Don’t be so Prickly

We took two days to soak up the desert heat and wade in water. Good times and tan lines. We have a favorite hotel in Palm Springs but it was booked for the dates we wanted so we decided to try out the Saguaro hotel. We thought about stopping in Temecula on the way out there for a wine tasting, but decided to just hightail it straight there to be poolside.

The Saguaro is a super trendy hotel that has a retro vibe, aesthetically eye pleasing with blocks of color everywhere. We asked for a pool view room so we could have an idea of how early people trickled down to the pool. Shade was sparse so we wanted to stake our claim on a proper poolside lounger.

Once we were checked in we swiftly changed into our suits and headed down to the crowded pool. See those loungers in the bottom of the photo? One of those opened up so we dropped our stuff and hot stepped literally into the pool. You guys, it was 110 degrees out and I’m pretty sure the pool water temp was 95 degrees. I honestly didn’t think I would make it there for two days, however I adapted. We brought our own adult beverages and our frost buddy cups which was a lifesaver. They have a poolside bar but it’s super pricey and the bartenders are green. Tip 1, bring drinks and a cup. Tip 2, get a poolside room. That was the biggest mistake we made. Each time we wanted to go to the room it was through walkways, key cards, stairs and around and through and down stairs and key cards etc. EVERY TIME….That got old fast. Meanwhile the smart ones were just hopping into their poolside rooms.

We learned that Palm Springs had a two day, two weekend musical festival called Splash House. The Saguaro hotel was a location, our favorite (sold out & now we know why) hotel was a location and one other hotel were all home base for this house music situation. Luckily we were checking out the day it started, phew. The pool wasn’t big enough or cool enough for 80 + drunk people and their floats or their urine.

We spent the entire afternoon in the pool talking and making new friends. We were deep in a conversation when I saw this in a friends sunglasses. I told him to stand tight so I could take this picture. Summer in a photo.

Eventually the sun set and it was finally only 100 degrees outside. Everyone trickled out of the pool putting a period on the day. We made our way to our room for dinner.

The next morning we claimed some pool chairs and went for breakfast. We weren’t impressed but we were fed. We hit the pool and read and sweated and read. I was almost done with my book and the pool was filling up, I told Shawna I needed to finish it before our friends showed up. I ended up crying in the pool, damn book…. but I did finish it.

We took advantage of the hotel restaurants happy hour, we slightly dried off and headed in for tacos and drinks.

Back in the pool we talked and talked until time slipped away and once again the sun went down, funny how that works. We ended the night, ordered a pizza and fell asleep watching the death channel.

The next morning we had a nice lie in, and then hit a recommended spot for lunch before heading home. We were told we MUST try El Patio.

So we did and it was delicious. Shawna got breakfast but me, not me. I ordered the Del Mar for us to start with. Fresh ceviche of crab, octopus and shrimp mixed with cucumber, tomato and the sweetest mango topped with avocado and pickled onions. SO GOOD!! I asked for the trio of salsa’s (I don’t think thats the right name) but it’s not on the menu so make sure that if you visit, ask for it! Finally, I had the fish tacos and they were perfect. We thanked our new friends for the suggestion and will most definitely be back.

As for the Saguaro hotel, I’m not sure if we will be back. One thing that I didn’t mention was the music at the pool was terrible, really bad IMHO. Maybe it was the music of the DJ’s that were going to be playing at the festival, either way it was not good. You guys, that’s all that played for two days, the same playlist over and over…I wanted to go find someone and pay them to change it. Other than a handful of negatives (working ice machines were limited) it’s not a bad hotel, we did have a great time.

Cooking with Kids

A few months before our trip to Greece I landed a gig to teach a summer cooking class to kids. The days, times and location worked out brilliantly with our schedules. I was given all of the recipes for the cooking session, then I went shopping for the ingredients on the Sunday before class or that Monday morning. There is a Pavilion’s right near the school, that was so handy! The company dropped off bins full of the cooking utensils and tools I should need beforehand, so all I had to do was unpack the groceries and prep for the class.The plan was to teach two separate sessions, three weeks each. The first session was a cooking class the second was a baking class.

My cooking group consisted of 3 boys and 3 girls, ages 6-11 and they were awesome!

