Spanish style Milk Rice dessert recipe

Posted June 25th, 2014 by Patty

This is a super simple sweet “milk rice” dessert recipe. All 6 of my children love this milk rice and have asked me numerous times how to make it, so here it is….

In a 6 quart pot add…and mix

2 C. long grain white rice
2 C. water
2 1/2 C. milk
1 C. sugar
4 cinnamon sticks or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla

Bring to a boil, Cover and lower heat to a slow boil
It is important that you not open the lid during the cooking time
Once you have covered the pan and turned the heat down to a slow boil it will take about 20-25 minutes to cook.

When done serve warm, topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon and/or some milk.
This is also delicious served cold the next day.

It’s Never to Late to Go Back to School

Posted May 16th, 2014 by Patty

That’s right! It’s never to late to go back to school. I mean, what do you have to lose…time, it’s gonna pass anyway so why not follow those dreams. You have everything to gain from going back to school, beginning with just the fact that you’ll learn something new, to finishing a degree that you may have started and thought what’s the point…point is, finish it for you, possibly being that role model to someone important in your life, or  having that career you always wanted that may have gotten side tracked WAY back when…this is me and now here I am after raising six wonderful kids  following my dreams. I’ve always had this dream inside my head for as long as I can remember about becoming a nurse. Over the years I would think about it off and on, and my negative thinking would tend to get the best of me…a little voice inside me saying “you’ll never make it, you’re too old” and that little voice won for a long while. Then one day I just decided to do it, do it for me if nothing else. I realized that I wasn’t too old to learn, so I followed that belief and followed a desire that I held near to my heart for many years. So five years ago at the ripe age of 44, having raised all 6 of my children I went back to school to do what I always wanted to do…become a registered nurse and on April 10th, 2014 I officially became a licensed RN. Was it hard you may be wondering, heck yeah it was hard but it was hard for everyone in my class and it had nothing to do with my age. In fact, if I remember it correctly, of the 19 people that failed out along the way only 3 of them were in their forties or above. My original class started with 35 students of whom if they did not fail a class rode the ride of nursing school torture right along with me  and became my new family for the final 2 years of clinical rotations.  If you do the math, we started with 35, lost 19 along the way, picked up 5 throughout and ended with a graduating class of 21. Our class was a mix from several generations each with their own story, some about who inspired them, others who grew up wanting to be a nurse, and others with their stories of why they waited. I myself was kind of in between two of those stories, I always wanted to be a nurse but I had my story as to why I felt I had to wait. You see, I became a mom at 15 years of age, married at 16, gave birth to 5 more children by the age of 23 and in my mind raising my children became my most important job and I felt I had to put my dream aside in order to do that job well. The story behind that part of my life is a whole different story in itself that I may tell one day.

So going back to school…why wouldn’t you? Time passes anyway and wouldn’t you rather do what you’ve always wanted to do or just try something different for the second half of life. I know for me, I can take full retirement in 18 years and to some that doesn’t seem like a long time and wonder why I didn’t just stay in the field I was already in instead of changing now. Well, I figure I’m at the point in my life where I want to be doing what I WANT to do and not just what I’ve been doing even though I was good at it because it still wasn’t what I wanted to do and I felt like I was cheating myself by not following my dream.  So if you’ve always had that desire to try something new or that feeling of not fulfilling your own dream has been gnawing at you, NOW is the time, forget your age, forget what others may say, follow your dream and live out the rest of your life doing what you want to do. Get up, go after it, if you want it bad enough you’ll get it because believe me, nursing school was no easy task but I wanted it bad enough to make it happen and you can too. Plus, I’m a big believer that by living a life of your own choosing where you find joy in what you do every day will add  quality to your life. Seems people that are happy and satisfied in life tend to live longer and I know that’s something I want. Who knows, if things work out right I may stay in my new found role well past my official retirement age.


