Monthly Archives: July 2013

It’s taken almost the whole summer, but I think the boys and I have finally figured out this whole summer schedule thing. Going from a very early, very strict schedule to no schedule what-so-ever threw us for a loop this year!

Our older boys want to stay up late, sleep in late and they are slow to wake when they do finally roll out of bed. Our younger boys are asleep by 9:00, awake before 8:00 am and hop out of bed with a spring in their step! I like waking up around 7:00 and after a cup of coffee I start tackling my to-do list that accompanies each day. The task of structuring our very different schedules and wants into a balanced, fun summer vacation hasn’t been easy! Chores and errands are done in the morning so the bulk of our day can be spent enjoying the sun, our pool or time with friends. TV and video games are limited to the mornings and simple late afternoon outings to grab a slurpie or frozen yogurt has helped to keep us all on the same page.

Being flexible with our meal times has also helped our day run smoother. Because the younger boys only want a small bite in the morning, and the big boys sleep right through breakfast, brunch has been our best friend! Everybody is hungry (and awake) by 10:30 and these creamy breakfast enchiladas full of scrambled eggs, black beans and spinach have satisfied groggy teenagers and grumpy 5 year olds alike!

As of last week the Vanni household officially consists of 2 parents, 1 bulldog, 1 grey floppy eared bunny, 3 sweet boys, and 1 awesome teenager.

That’s right, our oldest boy just turned 13 and to be honest with you it’s still a little hard to believe. While some days felt longer than others, 13 years of motherhood has flown by. As a family we have experienced and learned a lot in this amount of time. I expect the next 13 years will be just as educating, if not more than the last!

Since becoming parents to a teenager Ryan and I have felt the desire up the ante in his life lessons department. Instead of bombarding our teen with a laundry list of do’s and don’ts, we’ve learned that the best way to teach him (and the rest of our boys) is by showing him instead of telling him. While some of his lessons will inevitably be harder to teach than others, the incredibly important lesson of healthy eating has been a fun one for us teach. After watching Gaven master the toaster oven and the microwave, I thought it was time for him to learn how to use the stove top and oven. This simple frittata utilizes both and it also happens to be one of his favorite dishes to eat!

Teaching our teenage boy how to cook and eat well, check! Guiding our teenager and helping him uncover the man he was born to be, that life lesson might take just a bit longer!

Ryan (my husband) is originally from Arcata, California. When he was about three years old his parents decided to leave their sleepy, redwood nestled home for a brighter, faster life in Sacramento. This move broke a lot of hearts, including Ryan’s grandparents. In order to keep precious family ties together, Ryan’s parents made it a priority to visit the Vanni’s (Ryan’s grandparents) as often as they could. Fast forward 30 years and you’ll find that these annual Vanni family trips to Arcata are still happening! Except now my husband is in the driver’s seat and our four boys are in the back excited to see their great-grandparents.

I love that my husband’s fond childhood memories of visiting his grandparents are now also a part of our boys history. These trips are always full of catching up, funny stories, old family photos as well as new family snap shots. Of course we all come together to share a big family breakfast with pancakes, hash browns, and a couple sides of bacon. Then there are the dinners complete with at least two helpings of veal parmesan, tiramisu, and a few glasses of red wine here and there. We all get a little misty eyed when it’s time to say goodbye and we promise to not let too much time pass before our next visit. Ryan and I always drive away thankful for his grandparents and for the time spent together.

After these weekends full of family and eating out we are usually ready to get back to our normal, everyday eating habits. On our way home from our most recent trip we stopped at a cute road side restaurant/resort called The Grass House where I stumbled upon this clean and delicious quinoa salad. Paired with a tall glass of lemon water, it was exactly what I was craving after devouring a plate full of pasta bolognese the night before!