Monday, June 30, 2014

Mommy Mondays: Movin' and Groovin'

Changes are hard for toddlers.  There is so little they have control of, they grasp on to what's constant. 

With that said, moving is a challenge when you have a small child.  At least it was for us.  And my way of making it a little easier was letting Thatbaby feel like he had some control over the situation.  Obviously we weren't letting a 2 year old make major life decisions for our family, but there is a way to make them feel like their opinions matter.

1) House Hunting - Thatbaby loved house hunting.  He loved running around the empty houses and exploring.  We gave each house a special descriptive nickname, and at the end of the day, we'd talk about them and ask him which he liked best.  Again, we weren't going to let him pick a house to move into, but it made him feel like he had input in what was going to happen to us.

2) Packing - Packing was probably the worst part of moving, because it's hard to entertain when you're trying to get things put away.  We tried to work at nights, but given the exceptionally short time frame we were working with, we had to do more than just an occasional box a night.  Which meant we spent a full weekend trying to get as much packed as we could. Thatbaby saw us packing and wanted to pack his things too.  Which is when I had the brilliant idea of letting him.  I pulled out a box, and told him to go ahead and put his toys in it.


The problem here is that I didn't communicate with Thatboy the full plan, which was to let Thatbaby pack a box, but leave it open.  Especially since we had 3 weeks left at our old place.  Instead Thatboy sealed up every box Thatbaby packed.  Which meant all his favorite toys?  Completely inaccessible.  Not a smart idea Thatboy.  What became an even bigger problem is Thatboy didn't follow the cardinal rules of packing - LABEL YOUR BOXES!  We've now been in our new home for a month and we still haven't figured out where all of Thatbaby's things are.

3) Cleaning - The other aspect of moving which takes away parents from playtime is cleaning.  Unless of course, you pull a Mary Poppins and make a game out of tidying up.  We handed Thatbaby a sponge and let him "clean" whatever he could.

Of course his methods were more for show than anything else, but at least he felt like part of the team.

4) The new school - Packing was awful, but probably the hardest non-physical part of moving is leaving behind the familiar people and places you love.  For Thatbaby, this was school.  We really lucked out on his preschool and he'd been with his friends since he was 5 months old.  It was painful to leave.  And because we were so spoiled, the choices in our new area paled with comparison.  We weren't bowled over by either of them.  And so we let Thatbaby make the choice, kind of.  We brought him to the two schools we were considering, and let him explore each.  Then asked which he liked better.  Like all major decisions, Thatboy and I were ultimately the ones making the decision, but since it was something that would have such a big effect on Thatbaby, it was really important to us that he liked where he'd be going.  Even still, this was a very rough transition.  I think we got lucky that it only took us a week of him being very scared and reluctant to go to his new school, I'm sure it could have been worse.

5) Pre-move visits - This is something I learned from having a dog.  We made a couple trips to the new house before we officially moved in.  They were just fun trips, an overnight here, dinner there, a day to play in the backyard.  This helped him get to know the house, without completely uprooting him overnight.  Before we even lived there he thought of it as a great place to play and was excited about getting to stay longer.  This is not to say he wasn't sad to leave our old place.  There were definitely days when he said he wanted to go back to where we were.  But a month in, and he has found his space in his new home.

6) The New Room - In an ideal world, the kid's room would be all set up and ready to go the first night there.  It helps to have that sense of continuity and familiarity.  Of course, we always end up doing everything the hard way, so right now, Thatbaby's room is the one that is least unpacked and ready to go.  His crib is set up, but that's about it.  Everything is still in (open) boxes around the room.  The one thing we have done, is let him have input on his new room and what he wants.  He got to pick pictures to hang on his walls, the curtains on his new windows (one set of yellow, one set of green) and when he asked if he could have a rug, since Thatboy and I were picking out one for our room, of course we said yes and let him pick it out.  It's his space, so letting him have some input on it only makes sense. 

I do think this major transition has gone relatively smoothy to judge by outward reactions of Thatbaby.  It is much harder and more stressful to move with a child than when Thatboy and I had previously moved.  It's harder to find the time to pack, clean, and get ready, and it's still hard finding the time to unpack and get things into their places.  But having low expectations have really helped.  After all, our couch is taking 14-16 weeks to arrive, so I figure if we can have everything pulled together by then, we'll be in good shape!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sunday Runday: Just Breathe

I was diagnosed with asthma in high school (which is another story on its own) and thought I'd share some of my tips in case they help any of you out.  There are varying kinds and degrees of asthma, so this is something to think about and not take as gospel.  I have mild/exercise induced asthma caused by hyper-reactive airways.

