Monday, November 28, 2011

Congratulations to the winner of the Safeway $100 Gift Card!
Last week, I was thrilled that Safeway offered my readers a chance to win a $100 Gift Card. I was also pretty happy to learn about their Holiday Inspirations micro site! From there, I downloaded an app for the iPad that helped walk us through the turkey cooking process. My mom and I have cooked enough turkeys together that I was skeptical about needing an app, but I wanted to try their 2-hour turkey (high heat/short time) method, and this app took us through step by step. The best part of it, though? Whenever a timer would go off, if gobbled. How can you not love it?

Ms. Turkey came out of the oven with perfectly moist and wonderful breasts. Yes, I know how that sounds. The deep insides where the legs connected were not quite done all the way (our thermometer would have told us that if it hadn’t been broken), but that was actually perfect for throwing in a stock pot after dinner. We collect all of our vegetable ends and pieces and the giblets and start the stock pot while we’re cooking all day.

So Thanksgiving was a hit for us, partly thanks to the help from Safeway! And now one of you gets a little help from Safeway as well. This is my first giveaway, and I’m really excited because this is such a great prize! Rafflecopter managed the giveaway, and they randomly chose from all the entries.

Go back to Mostlymommyhood.com to see the winner!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Win a $100 Safeway gift card!

Read all about how Safeway can make your holiday meal planning and entertaining a little easier,
then come back to enter to win!








Cheers!
~Krista


Return to Mostly Mommyhood.
By clicking the green “I did this!” buttons on Rafflecopter you are confirming that you completed the task, and that you in fact want to gain the number of entries stated into the contest.
Open to residents of the US only. Your odds of winning will depend on the number of valid entries received. All winners are being selected at random, duplicate entries and falsifying entries will be disqualified. We will verify that the tasks were completed prior to the winners being announced. Giveaway ends on November 27, 2011 at 11:59 pm Pacific time. Good luck!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Outside with Kids

I think we’re in the better-than-average realm of outdoor play, but I know we could be better. Hardly a day goes by (even a rainy one) without us finding a window for playing at the park, walking the dog, or riding bikes.

{read more}
Rainy hike in Smuggler's Cove on the Oregon Coast

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Wordstock Festival: Write up my alley

I grew up a bookworm, devouring every book and magazine I could get my hands on. I remember sitting around the living room with my whole family, {read more}

Monday, September 12, 2011

Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou

I’m a mess. I keep crying randomly. And different things pop in to my head, like, “his little body was dragged on the pavement…” or, “I shouldn’t have been so far in front of him…” and I just lose it. I just can’t express enough how grateful I am that he’s not more seriously hurt. I really believe an angel must have been wrapped around him.
When I think about how close I came to losing Eric, I can’t even breathe.

continue reading

Sunday, September 11, 2011

It could have been so much worse

I hope you never have to experience what I did yesterday. I watched my little three year old boy get hit by a car.

We were riding our bikes to the farmers market, crossing a street in the crosswalk. I always pull in to the middle of the street, then wait for both kids to cross the street. Anna was in front of me, and I think I went a little further than the middle of the street before stopping to wait for Eric. I don’t know why, I think I either thought he was closer behind me, or I felt safe since we were crossing at a crosswalk and the light was with us. In any case, I stopped about halfway through the adjacent lane, and looked back to wait for Eric.

I saw the car start to turn in to the cross walk, right where Eric was riding. I’m shaking my head no no no even as I type this. I started screaming “NO WAIT STOP NO NO!” but he kept right on turning. In that flash of an instant, it occurred to me that all of my fears as a parent were coming true right then. I see Eric get pulled down, but then I can’t see him any more, and I’m running and screaming at the top of my lungs. The car finally stops 10' later (I measured the scrape marks today), and Eric is pinned under his bike, the back tire of the bike is under the car’s front tire. I can’t get him out, I bang on the hood of the car and scream BACK UP BACK UP BACK UP! I’m a little fuzzy at this point. I’m not sure when I stopped screaming,
more...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Welcome Fellow Mom-Pledgers!

My new blog is over here at MostlyMommyhood.com, a collaboration between me and two of my best friends. Our collective children range in age from 2-12!

My Mom Pledge post is here.

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you'll visit me at my new site. I look forward to getting to know you!

~Krista

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Mango Moms Lunch on the Mango Hometown Tour

Hey moms,
I was delighted to attend this lunch in Portland. If the tour is coming to your town, I recommend attending!
Here's my recap on Mostly Mommyhood.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Is This My Beautiful Life?

Do you ever have those moments where all of a sudden you are 17 years old, looking at yourself in your surroundings thinking, “Wait. How did I get here? Is this really my life?”

Read more...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Come Join Us...

I'm moving my blog to www.mostlymommyhood.com!
The really exciting part is my dear friend Dayl has joined me there. Please stop by and let us know your thoughts!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Weight a Minute... Why isn't this working?

While I was visiting my doctor about my naughty Achilles tendon, I took the opportunity to ask her if she had any ideas for me for losing weight. I was so successful losing all the baby weight before Anna was a year old, but it's been a roller coaster of up and down since I had Eric. Exercise and watching my eating have worked in the past, but even with running several times a week and not being too stupid about my intake, I can't seem to lose.

