Monday, January 30, 2017

Mommy Mondays: Gearing Up for Valentine's Day

I love the fact that Thatkid is as gung ho about holidays as I am.

As soon as one holiday ends, he's ready to start prepping for the next.  The only problem is, they don't really have the same selection for boys in holiday wear that they do for girls.  It's always a search trying to find appropriate holiday shirts.

This year I have the added issue of the holiday pajamas Thatkid requested.

Valentine's Day is especially troublesome, because most of the shirts say things like "Ladies Man" or "Heart Breaker."  Neither of which I really want my sons wearings.  Because 5 year olds are not "ladies men" and I don't really want to encourage my boys to break hearts.

Here's my round up of what I did dig up for the boys.  This is the second year in a row we've gone with a bacon themed Valentine's Day shirt.  Thatkid picked out the shirt for him and his brother.

Valentines for Boys

I also usually give the boys Valentine's Day gifts - books.  Last years are pictured above, I haven't picked out the ones for this year yet, I should probably get on that.

I also saw this great idea on Hostess with the Mostess, tying 10 notes on 10 balloons with 10 things you love about the balloon recipient.  The boys love balloons, so I think they'll get a big kick out of this. 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Sunday Runday: Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend

Let me take it back to January of 2016.  When Thatkid ran the Legoland kid's race.  That was it fr him.  He was hooked.  He started asking me to sign him up for races, and he specifically asked to do a Star Wars race.

Luckily for him, Disneyland just happens to have a Star Wars race...for kids!  And so I signed him up.  But since I figured that I might as well get something from the weekend too, I signed myself up for the half marathon.  It was going to be a mother/son running weekend!

Thatkid was up first on Saturday morning.

 He was so excited about his Darth Vader outfit.  Darth Vader is his favorite bad guy.  He even had a light saber and mask, but decided while we were waiting for the race to start that he didn't want to run with them.  Good thing he brought along his own personal sherpa to lug his stuff around for him.

 I think he was a little intimidated by the amount of people there, because normally he runs and I run beside him, but this time he wanted to hold my hand.

 The 4-6 year old division was 200 meters.  And he held my hand until he crossed the finish.

Of course, once we crossed, he was fine dropping my hand and running on his own to get his medal.

 After he got his medal we went and got his snacks and met up with the rest of the family.

 Thatkid  loved the race and is already talking about doing it again next year.  Although I'm sure the day at Disney after didn't hurt.

The next morning it was my turn.  At an obscene hour, Thatmom was kind enough to drop me off at the race so the boys could stay asleep.  I found my way over to my corral.

While Thatkid had donned his favorite baddie outfit, I scrapped my original plans and decided to run in tribute of our lost Disney Princess, Carrie Fisher.

 Being in corral E, meant there was a lot of waiting around, although the race does a great job of keeping you entertained on the big screen above the start line.  Eventually we finally made it up to the front.

And we were off!  The race starts by running out of Downtown Disney and behind the parks, entering through the back of California Adventure.  Our first glimpse of the park was the "sunrise in Cars Land.  "Sunrise" in quotes, because the sun wasn't going to be up for a couple of miles.

 I don't worry about my time for Disney races, since there are great photo opportunities that take up time.  With that in mind, I hopped into the first restroom I saw inside the park.  I wanted to take advantage of the actual restrooms instead of porta potties!

Soon after that I was at the iconic portion of the park.  Disneyland has the castle, California Adventure has the Ferris Wheel and jumping fountains.

We ran around the back and across the front into Hollywood Studios, where there was a Jedi Training Session in Progress.

 And then we were out of California Adventure, heading into Disneyland through Toon Town and into Tomorrowland.  Tomorrowland has really been transformed into Star Wars Central at Disney.  So we were greeted at the entrance with a row of light saber wielding park employees.

 While storm troopers kept an eye on the situation.

And then we were running through the castle.  My timing couldn't have been more perfect, as the sun was just rising.  And so was I!

 I had told myself at the beginning of the race I was only going to wait in character lines for Thatkid's favorite characters.  Darth Vader was nowhere to be found in the park, but Thatkid's favorite "good guy" was!  It was Wookie Time with Chewbacca!

 Chewie was stationed right at the front of the park, so as I bid him adieu, I also headed out of the fun portion.  Under this bridge and right out into the streets of Anaheim.

 The Disney Half Marathon is my least favorite course.  There are 4 miles of race within the parks.  If you do the math, that means 9 miles are on the city streets.  Which isn't nearly as much fun.

I will say, the people of Anaheim really do turn out and this year, due to the renovations and course route, there were more than I remember.  There are cheerleaders from a million different high schools, and a couple of groups who dressed up in characters and lined up to cheer us on.

Even R2D2 made an appearance!

 And since I couldn't get a picture of Darth Vader in the park, I settled for snapping this as I ran by.

I was seriously undertrained, underfueled, underhydrated, and I'd ran around Disneyland the day before.  I was not expecting the race to go well.  I had pretty much resigned to the fact I was going to hit a wall around mile 11, and joked about getting swept.  But in actuality, I never hit a wall.  And I maintained a really good pace!  Not my fastest, but with a couple picture stops, and a couple restroom stops, it was still faster than my last half marathon.

I collected my medal and gave my family a call for them to come pick me up.

Now that Thatkid is getting into them, I foresee a lot more Disney races in my future!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Crave Wednesday: French Toast Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches

We covered Christmas, so let's back up again to Channukah.  Because we're that kind of family.  I actually loved that the first night of Channukah and Christmas coincided this year.  I felt like it was a real embodiment of our family, the merging of two religions in a single day.

Thatkid took a real lead this year, lighting the candles every night.

As for Thatbaby, last year he was just a teeny thing, this year he can actually participate.  He doesn't know the words to the blessing, so he sang Happy Birthday instead. 

And just to keep things even, the boys ended up with Chanukkah pajamas this year too!  Thatkid has now decided he wants pajamas for every holiday.

We also got to celebrate at a Channukah party with our friends, filled with amazing food and a million menorahs.

The only problem with Chanukkah this year is that we weren't home to make the traditional foods.  Thatkid and I didn't make our latkes, and there were no sufganiyot.  This is the next best thing.  Sufganiyot are fried jelly filled doughnuts, and this is a fried jelly filled sandwich. My favorite way to eat latkes is sprinkled with powdered sugar, and this sandwich is sprinkled in powdered sugar.  It's almost as though it hits everything I missed from Chanukkah foods! It's not an everyday meal, but perfect for special occasions, like birthdays or holidays where things are fried in oil!

French Toast Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches (From Cooking Light)
2/3 cup 2% milk
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
8 slices white whole wheat bread
1/2 cup strawberry preserves
6 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 Tbsp powdered sugar

  1. Whisk together milk, baking powder, vanilla, salt, and egg in a medium shallow dish.
  2. Place bread slices on a flat surface.
  3. Spread 2 Tbsps preserves over each of 4 bread slices.
  4. Spread 1 1/2 Tbsp peanut butter over each of the remaining 4 bread slices and assemble sandwiches. 
  5. Dip 2 sandwiches in milk mixture, turning to coat.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2tsp canola oil to pan, swirling to coat.
  6. Place sandwiches in pan and cook 2 minutes on each side or until toasted.  Remove sandwiches from pan.
  7. Repeat with remaining 2 sandwiches, milk, and oil
  8. Sprinkle powdered sugar over sandwiches, cut each sandwich in half diagonally.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Crave Wednesday: Egg Salad Sandwich

Time for a Christmas recap!  Before we hit a full month after the fact.  As usual, we made the trek up to the inlaws.  It was a long car trip.  But the kids found ways to occupy themselves.

Because Christmas fell on a weekend, we decided to head up the Friday before, which actually meant far less traffic than we usually encounter.  We also decided to stay in a hotel.  Which was a godsend.  Funny to think there's more room in a single room for 4 people and a dog than a whole house!

It was also nice because there was a place downstairs where we could grab breakfast in the morning.

On Christmas Eve, we spent the day with Magski and her family in their new place.  We all remarked at how incredible it was that despite only seeing each other a few times a year, Thatkid and Ace fall right into old patterns as soon as they see each other. 

The new place has a tire swing in the backyard.  And Ace couldn't wait to show it off.  And Thatkid couldn't wait to join him.  They were pretty good sports about having their younger siblings horn in.

Then it was time to say goodbye and head back to change into our church clothes for Christmas mass.

This is what happens when you ask 2 boys to smile nicely for a family picture.

After church, it was over to Grandma's house for Christmas dinner.  Then back to the hotel to get ready for bed.  While I put Thatbaby to sleep, Thatboy and Thatkid read The Night Before Christmas.

We weren't sure if Santa was going to make it to the hotel, so there was lots of joy and excitement to find presents with his tell-tale wrapping on them in the morning.  "SANTA WAS HERE!" 

In addition to bringing the "Christmas blankets" Thatkid had asked him for, Santa left another special treat - Christmas cookie breakfast cereal!

Once it wasn't an obscenely early time, we headed over to TBIL's house for more Christmas festivities.  Or more sitting around for hours until breakfast was ready (hence filling my kids' bellies up with cereal before we arrived.) and then more sitting around until it was finally time to open presents.  The kids kept themselves entertained during the waiting period.

Presents, presents, everywhere for all my boys.  As for me, I got a special gift from my little guys.  My very own ugly Christmas sweater (sweatshirt).

