Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Crave Wednesday: Open-Faced Sandwiches with Ricotta, Arugula, and Fried Egg

February was Macy's Museum Month here in San Diego.  Which meant half price entry to most of the county's museums.  To celebrate, we took the boys to the Natural History Museum.

The main draw, our reason for the adventure, was for the dinosaurs.  Thatkid is partial to carnivores, while Thatbaby seems to be very into stegosaurus (stegosauri?)

And we got to see plenty of dinosaurs.

Museums can be hard for the younger set, who aren't always entertained by standing around and looking at exhibits.  The Natural History Museum definitely takes this into account.  There are so many different types of exhibits.  Like live animals

And stuffed animals.

And statues of animals.  

Some you can even sit on!

There are hands on activities.

And an IMAX movie theater with 3-D movies.  (Thatbaby didn't really appreciate this, but Thatkid loved it)

There are really interesting exhibits to participate in, like a Silver Stream trailer filled with maps and desert artifacts.

There were also a bunch of exhibits that involved being able to climb, crawl, or mosey through.

The boys had such a great time.  And my only complaint about the whole day was that we didn't realize how long we would spend there!  Which means it was soon past lunch, we were all hungry, and as wonderful as Balboa Park is, there is a dearth of food choices.  Which means we had a pretty crappy lunch.  Lesson learned - always pack a lunch.

This lunch is hardly packable though.  The problem with fried eggs.  I mean, you can't exactly reheat them and still have that beautiful runny, golden yolk.  And, I may be crazy, but I am not a fan of cold egg yolk, unless it's mashed up with cold egg white, mayo, and mustard.  No.  This is the kind of lunch meant to be eaten at home, straight off the stovetop.  And savored.  In truth, this is the kind of lunch you eat on days when the kids aren't around.  (Which also plays into that cold egg part) 

Just picture it, sitting at the table, a ray of sunlight coming in the window beside you as you expertly cut yourself a piece of toast.  The salty, creamy cheese topped with a bright, crisp salad, and of course, that yolk that adds a rich smoothness.  You take a bite and the rest of the day just kind of disappears.  It's just you, the light, and that sandwich.  Which will soon be history.

Open Faced Sandwiches with Ricotta, Arugula, and Fried Eggs (From Cooking Light)
4 slices whole wheat country bread
cooking spray
2 cups arugula
1 Tbsp olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
4 large eggs
1/4 cup part-skim ricotta
1/4 cup grated fresh parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
salt and pepper

  1. Preheat broiler.  Coat both sides of bread with cooking spray.  Broil 2 minutes on each side or until lightly toasted.
  2. Combine arugula, 2 tsps oil, juice, salt, and pepper. Toss gently.
  3. Heat 1 tsp  oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Crack egg into pan, cook 2 minutes.  Cover and cook 2 minutes or until whites are set.  Remove from heat.
  4. Combine 1/4 tsp salt, ricotta, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and thyme.  Spread over slices.
  5. Divide salad and eggs evenly among toast slices.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Mommy Mondays: Infant Hearing Tests

I was chatting with a friend the other week and she mentioned she was about to have her son's hearing tested.  She asked about the process, knowing we had done that with Thatbaby.  And it made me realize that this is a topic that might be good to share information about, since it's not that common a process.  I know before Thatbaby got tested, I turned to L&O for as much information as she could provide.

At 12 months, the only recognizable word Thatbaby had was "uh oh."  But he did have a couple other words, that  Like zuzzz for shoes and appajay for pumpkin.  It made me question where there was something wrong with his hearing that was causing him to mishear and mispronounce words, and making it more difficult for him to acquire language. 

I brought it up at his 15 month appointment, and his pediatrician wasn't terribly concerned since he had passed his newborn hearing test, but knows that I'm not usually the parent who worries unnecessarily, so he referred me to a pediatric audiologist for a hearing test.  While we were in the office, he did a visual inspection of Thatbaby's ear with the otoscope, to make sure there was nothing obviously wrong with his ear structure.  There wasn't.

Now, here arises the real question.  The hearing test itself.  How do you test the hearing of a nonverbal child? Well in our cases, this is what happened, which is also similar to L&O's experience and the experience of a friend whose son had a hearing test the same day at Thatbaby.  So I'm hoping this is universal enough to help anyone else about to experience the test.

The first part of the test was objective.  While Thatbaby sat on my lap, the audiologist placed an instrument in each ear and measured the waves that bounced back from the cochlea/cillia in front of the cochlea. 

The doctor then repeated this form of testing, this time measuring the waves bouncing back from the ear drum.

These tests all came back with normal results.  According to the tests, all his ear functions were working normally.  So then came the subjective part of the test.  He should be able to hear, but could he?

Thatbaby and I sat in a box of a room with me sitting between two speakers and him on my lap. Beneath each speaker was a stuffed animal. In front of us was a stuffed animal (one of those yappy electronic dogs).

The audiologist would randomly alternate between speakers above each side animal and see if Thatbaby turned toward the noise/animal. Between each side he would set off the yappy dog in front of us. (Thatbaby caught on to this pretty quickly. He would turn toward the appropriate animal, then immediately look at the dog to wait for it to turn on. As soon as the test was over he went running up to the dog)

Which answered my question about his hearing.  Everything was functioning normally, and he was hearing fine.  Which meant he was just quirky with his pronunciations (still is) and  just on the slower side when it came to speech.  The entire experience was fairly quick, and very painless.  Thatbaby even danced down the hallway after it was over. 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Sunday Runday: Running Spring

Tomorrow is the first day of spring.  Although, to be fair, it's been feeling awfully springy around these parts lately already.

It started on my run a couple weeks ago, when I noticed giant patches of vibrant purple flowers.  It was just after some heavy rains and it was a nice reminder of the beauty that comes after the storm.

And then L&O posted some pictures of the flowers around her campus, taken during one of her walks.  And I was inspired.  I started keeping my eye out along the paths and trails I run for blooms of my own.

Over the course of the past week I saw flowers of so many shapes and sizes.  Small clusters, giant petals, flowers that reached up to the sky, and others who covered the ground in their brilliant hue.

One of the things I have openly admired about SDMom is her ability to always be grateful for her surroundings.  She takes nothing for granted.  Giving myself a floral scavenger hunt of sorts while I ran accomplished a similar feat.  Sometimes I complain about running the same routes.  It gets boring.  It's a bit suburban without beautiful views of mountains, rivers, or oceans.  But seeing so many flowers made me appreciate the beauty of the neighborhood and how unboring my scenery really is.

Have you found something unique about your favorite running route?
Do you ever stop to smell flowers?

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Crave Wednesday: Mini Falafel Pocket Sandwich

 It's baseball season!  Well, it's actually been baseball season since January.  That's when practices started.  Which seems ridiculously early.  And part of the reason most of the practices have been called for inclement weather.

Thatkid is once again on the Dodgers.  But this year, the Dodgers are comprised mostly of his friends.  There are 3 other kids from his team last year, 1 of his old friends who wasn't on the team, and 1 of his new friends. 

 Also new this year is the graduation from the tee to the pitching machine.  Batting has never been Thatkid's strong suit, but now he really has to focus on hitting the ball.  And when he focuses, he does a great job!  The past 2 games he's gotten hits!

And while he may not be the next Hank Aaron, he definitely stands out on the field.  He's got his own signature move.  His slide.

Thatkid has practice during the week, and games every weekend.  Because our weekdays aren't full enough!  And now that daylight savings has started, we've been taking advantage of the light and spending longer at practice.  So baseball nights means I have to have dinner ready to go as soon as we get home.  Which means my love of sandwiches has become a need for sandwiches.  They're an easy dinner which is also filling since all that batting, running, and fielding leaves Thatkid pretty hungry.

This falafel sandwich is especially convenient because the falafel can be made ahead of time.  And while I prefer it warmed up, it definitely can be eaten cold. I can't speak to every child, but my boys love garlic yogurt sauce, the tahini added to this one didn't change that fact.

Mini Falafel Pocket Sandwich (From Cooking Light)
1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt
2 Tbsp tahini
2 Tbsp cold water
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 1/3 cup boiling water
2/3 cup bulgar
2 garlic cloves
1/3 cup parsley
1/4 cup cilantro
3/4 tsp cumin
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 egg white
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 whole wheat pitas, halved crosswise
1 cup chopped tomato
1/2 cup thinly sliced English cucumber
1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
  1.  Combine yogurt, tahini, cold water and lemon in a small bowl.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill.
  2. Combine boiling water and bulgar in a small bowl.  Cover and let stand 25-30 minutes. Drain.
  3.  Process garlic in food processor until minced.
  4. Add bulgar, parsley, cilantro, cumin, chickpeas and egg white to food processor and process until smooth.  Divide mixture into 8 equal portions, shaping each into a patty.  Place patties on a baking sheet.  Cover and chill for 30 minutes.
  5. Heat half of the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat.  Add 4 patties.  Cook 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown.  Repeat with remaining oil and patties.
  6. Spread 1 Tbsp tahini-yogurt sauce inside each pita.  
  7. Fill each pita half with 2 patties.
  8. Divide tomato, cucumber, and red onion evely among pita halves.
  9. Drizzle each with 1 Tbsp sauce.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Mommy Mondays: 21 Months

Weight: 27lbs 6oz (+ 19 lbs, 2 oz) (from 18 months)
Height: 35"(+ 13") (from 18 month)
Head: 19" (from 18 months)

Sleep: I feel bad and whiney - things here are pretty much the same.  I remember when he used to sleep through the nights sometimes.  Now a good night he only wakes once.  He is doing a great job of naps at preschool, which has always been true.  I just wish he didn't always wake up crying.

Eating: This month he's all about the oranges.  And raisins.  And oatmeal.  And waffles.  And yogurt.  This kid loves to eat.  He nurses before bed and usually once during the night. 

