Wednesday, July 29, 2015

summer road trip - part 1

our summer vacation didn't start out the way it ended up.  at first we thought we would just have a staycation given school schedules, finances and trips we want to take in the coming year. but then we started talking about camping and visiting family and a summer getaway was born.  

our trip was broken up into 3 parts: paso robles, big basin redwood state park, and san diego.

paso robles

we wanted to visit bobby's cousins who we don't get to see as often as we'd like.  stopping here helped to break up the drive to the redwoods and gave us an excuse to hang out with this little guy.

the kids were so excited to get time with aiden and we were excited to hang out with jeff, kenzie and nancy.

although they had to work we got to spend time with them playing games like fluxx, which is ever-changing, incredibly confusing and just random enough to engage our family. 

we also did crossword and sudoku puzzles, had korean food, and ate peach crisp with vanilla ice cream.

on monday while they were at work we bought tickets to tour hearst castle.  it was my first time but bobby had visited when he was growing up.

i was impressed by what was built and decorated and lived in here. it is almost hard to imagine the amount of money that exists and was spent here, especially for that time. cra-zy.

we took a tour of the grand rooms; assembly room, dining room, billiards room and movie theater.

yes, theater, where hearst would show full length movies.  and sometimes the actors themselves were staying with hearst and watching them too.  

after the tour we got to walk the grounds and explore more of the property.  everywhere we looked there was a statue - egyptian of course, or fountain or beautiful landscapes or scenic view.  the grounds are very well kept and blooming at every corner.

 unfortunately the neptune pool was empty because of restoration but impressive none-the-less.

and the roman pool was unbelievable. jordan would have loved to swim in a lap in this pool.

for us - two writers who are always imagining, the story behind all of it was most intriguing. the why and the how this all came to be. the personalities and conflicts that went into building and dreaming up a place like this. the people who stayed here, celebrities, political figures, journalists. the conversations sitting around that big dining table. what must that have been like? it made for fun conversation on the drive home.

 there was so much to look at and study.

 unique works of art that represent history.

 art that is both beautiful and extravagant.

 and a lot of it over the top. but so fitting for this place.

this was my favorite piece. we took her home as a souvenir.

the kids were semi-impressed. to them it was a big house with ugly furniture. they did like listening to alex trebek on the bus ride to and from the house.  they also "loved" that bobby had 20 questions for the tour guide. but they've come to expect that.

we definitely want to come back. i would love to tour the kitchen and the cottages. in the fall and spring they offer night time tours where people dress up with clothes from that era.  that would be such a fun thing to do. 

we had lunch across the road at sebastian's. it is part of the hearst estate so we felt it was appropriate to visit.

burgers, tacos and pulled pork sandwiches on a picnic table by the horses.

we drove a few more miles to see the elephant seals on the beach.  i don't know why, but we were captivated by them. hundreds of seals lined the beach sleeping, sparring and apparently molting - not the nicest smell. it was interesting to observe their behavior and learn about their habits.

our final stop that day was cambria. we went to moonstone beach to search for... moonstone. i was just happy being by the ocean. the kids loved picking through the stones to try and make a collection.

a rainbow of colors.

multi-colored and camouflage.

and moonstones, none of which we found. but these white ones were pretty.

while in cambria we had pie; apple, chocolate cream and olallieberry. loved that oilcloth tablecloth.

this was a great start to our trip. seeing some sights in california that we've never seen before and spending time with family that we adore. thanks for letting us hang out and kiss aiden for us!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

2015 menu week #31

chilaquiles with chipotle cream from the mission in san diego

glad to be home.

we had lots of fun on our summer getaway. we saw and did and ventured and relaxed. now it's time to get back to home life. i'm feeling a little more rested, a little more inspired.

we visited with family last week and had meals at their homes. we camped a few days so we had easy to cook camping meals. and we ate out a bit too. it was a good mix. sometimes vacation means eating out all three meals and then you get home and can't wait to cook - or is that just me?

ready to make some meals in my kitchen this week.

weekend eats
saturday: pizza
sunday: sushi and chinese food

making this week
monday:  in-n-out
tuesday: asian chicken salad
wednesday: tomato soup, grilled cheese sandwiches
thursday: salmon, couscous salad
friday: pizza

the menu is not all that inspiring this week but it will do.  hope you are having a happy tuesday!

Monday, July 13, 2015

2015 weekly menu #29

baja grilled flank steak salad - skinnytaste cookbook
i did  a much better job last week sticking with the menu plan.  mostly because i really wanted to eat what i had on the menu everyday and we had a mellow week.  the only adjustment we made was friday because we went out to dinner.

on to this week.

weekend eats
saturday: ordered a pizza
sunday: ribs, salmon, salad and ice cream - bbq with friends

making this week
monday:  grilled margharita sandwiches, caesar salad
tuesday: turkey burgers, oven fries
wednesday: chicken tostadas
thursday: sweet & spicy glazed salmon (skinnytaste cookbook), sesame green beans
friday: calzones

this week: doing some vacation planning and prepping, 90% done with my room, working on sofia's room next, looking for a new book to read, making the dreaded annual check up appointments for the kids before school starts and hopefully getting a little creative time.

wishing you a happy monday!

Friday, July 10, 2015

some things | 7.10

something to celebrate - today is my parents' 49th wedding anniversary!! they are a model of how a real, honest, loving relationship can survive and thrive.  love you both.

something to do - planning to go to the renegade craft fair this weekend to see some handmade treasures and bring a few of them home. i mean it, just a few.

something for fun - these super cute pencils from the dollar spot at target. they will most likely never get used but they will be loved.

something to make - in honor of the minion movie coming out sofia and i will be making these milano minion cookies next week. want to help, grandma?

something that made me laugh til i cried - amy schumer on ellen talking about why she can never live in la, eating popcorn and dating a scone.  trust me, it's hysterical.

something to see - we want to see trainwreck next weekend at the fancy theater with the reclining seats and the cheese and cracker plates.

something to make - i want to make one of these big prints to hang over our bed. i admire kal barteski's style and would love to make something like that with my handwriting. that quote would be perfect for our room.

something i pinned recently -this recipe for vanilla chia seed pudding. looking at the ingredient list i have everything at home to make it - yay!

something to create - i could make fifty of these pages with all the food pictures i take.

something that would be fun to try - mini time capsule films. we take tons of pictures but we don't take enough video of our family.  the kids love watching themselves on video from when they were little and will want to see themselves as young adults some day too. it would be fun to have  a mini film of our next disneyland trip, on our camping trip and capturing time with friends and family this summer.  these videos are so beautiful. come to think of it, we do have this one.

something i'm regretting - taking out all of the clothes from the closet and removing all of the hangars so i can purge and organize. i did that this morning and they are still all over my bed. where will we sleep?

i guess i should take care of that right now.  happy weekend.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

checking in on summer goals

i started this post with the list i wrote in june for our summer goals.  i was hoping to show the list with a bunch of stuff crossed off.  but the truth is the list didn't have a lot of done tasks and some things have changed and quite frankly i need to get a move on, literally.

i made this little page for my #littlesummerJOYS book that i'm making. i'm following along with little paper projects and documenting the little things of summer that i want to remember.

the one thing we have been doing a lot of is swimming.  we don't have a pool but we know a lot of people who do, and what's great is that they invite us over.

one day we went from one pool to another, the kids never even changed.  how cool is that?

 a few weeks ago we ventured out of the valley and had drinks and dinner in downtown la.  we started with happy hour at seven grand with some friends. it's such a comfy spot and we are enjoying trying out new drinks.

we had dinner at cole's. what a meal!! we each ordered half a french dip - beef, pork and pastrami and then an array of sides; tomato soup, spicy tater tots, french fries and sweet potato fries. and one order of two cheese mac and cheese to share.  the tots, the pickles and the horseradish mustard were spicy. but we couldn't stop eating.  we must go back!

 after dinner we went to the varnish for an after dinner drink. it's a "quintessential craft bar" at the back of the restaurant with a separate door and a long waiting list. luckily we were with someone that got us a table.  we enjoyed our dinner at cole's and right as we finished, a table inside the bar became available - score! honestly, we were all stuffed from dinner but we made room to share a cocktail and enjoy the atmosphere. (bummed i didn't get a picture of us here. next time.)

we've gone hiking a few times with our friends. the four of us hike and talk and then go out to breakfast. i'm lacking in exercise these days so getting out and sweating a bit is fun.

we've been reading a lot. the kids have their summer books they need to finish. i'm still working on tiny beautiful things. almost done. i want to finish and go to the library for my next book.

this year we made it out to the fireworks instead of watching them from afar. my sister lives within walking distance of the big neighborhood show. it was fun standing in the street and seeing them close up.

it was even better to walk back to their place and hang out while the traffic died down.

 we are working on some summer cocktails to enjoy. this is a red, white and blue sangria that we had on the 4th.  strawberries, blueberries, pinot grigio and sprite zero.

on the weekend we are loving this drink.  during the week we make the mocktail for a refreshing drink.

this week the boys went to the golfing range with their uncle. jordan finally got to use his new clubs - they were a gift for his 8th grade graduation. now he's asking to go again.

the dodger games just keep on coming.  last night bobby and sofia met their cousins at their annual father/daughter hello kitty dodger game.  they had a blast and look forward to continuing this tradition every year.  

jordan is still practicing and getting a lot better in swim.  the coach is impressed with how much improvement she's seen. the best part is that he's enjoying it. he is also practicing with his band for an upcoming gig.  his summer is almost over. he starts band camp in early august, yikes!

andrew is playing video games, a lot.  the technology system needs some new rules.  he is taking a science fiction writing class at school a few days a week and is having fun writing his strangely creative short story.  he is reading lots of tolkien and watching the original star trek and twilight zone series.

sofia is swimming, playing, skateboarding, cooking, playing with the keyboard, organizing all of her toys, playing club penguin, and watching teen beach movie 2 and full house.

i'm still organizing. got my room almost finished - made a lot of progress last week.i need to clear out clothes and do some decorating.  i'm helping out with summer events for the band. we are planning a camping trip in a few weeks and a family reunion.   i still want to order a chemex or another pour over system for some home brew coffee.

still lots i want to do but not stressing over it. here's to more summer fun!

Monday, July 6, 2015

2015 weekly menu #28

red, white and blue trifle (see link below)
we have so many great memories from this weekend; swimming (lots of swimming), barbecuing, eating, relaxing, hiking, playing, socializing, making and celebrating. it's hard to believe that we fit it all into 3 days.

the weeks are not going as planned.  a lot has to do with taking jordan to swim every night - during the time i would normally start dinner. it means i have to be ready earlier or choose easier meals.

our plans are always changing.  bobby and i went out to dinner one night and i ordered a pizza for the kids, we had lemon pasta one night that was so good, we went to a bbq on friday night and had deli sandwiches. it's the freedom of summer, i guess.

i did make this on monday and it's worth sharing, greek tomato and cucumber farro.

weekend eats
saturday: bbq at my parents' house - carne asada, mexican street corn salad and the trifle
sunday: sushi

making this week
monday:  quick pasta with sausage and tomato sauce, grilled zucchini
tuesday: baja grilled flank steak salad - skinny taste cookbook
wednesday: hot dogs and sausages, salad
thursday: grilled salmon with avocado remoulade, garlic green beans
friday: calzones

looks a lot like last week, right? we'll see if we can stay on track.