Thursday, July 30, 2009

Not Your Mama's Minivan

When I was growing up, my best friend Andrea and I had big plans for our futures that included neighboring ranches in Montana, lots of children, soccer coaching, careers in singing (her) and cooking (me), and great big Suburbans... NOT minivans.

Well, so far the ranch thing hasn't happened, or the Montana thing, or the career thing, but we do have kids and need to transport them somehow. Sooo, on Monday, after months and months of contemplation, including sleepless nights and lots of research, and perhaps even a bit of guilt over letting go of my childhood dreams, I purchased my first minivan.

And now that I've been driving one for a whole 4 days, I'm not really sure why minivans have such a bad name. Yes, they're the quintessential mom car, but hey- I'm a mom! Basically, at least until my children are big enough to climb in and buckle (and unbuckle) themselves from regular seatbelts- NOT carseats, I am happily resigned to drive a super cool Toyota Sienna minivan.

In case you're not convinced that minivans are really super duper cool, let me just say, that they don't make 'em like they used to (in a good way!). No longer is there just the Chevy Astro with chewed up back seats (long story), or the Toyota Previa that resembled a spaceship. Minivans these days are all sporty looking with power doors and adjustable seating options and cargo space and rear a/c and lots of cup holders and storage compartments and passenger windows that roll down and, well, I could go on and on.... but I won't. All I ask is that you please don't mock me when you see me driving by, or I might not offer to pick your kid up for soccer practice!

(Since the ranch thing isn't gonna happen...when my kids are all grown up and I start highlighting my hair, carrying a Louie Vuitton bag, sporting Chanel sunglasses, and wearing Juicy Couture velour tracksuits, THIS is what I want to drive... hey, a girl's gotta dream!)

My Favorite Things: Crayola Twistables Crayons

I'm always on the lookout for products that make my life and the lives of my family easier. So, since my opinion matters so much to all of you [wishful thinking, I know ;) ], I'm going to post the occasional product review for items that I adore. Hopefully some of my favorite things will become some of your favorite things, too!

My first review:

I LOVE these crayons! Unlike regular crayons, they don't have papers that come off and litter your floors, they are encased in plastic (think ball point pen) so they don't break into little pieces everywhere, and when the crayon becomes a stub, you simply twist it back up (think chapstick) and, voila, you have more crayon!

They come in different lengths, sizes of packages and a myriad of your favorite crayola colors. Yes, they're a little bit more expensive than your typical crayons, but when you have little kids around, regular crayons can be disastrous. And, since school supplies are on sale right now, you can get them for a great price.

Check them out and let me know what you think!

Friday, July 24, 2009


I am officially in my late twenties. Twenty-eight. Man, that sounds old- no offense to people who are older ;)

So what does a pregnant, stay-at-home mother of two and a grandma, twenty-eight year want for her birthday? Besides a pearl white Cadillac Escalade? Someone to cook for me, of course!

Since getting a full time personal chef is just about as far out there as an Escalade, my husband blessed me by taking me out to eat for my birthday- for breakfast, lunch AND dinner! This means that not only did I not have to cook for a whole day, I also didn't have to do dishes for a whole day. Pretty awesome if you ask me!

Dylan and I have this secret desire to be foodies- you know, the kind of people who can eat out at all of the trendy restaurants, afford to buy expensive ingredients to cook gourmet meals, and drink lots and lots of good wine. Well, since we don't like wine, can't eat out all of the time and have to grocery shop on a budget, we figured that indulging our alter-egos once a year is a great plan.

For breakfast, we headed down to Danville to Sideboard Cafe and had delicious eggs, pastries and the biggest latte I've ever seen- it was served in a bowl!

Lunch time was a bit more rushed because of naptimes (and because we weren't really hungry again yet) we split a take-out roasted turkey and cranberry sandwich and german chocolate brownie from Sweet Affair bakery. Man, that bakery is SO good!

We finished the night off with dinner at Skippolini's pizza. The pizza was great, but the best part was the crushy ice in my water. Seriously, crushy ice might not sound exciting to you but I think it's one of my all time favorite foods!

Well, I think that my foodie tendencies have been quenched for the time being (until I watch Check Please Bay Area again!) - which is good, because now I have to go back to living off of tomatoes and zucchini for every meal!

Thanks for the awesome present Dylan!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Bye bye baby Grady

It's official. Grady is now a big kid and I'm not too happy about it.

Since it has been a billion degrees lately and Grady tends to be hot ALL the time and he has an abnormal amount of really, really thick hair on his head (see previous post for a visual), we buzzed it off. And now he looks like a big kid :(

Oh, and then after his post-buzz shower, I caught him trying to poop on the floor so I rushed him to the toilet- pink high heel and all- sat him down and yup, he pooped into the toilet. It was only a teeny little poop, but hey, he's only 22 months old!

Why Grady needs a brother.... you can see, he is WAY too comfortable in his sister's clothes-which he chooses & puts on himself.....

Monday, July 6, 2009

Pride cometh before the fall.....

Just in case you were filled with tomato envy when you saw our last post:

We went out this morning to find our huge tomato vines toppled over from the weight, cages and all. So I spent the morning trimming back the vines, salvaging the dozens of green tomatoes that were broken off, and tying my cages to the fence. Hopefully the much smaller and thinned out branches will be able to handle the weight of the tomatoes that are left.

I guess the verdict is still out as to whether or not I should become a farmer....

(Click on the images to see them in full glory)

(the vines toppled over, away from the fence)

(my pile of trimmings & WAY shorter plants in the back)

(any ideas for green tomatoes?)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Tomatoes Anyone?

Every year, we try our hand at a vegetable garden. Every year, we pretty much fail. We can partially blame soil conditions and lack of proper sun exposure, but really, most of the blame lies on lack of consistent watering. Last year we planted in half wine barrels and we harvested all of 5 tomatoes and 3 cucumbers. What a disappointment!

So this year, we've actually been paying attention to our garden and had amazing results! Dylan picked a prime spot of land (in the front yard, which is kinda white-trashy but "SO Pleasant Hill" as my cousin put it), rototilled the soil and we picked our plants. We went a little overboard on tomatoes (we planted 6!) because there is NOTHING better to eat than a fresh, vine ripened, homegrown tomato- even Dylan agrees with this! In fact, if you've decided that you don't like tomatoes but have never had one that is homegrown, please stop on by and try one- you won't be disappointed! We also planted pumpkin, zucchini, cucumber, lemon cucumber, watermelon (which isn't doing so well), basil and cilantro.

Even though our garden is doing well, it hasn't been free of problems:

Problem 1: the neighbor cats like to poop in our yard, especially in the plot of land we chose for our garden.
Solution 1: chicken wire. we laid chicken wire over the soil and cut little holes out where we planted. cats don't like walking on chicken wire, let alone pooping! we also planted some marigolds around the perimeter of the patch because we heard that cats and bugs don't like the scent of marigolds.

Problem 2: the mole. during emma's birthday party, a mole was discovered under a rock in the very back of our yard. it traveled through our entire yard, under a fence and into our vegetable patch. it then proceeded to dig tunnels around and uproot each plant. we'd stomp down the tunnels just to find new tunnels each morning.
Solution 2: dylan went out early one morning with a high pressure nozzle on the hose. he blasted the tunnels full of water in hopes of catching the little guy coming up for air. he found the mole flooded out under the fence. all he had in his hands was a sledge hammer so, obviously, he had no choice but to use that to knock off the mole. in our neighbor's driveway. at 6am. (also white-trashy, but hey, it worked!)

Problem 3: lack of water. in the past we have been terribly inconsistent in watering our plants. and if we don't kill them while we're around, they die when we're out of town.
Solution 3: water. it's amazing how living things thrive when they have enough water!

So far, we've harvested about 20 zucchini, 20 cucumbers and 8 tomatoes. But, as you can see from these pictures, there are about a zillion more to come!

(Grady is standing to the right of the zucchini plant. Look how tall it is compared to him!)

(cherry tomatoes)

(roma tomatoes)

(zucchini and zucchini flower)

(One of our pumpkins resting on the chicken wire)

Sink or Swim

Emma, along with two of her cousins, is taking swim lessons for the first time this summer.

We found a teacher that comes to my parents' pool a few times a week. It was my hope that lessons will help avoid drownings but I had little hope beyond that. Well it turns out that Emma listens to her teacher a whole lot better than she would listen to me and after 5 lessons, she's actually able to jump in on the side of the pool and swim to the steps all on her own. She can hold her breath, kick her legs and do arm circles.... not very gracefully or coordinated-ly but hey, she's not drowning!