Best Moment: Thatbaby has learned trickery.  When we were at the aquarium earlier this month we were watching the sharks when he grabbed him arm and yelled "OWSH!"  He grinned and pointed at one of the sharks.  "Did that shark bite you?"  "Yeah.  OWSH!"  and then he looked at me and said "Tick you!"

Monthly Wisdom: We're dealing with a lot of hitting, pushing, biting, right now.  Which is really difficult to deal with, but I remind myself this is just a stage.  It's his way of expressing frustration.  Right now, he is finally able to express what he wants, and hasn't quite figured out that just because he wants something doesn't mean he gets it.  As he gets older, he'll get better at communicating. And he'll develop a better understanding of wants, needs, and compromises.  Until then, its all about redirecting and removing him from the situation.

Goals for the Upcoming Month:
- More sleep

Things Thatbaby is doing:
- "Mine" and "My turn" are now regular parts of his vocabulary.
- He loves to "dress up" and dance to music.
- He counts.  "Twooooo,  Niiiiine,  Twooooo, Niiiiine."
- He is very very very into animals and knows so many of them by name.  He can also do most of their noises.
- He also loves trucks.  He has a truck book he reads over and over again.
- He started preschool!  The first day he cried and his teacher cried.  But after that they said they've never seen such a fast transition.  They also said they've never seen a kid quite like him.  He is quiet and sneaky.  So very sneaky.  They'll turn around and he'll be missing, off somewhere getting into trouble.
- He can do somersaults
- He has figured out puzzles.  I swear it happened within a week.
- He can buckle himself into his carseat.  At least the top buckle.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Sunday Runday: Take A Hike

Thursday afternoon SD Mom texted me to see if I wanted to go for a "hike" on Saturday morning.  Knowing that "hike" was code for "run" I told her I was in, as long as we could guarantee being done by 8am, so I could get home in time for Thatkid's baseball game.

SD Mom made no promises, but I did some math and figured we'd be starting early enough.  So we met in the dark and started up the trail.     The first part is fairly flat, so we ran.  And pretty much we ran until it got light, at which point we started on the rocky, uphill part of the trail.

Walking this portion of the trail was nice because it really gave us a chance to take in our surroundings.   With all the rain, the whole area was greener than it has ever been.

After a very long and strenuous climb, we made it to the summit.  Where there was a lot more green to be seen in the surrounding basin.

Our way back down was a little treacherous.  The loose rocks and steep incline meant I was not the only one who ended up on my bottom.

We crossed rivers that never existed, some by bridge, and some by rock.
And in the end, covered about 6 miles in 2 1/2 hours.  So it was a good thing we started early!

Monday, March 06, 2017

Mommy Mondays: Ode to the Working Mom

Last Tuesday was a looooooong day at work.  With my new job I don't have them as often as I used to have at my previous position, but I'm in a profession where most days the work doesn't end when I leave the office anyway. 

At 3:30, I texted Thatboy to see if he could pick up the boys from school, because there was no way I was going to be home before dinner. In fact, I arrived home after the boys' bedtimes.  But they weren't asleep.  Thatboy let them stay up long enough to kiss me goodnight as I swept in the door.  The entire day, I probably saw my children for about an hour.

And this is the cry I hear most from the working mom.  They complain that they barely see their children during the week.  They let their children stay up later at nights, because it's the only time they see them.  It's rough.  I get it.

But the thing is, and what I jokingly tell my friends and coworkers, is that you have 18 years with these kids.  The hours you miss now are a drop in the bucket of the many hours you will spend with them.  That sounds dismissive.  And I don't mean it to be so - because I understand.  I know that these are the hours when milestones occur.  This is the time when your children actually WANT to be with you. 

But my remark is more a way of asking them to give themselves a break.  For centuries men have spent long days and nights at work, without worrying about the impact it had on the family.  It was a given.  And in many ways, it still is.  Despite the fact that most families are dual income, men are still usually considered "breadwinners' while women are "homemakers."  Which means the pressure is on mom to be a full time worker, and a full time maid, and a full time caretaker.  I'm not implying that our husbands still come home, sit on the couch, and wait for their martinis - I like to think that most 21st century men are equal partners in the home - but the pressure is still there for women, even if it's self-imposed.

So moms.  Instead of beating yourself up for not spending enough time with your kids, think about what a great example you're setting.  That they'll know mommies and daddies can both work hard.  That they get to see time management skills in action.  That they know daddies are just as capable of helping out around the house and taking care of children. 

And really they are. I don't think Thatboy is an unusual specimen of a husband.  I tend to think he's fairly run of the mill.  And I know that those nights when I have to work late, the boys are in excellent hands.  Like on Tuesday, Thatboy picked the boys up from school and took them on a hike.  And he's well trained enough to send me pictures, so even though I'm not there, I'm not entirely missing out.

Then he took them home, fed them dinner, bathed them and got them all ready for bed.  While I tucked them in, he heated up dinner for me too.   Because really, in the vast scheme of things, families aren't really about one person taking care of everyone.  In a family, we all take care of each other.  As long as your children are cared for, the hours don't really matter.