Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thursday Thirteen 10/13/2011

Happy early birthday to my nephew!  There's this one song by Babyface that was out the year you were born and whenever I hear it I think of you and how I used to take care of you.  You were so small.  Happy birthday sweetie.  I'm very proud of the young man you are becoming.  I love you.

Okay, *sigh* I'm done reminiscing.

Since I've been writing about eating Paleo here and there I thought I'd make this Thirteen ALL about it.  Here ya go:

1.  Meal planning is simple when eating Paleo/Primal.  Meat, vegetables, fruit and some food fats.  That's it.  I used to stress out about what to make 6 nights a week for dinner (I give myself at least one day off from cooking.  Sometimes two if I can get my hubby to cook at least one night!).  These days we stock up on meat and buy whatever veggies or fruit are on sale and in season.

2.  My kids are getting the hang of it.  I often tell them to Eat Like A Dinosaur a la Paleo Parents (info on their book: http://paleoparents.com/eat-like-a-dinosaur) .  While I've always limited their sugar, I let them have their whole wheat bread or pasta, beans and dairy periodically.  I can't make them go cold turkey and eliminate all those foods, but I have cut back on them, a lot.  My kids, my daughter especially, (she's young and more flexible) are starting to request more Paleo-like lunches.  My son is set in his ways at the ripe old age of 9 and requires a little more coaxing.  He eventually caves, as do I and a compromise is made.  I can only direct them and hope they continue to make good choices.  Diabetes runs in my family and anything I can do to prevent it helps.

3.  Dinner is always Paleo.  ALWAYS.  I mean, my husband and I eat that way all day, but making a Paleo dinner ensures that my kids are having at least one nutrient dense meal.  Plus, it exposes them to it.  I try to make them Paleo breakfasts but they love their pancakes or oatmeal too much.

4.  Speaking of eating all day...I often don't!  Seriously, eating this way has made it so that I wake up and can skip breakfast and sometimes lunch.  I'm rarely ravenous or feel jittery like I need to eat.  I'm not one who needs coffee to start the morning (it's more of a treat for me) but I like that I can pass on a meal or two and not feel tired or that I need a pick-me-up.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thursday Thirteen 10/06/2011

Aaaah, Autumn is already here.  Unbelievable!  Times flew, and I wasn't always having fun!  Still, this is my absolute favorite time of the year.  Let's get this blog rollin':

1.  First, please pray for my brother-in-law.  He is battling cancer and the past couple of years have been difficult for both him and his three young children.  Please pray for complete healing over his body and for guidance to get the assistance he needs.  Please pray that no matter what, his children are protected and nurtured.  Thank you.

2.  My son started school.  He has a new behaviorist and it seems to be going well so far.  It's still the "honeymoon" phase, but I'm praying that this is a year of growth, development and maturity for him.  We've read that with Williams Syndrome, ages 9-12 are the most difficult and we're experiencing some of those difficulties.

3.  I've been eating Paleo now for almost 3 months and I'm still loving it!  In my last post I forgot to mention a couple of my favorite websites that are a great source for information and/or recipes.  These are my favorites right now:
Awesome, easy recipes with the occasional f-bomb drop.
Recipes are great even if you don't
eat like a caveman.  Hee hee.
Great resource and tips for parents
trying to get kids to eat more Paleo.
Kid-friendly recipes as well!



I have a few more that I like, but I'll share those the next time I blog.  I don't want to overwhelm you.  Don't forget to check out Mark's Daily Apple as well.  It's a great resource for someone who wants to know a little more about eating Paleo but doesn't want to invest in the book just yet.  Also, every Friday he shares a success story of someone who's taken on the Primal challenge and the difference it's made in their lives.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Thursday Thrirteen 09/01/2011

Yes, I have been busy.  Therefore, this blog will be a round-up of the rest of our summer; a mish-mash of activities, travel, food, books, fun and somewhere in there something I like to call my "24-hour hedonistic behavior".  Yeah, read on:

1.  We did another family walk, this time along the beach.  There's a walking path and riding path that is a total of 6 miles round trip.  We had only planned on walking the path (silly mommy for thinking I could keep the kids OFF the beach itself).  You can guess what happened.  Not even halfway into our walk the kids decided to descend upon the beach, which I was TOTALLY unprepared for.  The only thing I brought was a mat, snacks and water.  We kicked off our shoes and began walking along the shore, collecting shells.  Then we sat and enjoyed the sunny day while the kids made sand castles.  Despite the fact that my daughter got soaking wet while trying to run from an incoming wave (even that didn't phase her) it was a relaxing and fun day.  It was a nice reminder that I don't have to plan everything to enjoy it (translation:  I am a CONTROL FREAK!).

2.  In a prior post about our trip to Texas I mentioned several times the anxiety I was feeling about flying.  Yet, after we got home I told my husband that I wanted to fly again.  It wasn't as bad as I thought (plus the drugs helped) but really, it came down to the fact that I wanted my kids to get used to flying.  With that, we flew up to San Franciso for our 10th annual family reunion on August 27th.  Our flights were delayed both ways!  On our way home our flight was delayed because the plane that we were supposed to fly on had some kind of mechanical problem and was taken out of service.  I know I'd rather sit and wait for a plane that DOESN'T have any mechanical problems but 5 hours at the airport is a long time, especially when the flight is only a little over an hour!  The kids handled the delay well and were extremely excited when we finally landed in L.A.  Upon seeing the LAX light sculptures my son declared, "There's no place like home!"

