Call it a Comeback

I apologize for my absence, it really hits you how boring life is when you have two kids in school. OR how AWESOME it is. I kid, I kid, sort of….

Averi finally picked up the whole potty situation, with a few here and there oopsies. She is in school four days a week and loves it. We had her first field trip to the Children’s museum and she had a blast.

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The amazing thing about Averi is she is very independent. She made her way through the museum doing her thing and didn’t worry about anyone but herself.

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I want to be like her when i grow up. Free and not giving a shit!

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Kaili has been doing great in first grade and she loves going to school each and every day.

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Her interest in cooking is emerging and I love it.

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These two keep me on my toes every single day. They are smart, funny and just plain awful sometimes….It’s not funny if it’s not real, right.

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Summer Moments

Kaili is finally getting comfortable in the pool. Between swimming with her friends and swim lessons, I am hoping she becomes a very strong swimmer.

We had a nice visit with friends and it took the sun going down to finally get everyone out of the pool.

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The weather has been spectacular, making it very difficult to stay inside.

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I made an Indian feast for family using this recipe as my always go to for Chicken Tikka Masala. I made some Dal and Raita and bought Trader Joe’s frozen Naan and Samosa’s. We were all happily stuffed at the end of the night.

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I also made Chrissy Teigen’s Pineapple Grilled Shortribs and you guys, they were Ahhhhmazing. I will describe them as candied meat or a very tender and sweet beef jerky.

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Kaili has her last swim class, it’s bittersweet. She really loves it and asked me if she could have a playdate with her instructor. Every day she gets a little bit braver.

Weekend at the Lake

We decided to spend Memorial weekend up at Lake Arrowhead. It has been over a year since we were last up there and now that Averi is a bit older and a tad easier, we thought….why not?

We rented the same VRBO that suited our needs perfectly last time. Plenty of rooms, a fire place and a nice deck with a hot tub.

Once we hit our first destination on the mountain, Lou Eddies Pizza, Kaili hopped out of the truck and threw up. We high fived her for making it to the top and saving us a huge mess to clean up.

After a few sips of 7-up, she was ready for pizza.

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Full on delicious pizza, we checked into our rental, unloaded ALL of our stuff (crazy the amount of stuff we need for just a few days) and hit the store.

Then it was time to play.

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We wandered around the Village and stopped at a new Tap Room for a couple of coconut margs and snacks for the girls.

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It was absolutely beautiful up there.

Dinner was enjoyed on our patio. Grilled rib-eyes and wine, while the girls splashed in the hot tub.

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After bath and pajamas, we indulged in S’mores while the sun went down.

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The next morning we woke up and headed out for a hike to “Heart Rock”.  We had zero phone service by the time we got to where we thought the beginning of the trail was but it turned out we were in the wrong spot. Luckily other people were in the same predicament and working together, finally managed to find where we needed to be. Unfortunately, Averi decided she was done with nature and her mood went to shit.

There were loads of Ladybugs all over the place, to the point where it was actually making my skin crawl.

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About a 1/4 mile up the trail Averi had given up and I had to carry her. I wanted to throw in the towel and just let Shane and Kaili finish it,  but Shane talked me into continuing. We took turns carrying the little terrorist to the end. We didn’t really get to explore the waterfall or the heart shape rock since the girls were well, you know.

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Kaili did a great job and had a lot of fun, that is until I told her I wanted to take her picture. Tell me how you really feel Kaili.

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Shane carried Averi all the way back to the paved road where she managed to use her two feet to make it to the truck.

We were all famished and ready for lunch so we stopped at a highly recommended Mexican spot that sits cliffside the mountain. The food was really good as were the views.

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After lunch, Averi’s mood lifted so we headed down to the village for some play time.

The girls finally got to go on a few the rides, something we have been hearing about nonstop since we arrived.

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The pirate ship was the clear favorite.

Then it was our turn, we sat outside and had margaritas while the girls had ice cream.

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We wandered up to the grocery store for some goodies to build a charcuterie board for dinner.

Once the girls were down for the night, we sat outside enjoying our meal when a visitor let himself into our yard.

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We tried calling the number on his tag but no one answered. Shane said he remembered seeing this dog the last time we were here so while he walked down to that house, Zuess and I enjoyed some cured meats. Then he was happily reunited with his owners.

Sunday morning after some espresso’s made with my new Staresso, which I LOVE, we went back down to the lake for lunch.

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We shared some appetizers and a few cocktails, which were all really good.

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A neighbor of the house we were staying at invited us to a block party later that afternoon. It was an interesting group of people and after an hour or so of chatting, we had had enough and decided to head back to the house to try and eat up some leftovers.

Before heading home Monday morning, we took once last glimpse of the lake. We left beautiful weather and headed back into town welcomed by a grey sky and cooler weather.

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It’s always a good time up there and I am ooking forward to enjoying a Christmas in Lake Arrowhead some time in the future.

Little Getaways

Kaili had this week off of school for Spring break and instead of us sitting around the house we joined Shane for a week in Oxnard, Ca.

We left Sunday early in the day and made a pit stop in Irvine for a visit with family before making our way up to Malibu. The drive along the coast up there is just breathtaking. We stopped at Paradise Cove for lunch. With tables in the sand and amazing views, you really do feel like you’ve reached Paradise.

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We easily devoured a bottle of Cakebread 2012 Merlot for a very reasonable price considering where we were. It’s hard to beat sitting on the beach with a good drink while the kids are entertaining themselves in mother natures playground. The food was underwhelming, which seems to be a reoccurring theme for us lately but the atmosphere made up for it.

dThe last leg of the drive was an easy one and we got to the hotel by check in time. Our room that was supposed to be ready, wasn’t, and being a Hilton Honors member we got upgraded to an ocean view suite. Still full from lunch we decided to skip dinner and just go with happy hour beverages. We watched the sun set on the balcony before tucking in for the night.

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Shane still had to work so the girls and I were on our own for most of the days.  We played at the beach in the mornings and then spent the afternoons at the pool.

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One day I brought my book down thinking I might be able to read a chapter and then I laughed and laughed and laughed at myself.

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We would meet Shane at happy hour in the evenings and then head into town for dinner. We had some very good steamed mussels at la Petit Cafe in the harbor, after we managed to make it back to the hotel bar to catch most of the USMNT soccer match. The girls ate ice cream on the floor, we had some wine, it was perfect.

We also found a good Mexican spot in Oxnard called Cabo Seafood grill and Cantina and everyone was happy with their meal, a rarity these days.

Thursday morning we took one last dip in the hot tub before packing up for the drive home.

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The hotel service wasn’t as good as it should be for a pricey resort but overall the stay was very nice. One of my favorite things is being able to hear the waves crashing from the couch as the ocean breeze blows through the room.

Kaili was complaining of an earache on the drive home and Averi was super tired and cranky. Turns out K had swimmers ear but luckily we caught it fast and she’s good as new now.

Little getaways like these are just what the doctor ordered.

This Weather

We have had a good run with the weather lately and yes I am bragging. My winter tan is coming along nicely, thanks for asking.

We have been spending time outdoors with friends, playing, eating and just enjoying life.

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A friend and I took our girls to Seaport Village for a Sunday Funday. We ate ice cream, rode the carousel and enjoyed the day.

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Kaili’s class had a field trip ton probably the best day of weather ever. I volunteered to help, my friend and I had a small group of girls to chaperone for a day at the San Diego zoo.

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I think we made a lot of ground, saw a lot of animals in the day. But it was hot and the girls   ended up just wanting to be done walking and to see the petting zoo.

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So we hiked our way through the treetops to get them all safely to the petting zoo, which is really just some goats…..but they were happy.

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We spent the last 30 minutes of the day playing on the playground and eating churros and then the kids were whisked away via bus and us adults went on our way. It was exhausting but so fun!

Averi and I have our new shopping routine. We head to Hillcrest where we can hit Trader Joes and Ralphs in a one-stop shop.

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She loves the ride up!

Then we spent the entire weekend in the sun, in the warmtub and just loving these sunny days.

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Averi wasn’t her normal self Monday and she ended coming down with some stomach bug. But on the tail end of it we landed at the park for a couple of hours,  I almost lost my daughter to the sandman.

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I hear it’s supposed to rain next week. Good thing I have a head start on my sunning!

 

Birthday

How am I 40 years old? Not sure I am okay with it, definitely  don’t want to talk about it.

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We were lucky enough to escape for a full 24 hours! We being me and Shane, no kids allowed. All that was set in stone was dinner and brunch reservations, the rest was…whatever the hell we wanted.  We checked into our hotel room downtown about 4:00 and then to Little Italy where Brian Malarkey’s latest restaurant aka our dinner reservation was. We started at a wine bar that was packed, luckily we got ourselves a table and a nice long chat with the owner.

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The weather was crap, not the day to just stroll from place to place so we needed a game plan. We booked it around the corner to Juniper and Ivy. An amazing restaurant by the brilliant Richard Blais. We cozied up with some wine and just perfect bites of food.

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Pork belly at it’s finest!

The worst part or maybe the best part is that I didn’t take more than two pictures. We just enjoyed the night. Looking back I wish I had, and I knew I should but the moment took over that thought, do you feel me?

After a cracking experience at Juniper we headed around the corner to Herb & Wood. The menu is so great that I struggled to choose. I ended up ordering something I would never order, lamb bolognese with fresh pasta. Not going to dive into food reviews, it was good, not great and having been to all of his restaurants I still, hands down think Herringbone is the front runner.

