I’ve been nominated for a Liebster Award!!

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What is the Liebster Award?

In the blogging world, the Liebster Award is online recognition given by bloggers to other new bloggers for enjoying or valuing their work. It is meant to highlight and credit favorite new up and coming blogs within our writing community.  It does this by asking the blogger to share answers to 11 questions about themselves and their blog, and then encourages them to nominate blogs deserving of the award.

I was nominated by Meanderwithmeg and I am very grateful that she took the time to read my blog posts and thought I was worth nominating. The fact that anyone takes the time to read what I write in and of itself is a great honor. Being nominated for the Liebster Award is encouragement for me to keep doing what I’ve started. So here it goes….a little insight into the accidentalmommydiaries!

What is the primary reason for starting your blog?

My sister kept pestering me about how funny I am (apparently I’m hilarious…i don’t think so, but hey, who am I to say she is wrong??) and said that I have experienced a lot and would be great at writing a blog. Finally I decided to give it a shot and see if I was any good at it. I think I am still a work in progress but I definitely enjoy being open and honest about my experiences and reading what people think of my posts is very encouraging. If I can help anyone with anything they are struggling with or if I manage to make someone smile when they are having a crappy day then this blog has done exactly what it is meant to. Life is hard, people don’t always share about their struggles and a lot of people in this world go through difficult times on their own thinking they are the only ones facing this. It can sometimes defeat them but if we all open up and share with one another we somehow help each other survive the obstacles in life.

How often do you post content on your blog?

I try and post a few times a week. I have two kids and am going through house renovations so I don’t always get a chance to sit in front of the computer and pour my soul out.

Is there a story behind your blog name?

YES! I got pregnant accidentally straight out of University and it was the biggest most life altering thing that could have ever happened to me. It has kind of defined who I am for the past seven years.

Do you hire people for writing content/creating photography and videos?

I only just started this blog so I haven’t hired anyone to write. I would love to have guest bloggers to bring a treat to my readers. I have some very creating friends so if they ever wanted to create videos or snap some pics for the blog I would totally be up for it.

When you were young, what did you want to grow up to be?

I wanted to be a mother and a wife! I also wanted to own my own Bed & Breakfast. I am people person. I am an extrovert and I have the gift of hospitality. I love inviting people into my home and making them feel welcome and showing them around my town. I always dreamed of one day owning a B&B and getting to do that every week and helping people make lasting memories.

What motivates you to blog?

Sharing my experiences and hopefully helping someone with their struggles or letting them know they are not alone. I also find it therapeutic to put things down on paper.

What is your ideal morning routine?

To stay in bed until 12pm!!!! I am NOT a morning person at all.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

I would want the power to heal anyone from any disease or injury.

What is your favorite country?

So far I have been to over 50 countries so choosing just one seems near impossible. I love Vienna, Dubrovnik, Hawaii, Tulum, Cambridge, Copenhagen, etc

What is your favorite thing to do abroad?

I love eating, visiting the museums and going to the supermarket. Me and my hubby feel like until we have gone to a grocery store in a foreign country we don’t really have a feel for what their way of life is.

 

Rules of the award:

  1. Thank and link back to your nominator
  2. Answer your 11 Questions
  3. Select your top bloggers

I have nominated several bloggers to be the next recipient of the Liebster Award! Here’s my list:

How to test your marriage….

kitchen remodel

It has been weeks since I have been able to write a blog post. For a while I had the time and the momentum to write from the heart but then our house remodeling got a little chaotic and I had no time to sit in front of a computer.

Let me tell you one thing, if you ever want to test your relationship or your sanity take on a renovation project. I have no idea how Christina and Tarek (#fliporflop) or Chip and Joanna (#fixerupper) manage to stay married throughout the endless hours or remodeling, renovating and decision making.

We bought our house in paradise back in October. We managed to get an amazing deal because the four bedroom house we purchased had been left in the 70’s. We had to renovate every single room of the house, every bathroom and the kitchen. We were very excited to take on this project, it was the first proper house we had bought as a couple. It had so much potential so when we sat down to make the plans for the renovation sky was the limit.

bathroom remodel

Our first problem popped up when we tried to get planning permission from the City of Coronado. Something that was meant to take three weeks turned into an 8 week fiasco. The City kept returning our plans making one correction at a time which extended things and took so much longer than we expected.

We finally managed to get the plans approved by mid-December but then the problem was Christmas and New Years. We managed to get most of the demo done but progress was very slow. Finally, in January we managed to get the ball rolling. Walls had been torn down and wall paper was scrapped off.

When problems arise the easiest person to take it out on is your spouse. When the wrong window gets delivered, the wrong paint gets used and the work isn’t progressing enough your spouse is the one person you can blow off steam with. This is a tricky situation though, as the weeks go on the hostility can do some lasting damage. I realized after a few months the importance of quality time and clear open communication.

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The other person is always going to feel like they are doing more, they are spending more time on issues or they are more involved than the other person. Eventually, I realized this is what was causing the tension in our marriage. Of course my husband felt that I should be doing more because I was at home all day. What he failed to acknowledge (it happens often) is that when I am at home I am looking after two kids, and as any mother knows looking after two kids is not an easy task. Especially when you have to go to a building site and manage people, paint, go to Home Depot. There is only so many hours you can keep a toddler in a car seat or a seven year old in an empty house. There were times when I wanted to throw myself on the floor of Home Depot and cry from exhaustion and frustration because I didn’t know what crown molding was or how I was going to chose it for our house.

I finally asked for help. My friend Cristina looked after baby Charlie a few days while I went to the new house and painted the doors, the crown molding, the framing, etc. It really does take a village!!

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In the end it all worked out. We are finally living in our brand new beautiful dream home on our island, Coronado. This house has my sweat and tears and my husbands. Even though at times it felt like it was pulling us apart in the end it brought us together and it will bring us a lifetime of memories with our family. I now sit in my beautiful living room looking out my french doors on to my patio deck watching my son play in his yard. Life really can’t get any better than this!!

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Bruschetta for me and Bruschetta for you!

I love love love restaurants. Being served, choosing from a variety of dishes knowing that I don’t have to lift a finger is bliss. Then the fact that I don’t have to clean up or wash any dishes is also what fills my heart with joy.

Other than going out to restaurants to dine, I enjoy cooking for friends and family. When I lived in London we couldn’t always go out to dinner. Having a new baby meant that we were confined to the house when our friends had plans. So I decided to start inviting people around for dinner. Best solution ever. We got to spend time with our friends and socialize while the baby was asleep in the next room.

One of the dishes I loved making for my guests is tomato, basil and mozzarella bruschetta. As a starter it is simply delicious. It is quick to make and people always really seemed to enjoy it.

 

Brushette

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 handfuls nice mixed ripe cherry tomatoes
  • 1 small bunch fresh basil , leaves picked
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil
  • good-quality white wine or herb vinegar
  • 2 large French baguettes, sliced
  • 1 ½ pounds fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced

DIRECTIONS

  1. Slice bread and toast under the grill/broil in the oven or in a griddle pan
  2. Rub each slice of toast with a cut garlic clove then drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper
  3. Wash the cherry tomatoes, place the cherry tomatoes in a deep bowl and squash them roughly
  4. Tear the basil and put into the bowl, season with salt and pepper and add some olive oil and some vinegar
  5. Slice the mozzarella and place into the bowl with the rest of the ingredients
  6. Place the mix on top of each sliced piece of bread and drizzle with the remaining sauce, then put under the grill to lightly warm them.

 

Enjoy with friends in the comfort of your own home!

 

Bon Apettit!

 

 

 

 

 

Operation: Where’s the engagement ring?

After I found out I was pregnant I decided that seeing as it was all a surprise and my boyfriend was only 24 years old I wouldn’t pressure him to stick around. Obviously what I wanted more than anything else was to marry him and start a family the way I had always wanted. The one thing I knew back then was that when men are pushed into something they are not ready for they either pull away completely, they resent you or they rebel in some way.

The truth is I never wanted him to be able to turn around and say that he was forced to marry me, or that he was only with me because he had no other choice. I could imagine us having a fight and him shouting that his life would have been better if I had never gotten pregnant. It sounds harsh but when something so unexpected happens to you, all you can think about is not making it worse.

We had of course talked about getting married and having kids but all of that was meant to happen when we were 30, not 24! As the months went by he started changing his habits. He went out less, drank less and started behaving more responsibly. All of this reassured me and gave me hope that he might propose before the baby arrived and then we could get married. We had our trip planned to Egypt, Jordan and Israel (see Travel section for post) and I was secretly hoping that he would propose to me then. What is better than a romantic holiday for a proposal?

dahab moni

So there we are in our second destination of the trip, Dahab, a beautiful little beach town on the east coast of Egypt. We had four nights there before we would move on to Jordan. The first couple of nights we just had dinner around the hotel and did day trips to the blue hole for some snorkeling, shopping in the market, sunbathing by the pool. The third night he had made a reservation at a fancy restaurant on the beach. I was certain this was the night he was going to propose. I figured that if he was going to propose at all it would be in a romantic restaurant as opposed to when camping in the dessert.

by the beach

I showered and got ready for the date first. While he was showering and shaving I started to panic. What if he didn’t want to marry me? What if he didn’t even have a ring? That’s when I decided that I needed to check to see if he had a ring. I wouldn’t look in the box but at least that way I would know if he had a plan to propose. If he didn’t, I would have time to deal with the disappointment. So, as he was showering I started going through his rucksack, I looked everywhere, emptying every pocket, looking inside every sock, checking his jean pockets. I LOOKED EVERYWHERE!!! He was about to come out of the bathroom and I hadn’t found anything. NO RING FOR MONICA!!!

I was very disappointed but I didn’t want him to notice so I tried to not let him see me cry. We were finally ready so we headed to the hotel lobby to take a taxi to the restaurant. We arrived a little earlier than our reservation so he suggested we go for a walk on the beach. I, of course, was in no mood to go for a beach walk. I was so heartbroken I just wanted to eat and then go to sleep, but he insisted we go for a walk. As we were walking around he stopped to point out how beautiful the stars looked. He bent down to buckle his shoelace. Then he said to me “hey can you hold this for me while I tie my shoes?”. As I looked over he was kneeling down with a tiny little blue box in his hand. He said that I was his best friend, that he loved me more than anyone could ever love somebody. That he wanted my face to be the first thing he saw every morning and the last thing he saw before he went to sleep and would I do him the honor of being is wife.

I couldn’t believe it. I had given up hope. I was crushed and in one second he filled me with so much love that I felt like I was going to float away. That is how the girl who was accidentally pregnant got everything she ever wanted.

 

 

NB: If you ever plan going to Egypt I recommend going to Cairo, doing a cruise down the Nile to visit Luxor and Kings Valley and visiting Dahab. We normally just buy flights and then we plan the rest of our trip out ourselves. I know that people sometimes prefer having their trips with guides. There are many great travel companies that can plan your whole trip out. Check out TripAdvisor for some info.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g297547-Dahab_South_Sinai_Red_Sea_and_Sinai-Vacations.html

 

 

Honey Garlic Shrimp to the rescue!!!

tube anger

One of my all-time favorite meals is shrimp. Shrimp cocktail, popcorn shrimp, you name it, I’ll eat it. Aside from the delicious taste one of the things I love about shrimp is that it is quick and easy to cook. When I lived in England I worked full-time and I was a full-time mom and wife. After work I would have to rush to the tube station to catch my train or I would be late to pick up my daughter from nursery. If you have ever put your child into a nursery you know that they are ruthless. For every minute you are late they charge you $15 (its extortion)! After a very stressful journey on a sweaty, crowded train I would arrive to pick up my daughter at 6pm. After her 10 hour day in nursery she was exhausted so the bus journey home was less than ideal, especially during her terrible two’s when she would have full blown meltdowns and slither off the seat onto the floor as strangers silently judged me. Once we got home (by this point I’m exhausted and running on fumes) I had to figure out a way to keep her happy while I cooked dinner. This meal filled my tummy and put a smile on my face many times, hope you enjoy it.

 

Bon Apettit!

Honey-Garlic-Shrimp-and-Broccoli-1b

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined with tail on
  • Bag of Couscous
  • 1 ½ cup of broccoli
  • 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon of minced ginger
  • 4 tablespoons of honey
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cook Couscous as per packet instructions
  2. Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a dish creating a marinade
  3. Place the raw shrimp in half of the sauce and allow to marinade (ideally for 15-30min). Discard the marinade
  4. Over medium to high heat in a skillet pan sear the shrimp in some oil , about 1 min per side
  5. Warm the remaining sauce in the skillet with the broccoli
  6. Place the shrimp on a bed of couscous and drizzle with the remaining sauce and broccoli

Here comes the Fear of Everything

Fear

I have never considered myself to be a fearful person. I’m cautious, responsible and aware of potential dangers but have never been the kind of person that lets fear come between her and something she wants to do. When I was younger I practiced gymnastics and at our gym there was a saying drawn on the wall “don’t let fear steal your dreams”. Now in gymnastics this is a crucial factor. When you are trying to do a flip in a balance beam towering over the ground below or you and running full speed ahead towards a stationary vault you cannot allow fear to enter your mind even for a second. If you let fear in you freeze up and that is when you could really get hurt. My worst injury in gymnastics was on the balance beam when I landed with the whole weight and force of my body onto my “private parts” and cut myself in ways I didn’t even know were possible. Needless to say that after that my confidence was never the same. I ended up retiring from gymnastics once I realized the fear was there to stay. Why risk it right?

bella hospital

Well, when becoming a mom I was in for a crash course in not letting fear take hold of me. When I delivered my baby girl she had no heartbeat and was not breathing. She was given chest compressions and intubated and rushed to the NICU. She spent the first five days of her life in the NICU and unfortunately I had a series of medical complications which meant I was not able to leave my hospital bed. The above photo is the first time I got to see my daughter. My husband took the photo once they had stabilized her and he printed it out for me to keep until I was able to meet her in person.

I spent nine months waiting to meet this tiny human and then when she finally arrives I don’t even get to meet her. Talk about soul crushing. Everyone that came to visit got to go and meet her and then they would come and visit me and tell me all about her. I was so grateful that everyone had taken the time to come meet her but inside I was crying every time I heard from someone else what my little girl was like.

Not letting fear consume me was all I could think about. When it is 1am and you get woken up by neonatal doctors telling you that your baby has an infection that isn’t responding to antibiotics and they need to get your consent to give her a lumbar puncture it’s kinda hard to not go into full on panic mode. Not to mention when the next day they tell you that there is swelling in her brain and a small bleed. Talk about experiencing the Fear Factor of parenting straight off the bat. I had only one choice and that was to trust that my baby was in God’s hands and he was guiding all the doctors. I knew I would get to meet her eventually and until then I had to make sure I took care of myself and recovered.

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Finally, on the fifth day I was able to go and meet my baby. It was hard not to cry when I was wheeled into the NICU and saw her covered in cables, feeding tube into her nose, bruising on her tiny face from the forceps. When I finally got to hold her it was bliss. A real miracle occurred when she recovered a lot faster than they expected and on the 7th day we were allowed to go home.

Our first night back in our apartment was the scariest of all. The reality finally kicked in, we were home alone (no medical staff around to rescue us) in charge of a tiny human…… Talk about fear kicking in, we took turns through the night making sure she was still breathing. At one point she was so still my hubby put his finger under her nose to make sure she was breathing, when he couldn’t feel anything he decided the best thing would be to place his hand on her chest and give her a little nudge. I have never been more terrified.