3.  Our family reunion was held in San Mateo.  It was nice and warm and in an area befitting of a great family gathering, with a park, grassy areas, and a sectioned eating area.  It was the complete opposite of San Francisco which was windy during the day and chilly and wet with heavy fog at night.  I don't know how I used to hit the clubs with my girlfriends late at night in that weather, wearing, well...you know...not so warm clothes!  Regardless, seeing my family is always a good thing no matter what the weather is!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Thursday Thirteen 07/07/2011

Summer is here!  I've been quiet lately because I've had so much going on.  My daughter has been going through assessments for preschool placement.  Plus, both my husband and I got sick.  Bleh.  Then we had our trip to Texas.  Anyway, I finally have a chance to write about the past few weeks, so here we go:

1.  We often go on what my kids have named "Family Walks".  Usually, it's through our neighborhood just to get out and get some fresh air or to go to the park or to get a treat, like frozen yogurt.  This summer, though, we're going to find different trails around the city.  They may be near the beach or up in the hills or even a site seeing neighborhood trail, but we're going to try and do as many as we can during the summer.  Our first was at the Venice Canals.  This was really just an intro for the kids, so it was obviously in a neighborhood in Venice which, yes, has canals!  And beautiful homes.  Gorgeous, expensive homes.  The kids had fun, especially when we got to walk the bridges over the canals.  They loved seeing the ducks and the butterflies.  Afterwards, we walked just a couple of blocks and enjoyed lunch at an Italian Trattoria.  It was a relaxing day, which for me, is rare.  I'm usually on the go, non-stop, always thinking of what needs to be done.  I don't know how to relax anymore.  Even as I'm typing this I'm watching the clock because I plan on going for a run.  See?  Non-stop.

2.  My son's social group threw the parents a party.  It was so, so cute and fun.  Everyone brought a  dish.  We brought fruit salad upon my son's request, which I appreciate since it's the healthier option.  As my daughter and I entered the room, my son escorted us to our seats and gave us the menu he wrote up (each child wrote the menu for their parents).  On it was hummus, salsa, pita chips, tortilla chips, fruit salad, carrot cake, strawberries and strawberry lemonade.  One of the kids got creative and incorporated the Angry Birds game into the menu, writing things like "Red Bird Strawberry Lemonade" or "Three Little Blue Birds Pita Chips".  After taking our order, my son filled our plates and served us.  My daughter said, "This is the best restaurant ever!"  It only lasted 45 minutes but it was so much fun.

3.  I've signed up for my next Half Marathon.  Of course, it's a Disney one, again.  I couldn't resist signing up for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon.  I've been told to run with fairy wings, but that's to be expected so I'm trying to think of something else, being a rebel and all.  Hee-hee.

4.  So, waaaaayy back in October of last year I mentioned that I had purchased a Christmas present for someone (it was my youngest sister) but that I couldn't blog about it because it was a surprise.  Well, now I can finally blog about it.  I went to a book signing by Bakerella (the wonderful woman who introduced me to the world of Cake Pops).  I got my sister Bakerella's book personally addressed and signed by the Cake Pop queen herself.  I even got a picture with her:
Isn't she a doll?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Texas Thursday Thirteen 6/30/2011

That's right y'all.  This is a TEXAS Thursday Thirteen, documenting our short trip to, well ya know...Texas!  I thank GOD it was a good and safe trip and that we got home safe and sound.  A big thank you to those who knew I needed prayer and did so.  Many, many thanks.  Now let's get to it:

1.  So, I'll admit that when the plan to go to Houston first came about I was hoping it would get cancelled, even right up to the week we were going.  Not that I didn't want to go.  I'm just afraid to fly.  Extremely afraid to fly.  Terrified, in fact that I felt daily anxiety/panic attacks coming on and the last time I felt that way was when drama disrupted my family.  I was once told to get some perspective about flying; that considering there are more car accidents than airplane accidents it's safer to fly.  But then one of my sisters reminded me (years ago) that while that may be true, you have a better chance to survive a car accident than a plane crash.  Uh, yeah.  We didn't travel a lot when we were little and if we did it was by car.  My first plane ride (not counting the one when I was 6 months old) was when I was 22 or 23 and I flew to Hawaii to visit a dear, awesome friend (miss you, S!)  Since then I've maybe flown 3 or 4 additional times, just to the Bay Area.  I'm far from an experienced flier so this trip was a doozie for me, especially since we had to switch planes in Salt Lake City.

