A Zah Interlude

Okay, let's take a brief break from MOVEAPALOOZA 2015 and get back to what's really important. Self-indulgent photo essays about my kids. Ezra's been working his way through his Pretend Soup cookbook for a couple years now, but just recently became quite taken with the recipe for Bright Pink Fruit Dip. But he didn't just want to make it any old time. He wanted to make it for company. For guests. And so he waited. Every week he'd ask if any guests were coming to our house, and unfortunately once the moving stuff kicked into high gear the answer was always no. I couldn't have people coming into my house, unless they agreed to take their shoes off, use only paper plates and also declutter at least one closet during their visit. This weekend, though! Friends offered to come hang out and help with packing, which was completely awesome. And Ezra's moment had finally arrived. He got right to work. 10 oz. package of frozen raspberries, defrosted. Plus half a package of cream cheese, softened. (Unorthodox knife skillz are optional.) Blend! Transfer to a bowl, add one cup yogurt and two teaspoons of lemon juice, then whisk. Taste test time... Read more →

Cooking is My Constant

This post is sponsored by Blue Apron. If I may brag a little, just for a moment (lolololol), I am pretty proud that in spite of all the bonkers-level craziness of the past month, I've managed to keep life fairly stable and predictable for the kids. True, we weren't able to spring for a ton of camps or trips to the beach this summer, but we had lots of playtime and fun in the backyard, bubbles and running through the sprinkler and making the most out of a $10 inflatable kiddie pool. And family dinners out on the back deck every single night, without fail. Of course you know I had some help with that last part: What's always been a convenience turned into a godsend for us this summer. If I'd been left to menu plan (while my brain short-circuited over all the moving crap) and grocery shop (with all three kids in tow) on my own, I am pretty sure this summer would have been all about lousy delivery pizza and nugget-based food forms and stress-eating on the couch. Instead it's been more like: I will cop to making everybody eat off paper plates for a few days... Read more →

How I Did It

So I know I've danced around the "I LOST WEIGHT!" topic a bit. I've mentioned it but haven't really gone into any specifics since I wrote about our grown-up behavior chart, which was...Jesus, last JULY. I was down about 10 pounds then; I've since dropped another 15. I'm now really and truly back to my "pre-pregnancy" weight -- and I'm talking the FIRST pregnancy, 10 years ago. It's a good weight, a comfortable weight, and smack dab in the middle of the healthy weight range for my height and frame size. (I am made of Bird Bones.) After I posted that photo on the Social Media Thingies this weekend, a few people asked me to share the How. It's sadly, nothing extraordinary, earth-shattering, nor guaranteed to get you a bikini-ready body in 30 days. I have no magic bullet or snake-oil supplement or One Weird Trick to share here. I lost 25 pounds because: 1) I ate less. 2) I exercised more. 3) And I kept doing these things even after I hit my weight loss goals, and moved gradually into a maintenance plan. A maintenance plan that STILL involves eating less and exercising more, compared to my old habits.... Read more →

Praise Be to Thee, Oh Ye Life-Changing Boxes

This post is sponsored by Blue Apron, and SPOILER ALERT: There's a code for free meals at the bottom, if you prefer to skip my ramblings and get right to the good stuff. The best part about being asked to write about Blue Apron is that — as anyone who knows me in real life can attest to — ALL I DO SOME DAYS IS TALK ABOUT BLUE APRON. I have converted my sister, several close friends, a bunch of Facebook acquaintances, at least one coworker, and also this one girl I met at a party one time, who accepted my referral email invite probably out of fear for her life. “BLUE APRON,” I’ll say, wide-eyed, while grabbing your arm in a way that makes you a little uncomfy, “IS THE GREATEST THING ON EARTH.” I mean, don’t mind me, but here are just some photos of my three and a half year old eating Chef Mei Lin’s winning meal from the season finale of Top Chef: Crispy Chicken Thighs with Braised Lettuce, Kimchi and Maitake Mushrooms. And here is a photo of him LIKING IT. And here is a photo of my plate, which looks a little fancier but... Read more →

Back to the Lunchbox

Congrats to Neena and Courtney, who won the 6-month subscriptions to NatureBox! I am officially pretty jealous. For anyone who didn't win, you can still try for free via this link. Ezra's love affair with school lunch ended somewhat predictably, and abruptly. Cafeteria-style pancakes are better in theory than reality, as anyone who has ever gotten their little hopes up over a bad hotel breakfast buffet can attest. "I would like you to pack my lunch tomorrow. I will buy lunch again in five days. When I'm six. On Tuesday." (Leftover chicken banh mi with extra pickled carrots and cucumbers, go-to granola bar of laziness, and a freshly-baked chocolate-chip banana muffin.) Jury is out on whether his dissatisfaction with the school lunch offerings was the deciding factor or, you know, the freshly-baked chocolate-chip banana muffins. I feel like I've mentioned this before, but in case I'm senile: We make this outstanding recipe from King Arthur Flour, ommitting the rum/coconut flavor, walnuts and cinnamon chips. We use mini muffin pans instead of the standard size, and also found that nine times out of 10, you can skip the paper liners if you just grease the pans really well. (And even they... Read more →

Hot Lunch Mess

So after all that lunchbox talk, Ezra decided that he DID want to buy lunch at school after all. He decided this on Thursday but didn't tell me. Instead, he simply "forgot" his lunchbox at school, on purpose. Because he figured no lunchbox = no lunch from home = buying lunch at school = PROFIT. But he didn't tell me the "on purpose" part, and still made no mention of wanting to buy lunch until Friday morning. I handed him an older, back-up lunchbox and was in the middle of reminding him to bring BOTH lunchboxes home when he promptly lost his shit. HE HAD A PLAN. A PERFECT PLAN. WHY WAS I RUINING HIS PLAN. I usually float the idea of buying the school lunch to Noah a few times every year, once the lunchbox fatigue really kicks in and we're out of milk boxes and I'm making sandwiches using the end pieces of the bread because that's all that's left. An emphatic NOPE is always the response, which I guess is fine because I haven't really heard much praise for the school food, and I know Noah would ignore every available option that wasn't pure starch-n-cheese. (Their school's... Read more →

Snacks On a Plane! I Mean, In a Box.

This post is sponsored by NatureBox. As I have previously, excruciatingly, thoroughly documented, my children are hollow. Possibly hobbits.They are never NOT HUNGRY. They eat and they eat and they eat. An entire box of cereal can be emptied by the end of breakfast, and apparently fully digested an hour later, which is when they start pestering me about lunch. Can I have a snack? Is dinner ready? What's for dessert? Last night, after a dinner of fish, sweet potatoes and corn, they finished off all the ice cream in the freezer, and THEN mass-demanded the peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches I'd just finished making for their lunchboxes. Fine. I'll make more. Just don't eat me. (In other words: If I'm asked to do a sponsored post that involves me getting free food, I'm going to hurl myself at said sponsor and hug their leg while quietly weeping on the floor. Save me! Feed them!) So let's talk about snacks. So, so many snacks. When Noah was little he liked to ask for "a tiny, tiny snack" while scrunching up his face and pinching his fingers together, supposedly to represent the minuscule tininess of the snack he was requesting. Just a few bread... Read more →

Last First Day

It feels like the other two started school ages ago. Poor Baby Ike was our holdout. His school started today. After much back and forth and forth and back, I decided to enroll him in the school's full day option. He's not napping at home now that the crib's gone and my new job very much requires me to be working during those precious hours. He'll go to the "nap room" at school after lunch for some quiet/down time (GOOD LUCK WITH THAT, SCHOOL) and I'll pick him up in the afternoon, just before his brothers get home on the bus. I'm sure he'll be fine. But still. It's a lot of time away from him. And I won't have anyone to eat lunch with anymore. Boo. Speaking of lunches, three feels like a hell of a lot of lunches to pack. Good God. Is this life now? Every day? With the feeding and the coordinating? Here's what we're dealing with: Ike's school is nut free, Noah and Ezra's is not (unbelievable, but I'm not complaining). Ike's school provides free milk and a morning snack, Noah and Ezra both require beverages AND a separate snack for the classroom since lunch... Read more →

Three Nights Without Noodles

This post is sponsored by Blue Apron. Just a few of the things I learned last week, during our three-night dinner adventure with Blue Apron: 1) Ike loves jicama. 2) Ezra loves eggplant. 3) Noah loves forbidden rice. 4) They ALL love quinoa. 5) I love quinoa. I just haven't been cooking it right. I also learned that I really need to challenge my kids more often. And myself. And also grocery shopping can bite me. Three (recyclable, biodegradable) boxes of food were delivered to our door, each containing three nights' worth of meals for two people, plus recipes. (Click here to see the current delivery zones.) All the ingredients are locally sourced, labeled and perfectly portioned, along with any special oils, sauces and spice blends. I'd rounded up to six servings for our family of five because I have hollow children, but we totally did not need the third box, like AT ALL. My bad, Blue Apron. I unintentionally scammed you. Two boxes easily fed all of us, with enough leftovers for me to get a really satisfying lunch out of the next day. (Not that box number three is going to waste or anything. We’re zipping through recipe... Read more →

The Get-Off-Your-Ass Chart

Here's a tricky bit of pregnancy math: Of all three pregnancies, I gained the least weight with Ike. Mostly thanks to the fact that I spent at least six months of the pregnancy actively barfing, and felt nauseous for all nine. I think the final weigh-in clocked my total gain at like, 10 or 12 pounds. Seven pounds of which were the actual baby, so I felt pretty confident that I'd be back to my pre-pregnancy weight in no time. Three years later, I'm still not there. Those 10 or 12 pounds just...stayed, even after the baby and all his baby-related accessories had vacated. And then those 10 or 12 pounds became 15. This past winter, it was more like 20. I stopped weighing myself after that. And if we were talking about my weight pre-Noah, well. OMG. Three years later, it finally occurred to me that oh. This is going to keep on...going up, like that, if I don't...do something? About it? I guess? Well, okay. It had technically occurred to me that I needed to do something before now, but the whole actually doing something never quite got off the ground too successfully. I'd make some big grand... Read more →