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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Feel like a good giggle and all the while learn a few tips on a STRESS-FREE Turkey Day?

Stress-free Thanksgiving.htm

Bless the folks with senses of humor enough for all of womankind. Bless them for having experienced this and other random BS long enough to finally find it in themselves to laugh at it.

And I thank my lucky stars they have website with many other "Sporty Mama Says" kinfolk-filled pieces of material for me to loose myself in...

So Thank You, Happy Woman Magazine. You have indeed made me a Happy Woman.

Disclaimer: I have not read EVERY article on here and there's a good likelihood I'll disagree with at least one thing I find... just give it time.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

6 Kid Snacks Adults Can Love... Guilt-free. Take THAT Yahoo! News!

As I compulsively checked my home page of Yahoo! as I checked one of many email addresses I manage, I came across an article titled 6 Kid Snacks Adults Can Love. So I checked it out because hey, who am I kidding? I'm as busy as the next person and I love to snack, so why not?

Then I found out that even the weakest ideas can grab a meager paycheck from a published highlight on Yahoo! news... LAME.  So I challenge the Almond peanuts, string cheese, prepared trail mix, bag o' potato chips flavored in classy ways, and Quaker granola bars... I applaud the thought that perhaps buying prepared foods might simply be something we all do (secretly too often during high-stress moments)... and then I offer you another list of slightly less boring and hopefully somehow a little purer of snacks, free of preparation, full of fun, flavor and nutrition....

Clif Z Bars - fantastic, flavorful, often has some version of chocolate, and the kids just LOVE EM!

Pirate's Booty - Seriously tasty (my fave? Aged white cheddar), you can even grab the tasty veggie kind, and who doesn't love to use the word Booty each and every day?

Annie's Bunnie Fruit  - gummy, fruity, and bunny shaped. Need I say more?

 Envirokidz granola-like bars - ridiculously, ridiculously good. I eat more than my kids do, seriously! Try the Lemur flavor, with its peanut goodness drizzled with chocolate... Mmmmm!

Monday, November 1, 2010

As the leaves fall and winter sets in...

It's another crazy season upon us here at the house and I swear it's like it never seems to end...

We've survived school starting, Halloween, school conferences, two children playing on separate sports teams in different organizations, a 7month old who recently popped two teeth through her gums like she's been doing it all her life, and the initial stages of buying a house. You'd think we'd get to a slowing down pace, right? WRONG.

Nope. We are now in preparation mode just in case we do buy this house. We are preparing for the onslaught of potential family arriving to stay for different lengths of time and are generally excited that despite it all, we are tighter and more in-love with our family than ever!

Now if we can just close on this stinkin' house deal...

Wish us luck!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Here's to new beginnings, ends of eras, and hopefully - a new mortgage!

Tis the end of a crazy summer. We become possessed as Little League zombies pushing through the life of baseball until mid-July. We traveled four states and gave the newborn babe in our lives a very thorough West Coast tour/welcome. Then finally, happily August hit.

And so did wedding preparations for Husband's sister. She's marrying her favorite gent from London and is hosting this occassion at the Grandma's grand home in Maine! That means we get to go!!! Sad thing about it, Grandma didn't make it to the wedding date in Sept... L.J.E. passed away, quite gently, a few days ago and thus we now are adding the celebration of her life and a memorial to prove it to our itinerary.

Oh right - don't forget the business trip to Boston smack dab in the middle....

With so many things to celebrate and a few things to meander and mourn, I can safely say, PLEASE SUMMER - JUST BE DONE NOW!!!!!!!!

I'm ready for school to start, schedules to meld together, and life to become a bit normal. But not (please no, not until) we are officially pre-approved for our home loan on a home that we have found and fallen in love with. It's wonderful and spacious and oh-so-us!!!  So we have become "pre-qualified" and are hoping to put an offer in soon.....

Cross your fingers! I'm can promise mine are!

Happiest of labor days, everyone. Be safe and don't forget to remind your people you love them!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Disastrous Fire - 1, old family land - 0

Craziest thing tonight - an impromptu fire occurred in our town just a few blocks over from home. Turns out, it was the land that our 2nd child had been born on. The house itself had been taken down a few years before, but the old, grumpy-yet-stoically aged barn and the rugged trailer had remained. Today, the both joined the old home in forms of ash and rubble.

12 other homes have also been lost thus far tonight in a neighborhood nearby. It seems this fire is moving north. Had it moved west we'd have been evacuated and displaced, but instead, we sit here mourning the loss of a place filled with memories for two families, five children, four dogs, and a couple of lazy owls that made home in that barn. Someone needs to tell the Punk House residents.

Thank you, Washington Street, for providing a place for punks, country singers, newly-in-love couples and small children alike to call home and feel safely tucked away.

Our prayers and safe wishes go out to the families who have lost their homes and treasures tonight...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Past, Present and Future - I must be in my 30s

Ever have one of those odd, non-life shattering, mid-life crisis moments when you question everything...

- Do I like my job? Really, really like my job and can I do it forever as an employee?
- Am I a decent mother, or did I just screw 3 innocent little beings by forcing them to succeed despite my efforts to not mess them up too much?
- How did I get so old so fast without noticing?
- Wait - am I actually old? NO! I'm too young to be this sedentary!!!
- Do I act too old or maybe I'm so young and naive to realize how fresh I really am?
- Oh crap! I just started worrying perhaps I can't cook as moderately ok as I think I can?
- Are my 3 kiddos growing up too fast without me noticing? Is that why I can't complete one scrapbook???
- I'm not missing a life-changing opportunity by working instead of staying home right?
- I'm not a bad mommy because I'd rather work than be a SAHM, yes?

Can't be the first time a mother has thought these... just thought I'd note them down tonight...

~ Simone

Oh Monday, you have let me down!

Ugh, ugh, ack.

