Lifestyle

A churro-free life

Blog (3)

Can you believe I just had my first churro this summer?

It’s important you understand that I grew up very in-tune with my roots. I am first-generation American (on my dad’s side). I grew up on the Texas-Mexico border. I spoke Spanish before English. My grandparents never even learned English. I went grocery shopping in Mexico. In fact, we did a lot of shopping in Mexico, ate at the restaurants, visited the doctors and picked up our prescriptions across the border.

Yup – I know my cultura well and I happily embrace it, albeit it wasn’t always that way.

This weekend Mi Amor and  I had a craving for Pan Dulce. I’ve never been a huge fan (I mean, I like it, but I’d rather have ice cream or cake!) but after experiencing my first churro I had to have it. We left BabyCoolJ with my in-laws and picked up some goodies.

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When we got back I mentioned, in complete embarrassment, that I had just tried my first churro last month. To my complete surprise, my in-laws hadn’t either! And they also grew up in the Valley.

So it got me wondering – are churros like burritos; American made? I started to do a little digging – I love the internet!

Fascinatingly enough, according to a few articles I found, churros originated in China! What the what?! I love this excerpt, according to The Prisma:

The history of the churro is ancient and revered, lending the snack an almost mythical status. It begins not in Spain but in China, where Portuguese merchants first tasted youtiao, strips of golden fried salty pastry traditionally eaten for breakfast.

Ancient and revered…where have you been my whole life! Funny thing is I just assumed it was like a bunuelo, which I am not a big fan of. I learned that, while in every country churros vary, in Mexico they are usually filled with dulce de leche, Yup, delicious, gooey dulce de leche. I am sold.

Culture…heritage, background, society, familial upbringing…it is such an interesting thing. Mi Amor and I are both Mexican-American. We grew up in the same area, only miles away from one another, yet thousands of miles apart. We celebrate differently, treat family differently and fundamentally our ideals had to make dramatic shifts for us to finally be on the same wave-length.

When we get to know people in Austin, this always fascinates them. Not only do a lot of people think Latinos are the same, but compact that with us both being Mexican and that we’re both from the Valley just adds to the assumption that we were raised the same. I love “educating” my friends on what it was like growing up in a world where I was neither American, or Mexican, yet always both. And I especially love discussing this with my husband – who happens to see it differently than I do (or at least he used to!).

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I wouldn’t change my mish-mash of cultures for anything. Latina, Texan, Mexican, American…I identify with them all. And I’m proud. Puro Raza. Now hand me a churro.

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Lifestyle

40 gifts for his 40th!

20170522_173510-01.jpegI discovered a few years ago what I always pretty much knew – gifts are my love language. The good thing is it is not just receiving (although I love that too!). I love to give – I find true joy in finding a thoughtful, perfect gift for those I love. So it was a super easy decision to give Mi Amor 40 gifts for his big milestone of turning 40!

While gifts are not really important to Mi Amor, I think he truly appreciated the fun of opening all the gifts, plus many were practical or things he loves. There was no way I could do 40 expensive gifts, so it was a big mix! I gave him the choice of when to open the gifts, and h20170523_094249-01e settled on 10 every day we were on our getaway in San Antonio (we were there 4 days!).

To help inspire anyone else who may want to do a lot of gifts, I thought I would share what I gave him. There was no order behind my strategy, but I tried to include a lot of random stuff he loves. Also, none of these are sponsored, but I did link anything I could to help others out. Here goes!…

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  1. 12-pack of Dos Equis with Michelada mix
  2. Billboard Top Hits: 1977
  3. Keurig reusable coffee filter
  4. Sprezzabox
  5. Cassette tape sticky notes
  6. COZILIFE silicon popcorn maker
  7. Harry’s men’s shave gel
  8. A box with 40 dark chocolate Hershey’s kisses
  9. Merona anchor crew socks
  10. Mead canvas planner
  11. Leaf liner socks
  12. Party in a box (birthday boy badge, birthday plates, cups, party hats, blowers)
  13. Smurf Pez dispenser
  14. Puma boxer briefs
  15. Swago on-the-go cologne wipes
  16. Beef jerkey
  17. Artwork with Jeremiah 29:11
  18. 40 memories written on 40 heart-shaped cards and envelopes
  19. Trail Mix
  20. Grillin’ & Chillin’ outdoor sign
  21. KONOV men’s faith bracelet
  22. Shutterfly photo cube
  23. Organic basic tee
  24. Star Wars pen
  25. Mini bottle of champagne
  26. DIY painting by our toddler
  27. Starbucks GC
  28. Cuisinart BBQ thermometers set
  29. Old Navy Oxford shirt
  30. Cap
  31. Birthday card with lotto tickets and a hand written letter
  32. Pack of gum
  33. Whataburger gift card
  34. Then, 7 individually wrapped items from the Amazon Men’s grooming sample box (which made 40 gifts!)

