Traditionally I have made Hawaiian Haystacks with a cream of chicken soup sauce, but recently I figured out a brilliant idea for a vegan sauce that is simple scrumptious! My kids love Haystacks and it’s easy to prepare them with the traditional sauce and my cheezy sauce below then I give my kids a choice on which one they want. You’ve got to try this even if you aren’t vegetarian. Here’s the basic recipe if you aren’t familiar with haystacks.
Brown Rice, cooked
Cheezy Sauce, recipe below
Cheese, if desired
Frozen peas, thawed
Green peppers, chopped
Crunchy chow mein noodles
Pour sauce over rice then top with whatever toppings you’d like. Enjoy!
1 ½ c. raw cashews, not salted
½ -1 c. water
1-2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
½ tsp sea salt
2-3 TBSP nutritional yeast
1 garlic clove
Mix all ingredients in the food processor until smooth. Taste and adjust ingredients accordingly.
I found a link to the video below from someone else’s blog although I can’t remember who! Sometimes as mother’s we really can begin to feel like we are invisible. I love this quote from the video.
“At times my invisibility has felt like an affliction to me. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of self-centeredness. It is the antidote for my own pride…Let’s pray that our work will stand as a monument to an even greater good.”
I remember as a teenager when I was struck with an awareness that all the scriptural references about “pride” applied to me. At times it’s hard to admit that we are prideful and to see our weaknesses so plainly. I admit that most days I want to be noticed for the things I do and the time I spend into taking care of my family. I’ve heard it said that when we really want to be validated by others, we can simply give ourselves the positive feedback we are seeking. For example: after spending all day cleaning the house and doing laundry I can say, “Christa, you did such an amazing job cleaning the house today! Everything looks so nice and I noticed that you picked up that pile of papers that’s been sitting there all week and that you did all the laundry. You must have spent a lot of time and energy into cleaning today!” This might sound silly, but it does work, the few times I’ve tried it. This is definitely a something I can work on!
This week has been hard for me returning back to all the things that were on hold last week for Miriam's surgery. I've got a list forever long of things to do and to top it off my two-year old has been sick and very whiney. It was nice to watch this video and remember that I really am doing a great work. I hope you are uplifted by the message of this video as I was!
We recently went and saw the new Alice in Wonderland movie and although I wasn't too excited about going, I admit that I did end up liking it. I'm not a fan of Johnny Depp or Tim Burton and thought I was going to have to suffer through the movie that my hubby wanted to go see and was dragging me to. Well, I was wrong and it ended up being a movie with a great message.
Alice’s dad told her that he thought of six impossible things before breakfast everyday. Alice took this advice to heart and was labeled as fanciful and as a daydreamer. In a pinnacle part of the movie she started reciting six impossible things that had actually come true for her. She gained strength and courage as she was saying out loud those things that she thought were impossible, but had ultimately become her reality. What a great message for our kids and more importantly for us adults who have forgotten how to dream! I’m realizing and learning more about having dreams, hope, and believing in the impossible no matter what anyone else thinks or says. I was reminded yet again that the dreams and goals I have set for myself are attainable and I am the only person who is in my way of those dreams. Unfortunately through life we are conditioned to have limits – limits in our beliefs and views of the world. I am grateful that through the past few years I have been able to recognize the patterns of my past and have made the conscious decision on numerous occasions to acknowledge, own and accept those limitations I’ve placed on myself. Then I’ve been able to repent of those limits I’ve created and ask for Divine help in opening up to a limitless world. I’m grateful that I now have the time and energy to really focus on those things that I love and that I can move forward in the direction of my dreams. I am grateful for the inspiration I’ve received and for the ease that those things manifest in my life.
Miriam's unscathed chest..just before surgery
We got home from the hospital on Sunday night from Miriam’s surgery and I’m relieved to finally be at home and to get back to my routine! We went in around 7am last Tuesday morning to Primary Children’s Hospital and stayed up there the whole time with her. It’s like a whole separate world up there and I put everything on hold so I could focus on my little one. I’m slowly transitioning back into the things I was involved in before surgery so I don’t stress myself out!
I decided that the three most difficult parts of the whole ordeal were;
1. Handing over my baby to a complete stranger when it was time for her to go into the operating room
2. Waiting while they did surgery, not sure what the outcome was going to be
3. Waiting to be discharged from the hospitalThe wait and the worry before and during the surgery was pretty much torture for a mother. I was physically in pain for my daughter and I was literally aching inside for what she had to go through. I was pretty much a basket case until the surgeon, A.K Kaza came in to speak to us about the surgery results. All the other surgeons came into the waiting room, sat next to the family and talked about the surgery results. Dr. Kaza came into the waiting room and told us to come into a room with him. I was freaking out thinking the worst because he didn’t just talk to us in the waiting room like the other surgeons. He immediately could tell I was worried and told me to relax and that everything was just fine.
