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Slow return to the life of norm

I have taken a rather long break from blogging. It wasn’t intentional really, I just kind of lost my mojo over time. I wish I could say I was ready to jump back in full swing but this is real life. So let’s be honest here, I am a single mom to three kids (a teen, a pre-teen and one that may as well be a pre-teen already) I work full time, have two kids in band, two in a sport and then there’s all the stuff in between. Do I struggle? Hell yes I do, but that doesn’t mean I don’t give my hardest every day.

Time really is a luxury I don’t have most days, and relaxing pffft, that is a dream. This is my life, yes it can be damn stressful and tiring at times, but I would not change it for the world. Tooting my horn here…I am doing it on my own and you know what? I am pretty proud of that.

That being said, I do want to get back into writing. I have missed that along with photography. Those were always two passions of mine. And over the years they have fallen to the wayside. I think I’ve waited long enough to bring them back….slowly of course. So here I am, laying it all out, my busy crazy life is my priority but I’m going to attempt to bring this part of my life back as well. Whether that be by simply sharing photos, which if you know me, that is how this whole blog thing came about. Or sharing recipes, reviews, maybe just me blabbering. Who knows. Either way, I am determined.

So with that being said…

 

 

 

 

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Lemon Blueberry Bread

For a while now I have had a craving for lemons and blueberries. I tried the combo once before and it was an epic fail so I needed to make it right. I tried searching Whole30 recipes and Paleo but I wanted wasn’t finding exactly what I was looking for. So I did what any rational person would do, took ideas from a bunch of recipes and I winged it. And wouldn’t you know, it was not an epic failure this time!

Thankfully I have the best sous chef around to help me out and have fun in the kitchen with me (note the banana sticker on her cheek). She’s also loves to try new things and is a fabulous taste tester.

Lemon Blueberry Bread
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Cook Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups all purpose flour
  2. 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  3. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  4. 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  5. 1 cup sugar
  6. 1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
  7. 2 large eggs
  8. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  9. 1/2 cup whole milk
  10. 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Spray four mini loaf pans with non stick cooking spray
  3. In a small bowl mix the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside
  4. In a large mixing bowl combine the sugar and lemon zest, then add in the butter and beat until it's nice and fluffy
  5. Add eggs, vanilla and milk into the mixture
  6. Slowly add the flour mixture and mix until it is all combined
  7. Fold in the blueberries.
  8. Spread batter evenly into the prepared pans
  9. Bake for 30 minutes
Shanamama http://www.shanamama.com/wp/
The recipe doesn’t have a long cook time, which works great when cooking with kids. Samantha enjoyed a little bit of butter on her bread but I thought it was perfect as is. The slight hint of lemon combined with the blueberries was the perfect combination.

 

 

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White Chicken Chili Recipe

Winter hit hard here last month. And by hard I mean temperature wise, not snow (at least then it would have been pretty out), or ice, just annoyingly bone cold temperatures. I am not a cold weather person….at all. It is not my jam. Give me the mid 70’s 80’s year round and I will be a happy girl.

The only positive to cold weather is the delicious food associated with it. Such as soup or chili. The nice thing about chili, especially White Chicken Chili, is on those days where you really want a home cooked meal but you don’t want to have the mess that comes a long with it, or to have to spend hours in the kitchen. Enter White Chicken Chili. This meal takes less then an hour from start to finish!

White Chicken Chili

Ingredients

  • 4-5 Cups water
  • 1 Vegetable Bullion cube
  • 3 cups Chopped chicken
  • 2 (15 ounce) Cans Great Northern, Navy or Cannellini beans, drained
  • 1 Jar (16 ounces) of Salsa Verde (I use Herdez)
  • 1 1/2 Cups of chopped green onions (roughly seven-ten stalks)
  • 2 Avocados diced

Directions

In a large pot combine water, bullion and salsa. Bring to a boil

While that works up to a boil start chopping up he chicken and green onion.

Once boiling add in the chopped chicken, beans and bring back to a boil.

Reduce heat, cover and cook for ten minutes.

Top with the diced avocados and green onions. I like to crumble up some chips, my kids like to put cheese and sour cream on top as well.

This recipe has saved my dinners plenty of times, or should I say, saved me. And it really helps that all of my kids love it and we rarely have any left overs. I hope your family loves is as much as mine does!

 

  • Alisha Ross

    This is the best indoor chicken I’ve ever made, and I used boxed, frozen chicken breasts. Can’t wait to try this out with fresh ones… maybe post up some ideas for side dishes? 😉

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Hello to 2015!

I am not going to lie or sugar coat things. 2014 was a horrible fucking year. Oh my, Shana just dropped the F bomb. Why yes, yes I did. What ever would posses you to do that? Well I did warn you that I wasn’t going to sugar coat it! Last year was one of the hardest years of my life. And it will go down in the memory books just as that. Going through a separation and divorce isn’t easy peasy lemon squeezy. No it’s emotional, stressful, heart breaking at times and one of the most raw things a person an go through. If you are one of the lucky one’s to end up with a civil divorce I applaud and congratulate you and think you guys are awesome. If you can end up civil and friends in the end I will do the same as previously mentioned and hug you. Ugliness is just that, ugly and it doesn’t do either party any good. And even more important is it doesn’t help the innocents….your children (if you have them). Well look at me rambling on here. That was not my intent of this post. Anywho, if you are going through a divorce I am wrapping you in giant hugs and I offer my shoulder in support to you.

Now, to the point of this post….HELLO 2015!!! A new year, a new beginning. I never really paid much attention to New Years resolutions and such. Yeah sure I made them in the past but I never stuck to them because really, what was the point. If someone wants to make a change they should make it, why does it have to be at the new year? Yes part of me is a cynic. Shhh don’t tell anyone. With all the changes 2014 brought I want to start 2015 right.

So here we go, my list of things I want to change, I’m going to try and change but I will not call them resolutions so that may help me stick to them longer hah.

1. Don’t stress so much over the state of the house

Yes it get’s messy. Yes the kids will pretend to clean when in all actuality they’re making it worse but why stress over it? Why waste that time getting upset when you could be spending it with your babies doing something fun like…I don’t know a food fight. Wait what?!? Okay maybe not a food fight but something as simple as coloring with them can make their day. Do it!

2. Wake up earlier

Ugh, so not happy about this one but it’s got to be done. Getting into a new routine with the kids has been rough and it doesn’t help that you’re constantly running late and barely making it to school then work on time. You have got to do this the right way. Get up earlier, feed those cranky heathens breakfast, shove all your faces out the door and get to school/work on time. Don’t worry….you got this!

3.  Don’t forget to play

Whether it’s outside or inside, and no I don’t mean on the computer, iPad, etc. I mean together. Okay despite my fighting on this I will cave and save the WiiU does count cause we can play it all together and laugh at each other so that totally counts as play time and together time. Just spend time with those babies and soak it all in. Pull out those games that are collecting dust in the closet and do a weekly game night.

4. Assign chores

Hey this is a weak point for me. Not a small one but a big one. I do EVERYTHING. While I am a single mom and duh it’s kind of in the description I still shouldn’t be doing everything for my children. They need to learn independence, responsibilities. You know all the fun stuff. Start out small but a chore chart needs to be done. They’re all old enough that this should have happened years ago but there’s no time like the present so snap to it girl.

5. BREATH

You only have one life. Remember to breath. Stop and enjoy the special moments,  if you don’t you’ll look back and realize all that you missed. Don’t over process, don’t over complicate. Just breath.

There it is. My list of things to work on. I’m so gonna do this, for myself but especially for these three loves of my life.

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2015 is going to be an amazing year!

 

  • Jamal

    You have shared an excellent post, Thank you for the advice. it's an amazing year so far.

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Walgreens Get a Shot, Give a Shot #GiveaShot #CollectiveBias

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

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It’s a simple fact of life that along with the start of school comes the sickies. Especially for the younger ones. I have three kids going back to school this year. A fifth grader (OMG when did that happen), a 2nd grader and one into Kindergarten. My oldest has always had a weak immune system. He’s been hospitalized a few times for pneumonia, bronchitis and valley fever so I take immunizations and his well being very seriously. As I do with my other children but with him I take a little bit of extra caution. All three of my kids will be getting the flu shot. I know it’s a dreaded process for our children but I play the better safe than sorry rule and so far we’ve been one of the lucky families when it comes to the flu (knock on wood). Along with the flu I will making sure they are up to date on the rest of their immunizations. I may not be the typical mom who gets them all done at once because my kids are very sensitive to vaccines, and we have strong allergies in the family,  so we do no more than two at a time and it works for us.

Collage1

 In preparation for the coming school year I have already started to stock up on much needed supplies. When shopping for wellness items I try to think outside of the box and not just grab a bunch of over the counter medicines. I think what would my kids want if they were down for the count. Jr usually spends a lot of time sleeping while Mantha wants to cuddle. You may spend a little extra money thinking like a kid, at least I do. The first thing I think of is how they may not want to drink or eat so my first thought is to grab some water. Sure, not the most kid friendly form of hydration but it’s the simplest and best way to keep them hydrated when sick. You can purchase the little packets of flavoring and make ice pops with them. They think they’re getting a popsicle and you know they are keeping hydrated. I also came across something new while browsing Walgreens wellness section. Good for you lollipops! Yeah lollipops that aren’t just sugar. They had two varieties, one for sore throats and one chocked full of Vitamin C. I don’t know about you but I think these are fabulous!

Collage2

Naturally I chose to grab a bag of Vitamin C lollipops. I just couldn’t help myself. I give my kids their daily vitamins but the little extra boost in a kid friendly form is always helpful when your little one’s are sick. Reminds me of getting lollipops at the Dr’s office after a shot as a child. Mantha is notorious for getting really bad chapped lips, especially when sick so I picked up some fun new flavors for her. And at a dollar each you can simply dispose of them to not contaminate them after they are well. Tissues, you can never have a too many nice soft tissues for your wee ones noses. I love that I can pick up a few school supplies to a jump start on my back to school shopping as well.

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With school now less then a month away I’ve already made appointments for my kids to get their immunizations and flu shots. Right now until October 14th, when you get a flu shot OR any other immunization at your local Walgreens, Walgreens will provide a life-saving vaccine through the United Nations Foundation’s Shot@Life Campaign. In the Get a Shot, Give a Shot program everyone can help. It’s heartbreaking to know that not everyone is as fortunate to be able to afford healthcare, or even have healthcare as an option.

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 4.00.56 PMWalgreens will give up to THREE million vaccines to children that who cannot afford vaccines through the Get a Shot, Give a Shot program. All you need to do is get a shot and Walgreens will take care of the rest. Walgreens accepts most insurance plans and you can verify your coverage prior to your appointment if you are unsure. Even if you don’t have insurance, the services are priced lower than routine doctor office, urgent care, and emergency room. To learn more about this program click here.

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  • Lori Pace

    Thank you so much! What a great program to share and your kids are adorable!! #Client

    • shanamama

      It was my pleasure to share about this wonderful program, and thank you Lori!

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Our Kid Free Trip To Disneyland

Thank you to the Disneyland PR department for sending me two park hopper tickets to facilitate this post.

I love Disneyland. I mean who doesn’t? But I never dreamed of going to Disneyland without kids. Well maybe prior to having children but after becoming a mom it just seemed….mean. When I was presented with the opportunity to go without kids my initial reaction was no, absolutely not. Not going to happen. But everyone dreams of taking a trip to Disneyland because no matter how old you are you can never deny the magic that is known as Disney. So with a little extra encouragement from some friends I brought up the idea to my husband and we decided we had to do this. We just couldn’t pass an opportunity like this up. So on Christmas Eve off we went!

Disney Collage

First let me say this dude….I really did not think it would be so crowded the day before Christmas. I went on the assumption that people would be 1) traveling or 2) at home with their families. I think it was quite possibly the exact opposite though. I have never seen it so crowded, and that’s including all the times we used to go way back in 2005 when our oldest was just a wee one. We would go every week, rain or shine. School days or vacation days. It didn’t matter we still went. But never did we see it as crowded as it was that day.

So let me tell you about the FastPass. Um, best only thing ever! They allow you to bypass the long lines and get to the ride faster. And it’s really quite simple.

  1. Look for the FastPass sign near the entrance of an attraction
  2. Insert your ticket to the park
  3. Take FastPass (pay close attention to the time printed on the pass as that is the only time you can use it!)
  4. When it’s time go to the entrance of the ride show your ticket to the Cast Member and whala, enjoy the ride with a seriously reduced  wait time

And if you weren’t aware, the FastPass is available at both Disneyland AND California Adventure. Speaking of California Adventure…..I haven’t been there since right after it opened and WOW has it changed! The biggest change I noticed was the addition of the CARS rides and fun things to do all featured around the movie CARS. We are a huge fan of both CARS movies. I can’t wait to bring my kids back so they can see Lightening McQueen and Mater in person…they will flip!

Disney Collage2

I never in my thirty something years (didn’t think I’d reveal my real age there did yah hah) dreamed of taking a trip to Disneyland with no kids but you know what? I am so glad I did. I got to spend one amazing stress free day with my husband that was filled with fun, smiles, love and memories I will never forget. 

 

 

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How To Train Your Dragon 2: New Poster

So I completely missed the announcement a few months (?) ago that there was a Dragons 2 in the works! How I missed it I don’t know. I freaking loved the first movie. I mean my kids loved it. Oh heck, we all loved it. But I will actually sit here and watch it all by myself with no kids home. I may or may not watch the show too :X What can I say, I have a love for cartoons, especially when they have a good story behind them. I am looking forward seeing this movie with my boys and seeing what Hiccup, Toothless and his band of friends have in store for us this time around.

httyd2_poster_big

The thrilling second chapter of the epic How To Train Your Dragon trilogy brings back the fantastical world of Hiccup and Toothless five years later. While Astrid, Snotlout and the rest of the gang are challenging each other to dragon races (the island’s new favorite contact sport), the now inseparable pair journey through the skies, charting unmapped territories and exploring new worlds. When one of their adventures leads to the discovery of a secret ice cave that is home to hundreds of new wild dragons and the mysterious Dragon Rider, the two friends find themselves at the center of a battle to protect the peace.

And if you happened to miss the announcement such as I did here is the trailer for you to get a sneak peak at How To Train Your Dragon 2. Oh and how could I forget, the movie will be released in theaters June 13, 2014 in 3D!

To keep up with Dragon 2 you can visit the website, Facebook, Twitter (be sure to follow along the hashtag #HTTYD2), YouTube.

 

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Wordless Wednesday: My Big 7 Year Old

Tomorrow my baby girl turns seven. SEVEN. I can’t believe how fast these years have flown by. I swear just yesterday I was feeling her reluctantly move in my tummy, drinking lots of orange juice, eating sugar and eating spicy just to get her stubborn bum to give a little kick. She hasn’t changed. She is still just as stubborn, if not more but she is my stubborn little girl. My tender hearted, sweet, loving, giggling baby girl.

Mantha1

Mantha2

 

 



 

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Verizon FiOS Empowering Our Youth #PlayLikeaGirl

PlayLikeAGirl2
 

When growing up I had a love-hate-love relationship with sports. I definitely enjoyed playing sports, but my interests waned easily and this often led to my deserting the fun of sport for the mall or boys. Looking back I regret some of the times I didn’t see my various interests through to the end, especially when it came to athletics. The sport that kept my interests captivated for the greatest amount of time was soccer. For seven years I played and created lasting memories that I still hold in high regard today. However, it was a short seven years.

Looking back I could have played all the way through high school and possibly longer if I hadn’t given in to my wanderlust. Even though soccer was the sport that grabbed my interest and attention, I did have the opportunity to play another sport that gave me the feeling of teamwork and empowerment and that was powder-puff football. My position as kicker was crucial (lol), but the experience nonetheless provided a grip of good times that will last a lifetime! My childhood may have past, but my children are neck deep in it.

Living in the middle of the country and being blessed with three children, two boys and a girl, I have been made aware of the disproportionate sports play options for boys versus what is offered for girls. However, this limitation has not prevented my daughter from enjoying the empowerment provided by the interests that drive her. I have always reminded her of the power she possesses by reinforcing her in positive ways, even when it’s a male dominated interest. What is important here is that she believes in herself and follows her heart. My daughter isn’t really a tomboy and she’s definitely not the biggest sports nut, but she does enjoy playing baseball and soccer with her brothers and friends. She is quite the princess and her love for the arts is second to none. Her “sport” is what she derives from the right half of her brain. If it involves singing, dancing, or drawing she’s on it. It’s the air she breathes and my husband and I fully support her love for it. When my daughter was born I was so excited about all the possibilities she would have for herself when she grows up. She’s only seven years old, but my daughter has found her passion in the arts. She talks all the time about wanting to be a music teacher when all grown up and that makes me so incredibly proud of her. And one day, if she decides sports are more her thing, then my husband and I will be there on the sidelines to cheer her on- I may even dust off a few of my old jerseys and let her wear them to practice!

PlayLikeAGirl1

Verizon supports our youth and the impact that sports can have on the lives of girls. They recently started this awesome campaign and to kick it off they are holding a fantastic giveaway. Be sure to check out their YouTube page for some cute videos and follow along in some coversation. You can share your story of how your daughter #PlaysLikeAGirl with photos or video at http://verizon.com/playlikeagirl for your chance to win the Grand Prize, a Deluxe Tech & Sports Equipment Package. Prize package includes:

  • Samsung Galaxy NX 20.3MP Camera with 18-55 Lens (ARV $1,699)
  • Microsoft Surface Pro 2 – 128 GB (ARV $1,000)
  • Type Cover 2 for Surface Pro 2 (ARV $130)
  • HEX Surface Sleeve (ARV $40)
  • Surface Mini Display Port HD AV Adapter (AVR $40)
  • Monster iSport Victory In-Ear  Headphones (AVR $150)
  • Apple iPod Nano (ARV $150)
  • Amazon Gift Card for Sports Equipment purchase (ARV $1,800)

The approximate retail value of the Grand Prize is $5,010.00! All Grand Prize details, including specific product models and features, will be determined by Sponsor in its discretion.

Verizon FiOS gives your family the connection and speed you need to play with the big boys. Share your proudest moment of your daughter’s athletic achievements at www.verizon.com/playlikeagirl. You could be chosen to win a grand prize valued at $5,000!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Verizon. The opinions and text are all mine.

 

  • Verizon Wireless

    Thank you for sharing that wonderful story and those little girls look wonderful and energetic. This story reminds me of my passion for sports like basketball, soccer and running while in high school and the benefits for sports are so enormous, both physically and emotionally for the individual. Thank you for companies such as Verizon for supporting the initiative and hope other can emulate the same.

    • shanamama

      It was my pleasure. I love sharing in wonderful things such as this campaign. And to know that a company makes empowering our youth a priority is a wonderful feeling.

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Preserving Your Memories with YesVideo #RememberWhen

Full Disclosure: I was compensated for my time on sharing the YesVideo holiday deadlines.  All opinions and family memories are 100% my own.

HolidayDiscandCaseThere always seems to be that one person that you just don’t know what to purchase for the holidays. If you’re one of the “lucky” few like me, then you have multiple people whom are equally “challenging” for gifting to. For starters I have my husband, my dad, my mom, the in-laws, heck, who am I kidding…it’s just about everyone I know! Not to mention I am just plain bad at buying gifts! However, the one thing I have found that never seems to disappoint is the fondness for family memories. And what captures those special family moments better than a photograph? Nothing. What is the best, most secure way to share those memories? A DVD- so you know they will always be there no matter what.

For me, the security of having those memories on DVD is constantly reassuring. The peace of mind offered with the knowledge that all of my family’s memories are safely stored on a DVD is priceless. I do not want to relive my worst fear again- losing all those precious moments to the pitfalls of modern technology. One such moment I didn’t lose because I learned the value of safe storage.

I have a video of my oldest riding a bike for the first time. This was before I had a video camera so I took it on my cell phone. Mind you this was five or so years ago so while the quality isn’t the greatest it’s still one of my favorite videos of him. He takes off and just doesn’t stop. He didn’t fall once! I may or may not have cried like the proud sappy mommy that I am. But it’s one of those memories I will never forget, therefore it holds a special place in my heart. And when my son is older and has kids of his own we can all look back and say “Remember when you learned how to ride a bike” and we’ll be able to pull up the video and watch it together as a family. Preserving those memories so I may pass them on to my children is important for me. Knowing they will make new memories with my future grandchildren while enjoying our family’s history make me teary eyed just  thinking about it. That’s how precious and close to my heart I hold these irreplaceable moments. But guarding my family’s past is not the only reason I have embraced DVD’s.

Like most people, I am very big on convenience. As a mom to three wee one’s being able to get multiple things done in one stop is a huge deal. It’s one of the many reasons I love Sam’s Club so much. I can get what would normally take me multiple shopping trips all done in one place. And that includes using YesVideos video transfer service. Yes indeed you read that right! YesVideo transfer service kiosks are conveniently (yay!) located inside Sam’s Club at the photo center! In addition to transferring all those wonderful family memories you have on film, they also transfer several different video formats and digital memory card data to DVD as well. These include VHS, VHS-C, S-VHS, Hi-8, 8mm videotape, Digital 8, MiniDV, BetaMax, 35mm slides prints, digital memory cards, USB drives, and data CD/DVDs.

YesVideo Sams

Make sure you get your transfer orders in before December 2nd, 2013 to get your order back to you before the holidays (we all know how hectic the holiday time is). That is their deadline for guaranteed holiday delivery. And if you love good savings like I do, then hurry up and place your order by November 30, 2013 because you will save 25% off your entire order with no coupon required!

Don’t worry If you’re not a Sam’s Club member because YesVideo also has kiosks inside of Walmart at the photo center. Don’t want to leave the house? No worries, YesVideo also has an iPhone and iPad app so you can watch your home movies on the go or share with family and friends!

For more information on YesVideo/Sam’s Club Online be sure to check out their Website, Blog, follow them on Twitter and course you can find them on Facebook.