Sunday, October 30, 2011

From Pie to Princess . . .

Halloween family fun and other shenanigans are ramping up.  Yesterday we had a “kids” party where Aurora, the three fairies, and oh yes, even Prince Phillip made an appearance, and today we carved our pumpkins.  Of course, it wouldn’t be a Dugdale Halloween without some mishaps and missteps along the way. 
Here’s what I learned about fully participating in the madness that is Halloween:

Saturday, October 29, 2011

She's my cherry pie . . .

WARNING TO THE NANA AND THE GRANDMA – The following will contain material that will make you wonder how you raised such inappropriate children.  You may want to stop reading right here. 
Last night my husband and I were invited to an adults only Halloween party.  This was the first “adults only” party we’ve been invited to in about 10 years, so I was really excited!  Anyone who knows my husband, of course, knows that he’d rather have his head stapled to the carpet than go to a costume party.  But, I found the perfect solution for the man who refuses to dress up! 
Anyone who knows me well knows about my obsession with cherries.  I love all things Cherry.  Cherry pie, cherry jam, cherries from Costco (they’re the best); you name it, I love it.  So when I was looking online for an appropriate (or in this case completely inappropriate) costume for this adults only party, I came across the “Hot Cherry Pie”.  How could I resist this one?!  The best part, this is actually a couple’s costume  - I’m the cherry pie, and my husband is the “Deep Valley Cherry Pie Eating Contest Winner”.  I dressed up as my favorite dessert food and all my husband had to do was wear jeans, a hat backwards and a baseball shirt with “Deep Valley Cherry Pie Eating Contest Winner” on the front – oh, and a 1st place ribbon.
Here’s what I learned about going to an adults only Halloween party as a dessert food:

Friday, October 28, 2011

Time out to take care of the bubbies

The housewives of New Jersey may not be speaking to each other, but I can use one of their phrases that I love – when Dina was on the show, every time they would refer to their boobs (which are enormous, by the way), they would call them bubbies.  It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so today we’re going to take a time out from Halloween family fun to bring attention to this disease and have some family fun with a purpose.  Today’s family fun was intended to teach my three girlies about something they will need to know as they grow into young women, and also bring a little lighthearted fun to a very serious issue.
I am certain that every one of us has been somehow touched by breast cancer.  Whether it’s a friend, family member or friend of a friend, we all know someone who has battled this disease.  My experience was with my friend Laura Roppe.  I won’t tell you her story because she will be telling it in a great book – Rocking the Pink - that will be released in March 2012 (and you can pre-order it on already - 
I will tell you that being with Laura on her journey taught me to cherish every moment and to also remember to fondle your boobs regularly to save your life.  You had to double check and make sure you read that right, didn’t you.  J  In all seriousness, Laura found the lump in her breast from a self exam and that is a lesson to all of us as to how important it is to be aware of changes in your body and to check often. Without any family history of Breast Cancer, Laura learned that she had triple negative Breast Cancer – the most aggressive and hardest to treat.  She underwent months of both chemotherapy and radiation.  Laura is now doing fantastic and before telling you about family fun with the trifecta, I’ll make one more plug – check out Laura’s video “I’m Still Here” on You Tube -  This is a song Laura wrote to Cancer during her chemotherapy treatments and is all about empowerment and triumph.  Also, if you’re able to get a kitchen pass and you live near San Diego, go see Laura and her band play at the Belly Up next Tuesday, November 2nd where you’ll hear “I’m Still Here” and all of her other great songs live!
Today’s family fun with a purpose was to make pink ribbon cupcakes.  I wanted a chance to talk to the girls about what Breast Cancer is and also have some fun with it.  Here’s what I learned about going pink with my girlies:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I want my mummy . . . meatloaf

So before I dive into today’s Halloween family fun, a couple stories.  Tonight I was driving home from a charity function (which I’ll mention more later) and it occurred to me . . . I missed a HUGE opportunity with yesterday’s post.  The title of the post should have been “Give ‘the finger’ to school lunches”.  I have never had so many people comment to me about how much they too hate packing school lunches.  My favorite comment came from my mother-in-law.  Here’s what she wrote in an e-mail to me:
I too hated to make school lunches - choosing to have them buy instead.  I never felt creative about lunches.  There was a time when [my son]* couldn't remember to take lunch money and I finally had to tell the teacher "No more lunch loans!"  She thought I was really cruel!
(* “my son” has been substituted for my husband’s name so as to protect the guilty).
The best part about this little story, at the very moment that I received this e-mail I had just hung up the phone with the school district’s automated system that said “Dear Mrs. Dugdale – the Superego (yep, the automated system calls her that too) has a school lunch account balance of negative two dollars and fifty cents”.  Now isn’t it interesting that we have three children at that school, all three of whom always have the same lunch scenario, and yet only one of them has exceeded her account balance.  Apparently the school lunch account apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!
Ok, on to family fun.  Today it was mummy meatloaf.  Here’s what I learned about making shapes out of an otherwise mundane dinner:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

New meaning to the phrase "finger sandwiches"

I absolutely despise making lunches.  I know I cannot be the only mommy out there who feels this way.  I would rather risk that my children put all kinds of junk food in their lunches than have to make them myself.  Unfortunately for them, there is no junk food in our house, and I have actually convinced them that Veggie Sticks is junk food! 
Not sure what my aversion to this task is, but I hate it.  AND, I also am unwilling to let my children buy lunch everyday from the cafeteria.  So, until I can get a “Rosie” Robot to make the lunches for me, I’m stuck with it (this is, by the way, one of the things I miss about working motherhood – paying the nanny to make lunches).  I know, hard life.
Anywhoo,  today’s Halloween family fun was making skeleton sandwiches and jack o lantern oranges.  Here’s what I learned about making Halloween lunches:

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Your very own pumpkin patch for Little People

So today I learned that Martha Stewart not only served time for insider trading, she also made her child wrap her own Christmas presents.  Alexis Stewart’s new book just came out and apparently she’s airing all her mother’s dirty little secrets.   Here’s what occurred to me - are you f***ing kidding me?!  The queen of all things domestic could not even be bothered to actually wrap her ONLY child’s Christmas presents?!  And then it dawned on me . . . some may think this is fraudulent – to create your entire persona around being domestic, crafty and always put together – when in reality, you’re so overcommitted you can’t even wrap your own kids’ presents.  To me, this woman is brilliant!  She created an entire empire that portrays her as the picture of perfect domesticity, and yet, she’s just like the rest of us with not enough hours in the day to get everything done (though I have to say that making your child wrap their own Christmas presents is a bit over the top). 
Here’s what also occurred to me.  I'd better pull my kids out of school and home school them so that they unlearn all their reading and writing skills and can’t ever write a book that will reveal all my dirty little secrets.  My girls would hold nothing back!  That’s why I have to reveal it to all of you first, before they can get to it.
OK, back to the pumpkin patch and today's family fun.  This was a project from Disney Family Fun and it was a miniature pumpkin patch made of Circus Peanuts.  Following is what I learned about making your very own pumpkin patch for Little People: 

Monday, October 24, 2011

From Wonderland to the Hood . . .

This weekend’s easy family fun began with a visit to the “Wonderland of Treats, Eats and Drinks” benefitting the Poway Unified School District Foundation, and ended with Mommy and 4 of her friends at the Poway Center for Performing Arts for a “Party in the Pit” watching Street Beat (a Theatrical Drum and Dance Show with lots of drumming and hip hop dance moves).  Mommy was hoping to end our weekend fun with a little Halloween activity, but you’ll have to read on to see how that went.
Here’s what we learned about too much sugar, partying with girlfriends and messy houses:

Friday, October 21, 2011

Exorcise the Demons . . .

Only Ace Ventura: Pet Detective fans will appreciate that line, but it so perfectly fits what happened this past week.  Mommies, by this post I am giving all of you carte blanche to get massages.  Oh, and cavities filled at the dentist office.  Now, the massages I’m getting are far from relaxing, but I am certain that by the time I’m done, I will have exorcised 37 years worth of demons from my muscles and tissues.  And as for the other demons this week, for the first time since I was a teenager I had two cavities that had to be filled. 
 Here’s what I learned about exorcising the demons in your body:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

When life hands you lemons, make lemon cupcakes!

My Family Fun Shenanigans have apparently inspired some of my friends to embrace their inner creativity.  So, I decided to post other people's family fun on the blog today.  If you've got a great family fun suggestion, please send it to me.  I'd love to post it!

Following is a story from my friend Laura who also has her own all girl Trifecta.  The difference is that hers are 5 years older than mine, so now I know what to look forward to (i.e. when your make-up somehow disappears, hair supplies are no longer your own, or when boys come to your door with roses and ask your child to homecoming – EEEK!).

Last week Laura woke up to a flood in her kitchen and this is what she shared:

My goal throughout this experience is not about being environmentally friendly, but rather making my life easier.  How long can I go before I have to wash dishes in the bathroom sink?  Tonight's dinner consists of kabobs, salad, and lemon cupcakes- all made on the grill.   I even managed to not drip any batter on the cupcake pan because that would mean I would have to wash it.   

Here’s what Laura learned about her flood/grill experience:

Monday, October 17, 2011

Glass Houses . . .

So today I stepped on a piece of glass in my pantry, and it got me thinking – when you live in a glass house, if you’re not careful, it can end in bloody feet.  This thought process may have also been because the droplets of blood that came out of my foot made me lightheaded and prone to crazy thoughts.  It was either that, or homework time with three children and not having any f*#&ing idea how to complete this math problem – “Write an equation where 64 is the product of a prime number”.  I actually had to Google this question to get any semblance of an answer.  At what point can I tell my 4th grader she’s not going to need to know that so long as she marries well?! 
Here’s what I learned today about being a momma and judging other mommas and their kids:

Sunday, October 16, 2011

You know you're a Tri Diva if . . .

Today was my last Triathlon of the season and I went out on a great high note.  I finished in 1 hour 27 minutes – I swam without a swim buddy for the first time and had my fastest bike and run times yet.  Now, 6 hours later, my body is screaming cuss words at me.
As I was waiting in the transition area at 4:45am this morning I began noticing a few things about triathlons that were cracking me up, so I decided to share them with you too.
You know you’re a Tri Diva if:

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pumpkin in the oven . . .

Below are the recipes that I used (and slightly modified) for the pumpkin pies yesterday.  In blue are my “between the lines” instructions.  Thanks already to my stay at home mom friend Becky for her helpful suggestion to follow the instructions on the canned pumpkin, but use pureed fresh pumpkin instead of the can.  I’m going to try it!

Fresh Pumpkin Pie (modified from – 4 ½ stars on All recipes – 0 stars from the Dugdales
1 medium sugar pumpkin (at my pumpkin patch they were called “trickster” pumpkins – maybe this should have been my first clue – they “trick” you into thinking they will taste good and in fact they do not!)1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pastry crust (I used G.F. recipe below)
½ teaspoon of ground ginger
½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon of nutmeg (I added this)1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup honey, warmed slightly
½ cup milk (I used whole milk)
½ cup heavy whipping cream
Cut pumpkin in half (use a saw to cut the d*#& thing or you will completely dull your knife) and remove seeds (use an ice cream scoop). 

Lightly oil surface and place cut side down.  Bake at 325 degrees until flesh is tender when poked with a fork (about 45 minutes – even when it feels tender, give it a few more minutes to make sure – this part can be deceiving). 
In case my family or close friends questions whether I actually did this.
Cool until just warm.  Scrape the pumpkin flesh from the peel.  Either mash or puree in small batches in a blender.  (Yes, a blender will work for this part if you don’t have a cheap one like mine.  All my blender did was push everything out to the side and almost burn out the blade – DO NOT USE A BLENDER to puree – use a food processor).
In a large bowl blend together 2 cups of the pumpkin puree, spices and salt.  Beat in the eggs, honey, milk and cream.  Pour filling into pie shell.  Put pie on a baking sheet (this is a secret that no one tells you in a recipe, you just have to know this because your momma tells you.  Also, be sure to not overfill the pie shell because it will go all over the counter and your baking sheet and will smell like burned tar when it overcooks in the oven).

Bake at 400 degrees for 55 minutes or until knife inserted 1 inch from the edge comes out clean.  Halfway through cooking cover the pie with an aluminum foil tent.  Otherwise you will completely burn the crust.  Yep, this is another one of those “mommy” tricks.  I even had to call mine.  Cool on wire rack.
Anyone who can tell me what I might have missed in baking this recipe, or what I can do differently to change the taste, I’m open.
Pamela’s Gluten Free Crust – I made no modifications to this one.  It was very good other than the burned parts that were completely my fault.
1 bag Pamela’s Gluten Free Bread Mix (do not use the yeast packet)
8tbsp unsalted butter, chilled
8tbsp shortening, chilled
7-8 tbsp ice cold water
In a bowl, cut chilled butter and shortening into Pamela's Gluten-Free Bread Mix with two knives or a pastry knife until small pea sized pieces form. (Just mash it together as much as you can take – there may be some pea size pieces, and there may be some bigger ones.  It will all bake out).  J

Slowly add water until dough comes together, not sticky. Add 1 tsp additional water if dough is too dry. Do not over handle dough. Roll out half the dough between two sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap. Peel off top paper and invert into a lightly greased pie dish.

Yeah, I added a photo because it would be helpful to see this.  I read it wrong the first time!  :)

Peel off second sheet and fix crust edge. Bake on lower rack in oven. Bake unfilled crust in a 350° oven on bottom rack for 35 to 40 minutes. Or, bake filled with your favorite filling. Dough can be frozen for later use, wrap in plastic and freeze. Thaw completely to use.

Pumpkin Pie . . . Martha Stewart Style

Here’s something that finally dawned on me.  Family Fun is usually NOT easy, and sometimes it’s not even fun.  Actually, sometimes it’s a downright pain in the @$&.  The reason family fun is such a pain is that you actually have to plan something and planning takes time . . . time that we don’t usually have.  “Fun” also usually means trying something new and that means that we don’t really know how to do it well the first time, and it was such a bad experience that we don’t try it ever again.  Well, here’s what I’ve also realized, family fun IS memorable.  Memorable for you, your kids, your spouse, your friends, your extended family.  Good, bad or ugly, it’s memorable.  And THAT is why I keep doing it.  No matter what, we have a story to tell; and today’s “fun” falls in the @$& ugly category.
Today I attended a pumpkin patch field trip with the Id (the baby).  While we were on this field trip the woman at the pumpkin patch held up the pumpkins you can use to make pumpkin pie, and that’s when I had a stroke of genius.  I’ll make a fresh pumpkin pie . . . from actual pumpkins. 
Here’s  what I learned about attending field trips at the pumpkin patch and trying to be Martha Stewart:

Thursday, October 13, 2011

We've been Boo'd!

We had impromptu Family Fun today.  After picking them up from school I took the kids to complete our afternoon “task” – well, ok, first we went to the orthodontist for the Ego (the middle child).  Quick side note . . .  although we really like the orthodontist we have, there’s just no way to make something fun out of “Mrs. Dugdale, we’re gonna need to have one of these teeth pulled”.  In this process I discovered that the orthodontist apparently makes the dentist do the dirty work of actually pulling the tooth.  It’s either that, or our orthodontist missed that day in his schooling and he thinks it’s just better to go elsewhere.  Ha!  Just kidding.  J
Back to the point – our “task” was to “Boo” the children’s friends because we had been Boo'd earlier in the week.  This is a great Halloween tradition, and here’s what we learned:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Nanasick and Boy Toys

So the children had 24 hour unfettered access to their Nana for four days.  They of course had to share their Nana with their baby cousin, but pretty much it’s been all Nana, all the time.  And yesterday, they had to go on Nana detox.  The Superego (the oldest) told me this that she was “Nanasick”.  Apparently, this is akin to “homesick”, but applies when your Nana leaves.
The Boy Toys on the other hand, they have nothing to do with Nana, I just wanted to make sure you all opened the post.  But, there is a story about Boy Toys . . .
Here’s what I learned about Nanasickness and Boy Toys:
1)      When your mother comes to visit (or your mother-in-law for that matter), make sure that you do what you can to make them feel welcome and appreciated.  Mommy did a crappy job of giving Nana a TLC this weekend while Nana was giving TLC to the trifecta + 1 (+1 is baby cousin).

2)      The children will come up with any number of excuses not to do homework and to call their Nana.  They’ll even make up a disease called “Nanasick” so that you feel sorry for them.  But, when they do call Nana they will decide to be selective mutes on the phone so that Nana can’t hear them and then they will insist on calling again and again.   

