Monday, June 29, 2009

Bargain Grocery Shopping

I heard about the Grocery Outlet through my mother's club. They had just opened one nearby on the border of Castro Valley and Hayward. Baby C was feeling under the weather earlier today, so I decided to skip Cull Canyon with friends and run some boring errands just to get out of the house. i had a list of groceries I needed and found about 90% of my list there, plus a bunch of other stuff I really did not need (like a 175 water bomb balloons for $2.99 and a box of Kellogg's High School Musical cereal for $1), but it was cheap, so I stimulated the economy a bit! LOL! =)

The store was clean, they had most of what a typical grocery store would have, but a more limited selection, like frozen stuff, dairy, wine, fruits, vegetables, etc, PLUS some unique items too. I guess the key is to check expiration dates and you can find some real bargains there. It's not a one-stop grocery (at least for me), but I will definitely be back to bargain hunt! =)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Packed Weekend!

This weekend was a scorcher and our schedules were packed. On Saturday, we went swimming at The Hills Athletic Club in the Oakland Hills. My cousin and her family are members and my cousin ZR spends a lot of time there because she is on the swim team. The club is on top of Mt. Olympus in the Montclair district in Oakland. What a beautiful location! Baby C thought the water was a bit cold at the beginning, but she quickly warmed up and had a great time "swimming" with Daddy J.

In the late afternoon, we attended a surprise 40th birthday party for our friend VB. We missed the "surprise" part because the kiddies had to nap, but still got there in time for some food, cake, and toddler play. The birthday girl loves polka dots, so Baby B wore this special outfit just for her! You like her bow? This was the first time we put one on her...her hair is getting so long! Kinda sad the faux-hawk is no more...=P

On Sunday, we went to an impromptu 3rd birthday party for TM. His birthday is actually next week, but his mom, my friend SM went into preterm labor like 2 weeks ago (she is fine now, baby is still in the oven), and they did not want TM to miss a birthday party IF the baby decided to come early. The party was at Super Franks and it was great fun! Here is a picture of Baby C and TM playing toddler air hockey. It's so cute watching them play like KIDS...not babies anymore! =)

Then in the evening, we went to Lowes to finalize the details of a window shades order. We are ordering new shades for all the bedrooms. The girls' rooms will get new blackout cellular shades to help with heating/cooling/light. The master bedroom will get some new top down, bottom up cellular shades so we can get more light in the room while maintaining privacy.

We ended the evening/weekend at Little Mad Fish and Blush Yogurt...YUMS!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Splish Splash!

Earlier this week, I took the girls to Cull Canyon Regional Park. They have a "swimming complex" (like a lagoon) there that has a shallow area for small kids to splash around in and a white sandy beach. I've always heard about it, but have never gone until now. It was so cool cuz the "beach" is literally like 10minutes away from our house!

I met up with 2 friends and their kids and we had a blast! Baby C loved to "swim like a dolphin"...which basically consisted of her laying in the shallow water on her belly and splashing about, kinda like a "water angel". In fact, this was the first thing she did when we got her street clothes!

We got there early, it was not crowded, it was perfect weather, and wonderful company! We'll definitely be back. In fact, I just bought a beach umbrella! =)

The girls had so much fun splashing in the water!

Baby B chilling on the beach towel, munching on a probably a bit of sand too!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

For Father's Day, Daddy J wanted prime rib...well, frankly, he ALWAYS wants prime rib! HAH! We decided to go to Esin Restaurant & Bar in Danville. We've been there once before when they were still in their San Ramon location. Cool new location, good food and service, and best of all, the girls were angels! It was great to eat some "upscale" food with some well behaved kids. The place was nice, but casual enough for kids. They had highchairs, boosters, crayons, and a kids menu - that's always a good sign!

Here are some pictures from dinner.

The proper way to start off a dinner...Pear ginger martini made with cinnamon and other yummy stuff I forget.

Appetizers: Buckley Bay Oysters roasted and stuffed with spinach, applewood smoked bacon, & Gruyere PLUS Curtis's fries with lemon-garlic aioli.

Daddy J ready for his prime rib...with garlic mash and beans.

Desserts: Blueberry bread pudding with caramel sauce AND bleu cheese drizzled with lavender honey, walnuts, and bread.

Baby C being an angel...for the most part!

Baby B stayed in her booster chair for most of dinner, but wanted out for dessert time!

Daddy J in a food coma later that was a good day!

Baby C On The Trike

For Father's Day, I took the kids to the park while Daddy J went to the driving range (turns out he instead went to Milpitas to track down a belated gift for me! =)).

Here is a picture of Baby C on a trike at the park. She is pretty good at it now. I was thinking about getting her a balance bike for her birthday, but am afraid she will oputgrow it too quick. So we may just go straight to a regular bike...just what I need, more toys to clutter up my garage! =)

Bacon Wrapped Scallops

Need I say more?! =)) Slurp!

Ni Kao Kai-Lan!

I am a big fan of Ni Hao Kai-Lan on Nick Jr.. Baby C occasionally will want to watch it over Handy Manny. Kai Lan has been called the "Dora" of Mandarin. The show teaches Mandarin along with dealing with toddler social issues like sharing, forgiving, and teamwork.

We are enrolling Baby C in a summer Chinese program through her preschool on Saturday mornings starting in July. Though we don't speak Mandarin, it's tough to find a Cantonese Chinese school of any sort in the east I guess we'll be going with Mandarin!

Spotted at Target San Ramon: Kai-Lan merchandise!!! Yipee! I'll probably go crazy after Baby C's birthday next month. =)

Sesame Street Live - Elmo Goes Green!

Yesterday we went to the Oracle Arena to see Sesame Street Live - Elmo Goes Green. We got a suite again and filled it with friends and family. Baby C's little friend AH from preschool came along too and they really enjoyed each others company. Though Baby C did not sit through the whole show, she did sit for at least half of it, which is the longest ever! We just love being in a luxury suite, it makes it so much easier with toddlers! We will definitely try to make it back for the circus in the fall. Here are some pictures to share:

Daddy J and Baby B - her first Elmo show!
(as if she really knew what was going on...)

Ooh, like a toddler rave!
(its actually a spinning Elmo toy that lights up)

Must've been a real funny part of the show...?!
Baby C's friend AH is like "What a weirdo!" =)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Just For Fun - Zoo Picture Comparison

I know I already posted these pictures from the Oakland Zoo train ride, but I thought it would be fun to see them together. Funny how kids can be sooo different! =)

Me and Baby C at 14 months. She's about 18-19 pounds.

Me and Baby B at 7 months. She's about 17-18 pounds!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Baby Shower

On Sunday, I attended a baby shower for my friend SM. It was actually my first time being away from Baby B for that long. I ultimately had to leave the shower early because it was a scream-fest at home. Daddy J held out as long as he could, but there is just no soothing like mama...and my boob! *wink*

It was nice to have some kid-free time, but I must say I was not totally relaxed because I was worried about Baby B. Not that i did not have faith in Daddy J's skills, but she won;t take a bottle, nor pacifier. Sometimes we have good days with her, sometimes bad. Sometime she could hold out with just a variety of solid foods for a number of hours, sometimes she just wants to quite unpredictable.

The shower was at Basil Leaf in Danville. they have a champagne brunch on weekends with made-to-order omelets, fresh belgium waffles, sausage, bacon, eggs benedict, fresh fruit, desserts, etc...oh and mimosas! YUM! I think they regularly serve Italian food there. I definitely want to go back and try that out, and maybe go for brunch again with Daddy J one of these days.

Look at the yummy cake - mango mousse!

I love preggo bellies!!!

Zoo Time!

Last Saturday, we hit the Oakland Zoo with our cousins and kids. It was a perfect zoo day, not too hot, not too cold. Daddy J's cousin LT is like a big sis to him and it was really great to get everyone together. They have twins (one boy one girl), who are about 18 months old. They are super cute and though they are twins, they have quite different personalities.

Here is Baby C showing OC around the zoo. She was quite the little tour guide.

Of course we had to end the day with a train ride. This was Baby B's second one - the first one was around Christmas time when they had their "Zoo Lights" event...6 months ago!

Daddy J and the girls.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Ants On A Log

Inspired by ZeFronk (Disney Channel) and Baby C's friend MB who made it for a potluck this week, Baby C made "Ants On A Log". Basically - celery filled with peanut butter and dotted with raisins.

Cute idea, healthful, and tastes yummy too!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Girls Hanging Out

Here is a picture of the girls hanging out on the kitchen floor. I can't believe Baby B will be mobile soon! Where does the time go?

I posted this pic on my Facebook page too and my sister RY commented that we never had a picture taken of us together like this, and she is right! We did not really grow up together and have grown apart over the years for a number of reasons. But we recently reconnect through Facebook (of all places), and I am glad we are in touch again. I am happy that my girls will get to know their Auntie R as they grow up.

Chopstick Fun!

Here is a fun video of Baby B entertaining herself (and all of us) at a sushi restaurant.

Notice how she wields it in a light-saber-ish way in the beginning. Must be her inner geek! =)

Monday, June 8, 2009

How To Keep A Toddler Occupied

  1. Open up a Gymboree order that was just delivered today.
  2. Ask your toddler to open all the little pouches of clothes and match different combination of outfits/accessories!
Good for at least 45-60 minutes of play!

To stretch it out even more:
  1. Ask her to clean up all the plastic bags and put them into recycling.
  2. Pick up all the clothes and put them in a bag for the laundry.
  3. Let her try on all the outfits!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Pond

Today we had a "free" day...well, free of events. So what did we do? Stayed home and did chores...well as much as we could do with two littles in our hair...!

Here is one of the things we go accomplished today: Our pond has been neglected and way overgrown, so much that our poor water lilies don't have enough sun to sprout up to the surface. We pulled and cut and even salvaged some clippings with roots and offered them up on freecycle! Look at the dramatic results!

The pond looks SO much larger after. Looks like "Cousin It" on the left side needs a trim too! =)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Cream Cheese Lemon Bars

After having some yummy cream cheese lemon bars at a friend's house, I was craving more so I decided to make a batch. Baby C enjoyed helping me stir the cake mix and squeeze the lemons...then she got bored, and I was on my own...HAH!

I doubled the cream cheese, sugar, and lemon juice in the recipe, so I thought it might have needed some extra bake time, but it did not. My batch turned out a bit overdone. Plus I used low fat cream cheese, so it was probably not as "solid" as it could be. Overall, still yummy, like little bites of lemon cheesecake. But it did not cure my lemon bar craving, so next time, I will make "real" lemon bars...that are more lemon-y...does that make sense? Any good lemon bar recipes out there?

Oh, and check out the new Bumbkins apron I got Baby C, I have a matching one and even bought a matching one for Baby B when she gets old enough! Yes, I am a cheeseball! =P


Today we went over to Redwood City to meet our friends TM & LK, affectionately known as "Tana". We met up at the Main Street Coffee Roasting Company. They have good breakfast/brunch food there, especially their yellow cornmeal buttermilk pancakes, which can be made with the fruit of your choice: blueberries! And of course their coffee is tasty too!

The kids were well behaved and enjoyed the food too. After chowing down, we spent some time in their patio area where they have toys for kids to play with - Baby C loved it.

Baby B is eating more and more solid foods. We are subscribing to the "baby led weaning" philosophy once again with Baby B as we did with Baby C. It's really messy, but we love it. It is amazing to see our 6 month old eat table food like pancakes, bagels, graham crackers, whole steamed carrots and butternut squash, oven roasted sweet potatoes, bananas, apples, etc. We are slowly expanding Baby B's food vocabulary. I'll make a post about her grubbing experiences soon.

Here is a picture of Baby B grubbing!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Baby B Sitting Up!

Look at me!

Still a bit wobbly, but I am sitting up! =)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Baby C's First Full Day of Preschool

Today started out the typical preschool day for Baby C. Daddy J dropped her off (8:30am), I picked her up (12:30pm). BUT this time at pick up, Baby C refused to go home with me! She wanted to stay and take a nap!

When I pick her up at 12:30pm, all the kids are winding down and getting ready for naptime. She has been snuggling up in a cot the past couple times I've picked her up, but she always ultimately put her shoes on and walked out with me (or carried out by me because she was so "sleepy"). This is surprising because she has not taken a nap at home in like...forever. The best I can hope for these days is some "quiet" time in her room. I guess it is peer pressure?

At first, I was kinda sad that she'd rather stay at school that to hang out with her uber cool mom, but after some thought, I got over it. I am very proud of her independent spirit. At least I know that I am not toturing her by "making" her go to preschool! Also, it gives me peace of mind that she REALLY enjoys her preschool days (twice a week), and she is having fun learning and playing.

So at pick up, we scribbled a supplemental check to the preschool to bump her up to 2 full days week! Wish us luck that this enthusiasm keeps up! My little girl is growing up so fast!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Busy Weekend

It was one of those weekends again, jam packed with social activities and obligations.

On Saturday, we had a family appreciation picnic put on by Baby C's preschool, Little Sunshine Learning Center. It was at Lake Chabot...great food and desserts, and Baby C had a great time running around with all her little friends from school. Pick up and drop off is always a bit hectic, so it was nice to slow down and chat with some of the parents and teachers in a different environment. She's been at the preschool for about a month and so far I am very happy about with it.

In the late afternoon, we attended a bowling birthday party for JT and NT, who were turning 4 and 6. It was Baby C's first time bowling and she really dug it. She dug it SO much that she thought it was her turn, like ALL the time. She kept on grabbing the big heavy bowling balls as they came shooting out of the ball retriever thingy and would not let go of them, plus was trying to toss them down various lanes (that were not ours). It was frazzled because I was trying to bowl myself and was afraid she would drop a ball on her little toes or get her fingers caught between balls on the ball retriever thingy (which she did). It was funny when she did "bowl", it was like watching paint dry, waiting for the ball to hit the pins..or not. LOL!

Here is a picture of Baby C with her bowling party favor bag, "striking" a pose...HAH! get it? I know, I am a cheeseball. =)

On Sunday, we had a bat brit to attend in San Francisco for the daughter of one of Daddy J's old Schwab associates. The ceremony was at their home in the Marina, they served brunch fare including the obligatory bagels, cream cheese, and lox. A bat brit is a naming ceremony for a girl where her Jewish name is announced. It was the first bat brit we ever attended and the ceremony was very meaningful and touching. We were so honored to be a part of it and Baby B even had her first bagel!

That evening we had dinner with the inlaws. Here is a picture of Baby C with her great-grandfather in Chinatown and the inlaws' store.