Becoming a mom certainly makes you more acutely aware of all the possible dangers in your every day life. Some nights I would lie in bed and think about all the things that could go wrong…. It’s a good thing I’m not normally a fearful person otherwise I doubt I ever would have left my house. I see mom’s who are terrified of letting their kids be touched by friends and family without a complete wipe down with antibacterial wipes, moms who wont let their kids go on play-date for fear that something might happen while they are away and of course the helicopter moms I see on the playground who don’t let their kids out of their sight for a second and their arms are always outstretched ready to catch. I don’t judge them, I don’t think anything badly about the ways they chose to deal with these fears that parenting seem to awaken within us.

All I know is that I am grateful that over the years the fears have subsided and now with my second child they are almost non-existent. Charlie is the kid that eats leaves off the floor at the park, or the kid who gets to play on the jungle-gym and then gets to have a snack without even washing his little hands. He falls all the time and being a boy he definitely likes to climb everything he sets his eyes on, so I guess it’s a good thing I have learned to let fear go and embrace the unknown.

Charlie swin

 

Drink my blood if you think it will help your story-line!

For some reason teen angst always gets me going. My hubby detests the fact that I enjoy movies like Twilight, Harry Potter and shows like The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Pretty Little Liars and The Vampire Diaries. He says that as a 30 something year old I need to watch stuff that is age appropriate….I say…screw that!! I love me some teenage drama. Takes me back to the days when I had a huge crush on the same guy as one of my friends and he told us he liked both of us as well and was going to get to know us and then decide who he would ask to be his girlfriend. Of course my friend had the advantage because she was in the same classroom as him so it was no surprise when at the school bonfire party he picked her (I cried). I have been watching The Vampire Diaries since it first aired on the CW. The love between Elena and Stefan Salvatore was palpable.  The show has all the ingredients for a hit: the annoying blonde best friend, the witchy best friend, the super-hot devious brother Damon Salvatore, and the all-American best guy-pal Matt Donovan. The fact that the series was based on the novels made sure the script was kick-ass.

TVD s7

We are now on season 7 and things are beginning to change for TVD. So far the show has offered us a love triangle between two brothers, a best friend that discovers she is a witch, a brother who becomes a vampire hunter, a dead aunt/guardian, a teacher/vampire hunter, a best friend forced to become a vampire, a friend who is cursed as a werewolf and a long list of scrumptious villain’s (Klaus, Katherine, Enzo).

Let me start off by saying that the loss of Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev) is by far the worst thing that could have happened to this show. I have no idea why she decided to leave but what I do know is that she was the glue that held everything together. TVD are going to pull out all the stops if they are going to keep us hooked on this show. To add insult to injury they have moved the show from its successful Thursday night spot to the less coveted nosebleed Friday night.  So far only one episode has aired at its new time but from an article I read early this week looks like TVD is in trouble.

Season 7 has centered mainly on the hatred that Damon feels towards his mother, who has taken Elena his love away from him. We also have the Heretics who have taken over Mystic Falls and pose a threat to everyone the come across. Alaric is busy trying to get his dead pregnant wife to come back to life. Caroline finally gets what she has secretly always wanted, Stefan, but things aren’t as easy as she would hope when his long lost love/baby mamma comes back.  So far season 7 has left me disappointed and wanting more. Perhaps after seven years the critics are right and this show has run its course. I honestly hope that’s not the case and that by some miracle Julie Plec can turn it around.

TVD

For now, my Friday night is clear (the hubby is at a soccer match this evening so I don’t have to endure his criticism) as I await episode 11 which happens to be directed by Paul Wesley (Stefan Salvatore). Last week we watched Damon’s soul trapped inside the Phoenix Stone, where he was stuck reliving his own personal hell while Bonnie and the others tried to bring him back. He awakens to find that he has “killed” all of them in a moment of desperation. Let’s see if this next episode is worth my time and my popcorn.