After dinner we Ubured ( is that even a word? ) to a “supposedly” speak easy wine bar with an Alice in Wonderland theme. The idea was fun,  taking the stairs down to a grass wall that was actually a door. We sat at the bar and quickly realized it wasn’t an actual wine bar, more just a bar that had wine. The best part was the TV above us that was recording everyone coming down the outside stairs to the “hidden” doors. People are hilarious.

We moved on, now pretty good and buzzed we wandered into a bar with a live band. It was a good time but we both were ready for bed. I think we were in bed by 11:00 pm. Not bad for 40!

Our Brunch reservations were for 10:30…. I think. Wags picked us up at the hotel and we headed to Old Town to a restaurant we have never been to. The Tequila Factory,  a restaurant in a hotel in the heart of Old Town. We parked underground and it really was a mess trying to find the restaurant.  Once we reached the hostess she said we were 30 minutes late so we had to wait… unless we were okay with a few stairs. Shane looked to Wags’ and then back to the hostess, we told her we would be at the bar.

Finally we were seated out on the patio, the sun decided to show up. We had a good time, the food…eh,  everyone else seemed to be really enjoying it.

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A guitarist that has been working there for years  serenaded us for a few songs, one was Stairway to Heaven because Wags.

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Our bellies full we strolled through town wondering what we should do next when Old Town Saloon came into focus. An actual  21+ bar and I had never been there. We put money into the jukebox, quarters into the pool table and had a BLAST.

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I used to be good at pool, really. But now I am not. Shane won every game. Bullshit! 40 is in the bag!

 

Hawaiian Poke

We took the kids to the beach park in La Jolla last week. It was sunny but cold and the wind had a mind of it’s own, so did the damm seagulls. But it was beautiful out.

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There was a flock of thieves stealing snacks from our hands, so brazen they probably would have landed on our heads for just a nibble of whatever we were eating. They even took sunscreen and wipes out of our bags, but quickly dropped them when they realized it wasn’t the goods they wanted. Kaili wasn’t having any of it, she would run after them, screaming and arms flailing but they were unfazed. Tucking our stuff away and making sure all was zipped up, we headed down to the water.

fullsizerender-1img_1338The younger one decided she was done and wanted to head back up to dry land. Probably one of the hardest parts of parenting multiple children, keeping track of children wanting to go separate ways. We dredged back up to the boardwalk  where we stopped and attempted a few pictures, this was the best.

There is nothing like getting home from the beach, your skin is sun-kissed, your hair has that sea salt texture and your skin has a hint of saltiness. I love the coast and I love seafood and that night I wanted fish, raw fish, good raw fish….like a delicious Poké.

Saturday morning we headed to our local wholesale seafood market. We bought some A. Apples, B. Bananas….just kidding. Does anyone else remember that car game? No, great, moving on.

Tuna, sushi grade tuna, Big Eye tuna to be exact.I haven’t worked with fresh raw tuna before. It’s been only the past few years that I have had some really good Poké, trying it at random but appropriate restaurants if you catch my drift. As time went on I really wanted to try and make it myself but the Mr. isn’t a fan, so I needed the right timing to make it for someone other than myself. After our beach day this was the time.

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I wanted it to sit for at least 3 hours before it was served. I based my recipe off what I love most in a Poké, soy, sesame and onion in the leading cast. After a little recipe hunting I had decided on a final ingredient list.

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Now, if you don’t cook often a lot of these ingredients might seem daunting  or maybe they are items you don’t normally have in your pantry. For me,  they are staples, I just needed to pick up a sweet onion and macadamia nuts, this was an easy shopping list for me. Simple to throw together, no recipe, just my thoughts. The final product made me proud, really proud. This was probably the best I have had and I never say that lightly, especially when I’m the one in the kitchen.

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Ingredients

1 lb. sushi grade tuna

1/4 cups small slices of sweet onion

1 green onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tsp. black sesame seeds, toasted

1 Tbs. macadamia nuts, roasted and salted, chopped

1 Tbs dark soy sauce

2 Tbs light soy sauce

1/2 Tbs. Mirin

1 tsp. chili garlic sauce

2 Tbs sesame oil

Kosher salt to taste

* I made a Wasabi drizzle with a little mayo, wasabi powder and lemon juice. All to taste. I put the mixture into a sandwich bag, snipped the end off and piped it on top. If you like it spicy and the flavor of wasabi I recommend you give it a go!

Directions

Slice the tuna into 1 inch cubes and place into a non reactive bowl aka glass.

Add all the other ingredients and mix. Cover tightly and let hang out for a couple of hours. Serve over rice, wonton crisps or just dig in with your hands.