Symptoms of nanasick include very pouty children, and the baby (in the middle here) trying
her hardest to make a sad face when it's really against her nature. 
I should have had her sister pinch her.
3)     If you are McDonalds, you really need to think twice about posting the following note on your drive thru:
"No Boy Toys for the Happy Meal.  We are only giving girls toy.
Sorry for the inconvenience."
My friend Laura had some fun with the teenager on the other side of the intercom and asked if she could have him as her boy toy.  He was not amused, but she and I found it hysterical. 
Recommendations for today . . . take care of the nanas.  It’s a good thing when the children are Nanasick.  Boycott McDonalds. . . if they’re not going to offer boy toys, it’s not worth the trip.  J

Monday, October 10, 2011

Haunted Mansions & Pink Ladies

We had a double dose of family fun on Saturday.  During the afternoon Nana was desperate for some way to entertain the children, so I pulled out a gingerbread haunted mansion kit.  Then, we had a bit of family fun for daddy when we attended a neighborhood car show and concert in the park.
Here’s what happens when you let the children loose with frosting and gingerbread by day and concerts and car shows by night:

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Don't stop believin . . .

. . . you can be an Angel by day and a Rocker by night!  Yesterday was a great day.  I spent the morning and afternoon co-chairing a gala luncheon for the Angels Foster Family Network where we learned how important it is for babies to have a “forever home” and loving, caring adults in their lives.  Then, in the evening, I helped my husband re-live his rock concert going high school days where we attended the Night Ranger/Foreigner/Journey Concert.
Here’s what I learned about saving babies by day and “rocking out” at night:

Friday, October 7, 2011

Women can do more than woman can do . . .

As a mom of three little girls, I am swimming in estrogen and have finally embraced the fact that I have a responsibility to help my girls grow into independent, responsible and caring young women.  That’s too much pressure.  I need a drink . . . I mean . . .
Tonight I attended an event with The San Diego Women’s Foundation that was hosted at Qualcomm and I invited two of my husband’s employees to join me. 
Here’s what I learned about making new friends and introducing other women to philanthropy:

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Homework is a masochistic ritual . . .

. . . invented by teachers who are punishing me for leaving my children with them for 6 hours a day.  School is in full swing and I have now realized that I am not smarter than a 4th grader! 

Here’s what I learned about being responsible for getting homework done (as opposed to paying someone else to do it):

Monday, October 3, 2011

Light up the night!

It’s red tide time in San Diego.  I did not know what a red tide was until I swam in it in La Jolla Cove – yes, I said swam . . . I am still training for a triathlon on October 16th, and had to finally face my fear of the true open ocean.  Perfect day to swim (not too bumpy), however, there was a stench that you could smell for miles.  It wasn’t until I got in the water that I found out what “red tide” feels like.  A bunch of stinky “gunk” in the water!

Here’s the cool thing that I didn’t find out until a week later . . . apparently this red gunk, actually GLOWS IN THE DARK!  So, on my infinite quest for different experiences for the family, last night I dragged them out to La Jolla to see the water glow.

Here’s what I learned about family outings in the pitch black on a school night:

Sunday, October 2, 2011

100 years of Girl Power!

So the Trifecta are now all girl scouts.  I figure this is the best way to teach them manners and to overcome their mother’s dirty mouth!  Ok, wishful thinking, but it is a start, right?!  We’re gonna be at this for a looooong time, and mommy has been crazy enough to volunteer to be the troop leader for the Id (the baby).  Well, lets be honest, mommy went to the meeting, all the moms sat on their hands and one of mommy’s friends (Natalie) talked (ok, bullied) her into it.  Ok, so it wasn’t quite that bad, I just wanted to give Natalie crap!

I’m actually looking forward to being the troop leader because I’m such a bossy boots.  Last night the Superego and the Ego attended a 100th anniversary party for girl scouts, so that’s where mommy spent her Friday night too.  But, here’s the beauty of girl scouts – it’s all done by the girls.  The mommies actually have a corner where they have to sit down and let the girls just do their thing. 

This was a great time to catch up with everyone, but here’s what I learned when you leave the mommies unattended at a girl scout function: