Wednesday, February 13, 2019

February Fun: Bacon Nutella Poptarts

In San Diego, February is museum month!  All the San Diego libraries have museum pass booklets that give you 50% off at most San Diego museums.  It couldn't come at a better time.  February is so cold and rainy here, that museum days are the perfect ways to fill the weekend.

Last Saturday Thatkid's baseball game was cancelled because of the rain.  Which happens every year. with most of his early games and practices.  We took advantage of the lack of plans to head over to the Natural History Museum, or as we call it here, "The Nat."

The Nat is one of the boys' favorite museums.   They absolutely love the dinosaurs.

But one of the reasons I wanted to bring them back to The Nat, was the new "hidden gems" exhibit.  Because my kids LOVE gems and minerals.  They'll spend forever going through their own rock collections, opening geodes, and hanging out in the gem and mineral exhibit at the fair.

The kids also love the 3-D movies.  This trip we saw one about the Wonders of the Arctic. 

We made a quick stop in the gift shop, with the intention of picking up another rock or two to add to their collections, when I saw this.:

It's a pterodactyl that you can actually wear!  I thought it was so neat, that I completely caved on my "no stuffed animals" rule and let Thatkid get it.  Of course that meant that I had to let Thatbaby pick out a new stuffed animal too.

The museum passes are good for the rest of the month, so I'm excited to hit some more up.  But Museum Month isn't all February has to offer. Tomorrow is Valentine's Day!  We're just about ready for it here, and despite the fact Thatbaby keeps asking me to buy him a chocolate heart, none of my Valentine plans include chocolate.

Before you feel too sorry for my poor, chocolate-less kids, know that they get plenty of chocolate other times.  Like last weekend when I made homemade poptarts - filled with nutella!  And while my kids may not be getting them for breakfast tomorrow, there's no reason you can't surprise your Valentine with these sweet treats!

Bacon Nutella Poptarts
4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 1/4 tsp salt
3 sticks butter
1/4 cup coconut oil
3 eggs
1/2 cup nutella
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp lemon juice
4 strips cooked bacon
  1. Combine flour, white and brown sugar, 2 tsp salt, butter, coconut oil, and 2 eggs in an electric mixer.  Mix on medium until combined.
  2. Add 1/2 cup water to batter and mix on low speed for 1 minute until dough begins to stick together.  Increase speed and mix until dough is smooth.
  3. Divide dough in half and flatten each half into a disk.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 375. Flour a large work surface and roll out one of the disks into a 1/4 inch thick rectangle.  Cut the larger rectangle into 8 smaller rectangles and place the smaller rectangles on a baking sheet lined with a silpat.
  5. Make an egg wash with the remaining egg and a pinch of salt.  Use this to brush the rectangles.
  6. Spread 1 Tbsp of nutella in the center of each rectangle.
  7. Reflour your work surface and roll out  and cut the remaining disk the way you did with the first.
  8. Place each of these rectangles on top of the rectangles on the baking sheet.  Seal edges by crimping with a fork.
  9. Brush with the egg wash.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.  Cool completely.
  10. While the poptarts are cooling, mix the confectioners' sugar with 1 Tbsp of the milk and the lemon juice until it forms a paste.
  11. Add the remaining Tbsp of milk and stir until smooth. 
  12. Once the poptart is cool, spread the frosting on top.
  13. Crumble bacon on top of the frosting.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Mommy Mondays: In the Night

Mommy Mondays have been a little quiet around here - which goes along with the fact that having a second child means you've already dealt with anything they can throw at you, but also because Thatkid is getting to the age where I'm trying to respect his privacy by not sharing "stories that aren't mine."  He doesn't need his issues memorialized on the internet where everything lasts forever.

However, lately in my own corners of the internet I've seen certain issues that keep popping up, and certain advice that keeps circulating which is not of the true or helpful variety.  So without going into too much detail about why I have become an expert on the topic in the past year, I thought I would share some stuff I've learned in the hopes that maybe it'll help another mother out - which was always the goal of these Mommy Mondays to begin with.

So let's talk about wetting the bed or enuresis.  We've had a very unusual path in this department, that no one I know has gone through, so if you think your child is doing something weird - I'm here for you and happy to share more details privately.  This has happened to me once and I know that mom was so thankful that someone got where she was coming from. 

There are 2 types of enuresis: primary and secondary.

Almost everyone you know (and probably even you!) has experienced primary enuresis.   That's your typical "I'm not quite potty trained" bedwetting.  When they're great during the day when they're aware they have to go, but not so great when they're asleep.  Secondary enuresis is when your child, who hasn't had an accident in years, starts suddenly wetting the bed.  There's always a medical cause for that, so if that's going on, contact your pediatrician.  Today, we're just going to focus on primary enuresis - which affects more children.  (Although, as before, if you're dealing with secondary enuresis and want to chat - I'm here for you.)

 Lately I've been hearing so many moms complaining about this, and asking for how to "night train" or how to get their child to stop doing this.  And then comes all the really really really bad advice. 

So let me break this down for you.

There is no such thing as "night training."  Primary enuresis is completely not within anyone's control.   Not yours, not your child's.   It's controlled by hormones.  That's right.  Pesky little hormones.

Anti-Diuretic Hormone (ADH) is the hormone that regulates urination.  At night, the brain increases this hormone which slows down urine production, for most of us to a complete stop.  Which is why most of us are able to sleep through the night without getting up to pee.  But, like most hormones, this one doesn't kick in right away.  And it doesn't kick in for everyone at the same time.  So for some children, this hormone starts regulating urine production at 3, and for others maybe not until 13. 

What does all this mean? That means that until this hormone kicks in, nothing you do is going to stop your child from urinating at night.  No praise, no reward, no punishment.  They physically cannot stop themselves from urinating.

And let's talk about the most famous advice out there - "Just limit their liquid intake in the evenings."  I'm including this part because I've been lucky enough to get to visit with a pediatric urologist who told me this is the bane of his existence.  He hates this advice, because not only is there no relation between limiting fluid and bedwetting, but because it can be really dangerous for kids.  If your body is going to make urine at night, it's going to be using whatever fluid is in your body from the day, which you need!  Kids especially need water because they're doing all that growing and learning.  The doctor said that parents who do this often find it doesn't work, and then keep restricting liquid earlier and earlier, and kids are only awake for so many hours a day - again, needing water for their growing bodies during those waking hours.

The other advice that is oft given out that he hates?  "Wake them to use the toilet before you go to bed."  This actually trains your child to go at that specific time.  Now remember how we talked about the fact the hormone doesn't kick in for some kids until they're teenagers?  Well, in less you want to wake up your children for potentially years, you're pretty much guaranteeing a bedwetting at that exact time.  Good times!

So what do you do?  Wait it out.  It will happen.  Nighttime diapers, pullups, and all sorts of specialty underwear exist.  Reassure your child that this is normal and will not last forever.  And reassure yourself that this is normal and will not last forever!

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Sunday Runday: The Year Ahead

The past 2 years I've been working on my 10k time, until I finally was able to get it down under an hour.

So this year the plan is to start working on my half marathon time.  I'd love to get it down under 2 hours.

Which is a lot more daunting.

So I'm taking baby steps.

Before Thatbaby was born, this was a much less daunting task.  The last half I ran before getting pregnant was 2:17.  Dropping 17 minutes isn't easy, but it's a lot easier than where I am now.

I never really got my speed back after Thatbaby was born.  Which is a funny thing to say given that my 10k speed improved!  So maybe it's my endurance than never came back?   In any case, my half marathon time has gotten REALLY REALLY slow.

So my first goal?  Get back to under 2:30. 

From there, it's to try to get back to 2:17.

And after that?  Well, then we can talk about under 2 hours.

And the best way to run a faster half marathon is to run more half marathons.  So I'm forgoing some of my favorite 10ks that I've found in favor of running more longer races.  I've got 5 half marathons on the books for this year, which is more than I've ever run in a single year!

Next week is the first one - but it's really just a chance to warm up my legs to the distance, because you guys?  It's a TRAIL HALF MARATHON.  And we all know I don't run trails for speeds.  So it's going to take me a million hours to complete, but 13 miles is 13 miles and these legs need to get used to 13 miles again, and again, and again.

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Disney on Ice: Jalapeno Bacon Popcorn

Winter sport season has begun! Thatkid is doing baseball again (I know it's a spring sport everyone else, but here in San Diego we start it in January - and then don't play for weeks because YES IT RAINS HERE PEOPLE.)  We thought Thatbaby would want to follow in his brother's footsteps now that he's old enough to play, but he chose a very different path.

Ice skating!  He has really taken to ice skating in a way I never would have imagined.  Thatkid was very timid on the ice at first, but Thatbaby has no fear and jumps (literally) right on. 

In an attempt to try and embrace his newfound love, I got us all tickets to see Disney on Ice - Dare to Dream.  It's the newest Disney on Ice performance, featuring Moana, which both my kids love.

In an attempt to stave off overpriced souvenirs, I ordered some cheaper versions from Amazon that I gave them the morning before the show so they were still shiny and interesting.

The best part of these kind of shows are the light up souvenirs, so I those were the kind I ordered.  These light up Maui hooks cost me $20 from Amazon and they were being sold for $40 at the show.

My second save-some-money move was to get our tickets from Goldstar.   I use Goldstar a lot for tickets because they're usually at least half off.  These seats, right at the front of the section, which gave us an unobstructed view, were $22 a piece, but after I contacted them about the fact that it didn't seem cheaper than regular price, they knocked them down to $17.  Their customer service is fantastic. 

The performance started off with a guest appearance by Miguel and his guitar.  He strummed us "Remember me" before breaking into his acclaimed hit "Poco Loco."  My kids love Coco, so this was a really fun way to start the show.

Of course, Mickey and Minnie and our other costumed friends showed up next.

Disney princesses are a big part of Disney on Ice, and this show is no different.  It began with a condensed retelling of Beauty and the Beast.

Next came Cinderella.

The part I was most looking forward to was Tangled.  Not that I love the movie, but because it promised an amazing aerial performance.  It did not disappoint.

While the boys liked the first act, they are, in general, less interested in the older Disney stories.  They didn't grow up with them and I'm not even positive they've seen Cinderella or Tangled.

Act II however, had them on the edge of their seats, with two of their beloved favorites.  First, Frozen.  Thatbaby since Let It Go on constant repeat.  To be more accurate, he sings the chorus of Let it Go on constant repeat.

And Olaf is one of his all time favorite Disney characters.  Enough that he even has an Olaf costume.

Then came Moana, which might be their current favorite Disney movie. 

They especially loved waving their glowing hooks at Maui.


And Shiny was a discoball studded extravaganza.

The show ended with all the characters coming out and dancing together.

Since we saved money on souvenirs and seats, everyone got to pick a special snack for the show.  The fun thing about the snacks at Disney on Ice is that they come with their own souvenirs.  Thatbaby's cotton candy came with a Pua hat.

And Thatkid's snowcone came in a Mickey cup.

As for me, I got popcorn in a souvenir bag.  Because there's nothing like popcorn you get at events - movies, sporting events, Disney on Ice.  It's just so buttery and salty.  Really, there are very few popcorns I don't like.  It is my all time favorite food.  I love it so much that I even made it to eat during the Superbowl.  But rather than buttery saltiness, this one was bacony-jalapenoey.  Seems fitting for a sporting event right?  I actually removed all the seeds from this version, so I could share with the kids, and Thatkid was VERY thankful.  He called it the best popcorn he's ever had.

Honestly, cooking popcorn in bacon?  He's not so far off.

 Jalapeno Bacon Popcorn
5 strips applewood smoked bacon, diced
1 jalapeno sliced (with as many seeds removed as you'd like - remember, the more seeds, the spicier it'll be!)
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
grated parmesan cheese
  1. Cook bacon over medium heat in a large pot until crispy.
  2. Add jalapeno slices and cook for 2 minutes until soft.  Remove jalapeno and bacon from the pot.
  3. Add popcorn kernels and toss to coat.  Cover the pot.  When the popcorn starts popping, shake the pot back and forth until the popcorn is done popping.  Remove from heat.
  4. Add the jalapeno and bacon back in to the popcorn.
  5. Toss the popcorn with parmesan cheese and salt to taste.

Sunday, February 03, 2019

Sunday Runday: Legoland Marathon Mile

First race of the year!

But not for me.

Well, not really.

The kids love the Legoland race, so I signed them right up.  It's always a fun way for them to start the year.

Of course, this year, I woke up and immediately knew I was running a fever.  Y'all, I can't remember the last time I ran a fever.  I adore Thatboy, but the man HATES getting up early.  And he HATES leaving the house early even more.  So of course he jumped on my not feeling well, suggesting we skip the race, rather than volunteering to take the boys himself.

