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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Gourmet night

Today was just horrible outside...cold. Windy. Rainy. Cloudy. God was flashing a big neon sign to me, "stay inside today." So, I did. And I actually got through the Mt. Everest pile of laundry, cleaned most of the house, AND tackled a new feat: preparing scallops!!!

I absolutely love scallops in restaurants, but for some reason I've always been intimidated to make them at home. They are just so delicate, and if you overcook them or get ones that have the pieces of sand (or whatever that crunchy stuff is) it ruins the whole experience. But I was quite victorious, they came out wonderfully (maybe a bit salty) and even looked pretty! Here's (basically) the recipe:

Balsamic Scallops and Spinach Pasta
1 lb bay scallops, rinsed and patted dry
2 T flour
1 tsp cajun seasoning
1 cup chopped spinach
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 cups pasta, prepared
1/4 cup crumbled bacon

Combine flour and seasoning in large plastic bag. Add scallops and shake to coat. Heat saute pan to medium and add EVOO. Cook scallops 6 minutes, turning halfway through. Remove from heat. Add spinach to the pan and add 2T water. Cover for 2 minutes. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar, stirring. Return scallops to pan and gently combine. Add bacon.
To serve, top pasta with scallops and spinach.

PS. Tomorrow it's supposed to SNOW. What's the deal with that? It's only October! Cute Halloween costumes doomed.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Poor Me

Today I had minor foot surgery, and I am embarrassed to report that I am sulking a bit. I was told by the doctor that I wouldn't be able to exercise all week- even swim! Normally, I wouldn't be in distress but you see this Saturday is PR's Marine Corps Ball. It's a big fancy hoopla that requires a fancy dress, fancy hair, and FANCY shoes. Have you seen many attractive shoes that accommodate a large foot bandage? How am I going to pull this off??! The shoes are not my only concern. I had decided that if I was going to look a little lumpy in the ab area, I'd at least have some smokin' hot and clearly defined arms and back muscles. This meant that I'd have to do some serious working out and swimming every day this week (as I don't actually have any definition at the moment.) But I was told I can't swim, and that is by far the easiest way to get some burly triceps in lightning speed. Grr. I supposed I'll just have to sit and lift. Hmph.

On to my next Marine Corp Ball dilemma: as my belly bump has gotten a little larger, I decided last night to try on my closet full of dresses. I was seriously disappointed to discover that the dress I purchased less than three weeks ago (which, BTW, FIT three weeks ago) no longer zips. And three other dresses that I was SURE would fit this mama bump have let me down, too.
I figured out the problem: I'm carrying this little one very all those high waist dresses that "flow" (and would nicely accommodate a baby bump) are not high waisted enough. And the worst part is, the baby belly doesn't really look like a baby yet, especially in these dresses. It just looks like a lazy belly with absolutely no muscle tone and I look like I have horrible posture. Do I affix a sign so the 1,000 plus people (996 of which I don't know) realize I haven't accidentally chosen a dress that accentuates my worst feature? (Okay, so I'm not exactly Miss Trendy at the moment....but I used to be pretty good at shopping and I'd say my dresses are pretty darn hot.) Ug.

The only bonus about this foot thing is that PR made dinner tonight AND did the dishes AND put the kids to bed. Woo hoo!!!! I guess I'll take it. : )

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Today was the first day that a jacket was absolutely necessary. I couldn't believe it! It's only October, and it's 40 degrees! I think it was so hard to endure because I spoke with a girlfriend in L.A. who said it was 95 there. I guess that gives us both something to complain about.

I'm happy to report I was motivated to clean for the first time in 10 weeks. It's like magic once you hit your second trimester! I feel my OCD returning, in a good way. (Do you know I did 5 loads of laundry yesterday? Ridiculous!) The past few weeks, all I could do was keep things tidy. I avoided all major cleaning tasks- my fridge, my oven, the garage...but today Caroline slept in and I had an hour to kill before personal training. I felt like supermom! (Maybe Owen's "superhero" party this weekend inspired me?)

Because of the weather, I decided it was necessary to make some homemade bread and soup. I resorted to my favorite soda bread recipe. (It's the best because you don't have to let it rise, so you can start it at 4 and it'll be ready in time for dinner.) Isn't bread the BEST smell from your oven? Mmmmm. (Recipe follows.)

NE who, I feel so good about my accomplishments that tonight I"m turning in early with a new book! Woo hoo!

Soda Bread
2c Whole wheat flour, sifted
2c Bread flour
2 T superfine sugar
2t salt
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 egg (or egg product), beaten
1 3/4 cup low fat or nonfat plain yogurt (you can use vanilla yogurt, just omit the sugar listed)

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Beat yogurt and egg in a separate bowl and add to dry mixture. Turn onto floured surface and knead until no longer sticky. Shape into a large round, and place on a baking sheet. Using a serrated knife, make an "X" approximately 1 inch deep. Place in preheated 375 degree oven for 40 minutes, or until brown on top. Serve with herb butter.

Garlic Basil Herb Butter (Soooo scrummy!)
1/2 cup salted butter, softened
1-2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced (depending on how garlicky you like it)
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, minced

Combine ingredients and shape into a ball. Refrigerate at least 2 hrs before serving.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Birthday Bash

This weekend we celebrated Owen's 4th birthday with a Superhero themed party. It was wonderful! I work much better when I have a "theme" and can go off that for the games, activities, cake, and all that. Owen asked for it, actually. He's at that age where he just loves to dress up in costumes, as is all his friends. So that made things easy. We had the kids decorate capes and masks with stickers (the capes were just cut out from plastic round table covers and the masks I found on Oriental Trading.) I wanted to do pinatas, because I was feeling like all those "Superheros" would want to beat or bash something or someone as they were dressed in muscles and bearing weapons....and I figures pinatas were better than other party goers. However, I had a horrible time finding "villain" pinatas! And I didn't want those dressed up as Spiderman to feel threatened (or actually be threatened) if we had a "Spiderman" pinata. So, overzealous me decided to decorate plain pinatas as Darth Vader, the Joker, and Dr. Oct (the funny looking dude from the new Spiderman movies.) They looked okay, but it was a lot of time making and only seconds destroying. Oh, well. They DID coordinate!!!
I also had a little escapade for the kids, to battle each villain and find clues to lead them to their "secret liar" - where the pinatas were. It ended at the playground, and I had ordered a Zip Line so the kids could "swoop in" to battle the bad guys. I wasn't sure how it would go, but it was quite a hit!
We finished with a superhero cake- I found some great ideas online and just tweaked them to my skill level. I was a little surprised with myself, the bats looked more or less like bats, and I only had to stay up 'till 4 the night before to finish it!
By some miracle, I discovered superhero and princess Pez dispensers at a local dollar store, and threw in a red flashlight (since we're so close to Halloween) as little take homes. The flashlights had compasses and were also key chains...and I was a bit alarmed to find that they were also whistles. (Luckily, I handed these out at the END as the kids were leaving.) Unfortunately they were pretty cheap, I'm planning on calling Oriental Trading to complain. They're pretty good about making it up to you, if you've ever been dissatisfied with their products. Anyway, hope this idea might help someone else in their party planning...I've included the link to pictures in case you'd like to get ideas for your little Superhero. TTFN!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Maternity clothes that rock!

I'm finding out that in my third pregnancy, some things are just not as easy as they were the first two times around...maybe it's because I'm older. Maybe my abs have lost all strength. Or maybe my body was not prepared to endure more than two years of being pregnant.

I say this because my belly button has already popped out, and I"m only just beginning my second trimester. What's the deal with that??!?!! I haven't gained more than 3 or 4 it's not like my belly is bursting. But I suspect that this may be the child that gives me stretch marks, which I always thought I was soooo clever in avoiding. With the idea from my sister in law, I devotedly smeared "Bag Balm" all over my stomach, lower back, and upper thighs every night during my second and third trimester. What, you ask, is Bag Balm? My OB had the same question a few years back, upon lifting my shirt to measure my fundus and seeing a very odd "sheen" not unlike the reflection a bald man has on his head. First, don't laugh...because it's worked so far. And for someone tiny who had two good sized babies (8 11 and 7 11), I think I had more than luck on my side (and belly and back.)

Bag Balm is this ointment created to keep cow udders from getting chapped in the winter weather. I told you not to laugh! Someone from Vermont or some other really cold place invented it. It comes in a green tin, and it feels exactly like Vaseline...maybe that's what it is. The most embarrassing part of it is that you can find this product in the "pet" section of Walmart. I had always bought it at but came across it accidentally one time looking for a pet bed or Greenies or something. However ridiculous it sounds, this goo saved my body from permanently stretching as these babies were distorting my waist. So, I bought another tin last week. Ooo, BTW, it's also great for diaper rashes- Caroline has THE most sensitive skin, I've tried every diaper rash cream on the market and this is the only one that works and doesn't irritate her skin.

So now that I"ve disclosed something a bit humiliating, I'll share the link to a wonderful line of maternity clothes- sophisticated, sexy, and comfy! Many of the styles are wrapped and fitted, which is really the only way a pregnant body can manage to still pass for a version of its original prepregnancy form. Isabella Oliver Maternity:

Friday, October 17, 2008

Super Cute Kids Suitcase!

Wow, what an overachiever...TWO entries in one day! I just had to add this link to my blog when I came across this adorable product: suitcases for kids that double as a ride on! We travel often, so this would be something practical and entertaining...I only wish the company was in the US so I could actually SEE one before I bought it....