2.  Obviously, it's now Summer break for my son.  Yay!  We wasted no time getting to Texas and kicking off the summer.  We left only an hour after my son's last day of school ended.  I told my husband that if there were storms in Texas on the day we were flying out we weren't going (see....still trying to get out of flying).  There were no storms, but I finally called my doctor and explained the anxiety I was feeling about flying.  Now, this is a big deal because I'm not big on popping pills.  If I have a headache I just get through it, I don't reach for the ibuprofen or what have you.  My doctor gave me a prescription and my husband kindly picked it up and filled it.  (He had been feeling the brunt of my anxiety so he didn't think twice about doing that for me.  Not that he ever thinks twice about doing something for me.  But I digress.)  Anyway, those happy pills worked!

3.  The other thing that helped was the fact that on the morning we were scheduled to leave my hubby went and got me a Kindle and a gift card so that I could immediately load it.  For the past couple of years, I've been torn about getting one.  I had 2 books from the library to bring with me for our trip, but they were both only available in hardcover and were very heavy.  Plus, I couldn't decide which one to bring.  That helped my husband bite the bullet for me and get the Kindle, which I'm glad he did.  I immediately downloaded both books.  And with that (along with my happy pills) I was ready to go!

4.  I thought getting through security with two kids in tow was going to be a mess.  Thankfully, with preparation beforehand, the kids followed directions and got through it without incident.  They were VERY excited about getting on a plane.  Going through security on the way back home you would have thought they were seasoned fliers.  Even my daughter got her own bin and plopped herself down to take off her shoes and put her little carry-on on the belt.  The couple behind her thought it was cute and teased her about holding up the line.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Menu Plan Monday 05/30/2011



First, a thank you to those who have served to protect and defend our freedom and to the families that have made the sacrifice as well.  May GOD protect, guide and bless all of you.

Now for this week's menu:

Monday
To kick off what has become the beginning of summer we are having:  Hot dogs, Italian Pasta Salad with cherry tomatoes and fresh mozzarella and Potato Salad.  My husband and I made a Strawberry Rhubarb pie to have tonight but he couldn't wait and talked me into a slice last night.  Delicious!  I'm surprised we have more.  Hee hee.

Tuesday
Turkey Meatballs in Marinara Sauce over Brown Rice (one of my son's favorite meals)

Wednesday
Slow Cooker BBQ Tri-Tip (I always use my slow cooker when I have a busy day planned)

Thursday
Chicken Apple Sausage with Salt and Vinegar Roasted Potatoes

Friday
Leftover day!

I didn't plan weekend meals this time.  We're a bit up in the air about our plans so I figured I'd wing it.  Or, I might peruse www.orgjunkie.com for recipes!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thursday Thirteen 05/19/2011

The past couple of weeks have been a blur.  Let's see what I can recall:

 1.  As some of you may know I love oatmeal.  Especially steel cut oats.  I have it once a week and I'd have it more if I had the time.  My hubby is in charge of breakfast on Sunday so he makes it while I'm getting ready for the day.  We've been trying to transition the kids to the steel cut oats instead of the rolled oats only to be met with a lot of complaints and whining.  However, I recently read somewhere (I read too much and can't remember) that one mom puts a dab of ice cream in her kids' bowls (without adding any other sweetener to it).  We decided to do that.  Guess what?  It worked!  The ice cream makes it creamy and sweet and the kids like mixing it in and watching it melt.  I wish I could remember where I read it so I could give proper credit.  Great idea.  Now my hubby doesn't have to make two separate pots of oatmeal.  Oh, and it's not just for the kids.  Ahem.

2.  Do you have someone in your family with food allergies?  Perhaps they need something gluten, nut or dairy free?  Maybe you're looking something specific for that someone?  Or perhaps you know someone who is a vegan and want to give them something special?  I discovered the site www.happybellybags.com.  They have plenty of items and everything is categorized for easy shopping.

3.  My son's social group had a Bake Sale.  I really like baking so Bake Sales are fun for me.  I made Chocolate Chip Cookies, M&M Milk Chocolate Brownies (as requested by my son) and:

Red Velvet Cake Bites
(everything is edible.  The bottom part is chocolate.)
 AND
Caramel Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Brownies.
You can see the M&M brownies in the back.
4.  Remember in my first Menu Plan Monday I posted that I was going to make Baked Buttermilk Pancakes with mixed berry compote?  Well, I changed it up and instead chopped up some apples and tossed them on top of the pancake mix before baking.  It turned out great:


It's not a very good shot since I had just come in from running and wanted to dig in.  Next time I'm going to try it with fresh peaches.  Mmmmm....

Monday, May 16, 2011

Menu Plan Monday 05/16/2011


Mid-May already?  Goodness!  We made our monthly trip to Costco this weekend.  Oh, and I had to got to the ER, but I'll explain that in this week's Thursday Thirteen.  Anyway, I decided to go to Costco without my hubby and son (girls only!) and I got out of there in under 40 minutes (a record when maneuvering any Costco but especially one in Los Angeles) and under $250.00 (which included diapers!).

On with the menu:

Monday, May 9, 2011

Menu Monday 05/09/2011



I had a wonderful Mother's Day and I hope you moms enjoyed your day as well.  I haven't slept well at all for the past couple of weeks and I'm just beat so let's just get to the menu:

Monday
Herbed Baked Pork Chops with steamed broccoli

Tuesday
Turkey Meatloaf with Baked Sweet Potatoes (they're like dessert too!)