So like any good mother (seriously, no sick days allowed), I sucked it up and got us all dressed and out the door for the race.  And then I napped in the car while Thatboy brought the boys around to vendors.  Carls' Junior was there, handing out free drinks and their new "Beyond meat burgers" which both boys really liked and chose over the free Chik Fil' A sandwiches which were also being offered.

A little before the race started I met up with the boys and snapped a couple of quick pictures before we split up again.

The race divides kids up by ages.  I stayed with Thatkid, who wanted to run the race.  Thatboy was more than happy to walk the race with Thatbaby in the stroller.

Each age is brought up to the start separately, in their own wave.  As Thatkid gets older, there are less and less age groups in front of us to wait for.  Before too long we were escorted up to the start line.

Thatkid made his way to the very front with the other kids who were itching to run.  We received several warnings that because of the rain, there was a new course and they asked us to PLEASE not run - but move carefully through the wet park so no one got hurt.  You can see how well these kids were prepared to listen to these admonitions.

Then the race started, and I promptly lost Thatkid.  Whatever virus was in my system was making me a not quick running companion.  Add to that, I noticed that the child who was standing next to us in the corrals was lying on the ground just past the start line.  I figured I wasn't catching up to Thatkid anyway, so I helped him off the course and waited with him until his parents caught up to where we were.

Then I made my way through the park, with the hopes of catching Thatkid on his way back.  (Plus then I could cut across and not run the whole thing).  I managed to find him in Mini-land, just before the turnaround, waiting for me.   We finished the run together, although he took off for the last leg.

And then we began the long wait for Thatboy and Thatbaby.  They had the double disadvantage of being in the last group (4 and under) and walking the entire race, so we were there for a while.  When we finally spotted them, Thatkid ran to meet up with his brother and run across the finish again with him.


The boys were so glad to take part in this race again.  It's the perfect distance for them, and so fun for them to run with so many other kids.  Even Thatbaby loves it, and he doesn't even run the thing!

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Snow Trip: Penne with Jalapeno Penne

A couple of weeks ago, Thatbaby was telling Thatboy that the only thing missing from his holiday was snowman building.  He really wanted to build a snowman at Christmas, if not this year than next year.  Well, living in San Diego, building a snowman isn't really a possibility.  And Christmas-ing in San Francisco is likewise antithetical to his desires.

But we thought maybe we could sneak some snowman building in anyway.  Especially with reports of a huge winter storm making its way to us.  Here in San Diego that meant a full week of pouring rain in 40 degree weather, which usually means snow in higher altitudes.  So I booked us a cabin in Idyllwild and crossed my fingers for bad weather.

Unfortunately, despite the storm, and cold weather down here, it didn't actually get cold enough to snow in Idyllwild.  Undeterred we spent the first day walking around town a little bit and grabbing wood for our cabin's fireplace.  Y'all - I miss a fireplace!

And then...the next day...we found snow!

Just down the road a bit from where we were staying was a park that had leftover snow!  There wasn't a ton of it, and it was a little hard from melting and refreezing, but it was fine for our purposes!

This was the first year our kids had actual snow pants, and Thatbaby quickly discovered they worked just as good as any old sled.

Even Thatboy got in on the sledding action.

And yes friends, there was enough snow to build  a snowman.

We spent the evenings with hot chocolate, in front of the fire, playing games and putting together puzzles.

And of course, we explored the culinary scene in Idyllwild.  We visited some old favorites, but mostly we'd been gone long enough there was a whole new crop of places to try.  Bakeries with flakey, buttery pastries, breweries with one of the best sauces Thatboy has ever tasted, and an Italian restaurant with live music.  The Italian restaurant, Cafe Aroma, had a very unique dish on the menu I had to try - a jalapeno pesto.  It was rich, it was creamy, but I couldn't even taste the jalapeno.  I loved the idea though, so once we got home, I decided I was going to try and recreate it, but better.  I removed the cream, which makes the jalapeno less potent and we had a winner on our hands.  This could certainly be made in the classic style, with basil, but in keeping with the Southwestern theme of the jalapeno, I subbed in cilantro instead.

Penne with Jalapeno Pesto
1 lb penne, cooked according to the instructions on the box
2 cups cilantro leaves
1 jalapeno (use as many seeds as you wish for heat - the more seeds the spicier the dish will be)
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup canola oil
  1.  Pulse cilantro, jalapeno, garlic, cheese, lemon juice, and salt in a food processor until well combined.
  2. With food processor running, slowly add the oil, continuing to process until creamy.
  3. Toss with hot pasta and serve.