9 Jul

Uniqua from the Backyardiganssource

Things I’ve said recently (alternate title: kids make life weird):

  • Can you please get your hand out of my underwear?
  • Why are you licking my leg?
  • Aw, do you love the manatee?
  • Daddy’s shoe on my head!
  • I don’t remember what I had for breakfast, but she ate…
  • Wow, you stink… (said with odd, but typically parental, enthusiasm)
  • Honey, please stop beating the dog in the head with that stuffed hippo.
  • Uniqua’s got a big ol’ head, oh yeah.  (That’s Uniqua up there.  Seriously, she’s got a big head.)
  • Come on, let’s get up and do the dinosaur (flower/robot/frog/octopus) dance
  • We’re watching Octopuzzle.
  • Is that you that smells like a dumpster?

Seriously, kids make life weird…


More from me:

Tuscan wine scandal

Fitness Friday: a yoga mat review and a July fitness update



Coffee Burnout

8 Jul
coffee bean

Click for source

Is it possible to stop liking a coffee that you previously found somewhere between palatable and good?

We’ve been drinking Dunkin Donuts French Vanilla coffee… mostly because we can get it at the wholesale club for cheap and we’re too poor frugal to pay a bunch of money for some really good coffee.

When we first started buying Dunkin Donuts, it was out of sheer desperation because we’d tried a million other coffees that we hated.  So maybe it just seemed good by comparison since we’d had so many awful options.  But it was good enough, and we’ve been drinking it pretty much every day for months now.

All of a sudden in the last week or so, I just can’t stomach the stuff!  I try, I really do, but it makes me nearly gag and I have to force myself to swallow it.  In the end, I’ve just been avoiding it lately or sometimes (like this morning) pouring a cup just to let it sit and get cold.

So is it me?  Is it the coffee?  Do I need to clean my coffeemaker or something?  Aaron doesn’t seem to think the taste has changed…


More from me:

Dear internet…: I need your advice on some fitness questions

Orthodox Imagery

7 Jul

Greek Orthodox Church

Greek Orthodox Church - photo by Heather Hurd, October 2007

If you know me, you know that I’m not religious.  I don’t consider myself to be spiritually inclined.  And yet… there is something about Orthodox imagery that speaks to me.  In Greece, I bought religious icons because they had meaning for me beyond their religious purpose.

That’s why, when I walked into the chapel at the Greek Festival in Annapolis, MD, I knew I’d be coming home with a picture of the beautiful artwork on the ceiling.  The vibrant colors, the stylized depictions of Christ and the saints… it all speaks to something deeper in me.  It stirs the same sparks that drove me to become an art history major.  It answers a basic need to behold beauty.

This breathtaking church is the center of a yearly celebration of Greek food, culture, religion, and music.  The festival pulses with life and joy, and the people there give you a taste of what it’s like to belong utterly and fully to something outside your circle.  Stepping into a festival like this, if only for a moment, you become part of the family.  You are welcomed, you are loved.

Festivals like this, which we attend every year, are a fantastic way to be introduced to authentic culture.  These festivals support local businesses and agriculture, and give community groups a chance to shine.

The next time you pass a festival, stop in.  You never know what might speak to your heart and soul.

This post has been entered into the Grantourismo and HomeAway Holiday-Rentals travel blogging competition.


More from me:

What if we ballet workout on Dec 5?: a review of the NYC Ballet Workout, plus my goal for the Mizboorun December 5 challenge

Red wine and your health


And the award goes to…

6 Jul

Dear Evi,

You’re fourteen months old and you’ve got THREE molars coming in right now.  By all accounts, you should be monstrous, evil, and in all ways nearly impossible.  You should be so horrid that I should be forced to flip through your newborn pictures so that I can remember you were once cute.  You should be a screaming, drooling pile of pain.  Here you are in all your teething glory….

My girl in her dress

My girl in her dress... looking tired, but beautiful.

Wait a minute, you look downright pleasant… if a little tired.  As your mommy, I can tell all of this teething business is wearing you out a little.  Here are some of the things you subject your poor mommy to every day:

  • you wake up with a smile, thrilled to see me
  • you want nothing more during your first half hour of each day than to cuddle with me on the couch, drinking your milk and watching Special Agent Oso
  • you make me type with one hand during this time because you insist on holding my hand
  • you laugh all day long
  • you frequently announce that you’re ready to get out of your crib by playing with the musical elephant tied to the edge, thus letting me know you’re ready to get up by subjecting me to pleasantly chiming lullabies
  • you insisting on incorrectly signing when you have a diaper, so instead of miming diaper tabs at your waistline, you slap your belly sumo-challenge style
  • you eat like a champion and you’re obsessed with fruits
  • unlike every other kid your age, you quietly and happily allow us to grocery shop… as long as we let you hold the shopping list

And so, for all the things you do to make my life so challenging…  Okay, sarcasm aside.  You’re seriously the best child on the planet.  You’re so fun, so easy, so happy.  These little things, like holding my hand every morning, make my heart so happy.  Yes, sometimes I get frustrated or overwhelmed anyway, but you’re totally spoiling me and for that you deserve a shiny, sparkly award…. even more so for being such a steadfast inspiration for me to keep getting healthy!

