homemade pesto

Whoa, what’s up with the comment hiatus people? Maybe I’ll take that as a cue to take a blogging break which might just happen next week. I swear I am getting more and more comments from strangers on posts that are 1-2 years old. Odd indeed. Anyways, I’ll forgive you since you are probably in the midst of summer madness which I can totally relate to. I am afraid that summer’s end will bring lots of tears for this mama. I’m enjoying my time with these kiddos even if I break up 2 dozen fights each day.

Back to my original post:

We have enjoyed lots of delicious food from our garden lately. I love when the kids get a little snack-y I can send them out to go pull a carrot. I devour our tomatoes nightly with fresh mozzarella and basil. Our basil though has been out of control, so to cut it back a bit I decided to make fresh pesto this week. I used this recipe from Food Network. It’s delicious and we enjoyed it just the other night. All I did was throw some pesto in a pyrex, move my chicken around in it and bake at 350 degrees until done. Even my non-chicken lover Gunnar couldn’t complain.


Kauai day three

Sunday morning Aaron and I decided to take the kids on a hike through Waimea Canyon. We couldn’t remember, but we doubt we made it over to the west coast of the island on our honeymoon. I had been researching hikes that were kid friendly for the last few days and thought we found a great one where we could also experience the Little Grand Canyon, as they call it in Hawaii.

It took about 45 minutes from Poipu to get to our trail. Our kids are pretty good hikers, and can handle a good 1-2 mile hike. The hike that we did initially, which was the one recommended, was way too short and easy. 25 minutes later we were searching the trails for a better one. And we found it. A whole lot more challenging but the sights were beautiful.

The nature loop was the very easy trail that you probably could’ve brought a jogging stroller on. The Kukui Trail was what we did afterwards and it’s 2.5 miles straight down. Which is why we didn’t complete it. I mean it’s down the entire way which means it is straight UP the entire way back.

Yes, we have matching sunglasses. It’s become tradition before a big vacation for one of us to purchase new sunglasses, or on vacation purchase a pair. In May Aaron got his pair on our Palm Springs weekend, so this time it was my turn.

I know this photo looks like their bodies are transposed and placed in front of a postcard, but I assure you they are not.

You can see why it’s called the Little Grand Canyon, but it’s lush and green. Just breathtaking.

I try not to give my mom too many details of our hikes because it just makes her nervous. For this one we just told her it was narrow. As you can see in this photo the trail was just a little bit wider the width of Gunnar sideways. And very steep. Mama, just skip these photos and save yourself a few heart palpitations.

We hiked down about three quarters of a mile and then we stopped in some shade to refuel on power bars and water. We decided we better turn around and climb the trail back up because we knew it would take some time. This little one had her legs give up on her pretty quickly. I can’t blame her, it was hilly and tough and if my legs were that tiny I’d make my mama carry me too.

Right in the center between the two large crests you can see a waterfall.

I was determined to find water and let the kids cool off a bit before we headed home. We found this spring coming out of the lava rocks and let the kids dip their toes in.

We found out later that this red clay stains pretty well, but it was well worth the experience.

We joined everyone else for a late lunch back in Poipu. It’s amazing how much you miss this little guy after being around him around the clock.

Back at the house Gunnar did a little lizard catching.

Played in the pool for the afternoon and did some games.

We dressed for dinner and headed for some amazing seafood at Merriman’s. Probably my favorite meal of the entire trip.

I found this photo of our very first family trip to Hawaii, and then you can see the latest updated one of how our family has grown.




Seven. Today my Soso, you are seven. I feel pretty prepared for this milestone, it feels like you’ve been almost seven for ages. So I’m handling it pretty well. A lot has happened for you, and I don’t want to forget it. You lost your first tooth, and second, third and fourth. That smile was my most favorite smile of all time, missing both top teeth. It was fleeting because they grew in quickly. But I enjoyed every moment they were missing.

You rocked first grade. I mean you really rocked it. And somehow I am not petrified of you beginning second grade. I think you have matured and grown so much this last year. Your teacher especially comments about what a changed little man you are after completing first grade. I agree wholeheartedly. You transition now without a problem. You handle disappoints and disagreements so well. You have made close friendships and know what a good friend really is.

You and Greta are still for the most part connected at the hip. You love to play together. Appreciate one another. And I hope that you remain that close to her for all time. She needs you as a big brother. And I think you need her as a little sister as well. She looks out for you in such an incredible way. At any restaurant, at any given time, in front of anyone at the dinner table, no matter what, if someone orders shellfish or shrimp or calamari, or any combination, she will tell you that you have to be very careful and best to not sit next to her brother because he is allergic to that. She hates to see you cry or in pain. She comes to tell me if you hurt yourself or if someone was unkind to you. That little girl adores you.

We all pretty much adore you Sawyer. You are the most unique person I have ever met in my life. One of the most creative. I always tell myself that I’d love to investigate the inner workings of your mind. To see how stuff works in your little head. You are still a Lego genius and have surpassed Gunnar in your Lego building skills. But you aren’t cocky about it or arrogant. You are just stating fact, nothing fancy. Just true.

Your laugh is still hands down the best laugh and giggle of all time. Still infectious. Your dimple is still there, still irresistible to kiss. You have become quite adventurous this year. We went to Kauai this month and you were the first to volunteer for our adventures. Ziplining? Hand raised to go first. Jump off the ledge backward? No problem. Tubing inside caves with a headlamp as your only source of light? No need to be near mama or daddy? Not a problem. Your fearlessness is incredible. You enjoyed the beach and swam out past the waves just to tread water and feel nothing beneath your feet. I think that’s how you feel a lot of time. Nothing beneath your feet. You like it that way. You like to leap, no fear of where you will land.

I admire that so much in you Soso. I wish I could leap and not fear about the take off or the jump itself, or where I will land. But just enjoy the feeling of exhilaration and be present. You are so present in every single moment that you experience. You still experience them in heights that I only wish I could feel. Such happiness. Such excitement. Such greatness. Yes, there are also extreme sadness occasionally, and extreme hurt. But given the choice, I think you would still take all that just to get those moments of sheer delight.

You love to make up songs at the moment. They crack us up, especially when you make yourself laugh while singing them. You are still quite the dancer. We still aren’t sure where your moves come from. Your love for books has not waned. As I type this you and your brother are quietly in bed reading books for the last half hour before lights off. You love a little mystery now. You discovered the new Hardy Boys series that’s for younger kids and have devoured 4 of them already. You also love old classics like The Boxcar Children.

You have grown quite independent now. Some days you get yourself your own cereal and milk before I ever make it downstairs. You start your own shower most nights and almost every morning during the school year I awake to the sound of that shower downstairs. It tells me that you are up and are starting your day. You like to take your time in the shower and wake up slowly. It puts you in a good mood. In fact just last week you came home from camp tired and hungry, a bit cranky and you were picking fights with your siblings. I stuck you in the shower and 20 minutes later you emerged a different child. Water is very therapeutic for you. Whether that be the pool, the beach or a shower. And I can relate. There’s nothing like a hot bath to soothe my nerves, I get it.

You are currently obsessed with all things Smurf related. You have a Smurfs guide we bought at the bookstore. It was your little manual this summer. Reading up on all the smurfs and their personalities. Figuring all of us out and labeling us different smurf characters. It just so happens the movie comes out in a few days and you have been counting down the days for months.

You are such joy for this family. You make us smile, you make us laugh. You help us see the world through a set of eyes that are only gifted to you. No one else can see what you see. We are blessed to know you and love you. And with each passing year our appreciation for you grows. I am anxious to see what you will accomplish in this world. What greatness you will gift everyone in your path. I cannot wait to see what life for you will hold. And so privileged to be a part of it. To get to stand next to you and watch.

Garden News

Our little onions popped up above the ground and we can’t wait to use them. Here’s Greta holding them up just after picking.

If you can look through the chicken wire that successfully is keeping the cats away, you can see our radishes just out of the ground.

These roma tomatoes are a gift from our compost piles. Last year we must’ve thrown away some tomato seeds and they survived and decided to sprout up in one of the big planters. We aren’t complaining.

Another gift of the compost pile? These squash. Not sure when we ate squash, but apparently they are quite hardy and liked our garden and decided to make it home.

Our cherry tomatoes are amazing. Every day we get to pick tomatoes and more keep popping up everywhere.

And here’s out little harvest for the day. Green beans, carrots, onions, and tomatoes, both heirloom and cherry.

lemonade stand

We are having the kids annual lemonade stand this Sunday, the 24th. If you are in the area, or if you are not, and want to come, please come! It will be from 12-2pm, and we are serving freshly homemade lemonade, the real stuff, no store bought mix. AND homemade cookies. The kids look forward to this all year and you can see past lemonade stands here and here.

It is always lots of fun and this year we went all out. I made new banners and signs and even ordered special straws from Etsy to match the motif of the stand this year. Aaron has been brainstorming some pallet inspired lemonade stands (we’re all about the pallets lately). If you know where we live please swing by, and if you don’t know where we live but want to stop by, send me an email, amharju at gmail dot com. We are continuing with the kids’ spend/save jars. So they have to split it 50/50 into each jar. 50 cents for a cup of lemonade and 50 cents for a cookie. Where can you find that deliciousness in Los Angeles for that price!?


in the car…

Me: Let’s just have silence guys. From this point til the house, it’s about 10 more minutes, and I don’t want to hear a thing. No fighting, no complaining, no whining, no bickering. Just  s i l e n c e .

(15 seconds later)

Greta: Mama?

Me: No.

Greta: Mama?

Me: Is it an emergency?

Greta: Maybe.

Me: Is someone dying?

Greta: No.

Me: Is someone pooping?

Greta: No.

Me: Then it’s not an emergency.

kauai day two

This morning we all woke up bright and early around 5am. The time change. Sucks. But oh well, we were all bright eyed and ready for the day. Aaron made breakfast and the little bean had his first taste of rice cereal. I love the progression of images.

Yeah. Not such a fan, but do you blame the poor kid? I’m happy to report that he is now obsessed with food, all it took was the introduction of squash, and then a few days later, peas. He’s all over it now.

The rest of the day we spent poolside and beachside. It was the perfect start to the vacation.

We explored the backyard and discovered this not so little guy. Seriously, biggest spider I’ve ever seen in my life.

This next series makes me teary. These kids sure do love each other. Any given day I will look over at any combination of the 3 of them and they may just be holding hands. For no reason.

We then got dressed and ready for dinner and walked over to The Beach House which was about a 15 minute walk from our house. Aaron and I ate here on our honeymoon and the view is just spectacular.

The sights along our walk.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you about the photo overload. And this is me paring it down! I’m loving the day by day recap to keep all the events straight in my head and for when we look back at my blog books. Hope you are enjoying them too!