corn?!” And i’m assuming he is a regular familiar face there. I walked away chuckling and thinking to myself how much I have a special spot in my heart for elderly people. So… fast forward a few days…I was in the same grocery store, standing in exactly the same spot, getting exactly the same thing (yummy fresh peaches) and this little man walks in and starts talking to my kids once again. He asks them “Hey kid! don’t I know you?” then he realized he really did recognize us. We made a few little comments back and forth and I left the store once again with a smile on my face. This man probably has no idea that his friendly, outgoing nature has made my day now twice. It makes me want to be more friendly to those around me. I now feel like I have a new friend and will definitely be immediately happy if I ever run into this man again.

 

Losing a loved one

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A few months ago we came to find out that my grandma was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and probably has had it for awhile. She decided to give chemotherapy a shot and see if it would get rid of the cancer. After going through a few treatments they checked and found out that the cancer wasn’t responding to the chemo, so since then she has just been trying to manage the pain.

I was recently able to make a trip out to see her and spend time with her and I was over come with so many emotions. I have never had someone close pass away before so the whole experience for me has been a whirlwind of emotion. I know without a doubt that I will get to see her and the rest of my loved ones again after this life, but why is that not enough? Why do I still feel so fearful and upset and sad? My anxiety level even just thinking about all the what if’s, could haves, and so on goes through the roof.

Since a young age I haven’t liked the idea of dying. I remember watching a show on TV around 10 years old about this teenager who had died but came back and was hanging out with his same friends in school and he didn’t realize/accept that he was dead. It was a light hearted, comical youth show but to me it was so troubling. I would go to sleep at night feeling restless and short of breath just at the thought of the after life and the fear of the unknown. There are so many unknowns and I think that is the hardest part for me.

This experience with my grandmother has given me a different outlook on life and how I want to continue to live from here on out. It is so easy to get caught up in the day to day things and when I look back on my days I want to see that there has been meaning and purpose to my days–each and every one of them, whether it be helping out a friend, or being a good wife or mother, being kind to a stranger in passing, spending quality positive time with loved ones, etc. Family has and always will be so important to me, but now more than ever I am realizing that life is so short and time goes by so fast, and we don’t have control over what is in store for us, so I want to make sure I take full advantage of all the little moments. I truly want to live with no regrets. This isn’t something that happens over night, this will take practice and attention but I am no longer going to just live, I am going to live with purpose and meaning.

We may not be in control of the path our life takes BUT we can be in control of the smoothness of the ride with our perspective and attitude and our pro activeness to do good. Again this kind of goes back to having a heart of gratitude (earlier post). Life is what we make of it and no matter what happens it can be a good one if we try to see the positive in all things. My grandma has and continues to live a long full life. She has many people who love her very much. I hurt inside knowing the pain she is going through mentally and physically, but the Lord loves her and is watching out for her and I myself need to have faith that whatever happens is out of anyones control. I have so many fun memories of this grandma and as great as it would be to have even more, I truly cherish those memories I do have of the times we have gotten to spend together.

*some things I want to remember…
-looking at old photos every time I was with her and talking about family past and present.
-her cooking! I always loved when she would come and stay with us as kids while my parents went away b/c she always made us whatever we wanted and it was homemade and so yummy! my favorite was the extra thick cut bacon every morning!πŸ™‚ we always joked that us kids gained 10 pounds while grandma came to stay b/c of her good cooking
-her southern accent is truly one of the best memories. she has a thick southern accent and my siblings and I would talk in our best southern accents for a good week or so after seeing her.
-her sarcastic, spicy humor. now as an adult I see where my dad got his humor. he jokes around constantly just like his mom. Love this about her.
-her kindness. she truly is one of the sweetest, loving ladies I will ever know. She would help any family member with anything, sometimes too much to a fault, but I love how selfless she is, especially after all she has been through.
-the trip my sister and I took out to see her and we took her to get her very first pedicure and manicure. she loved it and was so funny and couldn’t sit still so they had to keep re doing her polish. she was so nervous at first but afterwards kept saying how much she couldn’t wait to go back.
-watching her play with, hold, and rock our babies (her great-grandchildren). it was so special to be there and see her loving on the little babies.

