Saturday, October 23, 2010

Hair Heartbreak...or Maybe Not!

My beautiful and spontaneous daughter got bored the other day and decided that her layers needed to be shorter.  She had asked me the day before to book her a hair appointment, which I agreed to do.  Apparently, it wasn't fast enough for her.

I get this text message that says, "should I tell you now what I did, so you don't flip out when you get home?"  I had heart palpitations as I asked her what she'd done.  She sent me this picture message:

I looked hard, I squinted...all I saw were really straight bangs and uneven ends.  So I asked her if she meant the bangs and shorter hair.  She said yes, so I replied with, "Cute!  I'm just thankful it wasn't a facial piercing."  To which she replied, "Yeah, cuz I would really have the guts to do that!"  Good to know...

So I get home, knock on her door and I see what the photo did not reveal...the top of her head is now two inches long.  I say in an exasperated tone, "Why did you do that to your hair?!"  She asks me to please not lecture her...and that she needs a hair appointment.  Yeah, no kidding.

Just the other day she confided in me that she wanted to go back to regular high school!  Inside I was jumping up and down and doing an end zone victory dance.  Now I'm looking at her hair and wondering what this is going to do to her confidence...and her decision to attend a new school.

I asked her what she was thinking...she said her layers were too long, so she thought she would trim them.  I reminded her that I was making her a hair appointment.  She said she knew that...she was bored...(one of the side effects of online high school, just say'n).  She asked me, "Haven't you ever cut your own hair?"  I said, "Yeah, when I was four."  I asked her how she wasn't crying and she told me, "I did that earlier." 

So I hugged her...and called my new emergency hair stylist, Amy Maggipinto/Miracle Worker, to come to the rescue.  She had recently fixed my own haircut disaster just the week before.  Only difference is, mine wasn't self inflicted.  Amy fit me in the next night.  Did I mention that Amy rocks?!

So the next day, after work I picked Madi up and off we went to Bellisimo Salon where Amy works her magic.  Amy took one look and made Madi promise to call her the next time she felt the need to cut her hair.  She volunteered to be her hair sponsor.  I cracked up..."Madi, step away from the scissors...I'm on my way!"

My heart was in my throat as Amy razored away Madi's hair...all of it gone.  What remained, was a cute, edgy haircut that completely fit my daughter's personality.  I looked at Madi and asked her how she was doing...she said, "I'm fine!"  

My daughter never ceases to amaze me.  She is strong and fearless.  She wants to be accepted, but on her own terms.  She has a bleeding heart and a fierce temper.  She is loyal, kind and expects everyone to be that way.  I am so proud to be her mother...and I cannot wait to see the woman she will grow to be.  Madi is going to make a difference in this world...just you wait and see!  

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Rocky Horror

A couple of weeks ago, my daughter asked if we could rent The Rocky Horror Picture Show.  I explained that it wasn't a movie you rented, it was a movie you went to.  She just looked at me like I was crazy and old.  She said that she had watched it at a friend's house and they did this Time Warp dance.  I cracked up and told her what it's like to go to Rocky Horror.

Fast forward to last Friday...I'm in downtown SLO, on an errand.  I look up and there on the Fremont marquee is The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Oct 19th.

I think to myself...this is not a cowinkydink!  I got home later that night and told her that we were going to Rocky Horror and she was SO excited.

One cannot attend Rocky Horror without props...rice and toast, etc.

Madi was VERY disappointed that she didn't dress up...NEXT TIME!

The Virgin Rocky Horror Atttendee

Madi HAD to get her picture taken with these hardcore enthusiasts.

Costume Contest

Right before the show they had a trivia and costume contest.  Then the movie started.  We threw rice, we covered our heads with newspaper to avoid getting wet, we sang, we laughed, we got hit by toilet paper, we threw was a fun, fun time.  

There were moments that I is pretty racy...but then I would look over and she would be laughing.  Later I mentioned it and she said, "Mom, this is should hear the things kids say." 

On the way home, we spied a curbside treasure...

Madi had to have it...she begged, she pleaded...I said, "That is NOT going to fit in the car."  She insisted it would...

She was we took her treasure home...she was so happy!

Yeah, that's FIT!
I love my daughter!

I'm kinda digg'n this chair too...

What a NIGHT!