What a gross Monday already, and we've only just begun.

The Bad News:  Yesterday's marinara sauce hit me like a steam boat and I was up all night facing the repercussions of having avoided tomatoes for a year (pregnancy and all). Ick.

I have a Department Head meeting today at work to discuss the next three months, and none of all three can I even begin to consider since my immediate future continues to hold for me a reservation with the porcelain god.

THEN, after that Department Head meeting I get to do a round with the Team meeting. Oh great. Now I get to fake just how happy I am to hear everyone's opinions. And to think that there was a special request for us all to have happy, open minds... My mind is open for sure, but my bathroom door - not so much. Ick.

Oh Monday! How you hate me so.

The good news: baby didn't not wake up once during my dates with said porcelain god. That means Murphy (and his laws) can piss off! hah!

AND - Middle Child woke up so pleasant and happy and bouncy! A rare treat indeed!

Ick. Back to remind said porcelain god I haven't forgotten how to find him. Must be a 'him' if I feel this icky.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

It's exhausting, this mother/wife/friend/employee thing, and frankly - I need a vacation.

Is it so bad that I'd love to ditch every one of those above responsibilities and bail for a few days?

Leaving behind gleefully:
  • kids 
  • husband
  • dogs
  • housework
  • emails
  • text messages
  • phone calls
  • paperwork
  • employees
  • cars
  • clocks
  • paved roads
Because I'd do it, in a HEARTBEAT, if I could only get the time to scrape aside $900. Seriously.

It's been such a pre-season, session-cramming, busy 2010 that everyday I sit at my desk and longingly flirt with a gift certificate of $125 to a day spa that I received  in May. IN MAY, folks. That was nearly four months ago.

And to top it off, life got soooooooo busy that I couldn't even find the fire to blog-slash-whine about it! How crazy is that, I ask you???

So adieu, dear readers, for now. I'm going to go stow away a few bucks to start saving for vacation. I'm also gonna dig up my famous/favorite recipe for Blue Cheese Flan (prepare to die in the essence of blue cheese!) to share with ya'll soon.

In case anyone is worried, please don't fret. It's one of those exhausting days that melts away with sleep and all of the fluffy love and sweet dispositions of mommy-hood return with the rise of the sun.

~ Simone

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Difference In My Children Started At Birth - my guest blog appearance

Ingenue Mom, or Cameron, has so trustingly gifted me the chance to Guest Blog on her site!!!

One of my favorites, this mama has spent the last two weeks sharing others birth stories that will make you laugh, cry, and bring you to your knees with nostalgic memories of our babies who grow up so fast.

Check her out! And even more so, check out my birth story!


Nominated for TWO awards! Much gratitude flowing from me right now...

I'm still in complete awe just how gracious this blogging community of mamas is. I decided to start a blog as a personal experiment, then got caught up in the activity of responses, and realized that what I get in return is so much more rewarding.... it's amazing! All jokes and attitude aside, I am truly honored to be a part of the thousands of women out there sharing their lives with each other. It's an awesome creation.

From this amazing network, my adolescent blog has been nominated for, get this, TWO Versatile Blogger award, from two amazing women:

Mommy Only Has Two Hands - check her out. She has the sweetest of writing about her darling Jaydon and if you can spend a moment and peruse her blogs, I promise she will get you thinking... it's wonderful.

Cool Progeny - One of my favorites and a flippin' fantastic Twitter'er to follow as well, this gal is sure to keep you on your toes by offering information on odd ways to use Oatmeal to fresh food challenges to sharing the most useful and endearing experiences as a mama... You must check her out...

Now - on to accepting these awards. I have a few things I must do, and I will attempt to do them well.

There are a few things I must do in order to accept the award.

1) Thank the person who gave me the award.
2) Share seven things about me.
3) Nominate 15 newly discovered blogs, and let the nominees know about the award.

So here are seven things about me:

1. I work for an amazing Fair Trade, Organic tea company, EcoTeas, who are so kind as to give me the opportunity to run with my job to make it the best I can. They are some of the finest folks you'll meet. EcoTeas is here!
2. I have a serious issue with buying cute shoes that I don't wear out. I just don't go fancy often enough, yet the shoes remain cute!
3. I'd like to arrange for Alanis Morrisette to play me in that movie about me that isn't made yet.
4. I'm legally blind in my left eye and would probably give my right arm for Lasik surgery so I could swim with my kids.
5. Roses bug me. Not sure why.
6. I have a soft spot for Adam Sandler. He just seems vulnerable and cuddly.
7. I like listening to bad 90s music when I clean.

And my nominees are:

1. Ramblings of a Suburban Soccer Mom If you are looking for a genuine, no-holds-barred kind of writing that is funny, easy to relate to, and flat out ridiculously entertaining, this is your girl. Lara can make you feel like you aren't totally crazy after all. Love it!

2. One Cramazing Life Her motto, No Parenting Style is Perfect, is so right on. And yet, I challenge that, because she is parenting and educating from the heart, which is as close as you are gonna get to perfect. Check it out. You'll walk away a better person, honest!

3.Beloved Mama  - so fun, so real, so much love! You'll find it all here, full of pictures of inspiration and adoration. A true feel good.

4. Saving Mom's Sanity  This gal will make you feel sane. Seriously. She's quirky, frank, and so stinkin' entertaining! If there is one thing I know, it's that none of us go through something no one else has. She proves that and does it with a beautiful smile!

5. Obviously Marvelous Not sure how, exactly, but I always feel a little bit more hip after checking out her blog. It's awesome!

6. Ingenue Mom Inspirational, intelligent, and witty, this blog will surely leave you feeling good. One of my favorites!

7. Common Sense, Dancing So funny!!! And fun, and wise and real. My new favorite morning read!!!

8. Musings of a Modern Mom - Realistic and interesting, this mama will actually post reality and not just fascination with the small stuff. A true recommendation for those who want content and not busy work.

9. A Bloggy Mom This woman will blow your mind. Tiffany is a creator and a rockstar, running Bloggy Moms, participating in many nonprofit events and so much more! I strive to be more like her!

10. Crazy Town Oh My God(dess)... This gal cracks me the heck up. It's like, she reads my mind, puts it into eloquent yet ridiculously funny and casual writing, then posts it! Genius!

Oh my lord. my computer is freaking out so I'm only giving you ten! Thanks for understanding!!!

Many thanks for the awards! I'm truly honored! Keep blogging, keep reading, and keep on livin'!

~ Simone

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Just had a baby? I'm here for you!

I can name seven (!) babies that have been born since the end of March. Crazy, huh?

One of our friends has just had (as in, like this morning!), GULP, twins! Her first kid(s) and she was blessed with a 24 hr labor before getting that damned proverbial C-section. Sweet girl, she's in great spirits and the twin baby girls were born both at nearly 8lbs/each after 39 weeks of cooking.

Got me thinking? What have you done for your new mama-friend lately? Here's some grand ideas that are easy to do and so appreciated by the new mama, papa, and their family:
  • Meals delivery: MAKE sure this happens after they get home! Dinner is perfect, lunch is an incredible plus, and if you can and it's appropriate, encourage delivery friends to add a six pack of beer for dad. It won't go wasted, promise.
  • Gift Card to Costco/Sams Club/Wal-Mart: For one friend, I asked each of our friends to donate $10-20 then took the total cash and bought one giant gift card at Costco. They can get diapers for at least 6 months now!
  • Buy a newspaper the day of the birth: They are so busy and consumed with babies that they don't know it will be so cool to read their local paper years later on their sweet babe's birthday.
  • Gift them Housecleaning or Massages: Both mama and papa will so appreciate knowing that for once their house will be clean. Or another option, the massage. Nothing is more appreciated than a fantastic rub down after 9-10 months of focused pregnancy and hopeful wishes of holding a baby!
  • Scrapbook the Facebook pages of the parents: It's true and we all know it, most of us have Facebook accounts. And much of our communication lies on our profile page. Upon announcement of the birth(s), everyone who loves them will post the softest, sweetest things. Find a way to chronicle those sweet nothings and pass it on to the parents in a few months. They'll love the revisit.
  • Call soon: Trust that they will choose if they can talk at the time you call and in the meantime they will appreciate that you are still treating them like a human.
  • It truly takes a village: Never forget that. Remind your friends often.
I am so proud of each and every one of us parents. It's a beautiful and incredible journey that we are trusting. May we always feel loved, supported, and proud of what we have been blessed with.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

4 Ways to Stay Sane When Life Gets Rough

Amen, sister!

Fellow Blogger, Laurie Wallin of the blog Living Power has shared a fantastic post with us lucky folks!

It's titled 4 Ways to Stay Sane When Life Gets Rough and I loved reading it today, Tuesday. It's the Tuesday that insists on still feeling like a manic Monday.

And to think... the gall of Tuesday. I had told Monday to pull it together, but nope. Instead, Tuesday is as equally screwed up as Monday.

Oh well! Thanks Laurie! Your post is a perfect reminder to keep breathing and remember you are not alone.


Monday, August 2, 2010

The Latino Wins again! Get 'em, Roberto!

Is he hot or is he hot?

He's hot.... seriously. Roberto, on the right, is the official dork who got a wife from a TV show winner.

What this means is I've been watching the Bachelorette tonight.

Hi guys. Sporty Mama Says here and I'm a closet Bachelorette watcher. It's official.
Aren't I clever, waiting until now, the night of the finale, to admit my  dirty secret?

And yet, it also means that I am one of those silly hopeless romantics. I love watching and feeling those OMG-I-really-like-this-person moments, fireworks, butterflies. I love rooting for the good guy, and I sure was okay with being irritated with Frank (the mean guy who broke Bachelorette's - and MY - heart).

Thus I say, to Frank: You Suck. To Roberto: don't let me down, you dark and handsome boy. To Chris (runner up): Spot #2 really does suck and you are a good, good man.

Phew. Glad I got that outta my system. I sure hope my cheesy, hopeless romantic DNA is in my kids too. There's a sweet hopefulness, a gentle innocence, in those qualities that is worth passing on.

The Bachelorette? OK, maybe not. Our future generation deserves more than a dorky TV show.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

flower girl or princess? the debate has begun.

I've been trying to explain to my 5yr old that her aunt's wedding, coming up here in a little over a month, is an occasion to celebrate many things. First and foremost, it's to celebrate the married union between Aunt and Uncle. It's a celebration of love, and life, the future, etc. etc. etc. You get the point. She, Ms. Flowergirl in this said wedding, does not.

She insists it's a chance to show everyone she's a princess, and she's expecting princess treatment, too. Now, I know your instincts will be to respond with a version of "Oh, how cute! She's only five, and she'll get her role when she gets there" but I'm pretty sure you're underestimating the power of this girl. She is quite controlled and impressively mature in her perspective and when she says she's a princess at the wedding, she means A PRINCESS. She doesn't want the cute/slightly dismissive pats on the head topped with the occassional "Aren't you a pretty princess!" Nope. I'm pretty sure she's expecting her own makeup artist and dressing room.

Sooooo.... I'm working on a new approach to her understanding it's a day she's a part of, not her day. Because I am unwilling to share Aunt's day with a 5 yr old who stomps around with tears and screams about how no one is listening to what she wants. Unwilling.

Ideas are welcome.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Keepin' On The Sunny Side of Life

My daughter chose to have an arm-wrestling styled match against her father when tooth brushing commenced tonight. It was the age-old, "quiet down, brush your teeth, don't wake the baby, and get into bed" struggle we all have often during the bedtime hours. Tonight, Daughter chose to end the tooth brushing fiasco with a simple slam of the door, thus waking Baby #3. Not the best idea.

