Finding Love in San Francisco

Some nights, when I’ve run down my list of songs and the kids still aren’t asleep, I dig deep. After seven years of Disney songs, the patriotic stuff, the standard lullabies, made up jingles and camp chants, I’ve looked to songs of my past. My kids know the words to songs by Julie Andrews and one chorus of one song by Journey.

When the lights go down in the City, and the sun shines on the bay

Oh I wanna be there, in my city, oh oh h, oh oh, oh. 

That’s all they know, because that’s all I know!

Bay Area

If you find yourself visiting the Bay Area, you may want to bring some elastic waist pants. Perhaps some stylish jeggings or just go full mama and bring a giant belt to wrap around your snuggie. We have so much good food. While we may not fry it all up, don’t be fooled by the abundance of avocados. There are so many ways to go wrong. I would know, I am have been full since Sunday, after 32 or so hours in San Francisco. It all started at the edge of town…

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You know what you can find in that there building? Calories. They live there and they want to overtake you. There is literally a cheese melting station, where (for the low-low price of $6.75), you can have a slather of bubbling Asiago spread over some carbs. Look, here’s the cheese lady! Don’t worry about the face she’s making. That’s just the way her face looks when she’s dropping snobbish sales pitches on curious onlookers. The moral of the story, be nice to everyone. You never know who is going to blog about you. I know that was wrong, but it still feels kinda good.

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Are you more of a meat lover? (Insert San Francisco joke here). Then folks, grab yourself a meat cone. Yep, a cone full of meat. The Mortadella in the left photo brought back too many memories of fried bologna sandwiches (my brother ate them, not me), so I asked for a cone full of salami. I’m not as manly as I thought I might be (which is not that manly at all), so I ate a measly few strips of salami before tucking it away in my purse.

Nope, don’t need to go back and read that sentence. It said, I put salami in my purse. It was $5 for my specialty cone guys. You would have totally done the same.

Meat Cone salamicone

Totally not sure how to segue from meat cones to oysters. But I’m pre-hetty sure there is a good joke in there somewhere. Instead, I’ll go with the unfunny. If you like good oysters, San Francisco has some. What’s the website for amazing writing, again? Feel free to go nominate me for somethin’.

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Gluten free folks need love too. We found ours at Mariposa Baking Company. Awesome salad dressing, super tasty sandwiches.

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Travel a wee bit further down the plaza and….

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You’ll find the exact spot where many a folk have left their heart…Blue Bottle Coffee’s cafe!

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The New Orleans style iced coffee is so delicious. Not overly sweetened and so fresh.

Blue Bottle 

The plaza is full of so many treats. but a girl’s jeans can and should only hold so many calories in! Before I continue on with my photo tour of the weekend, let me show you what a mom getaway looks like.hotel

See any toys on those comfortable beds? Neither do I. Does the middle photo look like a restaurant that offers a kid’s menu? Nope, not to me either. Spot my boys running down that long hall? No way. A la, mom getaway.

It would just NOT be a mom getaway without chocolate, right? Let me show you the monstrosity of a store my friend, Jody, introduced me to. It’s divine, in every sense of the word. Also, it’s mind blowing how much some of the stuff costs. Jody bought three pieces of chocolate for around $7. Not like chocolate bars, like small, small chocolates. A box of chocolates to bring home for your mom? Bring at least $85, for the cheapest assortment. Remember though, she birthed you. She wiped your butt, she has dealt with so much crap from you, literally. Stop being so cheap and spend the $150 on a box that says I love you enough to buy you chocolate that was painted on with gold flecks.

There’s totally a scent of snobbery in the air, coming from what I (at other stores) would call the cashiers. However, these people sell expensive chocolate, so maybe I should call them chocolatiers? I don’t know. Doesn’t his look just scream, “Hey girl! I’m pleased as punch you came to my chocolate store. I’d love to help you!”?

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Dirty mug me all you want sir, because your goods are worth it. I’d let him slap me around if it meant I could have a few pieces of free chocolate. The store is a chocolate importer, bringing in bits of deliciousness from around the globe. CocoaBella and its glorious employees are on Union Street and I plan to visit every time I am slumming through that ritzy hood.

