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Sauté Express... makes chicken delicious

I'm not the greatest cook. I try my best. 

One product I found that I keep going back to are these little cubes by LandOLakes called "Sauté Express" 

They make chicken taste as yummy as restaurant chicken, I swear. 

There are a few different flavors available.. I love the Garlic & Herb ($2.79)

To Use: 
First I heat a frying pan to medium heat and place two cubes in the pan. After they've melted, I place fresh raw chicken strips in the pan, sprinkle salt on each, then cover and begin sauteeing for about 10-12 minutes, turning over every few minutes. 

When thoroughly cooked, I have delicious, juicy, tender fillets that even the picky eaters in my family love. 

The chicken I use matters too... 
Raised cage free, no antibiotics, humanely raised -- hooray! 

If you're a mom on a budget and want something delish for your fam...try them! I hope you will love them too :) 


***this is not a paid review; just a happy consumer review!**


Organic dry food pouches

It's hard to always get my daughter to eat her veggies, so I find mixing them into her foods and milk is a great method for us.

With 'nurturme dried organic pouches' htf (hard to find) veggies are dried and conveniently packaged and ready to include in a baked dish or sippy cup. 

Peas, quinoa, apples, carrots, raisins, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, bananas and more, yum! 

My daughter is a picky'ish eater, and I feel so much better knowing she's getting different helpings of organic powdered foods without her even noticing. 

I just pour a bit of the goodness into mac&cheese, baked bread, sippy cups, etc. 

The pouches are around $1.60 ea at Target. I haven't seen them anywhere else, where I live. 

Definitely a winner for our household. 

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**No compensation has been made for this review. Just a happy consumer sharing an opinion.**


Organic Fruit & Yogurt Pouches

Maybe it's the 100+ degree temps, maybe it's my body craving extra nutrients, but whatever it is...these fruit pouches make me happy. I love to review products that I genuinely love.

My daughter (2) loves these organic fruit pouches, and somehow I got to trying them and I love them too!! They are incredibly delish and taste nothing like 'baby food.' 

For around $1.40 ea I know she is getting organic fruits, veggies and yogurt. When I'm in a hurry and don't have time for a meal, I'll throw one in my purse for me too. 

Ingredients: (Gerber pouch) 
Organic peach puree, organic apricot puree, organic carrot puree, organic yogurt, organic pear juice concentrate, vitamin C, citric acid. 
"Certified Organic by Oregon Tilth"

AAA+++ rating in our household. Love them! 

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**No compensation has been made for this review. Just a happy consumer sharing an opinion.**


Thank you Joel {& Victoria} Osteen

One day my mother phoned me. She knew I was going through a rough time in our financial circumstances, trying to find a good job for my husband, debating daycare costs, returning to work, moving, etc. 

She pretty much begged me to listen to that week's "Joel Osteen Ministries message." 

I had only heard him speak a few times in the past few years, but I decided to go ahead and listen again that day. His message was about having God-sized prayers. 

My mother said she had never heard the thoughts before, so eloquently put, had never been taught nor taught the principles, and I should really listen to it. Maybe it was her insistence, or the timing, or God's hand in my life...but I'm so glad I listened. 

I couldn't believe what this minister was saying... it was like he was speaking right to my heart, my own life, the VERY things I was going through! 

This happened this past March, 2014. I have been listening every Sunday since without missing a single message. I even listen to previous messages during the weekdays (the iPhone app is awesome) when I feel my life is overwhelming and I just need some clarity and perspective.

As a millennial, I recommend this minister, Joel Osteen, as a place to go without feeling judged, lacking, or insignificant. When life or people have you pushed down, listen to Joel and I promise you will find some piece of strength to stand up and keep going. 

I have been raising my daughter very alone since she was born two years ago. My immediate family is small--dad passed away, mom and brother live out of state. I am not recieved by my husband's family, and I don't really have anyone else for help; which if fine, I have to accept it so I try my best. 

But it can be a very lonely time, the first two years of parenthood. Friends are supportive, encouraging, around for their light in your life. I'm so thankful for my friends. But they are busy with THEIR OWN families, as I wish we were too. I always grew up with this notion that family is "there for you no matter what." Ah, me, what a silly millennial, I know. 

