Sunday, August 26, 2012


I  know how or why I first became aware of pinterest, but I'm beginning to think I may have a problem. 

And then they made an App for it.  AN APP!!!!

I can get my fix all day, every day.  I'm going to have to start "doing" with my pins.  Just not admiring all of the cute, crafty projects from afar. 

Derek, Tyler, Michael and I all spoke together in church today.  I have to admit, even though it's always nervewracking to speak in church, I was proud of my boys and happy that we all got to speak together.

What fine young men we are raising.  They each gave great talks

What a fine just - man - I'm married to.  He gave an awesome talk.

I am one lucky lady...

And my "pinteresting" thought at the end of the day?   (See, pinterest is good for something...)

"Those who are the happiest, never did have everything.  But rather, they are thankful for everything they do have."

I am so thankful.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

School Year Resolutions

School year: 2012-2013

School started and has me thinking about all the things I want to do this year. Maybe I should have "School year resolutions" instead of "New Year Resolutions" . The school schedule dictates how I live my life more than about anything else, don't you think? So here are my ponderings for this school year...

Say yes when I should and no when I shouldn't. And know the difference. I'm getting old enough to know better, time to figure it out.

Remember the reasons I do say yes to things. If it doesn't actually help out my family, then maybe I shouldn't spend my resources ie: time on it.

More spirituality in my home, especially music. My children are moved and motivated by good music. Almost all of them like to write music and play various instruments. Now it's up to me to use that to all of our advantage.

My daugter turns 12 in October. My goal is to treat her and continue to strengthen our relationship so she can blossom.

Read scriptures say prayers go to the Temple...

Organize my home, room by room.

Don't sweat the small stuff. No REALLY. Don't be a "freaker outer".

Wear skinny jeans sometimes. I borrowed cute Rachel's in Idaho and I really liked them. Cute and comfortable. Tyler told me it was only a "skinny jean fling" and a "one day wear" (because I am his MOM), but I will only wear them once in a while.

Work out, get a Brazilian blow out on my hair. Just a few "vain" things to enjoy my 40's before the wrinkles get serious...

Enjoy my family, enjoy life!

It's going to be a good year. :)

Saturday, June 23, 2012


OK, first of all,  Spoiler Alert... I'm going to discuss the movie "Brave" at length.

We took the family to see the movie Brave today.  While I was expecting kind of a "chick flick," what I was NOT expecting was to leave the movie barely able to stifle sobbing. 

It wasn't a sad movie, no it had a very happy ending.  However, the premise of the movie hit so close to home, and touched on so many aspects of a mother daughter relationship that I recognize I cried like  a "little girl" (Bella's words) throughout the movie.

So, Brave was all about a mother who was trying to make her daughter, Merida be the "perfect" princess.  Mom's intentions are good and she only wants what is best for Merida but she spends so much time trying to convince and force her to be something she just isn't she never really knows her daughter.

It comes to the point where Merida runs away, and finds a witch to cast a spell to "change" her mother to change her fate.  The spell ends up turning her mother into a large bear and bears happen to be her father's nemesis in life.  (Unecessary tangent here, so I'll just leave it at that.) The rest of the movie shows how Merida and her mother's relationship grows and changes while her mother is in the shape of a bear.  How they learn to appreciate each other and love each other for who they are.

So all of my family knows that Jules and I are completely different in so many ways.  I spent years trying to get her to wear pink sparklies, do mani/pedis with me, curl her hair and make it fancy.  Basically I tried for a very long time to make her me.  I finally came to peace with our differences while I was pregnant with Bella.  One last "Cotton Blossom Pageant" disaster was the final straw.  I decided once and for all I'd just leave her be and let her have her own style and stop putting so much pressure on her.

Well, I thought that we were doing pretty good at our relationship.  I was leaving her alone to be who she wanted to be, and I found some solace in the fact that Bella got enough "princess" genes for the entire family (me included).   Until one daylast year, I had a little epiphany that I hadn't asked Jules how she was doing for days.  (And who knows how many.)  I called her into my room and just started asking her questions about her life.  In the course of this conversation she says to me, "you know mom, sometimes I feel like I'm just raising myself." 

