Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Hapy New Years!

Happy New Years to all my bloggy friends!

May 2009 be better than 2009 in all of the important ways - happiness, health and financial stability!

I hope to meet some, of not all, of you in 2009 and be as good of a "blog friend" as I can be.

I'm going to a friends house tonight with the kids and will post pictures, and maybe recipes, tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Crazy woman

I was at home with 4 1st graders - what was I thinking??

They were actually OK, for the most part, but jeez! they can not agree on ANYTHING! From which movie to watch to who goes first in a bowling game, these kids will argue about everything!

I picked them all up at their respective houses and brought them home. I made pancakes for breakfast. They were actually surprised that I was making them from scratch (which is just as easy as from a mix, actually).

For lunch I decided to make risotto, asparagus and shrimp. Luckily, the kids are pretty easy. None had ever had risotto, but since I didn't put anything in it, including cheese, they tried it and ate it (it really just looks like creamy rice). They all loved the steamed asparagus (although some love the tips and some hate the tips) and went coo coo over the shrimp.

I took a picture with my camera phone.


In the afternoon my baby sitter took over and I ran errands and got my hair cut (more like I ran out of the house after dealing with the kids ;) ).

Now I'm about to wrap presents to put under the tree (we celebrate New Years). I'm tired!

It's funny - my girls friends that are single take the day off and relax. Moms get a day off and have to run about 50 errands. I'm going back to work tomorrow to relax :)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Who do these kids think they are?!

When did my monkey's start thinking they could tell me what to do?

My 6 year old demanded that I apologize to her for being flippant (she told me that I was not being nice).

I am THE MOMMA!!! I do not have to apologize for anything!

Since when did children start telling parents what to do? I DO NOT remember ever telling my mom or dad that they HAD to do something! My dad would have stopped me dead in my tracks with one look!

I need to take control back. One problem - I have no idea where I lost it!!!!

I am a pretty strict mom - or so I thought.

Take Sunday - we went to Rubys for the big monkey's friends birthdays (a set of twins turning 7). I told them to behave and be good and the monkeys said that they would be. My first problem was believing them.

For most of the dinner they were really behaving. That was especially surprising because there were four 6 year olds, a 4 year old, and three preteens at one table. In fact, I thought to myself "Wow! All the kids are doing so well!!"

Of course, I jinxed myself!

The big monkey started yelling over to me and asking if she could get a salad, sit on her friends older sisters nap, trade places with the little monkey, etc...

The little monkey, now that one is going to be trouble!! She decided to be the center of attention by being funny. The more the other kids laughed, the "funnier" she became, in only the way a 4 year old can (ugh).

She kept standing up in the booth, staring at the next table, picking her boogers and eating them (I am absolutely mortified at this) AND at one point asked the man in the next booth for the lemon from his water (she has a weird obsession with sucking on lemons). Yes, she asked a complete stranger for his food, and he gave it to her!!! She also was eating food off the other kids plates with out asking. She was cracking herself up!

Ugh (yes, I know I said that already)! So, I am did what any good mother would do - I made DAD talk to her about it. Then tonight I tried to guilt her - I told her that I was very sad she did those things yesterday and that she made me cry ;)

All is fair in love, war and raising children (which is like love and war mixed in to one)!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

So I was watching the Girls Next Door

There is nothing but re-runs on TV. And I have run out of things on my TIVO!

So, I'm watching the Girls Next Door, which is a guilty pleasure of mine, and the commercials come on.

E! commercials are pretty hilarious.

Take this one:




This item is pretty freaking funny! Um, isn't this just a jacket worn the other way around? And really, how much difficulty do people really have with blankets?!?!?!?!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

I love my parents

but MAN do they drive me crazy!

To be fair to my parents who are in their late 60s, my dad is legally blind (it just came on over night about 2 years ago) and my mom will probably need a hip replacement in the next couple of years.

The little monkey had a major melt down, at Legoland, at 5pm tonight. She wanted a stuffed animal (which my mom bought her), then candy (which she didn't get) and then she wanted a bagel as we were walking to the car (the big monkey wanted one as we were buying everyone hot chocolate but the little monkey hadn't wanted one). So, I told her that she could share.

Melt Down Commenced!!!

"Candy", "bagel", "don't want to go home!", "I don't want to share a bagel, I want my own bagel!"

My mother always, believes the best in me, right?? Her helpful commentary:
  1. I knew she was too young to go to theme parks two days in a row!
  2. She's so tired, we should have left earlier!
  3. I can't believe you didn't want to buy her a bagel!
  4. I have never seen her cry so hard, ever!

Now I ask you, was that at all helpful? How could she believe that I wouldn't want to buy her a bagel? The little monkey hadn't asked for one, and at the point when she started asking for her own bagel, and we were close to the car, I KNEW that she wouldn't be happy with anything. And yes, she was tired, but she had done REALLY WELL up until that point.

When I pointed these things out to my mother, she said "I didn't thing that sounded like you so I was surprised you would do that." Yeah, it's better to be shocked at my being a horrible mother than to believe I had a method to the madness!

On the other hand, my dad was awesome to have around. Both at Legoland, and at SeaWorld, I was able to use my dads blindness to sit in reserved sections and to not have to wait in line to see a show twice ;) Yes, I'm a horrible person in circumventing the system, but hey, we have to use the bad thing for some good, right?

Friday, December 26, 2008

I’m a planner, apparently

It turns out I’m a TOTAL planner, which my friends have been telling me for years.

I had our schedule planned out to the hour at Sea World. We saw show after show all morning and afternoon. It was super cold and windy outside so I decided we would go back to the hotel from 3:30pm-5:15pm and be back in time for the evening Shamu Show at 5:30pm.



I didn’t count on MY MOTHER! Doesn't she LOOK sweet and innocent!



I was going to take a 30 minute nap and asked her to wake me at 5:15pm. Of course like any mother, she saw how soundly I was sleeping and didn’t wake me. I woke up at 5:25pm and FREAKED OUT! My plans! They were ruined.

Why yes, I am a bit of a drama queen, why do you ask??

So we decided to do dinner before the 7:30pm show. We went to this REALLY FUN PLACE called Corvette CafĂ©. It’s this 50s style diner where the waitresses have bouffant hair-do’s and Elvis roams around. The waitresses throw straws at you and sing too!



I usually don’t get milk shakes, but the friend that recommended this place said they were amazing. She was right. My peanut butter-banana milk shake was phenomenal!! The monkeys’ favorite thing – the bazooka bubble gum they give out at the end.

Thanks to the popularity of the place, and the wait, we missed the 7:30pm Shamu show too!

Oh well! We’ll be back to Sea World soon. We bought the one day passes which turn in to 2009 season passes. We’ll definitely see Shamu then.

As much as I LOVE to plan, apparently, I guess the saying is true:

“Humans plan and G-d laughs”

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Stories should teach a lesson ;)

I’m in San Diego and had to go to the lobby to log on to blogger and post this. I now TRULY understand the blogging addiction.

Hi! My name is Julia and I am a blogging addict! I must really like the sound/read of my own voice ;)

Anyways, I said that I would tell the story of how I almost got in to a fight at the big monkey’s Russian School recital.

The recital was being held in a big recreation type room. There were probably 100 parents sitting in chairs around a make-shift stage. Since we got there about 5 minutes before the start of the show, there were no more chairs. So, we stood in back.

Every 15 minutes or so, the noise level would increase and the director of the school would tell everyone to quiet down. About 30 minutes after the show started, the big monkey’s group got up to perform. At the same time, I became aware of these punk-ass kids (3 boys around 19 years old) standing behind me and laughing and chatting pretty darn loudly. I was already in a pissy mood from having to stand for so long so I turn to them and, nicely, say “Excuse me. Will you please shut up?” I turn back to watch my beautiful child perform. They stop and call me rude to my back, and continue talking loudly. So, I turn to them and, with a smile, say “OK. Either shut the fuck up, or leave”.

