Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The unexpected is always coming ....

So many things are going to my head right now as I sit in my kitchen sipping my coffee watching children play. I don't know where to begin this blog post so much is been going on lately that I have too much to say or too little I'm not sure which. It's been a While since I posted  so here we go. 
My husbands last day of work as assistant manager at a well recognized pharmacy is this Friday. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I believe that it is the best thing for sure that he no longer works retail, being that after 10+ years of service he's been offered a demotion for no reason other then that his position is being deleted with of course a cut in pay. He in no way deserves any of the things that are happening and of course has things lined up, resumes on the ready, and a plan. The company unexpectedly offered up severance plans for all who are being affected. However as a husband and father of a family of six, his income sustains our everyday life and my part time income has always been ends meet until now. It's a little scary. It's a lot Scary. It makes me think of when we had our twins. A month or so before they were born his company cut overtime. We lost a great deal of our income without his overtime and with all of the unexpected expenses of having twins we were ..... In a spot so to speak. We had no notice and no time to plan. Our bills went past due, we fell behind on rent, had to make life decisions at the pump "If I put in $x of gas today I can get groceries to last till Thursday but won't have gas on Friday to get to the bank with my check to cash it". It was getting rough, then we had the twins early, at 34 weeks, they were in NICU and too small and fragile to come home. We were consumed with worry and angst and always at the hospital or getting our two school age children back and forth to class and he of course was still working hard. The time came when we had to face the undeniable. We had nowhere to go when the apartments manager would met with us and say we could not continue to carry on behind on rent. We had to catch up or move out. With no money to catch up, the expenses of commuting to and from the hospital several times a day, then after a month bringing home beautiful brand new infant(s).... We were against a wall. A strangely tense happy little wall. Our little family was together and healthy. We had love and friends to confide in. Eventually when we exhausted the graces of the apartment manager we had no where to go but we had each other. We put our children first and they never knew how bad things were looking. We carried on as though nothing had changed. There was school to go to, laundry to do dishes to wash homework to complete. Thank God for our cousins, our best friends, who took us in. Without them we would have been going no where fast. 
We kept our faith. We held tight to each other. Took care of our children. We believed that it would work out. We had to.  We paid what we could to our gracious cousins, caught up with what we owed the apartments we had called home and we made it our mission to save what we could scrape together and get on our feet fast and we did! It took us about 5 months or so. 
As we head into another uncharted path I am scared but I have the same faith that we will be ok. We had a plan in place this time. We learned to be prepared and know it is always coming. We also are fortunate enough this time to have been given notice. We have a cushion but it still shakes us to our core. I believe in my husband. I believe that God only puts in your path trials that you can overcome. I have faith again that it will all be ok. It has to. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

How to make Non-Dairy Ice Cream kids could love!!

Who wants ice cream!!!???
Kids really enjoy ice cream and working with their hands which makes this quick and easy dessert a blast! 
If you're lactose intolerant, or just sensitive to dairy like I am, having ice cream is not on your list of things to do. So instead of explaining why mommy or daddy or kids get different more expensive frozen treats than everyone else (not a fun conversation) I've learned to DIY the delicious cold n freezy stuff from my children's favorite television series-Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood! Here's our take on Daniel Tiger's "Banana Swirl":
 We always have frozen bananas in our fridge but you could start yours by peeling the bananas you would be using - Kids love helping! Take this opportunity to allow some hands on fun! With adult supervision kids could peel and add ingredients to freezer bags. Bananas freeze relatively quickly in our freezer. Your bananas could be ready in an hour or so depending on your freezer temperature. 
When bananas are frozen and safely sliced by an adult, kids could add to blender cup with adult supervision of course. I unplug my blender and move the cup to the table while kids are helping. Safety first. In the episode the recipe calls for just frozen bananas to make Banana Swirl. We decided to make ours stretch a little farther since we have a larger family of 6. 
Here's our recipe:
In blender- 
(4-5) frozen sliced Bananas 
We added a motor saving lil twist:
(1 )13.5 oz can of coconut milk
Here's the one we used: 
Slowly pulse on high until smooth and enjoy!! You could pour the coconut milk Into a container and freeze as well but we  just poured straight in.  Kids not fond of Bananas?? No problem- substitute with any frozen fruit to your liking. Although due to the tartness of some frozen varieties of fruits you may have to add a sweetener to make this a home run! Don't like coconut milk? No problem- add your favorite almond milk or soy alternative. These may work better if frozen first. That way you still get the consistency of ice cream instead of a creamy shake although we have nothing against that! Yum! 

We hope you enjoy your non-Dairy frozen treat!
~The Castellanos Family

Monday, October 28, 2013

It's my favorite time..Fall Y'all!!

Fall is my favorite time of year... The spices in my favorite coffee, the air getting cool enough for my favorite sweaters, baking the kids favorite foods without breaking a sweat and of course Halloween excitement filling the air ....

Pumpkin picking starts off the season and we headed out to a local church to pick ours 

We always have lots of fun seeing all the wonderful differences in pumpkins, tall and short, wide and bumpy. 

It's a great time for smiles and laughter with the entire family. 

We like to get a little creative before we carve and have a colorful session with our bright orange friends!! The kids like to give them colors that nature could not and painting is always a great time in this house!! 

Now that our Ode to Harvest has begun

... The Hauntingly delicious recipes begin flowing with our favorite after school snack: Smoothies
We decided on Boo Berry today.
Here is our simply Haunting Recipe:

Boo Berry Smoothie
1-2 cups ice 
1 whole banana 
2-3 cups milk
1 10oz bag frozen blueberries
1-2 tablespoons sugar or sugar substitute 
Blend and enjoy! 

I hope you enjoyed our little fall starter blog. How do you like to start off your Harvest season? Leave us a comment below! We would love to hear from y'all!
The Castellanos Family

Sunday, September 29, 2013

...I am...

...I am... 
I am everything to everyone
I am resourceful 
I am strong 
I am intuitive 
I am steady
I am complete 
I am my own keeper
I am fiercely loving 
I am enigmatic
I am passionate 
I am patient not perfect 
I am a Wife and Mother 
... But first I am a Wonder Woman
         ... I am ...tired
By Felicia Castellanos

Sunday, August 25, 2013

DIY Lipstick!

Our girls decided to try a YouTube video recipe recorded by: Ms Toi  
You can also check out the video here: 

Best Lipstick Tutorial Using Crayons - Do It Yourself - Ms Toi


So the girls decided we should try it. 

Recipe calls for: 
1/2 crayon (crayons works great and comes in wide variety of colors) 
1/2 teaspoon of 100%
 Shae Butter 
(We couldn't find 100% shae butter locally so we bought the type in the image below) 
Lastly, 1/2 teaspoon of Castor Oil (which we also found at grocery store)

The type of shae butter we bought also had oatmeal as an ingredient which worked for the most part but contained other ingredients and preservatives. The consistency was not quite right. 

We then tried a substitute to the shae butter by the way of 100% Cocoa Butter which we bought at our regular local grocery store and that formulation worked perfectly. 
Success!! Homemade lipstick using crayons !! Nontoxic, Fun & easy!! Try it at home with your kids or just for yourself, let us know in the comments if you liked this craft ;) Thanks for reading!
~The Castellanos Family 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Kids Club Back to school is finally here !!!

 My after school kids club program is getting ready with an ice cream social!!

Our Community Manager and I are putting together grab bags for the first 25 residents kids to arrive and they are adorable!!! 

Can't wait to see the kids faces when they get to put together their sundaes and get back to school goodies. I love my job. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Oh my my, how the days fly by...

Wanting peace and quiet is probably the most selfish thing I pine after as a mother.
 There is no greater joy than hearing your children talking and giggling and having a good time.. but somedays... i wish for silence. Monday was a strange day, and I cant really wrap my head around happenings at work, and how very sad life's strange twists can be... so with that being said I woke up today.. and it eerily felt like a Monday... all over again. Work is ok, I'm a little behind, feel a little like I'm walking through perpetual sand,  as is usual during the summer,... Field trip this morning handled but I'm not ready for my week, month, year at work. I'm really not.
At home I have straddled the back to school bull and made it back to the pen. I am up to date, shopping all done, and backpacks even packed. I unplugged my kids today, and we made a tent. The twins are currently reading, Son #1 is building with Legos (Daddy brought him the Lego Batman RedBox rental last night) and Daughter #1 is playing Sims, again, but chores all done. I washed the dishes, and  made the kids breakfast and lunch, cleaned the living room, folded laundry, made coffee and yet I feel like I have forgotten something very important... I renewed the kids medical insurance, .... gave my husband a kiss before he left for work.. showered and shaved... but still feel like something has been overlooked, it's totally bizarre.
It must be that I have yet to plan in detail for my week month year,.... I used to be obsessive about details, and I'm not sure that I am no longer obsessing. I think that I am indeed obsessive, but in a positive way I hope. I fear that because I am procrastinating writing it all down I am in fact in denial of how much I have to do, and how little time there is to do anything. My days seem to fly by, and I flit from child to child, project to project, chore to chore, work to work and I am exhausted and exhilarated. I love my family, my work, my hobbies and my Friends but I feel like a Human Octopus. I need to organize my head. I must cement.
The kids are now bored to tears again, and a lil tired. Sounds like nap time to me. So, I am going to put them down for a quick rest, then feed my soul with some music, and sit down with my agenda, and a piece of drawing paper. I always think more clearly when I draw and brainstorm with my favorite tunes lifting my soul.