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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thursday Confessions.

A couple of things I need to get off my chest:
  • Last night I made a yummy peanut chickpea curry. For a side, I cooked up a package of yellow rice I had in the pantry. Silly me, I thought yellow rice was rice that was naturally yellow... it's not. There were spices in the package, so I looked at the ingredients to make sure there was no dairy. No dairy, but there was dehydrated chicken (ew) in it. I kept the secret from Roxy who would be devastated to know there was chicken in her rice. :(
    (I feel so guilty... obviously, no more yellow rice for us)
  • I try so hard to not be judgmental, but I saw someone throw a soda can out of their car window into the road and I judged them. Then I saw a very pregnant woman walking around and smoking a Marlboro Red and I judged her.
  • I have 20,700 photos in my iPhoto library. Yikes. My poor little MacBook.
  • Buggy apps make me use curse words.
Kindly leave your Thursday Confession below. xo

<3, Tabi :D

Day 31: Why I Blog

Why do I blog? Hmmm.... I touched on this here, but I suppose there is a bit more to it.

I started this blog because I was bored. I had been a full time Stay At Home Mom for 9 whole months when I started this blog. For 9 months, I had the job of raising and taking care of my 3 children, house and husband, but I was bored in the creativity output department of my brain. Before I stopped working to take care of my children, I had worked a full time job, non stop since I was 15 years old. So, I felt lacking, felt I needed a hobby and so I started this blog.

I blog to focus on the positive things in life. Ever since I can remember, my ultimate life goal is to be happy. Happiness is most definitely a state of mind, so focusing on happy, positive things is what I do. I want to share my happiness with my family, with my friends, with my blog readers. I will stop this paragraph now at the risk of sounding too cheesy.

I blog to journal special memories. I have a pretty crappy memory, and I am really bad at baby books. So, I blog to archive these memories on the internet for posterity. It's fun to take a trip down memory lane every now and then and read back through my family posts and see how much we've grown, changed and learned.  ALSO... my family lives in a land far far away, so my blog is a way for them to keep in touch with me, see my children and share in our experiences from far away.

I blog for catharsis.
Ever have a bad day, tell someone about it and then feel so much better? Blogging is like that, but way more intense.

I blog to exercise my graphic skills. Before I was just Mommy, I was a graphic designer. I love to create cute, powerful and aesthetic things. Technology changes, trends change, styles change, so if I want to stay fluent in the graphic world, I have to stay at least somewhat active in it, too.

I blog to make new friends. This one is new. I didn't expect it at all, but am loving the blogging community. It seems everyone is so friendly and supportive. It doesn't feel competitive at all. And I'm loving it.


Thank you so much, Emma at Outmumbered! I had so much fun, learned so much and am so happy I joined in on your Blog Challenge. :)

<3, Tabi :D

p.s. I have recently opened up FREE Swap Ad spots through Passionfruit Ads.  It's so easy to submit your ad to me, be sure to use Promo Code: TURTLES so you don't pay a dime.
Click here and let's be friends. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

DIY Lightsaber Storage

 (Disclaimer: this is my lame first attempt at publishing a sort of DIY.
Please bear with me, but any and all constructive criticisms are welcome.)

I can't be the only one with the pesky problem of lightsabers all over the house, right? We have collected so many that they didn't have a proper home anymore. It was high time we figured something out and made a special spot for all those lightsabers.

So, on a slow Sunday, while Daddy worked on a bigger project in the garage and I assigned myself to the task of organizing a closet, I put the kids to work.

Here's how we made this super easy Lightsaber Storage Box:

1.) I took an empty diaper box and taped up the flaps. Diaper boxes are amazingly sturdy, btw.

2.) Lo and behold, it was the perfect size for wrapping up with four giant Star Wars coloring book pages, decorated by my super talented-with-crayons kids. So, they chose 4 pages from the book, ripped them out and got to coloring.

3.) When the coloring was completed (or they got tired of coloring the humongous pages), they picked out some stickers to accessorize with. The pages were ready!

4.) I taped the pages onto the box with sturdy masking tape on the bottom and insides so it didn't interfere with the aesthetic.

5.) To hide the seams (where the coloring book pages met), I used some washi tape I had on hand. It added to the design and was functional, too. :)

6.) Gather up the lightsabers from ALL OVER the house and stuff them in. This part was fun! Kind of like an Easter Egg Hunt.

7.) Done-zo!

So when I see an out of place lightsaber, which is a much rarer occurrence now,  the kids know exactly where to put it, no questions asked.

One step closer to organization = one happier Mommy. :)

Hmmm... I wonder how they store the lightsabers at the Jedi Academy?

<3, Tabi :D

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Day 29: The Places I've Been

I'm the first to admit that I'm not a worldly person, and that I'd love to change that about myself.

I have, however, made my way to a few places in the US and one and only place outside of the US.

Here's my list as of now. I wish Wish WISH to expand this list IMMENSELY in my lifetime...
  • Southern Maryland. Where I grew up.
  • Kentucky. The mountains, somewhere.
  • OBX. (Outer Banks of North Carolina) A place I visit every summer with my family. A piece of my heart resides in the OBX.
  • NY, NY. Thanks to my little sis, I have actually visited the Big Apple one time.
  • Tampa, FL. Where I've lived since 1999. I've also been to the Keys (BEAUTIFUL), Miami (which is like a different country) and Orlando. You know Orlando... Mickey Mouse and such...
  • Los Angeles, California. The City of Angels. Once, on a business trip.
  • Las Vegas, NV. Where I tied the knot. <3
And the one place I've been outside the US, Paradise Island, Bahamas. I've visited this heaven on earth 3 times in my lifetime. It reminds me that the US is not what the whole world is like and also that there is much beauty in this world my eyes need to see for themselves.

Click here to read about other worldly bloggers' travels.

<3, Tabi :D

Parent Tip #110

let the kids help!

My kids are still little, the oldest one 6. But this is no longer an excuse for them to not help out around the house. With having kids, there are a lot of chores. Things around the house that must be kept up to have a clean, healthy, somewhat organized and functional home. My philosophy on getting chores done used to be either, wait until kids are sleeping to get anything done, or engage them in some activity that needs minimum parental involvement (i.e. playing outside on the porch, coloring at a table...) and work as fast as possible.