When I first started running, I'd only run in the gym because I was worried about having an attack, and I wanted people to be around, just in case.  I actually have found running to really help my asthma.  The lung contains various muscles that are used in the breathing process, and increased exercise helps to strengthen those muscles thereby making breathing easier.

1) I always take a couple puffs from my inhaler 10-15 minutes before running.  It helps to open things up so more air can get into my lungs.

2) When training for any sort of distance running I'm not a fan of treadmills.  Its very different to run outside.  That being said, treadmills are great for building endurance, working on breathing, asthmatics.  First because if anything happens, there are people around.  Second because its a controlled pace which will get your body and lungs used to the exertion.  Third, you're not working against the air quality which is killer for asthmatics.  I would build up a couple miles on the treadmill before running outside.

3) Watch your pace!  I have a bad habit of going too fast in the beginning and then the wheezing kicks in later when my lungs give out.  As you build endurance/distance, your pace will naturally increase. A good rule of thumb is that you should be able to hold a conversation at whatever pace you're at.  I sing because it helps me keep pace.  Even mouthing the words (so I don't look like a total loon) helps me to make sure I'm not gasping for air.

4) Remember biorhythms.  You control your heart and lungs.  Pay attention to your body.  I know when I can feel my "heart in my throat" that my heart rate is too high and I need to slow it down. I also recognize that tight feeling in my chest that means an attack is coming on and I need to really focus on my breathing to keep it at bay.

5) Recovery.  One of my biggest problems is recovery.  I can't go from running a 10 minute mile to a dead stop.  I'll start having an attack almost immediately.  Make sure you slow yourself down gradually, keep arms moving, etc. and bring your heart rate down before collapsing.

Friday, June 27, 2014

So Fancy: Crab Carbonara with Meyer Lemons, Black Pepper, and Parsley





One of my New Year's Resolutions this year was to connect more with my "San Diego" family.  A couple of my younger cousins are living here and I wanted to take advantage of that fact.  Thatmom has always been the rubber band that brings this family together, stretching across states and time zones to make sure Thatbrother and I always had a sense of who we were and where we came from.  I want to do the same for Thatbaby.  I want him to grow up not knowing or caring that there's a difference between 1st and 2nd cousins, because we're just as close with all of them.

Since both my San Diego cousins are young men, I figured I could tempt them with promises of a home-cooked meal, and the an open invitations for their girlfriends.  Date night with free food!

Mustang has been especially receptive to my family dinners.  Which is good, because Thatbaby loves Mustang and his girlfriend.  It is the highlight of the month when they come over for dinner.  For me, I spend the week before brainstorming what to make.  I'm sure I could order pizza and everyone would be happy, but they can get pizza any night of the week, so I always want to make something that they're less likely to make on their own.  Of course, I always end up with grand plans, like last weekend when I asked Thatboy if a cheese souffle would be a good choice for family dinner.  He thought I'd be better off playing it safe, something that two college kids would be more interested in. But, he loved the idea of a souffle and asked if we could put it on the menu for another time (we did - I'll post that soon, because OMG it was gorgeous AND delicious).  That's how this crab carbonara came about.

Carbonara is not one of those universally adored pasta dishes like macaroni and cheese or spaghetti and meatballs.  The sauce, comprised of egg essentially cooked by the hot pasta makes some people squeamish.  And although Thatboy and I are big fans of sweet sweet crab, not everyone loves it like we do.  So put the two together and you have a dish that is decidedly hit or miss.  So this didn't make it to family dinner, but went on the menu for when it was just the three of us.  The meyer lemon helps to add a real summery flavor, and a quick burst of sweet acid to the dish.  Plus, I love using meyer lemons when I can get my hands on them!


