“Kids! I am beginning to really like yoga.” I happily announced my new hobby to my teens a couple of weeks ago.

My favorite yoga pose

“Oh, NO!” the kids answered in unison.

“What’s wrong with yoga?” me.

“Soon you will become one of those women wearing yoga pants to go shopping at Whole Foods, and buying yourself kale smoothies.” my 17 year-old was quick with imagining this escalating doom for me.

I am used to teenage girls’ negativity. I fought back by adding fuel to their fire…

“You know, I finally understand why people like to wear yoga pants to go everywhere. It is not just because they are so sexy. They are just so comfortable! I am going to start wearing my hot yoga pants all the time too.” me.

The kids ran upstairs screaming. Ha ha ha.

Yesterday afternoon, I picked up my 14 year-old at a local golf course, after her high school golf team’s practice.

“How was golf today?” me.

“Fine.” my teen produced a barely audible, lackluster reply.

I guessed that she did not want to talk to me about her day all that much.

So, I proceeded to tell her about my day, “Hey, I did yoga this morning!”

“Oomph!” eye roll. “Yoga is so stupid! Why do you even like yoga?” she charged at me.

“Well, yoga is a low impact exercise. It helps with flexibility, stretching, strengthening, toning the body a bit. Yoga helps with muscles that get very little workout. The first time I did yoga, I was sore in all the weird places. I didn’t even know that I had muscles in some of those places!” me.

“If you didn’t know you had muscles in some places, that just means those are the muscles you don’t even need!” 14 year-old educating me.

I have succeeded at engaging a moody 14 year-old in a conversation with me. My superior mothering skills clearly still intact.

“Instead of doing yoga, why don’t you just go to play golf for an hour! At least, with golf, you are doing a real sport.” 14 year-old. “Yoga is so pointless. It is nothing more than a warm up, as if you are preparing your body to do a sport, but then, when you are done, you don’t do the sport!”

“That’s exactly why I like it!!” I was looking at her all excited. “ I spend a hour warming up my body. And when I am done, I don’t have to do a thing! I go home.”

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Pirates of the Cure-ibbean team badge

You know how there are people who donate money to a non-profit organization only because they have loved ones who are beneficiaries of that organization?

THAT’S US!!! We are that kind of people.

Ever since my baby was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes nearly 4 years ago, we have enthusiastically poured thousands of dollars every year into several diabetic related non-profits, and participated annually in our local JDRF walk for a cure event.

A few months ago, a member of our extended family from Arizona, who also has Type 1 Diabetes, invited us to join her team in the American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure event in Denver, Colorado.

Flying halfway across the country to Denver, to ride bikes in their thin air, and raise money for ADA? Yes! Count us in.

Tour de Cure - Denver, Colorado

Two weekends ago, we caught a flight into Denver on a Friday night, and got in just after midnight. We got up at six o’clock on Saturday morning to feast on a big breakfast, and made our way to the event site for our 9AM check-in time.

Tour de Cure-Colorado

Family from far and near came to join us at this event. Our team had 17 riders/walkers, and was among the top ten fundraising teams in this event. The ADA rewarded us with our own team tent.

Our pirate themed team tent

In no time, we were equipped with our borrowed bikes,

Gearing up for our bike ride

and got in line for our 10AM starting line.

At the start line for our 10AM ride

“GO Red rider!” people shouted.

Red rider

All participants living with diabetes were honored with a red shirt, and everyone cheered for them as they rode past.

I rode behind my baby the whole way, and could feel that she was grinning from ear to ear as people cheered for her.

The ride took a little over 2 hours.

The big finish

After the finish line, we all met back at our team tent for drinks and lunch. After a quick afternoon shower, we all met up again for a team dinner/BBQ.

The weekend was action-packed with a fun-spirited bike ride, delicious food, and great people all coming together for a great cause in honor of some of our favorite people in the world.

We are so glad that we went.

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School started for my kids 2 weeks ago. My 17 year-old can drive herself to school, and is taking the younger one with her.

How is this for my life? Grand??

Ding! Ding! Ding!

For the first time since they started pre-school, I no longer had to get up a little after 6AM in the mornings to prepare for their mornings, and then drive them to school.

I feel free!! Liberated.

No doubt, my alarm clock is beginning to feel a bit obsolete. Its wake up call service has been replaced by my natural internal clock. My eyes blinked open blissfully well after the 8AM mark every morning.

Now and then a bout of guilt knock at my conscience. A good mother’s life can not be a breeze.

I have to do something…

So, I engaged my alarm clock’s rude waking service last Saturday morning. I then rolled out of bed, and made my children’s favorite breakfast:

The Hawaiian Breakfast.

Homemade Hawaiian breakfast

Steam rice. Scrambled egg. Spam (low fat, and low sodium. But still unbelievably salty). Portuguese sausage. And fresh cut pineapple.

Fresh pineapple

I even served the breakfast in their old toddler plate.

Served in a toddler plate

What teen does not want to eat out of a Dora and Boots plate. I felt better.

I woke the whole family up at 9AM for our family breakfast. I felt great. I am considering doing this every Saturday morning.

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We live within easy driving distance to one of the world’s top wine regions, Napa Valley.

Napa Valley

But we seldom visit Napa Valley…

Hubby and I try very hard to be good parents, and good parents don’t drag their children to Napa Valley’s countless wineries to sip wine.

Then one day, one of these children got a driver’s license. We got ourselves a designated driver!

Our teen driver

Hey, hubby and I can both taste wine all day long. This gave us enough incentive to stop being good parents. We loaded the kids into our car, and drove to Napa.

The first stop was lunch, and our navigation took us straight to C Casa.

100% Gluten free restaurant

C Casa is one of the rare 100% gluten free restaurants in the country. When you have a celiac in the family, any 100% gluten free restaurant qualifies as a destination all by itself.

C Casa offered wide menu options, and we ordered the Bison Burger, Duck and Steak tacos, and roasted chicken.

Gluten free lunch at Napa

Since C Casa started out as a gluten free bakery, we ordered their lemon cake and donuts to boot. This pleased our 13-year-old celiac child immensely.

Our baby felt like a VIP at Napa. Many of their ice cream parlors offered gluten free cones,

Gluten free ice cream cone

and for dinner, she got to order a gluten free dinner entree that is the good food, ribs and fries!!

Gluten free baby back ribs and fries

We still feel like good parents.

Napa Valley is teeming with fine dining options, boutique shops, galleries, high end coffee bars,

Coffee bar

and loads of fine cheeses.

Huge selection of fine cheeses

But mostly, people come to Napa for its vines and wine, and its endless supply of beautiful wineries.


We visited a number of wineries, tasted many glasses of fine wine,

Wine tasting

and came home with 16 bottles. The four of us agreed that when these 16 bottles run dry, it is time for another drive to Napa.

Drive to Napa

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Every night is my summer cocktail hour…

Pisco Sour

I used to toast the end of the my day with half a glass of wine. This was a practice I introduced to myself since my children were toddlers, as a way to reward myself having to put up with them all day, and for having put them to bed!

My personal drink menu has grown over the years, just recently I have added the Mojito, and my new favorite, the Pisco Sour, to my bar.

Pisco Sour is a Peruvian drink I enjoyed during a recent trip to Peru, and since not many restaurant bars offer such an exotic drink, I learned to make it for myself at home. All I needed was to score some Peruvian Pisco, and rest of the ingredients were easy.

Oh, I am no recipe loyalist, I don’t mind getting creative and mixing in things I can find in my fridge.

Who knew, you can add fresh lychee fruit to the Pisco Sour mix, and promote a great drink to a supreme drink.

Just add lychee

Checkout my Mojito!

Mango Mojito

I have had it flavored with mango, lychee, peach, and I can’t wait to try it with that watermelon next.

It only takes me about 5 minutes to make one of these drinks now. This is a great way to toast the joy of everyday life.

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Over Easter break, the four of us hopped on a red eye flight to Boston, and took on a whirlwind week-long East Coast college tour.

Beautiful University campus

In 8 days, we drove a little over 2,000 miles,

East Coast college tour road trip

and visited 9 college campuses.

Campus tour

We felt a bit like rock stars, as we checked into a different hotel every night, and woke up in a different city every morning.

We saw enchanting campus that could rival the Hogwarts in Harry Potter,

Enchanting campus

as well as modern buildings with state of the art laboratories and research facilities.

Computer Science buidling

We got a good flavor of universities nested in bustling big cities, to small cities, as well as isolated college towns.

College campus tour

College dorm

Peaceful learning enviornment

Georgia Tech

The nine campuses we visited are all highly ranked universities in the country, and all impressed us with their ridiculously low acceptance rates. As my 16 year-old will enter her senior year in the fall, the task ahead seemed daunting. They all required excellent transcripts, high test scores, extracurricular, strong essays, all mixed in with a good measure of luck.

We returned home from our road trip exhausted, but our family had a lot of fun, and we learned a great deal from this experience.

The good news: My teen loved every campus we visited.

The really good news: We are already very proud of our teen for having earned the academic credentials to consider applying into these universities.

The super good news: While she will certainly make an effort to get into her top choices, there isn’t just one or two universities out there for her. In fact, there are many universities where she can learn and be happy at.

Soon to be college bound

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Move aside! Baby Girl.

My baby girl

I have got new twins to adore.

Baby Hummingbirds

While I have been spending time in my backyard attending my new herb garden, I unexpectedly spotted a pair of baby hummingbirds, nested comfortably in one of my rose bushes.

Hummingbird nest

Ahhh…so darn CUTE.

The cutest pair

I visited their nursery daily, and only once observed their mother bird feeding them. I saw them growing before my eyes, then one day, only one baby hummingbird sat in its nest.

The grow up fast

The very next morning, it left too.

These babies grow fast, from when I first discovered them until they both flew away was only 9 days!

They left me with a genuine empty nest.

Empty nest

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The Do Nothing Pit

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I have done something totally wicked, and I am mighty proud of myself.

If you haven’t already, you must first read my previous post “The Do Nothing Pit”, to fully appreciate my triumph here.

It was week 4, and my avocado pit sat in its water cup, refusing to be productive.

My children took time out of their busy school schedule to make fun of my sorry pit, and suggested for me to toss the pit out.

I refused to give in. “Just need more time!” I would say. Then they laughed at me some more.

“I will give you $10 if your pit has root by Sunday. If no root, you give me $10!” my 16 year-old offered me a bet.

“You are on!” I was very stubborn.

My teen smirked, undoubtedly anticipating easy cash.

Last Friday, I glared at my do nothing pit, willing it to grow a root, and failing. This is hopeless.

To make myself feel better, I went outside to tend to my new herb garden.

Herb garden

I pulled some weeds from around my garden.


Hum…A devilish idea came to me. I am a freaking genius.

I cleaned out some roots.


I took my pit out of its cup.

Do nothing pit

I used a toothpick, and pushed a chosen root into the bottom of the pit.

Just add root

Later that night, I showed off my newly improved pit to my kids, and watched their jaw drop! Ha, Ha, Ha.

Can you see the root!

Mom: $10 vs. Obnoxious kid: $0

Ten dollars for me

Hey, the bet is for the pit to have a root. No one said anything about it has to be the pit’s own root.

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Early Friday morning, I donned gloves, armed with a brand new shovel, and furiously dug holes in my backyard.

I was planting a herb garden in my backyard.

New Herb Garden

I do not enjoy gardening, and it does not enjoy me. But sometimes, a new inspiration will have me forget all about my bad history with gardening, and convince me to reinvest fresh energy into this business where I don’t really belong.

It all started a few weeks ago. A very kind soul shipped me a huge box of organic avocados from her farm.

Box of Avocados

I love avocados, and these were some of the biggest avocados I have ever seen.

Huge Avocado

Inspired. I wiped up a guacamole, and put out a cheese platter, and chips, and started a party all by myself.

Gaucamole Party

These are the creamiest and tastiest avocados I have ever tasted.

“I should grow it into my own avocado tree!” I shouted to my children, so excited.

My teen burst into a laughter, “Ha, Ha….you can’t even grow an avocado tree from a young tree! You killed three of them already. What makes you think you can grow an avocado tree from a pit.”

That wasn’t a question. It was a statement. Rude.

Offended, I went googling, and came up with this plan.

Growing my avocado pit

The kids laughed at my medieval pit torture chamber.

Three weeks or so passed. No roots came out from the bottom, and no sprouts came out of the top. This pit is still just a pit.

“Nothing is going on here, mom.” one of these children said to me.

“Well, it is possible that I put this pit upside down.” me, then added, “How do I know which ends of the pit is supposed to be the top, and which is the bottom.”

The kids laughed at me some more. Clearly, they view my attempt at growing an avocado tree nothing more than providing them with comic relief.

I am still waiting for my pit to grow. But in case it doesn’t, I had the sudden inspiration to plant herbs. I heard that herbs are easy to grow. Who needs avocados when you can have Rosemary!

Young Rosemary plant

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Our Apple Tree

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Category: Parents  One Comment

There was a charming organic farm adjacent to the small 16 room hotel we stayed at during our visit to Peru’s Sacred Valley.

An Organic Pervian Farm

This organic farm advertised an organic farm lunch that sounded enticing. I did not hesitate to sign us up for it.

Lunch at an organic farm

We arrived at the appointed hour, and were delighted to learn that this lunch will be cooked according to their ancient Inca tradition, straight on the rocks!!

Marinated meats cooked on hot rocks

The heat from the rocks prompted us to stand back. As we observed, the cooks placed potatoes, corns, various farm vegetables, marinated chicken, pork ribs, and lamb chops on the rocks.

Everything cooked in rocks all together

They had all the food completely covered under the rocks, then added heavenly scented herbs on top of the rocks,

Fresh farm herbs covered the hot rocks

covered everything with tarp, then top it off with dirt.

Everything under tarp and dirt

“Everything will be cooked to perfection in about 20 minutes!” our lunch host announced to us proudly.

He then led us to a tour of the farm. Peru is rich in corn and potatoes. In addition to these two main crops, this farm grow a huge variety of vegetables. We got to touch, feel, and smell a number of unfamiliar vegetables and herbs.

Meet Buckwheat grain

Since one member of our family must eat gluten free, we were excited to finally meet Quinoa in its most natural form.

Quinoa field

The farm raised farm animals too, as we saw chicken coop, pig pens, and lambs on the farm.

Chicken house

One of several pig pens

20 minutes went by fast, and we were lead back to their Inca oven.

The staff unveiled the food that has been cooked on the rocks, and filled the air with this incredible smell that made my mouth water.

Lunch is ready

Everything was cooked to perfection in 20 minutes!!

A variety of potatoes and sweet potatoes

Sweet corn

The meats were juicy and tender.

Chicken and pork rib with salad, and purple corn juice

I had not expected dessert on a farm lunch, but then our host delivered us this!

Dessert with homemade alcohol

The dessert came with 4 shot glasses of homemade traditional Peruvian alcohol.

“We gave you small glasses because they are very, very strong!” said our host, “but very good. You must try it.”

“Children can drink alcohol in Peru?” I pointed at my two children.

“If parents allow it, sure, they can drink alcohol here.” host said with a wide smile.

I took a sip first. I don’t like most strong alcohol, but this sip went down smooth. I would guess that this was probably a 40% proof alcohol, but it had a refreshing and a hint of sweet fruitiness after taste.

I don’t know if it is legal for young Americans to drink alcohol overseas, so I am not providing further details here.

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