Frustrating. I don't even want to go to parties, because all my cute party dresses are about 20 lbs too tight. {Not go to parties? Who is this person, and what have you done with Krista?}

My doctor is awesome, and she had some valuable insight for me. So I thought I'd share it...
1. Write down everything you eat.
OK, I knew this from Weight Watchers, but I haven't been doing it. Her reasoning is this: There is a really big window of food intake to maintain weight. There is a very small window of food intake to lose weight. The difference between losing weight and maintaining weight can be as few as 300 calories. If I'm not tracking everything, I won't know that, and a couple snacks or an extra glass of wine might be holding me back. {If only it were only one extra glass of wine!}

2. Our bodies will tell us we're hungry for the heaviest we've been in the last 2 years. TWO YEARS. So even when I've lost weight, my body tells me I'm hungrier than I should be. I have to maintain my real weight for TWO YEARS—and be hungry some of the time—in order to convince my brain of my new, lower weight. {And by "new," I mean back to pre-baby!}

3. Running long distances may be thwarting my weight loss.
WHAT? That's so counter-intuitive.
But yes, our bodies learn quickly how to conserve energy. She suggested I add some sprints into my training runs to shake things up. That makes sense!

So what will I do with this information?
Well, I guess it's back to Weight Watchers.
And I need to adjust my thinking that it's just going to be ok to be a little bit hungry for a few years. I know having snacks like raw veggies and fruit around will help, I just need to take the time to prepare for each day so I'm ready. I'm anxious to try the speed training as soon as my dang Achilles heals!

What do you think? Good information?
Have you been on a weight loss journey yourself? If so, what works when you're successful?

Friday, April 15, 2011

I Found My Achilles Heel. Literally.

I gave myself acute Achilles tendonitis because I didn’t know when to quit. A sports massage therapist said, “What have we learned here?”

“That I have bad judgment?”

He was kind enough to say, “No, we’ve learned that your body is trying to tell you to slow down a bit, and you are learning how to listen.”

My body has always been here for me, and I’ve been grateful. I’m strong. I have a high pain threshold. Ask my dad. The day after he witnessed me give birth to my firstborn with no drugs, the nurse asked me what my pain level was. I said 4. Dad said, “Yes, but her 4 is a 10 for most people!” I’m proud of that.

I knew I needed to slow down when my Achilles felt like it was on fire. I rested and iced it for 4 days, then set off for a long run ~ 9 miles. I told myself repeatedly, “If it starts to hurt, I can turn back.” But I’m so freaking stubborn. It started hurting at mile three. I ran another three miles. Finally, at mile six, I couldn’t go any more and walked the rest of the way back. But it was too late. I should have turned back at mile three, but my stubbornness wouldn’t let me. I thought I could push through it.

Argh.  No amount of icing and resting worked this time. People saw me limping and told me horror stories of rupturing their tendons, or straining them so badly that they were in casts for weeks. It got so I was afraid of going up stairs for fear of rupturing my tendon.

I was really distressed that I had let my desire to finish a 9-mile run possibly put me out of commission for running the half marathon with Dayl. But even more than that, I started realizing that my body is getting older and I need to take better care of it. There are consequences to pushing myself too hard.

What if I hurt myself permanently and couldn’t every run seriously again? OK, there may have been a little melodrama going on in my head as I lay around not running.

I finally saw my doctor today and she reassured me that it’s “just” tendonitis, as opposed to a more chronic condition like tearing. However… I have to take it easy. Massage (not so bad), an ankle brace (ick), a lot of stretching and then… when I’m pain-free I can slowly start running again.

I really hope I can manage this so I can run the Hippie Chick. But at least if I’m not ready for that, I know can do the next one. My body is here for me, I just need to take a little more care with it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Wordless Wednesday • Snow White was here?

Now to Find a Way to Shrink Myself...

I'm building a fairy garden with my kids and one of our neighbor kids. I should say, I'm building it for me and occasionally I remember to try to include them. They are all loving it, actually, and I'm looking forward to us having this project to tinker with all summer.
It started with some cutesy little flowers I picked up at the Trillium Festival a few weeks back. When I started adding them to the trillium, columbine and maidenhair fern I bought at last year's festival, it all seemed so delicate and whimsical. And a fairy garden was born...
Half the fun has been seeking treasures and found objects to add to it. I raided my "I'll fix this someday" box of broken jewelry and pulled out some treasures that I know I'm not really going to fix.

Here's our progress so far. I have to agree with our neighbor girl and co-creator when she says, "Now I just wish we could make ourselves small so we could play in the garden!"
The "Great House" meeting hall (in process), with earring chandelier & jeweled bracelet fence and the beginning of the twig boardwalk.

We chose these little white flowers because they look like perfect fairy dresses. I. Love. Them.

While we were working, a little ladybug flew in to enjoy the garden.

Working hard!

Yashi made this for us, and it's perfect in the fairy garden, nestled between grape hyacinth and a tiny red tulip.

That's a hammock back there, and the beginning of a beaded path in the lower right corner.

The twig path leads from the Great Hall to the center of the garden, then the blue glass stones lead to the "Dance Circle"

The Frog Bard, waiting to serenade some dancing fairies.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Thoughts on Running

I became a runner in 2003, though I didn't actually start running until 2004. Brian and I were driving over Mt. Hood in late August, heading off on another camping trip with the dog, when we saw all these crazy people running down the mountain.
Hood To Coast.
Brian completely echoed my thoughts when he said, "I'd like to do that someday."
So I decided then and there that we would run Hood to Coast. And we did! I formed a team of mostly zoo people. Our team was called, "Not Cheetahs." Tagline: "Cheetahs are the fastest animals on land. We are Not Cheetahs." Clever, eh? Our main goal was to finish. Minor secondary goal: don't finish last. But really – if we finished last – we weren't going to beat ourselves up about it. I started training for the event in 2004, and realized I LOVE RUNNING. Now, before this experience, I would have placed myself firmly in the non-runner camp. Not only did I not run, but I really had no interest in running. But the thought of completing this tremendous ordeal of running this giant relay turned me in to a runner. I guess at that point I should have realized a bit of my competitive nature.
Anyway, we completed Hood to Coast and had a BLAST.  Fast forward 6 months, and I was completing the Shamrock Run – and drinking copious amounts of beer afterwards – not realizing I was pregnant with Anna. Wondering why I was so so very tired...
Fast forward one year after that... Mother's Day, 2006. Five months after having Anna, I ran the Hippie Chick. Such a feeling of empowerment and control! I think it was then that I realized that running is something I really enjoy. Running through the trees at Champoeg Park with perfect music playing on my iPod... I have lingering happiness, even 5 years later.