Crab Carbonara with Meyer Lemon, Black Pepper, and Parsley (from the James Beard Foundation)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup diced pancetta
2 shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 whole eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 pinch Old Bay seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 pound lump crabmeat
Zest of 3 Meyer lemons, 1 lemon reserved
8 ounces dry spaghetti
3 Tbsp butter
1 cup toasted bread crumbs 
  1. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the pancetta and sauté just until beginning to turn golden brown, about 5 minutes. 
  2. Add the shallots and garlic and sauté until the shallots are golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. 
  3. Whisk together the eggs, Parmesan, parsley, Old Bay, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. 
  4. Add the contents of the sauté pan and whisk. 
  5. Add the crabmeat, Meyer lemon zest, and the juice from one of the lemons. Whisk to combine.
  6. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and immediately add the hot pasta to the bowl containing the egg, cheese, pancetta and crab. 
  7. Add the butter, then toss the pasta quickly and thoroughly to make sure all of the strands are coated and that the ingredients are well combined. 
  8. To serve, sprinkle toasted bread crumbs over the pasta.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

I don't miss LA


On Saturday morning, Jurisslave and I got up way too early so we could head up to Los Angeles for our friend NotMya's baby shower.  The drive up was pretty uneventful, but we arrived over 30 minutes only due to some miscommunication.

I know NotMya from our college days, and Jurisslave knows her from law school.  It was nice for both of us to catch up with our respective group of friends. Being in San Diego means we don't always see much of our friends who stayed in LA.

As the shower wound to a close, we got back in the car to make the trip home.  Which was awful.  It took us 2 hours to get there, and 4 to get home.  Jurisslave brought Jurissbaby with us, who was quick to let us know how unhappy she was to spend so much time in the car in the only way a 6 month old can.  At one point, Jurisslave turned to me and said that if NotMya has another baby, we'll just send a card.

There's something so homey about...being home.  It's safe, familiar, the cars move on the freeways... Kind of like a pudding.  If you think about it, sticking a pudding in a child's lunch box is a way to send home to school with them.  And it's something we carry with us our whole lives.  Doesn't a spoonful of pudding always bring you back?  For me, tapioca pudding has that same safe, familiar feeling of being home.  Even though it is nothing I grew up with.  This tapioca cream is a little more liquidy than your typical pudding, but still brings the comfort.  Which is especially nice when you've spent long hours in the car with a crying infant.

Tapioca Cream (From the Fannie Farmer Cookbook)
3 Tbsp quick cooking tapioca
1/8 tsp salt
5 Tbsp sugar
2 cups milk
2 eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla
  1. Mix the tapioca, salt, 3 Tbsp of sugar, milk, and slightly beaten egg yolks in a heavy bottomed sauce pan.  Let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for about 6 minutes until the mixture comes to a full boil; remove from the heat.
  3. Beat the egg whites until foamy.
  4. Slowly add the remaining 2 Tbsp of sugar to the egg whites and continue beating until stiff but not dry.
  5. Slowly stir the whites into the hot tapioca mixture.
  6. Add the vanilla and blend. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Day for Thatboy


For Father's Day, I let Thatboy decide what he wanted to do for his ideal day.  When he woke up in the morning, we greeted him with presents.  Thatbaby made him a shirt using DecoArt Ink Effects.  I love this stuff.  It's paint that you use on just regular paper, and it creates an iron on transfer.   I like it because the ink goes right into the fabric, so it doesn't have that "sticker quality" that most iron-ons have.  It's more like screen printing.

For this particular shirt, Thatbaby wanted to do handprints, so he used the paint to make handprints on paper, which I then ironed on to the shirt to create a kind of abstract art piece.  I forgot to take a picture of the finished product, but Thatboy is wearing it below.


We went to Thatboy's favorite breakfast place, The Original Pancake House.  Thatbaby is a pretty big fan of pancakes too.






Afterwards we headed to the beach.


My present to Thatboy was a quadrocopter.  He had so much fun flying it around the beach (and back at the house during Thatbaby's naptime).



Thatboy surfed while Thatbaby and I jumped in the waves, built sand castles, and dug a really big hole in the sand.  When Thatboy was done surfing, he joined us and brought Thatbaby back into the water with him for a little surf lesson.

It didn't go so well.  Thatbaby was much happier splashing in the water on his two feet.


And showing Thatboy the big hole we dug.  After the beach we grabbed some sandwiches for lunch and headed home for naptime.  I crashed with Thatbaby while Thatboy flew his new toy in the backyard.  It was a late nap, and pretty soon it was time for dinner.


We met up with the Ks for dinner.  K3 is getting so very big.  Thatbaby had so much fun playing with him, and the two boys tortured K2 with joint tickle attacks.  I think he may choose a different seat next time we eat together.


By the end of the night, Thatbaby was ready for bed, whether he agreed or not.  He was sad to say goodby to his friend, and was having such a good time during the day.  As for the star of the day, Thatboy had a pretty good day too!  But he deserves it.  I mean, Father's Day only comes once a year.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Fair Enough

One of the best things about summers in San Diego is the fair.  Thatboy and I enjoyed it before Thatbaby was born, but it gets more fun every year as he can take in and enjoy more of it.


