Thursday, March 31, 2011

Be Melissa

I've been thinking a lot lately about being who I am, being true to myself.  Not just in big ways, but in the small ways too.  Like pretending that I'm going to like spinach if I keep trying it.  I want to like it.  I try to like it, but I just don't.  I don't like spinach.  What other people like isn't necessarily what I like.  Emulating what someone you admire enjoys doesn't mean that it will bring you happiness.

For example:

I have a very close friend at work who loves to go out.  Out to dinner, out for drinks, out dancing, out for mani/pedis, just out, out, out.  And when I talk to her she makes me think, "Hmmm....maybe I should go out more."  But that's not me.  I'm happiest at home and that's just that.

I don't like to lift weights in front of all the meatballs in the back of the gym.  I much prefer to take the weights to a less grunty part of the gym and work out in peace.  I understand that those guys are probably very nice and they probably aren't paying one ounce of attention to me, but in my mind they are making fun of me and my candy ass approach to strength training.

I am enchanted by the idea of crafting.  I love to browse etsy and see the talents of amazingly talented people.  I love seeing what the ladies on my mom board create.  I love the birthday party themes that are crafted from scratch.  I love cupcakes that are made to look like Dora.  I've even googled a few "how-to's" on crafty items.  But I just don't have enough drive to actually go through with it.  I'd rather just buy it.

I don't like to ride bikes.  I know it's un-American, but I don't ride them ever.  If Isabella ever wants to learn how to ride a bike she better hit up her father.

I will never have an affection for sushi, pointy toed pumps, window shopping, buffets, writing with pencils, blowing out my hair, staying out late, taking a personal day from work when I'm not sick, tupperware, or watching any type of sporting events.

On the other hand...

I will always love curling up on the far left couch cushion and reading, playing on the computer, or watching bad reality TV, putting on makeup, clothes that fit, a good poop, good wine, Disney princess movies, busy days, summer bbq's with family, dive bars, singing really loud and dancing like a fool, Boston Market, organization, cleanliness, cooking on rainy days, uninterrupted sleep, and shopping for little girls.

I'm going to stop pretending that I'm someone I wished I could be and start Being Melissa.
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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Happiness

I recently wrote about an existential crisis I was having about my life.  I won't re-bore you again with the details, but you can read about it in the post, "Is This It?"  I heard about the book The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and I could have written the introduction myself.  Gretchen was on a bus when she realized that even though she had a family that she loved and was doing work that she loved that she wasn't really happy, so she set off on a year long project to find her happiness.

Just what I need!  I read the book in about a week and I'm happy to announce that I'm going to start my own happiness project.  Gretchen did a lot of research on happiness, I don't have that kind of time or inclination so I'm just going to jump right in.  Basically, you designate one month for one area of happiness like work, marriage, friendship etc.  You make resolutions for the month and then carry them forward with you for the rest of the year.  Sounds like a lot of lists and checks and that is right up my alley.  You can read more about Gretchen's Happiness Project Blog by clicking HERE.

I'm not going to write about my project everyday because that's not the focus of this blog really, so I'll probably just update once a week or once every other week depending on how it's going.  I'm really excited because I have such a wonderful life and I'd love to suck every ounce of happiness out of it.

Here is how I have my months broken down.

April: Organization
May: Physical
June: Marriage
July: Friendship
August: Parenthood
September: Work
October: Leisure
November: Mindfulness
December: Money
January: Eternity
February: Attitude
March: Happiness Boot Camp

Each month will have it's own sub-categories.  So what do you guys think?  Do you think it's a good idea or are you giving me another notch on the crazy belt?

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Good Enough

Some days I'm just good enough.  Not shooting too high and not completely failing, but just kind of skating by.  I can be a Good Enough mom in that Isabella is still alive at the end of the day, she may be really dirty and stuffed full of marshmallows, but she's alive and kicking.  And really, a little baby filth never hurt anyone.

My house is overcome with toys that I should have insisted Isabella help me clean up, but instead they lay in piles all over the floor that I continuously trip over and step on.  The dishes are running over the sink and dinner consists of a cheese quesadilla with a side of applesauce.  Hey at least we're all fed.

