Here We Go....

And so it has come down to this. Soon I'll be getting out of bed and going from 0 to 60 miles in 3 days. I've had fifteen weeks of training and countless miles (okay, I could probably count, or at least estimate them, but I'm afraid to do so because it will just make me think I haven't trained enough) walking around 8 cities in 4 countries. I've had blisters and sunburn and headache and heel pain and swollen knees and drawers dropped on my foot and just plain Boy Am I Tired. I feel like I've already been on a journey, but as Karen Carpenter sang, We've only just begun!

If' you're doing the event this weekend as well, stop by the Energizer tent -- they'll be providing charging stations and sponsoring massage stations along with the American Massage Therapy Association, so you'll get to recharge your cellphones, your aching muscles and your spirits. And as San Francisco's Keep Going® Blogger, I'll also be there with my plush Energizer Bunny, busy blogging and tweeting about everything that's going on. I'd love it if you drop by and say hi! We can compare stories and blisters, share hugs and band-aids.

If you're not walking but happen to be in the area, check out the San Francisco event page for a list of cheering stations along our route. For everyone else, keep reading my blog throughout the weekend for photos, videos and updates on my Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure adventure! As always, any words of support you leave are welcome and cherished. Finally, I wanted to give a huge, loving, pink THANK YOU to everyone who donated to the Susan G. Komen foundation (wow, this is sounding more and more like an Oscar acceptance speech).

I'll see you at the finish line....

Energizer is sponsoring my participation fee and fundraising requirement for this event, but I would love to be able to raise more for breast cancer. Please help me reach my goal of $1000! Any amount helps and is greatly appreciated. You can click on the widget below to donate to the Susan G. Komen foundation.

Help me reach my goal for the Susan G. Komen San Francisco Bay     Area 3-Day for the Cure!

Packing for the Cure, Part 2

Last week I mocked myself for packing so early for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure, which starts tomorrow. Now I'm actually glad I started preparing so early, because there are so many little details which I completely forgot about, and with everything else going on -- relatives visiting, getting our car fixed, dentist visits and our regular, hectic life -- I needed a whole week to get everything together. I've been doing laundry every single day (which is like a world record for me) and consulting my checklist time and time again, because I'm terrified of forgetting something that will make the difference between a good experience and a painful/wet/sunburned/altogether wretched 3 days. But now I think I'm done, down to the pink Energizer Bunny cutouts that I plan to decorate my pink tent with.

Check out my waistpack, which I'll have with me on every step of those 60 miles. I've been walking with it almost fully-loaded for the past couple of weeks to make sure that I'd be comfortable. Here's what's in it (clockwise, from bottom center):

* Medication (ibuprofen, antacids, antihistamines) and band-aids.
* Hat -- check out the shiny princess crown on the front! I'm also taking pink fluffy bunny ears; hey, what else would the Energizer Keep Going blogger wear?
* Energizing jelly beans, to make sure my energy stays high all day. They've also got elecrolytes so I don't sweat all the salt in my body away.
* Sunscreen stick, blister stick, lip gloss stick.
* Extra pair of socks (with pink designs, naturally)
* Water bottle (again, pink).
* Wallet -- Mine is too thick and heavy so I borrowed Jammy's Spiderman wallet. I would have borrowed The Pea's pink Hello Kitty one, but it doesn't have a zippered coin section.
* Pink rubber bracelet -- because every gal needs to accessorize, even on a grueling 60-mile walk.

Have I forgotten anything??

Energizer is sponsoring my participation fee and fundraising requirement for this event, but I would love to be able to raise more for breast cancer. Please help me reach my goal of $1000! Any amount helps and is greatly appreciated. You can click on the widget below to donate to the Susan G. Komen foundation.

Help me reach my goal for the Susan G. Komen San Francisco Bay      Area 3-Day for the Cure!

Recreating the White Peach & Berkeley Burrata from Marlowe SF

Two weeks ago I attended a party hosted by Sony Dash, featuring an amazing lunch by chef Jennifer Puccio, executive chef of Marlowe restaurant in San Francisco's SoMa neighborhood. Everything was delicious, but the standout in my mind was her White Peach & Berkeley Burrata, a simple delicate dish featuring ingredients I know and love, as well as some exciting new finds. It was so easy to make, I knew I had to try it out. All I had to do was gather the ingredients!