Lately, I've been toying with the idea that, hey! these kids need to learn to do these things. Unless I want to be slave to their every whim, they need and deserve my guidance in teaching them domestic skills (age appropriate, of course).

Tonight, for example, we cooked up a simple spaghetti dinner. I was in charge of the sauce, Daddy was in charge of the noodles, Roxy was in charge of the Crescent Rolls, Riley was in charge of the green beans and Zoie's job was to set the table.

Of course, Roxy and Riley were assigned assistants (Mommy and Daddy) to assist them in their culinary tasks at hand. Then when their tasks were completed, they became Zoie's assistant to setting the table.

Dinner was a major teamwork effort. And it was awesome. They not only enjoyed helping out, they enjoyed eating their dinner more, and were brainstorming other things they can do to help out around the house.

What chores do your kids do around the house?

<3, Tabi :D

Day 28: I'm Looking Forward

#1 Thing I'm looking forward to right now is: SUMMER!!! 7 and a half more days until school is out. The countdown has begun. I love summer and loathe the rigid school schedules. I know some Moms love the schedule and the dropping off/picking up of kids all school year. I, however, am NOT one of those Moms.

I'm looking forward to slow days, pool days, beach days, bike rides, playing in the park, quality time with the kids and just enjoying the freedom from the schedule.

... Also  ...

Today felt like a kind of turning point for me on a couple of different levels. So much so, that as soon as tomorrow, I'm hoping to feel a bit like a different person. In this aspect, I am looking forward to seeing that light at the end of the tunnel everyone talks about. Don't get me wrong, I've never given up hope in my heart that it was there, but I haven't seen it for a very long time.  I have no tangible proof, just a feeling, a hunch that I will soon be able to see that light. And, boy, am I ever looking forward to that.

On a more tangible note, I am very looking forward to:
  • Family vacay in OBX
  • More and more words learned and spoken by ZoBo
  • Roxy's wiggly tooth falling out
  • Growing my blog, expanding it to reach more people. I have a few ideas in the works. Stay tuned.
  • Watching more X Files on Netflix (I forgot how truly freaky that show was!)

<3, Tabi :D

Monday, May 28, 2012

Day 27: A Favorite Recipe

We love ourselves a yummy, homemade, easy treat around here. And, in my opinion, pumpkin makes everything better (pies, curries, lattes...). We usually make these a bunch in the fall, but I had a craving yesterday for some Pumpkin Brownies and I think I just might whip up a batch.  Here's my recipe:

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Brownies

Yield: 24 small brownies

1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 whole egg
2 egg whites
1 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice ( I usually sub Pumpkin Spice for this)
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350˚F.  Line an 11″- x 7″-inch pan with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine pumpkin puree, eggs and oil until smooth.  Set aside.
In a separate medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, spices, salt and brown sugar.  Add to the wet ingredients and mix until thoroughly incorporated.  Stir in the chocolate chips.
Pour into prepared pan and spread evenly.  Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until passes toothpick test.  Cool completely before cutting.

(Except for I use my Perfect Brownie Pan ... I love that thing)

( Source:  Small Home Big Start )

For more recipe yumminess, click here.

<3, Tabi :D

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Five Things That Make Me Happy Friday...

I didn't FTTMMHF post yesterday.
(I was super tired and fell asleep during normal blogging hours.)


This will be an Instagram Happy post in homage to my addiction to Instagram. Here goes:

1. My Zoie loves to pile up her babies in her shopping cart and walk around the house busy as a bee. She will ask for a wipee and use it to clean up random dirty spots on the floor. She will yell at whoever leaves their shoes lying around. She picks up empty cups and puts the straws in the garbage and the cups in the sink. 
She is my mini me and it puts a huge smile on my face that finally I have a kindred neat freak in the house.

2. This potato I found that looks like Admiral Ackbar.
My caption: This Admiral Ackbar is getting baked.

 3. Roxy and the entire kindergarten class sang songs to honor Mom and Dad yesterday morning.
She looked so pretty and sang so well.

4. My flower has bloomed!!! I have no idea what type of flower this is, but it's bloomed in the same spot around the same time each year we have lived in this house. The beautiful colors, the thick light green stem, the lack of work it requires all culminate in this being my favorite flower ever.

5. It's pool time!!!
Finally, it's that time of year to frolic in the pool. It's hot outside, the water is 85 degrees and perfect.

Only 8 and a half more days until the kids are out of school. I can't wait!!! 

<3, Tabi :D

Day 26: An Old Photo

That's me on the left. 
We were so cute.

<3, Tabi :D

Friday, May 25, 2012

Day 25: Blogs I Love

As much as I dislike reading grown up books, I LOVE reading blogs. Those short blurbs accompanied by beautiful pictures are personal and real and sometimes helpful.

I read a bunch of blogs, some you can see on my Blog Love page, but here are my top 5 at the moment blogs I love...
  1. Bleubird. This blog chronicles one super cute family with values I identify with and clothes I covet. 
  2. C. Jane.  A mormon 'don't you dare call her Mommy' blogger who writes beautiful accounts of her life, her deepest thoughts and (my favorites) her birth stories.
  3. Rockstar Diaries. Another mormon blogger who lives in my old stomping grounds of DC. Her pictures are beautiful and portray a picture of the perfect family life.
  4. Pugly Pixel. This one appeals to my inner graphic designer. She also has great freebies, low cost goodies and great tutorials for those without the skillz but would love to learn. And it's all blog centric. :)
  5. Fat Mum Slim keeps it real. She blogs about life, what it's like to be a 'Mum' and also shares the same passion I do for photography (err.. iPhoneography). 
 Don't forget to check back later for my Five Things that Make Me Happy Friday post!!

Also, if you missed yesterdays Thursday Confessions post, please pop on over.
It's never too late for a confession. :)

Click here for more blog recommendations.

