Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Justin's 34th birthday


  For Justin's 34th birthday everyone will be surprised to guess that he wanted to play games...he LOVES strategy games. Friday night Larry and Theresa watched the boys and Justin and I went out to Outback Steakhouse (and didn't order steak), then went to a game store and browsed for a very long time, and afterwards went to Sweet Retreat to share an ice cream treat.
  Saturday afternoon the Lim family joined us for a fun evening of games, Chinese Food and cake. Sunday the Rogerson family was slotted to come over for brunch and games, but two of their girls came down with the flu. In the afternoon the guys all headed down to Larry and Theresa's house for some time with parents and Mitch and Katie. I joined them for dinner (I attended part of cookbook club). Now, it's still Justin's week for all his favorite meals. Bacon is on the menu four times!
  Previous conversation we had: Justin:"Well I know you got me a game for my birthday."
Me: "How would you know that?" Justin: "Because you know me and you love me." All I have to say is, THANK GOODNESS I GOT HIM A GAME FOR HIS BIRTHDAY!!! (Trajan)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Chef Vander


Last night Vander made his first real dinner as the Chef and I was his sous chef (he made pancakes before), but this time he made lasagna. He has a lot of learned to do, but he picked a recipe from the Fun Food cookbook for kids that Uncle Mitch and Aunt Katie got him for Christmas. We altered a few things like using less cheese (and no ricotta) since neither Justin or Vander care for it much. We also added lots of veggies. We figured out afterwards that we had a rainbow in the lasagna: red-tomato sauce; orange-shredded carrots; yellow-fresh yellow tomato sauce I made over the summer; green-spinach and zucchini. We didn't have anything blue or purple, though Vander suggested that next time he can put purple cabbage or eggplant into the lasagna. 
  He prepped all the ingredients: he opened the sauce cans and jars; squeezed the liquid out of the spinach and chopped the carrots (I helped him use a real chef's knife for the first time- he thought that was fantastic and he couldn't believe how easy it made chopping). He then cooked the ground turkey mostly on his own. I helped him by filling the other pot with water and he put the noodles in when the water was boiling. He then stirred the meat and other ingredients while they simmered. I showed him how to add the basil and oregano...we then took a little sauce out so he could sample it after it cooled down. After it was reduced to his liking (I gave him guidance, but let him decide), I drained the noodles and let him layer the lasagna. He learned that the sauce goes on the bottom to keep the noodles from sticking and that we layer: sauce, noodles, cheese, sauce, noodles, cheese, sauce and a sprinkle of cheese on the top. The results: the lasagna was delicious (one of the best I have tasted). He did a great job and was really into it. He even helped me clean up and dried the dishes. He is going to be an amazing cook! He is already better now than I was at the beginning of college. The key to cooking is good recipes, practice and passion. :)

Monday, January 12, 2015

Date nights with the boys

  Justin got luxury box seats to the Sharks game for work...he decided this time to take Vander with
him. (Oliven went to Disney on Ice with Justin last time he won tickets). Vander was super excited to go and they had a great time. Vander was most excited about the free snacks...popcorn, pretzels, pizza (he clearly likes the "expensive" stuff). He was social and watched the game (mostly on the tv screen), but he was well behaved the they had a really fun evening.
 
Oliven and I took the opportunity to head out to Sweet Retreat for some frozen yogurt. He chose the mix in of strawberries (even though you could have chosen any candy bar). I told him he could get a topping as well. He chose whipped cream. It was really quite a nice time just sitting and hanging out with my little man. I do really enjoy going on dates with my sons. :)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Back to the grind with a helpful little dude

  Monday morning after a break...those are the worst right? Well, this one was amazing. I woke up at 6:30am feeling refreshed. I figured I better get out of bed because my alarm would go off at 6:35am and I knew that I could fall back asleep in that time. I'm just that good at sleeping...so, I got up (which means I didn't have to hear that terrible alarm clock sound) and turned on the light. In bounded two of my favorite people. I bet you can guess who...Vander and Oliven. They were cheery and loving and couldn't wait to show me all the things Vander had done that morning. I assumed it was lego creations (as they almost always have a new one to show me when I get up in the morning), but Vander was dressed, which is very unusual for him. He first ushered me into his bedroom to show me that his bed was made! Then on to the kitchen to find that he had gotten out an apple with a jar of peanut butter. On the apple was a note that said, "Mommy pleas cut his apple in haf." So gosh darn cute! He had also gotten out a butter knife to cut the apple with along with two plates and two cups. He also had a spoon and fork for each kid and two packets of oatmeal. "I got everything ready for you mommy. Oh no, I forgot the vitamins. Also, I got the toothbrushes ready. I was going to clean the computer room, but I didn't think I would have enough time before you got up to finish the whole room." He proceeded to be cheery and helpful as well as quick and efficient, which is not his norm. He finished breakfast, put his dishes in the sink, thanked me, we brushed his teeth. He then got a book and read to me for 12 minutes. I asked him to put his shoes on and he did with no complaints and tied them himself. It was amazing, miraculous, and just plain delightful. What a great start to our first day back to reality.
  Oliven, on the other hand, sat and complained that he didn't really want the red apple and that he changed his mind about the peanut butter. He sat and complained for nearly an hour, but honestly I was in such a good mood from Vander and his helpfulness that it didn't really bother me.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Years Eve


