Friday, May 22, 2015

Happy Friday!

I'm notorious for watching shows/movies because they include my peeps and it drives Danny crazy. When I learned Lady Jayne Fonda (Lily Tomlin and Martin Sheen) was getting a show on Netflix I was thrilled and knew that I'd watch. I didn't plan on marathoning Grace & Frankie last weekend but I did and it was nice to get back to my professional tv watching status - 13 episodes in 6.5 hours straight. Fonda and Tomlin are fantastic together and their friendship is heartwarming and hilarious. I have no idea how Netflix series works so my question is when does season 2 start?!?

As for this weekend, I'm excited to say I don't have any real plans. It's a 3-day holiday weekend for both of us - which is a bit rare. Tonight I'll see Melissa's new digs. Tomorrow, Brett and Lindsey are kicking off bonfire season. At some point we'll have Cara and Matt over. Monday, Mr. B will come over for a BBQ. Danny and I are also going to attempt another Detroit blogging adventure -lately we end just going downtown, having a good time and taking zero pictures. In between all that, I will read, relax and RUN! Can't wait.

P.S. More on Jane Fonda, fashion icon

Photo credit: Tumblr

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Parenting Practice Part 4

We had Gwen this weekend and she's growing up so fast. A few months ago she barely said anything, now she talks ALL the time. Sunday she barely paused for breath from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. After two years of regular visits she knows the rules and routine of the house inside and out and it's really sweet. She knows her clothes are on Danny's side of the closet and that she eats at her table. We did make an exception this weekend because she had a fever Saturday night and actually wanted me to feed her. Ironically, that was messier than when she feeds herself. She's really good about entertaining herself and not touching things that she shouldn't (i.e. the glassware at the bar) or coloring on anything other than paper. Gwen is the perfect little girl and sets a high standard.

Since Gwen is older, I try to be more creative about our activities and the cake baking suggestion from Bringing Up Bebe inspired me. I'm a big proponent of kid independence; however, I'm also a bit of a neat freak when it comes to certain things.* Proudly, I feel I have instilled this trait in Gwen. One of her first phases was 'no mess' and she faithfully holds her head up to be wiped down when she gets food on her face. Consequently, cake baking was a risky move for both of us. To minimize disaster, I set up the portions in advance and let her pour things in the bowl.

Aside from that, I made sure she did the steps on her own. I held the egg when she cracked it to avoid shell pieces and did a quick stir at the end to make sure everything was blended but otherwise it was all Gwen. I added lemon zest to the recipe and let her scrap the lemon over a mini-grater as I held it. She took her baking responsibilities very seriously and concentrated on each step.

She made the cake for Maddy and was very proud of herself afterwards. She asked to make another cake Sunday and showed her finished product off to Lindsey when they came to pick her up. It was a fun and easy activity, I will definitely do again.

Gateu au Yaourt

    • 2 (6oz) containers of plain yogurt
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 (yogurt) containers sugar (I used less)
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 (yogurt) container vegetable oil
    • 4 (yogurt) containers flour
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1 lemon (alternative flavors are berries or chocolate)
  1. Heat oven to 375
  2. Mix baking powder and flour in one bowl
  3. Combine yogurt, eggs, sugar, vanilla and oil in separate bowl
  4. Add dry mixture to wet mixture. Use zest and juice of one lemon. Stir to combine
  5. Scoop batter into baking pan and cook for 35-45 minutes or until toothpick can cleanly be removed from batter.
*An ironic statement considering the look of the table in the picture but believe me the look of it is driving me nuts.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

My Favorite Place In Detroit: Mudgie's

This post is long overdue. I don't like to make declarative statements because I don't want to lose credibility but Mudgie's is my absolute favorite place to eat in the city and the place I go to most often. It is regularly voted the best of Detroit and for good reason. Their deli sandwiches are beyond compare. Mudgie's is tucked away in the neighborhood of Corktown, a little south of Michigan Avenue. The quaint spot is very popular and often meets capacity. It is undergoing expansion and I'm curious to see how it will change. I hope it's open during construction.

For perhaps the first time ever, Mudgie's wasn't packed with people (beauty of an early dinner on a Wednesday). Since my camera made me look like a tourist, it was an easy open to request an interview from our waitress Leah.

Do you live in Detroit?
I live in Ferndale.

What do you like about the city?
I was born here. It's home. What I like is that right now it's up and coming and the good part about Detroit is that the people here are real, they're not trying to be anything other than what they are. I guess I have a little bit of an issue with the change, in the sense that everything is changing so quickly it's kind of a hard pill to swallow. Magic Stick, for example, is somewhere I used to go for years and then I walk in and it's like a night club. But what I like about it is that Detroit really is authentic. There's not really any other place out there like it. It's an original.

Even though we maybe fell kind of hard, we're coming back up. Hopefully, the people who were originally here aren't going to get pushed out. We need to remember that these people are here and try to help them up and come too.

What change are you looking forward to?
Honestly, more green. In the sense of more environmental growth - gardening, planting your own food. But also money. I'd like to see a lot of places rebuild and come alive again. Like houses, there are so many abandoned houses... we need to get out of Zombieland.

What's your favorite item on the menu?
I have to say the Bella. I eat meat but I've never had a better vegetarian sandwich.

I appreciated the recommendation but I had to have the Barrett. It's my staple and I could have it multiple times a week and never get sick of it. Sy Ginsberg corned beef, creamy coleslaw, Swiss cheese, and Thousand Island dressing on an onion roll, served warm - there is nothing better.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Happy Friday

I am almost never sick. It's a wonderful thing and I know I'm very fortunate. However, it doesn't make the fact that I'm currently under the weather any more enjoyable. ESPECIALLY when I have a very long day at work ahead of me. It's our annual gala at work tonight and I'm working 9am to midnight. I know I can soldier through but the timing is not ideal. What's more disappointing is that we get Gwenie this weekend. I was hoping for a weekend full of adventures - namely hardcore potty training - but now I'm thinking lots of movies and in-door picnics. Things can change quickly and perhaps it's a passing cold.

If all goes according to plan I'll work Friday night and sleepover at Mom's since Gwen will have spent the evening there. In the morning we'll hit up the library and park, catch up with Cara and have a BBQ in the evening. Sunday we'll have our typical lazy early morning and an afternoon with more fun. Gina is coming in the evening for our first run session and I'm very much looking forward to having the wind in my hair again!

P.S. The summer series I look forward to most

Photo credit: Fashion In Flight

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Bringing Up Bebe

I finally read Pamela Druckerman's Bringing Up Bebe. Initially, I planned to read it for Europe in my International Literary Project. Since that is on hiatus, I decided not to wait. I'm glad I didn't! This book is fantastic and I'm convinced I was meant to be French. My strict parenting philosophies were affirmed and I picked up a lot of great tips. I'm careful to avoid making assumptions about parenting; however, we do use Gwen for quality practice and so far so good. Here are a few points that really hit home.

Patience IS a virtue
French parents say yes more than no but that doesn't mean kids get everything they want immediately. Letting a child know that they have to wait introduces good habits (less snacking or wasteful spending) and creates a more realistic sense of self. When kids receive everything when and how they want it, they are being set up for later disappointment in life. The key is understanding that you can have a treat but you have to wait until the appropriate time. This concept is made possible by the cadre...

Set Boundaries
Leaders are essential to avoid chaos. In a family, the parents are the leaders and the cadre sets the course of leadership. When parents create a world that's predictable it gives the entire household the ability to be confident and comfortable with expectations. Leadership isn't dictatorship. Parents have to let children live life and make decisions for themselves; however, the number of options they have to chose from must fit within a structure to keep life manageable.

The 4 Magic Words
Americans are taught the importance of please and thank you but hello (bonjour) and good-bye (au revoir) are considered bonus phrases. In France greetings recognizes someone as a person and are imperative. When children are excused from saying hello or good-bye they are given a difference set of rules that separate them from adults and create a new set of expectations and behavior. These short acts of recognition set a tone of mutual respect and reinforce the aforementioned cadre.

The most important thing I took away from the book is that parenting isn't a plan. I can't decide this is how I want my kids to be and train them to be that way. It's an assimilation process. I have to do these things now. Namely, points one and three - bossiness comes natural to me. So here's to more thoughtful life choices!

Current Objectives:

  • Eliminate snacking and eat at the dining table every night
  • Don't whine to Danny to get him to do something (although it's very effective, I HATE it when children whine)
  • Greet people when I see them and be attentive in saying good-bye 

Photo Source: DFW Child