Saturday, August 23, 2008

Cauliflower Soup

Adapted from the Silky Cauliflower Soup by the Smitten Kitchen

2 T Olive Oil
Small onion, chopped
2 Cloves garlic, minced
4 1/2 Cups of low sodium chicken broth
1 Potato, peeled and cut in 1" cubes
Head of cauliflower, stalk and leaves removed, coarsely chopped
3/4 Cup of milk, heated
1/2 Cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Cook the onion and garlic until soft, not browned - about 5 minutes. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add potato and let simmer for 3-4 minutes. Add cauliflower, bring heat down to a simmer, cover and cook for about 15 minutes. Using an immersion blender, puree until smooth. You can also puree in batches in a blender of food processor but let the soup cool first. Stir in heated milk and parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.


Friday, August 22, 2008


Ever since I hurt my foot, I haven't been running. And, when I hurt my foot, it was the first time I had been running in months. So really? I haven't been running for like a year. In fact, I ran last year in the triathlon and pretty much haven't been consistent since then.

Here it is a year later and I'm nearing my 39th birthday. 39! Seriously? How can I be turning 39? I'll be eligible for early retirement in 16 years. I don't even know what I want to do yet!

Anyway, back to the running thing. So a year of relative inactivity accompanied by a laissez-faire attitude when it came to food has resulted in my, well, gaining a bit of weight. Now I'm not putting this out there so you all will chime in and tell me how good I look and you can't even tell because the truth is I hide it well. The reality is - I have a muffin top and it ain't pretty.

But I'm going to put a stop to it! This here is a declaration that I will no longer stuff my face with doughnuts, bagels slathered with cream cheese, handfuls of chocolate, and despite my love of all food Italian, I will not gorge on prosciutto, pancetta, fresh mozzarella and freshly baked bread everyday for lunch. I do not need to eat the two cookies that come with the lunchboxes in working meetings! They're not even that good! Salads will become my new best friend. Water will be my constant companion. High Fructose Corn Syrup is the sworn enemy! HFCS - you're on alert!

But that's not all! I also vow to get back in shape and plan to exercise every day. Now don't worry, I'm not going to go out and run 5 miles for 3 days in a row and then let a raging case of shin splints sideline me. I'm going to be smart this time. I'm going to take it slow, do a little at a time, increase my speed and endurance only after I've been at this consistently for 4 weeks. I'm going to incorporate strength training. Dara Torres is my new hero!

This new regime began today. Despite it being a Saturday, I set my alarm for 6:30 so I could go for a run. Plans started derailing almost immediately when I woke up at 6:29 and reset my alarm for 7:00. But then Jack got up and I thought, hm, maybe I'll take him with me and he can ride his bike while I run. So, that's what I did and it worked great. I didn't get much of a workout in because he had to stop quite a lot to scratch his head, rub his knee, rest his hands, smell the mustard, tell me a story. The good thing about that though was that it forced me to take it easy, stop and rest, and that will keep me from overdoing it and injuring myself again. Then when we got home I did 3 sets of 20 swings w/ the 10 lb. kb, 20 squats with the kb and 20 pushups. By the 3rd set my legs and arms were shaking.

Not making poor food choices was a bit tougher. I haven't been to the grocery store in 2 weeks so I was out of staples. It was almost 1:00 and we hadn't had lunch and I was really close to saying we should go for takeout. But then I remembered I had a cauliflower in the fridge and a recipe for silky cauliflower soup that I wanted to try. O my goodness, it was so good and super easy. So that's what we had for lunch with some cantaloupe and watermelon for dessert. Later, while we were out running errands, we decided to stop by Jamba Juice for a snack. Normally, I don't even think about how many calories are in those things but I did today. Despite my ever-loving lust for Peanut Butter Moo'd, I chose a more sensible drink that had much fewer calories and still managed to get brain freeze from slurping it up too fast.

Have I lost you yet? I know, it's boring reading about someone's weight loss plan. I'm yawning while I type it. But I have to get it down so that maybe I'll hold myself accountable for once.

So? How long do you give me?

Birthday Night

Yesterday was Tom's birthday. We had nothing spectacular planned - it's tough to do something big on a weeknight. We decided that steak would be good and, since we had the boys with us, went to Black Angus for a family dinner. The boys were exhausted and after they had a few bites they laid down in the booth and fell asleep. It was just us looking across the table at each other, laughing about Jack's rock store, about Dean's characterizations, and something about the way the light flashed in his eyes reminded me of us 15 years ago in a similar booth when we were still dating, unfettered by such awesome responsibilities.

How amazing is it that I fell in love with that man? How remarkable is it that after all these years, through some really challenging times, I'm more in love with him now than I ever was?

Happy Birthday my love.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Punk Rock Store

Jack's been collecting rocks all summer, saving them in a box and keeping them in his cubby. A few days ago, he brought his collection home because he wants to sell them. I told him that most people don't buy rocks because they can usually just find them when they need them. His response was, "yeah, but this way they don't have to find them".
Good point.

This is Jack getting his merchandise ready for sale.

Here he is in our front yard a.k.a. Jack's Rock Store.

Some kids sell lemonade - my kid sells rocks.
He made $4 dollars that night. Never underestimate a box of rocks.


Saturday, August 16, 2008


Is it wrong that I've had cartoons on the TV for the last 3 hours so I could read widelawns?

You should go read widelawns, too. But, I warn you. You will not want to shut down your laptop.

Believe me, I had to tear myself away just to write this very short post.

Monday, August 11, 2008


People often ask me how I was able to stand being in the hospital for 2 months on bedrest.
Answer: friends. Friends who visited me, brought me news, books, gossip, lotion. Friends who rubbed my feet, kept me company, made me laugh.

Friends came through for us after the boys were born, too. They donated blood for Jack and Dean. They helped Tom demo and rebuild the bathroom. They pooled their money and paid for someone to finish the tile work.

I was overwhelmed - with the generosity of our friends, the roller coaster emotions of having two preemie babies, the upside down schedule (or lack thereof), the medications, the monitors.

I'm not sure I ever properly thanked everyone. In fact, I'm pretty sure I didn't.

I can't go back in time and thank them now. Instead, I'm paying it forward.

My sister-in-law wrote on her blog today about a friend of hers whose child is fighting leukemia. You won't find a better cause to give your charity dollars to than the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Here is her friend's donation page.

If you can't afford a donation right now, then please keep her in your thoughts.



There's nothing like a refreshing swim on a hot day and then being wrapped in a soft, fluffy white towel. This is why I love summer.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Mom's Visit

It's hard to believe that our week with Grandma is coming to a close and she'll be going home tomorrow. We have had a very busy and very fun week. It started off with a trip to Knott's Berry Farm on Friday. We went on rides, ate treats, saw a mystical show and took the boys on their first bona fide roller coaster ride.

Saturday, we went to a bowling birthday party followed by a trip to the local swimming pool. Sunday, we spent the entire day at the beach. It was awesome. We played in the surf, dug in the sand, played football, ate sandwiches and oreos by the handful. At one point, mom turned to me and said she didn't care if we did nothing else all week but go to the beach. The boys were doing so well with the waves that we decided they were ready for boogie boards. It was a beautiful day.

Mom was on her own with the boys on Monday and when I came home, I was bombarded by water balloons! I took Tuesday off and we went shopping for school clothes (yes, it begins already!) and then went to our friend's house for an afternoon of swimming and then dinner. Wednesday, she was on her own again and then we went to see Mamma Mia! that night with my friend Colleen. Ok, the movie was a little cheesy but fun - especially seeing it with my mom. We went out for a quick drink after the movie and regaled Colleen with old mom/daughter stories.

Thursday we headed back to the beach but first we stopped at the sporting goods store to pick up a couple of boogie boards for the boys. Jack was chomping at the bit to get in the water. He didn't want to wait for us to set up the blankets, put on sunscreen, pop up the tent - nothing! Oh, it was fun. Again, we played in the surf, dug in the sand and ate sandwiches and cookies. Late in the afternoon, all four of us were out in the water - mom and I trying to boogie board on the boys' little spongebob boards. I almost lost my bikini bottoms but man, was it fun!! We were laughing so hard as we tried to pick ourselves up off the ocean floor. Those waves were rough and we just couldn't stay on our feet.

I had to work today so mom took the boys to the library and then they just hung out at home. They baked a cake and played games and then mom made homemade fried chicken, horseradish mashed potatoes and gravy for dinner. MMMmmm, my favorite.

The evening wound to a close with mom starting an epic tickle session followed by her reading bedtime stories to the boys.

Tomorrow we'll be up early to drive her to the airport.

We'll miss her.