  It's the end of the year again...time to wish Bon Voyage to 2014...it had it's ups and downs. It's time to say hello to a new year and what better way to ring it in then with friends, games, wine and chocolate. This year Jon came up for the week and for the evening he invited his sister, Karen, and her husband, Alex, for the evening. The boys went to spend the night with Grammy and Pops. We played Seven Wonders and Ra along with eating lots of veggies with homemade hummus, cheese, drinking red wine (none of us are big drinkers, we almost finished one bottle), and Justin made a chicken pot pie that was delightful.
Then, of course on to desserts, with plenty of chocolate. It worked out well. We all had a great time and we were able to go to bed at 9pm, which was good for Karen and Alex driving back to Scotts Valley, and me going to bed on time.
  The boys watched the ball drop at 9pm after pizza and frozen yogurt and lots of game playing with Pops and Grammy. Then they woke up at 4:40am!!! They had hot cocoa with marshmallows, pancakes with pineapple and banana, eggs, and cinnamon rolls for breakfast and headed home after building some constructs. We will see how today goes...they are bouncing off the walls right now.
Happy New Year!!!

Christmas time in Southern California

  December 23rd we headed down to Redlands, right next to San Bernadino, bright and early to go spend the day with Andrea and Jules. We went over to their apartment. We left dark and early so that we could have some quiet time on the way down and also maximize our time with the Johnson family.
We got there around lunch time and had some grilled cheese and quesadilla's with our friends. Jules took a little nap while the boys played with his trains. When he got up they played more trains together. The boys really enjoyed the company of Jules.
We got some good quality Andrea time, but sadly she had to go to work at 4pm ish, so we went out for dinner at Eureka burger at Andrea's suggestion and it was AMAZING. It was quite possibly the most delicious burger that I have ever had. It had fig jam on it with arugula and spicy mustard and goat cheese. We also enjoyed some truffle cheese fries as a family. When we left there, Andrea had also suggested a dessert place called A La Minute...they hand make the ice cream with the cream and liquid nitrogen while you watch. Super cool and delightful.
We got chocolate lavender and mint chocolate chip. Then, we headed to the hotel for a lovely night...the boys took a nice long bath together with spoons as their bath toys. We had a suite, so Justy and I got to watch "Happy Endings" together.
  The next morning we went down to the hotel breakfast and had a leisurely and yummy breakfast and then got in the car and headed to Deb's house for Christmas Eve. We had a fabulous day of dominoes and rummy. Justin and Larry shucked clams for the clam chowder we had for dinner along with chili. Vander was very happy about the clam chowder as he has been asking us to make it for dinner for the last month. Four generations of family played a game of Uno together. We had a good time spending quality time together. We took the boys back to Freddy and Annie's house to sleep and came right back in the morning with Colby as well. It was so nice of him to come with us and so nice of Justin's family to welcome him. I really appreciate how kind and loving Justy's family is...they have a way of making people feel welcomed. Thanks!!!
  As for Christmas morning, we had a delightful time having a yummy breakfast, which Vander very
much enjoyed because it included cinnamon rolls. Then, we looked in our stockings and saw that Santa brought the boys games this year. Afterwards, we opened presents and enjoyed each others company. Around 10:15am Colby and I headed back to Freddy and Annie's to help finish setting up for our family's arrival. Annie really didn't need any help since she had everything pretty much done. There was a little oven fire with the butter from the potatoes spilling over. The fire alarm went off and everyone tried to figure out where the fire extinguisher was...the fire was quickly contained, so all was well, but it did cause some excitement.
  Around noon people started showing up, including my boys, and around 12:20pm Santa showed up! He brought his bag of goodies and handed them out to the kids. Vander informed me that "Mrs. Clause" looked too young, so he knew she was just a helper to Santa. The boys liked the drawing present from Santa so much that they colored the whole thing that day. After Santa and "Mrs. Clause" left, we had a feast that Annie had prepared for 2pm "dinner". Everything was delicious and it included ham, which although it is not my favorite, in my mind it just seems right for Christmas...I guess we all have our traditions. It was fun to see Annie's traditions on a plate. We opened gifts- we had all drawn a name previously,
