Thursday, July 30, 2009

We have talent

Today D and I managed to stay pretty busy doing a bit of this and that.  First we went to story hour at the bookstore.  Unfortunately the subject of today’s reading was Fancy Nancy and D is not a fan – not enough fighting and blowing things up for his manly taste.  Mommy on the other hand quite enjoys a little bit of a girly time.  The craft we got to make was a tissue paper flower with a pipe cleaner stem. Guess who had more fun making this?  Hey I am easily amused what can I say. 



We ran home for a quick lunch and to let Otto outside to take care of  his business.  Then we went back out to again to Plaster Fun Time

I painted a butterfly.



And D painted a pirate flag.  I know you all would love to have this master piece hanging in your house but it is not for sale.  This is truly a work of art that I will NEVER part with.  I love how the gold paint managed to cover up the majority of his piece.  We are a family with talent. 




Tonight we got to do something that we never get to do during the week – all 3 of us at dinner together.  Charlie left work a little early so I planned dinner accordingly.

Charlie had a salad with left over chicken, spinach, cuke, black olives, sunflower seeds and drizzled with olive oil and vinegar. 




D had pasta with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Those are his strawberries in the blue bowl too.  No veggies consumed but at least there was color in his meal. 





I had exactly what I mentioned this morning – leftover veggies from last night with cottage cheese and hummus.  I added chick peas to the mix this time.  It was delicious. 




This evening I did a little Shredding – levels 1 & 2.  Since I did not get in any weights this morning (just a run), I wanted to try and fit them in tonight.  Wow what a killer.  Two at one time is a great workout.  I remember a few months ago I did all 3 back to back and that was tough.  I definitely got in a great workout in only 40 minutes.  Now if I could just get my hubs to give it a shot – he is gonna kill me for that one. I am always bugging him about exercising. I actually just got him Tony Horton’s 10 Minute Trainer workout set.  I mean come on, he has ten minutes to spare.  He said that he was going to do try it tonight.  Let’s see if he does. 

I hope you had a great day.  Time to go relax and chug some water – I am thirsty. 

My New Posting Station

For the past year I have been doing all my blogging at my kitchen table. Not really the best place for my laptop seeing as we have spills every now and then.  Thankfully the new laptop is still unharmed but it was time for me to get my own desk.  I really wanted the computer to be away from us when we are gathered as a family to enjoy our meals which is really not that often (Charlie always eats dinner later than D and I).

So I preset you with my new blogging station.

As you can see that is where I ate my breakfast this morning – my guys were already finished eating by the time I sat down to eat.  I did some blog reading while I enjoyed my delicious bowl of oats.



In the mix this morning was the same combo that I have been eating for probably 3 weeks straight – I am still not sick of it.  I even ate this breakfast every day of our vacation.  I love my cinnamon banana blueberry oatmeal with a PB2 drizzle. I really look forward to this breakfast. 



I am also looking forward to eating more of the veggies that my Nana sent home with me yesterday.  Check out the loot.

A BIG zucchini and a summer squash.  This is one of the round zucchinis that I was telling you about. 



AND tons of green and yellow beans.



I made my dinner with some of the veggies last night.  I cooked up red pepper, bell pepper, zucchini and summer squash. Then I added some chana masala spice blend and asafetida powder. This was my first time using the asafetida powder and let me tell you, that stuff smells DISGSTING!!!  I was worried that it was going to make my veggies taste bogus but thankfully the flavor is nothing like the smell that it emits. 



I roasted some of the beans in the oven until they were just barely wilting. I like my veggies to still have some crunch.  I ate my load of vegetables with cottage cheese and hummus.  It was so yummy – guess what’s for dinner tonight?

I am off to hang with the D man. He asked if I would take him to Plaster Fun Time.  He keeps telling me that is where he wants to have his birthday party. He is a little impatient I guess.  I am up for an artsy day – I do love to paint.  See you later friends.  I hope you have a fabulous Thursday.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

New Foods for Me and a Panini for my Man

While I was on vacation I developed a LOVE for avocados.  I used to think that they upset my tummy but I am pretty sure that it was something else in my diet.  I have been eating 1/2 an avocado for lunch practically every day for the past week and my belly is fine.  I usually buy the Haas variety – man those babies are super creamy.  I decided to give the Florida ones a try this week.

Obviously it looks much different on the outside than the Haas. 




The inside was much lighter but the flesh cut the same.  The texture was less creamy and the taste was very mild.  I am sticking with Haas from now on.  It was worth a try but really I can’t live without the amazing flavor the the Haas avocado offers.




I have been eating 1/2 an avocado with gluten free bread and swiss cheese and it really does hit the spot.  I added a little mustard to the bread for a little salty goodness. I adore mustard, especially Rays Mustard which I happen to be out of my favorite flavor. I really need to order more. 




Another new product I picked up at the store was a 5% Fage Greek yogurt. 

I have had the 0% and the 2% so I thought that I would try this one too. I was hoping that the extra fat content would add some staying power.




I mixed the yogurt with 1/2 a cup uncooked oatmeal, strawberries, blueberries and a drizzle of honey. I did taste the yogurt plain before jazzing it up.  It was much more bitter than the other varieties and very thick.  Honestly, I much prefer the Chobani Plain nonfat to this one.  Chobani is just so creamy and mild enough that the bitterness is not over powering.  I also LOVE Trader Joe's 0% Plain Greek yogurt but I have not been there in a while so Chobani has been my yogurt of choice (I can buy it at Stop & Shop).  I am not really sure that the fat content made that much of a difference.  The oats bulked up the mix and it did stay with me pretty well.  I am glad that I tried it because I do like to taste test different yogurt.  It was just not “knock my socks” off amazing. 




On another food note, I have been trying to make Charlie more interesting dinners this week.  I was feeling like the stuff I was making was a bit boring.  I mean, I want my man to look forward to coming home from work to a yummy dinner.  I never use the indoor grill that we bought ages ago so last night I dusted it off and used it as a Panini press.

I layered cooked chicken breast with spinach and mozzarella cheese between 2 slices of homemade English Muffin bread which I made on Sunday.  I brushed the outside of the bread before placing it on the grill. I did let the grill preheat for about 10 minutes before pressing the sandwich. I think that really helped get that crunchy exterior and lovely grill marks. 

Charlie loved his dinner.  I am going to have to use this little indoor grill more often. 


DSC03189 DSC03190


This afternoon D and I went to visit my Nana after our babysitting shift at the gym.  We headed outside to Nana’s garden which is looking like a jungle – she is an amazing gardener.  I got some good loot – I will share that with you tomorrow. 

My Nana’s neighbor has 2 little girls who D has played with in the past.  They were outside today filling up a kiddie pool.  I asked D if he wanted to go play with them – what kid is gonna turn that offer down when it is 90 degrees?  He had a blast splashing around even thought the water was FRIGID!!!  He thought it was funny to keep coming over to me and give me soggy wet hugs.  Since I let him hop in with his shorts and undies, he had to go home as a burrito. 



Well my mom just called so I am going to go and chat with her for a few.  I hope you had a great day.  See you tomorrow. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Carnegie Science Center

On Tuesday we spent our last day in PA at the Carnegie Science Center.




The museum was having a robot exhibit that I knew would really knock D’s socks off.



We kept the Roboworld Exhibit a secret so that D would be surprised when we got there.




He got to see C-3PO ---------------



------------  and R2-D2.  I think he was disappointed that they did not talk.



The exhibit was very entertaining and full of cool robots that where actually performing tasks.  There was one playing basketball, one retrieving prescriptions based on a persons profile and another one playing people in air hockey.

The coolest thing that we saw at the museum was a Miniature Railroad & Village. It is amazing and the attention to detail is out of this world.  I have never seen anything like it in my life.  Quite a feat of artistic talent.  

Unfortunately we ran out of time and were unable to go to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.  We really wanted to take D to see the dinosaurs. That will have to be on our next visit. 

I hope you all have a fabulous Tuesday. It is supposed to be a hot one here today so I think D and I might go swimming.  Enjoy your day. 

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Yucky Fig and a Yummy Yogurt

This afternoon I had to venture to the grocery store because I forgot a few things when I was there the other day. I spotted some yellow figs that were on sale and decided to try them out. 



I have only ever had dried black mission figs and I adore them. I love the sweet flavor of the flesh and the crunchy texture from the seeds. This was a first time trying a non-dried variety. Well this guy was not good at all. It was rather flavorless and the texture kind of bugged me too.  I attempted to like it but after eating half the rest went into the trash.  I did buy 2 so now I have one yucky fig still in my fridge and unfortunately Charlie is allergic to them.  At least I only spent a buck for them.



I also spotted a new Stoneyfield yogurt flavor – Super Fruits.  I busted this bad boy open after trashing the fig – my mouth needed a better flavor.  This was delicious – not too sweet and very creamy. Now, I am glad, that I bought two of these. 




For dinner tonight I roasted a bunch of veggies – Vidalia Onion, red pepper, bell pepper and zucchini.  I spiced up the veg with turmeric, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper.  I let the veggies cool off before adding a scoop of cottage cheese and a dollop of hummus.





I also roasted a few zucchini wedges.  My Nana gave me a zucchini from her garden that looked like a small pumpkin.  She was trying her hand at growing round squash this summer.  I think she is having great luck – this was super.  I drizzled on a little Almond butter – YUM!!!!




For my guys tonight I made them a baked pasta dish.  I made it up so there really was no measuring.



All I did was cook a box of penne till it was al dente and then let it cool of for a few.  In a small bowl I combined 2 eggs, a 15 oz. container of part skim ricotta, salt, pepper, dried basil and dried oregano.  Once the pasta was cool (about room temp.), I started layering the pasta with the ricotta mix and shredded cheese.  I did spoon a layer of marinara sauce on the bottom of my casserole dish first.  I topped it with a layer of marinara sauce and more shredded cheese (this was a blend from Trader Joe’s).



I ended up with four layers. 



I tried to spoon it out and keep the layers together but it kind of fell apart.  D ate most of his and Charlie  enjoyed this portion.  It made a ton so they now have leftovers for the next few day.  I am hoping that this was not a one time only deal and D will not give me a hard time about eating it the next time I put a plateful in front of him – he does that a lot.



I made a fruit and yogurt jumble for dessert – vanilla yogurt, blueberries and a peach.  I added a few tablespoons of oat bran which thickens the yogurt and adds a yummy nutty flavor. 



So like I said this morning I have a few more Kennywood Park photos to share with you. 

D was obsessed with the Log Jammer ride. I got a good soaking the first time on it so I sat this one out. 



They got good and soggy after this ride.  D proceeded to ride it 2 more times with Grandpa.



After his bath D ate a good bit of funnel cake.  This one had strawberries, vanilla ice cream and whip cream on top.  It was the loaded up version. 



Daddy and D tried out the target shooting.



Mommy and D rode the Turtle.  I know this looks like a kiddie ride but it was not at all. It does not go that fast but it whips you across the seat when the ride goes over the humps.  I sat in the wrong spot and had to hold onto the handrail so that I would not crush D and the little boy next to him. 



D and I dared to ride the Bayern Kurve. The video is not of us but it shows you how fast this sucker is.  I swear I thought his neck was gonna snap. The ride seemed like it was never going to end and I really wanted it to. I know, I am such a panicky mommy.  He had fun and did not endure any injuries. 



D’s cousins also enjoyed the day at Kennywood. 



The little one was pooped by the end.   



