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I spent some time reading over my old this evening. I miss my healthy, active lifestyle. I’ve been taking steps to get back there. I’m eating more fruits and veggies again, I’ve cut Coke Zero out of my life (again) and am drinking lots of water. I’m veeeerrrryyyyy slloowwwly getting back to that exercise groove wherein I do it more than once a month. I think I need to add back in my daily Sunshine Therapy sessions (it involves me walking a mile at lunchtime, to get me out of the office and into some natural sunlight.) I was most upbeat and “sparkly” when I was doing that on a regular basis.

I won’t be going full raw vegan anytime soon. But an upping of the raw fruits and veggies is just a good thing. Period. Someone I wildly respect, admire (and totally blog-stalk) is . She is the coolest chick and insanely nice too. When I went to NYC a few years ago, I emailed her asking some touristy type questions about places to hit and miss and she totally emailed me right back with tons of New Yorker tips and tricks. She is crazy inspirational and if you should totally check out her blog. She has lost a lot of weight and one thing I totally picked up from her is what she calls her “super salad” – basically just a big old salad full of lots of healthy stuff. She changes hers up and posts the ingredients in it periodically, search through her blog – she talks about it all much better than I could ever hope to recap.

ANYWAY… I am totally going back to my big super salad lunches (yes, that’s where I was going with that.) Fruit smoothies (usually green) for breakfast, fat free greek yogurts for morning snack, super salad for lunch, baby carrots and hummus for afternoon snack and an egg white spinach, mushroom and onion omelet with a slice of whole grain bread with natural peanut butter for dinner. And a small glass of white wine (3-4 oz) if I’m so inclined. Which I usually am.

I am going to go back to updating the and keep that all over there. I’ll put a link to it in the side bar somewhere if you are so inclined to follow my journey. I’m back to marathon training. It’s going back on the calendar for sometime next year. I need to do a half-mary too, I’m aiming for around my birthday (in April). I am not up to road running quite yet, I’m no where near in shape enough to put my body through that level of impact yet. But soon. Definitely before the end of the year. I miss going for my morning run. I miss being a runner.

I’m getting back on the training/healthy track. Full ON!

This is my “recipe” for roasted garlic & garlic bread.

Inspired by Saturday’s festivality, I couldn’t wait to make some seriously awesome garlic bread last night. Normally when I’m throwing some in the oven to go with a pasta dinner, there’s a lot of garlic powder and margarine involved.
Now that is NOT very inspired, it’s just quick and easy an appeases the masses.
That’s usually all I’m asking of our evening meal.

HOWEVER, after spending several (broiling) hours enjoying the garliciousness of, no half-assed loaf of substandard “garlic” bread was going to do. I needed the real deal. So I pulled out the big guns: a whole bulb of garlic and a stick of butter. Paula Deen would approve.

In order to extract the soul of the garlic goodness, it has to be roasted. You can’t just go chopping up a bunch of raw garlic, sprinkle it around on some french bread and call it “garlic bread”… well, you can. But it would suck and you’d wonder what the hell I was waxing all poetical about. Roasting takes it to the next level, baby. It turns awesome into… MORE awesome!! Awesome to the awesome power, if you will.

There are many ways to roast those glorious little bulbs. This is how I do it:

Peel off the outer papery stuff, leaving just the casing holding the individual cloves, but be sure to leave the bulb itself intact.

Next you chop of the top! Basically, you’re cutting off (and discarding) the tops of all the individual cloves. This is vital for the next step.

Drizzle a TBSP or so of olive oil all over the top of the bulb, covering the cut edge of each clove. This is the key to the whole roasting part. Mmmmmm!

Ok kids, it’s time to make magic. Wrap it all up in a square of aluminum foil and put it in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes. Take it out and let it cool. That part’s important. Trust me!

At this point, the roastin’ is done. You can remove the gooey garlic guts with a knife or just squeeze them out (I’m not terribly coordinated, so I went with option A.)

Now we’re ready to make that festival inspired bread. Ingredients: aforementioned roasted garlic, butter, parmesan cheese, paprika and authentic San Francisco sourdough bread. I did cheap out and just get regular sourdough. The insanely delish extra sour sourdough bread is twice as expensive. It’s worth every penny and I’ll probably get it next time, or if I’m having company. But I just wanted to revel in the garliciousness this time.

