Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Eating Healthy

  I'm not sure exactly what inspired me. I think it was a combination of Polly, Hannah, my childhood, our healthy eating chart, the lunchbox cookbooks I just got and ambition, but I am on a mission to get my kids to love healthy foods. The garden has helped as well. I feel like we have all these ripe, healthy vegetables around all the time, we should pair them with healthy options to go with them. I also feel like as my kids get a little older, Justin and I can really get back into the kitchen and cook the way we like to. I am the baker of the family and Justin is the chef. I am his sous chef and Vander is my sous chef. I find the recipes and inspire trying new things. Justin tweeks the flavor profiles and brings food up a level. It's really nice because Justin, Vander and I all really enjoy cooking and Oliven is coming around. My kids will try most things and for that I am proud. I have worked really hard to get them to try things and learn to love healthy foods. It's a work in progress and it takes more effort, but I think it will pay off in the long run.
  The first step was planting fruit trees and vegetables. They are more willing to eat what they grow. Oliven now loves tomatoes and will eat them cut up with a fork all by themselves! They will still tell you they don't like eggplant, but they eat it about twice a week. It's been a fun journey.
  For lunches I have been trying to make healthy dinners that we can freeze leftovers and warm up for later. Vander loves taking quiche, turkey pies, homemade fish sticks, etc. He has NO idea how delicious his lunches really are compared to what they could be. He gets a treat (pretty healthy and small) if he finishes his fruit and vegetables the previous day. It's working out nicely so far.
  As for breakfast...I am trying to incorporate whole wheat flour (in whole wheat bread and other carb. items as well as in cookies and treats), move over to natural peanut butter and sunflower seed butter, and make lots of stuff ahead of time. I made breakfast bites, 3 types of waffles, pancakes with bananas. Almost everything has fruit and protein in it. They boys are really enjoying all the options. When Jon came up to visit has was impressed and asked me what I was doing with all my free time before. :) It's a work in progress, but I think it will put the boys on the path of a healthy life style and will certainly make them mentally and physically strong.

What have we been up to?

Jon came to see us for a week, we attempted to plant winter vegetables (we'll see how that goes- the lettuce and peas seem to be happy), we went to a BBQ at Carrie's house, went to a party at a Gymnastics center for our next door neighbor, had dinner group at our house (the first one without Sandra and Ben- they were the first to quit after 5 1/2 years of monthly dinners), went to the 2010 club event- which was lots of fun with good food and balloon animals and then it started pooring rain (Justin didn't care for the rain, but I thought that was also fun). Needless to say, we have been keeping busy. Both boys are LOVING school. I am also still a part of Dining for Women charity and cookbook club. I ran my first 5K race- color me rad. They throw colored corn starch on you and spray you with colored water as  you run. It turns out a 5K is really too easy- at least when you run a party race and not a real one. I didn't really feel challenged, but it was fun hanging out with Sarah.
Vander informed me last week that EVERY person he knows has more fun than him after school. They ALL go swimming or to the park and he has to stay home. (I think he is lacking a bit of perspective). It's so rough on him having SUCH A BOOOOOOOOORING LIFE! I can't imagine what it would be like if it were exciting!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Las Madres 2008 last event and boys A's game

  As the 2008 Las Madres Club President we had our last big hurrah Fall festival at Lake Almaden park on Saturday. It was really great and I won a great raffle prize (they were all good- Hannah got donations and I helped her go buy gift cards to go with them). There was yummy food- street tacos and pizza, bounce houses, games, music by Jump for Joy, and a raffle. Needless to say it was a very fun event and everyone enjoyed themselves. The boys were a little bummed because Justin came to pick them up 10minutes after the music started. They did get to do some bouncing, participate in a potato sack race and have a cookie from the goodie bag. Then Justin whisked them off...
  The boys: Larry, Justin, Mitch, Vander, and Oliven all went to an A's baseball game. This was Larry's Father's Day gift from us and Mitch. This was Oliven's first time at an A's game. It was his second baseball game at his second stadium (the first was in Seattle). It didn't seem like they were very happy when they got home and it sounded like the boys weren't that into the game. At the very least Ollie says he had fun and I know they enjoyed their Subway sandwiches and chips, and they both told me about having a cookie several times.

Friday, September 6, 2013

We are "farmers"

  Since the day we moved into our house (4 years ago) I have always thought that the backyard was very adult friendly, but not kid friendly or useful. I did a pretty good job making it kid friendly by getting rid of the pine trees that housed rats, bringing lots of toys to the backyard including swings and a little pool, decorating and furnishing the playhouse, and always trimming all the hedges back.
This year I made the backyard useful. It was a big project. The first step was clearing out the side yard of all the large rocks in order to plant a garden.
Then the ground had to be loosened up and soil had to be added, then the plants bought and planted. I ended up putting in too much chicken manure, which apparently is very acidic. The tomatoes, eggplant and peppers didn't mind. Nothing else really liked it, but those ones really thrived. I then moved onto the main area of the backyard. I had to get rid of the rest of our privacy hedges and have the stumps ground. I then had to go to an Arborist at Almaden Nursery to find out what to do next.
Checking hole draining. Nate and Ollie.
  I dug six very large holes in the ground (like 4 feet wide and 2 feet deep), added two different soils
and tilled them together with the existing dirt. Then put in some special planting soil and put in the trees. We planted lemon, avocado, pear, apricot, mandarin orange, and plum. We will see how they all do...the apricot and pear are 4 in1 trees so they should have 4 types of each and a long blooming season. The avocado will take 3-5 years to fruit, so that one is an investment in time, but I think it will be worth it and Justin put solar panels on last year, so we are clearly planning to stay here for quite a while. Honestly, I LOVE my house and my neighborhood and Vander's school is amazing. Life is good!
  Justin helped me put in a watering system for the plants and everything is mostly self sufficient at the moment. Trees need a lot of TLC in the first couple of years, but only on a monthly basis. They have to each be watered for 10 minutes twice a week and covered if there is going to be frost. Overall, I'm really happy with our backyard now. I am currently working on a fall/winter garden, so we will see how that turns out. It's a bit of an investment in money and time, but if it thrives it's well worth the effort. Besides that, there are no pesticides, so I know it is good for my family.
  Vander went outside the other day and said, "We're like real farmers now."

Thursday, September 5, 2013


  Oliven was very excited to start preschool. He was prepped and ready from going to summer school with Vander. Nicole Rogerson has been his good buddy since he was born, she has always really liked Ollie and vice-a-versa. She is one of the two teachers, so it was a very easy transition. He was very excited to go and play with all the new toys and hang out with Nicole. When I picked him up he said he had a great time and wanted to go back.