<3, Tabi :D

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Day 24: My Favourite Childhood Book

I am very sad to admit that I have thought about this all day and can't think of one fond memory from childhood involving a book. I've never been a 'reader' and to this day can't get myself to finish a grown up type book. I get tired. I lose interest, even if the book is on a subject I'm very interested in. I fall asleep...

In school, the only books I read were the ones required. I did it, but it didn't mean that I enjoyed it at all. I do, however, recall reading 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' by Roald Dahl in Middle School and thought it wasn't awful. I semi enjoyed reading that one! (Although, I have to admit I love the movie more... both versions.)

Also, in Middle School art class, I remember looking through books for inspiration for a project. I came across 'Yertle the Turtle' by Dr. Seuss and that is where my turtle and Dr. Seuss obsessions began.

I love children's books and read to my own children every day in hopes to sow the seeds that they will have a positive view on books and not hate them as much as I did in school.

How did other bloggers answer this? Click here to find out.

<3, Tabi :D

Thursday Confessions.

Comfy confessionals I saw on Pinterest.
I'd like to try out a new feature I just dreamed up in my crazy foggy bed head... Thursday Confessions.

I like to be as honest with myself as possible. To stay honest, it helps (me) to share some truths about myself. Riley is busy with Mario and Zoie doesn't really understand, so I will share with you and the entire internet then.

So, here goes...
  • I have absolutely zero nose hairs. I can't remember when I made this discovery about myself, but I have an inkling to blame it on those 3 or 4 years I smoked menthol cigarettes as a young adult.
  • If I had $1000 to go on a clothing shopping spree for myself, I'd probably spend $867 of it at I know my personal style probably should have evolved by now, but it hasn't. I still dig the surfer girl look. I might as well move to Cali and live in a beach house already.
  • I have a horrible time with self doubt. Almost immediately after hitting 'publish', send, post, tweet or after finishing up a project, I feel like taking it back.
  • It makes me angry when my husband falls asleep before I do. I don't know why, it just does. I'm working on that.
I'd love if you joined me in this amazingly cathartic confessional. If you feel the urge to share, please type away in my comments section. There, doesn't it feel good? :)

<3, Tabi :D

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Scariest Feeling...

My baby sister and me. circa 1993
Over breakfast, I was texting with a friend as she was describing to me her account of panic this morning. Her 4 year old was missing from his bed when she went to check on him in the morning. After frantically searching the house, he was discovered (with a smile) hiding behind his bedroom door.

Unfortunately, I know her exact feeling all too well. I was seriously surprised when she told me it was her first time feeling that anxiety.

I've felt it many times as a parent, and even as a big sister.

It's definitely the scariest feeling ever, to think that you have lost a child and your mind goes straight to worst case scenario.

Her dilemma lasted a minute and a half.

I shared 2 different stories with her involving Riley (the wandering child) and one about my little sister, Lala that lasted much longer than a minute and a half.

A long long time ago, when my sister was about Zoie's age, my family and I went on a Thanksgiving weekend trip to the beach. At the hotel, my parents sent me and my two sisters down the hall to fetch a pail of ice. I was about 13 years old, so I should have been able to handle the task. We got to the ice machine, no problem, and as my other sister and I were figuring the machine out, I turned around to see where Lala was. She was in the elevator (!!) and before I could reach her to get her out of the elevator, the doors had closed and she was gone. I'm pretty sure she waved to me... I had lost my little sister in an elevator, she was too little to even know her name, it was my fault and she was gone.

I was panicking so much, I can't really remember exactly what I did to look for her, I just remember not having any luck so we had to run and tell my parents. I could tell that my Mom's initial reaction was the same as mine (panic), but all I could think was (1) that she was going to kill me and (2) that I deserved it.

It felt like an eternity, but it must have easily been about 10 minutes before we were in the lobby and a maid was carrying my sister to the front desk. Somehow, that elevator was en route to the maid floor and luckily she was greeted by a kindly maid and not some freaky child abductor like I had imagined (remember: worst case scenario).

Now that I think back on it, the panic I had felt is just the same as the panic I feel when my own  child goes missing for a moment on the playground. Except for now, I can't imagine my heart being able to handle those feelings for a whole 10 minutes.

We, as parents try to keep our children safe and sound while out and about, even to the point of locking them in strollers and carts, against their very vocal protests otherwise. We tuck them in their beds at night and pray that in the morning we will see their smiling faces, in the backs of our heads remembering scary stories we read about or heard on the news. We try so hard to be careful and avoid scary situations involving our children, but even in our homes the panic can strike.

One thing I realized today, is just how much courage it takes to be a parent. Because losing them, for just a moment makes you almost pee your pants in fear. It's scarier than any zombie, psycho killer or Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie. I never have considered myself a brave person until my realization today.

Gratefully, everyone has ended up happy and safe in my experiences.

My point to this scary story is this...
 Parents, you can add COURAGE to your long list of virtues.

<3, Tabi :D

Day 23: My Dream Job

1. I ADORE Georgia Jagger's gap in her teeth.
2. I have NO idea why I chose that picture of me. I thought it was a good candid shot of me and the kids,
but I look totally awkward.
When I was little, I wanted to be a model when I grew up. I loved clothes, I loved being the center of attention, I loved looking cute. It seemed like the perfect, most glamorous job in the world to me.

Then, one day, my Mom took me to the doctor for a routine check up and I remember the doctor telling her that I probably wouldn't be very tall. His words, "It's not a big deal, she'll just never be a supermodel or anything." CRUSHED - my - spirit. I was devastated.

So, after that, I decided that I really liked the Blue Angels in their fast jets. I was going to be a jet pilot in the Navy. I remember my teacher in middle school pulled me aside one day and told me I was really good at math and understanding abstract concepts. She asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, so I told her I wanted to be a jet pilot. She seemed pleased with that, so I thought it was a good fit.

The problem with that idea? (1.)  I could never conform to military life. Ever. Or listen to people in authority and have respect for them. I am the opposite of the perfect fit for a military personnel, and (2.) The minimum height for a pilot is 5' 4". (!!!)

The universe is mocking me now... I'm 5' 3"

So, then I fell in love with sea turtles and wanted to be a marine biologist. No minimum height requirement for that job. I'm not too sure exactly what went wrong with that idea. College was getting in the way of my social life, it was too expensive... I don't know, I really don't have the best answer other than it just didn't happen.

So, then I went to school to be a graphic designer. I even finished that one. And got a job at a marketing firm, yadda yadda yadda.

Long story short... It was fun and I loved the job, but left for reasons. I got a less stressful (aka more boring), same paying, office type job and then had child #3. After giving birth to child #3, I completely left the work force and became a Stay at Home Mom.

To date, this is my favorite job. Perhaps this is my dream job, I just didn't know. (Except the pay really sucks). I also really enjoy blogging.

In another life, I dream of being a rock star. Much like Gwen Stefani with the hot rocker husband, cute as button kids and a clothing line. Sadly, in this life, I can't keep a tune to save my life.

I feel like I'm kind of blabbering now. What was the question? Perhaps I need to edit this post.

Oh yea...

Dream Job: Being the best kind of Mom to my kids that I can AND making money doing something I enjoy doing (blogging, designing, yoga, baking, etc.) Something without a boss. I don't like bosses.

What's your dream job? Read more, here.

<3, Tabi :D

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Day 22: Best Things This Year

My Mom took this picture and texted it to me (I added the words, they weren't written in the sky or anything).
Beautiful, isn't it?
I can't single the BEST thing this year out to one all encompassing thing. My list is going to be about the small achievements we have celebrated this year.
  • We figured out the cause of Riley's face rash and now have it under control.
  • We became vegetarians as a family. And vegan adventure cooking is fun! (and messy)
  • My Roxy, the kindergartner is a reader. She now insists on reading bedtime stories to us!
  • I completed my collection of tattoos featuring my children's names.
  • Christopher got an in company promotion. He didn't just get it, he earned that bugger.
  • Zoie is learning new words every day.
  • I have been sticking to my workout schedule and am seeing results.
  • We are taking steps and (I believe) on the right path to financial stability (as opposed to financial nuclear fallout).
  • I had the BEST date last night. Dinner and bowling. We bonded. It was awesome.
  • Maybe, the BEST thing that is happening this year is that I'm optimistic and I'm psyched to keep on dreaming, because I believe that dreams really do come true.

What about you?

<3, Tabi :D

p.s. 10 more days until JUNE (can you believe it??). Have I told you about the June Blog Challenge? This is a fun little one anyone could easily participate in. I love that challenges spark creativity and I want to keep my spark glowing. How about you?

Monday, May 21, 2012

7 Years Ago

May 21, 2005
Dear Christopher, 

Seven years ago today, I became a Deneweth. We got married in Vegas. I had pink hair. Just like I had imagined as a little girl, only Elvis didn't officiate. Taking those vows and making that huge promise to you at the top of the Stratosphere was the perfect metaphor, my feet haven't touched the ground since. I'm still floating on top of that tower.

Seven years ago today, I found out that I was pregnant with our first baby girl. I knew immediately that she was a girl... you weren't so sure. That new knowledge that we had a little princess growing in me the morning on our marriage, made me that much more positive that I was on the right track, I was doing exactly what I was meant to be doing. There were no cold feet on this bride to be.

Seven years ago, you were a different person. As was I. I read that people regenerate completely (on the cellular level) every seven years. I know that we are different not only cellularly, but we have grown immensely in these past seven years in our wisdom and life experiences.

I love your new person more than I loved you seven years ago.

In seven years, we've bought a house, created 3 perfect little beings, gone through major career changes, done away with my cute little Golf and bought ourselves a minivan, turned ourselves into the family we are now. We have had some major ups and also dealt with some downs. And through it all, you have never wavered your support or love for me. I have felt secure in each and every twist and turn we've been through that (1) we'll make it through okay, and (2) our family is the only priority.

I am excited for the next seven years and the next and the next and the next. I can't wait to see what new people both of us will become. Because of you, I keep getting better and better.

I love you. Happy Anniversary.

<3, Tabi :D

Day 21: 10 Favorite Foods

Food is actually a very complex subject in my life right now. In the past 3 months, we have pretty much completely overhauled the food we eat in our family. We have gone from a meat, cheese, yogurt loving bunch to a family that eats mostly vegan.

Perhaps I should define "mostly vegan" a bit. First, we found out our Bear was allergic to milk, so we immediately cut back on the dairy products. Then, a few weeks later, Roxy had her revelation about the moral aspects of eating meat, and since then we've been vegetarians. Vegetarians that rarely have dairy. But eggs are okay in our book. For the ease of our suppers, I've been cooking vegan dinners. Vegan makes everyone happy.

Simple Vegan Tofu Lasagna
So, finding and preparing vegan dinners that everyone enjoys and don't take me 2 1/2 to prepare has been a challenge for the past 3 months. So far, here are my top 10:
  1. We call this Mac and Not Cheese. Usually I serve the broccoli on the side. For some reason the kids like it much better not mixed together. And, somehow the process gets easier every time I make this.
  2. Vegan Enchiladas. I love me some Mexican food, so I was ecstatic when this one came up a winner! The kids aren't the biggest fans, but they choke it down like champs. I'm in LOVE with the Cilantro Avocado Cream Sauce.
  3. Spaghetti with Vegan Pasta Sauce cooked with Boca Crumbles. Who doesn't love a good spaghetti? When I don't make my own sauce, this is a great alternative and is vegan.
  4. Noodle Stir Fry with Asian Veggie Mix. Served with Egg Drop Soup. (Okay, so the egg drop soup is not vegan, but we love eggs and the kids ADORE egg drop soup.)
  5. Simple Vegan Tofu Lasagna. This is really yummy and surprisingly simple to prepare!
  6. Quinoa with Chickpeas and Tomatoes. Except I totally switch up this recipe. I use couscous cooked in vegetable broth, and add in sauteed red onions and swap the parsley for cilantro.
  7. Vegan Pizza. I usually make this with my own easy pizza sauce, dough from the bakery, The Sexy Vegan's Nottzarella sauce and fixins of my mood. Usually, I top on some broccoli, Bacos, peppers, onions, sometimes Tofurkey Pepperoni slices. 
  8. Orange Smoothie
  9. Smoothies. This one's not a dinner, but we serve smoothies daily around here. Everyone loves a good smoothie and it's super fun to mix up different fruits, juices, soy milk, etc and see what the outcome is. I haven't found a smoothie I dislike yet.
  10. Fajitas made from peppers, onions and sliced boca chicken patties. Sounds weird, but totally yum. I sometimes serve this with corn or some version of my mexican rice invention.
  11. On super duper easy nights, my go to isn't the healthiest, but it's okay because it doesn't happen so often. Crispy Crowns served with either a veggie burger patty, chik'n patty or some chik'n nuggets. We like Gardein a lot. Add in some steamed veggies and it's a complete meal!
Click here for some more foodie good reads. 
 <3, Tabi :D

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Something Funny

Today, at 20 months old, was the very first time Zoie Rainbow Deneweth drank out of a bottle. 

She was a breastfed baby up until 18 months old and would never take a bottle. Not even a pumped breast milk bottle from Daddy.

This morning, Christopher took the few baby bottles I had saved for 'just in case' out of the cupboard to get rid of.  Of course, they were soon spotted and she wanted her 'joo' (juice) in 'dat' (pointing to the baby bottle). So we obliged. It was silly, she tried to suck on the nipple like a straw and it took her a few minutes to get the hang of it.

Then she carried the bottle around all morning.  I was a little nervous we would have an issue, but she forgot about it and we made it disappeared. Phew!

Should I put it in her baby book?

<3, Tabi :D

Day 20: A Difficult Time in my Life

Roxy took this photo of Lilly's gravestone the night of Lilly's birthday celebration.
I've always been so grateful for the beautiful things in my life and the things that seem to come so easy to me. I was born into the most loving, supportive family. I seemed to stumble into the most perfect marriage a girl could dream of. I've had 3 enjoyable, totally healthy pregnancies and given birth 3 times with no issue. These are the things that are most important to me and they have all come without any difficulty whatsoever. I thank the universe for these things every single night. 

So... I have to say, the first thing that comes up in my head at this prompt for 'A Difficult Time in my Life' was last summer when I had to explain to my then 5 year old that her BFF had died in a car crash.

Lilly was an angel of a little girl that had immediately clicked with my daughter Roxy, when they both started Pre-K together. Throughout the school year, we had many play dates and I had even come to make a new friend in Lilly's mother, Sam.  

You can read about when I learned of Lilly's death here.

About a week or two before that terrible accident, Roxy and I were having an innocent conversation at the dinner table, and somehow it led to a subject that hit her like a ton of bricks. That she, herself, one day would die. I could literally see the realization sweep through her body and she went into panic attack mode. Her panic was so familiar to me, much like I have done so many times. I was racking my brain trying to think of the right things to say to her to make her feel better. I told her she was young and healthy and she wouldn't have to worry about dying for a very long time. Our family is not a religious family, in fact, the only time Roxy had ever been in a church was when she was the flower girl at Chris' cousin Wade's wedding. But I did tell her about God and Heaven and that if she was scared about anything, she could talk to God and he will make her feel better.

I saw her close her eyes and move her lips for about a minute. And then she was giggly.

She had gone from freaked out/panic attack mode to giggly in less than 2 minutes, from talking to 'God'. My own faith grew a bunch that day.

Fast forward to Lilly's death. I, myself, was in mourning and couldn't possibly think about telling Roxy after reassuring her weeks ago she wouldn't have to think about death for a long long time. After a few days, I decided it was the right thing to do. She had to know. This was her first friend, her closest peer, her BFF, I couldn't keep such a secret from her and I think she deserved closure. So I told her. This was the hardest thing I ever had to do up until this point. You can read about Roxy's reaction in more detail here.

So, I thought the hard part was over. But the funeral (more detail, here) was by far the hardest thing I have ever done. Seeing Lilly's Mom, Sam for the first time since the accident and hugging her, I swear I could feel some of her pain oozing from her soul.

Yup. That was a very difficult time in my life. It still hurts a lot to this day, too.

Read some more difficult times (from other bloggers) here.

<3, Tabi :D

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Day 19: My Collections

Collections I collect:

  • Turtles. I'm obsessed with turtles. I used to have a huge collections on multiple knick knack shelves before I had children. I have stuffed animals, a sea turtle tattoo, the Florida turtle tag, I even used to have a pet box turtle so long ago named Turtle.
  • The cutest children. Three is a collection, right?
  • Glass Jars. I don't know why I can't just recycle them in the recycle bin when I'm done. I have this urge to obsessively clean off the labels and save them and use them for different things. I glittered some, I have a few I use for toothbrushes, straws, etc. and then some that are waiting for their repurposed purpose.
  • Lightsabers? Okay, they aren't really my collection, but we have one heck of a lightsaber collection. My latest count, we were at 15. What other house has 15 lightsabers?
  • Speaking of... Star Wars toys/paraphernalia. Again, not really my collection (well, some of it is mine), but we have a bazillion of all things Star Wars in this house. It's pretty impressive because we only became huge fans last summer.
  • Tattoos. I have 6, and I take them with me everywhere I go.
  • Photo apps. I have 13 of them on my phone right now. 
  • Wisdom.
  • Memories.
  • Kisses.
What do you collect? Click here for more collections. xo

<3, Tabi :D

Friday, May 18, 2012

Five Things That Make Me Happy Friday...

This week's FTTMMHF is dedicated to my beautiful husband who,
on Monday, May 21st I will be married to for SEVEN years!

Five Things about my Christopher That Make Me Happy
  1. He's funny. In a sarcastic, almost asshole kind of way.
    But never ever ever an asshole to me or the kids.
  2. He is the best Daddy EVER. Seriously. (I can give endorsements if needed.)
  3. He has the patience of a saint. (Hmmm... the patience probably helps a lot with ^ #2 ^)
    And also supports me in whatever crazy endeavors I think up.
  4. He takes every opportunity to nonchalantly slap my ass while passing by. Sometimes I might yell at him for this, but secretly I love it. It reminds me he still digs me.
  5. He gets up for crying kids in the middle of the night. I suck at night. I mean, really, really suck. I'm lucky if I even hear a crying kid when I'm asleep. So, even though he works in the morning, he will get up and take care of the problem, without even a nudge to me. I am so spoiled.

