To that end, I won't go into details on these two movies. We just watched Juno last weekend, and let's just say I highly recommend it. (As an aside, I think I would be friends with Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman if I knew them. He always cracks me up - I can't see him any more without thinking of his character on "Dodgeball". And she just seems like a really nice and down-to-earth person. Of course, I'm basing this on talk-show and magazine interviews, but still.)
On Amazon, they grouped Juno with Little Miss Sunshine, and I was reminded of how much I liked that movie. Made me almost get out of my seat with laughter at the end. But don't think about that when you see the movie. Just sit back and enjoy!
Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread
1/4 C. sugar
3 T. vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 C. applesauce
2 C. all-purpose flour
2 T. unsweetened cocoa
1 1/4 t. baking soda
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. salt
1 1/2 C. finely shredded zucchini (about 1 medium)
1/2 C. semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place first 3 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at low speed until well blended. Stir in applesauce. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients, stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture, beating just until moist. Stir in zucchini and chocolate chips. Spoon batter into a 9×5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack, then remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack. Yield: 16 servings (yeah, right!)
"Talk About Taking A Village. On Disabilities Awareness Day, in a baseball stadium (Fenway Park - Boston), on what I can only describe a perfect day, is an excellent example of the old saying 'It takes a Village'. This man with autism, who was chosen to sing the national anthem, got a case of the giggles half way through. Listen to what the crowd does to support him."
Just another reason why I love Boston!
The key is to designate a place for these items and to do it as you come across things you don't need any longer, thus avoiding the "big purge" we all tend to do once or twice a year.
These are the shoes I ended up buying. I needed a pair of weekend "slip on and go" shoes. Although I'm not much of a shopper, we all must buy things occasionally, and I am a huge fan of online shopping. Almost all of the little boy's clothes were bought online from Old Navy. And I must put in a plug for Piper Lime. Piper Lime not only has free shipping, but also free exchanges/returns. I recently ordered shoes and had to return them, because they were too big. It cost me nothing, and they even called to let me know that they had been received. Good customer service on top of everything. Call me a loyal customer now. (But then, as I said before, I'm not a shoe shopper, so not sure they'll get much business from me. So I'm sharing this with my friends.)
For inspiration, I have a recipe box of old-standbys, I keep a binder with recipes from Cooking Light or Bon Appetit, and I have a number of cookbooks that have earmarked pages. I also enjoy looking online, particularly when I have a specific ingredient I'd like to use. (Cooking Light - My Recipe, Epicurious, or even Real Simple or Martha Stewart, are often used.)
20-30 minutes over the weekend is all it usually takes to plan it out. It is so nice not to have to think about what to do for dinner every night. I also make sure to plan for leftovers - they can take the stress out of a particularly busy day or make a good lunch that I can bring to work.
*Here's another example of a pad - this one is perforated between the menu and list, which allows you to take the list with you to the store while keeping your menu in your kitchen!
Curried Chicken Legs with Carrots and Rice
(Except I added potatoes to the chicken and carrots to make it a one-dish meal)
Panko Breaded Fish Sticks
Creamy Goat Cheese Pasta with Roasted Asparagus
(I've made this one before, and it's super easy and very tasty!)
And then thank goodness for leftovers to fill in on busy nights!
We then went to this fabulous spa. As soon as we hit the door, we immediately relaxed. It's that kind of place. Every smell and sound is focused on your peace of mind. It's fantastic. My wonderful husband got me a gift certificate for my birthday, and C decided that an indulgence was in order, having a small baby at home. Here's a description of our treatment:
Not only are they "green", but they're politically active as well. Take a look at another recent article in the newspaper, highlighting David's activism.
And on top of that, they run road races all the time to support specific causes and to keep healthy.
You guys are amazing!
I love this movie. I've watched Pride & Prejudice several times now, and it just gets me very time. My only complaint is the silly giggly younger Bennett sisters, but I suppose they were meant to be annoying. Keira Knightley is perfect as Elizabeth Bennett, and I don't even know the actor who played Mr. Darcy, but he was pretty perfect as well. He has a very sexy, smoldering seriousness about him. This probably isn't one you can talk the man in your life to watch - or maybe you can, who knows - but if you ever find yourself alone or with a girlfriend, wanting to watch something sweet and romantic, pick this one up.And if you like these, I'd also recommend Sense & Sensibility. I guess it shows my age to say that I remember watching this at the theater in college with my sister. I adore Kate Winslet and the end makes me cry tears of joy.
Then I had a baby. As all parents know, this means that my schedule was turned upside down. I lost the luxury of being able to sit on the couch at 8 or 9PM and watch a favorite show without interruption. So we got DVR through our cable company, and I immediately said, "Oh my gosh why did we wait so long to get this and how did I ever live without it!?!"
I honestly thought DVR was for people who watched a lot of TV; but I've found that I actually watch less, and I can be more selective about what I watch. If I have time to watch a little TV, I can watch shows I want to watch instead of the incessant flipping through bad show after bad show. And now I can plan my TV-watching around my life instead of the other way around, which is of course the way it should be. I can get all my nightly chores done and then start my show when I am fully ready to relax and enjoy it. Finding this little bit of "me-time" during my weekdays has become crucial to maintaining my sanity as a mom. Sometimes a mug of ice cream and 20 minutes of Jon Stewart is all it takes.
Some of my current favorites: The Daily Show (Jon Stewart), The Colbert Report, Lost, House, Heroes, Damages, 30 Rock, Friday Night Lights
I'm a pessimist. But not really. I mean, I was born with natural tendencies to
be pessimistic. If I don't work at it, I fall back into that rut of looking at the world in a negative way. However, I am living proof that optimism can be a learned trait. I've learned to be optimistic. It requires a daily focus on the positive things in life, which is part of the reason why I started blogging. As I think about what to put out here, I'm focusing on things that make me happy. Here are some of the ways to practice being optimistic:
1) Smile. Even when you're not in the mood. Someone will smile back, and it helps, I swear. The other way to think about it is: Act as if. If you act like you're happy, soon you'll realize that you are happy.
2) Take credit. When something goes well, don't think "I just got lucky". Take credit for the things that are going well in your life. You made it happen.
3) Don't compare. Don't read fashion (most women's) magazines. It's just too easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to people. People who you think are skinnier, or prettier, or richer, or more creative, or... Instead, focus on how fantastically wonderful you are. Because you are.
4) Give yourself a break. Every now and then, I just need to be crabby. I can't help it. It takes energy to do all the above things, and sometimes I need a break. So if you fall into that pessimistic black hole, you can have a beer and hang out for a bit, as long as you know how to get back out.
Spring is here! Spring is here! The daffodils are blooming, and I got to wear short sleeves for the first time on Saturday. (For all you southerners, please stop laughing and just be happy for me.)
One more room to show off. It is certainly much-improved, and I love the new paint color, but I'm afraid it only highlights how ugly our navy comforter is. We are on the look-out for a nice comforter/quilt/duvet that will help complete our look - so far we've had no luck. Let me know if you see anything that will fit!
I also try to do this every now and then with groceries. Instead of planning my menu and then making my grocery list, I will look at what I already have in my cabinet and try to build a menu using the things I already have.
I did a google search for "use it up" and found a similar entry on Unclutterer. Of course this isn't an original idea. But that doesn't mean it's not a good one. Use it up!
Beastie Boys - So Watcha Want
Silversun Pickups - Lazy Eye
Pearl Jam - I Got ID
Social Distortion - Ring of Fire
Foo Fighters - Best of You
Puddle of Mudd - She Hates Me
Green Day - American Idiot
Muse - Starlight
Dropkick Murphys - I'm Shipping Up to Boston
One of my goals is to reduce the amount of "stuff" we have in the house, especially stuff we never use. It just ends up cluttering closets and rooms. I regularly give piles of things to the VVA (Vietnam Veterans of America). Not only is it a good cause, it's tax-deductible, and they come and pick up your stuff! They accept just about everything (clothes, shoes, dishes, toys, appliances, curtains, even jewelry or cosmetics). Here's the Donation Program Site for more information.
Here's another way to clear your space. Do you have stuff that you don't ever use but think nobody would want? Don't throw it away! Go to Freecycle, offer it up, and chances are, someone will want what you're offering. Seriously. Extra potting soil, or packing peanuts, or moving boxes, old halloween costumes, anything. I was able to freecycle a box of empty baby-food jars last year. You also never know what you might find out there - people in my network regularly offer up kids clothes, furniture, exercise equipment... Not that I need more stuff.
My favorite song on the CD is #7, entitled "I Know What I'm Looking For Now". I particularly like this verse: