Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Jacs are Back!

My favorite favorite favorite thing about Southern California:

The Jacaranda trees! By the end of April each year, these delightful purple trees are in bloom all over Los Angeles. We have a few outside our house and tons line the streets on my walk to work. They make the neighborhood so bright and colorful! Yesterday, I requested a family walk around the neighborhood just to look at the jacaranda trees. Marshall has now learned the word "jacaranda," which is as adorable as you might imagine. So anyway, it's my favorite time of year for LA!

Last weekend, Terry and I spent our very first night away from Marshall together. We headed down to San Diego around noon on Saturday to celebrate Terry's 30th birthday! I didn't take many photos, but here are a few of our adventures:

We arrived a bit later than we expected, so upon check-in we just changed and headed out to walk around before dinner. There was a Padres game that evening, and the stadium is in the middle of downtown, so we walked near the stadium and stopped for a beer and appetizer at Stone Brewery Tasting Room. They had a bunch of board games, so I let Terry win a round of TV trivia.

Then we headed to our reservation at Spike Africa's, a seafood place. for dinner. The entrees were good, but the desserts were killer. For Terry's birthday, they offered us a free dessert, and then a waiter came around with a huge yellowtail (whole) and said if we guessed the weight we'd get another free dessert. My husband, who is Good at All Things, guessed 13 pounds, so we won! The first dessert was butterscotch pudding with warm salted caramel on top, and the second was bourbon chocolate bread pudding. I think we each would have happily eaten ourselves into a coma if the food hadn't run out.

We slept in until 8:30 the next morning(!) and then headed out for breakfast at our favorite, Cafe 21. 
Terry's meal: lamb and goat cheese omelet with fruit

My meal: feta and spinach omelet with greens

Plus a bloody Mary and fancy juice

Then we wandered over to Le Parfait Paris, a French pastry shop, to grab a couple croissants for the road that we really didn't need. But they were delicious, and the shop was so cute!

And we spent the rest of our morning strolling along the waterfront. We also knocked out 200 lunges along the way! 

On our way home, we stopped at Pizza Port for our last San Diego meal for a while--pizza and beer, plus a kale salad.

It was a great first getaway as parents, and I'm particularly excited that we both felt so relaxed. We're looking forward to more!

Next, I thought I'd share a bunch of photos from recently:

Marshall vacuuming--he's super thorough, so he even lifts the table while he does it!

We've been reading TONS lately! We took a trip to the library yesterday to mix up our book selection. It's so fun to hear him "help" us read (if we pause, he can usually fill in the missing words), and he's getting close to knowing the alphabet, as well as counting to ten without help. It's amazing to watch him learn so much!

More vacuuming. When we vacuum, he runs to grab his so he can help. 

Some food lately:
I've eaten at least five of these sandwiches in the last week or two: turkey, cheddar, tomato, and guac. SO good.

Pasta with lots of vegetables. 

Fresh fruit--I can't wait for summer produce!

Work snacks: Larabars, fruit, Ezekiel cinnamon raisin bread with cream cheese.

Last week Marshall and I had a little date night! Terry had to work late, so I took M out for burgers. We had so much fun!

One night recently we chose a random Tuesday and headed down to Santa Monica for a picnic dinner overlooking the ocean. Marshall loved it! 

Marshall loved it! And we loved it, too. It was nice to mix up our evening routine, get some fresh air, and enjoy the beach.

Plus, we stopped for dessert!

And lastly, a miscellaneous photo of one of our walks, when Marshall stopped to "rest" while we walked around the block. We've got some shaping up to do.

This weekend we've kept things mellow with some walks around the neighborhood, some great food at home, and time with friends today. And now I'm ready for some dessert and TV before the week begins. Have a wonderful week--I hope you have something beautiful like jacarandas to keep you smiling!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Food and Workouts Lately

We are loving the long hours of daylight around here! (We could do without the heat wave, but I guess you take what you get.) Terry and Marshall spent some time playing catch in the front yard while I cooked dinner Friday night.

I thought I'd share some recent meals and recipes around here. It's been a while since I've talked a lot about food!

Friday at work we had a catered lunch (special treat!), and I loaded up my plate with salmon, steak, roasted vegetables, pasta, and salad, plus a fudgy brownie for dessert.

Saturday I had to work all day at UCLA Bruin Day! Admitted students visit the campus, and we staff members answer questions for the students and their families. It was a gorgeous day!

