Tag Archives: swimming

What’s in the Box? #78

What's in the Box?

My apologies for the tardiness of this post but Harper and I have been busy this week soaking up all that Santa Barbara has to offer before we head home.  We are blessed to be able to visit such a beautiful place, but the best part of Santa Barbara is our wonderful friends.  Here is a peek at what we have been up to this week:

Play dates at the park…

Play dates at the park

Pool time fun…

Swimming in the pool

Picking produce with friends…


Stopping to smell the flowers…


Boat rides in the harbor…

Lil Toot

and taking in beautiful sunsets…


We are definitely going to miss this place, but are looking forward to being back home with Daddy :)

Now, without further ado, lets get “produce wasted!” (my own little spin on a popular movie line…name it!)

Our party last week was rockin! 19 link ups?!  The most we have had in a while.  Makes a veggie-obsessed, mommy blogger like me very happy :)  And you know what else makes me very happy?  Zucchini.  Especially when it’s hidden inside a chocolate waffle (Thanks Kirsten for taking my love of zucchini to the next level) or shredded into a savory loaf of bread.  It truly is the essence of summer.

And like the groundhog in February, a zucchini in my box this week means that summer will be around for at least a few more weeks (Full Disclosure:  I’m no meteorologist, it’s only a theory.  Just go with it.)

Not only did I get a pair of zucchinis, check out what else came in my box…

What's in the Box? #78

A rainbow of delicious colors.  And I’m loving nature’s candy again.  A bunch of red, crunchy grapes.  They make my world go round.  And no, I didn’t share.

But I was willing to share some of my other goodies.  I sliced up the apples for a picnic at the park.  Steamed the broccoli for my little veggie lover as a side to her lunch (she practically ate the whole head herself).  And the basil along with a few leaves of kale got thrown into the food processor for a batch of pesto.  Delish!

The oranges have inspired me to make a batch of muffins which will help to balance out the bowls of salad I will be eating thanks to the size of that head of lettuce.

I like my spaghetti squash simply roasted and tossed with some butter and parmesan cheese.  Although the fresh tomatoes would be a great addition to the squash in the form of homemade sauce.  In fact, I’m hungry just thinking about it.

Cheers to a fabulous weekend!  I hope it’s filled with as much fun and food as you can handle :)

Your turn:  What are some of your favorite ways to use the fruits and veggies shown?  Any special recipe, tips or tricks you’d like to share?  Looking forward to reading your responses :) 

Linking up for the first time?  Click here for more info…and Welcome!

PS:  Don’t forget to tell your readers about the party by linking back to this post and grabbing the official “What’s in the Box?” button at the bottom of my blog.  Thanks!

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March Photo A Day Challenge

March Photo A Day Challenge

March Photo A Day Challenge- In Her Chucks

March was another jam-packed month full of road trips, days spent at the park and more Disney.  With the change in weather our goal is to stay outside as much as we can.  And the sites are just so beautiful.  Beach views, fresh flowers and rolling hills.  Yes, we are indeed blessed.

So here’s a peak at what we were up to this last month using some awesome prompts from Big Green Parenting Experiment’s Photo Challenge.

1. Day 2: Brrr-  Although for most, March is still considered winter, here in California, March is when the weather warms up enough to take a trip (or two) to the beach.  On this lovely evening we had the pleasure of joining our friends for dinner at their beach front home.  The sunset was gorgeous and although there was nothing “brrr” about it, this is just what March looks like in our neck of the woods.

2. Day 3: Coat-  Even though it is rare that one would need a coat around here during this time of year, it’s always nice to have a favorite one on hand.  Splendid is one of my favorite companies and when I found this coat hiding on a clearance rack a few weeks back I couldn’t help but swoop it up.  Now I sit and wait for the cold weather so I have a chance to bundle up in it.

3. Day 5: Entrance-  One of my favorite things to do with Harper is to take her out for a “girls lunch”.  With my busy teaching schedule it is not often that we get time for a leisurely afternoon out anymore, but when we do get a moment, we like to enjoy a meal at Harper’s restaurant of choice, California Pizza Kitchen.

