Beach House

Way back when I when I was in high school, my brother was in elementary and we lived in Nor Cal, my family spent a week at a beach house in south OC. We loved it. Then we moved there and we still loved it, but nothing is the same as living on the actual beach. The waves crash and you can feel the spray on your legs while you’re sitting on the porch.

My brother decided to recreate that beach house moment from our childhood and rented a house on the same beach, but this house was much fancier.

We couldn’t stay too long because the kids where in camp and school was starting, but it was a great way to end the summer. We played, bathed, swam, sunned, met a curious sea lion and in the end, no one wanted to leave.

The morning that we left the girls went down to the COLD water in their pjs, same thing I would do if I lived on the beach.

August

Does it seem like time is flying by? Somehow it’s the middle of August and back to school shopping has commenced. I really hope we make it and there isn’t a state wide “oh shit” and we all end up in lockdown again…sigh.

Still plenty of pool days.

A few weeks back we had a blast at Boots in the Park. It was an all day country concert at Waterfront park with five artists/bands. Our seats were amazing, the view was amazing and the reason we went, Old Dominion, were AHmazing! So much fun.

The fountains were on until the sun went down, it provided a cool down when needed.

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Scotty McCreery

I made a couple of my favorite recipes to make for guests. One being Chrissy Teigen’s meatloaf from her cookbook Cravings. I am not a meatloaf fan, I mean….meat in a loaf, no thanks. I remember my mom making it when I was young and she put mashed potatoes on top, well I think that’s a memory. Anyhow, I had to douse mine in BBQ sauce to eat it. But this recipe has half ground beef and half spicy Italian sausage along with mushroom and onions. It’s really good, as good as meatloaf can get.

I also made this gazpacho, which is my most favorite of all time recipe for the cold Spanish soup. However, I did tweak a couple of the things from the original recipe to make it my own. It will not disappoint, I promise.

Here is what you need to do.

Grab 3 garlic cloves, unpeeled and wrap them in foil

3 large tomatoes (1 1/2 pounds)

1 medium cucumber ( I use

1 green anaheim pepper

1 red bell pepper

1 medium sweet onion, unpeeled

Throw all of the above ingredients and grill or roast until the skin in charred and they begin to soften. F&W says “about 8 minutes for the tomatoes, cucumber and bell peppers, 10 minutes for the garlic and 15 minutes for the onion.” However I think it takes longer, so allow 30 minutes for this.

Once they are cool enough to handle without you swearing as you burn your fingers, peel and discard any seeds or stems from the veg and then run a knife through them. Then toss them all in your food processor or blender.

Then grab.

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

1/4 cup chopped Italian Parsley and Basil, plus more for garnish

1 cup cold water

croutons

Salt and freshly ground pepper

While blending add the olive oil, then the vinegar (use sherry vinegar if you can). Taste for salt, i think it always needs more. Add the herbs and taste again. Pour into a big bowl, stir in the cold water and stick it in the fridge until cold and ready to serve.

Serve in individual bowls and drizzle with your best olive oil and garnish with herbs and croutons.

Then watch your guests happily slurp it up. It’s delicious

Please make this and tell me how much you LOVED It!

A Day by the Sea

We have been keeping busy the past few weekends. The Chula Vista Harbor fest is the one thing we do each year. It’s the perfect mix for kids and adults. Most of the time you find these festivals have it all, food, booze and a kids zone. But in the city of San Diego, the booze has to be kept in a 21 and over “beer garden.” In Chula Vista, they don’t give a shit and we like that kind of thinking. We can grab a drink and walk around with our kids or sip our wine while our kids bounce in the jumpers. I mean it really is common sense, happy parents + happy life?

The girls had so much fun. From the bouncers to the ice cream…they were kept busy.

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Kaili did a little bungee jumping.

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Ave’s had fun on the playground.

 

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There was hula hooping. I just realized I don’t know how to spell that…is it hula or hoola? Oh, man.

