Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Note About Edamame....

Yesterday I included among my list of 5 lessons learned for the week, a mention of confusing the always accomodating ShopRite workers by requesting Edamame and how this would be my first Dr. Oz challenge.

Though the comment was intended to poke fun at the wacky and obscure vegetable, it may have sounded like the joke was on the employees....and that was not the intent.

Until very recently, I had no idea what Edamame was, how to pronounce it accurately (still not sure...which may explain the ShopRite confusion), and even if it is an actual vegetable.

The point I was trying to make is how much our grocery-scape is changing in response to the latest trends in dieting and healthy eating. From 100 calorie snack packs to sushi available at the deli counter, the average aisles of the American grocery store are a'changin. There's no doubt that, given the growing demand for glutten-free, organic food choices, we'll see the need for more than one aisle of alternative food products, as well as a surge of Whole Food stores and Trader Joe's.

I'm calling it now....Health Food stores will be the new Starbucks.

Hopefully by then I'll figure out how to pronounce Edamame, and even convince myself that it is a more satisfying snack than circus peanuts.

Quote of the Weekend

"Even if I'm bad my dad still has to like me because I am in his family. I think it's a law." -Stuart Hample, writer, quoting a youngster named Allison

Picture of the Weekend

Putting the red, in red, white, and blue.

Friday, July 11, 2008


Stop. Stop what you're doing. Get up from your seat. Turn off the computer. Pack your entire family in the car and start driving.

Keep driving.

Don't stop driving until you have reached the only destination that should matter today:


That's is July 11th (7/11) and that means that wonderful convenience store that is second only to WaWa is giving away free slurpees today.

Go now.....thank me later.

On a personal note, this could not have occurred for me at a more opportune time.

Week In Review

The Top 5 Things I Learned This Week

5) Though I love life in rural New Jersey (yes, there is such a thing), there is nothing quite like the expression of the faces of the farmgirls who work part-time at Shop Rite when you ask where they keep the Edamame.

4) Even Circus Peanuts can manage to offend some people (aside from the people who recognize that they aren't actually a member of any known food group).

3) I am nowhere near ready to let her go off to Preschool (or let her go at all), until she does something to remind me that it may be a good thing (like, um, deciding to use yogurt in her painting).

2) Celebrities annoy me to no end....and I can't bring myself to stop reading about them....arghhh!

1) It takes having children to truly appreciate your own childhood memories of summer and the 4th of July.

Guess Who?

Well, well....the state of Connecticut has been heard from. None other than Margaret the Magnificent has correctly identified Deon Richards, better known as Rudy's friend Kenny (aka "Bud"). Unlike previous Guess Who? subjects, however, Deon is still pretty active in the Hollywood scene.

According to IMBD, he went on to play on shows such as Getting By and Sister, Sister, a ton of campy horror movies (Scream 3 and Not Another Teen Movie), a teacher on the quickly cancelled show of this year, Teachers, and is now working on The Louis Armstrong Story.

Well done Margaret.

Looking For Signs

After a tough morning (the kind of morning when your nerves are officially shot at 8:43 Am), we headed to Grammy and Poppy's for a visit and lunch. Not only did this mean my grouchy children would have a nice distraction provided by the paternal grandparents, but given my mother-in-law's typical lunchtime spread, my weeklong Last Supper would continue nicely.

And it was all of the above.

After we loaded up the car and said our goodbyes, my little darlings barely made it out of the development before they were snoring. This meant a nice, quiet ride home for me, filled with reflections and silent prayers that I would successfully transition both children from the car to the bed and crib, respectiely.

As if God was trying to tell me something, I passed a little church that had a sign. Like many little churches, the pastor/priest/shaman used the space to include catchy little messages that rely heavily on pun and familiar quotes.

"Souler Energy Used Here"

"Jesus Died For 'MySpace' In Heaven"

"Who Wants to Be A Christiannaire"

Anyway, on this particular day, the church's sign read, "Chuck Norris Has Nothing On God".

And I have no idea what that means.

I am not a big Chuck Norris fan; I couldn't name a single movie he has been in. I do know he is an action movie icon and I think he is kind of martial arts too, but this is clearly not a genre I have been properly educated in.

So someone needs to explain the sign to me....I am completely at a loss.

And as for the kids, my prayers were answers as they did go right up to bed and are sleeping still...something I am sure neither Chuck Norris, Steven Segal, nor Calude VanDamme had nothing to do with.


Guess Who?

Though Stacey correctly identified last week's challenge, at least it survived the first day plus one clue.

Let's see if this one proves equally difficult......though I do believe it is on the easier side.

Interesting Fact

According to Glamour magazine, a tip taken from the professionals for making your diamonds extra sparkly is to drop them in a glass of Vodka.

This sounds like a good idea in theory, but knowing some of us stressed out moms, we may sneak a couple sips and, consequently, end up calling from the ER and trying to explain that, no, it wasn't the baby that swallowed the ring.....

And who are these professionals? Jewelers? Vodka Artisans? Stan at the corner bar?


The Latest Research...

Finally, some real information on the latest in Autism research. Scientists have determined a genetic predisposition to the disease and the genes, unlike the disabled ones found in many birth defects, are actually "idle". What does that mean? Therapy and possible procedures may help to reverse the condition.....

Check it out..

And if the video doesn't work, just click HERE

Quote of the Day

"I always give my grandkids a couple of quarters when they go home. It's a bargain." ~Gene Perret

Picture of the Day

Yeah....we're gonna need you to come in on Saturday.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Slow News Day....

This is the official song of the summer (at least when I "accidentally" forget to put in Toddler Tunes.

The Weeklong Last Supper Continues...

Brownies and Fried Calamari last night (with some steamed vegetables to keep it healthy).

Pizza for lunch today...shout out to Amanda.

No Circus Peanuts.

Taking Care of You

Though I am really not a facial girl (I love is just hard enough for me to find time for a haircut, let alone a spa treatment), I decided to get one last night. I headed to the salon for my 8 week cut (they have late hours....shout out to Gino), and piggy-backed a facial after that.

It was wonderful.

And I felt guilty. Yes, I'd been given a gift certificate and it would certainly be a shame to let it go to waste, but I still could not completely quiet that little nagging voice that had me wondering if the kids were okay. Does that ever go away?

Anyway, as Lindsey pampered me into La La land, my mind drifted to a conversation I once had with a masseuse at the Borgata. My husband had sent me there for a prenatal massage Mother's Day gift and at 8 months...I really appreciated it.

The massuese began to tell me about a regular client she had when she first started out who was European, polished, and the mother of eleven children.


Not only that, she came to get a massage every Friday.

Upon learning the size of her family, the masseuse asked how she was able to manage such a luxury on a weekly basis.

The woman responded that she did it for her kids as much as herself. She was a better mom when she took care of herself; when she found time for herself. As a result, she says, they not only had a happy mom, they learned how important it is to be responsible for your own happiness.

Amen....and make those appointments everyone.

Quote of the Day

"Grandmas are moms with lots of frosting." ~Author Unknown

Picture of the Day

Realizing the danger of following such a path, homeboy decided to cut ties with his childhood gang: the cribs.
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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Speaking of Circus Peanuts

At the height of my Circus Peanut addicition, I was making up excuses to run to our local CVS after the kids went to bed.

"I need diapers for tomorrow."

"Film! I forgot to pick up the film!"

"Did you say we were out of Q-tips? Now, we can't have that, can we?"

Since my husband is a pretty savy guy, he finally confronted me: "What is going on with all these trips to CVS? Do you just need some time to yourself?"

"No, not at all. I just get so caught up in the day I forget things."

"Come on."

"Okay, you want to know what it is?"

"Yes, I really would."


Only my passionate outburst caused a bit of a slip.

I left off the "T" in peanuts.

WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? I'm sure Freud would have a field day with that one. I don't even like clowns, or the circus for that matter.

Needless to say, I am expecting my husband to come home any day now with a red ball on his nose.

The Constant Battle

After I had my son, I gave myself time to adjust to life as a mommy of two before I started worrying about anything else. Then, six months post-partum, I decided it was time to return some of the focus to myself and lose the last 15 lbs from pregnancy that was proving to be pretty stubborn.

