Monday, March 31, 2014

Mommy Mondays:New Friends From Old

The best part about keeping friends for a while, is eventually you're going to end up with kids around the same age.  And playdates for kids means more quality time for you and your friends!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sunday Runday: Tu-Tu Fun



If you're a runner, you've probably heard all about the Self Magazine Tutu Controversy.  If you're not a runner I'll briefly summarize.  Self Magazine ran a blurb in their magazine talking about the ridiculousness of the trend to wear a tutu when running.  To highlight their point, the showcased a feature of a woman running the LA Marathon in a tutu.  The problem with this article?

1) The magazine never revealed that they were using the picture to mock the runner when asking her permission to run it.

2)  The woman, a San Diego runner, makes these tutus to support Girls on The Run, a charity whose mission is to "inspire girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident" through running.

3) The woman, who was dressed as Wonder Woman, was recently diagnosed with brain cancer.  This was her first marathon running since the diagnosis.

4) The woman was running a MARATHON.  That's over 26 miles.  You know what?  If you're running 26 miles and want to run naked, I'll support you.  It's 26 MILES.  That's a commitment.  Anything you want to wear to help you get there is A-OK with me.  Although to be fair, I find this to be true of all running distances.  If it helps you meet your goal, then wear whatever you want.  After all, if it's acceptable to run in this:

Then really, can we be making fun of someone running in a tutu?

My running group, led by the intrepid SDMom decided we should do something to support Monika, the Tutu Runner.  (All the photos below were taken by SDMom).

Bright and shiny yesterday morning a group of us met to run.  In tutus.


We bought or borrowed tutus, made our own, or made for each other, but every member of the group that showed up donned their gay apparel.



After taking copious amounts of pictures, we were off.



We ran different mileage.  Some ran 3 miles, some were aiming for 15.  But we all had one thing in common - a lot of tulle around our waists. 


I came to a realization while running with a tutu.  Self Magazine claimed that tutus made the wearers feel like they would be faster.  Which is ridiculous.  No one runs in a tutu because they think it makes them faster.  They run in tutus because it makes it more fun.  Tutus bring a lot of attention.  We all found that as we made our laps around the lake.  Some of that attention is good for the runner.  As people run by, they smile and shout words of encouragement- and that makes you feel good.  But some of the attention is good for others too.  Because when you see someone running in a "ridiculous" outfit.  It makes you smile.  And maybe forget the mileage you're run or have ahead of you.  And in that sense, you're giving as much as you're getting.  In the scheme of things, what you run in shouldn't matter to anyone, as long as you're comfortable in it.  But if it brings a smile to your face, or someone else, then how can anyone tear it down?

Friday, March 28, 2014

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Berry Tart



This is what the boys do when I go out on the weekend.  It's a "bad habit" I started when Thatbaby and I were both sick.  I asked if he wanted to nap on the couch with me.  I wasn't expecting it to actually work.  But he took it seriously, covering his little eyes with his little hand and taking a nice nap snuggled up against me.

When I told Thatboy how well it worked, he decided to give it a shot himself.  And now the two of them take "couch naps" together.  Of course, when Thatbaby naps with Thatboy the naps are incredibly long, lasting over 2 hours.  Not so much with me, or by himself.  This picture was taken when I got home from a picnic with my running group.  I had been gone for hours!

As for that picnic, I wanted to bring something sweet and easy - something I could toss together quickly, since I've been so busy as of late.  And since there is so much running around on the weekends, I didn't want to have to slave over something I was bringing to a park.  With the arrival of spring, a fruit tart was calling my name. 


Berry Tart
The easiest pie you can make.  Perfect for unexpected company, or a last minute invitation.  And really, with sweet, plump berries, you don't need much else to make it a treat.


Crust:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup shortening
3-4 Tbsp cold water


  1. Preheat oven to 375.  Mix the flour and salt in a bowl.
  2. Cut the shortening in with 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal.
  3. Sprinkle water over the flour mixture, mixing with a fork, adding just enough for the dough to hold together. 
  4. Roll out the dough and place in a tart pan.  Prick the bottom with a fork and bake for 10 minutes. Let cool.


  1. Toss 3 cups of berries with sugar and add to cooled shell.
  2. Melt 1 1/2 cups currant jelly in a pan over low heat.
  3. Pour the currant glaze over the berries.


