Costa Vida Sweet Pork Salad

I finally am getting around to sharing one of my favorite recipes. 
I have tried lots of different versions of this recipe over the last 3-4 years and I feel like I finally came up with the perfect one. 
At least the perfect one for my taste buds :) 
It's super easy and super delicious and I would seriously consider making this every day if I could. 
{Adam knows I would!} 

So here is my tried & true Costa Vida Sweet Pork copy-cat recipe. 

- 1-2 lbs of boneless pork ribs
- one can of Dr. Pepper (not diet!) 
- 2 cups of brown sugar 
- small can of diced green chilies 
- 1 can of green enchilada sauce (15 oz.)
- garlic powder
- onion powder 
- cumin

- place pork ribs in crockpot 
- mix together Dr. Pepper, brown sugar, green chilies, enchilada sauce in a bowl 
- add garlic powder, onion powder, and cumin [I don't particularly measure, I just add it til I think it looks/tastes good] 
- pour sauce over ribs
- cook on HIGH for 4-5 hours or on LOW for 6-8 hours
- when pork is cooked, shred meat with forks. let simmer for about a half hour longer or until you have the rest of the toppings made. 

now to put it together! 

- warm up a flour tortilla on a skillet and add shredded cheese on top until melted 
- spoon sweet pork on top of tortilla with cheese, straining the liquid 
- top with cilantro lime rice [this is my favorite recipe!], 
  black or pinto beans [I like black, Adam likes pinto. we are a house divided ;)]
  romaine lettuce, 
  homemade pico de gallo,
  homemade cilantro ranch dressing, 
  and homemade fried corn chip strips. 


Just looking at these pictures makes me want to cook this again tonight. 
It's so good!! 

If you make it, let me know how it turns out! :) 

a story about pi{e}

I never feel like I'm a fun enough mom. 
I don't do crafts or bake cookies often or go on little adventures. 
I don't draw treasure maps or play pirates all day. 
I do those things sometimes. 
But it's not even once a week. 

I see posts of "fun moms" often or get caught up on Pinterest pictures and take it personally. 
I don't do those things so I guess I'm not a very good mom. 
I spiral into a sad, bitter, depressed state. 
The thought of coming up with fun ideas and special activities overwhelms me. 
So I get more depressed. 

Then I get over it, I move on, and I deal. 
Until the next holiday or cute social media post. 

This year I decided I'm done with that. 
What good was it doing me?? 

And instead of using it as a motivator to be a better mom, it only made me feel bad which in turn made me take out my anxieties on Elijah. 
Or stick him in front of the TV or Wii for hours because I was just too overwhelmed. 
I mean, he was happy. 
But I wasn't. 


So enough. 

This year I chose my word of the year very deliberately. 
I thought long and hard about what I wanted to change and how I was going to go about changing it. 
And the word that kept coming to mind was motivation.

If I wanted to do good, I needed to get myself motivated. 
And I needed to feed on that motivation to try harder each day to overcome my weakness and reach my goals. 


I was the only one holding me back. 
I can change! 
I can be the mom I want to be! 
I just had to get off my rear and act on it. 

Push through. 
Do good. 

So I set out to make little things special, 
tried harder to get on the floor and play. 
Let Elijah wear his Power Ranger costume all day. 

Then I saw the Pi Day was coming up. 
I remember the previous year feeling bad that I didn't start some fun tradition with pie. 
And again feeling guilty that I was so lame {though I know Elijah doesn't even know what it means}.
So I was determined to make up for it this year. 

Why feel guilty and shut down? 
When I can motivate myself to do something and create happiness! 

It was a day late but I made pie: chicken pot pie and apple pie. 
I did it! 
I succeeded. 

A couple of days later it was St. Patrick's Day. 
I told myself again that I wasn't going to feel sorry for myself. 
Instead of comparing, I was going to act! 

So I made a little treasure hunt for chocolate gold coins, dyed Elijah's lunch green, and made corned beef and cabbage for dinner. 
I may have still fallen short with crafts or stories, but I still did something fun. 
And I felt more proud of myself than I had felt in a long time. 
Not only did I make my son excited and happy, but I was happier because I took action. 

Motivation to be better. 

In the search for our best selves, several questions will guide our thinking: Am I what I want to be? Am I closer to the Savior today than I was yesterday? Will I be closer yet tomorrow? Do I have the courage to change for the better? 

In our mortal journey, the advice of the Apostle Paul provides heavenly guidance: “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Then came the concluding charge: “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” 

They may not be big things, 
it may only be just baking a pie, 
or pretending we're pirates, 
but through these small steps I am working toward becoming a better mother. 

No guilt. 
No shame. 
No overwhelming, debilitating thoughts. 


what we've been up to lately...

Things have been pretty silent around blogland... 
cause things have been kind of crazy around here. 

[family picture from December 2014]

So here's a bit of an update. 

Adam was busy studying really hard for a really long time to take the Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery exam at the beginning of February. He was at the school for a lot of late nights and early mornings to get ready for the exam and then did amazing! He was actually the only one out of all the other Midwestern students that took it that day to get a really awesome score. I felt really bad about the other students but was really really proud of Adam. 
Made those lonely, single-mother nights & days a little more worth it! 
He also has completed two week-long externships at hospitals in Fresno and in Phoenix for oral surgery to get ready for his applications. 
Yay application process.... {yikes!}

Elijah is all registered for kindergarten next year!! 
I'm really excited for him to have something to do and to learn & grow but am also sad that he's going to be away from me That just seems so scary! But I'm his mommy! 
But I'm also excited for a little break.... I mean we can be honest about that, right??
My little baby all grown up... 

Anneli is still a little angel with a penchant for not sleeping through the night. 
But she's so happy and fun and a chubby little beauty. 
And is 8 months this week!!
She's {army} crawling all over the place and super quick if you aren't watching closely. 
She also has picked up growling from her big brother and loves to babble and growl all day long. 
We love her and squish her and are still obsessed to no end. 

And me? 
Well, I'm super exhausted! 
I started babysitting another baby that's a month younger than Anneli which has been fun & tiring all at once. He's a sweet baby boy and it's fun to get some extra cuddles in during the day. :) 
And I've still gotten dressed almost everyday which I think is winning! 

So all in all we're hanging in there! 
We have super big bags under our eyes and can fall asleep at the drop of a hat but we're alive! 

Thanks for sticking with me through this weird, crazy, tiring time!