Packing for the Cure

I can hardly believe that this time next week, I'll have begun the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure in San Francisco. After all these weeks of walking and waiting, I'm going on a 60-mile walk! Don't mistake that exclamation point for pure excitement, though; I'm pretty nervous about the whole thing. In fact, I'm beginning to feel the stirrings of panic.

To quell my impending Freak Out, I've decided to focus on the relatively mundane aspects of the event like printing out my event credentials, writing out contact information for Alfie and starting to pack. Yes, it's a week away and I'm almost fully packed. I make fun of my dad for packing his suitcase a week before he travels, and here I am, doing the same thing.

But truth be told, I'm actually glad I've started so early. I usually pack for a trip one or two nights before. This trip, however, requires a little more forethought because participants are limited to a single bag that weighs 35 pounds (because event crew members and volunteers will be hauling our bags to and from campsites and we don't want anyone wrenching out their backs). Thirty-five pounds doesn't sound like much until you consider what we need to take with us:

Sleeping bag
Air mattress or pad
Plastic sheets or tarp (to keep tent and gear dry in case of rain)
Clothespins (to secure the plastic)
Flashlight and batteries
Towel and washcloth (although you can purchase towel service so you don't have to deal with damp, stinky towels)
Two pairs of shoes
Two pairs of socks per day (that's a total of 6)
Sweat pants / long pants
Warm fleece or sweater
Hat / visor
Shower shoes / flip-flops
Waterproof jacket
Underwear and sports bras, one pair per day
T-shirts and shorts for walking, one outfit per day
Something to change into after we're done with the day's walk
Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, sunscreen, moisturizer, soap, shampoo, etc..)

Are you kidding me? I consider myself a light packer, but this is going to be a challenge. BigFoot that I am, my 2 pairs of walking shoes will probably take up half of that 35-pound weight limit. And I definitely need space for the giant jar of painkillers I'm going to be taking at the end of each day.

And how am I going cram in that giant plush Energizer bunny?

I guess I'll probably leave those National Enquirer magazines behind. I'll probably fall asleep as soon as my head hits my pillow (or maybe I'll leave the pillow behind too -- I'll just prop my head on a plastic bag filled with my dirty clothes). And I'm going to have to ditch the after-dinner outfit and the two separate coats I was hoping to take. My color scheme for the weekend will be pink and black, and I might just sleep in grey sweatpants instead of my pink-and-white hot-lips pajama outfit, so I can change into my sleep clothes for dinner.

(See, I've successfully distracted myself from how woefully unprepared and inadequate I feel about walking the 60 miles! Nothing like a little outfit planning to cheer oneself up).

Check back soon to see which items made it into my 35-lb. bag!

Energizer is sponsoring my participation fee and fundraising requirement for this event, but I would love to be able to raise more for breast cancer. Please help me reach my goal of $1000! Any amount helps and is greatly appreciated. You can click on the widget below to donate to the Susan G. Komen foundation.

Help me reach my goal for the Susan G. Komen San Francisco Bay    Area 3-Day for the Cure!

Audrey's Giveaways


My review blog, Bonggamom Finds, is today's Featured Blog on Audrey's Giveaways, a popular review and giveaway blog. Audrey was kind enough to include my blog button and links to a couple of my ongoing giveaways. Thanks, Audrey, for the linky love! I hope you get lots of good karma for doing this!

Back to the Couch

With all the traveling we did, this summer was relatively tv-free . But the fall tv season is upon us, so I'm setting my timers and dusting off my spot on the couch. There are a ton of new shows -- NBC's Paul Reiser Show, CBS's Hawaii Five-0 remake, ABC's No Ordinary Family (and speaking of which, check out my BlogHer Superhero post!) -- and I might watch an episode or two to see if they're any good, but these 5 are on my Must See TV List:

1) Alfie might disown me for admitting this, but I'm a certified Gleek, and I can't wait for the new season to start tonight! I've always been a fan of Broadway musicals, and I love the way Glee has brought this genre back to mainstream culture (although I'm glad the choir aspect gives characters the excuse to sing, so they don't just break out into song the way they did in Oklahoma or My Fair Lady). Glee is witty and campy and fun. Sue Sylvester, you can paint a big fat L on my forehead anytime!