and most people had given a list of things they enjoyed so that went really well. The boys and girls really enjoyed their magna doodles and Frozen characters (and their other gifts too of course). Before anyone left we were able to get a group shot...serious and silly. I love that my family is so into the group shots and the silly ones always turn out hilarious. Here it is...Annie and Colby have decided that the backs of there heads are some how funny...I guess it's Annie's "thing". Anyway, after everyone headed home we did our gift exchange with Freddy, Annie, Colby, and the girls.
  The next morning we geared up to go for a fun morning/afternoon of... Freddy had mentioned going to the snow in Julian, but there was none, so we did what only people in San Diego can do in the winter and went Kayaking at the nearby lagoon. The sand was a little chilly, but seriously, this makes me miss San Diego. I am not a cold weather fan (I know that bay area isn't that cold, but it is compared to San Diego). The boys made a great volcano sand castle with Freddy which included two holes down into a tunnel that connected underneath. They also had some running and jumping contests. Justin enjoyed his time too, which is saying a lot since he is not a sand fan. Colby was with us, but spent most of his time on the other side of the lagoon relaxing.
After the fun, we headed back for some much needed showers, and got dressed to go to dinner at Robin's new house. It just happens to be 1.7 miles from FAME's house (FAME is Freddy, Annie, Molly and Emmie). It was great to see Robin as well as Justin's family and Scott, Diana and to meet Sofia for the first time. Oliven got a bit cranky since we were at Robin's until well after bed time, but they loved the pizza Robin made for the them and enjoyed playing with Sofia. Life is just better with Robin in it!
    The next day we decided that the tradition of going and getting pedicures was a good one, so we brought it back...the ladies all met at the nail salon, Paradise Nails, in La Mesa at 10:30am (it is hard communicating with my family since some do email, some Facebook, some text messaging, and some only do phone calls). Somehow, most of us got the message, and everyone who didn't get a pedicure met up at Fuddrucker's for lunch (except Kyle).
It was nice to spend some more time with Grandma and the other lovely ladies in my family. And, Fuddrucker's is truly a family favorite restaurant. We headed back to F & A's to relax for the afternoon and had yummy tacos for dinner. (We were going to do pedicures Sunday, but there was a Charger game. I thought Annie brought it up for traffic reasons, shows what a HUGE football fan  I am...she brought it up because everyone would want to watch the game).
   Sunday morning after a scrumptious meal of breakfast burritos,  Freddy, Colby and I loaded up to go the storage shed to clear it out. It has been a long time coming, and really isn't as daunting with all 3 of us. I think there are like 6-8 boxes in the garage now and 2 of them are photos I will go through next time I'm down there. We were a good team...one car load to the dump, some stuff dropped off for donation and some stuff kept. We also stopped by to see Karen's new addition to her house. It looks really great! The square footage is fantastic, and the whole room is open and bright. Really well done and a great look. Karen also agreed to help us convert home videos to DVD's, which is AMAZING!!!
  In the afternoon, we had "Cousin night". All the cousins (except Kyle) met up at F & A's for some chatting, beverages, pizza and a game of Dirty Minds. It was a fun evening. I always enjoy the company of my cousins. Kyle said on Christmas that he didn't want to be the cousin who never showed up to cousin night, but true to form, he was...to be fair, Kenny never comes either (totally a joke since he hasn't lived in  CA in a long time). The cousins came over around 4pm, so at 6:30pm, we attempted a bath with all four kids, it didn't go well. Emmie and Molly were not having it, but Vander and Oliven had a great time with bath paints in the tub. They haven't had many baths lately because of the drought. They love taking baths.
   On Monday morning, we loaded up the car and started the long trek home, after taking a cousin pic of the kiddos. It was a long day with the highlight being the lunch at Taco Bell with a frosty from Wendy's for dessert. It really was a great trip south. It was so nice spending such good quality time with both families. The only down side of the whole trip were a couple of Oliven's tantrums and the boys getting up at 3am every morning needing something, then being loud and waking the girls up two days in a row at 6am.
They weren't being naughty, just being boys, but still, it was not ideal. The last two days we put cartoons on for them and it was much better. Thanks everyone for a great week!