At about that time, my husband, who was standing about 10 feet away, heard the guys talking smack to me, didn't hear what transpired up until that point, and walked up to them. “Do you have a problem? Do you want to step outside?” he says. Now my husband is 6’3”, 200 lbs, hair buzzed short, a look that could kill. The “boys” looked up at him and started hemming and hawing and backed off.

Of course, being the good person I am, I couldn’t let the opportunity to teach and mold the young minds of tomorrow escape me. I walked back up to the “lads” and said, “You know, you shouldn’t talk smack to a woman when you don’t know who her husband is.”

I could have taken care of myself, especially in a verbal scuffle, but it was oh so nice to see them go from acting all cocky to a 5’2” petite mom, to almost peeing themselves when facing off against a 6’3” pissed off dad.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Chrismakah!

Here are some pictures from Candy Cane Lane, one of the monkeys' FAVORITE holiday activities:







I took the kids this year and all I heard for 30 minutes was "ooh" and "aah"! If you're in the LA area, it truly is a sight not to be missed!

I am leaving tomorrow for San Diego with the kids until Saturday night. I'm going to try my best to post. If not, Have a Very Merry Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanza!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Pictures from Sunday

I wanted to post 2 pictures from Sunday. Next time I really need someone to take pictures of the food ;)

My two monkeys:


The big monkey and her best friends:



By the way, I have enabled another friend to go to Hannah Andersson. I met her there tonight and she is now a convert. I swear I should get a commission.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Channeling her inner Joe Pesci

After this weekends' marathon cooking session, I am exhausted.

Here's the first picture - the one that captures the spirit of Hanukkah the best in my opinion:



Work was crazy today. And to top it off I had to leave early to take the kids the the Menorah lighting in the mall (OK, I didn't have to, I wanted to).

So that meant tonight I got to work on my 2008 Accomplishments and 2009 Goals. Thanks to my bosses insistence on monthly accomplishment documents (which are a pain while doing them), the first was easy (but of course still took an hour). Now I'm left with 2009 goals to do. Did I mention that these were due on Friday??

Oh well. It's 11:20pm, I'm tired, and I still haven't written my blog post.

So, I will leave you with something that happened on Saturday:

I was in the car with the little monkey and she put on her plastic yellow star sun glasses. She turns to me and says, "Mommy, I'm funny! Like a clown!"

Yes, my little monkey is channeling her inner Joe Pesci from Goodfellas!! Where does she get this stuff??? It's definitely not from me. It must be her fathers doing.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Chanukah!

One of my closest friends just sent me a virtual card.

Happy Chanukah everyone!

This pictures also really epitomizes the party I had today - the Jew"ish" Chanukah celebration.

From 10am-10pm I sat down for 30 minutes in total. I have no idea if my kids ate. Thanks to all the squeals of laughter I know the kids had a great time. All the adults told me they had a great time. The part started at 4pm with people coming in in waves. The last family left at 9:15pm.

The matzoh ball soup was the big winner of the night. I made about 30 matzoh balls and they were going in like 10 minutes! I should have quadrupled the batch. Three separate people told me that they were the best that they had ever had. The balls were light and fluffy and had almost an air-like quality to them.

My favorite part of the evening was when all of the kids lit about 15 menorahs in unison and said the prayers all together. My friend read the prayer and had everyone follow along. Not all the kids were Jewish but everyone lit the candles and said the words. It was a magical sight to see. I was so busy I didn't take ANY pictures, but others did and as soon as they email me I will post them here. All in all a very fun night.

A couple of high lights:

*My friends daughter got her hair singed by the candles. My friend took it in stride and was happy she didn't have to go to the ER.

*The same friends daughters (they are Asian) were the ones who wanted to play dreidel the most.

*One of the moms commented to me, "Wow! You're cooking the latkes now, while we're here. If it was me, I would have made them in the morning so that I could enjoy this time with my guests". To which I replied, "Um, they are better fresh and hot". And no I didn't add "BEYATCH" to the end of that even though I REALLY wanted to! There always has to be one, right????

I was going to take pictures of all the food but again I had no time. But trust me, it looked amazing. And tasted really good!

Here are the recipes:

Oprah's Pomegranate Martini
Recipe courtesy of Oprah Winfrey

Ingredients:
Serves 2
1 1/2 cups pomegranate juice
2 ounces Absolute Citron vodka or white tequila
1 ounce Cointreau liquor
Cup of ice
Splash of sparkling water (optional)
Squeeze of lemon (optional)
Shake ingredients in a shaker and put in chilled martini glasses. Put pomegranate fruit into glass as garnish.

Latkes
Serving Size : 8

Ingredients:
3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
1 medium onion
1/3 cup matzah meal -- or unbleached white flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil spray (or 2 tablespoons olive oil)

Serve with: non-fat or low-fat sour cream and applesauce

Peel the potatoes and onion and coarsely grate in a food processor fitted with a shredding disk or on a box grater.
Grab handfuls of the grated vegetables and squeeze tightly between your fingers to wring out as much liquid as possible.
Transfer the grated vegetables to a mixing bowl and stir in the matzah meal, baking powder, eggs, and plenty of salt and pepper. (The latkes should be highly seasoned.)
Spray the frying pan with oil (or drizzle the oil on it and spread with a wooden spoon).
Spoon small mounds of potato mixture onto the pan to form 2-1/2 inch pancakes, leaving 1 inch between each.
Fry the latkes in the oven until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes per side, turning once with a spatula. (When you turn the latkes, try to flip them onto spots on the baking sheet that still have oil.)
Transfer to plates or a platter and serve immediately with sour cream and/or applesauce.


MATZO BALLS
Ingredients:
4 large eggs, separated
1/4 cup chicken fat (reserved from broth, if available) or pareve kosher-for-Passover margarine, melted, cooled
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2/3 cup unsalted matzo meal

Stir egg yolks and next 4 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Beat egg whites in another medium bowl until stiff but not dry. Fold whites into yolk mixture alternately with matzo meal in 3 additions each. Cover and chill until cold and firm, at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.
Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Drop cold matzo mixture by generous tablespoonfuls onto sheet of plastic. Using moistened hands, shape into balls (each about 1 1/4 inches in diameter). Drop matzo balls into boiling water. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer uncovered until cooked through, turning matzo balls over after 15 minutes, about 35 minutes total. Using slotted spoon, transfer matzo balls to dish, arranging in single layer. (Can be made ahead. Let stand up to 2 hours or cover and refrigerate up to 1 day. Simmer in salted water until heated through, about 10 minutes, and drain before serving.)

Jugged Chicken
Ingredients:
1 3-1/2 pound chicken (use thighs and drumsticks)
2 T unsalted butter
1 jar pearl onions (in canned vegetable aisle)
4 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
8 oz prosciutto, chopped
2/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup Port
1/3 cup brandy
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 T Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400. Rub chicken with butter and season inside and out with salt and pepper. Transfer chicken to large, heavy, deep casserole. Combine onions and all remaining ingredients in large bowl. Pour over chicken. Cover and bake until chicken is done, about 55 minutes. Serve in bowls with crusty bread.

**I don't always have Brandy on hand, and in cases like that, I just add extra of the other alcohol, and it still tastes great.

Makes 16.

Arugula Salad with Beets
Source: Light Basics Cookbook by Martha Rose Shulman
Makes 4 Servings

For the Salad:
4 small to medium-size or 2 large beets, red, yellow or a combination
6 ounces arugula, washed and dried
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, slivered, or goat cheese or blue cheese, crumbled (about ¼ cup) (optional)

For the Dressing:
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or sherry vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 small garlic clove, peeled and minced or pressed
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard (optional)
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, or 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons plain nonfat yogurt or low-fat buttermilk

1. Roast the beets if they are uncooked. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Cut away the leaves by slicing across the top end, just below the stems (save the leaves for another purpose). Trim away the root and scrub the beets under warm water with a vegetable brush. Place in a baking dish and add about ¼ inch of water. Cover with a lid or foil and bake for 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the beets. Test for doneness by sticking a knife into the beet; it should slide right through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
2. When the beets are cool, it will be easy to slip their skins off. Skin and cut in half lengthwise, then slice the beets very thin or cut into small wedges. Transfer to a salad bowl with the arugula.
3. Stir together the balsamic vinegar, lemon juice or sherry vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic, and optional mustard. Whisk in the olive oil or olive oil and yogurt or buttermilk. Thin out the dressing if desired with about a tablespoon of water.
4. Just before serving, toss the arugula and beets with the dressing and the optional cheese.

Per serving: 13.9 gm total fat; 1.8 gm sat fat; 156 calories; 7.6 gm carbohydrates; 2.0 gm protein

BRISKET

4 LBS BRISKET (WITH FAT ON TOP) OR I BUY THIS MEAT AT COSTCO (SUBSTITUTE FOR
BRISKET).
CUT A POCKET IN THE BRISKET (HORIZONTALLY)
RUB THE MEET WITH GARLIC (FRESHLY SQUEEZED), SALT, PEPPER
POUR A BOTTLE OF BEER OVER IT
COVER WITH FOIL
BAKE AT 300 DEGREES FOR 6 HOURS

TAKE OUT OF THE OVEN AND CUT UP INTO CHUNKS. SPRINKLE WITH GINGER, CINNAMON
AND POUR B-BQUE SAUCE OVER IT (ABOUT 3/4 OF A BOTTLE). BAKE ANOTHER 2
HOURS.

TAKE OUT OF THE OVEN AND CUT INTO SMALL PIECES. POUR 1/2 OF A SMALL BOTTLE
OF HONEY OVER. BAKE 1 MORE HOUR.

Cranberry Broccoli Salad
Posted by Cate
Ingredients:
1-1/4 cups fresh cranberries, chopped
1/4 cup sugar
4 cups broccoli florets
4 cups coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage with carrots)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
6 slices of bacon, crisp-cooked, drained and crumbled (I double the amount of bacon)
Dressing:
1 cup light mayonnaise
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

In a small bowl, combine the fresh cranberries and sugar; cover and chill in fridge until serving time (berries will juice out). In a large bowl, combine broccoli, shredded cabbage, walnuts, raisins and onion. To make dressing, combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Pour over the salad and mix. Chill covered at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours. Just before serving, gently fold in bacon and cranberry mixture.

I also had a bunch of different hummus, pate, cold cuts, cheeses, brie, pickled vegetables, etc...

I had hot chocolate going in the crockpot for the kids, with baileys on the side for the adults.

Friends brought/bought desserts.

If I forgot something I will post tomorrow. OK - I am brain dead! I will go to work tomorrow morning to recover. Can I wear slippers to work?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Work in progress

A number of fellow bloggers are re-capping their weeks in their last posts. I am going to take that idea and re-cap my day, so far:

9:00am - Get on the road to drop big monkey off at Russian School. Little monkey comes on errand with me.
9:30am - Farmers market for regular fruits and vegetables and food for the party.
11:00am - Drop off Asian pears and apples for good friend (and grab coffee and hard boiled egg while there).
12:00pm - Get home, shower and transform in to presentable human being
1:15pm - Get back to Russian school for New Years concert (Russians celebrate New Years with Santa, not Christmas, and it's not a religious holiday. I will blog about this next week).
2:00pm - Almost make the husband get in to a fist fight with some punk-ass 18 year old kids (I may have told them to shut the fuck up and husband only heard them tell me I was rude).
3:00pm - Leave kids at Russian School with in-laws and pick up friend. Go to Costco and Russian store for food stuffs for the party tomorrow. Eat my way through Costco and Russian store samples.
6:00pm - Get mani/pedi.
8:00pm - Start cooking items that can be prepped ahead of time.
10:00pm - Other friend picks me up for quick Bed, Bath and Beyond run.
10:45pm - Blogging
11:00pm - Am about to wrap Hanukkah gifts for tomorrow's party. Am about to throw mail in some random drawer and put out dishes to be used tomorrow.

The food is a work in progress, as am I. Even though nothing is difficult, it all still takes time. But this is the stuff that gets me going. I love to cook and entertain.

Here's the little monkey and her dad:



Here's the big monkey telling Santa a poem:


Here's the brisket going in to the oven for it's initial 6 hour bake (out of 9 total hours):


Here's the matzoh balls going in to the refrigerator to rest (and yes, these are made from scratch, not from a mix):


I'll be back tomorrow with recipes and the pictures of everything cooked!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Enabler



I tagged QuirkyLoon in the book meme. She said that I inspired her to make up a bloggy award, so I took it :) It's SUCH a cute award. Please check out her blog.

I love this bloggy community!

So, I was a complete enabler tonight. I went to my favorite kids' store tonight on one of my favorite days of the year. Today was the first day of Hannah Andersson's Winter Hannah Sale! I bought out 1/2 of the store (or maybe it just felt that way) and for good measure had them order me some stuff on-line! I called my friend who was in the mall and told her to meet me there ASAP! She did and she ended up doing some damage herself (both in the store and on-line). She's about the 5th person I have enabled to do MAJOR damage in that store. As we were leaving she turns to me and says - "This is all your fault". Yup! I can live with that ;)

By the way, these winter jackets are $32!!!! Such a deal!!!



And their 100% organic cotton PJs are amazingly soft, won't shrink and are perfectly warm and cozy! And they're on sale for $18!!



Have I enabled you yet? And no - I do not work for, or get paid by, in any way, shape or form by Hannah Andersson. But if someone who works there wants to start, I wouldn't say no ;)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Out of no where, inspiration is born

So I had a couple of ideas for a post earlier in the day...and then they just disappeared in to the dark recesses of my brain!

Then I was going to talk about leftovers - and how I love the possibility of making them in to a whole new different meal.

But that will have to wait. Why, you ask? OK, so maybe you didn't ask.

I will tell you anyways.

I was reading TMZ, which I am addicted to, and I came across a post about this, um, interesting item.

I went on this "products" website and what is the first thing I read? For men without hang-ups. Condometric is here.

Without further ado, I give you:



Condometric is the first prophylactic that measures and shows off the penis’ length. Condometric helps us flaunt what we’ve got. It’s about believing we can handle whatever we wish to take on, regardless of size.

Condometric prophylactics are made of natural rubber latex and are electronically tested one by one. Its ink does not contain any ingredients that may cause allergic reactions.

There are even 4 different flavors: Natural Power, Cherry Rider, Katana Lima, Papito Banana . I truly wonder what Natural Power tastes like ;)

I double dog dare you to try these out!!! And then report back!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A meme, A Meme

Keri, a new follower of my blog, has a wonderful blog called It Flickers Dimly. She tagged me for a meme. I am honored :)

So, without further ado:

These are the rules: Pass this on to 5 blogging friends. Open the closest book to you, not your favorite or most intellectual book, but the closest book to you at the moment, turn to page 56. Write the fifth sentence, as well as two to five sentences following that.

The book laying right next to me on the bed is The Pagan Stone by Nora Roberts. It's Book Three of the Sign of Seven Trilogy. I LOVE Nora Roberts, and especially her trilogies.

She picked up her own notebook, scribbled in it as she continued. "Undead. We know that it can take the form of someone who's died. What if this isn't, as we thought, a new trick, but an ability it had before Dent imprisoned it, and is only now, as what we're told is the final Seven approaches, able to pull that out of its hat again?"

