How Did You Celebrate the Holiday?

8 Jul

No, not the 4th of July – friday was National Fried Chicken Day! There was a segment about it on the Today show therefore it’s a totally legit holiday! It was the perfect excuse to defrost the loads of chicken in the freezer and fry it up. In my opinion, everyone should know how to fry chicken. It’s a classic dish that even the healthiest of people will indulge in every once in a while.

I have several family recipes that I’ve tweaked over the years and I’ve come up with a few “secrets” of my own. For starters, I believe in the double dip – dip your chicken in the egg wash, seasoned flour and repeat. My other requirements are seasoning/flavoring the egg wash and for added crispness, I add some panko bread crumbs to my flour mix.

Since I’m one week strong into bootcamp and trying to improve my eating habits (as well as my family’s), I balanced out all the golden fried goodness with the warm quinoa salad over spinach. It was perfection and so easy to make! I’ve just recently started buying quinoa and so far we’re all really liking it!

the double-dip egg wash & flour method

cast iron skillet – my favorite way to fry!

golden fried perfection!

paired with a warm quinoa salad. baby spinach topped with quinoa and sauteed corn, tomatos & mushrooms. Light and tasty!

Speaking of Birthdays….

5 Jul

America almost had to share her birthday with Myles. My original due date was July 4. But my strong-willed son made is debut in dramatic fashion, 11 days late and via emergency cesarean. His first birthday was quite the ordeal – our “ONE-derful” Celebration took me months to plan and while it wasn’t crazy expensive, it certainly wasn’t a drop in the bucket. I stressed out for several weeks leading up to the party, the day of and for a couple of weeks after (about sending pictures and timely thank-you cards). The turn out was nice, the kids had fun, Myles was fast asleep by the time we were singing happy birthday. Nonetheless, we sat him in front of his cake, sang and posed for pictures while he slept. (How is it that he’ll wake up at the sound of a pin dropping at home?)

Now with his 2nd birthday just 10 days away, I have no plans. And I have zero desire to throw a party. Is this wrong? Am I a bad mom? I’m bombarded daily with the cutest and most creative images of kids’ parties on Pinterest. Typically, I love throwing a party for any reason. But this just feels different. I’d much rather do something simple and intimate with immediate family. Why not save the pomp and circumstance for when he’ll actually remember and actually understand that it’s his birthday.

Some days I am fine with this decision. Other days the guilt is overwhelming. Are kids’ birthday parties a right of passage? Is it ok to just be practical and put any money we would spend on a party into his savings account?

But just in case I have to throw something together at the last-minute, here are my top two inspirations:

Yo Gabba Gabba – Myles favorite show
via Pinterest

The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Myles’ favorite book
via the Hostess with the Mostess

Wedding Details: budget friendly favors

4 Jul

6:45 a.m. I waited in this insanely long line. 5 hours and 2 stores later, I had the goods. My goal is to create a “shoe valet” with creatively displayed flip-flops available for guests. A friend did this at her wedding and I thought it was such a thoughtful and fun touch!

via Love Is All You Need

Score! 35 pairs of flip-flops

line in front of Old Navy at 6:45am!

I battled the crowds at the Old Navy One Day Wonder $1 Flip Flop sale. It was madness. I had no idea so many people got so hype about flip-flops. There was a limit of 5 per customer so I had to get creative. I dispatched my mom and aunt to Old Navy stores in their city and I headed out on my own at 6:30am. I recruited a group of 14 year olds that were only getting a couple of pairs each to help me max out the limit. I got all that could from the first store, picked up my family and headed to store number 2.

But for needing 50 pairs, I never would have endured these shenanigans for the 5 pair limit, I’d rather just pay full price and avoid waiting in line for over an hour.

Up next I need to add a decorative label and figure out how to display them. More importantly, I have to figure out the best way to transport them all the way to Mexico.

After all this drama I better see a packed dance floor full of flop-flop clad guests! This is any easy to do and affordable favor that I hope my guests will use again.

Plan B

2 Jul

I survived the triple digit Arizona heat, the corporate pep-rally and the 6am fitness activities! However, I came to the realization that there is zero chance of being prepared to run this 5k on July 8. And quite frankly, I just don’t want to do it. There I said it. But the accountability factor of having this blog has weighed on me. In fact, I briefly thought about just lying and saying I did it anyway. But then I immediately felt pathetic and guilty. Although I’m new to blogging and still learning about blogger etiquette, lying about your workout routine just seems like a “no-no.”

The good news is that I’m on to Plan B: bootcamp! I started today and will continue 5 days a week for the next month. On a good day I can motivate myself and get through a 2 mile run. On a bad or even average day, forget about it. I much prefer a treadmill, weights, loud music, an instructor screaming at me and the challenge of not being out performed by the 70 year olds spending their golden years in a gym (seriously, there are at least 3 or 4 seniors in the class and they are getting after it).

I feel good about this plan. Proud of myself for getting started (always the hardest part) and for being honest about it all.

Plus, I traded my latest breakfast favorite of Trader Joe’s Aebleskivers (swedish pancakes)

via SF Gate

for something a little healthier. Not an easy task, those little suckers are addicting and so convenient.

So Day #1 is in the books (again)!

 

Training This Week: a harsh reality

26 Jun

These days part of any new routine for me means creating a new Pinterest board, so naturally I’ve been pinning away – inspirational quotes, exercise plans, motivational pictures, etc. One of my fave quotes so far has been “skinny girls look good in clothes, fit women look good naked.”

I’m a petite woman so very  little of my exercise motivation has to do with weight. But “thin” does not mean “fit.” Nothing will snap you back into that reality faster than a full length, 3 way mirror and the unforgiving lighting of a department store dressing room. One glance at my backside was a painful reminder that I’m no longer an 18 year old athlete – I memory and body image I cling to.  I have no desire to be 18 again but I do want to be in the same shape I was back then.

This week I’ll be traveling for my annual company meeting. Several of my co-workers are avid runners so I’m hoping to join one of them on a morning run. But for whatever reason this year – our corporate bonding experience will come in the form of exercise. The company is sponsoring a 6am group bike ride and one of the executives/fitness gurus will be teaching one of her “legendary” bootcamp classes. Again, at 6am.

I was gleefully looking forward to “sleeping in” until 7am this week but I will be up by 5:30 for our 6am fitness spectacular.

Most of us at this meeting are lawyers, i.e., extremely competitive. This means we’ll be up, feigning excitement and nonchalantly pretending like working out as the sunrises is part of our usual routine. This is exactly what I need to stay on track; some healthy competition.

Less than 2 weeks to go until my race! Time to get after it.

Training Day 2: a walk in the park

23 Jun

The 5k training resumed with another brisk walk. I know, I know, this can hardly be called training. But this time I took a long walk, at least the equivalent of a 5k and the whole family came along. Myles snoozed away, Venus was exhausted about 3 blocks in. You can’t see her in the picture below because she laid down as soon as we stopped. But what’s better is that we discovered an awesome park just blocks away from home that we never knew was there! I’m a creature of habit and we usually walk the same route around the neighborhood but today we walked about 3 blocks in a different direction and stumbled across the park!

So training day #3 will include a run (for real this time) to the new park, a few laps around and back home. I can do this!

Enjoy your weekend!

Good morning Lover.ly

21 Jun

How much time have you wasted spent on Pinterest? I’m a true Pin-a-holic. I’m able to admit this after 2 specific incidents:

  • My fiance caught me at 2am, in the dark, pinning away – I scrambled to open my email and pretend I was working.
  • At this point Myles will only fall asleep if you one of us sits in his room while he sings, counts, recites the ABCs, talks to his sleep sheep, etc. This takes anywhere from 20 – 60 minutes. I used to dread this time simply because I would get tired too, usually fall asleep also and lose out on valuable evening time. That is, until his down time also became my prime pinning time! Selfishly, I no longer insisted that Myles learn to fall asleep on his own.  (I know we shouldn’t dread anytime time with our kids but let’s be honest, we all need some downtime, alone time or couple time at night. Passing out by 8:30 meant I wasn’t getting that time)

I was just starting to wean myself from Pinterest when I was introduced to Lover.ly. Game over. This Pinterest inspired site is exclusive to weddings and has sorting features that allow you search by color or category, for example. You can bundle (add to your board) or like items, or in some cases there is “shop” link that directs you to purchasing info.

The images are really beautiful and inspiring. Although it’s wedding specific, I think you can draw inspiration for throwing other types of parties and events or even figuring out your design aesthetic when decorating your home!

I’m back into deep procrastination mode for the wedding and had stayed off of Pinterest and Lover.ly for a few days. Then I got an email from the Lover.ly team saying “we miss you.” I missed them too. Then they emailed again with “Destination Deliciousness – destination wedding inspired images.” I must say Lover.ly, you sure know how to make a girl feel special. Do they know I’m getting married in Mexico and struggling with a decor scheme? Get out of my head!

Check them out but WARNING – be sure you have at least an hour to waste look!

Training Day

21 Jun

Day #1: I woke up this morning, put on my running shoes and took a brisk walk….. to Starbucks…… 3 blocks away. Needless to say it was not a strong start to my “rigorous”  2 weeks of training for the July 8 5k. Tomorrow is the day!

Our First Baby

20 Jun

Meet Venus. She’s a mixed breed rescue dog, half Jack Russel and half lazy. I suppose we should be happy that she doesn’t have the typical tendencies of most Jack Russell like excessive energy, digging, “yappiness,” etc. She’s 5 years old and has gotten ultra lazy in her old age. I know most dogs sleep a lot but she sleeps intensely for about 20 hours a day. I don’t get it. What exactly is she so exhausted from? We suspect she may have a secret job, which would be great because she really should be earning her keep around here!

The only thing that trumps her laziness is her extreme jealousy of Myles. You would think that after almost 2 years, she would be over it and recognize that he’s not going anywhere. She’s never barked, snapped or tried to bite him. In fact, she endures quite a bit of his abuse simply because she likes the attention. He’s always been fascinated with her but lately I’ve caught him yelling at her. He thinks she’s trying play with his toys. We’re working on sharing.

She’s also my running partner. Now I use the term “running partner” quite loosely. Venus will trot one lap around the park (stopping to poop twice) and is completely exhausted. Some days it’s the perfect excuse to cut my runs short but other days it can be really frustrating. So along with getting myself back into shape, we’re building up her stamina as well. Time to get back to her Jack Russell roots.

She used to be the center of it all…

No more excuses…

20 Jun

Summer officially starts today! Yay! I’ve done very little to achieve my summer fitness goals. boo. I’ve been arbitrarily setting dates of when I must run a half marathon by for the past couple of years. First it was “before I turn 30.” Then it was “during my 3oth year.” Now it’s “before my wedding.” It’s time for something to change. In my mind, I’m a runner but in reality, I’m not. Truth be told, I don’t mind running but more than anything I love the mental challenge that it poses. I’m pretty competitive with myself. At least I used to be.

So again, in the spirit of accountability and the hope that if I blog about it – I’ll do it, I’m signing up for a 5k on July 8. I will be participating in the Run for the Kids. This seems like a worthy cause and hopefully on the morning of I will look at Myles and think “there is no way I can not do this.”

I’ve been jogging sporadically since the beginning of May so with a couple of intense weeks this should not be a problem. Fingers crossed and running shoes laced. Here we go!