Friday, August 30, 2013

my 20th high school reunion: to go or not to go....that was the question.

it's been 20 years since i graduated high school. i have to catch my breath a little when i say that...because in some ways it feels like it was just yesterday. a few of the memories are so real and recent in my mind. how did we get so old?! don't you remember being a kid in high school and thinking how *old* 38 was? it seems so ancient. in other ways high school seems like a lifetime ago....a distant memory of a person i barely remember. 

i never went to our 10 year reunion. there may have been a legitimate excuse.....maybe a wedding to go to or something.....but the truth is i don't remember and i probably wouldn't have gone, even if i had nothing to do. 

i too have felt many of the reasons i hear from people about why they don't want to go to their reunion: 

1. if they were *really* my "friends" we would still be friends today.

2. why don't we just have a small get-together with the people we actually hung out with in high school...not all the "randoms".

3. why would i want to pay to hang out with people i don't even know anymore?

4. my life is not impressive enough yet. i have nothing to brag about.

5. i am fatter, balder, etc and just don't look the way i wanted to for a reunion.

the list really does go on and on.....

thinking about my upcoming 20 year high school reunion didn't exactly leave me giddy. i adore a lot of people and memories that were made during such a short four years of my life, but i thought (just like so many others) that i have facebook. seriously? a reunion? what is the point of paying to see people that i am already "friends" with and know what is going on with their lives, where they get their coffee, how well their child is doing with potty training, their favorite quotes and how much they love their spouse?! 

most of the people i had stayed close friends with over the years were not going to the reunion. i had re-connected with some very incredible women from high school that were going, but I wasn't exactly in my comfort zone. these women (although fabulous) were not my very closest friends and the real thorn in my side life isn't exactly where i thought it would be at this point. i certainly don't  have anything to brag about. in fact, the truth is that now (with the end of my marriage), the boys and i are currently "in transition", living with my parents in the very same home i grew up in. i feel so very blessed that i have such wonderful, supportive parents that are helping us through a difficult time, but there are moments that i feel embarrassed and ashamed about my marriage ending and needing to move in with my somehow i have failed. 

i decided to go against every instinct i had to "have other plans" the night of the reunion and just suck it up and go. i was worried. was there going to be someone that confronted me about something i may have done in high school to hurt them? what if i didn't recognize someone and they were offended? would "mean girls" be mean? in high school i was a very unhappy, insecure person on the inside. i doubted myself at every turn, i didn't think i was good enough for people and i was extremely critical of myself. as the days approached to the reunion, i felt that insecure, self-doubting girl resurface. i didn't like it.

the long and the short of it is this: i did it. i went to my 20th high school reunion and i am really so very happy that i did. even though i didn't get the time i wanted to to connect with everyone there (both people i knew in high school and ones i didn't have the pleasure of getting to know back then), the in-person connection you have the opportunity to experience at a reunion is nothing at all like the perception we think we have of people from facebook. sure, we all are older......some of us are fatter, some of us have less hair, grey hairs, are single, divorced, have kids or kidless. we all have taken different directions in the past 20 years. overall, i would like to think that we are all better versions of ourselves. sure, i didn't go and invent the post-it or do anything famous....but i walked away feeling like i am pretty confident in the person i have become, even if i am still coming to terms with my current situation. my favorite conversations of the night were with those that allowed themselves to be vulnerable and authentic. i truly believe that we all are better versions of our former 18 year old selves..... isn't it funny how going to a reunion makes one sometimes feel like they need to change who they currently are to feel more confident when the most refreshing and empowering thing is to embrace yourself as who you are now and simply be authentic? dare i say i am actually looking forward to the next reunion?! yes. yes, i am.

Monday, August 26, 2013

mmmmm: chicken enchilada casserole

i don't know about you, but for me when the kids are back in school i love looking for easy to make dinners that everyone will enjoy.....but won't take mama a lot of time to prepare and cook. this enchilada casserole fits the bill. save the stress for the getting back into the school homework routine and not on making dinner---enjoy! 

chicken enchilada casserole

1/2 of a white onion, chopped
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon each: chili powder, cumin and garlic powder
4 ounces sour cream
1/2 cup bottled salsa
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 small can chopped olives
12-16 corn tortillas
1 can enchilada sauce

preheat the oven to 350 degrees. have one 9 x 13 baking pan ready (or two 8x8 squares). in a large saucepan, cook onion in oil for five minutes or until translucent. 

stir in chili powder, garlic powder and cumin and cook over low heat for a few minutes. add chicken and salsa. stir over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes until hot. remove from heat. stir in half of the cheese and the olives.

heat tortillas, wrapped in foil, in the oven for 10 minutes until warm and pliable (or zap in the microwave if you are in a hurry). 

spread 1/3 cup enchilada sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. add 4 tortillas to cover the bottom of the pan. spoon a layer of the chicken mixture over the layer of tortillas. add another layer of tortillas, then chicken mixture and continue until you have at least two layers. 

end with a layer of tortillas, then spread a layer or the enchilada sauce over the tortillas, followed by a generous amount of cheese and sprinkled with olives.

bake for 20-30 minutes until hot and bubbly.

cut and serve with sour cream on top. yum!

note: these can be made in advance and refrigerated for up to two days. if you are refrigerating your enchiladas, increase cook time to 35 minutes.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

cheers to the first day of school

then there were two...

this week marks the first day of school for countless families. my own oldest three marched off on wednesday for their first days of fifth, second and first grades. as my husband returned from dropping them off, i'm pretty sure the dance party music could have been heard from several houses away. if i had been more prepared, mimosas might have been served all around. i think i am missing the nostalgic mommy gene. 

don't get me wrong. on the first day of kindergarten for each of my three kids, i welled up with tears. my heart ached that one chapter of our lives was over. now though, it is still over and onward we march. i still get sad. i can look through old photo albums and my whole being misses the way my babies used to be. i remember their sweetness and their cuddles and their sweet cherub faces that have morphed into something else. i miss those moments when my babies were small.

even my oldest three were little once...

my current reality, however, is that they are no longer babies and that summer is LONG. i love all my kids and i am happy to have five of them but summer is exhausting. my ears are constantly listening for five little bodies. i cook and clean up meals for seven three times a day all summer long (more if there are friends over to play or guests in the house). conflict is inevitable and, let's face it, after about the first six weeks, the kids are pretty tired of each other. i feel like a summertime mix between a referee, a long term party planner, and a very under appreciated maid. 

add to that fact that i feel like i really have two separate families. i have an older family with three kids. they love to ride bikes, have friends over, play video games, and fill days with activity. my other family is made up of a three year old and a one year old. they take naps, like mickey mouse, play with blocks and play-doh and still need help wiping their bottoms. when you mix the two pieces of my family together, some group is always sacrificing and i am stretched to somehow meet the needs of two groups of little people in very different places. 

all of that to say that i am one mommy who is happy to have my kids back in school. i miss when they were babies but i know that in reality, they are growing up we all can use a break from each other. for a few hours each day i am back to being a mommy of two. we cuddle and watch mickey mouse, we have stayed in pajamas much longer than normal and we have shared one-on-two time instead of one-on-five time. those moments of baby time are precious and, as the older kids go off school, i know how fleeting they are. 

so, for now, the dance party music is still playing. i have successfully made it through another summer. i have raised three great kids who are embarking on another year of elementary school. i am enjoying the return of a routine. the very best part of back to school? i have two little boys who are dancing it up with me...thrilled to be the two remaining kiddos reigning the roost. their sippy cups are full of leftover juice from my mimosas and our glasses are clinking together. cheers to all my babies, big and small.

Monday, August 12, 2013

baby shower fruit salad

i'm not going to lie. this thing took a ridiculous amount of time. it is work but it turned out amazingly well.

if you are hosting a baby shower, you too can spend your afternoon making one of these lovely cantelope babies. you'll feel like you gave birth and you really won't want anyone to eat the fruit. make a fruit salad to go alongside this and you won't feel so bad.

how to make a cantelope baby:

1) start with the watermelon. before you cut, put your watermelon on a flat surface and see where it wants to settle naturally. make this the bottom of your baby carriage. cut the long side first about 2/3 of the way down the melon and then meet it from the top down. using a melon baller, round out watermelon balls and place in a large bowl. as you get to the watermelon rind, use a large spoon to completely clean out the watermelon flesh. discard any extra watermelon. note: as my watermelon was being cut, it tore where i had cut it. i used toothpicks to secure the corners where i had cut and later placed ribbons to hide any imperfections.

2) work with the cantelope. i used a paring knife and started making small cuts around the cantelope until i had removed all the rind and the green portion of the cantelope. i then further shaped the melon ball to make it look more like a round head. you'll also want to place the cantelope in the watermelon to make sure it fits properly and doesn't look too big. i had to trim my cantelope head down to size to fit better in the watermelon.

4) find two small grapes of equal size. using toothpicks, poke holes where the eyes should be and attach the grapes to the toothpicks, securing them into the cantelope "head." 

5) using a melon baller, create two balls of cantelope. secure with toothpicks where the should be ears. use a third cantelope ball and cut it down to a smaller size to create the nose. attach the nose with a toothpick as well.

6) using a small knife, cut a small hole in the cantelope to create the mouth. insert the pacifier.

7) using a melon baller, create more balls of fruit out of another cantelope and a honeydew. place in a large bowl. add some grapes removed from their stems and some berries. mix well. put a small amount of fruit in the bottom of the watermelon. place the "head" in on top of a small portion of fruit. fill in the remainder of the watermelon bowl with the mixed fruit. all extra fruit can be placed in a large bowl to create a more user friendly fruit salad.

8) cut small bunches of green and red grapes. place the watermelon on a large platter. place the green and red grapes around the watermelon completely circling the watermelon bowl. continue this process with strawberries and add blackberries and blueberries to completely fill in the space.

9) using a small paring knife, cut two kiwis into halves using a zig-zag pattern in a circle through the middle of the fruit. separate the fruit and use each half as one of the watermelon "wheels". 

10) create some ribbon bows to place in the corners of the watermelon. 

11) place any extra fruit in a large bowl to create an accompanying fruit salad. 

12) post pictures. you will be as proud as a new mama!

Friday, August 9, 2013

san diego: the circus is in town! ringling bros. and barnum & bailey® presents *built to amaze!*

i grew up in san diego and vividly remember when i was 6 or 7 and my parents took me and my sister to our first circus at the sports arena. i was dazzled by all of the lights, sounds and amazing acts. i have never forgotten the feeling of excitement and anticipation i had, sitting on the edge of my seat, watching the elephants, tigers and death deifying acts by trapeze artists and the like.

last night, that moment came full circle when i had the privilege to go to the circus once again with my sister, as we introduced our own sons to the wonder and excitement that is ringling bros. and barnum & bailey® circus at the very same arena that we experienced it over 30 years ago. 

mama and s-man

my sister and nephew

happy cousins!

the the all-new circus spectacular "built to amaze!" is currently at the valley view casino center (former san diego sports arena) from august 8-11.

with more than 110 of the world’s best artists & athletes representing 17 countries along with 95 exotic and domestic animals assembled together, there truly is something for everyone to enjoy. 

my first born's favorite was watching the youngest female Human Cannonball shoot across the entire arena to land safely on the other side. other highlights of our night included alex & irina and their talented poodles, the remarkable hand-balancing duos, the always hilarious Clown Alley…and of course, no ringling bros. circus experience would be complete without their four-legged star performers, including the majestic bengal tigers (17 of them!!) and a fun-filled asian elephant dance party.

be sure to arrive early to the circus for several exciting interactive elements before the show starts! opening 90 minutes prior to each performance, *all* ticket holders are invited to tour the animal open house to get up-close with their amazing animals (an awesome experience). then one hour before show time, families can step onto the actual arena floor to meet their circus performers and animals at the interactive all access pre-show*free* admission to all ticket holders. 

photo courtesy of first born

there are rare moments when we have the opportunity to make memories that last a lifetime. my childhood experience at the circus with my family has stayed with me for over 30 years and i hope my son's first time at the circus last night will also be one of those moments. take the time this weekend and go make memories with your family at the circus too----it truly is a magical moment.

so happy watching the circus

this weekend! friday, august 9 (today) – sunday, august 11

friday, august 9 -- 11:00 am & 7:00 pm
saturday, august 10 11:00 am, 3:00 pm & 7:00 pm
sunday, august 11 1:30 pm & 5:30 pm

valley view casino center (formerly san diego sports arena)
3500 sports arena boulevard, san diego, ca 92110

*free parking* in all official arena parking lots; visit arena website for more info

ticket prices are $20, $25, $40 (vip), $55 (front row) and $90 (circus celebrity)*

all seats are reserved; tickets available for purchase online through, charge by phone at 800-745-3000 or visit the valley view casino center box office.

*tickets may be subject to service charges, facility and handling fees.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

barre3 28 to great challenge

on monday, i started the barre3 "28 to great challenge".

barre3 helps to balance, strengthen and lengthen the body with moves inspired by ballet, yoga and pilates. sadie lincoln, barre3 founder, works closely with a team of experts including yogis, professional dancers, doctors, and athletes to craft highly efficient workouts. focusing on a unique combination of dynamic movement and isometric holds, the sequences work strategically to transform the body and develop long term postural benefits.

two years ago, i was a southern california transplant living in the pacific northwest (bend, or). i have never been able to stick to any exercise program, no matter what i try. i have had countless gym memberships, own a plethora of exercise dvds, joined running groups, zumba'ed and gone to yoga and pilates studio classes. while in oregon, a friend invited me to join her by going to a barre3 class at a local studio. i accepted and was hooked. i have never seen my body respond to an exercise program so well and i have never enjoyed something quite as much. i felt healthy, more confident than i have ever felt about my body and was in *love* with the results--a rockin' "barre3 booty" and long, lean muscles. 

i have since returned to my southern california roots and am back in san diego. they just opened up the first barre3 studio in san diego, but unfortunately it is more than 30 minutes from my house which makes it an unrealistic option for regular attendance. i was *thrilled* when i heard that i can now access my favorite workout program online *and* they are now offering a "28 to great challenge" as well. the "28 to great challenge" includes unlimited online access to tons of awesome workouts (the range from 10-60 minutes in length) as well as an easy, step-by-step exercise and nutrition plan for the 28 days. it also includes weekly email newsletters with specific directions, tips, and motivation for the week ahead, a barre3 core ball and barre3 wristband----all of the above for only $28! 

note: if there is a barre3 studio near you, go!! they have child care and it is a truly supportive environment with amazing women, great music and unbelievable results.

i am 4 days into my 28 day challenge and doing well. the online workouts make me feel like i am back in the studio and they are easier to do at home then i thought they would be. i am having less success with the meal plan this week, having guests in town visiting....but i plan to keep improving on that as well. 

i would love to have you join me on this challenge---sign up and join me on my 28 to great challenge. i will be following up with a post at the end of the challenge to let you know the results---stay tuned! :-)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


there are many moments during the day when i have to take a deep breath and regain my sanity. it is in those moments that i speak a mantra over myself: "someday, things will be different." it's in those moments that i remember that these days are fleeting. this too shall pass. while all the moments aren't wonderful, someday i'll miss them. in the meantime, it's good to remember that someday, things will change.

so, we are starting a new tradition here at the third boob. we are going to start collecting a list of all our "somedays." we'd love to share some of yours as well. if you have a "someday" you'd like to share, please email it to us as it's good to know we are not alone in this process. perhaps more important than that, it's good to laugh at it all and remember that someday, life as we now know it will be a memory. 

on that happy note, here is our first list of 10 somedays. (these are all true stories, by the way. between chach and i, the material for this new series is endless...)


1) someday i will be able to use the bathroom without little people sticking their fingers under the door, or pounding on the door, or asking me if i need help wiping.

2) someday i will be able to wear a skirt in public without one of my sons lifting it and giving all the passers by a free peep show.

3) someday i'll be able to take a shower without one of the boys asking "why do you have fur down there?" seriously...fur.

4) someday i will be able to eat an entire meal without getting up from the table.

5) someday i'll eat a hot meal.

6) someday i'll be able to make it through a meal without someone announcing, "i tooted," followed by a fit of tablewide giggles.

7) someday i won't have to dodge and deflect questions about tampons. 

8) someday tampons won't be used as missiles or torpedoes to shoot across the bathroom.

9) someday i won't have to remind my boys to "aim for the water." 

10) someday, my boys won't inform me that they have peed on the wall on accident... but that it's okay because i can clean it up.


Monday, August 5, 2013

diy: making your own jam/jelly - the process

when i first tried to figure out how to make jams and jellies, i was a bit overwhelmed. i couldn't find pictures or determine the exact details of the whole process. through trial and error, i eventually created something pretty delicious. (amazing, right?) if you have never tried to makes jams or jellies, here is how it is done. these are the easiest recipes to get started. you can do this. it is definitely a lost art that is making a come back. give it a try!

note: for all the information about what supplies you will need to get started, please read here: making your own jams and jellies - the prep.

grape jelly

4 cups grape juice (i buy a large bottle of organic grape juice. you can juice your own grapes but that just seems like a waste of time to me. feel free to do it either way. i just chose the easy way.)

7 cups sugar ( read that right.)

6 tablespoons powdered classic pectin

pomegranate jelly

3 1/2 cups pomegranate juice (again, you can read my feelings about making my own juice in the recipe above.)

5 cups of sugar

6 tablespoons powdered classic pectin

*note: each recipe will fill about 12 jelly jars.


1) remove the lids and rings from the glass jars. place the jars into a sink full of very hot water. (water from the tap is fine. just let it get piping hot before you fill the sink.)

2) fill a huge pot (i use a large canning pot) with water. cover it and put it on the stove. turn the heat on high and let it begin heating to a boil.

3) measure out the juice and the pectin. put it into a different large pot and heat on high heat until it boils. make sure the pot is large enough to hold all the sugar and to grow a little bit. (when the mixture boils, it bubbles and grows a bit so be careful to leave enough room in the pot so it won't boil over.)

4) add the sugar and stir until it is dissolved. this can take a little time. i had to smash some of the sugar up against the side of the pot. 

5) bring the sugar, juice, pectin mixture to a rolling boil, stirring the whole time. keep the mixture at a rolling boil for 60 seconds. (notice how much the mixture rises in the pot.) remove from heat.

6) there will be a film of foam at the top of the jelly when you remove it from the stove. use a large spoon to skim the foam off of the top of the jelly and throw it away.

7) remove one jar at a time from the sink. using a large mouth funnel, fill each jar.

8) fill each jar to the top.

9) leave 1/4 inch of room at the top of each jar. seal the jars with lids and bands.

10) place each jar in the hot water bath. 

11) lower the jars into the hot water bath. make sure the boiling water covers the jars at least 1 inch. boil for 10 minutes.

12) carefully remove the hot jars from the boiling water using a large pair of canning tongs. allow to cool. once cool, test the top of each jar to make sure they are completely sealed. if they pop back up, they are not sealed and will need to be put back into the hot water bath or placed in the refrigerator and used. all other jars of jelly can be stored at room temperature.