<3, Tabi :D

Day 18: Tabi Happy... What Does It Mean

I think I've mentioned I have a bad habit of focusing on the negative sometimes and then I kind of spiral out of control into a vortex of negativity. So I wanted to use my blog as an outlet to focus on positive, happy things. My husband actually told me the other day that he has noticed a positive change in my Facebook statuses (which are a reflection of my total attitude, right?), so I guess it's working! Yay!

When I created this blog, I wanted it to be about my family but also have a purpose: to focus on the positive, what makes me happy. Because being happy is a major goal of mine and, also a happy Mommy makes a happy home.

I brainstormed a bunch on names for about a week and Tabi Happy kind of stuck to me. It sounds like 'To Be Happy', but also kind of introduces me as this positive, optimistic person (which I am, even more so now, thanks to this blog).

So, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Read about the thought process behind other blogger's blog names, click here.

<3, Tabi :D

p.s. I had an idea for a fun little June blog challenge. If you want to add in a little extra fun in your blogging next month, click here to see what I'm talking about.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Blog Challenge for June

I joined in on Boy Oh Boy's 31 Day Blog Challenge 3 days late, but I am so happy that I did. Better late than never is kind of my motto. I have thoroughly enjoyed finding/reading all the blogs playing along. So much fun, I don't want it to be over when May is done.

Maybe I've been on a kind of 'challenge' kick lately. I've been keeping up with the 31 Day Blog Challenge and Fat Mum Slim's Photo A Day challenge on Instagram. I love blogging, I love taking pictures and I love the challenge of a good 'Something Something Challenge'.

My idea for June is the baby of the two challenges I've been faithfully keeping up with in May.

I call it: What's the Word June
... catchy?

The Rules:
  • One word per day. Work it into your daily blog post somehow. Be creative.
  • Come back here and link up to join the party.
  • Play the days you want. Sit out the days you don't want. 
So here's your list.

I hope you play along with me.  So much fun!

<3, Tabi :D

Day 17: My Proud Mama Moment

My 2 year old Roxtar in dance class

I was definitely a proud Mama after I birthed each of my three children. I was proud that I made those perfect little munchkins (pretty much) all by myself.

The moment they were born though, I have to say, I don't think the feeling was pride. There was definitely an overwhelming feeling of love and relief, but in those birthing rooms, pride was not the feeling I remember.

The very first moment I felt so much pride that I had uncontrollable tears was the day my shy little 2 year old Roxy joined in with her dance class and stepped right in line like a proper child just as she should.

It wasn't much. The dance teacher set up a small little obstacle course for the toddlers to practice their balance and coordination skills on. When Roxy did it, I cried crocodile tears the whole time. I was SO PROUD of her! I was proud that she had the courage to complete this task without Mommy or Daddy AND in front of her peers and other parents watching. And, oh! the look on her face after completing this task was the icing on the cake. She was pure happiness and joy.

This was her first experience in participating in extracurricular activity, so at that very moment, somehow it all hit me (almost like a smack in the face) that I was doing something right in parenting this child.  She had the confidence to do something on her own, and we instilled that in her. Her body had the hardware needed and properly wired to complete a task designed for her age group, and I made that and developed it and properly nourished it.

This small little moment was definitely not newsworthy, or even announcement worthy, but it's my proud moment that has been logged, bookmarked and laminated for posterity in my bank of memories.

What's your proud Mama moment? Read what other bloggers are proud of here.

<3, Tabi :D

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Day 16: Bucket List

Image from here.
I can honestly say I don't have a proper bucket list. I'm more of a spontaneous type of person. I am not a planner and I certainly don't want to plan about things I must do before I leave this earth. So for today's prompt, bucket list, you will witness my very first ever Bucket List Draft.

Wait! I don't even want to call it that. Let's call it: Awesome Things I'll Do One Day
  • Obtain one of those fancy passports and TRAVEL! I want to go to Australia and scuba dive on the Great Barrier Reef. I want to visit Germany, London, Paris, Amsterdam, stay in a Bali house in Bali... am I leaving any places out?
  • Put on some tasty lip gloss and kiss Johnny Depp on the lips.
  • Embark on a scary adventure and conquer the crap out of it. Like, opening up a bakery or explore a foreign country like Tibet... off the tourist path.
  • Successfully grow some sort of fruit or vegetable bearing plant from seed on up.
  • Get a photo on the popular page of Instagram.
  • Place a $500 bet at a blackjack table in Vegas. And have the guts to actually do it sober.
  • Take a tour of the LHC.
  • Skinny dip on a private Caribbean Beach where the water is clear and deliciously warm.
  • Own a pet chameleon. 
  • Let Ewan McGregor know somehow my appreciation for portraying the best Jedi EVER. 
  • Make love on a trampoline. Bonus: in a warm summer rain.

So, what's on your Awesome Things I'll Do One Day List?? Read more here.
<3, Tabi :D

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Day 15: Tuesday Timeline

For your viewing enjoyment, I made a GIF of what we did today. Reading about it could get a little long and wordy. But if it's scrolling too fast for ya, here's the gist of my day:

7 ish: wake up, make coffee, kids cereal... honestly, this part of my day is a bit blurry. Need caffeine.
8:30 am: Play time in my room, while I make my latte and breakfast. Here, they are jumping on my bed.
8:45 am: Mario Party 4 time.
Meanwhile, 8:45 am: I'm eating my breakfast and browsing the internets.
10:00 am: Squeezing in a little blogging.
10:45 am: Tuesdays are bed linen washing days. Start laundry.
11:30 am: Naptime for ZoBo.
12:00 pm: Lunchtime (I missed snapping a picture of our smoothies and salads today).
1:45 pm: Pack in the van to pick Roxy up from school.
2:15 pm: Pick up line.
3:00 pm: Home from picking Roxy up and we also stopped off at the library to pick up a couple of books we had on hold.
4:00 pm: Dancing for cookies.
4:15 pm: Time to start dinner. We're having Vegan Lasagna tonight. It's a new recipe.
5:00 pm: Finish up laundry while the lasagna is in the oven.
5:45 pm: Lasagna is done! It was super duper yummy, too.
6:00 pm: Finished up helping Christopher clean the pool while the lasagna cools a little.
6:45 pm: Books at the dinner table while we have a few stragglers. Saffy is the cutest little giraffe book!
7:00 pm: Kid free shower time!!
7:30 pm: Jammies, Leia and couch time. This is what we call "settle down time".

And that is all folks. We get the kids down, then we have grown up time till we pass out. ;)

Today was a rather slow weekday for us. I actually got time to sit down... whaaaa??? For an idea of a busier day, you can read about my last Monday here.

Click here to read about the day in the life of some other bloggers.

<3, Tabi :D

Own Your Fear of Change

The following is a guest post by Sam Marquit, author of

In his essay, he speaks of anxiety, what it is and how to deal with it. I am absolutely no stranger to anxiety.... I've dealt with it for as long as I can remember. Sometimes I can control it easily, sometimes it gets out of control. So, what helps? This blog helps me. Exercise helps me. Sometimes just talking it out helps me.

Of course, everyone ticks a bit differently, read on for some of Sam's thoughts and tips.


I own several pieces of Long Island real estate, so I encounter many tenants who have a hard time adjusting to change.  It's natural for people to find comfort in a routine, fear change and feel anxiety when their routine is disrupted.  This is what protected people when the world was a scarier place, and this fear continue to protect us even today.  When the threat is small but fear is strong, this can be a problem.  

How To Feel Secure

When a person has food to eat, safe shelter and cash in the bank for emergencies, they feel safer.  Moving to a new home or starting a new job can cause fear and anxiety because people do not like their daily routine changed.  These big changes force people out of their comfort zone, and they may react with increased anxiety. 

The Effects of Anxiety

Everyone gets anxious or worries sometimes, especially when undergoing a big life change.  As humans, we have a natural fear instinct that causes us to react to stimuli that threatens our sense of security or safety.  One way we react is with increased anxiety.  After a while, this anxiety can lead to depression, trouble sleeping and other health problems.  If this happens, you should talk to your doctor. 

Relieving Anxiety

When I moved to an apartment away from my family, I started feeling frustrated and unhappy.  I had mini panic attacks where I would feel like I was choking and feel nauseous.  These physical symptoms were a direct result of my inability to cope with the move.  When the body experiences stress, it releases excess hormones, including cortisol.  These hormones can lead to high blood pressure, which can negatively affect your physical health.  I had to learn new ways to deal with these feelings to feel better and reduce physical and mental symptoms.

Whirlwind Weekend

This weekend was a little of a whirlwind. Secretly, these are my favorite kinds of weekends. They are super busy, but jam packed full of good times. Here's a peeksie at our last weekend.

My stepson Cameron turned 10 on Friday and we threw him a bowling party bash to celebrate on Saturday.

TEN!! Double digits is big time. It seems like just yesterday he was freaking me out by pooping in the bathtub.

We haven't been bowling in so it was a big treat for us. Bowling is apparently not enough anymore, the cool thing is blacklight bowling!! With pop music. The kids really enjoyed it, I think we'll have to go more often now. After showing our skillz on the lanes, we had yummy Death Star cake and ice cream, then Cameron opened all his cards. He asked for money (I guess that's what 10 year olds are into these days), and that's what he received. So much, in fact, that we left the bowling alley and went straight to Toys R Us so he could purchase a new bicycle. You can see Zoie building it for him up there.

To celebrate Mother's Day, we took a relaxing trip to the beach for some sun, sand and relaxation. It was a bit cloudy, but perfect temperature. Roxy made a sand mermaid, a few castles and buried Riley. The Bear practiced swimming in the Gulf and rolled around in the sand. Zoie just enjoyed getting dirty and chasing the birds. Christopher made some fishy friends - for real, one stalked him and nibbled his toes for like 20 minutes! I sat back, enjoyed having my toes in the sand, the nice cool water and even saw some dolphins!  It's always a good day at the beach. The best part? No one fought or cried or even whined the whole time we were there.

Then we ended the perfect day stuffing our bellies at Sweet Tomatoes and falling into food coma on the couch.

The Swag.

Of course, I was showered with gifts and homemade cards. I got: the cutest little Star Wars plushies. R2D2 and Vader... my faves. I am in love, these guys are too cute!! Christopher pimped my computer: rainbow keyboard!!! My Mother in Law gave us (I say us because if it was just mine, it would be dead) a cute desert rose plant that came with a cute little bonus mushroom. I also got a gift card to Starbucks and a rain check for a trip to Rita's (mmmmm... mango gelati).

Those two adorable pillows are the gifts we made for my Mom (the pillow on the left) who lives in Maryland and for my Mother in Law (the one on the right).

My family sure knows how to make a Mom feel loved. xo

<3, Tabi :D

Monday, May 14, 2012

Day 14: If I Won the Lottery

I'm a dreamer. This is a dangerous place for me to go, my head may be stuck in the clouds for a few days now that I've allowed my thoughts to go here again.  I've thought about this scenario way more times than I've actually ever played the lotto.

Of course, the answer would definitely depend on the lotto winnings, but my all time biggest dream ever would be to buy myself an island and live there. Much like Sir Richard Branson's Necker Island. I am definitely smitten with Necker Island. Island life for me would be heaven. No worries, no rules, no need for clocks and anxieties over being late. Of course, like Sir Richard, I would also have to have the yacht, helicopter and various toys to make sure things and guests can get on/off my island safely and in style.

My island would have a farm, where we grow all our own organic fruits and veggies and only import the luxuries. You will find cute breezy Bali houses, infinity pools and randomly placed hammocks for lazy afternoon naps.

But the best part of my island dream is that my children would be able to grow into who they are naturally supposed to be, instead of being shaped by society and then go into adulthood having no idea who they are or what they actually want. Perhaps even us grown folks can find our true selves on my island, too.

But, my husband and I have had this conversation so many times and he doesn't agree on the island. He is a much more grounded, rational person than I. <rolls eyes> He would probably do something smart and invest, help out family, yadda yadda yadda.

I guess it depends on who picks the winning numbers then, huh??

What's your lotto dream? Click here to read what other bloggers dream about.

<3, Tabi :D

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Day 13: My Earliest Childhood Memory

Beautiful graphic from Orange You Lucky
I remember living with my Mom and Dad in a little blue house in Clinton, MD. My Mom would watch one of our neighbor's little girls from time to time and we would play together. Her name was Mary. I remember one very vivid memory from this time, and I'm not sure what about it makes it stick out as it felt to me like a pretty normal day. I must have been about 3 years old.

Mary and I were sitting on the couch with my Mom and she was watching TV. Mary and I were doing my Mom's hair. We must have put at least 20 barrettes and hair clips in her hair and both of us agreed that the more barrettes we put in, the more beautiful her hair was turning out.

There was a knock at the door and my Mom got up to see who it was and then realized her appearance in front of the adult staring at her from the outside of the door. Mary and I were giggly little toddlers on the couch. And I remember my Mom being not embarrassed, but proud of her hair do.

I can imagine being in my Mother's place now and turning beet red in her situation, but not her. To this day, not much embarrasses my Mother.

Looking back at this day now, I think it taught me to wear my children's creations proudly. And I do, my kids have artwork proudly displayed all over this house. <3


Being Mother's Day and all, I've been thinking a lot about my Mom. Growing up, I remember my Mom working a lot. She has always been a selfless person and all her hard work has always been for someone else. For her family mostly, but she's also a big sucker and will give to random people that ask, children's charities, and find ways to help out local families she's heard are in need.

And when she did have a day off of work, she did not rest. She spent her quality time off work doing something fun with us, dressing us up and heading out for some dance performance (we were a family of cloggers), or going to one of many family functions.

My Mom taught me the value of family, the importance of hard work and that being a mother means making sacrifices. But what I didn't learn until after I had my own children was that those sacrifices are made willingly and happily and we, as mothers, wouldn't have it any other way.

Happy Mother's Day to anyone that can be called Mommy. xoxo

<3, Tabi :D

Friday, May 11, 2012

Five Things That Make Me Happy Friday...

I got so involved in Mother's Day crafting for my Mom and my Mom in Law, that I almost forgot that Sunday is my day, too! So, I'm definitely looking forward to that. :D

For this FTTMMHF post, I want to focus on the little things. It's been said before, but I will say it again, because it's that important. The little things matter the most. The little things are what life is about... those little details that bring a secret smile to your face.

Here are five of my little things  that are making me smile today:
  1. The cuddles I sneak in with my husband in between the time the last kidlet falls asleep and the time the wee one crawls into bed with us.
  2. When Zoie helps me out by putting empty cups in the sink, trash in the can, or lets the dogs in/out all on her own accord. She is my best helper.
  3. The moment Christopher walks in the door and somebody (at least one of us) says, "Daddy's Home!" and I let out a sigh of relief that there is an extra set of helping hands.
  4. The joy that a teeny tiny mouse named Leia brings to my kids' faces. They all love her so much and it's amazing to me the amount of tenderness even Zoie shows this little life form that is now a part of our family.
  5. Sleepovers. Every other weekend we get Cameron. So every other weekend, the question arises at bedtime. "Can we have a sleepover?" What this means is that, even though every child has a bed of their own, they want to all squeeze in one twin size bed. They love each other so much that they want to sleep close and kick each other all night. How sweet is that??
What little thing made you smile today? I'd love to know, please share your own personal warm fuzzies in my comments below.

<3, Tabi :D

Day 11: 15 of my Favourite Things

* Did you notice? I spelled it 'favourite', instead of 'favorite'. Fancy!

This post is easy peasy. And a great segway to my weekly Five Things That Make Me Happy Friday post.

Fifteen things, go!

1.  Sweet Reggae in the morning.
2.  Morning lattes.
3.  Cuddles.
4.  My Christopher. <3
5.  My toes in the sand.
6.  Roxy. The girl that made me a Mommy.
7.  A good yoga.
8.  Warm Fuzzies. (You know, that feeling in your belly when something is so good.)
9.  My Riley Bear. Who teaches me it's great to be a weirdo.
10. Yummy dreams you never want to wake up from.
11. Halloween.
12. Nutella.
13. My Zoie Boie. Who makes my heart melt every day.
14. Good surprises.
15. Compliments. Both given and received.
16. Cameron. My favorite kid that I didn't give birth to.
17. Star Wars.
18. Five Guys Fries.
19. Great texting buddies. (I'm talking about you Nicole and Butha)
20. My Mom and Dad.
21. Sunday Mornings.

(Sorry, I went over. You know me, always breaking the rules!!)

Happy Friday! Today is my stepson, Cameron's birthday. He's 10 today!!!

Do you remember turning 10? For a girl, I remember that being the age everything started to get confusing and weird. I had no brothers growing up, so perhaps it's different for a boy? I feel extremely lucky to be a part time mom to an older boy. It's a great learning experience for me on how to deal with my own full time boy. :)

Be sure to click back on over here later for my Five Things That Make Me Happy Friday Post.

Until then, have a wonderful day.

<3, Tabi :D

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Gif Boom

My name is Tabi and I am a photo app hoarder.

My newest discovery: Gif Boom

I just downloaded it today. It's kind of like Instagram (still my favorite), but you can make Gifs!

There are filters galore, different borders to choose from, you can adjust the speed and even add text.  These are my very first two Gifs from Gif Boom. Don't judge me. It's fun!!

If you've got Gif Boom, I'm Tabidee. Look me up, I need peeps to follow. ;)

On a different note... have you guys seen Girls on HBO? It's pretty funny and refreshing. I'm watching it right now. ha ha (<-- me, laughing at the show). l8r.

<3, Tabi :D

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