Friday, October 9, 2009

Breaking my blogging silence....

I've been away far too long. My instinct is to explain my absence with a lengthy list of justifiable excuses. As my mother says about Thank You Cards (which I am HORRIBLE about writing), it takes five minutes if you do it right away, 2 hours if you wait longer than a month. But in all reality, my absence comes down mostly to the fact that I am lazy and easily bored. And I have had nothing really interesting to talk about. Hopefully this post will "break the seal" as it were, and get me blogging in a more regular pattern.

So let's start with a few facts:

1. I am a big ole liberal (shocking, I know)
2. I really, really, really HEART Obama.
3. I am confused by the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize today

Here is where my progressives turn on me & my conservatives (Will & Tracy, cause I know you're probably the only ones still listening) poop their panties in delight. HOLD THE PHONES!!!! Tara doesn't think that he deserves the honor??? Hell must be freezing over!

But here's the just feels wrong. Cheap, almost. I haven't really heard any great arguments as to WHY he won, not even from the most liberal of media. I keep listening, watching, scouring the web, thinking "maybe I missed something"? Did I miss a really important move on the WARS (that's right multiple!), nuclear weapons, human rights, global warming? Was I busy cleaning up shitty underwear in my quest for a fully potty trained 3 1/2 year old? (Yes he's closing in on four & still crapping in his pants people! Don't judge! focus!) Did one of my issues of THE WEEK get lost in the mail?

I am more progressive, more liberal, more of a DEMOCRAT than the average gal. I spend my day soaking in Rachel Maddow, Keith Olberman & the aforementioned THE WEEK. Ok, I watch a little KLG & Hoda too, but just to laugh at them, I swear. I still daringly wear my I "heart" Obama shirt to pick up B at preschool. And while I TOTALLY applaud the words that he speaks (for I do believe that words have power), appreciate the moves he has made no matter how small (Guantanamo closing announced, but not actually closed??), and understand that he is dealing with more immediate "everyday" issues; I still think that there have been no REAL, HUGE, WORLD CHANGING actions taken to deserve such a distinction.

To me this feels more like a "Thank God You're Not Bush" Prize. And I actually feel a little sorry for Obama. This definitely puts him in an awkward position. No matter your politics, you have to admit that the guy is intelligent as all hell. And that being said, you have to think that he knows that this is just not deserved....YET. I still hold a great amount of HOPE that he will do great things. Maybe this prize will inspire him to get moving already!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Everything I know, I learned from Reality TV

Ok, so the post title is an exaggeration. But I do heart me some reality TV. I've been a fan since the first episode of the Real World (the og NY version, when it REALLY was reality).

I mentioned the Crazy Duggars in an earlier post. I call them Crazy in the most loving way. I really do love this wacko family. I'm enthralled by them in the same way I slow down to stare at a car accident just to see if I might catch a lone head rolling across the highway (I know, I have a dark & cold with it). On a side note, I spent Saturday nights watching this in high school...yep, I had a goth streak going on.

The Duggars are sweet little things that have STRONG beliefs that they seem to actually live. I say seem, because as recent events have shown, it may be any day that we learn Jim Bob (that's his real fun!!) is a coke snorting homosexual. I sure hope not, but ya never know! These people wear modesty swimsuits for God's sake (literally). That's so hardcore! I respect going to extremes, whether it be 18 kids & counting, or living in a treehouse eating raw food & braiding your armpit hair. I can't even commit to my hair color, much less homeschooling 18 damn kids!

Ok, so Mommy Duggar comes across as this super sweet, somewhat ditzy, totally patient, supermom. When I first started watching the show I was amazed with the way that she never raises her voice, her house is always clean & her children are totally well behaved. Talk about making you feel like the shittiest mom on the block. I have one kid, yell constantly, live in sloth & my kid is anything but well behaved (he's cute little midget though). Then I realized she has some things going for her. First, all the kids have "jurisdictions" that they are responsible; basically just a cult like way of saying that they do the same set of chores everyday under the threat of death (which I assume is given off the hell else do you get them to do it?). Plus, they don't watch tv to learn how real kids act and don't go to school to get the opportunity to fall in with the meth heads that you just know are big in Arkansas.

As I said in the very first post of this blog, I have a problem with women not being honest with each other, and thus making others feel bad for experiencing the real struggles of parenting & marriage. So, I think Mommy Duggar is sort of guilty of this, but most of the time I just think she is clueless. UNTIL a recent comment slipped through those un-lipsticked lips (makeup is apparently of the devil....without it I would look like a demon from hell). She shattered my belief in her at that very moment.

What did she say you ask? What could be so offensive? When asked what she liked best about having a new baby, she said that she loved being up with them at night! I CALL BULLSHIT!!!! There is just NO WAY, after having 18 kids, you do not value your sleep at least as much as I do with one! I'm betting it's closer to another threat of death by Mommy Duggar (off camera again) if anyone DARES wake her from her slumber. Now I'm wondering if she is totally full of it, trying to hide the ugly realities of life (the unfortunate habit of moms these days) to put up a pretty facade & or heavily hopped up on the best drugs that money can buy. I'm betting on the last one.

One last mention of reality TV. Jon & Kate have been in the news a lot lately and I feel horrible for the whole family. But really I feel awful for her. Everyone talks about what a bitch she is & that no wonder he fooled misogynistic can we as a society get?? She has 8 flippin kids under the age of ten....OF COURSE SHE'S A BITCH!!!! Plus her husband behaves like a child himself. I appreciate the "REALITY" that she portrays. It makes the rest of us mommies-on-a-ledge feel like maybe we ARE normal!

So yes, I am a ex-goth, ex-sorority girl, current SAHM whose feminism has been reinforced by the power of Reality TV.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Recipe Wednesday: Bruschetta Pasta

Here's another recipe that's modified from the TJs cookbook. This one you can probably shop for in the regular supermarket.

This works well for vegiterians, though I would double it if you aren't going to serve anything else with it. I serve it with grilled sausage (if you have not tried the Sicilian Chicken Sausage at TJs, you are missing out! It's delish!), a salad & maybe garlic bread.

Not good for: Tomatoe haters. That's about it!

Bruschetta Pasta
8 oz Linguine (or your favorite pasta)
1 container (14.5 oz) of Bruschetta sauce (in the refigerated section of TJs, near dips & such)
1 container (8 oz) Ciliegine (Small Fresh Mozzarella Balls, in water)
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese (I actually use Romano)

Cook Pasta al dente, drain. Stir in remaining ingredients & serve. The cheese will soften slightly with the heat of the pasta. YUMMY!!

Monday, June 15, 2009

When Does More Become Enough & Who the Hell are the Joneses?

Is it an American thing, a Californian thing, a generational thing? When did we become obsessed with getting more, having more, wanting MORE!? Bigger houses, bigger cars, expensive jeans, the perfect highlights, the 'best' schools, the most fab kiddos, etc, etc, etc..... It's exhausting!!! These damn Joneses and keeping up with them is getting OUT OF CONTROL!!!

Who the hell are the Joneses? My little sister just became a Jones =), but that's not what I'm talking about. Though some days her child free life does look quite appealing. In recent weeks she could be found in Mexico, at a NBA Finals game, a Dodger game, a party....oh, to be her!!! But now I'm getting sidetracked.

Let me tell you something about the Jones family. They have the house/car/looks/kids that you think would make you happy. You know what happens when they go to their bosses/family's/friend's house? They see things that they wish they had. That's right! There's always a bigger, better Jones family. I've seen it with people I know. I go to their house & wish I lived in something like theirs...something my entire house could fit into the living room of. But guess what? They wish they lived in a better neighborhood, had a car like their neighbor, or a better job. When does 'more' stop and 'just right' begin? I'm here to tell you the answer is NEVER!!! Inside most households its just the same shit, different day.

You know what wanting more has given us? LESS!!! Less time with our families, less fulfilling relationships, less growth, and ultimately, less happiness. Now don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with wanting more from your LIFE, but more/better stuff is not going to get you there. In fact, often times it is the 'stuff' that impedes us from achieving the life we really want. It's never enough, so you never stop wanting. And more often than not, the accumulation of more coincides with the accumulation of debt and in the end MORE stress & LESS happiness.

I'm stepping off this crazy train. Ok, to be honest, I have to. After losing my job, we are learning quickly how to live with way less money. But the biggest surprise of this whole situation is that I am happier learning to live on less. The joy of a fancy car can't compete with the joy of no payment! I love dinners at home. They are healthier, cost less and are so much less stressful than getting a 3 year old to behave in a restaurant. And less "stuff" means less waste & less damage to our Earth.

I am going to actively resist the urge of more. The best way I can think to help me is by replacing the typical "more" with things that I truly want more of and focus on those.

My New More List:
  • Patienence
  • Giggles
  • Babies!!!
  • Love
  • Family time
  • Finacial freedom (less debt!)
  • Outdoors
  • Reading
  • Time with friends
  • Organic/environmentally friendly solutions that are affordable!
What's your 'more' list?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Recipe Wednesday: Easy Chicken Marsala Casserole

I'd like to post a favorite recipe once a week, and Wednesday seems as good a day as any. I'll try to keep them as quick, easy, nutritious & kid friendly as possible. Can't please everyone on the last note, and since I have a kid that eats close to anything (I know, I'm bragging) I might fail with the picky eaters. I'll give you a heads up to any potentially offensive ingredients up front so you don't have to waste your time reading if it's not going to work for you.

For the first recipe I'm giving you what the Pintos will be having for dinner tonight. This Chicken Marsala Casserole is super easy, very yummy and includes most everything for a complete meal. I sometimes serve it with garlic bread &/or a side salad, but often it hits the table on it's own. I'm not a big casserole fan, yet this has been a hit.

This is a recipe that I have modified from one that is in the Trader Joe's Cookbook, which is to say, if you don't shop there, you probably won't have access to all the ingredients (especially the sauce). But if you are an exclusive TJs shopper like me, you'll love that you don't have to hit another store for that one ingredient they just don't have!

Not a crowd pleaser for:
Vegetarians (even if you leave out the chicken, the sauce has it), mushroom haters, brocoli haters

Easy Chicken Marsala Casserole
serves at least a family of five (mix of kids & adults)

  • 3 cups (one 10 oz pkg) fresh refigerated Cheese Tortellini, uncooked (don't use dried)
  • 4 cups (1lb) cooked chicken (I usually get a 1lb pkg of chicken tenders- they are cheaper- or defrost 3 or 4 frozen chicken breasts & simmer in H2o until JUST cooked through)
  • 1 pkg of TJs Shredded 3 Cheese Blend
  • 2 jars (12 oz each) Marsala Sauce (not to be confused with MASALA Simmer Sauce)
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth (I get the Organic Free Range)
  • 4 cups (a little less than a whole 16 oz bag) of frozen brocoli, can use fresh if you'd like, but I never have :)
  • Cut Chicken into chunks
  • Layer tortellini, chicken, 2/3 of the cheese, and brocoli (in that order) in an ungreased 9x13 casserole dish.
  • Combine both jars of sauce & the chicken broth and mix until combined. Pour this mixture over the casserole.
  • Spread remaining cheese over top. Cover with foil
  • Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil & continue baking for 5-10 minutes, until cheese is completely melted & bubbly (YUMMMY!!!)
One last thing. Adeana over at "Five's a Crowd" has spiffied up her blog and I encourage you to take a look. She is an incredibly busy mom to 3, a great writer, and incredibly honest! Here's her link: . Also, for those with an interest in natural products, check out her other endevour at


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Toddler Catch 22

The husband is in Orlando on "business". Days spent in an exhibit hall scoring new leads, answering emails & attending conference calls, spending evenings having fancy dinners & representing the Lakers at the Magic saturated ESPN Zone. Add to that a nice quiet hotel room that someone else cleans for you. After 3 full days & nights alone with a 3 year old, it sounds like a vacation to me!

Being new to the Stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) thing, I must admit that I feel EXTREMELY grateful to have this opportunity. It is something that I have dreamed about since I went back to work when B was 9 months old. However, even though it is a blessing, I refuse to pretend that it is all roses and rainbows. This is tough. Especially when John is away. He is a hands on dad and his presence in the evenings is a much needed mental break for me.

Please tell me that I'm not the only one that has the screamed the following in thier head: 1) SHUT THE HELL UP!!!! 2) STOP TOUCHING ME!!!! 3) GO AWAY!!!! Ok, it may just be in my head, but it still makes me feel guilty. And, I will admit, milder versions of these same sentiments have been spoken out loud frequently in the last couple days.

There's a catch 22 known to all parents. Just when you get what you want (peace & quiet), the worry sets in. The problem with toddlers is that just when you get your much needed silence, you remember that a silent 3 year old out of your line of sight is NOT a good thing. It can mean bad stuff, including but to limited to: 1) half a case of organic milk boxes opened & emptied on the kitchen floor, 2) Vaseline spread all over the couch, 3) kitten smothered under a blanket, 4) crayons used on the walls....etc, etc, etc...

This week I have found a temporary wormhole in this reality. Temporary because, as with all things toddler, I have learned that solutions to my frustrations are most times transitory and I refuse to get my hopes up or get attached to my new found distraction. I bought tempra paints for the afore mentiond Father's Day gift & threw some paint paper in the cart as well. SCORE!!! Brayden will happily sit and paint for up to an hour, as long as I am willing to refill! So, this is my grateful item of the day.

ps: If you are currently following this blog, or would like to start, you can now follow on facebook by clicking on the button on the left under "networked blogs". thanks for playing =)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Only Happy Thoughts

I intend to flesh out my goals this weekend. They are all clear in my head, as I have been working toward them for some time now. I really just want to put them in writing to help organize my thoughts & to clarify to everyone who bothers to read this drivel, just what's going on here. But for today I wanted to record some happy thoughts.

The Happy List

1. I am happy to have a President that I respecct & who inspires me. That's it. Nothing profound, just a joy that pops into my head at least once a day.

2. Brayden & I had an EXTREMELY successful art project today. If you've never had a 3 year old you just won't understand what a BIG win this really is. I make it harder, because my inner Martha comes out & wants to take over. (side note: I hate Martha....ok hate is extreme....but I resent what she does to women....more on that in a later post). Long story short, B had fun, I had fun, I had a few quite moments while he worked on his own, we learned about letters & colors, and John will have a nice Father's Day present. (shhhhh....don't tell!) SCORE!!!

3. Yummy dinner!! Whole roasted chicken, roasted potatoes & veggies. Get used to food posts. This is one of my biggest joys. It combines so many of the things I love & the things that are becoming increasingly more important to me. Taking care of my family, being a good steward to the Earth where I can, bringing sanity to our finances, and dedicating a moment in the day to sit and have a conversation as a family. Don't get me wrong, I'm not the traditional housewife that slaves over the stove because that is what is expected of me. Beleive me, John would appreciate if I threw a frozen pizza in the oven once in a while. This is something that I truly love. I have loved to cook, try few foods & create new recipes as long as I can remember. It is so nice to have the time to spend enjoying something I love and that is appreciated as valuable to my family. And the conversations that you have with a 3 year old over dinner are the best thing ever!!

Some of you may have heard this one through John's facebook, but it's just too damn funny not to repeat. For those not in the know, my husband's company sells Banking Compliance Software. I know....exciting stuff....please resist sending your resume for immediate hire. So the conversation went like this. Brayden: "I want to talk about dinosaurs". John: "I want to talk about work, did you know we released a new product on Reg Z: Early Disclosures today?" Brayden: "No Daddy, I want to talk about dinosaurs"! If only I had known it was that easy!

Well that's it.....nothing too funny or profound...just a few things that make me smile. Sleep well all!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

I'm starting to think there's something to being a nudist

There's a strange little place, near where I grew up, called Glenn Eden. It's essentially a RV/Trailer Park where people live/visit and live their lives in the nude. My parents used to go once a year with their softball team to play the parks residents (my parents wore clothes!) They'd return with funny stories of all people and antics. There were the men that slid head first (OUCH!), how the women on my parents team would fight to play catcher (wink wink) & how the people really weren't the kind you'd WANT to see nekkid. I always thought it was strange and wondered what the draw to live like that was. And now I've figured it out!!!


ARRRGGHHH!!!! Is it just me or does the effing laundry never STOP!!!!??? I just got finished folding & putting away about 10 loads yesterday. Now mind you, this was combined from our week & half long trip plus the pile up in the meantime. I hate folding & putting away so I usually do the laundry until it is pretty close to done and then spend a few hours folding putting away all at once. It sits on a table in corner of our super *tiny* living room. I bet you can all guess how much my hubby appreciates this. But really, with the 500 trains/cars/balls/stickers/crayons that constantly pollute the space, what the hell is the difference?

So getting back to the point, I cleared the table yesterday. John was VERY impressed! Guess what? As I sit here, giant iced coffee in hand, there is a new heaping pile on that same table directly behind me! WTF? How do we have so much laundry? I pretty much wear pjs every day (I've become very creative on how to "dress" them up to be suitable for errands, I'll save that for a later post). Granted, B is not fully potty trained, so that adds a bit, but how the hell do you do it if you have 2, 3, or 18 kids!!!??? (Crazy Duggars)

Okay now, because I promised myself that I am going to record things I'm grateful for, things I've accomplished, or things I've learned.....let's get to it!

Today's Happy List:
  1. I finished all my week's errands in an hour & a half! This left me with 1.5 hours of chill time before getting B from school....SCORE! I watched "Little Children". Very disturbing.
  2. Toward one of my goals of becoming more financially sane, I have been making my coffee at home. I make extra each morning, pour it into a bottle & store it in the fridge for a GIANT iced coffee in the afternoon (see "tons of laundry"!). This also supports my goal of creating a smaller carbon footprint. (More on goals in a later post....I'm not too organized with this blog thing....OH! Mental note to add that to the goal list!)
  3. I bought the new Purex Laundry sheets today! Toward my goal of "greening" my house & reducing the crap that clutters my tiny domicile. I know that this is not the MOST green alternative. I'm sure there is a site somewhere that could teach me how to clean my laundry with storm water I catch in a bucket, soap made from hemp, and a rock to beat them on. But the blog's called "SMALL" Steps...not "crazy hippie mommy". If anyone has any input on this matter, please share!
And so the moral of the story is.....who knows? I'll let you know after I get back from paying my space rent at Glenn Eden.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

So much to do, so little energy to do it!

It must be something about turning 30 that makes women evaluate their life. Almost everyone I know is asking herself variations on the same questions. Am I happy? Is this the happiest I can be? Is this how I envisioned my life? Has my vision changed? Am I a good mom? Wife? Friend? Citizen?

I have been wrestling with these things over the last year or two. The thing're not supposed to talk about it. Your supposed to be happy. Happy with your life, happy with your marriage, happy with what you have. To question these things is to say you don't appreciate them....that you're ungrateful.

Well, I DON'T BUY IT! It's faulty logic. Examining things doesn't make you appreciate or love them less, but the opposite. It helps you to fine tune, even extract more happiness from the things that are valuable. My hunch is that this logic grew out of the idea that questioning out loud makes you appear weak, and that just can't be tolerated. Some enlightened people would say it does not make you weak.

I offer a 3rd alternative. By openly discussing these things (frustrations with kids, husbands, home, money, jobs, etc) we are admitting weakness....AND THAT'S OK!!! As women, we need to admit these weaknesses to each other. When we stand together and acknowledge that things aren't always perfect, it makes us stonger as a group, a community, and in turn as individuals. We've gotten so competitive that we've lost the ties that bind women together. Each of us holding up our piece of society and lending a hand when someone stumbles.

This is the inspiration behind the blog, but the posts will be much simpler. I have learned that to overwhelm myself usually leads to failure or giving up. I want this to be a place to record simple accomplishments, frustrations, goals, ideas....who knows, maybe even a recipe or two!

I guess you could call it a combination of an online journal of sorts, or a gratitude journal, a to do list, a place to connect with friends and share ideas, etc. Who knows? It will probably change and morph overtime. It will be fun to see where it takes me.