Sometime this winter, Thatbaby's favorite book of choice was a Thomas Seek and Find.  On one of the pages, Thomas visits the fair.  That's Thatbaby's favorite page.  He loves looking at the people on the rides, the ice cream, and he was especially enthralled with the candy apple.  He thought it was the coolest thing ever, and Thatboy promised him that one day he would get one.  As soon as we started talking about the fair, he asked if we were going to get him an "apple candy."  So our first stop when we arrived, was a stop for the candy apple.

I am NOT looking forward to this kid's first dentist appointment!  On the plus side, like many sweets he gets, Thatbaby wasn't interested in finishing the sweet treat.  Thatboy helped him out with that.

Our next stop was the rides.  I'm a little wary of fair rides (hey, anything that can be put up in a jiffy might come down in a jiffy too) but I figured the ones meant for little kids wouldn't cause too much damage even if they did spin off the tracks.

Thatbaby is tall enough where he can actually ride quite a few rides.  But that also means he's a little too tall for us to ride with him.  He was a little hesitant at first when we strapped him in on his first ride, wanting one of us to ride with him, instead of watching him from the sidelines.  But he got the hang of it pretty quickly.











We each rode one ride with him too, I would have guessed this plane one with Thatboy was his favorite.  He spent the whole time waving at everyone.





But when we asked him which he liked best, he was adamant his favorite was the whale.


After the rides, we went to check out the animals.  As soon as we walked into the barn holding the cows, Thatbaby wanted to pet each and every one.  When I told him these animals weren't for petting, he wanted to find the ones that were.  So we headed over to the petting barn where he got to feed and love some goats, sheep, and a cow.  By this time we were getting a little hungry.  Especially those of us who didn't have a candy apple.  So we headed over to the food stalls for dinner.








Nothing quite says "County Fair" like an oversized hot dog covered in toppings!  I actually beamed with pride when Thatbaby said he wanted his hot dog with just mustard, no ketchup - since I had been telling Thatboy for years that ketchup was for burgers and not hot dogs.  Thatboy and I got the "Martha Stewart" which was loaded with sauerkraut, bacon, chopped onions and tomatoes and a drizzle of sour cream.






After dinner we went to check out the art exhibits, which Thatboy loves, then headed over to the gems and minerals to look at shiny stones and fossils.  We then made our way to the exit, but not before stopping at the photo booth to continue with our family tradition.  3 years and counting!  It's kind of funny to see the difference in Thatbaby over the years.  There seems to be such a big bump between year 1 and 2, and less of a difference between 2 and 3.  Except this year he actually had an idea of what was going on and could focus on the camera.



Bye bye fair!  See you next year!





Monday, June 23, 2014

Mommy Mondays: Packing It Up (Part 3)

As a disclaimer, I make no pretense of being well-versed in dietary needs or allergies.  Thatboy is luckily not allergic to anything he has tried, and neither Thatboy nor I follow any special diets.  So please don't take this post as any sort of advice or gospel about dealing with your own child if your child suffers from any allergies or dietary restrictions.  Some of these pointers might work for you, and some of them might not.  Take it all with a grain of salt - as long as you're not sodium free.

That being said, we've had a challenging 2 years sending in lunches with Thatbaby, so I thought our experience might help others.  The lunches we've sent in were meat free, nut free, seed free, and egg free.  I remember when I first started dealing with these restrictions, I felt a little lost and helpless.  But now I'm basically a pro, right? 


Instead of: A peanut butter and jelly sandwich (the lunch staple).
Try:  Soy butter and jelly sandwich!  (almond butter and sunflower seed butter are both good choices depending on if your school is only peanut free or nut free)  We're a big fan of Wow Butter.  Thatbaby honestly doesn't know the difference between peanut butter and soy butter.  This also works if you want to send in peanut butter and apples or celery sticks.  I haven't tried cooking with it though, so not sure if it would work for peanut noodles or cookies.

Instead of: Cold cuts
Try:  Veggie sandwiches and wraps.  Peppers, mushrooms, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, shredded carrots, avocado, and hummus (if seeds aren't an issue).