You turn 30, have a small toddler and some life lessons and you realize how other than your spouse (if you're lucky) and closest inner circle of friends, you have really no one. People can just turn on you. 

I didn't expect to be the black sheep of my family AND the black sheep of my in-laws....but I am. So I'd better just deal with it. I'd better get off my cushion of regrets and worries and stand up and face life. I can go into a corner and question why am I a failure, or, I can listen (and believe) in messages of hope and peace, like Joel's.. And believe I can be the best parent only I know how to be. I can take what I've learned, my regrets, my failures......pick myself up and keep going, even though it feels damn near impossible sometimes.  

My relationship with my mother is contradictory. She's always been shooshing me, not exactly encouraging me to speak my mind. But strong-willed little me, I had a LOT of questions about life early on and especially as a teen. That happens I think to some people when you are young and a parent (you love) dies. It's the person who gave you life, gone. How can you not live the rest of your life questioning it? Questioning the very life you live...trying to figure everything out... 

I've been trying to figure "everything out" all of my 20's. Now I just sit back and admit, "I don't know shiz." I hope I figure it out in my 30's, but who knows, probly won't. 

My husband and I agree we won't be ordering our kids around or getting "mad" at them when life doesn't go "right"--because who's to say what's "right?" Every choice has a lesson, one way or another. 

I used to sit there, wondering how much better off my daughter would be if I wasn't here. I realized, maybe my family and family-in-law probably wish I were dead so they could take over from my horrible parenting skills and they'd be happy I wasn't here. It's hard to admit that, but I've always admitted the truth, or at least tried, and this is no different. 

My journals date back to my very early teens, and (almost embarassingly) I wasn't afraid to write what I thought. 

I've been questioning whether my life is 'worth living' off and on since my early teens, per said journals. And it often seems like the times I feel the lowest are when I'm feeling judged and completely off'ed by family. Which I can accept as my own fault, but it still sucks and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. 

I guess I have to learn to distance myself from those negative energies. 

I try to cling to positive energies, like Joel Osteen messages.  

Here is a man who speaks from his heart, without judging, without condemning, just speaks as if he were in the room with you as your very best friend or father. I love the Osteens...I'm so, so thankful for how they have helped my life and thousands and thousands of others. I feel like a better person, like my life is worth living, one day at a time, because this man presents ideas and messages from the Bible and real life. Joel wasn't afraid to say "yes" when his father asked him to speak in 1999, even though he knew he'd probably face ridicule and question it all. I figure, if he believes in me, I've got to keep trying. 

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"Embrace the place where you are. See the good. Be grateful for what you have. Remember, there is a blessing and a burden for every season. Don't focus on the burden, you have the grace to enjoy the blessing." - Joel Osteen (2014).

"I've heard it said, 'disappointments are inevitable, but misery is optional.'" (Joel, 2014)

"The truth is...we all go through the valleys, but the valleys are what lead us to higher mountains. They're only temporary, they're not permanent." - Joel Osteen (2014)

"When you invest your time the right way, in helping others, those seeds that you sew will create the harvest you need not to just get out of the valley but to come up to a higher mountain, a new level of your destiny. It's important, not only how we spend our time, but whom we spend it with. To redeem the time, may mean, you have to prune off some relationships that don't add anything to your life." - Joel Osteen (2014)

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Joel's other messages (March, April, May 2014) have been so inspirational and amazing... he talks about how it's okay to keep the toxic, negative people out of our lives. It's better to be true to ourselves, right with God in our hearts than waste time on people who will never help or believe in us. 

It's been so enlightening, to see who is really there when you are "down and out" in life.  Joel explains how to choose to always be content, no matter what season or burden we are in. He explains that "while we are waiting for things to change, don't miss the beauty of today."

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"We think when we reach a certain goal, then we will be happy... and yes, you'll be happy when you accomplish your goals, but there are challenges that come along with it. I've heard it said, 'with every blessing comes a burden.' You'll never come to a place where you're problem-free; no conflict, no bills to pay, everybody's celebrating you... that's not reality. If you don't learn to be content where you are, you won't be content when dreams come to pass."   - Joel Osteen (2014)

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Ever thought about sponsoring a child?