Some days I just don't have it in me to fight the good fight and I settle for whatever I can take.  Sometimes it's a Bubble Guppies marathon or wearing granny panties until I can find the energy to wash some pretty panties.  Some times it's the run-of-the-mill-I-just-lie-here sex so we can get to bed.  Some times it's eating my daily points value in bread.

Just so long as I have enough energy to crawl into bed and pull up the covers, I'm satisfied to have lived another day.

How are you good enough?
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Thursday, March 24, 2011

In a Year

Andy and I decided that we'll probably start trying to have a baby next Spring -ish.  That gives us about a year to save up some money, put our house on the market, and move into a bigger place.  Now that I know what I'm getting myself into I know that we can't waste this precious year as a family as three.  Also, I'm pretty sure that any "me-time fun" is a lot harder to come by with two kids around, especially in the beginning.  So I want to such all the life out of this year as I can, as a family, as a couple, and by myself.

We're planning a trip to Disney World this summer so we can take Isabella before a new baby comes.  I hope 2 years old isn't too terribly young for Disney.  I'm sure she'll have a ball.

I'm taking a trip to Vegas for a bachelorette party.  I'm super jazzed up about that as I've never been to Vegas and it's been a hot minute since I've had a girls only trip.

I want to take a photography class.

I want to finish my 30 and above for my next salary step.

I want to get to my goal weight.  I know it might not make sense as to why I want to get really skinny just so I can get all fat and pregnant again, but for some reason it makes sense in my mind.

I'd like to take a mini-vacation with Andy.  Nothing crazy, maybe a cruise or a long weekend at a winery or Atlantic City.  More than one night away together to reconnect.

I want to throw a Murder Mystery dinner party and spend more time with good girlfriends.

I want to take Isabella to a swim class.

I want to enjoy our little family in every way that I can because I know I'll never be able to get back to it. So I have one year and a lot to look forward to.  
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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Acceptance

There are some things that I don't like that I'm just going to have to accept.

People will always gravitate more towards my sister than they do to me.  She's fun and quirky and cool where as I'm more serious, introspective, and timid.  Getting upset over it and feeling resentful of it or berating myself for it is not going to make one bit of difference.  She has her strengths and I have mine.  Just because mine don't garner the adoration of my friends and family doesn't mean that they're not important or good qualities to have.  I'll never be able to pull off multi-colored nails or a leopard head band like she does either.

I will never have the body of Megan Fox, Adrianna Lima, Anne Hathaway, or that skinny bitch at the gym who prances around in hot pants and a sports bra...never gonna happen.  I don't have the time or energy to exercise like they do or the self-discipline to not eat an entire box of 100 calorie packs of doritos in one night.  I would love to look all lean and toned.  I would love not to look at myself in the mirror and fight back the criticism.  I would love to be able to wear whatever I wanted without worrying about my wings, love handles, or jiggle.  I'm trying my best to eat right and exercise but I have days where I cheat and I've been gaining and losing the same 5 lbs since forever.  I'm trying to accept where my body is right now while still trying to become healthier, and hotter, too.

I will never have a circle of friends like they have on the TV show Friends or Sex and the City.  Those shows are fantasy and I don't keep in touch with my girlfriends as much as I'd like and I definitely don't have any close male friends in my life.  I like to watch shows like that and think about what it would be like, but it's just unrealistic for me and I accept that.

I would rather spend a Friday night curled up on my couch with a glass of wine and either a good book or my dvr.  I used to love to go out.  I loved to get dressed up and have cocktails with my girlfriends and dance all night long.  We'd hit up the diner at 4 am and get disco fries and coffee.  And while I still indulge that part of myself from time to time, I'm much more low key now.  I prefer happy hour to the sunrise and a place where I can catch up with my friends instead of scream to them over fist pumping music.  I need to accept that as I've grown older the wild side of me has mellowed a bit, although it's not completely faded yet.

I'm tired of fighting these truths.  It's far easier to accept them.  What have you had to accept?
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Monday, March 21, 2011

Awkward

I'm awkward.  It's really true.  I feel like I never really "fit in", kind of like a round peg in a square hole.  I never know the right thing to say, I usually feel fidgety and uncomfortable, and if I'm having a conversation I have more than a fair share of awkward silences.  I don't know if I necessarily come off as awkward, but I most certainly feel ill at ease inside, especially when I'm in a new situation or talking to a new person.