COcoabella

Speaking of poor people. We watched a hilarious comedy show at The Purple Onion, which is in the cellar or Kell’s Pub.

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We were cracking up like mad women over a few of the comics. Which may totally be because we had just finished a couple of cocktails. Either way, there are some funny comics trying to make a go of it. I would probably cross to the other side of the street to avoid them during daylight hours, but that’s just me and my suburban issues.

The point of this section? Kitty-corner or catty-corner from Kells is a Basque restaurant called, well, Bask.

Still stuck on catty/kitty. Here’s what University of Wisconson asked 10,000 people and came up with:

76. What term do you use to refer to something that is across both streets from you at an intersection (or diagonally across from you in general)?
a. kitty-corner (49.53%)
b. kitacorner (0.09%)
c. catercorner (1.34%)
d. catty-corner (30.38%)
e. kitty cross (0.00%)
f. kitty wampus (0.13%)
g. I can only use “diagonal” for this (12.31%)
h. I have no term for this (3.68%)
i. other (2.53%)
(10706 respondents)

I REALLY, really wish that kitty wampus was a part of my vocabulary. But, on to the paella. I’ve been dying for an awesome pan of paella since I watched snooty bomb-booty Gwenyth cook some up with Mario Batali, a good seven or so years back. I’m talking about on tv here, in case you thought I was way more famous that I actually am. Have you seen the photo of me at 18 with David Hasselhoff? Let me show you again. 

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Bask is authentic Bask food. Check out my freakin’ paella, pals! Heck yeah!

paella

Now that I have upped my street cred a bit more. I have to remind you to visit Philz Coffee!  We trekked the length of the city just to visit the original Philz, deep, like DEEP in the heart of the Mission district. If this were the Hunger Games, this district would come pretty darn close to killing the Tenderloin (aka ghetto) district’s butt. It’s the wild west over there. You aren’t in the suburbs anymore, little spoiled girls. There’s no city ordinance about blaring music out your low-riding window. Wait, that happens everywhere except my white-bread valley? Oh. I miss life outside of my bubble. 

Anyway, the heart of the Mission holds Philz. It’s fantabulous and I think I even liked my Ecstatic Iced Coffee (regular iced) better than the Mint Mojito Iced. It’s worth the trip to try it. Even if you can’t get a cab to come pick you up. Even when you try using your special app called Uber, like 30 or 40 times. philzSo there it is, some San Francisco food love. I toyed with putting up the photo of us we took in The Purple Onion, but the sparkle in our eyes is definitely induced my a bit of rum.

In hopes of reducing eye burnage, I have split this post into two. Come back Friday to read about my breakfast. I know, your pants are LITERALLY blowing off of you right now. I still haven’t got to Pica Pica, which by the way, please do not enter in the Portuguese to English translator box. I’m talking about the Spanish translation of Pica and not about the heart of the Castro District.

Well, I’ve noticed that it’s been a month since I have blogged. What a sad state of blogflairs. Luckily, you are already dying to read about picas. Talk soon, my little baboon! Love ya!

 

Fear and Yoga-ing. Plus, Guest Blogging Funny Man, Mr. T!

I’ve never really been afraid to do my own thing. I’m not worried about being the first to try something, or about taking on a new adventure. Over the past seven or so years, that part of me went really quiet though, while the mom in me was busy, so busy at work.

Before I was married, I’d love to grocery shop at midnight in San Francisco. Happily, I’d drive up the interstate at 2 a.m., to get to a far away friend’s house. Lake Tahoe to the Bay Area and back in a day? No problem. I even went out dancing at my favorite bar one night, alone. No friends wanted to go out, but that didn’t stop me!

After getting married, I became accountable to more than just myself and things changed. I changed.

While I am happy my husband introduced me to a healthy dose of fear, I took it too far. Grocery shopping at midnight? Not anymore. Driving home from the mountains at 2 am? Not a good plan either. My false sense of invincibility was taken from me, which is obviously a good thing. Like I said though, I took it too far. I started being afraid to do anything new, anything outside of my comfort zone, anything that involved a little risk. Not a fun way to live.

