Friday, May 16, 2008

Cool Stuff to Try! Pandora

If you already read Catherine Singleton's blog, then you know about Pandora, but just in case.

One of her blog entries, she referenced Pandora in creating your own radio station. So, I did it.

I went out...created my stations...and now I can listen to music that I don't have on my iTunes and it is specific to what I am looking for.

So, a bit of a commercial, but I highly recommend...

I'm headed to listen to my Beatles radio station!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Dream Diary - 3

I guess I should be careful what I watch before I go to sleep. These days, I am so tired, I am falling asleep fast. I always need a little tv to wind down. Last night, I was watching Top Chef.

So, it was a pretty good dream. I was on Top Chef and it was down to the final 3. I ended up losing but I still felt really good about making it to the top 3. We (all of us "Top Chefs") were cleaning up our work space in the kitchens and Andrew or Spike (current contenders this season) brought special t-shirts out to the top 3, except that mine wasn't a was a slip.

A black one. Like the kind that Blanche would have worn in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof".

I put it on immediately because I couldn't believe he bought me a slip/dress. It fit perfectly, except in the bra area. I could have put some toilet paper in there to fill it out but I didn't. I just kept thinking..."it fits everywhere else...".

And then Tom Colicchio, dressed in a tailored black suit with a crisp white shirt and lavender silk tie came to talk to me about my dishes. Did I mention that he looked handsome? He did.

The thing about me is that movie stars don't make me nervous. However, if you are an amazing chef or a sommelier, oh my! My knees get weak and my stomach is filled with butterflies.

Last year, Mike took me to the Ritz Carlton in Atlanta. Their Dining Room is famous - and well it should be. (My rule of thumb is that if I can't figure how to make it or it's beyond my skills AND it is delicious...that's when I am truly impressed. I like to be blown away...but I digress)

On this occasion with Mike, they had a young woman who was their sommelier. Her name was Chantal. I think she was 26 or 27 - a phenom in the wine world. I just wanted to meet her. I got nervous when she was at the table next to ours pouring wine and talking to the couple about the vintage...

I'm weird. I accept that. Just wait till I tell you about my run in with Alton Brown...accidentally spent $150 on meat. Yup.

Till then...

~ Latest cast-off of Top Chef

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


So after the whole wheat pasta debacle, I had to redeem myself and find the old recipe from Bon Appetit that was similar except it was DELICIOUS!

I searched their database to no avail but I was able to review similar recipes and kind of figure it out. Here it is, courtesy of my vague memory and Bon Appetit:

1 lb of Fettuccine
1 sliced bell pepper
1/2 red onion, sliced
8 - 12 oz snow peas
1/4 cup crushed honey roasted peanuts

2T Soy Sauce
2T Balsamic Vinegar
2T Sesame Oil
3T Honey
1/4t Cayenne
(I put all of these into a small container with a lid and shake until well blended.

* Saute vegetables in a 1/2T of sesame oil until bite tender
* Chill the cooked pasta a little and add the sauce and vegetables.
* Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes. Add the peanuts right before you eat.

We sat down.

The dinner was beautiful.

And it was...delicious.

My husband ate it. I ate it. One son ate it. One son whined and then went to play with his cars.

3 out of 4 ain't bad in my book.

Oh, and it's better the next day!

~ Persistent Mama

My favorite things...

So, it's been a bit stressful the last few days. It doesn't matter why...just that the little things can erase quite a bit. Here is what happened.

Nathan has been running fevers.

We do wake him in the middle of the night if they are high and give him Motrin.

We have also been waking them a bit, in general, in the morning to get them on a new - scratch that - back to their sleep schedule. When I come in to their room in the morning, I break into "Good Morning to You" sung to the birthday song.

Mike and I realized he needed Motrin one night, about 3am in the morning. Mike shook Nathan a little to get him to sit up and he actually bounced up, half asleep, eyes shut and sung "Good Morning to YOOOOOU! Good MORNING to YYYYYOOUUUUU!

It was so sweet. I so love our sweet boys. They are good medicine for me and Mike.

~ Peaceful Mama

Friday, May 9, 2008

A little good, a little gag...

I really enjoy watching Top Chef. I covet the dishes, both to make them and to eat them. I long for the days when my spices were fresh and I could spend time in the kitchen making something fabulous. These days, I have until the final Thomas the Train song to get my dinner on the table, so I was excited to see an episode of Top Chef with family friendly recipes.

While I am pretty much rooting for Richard Blaise (extraordinary!) I have a soft spot for Antonia and she came up with this recipe - Stir Fry Whole Wheat Noodles.

They showed clips of all the chefs working with the kids and even a sweet conversation where Antonia and her daughter were on the phone.

When she got to the judges table, she explained that she and her daughter would make this meal together and she even won for it! I was SOLD! It had noodles and chicken and edamame and new items for the boys to try. Mike went to the grocery store and purchased the ingredients and I made it last night. Chicken was wonderful, I grilled it instead of stir fry.

We all sat down.

The dinner was beautiful.

I took a bite.

I think I gagged a little!

I think I am rejecting that awful back taste from a whole wheat noodle! WHAT! My whole system was rebelling against the nutritious replacement for the wonderful noodles that I have grown to love! Oh NO! I couldn't even eat the dinner, neither did the boys, but Mike cleaned his plate (Thank you, my Love)

I recalled a recipe from Bon Appetit that also used Fettuccine (the good kind), red pepper, snow peas and red onion and a wonderful sauce made from Balsamic, Soy, Honey, Cayenne (some other ingredient I can't remember) and crushed peanuts. WHY DIDN'T I MAKE THAT?

So the story is, the recipe, although it won...totally made me gag. I will find the Bon Appetit one and post.

Now the good part was the conversation that Antonia had with her daughter and the knock knock joke. So, I will leave you with that...


Daughter: Who's There?

Antonio: Smell Mop

Daughter: Smell Mop Who?

Antonio: Smell Mop Who? Get it????

And do you get it?

~ Hold the Whole Wheat Mama

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Even my plants drink coffee

I have a secret to share. Something delightful and delicious and perfect for summer. In fact, you can do so much with it, the possibilities are endless!

I am talking about homemade coffee coolattes! YES! BETTER THAN STARBUCKS!

A few years ago, I was introduced to this delicious drink as a “treat”. It was served in a small glass with some ice. I took one sip and WOW! These days, I find the largest cup that I can, drop a dainty amount of ice inside and pour a quart of coffee coolattes into my cup. And today is your lucky day because I will share with you how to make this wonderful, addictive treat.

First – invest in a Toddy Maker. You can order them online, I bought mine at a Barney’s. They are about $35 + tax.

Purchase 1lb of your favorite coffee. I should tell you that I use 1lb of Vanilla Hazelnut. It has been that way since the beginning and for fear that nothing will ever taste as good as the first cup that I had, I never get anything else. My nanny, who I am so sorry never drank coffee before she started working for me and now is addicted to both coffee coolattes AND Starbuck’s, has one of her own (Happy Birthday!) and experiments with lots of different flavors. Last I heard she used a Swiss Chocolate flavored coffee.

The directions for this drink also appear on the manual that comes with the Toddy Maker, not sure if it tells you to add the vanilla or not…so here goes:

14 oz coffee concentrate
1T of vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
Milk. I use 2% because that is what is in our house

I am talking YUMMY! In fact – and don’t tell the Mother of the Year Board…but my boys love this stuff! They say “SIP SIP SIP!” Sometimes, I will pour a little in their milk and they get all smiley and stuff and talk about drinking “coppee” because they don’t pronounce their f’s.

The leftover grounds can be added to your garden. I can only imagine what it will do to my Basil and peppers.

So there it is…my summer secret…delicious treat to start off the morning. In fact, I think I will go downstairs and get my 2nd cup!

~ Coppee Mom

Monday, May 5, 2008

Katie Couric's Poor Performance Review

Have you seen the scuttlebutt?

A few weeks ago, I began to see news leaks on hard core news sites and by news, I mean gossip, that Katie Couric was being released from her contract. WHAT?

I am not here to recap her career, I wasn't really a fan except that someone deemed "cute" was making the big bucks on a morning show. A little morning show called the "Today Show". When she left, the offer on the table at the "Today Show" was $20mm and the offer for CBS Evening News was $15mm. Even with the lower salary, she was the highest paid anchor. Imagine that! So, in theory, she was probably a top performer (by mainstream corporate standards) solidified by her ratings and her overall audience appeal. Nice legs!

Now with her ratings in the tanker and rumors that she is being let go, I can only imagine the conversation...

Head Honcho: Katie, you know we felt strongly in bringing you aboard to replace Dan Rather.

Katie: Yes Mr. Cheese and I believe we are building our base as we speak, hitting new markets and opening doors for women to believe they are empowered to achieve top ranking positions in male dominated fields.

Head Honcho: Yes, Katie, that is all well and good but our ad revenues our down and we are unable to justify your salary with the current ratings in the tanker. I am afraid...

Katie: But WAIT! There's MORE! I am a BRAND and people identify with me. Perhaps we need to change my wardrobe or present a softer side. Moderate changes may help to connect me to our core audience.

Head Honcho: Katie, it's not working. We are letting you out of your contract. We will draft a statement to the press that says you have decided to pursue other opportunities. Or we could say that you have been assigned to special projects. Let us know what you choose. Boxes are already in your corner office suite. We wish you the best of luck.

So, in my everyday average moments of insecurity. When I wonder if I am good enough or smart enough or will I be the best at something, I will think of Katie...and wonder which scenario it really is...

1) Everyone is and can be the best at something. Find it, work for it and you will be rewarded handsomely.
2) Every dog has his day.

Even the best can have an off day or take a risk to do something different and not succeed. For the most part, I believe the latter for her and the very public decision to move to the evening news is coming back around in the serious and not-so-serious news media outlets. She has to go through this poor performance review in front of everyone. How will she handle it? Will she take it in stride and move on to the next great chapter or will we find her covering Hollywood on TMZ.

My guess is the next great chapter...because the best bounce back from taking risks that don't pan out and find the next great adventure in their career.

~ Cheerleader Mama

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Like we need another blog about Pee

Look, I get it.

There are at least 12, 432 blogs with Mom's talking about their babies. They think they are really funny telling you all their kid stories. Let's face it. You are either over the kid-thing or have no interest.

Today, is not about you. It's about me.

Guess how many times I said Pee Pee? I'm thinking 120. No wait, 531.

Do you know how many times I rationalize why pee or poop should go into a potty? At least a million.

I even go through a laundry list of credible people that pee or poop in the potty. Don't laugh. You're name is probably in there. Yep, I use EVERYONE I know. I want it to sound like a lot of people use the potty.

I use bribes. So what they have sugar. Skittles and Gummi Bears. Sometimes I remember, sometimes they don't. I usually let it slide until Nathan informs me that I own him 4 skittles and 3 Gummi bears and he has 5 fingers flashing in my face. Nice math, kid.

But, toward the end of the day, he was telling me that he could feel the pee pee coming. We ran excitedly to the potty. We talked about how AWESOME it was. He told me he was proud of me. My words, coming back to me, he just parrots them back, but I needed it.

The reality is that I was more afraid of this than he was. I am still selfish and do not wish to spend every 30 seconds asking my kid if he needs to pee pee. I dreaded this moment because it would consume my day and I wouldn't be able to get out of the house. I am sure I rolled my eyes hundreds of times at the mommy in her velour sweat suit bribing her kid to go potty. Ugh. That would never be me. No way.

Gulp. It's me. Granted, I wouldn't wear a velour sweat suit...but still. I see them in a whole different light. These women are not wimps. They are trying to get there kid (and themselves) through one of the major passages in childhood. One that is not easy and is frequently stressful as pre-schools require the kids to be potty trained. They put it off, like I am sure I did. They read several books. I didn't do that. But I did think about it. How do I get them both through this? How many potties? What technique? How can I get it done in 2 days? I can't handle them both. And then it dawned on Nathan first. Jamie will come along later.

So far so good but I basically pass the torch tomorrow morning.

I will think about him all day hoping he feels good about himself that he can do this on his own. Hopefully he remembers to tell his teachers. He really is a sweet kid and gets this goofy expression on his face when he amazes himself. It's sweet and I know he is growing up and these years will fly by. Before I know, they will be leaving for college and this memory will be all but gone.

These good thoughts will be fleeting...Jamie's next and well, he's a whole different ball game my friend. Until then...

~ Exhausted Mama

Drowning in Diapers


I am drowning in diapers.

I don't know if it would be better to be asking the boys "Do you feel the pee-pee coming?" every 30 seconds or just let them continue on in diapers.

I did the math.

Approximately 12 diapers per day (some more, some less but averaged)

2 boys

3 years =

13,140 DIAPERS

Does that shock you? I am so over the little tapes and the diaper cream stuck on my hands and the accidentally getting poo on my finger when I go to check the back of their pants.

Tired of chasing Jamie because he likes to hide when he poops. In a corner. Like we can't see him or something. But I HEAR him. Grunting.

Nathan is in training pants this weekend. Why not both you ask? Have you ever tried to eat an elephant? So, I am taking one bite at a time.

Me: Nathan, do you feel the pee pee coming?

Nathan: No Mom. Look at Lightening McQueen.

Me: Nathan, do you already have pee pee in your underwear.

Nathan: No POOP!

Me: Are you serious?

Nathan: No Mommmmmm. Where is Doc Hudson?

And on and on and on and on.

Tomorrow, I will hand Nathan and 30 pairs of training pants over to preschool. They have him 3 days this week and Mike the other 2. I am praying, PRAYING that this thing is over by next weekend.

And I will be heard in the grocery store saying, every 30 seconds, "Nathan, do you feel the pee pee coming?"

Then, round 2 begins and Jamie is up to bat. But since he LIKES to sit in poop, I have to devise another plan.

If anything has eaten braincells, it would be stressing over getting pee and poo to a location that is manageable.

Heaven help Mothers everywhere.

~ Diaper Queen