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Monday, December 29, 2014

A New Years Adventure

Call me crazy, but I'm headed to Philadelphia to bring in the New Years, in the dead of winter, on a plane, by myself, with my three kids. This should be interesting...

Stay tuned for my I Guess Im Due tips to surviving plane trips with kids. Yup, I'm crazy loco! 

Happy New Years!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

!Feliz Navidad!

Wishing you and your family a Christmas filled with I Guess Im Due moments! 
From our family to yours, Feliz Navidad!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Some Hives and a Little Super Glue

Excitement was rising. It was just two days before our day to set sail on our first family cruise! I had meticulously packed and organized four suit cases for our five day journey and felt confident that our trip would be a success. I was determined to have our trip be I Guess Im Due free!

The next morning, my confidence was soon deflated when I awoke to see Lilliana’s face and legs covered with hives. 

Just great. I can’t take her on a boat for four days with an unknown rash. We were staying at my Mom’s before we left for our trip, so going to our pediatricians was out. With the advice from my husband, I took her to a walk in clinic to have her checked out. After spending an hour an half at the clinic the doc prescribed her an antibiotic and assured me that all would clear up soon. Ahh, I could finally breathe again. Our family trip was saved!

The following morning we packed the car and headed to the port. I could smell the sea air already! We boarded the ship and quickly got ourselves settled in our little room. As I got Lilliana dressed for dinner, I noticed that her rash was getting worse instead of better. It had now spread all over her body. Just perfect. Lilliana was having an allergic reaction to the antibiotics. So much for this clearing up quickly. Luckily, Jason had come prepared just in case this happened (yes we were a walking pharmacy). We loaded Lilliana up with some meds to counteract the allergic reaction and prayed that Lilliana’s voyage would soon get better. Twelve hours later she was beaming like her normal self.

I was determined that life was going to be grande on the ship for Lilliana from then on. Between kids camp, swimming, playing with cousins, and fancy dinners, she would have a blast. 

The ship arrived in Cozumel, Mexico on our second day at sea. We gathered our things and headed to a water park resort. This place was truly paradise. Water slides, pools, a wading area, inflatable water obstacle course, beach side lounging, and a water playground. My mother-in-law, Lisa, took the youngest three to the water playground, while I supervised the three older kids at the water slides. After the kids seemed waterlogged from sliding, they decided they wanted to try out the playground area. As I walked towards the playground, I excitedly perused the equipment to spy my little ones. That’s when I spotted Lisa waving me down. In her lap she held a screaming Lilliana. Two paramedics were standing over her as Lisa gripped Lilliana’s bloody chin. Apparently just minutes into playing, Lilliana was so excited that she slipped on a slide and fell chin first, busting it open. Luckily, Lisa, being a nurse, in her calmest voice she asked me to run and get Jason (doctor Daddy).

With Daddy investigating the situation and discussing what needed to be done with the paramedics, I felt like I could finally breathe as I held my injured baby girl. I was so thankful that Lisa was there for the initial incident, because yes, I would have been that hysterical mother. And I of course, was relieved Jason knew what his daughter medically needed (otherwise Lilliana would have ended up in a Mexican hospital with stitches- apparently most physicians in the U.S. don’t use stitches on kids faces.) 

Since the paramedics didn't have steri-strips that Jason needed, they patched her up with some butterfly tape for the meantime. Within an hour, and with some hugs, kisses, and a few virgin strawberry daiquiris, Lilliana perked up, played in the sand, and even got a fancy hair braid. 
On our way back to the ship, Jason stopped at a Mexican Farmacia and grabbed some materials he needed to seal Lilliana’s chin. And wouldn’t you know, with a little bit of Mexican super glue and some medical tape Lilliana’s chin was about as good as new.

It’s funny to think (now it is), that most kids come home from a trip with a souvenir, like a trinket or a toy. But not Lilliana, her souvenir, was well, the sweet memories of hives and her newly super glued chin. She’s so proud to tell others that in Mexico her Daddy had to superglue her chin shut- a memory that will literally last a lifetime.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

No Soup For You!

It was a typical Wednesday. The girls and I were eating dinner at Panera while Jakson finished his two hour gymnastics practice. Since there were no booths open we sat at a table and started digging into our soups and salads. 

Raina was being her normal crazy self, jumping around, talking loudly, and basically just being a busy body. She of course refused to sit in a booster chair, so instead of making a scene I sat her in a big chair. As Raina begin to make a mess of her soup, I stood up to grab a wipe from my diaper bag. As I was digging in my bag, Raina begin to fall between the two chairs. I felt like I was seeing the whole thing is super slow motion. As she started to make the fall she tried to hold onto the tables edge. However, instead of grabbing the table she gripped the plate that held my broccoli cheese soup. In a matter of seconds Raina was screaming on the floor. As I helped her up I grabbed a napkin to help clean her off. That's when I realized that soup was dripping off her hair, back, arms, and legs, this napkin wouldn't even make a dent. 

With the feeling that a million eyes were staring at me, I grabbed Raina and Lilly and headed straight for the bathroom. First thing I checked was for any burns from the soup- none, hallelujah! Next, we started the clean up process. I didn't know where to start, the soup was everywhere! I decided to strip Raina down to her bare bum and placed her in the sink. I washed out chunks of broccoli and carrots from her hair and skin. Great, now she's clean, but now I have a naked baby! We couldn't just leave Panera (although that's exactly what I wanted to do at this point) because Lilliana was already asking if she could go finish her dinner. I needed to find her something to wear. I checked my diaper bag to see what options I had to work with. As we walked out of the bathroom, Raina wore a diaper, a bib, and Lilly's gymnastic shorts, it was quite a sight. 

As we walked back to the table all eyes were on us. I wanted to crawl under the table. I was frustrated for not putting Raina in a high chair, annoyed with myself for getting up,  and smelly from all the soup! I just wanted to go home. As I sat there waiting for Lilly to finish, I begin to wonder- why is it that when catastrophes happen with my kids I always have to deal with them by myself?! 

Luckily, after we all recovered from this I Guess Im Due moment, Raina was not traumatized, and she still loves broccoli cheddar soup. It did however, take a week of multiple showers to completely get all the grease and smell from the soup out of her hair. And lesson learned, from now on high chairs or booster chairs are non negotiable when we eat out, or there's no soup for you!

Friday, December 12, 2014

A New Use For Gumballs

"I earned a gumball!" For my kids, that phrase is music to their ears. I know what you're thinking...why on earth would your kids earn a gumball?! Well, it all started about a year ago when I would find the kiddos doing random acts of kindness or had strangers compliment my kids behavior while we were out. I wanted to find a way to "reward" them for those small (but very important) moments. So I came up with the gumball jars.

The concept is simple. Anytime we catch the kids being kind or helpful without being prompted they earn a gumball. One goes in their jar and one they can pop in their mouth. If we are out and about and someone compliments them on their great behavior, another gumball! However, a gumball can be removed if we see them being unkind or disobedient (it's never pretty). Once the kids earn 15 gumballs they earn a reward.
We celebrate by letting them pick an activity from "the list"! They empty their jars and it starts all over again.

Gumballs will never be the same in our house. Even my little nephew wants in on the gumball craze when he visits. Who knew that a simple gumball would be such a great motivator?

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Boring Blues

As I looked in the mirror this morning I started asking myself {again} why I couldn’t look more like “Timmy’s” mom. Her hair was always styled just right, her skin always glowing, and her body perfectly sculpted. Why couldn’t I just look like her?! 

Then, on the way home from school drop off, it took a conversation between my two toddlers to shake me out of my boring blues...

Friday, December 5, 2014

A Sweet {Mexican} Treat: Embracing Tradition

As a kid, my family and I would travel every year to San Antonio, Texas to celebrate La Navidad {Christmas}. Sleeping on the floor of my Nana's one bedroom apartment, eating pan dulce for breakfast {Mexican sweet bread}, drinking cans of Big Red, and the aroma of homemade empanadas in the oven bring back sweet memories of family traditions. This holiday season my goal is to embrace our family traditions, both new and old. The first step, the kids and I baking my Nana's delicious empanadas!