Each day we made two dishes/recipes. I would get to the site early and prep all of the ingredients (mis en place), the cooking equipment we would be using, and presented it on a table for easy accessibility. I wrote on each recipe card who was going to do what. Little Billy (names have been changed) will cut onions, Rose will grate cheese and so on and so forth. That way I knew that everyone was participating throughout the entire class. After a quick demo of what we were going to make and asking them about some of the ingredients, we dove in. I didn’t do any of the cooking, they did it all. I guided them, I handled the hot oven, any boiling water and the washing of knives, but other than that, they did it all. And man, they kicked ass!

The first week we made.

Gumbo, flapjacks, carrot casserole, porridge bites, egg casserole, spinach mac n cheese, Spaghetti with meatballs, and omelettes.

They were pretty good eaters. I will say that by the second week, one girl was begging to stop using onions, HAHAHA! I feel like every recipe called for onions.

When we were done with both dishes of the day, we sat down and ate together. I would bring in juice mix and they would take turns making a pitcher of lemonade or fruit punch, yes, of course it was sugar free, not my first rodeo lunatics. Then, if we had any free time before the class ended, we would play heads up or trivia or maybe just draw Whatever they wanted to do as long as it wasn’t swinging from the rafters or playing chase, boys, I am looking at you.

The second week we made;

Mash and gravy, meatball stroganoff, brussels sprout and parmesan salad, hot dogs with a veggie chili, Naan personal pizzas, macaroni and cheese and a fruit salad.

This pasta recipe, you guys, was soooooo good. I know it doesn’t look great and honestly when I read the recipe I wasn’t sold. But it’s good, guilty pleasure BBQ side dish good.

I will share the recipe.

The final week we made said pasta salad, pizza pockets, veggie sushi rolls and eggs with pico de gallo.

It was a great first round of cooking.

Mostly July

We had a low key 4th of July. The clubhouse had a BBQ and games which were fun for the kids.

Averi won a few things, Limbo and the belly flop…I think, which is so ironic.

We did some local wine tasting.

I took the girls to inflatable world which had water bouncy slides. Kaili was sure we wasn’t going to get wet.

The girls made tomato sauce for pizzas.

We went to the beach.

That about wraps up July. Aside from my summer cooking class, I will tell you all about it next.

This is 8

8!

Can you believe it? I can’t.

Smoosh face.

We had family over for dinner, cake and pressies. Celebrating Averi and Aileen who have birthdays one day apart.

Averi’s cake was chocolate with vanilla frosting but I apparently I added too much lemon zest (said the girl who loves lemons) and they didn’t like it.

For fucks sake.

Aileen got a Julien apple pie, she is much easier to accommodate.

The girls went to bed and the adults played a fun game, before we knew it, the night was over.
Happy birthday ladies.

February

It’s a big month you guys, BIG, HUGE! I have a birthday coming up and it happens to fall on an epic day this year. February 22, 2022 is on a Tuesday. A 2’s days. This will be known as Kim’s Two’s day.

I am not a huge birthday girl, I mean, it’s a fun excuse to go out and celebrate and we all love gifts, but it also comes along with getting older, sigh. This year though, I’m a little excited. My Two’s day is also national margarita day AND taco Tuesday. I mean, that’s fun right?

So, I made myself an early birthday treat.

Kaili and I polished them off in no time. Somedays it was dinner because that is allowed when it’s your birthday month.

Originally, these were called Creme de Menthe brownies, maybe they still are. The first time I remember falling in love with them was at a restaurant in the Stoneridge mall back in the 1980’s. I wish I could remember the name of the place. Anyhow, it was a restaurant that had the dessert options on a cart, and the waiter would wheel it up to your table so you could visualize what to drool over. Didn’t Bobbie McGee’s do that too? Someone from high school/Bay area, let me know please! Anyways, that was such a smart way to make sure the kids got dessert, parent’s had no chance.

Well, these were what I always ordered at whatever restaurant that was and they are delicious. I don’t know where we can buy Creme de Menthe or if it even exists anymore, but peppermint extract is a fine substitute.

I used this recipe and this recipe as a baseline for measurements. But I only use Ghirardelli 60% dark chocolate chips, for this and anything that calls for chocolate chips.

To make up for all the chocolate that I shoveled into my mouth…

I completed my 200th ride!! Fittingly with a 90’s pop playlist and my favorite instructor!

AND can we talk about the weather? I mean, it’s been fantastic. Nothing better than a winter tan.

We even broke out the slip n’ slide.

I think that wraps it up, I am off to make my babe a delicious dinner.

