Monday, July 30, 2012

Grace at the "Happiest Place on Earth"

A week and a half ago, we did a whirlwind road trip to California. Mr Toddlerwhisperer was playing a gig out in Newport Beach, so we decided to make a little trip of it. We got to play at the beach, go thrifting, visit with family, and no trip to SoCal with a four and five year old would be complete without a trip to the happiest place on earth, Disneyland!
A quick snap of the drumming Mickey parade

waiting for their first rollercoaster ride in Toon Town

What I was impressed with most by DLand was the fact that every single cast member who worked there was SO nice. Genuinely sweet, kind and full of grace.  You know they deal with thousands of people there each day, some with attitude, some cutting in lines, some hot and whiney, and others who don't even speak English...

Day in and day out, they receive the same questions...hundreds of times a day.."which way is the bathroom?" "where's the best place to eat?" "how do I get to space mountain?" "can i take a picture with you?" and every time they answer, they make the person asking feel like they are the only person who has ever asked that particular question.

We arrived, and I had seen on pinterest how parents use sharpies to write contact info on their children in large crowds...and I had forgotten my sharpie, so we went into a shop on mainstreet and asked one of the ladies if I could borrow one of theirs. They quickly found a permanent marker, and giggled the whole time Daddy wrote his cell number on his little ones' tummies.

We asked a churro vendor which way to the restrooms, and he cheerfully passed on the information.

And, we waited in line for like five minutes for our precious girl to meet Snow White. While waiting, the people in front of us were from an Asian country, and every single one of them wanted a picture with her. Just when she thought she was finished, she would have another one of the party stand next to her for a picture. And every time, she posed exactly the same, kept the same sweet face and smiled.  As our daughter approached for her turn, someone cut from the side, and Snow quickly and in character said, "There's a line for me over there, if you would like to take a turn" them posed so sweetly with my tired little lady.

While the Magic Kingdom was most definitely a wonderful place to visit, here in the real world we come into these same situations in our workplace, at the line in the grocery store, in traffic, with our children...and what pours out from our hearts? Is it love? Is it joy? Is it patience? Galatians 5:22 gives us the list of what should pour from our hearts to reflect that the Spirit of Christ dwells within us. (But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness)

If literally every person who worked for Disney at the park on Sunday can do it, we, certainly as Believers can strive to live by the Spirit, being an extension of the Grace Christ showed us to others. Galatians 5:16 "So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature." Let's make our homes and our circles of influence the happiest places on earth!

This post is a link up over on Gracelaced for Gracelaced Mondays. You should check out the other links!
Grace Laced Mondays

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Jaiva, Jon's Way

When we were on our California trip last week, my cousin Jon and his wife were so gracious to open their home to us for a couple nights. They live north of LA, and after we did our thing in Huntington beach last Saturday, we made the trek up to their house. A little while after we settled in, Jon brought out this amazing crab ceviche type dish...that was absolutely to.die.for.
I mean. I could not get this salad out of my head for days. On the way home...Mr Toddlerwhisperer is thinking about the beach, the kids are thinking about Disneyland, and I...well, I'm thinking of Jon's Jaiva.
What is jaiva you may ask? It's translation from Spanish is crab. So basically, this is a delicious, tart, salty, spicy, seafood salad. Are you ready for the recipe? (scroll down for picture free instructions. Click here for printable recipe)

You need 1/2 lb shrimp and 1/2 lb crab meat

You also need onion, chiles, tomatoes, cilantro, lime (or lemon) and avocados

chop cooked shrimp

chop and shred crabmeat

my kids would have been happy if this were the finished product...they love seafood

dice up your veggies really small

Oooooh so pretty

add your citrus juice

mix together and refrigerate

are you ready to eat?

instead of putting the hot sauce in the salad, we chose to place it on individually to our liking

Jon's Jaiva

1/2 lb    Jaiva (Crabmeat) **as a side note, Jon made it with imitation crab...not because he's a cheapskate, but because he and his wife like the way it tastes in this dish better...and we LOVED it**
1/2 lb    shrimp deveined (when we made it...we bought cooked shrimp)

Juice from 5-6 lemons (we used limes)

3-4   Roma tomatoes, cut into small cubes
1/2  onion finely chopped
1-2 serrano chile without seeds finely chopped (we used an anaheim chile)
1 T   Salt
1 bunch cilantro

Splash tapatio sauce  (we bought a different brand...pick your favorite from the Mexican food aisle)
corn tostadas

parboil shrimp (or use the cooked shrimp like we did)
chop shrimp and jaiva and mix with juice from lemons
add tomatoes, onion, cilantro, chile salt and tapatio sauce

refrigerate before serving
serve on tostada shells and top with chopped avocado. (and like they do in Tijuana...smear a little mayo on the tostada first)

Oh I sure hope you try this. A tasty, inexpensive, cool summer treat!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Eating out on Vacation

Aaaahhh...summer time is winding down, vacations have been had...and I am here to share a few good eats with you.

We recently came home from a trip to Los Angeles.  My husband is from the area, and he was actually doing a gig with a band from here.  We made it into a mini vacation and did the beach and Disneyland too.

One of our favorite things to do on vacation is to eat out at only places that we CANNOT eat at where we live. Being that my hubby transplanted almost 20 years ago from LA, there are many food joints he speaks of with fond memories...that he misses. We hit quite a few of them. :)

We actually saw this on the Travel Channel, so we made it a point to visit. Slater's 50/50 is an amazing burger joint in SoCal, and we happened to visit the Huntington Beach location.  They make incredible burgers...50% ground beef and 50% BACON. yummmmm

After spending hours at the beach, we were all so hungry. El Pollo Loco was a childhood favorite for Mr we stopped in. It was SO good. Even the kids picked their chicken legs clean!

On our way out of town, we stopped at a Tommy's Burgers...for the YUMMMMy chili burgers and chili fries. The kids have stated a few times that they wish there was one in our "country."

Literally since Mr. T and I started dating in 2000, he has mentioned this place. Soups in bread bowls, delicious sandwiches. Boudin's did not disappoint.

There were some other really fantastic stops we made out west, but these are some of the only photos that were taken..(all by Mr T)

One of my favorite food experiences was actually at my cousin and his wife's house. My cousin is an amazing cook, and he made a crab salad that is SO absolutely delicious...I will be sharing it here with you soon.

What are your favorite restaurants to visit? Do you crave a restaurant you visited once on vacation?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

My Favorite Monkey Bread

My mom never made this, and I've only had it a handful of times in my life, but when Mr Toddlerwhisperer came home with the recipe from a co-worker for this delightful treat, I thought I would give it a go.

Mine made a buttery/sugary crust, while I have seen some with an ooey gooey crust.

We all THOROUGHLY enjoyed it too! Much better than taking a trip across town for doughnuts this morning.
So, without further ado...I present:

Heat oven to 350F
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 cans of Large refrigerated biscuits or cinnamon roll dough (Like Grands! or TJ's like I used)
1/2-3/4 cups butter or margarine; melted (I think 3/4 c butter would make it gooeyer)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar


1. Grease bundt cake pan
2. Mix sugar and cinnamon in 1 gallon bag
3. Cut each biscuit into 8 pieces
4. Shake pieces in bag to coat and place in pan
5. Mix melted butter and brown sugar
6. Pour butter mix over pieces in pan
7. Bake at 350F for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. (I started checking around 35 minutes)
8. Let cool 5-10 minutes. Turn upside down and serve warm.

I know you can add all kinds of goodies too, like nuts, choco chips, or raisins. Tell me what you do to make yours super yummy!!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Grace in a junkyard

Don't trials come at the most inopportune times? Like a car accident right as we are trying to save money for a mini vacation...without collision insurance.

Praise the Lord, this accident looks much worse than it really was, or how bad it really could have been. My hubby was on his way to work, driving in the fast lane where two interstates meet up. So happy he was protected from harm when it all went down.

But. Like I said, not good timing financially. So the cost of a new hood if we were to go to the dealer would be like $250, and the labor is at least $125 /hr and I'm sure they would have charged us for 2-3 hours of labor...because they CAN. ugh. So, hubby did something totally out of his comfort zone.
totally. out. of. his. expertise.

He went to UPULLIT. A junkyard, that surprisingly is located all over the country. He called and asked if they had any make/models of our car...THEY DID...they had 4.

He walked from row to row of piled high cars, and found the first car....front end collision....the next car...same problem...and finally, at the third intact and beautiful hood!! He and his father got to work unscrewing and pulling the piece off the car.

Was it an exact match for color? no. Was it an exact fit?

yes. YES!!

Final cost? $60. grace.

Grace Laced Mondays