4. Day 6: Frozen-  I’ve admitted before that I have a serious weakness for 31 Flavors.  I do my best to stay away from there because I know how dangerous it can be.  But on this particular day I happened to be getting my nails done (which is next door) and was reading the photo challenge prompts for the day.  “Frozen”.  Well, that seems like the perfect excuse to pick up an ice cream :)  And so I did.

5. Day 7: Gray-  It doesn’t rain much where we live, so when it does, you got to snap a picture of it.  Plus, even though the sky is gray, I happen to think it still looks pretty.  The clouds are so fluffy and full they make me want to frolic in them.

6. Day 8: Hang-  My little girl is a serious monkey.  Our Monday music class meets at an awesome complex that has a play structure.  So every week after music we head over to the structure and the kids have a ball.  Harper loves to hang from the bar and kick her legs about.  Gymnast in the making?

7. Day 10: Jumping-  Whenever my sister, niece and nephews come to town, we always take a trip to Disneyland.  This time we changed it up and headed to California Adventure.  This was Harper’s first time and she had a blast!  We went on a ton of rides and she loved each and every one of them.  Unfortunately, this was one of the rides that she wasn’t tall enough for.  But she still enjoyed watching the jellyfish jump up and down.

8. Day 11: 12: Lion/Lamb-  Harper has a ton of stuffed animals, but no matter how many fun toys she gets, she still always asks for her “baby”.  This little lamb is special to her and she will always be grateful to her Auntie Koko for giving it to her.

9. Day 18- Remembering-  It’s hard to believe my big girl was once this tiny.  I am so appreciative to my good friend Rachel for capturing these precious moments for us.  Kind of makes me want to finally start planning for #2…

10. Day 20: Toes/Tows-  This past Friday, Harper decided that she didn’t want to nap.  I was in need of some major relaxation so since I couldn’t get some shut-eye, Harper and I went to get pedicures.  Loving the painted piggy toes.  And I have to say, she is right on the money with the pastel trend :)

11. Day 21: Upward-  Harper’s sleep has been all over the place lately.  Some days she doesn’t want to nap, and some days she falls asleep in the car unexpectedly.  When she naps in the car I try not to move her.  She usually wakes up and then won’t go back to sleep.  So this particular time I went to a nearby park and hung out under the shade of a lovely tree.  It was nice to catch a quiet moment and enjoy the pleasant weather.

12. Day 22: View-  Even though we live so close to the beach, I don’t go as much as I should.  A few weeks ago some of our close friends invited us out to a dinner on the water and it was a lovely break from our usual routine.  With the days becoming longer and the weather warming up, it was a great way to unwind after a long week.

13. Day 24: Excitement-  Like father, like daughter.  Harper definitely takes after her dad in her love for the water.  She started swimming at 5 weeks old and has been loving it ever since.  This particular class she got to wear a cool hippo swim cap which was too adorable for me to pass up a photo-op.

14. Day 25: Yard-  One of the things we love most about our new house is the yard.  It is so nice to walk outside and be greeted with fragrant and colorful blooms.  This yellow one just popped up the other day and I can’t get enough of its beauty.  It is the perfect reminder that spring has sprung.

15. Day 27: Out of Place-  Last weekend, Freddie woke up and decided he wanted to take an impromptu road trip.  Not wanting to be a party pooper and excited for the unexpected adventure I quickly got dressed and we headed up the coast.  We ended up in San Luis Obispo, a small down midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco.  We had a great time checking out their sites and enjoyed some good eats.  But we couldn’t leave without visiting a local tourist landmark downtown called Bubblegum Alley.  It was neat (and slightly yucky) to see the collection of chewed gum in a variety of colors, but it was definitely “out of place” as my mother always taught me to throw my bubblegum in the trash :)

16. Day 28: Reflection-  Palm trees.  They get me every time.  I guess it’s hard to deny that I am a California girl through and through.  But if you browse through my pics, most of them include a palm tree or two.  I love this picture and the reflection of the palm trees on the pond.  And if you look close enough, you might even catch a glimpse of the family of turtles working on their tan on top of the rock.    

17. Day 30: Peace-  It may have cost us a trip through some windy roads, but the view at the top was nothing short of beautiful.  And with no one around for miles, the silence was peaceful.  We found this gem during our road trip last weekend and it will be a sight I never forget.

18.  Day 31: Sweet-  Trader Joe’s gets me every time.  Being that berries are in season, so are shortcakes.  And Hostess has nothing on these babies.  Filled with homemade whipped cream and sliced strawberries and mango, I was in pure heaven.

Thanks for letting me share a little bit of March life with you.  Wanna get in on the action? Check out this post for more details…and feel free to follow me on Instagram (@inherchucks) to keep up with the daily challenge.

Happy April!

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Words of Wisdom

Today was a lovely little Saturday.

It began at around 9 am when I awoke to a snuggly baby who was enjoying sleeping in late with me.  I wish I could have stayed there all day but I had to get up and get ready for my 10am photography class.

Freddie had signed me up for this class as part of my Christmas gift.  I had a great time learning how to use all the bells and whistles on my camera.  I was grateful that the class was held outside because then I could enjoy the amazing weather (70 degrees in February ain’t too bad!).

I got out of class a little early and was able to make it home before Harper left for her swim lesson.  I was happy I didn’t miss it as it is a fun family activity that I look forward to weekly.

When we got home, I ran to the market to pick up a few ingredients to make dinner.  While I was gone, Harper stayed home with her daddy and enjoyed a play date with our friends and neighbors.

At around 5pm, our friends came over for dinner.  Freddie and I love having company over.  It’s always fun to hang out, eat some good food and share stories.

Soon after they left, it was time for Harper to go to bed.  Once she was off in dream land, Freddie and I worked on planning Harper’s party.  We are so excited to celebrate her 1st birthday in a few weeks :)  By the time we finished, it was pretty late, and I was pretty tired.  But of course I still have so much that has to be done!  And then some words of wisdom popped into my head.

My dad loves to share lessons with me that were passed down from his dad.  He has a ton of them and he always offers them at just the right moment.  I can remember one time, while I was in the midst feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the things I had on my plate, he said, “You can do anything you want, you can’t do everything you want”.  So as much as the perfectionist in me doesn’t want to admit that this statement is true, I will surrender and accept that there is always tomorrow.  And as much as mommy hood has taught me the art of multitasking, I have yet to master sleeping while doing my chores.

So as I retire to my comfy bed with my loved ones who are already catching their Zs, I am grateful for a day of family, fun and friends.  And grateful for gentle words of wisdom.

Sweet dreams :)

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10 Months, 10 Days

One more month has flown by. But as quickly as it has gone, I feel like so much has happened in this last month alone that it is jam packed with special memories.

Harper has had many visitors. From her Uncle who came to visit all the way from Afghanistan, to her Great, Great Aunt (who we call GG), Harper has been enjoying spending time with her family.

Harper has also been busy playing in the snow, swimming up a storm and making music. I’m telling you, this little girl’s life is fun!

Before we get on to the usual lists, Harper just got another tooth! And this one was apparently the most painful. My poor baby was a grump pot all day. And even ran her first fever because of it! Cutting teeth is hard work :(

So if you are keeping count, that means she now has 1,2,3 teeth…and 17 more to go :)

Harper’s Firsts:

First Thanksgiving: Our family tradition is to travel to visit my sister for Thanksgiving. But this year we decided to keep it close to home. We enjoyed a small dinner with the three of us and invited Harper’s swim teacher to join. This Thanksgiving was by far the best one yet, as I had the pleasure of celebrating my gratitude for my little girl.

First Christmas: Spending time with my sister and her family made this Christmas extra special. Harper enjoyed playing with her cousins and opening up her gifts. Prior to traveling to visit them, Harper got to pick out and decorate her very first christmas tree. She had a blast hanging up all the shiny little ornaments and couldn’t get enough of the bright lights.

