Monday, November 29, 2010

Fashion Lady

It all started with this outfit:

And the best part, which you can't see is that she has heart patterned socks underneath her tights. This was the beginning of Natalie dressing herself and I didn't stop her because I had a new infant in the house and her crazy outfits made me smile. So she and I made a deal, that she could put on whatever she wanted as long as it was weather appropriate. This often meant that, in the dead of winter, Natalie would come out with a sundress layered over a sweater and a pair of jeans...and I never stopped her. I allow her to go to school in these crazy outfits for two reasons. The first, it is one of very few things she continues to do that reminds me that she is still only five years old. Second, someday she is going to put on one of these ensembles and some other kid is going to make fun of her and that will be the day that her reckless abandon with coordination will most likely end. So for now, I sit back and enjoy the purity of her choices.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Tonight, while I was making a very labor intensive risotto and thinking quite highly of my culinary skills, I was also thinking about people who often comment on my food statuses that I post on Facebook. I don't get many accolades for impressive meals at home, but when I put them out there for the public to see, I am often amazed how people are often amazed. So, yeah, I brag to make myself feel better. The truth is, it is all trial and error. There are a lot of dishes I want to make, but ultimately know they aren't worth the "just try it battle." or the guilt I have to feel as I watch Dan silently suffer through the meal-- the stoic father showing his young children the proper dinner behavior.

I didn't always cook there are a couple of people out there, namely my husband who can share with you a story about how I killed chocolate covered strawberries (back in the day) and an awful, awful, awful attempt at lemon chicken. But a long time ago, in a small apartment in Brighton, MA a young unemployed girl was bored and needed a hobby. And even now that I do cook, they aren't always good. But I have a philosophy that if we don't try the recipe, we'll never know.

And don't think that I just whip up these fantastic dinners. There is a lot of thought that goes into a weekly menu and I assure you, there is a weekly menu that is posted on the fridge every Sunday. I sit and look through countless cookbooks and favorite websites (website, really) to find new and interesting things that I think my family will eat. I stay away from things that I don't like and for the most part I stay away from things I know, for a fact, that no one else will like, but I do sprinkle new dishes into each weekly menu.

I actually know a lot of people who cook and make great things, but tonight as I was making a new dish that I thought for sure was going to be a COMPLETE failure, I thought, maybe I should post some easy, go to, I know everyone in my house will eat recipes. And, so I will. Conveniently, four of the five recipes come from the same site, so I will just give you the link, but last, one of Natalie's (my pickiest eater) favorite, is from Real Simple, and it is really simple.

So for those of you who read and cook or read this and want to cook, I challenge you to make at least one of these recipes which my family enjoys. And please, please, please, if you do make something, leave a comment and let me know how it goes and if you like it and you want something else, a specific ingredient (I rarely do beef), comment, or email, or Facebook me and I will see what I can do. Let's spice things up. hahahhaha pun totally intended.

Chinese Chicken and Noodle Salad
This recipe tells you to find a special Ramen Noodle. I can't so I go with the regular package.
I have made this with red cabbage and it is just as good.
Dare I say, use bought orange juice-- the dressing isn't as good if you squeeze an orange yourself.
Good left over - although I have found there isn't much!

Creamy Avocado and White Bean Wrap
If you don't like avocado, I don't know that I can help you with this one.
Chipotle in Adobo can be found with the GOYA stuff in your store. The recipe doesn't use much, it adds a little heat so if you don't like spicy cut the amount. You can freeze the rest of the chipotle for up to six months.
I like to make this recipe and the Monday recipe back to back because together they use up the entire head of cabbage.

Apple Turkey Picadillo
I use the entire package of ground turkey
If you don't like green olives, leave them out, but it won't taste as good.

Mediterranean Tuna Antipasto Salad
I've only made this with chick peas. Both Dan and I agreed it needed a little flat bread or something to go with it, but overall, GREAT dinner salad. Even my mother-in-law raved, so there.

Friday - Natalie's Fave
Chicken Teriyaki Meatballs with Edamame and Snow Peas
I always make this with brown rice because that is all we have. I also cut the rice recipe in half because we aren't huge rice people.
I have made it without the edamame and it was just as good.
This one of my top five go to meals.

So there you have it. These are all things that my 36 year old, 5 year old and 2 year old will eat. They aren't hard and I have more if you want um.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks

Today I ran my first official 5K and I am thankful that I was physically able to it. But more importantly, as I jogged out of a wooded road towards the last half mile or so, I felt compelled to look back. And there, standing in the road I saw Natalie and Dan. I don't know what made me turn my head-- I told Natalie it was the force of their love that made me look, which I actually believe, but whatever the reason, I looked back and there they were.

