Retirement Day

Today we retired Lucy's first pair of shoes.
Her cute pink Pedipeds have had a good life, but they're officially too small.
Linda (Casey's mom) bought them for Lucy before she was born and she has worn them for about 9 months straight. Quite a good run! It's just cute to think that's she's worn them enough get a hole in the toe:
So they're back in the box and in the drawer...ready for some day when another little girl can wear them. (You can see on the left shoe that she walks on the insole of her foot, as the leather is stretched over to the center. Maybe that will correct when she wears hard-soled shoes)


A day at the REAL beach

So I know I have about 4 posts re: Lucy at the beach or the pool...but this one is at the REAL beach. And it's her first time in the real waves! We drove down to Huntington Beach last Saturday and spent a few hours hanging out on the sand and water with Eric/Laura/Ava, Camille/Jeremy, and Meredith. It was a last minute adventure and we sure had fun.
As precedence has shown, Lucy was her brave little self that day and just loved the waves.
She'd run into the water, get pummeled by a wave, struggle to get up, and keep charging forward. Honestly, I'm not sure what will stop this kid...except maybe a really strong wave that finally knocked her down and caused her to eat major sand. She was ready for a break after that one. Here's one episode of Lucy and the waves:

Once out of the salty water, we put her little robe on (it's the best! Better than a towel cause she'll keep it on) and she sat shivering on my lap for 5 minutes.
Aside from the waves, she enjoyed playing in the soft sand with Casey and Jeremy.
And once we had her dry clothes on, she still wanted to run out in the water. What a funny girl. (check out Jeremy on his boogie board)
Ava, as always, was smiley and content on her blanket. She is such an adorable little girl:
And here are Eric, Laura, and Camille:
Sadly, Meredith went for a long run (pre-season cross country time) so no pics of her! Fun day at the beach.
And I just love this picture. Here are Lucy and Ava at Eric & Laura's Huntington apartment before we headed to the beach.

Let's give em something to CHAD about

Some of you may have heard, but there's a total In-N-Out rip-off restaurant in Utah called "Chadders". And they're being sued by In-N-Out for basically, copying their entire restaurant idea. Since both my brothers worked at In-N-Out for years, they keep us in the know about this sort of stuff. My brother Mark and his wife Sara went to Chadder's the other night to check it out and most importantly, take undercover photos for all of us. You will not believe how much they copied In-N-Out. I mean, sure, have a similar burger, but come up with a different design and marketing scheme. Por favor!
Here's the story from the OC Register:
And here are some pictures!
It's unbelievable how similar the two are:
My brother said the burger was not nearly as good as In-N-Out, but that the fries were actually better:
For Mark's full detailed review, check out his blog!

And may I close with this line from the OC Register:
"With limited locations in three states (Arizona, Nevada and California), long lines are typical whenever a new unit opens. In-N-Out has plans to open its first Utah restaurant in 2008."
Let's hope it's true!
bye bye Chadders


Sewing Party

Rachael, Camille, and I all have sewing projects we've been putting off. Sew...we all got together at my mom's house for 2 days and had a little sewing party! We brought our machines, sat at the kitchen table and worked away.
Rachael was making some rag quilts for her kids and as gifts.
Camille has embarked on a really cool 60s-style quilt that's gonna take a while, but it is the coolest/modern quilt I've ever seen. I hope she finishes it! And I worked on a variety of things for my Joon Bug line. I mostly worked on Diaper Rags. And I started on a pattern for my carseat covers. So, progress was made by all. We felt like our grandparents, getting together for quilting parties. It was so fun! I can see why they did it!
Jeremy and the toys kept Lucy entertained for most of the day. But what she really loved best were the scraps of Camille's brown fabric that had fallen to the floor. She picked each one up, put it on her head, and just left it there. It was making us all laugh. She walked around with a hat of fabric scraps on her head.
Brennan kept Rachael's kids at home so she could work without distractions, but of course they had to come play with us for a few hours (Jeremy and Lucy loved it - and note the scraps still on her head).
And then we all went to Souplantation for dinner.
What a fun couple of days! I'd say, let's do it every week...but lugging 2 sewing machines around is not ideal. Good thing I now have the motivation to keep working on it up here!


