Musings About Life... After Birth



Posted by Chelsea on August 08, 2011

When it comes to celebrities, I am most opinionated. Obviously, I know them all super-well, so I clearly have all sorts of gounds on which to form said opinions. I mean, doesn't three years of Us Weekly subscriber status offer one the right to judge? Um, I think so.....

Regarding Jessica Alba, I have never been a fan. I find her pretty and all, but my distaste for her comes from the fact that I think she's a really crappy actress who has been in a bunch of really crappy movies and therefore I think she's not so deserving of the fame she's earned. Sorry, Jess.  That's just how I feel.

When I saw Jessica on the cover of the September Lucky magazine, I groaned. She's already not my fave, and there she is, looking not one ounce pregnant despite getting ready to give birth any day now, with the cover touting that she'll share her thoughts "on nudity, hating diets and her secret splurges." Gag all around. Imagine my surprise, then, when I read the story inside and found her comments about losing baby weight (in my opinion, one of the all-time worst task EVER) refreshing, honest and just flat-out awesome. Reading what she said made me want to literally cheer out loud, and I'm not being hyperbolic. Tell me you don't love what she says:

On her post-baby shape-up plans: "I have a hard time with portion control, so I have 1,200-calorie meals delivered. But I also work out, so basically I'm starving  - it sucks." 

Seriously, thank, you, Jessica, for admitting that the way celebrities drop their baby weight in record time is to a) pay lots of money for someone else to make them portion-controlled meals and ultimately, b) work out so much that they literally starve themselves. And, naturally, that that particular course of action sucks. Of course that's what they do, because there is NO OTHER WAY to lose 35 pounds in a freaking month. At all. I just loved hearing someone admit it and not be all, "I just have really good genes," or, "I did a lot of pilates when I was pregnant." Please.

On working out: "Working out every day for even just 45 minutes is good for my mental state. But getting dressed and actually doing it is the worst. It's hard to get motivated...In the gym, I have like five things to distract me "TV, iPod, magazines. Workout partners are good, too, so you can chat and not just drown in your own misery. Sorry, does that sound bad? I just hate working out."

Again, Jessica, I am loving your honesty here. i know the "I hate working out" statement isn't original or particularly Earth-shattering, but again, I love that she freely admits that working out makes her miserable and that essentially, she'd rather be sitting on the sofa watching the Real Housewives than on the treadmill. I feel that way, and I love hearing that someone else  - especially someone who looks like her - admit that they have to force themselves to work out and that they don't just "loooove the endorphins!!!!" it provides them.  A celebrity actually being real  - especially about this kind of thing - just makes me happy. 


Jessica, I heart you. 


In light of Jessica's comments, I have now decided that I officially love her and will no longer diss or avoid reading stories about her. I will not, however, go and see "Spy Kids 14" or whatever the heck her next movie will be. Sorry, but I still do have some standards. 

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Posted by Chelsea on September 10, 2008

I’m nearly two weeks into potty training Big Bro, and sadly, it hasn’t been going too well. He’s definitely “ready” (or as “ready” as he’ll ever be), and we’re having decent success at home, but when we’re out, he rarely wants to stop what he’s doing to tell me he’s gotta go. Therefore, we’ve had our fair share of accidents - and a lot of them have been full-on gross, if you catch my drift. Just this week we had one at school today, one at the park the other day and another that same day when Momtourage members Meredith, Jen and I were at Chicken Out eating lunch with our kids. Ugh. I know we just started, but already, I am so over it and so frustrated. Obviously, I can’t communicate this to my kid, as that would only set us back even further, not to mention guarantee his presence on some therapist’s couch 20 years from now.

I needed some major advice, so I consulted my brother-in-law, Michael, a child psychiatrist and the father of two older kids (read: he’s done this before, and actually knows what the heck he’s talking about). He listened intently, and then offered these words:

“I think it’s time to bring out the big guns.”

“The big guns?”


Really? I had always heard you weren’t supposed to use food as a reward when potty training, despite the fact that one Momtourage member (whose name has been hidden to protect the innocent - and the guilty) bribed her kid with her favorite, blue licorice. It worked like a charm, both in getting her potty trained as well as in turning her poop turquoise.

“Yes, you generally shouldn’t use sugary sweets,” he said, “but in this case, you need a jump start, and I think he’d be motivated by the reward.”

I wasted no time picking some up today - little Halloween snack packs that can easily be thrown into my purse. I picked up some extras for myself, my motivation to endure - literally - more of this crap.

When discussing this plan of attack with another child-development professional, she echoed my brother-in-law’s advice. “Honestly, would you show up to work if you weren’t getting paid?” she said. Point taken. “Don’t worry,” she reassured me. “Really, he won’t be expecting M&Ms when he’s 4.” Let’s hope not.

When I think about Michael’s M&M advice, it makes perfect sense - especially in the case of potty training. I guess kids sometimes need that extra goal - whether it be a piece of blue licorice or the ability to push the real-life vacuum as Momtourage member Sloane offered her son while training him. So, I’m trying the M&M trick, and hoping for the best.

I just hope I don’t reward myself with them too often.

Tags potty training


Posted by Chelsea on February 26, 2008

Each morning, my son drinks milk and eats dry cereal and fruit for breakfast. He LOVES it. Every now and then, I try to give him eggs, yogurt, and other stuff, but he always wants the cereal. Fine. Pick your battles, right?

Normally, I give him a blend - Kashi Go Lean, Joe’s O’s from Trader Joe’s and some organic Raisin Bran called Peace Cereal (I know, I know, I am sorta obsessed with the organic - not to mention the Liberal- thing). Needless to say, he has a healthy digestive system.

Today, I received a press release about the toxicity of certain breakfast cereals. Naturally, I immediately freaked out.

The info in the release is taken from a book written by Christopher Ramsden, MD, the author of a new book, Nutrition by the Numbers ($18.95,, which introduces the NQI, a food rating system that provides a simple way to determine if a food will prevent or lead to the seven most common US diseases: heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, and depression. Here it is:

Best and Worst Cereals to Feed Your Kids

Choosing a healthy cereal can be confusing. Labels such as “heart healthy,” “whole grain,” and “all natural” can be deceptive and really don’t tell much about the nutritional value of a cereal. One way to tell which cereals are the good guys and which are the villains is to use the Nutritional Quality Index (, a new rating system that ranks the relative overall health value of individual foods. The NQI rating, ranging from -10 (toxic) to 0 (neutral) to +10 (exceptional), takes into account fifteen key dietary molecular components that scientists now know have a direct impact on the development or prevention of disease.

Based on scientific analysis of 233 American cereals, below is a list of 10 great and 10 harmful cereals.

10 Super Cereals

These cereals contain plentiful amounts of ingredients that can play a significant role in preventing diseases.

NQI Ranking   Brand and Name
+10     Kellogg’s All-Bran Original
+10     Post 100% Bran
+9     Barbara’s Organic Grain Shop
+9     Kashi Go Lean
+8     Nature’s Path Flax Plus Flakes O-3
+7       Kashi Good Friends
+7     Weight Watchers Banana Almond Medley
+6     Back to Nature Heart Basics Flax and Fiber Crunch
+6       U.S. Mills Uncle Sam with Mixed Berries
+5     Weight Watchers Cinnamon Cluster Crunch

10 Unhealthy Cereals

You should avoid feeding these cereals to your family, because they contain too many ingredients that have been shown to cause disease.

NQI Ranking   Brand and Name
-4     U.S. Mills Erewhon Crispy Brown Rice Original
-4       Barbara’s Bakery Organic Wild Puffs Cocoa
-4       Kashi Organic Promise Strawberry Fields
-4     General Mills Lucky Charms
-5     General Mills Rice Chex
-6     Kellogg’s Rice Krispies
-7     Post Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds
-9     Kellogg’s Cocoa Krispies
-9     Kellogg’s Froot Loops
-10     Cap’n Crunch Crunchberries

Not so much of a shock that Froot Loops, Cocoa Krispies and Cap’n Crunch are on the list - isn’t everything that tastes that good total crap for your bod? The Kashi on the “bad” list, though….that shocked me. Thank God my son’s Kashi Go Lean is still OK.

Beware of what you put in your (or your kid’s) bowl…..

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Posted by Chelsea on February 03, 2008

Today my family and I made the requisite pre-Super Bowl run to the grocery store. I swear, not ONE cart was without Tostitos. Those people must be making a killing.

Ours, of course, was no exception. My husband’s one snack request: my famous guacamole, which even I must admit, kicks SERIOUS ass. I normally serve it with baked Tostitos to cut down on the calories/fat, but since Mama ain’t watching her weight these days, I’m eating it with the Tostitos “Hint of Lime” chips, which rule almost as much as my guac does.

I got the recipe for the celebrated guacamole eons ago when I was in high school from - of all places - Cosmopolitan magazine, and have been making it ever since. It includes avocadoes (naturally), lime juice, kosher salt and tomatoes, and what I consider to be (somewhat) unique ingredients: cilantro and red onion. I’d offer you a more “formal” recipe if I could, but there really isn’t one. You just sorta mix as much of everything as you like together in a bowl until it tastes the way you like it. I really like cilantro and salt, so I add a lot - you might not like it as much, so I’d recommend you don’t. No matter how you make it, I promise you’ll never make it another way again. It’s that good.

I just finished making a big ‘ol bowl of it and oh my GOD, I may eat the whole thing. I’m eating for two, right?

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Posted by Chelsea on August 23, 2007

RIP, Barry Bonds zucchinis.

As you can see above, I decided to go the zucchini parm route with my freak of nature zucchinis. My mom provided a recipe, which I amended slightly (see recipe below), and made two of the above. I have to say, the stuff was freaking AMAZING. A great way to sneak veggies to your family, this meal is nearly as good as chicken or eggplant parm. And, as its baked and not fried, you won’t feel too guilty after helping yourself to seconds.

I feel very Melissa C. Morris, a favorite blogger of mine who often posts recipes, sharing this recipe with you. Here goes:

Barry Bonds Zucchini Parmesan

1 freakishly massive, almost as if on steroids, zucchini
3 cups panko bread crumbs (Japanese bread crumbs, available in the fish section of most Whole Foods Markets)
1 1/2 cups flour
4 eggs, beaten
Italian herb seasoning
2 packages shredded Parmesan cheese
1 package reduced fat (part skim) mozzarella cheese
2 jars Lucini Italia Savory Tomato Parmigiano Sauce (or other prepared tomato sauce, but this stuff really rules)
Kosher salt
Ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut zucchini into 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick rounds. Arrange three dinner plates side by side, with one containing a mixture of the flour, Italian herb seasoning, salt and pepper, another containing the beaten eggs and the last containing a mixture of the bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, a handful of Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Dredge the zucchini first in the flour, lightly coating it, then in the egg, then finally in the breadcrumb mixture. When finished, lay the zucchini slices on a cookie sheet covered in foil or lined with a Silpat nonstick cooking mat.

Cook zucchini for 20 minutes on one side, then flip over and cook for another 10 minutes or until lightly browned. In a rectangular casserole dish, spread a thin layer of tomato sauce, then a layer of the zucchini, topping with a thin layer of Parmesan cheese. Repeat twice, topping everything with a layer of mozzarella cheese. Bake for an additional 20 minutes or until top is bubbly.

Serve with a nice green salad and some wine because dammit, you deserve at least one glass after slaving over a hot stove like that.


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Posted by Chelsea on August 14, 2007

This summer, my mother planted some vegetables in my backyard garden. She’s all Martha Stewart like that, and I am not, so she picked some low-maintenance ones: zucchinis and tomatoes. All I had to do was water them, she said. That, I can do.

Before we left for our two-week Cape Cod trip, I watered the garden and hoped the DC area would get some rain while we were gone. Instead of rain, it got record-high temperatures, so I figured that upon my return, said plants would have shriveled up and died. When I went down to check on them once we got home, I discovered that my zucchini plants had not died, but instead had sprouted the most mutant looking vegetables I had ever seen. These zucchinis were shaped like regular zucchinis, yet they were - and I am so not kidding - 17 and 19 inches long, and about 5 to 6 inches in diameter. It was as if they had been injected with steroids or something. I was fully expecting then to sprout legs and demand I take them to my leader (surely after which they would say, “This knucklehead, George Bush, is your leader? And you eat us for dinner?”).

Next to a bowl of tomatoes, for perspective.

Seriously, these things were almost as big as my kid.

Anyone got any good zucchini recipes?

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Posted by Chelsea on July 22, 2007

Though The Momtourage and I are quite the gang of supermoms (more on that later this week), getting our kids to eat vegetables is, without question, our kryptonite. While I’d love to blame it on the omnipresence of chicken fingers, pizza and mac and cheese in kids cuisine, I kinda think it’s because a lot of vegetables - a least ones not sautéed in butter and garlic and topped with lemon juice - just don’t taste all that good. Though I love vegetables, I can sort of understand it.

To address this issue, we’ve tried all sorts of creative ideas. Momtourage member Melissa’s first plan of attack was to sneak vegetables in to quesadillas, a tactic I later employed and which worked like a charm until my son overdosed on quesadillas. I next tried chopping up broccoli and sneaking it into mashed potatoes, which worked well until one day my son held up a spoonful and disapprovingly screamed “Green mashed po-tay-TOES!!!???!!” (translation:“Who the hell do you think you’re kidding, woman? I came from your uterus, not the dumbass farm!”), and that was it. Momtourage member Alison told me last week that her twins like frozen peas; the crunch tricks them into thinking peas are fun and good. I’ve yet to try that one, but trust me, I will.

Luckily, there is one option that my son has always loved and has never tired of: Dr. Praeger’s Homestyle Spinach Pancakes. These all-natural spinach patties (ingredients are as follows: Spinach, Potatoes, Onions, Egg Whites, Oat Bran, Expeller Pressed Canola Oil, Arrowroot, Salt, Garlic, Pepper and All Natural Vegetable Gum), were originally recommended to me by Momtourage member Lauren, and I gotta say, they are seriously GOOD. Think potato pancakes, but with spinach. You can get them at Whole Foods and I imagine other natural or even mass-market stores that stock healthy food, and they cost roughly $4 for a box. They also come in traditional potato variety as well as a broccoli variety, but in my house, the spinach ones are the biggest hit, which is cool, because they also have the greatest nutritional value.

So, if you have a home full of noodle and cheerio addicts, take this advice go and hook your family up with some Dr. Praeger’s Spinach Pancakes - you may succeed in actually getting your kids to consume something that’s not beige.

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