And when the boys woke up, the shared a slice that I brought home for them.  After all, when you're two, you need all the strength and energy you can get.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

It's All Downhill From Here

This past weekend was our last "free weekend."  Starting this weekend, we've got major plans every weekend from now until June!  There are:

6 races
4 birthday parties
3 trips
2 playdates
2 Passover seders
1 Easter

- it's ridiculous.  Honestly, I'm exhausted just thinking about everything in store!

I'm telling you peoples.  Once June rolls around you're going to be hard pressed to find me anywhere by the bed or the couch. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Short Rib Lasagna


I've mentioned before that Thatboy likes his lasagna with a little meat in it.  And I tend to get bored with throwing in ground beef or sausage.  This lasagna is a little time consuming, because you actually have to make short ribs first, but it's totally worth it if you have some time to kill on a weekend.

Short Rib Lasagna
1 1/2 lbs boneless beef short ribs
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 cup red wine
1 can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk 
1 1/2 cups parmesan cheese
 1/2 cups mozzarella, shredded
lasagna noodles
  1.  Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add the short ribs and brown on all sides.  Remove from pot.
  2. Reduce heat to medium and saute onions and carrots until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add 2 cloves of the garlic and cook just until fragrant.
  4. Add the tomato paste and cook for another minute.
  5. Add the wine and bay leaf. Simmer for 2 minutes, scraping up any browned bits.
  6. Add the crushed tomatoes.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
  7. Add the short ribs to the pot.  Cover and reduce het.  Simmer for 2 1/2 hours, turning ribs.
  8. Remove the ribs, but keep the sauce (discarding the bay leaf).  Skim the fat off the top of the sauce.
  9. When ribs cool, shred the meat.
  10. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
  11. Stir in the flour and cook until thick and bubbly, about 2 minutes.
  12. Whisk in the milk.
  13. Add the remaining garlic and reduce heat to a simmer, cooking while stirring for an additional 10 minutes.  Mix this sauce into the tomato sauce.
  14. Preheat oven to 350 and grease a baking dish.  Spread 3/4 cup of the sauce on the bottom of the dish.
  15. Place a layer of noodles over the sauce, then put another 3/4 cup of the sauce over the noodles.
  16. Add 1/2 cup of meat over the sauce, then 1/4 cup of parmesean.
  17. Repeat with noodles, sauce, meat, and parmesan 2 more times.  You will have 3 layers of meat and 4 layers of noodles by the end.
  18. Spread the remaining sauce over all and then sprinkle with remaining parmesean and the mozzarella.  Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.
  19. Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes.  Let cool slightly before serving.





Speaking of having some time to kill on a weekend, this past weekend we headed out to Temecula for a little R&R - wine tasting!  We packed up some fruit and cheese (and Pirate's Booty and grape juice for our youngest family member) and headed out to enjoy the day.


Thatbaby was perfectly happy to sit and enjoy his juice and booty while we ran through the whites, but when we got the reds he got a little antsy, wanting to run around and explore.  Luckily the grounds are very conducive to exploring.


We packed up our food and moved our tasting down to the fountains, bridge, and waterfall.  A large grassy (and deserted) area where Thatbaby could run around, toss the football, and spin to his heart's content.


Sometimes it's nice to get away as a family.  Even if you're not going all that far.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Mommy Mondays: Drillin'

I grew up on the East Coast, which means the things we practiced for safety were fire drills and tornado drills.  Fire drills meant everyone lining up and filing out of the school to a "safe spot."  Tornado drills meant everyone lining up and filing into the hallway with a heavy book, where we'd sit on the floor with the book covering our neck and back of head.

Thatbaby is growing up with different drills.  Partially because he's growing up on the West Coast.  They don't do tornado drills here.  They do earthquake drills.  And I'm glad, because to this day, I'm not entirely sure what you're "supposed" to do during an earthquake.  Most of the time I just sit and look around.  The last one I stood up and looked out the window, which I'm pretty sure is the exact opposite of recommended behavior.

Thatbaby also has different drills because things are different now.  On Wednesday, Thatbaby's school had a lockdown drill.  While it's hard to think about the fact that this is a drill to protect preschoolers from being shot and killed, it's also reassuring to know that steps are being taken to prevent harm. 