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Β **Today I am grateful for…

group texting. I know many people find is really annoying but I love to group text my family and connect with each other even though we are all spread out across the US. Being so far from family now, I often get lonely and homesick for my family; close and extended and with being able to group text, it really feels like we are all together hanging out. I love it.

cereal. the days where I am feeling lazy and not wanting to make anything at all but I’m still so hungry, grabbing a yummy bowl of cereal is the best thing ever, and thankfully today I had both cereal and milk in the house to enjoy.πŸ™‚

memorial day. I have great memories as a kid going around to different cemeteries with one of my grandmas and cousins and my grandma would tell us all about the people whose graves we were visiting. I love family history and genealogy and truly love that we can have a special day to remember all loved ones and soldiers who have passed away.

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Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

One of my favorite, favorite things to do is to create in the kitchen. In the past I have purchased quite a bit of Chia seeds b/c I will get on a kick of wanting to venture out and try some new things. So in our many moves I keep bringing this bulk bag of Chia seeds with me and haven’t really found much I wanted to do with them, until now! I recently discovered a recipe online of this delicious Chocolate Chia Pudding! Its super easy and soooo yummy! It reminds me of “boxed Pillsbury chocolate cake batter” (which I love to eat whenever I have a reason to make a boxed cake mix) I am all about healthy alternatives that I don’t have to feel guilty about eating or about feeding to my kids.

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(note…I am not a photographer whatsoever and all pics you see on my blog have mostly been taken with my iPhone)Β 

Here is my tweaked version of the recipe….

1 cup Original Almond Milk

10 small pitted dates

1/4 cup chia seeds

3 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 tsp vanilla

pinch of salt

**I put all of this in my Vita-mix and blended it like crazy until smooth. I always taste test and add more of whatever I think it needs to make it fit my taste buds. I promise you will LOVE this and your kids will too! I then put what’s left of my taste testing into a small container and stick it in the refrigerator for later. The one thing I have noticed with this though is when I go to eat it later, I only need a couple of spoonfuls to satisfy my chocolate craving. This recipe definitely makes the favorite list for me and my family!

Gratitude

I have read and heard so many times over the years about ways to help to keep a grateful heart and this has always been a big deal to me but with the craziness of life and little ones my days all seem to blur together sometimes.

I would LOVE to be able to keep a current journal but for me journaling is catching up on 10 pages worth of writing once every 6 months! It’s so crazy how time slips away from us that quickly. Β So for me I started a while back writing in my journal just one thing every day that I could see the Lord’s hand in. They ended up being the most random things and things that some people may think were pure luck, but on the days that I am going a million miles an hour and have kids throwing tantrums every which way and poopy diapers up the whazoo, I DEFINITELY see me going to the grocery store and finding the very last carton of my favorite chocolate almond milk sitting ever so nicely in the way way back behind the regular almond milk a blessing from my Heavenly Father and proof that he is looking out for me.

Its those little things that really make such a difference to me and the more I write and strive to find those things in my days the more they seem to happen, but in all reality I think I am just recognizing them more because my mind is open to them. At the end of the day when I feel like I haven’t accomplished anything or that nothing went as planned it is a great exercise for me to really ponder how I was watched over that day. It helps me to see that I am loved and cared about.

There have been many times where being a mom for me has been so lonely, when my kids act like they hate me and I’m the worst thing in the world, my husband is out of town and my friends all have lives of their own. When daily tasks just seem daunting and never ending and I get very down on myself for not being the “perfect” mother or wife, it’s truly amazing to have a heart of gratitude in those moments and it changes all that I am feeling and shows me that I am never alone.

Gratitude is seriously such an amazing feeling. And the more grateful I am for things the more I seem to notice more things to be grateful for. I love how a grateful heart creates more gratitude. It is just so cool!

**Things I am grateful for today**

1.)I have been really working on slimming down, especially after this last baby and today when I went to the gym every treadmill was being used, so I walked over to talk to my hubby all while thinking how it was so lame that I came to the gym on a Saturday morning because there is no point because of how busy everything was in there and then when I came back there was one that had opened up and I was able to get a great run in.

2.)All 3 of my kids took naps today at the same time and I was able to catch a short nap too!

Check out this link below for an awesome talk all about gratitude! After I heard this is gave me such a better outlook on having a grateful heart!

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/04/grateful-in-any-circumstances?lang=eng