Instead of: Chicken nuggets
Try: Chicken-less nuggets.  Vegetarian meats can be hit or miss.  But for some reason, chicken nuggets seem to work pretty well.  Maybe because most chicken nuggets are kind of smashed up meat anyway?  Our two favorite are Trader Joe's Chickenless Chicken Tenders and Gardein Seven Grain Crispy Tenders.

Instead of: Using meats in dishes like chili and stirfries.
Try: Leaving out the meat entirely (like a black bean chili or cheese enchiladas), or tofu (like in stirfries or fried rice)

Instead of: Dips like hummus, tahini, or peanut butter.
Try: White bean dip or yogurt dip.  Tzatziki is a big hit over here.

Instead of: Eggs
Try: Tofu.  Tofu makes a great "scramble" or even an "egg-less salad".

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sunday Runday: How to Run At Lunch

I've been doing my lunch-time running for a while now.  It's an art.  So I figured I'd share with you how I get that done.

My office has no shower, so my "lunchtime" runs actually happen in the late afternoon.  To minimize the time I sit around being sweaty. 

I have a special "running bag" I bring with me, that's full of all my running gear.  This is especially helpful, because it's a place to stash my sweaty running clothes after.


My running gear:  Shorts, shirt, sports bra, socks, headband and vibrams.  I really like my vibrams for my lunch runs, partially because I love running in them, but also because they pack so well.  It's so much easier to throw them in a bag.  On the other hand, I've had the experience of having one get tangled up in my clothes and thrown in the wash, so I now also keep a pair of sneakers in my trunk, just in case.  I also bring baby wipes, dry shampoo, deodorant, face wipes, and a brush for after.

When it's time to go for my run, I change in my office.  I think one of the key aspects of running at lunch is keeping your hair up.  I get sweaty when I run, and my hair is a mess.  The higher up it is, the less sweaty it gets.  A tight bun helps keep it in check.

Before:

After:

I download the latest episode of Zombies, Run and I am off.  As I've said before, I really love my lunchtime runs because of the route I get to run.




When I get back to the office, I head to the bathroom to "clean up."  I use the baby wipes on my body, the face wipes on my face, and the dry shampoo on my hair.  I brush out my hair, throw on deodorant, and I'm dressed and ready to get back to work.

 
The last part of my routine is my recovery drink!  I bring some protein powder in a water bottle and then fill it up with water once I get back from my run.  I drink that once I sit down to help refuel for the rest of the afternoon.






Do you run at lunch?  If so, what do you love about it?  And are you lucky enough to have a shower?

Friday, June 20, 2014

Kickin' Back and Getting Old

I told Thatboy that all I wanted for my birthday this year was a gift certificate for a mani/pedi and a day where I didn't have to do anything, or go anywhere.  A day I could spend just working on getting the house together.  Since my actual birthday was on a Monday, the hope was that I could do this the Sunday before.

Well, I got half of my wish!  The day before my birthday, Thatboy sent me to our favorite local spa for the afternoon, for a mani/pedi and some quality alone time.  I spent the afternoon hanging out in the hot tub, since I get plenty of pool time with Thatbaby.






The boys picked me up in time to take me to dinner.  For another one of my birthday requests, a big margarita.  (I may have had 2)


On the day of my actual birthday, I worked, just like any other day.  And came home to a dinner I'd made the night before (so much for my day of not doing anything!)  But Thatboy had another trick up his sleeve.  He stopped off on his way home from work and brought cupcakes!


As for Thatbaby, he had his own special present for me.  When Thatboy asked him what they should get me for my birthday, he kept insisting he wanted to get me Shrek.  We have the first 3 movies, so Thatboy took him to get the last one.  Thatbaby was so proud of himself as he handed me my present.  "Happy Birthday mama.  I got you a present," as he wrapped himself around me in a giant hug. 




Thursday, June 19, 2014

A Picture's Worth 1000 Words

Shortly after my last wine and painting class I determined that it would make the perfect Mother's Day activity.  We tend to do "experiences" for Mother's Day instead of presents.  So spa days, pedicures, tea.  I knew Thatmom would love the painting aspect, and thought she would have fun with the wine part too.  So I picked up a groupon for Thatmom and I.

The problem was, we ended up moving Mother's Day weekend.  So instead of getting together with Thatmom and celebrating everything she is to me, I was stuck moving boxes, picking up curtains, and cleaning.  The groupon expired May 31, so I needed to sign us up for a June session.  Our timing options were limited, since the weekend classes were mostly on Saturday mornings, when Thatmom was already busy.  When I saw there was a Saturday night class, I signed us both up, even though it was a picture neither of us was terribly interested in.

We headed allllll the way down to Southern San Diego County and were the first people there, so we got front row seats.  Which was nice, because it was the instructor's first time, and he wasn't great at giving directions.



Hoping for art I could hang in our new bedroom, I opted to veer from the sample and go with some blues and greens.  Thatmom (and the rest of the class) went with the recommended colors.

The class was not nearly as fun as the first time I did it, due to a combination of things - the poor instructor, the painting we didn't like, and the fact it was in a coffee shop, so there wasn't anything to drink. Despite all this, Thatmom and I enjoyed ourselves, drinking milkshakes and cracking jokes.

Neither of us was terribly impressed with our finished product.

My leaves got a little out of control I think.

And although Thatmom's looked much more like the sample, it was still not up to her standards.

But it was nice to spend a night out with my mom, just us girls.  We don't get to do that very often.  And even though it wasn't really mother's day, it felt like that for us!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Plane, not Plain: Chicken, Lentil, and Barley Soup


We are back to "normal" over here at Thathouse.  Normal in the sense that every weekend is back to being chock full of activities.  In fact, I was so excited for the weekend of June 7, because we had nothing on the calendar!  And then I remembered that was Juristoddler's birthday.  Sure enough, an invitation arrived shortly after.

And of course, this was a party that could not be missed.  Juristoddler loves the movie Planes, so this was a plane-themed party.  Complete with planes for the kids to take home, and planes on cupcakes.  Thatbaby quickly found his cupcake buddy, Little HW to sit next to as they dug in.







We're also back to cooking again.  Yay!  The last couple of weeks before we moved we were literally eating nothing but Trader Joes frozen meals.  So what kinds of things am I making now that I have a kitchen again?  Things that aren't fried or dripping in sauce.  Things with whole grains like barley.  Things with lentils.  Things that combine "healthy" ingredients but don't make me feel like I'm eating a cardboard box.

Soup might sound like a weird thing to make on a summer evening, but it is also undeniably homey.  A great welcome back to the kitchen, or welcome to the evening.  I mean, does anything sound better than curling up on the couch with a warm bowl of soup?

Chicken, Lentil, and Barley Stew

2 Tbsp flour
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 chicken breast, diced
2 Tbsp oil
 1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup dry lentils, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups sliced carrots
4-6 small new potatoes, diced
1/2 cup quick-cooking barley
3 bay leaves
    1. Combine flour, garlic, salt, pepper, and chicken in a shallow bowl.  
    2. Dredge chicken in flour to coat.
    3. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add chicken and cook until chicken starts to brown, about 5 minutes.
    4. Add onions and garlic and saute another 5 minutes.
    5. Add carrots and potatoes and cook for another 5 minutes.
    6. Stir in broth and lentils.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 35 minutes.
    7. Stir in barley and simmer for 15 minutes.

    Tuesday, June 17, 2014

    Toddlers in the Desert

    At the end of last year I was talking to L&O about our recent Palm Desert trip and she complained that she never gets to go to the outlets because Mr. L&O is not a fan.  So I suggested we plan a joint vacation so that the boys could hang out by the pool while the girls hit up the stores.

    Last month we all headed out to the desert for a little R&R.  Less R&R for us since we were mid-move, but it was still nice to get away from it all.  It was even nicer to watch our boys enjoying each others company.  Both of them, as soon as they got up in the morning, asked where the other was.  They wanted to spend every minute with each other. 

    We took them back to the Palm Springs Air Museum.


    Although between you and I, I think the dads were more interested in the museum than the kiddos.


    L&O told me that their trips to the desert involved lots and lots of pool time.  And so we spent lots and lots of time at the pool.  Which made the boys very happy.


    I brought noodles for the little guys to go crazy with.  They both wanted green.


    L&O brought the boys squirty guns.  Which they also really enjoyed.  Little LO took great pleasure in nailing us with his water.


    There was also lots of throwing in the air.  Which is great fun for everyone.






    And it's always nice to have an extra set of hands around toddlers and a pool.


    One of the highlights for both the boys were nightly ice cream cones on the patio.  Not so much a highlight for the laundry, but clothes are replaceable.

    We introduced the L&O family to Norma's. Thatbaby had a great time showing Little LO around the grounds.









    This may have been Thatbaby's favorite vacation ever.  He loved having a partner in crime.  Although I'm sure they also taught each other new and different ways to drive us all crazy.