A Barking Mad Harry Potter Weekend

Sign of the Deathly Hallows

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The weekend of the “Deathly Hallows 2”  premiere was a big weekend for many Harry Potter fans, and I was no exception.  Here’s how it went down:

What a weekend!  It was so awesome that I feel each event deserves it’s own blog post — Coming Soon!


Use What You Have Cooking

this is a picture of self made pesto in a mortar.

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Inspired by this post from Carrot’s ‘N’ Cake’s helpful “Grocery 101” series, one of my goals is to get back into meal planning (more on why I stopped another time).  I want to focus more on using items that I already have on hand, rather than choosing recipes for which I have to purchase all-new ingredients (my usual modus operandi).  As I recently posted on Tumblr,  I started by going through my pantry and making a list of on hand items that might be used for recipes.  The items were:


Tomato Sauce

Chocolate Syrup

Sundried Tomatoes

Artichocke Hearts

Canned Pumpkin

Various Pastas


Mini-Cheese Tortellini





This afternoon I purchased some boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  I was planning to bake them but wasn’t sure exactly how.  I think in the back of my mind I was thinking of using the artichoke hearts in a recipe that calls for baking chicken breasts & artichoke hearts in balsamic vinaigrette dressing.  However, I didn’t have, nor did I purchase, the dressing (go figure?!).

I visited my favorite online recipe source, FoodNetwork.com.  The site has a feature where you can type in (an) ingredient(s) and it will suggest recipes.  I wasn’t sure how many ingredients you could put in, so I figured I’d start with several and shorten if necessary.  First I typed: “chicken pesto sundried tomato artichoke” and it took me to a recipe for crab cakes (?).  Next I tried “chicken pesto sundried tomato” and it gave me the previous recipe plus two more, neither of which contained chicken.  “Chicken pesto” provided a better list of results (so, I’ll be sure to just input one or two ingredients in the future). 

One recipe that caught my eye was “Gordon and Gary’s Pesto Chicken Quesadillas.”  I remembered that I had a pack of whole-wheat tortillas in the fridge, and I also had finely shredded parmesan cheese.  Since it was getting late and it was eleventy-billion degrees outside, I didn’t want us to have to grill the chicken.  BUT, I had some leftover chicken that was already cooked, seasoned, and cut into bite-sized pieces. 

I thought the quesadillas turned out really nicely.  The pesto, chicken and cheese tasted good together and the quesadilla added some textural interest.  The children didn’t seem to care for the quesadillas/pesto but they ate the chicken.  Muggle Man LOVED them and even Tweeted “Awesome dinner tonight” to me.  WIN!

Je commence `a lire Harry Potter en français

Platform 9-3/4 Entrance tribute to Harry Potte...

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Harry Poter a L'Ecole des Sorciers

The cover of the French version of Harry Potter

One item on my 43 Things list is to read Harry Potter in French (the first book, possibly the whole series?). A while back I purchased a copy of Harry Potter A L’Ecole des Sorciers but, as with many other things that I *wanted* to do (vs. things that I felt that I *should* do), I never got around to reading it. Now that I am working on doing things for me (rather than doing things because I think it’s what someone else wants or needs me to do), it’s time to start reading.

So far I’ve read the first chapter, Le Survivant (The Survivor – which seems to be the French equivalent to “The Boy Who Lived”). It’s pretty cool to read the book in another language, like getting a fresh look into a story that I already know so well.

Since I’m translating as I read I really have to pay attention to what I’m reading. There are quite a few words that I’m not sure that I remember correctly (it’s been a loooong time since I did much reading in French!), have to guess at, or don’t know at all. I’ve decided that I will read through each chapter once to get the flow of the story, then go back through and look up words that I’m unfamiliar with or want to double check. I’d like to keep track of these words so that I can have a little Harry Potter French-English Reference Sheet.

I’m also planning to record my progress in my blog – how much I’ve read, comparisons between the two versions, and any other comments I care to make. I’ll also note names and terms that are different from those used in the English books. For example, in the first chapter I found the following:

  • Le Survivant = (The Survivor, aka The Boy Who Lived)
  • Vous-Savez-Qui = You-Know-Who
  • Les Moldus = Muggles
  • l’Eteignoir = The Deluminator
  • Madame Pomfresh = Madame Pomfrey

Another noteable difference is the name of the book. Rather than the British “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” or the American “Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone,” the French title translates to “Harry Potter at the School of Wizards.”

Have you read Harry Potter or any other favorite books in more than one language? Share your thoughts with me on Twitter @realmugglemom.