SO... what is that I like about running?
Here's what makes it more pleasant for me:

~Start slowly • You can't pick up and run a long distance without building up to it. Run short distances or 20 minutes, and slowly –week by week– build up to longer distances.

~Music! • It's amazing to me how much more pleasant a run is when I have background music. I like to have a combination of superfastgetgoingrunfaster songs and  j u s t r e l a x  songs. I find it helps regulate my speed a bit.
FASTSONGRUNRUNRUN!  s l o w s o n g t a k e i t e a s y.
I particularly like sing-along-songs because I imagine I look and sound pretty silly running down the street belting out, "Can't hold us down!*" at the top of my lungs. For some reason, several songs from the James Laid album really get me going.
One caution: never have your headphones so loud that you can't hear cars or other signals of danger around you.

~Friends • I so value my early morning runs with a couple of neighborhood mamas. As a working mama (out of the house that is... all mamas are working mamas!), I have a tremendous amount of guilt about spending any additional time away from the family. So I'm so grateful for the 5:30 a.m. runs with my girlfriends. My family is still asleep, and not only am I getting valuable exercise time, but the chatting, catching up and parenting/marriage advice ("Peanut-shelling time" as my friend Annie's grandma called it) that we share have become indispensable to my sanity! Likewise, I'm training virtually with my BFF Dayl. We live more than an hour away from each other, but we keep track of each other and periodically run our long distances together. Our plan is to run the Hippie Chick Half Marathon together on Mother's Day, and I'm so looking forward to having that quality time with her. When we run together, the miles really do fly by as we talk about everything and nothing under the sun. That's a good friend.

~Nutrition • I make sure to get up a solid 45 minutes before my runs. I typically drink a cup of coffee and a protein shake mixed with berries or EmergenC. I like the Aria brand protein powder from Trader Joe's. Most mornings, I simply mix it with 16 oz of water and a packet of EmergenC. If I'm motivated enough, I'll blend all that with a handful of berries.  Water is so important THE DAY BEFORE. Hydration doesn't begin right before a run, it's important to be drinking plenty of water all the time.
I can't believe I got to 40 before learning this, but the recovery meal is crucial! Apparently, eating some lean protein and some carbs within 30 minutes after your workout helps build muscle and mitigates some of the build-up of lactic acid (which causes soreness). I've been doing this for a couple months now, and I've noticed a HUGE difference! Why didn't I know about this before? I don't know, but I'm telling as many people as possible!

~Mapmyrun.com • If you really want to know how far you're running (I DO!), visit this site. You can find routes that other people have mapped out near you, or create your own maps. I had no idea that the neighborhood mamas and I were running 3.5 miles 2x a week until I mapped it out. Honestly, I thought it was about 2 miles each time. That's probably because we were talking the whole time, so the miles flew by!

I'm temporarily out of commission until my Achilles tendon heals (please, take it easy so you don't have this problem). I can't run this week, but writing this makes me feel better and hopefully I'll be back at it by next week!


*Christina Aquilera, btw

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The most basic of soups

I asked the Girlchild what we should make for dinner tonight, and she said, "Basil potato mushroom soup!"
I was pleased that she didn't say, "mustard custard," which is a dish she's been promoting for a few weeks now. I've managed to dodge that particular iron chef challenge.

I initially thought we'd do a potage parmentier and add mushrooms and sprinkle basil on top. We didn't have any fresh basil (fancy that in Oregon in April...), and the spirit of the kitchen took over (also known as spontaneity), and we did this instead:

Soften in dutch oven:
*1 onion, chopped
*2 carrots, peeled & sliced
*3 potatoes, peeled & diced

Allow the veggies to soften for about 5 minutes, then to the sides of the pan, and brown:
*1 lb ground turkey, with salt & pepper

Add (in no particular order)
*1 quart beef broth (or whatever kind you like, I like the full bodied flavor of beef broth sometimes)
*2 cans of tomatoes. I used one can of stewed tomatoes and one can of diced, because that's what I had.
*3 cloves of garlic, minced.
*I also added some of my favorite shallot salt from Penzey's Spices. Dreamy stuff, really.


Allow that to simmer until the potatoes are almost all the way soft, then toss in:
*1 lb of mushrooms, sliced. The kids love to slice the mushrooms with a butter knife. (helpful and safe!)
*Green veggies. We used a pound of asparagus, because it was in the fridge, plus about a cup of frozen peas.

Simmer a bit more until the latest veggies to join the party are ready, and it's all set!
{I'm sorry I didn't pay attention to the times of each step, but the whole process took about an hour.}

I love it when my kids eat veggies, and of course they're more likely to eat them when they've helped prepare the meal!

Girlchild on her second bowl. This is the first time I've ever known her to eat mushrooms.

We thought about making biscuits, but settled for grilled cheese on Dave's Killer Bread instead. Something about that bread is perfect for toast or grilled cheese.







For more family-friendly healthy recipe ideas, visit Disney's Magic of Healthy Living. I'm not typically a recipe follower, but they've got some good ones over there.

Well heeled = well, healed!

OK, I think this is a stretch, but I'm willing to try it. I seem to have inflamed my Achilles tendon during one of my training runs last week. I rested it and iced it most of the week, but I probably shouldn't have run 9 miles today. But I did. So now it's more ice and more rest, of course, but I thought I should do a little more research on how to properly care for this and make sure I don't put myself out of commission long term!
I found several sources of information, mostly saying that this is a common condition of "middle-aged recreational runners." Great. Now I'm a middle-aged recreational runner??

Everyone suggests ice and rest. But here's something extra useful I found on About.com:
"A heel wedge can be inserted into the shoe to minimize the stress on the Achilles tendon. By lifting up the heel of the foot, even by a small amount, a significant amount of force is decreased on the Achilles tendon."
A wedge heel, you say? I can totally get down with that!
I'm all over this... DSW is sending me a gift card to replace the shoes that Jack ate.
Boo, Jack! Yay, DSW!
Since I'll be heading there anyway, and wedges are practically medically prescribed, I thought I'd search out a few more options.

I love the flirty bow on these:  


Miss America Whitney Wedge at DSW
 I'm a sucker for white linen, and I think these would be adorable with a white sundress. 
Or shorts. 
Or anything.

These next shoes are fairly boring in comparison, but cuter than flip flops ~ and I think they would be perfect for our weekly walks to the farmer's market:
Aerosoles Guava Plush Wedge at DSW
Sensible, no? Also... who wouldn't love a shoe with "Plush" in the name? Sounds so comfy and therapeutic!


Finally, I had to include these because they're so very adorable, and would be perfect with the bold colors and 70s vibe going on in fashion right now:
Impo Tipper Espadrille Wedge at DSW


I do feel the need to point out that I don't think these wrappy strappy espadrilles would look good on me. I have fairly large calves— I'm not complaining, they're fairly shapely— but I think my legs look better if you can see my ankles. 


What do you think? Am I on the right track to heal my heels? 
:)

Pineapple Pasta (???)

While I was out running this morning, our friend Yashi helped the kids make lunch. They LOVE it. I'm a little surprised.

Here's the Girlchild talking about their creation:





She just told me, "This Pineapple Pasta creation is brilliant. I want to have it for lunch every day."


I'm not so sure.



*note about the penne: we only ever buy whole wheat pasta. 
The kids don't mind it because it's all they get! :)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Getting To Know You... UBP11

It's time to party like a blogger...
Welcome to my humble corner of the blogosphere!

I started this little blog because so many of my friends and family would tell me how much they enjoyed reading my facebook posts. It finally occurred to me to create a better forum for sharing!
So I'm a late bloomer...

I write about my family and our adventures. I experiment with and write about food. I have a hard time sticking to recipes. My five year old daughter, the charming Girlchild, likes to invent recipes. She throws out a list of ingredients and my challenge is to turn it in to something edible. I have a three year old flirty boy and an awesome husband, along with three snuggly kitties and one lazy puppy.
My family makes me laugh and cry and scream and I never knew there was room for this much love in my heart. I want to write more about fashion, but I'm a little intimidated by all the amazing fashionistas out there.

I have a problem with thinking rules don't apply to me, but I'm working on it because I have to.
I get overly annoyed by grammatical errors and passive aggressive behavior.
I've realized lately that I'm more competitive than I previously thought, and since turning 40 I'm wondering what I want to be when I grow up.

I believe in the power of good shoes and wine.

I am inspired by nature, by unnecessary kindness, by women who make fitness a balanced part of their daily lives, by Cupcakes and Cashmere and This is Glamorous.

 I'm halfway through the process of migrating this little blog to mostlymommyhood.com. It's been a bit of trial and error, but I hope to have it live in a couple weeks. Blogger has been good to me, but it's time to take the leap! The most exciting part about the migration is my dear friend Dayl is going to start contributing with me. She has some amazing stories and is one of the brightest stars and kindest humans I've ever encountered. I can't wait to expand Mostly Mommyhood to include the adventures of Dayl and her family.

Thanks for stopping by! Please leave me a comment to let me know you were here. I look forward to getting to know you!
~Krista

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Trillium Festival

I did not draw this, BTW.

I've always had a special place in my heart for trilliums. I remember spending what seemed like hours drawing them when I was a kid. I'm not sure if it was the rarity of them or the perfect symetry, but I just love them. My notebooks from 6th grade Outdoor School were littered with trillium sketches. Perhaps part of the allure is that they're found out in the woods... a place I like to be!

Last year was our first to the Trillium Festival at Tryon Creek State Park. We loved it so much, we joined Friends of Tryon Creek and bought several trilliums and other native plants. Here's one of our little trillium from last year, signaling that it's time to get back out in the woods:
Trillium with some columbine and an industrial-ish fairy house built by one of the neighbors.
Today the kids and I met my parents out at Tryon Creek State Park to enjoy the Trillium Festival again.
Our adventure took us on an hour and a half-long hike through the park, on the look out for trillium, wood violets, licorice ferns, Oregon grape, and salmon berries.
We found the perfect Pixie Hollow!
Today pushed all my happy buttons: fun with the kids, exercise, nature, my parents, education... it's all there. Plus, I stopped by the native plant sale and came away with these beauties:
so pretty, right?
I hope you can get out and enjoy some nature soon, too!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Girlchild's Quinoa with Pancetta & Peas

Anna likes to invent recipes – a hobby I whole-heartedly support!
Here's how it goes: She lists a bunch of ingredients and gives me a format (dessert, dinner, etc) and I have to turn it in to something edible.
While we were at the Disney World, we had the pleasure of attending the celebration dinner for their Magic of Healthy Living contest winners. It was pretty awesome to see the mighty power of Disney focused on helping families lead healthy lives. My kids were skeptical of the ultra healthy dinner that was served, but it got us talking about healthy food, which led to the following recipe:

"You take smashed up peanuts and some peas, and pancetta and add all that to quinoa, plus three tablespoons of chicken broth. And olive juice, honey and a squeeze of lemon. And then you add a little parmesan cheese, garlic and arugula."