And in the last half mile, my heart swelled, and I found a new drive to keep going. Because my little family came out early and stood in the cold to keep me going, as they do everyday. And for this, I am truly thankful.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


This is the latest condition from which I am suffering. I sometimes feel that part of taking on the whole stay at home mom thing means that I must always be busy with something related to my children. If I am not doing and going and planning and baking and picking up or dropping off, then what is my time worth? I feel that all hours should be "billable" which is really a larger plot for Dan to constantly see that I am too busy to ever go back to a full time, full paid job outside of my home.

So I find that in that time that we don't have anything planned I offer to volunteer to do things. I am a class parent, I do library duty, I make library crafts each week, I am a Cookie Mom for Natalie's Dasiy troop (yes, if you want Girl Scout cookies, please buy them from us), and most recently I am the "Volunteer Coordinator" for the book fair at Nat's school. If it wasn't bad enough that I feel the compulsion to volunteer for everything, I now have an official title to project this illness on other people.

I have achieved volunteer cult leader status.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Skinny

Today I fit into a new pair of jeans...well, and old pair of jeans, but new to me to be able to fit into them. Did ya get that?

I am not a naturally slim girl--I have to work very hard to maintain whatever weight I am and as you can imagine the lower the weight the harder the work. What I would give for just one day - ok one week- to have one of those crazy skinny-girl metabolisms. But alas, that was not the genetic gift I was given. I have lips, which are good, too, but they don't have to fit into clothes, get the point.

But yesterday I found myself constantly pulling my pants up, which is quite possibly one of the most unattractive things a person can do. I mean seriously, who wants to see that? So this morning when I got dressed for an early meeting, I went ahead and took out those jeans that for a while now have just been a tiny, little bit too tight. Enough tight that I was self conscious wearing them. However, this morning they were just enough a little less tight that I wouldn't tuck a shirt into them, but enough less tight that I don't have to hike them up all day either.

In my world this is more that a small victory. This is the product of classic hard work, eating right and all good things in moderation. Which ultimately will mean that I will give myself a break this weekend and not fit into these jeans on Monday...but today, today I do.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Week End

I look forward to the weekend. I spend all week keeping busy, running from playdate to play group to school to dance to dinner to whatever. I'm like a shark and if I stop during the day, I will die. I try not to sit down until 8pm except for those minutes spent driving, but let's face it, I can't really relax while I'm driving because, well, I'm driving.

But on the weekend, there is another set of hands. Someone who can watch the kids while I shower or make dinner or throw some laundry in or vacuum, ok I don't do that, but I do all that other stuff. I can manage two kids, I don't necessarily need another set of hands, a financial backer yes, but hands not so much. However, it is so wonderful to have them handy. And I am pretty sure that there are two tiny humans who are happy to have a yes man in the house.

But every so often, and there is focus on the often (which I assure you Dan will read the wrong way) he takes off...for a day or two to the mountains. And I don't fault him, he works hard for this little family and deserves to go to his happy place. But man, do I miss that weekend help when he is gone.

Today was an especially long day without him. We had nothing to do. I had no play dates or play groups to go to. In fact, all of our closest friends were otherwise occupied. And after five days of going, going, going, I kind of ran out of steam and just didn't want to go anymore. We managed to make it through the day. We did some swinging, some sliding, some markering...we went out of pizza and ice cream. I even let Natalie sleep in my bed and if the Bro weren't the cutest, most adorable pain in my ass, I would enjoy having him snuggle up in there with us too...but he's just not there yet.

So now the house is quiet, the fire is still going from the insane amount of wood I hauled and tended to; I have cleaned and reorganized the spice cabinet and the toys, watched a movie that Dan wouldn't want to see, drank some wine, did some laundry, and am ready to go to bed so we can all wake up and find the extra set of hands, we so very much missed, here tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

First Love

Natalie has her very first crush, and it is so, so sweet. It was brought to my attention a few weeks ago as she was getting dressed for the day. She stood in front of her closet, staring at her clothes, saying, "I wonder what Michael is going to wear today?"

I heard it in passing and stopped in the hallway. "What did you just say?"

Very frankly, she look at me and repeated, "I wonder what Michael is going to wear today."


"So we can match," she says as though I should have realized it already.

Wouldn't you know that she and this little boy also take "Theuter Games" together, where they sit next to each other, and when we leave they say good bye back and forth until someone finally reaches the car.

She has been a little distraught this week since her "good buddy" as she put it yesterday, has been out sick.

"Can we send him a message, Mommy? Asking if he is feeling better and when he is coming back to school and if we can have a playdate?"