Can’t wait to share all of the fun Valentine/birthdays/margarita/ taco Tuesday fun that’s coming our way!

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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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!

Plenty of Fun

The hours seem to go by slow but the years, they fly by.

Now we found ourselves at the end of the school year.

So long first and fourth grade.

We jumped right into summer break by visiting the trampoline park.

And then….no and then.

We went to the beach.

Which, let me tell you is so disappointing after Mexico, sigh. The water here is cold, I couldn’t find one person offering adult beverages, you guys, we are doing it wrong!

At least the pool water temp was better.

My baby K bear.

She may catch up to my tan soon.

We also went to the movie theaters for the first time in ages. We saw Spirit Untamed. It was good, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Popcorn, candy and some tears!

Last but not least, we put out a slippin’ slide.

Jess and I used to spend the majority of our summers making up dance routines on these things. However we never took it to the next level and used soap. (why Jess, why?)

Probably because we were too busy using tanning oil and Sun-In and working on our dance moves, ha ha.

If someone can provide video of us, I dare you!

It’s nice to gather with friends and family that we have missed so much. Almost as good as getting my hands on some great local wine. If you haven’t been to Edwards Vineyards in Ramona, you need to make it a priority.

It’s officially summer.

The mornings are overcast but the days are warm and sunny. Plenty of fun to come!

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It was my brother’s first full day in PV and we had big big plans…. stay in the pool ALL day. We started with breakfast downstairs. In the old days it would have been a buffet but now it’s more like a virtual menu. Choose what you want and they will serve it to you. Their pastries were much better than the ones we had in Cancún, actually I think all the food was better. I started the days with croissants and mimosa’s, my babe had french toast, a very strange cold muesli/yogurt mess and strawberry mimosas. The guys ate normal breakfast foods, however Casey’s friend ate like there wasn’t going to be anymore food for the rest of the day.

Once at the pool, blowjobs and donkey semen started flowing. You never knew where the shots were coming from, there was alway someone ordering something for everyone. We all took turns playing ping pong, volleyball and black jack.

The food that came out of the pool cafe was some of the best. Carne Asada street tacos with fresh spicy salsa, a Gyro that was really good and their burgers were also solid. I did order the Aguachile one day and it was quite good but I was too full to really enjoy it.

I swear we aren’t horrible at ping pong.

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This was the evening of our fancy wine dinner. We made reservations in the wine room of the French Restaurant. If you purchase a bottle of wine it comes with a special chef’s menu. We had fresh french bread, there is nothing better than warm fresh bread with cold salted butter. Casey pretty much took down two baskets himself. The beef tartare was especially delicious, surf and turf for the main was cooked perfectly and we ended with a chocolate soufflé. It was delicious and worth it if you ever decide to visit.

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The evening ended in the lobby as usual with good company and music.

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We woke to our last day in PV, we planned on spending the first half of the day in town. After a quick breakfast we called an Uber to pick us up.

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Once in town we did a little window shopping and then chose a place for lunch. We picked a place that had outside seating with a view. The weather however was ridiculous. It was so humid that my sundress felt like a wool blanket. We were the only ones in the entire restaurant which was nice but we were melting. Finally we moved inside and our waiter/chef turned on a huge fan and we could finally relax.

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I had fish tacos and they were incredible. When I asked the guy for some hot sauce he brought me out a tray of different bottles. I chose the habanero one and it was so good that I bought it. As you can see, I haven’t used it at all since we have been home.

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Since we were so hot and sticky all we wanted to do was go back to the resort and jump in the pool. One more round of drinks and pool games to end our stay. We gathered our new friends and planned on a group dinner together as a farewell meal.

Casey was staying in the preferred club part of the resort. I think the perks with the preferred club were that you got a quick and solo check-in, they also had their own hot tub and a private lounge/bar that only preferred guests (plus invites) could access. We planned to meet him in his lounge for a drink before dinner. Let me preface this next part of the evening with this; Before we hit the pool that day we had to meet someone at the concierge to arrange our ride to the airport. As we were walking away I noticed two men that I hadn’t seen before. I commented to Shawna and Casey on the taller mans legs. They were long, lean and nicer than most of the people there. Strange thing to point out but seriously they stood out to me. Fast forward to Casey’s preferred lounge. As we were waiting for our adult beverages, those same, very flamboyant men walked in. The one we will call “legs” walked right up to Shawna and professed things to her that shouldn’t be said in front of other people in a public place in the daylight. He said that he was watching her at the pool and although he was clearly not into women that she made him question his sexuality, barf. It was annoying the way he went about it but they seemed like nice guys. We said adios and carried our drinks up to Casey’s room to check out his digs. His room was nicer than ours in a few ways, his tub was on the patio and his room seemed to get a bit more sunlight. We put on some music and attempted to salsa on the patio.

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Six of us had a nice dinner at the Seafood restaurant, the sun was just starting to set making for a perfect backdrop. Since it was our last evening everyone we had become friends with planned to meet in the lobby for farewell drinks and music.

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I should probably give you some more background on the people we hung out with so the following stories flow better. We met the couple from New Jersey on our first day, they were our faves, just two really nice people. They were meant to be married in Hawaii in September but since that was canceled or postponed for the time being, they took a trip to Puerto Vallarta. {We can forget about the Idahoans}. Then there was a threesome, two girls both married to men in open relationships and a gay guy, we will call him Ken. The three of them traveled together and if I remember correctly they all worked together. Next we have Weldon, he was there solo, sober and also gay. (Not that any of that matters aside from the sober part. I don’t know why anyone would choose to go to an all inclusive if you aren’t getting free booze. That’s the most expensive part, am I right?)  Lastly we have Chris and Kory, happily married and fun. Then there was Legs and his husband Johan.

Earlier in the week when we all had dinner at the Mexican (I think that’s in the last post) we were with the threesome, Weldon and the New Jersey couple. That night was when I decided I didn’t really like Ken. He came off very narcissistic, I don’t know, I just didn’t like the guy. There is a reason I am telling you all of this. 

Back to our final evening. Since everything basically shuts down at 11:00 we had planned ahead. We pre-ordered drinks and had a couple of bottles of wine for everyone to share. We also brought down a bluetooth speaker so we could keep our own entertainment going. Ken sat down next to me on the couch and I just kept telling myself, be nice. Then he said, “so I have a funny story.” I was intrigued. Apparently after our dinner the other night at the Mexican restaurant, Weldon invited Ken back to his room for a casual connection. I don’t know what or how it came about but Weldon ended up kicking Ken out of his bed and his room after Ken divulged that he was a Trump supporter. I am pretty sure I spit out my wine, that was the best thing I had heard all week. #FUCKTRUMP

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The evening was so fun, everyone was playing music and we were all swapping stories (not Covid) and then….Legs walks in, without his man, apparently Johan was napping the day off. You guys, I don’t even know how to explain him but I will try. He struts up to our group as we are all sitting and chatting, addressing everyone he dramatically points to Shawna and isn’t shy about letting us all know his sexual feeling towards her. He gets graphic and this is where I start to get a little fucking upset, bring it down dude, not appropriate. We all look at each other like, “who is this guy”? He then goes outside and I follow him, this is when he apologized, saying that he’s sorry, he didn’t mean to come off offensive and then I got a sob story about his childhood and yada yada yada. Still chatting, Johan, his husband, wakes from his slumber and comes down to join us. Legs then goes inside to greet him. I am caught in conversation outside when I missed it. I feel like I always miss the good stuff. {side note, almost every time Shawna and I go out, if it’s near or far, shit like this happens. I know she is amazing and has a magnetic personality but seriously, every.time}. When Legs walked back inside he didn’t sit next to his husband he sat next to Shawna all while dropping his drink all over his pink pants and the couch.

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That is how our last night ended. A lot of OMG, WTF’s and so much laughter and dancing. We called it a night, exchanged numbers and headed to bed.

We had one last breakfast before heading to the airport.

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We really enjoyed our time down there. If or when we go back, there are a lot more things that I want to explore but I tell you what, it’s hard to get out of the pool.

Now it’s back to all things hard, but “we can do hard things (Glennon Doyle).”

The Good Wine Ending

We woke up rested, refreshed and ready to explore Sonoma. I made reservations for tastings at four different wineries. We started strong at Anaba, the weather was absolutely perfect. We sat outside and really enjoyed everything we tried, it was a fantastic start to the day.

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Next up was Buena Vista Winery. This place has history which was interesting to learn about.

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We were charmed by the look of the grounds but our like quickly dissipated. The man pouring our just OK wines took his sweet time coming back for each taste. What should have been an hour tasting, for 5 wines turned out to be 5,000 hours. Allowing too much time for us to worry about the possibility of ticks falling out of the trees and burying themselves into our skin. Our window for lunch came and went and we couldn’t get out of their fast enough. We made it back into town with just enough time to drive thru a place and grab some fries before our next reservation.

Our next tasting was in an old Sears catalog home which was intriguing in itself. I didn’t know one could purchase a house from a catalog, that is how it works right?

We had a private reservation and it was a really fun experience. The lady pouring {I wish I remembered her name} was a close friend of the wine maker and she made it very personable. fullsizeoutput_df4

Here we tasted three chards and four pinot noirs, not exactly a horizontal tasting but the same varietal from three separate vineyards, does that make sense?

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The chardonnays were delicious and I think our favorite haled from Mendocino, that needs to be a wine trip in the future.

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Our last tasting for the day was held in a cute outside patio and was founded by three former football players. Three Fat Guys have a laid back approach with some pretty decent wine.

{I may have finished a bottle of their rose before we left Sonoma.}

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Dinner reservations were made at LaSalette a recommendation that I would most definitely pass on. qiKnqxcpR5+LfWsrWkc3Lw7uO3q64SQ9qANGAWL9gi%A

Sorry for the blurry photo, we had been wine tasting all day.

I ordered the Feijoada which I haven’t had since I was in Brazil and it was delish, not as good as my moms though.

{Hint, hint mom, next time we are up there maybe I can help you make it}

We finished with a dessert wine tasting and then walked back to our hotel room for a good nights sleep.

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The next day we planned on checking out Napa for lunch and hopefully a tasting somewhere. Every winery we wanted to visit had no availability but as luck would have it, we found a place right in town that had an opening for us.
We picked a restaurant that had open outdoor dining. We ordered wine and the most amazing peach and prosciutto salad that may have caused inappropriate food moaning.

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After a wonderful lunch and fantastic people watching, we headed for our tasting.

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Roots Run Deep tasting room was in an old house in downtown Napa. We were seated on a couch on the front patio.

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The one upside to the new winery protocols is that we get special one on one attention and this place ended up being my favorite of them all.

They are the ones behind the wines Educated Guess. You’ve probably seen the bottle at BevMo or even the grocery store, I know I have but never actually tried it. Their chardonnay was phenomenal and so were all the other wines. I liked everything they poured for us and if we lived up there would easily consider becoming wine members. It was such a fantastic ending in wine country.

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Once our last sip was gone we hit the road heading down to San Ramon for the night. We enjoyed a nice evening catching up with old friends. Unfortunately our plans for the next day were halted once the governor shut down certain counties again and we were all so disappointed. We were really looking forward to seeing a friends band play and to catching up with people that I haven’t seen in years. Alas, there is always next time right?

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We enjoyed a nice lunch outside before we chose to drive south for another night on the coast. But before we hit the highway we took a swing by my old house. So many memories held there.

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Our last night of a great Cali road trip we chose to spend one more evening in Morro Bay.

We had a really nice meal, perfect weather with sea lion company and relished in what a fantastic trip we had as the sun sank low.

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Side note- This martini had anchovy stuffed olives which sounded so good but in reality tasted like something the sea lion would like a lot more than I did.

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The rest of our drive was uneventful and we couldn’t wait to get home to our girls, human and furry.

It was such a great break from the mundane and even though everything was held outside {who complains about that?} we had amazing weather, pretty darn good food and wine.

Oh, and the clam chowder award goes to Moonlight Beach Bar and Grill in Cambria

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I will be back for another cup on another day.

 

No Need for a Title

How is everyone holding up? School is out so that has to be a little relief right? I was not in love with homeschooling our girls. We have been trying to keep busy with plenty of beach days, cooking and A LOT of games. Here is a glimpse at the past two months.

Last day of Kinder and 3rd grade.

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Kaili helped me make Tzatziki, which we mopped up with beef kabobs and pita bread.

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On the warm days we got shaved ice and wandered the beaches.

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To escape the repetitious days, we headed to OC for a little break.

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There were sunburns and kayaks.

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Then the wind picked up and we almost lost grandma and Averi to the sea.

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Luckily, a full recovery was made.

At night, the girls challenged us to some Uno and displayed their piano skills before we all fell into bed.

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As long as the sun is shining or even if it’s hiding, we will be spending our days at the pool and beach this summer.

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I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy.