the real us

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Random Rainy Days, Let's Make Random Parfaits!

June gloom stuck around all the way til the end here in southern California. We even had a bit of  a thunder and lightening storm! It's not something we see very often here and I sort of chuckled when my husband turned off all the electronic devices when the storm was right over our house. I grew up in Minnesota and I really don't know if that's something people do because I was just 9yo when we moved to CA. I'm glad that my husband is always thinking about safety! He's definitely proactive when it comes to stuff like that.

I was delighted that Kyle thought to take out a fun game for everyone to play. We've had this game Brain Quest for awhile but only recently has it appealed to Owen who's six.  With the culture of electronics in our lives it is kind of a nice to see how readily they enjoyed playing this game together. But, all good things must come to an end. So when things started to wind down with the game (you can read that as some boredom set in or they began bickering, frankly I don't remember), I suggested we make a snack.

Parfaits may not be the immediate thing that comes to mind on a rainy day, but I had an abundance of yogurt and blueberries and like to make sure we optimize what we have on hand. Yogurt and fruit is just fine most of the time, but we needed to make this an activity, you know stretch it out a bit and keep the kids busy.

So, since we had some random rain, why not make some random parfaits?


1 cup organic vanilla flavored yogurt (the kids love Stonyfield smooth and creamy variety)
1/3 cup peach preserves (this one I picked up at Jimbo's - a cool local natural food store)
1/2 cup granola
1/2 cup fresh organic blueberries
1/2 banana sliced

What's awesome about yogurt parfaits is the fact there are no rules, you can really layer it how you want. You can see from the image below we chose to go yogurt, peach preserves, yogurt, granola, banana, blueberries. The kids ended up mixing everything up. Again, no wrong way to enjoy your yogurt parfait!

This yields 3 kid sized parfaits. The cups are 10 oz size. As you can see they are maybe 6 oz servings.

Sometimes our parfaits are not typical flavor combinations but what I've learned is that you just don't know until you try it! The kids gobbled these right up. Kyle specifically wants to make these again next time. It will just depend what fruit we have on hand! Random is not all that bad.

Oh and here's a picture of the kids playing Brain Quest.

And per his usual, Owen had to strike a pose when he saw I had the camera in hand.

The rain passed more quickly than I would have hoped. Even I was eager to open up the laptop and catch up. But for a little bit we really disconnected from media. For that I am grateful for the rain. Plus, we are in a serious drought here in California so we've been appreciating every rainfall and reminding ourselves not to complain.

What does your family do when it rains? Share in the comments below. I'm working on a rainy day post and your ideas may be included!

Fruit Smoothie with Chia Boost

The last couple of days we have had some funky weather! It was muggy and dark, very atypical SoCal weather. This weather makes me feel totally blah.  It didn't feel like the kind of weather to make a smoothie. Not that you need perfect sunshine for smoothies, but it also made for ridiculously poor lighting for photographing anything in the kitchen. Thank goodness the sun started to peek out again today.

Around snack time my kids wanted something to eat and I haven't restocked our healthy fridge snack box so of course they come to me to find out what they can nibble on. Amberly wanted a smoothie and I had just been given a tip to try adding chia seeds to a smoothie for a boost of energy so that's what we tested out in the kitchen.

I used apple juice for this smoothie. We don't typically drink juice in our house but for a smoothie to blend well and taste good I find you need a cup of juice. And remember my cool smoothie tip from this post about adding liquid to the blender.

Amberly knows I can easily get distracted so she got everything out and on the counter.

Here's what you'll need to recreate this at home:

1 cup apple juice
1 cup organic yogurt - I used Stonyfield Smooth & Creamy Vanilla flavored
3 heaping cups frozen fruit - pineapple, mango peach, strawberry 
2 Tbsp chia seeds - I used Chosen Foods
optional - kiwi slices to garnish

When you've added everything to the blender (remember liquid goes in first!), cover and blend for 2 minutes on high.

This recipe made 3 kids size smoothies and one tall smoothie.

The verdict? The kids loved it and were arguing over who got the last bit that was left. 

I have to say this one ranks right up there with the Organic Tropical Smoothie Surprise we made recently. If you didn't see that one, I highly recommend you give it a try. It's perfect for breakfast!


If you like this post, you'll also like these (just click on the image to get recipe):


I'm linking this post up over at:

Monday, June 29, 2015

Organic Tropical Smoothie Surprise

Amberly asked if we could make a smoothie. I was busy working at the computer so I asked her to give me 30 minutes to wrap up. She agreed and dutifully went off to play video games with her brother. Well, 37 minutes later she came back to peer over my shoulder and take note of the time on the laptop. Alright, alright, alright....

She got busy getting out the ingredients and asked that we only use half the amount of yogurt that we normally do because this particular brand in our fridge (our first and last time ever picking this one up) had too strong of a taste and changed the flavor of the smoothie. Okay. Now I had to put on my thinking cap and think about what else we would add to make up for using half the amount of yogurt. Looking at the bag of organic frozen fruit I noticed it was a tropical feel. "Hmm... I think we'll add coconut oil." To be honest, we made this twice, the second time with the tweaks made it perfect!

We had just enough mango nectar (juice) left. Whew! Nothing like having an idea in your head and your fridge makes you change your plans.


1 cup mango nectar
2 heaping cups frozen fruit (I got this Organic Wawona daybreak blend at Costco - pull out the strawberries so what is left are frozen pineapple, mango and peach chunks)
1/2 cup yogurt
1 banana
1 ice cream scoop coconut oil (we love Nutiva)
1 heaping tablespoon hempseed (again Nutiva)


As I've mentioned in my last smoothie post, start by putting the juice into the blender first. I happen to have a Vitamix and love it! Next add the yogurt, the idea is that the more liquid ingredients go in first. Add everything else except coconut oil. Liquefy the coconut oil. I did this in a glass measuring cup in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. Go back to the blender. Cover blender. Blend on high for a minute or two. Now pour in the liquid coconut oil through the blender opening while still blending, continue blending on high for 45 seconds.

I've been adding in hempseed to our smoothies for a boost of protein and omega 3s. My kids can taste it if I add too much so I stick to the 1 to 2 TBSP and it is undetectable.

I happened to have fresh mango on hand and thought to garnish my tropical treat!

I hope you give this one a try! If you want to save it for later PIN THE IMAGE BELOW  to your "smoothie" or "healthy snack" or "breakfast" board!

If you enjoyed this post you may want to check these out... just click on the image!:


I've linked this post up over at:

Cuddle Fairy

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Creative Inspiration - Week 6

I knew when I snapped these pictures that I'd be sharing one of these quotes in this week's creative inspiration post.

Last week we had an opportunity to enjoy theatre under the stars and the walkway to our seats had some inspirational messages. This one was the first and the picture would be better if the ground were pristine clean, but it is a walkway after all so just appreciate the message:

Looking at this just makes me happy! I love rainbows and bright colors and think of things with the glass is half full mentality. I believe I found this one on google+ awhile ago and pinned it. By the way I'd love you to follow me on Pinterest!

Because of the SCOTUS decision on 6/26/2015 I feel compelled to share this one again even though I've shared it before. #LoveIsLove!

So, tell me, which one of these quotes meant something to you?

I'm sharing this post over at:

Antique Engine & Tractor Show

What started off as a lazy Saturday picked up steam when I saw that my friend the Lovely Lysa had tickets to share for the Antique Engine & Tractor show in Vista. I asked my husband if he thought it would be fun and he said "Sure!" We grew up in Vista and his mom was pretty good about taking the kids to explore different things so he had been to the Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum before. In fact he had taken the kids there before on a weekday when not much was going on. We figured this was a good way to have them get a glimpse of what life was like 100 years ago.

It took us about 30 minutes to head up the freeway and we still had 2 hours to walk around and explore. I must have taken 100 pictures! Good thing I had made room on my iPhone just the other day. 

As we entered the grounds I could already hear the muttering from the kids. They didn't think it was going to be any fun. My husband reminded them to have an open mind and to be appreciative of the fact that we had an opportunity to do something different. As you can see from the pictures, they ended up having a lot of fun! 

Now onto pictures...

Honking horns is great fun! Especially tractor horns.

We saw a water wagon that brought water in for the orchards.

Model T Fords were on display to see up up close.

The kids were drawn to the various water pumps. 


And when I saw this purple contraption of course I had to stop and gawk at it for a minute.

Who knew there were such a variety of corn huskers? It looks like we missed the demonstration.


There was an exhibitor with tables full of old fashioned kitchen gadgets

There was more to look at and touch...

I love thinking that about 100 years ago a father rigged up a small tractor and wagon for his son to help him around the farm.

And then we saw the playground.... and get this.... there was a Merry-Go-Round!

I didn't know if I was going to be able to pull them away from it! Since these things don't exist on San Diego playgrounds I had to let them take a spin. And the kicker is we almost walked by and missed it! I think we'll have to go back here in the not too distant future because I want to get some more pictures of them spinning. I did take some video and post it on instagram. I tend to post live from there as we explore San Diego so be sure to follow me there.

When we saw there was a train, the kids wanted to do that too! What's awesome is you pay just $1 and you can ride several times on the same day. Gotta love that!

I couldn't resist getting the kids fudge bars. They were only a dollar apiece. This place definitely makes it affordable for families. I was lucky to be get in under the wire and buy these fudge bars just as the sandwich shop was closing shop. 

The kids went to ride the train again and we listened to a banjo jam session.

Cory found the best seat for listening to the banjo jam session... The young man who was driving the train approached us and said he owned it and they started chatting about how Cory's grandpa used to own a tractor like this and the memories it brought back from being a kid and riding in his grandpa's lap while he drove it.

We were getting ready to head out.... but whenever I see vendors I have to go take a look-see and it is a good thing I did. I found this perfect blanket for the 4th of July. Guess how much I paid for it.... TWO DOLLARS. Okay, I am just loving this blanket! And I had a great conversation with the woman who sold it to me about how she hosted foreign exchange students a few years back. 

Then the same woman who sold me the blanket encouraged us to go over and see about building some rockets with one of the other vendors. Well, you can't say no to that! You'll have to check back when I share about that.

It was 4:30 pm and time for the show to shut down for the evening. Over the loud speaker we heard that the vendors and exhibitors or anyone staying overnight at the campgrounds was invited to partake in a tractor parade at 8 pm. Now that has got to be a cool thing to see!

Walking back to the car I saw these signs and knew we had more to come back and see. We didn't make it to the gift shop or the bake shop or the workshop! 

This event rolls back around in October and I am marking my calendar for it.

It ended up being a really fun outing for everyone. The next time an opportunity pops up for you to do something out of the ordinary, I hope you'll think back to this post and take advantage. Thank you again to the Lovely Lysa and North County Deals for this fun, educational experience.