2) I've always had a soft spot for House, because Hugh Laurie, as you know, is actually Alfie in disguise (yes, he does show tapings on those evenings when he gets home late). After all the romantic tension between House and Cuddy last season, I'm hoping things don't get all lovey-dovey boring now that they're together -- or worse, turn into a romantic soap opera.

3) Okay, I'll admit, I watch Grey's Anatomy for outrageous plot twists. And the eye candy (McSteamy, not McDreamy. Every time I see Patrick Dempsey on screen I think of him in Can't Buy Me Love, so he's more of a McDorky than a McDreamy to me). At least this candy is sugar-free and fat-free.

4) I love watching Real Time with Bill Maher, really I do, but for some reason I always fall asleep about 30 minutes of the way through. It's not that I'm bored; on the contrary, I think it's one of the most interesting programs out there. I love his humor, his cut-to-the-chase honesty, his willingness to criticize both Republicans and Democrats, his appeals to intellect and reason, not rabid emotion (yes, Glenn and Rush, I'm looking at you!), his insightful guests. But I always end up snoozing. Maybe my brain is overtaxed (notice my other preferred tv shows aren't exactly hard on the intellect), but I'm going to try extra-hard to stay awake for the full hour of Real Time this season!

5) Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 8 doesn't come out till 2011, so technically it's not part of the Fall Season, but I have to reserve a spot for it on my Must See TV list because this show is so f-----g brilliant. No other show makes me laugh, gasp and cringe so much as Curb Your Enthusiasm, and it's truly one of the the best shows on TV. Larry and the gang are heading to New York in Season 8, so it's going to be fresh and new and fun, and I can't wait!

Getting Back on Track

You know what they say: The higher you fly, the farther you fall. And boy, did we fly high this summer. We spread our wings and soared to far-off places like Chicago, New York, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Dover, Birmingham and more. After five weeks of driving on the "wrong" side of the road, living out of a suitcase, doting in-laws who did all the laundry in between trips, going to bed late because the sun was shining until nine-thirty in the evening, and trying a new English chocolate bar every day, it's not surprising that coming back home felt like more of a crash-landing than usual (Literally -- the day before we left the UK, Jammy did a spectacular face-plant into the sidewalk after skateboarding without a helmet, which was only further evidence of how far removed we had become from our normal rules and habits).

Going home meant going from walking in places like this:

To this:

Getting back to our schooltime routine this year involves quite a bit more than getting used to waking up early -- Click here to find out what we're doing to get back to our regularly scheduled program (and enter to win a $150 Visa gift card!)

A Bump in the Road

All of last week, I had been planning to write my weekly Keep Going Blogger post on Sunday night. We spent the weekend at the Disneyland Resort, so my intention was to write a "Walking Around Disneyland" along the same lines as my Walking Around Manhattan, England, Paris and Amsterdam posts. It would have made a great addition to the series, because we did walk a lot during our 3-day stay, and the scenery around the resort during the fall is actually quite picturesque:

Main Street

But this isn't a post about walking around Disneyland anymore. Because on Saturday morning I noticed a pain in my right foot, and by Saturday night the pain was so intense that I was hobbling around like Quasimodo in my attempt to keep up with 3 kids intent on riding as many attractions -- always on opposite sides of the park, naturally -- as they could. I don't recall any particular event in the park that could have caused it, but I do remember that on Thursday night, as we were packing, 3Po dropped a plastic bin full of clothes on my right foot. Could this be some kind of delayed reaction? By the time our return flight landed on Sunday afternoon, my poor foot was swollen and bruised, and all I could think was, Ten days to go until the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure, and I might have a fracture in my foot.

Oh, just swell. And yes, pun intended.

My mind was racing: No way I can walk 60 miles with a broken foot. Could I walk a few miles in a foot cast? Is there a wheelchair division? Can I still be the Energizer Keep Going Blogger if I can't keep going?

So I went to see a doctor earlier today, who ordered an x-ray. You can all breathe a sigh of relief: it isn't broken.

Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure, here we come!

The doctor did have a couple of caveats. She suggested I wait about a week to decide whether my foot was well enough to walk the 60 miles. She suggested keeping it elevated and iced throughout the week. And she said No Training This Week.


This is the home stretch. I'm supposed to be doing 10 mile walks without breaking a sweat, and going for 15 miles, back to back! How am I supposed to do anything when my foot is letting me down?

Oops. Sorry, foot, I know I promised to be nicer to you, so I'll cut my lecture short and give you some extra love this week to help you get better for October 1. At least you're not broken. It's just a little bump. So what if we end up taking a little bit longer each day? It's not about the walk, it's about the journey.

I'm keeping my fingers (and toes) crossed....

Energizer is sponsoring my participation fee and fundraising requirement for this event, but I would love to be able to raise more for breast cancer. Please help me reach my goal of $1000! Any amount helps and is greatly appreciated. You can click on the widget below to donate to the Susan G. Komen foundation.

Help me reach my goal for the Susan G. Komen San Francisco Bay    Area 3-Day for the Cure!

Can I brag about my kids now?

My latest program with BlogHer was so much fun -- we're promoting ABC's new show, No Ordinary Family, and we were asked to write about what makes our family extraordinary. I could have gone the conventional route and taken the opportunity to brag about my kids. For instance, I could have said things like:

* The Pea is the most gorgeous creature on earth. I think she must have been Helen of Troy in a previous life, and it amazes me that those model talent scouts haven't discovered her yet.

* 3Po is destined to become a soccer superstar. He's running rings around the other kids and I think he should be playing with 10 year olds.

* Jammy is going to win the Nobel Prize in Mathematics -- well, he would, if they had one, and I have a feeling they're going to create one especially for him. Both his kindergarten and first grade teacher have told me how good he is with numbers so obviously we have a genius in our hands.

But I didn't, because you might think I'm an insufferable, delusional stage mom. So I took a different approach, and assigned each member of our family a superpower that's every bit as impressive as the powers of the characters on ABC's new show. Click here to read more about our superpowers ....

All About Feet

I hate my feet.

My feet are large (Divulging my shoe size is like divulging my weight -- you'll need to torture me to get the information. Oh, hang on, I may have revealed it during a weak moment in one of my blog posts. But please don't Google my blog to find it). They're wide. They look funny. They hurt in the mornings (plantar fascitis in the heels, the doctor says). Some people wish for whiter teeth, more hair, bigger boobs, flatter tummies, muscled calves. I want prettier feet.

But in a very short time, I will be taking the journey of a lifetime, and I won't be able to do it without my feet. So I need to start showing some serious love towards these tootsies of mine, and start treating them like pampered princesses. I make sure I rotate my ankles and stretch my heels every morning, and before /after exercise. I like to ice my heel down on nights following a particularly long walk.

Next up -- dress my feet up in some pretty pink socks! No, I'm kidding -- what makes these socks great aren't their color, but the fact that they're thin and lightweight and made of some magic material that pulls moisture away. Moisture, feet and long walks don't go together because that combination results in some nasty blisters. Oh, and you end up with stinky feet. So for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure event on Oct. 1-3, I'm taking along 6 pairs, 2 per day so I can change socks halfway through the day (along with some thick socks for nighttime, of course!). In fact, I'll be taking along more pairs of socks than underwear.

Finally, to walk all those miles, I need the Right Shoes. These Nike Air Zoom Vomeros make my feet feel like they're running on clouds. Okay, maybe not clouds, but definitely extra-soft cushions. They are the best running shoes I've ever owned, but I've had them for over 2 years now. They still feel great, but they have seen a lot of use, so I decided to get a new pair.

When you're buying new running shoes, why mess with success? I got exactly the same kind as my old one (just a newer version). You don't realize that your old shoes are old until you get a pair of new shoes. All that cushioning must have gotten compressed over the years, because you can really tell how much more cushion-y the new shoes are! In fact, the only thing wrong with these new shoes is that my old ones have pink trim and my new ones have yellow trim (when you have feet as large as mine, you can't afford to be too choosy). And they're a bit too shiny-white for my taste. I need to break them in so that by the time October 1 rolls around, walking with them will be like walking with an old friend. I'm also in the market for a second pair of shoes, maybe walking shoes this time, so I can alternate and see whether walking or running shoes are better, or whether they don't make a difference to me.

They may not be Cinderella's feet, but (with apologies to Nancy Sinatra) these feet are made for walkin', and that's just what they'll do. One of these days these feet are gonna walk a mile or two (or sixty), and if they get me through the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure, they're going to look like the prettiest feet in the world.

