I heart emails!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

twelve / fifty two

Hayes, age 4: ...after taking intensive swim lessons this past Fall, we took the winter off and when we started them up again a couple of weeks ago, it was as if we were starting from square one again. I'm happy to report that all Hayzey needed to regain his confidence in the water was 7 days at a private oceanfront pool. Coach Mike told me at our lesson on Monday that it was like teaching another kid and I was so proud to see his progress!



Greyson, age 17 months: ...new favorite trick: there's a TV show called "Sheriff Callie's Wild West". The theme song goes like this and at the end, all of her friends yell "Yee haw!". I was singing it to myself the other day and all of a sudden, I hear this little "yee haw!" and turn around to see Greyson with a sheepish smile on his face. He's a sponge, I tell you!


Grant & Chanel: ...we're making some progress with the plans for the new house and met with our agents this morning to talk about next steps. Looks like we'll be putting Livonia on the market in the next couple of weeks, with the first open house May 10th, so wish us luck! The whole thing is a bit daunting but I think it's the right time to sell and at least then we'll be able to officially move forward with the new build. We haven't let ourselves get too excited because a lot of things have to fall in place, but it's a step in the right direction (and I won't lie, I'm a little excited!).

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Aloha!

Every year since Hayes was born, we've spent a glorious week in Hawaii with my parents (the first year, Maui and the last 3 years the Big Island, which holds a special place in our heart as it happens to be where we spent part of our honeymoon). We go for a full week which, after having kids, really makes the long journey there worth it and enables you to slip into full relaxation mode. 


The house we stay in is perfect - it's a sprawling five bedroom home with plenty of space for our family and the grandparents, along with a few extra bedrooms for any other guests that want to tag along (this year, my dad's best friend joined). Location can't be beat - it overlooks the Pacific Ocean right off of Waikaloa Beach - and it happens to be on the part of the island where rain is minimal and blue skies prevail. 


This year was especially fun as by some miracle, Greyson didn't skip a beat in his napping, happily catching some shut-eye in his make-shift bedroom that was actually Hayes' bathroom and giving us multiple hours a day to lounge by the pool and catch a breather from chasing around a 17 month old. We were able to actually get some relaxation in amidst the hours of pool time we logged with Hayes, who seems to finally understand how fun swimming can be.

Greyson keeping himself busy after naptime...
King Hayes...

We had plenty of excursions, including a glass bottom boat tour, visits to various beaches, cabanas at the Fairmont, a round of golf for Grant and a luxurious spa treatment for myself. And having been there the last three years in a row, we've finally nailed down the good restaurants on the island, so the food was pretty tasty this time too!

Hayes on the glass bottom boat tour. He was as informed as our guide, explaining what the different types of fish were and on the lookout for Captain Barnacle from his beloved Octonauts...
Greyson's first shaved ice - BIG fan.
Hayes thought it was hilarious to moon his 'ole mom...
Hapuna heaven...
Bros... 
Sand monster...
 
It was a great trip and we were all a little sad to return to reality on Saturday, especially given the long travel day that didn't get us back to LA until 11pm with poor Greyson, who it turns out, was fighting an ear infection ;-( Thanks again to Wayne and Penny for footing the majority of the bill - your generosity is appreciated and does not go unnoticed (now stop threatening to go elsewhere next year! Why fix something that ain't broke?!).


Until next time, Hawaii... Mahalo for an amazing trip!


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Easter 2015

Well, it's happened again. Somehow, all of the photos I took with my fancy cam have disappeared and in their place is the 'File Error' of death message which means that somehow the memory card got corrupted and my captured memories have vanished. I am BEYOND annoyed, mostly because I had gotten some really good shots of the boys and the family which are now forever gone, but also because this means I don't trust the stupid camera one bit and will have to resort to taking pictures on my iphone moving forward. 

What's the point in having a $600 camera if the damn thing isn't reliable enough to take pictures, its ONE job and SOLE purpose in life?!?!

Argh!!!!!!!

Anyways, I've scrapped together the few pictures I did manage to get onto my computer, along with some I took on my iphone the day before during the Easter Egg hunt.


The Easter Bunny showed up on Saturday afternoon while Hayes and Grant were at the grocery store. When they got home, she had left a few chocolate filled eggs on the front steps and scattered them throughout the house leading to the backyard, where the real hunt took place. Hayes wasted no time scurrying around the yard, filling his basket, while Greyson carried a little basket of his own around a had a delightful time putting the same two eggs in, then dumping the contents on the ground, over and over. 

These bunny ears are going strong, 5 years later...
Greyson wasn't really feeling the head apparel...
Hayes counting his loot...
And Greyson with his...
Where is that creme egg...?
Aha!

(side note, I've never seen a kid take down a creme egg faster than Hayes did. He is his mama's son!)

On Sunday, we headed down to Irvine to our usual Easter brunch spot, Strawberry Farms and met up with Nini and Pa for a delicious spread. Afterwards, the boys ran around on the grass and we took a bunch of pictures that no one will ever see because my camera blows.


We spent the afternoon at Nini and Pa's house, while Mama snuck away to indulge in some retail therapy at Tootsies (thanks Nini!), then we had a yummy dinner at home before heading back up to LA, sans one child, since Hayes spent the night at the grandparents.

It was a lovely weekend and is quickly becoming one of my favorite holidays. Apparently it's up there with Hayes' favorite too, as he asked me this morning if he could keep wearing his bunny ears until Christmas ;-)


Um and how adorable are my nieces?

June on the left, Dylan on the right (doesn't Dylan look like Hayes?!?!)               

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Plated

This past week, we tried out plated for the first time and we were not disappointed!


The idea behind plated is chef-driven recipes that you can cook at home. It's a meal delivery subscription service whereby you choose a certain number of meals per week (as well as how many plates of each you'd like) and the company will send you a box of ingredients, along with detailed recipes for you to follow to create your culinary masterpiece.

Being an avid recipe follower myself, I loved the concept as it meant I could make more complicated sounding meals using ingredients I wasn't accustomed to with easy-to-follow, tested recipes that would ensure the meal came out exactly as intended.

The box arrived on Tuesday, with all of the ingredients packed in ice in individual bags for each meal. They try their best to use recyclable content in their boxes and bags and all of the food is the good stuff - hormone and anti-biotic free poultry and meat, sustainable seafood and fresh produce.

I particularly liked how every ingredient was labeled with the meal it was meant for:



They publish the upcoming weeks' menus on their website a few weeks in advance and you can choose Tuesday or Friday, weekly or bi-weekly delivery and can skip a week anytime you'd like.

For our first plated experience, we tried the following:
Crispy Lemongrass Pork and Long Life Noodles in Sriracha Chicken Broth
A comforting bowl of ramen-type noodles, tender ground pork and crispy vegetables, this is one I'd re-order if I ever saw it on the plated menu again. The squeeze of lime over the dish before serving really brought out the flavors and added an extra element of tastiness (side note, I firmly believe that a generous squeeze of citrus, usually lemon, enhances basically any meal). Bonus points for being incredibly easy to pull together - I made this while the kids were still awake and all Grant had to do was throw the noodles into the pot for a couple minutes while I was finishing putting Hayes down.

Skate Wing Schnitzel, Caramelized Vegetables and Purple Potato Chips
 I've never cooked with skate wing or fennel before, nor had I ever attempted homemade potato chips (so easy!). The fish was delicate and flaky, the green sauce on top, consisting of olive oil, dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, thyme and parsley was, as Grant put it, "the jam" and the purple potato chips, which I feared would be dry and tasteless were pretty amazing, their saltiness complementing the sweetness of the caramelized vegetables. I will definitely re-create this starchy side again and plan on using the same breading technique with other fish (can't say I've seen skate wing at the grocery store on too many occasions). And we will 100% make the delicious sauce again, which I imagine would be good on fish, chicken or steak. I think this was my favorite plated meal - although it was for-sure the most time consuming to make.

Baked Gnocchi with Tomato, Mozzarella and Spring Salad  
This one was surprisingly our least favorite of the three, even though it sounded so darn yummy. The gnocchi pillows were tasty, but there wasn't enough cheese and way too much tomato. The acidity of the sauce should have been cut a little with the addition of some brown sugar (one of the secrets to Mama Mailloux's bolognese sauce - shhh!) and the same went for the accompanying spring salad - the dressing was too tart and could have used some maple syrup (we even added sweet dates and it was still meh). Don't get me wrong, the two of us finished the entire pan of pasta, but it wasn't really anything to write home about.

Portions for two people were just enough for Grant and myself, but sadly didn't garner any leftovers for the boys, who usually eat whatever we've had the night before for dinner the next day.

I would definitely order another round of plated dishes and am keeping my eye on the menus for the upcoming weeks. I think it's a great way to be a little more experimental in the kitchen in a way that isn't expensive or time-consuming and can easily complement your week's menu for around the same price as your usual groceries.

If you're interested in trying it out, grab your first box through my link - you get two plates for free and so do I, so everyone wins!

https://www.plated.com/invites/a9222c

Bon Appetit!