 We waited so long to open presents, that as soon as we were done we had to get dressed and head over to TSIL's sister's house to spend Christmas with the rest of her family.  Her sisters both have little girls, so my boys were definitely outnumbered.  But they enjoyed playing with the girls, watching them do ballet performances, and everyone joined in the "talent show" of singing their favorite Christmas carols.

The day after Christmas was the kind of day I've come to expect from Thatboy's family.  It was supposed to be our day together, the last day we were there before heading home.  We had made plans to meet an hour away, and even though we called when we were on our way, they waited until we had arrived to cancel on us.  So we drove an hour back to their homes, only to find out that TSIL had taken her kids to see a movie she had seen earlier in the week, and TBIL wanted to stay home and play with his new Christmas presents.  So instead of spending time with them, we spent the day with TMIL watching "Secret Life of Pets."  And the next day we were on the road.

We got home very late that night, without enough time to go shopping, and I worked the next day.  Which meant the next night's dinner was going to have to be something that could be thrown together with things we already had in the fridge.  Things like - eggs.  Because everyone always has eggs right?  Rather than the ever-popular breakfast for dinner, egg salad found its way onto the table.  Sandwiched between some hearty slices of sourdough bread.

I think egg salad is one of those classic childhood dishes.  Or maybe just a classic dish from my childhood.  It's one of the first things I ever learned how to make, since it's really just mashing up hard boiled eggs.  But there are so many variations as to what you put in with the egg.  Personally, I go very light on the mayo, and heavy on the mustard.  This version doesn't skimp on the mayo, but it gets cut with reduced fat sour cream.  Which I love.  It adds an extra tang to an already unbeatable dish.  If you've ever had hollandaise sauce, you'll know how lemon brightens up egg, and this is no exception.  Not enough to make it taste lemony, just enough to give it some zing.

Egg Salad Sandwich (From Cooking Light)
1/4 cup mayo
3 Tbsp sliced green onions
3 Tbsp reduced fat sour cream
2 tsp whole grain Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp grated lemon rind
8 hardboiled eggs
8 slices of bread, toasted
4 Boston lettuce leaves
  1. Combine mayo, onions, sour cream, mustard, and lemon rind in a medium bowl.
  2. Cut 2 of the eggs in half legnthwise and remove the yolks.  Chopp the egg whites and add to the bowl.  
  3. Chop the remaining eggs and add to the bowl, stirring gently to combine.
  4. Top 4 of the toast slices with a lettuce leaf and 1/2 cup of the egg salad.
  5. Top with remaining 4 toast slices.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Crave Wednesday: Caesar Salad Bagels

Hi hi hi hi hi!  We're going to rewind for half a tic so I can fill you in on December.  Which means we'll probably hit January next month.  But that's nice, because I know how much you'll enjoy reading about July in the middle of next December.

The weekend before Christmas we did some of my favorite holiday traditions.  Thatbaby was old enough to help decorate the gingerbread house this year!

Here's the side he did

And here's the side Thatkid did.

And speaking of old enough, now that Thatkid has some theater experience under his belt, we decided he was old enough to go see The Nutcracker!

Since Thatbaby still isn't there yet, we made it a special mommy-son date.  Complete with lunch out at his choice of restaurants....our local bagel store.

Prior to the show I had explained to him that unlike the musicals he was familiar with, there was no singing in this production.  Or talking.  Just dancing.  He told me he wasn't sure how that was going to work.

 But once the show actually started he was very interested.  He loved it!  He even had favorite parts.  And now he recognizes the songs when he hears them.  I'm sure it doesn't hurt that we invited one of his bestest friends to join us.
I love that Thatkid loves the theater.  And I love that he loves bagels.  It makes me feel like he's really part of my family.  My family that sang show tunes and always had bagels in the freezer.   And we've also clearly taught him that bagels are not just for breakfast.  They are equally as fantastic as pizza bases, or as buns for sandwiches.

This bagel sandwich reminds me of one of my favorite things - Caesar salad wraps.  Because like bagels, Caesar also makes for a great sandwich.  Personally, I made this with everything bagels.  Partially because they're my favorite, but also because I felt like the onion and garlic added to the flavor of the sandwich.  The chewy bagel pairs perfectly with the crisp lettuce, cheese, and creamy dressing.  It still feels light, but a little more filling than the salad on it own.

Caesar Salad Bagels (From Cooking Light)
3 Tbsp Caesar dressing
2 bagels, split and toasted
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 thin slices red onion
1 cup torn or shredded romaine lettuce
1/2 cup shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  1. Spread dressing evenly on cut sides of bagels.
  2. Sprinkle with pepper.
  3. Arrange half the onions, romaine lettuce,a dn cheese on bottom halves of bagels.
  4. Repeat layers with remaining onion, lettuce, and cheese.  Top with top halves of bagels.