In fact in some ways it pays to wait because sometimes when you are just out of high school you still don’t know what you want to do. Now, I’m not telling you to sit around and wait, by all means get started with those prerequisite courses and do follow wherever your mind is leading you to go because for some you’ve had a passion for a certain career since the 3rd grade and it’s probably really what you want to do and you should go for it now if at all possible.  All I’m trying to get across is there were at least a dozen 30 something year olds in my recent graduating class from nursing school that had a Bachelor’s degree in some other field that they’ve never worked in. What’s kind of sad is that they also still have that debt of their first Bachelor’s now add to that another bunch of student loans…and with today’s costs for college it’s like your own private 30 year mortgage without the house, ouch!

Closet Cleaning…It’s Time to Let Go!

Posted July 24th, 2013 by Patty

I know it has been a while since my last post, I kinda got buried in my closet. Well, not really buried but it sure felt that way every time I walked into it and I finally decided it was time to take action. You see, I have a fairly large walk-in and it was basically stuffed side to side and top to bottom with clothes, shoes, and various other items but basically clothes. Clothes that I just couldn’t seem to part with for whatever reason, some  MANY were too small, a bunch were out of style due to the fact that I haven’t truly went through my closest in over 8 years, a few were no longer age appropriate for me, along with clothes that I thought were cute and yet too small to start with that I would buy with hopes of some day fitting into so I had quite a few pieces with the tags still hanging on them.

Closet Cleanse Cleanout


Here’s a general idea of how the whole closet looked, “my side” of the closet is about 12 feet in length and all 12 feet looked like this. I decided that I would need some kind of sorting system, so I snatched a couple tubs that my youngest daughter had here at the house from her recent move back home. I labeled each one with a post-it describing what each tub was for to help with my sorting process.

These are the 3 tubs I started with.

PicMonkey Collage #3


Tub #1: Really tight but close, keep has the clothes that I could technically wear if I wanted to look like a sausage with a very tight casting.

Tub #2: Up, don’t close, keep has pants and shirts that just do not quite close yet I have hope for getting into if   when I lose some weight.

Tub #3: Garage sale/donate has a mix of everything from out dated, there’s no hope of fitting, don’t really care for anymore, what was I thinking when I bought this, etc.

Now I was ready to start my closet cleanse, I began by just grabbing a section of hangers and trying things on one after another. It didn’t take long and I found myself with an emotional attachment to some items that didn’t quite fit the category of my tubs, so…you guessed it, I brought in another one.


2012-06-09 11.54.54

Tub #4: the label says it all “Up to the hips, would like to fit one day, need a miracle”! Not sure what I’m thinking here but at this moment I’m having some attachment issues.

Anyhow, this project took me the better part of 2 days where I made quite the mess of my master bathroom and closet yet I can say I’m quite impressed with the outcome.

2012-06-11 07.40.13

Aftermath of hangers, I realized that even the hangers were a mess in relation to color, size and type.

In the end this is how my sorting ended up, and I must say I was pleasantly surprised. Tubs #1 & 2 each had clothes about 6 inches deep in them which I thought to be fairly good progress wise. Tub #3, my garage sale/donation tub was over the top and towering above the rest…yeah, GREAT progress. Tub #4, remember the one I added, the one I am having attachment issues with…well, it made it to being full, probably not to progressive on my part but for now it’s staying. As you can see from the pictures I added a bag, this bag is going straight to donation as these clothes are not garbage but not quite garage sale worthy in my opinion.

PicMonkey Collage

So how did my closet cleanse turn out? Well, here it is! I gained about 4 feet of closet hanging space, the floor underneath is all cleaned out other than shoes, and the top rack is cleaned and organized as well.  I’m really happy with the results. I almost forgot, all the hangers are now the same as well.
PicMonkey Collage #2




Oh yes, what about those clothes in the bins I had labeled to keep. Here they are all neatly tucked away into 1 Tub labeled and layered by how I will hopefully be fit into to them one day:) Hopefully you can see the part of my label with my “plan” what doesn’t fit by April of 2014 goes straight to donation.

2012-06-15 13.14.082012-06-15 13.14.17


Now, the hard part…how am I going to maintain my closet? This is something I haven’t quite got an answer to yet. I’d love to here how you maintain your closet and keep from having every article of clothing you’ve bought over the past ten years from remaining in your closet. Do you have a system in place?

Forward to fitness

Posted May 29th, 2013 by Patty

Yeah I know… not the way this should all be heading but when I get away from my normal everyday life, I let distractions get in the way of my program. This past weekend was definitely away from my usual daily routine that I had been trying to start up with fitness wise. On Saturday, my husband, my brother and I headed up to Ludington, MI to a graduation party. The drive was about 5 hours long, we stopped along the way to eat lunch and like I had mentioned before, my eating out restraints are not the best yet so of course I blew it food choice wise. Once we arrived at the hall where to graduation party was of course more delicious food…all basically “bad” for me with the exception of the chopped fresh fruit salad. Then to top the night off, I was off to have a few margaritas with the family from up there. Needless to say I didn’t start my holiday weekend out very well and it kind of stayed on that course for the next two days…Sunday and Monday. Tuesday however, I did much better with my food choices though I still have not been back on the treadmill since Friday…I intend to get this started back up tomorrow morning. I’ve decided not to beat myself up about the weekend and time spent with out out town family, as this is not a distraction from my daily life that I encounter often and I think that a person should be able to just let themselves loose once in a while so long as you get back on track right away. I’ve chosen not to list all the lovely details of my food choices while off track, as I think you already have a good idea of how it probably went. Today I am on track with my food choices and like I mentioned before, tomorrow I will back on my treadmill routine…so until then, I hope you are succeeding at what works for you.


Forward to fitness

Posted May 24th, 2013 by Patty


Day 4-Started my day on the treadmill, walked 2.1 miles in 41 minutes. I am working toward a goal of 60 minutes/3 miles on an increasing incline.

Food for the day… oh, definitely not my best day food wise, I spent the day out with one of my girlfriends and let us just say that I’ve not learned great eating out habits. This is an area where I need to put in some effort because eating out is something that our family does on a regular basis. I started out with Starbucks where in had a Blonde coffee w/creamer and a oh so delicious  sausage, egg and cheese sandwich, which I later learned had 500 calories…ouch! Then after a day of walking around and shopping we headed off to a late lunch at Chili’s where I had a Mango frozen margarita, chips and salsa, and my entree which I did manage to order from the “lighter side” selection was black beans, rice and charbroiled chicken. Needless to say when I got back home and decided to plug-in my food choices I was soon way over my 1200 calorie limit for the day. I ended up going over by 481 calories by that point and still decided later in the evening to have a yogurt, lets now add another 160 calories. So, eating out is something I really need to work on or plan better for, especially since I’ll be traveling this coming weekend.

I’ve realized that I neglected to mention my weight in my Day 1 post and I thought that might be something I probably should have included. Well on that Friday when I had my little doctors visit, I weighed in at 204.6 lbs. and I must say this really disturbed me as I’ve not seen 200 lbs. on the scale in over 24 years…since my last pregnancy. I knew my weight had been going up but I wasn’t quite ready for that number to appear on the scale and I’m not going to sit by and let it stay there, I just can’t.  In the next few days, I’m going to work on getting a couple of “before” pictures to post along with some measurements. Then as I work toward my goal of 160 lbs. I will update you along the way.

Do you have any tricks that you use to keep your eating out habits under control? I would love to hear them!


Forward to fitness

Posted May 23rd, 2013 by Patty


Day 3, I started my day out with only 1 large cup of coffee rather than my usual 2, then I was off to the treadmill with a pedometer on each shoe…just because I have a suspicion that the cheap ones I have are not accurate. I walked at a nice pace of 3.0 miles per hour for 40 minutes (2 miles) in all, that is my minimum goal when I walk and I try never to cut short of that goal. Afterwards I checked the pedometers I had on each shoe and guess what…they were very different, one had 5230 steps and the other one had 3650. So I’ve decided the pedometers are a NO GO for me, instead I’m going to work at increasing my treadmill time and uphill resistance.  I am feeling much better about myself on the inside already just by getting up and getting my treadmill routine out of the way first thing before I can talk myself out of it. I also went to my GYN doctor today for a little checkup and as she was asking me various questions to try and figure out if maybe I am in menopause I explained to her about my crazy weight gain over the past year and my inability to  control it and she told me that is one of the signs of menopause…great, NOT! So, she ordered up some labs to be drawn to check and see if I’m actually menopausal which might explain some of this weight gain but I’m sure my lack of movement has played into it as well. So now if it turns out i’m in that great state of menopause, I’m probably going to have to work extra hard at this weight loss and fitness stuff…just what I always wanted, extra work! Anyhow, here’s a run down of how day 3 went for me food wise.

Coffee 1 large cup w/creamer

Breakfast: Oatmeal w/2 tsp. brown sugar, 1/4 cup milk, 1 sliced strawberry…this was very filling and I really like it:)

Lunch/Dinner: Fresh turkey burger on a whole wheat bun, and corn on the cob

Dessert: 1/2 inch slice of pound cake w/1/2 of a crush frozen fruit bar, homemade whipped topping, and sliced strawberry…found this recipe on website.

2 bottles of water…still not doing well in this department, but I’m working on it.

I ended the day with 1281 calories.

So tell me about your day and what your goals are, I’d love to hear from you, Patty



Forward to fitness

Posted May 22nd, 2013 by Patty


Day 2 turned out to be a fairly good day, I decided to add my treadmill back into my routine and I put a new app. on my phone called “my fitness pal”. I added the app. to help me be aware of my food choices and if I’m honest with myself, I know that exercise and calories kind of go hand in hand. So here’s a run down of my goals I had for day 2 and how they went.

My pedometer count 8686 steps. This was the number on my device, I did however run some errands and forget to wear my pedometer while doing them…so I may have hit my goal.

My goals for day 2 were:

Walk 2 miles minimum on the treadmill/DONE

10000 steps on my pedometer/8686 steps

Drink 4+ bottles of water…baby steps for me, as water is not my favorite beverage/managed only 2 :(

Eat smaller meals more often throughout the day, I’m aiming for 4/DONE


What I had to eat Day 2:

Coffee 2 large cups w/creamer

Chobani yogurt

Large salad consisting of mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumber, onion and vinegrette dressing

1 cup of red seedless grapes



Yogurt w/sliced strawberries

1 Vitamin water

1 bottled water

This all added up to 1150 calories according to “my fitness pal” app.

I actually felt good all day by adding in the grapes and yogurt items between meals.

Tomorrow my plan is to start out my day with a healthy breakfast, something that might satisfy me a bit longer into the day. I’m going to limit myself to 1 cup of coffee instead of 2. Walk at least 2 miles on the treadmill (I’m going to wear a pedometer on each foot because I have a sneaky feeling that my pedometer is not accurate). Take an evening walk outdoors, drink more water, look up some strengthening exercises that I can do at home.

Please share what works for you, I would love to hear your success story or challenges you’ve had to overcome toward become a healthier you.



Forward to fitness

Posted May 21st, 2013 by Patty


Yesterday was day 1 of my “forward to fitness” summer journey and it actually didn’t go too bad. I started off with my usual half pot of coffee with liquid french vanilla creamer, this is something I definitely need to work on quitting or the very least cutting back on. It’s such a waste of calories and probably more coffee than I should be drinking. So here’s a run down on what I had the rest of the day food wise.


7 California sushi rolls…I have no idea of the nutritional value of these

Salad consisting of romaine lettuce,onion, tomato, cucumber, 1/2 avocado, with a couple tablespoons of light vinagrette dressing

1/2 cup of  potato chips

shrimp cocktail

2 bottles of vitamin water

Along with trying to be aware of what I was eating, I decided that I was going to start wearing a pedometer and work toward a goal of 10000 steps minimum daily. Like I had mentioned in my previous post, I would rather add exercise to my life rather than just cut back on food. I personally would much rather find that exercise routine I could stick with rather than live with crazy food restrictions. I feel as though portion control and quality food choices is something I should aim more toward as far as the food aspect goes. Getting all tied up in calorie counting, points counting, or watching carbs vs proteins is just way too depressing for my liking.

My pedometer count for yesterday ended at 6670 steps. Didn’t make my goal but it certainly encouraged me to start my day out differently this morning.

My goals for today:

Walk 2 miles minimum on the treadmill

10000 steps on my pedometer

Drink 4+ bottles of water…baby steps for me, as water is not my favorite beverage

Eat smaller meals more often throughout the day, I’m aiming for 4

Feel free to tell me about your day and goals toward becoming a fitter, healthier you.


My reality of weight gain

Posted May 20th, 2013 by Patty

So this past Friday while at my doctor’s office  for an unexpected issue I decided to take the opportunity to complain about my weight gain over the past year. Explaining that despite my attempts to kinda, sorta lose some weight I just seem to be steadily gaining.  You see I’ve gained about 20 lbs. since this time last year when I left my job and became a full-time nursing student. This change  took me from a physically active job to  a person now spending countless hours sitting, and I mean countless with a capital C! I have totally felt the difference in my energy level, pains in places I’ve never felt before and my legs feel like huge weights. My closet is filled with clothes that won’t even go up past my hips anymore and yoga pants are becoming my latest go to for something to wear. Yet somehow I’m not convinced that these 20 lbs. I’ve put on are all a result of that change, I’ve been trying to convince myself that maybe I’m going through a change in life and it’s all out of my control, or that maybe there’s some thing going haywire with my system.  So with a little complaining to my doctor, him ordering a bunch of various tests I’m sure the mystery will be solved and there will be some quick fix to this whole weight thing. Yeah right, who am I trying to fool is probably what your thinking about now, and I should probably be too…but it does sound logical in my mind, sort of. Yet, I’m pretty sure that within the next couple of days I’ll get that phone call that says “Miss Rivas, you lab tests are all normal”, and I will have to step into reality that my lack of movement and poor food choices are most likely the real culprit. So with that said, I’ve decided today is going to be my new start on doing what I can to fight back at this weight gain because I figure whether it’s internal or external causes, my lack of movement and less than ideal food choices most likely had some play in the problem. My plan is to begin each day with some sort of exercise and try to find something the I can develop a passion to continue with long term, I want to start exercise first because I really believe that without exercise I’m not going to gain feeling of having energy and cutting back on food only usually just makes me tired and sluggish. My plan is to keep myself accountable to myself by posting my days exercise activity and my thoughts on how I feel it’s working for me here on my blog.

So look for me tomorrow and feel free to let me know what works for you, Patty

My journey into the blogging world

Posted May 5th, 2013 by Patty


Here goes nothing or maybe just something. After watching my two daughters become immersed into the personal blogging world, then on into social media bloggers/reviewers  and seeing how excited they get about  their projects. I decided I might give blogging a chance while on summer break from college. I had thought about it in the past but due to a busy school schedule, plus having no idea how to even begin I just never jumped in and tried…until now that is.  I will be free for the summer so I’ve decided I would give this a try.  As well as the fact that I’d love to join my girls on one of their up coming blogging conferences.  I’m hoping to learn the basics over the course of the summer and hopefully develop some interesting topics to share by time school starts backs up again. So…Welcome to “Patty’s Present Life”.

Thanks for stopping by and I look forward to sharing more with you soon, Patty