Now she's in bed, sniffling, because her choice landed her a play date-free afternoon tomorrow instead of what was sure to be one glorious playdate with her bestie, Seb. Pick your battles, I told her softly in my mind as I watched it all go down.

Then I took a step back and thought about that statement, Pick Your Battles. We all pick our battles on a daily basis... eat the ricotta-stuffed french toast battle, then guiltily extra-exercise to win the fitness war. Pick the "don't talk back to your mother" battles only to later ignore blanketed "You Don't Understand Me" statements during the tween war years.

Today I picked a battle with a blog that fed us food for thought based on whether or not parents who kiss their children are innocently doing wrong. It's a battle that I am quite comfortable having, but it's not one that needs to be held. I'm strong in my convictions as I said, and I'm sure that was present in my response to this said blog. Often the devils advocate in discussions with friends, I understand the compelling nature to write up an article such as this. Heck, I almost respect that compelling nature simply  by existing. Still, I didn't need to pick that battle. Why, when by existence alone, did the article ultimately ooze out what me and 50+ compelled commenters later said...

I vow to, in the future, better pick my battles, because no one likes a smart a**. And that, my friends, is what I became when I pointed out the flaws in that post. Someone who simply took hefty notice of the obvious. None too clever on my part, now was it?

She's At It Again, this blogger, and this time it's personal!

Ok, I'm officially stating there's a small chance I enjoy debate and that I have an easy button you can push when I feel compelled to argue.

But I also feel Ms. Jeanne Sager might exist solely to irritate the, um, Heck, out of me with her blogs.

Her newest attack is on parents who kiss their kiddos to, say, bid them goodnight on the lips. Not joking. See it here.

At least this blog had a small fragrance of thoughtful exchange floating around in it (unlike her recent bemoaning of Pregnancy Parking. See my response/Blog War here.) Seriously though, I once again have to claim BLOG WAR!

Now look. I don't make out with my children. I don't kiss them a million times a day. I don't sit around all day with Daddy making out. And I surely do not presume my 5yr old daughter is a 'sexual harasser,' nor do I believe society to think she is one strictly because she's comfortable getting kisses from her parents.

Ms. Sager quotes out of the book, The Power of Your Child's Imagination, the following blurb:
'She [author Dr. Charlotte Resnick] gives the example of a 6-year-old girl kissed on the lips by her father. It's completely innocent on both sides, but when the girl goes to school and tries to kiss her classmates on the lips -- equally innocently -- she's placed in the role of "sexual harasser."'

This lady is freaking nuts. Not the author of the aforementioned book, Charlotte Resnick. I mean Jeanne Sager - author of a blog that is reviewed by a bazillion folks and who can write both opinion blogs and opinion/"I'm just sayin' " blogs... the one who also picked this additional quote she's pulled from the book:

' "As a child gets to 4 or 5 or 6 and their sexual awareness comes about (and some kids have an awareness earlier -- as when we notice they start masturbating at 2 or 3 sometimes -- they just discover their private parts and it feels good), the kiss on the lips can be stimulating to them," Reznick explains.'

Ugh. I feel a lifetime of counseling might be a mighty good gift for someone that finds kids to be such easy prey ... hmmm?

I'd like to state for the record that my soon to be 6yr-old kindergarten-aged daughter will get kisses from me and her father any time she'd like. And it's my humble opinion that I'm perfectly in the A-OK club upon my refusal to see it as the gateway drug to her becoming a socially labeled sexual harasser.

I'd also like to state for the record that those who find it convenient and further - preemptively okay to ask an entire society to fear kindergartners as potential sexual harassers are in my opinion, idiots. Contest all you will, and yes, I understand there are exceptions to every rule. However, I take serious issue with this theory that a kid who can't even read is at-risk for emotional and social harm in this scenario. Instead, I find this post to be harmful to the entire community who had the unfortunate circumstance of reading it and suddenly thinking that this fear-mongering idea is plausible. Please do not try to disconnect what little human connection is left in a much-too-fast-paced world and try to muddle it up with that "dirty" word sex. Sickos. Instead, find a way to solve more important issues, like cancer or world peace or how I'm supposed to keep a clean home with five people in it, yes?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Throw the Baby Out With The Bath Water

Can I just say, ewwww?

I mean, I get that it's just a saying. I get that it's an idiom and that (boy am I assuming...) no one actually threw a baby out with their bath water one day.

Courtesy of good ole Wikipedia, Throw The Baby Out With The Bath Water has history and depth I still cannot connect with.

Am I alone in this? Or is it as gross as I keep trying to avoid thinking it is?

Just a thought on a Monday night....

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Pregnancy Parking is Overrated??? I do apologize, BUT I contest!

Ever been pregnant, or are currently pregnant, and feel like getting irritated. Great! Read THIS!

Now I'm quite certain this Jeanne Sager has children and is likely a lovely gal. But I have to simply call BS on this one.

As a mother of three, and through none of which did I EVER come across Pregnancy Parking, I'm in awe that Ms. Sager feels compelled to toss out the idea that we should rid what little efforts are being offered here to those bustling about with an additional 40 lbs+ on their frontside just because she's irritated no one is stepping up to help her now! As if being a mom of womb-liberated children is suddenly so much harder. Oh BS! Stop whining!

I do agree that it sure would be nice if stores didn't try harder to appeal to my kids than to me, but I chose to bring them there. And SURE, wouldn't it be lovely if they had special ways to make being a parent-slash-shopper easier, but really? Pick on the gal who can't hold her pee for more than 2 min? Come on, lady! A little compassion, please.