The teachers prefaced the drill by explaining to the 2-3 year olds that this was to practice "in case someone came to the school who wasn't supposed to be there."  No talk of harm, or bad people, or things that would keep them up at night.  In fact, Miss M explained to me that when she was given the choice of places to take the kids, she purposely vetoed bringing them to the bathroom, because the last thing she wanted was for the kids to associate the potty with anything unpleasant.

Instead, when the announcement came, they all quietly filed into the director's office where they sat quietly and read books and ate cheerios.  (Which was another secret trick Miss M had up her sleeve.  Because eating children are typically quiet children.)

As for Thatbaby, he's completely unscarred by the experience. In fact, the next morning he was very excited to show me where they ate cheerios the day before.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sunday Runday: Currently Training For

The 10/20 is over.  My taper weeks are done.  Now it's time to ramp it back up to The Safari Park Half Marathon

I'm continuing with the training schedule I had for the 10-miler, in that I'm doing low mileage during the week and then adding a mile on to my long weekend runs.  However, I'm not running in the mornings anymore, as I've already noted.  I tend to get in around 2.7 miles a day now that I'm going during the workday.  I've also incorporated my speedwork during my weekday runs, since I don't have a dog that's slowing me down.  So this is where I am:


Monday: 2.7 miles
Tuesday: 2.7 miles
Wednesday: 2.7 miles
Thursday: 2.7 miles
Friday: 2.7
Saturday/Sunday: One of these days I do my "long run" which started at 6 miles and will go up to 12 miles.  Yesterday I did 9, which was a couple more than I had on my calendar.  BUT I love doing long runs with others, so when L&O told me she was going to do 9, I changed up my plans so I could join her.  I'll switch out my 9 mile planned run for the 7 I was going to do yesterday.  I'm sure it won't hurt me to vary up my mileage so I'm not constantly climbing.  The up and down in mileage is a nice way to not burn out.   The other day I'm using for cross-training, pilates to be exact.  I really love the fact that since I've been doing pilates I haven't had any back issues.  Given my history of back problems aggravated by running, I'm pretty amped about that.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Hava narishah - rash, rash, rash


You may not be familiar with the title of this post, but in Thathouse we have been hearing this song on repeat for weeks.  It's a traditional Purim song that apparently is very popular with the toddler set.


And since last weekend was Purim, last week we all attended the Purim Carnival at Thatbaby's school.  This is a pretty big deal at the school.  They really go all out.  To begin with, the preschool playground was converted into an Animal wonderland, complete with pony rides and a petting zoo.  Thatbaby loved petting the chickens, pigs, goats, and sheep, but the highlight was definitely getting to hold a rabbit on his lap.  The rabbit was fond of Thatbaby too as he nuzzled up close to Thatbaby's neck.  And I was so proud of my little guy in riding the pony all by himself.  He was so excited, he didn't even demand Thatboy and I walk with him.  He just sat and enjoyed the ride.


The elementary school parking lot had been turned into a little fair.  Little only in that it was limited by area.  There were two giant bouncy slides like the one pictured above, so no lines for crazy fun.  There was a bounce house just for jumping.  Other inflatable gear meant for the older children who could play gladiator, or bungee.  An inflatable bucking cow (Thatbaby was not a fan of), and all sorts of ride on toys for the kids to play with.  They had tents providing snacks for everyone.  Thatbaby had popcorn, an ice cream sandwich, and a hamentaschen.  They also did some face painting.



Thatbaby requested his face to be painted like one of the older girls he went to school with, which entailed swirlies and hearts.  He also wanted purple hair.  He also apparently requested a butterfly on his nose while it was being done.  He took it very seriously, holding ever so still as she painted his face with his two favorite colors - purple and brown.  Afterwards he took advantage of some of the carnival games that were set up for the kids to play with.  And after all that, there was a circus performance for the kids to watch.  Although, towards the end of that he was curled up on my lap - obviously worn out from the morning's activities.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

"Brushes and Booze" Night Out With The GIrls



 Have you heard about these new wine and painting classes?  I've been seeing them all over social media.  Basically you go to a local restaurant and an instructor works with the "class" to paint a work of art.