And after a great (and much-needed) night of rest, we woke up to a beautiful day this morning, too.

Okay, back to food. We tried out this spinach lasagna last week, and it was incredible. Super easy, perfect to make over the weekend and enjoy throughout the week. Marshall now says, "Yummy!" if he likes a meal, and this one got a yummy every time we ate it.

(No photo of the lasagna, but here's Marshall cooking in his kitchen)

Terry's coworker has a plot in a local community garden and generously gives us some of his vegetables from time to time. We got some Swiss chard recently. If I'm being honest, I don't love Swiss chard, but it's undeniably great nutrition-wise. So I made Swiss chard pancakes (a simplified version, with just eggs, flour, salt, chard, and butter for frying), and we all loved them. A great way to get in our leafy greens, and perfect for any time of day. We have leftovers for tomorrow that we'll eat with salads, and we have more batter for breakfast pancakes and eggs later in the week.

We've enjoyed a few meals out too, including my third-ever time trying Thai food. We're back on the healthy, homemade meals wagon today though, and this week looks tasty!

Tonight's meal was roasted sweet potato, apple, and Brussels sprouts topped with Italian chicken sausage. Marshall gave it a "Yummy!" and even ate the Brussels sprouts!

A few more photos from today at the park:

Checking out the ducks

Practicing his pitching stance

On the workout front, we're squeezing in what we can when we can, resting whenever we need it. Terry is playing a football league with some coworkers, so he's getting a solid hour of cardio on Monday nights. On the weekends we have been going for a jog or long walk at least one of the days, and we're sprinkling in weights and yoga throughout the week. Today we walked to UCLA to tackle Janss Steps a few times (one of us runs the stairs while the other hangs out with Marshall). Marshall climbed ALL the steps! He was a beast!

It was a short weekend, but we made the most of it. Now off we go starting another week! And it's a big one: Terry is turning 30!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Rain, Baseball, and a Sparkling Kitchen

Well hello there friends! This month has been much better than last so far, but April is certainly keeping us busy. We're enjoying several weekends at home (as opposed to traveling), and it's wonderful to take it a little easier. 

So last weekend, my parents came to visit! We had a blast visiting with them, giving them time with Marshall, and taking advantage of their presence to enjoy a date night and some productivity around the house. It did rain most days they were here, but we made the most of it!

Tiny tot with an umbrella--too cute, right?

My mom is known for her inability to relax or sit down for more than five minutes, which has some major advantages. While Marshall napped one day, she made our kitchen sparkle! I swear, the kitchen hasn't been this clean EVER.

She also customized these curtains for us. I love them! 

Friday night, Terry and I left Marshall with my parents and headed out for a date! 

Our first stop was dinner at Rustic Canyon, a restaurant we've been wanting to try for a while. The owners also own several other restaurants we love, like Huckleberry and Sweet Rose Creamery, so we knew we'd love this place, too. But we didn't realize HOW great it would be! While expensive, the dishes were all packed with unique flavors and original combinations. We ordered three dishes to share (the restaurant is tapas-inspired, so the plates are all shared and come out at various times): the burrata with housemade bread and beet jam, ricotta dumplings, and pozole. Everything was amazing! Terry says it was the second best meal of his life (first favorite was this one). I thought the pozole was one of the most unique dishes I've ever tasted.

After dinner, we decided to head somewhere else for dessert, so we chose Urth Cafe on Main Street in Santa Monica. We each got hot chocolate and ordered a banana cream pie to share. Somehow we snagged a table right next to the fireplace, and the ambiance felt so cozy! I left feeling crazy full but satisfied with an awesome night with my hubby.  

Saturday, we had tickets for the UCLA Baseball game! My parents stayed behind, but the three of us had a blast.

It was Marshall's first baseball game!

We only stayed for a few innings because it was rainy and time to get home for dinner, but Marshall really enjoyed it and seemed pretty into holding a glove.

I'd say my parents and Marshall had a pretty darn great time. My parents also brought him a set of kitchen toys (fake food, utensils, etc.) and he probably spent at least five hours playing with those. 

Until next time--we miss them already!

Also, since this blog was supposed to focus a little bit on health and food, I thought I'd share our favorite breakfast around here lately: eggs (either fried or scrambled with some spinach), fruit, and toast with butter. 

I would eat this meal every morning if I could! (But we also run out of eggs really fast around here!)

Marshall agrees. :-) 

Here's to a great weekend, and also here's hoping I'll be back before another three week break hits me!