Monday, August 31, 2009


We had friends over tonight (and made a great chicken dish which I will post tomorrow) and the kids wanted Nestle Drumsticks.

There were 2 caramel, 1 vanilla and 1 chocolate. The big monkey gave friend 1 vanilla, gave friend 2 caramel and both monkey's had caramel. Friend 2 wanted chocolate instead of caramel(the flavor everyone wanted). I gave the chocolate to friend 2. The big monkey started crying that it wasn't fair and that she didn't really like caramel and that no one should get chocolate.

I explained that we're the hosts. The guests always get first pick, and sometimes that means that, as the hosts, we do without. I don't think she quite understood but she stopped crying. I also promised to buy her more drumsticks tomorrow and gave her a spoonful of Starbucks mocha ice cream to eat with her caramel drumstick. Crisis averted.

I was raised to believe that guests come first, and I am teaching that to the monkeys. However, more and more I'm seeing people teaching their kids that they don't have to be good hosts, and that what they want comes first. Am I just being old fashioned?

What do you guys think?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ups and Downs

In one day you can be the best parent AND the worst parent. Today, I was such a parent.

In the morning, I was the best mom:
We took the kids to visit the puppy we will be taking home in 6 weeks.

In the afternoon, I was the worst mom:
I was driving the monkeys to visit grandma and grandpa and talking on the phone at the same time. My big monkey got something in her eye. After I get off the phone she thanks me (her voice dripping with sarcasm) for, "Finally getting off the phone so you can take care of your child".

Oh , well! All was forgiven when they came home to find I had bought them shorts and bathing suits (if you have Nordstrom Rack near you they are having a GREAT sale).

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My Baby

Even thought graduation was last week, tomorrow is the little monkey's last day of pre-school. She's been there since she was 2 years old.

She's now 5, and lost her second tooth yesterday.

I can't believe she's going to Kindergarten in 2 weeks!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

School Supplies

I have a new article up at here.

It's about how to get school supplies for a fraction of the cost you would normally pay for them. I wasn't going to write the article because I figured that everyone knew about the back to school sales in August and September at stores like Staples, Walmart and Target.

Apparently not. This week alone I spoke to at least 10 parents who had no idea that you could get school supplies on sale and that every week new supplies are on sale! In fact, most of these parents pick one store, go in once and get all of their children's school supplies.

Their way saves time, my way saves on average $50! Plus, for me, it's the thrill of the bargain hunt :)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Couscous for a Crowd

I made the following for a friends BBQ I went to on Saturday. This recipe is SUPER SIMPLE, SUPER EASY, has ingredients that I usually keep in my pantry and looks SO pretty and COLORFUL!

Curried Couscous
Copyright, 1999, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, All rights reserved
Prep Time: 20 min Inactive Prep Time: 0 min Cook Time: 0 min
Level: Easy Serves: 6 servings

1 1/2 cups couscous
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup small-diced carrots
1/2 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup dried currants or raisins (I used dried cranberries)
1/4 cup blanched, sliced almonds
2 scallions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
1/4 cup small-diced red onion

Place the couscous in a medium bowl. Melt the butter in the boiling water and pour over the couscous. Cover tightly and allow the couscous to soak for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Whisk together the yogurt, olive oil, vinegar, curry, turmeric, salt, and pepper. Pour over the fluffed couscous, and mix well with a fork. Add the carrots, parsley, currants, almonds, scallions, and red onions, mix well, and season to taste. Serve at room temperature.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Wine Tasting

On Friday night I went to a great wine tasting - the wines were great and the location was very close to my house :) A wine store I go to, the Duke of Bourbon, has a number of tastings a year. Their "Hot August Nights" tasting is my favorite. I look forward to this line-up every year. The wines are from Napa (Napa is where I learned to love wine) and so I am quite partial wine from the region.

The panel consisted of (from left to right):
KR Rombauer - Rombauer Vineyards
The Duke (from The Duke of Bourbon) - Silver Oak/Twomey
David Phinney - Orin Swift Cellars
Phil Ross - Diamond Creek

The cheese plate is also yummy. There is Fontina, Brie and Extra Sharp Cheddar. Tasty rolls and grapes round out the food (much needed with the 15 bottles we tasted).

All of the wines were great, as always.

The 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2007 Zinfandel were my favorite from Rombauer.

We were pured 3 2007 Diamond Creek Cabernet Sauvignon's. Every time I took a taste, I decided that one was my favorite. It might be the Volcanic Hill, but I'm sure with another taste of each my allegiance would have wavered.

Yesterday post showed all 3 poured, and two of them on our table :)

The 2005 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley was the best vintage of Silver Oak I had tasted in a couple of years!

Orin Swift Cellars was the biggest surprise to me. I had never tasted their wines, and was really impressed.

The labels were all works of art, and had stories to tell (but by that time I don't remember all of the stories).

The 2006 Mercury Head Cabernet Sauvignon was good. The bottle has a mercury head dime on every bottle (we saw MANY table trying to take the dime off the bottle but they've got it stuck on their extremely well):

The 2006 Papillon (a Bordeaux blend) was very jammy with herby undertones. The label looks really cool and the wine is named for a butterfly the owners daughter pointed out:

The biggest, and most pleasant, surprise of this wine tasting, at least for me, was the 2007 Prisoner (another Zinfandel Blend). I am normally not a big fan of Zinfandel's, but this one was pretty darn amazing! Looking back on my notes, all I wrote was AWESOME!!

Overall, the wine tasting was entertaining and informative (KR Rombauer informed us that most wines were still good 12-14 days after opening the bottle).
What a great Friday night!

Friday, August 21, 2009


I'm way too "mellow" to post but I will leave you with this image as a preview for a future post:

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I Am Not Sentimental

My baby, my little monkey - she graduated from preschool today.

I was watching her concert and was in a weird way shocked to see that she was one of the big kids, one of the ones who was graduating. She was standing next to her best friend since birth (OK, fine, 3 months old), who she has been in preschool with since day 1, and was just marveling at how far they've come. I kept sneaking glances at his mom and seeing that she was thinking the same thing I was thinking.

As "unsentimental" as I am, I almost started tearing up during the ceremony/recital/concert. To think, my baby is all grown up and about to start Kindergarten. No more naps during the day (maybe now she'll fall asleep before 10pm), she will now take a back-pack with her, and she will be in the same school as the big monkey.

I definitely don't want more children, but there is something sad about knowing that the toddler years are officially over!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sunday Dinner

I was just talking to a friend and we were discussing her coming over for dinner. She made the comment, "but you have to cook for us" since she's heard that I cook well. I thought about it for a moment and realized that aside from picking up some side dishes (like pickles, cabbage, etc...) at the russian store, I cook 99% of the time when people come over.

If it's a last minute thing, I can order chinese food, etc... but when I invite people over, I cook. To me - that's a big part of the enjoyment.

On Sunday, the husband and I made dinner for ourselves and the monkeys. We didn't use and recipes. We made:

Salmon - the husband used salt, pepper, olive oil and covered the salmon filet in bay leaves and dill weed. Grill on a plank or salt tablet (which is what we used) and then discard the bay leaves and dill.

Heirloom tomatoes - I sliced them, added some salt, pepper, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Green/Yellow Beans - saute with a tiny bit of olive oil, salt, pepper, lawrys and lemon juice.

Spinach - saute fresh baby greens with a tiny bit of olive oil, salt, pepper, lawrys and lemon juice.

My secret to the vegetables - only cook them for about 3-5 minutes. They get warmed though but keep their crunch and flavor!

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Recently, in a large French city, a poster featuring a young, thin and tanwoman appeared in the window of a gym. It said:


A middle aged woman, whose physical characteristics did not match those of the woman on the poster, responded publicly to the question posed by thegym.

To Whom It May Concern:
Whales are always surrounded by friends (dolphins, sea lions, curious humans).. They have an active sex life, they get pregnant and have adorable baby whales.

They have a wonderful time with dolphins stuffing themselves with shrimp. They play and swim in the seas, seeing wonderful places like Patagonia, the Barren Sea and the coral reefs of Polynesia

Whales are wonderful singers and have even recorded CDs.

They are incredible creatures and virtually have no predators other than humans.

They are loved, protected and admired by almost everyone in the world.

Mermaids don't exist. If they did exist, they would be lining up outside the offices of Argentinean psychoanalysts due to identity crisis. Fish or human?

They don't have a sex life because they kill men who get close to them not to mention how could they have sex?

Therefore they don't have kids either.

Not to mention who wants to get close to a girl who smells like a fish store?
The choice is perfectly clear to me; I want to be a WHALE.

P.S. We are in an age when media puts into our heads the idea that only skinny people are beautiful, but I prefer to enjoy an ice cream with my kids, a good dinner with a man who makes me shiver and a piece of chocolate with my friends.

With time we gain weight because we accumulate so much information and wisdom in our heads that when there is no more room it distributes out to the rest of our bodies.

So we aren't heavy, we are enormously cultured, educated and happy.

Beginning today, when I look at my butt in the mirror I will think, Good gosh, look how smart I am.."

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I'm Breaking Down

First my teeth and now my shoulder....

Somehow, yesterday, while sitting on my ass, typing on my computer, I managed to pull a muscle in my shoulder! This has never happen to me before.

It hurts when I bend, it hurts when I straighten, it hurts when I move!

It is worse today. I got a massage, thinking that would help. NOPE! I didn't work out tonight but I did go to my gym and used the jacuzzi and sauna. Nothing is helping!

Hopefully I will magically wake up all better tomorrow!

I'm getting old. I'm breaking down! This sucks!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Meme and Award

The fabulous and extraordinary Quirkyloon picked me (I feel so popular) for the Premier Meme Award.

Before I can display the award, I must share with you seven personality traits and then pay it forward to seven others.

I am not as inventive as Quirky, who decided to list 7 reason Paris Hilton should be her new BFF, but I'll try :)

Seven Personality Traits (that I realized I have by watching my monkeys behavior and wondering where the heck they got those traits?!?!?!):

  1. The big monkey calls me today and says, "Mom. You said Stacee would pick me up at 10am. It's 10:03 and I'm still at home. Where is she?" I am a big stickler on time - I don't always have to be on time but if someone tells me they're going to meet me at a particular time, I will be pissed if they are two minutes late :)

  2. The little monkey asked me why I thought I knew more than her just because I'm the mom and she's the kid. Mind you, THE LITTLE MONKEY JUST TURNED 5! I don't care how old you are - respect can be easily lost if you are not a good person. Also, age is not a sign of intelligence.

  3. We have a pool, a trampoline, tons of games, a Play Station, etc... The monkeys are constantly asking me "where are we going next?" I can never sit still and do nothing (unless it's playing effing addicting Bouncing Balls on Facebook).

  4. The monkey's say hi to everyone - including the creepy people in the cars next to us. I am a very friendly and outgoing person and can find someone to talk to in any room.

  5. The big monkey is constantly looking for affirmation that what she's doing is right. Me too.

  6. The little monkey is not afraid of ANYTHING and jumps in with both feet. I spent 2 months in Israel (without any family) when I was 17 and back-packed by myself through Europe after graduating from college.

  7. Both monkeys have memories like elephants. The will remind us of everything we've told them we'd do, even in passing, that we ended up not being able to do. To this day, I still remind my parents about the time they took my sister to Disneyland without me (I was 5!).

I may as well give up now because I am FUBAR'd!!

7 great bloggers to pass this on to:
Joanie's Random Ramblings
My Journey
A Mom on Spin
A Girl in the South
Lucy's Life in Suburb World
Janana Bee
La Mom - An American Mom in Paris

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Wordful Wednesday/Thousand Word Thursday

Sunday the monkeys and their friend decided to open up this brush/paint set by crayola. They quickly realized that it would be much more fun to open up the tubes of paint, smear the tubes on to their hands, feet and bodies and go to town in the back yard.

The paint ended up in their hair, their ears, in the corner of their eyes, etc...

This was the only picture we got:

My two monkeys are on the right and on the left.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Blame it on the Teeth

For the first time in a long time, I didn't work out on a Monday. In fact, the last time I worked out was Wednesday night.

I'm telling myself that I shouldn't over exert myself so soon (5 days, but who's counting) after getting my wisdom teeth pulled. Of course, it doesn't matter that I was up and on my feet all of Saturday and Sunday, right?

Tonight I picked up the monkeys, came home, entertained their friends (and my friend - their mom), and since 8:30pm have done ABSOLUTELY NOTHING (except play that damn Bouncing Balls game on Facebook).

Tomorrow I will get back on the horse - exercise wise; because I know if I don't - 5 days can stretch to 10, can stretch to 20, etc...

But tonight - I'm just chillin :)

Sunday, August 9, 2009


I bought 2 watermelons before I got my wisdom teeth out. One was 15 lbs and I decided to crack it open today. Instead of eating it after dinner, in a fruit salad, I decided to look up some recipes.

I didn't take any pictures of the finished products, but trust me, they looked great, and tasted great as well.

Watermelon Mojito ( I made it non-alcoholic although it will be kick ass with the rum)
Recipe courtesy Sunny Anderson, 2009
Prep Time: 10 min
Serves: 4 servings

2 1/2 to 3 pounds watermelon flesh, pits removed
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup packed mint leaves, plus more for garnish
2 1/2 cups white rum (omitted, obviously)
1/4 cup agave syrup

In a blender (I used a food processor), puree watermelon, fresh lime juice and mint in batches until smooth. Strain into a pitcher (I omitted because I was lazy). Mix in rum and syrup. Serve in glasses filled with ice and garnish with mint leaves.


Watermelon Salsa
Adapted from (Sesame Chile Chicken with Gingered Watermelon Salsa, CL 6/05 )

2 cups diced seeded watermelon
1/4 cup diced yellow bell pepper (I used red)
2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger (omitted because I couldn’t find the ginger until after I completed the dish)
2 teaspoons mirin (sweet rice wine)
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (I used about ½ of the can of green chiles from Trader Joes)

Mix all together and chill until ready to serve.

So if you're over inundated with watermelon, try using it in some forms you normally wouldn't think of.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


I've realized I do not do well with drugs.

A couple of years ago, I was prescribed Vicadin when I was really sick. I took it once and was knocked ON MY ASS, and not in a good way. When I was getting ready to get my wisdom teeth out, the oral surgeon wanted to prescribe me Vicadin again. I passed on that and decided to go for the Tylenol with Codeine instead.

Everything was fine for the first 24 hours and then I realized that I was dizzy, nauseous and sleepy most of the time. I stopped taking the Tylenol with Codeine and almost instantly started feeling better.

This sucks! I can't even get loopy without bad side effects!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


We all have choices. Some are "right", some are "wrong", but for the most part we make them willingly (if somewhat be-grudgingly). These are the choices I made that have affected me today (as in Wednesday, not the "grand scheme of things" today):

  • I put off getting my bottom wisdom teeth taken out for many years - As such, I am going in tomorrow morning and getting them removed under general anesthesia (they're impacted and infected).
  • My Latin Jam class was cancelled so instead of going to the gym to do cardio I went to the grocery store - As such, I ended up doing my 30 Day Shred DVD at 11pm (be-grudgingly).
  • I am OBSESSED with the Bouncing Balls game from MindJolt on Facebook - As such, waited until 11pm to workout tonight.
  • I have over-scheduled myself, yet again, for Saturday - As such, I will have to email someone to tell them that I have to re-schedule (which I HATE doing).
  • I finally hired a contractor to paint some rooms in my house - As such, I have been coming home all week and thoroughly enjoying looking at my freshly painted walls (I love the colors I chose).
  • I decided to send the big monkey to speech therapy to correct her "R" and "S" sounds, even though most people told me she would outgrow it on her own - As such, she will be almost impediment free (if not fully) by the time she starts 2nd grade.

Looking back on my choices, some were good, some were poorly thought out/handled, but they were all mine to make.

I'm OK with that -for today. And tomorrow - I will be too doped up from the anesthesia to care ;)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


A friend of mine talked me in to being an Examiner. I am now the San Fernando Valley Working Moms Examiner. I've even put a button on my left side bar.

My first article was a re-print of my Fiddler blog post. My second article is up now.

We'll see how it goes :)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Help A Friend

I promised a friend I would post this:

So, I am going to get straight to the point. Each of you knows me as someone who is extremely passionate about wine (in addition to many other things) and I finally have a chance to do someone about it! PBS is currently casting for their Reality Show - The Winemakers, Season II to be held in the Rhone Valley in France. I have officially applied to be on the show and have just posted a video (2 minutes, per their instructions) to, which you will find below.'s the deal. They are going to pick 12 total contestants to be on the show, deciding upon 11 of them by themselves, however the 12th contestant will be chosen based on the amount of YouTube views that the applicant's video gets by August 7th. Make sense?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

They Have Pulled Me Over For Talking on a Cell Phone

but won't give me the time of day when I'm on the side of the road, at 10pm, miles between freeways on-ramp's with a 5 and 6 year old in the car!!!

The mini-vacation was great. Sea World was low key and fun, as always. Didn't feel the need to rush to see all the shows, since we've seen them before. Lego Land was REALLY fun! There are way more rides and attractions, and also more walking! Since the park was open until 9pm, we didn't feel as rushed as last time. We did a number of rides (including the great Dragon roller coaster) twice. The big monkey still held on for dear life, but the little monkey had her hands raised most of the time and re-affirmed my dreaded suspicions that she is FEARLESS (I AM IN SUCH BIG TROUBLE).

We left at 9pm, utterly exhausted and MORE THAN ready to make the almost two hour trip home. The husband had left earlier in the day to go back to work. Our friends stayed to try to get in one more ride at Lego Land.

15 minutes later I to heard a loud noise, which got even louder. Of course, I was in the left lane. I managed to pull over to the right shoulder and stop my car. I had a flat tire. In the middle of nowhere. I called AAA, who elevated the call to a priority and called the CHP. I wasn't about to take any chances with the monkeys in the car!!! I texted my friends to tell them what happen and told them which exit I had passed recently. About 15 minutes later they pulled up in front of me (which is very sweet considering 3 kids were in the car with them). The SUPER HELPFUL AAA woman stayed on the phone with me until AAA got there, about 30 minutes after my friends showed up (even though the original ETA was 15 minutes and it ended up taking them almost an hour to get there).

CHP - never arrived!! Apparently, they had better things to do than to protect a woman with 2 kids in a car that won't move in the pitch black dead of night on the side of a rode.

Luckily, everything turned out fine and we were home a little past 12am. Crappy way to end a pleasant vacation, but great blog fodder :)