Nana’s Empanadas {turnovers}
For the dough:
4 1/2 -5 1/2 cups unsifted flour
1 tsp sugar (if you prefer sweet empanadas, use 1/4 cup sugar & 1 tsp. cinnamon)
1 tsp salt
1 pkg yeast {rapid rise}
1/2 cup soft margarine
3 eggs, room temp
1 cup hot water & 2 Tbsp warm water

For the filling:
1- 16 oz can sweet potato (drained) or canned pumpkin- Or steam 5 fresh sweet potatoes and reserve the softened inside
1 large piloncillo {Mexican brown sugar} or 1/2 cup brown sugar & 3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 beaten egg
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. cloves
1/8 tsp. ginger {optional}

Makes approximately 3 dozen
1. In a large bowl mix 4 1/2 cups flour, sugar, salt & yeast.
2. Heat margarine with 1 cup water until hot to the touch, then Stir hot liquid mixture into dry ingredients. 

3. Mix 2 eggs plus 1 egg white {save unused egg yoke}. Add egg mixture to reserved flour to make a soft dough consistency. Using your hands knead for 8-10 minutes. Use additional flour if needed until dough is no longer sticky.
4 Place the dough in a large greased bowl, turning dough to grease all sides. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour. 
5. While the dough rises begin to make the filling.
6. In a saucepan mix all filling ingredients well. Cook over low to medium heat. Continue to stir until the mixture thickens. Set aside.
7. After dough has risen, punch it down and divide it into egg sized balls, then roll them out.
8. Place 1 Tbsp of filling in center of dough. Pinch the seams together & place them on greased baking sheet. 

9. Cover them & let them rise until dough doubles in size {approximately 30 minutes}
10. Now combine reserved egg yolk and 2 Tbsp water. Brush each turnover with egg white mixture. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes. Remove from the baking sheet & cool on a wire rack.
11. ‘!Buen Provecho!’ {Enjoy!}

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

25 activities for Christmas

Here are some great ways our family likes to add some holiday cheer during this time of year. Maybe you'll find one to add to your list of traditions. 

Alright, so they may not be "Griswold" style, but they're still fun nonetheless. Enjoy! {Be sure to click on the links to find the recipes or directions!}
1. Go see Christmas lights
2. Make a cinnamon hand print ornament
3. Visit a live nativity
4. Make hot cocoa with marshmallows
5. Watch favorite holiday movies
6. Bake Christmas cookies and then share them with our neighbors
7. Make snow slime
8. Create a gingerbread house
9. Help the kids make a Christmas list: something you want, need, read, give, & wear
10. Build a snowman- over and over again!
11. Make scented pine cones
12. Make outdoor ornaments
13. Make our own wrapping paper
14. Make reindeer food
15. Drink apple cider smoothies
16. Create a birthday cake for Jesus
17. Adopt a child or family in need
18. Create a candy nativity scene
19. Read our favorite Christmas stories

20. Pick out the perfect Christmas tree
21. Blast Christmas carols in the house
22. Put up Christmas decor all around the house

23. Play with snow clay
24. Sit by the camp fire and make s'mores
25. Sleep by the Christmas tree

Friday, November 28, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

We're off to our first ever family Thanksgiving cruise! They'll be nothing quite like sharing small quarters with a family of five, eating buffet style, and lounging poolside for the next few days. Here's to making new traditions, spending quality time with family, and remembering all that we are thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving and Bon Voyage!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

6 steps to getting dinner on the table: Blue Apron Review {plus free meal code}

Thanks to our friends at Blue Apron, the first 50 I Guess Im Due readers will receive TWO FREE meals! Click HERE to be one of the lucky ones to enjoy some stress free dinners!

To get more information on Blue Apron and how to schedule your meal time delivery visit their website at

Friday, November 21, 2014

Productivity Redefined

I like to consider myself a productive person.  I have gone in and out of times in my life in which TV would reel me in (when I discovered "Lost" my life was consumed!).  However, most of the time I can accomplish a long list of to-do's when time allows.  My wife and I were fortunate enough to be able to purchase a home a couple years ago.  Going from an apartment to a home is a HUGE difference! --> mow the lawn, weed, mulch the garden beds, clean the extra space, fix the leaks (AKA call the plumber), shovel the driveway, and much more!!

Through the years it has been so easy to measure the amount of productivity one has accomplished.  Think about it: in school you would recieve a grade and turn in completed assignments; with work and at home you have a "to-do" list you can easily cross off; working out you can measure by weight, time, and muscle tone.  However, our little Abram came along and there were no lists to check off (well, there were, but they weren't getting checked off!) or assignments to turn in.  It was simply adapting to the needs and wants of a growing, living little human being.  We thrive on accomplishments and goals met, but we have to adjust now as new parents to seeing smiles, healthy sleeping, healthy babies, and strong family dynamic as true signs of productivity.  The house may be messy, the clothes may be dirty, the lawn may not be cut, but if the family is healthy, happy, and comfortable someone is being productive!