I decided to go the Jenny Craig route for 6 weeks (it's pricey, and setting a time limit is also a good motivator). Needless to say, the careful diet coupled with the 700 calories I was burning each day from nursing made those last LBs slide right off. And they really stayed off.
And then I stopped nursing.

As is my MO with diets, I get super enthusiastic and militant and I usually get quick results. Then, a month or two goes by and I slowly creep back up the scale. Giving up nursing and letting my habits slacken found me gaining back some of the weight I had successfully lost.

So, I decided to invest in Oprah's beloved Dr. Oz. I have always found him so interesting and reasonable, and since I decided that I did not want to go on another diet, I would buy his book and learn how to read labels. (This is also why I have taken up power walking with 70 lbs of stroller strength).

I also made myself read the entire book before I jumped right into the plan (as I usually do). I learned about the triggers of the body, about things that increase appetite, slow metabolism, and work against even your best efforts. I also learned that the most successful people are those who commit to food preparation and keeping your cupboards healthy for those times you fall of the ice cream truck.

So, I am ready. I got the fructose free everything. I got whole wheat pasta, pita, and tortillas. I have walnuts and edamame. I am even considering a dance with tofu (but I am keeping my expectations low). The point is: I want to start making better choices for my well being as well as my waistline. And I will begin this Monday.

Until then, however, consider this my weeklong Last Supper. I actually had a plate of curly fries for lunch (yes, the ones I bought because I thought the kids would like them....hmmm). I have also had some sodas (it's been years), and I have been eating chips like I'm an Irishmen storing up for the Potato Famine. Oh, and my neighbor's cake....gone.

The only thing I have refrained from are those evil Circus Peanuts that have led me on so many clandestine outings to the local CVS. I am beginning to think they are not actually a food and it's best they be left alone.

Wish me luck....I'm off to start cleaning out the pantry in preparation (one bite at a time).

Time Marches On...

The Top 5 Signs Your Baby is Not a Baby Anymore

5) Things like rattles, funny noises, and shiny objects no longer provide successful distraction

4) When a sibling commits an offense, he fights back

3) Any attempt to rock or carry them for an extended period of time leaves you breathless, sore, and sporting some pretty serious biceps

2) You can no longer count on the fact that the car will serve as vehicular Ambien

1) Diaper changing is now an extreme sport

Celebrity Daddies

Matthew McConaughey and his girlfriend welcomed a new son into the world yesterday, whom the named Levi. According to

Matthew explained why they chose the name Levi, "Levi was another name for
the apostle Matthew in The Bible. They were, in fact, two names for the same
person. Our son was born at 6:22 pm, and this particular time represents my
favorite verse in the book of Matthew in The Bible: 'If thy eye be single, thy
whole body will be full of light.'"

A touching choice, no doubt, but I cannot get this song out of my head.

Move Over Puffs

In case you have yet to discover them at your local grocery store, Yogurt Melts are the new Puffs. Freeze dried yogurt drops provide mess free, nutritious snacking for the early eater and the older siblings who have since moved beyond baby foods.

The only downside is that I cannot keep up my supply of these things. They get me through my morning walk, long lines, and the occasional car ride.

Thank you Gerber.

Quote of the Day

"I don't believe an accident of birth makes people sisters or brothers. It makes them siblings, gives them mutuality of parentage. Sisterhood and brotherhood is a condition people have to work at." ~Maya Angelou

Picture of the Day

With great power, comes great responsibility....
and a license to drive coin operated cars.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

True or False?

The kids are a good excuse to leave early.

Poem of the Day

Since I sent a shout out to Kahlil Gibran earlier, I figured his memorable poem would make a good choice for today.

On Children

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let our bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

On The Horizon

Just the other day a letter arrived from my daughter's preschool. The letter welcomed the new families, reminded us about the approach of the school year, and nearly made me lose my lunch.

Though preschool will only mean two 3 hour days a week, what I thought would provide some freedom for me and a new opportunity for my daughter is actually making me a little heartsick....and it isn't even close to September yet.

I guess that little knot in my stomach is really just about the fact that she is moving on as she grows up. I've heard rumblings from others about the need to let them go and give them wings with which to fly (shout out to Kahlil Gibran), but I'm just startled by my mixed feelings.

And, even worse, how the heck am I going to handle kindergarten when six hours a week has me nauseous??

The answer: Shopping and wine. Lots of it. And maybe at the same time.

Celebrity Mommies

Nicole Kidman gave birth to a baby girl yesterday morning, whom she and husband Keith Urban named Sunday Rose (despite the fact that it was Monday). Mother and daughter are said to be doing well, and as far as we know, Kidman's skin is still clinging to her face despite the 9 month break from her hourly Botox sessions.

On another note, I have to say I love Keith Urban's music, which is pretty far from what I typically listen to. "Making Memories of Us" is one of the sweeter songs to come out of any music scene in a long time. It's one of those songs I secretly pretend is being sung to me....but I guess the fact that I do that isn't really a secret anymore.


Tuesday's Craft

If you plan to take a trip to the beach, be sure to take a collection of seashells home with you. Using googly eyes from any craft store, a little paint, and some glue makes for great little creature creations.

The Votes Are In....

After the previous week's poll surveying the upcoming election, I decided to go with another pressing vote: the American game show.

Of the listed options, the majority went with Deal or No Deal as their game show of choice for participation...despite the inclusion of Howie Mandel (shave it, shave it!!!). Anyway, this is an obvious choice since very few people walk away with less than a few grand and the potential for big money is always looming. I dislike Howie, I loathe the briefcase girls, and the contestants are rarely likable, but this is a game where a basic understanding of math can secure you a nice chunk of change. On a side note, in a recent interview, Howie Mandel confessed that when the banker calls, he isn't actually giving him a number (that appears in a screen in Howie's view); but rather, he makes funny comments to try and get him to laugh. So, if you watch the show, look for signs of the banker's success.

Coming in at #2 is The Price is Right. Growing up, I distinctly remember that the occasional teacher in-service day or sick day meant getting to watch The Price Is Right for an entire hour. Plinko, Higher or Lower, and that one game with the hiking yodeler....what geniuses masterminded such entertainment?? I also accredit the show with introducing me to the concept of neutering, and for that, Bob, I thank you. Now Drew Carrey has taken over the important task of keeping people from being swept under the big wheel and I am sure he is doing a fine job (I have yet to catch it).

Supermarket Sweep is no longer on the air, but it still earned third place. This was a great show in all its cheesiness, and a great guide for anyone considering a grand grocery theft. Much like the incomparable Jane's Addiction video, it's all about grabbing the meat. They so need to put this back on the air.

Tied for 4th is Who Wants to Be A Millionaire? and Remote Control. I absolutely loved Millionaire in its "heyday"*, and even went so far as to try out for the show by phone. I passed the test and made it to the lottery portion for picking contestants, but alas, it was not meant to be. As for Remote Control, its airing marked a time when Mtv was still relevant and interesting. Colin Quinn was funny, the contestants were sarcastic, and the video grotto was fabulous. If Mtv were to redo the show today, they would certainly ruin it with horrible hosts, lame effects, and a confessional.

Last place goes to Jeopardy!, and that saddens me. Even though I would certainly do so poorly my negative points would exclude me from Final Jeopardy, this would be my game show of choice. And I couldn't even vote for it because my computer kept saying "Cannot Process Your Request". That's my sign....I will never meet the Canadian wonder or be dazzled by the glow of the blue screens.


On to the next votes........

*****"Heyday" comes from the old Germanic word heida, meaning "hurrah." In 16th century England, "Hey!" or "Heyda!" was a common interjection, a cry of joy or excitement. Of course, we still shout "hey" to get someone's attention, but the original sense of the word was more like the "hooray" or "whoopee" of today's corporate executive as he dons his golden parachute and leaves his underlings twisting in the wind. Later on, "heyda" came to mean a time of celebration, and the "da" was gradually replaced in English by "day," giving us "heyday."

A Little Late

A belated congratulations to the sensational Stacey for correctly identifying last week's Guess Who?. Yes, that little knee weakener is none other than Brian Backer, who is better known as Fast Times At Ridgemont High's own Mark "The Rat" Ratner. Mark was the adorably dorky guy who fell in love Stacy Hamilton (played by a very young Jennifer Jason Leigh), and made one fatal mistake that nearly cost him the love of his nerdy life: trusting Mike Damone.

Fortunately, his quest to make Stacy his high school squeeze proved successful...the last success Brian Backer has enjoyed as an actor.

Anyway, here are some choice quotes from the movie....

"Like I told the guy on ABC, danger is my business!"

"Look at you: member of the honor roll, assistant to the assistant manager of the movie theater. I'm tellin' ya, Rat, if this girl can't smell your qualifications, then who needs her, right? "

"I shall serve no fries before their time."

Quote of the Day

"Without enough sleep, we all become tall two-year-olds." ~JoJo Jensen, Dirt Farmer Wisdom, 2002

Picture of the Day

"No day is so bad it can't be fixed with a nap." ~Carrie Snow

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Monday, July 7, 2008

4th of July- Reflection

I have always been a big fan of 4th of July as nothing quite signifies summer like barbecues, fireworks, and frosty beverages.

This year was no different.

Special thanks to the D'Ostilios and the Schmidts for including us in their celebrations, as we thoroughly enjoyed both.

The D'Ostilios graciously introduced us to the annual Woodstown 4th of July parade. Something out of a Rockefeller painting, we joined the throngs lining Main Street to watch the trail of bands, tractors, emergency vehicles, mascots, and Vets meander through town. The weather was just right, and the tradition of throwing candy to the crowds made for one of the best times my daughter has ever had. Thanks also for the subsequent sugar high (and low) that followed not too long after.

The parade experience was so American, so idyllic, and everything 4th of July should be.

The Schmidts also helped to make our week a great celebration as we enjoyed something that is so quintessentially 4th of July: good food, good friends, and good times. Though my clepto daughter managed to pilfer a souvenir from their buffet table, my little man certainly appreciated Jason's grillwork (he ate an entire cheeseburger).

The highlight of the weekend, however, had to be the moment my car died. After the barbecue, I got the kids packed up and decided to make an exit at a sensible time to avoid a later exhaustion-induced confrontation over having to leave. Happy about the good time spent, elated that we were escaping without any major catastrophes (we had a close one with a pile of doggie poop-- shout out to Karen), and just as I was about to pat myself on the back, the car wouldn't start.

This is not the first time this has happened, but I am all but demanding it be the last.

Needless to say, my panic over transporting my munchkins safely to their bed was assuaged when I was rescued by my husband's friends who gave me a jump and sent me on my way...shout out to Mike, Scott, Jason, and Greg.

Why is that the high point? Because I learned something.

Men + Beer + Buddies + Grills + Bag-O + Something that needs to be fixed = A Perfect Party

Hope everyone enjoyed their weekend as we did...

Tooth Watch '08

As of last week, my son has five teeth. He has three on the bottom, and two on top. Interestingly enough, the top two are not the front teeth, but the #2 teeth.

Now, given his preference for enjoying the nightlife over the morning light, the fangs that have appeared ahead of his front teeth, and his fair skin, I'm thinking I might have a little vampire on my hands.

What does this mean for my cute little Count? Forget medical school or professional baseball, Dracula D'Alessandro will work hard to reintroduce the many benefits of bloodletting.

Fortunately, the inheritance of his father's heritage has brought me some peace of mind: the kid loves garlic.


I have decided to accept the apparent and officially retire "Profile of a Parent". Thanks to everyone who contributed, and expect a new round this fall with more intriguing and obnoxious questions.

In place of that installment, however, will be this new segment, which is also intended to pick your parenting brains. Every Monday I will post a question, and, if you are so inclined, provide an answer in the Comments section.

Here we go....

What is the worst advice you have ever been given?

Quote of the Day

"Childhood is that wonderful time when all you need to do to lose weight is take a bath." -Richard Zera

Picture of the Day

Already discovering the fairest one of all.

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