Disney's 2009 Deal

I recently got an email from Walt Disney World that in 2009, both Disneyland California and Walt Disney World Florida will offer a birthday special: free admission on your birthdy! That's an awesome deal! It goes for kids of ALL ages. All you have to do is register online. A very easy way to save $70. I only wish my kids or PR or I had birthdays that fell on dates that we could actually be in California or Florida.
So I thought I'd at least pass along the info. If you're planning on spending more than one day at the park, you can use the "free ticket" towards an upgrade multi-day pass or Park Hopper. And if you have a season pass already, Disney will give you gift card in the amount of an admission ticket to spend at the park on your birthday or a "Birthday Fastpass"....not too shabby! Check out the website for details, but it's pretty straightforward.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sick kid at home

Isn't it just awful when your little ones are under the weather? I think I could bear a whole month of being sick if it meant my kids could forgo the experience. They have that sad, vulnerable look in their eyes, and their personalities become that of someone much older (I think.) Owen awoke this morning dry heaving. PR laid down on the floor and slept next to him (he's so good about that...I could never sleep on the floor!) After one blue Pedialyte Icepop, we had a nice blue stain on the carpet, though the poor kid ran full speed to try and make it to the bathroom.
Owen is normally a very neat child- in fact, he's more tidy than his dad. You rarely have to ask him to put something away after he's played with it, and everything is exactly where it belongs- sorted by color or in the specified bins or whatever. It's wonderful! (I know, he'll need therapy later in life thanks to me.) So Owen carried his little plastic "barf bowl" around with him all morning, just in case. (He was so brave and had the best attitude, if only his daddy would take some notes. )
I tried without success to keep Caroline away from him. However, she flocks to him like a fly at a BBQ...he's the ultimate source of entertainment (even if that sometimes involves physical or mental anguish for Caroline.) While I'm thankful his bug only lasted a few hours, especially because his birthday party is THIS Sunday, I"m dreading the wee hours of tomorrow when I have another little sickey who will most assuredly pass it along to PR and I.
Has anyone ever tried Airborne? My dad swears by it, and he travels quite a bit. But I asked my neighbors a few years back (who are both pharmacists) and they completely discount it. Apparently, you can get the same benefits if you take your multivitamin and guzzle tons of water throughout the day. But maybe it's one of those mental things...the placebo effect? Anyway, it wouldn't help me in this situation, I think it' just for cold type symptoms. Maybe someone can invent a magical chewable pill that would instantly stop the upset stomach and upchucking?? (And preferably in a chocolate or fruity flavor? Have you ever tasted that green NyQuil? ICK!)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


So Tuesday nights I usually make Mexican food. We all love Mexican, and when PR and I lived in San Diego, we would go to a place that had "Taco Tuesdays-" $1.50 for shrimp or lobster tacos (yum!!!) I've been craving the super yummy freshly made tortillas from the Chevy's restaurant...however, we don't have one close so I found a copycat recipe and made them tonight to go with our mahi mahi fish fajitas. Honestly, I could eat a whole stack of those tortillas with a little butter and salt. But now that I know there's Crisco in them...well, I have to limit myself to two, and fill them with veggies and protein so my tummy doesn't beg for more. They are super easy to make, so I thought I'd post the recipe for others to enjoy.
Chevy's Tortillas
6 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup crisco (I use the butter flavor)
2 1/2 cups very warm water
In a mixing bowl with the bread hook attachment, add all ingredients except the water. Turn mixer on low and gradually add the water, mixing 1-2 minutes. Divide into two balls and cover. Let rest 20 minutes. Divide each ball again, and form 4 tortillas 1/4 inch thick and 5 inches in diameter from each ball, for a total of 16 tortillas. Lay flat on a floured surce, stack if necessary. Let rise 10 minutes. Cook on a hot greased griddle until bubbly and lightly brown. Serve warm.

Monday was a little exciting...I had my first ultrasound! My midwife thought I might be carrying (gasp!) twins and scheduled me for an early ultrasound. Of course, I just KNEW God would not dish out two to me, as I would surely lose my mind within the first month. The test confirmed my suspicions. And, it was pretty cool to see the baby in 3D! I wasn't really sure how much better of an image you can get with the 3D and 4D, but I'd have to say that it's pretty cool! After the test, I started thinking. Why am I so big? Does this mean I'm destined to gain 70 pounds with this bambino? It was enough to send me straight to the gym this morning. And I"m happy to report I swam for an entire hour. (Glad I dodged THAT bullet!)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Trying to get caught up on our pictures...

So I have yet to create a single scrapbook page since my children have been born, but I feel just a tiny bit less guilty by posting photoshows every now and for the drawers of neatly organized scrapbooking accessories...well, they'll just continue to sit there and collect dust.

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This weekend we had a wonderful Oktoberfest BBQ. I was quite proud of myself...I made sauerkraut, brats, and latkes (potato pancakes.) I tasted the latkes...pretty tasty. And I found a great Emeril recipe for the brats and kraut. I was surprised the the kraut didn't stink up my house...although the apple crisp I made while it was cooking probably helped. And our neighbor actually had a full collection (4 CDs!) of polka music...apparently they've thrown quite a few "beer & brats" parties in the past. I thought I'd include the link for Emeril's recipe, if you have the desire or event this month:

We also had great fun at a neighbor's costume party. (I should say, the kids had great fun at the party...but it was hilarious to watch Caroline dance around in her Tinkerbell costume.) The party was complete with face painting, pinatas, a magician, and authentic Mexican food (my fav.)

I've noticed at the last few birthday parties we've attended that traditional party games are making a comeback: pin the tail on the donkey, musical chairs, and other carnival type games. What fun! I love it. Since Owen's party is next weekend, I've been doing some research on party games. Here are some links I've found: