Homemade Baked Spring Rolls

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This piece is a tribute to my son and his love all things Asian Food. He saw the contestants on Fox’s Masterchef tv show have to make these in a challenge and immediately begged for us to make spring rolls at home. While the contestants on the show fried their spring rolls, we decided to up the quality and health of our rolls by baking them instead.

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Ninja Bread Men

Ninja Bread Men

Somewhere in between raising 4 kids, hanging out with my husband, going to nursing school, and working at a local running store, I also teach martial arts for Pro Martial Arts in Apex, NC. I have a 3rd degree black belt and hope to test for my master’s level belt some time next year.

My favorite part about martial arts is the kids; they constantly keep me motivated in my teaching and practice. When my sister sent me these cookie cutters, I knew I just had to bake the Pro Martial Arts students some cookies:

 

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10 Thoughts After Our 14 Hour Car Ride

FAMILY FRIDAY

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I just got back from a road trip to upstate New York to visit family. My husband had to work, so I made the 12-14 hour trek alone with the kids. Here are some random thoughts I had while I sit here recovering:

10: Most people are probably still shuddering from having read the opening lines of this post.

9: I remember, when I was a kid, the last hour of car rides were utterly hilarious. EVERYTHING was funny. We just couldn’t stop laughing, like we were drunk on the mileage and the monotony of the interstate scenery.

8: Number 9 is true of my kids, too, but now it’s not so funny for me as the driver.

7: There is still an hour left when you hit the North Carolina line. No matter how many times I think the exit …is…coming….up…somewhere…..soon….

6: The HOV-3 lanes (High Occupancy Vehicle) are great to get you past the Washington, DC traffic. And the schadenfreude is strong in me when I see people get pulled over with only one person in their car.

5: Safe following distance is just an open invitation for every NJ driver to cut their way in.

4: There are not enough fries in McDonald’s Happy Meals anymore unless you get the Mighty Kids Meals. And those are more expensive, doubly so at rest stops.

3: Peace in the car is all about timing and spacing, both in entertainment and car seat positioning. I like to withhold electronics in the wee morning hours in the hopes that they will sleep a bit, and I always keep the 3 year and 6 year as far away from everyone else as possible.

2: The 3 year old will drop a shoe or electronic item twice an hour. There will come a time when all of these items happen to fall out of my reach. This is when it is time to take a rest stop.

1: Car trips were easier before potty training.

….

And kids. They were really easy before kids.

Kids and Dedication to a Sport

Kids and Dedication to a Sport

Family Friday

It seems like kids have to chose their sports a lot earlier these days than they use to. If you don’t start baseball at the age of 5, you will never make the travel team. Better get on one of those little kicker soccer clubs before elementary school or be doomed to warm the bench for years.

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And the hours! In our case, it’s dance. My daughter was just accepted as a competition company dancer at her dance school. She’s only 9, so the 5 day intensive camp and 6 hours of studio time a week seems like a lot. Did I ever put that much time into a sport when I was that young?

I feel old saying that, and maybe it’s one of those cases were we forget or we say the same things over and over again. After all, even Socrates, all those years ago, lamented for the “olden days”

The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.

The more things change, the more they stay the same?

I wonder if my parents thought the same things about our sports and how much time and effort they consume. Would they have written this same post a few decades ago?

But then I think of my running. And I know I wish I had taken it up earlier. I would not go back and change the years of swimming, rowing, and martial arts that dominated my free time as a kid and young adult. I would not be who I am today without those experiences.

But part of me wonders…what could I have done out there on the cross country course or the track? What could I have achieved?

I know my daughter is just beginning her journey to discover what she can accomplish on the stage.

 

Recipe: Enchiladas

Recipe: Enchiladas

Before our 4 kids started spending their days at school, I use to do a lot of volunteer work with our local mom/preschool playgroups. Many of these groups would have moms cook freezer meals for members who were having babies to help with the hectic first few newborn weeks. I use to use this enchilada recipe or its variations for this purpose all the time. I would cook up three trays of enchiladas, one would be for our dinner, one to stuff our freezer, and one to help stuff the freezer of a new mom from the group. They were always a huge hit. I have since tweaked the recipe a bit to make it healthier.

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Stealth Morning Coffee Ninja

Stealth Morning Coffee Ninja

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I have 4 kids and very little precious alone time that doesn’t include running, school or driving to and from work. My rest days from running are important to me for one reason: stealth morning coffee.

The coffee is set on delayed brew, so I will make no noise in the preparation though my heart skips a beat when the alarm goes off to alert me the coffee is ready. Pause, listen…phew, they are still asleep.

I don’t turn on any lights; this is more difficult in the winter months, I knew this headlamp would come in handy for something other than trails and camping.

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I get my coffee cup and leave the cabinet door open, no need to risk a single sound.

The suction sound of the fridge door seems to echo through the apartment. But  it’s OK; I am the stealth morning coffee ninja. I pour the creamer and the coffee and tip toe to the favorite chair.

I take 20 minutes over this cup, savoring it all in the silence.

And then the three year old starts the true morning off with a strangled cry for the potty.

Tag Team Dinners

When I say my husband and I are a team, I really mean it. I don’t mean it in a way where he does the yard work and takes out the trash and I clean bathrooms. I mean we pass to each other, sub in, cheer on, and “take one” for each other whenever we need to.

The  most important example of this interplay between us is Tag Team Cooking.

Having a large family, two parents with a week of high mileage running, two full time jobs and one parent who is also a student might seem like the perfect storm for lots of fast food stops and 10 minute meals. But we have managed to maintain a higher quality diet without eating out by mastering the tag team dinner.

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Making Time For it All

“Everyone has time to run more. Scientific surveys have revealed that people who exercise regularly do not have any more free time in their daily lives than people who claim to be “too busy” to exercise…It’s a matter of priorities. If you really want to run more you will find a way. It’s that simple.” -Matt Fitzgerald from The New Rules of Marathon and Half-Marathon Nutrition

About half a year ago, a dedicated mom posted a facebook picture of herself showing off her athletic body while three children crowded around her. The caption was “What is Your Excuse?” It set off a firestorm on Facebook.

I felt the picture was a bit “judgey” because the mommy wars are prevalent enough in the news, on social media, in forums, and in your local mommy play group. Moms can’t get through the first 5 years of their kids lives without reading or having something snide said to them about birth, vaccines, breastfeeding, diapering, discipline, school choices or work choices.  Plus, I have a general distaste for facebook graphics because, when they aren’t spouting weird rumors that could have been dispelled in 2 seconds on snopes.com, they are putting people down in ways no respectable person would ever speak to another human face to face. For example, I would never point to myself and then tell my friend who doesn’t exercise or feels she doesn’t have time “look at me! What’s your excuse?”  Instead I would talk to them about my journey and what exercising has done for me (if they wanted to listen…).

And, hey, you can always stop reading right now if you aren’t interested in the exercise/time dynamic.

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