Friday, August 29, 2008

What do we do on Fridays?

We pick up Mickey gloves at a garage sale for $.50 and play with ice.

That's right. This morning I stopped by a garage sale and found these gigantic Mickey gloves. I usually don't stop by garage sales. I just want someone to search all day and find that super-fantastic-deal one and call me and tell where it is. It's too much work to drive all over.

But I took a risk and stopped on the way back from the grocery store. Aren't they great?


After naps it was time for me to kick into action with some activity ideas. Ice! Brilliant. My kids love to play with ice cubes and thankfully we have an ice maker. I loaded up two buckets and they went to town. (Don't worry, I'm aware of the choking. There was very little eating.)


Then, of course, they played in the sand. You can only imagine the mess. It was great!

I cleaned up the yard and they played. We had dinner outside and a long bath and videos before bed. It was a great Friday.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sippy cup madness

I'm organized. Some might call it OCD organized. But I think just organized works perfect. I like things to be in their place and grouped together. What's wrong with that?

Fall begins and so does the decluttering and organization. All summer long, routines have been thrown out the window and the lazy days of summer have set in. This is okay, but just for the season. With the fall weather looming, I've kicked into action.

The challenge: Sippy Cups!
I love sippy cups. What a fantastic invention for moms. These little cups can go everywhere. I'm a huge fan of Gerber sippy's. My friend Jenny used them and b/c she is such an amazing mom I figured those were the only ones to use. If I want to be a great mom, I must use these cups.

While my love for Gerber held true, my kids weren't big fans in the beginning. As I attempted to introduce the cups to my kids, they refused. Of course, this sent my anxiety level through the roof. How were my children going to be perfect if they didn't use this cup?


So I bought the Tommy Tippee. Because this was the one everyone said would get my child to drink out of a sippy cup. Ebay, here I come. That's right, I bought a sippy cup on Ebay. It was new, of course. Eloise hated it. Again, the anxiety is building. Is this kid going to be on a bottle forever?

Back to Ebay for the Nuby. These were the miracle. It worked. Until she chewed through the spout and they were no longer leak proof.

And then it happened...she fell in love with the Gerber's. The angels were rejoicing and so was mama.

But wait, Nuby came out with these really colorful straw cups. I had to have one. And another. And another. And what about the disposable Mickey cups. So cute, how could I throw them away?

Then came Lily. The cycle started again. No Ebay trips this time, just another Nuby. My standby didn't work. She was a Playtex. girl. She loved them. So much that she chewed them to death.

So now what do I have? A gigantic mess of sippy cup madness. I'm done with the mismatched valves, tops, colors, straws, lids, etc...IT'S DONE! Mama laid the smack down and we are living with the Gerber's. That's right girls, no more straws (except for the cute Mickey's ones I'm stashing away in the cupboard for special occasions), no more different colors, lids, flowers. Just plain Gerber's.

We stocked up with a few more and now my cupboard is uniform with the same sippy cup. Ah...bliss. Now I just need to find replacement lids. Ebay?

Monday, August 25, 2008

the annual

So I realized last month that I hadn't had the annual visit to the woman doctor since 2004. Almost 4 years!

How is this possible? You would think that a woman who has had two kids in the last 3 years would have had something like this done. Well...no.

When pregnant and post birth, you are getting checked so much, you just think every thing's okay. You forget that there are vital tests they do during the annual. I figured it was time to pony up the time and step into those stirrups. (I had to do it, that was too good to pass up.)

I had two home births and I love my midwife more than words can express, but my insurance doesn't love her. Meaning, they don't cover her. So in the interest of financial wisdom, I opted for someone they covered. A good friend of mine suggested a nurse midwife she thought I would love. I'm all for recommendations b/c it's usually successful.

Um...not this time. It's not that I didn't like her, she just didn't have the professionalism your looking for in someone who is about to check out your "Nu Nu". She was very kind, loved the idea of natural birth but supported those who didn't choose it, and wanted the best birth experience for all her mother's. But she dropped the bomb. That's right, she dropped an "F" bomb in the middle of my appointment. During the most sensitive part, when the speculim (sp?) was in!!! As if I needed something more in that moment to make me more tense.

I was so shocked and taken aback that I tried to convince myself that she really didn't say it. Nope, she really did. She dropped an "F" bomb. And it wasn't used in a moment of frustration, just expressing the fine line she had to walk between supporting a home birth mom and her hospital certification. Definitely, not what I would call and appropriate time to use that word.

On my way home I called my midwife to tell her how much I loved her and tried to figure out when she was going to have another baby (she has one). She was pretty sick with her last one and I wanted to make sure I didn't get prego (if I decide to have a 3rd) when she was thinking of getting prego too. She reassured me that she would always be around for me and not to worry.

Ah...the peace of knowing I have a great midwife who isn't going to drop an "F" bomb in the middle of my pap smear.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The downside

There always has to be ONE thing someone doesn't like about their vacation. Thankfully, I only have 1.

Starbuck's in Manhattan pop up every 200 ft. (I think there are 160 of them on the island). Most of them are like drive-thrus, but walk-thrus. There are no tables, just a small bar to order coffee. I walk in, order my americano, and turn around to look for the cream and sugar bar. As I take a step towards it, I look down and nearly drop my coffee on the man standing next to me. There on the floor was a COCKROACH!!!! I have never in my life seen one, but I KNEW what this was. It was ginormous. The size of my thumb.

I wanted so badly to drink my americano but I thought I was going to vomit at that point. I debated about telling the barista, but the people in there weren't so friendly. I was hoping someone else would notice and come to my rescue, but no such luck. So I opted to tip-toe my way towards this beast so I could put some cream in my coffee and sprint out of there as fast as I could without getting attacked.

I had to keep telling myself that it must have come through the door on the street. Starbucks probably has strict health codes and this one is just a rogue cockroach out for his morning joe. I was not going to vomit.

I slid out unscathed vowing never to return. After all, I was in Manhattan, there is bound to be good coffee shops without cockroaches. Right?

Thankfully, we wandered the city without another sighting and I spared my mom and sister the nasty details until later that evening. They agreed, it was best to avoid Starbucks until we were safely out of Manhattan.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Bananas...Angry?

me: Eloise, you and Lily need to split this banana before you eat anything else.
E: But I don't want a banana.
me: Do you remember why we eat bananas? They make us healthy and give us energy.
E: yeah, and bananas make me angry

???

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The favorites

I'm not a big city person when I travel. Paris tops the list of my least favorite cities in the world. Given my experience there, I wasn't excited to visit a major city anytime soon. However, NYC, Manhattan, blew my mind. I loved it and can't wait to visit the city again.

Here are my top 5.

1. The food.
The city has so much variety to offer. Amanda lived in NYC for 2 years and was so kind to send us a list of her favorites. She was spot on. We visited almost all of them on the list and enjoyed everyone of them. We had lunch on the pond and visited Balthazar in Soho for lunch. But the best was Mama Mexico. They had live music, great margaritas, and someone to make fresh guacamole at your table. Then we topped it off with shots (joining a b-day girl at the next table). I missed getting a picture of my mom.



2. Tiffany's
Okay, so we didn't go to a show. I know, every one should go to a show on Broadway. Instead we opted for a beautiful necklace as a reminder of our trip. The great thing about this one is it is unique to the NYC store. It has the address engraved on it. I loved walking around looking at all the magnificent diamonds. I would have asked to try one on if there hadn't been 50 couples choosing wedding rings. I almost passed out when I walked by a woman whose future husband said, "we're looking for a 3 carat, 2.5.....oval diamond". I missed the middle part b/c I was so shocked by the sized he stated. I think my jaw may have hit the floor. Regardless, we walked away with a great reminder of a fantastic trip.



3. Chelsea Market
I love the Food Network and this is where it's filmed. I didn't get to see the studio's but we had alot of fun looking through the shops on the bottom floor. Great bakeries and cooking stores. I bought a small little salt bowl. I love to leave my kosher salt on the stove next to a pepper bowl I bought when I was in Italy. It will be a great reminder of my trip.



4. Ground Zero
This impacted me alot. I think my fears of flying a plane to NYC stemmed from this. I can't even begin to imagine seeing a plane fly into one of those buildings, let alone running from that building when it was falling. Remembering images of people running across the Brooklyn bridge came flooding back. It's a huge hole in the middle of a bustling city and it felt strange. They are building a memorial and have a museum/center dedicated to 9/11. We visited the church where rescue workers ate and slept. It's now a memorial to them and at points I was overcome with emotion.

view of the construction zone

Part of the memorial plaque


5. Times Square
This place really never sleeps and this square proves it. It was bustling with activity from morning until we left at 11:30 p.m. Families, kids, elderly people, etc. There was a Toys-R-Us with a ferris wheel inside! And every where you look, it's advertising. I think our tour guide said that all building's are required to be covered in 70% advertising. (it could be 17% but that sounds too odd). Every time we walked there, we just wandered and looked through all the shops and watched the people. It was amazing.

It was hard to capture the size in a small photo but I did the best I could

Bonus Favorite: Central Park. It's so bizarre to see a beautiful green space in the middle of a concrete island. I think people would go a bit crazy if they didn't have it. Such fun!

The Fountain above and Turtle pond below



The weather was great, the people were kind, and our hotel was gorgeous. We had fun talking, sharing stories and wandering through the streets. We saw lots of fake purses, Soho shops, 5th Avenue (overpriced) boutiques, Bloomingdales, and Rockefeller center. We wandered Greenwich Village and bought handmade chocolates at Dean and Deluca. We took the Staten Island Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty and got caught in a thunder storm on the way back. I didn't bump into Sarah Jessica Parker, but that's okay. I think we were just too busy to make time anyway :)

view of Manhattan from the Staten Island Ferry

It was a great trip to NYC!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Back in the west

I'm home now from NYC and settling back into life. It was a great time and I'm excited to be back with my little family.

I was surprised at how much I loved the city. There is so many places to explore and I'm excited to share my favorites once I can organize my pics.

I made some daily activity gifts for the girls. I wanted to make sure Dave had something fun to do and the girls had a small reminder of mama. They were pretty excited to open the gifts and had lots of fun playing with the treats.


The girls had a great time with daddy and he did a fantastic job. He gets the Super-Star hubby award. (If I knew photoshop, I would fancy myself an award for that one.)


Here's what mama brought home for the family. None other than Yankee hats. How cute are they? (You think Eloise would be a little more excited?)

And while I was gone, I missed my little Lily counting to 10 for the first time all by herself. She was walking down the stairs with Dave one morning and just started counting. I'm so proud of her.

More to come from NYC.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

taking the week off

This will be my last post until next Tuesday (maybe later). I'm off to spend some time in the Big Apple with my mom and sister.

We're planning a little personal shopping trip with Stacy and Clinton and then we'll be off to lunch with Sarah Jessica. (Parker, that is). Then we'll top it off with dinner in the park or Soho with some celebs. Wouldn't that be fabulous!

Okay, back down to real life. I'm getting pretty excited, but I'm also nervous. I'm nervous about being so far away and not having the means to get home quickly. This is the longest I've been away from the girls. I know they will be fine, but I think mama might have a hard time boarding that plane without crying.

I'm praying that Dave will do great holding down the fort and he'll see his time with the girls as something he gets to do rather than has to do.

And not to be forgotten, this is a trip of making memories and growing together with my sister and my mom. I'm looking forward to making new memories that are encouraging and fruitful.

Have a great week!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Lost dog...

...if found please call.

Today we went to Costco and Walmart. (I thought this was pretty ambitious given my fear of the grocery store). Eloise insisted on taking her dog. This is pretty typical. I'm always warning her about the possibility of losing her dog. I know she doesn't understand but I feel it's my motherly duty to warn her.

This dog is #1. She has tons of attachment objects that she sleeps with or takes with her, but this dog is tops. He goes everywhere with her. Even to the potty.