May I also rant about how many shoppers have children, mostly in tow with them? This makes the nice soul's life behind us w/out kids (and w/out the economy sized package of paper plates, wipies, bubbles, etc.) suck much worse than those of us who, intentionally or by accident, now have children. We parents ARE the majority here, thus making a 'Parents Only' lane pretty much what we see and deal with everyday.

Instead, I offer Ms. Sager a new idea. How's about a "Mom Got A Sitter So Get The Heck Outta My Way" line. Now THAT'S an idea I can get behind. Yes, I've taken the time and effort to spend $6 on my (and my community's) sanity so I can fly through a store and get only what I choose to get. I won't be convinced of extra fudgescicles, or hot dogs, or two watermelons so the kids won't fight over them. And I don't really want to spend my time waiting on the poor mom who is struggling with her kids to be patient because they are waiting on another family's full cart to get checked through. I wanna FLY ON THROUGH!

(To her credit, she did ask our American society to consider more supportive avenues when coddling us mothers, i.e. adequate maternity leaves and pumping stations.)

So thanks, Ms. Sager, for giving me a reason to think this idea through. And if you ever eradicate the Pregnancy Parking in your town, coulda send it over to mine? Because I sure as heck would love that for all of my ladies who are waddling around right now!

Kids + Curry = YUMMY?

Those who've been reading my blog know that we've welcomed our newest addition to our family this month!

Ladies, gents, and children, please welcome back, Our New Grill.

As crazy as it sounds, I am SO tired of grilled food. We've grilled steaks, dogs, burgers, tenderloins, mushrooms, asparagus, cabbage, sausages, corn, carrots, heck - I even grilled apricots for dessert one night.

 So tonight I will make curry. I will make a curry the ENTIRE family will love! Don't believe the kids will love it? Can't imagine what I will do to make this possible? Here's how!

Photo credit: Gulfnews

What you will need:

~ Red Curry Paste (super small jar - you only use a touch)
~ Fish sauce (easy to find, gross to think about)
~ Brown Sugar
~ 1-2 cans of coconut milk
~ Your choice of veggies (I use green beans, tiny shitake mushrooms, celery, carrots, garlic, green/red peppers, 1-2 parboiled potatoes, broccoli, white or yellow onion)
~ Meat (chicken, tofu or pork go extra well!)

What you will do:
Get Your Children Into The Kitchen!!! Call them in! Have them peel the carrots, carefully fill the pot of water for below, snap the beans' ends, open cans of coconut milk, anything! Just get them involved. Their perspective will make this dish the best it can be! And remember - they are your #1 taste testers!

Heat a pot of water separately from anything else. Boil your boneless chicken or pork for 8-12 min. until cooked. Drain and set aside. Sounds odd, but this will help your meat retain it's supple texture and thus will be more apt to absorbing the yummy curry flavors! ALSO - make a small pot of rice, but DON'T FORGET ABOUT IT! You don't want burnt rice. Yuck.
In a large pan, saute your veggies starting with your hardest veggies first. For me the order was broccoli, carrots, potatoes, celery, green peppers, onion, garlic and so forth. TIP: I often, and it's normally encouraged, to saute the onion and garlic first. But here I want these flavors to pop, so I am waiting until the end. Saute all veggies until soft.
Carefully pull your veggies out of the pan and set aside. In the same veggie pan, turn heat to low-medium. Add 1 1/2 tsp of curry sauce to 1 tbsp fish sauce, 1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar and 1 full can of coconut milk. Wisk well until fully mixed. Now, some like it sweeter, some saltier... I prefer creamier, so I generally add the coagulated part of an additional can of coconut milk.
Play around, see what you like! For sweeter, more brown sugar, for saltier, a little more fish sauce. But taste, taste, taste, because they all balance each other out, so consider this a chemistry experiment and get mixing! Don't forget to add your veggies and meat back into your curry sauce and let simmer for 5-12 minutes with a lid on...
This is a great time to prepare your plates with rice and a small salad. Top with your Curry and you are set to go! Bon Apetit!

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Shout Out to All of Us Inspiring Moms Out There!

New to this blog thing, I've been researching, digging, and devising my way through a world I thought would be so much simpler. Do you know what I've found?

An underworld that is rising to the top, cram-filled with absolutely amazing, intelligent, thoughtful, and adoring mothers who are finding time to create a community for each other to lean on.

Who knew that Mommy-blogging was the new black, the nouveau thing to do? I shake my head in disbelief because at one time darnit, I was the trend-setter. The Fire Plug, The Mover-and-Shaker girl. ME!

I digress. Because today I have gained perspective. And today, I pay homage to all of the women out there who take a moment in between board meetings, dirty diapers, lost shipments, fights with their husband, and passed up young dreams to share their day-to-day lives with the rest of us.

Thank you, ladies. I can only hope that one day I, too, will be in that glorious collective sharing and inspiring others the way you have me!

I can't post them all, so do a little research! You'll be glad you did... but in the meantime, here's a sample of those that I love:

Bloggy Moms Network
Ingenue Mom
Crazy About My Baybah
Saving Moms Sanity
Full House Mommy
Moms Material
Resourceful Mommy

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

How Can A 5yr Old Rule The World?

Yeah, I don't know either.

Daughter is absolutely in control. And she's very good at it, too. A five yr old with an incredible sense of dominance and management, she blows away Son.

Do note, I have always managed some business or another, despite being a full-time mom to two or three. So I get the idea of organization and a position of authority. I reallllly do. But at five years young? REALLY?

And to top it off, she could care less whether we find her amusingly irritating, pushy, flat out rude, or otherwise. She could care less whether the strange 12yr olds at the park found her abrasive when she told them how to play in the sand under the slide. Daughter doesn't care how Son feels when she orders him around to clean her room for her. She's amazing! Pure confidence, not a sway of uncertainty.

Trouble with that story I just rambled on about is that all I can do is ramble on about it. This girl is on a mission. How on Earth will I survive this one? I have been asking myself that a lot lately. It's like, I gave birth to some extra strong broad from Jersey and now she's preparing to move to a new planet where life is really hard and she needs to thicken her skin to survive. It's insane!

