December 31, 2010

12 DAYS OF MOMMY: BALLOON IN THE MOON

Day 11

For the past 6 months or more, I have ignored the notification on my computer indicating that my iTunes and pretty much every other application needs an update. I've also ignored the fact that after 2 years of this computer, I have never, repeat NEVER, officially backed up anything anywhere. From photos, to music, to important documents, to a SLEW of posts and scripts and ideas, nothing has been saved.
SO, when my bf gave me an iPad for the holidays (psyched!), I knew I was in store for some serious cyber organization.

Of course, I didn't know that I would get the charming, cute, and totally convincing Mark Zuckerberg of Apple when I went in to the store to have them set it up.

One Time Machine, Leopard something or other, and the "Kate Spade" of covers (yes, it's literally called Jack Spade), I left (broke) ready to get my tech back up ON.

Anyway, that's how Day 11 (and some of 12, 13, 14 and 15) was/will be spent... as there is more condensing, saving, and organizing to be had in every aspect of my life. I'm not complaining though. In fact, I'm thrilled. It just means I'm one step closer to the type-A organized freak that once reigned inside my head. Alas, there will be 365 chances in 2011 to find that old/new me. Thank god for Time Machines.


Day 12... The final chapter.

I decided that it would be perfect to end our last day of the 12 Days of Mommy (aka the 12 days of trying to eradicate all mom guilt) with taking a drive down to visit my brother, sis in law and nephew - topped off with a visit to my Nana who had hip replacement surgery last week.

First stop, a visit with Auntie J and Baby R to the duck pond to feed the duckies.... Though we've done this before and have never had a problem, today, the ducks were out of their friggin' minds.

I don't know if it was a drop in temperature, but we could barely make it down the path to the water before the ducks (and seagals- btw, we were NOwhere near the ocean) started to attack and follow us on a hunt for stale peppermint Trader O's (I had a hard time understanding how easily my bro and SIL seemed to part with these too, in case you're wondering).

Long story short, it wasn't long until we found ourselves (indoors) having milkshakes, burgers and fries at Ruby's, followed by a great and much needed haircut for Jonah. (Oh, did I mention the stop at the candy store?)

**Preface to the ending of this post: Whenever Jonah is given a balloon, he tends to immediately want to let it go... "to the moon." And every night when I wash his hair, in an effort to get him to lean back, I have to say, "look up at the balloon in the moon."**


Well, it seemed perfectly fitting that at the end of our day together, he would let it his purple balloon go to the moon. Something about this was beautiful to me. As this year ends and a new one begins, a balloon to the moon is the perfect send off....


HAPPY NEW YEAR!

December 29, 2010

12 DAYS OF MOMMY: THE ZOO

Day 10

Wordless Wednesday - animal style.





December 28, 2010

12 DAYS OF MOMMY: OUT TO SEA


Day 9

After a morning of bagels, lox, coffee cake, and a visit from Grandpa B, we took a drive down to Newport Harbor (Balboa)....

A couple weeks back, I saw an awesome deal on Family Finds for $35 for a ride around the harbor to look at all the Christmas lights and decided to book it.

To date, Jonah's only other boat experience was on the Jungle Cruise and Small World at Disneyland so I thought it was time to take the boy to sea... Or at least to the marina.


We had some time to kill before the boat took off so we had some slices at a little boardwalk pizzeria that I had to convince Jonah was "Pizza Planet" from Toy Story so he would sit down and eat.


Once we got to the boat, it was smooth sailing. All the houses on Balboa Island and Lido Island were lit up and it was gorgeous.


The hot chocolate was definitely a highlight as was the moment Jonah was humming and I discovered it was from Wizard of Oz's "Munchkinland" song where the Coroner announces the witch is not "just merely dead, she's most sincerely really dead..."



I'm discovering that Jonah is a ham. In fact, later that evening, he requested the "dot com" song "from the commercial." Not sure how we figured it out, but he was talking about the Overstock.com commercial that is to the tune of jingle bells. Thanks to the intra-net, I found it on youtube. For your viewing pleasure, here is his version of it. (Pay close attention to the end/tag line. Brilliant).

video

December 27, 2010

12 DAYS OF MOMMY: WE'RE OFF TO SEE THE WIZARD


Day 7

Well... I had every intention of taking little J to see "Tangled" this morning (his first movie in a theater), but I figured the other moms/children would not appreciate sneezes and snot rocketed in to the air without any attempt to shield from others. And since it was the morning of Christmas Eve, I worried that his cold might eventually reveal itself as a rip roaring infection of some sort-- so I decided it would be best if we went to the doctor just in case.