I love you, Boo Bah Bear.


More from me:

Paying: a food hangover and a new determination

Twilight & domestic violence: is the series ruining our kids?


Best Ever Barbecue

5 Jul

pulled chickensource

I made barbecue sauce last night to jazz up some sliced chicken for wraps, and the sauce ended up AMAZING.  I wanted to share it with you guys.  Bear in mind that the measurements are guesstimates since I don’t tend to measure spices and such… but here it is:

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 heaping tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon Franks Red Hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Just stir it all together in a saucepan and heat over medium until it’s all mixed and heated through.  It makes a dark, thin sauce that is super vinegary and a little sweet… exactly how I like my sauce.  It was so good on chicken that we’re now planning to pick up a pork loin when we go shopping tonight and we’ll toss it into the crockpot with a bunch of this sauce for a super tender pork barbecue tomorrow night.  I’m excited!  I love when something I sort of toss together turns out great!

I also wanted to say that after yesterday’s “me time” break, I felt SO MUCH better!  I’ve decided to make it a priority to take an hour or two every weekend to just be alone.  I’ll read, blog, surf the web, work… anything as long as I have quiet time to do it.  Thanks for your comments letting me know it’s not only alright but even healthy to just take a break sometimes.  You guys rocks.


More from me:

Mamavation Monday: Thanks – another vlog & my July fitness plans

Weekend wine: Red Cat


Independence Guilt

4 Jul
Grande unsweetened iced passion tea - pic from my phone.

Grande unsweetened iced passion tea - pic from my phone.

I’m feeling especially guilty today.  I’m sitting in Starbucks, listening to hipster music and drinking an iced tea while trying not to be irritated that they are out of protein plates (my planned lunch) and apparently don’t have a working internet connection now that they’re wifi is free.  I’m trying not to let the stress talk me into buying a baked good, here in the land of notoriously unhealthy baked goods.

I had to take a break today, and I’m feeling incredibly guilty for it.  I woke up in a bad mood and stayed that way despite my best efforts to help it.  I was grumpy and angry and short tempered, and it was starting to wear on Aaron and Evi too.  In the end, I packed myself up (forgetting my laptop cord, of course) and headed off to Starbucks so I can get a break.

And here lies the guilt.  Why should I need a break from them, the very people I live for, the people I love the most in the world, the people who make me laugh and smile when nothing else can?  I feel like a terrible person for this.  I feel like I should have been able to suck it up, spend a day with my family, and be happy that I have them.  Instead, I’m holed up in a poorly stocked Starbucks, left with little more than coffee cake and mini donuts as lunch options, and hoping I can spend an hour or so here decompressing and return to my family with a smile.

Please, tell me this happens to you?  Tell me it’s normal for you to occasionally need some time away?  Tell me it’s alright that I’m secretly enjoying being all alone right now?  Also, as an aside, tell me it’s alright that I’m seriously annoyed by the chatty threesome that’s just come to invade my quiet corner despite the rest of the seating being totally empty…

Update: the time away was really surprisingly refreshing, and I had barbecue almonds for lunch.


More from me:

Happy 4th – I need your fitness advice!

Happy Independence Day (plus an Eclipse review)

30 Day Slimdown RESULTS


Independence Day

4 Jul


It’s a holiday weekend and, for many of you, a three-day weekend as well.  Aaron has to go to work tomorrow, so we’re trying to make today as relaxing as possible.  We spent a fantastic day yesterday having lunch with family, walking around the mall for hours, and Aaron was awesome enough to watch Evi with help from his cousin so that I could go see a movie with his other cousin and her mom.

We saw Eclipse… and I really liked it!  (No spoilers, I promise.)  I thought some of the characters, like Jacob, really got a chance to shine, and then movie looked great.  The action was pretty exciting, and I was impressed with how they handled the violence.  I’d definitely see it again, and I probably will since Aaron might want to see it at some point.  He could care less about the series, but since I dragged him out to see the other movies he’s vaguely interested in the story…

Today, we’ll likely be sitting at home (potentially heading out to grocery shop at some point) and watching fireworks on television.  I actually hate the whole fireworks experience…  it’s hot and humid and crowded, bugs are everywhere (and mosquitos LOVE me) and it’s loud.  I was sort of pleased this year to have the excuse that Evi’s likely too young for the noise.

Whatever you’re up to this weekend, I hope it’s full of fun and friends.


Happy 4th – I need your fitness advice!

I have “me time” guilt

30 Day Slimdown RESULTS