Blue Apron, Meal Planning, Kids Don’t Eat

A few months ago i started using Blue Apron to help with my meal planning. At first it was really great. The food was good, the convenience  was excellent. We did it for several months. I liked that you didn’t have to think about what you were going to make, what to shop for, etc. I also liked that Jeff was willing to help with making meals once all the ingredients were there, and the recipe and steps were clearly written visually on the recipe card.

But as the weeks went on, we got tired of eating the food. The recipes take a long time to make (45 min normally, sometimes more) and then, there isn’t much leftovers. They used the same ingredients, like if Kale was in season, EVERYTHING HAD FRIGGIN’ KALE IN IT. Or like Corn and Tomatoes during summer. Like really tiring.

So anyway,.. it was a good run, and i might go back on it later, but for now we’re taking a break, which means back to our same-old meals and slow cookers and frozen / pre-made stuff from Costco!

The other half of this post is a rant on how my children don’t eat anything…. It’s like torture to get them to eat anything. Why is that. Just freakin’ eat something. They 90% of the time don’t eat what we eat. They eat what kids eat like pizza, lasagna, corn dogs, hot dogs, fried rice. Vincent loves potstickers now, and “stars” (basically spaghetti O’s), and PB&J. He used to love beaners and weaners but they stopped making the brand he liked. Melanie seems to really like rice… and corn dogs, (she once ate two whole ones for dinner). I feel like a terrible parent because they don’t eat any vegetables. Sometimes Melanie will eat frozen veggies or corn something. Vincent loves fruit, so that’s good. The only solace i get is i know they eat good balanced meals at daycare. But once Vincent starts going to school next year, how will it be? I don’t imaging school lunch is nutritous… and then that means the only other option is  i’m packing lunch, but then its the same crap that the cafeteria sells!

 

The Daily Grind, and Our Crazy Bedtime Routine

Winter Holiday 2015

I’ll start of this post by that great saying ‘The days are long but the years short.” – that pretty much sums up my life as a parent to a preschooler and a toddler! Luckily, i spent most of my time at work, and not with my children. Wait, did i just say that? LOL. That could be construed the wrong way. But anyway, lets face it, i’m just being real. Parenting is tough and a full-time job you need to be fully committed to with no monetary pay. (though hugs, kisses, and ‘i love you’s’ are priceless of course!)

So – the Daily Grind … wake up, dress yourself, dress your kids, pack my lunch, back the kids’ bags, make a morning snack, drive to daycare, drop kids off, drive to work (i.e. practice choreography), work 8 hours (eat lunch at my desk), drive back to daycare, go home, cook dinner for adults, cook dinner for children (sometimes separate dinners for melanie and vincent, even), bathe the kids, do the bedtime routine, and on some nights i have to teach at the gym, so then i’m there until late in the night. PHEW! Repeat. The bedtime routine! It is always an evolving beast. So i wanted to catalog what it is at this point in time. I think the children really enjoy it, but it really is probably way too long of a routine.

First after dinner, on most nights we will do a “dance party” where we put on  youtube on the tv and watch silly videos like stuff from Pancake Manor (Shake Break, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Happy and You Know it), Crazy Frog dance video, Happy by Pharell, … well here i’ll just link to our playlist!

Bathtime Melanie Mommy

Then it is bath time. Up until recently, this was father’s job. But as the routine got longer and longer, and i had to jet out of the house by 7:45 on work nights, i tasked Jeff to finish bedtime routine and i’d sneak out of the house at bath time. WELL my daughter is just way to smart and she figured this out, and didn’t like it one bit. So she started INSISTING that i give her a bath every night or total meltdown. So, now it’s my job to … basically do everything the house! SIGH! LOL, anyway i digress, Jeff helps out a lot of course :-) Back to the routine… so i wash both kids, dry off both kids, put on PJs, brush teeth, read books, play ring around the rosie, jump on mommy and daddy’s king size bed (we just bought a few months ago!), play horse race on mommy’s legs, play hide-and-go-seek, gather all the stuffed animals and sing a lullaby, say good night to daddy/vinny, turn out the lights, sing another song – now usually hoky-poky or thumb kin, tuck in all Melanie’s friends in her crib, get her all her blankies, her pacifier (yep still into that), and say GOODNIGHT.

Winter Holiday 2015

Winter Holiday 2015

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At this time, Vincent’s probably playing 10 minutes of iPad and sometimes he will get read to… Pretty much Vinny gets tucked in by Jeff every night, so i’m not certain on the routine for him, but its pretty much just a battle of if he plays his iPad or which books he gets to read (if its his pick or daddy’s pick when he takes too long), and then, getting his piggy ice and cold water, and saying his “prayers” to all the people who love him.

Winter 2015

That’s it! That’s the bedtime routine.

*EDIT Feb 27, 2016* Funny thing is it always evolves. When I originally drafted this post a month ago, and re-read it today, it’s changed. We now do a “shoulder ride” – i put Melanie on my shoulders, and then Dad puts Vinny on his shoulders and we go around the house. We also play “lion/dinosaur” with the themed towels and the kids go “peep” and eat worms. LOL. So weird. But the kids just love it.

Goodbye 2006 Corolla, Hello 2016 Mazda CX-5

I said goodbye to my 2006 Toyota Corolla today! I had bought my Corolla brand-new after my used Mazda 626 (i think it was a 97?) dropped its oil cap and ruined the engine. So after 10 years, Jeff especially thought it was time for a new car. I really liked my  old”practical” car… and funny enough, somehow when i bought it i knew i would have it a while and use it to eventually cart along children — even if when i bought it i was single and had not even met Jeff yet! So it had definitely served its purpose, and had excellent gas mileage (35 mpg) for my somewhat long commute to work. IMG_0547

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We traded the Corolla in and got maybe $2K for it i think. It has some body damage and needed new tires.

I test drove the Hyundai Tucson but liked the Mazda better. We actually test drove in Salinas but they didn’t have the color i wanted. I went home and called Seaside Mazda dealership and they said they didn’t have the blue car i wanted on the lot — but that it was coming on a shipment THAT NIGHT! Sa-weet.

HERE IT IS!

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I picked a blue car this time because i was tired of a ‘boring’ silver car! But the bad thing is it does show dirt a lot more than my practical silver car. Wah wah….

The safety features on the car are pretty impressive. There is a back-up camera, blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency breaking, lane departure warning (don’t use that though) as well as automatic windshield wipers! Luxury items like tinted windows, large wheel rims, leather seats, seat warmers, bluetooth pairing, and bose speakers. And don’t forget we bought the one with All-wheel drive (since we have soooo much snow around here… LOL!)

I had to buy a whole backseat seat cover to put under the kids’ car seats because the kids eat snacks in my car while driving to daycare in the morning. So far i think it is working pretty well. You should have seen the back of my Corolla! Yikes!

I am looking forward to driving the the car and taking it to Costco where i hopefully won’t have to battle with my trunk and shove items in the kids’ carseats!

Christmas Day 2015

For Christmas, my sister decided to fly in for the weekend since my Mom and Dad were in Australia with my other sister Jill to celebrate her graduating from dental school. Christmas crept up on up pretty quickly! The children – as always – got plenty of gifts.

Jeff, Susan and i prepped the christmas gifts the night before. Here is the tree on Christmas Eve. It is so exciting as a parent to get ready for the big day!

Christmas Day 2015

On Christmas mornin, Vinny came into our room and i am not sure he remembered it was Christmas because he didn’t ask about presents or go look at the tree or anything. He just hung out with us and took silly selfies:

Winter Holiday 2015 

Winter Holiday 2015
After we mentioned the whole Christmas thing, we started checking out our stockings and then started slowly opening presents under the tree.

 Winter Holiday 2015

Melanie got Frozen Dolls, a unicorn rocking horse, and a new dollhouse, and a Hello Kitty car.

Christmas Day 2015

Christmas Day 2015

Christmas Day 2015

Winter Holiday 2015

Vincent got a new bike (!), a remote control car, train tracks/tunnel, and a paw patrol scooter.

Christmas Day 2015

Christmas Day 2015

Christmas Day 2015

My mom got both of the kids marshmallow chairs. Melanie LOVES hers!
Christmas Day 2015

Christmas Day 2015

My sister Jill bought them an Easel which they played with for a while. Of course they fought over the dry-eraser since it only came with one.

Winter Holiday 2015

I got Jeff (and the family) a new portrait to remember Butter’s by — set right above the computer.

Winter Holiday 2015

Pop-pop and Oma came by to check out the festivities too!

Christmas Day 2015

Christmas Day 2015

I FINALLY made a baby book for melanie! So that was my gift to the grands.
Winter Holiday 2015

As for me, i got a cool wide-angle and macro lens for my phone! This picture was taken with the wide angle:
Winter Holiday 2015

Later in the day we went to the in-laws to open more presents and eat lunch. Melanie knew all about opening presents by then!

Christmas Day 2015

Christmas Day 2015

Vincent is obsessed with marble ball!

Christmas Day 2015

Aunty Susan bought Vinny a motorized Paw Patrol scooter, and Melanie a motorized Hello Kitty car. She is pretty good at getting the “Aunty” gifts.

Christmas Day 2015

Winter Holiday 2015

Winter Holiday 2015

Earlier in the week, Vinny went home sick with the flu. Then Melanie came down with it… Luckily i was home from work by then so could watch the kids. We were wiping Melanie’s nose all day long.

Christmas Day 2015

And of course you know what that means… Later on Christmas night i ended up getting super sick with the flu, which put me out a couple of days. Luckily my sister was here to help watch the kids. (Though she accidentally drank my water and got sick too, but after she returned to Hawaii.)I didn’t have my flu shot but the kids did, so i think they didnt get it TOO bad. Jeff was lucky and escaped the sickness …. as he somehow normally does!

Christmas Fun

Christmas Day 2015

Getting the tree ready after Thanksgiving. Vinny knew what to do. Melanie is great learner and just copied what everyone else was doing without any other prompting. Smart little girl.

Winter Holiday 2015

She could not resist touching the ornaments. You’d always find several on the ground!

Vincent had a lot of fun opening his Lego advent calendar each night.
Winter Holiday 2015

Vinny and i went to a cookie exchange/ugly christmas sweater party with my friends from the gym. My sweater had CATS on it of course!

Winter Holiday 2015

Here are the cookies! Plenty!

Winter Holiday 2015

I made peanut butter cookies:
Winter Holiday 2015

On the way home from the party in Marina, we visited a fun house with lots of christmas decorations and lights!

Winter Holiday 2015

Winter Holiday 2015

Every year i make my Chex Mix as presents to my friends.
Winter Holiday 2015

We keep hiring more people at work so my batch keeps needing to get bigger and bigger!

Winter Holiday 2015

Visiting Santa 2015

We went to the mall early on a Sunday to catch our Santa picture.

It was a cold rainy day! Vincent did pretty well but melanie really freaked out hence, my having to be in the photo!

Santa Portrait - Salinas Mall - 2015

They got some really cute plates afterwards for santa cookies.

Winter Holiday 2015

We played a bit at the mall indoor playground and checked out the coin rides/games.

Winter Holiday 2015

Winter Holiday 2015

Christmas Portraits 2015

Here is our annual family christmas card:

Christmas Card 2015-FINAL

The family photo was taken when we had to take a company/family photo for my work’s holiday card.

Schipper Christmas-09315-EDIT_email

Here is the letter i wrote to family and friends:

Winter Holiday 2015

I took the portraits of the kids later since they did not look too smiley in the group shot!

They were kind of hard to take photos of, i had to tell Vinny jokes and Melanie – though usually eager to pose the for camera, decided she did not want to that day (of course).

Some additional favorite shots:

Christmas Portraits 2015

To get a genuine smile, i have to tell him a joke or do something extra silly.

Christmas Portraits 2015

This is Melanie telling me “NO!!!!” LOL

Christmas Portraits 2015

If only Vincent were staring at Melanie instead of into space…

Christmas Portraits 2015

Her ears are glowing!

Christmas Portraits 2015

Great smile!

Christmas Portraits 2015

Vinny had fun pulling his sister in the wagon.

Christmas Portraits 2015

I truly tried to get a good shot of them together… but just impossible. This one they’re both over it i guess!

Christmas Portraits 2015

This picture got a lot of “likes” on facebook!

Thanksgiving 2015

We went over to Pop-pop and Oma’s house for a not-too-formal dinner. We got some pretty good portraits for the day!
Thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

The kids love going to their house.

Thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

Earlier in the day we baked ginger bread cookies but i overbaked them so they didnt taste too good.

Thanksgiving 2015

I made a batch once long before i had kids and it was like the best gingerbread cookies i ever had … and … i lost the recipe! So sad.

Vincent’s First Soccer Season

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We signed up Vinny for the YMCA Soccer league. He was on a team of 10 kids aged 3-5. He had a few really good players on his team. Vinny scored a goal during his first game! Too bad, it was for the other team!

In general, he did not really follow the game very well. He was usually in his own world, and would maybe follow the ball if it happen to cross paths with him. He liked to just play with is shirt (which was way too big for him), stare at birds, and run real funny. His favorite part of the game was at the end when the parents made a human tunnel for the kids to run through. Then of course snack time!

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Trophy at the end of the season.

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Tunnel time!

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Melanie was cute, she wanted to have her own ball and practice on the sidelines.

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Here are the snacks i did up when it was our turn. Customized bags, yes! Look at that YMCA Logo on the Lions shirt. I mean that’s just professional right there.

 

Halloween 2015 – Catboy and Unicorn

Vincent Halloween 2015 - Catboy PJ Masks

Disney channel has a new kids show called PJ Masks that debuted in September. Vincent really wanted to be Catboy. Etsy (for the mask), Amazon (blue suit) and Joanns (blue duct tape) helped put this costume together. So much fun when it’s not store bought!

Melanie Halloween 2015 - Unicorn

Melanie LOVES her unicorn Beanie Boo! So when I found this costume I knew she would love it.

Halloween 2015

Daddy carved the pumpkin. Kids were very interested in the candle.

Halloween 2015

Trying to get a photo of both of them is so hard. This one will do i guess.

  Halloween 2015

See what i mean — they were chasing each other in circles. Early in the day we went to Downtown to Trick-or-treat. Since i had to teach earlier we couldn’t make it until a few hours after it started, so most businesses ran out of candy. But we still got enough.

  Halloween 2015

Jeff and I recycled our Disney costumes from two years ago.


Halloween 2015

Vinny strikes a pose!

Halloween 2015

Charlotte and her family went with us too.

For “real” trick-or-treating, we went around our neighborhood in the red wagon done up with glowsticks.

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Melanie really liked the decorations like the light-up pumpkins.

Vinny was pretty much a pro at trick-or-treating ==- he was being funny asking where the doorbell was at each house. (” you have to look for it Vinny!”!), and Melanie learned the ropes of trick-or-treating super quick!

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She was trying to say “trick or treat” and was saying Thank you. Such a sweetie. Halloween is so much fun with these kids. Melanie discovered she LOVES M&Ms! Only bad part is she drools chocolate while eating it! Vincent was beyond excited for his mask to come in the mail (made it here 10/30) and be his favorite super hero.


© Copyright 2014 Diane & Jeffrey