On Friday Night Pizza

Once upon a time in a far off land I did not have a child. It seems like a dream that at some point in my life I slept in on weekends and just went and did things like shopping at the mall without giving anyone any notice.

In that far off time before The Sprout Friday night was often sushi night. My husband and I would text each other and determine we would meet up at our normal sushi place at a specific time. Or sometimes I would head to his workplace (which was close to said sushi place) and we would roll with some of other equally carefree childfree people for sushi. Mmmm sushi! It was a great way to herald in the weekend. No cooking, no dishes, full of good food as we went to bed, ready to have an awesome weekend.

Those days ended shortly after The Sprout. We took The Sprout to our sushi place a time or two. He enjoyed rice and nori. It was good times. Then our sushi place moved to a much smaller location, where we could not stake out a small table in the back away from the carefree childfree folk. And Friday Night Sushi was no more.

I love cooking. I do. Friday night I never want to cook. I don’t even want to exert the tiny amount of brain power to figure out what I would cook if I wanted to cook. I just want to shove food in my mouth and celebrate that for 2 blissful days I do not have to explain what a deposition is to anyone.

After Friday night sushi was no more we floundered (pun intended). We would try going out, but Friday nights at restaurants with a kid is one of Dante’s levels of hell (the 5th one with all the sullen people & crazies fighting each other). It was not relaxing and did not make me feel excited for the weekend. It made me wish I was back in my quiet office alone. Then we tried delivery of various iterations. This was the best solution but delivery on Friday night seems to take eternity (1st level of the inferno  in limbo hanging with Homer). Plus it never failed that something I had ordered specifically for myself it ALWAYS what got left out of our order. I apparently have some sort of bad delivery karma. Plus the Mister and I would spend an HOUR (this may be an exaggeration) trying to agree on where to get delivery from. And then was there something The Sprout would eat. The Sprout has high standards when it comes to food, like most three year olds. So we would finally eat dinner at 9pm. I am not European or something, I do not believe in dinner at 9pm. 9pm is for watching your DVR.

Finally (it only took me three years) I solved the problem. Fridays are Pizza night. All three of us like pizza. There are about a million ways to have pizza. There is relatively little clean up from pizza. Problem solved! I highly recommend making your Friday night Pizza night or whatever easy meal you and your family love that doesn’t require lots of time or energy. It has made Fridays awesome. We all look forward to pizza. We eat at a normal time. I don’t end up with lots of dishes and I again feel excited and energized to start the weekend.

One of the many pizzas we have eaten are English Muffin Pizzas, which The Sprout loved helping make.

On #100happydays

Today was my last day of posting on twitter for #100happydays. In case you have missed or ignored the social media trend of #100happydays, you can go to the website. The gist is, every day post something that made you happy for 100 days. Technically, you are supposed to post a picture of what made you happy, which I did not comply with because either I forgot to get a picture of the thing that made me happy or the thing that made me happy defied picture taking (like my son doing some crazy thing).

I started this at the beginning of October when I had some personal issues that were getting me down. I felt like I was focusing so much on the negative that I was missing the positive. So I literally did some sort of Internet search about happiness. I don’t recall what I searched for, if it was “how can I be happier?” or something else but I came upon 100happydays.com. Once I read the website I realized I had seen other people doing it on social media, posting pictures with the hashtag #100happydays but had not understood what was going on. The website claimed that people felt happier and more fulfilled after doing the project.

So I thought “why not.” I set a reminder on my phone to post and then I did it. Some days I posted the next day, so I wouldn’t say I was super diligent. I also, as I mentioned earlier, did not usually post pictures. I am not a big picture taker and usually I didn’t post until the end of the day after whatever I was posting about had happened etc.

Somedays it was HARD to think of something that made me happy. If the day had been particularly bad, the badness would so overshadow I would be struggling to think of what to post. But I learned from those days that even if the day over all felt like I came out behind something always happened that had made me a little happy, even if it was making myself coffee that tasted particularly good.

And sometimes I felt like I was being repetitive. But I think from that I also learned about myself, the things that day after day make me happy: my crazy family, my awesome friends, good food and coffee. (I almost put coffee first, only because I need coffee first thing everyday.)

Overall, I thought the project was a success for me. It made me think about my day and focus on the positives rather than dwell on something negative. I am actually thinking now that I did #100happydays, I may do some sort of personal journal to write my happy thoughts in.

I doubt I would be half as diligent without a particular challenge. But I think just knowing that over the course of 100 days I was ALWAYS able to think of at least one thing that had made me smile, has taught me that my life is good, I should appreciate and no day is all bad.

I HIGHLY recommend everyone give it a try, even if it is 100 secret happy days you just write in your diary. Realizing that good things happen to you everyday that make you smile, laugh or feel good goes a long way to realizing the bad is always followed by good. Always.

 

 

5 Things of Interest – Fall Edition

How novel, I know, I love Fall. When I moved off to the West Coast from my homeland (the Midwest) many people asked if I would miss the change of seasons. First, LA does have seasons they are just subtle. Second, I don’t miss most of the seasons from the Midwest. I do miss Fall in the Midwest, it’s the only thing it does better than the West Coast. Here are five things to help you celebrate Fall.

1) Forneris Farms – Harvest Festival: If you do live in Los Angeles County this will simulate Fall for you. You must do the corn maze.

2) Vintage Halloween Pillows: I love this sort of Halloween decoration that doesn’t look super cheap and isn’t super creepy. Halloween can be beautiful and fun.

Skull Pillow

3) Pumpkin Necklace: Get in the spirit of the season with some classy, yet festive jewelry.

Pumpkin Necklace

 

4) Felted Acorns: I am going to be honest and say I have no idea what I would do with these. Put them in a bowl perhaps (which my kid would likely empty out and hide these) but they are so dang cute, I want them nonetheless to remind me of my Midwest roots.

felts acorns

 

5) Threshold Set of 3 Decorative Fall Items: Target does not as easily allow you to “borrow” photos as easy so I can’t show you these. But they are hold pumpkins and the like. Both appropriate for Halloween time AND once we get into Thanksgiving time.

Sunday Song : Riptide – Vance Joy

The video for this song is endlessly amusing to me. I swore Wes Anderson had to have directed it. (It’s not.)

I am pretty sure it is a regular guitar but in my mind it’s a ukulele. It could be the tambourine that is underpinning this song that highlights the plucky sound of the song. It has a very steady rhythm that gives it an upbeat feel and

The singer (who is not actually named Vance Joy according to the Internet) has a very old timey sound to me. I feel like I am listening to the song through a transistor radio.

Radio

 

I am supposing that is an intention sound based on the video which has an old school feel (Pan Am tickets!!!)

The sound is simple but I love it. I find myself listening to it once a day and then realizing I am singing it to myself as I go about the rest of the day.  A great summer song, while you’re cruising off to the beach (though hopefully you don’t run into actual riptides.)

Official Video for Riptide

Sunday Song: I Got U – Duke Dumont ft Jax Jones

Though I have dabbled in down beat electronica thanks to my husband’s influences, I can count on one hand true house music/DJ mixes I like. So I have no idea why when I was doing my mindless review of Buzzfeed articles, I decided I needed to listen to this song which was discussed in an article.

This song IS summer.

It has beautiful steel drums underpinning it which just scream tropical island. The beat is perfectly paced; fast and lively without being exhausting, there is still a laid back beach feel. The female singer’s voice is smooth and warm.

And while I don’t think most people pay attention to lyrics in house music, I love the lyrics “Ask me what I did with my life? I spent it with you. If I lose my fame and fortune, it really don’t matter as long as I got you baby.” It just reminds me of what is truly important in life…LOVE.

I listened to this at my desk at work and bopped along like an idiot without a care. It was also perfect while I was poolside in Vegas. Really this song should just be on repeat for the rest of the summer  no matter where you are and probably as the months turn cold again.

The video is pretty awesome too. The premise is a guy using a virtual reality hood to experience being on a tropic getaway.

Video for I Got U

5 Things of Interest

Eat: Giant Lima Bean Soup with Bacon – I know, bacon is overdone. I was more interested in the giant lima beans. I love lima beans though I know they are quite unpopular. This looks amazing.

Want: Hand Made Iron Frying Pans – These are are beautiful pans that would stand up well to whatever you throw at them.

Think: Man With Alzheimer’s Proves the Heart Remembers – Okay, seriously. Think about this and your heart

Look: Pictures of Baby Hippo at the Berlin Zoo – So much cute that you may faint a little.

Laugh: 25 Desserts That Are Actually Punishment – Buzzfeed is such an easy place to go for laughs. But this list is one that made me laugh more than usual.

On Cooking Ahead

It is no secret that I love cooking. However, the last three months have been extremely hectic, which has meant on daily basis cooking just wasn’t happening. Determined not to start living out of take out containers I started spending time on Sundays, the one relatively calm day, cooking so that the week would have home cooking. Here is what I turn to to cook ahead of time.

1. Steel Cut Oats in the Crock Pot: I love steel cut oats but I don’t think in the entire time I have known of their existence I have ever had time to cook them without a crock pot. This recipe is so easy and makes enough for 2 people for about 2 to 3 days.

2. Egg White Muffins: Another good office breakfast option. I use silicone muffin cupswhich save time in clean up as the egg releases better than from a muffin pan. I usually just use whatever I can find in the fridge for these. I like to throw some spinach because it is unoffensive and helps me eat more veggies. [Fancy recipes for more ideas]

3. Roast Chicken in the Crockpot: In all honesty, my husband is typically the one that cooks the chicken. Mondays we typically do some sort of meat in the crockpot to have it throughout the week and he has taken charge of the task. This is similar to the recipe he uses minus the cayenne. We did use cayenne the first time but it was a bit too sharp for our taste.

4. Salad Prep: I try to eat lots of salad especially for lunch. But the key to actually making salad is to prepping ahead. Like roasting beets and cooking grains to put in the salad ahead of time.

 

 

Sunday Song of the Day: Kill Your Heros – AWOLnation

In the past 3 months I have probably listened to Kill Your Heros about a million times. It all started when I had to deal with some annoying things at work. I would go into the details but they are boring. What it meant was I really needed some fast hard hitting rock and roll.

I started with listening to This Kid’s Not All Right by AWOLnation. Also a song I have listened to a million times. And then I branched out. While I liked some of AWOLnations other songs, these 2 really stuck it for me. This Kid’s Not All Right is dark and mean. It is angry to be sure. I loved it when I was dealing with an annoying things at work. Especially because it throws in a small amount of curse words which you can mouth to yourself while bouncing along to your work.

Kill Your Heros has a similar sound to This Kid’s Not Alright but is lighter and happier rather than dark and angry. You can definitely feel the difference in energy. I love the lyrics so much for Kill Your Heros. I liked one so much I made it my mantra for 2014. “Never let your fears decide your fate.” As I listened I thought about all the times I turned down opportunities or flat our avoided them because I was scared to death. Scared I would fail or scared something bad would happen. And yet many times when I had done something even though I was scared it turned out wonderfully (Prime example: Move to strange city where I don’t know anyone…Los Angeles. Where I have known lived for over 12 years!)

Even if you don’t need encouragement to take risks because you are like Richard Branson, this song is amazing and bouncy. I don’t know how many times in the past few months I have gotten caught by a coworker bouncing in my chair in my office while listening to this song.

Kill Your Hero’s Official Video 

On Technology That Makes My Life Better

I can be a bit of a bit of luddite at times. I feel like sometimes people use technology when in reality something no tech or low tech would do. I despise technology for technology’s sake. But that does not mean I would rather be living in a tent with no electricity or computers (or running water!)

Here is some technology that I feel, has made my life generally better:

  1. Jawbone Headset: I live in Los Angeles, so I am in my car A LOT. While I enjoy listening to music or sifting through my thoughts during my various drives, it is so nice to also use the time in a productive way. The jawbone allows me to comply with the law (must use hands free) and be heard. I talk to my mom the most in my drives around town and before the jawbone she was constantly having difficulty hearing me and vice versa. And it is far more comfortable than the lame headset that comes with an iPhone that start to feel like you are being stabbed in the ear.
  2. Kindle Paperwhite: I didn’t even KNOW I needed or wanted this but my husband knows me better than I know myself and got this for me as a gift. It’s not as popular as the “you can do a million other things than read” kindles but I already have an iPad. I like the paperwhite because it is backlit so those nights when my toddler is refusing to go to sleep, I can sit in the dark of his room waiting him out and getting some reading in. Yet even with the light, it is not as tiring on your eyes as a computer/tablet. It’s much more like a book, in my luddite opinion and I resisted having an e-reader. I have read so much more since I got my Kindle. The only danger is I can so easily buy books. It can be too easy for someone who loves books and reading .
  3. Evernote: The Evernote app has changed my life. I have been a list maker for…a long long time. I don’t remember a time before I made lists. The problem is if you make a paper list or a list on your desktop you might be someplace and NOT have your list. I have Evernote on all my electronics (work computer, home computer, iPad, iPhone.) and my lists sync between ALL of them. So now I am never without my lists.
  4. Crockpot: I don’t think it even matters what brand crockpot I have, we recently upgraded only because we could (with credit card points) but really a good ceramic crockpot isn’t expensive or hard to find. A crockpot is like having your own cook. You just dump a bunch of stuff in and when you get home from work, there is deviousness waiting for you. When I was a kid, I teased my mom about her crockpot use. Who knows why? But now, I totally get it. I love my crockpot!

5 Things of Interest – The Suffering with a Cold Edition

These are some necessities for me when I am sick:

1. Traditional Medicinals Throat Coat Tea: When I have a cold as of late, it seems to like to hang out in my throat, making me sound like Fran Drescher. This tea tastes good and helps ease sore and dry throats.

2. Cute and Comfy Lounge wear: As silly as it may seem, I like to have some cute lounge wear when I’m sick. Nothing worse than feeling bad and feeling ugly too. My in-laws got me a luxurious pair of pj pants from Anthropolgie that are perfect for still feeling stylish while I hack up a lung.

3. Chicken and rice soup: Skip the noodles please. The noodles in chicken noodle soup are rarely good and after being bogged down in broth they are not improved. I recently made awesome chicken and wild rice soup. 1) dice half a yellow onion and a garlic clove or two, cook in some olive oil until tender 2) aid veggies, I like carrots and celery diced in the food processor, cook for a little bit. 3) add chicken and some chicken stock. I just bought a pre-made rotisserie chicken and stripped it and store bought stock. If you feel ambitious you could make your own. 4) Add some water and let simmer for a while so all the flavors mix.

4. Ricola: Again, my colds tend to reside in my chest/throat. Ricola isn’t super sweet or chemically tasting. Although I prefer the lemon and honey flavor.

5. Netflix: I don’t get to enjoy as much movie and tv as I once did before my son was born but if he is off at daycare or asleep, netflix is my go to for some bad tv or movie to take my mind off my suffering.