Sunday, July 31, 2016

Munchery Review

Adam and I used a new-to-us food service last week called Munchery. Have you heard of it? I kept seeing it advertised, and so when I received a coupon to buy one meal, get one free, I had to try it.

Munchery is similar to many other "meal cooking kit" services in that you can order a box of pre-chopped ingredients to easily prepare a meal. However, Munchery also offers fully assembled meals that you simply re-heat and eat. Adam and I were about to leave for our family vacation and I was looking for a really simple but healthy dinner to eat the night before we left. I hopped online the day before, chose our meals, and they were delivered to our doorstep the next day! The entire process was incredibly simple and convenient. I appreciated that Munchery was as easy as ordering takeout, but tasted like a homecooked meal. Shipping cost about $2.50 I believe, which was worth it in my opinion.

Here's how it all worked. Our meals arrived in a paper bag and inside was a complimentary bottle of water, included to keep the food cool.
The bag explained some great things about the company, including the usage of local organic ingredients.

On to the food! Munchery's menu changes daily, an there were quite a few delicious options to choose from. Adam went with the Short Rib Sloppy Joe and I chose the Pork Belly Bao.

Everything arrived neatly packaged with clear instructions on how to heat. I loved that we had the option of using the oven or the microwave. We used the oven on this particular day, but I can see myself using the microwave next time we order from Munchery. It's been in the 100's here lately!
Here is Adam's complete meal. He said everything was delicious, although he wanted more potato wedges!

And mine. It had such a unique flavor and was unlike anything I had eaten before. I loved the soft little buns and the pickled veggies that came with it were really good. There was so much extra meat that I just ate it on the side.

We will definitely be trying Munchery again soon. It was just so simple and the food tasted delicious. I love trying new foods, so I appreciated the variety of dishes they offered. Adam's tastes are more traditional, so he was happy to see some more "American" meals on the menu.

If you are interested in trying Munchery for yourself, I have a link that you can use to get $20 off your first order!

Happy munching!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Summer 2016 Vacation

This year's summer vacation is coming to an end and I am sad that it's almost over! Our criteria for planning a vacation with 3 young kids is that it has to be easy, kid-friendly, and budget-friendly. So we decided to spend a few days at my parents' house in the Bay Area (budget-friendly lodging!), travel to nearby places (easy!), and do fun kid activities (kid-friendly!). Here's what we've been up to:

Saturday: We drove down in the afternoon and immediately headed to our good friends Jon and Danielle's house for a BBQ. We were greeted by lots of our old friends and it was such a great surprise! The kids played in the water and we had a great time catching up. Between the 5 couples we had 12 kids.
Sunday: On Sunday the boys went with Adam and my Dad to an Oakland A's game. They rode on BART to get there, and tasted cotton candy for the first time at the game. (Neither of them liked it). I went with Jenna and my Mom to visit my Grandma. She turns 98 next month!
Monday: Monday was probably the boys' favorite part of vacation. We picked up Adam's Mom and drove down to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. It was freezing when we got there but eventually it warmed up. 
The boys went on a couple ride before we went down to the beach for lunch. We spent a couple hours down there and I forgot to put sunblock on Jenna right away. It was overcast so it slipped my mind, but I know better because I know you can still get burnt when there are clouds out!
After Lucas got knocked down by a couple waves we went back up to the boardwalk and continued going on rides. We ended our long day at Chipotle in Santa Cruz and didn't get home until after 10pm.

Tuesday: We planned this day to be kind of a "rest" day. When Jenna woke up with an awful sunburn on her face and a blister on her cheek, we knew it was a smart choice to keep her indoors. I feel so bad that her poor little face got so badly burned! We took the boys to see Finding Dory at the movie theater and then spent the afternoon doing a little shopping in Fremont. We ended the day with dinner at my parents' house followed by some fro-yo!

Wednesday: We originally planned on going to San Francisco on this day. We were going to visit Pier 39 but ultimately decided the kids wouldn't have a lot of fun there. After tossing around a few ideas, we ended up deciding on the Oakland Zoo.
The elephant was our favorite animal! He was swimming around taking a bath, and then as soon as he got out he sniffed up a bunch of dirt and shot it all over himself. Silly elephant! I told my boys they are just like the elephant....getting dirty as soon as they get out of the bathtub.
It was hot and we were all tired. Adam got a workout in pushing all 3 kids in the stroller.
After the zoo we came back to Newark and crashed for a couple hours. Jenna napped, the boys watched TV, and I read. Then we went to Dino's for dinner with the Lemos family. We had a kids table and an adult table!
And tomorrow we drive back home. It feels like our vacation went by really quickly, but we are all really tired so I guess we did a lot! Adam and I agreed that we need an adult vacation now so we can rest after our family vacation. ha! It's been a really fun week in the Bay Area and I wish we could have seen more family/friends and done even more fun activities. Now it's back to reality!

Friday, July 22, 2016

What I'm Reading #2

Back in April I shared a list of the books I had recently read. You can read it here. Some of you had great suggestions for other books to read, and I loved hearing what you all like to read. So I've been keeping track for the last couple months of my latest reads, and here they are! 7 books in 3 months....I guess averaging a new book every couple weeks isn't bad?

Killing Reagan
This book was a completely different change of pace for me. I don't typically read non-fiction, nor do I read political books. But I really enjoyed reading about the life of Ronald Reagan. I'm sure I learned about him in school many years ago, but I don't remember. This book provided so many interesting details about his life before, during and after his presidency.

Me Before You
I was really expecting to love this book. It was released as a movie last month, so the book must have been pretty popular. It is a story about a woman who becomes a caregiver for a quadriplegic. I did enjoy parts of it but overall it just left me feeling a bit depressed and I hated the ending.

What Alice Forgot

Now this book I loved! I have read a few other books by Moriarty and they are all so entertaining. I especially like that they take place in Australia. Alice is a 29-yr old who suffers a nasty bump on the head and wakes up as a 39-yr old, with no memory of the last 10 years. This book reminded me a lot of Sophie Kinsella's Remember Me? Read them both!

Noah's Wife
Another book that I was expecting to love but just only liked. The book was a bit of a modern day metaphor for Noah's Ark, from the perspective of Noah's wife. Ultimately there was so much rain and darkness in the book that I just didn't finish it with a good feeling. I guess I like books that make me happy. I'm curious if anyone else has read this and enjoyed it?

The Explosive Child

This book was given to me by my Mother-in-law, to help me out a bit with the boys' behavior. The description says "An explosive child who frequently exhibits severe noncompliance, temper outbursts, and verbal or physical aggression". I read that and said YES I need to read this book! The book began by explaining that many explosive children are not capable of behaving differently unless they are given the right tools to do so. To expect different results from them by just punishing "harder" may be like punishing a child who needs glasses for not being able to see. The book focuses on teaching your child the skills they need to be more flexible and less hostile, and I can see myself getting a lot of use out of this book.

Maisie Dobbs

This book was recommended to me by my Aunt and I loved it! I felt so smart reading this book because it takes place in Europe in the 1920's and the language was a bit different to read. (Apparently I usually read more "fluff" books. ha!) Maisie began as a maid who trained to be a nurse during the Great War, and then went on to become a private investigator. This is the first book in a series about Maisie so I may check our library for the next book.

For The Love
Now this is a book that I was expecting to love....and I did! Jen Hatmaker is a hilarious writer. This book switches back and forth between serious topics and major humor, focusing on God's grace "in a world of impossible standards". I highly recommend this one!

So that's it for my latest list of books. Do you think you will read any of these? I would love to hear more book recommendations from you!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Truth About Summer

Ahh summer. On the one hand it feels like it's going by quickly. School starts in one month! On the other doesn't start for an entire month!

I love the idea of summer. Lazy days of sleeping in, playing all day, eating lots of cold treats, staying up late watching movies, trips to the beach, vacation, swimming, lots of laughter and carefree days.
The truth about summer is this:

I feel like I'm a hostage negotiator each and every day. Just because your brother said the red car is faster than the blue car does not mean you get to kick him in the head. And when you escalate and start slamming doors and breaking glass, there will be consequences. There are 2 big personalities constantly colliding and exploding in this house. I'm breaking up fights and issuing consequences like it's my full-time job. (I guess it is).

The truth is that my children have no concept of sleeping in. Even when they do stay up late. In fact, they seem to get up even earlier after stating up late. And then they proceed to be the grumpiest humans on the planet the next day.

Summertime is basically what daily life used to be like before my oldest was in school. Except now I've had a taste of what it's like to have a child in school, of what it's like to get a teeny break during the day to get something done. And I want it back!!

The truth is that no matter how many fantastically fun things we've done, my oldest still constantly complains that he hasn't done anything fun this summer.

2 out of 3 toilets in our house are clogged right now because a certain 4 yr old has decided it is fun to flush soap dispenser lids down the toilet. There is a fresh hole in the wall from the oldest's latest outburst. And I haven't seen the bottom of my kitchen sink since June.

The truth is that we have done a LOT of fun and exciting things this summer and I am trying really hard to focus on those experiences!!

Adam recently had 3 days off in a row. At the end of it he turned to me with a crazed look in his eyes and said "I haven't heard myself think in 3 days." Ha. Haha. Hahaha. He confirmed what I had been feeling all summer. And I know most of you feel the same way, so don't try to tell me otherwise!

Here's to the last month of summer!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

My Birthday at Folsom Lake

My 34th birthday was a great one! We wanted to spend a day at Folsom Lake this summer, and the pontoon boat we were renting was only available on my birthday. It turned out perfectly!

Our boat is the one on the left. Lots of shade and plenty of seating for our 4 adults and 8 kids!

We set sail and found a beach to stop at. The kids enjoyed playing on the back of the boat in the sun. I spent quite a lot of time back there as well!

All of us played in the water. And lounged.

We couldn't keep Bella and Lucas out of the water! They were definitely the most adventurous.
The babies shared food:

Despite his face he loved the boat. He kept telling Adam to drive faster!
We ended my birthday with some Olive Garden to go. Happy Birthday to me!