Want to know what changed it all? Well, who changed it all? Her.

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This is Malia. She’s my yoga teacher and my friend.

Here she is (far left), pre-yoga days. sfmalia

Can you spot me? I have a (real) tan that would make an Oompa-Loompa cry with jealousy. And nothing says awesome curly hair, like bangs, right? Woo-baby! This was the day that Malia took one for the team and yelled at the man on the corner who preached “Jesus thinks women who wear lipstick are whores.” Rock on girl!

So how did Malia stop my growing fear? With hot yoga, that’s how. The first class I went to was her Thursday night level 2/3 Power Vinyasa class. Mama say wha? I had no idea what I was in for. She just told me that my body would remember my cheerleading days, and I’d do just fine.

The class was hot from the second I laid down my mat and my fear was intense. Standing up and going through a couple of poses, I could think of nothing but excuses and ways I could slip out the door and into my comfort zone. I was afraid. I hadn’t done yoga in five years. I was worried about every minute that was going to follow. Afraid of the 90 degree heat that was building, afraid the class would be too hard, afraid to fail.

Malia kept me on my mat, though. She praised my efforts. About ten minutes later, something did walk out the door. It was my fear. The rest of the class was torture. So hard. So, so freaking hard. Like, laughable hard. Between the bass of the rap, the dance music or the grunts of the 20 year old Lululemon girls, I somehow made it through. A new me was waking up.

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This past week, I felt the same sensation as that first night in class. I made it into a pose I had always been to afraid to try. When I pushed my limits and lifted my feet from the ground, letting go of the fear of falling on my head, I felt about 8 milliseconds of pure bliss. I did it! Reminding myself  that the power of releasing fear is so invigorating and freeing was such an amazing experience I was able to go through, for the second time.

Next weekend, I’ll be spending all Saturday at a Yogathon! Malia puts on this amazing event to benefit children’s charities and I am thrilled to be joining in. I’m not excited to ask for donations, but I have to! Otherwise, how will the children of Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital and Africa Yoga Project benefit? I’ve gots to get some dough, yo!

If you can help in any way, please click the picture below to help raise money for three different organizations that truly need it.

So, like it or not, releasing fear has it’s downsides too. I’m not quite as happy in my small, bubbled corner of the world. It’s safe and every inch is landscaped, but I’m a little um…itchy. I have a horrible case of wanderlust. Before kids, I would have told you that my dream job already belonged to Samantha Brown.

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No, I had no interest in wearing a bikini on TLC, but I sure did want to travel the world and report back on all the different amenities and excursions different locations had to offer. I dreamed of travelling, collecting travel magazines and taking road trips wherever and whenever possible. The car was once my best friend. A perfect day would involve a long drive with good music and fresh air.

Then it all went away. I stopped wanting to go anywhere. I didn’t want to fly. No trains, no bridges. No thanks. Right here, in the small valley I live in was right where I wanted to be. My dream job was now in front of my home computer and absolutely nowhere which involved a commute.

Thankfully, that feeling has been shaken off of me and I am more than ready to venture again.

More thankfully, I work with three year old children who don’t mind at all when I speak in silly voices, dance around or sing a song about using a napkin. They even encourage me to drink coffee. What could be better?

I had a whole post ready about cupcakes, but that will have to wait until next time, I’ve written enough. For now, you can enjoy some funnies from Mr. T. He’s a super secret guest blogger. His name is not Mr. T. though, it’s Travis. So, he’s no longer a real secret. Also, while trying to disguise him, I made him look a bit like Kim Jong-il. Sorry, Trav. I’ll do better next time.

Travis

So Travis is funny. Like, really, really funny. His post however, is rated R. If you are easily offended, Mormon, my grandma or the parent of one of my students, you may want to skip the section below. Otherwise, enjoy! He proposed a podcast, which I think I’m going to get going as well. So, stay tuned for so much more non-food related blogging, pals! Love you, love your show. Muah!