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Needless to say, it sure made for a fun surprise! The rest of our trip was amazing – totally relaxing! We didn’t make any official plans, other than eating some good food, so we were able to spend a lot of time in our room just laying in bed (as you can see from the messy photos!). It’s a luxury we remember all too well pre-baby!

I’ll also add that our stay was incredible, and I recommend the Drury Plaza to anyone staying in San Antonio. We were able to walk everywhere, it was clean and the amenities were fantastic. In addition to free breakfast (which we only made once) they host a “kick-back” where every guest is given up to 3 free alcoholic drinks, unlimited snacks, soda and coffee. It was our best hour spent daily!

The hotel also had an indoor pool with a nearby balcony facing the San Fernando Cathedral, as well as an outdoor pool and jacuzzis on the 23rd floor. That was the best way to soak after a long day, and we took full advantage on day 1!

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Have you ever done any creative gift giving? Let me know in the comments!

Lifestyle

Vacation mode starts now!

Blog (6)When I lost my job in March we quickly canceled our annual vacation, adjusted our spending and started living in survival mode. It was such a scary time until just this week.

I’ve taken on some consulting work, we’ve moved around a few things and we were blessed with some surprise funds. Now I finally feel like I can breathe again! And I am so excited about growing my business and spending at least the remainder of the year staying home with BabyCoolJ. Not to mention I can search for my dream job in the process! God is so good.

7290078While we would be packing right now for Mexico (oh, I’ll miss the white sand beach, unlimited drinks and food…not to mention hammocks!) we have found ourselves overly grateful for the gift of TIME. There is no measuring time with my 20-month-old!

But, now we get to plan for something else! Mi Amor’s birthday is the 25th, and while we won’t spend it with drinks at the beach, we may be enjoying drinks by the pool! We are taking a mini-getaway just down the road San Antonio so we can sleep in, relax and eat unapologetically. It will be an awesome few days!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI also planned something special for Mi Amor. Seeing that it’s his 40th, and my love language gifts, I made/bought/threw together 40 gifts! It was super challenging seeing that I had no money to spend, but with our blessing this week I’ve been able to pull a few last minute items together. I’ll share those 40 items in a blog post next week to help inspire others!

Have a beautiful weekend, everyone! I know I will – I’m kicking it off tonight with a girl’s night!

BabyCoolJ, Faith

Celebrating moms

20170513_160256-01Yesterday, Mi Amor and I took BabyCoolJ to Little Land to have some fun and let out some much-needed energy. It was really empty, except for a large Latino family, and two other (white) dads with their kids. Mi Amor and I began chatting about culture, and where we grow up, and how they play such an influence on our lives. I’ve seen moms post that they are doing spa days, getaways and girls nights. Such a different world to what we grew up knowing. Moms, at least 3 generations, would gather together over large meals and celebrate with their full families. If we were back in our hometown, we would have 4 generations celebrating on my side, and 3 generations on my husband’s. It is a beautiful thing!

But, because I refuse to travel with a 20 month old, we will celebrate in our little family of 3. We will celebrate together, through the tantrums, fighting the naps and each and every “mama” and hug. (although, I could totally go for a spa day, too!)

My son is my world! I can’t believe how many memories and how much LOVE #babycoolj has filled me with, all in under 2 years! I cherish every moment, and I am grateful to God for the blessing it is to be this kiddo’s mama. And what a blessings moms are. Thank YOU for all you do. The sleepless nights, the selfless acts, sharing your food, your bed and all your space. Giving up your time, your body and your night outs. I never quite understood it, or appreciated my mom as much, as I do now that I am a mother. YOU all are amazing. 20170514_123615-01.jpeg

And, on the note of amazing, I have to add what an amazing God we have! Today our pastor preached about faith. It tied in so perfectly with what God told Mi Amor and me to do this week. Seriously, perfect timing. In fact, he shared the story of Isaac in Genesis, and how Abraham’s servant was told to go find him a wife. How perfect was it that he trusted in God when he met Rebekah (see verse 12), and that God provided such a clear message for him. He did that for us too, and he was showing us once again that we were to walk in faith. We closed it up with moms praying for our children, faithful prayers of who they will become and who they are created to be. Everyone else prayed for the mothers in the room. Perfect start to my Mother’s Day!

Be blessed everyone!

Faith

Walking out in faith …

Y’all, something huge just happened last night!

So, let me preface this by saying I am currently reading “What Happens When Women Say Yes to God” by Lysa Terkeurst. I have faith and trust in Him, however I struggle with discerning on His vs. my thoughts/desires/ideas. Lots of crazy stuff enters my mind and I don’t know where it is coming from!

After my bible study on Wednesday evening, I was talking with a friend from the study and she told me to stop and listen. Spend some time in His Word and open myself up to His desires for me.

So, just a few hours earlier, I was working on bills. There was a short season when my husband (aka Mi Amor) and I were getting back on our feet after I switched from one job to another, and we missed church and therefore didn’t tithe a couple of weeks. On my spreadsheet, I had written “Owe $$$ on tithe.” Knowing that I am out of work and we are figuring out how to make ends meet, I deleted that and moved on the to rest of the bills. “God understands….” I thought.

Now, back to later that same evening, after bible study and this conversation with my friend. I thought (or felt God tell me) that I needed to give $1,000 in tithe to our church. “WHAT! Are you crazy?!!” I said out loud, to myself. Remember…we are struggling here! My parents are actually gifting us a few days away for my hubby’s 40th birthday week, how can I give money when I am accepting money??

I chalked it off to more of my own crazy thoughts. But I remembered, be still…listen…who is making me think this? DOES IT GLORIFY GOD? (Thanks, Lysa!). So, adding more stipulations to me vs. God, I thought “okay, if Mi Amor confirms my thoughts, then we will give the money.” I didn’t bring it up, though.

So, Thursday came and went and I hadn’t even put any thought back on this moment. Like I mentioned, I am all over the place. Mi Amor leads a men’s group on Thursdays, so I was working on my consulting gig in the bedroom. When he got home, he came to the room, laid on the bed and opened his bible. We did the normal casualties, “how was bible study?” “How was your day?” “anything exciting come up?” “any good job applications?” ….followed by a few moments of us doing our own thing.

Then, BOOM. Mi Amor tells me, “There’s something I read in Acts 5 and I’m struggling with it; it’s bothering me for some reason and I don’t know why.” He began to read it to me, and here’s an except for dramatic effect:

Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.” When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. Acts 5: 3-5

Then, in verse 9, Peter speaks with Ananias’ wife and says:

How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.

Y’ALL. I started sobbing. Like, more than just pretty tears. I asked Mi Amor, right before the tears came, “what does this mean to you?” and he even responded, “not the scripture, but to me personally?” He added that he couldn’t pinpoint it but he felt guilt. BOOM. God has spoken. And, dropped the mic.

Guess who’s getting a $1,000 check this Sunday?

God keeps humbling me. And you know what? I am so thankful. I know He is full of blessings, and I believe He has something incredible in store for us. I can’t wait to share once we figure it all out!

How have you said YES to God lately?

BabyCoolJ, Faith

Lisa in the sky with dandelions

Hi there! Welcome to my little space on the interwebs (I love that word). I am in a new season of life, in a life that is constantly changing, so I decided to start writing about a few of my favorite things: faith, being a wife and mama, music and some sprinkled in reviews.

I’ll start off with music, and the rest will totally fall into place. See, I’ve always loved music. Not in the kind of way my husband does, though. I can’t tell you the name of half the songs I listen to or know a lot of band/singers names. However, I can tell you how I feel when I hear a song. I naturally move along to most music, and music brings joy to my heart. I can even remember what was going on in my life with certain songs. (hello, international music and working at a club in the “Valley” in 2000!)

In 2008, after spending a year in New Zealand, I found myself back in the Valley trying to figure out life. I got a great job so I stuck around. They actually have a pretty great, lively music scene in the Valley, so I found myself out often catching a good show. That fall, I met my future husband. He was a hip-hop artist, and I became a quick fan of his music…not to be confused with a fan of HIM! We stayed acquaintances and eventually became friends before dating in 2010.

I share this because he represents music to me. Not only because of how we met but because it was our mutual love of music that brought us to the faith together. In 2011, we decided to visit a church. This mega-church had the best worship music, and we quickly fell in love with the idea of being regular attendees. In fact, we never missed a day other than when we went out of town.

In the fall of 2014, Mi Amor (aka husband) and I were married. It was the BEST DAY EVER, at least up until that point in our lives. We never knew what God had in store right around the corner! We purchased and built a home in December, and in January, we found out we were pregnant. For the sake of this blog, you’ll know our son as BabyCoolJ. Our lives have never been the same.

The one thing, outside of God, that has gotten us through it all, music. We have dance parties in our living room, BabyCoolJ begs for pandora instead of TV and musical instruments are spread throughout our house.

So, I’ve dedicated every Monday to another song lyric. I hope you’ll join me on the journey as I continue figuring out how to be a great wife and mama, all while groovin’ along.