Friday, July 31, 2009

Sea World

I actually took the slow route today. We got to Sea World early, got on some attractions quickly (even Ship Wreck Rapids had no line at 10:30am) and only went to the things we really wanted to see. At 5pm we came back to the room, played, swam and relaxed and got back to Sea World at 8pm for the night time attractions (the Riptide show was spectacular). We didn't see everything this time, but went at a pace that goes against my personality. We had a GREAT TIME!

Sea World has a great new deal (well, new to me). $30 gets you meals (entree, side or dessert, and drink) ALL day long, as often as you want. These meals are HUGE! For one meal we had a 1/2 chicken, fries, corn, carrot cake and a lemonade (I shared my meals with the monkeys). For a 2nd meal we had a shrimp and poached salmon salad, a side of grilled salmon and a drink. I also had coffee and fruit.

Considering how expensive amusements parks normally are, I'm very happy to have used our year long passes to go to Sea World (we got the buy a day in 2008 and get 2009 free) and the meal deal to eat.

There really are deals still to be found!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

San Diego

It's funny. We live much closer to Disneyland but haven't been there in YEARS (not since before the little monkey was born).

Now, San Diego on the other hand, this is our second time just this year! We have season passes to Sea World, and will go to Lego land as well.

We just arrived tonight and will go to Sea World tomorrow. Since we've been so much I MAY actually relax this weekend and not schedule anything out. Think I can do it?

Pictures to come since Wi-Fi is free at the Courtyard by Marriott :)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wordful Wednesday/Thousand Word Thursday

I still am not sure which day is which, but this is how my little one dressed HERSELF for pre-school yesterday:

Go Lakers :)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Sunrise, Sunset

This was the number I danced with my father to, at my wedding. "Do you love me?" is a running joke between a really good friends parents. The rest of the songs are ones that I can sing from memory.

I have no idea the first time I saw Fiddler on the Roof (the movie) but I have always known it to be the story of my people - the story of my culture and past.

This past weekend, I took my parents (who were in town for the weekend) and my in-laws to see the musical at the Pantages Theater. Topol was playing the lead role. He truly is Tevye, garnering an Academy Award nomination for the movie version in 1971. He is a living legend.

The musical was terrific - although it was a bit difficult seeing someone else play Golde to Topol's Tevye. By the end of the 1st half, the difference didn't even phase me.

Being a Russian Jew and an immigrant, the story really resonates with me. How do you reconcile tradition, culture and faith with acceptance of all people? How do I teach my kids that it really would be better to marry someone Jewish (and preferably Russian) when I have so many friends of all different cultures and beliefs?

These were the things that were going through my mind during the show, and afterwords.

I didn't take my monkeys to this, but I think it's a great show for kids 11 and older (and depending on their maturity level, of course).

If you are Jewish, actually any immigrant, this is truly a musical you have to experience, even once. And with Topol in the lead role, he is the perfect actor to guide you through the story.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Is What It's All About

When we were getting married, I was SO worried that everything HAD to be PERFECT. The food, the flowers, the band, the ceiling (we covered it with tulle), if he guests were having a good time, etc...

I spent so much time worrying about what could go wrong (aside from the fact that my husband badly twisted his ankle the night before the wedding and was on pain meds during the wedding) that I didn't really get to FULLY ENJOY my wedding.

These people REALLY have the right idea. To them, the wedding was a huge party that was all about pleasing themselves.

All of us can learn something from them:

This is the video that's sweeping the nation:

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Ummm, ok....

So I am checking out this great website on saving money called Feed The Pig. There are actually some great tips on there, and it is co-sponsored by the AICPA (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants). And then, I found this:

The section is titled Habit-Breaking Help . The sub-section is Happy Hour .

In order to develop your budget, keep all of your receipts for a month or two. That way you can get a realistic sense of where you are in your current spending.

An Easy Start
If you go out, order water with your drink and alternate to make it last twice as long. OK - this one I kind of agree with - it does make your drinking last longer, and makes you exercise by going to the bathroom every five minutes due to the amount of water you're drinking.

Diving In
Have happy hour at home before you go out. Really? Are you advocating drinking at home and then DRIVING somewhere else????
Make a happy-hour calendar and only go to bars that offer specials. (You might find cheap eats too!) All happy hours have specials - that's why they're called "Happy Hours". Otherwise it would just be called "going to a bar".

Super Saver
Learn to appreciate less pricey drinks - curb your snobbery! Most Happy Hour specials are on "well alcohol".
Every once in a while opt for a soft drink, tea or juice OK - this is no longer called "Happy Hour". It's called "being the designated driver and watching your drunk friends laugh at things that REALLY aren't funny at all"

Other than that, the tips are GREAT ;)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I am a series of opposites/oddities/etc...

  • Today I went to Staples and got the Free Backpack (a really cool Swiss army one actually), a free set of mechanical pens, a free mechanical pencil sharpener, free gel pens, and a free tape dispenser and will end up make money on the whole purchase due to my Staples Rewards card.
  • Yesterday I paid $88 in late fines to the LA Public Library for 4 books the kids checked out.

I am so coupon conscious with what I buy but then let things go unpaid and incur fees. Or I will think twice about a $10 item and then buy a $100 item without a second thought.

Then I have a friend that will spend $20 on laundry detergent and trash bags (I always make sure I have a stockpile that I paid minimally for) but gets pissed when she incurs a $1.20 late fee.

If only we can make both of us diligent about everything :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

She Did It Again

The big monkey started a new activity in camp this week - Basketball! Mind you, my husband played ALOT of ball in school and the big monkey is 4'3" at 6.5 years old. I had no worries.

The big monkey gets in the car after camp yesterday:

Me - So, how was basketball?
Her - I SUCK!

Inner dialogue - holy crap! where did she learn the word SUCK from? Try not to laugh, try not to laugh...

Me - I'm sure you don't suck.

WTF??? Is this the summer where the big monkey goes from 6 years old to 13 years old in 3 months???

Monday, July 20, 2009

So This is Why I am Tired

I realized one of the reasons I get so tired. Since Saturday morning I have been to the following stores:

The Calabasas Farmers Market - I get all my Fruits and Veggies there
Rasputin Russian Market - I get my cold cuts for sandwiches, Russian candy, pickles, etc... there
Greenlands Korean Market - I get marinated kalbi beef, rice (they even have organic), green onions (we were BBQing) there.
Henry's Market - new market that opened up with some great sale items (like $.88 cherries, pineapples, etc..) and really great seafood (scallops, shrimp, salmon, etc...).
Ralphs - I get some organic produce and non perishable products with coupons there.
Pavillions/Vons - I get some organic produce and non perishable products with coupons there.

I guess my friend wasn't exaggerating when she said the following:

"My daughter loves the food at your house. I'm glad she's eating (she's very picky), but now thanks to you I have to go to 5 different stores"

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Random Thoughts

It's Sunday evening and my brain is fried (well, the fact that it's Sunday and the fact that it was over 100 degrees today). So, I can only do Random Thoughts:

  • My in-laws promised the monkeys that they would bring their other grandchild to our house today so that the kids could play (without asking me first of course). They decided not to come over so I had monkeys all day asking me when their cousin was going to come over.
  • This weekend I ATE. And ATE. I LOVE birthday celebrations but it is SOOO hard for me to stop eating good food.
  • Why can't men understand that women like being the center of attention - WHY YES, I WOULD HAVE WANTED A CANDLE IN MY LAVA CAKE AND THE WAITERS SINGING ME HAPPY BIRTHDAY even if you would have hated it!
  • I will never again buy a FANCY four cheese blend to make a kids pizza with - apparently it smells like throw up (insert rolling eyes emoticon here).
  • My friend is a GREAT mom - after getting stung by a bee in out pool she offered to go outside and swat away another bee. I AM NOT that good of a mom - I would have made the kids leave the pool.
  • I am looking forward to Sunday nights on HBO - what a GREAT season of Entourage so far.
  • I LOVE Facebook - it allows you never to miss birthdays. Also, getting ~40 Happy Birthday messages on FB rocks - I felt special ALL day/weekend!!
  • Friends that are more like family that friends, that you have had for over 20 years, should not be allowed to only congratulate you on Facebook - they also need to CALL!

To one of my BFFs whose Birthday is tomorrow - I love the fact that we are friends and that I can count on you for anything (except if I call and tell you that I saw Jake Gyllenhaal, because then you would hang up on me, you hater ;) ). Have an amazing year!!!

Friday, July 17, 2009

We're Not Getting a Dog This Big :)

This is hilarious:

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Glimpses of The Future

The big monkey and I were in the car yesterday and had the following conversation:

Me: You're so pretty
Big Monkey: No I'm not
Me: Yes you are. Don't people tell you all the time?
Big Monkey: They do, but I'm not pretty
Me: Why do you say that?
Big Monkey: I hate the freckles on my face
Me: I used to have lots of freckles too
Big Monkey: You don't now
Me: I have more freckles than you on my arms, see??
Big Monkey: We're not talking about you. We're talking about me...

How do you argue with that logic from a 6 year old??? I am so screwed when she's a teenager.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I am Sore

On Monday, I worked out to the 30 Day Shred by Jillian Michaels. It was 20 minutes long and KICKED MY ASS!!

Yesterday, I felt slightly sore, and was pretty surprised because 20 minutes of exercise should not make me sore. In fact I'm almost NEVER sore. I even went to Latin Jam last night and was fine.


I am so effing sore that I am walking funny. Apparently, it takes two days to kick in. It even hurt to sit down! I still went to Latin Jam tonight but didn't have as much of a spring in my step.

I'll do the 30 Day Shred again the next time I don't take an exercise class. I am sold - those are some powerful 30 minutes.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

My People

If a bunch of my moms friends decided to sing Britney Spears, or if I was at a Russian Restaurant, the sounds coming out of those singing would be almost identical.

However, my moms friends and the people at the Russian Restaurant dress much more sexy ;)

I am so proud:

Бабки поют Бритни Спирс (Old ladies sing Britney Spears)

Monday, July 13, 2009

It Does Everything but Lose Weight For Me

Today I bought this scale:

It measures so many different things (like bone density, water level, etc...) that it practically loses the weight for me. Sadly, I must actually lose the weight myself.

I did not go to the gym today. I tried Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred DVD instead. I think I will try to do it on the days I don't workout by going to the gym or to Latin Jam (today I didn't get home with the monkeys until 8:30pm and was too tired to go to the gym).

It won't be 30 continuous days of her shred program, but will get me working out more than I have been. I am also counting on it to rev up my system by changing part of my workout. I can safely say that I was SWEATING by the time those 20 minutes were up, and I did level 1 (out of 3). I'll report back on my progress.

The last piece is my diet. I will continue on that path tomorrow.

Over Labor Day we are going on vacation to a resort in Napa. I will be in a bathing suit for 5 days with people who have known me since I was the monkeys' age.

This is the 6 week push to that event. Does anyone else want to challenge themselves to a 6 week fitness goal?

I will post my progress here. Please keep me accountable.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I Just Need To Get A Few Things

And so it starts :)

Last night I went to Target. For me at least, it's where I know I'll find a lot of cheap stuff, but will spend a ton of money!

First stop, the dollar spot! Certain items are 50% off, making then 50 cents. So I stock up on kids nail polish, stickers, little puzzles, workbooks, etc...

Then I REALLY needed Ziploc bags and was too lazy to sort through my coupons (it killed me to pay more than $1.50 but the big monkey needed something to put her sandwich in for camp).

Then the real reason I was there - a new lunch bag for the big monkey. She lost hers towards the end of the last school year and I never had time to replace it. So, I got her a cute new lunch bag and a small blue ice to keep things cool in this summer heat (in 90s).

Then I stopped by the exercise DVDs. I had been searching for the 30 Day Shred after reading how great it was on a number of blogs. They finally had it, so in that goes too. I will hopefully start it this weekend.

Wait a second, back to school supplies are already out in full force! Holy Shit - summer JUST started!!

So I decide to look at the summer clearance items. I ended up getting 6 of these chairs (2 were for a friend) for $3 each:

Aren't they cute - and even if they only last one season, who cares, they were $3!!!

After going in for one lunch bag, I walked out with two bags of stuff and 6 folding chairs. Just another shopping trip to Target :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Over Scheduling

I was talking to a friend today and we were discussing a mutual acquaintance, who constantly over schedules herself. She has drinks with one friend, dinner with another and then goes dancing with a third. I commented that she needs to stop scheduling so much all the time.

Then I realized - I am no different. I always have to have plans, and if I don't I get antsy. I thrive on knowing what's next. I check my watch constantly, even if I am having a GREAT time. My monkeys are inheriting this trait from me. They are like the energizer bunny on speed!

Today the big monkey had camp until 3pm. She had ballet at 4pm, flamenco at 5pm and hip hop at 6pm. The little monkey had preschool until 4:45pm. Broadway Jazz at 5pm. Both had swimming at 7:15pm. They love being over-scheduled. To them, it's just right. Granted, today was an anomaly and there normally won't be so many activities in one day, but SHEESH!

The minute they ask me to slow it down I will.

I was talking to a co-worker and he told me that most people don't do as much for their kids as I do for mine. I'm actually not sure if he meant it as a compliment or put down.

Now for my question:

Am I a typical mother? Do most kids have 2-3 activities a week? Do I do more for my kids than other parents? Do I do less?

Monday, July 6, 2009


I failed at doing nothing this weekend.

On Friday, friends came over and the monkeys swam for 5 hours. Then I went to a couple of grocery stores (like the Korean market, yum!) with a friend. At night, a good girl friend came over and we had dinner.

On Saturday, we went to the monkeys friends house in the afternoon. The monkeys swam for 4 hours. In the evening, we went to the park, had a picnic with friends and watched the fire works.

On Sunday, we swam at home in the morning. In the afternoon, we went to another friends' house. The monkeys swam for another 5 hours.

I didn't get to do nothing, but I did eat my weight in food, had great sangria that I made at friends' houses and enjoy some great company.

All in all, a GREAT weekend. However, one of these weekends, I definitely just want to do NOTHING!!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July

These are the monkeys on our way to a friends house today during the day. Tonight we went to see the fire works. No true time for myself yet but this weekend sure hasn't been dull!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Stir-Fried Shrimp with Spicy Orange Sauce

Friends came over today to swim (well, the monkeys and their friends swam while the moms and I gossiped) so I made lunch.

I got another great recipe off of Mom's Cooking Club and thought is would be the perfect one dish meal.

Because thee were four adults, three pre-teens and 5 kids, I bulked up the dish by doubling the pasta, adding a 1/2 lb. more of shrimp, doubling the sauce and adding mushrooms, asparagus, patty pan squash and yellow squash to the mix.

Everyone loved it!

Stir-Fried Shrimp with Spicy Orange Sauce
Cooking Light
August 2007

Neutral-tasting canola oil allows the flavors of orange juice, honey, ginger, and chiles to shine. It can also withstand the heat of stir-frying in this tasty take on sweet-and-sour shrimp. Serve over rice or udon noodles.

1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined large shrimp
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chile paste with garlic (such as sambal oelek)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup chopped green onions (omitted)

Place shrimp in a medium bowl. Sprinkle with cornstarch; toss well to coat. Set aside.
Combine juice, soy sauce, honey, vinegar, and chile paste, stirring with a whisk; set aside.
Heat canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add minced ginger and garlic to pan; stir-fry for 15 seconds or until fragrant. Add shrimp mixture; stir-fry for 3 minutes. Add juice mixture and onions; cook 2 minutes or until sauce thickens and shrimp are done, stirring frequently. Serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 3/4 cup)

CALORIES 301 (30% from fat); FAT 10g (sat 1.1g,mono 4.6g,poly 3.2g); IRON 4.4mg; CHOLESTEROL 259mg; CALCIUM 103mg; CARBOHYDRATE 16.8g; SODIUM 621mg; PROTEIN 35.3g; FIBER 0.5g

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Three Day Weekend

As much as every fiber of my being fights me on putting relaxation over the kids, tonight I let the kids play with the baby sitter and took a two hour nap!! I am trying to stop feeling bad about blowing them off :)

This weekend will be a lot of family time, but I plan on taking some me time too. I have been promising myself I would clean out my closet and chest of drawers for almost a year now. Hopefully this will be the weekend to do so.

I also want to go to the gym and lay around and do nothing.

This blog can be a great way to keep myself accountable :)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

My favorite tool

Not sure what to write about today so I thought that I would blog about one of my favorite kitchen tools. It's called the Vidalia Onion chopper. It's one of those "As Seen on TV" items. I bought mine at Bed, Bath and Beyond and used a 20% off coupon. It ended up costing me $16 dollars. I use it ALL THE TIME.

It chops anything and everything. Quickly, easily and without tears (for onions). I can dice (both fine medium) pretty much anything in seconds. I even use the fine dice feature for garlic. It saves me so much time during prep, that I can get many 30 minute meals completed in 20 minutes :)

Here are some pictures:

If you cook AT ALL, I definitely recommend you get one.