Friday, July 29, 2011

State Fair!!

For those of you who read "A Milking We Will Go" know of my daughters obsession with milking a cow.  Where it came from, we don't know.  In my quest to find a cow for her to milk, someone recommended heading to the California State Fair, in Sacramento.

On Tuesday, we headed to the state fair!  It was also the day the Choo Choo Soul was preforming ... which my girls love.  If you haven't heard of them, check them out.  Steam Train is one of their fun songs.  Lots of dancing & positive learning energy.  I was really glad it was a free concert, as my girls who go nuts at home when they watch the videos, stood like statues at the concert.  About half way through, Vivienne asked if they could go ride the boats (at $5 a person!!) One thing about the state fair, bring your money.  It is not for those looking to pinch pennies.  $10 for parking ... and it goes up from there.

UC Davis had a livestock nursery area set up.  A very large tented area with cows, goats, and pigs all about to give birth or have just given birth.  If you were lucky, you could watch a birth!  This was also the area where the kids (or adults) could milk cows or goats.  Since Vivienne had already milked a goat, she was intent on milking a cow.  After waiting in line ... for 30 minutes ...

She did it!!!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The "really, it's not good" dinner

Yesterday was a fun day full of play for the girls and I.  By 7:00 am I knew none of us would survive if we spent the day at home.  My husband had an extremely busy work week and the girls had only seen him about 30 minutes total in 6 days.  For those of you who don't know ... this means overly crazy kids & one tired, emotionally drained momma.

I decided we would head out to Habitot in Berkeley.  I can't say enough about how great it is.  The first time we went, I made a movie ... you can see for yourself the fun we had ...

Anyway, I discovered a secret.  When the weather is great & it is a Saturday ... Habitot is not too crowded!  We ended up spending four hours there all of which the girls had a wonderful, creative, and fun time.

By the time it got to dinner, I realized I hadn't planned anything.  I scanned the cupboards, fridge and freezer and came up with a dish that I thought would do.  Brown rice with cream of mushroom soup & broccoli.  Vivienne helped me make it, and even dished up the plates and put them on the table.

We all sat down for dinner.  Coco took one look at her plate, and pushed it away saying "Yuck!  Oh, well."  (She is a picky eater and if she pushes her plate away I say, "Oh well, I guess you're not eating tonight.")  Vivienne tried to convince her it was good telling her there was broccoli in it, and just the fact it was good.  Then, Vivienne took a bite.  She looked at me and said, "Actually mommy, it really isn't good at all."  I tried to feed Audrey and she spit it out.

I sat there for a moment, and took a bite.  I didn't think it was BAD ... it wasn't good but it was edible!  Just then my phone rang.  It was my dad asking if we wanted to go out to dinner with him, my mom & grandmother.  I asked the girls what they thought and they cheered!!  YAY!!!  We're going to a restaurant!!

Plans were confirmed, and I hung up the phone.  Just then I heard Vivienne say, "Coco, let's pray."  She grabbed Coco's hands and said, "Dear God, thank you that we are going to a restaurant with Grandpa."

I had to laugh.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Recycled (stained) baby clothes

So here I am ... mom of three girls and that's it.  No more kids.  I've been doing some deep cleaning and ventured into the closet with the boxes of baby clothes NB - 12 mos.  I have a lot.  I started going through them thinking about selling, passing on, saving etc.

I came across the "slightly stained" clothes.  I was wondering what I could do with them.  I figured I could donate them or put them on free-cycle.  I googled "slightly stained baby clothes" to see what came up, what others found for a solution.  Little did I know I would find this GREAT idea!!



crinkle baby toy   made from old baby clothes & empty wipes packages.  What kid doesn't love a crinkly toy!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Audrey's first day ... of work!

We got an email about a week ago, a photographer was looking to film / shoot babies eating food & was interested in Audrey.  I agreed, and then proceeded to check out who this photographer was.  Well, she is not just your Academy of Art photography major looking to build her resume ... no, this lady is, well, she is the photographer for the Williams Sonoma cook books, among other things.  A lot of other things.  This made me even more excited.

Ever since Vivienne started modeling, I love going to shoots.  There is something fascinating about this world that so few people get to see.  I never knew all that was involved in getting a great shot for a magazine or ad.  I still don't know all of it, as I just see the day of the shoot, and not the pre or post production work.

There is also something a little nerve racking about being the mom of the child who is the model.  Every  mom out there knows what "picture day" is like ... there is only so much you can control.  Let me tell you, kids don't care if you are at a $19.99 promo shoot at Sears or if you are at a $$$$ big budget shoot for the pampers box.  They will still, in the end, do what they want.

Today we headed out to San Francisco to the studios of Maren Caruso.   Smooth sailing, but of course Audrey fell asleep in the car.  Got up to the studio (three story walk up ... can't believe I lived on the fourth floor of a walk up for seven years.) and was greeted by two of her assistants.

I also met a mom (of an adorable little boy) who happened to be one of the founders of the company Happy Tot organic baby food "easy organic baby food in pouches".  Can't wait to give it a try ... or have Audrey give it a try anyway.

Next it was on to wardrobe.  Here's Audrey in her HUGE diaper cover.  She was also going to be wearing a clean white bib as well.

For this shoot, they were going to do video and still pictures of babies exploring food in different forms.  First Audrey was given a bunch of whole bananas.  Then it was chopped bananas.  Finally, about two cups of banana puree.  With a little Credence Clear Water in the background, she was on her way.  (The music was my suggestion to get her a little more animated.  She was a little overwhelmed by all of the attention, not to mention four or five cameras!
Last minute high chair strap adjustments

Action!


The last picture is her being filmed with the banana puree.  Try as everyone did, she would not eat it.  She played with it, watched it pour from her hands, but not once put it to her mouth.  The kid who will eat sand ...

video
In the end I wish she would have been more animated like she is at home ... but ... there it was.  I hope they got the shots they were looking for.  I thank Maren & her staff for letting us be a part of that experience!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Crap in...crap out

As moms,  often times we think about others so much we forget about ourselves.  Many of us are embarrassed to admit how often we shower or even think of putting on make up.  We deprive ourselves of new clothes, time with friends, sleep, exercise and proper nutrition.

These last few days I have been on a baking kick.  I made bacon cookies two days ago and today made cake pops.  My husband has been at work from 7 am - 11 pm for the last two days and so it is just the girls and I for meals .... I've also been munching on my sweets a lot so am not really hungry when it comes to the meal time, so I take advantage of the girls eating & clean a little in the kitchen or check FB.

Well, it caught up with me today, just in the last hour.  I feel like crap.  My stomach hurts and I am emotionally on edge.  My girls were challenging nap time & I didn't have the "whatever" to deal with it, so I let naps slide & now they are being a real challenge.   Harassing each other every second.

This is a HUGE wake up call for me to remind me .. thus blogging to remind you ... that if you put crap in your body, you will feel like crap.   I know people who complain a lot about how they feel, and when I see how they eat I think, NO WONDER!!  Prepared food these days is over-processed, pumped full of un-natural ingredients and lacking in nutrition.

I am about to head to the grocery store and will be filling my basket with unprepared food so I can prepare our food.  Because, if this is what "crappy" food is doing to my emotional / physical well being I don't want any part of it ... ok, well, I won't give up sweets or anything, they just won't be breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Cooking with my girls

I grew up in a home where dinner was prepared from scratch every night.  Very rarely did we have take out or go to a restaurant, let alone frozen food.  Cooking is something I really enjoy as well.  With three little ones under 4, it is sometimes harder than other days to get that meal cooked & I go to some quick pasta with a little sauce of butter, garlic & Parmesan.  Many nights it is just the girls and I for dinner, so I don't feel as pressured to make a "complete" meal.  I do however, really like to cook.

Yesterday, the girls & I made eggplant Parmesan.  We have dinner Sunday nights at my parents, and thought this would be a fun thing to share.  I love to try and involve my girls when I cook.  They love to help and it keeps them entertained as well!  When kids help, you can't be too much of a prefectionist or all of the fun will be gone & the stress level will go through the roof!

I gave Coco the task of breading the eggplant & Vivienne put the egg on.  They did a great job!  The key is to stay calm, and teach them the "right" way to do things.  Otherwise, you end up with a crazy mess.

Here is the recipe we used. Eggplant Parmesan from Epicuious.com  I didn't make my own sauce, but used a small jar from Trader Joe's.  I also just used one large eggplant.  It was the perfect amount for 6 of us as a side dish.   It was yummy, and yes .. they all ate it!!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Finding Inspiration

I've discovered that I can be inspired by many things at very unexpected times.  Inspiration for me tends to turn to obsession.  Ideas involving my kids, my business, or life in general.

This week, it was business inspiration which has lead to massive obsessing on my part.  I discovered the Brown Butter Cookie Company in Cayucos.  Cayucos is a sleepy beach town just 30 minutes north of San Luis Obispo.  Brown Butter Cookie Company was started by two sisters several years ago, 2008, I believe.  It started as a mail order company and now has this adorable shop in Cayucos, along with the mail order business.

I have been in their shop twice in four days.  I am in LOVE with their honey cookie, and plan on buying another dozen (or more) today.  The cookies are made at the shop which is always full of customers buying delicious treats.

They have been written up in several magazines including Sunset.  In the article it says they make 12,000 cookies a week!!  I can believe it.

So, my obsession ... a cookie company that started just a few years ago and now employees more than a few people (all cookies are hand rolled!) and has this adorable shop in paradise.  I wonder if the sisters thought it would become this or if they just went with the flow to see where it would go.


It inspires me because it is proof that there is success out there waiting for you, and me!  Go for it, whatever "IT" is and who knows where it could lead.  Check them out Brown Butter Cookie Company read their story and get inspired yourself!

What inspires you?  What did you do that turned into something larger than you imagined?  Tell me about it!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Terrible Two's

For those of you who haven't experienced the terrible twos, you are blessed.  Some kids, apparently, don't have them.  Others are worse than mine as well, I have heard.  But, regardless, here I am.  Round two of terrible twos.

It's a good thing they're cute at this age!!
I think they are kind of like childbirth.  Once it is over, you remember the good parts and kind of forget the "bad" parts, until you are in the middle of it again.  Even then for me I think, wait, it wasn't this bad last time ... or was it?

My middle daughter is a screamer.  She always has been.  There is a scene in the movie Sex in the City when Charlotte says about her daughter, "All she does is cry!"  I felt her pain.  Now, at almost 2 1/2 my daughter has abandoned most crying and has turned to blood curdling screams.

Yesterday, she did not want to go to bed for a nap.  She was so tired, but nap time was not an option.  We had friends over for a play date (of course!) which made the situation even more fun.  The other thing is while she is screaming, if I am holding her, she is hitting or kicking.  Now mind you, she is a little thing ... but still.

So, for 20 minutes, my friend, her kids, and my kids watched as I put #2 back in her crib about 5 times .... all while she was SCREAMMMMING.   Literally, after 15 she almost lost her voice.  I stayed calm, cool, and collected and eventually after a drink of water (her) she wore herself out & went to sleep.

At one point, I went down and asked my friend, "Honestly, what would you do??" because at that point as a mom I wonder WHAT IN THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE???  Is this the make it or break it point?  What would Super Nanny say??  Am I totally screwing up my kid??? or At what point in her therapy at age 16 is this going to come up?

Any thoughts on terrible twos out there?  Love to hear them?  Have you bypassed them, had the child who never had a tantrum? ...  I don't want to hear from you. ;)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fashionistas, watch out!

Something happened today.  I don't know where it will lead ... but it can't be good.  I found an online retailer who specializes in French children's clothes, that will ship to the US for $15.

For those of you who don't know, my husband is French.  He has been in the US for about 12 years now.  Before we had children I had no idea of how different the clothing choices for children were, US vs France.  Now, four years later, I wonder why we haven't mainstreamed French clothing into the US markets?  Let's just say ... it is adorable, stylish and colorful.  I have come across a few shops in SF that sell French clothes.  They are quite pricey!!  Even on sale, way out of my budget.  If you don't have that challenge and are in San Francisco, I would suggest a trip to Jeat et Marie on Lombard Street, between Gough and Octavia.  If you are not in San Francisco, or other area that has a small boutique selling brands like Sucre d'orge  & Petit Bateau, finding them online is a challenge.  I have found a few retailers, but the shop sites are rather "iffy" looking to me.  I don't know what it is, I just have a wierd feeling about the ones I've seen.
Inside Jean et Marie 

Vivienne has always had a jacket from France.  It has just happened that we go in the fall, and end up getting one there.  Her last one was a gift from a friend.


I got a lot of compliments on each of her jackets.  It is true, I really don't see anything like them here.  I have looked.  Aside from sweatshirts, or parkas there is nothing out there I really like.  I really wanted to get her a coat from France for next year, but we aren't going and I feel bad having family "find" one and ship it over.

Today I googled again, just because.  I came across www.bibaloo.com  It is a online retailer, based in the UK for French designed children's clothes.  Shipping to the US is only about $15.  You can have the prices listed in pounds, euro, or dollar.   Right now they are having a huge sale, and there is no sales tax, so the price you see is the price you pay (plus shipping).   They are still in the higher end range ... no Children's Place $4 skorts here, but if you are looking for somthing else, check them out!   Vivienne's new jacket should be arriving in about 10 days!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

What is "doing it all?"

It has been four days since my last post.  I have been trying to post at least three times a week, which means no more than three days in between each post.  I am a mom, just started my own business, work outside my home 1 - 3 days a week, house cleaner, gardener, party planner and now even try to work out at the gym 5x a week.  There are a few other roles I assume as well, depending on the day (or minute).

I had an appointment this week with my doctor.   When you have had three kids in four years (almost to the day) you get to know your doctor, at least I have.  She asked how I do it all.  It is a question I get frequently when I catch up with people.  The truth is, I really wonder, what is "ALL" and what is the definition of "doing it" ? (OK, take your mind out of the gutter ...)

In school, you have assignments and upon completing that assignment you get a grade.   In life, there are no A's and F's.  There are no set parameters for what exactly your job assignment is.  I mean, being a mom requires giving birth or taking "ownership" of a child's life.  Other than that, the rest is up to the individual for the tasks they wish to take on.  Same goes for all of the other areas of life.  How clean is your house?  How well are you managing your finances?  Are you planning the "party of the year" for your baby's birthday or is it just another day?

This week, I was feeling overwhelmed.  For no particular reason either.  It wasn't THAT crazy of a week, in compared to others.  I realized there is no way, no matter my best efforts, that I will be 100% satisfied with all that I do all of the time.  There are just not that many hours in the day, and I do like my 7 hours of sleep at night.

I was working in my yard and looked at my potted plants.  With the summer heat, I don't water enough & we don't have a drip system for all of them.  The plants were half dead.  I felt like a failure.  But, instead of going out & buying more I laughed at myself.  I realized, who am I kidding?  Since we have moved into this house, every summer these plants have died, I get new ones and they die ... until fall / winter rains come.  So, I ripped out all of my potted plants & put the pots in the garage until fall.  It felt good.  It felt good to have one less thing on my plate that nagged at me every time I was in front of my house - GONE.  I now smile as I look at that area.

We try to do too much and then get upset when we feel we have "failed".  We have all shed tears, and given hugs or words of support with our friends when they are feeling overwhelmed too.  I believe we need to give ourselves a little, no, a lot of grace, and a lot of pats on the back for doing the best we can ... which is some days just getting food in the kids mouths and changing a few diapers.   Sometimes, we need to admit that there are things we just can't do.  Do you have half dead flowers that need to be ripped out?  Lighten you load.  Ask for help, or say no.  Sometimes, that is the best thing you can do.  Most of all, give your self some grace.

I would love to hear about ways that you overcame the "doing it all" feeling or something you did to lighten your load?  What helps you?