A blog is born.
Welcome to my musings on pop culture and parenting. I am the Pop Mama and this is a safe place to steal away from your screaming child and get your fix on what's up with Beyonce and great poop stain remover tips.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Food for Thought.

Happy Tuesday!  I went on my much awaited girls weekend to Florida and got home late Sunday.  It was very relaxing and besides indulging myself in seafood and cocktails, I realized how unburdened one can feel when she is not constantly fetching juice, packing diaper bags, fastening car seat buckles and reminding (yelling) one's two year-old not to smother his brother.  Ahhhhh.  It was a beautiful thing to just care for me and me alone this weekend, but of course I ended up missing the little maniacs and by Sunday night I was anxious to see them.  My husband fared well in my absence and I was happy (overjoyed) to miss a very messy potty training fail by Cameron...yikes.  Oh, and Henry is now basically walking -- at 9 months.  He actually tried to scale the safety gate today, something that Cameron has still never attempted.  My husband put him "baby jail" in order to keep him from destroying everything at the grandparents house...

So, a few things I have been meaning to post about:

1.  Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively, or "Rake" as I now am calling them.  Ummm...what?  They got married.  I barely knew they were together, but of course, I have been been a little preoccupied.  I am a wee bit worried for Ryan because he seems to always choose women who are about 10 years his junior (besides Alanis Morissette) and then it doesn't seem to work out.  I know plenty of 30-35 year olds who are single, beautiful and hilarious -- if only he would have met them first.  Anywho, good luck to the newlyweds.

2.  I toughed it out until the finale of this season's Real Housewives of New Jersey.  I am solidly Team Melissa and am wondering if the rumor mill is correct in that Teresa is getting fired from the show.  For any of you who watched, how over it is Caroline Manzo (not to mention Albert Manzo)?

In the finale, Joe Gorga flies to Melissa's defense when she is accused, once again, of being a stripper and he brings Ritchie Wakile with him.  I love this duo, especially their age inappropriate outfits, but more I just love that they were ready to do some business at the Posche fashion show (which is a sh*t show every.single.year.)  My husband and I were talking about who on the show would be most likely to help you bury a body if you needed to (and be discrete about it).  We decided that although most of the husbands on the show would probably help you, most wouldn't be discrete and the one you should really go to is Albert Manzo.  Of course, you may owe him a favor one day, but I think he would be the one to get the job done and keep it quiet.  Random thoughts from our couch.

3.  I promised recipes and recipes are what you shall now get, like it or not.  When I was first married I did not care much for cooking, but in the past few years I have really started to get into it and I credit one source -- Real Simple Magazine.  I love love love this magazine and get most of my recipes from it.  I have some old standbys and some new ones from Pinterest, but that magazine is the source of much of my inspiration.

I thought I would start with two easy recipes and then add more on different posts later...I'll try to keep it interesting.  I chose these recipes for today because they are "no-cook" recipes that are really healthy and delicious and can be made in less than 20 minutes.

Beet and Carrot Salad (from www.cmbm.org)
Serves 4
2 tablespoons OJ
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons EVOO
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger (I use this ginger paste that I found in the herb section of my grocery)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup peeled and shredded carrot
1 cup peeled and shredded raw beet
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

Whisk OJ, lemon juice, EVOO, ginger and salt together in bowl.  Put carrots in mixing bowl, drizzle with 1/2 of dressing and toss, put on one side of serving dish.  Put beets in mixing bowl and drizzle with other 1/2 of dressing and toss.  Place beets on other side of serving dish.  Sprinkle mint on top before serving.  Delish!

Sesame-Lime Chicken Salad (from Real Simple Magazine)
Serves 4
1/4 cup canola oil
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon sugar (I used Splenda)
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil (I have another recipe that uses this and will post next time so you can use this pricey ingredient again)
1/2 red chili pepper (such as jalapeƱo), sliced
kosher salt and black pepper (I used sea salt)
1 small head romaine lettuce in bite sized pieces (I used a bag of romaine, prewashed and cut up)
2 carrots, grated (I actually bought a bag of shredded carrots which I used for this recipe and the one above on two separate nights)
1 2 to 2.5 lb rotisserie chicken, meat shredded (about 4 cups) -- I used leftover roasted chicken and I bet any kind of chicken would be fine.
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (I forgot these and didn't notice)
1 cup crispy Chinese noodles (in Asian section of grocery store)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves

In large bowl, whisk together the canola oil, lime juice, sugar, sesame oil, chili, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.  Add the lettuce, carrots, and chicken and toss to combine.  Serve the salad with the sesame seeds, noodles and cilantro sprinkled on top.  Just like a restaurant Chinese chicken salad, but much healthier!

Good luck chefs!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

One week later.

This past week has been weird.  I have been a combination of busy, introspective, serious, joyful and stressed.  Besides being obsessed with childhood cancer for the last week, I have been working on business ideas for my consulting business, taking care of babies and cooking up a storm.  I am putting the obsession with childhood cancer away for now because I had Henry's 9 month well check-up (remember word - "well") and I talked to my pediatrician (the amazing Dr. M.) about my fears.  Her response was "that is my life."  She is a mother of three boys and she got it...although it is rare and my anxiety about it may seem irrational and crazy to some, it is a valid fear that she herself had had.  It made me feel better that I wasn't alone and made me feel even better when she explained what she looks for in children when examining them -- and that Henry was A.O.K.  Exhale.

In order to distract myself from the big "C," I watched some new fall television.  I caught The New Normal last Tuesday and it is set to record tonight too.  I don't know how I feel about it yet.  I wanted to love it right away, but then when I was watching it, I started to pick it apart.  The characters need some fine tuning, especially Ellen Barkin's racist grandmother character.  She is such a great actress and was doing a great job, but the writing seemed a bit over the top at times (and I get that the show is supposed to be a bit over the top), but it felt like it was pushing it.  Rein it in a little and be a little more subtle and perhaps the character can develop a bit more.  I also watched the season premiere of my old favorite, Parenthood.

Okay Parenthood, what are you doing with Ray Romano?  What is going to be his function?  Are you,  along with what seems like millions of shows before you going to get rid of Jason Ritter and replace Lauren Graham's love interest on the show?  I hope not, for Jason Ritter's sake...that poor guy cannot stay on a show for the life of him -- and I think he is a pretty good actor.  And, although I love this show, I am kind of in disbelief as to the Julia and Joel adopting a 8 year old boy on the fly story line.  It is freaky and poorly developed.  It is making me mad because there is so much that goes into adoption and to think that the adoption agency showed up in the middle of night with an older child and made them make a decision on the spot is RIDICULOUS!  My husband and I just roll our eyes whenever this story line comes on.  Over it.

In other news, I watched Kourtney Kardashian pull her daughter out and Bethenny's talk show got picked up!  Yippee.  I am counting down to Friday when I fly to Florida to meet up with some of cousins for a much needed girls weekend...I am looking forward to: the beach, wine, hors d'oeuvres, laughing (a lot), sleeping in, eating, wine, wine and warm weather!

I must go back to cooking now, as my children and hubs are on their way home...more on my go-to and favorite recipes later.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

No fair.

I am literally sitting here at the computer with tears streaming down my face and a tissue in hand.  I just finished listening to Taylor Swift's song Ronan.  She played it first on the Stand Up to Cancer special this past weekend and I missed it.  I heard about it via Facebook and then my husband told me about it and how he listened to it at work out of curiosity and was basically in tears at his desk.  If something can make my logical husband cry (or at least tear up), at work no less, then it has to be absolutely heartbreaking.  And it is.  The song is crafted from the words of a mother who lost her four year old son to neuroblastoma in 2011.

The words of the song were written on a blog by Maya Thompson, the mother to Ronan.   She wrote the blog to work through the pain of parenting and losing a child with cancer.  It is a tribute to her baby and it is heartbreakingly beautiful and simple.  Taylor did an amazing job of captivating the story and a mother's pain.  It isn't cheesy or trite and I have been thinking about it all day.

The song touched me deeply and I couldn't look at Cammy or Henry today and not think about how precious my time with them is and how dirty laundry or toys all over the house don't mean a damn thing when it comes down to it.  It is so easy to get caught up in the crap of everyday life and the doldrums of parenting...yesterday was one of those days for me.

After the kids went to bed I was in a foul mood because the house was trashed, Cam was a wee bit difficult that afternoon and I was just plain tired.  I also felt gross and squidgy because I haven't exercised since Henry was born and I never pass up a cookie or handful of M&Ms.  I was irritated and snarly and just needed some time to myself.  So I think that is when God decided to nudge me back to reality and I heard the song for the first time.  As I was crying, I felt like a complete a-hole, which only made me cry more.

I cried because as a mother I can only imagine how deep the hole would be if one of my boys passed away.  I cried because I have two gorgeous, healthy and lively boys of my own who I get the incredible gift of parenting everyday.  I get to be their mom and I needed to remember how lucky I am.  I cried because the lyrics and music are the perfect storm.  I cried because I ache for Maya Thompson and I ache for her other children who lost their brother.

Because I am a glutton for punishment and apparently like crying, I visited Ronan's mother's blog: www.rockstarronan.com  It is beautiful, sad and hopeful and brings awareness to neuroblastoma...which I didn't really know about or what it was until just now.  I don't want to go all medical on you, so basically it is a childhood cancer that develops from tissue in the sympathetic nervous system.  It sucks.

As I get older cancer becomes a real fear -- not only for me, but for my loved ones.  I have family members battling cancer right now and I feel like it is everywhere -- family friends, neighbors, sorority sisters and co-workers.  I know plenty of survivors, but I also know of so many who have been taken too early by this horrible disease.  It is maddening to me that there is no cure.

All that crying was cathartic, but it was also a reminder that life is so very short and each minute is a gift.  It sounds morbid, but this has been on my mind so much lately, even before I heard Ronan.  Maybe it is getting older and watching my parents get older -- or maybe it is having kids and wanting to protect them -- whatever it is, I'm trying to live with intention everyday and be present every moment.  Easier said than done, but worth a try.

Good night.