OUCH.  Like, knife in heart.  I think that I was so busy trying to just leave her be, and not try to make her into something she wasn't, I took it too far by not engaging her enough to find out who she WAS and get to know her on her terms.

I was very grateful that she verbalized herself so well.  I would've hated it if she felt that way her entire youth and never gave me a chance to correct it.

All this was going through my mind today as I was watching "Brave."  We were leaving and I put my arm around Julianna and I asked her if some of the movie looked familiar.  She smiled and said, "kind of."   I replied look, I will try really hard not to ask you to use a straight iron on your hair, just don't turn me into a bear.

"Hmmm mom, I can't make any promises."  :) 

Well I'm going to keep trying to make it hard for her to even consider it.  Love that Jules, she is "Brave" too. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Failed Experiment

First of all, I've been busy.  Very busy.  If at some point I can catch up my blog, I will but meanwhile I was inspired tonight so I will start with today.

Here is my cautionary tale.

So, I know that many (all) of you, especially my sisters suffer from the same malady.  WE HATE LAUNDRY.  I dislike everything about it; sorting it, loading it, folding it and putting it away.  Well the busier my family seems to get, the sloppier our children get with their clothes.

Add to this that my children wear a uniform to school.  On any given day my children go through a mininum of three sets of clothes.  THREE!!  Uniform, "Play clothes" and PJ's.  Times that by five and add in a little girlie that changes clothes more than three times a day and two adults.  You are talking literally mountains of laundry.

Well, I was beginning to feel an anyerism coming on by the end of the school year.  It seemed like no matter how much organizing I did in the laundry room, the clothes seemed to seep further and further down the hallway and into the rest of the house.  The piles in the laundry room were larger and larger, the kids stopped using their baskets and piles dirty clothes by their door.  So I finally had it, and went on strike.

I've done bare minimum of laundry for the past two and half weeks.  I've washed my sheets, cleaned any clothing that was mandatory.  (Sunday, undies, sheets, anything that got wet - just basics...) 

Don't get me wrong.  There have been grumblings.  Derek insists I'm punishing him.  (I'm not!  I keep telling him I will wash anything he sets aside for me...)  Tyler has different sports camps every day.  I finally had some sympathy for him (and his team mates) last week when I accidentally smelled his socks.  GROSS!!!  So I've made sure his things were clean but everyone else seemed to have enough clothing to get by.  Especially when they spend most of their time in swim suits.

Until today.

I am up against a deadline here.  I have to get two boys ready for EFY and a trip to Utah.  Guess what!?  I have LOADS of laundry to do!!!  And there is only one washer, and one dryer, and only so many hours in the day.  So now, my laundry strike is over and what I've discovered is the only person that has major consequences from this strike, is me.  I will be doing laundry from yesterday, until the time I walk out the door in two days.

Not only that, many of the things that I've discovered during laundry room excavation are truly disturbing. (And we will leave it at that.)

The moral of the story is (I think), better to suffer an anyerism, than strike.  AND this summer, my kids are going to learn to do laundry.  :)

Thursday, April 5, 2012


I wish they made those for your heart.

For some reason lately, I'm a little nostalgic for my babies.  I don't really have any anymore, and I'm not going to have any anymore.

I've been prepared and even looking forward to that eventuality for a while.  I mean, after all there's NEVER been better birth control in the world than a sixteen year old and a two year old at the same time.   Not to mention ALL the years I was pregnant/having/taking care of babies.  I've said it before and I'll say it again.  When you're in the middle of having babies you think you'll always be in "that phase" of life, and that there is no end.  I know I'm done now, and I know Heavenly Father is pleased with our family and I am at peace.  However, I guess I'm also in mourning.

Today was another landmark day that is affecting me so much I need to journal it.  Bella's whole three year old life, bandaids have been called "banbans."  Banbans are awesome because they seem to fix every ailment a child has.   Today, for the first time Bella used the word "bandaids" all day.  So sad.  I'm afraid nothing is going to make me feel better about losing "banbans," because I'm never getting them back.

