Sunday, December 31, 2017

Sunday Runday: 2017 in review

It's the last day of the year, and everyone's doing it.  Doing what? Wrapping it up.  Typing up the year with a big bow,  as though it were a present. 

It's a time of reflection, and even if no-one rose cares,  I like to look back on the year to see what races I should be planning for the next!

This year saw a decided downhill curve on my races, a lot at the beginning, but by the last third of the year I was mostly just doing run-walks with Thatkid. I never came any closer to my sub hour 10k than in February, and my speed overall took a nosedive this year.  I did 15 races. That includes 3 half marathons (2 I did not train enough for), 5 10ks and 7 5ks. 

Here's my breakdown of what I ran this year.

Races I loved:
Star Wars Half Marathon - I'm super bummed that this is the end of the Disney races.  I had planned on this becoming an annual tradition for Thatkid and I, along with a family trip to Disneyland.
Cardiff Kook 10k - Early on I declared this my favorite race of the year.  I love the course, and the distance is great.
Run the Solar System Virtual 10k - A storyline to keep you distracted and entertained while you run? I'm all in.
Encinitas Half Marathon - I did two inaugural half marathons this year, this was the good one. Same course as the Cardiff Kook, but longer!
Vista Strawberry Run - This course was harder than I anticipated, but well worth it.  Everything surrounding the race is top notch, as aide from the killer hool, the course is great.
SD Fair 5k - A fun run through the fair!
Heart and Stroke Walk - I didn't realize how much I missed the old Balboa Park route until I got to do it again. 
Fit Foodie 5k  - New course, new running buddy, same great race. 

Carrera de los Muertos - I loved that I got the whole family to join in the festivities this year, even if my ruining buddy ended up being more of a walking/ dragging buddy. 
Jingle Bell Run  -  Year after year, I love this race. 
Sharon's Ride 5k-  Next year I'll hoping to get the whole family to come! 
Del Dios 10k - not really fair,  since I walked it, and I probably wouldn't have liked it as much if I had run the hills. But I liked that it was close and how well they took care of their runners. 




Races I didn't love:
Hip Hop 10k - I'm never a fan of having to run the same course in laps.
Craft Classic - boring course. I did it as a birthday run with a friend,  so here's hoping she'll change her birthday next year. 
Vista Beer Run - noticing a theme? I love beer, but I think I'm done with beer runs.

OC Turkey Trot - the course was super flat, but also a little boring. 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Crave Wednesday: BBQ Potato Chips with Creamy Ranch-Style Dip


 One of our favorite winter traditions is visiting the Hotel Del, taking in the sights,  and drinking cocoa on the beach.

There's an ice skating rink,  and for the past 3 years we've taken turns hitting the ice wth Thatkid while the other parent hangs out with Thatbaby.
 Where else can you ice skate on the beach?

 Despite only skating 1 day a year,  Thatkid still manages to improve in skill and confidence each year.  Previously he's done a couple laps and called it quits. This year he skated for almost an hour.

The hotel's lobby tree never fails to impress. This year, in a nod to their "Winter of whimsy" theme, it was upside down.


And if you wandered off into a corner,  you'd find a little menorah setup.  Which did not get the whimsical treatment.


As usual there was a sand sculptor on the beach.


And the kids decided to do some sand sculpting themselves.

We had TMIL with us on this trip,  so we moved our hot chocolate on the beach inside,  and ended up grabbing sandwiches at a very not - kid - friendly cafe.  The sandwiches were all ready made, with chipotle mayo on them, and the chip choices were jalapeno, or cracked black pepper,  or salt and vinegar. 

Where are the regular potato chips? The sour cream and onion? The barbeque?

At home,  we're more tortilla chip kind of people,  but the boys definitely love their potato chips. And making them in the microwave means I can throw them together fairly easily.  And I can make kid friendly seasonings by sprinkling on some ranch or bbq rub.  And while Thatboy and I love our salsa,  our kids are fairly common in that they would put ranch on everything of they could.  So chips and ranch? They are so there.