Related content:

Review by someone else who read the book

Running Red-Faced: Rosacea

Rasacee couperose zones

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I don’t have an official diagnosis of Rosacea, but I learned about it when my mother was diagnosed several years ago and I decided that I probably have it, too.  It didn’t bother me much other than the occasional flushing after drinking a glass of wine.  However, last year as I got into a fairly challenging TurboKick class at my gym, I found myself getting rather red-faced during class.  It would last for a while after class, sometimes for several hours, and sometimes I’d have burning and/or itching and/or tingling on my cheeks throughout the day afterward.  After reading up I started taking breaks during class to wet a paper towel with cold water from the water fountain and wipe off my face and the back of my neck.  This seemed to help enough to keep my face from getting too red, and to keep the effects from lingering.

However, once I started training for my 5K, the problem flared up again (no pun intended!).  Once I started running more than 1/2 a mile at a time, my face would get very hot, beet red, and stay that way for quite a while.  I found a couple of things helped.  One was to choose a treadmill where one of the ceiling fans was blowing directly onto me.  We have a few leftover “chill towels” from one of my husband’s sporting events and I would wet a couple of them and put them in a plastic zipper bag with some ice cubes.  As I started to get warm, I would hold one of these against my face and/or hang it around my neck.  After my workout I would hold one up to my face for a while in addition to washing my face off with cool water.

After my post-workout shower I would lightly moisturize my face with Artistry Essentials Soothing Creme.  According to the Artistry website the creme features:

  •      Exclusive Artistry Soothing Complex featuring Black Bamboo, Licorice, and Blue Lotus Flower to soothe, quiet, and address the visible signs of irritated skin and maintain skin’s normal moisture barrier function
  •             Vitamins A, C, E, and B5 nourish, fortify, clarify, protect and balance skin
  •             Chia and Borage supplement the skin with essentials fatty acids
  •             Works day and night to optimize moisture balance
  •             Ideal for all skin types and safe for sensitive skin

This is a very lightweight cream and I liked the way that it hydrated my skin without feeling thick or greasy or causing any more “trauma” (for lack of a better word for the redness, stinging, etc.).  It didn’t automatically make the redness and discomfort go away but gently applying it did feel soothing.  I’ve been using and selling Artistry products for over 20 years so I felt safe applying this to my face.

Recently I purchased a product called “Ultracalming Mist.”  It is made by dermalogica and I purchased it at Ulta.  According to the label it is “Recommended for sensitized, reactive and recently resurfaced skin.”  It is described as:

A soothing and hydrating mist that quickly relieves sensitivity while helping to calm redness, stingin and aggravated skin. Our exclusive UltraCalming Complex contains Oat and botanical actives that work below the surface to interrupt inflammatory triggers that lead to sensitization, while helping to minimize discomfort, burning and itching.  Oat and Giner actives combined with Bisabolol and Boerhavia Root Extract work synergistically to relieve and restore skin while fighting future flare-ups.  Soothing Aloe helps calm while correcting the moisture level imbalance that can provoke sensitized skin. 

I haven’t been running recently so so far I have just used the mist when I’ve been hot from just being outside, it feels refreshing but I don’t know if it’s really had any “effects.”  I’m planning to start doing some running again, though, so I’ll report on whether or not the mist seems to help.

I hope that this information will be helpful to others who may be experiencing these issues.  I’d love to hear any tips others might like to share, please Tweet me @realmugglemom.

Update – Six Weeks of 5K Training

The Head Ache

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(So my weekly workout posts dropped by the wayside as the pace of life sped up this spring.  I did continue to train faithfully and want to share the experience with you, even if it is in less detail).   

Following my last post, my next workout was a doozy.  I woke up with a bad headache.  I took some ibuprofen and went ahead to the gym, assuming that at some point my headache would go away.  My headache continued through my run and through much of it it just felt like each step was jarring my head/brain.  By the time I had gotten to a certain point, however, I really didn’t want to quit then, I wanted to at least have the satisfaction of completing my workout.  I did so but I felt rough at the end and for the rest of the day.  As the day went on my headache continued, then later in the day I started to feel nauseated.  Duh, I had a migraine!  I know it may sound dumb not to know that I had one, but I get headaches rather often, but migraines only occasionally, so usually it does take me a while to figure it out.   Sometimes I get the nausea first, and think I’m getting sick, then get the headache and realize it’s a migraine.  Sometimes I just get the nausea.  (Sorry to digress but if you happen to continue reading my blog, this information will be pertinent later on)!

I had been so psyched from my previous workouts, that it was really a mental blow to have such difficulty getting through this workout.  Even though I’m sorry that I didn’t have enough sense not to run with that headache, I was relieved to know that I really was dealing with unusual circumstances and that there was a reason it had been such a difficult workout.

Another discouraging moment I had was during a treadmill workout when it just seemed like I was running and running and it was taking forever to go any distance.  Somehow in my head I was thinking that the run I was training for was five MILES, not a 5K.  If I remember correctly, I needed to go a distance of 2 miles for this workout.  I felt like I barely made it to 1 -1/2 miles.  As I continued to push myself, I wondered how in the world I was going to make it to five miles, when it was that hard for me to go a mile and a half.  All the confidence I had gained up to this point seemed to evaporate.  Then, as I approached two miles, I suddenly realized my error.  That I was training for 5 KILOMETERS (3.1 miles), not 5 MILES.  That once I was able to run two miles, that meant that I was basically 2/3 of the way there.  Whooeee!  Relief flooded through me and I also went from feeling very unconfident to being quite proud of myself for being able to run two miles.  That workout ended on a happy note! 

Update – Six Weeks of 5K Training

Piste d'athlétisme à 8 couloirs. Track and fie...

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Week 2, Workout 2 — For the first time, I run outside.  I can’t figure out how long the track is so, since it took me about 18+  minutes to run a mile on Monday, I determine that I will do my 5 minute walking warm up & cool down and in between run for 20 minutes.  It goes well though I do have to push myself. 

My husband buys me some pink KT tape 🙂

Week 2, Workout 3 – Back at the healthclub treadmill

Week 3, Workout 1 – Bump up mileage to 1-1/2 miles.  It is easier and goes more quickly than I had expected, which boosts my confidence.  I feel like I’m doing more “in the zone” running and less “having to push myself” running.  

Week 3, Workout 2 – I decide to run at a track near my house.  This run “felt” like it went more quickly than any other run so far.  I’m not sure if it was the size of the track, the fact that it was outside, or what but I liked it 🙂  The track also has a slight hill at one spot, which I figure is good practice.  My legs did not start to feel tired until the very end.  I forgot to check my watch when I started so I don’t know how long it took me.

As I was doing my cool down walk, noting how long it took me to walk around the track it suddenly occurred to me that I may actually be walking faster than I am running!?  I will investigate this further next time I’m on the treadmill. 

I do feel like the running is challenging, that I’m improving, and that it’s a good workout.  However, I still don’t “like” it. 

Six Weeks of 5K Training – Week One Follow Up and Start of Week Two

Muscles of the front of the leg.

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Picking up where I left off, I was worried that I might have shin splints.  I found that ice packs helped a lot, and my husband has some “KT Tape” so I looked up how to tape a leg for shin splints and did that on both legs, I think that helped, too.  My husband also has a foam roller (he’s so handy to keep around!) and I used that for just a few minutes since it was rather painful.  By the end of the day they felt so much better that I decided that it must just have been pain from using muscles that I wasn’t used to using.  I showed my husband where the pain was and he agreed that it did not seem like shin splints.  Crisis averted!

That was on Friday, Saturday I did not go to the gym but did do my ‘Hip Hop Abs” DVD.  Sunday was a day off.  Monday I was back at the gym.  I started off with the weight machine circuit.  I used the elliptical machine today for my warm-up and cool down, instead of walking.  I was on the elliptical for five minutes before I started running on the treadmill, then I cooled down by going backwards on the elliptical for five minutes. 

According to the training program, the goal for Week 1 is to be able to go 1/2 a mile, running for at least 1/4 mile of that.  I was able to run the whole 1/2 mile so I felt good about that.  The goal for Week 2 is to be able to go 1 mile, running for at least 1/2 a mile.  Since I already knew that I could run half a mile, I figured I just needed to concentrate on being able to run as much of the mile as possible.  As I started my run, my plan was to run for a half-mile and then see how I felt.  If I needed to I would then try alternating walking and running (a la the “Couch to 5K” program.”  I also started at a slower pace, thinking that that would help me with the increased distance.  I was at about an 18-minute mile.

It was a difficult run.  It seemed like it took forever to run that first half-mile.  I was planning to start walking as soon as I got to the half-mile point but once I got there, I was afraid that if I started walking, I would get “stuck” there and not be able to get back to running again.  I was feeling a bit stronger at the half-mile so my goal became to run to .75 mile and see how I was doing.  Once I got there, again, I wanted to walk but was afraid I would not be able to bring myself to start running again once I slowed down.  I decided to keep going as long as I could and hope that I could make it to a mile.  I was watching some soap opera that I don’t even watch on TV (probably one reason the run seemed to take so long, ha ha) and I stared at the TV as I ran and would ot let myself look down and see how far I had gone and how much further I had to go.  When I finally checked, I had gone .96 of a mile.  That made me so happy!  I pushed myself to run that last .04 mile and voila, I had run a mile!  Yay me!

The question is, can I do it again tomorrow?!