And so I did, because who am I to stand in the way of young, adorable, five year old love.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Party Attire

Weeks ago, Dan and I received an invitation in the mail requesting our attendance at a function, gala if you will, at Natalie's school. At the bottom of the invite, which was for an evening cocktail party, it said, "Party Attire." We RSVPed yes and immediately I started asking people, "What do you think 'party attire' means? Need I remind you that I find showering overrated and wear a staple wardrobe of black leggings, sports bras, and sneakers? I don't think I do, I have beaten that horse many times. But, just in case...I don't really do party attire.

So I asked people who attended the function last year and didn't really glean too much information. What is came down to was some people were really dressed up and some people weren't. Those were vague guideline for me to work with. This led me to hem and haw and stare at the lack of party clothes in my closet. I asked my neighbor if she had anything, but she is at least two sizes smaller than me and so many inches, so borrowing something from her was really a shot in the dark. However, she kindly let me take four dresses to try on, but nothing that I felt was what I was really looking for. I wanted to look like I was going to a party, but I still wanted to be the me I have become. And so, I went shopping.

Now, I hate shopping for clothing about as much as I hate packing, but it needed to be done. Much to my dismay not only were most of the things I found flat out ugly, it would seem that in my hiatus from buying proper clothes, the current style is straight cut and pencil skirts. There is nothing about me that is straight or pencil shaped. Even if I lost fifty pounds, not only would I be severely unhealthy, but I would still be curvy. I picked a few pieces really just for the sake of trying on since I had managed to get out of the house and to the mall with no little humans along for the ride. Wouldn't you know, that just as I was getting ready to head into the fitting room, my neighbor sent me a message about a dress in Ann Taylor and she was there at that moment. Shopping without children and with another female - WHAT? I returned my pieces to their fixture homes and headed to the next store.

What she had found was a black cocktail dress, and it really wasn't what I was looking for. I did, however, find a great fitting pair of black dress pants and a shiny, flowy, red top. I am neither shiny nor flowy, but the top said party and it was comfy. Through the dressing room wall, my neighbor was not convinced, but once she saw it, she assured me that it was indeed "party attire."

Fast forward to last night - or rewind if you will - and as I was prepping my perfect party attire I burnt a hole in my brand new shiny red top. That's right - melted it right under my iron. Fortunately, the iron is in the basement and I was all alone, because some choice expletives that rarely escape my mouth came flowing like a river. BRAND NEW! THE TAGS ARE STILL ON IT! ARGH! You can imagine that I am not a person to have a back up party shirt, seeing how I had to go out and specifically purchase something in the first place. Lucky for me, I had acquired some clothing this summer from a friend who has a whole closet full of "party attire." It would have to do. I wore an out of black, which I found very comforting, did some crazy thing with hair gel, painted on some red lips, put on some sparkly, dangling earrings, and headed out the door.

I photo of this would have been nice. But Dan will tell you, I was doing that thing that women (me and his mother) do when we have to be somewhere and things aren't really going along with the plan in our head - his words were, "crazy and I don't like it." So you will just have to imagine how partyish I looked.

And let me tell you, there was a man in a rugby shirt and a woman in a full length ball gown at the affair. So if you receive an invitation that says party attire it means that some people get dressed up and some people don't. But overall, it probably would have been slightly less stressful to just stay home in some black leggings and sneakers.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Bucket List

This summer I started running. I'm not really supposed to run - having an artificial joint and all, but for the first time in my life I am actually enjoying it. I love the way it feels when I actually feel the rhythm, hit my stride, and the endorphines totally kick in. I'm an endorphine junkie and have been for quite some time. I feel super good after a run, too, in a way I haven't felt since I was doing psycho double spinning sessions with Jonathan the Bike Nazi at Mike's Shcwa Gym. I miss those days...but I am finding that joy again in my running.

Now, you need to understand, that I lock my laptop into a treadmill and run for a solid forty minutes while watching shows I missed the night before. It's win-win, really. Exercise - check, caught up on the latest pop culture - check.

Tonight I registered for my first 5K because it is one of those things in the back of my head that I have always wanted to do. But then I was told that I shouldn't and I couldn't and blah blah blah, and now I am finding, although my orthopedist might not agree, that I can and it feels good, so I will. I'm a little scared to do it, seeing as I just mentioned I watch tv while I run and the 5K isn't going to be in my basement, but actually outdoors, on a road. But I am also super pumped that I can actually cross something off this mental bucket list.

Side note, I have requested a knife skills class for my birthday this year, so if that happens, perhaps there will be two things I can cross of my list. Now, if I could actually write a book, publish a poem, take a bike tour of Ireland, and eat whatever I want without a care in the world, and find at least five more usable hours in every day, I would be making some serious dents in this list.