She took the dog into Costco where we chowed down on fabulous samples and picked up some good ole' wipes.

In the parking lot, on the way out, she saw a dog in the car next to us. During it's incessant barking, she said, "yeah, my doggie can bark too. see, roof, roof".

Then at Walmart, I can't remember what she did with the dog.

When we were getting ready for bed, she asked for doggie. I immediately began panicking and called Walmart. No dog.

I had to explain to her that doggie wasn't coming home.

Eloise: "Oh. He's shopping at Walmart. He'll be back soon."
me: "no honey, he won't be back. Can we find you another doggie?"
Eloise: "yeah. I'll take Lily's doggie". (so much for the grieving process)

I was getting so choked up. I was so sad for her. I kept thinking that I needed to show her how to handle this loss, but I could barely handle it. It's just a stuffed dog, right? But it's her dog and a little thing I've watched her create personality for and take care of. I think that's what is making me emotional. (And possibly the opening ceremony of the Olympics. I always get so emotional and proud of our Olympians...I know, seriously).

Well doggie, it's been a good run. Thanks for the memories.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

I'm going recipe crazy

I would not have posted yet another recipe, but I made this for dinner club tonight and it was requested by all...well maybe not the girl who likes 5 ingredients or less. But the other ladies loved it.

The first time I made this I could not stop shoveling it in. I'm a huge fan of ginger and, who doesn't love peanut butter. It comes from my favorite publication, Healthy Cooking by Taste of Home. (the July issue)

Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps (I've turned them into egg rolls)
1 1/4 lb ground turkey
1 16 oz pkg. frozen oriental mixed veggies, thawed
1/3 cup teriyaki sauce
1/4 hoisin sauce
3 Tbls reduced fat peanut butter
2 Tbls. minced ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbls rice wine vinegar
1 Tbls sesame oil
10 boston lettuce leaves
or pkg of egg roll wrappers

Cook and stir turkey over medium-high heat until no longer pink. Coarsely chop veggies and add to pan. stir in remaining ingredients (not lettuce or egg roll wrappers). Cook and stir for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Cool slightly. If doing lettuce, fill 1/2 cup into lettuce and serve. If egg rolls, lay out wrapper, using pastry brush, brush egg white or water on edges of the wrapper. Place 2 heaping Tbls in the middle and fold in two sides then roll. (this is hard to explain. They don't have to look pretty, they just have to stay closed). Place onto greased cookie sheet and spray with cooking spray. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes, flip, bake another 10 minutes until golden brown.


The kiddos of the group even like this one. I mixed the filling with brown rice and Lily inhaled it. But she inhales everything so I guess that's not a good example. But I did see one small 2 year old boy eating his egg rolls...makes a chef proud.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Granola mama

I found this post about granola and remembered my mom making it when I was young.

I decided to give it a go, making a few adjustments to my liking. Here is what I came up with for our family. What's great is that you can add pretty much anything to it.

Granola
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2/3 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup flax seed
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
6 tablespoons honey

Preheat oven to 325°F.

In a large bowl stir together dry ingredients. In a small saucepan melt butter with honey over low heat, stirring. Pour butter mixture over oat mixture and stir until combined well.

In a large jelly-roll pan spread granola evenly and bake in middle of oven, stirring halfway through baking, until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Cool granola in pan on a rack and stir in dried fruits. Granola may be kept in an airtight container at cool room temperature 2 weeks.

*I cooked much longer than she suggested. 8-10 minutes, turn. 8-10 more minutes, turn. Then 5 more minutes and done. You will have to adjust based on your oven's temp.

I also decided to give her muffins a try. Coming from Barefoot Contessa, who could go wrong. It's been a while since I've used white flour and white sugar. Needless to say, they were delicious and not particularly good for the waistline.

The granola has given me some inspiration in the snack department too.
Plain Yogurt
Honey or Agave nectar
Granola
Blueberries (Lily's favorite, any berry will work)

Happy granola making!

Friday, August 1, 2008

What I love about my girls...

..is their new favorite activity. It usually happens without fighting and without me. It's the most precious thing ever.

video