The 5 bloggy friends I am tagging are the last 5 people who posted on their blogs, of those who I follow on my dashboard (was that clear as mud):



The Grocery Cart Challenge

Moms Without Blogs

Musings of a Quirky Loon

The Norwidians

A Womb at the Inn (sane)



Do the meme or not, it's your choice. Pass it on or not, it's your choice.



Thanks again Keri for tagging me.

Would You Rather Wednesday

Welcome to my 2 new blog followers:


The Mom and Joanna. I'm so happy you're here. Thanks for following me.


Kel from Girl in the Glasses posted Would You Rather Wednesday and I have decided to play along. I answered her questions in the comments on her site (great questions, by the way).

Here are my questions:

Would you rather...

Watch TV or read?

Run or Walk?

Buy clothes for others or buy clothes for yourself?

Work or workout?

Please play by posting your answers in the comments!

If you want, do your own Would You Rather Wednesday on your blog.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sometimes I just get pissed...

In the big scheme of things, I am a happy go-lucky person. But sometimes I just get pissed!

Some of the things that have pissed me off recently:
  1. If I tell you that something is wrong, just say "I'm sorry. I will fix it." Don't tell me why/how it's not your fault! I don't give a flying frick!
  2. When you're helping me put the kids to sleep, don't walk in to the big monkey's room as she's about to fall asleep and ask her to change movies with the little monkey (not when we have like 100 DVDs to choose from).
  3. When I send out an evite, don't just look at it, answer it. Don't call me and/or come up to me and tell me you'll be there, answer the evite (I like seeing all the responses).
  4. If there is one little item wrong with a document I sent you, or you don't understand how to consolidate multiple documents, don't reply back, and cc your boss and my boss, alerting me that the whole document is wrong.
  5. Getting sucked in to items that are really not needed, like the following, which I can do my self with a knife in two seconds (but this does look cool):

I'm sure so many more things have pissed me off (daily) but that's what I remember right now.

Have a happy go-lucky day. Or get pissed off! I'll probably do both :) Repeatedly!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Bloggy Love

I have a huge hedache, and like a baby I refuse to take anything for it. It's probably due to the huge amounts of novacaine that was shot in to the left side of my mouth (deep cleanings are sooo much fun - she says with sarcasm).

I came home tonight trying to push aside the headache to figure out what to blog about (I swear I had like 5 topics to talk about - fascinating ones like why the monkeys' have a fascination with showing their butt's to each other).

Thankfully you can all be spared because I received some bloggy love - my first award to be exact.

Abby is a new bloggy friend who has a really cute son and made the most mouth watering sounding Ooey Gooey Brownies!



The award states "This blog invests and believes the PROXIMITY - nearness in space, time and relationships! These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award."

I am passing it on to the following bloggers (who can pass it on, or can choose not to):

Ann's Rants: Confessions of a Work Week Widow

Culture Crack

I Need a Martini Mom

Janana Bee

Moms Without Blogs

The Life of Sass

Kim and Co.

Jiggety Jigg

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Breakfast

This morning the monkeys decided they wanted pancakes. Not the beautiful waffles that come out perfectly out of the All Clad waffle maker, but pancakes. The free-form ugly ones that don't come out perfectly. The kind I haven't had to make since getting the waffle maker.

But what the monkeys want, they usually get.

I opened up one of my favorite cookbooks, Cooking Light Complete, and turned to pancakes.
These are so easy, and very tasty. They taste wonderfully light and airy, but not low fat at all. To make the kids happy (and me), I did add about a 1/4 cup total of chocolate and peanut butter chips.

I also chopped up some apples, squeezed some lemon on them, and put them out to eat with the pancakes. The hard, tart apples were a a nice complement to the warm, soft, sweet pancakes.

The older monkey ate a piece of apple with EVERY piece of pancake. Did I mention she ate 4 pancakes and the younger monkey ate 2 pancakes???

Warning: These are some ugly pancakes.

Buttermilk Pancakes
Cooking Light Complete Cookbook

1 cup all-purpose flour ( I used whole wheat flour)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup low-fat buttermilk (I used kefir - which is pretty much the same thing)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten (for some reason you can't see the egg in the picture)
Cooking spray



1. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (flour through salt) in a large bowl, and make a well in center of mixture. Combine buttermilk, oil, and egg; add to flour mixture, stirring until smooth.
2. Spoon about 1/4 cup batter for each pancake onto a hot nonstick griddle or nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray. Turn pancakes when tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked. Yield: 9 (4-inch)




Sorry that these picture blow, but my camera had no charge so I used my cell phone camera.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Random Thoughts

Is it wrong that I absolutely LOVE The Princess Diaries movies, way more than my kids. Also, I am watching Sydney White, without my kids, and it's super cute. OK - the speech at the end is TOTALLY Revenge of the Nerds - like almost an exact rip off(another movie I love).

One of my favorite movies is White Chicks.

I should have lied to my little monkey and not told her I was taking the big monkey to a Birthday party without her. I had to be in the car through 45 minutes of CRYING! And all the while I was vacillating between thinking I was a horrible mother and thinking that I could blog about the experience and that I was a horrible mother thinking about blogging about this and so on - vicious cycle!

The big monkey put a booger in my hair - WTF?? GROSS!! Am about to take a shower and scald my hair and scalp!!

I ABSOLUTELY love comments on my blog.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Anal Mom

I was talking to a friend today (wow, I start a number of posts like this) and I realized that I am an ANAL mom. We were at the Disney Store and she was buying her daughter THE CUTEST sleepover kit - it included a see through suitcase, pillow blanket and flash light. In fact, I just tried searching for it on the Disney Store website and couldn't find it.

Our monkeys are in 1st grade together, and she commented on how her daughter is starting to attend sleepovers and how ours should have one. As much as I trust her, she is fairly anal herself when it comes to the kids, and I KNOW the kids would have a great time together, I just had to say NO.

I am an anal mom. My kids have only ever spent the night with grandparents. I've let them have drop off play dates, but ONLY with really close friends of the family. I won't let them go on the metro or bus with my baby sitter (who doesn't really speak English - even though she's taken them on the metro anyways). I felt bad telling her no, but I hope she knows me well enough to not take offense. I would drop her off at this friends house, but spending the night is different.

Further proof of my anality (is that a word), was earlier this week. I was driving down a major residential street (with two lanes on each side) and noticed a woman walking down the street, with two little kids running down the street about 20 feet in front of her going wild. She was just moseying along without a care in the world. My first thought - one of those kids is going to run in to the street and get hit by a car! Or get kid-napped! Or run in to the street, narrowly avoid getting hit by a car and then get kid-napped! If that was me, I would be screaming my head off demanding that the monkey's STOP RUNNING and come walk NEXT TO ME!!

I guess this is why I'm afraid to take the kids to Disneyland. Unless....think they'd be OK with wearing human leashes??????

Yes, I have reached a new low, why do you ask?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

G-D Bless America

I was talking to two women today while waiting for my Zumba class. Both were immigrants to this country.

The younger woman was talking about how she came to the US 15 years ago, but didn't have to come, wasn't running away from anything (political or religious persecution). She proceeded to tell us how she had a very good life in her country and that none of her friends really care about coming to the US anymore. Why was she here? No clue.

The older lady responded by saying that she had lived all over the world, and there was no place like America.

I would have to agree with the older lady. America is the only place made up of immigrants from other nations looking for freedom. When this land was founded, and immigrants started arriving by the boat load, people were not lured by how wealthy the country was, but in fact by only the POSSIBILITY of wealth, happiness and freedom.

So, in today's economic times, when people are starting to say the the US may not be an economic superpower in the future, and are starting to talk trash about our fair nation, let me remind people that there has always been, and will always be, more to the United States of America than money. There is, first and foremost, hope.

In my humble opinion, there are two piece of writing that sum up what this country symbolizes:

  • The Declaration of Independence - "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness".
  • The Statue of Liberty - "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door." by Emma Lazarus.
Personally, I would rather be NO WHERE ELSE!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Things I covet

In these bleak economic times, I am truly trying to save money wherever I can. I have started bringing my lunch at least 3 days a week and am saying "NO" more often to the kids pleas of "just $1 for the vending machine, and $1 for my sister, and $1 for my friend".

Every so often, I see things, and I WANT THEM. These are similar to Oprah's favorite things, except let's call these:

MY WALL OF SHAMEFUL EXTRAVAGANCES THAT I COVET:

1) Doesn't this just look as soft as 1000 feathers blanketing you in comfort? And it can be mine - for $400!!



2) Purses(s) and wallet from Louis Vuitton at eluxury - for LOTS of $$$$$ - I LOVE LV:



3) Sony Bravia W-Series KDL-52W4100 52-Inch 1080p 120Hz LCD HDTV - I SO WANT THIS FOR THE BEDROOM ~$2,000

OK - I must stop now. I'm am drooling!

Anything else I should covet??

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

My brain is empty

OK - I have a feeling if I write about Zumba one more time I will hear a big collective sigh/scream in the blogosphere!

So, I have a question and a fact.

Question - Has anyone heard of Ionized Water? Does it work? A friend was telling me about it and said that she swears about it. Some "testimonials" I read talk about weight loss, just from switching to Ionized Water!! If I can lose weight by doing nothing but drinking water - BRING IT ON!!! Quick fix - who me??

Fact - I was reading Lee at MWOB, and she told a random fact about her self. So here is my random fact :

Throughout high school and college I did theater. I did not act or sing (G-d forbid), but I worked backstage. I started as a sophomore in high school primarily because a good friend was doing it. Also, if you worked back stage you got to pick your classes earlier than everyone else (my high school let you choose your classes and when you took them, like in college). It turned out - I love theater!!!

In college, I joined the college theater company - College Players. In the course of the next 4 years, I back stage managed, stage managed, produced, was the Treasurer and had the most AMAZING time.

Even though I was an accounting major I was welcomed with open arms. I felt like I belonged to a fun, quirky, easy going, CRAZY group of people from all walks of life.

To this day, I still can't go to the theater without thinking back fondly to MY theater days, and checking out the sight lines to see if the crew is being careful when they walk backstage.


So that's my random fact. Anyone up for going to see a show??

Monday, December 8, 2008

The holiday baking continues...

I have no idea why I love to bake during the holidays. From Halloween to January, I bake more in these 2 months than I do the rest of the year combined. Maybe it's the "cold" weather. Maybe it's the fact the baked treats always put people in a festive mood.

However, I still won't do anything "complicated". No rolling, chilling, stacking, etc...

I've been getting Cookie Countdown emails. Almost all of them are mouth-watering. Only a few meet my criteria of being easy to make. This recipe called out to me. And now that I've tasted it - wow! Am I glad it did!

A couple of changes to the original recipe - At the last minute, I subbed the unbleached white whole wheat flour for 1/2 of the regular white flour, to make the cookies a bit more healthy. It is not noticeable at all. Also, I used a 1/2 cup of butter and subbed plain kefir for the other 1/2 cup. Again, to me, the healthy substitution does nothing to harm the flavor. I added 1 more tespoon of vanilla, just because I love vanilla. The last substitution is walnuts for the pecans. I simply could not find the pecans.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Prep: 15 minutes, Bake: 10 minutes.

1 cup butter, softened (1/2 butter)
½ cup kefir (my addition)
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I used 3)
2 cups all-purpose flour (1 cup regular, 1 cup unbleached white whole wheat)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups uncooked regular oats
1 (11.5-ounce) package semisweet chocolate mega morsels (my package was 12 oz.)
1 cup chopped toasted pecans (used walnuts pulsed in the food processor until pretty fine)



1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Beat butter and sugars at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla, beating well.
3. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl, stirring well. Add oats; stir well. Add to butter mixture; stir until well blended. Gently stir in morsels and pecans. Drop by rounded tablespoons 2 inches apart onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until brown around edges. Cool on pan 2 to 3 minutes or until firm. Remove cookies from pan; cool on wire racks.

Yield: Makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies (mine made 5 1/2 dozen, I guess I used more like 3/4rounded tablespoons - but the cookies are still big)





Easy to make, tastes wonderful and yields a high quantity of cookies!

Like tends to attract like

This is a real email exchange I had today:


To: Friends
Subject: Ruby's Diner Special Today
Ruby's Diner - So Cal locations Only - Rubyburger & Fries just $2.60 - Monday 12/08
In Celebration of their 26th Anniversary and opening of new Irvine Spectrum location. Get a Rubyburger and fries at a retro price! Just $2.60!Valid for dine-in only on Monday, December 8, 2008 from 11:30am - close of business at participating locations only.PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS FOR SO CAL LOCATIONS ONLYPlease ask for the Anniversary RubyBurger when ordering. Valid for The RubyBurger Burger only.Additional charge applies to any addition and substitution.



From: Friend whose kids are in the big monkeys class
Just went last night for Spencer's bday but what a great deal!

To: Friend whose kids are in the big monkeys class
Go again today and save the burgers for the kids lunches ;)

From: Friend whose kids are in the big monkeys class
Ur just ghetto! Lol

To: Friend whose kids are in the big monkeys class
Have I mistakenly given you ANY OTHER impression? If so, I’m sorry ;)

From: Friend whose kids are in the big monkeys class
Yeah I can see y were friends...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Best mom or worst mom...it's fine line

My friend and I decided to take our daughters to the Santa Monica Pier. I felt like Lee the Super Mom :)

I was pretty hesitant to go - 3 kids between the ages of 4 and 7?? On a crowded pier with 2 adults?? MADNESS!! My friend talked me in to it with LA logic - it was so "cold" that it wouldn't be as crowded as normal.

For everyone outside of the Los Angeles area, let me explain what cold means to us here - the high was 64 degrees. And she was right - very few people were there.

We were able to ride all the rides we wanted with no wait. There were a couple of rides that the kids didn't even get off of until they were tired of the ride! One ride, the Frog One, the kids were on it for like 20 minutes straight. It took that long to get more than 8 kids who wanted to ride it at one time!

We also let them do the jumpee ride - the one where they hook you up to harnesses and you can jump really high! By that time it was getting really cold (about 60 degrees) and we were starving. But the kids begged, and we gave in. First we made them tell us who the best moms in the world were (which they did). Mom can not live on joyous and happy child alone - we need kudos too!

That whole "Best Mom" thing lasted for all of 10 minutes. Once we got in the car it was all over - "how many exits", "I'm HUNGRY" (of course that's our fault, not the fault of the munchkins who wouldn't leave for the past 1.5 hours), "my tummy ache hurts", "why can't we eat crackers on the way to sushi" (we had given them chewy chocolate and peanut butter bars, and thought crackers on top of it would ruin their appetites).

We so were not the "best moms" anymore - do you hear the hurt in my voice coming through the blogosphere???

The kids had a great day, I LOVED to watch them have a good time, they didn't fight amongst themselves (hardly) or with the Big Monkeys friend, AND (my favorite part) they were BOTH asleep by 8pm!!


Saturday, December 6, 2008

Kids Birthday Parties

Kids love birthday parties! And so do I actually. Somehow, in two hours, the kids are able to pack in about 4 hours worth of fun.

This one was at a Bowling Alley. The monkeys' had a really good time and the little monkey bowled better than most everyone else. Including the big monkey! And oh was the big monkey upset. How dare the little one do better than the big one????? It didn't help that the big ones' friends were all amazed by how well the little one was doing and were happy for her, and proud of her.

So, what does the big monkey say???? "THAT'S NOT FAIR!!!."

Hearing those words are like nails screeching on a blackboard to me. Not fair? There are children starving in Ethiopia...my parents couldn't even afford to buy me a cabbage patch doll...I can't go in to Neiman Marcus and buy whatever I want...those are the things that are REALLY unfair!!

Green eyed monster, anyone? It's amazing how sisters can love each other and want to kick each others ass at the same time ;)

After a while all was forgiven - the perfect meal was served. Pizza, french fries (according to my friend, these were french fries on crack, because they really were that good!), vegetable platter and cupcakes and dots (the ice cream). What more can children ask for???

The perfect birthday party.

Friday, December 5, 2008

I'm a dork

I had an hour to kill after work, before I met a good friend for sushi (I haven't eaten "real" sushi/sashimi in what feels like months). We have a children's Birthday Party to go to, for the big monkey's friend tomorrow and I still needed to buy a gift. So, off to Barnes and Nobles I went.

According to another friend, I have almost a Birthday party a week. She's exaggerating, but sometimes it does feel that way.

I have decided that 6-8 year old girls have random taste in clothes (I never know if the cute Hannah Montana shirt is going to be well received or not), have way too many toys and don't want educational things (except my freak monkeys, who love to receive workbooks as gifts). So, I've settled on Chapter books and other books. Most kids this age are just discovering the joy of books and the worlds that the stories open up! I ended up getting her Paula Deen's My First Cookbook and a kit with Apron, wooden spoon and utensils. Her family likes to cook - hopefully she'll like it.

While there, I HAD to look around for myself - books are my biggest weakness. I could easily spend $100/month at Barnes and Noble!

I was SOOOO excited - two books I was waiting for came out this month!
Heather Graham - Deadly Gift, book 3 of The Flynn Brothers Trilogy
Nora Roberts - The Pagan Stone, book 3 of The Sign of Seven Trilogy

I walked out of the book store absolutely giddy with anticipation! I love getting back to the characters I have grown fond of. I can't wait to get a couple of hours to my self so that I can read!

Yes, I'm a dork, but a happy dork :)

And the sushi was, hands down, the best I have had in a very long time!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Slap yo Momma good!

First off, these Chocolate Marble Biscotti are "leave the kitchen to stop eating" good!!! They are "slap yo momma" good! Wow - are they ever good!

Chocolate Marble Biscotti
My Baking Adventures Blog (wonderful Blog by the way)

2 ¾ c. all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
¾ c. butter, slightly firm
1 c. sugar
3 large eggs
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract (I made my own using rum and vanilla pods, hence the rum bottle)
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate (I used chips), melted



Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper (I used silpats) and set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the sugar in a steady stream and beat for 2 minutes longer. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl periodically. Add the vanilla and beat again. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the flour in 2 additions, mixing only to combine. Remove the bowl from the mixer.

Divide the dough into 2 large mixing bowls, and working with one bowl at a time, drizzle spoonfuls of one-half of the melted chocolate over the dough. Cut through the dough with the spatula, but do not stir or overwork the dough. It’s alright to see wet patches of chocolate. Scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheet, and form a log about 12 inches wide and 2 inches wide. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Bake the dough for about 20 minutes, or until lightly browned and firm in the center. Remove the logs from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Using a serrated knife, cut the logs into ½ inch thick slices, then lay the cookies down on the baking sheet, return to the oven and bake again for 18 minutes, flipping them over halfway through the baking time.

Remove the biscotti to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 5 dozen biscotti (mine made 2 dozen - I think my shapes were funky and not according to the directions).

A couple of caveats: The dough is very "wet" and "sticky". The biscotti took twice as long to cook in the first stage (before cutting). I tried to melt my chocolate chips in a pyrex cup - smoke ensued. I ended up melting the chocolate chips on the stove top, in about 1/3 of the time! My recipe made 2 dozen - I think my shapes were closer to 5 inches wide. They do look more like "real" biscotti.

Aren't they pretty and "marbley":






The big monkey and I met with her pediatrician today for her class project on a profession she was interested in. This woman was amazing. She acted like she had all the time in the world to sit and talk to us. She answered the monkey's questions while I took copious notes. Then she posed for a picture AND asked for a copy of the report when it was done!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My evenings

I am a VERY social person. I love to talk on the phone. Yet, when I am at home in the evenings, the last thing I want to do is talk on the phone. When I am on the phone at home, I am trying to find a nice way of getting off. Inevitably, I'm on the phone for at least 30 minutes and have to fall asleep later because I still want to watch my TIVO'd shows!!! I have priorities, darn it :)

Apparently this is parent teacher conference week at most schools. April at It's All About Balance had her daughters parent teacher conference too. I had the big monkey's conference today. It went well. The teacher is quite strict and hard. The marks are 1-4 and this teacher gives very few 4's. We got used to receiving 4's in Kindergarten, so I had to explain to my upset child why she didn't get as many 4's as she normally does. My daughter did quite well but the teacher did bring up some things to work on. Funny enough, it's the same things I have to work on!!! Speaking before thinking, knowing her work but still looking around because she isn't confident in her work, etc... I guess those things are genetic. I just have to teach her to do what I haven't been able to master myself ;)

Tonight I am making chocolate Marble Biscotti (I will make the Jewish Jelly Rolls this weekend). The big monkey has a project due on careers (the project is due Friday - nothing like procrastination) and she chose to learn more about being a Pediatrician. So, we are off to see her pediatrician tomorrow and I wanted to make something to give her as thanks for seeing us.

I am also making my turkey stock from the leftover turkey carcass (heheheheh, I said ass). I have always wanted to do that and always ended up throwing the carcass (I said it again)away, but I thought what the heck. As an added bonus I can blog that I did it (the driver for 1/2 the things I do these days). It seems to have turned out fine. I'll probably take some to work tomorrow for lunch.

Why yes, there is a padded room with my name on it, why do you ask??? :)

I will post both the Biscotti recipe and "blog" the visit to her Dr's office on Thursday.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Feeling like I'm back in middle school

Normally, I can walk up to anyone and start talking about anything. I'm friendly with all the moms at the monkeys' dance class, with all the moms in school, with pretty much most people I meet. And I am the friend who will come up to anyone and start chatting.

At my Zumba class, there are two girls, who are also Russian. I would love to strike up a conversation with them and maybe become friends. I've chatted with some of the other women there, and they are very nice. For some reason, I am shy in front of these two. I think, from experience with my own kind, that these girls may be opinionated and may look down on me. So, why do I want to be-friend them? No clue. I feel like I'm in middle school all over again.

Tonight, I did come up to them and tell them how they could stream Zumba music (they had asked the teacher about it a couple of weeks ago in class) and they were nice enough but that was the end of the conversation.

I should take a page from the big monkeys book. According to her, she just comes up to people and says "Do you want to be my friend"? If they say yes, she plays with them. If not, she moves on.

I'm sure she gets hurt if they say no, but that doesn't stop her! I guess it's a matter of do as I teach, not as I do :)

Gratuitous photo of the big monkey:

Monday, December 1, 2008

You like me, you really like me :)

I got chosen for a Motherload Meme by Kim at Kim and Co. This is the first meme I've been chosen for, and I am pretty darn excited!


I am supposed to choose a post and take the first ten bloggers who commented on that post. Like Kim, I would be thrilled if 10 unique individuals commented on any one post. I have 11 posts on my I can be a normal mom post, but 1 is from me and Lana posted twice. So, I will borrow from another post for the last 2 bloggers to comment. Of course, it goes without saying, that I totally appreciate everyone who posts, and actually comes back and reads my blog more than once!

My 10 are:


1. Kim and Co - Makes me feel at home with her inclusiveness of fellow bloggers. Also, she just cracks me up. Like this post.

2. Moms without Blogs - Is TRULY a supermom in my eyes (and the most super thing is she knows she's not perfect).

3. The Kids did What?! - I love her stories about her 4 and 7 year old.

4. Get in the Car - Fellow nablopomo member who left a really nice comment.

5. LaTonya Yvette - Leaves really nice comments but doesn't have a blog herself.

6. Mommy in Pink - She says things that I only wish I could say.

7. A Girl's Guide to (fill-in-the-blank) - My favorite tales of dating in So Cal!

8. Soggy-Doggy-Blog - Love her sense of humor, especially in this post.

9. Jiggety Jigg - Absolutely loves Twillight! And uses her kids to pose as characters (gotta love that).

10. MAInfo - Always leaves amazing, well thought-out comments.

Part 2 - 10 Blogs, 15 questions:

What is your favorite post from #3's blog: The post from today - "Poo Poo Head" and "Pee Pee Head" - HAHAHAHAHAHAHA
Has #10 taken any pictures that have moved you: Yes. Her house was next door to a house that was burned down in the recent So Cal fires. The pictures are truly scary and make me appreciate the good things in my life.
Does #6 reply to comments on her blog: Yes
Which part of Blog land is #2 from: Los Angeles, CA
If you could give one piece of advice to #7 what would it be: You are an amazing girl and have an amazing sense of humor - the right guy is always where you least expect to find him (yes, I know the advice is cheesy).
Have you ever tried something from #9's blog: Not yet, but now I really want to see Twilight :)
Has #1 blogged something that inspired you: Kim inspires me daily, but more tangibly I am inspired to make JEWISH JELLY ROLLS. Probably this week.
How often do you comment on #4's blog: Not as much as I will since I just started reading her blog.
Do you wait excitedly for #8 to post: Of course, I wait excitedly for all my bloggy friends to post.
How has #5's blog changed your life: She really hasn't but has left some nice comments, which I do appreciate.
Do you know any of your 10 bloggers in person: I know Lupita from A Girl's Guide to (fill-in-the-blank).
Do any of your 10 know each other: I don't know. You tell me?
Out of the 10, which updates more frequently: Almost all updated almost daily, but dizzblnd at Soggy-Doggy-Bloggy updates the most frequently I think.
Which of the 10 keep you laughing: All - I loved to be entertained and all the blogs I read make me laugh.
Which of the 10 made you cry (good or bad) tears: Lee the MWOB Queen had an amazing guest blogger who posted about her daughters birth and the complications surrounding it.


Wow! That took a long time and made me really stand back and see the unique people I've become bloggy friends with ;)

If you want to pass this one, please feel free. If not I understand, it takes a long time :)


Side note: why is "blogger" and "bloggy" not in the blogger spellcheck - they keep coming up as misspelled words?!?!?!?!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

What a long strange month it's been

I started this month (less than 2 weeks after I started my blog) committing to posting each and every day. I joined NaBloPoMo for the month of November - and miraculously was able to keep the blog posting up. I completed the challenge! And...I signed up for December's challenge.

I have met so many great bloggy moms in this past month (virtually) and feel like I'm really a part of a community.

Yesterday, a friend came over with her daughter to play. It was 1pm and no one had eaten so I decided to make lunch.

The way I cook my Thanksgiving Turkey is to boil it (with onion, celery, carrots and peppercorns), breast side down, for 2-2.5 hours, flip it breast side up, remove most of the broth, smother with mayonnaise, and bake at 350 degrees for another 1.5-2 hours (this was for my 17 lb. bird). The bird turns out amazingly juicy, and beautifully brown.

Anyways, I keep the turkey broth from the bird, to use instead of chicken stock. It makes the most amazing stock. And I had leftover turkey, of course. So, I decided to make the most amazing Tortilla Soup from, of course, the Cooking Light Bulletin Board. If you click on to the thread, you will notice that this recipe is #1 on the Most Popular threads archive. For good reason, too! I just swapped out turkey stock and leftover turkey for chicken stock and chicken breasts.

Since I was in a hurry to put this on before our friends came over, I forgot to take a picture of my ingredients. The picture of the final product is from today (I had 2 bowls left over).

According to my girl-friend, "If I cooked this for my husband, he would buy me lots of jewelry". That's sounds like a resounding thumbs-up to me :) And the perfect way to use up left-over turkey without most people realizing it is turkey.

Tortilla Soup
6 tablespoons vegetable oil [I used 2 at most]
6 corn tortillas, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 diced tomato
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
3 bay leaves
6 cups chicken stock (I used turkey stock)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 to 6 cooked chicken breast halves, shredded (about 2 cups) (I used leftover Turkey)

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add tortillas, garlic, cilantro, and onion. Saute 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in canned tomatoes and diced tomato. Bring to a boil and add cumin, chili powder, bay leaves, and chicken stock. Return to a boil. Reduce heat. Add salt and cayenne. Simmer 30 minutes. Remove bay leaves and stir in turkey. Reheat.

Garnish with cheese, avocado, sour cream, and tortilla strips (we just used avocado).

Serves 6 (1.5 cup servings)


Saturday, November 29, 2008

I can be a normal mom

I am not the mom to do arts and crafts with my kids. I am not the kind of mom who chases butterflies through a field with her kids (like the woman who is free because she is wearing pads with wings). I am not the kind of mom who will walk along a block for a whole hour, delighting in her child stopping every two feet to look at a flower.

I am the kind of mom who would LOVE for my children to get so engrossed in a movie that they sit still for 1.5 hours (I'm still waiting for that day).

However, there is a weekly ritual I have with my kids that puts me in the "normal mom" or "good mom" category (yes, there is a person who puts moms in different categories ;)).

Since the big monkey was 2.5 years old, I have been taking her to the Calabasas Farmers Market. When the little monkey turned 3, she started coming with. They both know to stick by me and not to run away. They know which vendors we go to, and the vendors know the kids by name. In fact, the few times I go by myself, they ALL ask where the kids are and are upset that I didn't bring them.

I figured early on that if the monkeys saw fruits and vegetables in a fun setting, and got to help pick them out, that they would eat more fruits and vegetables. I don't know if our weekly outings had anything to do with it, but my monkeys are, in fact, lovers of fruits and vegetables. On any given Saturday you can see the monkeys chomping down on raw cucumbers, tomatoes, green beans, persimmons, Asian pears and other assorted fruits and vegetables.

And everything we buy is organic, which I am a big believer of.

A good friend of mine asked me "what's the deal with you and organic food?"

A long time ago, I read a number of studies that showed that pesticides and hormones in produce and meats have contributed in great part to girls going through puberty early. With my genes, my girls DO NOT NEED any help in that department. Therefore, we try to eat primarily organic and/or hormone free.

The funniest thing happen to me at the Farmers Market. I had been thinking about taking pictures of the Farmers Market for my blog but forgot my camera. So, we were at our favorite citrus vendor and up comes a woman to me and asks if she could take my picture for her....BLOG!!! My mouth opened so far down she must have thought I was a freak. I recovered and agreed. Apparently, this vendor uses bio-degradable bags and she was doing a blog post on these bags. I was so dumbfounded that I forgot to ask the name of her blog.

I'm hoping I can do a search and find it, since somewhere there is a picture of me putting citrus in to a bio-degradable bag at the Farmers Market.

So anyways, that's my one contribution to spending quality, wholesome time with my monkeys :) Whew - am I pooped!

Friday, November 28, 2008

The early bird gets the...zzzzz.....

Per my cell phone:
Friend 5:16am At Target in line. Mall on. Approx. 20 deep. Coming?
Me 5:17am You crazy. What time is it?
Friend 5:19am It's time for you to get your ass out of bed.
Me 5:19am OK.OK. I'll be there in 15.



This was my first Black Friday. It wasn't too bad. Of course, my friend had been in line since 4am, so I got to cheat a little bit and get there at 5:45am.

Who is more crazy? My friend for going that early, or me for agreeing to join her?!?!?!?!

So, I hit Target, Macy's, Toys R Us, Sports Authority, Bed Bath & Beyond (bought nothing), Talbot's (bought nothing) and Barnes and Nobles.

I got a 26 in. LCD for the little monkeys room, Play Doh, Princess Scooters, birthday gifts for a bunch of the monkeys friends, a GPS for my parents and an 11ft. Trampoline.

Thankfully, I drive a BIG ASS car :)

After I got home, and took a nap, I promised the monkeys I would take them to a movie.

BOLT was a GREAT movie. I absolutely loved it. The monkeys thought it was a bit long, but in the end they loved it too! I think the 4 year old might still be a little young to sit through a movie, but there is NO WAY the little monkey would let me take the big monkey somewhere without her. And if she found out afterwords, there would be HELL to pay!

Crazy woman I am, I am going out tonight to see a band (a friend from college is in a band).

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I am extremely thankful:

For this country...
Where I am free to "Pursue happiness" no matter what my religious, political or moral beliefs are.
Where people voluntarily get in a Best Buy line at 2pm to be the first when the doors open at 5am the next morning - instead of standing in a bread line for hours to get food to live.
For the immigrants who came before me, who paved the way for my family to escape religious and political persecution.

For my children...
For reminding me that there is a fine line between sanity and absolutely frickin' nuts!
Who don't take me as seriously as I take myself.
Who remind me that it's OK to be sad and mad - by teaching them I reinforce these lessons in myself.
Who I love more than anything else in this world - and who infuriate me at the same time!

For the 16 lb. turkey...
Who gave his life so I may stuff at least 4 of the lbs. in to my face in one sitting, and then pick at at least 1 more lb. throughout the rest of the day.
Who is responsible for me laying on my back, with my belly looking at least 5 months pregnant.

For my friends...
Who I know will always be there, via telephone, text, email, facebook or blogger, for me day or night!

HAVE A VERY HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Musings

Ask and once in a while you shall receive:
Today, I went to Nordstroms. I picked up boots I had purchased on pre-sale 2 weeks ago. The zipper clasp (not sure what it's called) was broken and so the store sent the boots out to be repaired. When I picked them up I wanted to try them on one more time. For some reason, the repair place had sealed the zipper shut or something (there are zippers on both sides of each boot). The sales lady took them in back and did something to unseal them. As I go to put them on, I notice a tiny tear (almost like a scissor went through it) in the under lining of the zipper part (it is the zipper guard or something). This part is never noticeable from the outside - it is on the other side of the zipper. I was OK with it. Of course, like the bargain shopper I am, I asked for an extra discount. I got it. Instead of paying 40% off the regular price, I got 50% off! I am so proud of me :)

You can spot grandma anywhere:
When I was a child, my grandma would follow me around and stuff my face with food whenever I would turn towards her direction! I could have a mouth full of food, but if I didn't swallow fast enough, she mould somehow push more food in to my mouth. At the big monkey's Thanksgiving party, one of the little boys had their grandma come. She was running after her grandson and stuffing his face with food. One of the items - chips drowned in ranch dressing! It's not like she was just pushing the vegetables. At one point, he ran in to a closet to escape her!! This grandma was Persian, I believe. The only relevancy this has on my observation is that maybe it is a "non-American" trait. MY mom does this to my kids, as does my mother-in-law. Yesterday, in the classroom, watching the interaction between that grandma and grandson, in that moment, I was transported back to my youth, and even though I don't miss her stuffing my face, I do miss my grandma.

Rain in LA:
I was talking to an acquaintance last night. I mentioned that I was going to Zumba tonight and asked she wanted to join me. She told me that it was supposed to rain tonight. She then asked me that if it did indeed rain, would I STILL go to class? Um, I don't melt. And I am not scared of the rain. I grew up in the bay area, and we had constant rain! But I understood her point. Here in LA, people don't go out in the rain!! I remember when I just moved here to be with my then boy friend (now husband), I wanted to go to the movies one night. His response, "No. It's raining". I was like, WTF??????? Really????? People in LA do not like to drive in the rain, and for the most part, do not know how to drive in the rain. Yes - the roads are rarely wet, so when they are, they get slick and dangerous. Yes - the right lane and left lane get flooded when there is more than 1 inch of rain. But still - it's just rain people!! I hope I never adopt this particular LA attitude.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Self Sabotage

Today was the big monkey's Thanksgiving party/lunch at school. I took a 1/2 day and was able to attend. It worked out well because after they had lunch they were dismissed for the day (Tuesday's are early days anyways).

At the lunch, the "entrees" were Chicken Nuggets and pizza. I offered to bring an entree, but apparently they figured my choice would have been too healthy (especially after I brought a fruit salad to Halloween). I was asked to bring go-gurts and water. Fine, no problem, see if I care :p

After the parents served all the kids, we were able to eat. Ummmmmm, I believe, and I could be under-estimating things, but I ate my body weight in Chicken Nuggets. They are my guilty pleasure. I will ALWAYS steal Chicken Nuggets from my kids happy meals (when grandma buys them, because I am way too perfect a mom to ever stop by McDonald's ;)).

Anyone want to buy a bridge????

Now we all know (hopefully) that these things are not healthy or low calorie! So why did I eat at least 20 of them? There were some vegetables and fruit available.

Why do I sabotage myself? I work out 3-4 days a week (2 days treadmill and 2 days Zumba), eat healthy for the most part and try to lead a healthy lifestyle (let's forgot for a moment the Vodka binge of Saturday night). So, knowing that Thanksgiving (my favorite gluttonous meal of the year) is coming up, why would I eat so much of something so bad for me?

No seriously, does anyone know why, and how to make it stop???????

Please note: This whole conversation will be repeated, in my head, on Thursday, after Thanksgiving dinner :)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Something Comforting

As some may have guessed, I spent Sunday recuperating. By 9pm, I was HUNGRY! And I felt like a nice light Asian soup.

On to the Cooking Light Bulletin Boards I went. I ended up with a fantastic, light recipe that took about 40 minutes from getting out the ingredients to eating. I had all the ingredients on hand (OK, fine, you caught me, I made a couple of substitutions) and it was super simple.

Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup
Cooking Light, MARCH 2001

Vietnamese cooking often calls for adding herbs and sauces to a dish at the end. More than just a garnish, these ingredients allow you to tailor the final product to your taste. Additional chili oil and fish sauce will, though, increase the fat and sodium.

4 cups water
1/2 cup sliced shallots (I used a 1/4 of an onion, thinly sliced)
1/4 cup minced peeled fresh ginger (I used about 2 tablespoons ginger powder)
5 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 large cloves)
1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 (15.75-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1/4 pound uncooked rice sticks (rice-flour noodles) or vermicelli
1 cup fresh bean sprouts (omitted)
2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (thought I had, but didn't, so used parsley)
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil (from my back yard
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh mint (used all my non-dead mint from the front yard, from the summer)
4 lime wedges (forgot to add)
Chopped hot red or Thai chile (optional) (didn't)
Fish sauce (optional) (didn't)
Chili oil (optional) (used sesame chili oil drizzled on top)





Combine the first 9 ingredients in a large Dutch oven; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until the chicken is done. Remove chicken from pan; cool slightly. Cut into bite-size pieces.
Cook rice sticks in boiling water 5 minutes; drain.
Divide chicken and noodles evenly among 4 large bowls. Ladle 2 cups soup into each bowl. Top each serving with 1/4 cup sprouts and 1 1/2 teaspoons each of onions, cilantro, basil, and mint. Serve with lime wedges; garnish with chopped chile, fish sauce, or chili oil, if desired.

Yield: 4 servings

CALORIES 346 (18% from fat); FAT 7.1g (sat 1.7g,mono 2.1g,poly 1.7g); IRON 2.6mg; CHOLESTEROL 141mg; CALCIUM 61mg; CARBOHYDRATE 29.1g; SODIUM 1279mg; PROTEIN 40.4g; FIBER 1.1g



I'm not the best photographer, but I think it it looks pretty good!