Here's what we actually did:
Cook 1 cup of quinoa in 2 cups of chicken broth.
Bring to a boil, then cover & simmer until liquid is almost completely absorbed. While there is still a bit of liquid, add about 1 cup of frozen peas.

Meanwhile, lay the pancetta out on a baking sheet. Broil until crisp, flipping each piece about halfway through the process. Total broil time is only about 4 minutes. Warning: never walk away from anything under the broiler! I usually grab a glass of wine and sit on the floor watching it, which the kids seem to find amusing.
broiling pancetta

Let the pancetta cool on the sheet, and grate about 1/4 cup of parmesan.
Mince a garlic clove and add to the juice of about 1/2 a lemon.

When the quinoa is done (liquid is about all absorbed), add the lemon juice & garlic and stir in. Turn heat off, and stir in parmesan. We then put that whole concoction in a bowl and crumbled the crisp pancetta over the top. I was afraid if we mixed it in, it would get soggy.
Crisp pancetta = awesome. Limp pancetta = meh.


You'll notice the peanuts, honey and olive juice didn't make it in to the recipe. The arugula kind of did, as we made my all-time favorite salad: Arugula with hearts of palm & shaved parmesan. The dressing is one clove of garlic, fleur de sel, fresh pepper, the other half of the lemon from earlier, emulsified with some fruity olive oil. Lemon juice + garlic + olive oil, as my dear friend Gwenn says, "emulsify like nobody's business."
 We served the quinoa and salad with some broiled mahi mahi and toasted Pugliese bread.
In fact, after we removed the pancetta from the baking sheet, I rubbed the bread around on the sheet and then toasted it. Mmmm. Pancetta drippings.

The Girlchild was very pleased about her recipe, and how the whole meal came together. I love cooking with her, and of course she ate everything because she helped make it. My kitchen ended up a bit messier than if I had just made dinner myself, but I wouldn't trade this time together for a cleaner kitchen, that's for sure.

Anna was more smitten than usual with the hearts of palm. In fact, she claims our next cooking adventure will be a "Hearts of Palm Custard!"
OK. I'm not sure what to do with that, but I'm sure we'll come up with something!


I attended the 2011 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration at Walt Disney World. Although we paid for our own trip to Disney World, the conference fee included 3 nights at the Grand Floridian, the conference and meals for me, several amazing meals for our entire family, park hopper passes for each of us, and some other fun perks. Disney did not ask me to write about this event, and all opinions are my own.

Run baby run

I'm running a half marathon on Mother's Day. It will be my first b i g run since Hood To Coast in 2004. I did run a quarter marathon on Mother's Day in 2006, five months after Anna was born. But that's pretty much it for b i g runs. I've been really happy to run 3ish miles several times a week with some hot mamas in the neighborhood, but we really haven't been running together much for a month or so.

so anyway... I'm nervous about today.

According to our training schedule, I should have run about 10 miles, broken out into three runs throughout the week. I ran three miles. One time. That's it.
Today we run eight. 8 miles. 8 miles when I haven't been keeping up on my training for two weeks.
I know I'll be fine if I warm up sufficiently and take it slow. I know I can get through it – that's not the issue. I don't want to cause an injury that I have to live with the rest of my life! Ok, now I'm being dramatic.

After my three miler earlier this week, Girlchild says, "Mama, why is exercise only for grown-ups?"
«cue sound of tires screeching to a halt»
Obviously, I need to do more to incorporate "exercise" into our daily lives.

Sure, they get a lot through their regular activities. Just yesterday, Brian had them playing at the park —running, climbing, jumping— for 2.5 hours. But I think there's something more important than just doing the activity. If my kids are to grow up fit and strong with a commitment to healthy living, then they need to realize that exercise is important and know that it's just something you HAVE TO DO every day.

Like brushing their teeth and reading books. That doesn't mean it can't be fun. But we need to call it exercise, so it becomes habitual and normal. Wouldn't that be so much easier than trying insert "exercise" when they start going to the (oft-dreaded) PE classes in school? I'm heading over to Disney's Magic of Healthy Living site to see what they say about it. Disney has committed to providing families with healthy living resources, which we learned about at the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration.*

I'd be interested in knowing how other parents handle this, though. Do you set aside "exercise" time, or sneak it in with everyday activities?


*I attended the 2011 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration at Walt Disney World. Although we paid for our own trip to Disney World, the conference fee included 3 nights at the Grand Floridian, the conference and meals for me, several amazing meals for our entire family, park hopper passes for each of us, and some pretty incredible swag items to take home. Disney did not ask me to write about this event, and all opinions are my own.

Monday, March 28, 2011

We Went to Disney World, and Didn't Spend a Fortune on Food

I was a little nervous about how much money we would need for food on our trip. We packed snacks, I pored over menus of the various restaurants throughout Disney World. I even bought a restaurant.com* gift certificate for Garden Grove, a restaurant at one of the hotels (but not where we were staying).