Wednesday
Spaghetti (can't go wrong with spaghetti)

Thursday
Kalamata Lemon Chicken with Orzo

Friday
I don't know.  I forgot to plan for this day!  But given the menu I know we'll have leftovers to go through so today will be Leftover Day!

Saturday
Breakfast:  We're doing something savory today.  I'm thinking a Spinach and Gruyere Strata.  Or perhaps a Ham and Cheddar one.  I haven't decided.  It will be one of those.

Dinner:  Burgers (we have patties and buns that need to be used!)

Don't forget to check out www.orgjunkie.com for other menu and organizing ideas!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Menu Plan Monday 05/02/2011



Last week I failed to mention that fruit is served with every meal and vegetables (in some form, usually steamed or roasted) are served with lunch and dinner.  Even my son asks for veggies in his lunch box for school.  I'm VERY pleased with that.  My daughter, on the other hand has always loved carrots but is just now loving broccoli only because I pretended to be a giant eating trees with my hands.  Whatever works, right?

Here is this weeks menu:

Monday
Slow Cooker Meal:  Chicken Chile Verde courtesy of Healthy Meals for Less: Great-Tasting Simple Recipes Under $1 a Serving

Tuesday
Special event.  I don't have to cook!

Wednesday
Slow Cooker Meal:  BBQ Tri-tip with steamed veggies and brown rice. 

This is one of my favorites because tri-tip goes on sale frequently and is pretty lean. (after you trim the fat layer off, which I do)  Plus, this dish is easy.  Tri-tip (trimmed), your favorite BBQ sauce (or make your own). 

Place meat in slow cooker, season with a little salt and pepper (I don't always salt depending on the BBQ sauce I'm using).  Pour 1/2 cup to 1 cup of BBQ sauce over the meat evenly, cover and set on low for 6-8 hours.  Our slow cooker conducts heat very well and I can always shave a couple of hours off the cooking time, so make sure to check your manual and adjust the time accordingly.  I've done this with frozen and thawed tri-tip and they've both come out tender and juicy.  The kids love this meal.  I love it because it's easy AND tasty.

Thursday
Fish Tacos with mango salsa and as a special Cinco De Mayo treat I'm making Flan!

Friday
Basil Pesto Tilapia with Corn Souffle.

Saturday
Breakfast:  I get my Mother's Day breakfast today and will be having Cinnamon Baked French Toast and a Brie Omelet (with some sort of vegetable.  I haven't decided yet  Gotta have a veggie so I feel like I'm eating good).

Dinner:  Turkey Meatball Soup

Don't forget to check out other bloggers and their meals at www.orgjunkie.com!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Menu Plan Monday 4/25/2011


As I said in my last post I will be joining a group of other bloggers for Menu Plan Mondays hosted by www.orgjunkie.com.  This is my first post, which isn't really exciting since we're mostly having leftovers.  Still, menu planning gives me a chance to peruse my cookbooks and discover and try new recipes.  And, no, I haven't given up on Meatless Mondays.  We just have a lot of stuff in the freezer we need to get through.  Plus, I have a lot of baking to do early in the week for my son's social group is having a fundraising bake sale.

I've told the kids they can participate too and pick out the weekend meals if they'd like.  I'm including our weekend meals when I can.  Saturday mornings I usually get up early and go for a long run so my husband is in charge of breakfast.  If I prep something the night before, as I am this week, then I can run and finish in time to handle the meal.  Lunch and dinner depends on whether or not we have any company.  Sunday mornings we always have steel cut oatmeal (I LOVE oatmeal.  LOVE it!)  Then after church and grocery shopping, we eat out for lunch and usually have a light dinner.

If you've read my blog or my Facebook posts you know I love cookbooks, a bit too much. Luckily, we live very close to the library and I get to check out the books before I invest in them. If there's at least 20 recipes I like than I'll get the book. One book I have on hand right now is Healthy Meals for Less: Great-Tasting Simple Recipes Under $1 a Serving by Jonni McCoy of Miserlymoms.com and I will be purchasing it when I get a chance.

Here are this weeks meals:

Monday
Grilled Filet Mignon with steamed veggies

Tuesday
Lasagna ('nuff said)

Wednesday
Leftover Ham with roasted broccoli (My husband loves ham and it's something we have twice a year, Christmas and Easter.  However, I'm not a big fan of ham so I don't know what to do with it.  If you have any suggestions please feel free to leave me a comment by Tuesday so I can make sure I have everything on hand)

Thursday
Turkey Stir Fry with brown rice, courtesy of Healthy Meals for Less: Great-Tasting Simple Recipes Under $1 a Serving

Friday
Turkey Burgers with sweet potato fries

Saturday
Breakfast:  Baked Buttermilk Pancakes with mixed berry compote and Vegetable Frittata (using up any veggies I didn't use during the week).  The pancake recipe is one I got from a bed and breakfast recipe book.  I can't remember which one, but I know it was created by a woman who was running a bed and breakfast and decided to share all her best and favorite recipes in a book.

That's it for now.  Remember to comment with your use for leftover ham!  Thanks!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thursday TEN 04/21/2011

I'm cheating this week.  I'm making this a Thursday Ten.  Sorry, but if you continue reading you'll see I've written A LOT.  So, it kinda counts as thirteen.  If I break down the paragraphs and number them accordingly!  Eh.  Here you go:

1.  Since we've all been sick the past couple of months, catching one thing or another and then passing it on to each other, I decided to add ginger honey tea to my arsenal.  Shown to help with upper respiratory congestion, sore throats and even indigestion, I figured it couldn't hurt.  I decided to make it one morning after watching a Mad Hungry episode (Lucinda is awesome!)  I used this recipe:  Ginger Honey Tea though I didn't have any fresh ginger (I had bottled grated ginger and was not about to run out and get some, being sick and all).  I also didn't measure the water.  Just boiled enough for my hubby and I to have.  Anyway, it was very, very good.  And my throat did feel better.  BUT WAIT!  The next day we were at Whole Foods and a little jar just on an end-cap I rarely look at happened to catch my eye.  It was from a company called Jayone.  They don't have their website up yet but the jar was similar to this.  With this you can conveniently prepare Ginger Honey Tea anytime, cold OR hot.  I bought it.  I regret not buying more than one because I have a feeling this will be gone very soon.  Not that I think we're all going to continue getting sick, but because I love it that much.  It's very balanced.  Not too spicy or sweet, yet you get both the ginger and honey flavors.  Aaaah, my new nightly tea!  Oh, and it goes well with....

2.  My new favorite cookie by Dancing Deer.  Chocolate Tangerine!  I found this at Whole Foods too.  Same day as the Ginger Honey Tea above.  It caught my eye too!  Funny, I guess being under the weather and a bit unfocused leads me to new discoveries!  Their website doesn't show how it's packaged for retail only for online/phone orders, but like I said I found it at Whole Foods.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thursday Thirteen 04/07/2011

You can tell I don't have a lot of time on my hands.  I think this Thirteen summarizes a couple of months rather than a couple of weeks.  Oh, well.  Here ya go:

1.  My husband and I saw Rock of Ages.  Such an awesome show!  I was very surprised by Constantine's acting skills.  My husband liked him on American Idol and thought he should have won (I'm not a huge rock fan, so I was neutral).  Anyway, his voice of course was amazing, but I have to say I was very impressed with the way he played his character.  All in all, it was an exciting show that finished strong and is worth seeing even if you're not into rock (which I'm not and I still enjoyed it)!

2.We're trying to do Meatless Mondays now.  We had been doing something similar some time ago (can't remember how long it's been).  Maybe it was a Meatless Monday but somewhere along the way in my meal planning I forgot about it and was reminded after catching a preview of Oprah about a new book Veganist: Lose Weight, Get Healthy, Change the World.  I have not yet looked at this book but have it on hold at the library.  I actually like Mark Bittman's idea of eating vegetarian or vegan all day up until 6 p.m. where he enjoys a small portion of meat as a side dish and the rest of his plate is filled with vegetables and/or whole grains.  He was actually on that particular Oprah episode and disagreed with the Veganist author because he doesn't believe in avoiding all meat, just cutting back on it and using whole (as opposed to processed) foods to pair with it.  He also has a new show on the Cooking Channel:  The Minimalist where he incorporates his ideas.

3.  I did something I said I would NEVER do.  I was literally shaking (ask my hubby) after we made this decision because it is SO NOT like me to do something I say I'll never do.  I am stubborn and inflexible that way.  So, you now how in the last Thirteen I mentioned that my husband got a new TV?  Well, we saw a smaller version at Costco that would fit nicely in my son's room.  It came with a $90.00 instant rebate, which is what caught my husband's eye.  I said I would never, ever put a TV in either of the kids' rooms, at least until they could get one for themselves.  I caved because the kids love the fact that Netflix streams movies on it and that they can dance to the music channel I have for them on Pandora.  Plus, if my husband and I are in the living room watching a streaming movie not age appropriate I can set the kids up in the other room with a movie of their own.  We're not hooking cable up to it so it will only be for streaming movies and music, which helped me feel a little better about giving in.

4.  In my search for a really good vegetarian cookbook I happened upon Appetite for Reduction which is actually a vegan cookbook.  Out of the 6 books I looked at (both vegetarian and vegan) this was my favorite one.  The ingredients used are easy to find and the flavor combinations are far from boring.  I made a quinoa salad with a green-onion miso dressing for lunch and it was absolutely delicious!  It's a great introduction to anyone interested in eating more vegan or vegetarian dishes and for those already doing so the recipes are a great change of pace.  It got wonderful reviews.

5.  Our church has a ministry that helps church members in their time of need with a meal.  For example, if a new mom just had a baby and still has a family at home to feed.  Or if someone has been in an accident and while healing is unable to cook for themselves.  We actually received some meals after my daughter was born and I was very thankful for them.  For those whose church or community does not have something like that the website http://www.mealtrain.com/ can help you help someone or even ask for help.  Check it out.  It could really make someone's day.