It started to rain so we had to boogie out of the park around 7 -ish.  If it was not raining I guarantee we would have stayed until closing.  D and I now know why Daddy raves about this amusement park. We can’t wait to go back.  Next time, I am sure that D will be big enough to ride ALL the rides. 

There is still more PA trip highlights but that is all for tonight.  See you tomorrow.

D's First Coaster

For almost nine years now, I have been hearing stories from Charlie, about the fabulousness of Kennywood Park. Last Monday he got the opportunity to show D and I exactly why he adores this amusement park.

I was not sure if D would want to hang with the big kids or if we would end up spending the day in Kiddieland. To our surprise, he rode every ride in the park that he was tall enough to go on and did not venture into the land of kiddies at all.

The very first ride we went on was the Jack Rabbit - his first roller coaster. He loved every second of it so much that as soon as the ride stopped he requested that we go on again right away. We hopped back in line and boarded the coaster for a second time. Charlie captured the second ride which for some reason D was acting scared. He really did love it because he would have gone on a third time if we let him but there was more park to explore.

The angle is a little off so just tilt your head to the side. I will try to get Charlie to adjust the view later. For now this will have to do - I am not that computer savvy. At least I got the video uploaded.

There is still more Kennywood highlights to come. Have a great morning. I'll post more fun later today.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Quack Quack Tour and a Steep Incline

Happy Sunday blogworld!! Today is Charlie’s last day of vacation. Tomorrow we go back to the old routine. 

I was planning a run this morning but when I woke up it was pouring outside.  So to the gym I went.  I have not really been to the gym that much in the past few weeks but it was a nice change of pace.  I did a mix of cardio (Stairclimber, Elliptical and Running) and I did a little free weights before ending with some stretching. 

For breakfast this morning I decided to give my old friend oat bran a try.  I have been avoiding it as it is not recommended for people that have a gluten/wheat intolerance.  I cooked the oats bran on the stove with water and lots of cinnamon.  During the cooking process I mashed in a banana – this makes the mix super creamy and fluffy.

After the oat bran reached the desired consistency, I added a few frozen strawberries.  Once into the bowl I topped it with fresh blueberries and raspberries (I picked them myself on Friday afternoon) and a drizzle of PB2.



My tummy feels good so far but only time will tell if there is going to be any ill effects – I’ll keep you posted.

Are you ready for PA Trip recap #3?  Here goes. 

On Sunday we headed into the city for a Just Ducky Tour of Pittsburg.  We have these tours in Boston too but we have never been on one so I was super excited to see how these crazy machines work. 



The guided  tour starts with a drive around the city in a DUKW. It is an amphibious truck built by General Motors Corporation during WWII for transporting goods and soldiers over land and water. D stands for 1942 U stands for utility K stands for front wheel drive and W stands for two rear driving axles. 




The water is chlorinated so splashing around on the steps is permitted.  As soon as D saw this he wanted to join in the fun. Unfortunately the tour did not make pit stops along the way.




There was a Pirates game going on when we approached the stadium. 



We also saw the home of the Pittsburg Steelers – Heinz Field.




After spending some time touring the city streets, the tour vehicle  then enters the water for a view of the city at a different angle.




Guess who got the drive the boat?





Ahoy, Mateys! It is Captain D.



You really do get a great view of the city.



And its surroundings.



The D man started to get a bit drowsy – driving the boat was tough work.




After the Duck Tour we headed up the street to the Monongahela Incline. 



For a very small fee you can ride the incline up to the street above.




Where you get the most amazing views of the city.




I love all the bridges.




You can see for miles. Notice that there are even more bridges in the distance.



We even got a better view of Heinz Field.




It was a fun filled day packed with Pittsburg goodness. If you are in a new city I highly recommend checking out a local tour.  We learned some great things about the city and got to see a lot of great architecture.

There is still more PA details to be shared with you all.  I am telling you, this trip was nonstop fun.