Sunday, September 28, 2008

Gilmores celebrate National Health & Fitness Day

Bet you didn't know Saturday was National Health & Fitness Day. We celebrated by going on a 2.5-mile walk with my mom. Actually, we invited all the Fresno Christian Schools staff but not too many showed up on a Saturday. We need to work to publicize it a little better next year. Nonetheless, we enjoyed our walk with Nana Maria. This was a great time to catch up and get the blood flowing in the prego legs...
Meilani and Mama's favorite part of the day was the finish at Jamba Juice. We shared the Peach Perfection and even scored lunch at ZPizza a cool new healthy pizza & pasta place next door. Chicken Penne with Pesto sauce and flat bread: Yummy!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Field Trip: A Moo-velous time at the Farm

Friday we took another field trip with our Mothering/Play Group to Organic Pastures farm just outside Fresno. We drove about 30 minutes from home, passed almond trees and grape vines, beyond a few dairies. We knew we had arrived at Organic Pastures when we saw cows actually grazing in the pastures. Grass-fed beef is not hard to spot in these parts!

In fact, while the mamas and kids were getting out of the cars, the cow mamas were gathering around for a looksie as well.

Our tour guide took us through the Creamery and a separate place where they bottle the milk and other products.
This woman was packaging the raw cheese, which then is refrigerated for the aging process. The cheese is a delightful, aged white cheddar. Yummy!

We learned that Organic Pastures also bottles a rare Chinese tea called Kombucha. This "immortal health elixir" is full of enriching enzymes, vitamin C, B-complex, folic acid, minerals, and millions of immune-building probiotic bacteria. It's caffeine-free and alcohol-free.

The kids were anxious to actually see some milking and meet the cows. (Ok, some of the breastfeeding kids in the group wanted to meet their mamas.)

Corban Pusey, was our little farm boy, posing in his overalls. He loved hanging in the dust even though he was a bit spooked by the Big Cows.

Meilani, Isa, Milani and Tessa, the 2-3-year-old crew loved seeing the calves. This calf even tried sucking on their little fingers. He was a hungry little guy.

We even met twin calves. Our guide told us twins is pretty common in cows.

We rounded out our tour with a trip back to the Organic Pastures store where they filled us up with yummy samples. Meilani mooed her approval of this fun-in-the-valley-sun field trip!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sunday Mornin' Run: Ericlee runs Cross City Race

We woke up early Sunday morning to go cheer on Daddy and his best friend, Chris Schultz, who were running in Fresno's Cross City Race. This race has been a tradition in our family for many years. (Unfortunately, Mama and her prego belly couldn't run this year.) We piled in the Schultzes van with Jen (and baby Sam in belly), Tessa, Addy and Kamryn. It was a girl party as we chased down the guys to cheer them on.
Jen and I are still working on our "race chaser skills." We missed the dads at the halfway point but we surprised ourselves and found them right after the big tough hill at this spot.
Daddy and Chris finished the 10K (6.1 miles) in 43:37, which is a 7:02 pace - pretty awesome for the 30-somethings. Chris actually got a 2nd place medal for his age group. Ericlee snagged 4th for his age group. We were so proud of them (even though we missed them at the finish!)

Meilani enjoyed the race atmosphere with the bounce house and music and tons of excitement. They do have kids races that start for 3-year-olds so we're excited to sign her up next year. She wasn't very interested in the little kids' race this time - she wanted to go up the climbing wall with the big kids!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Say hello to 30: Girls Night on the Town

My friend Allison gave us all a reason to celebrate this weekend. She just turned the big 3-0 and decided what she wanted for her birthday was a night out on the town with her best girls. Ten of us dressed up "fancy" and piled in cars.
We went to Roger Rocka's Dinner Theater in the Tower District to see The Producers. The dinner was fabulous - I had a Baked Sea Bass with Coconut-infused rice that was to die for! (Not to mention the strawberry-rhubarb crisp - my fave dessert!) The "girl" conversation around the table was even better than the food.
We got to embarrass Allison at the table when they made a big announcement over the loud speaker that it was her birthday. The Producers was a wildly funny, sometimes raunchy, romantic musical?! I'll be singing that "Make it Gay" song for the next week or so. (Yeah, you let your imagination go there.) The evening was sweet: How often do I get to dress up and go out with no curfew and no toddler?!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Ten Big Candles: Meliz turns double digits

Happy 10th Birthday, Meliz! One of Meilani's fave "older" friends is Meliz McGowen. We celebrated Friday by the pool (probably our last pool party of the season now that breezy weather has blown our way).

Meilani and Milani loved the craft time, decorating little kid tote bags with all things sparkly, sticky and girly.

Meliz made her own chocolate birthday cake and we sang our loudest!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Front Porch Sittin'

Our old friends Josiah, Bethany and Beverly Ford joined us for lunch and playtime. We haven't seen them in such a long time. The kids had a grand ole time jumping off the front porch and decorating it with sidewalk chalk. The mamas indulged in our time together catching up on life and encouraging each other on the mama journey!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Cooking Club: Aloha Hawaiian Luau by the Pool

Well, we can't close out the summer without a luau by the pool so we decided to make the theme for this month's Cooking Club a Hawaiian Luau Barbeque. We made an extra effort to pick out recipes that looked healthy or that we could give a healthy twist. Check out the menu below and recipes here.

Hawaiian Luau Menu:

Chips with Mango Salsa
Macaroni Salad with a Healthy Twist
Hawaiian Sweet Bread
Chinese Chicken Wings
Coconut Baked Fish
Sweet Potato (Piele) Casserole
Tropical Smoothies
Pineapple Haupia Cheesecake

The cooking crew for this Cooking Club included Corban Pusey. His job: eating the cheddar fishies. Very appropriate for a luau, right? Mommy Marcy was busy putting together our Baked Sweet Potato Casserole. Meanwhile, Mary and Cori worked on the Baked Coconut Fish. Allison and I did the Macaroni Salad with a Healthy Twist (part mayo & part yogurt). Surprisingly, the simple Macaroni Salad was the hit of the evening.

Meanwhile, out by the pool, Daddy Ericlee manned the tiki bar. He served up 5 different kinds of fruit smoothies. We skipped the pina coladas and mai tais since we had preggie and nursing mamas in the house.

The smoothies were delish! Meilani, as usual, was a big fan. If she can't go to Jamba Juice, Daddy's homemade smoothies are her fave!

We invited everyone to come in their favorite Hawaiian dresses or tackiest aloha shirts. Mia and Allison got the Best Dressed award. Cuties!

Meilani was thrilled her friend, Angel, came for the party too. They swam, painted and Angel even decided to feed her the coveted Macaroni Salad. Such a great older brother!

Dessert was a fabulous Pineapple Cheesecake with Coconut Haupia Sauce out of Sunset Magazine. We used this as an excuse to celebrate two birthdays: Allison's 30th and Cori's 31st.
Cori and Darrell are also celebrating their pregnancy. More Cooking Club babies!

Friday, September 12, 2008

MOPS Mamas make totes

I decided this year to join the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group at our church. I sort of rebelled last year because it was on a week night and I didn't have the extra cash to spend. This year, I'm feeling like a toddler and a new pregnancy are a good reason to schedule at least two nights out just for mama. Every other Thursday we meet to share dinner, do crafts, listen to speakers share about mothering and other topics. This Thursday, we made these trendy cool tote bags with our initials in rhinestones. I tried to make mine DKLG instead of DKNY. (So nerdy!) The best part was spending time with my friend, Mary (left), and meeting out new mentor Mama, Bonnie Broussard (middle). I also enjoyed hearing the diverse stories of the other mentor mamas. All have grown children and shared about working, staying home with kids, balancing parenting with your spouse, planning menus and more.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Play Group Field Trip: A Whole Lotta Fun at Whole Foods

We joined a Mothering & Play Group with some local moms (lots of our friends). On Fridays, we take the kiddos on field trips. Last Friday we went on an educational tour of Whole Foods Market, a national all-natural food chain. We have one a mile from our house and we wanted to explore what they had. Three Fresno Christian families were along for this field trip - the Schultzes, McGowens and Fullers. The kids couldn't wait to get inside!

Admittedly, the coolest thing about our tour was the SAMPLES we were served in every department of the store. We started off with fresh, locally-grown, organic raspberries. Meilani was a big fan! The produce at Whole Foods is a mix of locally-grown conventional stuff and all-organic. This section in particular is pristine and inviting with all the colors of the fruits and vegetables.

One cool fact we found out is the bananas at Whole Foods are from Earth University in Costa Rica. I was really excited about this because I visited Earth University during my semester in Costa Rica in college. It's a cutting-edge place where they are reaching out doing community development and growing and selling fruit. They reach out to women particularly and help them build small businesses through a microloan program subsidized by their organic banana production. Pretty cool!

Next stop: the seafood department. Our guide let the kids touch a real crab and we oohed and ahhed over the prepared salmon cakes and homemade clam chowder. Then on to the Meat department to hear about all the range-free and hormone free beef, lamb, pork and poultry. The guy did joke about the prices telling us that some people call Whole Foods the "whole paycheck" store. That might not be entirely true if you know where the bargains are but you will pay a pretty penny for this high-quality meat.

After sampling soy milk, cheese and artisan olives, we ventured into the "prepared foods" section of Whole Foods. This is a healthy food mecca for people who don't like to cook. They have everything from freshly-prepared sushi to deli sandwiches. They served up slices of pizza made in their special brick oven for our tour group of little ones. Bon appetit!

We also went to the bakery with all its impressive fancy cakes and cream puffs. We sampled organic cookies. We also learned about Whole Foods open package policy. Because they have so many unique and special products, shoppers can ask any clerk to open a package and give them a taste. Unbelievable! We ended up in the cosmetic department (my fave) with all their paraben-free lotions and make-up. I scored some sparkly eye shadow and nail polish. We also went home with free samples of Barney Butter (almond butter) and organic soaps. Whole Foods wholly spoiled us!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Playing, not Laboring Day Weekend

Happy Labor Day Weekend! We celebrated our long weekend with my brother Paul, sis-in-law Michelle, niece Cynthia and Chicago friend Darin. Since part of our goal was showing the Chicago boy the "best of California" we headed for one of our state's greatest wonders: Yosemite National Park. This was also Cynthia's first trip.
I guess you could say this was also our baby Gilmore's first trip to Yosemite too. Here we pose with the 4-month pregnant belly against a stellar Yosemite back drop at the our favorite tunnel lookout.

We roped Darin into taking a family photo of our crew, which was quite the feat as we fought off all the tourists and tried to get the two kiddos to smile.

I enjoyed some time with my sweet niece, who is now a whopping 13 pounds. Big difference from last time I saw Cindy at 6 pounds! Meilani loved her time with Auntie Shel and Uncle Paul as we hiked up Vernal Falls and even stuck our tootsies in the cool water at the top.
Personally, I was surprised I made this hike with its myriad steps and winding path. I was only planning to hike to the Vernal Falls bridge, but my "senior citizen" mom urged me to join the fam and we both made it to the top! Round trip: 3 miles.

After a morning at fabulous brunch and Nana and Papa's house, church and an extensive afternoon nap, we all cooled off at the Gilmore house. We rested our quads and tushes by the pool. Cindy took her first little swim in our pool with her mama and daddy.
Nama Chris and Grandpa Larry joined us for swimming and a classic California barbeque, including tri-tip, grilled corn on the cob, fruit salad, fresh tomato bruschetta and homemade berry lemonade. Dessert was chocolate-covered frozen bananas that Meilani helped me make.

Our meal also featured some fresh fish caught by Paul and Darin on their Friday Deep Sea Fishing Trip down in Los Angeles. Paul fried up some of his specialty fish and we grilled salmon.

Meilani found a new friend in Uncle Darin. They spent hours Sunday evening playing on the exercise ball and doing tricks in our play room. We think Darin needs to move to Cali! (Hint. Hint.)