6.  My husband and I watched the Swedish version of  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire.  I don't know if a U.S. version is in the works, but I loved both movies.  It was done perfectly, keeping only the necessary details without being too long.  I have to read the last book before we can delve into the last movie but I'm waiting on a Mother's Day present before I can read that one.  You'll see what I'm talking about as it gets closer.

7.  My sister made Cookies-n-Cream cupcakes.  I love Cookies-n-Cream anything (yet, I can't remember the last time I had an Oreo.  Vegas, I think.  Mmmm, Oreos.....).  The cupcakes look awesome.

8.  My husband and I watched the documentary Fat Head, the ultimate antithesis to Supersize Me.  I LOVED IT.  Not that I'm going to go out and stuff my face with junk food on a weekly or even monthly basis, but I liked that he broke everything down with regards to the government's role is today's "diet" and he disproved everything Spurlock said in Supersize Me.  To quote Naughton, "You can eat 5000 calories of anything and put on some pounds."  You have to watch to understand.

9.  Which brings me to why I don't diet.  When people say they're on a diet I quietly think to myself, "What are you going to do when you're done?"  Most people who are dieting are looking for a quick fix and go to extremes to lose weight, but once you hit your goal, what are you going to do?  Keep doing what you're doing?  I eat healthy because I like how it makes me feel and it fuels me for my runs.  When I choose to indulge, I can feel the difference.  I run and strength train because I love how strong my body feels afterwards.  Sure, after I had my kids, especially my first, I had weight to lose and I did.  I could probably lose another 5-7 pounds, maybe, but I'm not going to beat myself up over it.  I love food and want to enjoy it!  It eventually has to be a lifestyle change or else you set yourself up for yo-yo dieting, reaching your goal then going back to old habits, then going on a diet again and over and over.

10.  We celebrated my daughter's third birthday.  My youngest sister made the cupcakes.  They came out wonderfully!  Here is a link to my sister's blog with pictures of the goodies she made:  Cupcake Brat.  Also, you can follow her on Twitter here:  http://twitter.com/CupcakeBrat

11.  My sisters came down to hang with us.  The youngest one actually came home with us after our visit up North and then my other sister came down later in the week.  My brother came to dinner with us one evening as well.  We didn't do too much because I couldn't find a sitter but we did have a Dexter marathon.  My sister told  my husband to watch out if he happens to see large quantities of Saran Wrap being delivered or stashed somewhere around the house.

12.  I finished reading  Room: A Novel.  About twenty pages in I didn't think I could finish because it was heartbreaking and I started to tear.  I know it's just a fictional story but you know there are crazy people out there and a story like this can (and has) happen.  I read it in less than a day and when my heart wasn't breaking it was racing.  A very, very good read worth losing sleep over.

13.  Last but never least, how my daughter eats a cupcake:

That's all folks!  Hopefully, I'll be posting in a couple of weeks instead of a couple of months!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Thursday Thirteen (A St. Patty's Birthday!)

For my little princess who turns 3 today.  These are things she's done or said that have made me or my hubby just melt.  Holding her always slows my heart rate down.

1.  While sitting in my lap and looking up adoringly at me, "Want to play a puzzle?  It's very fun!"  Then she scoots off of me and runs to get it before I can answer.

2.  "Mommy,  I'm hungwee.  I want a snack."  Me:  "You can't have a snack.  It's almost time for dinner."  K:  "I don't want dinner.  I'm not hungwee."  Me:  "Well, if you're not hungry you don't need a snack."  K:  "Aaaw, man."

3. "Mom!  Mom!  I can't find my dragon!"  I follow her into her room to help her.  She lets out a sigh of relief and says, "Oh, thank you.  Thank you.  You're my best friend, mom."

4.  Me:  "Hey, what's in your mouth?" (it looked like she was chewing on something).  K:  "In my mouth?  My teeth, mommy!"  Yes, already a smart alec.  Takes after mommy!

5.  We're trying to potty train her, which is weird given her issues, but we're trying nonetheless.  One evening, after a successful training session, she was cheered on by daddy and big brother.  Full of pride and excitement, she sang, "It's good!  It's good!  It's good!"  Future sports announcer?

6.  "I love chocolate.  It's my favorite color!"  (My personal favorite!)

7.  Speaking to her big brother, "Look at me!  I'm a masterpiece!"

8.  "Mommy, can I have a snack?  My tummy is starving."

9.  While waiting for her big brother to get out of school we hear the bell ring.  She yells with excitement, "C'mon mom!  We have to go get my best friend!"

10.  "Mommy, come here."  I go to her and she throws her arms around me to give me a big hug then says, "Thank you so much for breakfast."

11.  "I'm a T-Rex!"  She's always the T-Rex.  Her daddy is the stegosaurus, her big brother is the triceratops and I'm a flapasaurus.  I have no idea what that is but I just asked her to verify and that is what I am.  She being the T-Rex is a hint of things to come.  Yikes!

12.  Me:  "K, what kind of cake do you want for your birthday?"  K:  "Um, pineapple!"  Me:  "Pineapple? (She's never had a pineapple cake)  Really?  Are you sure you don't want chocolate?"  (See #6)  K:  "Wait, mommy.  No,  no pineapple.  I want chocolate.  No, no, no, no pineapple.  Please."