I'm happy to say that we found the food to be fairly reasonable! Yes, we could have easily spent a LOT more. But we didn't have to. Here's what we did:
Brought granola bars, fruit snacks and jerky from home. This was our snack foundation. Oh yeah, and vodka.  Brian walked to a grocery store from Downtown Disney (about a mile walk) to buy orange juice, bananas, cheese sticks and our very important cocktail fixings. The taxi back to our resort was $20, which we figured was totally worth it.

Most mornings, we started the day with our snacks, plus coffee in our refillable mugs at the resort food court. The refillable mugs were great. They cost about $15 after tax, and saved us a ton over the week. One note about cleaning plastic mugs: if you have a lingering odor from a previous beverage~even after washing~simply fill it up with hot water, let it set for a couple minutes, then dump it and fill it with ice water for a few minutes. Dump, and you're ready to go. It works every time. I shared this tip at the beverage station almost every day. I felt like making signs to post to save everyone the eww factor of drinking lemonade that tastes like coffee.

There were a few days that we ate breakfast at the food-court/quick service restaurant at whichever resort we were staying. Check out this breakfast I got at All Star Movies, for only $9:
Eggs, potatoes, bacon, sausage, biscuit AND a Mickey waffle.
Most days, we found we were too busy to want to sit down for lunch, so we often ate the snacks out of the backpack as we went about our day, then ate a real dinner.

The kids meals ~ breakfast, lunch and dinner ~ were all only $4.99 each and offered two sides plus a beverage. This seemed consistent at parks and resorts, and the sides were awesome. Grapes, carrots, apple sauce... it was nice to have healthy options. Since we have two kids, we usually chose four different sides and split them all between the two kids. 

We had heard about the T-Rex restaurant in Downtown Disney, and wanted to check it out because the kids are soooo in to dinosaurs. Arriving at 7ish, we found a 45-minute wait. But look! Just to the left was a new little place that sounded right up our alley. Pollo Campero offered a family dinner of citrus grilled chicken, rice & black beans, tortillas, and chips & salsa – all for only $19.99. Plus they had free wi-fi which is rather hard to come by at Disney World. We did make it back to T-Rex another day. We realized we hadn't spent any money ALL DAY. Not a cent. So we splurged on a big dinner. We got there at 5ish, and walked right in – no waiting. Kids were thrilled:

I've got to say that the biggest dining surprise and delight came from Gasparilla's at the Grand Floridian. We ate so well there! I've been craving this ever since I had it:
Grown up Mac & Cheese with LOBSTER. Yes, LOBSTER, and a lot of it! $9.99 at Gasparilla's
I almost couldn't eat it all it was so much, but I somehow managed. Delicious.
Since The Grand Floridian is so accessible from Magic Kingdom, I've recommended to several people heading to Magic Kingdom that they take the boat or monorail over to the GF and have a nice dinner before heading back to Magic Kingdom for the evening.

It's good that we were so prepared with snacks, but we almost had too much. Now that we know we can get reasonable meals, we won't pack nearly as much next time.


*I declined to buy a $25 gift certificate for $10, but then saw a special on MouseSavers to buy the same $25 certificate for only $2! How could I pass that up? We didn't even end up using it, but I'm not too worried about giving up $2.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Renew Our Vows?

Brian and I were married in July of 2001 and had our own version of a fairy tale wedding. Really, it was wonderful and I feel no need to recreate it or redo anything about it.

I've kind of poo-poohed people renewing their vows, because to us, the vows we took are forever. No need to renew. The idea of renewing implies that they're stale or old.

However...
While I was a the Disney Social Media Moms celebration, I learned about a new special promotion that Disney Fairy Tale Weddings has rolled out for their 20th anniversary. All this year, they're offering a special vow-renewal package for $1,991 ~ in honor of the year they started in 1991.
         "In honor of the platinum year, Disney has also created a specially priced wedding package perfect for vow renewals: the Memories Collection. Throughout the 20-month celebration, couples are invited to create new memories through intimate ceremonies at Walt Disney World Resort. The Memories Collection includes up to six guests, including the couple, a floral bouquet for the bride, solo violinist, transportation (three-hour limousine charter) and a professional photographer for one hour.
Ceremony locations include: Conch Key Marina at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Narcoossee’s Landing at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, and Luau Beach at Disney’s Polynesian Resort."
Who wouldn't want a ride in Cinderella's carriage? ©Disney

Disney's Fairy Tale Weddings Pavilion adjacent to the Grand Floridian resort on the Seven Seas Lagoon. ©Disney

I wonder if I could talk Brian into a return trip?

I attended the 2011 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration at Walt Disney World. Although we paid for our own trip to Disney World, the conference fee included 3 nights at the Grand Floridian, the conference and meals for me, several amazing meals for our entire family, park hopper passes for each of us, and some pretty incredible swag items to take home. Disney did not ask me to write about this event, and all opinions are my own.

Princess Wedding Dresses, a la Disney

Last week, I was treated to a Disney Fairy Tale Weddings Platinum Soirée at Walt Disney World which TOTALLY made me want to renew my wedding vows there. The Fairy Tale Weddings Pavilion at the Grand Floridian is so beautiful and magical, and Disney's attention to detail and guest experience management have made me a believer.

Disney and Alfred Angelo unveiled a series of seven Princess-inspired wedding gowns last fall, and they were available in stores in February of 2011. They're really beautiful, and I love that they each tell a little story about the personality or style of the muse princess. My favorite is Snow White... probably because of the nature motifs!

Here's the original Cinderella dress, which I think is just dreamy. Why can't wearing wedding dresses be an accepted practice for old married ladies like me?
One of the treats of the event was getting to see an exclusive preview of the "Cinderella Platinum Anniversary Gown" created by Alfred Angelo in honor of the 20th Anniversary of Disney Weddings.


You know what is totally silly and embarrassing? When the model walked down the aisle wearing this dress, I actually got all misty-eyed. Seriously. It's not even a real wedding, and I've never met this person. I can't help it, I'm a sap.
I don't have a good picture of the dress in person (probably because I was all silly sappy), but Disney Go To Girl has a great one on her site here. 

I attended the 2011 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration at Walt Disney World. Although we paid for our own trip to Disney World, the conference fee included 3 nights at the Grand Floridian, the conference and meals for me, several amazing meals for our entire family, park hopper passes for each of us, and some pretty incredible swag items to take home. Disney did not ask me to write about this event, and all opinions are my own.

Wedding Dresses

I started making wedding dresses when I got married in 2001. I've been sewing with my mom since I was five, and I knew my whole life that she and I would sew my wedding dress together. I love my dress for it's classic simplicity. It was based on a Vintage Vogue pattern from 1959, and we added a rhinestone inlaid "belt" around the waist, which unfortunately I don't have a good picture of!
But here I am with my bridesmaids, we also made all of their ensembles.

Since then, I've made four other wedding dresses. Here are two of them:

Beautiful Dayl & Jim
Beautiful Courtney
It seems that every two years or so, I get to make a wedding dress. It's fun to be creative and I love playing with beautiful textiles. But I really love that I get the honor of being involved in creating beautiful memories.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Travel with my Family

Wow, I have so much to process and write about from the fantastic trip we took to Disney World. I was fortunate enough to be included in Disney's Social Media Moms Celebration March 17-20, and I'm still pinching myself. It was overwhelming and unreal, to be honest. I learned so much, experienced so much, and met some pretty incredible people ~ all of which I'll be writing about soon!

But the biggest headline from the trip is that my family travels well together.

On the river boat from Port Orleans to Downtown Disney

Fairly early into my relationship with Brian, we realized that we could travel well together, and we were so relieved! It's not that it would have been a deal breaker – or maybe it would have – but since we both love travel, it's nice that we are such a good team.

As we were tucking the kids into bed upon returning from this big trip, Brian told the kids how proud we are of them for also being such good travel team members. I got all mushy when he said that. I'm sure it's just because I was so tired...  But how sweet, right?

And really, the kids were awesome. We've been on many trips together, but nothing this complex or scheduled. We were trying to squeeze as much as possible into this trip! They were such troopers, and I just couldn't be prouder of my little team.

At the airport for our red eye flight, way past their bedtime in jammies & backpacks
I saw so many families at the parks sniping and yelling at each other, and just generally being unkind. It was so sad, and made me that much more grateful that we all discussed it and agreed to be nice to each other. It made the whole trip better. Don't get me wrong, there was tension at times. But we were committed to not taking any frustrations out on each other.

I actually came back from this trip more in love with my husband, and more in love with my kids. That's pretty good for a 10-day extravaganza.

I'm so grateful. And so proud. And already planning our next trip!



I attended the 2011 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration at Walt Disney World. Although we paid for our own trip to Disney World, the conference fee included 3 nights at the Grand Floridian, the conference and meals for me, several amazing meals for our entire family, park hopper passes for each of us, and some pretty incredible swag items to take home. Disney did not ask me to write about this event, and all opinions are my own.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Social Media Has Made Me a Better Person

I've been wanting to take a couple minutes to write this post for several months, but seeing the "Take the Pledge" campaign by Elizabeth Flora Ross inspired me to finally do so. I  hear a lot about the "Mommy Wars" and the vicious ways that women attack each other online. I've seen it, and it makes me heartsick. In fact, I've been hearing stories of this from my IRL friends on discussion boards since before I knew the term, "Mommy Blogger." It's not necessarily a mommy problem, but there is something about parenting choices that seems to bring up some pretty strong reactions and (unfortunately) judgments in us. Add relative anonymity and it's been a recipe for disaster.

But I've found the anonymity has had the opposite effect on me. It's translated into me being nicer in real life, because I never know if the person who just pissed me off at the grocery store might be one of my online friends!

My experience of joining the online mom community has been awesome. Really — I'm in actual awe of the support, encouragement and humor. I've learned from you all, I've made friends that I can't wait to meet in real life, and my family is better for me having this connection and support. {despite the fact that they sometimes complain about me being on the computer again... balance is the key!}

Knowing I'm part of this bigger – often anonymous – community has given me a new kind of feeling connected to the world. Now, I'm very involved in my local community. I've lived here forEVER, I've been on boards, volunteered, I go to community events and frequent my local merchants. But this is different, because I'm interacting with people that I wouldn't necessarily meet on the street. I first noticed the change in me when some chick in an SUV cut me off on the freeway. My first reaction was to want to flip her off, but then a blog post I read flashed into my head. I thought, oh, maybe she's having a really  hard day and her kids are screaming and her checks are bouncing and the dog is sick etc etc. Instead of flipping her off, I took a breath and got over it. I wish I could do the same for my puppy who ate my shoes. I'm trying, but still not quite over that.
Please don't think I'm trying to portray myself as any kind of Pollyanna saint. I can snark with the best of them, and still do. But I've gotten so much from the online mom community, and I've seen the kind of loving support we can give each other, that it of course had to translate to my interactions in person.
I hope the "Take the Pledge" campaign works, because this is a really good thing we've got going here, and I for one don't want to see it mired in yuckiness. We're better than that!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

*#@$!*#@%!!!!

OK, I bought these super cute shoes at DSW: they're comfy and walkable and, you know, gold:


Riiiight?

