Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Works For Me Wednesday--Splenda Soda

What a wonderful visit to California we had last month! We had a great time...and only one of many good memories and discoveries: they make diet soda with Splenda now!

I know, I soda is not a good thing in general. SODA is not a good thing in general. But alas--I crave those bubbles like almost nothing else. They soothe my tummy and my soul.

But...after that pesky brain lesion, it was suggested I stay away from aspartame. (I know, there are no conclusive studies on this, but there are enough hints that SOME people might be more likely to get brain lesions from the stuff...and I have that pesky Lesion of Unknown why take chances?) And then the triglycerides meant that regular soda was out. And I don't like mineral water, club soda, or seltzer, so I don't like the fruit juice spritzers.

But hooray! Apparently, while I've been paying attention to things like baby food, Splenda has made an appearance in diet soda! I'm so excited. I'm trying not to overdo but wow, I am delighted to once again drink a diet coke with the rest of the known universe. Or a black cherry soda with lunch. So soda with Splenda--that's working for me!

For more great ideas (and more original ideas) visit Shannon's blog Rocks in my Dryer for Works for Me Wednesdays!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Menu Planning Tuesday

Ok, I took Memorial Day off and we went to the pool for a cookout.
Tonight: Mac & cheese and sauteed veggies, thanks to our magnificent babysitter.
Tomorrow: Trader Joe's pad thai for grownups, mac & cheese for kids.
Thursday: Noodle & chicken bake with broccoli and carrots in tomato sauce.
Friday: Trader Joe's pizza plus veggies from CSA box on Thursday.
Saturday: Anniversary Party for my in-laws--no cooking!
Sunday: will work itself out. Happy week!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

WFMW--Safety Is How We Say We Love You

I just saw the most beautiful thing...and it turned my stomach. On this lovely spring day, a dad was out for a bike ride with his little girl on the back of his bike, and they were laughing and chatting. So what was the problem? Well, I'll start with this: neither one had a helmet on. But while Dad was unable to take 3 minutes to protect the lives of himself and his daugher, he had plenty of time to put in his earbud for his phone or MP3 player, I don't know which. So I don't even know if he was laughing and chatting with his little girl or someone else!

So, I don't mean to nag total strangers but please please please wear your bike helmets and make sure your kids do too. My kids don't love them either. But when our kids were very little, we started with the phrase in the post's title. If one of our sons fussed that he didn't want to be in his carseat, we explained that the seatbelts keep us all safe, and keeping them safe was another way we say "we love you," so think of that harness like a big long hug from mommy or daddy. Same thing for bike helmets. Or holding hands in parking lots. Or whatever else it is that keeps our kids safe.

We don't want them growing up to be afraid of the world. But there are safe ways to move in it, and we'd like to keep them as safe as we can, and teaching them "Safety is how we say we love you" has really sweetened some unpopular decisions, and works for us!

For more Works for Me Wednesday ideas, visit Rocks in my Dryer!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Menu Planning Monday

Last week was rife with eating out opportunities.
But woe is us this week: our new refrigerator arrived and it feels much smaller than our other one. (The cabinets in our kitchen were built exactly to the old one's measurements and of course, they don't make any that exact size anymore. So to get a bigger fridge--or even one with the same cubic feet--would have meant a kitchen re-do...not in the budget!)
So this week involves Finishing Everything That Is Taking Up Space in the Fridge.
Every meal will be served with iced tea from the two gallons we have.

Lunch: noodles with red sauce for boys, salad and sweet potato for me
Dinner: filet mignons on the grill (didn't say this was all bad!); pea, radish & feta salad; corn, tomato, and cucumber salad; and stir fry of bok choy, mushrooms, scallions, and celery

Lunch: frozen pizza shells with red sauce & mozzarella, celery sticks and cherry tomatoes for boys, salad and baked potato for me
Dinner: noodles with 2 kinds of pesto, green salad

Lunch: yogurt, berries, and leftover noodles or crackers
Dinner: ham, potato salad, green salad, some frozen veggie (my father in law is coming and I don't know what he likes)

Lunch: probably out to celebrate last day of school for Son #1
Dinner: beef stroganoff, salad, whatever is in the CSA veggie box

Whatever leftovers we can rustle out of the fridge before the family Memorial Day extravaganza begins!

And in between there we'll be drinking a lot of iced tea, lemonade, and other random liquids that seem to have accumulated in our fridge!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

We Interrupt the Memes...

...for a spontaneous post on my life.
And a momentous day it was: I got my hair cut.
For normal people, this is not a big deal. But I have been growing my hair since before J was born.
Four years ago, shortly before I got pregnant, the stylist I'd been seeing since college, and the only guy who didn't screw up my curly hair, moved to Florida. Tragic. And while many of his clients JET DOWN TO SEE HIM (I am not kidding), that is not in the cards (or the budget) for me.
So I started seeing someone else, more local, when I was pregnant with R and then when he was little. But I never really felt at home in the salon--too P*rrotHe@dy for me. (Though I hear they now serve margaritas with a pedicure--this could be persuasive.) But I felt like I needed to find somewhere local since I wasn't commuting to the city every day anyway, and I was really in some kind of fear about most salons in my area. There is a real "look" to hair in this county, and it is a look I fear rather than covet. It is perhaps an unrealistic fear, as most people my age seem to not have it, but I am truly afraid of this look and want very much to avoid it.
Anyway. That stylist left that salon, and I had a bit of a falling out with them anyway over a gift certificate, so I was on my own again.
Around that same time, we had two relatives and a friend who were treated for cancer and lost their hair. Add to that the pregnancy-accelerated hair growth, and I was inspired to stop cutting it and wait until I had enough to donate. Then came the development that until recently, J had no security blanket but instead used my hair, and you have the recipe for a really long time without a cut. (J now has not one but two security blankets, Binket and Binky, AND the gigantic W*nnie the P**h that he adores and sleeps with every night.) So, as an insightful friend at Mothers and More pointed out, somewhere along the line it became my security blanket.
But. I was really getting tired of how long it took to wash my hair. And needing to condition the ends. And how raggedy the ends were anyway. And that I had to sleep in a ponytail to not wake myself up by rolling on my own hair. And I could go on, but it was really time. But I never found the right person or salon. I tried a few times to schedule...and something always happened. The sitter cancelled. I realized I had something more time critical to do (like mail taxes). One of the boys got sick.
So, I ended up at a Mothers and More meeting asking for stylist suggestions, and got five great suggestions. I called them all and drove by several to check them out.
Then, in the end, it came down to Who Had Hours on Wednesday. I checked them all and my friend A's was the only one with hours tonight. It doesn't hurt that she is less than 2 miles from my house--or that she is by far the cheapest. But it was time, and we were having dinner tonight at a fabulous restaurant that is about to close, and so I gritted my teeth and took the plunge.
And...I love it. I love her. I love how it feels, how it looks, how she listened and thought and didn't use much product and wouldn't let me cut off too much anyway so the little boys wouldn't cry when they saw me. I love how T looks at me with the haircut.
The sound of the scissors slicing was a little jarring. Cutting off the last of my hair that my mother saw and touched was hard. Cutting off the hair that my baby boy clutched in his tiny fist as he tried to make sense of the new world of air and light and hunger was hard. Cutting the hair that used to tickle the cheek of my baby and make him giggle was hard. But knowing that someone who needs hair will have it helped. And getting used to this cut? I think that will be easy.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Mystery Rides

Long before we were parents, my husband and I went to visit friends who were. During our vacation, we went on several "mystery rides" with them and their young son. (We adults always knew where we were going--to a favorite restaurant, the beach, etc., but their son didn't.) I was intrigued, as I always thought that kids should be included in decision making, etc. but then I loved watching their son ask questions and guess about the mystery ride we were taking. My husband loved the idea so we started it, and glory be, it works beautifully for us.

Not every ride is a mystery ride; since my darling boy loathes school, that is never the surprise. Nor are doctor visits or lots of other any-day activities. But, lots of time I want to load the kids in the car, I just announce, "Mystery ride!" and off they run. Sometimes, it's the supermarket or home improvement store or the deli with the train. Sometimes, it's a visit to grandparents or friends. Sometimes it's a deluxe mystery ride to a fun outing, like an amusement park or event. But that's the fun: it's a mystery!

Bonuses: since they don't know where we are going, if it has to change (rain/snow cancels the original destination, friend calls that child is suddenly sick), the kids aren't disappointed that they aren't going to the original destination. They also never know if it's the grocery store or the circus, so there is no "oh, I don't want to go THERE!" whining before. Now that my older son is old enough to guess, it's getting really fun to answer his questions. And my husband likes the "implied message" on family mystery rides that Mommy and Daddy are working together on things for the family. Mystery rides work for me!

Check out Rocks in my Dryer for more Works for Me Wednesday ideas!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Menu Planning Monday

Wow, two weeks in to this and I'm already "behind." I actually did plan last week's meals and it was fabulous; "too many" leftovers if there is such a thing but that just gave me some good Aid For Friends meals and some yummy lunches and salad toss-ins.

This week:
Monday--out for graduation dinner
Tuesday--out with friends visiting from Tennessee
Wednesday--out for surprise-to-him date with hubby (planned, alas, before all these other goofy things came up)
Thursday--spaghetti and meatballs (I know, you'd think I could do better with all these nights out but the boys do, in fact, expire without their noodle meal)
Friday--out at minor leage baseball game with preschool
Saturday--chicken breasts--grilled if nice, baked if not, with broccoli and rice
Sunday--salmon, grilled or baked, and veggies from the CSA (yay!)

I'm so excited for the CSA to start again. Lots of lettuce this week; woohoo! Maybe we'll luck out and get some rhubarb too.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Meal Planning Monday

Ok, here it goes: my first attempt at this.

Monday: slow cooker pork roast (leftover); mashed potatoes; edamame
Tuesday: hoagies and snacky-sides (playground playdate)
Wednesday: Ina Garten's Indonesian chicken; rice; asparagus
Thursday: salmon; cheesy risi e bisi; salad
Friday: at the ballpark!
Saturday: beef kabobs with onion and mushrooms; couscous; salad
Sunday: Mother's Day. I'm off!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things about MemeGRL

1…. This is my first Thursday Thirteen!
2. I found this meme through My Life as a Stay at Home Mom (thanks Rachel!)
3. I'm a little intimidated just jumping in here!
4. I started a blog because of fun memes like this that I wanted to try.
5. At this point, most days of my week have a meme.
6. Some are more useful than others; like Meal Planning Monday, which I look forward to actually following.
7. This isn't easy but it is still easier than Sunday Scribblings, which encourges me to write poetry and prose and leave it out there for people to read!
8. I'm currently at home full time.
9. I have a 3.5 year old son and a 1 year old son.
10. And did I mention my amazing husband?
11. And our dog, who should have been named "Houdini." (We always wondered why such a beautiful, pleasant dog was at the pound, unclaimed. Now that we know her, we think she just ended up jillions of miles from home!)
12. I love reading blogs to find out what other people's lives are like (I'm just a wee bit nosy).
13. I'm hoping this gets easier as time goes on -- and that all the future ones don't start with "I"!
Happy Thursday!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Works For Me Wednesday, Birthday Edition!

I'm so excited this is my first easy and so fun.

The best birthday tradition in my life was when I was little, and my father would come pick me up from school on my birthday to take me out to lunch. Talk about having your cake and eating it too...first going to school and celebrating there (this was the era where cupcakes were expected!), and then leaving before everyone else...somehow that was even better than just skipping school entirely, that getting to go home early without being sick! When I was little, he'd take me to theme year it was the fancy place at the airport (yeah, that dates me) so I could watch the planes take off and land, another year it was the Longhorn Ranch, a cowboy themed place in our area...later, he took me to real, white-tablecloth places and let me order whatever I wanted, and when Mom went back to work, we'd work in a visit to her classroom as well. One of my most memorable: on my 16th birthday, he took me to get my braces off!

I can't wait to share this tradition with my boys (at least the one with an October birthday!). Going to lunch on my birthday with my dad, just the two of us, worked for me!

Bonus idea I'm totally stealing for my boys this fall: our local firehouse hosts birthday parties. They pull out the trucks, take the kids (and parents!) for a ride, and set up tables in the garage bay. They have tons more space than I do and I can't wait to host their party there--order pizza from the place down the street, bring my own cake and decorations...and I'd much rather give the money to the fire company than one of the other "kid party" places!

I'm Your Meme Girl...

So. I keep seeing all these cool memes for blogs and wanting to do them. So here's my place for all my meme work--Works For Me Wednesday, Smart Habits Saturday, Meal Planning Monday....let's see how it goes!