Category Archives: family

Blueberry Picking

This past weekend, Freddie, Harper and I went blueberry picking with our neighbors.  Being an avid blueberry lover, I was in heaven.  Nothing but fresh blueberries all around me.  I learned so much about this delicate fruit, I now have an even greater appreciation for it (as well as a good understanding as to why they can be so pricey!).

Blueberry picking is a great family activity.  Not only do you get to stock up on fresh fruit of your choice, but you can eat your weight in blueberries in the process.  You only get charged for what lands in the bucket, not what ends up in your tummy.  And trust me, I took full advantage of it :)

Blueberries have never tasted so good.  With 12 different varieties of blueberry bushes, I was amazed at the wide range of flavors.  There were juicy ones, crunchy ones, sweet ones, flowery ones.  Each of us had our own favorite bush.

Blueberry picking is quite an art.  The key to a successful pick is to massage the clump gently, letting the ripe berries fall off into your hand.  The greener berries will usually stay on the stem, allowing them to mature and grow.  The best berries are picked ripe and enjoyed immediately.  Unfortunately, most blueberries that are store bought are picked when they are green and are left to ripen in the carton, leading to berries that are tart and sour tasting.

Even though Harper isn’t the biggest fan of blueberries, she had a blast running in and out of the rows of blueberry bushes.  She loved carrying the bucket around.  Not much went into, or stayed in the bucket, but regardless, she took her job very seriously.    

After a few hours of hard labor, we left with a TON of blueberries.  We even picked up some blueberry honey and pancake mix too!  I normally don’t cook or bake with my blueberries because they are just too delicious when eaten fresh, but with all of the blueberries that are currently sitting in my fridge, I will be whipping up some sort of blueberry concoction soon.  So stay tuned for a yummy blueberry inspired dish later this week :)

PS:  Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!  Only one more day to get your entries in.  Remember to leave a comment on the original post letting me know that you have completed the tasks.  Your comment acts are your entry into the giveaway.  Good luck!  

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Hubby vs Hobby

Tonight, as I was sitting down to write my blog, Freddie came in and asked if we could veg out and catch up on our reality television (total guilty pleasure!). It is rare that we get the time to relax together and enjoy each others company these days. Especially with how busy he has been at work. So I jumped at the opportunity. Duh!

As much as I love my hobby of blogging, the hubby takes priority. And although I am well-known for staying up past my bedtime to work diligently on my daily posts, I have decided to join my two loves, who are already off in dreamland, for some family cuddles.

Nighty Night!

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A Letter from Harper

Dear Uncle Quincy,

Thank you for coming all the way from Afghanistan to visit me.  It has been a while since we last hung out and I missed you a lot.  Remember when we first met, back when I was just an itty bitty thing?  I’ve grown up a lot since then :)

I know we don’t get a chance to talk often, but I think about you all the time.  I like to help mommy write you letters and send you care packages.  One time I even tried to sneak into a care package to surprise you.  But after reading the customs form I realized that humans were restricted.  Darn!  So I sent my baby wipes instead.  Hope they came in handy!

I’m sorry if I was a little scared the day we picked you up from the airport.  I had never seen you dressed up in your uniform before and so I didn’t recognize you at first.

But once we got to In-n-Out and you shared your fries with me, I felt right at home.

I had so much fun playing with you when you came to my house.  Thanks again for the stuffed bear.  I decided to name him Courage, because that is what it takes to do what you are doing over in Afghanistan.

My mommy and daddy are always telling me how strong and brave you are.  They tell me that you go out and fight for our country so we are protected.  That’s a big job!  Thanks for doing it :)

I am really lucky to have an uncle like you.  I am going to miss you a lot now that you went back to Afghanistan.  But I am proud of everything that you are doing.  I pray for your safety every night before I go to bed and send you good thoughts throughout the day.

I love you Uncle Quincy :)  Be safe and come home soon.

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Snow Day at the Zoo

There is nothing like a little snow to put you in the holiday spirit.  But this snow day wasn’t your typical blizzard.  Our snow day consisted of Snow Leopards, and Lemurs, and palm trees!  Oh, my!

This morning we got up bright and early to attend the Snow Leopard Festival at our local zoo.  The event was put on to raise money for and bring awareness to the critically endangered Snow Leopards.  Forty tons of snow was trucked in and placed in various animal cages throughout the zoo.  There was also patches of snow that were formed for kids and families to play in and explore.  They even had two sledding hills that were constructed by zoo staff.

Proceeds from the event went to benefit the Snow Leopard Trust.  This organization has worked for over 20 years to help protect Snow Leopards and their habitat.  Due to lack of food and poaching efforts, there is said to be only 3,500 to 6,500 Snow Leopards existing in the wild.

Our zoo has two Snow Leopards in captivity.  It was amazing to see them up close.  They are some of the most beautiful creatures I have ever seen.

This year, in honor of the holiday season, each dollar donated to the Snow Leopard Trust, up to $60,000, will be matched.  So, if you are having trouble deciding on gift ideas for your friends and loved ones, why don’t you consider a contribution to the Snow Leopard Trust.  Your support will help protect this endangered species and improve the lives of impoverished families who share their habitat.

Donating is fast and easy.  Simply click this link and make a donation online.   Or you can mail your donation to Snow Leopard Trust, 4649 Sunnyside Avenue North, Suite 325, Seattle, WA, 98103, USA.

Another way to benefit the Snow Leopard Trust is to purchase one of their items from their gift shop.  With everything from Handbags and Accessories, to Toys and Ornaments, you are sure to find the perfect gift for the one you love.  Plus, your gift has an incredible story behind it, which makes it special and unique.  And the best part…shipping is free for domestic orders over $50.

Finally, for everyone who has always wanted a Snow Leopard to call their own (I mean, who hasn’t?), the Snow Leopard Trust offers Snow Leopard Adoptions.  Ok, so maybe you can’t take one home with you (not sure your neighbors would be pleased anyways…), but you can follow one of the wild Snow Leopards in their natural habitat.  Your adoption package includes a personalized certificate, snow leopard toy, pictures, fact sheets and more.  And with up to 20% for the holiday season, it’s a bargain!

I have always been an animal lover.  To know that these amazing creatures are at risk of extinction makes me sad.  Today, after seeing the Snow Leopards in person and hearing their story, I was moved to action.  I hope you will consider doing your part to make a difference as well.

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Welcome Home

Today was a very special day for our family.  Today we welcomed my brother home from Afghanistan after 7 months of deployment.

We met him at the airport, each holding flags wrapped with a yellow ribbon.  As he walked through the revolving doors and greeted his girlfriend for the first time in 7 months, my heart melted.  They engaged in a long embrace, his face nestled in her neck.  After exchanging a few kisses, he walked over to me and I threw my arms around him.  I couldn’t help but cry, I was filled with emotion.  Then he went around to greet everyone else who had come to welcome him back, Freddie, Harper, Koko’s (his girlfriend) parents, my Uncle Joe and his girlfriend Brittani.  It was a joyous occasion.

As we waited for his baggage we caught up on what life was like in the desert.  We talked about what he was looking forward to eating, doing and seeing, while he is in town.  At one point, he reached into his backpack and pulled out a teddy bear for Harper.  The bear wore a shirt that read, Operation Enduring Freedom.  Harper loved it!  How thoughtful for a soldier, who in the midst of war, thinks of his niece and makes sure he brings her back a souvenir.  What a sweet uncle!

Next stop, In-n-Out.  It was one of the restaurants on his list to visit.  While we were eating 4 little boys walked over and asked to shake Quincy’s hand.  They thanked him for his service and told him about how they were in ROTC at their school, and looked forward to serving in the army like him one day.  It was a joy to see my little brother, who is all grown up now, be such a positive role model to other young men who aspire to follow in his footsteps.  As an older sister, this was a proud moment for me.  But Quincy can also be so proud of himself for all that he has accomplished and how far he has come.

After dinner, it was time to say goodnight.  It has been a long 5 days to get from Afghanistan to LAX.  But he finally made it, 6 stops later.  We are looking forward to spending some quality time together before he returns to Afghanistan in 2 weeks to complete his 12-month deployment.

I feel honored to have a brother who is serving our country.  He has sacrificed so much to help others and make a difference.  He is brave, he is strong and he is courageous.  He is our hero.

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Taking Turns

Being a parent is one of the most wonderful roles one can have.  However, it is important to remember that you are also a partner in addition to being an individual.  This means that you need to find time to nurture all three aspects of your life.  In the beginning, it was hard for me to think of spending time on anything other than the baby.  In fact, months went by and finally Freddie and I looked at each other and said, “where have you been?”.  We had neglected to nurture our relationship as a married couple.  So we started to make time in the evening to engage in an activity together whether it was playing a game, reading a book or watching one of our favorite shows.

Once we were able to establish a balance between being parents and being a couple, we soon realized that our individual time had also been lacking.  We both have hobbies that we love and enjoy but could never find the time between being with the baby and being together to engage in these interests.  So last weekend we sat down and began to brainstorm some ideas on how we could accomplish a fair schedule that would allow for each person to have equal time as a parent, a partner and an individual.   The outcome was “taking turns”.

Taking turns is by no means a new concept.  In fact, it may just be one of the most important social rules of all time.  It is engrained in us at an early age and it stays with us throughout our lives (or at least that’s the hope).  Since there are two days in the weekend, and there are two of us, we decided to split the days up so one weekend day would be devoted to each person.  That way, each of us could take some time for ourself while the other spent time with the baby.

So far, we are only halfway in.  Today was my day and I have to say I think this idea is a success.  Weekends have always been important to me because it is the time that I get to sleep in.  I LOVE to sleep in.  It is pretty much the best gift anyone could give me.  And ever since I got pregnant, I really haven’t had the chance to do so.  I am completely fine with kissing my memories of sleep good-bye, because nothing compares to the joy I get when my little girl wakes me up with a big smile one her face, no matter what time of the morning it is.  But, I will never turn down the chance to catch a few extra hours of sleep while daddy and baby go for a morning outing.  It was glorious!  And it didn’t stop there.  As some of you might remember, I play in a women’s soccer league on Saturdays.  This is a great activity for me and a wonderful way for me to nurture my interests.  And what makes it more fun is that Harper and her dad come to cheer me on.

I have to say, it took us almost 9 months to come up with this concept, but I think it will be a success.  The important thing is that we remain aware of our various roles so that we can nurture them and watch them grow.

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