It’s all fun and games outside of SD limits.

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After the festival we headed to Coronado for a late lunch. A day out in San Diego really does feel like a mini stay cation.. What’s not to love?

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Dragging my Feet

What can I say, I have been a horrible blogger lately. I will blame it on the Avester. Every time I stand by my computer contemplating on writing, she is at my heels yelling “Mama, mama, mama, UP UP UP!” It’s ear piercing and nerve-racking.  I end up picking her up and wandering away from the computer.

Averi is now 19 months and quite the handful. She prefers her meals on the go, something I told myself I would never let her do. Wandering around with food, what good can come of it. Well, it keeps her quiet, let’s me get stuff done and puts meat on her bones, so for now, I just go with it.

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Photo by Brian Kerr

Kaili just ended her first month of soccer. She seemed to really enjoy it so I signed her up for another month.  She also started up swimming again, this time it’s at a swim school opposed to the YMCA. But once a week isn’t frequent enough so I am hoping to up it to twice a week. We need this girl swimming.

IMG_7399As I write this, it’s sprinkling outside but the last couple weeks we have been spoiled with amazing weather. I have spent almost everyday outside reading in the sun and then spending the afternoon playing in the backyard with the girls.

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We spent Valentines day as a family eating chocolate, popping in and out of the hot tub, sun bathing and watching Shane work in the backyard. More on that later. Kaili had a school party and enjoyed scouring through her mound of cards and candy.

Kaili and one of her besties.
Kaili and one of her besties.

Shane and I treated ourselves to some King crab for dinner and then I tried making chocolate soufflés for dessert. They didn’t turn out as I expected, the lava cakes I make are much more decadent. Next year, I will go back to making those.

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Meal Times

I don’t know how I, one of the least pickiest eaters, has a child who doesn’t like anything. I might say that this is the most frustrating part of parenting to date. Each meal is a struggle, one week she likes something, the next she doesn’t. I know this is probably pretty normal but my gawd it’s driving me mad. I am about to let her eat dry cereal and taquitos three meals a day.

Meanwhile, Aves is still a pretty good eater and I hope it lasts.

IMG_7296 The girls just love music. Averi gets into a semi trance while watching any sort of singing and Kaili likes all the hip songs on the radio. I hate to admit this but I just downloaded a Justin Bieber song because Kaili loves it.. 

IMG_7226Kaili’s class had a field trip to the new Children’s Museum downtown. I was worried about having to bring Averi along but it worked out pretty well. A lot of the museum was great for both kids but there were some parts that weren’t Averi accessible, I would have had a hard time rounding them up all by myself.

IMG_7218IMG_7220IMG_7225Days are starting to get easier. Averi is sleeping through the night, Kaili has been pretty good about staying quiet until 6:30. Aves will play by herself and watch some cartoons  while I need to get whatever done, and then she naps from about 10 until noonish. That time I spend working out and reading in the sun or the bath. I am trying to take more of her nap time to zen out. I don’t know if it helps with my patience or not, I like to think it does.

 

Saying Goodbye to 2015

Instagram gave me a collage of my best nine pictures of the year. I thought that was a good way to say farewell to the year while looking back on all the fun we had.

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January – We had just returned from a Washington Christmas and spent the month getting used to all the changes our then 6 month old was giving us. We saw a little horror on the trolley when a woman was stabbed in our car, that is still fresh in all of our minds when we get on the trolley.

February- I turned another year older, sigh… we spent a weekend as tourists in our own city. We ate (the best) tacos at Puesto, drank amazing wine in Little Italy, gorged on cheese from the Cheese shop and spent the evenings in the hot tub.

March- Averi graduated to sitting up on her own and I did a lot of cooking, trying out new recipes from Chicken pot pie to Sriracha chicken wings.

April- Miss Kaili turned 4 years old. We had a Frozen party with a bounce house and she is still talking about it.

May- We spent Memorial day in Lake Arrowhead staying in a condo we rented through VRBO. We fell in love with the place and were already planning our next trip for the summer.

June- Kaili moved from the 3 year old class to the 4’s, she handled the transition with ease, as always. That was the first time I really saw how amazing it was going to be to have two little girls, sisters.

July- We went back to Lake Arrowhead with the grandparents. We did all the fun things that we couldn’t do when the weather was colder. After our getaway we celebrated the Avester turning one!

August- Averi started walking at 13 months. I found out about the Vegetti and started spiralizing zucchini for all the dishes.

September- This is when Kaili started really challenging us with her behavior. I tried behavior charts, which were mildly successful. Averi started to have some sleep changes and was waking up before the sun. Shane and I celebrated our 9 year wedding anniversary with a super fun night out on the town.

October- Seems like just yesterday. We took the girls to Oma’s pumpkin patch and Bates nut farm. This was the first time Halloween was really exciting for Kaili, we still have candy leftover.

November- Our first Friendsgiving along with my herniated disc.  Really good times and some very painful ones sum up that month.

December- This has been a good month. Too much food, but a lot of good cooking. Great times with friends and family and it’s been amazing to watch the girls together. We just moved Averi into her sisters room, it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Happy New Year!

 

Out and About

There is a new restaurant down in Harbor Island. One I have been anticipating for months. Since Shane and I don’t get many chances to go out alone, we decided to try Coasterra with kids in tow. The view is AHmazing, I crave sitting outside along the water and their atmosphere definitely satisfied.

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I can’t go into detail on the food, we had a few apps and a soup, all good but not AHmazing. Their menu was enticing but pricey, not worth dropping that much on a meal that I can’t enjoy in peace…know what i’m saying?

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Kaili got to see San Diego from a higher point of view, she loved it…she also loved her first attempt at pool, she needs some practice.

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We don’t get downtown much these days but since they let little kids in bars, I don’t see why we don’t go more often.

Out of Towner’s

We spent a couple of days with my parents in Laguna Niguel. The girls were happy to be in a new place, with new things to explore and get into. Kaili got some swimming lessons with grandpa, she didn’t complain about the pool water temperature so maybe it’s time to retry swim lessons.

first piano lesson
first piano lesson

In San Juan Capistrano there is a cute little petting zoo, with pony err horse rides, a little train and a playground. The girls enjoyed themselves, I however got spit on by an alpaca and smelled like regurgitated food and dirty animal the rest of the time.

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They revamped a park near my parents house and turned it into a splash ground. Now that Aves is walking she got to participate. I was surprised by how long they both lasted being wet.

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Averi is now my great little eater and Kaili, ugh, finding food she will eat is a struggle. How did I get such a picky eater? I mean the girl won’t eat mac n cheese or pizza,  those were my old standbys. She has been living off of steak, rice and berries this past week, yes that is a good meal but soon I am sure she won’t like any of those foods anymore.

Shoveling in Pad Thai
Shoveling in Pad Thai

After dinner we kicked the soccer ball around with the girls, one final chance to wear them out. They share a room when we stay at Grandma and Grandpa’s so we need them both good and tired.

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We all enjoyed ourselves, next week is back to school.

Dinosaur Roar!

Last week I got to meet Jenny Mollen. “Who?” is what you are thinking…right? She is an actress, author and married to an “American Pie” actor. I have followed her on social media for awhile because she is hilarious and when her book came out I read it in 2 days. So when I saw that she was going to be in San Diego for a book signing I was eager to go. My girlfriend and I went down to meet her and listen to her chat about the book. I had never done anything like that before and although I didn’t need my iPad signed or even feel the need to have a picture with her, it was fun and i would do it again!
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Averi is turning 3 months in a few days. It’s been a LONG 3 months. Her favorite thing to do is visit our newest winery.
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Kaili is eagerly awaiting Halloween. She has been adamant that she wants to be a Dinosaur.
ROAR!
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