Yup. Just a bad cold.

So, we ended up spending the day at home relaxing and were later joined by family and friends for some traditional Christmas Eve chili. (I just made that up. I suppose there's nothing traditional about chili on Xmas Eve whatsoever. But it at least deserves a mention because it was topped with Frito's... and anything topped with Frito's deserves a mention).

So at some point in the last week or so, "Wizard of Oz" happened to be on TV and I guess Jonah caught a glimpse.... Well, I guess our days of Elmo, Sid, Wyatt and Clifford are done. Those guys are bor-ing. Right now my boy is enamored by Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Scarecrow and even the Wicked Witch. Oddly, nothing in this movie scares him except the Lion.... which basically means there's only about 3 scenes we can watch in the entire movie. Nonetheless, I'm enjoying watching this with him. Perhaps we'll try "The Wiz" in a few weeks.... NOT.

Day 8

Christmas day and LA is a ghost town. Great day again with family and friends. Finished it off with a movie-- "The Fighter." SO good. Christian Bale's performance was so incredible that it kind of makes up for the fact that he went bonkers on a crew member last year.

In other news, I haven't stopped eating since the 17th and I fear that my yoga pants will have to be surgically removed from my body as 12 Days of Mommy has rapidly become 12 Days of about 5 showers and 2 changes of clothes.

Oh, yes.... I am the ghost of disheveled past....

December 25, 2010

12 DAYS OF MOMMY: TRICIA'S RED BEANS, AND RICE


Day 6

When Jonah's nanny Tricia (AKA the Jonah whisperer and my savior) first started working with us (6 plus months ago), I told her that I had only a few staples that I knew how to cook and could whip up easily. Of course, there's only so much turkey meatloaf, pasta and lemon chicken a child can take...

Anyway Tricia, who is originally from Grenada, told me that she had a few recipes of her own that Jonah would probably like.

One of the recipes she told me about was her family's recipe for Red Beans and Rice.... Well, after months of Tricia's recipe pinned to my bulletin board, I decided yesterday would be a perfect opportunity to make it. After all, in addition to sauteed onions, sizzling bacon and of course love, nothing makes a recipe better than a 3-year olds sneezes and coughs!

It turned out delish. Here's the recipe. Note the coconut milk! YUM.


Tricia's Red Beans & Rice

4oz Bacon (About 6 slices), Chopped
1 Large Onion chopped
4 Garlic cloves minced
1 -28oz can of Diced Tomatoes, Drained
1 Bunch Fresh Cilantro, Finely chopped
3 cups Long-Grain Rice
2 -14oz Cans of Coconut Milk
1 cup Water
4 tbsp Salt
2 -15.5 oz cans of Red Kidney Beans, Drained

Brown bacon for approx. 3 min. Add onions and garlic. Saute for 5 more min. Then add drained tomatoes, kidney beans, cilantro, rice and salt. Mix gently until well blended. Add coconut milk, water and mix again. Bring to a boil and cover. Once boiling, lower heat and simmer for 35-40 min, or until rice is tender.

HOPE EVERYONE'S HAVING A DELICIOUS HOLIDAY!



December 24, 2010

12 DAYS OF MOMMY: SUGAR COOKIES


Day 5

We did it. We made Sugar cookies. I planned on using the mixture/ cookie kit from Trader Joe's, but of course at the last minute discovered I needed parchment paper which I didn't have. Fortunately, I remembered I had an old Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix in the cabinet (see, I do have intentions of being a good (divorced) housewife).

My shirtless sous chef was a delight to work with.... And very good with his hands....

But not so into the decorating part.... He lost interest pretty quickly and was more than ready to try the goods.




Why do I find it so ironic that the Christmas tree is decorated and the menorah gets a little "shmear.....?"
Oh, well.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL! XOXO, Jenny







December 23, 2010

12 DAYS OF MOMMY: THE LAKE SHOW


Day 4

Back to Staples Center... this time sans child and characters skating (and falling) on ice. It was an adult night... A night to see Kobe, Lamar, D-Fish and crew take on the Milwaukee something or other.... Apparently it was a terrible game. An atrocity (the Bucks won by like 20 something points), and Kobe even got thrown out for two technicals. BUT I had a blast as a) our seats were incredible and I was in good company, b) I made Charlie O'Connell (the drunken/Bachelor/brother to hot Jerry O'Connell) laugh while in line for a French dip sandwich and c) like any good Laker game, having nothing to do with how they play, there were some good celebrity sightings. No Jack Nicholson, but I'll take "Jack Dawson" over him any day anyway....


*Sports fanatics and great wives/girlfriends who claim to "like" watching Sports Center (Nooooo, you do. You really really do!): Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy the Lakers for more than their pretty faces and wives with addicting reality shows, I do. BUT, the cheerleader (that never was) and truck driver swearing/ true sports fan thing doesn't really kick in until May/playoffs. That is... if they make it to the playoffs or finals. If they don't, well... then....ehh. Sorry NBA... I'll be "Keeping Up" with a different kind of season finale...

Spoken like a true LA native... ;-)

December 21, 2010

12 DAYS OF MOMMY: BOYS WILL BE BOYS


Day 3

I think yesterday was the first time I realized how different my life will be raising a kid with certain behaviors... Lately, it's been hard to know what is just 3 year old behavior vs. circumstantial/reactionary behavior. But yesterday, I got a glimpse of the kind of a behavior that generally makes up and defines my kid:

BOY BEHAVIOR.

Another rainy, rainy day here in Los Angeles... We met my dear friend Carin Goldstein of BeTheSmartWife and her son E at an indoor playroom. I think the highlight for Jonah was discovering an air hockey table and really trying his hardest to play. Watching him wait eagerly for his turn, and being told by an older boy that he was ruining the game (as he kept purposely shooting the puck in his own goal because it was funny), touched me in some way....

After the playroom we went downstairs for a bite to eat .... well, Carin, E, and I ate.... Jonah was on a "poo poo/ pee pee" song and jibberish kick in an effort to make E laugh.... And boy did he ever! The two of them were as silly as can be. Initially, there was an effort on my and Carin's part to curb their behavior ("we're in a restaurant!") but at a certain point, it was just too plain funny and well, at 4:45 on a Monday, the place was empty... and I'm on kind of on vacation. Sometimes it's okay to just let things slide.... right??


Have at it boys!


12 DAYS OF MOMMY: TO GRANDMOTHER'S HOUSE WE GO



Day 2

On most mornings, trying to rally the kid to get dressed and get out the door is an extraordinary feat. But tell him we need to get dressed so we can go visit his grandparents???

6:10am he's raring to go. Jerk.

It was a rainy and chilly day here in LA, so stuffed french toast and coffee at Grandma L and Grandpa B's house was the perfect way to spend the morning...



Not sure if he's picking up on my 12 Days of Mommy/ Relaxed vibe, but he wasn't up for a lot of playing or running around... Instead J sort of chilled, cuddled and lounged... entertaining us all (from the floor) with his version of "Knock Knock" jokes....


As an aside, when it comes to Jonah's "Knock Knock" jokes, he demands that a) everyone says "who's there," and I mean everyone ... and b) when he finishes, everyone must laugh---no matter what the joke is or "who" is actually there.... which, at this point, a "lamp post" is always who's there. Don't ask).

On our way out, J got on his rain boots and splashed in some puddles with Grandma....


We ended the day with dinner at my all time favorite restaurant- El Coyote. This LA landmark and institution is well, for lack of a better word, a dump. In fact, most people go there for the margaritas only and think the food is crap. BUT I LOVE IT. Seriously, I don't care that they offer spaghetti with their tacos and thousand island with their tostadas. I LOVE IT. And crave it. So it was fun to have an early dinner there with one of my bf's who loves it like I do and her husband and son.

Alas, Day 3 needs to be a little lighter on the food front.... or I need 12 pairs of sweat pants.

December 20, 2010

12 DAYS OF MOMMY: DISNEY ON ICE

Day 1


It was a lazy, lazy morning. The kind that was so comfy and so perfect, I wondered if i was doing something wrong. I could get used to this...


The big event of the day: taking Jonah Downtown to Staples Center to see Disney on Ice. Not quite understanding the concept of "a show," he kept asking if he would get to skate at the "ice skating school." (Apparently his only understanding of ice skating at this point is from Murray on Ses. Street going to skating school. LOL).


My bf and I were so excited to tell him that this was where the Lakers play. "Kobe DRYant?" he asked.

"Yup, Kobe DRYant." (Incidentally, am I the only parent who actively chooses to let their child pronounce/say things wrong because it sounds so cute?)


The minute we walked through the doors of Staples Center, the yellow, purple and Jack Nicholson-filled stadium was no where to be found. Oh no, it was all things Disney--- and they get ya at the door. Literally. We didn't take more than 15 steps until J spotted a vendor selling an overpriced plastic chatchke that lights up and turns children in to "gimmee now" zombies. Equally enamored, and apparently made of money, his every wish was my command. Thankfully he settled on a pair of Mickey binoculars, cotton candy that came with Mickey ears, and a bucket of popcorn. $42 later, we were off to our seats.


Then the magic happened....


Watching Jonah's eyes pop when the characters emerged on to the ice was priceless. He marveled, waved and cheered and... holy shit: he sat still for two hours!!!



Though he did love seeing his favorites like Mickey, Buzz, and Woody dancing and singing... on ice... I would say Jonah was mostly enthralled with the set changes and curious about where the characters were disappearing to when they skated off the ice behind the curtain...



For me, I'll be honest, though beyond excited to be sharing something special like this with my son for the first time, as a whole, it was hard for me to not think about what "Mulan" or "Snow White" really wanted to be when they grew up. Watching them lip sync to the songs and stumble/fall every now and again, reminded me of a cruise ship performance. In fact, I wondered how many of these actors even spoke English. I don't mean to sound critical or cynical-- it was fun! I'm just saying, "Aladdin" didn't exactly skate like Johnny Weir that's all.


There were definitely some "scary" parts for little J.... Like the dancing brooms during Fantasia... or the spooky skeleton greeting other evil characters like Captain Hook and Cruella De Villa. Much like his first time on Pirates of the Caribbean, I held him tight, told him that it was all pretend and delighted in knowing that these would be the memories shaping his imagination and boyhood....


All in all it was a fun day and a great way to start 12 Days of Mommy.


PS. Minute by minute, I think this is quickly turning into 12 Days of Eating. Yikes.




December 18, 2010

HO, HO, HO: 12 DAYS OF MOMMY

This past week I felt like I was back in college, prepping and cramming at the last minute for finals and term papers. (Sure, one might ask what kind of papers and finals are given when you're majoring in Theater/Acting, but trust me-- It wasn't all cigarettes and jazz hands). Anyway, these past few weeks (entire year, really) have felt like I've been on a spin cycle. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: right now, life is challenging. In. every. way.

Take this picture for example. This is of me trying to get ready for work in the morning and Jonah ready for school. In order to do that, ("that" being trying to pull an elephant out of a worm's asshole), I had to pretend that I was going to leave the house wearing J's clothes and use his shopping cart as my purse.... in order to get him to laugh... in order to get him to relax... in order for me to get ready .... in order for us to JUST get of the door....

(BTW, you can't see it, but my left arm is in his robe).

There are two things these days that I'm missing very much and wishing I could have/ do more of:
-Time with my son. Truly unfettered, slowed down and not rushed time.
-Blogging. I read others blogs all day long. I want to write more on mine. And I don't want to have to think too much about what I write. I just want to post.

So, in an effort to do/have both, I'm taking the next two weeks off of work work, to some home work. Literally.

I've declared now through the end of the year as: The 12 Days of Mommy.

Every day, I'm going to do something different with my son. Whether it's just a long walk to the library, making sugar cookies, or taking him to see a movie in the theater for the first time, I want to spend time creating memories and give him some of the undivided attention that I think he's craving right now....

On the blogging side, I'm going to post about our experiences..... However, I should clarify that a 12 Days of Mommy post may not always be about a Mommy/son day or moment. Oh, no.

A day of Mommy post might be about just ME... working out, hanging pictures, or watching my new favorite show (where has Celebrity Rehab been all my life?!) After all, *I* am Mommy and oh, do I need a day....

Who knows, I might even decide to actually leave the house using a farm house as my purse... And do a Jazz Hand on my way out. The possibilities are endless. Let the fun begin....


December 8, 2010

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY: INTO THE WOODS

Into the woods....


To find some butterflies we go....


And.... stop at Starbucks after to refill the coffee cup mommy thought would survive in her pocket.



*Note* Hard to believe, but this is my first Wordless Wednesday. At some point I imagine I'll catch on and actually NOT use words. Be patient. :-)

December 1, 2010

HANUKKAH LATKE SWAP WITH ONE HUNGRY MAMA


In 2nd grade, I can remember having a pen pal and thinking how amazingly special it was to connect with a little girl in Russia who was living a polar opposite life (but probably had the beginning of a mustache like me). Nearly 30 years later (minus 7. You do the math), perhaps it was my tale of burnt toast and hot firemen that sparked (no pun intended) the attention of Stacie Billis of One Hungry Mama ... But alas, I think I have a new pen pal again. Though we live on opposite coasts, I'm not so sure our lives are polar opposite (though I'm certain she knows how where blades go in a Cuisinart... but more on that later). Our biggest common denominator? The desire to create food memories for our children... The desire create new family traditions, especially during the holidays...

After reading a few posts, including the burnt toast incident that rocked the nation and a tweet about me making my very first pie over Thanksgiving, Stacie reached out to me about doing something collaborative for Hanukkah. I was so touched and honored (and scared), I had to take it on. Not to mention, I'm certain that my Nana's latkes are gods gift to man so it was with pride that I could hand over that recipe to her. In exchange, Stacie shared her latke recipe-- a work in progress, as she says... a recipe that improves every year.

Though Greek, Stacie grew up in a predominately Jewish neighborhood and longed to be Jewish her whole life. Apparently she even asked if her family could swap Hanukkah for Christmas (I totally get it BTW. 8 Nights. 8 Gifts. Oily food. Done). Stacie married a nice Jewish boy who also feels that family culture and history is important to share with children.

"We're starting our own traditions, secular, Greek & Jewish one.
And we're making the Jewish ones up along the way."

I think I love this girl.

Okay... so let's cut to the recipe chase. And a CHASE, it literally was...

From not knowing how to get the damn blade in to my Cuisinart....
To watery eyes...


To getting ready to sizzle and realizing I needed OIL to get my sizzle ON... *DUH*...

This was one awesome recipe swap and adventure. All in all the latkes turned out to be delicious. The second batch was definitely better... But like my new dear foodie friend, I too am a work in progress... Thank you, Stacie! Happy Hanukkah Everyone!

To read Stacie's story about our swap, visit Babble's Family Kitchen.

One Hungry Mama's Latkes


Makes about 16 pancakes

· pat of butter

· 1/4 c matzo meal or plain breadcrumbs

· 2 lbs russet potatoes (about 4 large), shredded with the large wholes of a box grater or the shredder attachment of your food processor

· 1 onion, grated in the same way as the potatoes

· 1 12 tsp salt

· 1/4 tsp pepper

· 1 tsp ground mustard

· 2 eggs

· veg oil for frying


1. Melt the butter in a small skillet. Add the matzo meal or breadcrumbs and toast until they turn golden brown.

2. In the meantime, roll the potatoes in a kitchen towel (I find that terry cloth works best) and squeeze out as much water as possible.

3. Combine toasted breadcrumbs, potatoes, onions, salt, pepper, mustard and eggs in a bowl. Mix well. This is your "batter."

4. Heat oil a large pan. You want it to come up the sides just about 1/4"--it should be enough to coat the entire bottom and then some. Add about a palmful of batter to the oil, flattening a bit. Repeat. Be sure not to overcrowd; depending on the size of your pan, you'll fit anywhere from 4-6 pancakes in a batch. Allow one side to brown before flipping each pancake over. Brown the other side and move cooked through pancake from the pan to a plate covered with paper towels to drain. Serve hot. I like serving these with homemade apple sauce (I make it right in the slow cooker) and sour cream.