Later, Madi came up and hugged me and said she had the best night EVER!  We talked late into the night...this was the best night EVER for me as well...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Rainy Sunday

This morning I woke up to the sound of rain...I love the sound of rain...and the smell.  My dogs on the other hand are not as excited about this as I am.

I knew that Oliver was not going to step one paw onto the damp ground, so I let him go out the front door this morning where there is a covered walkway.  Peek-a-boo was also very particular about where she did her business this morning.

So the dogs have been out, I'm fixing breakfast, and it suddenly hits me that the dog's bowls are outside...where it's WET.

This is how much my dogs HATE the rain.  They would rather starve than go out under the alcove and eat.  Spoiled rotten dogs!

By the time I figured this out...they were HUNGRY!

Now that they are full, they are lounging around, enjoying the sound of the rain with me.
Peek-a-boo relaxing

Oliver taking a snooze

Then suddenly, out of no the LOUDEST clap of thunder...

MOM!!!  What the hell was that?!

Happy Sunday!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Holy Cow! What Happened??!!

This is me...three years ago.  I'm skinny, I'm tan...

This is me now...what the hell happened?!

So basically, I compared these pictures today and decided that something HAD to change.  I may not want to do 60 flights of stairs like Karen from The French Skinny Experiment, but I need to do them.  

About 2 weeks ago, I joined the gym with my daughter.  As she is only with me every two weeks, I have not gone once since she has been gone.  This stops tomorrow!  

I've also stopped eating processed foods for the most part. I am now going to start watching my portion control...or rather, my self control.  

I started my quest this morning.  I drank a cup of coffee before leaving the house.  At the office I made myself some organic oatmeal that I found at the grocery store.  I was very skeptical, but it is REALLY good!  It is called Better Oats Raw Pure & Simple.  

When it comes to lunch, I often eat out.  My plan is to start making a lunch each day.  Today however, I ate out...French Skinny style...
Hearty Crepe with chicken, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, pepperjack cheese, onions, sliced almonds in a balsamic sauce served with a side salad and roasted red potatoes.

I found a lovely little restaurant called Le Ciel Crepe Cafe in San Luis Obispo.  It was wonderful...I want to eat there everyday!  I ate about half of my lunch and saved the rest for later.

Dinner was roasted pork loin, corn and quinoa.  Quinoa is my new favorite replacement for rice or potatoes.  It has the texture of cous cous and can be cooked a million different ways.  Not only that, but it's one of the world's healthiest foods.  You can read more at; just type in quinoa in the search bar.  

Well, now that I am armed with a plan, or at least high hopes, I'm off to dream of a skinnier me and the new wardrobe I'm going to buy!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Bread Making/Wine Drinking Day

A few months back, on a lazy Sunday, I decided to browse some blogs and see what it was all about.  Eight hours later, I was obsessed and had a long list of blogs to follow.  My favorite blog however, was The French Skinny Experiment.  I had just started the Atkins diet and after reading Karen's blog, I saw a glimmer of hope at the end of my bread deprived tunnel.

Although I have not committed myself to the French Skinny exercise plan, I have made the commitment to only eat fresh foods.  No more processed food for this family!  It has been wonderful.  I have not lost any weight, but I haven't gained any either.  I just can't bring myself to walk 5 miles and do 40-60 flights of stairs.  (Karen, I applaud your determination! Although secretly I think you're CRAZY...maybe that's why I like you so much!)

Anyhow, that first week at the grocery store, as I idled down the aisles and read the back of boxes and jars; I was APPALLED!  I kept hearing Jamie Oliver on t.v. say, "if it reads like a science experiment, don't eat it."  Or something like that.  I was screwed...there is NOTHING on the shelves that is fit for consumption.  What have I been feeding my kids?  Even the bread had preservatives.  And that was when it hit me...I would make my own fresh bread!

Now mind you, I don't cook.  Or at least I cook, but very few things and moderately well.  I fancied myself a baker...and then I tried to make bread.  After about 4 loaves of wheat bread, I was covered in flour, in a kitchen that looked like a tornado had ripped through it.  As for my was hard as a rock!  Betty Crocker I was not.

Pitching in the towel, I poured a glass of wine and whined on Facebook that my bread could be used as a weapon.  A friend of mine immediately responded and said she knew exactly what I was doing wrong.  I called her and we made plans to have a bread making (wine drinking) lesson.  So after 4 or 5 months of schedule conflicts, we finally had a date!  And I had a plan...I was going to make baguettes...just like the baguettes that Karen was always eating on The French Skinny Experiment.  So this is for you inspiration (in bread making and blogging)!

Bread Making/Wine Drinking Day

The Hostess: Meg
Meet Meg. Meg was gracious and crazy enough to let us into her home for a day of bread making and wine drinking.  Meg is wonderfully eccentric.  She lives on a few acres on a mountain where she rescues animals.  My children think she's like a children's show...they love her.  At Meg's; if you're not getting dirty, you're not having fun!

My Teacher/Guru:  Diana 

Meet Diana.  Diana is my super smart friend.  Diana can do anything.  Not only is she super smart, she also super sweet!  And witty.  And funny.  And she can bake like nobody's business.  Which is why I've enlisted her help.  

We arrived at Meg's around 11:30 am.  We walked in to the kitchen (poured a glass of wine) and got right to work.  There was no time to delay...apparently baguettes take FOREVER.  Leave it to me to pick something difficult.  

The yeast needs to be warmed with sits and bubbles...and starts working its magic.

After we got the baguette dough ready for it's first rising session, we took a break for some lunch and wine.  Lunch consisted of left over tamale pie that Meg's husband Papi had made.  It was DELICIOUS.  Papi is also a magnificent cook!

Chef Extraordinare: Papi

After lunch it was back to the kitchen for some more kneading of the baguette dough and the start of the wheat bread.

This is where I was like, "Is it supposed to look like this??"  Apparently it's like a science project.  The yeast is working when I looks like this.  We waited a little bit, then added more flower and honey.  

 I was ready to let Papi knead the dough this time...kneading dough is a lot of work!  I need to go to the gym.

 As he kneaded the dough, he added sunflower seeds and rolled oats.  Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

 Our baguette dough is rising...even the top of the saran wrap is bubbled up.  

Time to deflate, knead some more and recover.  Baguettes are a lot of work.

The wheat bread has REALLY risen!

Time to deflate it again!

Bread pans are ready.  Time to divide up the loaves.

The wheat loaves have to rise some more.

Our baguette dough is ready!

It's kind of sticky...

Cut it up...

into four loaves.

This involved folding ends over and pinching seems.

Then rolling into little loaves.

Then cover and let rest.  AGAIN. 


The wheat bread is DONE!  It smelled wonderful!

Poured a little melted butter over the top.  My mouth was watering at this point.

Our friend Deb came over to visit and be our guinea pig.  

And the verdict is...

a thumbs up!!  After sampling the bread, we decided to take a break and visit the animals.

This is Benny...

and Elaine (Laney)...

and Kramer...

Benny again...he wanted a carrot too.

Stanley the tortoise.

I think Kramer is smiling.

Lenny, Benny's brother is invading the chicken coop.  And it is time for us to get back inside and check on the baguette loaves.

Time to score the tops of the loaves and into the oven they go.  We didn't have a baguette pan.  To improvise we turned a cookie sheet upside down, placed parchment paper with corn meal on it on top and placed the loaves on it.  We then placed a pan of water beneath the cookie sheets to create steam.  Apparently this is what gives the baguette its crunchy crust.  We also didn't have a spray bottle to spray the sides of the oven with.  We just splashed it on the sides with our fingers.  We're hard core.  Or rather, Diana is...she braved the heated oven.

Are these beautiful or what!?!

I'm so proud.

Time for a taste test...

After the bread making was done, Papi began making us a pasta dinner to go with our bread and wine.

Great food, great wine and great doesn't get better than this!


Dessert was yummy ice cream.  After dessert we  headed out to the patio.  We laughed and talked while listening to music long into the evening.  Eight bottles of wine later...we were staying the night!  

In the morning Meg made us breakfast with her fresh "Meg's Eggs".  We also had warm cinnamon bread that Diana had made the day before and brought with her.  

Mmmmmmmm...this is how you start a Sunday morning. 


The Baguette
Recipe off of Food Network, courtesy of Amy Scherber


1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup very warm water (105 to 115 degrees F)
3 cups unbleached, all purpose flour
1 cup cake flour (see note)
2 1/4 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon cool water (75 degrees F)


Combine the yeast and the warm water in a small bowl and stir with a fork to dissolve the yeast. Let stand for 3 minutes. Combine the flours and salt in a large bowl. Pour the cool water and the yeast mixture over the flour, and mix with your fingers to form a shaggy mass. Move the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead for 4 minutes. It should be supple and resilient, but not too smooth at this point. Let the dough rest on the work surface for 20 minutes, covered with plastic wrap or a light towel. (This rest period is the autolyse.)
Knead the dough for 6 to 8 minutes. Don't overknead it: The dough should be smooth, stretchy, and resilient. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turn it in the bowl to coat with oil, and cover it with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature ( 75 to 77 degrees F) for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until nearly doubled in volume.
Gently deflate the dough and fold it over itself in the bowl. Reshape it into a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise for 1 1/4 hours or until it has nearly doubled again. Gently deflate the dough again, reshape into a round, cover, and let rise for about 1 hour. Place the dough on a very lightly floured surface and divide it into 3 equal pieces (about 10 ounces each). Gently stretch one piece into a rectangle, leaving some large bubbles in the dough. Fold the top third down and the bottom third up as if you were folding a business letter. Now form the loaf into a log by rolling the dough over from left to right and sealing the seam with the heel of your palm. Fold the dough over about 1/ 3 of the way each time, seal the length of the loaf, then repeat. You want to gently draw the skin tight over the surface of the baguette while leaving some air bubbles in the dough. Seal the seam, being careful not to tear the skin of the dough or deflate its airy structure. Set aside on the work surface to relax before elongating it, and repeat the shaping process with remaining pieces of dough.
Now elongate each baguette, starting with the first one you shaped, by rolling it back and forth on the work surface. Begin with both hands over the center of the loaf and work them out to the ends until the loaf reaches the desired length. (Don't get carried away, or the baguettes won't fit in your oven!) Place the finished loaves on apeel or upside down baking sheet lined with parchment paper and generously sprinkled with corn meal or on a baguette pan. Cover the loaves with well oiled plastic or a floured cloth and let rise for 30 to 40 minutes until the loaves are slightly plump but still not doubled in volume. The final rise is short, because you want the baguettes to be slightly under proofed; this will give them a better oven spring, resulting in loaves with a light, airy crumb and more flared cuts.
Thirty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Place a baking stone in the oven to preheat, and place an empty water pan directly under the stone. Use a very sharp razor blade or lame to make 3 to 5 slashes, depending on the length of your loaves, on the top of each baguette. The cuts should run from one end of the loaf to the other, rather than across it, and the blade should be held at a 30 degree angle to the loaf so that the cuts pop open in the oven. Be careful not to press down too hard, or you may deflate the loaves. Using a plant sprayer, mist the loaves.
Gently slide the loaves onto the preheated stone, or place the baguette mold in the oven. Pour 1 cup of very hot water into the water pan and quickly close the oven door. After 1 minute, mist the loaves and oven walls 6 to 8 times and close the door. After 2 more minutes, spray the loaves and the oven walls again.
Bake for 12 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 400 degrees F and bake for 25 to 30 minutes longer until the loaves are golden brown and crisp. Move them to a rack to cool.
Note: If cake flour is not available, you can use the same amount of unbleached allpurpose flour, but cake flour will give the baguette a lighter texture.

Simple Whole Wheat Bread
Recipe off of, courtesy of Nita Crabb


  • 3 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 5 cups bread flour
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted


  1. In a large bowl, mix warm water, yeast, and 1/3 cup honey. Add 5 cups white bread flour, and stir to combine. Let set for 30 minutes, or until big and bubbly.
  2. Mix in 3 tablespoons melted butter, 1/3 cup honey, and salt. Stir in 2 cups whole wheat flour. Flour a flat surface and knead with whole wheat flour until not real sticky - just pulling away from the counter, but still sticky to touch. This may take an additional 2 to 4 cups of whole wheat flour. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to coat the surface of the dough. Cover with a dishtowel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled.
  3. Punch down, and divide into 3 loaves. Place in greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pans, and allow to rise until dough has topped the pans by one inch.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 25 to 30 minutes; do not overbake. Lightly brush the tops of loaves with 2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine when done to prevent crust from getting hard. Cool completely