The other big deal that happened this week was my other baby, Matthew, who I consider my other baby because he was alone for five years before Bella was born, started Scouts.  My last cub scout!!!  I was surprisingly emotional about the whole thing, because it is another "landmark in time."

Joshua is ten in less than two weeks.  TEN!!! Another double digit aged child.  To toot his horn for a minute, he is one of three fourth graders that were chosen to tutor first graders.  Rumor has it that kids fight over his time.  His teacher tells him that he is her ray of sunshine.  That makes me so happy.  His teacher has known him since Kindergarten and I'm so thankful that she enjoys him as much as I do.  Also, he sat in my room tonight and played me three songs on his guitar.  Another talented musician!  He is very coordinated with that guitar in a short amount of time...  Getting big so fast.

I'm so proud of my family.  I'm so grateful for my life, Derek and my children.  I just need to focus on the now, and increase the time I spend with each child one on one.  Because as I'm learning - and all along I knew I would know this - but it's hard to remember when you're in the battle zone, that time really does fly and babies don't last forever.

Eventually, everyone uses bandaids.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Discovering That I MAY Learn to Scuba

We have some good friends here that we're  hoping to do a cruise with at the end of the year, and they love to scuba dive.  They suggested we try to certify and without knowing ANYTHING about it, we signed up to take classes with the scouts (Tyler included).

I went telling myself to not overthink anything.  One of the reasons I haven't blogged in so long, outside of the same tons going on in life, is that  I got really sick last month.  I had an ear infection so bad that I missed my trip to Disneyland.  Even now a full six weeks later, I have fluid in my ear - it was bad. Anyhow, I was worried about my ears and the fact that it was only supposed to be 75 degrees outside (no laughing Utah people) and I just had to keep telling myself not to freak out.

So we get there and we're asked to pick out our equipment.  Fine, done.  I guess I know the flippers are supposed to be snug but the ones I found were big... I figured, no big deal it's just practice.  We jump in the pool which was, to my relief heated, to 81 degrees so I didn't just jump out and forget the whole thing.  Again, telling myself to stay calm.

 Unfortunately, I was struggling with my large flippers and had to hold onto Derek to put my scuba gear on.  It was like I was a three year old that had to have Derek do up all my buckles, help me with my mask, help me move. It was rough.

They start the "Discover Scuba" class and tell us to "push the black button" in order to sink.  OK... pushing the black button, pushing - nothing happening.  (This while literally floating and flailing around like a jellyfish because the water is almost too deep for me to stand and the flippers were coming off my feet and filling with water.)  Instructor B notices I need a new hose.  Great - it was an omen.  He replaced the hose and I missed the entire first part of the lesson.  (Feel the need to mention that my husband and this instructor were having to pull me around by my vest and make me go where I needed because again, I had no control of my body.) 

Next part of the lesson was to float slowly to the bottom of the pool.  Whatever you do, instructor A says, don't sit it may ruin the tank.  So I push the black button to send air through my new hose and down I go... straight down on my rear with the tank knocking the bottom of the pool.  I. Can't. Move.  Poor Derek is trying to move my body so I was floating and not falling.  I think he was afraid they would kick us out of class.... but it was no use.  I was absolutely helpless.  With that heavy tank and big flippers I was just about over it.  At that point, the helpful instructor B decided that I was a "special needs" student.  That's right, I ended up having to have my own "special" class for scuba.  With all the onlookers from our ward I'm not going to lie it was a little embarrasing.  But I KNOW I couldn't have done it without the one on one help.

He made me change my flippers, added weights to the front of my tank vest and FINALLY I was able to have some control of my body.  It was a litte "freaky" (for the lack of a better word) to learn some of the other lessons.  They make you learn to clear your mask - you have to do this to certify.  Well in this part we have to go underwater, fill our masks with water breathe in through our mouth and lift our mask and blow the water out.  First try, not so great - I went to the surface and told Derek "I hate this."  I was SOOO ready to be done.  But I made myself deep breathe and stick with it.  After a few more trys I made it happen - but was told to go home and practice. 

Derek told me that one of the times I'd given my instructor the "thumbs up" to say my mask was clear(not literally, in scuba terms thumbs up means surface -just in case you take lessons someday), my mask was actually half full of water.  Ugh, embarrasing...

When we were finally "set free" from what we HAD to know, I was comfortable breathing through my regulator and really enjoy the last few minutes of swimming in the deep end and looking around.  It was fun.  I'm so glad I stuck with it... now hopefully I won't chicken out when it's time to take the tests and REALLY certify.  One of our friends said to me, I'm so glad you went first!  It was like "I Love Lucy" everything that could go wrong did, that usually is what happens to me!!

Oh yeah,  Carribean here I come!  :)

Scuba certification wasn't on my bucket list but you'd better believe I'm going to add it - if only so I can cross it off!!!  (But I think I'll only add it if I certify.... is that cheating?_

Just a Thought

I remember this quote from a few years ago, but could never find it.  Finally came across it this morning and I want it included in my "blog journal."  It reminds me a little of an incident that happened yesterday with this poor little girl that's had some trouble with our son this year.  She came up to my car at the school yesterday, sobbing.  Mrs. Samuel, you don't hate me do you?  Of course not!  I assured her.  It literally broke my heart and really made me re-think how I am handling things.  I think today, I need to make sure that she gets a hug from me too.

I'm learning that being a mother is so complicated sometimes, (I mean, I always knew that but the older my children get I find there are lots of "layers" to mothering.).  If I can keep this quote front and center in my mind, maybe I'll be better at it and help a few other kids on my way.

"Women of God can never be like women of the world. The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity.”

Friday, March 23, 2012

A Few Updates

This is how Bella walks around the house ALL the time.  She just loves shoes so much she wants to wear as many as possible, every day.
So, I haven't posted in forever again.  Sharon reminded me that I needed to update my blog so here are a few pictures of Bella (of course) so I can at least catch everyone up on a few things....

Happy Birthday Bella (with her friend Vanden).  They were born two days apart. 

First, Bella turned three!!!  I can't believe it.  My baby is three.  Somehow I had six children and my youngest is already three.  Where did those years go already?!

For her birthday, she had the choice of three kinds of cupcakes:  Elmo who she loves, Dora who she enjoys and Justin Beiber.  Who do you think she chose?

That's right, she is a "Belieber."  At three.  Not even sure how she knows who he is... except that her pacifier at night is the Disney Channel.  Maybe that's it.

Finally, my last story about Bella.  This is a picture of Bella throwing a fit over what?  Shoes. 

So, I let her wear an old pair of little white cheerleader shoes.  She wore them until she had blisters on her feet.  And her giant temper tantrum was why?  Because I wouldn't let her wear them again.  That's right, her mean mom took away her "cheerleader" shoes because she had too many blisters from them.  "Beauty is pain" is guess...

Again, I have more children but so much of my time is spent with girlie that when I need to catch up my blog in a pinch I can ALWAYS write something about her.  I could go on, but things to do.... 


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Best Part of the Day

First, Happy Valentines Day everyone!!!!

It's been, as usual, a busy and chaotic few weeks at the Samuel house. 

In the first five minutes of the first game of the little boys basketball season, Matthew was leveled and broke his arm in half.  Like both bones snapped right above the wrist.  Poor guy, it was brutal.  This happened on February fourth.  Finally, on February ninth the child had minor surgery to set the bones and get a cast.  Today, February 14th was his first day back at school.

When he got home I asked him what was the favorite part of his day and he said "when I got to school."

It was one of my highs today also.  I drove him to school so I could speak with his teacher and school nurse.  When Matthew walked into his classroom, the first child that saw him yelled "Matthew!!"  Then ALL his classmates, together and without prompting starting yelling Matthew's name and stood up clapping and cheering for him. He got a standing ovation.  It was so GREAT!  I mean I know Matthew's awesome.  But it's fun to know that the kids at school know it too.  :)  What a boost for my little guy that had such a rough week!

The other favorite part of my day was when I came downstairs to a big vase of roses.  Then Bella came downstairs.  She sat in from of the flowers and said "look my pretty flowers!"  I said Bella I think they are mine.  She sat back in the chair, and got a very sad look on her face and I caved.  OK Bella, they are your flowers.  She was happy immediately.  "My need to call my daddy and say thank you for the pretty flowers. He so nice." 

Yes, he is so nice.  And she made his whole day when she called him and thanked him for the flowers.  (I warned him in advance that the flowers were now hers.)  Another "best part of the day."

The last best part of my day was when Julianna caught me in the kitchen when I was by myself doing a "I'm going to Disneyland with no children" happy dance.  She came in and said, did I really just see what I thought I saw?  "Yes Ma'am!"  I am excited about the "girls only" trip in a few days.  So thankful for fortieth birthdays!  (Happy Birthday Shirley, the trip is a great idea.)

And I love my family.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Basketball. (A Derekimony)

That one word pretty much describes the theme of our life for the past three months.  For the three months before that the theme was:  football. 

Those are the two sports that the majority of my boys are interested in.  Except for Michael, he is his own man, but the other three?  Football and basketball.  Because we are in such a little town and in a new charter school just starting a high school sports program... Derek helped coach some football this year and was the head coach for basketball.

I had zero I mean zip nada clue as to how much time this commitment would take.

Derek works one hour away, he is the Young Men's President in our ward, and he has to be on call for his job. Various of our children do scouts, dance class, activity days, wrestling, music classes... we are a busy family.  (I'm in the Primary Presidency but when I look at Derek's "to do" list it feels like I shouldn't even mention it...)   It's a lot.  I mean, we are a great team but I'm thinking that we found our limit this year. 

Anyway, if you all ever wonder why my blog is almost "seasonal" now you know, it is.

HOWEVER... Derek is a fabulous basketball coach.  He took a bunch of boys that never played organized ball and turned them into a serious team.  He is a great mentor and helped these boys be better people, including our own son.  I am very proud of him.

I can't even begin to list the good he does as Young Mens President.  Suffice it to say, he really blesses the lives of the boys in our ward.  There are a few boys here in crisis and he visits them and helps to meet their serious needs.  (He is seriously awesome... wouldn't want to do life without him - love him.)

As hard as it is to live in a small town where both of us have to volunteer so many hours for our children to have all the education/activities we feel are important and each have big church callings, I see the growth that Derek and I have experienced and the opportunities we have to bond with our children... and I am grateful.

In so many ways it is a sacrifice for us to live out here in our little run down desert town and sometimes we get tired and wonder SERIOUSLY WHY CAN'T WE MOVE?  (We are told big fat NO every time we ask in prayer) ... I'm thinking it's probably Derek's fault, (just sayin')


I know it's Heavenly Father, working his plan.  And I am thankful.

PS.  I re-read this and decided that since this entry was pretty much about Derek and his awesomeness I really needed to plug the fact that not only does he do everything listed above, but he is also 911 - literally.  He currently works in the Special Victims Unit and works all crimes against children.  So he goes to work for ten hours helping people in crisis, then he comes home to me (usually having some kind of crisis) and THEN he helps everyone else until bedtime.  He is a real life super hero...

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The End Of An Era - Potty Train Has Left the Station...

This is a life changing week for me.

My baby Bella decided to be potty trained.  She's traded out her pull ups for panties.  It's official.

I've pondered so much about potty training over the years.  And it's kind of funny how much HOW a child potty trains defines them as a person.

I certainly didn't know when I started mothering these children and teaching them "basics" like potty training it would give me so much insight into each of their personalities, but it shouldn't surprise me. One of the biggest thing a child controls in his or her world is the decision to "go on the potty" or not.  It's a pretty life changing choice...  It's the step from baby to child.  Now that I'm ending this phase of life (the baby phase) it's given me a lot of time to ponder.

Tyler (now 16) REFUSED to go on the toilet. He potty trained at three and three quarters.  He appreciated what we had to say about it... I mean he could hold full on conversations regarding going on the toilet.  I asked him once, why don't you go on the potty Tyler?  His response?  I don't want to.  Let me be the first to say that Tyler is still EXACTLY the same.  He appreciates what we have to say, he is even mostly respecful and nice.  However, he still does things his (the hard mostly) way.  But in the end, I know he'll be okay he just does things in his time.

Michael potty trained literally about one month after Tyler.  At two. I mean, if Tyler was going to do it he WOULD NOT be outdone.  Michael?  He is still exactly the same.  He does not like to be outdone by his brother, or anyone else so he works very hard at everything he does.  A little over-achiever.  At fourteen he gets straight A's in honors classes, plays five instruments and westles.  There is more, but we'll just stop there.  When you potty train at two and one month and you are a boy, your standards are high.

Jules?  Right on time.  At about two and a half without any fuss she decided she'd be potty trained.  No problems.  Jules now?  Easy going... sweet and eagar to please girl that likes to do everything just - right.

Joshua.... oh he was so messy.  Just too busy to really sit and clean himself up completely.  He was on the go.  I probably had more poop all over the toilet from all of Josh's rushing than any other child combined.  So how is Josh still, at nearly ten?  On the go go go.  It is a true blessing he has that he is also very athletic like his brother Tyler.  A gift from Heavenly Father to channel all of that energy. Jules... "easy peasy" and right on time.  Not too messy, not too rushed.  Pretty careful.  And that is exactly Matthew (at almost 8.)

Now with Bella, she came five years after Matthew like her very own "TaaaaDaaaaa"  and she is potty training the same way.  Every time she goes she asks whomever is around, "are you so happy? I (insert verb here) on the potty".   It's a celebration every time.

That isn't a bad way for me to end the baby stage of my motherhood, with a celebration.  It does make me sad to say goodbye to the "babies"  part of my life, but ending with a party sure makes it fun.

Friday, January 20, 2012

So Random....

So, Bella and I were shopping at our friendly neighborhood Walmart the other day. 

Bella treated our shopping trip like her very own little Miss America pageant.  She smiled and said hello to every person she passed (every person).  She also sang away thoughout the store when she couldn't help herself.  She was just "on."

Our checkout clerk was an friendly older gentleman and he got a huge chuckle out of Bella singing "My Darlin' Clementine."  (I have no idea where she first heard this song, maybe from Grandpa but she sings it over and over.)  He said, you know, I was a singer once, I'm sure you're not old enough to remember the "Love Boat."

What?  Me?  I assured him that not only was I old enough, but I was a die hard fan. (It was "Must see TV" at our house when I was a child. ) He said,"I sang the theme song for the show", and proceeded to belt out "The Love Boat" while he rang through my groceries.  He also threw in a few lines of My Darlin' Clementine for good measure.

How. Cool. Is. That. 

I mean, maybe he was just a random man off the street, but he sure SOUNDED exactly like the Love Boat theme singer.  No, really.  Evidently he retired and his wife wanted him to stop sitting around the house so he got this job at Walmart because he likes interacting with people.  I'm a believer... but he also said that Bella and I had pretty smiles so I guess I'm a sucker too......  Well anyway, he was SOOOOO slow ringing up our order that I'm positive that grocery checker wasn't his first career.

Hey, between the Osmond that was in our ward for two weeks and the Love Boat theme singer, Coolidge is nearly on the map, I mean c'mon!

And now I'll look for him every time I go because who wouldn't want to be serenaded at the friendly neighborhood Walmart every once in a while right?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

My Standard

As I was working on my much neglected blog tonight I found this draft.  This needs to be published for my posterity.  Maybe they will have the same genes I do.

My Standard
I have one. (A standard that is.)

After all the mornings I sent my chidren to school in dirty clothes, torn knees, mismatched socks, turkey tails and tangles... you name it and as some point or another my kids have left the house with any number of these "situations". (Even dirty socks - I thought I already had my limits there, but after smelling my children's feet after school the other day I guess I was wrong about that.)

I found my limitation (only one so far) this morning

Josh came downstairs dressed in these:

It's hard to tell in this picture, but the hem on these pants is long gone, they've been ripped to shreds.  Both knees are completely torn out.  The legs are so worn you can actually see through them in parts.  To top it off, they are about an inch too short for Josh.  I guess I have to draw the line there.  No. Way.

So now you have it, when your pants are ripped and worn beyond recognizing what they are, AND they are too small, you can't wear them. 

There.  I have a standard.

Her "Highness"

This is how we go to Walmart.  I gave up on making her wear "normal" clothes in public.  As long as she is covered up, she can pick how she leaves the house.  I'm pretty sure she is MUCH more strong willed than I am. 

PS.  In case you can't tell, in both pictures I'm in trouble.  She won't even make eye contact.  Sigh...  hard to share my "princess" title in the home with another person.  But she sure is fun...


I hope that all of my loved ones had a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Sorry that I continue to leave my blog untouched for sooo many weeks on end.  I won't even re-read my post from last year with my New Year Resolutions on it.  Not saying that I won't set more again, but I'm pretty sure I didn't come close to putting a dent in my list.  I will simplify this year's goal.  "Survive" will be the theme.  :) 

So that you all start your New Year's off right, and because I love you all I'm going to include the recipe for "Mexican Shrimp Cocktail" that so many members of my family enjoy.  It's easy and we have it on New Year's Eve and other "special occasions".  Love you all!!!

Mexican Shrimp Cocktail:

1 large bottle of Clamato.  This is sold in the juice isle next to the V- 8.  Clamato is a Hispanic tomato juice cocktail and it does have a different taste than anything else you can buy.  It is the authentic ingredient to make perfect shrimp cocktail... ok I'll be honest, it's made with clam juice but don't be afraid.  You're not serving it over ice and drinking it for breakfast and it makes perfect Mexican Shrimp Cocktail.   If you can't find Clamato, use regular V-8 or spicy V-8 if you like some heat.

1 small can El Pato.  (the yellow can)  This is a Mexican tomato sauce.  I think this can be found in most grocery stores.  If the Smith's in Sandy, Utah carries it (it does), I'm pretty sure you can find it just about anywhere... just sayin'.  For some reason if you can't find this ingredient then just stick to regular old shrimp cocktail...  ok, just kidding.... maybe you could use some juice from pickled jalepenos instead and extra extra seasoning.  The El Pato adds a lot of flavor.  (Or some Herdez red salsa may work, that may come close to the flavor you need.)  Just TRY to find it.

1/2 cup Heinz ketchup (it has the best taste in my opinion)
1/2 - 3/4 bunch cilantro or more to taste
3/4 a medium size red onion, or more to taste
4 stalk celery
1 cucumber, peeled and cubed.  (Cucumber pieces may be larger than the other vegetables.  Small cubes.)
2-3 avacado
approximately 2 pounds frozen shrimp, shells and tail removed
the juice of 1 to 2 large limes
salt, pepper to taste
(A de-seeded, de-veined jalapeno or two, chopped is also optional - just depends on who is eating it...)

Use a "slap chop", food processor or knife to cut the cilantro, celery and red onion into very small pieces.  Really the slap chop makes the veggies a perfect size, a food processor can be too much - you still want some crunch when you eat but the vegetables need to be small.

Pour Clamato into a large bowl, add the ketchup and stir together.  Pour in about 1/2 to 3/4 can of the El Pato.   This keeps the shrimp cocktail fairly mild.  For more kick, add the whole can.

Add vegetables into Clamato mix, then add frozen shrimp.  Juice lime over the entire bowl, add salt and pepper.

Taste test:  VERY IMPORTANT!  Like all things Mexican everything is "to taste."  You may want more crunch from vegetable.  You may need more salt and heat.  Add ketchup for more sweetness. Taste the mix and add any ingredient you think you need to add.

Cover your large bowl and let it sit on the counter for about 20 to 30 minutes.  The shrimp will defrost into your mixture and make it a perfect cold temperature for eating.

Right before serving, cube 2 or 3 avacados and add them into your bowl of cerviche.  (Or shrimp cocktail).  Again, anything you add is to taste.  The final product here should be a soupy consistency that is a little sweet and spicy, almost like eating a cold shrimp soup.  It is fantastic.

Enjoy a little bit of our family tradition and eat up!!!  You will love it, I promise.

Happy New Year!