First Plane Ride: Harper successfully completed her maiden voyage, a 2 1/2 hour plane ride, to visit her aunt, uncle and cousins. She was a total pro. Harper was so intrigued with all the new sights and sounds. She had a great time making friends with all the other passengers and flight attendants. Looks like I have a little traveler on my hands!

Harper’s Favs:

Favorite Toy: Harper thinks that her pal Violet is a total hoot! What is great about this toy is that you can program in your child’s name, favorite color, food, pet, etc. So it is personalized to their liking. She smiles every time Violet says her name and enjoys clapping along to the songs she sings.

Favorite Song: Harper sings to herself all the time. She can be found singing herself to sleep, singing in the bathtub and singing to her toys. When we sing together we have fun singing Matilda the Gorilla. This is a great song for her to sing along to because the chorus alternates between “ooh” and “ahh” sounds, so the words are accessible to her. She even has a puppet that sings along with us. It’s a total blast!

Favorite Book: Harper received the book Who’s in the Garden? from her cousin twice removed for her dedication. It has recently become her favorite book to read. The repetition of the verses is great because babies love what they know. So as each page turns, Harper can anticipate what comes next. There are also vibrant pictures, peak-a-boo holes and tons of critters for her to learn about.

Harper Can…

play by herself: Within the last month, Harper has become very comfortable playing with herself. Where as before she preferred that we be in the same room together at all times, now she will crawl from room to room, exploring all that there is to see. As fun as this is for her, operation baby proofing is in full effect! As much as I love watching her grow more independent, it makes me a tinge sad to see her getting to be so big.

help with the chores: Harper is a great helper in the kitchen. Watch as Harper assists me with one of her favorite chores.

play peek-a-boo: Harper and I have been playing peek-a-boo since she was itty bitty. But I have always been the one who was doing the hiding. We like to play along with this song which I also play during the music classes I teach. It is always a big hit. This past month, Harper has begun to hide herself. It is pretty much the cutest thing ever. She does it out of nowhere too. So you have to be ready to say, “Where’s Harper?” and then when she pulls the fabric off her face, you say with surprise “peek-a-boo”!

10 months in, motherhood just keeps getting better. As Harper continues to grow and change I am amazed at how fortunate I am to have her in my life. The fun never ends. Happy 10 Month, 10 Day Birthday Baby! Mommy and Daddy love you. Happy New Year too! We can’t wait to see what 2012 has in store for our family :)

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9 Months In, 9 Months Out

Where does the time go?  I promise you it feels like yesterday that we just welcomed our beautiful daughter Harper into the world.  And yet, each day is so full of delightful memories, my cup runneth over.

I can honestly say, I think I finally have this whole mommy/wife/superwoman thing down now.  It was hard to find the balance at first.  There were days when I didn’t get my showers, realized at 6pm that I was still wearing my jammies and dinner went uncooked.  But I’m starting to feel like I have found my groove.  In no way did things get easier, rather, I have become more accustomed to my new role as juggler.  It’s tough to keep all the balls in the air, especially when you throw blogging into the mix, but my goal is to keep things rolling as smoothly as possible, even if the laundry piles up a few more days.

Harper has met some amazing milestones this last month.  It seems like the older she gets, the faster she grows.  Let’s look at some of her “firsts”…

Harper’s Firsts:

First Tooth:  Harper’s first tooth is slowly making its way out of her gums.  For the meantime, it looks like it will be hanging out alone.  It’s pretty cute to catch a glimpse of her one tooth smile.  But don’t let that one tooth fool you, its VERY sharp!

First Halloween:  Harper looked adorable in her Pebbles costume.  I loved the idea of having a family costume theme (thanks Freddie!).  Unfortunately, we never got a chance to go to the pumpkin patch or trick-or-treating because Harper came down with a cold.  But that just means we have something to look forward to for next year.

First Stood Up By Herself:  Now that Harper can crawl, she is on the go.  She is pulling herself up on everything!  It’s only a matter of time before she starts walking.  I love this new chapter in her life.  It’s a joy to watch her explore new things while climbing all over the house.

Harper’s Favs:

Favorite Toy:  Now that Harper is on the move, she loves her Vtech- Move & Crawl Ball (Thanks Jackson Family!).  It lights up, plays music and moves throughout the house, especially on our hard wood floors.  Harper loves to chase after it :)

Favorite Song:  Harper recently started singing a Blue’s Clues song with her daddy.  It is a song that has a bunch of syllables but no words.  It is a call and response song.  So whenever Freddie sings, “Be, Bop, Bay” or “hey, hey” she will repeat after him.  It’s true, babies can sing before they talk!

Favorite Book:  Harper and I have been doing a lot of reading lately.  Our friends and old neighbors just gave Harper a ton of new books.  So we have been having a blast reading through them.  Harper is very into tactile books at the moment.  Her favorite is “If I Were A Bunny“.  She loves to touch and feel the different textures.

Harper Loves:

Toes:  I don’t know what it is, but Harper has recently discovered other people’s toes, and she thinks they are hilarious.  Whenever I walk around the house barefoot, she looks at my feet and starts to giggle.  I thought it might be just me, but the other day when her dad was walking around the house barefoot, she did the same thing.  She gets a kick out of people’s feet.  It’s silly!

Spoons and Straws:  Whenever we go out to eat, Harper is on the lookout for spoons or straws.  She thinks its fun to put them in her mouth and chew on them.  I’m sure it feels good on her gums.  We used to try to bring toys with us to the restaurant so that she would remain occupied but she could have cared less.  All she wanted was the spoon or the straw.  So now, we make it easy on ourselves and forget the toys in the car and ask for extra spoons and straws (because inevitably many of them end up on the floor).

Water:  Whether it’s a pool, the bath, or a fountain Harper loves water.  I am so glad we were able to find a swim class for Harper.  She has the best time splashing around in the pool and she continues to improve and learn new things.  Bath time is just as fun.  She gets so excited she wants to sit in the tub before the water is finished running.  Harper’s newest water appreciation is fountains.  Whenever we walk by one she gets a big smile.  So we always stop and look for a while and she becomes mesmerized by the way the water cascades from the spouts.

I have to say, this whole baby thing is amazing!  I have never loved anyone like this, ever.  It is truly a blessing to be Harper’s mom.  Each day brings something new, something wonderful, something to be grateful for.

Happy 9 Month Birthday Harper!  Mommy and Daddy love you!

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Harper Swims

Harper started swimming when she was about 5 weeks old.  Well, technically I guess you can say she was already a pro by then because she spent 9 months in my tummy doing back flips, high dives and practicing the backstroke (she was pretty active in there).  Freddie and I first realized that Harper was a little fish when we would bathe her in her baby bath.  Every time we would put her on her belly to wash her back her legs would get to kickin’ and her arms were movin’.  But the baby bath left her no room to hone her skills.  So we had to find a place where Harper could spread her fins.

Not having a pool of our own, I started looking around for a place to take Harper swimming.  I happened to have a friend who had her son in a swim class, so I thought I would check it out.  The pool was indoors, the water temperature was kept at 92 degrees and the chlorine level was at the lowest legal limit.  When Harper and I went to watch for the first time, the babies looked like they were having a blast.  It seemed like the perfect fit.  So we immediately decided to enroll Harper in a weekly class.  Here she is on her first day, bikini and all!