Energizer is sponsoring my participation fee and fundraising requirement for this event, but I would love to be able to raise more for breast cancer. Please help me reach my goal of $1000! Any amount helps and is greatly appreciated. You can click on the widget below to donate to the Susan G. Komen foundation.

Help me reach my goal for the Susan G. Komen San Francisco Bay    Area 3-Day for the Cure!


Back to School means back to the Photo Hunt! I managed to participate through most of the summer but all the Back to School craziness meant that something had to take a back seat. Now I'm back and raring to share photos with everyone once more.

I know which anniversary most of us will be thinking about for September 11, but I'd like to share something a bit happier -- Alfie and I will be celebrating 10 years of marriage this year. It hardly seems possible that we've shared a decade of wedded bliss (okay, it hasn't been 10 years of constant bliss) but it has been a wild, wonderful ride and I can't wait to begin the next decade.

This photo was inspired by the Photo Hunt theme of the week. Feel free to leave links to your own Photo Hunt entries below. And for more anniversaries, click here.

How to make a Peanut BETTER Sandwich

I love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I don't care much for the taste of them myself, but I love them because my kids love them. Thanks to PBJ's, I have a Go To school lunch that my kids will eat any day of the year.

When school mornings get extra crazy, it's practically a given that the kids will be getting PBJ's for lunch. Because what could be easier to prepare than PBJ? Umm.... how about a pre-made PBJ? For extra lazy busy parents (like me), here's a tip: you can make the sandwiches the night before and freeze them! In the morning, you can throw them in the kids' lunchboxes and cut down on your morning rush. The sandwiches thaw just in time for recess or lunch.

If you're super super super super lazy busy, you can buy Smuckers Uncrustables, which are pre-made, frozen PBJ's with the crusts cut off. My kids love these, but the guilt of buying these became too much, and I decided to make my own frozen PBJs. Now I make a whole bunch of these in advance (about 2 loaves of sandwich bread's worth), use Press N Seal wrap to keep them airtight, and just pull them out of the freezer whenever I need them!

As I mentioned, the kids would eat PBJ's every day -- but I haven't dared test that theory, because they might get sick of PBJ's, and where would I be? So I try to limit PBJ's to once (okay, maybe twice) a week. And I try to vary the sandwich itself to make things more novel and appealing:

* I use medium-sized tortillas to make peanut butter and jelly burritos.
* I spread peanut butter and jelly on lavash bread, roll it up and cut into pinwheels.
* I use cookie cutters (Williams-Sonoma sandwich cutters rock) to cut the sandwiches into cute shapes.

Finally, I do realize that while peanut butter is a great source of protein, the jelly and white bread aren't exactly nutritious foods. So I make healthier substitutions:

* I use whole-wheat bread (or whole-wheat tortillas or bagels or lavash) instead of white.
* I use low-sugar versions of strawberry or grape jelly.
* I sometimes use fruit instead of strawberry or grape jelly. I've used raisins, sliced bananas and smashed-up blueberries, and the kids love all three.
* I sometimes cut out the bread entirely and make Ants On A Log (i.e. spread the peanut butter on celery sticks instead of bread, and put raisins on top instead of jam).

Now and then I do buy a box of white-bread, full sugar Uncrustables, and sometimes I'll even pair the peanut butter with Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread), which pretty much turns a PBJ into dessert. But those occasions are getting rarer and rarer, and I always make sure I pack carrots or tomatoes or pepper strips or fresh fruit along with it, so the overall lunch is a healthy one. I feel good about packing better peanut butter lunches -- they work for my kids and they work for me!

This post was inspired by the Yahoo Motherboard's Topic of the Month for September: Teaching Kids Healthy Eating Habits. I am not compensated for my participation in this group but I get to belong to a group of smart, savvy moms -- which is compensation enough!

Webkinz party recipes

I recently hosted a Webkinz Jr. Pet Party, and the hostess kit I received included some recipe cards for fun kiddie snacks. I probably would have ignored the cards and bought some popcorn and juice for the occasion, but The Pea spotted the cards and pounced on them.

How cuuute! We haaaaaaave to do these, mama!

Oh, the power of a cute cartoon bear and catchy name. Maybe I should print out a recipe for eggplant curry and put Webkinz characters on the card so my character-obsessed kids will be more eager to try out new foods. Anyway, the recipes looked simple enough, so I decided to use them for the party.

