Friday, April 24, 2015

Saying Goodbye

As you may or may not recall, in February we traveled to New Jersey to visit my grandmother.


The full story goes something like this.  Last year my grandmother fell and broke her hip.  While doing the pre-surgical screenings, they found spots on her lungs.  It wasn't a terrible surprise to any of us, given that she had been a smoker since her early teens.  However, she refused to acknowledge the meaning of those spots. No further tests were done, no treatment was ordered.  She was in her late 80s, and it was her decision.  The doctors weren't sure what her prognosis was, but the "6 month" phrase was bandied about.  Thatmom didn't think she would make it to see Baby B's birth.  No one expected her to make it to Christmas.

And yet, she did.  We spoke behind her back, since she refused to acknowledge the gravity of the situation.  The "C word" was never uttered.  Which is not to say everything was sunshine and roses over there.  There were multiple times when we expected a phone call, and times we even got one - like moments before Thatmom's birthday dinner. 

3 weeks ago, we got the call.  A few days later my mom headed to New Jersey to identify the body and attend the memorial there.  Because none of the West Coast family attended, over the weekend Thatmom hosted her own memorial service. 

We all gathered together at Thatmom's house to sit around and share our memories.  The rabbi came and said some prayers.  While we all harbor our own thoughts about my grandmother, it was a good reminder that family always comes together.  That we are all connected.  Even under unpleasant situations.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Summer Storm: Hot Chocolate

In the past 18 years I've learned something about Southern California weather.  And that's the fact that you can't predict Southern California weather.

It's been practically summer here for weeks, despite being April.  Until yesterday.  Yesterday the sky filled with clouds, and it was cold enough that I felt bad for not sending a sweatshirt in with Thatkid to school.  Thatboy said it even rained at his office. 

And while such weather wouldn't be terribly uncommon in other parts of the country (April showers anyone?) it always takes us by surprise since it seems to come from out of the blue.  Luckily, those of us who went to work/school without appropriate spring attire found a good way to warm up once we were home.

Hot chocolate is another one of those things that I didn't realize "came from a box" until I was older.  Thatmom always made it stovetop - a pot of Hershey's cocoa and milk simmering and filling the kitchen with it's warmth. 

 Hot Cocoa
4 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
2 Tbsp sugar
pinch of salt
4 cups milk
few drops of vanilla extract
  1. Mix the cocoa, sugar, and salt with 1/2 cup warm water in a medium sized saucepan and boil gently for 2 minutes.
  2. Add the milk and heat slowly, just to the boiling point.
  3. Beat with a whisk and add a few drops of vanilla extract.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Crave Wednesday: Peach and Gorgonzola Chicken Pizza

We're going through a major fruit phase in my house right now. Our fruit bowl is overflowing with oranges from our tree and apples and bananas from the store.  Our fridge teams over with berries, grapes, and cut melon. 

We eat them with abandon.  Thatkid can put away a pint of blueberries in a single sitting. At dinner last night there was a bit of a scuffle over a bowl of pineapple.  We're using them in everything.  Including our dinners.

Fruit on a pizza is a little controversial.  Personally, there's nothing I like better than pineapple on my pizza (and lately pineapple and jalapeno is my favorite combo).  Thatboy isn't as enamored with the combination of sweet and salty on a pizza.  Which is actually why this peach and gorgonzola pizza works so well.  It could be due to the time of year, but the peaches aren't nearly as sweet as pineapple.  Especially when paired with a balsamic glaze.  It doesn't hurt that Thatboy does love fruit combined with balsamic. 

This has all the elements of a masterpiece - the peaches and balsamic, along with tangy gorgonzola cheese.  The chicken is just a bonus!


Peach and Gorgonzola Chicken Pizza (From Cooking Light)
1 prebaked thin pizza crust
cooking spray
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1 cup shredded cooked chicken breast
1/3 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
1 unpeeled medium peach, thinly sliced
1/3 balsamic vinegar
  1. Preheat oven to 400.  Place pizza crust on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.  Brush oil evenly over crust.
  2.  Top evenly with 1/4 cup mozzarella, chicken, Gorgonzola, and peach slices.
  3. Top with 1/4 cup mozzarella.  Bake for 11 minutes, or until crust is golden.
  4. Place vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-heat heat.  Cook until reduced to 2 Tbsp (about 5 minutes).
  5. Drizzle balsamic reduction over pizza.  Cut pizza into 8 wedges.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Mommy Mondays: 33 weeks

Maternity Jean Review!

During my first pregnancy I splurged on a pair of designer maternity jeans and wore them religiously throughout the pregnancy.  They were my go-to pants - I only owned one other, a pair of black work pants.

When I went to pull them out for this pregnancy they were no where to be found.  I had every piece of maternity clothing from my last pregnancy, except those jeans.  I made up for it over the past few months by picking up not one replacement, but three!  Three different styles, in three different price points.  Since I know that maternity jeans are a staple of the pregnancy wardrobe, I thought a little review might be helpful.

The Cheap Pair - Mom & Co. — Dark Wash Under-Belly Maternity Skinny Jeans from Zulily. ($19.99)





I was adamantly opposed to demi-panel pants during my first pregnancy.  They just weren't as comfortable as full panel.  And when I first started wearing these around 20 weeks, they weren't so great.  But now I love the demi-panel.  It hits in just the right place and I don't have the pants falling down problem I do with a lot of my maternity bottoms.  They also fit true to size.  They're a great buy for the price. 


The Moderate Pair - Gap1969 Full Panel Sexy Boot Jeans. ($69.95 - currently on sale for $22.99)


These are my least favorite.  And they completely remind me why I stopped wearing Gap jeans in general.  They're baggy, they stretch out, and I really can't keep them up.  I am constantly tugging on them when I wear them, so I rarely wear them.  And between you and I, they're not terribly flattering.  I'd give them a pass.



The Splurge Pair - Paige Denim - Verduga Full Panel Maternity Jeans. ($189.00)

This is another one of those "you get with you pay for" type situations.  These are my favorite maternity jeans I have.  Worth every penny.  I love the fit, they stay up, they're comfortable, and they're full panel!  They worked for second AND third trimester.  And they fit true to size.  These are the same size as my non-maternity Piage jeans.  Paige also makes their maternity jeans with side panels, and if I didn't only have 7 weeks to go I would definitely check those out too.


Total weight gain/loss: +22
Next Appointment: Today
Maternity clothes? Mostly maternity.  I'm excited to be done with trial so I can wear more non-maternity jersey type dresses to the office.
Stretch marks: Yup
Sleep: I had a couple of really good nights this week, but also a really bad one where I just couldn't get back to sleep at 4am when I woke up.
Best moment this week: My mom got to feel the baby this weekend- both hiccups and real movement.
Movement: Yes.  And now that I got to talk to the jury they confessed they could see it from the jury box.
Food cravings: Nothing
Food aversions: Nothing
Gender: Not finding out
Belly Button in or out: In.  But it never popped last time, so I'm not expecting it to this time.
What I miss: Being able to lie on my stomach.
What I am looking forward to: Always the weekend.
Contractions: None this week
 Milestones: 
- Baby us acquiring a memory for familiar noises like my voice!
- Amniotic fluid is reducing slightly each week.
- Baby is now capable of producing all the enzymes that will process food within the digestive tract. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sunday Runday: Athleta Blogging Event

I don't really consider myself a fitness blogger.  I mean really, I post once a week about running and then the rest of the week it's all the little trivialities about my life.  I mean I'm more of a "me me me" blogger than any specific category.

But my friend SD Mom included me in a facebook group for local fitness bloggers, so I guess that makes me legitimate?  The group offers lots of opportunities in the local scene, but not being as well known as many of the other members, I always get hesitant about checking them out.  When Melissa posted about wanting to do an event at our local Athleta store, I thought it would be great fun, but got a little intimidated when they started asking about blog stats and social media presence  (twitter?  instagram?  I'm like your grandmother when it comes to social media.  Be thankful I don't start every blog post with a "Dear_____" and end with my signature.)

So SD Mom offered to just register me as her guest.  Fine by me!  She also suggested we go for a run before the event.  Because that's what everyone wants to do, right?  Go for a nice long run before an hour long yoga class at a place where you will be trying on clothes. 

Truthfully though, with car troubles last weekend, and 3 grueling weeks of trial I haven't been able to get out much for a run, and I haven't seen SD Mom in ages, so I happily agreed, warning her it would be slow going.  And it was!  Our 2 hour run covered just over 7 miles.  7 very hilly miles.

After we finished.  We headed over to Athleta.  Athleta is GAP's latest branch - featuring a line of women's athletic and athletic-inspired clothing.  It's pretty new to the San Diego scene, with this store being the first and open for just under a year.  The line is reputed to be a bit higher end than the fitness wear available through GAP or Old Navy, and I was anxious to check it out.

The store had set up to give us room for a yoga class and of course there was a table of breakfast treats set out to the side.






We gathered for a quick photo opp before heading to our mats and getting into the thick of it.





Honestly, this was my first time doing yoga since last November, and it's much different third trimester than it was first!  I had to do a lot of modifications - especially with so many moves done on the stomach!
From AthletaUTC

After we finished the class, they turned us loose in the store with a special discount of 50% off up to three items.  And as an added bonus, we didn't have to buy all three items at the time.  Which I both love and hate. On the one hand, it's so difficult for me to shop right now, on the other, we only have 30 days to use it, and I don't plan on being un-pregnant 30 days from now!  So I decided to pick up some things for after, because eventually I'm going to be wearing non maternity clothes.

Wailea Chai Tank and Straight Up Capris

As a side note - although not maternity wear, at least for the next week or so the length of the Chai Tank still covers my entire belly!  And Thatkid loves it, he thinks it is "so pretty" and he as upset when I took it off to put on my actual shirt for the day.

They also loaded us up with other goodies, like a swag bag, and a yoga mat.  Since I've already got 2 yoga mats, which Thatkid is obsessed with, I decided to donate this one to him.  He has been carrying it around ever since, even insisting we bring it up to Thatmom's house with us!






Friday, April 17, 2015

Pirate Party Time: Sakau


April always begins our whirlwind, nonstop, birthday party season.  Last weekend was Little Pirate's birthday.

Can I tell you how much I love my friends?  They are so creative and the parties always are picture perfect.  Little Pirate's birthday was truck themed.  And Mrs. Pirate did not disappoint. 

 Little truck sippy cups dotted each table which was decorated with checkerboard flags.  And there were toy trucks everywhere.  Along with activities involving them, like paint in trays for creating car tracks.  Or a race track set up on a hill.




The kids gathered around the tables for a little bit of singing, and a lot of cupcake eating.


Thatkid is pretty happy Passover is over.  He sure loves his cupcakes!


After the kids were sugared up, the Pirates pulled out the pinata.  Last year, Thatkid was too shy/self conscious to take a swing in front of everyone.  This year he was more than happy to join in the fun.


And he jumped right in to fill up his bag with candy.  He has enough jolly ranchers to lastfor weeks.


The only problem with birthday parties is that it's hard to get some one on one time with the hosts.  Luckily, a couple weeks ago we had the Pirates over for dinner.  It was something we had been planning since January. 

We planned it to be a movie night, but the boys were more interested in running around outside and playing.  The grownups sat around catching up and chatting.  For dinner I ended up making Sakau - an eggplant dish which is a twist on the similar moussaka.  The boys ate the filling with pasta, while I rolled it in eggplant for those of us who aren't 3.   Mrs. Pirate brought rice pilaf with her and it went perfectly with this dish.



Sakau (From Joan Nathan's Jewish Holiday Cookbook)
 2 eggplants
3 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1 onion, chopped
2 Tbsp parsley, chopped
1 lb ground beef
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp uncooked rice
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup tomato sauce
1 Tbsp margarine

  1. Heat oil over medium high heat.  Peel and cut the eggplants lengthwise into slices about 1/2 inch thick.
  2. Beat 2 eggs slightly.  
  3. Dip the eggplant slices in the beaten egg and fry on both sides until brown.  Set aside.
  4. Brown the onion in the same pan.  
  5. Add the parsley and remove from heat
  6. Combine the remaining egg with the ground beef, salt, pepper, and rice. Add to the onion and brown.
  7. Preheat oven to 350.  Place a tsp of the meat mixture at each slice of the fried eggplant.  Roll the slices up and arrange them in a baking dish.
  8. Sprinkle sugar over all.
  9. Add the water, tomato sauce, and margarine.  Bake for 35 minutes.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Beers and Babies: Tomato Juice



With trial winding down, I ended up only spending half the weekend working instead of the whole weekend. Which meant I got to spend some time with my favorite boys!  I also tried to cater to Thatboy a little this weekend since he's been running single parent duty for the past month or so.

A couple of weeks ago, one of his coworkers, Brewgirl, texted me to see if we could plan a group outing in the near future.  The last group outing I missed out on when the ceiling came down in the guest room, and I ended up sending the boys without me.   We made plans for this weekend - and like usual, most of our "group outings" involve drinking.  Since there are kids in the group, we venture to different locations with fun things to for the kids - like hiking near a local brewery.

This time we headed to a new restaurant equipped with a great bar.  The kids ate chicken fingers and fish and chips.  The non-pregnant people drank lots of beer.  Those of us who were pregnant (Brewgirl and I) drank soda and homemade sasparilla.

And then we took the kids to the park.



And then we went back to the Brewer's house to partake in Brewguy's latest brew and lots of other beers while the kids did crafts.


I'll admit.  It's hard being pregnant and unable to drink.  Especially when everyone else is drinking.  I've taken to making a bunch of non-alcoholic beverages to drink while everyone else is sipping on brewskis.

Bloody Marys are not on my "to drink" list currently.  But tomato juice is!  And homemade tomato juice seems so fancy.  Like the kind of drink that gets an umbrella.  I didn't put an umbrella in this drink, but I definitely appreciated something other than water!

Tomato Juice (From the Fannie Farmer Cookbook)
3lbs tomatoes
  1. Wash tomatoes and cut away the stem ends.  Cut into small pieces and simmer over low heat until very soft.
  2. Strain through a sieve.  Reheat the juice to the boiling point.
  3. Add salt and sugar to taste.