Some people can talk to anyone.  I feel like I make myself so unapproachable because I shy away from any extra social interactions because I don't really feel like I'm coming across the right way and because it seems to be such an awkward exchange that I almost want to say to whoever I'm talking to, "I know this is awkward, I know it and it's ok, you can excuse yourself."

It's not just with strangers or people I'm forced to have small talk with, it happens with my friends too.  The thing of it is, is that I know I'm smart, funny, and empathetic but I most definitely don't come off that way in conversation.  I envy people who can deliver a punch line or have a lengthy conversation with a stranger at a wedding.  It's just not me.
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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Broccoli and Cheddar Frittata Recipe

I've been on a mission to get Isabella to eat veggies and since I ran the Super Sprowtz review and giveaway I've been semi-obsessed with them.  I've been trying out recipes and I'm going to story time at a local bookstore next week where they're doing a Super Sprowtz read aloud with yoga stretching.  Isabella's not so good with the sitting and listening but maybe she'll do better with the stretching.  So this morning I tried my had a Broccoli and Cheddar Frittata because eggs and cheese are two of Isabella's favorites.  Broccoli, or anything else that's green save for an M & M, she's not such a fan.  I did have to cut up the broccoli super small, but she ate it.  No purreing or anything.  She didn't eat the whole thing and at the end she did start picking out some of the broccoli, but she definitely got some in there.  


Here's the recipe:  


Ingredients

1 tablespoon butter
1 cup chopped broccoli (pre-cooked or frozen broccoli would work here - if using frozen just defrost before use)
1/4 cup onion, diced
1/2 cup plus two tablespoons cheddar cheese
6 eggs
Salt and Pepper

Directions

Preheat the broiler.  In a skillet, heat two teaspoons of olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add the broccoli, sprinkle with salt and pepper and, if using raw broccoli, cook until the broccoli is tender, about 7 minutes (note: if using cooked broccoli, cook for about three minutes, just until broccoli is warmed through and has taken on the flavor of the bacon and onions).
In the meantime, crack the eggs into a mixing bowl and whisk together with 1/2 cup of the cheddar cheese, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.  When the broccoli is ready, add the eggs to the pan and tilt the pan around so that the eggs are well-dispersed.  Cook the eggs until almost set, then sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons of cheddar cheese and place under the broiler.  Broil for about 3 minutes, or until the eggs are nicely puffed and the cheese melted.  Place a plate on top of the skillet and invert the pan to release the frittata onto the plate.  Cut into wedges and serve alongside roasted potatoes or a light side salad.
Calories Per Serving: 311; Total fat: 26 g; Total carb: 3 g, Dietary Fiber: 0 g, Sugars: 1 g; Protein: 16g 
It also has a WW points value of 8.  That can be lightened by using egg whites and reduced fat shredded cheddar.  The recipe is from www.supersprowtz.com if you want to check it out.  
I was not compensated in any way for this post.  I received two free books for the giveaway a few weeks ago, but that commitment is over and all other resulting posts are of my own volition.  


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Thursday, March 17, 2011

It's Unfortunate

... that my belly button is so fat.  It's so true.  There's this ring of fat around my belly button that is so gross and pudgy and won't budge.  I bet you didn't even know you could have a fat belly button, well I'm here to school you in the fact that you can, I do, and it can be blatantly seen through my shirt.

... that I have a fifth grade student who had to stretch out the word "America".  Some days my job makes me sad.

... that for 3 days before my period I bloat so bad that I see people in the hallway checking out my stomach because they probably think I'm pregnant again.  It's the worst.  I wish weight watchers could factor that bloat into my weekly weigh in.

... that I can never get myself into bed at a reasonable hour.  I stay up way to late farting around on the computer or cleaning a house that refuses to stay that way and then I'm shot in the morning.  I need to give myself a bedtime routine.

... that I have to watch what I eat and exercise instead of vegging on the couch and eating French Onion Sun Chips and Oreos with milk.  Curses to my slow metabolism and wide hips.

... that the work week is 5 days and the weekend only 2.  Who thought up that system?  Probably a man.
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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Is This It?

I am fabulous on paper.  I have a husband who loves me and is a hands on dad.  I have a beautiful, healthy, smart daughter.  I have a job that I love, that I'm good at, and that I'm in no danger of losing.  I have a lovely home.  My car is paid for outright.  I have girlfriends to go out with when I want to.  My family is very close, both emotionally and physically.  We're not living paycheck to paycheck.

So with so many abounding blessings why do I feel this deep sense of dissatisfaction?  Why does it feel like something is missing?  I feel like I'm in the middle of some sort of cliche existential crisis.  Why am I being such a whiny little brat when I've been so fortunate?

The way I am is that I'm always thinking of the next step.  For better or for worse this is how my brain seems to be wired.  I finished college, got a job, got married, bought a house, traveled, had a baby...what's the next step?  What happens after this?  I'm taking classes for my next salary step, I'm probably the highest I'll get in my career since I have zero desire to be an administrator.  A bigger house?  A bigger family?

I don't know the answers but I intend to find out.  I want to enjoy the life I have.  I want to feel a deep sense of gratitude when I look around at the life I've built for myself.  So I think I need to do a bit of discovery to find out what the problem is and how to fix it because right now my life is not fully alive.
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Monday, March 14, 2011

Winners

Super Sprowtz Giveaway winner is Melissa Taylor

Dora the Explorer Magazine Giveaway winners are Lollipops and Pig tails and Kelli

Congratulations ladies.  You have been contacted and will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is drawn.
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She's Getting Good

Isabella's always been a bit head strong, spunky, and determined which, theoretically, are really great qualities to have.  However, in all practicality it's super annoying sometimes.  And we've gone through bad stretches where all she wants to do is annoying things like jump off the couch and walk on the counter and she flips out when you tell her no.  There were definitely times where I wanted to just lock her out on the deck or better yet lock myself out.

But

It seems as if we've turned a corner and the last month or so she's been so good.  Just such an angel.  She loves to do silly and funny things like sing the theme song to Barney, give lots of hugs and kisses, and actually play independently with her toys.  It's great.

Now don't get me wrong, she still get the fussies and throws in a tantrum every now and again, but I have to say that she's been a real pleasure to be around.  I know there's a good possibility that this phase is going to be short lived and that a bad phase could be right around the corner, but if I can complain in the bad times I'm sure as hell going to sing her praises and enjoy this good phase.
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Sunday, March 13, 2011

The ABC's of Parenting Part 3

S is for Should: I should be playing on the floor with my daughter instead of drinking my third cup of coffee on the couch.  I should have cleaned the floor because the crumbs alone could sustain a family of aunts for the better part of a decade.  I should have eaten an apple instead of a half a box of white cheddar cheez-its.  I should be reading her a new story instead of The Very Hungry Caterpillar for the twentieth time today.  I'm so sick of the "shoulds" try replacing the word should, with "could" and then forgive yourself.  I should be paid more for what I do, but that ain't happening.  


T is for Toys: Toys are everywhere. In baskets, in bins, on the stairs where I trip on them all the time.  Toys that I spent good money on that she's played with once.  Toys that she's had since she was 6 months old that still loves so much.  Toys that are well past their prime and should be put out to pasture and toys that have missing pieces.  Toys everywhere.  


U is for Understanding: Being a mother is hard whether you work or stay at home.  Life is much easier when co-workers, friends, bosses, relatives, neighbors, and strangers are understanding.  When they're not it is perfectly acceptable to have the urge to throat punch them. 


V is for Vicarious Living: My friends must either think that I am some sort of psycho stalker, because whenever I can get them within hearing distance I start battering questions at them like Olivia Benson from SVU.  Where are you going this weekend?  What did you do after work last night?  Are you going anywhere on vacation?  What did you wear there?  I'm not trying to see if they did something without me I'm trying to live vicariously through them.  What do skinny, single girls wear when they go out for cocktails in manhattan after work?  I don't remember.  What do you do on a Saturday night when you're not sitting on your couch in your sweats clutching your glass of wine like it's life blood? I don't know I'm trying to find out!


W is for Wine: It's the reason moms smile.


X is for XXX: Sex post baby is a lot different than sex was before baby.  Things are a little saggier, a little softer, a little loser.  You find your groove.  It's important to remember that candle light is the most flattering and wine is your friend (see above).  But besides the logistics of sex, finding the time or energy to actually do it is a whole other ball game.  Sometimes it just feels like another chore on my to-do list, but I find that once I commit myself to the idea that I'm actually going to do it and once I get started, I usually get right into it.  I just need to get out of my head sometimes.  


Y is for Yelling: I have a hot temper and I'm the first to admit it.  But I really want to parent in love and not anger.  It has to be scary for a little child to have his or her parent yelling at them.  The person who is supposed to love you and take care of you is now yelling at you.  I don't want to make her feel that way. Don't get me wrong I've definitely raised my voice to her in anger, "Stop running around naked and let me change your diaper so I can then clean up the pee off the floor." But I'm really trying to be mindful of it.  I heard Andy yell at her the other day for throwing her food on the floor and it just sounded so ugly.  We talked and we're really going to try to keep our cool even in heated situations.  


Z is for Zumba: This is when you try to dance the fat off.  It's the newest craze and it definitely makes you break a sweat, but it doesn't account for my two left feet or my utter lack of rhythm.  


The ABC's of Parenting Part 1
The ABC's of Parenting Part 2


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Friday, March 11, 2011

The ABC's of Parenting Part 2

J is for Judgement: You will be judged by other mothers and you will judge them back in return.  Breast or bottle, crib or family bed, juice or water, organic or not organic, solids at 4 months vs 6 months, TV or no TV, vaccinate or not, spanking or time out...are just some of the topics that we judge each other on.  I know it's not possible to completely be judgement free, I'm guilty of it myself.  Let's just try and remember that just because someone parents different than us, doesn't make them wrong.  


K is for Kaching!: Between diapers, food, and clothes that are continually being grown out of, add holidays and the never ending slew of children's birthday parties you need to attend and you've just about landed yourself in the poor house.  And with sites like Etsy that make it so difficult to resist buying up everything, plan on staying in that poor house for a while.  I don't even want to think about college tuition or weddings.  Should we all start hoping for our kids to be dumb and loveless?  


L is for Lazy: Somedays, especially rainy Sunday afternoons, I like to get a little bit lax in my parenting.  I get lazy and start breaking all the rules.  We stay in our jammies all day.  We don't eat one blessed meal at the table, instead we graze all day in front of the TV or while playing with toys.  I let her watch cartoons and you tube videos.  I don't cook anything, unless you count microwaving.  Maybe I give her a toy I've stashed away so I can read a little bit in peace.  Every now and then being a sloth is just what I need.  Luckily lazy days also have love and laughter. 


M is for Mess: mess that is everywhere.  On weekends I feel like all I do is clean dishes, do laundry, and pick up toys.  And every night after she goes to bed I pick up the house and for what?  In 12 hours it's going to be messy again anyway.  I feel like a hamster on a wheel.  


N is for Nasty: Sometimes being a parent is just plain nasty.  Whether you're picking your kid's boggers or cleaning projectile poop off the wall (true story), sometimes kids are just out and out gross.  Like the time I saw Isabella chewing on something, except it was between meal times, and when I went to investigate I found that she was eating last night's meatloaf straight out of the garbage like some sort of hobo.  Nasty.  


O is for Outbursts: a good, old fashioned, kicking and screaming, ranting and raving throw yourself on the floor tantrum.  Isabella can have several outbursts in a day or go for weeks without one.  This is the biggest problem with toddlerhood I think.  Imagine what life would be like if it were perfectly acceptable for adults to throw tantrums?  I'd throw like ten a day no sweat.  


P is for Play Dates: There's an element of politics to play dates.  Who do you invite?  Who do you not invite?  Stay in or go out?  Dealing with last minute cancellations and reservations and deciding on a time that doesn't conflict with nap time.  It can almost feel like a second job organizing these things, but there's one reason why I love the play date more than I love me some shirtless Johnny Depp, my kid is entertained by somebody that isn't me!  


Q is for Quiet: It's amazing what I'd be willing to barter for an hour of silence.  


R is for Relaxation: or should I say, relative relaxation because even when I do get my hour of silence or I've plopped down from the day casting my "to-do list" aside, I don't think I'm ever really relaxed.  I'm either thinking of all the things I still need to get done or I'm worrying, "She pulled on her ear tonight, does that mean she has an ear infection?"  "I need to plan my lessons for next week, it's already Thursday and I don't have time to stay after" "Gas prices are sky high, wtf am I going to do?"  and on and on it plays until I want to just unplug my brain.  


The ABC's of Parenting Part 1
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Thursday, March 10, 2011

The ABC's of Parenting Part 1

A is for Absenteeism: To some extent all working mom's share in parenting absenteeism, which means that for a large chunk of the day someone else is taking care of your child.  That can be a difficult pill to swallow especially when you torture yourself thinking about how much you miss and if your child feels abandonment.  I say we stop the vicious cycle now.  We cannot be at home and at work at the same time no matter how bad we wish we could.  Maybe it's better for our child to be loved and looked after by so many different people who love him or her.  Maybe if we were stay at home mom's we'd ruin our kids because of all of my our neurosis.  Our kids will always know who "mommy" is and that we love them.  


B is for Balance: Full time workers, full time mommies, full time wife somethings gotta give.  So what if your kid needs to eat a lunchables for dinner so you can wash your clothes for tomorrow's meeting.  Sometimes the floors need to go unwashed so you can spend a night alone with your husband and reconnect.  We all eventually find our own balance until something comes along to upset the turnip truck and even then, we find our balance again.  


C is for Clean: I feel that since I've become a mother I've been lodged in an epic battle with clean.  I try to keep my kid clean, my clothes clean, my house clean, and, if there's time, myself clean.  Sometimes I win and sometimes we're all dirty.


D is for Day Care: the place or person we send our little ones too while we bring home the bacon.  I hate dropping Isabella off there because there is always some diva fit.  That is until the snacks get passed out and then she leaves me for dead.

E is for Embarrassment: this is what happens when you're in a very public place dealing with a very public meltdown.  I like to take Isabella to this indoor play ground called Kid Junction, she loves it there which means that every time we have to leave it's a big production.  Arms flailing, back arching, screams echoing.  I can feel the blood rush to my face and I get embarrassed that my child has turned into Rosemary's baby.  I've taken to keeping M&M's in my car because if I tell her that they're waiting for her, she leaves quietly.  It's ok though, I fully intend on embarrassing the shit out of her when she's old enough to appreciate it.  


F is for Fickle: Yesterday scrambled eggs were her favorite breakfast, today she hates them and tries to throw them in the garbage.  Thomas the Train was her favorite toy for two weeks, now she just throws him aside to get to her Little People airplane.  The Wiggles was her all time favorite show, and now she's all about the Bubble Guppies.  Last week she was up Andy's ass, this week I'm the rock star, next week maybe my sister.  


G is for Guilt: Lots of it.  Guilt for not baking cupcakes for the Christmas party at day care.  Guilt for missing bedtime because you have to stay late for parent teacher conferences.  Guilt for not cooking dinner tonight.  Guilt because you'd rather watch Jersey Shore than play with blocks.  Guilt for seeing your kids 3 hours each night and weekends.  Guilt that is sometimes so crippling you feel like you're suffocating.  Yup...been there.  


H is for Husband: Andy may get on my nerves now and again, but I never forget how lucky I am to have him.  He's such a hands on Dad, which makes up for the fact that he's hands off when it comes to housework.  I know that he loves me and our daughter and I know that he helps in his own way and I need to remember that as I'm picking up the socks off the floor that are literally a quarter inch from the hamper.  


I is for Isolation: I don't think anyone can prepare you for just how isolating motherhood can be.  Just how alone you can feel at times.  
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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Dora The Explorer Magazine Giveaway


The parent of any toddler or pre-schooler or beyond knows the name of Dora the Explorer and her cousin Diego and her trusty side kick Boots.  Dora has been a fixture in my house for a while now and that little explorer has staved off many a tantrums and allowed many a dinners to be cooked in peace.  But it's not just the Dora the Explorer TV show it's the toys, dolls, back pack, clothes, and coloring books that we love so much, and now there's a Dora the Explorer magazine!

The Dora the Explorer magazine is aimed at pre-schoolers to help develop math, reading, writing, creative thinking, problem solving, and learning Spanish.  Not to mention the free stickers that it comes with, which are now stuck in various spots all over my house.

Isabella and her cousin Daniella loved looking at the pictures in the magazine and having it read to them.  There are so many great activities including coloring pages and mazes.  The colors are so vibrant.

Two winners can win the first 3 issues of the magazine here! Open to US residents only

Ways to Enter (Make sure you leave your e-mail address if it's not linked to your profile and leave a separate comment for each entry)

1.  Be a public follower of this blog (1 entry)

2.  Tell me something you/your child loves about Dora (2 entries)

3.  Follow me on twitter by clicking HERE (1 entry)

4.  Enter my Super Sprowtz Giveaway by clicking HERE (4 entries)

The giveaway will run for one week ending on March 15th, 2011 at 11:59 pm.  The winners will be notified by e-mail and will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is drawn.  Good luck to all who enter!

I received the first 3 issues of the magazine so that I might provide my honest opinions. 
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Monday, March 7, 2011

Carrot Ginger Soup Recipe

I actually wanted to take pictures of the soup that I made,
but my kitchen was a hot mess so you get this one
from the website...maybe next time ;)
The last bits of winter are still clinging on, but you can just feel that spring is in the air, so I decided that the days of hot soup are numbered and I wanted to capitalize on the remaining craptastic days of winter.  The Super Sprowtz books have really been helping Isabella get interested in her veggies and she loves to read the books and call out the different veggies, like Colby Carrot and Brian Broccoli, but now it's time for the real test...will she eat them?  I figured carrots are the sweetest so I would try there.  I visited the Super Sprowtz website and decided on a Carrot Ginger Soup.  


You can enter my Super Sprowtz Book Giveaway by clicking HERE 


Here's the recipe:



2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 medium sized carrots (about 1 1/2 lbs), peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch discs
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh ginger root
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock (if using homemade, great, if not, use a low-sodium variety to keep the salt levels up to you)
1 cup plus 4-6 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt
Salt and pepper
Pinch of curry powder
Chives

Directions

In a large stockpot over medium heat, heat the olive oil until the butter is melted and the oil is hot.  Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, or until the onion begins to soften and become translucent.  Add the carrots and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring often.  Add the stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and simmer until the carrots are tender, about 20 minutes.  Blend the soup to your desired consistency - leaving larger chunks if you like to chew on something, or turning it to a silky-smooth puree.  If you're using a regular blender, be sure to blend the soup in batches. 

Return the blended soup to the pot and season with salt and pepper.  Add the yogurt to the soup and heat over medium-low heat just until it's heated through.  Once the yogurt's been added, you don't want the soup to boil, or else the yogurt will curdle.  Ladle the soup into serving bowls.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining 4-6 tablespoons of yogurt (figure on one tablespoon per serving) with a pinch each of curry powder, salt and pepper.  Adjust seasoning of the yogurt to your taste.  Add one tablespoon to the center of each soup bowl and garnish with finely chopped chives.
(Taken directly from the Super Sprowtz website)
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 The results:  I thought it was absolutely delicious and I nommed up every last bite.  I love the blend of carrots and ginger together.  When Isabella first saw it, she kind of just gave me this look like "seriously, you're still trying to make me eat things that aren't mac and cheese?" but I let her put her finger in it, which is apparently the key for her to eat now a days.  And she liked it!  She only ate about 3 spoonfuls before declaring "All Done" but she didn't spit it out and we only average about 5 spoonfuls of any food (even mac and cheese) these days because eating isn't too high on her priority list (anyone else's kid drop their appetite?)
So I'm pleased.  Breakfast is always the easiest meal of the day for us, so I think the next time I'm home for breakfast I'm going to try the broccoli and cheese fritatta.  Sounds delish. 
For more great recipes visit www.supersprowtz.com 
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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sometimes I'm the Bad Friend

I can prattle on and on here about how I feel left out or how I don't always feel like my friends take an interest in Isabella and I, but if I'm looking truthfully at myself, I can say that I'm not always the best friend I can be.  I don't always reach out and pick up the phone.  It's easy to say, "Oh, she doesn't call me."  But do I ever call her?  I don't always text/call/facebook someone back right away even if I have the time.  Sometimes I just don't want to talk.  And when I do call someone back it's usually at a time that's only convenient for me.  I'm not always the one jumping to plan things.

I wouldn't say I'm a terrible friend.  I'm just not always the friend I'd like to have.  I guess the road goes both ways.  To have a friend you have to be a friend.
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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Homebody

To say that the past few months weeks, I've been a homebody would be as great of an understatement as to say that Hitler had a small anger problem.  I just have no drive or desire to do anything outside of my house.  It's not that I'm in a rut like last time, I'm perfectly happy to stay home, snuggle in my pj's, and watch TV or roam the interwebz, or play games with Andy.  The thought of getting dressed and actually leaving makes me kind of sick.  I mean without Isabella because you all know I don't like just sitting in with her, we both like to get out and explore together.  I'm talking about with my friends or my family or even my husband.  I'm just so blah lately.

Usually these homebody phases only last a week or so and then I'm ready for a night out, but this one is hanging on tight.  I'm not sure if it's the cold weather or the fact that I have to drive so friggen far to get to my friends or that I really don't have the energy to dress and fancy myself up.  I don't know what it is, but I need to snap out of it before I have no friends and my ass starts to meld with the couch.
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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Number Two

No I'm not sickening you with another poop post, I'm talking about baby number two.  I'm not pregnant, or even trying, but we've definitely decided that we want one more baby.  It was up in the air for a while, but Andy and I have finally committed ourselves to the idea that we're just crazy enough to try this baby thing out one more time for several reasons.

1.  When we are old and decrepit we will be needing someone to take care of us.  Isabella is smart and all, but what if she turns out to be some sort of starving artist or a grossly underpaid teacher like myself.  I need another egg in the basket.  I don't want to wind up at some second rate old lady home, I want the good kind with someone to come and tease up my blue hair ya know?

2.  Two kids can entertain each other.  That means that I can putter around the house more while the kids entertain themselves.

3.  When I'm dead I would like Isabella to have someone to help her through everything.  A sibling can do that better than anyone, assuming that they're close, which they need to be or else this whole thing is mute.

4.  Two kids means that I have double the chance that one of them will be successful and rich and maybe they'll throw they're old mom a few bucks and let me get an early retirement.

5.  One of them is more than likely to have kids thus ensuring that I become a grandmother some day.

Oh yeah, and there's that whole, little baby to love and raise and cherish forever bit ;)

But in all seriousness, Andy and I have decided that next spring we'll start trying for another baby and sometimes that thought is so exciting I feel like I'm going to burst and sometimes it completely terrifies me.  We've gotten to a point where things are so routine and easy (in relation to babyhood) that the thought of starting all over again with the night waking, sleep training, doctor's visits, and pumping make me want to cry.  But I see how fast Isabella is growing, how fast it all went and I get kind of excited at getting another chance at it, especially coming in knowing a thing or two and feeling more confident in my mommy skin.

We're also going to need a bigger house, which that whole ball of wax is scary enough, but we're outgrowing our townhouse a little bit more each day and I'm anxious for a little more leg room.
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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Prisoner of Winter

Guys, I hate to sound like a sad sac but I am so flipping sick of winter.  It's been a brutal winter in the North East.  It basically snowed from Christmas straight on through Valentines Day.  And I'm not talking pretty little snow flakes that left a sweet dusting on the ground, I mean 22 inches, 18 inches, piles of snow so high you swear you'll never see black top again.  But it's not just the snow, that still sits in piles and has effectively turned a lovely shade of gray, or the cold that sits down in your bones that's starting to get to me, it's mostly Isabella's winter wardrobe.

When I tell you I am so sick of her Fall/Winter clothes I am not messing around.  Aside from the fact that they are starting to get snug on her, they are so stained and dingy from months of wear that I hate to even look at them.  Stains from finger paint that's supposed to be washable, stains from face paint that was supposed to be washable, apple stains, fruit juice stains, spilled hot chocolate, frayed hems, missing mittens, boots with salt stains, and the hat that she loves to wear but it always messes up her ponytail.  My trusty shout just isn't doing the trick with these stains and I'm about ready to turn the whole lot of them into rags and have her live in pajamas until it's warm enough.

I just went Spring shopping for Isabella and I have bags and bags of pastel colored capri pants, sweet little sun dresses, t-shirts in vibrant yellows and oranges, and sandals, oh the sandals, but they just sit in the bags at the bottom of her closet just waiting for the thermostat to creep above 60 degrees.  I don't want to build another snow man or go to another indoor play ground or bounce up and down at bouncy houses at Bounce U.  I want to go to the park, I want to go for walks on the path, I want to sit by the pool.  Spring is only a few weeks away, but it feels like forever.

If you live in a warm climate it's safe to assume that sticking my tongue out at you behind your back!
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