I write this as not only encouragement to my wife and to myself when I forget, but to the countless other mothers and fathers out there who struggle with this new productive lifestyle.  Remind yourself that the end goal is to have a happy healthy young baby and a happy and healthy family
.  If these couple items are crossed off each day, you can rest easy...that day was productive!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Best Caramel Apple Play Dough- Ever!

I've made several homemade play doughs with my kids and hands down, this recipe is the best. It was easy to make and the consistency came out perfect! It's actually hard to believe, but I managed to make this with out any I Guess Im Due moments! This is for the books...

Caramel Apple Pie Play Dough
(courtesy of

1 cup of ‘just apples’ apple sauce (I used natural applesauce)
1/2 cup of water
2 tablespoons of coconut oil {or other favorite oil}- I used canola
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla
1/2 packet of Duncan Hines apple pie Frosting Creations (I couldn't find this so I replaced it with 1 Tbs of Apple Pie Seasoning)
1/2 packet of Duncan Hines caramel Frosting Creations
red gel food coloring (skipped this- I liked the natural caramel color it created)
2 cups of plain flour
1/2 cup of salt
2 tablespoons of cream of tartar

Add first set of ingredients to a large pot and heat on the stove {stirring regularly} until just bubbling. Remove from heat and add in dry ingredients. Stir until combined and dump mixture out on the counter. Allow to cool for 5 or 10 minutes. Knead dough until soft and fully cooled (it may feel sticky in the beginning, but resist the urge to add flour – that stickiness vanished completely for us once the dough was no longer warm). Store in an airtight bag or container when not in use.

We used fun tools like: pie tins, cookie cutters, baking sheets, rolling pins, bowls, and pizza cutters. The options are endless!

The kids LOVED this activity. I think they've asked to make their apple pies just about everyday. And since the house smells like sweet fall every time we take out the play dough, I don't mind picking up the mess after they're done!

Friday, November 14, 2014

four eyes

Well, leave it to a five year old to remind you that your face is breaking out like a teenager! Looks like we'll have to start reading books in the dark now..

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

My Wild (library) Card Adventures

A good friend once told me, “The third child is a wild card.” Ain’t that the truth! Raina, our “wild card” always seems to be the one stirring up some sort of trouble.
Just the other day I decided to take the kids on field trip to the library. In theory, it sounded like a great idea. Who doesn’t love a quiet afternoon reading books and playing educational games on the computers, right?! We walked in and Raina made a bee line for the computer station. As soon as she sat down that's when the I Guess Im Due moments broke loose. Raina instantly began banging on the keyboard repeatedly. I quickly moved it away. Then the crying started as Raina demanded the keyboard back. I removed her away from the computer station, kicking and screaming, as other library goers tried not to stare. To my unfortunate luck, this all happened two more times. Finally, after what seemed like the longest ten minutes of my life, I was able to take control of the situation and distract Raina with some trusty lift the flap books. 
After we checked out our books and made our way to the exit, one of the Librarian’s stopped me. Great, she's going to ask us to never return! “I noticed your little one reading some of the board books. We have a surplus inventory of children’s books right now. Could I send some home with you to keep?” either this lady feels really bad for me, or she’s trying to overload us with books so we don’t return for a very long time. Either way, I smiled and said, “Wow, that’s really nice of you. We’d love that, thank you!” 

As we walked out to our car with our hands literally over flowing with books, Jakson says to me, “Whew! Mommy, we won’t be taking Raina back to the library for a long time, will we?!” Yes son, you’re right, the library probably won’t be graced with Raina’s wild presence for awhile!

And the crazy thing is, I know this is only the beginning of what's to come with little Raina's wild card personality...
P.S.- my sincere apologies to any patron’s that may have witnessed my daughter’s meltdown’s that day at the Venice Library.

Friday, November 7, 2014

A Thanksgiving Activity: The Thankful Tree

I am constantly trying to instill thankfulness in my children on a daily basis (who isnt?!). But even with all my preaching, we still have I Guess Im Due moments in this area. I always seem to have at least one that needs some extra practice with gratitude.

So this month, being that we are celebrating Thanksgiving, I decided to start a new family tradition. Meet our Thankful Tree.
The purpose of our tree is to remember and reflect on what we are thankful for and how God has truly blessed each and every one of us. 

Before I started this activity, I read the book "Biscuit is Thankful" to help remind the kids what being thankful means. Afterwards, we had a great conversation about things we were each thankful for just like Biscuit. We took our conversation outside and began hunting for the perfect branches to create our Thankful Tree. After we collected our branches we took a large vase and placed the branches so they fit just the way we wanted. Now, that our tree is assembled our goal is to sit down everyday for a few minutes and think of something specific we are each thankful for. Then, we each write down our response on a fancy piece of paper and cut it out into our very own leaf. After attaching a ribbon to it, the kids find the perfect spot to hang it up. 

It's been so much fun to hear what the kids are each thankful for. Things like, "the trees," "the fire that keeps us warm" and "going to the library." The tree has been such a great daily, visual reminder to all of us to be thankful for what we have. Instead of complaining about the things we don't have, the leaves are proof that God provides more than what we need. By the end of this month, it will be amazing to see how these branches will be weighed down with people, places, things, and feelings for which we are all thankful for. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A Holiday Recipe: Sweet & Savory Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole

Meet Leslie, writer, blogger, and food connoisseur! Although she may not have any I Guess Im Due moments (yet), this chick is a genius when it comes to the kitchen. Her blog, Dash of Les is the winner of 2012's Creative Loafing Best of the Bay Best Food Blogger and her guacamole recipe won 1st place in 2014's All American Recipe Contest And this month, I Guess Im Due was lucky enough to have Leslie create a one of a kind recipe for our readers just in time for the holidays!

This yummy side dish is a great twist on a classic, that's both savory and sweet. This casserole is a fun compromise for people who like sweet potatoes and people who prefer traditional mashed potatoes. So grab the kids and roll up your sleeves because there's mashing, grating, mixing, and crumbling to be done. Enjoy this original recipe from Dash of Les, it's sure to be a new family favorite!
. . .

Sweet & Savory Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole 
(courtesy of
2 pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes
2 pounds sweet potatoes
1/2 cup light sour cream or 2% plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
1/2 cup shredded Gouda cheese (feel free to substitute with cheddar or jack cheese)
1/4 cup milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
2 teaspoons salt, divided
1 teaspoon pepper
non-stick cooking spray

For the topping:
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (not the can stuff)
1/4 cup chives, chopped
6 slices cooked bacon, crumbled


1) Peel all potatoes and cut in quarters. Place the chopped sweet potatoes in one saucepan and the Yukon golds in another. Fill both saucepans with water, just until the potatoes are covered. Place on burners over medium-high heat and boil for 15-20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Drain potatoes separately and return to pots.

2) To the sweet potatoes, add 1/4 cup olive oil, grated nutmeg, 2 tablespoons butter, and 1 teaspoon salt. Mash with potato masher or use a hand-held mixer. Mash until smooth.

3) Place the Yukon golds back on a burner, on low heat. Add the sour cream (or yogurt), 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 milk, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Use potato masher and mash until completely smooth. Use a hand-held mixer if you have one. Once smooth, remove from heat and stir in the shredded Gouda cheese.

4) Spray a 13x9-inch casserole dish with non-stick spray. Then, spoon the sweet potatoes on one side of the dish (lengthwise) and the Yukon golds on the other side. Now, partially mix the two potatoes. Create a pattern using a zig-zag or swirl motion with a fork or a knife. Don't combine the two completely. If you're not baking the mashed potatoes until later, now is the time to top with plastic wrap and place in the fridge.

5) When you're ready to bake the mashed potatoes, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Bake for 30-35 minutes if the casserole has been refrigerated and 20 minutes if it's still warm.
*If you'd like the cheese to get a nice golden crust, place small bits of butter all over the top and broil for 5 minutes. Be sure to keep a watchful eye so it doesn't burn.

6) Remove from oven and top with bacon and chives
. Serve and enjoy!

. . . 
For more amazing recipes created by Leslie, visit her website at and don't forget to show her some love on facebook!