13.  One evening she put her tutu on and said, "It's showtime!"  Here is a little bit of that evening: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgmkviklWTw

That's it.  Happy Birthday baby girl.  I love you so.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Thursday Thirteen 2/17/2011

Oh, wow.  It's been a very long time since I've done a Thursday Thirteen.  November through January is a busy time for everyone, but for me especially because there are very important birthdays all three of those months.  Things have finally settled down.  So, here we go:

1.  I'm sick again.  I was sick two weeks ago.  I got one week of reprieve and my hubby gladly returned my virus to me.  Yes, he's sick too.  I'm just thankful neither of the kids have gotten it.

2.  We celebrated my husband's 50th birthday in Beverly Hills.  It was a small but joyous gathering!  We had a delightful time.  My husband brought his 1961 bottles of wine to share with everyone.  We also had belly dancers perform.  I even hired a photographer to snap pictures so that I could really enjoy myself (I'm the one usually taking the pictures).  He loves wine (we have a wine cellar in the garage!) so his cake just had to be:
A real Petrus would cost thousands of dollars.
This is the closest will get to one, for now.

3.  We also celebrated my son's birthday!  The day before we had brunch at his favorite restaurant and the actual day we went bowling, had pizza and then, of course and ice cream cake with m&ms.  He had a good time.

4.  We got a new TV!  I don't watch much television.  There's only about 4 shows that I really pay attention to, otherwise I'm reading.  Anyway, my hubby got a surprise bonus from work and treated himself to a new HDTV with WiFi, so my favorite part of the new TV is that I get to stream movies directly from Netflix whenever I want.  I'm most excited about the foreign and documentary films I can now watch, though I'm not sure when I'll be able to since I'm either with the kids, in the kitchen, cleaning, running or reading.  I could stay up late on Friday nights but then I won't be able to wake up Saturday morning for long training runs.  What a conundrum!  Eh, I'll figure it out.

5.  I took a Julia Child Classic French Cooking class.  With the exception of the Chocolate Souffle, I had already made items similar to the ones on the menu.  We made Lemon Risotto, Parmesan Crusted Tilapia and Sauteed Zucchini "Noodles".  I did pick up some tips and it gave me a nice break from the norm.  Everything was delicious and I had a good time.  One of the women there was a producer on the show Parenthood.  All in all it was a good night.  Oh, here are pics of the souffles.  They're a little fuzzy since they were taken with my phone:
 
Right out of the oven
Topped with Raspberry coulis and whipped cream,
which melted on the still hot souffle.

6.  I finished reading The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down.  It was an emotional read and an excellent book.  I especially recommend it to anyone in or entering the medical field.

7. I recently read The Help.  I could not put this book down.  A wonderfully written story that brings you back to a time none of us could ever really understand.  This book brings the emotions and strength of the main characters to the surface and I, as a reader, felt I could connect with them.  Empowering, which I rarely call fictional books.

8. You think I like to bake?  You think you like cupcakes?  Perhaps even LOVE them?  Well, get a load of my very talented, very artistic and creative sister (who I also refer to as a female Alton Brown because of the classes at Davis she's taking).  Get ready to drool:  Cupcake Brat.

9.  I read the second Stieg Larsson book The Girl Who Played with Fire.  I was hesitant to read it because after reading the first one I figured out Larrson's formula and thought this book would be predictable and therefore a disappointment.  It was a good book.  Just a little predictable to me and a bit long winded.  There's a lot that could have been cut out, but of course without Mr. Larsson alive to help in the book editing, that could never be possible.  Still, a good read, especially if you're a fan of the main character (and you think she's pretty freakin' cool.  I have a decent photographic and auditory memory, but Lisbeth is over the top and you know there are people like that!  Scary!)  I hope the third book brings a wonderful closure to this trilogy.  One that is not predictable or disappointing.  I'll keep you posted.

10. We had a nice quiet Valentine's Day.  Well, more like a weekend since all four of us went out to dinner for a Valentine's special at Lawry's of Beverly Hills.  We had a gift card and so many gift certificates the meal only cost us the tip!  It was a nice dinner, though my son had a cough and wasn't into it as he usually is.  Then on Monday I made Portobello Mushroom Fajitas and made another batch of chocolate souffles using what I learned in the French Cooking class.  It was all good!

11.  My new favorite snack.  I usually have a mid-afternoon pick me up snack (some carbs and protein) and I love that this is not too sweet, has just the right touch of cocoa and is low calorie.  I have only been able to find it at Whole Foods.  They also have a cinnamon sugar one that is just as good if chocolate is not your thing.  This is the kind of snack I treat myself to if it's been a rough day; the kind of day that could be comforted with chocolate cake, but doesn't need to be!

12.  So, for lunch I usually have a power salad or a power smoothie.  I say power because both are made with veggies, some protein and a little frozen fruit.  My favorite trick for smoothies is to add a handful of fresh baby spinach and/or FROZEN broccoli (it must be frozen) to the blender along with my whey protein mix from Whole Foods (I can't do soy protein; my body does not like it).  Anyway, YOU CAN'T TASTE the spinach or broccoli AT ALL!  It helps me meet my daily servings of vegetables and bulks up the smoothie, making it more satisfying and filling.  If you have kids who love smoothies you can add this, especially to berry smoothies, and they won't taste a thing.  Those are the only two I know that work really well.  If I discover any more I'll let you know!

13.  Since I'm on a food roll:  I love oatmeal for breakfast.  Especially steel cut oatmeal made by my hubby!  However, I don't have that much time in the morning to make steel cut oatmeal so the next best thing is Dark Chocolate Oatmeal by Three Sisters.  Low in calories, high in fiber and a total chocolate fix.

Okay, this is the end of the road ;-) -----my Facebook peeps will get that one.  Ciao for now!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy Birthday to my Spagheddieo!

January 3, 2006


Today is my little one's birthday. I can't believe he's now 6 years old. I remember the morning I went into labor with him. It was a little after 2:00 a.m of the 3rd and we were actually scheduled to go to the hospital later that afternoon to induce labor. I remember I couldn't sleep and I turned to my husband to tell him so when all of a sudden my water broke. I thought I was peeing in my pants! LOL!

Eddie was born at 5:49 p.m. after hours of contractions but not much change in dilation. I had to have a c-section. My husband took a picture of Eddie just as the doctor was pulling him out. It looks like a scene from Alien. Hee-hee.

I remember when Eddie was only a few weeks old and he was crying at the top of his lungs. Now, that's not unusual for any newborn, but as I was holding him and looking at him something hit me and I turned to Ed sitting next to me on the couch and said that I thought there was something "wrong" with him. Ed thought I meant he was hungry or had to have his diaper changed and I had to clarify what I meant. There was something about the way Eddie looked when he was crying and to this day when he gets upset I can still see that look.

I remember the day we took him to the cardiologist and were told he might have Williams Syndrome. We had no idea what it was. I thought it was some kind of heart condition that could be fixed. I remember when we got home to our house in Fairfield, I was downstairs and Ed was upstairs in the office. Eddie was sleeping so I went to check on Ed and I heard him let out a very deep sigh. I remember asking him what was wrong and he said he hoped that Eddie didn't have Williams Syndrome and he began to show me what he had found out about it on the internet.


I remember the day we got the official diagnosis that Eddie did indeed have Williams Syndrome. I expected it, but prayed otherwise. I was numb and really didn't want to learn anymore than I already had about this rare syndrome. That was in April.

In July there was a WS convention in Long Beach and we decided to go. We were in the process of moving to L.A. and used our time down there to also look for a place to live. At this point, although I previously was not ready to learn any more about the syndrome, I decided to throw myself fully into it by attending the convention. It was very eye opening and bittersweet. We met teens and adults with the syndrome and had a picture of what might be Eddie's future.

I remember the day I realized that my husband and I were no longer just Eddie's parents. We were to become his behaviorists, physical therapists, occupational therapists and psychologists.

I remember the first time he sat up, when I thought he wouldn't. I remember his first steps, when I thought his muscle tone was too low and he wouldn't be able to. I remember the first sounds he made, when I wasn't sure he would even be able to speak. I remember the first time he had meat, when I thought the he wouldn't like the texture of it because of sensory issues. I remember all his "firsts" because I wasn't sure he'd achieve them.

He's a wonderful, loving boy with Williams Syndrome. He greets us every morning with a big smile and kisses. His daily goal is to make us happy and proud, even on his rough days. It hasn't always been easy. Everyday still has its challenges. Everyday there is something new for us and for Eddie to learn.

Everyday I thank GOD for blessing us with him and for the amazing work HE has done with Eddie and continues to do in him. I thank GOD that despite Eddie's diagnosis, he is a healthy, happy child.

I remember, today on his birthday, and every single day.

I remember.

I wrote the entry above exactly 3 years ago, celebrating my son's 6th birthday. I didn't want to lose it since it's on my old Myspace blog which I no longer use. Out of the many, many entries I've written on there, this was the only one I wanted to hang on to.

Today he is 9 years old. My anxieties are changing as he gets older. There are new things for me to worry about, to lift up in prayer, to keep me up at night. Still his goal is to put smiles on our faces, even when he has a difficult time following directions or when his impulsive behaviors get him in trouble. I'm beginning to see what I saw in the kids at the convention long ago and I'm not sure how to "handle" it.  It can be frustrating and draining at times, but mostly I'm sad and I worry.

Worries aside, he is still loving and thoughtful.  He makes weekly calls to our family to say hello and update them on his week.  He's a caring big brother, there to comfort his baby sister when she gets hurt and he always, ALWAYS wants to make her laugh (he is doing so as I write this).  He wakes me up every day with a "Good morning" and "How was your sleep, mom?"  He says his prayers every night, asking for GOD'S protection and blessings over our family and his friends and when he hears of a special concern his first reaction is to pray about it.  When his dad is sick, he prays for him.  When I'm sad, he prays for me.  When his baby sister bonks her head on something and whimpers, he prays for her.  I often wish I had his childlike faith.

My husband once read, "The days are long but the years are short."  I can't believe my son is now 9 years old.  Happy birthday my son, my first born and my sweetie always.  I love you.