He told me that the surgery went well and he just wanted to talk to us alone. They had to put her on a heart and lung machine while he did the repair and said that her heart was actually only stopped for 30 minutes while he made the repairs. They took her off the machine and had to pace her heart with a pacemaker for a little bit but then she was fine and had no problems after that with her heart rhythms.
Miriam just after surgery
We were able to see her shortly after that in the CICU and even though she was hooked up to numerous machines, cords, and medication I was just relieved to see that she was alive! I was anxiously anticipating for the approval that I could go ahead and breastfeed her and luckily it happened the very next day, about 24 hours after surgery.
So happy to FINALLY be nursing
All of the doctors and nurses were amazed at how quickly she was improving and they removed her medications and machines she was hooked up to one by one. The only concern after the third day was her oxygen levels as she slept at night. Normal range is 90 and she dropped as low as the 60’s. They monitored her for another day or so and we were finally discharged on Sunday.
Happy to be done with all those machines
I’m so grateful for all the love and support from family and friends. THANK YOU for your prayers and words of encouragement during this difficult time. I am so grateful for the amazing advances in modern medicine that made it possible for a surgeon to operate on her heart! They were even able to use her own tissue to repair the hole – isn’t that just mind boggling? Thank you Dr. Kaza for your dedication and personal code of perfection in your work. Thank you to those who came to the hospital and called to see how we were doing and wish us the best. Thank you Miriam for your strength, courage, and faith that everything was going to be alright, even when your mommy waivered greatly. Thank you to my dear hubby who stayed by my side the entire time and was a support to me when I was falling apart. Thank you for your amazing talents and bringing your healing music into our family. Thank you Divine Mother and Father for protecting my daughter and strengthening my family and I. I’m so grateful that my baby did so well and she is on the road to full recovery!
Tomorrow is Miriam's surgery at 8:30am at Primary Children's Hospital. We were up at PMCH until 2pm today with all the stuff we had to do for pre-op and I'm exhausted. I hope to have an update later on tomorrow if I can get to the internet or as soon as possible. Thank you for all the love, support and prayers.
I love this video with thoughts from Will Smith. My manager at 1-800 CONTACTS showed it to us at the last team meeting I went to. He was applying it to our work situation, but all the connections for me were in my personal life. Some of the main points that he talks about that I love are:
- Nothing is unrealistic
- Make a choice and from that point things will happen
- Face your fears – attack those things you are scared of
- You can’t be scared to die for the truth – it’s the only thing that’s going to be constant
- Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something
- If people can’t do something themselves, they want to tell you that you can’t do it
- If you want something – go get it. Period.
I have worked part-time for 1-800 CONTACTS for the past year and a half. I do customer service over the phone, take orders, and also respond to customer emails. I took this job because they had an at-home program where after proving oneself in the call center could start working from home. I got hired and immediately started doing everything in my power to work at home. Those couple months were hard because I was pregnant with Miriam and had to drop off Evan and Daniel to a babysitter everyday. Granted, Evan was in school for most of this time, but nonetheless it was hard to drop them off everyday. I went in before 8 and got off around 2, so really it wasn’t a bad schedule, just busy. A few weeks before Miriam was born I was approved to work at home and the company paid for everything – my computer set up (including two monitors..nice!) and my internet so I could start working from home. I was able to work at home after I took some maternity leave and I am so grateful! 1-800 CONTACTS is a great company to work for if you ever need a job and they are hiring. Here are just some of the perks:
Among all of these perks they are a company with integrity and specialize in customer service. All products are guaranteed 100% and they will replace or exchange anything for free. When there is an issue with a customer we send hand written apology notes. Come on folks, hand written apology notes. Did you hear that? For every defective lens or late delivery we as individual agents write a letter to the customer apologizing and giving them a gift certificate. Who does that? I don’t remember the last time I got an apology note from a company that screwed up! Also, they strive to answer all calls from a LIVE, ENGLISH speaking associate within 2 or 3 rings. No outsourcing for 1-800 CONTACTS; the call center is in Utah and you can actually understand the agents. We are taught to do everything possible for the customer. Even if that means tracking down a Wal-Mart Vision Center that a customer can go to get a trial pair of lenses because they lost their only pair of contacts while vacationing in Hawaii. Yes, I’ve done that…numerous times. Every week we get a company email that outlines the customer feedback we’ve gotten during the week. We all know what is being said – we read the emails. When an associate is being congratulated for a job well done we get those emails too and those calls are forwarded to a manager who then lets the individual agent know. We are noticed for our exceptional service and get further acknowledgement in our monthly team meetings. We also get a monthly update with every Twitter that was sent out mentioning our company. This is a company that listens to its customers and associates. So, the reason for the happy dance…(title of this post) I am going to be able to quit at the end of the week! I am finally going to be getting support for my two boys that has been non-existent for almost two years. The reason for me working was to make up for this deficiency. My hubby and I decided that this decision is the best for our family at this time. I am excited to be done waking up at 3am and working while everyone is catching those few hours of sleep before heading to work, or the kids wake up for school. I am excited to sleep in and go to bed late if I want. I’m excited because I don’t have to worry about getting FMLA for Miriam’s surgery next week and I can just quit this week and be done forever. I’m excited because I can have more energy to be present with my husband and kids. I am excited because I can focus more on my handmade cards and get my Etsy shop rockin with sales. So thank you 1-800 CONTACTS for giving me a great place to work that gave me the flexibility I needed while being a full-time mom. I’m happy to move on, and dear 1-800 CONTACTS, if I ever need a job again, I do hope you’ll take me back.
- Free breakfast in the lunchroom everyday. Every imaginable kind of cereal and if they don’t have it, they’ll get it for you. Not to mention waffle irons with batter to cook up your own waffles. Also baskets of fresh fruit in the lunchroom and in the gym. Free bread and rolls out all day as well. Oh yeah, and free fountain drinks, juice, coffee, tea, and pretty much any drink you want.
- Gym to work out complete with classes you can take before or after your shift.
- Subsidized lunch – the most you’ll ever pay for lunch is $2.50. They have a salad bar, soup, and entrees that are made by the in house chef.
- Employee recognition – birthday gifts, anniversary gifts, pins for great performance, gift cards, and more
- Free movie tickets – twice a year they have a film festival where you can take your immediate family to your choice of several new release movies. In addition to the free tickets, we always get a gift card to the theaters to use on a future visit.
- Parties and contests. In the summer they had a Backyard Bash at Thanksgiving oint with blow up toys for the kids, carnival games, water games, relay races, free cotton candy, BBQ, and drawing for great prices – including a cruise. We took all our kids and had a blast.
I believe in the power, existence, and reality of a Divine Mother. I think it’s a shame that we don’t talk about HER, in addition to talking to about Heavenly Father and a Savior. In my upbringing in the LDS or Mormon faith, we rarely talk about her and her existence and I was taught that she is too sacred for us to talk about. I honor the tradition of my childhood and I have always felt drawn to learn more about Her. I’ve always wanted to know more about HER and more about my connection with her. I mean, I’m a woman and so is she - so shouldn’t I be getting my identity from her – my Divine Mother? If we supposedly get our identity from our same gender parent… shouldn’t we be getting our identity from our Divine Parents as well? Well, as a student and woman on the Red Path, I am so grateful for the Native American perspective of our Divine Mother. My learning and growth on the Red Path has helped me to face the truth about myself, overcome my weaknesses, and heal my pain through the Savior, Jesus Christ. On the Red Path, we are taught that the Earth is a physical representation of our Divine Mother and we can learn so much from her as we honor, love, respect, and take care of the Earth. When I am struggling if I take the time to be outside, relax, take off my shoes, put my face in the grass and let Her support me, I feel rejuvenated, loved, and peaceful. I am learning what it means to be a woman and am grateful for all the moments I have been taught so clearly how to live by my Divine Mother. There have been some pivotal and powerful moments where I was taught so lovingly by her. Our Divine Mother is the manifestation of LOVE. If we want the gift of charity, then she can teach us through her love about the Savior and the love He has for us as well. She can be a safe place for those of us who have been hurt by men and struggle in our faith and belief in Heavenly Father’s love. Even though I have had these amazing experiences, I have still hardened my heart and fail to let her love in on a consistent basis. Amazingly enough, as much as I desire it, it’s hard to be loved – really and truly loved and accepted for I am. None of us in this earthly experience are perfect and so it takes a great deal of faith to believe that someone so Divine would love us so fully and perfectly. I am so human – I struggle, doubt, fear, and live in my pain so frequently. However, the other night I had an amazing experience where I was able to yet again open up to her love. Thank you Divine Mother for loving me. Thank you for helping me on my journey to love and accept myself no matter what. Thank you for your gift of faith and peace. Thank you for teaching me about my Creator. Thank you for being safe. I am grateful to be a woman, wife, and mother and that I am a living expression of her.
