Sunday, February 6, 2011

Rock Out

So you know those times when your kids are on the verge of a meltdown and it could go either way...they could totally lose it or there could be something that would reel them back to earth??  Well today in the car ride home from the suburbs we were there.  They were hungry, tired and feeling stir crazy...the perfect storm.  This is when I had my moment of triumph.  (Cue the Chariots of Fire Music).

I turned on the radio and taught my kids how to ROCK OUT.  I put on the Loop. (for those not familar, I encourage you to check out the website) and we jammed on the air guitar and air drums to Bruce Springstein-Glory Days, Led Zepplin-Ramble On, and then Fleetwood Mac-You Can Go Your Own Way. 

I couldn't believe it...I had talked them off the ledge and was able to listen to some good music to boot.  Hold on, let me take off my Supermom cape and continue finishing up my application for Mother of the Year.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Gluten Free Blues

I recently had a friend whose daughter was diagnosed with Celiac.  She was really upset, rightfully so, and is really intent on focusing on what her daughter can't eat.  I think it is incredibly important to be vigilent, especially when there is a health concern.  That being said, I think you should focus on what you CAN eat.  This week, I was reading Gluten Free Girl and she posted the most amazing salad.  I especially loved the colors in it, given it is winter and everything is sooo drab.  I knew the moment I read the recipe I would love it and indeed I did. 

Even though there is so much I can eat and usually I am not down it...I LOVE challah.  I am Jewish and this is a weekly staple in my diet.  I mean this WAS a weekly staple in my diet.  I always thought that as a Jewish mom, I would perfect the art of making a good challah.  So today, while working at home and multi-tasking on a conference call, I kneaded the dough, let it rise and popped it in the oven.  It really did look fantastic, only I couldn't eat it.  Maybe, somewhere the GF gods and goddess will invent a GF challah that doesn't taste gritty or make me sick. 

Monday, January 31, 2011

Flying Solo

So have you missed your daily dose of 80 Twenty?  I am guessing yes.

Sorry for the absence, I was mentally preparing and executing a solo flight with both kids to Atlanta.  Here's a recap:

On the way there, the kids were champs.  I was prepared with a capital P.  I had movies, Wiki Sticks (such a great invention), sticker books, new Polly Pocket toys and the kids were ooh so excited.  I sat next to the nicest people who helped me out when my stroller wouldn't open.  They made googly eyes at my kids and they played peek-a-boo through the seats.  I landed and thought...WOW, that was a piece of cake.  No need for a week of mental yoga to prepare.

Then after a full weekend of fun, laughter and might I mention NO NAPS, we headed back into the sky for round 2.  Let's just say it was all strawberry shortcakes and roses.

We were first handed three boarding passes with three different seats all over the plane.  Next I dealt with three different flight attendants trying to tell me that I couldn't sit with my kids.  After that I sat next a woman (not next to my kids) who was reading Danielle Steele and had a Harlequin Romance bookmark and told me to put on my seat belt.  Finally, I had to deal with my tired kids pushing the tray table up and down.  Not one sympathetic parent on the entire flight.

I have been on the phone and on the email with American Airlines to complain but to little avail.  Overall, we had an amazing trip and that which doesn't kill us makes us stronger right?  Plus, to the rude and unhelpful flight attendants, KARMA'S gonna get you!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Morning Rush Hour

So I know everyone has the same pain of the morning rush this I don't mean sitting in traffic but getting the kids to school and to work on time.  It begins with my internal debate, do I let my daughter sleep 15 minutes longer in the hopes that she won't be a morning crab or do I wake her to ensure that she has enough time to "wake up"

Then there is the debate about what to wear.  I thought that choosing clothes with her the night before would make things easier, but alas not the case.  She seems to forget in the morning that she picked out the outfit in the chair.  NO JOKE...this morning she told me she wanted to wear a dress, I get one from the closet and she said..."No mom that's a tunic and I would really like a dress!" 

I have the morning routine timed down to the minute...if we defer from the schedule by one moment, I am late for work.  Even on days when I think I am ahead of the game, some enviornmental factor comes into play...traffic, delayed trains or heaven forbid a meltdown in the car about wearing too much Chapstick.

So today I offer no advice, no words of wisdom, no top lists for getting out the door on time.  It is more of a rant/vent and mutual understanding of working mothers.  It is also a constant daily survival.  One day I will feel totally triumphant if I can get to work in enough time to get a cup coffee at the Starbucks.  Until that day's to hoping.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Hurry UP!

My parents are always on time.  In fact, they are usually early getting to my house and I see them waiting in the car, because I once told them that arriving more than thirty minutes early was a bit rude. Although I joke about it, I value people being on time. 

However, I must admit, I have sort of become one of those people I used to judge.  One of those people that is chronically late.  I am not talking about 2 hours, but fifteen minutes here, thirty minutes there.  I blame it on a variety of factors...two kids, traffic and then of course there is the "Winter Effect" (the boots, the hats, the mittens, the coats, etc)  Then I find myself daydreaming about what it must be like to live in San Diego and why I don't move there, which makes me even later.

Even though we are often running behind, I think it is ok sometimes.  I once watched my daughter walking down the sidewalk, without a care in the world, slow as a baby turtle and stopping to pick dandelions.  I found myself speed walking and urging her to Hurry Up, so we could get to our next destination.  I wish sometimes, I could recapture some of that innocence and not always be in such a hurry. 

In the mornings, we are in a rush to get up, eat breakfast and get to school.  We rush to pick up from school so I can get home to make dinner and then we rush through dinner to take a bath and read stories.  I need to try to enjoy the moment and not worry if we are 10 minutes behind schedule...I know easier said than done.

I think I might try this excuse next time I am late for something..."sorry I just admiring the dandelions"  I will let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Epitome of my 20 percent

How's this one for you?  Cold, snowy day and I am impressed with myself for getting over to the gym...only to find that I packed up everything except my gym shoes.

As previously noted, 80 percent of the time I have it together and 20 percent of the time...refer to story above and fill in your own adjective. 

I think that pretty much sums up my day.

Monday, January 10, 2011

From Green Bean Casserole to Gluten Free Toffee Puffs

So I have to admit, my husband's family is not the most epicurean family on the block.  They like their staples, especially at bean casserole, cranberries from a can and pie from Baker's Square. 

Since going Gluten Free, I usually abstain from dessert or I bring my own chocolate bar and hide in my bedroom eating it.  This year, a shout out to my MIL for making some amazing and yummy GF cookies. 

They were so good that I asked for the recipe and made them again for new year's.  Everyone at the party thought they were great.  So hats off to Nani.  Who knew gluten free and non-GF cookie lovers could be reunited in cookie harmony once again.

So here it is, re-named:

Nani's Chocolate Toffee Puffs

4 Large egg whites
1/3 c. sugar
1 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa
2 (1.4 ounces) chocolate covered toffee bars (or heath bar bits)

Preheat oven to 350

Beat egg whites in a large bowl with mixer until soft peaks form.  Gradually add sugar, beating until still peaks form.  **

Combine powdered sugar, cocoa, and candy bar bits in a small bowl, mix well.  Fold in half of cocoa mixture into egg whites (egg whites will deflate quickly).  Fold in remaining cocoa mixture until smooth.  Drop the egg mixture by rounded tablespoons onto baking sheet coated with cooking spray.

Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes.

Yield-2 dozen

**Great recipe to make with kids as they enjoy to watch the eggs go from goopy whites to stiff peaks.

Friday, January 7, 2011

She's Crafty

So one of the things I love most about my life is my book club.  I have been in the same group for nearly 10 years.  I try super hard to not only attend the meeting but also read the book.  Right now we are reading Blame (so far so good).  The women in the High Flyers are smart, funny, amazing chefs and well...crafty.

We had our annual holiday celebration this past week and one of the women brought a craft for us to do.  I thought it was a great project and a cool way to recycle your old holiday cards.  So turn on some old school Beastie Boys (I like Paul's Boutique) and get Crafty.

Sorry this is really small, so I also included a link here to the Chicago Children's Museum site, where you can get the directions in larger type font.

Here's a picture of our boxes that we made last night.  It works best to chose a card with a cool design on the front.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I gotta frittata

Meal planning is one of my trade secrets.  It makes me feel more in control of dinner and definitely gives me direction at the grocery.  I was feeling pretty good yesterday when I decided to make a frittata for dinner.  I figured that I would use the leftover goat cheese, throw in an onion and add some broccoli and herbs.  In fact, I was feeling, impressed that I could just whip up a frittata for dinner.  So 80% of me was totally in control and was confident that I would have a healthy dinner on the table by 6pm.

Here comes the other 20% of me that is not totally together...MENTAL NOTE TO SELF-be sure to check how many eggs you have before you decide to make a frittata for dinner. 

Dinner tonight-pizza, let's just pray we have cheese in the house.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Operation Inspiration

Our typical weekend includes a birthday party of two, which usually includes a present, which usually includes some sort of Disney Princesses something.  How to teach your child to care about social justice and that not everyone has big fancy elaborate birthday parties with hordes of presents?

In effort to begin to share important values with my family, I went in search of age appropriate volunteer activities.  It was more difficult than I would have expected.  A few ideas included, visiting a senior citizen home, packing meals together and helping to restore nature trails.  I will update you in January when we help prepare meals together.

In my professional life, I work as a consultant with a variety of nonprofits and social enterprises.  So hopefully as inspiration to give back in 2011 here are some great organizations and ones that I think are doing really innovative work.

Kiva-Small micro-finance loans that truly change peoples' live.  By donating through Kiva, you can help entrepreneurs get the seed capital they need to start a new business and often transform the economic path for their family.  (Also, I just realized that they were chosen as one of Oprah's 2010 Favorite Things, please don't let that be a deterrent.  Even though it usually is for my book list.)

Soma Goods-As the old world status of charities go out the window and the new model of social enterprises and LC3s take old, I am excited at corporations that "Do Good".  Soma Goods is a new emerging social venture out of Atlanta (in full disclosure, started by a long lost friend-but none the less, really great).  They will work with refugee women to produce home goods made from recycled saris.

Inspiration Cafe/Cop-This was the place where I first fell in love with volunteering and helping others.  I have been involved with Inspiration Cafe since I was 16.  It started as a modest cafe that would allow the homeless a hot meal with dignity in a restaurant type setting.  They have branched out to include job training, cafes across the City and a social enterprise restaurant in Chicago's Uptown/Edgewater community, Cafe Too.

And then there is Tuesday's Child.  We all struggle with meltdowns, tantrums and if you are like me, strong willed children.  It's how we deal with these...umm, shall we say,..bumps in the road that sets up apart.  Tuesday's Child helps parents with positive discipline and to strives create a stronger relationships between parents and children.  They also help kids too, which has been really helpful for our family.

Obviously there are hundreds/thousands more.  So get inspired and go volunteer.