Yes, a tree does make a sound if it falls in the forest07.31.14

We have just returned from a fantastic trip to Sequoia National Park.  We only went for a few days as we did not want to leave to dog for too long but we jammed a ton into those few days.  I started to ask the kids their top 5 things that we did but the list extended to 10 quickly…here is their list:

- Horseback riding – think the kids particularly liked that my husband talked up getting Silver (the Lone Ranger’s horse) and then ended up with this super slow horse that just wanted to eat.

- Trip to Crystal Cave

- Seeing the bears

- Hiking up 2.4 miles and then almost 400 steps to the “top of the world” (Moro Rock)

- Seeing the giant sequoias

- Seeing the deer

- Family time (without internet and tv) – ok, that was mine:)

- Seeing a tree fall…thus the title of this post…on one of our hikes, on a windy day, a tree fell approx 30 feet up from where my husband and son were.  They were covered in debris from it and the kids and I were a little shaken up by it.  After bolting out of the forest after my daughter (never seen her move so fast), we gathered our composure and resumed the hike.  And we were able to conclude that yes, a tree does make a sound:)

- Seeing a waterfall

- Seeing gorgeous views (again, mine:)

To also add, one of my favourites was seeing my daughter hop up on rocks to capture unique angles with her camera…I think that we may have a future Tot Shots shooter:).  Very fun few days!

Can’t believe we are less than 2 weeks from starting school here and jumping into a very busy next few months.  I have some awesome shoots coming up and am feeling refreshed and ready to go!

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Swim and après swim07.22.14

This summer is particularly fun in the pool (not that it wasn’t for me before though:).  The kids are at great ages and the dog has added a whole other level of fun:).  I am thankful that the pool is salt water or I am pretty sure we would have a green dog (and my children already have green hair from other pools that they have frequented this summer).  All part of summer!:)  As you will see, the little one is a little more worn out after the all of the swimming and flips and the other, not so much.  Yep, jammy bottoms and soccer shoes.  Will share more of the underwater adventures when they have all downloaded.

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Lettuce wraps07.19.14

I have been meaning to post this one for a bit now but have gotten wrapped up in wall art and album projects recently.  Will share some of those soon too.

We have been eating a lot of these lettuce wraps lately.  When it gets warm here, we don’t really feel like eating too much but love that everyone get have as many as they need to fill up.  What I like even more is that the kids can prepare this one:).  We are doing a lot of “training” in the kitchen right now as the kids will be helping out with meals a lot more this fall.  And fall/back to school begins for us in just a few weeks again.  With a super full work schedule and activities for the kids, we will be looking for simple (prep ahead or get everyone involved in making) types of dinners.  Anyway, my daughter (7 almost 8yr old) prepped the dinner this evening.  Although you are seeing the wrap that I made for myself, we like to have a bunch of items and then everyone can prepare their own.  Here are the items that we often have:

- browned turkey with taco seasoning (although I will sometimes get a prepped spice pack it is made up of cumin, cayenne pepper, paprika, onion powder, garlic, black pepper, oregano, chili powder and smoked paprika).

- romaine or butter lettuce leaves

- grated cheese

- avocado

- tomatoes

- cilantro

- pico de gallo (salsa)

- purslane (which is like a cactus that I get here…has a tangy, lime flavor)

I try to do at least two meatless dinners a week and so we also do this one using black beans as the protein.  You can really add anything that you family likes.  We have added grated carrots, shredded cabbage, parsley, brown rice,…really whatever I have the in fridge:).

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Summer adventures – trains, planes, ferries and automobiles07.16.14

To kick off the summer this year (3.5 days early) the kids and I took the train from LA to Seattle and then a ferry across to Victoria to visit my grandparents.  I was originally planning on driving back to Canada and doing the tour across 3 provinces but when attempting to figure out what that was really going to look like logistically, I found it was not going to work as well as I was hoping.  So this was the best way to at least get back to see the people that could not travel to see us anymore.  At almost 92 and 93, my mum’s parents are doing amazing but I don’t get back to see them as much as I would like to.  This trip allowed my children to see them as well as experience a really fun adventure along the way.

The train trip itself was 35 hours and actually was more like 39 on the way there due to an accident involving a car (the passengers were ok), an emergency stop when a train passenger fell down the stairs (hoping she is ok!) and then wait times for train issues in front of us.  We were not in any hurry so it was all good.  Friends of ours had mentioned that there were often delays and so I had planned to overnight in Seattle before heading to Victoria.  I am glad that we did not take the first ferry out that morning but also wish that I had planned for additional days in Seattle.  I could have spent a lot more time wandering around that city.  I will definitely be heading back there at some point.

We then enjoyed a number of days with family…dinners with my aunt and uncle, picnics and dinners with my grandparents, trips down memory lane, fish and chips with my in-laws (that happened to be on the island at the same time) and time for the kids and I to wander around Victoria enjoying its quaintness and beauty.  Mike then flew in to join us on the back end of the trip.  He had attended Royal Rhodes University (which at the time was a military college) so he had the opportunity to show the kids around his old stompin’ grounds and tell them all the funny stories that went on thereJ.

We then journeyed back to Seattle to enjoy some wonderful seafood.  My kids are such particular foodies that they were not big fans of the traditional battered fish and chips in Victoria but thoroughly enjoyed the seafood restaurant (Taylor’s Market) where we enjoyed Dungeness crab, calamari salad, seaweed salad and prawns.  Then it was back on the train and so nice to enjoy this unique family time together (especially over Father’s Day).

Although the main goal of the trip was to see family, the adventure part was a bit of a trial for trips to come – carrying their own luggage, ensuring kids could keep up with a more rigorous pace, making sure nobody left any items along the way (almost happened!!), trying different foods,…  Although Mike has traveled extensively and I have a little bit, we have decided that this will be a major goal while the kids are with us…we are also hoping that it will ignite enough of a bug that they will want to travel with us when it is really not cool to travel with your parents:).  I have had a very long list of places I have wanted to see for a long time and know that doing this as a family will educate and help all of us grow!

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Watermelon salad07.03.14

My family has been enjoying this salad for a few weeks so had to share it.  I have heard of multiple variations some with feta cheese or romaine added as well.

This one is:

- cubed watermelon (a half of a mini)

- a similar amount of diced cucumber

- a bunch of mint (I like mint so I add a lot:)

- thai basil – this is not necessary as we don’t always have it…but I did receive it in my market bin last week so decided it would work well.  I really liked it especially with the oil that I used.  Tastes really good without it too though.

- dressing (basil-infused olive oil and lime)

- could add salt and pepper to enhance but I don’t

The whole family loves this one as it is so refreshing on a hot summer night.

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