Harper is at home in the water.  Her first time in the pool she was immediately at ease.  She rested her head on my shoulder and let out a big sigh, as to say, “Now that’s more like it”.  Harper loves her swim class.  I believe she looks forward to going.  Whenever it is time for class we sing a little song to let her know that it is time to go.  Her face lights up and she gets very excited.
Once we arrive at the pool, she can’t wait to get in the water.  On entry, Harper does a submersion into the pool (similar to what you saw in the video).  She has been doing this since the beginning.  Babies instinctively hold their breath when you blow on their face.  So initially, that is how she learned to hold her breath before being submerged into the water.  But now, she does it automatically when given the cue that it is time to go swimming.  She closes her mouth, shuts her eyes, throws her arms out and swims to me.
After she is in the pool, we practice all sorts of safety skills.  This is the basis of baby swimming class, in addition to getting them accustomed to the water.  Harper learns how to hold on to the side, which we call finding her safe spot, as well as floating on her back, which is called a sea otter.  She also works on her kicking, her “scooping” and more submersions.  At the end of the class Harper practices climbing out of the pool by alternating her elbows and then her knees with assistance from her dad.  She takes a quick rinse off in the shower before we take her home for a proper bath.  After she is all nice and clean, Harper is ready for a nice snack and a long nap.
This activity has been such a great bonding experience for our family.  I think it has been fun for Harper to build on an innate skill.  I believe thriving at an activity she enjoys boosts her self-confidence.  She gets very proud of herself.  Teaching Harper to stay active is another important life lesson we hope she carried with her.  But most importantly, Harper is having fun.  And that is what it is all about!

8 Months

I can’t believe my baby girl is 8 months today!  Boy, how time flies.  Looking back, there have been some wonderful milestones.  She has learned so much in her short time here.  I am savoring every second with her because before I know it, another 8 months will have whizzed by.

Whenever Harper comes up on a monthly birthday, I like to take a minute and look back at some of the memorable moments.   Here is a small snap shot of Harper’s life in the last 8 months.

Harper’s Firsts:

First Roll Over: Harper started rolling from her belly to her back when she was 2 months old.  Her first time was actually at the doctor’s office.  The doctor said it was an accident but she continued to do it for months until she had mastered it and moved on to a new skill.

First Sat Up Unassisted:  Harper started sitting up on her own when she was 5 months.  Harper always wants to be part of the action, so we would prop her using pillows on our bed when we were getting ready or cleaning up.  One day, we propped her up against the pillows and she sat straight up on her own.

First Crawled:  Harper has been on the verge of crawling for about a month.  But her first long distance crawl occurred this past weekend when she crawled from her bedroom to her bathroom.  Talk about hitting the ground running…or crawling at a fast pace :)

Harper’s Favs:

Favorite Toy:  Harper loves her picnic basket.  She  brings it wherever she goes and enjoys sharing it with her friends.

Favorite Song:  We started singing Twinkle Twinkle to Harper when she was still in my womb.  We would sing this song to her when she was little to help her go to sleep.  Now, whenever we sing it she lights up with a big smile because she recognizes it and associates it with positive things.

Favorite Book:  Harper loves when her Daddy reads her Goodnight Moon.  She recently started to try and turn the pages and likes to point at the pictures.

Harper’s Hobbies: (yes, my 8 month old has hobbies!)

Harper is…musical.  She loves music.  Harper sings to herself all the time, especially when she is putting herself to sleep.  I enjoy playing my guitar for her as she stares in amazement.  Harper and her daddy are always coming up with new beats on the drums together.  Harper has a ball playing her instruments, more specifically her whistle.

Harper is…athletic.  We first discovered Harper was a swimmer when she was attempting to do the breaststroke in her plastic baby bath.  So we decided to sign her up for a proper swim class.  Harper has been swimming in the big pool since she was a month old.  She is at home in the water and can do some pretty cool tricks like holding her breath under water and floating on her back.

Harper is…social.  Harper has so many wonderful friends and takes pleasure in visiting with them regularly.  Harper is a talker, and has been chatting up a storm ever since she discovered her voice.  Harper is also well versed in Skype and enjoys keeping in touch with her family out-of-town.

But most importantly…Harper is happy and healthy and pretty much the best thing to have ever happened to our family.  We are so blessed to have her in our lives.

Happy 8 Month Birthday Baby!  Mommy and Daddy Love you :)

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