Another Birthday Party?

Last year, for Evan’s 1st birthday celebration, we threw him an elaborate birthday party. Randy and I rented a nice party hall by the marina, we ordered an abundant amount of food from Olive Garden, we prepared giveaways, laid out lots of gifts, toys and activities for all the kids, and we had plenty of in and out of town guests.

We were thrilled to be able to throw a memorable and beautiful party for our sweet son. It was Evan’s first birthday, a special occasion that we wanted to mark with a stand-out celebration. Although I must admit, conducting such an extravagant children’s party was a LOT of work, and needless to say very costly!

So this year for Evan’s 2nd birthday celebration, to save our wits and our wallets, Randy and I vowed that we wouldn’t throw another huge party like his first one. We kept saying all year that we would just celebrate simply, have a nice dinner at home, with maybe even just the three of us.

But then, we discovered this BEAUTIFUL local park and quickly changed our mind.

Randy and I absolutely fell in LOVE with this park (named Mountain Hawk Park in Chula Vista, CA) and we decided that we just HAD to celebrate Evan’s 2nd birthday here.

What we love about Mountain Hawk Park is the serene setting and its breathtaking views of Mt. Miguel Mountains and Otay Lake. Also, the entire park is clean and so well manicured!

Most important, Mountain Hawk Park has wonderful amenities designed for families and small children: a tot playground (perfect for Evan and all his toddler friends), clean restrooms, a basketball court, BBQ grills, a mini amphitheater, a kid-friendlly water play/water fountain area (AWESOME!), an enormous open grassy field for soccer/volleyball/baseball/frisbee, and plenty of parking spaces.

Our guests can even go on a very relaxing stroll along the park’s picturesque trails.

Although we initially wanted to refrain from throwing another large birthday bash, we just couldn’t pass up an opportunity to celebrate Evan’s 2nd birthday party in this gorgeous park.

Like all party planning, plenty of effort will be required, but I believe that by saving for a party fund, sticking to a reasonable budget, ordering food to avoid having to cook myself, minimizing our guest list, and planning well in advance, I can mitigate a lot of the stress involved.

Because Evan’s birthday weekend falls on Labor Day weekend, I’ve already reserved a gazebo for his party.

Just the thought of giving Evan a simple, yet still special celebration in this beautiful park setting already makes me and Randy very happy.

We realize that every one of Evan’s birthday is a true blessing from God, and it should be celebrated in a special way every year. His birthday parties don’t always have to be as extravagant as his first one, but his birthdays should really be honored annually.

What better way to give thanks to God for blessing us with a healthy and active son than to celebrate his 2nd birthday in this very pretty park – where we can all enjoy the outdoors and reconnect with nature.


  • Do you celebrate your child(ren)’s birthday every year with a party?
  • What is your family’s favorite outdoor activity?

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What Goes Well With Strawberries?

As I mentioned in my previous post about leaning into vegetarianism, I’ve been taking advantage of the many delicious and healthy foods that are abundant this summer season.

Along with other summer staples like avocados, tomatoes, watermelon and corn, I’ve been serving my family a lot of strawberries lately.

Here are some of my favorite pairings with strawberries:

  • Chocolate
  • Nutella
  • Bananas
  • Cream
  • Oatmeal
  • Yogurt
  • Pancakes/Waffles
  • Cheesecake
  • Lemonade
  • Balsamic Vinegar

For a quick non-dairy and sugar-free healthy snack for your family, enjoy my quick, inexpensive and super easy Strawberry Banana Smoothie recipe:

1 cup of ripe bananas

1 cup of ripe strawberries

2 cups of unsweetened almond milk

Handful of ice cubes

Blend ingredients on high until smooth and creamy.

Read more about the wonderful benefits of strawberries here.

Browse through the most popular strawberry recipes here.


  • What are your favorite pairings with strawberries?
  • What are your favorite strawberry recipes?

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Fumigation and Out of Town Relatives

Recently, our house had to be unexpectedly fumigated due to drywall termites.

We had to pack up and leave our home for 4 days and stay with my in-laws. As a result of being suddenly uprooted, Evan’s sleeping and eating schedules were completely thrown off. Staying with his cousins in a much larger home made him so excited, he refused to eat and sleep as usual. All he wanted to do was romp around and play. There were many (too many) nights when we didn’t get rest until midnight.

Once the fumigation was finished, we had to take careful steps to ensure that our home was safe for re-entry. We had to reload all our food items back in the house, deep clean our carpets, wipe down all surfaces including all the walls, launder all curtains and beddings, and most important, we had to thoroughly wash and rinse all our food wares (utensils, bowls, plates, cups, etc.) before re-using them again.

I was unnerved by all the noxious chemicals to which our home was exposed. Although the fumigators insisted that it was safe to inhabit our home, in order to have peace of mind, Randy and I still had to carefully clean everything before we could feel comfortable about being home again, especially with our toddler.

The whole fumigation experience was a huge pain, and in addition to all of this, I had a large group of family members visit us from Texas around the same time. The timing couldn’t have been worse of course, but their trip was already planned months ago. So since we had no idea that this fumigation madness had to take place so quickly, we just had to roll with the punches.

On a positive note though, Evan enjoyed spending time with Randy’s family while we stayed at their house. We were also really happy that we got to spend so much time with my own family from Texas while they visited San Diego.

Spending time with relatives can sometimes be exhausting, but it can also be ironically renewing.

I’m just so relieved we got through the last few weeks. Randy and Evan and I are so grateful to be home together. I’m thankful we’ve reclaimed our privacy and our ability to set our own schedules once again.

We’re relishing being back home and we’re embracing the comforts of our home’s familiarity.

We plan to spend the next few weeks with just the three of us re-connecting with one another.

Oh and I’ve really missed blogging! I’m looking forward to re-connecting with all of you and catching up with your life stories as well.

How have you been?

Tired but inspired,
Khristine Anne


  • How have you managed the stress of having to be unexpectedly displaced from your home?

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