My mother showed us videos of orphans when I was growing up in the 90's. Often they were malnourished, abused, completely alone in the world...and I wanted to help them. But because there were so many conflicting stories of greedy people/companies taking donation money and it never getting to the poor, it was hard to know whom to trust and where to give. 

I'm so thankful to have found an organization (I believe) is truly out there helping. WorldVision. 

This past June, my family started sponsoring ($35/mo) a little girl from the Dominican Republic who's birthday is exactly one month apart from our own daughter's. The money will go to her parents to help with food, shelter and clothing for their family. 

When we log in to WorldVision, we can see her "scrapbook," photos, email communication, etc. 

We can mail her small packages, write letters (my husband knows Spanish, but otherwise World Vision would translate for them), even set up an actual visit to meet "our family" if we were to ever travel to the DR. We recieve letters and photos in return about the child and her family. 

World Vision is a Christian relief and development organization dedicated to helping children, families, and communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.
Give a Meaningful Gift

Honor someone special. Send your loved one a beautiful card as a reminder of your gift.

As a sponsor, you’re an important part of World Vision’s work around the world. Thanks for joining with us to help children grow up healthy and have better lives.  
  • Discover what sponsorship looks like in other countries.  
  • See how World Vision fights poverty in the United States.  
  • Learn how World Vision responds to local and international disasters
  • You have a very important role in your child’s life. Be their encourager! Extreme poverty tells children they’re not important—but you have an amazing opportunity to change that.
    When you reach out to your child, you can cheer them on as they face struggles in their life—and tell them you believe in them. Knowing someone far away loves them could change their life.

An Organization You Can Trust

In 2013, 83 percent of World Vision's total operating expenses were used for programs that benefit children, families, and communities in need. Learn more >
  • 83% programs
  • 12% fundraising
  • 5% management & general

More info on World Vision:

Mailing address: World Vision, Inc. P.O. Box 9716 Federal Way, WA 98063-9716
Email address (U.S. only):
Toll-free phone (U.S. only): 1 (888) 511-6548
1-888-511-6598 to make a donation


How to dye your hair at home..

Here is a video for how to dye your hair two different colors at home, for pretty cheap. Under $20. 

Video Tutorial HERE


And Another Thing

So my mom emails this to me which I had sent to her two years ago, when my daughter was first born. Idk why but it made me tear up a bit.

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And another joel osteen said the farmer doesn't just plant a seed and sit back waiting for it to grow...he's out there watching and still caring for the crop ..and getting things ready and polished for the next..
And I thought about little ambers and how I am like the farmer, and while she is here growing, she will need lots of tlc each and every day....and if I'm sad I'm sure she can feel it so I can't be sad!
You may notice the late hour of this email.
Usually during the day she nurses a lot but I never mind because I'm awake and energized, somewhat! But at nighttime..I'm so tired when I wake up with her I just kinda want her to hurry so we can go back to sleep! I don't rush her, but I don't really sit and enjoy our time together fully.
So tonight, I just stroked her little arm and hand and I didn't even feel tired..I just thought, there will be plenty of years ahead that I won't have a little baby/toddler/kiddo...these years are going to fly by I am sure of I have to and want to ENJOY this time with her. All parts of it. 
I love how at 2 1/2 months she's such a little PERSON..I am thankful I do get to be with her every day and see everything.  "Bills will always be there, but children won't." 
So painfully true!


If one door closes...then what?

You know the saying, "When one door closes another one opens..." 

As a millennial, I see time and time again, in my own life and those of close friends, this seeming inability to accept a door closing without trying to force open that other door.

Sometimes it's just really hard to see the big picture. But the point is, there is help out there, if we just pay attention and stop trying to force things that aren't meant to be. All we can do is the best we can, have empathy for others, be grateful for our blessings, and realize the value of time here on this Earth. Time is the only thing we are guaranteed to run out of is time.  : / 

The truth is... everyone has problems. I think as a younger generation we see too many movies and fairtytales about people searching for or going off to have a "perfect life" -- and we wonder if we will ever get there ourselves. But I think, even the richest billionaire...has a wayward child, or cancer in his bones, or an unfaithful partner... So it's really pointless to seek someone else's "happiness" when we never really know. People can be pretty good at hiding the bad. We often don't see it because we are stuck in our own cities in our own lives.

The only reason we've started to see into others' lives over the past two decades is video and instant communication; the shows and reality series that really change your mind about judging anyone, because you just never really know

Sometimes it's hard to remember not to judge yourself. But my husband always reminds me of something my father once told me, which I wrote about in my journal...

"Don't be so hard on yourself." 

I let the stresses of life bring me down sometimes. Why do I get so overwhelmed I get snappy or feel ungrateful in my heart and think of my mistakes and let them weigh me down? I have to stop this innate negative trait that has been almost instilled in me since a small child -- one of worry...

I have to decide to fight for good things in life and to remember that just living on the soil I live on is enough. It's far from fancy, but it's freedom. But some would have us think its the car we drive or the house we live in. It's not. It's about who you are in your soul, even when no one is looking.

We are conditioned as a millennial generation to believe "money buys happiness." But the truth is, it buys comfort, yes, but surely not happiness. Happiness comes from within; so that no matter how much money you have (or don't have) are happy in your heart because of who you are, where you've come. Just watch "The Queen of Versailles" (2012) for an amazingly insightful documentary on what greed and wealth can do to people. 

We still have time. Time to communicate with someone else. Time enough to have a voice, make a change, find a positive way to reflect back to the world. 

I am sick of forgetting all of my blessings from God and feeling like life isn't fair to me. It's as fair as it's ever going to be, so I need to just accept things for the way they are and try to make a difference for something or someone I care about.

Because one day my little daughter will grow up and leave me. And I don't want her to remember her mom as "negative nancy" who was always in a rush, or stressed out...I want her to (hopefully) remember these years as some of the best and happiest in her life. 

Dont let anybody take away your precious time.

I ask myself, "Can you walk outside with your little daughter and see the sun and feel the warmth on your shoulders and listen to the birds chirping without hardly any worry of being attacked or threatened?"

Yes? That's freedom.

And if the answer were "no" then maybe that is reason to look into how one can possibly get to a place in life where you can go outside and feel the sun and be free. I'm talking even the gal in prison who's made some crappy life decisions. Even she could change, deciding "life is going to change for me. From this moment on, I will be the more obedient, learn as much as I can, read as much as I can, and find away to get away from the choices that have led me to this path. I'm going to do everything I can to appeal and get out of here so I can make a positive change for my family and my future generations."

I is possible one could, even in the most dire of circumstances, bring some sort of positive out of their sadness. I shudder at my student loan bills but I just keep trudging along hoping to make something of my years in school; even though I'm "just a mom" now.

I have such admiration and respect for the mother of little Samanth Runnion. Samantha was abducted and murdered in 2002, at only 5 years old. Her mother started the "Joyful Child Foundation" in her memory, which is dedicated to preventing crimes against children through programs that educate, empower and unite families and communities.  
To go on with her life speaking out to others -- to help other parents and bring justice for her little daughter... I mean...that's true human strength, kindness, dignity and empowerment. That's someone I wonder where she gets her strength and determination. My heart literally breaks for this woman. I've never met her and probably never will...but my eyes have cried tears for her heart, for her little girl...for the sorrow and sadness that this Earth and the monsters here can bring. It's just too terrible to face sometimes.

So when I start to feel "oh poor me...." it's like honestly, I have to just remember it's not about me. It's just not. It's about helping others, and helping my family generations to understand and live better because of me.

I can't do this life by myself. I love asking others for advice and changing year to year based on new things I learn and more empathy I gain. I have a voice and I appreciate what I have been given; an opportunity to learn from mistakes and to try to make a difference for others. 

In closing, I've always liked this quote:

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -- WOW-- What a Ride!!!    - H. Thompson

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songs for feeling stronger-

I’m Not Afraid - Eminem
Try - P!nk
Big Girls Don’t Cry - Fergie
Keep Ya Head Up - Tupac
Breakaway - Kelly Clarkson
Sweetest Girl - Wyclef Jean 
Waterfalls - TLC
The Climb - Miley Cyrus

Awesome CoverGirl commercial for 2014

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“Cause sometimes, you just feel tired. Feel weak. And when you feel weak, you feel like you wanna just give up. But you gotta search within you. You gotta find that inner strength, and just pull that sh#t out of you. And get that motivation to NOT give up and NOT be a quitter. No matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face and collapse.” -Eminem