Don't get the wrong idea, this gal can be so adoring and gentle and sweet. She loves to cuddle, sing, draw, and dance. And she's a kitten around her baby sister!!!

And then she turns on ya! Ever have one of those cats that love to be pet only to, for no good reason, turn on you and scratch the crap outta you? Me too. She was sent to Australia to live a happy life with my sister.

So I shrug in resignation. She rocks, and I'm sure someday she'll be president, or ruler, or goddess. I don't worry her constitution is too fragile for the real world, and I have no fear she will do just fine with men when she's older. I just hope I live through it all to see it come full circle!

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Art of Losing: A 10yr Old's Perspective

It's over Baseball is finally over.

Bittersweet and amazing, our 10yr olds took 5th in State! Not bad for a pile of kids from a town of 23,000!

So how does it feel? I ask him, my son - the leader of this clan. He felt like they should have one that last game. How do you feel about being eliminated? He gets uncomfortable at this point. It's hard for him, for these kids. And I don't think losing is the hard part. I think it's us adults hoping they stand up tall, shake the other team's hands with pride, and feel as proud as we do about their successes without tears. It's feeling the emotions of letting go of a big season, of losing the comradeship they've been nursing for the last 4 1/2 weeks.

It's about loss, not losing.

Two days later, it's all dust in the wind. All of the kids have moved on from the game. They have exchanged phone numbers and promised play dates for the remaining part of the summer. I took mine to the Zoo and to a Science Museum. We hit a ridiculously, outlandishly cool doughnut shop and ate pizza for two nights. And I find it amazing how proud I am of them.

None of them are holding grudges, none of them suddenly think they shouldn't have played this game they lost. They all feel great and are hosting their own Home Run Derby in two days.

Now if that isn't an example I should strive to be more like, I don't know what is.

Win as if you were used to it, lose as if you enjoyed it for a change. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, July 12, 2010

How To Send Your Kids To Camp This Summer

How to Send Your Kid to Camp… Rules of Engagement

Sending your kid to camp is no easy task. In fact, I approach it each year just like the last - as if I'm leaving to accomplish something so big, so great, that only the most stoic standing person can succeed at this challenge. By the time I'm done, they'll have a statue erected with my face on it. OK, not really, but still. It's hard! Here's some lessons I've learned in the last decade re: camp:

  1. Pick a camp you are both comfortable with – the worst thing you can do is pick a camp you are nervous about sending your kid to. Is the context of the camp acceptable and worthy of your child’s attention? Does your kid seem excited to go and learn more about [insert something interesting here]? Is the camp organization reputable and do you have any local references to rely your opinion on?

  1. Pick a camp that has a timeframe you both can handle – One serious mistake is to send your kid to a week-long overnight camp when he’s never spent the night anywhere else in his sweet little life. Camp is not the time to ‘try something new’ and hope they work it out. I guarantee you’ll get that call from a camp counselor and find yourself traipsing through the campground looking for your kiddo who’s shyly sitting in some corner wishing they were as brave as the other kids, not realizing it’s a matter of exposure, not confidence.

  1. Have the ‘talk’ about mutual respect and group dynamics – turns out, much of what we intuitively know about group dynamics as adults came from experiences that worked (and didn’t work) as kids. Seems like a no-brainer, but as a parent I’m realizing that sometimes it’s those little nuances in an experience that my son misses until I point them out. At 34, I still miss those sometimes, too. But hey – no one’s perfect, right? So jot down some important messages you want to convey and have the talk with your kid before they go to camp. Some of my trusted favorites include, but are not limited to:

    1. Just because your friend does it doesn’t mean you have to. This includes practical jokes, sneaking out of tents, catching poisonous snakes, jumping off of cliffs, kissing behind trees and other adolescent things that come up at camp. And I don’t care if he’s your new best friend.
    2. Attending camp does not suddenly make you a teenager. Seriously. It simply makes you a kid who went to camp one summer, so NO, you cannot stay up until midnight and NO you cannot now watch rated-R movies. To be clear, getting older makes you a teenager. Then and only then do you get teenager privileges.
    3. Yes, camp counselors count as guardians even when they aren’t related to you.  Bottom line is, they are wearing the camp counselor shirt, name tag, and other paraphernalia, so do what they say. Please.

  1. Let go. Easier said than done, right? I know. Just remember – kids are like horses, bees, etc. They can sense fear. Once that happens, you’ll find yourself sending freshly baked cookies every day, writing (yes, writing) letters to mail to them, and more. Just let them go. It’s a great experience for the both of you and someday you’ll be sending them off to college, so start practicing now.

For more tips on how to send your kids to camp, click HERE!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

World Cup + Kids = Fun?

Sure! Why not? What kid wouldn't love a living room piled with adults shouting and screaming all the while eating and drinking? Sounds fun to me!

On a selfish drive to satisfy today's blog + keep the kids happy in 120 mins or so, I found us all a few websites that may help.

Got any better ideas? Pile them on here too so we can all watch, shout, and drink in peace!  

Websites to plunder through NOW:

World Cup For Kids
How to Share World Cup Soccer With Your Kids 

Enjoy the game today everyone! May the best team win!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Salsa on a Saturday! HECK YEAH!

Feelin' a little low this Saturday? Go al fresco on your family, grill up some of your favorite fish or pork (or whatever, really) and try a spoonful of this for a change of heart:

Gotta love me some pineapple, so here's the deal. Pineapple works really well as a sweet component to many savory dishes. One of my favorites is in the form of a salsa or warm compote. Today, let's talk salsa.

Now, they say salsa originated from the Inca people. Salsa (combination of chilies, tomatoes and other spices) can be traced to the Aztecs, Mayans and Incas. The Spaniards first encountered tomatoes after their conquest of Mexico in 1519-1521, which marked the beginning of the history of Salsa sauce. Aztec lords combined tomatoes with chili peppers, ground squash seeds and consumed them mainly as a condiment served on turkey, venison, lobster, and fish. This combination was subsequently called salsa by Alonso de Molina in 1571. (I'm no History buff, so always make sure to do your own historical research instead of quoting me or my sources.)

I say, toss the tomatoes and use fresh pineapple instead for a twist! No freshies around? Try the canned instead! And to live on the edge, grill slabs of fresh pineapple first, THEN use it for salsa! YUM!

What you'll need:

2 cups of finely diced pineapple (chunkier is ok too!)
1/4 cup diced scallions
1/4 cup finely diced red onions
the juice of 1 lime
salt & pepper to taste
cumin to taste
dash of OJ
sprinkle with chopped loose leaf parsley 

What you'll do:

Mix the heck outta your ingredients. So much of making salsa comes from the heart, so be sure to taste your way through this recipe. Some love more lime or more sweetness. Make it yours!

Cover and let sit in the fridge for as long as you can (at least 2 hrs if possible). Pull out of the fridge at least 15 min before serving. Stir to ensure all of those juices combine to create the perfect balance of sweet, savory goodness. Make sure to taste it before hand to see if you need to touch up anywhere, such as salt, lime, or more. Voila! Now you have the perfect accoutrement to your entree highlight. Bon appetit!

Is competition bad for your kid's health?

Competition is to self-esteem as sugar is to teeth.

Really? On this day, the first day Son goes to his first State tournament, really? That's what Alfie Kohn summarized in The Case Against Competition.

It got me thinking about competition and my kids. Was it really too much to ask them to become good people after all of this liberal competition once adolescence was over?

Kohn argues that for one to win, another must lose. Kohn also argues that only the winners are the ones who find competition healthy. Seems a little black and white, Kohn, doesn't it? A little ying and yang, yes and no, ahem - win and loss?

I was one of those kids who played for a school who's team sports always, and I mean ALWAYS, failed. In a AA school, somehow we were always 2nd to crap. (Crap being an even smaller town whose school age girls who used chewing tobacco.) However, even through all of that failure, each one of us excelled at something. Sometimes it was computer science, writing, or political science. Sometimes it was at an individual sport - perhaps Track or Cross Country. Maybe one of us could really hunt like the big guys. But we did excel, nonetheless.

Now this phenomenon is not based on some hippie belief that each of us have our own beauty. We are, today, bonafide successful human beings! I do accept that some of us are not quite, what I would call, successful nor human. But that has very little correlation with competition.

"Competition is a recipe for hostility. By definition, not everyone can win a contest. If one child wins, another cannot. This means that each child comes to regard others as obstacles to his or her own success. Forget fractions or home runs; this is the real lesson our children learn in a competitive environment."

Oh for god's sake. Seriously? I really find this offensive. And I use this article as an example of the millions out there that share the same sentiment. O.M.G.!  I'm more of a leaner of a winner and a finisher, not loser, myself. I lean towards finding ways to finish a task off gracefully and with class, whether or not it blows anyone's mind. So what if you didn't get first? Did you have the courage to try? Did you finish with your head held high and with a smile on your face? Good! Great job!

Turns out, there's a pile of Healthy Competition articles out there as well. Here's a simple, lovely one.

So when you encourage your child to win, do it with grace, folks. Be the role model that does exactly that, model a fine example for your child to emulate. Don't make competition look like the bad guy.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Get Your Kids and GO GREEN This Summer!

Kids, sports, outside, travel - how in the heck do I be kind to the Earth again - go green? Really? I find myself driving more than sleeping, and my kids eat alllll day! And then I feel this guilt factor while I'm doing the dance! UGH!

Check it out: Going GREEN in the Summer Heat

Should dose you with at least an idea or two for going green while having fun in the sun!

Peace Out!

Sunbleached and dehydrated: Help your kids beat the heat

Son came home from a day of practice and car wash fundraising today and I could've have sworn he looked like a wilted flower, the poor kid. Totally fried in just about every way.

So, in honor of this poor, sun-fried child, here's a great link so that you don't go frying your kids too! Take it from me, it's not worth the accidental laziness.

Happy sunny day!!!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

My Back versus Life, Part I

$5000! That's what we've raised to go to State and I say, WOOOO HOOOO!

Now, go find me some kid, any kid, to play on our team with a chiropractor parent so I can score a little chiropractic work. Just kidding.

Although at this point it's been happening for so long that I am sure you can find it in grade school textbooks everywhere, there's been this war going on between me and my back. Until recently the score had been : BACK: 5, ME: 0. Now, after review of the scoreboard, I was actually up by three months of pain free livin'. That is, until yesterday's dreadful arrival.

I'll be damned. My sciatica is back and hittin' harder than the damn thunderstorm that is now rocking the Valley here at home. Crap.

So hobble I will, both to and fro.
Hobble I will, off to State he will go.
Hobble I will, up hill both ways, also in the snow.
Hobble, I will, and man does this blow.

Ok, on to other important news. It's nearly August, and you know what that means!!!


I love my life!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Raising Money Sucks. New BBQs Rule.

Our All-Star team is going to State next weekend.  Crap.

I've hit up all of my business contacts and it's starting to get a little on the lean side over here...

Thus far, we've lost at least three families who'll be sending kids w/o parents (cheaper), and raised approx $1,000 - give or take. I've got a few friends who probably don't answer my calls anymore since they think I'll ask them for more money and I'm pretty sure I've lost a few prospective new friends just from hearing about my begging for cash.

Five days left of begging and then DONE until next season! YAY!