Are you pregnant? Have kids? Interested in childbirth, labor, and delivery? My midwife Rachel Talley is offering some great childbirth classes for anyone interested in seeing a new perspective on how we birth our children. “Giving birth to a baby is so much more than a physical phenomenon; it engages parents-to-be in a transformational experience, a key life event full of emotion and meaning.” DONA websiteI firmly believe that the future of our society depends on our children. As a society at large we have been asleep to the power we hold as creators. We need to wake up as wives and mothers to the responsibility we have during pregnancy and delivery to our little ones. Topics that Rachel will talk about include Conscious Creation, Primal Pregnancy, Blissful Birth, and Peaceful Parenting. Sign up today for all 4 classes and I promise you will be changed forever!
This weekend we had all six of our kids and all loved being able to drive together in our van. After picking up our three kiddos from their mom’s house I really wasn’t in the mood to drive all the way home and make dinner and just wasn’t in the mood to go home yet. Long story short I had my car at my hubby’s work so we had to go pick it up after we picked up the kids from their mom’s house. We talked about going out to dinner with everyone and we were trying to decide where we wanted to go. Since my car was in the parking lot right by the Mayan, we decided it would be fun for the kids to go there. Well, that ended up being a big mistake! We were talking about going to IHOP as well, but decided on the Mayan since we were right there. When we got in, the wait was an hour and a half. Normally I wouldn’t have stayed, but I said that’d be fine. The wait wasn’t that bad cause it ended up only being an hour and the kids played and took several bathroom trips. When our name was finally called we trekked up to the 4th floor of the restaurant. If you aren’t familiar with the Mayan, it’s a Mexican themed restaurant that features water divers, fire twhirlers, and the whole atmosphere is set for a Mayan Adventure. Sounds fun huh? Well the place we were sitting was pretty far back and the kids weren’t able to see the divers really well. Next, the menu was outrageously priced. We had gone once before about a year ago and the prices were NOT that high. A kids meal alone was $8 – ugh! We decided previously that we’d simply order a couple entrees for the kids to share. Well the cheapest entrée was $10 – for a simple, basic, plain bean and cheese burrito. We opted for this for the kids and got two hoping we could split them among the kids. Thankfully there were chips for the kids to eat while we were wating but the salsa – if you can call it salsa - was horrible. It seriously tasted like enchilada sauce. I love chips and salsa but this was just plain gross. I scoured the tiny menu – where did all the options go??- and there was nothing vegetarian on the menu other than the bean and cheese burrito. Seriously?? Keep in mind the prices of the entrees were around $15 and for my family we weren’t planning on spending that much. Last time we went to the Mayan it was maybe ½ that price!
When we got our food I couldn’t believe my eyes! The bean and cheese burritos were sprinkled with the fake parmesan cheese and that was it. No garnish, no melted cheese, tomatos, lettuce, sauce – NOTHING. The presentation was awful and my jaw dropped that they were seriously charging $10 for this crap! I could’ve made something a lot more flavorful and cheaper at home – ugh! My hubby got a chicken burrito and his was the only dish that looked like a meal. It had sauce, sour cream, melted cheese, and looked like a meal! We ate our meal with pretty much disgust at the outrageous prices, awful presentation, and less than mediocre food. I don’t recall ever complaining about my food to a waitress before. This situation called for me to do something. In the past I may have just swallowed the billed and left angry, but I was feeling my power and that I could speak my truth in this instance. I told someone (we had several servers coming and going) that I was very disappointed in our meal and he said he’d see what he could do. Another server came and told me she was sorry and that she hates serving the bean burritos because of the presentation. She had tried to encourage us to get the kids burritos for $8 because they came with fries – uh..ok. She also told me that she has talked to the kitchen about making the bean and cheese burritos with better presentation because she hates serving them. This told me that here is a restaurant that doesn’t value their employees and take the feedback given by their servers to improve their food. I told her that there were no real vegetarian options on the menu and she had the gall to tell me it’s hard to make vegetarian Mexican food. Excuse me? I have had some pretty good vegetarian meals particularly at Rubios and Chiptole Grill – 2 restaurants that are much cheaper and more flavorful – that specifically mention the vegetarian options. She then asked if I wanted a dessert or maybe a discount and I told her we wanted a discount on our meal. She came back after talking to her manager and completely took off the bean and cheese burritos from our bill. So all in all, at least we didn’t have to pay for the disgraceful things!
Thankfully the kids enjoyed themselves and weren’t aware of what was going on with the food situation. I felt good that I had expressed myself and didn’t just put my head down and walk out of the restaurant. As for the Mayan Adventure, it is overpriced, low quality, cheap imitation Mexican Food. At least the fajitas are good though – at least that’s what the server said! Even though this was a good experience for me to speak up and say the truth, next time I think we’ll go to IHOP…