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Monday, September 30, 2013

A Happy Moment

Check out those bottom chompers!

An Easy Day Trip to Julian

Saturday, we woke up early and drove out to Julian for a half day of old fashion fun. After driving about an hour, we arrived in Julian and were welcomed by the crisp mountain air and clear blue skies. It was the perfect day to wear a sweater and pick some apples. We got to Volcan Valley Apple Farm around 10 AM to beat the crowds and took our sweet time helping Parker pick apples. Most of the apples he tried to pick ended up on the floor (Sorry Volcan Valley!) but he did manage to snag 3 or 4 successfully. I'm glad we went early because by the time we left, there was absolutely no parking and a ton of people pouring in.
After apple picking, we drove to Main Street to have lunch and eat pie! Mom tip: don't be like me and forget your baby carrier. Almost all the buildings in Julian are considered historic which means that doorways are small, access ramps are few and far between and a stroller is not ideal.

[We meant to go to Apple Starr Orchards but accidentally went to the Volcan Valley Apple Farm instead. Since they also grow organic apples, we stayed and got to picking!]

[One of the many many rows of apples. The variety was dizzying. There were a lot of families there enjoying the day.]

[The sky was really that blue. Jonathan apple on the branch.]

[That apple is bigger than Parker's hand.]

[All Parker wanted to do was touch the grass.]

[Little did I know, this was Tuan's first time apple picking too! I learn something new about my husband everyday.]

[To my horror, Parker shoved this apple that he just picked straight into his mouth. Ahh well at least it's organic.]

[My SIL got Parks this batman sweatshirt at H&M. So cute. He's also wearing H&M leggings and TOMS cordones for babies.]

[Parker and Tuan]

[There were 3 different bag sizes for apple picking. We paid $14 for a large bag of apples.]

[After apple picking, we drove to Main Street and had lunch at Miner's Diner. The food was meh. I would not eat there again. There are a lot of other options around.]

[BUT they do have an old fashion soda fountain!]

[Next door is the drug store which happens to have a 'Cave of Candy'. There are a lot of candy shops that sell taffy and other old fashion candy on Main Street.]

[Racks and racks of pies at Mom's Pies. This is what heaven looks like.]

[Mom's also sells caramel apples. Drool.]

[Apple crumb pie a la mode. This alone is worth the drive to Julian.]

[Huge variety of honey at the Julian Cider Mill store.]

[We bought an entire gallon of cherry cider from the Julian Cider Mill. This tastes the best ice cold. I'm drinking a cup as I type.]

For more info about visiting Julian, check out the city website

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Parker's Little Library

I moved Parker's board books down to his level so he can access his books whenever he wants to read.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Gourmet Baby Food: Recipe for Turkey with Chestnuts and Apples

I am so excited about finally being able to make something from the Gourmet Bebe cook book. I wanted to make this for Parker a week ago but it took 3 days and 4 grocery stores for me to track down the chestnuts needed for the recipe. Why are pre cooked chestnuts so hard to find? After scouring Sprouts, Vons. Trader Joes and Albertsons, I finally finally found chestnuts at Ranch 99. I was so mad that I couldn't find them and then I remembered that Chinese people love snacking on chestnuts (thanks to my travels in Macau for that tidbit!). Not only did they have cooked chestnuts, they have multiple varieties of ORGANIC chestnuts. Needless to say, I was really effin' happy when I found them. Anyhow, the final product was a delicious puree that Parker scarfs down like nobody's business. I also made Tuan and my SIL try it before I pureed it and they both gave it a thumbs up. See? Pureed meat doesn't have to take bad! Go buy this book. You baby will thank you from saving him from the land of boring, bland baby food.

Turkey with Chestnuts and Apples
Original recipe from Gourmet Bebe by Jenny Carenco

4 apples, washed, peeled and chopped
1 turkey breast, cubed
2 teaspoons of finely chopped shallots
1 teaspoon of sunflower oil
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon of cloves
1 cup of precooked chestnuts

[The ingredients minus the chestnuts because I forgot to include them. Mom fail.]

[Step 1. Wash and peel the apples. Remove the cores and chop the fruit into pieces.]

[Step 2. Brown your chopped up turkey in a saucepan over medium heat with the shallots and sunflower oil.]

[Step 3. Check on your sous chef. Parker is in his new Phil and Ted's Poppy Highchair!]

[Step 4. Add the spices, stirring with the turkey for 1 minute until evenly distributed. Then add chestnuts and apples. Fill pan halfway with water, bring to a boil and lower the heat to simmer for 15 minutes.]

[Step 5. Remove from heat and blend until you have a smooth puree.]

[I fed a bit to Parker for dinner and froze the rest. There was enough for 2 1/2 of these trays. The puree tastes great when reheated. Yum! There could not be a more delectable way to incorporate fall flavors into Parker's baby food.]

Check out this comprehensive list from Baby Got Stuff for more nutritious food ideas for your baby!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Celebrating Fall in Socal

It's finally starting to feel like Fall in San Diego which is very exciting considering how hot it has been for the past two weeks. Pre Parker, fall didn't seem like that big of a deal and the thing I looked forward to most was getting to wear boots again. Post Parker, everything is celebrated (!) and everything is new (!) and fantastic. It's amazing how having a baby changes your outlook on life. I've compiled a list of family friendly outings for us to celebrate fall. If we can check just 2 of these off the list, I would consider it a success.
1. Visit Bates Nut Farm to pick out a pumpkin. There are a lot of pumpkin patches in San Diego but I think I want to take Parker to Bates Nut Farm. We need to pick out a winning pumpkin for the Chu Family Annual Carving Contest!

Shop for pumpkins, squash and gourds. Also, a farm zoo, pony rides, hay rides and a straw maze. Sept. 25-Oct. 31; visit website for hours. Free admission.
15954 Woods Valley Rd., Valley Center
More info on pumpkin patches in San Diego is available here.

2. Take a day trip to Julian, where the leaves actually change color. For more info, visit
While we are in Julian, we'll probably visit...

Apple Starr Orchards - U-Pick - August 24, Start of the 2013 Season!!
Open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekends - By appointment weekdays.
Certified Organic Orchard (CCOF) since 2000 growing Apples (delicious, fuji, gala, granny & jonagold) and Pears (bartlett, bosc, anjou). We are open for u-pick on weekends through October. Groups should email to schedule appointments.
(760) 305-2169
1287 Julian Orchards Drive, Julian, CA 92036

Mom’s Pies
Stand outside and let your kids watch pies being assembled through the large storefront window—they are sure to get a smile and a wave from the friendly bakers. Come inside for a slice or take home a whole pie.
2119 Main Street.
Miner’s Diner
Original olde-fashioned soda fountain and diner with full breakfast and lunch menu. Daily specials.
(760) 765-3753
2134 Main Street, P.O. Box 1027, Julian, CA 92036

3. Mickey's Halloween Party at Disneyland. We celebrated Halloween at Disneyland the first year they offered it and had such a fun time! I would love to go again though we probably could not do it without having some of my sisters come along to help or dropping Parks off with a sitter in the OC area (hint hint).

4. Old Town San Diego's Dia De Los Muertos Festival, November 1-2
This event celebrates the unity of life and death, considered by many to be the most important holiday of the year in Mexico and other Latin American countries. The primary focus of the celebration will be on the altars or ofrendas. A Tour of Altars is available; a map and way-finding signage throughout the town will guide you to over 50 Old Town businesses, museums, and historic sites that are participating in the event. A ton of free crafts, face painting, entertainment, food and drink specials and art exhibits will also be available.


There are a ton of other events happening in and around San Diego this fall. Be sure to check out the events calendars on San Diego Family, Red Tricycle and the City of San Diego website for more info on all the art festivals, food festivals, beer festivals and Oktoberfests!


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Custom Photo Books, Games and Brag Books from Pinhole Press

Parker probably doesn't realize it yet, but he has a bajillion cousins, aunties, uncles and grandparents. I alone have 6 sisters if that gives you any idea of how extensive my and Tuan's families are. We don't get to see everyone as much as we want to so I've been trying to figure out a way to help Mr. P with learning all the faces of the VIPs in his life so it's not such a shock when auntie so-and-so picks him up. In my research, I've discovered Pinhole Press which offers a wide variety of beautifully crafted photo items. Their aesthetic is totally in tune with my style: modern, clean and colorful. Below are some of my favorite items from their online shop. I think I will be ordering a few of these for the holidays.

[We’ll just say it: our Big Book of Names and Faces is the most personal picture book ever! All the most important people in a child’s life, in one place, with names in big, easy-to-read type. It’s a delightful and distinctive gift for your favorite young friends – one that will be treasured forever. $49.99]
[Help sharpen their focus with these fun interactive tiles. Choose 12 of your favorite photos and let the games begin! $19.99]

[A Pinhole Press favorite: magnetic portraits that spell out, in playful block letters, the initials of all your fine young friend’s closest companions. Make a complete set of twelve, or three sets of four for different kids – either way, you’ll make a big impression. $24.99]
[Help your child learn their ABCs, 123s and VIPs with our colorful new flash cards – no alphabetical order required. Simply change any letter to represent favorite friends, pets or beloved objects. The only challenge will be choosing who makes the box cover! $24.99]
[Mini Book of Names and Faces. Just like our BIG book of names and faces – now perfectly sized for little hands. Have fun teaching your child the most important people, places and things in their life. Just upload your favorite pictures and add text in large, easy-to-read type. $29.99]
I'm also loving...
[Emergency Contact Info Magnet. Even the most prepared mom, dad or childcare professional can be caught off guard by a sudden emergency. Our magnetic portrait is the most stylish insurance policy you’ll find: all the crucial information, easily accessible on the fridge or file cabinet. It’s an excellent gift for grandparents, siblings, and anyone else who takes care of your beloved babe. Starts at $4.99]
 [If we were the type to brag, we’d call this the most excellent little brag book ever made. Period. It fits easily into a purse or pocket…and, when it’s open, lies completely flat, with no folds or seams to distract from your adorable photos. Is this the perfect gift for every grandma, sister and friend on your list? In a word, yes. $59.99]

Ready to shop?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Modern Tooth Fairy Pillows

I must confess that my first thought after learning that P has teeth was "Oh we have to prepare the tooth fairy." Why can't I just be a normal person and enjoy Parker's first teeth? Why am I already thinking about his teeth falling out? Oh well. Here are my picks for the cutest tooth fairy pillows around. If you know of any other cool pillows/containers I would love to hear about them!

Tooth Fairy Pillows

[While we are on the subject of teeth, here is a photo of what Parker's crib rail looks like now. We just discovered that he has been chomping away on his very expensive bed. Ugh.]

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Om Home - Colorful Modern Baby Clothes

I'm digging everything about these cotton PJs and onesies from OM Home. The line was designed by two moms who love brights colors and were tired of all the pink and baby blue clothing that dominates the baby clothing market. What they created is a line of soft cottony goodness full of beautiful bright colors and a unisex signature print. I really like the Jasper cotton one-piece pj with foldover socks. Such a smart design and perfect for a baby who is learning to crawl. Yay for innovative moms!

Om Home - Organic Baby Clothes

Monday, September 23, 2013

Kidsonroof - Toys that Stimulate Creativity and Imagination

Let me start and end with this simple statement: I want everything on this website. There is really not much else for me to say. Everything that Kidsonroof offers has been designed to stimulate creativity, imagination and hands-on play without the need for batteries. As much as I love technology, sometimes you need some "old fashion" toys that don't need to be charged or plugged in. Their offerings are too advanced for Parker but I could totally see my nephews and nieces having a wonderful time building, decorating and playing with any of the items from Kidsonroof. Like I said before: I want everything on this website.

About the company:
Back to the source of life! Kidsonroof wishes to re-connect modern life with nature, rediscovering basic values. Kidsonroof offers an ecological approach to the act of playing. Stimulating creativity and imagination lies at the heart of Kidsonroofs products.

Kidsonroof was established in 2005 by Romy Boesveldt (NL 68) and Ilya Yashkin (RUS 67). Together with their 3 kids and their little friends they manage a permanent testlab where new ideas keep coming up. A few weeks per year they go back to an oldfashioned simplicity when spending time in their little shed in the southern French mountains without electricity or running water.

Ilya has been trained as an architural designer (Marchi in Moscow and Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. His designs are ingeniously three dimensional and very associative. Romy takes care of the conceptual development and styling.


Friday, September 20, 2013

J Crew Baby!

My reaction to J Crew's new baby line quickly went from excitement to disappointement when I scrolled through the website.

At first I thought "Finally! J Crew has launched their baby line."

Oh a bunch of striped and polka dot onesies and playsuits, how original. I could get the same thing at H&M for half the cost.

The girl stuff is cute but what is up with the selection for baby boys?! *angrily shaking my hand at the computer screen**

[$178 for a cashmere baby one-piece with a skull on it. No thanks.]
I can see this line being a hit with brand loyal buyers with money to spare but overall I am unimpressed. There is nothing original or creative about their designs or prints. J Crew's saving grace will probably be the fact that they will be carrying some other high end baby brands like Oeuf, Petit Bateau, Sperry, Minnetonka, 7 A.M. Enfant, Old Soles, Lem Lem, Rikshaw Designs, Anais & I, Nililotan, Makie, Tane, Salt Water, Pom D'Api, Foundlings, Sea Bags, Swans Island, Manny and Simon, Areaware and DOIY. All of these brands are widely available from other retailers so I would do a quick web search if you are interested in any of the products. Here are some of my picks. Visit the J Crew site today to check out the complete collection!

[Areaware Croc Pile $35]

[Anais & I baby tunic $79]

[Oeuf peeking cat sweater $88]

[Oeuf taxi $76]

[Old soles baby sneakers $40. I just got these for Parker on Gilt for $32]

[Minnetonka baby fringe booties $19.95. WANT THESE!]