On to bigger and better news... we've acquired our new baby in the family. It's a rockin' 5 burner w/sear Gas Grill + a separate charcoal box smoker, both straight from heaven. I love you, Grill God. May you all be blessed always with yummy, grilled meat. Mmmmmmm.... It's a good day.

For fun and a bonafide droolin' with jealousy opportunity, see the new baby HERE! (I know it's no Ferrari, but she makes me happy nonetheless!)

Monday, July 5, 2010

A proud mom is a proud mom, no matter how you slice it

I was reading the Dad Gone Mad blog this morning and it sparked a little over-indulgent pride in my heart.

His blog rang true through and through. I am so in love and proud of my son. He, along with so many sons and daughters all over the world, has such a pure and amazing heart. He's so sweet, generous, and most often patient (sans the times with his little sister who makes the habit of bugging him incessantly). He is smart and rarely defiant and tender to all get out!

I love this little guy and if I'm really lucky and try very hard, someday I may be able to be just a little like him.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A cheesy break from the insanity

Wanna hear about a cool way to house that salad you want your kid to eat?

Check it out!

It all begins with Parmesan Cheese. For those who don't know, Parmesan cheese is made from cow's milk that has been combined with the whole milk from the morning milk plus the naturally skimmed milk from the previous evening.

This recipe is so easy, and so yummy to make, you'll wanna make it all the time!

What you'll need:

350 degree oven
baking sheet
cooking spray
one wedge of Parmesan cheese (grated)
small cups that would fit 1/2 cup of salad fixins'

What you'll do:

  • Spray the cooking sheet with the Cooking Spray liberally.
  • Spread the grated Parmesan into evenly spread piles of Parmesan. Remember, you are building the bottom and sides for your cup, so be liberal!
  • Create as many as you need and will comfortably fit on your baking sheet. This will spread a touch!
  • Slip into the oven, making sure to keep a close eye on them!
  • Once they've begun to bubble and brown to your liking, pull them out quick!
  • Spatula the suckers off of the sheet and immediately place the bottom of an upside down cup.
  • REMEMBER!!! These little piles of melted Parmesan cool quickly, so you will have to act fast. You can let the cups form naturally around the glass itself of guide them with the help of your hands!
  • Let cool for a few minutes and ENJOY!

  • TIPS:
    You can also use the stove top and a frying pan with a touch of extra-virgin olive oil.
    Try adding some dried herbs to your grated Parmesan before cooking.
    These cups are great for breakfast dishes and more, so get creative!
Just remember:
"A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds."
- Francis Bacon

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Going to State and confused as all get out? Me too.

Look, I get it! I'm extraordinarily proud of my son. His 9-10 yr old All-Star team made it to State this year! Lord, I didn't even get the chance to go to state until I was a Freshman in High School, so I get how impressively cool this is.

But when did it become a cleverly hidden "Keepin' Up with the Jones" scenario? Good God, I think we heading towards disaster. In case you aren't up to speed, our team is aiming to raise nearly $13,000 (OMG) for this 6-day tournament. WHAT THE HECK? WHY? Ah - it's to pay for 13 families to spend a week in Portland. Hmmm... 13 Families? We HAVE 13 families who can sporadically spend a week in Portland on vacay? Wowza!

Now I get that everyone wants to be there. I want to be there too. But the truth is, and listen closely because this is important, WE AREN'T PLAYING BALL, our kids are! We should be approaching this like it's a high-school event, causing enough ruckus to earn money to send the kids, not their families too.

It's as if I'm officially on the set of 'Days of Our Lives' and everyone just pretends they have a job. To be clear, our lives all stopped for a week (last week) when we traveled for five days back and forth 1.5 hrs each way for the District All-Star tournament. Now we get to travel 5 hrs North for six days?

I say, two hotel rooms crammed with kids and a crap-ton of pizzas should do the trick. Any parents who want to come up on their own are just that, on their own! And yet, most parents are going to make the journey, thus making the tiny few who HAVE to work look like jerks. Kids are already asking parents WHY they can't go, and if they are, WHY they are staying at the Best Western and NOT at the hotel with the 2-room suites like the other kids. My son's baseball team has just become a class-distinguishing activity.

I say forgetta 'bout it. We'll be up there for at most two days, hopefully catch one game, and - NO, thank you - but I'm not going to fly my husband home for $100 and keep my baby and 5 yr old in a big city by myself. I can't pretend we can do that and I'm just not that cool anyways. Crazy people!

And don't even get me started how a $13,000 tab warps a good-natured fund drive. In addition to water bottle sales and 50/50 raffles, we're also asking sponsors for $500-$1000/head. Ambitious, folks! Ambitious.

I'm gonna explain calmly and evenly to my son that life is occurring right along with this tournament and that I will be at home cheering my little guts out for him, getting updated text messages the whole while from others. He'll understand that I am beyond words proud of him and hopefully realize that how much time you can get off of work and spend on hotels is not an expression of how much you love your children.

He will understand, won't he? Yes, yes he will.

For info on how to negotiate rates at hotels, check out this abrasive yet easy-to-do article from VIA Magazine.

Sporty Mama says Say It With Pride!

It's true. I'm officially blogging about my experiences I have had when participating in my son's sporting events. Why? do you ask? WHY relive each moment with pride?

Truth is, I'm pretty sure that parent-driven sports for the youth could be one of the most amazing psychological experiments ever. And I intend on exposing each experience in hopes of shedding light for some of the mothers out there who just don't get "it."

"It" is when you cock your head in mass confusion over dad's going insane in the bleachers over a bad call. "It" is when coaches near heart-attack status red-in-the-face from kids not trying hard enough. "It" is when you see moms inch dangerously close to cat fights demanding a wrestling tub filled with Jello all because their son had their feelings hurt for some so-called secret reason by an ump.

This blog will hopefully not bore you and if all else fails, perhaps it will entertain. But let's use this as a forum for discussion in the wild world of SPORTY MAMAS and figure It out!