Sunday, July 20, 2014

Hope Ranch Beach Campout

Last weekend we took part in our first local campout at our private neighborhood beach. It's an annual campout that we missed last year, so the girls were really looking forward to try their hand at camping. I, on the other hand, retreated to my comfy bed each night. I know, I know. Wimp. But just wait, there will be a future post of my first camping trip. Anyway, what a fun 2 day event! I am sure the kids are already looking forward to next year.

I loved seeing all the tents lines up on the beach.
 The best gift to start off our campout,
personalized hats compliments of Josh.
Kids being kids :)
Crazy selfie!
Josh the Master Chef

Plain 'ol silly:
Glow sticks and s'mores. Perfection.

And I will never get tired of this view!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Swimming is her deal.

Throughout the years, we have obliged Sophia with any sport she willingly wanted to to do. It wasn't a decision of overindulgence, but one we thought would help Sophia overcome her shyness and build up her confidence too. From gymnastics to ballet to soccer to tennis to swimming to running - we have been there and for the most part are still there trying to juggle it all.

Although we think she is a great athlete (Um, hello? We are here parents!), it's a different process for Sophia to embrace her talents. She is a shy kid who does not fair well with accolades (she becomes quite embarrassed) and never toots her horn. She reminds me a lot of my dad. Never the type to revel in fanfare.

Sophia's first camp of the summer was Wilson Swim Camp. She knew of one friend (a boy) who was signed up as well. And to my surprise, she did not mind more friends (aka girlfriends) weren't going to go. Hmmmm. Sign #1?
Sophia was up everyday by 6:30 am, bed made, clothes changed, AND summer homework (Kumon) done way before it was time to leave the house. Hmmmm. Sign #2?

This camp was a wonderful experience. Sophia had an eagerness to learn and perfect her skills. But most of all, we could see how great she felt about herself. And according to the instructors, "She is a coaches dream. You only need to tell her once." Hmmmm. Sign #3?

I recently made a little video of Sophia's swim meet. She swims for our club and they had their first swim meet of the summer a couple weeks ago. I thought she would enjoy watching her events set to the tune of a fave Katy Perry song. She watched it once. Then twice. Then asked me to play it again, but specifically asked to see the butterfly and breaststroke part. Alright? While watching Sophia pointed at some other swimmers and said, "There. Right there. Those kicks are not the right kicks. Your feet can't come a part in butterfly. Those are not dolphin kicks. Those are flutter kicks. See how mine are together? And those kicks (referring to the breaststroke event) you can't move your feet like that and those are not arm pulls." And even though David and I knew (and no, we did not point it out) before Sophia watched the video, never did we think she would notice.

I could watch Sophia swim all day. I love her ethics. I love her naiveness. She never asked once if she won or what place she came in after her events. I love how her leisurely strokes and kicks are developed and how she doesn't (not a typo I do mean doesn't) think to finish strong at the end. I can only wonder what she would be like if she went all out.

But what I love most is how she feels. The happiness and twinkle in her eyes when she hits that water make my heart full.

The signs add up; at least for right now:
Swimming is her deal.

Sophia's next request:
So basically if you need to find me throughout the year,
I will be at Santa Barbara Swim Club. ; )

Monday, June 16, 2014

Blueberry Banana Bread

I had a little pity party yesterday. My second Father's Day without my wonderful dad. And to make it more anticlimactic, David has been in Alaska so there really wasn't any celebratory festivities. The girls and I had a very low key day. Which was actually kind of nice.

When the girls were playing nicely, for the moment, some overripe bananas caught my eye as well as a bowl of blueberries that were surprisingly not all gobbled up from our blueberry picking. That's when I decided to turn the frown upside-down. My dad loved baked goods.

Dad, this one is for you!

Blueberry Banana Bread 
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1 cup blueberries and few to press on top

Preheat oven to 350. Grease loaf pan.

Combine bananas and sugar and whip with wire whisk until fluffy. Add melted butter, egg, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly. In a small bowl combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix until combined. Fold in blueberries. Pour into prepared loaf pan and press down a few blueberries on top. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Since you've been gone . . .

Dear Daddy,

Another Father's Day is on the horizon. I could praise you until my dying day, but thought I would let you know what a great father you still are by sharing a few things made possible because of the strength & lessons you have given me throughout my years.

Since you've been gone . . .
I have learned it's okay to start living life without you.
I have learned it's okay to smile and feel happiness without feeling guilt.
I have learned it's okay to look forward to the future.
I have learned it's okay to look back on the past.
I have learned in times of despair, it's better to say something than nothing at all.
I have learned to accept your passing.
I have learned to start healing.

Thank you for still teaching me at my young age of 42. Looks like I will always be the student. And that is perfectly fine by me.

I love you.

Your Little Girl Forever

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Blueberry Oatmeal Cookies - Revised

I decided to play around with a recipe for an oldie but goodie cookie I posted about a year ago. These cookies never last very long in our house. And I am hoping the 200+  Pinners have enjoyed these blueberry delights as much as we have!

Because the original recipe uses all brown sugar and rolled oats, they are super moist especially with the added moisture from the blueberries. I found these cookies would become softer throughout the day and definitely over night (if there were any left over). So I decided to tweak things a bit to see if they would hold up when time lapsed.

One stick unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups quick cooking steel cut oats
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Beat butter, oil, and both sugars until creamy. Beat in eggs and vanilla.

In another bowl, combine flour, both oats, baking soda, and salt. Pour dry mixture into the wet ingredients a little at a time and mix until fully combined. Finally, add the blueberries and gently fold in. Place rounded spoonfuls on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 12-14 minutes, until golden brown around the edges but still soft in the middle.

This makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Hope you love this new version as much as she did!