Monday, June 22, 2015

Swimming is the FUNnest Sport!

Before walking, before crawling, my mother enrolled me in swimming lessons. Back in the late 70s it wasn't very common to have babies learn to swim, however in the spring/summer of 2006 it was very common to join a mommy & baby class at the local recreational center for sim lessons. That's when my now almost 10 year old began getting inside a pool. 

"What could a baby learn about swimming?" you ask, they are taught to not fear the water in fact to enjoy it. Swimming is always taught in a fun way, from a very young age you learn that water is fun, you can dive or jump in, you can swim a few laps or just float and relax. 


Growing up and as an adult swimming has become part of my life, summers are always spent having fun in the water and being I was recently diagnosed with high blood pressure both my physicians suggested I swim at least 3 times a week to help my blood circulation and get a more complete workout that would also relax me. 

While living in Costa Rica we had the opportunity of swimming daily, the weather was perfect for it and both my kids were in swim lessons year round. The day we didn't make it to the pool, they would ask all day when they would get back to swimming as they love it.


In honor of Father's Day we were invited to a special event with Swim Today, at this event we had the opportunity of listening to inspirational stories and great memories shared from Rowdy Gaines (3 time Olympic Gold medalist), Dick Franklin (father to 4 time Olympic Gold Medalist Missy Franklin), Pat Dwyer (father to Olympic Gold Medalist Connor Dwyer) and local swim dad Joseph Kim (his 10 year old son is preparing to swim in the Olympics in the future). They also shared some great facts about swimming, here is what they said that I personally liked:

Dick Franklin shared a quote from Missy's coach that is my new favorite: "Swimming is about FUNdamentals -and the first three letters are FUN!" 

Rowdy Gaines reminded us that "you can do any sport you want, just make sure you are having fun at what you do", he also mentioned that "swimmers aren't involved in the sport for the money, they do it because they love it". 

When asked what tips they could give to parents with children in sports, Dick Franklin gave the perfect response which is also a great reminder: "Try not to be an overreaching parent". 

Another favorite was when Pat Dwyer said: "the beauty of swimming is that it's you VS you!". 


These were great messages to take with us, I truly appreciate their wisdom and how open they were to sharing how much fun they've had supporting their children in their own journey. Afterwards,  Rowdy Gaines shared great swim tips in the pool with the attending children, among them was my daughter.



I'm happy to report that today during swim class her coach mentioned she had improved over the weekend. Her head position improved, helping her swim faster and smoother.



Some of the many benefits of swimming are: 
  • Every child participates, it is an inclusive sports. No benchwarmers. 
  • As I mentioned before my physicians suggested I swim, there is a low risk of injury and it is a total body fitness (swimming burns 650 calories per hour).
  • All you need is a swimsuit, googles and swim cap and you're ready to go!
  • Swimming is a FUN sport that everyone can do, it's perfect for any age. Once you learn to swim, you can enjoy it always.
After the event, as my daughter and I walked to our car we were greeted by Missy's mother D.A. Franklin. She remembered us from the event and asked my daughter if she had fun while swimming with Rowdy. We chatted briefly and I asked her what tips she had for mothers like myself that want their kids to follow their favorite sport, her response was great:  "always take them to practice, meets with the best disposition, never complain about it and schedule lots of playdates with families that share the same interest. You can always chose swim meets that are a drive away, pack up the boardgames and enjoy some family quality time back in the hotel". That is great advice D.A., we will sure remember it always.

When I first received the invitation to the event, I went to SwimToday's website and read as more details about them. As a parent I love what they stand for and everything I found out, did you know that swimmers have rated the sport at the top in fun, teamwork, confidence-building, health and fitness. I remember watching the 2012 U.S. Olympic Swim Team sharing how much fun they were having, just search for  "Call me Maybe" by the U.S. Swim Team on YouTube and you'll catch Missy dancing and lip-synching with her teammates. That's just how much fun they were having!

If you're interested in more information regarding swimming lessons or in finding a swim club, please visit, Swim Today they will help you locate the nearest instructor or swim club in your area. 

Friday, June 5, 2015

Have you had your "casado" today?

Living in a Latin American country certainly has its benefits. You can find a variety of budget friendly delicious freshly made foods. Take for instance Mexico, when lunch comes around you have many options of where to dine. You could visit any of the usual fast food chains that have expanded from the U.S. or you could just go into a taco shop and order some delicious steak tacos with handmade tortillas. Not in the mood for beef? then you can go to seafood stands in which you will be able to chose from fish ceviche tostadas, shrimp cocktail or a mix of seafood cocktails. 

In Costa Rica it is common for locals to dine at a "soda", now in most of the Spanish speaking countries a "soda" is a carbonated drink but in Costa Rica a "soda" is in fact a local cafe style restaurant, which is usually family owned and operated. It will have a dining area set up with tables and chairs and tablecloths, silverware. You have a server taking and bringing your order and the owner is usually at the register. 


In Costa Rica breakfast is typically from 6:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.  in Spanish it is called "desayuno" and 12:00 for lunchtime in Costa Rica it is called "hora de almuerzo" it is common to visit a "soda" and order a "casado" now if you were to translate the word "casado" from Spanish to English it means "married", but in Costa Rica it also means a complete meal. A "casado" can cost anywhere from ¢1,500 - ¢4,000 Costa Rican Colones which is roughly between $3.00 - $8.00 U.S. Dollars, pricing will depend on location and if you're purchasing it from a "soda" or a larger restaurant. 

Here is your typical breakfast "casado":



The lunch version of the "casado" consists of steamed white rice, black beans, vegetables, meat (fish, chicken, beef or pork) and plantains. As you can see it is a complete meal that will more than hold you over until coffee time {typically between 3 - 4:30 p.m.}. 



If you're visiting Costa Rica soon, I highly recommend enjoying a delicious casado at a soda. It will give you a cultural experience and you will support the local economy! Oh and a casado also includes a fruit and water based drink {aka fresco or natural} that is freshly made daily.


Monday, May 11, 2015

Refreshing Watermelon Frost

It's that time of year when the seasons change in California and you know what that means? We could easily have the "4 seasons of the year in one day", it's true. You wake up to 50ºF weather and throughout the day the temperature varies up to mid 70s, you end up dressing in layers because let's be realistic 20º difference is 20º. 

Mother's Day weekend was no exception, on Saturday it was a breezy day. Too cold in the morning for us, so much so that when we arrived in San Francisco around noon we had to put on our jackets and it still felt cooler than we expected. Then on Sunday it was warm and sunny, we went out for the evening in tank tops and crop pants only to return home 2 hours later shivering and begging for warmth. 

While the warmer temperatures on Sunday made us long for a cool and refreshing beverage we just couldn't decide what to drink... That is until my husband remembered we had half a Dulcinea watermelon left from the day before in the refrigerator. I guess you could say we both came up with what we wanted the drink to taste like and when I posted an image on Facebook I honestly didn't think you would be interested, but I was wrong because immediately I began getting requests for the recipe. As promised here's what we used and how we prepared the drink:



INGREDIENTS:

Half of a Dulcinea Seedless Watermelon.
Ice

Optional ingredients:

Tajin Seasonings
Key Limes

PREPARATION:

1.- Chop watermelon into bit size pieces, put in a bowl and place it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

2.- Take out watermelon and leave at room temperature for at least 45 minutes {this is so it has more natural "juice" in it.

3.- Blend with ice cubes until completely blended as if making a smoothie. Serve and enjoy!

As for the optional ingredients, I felt it needed a little kick in the flavor department mostly because we didn't add any sweeteners. So I squeezed half a key lime and mixed in the juice directly in my glass and topped my drink with some tajin seasonings. It was delicious, refreshing and easy to make! Of course I used a slice of key lime to garnish my glass and next time I plan on adding some tajin seasonings to the rim of my glass.... mmm