BBQ Potato Chips and Creamy Ranch Style Dip  (From Cooking Light) 
1 large russet potato, unpeeled cut into 1/8 inch thick slices
2 tsp grilling rub
4 oz cream cheese,  softened 
3 Tbsp nonfat buttermilk
2 Tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
1 tsp chopped dill 
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp onion powder

  1. Arrange 1/3 of the potato slices on a large microwave safe plate. 
  2. Coat tops of potatoes with cooking spray. 
  3. Sprinkle with 1/3 of rub.
  4. Microwave uncovered for 4 minutes.  Turn potato slices over and microwave for another 4 minutes. 
  5. Remove from plate and let cool completely on wire rack. Repeat with remaining potato slices and rub.  
  6. Whisk cream cheese and buttermilk in a small bowl. 
  7. Stir in parsley,  dill, garlic, and onion powder. 
  8. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Monday, December 18, 2017

Mommy Mondays: I've got some corn for popping

Well I covered holiday music and holiday reading,  all that's left is holiday movies!  And I'm pretty excited about these.  We started right after Thanksgiving and friends, we will not get through all of them before Christmas.

So,  this was my hardest top 10 to come up with.  How do you narrow it down to 10?

1. Rugrats Hanukah - There is a decided dearth of Hanukah movies, specials, and television shows.  Of the 5 that are out there  (not literally) this is the one we watch every year.  The rugrats do such a great job with Jewish holidays, really making them accessible for kids.

2. 'Twas the Night Before Christmas - I love the Rankin and Bass Christmas specials. They're so 70s, so corny, so perfectly Christmas.  This one about a little mouse who writes a nasty letter to Santa as almost ruins Christmas is one of my favorites

3. The Year without a Santa Clause - My favorite Rankin and Bass.  Who doesn't love the Miser Brothers? (Or as Thatkid calls them,  "The Misner Brothers)

4. A Christmas Story - We haven't shared this one with the kids yet, but it's such a classic holiday movie about being a kid at Christmas that it had to find a home on the list.

5. Elf - We introduced this one last year and it was an instant favorite for Thatkid. He manages to talk his brother into requesting it too, so we end up watching it once a week.

6. Emmett Otter's Jug Band Christmas - I can't help it,  I'm a child of the Muppet Generation.   (Is that a thing? It should be.) Jim Henson + Christmas = Happiness.

7. Muppet Christmas Carol - My favorite retelling of the Christmas Classic.  I also love Scrooged, but this is more family friendly.

8.  Home Alone - Thatkid loves this movie so much he watches it year round.

9. The Grinch who Stole Christmas - This one is currently Thatbaby's favorite.  He loves that Grinch.

10. It Happened on 5th Ave. - This one makes my list, not because my kid likes it, but because it's my favorite.  Classic farce, filled with good feelings,  helping your fellow man,  and of course,  billionaires pretending to be down and out homeless people.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Sunday Runday : Del Dios 10k


The other night, Thatboy and I were in an argument.  During the argument I pointed out that he lacked self awareness, which is not a problem I have.  I am well aware of my flaws.  One of them being that I have a hard time saying no.

So last Saturday night when SDMom texted me to join her for the Del Dios 10k the next morning,  it should surprise no-one that I said yes. Now in my defense, I looked for any easy way out.  Maybe it was too early in the morning? It wasn't.  Maybe it was too far away? It wasn't.  So Sunday morning I found myself on a windy road canopied by trees, heading down to Lake Hodges.

I met up with SDMom, who informed me that she doesn't run anymore, so we would be hiking.  I rolled my eyes at her proclaiming, because I believe her as far as I could throw her, and I have no upper body strength.

But I fully support her slowing down, given that she runs more half marathons in a year than I may have run total. So instead of running, we turned this trail race into a hike.  It gave us some fantastic 1 on 1 time to trade stories and updates.  And even though we were walking, the time went way too fast.

As for the course itself,  it was hot and very exposed.  Which wasn't a huge a problem. The huge problem was the wind.  You may have heard about the fires tearing across southern California.  Well,  the reason they have been so out of control is in part due to ridiculously strong and violent winds.  During the race the wind kicked up an insane amount of dust. We were basically running through a dust storm!

The race amenities were great though. Trail races are known for this, and this was no different. Beer, water,  Propel, pancakes, committees, red vines, popcorn - if you were hungry or thirsty, there was something there for you.

So while I wasn't intending on participating in a 10k trail race,  it turned out to be a great way to start the week.


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

O Tannenbaum: Egg Nog

Happy Chanukah everyone! We celebrated the first night last night and it was a success.  Candles,  dreidels, sufganiyot and presents.  But you'll notice there are very few community Chanukah activities.

So instead I'm commemorating the festival ood lights with a different kind of lighting - tree lighting! We've been to three separate tree lightings.  The first was way back in November.

Every year the Old Globe puts on a production of The Grinch every year.  And every year the casts lights the tree at the theater.  I've always wanted to go, but I further it's early and by the time I remember tickets are long gone.

This year I was on top of it, and early November found us gathered around a tree that was already beautiful, even before being lit.


 We stayed toward the back, so we could sit in the grass and munch our complimentary popcorn. When the show started,  we hosted the boys on our shoulders so they could see.



 The cast puts on a little show before the lighting which involves the Grinch proclaiming his hatred of Christmas, only to be won over by Cindy Lou Who and the other Whoville children. We were not in the best position for picture taking, so you'll have to settle for this snap I got of the green guy.


 And then the Grinch lifted Cindy Lou to the switch to turn on the lights.  And "snow" feel all around.  It was pretty magical.


Thatboy complained about how early in the season the tree lighting occurred,  grumbling that it might have well been July.

Personally, we wait for tree - related celebrating until after Thanksgiving. The weekend after we stuffed ourselves with turkey we headed to pick out our Christmas tree.

The boys quickly fell in love with various trees at the farm.




Finally we found one that Thatboy approved of and while they tied it to the roof of our car, the boys kept themselves buddy.
And then all that was left was decorating and lighting it!


With our tree up,  it officially feels like holiday time. We've traded in apple cider for hot cocoa and egg nog. Lots of egg nog. We quickly ran into a problem, finding that the containers of egg nog sold at our local stores are finished in a day.

The only solution is to make it yourself. Trust me,  it sounds more intimidating than it is. The recipe itself is easy, but it does need time to sit, so plan in advance.  Also,  this is the kind of eggnog you don't share with your kids!

Egg Nog (from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook)
12 Eggs yolks
12 Egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoons salt
1 quart heavy cream
1 quart milk
1 quart bourbon whisky
1 cup rum

  1. Beat egg yolks with 1 cup of sugar and salt until very light.  
  2. Beat egg whites until stiff
  3. Beat in remaining 1/2 cup sugar.  
  4. Combine yolks and whites and beat until thoroughly blended.  
  5. Beat in cream
  6. Beat in milk.  
  7. Stir in whisky, beat well.
  8. Add rum.  Pour into a gallon jug and refrigerate for one week.
  9. Shake thoroughly before serving. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Mommy Mondays: Holiday Reading

Both of my kids still do bedtime stories, and if we're being perfectly honest, I do too. Something about being curled up in bed and reading just seems like the perfect way to end the day.

And this time of year,  seasonal reading arms very appropriate.  I can't wait to get my hands on Hiddensee, Gregory Maguire's take on the nutcracker story.

Until then, here are some favorites we're sharing in our home!


For the little guys:
The Hanukah Bear -  I love this story of the best that wakes up from his hibernation and follows the scent of latkes. Because I would do the same thing.

The Night Before Christmas - It's a classic for a reason.  I mean, it gives us the iconic image of Santa.

Just Enough Is Plenty - A family in a Polish shtetle find a way to make their latkes stretch to feed the mysterious stranger who shows up on their doorstep the first night of Chanukah.

The Polar Express - On the cusp of believing? Take a ride on the Polar Express to the North Pole!

Clifford Celebrates Hanukkah - a good introduction to the Hanukkah celebration. Plus Clifford saves the day,  as usual.

For the slightly older:
The Latke Who Wouldn't Stop Screamed - I can't help it.  I love Lemony Snicket.

A Christmas Carol - the original Christmas ghost story. I still remember reading it in school!

A Little Princess- Technically not a Christmas story,  but since the Christmas scene is so magical, I think it counts.


For the kids at heart:
The Gift of the Magi - This introduced and sparked my love for O. Henry.  It's a classic Christmas story, so sweet, and bittersweet.

Matchless - I love the story of The Little Match Girl. Even though it makes me cry.  Gregory Maguire is wonderful at yakking classic stories and retelling them.  This is no different.  And the retelling still makes me cry.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Sunday Runday: Jingle Bell Run

My town has a Christmas parade.  It's supposed to be a pretty big deal.  Basketball was cancelled the day of the parade because people would have a hard time getting there.

But we've never had a chance to see it, because it is always the same day as the Jingle Bell Run.  Every year I think about skipping the run, rolling out of bed, and going to the race.  And every year I think about the fact that we've been running this race since before Thatkid was born,  and I don't want to break the streak.

And then we get there, and I remember why we return year after year after year.  It has something for everyone in the family to enjoy.

We dressed up in our festive best and loaded the children in their wagon.



As soon as we got there, Thatbaby spotted Santa.  Thatbaby is obsessed with Santa this year and couldn't wait to go say hi.





The kidzone was, as usual,  filled with fun things for the boys, like cookie decorating, coloring,  and home depot projects.



He also wanted to run the race this year. So we started the race together, with Thatkid running ahead and Thatboy trailing behind with the wagon and Thatdog.



It didn't last long before he wanted back in the wagon, and Thatdog and I took off to catch up with Thatkid.


As usual there were some great costumes.


By the turnaround we were all back together again.




Right before mile 3, Thatkid was ready to take off again and we made a final race to the finish.



Then we turned around and headed back so we could run across the finish with Thatbaby.


After the race Thatboy headed to the beer garden while the kids did some more coloring and ornament making.



See?  Something for everyone.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Crave Wednesday: Sour Cream and Onion Potato Chips


We're very equal opportunity with holidays around here.  Partially because we're an interfaith family.  Partially because we live in an area with various cultures.

So in addition to Halloween,  we also partake in Dia de Los Muertos festivities.  After participating in the Carrera de Los Muertos we headed over to Old Town San Diego,  where they go all out in celebration.



Everywhere you turned there were calaveras and calacas, symbols of the holiday.







There were all sorts of vendors, like Juanita's, who were handing out samples of their delicious soup and frozen hot chocolate.   We already love their Mexican hot chocolate and keep it in our pantry.



There were stages with dancers and performances.  And we sat and watched for a while.



They also had crafts for the kids.  The boys sat and made their own Day of the Dead masks!






If your kids are like mine then you know that most outings like these are filled with requests for snacks.  Or maybe I'm just lucky.

In any event,  my Mary Poppins bag always holds the answer and I throw some snacks in there. Pretzels, granola bars,  or homemade potato chips!

Sour cream and onions are one of my favorite kinds of chips, they seem a step up from regular ole potato chips, but still kid friendly.  And really,  all it takes is a mandolin. 

Sour Cream and Onion Potato Chips  (from Cooking Light) 
1 large russet potato cut into 1/8 inch thick slices
1 1/2 tsp dry ranch dressing mix
  1. Arrange one third of potato slices on a large microwave safe plate.  Spray with cooking spray. 
  2. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the ranch dressing mix. Microwaved, covered, for 4 minutes.  Turn over and microwave for another 3 minutes until dried and crisp. Remove from plate and cool on a wire rack. 
  3.  Repeat with remaining potatoes and ranch dressing mix. 

Monday, December 04, 2017

Mommy Mondays: Here We Come A Wassailing

Happy December!

Are your kids as excited about the holidays as mine are? December is the best with kids and we take full advantage.

Holiday music starts playing as soon as Thanksgiving ends.  And my children love to sing along. 

There's nothing that makes the season more magical to me than holiday music.  I have so many playlists, and make more each year!

With that in mind, here are my top 10 holiday songs for kids.  Or,  my kids' favorite holiday songs.