Two new Dances

Today was a better day.
AND....Lucy has two new dances. The first is Spinning:

And the second is what Casey calls The Neanderthal? (and then some spinning. Please note her cool juke box that plays annoyingly addictive tunes)



Lucy has completely worn me out today. I'm spent.
And now she's in bed. Since Casey has class tonight till 10pm, I'm gonna veg on the couch. I'm watching Miss Potter and I just found my new Cooking Light magazine under a stack of mail! So I'm set.
Hopefully tomorrow is a better day.


RECIPE: Jamaican Jerk Pizza

As our blog description states, we're the Willards...and we love to make pizza. I go in spurts of making it once a week and then we'll take a break for a month or so.
And tonight, it was back to pizza!
Casey's all time favorite pizza is CPK's Jamaican Jerk Pizza (which is funny, since it's very non-traditional). For me, I like a good red sauce and cheese with veggies and ham.
So Casey's been asking me to try making a jerk pizza, like the CPK recipe. So I got a jerk chicken recipe from my new favorite cooking show, Guy's Big Bite (very entertaining. He's unorthadox, tatooed, and from Venice CA. Oddly enough, Casey enjoys watching it too). I fiddled with it a little, created a pizza, and the result was great! In fact, Casey's exact words when eating his first slice were: "There are some really memorable dinner nights in our house and this is one of them. This is restaurant quality." Why....thanks!
I only share his praise with you, because if you like CPK Jamaican Jerk Pizza too...then I'm sharing my recipe with you! I hope you think it tastes like the real deal.
I know it looks detailed, but it's not hard. I have not included my pizza dough recipe (since this is long enough). If you'd like that too, post a comment and I'll email it to you.
Here you go:

Jamaican Jerk Pizza
Makes one large 16 inch pizza

• Pizza dough (homemade or frozen)
• Sweet Caribbean Sauce (I haven’t created a recipe for this yet, but I found some great stuff at Trader Joe’s called: Mandarin Orange Chef Sauce. It’s by the marinades and sauces, comes in an 8oz jar for $1.99)
• Jerk Chicken (see recipe below)
• 1 red pepper sliced or diced
• 10-12 slices of bacon cooked and broken into small pieces
• Mozarella cheese

Jerk Chicken:
1 ½ tsp ground nutmeg
1 ½ tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp dried thyme
½ of a red onion, roughly chopped in quarters
2 Tbl oil (Olive or Canola)
½ cup orange juice
2 Tbl soy sauce
Juice of 1 lime
½ a Scotch bonnet pepper (or you can use 1 habanero pepper, chopped with seeds)
1 Tbl fresh ginger peeled and slightly chopped
pinch of salt and pepper
3-4 boneless chicken breasts, cut into small ½ inch pieces

In a food processor, combine all ingredients except the chicken. Puree until smooth. Pour chicken pieces and enough marinade to cover into a zip-lock bag. Seal the bag and squish it around so all the pieces are covered in marinade. Let marinate in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours. (Save any extra unused sauce for another time – store in the freezer)

When done marinating, heat a little oil in fry pan and pour entire chicken mixture in. Cook until chicken is no longer pink (about 5-7 minutes).

Start making your pizza! Form pizza dough into prepared pan. Spread Mandarin Orange Sauce (or any kind of Sweet Caribbean Sauce) over dough, as you would with pizza sauce. Cover with cheese. Top with Jerk Chicken pieces, red peppers, and bacon bits. Sprinkle with a little additional cheese to keep the bacon from drying out.

Cook at 350 for 15-18 minutes. Enjoy!

We made half and half (since I really wasn't sure how the Jerk side would turn out) You can see which side was more popular...

First Day of Summer...at the fake beach

Today was the first day of summer and the longest day of the year! So we appropriately spent it at "the beach". Well, it was the Santa Margarita Beach Club, or as I call it: the fake beach. My parents' community has a really cool man-made beach which is like a huge shallow swimming pool with tons of sand. It's perfect for the little kids (and the parents too).
Rachael, Laura, Camille, Karen, all the kids, and I headed over there and everyone had a great time. Before we even went into the beach area, Lucy found a great toy to play on....the bike-lock stand. It was really cute, she fit perfectly under the arches. She just walked back and forth between them:

Once we were in the beach, Lucy couldn't get enough of the water. I am not kidding, this girl has no fear. I'm sure it will be a good trait later in life....but for now, it made my beach experience a little difficult. She thinks she can just go and go and go deeper into the water. And no matter how much water she swallows, she just wants to head further out. Jeremy, her 5 year old cousin, can reach in the deeper parts, so of course she just wanted to go play with Jeremy. Here she is splashing and acting crazy in the water:

And here's our little doggie paddler. You'll notice her swallowing water, but continuing on:

And I just love this shot of her bum. It was quite round and full of water (and perhaps other things):
Ava had lots of fun playing in the water too:
Lucy had a great time, for the 1 hour we were there. I got a little tired of constantly rescuing her from drowning, so we didn't stay as long as the others. But we had fun back at Gram's house too. We both took naps. Ahh, that was nice. And then Lucy had a ball sitting in Jeremy's little camp chair and hugging Elmo:
Of course, she had to check on Chip, the desert tortoise in the backyard. But Chip was camoflouged and hanging out by the wall. So Lucy couldn't see him. Here's Lucy's "I can't find Chip" face:
We finished off the summer evening with a nice dinner outside with my parents and Camille. And it didn't get dark till almost 9pm! I must have timed our drive home perfectly, because we caught the Disneyland fireworks in the sky just as we drove by on the 5 (nice rhyme). What a fun summer day!



Since Rachael and Brennan only have a few weeks before moving to Arizona, they've been packing in all the fun Cali pastimes. And on Monday, they organized a bonfire at Corona Del Mar beach in Orange County. I hadn't been to that beach forever and it brought back so many fun childhood memories of swimming, catching crabs on the rocks, and hanging out with the Suman cousins.
Having a bonfire was a first for many in our group: Laura, Ava, little Savanna, and miss Lucy! Casey had class that night, so I was on my own with the brave little Lucy. I was mostly concerned that she'd want to jump in the fire. But I was wrong on that. She really just wanted to roam the beach and get sand on anything she touched. We were only there for a minute, and she immediately put her hands in this bucket of wet sand:
Then she took off running (as fast as you can run on the beach):
She would have walked right into the water if I hadn't stopped her. It was so funny to watch her walking on the sand. She seriously looked like a drunkard, swaying side to side and stumbling:

Ava was perfectly content sitting on her blanket and eating a sock:
It will be fun next summer when she's running around with Lucy and the other kids.
Carter and Lucy had fun looking out at the water:
Carter says so many words now, and it's really adorable to hear him address us each by name. "Wooosy? Woosy?" (that's Lucy)
We ate some good hotdogs, chips, potato salad, and of course made s'mores. I felt like a juggling act the whole time watching Lucy, while cooking my food, and following her around. But it was well worth it. We all had a great time! And we'll have to do it again!
I think my purse still smells like bonfire. It's the gift that keeps giving, all week long.


Final Observations

I was cleaning out our pictures and decided to make one final post about our trip.
Here are some quick observations of NYC and Boston.

- The city smells like garbage. No kidding. It is so refreshing to walk past a hotdog stand or better yet, fresh candied nuts. Other than that, the air smells like trash.
- Pedestrians honestly run the town. They walk when it's red, as long as they can clear the crosswalk before a cab runs them over. Cars have to honk their horns when approaching an intersection to warn pedestrians that they're coming. How frustrating for a driver.
- There are few grocery stores around. So there are tons of these little fruit stands on the street. Surprisingly, they are decent priced:
- For the most part, New Yorkers are very helpful. If you need directions, just ask!
- Bugaboo strollers are everywhere. And usually, it's a nanny out with the baby.

- The city also smells like smoke. I haven't smelled that much cigarette smoke in a long time. People everywhere are just smoking...often on a smoking break from work.
- Fashion over comfort. People walk the streets in heels like these:
- Lots of movies take place in NY. I found myself referencing movies all week.
- NYC is a fun fun place and if you've never been (or have been) you gotta go!

- Cleaner and more manageable than New York City. Smells like...nothing...smells normal/clean.
- Charming architecture and beautiful brick buildings.
- Dunkin Donuts on every corner. I think I counted 7 Dunkin Donuts in the 1st hour we were there:
- Inefficient subway system (called The T) with small trains that don't come frequently enough. The New York subway system is awesome and far superior to Boston's.
- There are cute little window flower boxes everywhere. I loved them!

- Lastly.....the great accents.

I'm sure there's more and more. But that's it. Vacation is fun, but real life is great too. Time to do some laundry!