Split the loaf in half lengthwise. Soften or accidentally melt the butter and slather equally over both loaf halves. Take the squished out roasted garlic guts and mush-spread them on both halves sort of equally too. Things are not going to look very attractive or appetizing at this point. That’s how you know you’re doing it right.
Don’t worry, it’ll all turn out good in the end, baby.

Once you get it all squished/mushed/spread about, sprinkle on a really lot generous amount of parmesan cheese blend of your choice. Through on a few dashes of paprika. I don’t know if it makes a taste difference, but it keeps it from looking like a whole lotta beige. Dr. Oz says that beige is bad and that colorful food is healthy food. Well, it doesn’t get any more colorful than a gorgeous bright red. I’m all about health food. This is Dr. Oz approved!

OK, all joking aside, this is the tricky/risky part. You are going to BROIL it. So crank your oven up and get the asbestos mitts ready! Once the broiler is preheated (and by preheated I mean fire and brimstone HOT!) put it under the broiler and watch through the little window in the over door. Yes, THAT is why there’s a window in it!
After about 30 seconds to a minute, the butter is going to start bubbling
and the bread will start browning right before your eyes!

This is the tricky timing part cause it’s all visual. You have to leave the bread in long enough to get a nice toasted golden crunchiness, but not so long that it starts to burn. Because then it’s ruint and will make you cry. A lot. Such a waste! But if you time it right, you will be rewarded with a golden slice of heaven!

Try to wait for it to cool long enough to slice without getting 3rd degree burns from the molten butter/garlic/cheesiness. Not being Mother Teresa, I do not have the patience of a Saint. I keep burn cream close by. It helps take out the sting after the garlic bread awesomeness coma wears off and I can feel things again.

There’s a crunchy-creaminess to it that’s really hard to describe. Tad and Jason ate more than half the loaf for dinner last night. Yep, just the bread. No pasta, no salad. Just bread, bread and more bread. Yes, it was THAT good! I won’t be making it very often because we will all weigh like a thousand pounds! Next time I’m going to use extra-sour sourdough bread and no butter, just the roasted garlic. It’ll really cut back on those calories, I’m just hoping it won’t cut back on the taste. Guess we’ll see. I’ll keep you all posted!

Growing up in South San Jose, the smell I associate most with summer isn’t sunscreen. It’s garlic! Gilroy “the Garlic Capitol of the World” is just 20 miles down the road. The has been held the last weekend in July since 1979. I can’t remember if I went there growing up, but I didn’t want my kids to be deprived of so much garlicky goodness!! So this morning, I packed up the three youngest and we trekked southward (and by trekked, I mean drove in our air-conditioned car while the kids all ate donuts and slept.)

After parking and shuttling and walking and waiting in line,
these guys were the first to greet us! The Foster Farms “chickens”!
Notice the garlic braids hung ’round their necks. Mmmmm Garlic Chicken!


Look at the excitement on those faces.
The eagerness and anticipation is nearly palpable!


Sean wanted to know when we were leaving.
We’d been there for approximately 12 minutes.
It was shaping up to be a super fun day!


I could not wait to get some Garlic Fries and a cranberry wine cooler.
Best meal I’ve had all year!
Special thanks to Tad, my lovely hand model.


I got the kids some strawberry, banana & peach smoothies.
Tiny umbrellas make everything taste better!


The Garlic Festival is known for it’s “unusual” garlicious offerings.
Like Garlic Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups.


And it’s infamous Garlic Ice Cream!


Oh you know we got some!


Tad pronounced it “disgusting”.
Sean said “I don’t really like it so much.”
Skye finished it off.


There were bands playing (country music, ugh! Where are we, Montana?!)
Lots of booths selling everything from handmade baby clothes to
authentic “consumed in SF” flattened glass beer and wine bottles.
There were huge inflatable slides and bouncy houses.
Unfortunately for Sean, their insurance liability wouldn’t allow
kids with casts to play on them. So unfair!

After a couple hours of wandering aimlessly,
I grabbed a bag of garlic tortilla chips and we hit the road for home.

I will never, ever, ever tire of the beauty of the
Golden Gate Bridge.

It will always mean one word to me:

Home

Opened July 29, 2011 | Runtime: 1 hr. 40 min.
PG for some mild rude humor and action
Showing in 2D & 3D

Synopsis: The little blue guys (and girl) get smurfed through a vortex and find themselves smurfed right into the middle of smurfin’ NYC. Smurfness ensues.

Sean and Skye dragged me kicking and screaming persuaded me to take them. They had an actual countdown to when it was released and everything. As far as I know, they’ve never actually seen a Smurf cartoon and had never heard of them before they saw the first trailer. The Smurfs are from my generation, much like Strawberry Shortcake and the Care Bears. And I wouldn’t want to see any live action/CGI version of those cartoons either!

Neil Patrick Harris makes this movie just enough tolerable for adults, without him I would have been smurfing my eyes out with a fork! While I think Hank Azaria is brilliant, he wasn’t as inspired in this one as I’d hoped. Too bad.

We saw the 2D version. I don’t think 3D would have helped.

My overall review: Oh My Smurf, it’s smurfing smurful.

Here’s what Sean and Skye had to say:

 

Opens today July 29, 2011 | Runtime: 1 hr. 47 min.
PG-13 for coarse humor, sexual content and language

Synopsis: Love is crazy. And stupid. No matter how old (or young) you are.

This is going to be short because I LOVED THIS MOVIE!!! It is probably one of the best romantic comedies. Ever. It was SO funny. Its not the typical rom-com formula and it’s so refreshing. I loved the twists and turns. Just when you think it’s going to get formulaic and boring – BAM! You never saw it coming. It’s a rich, deep comedy about love, human nature and all the crazy, stupid stuff we do.

My overall review: seriously? Obvious=stated.

I’ve been working on getting Sean and Skye to sleep in their own room (they share one.) This is a war I’ve waged for… well, ever.

When they were smaller, I liked having them close for my own comfort. Nothing lulled me into a peaceful sleep like the rhythm of their baby snores. Then there were Sean’s very scary asthma attacks. I spent many a sleepless night listening to him wheeze and waking him every four hours for another nebulizer treatment. Skye had a few brushes with that too. By then, habit was cemented. They slept in Mom’s room, taking turns sleeping with me in bed. I had two little foam couches that folded out into toddler sized futon type beds on the floor of my room that they would sleep in when not hogging mine.

About a year ago, I finally got them officially out of my bed (except when they “sneak” back in!) But they were still sleeping in those little couch things. In the last couple of months, I thought I’d successfully gotten them into their own room. And then this morning, I woke up to this:

They may have won this battle, but I will (eventually) win the war.

And if I don’t, their future spouses better not snore too loudly!

Two notes

First: You may have noticed the green cast on Sean’s arm. He fell off his back last Saturday and broke his wrist. He is fine and in no pain whatsoever. It’s waterproof so it’s not even harshing on his summertime groove. It comes of two days before school starts, which is awesome because it’s his dominant hand.

Second: I’ve decided to change the tone of my blog a bit. I’m going to take it back to just sharing pics of the kids, yummy recipes, funny anecdotes and generally upbeat fodder. The uber-personal struggles will remain just that, personal. I’ve gone back and removed as much of that as I could find. I thought laying my soul bare would be freeing, but instead it just made me feel nakkid. I’m not ashamed or regretful of anything I previously posted. Just don’t feel it was as helpful as I’d hoped. So it’s going to be all unicorns shittin’ glittery rainbows from now on!

Happy Happy, y’all!

The devastation caused by the tornadoes is like nothing I’ve ever seen. What the people there must be going through is just unimaginable. It must have felt like the end of the world. Living in earthquake country, this out-of-nowhere-with-no-warning kind of disaster scares the bejeezus out of me. My heart goes out to everyone dealing with this nightmare.

Here is a list of information & ways to help (btw I totally c&p this from another blog, I don’t think they’ll mind):

If you are looking for a loved one try searching  on the Safe and Well website.

Please call 417-659-5464 if you want to volunteer or to look for loved ones.

First Responders who want to help in the relief effort are asked to call 417-832-9500 for direction.

To donate $10 to the Joplin Relief Fund, please send a text of “Joplin” to 864833.

A listing of  which may need extra assistance.

There is a  set up to help reunite pets and their people affected by the tornado.

The Salvation Army
Financial donations are needed to support disaster relief efforts. The Salvation Army asks those who want to help to visit  or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY. Donors may text “GIVE” to 80888. Checks may be made out to The Salvation Army Disaster Relief, P.O. Box 100339, Atlanta, GA 30384-0339. Monetary donations will ensure The Salvation Army can meet the most immediate needs of those impacted by disaster.

The Red Cross
The Red Cross depends on financial donations to help in times of disaster, both here in the United States and around the world. Those who want to help can make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. To make a donation, visit , call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

Feeding America
Our food banks — in the affected areas and across the U.S. — are ready to help victims in need of food assistance as well as the daily disaster of hunger in America that affects 50 million people.

The best help you can offer your local food bank is a financial donation.  to find your local food bank or the food banks of affected states.

National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster

The United Way

Charity Navigator also has a  they know are providing relief.

Please remember, this could happen to any one of us. Help them as you would want others to help you in your time of need. Let’s pull together like Americans are famous for! Don’t make me break out in song!

This is a new weekly installment. Feel free to play along. Leave your list in the comments or a link to your blog. If enough start playing along, I’ll set up a Mr. Linky thingy. I’m so fluent in blogenese!!!

This week is: 7 Things I Hate that Mostly Everyone Else Loves

1. Banana & Peanut butter sandwiches

2. Oranges

3. Robert Pattinson

4. Elevators

5. Whistling (listening to. Though I am also incapable of doing.)

6. Neil Diamond

7. Two and a Half Men (and this is way before the whole Charlie Sheen warlock thing)

Ok, I showed you mine, now you show me yours.

I’m really hoping this will be our one and only Asthma Swatch this year. And I am very grateful that it was minor and short-lived.

The pollen counts skyrocketed here over the weekend. To the point where people without seasonal allergies were having allergy problems, as told to me by my pharmacist. Her’s were so bad, her doctor prescribed her an inhaler and she doesn’t even has asthma.

Needless to say, Sean was wheezing like he’d just run a marathon. Playing tag with Skye and Tad in the backyard didn’t help. Sunday night he had a full on asthma attack. His first in nearly a year. I really thought we’d made it through. I’d JUST been talking about it with someone last week. Damn you Mr. Murphy and your f***ing law!! You’re a cruel, cruel man. For the first time since she was three, Skye needed her inhaler too. I had to call in a refill request since it has been over three years since the last time.

The two littles spent Sunday night sleeping in their little portable couches on the floor of my room. None of us got much sleep however. Not with all the wheezing, sneezing and coughing going on.  They were both still can’t go to school shape, so I kept them home and gave Jason strict instructions for their care while I was at work. Since my commute is literally 5 minutes, I don’t stress about being away from them. The orders were for them to take long hot showers (hoping the steam will help shrink airways and loosen things up in general.) Then pjs and lots of cartoon watching while snuggled in Mommy’s bed. They managed a couple of naps too. Getting breathing treatments every two to four hours meant that I came home to some easy breathin’ kids. We all had a much more peaceful night Monday. I told the kids if Tuesday went well, we’d go give those new beach toys they got from the Easter bunny a try.

Tuesday, the weather was ideal. I spoke with the school secretary about Sean’s asthma treatments during the day (we’d made a contingency plan and had all his meds ready to go). Everything went exactly as planned. Sean sounded 100% by the time I got home from work that afternoon. So I pile the littles into the car along with every beachlike toy they could find, bathing suits, towels, a big blanket and my steeley resolve to make this happen.

It was our first trip to the beach of the year. And we were way psyched. Especially me!! I adore the beach. It’s how I connect with my inner self. I’ll try to keep from getting all new-age granola-y on y’all. But I can feel my energy change. I just sit and commune. I heal. And mostly I just relax and breath. These are my favorite scents. Saltwater and sand. You can smell the sun warming the sand, it’s such a unique scent. I adore it. I can’t help smiling at that first whiff as we come around the last bend and can finally see the sun throwing diamonds off the surface. My beloved ocean. I can’t believe I ever voluntarily lived in a land-locked state. What was I thinking? No wonder I always felt like someone else. It’s only when I can see, smell, taste and feel all that is the beach experience, only then do I feel my true essence. I feel peace and acceptance, mostly of myself. Like all those judgements and pressures put on us by society, none of it matters. I’m pickin’ up some Good Vibrations, baby!

Despite some way harsh winds, the kids immediately stripped down to their bathing suits and ran at the waves. Crazy kids! That is some freakin’ cold water. The Pacific never really warms up around here. That didn’t even slow them down. Because I use Jaws as an educational tool, I no longer worry about the kids going in beyond knees deep. Even though we are over at Muir Beach, it’s right next to Stinson. A kid out about waist deep was attacked by a shark. He survived by was definitely missing part of a leg. It took a while for him to recover. This wasn’t a surfer or diver. This was a teenage boy just wading out in the water. I have instead a deep seated irrational fear of  healthy respect for sharks, especially Great Whites, which frequent our area (and one of which was responsible of taking a bit out of that boy.) If there are seals around, they don’t go in at all. We love the ocean, but we don’t plan on being a snack.

The kids had a blast attempting sand castle building, wave jumping and digging for those tiny crabs. We were there for about an hour and a half. Since we left the house at 5 and it’s a 20-30 minute drive, I wanted to be home before 8. We totally made it and I got to watch the whole episode of Biggest Loser while the kids bathed all the sand out of their special bits, jammie up, and get some snuggle time in with mom.

What a seriously great way to end a rough two days. We all slept GREAT last night. Not a single wheeze, though Sean sniffled and snorted all night. So I bought some allergie meds and I’m going for 100% peaceful sleep tonite. Fingers crossed!!

Here’s some pics of my little mermaid and castle construction engineer:

Stay Beachy!!

Now available on DVD and Blu-Ray | Runtime: 1 hr. 43 min.
Rated R for strong sexual content, disturbing violent images, language and some drug use

Synopsis: freaks out. And there’s dancing. But less Kevin Bacon and more Stephen King. Also, Barbara Hershey makes Joan Crawford look soft-hearted and forgiving.

This is the one for which won the Oscar and did that weird laugh in her acceptance speech, and then called her husband a good actor cause he knocked her up.

Nat totally deserved the Oscar for this one. You knew it 10 minutes in. This is just an Academy Award type of movie – in a good way. It’s got depth, surprises, solidity. It’s the kind of movie you can really sink your teeth into. Like a solid, perfectly cooked steak. It’s completely filling and leaves you totally satisfied. Yep, it’s a big fat steak of a movie.

is 2nd only to Nat. She is awesome as Natalie’s good girl/white swan foe/frenemy/admirer and friend. It depends on who’s point of view or which part of Nat is interacting. Talk about being your own worst enemy. We get to see that cliche personified in full feathered technicolor.

And if you’re guy is all turned off by a ballet movie, just let him know there’s a very hot lesbian sex scene between Mila and Natalie. Just try keeping him away from it then!

It was great to see again… until she’s about 5 seconds in. Then you’ll all “where’s the sweet dying cancer patient from ?” She channels only without compassion. Yeah, she definitely adds to the whole freaky aspect.

This movie will create a conflict of deep respect for the art and there’s no way in hell my kid will ever strap on a pair of ballet shoes. EVER!

Oh, I can’t forget !! It’s so good to see her back working again. The ultimate Black Swan, she is the epitome of not aging gracefully (sans Botox.) In a field where 30 is retirement age, it’s a harsh reality. And she portrays it perfectly. Descending Diva. Possibly the worst role to be in Hollywood, especially for women. Oh lets face it, only for women. But that is another soapbox post for another time.

My overall review: stunning, intense, very dark, brooding, surprising, and horrifying. It’s riveting and repulsing. It’s definitely a must-see!! If you have the stomach for it. Don’t puss out – it’s awesome!

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