Back to the Photo Hunt: Mostly Black

My blog has been suffering again. Part of it has been a deliberate decision to step away from my computer and get moving, but I've also fallen into a blogging rut of sorts. Maybe it's the weather, maybe it's Facebook, maybe it's work or maybe it's my newfound addiction to English Premier League soccer, but I've been spending fewer evenings transferring my thoughts into blog posts. I want to get back to posting more regularly, and there's no better way to start than by getting back to some of my favorite memes, starting with TN Chick's Saturday Photo Hunt.

Late Again

This weekend San Francisco celebrated the Year of the Rabbit with their annual Chinese New Year Parade. It's supposed to be one of the few remaining illuminated night parades in the country, and one of the best parades in the world.

I can't even remember the last time we attended the parade; it must have been 8 or 9 years ago, because The Pea was still in a stroller. In fact, The Pea was the only one of us who had a decent view of the parade, because she was on Alfie's shoulders. The only things Alfie and I saw were some dragons dancing over the crowd's heads. Almost 1 million people gather to watch the parade every year; that, and the fact that it's usually raining cats and dogs (or dragons) on the day of the parade has pretty much kept us from going back to San Francisco to watch.

Love, from the mouths of babes

Two Valentine's Days ago I wrote a post featuring some thoughts about love from the experts, a.k.a. my kids. Hey, it's true: children love unconditionally, and there's no love more selfless and boundless than a love of a parent for his child. For Valentine's Day this year, I asked them the same questions and they responded with answers that were completely different (3Po was a lot more cooperative this time than he was when he was five), but no less sweet. Here's the lowdown on love, from three people who know how to love and be loved:

The Food of Love: Chocolate Covered Popcorn

Chocolate Coated Popcorn

Every year, the kids' school hosts a bake sale benefitting a charity chosen by the kids (they take it to a vote at their Monday assembly). And every year I like to help out by baking something that the kids at school can buy (see a photo of the Chocolate Crinkles I made for last year's sale). Ever since I bought my beloved Kitchen Aid mixer, The Pea has really gotten into baking, and she can now whip up a mean batch of chocolate chip cookies all by herself. She was quite excited to take over bake sale duties for 2011, but alas, life (as in, dance class) got in the way, so we had nothing to contribute.

But I don't fancy myself the MacGyver of bake sales for nothing. I had a bag of kettle corn that I had bought for our Superbowl Party but had never got around to using. I had candy melts in my cupboard. I had semi-sweet chocolate chips. Et voila, chocolate-covered popcorn!

More Worst Valentine's Day Gift Ideas

Yesterday my post on The Worst Valentine's Day Gifts Ever made it to BlogHer's home page and What's Hot section. It was such a nice feeling to log on to and see it pop up, front and center! I hope people enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed researching and writing it (in fact, I still have to chuckle when I read it, even though I've read it like 465 times, because the products are so ridiculous)!

The funny thing is, the products on that post are just my Top 5, the ones I can't imagine anyone wanting. I did quite a bit of internet surfing to research the post, and found quite a few other Bad Valentine's Day gifts; I didn't include them because I realize one man's meat is another man's poison, so some people might actually find them sweet or funny. Besides, 5 is always a nice round number. So without further ado, here are some of my runners up for Worst Valentine's Day Gift Ideas:

Nutella Swirl Pound Cake

Nutella swirl pound cakeWhen I found out that February 5th is World Nutella Day (or at least it is, according to Sara from Ms. Adventures in Italy and Michelle from Bleeding Espresso), I knew I had to bake something to celebrate. It's great to see so many people enjoying such a delicious chocolate spread! The Nutella phenomenon has spread rapidly in the US over the past 2 decades, and now pretty much every grocery store carries it (Costco even carries an extra -gigantic size bottle; guess where we shop for our Nutella?). Nutella has long been a pantry staple at our house; I can think of at least 10 ways we love to eat Nutella, right off the top of my head:

Zumba: my Flavor of the Month or Long-Term Love?

Yesterday was my fourth Zumba class. It was also the last in my 4-class series, so I've signed up for a second series, which will keep me shimmying and shaking until the end of the month. It has been so much fun, and I look forward to going every week. Our city's recreation department actually offers Zumba classes (in series of 4) all the way through the spring, so why am I not signing up for all of them?\