Kinz Kabobs

How to Dress for an Eighties Party

I've known for a long time that my friend's 40th birthday bash was going to be a Big Deal, but I had no idea how much until we received the invitation. It contained a big F Bomb -- Fashion Bomb, that is -- it was an Eighties Party, which basically upped the ante for the guests; instead of just showing up, we had to get in the spirit and come up with an 80's costume.

Now, I am the Queen of all Dressing Up (see any October/Halloween post I've ever done), so the 80's theme was great news. The 80's are my element -- all I needed to do for inspiration was look in my high school photo album and listen to the music on my iPod -- and I knew I could put together a Madonna-style outfit without breaking a sweat.

Cut-up shirt, miniskirt, fishnet stockings, leg warmers, heels, side ponytail, neon pink earrings, fingerless gloves, crucifix bling. Easy peasy.

But the dress-up element threw Alfie for a loop. I haven't quite managed to convince him that dressing up is fun, or that he won't feel ridiculous if everyone else looks ridiculous along with him. To make things worse, he hates 80's music and fashion, so he couldn't really get too excited about it. And it's not like you can rustle up a genuine male 80's outfit from your closet (unless of course you live in a trailer park). Do you know how many 80's costumes there are for men in your local costume store? None. Maybe a rocker wig or a mullet, a Michael Jackson outfit if you're lucky. I searched for weeks to find a good outfit (I must have hit every Goodwill store within a 20-mile radius from our home, searching for a Miami Vice white jacket or acid-wash jeans), and Alfie must have changed his mind about a dozen times. In the end he decided on an 80's rocker look, with acid-washed jeans and big, poufy hair.

I was spraying bleach on these jeans about 3 hours before the party. I used so much bleach, I'm surprised Alfie's legs didn't fizzle away along with the denim. And in case you didn't know, that hair is not his. No way I would marry a guy with big, curly mullet hair!

I think we did okay in the costume department. But as much as I enjoyed putting together our outfits, seeing what other people came up with was even more enjoyable! We saw some great outfits, and just in case you need an 80's costume idea -- or a good laugh -- I'm sharing them here with you:

Men can pretty much put on a mullet wig and claim they're in an 80's costume, but frankly, I think that's kind of lame. To be truly in the (80's) zone, you need to put in a bit more effort, and I loved seeing all the effort that showed up at my friend's party. I do think Alfie was one of the male standouts, with his long, flowing locks, but there were quite a few other creative male outfits:

* Don Johnson in Miami Vice (white suit with pastel colored tshirt)
* Larry Bird (complete with #33 jersey and caterpillar mustache)
* Preppy boy (pastel Lacoste or Izod shirt with upturned collar, white sweater draped across the shoulders, khaki shorts or chinos with rolled-up pant legs, loafers without socks, wayfarers)
* Beat boxer -- neon colored shirt, baggy pants, Converse hi-tops or Vans sneakers, Sony Walkman (yes, the real thing! He must have a big attic to be keeping stuff like that).

As I expected, we saw every variation of Madonna imaginable, from her grungy Suddenly Seeking Susan look to her corseted Like A Virgin lace getup to her sleek Vogue look with headset microphone and cone bra. And since the 80's look is creeping back into fashion, I wasn't surprised to see loose belted shirts, skintight jeans and heels. But I should have known that Girls Just Wanna Have Fun -- I was amazed at the other kinds of outfits my fellow females came up with! No detail was spared, from shiny blue eyeshadow to teased hair to lace gloves (fingerless, naturally) to Swatch watches.

* Krystle Carrington.
* Any and every variation of the hideous Gunne Sax prom dress and white, low-heeled shoes (the birthday girl even had a gigantic wrist corsage!).
* Acid washed jeans skirt and jacket.
* Shoulder-padded dresses and fringed, stiletto-heeled cowboy boots.
* Flashdancers (off-the shoulder shirts, leggings -- some were neon! -- and legwarmers).

The winning outfits for male and female would have to go to the Jane Fonda aerobicizers. "Jane Fonda" wore a headband across her forehead, wristbands, a thong leotard and shiny lycra tights (I couldn't wear that even in the 80's!). Her male counterpart wore exactly the same thing, except instead of a leotard he sported a midriff shirt with cutoff sleeves. It was absolutely horrific, and absolutely brilliant! Or should I say, totally rad....

Can anyone think of any other 80's outfit I need to add to this list?

In which I almost get thrown out of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure

Okay, that's a sensationalist title. I just wanted to get your attention. But I probably would have gotten myself thrown out of the walk, or at least given a very stern slap on the wrist, had I not been paying attention to the informational video that I had to watch in order to complete my online check-in for the event. Had I been distracted by some blog post that I had to do, or some hilarious new video on YouTube, or had one of the kids complained that they've run out of underwear (meaning I neglected to do the laundry yet again), I might have missed three Very Important Rules of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure:

1) Follow all signs, all rules, and all volunteers' instructions during the event.
2) No running while on the course.
3) Do not use headphones, iPods, MP3 players or cellphones while on the course.

You're allowed to walk at a snail's pace. You're allowed to munch on a burrito while you're walking (if you can get your hands on one). You're even allowed to wear colors other than pink. But if you break these Cardinal Rules, you'll be asked to leave.

I had every intention of complying with the first rule; as far as I'm concerned, it doesn't even need to be a rule. Of course I have to do what the volunteers and staff say!

I have to admit that I was thinking about running a couple of miles for each of the three days. Once I get all warmed up and the endorphins kick in, it's hard not to break out into a run, especially when a particularly inspiring song comes up on my iPod (Not everyone may think Phil Collins' songs from the Disney Tarzan movie are inspiring, but hey, to each his own). I had no idea that running was not allowed -- but I completely understand why they have this rule. It's not a race and it's not about who's first to the finish line. It can be dangerous for runners and walkers when a runner is weaving in and out of a bunch of walkers. I have no problem at all with walking the whole way.

The third rule is going to be the most difficult to stick to. When I first read it, I couldn't believe it -- I can't listen to music while I walk? I'll be alone with my thoughts for 7 hours each day? For three whole days?? Oh man, that's harsh. It's okay for people walking with friends, but I'll be all alone. What a bummer.

I do get it -- it's a safety thing. When you've got those headphones between your head, it's all too easy to get lost in your own world. I get that you need to be able to hear not only announcements from volunteers and staff, but also the noise of the road. I know that from personal experience -- on one of my training walks last week, I almost got run over by a bike coming up behind me on the sidewalk, because I couldn't hear him shout, "On your left!". That doesn't make me any happier about having to comply. But of course I'm going to, because I want to do this, with or without Swing Out Sister and Madonna. I'm just going to have to make some new friends along the way!

By the way, you simply must check out all the lovely stuff that Energizer sent me! Check it out on Bonggamom Finds.

Energizer is sponsoring my participation fee and fundraising requirement for this event, but I would love to be able to raise more for breast cancer. Please help me reach my goal of $1000! Any amount helps and is greatly appreciated. You can click on the widget below to donate to the Susan G. Komen foundation.

Help me reach my goal for the Susan G. Komen San Francisco Bay    Area 3-Day for the Cure!

Back to School, Back to Lunch

Don't you just love the beginning of a new school year? Everything is so crisp and shiny and new, from the bright red apples that hang in the trees to your kids' shoes and lunchboxes and binders and pencils. Never mind that by the next month or so, everything will look dusty and torn and frayed. Back-to-School is all about new beginnings. This year I've made a renewed commitment to packing earth-friendly lunches for the kids, so naturally I spent the last two weeks before school collecting all kinds of lunchbox paraphernalia. Here are some of my favorites:

I received this nifty red cereal lunch keeper about a year ago, and it has been great! You keep the cereal in the top half, and the milk in the bottom half. The bottom half is lined with insulating gel; putting it in the freezer for 5-10 minutes and pour cold milk into it, then screw the top half on. The spoon folds and fits into the snap-on lid. 3Po and Jammy were in kindergarten then, and they only stayed in school for lunch three days a week, so I usually sent it with The Pea. She loved being able to have cereal and milk for lunch, and the boys were always jealous that she got to have it (even though I served them cereal and milk for lunch at home, it was never the same for them). I was overjoyed when I saw they were giving these away at the Milk booth at BlogHer, and I quickly grabbed two so that all three can have cereal and milk for lunch (and speaking of cereal, check out my latest Kellogg's cereal post and $100 Visa giveaway).

I've seen and read all the glowing reviews about Laptop Lunches, and I have to admit I love the concept (in fact when I was a schoolgirl I ate lunch out of a Zojirushi bento-style lunch set every single day), but the thought of keeping track of all those little lids and containers -- and worse, washing them!! -- is just no fun. Again, swag comes to the rescue, this time in the form of a Sistema lunch cube from a recent Clif bar event. I like that it's all in one piece, but I have no idea if it's microwaveable or dishwasher-safe. How silly, you say, this is the age of the internet. Just go to their home page and read the product information! Well, what if their home page looks like this? So I'm handwashing these babies for now, and I'm only tolerating them because they come in such cute colors and the kids like them so much.

My latest "toy" is this hot-food container that I found at Target. These past 3 years I've been looking enviously at kids who eat soup and pasta for lunch; what caring moms they must have! My kids get cold peanut-butter or ham sandwiches and cereal. Okay, they do get some yummy food -- smoked salmon wraps, burritos, quesadillas, hummus and carrots, etc.. -- but it's always cold. I'm of the mindset that the only containers that really keep food hot are the ones insulated with the glass vacuum tubes, like the red-and-black checkered Aladdin Thermos bottle that I used to have. Problem is, of course, those things are as fragile as, well, glass. I went through at least two per schoolyear, but even if I could afford to buy 6 of those per year I don't think I could find them. Does Aladdin even make those anymore?

In any case, I decided I'd give these babies a try. They're also made by Aladdin, so I'm relying on their reputation. They've got a cute little spoon nested in the screw-on lid that pops out when you push a button. My warning buzzer did go off at that -- buttons, pop-ups and slide-outs means "will break in two weeks!!" -- but they are so cute. I figure, if they break, the kids will just have to pack a spoon in their lunchbox. Boo hoo.

I wish I could tell you what these are like, but I can't, because I haven't even tried them yet. The label says not to put any dairy products in them, which rules out pasta with cheese, mac and cheese, anything with white sauce, butter, or half the things I wanted to pack hot for the kids. Soups would be good, but I know from experience that microwaving tomato-based products in a plastic container stains the plastic a permanent red. Ugh. So no minestrone or pasta with tomato sauce either. What's left, split pea soup? Should I just go for it, pack some hot mac and cheese and see what happens?

Disclaimer: I purchased one of the products I talked about in this post, but the other two were given to me for free. I've kind of written this post like a product review, but the companies that provided the items had nothing to with lunch containers and I was not obligated to talk about the companies or the containers.

Spring cleaning -- in the summer

I'll admit it -- I'm a pack rat. I keep stuffed toys and baby cars because sometimes (like once a year) the kids want to play with them. I keep old holiday cards and baby blankets and The Pea's cracked ceramic footprint because they're precious memories of good times. I keep old receipts and bank statements and tax returns from 10 years ago because you never know when you're going to need to prove you bought that VCR recorder for $199.99. I keep new stuff, too. I have a gift closet filled with cute presents that were on sale, because you never know when you're going to need to pull a present out for a birthday party or housewarming. I keep boxes of craft supplies because the kids are always doing some project or craft. PR agencies send me things to review. I pick up swag at conferences and events. Stuff, stuff, stuff. Every time I see ads for the show Buried Alive on tv, I shudder and wonder if I would ever let myself go that far.

Fortunately, I have Alfie, who is neat and tidy and very minimalist in his approach to material possesions. His motto is, If you need it, buy it. If you don't need it, throw it away. There's no "Just in Case". He keeps my hoarding tendencies reined in. To his credit, Alfie never nags (well, hardly ever). When I see his frustration mounting as he sees piles of stuff piling up in more and more corners of the house , I know it's time to clear up. And over the years I think I've gotten much better at expediting the outflow.

Just this week I donated a vanload of old toys and games to our local homeless shelter. In the past I would probably have tried to sell them, and failed to sell half, and kept that half in the hopes that I'd eventually sell and make some money. This time I decided to rip the Band-Aid off in one fell swoop; I told myself that we'd be making some homeless kids very happy, clear up much-needed playroom and garage space, and get a good charity write-off to boot. It actually feels just like ripping a Band-Aid off, or picking at a scar -- suuuuuuuuch a relief.

It took me a whole summer to finish up my Spring Cleaning, but hey, better late than never.

The scary part is, the playroom still feels like it's filled to bursting. I may have improved on the outflow part, but I guess I still need help stemming the inflow.

Maybe I need to start watching Buried Alive?