My running club has been trying to do monthly "social events" and when I saw the social event for March was one of these painting classes I signed up immediately.  I was especially won over by the fact that instead of your typical "wine &" part of the class, this one was taking place at a Mexican restaurant.  Margaritas and Painting! 















As you can see from the pictures, we painted octopi!  I think the margarita definitely helped my painting skills.  My octopus is purple, which is Thatbaby's favorite color, because I wasn't sure if he was going to call dibs once he saw it.  But I am happy to say it's the proud new resident of my office.  We had a ton of fun and I'm already looking forward to doing it again!






Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Pies in Review

I've mentioned before I've been going through a "pie phase" as of late. Experimenting with crusts and fillings.  We've been eating a lot of pie round these parts.  To temper the intake, I've been making mini-pies, using my tartlet pans.  It's ingenious really, because we get to try a bunch of different varieties, with no leftovers!


So you'll be seeing pies making a frequent appearance here, but I thought I would start out with a roundup of some of my favorites.  Or ones I am especially proud of.

Stay tuned for more information on my pie adventure!


Blueberry Pie - Thatboy's favorite.  So simple, just fresh blueberries tossed with a simple syrup sauce.


Cherry Pie - my very first lattice pie!

Pecan Pie - not quite as good as Thatmom's, but pretty sweet!

Cottage Cheese Pie - The love child of cheesecake and pie: the best of both worlds.

Lemon Meringue Pie - My first meringue pie!  This is TMIL's specialty, so I've never made it.  Thatboy thought this was "pretty damn good."

Lemon Crumb Pie - I never really liked lemon desserts as a child, but now I can't get enough of them.
 
Coconut Custard Pie - Playing into Thatbaby's love of all things coconut right now.


Coconut Cream Pie - Another classic and my first successful cream pie.  It just worked!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Happy Birthday to Thatmom!



Yesterday was Thatmom's birthday.  Yay!  She decided for her birthday, we should celebrate it over the weekend.  What she really wanted to do was head to the Little Italy Farmer's Market and then have lunch in Little Italy.  I texted Thatbrother to see if he and UDubb could join us and Mom called Obie to see if he wanted to meet up too.


Saturday morning, we all met at the Farmer's Market and walked around checking out the stalls.


Thatbaby very much enjoyed dancing to the live music.


And Thatmom picked up some bread and strawberries.


We made our way to Na'Pizza for lunch, where we shared a 1/2 zillion pieces of pizza.


Thatbaby dug right in and proudly announced he ate his whole pizza, and therefore could have cake.


And cake there was.  Back by popular request, we brought along a strawberry cake from Elizabethan desserts and we all dug in, after singing Happy Birthday of course.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Mommy Mondays: Music for Minors

Thatbaby loves to sing and perform.  We get nightly concerts.  Sometimes they're on guitar, sometimes (like Saturday night) it was just with his microphone.  When he's done singing, he instructs us to clap.  I guess he's a demanding musician.

Thatboy and I are big music fans, so it's no surprise Thatbaby has followed suit.  We've been playing music and singing to him since he was in the womb.  We have music going in the house throughout the day, and in the car.  Most of the time we don't alter our typically listening habits.  Thatbaby listens to the same things Thatboy and I do.  But I thought I'd share a little of the music we tailor to him:

Before Thatbaby was born I would sing him songs I felt were appropriate to our situation: "I say a little prayer for you,"  "I just haven't met you yet," and "And So It Goes."

When he was born, we switched into major lullaby mode.  We love the Rockabye Baby Cds for this.  Because if you're going to listen to kid songs over and over, then it should be songs you know and love, right? Crying was usually quieted with singing, and my 2 go-to songs were "Smile" and "Golden Slumbers."   I was in charge of bedtime for a long time and his bedtime lullabies were either "Sweet Baby James,"  "The Boxer," or "Goodnight My Angel."

Like all toddlers, he began developing a preference for typical kid songs - The Alphabet, "Wheels on the Bus," "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and "Baa Baa Black Sheep."  We use Wee Sing for this.  Right now we're almost on a constant loop of "She'll Be Coming Round The Mountain" (otherwise known as  "Woah Back, Toot Toot.")

We're trying to introduce him to Disney music, because Thatboy and I don't tire of that.  Right now the music from Aladdin seems to be in the lead.  He also loves the music from Jim Henson's Dinosaur Train.  We're also introducing Barenaked Ladies and They Might Be Giants, who both have kid's albums with fun music.  I also discovered Juice Box Heroes over the past couple years, but Thatbaby isn't as interested as I am.  And I'm always looking for new ideas.  What do your kids listen to?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sunday Runday: Spring Changes

On Monday morning my alarm went off at 6am, so I could get up for a run.   And I looked around my room thinking "Man, it is REALLY dark."  Which is when I remembered the effect of daylight savings time.  It wasn't really 6am, it was 5am!  Which meant that it would be really dark my entire run.  I would get home from my run, and it would still be dark.  And so I turned over, and went back to sleep.

I spent that day trying to figure out a new running plan.  Mornings were out - too dark.  I could do after dinner again, but I've been doing pilates after dinner, and I love it as a strength training routine and because as long as I'm doing pilates, I have no back pain.  L&O suggested I run during my "lunch."    It was a great idea, and one I started this past week.  I don't actually run at lunch - I don't have a set lunch time, and since there are no showers in my office, I try to do my runs in the late afternoon to cut down on the time I'm spending offending office-mates.

The plus side of my new running routine?  This is my new daily running route:


Yeah, that's the ocean right over there.  I run through this little palm lined path, cross the street, and run alongside the water.

The con?  Consistency.  Tuesday was fine.  Wednesday I had to cut it very close because my boss likes to call late afternoon meetings that end up taking the entire afternoon.  Thursday I didn't get a run in because I spent the day at a site inspection.  And Friday I wasn't at work, so I didn't get a run in.  That means instead of running 6 days this week, I ran 3.  I'm going to have to work on alternative solutions for rough days.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Peach Pie



Happy Pi Day!  I never ever ever remember to participate in Pi Day.  Well this year, that's going to change.  I actually remembered AND made a pie in advance that I could share with you.  This is NOT the season for peach pie.  Peach pie should ideally be made in the summer, with sweet, juicy peaches.  Preferably from Georgia.  But I am far from Georgia.  And it is far from summer.  But I am not one to be deterred when there is a holiday based upon a mathmatical constant that sounds like a delicious dessert.  I mean, how often does that happen?  So I went with the next best thing to fresh, juicy, Georgia peaches - frozen peaches.  Not as good, but a great substitute in a pi-nch. 

Peach Pie
2 1/2 cups flour + 4 Tbsp
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup shortening
cold water
1 cup sugar
4 cups frozen peach slices
juice of 1 lemon
 

  1. Preheat oven to 425.  Mix 2 1/2 cups flour and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Cut in the shortening with 2 knives until the mixture resembles little peas.
  3. Sprinkle water by the tablespoon over the mixture, mixing with a fork, adding just enough water so the pastry holds together.  Divide the dough into 2 balls.  Roll one of the balls out and place in a 9 inch pie pan.
  4. Combine the sugar and remaining flour in a large bowl. 
  5. Add the peaches and lemon juice, tossing to combine.
  6. Pile the fruit into the pie plate.  
  7. Roll out the remaining ball of dough and drape over the fruit.  Crimp the edges and cut several vents in the top.  
  8. Bake for 10 minutes. Lower the heat to 350 and bake for another 35 minutes.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Noels



As soon as we arrived at Superwoman's house this weekend, Thatbaby noticed the beautiful spread of food on the counter.  "Want eat something" he announced as he eyed the fruit and goodies.

I apologized for his eagerness to devour her house and home, and she laughed, noting that Supertoddler had done something very similar the last time they visited a friend.






Children are fantastic at getting right to the root of all that is good.  And a lot of times that includes food.

Like sweet, dense, chewy bars that are lightly dusted with sugar. 

These Noels are incredibly easy to make.  One of my favorite type of recipes, where you dump the ingredients together, stir and pour into a pan.  Like brownies, but without the chocolate.


Noels (From the Fannie Farmer Cookbook)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup brown sugar
5 Tbsp flour
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup chopped nuts
2 Tbsp butter
confectioners' sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Beat the eggs and vanilla in an electric mixer.
  2. Mix together the brown sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, and nuts. Add to the eggs and mix.
  3. Melt the butter in a 9x9 pan.  Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  4. Turn out onto wax paper, buttered side up and dist lightly with confectioners' sugar.  Cut into squares.