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Wabbits

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dad

touche

Girl Got Problems

*For those who did not understand my Charlie Chaplin meme from the last post. Let me break it down for ya. The man in the picture was (is) Charlie Chaplin. Hey Girl is a “famous” internet meme, which uses the face/abs of Ryan Gosling. As such:

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Before you read on, I’d like to clarify two things

  1. For the purposes of this post, FWP is the acronym for First World Problems.
  2. *My friend, shall remain nameless.

Enter all, ye who are not prone to rolling their eyes. I warned ye. Uh, yer. I warned you, ok. 

I’d like to tell you about  a couple of FWP I have struggled with over the past 36 hours.

If you aren’t familiar with FWP, let me help you understand. First, begin with the rap.

Next, look to history to explain

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Get the drift? Good, now you can listen to my own FWPs!

I had two, count ‘em, TWO run-ins with major cases of baby soft hands.

First, came those of the lovely lady who performed my pedicure. Despite her total stink-face, she was awesome. I thought maybe she was mad that it was so late in the day and she had to work on yet another set of toes. But no, that was just her “look”. It was her hands that did me in though. Ugh, smooth hands. It is really distracting to feel hands which seem to have zero friction, like a newborn’s.

Baby hands on adults really bother me. What happened to all their skin? Have they massaged it all away? How do they open jars? Forget about rock climbing. Now, I’m not talking about regular, soft hands. I’m talking about hands that have possibly burned all their fingerprints away. Like, creepy soft.

FWP

Next baby hands belonged to the awkward receptionist/masseuse who gave me a totally relaxing, yet extremely unnerving massage today.

Let’s back it up for a second. 

I’ve mentioned before how my husband is the nicest guy. Like, ever. He had his heart set on seeing American Hustle, but knew I wasn’t super into it. We had left the babysitter, driven to the theater and were walking in when he let me change the course of our afternoon. Sushi and massages? Yes, yes, please.

There are these new reflexology/massage shops that have popped up all over the place. $35 for an hour foot massage, $30 at some places. It’s more than just a foot massage, they basically start from your head, massage down to your feet, flip you over and start again. It’s kind of a too good to be true thing. *My friend believes they are all money laundering houses. What do I care? I’m all about striking the iron while it’s hot, and these deals are smokin’!

I’ve always been massaged at these shops by women and have preferred it that way. *My friend seems to always get the men, which comes with its own special issue. They seem to stand near her in just a way where she can feel more than she bargains for. So, when the receptionist came over to start my massage, I wasn’t super excited. To begin with, he looked about 15. I’d like to bring you along on my massage journey. Please, step into my thoughts, as they streamed along through the course of 60 minutes. I started out pretty negative, but I can’t edit my thoughts for you. I MUST be honest with my FWP.

  •  Oh my God, he has baby hands, too?
  • Why is he shaking? This isn’t good. He can only be shaking for one of three reasons. 1. He has never done a massage before, he’s only the receptionist. 2. He’s never touched a living female before. 3. He has some neurological disorder. I hope it’s number three. Wow, that’s really selfish. I want him to have nerve issues? Seriously, why is he shaking though?
  • Holy crap, stop it with my hair. You’re totally messing it up.
  • Ew. You are essentially a stranger with your hands on my face. I didn’t SEE you wash your hands. Why do they keep their sink in the back room? Ugh.
  • Three analog clocks going at once? Why did no one think to buy a digital clock? The ticking is going to kill me.
  • Oh my God, I can smell your breath. Stop breathing on me. It’s not bad, it’s just breath and it’s gross.
  • I wonder if I can breathe through one nostril? Nope.
  • I’ll breathe through my mouth.
  • I wonder if he thinks it’s weird that I just opened my mouth.
  • I wonder if he can smell all that hummus I ate?
  • Ok good, moving down to arms.
  • Please stop holding my hand to massage my arm. Your baby hands are so creepy.
  • Ok, this is good. I’m relaxing now.
  • Oh my God, you are shaking again. Stop it.
  • He knows what he’s doing with feet. This is good again.
  • Seriously? How long is the leg massage portion going to be? You are a little too into this part. Ok, you are a lot too into this part. Leave my leg alone.
  • You are shaking again. Please don’t let me be the first female leg you’ve touched since your mother’s.
  • Again, good with feet.
  • My husband is snoring. I wonder if his masseuse (who is wearing a puffy black vest) is annoyed. Maybe it’s kind of a compliment?
  • I need to wake him up, I don’t want him to feel like he wasted his money.
  • I wish I wore something besides a tank top under my sweater. I think I’m encouraging my receptionist.
  • Why am I being so vein? He’s a professional?
  • Ok, it’s over. That was good.
  • Nope, not over. I have to flip over.
  • Oh man, my hair is crazy.
  • I can’t fit my face through this chair-hole right.
  • Oh God, my nose itches.
  • Don’t open your eyes. You can’t see his feet.You’ll die. Wait, he’s wearing shoes. Still, keep them closed.
  • Holy crap. He’s a shiatsu-ninja! This part is awesome.
  • No more shaking, maybe his confidence is growing. Maybe he’s just only good at backs.
  • Pressure point. Yes!
  • Nope, shaking again.
  • I hope he does that crazy hitting sound that I always hear *my friend get.
  • Oh God, the hitting. Not good, just painful.
  • Ok, it’s over. How can I slyly sit up and get this sweater back on?

I’m willing to bet there is someone out there, reading this, who is willing to pay for my ticket to a village in a remote area, where I have to worry about eating only non-poisonous insects and I have to sew my own clothing out of yak skin.

In an effort to keep this blog  loosely tied to food, here is my recommendation for easy Paleo pumpkin pancakes, straight from Practical Paleo.  The ingredients are super basic; pumpkin, mashed banana, eggs, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and butter. These don’t need syrup, but add if you’d like. Until next time, I promise to try to be a better person and care more about second and third world problems and less about baby hands.

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Enough about you. Let’s talk about meme.

So, if you are a reader who frequents Food It Forward for the recipes, then I have to say you might be let down at the idea of more “talkie” posts that are coming your way. You are also probably sad about the fact that you eat the same food every day for two weeks, while waiting for a new post. How many pumpkin scones did you end up with on your hips?

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I totally hope someone gets that joke. My meme-making skills are new, but I may have found my future career. Oh, that’s not a job? That’s cool, I still have my crossword puzzle skills to fall back on.

I have a lot to talk about. Always have. Which is why I got in trouble in class. Also because I was always tardy and hated dressing for P.E.

I love words. Crossword puzzle words (obviously), spoken words, written words, typing words. I prefer talk radio to music most of the time and have a costly obsession with podcasts. I’ve mentioned them before, but here are my favorite:

 

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All of these podcasts are absolutely worth your time, they are free and full of information that is inspirational and not what you’ll hear in the mainstream media.

Wait, what did I hear you say? You want another homemade meme? Here are two.

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Hope I don’t regret putting my most prized photo on the internet, which is why the text across my face.

Ok, I seriously don’t have too much to talk about tonight. I mean, of course I have a ton to talk about, but I’m editing myself. I already lectured my family when I found a can of Crisco in my parent’s pantry. I’ve shamed my husband for leaving a Hershey’s wrapper in my car. Seriously? Like right there by the gas pedal? I am putting my tsk-tsk finger down for the night. Which means I am absolutely not going to talk about how agriculture has been the downfall of all civilizations.  I’ve been transitioning to Paleo, minus the tortilla chips.

Dang it, Tina!

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Smooches booches. Bootches? Buchez’?

Goodnight!

Just Hold On, We’re Already at Home

Hi 2014! I’ve had more than a handful of friends ask, “Are you still blogging?” The proof is in the sugarless pudding gals, I’m back.

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What’s new since Christmas you don’t ask? Take a peek at the collage below and we can talk about it.

Ribbet collage

First, I must introduce you to my newest and bestest friend ever, my juicer. I don’t have a picture of her, but she’s flippin’ awesome! She is a Breville Fountain Elite, not a lady who hangs out in my kitchen squeezing limes. I don’t have her picture in the grid, but I do have some of her handiwork there. I’ve been loading the fridge each night with juices for the next day and I’m a total addict. Best Christmas gift from my parents, ever. Possibly tied with the Vitamix. I love both my kids equally.

My favorite juice is called the Red Lemonade and is a mix of beets, celery, kale, lemon, apple and ginger. It may sound like your worst nightmare, but it becomes totally addictive and gives you more energy than you know what to do with. Ok, ready?

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Five of the seven days of the week, I swap my morning coffee out for a juice. I know that may seem disgustingly blasphemous, given my history, but I can’t keep that kind of secret from you, I just can’t.

If you don’t have a juicer, and you have $8.99 to drop on a beverage, give the freshly squeezed juices at Whole Foods a try. They are awesome and nothing like Naked or Odwalla juices, which I now consider to be junk food.

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I know, I know, that was a super obnoxious thing to say. BUT, now that I’ve seen fresh juice and watched how it separates after about 5 minutes, I’m totally opposed to drinking whatever chemical or seaweed is used to hold Odwallas together. Plus, they are loaded with sugar and not enough veggies. Let the slapping of me commence.

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So, uh…I just did a search for “let the slapping commence”, wanting to add yet another meme, you know…for the sake of overkill. My Google Chrome TRIED to warn me that there might be inappropriate content. I took that as maybe some swear words. Now however, I kind of need to bleach my eyes. I feel like innocence has been stolen from me. Please don’t search that image!

Welcome back to those of you who didn’t listen. Hope you learned your lesson.

Distract ourselves with food. Distract, distract, distract. But don’t get fat, ok?

There are a couple of smoothie photos up there too. The smoothie in a glass is my new favorite afternoon snack; dark cherries, banana, coconut milk, whey protein and dark cocoa powder make for a heavenly drink.  There’s also a picture of the $25 in smoothies I bought when we ran out of frozen fruit. Someone remind me why I am the poorest girl in my zip code again?

Speaking of, I really, like REALLY wanted to take a picture of a woman at the grocery store yesterday. My blogging ethics kept my phone in my purse, but let me describe her to you.

  • Expensively bleached, long hair
  • Wearing size 2, possibly size 0 $100 yoga pants
  • Bright, brand new looking athletic shoes with bouncy squares underneath
  • A puffy, yet very slim vest over her slouchy, Bloomingdale workout top
  • Enough makeup to be camera ready
  • Purse that could be sold to pay off my car
  • Diamonds, diamonds, diamonds

So you can see why I love living where I do, I have SO much in common with this type of woman. She’s probably the nicest thing ever. Who am I kidding? She’s probably awful and has an awful husband to go along with. Just kidding, she’s probably great. (Believe what you will). Don’t get the impression that there aren’t awesome and fun women around here, there are. There are just lots of not-awesome women too. Where am I going with this. Ah yes, noodles!

I bought a spiralizer! Now I can make zucchini noodles that rock my world.

That Vietnamese Home Cooking book? I mostly put that in there to remind myself I want to buy it. That photo was taken at an author event with Danielle Walker, who wrote Against All Grain. I did some recipe testing for her book and finally got myself a signed copy. See that photo? It’s in there too.

There’s also a cup of trail mix, made from the Whole Foods trail mix bar. Again, mostly a reminder to myself to set up a home trail mix station.

The last photo is of a display for essential oils. I wanted to ask you all, have you had any good experiences with oils? I’d love to get my house full of these. I’d also like to put the bottle that says something to the effect of “Calm and Peaceful” in my classroom. Some days I kind of wonder if the kids in my class are chugging down their dads’ Red Bulls before school.

So you are now caught up with me. Do you want your money back? I can make it up to you. Watch this video. I’m so obsessed with this song right now.

Sorry about that. I totally tricked you. It’s like the worst video, possibly ever. Love you! Night!
 

 

 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. And expensive. And stressful. And wonderful.

I just wasn’t into Christmas cards this year. I have loved getting them, but haven’t had the big urge to make our own, which usually hits me in early November. By the time December 19th rolled around, Jy took matters into his own hands and made the cards for us! Here’s a taste of the kids cooperating in the way all kids do when it comes to posing for a super “important” picture. Bless my husband’s heart. He even addressed them all, making sure to include as many of my friends as he could.  #husbandoftheyear. #Hashtagsannoy #can’thelpmyself

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A couple of things put a damper on my holiday prep this year. This was one of “those” years, where Thanksgiving comes extra late and my turkey day rolled right into a head cold. Teaching preschool without a voice can throw one for a loop! I had run myself into the ground my the first weekend of December, missing a friend’s holiday party and setting back my Christmas mood.

By the following weekend, I was feeling good again though and was treated to a night at this gorgeous house! My friend Lisa can turn a jam jar and a toothpick into some type of beautiful decor, that I would never think of!

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So, I kinda figured that Lisa’s lights would be turned low, which they were in most of the house. Plan backfired though, as this was one of my first attempts at a “smoky eye” and felt a little floozy-ish under the bright kitchen lights, surrounded by families. Here I am, ready to get out of the house and away from my stage 5 clingers, children. Lisa, I’m sorry if I put the ho in your holiday party.

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The rest of this month has been at home prepping for a day of teaching, or staying up too late watching Bravo or other uplifting television. Something about the lights glowing on my tree and the smell of my generic pine tree scented candle burning away whispers, “Just one more episode of The Real Wives of Shahs of Sunset Vanderpump.” 

I have to say though, that I did watch something of substance, last night was my first time seeing The Color Purple. What a good movie!

Tree

One wonderful part of this season is watching how my kids are full-force into the magic of Christmas. I’m trying my hardest this year to let go of the idea that every December has to be a deeply meaningful month of every type of tradition we can squeeze in. We’ve missed church two times this month because Max won’t go into Sunday school. I bought a pre-assembled gingerbread house to decorate. You already know about the Christmas cards. Guess what else? I’m not baking. Except for Christmas day. Otherwise, I have just been wanting to relax. It’s been really nice to give myself permission to do so, too.

It also gives time for new traditions to pop up on their own. Like, night tag around the giant Christmas tree.

photo

Because I don’t have a recipe for you and because you have still read this far, I want to share a bit more. Here’s a look back at things that made me chuckle this year. If you are in restroom or perhaps a DMV line, you’ve got the time to spare. Join me. 

2013 was the year that…(FYI: None of the following are deep and meaningful)

  • Dallas set up an episode of “The Bachelor” in our hallway. He didn’t realize that naked girl with the bad hair and weird belly was totally inappropriate. There’s always a naked, drunk girl on the first episode though, so he might have been on to something.

 549951_10151349898482972_2003254798_n    306296_10151349899812972_677961898_n

  • Dallas had some memorable quotes -
  1. He told he loves me so much and knows I wouldn’t sell him for 1,000 dollars or crystals. Even though I like money and crystals.
  2. While I tried to hide out and squeeze in some yoga, Dallas crawled under my down-dog pose and told me he was a”Rat in a rat home.”
  3. After secretly tossing popcorn kernels out of the shopping cart throughout all of Target, Dallas fessed up to “feeding the chickens”.
  4. “It’s no fair. Jewish people have all the awesome days. Hannukah is awesome. You get to spin a dreidel, have a feast and light the maracas. I wanna do Passover too, but I don’t want to kill a lamb.”
  5. Dallas fell in love with Emily. He vowed to try 1,000 times to make her say yes to a marriage proposal. He said he will just bring her heart boxes and sing songs and do love stuff to get her to marry him.
  6. He told me he would “Remember this day when he was an adult”, while we waited for the play, The Little Mermaid to start.
  • Max cracked me up
  1. “Mom, did you wash your car?” -No, not yet. “I washed it for you with my ______.” (Insert 3 year old body part name) He must have been working out that joke in his head for the whole 10 minutes between his peeing on my tire to the delivery.
  2. After telling him he was not allowed to walk around the house with an ice cube in his hand, Max gave me a look of disgust, shook his head and told me, “I don’t understand you.”
  3. He got on the phone with my Grandma and said, “Hi toilet. Have you done anything toiletish lately?”
  4. Max started praying at dinner. ”Eh, God, Thank you for this world, for my boxes, for the t.v., for my squinkies, for the meatballs, (continues with a listing of any items in his line of sight), Ay-men.”
  5. He looked me in the eye and said, “I love you.” “Stupid.”
  • I learned all about Star Wars and Star Trek – and told Facebook about it
  1. Spent my life avoiding Star Trek and Jy asked me to watch the latest movie with him tonight. Highly entertaining, yet confusing. Why are there so many models in space?
  2. That was really messed up. There was no good reason to completely destroy Alderon. Jerk.
  • I learned to make a virgin Mojito and Turkish Armenian coffee

Armenian Coffee

I could go on and on. Heck, I probably will. But it’s 9 p.m. now and there’s television to be watched and presents to be wrapped. Merry Christmas to all who celebrate! To those who don’t, I’m sorry that so many stores are closed that day. Amen for Starbucks and movie theaters!

Meal Planning Deal for Black Friday Weekend

I’ve just signed up for Plan to Eat, which is one of the best meal planning programs I have found. I love that I can just copy and paste my favorite recipe URL’s in my site and Plan to Eat will create a grocery list for me. I can also see original recipe photos. I’m in the middle of planning my first week of recipes, but wanted to share before the sale is over.

If you decide to join, email me an invite and we can share recipes!

 
Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

Weekend DAMY Sale!

If you’ve had any interest in trying out a DAMY Health program, do it now! There are only a few times a year you can grab a great deal on one of the plans, but they are few and far between. The reason I totally love her plans is because they are based on eating 100% real food. No supplements, no powders, no 100 calorie packs. Real food and serious workouts. I’ve done the Method plan, which taught me to love High Intensity Interval Training and even more so, strength exercises.

Don’t wait until New Year’s Day, start living to your fullest potential now and enjoy the holidays, feeling healthy and bright!

sale

Happy Thanksgiving!

I have so much to be thankful for today, for starters, a healthy family, two amazing little boys and a wonderful husband. Then there are the joys of this morning alone, Peet’s coffee, watching the Macy’s parade with my kids, a hubby having fun at the track, a bonus holiday delivery of the San Francisco Chronicle, you know, the little stuff.

I often  wonder why we don’t spend Thanksgiving thanking the Wampanoag tribe for helping the English settlers survive. Shouldn’t we be donating money to Native American tribes or something? It’s great that we are all thankful for Black Friday and all, but what about the original meaning of this holiday? Turns out, Thanksgiving is more symbolic than a ritual reenactment.

For those of you reading on the bus or waiting in line (and have nuttin’ by time), you can read more about the actual history of this North American holiday at Plimoth Foundation’s website.

Enjoy this day with your family, friends and loved ones. If you can’t do that, have a nice spiked egg nog in hand at all time. If you can’t or don’t do that, have a really sweaty workout this morning to spike your endorphin levels. If you won’t do that, go to the movies or something, you’re bringing the rest of us down!

Prepare yourself, sticking an advertisement mid-blog:

I’m only posting this here because Amazon has the same Ronco Showtime Rotisserie that I have, at a great price. It’s usually $129-$149. It’s my 2nd favorite kitchen appliance (behind my Vitamix) and it’s how I busted out a Thanksgiving turkey in 2.5 hours yesterday. Check out this turkey! No knife was needed for carving, I pulled that sucker apart with my hands.

So juicy, so salty, so yummy.
TurkeyRoti

 

For another easy holiday dish, try the pumpkin-gingbread cheater dish!

pumpkin-gingerbread

 

Pumpkin Gingerbread

See Detailed Nutrition Info on

Ingredients

  • 1 can pumpkin pie mix
  • 3/4 box gingerbread mix (I used Fresh & Easy's)
  • 1/2 stick butter, in small cubes

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Spray a deep dish pie pan or 9x13 cake pan and pour in pumpkin pie mix
  3. Sprinkle gingerbread mix (dry) over the top of dessert, completely covering pumpkin
  4. Cover entire pan with butter cubes
  5. Bake for 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean

Time for me to go play with my kids and get in a workout before pretending like I haven’t eaten in a decade. Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Hannukah friends!

 

 

Did You Win?

I used the Pick Giveaway Winner WordPress plugin to choose the winner of the $50 Fresh & Easy gift card, so no foul play over here. Congratulations Ariana, F&E will be sending you your prize in the mail shortly!

Winner