Guess what my *#@$!*#@%! puppy did???


That's right. He chewed one up. Grrrr.
I was feeling really upset about it... like ALL DAY! At some point, I remembered that in comparison to being swept away in a tsunami, this really isn't that big of a deal. Then, I was reading Oh Amanda's blog, and she has a whole page dedicated to little kids who need prayers. Gah.

Oh, I feel so fortunate to have healthy kids.
And dang it, we're going to Disney World.
With or without cute shoes.
I have so much to be thankful for. And yes... I do get to be upset about my shoes being chewed. But a little perspective certainly helps.

So now I'm over it! {kinda}

***UPDATE***
I sent this link to DSW via @DSWshoelover on twitter, and they're sending me a gift card to get a new pair! Yay for customer service!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Tooth Fairy

The Girl lost a tooth!

OK, this is yet another example of her telling me something and me not taking her seriously. I've got to work on that. She's been telling me for several days that she has a wiggly tooth, but I just thought it was a result of her tumble down the stairs a few weeks ago and would eventually "firm" up again.
Nope!

Well, it may be because of the fall... but it definitely fell out!

I was scrounging for dinner, and Girlchild said,
"Today is the day that I lost my tooth."

I said, "Whaaaaah?"
She said, "I lost a tooth!"
I said, "NO WAY!"
She said, "YES WAY!" and held up a tiny little tooth.

Well, whaddya know? I knew she was advanced in many ways, but sheesh. I didn't think I'd be dealing with teeth for at least a year, maybe two. «scramble, scramble... what do tooth fairies bring these days?»

We talked for a bit about the tooth fairy, and what this all meant, when she told me she needs to go open the window in her room. Fortunately, Yashi was able to convince her that tooth fairies can come in with magic, and don't need the window to be open. When asked for proof, Yashi gave the example of the fairies in Sleeping Beauty, which seemed to convince the Girl. Whew!
Here's the "letter" she made for the tooth fairy:
Note the Sleeping Beauty reference. And the pony.


She asked to make a video {clearly a future vlogger}, here's what she wanted to tell you all:
video




Yup, she asked the tooth fairy for a pony. A PONY! So classic. Way to aim high, sweetie!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Dinsey

I keep waiting for someone to post about how excited they are to go to Dinsey.
I know, it's not going to happen. Or will it?
I live for funny typos.
Please, somebody post about Dinsey.
It will make my day.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

giddy

I stopped at a consignment store to check into water sandals for the kiddles to take to Disney World, and just HAD to buy this little number for the Girl:
It's a Tinkerbell-inspired princess dress!
Now, she hasn't been in a princess mood for a while, just OBSESSED with dinosaurs. It's been a couple months since she's insisted on wearing princess clothes or a tiara, so I didn't know if she'd be in to it or not.
Oh, em gee. She took one look at it and stripped off her clothes to put it on. Once on, she had the hugest permagrin, and this deep gutteral laugh just took over her whole body. Seriously, shaking and jumping up and down. Then... screaming laughing running laps around the house. Laughing laughing laughing.
Next, she needed to put on princess shoes. Then, she insisted on making a mask. Mask? OK! I helped her make this:

When my parents arrived at the house for dinner, she ran up and said, "What do you think of my look? I'm the Queen of the Fairies!" {squeee, resume laps and laughter} I tried to get a picture of her, but she couldn't stop moving.
Is she a little excited? Just a tad. To be honest, every time I see the little countdown to the right, my heart skips a beat. I'm tempted to run laps and scream, too!
I'm so looking forward to not only this UH MAZ ING family time at Disney World, but also to meeting all these inspirational women. And I'm certain that the information I'll learn at the conference will be life-changing. I just know it.
So yes, I'm giddy. Yes, I've been informally packing for months. Yes, I'm religiously stalking the #disneysmmoms hashtag. Like the kids, I CAN'T WAIT.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Cape!

My little neighbor friend just turned four, and he's super in to pirates & costumes right now. So I decided to make him a cape. Because every kid needs a cape, right?

Digging through my fabric box, I found this old Anne Klein striped shirt. I've held on to this shirt for so long, in hopes of using it for something. A kid's cape seems a little silly for such yummy silk chiffon, but seriously – I've had this shirt in the fabric box for years. It's way too big for me, and unwearable due to some unfortunately placed hot pink stains. Don't ask, I don't know where they came from! So I've given up on turning it into something that I can wear.
It seemed kind of Jack Sparrow-y to me, and it looks good with this brown taffeta.
 First I had to get rid of the sleeves, so I stitched from neck to the bottom of the side seam in as straight a line as possible. That chiffon is SQUIRRLY! It's a little puckery, too, because my needle wasn't fine enough for that delicate of fabric. If this wasn't for a four-year-old's costume, I would have taken the time to switch my needle. Oh well!
 Next I laid the de-sleeved blouse on the brown taffeta, and cut the shape of the cape out of the taffeta. This whole process would have been a lot easier if I wasn't trying to keep the collar. I thought the collar would be cool on the cape. Instead it's kinda weird, as you'll see below.
  I added some black double-faced satin ribbon to the top by the collar, so it could be used as ties. Folded the collar in, and carefully sewed it all together, leaving the bottom edge free.
 Turned right-side-out, here's the finished product:
 Brown shimmery manly taffeta on the outside, black & white stripes on the inside. Tied together with black ribbons straps. Unfortunately, the striped collar makes it look a bit like a Hogwarts wizard cape instead of pirate-y. But wouldn't a pirate be totally in to re-purposing an old shirt? I think so.
Here's my son modeling it in his jammies: