Friday, July 29, 2011
Last month when my family moved from Southern California to the desert, it was a tough transition for a group of people who have Southern California running through their veins. My husband, children and I were all born in beach climate and were use to moisture, sand and sun.
When we moved into our new home our walls were bare and I was on a hunt for art. I scoured the stores, visiting every possible option. Nothing and I mean nothing was good. I refused to buy some generic flowers I'd seen a million times (seriously every store had the same flowers or watercolor french scene).
Now enter Jim Amos Photos on Etsy. I discovered this store, recommended by one of my very best friends and presto, I suddenly had the two things I was missing in my new desert oasis: art for the walls and stunning images of everything I love in Southern California. I was inspired by his colors, impressed by his technique and intrigued by the shots he captured with utter perfection. I felt his photos deep in my soul.
Head on over and discover the Jim Amos store on etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/JimAmosPhotos22
And now because Jason Bogs, the man behind Jim Amos Photos is one of the best people I know, he is giving CRAZY MOMS EVERYWHERE a chance to win one of his photos. Leave a comment here with your email address or email me at email@example.com and you too can hang the best parts of Cali in your home. This image will be yours in a 5x5 size! You have until Noon, Wednesday August 3 to enter! Good Luck!!!
Thursday, July 28, 2011
With so many complaints and bouts of irritation floating through the air these days I find it necessary to mention the simple, beautiful things in life of which I am thankful.
Yesterday I was exhausted. A night of little sleep, I was trying desperately to be patient and get through the day. When I totally destroyed dinner, a meal I was looking forward to cooking all day I was beyond agitated. I knew I shouldn't be so disappointed, it was only food but then again that's exactly why I was so bummed. I had worked hard on organic beautiful meats and veggies and Whole Foods pizza dough to make homemade pizzas on our new pizza stone. The kids pepperoni turned out well but the spicy chicken sausage, bell pepper and mushroom pie for my husband and I, not so much.
But when I reflected on the day, on the fact that I got my kids on ice skates that afternoon and was stunned at their ability at three and five years old, I was so thankful. I felt the gift of an ice cold arena to escape to on these fire hot Phoenix summer afternoons. And I took in the fact that while my husband works hard I am given the gift of staying home with my babies and enjoying such an excursion.
As I cleaned up the mess of my dinner disaster, feeling slightly better I heard a familiar sound. The laughter of my two children rang throughout our house, my husband cracking up as well. I took a peak around the corner, my hands damp from soaping dishes. I looked at my three loves sitting on our couch, laughing hysterically and I smiled wide. What were the watching you may ask....Happy Days, their new favorite. "Hey mom" my three year old said between fits of giggles, "come see Ralph Malph, he's running around a boxing ring."
Yes, I am Thankful!
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
By now anyone that knows me knows I'm obsessed with Waffle Lady products. With just one taste, you too will know why.
Waffle Lady Chocolate Chip Waffles are a thing of beauty. My daughter's favorite thing to eat for breakfast is waffles. It's our biggest debate and for a very stubborn five year old girl it can be quite a battle. She is a healthy kid who eats tons of fruit, has a vegetable juice every morning (we are crazy fresh juice makers and have somehow convinced out kids to drink a juice we make containing kale, celery, carrots, cucumber and bell pepper every morning) and has never been an excessive sugar consumer. Yet the fact that she wants waffles soaked in syrup every morning makes me nuts. To stop her hunger strike (I'm serious, she's stubborn) Waffle Lady has saved my life.
Waffle Lady Chocolate Chip Waffles are all organic. They may be chocolate chip, but The Phenomenal Waffle Lady has done it right, including the absolute perfect amount of chocolate chips, making the waffles decadent yet not overly indulgent. Made of simple, un-processed, wholesome ingredients this waffle mix is something even the most health conscious mother can be incredibly pleased with. Last week, I even convinced my munchkin to ditch the syrup and eat the waffle sticks (we like to cut them into sticks and dip them into syrup) with a fresh fruit salad and either turkey sausage or a scrambled egg.
My love for the Waffle Lady is a passion which began with my very first taste but has grown with each addition sensational bite . You too can begin a life long affection. Add a comment with your email address and enter to win an awesome Waffle Lady Gift Bag complete with three Waffle Lady products, coming to you straight from the lady herself! This contest will run until Monday, August 1 at noon, I will then announce the winner here. Make sure to tell your friends, the more people to submit, the more likely another one of these terrific contests will occur next week! Here is what the gift bag will be:
To find out more about The Waffle Lady and her products, go to: wwww.wafflelady.com
In our home we don't eat, we dine. Food is a treasure to be respected, savored and enjoyed. Personally it took me a long time to understand this but once I did, my life changed forever.
When I was twenty years old this queen of junk food married a healthy, food respecting man. I had never eaten a salad with a meal and my husband scoffed at my ignorance. Like it or not I was going to make a change. I started slow, iceburg lettuce with a couple slices of tomato. Thankfully I hate creamy dressings, so my very blah salad was always covered in some sort of tangy vinaigrette.
Over the years I've evolved greatly. I never minded trying new things, just preferred to eat sweets, processed food, meats and carbs. I still overindulge on treats (everyone has a vice), but everything else in my diet has improved. Salads are probably the number one dramatic change in my life. I love to experiment with flavor and texture combinations. I love that I learned to appreciate the underrated brilliance of butter lettuce, the fun of a wedge (no not the shoes) and the fact that texture plays a huge part in whether you enjoy your feast in a bowl.
Last night I prepared chicken parmigiana for dinner but because of the relentless heat in AZ I wanted a lighter experience from a normally massive meal. My conclusion: skip the pasta, make a chunky fresh tomato sauce, and create a delicious, vibrant summer salad. The results were amazing!
Salad ingredients include:
One head of Romaine lettuce (the center where the leaves are smaller, lighter and more crisp), chopped very thin
One head of corn, cut off the cob and not cooked
Small chunks of red onion (even if you dislike onion, its a necessary component and if sliced thin you will barely notice them).
3 tomatoes cut into chunks (go with the real thing not the tiny cherry or grape tomatoes, it will give the salad more moisture)
A Quarter of a Hot House Cucumber, pealed and cut into chunks
Fresh, very good quality Parmigiana cheese grated coarsely
Toss with a light Italian dressing (I've recently started buying Whole Foods 365 Italian or Balsamic dressings....they are great with this).
For my Chicken Parm recipe, go to my online magazine http://www.litfestmagazine.com/litfest/RECIPES/Entries/2010/12/5_Skillet_Chicken_Parmesan.html
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
The reality of being a mom to school age children has finally hit. I remember being ten years old, looking at my mom on those hot, school-free days, and knowing without a doubt that she was going to rip her hair out! Two and a half months for kids to be out of school may seem like paradise to little energetic munchkins, but to a mother who can only think of so many activities, so many project, so many local kid-friendly places to visit, it can be a bit of an uphill battle. This week, as my bouncing baby girl is on the verge of beginning kindergarten, I've realized what my mother went through and what so many others go through as our kids run circles around the house and we stare, trying not to go crazy! We've had a fabulous summer, filled with change, growth and experience...but as the last weeks wind to a close, the chaos and my inability to control it is apparent.
I write this post with a bit of caution. On Sunday night I watched Diane Sawyer's interview of Jaycee Duggard and was affected to my core. I was outraged at the state of our 'system' that lets vile, inhuman beings walk the earth because of prison overcrowding and the parole officers who are paid by our tax dollars to NOT do their job. I was touched by a mother, who never gave up, who searched and prayed and waited for her baby to come home. And I was stunned by a woman, only a bit older than I, who was kidnapped, raped and forced to do the unthinkable, yet shows an unimaginable sense of hope and love in her heart. The last moments of this interview, just when I suspected I could cry no more, Jaycee's mother looked into the tv, speaking as one mother to another and gave a beautiful piece of wisdom. She spoke of leaving her home the morning Jaycee was kidnapped and rushing out the door, more concerned with herself than her daughters. Worried about getting to work on time she decided NOT to kiss them goodbye. Painstakingly, she told me and the millions of mothers watching, to take that 'minute' for your kids....it might be an inconvenience to you but it means something to them.
That evening as I tucked my babies in bed and my precious girl argued and persisted for one more kiss, one more sip of water I took a deep breath and prayed for patience, I kissed my little one, hugged her (maybe a bit too tight, I was emotional) and counted my blessings. Yes, the summer may be long and filled with commotion, but it is ours and it won't be here forever. I'm incredibly thankful to have such energetic kiddos causing havoc to our lives even if half the time, I want to rip my long, thick blonde hair out in chunks!
Friday, July 8, 2011
Life in our little world has changed drastically over the past month and a half. We're living in a new city, becoming familiar with our new home and new neighborhood. For me, two extra things I've had to get use to are shopping in a new market where I don't have my regular rapport with the produce guy or a butcher who knows me by my first name and a new kitchen. My new stove is electric and my oven seems to bake quickly, so I've spent my time recently avoiding baking (which for me is NOT easy). Today however when I walked into Whole Foods and was confronted with a massive display of succulent cherries on sale, I knew there was only one thing to do. I grabbed three bags and took out my iPhone....Googling a cherry pie recipe. Thirty minutes later I left the market with everything I needed to make a yummy cherry pie and homemade whip cream......(except I soon realized, a cherry pitter).
I ran home (the kids where with their grandparents and I was determined to get this baby in the oven before they returned) and began pitting cherries. Without a pitter, it was a mess but not nearly as difficult as I expected. I was finished before I knew it and ready to get to work on the rest. I chose to combine steps from various recipes, coming up with what I thought would work best. Other than not pinching the crust well enough and experiencing a bit too much oozing of the cherry filling....I think it turned out perfect. The hubby obviously agreed, placing his plate in the sink and proclaiming "that was the best piece of pie I've ever had."
The moral of this story is....I'm glad I bit the bullet and baked a scrumptious treat. Yes the new oven bakes quickly but I've figured out it's quirks and am moving right along! Thank goodness for a sale on cherries!!!