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Monday, October 07, 2013

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

This month is Hispanic Heritage Month! I'm adopted . . not many of my readers know this. Once I found out my family background, I learned all I could about the culture, food, and language of part of my heritage.

Learning the language has always been an on going process. A quite enjoyable one at that. But what I really love is the food! Give me a choice on what to have for dinner and it will always be Mexican or Spanish food.  I crave all things full of flavor that is super colorful. 

Recently IMUSA teamed up with McCormick and sent me a Southwest/Mexican themed package containing IMUSA’s granite mortar and pestle, salsa dishes, a tortilla warmer and an assortment of McCormick seasoning packets and spices to try. There was a recipe mix for Tinga de Pollo ( Mexican Chicken in a smoky tomato sauce), Tacos, a box of Mexican rice , plus Oregano Entero(whole Mexican oregano), Garlic Salt, Chili Powder and Black Pepper.

My favorite go to snack is Pico De Gallo with Avocado. You can eat it with chips, on tacos,  or even add it to lettuce for a bit of added flavor and color to your greens, which by the way is my most favorite way to eat it!

Here's an easy recipe for Pico De Gallo . . . 

  • 2 cloves garlic, halved,
  • kosher salt (a solid three fingers full), and more to taste
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • Juice from 1 to 2 limes
  • 3 avocados
  • 1 roma tomato, seeded and tiny diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped

1. Mash the garlic with the salt in the mortar till it’s a paste (or add it crushed or finely minced to a bowl).

2. Add the shallots and the juice of a lime and let it sit for 10 minutes or so, so that the lime juice can do its business on the garlic and shallot and continue to dissolve the salt.  Cut the the avocados in half.  Remove the seed by firmly tapping the blade of your knife into the seed, then twisting to release it from the fruit.  Scoop the avocado into the mortar or bowl.  Mash it with a fork or the pestle. 

 3. Fold in the tomatoes , taste, season with more lime juice (it probably needs it), the cilantro, more salt if necessary.

 Serve with tortillas or use it to top some tacos or a burger or my favorite, salad! 

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month McCormick and IMUSA are kindly offering one lucky Mama Report reader a

  • CUBAN / CARBIBBEAN PACKAGE: : IMUSA Wood Mortar and Pestle, Caldero and Tostonera, & McCormick’s Black Pepper, Garlic Salt, Curry Powder, Paprika, Cinnamon, Oregano, Black Peppercorn Grinder, Chicken Bag ‘n Season, and Black Beans & Rice Mix.
Please note this contest is available to U.S. residents only. The winner will be selected at random using Rafflecopter and contacted via email. The winner has 48 hours (2 days) to respond. If the winner’s email is incorrect or they do not respond within 48 hours, another winner will be selected. If a winner is selected, and their entries are found to be fraudulent, they are automatically removed from the list and another winner will be selected.The winner will be announced on this page.

Enjoy and Good Luck!!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Summer Reading

Summer reading is so important for my kids. So when the publisher asked me to review this book. I thought it would be a great read for my 17 year old home schooler. 

I read it before she did and thought it was action packed and full of the colorful south. My daughter though it was super good (her words). I had a hard time getting her to put her kindle down long enough to do her chores!

We both can't wait to  get other books by D. J. Donaldson. This book is available at Amazon and Barnes & Nobles if you want to read it for yourself!

Portly & Proud CSI Catches Louisiana Fever
Threat of Outbreak Drives Latest in Southern Suspense Series

“D.J. Donaldson is superb at spinning medical fact into gripping suspense.  With his in-depth knowledge of science and medicine, he is one of very few authors who can write with convincing authority.”

--Tess Gerritsen, NY Times best-selling author of the Rizzoli & Isles novels

Andy Broussard, the “Plump and Proud” New Orleans medical examiner, obviously loves food.  Less apparent to the casual observer is his hatred of murderers. Together with his gorgeous sidekick, psychologist Kit Franklyn, Broussard forms a powerful, although improbable, mystery solving duo.

Astor + Blue Editions is proud to release Louisiana Fever (ISBN: 978-1-938231-33-9; Fiction / Mystery & Suspense; $5.99 E-Book) the latest Broussard mystery by DJ Donaldson.

When Kit goes to meet an anonymous stranger—who’s been sending her roses—the man drops dead at her feet before she could even get his name. Game on.

Andy Broussard soon learns that the man carried a lethal pathogen similar to the deadly “Ebola”—a highly contagious virus, feared worldwide for killing its victims (grotesquely) in a matter of days. When another body turns up with the same bug, widespread panic becomes imminent. The danger is even more acute, because the carrier is mobile. The man knows he’s a walking weapon and… he’s targeting Broussard.

And when Kit Franklyn investigates her mystery suitor further, she runs afoul of a cold- blooded killer, every bit as deadly as the man searching for her partner.

Louisiana Fever is written in Donaldson’s unique style:  A hard-hitting, punchy, action-packed prose that’s dripping with a folksy, decidedly southern sense of irony.  Mix in Donaldson’s brilliant first-hand knowledge of forensics, along with the sultry flavor of New Orleans, and readers will be fully satisfied with this irresistibly delectable mystery.


D.J. Donaldson is a retired professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology.  His entire academic career was spent at the University of Tennessee, Health Science Center, where he published dozens of papers on wound-healing and where he taught microscopic anatomy to thousands of medical and dental students.

He is also the author of seven published forensic mysteries and five medical thrillers. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee with his wife and two West Highland terriers. In the spring of most years he simply cannot stop buying new flowers and other plants for the couple’s prized backyard garden.

Hope your having a great summer!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Everyone dreads getting that phone call from their child's school. In our case it's usually because one of my boys is sick, or one in particular is asleep again.  But not this time. This time I was called by the Vice Principal. 

Oh Boy!!

Seems one little boy had spit his drink on two of his friends and was disrespectful all morning. 


After a brief but stern talk to said little boy he was sent back to class. 

Two hours later the phone rings again. 


This time it was his teacher. Please come and get him. His behavior has continued and I can't do this anymore. This was 30 minutes before I was to pick him up from school anyways. 

I picked him up from school and his poor teacher looked like she was about to cry. Honestly, I have been there. I know that look. And I know those days. I really felt bad for her. 

But what does that say to my son. Was I rewarding him for behaving badly? Was I doing the right thing for picking him up early? Should he have just spent that last 30 minutes of school with the principal?

He lost privileges but he was the same way to me the rest of the afternoon. A little bit of background on him. This particular child has Moderate ADHD and other diagnosis. And we lowered his medicine in hopes of trying to figure out why he's sleeping so much during the day. 

 He has since apologized to the Vice Principal and his teachers for his behavior and is a different kid today.

Granted his behavior is unacceptable but he was in full ADHD mode and was having issues controlling it. What would you have done? Any thoughts?


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Our 200lb Mastiff thinks he can fit on that chair with the two of them!

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

I Am Woman, I Am Invinceable, I Am Tired

As moms we all struggle to do it all, provide it all, and say yes to anyone who asks. We think we are super woman, ready to leap tall buildings, run a mile a minute, and keep a household happy. But doing that will eventually run us ragged.

I'm to that point. I'm tired, exhausted really. I am the taxi driver, the referee, the gift getter, the baker, the judge, jury, and nurse. I am one step away from staying in bed and letting someone else handle a day or twelve.

Just as I was beginning in my journey of slowing down, letting my kids take more responsibility for some things in there life ( backpacks by the front door, clothes laid out, etc. ). I was introduced to the book , Momaholic: Crazy Confessions of A Helicopter Parent.

 It is one mom's struggle to let go in order to discover a freedom for herself and her family. Dena Higley defines helicopter parenting as the act of hovering over one's children, anticipating and meeting their every need.

Every family is different. some hover  . . . a lot, some have no choice to hover because of medical problems or learning disabilities. Which is where I struggle. I have three kids that are special needs. Lately those needs have been put to the test with my oldest having a seizure, my middle son now struggling with possible hearing loss, and my youngest sleeping 15- 18 hrs a day and no one knows why.

We are inundated with doctors appointments, dance rehearsals, Cub Scouts, Venture Crew, homework, and in between all that they have lives and parties, and play time with friends. and I work too.

I'm tired , I just want one day for me . . Somehow that day always turns into running errands,  going to the doctor etc. I need to learn to say "you do it". You can get ready on your own, You can start your school work by yourself, You can get that snack. I struggle because I keep telling myself It's faster if I do it or I handle it. But what it's really doing is exhausting me.

This book was so me. It was like I was right there with Dena having a conversation with her about our struggles. She was funny, honest, and so real. Her book isn't a a how to book, it's a what not to do book.

Like Dena, I urge you give yourself permission to breathe.

I highly recommend that you take some time for yourself and read this book!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Letter to My Son

Dear Son, 

Trips to Urgent Care are inevitable with you. I knew that the day I found out you were a boy. I figured that you would be there at least twice a year but not twice in one week. 

But to not remember how you hurt your foot is something new. Did you really hit it that hard that you forgot what happened?  You told me it was your toe nail that hurt. And like the big boy that you have become promptly went and put a band-aid on it. 

It wasn't until your sister helped you with your shoes and socks (three days later) that we even noticed  . . . 

that your foot


Your father and I would appreciate it if you would let us know immediately the next time you hurt yourself. 

Thank you!

 Onto the matter of you scaring your mother half to death a few days later with a barking cough, struggling to breath and a high fever.  I honestly don't mind making regular visits to the doctor. We aim to keep you as healthy as possible. But getting yourself sick with Croup  a few days after the foot incident was a little much. 

Now, you know you are one special kiddo. But we'd really appreciate you not scaring us so much. You have our hearts, Little Man and we love you but we have to put our foot down when it comes to two visits to Urgent Care in one week. 

Also, when you are feeling better, I would rather you just tell me instead of doing headstands on the couch in your underwear. You may just end up getting hurt! 

Just a little advice from your mother. 

Your Welcome!



Friday, October 26, 2012

I am their Cheerleader

My life consist of all things school. The last few months I have put my focus on teaching my kids reading comprehension, sentence sequencing, phonics, decoding and spelling.

I never really understood the importance of reading until I had kids of my own who struggle with it. Everything they do in school is reflected on how well they understand what they read and how well they can portray that understanding. 

I myself never struggled. I could read 2nd grade books in kindergarten, I could read in pictures which made understanding what I read easily. I could never grasp the concept of a struggling reader. And when my kids were born I just assumed that my kids would pick up reading as easily as I did. 

So when that didn't turn out to be the case , I had no idea what to do. By the time I figured some of it out, my daughter was older and still struggling. I have read books, blog posts, talked to doctors, and reading therapist. I have learned a lot but my kids still struggle. Reading isn't fun for them. 

As a mom, and an avid reader, I can't imagine the frustration,  the low self esteem, and the confusion they face everyday. For this reason my oldest is now home schooled. She's happier now that she feels she doesn't have to compete with the other kids her age. She just has me to be her encourager, her teacher, and her coach. 

No matter how long it takes, I'm not giving up on my kids. I will fight for them, they are unique in their struggles, they need me and my husband more than anything to be their cheerleaders, to help them learn and to understand their frustration. 

Do your kids struggle with reading? How are you coping? What are some ways you teach your kids reading comprehension?