The Weekly Ramble

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The weekly ramble: where I blog like it’s 2004.

photo booth masks

What a great week it was! Here are the highlights:

I turned 42 on Tuesday. I worked that day on my cookbook project, but quit at 5pm to enjoy a meal (mostly) cooked by FishPapa and the big boys. We watched a movie and vegged out. The littles bought me some great presents, most from World Market, aka The Pretty Store, aka One of My Happy Places.

I also made a deal with myself that I would do something exercisey every day of my 43rd year. So far, so good. The night before FishPapa gave me a gentle lecture/encouragement that I haven’t really been challenging myself with the weights, that I wasn’t going to see progress until I tried a little harder. Don’t worry, ladies, he’s not one of “those guys” who pick on their wives about their weight. Not in the slightest. He knows how much my hip and back hurt me, so he wants me to feel better. It was a good jump start toward making some more effort. I’ve gotten pretty lazy and almost quit going to the gym over the last few months.

FishBoy16 needs a govt photo ID to get his passport. We applied for an ID last week when he took his permit test. Hello hours at the DMV! Why do you play earthquake safety videos when there is no where to duck and cover in your big, crowded room? They said it could take up to 60 days for the ID to arrive. It came in FIVE DAYS! We had a wonderful clerk at the DMV and I have a sneaky suspicion that she helped the process along.

yoga gear

I ran into an acquaintance at the Y who I hadn’t seen in two years, despite the fact that we are both there A LOT. She inspired me to take a yoga class, and I love it. It is NOT all hoochy-coochy like I worried it would be. In fact, Wednesday’s class was super-duper physically challenging. It revealed muscles I did not know I had. Aside from a little sciatica that flared on Thursday, I feel great. Very, very sore, but great. I went back on Friday, and plan to take a class a few times a week. It does help to have some outside motivation to challenge yourself!

The kids and I headed to the pool for the first time in awhile. We had the place to ourselves which is super nice and allowed for lots of good practice. I am not a strong swimmer and that has always impeded me from lots of fun things. And frightened me to death, quite honestly. So, I’m glad to see the kids reacquainting themselves in the water.

A few of us, yes, us, still need lessons this season, but we’re not too far from having us all be independent swimmers. I heard that there’s even a clinic for adults, dare I be so bold? Honestly? I’m scared to death. I realized this 2 years ago and have yet to rectify it. Is this my summer?

You know there’s a delay in cookbook print production, right? I first turned in the freezer book in June of 2011. It released at stores in November 2012. This means that projects I’ve worked on this year take awhile to get to you. I’m pleased to report that I finished a major deadline this week which makes me sigh with relief, jump for joy, and vow never to get behind again. Ever. You’ll have to wait 18 months for book #4…. however,

good cheap eats cover

I’m happy to tell you, though, that book #3, Good Cheap Eats: Everyday Dinners and Fabulous Feasts for $10 or Less is available for Amazon pre-order. You can get it at Barnes and Noble, too, if it’s more your style. At least with Amazon, a pre-order guarantees you the lowest price available between now and the September release date. If you feel moved, ask your library to order it. Then you can read it FOR FREE!

We’ve had some fun kid stuff this week. I found this Alex Toys Silly Me Photo Booth kit on clearance at Target. The littles had a great time making masks. How cute are they? The kit is set up similar to this one I told you about last year which we loved. Both are perfect when you need to buy yourself a little time with kids playing and crafting independently. If you can grab either one, stash it in your bag of tricks for the summer.

Meanwhile, here’s what’s been happening on Life as MOM:

Here’s what’s been happening on Good Cheap Eats:

Coming next week:

  • a new Zone Defense Assignment
  • Book and CD Giveaway featuring Zach and Laura Sobiech
  • How to Have a Great Week
  • A Manly Freezer Cooking Plan

Be sure to let me know what stories and articles are helpful to you and what you’d like to see more of in the coming weeks. I want to make your “life as MOM” as fun and as easy as possible.


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  1. I’m super excited to get your number 3 cookbook. Looks great from the title.

  2. Hi! I just wanted to let you know that you are definitely not alone being uncomfortable in the water. The adult swim classes at the Y tend to be fantastic and geared toward wherever you are. No judgment, no shame, just safe practice. I encourage you to look into them. 🙂

    Love, a former Y adult swim student then later lifeguard

  3. I so appreciate your openness and honesty. I think that we all have the temptation to show people (especially online strangers!) only our best sides. I find it refreshing when people share their vulnerabilities. Thank you.

  4. The other advantage of taking the Adult swim class would be that you could count that work towards your daily exercise. Water exercises are another way to reveal muscles you didn’t know you had because of all the stabilizing you have to do.

  5. I’m so glad you tried and liked yoga! I’m an avid fan and am just getting back in after my post-baby hiatus. I actually thought about suggesting it to you in the past (for your hip), but I decided I didn’t know you that well. I hope it helps you. It has done wonders for me all over my body.

  6. Congrats on the new book. I’ll have to add it to my wishlist. My goal this month is to start doing some weight training. I’ll be 42 in July…it’s not as easy as it used to be! 😉

  7. Suggestion – I would love to find more recipes/tips to cook vegetables in more interesting ways. We do not live in the US and do not have seasonal options. I can regularly find broccoli, cauliflower, carrots (they’re giant, but delicious!) and butternut squash (which none of us really like), and I can sometimes find zucchini, eggplant, fresh green beans, and fresh pea pods (they call them China peas!). I can buy canned green beans and corn and frozen peas. I think that is about it. Oh, and the lettuce is really hard to clean enough to be safe for our stomachs, so we don’t eat much salad. I can buy other salad veggies cheaply, like colored peppers, avocados, and tomatoes. Any ideas, or does this prompt the thinking for an article? Thanks! (btw, I came here to find the roasted vegetable recipe I know I’ve used before to cook tonight. I just get into the habit of steaming or sauteeing whatever we have, but we’re all getting bored! 🙂 )

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